Tag Archives: weight loss

Getting fit for free: the battle between fitness and finanaces

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I have a confession to make – I’m a gym slut!

And by that, I mean I will go to whatever gym is giving me free drop-in passes. There are sweet deals to be had out there, people!

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This time of year, everyone is forking out hundreds upon hundreds of dollars for exclusive memberships, signing their lives away on contracts, trundling off to Sport Chek to spend megabucks on the hottest new fitness duds…. NOT ME!!

Well, not this time anyways. I would be a huge hypocrite here if I did not ‘fess up that I indeed, in the past, have been on that very bandwagon. But this year, I am determined to have my fitness and financial goals in harmony with one another. And to that end, I am busy milking every gym in the city for free passes.

A quick Yellow Pages search of St. John’s came up with over thirty different fitness clubs and gyms. Almost every one has some kind of promo ‘freebie’ offer – ranging from a free daypass, to three days, or three classes, or a week, or a steal of a deal on the first week (Shakti Yoga – $20 unlimited drop-in trial for a week, etc). Right now, I am busy getting the most out of my Goodlife “Three for Free” pass. I’ve already been to two savage spin classes, and will hit up two more before it expires on the 12th. (Soooo….. really I will get Four For Free! And, if it was a drop in class, I would probably pay up to $10 for it, so that is like $40 I saved right there!).

I already got a sweet Groupon (I actually bought a secondhand Groupon — paid $30 for it, the girl I bought it from paid $50 for it, which was an epic deal to begin with, for two months of drop-in Muay Thai Kickboxing… two a week, eight a month, 16 in total, so if I go to every one, which I have so far, the cost to me is less than two bucks a class) So I have that to do this month as well. Once that is finished, I’m thinking – Hot Yoga! (Saw an ad for a free week there, too!).

 

I alloted $100 in my monthly budget for “Health and Fitness” but heck, I’d rather spend it on wine or clothes or shoes — and if I succeed in my Fit for Free mission, that is exactly what I’m going to do!

If anyone knows of any other great promo offers – let me know!

Just in case you want to be a gym slut, too, check out these deals:

  • Goodlife Fitness: (Canada-wide) Three-visit pass:

http://goodlifefitness.com/Memberships/FreeVisitPass.aspx

  • The Works (St. John’s only) Free 7-Day Prime Time Deluxe Membership:

http://www.theworksonline.ca/survey.php

  • Ches Penney YMCA (St. John’s) Free Day Pass:

http://www.ynortheastavalon.com/files/free_pass.pdf

 

Amber waves of death?

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I got one of those awesome Kobo e-readers for Christmas from my awesome boyfriend (Yes, I am aware I just used the word “awesome” twice in one sentence). The first book I read was one which kind of jumped out at me, called “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. I mean, I know I tend to be a bit of a bandwagoneer when it comes to this kind of thing, but wow, I am really convinced that wheat is Satan.

To get all the details, you really have to read the book yourself, which gets a bit doctor-jargony but is for the most part, pretty accessible. To sum it up in a sentence or two: Wheat has been extremely modified over the past century so that it no longer even resembles what your grandma used to make muffins when she was a spunky young teenager. This franken-grain that we eat today in nearly everything (think about it right now….. it’s everywhere…. not just obvious places like bread and pasta, but think about the supermarket aisles, the endless rows of snack foods and pretzels, frozen dinners, cakes, cookies, pastries, and even in sneaky places like soy sauce). And, this stuff is bad for you, people! The glycemic index of bread is much higher than eating straight sugar. That’s right, even your organic, multigrain, high-fiber bread will shoot your blood sugar through the roof, even moreso than a can of Coke. I found this totally shocking. In the book he asks the question: why weren’t any of our grandmothers fat back in the day? They definitely weren’t at the gym three times a week, pumping iron and doing spin classes? What has changed dramatically in the North American diet in the past 50 years or so? Well, Dr. Davis points his finger at wheat. Basically, things with a high glycemic index send your blood sugar sky-high, forcing an insulin response from your body to counteract it. This leads to that all-too-familiar cycle of being starving hungry before a meal, and eating way too much (often starchy, sugary calories which spike the blood sugar again…) only to find yourself starving again a few hours later.

The book is packed with case studies of his hundreds and hundreds of patients he has put on a completely wheat-free diet, whose myriad complaints from colitis to arthritis, were vapourized by simply cutting out the wheat. Oh yeah, and they lost dozens of pounds – effortlessly.

