Dance Workout

I started dance classes a couple of months back and I love it. I’ve always loved dancing, especially as a form of exercise so when I came across a dance studio that is a 7 minute drive from my house and not unreasonably expensive. I jumped on it!

I started Twerking classes and I have to say whilst I have booty, I’m not that great at it but it’s a great confidence booster regardless. I just finished up the 6 week course and as I’m going away for a couple of weeks I thought I’d leave signing up again until the new year.

But that hasn’t stopped me from you-tubing a heap of dance videos and I’ve found myself a bunch that I’ve put into a “workout’ mix for myself.

Click HERE for the playlist

Here are the individual videos

Warm Up

Morning Yoga for Flexibility – Tara Stiles

‘Buttons’ Pussycat Dolls – The Fitness Marshall

‘I’m A Slave For You’ Britney Spears – The Fitness Marshall

Main Component

‘Work’ Rihanna – The Fitness Marshall

‘Lose Control’ Missy Elliot – The Fitness Marshall

‘Milkshake’ Kelis – The Fitness Marshall

‘Yeah’ Usher – The Fitness Marshall

Warm Down

‘London Bridge’ Fergie – The Fitness Marshall

‘Numb’ Nick Jonas – The Fitness Marshall

10 Minute Workout Arms – Tonic

Cool Down Routine – Tara Stiles

The whole thing goes for about 50 minutes and I usually burn around 400 calories doing it. I think it’s so important to find workouts that you enjoy doing and this is definitely one that I enjoy. I hope you do too!

 

The Simple Life

I’ve done a lot this year to try and live a more simple life. I’ve cleaned my house of possessions that weren’t being used. I let go of books I kept around but never read, I uploaded all my cds to my laptop. I cleaned out my wardrobe and am currently undertaking Project 333.

I also want to start simplifying my hair care and skin care.

In April of this year I decided to stop using products to wash my hair. I hate washing my hair – I hate all those wet strands of hair that get stuck to you. So I stopped washing it with product and started to only wash it with water )which I had read up on here). I purchased a new wide-tooth comb and a new brush to compliment the brush I already had. The brush is a boar-bristle brush which is used to help distribute the oil from your scalp down to the ends of your hair on your non-washing days. It’s a long process which is why I don’t always do it daily but it makes a difference. I did notice that my scalp started flaking a bit and that is probably due to the temperature of the water I use. I made a mix of castille soap, lavender oil, olive oil, rosemary oil, teatree oil, vegetable glycerine (from a recipe I found here) and now use that to wash my hair. I’ve found that my hair is not falling out as much as it used to, the oiliness takes longer to appear, my scalp is better and my hair has more volume to it. Overall I’m pretty happy with the results and I think I’ll start alternating washing with water and washing with the concoction I’ve developed.

In terms of skin care I’ve had skin issues since I can remember. Over the years I’ve tried cleansers, different ingredients in cleansers, pills, prescription topical lotions, proactive, oil-cleansing method, natural products only and my most recent foray, accutane. I started accutane in September 2016 and my course lasted until December of the same year. My dermatologist was worried about my liver on the drug so I stopped taking it. In terms of clearing my skin it did help but after a few months the issues came back – not as obvious but still there.

My general skin care since accutane comprises of 3 cleaners, a mist toner and 3 moisturisers. Generally the combination of those products works quite well but I still have issues and at 31, I don’t want them anymore.

I had a bit of an epiphany one night when I thought “well, if I can wash my hair with only water, I wonder if I can do the same with my face” and that next morning I started researching it. It’s called the caveman regime and from what I’ve read the extreme is not using any sort of products at all, not even water on your face. That’s far too extreme for me because a) I wear sunscreen everyday, b) I want to be able to wash it off and c) I want to wear make up sometimes.

So I’ve done my own thing. For the first week I only cleansed my skin at night time. I used a natural sunscreen every day. It was a little bit uncomfortable at times because it feels dry and tight but I hadn’t noticed much difference other than my skin is much drier during the day.

