18 February 2011

Sick!

Hello everyone!

I've been away for a week and I apologise. Unfortunately I had the flu and I was in bed delirious most of the time :(

But now I am back, with still a little bit of sore throat but that will get better soon with lots of water and orange juice (I got lots of oranges to use up :D)

***

I'm also planning on doing a 28-day challenge recap very soon, so check back for that.

 ***

I'll leave you with a pic from "surprise Valentine's day"



Most fab pineapple-coconut drink I've ever had!


I was actually going to be in Milan to visit my dad on the 14th so my boyfriend decided to surprise me a few days before with a fluffy stuffed heart stuffed with my favourite chocolates (don't worry I've eaten just 2, the rest I am going to share... I think ;P) and taking me out to dinner.

The plan was to go to my favourite restaurant but when my boyfriend called to make a reservation he found out that it was closed and the same happened with a couple of other restaurant that I love... I mean, what's up with that!

So we decided to go out anyways and see what was open and go from there. We wanted to get out of our town and ended up going to Loano, a very nice nearby town on the coast. As soon as we got there, as it was a little too early for dinner, we decided to look for a place to have drinks first. I could not believe it but 90% of the little cafes were actually gelaterie! Imagine that, eating gelato in the freezing cold, right before dinner! Not going to happen!

Eventually we found a very nice place called Gipsy (too bad it doesn't have a website!), on the beach, with nice music, candles and all that jazz where we could finally have our drinks: bingo!

I got 1 2 drinks (made with fresh pineapple juice and fresh coconut... I was in love!). Lucky while we were there we realized they also served dinner on the 1st floor, which was even nicer, had very comfy wicker chairs (hope I'm saying it right) and overlooking the beach! Wow!

The restaurant made mainly fish but surprisingly they also had a lot of vegetarian dishes (since the chef's wife is vegetarian). I took the veggie lasagna which was to die for (no kidding, I'm still thinking about it!), a nice warm salad with feta cheese and we split a cheesecake (that was the only thing that wasn't that good out of all we ordered). Sorry guys, no pics everything was so good that I completely forgot about my camera taking pics with my phone (the camera is still broken). We definitely splurged coz it was so good but I don't feel guilty one bit, life is also about splurging every once in a while!

All in all our evening went way better than we actually anticipated it. The restaurant turned out to be even better than my favourite one! Plus I was really surprised by the whole thing and you can see that as I was wearing jeans and a top and I was completely makeup-less! lol

Isn't it really nice when life surprises you like that!

A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is - full of surprises.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

Love,

Elisa

11 February 2011

Camera Fail

Good afternoon everyone!

I'm doing pretty well today but yesterday was just one of those days...

I started my morning with a really nice breakfast: coffee with my breakfast soy bread. Such a delish!



I made some small changes this time, as always (I can never stick to a recipe, even if it's my own). In this case I soon found out I didn't have enough soy flour so I used 90g of that and for the remaining flour I used whole wheat. For the pureed fruit I used mostly bananas (I think it was 280g) and a little bit of apple. Chopped the rest of the apple and mixed it to the batter.

Yummy! The chopped apple made the bread really moist.

Proceeded enjoying my morning and the absolutely stunning weather. Doesn't the sun make you feel instantly better?



I took advantege of the day and took a few pics. There were signs of spring everywere...



Those two are loving the warmer weather...



This guy was particularly happy... in case you couldn't tell...




I then made myself a lovely freshly squeezed orange juice with one red and one orange orange ;P

<3 the contrast!

A nice glassFULL :D

And some hummus.


First time trying it, I have to say I was pleasently pleased.

But then bang! My camera crushed. Brand new camera broken in less than 2 months!!! I'm so clumsy, it's not even funny. So now I'll have to take it back to the shop to see if it can be fixed, lets hope so! That will take a while though since I have to find the time to go to Milan.

***

On another note, I've given my body a 2-day break from exercise since I felt very sore all over but I can't wait to working out tomorrow again. Still don't know what I'm going to do though. I'd love to go for a run but it's freezing today and it looks like it's going to rain any minute (I've been freezing my butt off at work!). Let's hope tomorrow gets better! I might just do some HIIT at home.

