Archive for June, 2008

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Gadget Confusion

June 30, 2008

Diana at Scale Junkie has set up a fantastic Summer Blog Party, and there’s a step challenge that I was quick to sign up for over at Always the Big Girl. The idea is to wear a pedometer to measure how many steps we take for the month of July. I’ve never counted my steps but I keep track of how long I spend walking each day, so I am very curious to know just how many steps I usually take. All of this led to me going to the store yesterday to buy myself a pedometer. I wanted something small that I’d be able to wear throughout the day, but most of them were big and clunky. So I asked the sales person for help and he found me a very cute little one that would fit perfectly for me and barely even be noticeable. How could I refuse? I bought it for $30 and happily envisioned me and this little pedometer going everywhere together for the next month. We would be inseparable. I’d already decided that it would become on par with the George Foreman grill, non-stick pan and parchment paper in my love for it.

That is, until I opened it.

Has anyone ever heard of the CATEYE VELO 8? No? Me either. It’s described as a “Cyclocomputer”. After reading the little pamphlet that comes with it, I still have absolutely no idea what this little gadget is. The guy at the store assured me it was a pedometer, but judging from the diagram of how you fasten this cute little gadget onto your bicycle, I’m guessing that it is not, in fact, a pedometer.

So unless I can manage to find a pedometer today, I might be rather late in joining in on this step challenge. As for the cyclocomputer that I currently have, I don’t imagine that there will be a problem with me returning it, although it does seem kind of cool and I’d use it if I only knew what exactly its function is! Any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Speaking of bikes, the bike that I won finally came out of the shop- and its huge. Way too big for me. Alas, I shall not become known as the Girl on the Yellow Bicycle. However, on the upside, my father has very kindly offered to buy it from me because it fits him perfectly, so I shall be buying myself a bike very soon. So even though I’m disappointed that the bike doesn’t fit me at all, I am still quite excited that I’ll be getting a bike. And maybe I’ll even be able to use this little gadget, if I can work out just what its supposed to do!

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Super Delicious Apple Banana Bread

June 28, 2008

I know, I know- there are countless banana bread recipes out there. And like I said in my last post, most kinds of banana bread are really awesome. It’s tough to make a bad-tasting banana bread no matter what recipe you use.

So what’s so special about this particular banana bread? The health aspect, of course! This is the healthiest banana bread I have ever come across, and as far as taste goes, it’s right up there with the more sugar-and-butter-infused banana breads. The other thing that I love about this recipe is the versatility of it. It’s a very good base that could really be elaborated on to become as fancy as you like. It is also incredibly simple and easy to put together and can be prepped in about 15 minutes. And on top of all that, it has apples in it! (Apples compete with peanut butter for my affections).

I found the original recipe in the Apple Cookbook, but I have adapted it so much from that recipe that I can definitely call it my own. So here it is! It’s the weekend now so take an hour to bake a lovely loaf of banana bread, and feel free to make any alterations that you so choose.

Ingredients

– 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground ginger
– 2 ripe bananas, mashed (makes about 1 cup)
– 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
– 1/2 cup Simply Egg Whites
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1 medium apple

Method

1. Peel and core the apple and chop/dice it up into small chunks. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan (about 8×4 inches) with parchment paper.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Make a well in the center.
4. Mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl and beat in the applesauce, egg whites, and vanilla. Pour into the center of the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Fold/stir the diced apple into the batter and when well-combined, pour into the prepared pan.
6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely before cutting.

