Beachbody update

A big reason I started Beachbody was the motivation to look smokin’ hot for my niece’s Bat Mitzvah last weekend. I know it’s just one day and nobody really cares how I look (it was all about my niece, who did amazing!), but it was motivating for me!

Last time I posted about this I have just finished the 21 day fix, I’m now about halfway through T 25. They are also circuit workouts, 25 minutes each, most of them a combination of strength and cardio. I also walk 20-40 minutes a day, aiming for 8000 steps (as I mentioned in an earlier post, I lowered my step goal a bit to encourage myself to do more strength training) and often doing more.

Let’s take a look:

I think I’m doing pretty well! I felt beautiful and fit at the Bat mitzvah, and had an amazing time and was full of energy to dance like a fool. Sharing a picture of my beautiful family:

I have just over a week until we go to Cuba, hoping to see a little more progress by then! I know it’s not like anyone really cares how I look in Cuba, but it motivates me to keep working towards more strength and fitness, which is only a good thing for my confidence, energy, mental, and physical health.

As for diet, I was already eating well and I haven’t changed my food very much. I am being more mindful of drinking loads of water and always carrying lots of fruits and vegetables with me, so I’m not resorting to less healthy snacks. Still tracking it all on MyFitnessPal.


New curly girl trick

My hair has been super limp and blah the last couple weeks, I guess that’s the change of weather. I tried something new today and it worked out great:

1-cowash with Tresemme undone Conditioner

2-condish with Garnier papaya masque

3-squish in Ag recoil curl activator

4-squish in Shea moisture high porosity moisture seal gel

5-scrunch with t-shirt

6-squish in more gel

7-plop 10 minutes

8-after plopping, add Beyond the zone volume spray to roots

9- diffuse, Scrunch out the crunch when dry

The biggest change was adding extra gel after scrunching, and the volume spray (which I usually only use for refresh days). I know it looks like a long complicated routine but really those extra steps added maybe two minutes.

I think I need a trim to give it a bit more body and volume, but in the meantime this is helping! I’m going to Cuba in a few weeks so I would like to save cutting my hair for after, so I can put it up more easily.

21 days

After our trip to Sauble beach over the summer, I realized that I really needed to do something different to get back into shape. Walking my 10,000 steps or more a day, and throwing in the occasional other work out, just wasn’t cutting it. Because my weight hadn’t changed and my clothing still fit, I didn’t really realize how much my body had changed until I saw pictures of myself in a bikini before and after cancer (which was when my exercise, for obvious reasons, really took a nosedive).

After some consultation, I realized what I really need to do is more strength training. Of course it’s also important for me to keep up my cardiovascular exercise, both for my health and to burn calories.

The very first thing I did was remove every single fitbit friend I had, and lower my fitbit steps from 10000-8000. Why? Because the Fitbit promotes stepping exercises. A lot of the exercises that are really good for me, do not involve many steps. Over the last year, even though I’ve been healthy enough to exercise more vigorously, I have found myself defaulting to walking and running most of the time, because of the steps. Clearly, that hadn’t been doing my body any favors!

Prior to my diagnosis, my fitbit steps were actually at 7000, because I did so many other kinds of exercise, that I knew would not get 10,000 steps a day. Obviously ideally I would do both 10000 steps a day and other workouts (I try to when I can, still), but with a full-time desk job and two kids, that’s just not always going to happen on the daily. When I started my treatment, because walking was pretty well the only thing I could do, I wanted to make sure I was doing a lot so I went up to 10,000 steps! I’ve kept that up until last month…when I went down to 8000 steps because I knew that it would give me more time and encourage me to do other kinds of exercise, and I removed all my friends because I can get competitive, and didn’t want to feel bad about myself for doing less.

The second thing I did was join Beachbody on demand. After doing lots of research I determined it was the best workout program for me. I don’t want to join a gym because I find it harder to work out out of the home these days, because I have to take my medication at home relatively early in the evening And I go to bed earlier than I used to, and it’s just easier to already be at home. I decided since I’m not spending money on a gym or studio, less than $20 a month was affordable for me to work out at home. (Of course there are also free workouts I can do online, but I decided I wanted to try something different and give myself an extra motivation that comes from paying for something).

