Archive | January, 2014

Map My Walk!

26 Jan

It’s a very, very foggy day in the hood today, so I thought while I wait for it to burn off, I would do my next post. I’m really excited to talk about the main app that I use for my health journey, so I want to get these smaller ones out of the way! 

I started getting active by setting the stopwatch on my phone, and timing how long my walks were, and tracking that way. Then I wanted to know how many calories I burned, how fast I walked, and how far I walked. You can do this the hard way or the easy way. 

Hard way: Start Stopwatch. Walk. Return. Google Calories burnt while walking. Enter time, guess speed, and guess distance based on Google Maps. Result, semi-accurate, but probably really inaccurate numbers. What if you wanted to keep track of all that?

Easy Way: There’s an App for That! Two apps I know of that are good are RunKeeper & MapMyWalk. I use MapMyWalk, and there’s a whole collection of apps they have (mostly for Iphone, although my MMW is on android!).

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There is a paid subscription for this, and while I’m not against paying for apps, and I do pay for some, this one I’ve left as free. The ads are really annoying and it’s easy to accidentally click on them, so I may consider updating in the future, but not yet. That being said the only time ads pop up is when you are save a workout (so not when you are starting or during). There is always a small banner ad on the bottom of the page, as you will see.

The other thing I like about MMW, that my previous post (My Diet Coach) doesn’t have, is a website you can log into from your computer. You can see more detail on the website than the app (although not a significant amount – everything you need is on the app!). 

I want to start with the cons of this app. I already mentioned the ads, but they aren’t the worst thing. I haven’t synced MapMyWalk to any of my other trackers, because they are all independent, and MMW conflicts with them. So my weight is always out, unless I remember to update it manually, and I can never remember how to. I would suggest bookmarking the page with weight stats on it so you can find it easily. You can set up goals using MMW, but it’s hard to customize, and they are unclear about what they mean. I set up a goal thinking it would take me a month to complete, and the next day it was complete… It runs slow sometimes and I feel like I’m standing just waiting for it to pause, save, etc. 

Other than that, I love it! When I first started walking I used it constantly – in the grocery store, etc. Now I only use it for actual legit walks. 

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You can log into their website and create your own courses, and workouts, and it tells you the distance. Whether it’s around your house or around town etc. it will work! If trails are found on Google Maps, you will likely have access to them through MMW.

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It’s really simple to use. Click the icon on your wall, click “Record”, and “Start”. The voice will say “Being Workout”, and when you end your workout, it will say “workout paused, workout complete, workout saved”. A few steps after you hit 1k, 2k, 3k, etc. The voice will tell you your distance, total time, and how many minutes/km.  You can also set it so it tells your friends on FB that you are walking, and when you are done, uploads your stats. I’ve never used this, but you can also have it update AS you walk. 

 

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It’s really not hard to be inspired when you see your stats over the past week, month, etc. 

This is definitely a tool I use on an everyday basis! 

1 more app to talk about next time, and then onto my trackers!

Hey You! Get Organized!

25 Jan

If you knew me, you’d read that title and laugh. I am hardly the organized person. In fact, people are surprised when I actually am organized! I try, but my demise would be that I take on too much, and can’t keep everything organized at the end. 

I’m finding that in order to stay motivated, you need organization. When I make an organizational change for my health, it’s helped me significantly. Something, as simple as hanging my earbuds on the key hook by the front door, reminds me to go for a walk when I see them, and I also save time not looking for them! 

Here are a few things I’ve done in the kitchen as well: 

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I try to eat at least 1 of these seeds every day, at every meal (usually 1/2 tables. flax, 1 tables. pumpkin seed, 1 tables. sunflower seed. All unsalted, roasted.) We also eat a lot of chocolate chips (in 1 tbsn portions don’t worry!) so I’ve put those things on the counter, for convenience sake. I also have put the balsamic dressing & olive oil on the counter in cute jars, so they are easy to find (and thus I use these things more! Last week I also reorganized our kitchen drawers – moving things I don’t use anymore to other drawers, and having one main drawer, for my spatula’s, measuring spoons & cups (I have 3 sets of each, at least!) 

Back on topic… Today’s organization was my closet. 

It’s been a drag (and my husband even has to nag!) for me to put my laundry away… the closet was full, disorganized, and in the mornings, I usually just grabbed “whatever” because I didn’t know where anything is.

Not only did I re-organize, I also threw away anything that was stained, had holes, or zippers missing. I created a “donate pile” and a “sell pile” and got rid of a bunch of stuff!

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starting mess!