Have a lovely day everyone!

Love,

Elisa

09 February 2011

Why I Love HIIT

Good evening everyone!

I'm doing pretty well. It's really late now and I should get to bed but before that  I wanted to share with you all a shocking (at least for me) but nice thing that happened to me a couple of days ago.

***

HIIT & Running

On Monday morning I decided to go running after a loooong time (I think the last time I went was back in August). Now, my running background is almost non existent.

[Extremely long intro ALLERT!]

I started running back in July and I followed the C25K (Couch to 5K) program (which I highly recomend for anyone who wants to start running). It basically is a running training plan that "gets you from your couch to being able to run 30min straight". You start really slow alternating jogging and walking (60sec jogging/90sec walking) and through the course of 9 weeks you build up to running 30min straight.

So as I was saying I started the program back in July. Within 2 months I was able to run for 30min straight. That was so incredible for me! Unfortunately around the end of August I sprained my ankle (of course I did) and I had to stop running. It wasn't anything major but I didn't want to make the injury any worse by running. That also ment I stopped exercising all together and became pretty much sedentary. I didn't ended up gaining a whole lot of weight because I was still eating fairly well, but I really didn't like how things were turning up.

It was around Christmas when it really hit me. I could not go on like that. I had to take care of myself like I was before. Exercising (when I happened to do it consistently) has always made me feel so good about myself, inside and out and I couldn't deny myself a chance of being truly happy only because I wanted to choose the easier way.

It was so cold out that I really didn't feel like running. The gym wasn't an option either as I didn't and still don't have a lot of money. So I decided to give home workouts a go. I tend to get really bored with workouts dvds, I should probably own way too many not to get bored. So that wasn't the way to go. What then? I had been following Bodyrock.tv for a long time (if you are not familiar with it, I talked about it in more details in this post... I even posted a really embarassing post workout face, I clearly didn't know what I was thinking lol) but I actully did try very few of their workouts as they were pretty much intimidating.

This time though I said to myself: "Elisa, you really have to give it your all, you can't say that you can't do the workouts if you don't give them a real chance!" And so I did. And guess what? I hated it the first time and felt like I was going to pass out; by the second time I still kind of hated it but I started to like they way it made me feel afterwards; by the third time I didn't want to admit it to myself but I actually enjoyed it; by the forth time I was basically hooked! And now I look forward to working out every single day or almost, you need to give your muscle proper rest when you feel like they need it. It was a little more complicated than this but you get the hang of it. Of course I had bad days but like a little soldier I kept getting back up and this last week I felt better than ever, worked out 5 day out of 7 and on Mondays I even decided to try to go running again.

I was pretty much ready for failure, I thought that after such a long break it would take me ages to go back to running like I was back in August. I had heard many times the great effects of bodyweight HIIT on cardiovascular endurance so I thought I might be even able to run 5min intervals vs the 60sec intervals I started with on my first run ever.

So, how did it go?

Not only did I not stopped after 5min but I kept going for 25min STRAIGHT! Can you freaking believe it?? I still can't! I am so happy and excited about it that I've been in my little happy bubble ever since, smiling to myself every now and again for no apparent reason. Never in my wildest dreams I thought something like this was possible. Of course my run was more of a jog than a run but still, I think this is amazing!

***

Wow, that was some long story! I really need to work on my rambling.

I better go to bed now, I am just happy I shared this with you all and I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Have a good night/day wherever you are.

***

Have you ever tried HIIT? If so, what do you think of it? Have you experienced any unexpected results so far? If you haven't tried it, are you curious to try it out? Are you intimidated by it? What are your expectations?

***

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.
- Anne Frank
Love,

Elisa

03 February 2011

The Power Of Words


Happy Thursday everybody!

I can gladly say that I feel great today!

Yesterday was such a lovely day for me. I was planning to sleep in a bit since I had to be at work later but my internal clock didn't agree with that and by 7am I was wide awake. So I decided to take the morning slow and enjoy it since I don’t often get to do that.