Nutrition Information

Serves 12

Calories (kcal) 97.2 Folate (μg) 24.9
Fat (g) 0.4 Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.1
Protein (g) 3.9 Vitamin B12 (μg) 0
Carbohydrate (g) 20.9 Calcium (mg) 33
Sugar (g) 4.7 Iron (mg) 0.9
Fibre (g) 2.9 Sodium (mg) 122.2
Vitamin A (μg) 0.9 Potassium (mg) 179.3
Vitamin C (mg) 3.2
Vitamin D (μg) 0
Vitamin E (mg) 0.2
Thiamin (mg) 0.1
Riboflavin (mg) 0.1
Niacin (ne) 2.3

Notes/Tips

– This is a very light bread and the whole wheat flour doesn’t affect it by making it heavy or dense, so you don’t have to worry about that if the idea of using only whole wheat flour scares you!
– For a more banana-intense flavor, feel free to add an extra banana. Depending on how many ripe bananas I’ve got lying around and how big they are I’ll use 2 or 3 for this recipe. I like to mash mine up with a potato masher but not make it super smooth and creamy; having some small lumps of banana adds a burst of flavor.
– If you want something a bit sweeter, you can add 1/4 cup of brown sugar (but you might want to have a little bit less applesauce if you do that). I have, however, had other taste-testers try the bread both with the sugar and without, and they enjoyed it equally both ways. The apples, applesauce, banana, and vanilla all contribute as natural sweeteners so having extra sugar really isn’t necessary. Alternatively, you could probably puree some dates and add them to the mixture for a sweeter taste as a sugar substitute (but I personally haven’t tried that yet).
– I like to use egg whites when baking just because I eat egg yolks so often, but you can easily substitute the 1/2 cup egg whites (which is the equivalent of 4 egg whites, by the way) with 2 eggs. You’ll get a few more calories and fat but loads of extra nutrients, too.
– I once tried replacing part of the flour with oats, but I wasn’t much of a fan of it and no one else was either. It seemed to take away from the essence of the banana bread! So even if you’re an oats lover, you’re probably better off just sticking with regular flour.
– The parchment paper is my new love- no need to even use non-stick spray in the pan! But if you haven’t been able to find it at the grocery store (its with the aluminum foil and such), or are too excited about this recipe to bother with going to the store to pick some up, you can easily spray the pan with non-stick spray instead.
– Have fun experimenting with this recipe! You can replace the apple chunks with chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit and so on. Or you can keep the apple and just add the extras in as well.

Pictures!

My bananas weren’t quite ripe enough in the morning, so I set them between a couple apples and the apples did their job of ripening them really quick! The chemical reactions between fruit is amazing.

Diced apples ready to be added to the batter (and my excellent potato masher for mashing up the bananas):

Freshly baked loaf!

I don’t usually wait very long before cutting myself a slice:)

Have a great weekend and if you make the bread, let me know what you think of it or if you have any suggestions! Like any recipe, its always going to be a work in progress so recommendations are more than welcome.

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Slight changes can make all the difference

June 26, 2008

I’ve spoken about my love for/obsession with peanut butter, but is there some kind of addictive substance in the combination of bananas and bread as well? Whenever I make my special homemade banana bread, I devour it within two days. By myself. The entire loaf. Sometimes a family member will be lucky enough to sample a piece, but that’s only if they’re quick. I love my banana bread.

Today, we were lucky enough to be surprised at work with homemade banana muffins! (Thanks, Ivy!). They were delicious. And now all I can think about is my craving for them. Even the banana bread that they serve at Moxie’s Classic Grill is excellent. And even if their steak salad wasn’t really tasty, I’d probably order it anyway just to get the banana bread that comes with it.

Speaking of which, I made my own tasty steak salad recently. Usually I add a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Cheese, but there was none at home. Even so, doesn’t it look yummy? I was enjoying the summery plate.

While I had my camera out, I decided to present you with the bracelet (sorry, the kitty wasn’t around… maybe next time she’ll make an appearance!):

Last week, I slept in one morning and completely missed my boot camp session, leaving me totally devastated. However, on Tuesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to do a make-up session! At 5:30pm I joined with a different group and a different instructor for a good hour of circuit training.

Besides the increased heat and amount of mosquitoes at that time of day, the class was also very different because of the teacher. She was nice and cheerful like my regular instructor, but seemed more of a yoga-type than a boot camp-type. We did some fantastic exercises that I’d never tried before (such as a side-to-side walking planks and transferring a stability ball from arms to legs), but she wasn’t pushing us very much with the cardio. She didn’t encourage us to move faster and go harder and to quickly move between each station at the circuit; instead she seemed to be more concerned with us assessing our bodies and not getting injured. Which is great and all, but I really like to work up a sweat when I’m doing cardio. Regardless, it was a good session and I was very happy that I experienced it. Sometimes having a different teacher can offer all kinds of new ideas and ways of looking at things that you never would have thought of before.