I have now finished 21 days of the 21 day fix-mostly circuit type workouts with and upper, lower, full body or cardio focus-all 30 minutes! I am really happy with the program. I have lost 5 pounds, people are telling me I look slimmer, my clothing fits better, and I can get my engagement ring off (without lather or lube) for the first time in years. I do have a before and after picture, it doesn’t look too dramatic, but I can feel a huge difference!

I’m never going to become a beach body coach, because I’m just not comfortable selling things to friends (no judgement just not for me), but I can see why so many people get pulled into it! It really is a great program. I didn’t even follow the meal program only the exercise (Although I do have a protein shake very similar to shakeology every morning, and have been eating more carefully as well. My meals themselves haven’t changed much, but I’ve been keeping a closer eye on mindless eating and snacking).

Now that I’m done the 21 day fix I’m going to move onto other workouts, I’m not sure if I will do another program or just do lots of different workouts from Beachbody on-demand, but I look forward to seeing where it takes me! Most of the programs seem to combine strength and cardio, which I love for now. In the spring I will probably focus more on strength training for my homework out, because I will also be running again!!

Instant pot rice and lentils

I make a big pot of this almost every weekend, it’s great to have with lunches and as a side dish for dinners.

What you need:

-Tablespoon of olive oil, chopped 1/2 onion

-One and a quarter cup of white rice, mixed with a quarter cup of brown or green lentils (red will turn to mush).

-Two and a bit cups of vegetable broth. I like to use mushroom to give it an earthy flavor, or onion just because I love the flavour of onions! Regular old vegetable broth works too. If you’re not veg*n (this term is used for vegan or vegetarian), I’m sure it would work well with beef or chicken broth.

How to make it

1. Turn your instant pot on to sauté, add the oil and the onions. Prepare the rest of your ingredients while allowing the onions to caramelize, stirring on occasion.

2. Once the onions are nicely browned and fragrant, I usually use a handful of paper towel to lift out a lot of the oil. I like to use a lot of oil for sautéing and caramelizing, but I don’t want it all in there when I cook. As you can see below very little of the oil is left after this step. If you’re not watching your oil just leave it.

3. Add the dry rice and rinsed lentils, and stir for a couple minutes to lightly toast.

4. Pour in the broth, close and seal your Instant pot and cook on high pressure for six minutes. I usually allow it to completely release naturally, which gets the lentils soft with a touch of bite. If you don’t have the time, let it release naturally for at least four minutes or else it will be too crunchy (I guess I could try adding a minute cooking time instead, but I like letting it release naturally)

5. Serve. It’s really tasty with some added salt, but I try not to because it’s not so healthy! The lass salt I use, the less I crave it.


*I usually keep it in the fridge for about a week, often a half a cup of this is part of my lunch. Great with soups, or veggies, or mixed with dips like hummus or baba ghanouj.

*If you don’t have an instant pot, it can also be made stove-top. Follow all the directions in a pot until adding broth. After you add the broth bring it to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let it cook for 30 minutes in the residual heat, and it will be ready. I know it sounds crazy to turn off the heat but that way it doesn’t burn and the residual heat is enough to keep it cooking, it’s also very convenient because I can run errands (you can also use this method for cooking rice, without the lentils it takes about 20 minutes to cook in residual heat)!

Scrunchy crunchy and new lippy

I found this lip pencil in my purse. I honestly don’t remember where it came from, maybe it was a free gift from Sephora? My mom gets them a lot and passes them on to me.

Anyway it’s Bite beauty lip crayon in Glacé. These two pictures are from around 8 AM, and around 10 AM. I was planning to take one later in the day, but got caught up with a work emergency and never got a chance! However, it did last a few more hours. It’s not drying like a lot of long lasting lipstick’s, however it does stay on nicely and feels great! I look forward to using it again.

OK I lied, I just found another picture I took around noon. So that was four hours after application:

These pictures also show an important part of the curly girl routine that I use for my hair. In the first picture you can see that my hair looks wet, it’s actually not wet, it’s dried into a hard cast. This is what you want with curly hair, because it creates defined curls and minimizes frizz. Once it has dried like this, I use my hands to scrunch it out into soft more natural curls, like in the lower side picture. (I usually dry my hair with a diffuser about 80 to 90% at home, then let it dry the rest of the way on my drive to work, and then a scratch it out in the car right before I go into the office, Or in the washroom right after if the weather is bad and I want to protect it). Today’s hair was actually not washed, it was really fast with Mixed Chicks morning after redefining foam , then diffused. This is the best refresh product I have found, my hair dries just as if I washed it, and looks great!