I turned on my computer ready to check my emails, Youtube videos and all that jazz and stumbled upon all the nice replies to this comment I left on Bodyrock.tv two days ago. I was just so overwhelmed I almost cried of joy. People were just so supportive and kind beyond my wildest expectation. Why am I telling you this? Because reading those kind words gave me such a boost that all I wanted to do was suit up and workout… and that is exactly what I did and I loved every minute of it.

It’s amazing how kindness and support can turn someone else’s day!

Funny enough, just when I finished my stretching after this brutal workout my alarm went off since I had forgotten to turn it off when I woke up earlier on. I was even happier because I got my workout out of the way without even realizing it. How wonderfully can things work out at times if you just capture the moment.

After a warm shower and a nice breakfast I was out the door by 9.45am.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday but the wind was so cold it took my breath away. Btw I must get better at this whole take-the-camera-with-me thing! I always forget :P

So when I got home my tummy was screaming for some warm and fast comfort food. Thank lord for leftovers! I heated up some delish stir-fry (onions, carrots and cabbage with soy sauce) I made yesterday paired up with some quinoa and sliced turkey. Yum yum!

My belly was finally satisfied and I could go on with my day :D

After getting some work done at home (oh, the beauty of working from home!) I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day, called up a friend and went out for a walk. We walked quite a bit and by 5pm we were starving. My friend was craving ice-cream, I really wasn’t though… did I mention how cold yesterday was? But I decided to go along with that anyways but I ordered plain yogurt (not the frozen kind and with no sugar added) and fresh cut up strawberries and banana. One word: de-lish! Who said that healthy options have to taste bad?! I enjoyed it much more than I would have ice-cream and it was good for me too. Double score!

We walked around some more and by 8pm we were ready for some dinner and we opted for a nice Chinese restaurant. I had the spring roll, a stir-fry and some spicy aubergines. I actually wasn’t going to order anything else after the stir-fry but my friend insisted that I took something else since she was going to. Don’t you hate when people do that? I know I could have said no but we were having such a nice time that I didn’t want to ruin the atmosphere. So I opted for some light-ish aubergines (thank god they were not deep-fried)! When dessert time came around though I really had to politely insist not to have any. I was certainly not going to ruin my dinner by taking something that I really didn’t want, no matter what everyone thought. People should really respect that.

***

How do you handle these kind of situations? Do you try to stick what you want? Give in? Or somewhere in between? I usually am somewhere in between: if I find a way to accommodate the other person without compromising what I want too much, I do that but only to a certain extent.

***

Off to cook some lunch… I am starving! :D

To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.
- Bono

Love,

Elisa

01 February 2011

Mugs, Cats And Taste Buds

Hello everybody!

Sorry for being MIA lately. It's been a really crappy week for me even though now I feel a lot better. As I wrote in a comment on Bodyrock.tv:

"I've been absent for a little less than a week. Some personal stuff really struck me bad this past week and I ended up feeling like crap, eating like crap and not exercising. This is so me and when things go wrong acting like this makes them only worse. I stop caring about myself and it's just all a downward spiral from there. Having recovered not long ago from bulimia does take a lot of strength not to go back to that dark, dark place. In the past these "bad periods" would turn into months or even years. But today, after a few days of not exercising and eating poorly (nothing compared to before tho!) I had a moment of clarity and turned the whole thing around, I started caring about myself like a mother would with her own child. I ate wholesome and nutritious food, cleaned up almost the whole house (it always makes me feel better and more in control) and did one of Z's ass kicking workouts. I feel so good right now.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to share this with you all, it's so hard to feel vulnerable but I owe it to this wonderful community to be true to you and myself. Life can be a real struggle at times and it's ok to slip every once in a while as long as we get back up and keep going, remembering that no matter how hard life may be we have the choice and power to take control. And God, does it feel good!"

It really struck me how well I reacted compared to when I was still suffering from my ED. It really shows how much I have grown in the last few months. Nobody is perfect and I do know I will have set backs every now and then, but now I have the tools within me to fight back and it feels so freaking awesome.

***
Today it's been very laid back, I worked from home plus I got a lil bit more cleaning done but overall I've just relaxed, I so needed that, and for whatever reason I just kept smiling throughout the whole day... without even trying! How crazy is that? Isn't it nice when that happens?