But it’s been a tough week with all that boot camp, because besides that make-up session, I also still had boot camp on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 6:30am. Working out that intensely for three days in a row is wonderful but exhausting! And it has taught me that I am definitely more energized in the morning than I am in the afternoon. What about you? Is there a specific time of day that you prefer to do your workout? And do you rearrange your schedule specially to fit in your activity at that certain time?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the discussion that began on Tuesday regarding the cruel website which rates peoples’ beauty. It reminded me of the Body Confidence page that I’ve mentioned before so if you missed that post, I’d like to direct you there to take a look at it. It just serves as a reminder that even though there’s some really brutally harsh websites out there, there’s also some fabulous ones. I know that focusing on the good sites isn’t going to make the bad ones disappear entirely, but at least its going to improve your mood and self esteem when you see all of these lovely other people celebrating their flaws rather than a bunch of lame people judging others on whether their beauty is acceptable. And maybe if there’s enough people protesting against the mean websites*, they’ll be forced to do something about it. So if you’re still feeling upset about BeautifulPeople.net (I know I am), take a look at Body Confidence! After all, it IS summertime now, so what better time to appreciate everything that we have and are than the time of year that we show ourselves off the most?

*Click here for contact information if you feel like sending an outraged e-mail:)

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Motivation and Body Image

June 24, 2008

MizFit Poster Girl!

My very own MizFit bracelet arrived in the mail yesterday! It is lovely and orange. Click here to learn more about the bracelet. I was very excited to get it, and not only because I like getting stuff in the mail that isn’t just a boring visa bill (or a speeding ticket. Those aren’t much fun either). We all have those days when our motivation is lacking and we need something to perk us up and get us back on track. This can come in many different forms- photos, encouraging notes with positive phrases on them, the support of loved ones and so on and so forth. But what I have found is that it is rare that one of these things works every time. After all, there are many different reasons for feeling a lack of motivation, and so the same thing won’t always get us out of the rut. That’s why its best to be armed with as many defenses against the problem as possible! And that’s where the bracelet comes in. If you’ve got something on your wrist at all times, its going to be tough to just put aside that little reminder and walk away from it (that’s why I always used to write stuff on my hand rather than in my agenda book- its kind of hard to not look at your hand during the day, but its really easy to not open up that little day planner!). And yes, there will indeed be photos up soon of the bracelet on display:)

What do you use for motivation when you’re starting to feel stale or negative?

Only Beautiful People Past This Point

For the most part, I’ve been pleased with how I look throughout my life. I love life and when you love something, it’s rather infectious. That being said, I have had my fair share of body image issues. And it is things like this that are responsible for so many people’s issues- a website devoted to people who are of a certain “level” of beauty? This is completely disgusting. Just THINK of the eating disorders and body image issues that would never arise if these types of things weren’t around! How can this help anyones confidence and self esteem? Even the people who get onto the website are going to be going through huge confidence issues, I’m sure. The idea of such a website makes me sick; it seems that it only promotes negative thoughts about ones own body and others’. There was even one woman mentioned in the article who got breast augmentation so that she would be “pretty enough” to be on this website.

Personally, I am not an advocate of plastic surgery. In general I think its a scary process that has too many bad side effects for it to be worth it, and in many cases I don’t think it contributes to feelings of confidence and being comfortable and happy with who you are. And I’m saying this after I (naturally) lost a cup size (I wasn’t actually aware that I could get much flatter, but apparently losing a bit of weight has had that effect). Beauty comes from the inside out, people. You don’t need a website to determine if you are “pretty enough”. All you need to do is hustle yourself over to a mirror, take a good look at yourself and say, “damn am I hot!”.

