Thursday, January 31, 2013


I just got back from the doctor's office about my health issues. The news wasn't great. I don't want to get into it now. It's a struggle enough to try and handle it just in my head. All I'll say is that there have been many tears shed. I plan on spending the rest of the afternoon curled up under a blanket. Today my mind and I just want a break from everything.

Perhaps it would be good for me to push through and go to taekwondo class tonight. To be honest, I just don't want to go tonight. I know that I'm totally unfocused and I really don't want to be around other people right now. At least I had a good workout this morning.

Today's Workout
Cardio: 20 minutes cross-trainer; 20 minutes treadmill - HIIT
Weights: NROL Workout B4
Stretching: 15 minutes
Burpees: 40 {challenge total: 1,000}

Today's Food
Breakfast: 1 tablespoon of peanut butter & 1 banana; 3 egg muffins & 1/2 an avocado
Lunch: *skipped*
Dinner: Shrimp coconut curry
Snacks: 3 dates and a few raw nuts

Am wallowing a bit now, but I'll get over it ... and most importantly, I'm not going to eat my feelings - this way I won't wake up tomorrow feeling depressed & feeling like shit for eating crappy food. At least the mood will probably lift after a good night's sleep ... junk food will stay attached to my ass for a long time!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesdays are My Chill Day

I love that I don't teach on most Wednesdays this semester. It's kinda like a surprise treat in the middle of the week - a day off, then one more day of teaching, and then the weekend.

I had a late night last night so it was kinda nice to get another hour or two extra of sleep (meaning up at 6:45 instead of 4:45 a.m.). The only problem I have with 'lazing' around is that it makes me more lazy and I really don't want to get out of bed.

I've decided to take it easy on Wednesday mornings - spend a bit of time at home, doing things in the house, reading a bit, catching up on blogs etc.

I got to the gym around 9:30 a.m. and just chilled with some of my friends before the 10 a.m. Body Balance class.

Me in the Body Balance studio before class

I took some time to catch up on some reading for my upcoming paper and enjoy the sunshine at the cafe at our gym after showering and changing. I wasn't sure what to do for lunch because I realized that I hadn't made an extra portion of dinner last night, so I decided to grab a salad - their broiled shrimp avocado salad is delicious (no dressing) - and have it at home. Not having to frantically worry about cooking lunch and preparing meals was the highlight of my chill day!

Last week I found out that there was a Zumba class being held in the studio where I do my cardio kickboxing. The class is from 5-6, and it is taught by the person who introduced Zumba to Kuwait. I had been dying to meet her for ages (and I found out she's actually married to one of my classmates, who happens to be the guy who owns the gym where I do my kickboxing) ... Since I really miss doing Zumba and can't fit in the classes that are at my regular gym into my current schedule, I decided to try it out.

It was AMAZING. Her class was way better than any other that I've attended. She's got a fabulous energy about her. I felt a bit stiff since I really haven't done any Zumba since October, but I caught on and did pretty well for my first class with her choreography - I think.

I was dripping with sweat by the time class was over, and although Marc said I didn't need to warm-up with the kickboxing group since I was already warmed up, I did their warm-up anyway.

Had a great kickboxing class, and by the time I was done, I was more than ready to be home, in my pjs, and in bed!!

Today's Workout
Cardio: Zumba class (1 hour)
MMA: Cardio kickboxing (1 hour)
Stretching: Body Balance class (1 hour)
Burpees: 40 {challenge total: 960}

Today's Food
Breakfast: 3 egg muffins & half an avocado
Lunch: Broiled shrimp and avocado salad (from the PQ)
Dinner: White fish with half a sweet potato and legumes
Snacks: 4 dates - eaten throughout the day - and 1/4 cup of mixed nuts and raisins

It was a satisfying day :)

Baked Salmon with Puy Lentils

While I was cooking this, I wasn't happy with the way the puy lentils turned out. There was something missing ... and then I decided to add coriander powder and it totally turned the recipe around. It was so hearty and satisfying. There are perhaps 1 or 2 things I might tweak [mainly I would like to try this out cooking the lentils from scratch vs. using a can and would definitely prefer using fresh tomatoes instead of canned -- although these were good in that they had no preservatives or sugar added] in this recipe, but I think it's quite good as it stands. I really love that I was able to make this without using any oil aside from spraying a bit of olive oil at the bottom of the baking dish.

I had never cooked with puy lentils before (also called bijoux verts). I really enjoyed them. They had quite a meaty texture. There were times when I felt like I was having minced meat!

3 4 oz salmon fillets
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup diced onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced

1 400 g can puy lentils (bijoux verts lentils) - rinsed and drained
1 400 g canned tomatoes with juice

1 1/2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, etc.)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
salt and pepper to taste

For the salmon
1. Place salmon fillets in a baking dish (coat dish with olive oil cooking/non-stick spray). Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and lemon juice over the salmon. Let it marinate for a while (though this is not necessary - you can bake it right away).
2. Bake fillets for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven at 200 C (400 F)

For the lentils
1. Pour tomatoes along with the juice in a sauté pan and break tomatoes up so that they are almost flaked. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add in the onions, garlic, and carrots. Stir and let cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add in the lentils as well as the remaining spices. Stir well. Let the mixture cook and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf prior to serving.

Serve the salmon over the lentils.

Nutritional Info: (per serving; recipe above serves 3 - salmon + lentils)
340 calories
31 g. protein
25 g. carbohydrates (6 g. fiber)4.6 g. fat (1.2 g. saturated fat)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Day in Pictures

Same old stuff going on over here, so I thought I'd do something different today ... my day in photos.

It was a rainy drive to the gym this morning - yup, it was still dark outside. 

My first try at one of those take-a-picture-of-yourself-through-the-mirror -- during my workout this morning

A second self-portrait - after I'm showered and ready for work.

Traffic was unusually bad this morning; I'm glad I left the gym 5 minutes earlier than usual.

I knew I was going to be a bit short on time once I got to my office, so I ate my post-workout breakfast in the car -- sliced up omelet muffins & 1/2 an avocado.

The parking situation sucks at work; I usually park up here on the curb. It's one of the advantages of driving a Hummer ;) [yes I know it sucks for the environment, but I've made my peace with it]

A glimpse of part of the university building that I work in. They've been making some effort recently to add some greenery to the grounds. It definitely gives it a bit more of a welcoming look.

Some people are surprised I take the stairs at work; I'm surprised they don't! It's only 2 flights!

A few motivating words in my office for my students

I love my job, but there are days when I feel like this ... 

The main classroom I'm teaching in this semester. It's so plain and uninspiring. 
Unfortunately it's a shared classroom so there's not much I can do to liven it up. 

My mid-morning snack - mix of raw cashews, almonds, walnuts and some raisins. Only ate 1/4 of it.

A trip to the supermarket - fish/seafood; veggies; egg whites; raw nuts.

I found this stuck to my car door after coming out of the supermarket. I literally laughed out loud when I saw it. Some guy left his number on my car. That hasn't happened in quite a while, hahaha. 

We went from rainy weather in the morning to crazy dusty weather in the afternoon. It was really nasty!

Lunch - salmon over puy lentils. Same as last night's dinner (actually this pic is from last night - 
I was so hungry when I came home that I ate before I could take a pic). 

I had a busy afternoon. I needed to get some paperwork done for my car, but couldn't complete it because of the nasty weather outside. I had an unexpected guest drop by in the evening, and then I headed out for a girl's night at one of my friend's houses. Another busy day!

