Cold and heartless!

There is something of a sensitive subject that I would like to bring up for my post today, and it’s not like it’s something new! It happens every year, and time and time again it seems to creep up on me and bites deep to my bones. It makes me want to curl up and stay in bed, closing the curtains and hiding away until it’s done with.

It seem’s that once again WINTER is coming! It was more apparent than ever on Saturday when our cozy little town was donned with a light dusting of the white stuff.

Most popular tags for this image include: climate, ecard, love, sleep and winter

Now I know I am not the only one out there who feels yucky about winter – just check out Facebook while it’s snowing. So you can all come out from behind your scarves, coats, parkas and show your faces. I refuse to stand alone in this season. Winter is the only time that everyone becomes fascinated with snow or at least it seems like I have a ton of meteorologists to let me know what it is I am looking at (it’s very helpful!).

It seems to be that the same people who complain about the heat during the summer also complain about the cold during the winter. They may require a map, as we do live in Canada where we have four seasons and snow can occur in the fall – hard to believe, I know!

Now, to get serious, please allow me to shrug off the sassy for a moment. The Winter Blues are something that I get and I know that Toni is also a fellow blue battler. I love being outside during the summer, and I have not quite yet perfected the art of running during the winter, and my skin HATES the dry winter air as it cracks, breaks, and scabs up in protest. Future Floridian, right here people! Although, I don’t think I could handle all the alligators.

It’s becoming the time when we get up and it’s dark out, we get out of work and it’s dark out, and it’s because of our decreased exposure to light our body doesn’t kick in to make the feel good juice, serotonin, that pumps through our body. The serotonin factory is kicked into gear when your body is exposed to light. Another fun fact about serotonin – it converts into melatonin, which is your body’s self-made sleep aid that leaves you feeling even worse! Gosh winter, you really are a bitch!

Preach, ecard, preach!

I know winter isn’t all bad. It does hold the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas, (can’t you hear those sleigh bells?!), but with my seretonin level decreasing as we speak it’s getting hard for me to be optimistic. Don’t worry, I am going to put on my big girl pants and then my snow pants and suck it up, because let’s face it, Southern Ontario gets it pretty easy during the winter compared to, let’s say, the east coast? I have a girlfriend who has recently come home from Newfoundland where she temporarily set up shop as her husband works out there (that’s right, she is superwoman (love you Court)), and it turns out she volunteered to go into super winter land! There are many other reasons she is superwoman, but I digress – this post is all about the evil mistress winter!

Hey guys, where’d your cars go? Guys?

This year I am going to be prepared! I have my daily dose of sun booked, TLT, our workout group is back in full force, which will help with my endorphins (just ask Elle Woods – they make people happy), I have a Costco-size multi-vitamin bottle that should get me through until mid-December 2020, I have purchased some winter hiking boots that are pretty impressive, and I am fully prepared to hike throughout the winter trying to make the best out of this cold, heartless season!

In the meantime, I am welcoming the beauty that comes from our trees preparing to tuck in for the winter – there is the silver lining.

Bring it winter! I am ready for alllllll your crazy!

~ Jacqui

Five favourite fitness truths

In recent years, I have worked hard on getting healthy.

What began as a mission for our upcoming wedding, quickly became a lifestyle – one that I happily committed to. Along my journey I have found a few tid-bits of wisdom that stuck with me and helped me overcome some seriously bad habits in my routine.

While I am no expert, here are my five favourite fitness truths that made the most impact on my progress:

1. Making small changes can make the biggest impact: When I attempted to make too many drastic changes at once, I found I was setting myself up for failure. It was so much easier to slowly work my way up to a goal by gradually tweaking my workouts, eating habits and even my mentality. It’s like training for a marathon.

Small steps, sure steps.

Small steps, sure steps.

I went from a 2 milk, 1 sugar coffee at Tim’s to a 2 milk, sometimes black. I switched our whole wheat bread and white rice out for whole grains. I cut back on my intake of cheese (believe me, it was a problem). I added 1 more lap around the track or a sprint lap during my training runs or I pushed myself for one more rep of my workout. I went from walk/running 5 km, to running all 5, then 8 and sometimes even 10 when my knee allows. I started eating breakfast. I’m not suggesting your goals will be the same. I am suggesting, however, that you make the smallest changes, make them a habit and then switch up another element of your routine. Which leads me to my next point..

2. Your fitness is 100% mental: I once read the quote, “your body won’t go where your mind won’t let it”. Brilliantly true, beyond true. Your mind is an extremely powerful tool and can be used for both destructive and constructive purpose. If you tell yourself you can’t do or accomplish something, you are absolutely correct. If you tell yourself you can do it, that you don’t have a choice, you are going to reach your goals.

