It has been quite a year. A roller-coaster political adventure, re-integrating into work, and taking an opportunity to evaluate my goals afresh. I’m working on creating new avenues of opportunity, and focusing on health and wellness. We are back in our walking routine (although 10000+ steps a day campaigning was no holiday), getting around the city and finding pathways to joy and wonder. I’m looking forward to sharing food, wellness and attitude ideas with you again. (Major joy source: I’ll be a grandmother very soon. Stay tuned for news!)
The milder weather seems to be making a comeback. Hurray! For me, the best thing about that is the fresh perspective I’m able to get, every single morning. People who live near the ocean often comment that the view is always changing…as if they have a lock on that. I can tell you having lived in both places, that there is just as much change when I get out and about in beautiful #Toronto, as there is in a house by the sea. Whether it’s the pinky-hued sun peeking up in the distance, or a view of new construction, seeing City Hall from the rearward aspect, or glimpsing my favourite weather-light on the top of the Canada Life Building, there’s always something intriguing to see.
(Do you know how the weather light works?) The Beacon’s lights go upward when the temperature is rising, and down when it is falling; they stay steady when there is a constant temperature. There is also a light at the top, that is red for cloudy, flashing red for rain, green for clear, and flashing white for snow. I have to admit the past couple of times, I haven’t seen the top light turned on, but the temperature indicators seem to be working just fine.
Another sight that always catches my attention is this condo – the Jazz, which retained the original facade while building a tall building above. I’m always happy to see heritage buildings honoured while adding much-needed density.
What do you love seeing, as you walk around your city? Please share!
Are You Fit To Win?
I’ve been away from the blog for awhile…back in January, I was juggling so many things that I managed to get sick. I am one of those people who *never* gets sick (and by that I mean rarely, and usually a very mild case of whatever it is). So I was surprised when I was beset by the flu, not long after my last post. Then work, and travel, and my secret project (soon to be not-so-secret, and definitely not secret to those in the know). Fortunately I have people around who look out for me, so I had lots of hot soup and TLC to help me get well.
Although unexpected events can be a major disrupter of my plans, what I’ve learned is that I can always get back on track (and so can you). Some key things I have learned to keep in mind:
- I don’t expect to come back at full speed on the first day.
- A shock or shakeup can be a great excuse to make a change to my habits.
- Exercise helps me with more than fitness – it builds resilience – so I return to it as soon as I’m able.
So now, as I get ready to take on a new and enormous challenge, I’ll be making sure I’m eating right, enjoying the process, being grateful every day, and working out to make sure I’m #FitToWin.
What I love best about New Year’s Day is that everyone sees the potential for a fresh start. My resolution for 2018? To help as many people as possible understand that we have that potential every single day. No matter what’s happened before, we can be better from here on in.
Yesterday I began posting January Meal plans, which I’ll continue for you here. I hope they’ll help inspire you to be your best, healthiest self this year.
|Sunday||January 7th||Granola with 1/2 banana||EatingWell Tomato Basil Zoodle Salad||Jamie Oliver Sicilian Spaghetti Alla Norma|
|Monday||January 8th||Beet and Kale Smoothie||Cooking Light Roasted Sweet Potato and Orange Salad||Cooking Light Turkey & Swiss Sloppy Joes|
|Tuesday||January 9th||Granola with 1/2 banana||Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter||Jamie Oliver Hungover Noodles|
|Wednesday||January 10th||Banana Kale Smoothie||Apple Kale Salad||Jamie Oliver Smokin’ Chicken Chowder (substituting leftover turkey)|
|Thursday||January 11th||Apple Nut Oatmeal||Homemade Turkey Soup with 1 whole grain bread and 5ml butter||EatingWell Savory Carrot and Tarragon Tart|
|Friday||January 12th||Carrot Cake Smoothie||Cooking Light Fall Vegetable and Lentil Salad||Jamie Oliver Carbonara of Smoked Mackerel|
Before you go, here are some tools that help me keep track of meals, make grocery lists, and remind myself to stay fit and drink water:
Paprika Recipe App, good for either Kindle, iOS, or Android. It lets me download recipes, organize them as I like, share them, and create grocery lists for my meal plans.
My Fitness Pal – I love this for figuring out the nutritional content of recipes, and seeing whether I’m missing key nutrients.
What are your favourite tools for healthy living?