That is your homework for today. Better yet, find a reflective store window on the street and do it out there. A little public show of confidence never hurt anyone! And maybe it’ll even inspire someone else to do the same. How great would it be if everyone just started walking down the street flaunting what they’ve got and smiling every time they catch a glimpse of themselves and others? If we all saw the real beauty in everyone, there would be so much less stress and anxiety in the world (just like Zandria’s reaction of smiling at the angry pedestrian!).

One of the things this website says is “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Well I’m beholding and I’m seeing beauty. Take that, BeautifulPeople.net!

Your thoughts on this? I fully expect a report back from all of you telling me that you’ve done your homework!

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Push Up Challenges and Diets

June 23, 2008

Today at boot camp, one of the other women came up to me to tell me how much she admires my on-the-toes push ups. It was such an unexpected and sweet compliment! I am sure that I would not have pushed myself quite so hard if she hadn’t said that to me. The positive comments and encouragement really work wonders in not only making us fee great but also getting us to see if we can go beyond our limits and really challenge ourselves.

Like so many of you other bloggers, I have signed up for the 100 Push Ups Challenge. The idea of it, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, is to undergo a 6-week training program to build up your strength so that by the end of the 6 weeks, you should be able to perform 100 consecutive push ups! I am currently on my second week but already my arms are strengthening up. It’s tough work but it’ll definitely be worth it. Anyone can sign up, regardless of whether or not you have a blog, and we can all use a little extra upper body strength so I really encourage you to join if you’re at all interested! It only takes up a few minutes of your day, 3 days a week, and you’ll be ridiculously toned and strong in a few weeks. I absolutely cannot wait until I’m able to get down on my yoga mat and pull off 100 of those push ups. It’s going to be great!

If you’re doing the 100 push ups challenge, let me know how its going for you. And if anyone knows of any other challenges similar to this, do leave me a comment! I would be very interested to know of all the different little challenges that there are to keep us fit and healthy.

While scouting the Internet, I came across this article in which Marion Nestle talks about fats vs carbs. This is an interesting topic and I like her perspective on it, but what really drove home for me is what she says about “the calorie question”. She points out that people don’t generally gain weight if they overeat by 50 or 100 calories a day because of the way that the body will compensate for these small amounts. Rather, people overeat by hundreds or even thousands of calories, and this is how they gain the weight. It is so nice to have a nutrition expert comment on this because of the amount of diets suggesting you eat a rigid 1200 calories per day or strictly between 1300 and 1400 calories… and I can’t imagine how many people have probably gone over that amount by just a few calories and then felt badly about themselves for having “strayed” from their diet plan. Yes, the little things can add up and make a difference- but you’re not going to gain 50 pounds overnight simply because you had a couple hundred extra calories. When that happens, you’ve got to just relax and enjoy yourself. I hate the idea that so many people might be beating themselves up for such a small and insignificant thing.

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I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike…

June 20, 2008

(Seriously. How great is Queen?).

I won a bike from the “Free Your Y” campaign over at Angie’s Women’s Diet and Fitness site (go check out her great blog!), and today it arrived! I am taking it to the bike shop tomorrow to get it all assembled and then I will become a biking fanatic and will ride my bike everywhere. I will become known as the Girl on the Yellow Bicycle (anyone else into the chick lit and has read Confessions of a Shopaholic? …okay I’ll stop with the obscure references)!

Provided that the bike fits me, of course. I’m hoping that it can be adjusted for miniature people a la myself.

Strangely enough, I was preparing myself a mug of white tea when the parcel came- the campaign is in part to promote Lipton white tea. Although I suppose that’s not such an unusual coincidence considering the large quantity of white tea that I consume. On the other hand, it is 23 degrees outside, and what person in their right mind drinks hot tea when its this beautifully warm out? I really need to make me some iced white tea or something.