Your mind is so very powerful

Your mind is so very powerful.

On top of pushing yourself and getting your self-talk-track right – to be your cheerleader and convince your legs they’re not tired, tell your lungs to keep control of your breathing, that your body is capable – your fitness path needs a WHOLE LOT of positivity and patience. If your brain isn’t being nice to you because you’re not seeing results or watching the number on the scale drop fast enough, tell it to shut the hell up. Go with how you feel, how your clothes are fitting. Take note of the energy increase you have and the pep in your step because of the shot of endorphins coursing through your body – and then celebrate those important victories. You have to want it and you have to make sure your brain is with you.

3. Eat: Do not be afraid of food! Be afraid of the wrong food – the processed, chemical-filled, GMO food – be very, very afraid. Do not be afraid of eating a hearty meal of the right foods – whole foods. I’m not suggesting you attempt “eating clean”,  but I am suggesting that you attempt to learn how to eat to nourish your body. For starters, make sure your cart is full of foods from the outside aisles when completing the weekly shopping trip. Buy more perishables than not. Just this small change can change the course of your health. Add in moderate weekly exercise and you’re adding years to your life and subtracting inches from your waistline.

Scary and true.

Scary and true.

Hand-in-hand with that, do not deprive yourself, but do monitor and have some control over the amount of giving into delicious urges. If you crave chocolate, attempt to satisfy your craving with fruit or dark chocolate. If it’s just a craving that won’t go away, even with provisions, give in – but a little. Have a small amount of milk chocolate, or portion control your chips if you’re a salt fiend, like me, when a few pretzels won’t cut it. Allow yourself to be human, forgive yourself, and do better the next day.

4. Get your water in: This is my demon. I struggle daily to get my required water intake in. It doesn’t help that my bladder is the size of an upside-down bottle cap, or that I am a complete coffee addict, but aside from that I totally know the rules, yet just can’t seem to follow them.

ALL THE TIME

ALL THE TIME

Like I know that for every cup of coffee, your replacement water intake is 2 glasses. I know I should have water all damn day long. I know that when I wake up, the first thing I should do is drink a glass of water. I know, I know, I know. I’m looking into the cost of an IV, but in the meantime, I’m going to keep working on it. Maybe I should appoint a water reminding delegate… Hmm…yup! Now accepting applications.

5. Do what works for you: Personally, I hate the gym. It’s only because I find the atmosphere and equipment intimidating. I wish I could love the gym. Maybe one day.

Instead I love HIIT style workouts with my sisters and girlfriends. Instead I prefer a challenging hike at the crack of dawn. Instead I run – for the body buzz, and the feeling of freedom and the way it makes my heart fly – mostly I run because I can and why not? I do squat challenges like completing 25 after every visit to the loo. I do hot yoga. I do whatever feels right and makes me want to move and challenge myself. And most importantly, I do what I know works for me.

It’s 100% personal and you’ll know when you find what works for you.

~ Toni

Sisterhood Spotlight: Greatist.com

When it comes to finding support for leading a healthy lifestyle, it’s hard to find a reliable source that isn’t pushing their own agenda or selling their own brand of get-fit-quick propaganda. While information is accessible everywhere from Google to Pinterest, I’ve come to know and love one particular fitness blog that seems to satisfy all areas of a healthy me – mind, body and soul.

Greatist.com is a blog that covers all areas of living a healthy lifestyle. It’s not focused on being skinny, losing weight, pills, quick fixes or fads. Greatist.com strictly focuses on over all health be it mental, physical or spiritual.

Greatest.com home page, May 23, 2014

Greatest.com home page, May 23, 2014

This specific blog is suited for anyone who is looking to live and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. Every post is vetted to make sure the facts are based on a legitimate scientific study, that they are fun and easy to read, and that the information you are receiving is real. If you are interested in yoga, crossfit, running, healthy recipes, tips on how to manage stress, depression, a bad stroke of luck, tools to train your brain and help you ace that test, or even a daily workout, greatest.com is the site for you.

Personally, I opted in for the daily email – it’s a daily digest of posts containing an array  of topics and I find it a great reminder to get up and do something physically active, everyday (yes, even though today’s daily email was about drinking…).

The daily email - May 23, 2014

The daily email – May 23, 2014

I recommend greatest.com to anyone looking for tips, tricks and support on their journey of improving their overall health – you won’t be disappointed!

Happy, happy Friday from the Sisterhood!

~Toni