Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Love For Murad

Since my pre-teens I have struggled with acne. Over the years I have taught myself some ways of covering it up and definitely had my share of sampling different products. I even resulted in trying different contraceptives with hopes it would help. 

Over the past 12 or so years I have tried proactive, clean and clear, body shop, st. ives, benzaclin gel, spectro gel, @mosphere, neutrogena, avon, and homemade remedies. I’m not at all saying these product don’t work for some people, they just didn’t work in the long run for me. Some products I have used, worked great for the first bit and then it’s almost like my skin got used to it or something because my breakouts would return or even get worse sometimes. 


In my search for a skincare line that will cater to my confusing skin, I came across Murad. Eager to try something that will actually work, I decided to try the 30 day trial kit sold at Sephora. The kit is $35 (before taxes) it comes with a cleanser, moisturizer, toner, acne spot treatment and exfoliating gel. Immediately after just one day my skin felt smoother, moisturized and less irritated. After just one week half of my breakouts had disappeared. I was amazed, never has a product I have tried ever made such a huge difference. Once my 30 day trial kit was used up I went and bought full sizes of the moisturizer, toner and cleanser. I still have the acne treatment and exfoliating gel that I use from the trial kit, a little goes a long way. I have been using this skin care regime for approximately two months now and I am totally in love. Never have I ever used anything that actually makes my skin feel so great and show results. 


When I get a large pimple that is under the skin, the kind that hurts really bad. I put the spot treatment on for a couple days and it never surfaces! Amazing! 


Genetically I have large pores, and blackheads are something I always struggle with to keep at bay. I noticed after the first three weeks my black heads looked worse, because they were all clearing out. I exfoliated a lot, I mean every other day for a little while and now they are better than they have ever been. I still have large pores because that truly never goes away but they are clear which helps them to be less noticeable. 


I encourage you to go and give this product a try if you are also dealing with acne. I still get breakouts and stuff, but this product keeps everything under control. 


I look forward to trying more products from this line of skin care. It has done wonders for my skin. Any questions please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below. 


- Jenn

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Loose Leaf Tea

One of the things I’ve recently become a BIG fan of is loose leaf tea. I love it so much that I’ve apparently gotten a few friends into it!

My friend Georgina introduced me to David’s tea back in October. I immediately fell in love! I went a few times after that and finally decided to buy a few bags of tea to take home and try. After that I went through a phase where I just didn’t like the taste of coffee anymore! It just wasn’t up to par!

Up until that point I honestly never liked tea. I always found it boring and tasteless and only drank it when I was sick or feeling really cold. I’d have to add a ton of sugar because to me, it was either too bitter or tasteless. Now I find I can brew tea with my leaves and NEVER have to add anything to sweeten it. It just has sooo much more flavour! Its a 0 pt drink!

The reason I wanted to share this with you is because it’s one thing that really helps curb my appetite. If I’m feeling hungry late at night.. I make some tea! If I’m still hungry after dinner.. I make some tea. If I’m hungry before dinner but don’t want to eat anything or completely ruin my appetite.. I make some tea!

After falling in love with this drink I realized that there are actually benefits in loose leaf tea over regular bagged tea.

Here are a few:

  • Quality- The quality is just sooo much better. Loose leaf teas keep all of the essential oils that are usually lost during the bagging and processing of the leaves.
  • Flavor- As I had mentioned before the flavor really just blows it out of the water. When I look at my leaves it’s so interesting to see all of the colours and large chunks of pretty much anything! So much flavour!! Plus the scent
  • Price- I find that my tea leaves last soo much longer. I read somewhere that bagged tea can cost up to $0.20 a cup where the leaves can cost as low as $0.05 a cup! You are also able to reuse or as they said “re-infuse”  the leaves up to 4 more times after initially using them.

Also there are health benefits just from drinking tea (especially loose leaf) in general! Tea consumption can benefit the health of bones, skin, teeth and gums, hearts and prostate glands. It also boosts metabolism and weight loss, can block allergic reactions and can delay the onset of diabetes and protect against parkinson’s disease.

What are some of my favourites? I get all of my loose leaf tea from David’s Tea. My go-to’s are Coco Chai Rooibos, Bamboozled, Alpine Punch, Happy Kombucha, and Forever Nuts. They even have one called Cold 911 which worked well when I was sick in December.The great part about going to David’s Tea is that they ALWAYS have hot tea available to taste test and they switch it up every day. I’ve never gone in and had one I’ve already tried.

I know tea bags are more convenient and possibly easier to use but the quality and flavor is what really pushes me in the direction of loose leaf tea. If you haven’t tried it.. please do! It was a life changer for me :).