These days we talk a lot about finding our purpose, or our mission, or our “why”. But often we have that because of someone. Our inspiration. For me, that’s my grandmother, Gladys. (She’s first in a long, long list). You can read more about her, and what she inspires, here.
I pack a lot into my days, including time for exercise. It makes me feel healthier, stronger, and better able to deal with whatever life throws at me. So when someone asks, “How do you find time to do that?”, I tell them. I get up at 5:30 most days of the week, sometimes even on weekends.
What is really important in your life, that you can’t find time for? Is it healthy eating? Exercise? Travel? Time off with friends and family? Whatever it is, schedule it in. Not everyone’s an early riser like me. You have to know yourself. Maybe you’re better in the evening. I just know that if I leave it til later, I’m much more likely to make excuses. That means prioritizing my work, and working smarter, so I can fit in the things that I say are important. Productivity is about more than shoving more work out the door. It’s also about creating a way of working that lets you live a life that’s right for you.
Want to find out whether working with a coach can help you fit in more of what’s important to you, and less of what’s not? Fill out this contact form and I’ll get back to you. Let’s chat!
Challenging times…what do you do when it seems like your values are being assaulted every day? Sometimes all you can do is declare yourself. Hatred has no place in my world, and I am disappointed to see anyplace that declares itself to be liberal, open-minded, and supportive of freedom and liberty, allowing the preaching of hatred, or the dissemination of fear. This has been weighing on me, as I watch my friends’ worry increase (for good reason). So sometimes I just ask for a sign. This was one I received today on my morning walk. Morse Street Junior Public School, thanks. I needed that.
Need a translation? Here you go:
I spend a lot of my time writing about food. I spend more of it writing about keeping fit and getting out to explore the city by walking – at least 5K per day.
As you might guess by my @WalkEatLive handle, though, there’s another component: living. I like to do that exactly the same way as I do everything: up and to the right. What does that mean? It means with my meals, I always focus on improving what I am eating – making sure I am taking in healthy fuel to keep me going. With walking and exercise, it means challenging myself to make good choices and not slack off just because the weather is lousy or I had too much fun with friends yesterday. And in life, it means finding ways to improve on a daily basis, because without movement, there’s stagnation. I’m always building these healthy habits because no matter what direction life takes, there’s great satisfaction in saying, “I did my best to be better today”.
In an ongoing quest to be better every day, I’m always working on health as one of my priorities, and that starts with walking, and also with eating well. Filling yourself up is important – starvation, deprivation, and denial just aren’t sustainable. So instead it’s really helpful to focus on putting as many good things into a meal as possible. Empty calories are easy to banish when you choose lots of healthy vegetables, brilliant colours, lean protein – with a nod to Michael Pollan, mostly plants! This tasty salad has sweet potato, peppers, red onion, pink beans, and a tasty curry vinaigrette (equal parts Dijon, cider vinegar, canola oil, and a teaspoon or so of curry powder for each serving).
There’s more to filling yourself up to eating, though – something I have been discussing with a friend quite a bit lately. It’s important to fill your mind with positive, helpful, forward-moving thoughts. Often when we are overwhelmed with trying to help others, we forget to take care of ourselves – but the oxygen-mask rule can help keep us on track. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ll recall that they tell you to put your own mask on before helping others. That’s because if you aren’t filled up (with air), you won’t be any good to anyone. So my favourite fill-up method is to get out for a good brisk walk, early in the morning as the city is waking up, and to drink in the sights and sounds around me. Today I was particularly inspired by the sunlight filtering through the trees in Allen Gardens – just steps away from skyscrapers and streetcars. That alone has filled me up with enough gratitude to last all day.
Whenever I talk about city walks, people are used to seeing my photos of skyscrapers, busy city streets, heritage buildings, or the occasional “downtowny” park. But when I post from nearby Riverdale Farm, or somewhere like the Don River Pathway/Pan Am Path, they ask, “Where’s that?” or “That’s not near your condo, is it?” It is. Within 2.5km of my condo, I can have City Hall, beautiful Lake Ontario, the Beach, the Farm, or the Trail. It’s really splendid. If you’re a city-dweller, head out in any direction for your walk, and go for twenty minutes or half an hour, then turn back. Tomorrow, choose a new direction. Even after you’ve covered some favourite routes many times, there’s always something new to discover. Take a different turn now and then, or let the lights choose whether you head north, east, south, or west, and surprises await. Start your day with a little surprise, and I’m sure you’ll be inspired to keep walking every day, as I am.