New Year, New You?

Needless to say, I totally went off the blogging radar for a while now. Quick recap:

  • Mom was here visiting Nov 5-Dec 3. It was AMAZING to spend time with her and I love that she got to see my place, my (new) office, meet my friends and generally see what my life down here is like.
  • I have a new job! As I mentioned before my hiatus, I found out I basically lost my job when the show I was to be production managing got put on hold. The timing was great, though, as it allowed me to spend a whole month with my mom while she was here. Long story short: within a week of leaving my old job, I had interviewed for and been offered a job as Production/Facilities Coordinator at Oktobor, a post-production/VFX company that deals mainly in advertising. (www.oktobor.com for some samples of our work). I LOVE it. It’s the first job I think I’ve ever had that I absolutely love and feel like it’s something that really fits with my experience, personality and generally what I’m looking for in a job. Yay!!!
  • My diet/workout routine went out the window with my blog. The combination of mom’s visit, losing a job, gaining a new job, Christmas and everything else are all just excuses, I know, but kept me thinking about and putting energy into just about everything other than my diet/fitness. And it’s totally taken it’s toll…

In the end, it’s been a couple months of changes that have left me in a really great place. I’m really happy and grounded. I feel like I’m finally working for a company that really values me and wants me to do well. My boss had already talked about the next steps in my career and my options as I work my way up. Add the fact my mom was around for the whole process and got to encourage me before the interviews, celebrate with me after landing the job and even come by and take a tour of my new office and meet my coworkers… the whipped cream and cherry on top!

The downside to all the excitement is my health taking a complete backseat and I think now that I’ve started to slow down a little over the 2 week holiday break, I’m feeling the effects. I’m tired. I have more headaches, feel weaker and almost constantly bloated, and just generally don’t feel all that great. (Sound familiar?)

Taking the break and the new year as a chance to regroup, I’m trying to get back on track. I don’t want to say it’s a resolution, because those seem almost doomed to fail. It’s just refocusing my energy back on me. Putting my health back in the forefront and finding the discipline, inspiration and commitment to get back to where I was late September. Since the new job has longer hours – 8:15-6 as a minimum – I doubt the gym is going to find its way into my schedule too soon. (I let my 3-month membership expire in November. There was too much going on in my life and the gym was getting too busy when I did find time to workout). Thankfully, it’s summer here, so I’m going to try to take advantage. Swimming/surfing on the weekends and just generally getting outside whenever possible. Walks, frisbee games, fishing – whatever.

I don’t think I’ll be updating this every day anymore but hopefully I’ll be able to get something up at least once a week. And, of course, I hope to get back into reading your blogs and commenting and all that good stuff. I know you’ll help boost my inspiration and motivation.🙂

 

Did you make any new years resolutions?
Anything I totally missed in the last 2.5 months that I simply MUST read?

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Apologies

Sorry for the massive lack of posting recently – my life’s been all over the place these last few weeks.

I’ve had a lot of instability with my work and my mood – and eating and exercise – have taken a hit because of it. Yesterday I found out the show I was working on has been put on hold and won’t resume until the new year (I was given March as an estimate). I was offered a different job, which is a step back both in experience and pay, to do in the interim but ended up declining it. So now, as of sometime between Nov 5-12, I will no longer have a job.

 

The funny thing is – I’m excited. I’m a little nervous and anxious, but more than that I’m excited about the opportunities I might have. I’m excited to be able to spend time with my mom while she’s here and not worry about work or taking time off. I’m excited about leaving an office I’ve worked at for 15 months – almost the entire duration I’ve lived in Auckland – and seeing what else is out there. I’m excited to just take a step back from everything, reevaluate, and see what I can do. I’m excited about the 4 day trip I just booked for my mom and I to Tonga. I’m just excited for what surprises, challenges and opportunities are in store for me.

 

I’ll try to respond to your comments, read and comment on your blogs and get back into the writing groove soon!

 

x

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When did shopping become depressing?!

It feels like I’ve been spinning my wheels without actually getting anywhere recently. While I haven’t been going hard-out with either diet or exercise, I’ve been good with both. Hitting the gym for about an hour 3 times a week. Walking about 6-7 km daily on top of that. Having overall healthy foods. Doing WAY better than I was before I started blogging in terms of doing things to generally improve my health… but I feel like the last 3 months haven’t really done anything. And it’s super depressing.