I guess this lil guy helped me stay positive...

Camera shy dear?

Before he was sleeping on my lap and was purring so loud, he quite literally woke himself up if that's even possible!!!

Now I am in my comfy robe enjoying a hot cup of green tea and guess who was waiting for me while I was taking this picture... :D


 
Yes, I do have a Hello Kitty cup! My ex housemate was pretty much obsessed with Hello Kitty stuff so when I left she gave me this as a gift, isn't she a sweetheart? On the other hand, I am obsessed with mugs, I don't know what it is about them but if it was for me I'd drink out of a different mug every single day.

And for the record Menelao is still on my lap. You can see his grand scheme in action:

1.      making sure I am not going to stand up until he is ready to do something else aka dinner time!
2.      measuring the distance from the floor to the chair
 
3.      pretending to be still measuring but really just begging to be lifted… he is sooo lazy!
 
4.      purring like truck on my lap! Sorry I missed the picture, he made sure I was focusing on him and him only!

Note: I am not a crazy cat lady... Just crazy! ;P 

***

Funny thing about green tea, until a few months ago I used to utterly dislike it, for the life of me even though I really wanted to like it, I couldn't stand it at all! And now I drink 1 to 2 mugs per day and love it. I find so fascinating how much taste can adapt. My taste for foods has changed immensely over the course of the past few months. Since ditching sugar and switching to a mainly clean and vegetarian diet (I eat turkey, chicken or tuna only a couple of times per week), I find that my taste buds enjoy the true flavour of natural foods way more than processed ones. Do I like stuff like pizza? Of course I do, but I also love almost every vegetable you can name (I wasn't always like that, I used to be a very picky eater), I enjoy things like candy way less than before, I actually don't eat them anymore. I'd rather have an homemade baked good (coz I know what's in it and it's not as sweet as those store-bought ones). And all this coming from someone that used to put 2 packets of sugar in her cappuccino and now I genuinely like it plain (and with no foam :P, I know, I am one fussy costumer!). It’s all about starting slow. My taste didn’t change overnight, it did over the course of days, week, months but I learned to appreciate the process. 

Wow, this is some ramble! I apologise ;) I guess my thoughts were pretty much all over the place... I wanted to talk about something totally different but I went with the flow today :P

The brain works in mysterious ways haha.

***
I see another ass kicking workout in my near future and maybe some yoga too, we’ll see. Go with the flow, right?

***

Do you find yourself rambling a lot? If you have made changes in the way you eat, did you find them affecting your taste for foods? And last but certainly not least… are you obsessed with mugs too or am I the only one?

There is no failure unless there is quitting!
- Me (I guess. I don’t know whether I’ve heard it somewhere 
but I always say this… see? Rambling again!!!)

 Love,

Elisa

24 January 2011

Feeling The Change

Happy Monday (going on Tuesday... almost!)!

How was everybody's weekend? Mine was actually very nice. I got to go to Milan to visit my dad and my brother and I had a really good time. I so needed the change of scenary even though it was only for a day and a half. Tomorrow morning I'll be going back home (yea, since I work Saturdays and Sunday mornings my weekends have shifted a bit, they start Sunday afternoon and last until Monday evening).

I'm totally pooped right now, I think I walked a total of 6 hours today... got to catch up with the city, you know ;P ? On top of that this morning I did yoga for almost an hour. Dear Lord! Whoever said that yoga is easy or that it doesn't make you sweat, has clearly never tried it! I was dripping within minutes. I took a few videos on youtube from one of my favourite yogi's ever, Sadie Nardini. I did her Weight Loss Yoga part 1, 2, 3 and 4 plus some stretchig. Let me tell you, my arms and legs were shaking by the end of it and it felt awesome!

I love incorporating yoga into my workout routine. Not only does it give me a good workout, it also give me a good stretch.

***


How did my first week go? Not too bad.

Was I perfect? Absolutely not. But you know what? That's ok, if it was ment to be easy, it wouldn't be a challenge.

I did a total of three workouts and I took them all from my girl Zuzana. I did one on Monday, one on Thursday and one on Sunday.