Speaking of which, I received, along with my pretty new bike, a number of coupons for Lipton iced white tea. However, after checking out the nutrition info on their site and seeing that the second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup and that the list goes on to include many acids and -ates (try saying “Hexametaphosphate” or ‘Acesulfame” three times fast… does it sound like a sneeze to you, too?), I have opted to not use the said coupons. But I won’t let them go to waste because I’m sure that a lesser food snob than I will appreciate them! But really, any time the word “tea” and “diet”- yes, there is a diet version of this iced tea- are put in the same title, that concerns me. When did tea stop being just tea and start being something that needs a bunch of other things in it to beef it up and make it all sugary and such? I quite like my tea as is, thank you very much.

Oops. My apologies for the rant.

At any rate, I am looking forward to enjoying my new bicycle, especially as it is the first new bike I’ve ever had! In the past I have always had my sisters hand-me-downs, which I always quite liked considering I always wanted to be exactly like her and have everything she had, but the prospect of having a brand new bike that’s all my own is very exciting for me.

This concludes todays ramblings. Enjoy:) I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and just for kicks let’s forget all our duties while we get on our bikes and ride!

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Immune systems breaking down and building up again

June 19, 2008

No matter how well we treat ourselves, our immune systems are never perfect. At some point or another, the busy lifestyles we lead catches up to us and we fall ill. It’s especially unfortunate, I think, to become sick in the summer. At least if you’re going to be sick in the winter, you can be all cozy under lots of blankets and eat soup and enjoy the fact that you can curl up in bed and not have to brave the cold. But standing over a hot stove making soup on an exceptionally hot day isn’t all that appealing, and its a pain to look out the window and see green trees and blue skies and know that the temperature is beautiful while you’re stuck sitting at home, twiddling your thumbs waiting for the illness to go away.

I don’t like being sick, but it can’t be much helped (or maybe it could have been prevented… perhaps this is a result of my bad food choices from the past week or so? Hmmmm… 🙂 ). It was Monday night that I started to come down with something and since then I’ve been headache-y and had a sore throat and felt tired and without my usual amounts of seemingly boundless energy. I don’t take medication when I get sick (unless its something more serious… I was all about the T3’s when I got my wisdom teeth out and WOW were they great) and I also don’t generally take time off work unless it’s really serious. I’d get bored if I were to just stay in bed all day.

On Monday I missed boot camp because I slept in past my alarm clock- I was completely horrified and terribly upset about missing my beloved class (perhaps mildly exercise dependent…). So even though my throat was killing me yesterday morning, I went off to boot camp and sucked it up anyways. I know that I would have felt much worse had I missed the class again. But I was really amazed at the difference in my performance level as compared to when I am not sick. I was out of breath much quicker and couldn’t run nearly as fast as usual. My weights felt even more heavy than normal and I was tired. One of the other girls even came up to me at the end of the class and asked me if I was alright- and if someone else in a class of about a dozen women can notice a decrease in my performance level, that must mean that I was really lagging behind! Even so, I as always enjoyed the class immensely and I am glad that I went to it. But I was surprised that the slight headache and the sore throat could have that much of an impact on my abilities.

I know that my immune system is generally pretty strong. But sometimes, its easy to forget that it still does have its limitations. Sometimes it needs a bit of a break and needs to rest. It is necessary to take the time to get a full night of rest and take a little time off to recuperate and build up that immune system again.

Does this mean I’m going to miss out on the gorgeous weather outside or skip boot camp tomorrow? Hell, no! But I can compromise and go to bed earlier and try to “take it easy” during the day. And soon the old immune system will be up and running just as good as new… our immune systems take care of us 95% of the time, so that other 5% is up to us to take care of it. I think it pretty well deserves that much, anyways, for everything that it does for us!

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Food Choices

June 17, 2008

My natural-foods choices have been slipping of late- just small amounts, but they add up. Between the movie theater popcorn, the boxed pancake mix, the store-bought bread, and the French fries, these small handfuls and tastes have started to affect me in surprising ways. My body is no longer accustomed to eating such foods and I have found that almost every single time I’ve eaten these foods, regardless of whether or not its just a small amount from someone else’s plate, it has not agreed very well with my stomach. It also does not improve my mood.