This is my new organizational system: 

1. Main Rack: Work Clothes, Leisure Clothes, Casual Clothes (I work from home so these are all pretty much the same category)

2. Secondary Rack: Formal Clothes (Clothes I would wear to a wedding, or super fancy occasion).

3. Shelf: Swear Pants

 

I also organized my dresser. It has 3 regular draws, and 2 side cabinets.

Cabinet 1: Clothes that don’t quite fit yet

Cabinet 2: Clothes that I want to sell (ie: have tags on)

Drawer 1: Underwear

Drawer 2: Socks

Drawer 3: PJ’s & Swimming Suits. 

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Organizational bliss! If you can’t tell, it goes tube tops -> sweaters, and then jeans beside the sweaters!

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This system is completely opposite what I have organized my closet like in the past, and here’s why.

Starting with the socks, a whole drawer? Yes! It’s a big drawer too… I used to never wear socks, in fact I could go on a weeks holiday and pack 1 pair and probably not use them! I never walked (and if I did, in flats or flip flops!) So now, that I’m walking on a daily basis, I’ve accumulated more socks, and want to be able to find them quickly. 

The reason my sweat/yoga pants are on a shelf in the closet is because I wear them basically everyday. I know they say not to wear sweats all the time, because jeans “keep you in check”, but I won’t walk in Jeans, and most days I might be too lazy to get changed, so If I know I will have time to walk, it’s sweats. If I know I’ll be walking at night, I’ll probs wear jeans during the day. Plus, I rather like the feeling that the 1-2x per week I wear jeans, that they always feel a little looser!

I’m not doing hard-workouts so I’m find to work-out in anything on my main rack, which was the point of grouping them all together. 

By organizing my closet, I’ve made it easier to prepare for my day (and a motivation to find time to work out! 

I told DH today that this spring he will have to bring up the garbage bags (yes BAGS!) of clothes I stashed in our crawl space because they didn’t fit. I think when this happens I will be swapping out the old clothes for the ones that now fit. and keeping this organization system going! 

 

Now… what to do with all these spare hangers?

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A basket of hangers…

My Next post is going to be about MapMyWalk!

Happy 2 Months to Me!

19 Jan

I was planning on telling you guys about my next “tool of success” app today, but then I realized that Thursday was my two month “Healthier Lifestyle” anniversary, and I thought I could take this time to spread some gratitude, and tell you about my journey!

I started this journey on November 16th, just by stumbling across an app that I would say has been my  biggest supporting tool (I can promise you I will make you wait until my last app post to talk about it!) I was sick of trying to stick to Weight Watchers, and always looking for a new solution. I’ve told you about my anti-dieting feelings, and as I’ve said before, I just knew I had to do it without the diet.

 

So here’s what I’ve accomplished in 2 months: 

Lost 28 lbs without dieting (before November 16th, total lbs lost without dieting in my entire life, is still ZERO!) 

Gone from not walking at all, to walking about 75 KM (I’ve tracked 55 km, and I’m assuming I did 20-25 km before starting to track). Walk Between 1-2.5 KM 5x/week now. 

Eaten McDonalds: Zero ( I have a secret love) 

Eaten Out: 10 times (We used to eat out/take-out at least 2-3x per week before) 

Kept up on my blog (I’ve always wanted to be a blogger)

I’ve become more aware of my consumption of food, inactivity, and intake of sodium, and am working on correcting.

My goals for the next 2 months are: 

– Get my walking up to 2.5-3.5 km 5 x per week

– Build the Blog… things I want to talk about include: the rest of my Apps for success, Some recipes & meals that I love, and the past, present & future!

– Continue Being Awesome (I had to throw that one in!) 

I said I wanted to talk gratitude… so I’m going to give you 1 item per week of healthy-love! November 16th to now is actually 9 weeks, so I will give you 9 things!

#1. I’m grateful for my tools that contribute to my success, whether it’s an app, a routine I’ve instilled in myself etc.

#2. I’m grateful for my support team – Everyone from my DH, DM, the ladies in the groups I’m in, and the few individuals who I talk to on a weekly basis who keep me going!

#3. I’m grateful that I have access to healthy foods, and more awareness about unhealthy ones.

#4. I’m grateful my knee has healed as it has and let’s me walk as much as it does.

#5. I’m grateful for technology. I know how much harder this journey would be without it! 

#6. I’m grateful for today. I love today! No real reason, other than remembering the good choice I’ve made over the next few months, and being confident I can continue to make good choices. 