One of the things I found really, totally fascinating was the chapter on the addictive qualities of wheat. Now, I have often heard – and said myself – that I can go weeks without eating junk, but once I do, it’s like opening up the floodgates, because if I eat just one Oreo I am suddenly hoovering up every croissant, cookie, cake, donut, bagel, and slice of toast in the place. And what I have known now empirically has now been explained to me scientifically – that wheat actually affects the same receptors in our brains that respond to opiates (yes, like heroin). And, indeed, has the very same addictive properties, and results in the same compulsive behaviours. So if you’ve ever found yourself reaching for “just one more” Timbit, you are not alone, and it may not even be your fault.

It seems overly simplistic – that the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, even cancer – could be linked with this one unassuming edible grassy plant. But the book is incredibly convincing. I highly recommend it.

So yeah, I totally ploughed a bunch of beer-battered shrimp tonight (it’s New Year’s Eve, people) but other than that, I haven’t eaten any wheat-containing products for three days. I’m going to keep it up. It’s a bit early to say whether it makes much of a difference, but I have to say I have not ONCE been hungry, in three days, and that is a major anomaly for me.

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Hypnosis app for iPhone – it’s a winner

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This is a cool photo, but in no way represents my experience, which is not creepy or intense at all (whereas this guy is both)

I am a bit embarassed here to admit that I recently downloaded three hypnosis apps for my iPhone. Hypnosis! You are saying, what a bunch of cheesy schlock. But I have to say – to anyone – I would highly, highly recommend you try it! I listen to it right before going to bed, with my headphones, and am ALWAYS in a deep sleep before the half-hour session is over. Not that I have ever had problems sleeping, but sometimes, in the past, I have been known to wake up in choking, panicking states or yell in my sleep or toss and turn violently; and since starting this, I haven’t done any of those things. In fact, the one night that I skipped the meditation this month (it was already really late – just wanted to go to sleep) I DID wake up in that choking, panicking state. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Anyways, there are a variety of different programs to choose from – the one I got (for a few bucks) is by Andrew Johnson (who has this wicked Scottish accent) and I got a Success-themed one; along with Happiness and Lose Weight. How well these actually work specific to the content, I have no way of measuring – but I know I get the best sleep of my life after listening to it, and wake up feeling awesome.

I am not really sure – and maybe someone can answer this for me – what the difference is between meditation and hypnosis. I have meditation apps as well, and they seem to be remarkably similar, except that in the hypnosis ones I definitely go much deeper, the whole floating feeling and all, pretty trippy stuff. Definitely has the same calming, relaxing, releasing effect.

He says right in the intro, that it’s OK to fall asleep during the session, and that the message will still come through to your subconscious – good thing, because every night when my boyfriend comes to bed, he has to gently pry the earbuds out of my ears and wrestle my phone out of my hand while I am happily snoring.

Green Juice – You gotta try it

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It looks utterly revolting – a thick, pasty beverage complete with unblendable chunks. Oh yeah, and it’s green. But I have been drinking it every morning now for two weeks, instead of breakfast, and I am really noticing my energy levels and most importantly – my SKIN – being awesome.

So yeah, after getting sick of my facebook friend Helen posting about her epic mountain running “Ran 30 km today, straight uphill, feeling awesome!” followed by, “Time for some more green juice!” And then, looking at her pics and being embroiled in jealousy by her thinness and gorgeous complexion, I figured maybe I will try this (not the mountain trail running, but the green juice anyways). She is also vegan and eats only raw food – a step I am simply not willing to take – but hey, Green Juice is a start, right?

So anyways, every morning I have been choking back a concoction of spinach, coconut water, celery, hemp seeds, apple, wild blueberries, avocado, ginger, lemon, and cucumber, or some variation thereof. The idea is to just throw in there whatever you’ve got. (My idea anyways — I by no means am speaking for any kind of legit “Green Juice Movement”) sometimes I put in some lemon or some greens plus or whatever else is kicking around my fridge.

To say it’s delicious would be a pretty extreme overstatement. But it is at least palatable and not totally disgusting (although my boyfriend can’t even look at it without retching). I don’t think it’s that bad. And yes, I definitely have more energy, my skin looks better than it has in years, and it is something I am definitely going to carry on with here.

I am a ‘go big or go home’ type of gal. So I have always struggled, in the health department, because I can’t handle the idea of making small changes, it’s just not natural to me. I tend to make preposterous promises to myself that set me up for failure – following whatever regimen or whatever that is a virtually unachievable goal for all but the most disciplined Iron Man athletes. It has occurred to me of late, that it would probably do a great deal for my self-confidence and self-esteem, if I could make some small changes, and stick to those, and build upon the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that come from successfully implementing those changes…. rather than the misery and self-hatred when I fail at yet another weight loss, nutrition, or fitness strategy.

So yeah…. my green juice might not change my life, but it could definitely be a springboard to make other, healthier decisions.

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