Archive for January, 2009

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Life Lessons: Perfectionism

January 9, 2009

Subscription Stuff

FeedBurner is beyond me. After much clicking around and struggling to understand/figure out what to do, I’ve decided to just start up a new feed for this website. So! If you were subscribed to my blog at Blogger and still want to be subscribed to my blog now that we’re at WordPress, I’ve got some subscription options for you on the sidebar (this is me gesturing towards it).

Pedometers make winter time walking that much more enjoyable

About a week ago I finally got around to getting a pedometer, after months/years of pining for one. On Sunday I gleefully measured my strides and inputted the results into my new little gadget, and it was strapped on by Monday. The goal was that I’d walk at least 10,000 steps each day (as is recommended).

Monday was a pretty cold day around here, so I caught a ride to work. I probably should have just walked around normally to get a good idea of how many steps I walk on these cold days, but I was too aware of the pedometer at my hip and was determined to get in a decent amount of walking. So I paced. I marched. Back and forth and all around. Marched on the spot while washing dishes and doing laundry (it’s tougher than you might think). Swung my arms energetically as I marched in spot while reading your blogs (if I left any comments with lots misspelled words on one of your posts recently, its because moving around while trying to type is tricky).*

In short, I have been having a ton of fun with my pedometer. I’m exceeding that 10,000 steps mark and loving this little device. It’s easy enough to get in extra steps if you’re willing to make life just a bit less convenient for yourself!

My results so far:

Monday 10,185 steps

Tuesday 15,007 steps

Wednesday 23,127 steps

Thursday 14,022 steps

Think I’ll be wearing this little guy every day to measure my progress!

This whole situation has reminded me of how I am with food journaling. In the beginning, I find it to be enjoyable and try to eat very well so that I can be proud of what I write down. However, as time goes on, I begin to get incredibly obsessive over it all.

I’ll never know how I *actually* eat. And I don’t expect I’ll ever know how many steps I *really* get in. Once I start logging it, I put in extra effort to be as good as I can at it. It’s frustrating because I can’t prevent myself from not eating super healthy if I journal, just like I can’t stop myself from not trying to add in extra steps throughout the day. Because I know that I’m tracking it, and I want to be the best I can be at it.

Any other perfectionists out there who have this problem? Anyone share my pedometer love?

*To keep warm throughout the day and to get in a little bit extra exercise, I like to do jumping jacks. However the pedometer counts each jumping jack as about 3 or 4 steps, so I have been taking it off whenever I do jumping jacks. What do you think? Is one jumping jack really the equivalent of 3 or 4 steps? I’m skeptical.

PS I’m now on Twitter! Come find me *gesturing wildly towards my sidebar again*. I want to know if you’re on Twitter too. Then on slow days at work I can write you messages to keep myself busy (please boss disregard that last sentence). Won’t that be fun? 🙂

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Relaxation time

January 7, 2009

What? Didn’t we just get back to work and university after a very stress-free holiday? And I’m already thinking about relaxing?

Why yes I am. Regular work hours started again for me on Monday, but I haven’t even begun classes yet. This afternoon it will be back to the grind at university, but even then it shouldn’t be too stressful, considering it’s only three classes on Monday and Wednesday afternoons (I may or may not choose my courses based around the time slots). Not only that, but for the next five days my roommate will be out of province so I will likely have excessive amounts of time on my hands to sit at home and relax when I’m not working.

I’m going to take what I can get. You never know when your next relaxation moment will come up, so we’ve got to appreciate them when they’re around!

Not only that, but it’s important to not completely eliminate all that relaxing after having spent the past couple weeks sleeping in and reading novels. Just the same as you don’t want to suddenly cut out all added sugar if you’re used to eating a piece of cake and three cookies every day. Your body just won’t respond well to it. Therefore the only solution is to find a little time to indulge in some time set aside just for you.

One of my current favorites is a hot bath. Don’t underestimate the value of a hot bath! With all the lovely bath bombs and bubble bath that I received at Christmas, I am all set to sink into my big soaker tub once a week with a glass of wine (if I’m feeling classy) or a mug of tea (if I’m just plain cold- a much more likely scenario) and a good novel. Because I deserve it. And you do too.

Promise that once a week you’ll take some time for yourself? Even all you busy mums out there with kiddies? Share the ways you love to relax! Anyone else feel super luxurious and indulgent with a simple bath?

Damselblogger in Distress

I’m facing a bit of a problem with Feedburner and subscriptions to my site- if anyone knows how to switch the subscription from my Blogger site to this one at WordPress I would be incredibly grateful. Until then, I’ve got a subscription widget along the sidebar, so click on it to subscribe to Living Healthy in the Real World if you so desire! And hopefully that will work (if it doesn’t, again, would much appreciate it being alerted about any problems you have:)).

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Welcome all!

January 5, 2009

This is the new place for Living Healthy in the Real World. After playing around with WordPress I think I understand it enough to make the switch here from Blogger! Take a look around; I’ve got some new pages set up. Have fun and let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see- I’m always looking to improve! Also if you’ve added me to your Blogroll, don’t forget to switch the location from Blogger to WordPress. Thanks:–)

Half the battle is mental strength

Danielle, my boot camp instructor from November, pushed our group incredibly hard. She encouraged us to keep lifting those weights and jumping up and down until we physically could not do anything more. I’d have my 8 lbs weights in hand and be doing shoulder press after shoulder press, and when it came to the point that my arms stopped moving on their own accord, she would tell me to drop my arms. A few seconds later, she’d tell me to do another few shoulder presses. I would obey and find that the short rest was enough to replenish my energy. She was a true slave driver and we all adored her for it.

