Progress Is Perfection

A blog to inspire, motivate, and unleash the awesome in everyone


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Monday Motivation!

Happy Monday all you beautiful people! It’s going to be a gorgeous week, so soak up that sun (with sunscreen on), sweat it out outside, and enjoy the summer! Have a fantastic week 🙂

 

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❤ N&V

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Monday Motivation

Time changes always leave me feeling exhausted and unmotivated. So the only logical thing for me to do is get myself dressed and head to the gym for a pick me up!! Do something active today for a quick energy reboost and you’ll feel like yourself in no time! Here’s some motivation to get you off the computer and out doing an activity that you love!

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N&V


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One Week into 2014; So Far So Good!

It’s already one week into the new year, and so far I am happy with how “on track” I have been with my eating and fitness. Now I know it’s only been one week, but in the past I’ve fallen off the wagon a lot quicker than this, and so I like to give myself credit where its due as well as positive encouragement 😛

I’ve committed to both my weekly 30 Minute Hit sessions, as well as the Insanity workout as a personal extra challenge for the next two months. I’ve also been very focused on watching what I put in my tummy. Sometimes people ask me if its hard consistently eating clean. They often look at my meal or snack and give me a sympathetic look as if to say, “Wow, it must be really awful eating all that healthy crap all the time”. They wonder if its tough psychologically to put down that extra cookie, or say “no thanks” when your spouse offers you a package of the Twizzlers they are busily munching on while watching TV.

The answer is both yes and no.

I have found that eating clean and properly fueling my body has so many benefits, its hard to feel bad sometimes that I’m not gorging myself on the goodies that surround me. This past week alone, especially with my new juicer, I’ve found myself eating (or drinking) a lot of veggies and some fruit, and feeling a lot more energized. I’ve been putting effort into eating completely unprocessed and balanced meals that I cook up from scratch, and I’ve been making sure I don’t skip meals even when I’m having a crazy busy day.

I’m finding more and more that what you put into your body eventually dictates what you receive: energy, health, and an improved mood.

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The “yes” part of my answer comes from the part of me that’s human and likes to indulge my sweet tooth now and then. It can be difficult to grab an apple instead of a piece of chocolate, or to stop myself at just one or two pieces of a delicious treat. Sometimes there is an actual mental battle in my head where I need to tell myself, “You’ve already had a few pieces of candy today, and you’re not hungry…you’re just snacky and restless”. Or, “I know you’re craving that huge bowl of ice cream, but how about blending up a smoothie with frozen fruit instead”.

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In the end I realize that certain foods do not and cannot properly fuel my body; they’re simply a treat. Nothing to feel guilty about eating now and then, as long as its not all the time and in ridiculous quantities. It’s important to remember that there’s no sense in demonizing these foods as it’ll just be a barrier to having a healthy relationship with food. Additionally, completely restricting certain foods we like will often just lead us to rebound gorge down the road.

Well, I hope everyone else’s new year is off to a great start as well. Do you have any specific health and/or fitness goals for 2014? Let us know 🙂

– Veronica


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“Your Diet & The Holidays” – Fitness Blender VLog

Worried about “surviving” the holidays and maintaining healthy habits? Daniel and Kelli at Fitness Blender have a great VLog with advice on the issue 🙂 In short:

1) Never skip meals

2) Pack healthy snacks

3) Don’t punish yourself for indulging at family events and holiday dinners

4) Its ok to indulge here and there, just keep up with your exercises and clean eating throughout the month

5) Try to avoid stuffing yourself daily with chocolates and cookies that show up at the workplace this time of year

6) RELAX and ENJOY the holidays

– V & N


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Falling Off the Wagon & Getting Back On Track

Well blog followers, its true. For awhile there I fell off the clean-eating-and-working-out-wagon. I didn’t want it to happen, and I tried to stop it…but to no avail.

After training so hard for Tough Mudder during the summer, my motivation post-Mudder slowly began to wane. A combination of things happened. My first Okanagan summer proved too hot for me to continue my runs unless I got up ridiculously early, or went really late in the evening. By late July and early August we were at 35 degree days on average, and it was toasty. My A/C condo unit was my recluse and it was hard to convince myself to head out into the heat, except if I absolutely had to.

Secondly, my Vancouver gym-love, the 30 Minute Hit (which was coming to Kelowna), had been pushed back and wasn’t slated to open until the last few days of September. I tried other gyms here in the meantime, but none of them held my interest like the 30 Minute Hit cardio kickboxing circuit does. I was also disappointed with the lack of staff’s involvement in these gyms. I used to be a member of Fitness World many years back, and remembered having to fight off the hard sells for memberships when trying out gyms. So I was prepared to listen to membership pitches, getting ready to counter if needed so as not to be swayed into joining a gym I didn’t like. Low and behold though, I was pretty much left to my own devices in all 3 gyms I had free trials at. I went to the front desk to fill out wavers, was shown where the equipment was, and was never spoken to again. Now, while the hard sells on membership can sometimes be annoying, complete indifference is the unwanted other end of the scale. Not an environment I wanted to be a part of. But I digress…

Thirdly, I started working again near the end of August and my meal prep started to suffer, as did any remaining motivation to workout at home. I was getting back into the swing of a regular schedule and it was taking time to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak.