We all know that our diets can do an incredible amount in protecting us from various diseases and in building up our immune systems and providing us with the fuel and strength we need to carry out the day. But it is certainly one thing to *know* that this is the case, and it is another to actually experience it and become aware of the awful toll it can take on our bodies when we do not feed them right. Within the past week I have become more sluggish and felt bloated, tired, sick, and unhappy. And I have gotten to know my body well enough at this point to know that it is a direct result from the small popcorn I chose to buy at last minute at the movies, and the store-bought bread that I cannot pronounce half of the ingredients for. I have been taking very good care of my body these past few months and it shows; I can feel a world of difference because of it. So now that I haven’t been taking as good care of it as I could be, it is rebelling in this manner.

I do believe in the occasional indulgences. But I have been having these foods because they are there, not because I really wanted them (honestly, does anyone ever really want pancake mix from a box? I’d forgotten how disgusting that stuff is). A true indulgence, such as my favourite oreo cheesecake from Baked Expectations, will not cause me to feel ill and put a damper on my mood. I know this because I allowed myself a slice of that this past weekend and I enjoyed every mouthful of it without it backfiring on my mood and physical self.

So today I am starting over again with choosing natural foods and avoiding all of the processed junk. I don’t need that. I don’t want that. And if I have it, I want to make damn sure that it is what I want so that I can enjoy it without the unpleasant side effects.

Here’s to a lovely Tuesday and to making the right choices for ourselves!

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Confessions

June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day!!

This morning my sister and I took my daddy out for breakfast in celebration of Fathers Day. Months ago, he and I had planned to run the half marathon together and we both started running and trying to train up for it. So what am I doing blogging when the marathon is going on right now?

It was a few weeks ago that we discussed the marathon and mutually agreed that neither of us had been training enough; we weren’t ready for this half marathon. And so we opted out of running it. But that’s not the only reason I decided not to run it.

I don’t enjoy running.

That statement isn’t entirely true. Once every couple weeks I’ll get in the mood for going for a run. Sometimes I love it. But for the most part, I find it boring and I just don’t have fun with it. And now we come to another question: why did I want to run the half marathon in the first place if I don’t really like running that much?

Over the years I’ve done small amounts of running. I ran cross country in elementary school and a few years ago I started running a lot in the summer. Then, a year or so later, I started running for short intervals on the treadmill when I joined a gym. I stopped for about a year, until this past January, when I began to run 3 times a week at the gym, for an hour at a time, running a 10-minute mile. It only took me one week to increase my time from half an hour to an hour. And I hadn’t ran in months.

When it comes to fitness, it is my number one outlet for stress and intense emotion. I exercise much better when I’m angry or upset; my energy reserves are fantastic. And at the beginning of January, when my then-boyfriend broke up with me after we had been dating for a year, I was very full of this kind of energy (remember that I’m only 19, so a year-long relationship is important and a very long amount of time for me!). Running, writing, and my nutrition course provided the outlet I needed to deal with the issue, and I spent the next few months following the break up running like a fiend. There were times when I’d begin to lean towards borderline exercise dependency, orthorexia, disordered eating, and depression, too; sometimes they’d be more prominent and other times they’d have little or no impact on me whatsoever.

But more recently, I started losing interest in running. The energy wasn’t there. The emotion wasn’t so strong. The slight depression had faded. And I’d stopped needing to run to deal with the issue.

When I realized that I no longer needed to run to deal with the hurt, I realized that it was no longer necessary for me to do so. I had nothing more to prove and I needed to start running for the right reasons. So now that I have managed to come to terms with it, I know that every time I go running it’ll be because I want to run and no other reason than that. It’ll be for enjoyment, the same way that I go to boot camp in the pouring rain because I love it and for the same reason that I took up belly dancing and have started doing pilates on my own time. I don’t want to be a slave to my emotions; I intend to do what I want to do for the pleasure of it. And so today I am not running the half marathon- I don’t believe that I’d be running it for the right reasons. My fitness challenges and goals lie elsewhere, in activities that I have a true passion for.

