Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

When I've gotten on the topic of family with people the general consensus is usually "my family is crazy". Sometimes I even get a "my family is bat shit crazy". Even in my own family, there are certain members that have very obvious quirks. Doesn't everyone have a crazy Aunt?

Until I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls I don't think I truly understood what crazy meant for a family. I mean, serious bat shit crazy kind of crazy. The Glass Castle is a memoir of Jeannette's childhood and early adult years. She tells riveting stories about how for months herself, her brother, her sister and her parents would live out of their car. Nights sleeping under the stars, days spent roaming the desert and her unique home schooling experience

What I loved the most about this book (besides just the way Jeannette writes) is that as a reader you had no idea what was going to happen. There were so many surprises and twists and turns that it kept me wanting more the entire time I was reading. There were moments that made me weep and moments that left me in tears from laughing so hard. And I have always believed that if a book can make me cry and laugh, it is a fantastic book.

I will continue to call my family crazy in their own way but I know that they are nothing in comparison to Jeanette's. Her childhood was an adventure unlike any other and I think that no matter your reading preference, you will find this book highly entertaining.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lately [02]

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Pretty simple one this week. Not much has been on the go lately. 

1 + 2. Birthday celebrations with my family after we got back from camping. I really don't have enough photos of myself with them. Although this is something I am changing slowly.
3. First run of the year outdoors. A little late in the season but better late than never. These Vibrams are amazing for running. No problems with shin splints at all. Tight calves are a completely different story though. If you try this out then I recommend stretching a bunch before and after as well as foam rolling is you have a roller.
4. Now that I'm doing "no poo" I absolutely love the days I wash my hair. This week I'll be posting a little bit more about this experience. I can say now though that I definitely plan on continuing to not use shampoo. Now I just need to find a really good dry shampoo.
5. Trying out some Crossfit body weight style workouts at the gym at my work. Not much equipment but a little creativity can go a really long way.
6. Beautiful view on the Second Lake trail in Sackville. It's pretty obvious that fall is coming though. Even if I can't stop denying it. Does anyone else feel like we should have more summer left or is it just me?

What have you been up to lately?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Book Review: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Love my worn out copy.
I am a firm believer in fixing things before they are broken. That's why I get oil changes and maintain my health. But one area that most people don't think about being proactive in is their love life. I have started reading relationship advice books so that I have more tools in my basket to prevent future troubles. So when I watched a video by Rachel Talbott on youtube talking about The 5 Love Languages I immediately bought it.

And let me tell you, it has probably been the best investment in my relationship I have ever made. If you are in a relationship you need to buy this book and read it ASAP. Even if you are not in a relationship you should buy this book and read it ASAP. The 5 Love Languages will teach you to understand your partner better but it will also teach you how to understand people better. Therefore it will help with every relationship you have in your life.

The general idea of this book is that we all have "love tanks". When our tanks are full we feel appreciated, loved, cared for, happy. When our tanks are empty we feel depressed, lonely, disconnected, neglected. Each person expresses love in one of the 5 love languages (acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time and receiving gifts). As an example I speak the love language of quality time. Therefore when I want to show someone that I love them I spend a lot of time with them. And not just watching TV, but doing something interactive. I love planning date nights, having good conversations and going for walks. This is really good for my partner to know because he will then have the tools to keep my love tank full.

The problem arises in relationships when two people "speak" different love languages. One person will try to show their love to their partner in the way they want it back but because their partner doesn't speak the same love language they still end up feeling neglected or lonely. This book helps you to identify what your love language is and your partners so that you can make each other feel loved. When you feel loved by your partner you are less likely to fight with them. Confrontations, passive aggressive behavior and being nit picky usually come from not being fulfilled.

I digress. Get the book. It is worth every penny.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Ways To Lose That Fat

I am always hearing people around me talk about how they can't lose weight or their body is too stubborn to burn fat. Then I see them eating sweets or overhear them talking about how they haven't gone to the gym in weeks. So I figured I'd write a post about the guidelines to losing weight.

