Just what I was missing 

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I found something I was missing tonight…. My feet on a couple of bike pedals! I got to the gym and knew one thing “Must sprint” (In a total caveman voice) and slowly meandered over to the rowing machine – but in my way stood a spin bike, if there’s one thing I’m good at its biking. So eff the rowing machine and I’m smiling as my feet step into the pedals – wow! I missed this! And then it was game on, 5 of the most gruelling sprints I’ve done in a while. The cool thing about sprints is you only have to commit to 30 seconds – it can hurt like hell and burn but you know you only have to kill it for 30 seconds!!! I timed out some wicked songs for the sprints too! All you do is play your favorite pump up tune and use the beginning of the song to recover, no resistance, keep your heart rate as low as possible, then as the song progresses (and you start getting into the groove) you pick up the resistance a bit then the pace until you are kind of at a jog. This should all happen leading up to that final heartfelt chorus of the song – think “And as we wind on the down the road” or the 2:35 point of Awake and Avenge the Dead by Thrice (personal fave) and just as the lead singer pours his/her heart out one last time you pour all your energy (glycogen) into those 30 seconds!!! I go through a whirlwind of emotion during my sprints, smiles, swear words, winces, the odd cry out in agony but I do the work and reep the benefits. A boosted metabolism, tighter feeling (not sure about the looking part yet) physique, heavy boost of endorphins, and an increase in confidence and pride that my body did exactly what I needed it to do. 

I actually started writing this post last week and crushed more bike sprints this morning after quite the indulgent weekend. I’ll admit it was a bit of a punishment workout for being so lax with my workouts lately but my muscles didn’t skip a beat and now they’ve earned some delicious refuelling ūüôā 

Have you tried sprints yet? I’m very interested in hearing about which type of cardio works for you! I love my long outdoor mountain bike rides but there’s something amazing about being in and out of the gym in 40 minutes having burned 300 well earned calories and feeling the benefits all day long

Xoxo

Mel 

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers – YES PLEASE!

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Mel here! So if you follow us on Instagram (or follow me) you will see I’ve had a recent flux in my jalapeno popper consumption. I’ll admit right now – I LOVE these things – the jalapenos roast so nicely making them tasty and not so spicy. When I’ve found I’ve eaten a lot of protein in the last few days and need to eat something with higher fat these are my go-tos! (And the bf loves them too duh)

I wanted to share the original recipe that I used and how I modified it a bit.

The original recipe can be found here:

http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2012/02/bacon-wrapped-stuffed-jalapenos-2.html

When I made them I found one thing fairly obvious right away – DO NOT PRECOOK THE BACON! It becomes smaller and loses its elasticity and therefore does not wrap around the jalapeno causing me to have to lay the bacon on top (see photo below). Cut the uncooked bacon pieces in half and wrap a half a piece around each popper. Keep an eye on them in the oven you will have to cook them a bit longer than this recipe states – make sure to use the broiler at the end to crispy up the bacon and get the extra roasted taste of the jalaps.

If you don’t have salsa verde don’t stress, I used regular salsa (you know that rarely used jar that everyone has in the fridge – make sure it doesn’t have a layer of blue mold on it before you start cooking!)

I used herb and garlic cream cheese because, well let’s face it, herb and garlic cream cheese trumps regular cream cheese!

You can also skip the salsa and added cheese and just put your cream cheese of choice in the jalapeno then wrap them up – heck you could even skip the bacon if you are vegetarian! If you are vegan you could try using Daiya’s cream cheese products in this recipe (I would love to hear how those turn out!)

I suggest eating these in front of an episode of the Good Wife in your pajamas with a glass of wine because life should be awesome like that!

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FYI The picture at the top on the baking tray was a batch I made to take to a party. Those buggers sat on my lap for 45 minutes on the drive to the party, I literally had to keep my oven mitts on in the car to keep from eating them all!

Yes you are seeing that correctly – in an act of sheer craziness I put poppers on top of a lettuce burger – it was mind bogglingly (holy crap that’s actually a word?) delicious !!!!!

