Fitness Friday – Why I Ditched The Scale

This healthy journey of mine didn’t just start a few weeks ago. I’ve been wanting to be healthier since I was a teenager but most attempts I have ever made to shed some pounds and to become more active have failed miserably.

The most success I ever had was almost two years ago after my mom was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It was a wake-up call for both of us: my mom needed to get healthier to manage the diabetes, and I needed to do the same to make sure I didn’t end up getting the disease myself. We focused on portion control, being active (I had a mini meltdown in the parking lot but I joined a gym for the first time in my life) and we worked to make a difference. It worked: I lost almost 30 pounds and was more active than I’ve ever been. I challenged my body, proved to myself that I’m a lot tougher than I thought, and got to buy a whole bunch of new clothes as my old ones became too big.

Moving away from home definitely made it a little too easy to fall off track. I was no longer going to the gym because there wasn’t one conveniently located near my new house and I no longer had access to a car to get me to one. My new job left me exhausted some days and it resulted in too many nights of ordering pizza, grabbing snacks from the nearby convenient store, and taking advantage of the 20% discount on theme park food (too many funnel cakes).

I have definitely put some weight back on, my clothes are a little tight and there’s some chubbiness back in my cheeks. There’s no denying it. But I’ve decided I’m not going to step back onto the scale, not for a while at least.

Here’s why:

1. Weight isn’t everything.

I have obsessed over that number on the scale many, many times. Whenever there is a scale in my home you will find me on it multiple times a week, desperate to see change. That’s just not how it works. Some weeks you’ll have losses and other weeks you will maintain or even gain for a various number of reasons (muscle gain, sickness, menstruation, etc.).

2. My emotional reactions to the scale mess with my progress.

I am the type of person that will step on the scale and that split second moment will determine the rest of my week. If I have lost weight I will stay on track because I see that all my hard work was paying off. But if I have gained weight I will often give up and binge or I will try to starve myself a bit that week which is equally unhealthy as the binging. I am an emotional person and the scale messes with my emotions too much to be productive.

3. Weight looks different on everyone.

Knowing my exact weight often makes me compare myself to others who I think are the same weight as me. I wonder why my stomach isn’t flatter, why my arms aren’t smoother, and why I can’t fit into the same clothes as them. Those comparisons were always harmful to me, they didn’t challenge me to become better but instead they made me lose hope. “I’ll never look like her” was something that ran through my mind often and it really defeated me.

I’m determined not to let anything stop me this time.

I know this is not the right choice for everyone. The scale can be a beneficial tool in tracking your progress and I am in no way shaming anyone who is tracking their weight. I just know it doesn’t work with the way I think. So I’ve decided to try something different: I’m going to track everything I put into my body (my meals) and everything I do with it (my workouts). In addition to this on the first of every month I will be taking progress pictures so I can see how my body has changed instead of just relying on a number to tell me it has.

Becoming healthier is all about finding what works for you. Fitness and health are not a one size fits all kind of thing so you have to explore a bit. That’s what I’m doing.

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Tasty Tuesday – Sushi Date

It’s time to introduce another reoccurring weekly post to Her Story Continued and that is “Tasty Tuesdays”. Food is an even bigger part of my healthy journey than fitness is for two reasons: a healthy diet is a big part of building a healthy body, and because I just freaking love food!

I will warn you Tasty Tuesday will not only consist of well-balanced meals, epic food preps, and healthy spins on comfort food but it was also include some of those good ole cheat days. I’m a foodie and I will always be a foodie no matter what size my jeans are or what number is on the scale. Cutting unhealthy foods out completely would only make me miserable and this journey is not just about being physically healthy but mentally healthy as well.

Before heading back to Toronto we decided to check out Sakana House in my hometown of Barrie. Sushi and I have a complicated relationship. The first few times I actually went for sushi I had a bad reaction where my throat closed up. I’ve never really figured out what caused it; I personally blame the avocado but that’s just because I hate avocado. Regardless, the reaction was enough to steer me away from sushi for a while which was a bummer because sushi was a big hit amongst my friends in University.