1. Eat REAL food - Throw out the "low fat" or "diet" foods. They are so over processed there is barely any nutritional value left in them so essentially, all you're doing is feeding your body cardboard. The more something is processed the less good it is going to do for your body. Know what this means? You've got it - start cooking. Go out, buy some vegetables, fruit, spices and start experimenting in the kitchen. This is going to be a big lifestyle change if you're not used to it so I won't overwhelm you with much else in this category except this: when we cook our foods we start the break down process before it even gets into our bodies. Some foods will even lose vital nutrients during the cooking process. As much as you can try to eat fruits and vegetables (specifically vegetables) raw. It takes some getting used to so you don't need to do this right away but keep it in mind for the future. When eating raw food it's also putting the responsibility of breaking it down completely on your body which means your body needs to do more work which results in burning more calories too! My favorite source of recipes online has to be OhSheGlows. She makes vegan meals but you can always use cows milk or real cheese instead of her substitutes or add meat into the meal.

2. Eat more often - A great rule of thumb for how often to eat is the 5 meals a day theory. Your meals should be breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner. To make each of these a meal I want you to make sure you're having complex carbohydrates (vegetables and some grains/legumes), protein and fat. This seems to be a lot easier to do for breakfast, lunch and dinner but how do you do this for snacks you ask? How about a protein smoothy? Mixed berries, banana, spinach, coconut milk, chia seeds and protein powder tastes amazing! If you make too much you can also just throw it in the fridge for your second snack. You could also do cherry tomatoes, carrots and hummus. Or an apple cut up with nut butter. There are so many options. The reason it is so important to eat more often throughout the day is that your body goes into what's called "starvation mode" when it doesn't get nutrients after a certain amount of time. So let's say you eat breakfast at 6am but you don't eat anything else until 1pm. Your body has gone into starvation mode which means it thinks it's going to have another long period of time before eating so it's going to try to store as much of your 1pm meal as possible. To get around this start eating at 2-4 hour intervals.

3. Portion control - I blame this one on most restaurants. I went to Boston Pizza last week and my pasta dinner was about 3 servings of pasta. That is WAY TOO MUCH. Our body doesn't need all of that food in one sitting! The easy way to think of portions is to compare sizes to something common like the below chart.
Photo Source
Print this out. Make multiple copies. Put it on your fridge, in your car, in your purse or wallet. I have also found that for myself using smaller dishes when eating helps. I was raised in a "finish your plate" kind of family and this mentality has stuck into my adult years. So I will use smaller plates and bowls when eating my meals. Sounds silly but you just have to find little habits like this that will work for you.

4. Drink more water - This one is huge. Like BIG BIG BIG. I also find it one of the most difficult to a) track and b) improve on. According to the Mayo Clinic women need to drink about 2.2L of fluids and men about 3L of fluids a day to stay properly hydrated. For our purposes I'm going to substitute that with water instead of fluids. The reason is that water has zero calories and we're trying to lose weight. Please, please, please don't drink your calories away unless it's a daily smoothy. Just like "starvation mode", your body will hold on to more water if it's not getting enough per day. Want to lose that excess water? Drink more water then. Over time (days to a week) that will signal to your body that you will be giving it the amount of water it needs and it doesn't need to hold on to so much. Why else should you drink water? Good question! Water helps to lubricate your joints, regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, helps prevent constipation, protects body organs and tissues and lessens the burden on your kidneys and liver by helping to flush out toxins (Source). And that's just the start.