Please let me know if you try out this recipe and if you love them as much as me!!!!!! I may be partial but I think these trump the deep fried/breaded poppers you get at restaurants ūüėČ

XOXO

Mel

Disclaimer: “But Mel, all those saturated fats! Aren’t you going to die?” (dramatic I know) ¬†Relax, we only have these once every week or two, I lift weights 5 times a week, am losing inches and losing weight and feel pretty damn good. Saturated fat is not going to kill me but I’m happy to discuss why your multigrain cheerios might be killing you in person sometime ūüôā

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My Personal Health Transformation – What a doozy!

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I’m a not-so-little teapot

Yep that’s me many many moons ago before I decided to better my health.

So Mo and I have been discussing posting our “transformation” pictures and stories on the blog for a while now. Truth be told this is still not an easy subject for me to address – looking back on old pictures when I weighed close to 220 pounds is not easy and it stirs up a lot of feelings that I still struggle with to this day. It’s funny really, eventhough I’ve lost close to 50 pounds it still doesn’t always register in my brain. Sometimes I see a current picture of me and go “oh, I’m actually not that big” because for so many years of my life I looked in the mirror and saw an inflated version of myself. I can understand how some people can slip into eating disorders as what an ex-heavy person sees in the mirror isn’t always what you see when you look at them. I would give anything to turn back time and never allow myself to get so heavy because it’s been a lot of hard work to get to where I am now.

But sometimes you have to look back to see how far you have come. 

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For as long as I can remember I have been on the plump side – I would probably say my push into the “heavy” category came when I was in high school and starting working at McDonalds. At the same time I stopped playing all the sports I had grown up playing (soccer, baseball) Honestly, kids should be taught more about eating clean/healthy at an early age – and sorry that doesn’t mean being taught how to bake muffins and cheesecake in cooking class. I remember eating Big Xtra’s with cheese and drink mocha milkshakes and not thinking twice about it – wow was I naive.¬†

At the age of 17 I met my first boyfriend (he literally asked me out through the McDonald’s drive thru, something years later I see as a super huge RED FLAG) but we dated for a year or two and because I didn’t understand the concept that you can’t match a man calorie for calorie I ballooned up to my highest weight of 230 pounds. Did I mention he didn’t like vegetables – another massive red flag for my health! I remember around this time I was diagnosed with depression – if only the doctor would have told me to lose some weight I wouldn’t have spent the next 6 years popping pills and being uncomfortable in my own skin.

After we broke up I dropped quite a bit of weight. The habit that helped me start to see change: BIKING! I remember when I was about 20 I borrowed my Mom’s bike out of the garage and I’ve never looked back. Biking has always put a smile on my face, even when I’m huffing and puffing up Fraser Highway Hill in Langley or getting covered in mud on a rainy day ride. I have loved watching my bike skills get better over the years, faster, stronger, more agile, just cool to see the growth. Around that time I got my weight down to 190 pounds because I remember my girlfriend Kelly and I having a little weight loss challenge before a ball tournament we were going to in the Okanagan

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Judging by the size of Kelly’s leg against mine I’m assuming she won the weight loss challenge

I was still on anti-depressants and living on my own for a while and I began eating a lot of sushi in lieu of cooking my own meals. I began drinking carbonated energy drinks instead of my Tim Hortons double double. Also playing a lot of slo pitch and in prime partying age I drank a lot (not like alcoholic a lot but like young, dumb, party blond a lot). Two years later I was back up to probably 210-215 as proof in this lovely shot from our trip to Mexico for my friend’s wedding

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Just before this trip I remember reading the Eat Right For Your Type book and without knowing my blood type I felt like I had to be an O blood type. I fit all the “personality characteristics” outlined in the book and I was chubby and lethargic just like the book said I would be if I ate all the “avoid” foods, which I was doing. I specifically remember struggling to not eat wheat on this trip to Mexico. I also remember drinking a lot of peppermint tea, tomato juice and eating yogurt – clearly I was finally on a better path for my health. I decided to try and get off the anti-depressants and I used my bike as therapy.

In 2008 I started my job at Volvo and remember being about 210 pounds. I specifically remember because I asked my boss that if I got my weight under 200 pounds if I could have a smaller work shirt (mine at the time were 2XL, I was swimming in it) I would say within a year or so I got to order those smaller shirts! 