Take care,

Steph

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Feel Good Moments

When I first started losing weight I immediately heard feedback from my friends, family and coworkers. One thing I did was tell EVERYONE about my journey. I have very supportive people in my personal and work life so I know that they wouldn’t do anything that would tempt or pressure me into trying or eating something that would work against me. They’ve always been great about it :). After starting my initial weight loss I heard within 2 weeks “I can see a difference!” or people would ask me “How many points is in this?” Or “How many points do you get in a day?” Their interest made me feel good. It made me feel like they were interested in what I was doing and were there to support me. If it wasn’t for them I really don’t know if I would be where I am right now.

Losing weight is quite the journey with both struggles and beautiful moments along the way. You need to take both in for what they really are. For instance, the first time you push yourself harder or the first time you try a new workout and succeed. Then a month after that you see results and are killing it! Or those weeks you just can’t stop eating or tracking.. those are learning experiences. You know you can’t lose when you eat or act like that.. and it’s even hard to just maintain your weight.. learning experiences.

The first time I did Zumba I seriously thought I would die. I even remember saying “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that again.” Boy was I wrong!! The next time was a tiny bit easier.. and the next time after that was even easier. Nowadays I go and feel confident and feel like I can do anything in the class no matter what! Even if I don’t get the right footing or the right movement I watch and try again, and again, and again until I get it down and can do the moves without even looking at the instructor. THAT’S a feel good moment for me.

I’ve heard people tell me that I am the reason they started their own weight lose journey. That I was the one who motivated them to make this massive change in their life. Hearing this is one of the most motivating things I’ve heard in my life. If I can inspire people to make this change I know I can stick to this journey myself. It makes it easier to want it. It makes it easier to DO it. A single kind word goes a LONG way. This is why I always try to make people feel good and to lift them up. It’s important to be supportive.. especially to those who tend to struggle. I’ve heard somewhere that you should never look down on somebody unless you are helping them up. I agree with that wholeheartedly. If you are one of those people who secretly compete with others or put others in the same position down. STOP. You’ve either been in a dark place yourself or possibly will be someday and you will need someone to help pick you up. Spread the “feel good” moments. Help others instead of being detrimental to their journey.

It’s always important to take everything in. To enjoy the good times, the positive times and to learn from the times you struggled. Now I will share with you my most recent “feel good” moment. My most recent “new, tight, ‘skinny’ pants” are now my “fat, loose and unflattering pants”. They fall off of me! I can almost pull my pants down without undoing them! I love these pants and it is a bittersweet feeling to have to get rid of them but it shows me how far I’ve come.. even just in the last 2 months. Also my “muffin-top, extremely tight” jeans that I purchased after boxing day now fit me comfortably! It’s nice FEELING that change. It makes me feel so.. damn.. good!

I’d love to hear your most recent feel good moment so please share in the comments!

Thanks for reading :)

Steph

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Wedge Salad Recipe

The wedge salad is one you will need to eat with a fork and knife. It is one of my all time favourite salads and it’s super easy. You'll be able to alter it any way to make those taste buds happy! I love serving this salad when I have guests over, so they can top their salad with their own toppings and I know they will enjoy it. It's super easy and always goes over well.

First thing you’ll need to do is cut your iceberg lettuce, like the below picture.


I enjoy lots of different toppings on my salad, here are some great 0 pt options:

  • Tomato
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli 
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Cucumber 
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery 
Other great topping are:
  • Bacon Bits (1tbsp) 1pt
  • Sliced hard boiled egg (1/2) 1pt
  • Marble Cheese
  • Ranch Dressing 



Be prepared for the toppings to fall off the wedge of lettuce when you are putting it all together, that’s totally normal. 

It will look something like this, once you're done putting it all together.



Thanks for reading :) 

- Jenn



Friday, February 22, 2013

Little Changes Making A Big Difference

On Wednesday I stated in the Week in Review post that I would stop eating past 8pm, and start tracking again. So, that's exactly what I've done. 

I am down 3lbs since Wednesday morning! I am so excited and motivated to see what a week of doing this will do. 


Snacking at night is something I have always done, it's part of my night routine to help me sleep. So, the first night was hard because my brain kept telling me I wanted food but I knew I couldn't have been hungry and this was just habit. So I pushed through, drank an entire bottle of water and just went to sleep. The next night I wasn't even hungry when I went to bed. 


I will continue to weigh in every day, as this this really motivating me to see these small changes making a big difference! 


- Jenn


A Little More About Me

Hi all,

I figured it might be nice for you all to get to know me for who I really am. So I thought I’d tell you a bit more about myself. I’m 25 years old living in Waterloo, ON with my boyfriend of 1.5 years. I love all things girly, cooking, shopping, makeup, dogs, reading, jewelry, making my own jewelry and DIY projects. I’m also a big fan of snowmobiling and have found my love of winter these last 3 years. Of course the last two have been the mildest winters yet and I haven’t been able to make it out. *sad face* Stupid lack of snow! What can ya do...