#7. I’m grateful to live in a province, an island that promotes health and loves the environment. I’m happy to be able to walk down clean paths and be surrounded by health.

#8. I’m grateful for this new lifestyle. I not only have more energy, I’m more aware, and am gaining self-confidence in myself. 

#9. I’m grateful for airplanes, boats & ocean. These are the things that keep me motivated and inspire me.  I’m so lucky to live in a town full of these things. 

 

My 2 month present to myself will be: a nice nature walk and a delicious lunch prepared by myself (I’m thinking feta, flax & pumpkin seed on arugula with homemade balsamic vinaigrette). What are you having for lunch? 

Thank you for all the follows! I love you all <3! 

Ash

 

 

Apps for Success!

14 Jan

OK so now I want to start talking about some of the Apps I use on a daily basis… Some of my apps I use for 1 thing, and 1 thing only, so I’m hoping by going into detail I will find other things I haven’t utilized! I’m going to try something new and start implementing some images in my posts, wish me luck!

First App Up: My Diet Coach (I have no affiliation with this app, nor do I benefit if others use it, just for the record!:))

My Diet Coach Logo

This App is in Google Play Store. I’ve done fine with the free version!

I started using this app almost instantly when I got serious about changing my life around.

The idea of this app is to provide motivation in a moment of weakness, in various situations. There’s lots of inspirational quotes and tips that HAVE helped me, and that I read through on a daily basis.

The ability to customize your own tips, and goals makes this app even better.

One should note, that the app itself even warns if you get too crazy that it’s reminders can get annoying (you can totally control how many reminders you get!)

For me, this app is more of a background app, I don’t interact with it that much, although I do need to do more, and I need to sit down with it and update my goals as they change!

So, let’s start digging into the aspects I use on this app regularly!

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This is the view on the main screen when you open the program.

See I have a custom goal? “I will lose 30 lbs in 3 months…” You get to choose your loss goal, time line and reasoning.

I love using the reminders button (which I will show you in a minute).

You can upload pictures from your gallery as inspiration, or take pictures to put in there! Every once in a while you get a reminder to look at your motivational pictures! I do this sometimes, although I should do an updated one!

Tips is great, although again I don’t use them much. Click on that button, and a whole other menu pops up. (see below right picture! ). Once you click on a specific category, an image and inspirational quote pops up (see below left picture). You can just swipe an flip through the entire category – super easy!

Screenshot_2014-01-14-11-39-47ImageSorry about the bad organization of photo’s! – this is tricky!

Anyways, the point of this feature is that when something happens that puts you at risk with your progress, you can find the issue, and get some good advise!

You can also add them to your reminders list, which I love, and I’m going to cover next! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_2014-01-14-12-06-44OK so, every hour or so I get reminders on my phone – they are set to make a pretty sound, so I know it is from MDC, and not a text or phone call. When I look at the top of my screen, as you can see on the above pictures, the little pink dress is a notification from MDC! When I look at my Notification bar, it looks like this that.

I don’t know if you can read it because of the black screen, but here is a quick example of the notifications I have it set up to say:

7:45 – Measure My Weight

9:20 – Going to Alberta in June!

10:00 My Goal (shows the goal text I showed you earlier)

10:15 Drink Water

12:00 Shared Quote: “To be as fit as a fiddle first tone down the middle”…Screenshot_2014-01-14-11-38-16

These are posted as notifications because I’ve set them in reminders to do that – I set them so they do this every day, and as the day goes by I have more and more quotes that are notified to me.

NO I don’t read every single one of them, but at least once a day I read the ones that have piled up in my notifications. Funny enough, I know the times when my favorite quotes are posted, and I always read those ones from start to finish! You can also schedule random ones to be posted, which is what I do as well!

Sometimes It’s just seeing that Dress on the Notification Screen that helps you, or just hearing the tweet of the sound that keeps you on track!

The picture on the right is the Reminders Page, if you had clicked on that on the home page.  You can see I’ve scheduled them to certain times, and the pencil lets you edit that. Coincidentally the top 4 quotes on that screen shot are my FAVORITES!

The features that I don’t use are the Challenges. which you can see at the bottom of the page. While I have set the challenges, I use other tools to monitor the challenges etc. I believe you can track water, etc. through here. I wouldn’t recommend tracking food or exercise on MDC as there is many other good tools to do that!

So, what do you think about My Diet Coach? Will you be downloading it? Have you downloaded it already? What are your favorite Weight-Loss/Fitness quotes?

 

You can’t fall off!