This led to the revelation a few weeks back, that perhaps my slump was catching up to me. My new jeans and workout pants purchased during and right after the Mudder era were suddenly feeling snug. And the dreaded muffin top was rearing its ugly head again…sigh.

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A few weeks ago I finally started going to work out again regularly as my gym had finally opened (yay!). Now that I was exercising regularly again I decided I needed to address my diet. I was eating way too many fast and easy processed foods and I was really feeling the effects; tired, bloated, and generally feeling blah. And of course the clothes feeling snugger. Right around that time though, as luck would have it, I caught a 2 week flu that set me back again as I felt too sick to go workout and missed nearly a week of shifts at work.

Now I finally feel healthy again and am determined to get back on track. I am committing to workout at least 3 times a week and still have my dollar jar going which I add to each time I complete a workout. I also made a visit to my local health food store and picked up some healthy snacks, ingredients, and other knick knacks to keep me away from unhealthy choices (*cough* Halloween candy leftovers *cough*). This includes not re-stocking the pantry with unhealthy options. If its not in the house, its one less temptation to avoid.

I also have less hours at work this month than last, so I have more time to pre-plan meals, pack lunches for work, and make better choices in terms of diet. I’m making the choice to cook more again, and to cook better. To not simply take the path of least work and cook up a box of Kraft dinner because I’m exhausted from work. I realize now that taking care of myself will always be a work in progress, with some months going better than others. What matters is that I stay focused and never give up. If I fall off the wagon, I just need to make sure that I don’t dawdle too long…and get back on! I came across a quote yesterday that sums things up perfectly:

Success is not a secret. It is a choice, a choice that is made over and over again.

The choice that brings success and achievement is more than a one-time event. It is a choice that is integrated into every moment of life.

It’s one thing to decide upon a course of action and then leave it at that. Such a strategy will leave you with nothing but empty wishes and good intentions.

Real achievement comes from choosing to achieve, again and again, moment after moment, until the goal is attained. Real achievement comes from choosing to achieve, and then continually reaffirming that choice with action.

Choosing success is really quite easy. To actually reach that success, just keep on choosing it.

Keep on choosing, and acting on that choice, for as long as necessary. And anything is within your reach.

— Ralph Marston

Remember all, just keep on choosing success. Don’t let the speed bumps halt your progress.

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– Veronica


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The Weird One

So, turns out I’m the weird one in my family. Go figure, hey? I think I’m pretty “normal” (whatever that is), but when it comes to food choices I’m considered crazy.

For the latter part of my childhood/adolescence my mom was diagnosed with serious food allergies. Now, I’m sure that doesn’t sound overly dramatic, but it is. She went from eating a fairly normal healthy diet (chicken, fish, grains, beans, all fruits and vegetables and little dairy), to not being able to eat (what felt like) anything, without getting sick. She lost a massive amount of weight within a 6 month period because she was getting sick every night. Finally she decided to experiment; she started eliminating foods until finally she found a diet that worked. She went through allergy tests that came back fairly inconclusive, so relied primarily on how things made her feel.

Needless to say, she wasn’t left with much. Her diet now consists of red meat and pork, certain fruits and vegetables, seeds and some fats. The list of things that make her sick is startling long, and often people ask her how she eats anything.

Our 30 Day Challenge was very similar to her diet. Only ours was 30 days- her’s is for life.

After we figured out her food allergies, our family meals changed considerably. She would cook dinner for everyone, so for at least one meal a day, we all ate what she ate. It took some getting used to- we had a lot of pork and potatoes, she would also include something that she couldn’t eat- Mac&Cheese or Mr.Noodles (which oddly enough- I don’t cook for myself or family); dinner became plain and often repetitive. If we complained she told us we could cook our own dinner or not eat, which I completely agree with now that I’m a parent myself. Growing up it kind of sucked though.

So, back to me being the weird one in the family.

After my parents separated and my mom moved away, my brother moved in with my dad. They did what any bachelors would do; stock their kitchen full of cheap junk food. They would have cookies, granola bars, sliced cheese, milk, white bread, chips, Mr.Noodles, some apples and bananas, the list goes on. Basically all the food we didn’t have at home for the past 5 years could be found in their kitchen. I shook my head and attempted to enlighten them on the benefits of eating a healthy diet, but boys will be boys.