I began to really dedicate myself to watching what I ate, I recall eating a ton of tuna salads. I moved in with my two girlfriends into this funky apartment and my girlfriend Joanna and I started hitting the gym. I was seeing some good changes and I was feeling good but I was still drinking a lot of beer and still had that bloated stomach I longed to rid myself of. I hovered around the 190-195 mark for a few years. After breaking up with another guy I did something crazy – I took HCG (read about this nutter diet here¬†http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/new-hcg-diet ) After doing this I finally got down to a weight that I was ecstatic about – 168 pounds!!!!!! I was so happy – I could borrow my girlfriends clothes, I could fit into a MEDIUM something that was mind boggling considering I had been an XL my entire life. I fit into size 8 jeans! And I had some great muscle definition from all the hard work I had been putting in at the gym – I was in love with myself and I was happy ūüôā

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However, if you lose 15 pounds in 3 weeks on HCG like I did you have to watch what you eat very carefully to avoid it coming back and unfortunately because I had never been taught proper nutrition I continued to under eat then binge and the weight slowly crept back on. I did another round of HCG in October (just before the bf and I moved to a new place, what a stupid idea that was, I was tired and weak from the lack of calories) but I got back down to 168 but I felt like shit, my system didn’t handle the second attempt at this diet like it did the first time. My adrenal system has taken a hefty hit and i’ve been recovering ever since.¬†

My weight has now stabilized at 175 and I’m ok with it. Sure I’m pudgy here and pudgy there but I’m also 30 years old. I work out 5-6 days a week and am happy. I don’t have to be tiny to be happy, I just need to have goals and work towards them. Like now, I know bathing suit season (still gives me nightmares) is vast approaching and I want to be comfortable in a two piece – I will be comfortable in a two piece!¬†

But from now on I’m vowing not to obsess about every little thing that goes in my mouth, 20% of the time. 80/20 rule, I’ll be a wheat avoiding, carb counting, protein munching paleo eater 80% of the time and I’ll enjoy chicken wings with the boyfriend and cheese on my almond flour crust pizza the other 20% of the time.

I hope whatever stage you are at in your health quest that you find WHAT WORKS FOR YOU! What works for me is a bunch of things that I have fine tuned over the years, you have to experiment, set goals and reward yourself for your hard work (not with food). I wanted to close with a picture from a couple years ago where a buddy of mine and I climbed a mountain ( A FRICKIN MOUNTAIN!) It’s called the Grouse Grind in Vancouver and it’s BAD ASS! It’s a 2,800 foot elevation over a short distance of 1.8 miles – that’s a lot of climb. We killed it in just under an hour and to me it was a true testament to how far I’ve come over the past ten years. Thank you to all who have supported me by making gluten free food and going on bikes or hikes with me or encouraging me – it’s been a crazy ten years and I look forward to the battle of keeping fit into my 30’s – ew 30’s lol

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(CHECK OUT MY ARMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Feel free to share your personal story with us! 

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A Day in the Life of Mel

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Hey Everyone! To this day I still laugh when I tell people I don’t eat wheat and they respond with “Well what do you eat then” Haha yes sandwiches, pasta, bagels, chicken strips and pizza are staples in most people’s diet but unless you are one of the rare few “superhumans” as I like to call them, chances are if this is your diet you don’t feel as good as you could.¬†

I’m going to try and recall what I ate on my last day off cause it’s a lot more fun than when I’m at work just shoveling nuts, an apple and salads down my throat cause I’m lazy

8am – Woke up and had a glass of hot water with half a squeezed lemon in it (Why you ask? Cause it kick starts your metabolism and cleans the toxins from your insides – it also helps with other bodily functions much like coffee does….. uhhhh moving on)

Now since I’ve been weight training I eat before I go to the gym – this sucks cause it delays my getting to the gym but if I don’t eat I find my adrenal system can’t handle the shock load of the workout and I get very dizzy and sick after – SOOOO I microwaved a bit of leftover ground beef from the night before with some spinach and made about 8 sweet potato chips with our new kickass “chipster” from epicure

At about 9am I got to the gym to do my weights – I warmed up for 5 minutes on the elliptical then did some static stretching before hitting arms and back. I then polished it off with 20 minutes of cardio before realizing I was becoming short on time for my 11am chiro appointment – a 30 min drive away.

