First Blog-a-versary and October Round-Up

October 2018 was the mark of our First Blog-a-versary!

And to celebrate, we dedicated the last few weeks to Womens Health.

We went to VanCity’s Womens Expo, tried burlesque classes, talked self esteem, tried Sugaring,  did fun photoshoots, did a giveaway, fundraised (see below: And A Word From Kells) and teamed up with Cadeaux Bakery and Sugaring Change.

 

Hope you enjoyed our First Ever Blog-a-versary as much as we did!

We are going to bring more delightful things your way in the next year.

Feel free to contact us for topic suggestions and places to review!

Email or

Message us on:

@NalsandKells

@NalsandKells

Nals and Kells

 

xo, Nals

 

        And a word from Kells       

So in September I decided to join the 30 min Hit Kick the Beep Out of Cancer.

As I mentioned before I have lost a couple of people to cancer and my bestie is a survivor.  So it wasn’t hard to say yes to fundraising.

Over the month, Nals also joined me for a couple of fundraisers. We had a pub night and did guys day…which wasn’t exactly what we did… it was more like bring Nals to the gym with me. It was so much fun to work out with Nals. And she kicked some butt. It’s not an easy workout and she worked it.
Also, throughout the month I took a selfie for every workout (mainly because my bro challenged me to $2 per selfie). But I also tried to step up my game while doing the circuit. People, including the ones I’ve lost, have had to work so hard to fight through their cancer. So kicking hard for 30 mins is nothing compared to what those with cancer face.
Did I raise millions, no? But it really is about
Fighting together as a community.
♥Coming together.
♥Raising awareness together.
Cuz this past month was about fighting for everyboobie and everybooty. Cancer needs to be stopped!! And the only way that it’s going to happen is when we fight together.
Thanks for joining me in the fight. Let’s do it again next year!

xo, Kells

Packs a punch!

Nals tried 30 Minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIT)  on Sunday.

It’s a power packed kickboxing and boxing routine for ladies only4. The circuit is designed to hone self-defense skills, improve core and increase strength.

 

                   Activity                  

There are 13 stations that last 2 minutes each.

You start off with a 2 minute jump rope warm up. Next stations are something like:

  1. hook/jab,
  2. sit ups on fitness ball,
  3. round housing a punching bag,
  4. semi sit ups with arms slightly throwing medicine ball¹ straight up,
  5. kneeing an-imagined-assailant-turned-kicking-bag,
  6. hook,
  7. Bridge & squeeze on a fitness ball,
  8. on a mat, turtlekicking & punching a heavy douchebag squarebob-a-thinger, ²
  9. free-for-all kicking/punching the stink out of Bob, the flesh-coloured silicone bust on a pole, with the invisible Punch-Me sign.

There are 3 levels, starting at 1.

 

 

                  Procedure                

So you do a period of time (ie: 30 seconds) of regular-paced and regular-powered activity
then when the buzzer bings once, you either power up or go fast (ie: 15 seconds).  Repeat
Double bing means switch stations.

 

                  Atmosphere                

Loud pumped-up music, very small area (great for focus), personal trainer attention with quick corrections/ encouragements/verbal pushes.
I think I have auditory processing disorder so it was a bit of a challenge to keep all the instructions, directions, movements clear with the music and timer. I think I did okay3, and will obviously improve with more exposure.

 

                  So… ?               

I was totes prepared to join Miss Kells in her Kick the Flip out of Cancer in October. This would’ve entailed getting to the HIT daily.  I work out weekday mornings at 630.  So unfortunately, their hours didn’t work for me. From experience I know I will not go regularly at another time.

There are no drop-ins4. There are monthly pay options.  The fee decreases depending on if it’s month-to-month, for 12 or 24 months.

The trainers are fabulous – full of pep and sugar. But don’t let their smiles fool you.  They’ll push you, bootcamp style.

If you are interested, check them out: 30 Minute Hit!

Foots
1 Nals dislikes medicine balls. Maybe if it came with a spoonful of sugar…
2 Yes, this is indeed the technical term, as per Nals.
3 And by “okay”, I mean I didn’t quit and got a workout, even if I did most of the moves wrong.
4 Except Sunday was one of the fundraising days so it was drop in and a couple dudes came to participate.

Wake Up Before You Go Go

October is Women’s Health month here on N&K. Today, nals will be discussing self esteem.

