Running Update! (and Wedding Plans)

I ran 10K!

I’m really excited to share that I ran 10K for the first time ever on Saturday! I ran it in a slow 75 minutes, but I did it! I still have another two months before the SportingLife 10K to get my speed up, since my goal is to run it in under an hour, but it just feels great to know that I can actually run that distance. Honestly, guys, running for 5 minutes straight was a huge accomplishment for me last year. Running 20 minutes straight for the first time seemed crazy, and when I reached 30 minutes straight I was so amazed that my commitment was paying off.

Since January I have been running around 5-6K at least 3 times per week in accordance with my training plan from my work running group, and although I found it getting easier each week, I still didn’t see how I could possibly double that distance. But on Saturday, I slowly ran a full 10K and I’m still thrilled by this accomplishment.

I have never been a runner. When I was in 7th grade, I started running with the cross-country team and at our first race, I quickly found myself at the back of the pack. Only a few minutes into the race, I came around a bend and saw my mom in the crowd and just ran off the course to her, saying I didn’t feel well. And I never went to cross-country practice again.

The key to this recent success can be chalked up 100% to consistency. I have run at least 3 days per week, and usually more like 5, each and every week with a really gradual build-up that avoided injury and burn out so that I was able to stick to the program. Woohoo!
in it for the long run

Upping the Pace

I’ve now downloaded the next level training plan which will bring me to a half-marathon distance at the end of 8 weeks. Although the distance will increase over time, I’m mostly interested in the speed work components of the program that will help me pick up the pace so that I can finish the 10K race in under an hour. I have a really hard time pushing myself to go faster since most of the time I’m just pushing myself to finish, but just the way that my distance built up gradually over time, I know my speed will, too.

Wedding Planning Update

We have a venue and a date! I’m so so so excited! We’re going to be getting married on New Years Eve! I got the idea of a NYE wedding from an episode of the show “Four Weddings” that I saw last fall and just fell more and more in love with the idea as time went on. I am so excited to celebrate our wedding and then ring in the New Year with a big party and all our friends and family.

We’re going to be holding the ceremony and reception in the same place, which is exactly what I wanted. The venue we chose is so perfect for this because it’s a lounge with distinct areas that will accommodate the flow of the evening from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception.

Also, in other super exciting wedding news, I went wedding dress shopping for the first time! I was really nervous about it because I was worried that I wouldn’t find anything that looked good on me. I was dreading that frustration that I usually experience when clothes shopping where nothing looks good, but it was actually the opposite! I didn’t find the dress, but I have a much better idea of what I’m looking for, and I can’t wait to set up more bridal shop visits.

Next steps are to lock down our caterer, find a DJ/MC and send out those Save the Dates! And then onto the other million little decisions that need to be made that make this wedding planning thing so much fun :D

High Protein Biscotti

healthy-breakfast-biscotti

I work in an office, and out of habit and boredom, I’m a frequent snacker. I try to bring a big variety of healthy snacks to munch on throughout the day, but by the time 3pm hits, Starbucks treats are calling my name. Since 400 calorie muffins aren’t doing anything to help me achieve my weight loss goals, I know I need to find a way to kick that habit.

I’ve been logging my food on MyFitnessPal.com for nearly two months now, and I’ve noticed that my daily protein intake is quite low, often at only 40-50 grams per day, which is less that half of what I really need. No wonder I’m always snacking, right?

I was pretty surprised to see this, since I already drink protein in my smoothies, eat fish and chicken often, and snack on nuts. It’s still not enough! I’m going to be making a big effort for the next few weeks to double my protein intake to find out if I’m left feeling more satisfied and less snacky.

So while I find myself craving carby snacks like those 400 calorie muffins, protein has greater satiating power, meaning it keeps you feeling full longer. Since a cup of protein-packed cottage cheese doesn’t exactly seem that appealing when my afternoon munchies hit, I decided to arm myself with a higher protein baked good. I’m working towards progress, not perfection!

To help me along my journey, I made a batch of biscotti to enjoy at work each afternoon along with a big mug of herbal tea.