I’m the type of person who will be there for the people I care about(or anyone really)  NO MATTER WHAT. I would drop whatever I was doing to support a friend or be a shoulder to cry on. I love listening and I always try to give the best advice possible. I also get bothered when I give people advice they should have listened to and didn’t.. and it blows up in their face. I’m not the type to say “I told you so” but will say “you should listen to your friends more often.. they’re looking out for you.”

Up until about 3 years ago I had been brutally shy for pretty much my entire life. I also was depressed and in a very dark place. I was in a very toxic relationship for 4.5 years. It started out great but eventually got very, very bad and I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I was scared to leave because I didn’t think anyone would ever want me or even find me attractive. In fact, I didn’t feel like I could leave because every time I tried he came running back promising change that never happened and of course I caved. I gave in every single time.. except the last time. It was November 2011, and enough was enough. There is only so much you can give with nothing in return before you lose your shit. And that is exactly what I did... I left and NEVER went back. My life changed drastically.. and in the end I became a strong, loving, outgoing, ridiculously weird and caring person. I grew so much and I love the person I am today. I am happy, and I see the brighter side of everything. Life is good :)

Anyways..I come from an awesome family who I love a lot. My mom is my best friend and is seriously amazing. I constantly hear that we look so much alike and I learned a lot from my mom growing up. It’s because of her that I am the person I am today. If I become half the woman she is I will feel truly blessed (Yeah I’m sitting here about to cry thinking about it... see the next paragraph ha.) She’s so supportive and awesome. All my friends think she’s the best too.. she’s just so funny! :) My dad and I are similar in ways even though I had never really admitted it until recently.  I find I get my positive attitude from him. I also find that I never stop smiling.. which I get from him. Me and my brother used to make fun of him for it when we were growing up and now I do it myself! Also, I tend to spend a lot of time with my grandparents who I call “Omi” and “Ota”. I used to spend every single weekend as a kid with them and can’t imagine my life without them. Sooo many memories! They’re the best people I know. Pete and I go over there every wednesday for dinner. It’s always fun :)

I tend to be a bit sentimental and sensitive. I cry at every wedding I attend.. including ones I see on TV with people I’ve never met (or will ever meet). My boyfriend likes to make fun of me because I cried at an dog food commercial. I also cried once watching an old woman fall on ice.  I sometimes even cry thinking of my friends and family members and how much I love them. Yep.. maybe just a tad bit wimpy haha.

As I mentioned before, I love music.. a lot. It’s always been a big part of my life and I feel like I’ve gone through stages where I’ve been very into every single genre. Right now I’m really digging indie folk but could listen to anything. I’m also part of a band with a few coworkers. We call ourselves “Bog Ferret”. I may not love the name but I don’t think it will ever change lol. We practice once a week and I love singing my heart out. It’s a great way to destress and let it all out!


I LOOVE to cook! It's probably one of my favourite past times! I like being creative and trying new things.. you'll probably see a few recipe reviews or ideals over the upcoming months :)
I’m a shoppaholic. It’s my favourite past time.. haha. I could spend hours in a store (which I do everytime I go to winners). Jenn and I used to frequent winners quite often and we used to call ourselves “Power Shoppers”. We are pretty hard core.

I’m a huge football fan! Go Steelers! I’ve got a ton of gear and truly enjoy spending Sundays dedicating myself to watching as many games as possible. Maybe it’s my silent excuse for being lazy and I just can’t admit it. LoL! I doubt it!

Anyways, I hope you’ve learned something new about me!

If not.. you can always ask me anything. Like I said, I am ALWAYS here for you :)

Thanks for reading!


Steph

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sharing my Great News!

Hi all!

Lately I've been getting on the scale every single day. I know this may not be anybody's idea of a good time and Weight Watchers only asks that you weigh in once a week but I needed to try something different. I decided to do this awhile ago because it keeps me right on track.. and it's working!

I woke up about 15 minutes ago and stepped on the scale and I am officially at my lowest weight since starting Weight Watchers! I almost fell over.. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I know my progress has been slow over the last year from lack of dedication AND motivation but 2013 has been a completely different year than 2012. I've steadily lost as I've wanted to and have reached my goal of 1 lb per week :)

How have I been making this happen?


  • Tracking no matter what
  • Cutting back on eating food past 9pm
  • Making healthier decisions
  • Not drinking my calories
  • Working out more frequently
  • Eating breakfast EVERY.SINGLE.DAY no matter how big or small


Because of all this I am officially down 46 lbs!! Man what an amazing feeling :)

I'm so happy! Thanks for reading folks!

Steph

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Power Food: Sweet Potatoes

Hi all,

So this was my (Steph’s) turn to pick a power food that I love. I decided to pick sweet potatoes because I absolutely love them. Growing up I was kind of turned off by them because they were so different to me and I seriously had a mashed potato addiction. Any other potato just didn't cut it for me back then! Plus i always thought "thats not a potato! Its orange!!" Lol. Nowadays they are a staple in mine and my boyfriends diet. We eat them quite frequently. Not only do they taste delicious but they are really good for you! Sweet potatoes contain a few vitamins (B6, C, D) as well as iron, magnesium and potassium.. all of which are crucial to your personal health and development. (I won’t bore you with the details as to why.. you know I tend to go on and on and on.. ;). They’re also high in carotenoids which is great for eyesight and your immune system. This also has many, many advantages. 