Today's Workout
Cardio: 15 minutes cross-trainer; 19 minutes treadmill HIIT
Weights: NROL Workout A4 -- I'm really pleased with how I performed today; definitely super-pleased about my 2 sets of 15 reps squats at 60kg (132 lbs); I improved in other areas as well
Stretching: 15 minutes
Burpees: 20 {challenge total: 920/20,130}

Today's Food
Breakfast: 2 dates; 1 tablespoon of peanut butter & then 3 egg muffins & half an avocado post-morning workout
Lunch: Baked salmon on puy lentils (leftovers)
Dinner: Big grilled vegetable salad that also had grilled halloumi in it
Snack: Small slice of chocolate cake at my friend's house; not on plan at all, but I have to admit I did enjoy it.

Looking forward to a hopefully more relaxing day tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fly By Post

Insanely busy day today so just a quick check in.

4:30 a.m. Wake up
6:30 a.m. Gym - a bit of cardio; kettlebell swings; taekwondo practice; burpees; skipping; pull-up practice; and ab work plus some really good stretching
9:15 a.m. Work - good class followed by a research interview
1:30 p.m. Acupuncture
3:00 p.m. Home/Lunch/Rest/Dinner Prep
5:15 p.m. Off to kickboxing - extra long session today
8:15 p.m. Home


Today's Workouts
Cardio: Treadmill
Gym: General conditioning
Stretching: 15 minutes
MMA: Cardio Kickboxing @ ClubFit (1 1/2 hours)
Burpees: 60 {challenge total 900/20,130}

Today's Food
Breakfast: Banana & then 3 egg muffins & half an avocado after the gym at work
Lunch: Scallops and edamame (leftovers from last night)
Dinner: Baked salmon on puy lentils & stewed tomatoes and carrots (new recipe; delicious; will share)
Snack: 2 dates


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Doing What Needed to be Done

Here we go - the proper beginning of a new semester and the start of a 7-week stretch in which I hope I can accomplish a lot. Like the beginning of any routine, there were a few teething problems, but overall I had quite a productive day.

It's been a while since I woke up at 4:45 a.m. but I still felt a bit rushed. I may have to make that time 4:30 a.m. in order to get stuff done and not feel frantic. I hate feeling frantic in the morning. Even though I had a lot of things prepared the night before - my gym bag & my work clothes - there were things that I didn't get to. Namely preparing my veggies for my usual egg muffins and also finishing preparing the worksheets and handouts that I needed for class today. I had to forgo making the muffins and just get my work done in order to make it out of the house at 6:15 and head to the gym.

I had a great workout this morning, but again, I need to probably get to the gym 5-10 minutes earlier because I was rushed towards the end of my workout.

I got to the gym at 6:45 a.m. and did:
5 minutes warm-up/dynamic stretching
20 minutes on the cross-trainer
40 minutes weights - New Rules Workout B3
--- here's where it started to get off track
 I completed my burpees and decided to restart the leg extension exercises that my doctor prescribed for me to strengthen my leg muscles (particularly because my left knee cap is slightly dislocated). This took time that I had not planned for. As a result, I had to shorted the 19 minute interval cardio session that I wanted to do after my weights to just 12 minutes. [It's part of the program that I'm following].

The worst part is that I didn't stretch or cool down properly aside from walking for the 3 minutes on the treadmill before jumping off.

I don't want to skip the post-workout stretch. I think I'll save the physio exercises for the days when I'm not doing weights because I have a bit more time on those days. Plus I do have the leg extension equipment at home so I can always just bang out those three sets of 10 reps in the middle of my day or whenever I've got 10 minutes - it doesn't take too long.

In any case, I left the gym at 9:10 a.m. and was at my desk by 9:30 a.m. I'm so glad traffic wasn't a problem!

Work was great. Last week was kind of a wash so I pretty much started fresh from today. Hopefully I set up a positive, motivating tone for the rest of the semester.

I had a LOT to get done this afternoon/evening. Part of it was prep for classes and the other part had to do with my research. I'm starting my first round of interviews for the new project that I'm working on. There was a lot more that needed to be done than I realized ...

Unfortunately as a consequence, I didn't go to taekwondo/BJJ class. Of course I wanted to go, but at the same time I knew I had to get this work done. Also, even though I pushed through and went to class on Thursday, I really wasn't comfortable in class while I had my period. I didn't enjoy it and kinda had a looming sense of dread before, during, and after the class ... why put myself through that again?

To end on a positive note:
The pain from my cramps for the past four months have been bad. They've been excruciating since October - to the point where, aside from the pain, I'm nauseous and extremely dizzy. Within the first 72 hours, I usually take around 20 painkillers ...

This month, I've hardly had any pain. I have needed to take painkillers - I took 6 on Thursday, 2 on Friday, and 2 on Saturday - but that's it. That's it!

Previously on a pain scale of 1-10 I would rank my pain at a 15, no exaggeration. This month, I'd put it at a 7 max.

Could the acupuncture be working? I've only had 2 sessions. Of everything in my life, that's the only thing that's really changed ... could it really be working???

All I know is that I feel really relieved. Not all my health problems have been resolved (I have an appointment with a new doctor on Thursday), but not being in terrible pain has been such a relief. No tears or depression this time. There was some pain and definitely discomfort and bloating etc, but what a difference ... I'm really happy. I've got another acupuncture session tomorrow.

Today's Workout
Cardio: 32 minutes total (mix of cross-trainer and treadmill)
Weights: NROL Workout B3
Stretching: 5 minutes
Burpees: 60 {challenge total: 840/20,130}

Today's Food
Breakfast: 3 dates, 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (eaten over a span of 3 hours)
Lunch: curried potatoes and rice (the last of the leftovers - too many carbs!)
Dinner: baked scallops with edamame and sweet potato (new recipe)

Leftovers etc. are finally done, the goodies that D's parents didn't finish from their welcome basket made their way into the house, but they have been put out of sight - I'm totally done with carbs and sugar. I made too many little exceptions last week. Even though I know I kicked ass with my exercise, we've all heard it before - You can't out train a bad diet. So now it's all coming together. *Whew*

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Back to 'Normal'

From tomorrow, things will be back to normal, and I am so EXCITED!

D's parents left Kuwait today, so that marks the end of family visits (dad earlier this month and his parents for the past ten days), which also means that I can finally get into my routine the way I would like it to be.

My proper teaching schedule starts tomorrow, and that will basically be the foundation of my day. The rest of my routine will be organized around my classes/office hours/meetings/prep/marking etc. Although having time off is nice, I definitely function better when I've got a schedule in place and a routine to follow.

Not having out of town visitors also means no more eating out. Even though I tried to make the best choices when I went out, I know I ate more than usual and the foods were not always prepared in the healthiest way possible. Now I am back in control in terms of food and that feels really, really good.

I've pretty much got a clear stretch to work & workout for the next 7 weeks after which I've got my first trip of the year (Dallas, TX for a conference - yay!). I really, really want to make these next 7 weeks count and hopefully reward myself with a mini shopping spree in the States :)

Week in Review (Jan. 20 - 26)
Workouts: 13 in total [1 outdoor walk/run; 1 body balance class; 3 cardio-focus sessions; 2 weight training sessions; 6 MMA training practices]
Daily stretching: 7 days - 15 minutes a day
Burpee count: 340 {challenge total: 780/20,130}

Plan for the upcoming week -- try to complete as many things on my January 2013 Checklist!! I'm especially falling behind on my academic stuff. I really can't slack in that area. I've got a lot of catching up to do. I definitely have to modify my plans for next month and make them a bit more realistic. Most importantly, totally clean up my eating!!