With double the protein for half the calories, a couple pieces of this High Protein Biscotti should help keep me full longer than my go-to muffin.

quinoa-flour

High Protein Biscotti
 
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Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (28g), quinoa flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs melted coconut oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop (30 g) Vega Protein & Greens Vanilla protein powder
  • Mix-ins: ½ cup mixed nuts and dried fruit
Instructions
  1. To make quinoa flour, rinse well and spread in thin layer on an ungreased baking sheet
  2. Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven until dry and lightly toasted, about 15 minutes, remove and allow to cool before grinding in a coffee grinder or blender
  3. Pre-heat oven to 325F
  4. Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine
  5. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and vanilla extract and beat gently
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry mixture and mix
  7. Stir in desired mix-ins
  8. Form dough into a long log (approx 4"x12"x1.5") on a non-stick baking mat or lightly floured baking sheet
  9. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from oven an allow to cool before slicing on an angle (approx. 10 pieces)
  10. Bake on each side for 15 minutes, until browned
Nutrition Information
Calories: 103 kcal Fat: 4 g Carbohydrates: 11 g Sugar: 5 g Sodium: 194 mg Fiber: 1 g Protein: 5 g Cholesterol: 19 mg

Based on Protein Powered Breakfast Biscotti from Powerhungry.com.

biscotti-high-proteinDo you worry about how much protein you get? What are you favourite sources of protein?

Healthy Valentine’s Day Dessert: Sweet Potato Chocolate Mousse

Valentines Day Sweet Potato Chocolate Mousse

We don’t really have Valentine’s Day plans this year, so I think we’re just looking forward to a nice relaxing long weekend at home. We’ve been so busy with work and life and wedding planning that it will be great to just have a few days of absolutely nothing except for quality time with my love and my Netflix.

For Valentine’s Day I do like to pull out all my heart-shaped cookie cutters, molds and dishes for romantic brunch for two: heart-shaped fried eggs, heart-shaped pancakes and heart-shaped toast. Nothing says romance like heart-shaped bacon.

For the occasion I’m sharing this dorky but sweet picture that we took when we stumbled upon some wedding decor while out on a stroll last fall. Might have to save this one for our wedding slideshow!

jill and mike

And now I’ll leave you with this healthy Valentine’s Day dessert, which is totally the type of dessert that is absolutely delicious when you’re trying to watch your weight, but still want to enjoy a little Valentine’s Day indulgence. Do it for love!

Wishing you all a weekend full of love and chocolate! <3

Sweet Potato Chocolate Mousse
 
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This healthy chocolate mousse is made with a surprising ingredient: sweet potato!
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Add chopped sweet potato to a small pot and cover with water
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce and cook until tender, about 6 minutes
  3. Drain, set aside and allow to cool completely
  4. Combine all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth
  5. Refrigerate and serve chilled

healthy valentines day dessert

Running and Weight Loss Update

10K Training Update

This is Week 5 of my 10K training plan, which has me running a little over 5K. While it’s definitely getting easier, it still seems like such a stretch to double this distance in just 4 weeks, when I’m supposed to hit the 10K mark. But I’m just sticking to the program and keeping faith!

My training plan has me running 3 days per week and lately I’ve been doing most of my running on the treadmill due to the cold, snow and ice. Even with the distraction of the TV, time seems to go so much more slowly than when I get to run outside. But I do still love having my treadmill in our home gym, so that I can get those runs in.

Other than running I haven’t been doing much exercise except for the occasional trip to the wall climbing gym and a little snowboarding. I still have a gift card for classes at a local gym, so I’m going to aim to make it out to a pilates or yoga class just once per week. I know I haven’t been stretching enough at all, so it’ll be good to change things up a little.

snowboarding at blue mountain

Weight Loss Update

As I mentioned, I’ve started using MyFitnessPal.com to log my food and exercise. I’ve been using it for just over a month, and it seems to be working really well for me! I have it set to lose only 1 pound per week, so I’ve hard to make only really small and totally do-able changes to my diet.

I’ve lost a little over 5 pounds, which is right in line with the program. Using MyFitnessPal.com has been helping me be just a little more conscious in my food choices without feeling deprived. The smallest changes make the biggest differences. Eating my beef ragu over salad instead of pasta saves me whack load of calories and leaves room for an evening snack.

Even though it can be a little frustrating to take things sooo slowly, it’s the different between losing weight steadily and sustainably versus crash dieting my way to nowhere. It’s early days yet, but I do feel proud of myself for sticking to my running and diet goals.

For an easy snack that helps me stick to my goals, I’m loving these no-bake protein balls. These ones are based on this recipe from OhSheGlows.com. I skipped the rice crisp cereal and protein powder and used extra oat flour and toasted amaranth for crunch. I eat them straight out of the freezer and they’re so delicious!

chocolate-almond-balls

Southwestern Black Bean Soup

southwestern black bean soup recipe

Over the last few days I noticed that suddenly it’s no longer pitch black when I leave my office each evening, and that makes me so happy!

Here in Toronto we’ve been so lucky with the milder and much less snowy winter this year when compared with the awful one we had last year. But it’ll still be cold for a while longer, and today I have a healthy and delicious soup that’s just perfect for these cold winter nights.