After some time I tried a few pieces here and there, and thankfully there were no more bad reactions. I’ve only been to one sushi place in Barrie and to be honest I don’t really remember anything about it. We decided to try somewhere new and since there were lots of rave reviews about Sakana online and at $14.99 per person for all-you-can-eat, it’s one of the best priced sushi places in town.

Onto the actual tasty part. I won’t lie, I personally like the appetizer part of sushi better than the sushi itself but that probably has a lot to do with things being deep-fried. Sakana’s menu is a little intimidating in my opinion because it’s all over the place but once you take a minute it’s not so complicated.

We all decided to just order together so we could try a bunch of different things. I’m not even sure what we ordered the first time around since it all came out kind of randomly but I ended up figuring a couple things out and taking some notes so I could share my thoughts.

First of all, the whole reason we picked this place was because it had mango sushi. I’m a huge fan of mango, I find it extremely refreshing and on sushi it’s just magical. The mango roll pictured in the centre was the “Mango Crab Meat Roll” which was just one of three mango rolls we tried. My favourite was the vegetarian option that had cream cheese instead of fish.

Pictured on the left is the “Spicy Tuna Roll” and on the right was the “Cowboy Roll”. The Spicy Tuna was your typical tempura / fish sushi roll, nothing special in my opinion but still tasty. The Cowboy Roll was more interesting: it was full of beef and green onions and it tasted a little like a hamburger! Different and delicious!

Pictured on the right is the “Curry Chicken Don” which was just sticky rice with potatoes, tempura chicken and curry sauce. It wasn’t entirely aesthetically pleasing nor was it a very complicated dish but the flavour was awesome. It had a little bit of spice but not too much. Between this, the sushi, and the deep fried chicken plates we tried (left to right: General Tao, Kung Po with Peanuts, and Sweet and Sour) I satisfied cravings for sushi, Chinese food, and Indian all in one place.

What happened next was a little funny: we weren’t really keeping track of what was coming to the table but I was sure we didn’t order quite as much as we were getting. That’s when my mom and I realized that the man beside us had been waiting for his order a lot longer than everyone else in the restaurant. The wait staff checked in on him and he told them he was still waiting on his order. When plate finally came out they were the exact same as what is pictured below. Seems like we got his food, oops!

What was great about this mix-up for us is the fact that the Dynamite Roll (pictured above), which we most definitely did not order, was a favourite of the table. I loved that it was still hot after being dropped in the deep frier, especially because that completely took away the gross texture of the avocado.

The dessert section was nothing to brag about, just ice cream and pudding, but we did order some tempura bananas and they were really good. I enjoyed the mango pudding (centre) but it was a weird consistency: it was somewhere between a jello and a pudding.

Overall, I was really happy with Sakana House and have now told my friends back home to check it out when they have the time. My mom liked it more than the regular sushi place she goes to, even if it was a bit out of the way for us. It was a good meal, maybe not the healthiest… okay, definitely not the healthiest but it was a nice way to end all the holiday celebrations. Now it’s time to get back into the groove of things and take it easy on the bad eats.

Are you a sushi fan? I really need suggestions of different rolls to try since I usually play it safe. What’s your favourite roll?

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A Very Merry Miller Christmas

It’s my favourite holiday! Or really, it’s my favourite month. Christmas music, baked goods, and getting some quality time with the family is always something that makes me feel a little more like myself. I might not eat the best over the holidays but I do usually end up on a very good diet of friends, family, and a whole lot of love. Sometimes that’s just the kind of health that you need.

My family is pretty big on gift giving, not because we have a ton of money or because we want to show off but because we like treating each other when we can. It’s cliche but it’s so much more about the happiness you bring to someone by giving a gift than receiving one in return.

That being said, I do want to write a bit about the gifts I did receive because quite a few of them are going to help me become healthier and happier. And who knows, maybe you’ll see something and want to pick it up for yourself on Boxing Day!

The hobby that really drove me towards starting this blog in the first place is bullet journalling. I do not have the best handwriting, though I’ve been told a couple times it’s ‘cute’ and by that I think people mean it’s a little juvenile but legible. Still, I find bullet journalling is a good way to keep track of my meals, my workouts, and just my general schedule. I’ve used it to plan dates, track my Christmas shopping, and I just find it a really relaxing way to organize yourself.