Today's Workout
MMA: Cardio Kickboxing @ClubFit (1 hour 15 min)
Stretching: 15 minutes
Burpees: 30 {chalenge total: 780/20,130}

Today's Food
Breakfast: 1/2 blueberry muffin & caramel latte (ya, I know); 1/2 egg white omelet (it wasn't very good) & green tea
Lunch: grilled lamb w/hummus and pita bread
Dinner: tandoori fish; curried potatoes and rice (leftovers from yesterday)
Snacks: a few different sweets - mindless eating really *shaking my head*

Alright, it's the end of the weekend. My meals for the week are done; my outfits for work have been laid out. My intended workouts have been outlined. A good night's rest and I should be good to go! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Bit of Rest and a Bit of a Run

It felt amazing to not have to set my alarm this morning. I still woke up before 7 a.m. but I felt totally rested. I have to say, my quality of sleep has really improved lately. I think has to do with the amount of exercising I've been doing. I've been going to bed tired and falling right asleep, and what's more important is that I've been staying asleep instead of waking up every hour feeling anxious and stressed. It's such a welcome change. During the week I could definitely use a bit more sleep, but for now, I'm very happy with the improved quality of sleep.

Most of the day was pretty calm and relaxing. I had some work to get done, errands to finish up, and as usual some things around the house to take care of. Despite being a relatively relaxing day, I was a bit tired in the afternoon. I thought I'd lie down for half an hour ... that half hour nap turned into a 1 1/2 hour nap! It felt so good though!

I wanted to do a little something in terms of exercise today but I wasn't sure what. I decided to try out a new running track that's been paved near my house. I've seen people walking there but I've never gone to try it out. So, I put on my running shoes and headed out.

The track was ok. The most annoying thing is that the distances were not marked on the track, so I have no idea of the distance that I covered - I'm guessing around 2 1/2 km. I did a combination of walking and jogging and was out there for 40 minutes. It was a lot windier than I had expected.

I'm glad I checked out the track. It's so close to my house that it should make getting out there at least once a week possible. I'm definitely going to figure out the distance for next time though.

I'm going out to dinner tonight and then I'll be making a late appearance at a friend's baby shower.

Today's Workouts
Cardio: 40 minutes - outdoor run/walk
Stretching: 15 minutes
Burpees: 20 {challenge total: 750/20,130}

Today's Food
Breakfast: Egg muffin
Lunch: Vegetable soup and some homemade tuna salad
Dinner: Grilled tandoori fish

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pushing through the Ick

I'm not sure how I made it through today. I mean, technically, I should have been exhausted and wiped out. I've had a long week. I didn't get much sleep last night. Plus I got my period today and was feeling crappy. Plus today was a national holiday so there could have been a big temptation to just curl up under a blanket on the sofa, find something to munch on, and watch back-to-back episodes of Top Chef.

When I look at my week and my day on paper, I would not have been surprised if that is what had happened.

But it didn't.

I knew that my routine would be off today since it was a holiday. D and I were going to meet his parents for breakfast at 9 and after that ... well, no solid plans really. Not having a plan for the day is usually what sets me up for failure.

Even though I only got 4 hours of sleep - because I stayed up to watch the Arsenal football match and it was totally worth it because of their win (finally!) - I got up at 5:45 and hoped that my eyes would open up enough so that I could make my way to the gym.

As I started to pack up my gym bag, I felt my energy start to pick up.

Some jammin' tunes in my car and I was looking forward to my morning workout.

When I walked into the gym at 6:45 a.m. it was absolutely empty aside from 1 trainer and the receptionist.

I love having the gym to myself! I quickly did some dynamic stretches, jumped around a bit, and then got on the cross-trainer to warm-up. I wanted to do workout 3A of New Rules of Lifting so I headed straight to the free weights section of the gym.

This first phase of the program is just to warm-up. Each workout is 2 sets of 15 reps each. I started off relatively light, but I'm happy to say that after just a few days, I'm already lifting heavier though not as heavy as I can actually lift. Doing more reps and fewer sets always messes with my mind a bit because I want to lift heavier, but it's just not possible when you've got that many reps, especially when you want to maintain good form.

I'm happy with today's sets:

Squats: 50 kg (110 lb); 55 kg (121 lb)
Lunges w/barbell: 30 kg (66 lb); 40 kg (88 lb)
One arm dumbbell row: 12.5 kg (27.5 lb); 15 kg (33 lb)

I did some core work and finished up my 60 burpees plus my stretching.

Breakfast was great and because I ate a bit more than usual and wasn't really feeling hungry, I skipped lunch.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at home preparing my lessons for the upcoming week. For some reason it was really stressing me out. I couldn't visualize how I wanted to approach my class so I was kind of stuck on how to lay out my plans. It was really frustrating and I just felt unsettled ... and then it kinda went downhill.

My mood started to throw off my desire to go to taekwondo tonight. I know that I just wrote a post about remembering the post-workout adrenaline. Trust me, I repeated it over and over again to myself. I guess I was just feeling icky, especially with my period, and the last thing I wanted to do was feel apprehensive while working out and wearing a white Gi. Ugh. How irritating that I even need to think about all of these things (or do I?).

Anyway. I went. I got through class. It was good - we did over 1,000 different kicks and boy was I did I feel it in my glutes and thighs.

I'm glad I went though I have to admit I didn't feel like I got the best workout, mainly because I was just feeling yucky. I kinda just felt like I did what I had to do. *shrug* I went through the motions but didn't feel it which irritates me coz' I love enjoying my workouts.

Still, it has been a long week/day. I guess not every workout can be a phenomenal one.

Today's Workouts
Cardio: 20 minutes on the cross-trainer
Weights: NROL Workout 3A
Stretching: 15 minutes
Burpees: 80 {challenge total: 730/20,130}
MMA: Taekwondo (45 minutes @ Sidekick Academy)

Today's Food
Breakfast: To be honest, I kinda lost track - smoked salmon w/cucumber and labneh plus a few other things that I tasted; I didn't eat until I was full, just enough to feel satisfied
Lunch: Nothing
Dinner: Baked fish, potato, and peas
After dinner: After 8

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Putting up a Fight

In my recent posts, comments from both Marion at Affection for Fitness and Marc at Fat of Fit? got me thinking -- what are my fitness goals.

I'm doing a lot of different things at the moment, and while it may seem a bit chaotic, I'm actually really enjoying everything I'm doing. In fact there are several other things I'd be doing right now if I had more time (and I'd probably need more energy) - namely CrossFit, Zumba, and RPM.

Since I can't do it all (hrrumph) I'm focusing on MMA at the moment. I'm doing a combination of boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo, and Jiujitsu. What I'd really like to do is get to the point where I have developed very good technique and some bad ass power behind my punches (I'm very, very close). I still have a LOT of work to do on my kicks and knees. The ultimate goal is to train at Fight Club Kuwait. They're really intense and very, very good. I want to be sure I have a good foundation and feel up to it before I join so that I'm totally committed --- and then I can really kick some ass!

Right now I'm doing my MMA training 5-6 nights a week.

In the mornings I'm working on my cardio, resistance training, and flexibility.

Again, it may seem like a lot, but I believe all the workouts compliment each other ... and as long as I make sure to eat right and get proper rest, I think I'll be fine.