What I learned  from this first week:
* for as hard as you try, things don't always go as planned
* starting back working out after a two-month's break with the hardest workout I know might not be the best idea of all (Note to self: do not ever do that again)... I could barely move for two and a half days!!!
* you can surprise yourself. I did way better than I thought especially "mind wise". I found my motivation back and this is suh a huge thing for me! Two times out of three I fit the workout when I had little to no time because I wouldn't have missed it for nothing in the whole world! The past few months I found every possible excuse not to workout so it's nice to have my old self back!

So you live and learn, right? The best thing about week one is that now I have this great feeling that the weeks to come are going to go way better. I can feel the change :D

***

A couple of days ago someone asked me a few questions about my diet, so I figured it would be a lot more helpful to address this in a post (maybe even more than one, we'll see how it goes). As some of you may know, I struggled with eating disorders for a good 12 years. Recovery was not an easy thing for me and it took a lot of time, help, effort and self growth. Talking about it is not easy either but if sharing my story with you all will help even only one person in the whole world, I will be the happiest person alive. So check back for that!

I better go now, my little Panda (my kitty cat) is sleeping on my laps right now and she is determined to rest her head on my hand which makes the whole writing process a lot more difficult, believe me!

How did the first week of the 28-Day Challenge go? What did you get out of it? Did you struggle with it? And if you weren't in the challenge, did this past week teach you something about yourself? Did it change you in some way?

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
- Barack Obama

Love,

Elisa

18 January 2011

28-Day Challenge Take II

Hope everyone had a fantastic day!

The weather here in Italy has been so lovely these past few days... nothing compared to the last few weeks when it was miserable!



Yay for a day off yesterday! I haven't had a free day in so long (except for last Wednesday) I was beside myself with joy when I knew I was off!

As you might have figured out, the 28-Day Challenge did not go as planned. Lately things have not been going so great for me and probably I picked the worst moment to start a challenge as I couldn't commit to it at all.

Anyways, I'm not giving up and I'm ready to get back on track. I feel way better and I plan on succeeding this time around.

So, as of yesterday I'm giving the challenge another go! It will be slightly different this time around though:
* I will have only one goal aka exercising at least 4 days a week.

Exercising is my biggest issue when it comes to slacking. When I miss a couple of workouts, it's really hard for me to get back on track. On the other hand, I find that when I exercise consistently, everything else in my life automatically falls into place. I eat better, drink more water, I'm a lot happier...

My ultimate goal is to be able to exercise 5 to 6 times per week but I know too well this is not going to happen overnight and I do need an achievable goal.

***

So to kick this challenge right in the booty yesterday I had an awesome workout!

I went back to three of my favourite ladies on the web: Zuzana from bodyrock.tv, Angela from ohsheglows and the lovely lady from YouTips4U on YouTube. I'm sure you already know them but in case you don't, go check them out because they are amazing!

If you are familiar with Zuzana's workouts, you know they are not for the faint hearted. They are mostly bodyweight HIIT (high intensity interval training).

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) or sprint interval training is an exercise strategy that is intended to improve performance with short training sessions. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise which is beneficial to burning fat in a short and intense workout. [Source] 

Here are some of the benefits of HIIT:
* Maximum Cardio Benefit in Minimal Time
* Turns Your Body Into a Fat Burning Furnace
* Improve Your Endurance and Stamina
For the whole article click here.

Anyway this girl is truly amazing! She has you sweat like no other in very little time, so that even if you don't have time, you can fit in one of her workouts. She also has tips and modifications for beginners, which is great otherwise I would have never had the courage to even try her workouts!!! So even if you are just starting out, do not get discouraged, give your body a chance to surprise you. I sure was surprised and I still am every time I complete one of her workouts (modified of course :P )! Plus you can't get bored of them since every workout is different and fun in... a masochist kinda way. No, really they are fun ;)

So to start off the workout, I chose probably the most brutal of all her workouts (and man am I feeling it right now!), the Swimming In My Own Sweat Workout. Let me tell you, I almost drown but I felt awesome afterwards.