I gave the really vague request of stationary and ended up with some pretty wicked letterhead paper, a beautiful fountain pen, and linen business paper which is supposedly pretty good for fountain pens. I’m planning on using these to draft out some of my future blog posts and to set a schedule for myself.

As I post more you’ll get to see that books are one of my happy places. I lost my love of reading for a little while when I was in University. I know I’m not the only one who had gone through this issue; it can be hard to pick up a book for pleasure when you are assigned dozens of readings every week. I was so overwhelmed with reading articles and textbooks that I found it hard to focus on my personal books.

Since graduating I have tried to get back into reading. I was kind of surprised by how tough it actually was at first. I found my gateway back into reading was actually children’s books. I binge read the first two books of the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman and that got me right back into the flow of things.

In general I read a lot of Young Adult books, particularly ones with magic. My friends pushed me towards Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen this past summer and I blasted through the first book within a couple of days. The story mixes a dystopian narrative with a medieval setting. You have an imperfect heroine in Queen Kelsea who is not the typical every woman but instead will likely get on your nerves quite often. She’s a solid heroine to follow, and the cast of supporting characters is equally as interesting and wonderfully flawed.

Now, I’m excited to dive into the final instalment of this trilogy “Fate of the Tearling”. It’s the first book on my to-read list for the new year.

Finally, my go to self-care routine involves a warm bubble bath. This was a real problem in the past year since my last apartment only had a stand-alone shower but the new place has the best built bathtub I have ever been in. It’s an off week if I’m not in there reading at least 3 times.

Now, I will admit I never really understood the whole obsession with LUSH until a couple months ago when I bought myself one of their bubble bars. These things are awesome! I prefer them over bath bombs because they are multi-use so I get more bubbles for my buck.

The one that looks like a little milk bottle is “Milky Bath” and it’s the first bar I ever tried. It smells like fresh laundry! I can generally get 3-4 baths out of this bar. You just crumble a bit under running water and it fills the bath with lovely smelling bubbles!

The other two bars I received are “Santasaurus” and “Jester” which are both conveniently on sticks so you don’t have to break pieces off. Instead you just run them under the tap. I’ve had Santasaurus before and got 5 baths out of the bar which I think it a really good deal for the price you pay.

When I take my bubble baths I always find it a little more magical to have a candle lit. I received three of the Bath and Body Works three wick candles which I admittedly go through like a mad woman. This year I ended up with “‘Tis the season”, “Hot Apple Toddy”, and “Flannel”. ‘Tis the season is definitely my favourite, it smells just like the pie scent they spray into the audience at Disney World’s Philharmagic and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So that’s my little self-care Christmas haul. I’m feeling incredibly loved and definitely spoiled.

So how is your Christmas going? Are you stuffed with baked goods and egg nog yet? It’s time for me to run off for the big family get together but I’d love to hear how you’re enjoying the holidays, whether you celebrate or not!


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Fitness Friday – Fitness Marshall

To help me keep on track with my workouts I will be writing posts every Friday for what I’m going to call “Fitness Friday”. These posts will, as the name suggests, centre around fitness in some way. It could be a review of the equipment I’m using, a look back at my workouts for that week, or like today’s post it could be a highlight of a fitness program / guru that I love.

To start things off I have to highlight my personal favourite way to get through my cardio workouts: The Fitness Marshall.

Fitness Marshall is run by Caleb Marshall and his fabulous “Backup Booty” team. Caleb choreographs cardio hip hop routines to hit songs that are easy to follow and an awesome way to get you breathing harder. What sets these videos apart from other hip hop cardio videos in my opinion are Caleb’s theatrics. He’s such a bright and positive personality that I often find myself forgetting that I am even working out because I’m blinded by his sunshine.

I first came across Fitness Marshall this past summer while scrolling through Facebook. The workout video for Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too” had popped up on my feed as yet another viral video that demanded to be watched while I was avoiding doing housework.

Honestly, even if you’re not in the mood to workout right now this video is great just to sit back and watch. Just don’t be surprised if you end up walking around shouting “Take it to church!” at people.