This morning I headed to Body Balance class. I cannot emphasize how much I absolutely adore that class. Many people come in and assume that it's going to be easy stretching and just some basic yoga. Let me tell you, we work up a sweat!

This evening I had cardio kickboxing. I was happy to be rockin' my new t-shirt from Fight Club Kuwait - co-sponsored with Fighting Against Rape, a foundation in Sweden that promotes self-denfense for women (and men).

I tried a spinning back fist today for the first time -- loved it, though of course I need more practice. :)

Today's Workout
Stretching: Body Balance (1 hour)
MMA: Cardio Kickboxing @ ClubFit (1 hour)
Burpees 40 {challenge total: 650/20,130

Today's Food
Breakfast: Egg muffins with quarter an avocado
Lunch: Grilled shrimp with sundried tomato
Dinner: White fish cooked with sweet potato, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, and mushrooms

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Remembering the Adrenaline

After my first full day back at work, followed by a leisurely lunch with a friend, I headed home to rest for a bit  and do a few things in the house before this evening's taekwondo class ... and I have to admit, as it got closer to the time to leave the house, I started to get lazy.

I started to think of so many excuses - I was tired, my cramps were acting up, it's been a long day, etc. etc.

I knew I was just being lazy, and I also knew that I'd kick myself in the ass later for not working out, especially since I didn't go to the gym in the morning.

So I packed up my gym bag and headed out. In taekwondo class did lots of drills, mainly focusing on legs/lower body - tons of squats and kicks. We did some pad work and then it was time for Brazilian Jiujitsu. I'm loving both classes, particularly BJJ. It's a short class, and we only learn one move per session, but still - it's a lot to take in and it takes time to get it right.

On the drive home, the adrenaline kicked in. I felt so good.

I think I'm quite disciplined when it comes to getting my workouts in. It's just on days like these when that inner chubby chick resurfaces and tries to tempt me to stay on the couch and find something (anything) in the house to munch on.

It's ok that the chubby chick is still there because it reminds me of how far I've come and how strong I've become ... and it keeps motivating me to keep on going.

Today's Workout
MMA: Taekwondo & BJJ @ Sidekick Academy (1 1/2 hours)
Stretching: 15 minutes
Burpees: 20 {challenge total: 610/20.130}

Today's Food
Breakfast: Egg muffins
Lunch: Shrimp avocado salad
Dinner: Salmon baked with sun dried tomato and half a baked sweet potato (it was SO good!)
Snack: Banana, 2 dates, 2 teaspoons of natural peanut butter, green tea

Monday, January 21, 2013

If it doesn't challenge you ...

To lose weight and get healthy takes consistent effort. About 8 or 9 years ago, I wasn't making any effort. Then I finally started going to the gym, but I didn't change anything about my eating habits. I barely lost any weight.

Then I started to change my eating habits (quantity not quality) plus exercise, and the weight started coming off a bit more.

Finally I got the combination right -- exercise & eat clean. That's when the real progress happened.

That's where I'm at right now ... but where to go from here? I obviously still have a long way to go, but if I'm already following that winning combination, what do I do next?

I feel like each step has involved a reevaluation of my goals and a recommitment to fitness. I had to accept that I needed to step up my game in some way in order to see the change I wanted to see. Exercise was good, but it wasn't enough. Watching my portions was good, but it was not enough. I needed to do more.

There were many times when I thought - Wow, how much more can I do?

The truth is, the little slip ups here and there (the 'one doesn't matter' mentality) were adding up. I wasn't ready for that. It wasn't working for me.

When I was talking to one of the trainers at my gym about the soreness I was feeling after doing the burpees he said to me -- That's when you need to push harder and do a few more. That's when your body will change. 

So that's where I'm at right now. I'm still working on cleaning up my diet more and in terms of exercise, I need to make sure that even if I'm doing a few exercises (new rules of lifting only involves 4-5 exercises per session), I need to make sure I focus on form and technique and push myself. It's good if it's tough. That means my body is working harder towards achieving the changes I want to see.

It was after talking to him that I decided to push through with the burpees. I knew that the soreness in my thighs wasn't an injury - it was just my muscle reacting to the exercise. The thing about resting for a day or two is that I had to go through that initial soreness again.

For the past 4 days I've been banging them out and I'm really happy to say I don't have any soreness. I can definitely feel their impact, but I'm not wincing in pain with every step. It feels good to know that I'm getting stronger.


Ironically, even though we signed in at work to start our semester yesterday, we didn't have work today ... and aside from our first day of class tomorrow, the rest of the week is off as well - gotta love Kuwait University! :)

I took advantage of the day by getting in an early workout and then heading to another acupuncture session. The acupuncturist wanted to see me twice this week to kind of kickstart the process, and then I'll continue once a week for the next month to see if the treatment helps at all with my pain reduction.

Did you know there were that many pressure points on our head? 

I've gotten used to the feeling of the needles, but the dizziness and light-headedness after the session is really annoying. I had some dates with me for a bit of sugar/energy after the session. I needed them!

I really wanted to go home and sleep after the session, but I forced myself to go to the supermarket. My fridge and pantry are in desperate need for some sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and salad stuff.

Having lunch pre-prepared was a blessing! I definitely need to make sure I stay on top of that because once the semester really gets into full swing, it'll get easy to start slacking.

A quick lunch, a nap on the couch, a few tasks around the house plus a few blog comments throughout the afternoon.

I had a killer kickboxing class this evening. Marc has really upped the intensity of our combinations and I'm happy to say that I'm keeping up! It felt brilliant leaving the club drenched in sweat.

Tonight's dinner was out at a buffet -- luckily they had several options of delicious fish. I really enjoyed my meal. I ate a bit more than usual, but nothing terrible at all.

Today's Workout
Weights: NROL - Workout 2B (about 30 minutes)
Burpees: 60 {challenge total: 590/20,130}
MMA: cardio kickboxing 45 minutes @ ClubFit
Stretching: 15 minutes

Today's Food
Breakfast: Banana & 3 dates (one after my workout, 2 after acupuncture)
Lunch: baked white fish with 1/3 sweet potato (leftovers from yesterday)
Dinner: variety of seafood along with salad, some lentil soup, and baklava

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Trying Out the New Plan

One of the best things I learned to do (practiced doing) since last year was not getting so freaked out and uptight when things didn't go according to plan. Something always seemed to come up. I didn't want those incidents to throw me off course. Rather, I wanted to learn how to roll with the punches and still make the most of my day.

Trying out the workout
Yesterday I put together my morning weights workout plan. My intention is to do this three times a week. The whole workout should take about 1 1/2 hours though I've put aside 2 hours just in case.

Of course this morning I realized that since it was the first day of the semester, I needed to go to work an hour earlier than I will have to starting next week. That totally threw off my timing.

Still, I shortened my warm-up, went straight for the weights workout, did my burpees, and then cooled down & stretched. I wanted to include a short HIIT session after the weights, but I skipped that for today. Hopefully I'll get it in next time.

Trying out the food
I made my egg muffins (basically following this recipe) first thing in the morning but then decided that I didn't want to eat them just before my morning workout. I thought they'd make a better post-workout meal - but would they taste ok cold? There are no food heating facilities at my gym & I definitely wanted to eat something after my workout. It turns out they were ok cold. I think I'm going to chop them up and add half an avocado for a more complete meal. I ate them at 8:30 a.m. -- I was hungry by 10:30. The last thing I want is for my stomach to be growling in the middle of one of my lectures!

