Monday, October 26, 2020
Quote of the Week
   Week 2  
“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you are right” –Henry Ford

Alicia's Musing

Once when I was teaching a Learn to Run clinic, one of the participants shared this story with me while we were out on a practice run. She told me that both her parents and her husband had scoffed at her idea to try to run 5 kilometres. “Get serious, you’ll never be able to do that!” they told her.

I covered up my dismay at her story. How could the people she loved most be so negative and unsupportive? Despite their attitude, she joined the clinic and was determined to try. I marvelled at her leap of faith. She was working out of her comfort zone, alone.
The day of the run her husband was there with their year old son and a camera. As she crossed the finished line, she turned to him with streaming eyes and saw the same eyes reflected back at her. He finally believed.
We all have this spirit of determination. This is part of all of us.  It is our decision to accept it, or not.


As you fill out your food log, become aware of what you are eating, when you are eating it, how much, and why you are eating it. Are you bored? Upset? Pissed off? Tired? Or are you just hungry?

It is important to ask yourself these questions so you learn about yourself. If you recognize that you reach for food as solace then you will understand that behaviour, that part of how you cope, and can then think about choosing another way to live. It is important to ask yourself these questions because they can provide insight into your behaviours.

It is your choice what you put in your mouth and no one else's. Once you claim and accept that truth, you will take the first important step to making yourself happy and healthy.

Or not. You choose.

The questions I posed last week serve as a healthy eating guideline for me. When I started on my weight loss journey I thought about them daily; now it is second nature to me. Let's look at them again:

How much white bread/rice/pasta did you eat?

  • White bread, pasta and rice are refined. Most of the nutrients are taken out and very little is put back in. The next time you eat a plate of pasta, look at it as eating a mound of sugar, 'cause that is how your body processes it. I rarely eat these foods. Instead, I eat whole grain pasta, breads and brown rice. Calorically they have the same value as white, but nutritionally they are far superior.

Did you eat 5 servings each of fruit and veggies?

  • Fruits an veggies are complex carbohydrates and fuel my workouts and my busy days. I try to ensure that by the end of the day I have had 10-12 servings.

How much processed food did you eat?

  • I try to eat virtually none. Fresh is best. It has the most nutrients and the least preservatives.

How often did you eat fast food?

  • In the past I would have said never, but some fast food outlets serve healthy meals. Places like Extreme Pita, Teriyaki Express, Subway and Mr. Sub. Lick's now offer healthy food choices, low in fat, complex carbs, grilled with water, not oil. More importantly, they post the nutritional break down of the foods they offer so you can see what you are eating before you purchase. That way, you can make good food choices. I still avoid burgers, fries and pizza.

Did you have pop or juice?

  • Both have lots of sugar and are processed. I drink water, eat a piece of fruit, or toss fruit in a blender if I really want fruit juice.

Did you eat breakfast every day?

  • This may be surprising, but every client I have had who is unhappy with their weight does not eat breakfast - including the "previous" me! You need to "break-the-fast" after your sleep to fuel your brain. Studies show that kids who don't eat breakfast don't do as well in school as those that do eat breakfast. Do we, as adults, think it is any different for us?

Are you tired after you eat?

  • This may indicate you are eating too much sugar in the form of white bread, pasta, rice or desserts. It may also happen because your portion size was too big. Or it may just be you are tired! The thing is to ask yourself these questions so you can figure out the answer. Your meals should fuel you, not make you tired.


Oven Baked Spinach Fritatta

This frittata is one of my favourite recipes because it is so versatile. I have made it for breakfast, brunch, dinner, sliced into fingers to serve as hors d'oeuvres, and as a potluck dish. Don't be afraid to put whatever veggies you like into this yummy, high protein casserole.

