an hour a day

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…or sometimes 40-45 minutes. For 30 days straight, no days off. That’s what it took to get these results. In this post, I’d like to share with you how in greater detail.
Note: No exercise/nutrition plan is a one-size-fits-all solution and I am not a health professional, just an average Joe sharing my tips on my way to figuring things out 🙂

Where to begin.. as a mom of 2, I find that my 30s has been a yo-yo of gains and losses, triumphs and disappointments. I’ve had all the excuses in the world, given into my sweet tooth way too often, and tried the latest diet fads just like everybody else, often finding that nothing consistently kept the weight off.

In the above left photo, taken November 2019, I was lackadaisical in my exercise routine and food choices. My workout plan consisted of commuting by bus and Go train to downtown Toronto for work, taking the stairs two-by-two whenever possible, and squeezing in a 30-minute gym workout at lunch 0-3 times a week (which I detested because I focussed heavily on leaving early and heading back without being late). Having access to the all the dessert and fast food places was definitely not a setup for success (also the pizza & cake lunches for monthly office birthdays, breakfast pastries and other snacks/sweets brought in by clients).

Then on March 12th, I started working from home due to the obvious Covid-19 crisis. I reminded myself, hey, I’ve got all the time in the world. After that weekend (and my period) ended, I started doing free YouTube workouts every day for a month. Here is a summary of the important factors leading to my (positive!) results.

Lenten Sugar Fast
At the start of Lent in early March, I committed to cutting out sweets (all desserts, chocolates/candies, bubble tea, etc.) for the entire 40-day period. I suspect the lack of sugar was definitely a catalyst for my waistline reduction.

Intermittent Fasting
For a year and a half, working full-time in-office, it was very simple to commit to intermittent fasting. I would not eat breakfast until 11:00 a.m. and had my last meal no later than 6:00 p.m. after arriving home. Since WFH began, I no longer adhere to a structured fast. I had gotten up each morning, had my cup of Skinny Mint tea* (see below), a cup of yogurt, and whatever was in the kitchen for eating the rest of the day. We are in lockdown and cannot afford to be choosy, after all 🙂 I often snacked with the hubby late at night, but felt less guilty because they weren’t sweets!

Skinny Mint Tea
About a year ago I had ordered a double 28-day supply of Skinny Mint Tea, forgot about it, found the 2nd batch and started drinking it along with my Lenten fast and daily workout routine. Now, it barely curbed my appetite nor did I lose any pounds, but it did make me explode out buttwater like a mothaf*cka! There’s a “calming” loose leaf tea you drink every morning, and every other night before bed you drink a bag of the “strong” stuff. I highly recommend teatoxing only when you’re quarantined at home and NOT before commuting 1+ hours to the office, because the risk of crapping your undies is high indeed! I did feel “refreshed,” however, in dumping that waste down the drain (literally).

YouTube Workouts
As noted earlier, I did the majority of my workouts for an hour, sometimes 40-45 minutes only when PMSing, heavily menstruating or feeling otherwise broken down and tired (about 6 of 30 workouts). I simply YouTubed “1 hour workouts” and chose from HIIT (high intensity interval training), Tabata, GoodLife Les Mills (Body Combat, Zumba) and anything else that looked interesting, never doing the same workout twice.

I alternated a HIIT cardio workout one day with a routine involving dumbbells another day — I own a pair of 5- and 8-lb weights — for at least 3 days of weight training per week. When feeling “ick” I would do yoga (there are even workouts for PMS!), pilates and light dance workouts. The important thing is if I was tired one day, I wouldn’t skip a workout; I’d just choose something light and fitting of my current mood and bodily state.

I visually associate fat loss to a microwave and a stick of butter: you can place the butter in there and stare at it all you want, but it won’t melt until you turn on the power and blast it 🙂 And it’s the same with our bodies: we need to turn up the heat and discomfort and pain and SWEAT!