I've also decided to make an extra portion of dinner so that I can eat it for lunch the next day. I'm just way too hungry by the time I get home - and being hungry & impatient often leads to unhealthy choices. I'm going to try the leftovers for lunch thing out and see how it goes.

Trying out acupuncture
Yes - this is something new. I finally got an appointment with an acupuncturist who is supposed to be really good. I decided to go because the cramps from my fibroids have just gotten too painful. I'm getting them daily. Although they only occur 3-4 times a day for a short time, it's still enough to make me feel really uncomfortable and of course in pain. I definitely don't want to go through another surgery, and I do believe that's where I'm headed, without trying out other options. So acupuncture it was.

The acupuncturist was optimistic that she could help. I also told her about a few little niggling pains I had in my knee, hip, and shoulder (all on the left side) as well as my migraines and she said she could help with those as well. I'll write more about my experience in another post. For now I'll just say that it wasn't too bad and I'm hopeful.

I will be seeing her regularly for at least a month. This is not something that I planned for, so I'll have to see how I can incorporate this change into my schedule.

Today's Workout
Cardio: 20 minutes on the cross-trainer
Weights: NROL - Workout 2A (about 30 minutes)
Burpees: 90 {challenge total: 530/20,130}
MMA: taekwondo & jiu jitsu @ Sidekick Academy (75 min)
Stretching: 15 minutes

Today's Food
Breakfast pre-workout: Banana
Breakfast post-workout: Egg muffins (3 = 180 calories total)
Lunch: grilled lamb, hummus, muhamara, and 2 pita breads {leftovers from last night}
Dinner: baked white fish with 1/3 sweet potato and some peas
Snack: 2 chocolate digestive biscuits

Exercise was great; food wasn't perfect, but am definitely much more on track.

I'm satisfyingly sore and really sleepy.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Phase 2 of 2013

Week in Review (Jan. 13 - 19)

As part of the 13 in 13 challenge, I wrote out goals for both the year and the month. In order to help me focus on what needed to be done, I typed up and printed out a very simple, basic checklist. I've spent many hours planning, organizing, making lists, and doing it over and over again until it looked right/looked appealing ... it got to the point where I spent too much bloody time planning and not nearly enough time doing! So this time I kept it simple:

I'm definitely behind which is really annoying, but it is what it is. I just gotta try and fill up as many more blanks as I can. At the end of the month I'll reevaluate the plan and modify as necessary.

I started off the year by writing down my workouts and what I ate at the end of my blog post. I need to get back to doing that. It'll help me keep track of what I'm doing and also how it is having an impact on my progress. Plus I know that tracking my food always helps me stick to my plan.

My week in review: 
Workout sessions: 3 cardio; 2 weight training; 5 martial arts; 1 body balance
Daily stretching: 7 days
Burpee count: 300 {challenge total: 440/20,130}

Plan for the upcoming week

I had such big plans for my 3 week vacation but it didn't go as well as I had hoped. I did get a few things done and I think I did the best I could in terms of exercise given my bronchitis. I'm actually kind of relieved that I'll be getting back into a more structured routine. I definitely think having the time off and being home for so much time (coz' of the illness) led to me eating more than I should have.

I start my new semester tomorrow. I spent about four hours today getting organized for the week.
What I got done:
  • this week's menu [breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks] + grocery list
  • filled in my planner with the week's errands and appointments
  • organized my lessons
  • tried on and selected my work outfits for the week
  • wrote out my workouts
In addition to this I got some general house prep done - laundry, organizing, etc. This upcoming week will still be a bit off plan since D's parents are still here. However, I've worked that into my schedule as well. I'm hoping that I'll be able to stick to it, but I've got a few contingency plans set aside as well. Saturday mornings will definitely be put aside as my organization day. I feel much calmer and in control now that the plan has been written out. I'll be really happy if I'm able to implement it. We'll see how it goes.

Something new in my schedule that I started today was going to a Saturday session of kickboxing at ClubFit. We had a great class today. It totally got me revved up for the upcoming week.

Let's get Phase 2 of 2013 started!

Friday, January 18, 2013

No Equipment, No Excuse!

Since I've worked out each day this week, even twice on some days, I've given myself Fridays as a kind of rest/workout as needed day. I want to push myself, but I don't want to overdo it. I certainly don't want to feel guilty for taking some time to recover if needed.

I wasn't really going to do anything today, but I felt rested enough (and definitely well fed) so I put together a home workout for myself.

I was going to use some of the exercises that Norma wrote about in her blog recently (read this and this). Those workouts called for nothing but some water bottles and a couch. Seriously, no excuse to not doing at least a few of those exercises each day. However, I decided to take it one step further and not use any equipment at all. All you need is your body, a bit of space, and the desire to get it done.

Today's at home workout (total 50 minutes):

Warm-up (5 min)
dynamic stretches (arm circles, leg swings, hip circles, etc. (here's a link for some ideas)


60 jumping jacks

10 burpees
20 lunges per leg
10 burpees
20 ab crunches
10 burpees
20 deep squats
20 sets of 2 left jabs + 2 right crosses
10 burpees
20 butt raises
20 push ups (regular, on knees or toes)
10 burpees
20 side leg ups per leg
10 burpees
20 kneeling leg kicks per leg
10 burpees
20 reverse curls
10 burpees

20 sets of 2 hooks/side & 2 jabs/side
10 burpees
20 bicycle crunches
10 burpees

60-sec plank hold

Cool down (15 minutes)
I combined basic cool down stretches (examples here) with some of my usual yoga moves

[At the end of this workout I realized I only had 20 burpees left to make it 120 (I'm trying to do 60 a day and I'm really behind) so I went ahead and did them. 

An hour and I'm done. 

Take some time, put together your favorite playlist with some heart-pumping tunes and get to it!

Mental Scolding vs. Negative Self-Talk

This morning I read Diane's post: Stumbles Can Really Trip You Up, and in my comment I wrote something that I wanted to pursue a bit further.

I've had a bit of trouble finding my footing since I came down with bronchitis earlier this month. For 3-4 days I hardly ate anything. As I started to get better, my appetite started to return. I wasn't eating junk food, but I wasn't eating nearly as clean as I should have been eating. Bread has been my biggest issue. Although having 2 slices of bread may not seem like much, I knew that it wasn't what I wanted to eat or should be eating - especially given that I know how NOT eating bread feels so much better.

The main problem was that I had the food in the house. I know that I've written many times before - both in my blogs and in comments - about not buying unhealthy foods (unhealthy to any degree and at any level) in the first place. As I said in a previous post, the foods were in the house for other people. It's the reality, and it's also the excuse I used to let go and lose my focus.

I wish I had exercised more self-control and discipline. However, I didn't. I ate. I wasn't mindful. I wasn't vigilant.

Out here in the blogging world there are many people who write about setbacks and binges. There are many words and phrases - accountability, honesty, guilt, being forgiving of myself - that are expressed when describing these setbacks.

We all look at these occurrences from our own perspective. Some people are really tough on themselves - so tough that they eat even more to cope. Others are lenient with themselves and convince themselves that 'one doesn't matter.' A few are mean towards themselves and really criticize their 'failings.' I could go on.

Whenever I'd binge in the past, this is the commentary that would happen in my head:

'You're disgusting. Have you no self-control? You're such a loser. You're useless. You're so fat and ugly. You should be ashamed of yourself. You're pathetic.'