This past week I’ve added more moisturiser to my routine as well as exfoliation. I discovered that I have dry skin and not oily as I’ve been told all my life and I do not like the dryness.  It was getting to the really uncomfortable stage and I didn’t like the dead skin hence the exfoliation. My skin looks better but I have broken out a little bit. The truth is these blemishes are lasting nowhere near as long as they did probably because I now leave them alone.

I’m going to keep at this, but tweak it as I see fit. Skin is so unique and changes so it’s important to change what you do to it.

Jaw Surgery Update – 8 Weeks Post Op

It’s been 8 weeks since my jaw surgery and honestly everything feels pretty much back to normal.

There are still some minor issues – still no full feeling in my bottom lip or chin area. It is coming back – I feel when I bite the inside of my lip and occasionally I can feel if there is water or food or something on my chin so it’s slowly getting there. It’s like the top layers of the skin have feeling back but it’s the deeper levels that still need to get it but this is common and a side effect I knew about so I’m not worried.

I do have a new side effect which is super weird but when I drink something cold I get two little cold sensations on both cheeks. It is really strange and I don’t like it.

I still can’t eat big bite items like burgers without having to use a knife and fork which isn’t so terrible. Even with just braces before the surgery I struggled and would at least cut the burger in half before trying to eat it. I have been lazy with the exercises I was given so I only have myself to blame for my bite size not improving as quickly as I’d like.

I don’t think I have any swelling anymore. I can’t feel any but I can’t tell as the skin around my chin where I’m still missing sensation feels spongy but I’m not sure if that’s swelling or just because I don’t have full sensation there.

I had my last appointment with the surgeon on Monday which again went for all of 2 minutes but he was happy with my recovery. I don’t have to see him again until August next year for my 1 year check up.

The orthodontist said to me a couple of weeks ago that there is a good chance I could have my braces off this year. Although that’s great news I’m going to keep expecting it to be next year so if it does happens earlier then great but if not then it’s fine also. I’m inclined not to believe the orthodontist because they do tend to underestimate timings for some reason.

I’m finally used to my face. It took me a while and to be honest I was a bit conflicted about it at first. I just didn’t look or feel like me but now I do. It’s hard because although your face is still your face, it’s incredible how much it changes with such a small movement of the jaw. Most people have been really positive about the whole thing – some exceptions but I’m not surprised by them, in fact they were expected.

But ultimately the whole experience has been a really positive one for me. I’ve had no issues and honestly my recovery has been a breeze compared to what some people go through. I don’t know whether it’s simply luck, researching great professionals to do the works, positive thoughts or a combination of all 3 but I’ve been really grateful that things worked out so well for me.

5 Things I’ve Learned About My Relationship With Food

It’s amazing how little food I actually need to survive. I know I overeat. It’s something that’s been with me since childhood and something that I’ve been working on ever since I recognised the issue. It was really reinforced during recovery from surgery when I couldn’t eat much and quite frankly didn’t really have an appetite to.

Here are some of the things I’ve changed about my eating habits

  1. Not eating out of habit
    I’ve always, when making myself toast or eggs, served myself two regardless of whether I wanted them or not. It was something that just always happened.  After surgery I realised that I was more than satisfied with just one and that I usually ate the other out of habit. If I’ve finished and want some more, I can always make more even though it can be annoying.
  2. Drinking water
    If I feel hungry, I drink a glass of water. When I’m working I can easily get my 2 litres a day but when I’m home I really struggle. I don’t substitute food with water but it does help me differentiate between hunger and thirst.
  3. Make my own junk food
    I’ve learned that it’s ok to have cravings but what’s better is if I can make healthier versions of what I crave. Chocolate and cookies are my biggest weakness so I make my own with ingredients like coconut oil, cacao powder, oats, honey, banana etc.
  4. Accepting that its ok to leave food
    This is the hardest one for me. I have a complicated relationship with food as so many people do and whilst I’m working on it, it still comes out. Leaving food is one of the hardest things for me. I became accustomed to eating everything served to me for a number of reasons and I just couldn’t understand how people stopped halfway because they were full. I realised after researching eating habits that I had grown my stomach to only be full after a lot of food, too much for what my body actually needs. So now if I feel full, more often than not I can leave food on my plate. I still struggle with this when I eat out because there’s the financial side of it but it’s improving. I do now manage to go to places that also serve take-away which means if I don’t finish my meal, I can take it home. Last night I still had a good 2/3 of my pasta on my plate once I was done so it was packed up and it is now my lunch today. If more places were allowed to do this, I think many people wouldn’t overeat when they are out.
  5. Understand that I can have anything I want, when I want
    I’m very lucky that as an adult, I’ve never gone without. I can basically afford to buy myself anything I crave and cook it that night. This is something that is a really big issue for me like point no. 4. It took me a really long time to understand that I don’t need to gorge myself on something just because it’s there because I can have it again tomorrow if I want.

