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Public humiliation and the changes it brings…
The first time I tried a group exercise class was when I was 20. My friend Shannon had a membership at a gym in town and had started attending some of the exercise classes. She asked me to go to one of the classes with her one night and I agreed; it sounded like fun. When we arrived, it was just like I had imagined it would be. The instructor was young, looked like exercise barbie and was really “peppy”. Most of the other ladies were pretty fit and decked out in the latest workout gear. I was relieved when Shannon suggested we find a spot in the back of the room as I was beginning to feel nervous. The dance remix music started and the instructor began quickly calling out moves. Right from the start, I was consistently 2-3 steps behind everyone else. I then realized that there was actually no advantage to standing in the back of the class because the wall we were facing was a giant mirror. Everyone else in the class could see every clumsy, un-cordinated step I took. Shannon and I couldn’t help but giggle- I was struggling and looked ridiculous. The instructor brought out weighted poles and handed one to each of us. She then demonstrated how we were to place the bar at the back of our neck and weave our arms around the bar. Once we were all in position, she instructed us to squat holding the bar. In my haste to wrap my arms around the bar, I didn’t realize that it was lopsided. As I attempted my first squat, the lopsided weighted bar caused me to lose my balance. I toppled backwards onto the hardwood floor, the bar making a loud crashing noise! The instructor quickly stopped the music and rushed over to see if I was “okay”. I was on my back, flailing around on the floor like a fish out of water, trying to unpin my arms from around the metal bar. With the instructors help, I was able to free myself and stand up. As soon as I looked at Shannon we both burst into hysterical laughing; the kind where you laugh so hard you don’t make a sound and your shoulders just shake. The other woman in the class did not look impressed. We decided to call it a night and skip out on the class a few minutes early. We could not stop laughing! The class had been a complete disaster! It would be 11 years before I would attempt a group exercise class again! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I go to classes at the “U can B fit” gym and I love it! (I’m still clumsy and un-coordinated, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it!)
The great thing about taking classes is that you learn exercises that you can do at home too! My 2 year old son asks me every night to lay with him as he is falling asleep. Because he is in a toddler bed, there isn’t room to lay in the bed with him so I use to just lay on the floor beside him. Now, instead of just laying there for 15-20 minutes, I use that time to do some core strengthening exercises. Last night I did sit ups, push ups, plank, and leg raises all while helping my son fall asleep. Life can be busy! Sometimes you have to be creative in how you can fit in time for a little workout! Can you think of a time during the day when you could do double duty and squeeze in a little exercise at the same time? 🙂 Could you do some leg raises at your desk, or some sit ups during a TV show?
I truly believe that making positive changes one small step at a time is the best way to achieve success!!
My father’s side of the family is Danish. I loved growing up with grandparents who taught us the holiday traditions from Denmark. The Danish celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve so every year on the 24th we would put on our Christmas dresses, pile in the car and head over to Far-Mor (grandma) and Fa-Fa’s (grandpa) house. One year on Christmas Eve, we were all sitting in the living room at Far-Mor and Fa-Fa’s house visiting and opening presents. My brother asked “does anyone else smell burning?” Suddenly my father was high-jumping over the living room couch and diving toward the fully engulfed kitchen table. There was a lot of shouting, flour throwing, and water soaking until the kitchen table was extinguished. That was a holiday meal we would never forget!
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are some of my favourite holidays. Of course spending time celebrating with family is the main source of my love for the holidays, but all of the delicious meals are a close second. We all know that there is something about “breaking bread” together that is warm and comforting. My family is big on traditions. My Mother and Grandmothers would always make the same amazing treats for the holidays. My paternal grandmother made delicious danish cookies and rice pudding, my maternal grandmother makes the most amazing dessert triffle and my mother makes the BEST gravy and yorkshire pudding! I look forward to these meals all year and there is now something nostaligic and comforting about these foods to me. The problem with these meals in the past has been my lack of self control. We’ve all been there- sitting at a holiday table full of delicious food and eating WELL beyond the point of being full! Then, for the rest of the day you are saddled with that heavy, “unbutton your pants”, “it’s hard to swallow” feeling. Isn’t it also funny how leftover triffle or rice pudding is a completely acceptable choice for breakfast the morning after a holiday? I am approaching this thanksgiving in a way that I never have before! This past week I have been testing “cleaned up” versions of some Thanksgiving favourites! This year I am going to have a healthy, guilt free thanksgiving meal! If you are unsure of “going all the way” with “cleaning up” your favourite holiday recipes, why not try to swap out at least 1 or 2?
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I’ve had a few requests for the apple butter and date butter recipe I use. I use either one of these as a substitute for sugar in almost every recipe. It tastes great in cookies, pies, breads, etc. If you put the time in at the start, you can easily make enough to last you through many batches of baked goods! Once you start making these, you’ll realize they are easier than they seem!
* This one is my favourite! It has a very subtle taste, but is super sweet! It’s also (in my opinion) the easier of the two recipes to make. The cheapest place I have found to buy dates is Bulk Barn. I make a few jars of these and keep them in my fridge for week (actually, who am I kidding?! They don’t last weeks!) 🙂
3 Cups pitted dates
1 lemon- just juice
1/2 Tsp nutmeg
2 Cups water
Put dates and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium heat and cook for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Add in spices and lemon juice and stir. Take off of the stovetop when the dates are visibly softened. Let it cool slightly and then pour mixture into a blender or food processor. Mix on high until it is a smooth pasty consistency. Put into containers and store in the fridge or use in a recipe right away!
I like this one in oatmeal cookies as well as apple crumble. Although it is simple, it is a little time consuming. It is worth it if you make a big batch as it will last you for months!
5lbs Apples sliced but not peeled (it is actually healthier with the peel on it)
Juice from 1 lemon
1 Tsp cinnamon
1/2 Tsp all spice
Place sliced apples in a slow cooker on high for 4 hours. Stir occasionally with spoon. After 4 hours let it cool slightly and scoop into blender. Mix in blender on high speed. Unless you have a Vitamix blender, you may need to do a few small batches. Once apples are blended, pour the mixture back into the slow cooker for another 1.5 hrs. Add in Lemon juice and spices. This will thincken the apples slightly. Once it is cool you can place in containers and store in your fridge or freezer. Keep in mind that the mixture will also thicken a bit more once it is completely cool.
* As you can imagine, this will have your house smelling amazing!
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