Plus they’re so sweet I’d want to eat them for dessert! ha.


Steph: There are so many ways to make a sweet potato. I've had them mashed, roasted, fried, baked whole.. I could really go on with this one. I'd have to say my favourite way is to roast them. You can do this in sooo many ways but here’s what I tend to do:


1-2 large sweet potatoes (1 usually goes really, really far with me and my boyfriend)
Oil (I’ve used olive, canola and vegetable oil.. haven’t really noticed much difference in taste)
Salt & Pepper


Optional spices that I like: Chipotle, garlic powder, thyme


1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Peel the sweet potato
3. Either cube, slice, dice or cut your potato into a french fry shape. (I switch it up every time)
4. Add enough oil to cover the slices. You can add more if you like yours to be crispy
5. Add salt and pepper (and any additional spices you may like)
6. Put in oven! Cook for approx 30 minutes. This will vary depending on how crispy or soft you like your sweet potatoes done
7. Enjoy!


Jenn: I have heard such great things about sweet potatoes, however I am yet to find a recipe that I enjoy. I do make mashed sweet potato for my son and he absolutely loves it!
To make sweet potato for your baby all you need to do is peel the potato, chop it up and boil it until tender. When mashing I will add some previously boiled lukewarm water to give it more of a smooth consistency. Sometimes I will need to add a teaspoon of fruit to add just a little extra sweetness, other times he'll eat it up no problem!
I store leftovers in proper portion containers in the fridge for no more than three days. After the three days I recommend discarding!

Steph & Jenn

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Throw the Hatred Away and Love Yourself!

Why do we think it’s okay to put ourselves down and to call ourselves nasty names? To hurt our own feelings and make ourselves feel worse about ourselves than we already do? I would NEVER do this to any of my friends or family members, so why would I do it to myself? I would never tell anyone else that their body looks lumpy, or their skin looks awful or that their hair is flat and lifeless. So why should I tell myself this? I used to be the person who put myself down everyday. I said things like “I hate my body”, “I wish I was prettier”, “I wish I wasn’t so fat”, “I wish my hair was prettier”, “I wish I looked like (that person)”, “I wish my ass wasn’t so flat and wide”. I’ve been there. But things are different now.

It seems like it’s hard nowadays to have good self esteem. Like there are expectations and standards that people are supposed to live up to. But these standards shouldn’t exist. You should create your own standards to make yourself feel good and to be happy. It sometimes seems hard to have a lot of self confidence and to say “I’m the shit.. I love me! I’m awesome!” because people look at you like you’re crazy. But you’re not! You SHOULD love yourself. You SHOULD know that you are awesome and dammit YOU ARE THE SHIT!! It’s important to love yourself and believe in who you are. It’s good to be unique and different. I had a coworker tell me “You’re a weird one Steph.” and all I said was “I know!” with a big smile on my face. WHY would i want to be like every other person on the street? I want to stand out, I want to be different... I want to be ME! Uniquely weird, sweet and funny.. but me!

I know what it’s like to be bullied and to have your self esteem trampled on. I’ve been there and growing up was hard. No one wanted to be my friend.. I was awkward and didn’t look like most of the girls because I was a lot bigger and didn’t dress like any of the other girls. In grade 6 a handful of older girls tried to force feed me lucky charms because it was “buffalo food” and I was fat. I still remember the details of that day and it hurts looking back and thinking that kid’s can be that cruel. I’ve had girl’s threaten to kick my ass because they didn’t like me.. I’ve had guys make fun of my body because it wasn’t “perfect” in their eyes. They even had nicknames for my body parts which absolutely destroyed me. These things really tore me down. Do I let that affect me today? No. Why? Because I don’t allow people to hold that kind of power over me. Because I am a better and stronger person. I know myself better than those girls ever will and now my “fat” has turned into curves and my odd looking parts that guys made fun of are the things I like most about myself (and so does my boyfriend!). You can’t let your past define you. You need to move forward and open a new page. You need to be able to think “That was yesterday and this is today. This is a new day”.

Today I am not sure if I could love myself any more. I am proud of myself and I sincerely think I am an incredible person that most people feel comfortable around.

I found this facebook page which really inspires me. It’s also where I found this picture:


It doesn’t matter if you’re big, small, short or tall. You are YOU. You are different than everyone else and you should be proud of what makes you unique. If everyone looked and acted the exact same way this would be a very boring world.

Throw that hatred away, my friends, it’s time to find that self love and own it! Love yourself! 