I’ve been wanting to make a soup full of Mexican flavours ever since I saw a sign outside a restaurant last month touting their Tex-Mex tortilla soup as a “scarf for your belly”. Since I’m trying to cut the calories, I skipped the tortillas and… scarfed down a good 3 bowls of this hearty vegan and gluten-free Southwestern Black Bean Soup.

This recipe comes from the Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbook, which was gifted to us for Christmas by Mike’s mom, who volunteers with the non-profit, which supports needy women, children and youth. (Thanks, Gail!)

This soup is so packed with veggie goodness and just a little bit of spiciness from the jalapenos to help clear out those sinus passages.

That dollop of sour cream? It’s tahini! I just mixed a couple tablespoons of tahini paste with a small amount of water, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. It added a whole other dimension of flavour and creaminess to this soup. I love this easy and healthy alternative to the much heavier and time-intensive cashew sour cream!

healthy vegetable soup

Find the Southwestern Black Bean Soup recipe HERE.

Daily Green Smoothie – Weight Loss Goals

As I’ve mentioned on the blog a few times before, I love my green smoothies. They help set the tone for a healthy day, and they make me feel better on those days when they’re the only green thing I eat.

While I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier, I really struggle to get myself out the door in the mornings, and I think I’ve only ever succeeded once or maybe twice in making a smoothie before heading to work. It just doesn’t happen. So to make sure that I don’t miss out on my smoothie, I try to make a big batch once per week, so that my freezer and fridge are stocked and I can just grab-and-go.

green smoothies

Recently when I made a weekly batch, I decided to measure all my ingredients so that I’d be able to calculate the nutritional information. I’ve recently started using MyFitnessPal.com to log my daily food and exercise, so I wanted to be able to add a more accurate entry for my daily green smoothie.

Have you ever used MyFitnessPal.com before? I’ve used it here and there before, but I’ve found it hard to log consistently and I run into a bit of a challenge in finding that right balance of using it as a useful tracking and motivational tool versus getting a little calorie-counting crazy. That said, I’m giving it another shot, since I want to lose some weight this year for two big events: my trip to Costa Rica and, of course, my wedding. I have about 3 months until my trip to Costa Rica, so with some consistency, I should be able to slim down a little, so that I can look and feel great. That’s always easier said than done though, isn’t it?

My plan of attack is: green smoothies + MyFitnessPal.com + Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Lean Meal Plan + my 10K training. While I try my hardest to make all of that fit into my real world life, which is also full of social events and beer and the treat table at work, while maintaining my sanity and perspective.

Daily Green Smoothie
 
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Author:
Serves: 7
Ingredients
  • 3 heads romaine lettuce (1025 g)
  • a few handfuls of mixed greens (20 g)
  • 1 stalk celery (400 g)
  • 3 pears (300 g)
  • 3 apples (370 g)
  • chunk of ginger (50 g)
  • frozen banana (200 g)
  • Vega protein & greens (60 g)
  • scoop turmeric (15 g)
Instructions
  1. Blend in 3 or more batches
  2. Add greens to blender with 2 cups of cold water and blend until smooth
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend
  4. Refrigerate or freeze in mason jars (allow room for freezing)
  5. Refrigerate for up to 2 days

 

Capture

Sweet Potato Noodles

sweet potato noodles

It’s winter and it’s cold and it’s dark and it’s the time of year when I look for comfort in big bowls of hot and saucy pasta. But it’s also the New Year and only a couple weeks into January so it’s way too early to be giving up on those New Year’s resolutions, right? Eat healthy, eat less chocolate, hit the gym, all of that. Well thank goodness for my spiralizer because with these Sweet Potato Noodles I can dig into a great big bowl of pasta for only a fraction of the calories.

While I’ve been obsessed with my spiralizer for quite some time now, this is actually the first time I tried spiralizing sweet potato. So quick, so delicious. I tossed in a handful of edamame, which made this extra filling, but these sweet potato noodles can be dressed up in a million different ways, just like regular pasta. They’re even the perfect, healthy base to balance out that favourite heavy meat or rich cream sauce.

sweet potato noodles

Sweet Potato Noodles
 
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Author:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and spiralized
  • ½ Spanish onion, chopped
  • ½ cup edamame
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbs olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, bring water to a boil and add frozen edamame, cook for 4-5 minutes, strain
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan
  3. Add onion and sweet potato and saute until tender, about 7-10 minutes
  4. Add marinara sauce, cooked edamame and spices

sweet potato noodles

 

Gonna run a 10K!

I’ve decided to sign up for the SportingLife 10K in May. Woohoo!

That gives me about 4 months to get ready. I haven’t run a race since primary school, so I’m excited but nervous. They say that this is the easiest 10K there is, since it’s slightly downhill, so that works for me! This time last year I wasn’t even able to run 5 minutes straight, had never run 5km, and would never ever have considered running a 10K, so I’ve already come a long way.