Before we move on to my last tip (exercise) I want to really drive this point home by saying "drink as much water as you can possibly stand". The reason is that we will be exercising which means sweating so we will need even more than the guidelines above. Plus, it's very very rare that someone drinks too much water. So women, if you can get 3L a day, awesome! Men, if you can get 3.5L a day, wicked! Keep it up :)

5. Challenge your body - Our bodies aim to maintain what is called homeostasis. Wikipedia says homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, relatively constant condition of properties such as temperature or pH. Your body also does this when it comes to challenges placed upon it. When we were young our body adapted to being able to walk. Most of us walk during our day to day life and our body has become accustomed to this. Therefore walking will not challenge your body enough to force it to adapt. This is also what happens during a plateau. You start some new routine, get amazing results and then all of a sudden you get stuck. That's because your body has adapted to whatever it is your doing. To really challenge your body to make adaptations (burning fat included) we have to do something different that pushes us to our limits. If you're used to running on the treadmill try doing some hill runs outdoors. If you're used to going on the elliptical, try the stairmaster instead. Do something outside of your comfort zone and your body will be forced to adapt.

Couldn't find original source.
 I plan on expanding on this one in future posts a bit more but for now I just want to mention that we also need to do weight/resistance training. It forces our body (muscles, joints and bones) to become stronger as well as burns more calories and gives us that lean, defined look most people are going for. The key when it comes to resistance training is going to be doing big movements. For example, if you want toned arms don't do bicep curls or tricep extensions. You're burning so few calories it will be very hard to get the results you want. Instead, for your triceps do pushups or chest dips (or any other pushing motion). You're using more muscles which means you're burning more calories and you're working your target muscle. For biceps do chin ups, pull ups, or rows (any kind of pulling movement). Again, using your target muscle but it's a bigger movement which means more muscle activation and burning more calories. Want to know the king of all exercises? Squats. They work pretty much every muscle in your lower body (glutes are the biggest in your whole body btw), they work your core and even your upper body if you put your arms straight overhead, in front of you or if you're holding onto a weight. Give it a try!

Wow... this post took on a life of it's own! Lots of information here. Start with making one of the changes above. Once you're used to that one take on another. If you tackle a lot at once it's usually harder to keep it up over the long run. If you have any questions feel free to reach out in the comments section, on twitter or email me!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 2013 Desktop Calendar

Oops! I completely forgot about the calendar for this month until my friend Jaymie mentioned it to me this morning. Sorry guys! Guess I just got carried away with all of the activities last week that it slipped my mind.

I digress. Here is one I whipped together this morning from when Matt and I went hiking on Cape Split. If you haven't done the hike, you should go do it while the weather is still nice. It's breath taking :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lately [01]

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Found this new little series through Amanda @ LivingInAnotherLanguage and Laurie @ TheBrotherton's. What have you been up to lately?
 1. Recently upgraded to the BlackBerry Z10 which means obviously that I have side loaded the Android Instagram app!! First selfie I posted to test out the new app.

2. Matt and I hiked the beautiful Cape Split. Seriously stunning trail and the end is totally worth the walk. If you haven't been out to it and you're in the Wolfville area definitely check it out.

3. Went to the breathtaking Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls concert in Halifax. The last stop of their tour and they really didn't hold anything back. I have to say we were both so impressed with both of these bands. I can't wait to see Matchbox Twenty again. Go see them if you get the chance!!

4. For my birthday dinner Matt and I went to this little seafood place in PEI called Sou' West. We shared the mussels and both had fish and chips. I have been addicted to fish and chips since we got back. Trying to find the best in Halifax. Any recommendations?

5. Impromptu lunch at the Kitchen Witch after go karting. We just had to check this place out since I've always loved anything to do with the mystical/witchcraft. And I'm glad we did. This place was very impressive. About 70% of their menu is Celiac friendly (gluten free options) and almost everything had a vegetarian or vegan option available. Can't wait to go back again next year.

6. Our set up around the camp fire for our last night in PEI. Wine, vegan s'mores, fire, hubbie and a good book. Couldn't ask for anything more except for the rain to have held off a little longer.
7. Watched the entire Orange Is The New Black series on Netflix in about 1 week. When I found out it was a book it went to the top of my to read list and now I'm about half way through. I love memoirs.
8. The beautiful sunrise at Twin Shores Campground on my birthday. What a beautiful scene to wake up to.
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