With that said I am going to leave you with this quote:

Never neglect the person you see in the mirror. This is the only person in the world, who has witnessed the entirety of your life. This person has experienced the thick the thin, the highs the lows, the good the bad. There are not too many certainties in life, but here's one: This person will stick with you for life, so in exchange for it's life long service make sure you place a high value on them.
- Patricia Nocerino

Thanks for reading :)

Steph

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Healthier Waffle Recipe!


I have to admit that I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater. I usually go for something quick like yogurt or fruit but sometimes I decide to go all out. This usually happens on weekends when I’m not running around in the morning getting ready at full speed. Yes, I am the type of person to sleep in until the very last possible minute (without needing to rush). On weekend’s I’ll sometimes make crepes, bacon and eggs or waffles. Not always the healthiest option but you CAN make it healthy. Plus I find these options very filling and I have more of a brunch than a lunch. This only happens once every few weeks as I still tend to go for a quick/easy breakfast on weekends too :P.

For my boyfriend’s birthday the only thing he wanted was waffles. He always wants them! Everytime I make them I tend to try one of the first few that pop up on google. I found a good one from allrecipes.com with high reviews. I looked at the ingredients and had everything.. except I noticed one thing. It called for ½ cup of oil. Normally I’d be like meh.. but as I’ve been on track lately it made me go “Woah!” I calculated that and ½ cup of oil was 28 points!!! I almost fell over. That is A LOT!  I decided to try something different and instead of using the oil I opted for a single serving size of applesauce which is only 2 points. I saved 26 total points by doing it this way and 3 points per waffle. And it still tasted really good!

The waffle recipe I use makes 9 servings of waffles that are 4 points each. You may have a bigger waffle maker than me so if you count points please use the WW Recipe builder to recalculate. (Or you can contact me directly and I can adjust the serving size on mine and can let you know how many points it is :)

Here it is:



  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk (I use skim)
  • 1 678g serving size of applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon white or brown sugar (I used brown)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pam or non stick cooking spray

1. Preheat your waffle iron
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl
3. Add flour, applesauce, milk, sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth
NOTE: You may find it easier to use an electric mixer. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer as it is easy to just throw all the ingredients in and let it mix itself
4. Spray waffle maker with cooking spray and add about ¼ cup of mix to your waffle iron. (This may vary based on the size of your waffle iron. You definitely want to add less than you think because it spreads out A LOT
5. Cook until golden and serve immediately!

These freeze very well and can be enjoyed in the following weeks. This is one of my favourites and I hope you try it :). I like to have a side of fruit with this breakfast.

Enjoy!

Steph

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Home Made Moisture Mask

At this time of year the air is cold and dry, my skin starts to suffer. My face starts to dry and I really can’t stand it. At least I can smother body butters and lotions on my body but I can’t do that to my face as I break out easily. 

I absolutely love DIY type things, when it comes to making bracelets, draperies, homemade masks for hair and skin, homemade body scrubs and the list goes on. I love trying different ways to make and do things myself! 


So here is a facial moisture mask to try, what you’ll need is:



  • ½ Ripe Avocado
  • 1 tsp Plain Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 Egg White

I use a fork to mash all these ingredients together as best you can in a bowl, it will be a chunky consistency. I recommend doing this right after you shower as your pores open and can soak in the moisture and nutrients easily. Also, of course a clean face is required. Smother this gunk all over your face but avoid the eye area, sit and relax for 20 minutes and let this concoction do it’s thing! You may experience some tingling and cooling.



Rinse off with warm water and pat your face dry, follow with your favourite moisturizer. 

This mask does wonders for the areas around my nose that can get really dry and flakes sometimes


I hope this treatment helps you as much as it helps me! 


Thanks for reading.
- Jenn

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Benefits of Drinking Water




Is it possible to have a water addiction? If it is, I think I have one!!

I used to be the person who never drank water. To me, drinking water was torture and I probably only had a few glasses A WEEK. I’ve completely changed since then. Water is soooo good for you in so many ways! Not only do I enjoy drinking it .. it is my go-to drink no matter what. I’d say I drink about 10-15 glasses a day.

If you think about it most of your body is made up of water. Your body NEEDS water and it is essential to your health. Your body uses water in its cells, organs and tissues to regulate your body temperature and maintain other bodily functions. It also needs to replenish what your body loses everyday. You lose large amounts of water every single day and it is constantly happening.. from skin evaporation, urinating & BM’s (pooping :), breathing, sweating and even from our nose and tear ducts. The number of glasses that is recommended to drink daily changes all the time. I like to recommend an easy 6-8 glasses of water a day but more is definitely beneficial to your health.