Yesterday, I met up with one of my friends to go to DressSmart, an outlet mall about 20 minutes from my place. I was super excited because every other time I had been it was with Andrew and we sort of flew through the mall – as you do when shopping with a guy – picking up work shirts or socks or something for him and rarely stopping to look around, let alone try on, stuff for me. Needless to say, the idea of going with another girl and actually trying all sorts of things on without worrying about boring my bf to death was something to look forward to.

And I was having a lovely time… right up until we went into a lingerie shop. They had great bras for $15 and a whole assortment of cute little pj pants, shorts, dressing gowns, etc etc. We spent a little while wandering the store and picking out a handful of things to each try on. I went into the change room and excitedly tried on a pair of shorts.

They made me look like a sausage!
And, to add insult to injury, a botton popped off when I was about to take them off. sigh.

Not one to just completely give up after one pair of shorts, I tried on the pj pants. Then the dressing gown. Then a cute little pull-over sweater. And a couple bras. Each and every single one of them made me feel like a bloated little sausage girl trying to stuff myself into my younger sister’s clothes.

ARGH!!!!!

Completely defeated, I left each of the not-so-adorable-anymore pieces on their hangers in the dressing room and got out of there. When my friend asked me if I liked anything, I told her each and every single piece made me want to jump on a treadmill and run 10 miles. She just looked at me and blurted out “Me too!” We both kinda laughed and decided to move on to the shoe stores. (Where we each found at least one pair we adored and bought, btw).

It was weird. I’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut and not really progressing at all for a few weeks now, but I was never really down on myself because of it. I am making good choices – better choices than I used to make – and I’m putting some conscious effort into this. I’m doing well even if I’m not seeing as many changes as I would like. But that one store struck a complete blow to my self confidence. And even later that day I started looking at myself, in my clothes that I’d liked that morning, and I saw myself as bigger. Bloated. Fluffy. Cuddly. NOT FIT.

And it sucked.

When I takled to Andrew last night about it, before falling asleep, he looked me in the eye and said, very seriously, “You know you aren’t fat, right?” And I said “I know…” but didn’t really feel it. I mean, I don’t know. I’m not fat. Logically, I know that. But when I try on a size large pant and I have to tense my abs to make it feel comfortable around my waist, that’s a huge ego blow. When you try a dozen things and put every single one back on the rack because they each make you look and feel frumpy and unfit, you start to think it’s not the clothes – it’s you.

 

Anyway… sorry for the little rant. I must be tired. Or hormonal. Or stressed. Or all of the above.

Time for a couple solid gym sessions, some fresh spinach and berry smoothies and maybe a massage. I get like this every now and then (don’t we all?). At least this time I’m hoping it’ll just motivate me and push me out of the slump instead of the typical “well, I give up!” response of yesteryear.

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Cashew chocoballs

Last night, after splitting a batch of brownie batter with Andrew, I decided I had enough time to whip up a batch of my cashew choco balls – this time actually measuring and recording ingredients as I went. It ended up being a little different than my first batch – in a good way. I think this one had more cashews than the first batch, making them nuttier and almost reminiscent of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Yum!

Cashew chocoballs
(makes about 45-50 balls – which sounds like a lot, but will disappear surprisingly quickly!)

2 cups dates
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup coconut
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp vanilla

Put dates and cashews in blender and blend until it starts to stick together a little.
Add remaining ingredients and blend for a couple minutes.
The mixture will be a little crumbly, but will press together well.
Press together to shape into little balls. (Don’t try to roll them. They will break apart!)
Put balls onto a baking tray and pop in the over for about 2 hours at 50*c. (This will dehydrate them without actually cooking them).

You can also eat them straight from the blender or pop them into the freezer for a colder, chewier snack.

Because you don’t need to cook it, you can try it as you go and make adjustments along the way. If you want it sweeter, add more dates or a little honey, agave nectar or maple syrup. Add more cocoa to make it more chocolatey or more cashews to make it nuttier, etc etc.