I rushed home, showered (admittedly not washing my hair, gross I know but who asked you), heated up some more ground beef and grabbed an apple and a spoon.

(Disclaimer: Sister Act Fitness does not condone the following act)

I then ate my ground beef and apple as I drove down the freeway.

The amusing part was I was still ten minutes late, which I thoroughly enjoyed, seeing as my over-sharing, chatterbox chiropractor has kept me waiting on numerous occasions, ha how the tables turn chatterbox

After the chiropractor I was to meet my Mom at Nature’s Fare for lunch at their Apple Bistro but after stopping at the mall briefly by the time I met my Mom I had slipped into what we call the “Beyond making decisions point of hunger” – You know this feeling, it’s before “Hangry” and long before “I dont give a sh*t about gluten free just get me some food” – It’s that point where you know you are hungry but you don’t know for what, you just know it’s not hunger for the options that are presented in front of you (Yes men, this is some serious insight into a women’s psyche)

My Mom, picking up on my indecisive vibe saved the day with the words “I have some sweet potato fries and chicken at my house” – SOLD – Mom to the rescue (she’s the best). We head to Mom’s and around 2pm I safely consume some rosemary and olive oil roasted sweet potato fries and a half of a chicken breast.¬†

After hanging out with Mom for a bit I decide to head back home “before traffic gets bad” – well it turned out that notion was about 45 minutes too late – For the record 200th street in Langley is a bloody joke – I have never seen a major road with worse timed lights – it literally took me 20 minutes to get from 86th and 200th through 4 lights to 88th and onto the freeway – 200th you suck!

Once I was home it was time to make dinner and I was excited – pizza night!!!!! A while ago we found this recipe for pizza crust and fell in love – it literally makes me smile because it’s the closest tasting thing to wheat that I have found in my wheat-free life. I believe I’ve tooted about it before but here it is again. All we do is whip up a batch, grease a full baking sheet and pour it in – it fills the baking sheet perfect! Here’s the recipe:

http://fastpaleo.com/recipe/pizza-crust-2/

As I’ve mentioned before, my boyfriend loves cheese. This time we put bacon, artichokes, green olives, sundried tomatoes and cheese (on his half only) – Then we settled in for some Sons of Anarchy (terrible show, totally addicted)

So that’s a day in the life (and stomach) of me! Sorry I don’t count calories, I eat when I’m hungry and I especially make sure to eat shortly after a workout – carbs, proteins and vegetables. I used to have whey protein powder shakes right after the gym cause they are delicious but whey is a dairy product and I still have a reaction to it. I googled what paleo people do in this tough situation, and yes some do still have whey, grass fed whey but a lot of them just go home and make a real meal – as long as you eat within a half an hour (to an hour tops) of your gym session you shouldn’t be losing any of those hard earned muscles and you should be replenishing your energy stores efficiently enough.¬†

I will do a post soon on all the different meal options people can have on a “wheat free” or “paleo” diet for those of you who still can’t wrap your head around me not eating cereal for breakfast¬†

 

The Give Up and Take Up Challenge! A New Year and New You!!!

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So Mo and I have been thinking about a new group challenge. In the past year or so my coworkers and I have done a couple of weight loss competitions – the big winner of the first competition was awarded $1000!!! Now I know money can be a big drive for some people but for the majority you get really excited for a challenge, then you eat a pizza, deem yourself a failure and fall off the wagon and if you are like me you land on your face. I will admit during the two weight loss challenges I ran at my work I actually gained weight – some role model I am. So since money doesn’t drive 95% of the people out there we wanted to think of more of a personal health challenge and we wanted to keep it simple. The reward? A better you!¬†

