Wednesday and a favourite breakfast!

This morning was somewhat magical, woke up fully rested and I love how the sunlight bounce against the white snow making it even brighter! Since I am a light fanatic, that is one of the best attributes of winter in my opinion. Anyway, started my morning with a favourite breakfast containing a lovely avocado (big health booster as we all know by now!) and lime, 80 g salmon (additional healthy fat!) and two eggs (protein source galore!) – an energy boosting breakfast for sure! And I will be needing it as I am heading off to the gym in a few minutes for an arms and back session. Looking forward to that immensely, in particular since the rest of the day will be spent sat in front of the computer writing up yet another essay. Student life at it’s best!

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When I have time during this week I am going to tell you about my latest obsession, or well, it is more of a motivational product which I have fallen head over heels in love with! Definitely not first on the ball, but better late than never eh! Wishing you all a lovely Wednesday, and I challenge you all to get some exercise done today. It doesn’t matter if its a walk or a heavy gym session – just do something that makes your pulse increase a tad and makes you feel truly alive.

Sighing just a little bit, smiling just a little bit.

Weeks, months pass by in a flash, or so it seems anyway. I have had yet another break from writing here, not because I do not train or cook or maintain whatever needs to be maintained outside of here. My reason for not being here, is mainly due to the battle I am currently fighting with my own body, my own hormones and Hashimoto’s. And I do not like to complain, I do not like to whine about my situation because I know that many, many, many have it so much worse. That way too many beautiful souls are busy fighting battles far, far worse than the one that is occupying my life. And despite my current struggles, I am lucky, I truly am. Because I have normal energy levels, I can train, stay up late (ish, I have never been an evening/night person) concentrate and do amazingly well at my studies and simply enjoy life to the fullest. And I am tremendously grateful for that, I truly am. Yet, I cannot wish for anything else but finding out exactly what it is that is wrong in my body. What it is that is causing me problems and then treat it, if treatable. The peace of mind to know, in times like this, I believe it to be the most important key to peace of mind. To find out and become aware. To attain needed information and be able to process it all. These are the current thoughts running through my mind, when my new doctor interprets recent test results, wrinkles his forehead and gently says ‘you are an odd case indeed’. And I cannot do anything but smile, because in truth, I have never done anything by half measures. It has always been about all or nothing, so I see no reason to why my potential Hashimoto’s related problem would be anything but extraordinary. Its just the way my life seem to be, and that is okay. I just need to know.

So I have spent the past month seeing my doctor and the nurses on numerous occasions, my arms have been battered and blue from all the different blood tests. Several potential problems have been knocked off the list, some which disappeared with a huge sigh or relive and some I am awaiting results for next week. And within those tests some of the worst nightmares reside, some conditions that many peoples worst nightmares are made of. So we will see, what next week will bring forth. Ever the optimist I still hope that it will be something good, that even if bad appears among the news, that something good will come out of it. That somehow, in that potential curtain of darkness a ray of light will shine through. And till then, I will keep on running, hitting those paths with a mix of gentle fury and delight. I will keep on lifting in the gym, growing stronger, pushed by my newly hired personal trainer and I will continue to enjoy the silence of November and the darkness in- and of the forest. Tall and green, breathing calmness all over my entire being and through everything that I am.

Autumn is here and I am…well, tired.

We returned back home from our engagement trip to Greece the other week and since then I have truly struggled to get myself back into my former training routine. Not due to a holiday blues or anything along those lines, instead I think it has to do with autumn all of a sudden being here and all the stress related to the upcoming study year. I suppose the darker evenings is another contributing factor to a bit lower energy levels. Not quite sure how to break this rather sluggish uninspired feeling. I did however head out for a run yesterday but I didn’t enjoy it and even ended up walking (!) for about 500 meters because I was just bored and had no motivation. I did manage to pick myself up though and keep on going to finish my session. But it was a drag, a real drag.

Anyway, tomorrow is a new day and I will head off to the gym, hopefully it will be a bit more enjoyable than yesterday run. If nothing else I have to keep my fingers crossed that the training mojo will return in a couple of weeks due to keeping at it and not giving up. Not much else to do right now, I cannot not train so I don’t have much of a choice really. Hopefully my doctors appointment on Thursday will bring good news and the they will be able to sort out my thyroid problems properly. That would be truly brilliant!

Sunday Confession | To push yourself or not.