When I was heavier, I felt bombarded with images of thin, smooth-skinned, tall ladies as ‘beautiful’. If it was North American media, then tanned vixens. And if Bollywood media, then fair-skinned maidens. No one looked like me: pear-shaped, bespectacled, with frizzy unkempt waves & darker skinned… unless it was an actor who played an evil Bollywood mom. Or, was the star of a self-named comedy show (see posts on Tips 1-4, 5-8, 9-10). And I wasn’t any of those adjectives either!

And these thin women were portrayed as The Ultimate Show Ponies, dripping with confidence, promise, fulfilling lifestyles, happiness and sex appeal. Today, I say “Bravo!” to advertising and entertainment sectors for the deep ingrainment. They worked hard to get that image across.  At the time, it didn’t occur to me that I didn’t know anyone else that looked like that, either. Move over Manson² and Heaven’s Gate, Media is the Ultimate brainwasher.

Keep in mind, my teen years were spent poring over glossy magazines with shiny images, talking on the phone with friends, and watching TV. We didn’t have internet or cell phones. My escape was TV and staying up late reading books¹. So growing up with rigid ideas of what the perfect 2-D body looks like makes a regular 3-D girl feel less-than.

In all honesty I thought once I lost weight³, I would be happier. Things would magically fall into place. Of course this is real-life, not a fairy tale.

Happiness is something you attain. It is not bestowed upon you.

 

 

I had to really think about what would make me happy. I love reading, photography, the theatre

and writing. I love all kinds of dance. I am happy when beautiful things surround me: people, clothes, art, wine, food. And I am happy after I have challenged myself.

I try to do things to push my personal boundaries like co-writing this blog. (Yes, I love writing but it’s not easy to put yourself out there.) I’ve taken loads of pictures, in public. Then put up these up for you all to see.

 

 

And last week, I started a burlesque class with Kells. Yes, burlesque. I love how bawdy, welcoming, tongue-in-cheek, flirty, raucous it is. And we had no idea about its fabulously clandestine history

This is an intro class, with a lovely range of ladies across sizes, ages, shapes and abilities. About one third took the class to push themselves, have fun and become more comfortable in their own skin.  Some of the same reasons as N&K!

I would say I’m a happier person, having pushed personal boundaries and embracing all aspects of myself. Am I positive and happy 100% of the time? Of course not. Real life has ups and downs. But if you want to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle…
you gotta wake the F up. Self-evaluate and make a plan of change.
Don’t just chug along with life. Grab it by the horns and point it in the right direction!

Footnotes
1 Thanks Judy Blume, Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Isaac Asimov for keeping me up too late
2 Charles, not Marilyn
3 According to a female family member, all I needed to do in my teen years, was lose weight, get rid of unsightly zits and get toss the glasses. (She was unsure of this last thing, as presumably, there were attractive librarians with glasses.) This aunt was a solid support to me. She never lied. But, she encouraged my strengths and didn’t let me forget them. And I adored her. (She was the next best thing to sliced bread!) So when she gave me this unsolicited bit of advice, which came out of the blue, I was heartbroken.

90 Pounds: Helpful Tips 9-10

Whoop whoop! We are down to the last 2 Tips.


Here‘s how the series started, 90 pounds ago.  Read why I changed.  I tell you how I made my changes, using the ME method: Tips 1-4 (includes S.M.A.R.T.ening up your goals) & Tips 5-8.

Kells’s life situation was a bit  different. She is a lifelong athlete.  However, a back injury & years of schooling-and-sitting changed her body.  But, she used the Tips… and here’s how she uniquely applied Tips 1-4 & 5-8.


Let’s forge ahead with our last 2 Tips.
9) Plan  a    h   e  a d.

We all have busy lives with deadlines and schedules. But your body deserves better than junky ass food and a sedentary day.

Think about meal plans, groceries and your exercise regime a week in advance. That way when something unexpected slows you down, you are already prepared. Like a superhero. (But better cuz it’s real!)

Fuel your body.

  • Take advantage of slow cookers and insta-pots;
  • Make extra portions – to freeze or eat again the next day;
  • Remember you can utilize frozen veggies and pre-cut fruit trays.  Or, can it! But don’t forget to rinse off the salty liquid;
  • Have healthy snacks around like veg & fruit tray with homemade dips.  Pre-portion snacking bags of nuts and cheeses for your lunch bag or grab it when you’re running late.
  • Make a versatile dish that you can change up.  For example: veggie chili can be eaten several ways: the usual way in a bowl with toppings, or use it to fill quesadillas or serve with meat/rice;^
  • When making tonight’s meal, cut up extra veggies & onions for tomorrow’s meal. Or, freeze it with homemade herb/spice mixes for future slow cooker meals.
  • How about re-purposing those Mason jars with salads or yogurt parfaits?*;
  • Supermarkets often have healthy meal options like protein & veggie plates in their deli section.