 

I brought a bunch of them into the office as a little Friday treat and within half an hour I had 3 people asking me for the recipe. Considering there are only about 12 people in my office, I reckon that’s a pretty good number! Plus, I emailed the recipe around to everyone after the third request… so the may have been more if I had waited.😉

My favourite part, though, was Andrew wanting to help! I brought the mixture over to the couch so I wasn’t all alone in the kitchen making 50 little chocoballs and when I sat down, Andrew scootched over and looked at me with a smile, then said he wanted to help make them and asked to show him what to do. I love the fact that he not only tries my random recipes but that he takes a bit of an interest in it. He’ll taste-test things and give suggestions and opinions. And help me make a big baking tray full of chocoballs.

 

Nothing too exciting planned for the weekend. Gym Saturday and Sunday. Girls over for sushi and Top Model tonight. The rest of the weekend will be little tasks: getting a NZ credit card (now that I’m a resident!), picking up some things for mom’s visit (a nice pillow, a towel set, etc), picking up things for myself (socks, workout clothes) and possibly heading out to Bin Inn for the first time. It’s the closest thing I’ve been able to find to Bulk Barn so far in NZ and while I haven’t been yet, I’m getting pretty excited:

Bin Inn is a wholefoods speciality store chain offering nuts, dried fruit, confectionary, gluten free products, home brew supplies and much more.”

I’m hoping I’ll be able to get things for cooking/baking a bit cheaper than I have been able to find at the grocery stores. Nuts and dried fruit, especially, have been racking up the grocery bills! I love the idea of eating way more raw foods and things, but I don’t want to end up compromising because the increased costs associated with that type of diet. We’re saving for a house, so we’re trying to watch what we spend, but to me food is something that’s hard to compromise on. A little extra spent on quality produce, nuts, good oils, etc translates into heaps saved on cold & flu meds, doctor’s visits and all sorts of other things. Andrew sort of agrees – but mainly because I don’t make him split costs on things I insist on buying (like 1 kg of raw cashews or agave nectar!) I think finding somewhere I could get a bunch of essentials at a slightly lower price would get less “Are you really going to spend that much on that!?” looks – and leave a little extra cash for the house fund. *fingers crossed!*

 

Does cost influence your grocery/food choices? Will you spend a little extra on something you know will be beneficial to your health or is the price a deciding factor? How do you convince your partner that it’s worth the extra costs for organic/unprocessed/healthier versions of things? Have you found ways to keep costs down without sacrificing the foods you want?

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Oomff!

First of all – thank you SO much for all the lovely birthday wishes! I was certainly more than spoiled with my presents this year. The bf earned MAJOR points, obviously, and just further secured his position of “best boyfriend of all time”. (Not like he ever had much competition!) I’m slowly trying to detox and get back to feeling normal after some slight over indulgences, including polishing off about 1/2 a Kahlua cheesecake in the course of 2 days. I’m hoping a couple days of conscientious eating and exercise will help me get right back on track. And, of course, that includes lots of oomff!

What is oomff? Oomff is “one of my favourite foods”. But not just any old “mmm, that’s yummy!” foods. Oomff needs to live up to its name, too. To be oomff, it has to be delicious, nutritious, energy boosting and generally make me feel good after eating it. And, of course, it has to be food.

I’ve added a few new things to the oomff category recently. The current “omg why did I not know about this recipe years ago!?!” is raw brownie batter. It’s packed with all sorts of things your body needs to function at optimal levels. Oh, and it actually tastes like homemade, delicious, “oh so bad for you but oh so yummy” regular brownie batter.

Raw Brownie Batter
(adapted from Megan at Healthy Hoggin)
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp agave nectar
a few drops of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt.

Put everything in a bowl. Mix well. Eat.

This is TO DIE FOR. It feels like you are mega cheating on any sort of healthy diet you may be on. It’s sweet and chocolatey and nutty and amazing. But, unlike the traditional stuff, this is made with ingredients your body can easily digest and won’t cause sugar spikes or crashes.

It should be noted that this is an incredibly calorie-dense treat. Don’t go eating this by the bowl-full daily and expecting weight to magically drop off you because you’re eating “raw” and “vegan” dessert. Both the almond butter and the coconut oil are high in calories and in fat. They are both really good for you, but keep in mind that moderation is the key to getting the benefits without the downsides. (Like added pounds!)

 

Another oomff? Choco energy balls. I don’t have a recipe for this one as I just started throwing things in my food processor and adjusting as I went along. But I brought them into work (mainly so I wouldn’t eat them all myself in one day) and everyone loved them, with a few people asking for the recipe… so I’m going to make another batch, measuring and noting the ingredients this time. I’ll post it up here – with photos – when I’m done.