I was running pretty consistently in the summer and fall with my running group at work, and I made it to just over 5K before having my surgery in November. Since then I haven’t done a whole lot of running because, well, surgery, and also because my running group has paused for winter. But now I’m going to get back into it. My surgery was less than 2 months ago, but I’m feeling great and my surgeon gave me the go-ahead.

I bought a new (used) treadmill last month but have only run on it for a few minutes at a time since it makes a horrible clunking sound and we’re waiting for the repair guys to come take a look. But now with this 10K to prepare for, I’ve committed to going for lunch runs with a coworker and her running group, which is way more hardcore than ours and has continued running in this brutally cold weather. Feels like -20, ahhh! At least there isn’t much risk of getting sweaty, right?

I went for my first run (4.5km) with the group on my lunch break yesterday. Running in the cold is definitely a challenge, but I bundled up and it wasn’t too bad. My lungs were aching from the cold air, and it didn’t help that I’m still getting over the flu, but overall it wasn’t as awful as I’d feared.

To get myself in shape for the 10K in May, for the most part I’m going to try following the running program that was provided by the running group coordinator at work. I downloaded the plan that has us starting off running approximately 4K and ends at 10K after 8 weeks with 3 runs per week (Checked off runs 1 and 2 already this week!). Other than the lunch time runs, I think I’ll be doing most of my running on my treadmill, since I’m not sure that I’ll be able to motivate myself on those dark, cold nights.

Running Blogs?

For inspiration, I’m looking for some great blogs about running. A few of the blogs that I follow that used to be about running have been taken over by cupcakes and babies! Totally great, but I want some running content, too, please!

I found this girl, who is pretty hardcore.

Even just reading this first 10K recap gets me all excited about it.

And here’s a great post about the same 10K I’m going to try.

But then this one just kinda scares me.

Do you have any running blog recommendations?

Running Apps?

I’m looking for a new running app. Ideally I’d like to plug in a distance and then have it track my distance and give me a heads up halfway so I know to turn around.

I used this C25K app last summer. I liked it for intervals, but didn’t use the GPS function because it was always pretty off. Now that I’m moving from a training plan based on time to distance, I want something that will accurately capture distance.

10K Runner seems really great, but I have an Android and I can only find it for iPhone. Might have to borrow Mike’s iPhone for this one!

Or I might try RunKeeper, which has really good reviews.

Have you used any of these? What’s your favourite running app? 

Happy New Year!

christmas-market-distillery

And the New Year has begun!

2014 was a wonderful year, and there’s a lot coming up for 2015, too. I’m so excited for all that is in store for us. Right now the biggest things on the horizon are wedding planning (YAY and ACK!) and my trip to Costa Rica in the spring with my girlfriends (WOOHOO!).

This year, I have two New Year’s Resolutions. They’re nothing crazy, but they’re things that I think I can realistically stick with, and should seriously improve my quality of life.

In 2015, I resolve to:

1. Get more sleep.

Lately, I’ve really been struggling with getting to sleep on time, which makes each morning miserable and leaves me perpetually exhausted. I usually stay up late watching TV, just because after work and chores I feel like I deserve that me time. But that just makes me feel awful the next morning, hitting the snooze button until I need to scramble out the door. Then I feel tired, unmotivated and just generally BLAH all day. More sleep in 2015!

2. Eat without distraction.

We eat dinner in front of the TV all the time. We’re going to make an effort to shut off the TV and actually eat at the table. And no more eating in front of my computer at work. I’m going for either quality conversation or quality thinking time.

Thanks so much for continuing to read my blog. Wishing you all love, health and happiness in 2015! 

xo, Jill

Kimberly Snyder Meal Plan | Week 4

weekly shopping guide

My Week 4 Shopping Guide is now available for download! Complete the form below to access the new shopping list.

If you haven’t gotten started with the Kimberly Snyder Meal Plan yet, this download also includes everything you need to know to get started with Weeks 1, 2 and 3, too.

My shopping guide provides a day-by-day schedule along with the ingredients you’ll need on hand for each day of the Kimberly Snyder Glowing Lean Meal Plan to help you stay on track. The Shopping Guide also includes a shopping list for the week.

Remember, this Shopping Guide doesn’t contain any of Kimberly’s recipes. You’ll need to purchase the 30 Day Meal Plan to get all of her properly combined recipes.

To download, just enter your information in the form below to subscribe. You’ll receive an email requiring you to confirm your subscription, and then you’ll receive a link that will allow you to download the Week-by-Week Shopping Guide. If you already subscribed, you can simply return to the download page. If you’ve lost the link, just re-register by completing the form below.