1               medium onion, chopped
½ cup      chopped red pepper
¼ lb         mushrooms, thinly sliced
2               300g pkg. frozen spinach, thawed
1 tsp        dried basil
½ tsp       ground nutmeg
    salt and pepper to taste
2 cups      liquid egg substitute (eg Break Free)
2 cups      ultra low fat cottage cheese
1 cup         light feta cheese (15% MF)
½ cup       whole wheat flour
1 tsp          baking powder
                   reduced fat Parmesan cheese

Saute onions, red pepper and mushrooms in a Dutch oven or large saucepan coated with non fat cooking spray, until onions are soft. Drain spinach well and stir in along with basil, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir in egg substitute, cottage and feta cheeses, flour and baking powder. Stir into spinach mixture and combine well, top with Parmesan cheese.
Pour into a 13” X 9” (33cm X 23cm) baking pan (sprayed with non fat cooking spray). Bake in 350 F degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until firm. Cool 15 minutes and cut into fingers or squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 servings.
Per Serving - Calories 85.8; Total fat 4.9 g; Saturated fat 0.6 g; Monounsaturated fat 0.5 g; Polyunsaturated fat 0.7 g; Cholesterol 2 mg; Carbohydrate 6.3 g; Dietary fibre 1.0 g; Protein 10.8 g; Sodium 304 mg; Potassium 253 mg; Calcium 85 mg.

Healthy Hint:
A very versatile dish that can be served as a main dinner meal, for brunch, or cooled and cut into fingers as hors d'oeuvres.


Fitness has three basic components; all are equally important and support your overall health in different ways.

Cardiovascular training works the heart and lungs. Remember that your heart is a muscle; you work it by making it pump harder. You make your heart pump harder by working your lungs, or, by increasing the oxygen requirement to your muscles.

Strength training is not aerobic. It is muscle specific – you may have legs like the Hulk and arms like Twiggy. It is important to work all muscle groups so your body is balanced and strong. This is achieved by applying resistance to your muscles, either with weights, bands, your own body weight, partner training, water resistance, etc.

Flexibility is the range of motion at a joint or joints. Having more movement at your joints allows you to move freely and efficiently. It also helps to prevent injuries, and heal from them. You improve your flexibility by stretching. Stretching may also help ease some painful chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

The questions I asked last week were designed to see if you are including all three components of fitness in your weekly routine. Let’s  look at those questions again.

  • Generally, if you are exercising regularly, at least 3 times per week, you are getting a benefit from your routine.
Are you involved in any exercise that works your heart and lungs for at least 20 minutes?
  • You need to include a cardio component in your routine, ideally 3 times per week for 20 minutes minimum. This can be done within a variety of activities like swimming, rowing, cycling, spinning, aerobic type classes, running, StairMaster, elliptical, climbing stairs, etc.
Do you ever stretch?
  • This is the most overlooked and least valued component of fitness (until you get injured!) Stretching can be included after any type of exercise program you are involved in – just 10 minutes after your workout is enough to reap the benefits. Yoga and other types of relaxation classes are great for stretching your muscles too!
Is your back often sore?
  • Often this is an indication that your core muscles are weak or your posture is incorrect. Strength training or core classes can have a huge impact on strengthening this area and relieving pain. Stretching also helps.
Can you lift and carry reasonably heavy objects, or do you feel weak?
  • Again, there is a very practical aspect to being fit, and that is to maintain your functional ability. You want to be able to get through the tasks in your day without having them wear you out. Resistance or strength training 2 – 3 times per week will help with that.
Do you have good range of motion in your joints?
  • If you do not stretch and strengthen your muscles they will atrophy, or shorten your range of motion at the joint(s). This may mean not being able to reach into the top cupboard or reach behind yourself easily to do up your seat belt – I have seen plenty of that!
How is your balance?
  • Your balance is in your core, so again, working with resistance will help you from crashing to the ground, and that’s a good thing! And if you are involved in any sport, then core work is critical to get the most out of your activity.
Do you feel better after you exercise?
  • Working out always makes me feel better, sometimes in spite of myself. Raising your endorphins just makes you feel good, and the benefit to those who suffer from depression is even more marked. I once had a client comment that her psychiatrist recommended she start working out and that it was the best piece of advice she ever got. Mind, spirit, body – it is all connected!
Would you consider yourself active/mobile?

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