I knew I had done something silly, something that was not helping me work towards reaching my goals at all ... but my negative self-talk didn't help either. It just made me feel worse. It made me feel like there was no way I was going to come out of this abyss. Not only was I useless, but the situation that I was in was hopeless as well. That's when the 'might as well ...' statements started going through my head - just to make things worse!

I'm still irritated at myself for the Doritos incident from Tuesday. I'm annoyed that I'm feeling so hungry and that all I want to do is eat. I'm worried and fearful about losing complete control.

I am aware of all these thoughts and feelings ... and now the dialogue in my head goes like this:

'You need to stop. You need to be careful. It's ok to be hungry, just don't eat crap. Think about all the progress you have made. Do you really want that hard work to go to waste? Eat to fuel your body. Eat to enjoy the flavors of foods that are good for you. You are strong. You are in control. Do not let an inanimate object have power over you. You talk about discipline and focus - now practice it. Be smart. As yourself - are you really hungry? If you are - EAT. Do not be afraid of food, but watch yourself. Do not be stupid. Do not hurt yourself because you deserve better.'

I've noticed a really big change in my tone. While my previous self was really, really harsh and didn't help at all, my current self is still angry, but not in a way that shoves me deeper into a hole. I think it's important to be careful, aware, and strict with yourself. For me, mindless eating is not okay. I don't need to make myself suicidal over it (which used to be the case sometimes), but I do need to be stern with myself.

Some people may see this as a bit extreme. Again, this is just my reaction to the choices that I have made.

Yesterday when I was sitting outside, having some green tea, and waiting for a friend, all I could think was 'I really want a chocolate chip cookie.' That's when I stopped myself and said - eat if you're hungry, but don't eat crap.

I think this is the best advice that I've given to myself. I've gone through so many periods in my life where my fear of eating has led me to starve myself -- which of course only ended up in a binge of junk food ... not smart at all.

Again, to some people having a cheese sandwich may not seem like a big deal. A bag of Doritos (the first time I've eaten chips in who knows how many months - maybe even a year) in the scheme of things may not be a big deal at all. Perhaps it's not. The main thing is that I didn't need it and I really should be more careful.

I do not hate myself for how I've been eating for the past few days, but I do feel disappointed. I know that I can work hard and get back on track RIGHT NOW (not tomorrow or after the next meal or next week) and get over that disappointment. It's so much more uplifting to work with that type of attitude versus one where you just want to continue to hurt yourself in order to somehow escape the self-loathing.

This new perspective - that the reason I should eat well and exercise is because I deserve better - is a huge change for me. I am confident that this rough patch is over (mainly because all that other food is out of the house!!) and that I will continue with the healthy lifestyle that I have been working so hard to cultivate.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An Ordinary Day

I had dinner plans today so I knew that I wasn't going to make my taekwondo class at night. I do hate missing class, but sometimes things can't be avoided -- and family always comes first.

I hit the gym in the afternoon. I warmed up on the treadmill and headed into the free-weights room.

I love how now I don't hesitate or feel self-conscious when I'm walking into the weights room, which is  predominantly filled with guys lifting heavy weights. Now I'm lifting heavy weights alongside them.

Of course there's still the occasional guy who looks with an expression of - What are you doing in here? It's great watching that expression change to - Damn! I'm impressed ;)

I've decided to follow New Rules of Lifting. Since I've already completed the New Rules of Lifting for Women, I've decided to start on the one that is for men. The exercises are pretty much the same. We'll see how it goes.

It felt good to have a 'normal' workout -- I've been so involved in classes and group fitness lately that I forgot how enjoyable the solitary exercise experience is as well.

It was great having my music on, my plan in hand, and the weights in front of me.

I finished up with 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. In between my exercises I jumped rope (100 skips - no double unders though). Finally, I did 15 minutes of really good deep stretching ... and then I was good to go!

It was really great seeing some of the trainers I hadn't seen in a while and having them comment on my progress. They were very encouraging and supportive of my exploration into martial arts. They were also great about telling me they would help me out with my lifting whenever I needed them, which has been something that's been on my mind since I'm still unsure of my CrossFit status.

It felt really good to know that I had a positive support team behind me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Adventures

When I sent to Sidekick Academy 2 weeks ago, I got there early. One of the team members told me to have a seat and watch the training session that was going on at the moment. It was a session for kids. There must have been about 40-50 3-6 year olds, all dressed in their white Gis, watching the trainers, and then each taking turns practicing their moves.

I'm not one to gush over kids at all -- but it was one of the cutest things I had ever seen. The trainers were fantastic; the kids were quite attentive (as much as possible with that many 3-6 year olds in one room), and they all did a great job. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them.

That day, after my first free trial session, I paid for a month's membership and was handed a bag with my first Gi.

When I got home and opened it of course my first thought was - It's not going to fit.

Not to worry. It did fit, and I threw a few punches and kicks and was relieved when I found that it was actually quite comfortable and didn't rip in any critical areas when throwing a kick, hahaha.

There are strings to either side of the Gi which you tie together to hold the Gi in place. I had to figure out what type of t-shirt I would be wearing underneath - one that was fitted enough to not get in the way, but also loose enough to be comfortable. In general, wearing the Gi and training was going to take some getting used to.

The class is basically 1 1/2 hours. For the first 15 minute we warm up with dynamic stretches and cardio (burpees, jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, etc.) Then we focus on striking techniques - sometimes just shadow boxing type practice and sometimes with pads/bags --- this seems to be a mixture of taekwondo & kickboxing. I'm not exactly sure if it has a specific name. I should find out.

The last half hour focuses on Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Wow. Talk about trying something new that I've never done before!

Brazilian jiu jitsu - or BJJ - is basically grappling techniques. The objective is to learn how to get out of a hold by using your body leverage (not by striking).

The one thing that I had to come to terms with immediately is - You've got to be comfortable with your body. Let me tell you right now, I am not comfortable with my body. I'm getting there, but at that point in time, there was no way I thought I could just lie there on the ground with some guy right on top of me basically throwing me around.

I immediately felt tense. Would I be able to do this? Maybe I've bitten off more than I could chew. Still, I was there, so my only option really was to suck it up and get through the class.

I did. I survived. I enjoyed it!

The whole reason behind why I wanted to pursue martial arts training is because I want to get over my mental blocks, my fear, my hesitations.

I have completed 2 10-kms without any training, I've lifted heavy, heavy weights, I've been boxing and doing kickboxing for a few months now ... I know that I am physically strong and able to do a lot. With proper training, I can do even more.

The main thing that is holding me back is my self-doubt.

I think martial arts takes an enormous amount of discipline and mental focus. You've got to concentrate on your technique. You've got to learn how to keep your cool when you see a fist coming towards your face. You've got to react quickly. You've got to trust your body and yourself.

These are skills that I want/need to develop.

BJJ is perfect for that. You cannot let fear hold you back. After letting my fears hold me back for so many years, this is definitely what I need to be doing right now to move forward and really push myself.

I'm slightly apprehensive about what lies ahead, but I'm definitely very, very excited.

Last night I did passed my first test for my white belt ... let the adventures continue.

Me & my 1st white belt - Jan. 15, 2013 - Sidekick Academy, Kuwait

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Burpees Did It

I've realized that the soreness in my thighs that I was feeling earlier this month is actually from the 60-daily burpees that I've been trying to do each day (I have not been successful at doing these on a daily basis, but I haven't given up). After doing my 60 burpees on Sunday (after a 9-day recovery period from my bronchitis) my thighs were killing me. I'm torn between just ignoring the soreness and continuing the burpees so that I don't have to keep going through this soreness or taking a day or two to rest and recover before continuing.