Note: if it's the first time trying her workouts, you might want to start with one of her shorter workouts. And anyways do not get discouraged, you will improve over time. I'm still a beginner myself but I'm waaay better than the first time I tried doing her workouts!

After that (I seriously don't know what got into me yesterday...) I did this video from YouTips4U.

And then I did attempted doing some core exercises that I took from OhSheGlows but after the first three exercises I had to admit defeat!

This workout really kicked my butt. I have to say though, I felt like a million dollars afterwards!

I didn't know if I wanted to show you all my sweaty face after the workout. But then I thought, I must not be the only one looking like a hot mess after a workout but that's what makes it real!

Warning: sweaty, make-up free and sleepy face!!! Keep reading at your own risk :P

That's what I'm talking about!


The good thing about this is that you know a shower will be in your immediate future.

Much better!

Sorry about the make-up free face, I really was in a hurry.

So here you have it, my first workout for the 28-Day Challenge, I do have a good feeling about this one!

***

What are your favourite workouts? Do you look like a mess after it or do you keep your cool?
 
Love,
Elisa

12 January 2011

Breakfast Soy Bread


Good afternoon everybody!

Today I finally took a day off work, it feels so good. I don't even remember when was the last day I took off...

It's a lovely sunny day here and it really lifted my mood. So to celebrate I decided to make myself a breakfast bread. I love starting the day with something yummy, especially if I bake it myself.

This recipe is very healthy, light and packed with protein. Eating a mainly vegetarian diet, I'm always concerned about getting enough protein and this bread is just the perfect breakfast for me. It would also make a great post-workout snack.

So on to the recipe.

Breakfast Soy Bread (adapted from here, it's both in italian and english) 

Note: I really need to learn how to have better lighting for my pictures!

Ingredients:
  • 160g soy flour
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour (optional)
  • 2 tsp of backing powder
  • 70g pure fructose
  • 300g apples cored
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt


Directions:
In a large bowl wisk together the dry ingredients (soy flour, coconut, flaxseed, fructose and baking powder)



Then take the eggs and separate the yolks from the egg whites (later on I'll show you what to do with those yolks... since I really hate wasting food!)


Roughly chop the apples (I ended up using one apple and a quarter) and proceed snacking on the remaining apple ;P


Now the best thing would be to have a food processor to puree the apples, anyway if you are like me with no proper processor thingy just impovise and use a hand blender.

Note: to avoid the hand blender not actually blending the apples (true story, happened to me the last time I made this bread. As you can see I'm not what you would call a pro in the kitchen!) I suggest you blending half of the egg whites (if you already use all of the egg whites, you risk them foaming up waaaay more than you want them to. Again: been there, done that!) with a little bit of the apples. Once pureed, add the remaining apples a little bit at a time and blend your little heart out and eventually add the rest of the egg whites.

You should end up with something that looks like this





Then take your bread tin and cover it with baking paper (to make it sick to the tin a little bit better, wet the backing paper and make sure you squeeze all the eccess water out).


Mix dry and wet ingredients together (I did put the yogurt, it's under the apple/egg mixture)




And pour it in the tin
Now bake it for 40mins at 150C with alluminum foil on (make sure you don't wrap it too tight) and then another 25 mins with out the foil.
Here it is the finished product
It's a little bit denser than your regular bread but I really love it with coffe or tea!

Notes: 
* You can really play with this recipe, you can add chopped fruit to it (I once added pineapple and it was lovely), raisins, chocolate chips and you can also change the apples for other fruit. I tried it with bananas and also with unsweetened apple sauce (perfect if you don't have time to puree it yourself) and they both worked great.
* If you don't have fructose, feel free to use regular sugar (I don't usually use regular sugar because, suffering from migraines, I find it that it can give me really bad headaches)
* You can also use vegetable yogurt if you like.

Let me know if you tried it and whether you modified it and how. I'm always looking for suggestions :)

***

While I was busy baking look what someone else was doing...

This one really cracked me up (he was actually yawning)

***

What is your favourite thing to have for breakfast? When making some new recipe do you always sick to it  or do you usually change it up? I sure know that for the life of me I can never sick to a recipe!

Love,

Elisa