Here are some health benefits to drinking water:

  • Lose weight- can suppress your appetite (thus making you eat less), prevents fluid retention, and can help your body burn stored fat
  • Natural remedy for headaches
  • Healthier, younger looking skin- keeps skin moisturized and reduces appearance of ine lines and wrinkles!
  • Helps digestion
  • Makes you smarter/more productive - Your brain needs A LOT of oxygen to perform at optimal levels. Drinking water ensures that your brain gets the oxygen it needs.
  • Prevents dehydration
  • Stronger muscles- water carries oxygen to the cells of your body (including muscles) which allows your muscles to work harder/longer
  • Keeps joints strong, healthy and lubricated- for smooth and pain free movements
  • More energy when working out
  • Gets rid of the waste- Makes you pee, poop and sweat. (the act of drinking water obviously doesn’t make you sweat.. but it comes through in your sweat)
  • Help’s when constipated- Softens your stool and helps move it through your intestinal tract (what a nice visual)
  • Improves immune system
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Can reduce the risk of bladder or colon cancer

I’d say those are enough benefits for something that is basically (or almost)  free.

Tips on drinking more water

  • Carry a water bottle when you go out- easy access!
  • Choose water over other sugar sweetened drinks. Not only are you saving calories and money but you’ll feel better.
  • Add lemon or lime for a little somethin’ somethin’. Some people even suggest mint leaves!
  • Have a schedule. If you’re new to drinking water you may need the reminder. For example, drink 1 small glass every hour or drink one big glass when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, dinner and before you go to bed.
  • Substitute a snack craving for a glass of water. A lot of the time people confuse hunger for thirst!

I hope this has helped and opened your eyes! Raise those water glasses and drink!

Thanks for reading :)

Steph

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How this blog has helped me get back on track

Before we started this blog I was struggling. I was in a dark place in my life and honestly, food was my comfort. I’d track all day and snack all night. I would go so overboard that I wouldn’t even want to track because I was so afraid to face reality. I was ashamed but would consistently do it almost every night. I gained back about 7 pounds. I was all over the place and was acting out in my relationship and my friendships. I was basically a bitch on an emotional rollercoaster.

In October I lost someone who at one point in my life meant a great deal to me. I think of him every single day. It was tough and to this day I still struggle when I think of him. It is getting easier but I still regret letting the friendship drift away (like I have done with too many friends before) and not talking to him in about a year. We first met in 2003 so I had known him for awhile. It’s hard to talk about.

Even though that had me down, a lot of good things have happened in that time. Liiike I turned 25 and got to spend time with Jenn, her beautiful family and my closest family members. I also moved in with my amazing boyfriend of 1.5 years and that has been going very well. I also travelled to ARUBA which was the best trip ever!! I’ve also been able to spend some quality time with Jenn’s son Noah who has me melted in his palm. I love that child more than anything. I’ve also found my love of Zumba again! So many changes I could go on and on.. the most recent one being that I almost never snack past 9pm anymore. It just feels weird to me now.

It had been a rocky few months and I tried to stay on track but just couldn’t. On January 1st I decided to make this a different year. I decided to consistently track, stay within my points and be active. I planned to get back into the right mindset and I can definitely say that I have! My best friends have helped me TREMENDOUSLY! We talk every single day and it makes it easier having someone who understands completely what I’m going through. I also know I want to check in weekly with you guys and I want to have good news! I want to motivate you and if I can’t do it for myself it will be hard to pass that on!

I hope that reading this blog has helped you get back on track with your journey like it has with mine.

Thanks for reading and for all your wonderful comments and feedback! You guys truly rock!

Steph

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jenn's 30 Day Challenge

Week 3 

After week 2 this was a much better one for me, I felt normal again and was able to make time to push myself a little harder. I of course went to Zumba as I do once a week, and instead of 10 minute workouts I pushed for 15-20 minutes. There were many changes around the house too, so I spent a lot of time doing housework. 


Week 4 - MY LAST WEEK


This week consisted of more renovations, I worked my butt off! I was so sore after that I had to take it easy for a couple days and do light exercises. After doing 30 days of exercise, I feel refreshed. I can not imagine not exercising every day now. It’s embarrassing that I was going months without exercise and cleaning was my only form of physical activity. Getting ready for the day started to feel like a marathon because I was so out of shape. Now I don’t run out of breath nearly as often and I feel way better about myself. I am making a promise to myself to always do at least 10 minutes a day. My energy has increased and my appetite has shrunk. 


I managed to lose 5 pounds over the course of these 30 days, I lost an inch off my bust, and inch off my waist and an inch off my bum/thigh area. 


If I can do this I know you can too. The first week is the hardest and trust me it gets easier and more enjoyable. I actually enjoy it now. It’s all about making small attainable goals and sticking to them, don’t set yourself up for failure.


I know this 30 day challenge may seem not like much to some, it was a big deal for me. I would consider this whole experience life changing and I have now developed a new habit. 


Thanks for reading! 


- Jenn

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Every lb Counts!

Hi all,

So I decided to see exactly how much weight I’ve lost since I decided to stay on track since January 1st. Obviously there have been days where I have struggled but I still lost overall. I was down 5 lbs! I was happy with that as I am in this for the long hull. I am losing weight slowly because I feel more confident it will stay off longer as I am making lifestyle changes and not drastic changes.