I did not do the burpees yesterday ... but now all I keep thinking about is how behind I am with my burpee count.

My workouts have been spot on.

Yesterday I went to Body Balance in the morning. Marko has taken over the class since his wife, who used to lead the class, has gone to work at another gym. I was a bit apprehensive about how the class would go. It's hard to switch to a new group exercise leader when you're so used to one person and their particular style (plus they know your strengths and weaknesses) but he was great & I really, really enjoyed the class.

At night I had a killer kickboxing session at ClubFit. Marc really pushed me in the beginning - forcing me to put out the idea of being sick and just focus on what I could do and bang out those punches. It was terrific.

Today I had another session at Sidekick Academy. The taekwondo/kickboxing session is nothing too new for me. They're quite technical about getting form and posture right, which is great. The Brazilian jiujitsu part is really interesting -- something very different from anything I've ever done before.

So, my exercise has been great.

The thing that I've been faltering with for the past 3 days is food. I don't know what's happened to me but I do know that I need to get a grip.

This is something that I've been chanting over and over to myself. There's no point exercising for 2-3 hours a day and then eating a bag of Doritos (which is what I did today). They were in the house and I ate them. I'm totally surprised at myself and on the other hand I'm not that surprised.

The appetite that I lost during the worst part of my bronchitis has obviously returned. First it was bread and cheese and today it was chips. This is not good. There's food leftover from when my dad was here - it's gone now - and now there are some munchies that are part of the welcome basket for D's parents. They arrive tomorrow so all that food will be gone too.

I'm definitely disappointed in myself. I should be able to share the same living space with a bag of chips and not give in to temptation ... the fact that I did so gluttonously consume something that I knew was bad for me makes me realize that I do have a long way to go. This is the first time in a LONG time that I had such a binge. I'm going to do my best to ensure that it's the absolute last time that happens.

I've always preached - Don't bring the food in the house. I broke this cardinal rule. Shame on me.

It's done. I'm here now.

There's work to be done!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Training Issues

My training schedule is upside down at the moment. I've got my list of things that I want to achieve (based on my goals for January and 2013). However, I don't feel organized.

My main issue is with CrossFit. The advanced class that I was a part of has been cancelled because there were only 3 of us attending. The other two girls do a lot of CrossFit and also do Olympic lifting with the Box. They also have their own beginners class. The Coach suggested that I join their class to keep with the training. However, after my first experience at the end of last year, I am reluctant to try. The girls are really good and very enthusiastic about CrossFit. However, the reason why I joined the Box and stuck with this one is because I was paying for the expertise of our Coach.

A lot of people hear the word CrossFit and immediately think of injuries and overtraining. However, I truly believe that if you have a good trainer who knows what they are doing, then you'll be fine. When you're doing such intense exercises and you're lifting that much weight, you've got to trust and have complete confidence in those who are around you, particularly your trainer.

I only ever felt that way with our Coach ... and now he's not giving the classes, so I really don't feel comfortable training.

What this boils down to, at the moment, is that I won't be continuing with CrossFit.

I'm quite sad about this. I really did enjoy it and saw a lot of progress in my general fitness levels.

Still, it's not the end of the world. There are tons more things that I can do to continue with my training. I just need to figure it out. I guess that's the phase I'm in at the moment.

I've definitely got plenty going on. I've got Sidekick Academy for my taekwondo/kickboxing/jiujitsu training. Plus I've got the cardio kickboxing at ClubFit. On top of that I've got my general gym membership for regular training.

I know 3 gym memberships sounds insane, but I actually use ALL of them regularly.

I definitely do not want to stop resistance training. I absolutely believe that lifting weights is the way to go. However, I've got to balance it out with the martial arts training that I'm starting. I don't want to overdo it. I'd like the workouts to all compliment each other. Since I'm not doing CrossFit anymore, perhaps I'll just do weight training at my regular gym and get a personal trainer once in a while when I want to focus on heavy lifts. I'm not sure.

This is going to take some working out.

I'm supposed to meet with a trainer later on this week to talk about my general nutrition and fitness goals. Hopefully he'll help me figure out how to balance everything so that I'm getting the most out of the energy and time (and money) that I've invested into these different workouts.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back at the Gym

I finally went back to the gym today. It was really cold this morning (6C/42F) but at least the sun was out.

The view of the outdoor pool area of my health club - Palms, Kuwait

I'm always a bit cautious after having my bronchitis phases because I really don't want a setback. At the same time, I've taken 9 days off from the gym - 9!!!! I don't even want to think about that number!

I started off with 20 minutes on the treadmill. I threw in a few mild sprints (total 6 minutes) just to test my lungs. The breathlessness after each sprint set didn't feel that great, but I didn't have a coughing fit which is a great sign.

I feel like I've come to a bit of a crossroads with my training (more on that later) so I decided to restart the New Rules of Lifting program. This time, however, I'm doing the men's one (very similar exercises)   just to change up the routine. Plus D is doing the program for the first time so it'll be nice to compare our progress.

So I started off with day one of the warm-up phase of the program. It felt good to be lifting again even though I took it fairly easy and didn't lift too heavy. My body felt quite stiff after all that time off. I'm sure I'm going to feel sore tomorrow!

I was very hesitant about doing burpees today, but I'm already so behind in my count that I had to get it done. So, somehow I banged out 60 burpees (burpees suck) and didn't collapse. That's a good sign.

In the evening I went for my first official taekwondo/kickboxing/jiujitsu class at Sidekick Academy. It went really well. We did tons of push-ups - I really need to work on improving my form! It was my first time working out in a gi. That definitely felt a bit strange. I guess it'll take some getting used to.

All in all, a really good day in terms of workouts. My food for the day was so/so. I ate some bread and cheese which I normally don't do. I really need to stop eating bread. It's all the darn leftover bread from when dad was here. I gotta get rid of it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

French Bean & Roasted Tomato Salad

I've been meaing to post this recipe for a while. It's really simple and a lot yummier than it probably looks. It's a good salad for winter because the French beans and tomatoes are warm. I've had a piece of grilled salmon with this as well just to add some more protein, but usually I just have the salad. It's actually got more calories than I realized - mainly because of the olive oil. You could reduce the amount of feta to lower the calorie count, but it really does add a nice change of texture to the salad.

Pictured without the pine nuts or dressing

4 cups lettuce/mixed greens
1 1/2 cups trimmed French beans
4 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
10 cherry tomatoes
2 bay leaves
sea salt & pepper to taste
2 teaspoons + 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil 

1 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Place on a baking tray (spray with olive oil before placing on tray) and sprinkle sea salt and ground black pepper on top. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the tomatoes. Also crush 2 bay leaves over the tomatoes. Bake at 225 for 45 minutes.

2. Top and tail the French beans; slice; boil for 5 minutes. Drain.

3. Make the dressing - combine all the ingredients together and blend well. 

4. Toast the pine nuts in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. 

5. Mix the salad ingredients - lettuce, French beans, roasted tomatoes, pine nuts, and feta cheese. Add the dressing.

Nutritional Info: (calories per serving/serves 2 - including the salad dressing)
550 calories
19 g. protein
56 g. carbohydrates (16.5 g. fiber)
28 g. fat (4 g. saturated fat)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Few Deeper Breaths

Today was the first day that I started to feel quite a bit better. Unfortunately I'm still coughing, and although I can take deeper breaths, I still cannot deeply inhale and exhale without choking/coughing ... so there's a ways to go.