Living healthfully is all about finding the right reasons and understanding our motives and goals. It is possible to be healthy in an unhealthy way, such as if you have orthorexia. Obsessions can sometimes turn a good thing into a bad. But now that I have come to terms with my issues, I am making doubly sure that I am being healthy in a healthy way. And that makes me happy and energized, just as it should.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend and thanks for sticking with me until the end of this post. I really appreciate it. Especially as it took me slightly longer to write on my cute little new laptop with its tiny keyboard:) (Go check it out- isn’t it gorgeous? Look how small it is- thats a persons hand holding it up!). I feel better for having explained all of this.

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My Tools

June 13, 2008

We all have special “tools” that become a part of who we are as we go through our lives- certain things that become a necessity in their proximity to us. These are some of my most favorite “tools” that I cart around everywhere:

Bert’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. It soothes the lips, its organic, its minty. I am never without my Burt’s Bees and I promise that I have never, not once cheated on my lip balm by using another brand!
Quality sneakers. We basically live in our shoes, so wearing a very good quality pair of comfortable shoes is important to prevent injuries and keep ourselves comfy and relaxed throughout the day. Because I need a lift in my shoe for my one shorter leg, a good quality pair of running shoes is especially essential: most regular shoes cannot have lifts attached to them so I pretty much live in my running shoes.
Small notebook and pen. I’m a writer, and an avid list-maker. My little book (hardcover, so I can write in it just about everywhere and so that the pages won’t get all messed up) fits in my purse and rarely leaves my sight. It contains addresses, phone numbers, shopping lists, poems, lists of things to do, and tidbits of health information that I find interesting.
Kleenex. Remember this post over at Cranky Fitness? Yeah. I can tell you from first-hand experience that getting a random nosebleed midway through a run is not very pleasant. Gotta love the trusty Kleenex.
Cash. Because the bus driver won’t accept Visa.
Apples. Okay, so I don’t always have one of these tucked in my pocket (man, these pockets of mine are getting FULL, aren’t they?!), but I snack on them so often that I have a trusty supply of them at home and at work. And if my supply runs out, I’ve got that aforementioned cash and grocery stores/gas stations nearby to stock up!
Driver’s license. I know that the one time I decide to take it out of my wallet will be the rare occasion that I’ll go into the liquor store (again, I speak from experience. Er, two times. And I’d rather not be “escorted to the door” a third time!).
Green Tea. Yes, yes I do have a teabag in my wallet. HEART the green tea.

As for fitness equipment? Well, that generally stays in one place. It’s difficult to lug all of that stuff around. Which is why I have it nicely spread out between my house, work, and car:
3 Yoga mats. One for the car (I use it outdoors at boot camp), one for at work, and one that acts as a rug in my room which I like to use for pilates.
1 set 8-lbs dumbbells. These stay in the car for boot camp.
1 set 5-lbs dumbbells. These weights remain at my work.
1 hula hoop at home (you never know when the mood will strike to do some mean hula hooping).
1 hip scarf at home for bellydancing.
1 jump rope: this is in my backpack at all times, which goes back and forth between my house and work. In the middle of winter when its too cold to walk to work, this is a good way to get in some cardio.
1 pilates band (also lives in my backpack) for stretching.
Decent sports bra. I don’t care how flat you (*cough* I) are(/am). A decent one makes all the difference if you do a lot of exercising.
2 workout DVD’s (for at home).
My very own collection of health books. Naturally, these stay at home. I’m well on my way to filling up a library with all of my nutrition-related books that I’ve been hoarding!
1 pilates book, 1 yoga book with video, and lots of magazine cut-outs of exercises: all of these are spread between my house, work, and the well-traveled backpack.
– And, of course, water! I’m not picky when it comes to water so I drink it from the tap. There’s also constantly a bottle in the car for the boot camp class.

How about you? What are some of your essential tools? It’s a beautiful weekend stretching out before us with plenty of time to stock up on any new tools so this is an excellent time to share our favorites!

EDIT: How could I have forgotten? I also adore my tennis racket and 2 stability balls (although balancing on one of those things can be quite the challenge!).