Sheer physical strength didn’t have a lot to do with our capabilities at boot camp. Obviously, that’s an important factor, but it wasn’t what really kept us going. I had no idea I was capable of spending half an hour straight doing only burpees, sprinting back and forth, and lifting some weights in between. There’s no way I would do that on my own without stopping to take a break. But apparently, I was capable of that, and more.

If you have done or are doing the 100 push us challenge*, you’ll have been dealing with this same struggle every day of that challenge. Yes, our arms get tired. Yes, the body shakes like mad. But there’s a little bit left in you. There’s always one extra push up that you can do. One hundred consecutive push ups is no easy task, but during those weeks of training, its not just your body that is getting stronger. It’s also your mind.

At boot camp, Danielle would tell us that half the battle is our mental strength, and the real reason that we’re at boot camp is to improve our mental strength. That’s what we’re building. It’s the ability to say “no” to the candy dish you walk past every day. It’s the decision to follow through with the workout and make it to a fitness class. It’s the compromise to ask for no dressing on the salad because you’d rather have some butter with the bread than have your veggies sopping with sauce. It’s the choice to eat whole foods than buy greasy meals at a fast food joint.

If you have made New Years resolutions this year, having the right mindset is key to achieving those goals. Ask yourself how strong your mindset and willpower are. Test and push yourself so that you are aware of just how far you really can go. Surpass your expectations and reach beyond the limits. You’ll find that not too much can stop you once you begin building that mental strength!

*Steve Speirs has a new fitness challenge, the 200 sit ups challenge (using the term “sit up” very loosely though- its really crunches). It looks like it’ll be just as much fun as his 100 push ups challenge!

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Product Review: EnviroKidz

January 2, 2009

In the nice little giveaway package from Kelly, I received a number of products with the brand name of EnviroKidz. Specifically, 3 organic crispy rice cereal bars (peanut butter, berry, and chocolate), and 2 boxes of cereal (“Leapin’ Lemurs Peanut Butter & Chocolate” and “Penguin Puffs Whole Grain Cereal with Brown Rice, Kamut, Corn & Qunioa”).

EnviroKidz prides itself on two main points: a) being organic, and b) donating part of its sales to a wildlife charity. Aww! How sweet! Then you realize that it’s 1% of all their sales. Which I’m sure amounts to quite a bit because cereal companies are a jackpot, but even so, you’re making all that money and then you donate 1% of your sales to a wildlife fund just so you can stamp that on all your packaging? To me that’s kind of like adopting a homeless kid just so you can drag them off to special events and show them off to people to demonstrate what a generous person you are (a la this episode on the Sarah Silverman Show).

(End of rant).

Organic Crispy Rice Cereal Bars

The front nutritional claim states that these bars contain nothing artificial and no additives. And, of course, it’s organic! Turn the package over and the nutrition facts label is very similar for each bar: 110 calories per 28g bar; 2.5-3g fat, 20g carbs with 1g fiber and 7g sugar, and 2g protein. Not much in terms of vitamins and minerals, unless you count the 15% daily value of iron in the chocolate bar.

Okay, so now comes the fun part of flipping up the wrapper so we can look at the tiny print of the ingredients list. Seriously, what is it with bars and ingredients lists? The ingredients list is arguably the most important piece of information on the package and it’s always in tiny print and hidden from view. No wonder we don’t know anything about the food we are eating!

(End of rant #2).

They all share the same beginnings of the ingredients list: organic crispy rice (organic brown rice flour, granulated organic sugar cane juice, sea salt, organic molasses, organic rice bran extract), organic brown rice syrup, organic honey. Then they go on to include many other things, but among them is organic soy oil, organic corn starch, organic invert cane syrup, organic peanut butter, and organic cocoa.

Let’s have fun for a moment and take out the word “organic” from the ingredients. Now re-read that list. Mmm, sugar! Remember that organic does not mean something is nutritious. That word on the package implies the environment is being treated right and that there’s no weird chemicals, but does not mean its healthy.

Basically, we’re looking at a candy bar here, although I will agree that this is going to be better for you than other candy bars because there are far fewer calories and fat in this one, and it also does use natural ingredients. Also, even though sugar is listed under different names many times, 7g of sugar for a cereal bar isn’t too bad. That’s just under 2tsp of sugar for the whole thing.

Now for the good part, the taste! Super delicious. The peanut butter had very distinct peanut butter and honey flavours; the chocolate was decidedly chocolatey, and I loved that the berry one used freeze-dried blueberries and raspberries in it. These are decently sized and chewy. They make for a tasty treat!

The Cereal

Leapin’ Lemurs tastes exactly like peanut butter and chocolate flavoured corn pops. They are super crunchy and are honestly fantastic in a bowl with skim milk (my feeble attempts to make it somewhat healthy:)). Penguin Puffs also have a corn pops taste and their nutrition facts are almost identical to Leapin’ Lemurs.

Nutrition Facts: 120 calories per 3/4 cup serving; 1.5g fat, 25g carbs with 2g fibre and 8g sugar, 2g protein.
Ingredients List: organic corn meal, organic whole grain corn meal, granulated organic sugar cane juice, organic peanut butter, organic molasses, organic cocoa, sea salt, organic soy oil, natural flavour, tocopherols.

No doubt about it, this cereal is far more dessert than cereal! Take out the word “organic” again. At least the first two ingredients aren’t sugar, I suppose?

Overall, it would probably be better to not get either the cereal or the bars for your kids, because they might get addicted. Yum. These food products really can’t be considered part of a healthy breakfast or snack, but they’re way better than just about any other kids sugary cereals out there, and if you’re looking for a tasty once-in-a-while treat that uses natural ingredients, then EnviroKidz would fit that description very well.

Tasty!