Get (and then keep on)                    m o  v   i    n    g!

Yes absolutely do your dedicated workout.   But you can’t expect it to be as effective if you then just sit on your bum the rest of the day. Keep on moving!

  • Attempt chin-ups with your buddies (see video above for the N&K rendition);
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  (Yes even if your destination is on the 10th floor.**);
  • Sprint up or take the stairs 2 at a time or do lunges in-between floors;
  • Park a few blocks away from your destination, so you are forced encouraged to walk a few extra blocks. (If taking the bus, get off a few stops early);
  • Lunching with colleagues is a great team builder.  Instead of the usual restaurant fare, have a work picnic!  Walk together to a nearby park (or greenspace) & chow down on homemade lunches.  You could have fun themes like having green and Irish foods for St. Patricks Day;
  • Take a romantic stroll after dinner;
  • Plank it! while you watch TV (let your food digest a bit first and warm up beforehand);

The options are endless, folks.

10) Don’t forget about your GD self care.

Kells and I will be posting a lot more on this so BOLO.

Remember I said that this is not a diet.  Diets are typically short periods of radical diet changes to lose weight.  These are not good for your psyche, metabolism, habit reversals or empowerment.

This is a changing-your-outlook on life endeavor.  And folks, life is totes more than just food and exercise!

It is important to do some self care every single day.

This can be as simple as:

  • Waking up early to enjoy your morning coffee in the peaceful silence of the sunrise;
  • Doing a bit of gardening! Spring Equinox was a few days ago. Though weatherwise the PNW is a bit wonky, the plants are sprouting up right on schedule;
  • Stopping to smell the roses or the fresh baked goods at your local bakery. (You can choose to just look and smell, and don’t have to necessarily eat it every time you walk by.);
  • Treating yo-self and yo pups to an unexpected long weekday walk in the park;
  • Paint, sketch, draw;
  • Knit, crochet;
  • Sing in the shower;
  • Sleep in on a day off;
  • Netflix (+/- the “and chill”);
  • Go to the spa;
  • Review that spa experience on your blog;
  • Catch up with an old friend;
  • Tinker with that old beater you’ve had sitting in the garage for years…

So today …

I feel pretty darn good. I have lost some weight and inches.  I have gained muscle, endurance & gumption.  I have found healthier ways to cope.  I have been pushing personal boundaries.  In fact, on March 17, I finished my first 5KM Run! I was 6 minutes faster than my practice runs (which must have been all that adrenalin).  I defo would not have considered doing that even 5 years ago. And we’re planning on doing another one in a month!

Kells and I are going to do a professional photoshoot tomorrow!  Even a year ago I would’ve said No way.

Sure, I still struggle with some stuff like eating too much junk during that monthly hormone change. Or if I’ve not prepared my meal plan a week ahead^^.

It’s been 15 years… and sometimes I get stuck on the thought that I should have lost all of the weight already.  But I know I’m moving forward and challenging myself in a lot of other ways.

I’m a sun-bunny.  I love warm bright days.  In the PNW, the weather may be mild but it’s damp which ≠ warm.  Some mornings I’d rather just stay snuggled in my down duvet. I don’t always feel like getting up at 5 am to exercise.

But at the end of the day I know I’ll feel less ache-y, more energized and closer to my goals if I just get my cantankerous arse out if bed.

And that’s it (for now) for the 90 Pounds and Counting series.  …. Stay tuned for how Kells broke down these Tips to suit her lifestyle.      And we still have reviews coming your way.

What did you think about my 90 Pound Tips?

Common sense?

Surprising?

Ludicrous?

Leave a Comment below!

Footloose footnotes

^ other versatile dishes: grill a whole buckload of chicken & veggie kebabs (protein can also be tofu or veggie ground round).  Use different marinades.  Or, keep the marinade simple but dress it differently at service with salad, in a wrap or other starch. Dressing=  tzatziki or raita style, cumin/oregano/lime, balsamic with fresh rosemary, Thai/Malaysian inspired coconut curry, Vietnamese bahn mi inspired sour-sweet-salty, French Provencal herbs with champagne vinegar or homemade Dijon.

How to MJ salads: starting bottom up: salad dressing, hearty items (beans, peppers, fennel), leafy tenders then top with cheese/seeds/nuts.  Keep upright until you are ready to eat. Then shake it up & enjoy. Use a similar idea for MJ yogurt: plain yogurt, hearty fruit, tender fruit and top off with granola/nuts.