These are all things that have helped me understand my relationship with food. It’s still complicated and there’s still a long way to go but it’s improving and for that I’m thankful.

 

Note – one book that really helped me with identifying my unhealthy relationship with food is Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I re-read it at least once a year just as a reminder.

12 Ways To Make Yourself Feel Better In 10 Minutes Or Less

We all have days where our self-care game just isn’t on point. It’s ok, not every day can be a great day but there are ways to make the less good days seem a bit better.

I’ve had more bad days than good lately. I’ve been home sick a lot and I really don’t enjoy it. I had 3 weeks off recovering from surgery, was at work for one week and then off again for a week.

It’s the boredom that gets to me because I can’t manage to do much when I feel this way. If I do anything for too long I get a headache – sleep too long, read too long, watch tv too long, colour too long.  I still don’t have a lot of energy as it can take up to 3 months to recover completely from the surgery I had.

But I’ve found ways to make myself feel better, even if it is just for a short while.

Here are 12 ways to self care in under 10 minutes

1. Breathe

Its the easiest one that only requires you.  You can literally do it anywhere and no one will be any wiser because hey, we all need to breathe. There are many different breathing exercises that you can follow as well. I have a Fitbit Charge 2 that has a Relax mode and all you do is follow the breathing instructions for 2 minutes. It really helps when I need a me moment.

2. Freshen Up

Wash your face, have a shower, brush your teeth or do all 3. Feeling clean can really help your mindset if you’re feeling off. I know it’s tempting to stay in pjs all day but that can actually be counter-productive if you want to feel better.

3. Dress to Impress

But to impress yourself. Those days where I feel like shit and don’t want to do anything are the days where I know I need to get up and actually get dressed and not just in see through yoga pants dressed, I mean proper dressed.

4. Meditate

If you’re new to meditation or skeptical of the benefits, meditation will be really hard. It is called a practice because you need to do just that, practice, to benefit from it. There are apps you can use to help. Headspace have a 10 day guided intro to meditation but my favourite app is the Calm app. I use the free version and its great. My one complaint is that I wish you could buy certain features rather than sign up monthly but its a small annoyance. They have guided and unguided meditations where you can choose the length of time. I also use it a lot at night time as they have sleep stories to help you get to sleep.

5. Practice Gratitude

And not just the basic I have shelter, food and people who love me even though these are great. Something a bit deeper like ‘I’m grateful that I can buy a $40 umbrella cuz its raining and I don’t have to worry where that money came from’ or ‘I’m grateful that despite being caught speeding, I and no one else was hurt by my actions.’

6. Journal

Grab a notebook and write, draw or doodle for a few minutes. Don’t worry that its not all perfect. It doesn’t need to be. Just get out whatever it is you need to. It’s not about having an insta-worthy, perfect layout notebook/journal. It’s about having a space to let out what you need when you need to.

7. Write a to-do list

Even if your list literally consists of get up, have a shower, get dressed, eat something nutritious. I get it. Some days that’s all you can manage. And you know what? Its still an accomplishment. You did it!

8. Tidy something up

Whether its your room, your desk or your car, you’ll feel better once things seem to be in order. Plus it amazing how much you can accomplish in 10 minute slots.

9. Sing and dance to your favourite song

I have a playlist called Shower and its all the songs I love to sing and dance to in the shower. I play it at other times and it always puts me in a good mood.

10. Stretch

Its no surprise that when your body feels tense, you feel tense and when your body is loose, you feel loose. One of my favourite stretch/yoga sequences is only 7 minutes long but it makes a world of difference.