What really drew me to this video was the inclusion of a plus-sized backup booty (if someone knows her name please tell me!). I was too used to seeing workout dance videos consisting of perfectly fit instructors and backup dancers with shredded abs and not an ounce of fat to sweat of. There’s nothing wrong with any of that but for me representation definitely matters. I saw myself in this plus-size woman, and I was inspired by her ability to nail the choreography just as well as Caleb and Haley.

A couple nights after watching the video I went back to it and actually tried it out. I should tell you: I have no rhythm. I can handle learning basic choreography but 9 times out of 10 the execution is not pretty. This is why I’ve never tried Zumba. I found that this felt different! You don’t have to hit the beat, you just keep moving and doing your best. And you’re bound to burn some calories just from laughing.

After showing the video to some friends and getting some positive feedback about it I decided to give more of Caleb’s videos a try. I started by just picking songs I recognized which was great until I tried Fergie’s “London Bridge”. I got my ass kicked by this song the first time and ended up sitting on the floor trying to catch my breath but I have since figured it out (well, kind of).

The Fitness Marshall youtube is conveniently organized into three playlist categories: warm ups, cool downs, and main workout. This allows you to customize your workout by selecting your own mix of videos. When I started I was doing 4 or 5 videos at a time but now that my cardio has improved I can do a full 30-40 workout with about 10 videos.

I recommend creating a playlist of your favourite ones and organizing it in a way that works for you. I personally like to start with some of the slower numbers and then work my way into the fast songs. I try to do two songs that I consider difficult back to back and then put an easier song in so I can have a little break. The best part of the videos being hosted by Youtube is that those annoying random advertisements actually give you 10 seconds to grab your water and catch your breath.

Fitness Marshall also does a workout of the week aka “The Sweat Set”. This is a playlist of 11-12 songs that were pre-picked for a total cardio workout. So far I have found they are structured to have songs to make a warm-up and a cool down which makes it incredibly convenient, though I still recommend some static stretching at the end. They aren’t kidding about the sweat part, I’ve come out of these playlists drenched but feeling energized and good about myself. I suppose that’s why Caleb uses the phrase “sweat yourself sexy”. The only complaint I have is how time consuming doing this set can be, it’s not convenient for when I just want a quick workout.

Following The Fitness Marshall on Instagram is the easiest way to get updates on new videos and to just follow Caleb and the Backup Booties enjoying life and dancing their hearts out. They also tour to do their workouts live so if you’re lucky and interested you could actually go attend one of their shows! I’m hoping the next time he wanders up to Canada I’ll peck up enough courage to show my dance moves off in public.

If you try out any of the videos let me know what you think! For now, I’ll leave you with one of my favourites:

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They said write anything…

I have considered myself a writer for a long time now. It started with creative stories in elementary school, then I tried my hand at playwriting in high school, and now at any given time I have 5 – 10 documents on my computer that suggest I’d like to have a book published someday (if I ever manage to finish one).

But I have never written a blog before.

Sure, I’ve had my fair share of success on Tumblr but that was a whole lot more reblogging gif sets, posting graphics, and occasionally whining about my homework than it ever was blogging. I made it past the sign up page on blog platforms a number of times but this is the first time I have made it past selecting a layout. So it’s the first time I’ve ever written anything for a blog.

Lets hope I get this right.

What I have to share is a whole lot of lessons on learning to love yourself, coming back from the bad days, and enjoying the hell out of the good ones. I’m hoping to help my readers learn a thing or two (even if it’s just where to go for dinner) and I’m expecting to learn even more myself.

As I fight to become healthier, both physically and mentally, I’d like to share what I find. That means meal prep, recipes, and reviews of fitness programs and videos. But it also means sharing my city adventures, reviewing books and movies, blabbing on about my Netflix binges, and just sharing my life, and hoping my readers will share some of theirs in return.

I’m in a place where almost every day is a new adventure; I’m living in a new city, looking for a new job (with no idea what I want to do), and trying to piece together a new me from the bits of the old I like and the parts of the woman I’d like to be.

So I guess this is my story continued.

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