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Inviting my dad and brother over for dinner has been fairly entertaining this past year. I always fill at least half the plate full of vegetables, the other half with a little meat. My dad will eat almost anything without complaint, my brother is another story though (he doesn’t eat much when he comes over). There is one thing that my dad hasn’t been able to choke down; coffee with coconut sugar and almond milk. He is an avid coffee drinker (all day every day), and one day he was over and when offered a coffee he asked if we had any “normal” milk. I chuckled and said we only had almond milk- well, he declined the coffee (I now keep some powdered milk in the cupboard for when he’s over). Then my brother started bugging me, he doesn’t seem to understand how I “turned out” to be such a health conscious freak.

I don’t really know how I became this way either.

I do know that I will never go back.

Even today we visited my dad; he just moved into an awesome house with a gorgeous backyard- perfect hang out for summer. They made lunch for us and the kids; grilled cheese and watermelon slices. Sounds harmless, right? Well, I know my dad means well, but the grilled cheese was made with Wal Mart “whole wheat” bread (glucose fructose and sugar) and processed cheese slices. I had some, because I was hungry, and instantly felt ill. I looked in the fridge and was face to face with sugar-filled yogurt, pudding cups, two 2L of milk, margarine, and four containers juice cocktails. The crisper was full of fruits and vegetables, but I had to shake my head at the rest of the fridge.

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Now, don’t think I’m hating. I love my dad, and I want him to be healthy and live for a long time, but I know it’s fairly hopeless to try and inform him that his food choices kind of suck. He humors me and laughs at me in a way that lets me know that he’s never changing but I can keep trying.

I’m honestly terrified that I will go through the same thing that my mom did. It’s one of the reasons I eat the way that I do. I had allergies as a small child; I was allergic to wheat, dairy and corn. To this day if I eat to much dairy or wheat I feel ill; even more so since the challenge ended. I haven’t been able to eat any dairy without feeling ill.

I want to ensure my health and longevity. I don’t like feeling sick or tired, and I definitely don’t like feeling fat. When I eat crap I feel like crap, and it’s just that simple.

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When my brother pokes fun at my healthy lifestyle, or my dad shakes his head at my lack of white sugar and milk, I pat myself on the back. I’m different, and I’m happy to be. This is the best I have felt in my entire life. I have energy, I look fantastic, my skin is clear, and best of all I feel fantastic. I love being healthy.

I think it’s amusing that most of my family (aside from my mom) thinks I’m crazy for the choices I make with my food. I’ve never let it get to me because I don’t want to be ordinary. I like being different, I like being the change, but most of all I just like feeling good.

So if you have any doubters in your life, don’t take it to heart. Just laugh, try and educate and move on. Because really, it’s just food!

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~Nicole


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The Supplementation Debate: Do You Need Them to Be Healthy and Fit?

I was on one of the community boards that I am a part of on Facebook and noticed a thread had started debating the issue of supplementation; is it something that is necessary in order to lose weight and be healthy and fit?

It just so happened that earlier today I was watching a video from the duo at Fitness Blender that touched on this very subject, and gave one of the most honest opinions I’ve seen thus far. I will post the 10 minute video clip below, but here is a summary of what was said if you don’t want to watch the clip.

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They assert (and they are right on the money with this one) that the media is largely responsible for our perception that we NEED some sort of supplements and special products in order to lose weight, build muscles, reach our goals, and be healthy. Supplements can include vitamins, minerals, protein boosters, meal replacements, weight loss pills, etc.

Celebrities, personal trainers, and others are often asked to endorse these products, whether they work or not, to get a large sum of money from the profits. Unfortunately even though this is the health and fitness domain, often consumer’s best interests are shoved aside in the interest of profitability.

In truth though, eating clean whole foods is generally enough for our bodies to glean all that we need. If we are eating properly and have no underlying medical condition that prevents us from doing so, then we generally can get all the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that we need. They point out that in some cases its necessary to supplement when a person has certain deficiencies or other health issues that can’t be solved by diet. In this case, a doctor should be the one that is recommending and prescribing these supplements.

When it comes to certain pills, meal replacements, etc. if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These products are often ridiculously poor quality, and many are not covered or tested by the FDA, which means that although a product might say it has 100 mg of something, it could have much more or it could have a lot less. Furthermore, these products often do more harm then good and only offer short-term results; there is no effort made to teach consumers how to exercise and eat properly as they are depending solely on this magic supplement. This means when they stop using the product, they generally bounce back to where they started.

So what is the magic answer to long-term effects and success? Hard work,  healthy diet, and exercise. As they said, sorry but there’s no easy out here! Slowly change your lifestyle and your habits, and results are sure to follow.

What do you readers think; do you agree or disagree with the assertion that supplements are largely unnecessary?

– Veronica