Some people get discouraged when they only lose a lb here or a lb there. But every lb counts! It adds up and if you stick to it you WILL obtain your goals! You will succeed. I put my mind to it and I’ve lost almost 45 lbs! I’ve lost the equivalent of the average humans leg!! :|! It’s crazy to think of it that way.

With that all said.. don’t get discouraged when you only lose one lb or if you don’t lose. It’s hard! But if you put your mind to it and give it your all that weight will come off. I can promise you that!







Steph

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review of Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown Part 1

For Christmas I got an HMV gift card from friends of my grandparents. It was a really great gesture and totally unexpected. I don’t normally shop there but I decided to check out the fitness videos as I wanted something different. That is where I found Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown.




This is definitely no regular yoga DVD. This is like double time yoga! I thought yoga was hard when we do it in the office every Thursday but this was like nothing I had ever tried before. The dvd comes with two workouts. Level one and level two. The first time I did the video I literally thought I was going to die. I started with level one and almost immediately built up a sweat. The moves were different than the ones I knew from class and there wasn’t really a lot of balancing. I found the majority of the moves used a lot of upper body strength (which I realized I don’t have much of!). This was really different for me as I’m used to doing the downward dog and this had a lot of plank. The video was about 30 minutes long.

Last Tuesday I decided to do it again. I found it was much easier the second time as I remembered some of the moves and didn’t feel like I had to look at my TV screen as much. I still thought it was really hard but found that I was pushing myself more than the first time. I definitely feel more confident that the next time will be even easier.

What I liked
I was a bit worried about this video because I know Jillian is kind of a hard ass and a bit intimidating. I didn’t see that at all in this video. She pushed you and encouraged in a great way that made me want to keep on going and pushing myself harder! In the end I was shaking soo much! but I felt great :)!

I liked the fact that she showed two other people doing the moves as well.. one beginners and one intermediate. It made me feel better that it is normal to go down to my knees in certain moves because I have a few foot injuries.

I also liked that it was a quick workout but I was sweating my butt off!! Holy crap. I sweat more during that yoga dvd than I do sometimes in Zumba!

What I didn’t like
I didn’t enjoy the fact that a lot of the moves focused on upper body strength. It was really hard for me. I have found that I am getting stronger in my arms so hopefully this is helping!

This is very different than any yoga I’ve tried before but I’d definitely do it again. I can see it helping me in my yoga classes and my upper body strength. I’d rate the level 1 class a 8/10.

I’ll keep pushing myself and update you when I try level 2.

Hope you check this out!


Steph

Monday, February 4, 2013

Making my changes work for us both

My boyfriend and I live together, and he is the most amazing man I’ve ever known. I wouldn’t give what we have for the world and I’ve never felt so loved, appreciated, and happy in my life!

When he asked me to move in with him I was ecstatic, but what I didn’t consider was how our diets would affect each other. He’s the type that loves junk food. Sure he likes carrots, salad, cucumber, and some sliced peppers on his tacos, but other than that he is not big on the vegetable train. I’m not writing this to harp on him, I love junk food just as much as the next person, but I also happen to absolutely LOVE every vegetable, right down to brussel sprouts and spinach. So when it came time that I decided I wanted to start making healthier choices in what I was eating, doing it while living with him proved to be a bit of a challenge. Here are the things I’ve learned;  

1. I’m the one changing, he shouldn’t have to as well.

I’m making these choices for me, having his support means the world to me, but I try my best not to push my choices on him. He’s a grown up, he can eat what he wants.

2. We can eat different things!!

This is a big one. I try to find alternatives to everything. For example, one of our go to snacks was always Tostitos multigrain rounds with cheese melted on top. He still loves to eat them and when he does I instantly crave a chip like snack. I’ve found Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips that come in delicious flavours and they take care of that salty craving, plus I actually really like them. Finding alternatives like this have been my saving grace. I could most definitely save points up to enjoy snacks like the nachos, but I prefer to just munch on lower point alternatives for myself instead.

3. You can sneak in some healthier options, without them noticing that it’s healthier.

A prime example of this is my taco post that I did a little while ago. I switched ground beef out for ground turkey and he didn’t notice until we talked about it. I’m in no way trying to lie to him or anything, I just go ahead and cook with alternatives and if he doesn’t like it then I’ll switch back.

4. Communicate!

If I’m having a day where I really don’t want to track and I’m feeling lazy about my eating I tell him that and ask him to help me for a day by staying away from junk foods. He’s more than willing to help me and that support means the world.

5. This is much easier now than it was in the beginning.

At first I had a really hard time with our diets being different. I wasn’t as familiar with WW and the options I should be looking for, and I was all too willing to give into temptation when he was eating less healthy. Once I made it through the first couple months and started to learn more and form better habits, it got much MUCH easier!