10 Jan

I’m having a crappy day today. There’s no reason for it, nothing bad has happened, or going to happen, I’m not sad, mad, or frusterated, just feeling a little blah. It hit me yesterday right before work. My day was going completely as planned, walked in the pouring rain, ate good clean food, and then BAM. I felt useless. I might be catching a bug, could be T.O.M, or not enough sunshine, who knows. That’s not the point of this post though.

I’ve had bad days before while dieting, and as I’m sure many of you will agree, they are pretty much detrimental to your success (well they were to me anyways.) In my experience, on a diet, fad, trend, whatever you’re going to call it, a bad day means several things:

1. You revert to your old ways of eating

2. You don’t even attempt to follow your diet (and if you do it’s gone by Lunch).

3. Your power bill increases by $20.00 that day because you’re standing in the fridge door all day grazing.

4. Your so stressed or upset that you can’t make lunch, so Fast-Food Drive-Through it is,

5. Cooking supper is out of the question, so you either eat out or order in.

6. You feel as motivated as a snail, so dishes pile up, your once clean kitchen a nightmare.

7. Working out? Out of the question!

8. Tomorrow… you dread because now you have to get back on the wagon. The routines & plans you set have failed you, they didn’t work as you planned, and now you have to start over (and face the scale!)

It’s a good thing we aren’t on the wagon to start with right?

You can’t fall off a wagon (diet) that you weren’t on.

You can’t get back on a wagon (diet) that you weren’t on.

You can’t fail a diet you aren’t on.

You can’t cheat on a diet you aren’t doing.

I don’t like the word can’t, but to me, today, this is so powerful.

I started off my morning on the wrong foot. I had it in my head that I was going to have a bad day (trailing on from yesterday). I slept in half an hour. Got up anyways, weighed in, got dressed. I looked at the bed and though “I’m allowed to have a bad day, I could just leave it…” Then I thought, tomorrow I’ll be pleased I did it. So I made the bed. Then I did some work, looked at our kitchen which was a bit of a disaster from the previous day. So I cleaned it up, vacuumed and got our entry way looking all nice. Then I played around with some kinect fitness stuff. I ate breakfast according to what I had planned the day before, and same with lunch. I decided to be creative with supper, still staying within my limits. When noon came around, which is when I go for my daily walk, I thought, I’m not in the mood… but I did it anyways, a bit slower, and and a bit more forced but I did it. I did some work from our couch which is coincidentally 5′ away from our kitchen/refrigerator. I haven’t even looked at that fridge all day except to get my meal food out of it.

This is so revolutionary for me! I can’t even believe these two bad days came from the same person!

I’ve said this before: My bad days now, are so different than my “old” bad days. I should learn to not call days like today a bad day. It could just be a regular ordinary day, nothing amazing about it, but really, nothing bad?

So, while I was on my walk today, I was thinking about this, and wondering why I haven’t fallen apart today and binged my way through the day. The answer was almost immediately clear. You can’t fall off of something you weren’t on to start with.

When I’ve dieted, I’ve allowed myself a “cheat day”, or just let things go too far (or forgotten to take the pills, drops, powder, whatever) and felt like a failure. I had failed – I failed the instructions that I was told, or read, and in addition to that, I knew the next day I would have to struggle and find my way back onto it.

But today, my journey is that of a lifestyle change. When you’re on a diet and you “fall back” to your old ways, you’re just going back to the lifestyle you are used to. So on my bad days, I live the lifestyle I’m used to, which is a healthy, positive one.  I’m learning it’s just as easy to stay on track in a healthy lifestyle, as it is to fall off onto an unhealthy one.

So tomorrow, I’ll wake up, make the bed, weigh in, and go on with my regular, every day lifestyle, and today will be in the past, without any thought in my mind 🙂

Peace Out! ❤

Groceries

10 Jan

I’m on a roll with this blog-writing, so I thought I would dig into my text tool: Groceries. While not exactly a tool persay, I’m going to dig into my methods, plans etc that have kept me on track. Again, I’m not saying what I do is perfect, and my reason for writing this is to give ME more awareness about what I’m doing that works, and what doesn’t.

Here are my rules:

1. Always have a list. Don’t go to the store without one – otherwise you’ll end up with things you didn’t need, and forget things you do need.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t purchase things that aren’t on your list, but the list is a great foundation. If I see something that isn’t on the list, I make sure there’s a reason for buying it (1. It’s Healthy, 2. It’s on Sale, 3. It’s something to give variety (in other words, I want it). Before putting something in the cart that’s not on your list check the Calories, and if you are watching, Sodium.