Today marks 1 full week off from the gym. I cannot describe the frustration ... but I am just trying to hold on to the thought that this is needed rest time. Rushing back could cause a relapse, and then that would just be devastating!

Dad has been visiting from Bangladesh for the past few days. He leaves tomorrow night.
When he was visiting back in October [you can read this past post], we had quite a few issues with food. I was in the middle of the Whole Life Challenge and he just didn't get it. As a diabetic, he should be extra careful with his food intake ... but he isn't, and it drives me insane.

The second day he was here we stopped at the supermarket - he bought some chips, some chocolate, cake, and different types of bread - sliced, pita, croissant. In the days leading up to his visit I kept telling myself - don't get into a fight with dad over food. He's only here for a while. Just let it go. I tell you though after seeing him put those things in the shopping cart, it was insanely tough to bite my tongue. Of course he offered me the foods; he commented about my eating habits; he joked about food (which gets me the most) etc. etc. I had a really rough time dealing with it ... but I still kept quiet. I decided that it was his life. He could do whatever he wanted to do. In my house, I'll only provide tasty, healthy options. If he wants something from outside, then he can do it ... but that does not mean that I need to partake.

The main reason that I didn't want to get into an argument with him is because he's my dad after all. I tried to make clear (again) that his joking about food really upsets me but I also didn't harp on it. He's set in his ways and his mentality. I do not want to fight with him and then have him travel back to Bangladesh ... I do not want there to be bitter feelings between us because I might hurt his feelings by being angry about food. It's not worth it. I would be so devastated if something happened to him and the last the we had done was leave each other in anger.

Bigger picture. Bigger picture.

The best I can do is lead by example and stay true to my new lifestyle.

So, that has been quite a challenge. It's gotten a bit better though of course there are a few daily incidents that drive me crazy. Still. No need to lose sleep over it. We all make our choices and then have to deal with the consequences.

I'm hoping to get back to the gym by Saturday. I'll probably ease myself into my routine, which is fine. I just want to move again (and not cough)!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hospital and Home

Just a quick post to say thank you so much for all the well wishes.

I've been flat on my back since Friday except for a trip to the hospital. I had a really high fever and was fatigued beyond belief.

The doctor put me on 3 days bed rest plus antibiotics and a few other meds.

My appetite and energy level have been absolutely zero.

Today was the first day that resembled something slightly normal - feeling better after showering and having a light breakfast of 2 dates and some green tea.

My dad is here for 5 days, mostly for doctor's checkups, so I needed to muster up some energy to drive him to the hospital. I know he could have taken a taxi but I felt like I needed to get some fresh air. The fresh air did feel good, but boy was I feeling shaky behind the wheel.

Back home now with another cup of tea. I plan on curling into bed with an old season of Top Chef and just dozing.

I hate missing the gym, but seeing as how I find walking from the bedroom to the living room absolutely exhausting, I know there is no way I can do anything else.

Surely in time.

Out of curiosity I had to weigh myself this morning. I knew I had dropped a bit, but I've actually dropped 4 kg (almost 9 lbs) since New Years day. I know it's not a pure loss since I'm ill and don't have a normal appetite, but seeing that low number just kept reminding me that as much as feeling ill makes me crave a bit of comfort food (actually, only my best friend's Mac n' Cheese at the moment), sticking to light soups and nutrient-rich/high energy foods is what I need to focus on first.

Ok. Enough computer time for now. Perhaps a bit of blog commenting later.

Thanks for all the love guys.
It really made me feel warm and fuzzy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Feeling like a total Loser

Last night I felt like I was getting a bit of a cough. This morning there was no doubt that I had some sort of a cold ... and by mid-morning it was completely clear that my bronchitis was back.

Seriously? What is going on?

I spent a lot of time moping and crying about being such a loser - Here we are in the new year. It's Day 4 and I've already got a string of excuses for not being able to do all that I want - sore arm/cough - Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Cranky is an understatement of a description of how I feel.

I cried a lot this afternoon. I know it doesn't achieve anything, but it was the only way I could release some of my frustration.

I'm on a roll. I don't want to stop now - for any reason.

D was great in trying to keep me calm but I'm stubborn and was pretty adamant about remaining cranky. Still, I couldn't help but agree with some of the things he said.

I think the biggest help was realizing that I wasn't 'starting over.' It's not like I fell off the wagon, gained  a lot of weight at the end of the year, and was dusting off my gym membership card.

I'm continuing what I started last year. Today is not the beginning of a new year with a new plan with a new attitude. Today is day 369, and on day 369 I happen to be ill and need to take a break.

It makes sense to me, but I'm still cranky and grumpy about it.

It's only 2 p.m. I don't know what I'm going to do today. Ideally I would be doing 60 burpees (ok, did I just use ideally and burpees in the same sentence?) and going to CrossFit.

Right now my reality calls for a ton of water, Kleenex, my inhaler, and my bed.

I feel like a total loser. Bah.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I feel pretty confident that I know the difference between being sore and being injured. Although my arms and my thighs have been feeling crazy sore - the kind where you say ouch with every movement & you can't lift your arms to move your coffee cup to your lips let alone brush your hair - I really did put my soreness towards Monday push-ups/push presses & squats along with bike riding for the first time on Tuesday ...

The pain really did get quite bad so I took a painkiller. It didn't really help. This morning when I woke up, it felt worse (though possibly from inactivity during sleep). What really shocked me, however, was that both my triceps were swollen. My right arm was huge! I had never seen my arm react like that before.

Still, I'm convinced that it's not an injury. I guess my body just reacted negatively to the workout ... add the burpees plus the kickboxing from yesterday (particularly throwing elbows at the pads; that definitely didn't help), and I don't think I did my arms any favors.

I hate having to take painkillers, but I'm sticking to that at the moment. I decided to also try some KT tape. I really don't know if it works, and although their website is quite detailed, I have to admit that I'm a bit skeptical as to whether or not it really is effective. Still, it can't hurt, right? (I hope) [Has anyone ever used this tape? Did it help?]

This pain, unfortunately, has overshadowed the really big news of the day which is something that I've been looking forward to with great excitement and anticipation for the past two weeks ... I joined a martial arts academy!!

Sidekick Academy is the leading martial arts (namely taekwondo and jiu-jitsu) academy in Kuwait. I've heard many, many good things about it ... and today I decided to check it out. They told me you could try your first class for free - so I did and then I signed up! :)

I have quite a few things to say about the academy and my experience so I'll save that for another post.

In the meantime, I'm resting and trying to get through this soreness plus resist what feels like an oncoming cold (seriously?!).

My food was less than stellar today which surprises and disappoints me, but I know it's not a habit. It was carelessness on my part.

Today's Workout
Stretching: 15 minutes
Sidekick Academy: 1 1/2 hours (taekwondo/kickboxing & jiu-jitsu)
Burpees: 20 - arms and legs were just way too sore to continue past 20 {challenge total: 140/20,130}

Today's Food
Breakfast: Lebanese mezze with bread (again)
Lunch: Small baked sweet potato with black bean salsa (I've come to really like this combo)
Dinner: Pan seared white fish with half a baked potato and black bean salsa (as I said, I really like the combo plus I had made a ton of that salsa)
Snacks: cup of green tea; 6 chocolate covered coffee beans; 1 chocolate chip cookie; 1 chocolate tart (I'm not proud of those chocolate items; I think my emotions/general funk of my arm/leg pain got the best of me)