The basics, though: dates, cashews, coconut, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, agave nectar. All put through the food processor for a few minutes, then rolled into balls and dehydrated in the oven for a couple hours. They are SO yummy! And addictive. I ate 6 for breakfast the morning after I made them. (Hence the bulk of the rest getting brought along to work!) Can’t wait to share the recipe with you guys and see what you think!

 

How was your week? Have you recently discovered any new oomff? Anyone fall off the “good eating” wagon like I did recently? Are you getting right back on track or finding it a little hard?

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Happy birthday to me!

This is going to be a short post, but I just had to rave about my amazingly sweet, ridiculously thoughtful, absolutely wonderful boyfriend who got me quite possibly the best birthday present I’ve ever received in my 27 birthdays…

He bought my mom a return trip to spend November in New Zealand!

My mom and I are super close and one of the hardest parts about living on the other side of the world is that I miss her and wish I could show her what a great life I have out here. She was downsized about a month ago and at 55 with only a high school diploma and a couple college courses, she’s having a really hard time finding a new job. She has been talking about coming to visit me since I moved here last year but money has always been an issue – now even more so without a job.

So you can imagine how absolutely floored I was when I followed the little “find your present” clues around my apartment and ended up finding a note saying my mom was going to be here from November 4-30.

I’ve been crying on and off all morning as I’ve been telling people about the gift. It is the most thoughtful, sweet, loving and just flat-out incredible present I’ve ever received and I’m still – 6 hours later – almost in shock that someone would do something like that for me.

Needless to say, I’m having an absolutely amazing birthday and it’s just the start to what I’m sure will be an incredible year. And the little steps I’ve taken in the past few months to improve my health and body will be put to good use as my world’s-best-boyfriend, friends and I head out to enjoy a sunny, 18*c day out at the beach!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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You’re not eating enough food

I’ve been doing more research into raw food and while I’m definitely not about to become a raw foodist, I am interested in the concepts behind it and in trying to incorporate a few more raw food recipes into my diet. (Especially the ones that don’t involves hours of prep in a food dehydrator!)

While looking up new websites, blogs and forums to find new recipes, I stumbled across a forum post called “If you’re overweight or unhealthy, it’s because you aren’t eating enough food”. Of course, after reading that title my mind immediately went to “Who is this crazy person and what on earth is she on about!?!” I clicked on the title and started reading her post. And it made absolute sense!

Food (noun)
Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth and repair, and maintain life

Now think about what you eat. Does is meet the criteria set out in that definition of what is “food”? Does it produce energy, stimulate growth and repair, and maintain life? It’s amazing how the answer to that, for a lot of things we eat, would be a resounding “No!”

Let’s take a look at a slice of pepperoni pizza (yum!) using the criteria above:

1. Will pizza produce energy? Will it help me feel good and get through a long day?
Not really. I might get a bit from it, but I’ll probably feel worse off by the time it starts digesting.

2. Will the pizza stimulate growth?
Well, there is calcium in the cheese, which may help build strong bones… but there isn’t much else that will contribute to the creation and growth of healthy cells, tissue, organs, etc. (Unless waistline counts. It could certainly stimulate growth there!)

3. Will the pizza stimulate repair?
Nope. In fact, the fats and sodium levels will probably do far more to harm vital organs than it will to repair them.

3. Will the pizza maintain life? ie: Is it contributing to my overall health and ensuring my body has all the nutrients it needs to live a long, healthy life?
Yeah, that’s another big no.

What does that mean? Well, in short, a slice of pepperoni pizza is not food. It’s just stuff that we eat.

Now give that a minute to sink in. Really absorb what this is saying. I’ll wait.

Just because we eat something, doesn’t mean it is food. Just because we swallow something, doesn’t mean our body knows what to do with it. Our bodies know what to do with fruits and vegetables and grains and nuts – with food. They know how to break them down and how to use their nutrients to nourish, feed, heal and grow our bodies. Our bodies have no idea what to do with stuff. So we get tired and irritable. Bloated. Sick. Overweight.

I’m going to try to remember this and consider it when deciding what to eat.
Is this FOOD or just STUFF that tastes good?
In theory, eat way more food and way less stuff will lead to improved health – including your body returning to a more natural, healthy size and weight.

Do you eat more food or more stuff?

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