2. Buy the Same Things. Work on building a perpetual kitchen. So every time you go to the grocery store, you are replenishing the same items, the same brands etc, as you will get to know the nutritional value. If your brand/item isn’t in stock and you want to switch to something else, check the nutritional factors (and price!) carefully! If you buy the same things over and over, you may find like me, you don’t have an urge to binge, and you keep life simple.

3. Make Mistakes. Occasionally I will see something I want at the store, and it turns out to be ridiculous in calories or other things. Of course I never see this until I get home. When I do, I make a point of saying to myself “I won’t buy this again”, and I don’t, unless it’s purposefully know I am, for a treat. I still put it in the freezer, or cupboard, and one day when I’ve had a really good day (ie: my calories are low), I will bring it out. I’m not depriving myself, but I’m also not acting on impulse, or adding unnecessary calories.

4. Keep it Organized! Create an organizational system that works for you and work it! For me that meant re-organizing my cupboards, bringing healthy stuff forward, and putting the junky stuff where I don’t see it!

5. While we are on the topic of junk… Clean out your cupboards. Anything unhealthy that you can live without, get rid of. Anything unhealthy you just can’t part with, put with the junky stuff you can’t see! My lifestyle does not include depriving myself so I do keep things in the house that you wouldn’t otherwise on a diet.

6. Focus on Eating Clean: I base most of my shopping and meal plans around clean eating – that is, real fruits and vegtables, meats and grains. I buy some convenience food to help with our busy life, but my main priority is the Eating Clean.

7. Confession (not really): I also buy things occasionally such as Ice Cream, Yummy Cheeses, Nacho’s, Pizza’s, Meat Pies, Etc. Etc. Because I want to. The difference between then and now? Then, a tub of Ice Cream (OK it was reduced fat fro-yo) would have lasted a few days. Now, I finally dished out the last portion of it to my hubby a week ago (after it taking up valuable real estate in our fridge). Then, We could have bought 4 types of cheeses, meats, and crackers, and eaten it all in one sitting. Now, we use those cheeses to make salads, OR have a portion of them for dinner! Then, Nacho Night consisted of 3 platefuls of nachos, full of cheese, hamburger, sour cream etc…. Now, Nacho Night is completely weighed and measured – from the Nacho’s to the Cheese, to the Sour Cream (And we usually skip the beef!).

 

In Summary: I focus on buying the same items every week, and watch my stock of them. I focus on eating clean, but I don’t stress about the occasional treat (By treat I of course mean weighed and measured, and tracked). I’m finding that my wanting of treats (ie: eating out, deep fried food, etc.) is basically non-existent, and I don’t want those things.

Next Tool: Phone Apps… I use FOUR of them primarily, and I think I will break into each one separately!

 

Make The Bed!

7 Jan

In my last post I mentioned that my next posts would be about my tools helping me on this journey – as I call them, my Entourage. So I thought I would break them up into 1 tool per post, to let me dig into them a bit more. By sharing this, I not only hope to help someone else on the same journey, but I’m reflecting on my journey, what I’m doing that’s working, and what needs to change, making me stronger.

Make the Bed. Seriously. OK so it’s not one of my tools, but it is part of it. My first super important tool is Routine. Whereever possible I have inserted routine into my life. It gives me a sense of security, and organization, and I’ve come to look forward to going back to that routine when things get crazy, and that brings me back on track.

– My most important routine is my morning routine. This includes waking up, turning on my husband & my computers, putting my contacts in, going to the bathroom, and weighing in. This happens immediately ever morning.

Every day, at some point between waking and noon, I make our bed. I never made my bed before I started on this journey (never EVER unless changing the sheets). Some days I look at the bed, and say meh, but then I remember the how nice it feels to crawl into a fresh-made bed at the end of the day. Plus mid-morning if I’m looking for trouble, it keeps me entertained. 

Other parts of my morning routine that slip occasionally that I’m working on, are stretching in the morning (I have a knee injury so it is kind of important), and I also try to do a lumosity workout, which seems like fun and games but I find it gets my mind going.  

Of course then downstairs there is breakfast, unloading the dishwasher and having a morning tea. 

By far these are my most important routines. 

My other routines include meals that I eat regularly, drinking fluids, going for walks in familiar areas, Keeping certain foods in my house (and others out). Seeing and doing those same things every day keeps me in check. 

I’m also working on doing the flylady routine, which I need to re-create to work for my life, as I often work weekends and have 2 week days off so it doesn’t make sense with her weekends off & cleaning all week. 

Next Post: Organization (or lack thereof)… Happy Tuesday