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

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 5-8

Oh la la we are on to Helpful Tips  5-8!


So in previous posts, I describe my battles with poor health, the benefits I got when I improved my health and the first batch o’ tips.  You can read how Kells put them into action.

About 15 years ago, I was kinda miserable (more or less on the daily).  I was skimming the surface of life.  I wanted to look a certain way. But I had a devil of a time to changing my unhealthy ways.

I transformed by:

Changing my Motivation.

When my focus switched from I have to look a certain way to I want to live a life that’s healthy, then my behaviours changed accordingly.  What flipped that switch was getting a diagnosis of a chronic medical condition… one where most people don’t seek help til decades later when physical damage has been done. And it’s way harder to change behaviours.  My free get-out-of-jail card did wonders for my motivation.

Empowering myself.

As humans we have this amazing capacity to have awareness, to perceive and to change.  Take advantage of this, yo.

Educating myself.  

I observed my habits and responses, got info on my condition, spoke with licensed health professionals & hob-nobbed with like-minded folks.

Support is important. Though only you can change yourself, you will need help. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Exercising my goal.

I figured out my game plan by using S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then by golly I exercised that plan like there was no tomorrow! (Uh well in a manner of speaking. One of my motivators was to improve myself for those tomorrows.)

Continuing on with Les Tips

5) Reward yourself when you achieve your mini goals.

Celebrate your accomplishments!  You worked hard to slay that goal.  Of course you should break out the proverbial champagne!

Try to steer away from food rewards. This is so that you keep healthy associations with food. (See point 8 so you know I’m not saying that food is bad.  For me, I needed to break maladaptive associations between food=reward and food=coping strategy.)

Rather, focus on the other treats in life: get a massage, buy some saucy lingerie, go on a vacation, get a makeover (MAC and Sephora give freebies!), putz around in the garden, go to the auto show, take funky photos in the park, sleep in (or take an afternoon snooze), take a tour of your city, read a chapter of the book you were saving up for your hols, start a blog, tinker around with that old jalopy you’ve been meaning to restore…

6) Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t achieve your goal that week.

Instead, learn from it.

Maybe it was an unreasonable expectation.  For example, do you need to scale back your goal from losing 2 kg/week to 1 kg/week?

Maybe that week was particularly stressful.  Do you need to add a plan for when things get rough?* or maybe you can try again and see what this week will be like.

Maybe it wasn’t the right combo of behaviours.  Instead of exercising AND making dietary changes in the same week… you can start instead by incorporating exercise first. When you have a handle on that, add the food changes (or vice versa).

After your examination, re-do that SMART goal with your newly processed info.

This tip was a huge one for me. I reached that infuriating plateau after a year of steadily losing weight. And oh holy Murphy this plateau lasted for years.  Yes: y e  a   r    s.

I had to remind myself that weight was just one outcome measure.  What about other things I had accomplished? Firstly,  I wasn’t going backwards, which had been my previous pattern with yo-yo dieting.  I was losing inches.  I was gaining muscle.  I was gaining strength.  My 2 fab docs weren’t concerned as long as I was keeping up a healthy regime.  So I thought maybe this is just my body’s way of saying, “Change it up, missy!”^

7) Know when to push yourself and when not to.

Listen to your body.  Why do you need to do 30 biceps curls x3 sets? If you strain your muscles, what good is 90 curls? This step ties in with the base-steps 2 & 3: Empower & Educate.  You figure out what your body is about   ⇒the good, the bad⇐ and then support that hawt-to-trot body! Do things that make it better, not worse.

It’s ok to have limitations.  You can always work up to a goal.  But it’s ok if you try and can’t.  Well how about switching gears from bicep curls to taking the stairs instead of the elevator?

8) Don’t be ashamed to eat (when appropriately hungry) and to enjoy food.

Food is a HUGE issue consideration for me.  I blamed myself for eating like shit because I felt like shit.  These thought distortions are sooo NOT helpful.  I eventually said to myself: I like food and I’m going to learn to enjoy food without feeling guilty.  So I turned back to Tip 3 of Edumacating Myself.  I have happy memories and my family uses food for comforting.

Happy memories: My mom enjoyed cooking which is something we did together as I was growing up.  Food is also a big part of my family’s party scene (a la Big Fat Greek Wedding).  The hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen gives me the warm n fuzzies.  In the first year of dating, Mr. Nals and I cooked our first meal together. We had fun and it’s something we do to this day.

My family also used food to heal – for flu, tummy troubles or recovering from wisdom tooth-ectomies.

Cooking is also a weirdly-wonderful mixture of science (homeostatic v. hedonic hunger, kinky molecules in kitchen science, what grows together goes together) and art (gastroporn, complementary flavours).

 

Food is a way to our cultural history, family connections, memories, biology and soul.  Embrace it!

 

Focus on foods you can eat, rather than the ones you shouldn’t. As per my docs, I should avoid certain minerals… which means I shouldn’t really have my beloved citrus and Mehjool dates on the daily. But I can eat … a whole buck load of other stuff.


Fun food fact**: Chai conjures up images of hot cups of spiced milk black tea from India (often called chai tea, which means tea tea, btw). Cha also means tea in Japanese and Chinese languages.


That’s it for this post, N&Kers! Stay tuned next week: Kells will do up a post on how she broke these Tips down and applied them to her fabulous life.

Do you have any food for thought?
How do you feel about the ME Method?
Or the Tips?
Please leave a comment below!

Footnotes

*I get particularly crabby during those delightful monthly hormonal surges.  So I came up with specific how-tos for those sitches.

^ Oh gosh . The Plateau Years were uber annoying. I changed up all sorts – cut out refined sugars, upped protein intake, quit bootcamp to swim, ate smaller frequent meals, incorporated smoothies, did food detoxes, did Reiki, decreased stress… My weight stayed +/- 10 pounds for years. But I kept losing inches, gaining muscle and endurance. My docs weren’t concerned. What reignited my weight loss was working out daily. My beach-babe friend Coach, who is also a kick ass personal trainer, works out twice daily. So I thought wtf let’s give it a whirl. I’m not quite up to BID every single day but I’m workin on it! Remember that this is a good goal for me. I researched it then spoke with my healthcare team.  Before you make  dietary or exercise changes please consult with an experienced licensed clinician! 

** hmm maybe more like a language fact?

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.