11. Water

Drink water. And keep drinking water. It can help with alertness and movement and has so many benefits to your body. Chuck in some mint or lemon too if you feel like it.

12. Physical Contact

Physical contact can drastically improve mood. It can foster greater intimacy and trust between two people and can greatly improve communication, bonding and health.

So there you have it. 12 different ways to improve your mood in less than 10 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Fudgecream

Whilst recovering from jaw surgery I’d had cravings for sweet, junky food. Because I didn’t have much in the house and to start with, wasn’t confident heading out on my own, I had to make do with what I had.

I ended up making a sort of banana/peanut butter/coconut oil/cacao powder ice cream that wasn’t frozen but just put in the fridge thing.

Here is my concoction

Ingredients

1 Banana
1/2 Cup Milk/Water/Some sort of liquid
2 Tablespoon Cacao Powder
3 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
4 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoon Desiccated Coconut Shreds
1 Tablespoon Honey (or however much you like depending on sweetness)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Milkshake part

Blend a banana with a bit of milk/water/whatever liquid you want to use. I used my Kambrook Blitz2Go to do mine. Once blended pour into a bowl/large mug

Chocolate sauce part

Add peanut butter and honey into a saucepan and heat very slowly. My stove top options are burning hot or off so I heat up the element and once it’s hot I turn it off and then put the saucepan on the heat (side note, I can not wait to replace that damn stove top).
Add coconut oil and mix in.
Add cacao powder and vanilla essence and stir.

 

 

Once mixture is smooth, pour the contents into the bowl/mug with the milkshake part. The sauce will likely go down to the bottom so you will need to mix it. I find stirring doesn’t help so you need to almost fold it through.

 

 

Once mix is complete, pop in the fridge.

The great thing is that you can actually eat it straight away, or you can pop it in the fridge or you can freeze it so it’s like ice cream.

My mug normally holds enough for 4 snacks. I have eaten it for dinner before when I couldn’t be bothered cooking food as it’s quite yummy and filling. And most importantly, it does the trick to satisfy a sweet craving.

 

A New Season

With September starting tomorrow and with my surgery recovery being much quicker than anticipated, I want to get back into a routine with exercise. I lost it a bit during July and August but now I’m ready to start again.

Here are my September goals.

  • To exercise daily
    I am going to do the 30 day challenge on the 7 Minute App that I love so much
  • To do yoga 3 time a week
    Even if it is just 10 minutes at a time
  • To ensure the kitchen is tidy every night
    It makes my mornings so much better yet for some reason spending the 10 minutes tidying it up the night before just seems excruciating
  • To say no more
    To things I don’t want to do, with no explanation other than ‘no’
  • To make the ‘junk’ food that I crave rather than buying it
    I snack a lot when I’m bored but I have all the ingredients for most of the things I crave like peanut butter, chocolate and coconut things
  • To honour my hunger
    I want to stop eating for the sake of eating and eat nutritious, delicious food when my body needs it. This doesn’t mean that I won’t indulge from time to time but it does mean not eating something when I won’t enjoy it just because it is there
  • To organise my wardrobe
    I want to arrange it so that the things I wear everyday are more accessible than they are at the moment
  • To read more
    I have so many books that I haven’t read or have half read because it’s easier to watch TV or play on my phone than it is to read. I want to change that
  • To practice Spanish 10 minutes a day
    My Spanish isn’t great because I never learnt grammar. I want to improve it. I downloaded the Duolingo app ages ago but stopped using it because I felt I didn’t have time.

The main one I want to focus on is the wardrobe. I have a bunch of stuff in there that I’ve kept because I keep thinking I’ll fit into it again. I’m giving myself til the end of the year so I’m going to pack those items away, pop them in the garage and then in the new year I’m going to try them on again. If they still don’t fit then they go.  For some reason these few items have been really hard to let go of. There’s obviously an emotional/sentimental attachment to them but I just can’t quite let them go just yet.

These are pretty simple things but I feel like they’re going to make a huge difference and realistically, most of them will only take an hour out of my day in total.  The good thing is a few of them can become a bit of a night time routine if paired together.