** In our previous job, Kells & I would see clients on the 7th & 8th floors in DTES SROs.  The stairs were old AF, rickety crickety, slanted, with short landings and usually covered in some UFOs (unidentified fluids or objects). And if that sounds treacherous, you don’t want to see the elevators.

^^IDK but it never ceases to amaze me that our pattern (including my spouse with a forever healthy BMI) is that when we don’t prep/plan our meals ahead of time, we scramble when our tums grumble. Which is usually for takeout ⇒ bigger portions, more salt and fat than home cooking. Plus it eats into your budget like a hungry hippo! Take a look at your own household’s patterns.  Meal planning is not hard. It is not a chore.  It is something that helps you to align with your life goals.

90 pounds: Helpful Tips 1-4

S o . . . what are the secrets to healthy weight management?


In case you are late to the game, 90 Pounds and Counting is where my life was about 15 years ago.  I was tired, unmotivated and coasting through life.

The follow-up post is available in Part Deux.  Here I discuss my loss of 90 pounds and the other gains I made in life.  Weight loss isn’t just a lower number on a scale.  Meaningful weight loss is about changing your outlook on life.


So we’re going to give you The Secrets straight up.  And for free.  But first, a word from our sponsors.

Just kidding… Truth be told:

  • There’s no “secret”.

→→This is nothing new, and is mostly common sense.

  • You are unique.

→→Celebrities will tout the virtues of V-steaming* or a crimson-foods only diet or whatever fad is hot on the market.

 That is them.

You is you.

  • And no, we don’t have sponsors.  So without further adieu…

N&K’s Tips 1 to 10** for Healthy Weight Management

­

1) True motivation = YOU.

When I changed my motivation from

…i­mproving my looks 

Gotta: fit into those clothes

Gotta: be a certain size

Gotta: look a certain way

(translation: motivation was to fit in with everyone else)

⇒          ⇒       ⇒    ⇒ ⇒

choosing to live for myself

Must: improve my own physical & mental health

Must: improve the health of my future self

(translation: motivation was to make me better because I choose to do it, not because someone guilted me or told me to),

And I found that my behaviours shifted naturally.

This shift happened a few weeks after I was diagnosed with a serious and chronic condition.  (You can read about that in the first post of the series.)

2) Empower yourself through education & wise choices.

You’re a unique human being. But what makes you you?  Learn about yourself, your habits (bad and good), your family’s health history or your own diseases and disorders.

And, I’m not just talking food and exercise, folks. Surround yourself with like-minded supportive peeps.

Like attracts like. If you want to quit tobacco/caffeine/other drugs or want to train for a marathon or get into school… immerse yo’ fine self with people who are interested in doing the same. (Why do you think support groups are helpful!) If you only hang out with peeps who engage in the behaviours you want to change, how is that support adding value to your life?  We’re not saying replace your old friends by making new ones.  We’re saying… look up and see what other people are out there.

3) Aim for S.M.A.R.T. goals.

My overall goal was to lose 115 pounds. From my first post, you know I was intimidated by this number. Who the heck wouldn’t be!?!

So I broke this down into manageable realistic chunks. Click here to access my SMARTified goal template. In the doc, the gloomy gray goal is untenable.  I show you how I made the goals within arm’s reach (in blue).

4) Implement exercise. Keep it enjoyable & doable.

And try to have a workout buddy!

I started by dancing at home a couple times a week. And later on, when I joined a gym, my co-bootcamp babes kept me accountable when I missed a class.

I slowly worked up to what I do now, which is 6-7 days/week.

P r e v i o u s l y . . . On my workdays, I was on the elliptical, with weights in evening. Zumba on my days off.

N o w .  .  .  I’m training for the 5 km, I’m jogging 3-4x/week. (Mixture of treadmill and outdoors.)  On rest days, I’m swimming. Once weekly I’m at my dessert Zumba class.

That’s it for now, lovelies!

What do you think of our Helpful Tips thus far?
What are your thoughts on fad diets and celebrity toutings?
Please leave a comment below.

The footstuffies:

* yes there is a celebrity that’s advising ladies to steam their Vs.  We need to consciously uncouple from that shizen. You should only steam your food, blocked sinuses and your blackheads.

** We can’t put all 10 in one post. That’s ludicrous!  Why on earth would you be back if you’ve got all 10 tips in your pocket now? So we’ll feature Tips 5-10 over the next few weeks.