Welcome to the Give Up and Take Up Challenge! Get this – this is a ONE YEAR CHALLENGE – don’t roll your eyes yet it is so simple. Starting in January (yes a couple of days from now) you will simply do the following – At the beginning of each month – Give Up one bad habit, just one small thing that you know isn’t the best thing for you. Whether its binging on dark chocolate while your boyfriend is in the shower (yep, that one’s mine), drinking diet pepsi in the afternoon when your energy levels dip (yep, that’s Mo), snacking viciously while you watch television at night (about 90% of the population) or whatever small vice you want to work on. Now here’s the other side of it – Take Up one healthy thing for you, be reasonable, saying you will work out 5-6 times a week when you barely do one day a week is not reasonable, saying you will quit smoking cold turkey after 20 years is not reasonable! Think! Maybe even pick something that you can take up in place of the thing that you gave up. Example: Instead of stuffing your (yes my) face with dark chocolate try drinking a big glass of water or instead of biting your nails cause you are bored or nervous you do some deep breathing. Or keep the Give Up and Take Up completely separate – I personally am going to give up sugar (our 21 day detox – see previous posts and join us) but since that isn’t permanent (im being reasonable here people – I friggin love dark chocolate) I will also be giving up dairy, something I desperately need to do permanently in my life. Dairy makes me sick, literally. I get a cold, sinus pain, headaches, sore throat and just overall disgustingness. I will be taking up yoga and plan to do one yoga class per week for the month of January with hopes it becomes a permanent fixture in my life. The goal is to try and eliminate some bad habits and create some good, long lasting ones in their place.

Now don’t get us wrong, this is not something we want people to feel frustrated with if they only “cut back” or if they “try but it’s just too hard” this is a challenge you create for yourself and we want you to set yourself up for success – notice I didn’t say I would give up bacon? Cause I know that would be nearly impossible and before long I would be frying up a whole pack of bacon, while crying and eating dark chocolate simultaneously (I know myself too well)

We want to hear what your January Give Up and Take Up plans are Рpost it in the comments below or comment on our group on Facebook (Sister Act Fitness of course) and we can all keep each other accountable. We will post again at the end of January and look forward to seeing how everyone did and what your Give Up and Take Up plans are for February !!! Go team!!!! 

On Instagram? We just started blogging our food – follow us at sisteractfitness

On Twitter? Hash tag #giveuptakeup and see what other people are doing for their monthly challenge

 

It’s Christmas! Wear Your Stretchy Pants and Enjoy!

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ImageMo here, I will be sporting some stretchy pants on Christmas day. Not because I plan on overindulging but because I plan on being comfortable and getting in some exercise. It also saves that awkward moment of undoing your top button if you do indulge or tucking in that extra roll if you have been indulging for awhile. Our family has planned a pretty healthy Christmas menu and I am in charge of appetizers this year. I will be making bacon wrapped artichoke hearts. There will be a couple treats but we are trying our best to keep it clean and paleo. Check out the recipe below:

http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/easy-holiday-artichoke-appetizers/ 

Mel and I decided that we would throw down a Christmas day exercise challenge. I was whining this morning because I won’t be able to hit the gym tomorrow because of working and it is obviously going to be closed on Christmas. I know that sounds weird to be whining about not exercising but I am pretty dependent upon my exercise. Mel reminded me that I have the ability to exercise at home without equipment. So…. here we go:

1. Go for a walk: I just checked the weather report in Vancouver and it looks like Christmas day is going to be clear. Bundle up as a family and get outside for a brisk walk after brunch. Not only will it be good to get some fresh air but exercise also stimulates digestion, which may help if you over indulge at brunch. Aim for 30 minutes outside.

2. Get your heart rate up: While you wait for your turkey to cook. Set your oven timer, timer on your Iphone or an alarm for 5 minutes and do the following:

10-1 leg hip thrust alternating legs

10- knee tucks (ab exercise)

20- mountain climbers

Complete those three exercises and you have completed one round. See how many rounds you can complete in 5 minutes.

Try our challenge out and see how you do. Come on, you know you want to! If you feel brave let us know how many rounds you complete!

Remember to drink lots of water to help your digestion and enjoy yourself. Try your best to fill your plate 3/4 with the healthy, non-processed foods and put a few treats on the rest.

Merry Christmas from Sister Act Fitness!

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