Here are some of my YouTube favourites:

  • FitnessBlender
  • POPSUGAR Fitness
  • Sydney Cummings
  • HASFit
  • Yoga with Adriene
  • Michelle Vo Fitness

Best of luck, thanks for reading, and do please share your own tips!

— DI 😉

Weigh Back…

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I often struggle with what once was. “I once had” this.  I “once did” that. But more niggling than ever, I “once wore” that size.

The year before I had my daughter, I was 29 years old and in the best shape of my life. Granted, I weighed the most I ever had, yet I was toned and super fit. I ran my first (5K) race ever in 25 minutes flat without even training.  I worked out 4-5 days every week and ate healthy food (no desserts). And I wore a crop top or sports bra to work out (in a coed gym- brave!).
**side story!
Once upon a time on a Dominican beach, I was sunbathing topless and my companion had gone out on the sand for a run, leaving me alone in my half-naked glory. I was partially snoozing when a shadow blocked my sun and two locals stood in front of me with a gigantic snake (a python? all I know is it was a Britney-Slave-4-U-huge-ass-mthafka) and a camera. They were insisting I get up and take a picture with the snake – yes, the souvenir photo that gets put up on a very public wall that you can order at the photo desk.
I looked around for my companion (then long gone), covered my (then quite modest) chest with my hands and sternly said no, at LEAST three times.  Get the fk outta here!
So back to the story at hand.  I went back to the gym 4 months after having my baby. Less than halfway through my first Pump class, I got extremely dizzy and nearly passed out. It must’ve shown since the instructor took a moment to come by and ask if I was okay – embarrassing!  I skipped a few tracks and managed to finish the class, but I was sore for the next two weeks.  I was scared to return and when I did, I was just miserable to see such a slow, jiggly shape staring back at me in the mirror. But being as stubborn and determined as I am, I went daily, working my way up to two classes each morning, 5 days a week. Before 3 months’ time, I was back at pre-pregnancy weight.
I managed to keep up my workout regime all summer, until I returned to my full- and part-time jobs. Then I just couldn’t find the time or motivation. I tried to go before work a few times, but that meant getting up at 5 am after finishing work close to midnight the night before. As you can imagine, that didn’t last.
I’m on March Break now and as I type this, I should be getting dressed for my workout (I had pledged to attend every day this week). We’ll see if that happens.  I’m extra tired (I guess staying up til 3 am watching Prison Break didn’t help).
That last paragraph was written on Tuesday morning, and it’s now almost 11:30 pm Thursday. I haven’t been to the gym all week.  As my hubby reassures me, the new-ish introduction of studying has taken precedence over my workouts, and that is nothing to feel terrible about (which of course I do).  It never used to matter if I was tired, ragging, irritated – I ALWAYS made it to the gym.  Now, I have to put it on the back burner and give myself some time to physically, and most importantly, mentally, rest.
I can’t wait too long because, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m running a 10K race in May.  In June, a Spartan obstacle race.  And just yesterday, a co-worker approached hubby and I to form a work team to attempt the CN Tower climb in April.  I’ve referred to myself as crazy before, and I suppose I am, because I’m intrigued by the idea and I’d like to participate.  If not for charity, the street meat vendor in front of the Rogers Centre that I used to frequent when my company was situated there.  He owned this amazing three-nipple-like mayonnaise squeeze bottle and had bacon bits.  I digress.
Now I impose upon myself a new challenge which I call 3-4-5:  3 inches, 4 pounds, in 5 months.  The 3 inches I’d ideally lose around my spare-tire of a waist and 4 pounds self-explanatory, well in time for my trip to Europe in 5 months.
I generally find that in the summer, frequent outdoor runs, more sweating, and smile-inducing sunshine help to keep the weight off.  I’m disappointed in myself for slacking, but spring is around the corner and up open the many possibilities of outdoor activity.
Wish me luck.  Until the birds are chirping, however, I’m going to be eating Golden Oreo Cakesters, cashew- and toffee-swirl ice cream, and other sugary, highly caloric yummies.  I’m only human.