If you’re trying to make a change but you find it hard because of a partner, believe me I feel your pain! It is tricky at first, but it is possible. A few tweaks here and there, being supportive of each other, and finding options that work for both of you is the key.

Till next time,

Chan xo

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Power Food: Eggs

As a group we have decided that power foods are extremely important to have in our diet. They really help make us feel fuller longer and they are healthy food options. Every two weeks one of us is going to pick a power food and we will all write about it, explaining how this food benefits us and how we like it prepared.

This is our first power food post. I (Jenn) have volunteered to start with the food EGGS, because I love them! There are so many health benefits to eating eggs. A study has been done that women who eat 6 eggs a week decrease their chances of breast cancer by 44%. Do you want your hair to grow faster? Adding eggs to your diet can get your hair growing especially if your body is lacking sulphur or B12. Lots of benefits to eating eggs, these are just two!

Jenn:

I love eggs, I can eat them all different ways. My favorite way to prepare my eggs is over easy. Then I love to dip my toast in the yolk, then eat the egg whites alone or I will make a little mini sandwich with my left over toast. Eggs are super filling, if I eat them for breakfast having a light lunch is easy for me. Sometimes I make breakfast for dinner when we are rushed and I don't have the urge to snack at all that night. I enjoy eating eggs, scrambled, over-easy, hard boiled and in an omelet.

I struggled with making the perfect over easy egg, here is how I perfected it!
You’ll want to use a non-stick frying pan, I use one tsp margarine in the pan to make sure the egg wont stick, some people like to use butter or cooking sprays. Temperature is important, I set the burner to be on 7. You want the egg to sizzle when it touches the pan. Then I just watch for the egg whites to cook, once they are just about done I flip the egg. Only leave the egg maybe 20-30 seconds and remove then enjoy your over easy egg!  


Steph:


I’ve never been a big fan of eggs. My favourite way to eat them is IN something or deviled! Lately I’ve been eating eggs more frequently because it really does keep me full in the morning. I also find it’s a great way to start my morning.. with some protein! Usually I’ll eat them scrambled with a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese.

Here’s how I do it:

1-3 eggs (my perfect amount is 1.5 so I sometimes split the pan with my boyfriend and use 3)
Pam or any other oil spray
a tbsp or 2 of cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper (optional)

1. Spray the pan
2. Break the eggs into the pan (or you can break them into a cup, mix with fork or whisk and then add to the pan)
3. Scramble! I usually add the S&P at this time but you can add it at the end if you prefer it that way.
4. Add cheese in when the egg is still a bit moist. Scramble for a few seconds.
5. Taadahhh!! Enjoy!

I like my eggs to still be a bit moist but I know some prefer cooking them so long they’re a bit brown.. so you do what you gotta do! Usually makes for a good 4 pt breakfast!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our first power foods post! Look for the next one in about 2 weeks!

Jenn & Jenn

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Steph's Favourite Pad Thai Recipe

I’ve always been a fan of thai food. A lot of the times when I eat out it’s hard to stay within my points. So many of the foods I love are either deep fried of very high in points. When Chan and I lived together we used to made Pad Thai ALL THE TIME. It was kind of our thing.

When I make it at home it can be really low in points! I was happy when I realized a BIG plate is actually less than what 1 cup at Ben Thahn is. Why? Because I love putting lots and lots of veggies into my pad thai. They are 0 points and add so much to this meal!

Last Saturday my parents came over for dinner so I decided to make a favourite! Chicken Pad Thai! I doubled the recipe so the pictures may seem like the portion sizes are a bit bigger.

Here’s my recipe to make this a 9 to 11 point meal! (Please note: I am a big fan of peanuts! so I add about 2 pts worth)

















1 box Thai Kitchen Original Pad Thai (7 pts)
Lots of thinly sliced veggies (I like carrots, red peppers and snow peas-- 0 pts!)
1 egg scrambled (I like to scramble the egg into really small pieces-2 pts)
1-2 chicken breasts thinly sliced or diced (Points vary on size of chicken. I usually use 3-4 oz per plate which is about 3-4 points)
1-2 cups bean sprouts (I’m a fan so I usually use more) (0 pts)
Olive oil (3 pts)
Crushed peanuts (optional) (1/2 TBSP is 1 pt)
Quartered limes (optional) (0 pts)
Thinly sliced green onion (optional) (0 pts)

1. Follow instructions on box on how to cook the noodles. Set aside.
2. Heat up oil in wok or skillet. Add chicken and pan fry.
3. Add veggies and stir fry until softened.

Note: You may need to add water if you feel things are sticking to the bottom of the pan.

4. Add noodles and sauce to the chicken and veggies and mix. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender.
5. Mix in bean sprouts, egg and green onions. Cook for 1 minute.
6. Plate! Top with peanuts and squirt with lime.


This will make 2 large (9 to 11 pt) servings or 3 medium sized (6 pt) servings. The difference in points is mostly affected by the amount of chicken you use.





Enjoy!

Steph :)

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