This has been one crazy week, training wise I have been fine – better than fine actually as I had my best run to date on Thursday. Legs were in perfect symbiosis with the heart and lungs and I felt as if I could have gone on forever, and I almost did. Until I remembered that I have very little to gain from that, and the importance of keeping to my original plan and as such hopefully stay away from unesessary injuries. My boyfriend and I often speak of this as he has much more of an ‘all in’ kind of personality, whereas I prefer to plan, research and I much rather take baby steps than jump in at the deep end. Though I realise that sometimes a gentle push into the deep end before you feel fully prepared is the right way to go, I do find it quite difficult to push myself at times. Or rather, to know when exactly it is the right moment to do so and when its time to hold back. I often think about how I as a former equestrian had to prepare both myself and the horse for the jump, how absolutely everything had to be carefully calculated. Every step approaching the obstacle was counted for, the pace and intensity was controlled and the intention of what was about to happen was introduced to the horse with the help of my own body, how I distributed my weight and movements. It is that very knowledge I am looking for in my current training, to simply know when to hold back and sit steady in the boat and when to bring up the sails and go full speed ahead. I suppose that it is as with everything else in life, with extended experience – deeper knowledge and understanding is also gained.

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But in all honesty, are we not all searching for the perfect balance in our lives? I certainly am, and for most part I must say that I have found it. Or rather, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps there isn’t a balance that is ongoing forever-ever, but instead a deeper, inner balance that is apparent in a more subtle way such as how we choose to handle mundane everyday situations. With this in mind, I suppose that it at times may be a-ok to keep on running some of those days when my body whispers ‘its ok, we can handle it‘. To allow myself to trust my body, though I am battling it (the Hashimoto bit) at the moment – I should still allow myself to believe that though my body may be troublesome it is also capable of creating those marvellous moments of magical ‘runners high’. And for that I am tremendously grateful.

How do You approach the concept of pushing yourself? Do you trust your body to hold it together just because your mind says so? Do you jump in with both feet first at the deep end or do you prefer a slow start with the ever so helpful inflatables? If you have the time, feel free to leave me a comment with your thoughts on this subject.

Monday, and I love it.

I love Mondays, and the feeling of a whole blank new week ahead of me that I can shape however I please. Of course this is the privilege of someone who currently does not work, and yet have some time off until the ‘real’ student year begins. Monday equals a sweaty gym session for me which I love, I must say that I find great satisfaction in lifting and noticing the change in my muscle strength and body composition in general. I firmly believe in strengthening the body not only because it helps me during running but more importantly because it will keep my body healthier (and stronger) as I grow older. It is definitely my main drive behind training, to do my part when it comes to providing the right tools for my body to build a healthy frame.

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A couple of years ago I discovered a lump in my breast and went through half a year of stressful doctors visits, numerous examinations until it was resolved and declared a-ok. Going through a health scare like that definitely made me reconsider some of my previous dispositions towards various things in life. It made it easier to remain focused on where I want to go in life and what I would like to achieve in relation to a healthy lifestyle. At this point, I genuinely thank my body everyday, not because I think that my ‘body’ understands what I am saying, but because my mind does. And if I learnt anything from being ill myself, and sitting by my father as he was terminally ill, what we think – the thoughts that we cultivate – can make a world of difference. Positivity is key, and that does not mean to always and only be positive (or be a constant ‘yes sayer’) sometimes saying no is the most positive thing you can do for yourself. Positivity to me means that I remain true to myself, humble towards everyone else and grateful for the opportunities, struggles and wins that I encounter in my life. It is as simple as that, and it is Monday and I happen to love it.

Breakfast and Beetroot Juice.

Sunday, and I started my morning with a lovely breakfast and some beetroot juice. Must say that I had a rather lazy morning actually, much deserved after yesterdays kickboxing and static strength exercises. I love that kind of exhaustion that happens after a tough workout. I don’t think I ever feel so alive as I do during the full on, give it all I have circuits when my breathing is ‘heavy’ and theres a constant river of sweat dripping off my forearms, chin and forehead. I love it. Though I currently train to beat Hashimoto’s I would never and have never trained for the sole reason to get or be fit. I train because I love it, because its a part of me as much as I wish to be a part of it. The energy boost I am granted during and after training is fantastic. And the satisfaction of going to bed later on in the evening and have the best sleep ever due to my body being at peace is gold. Simply gold.

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Anyway, this morning I felt like giving my body a bit of a nutrition boost, not that I feel ill or anything I just like to keep my immune-system on its toes. Much needed when you suffer from an under-active thyroid as well, since it is an autoimmune disease and anything and everything you can do to help your body out in these situations is a good thing. Though I don’t use juicing as a mean of ‘weight control’ I still swear by the many benefits it has for your body (not to mention the enhancement of your bowel movements if you have problems in that area) as you get to consume large amount of vegetables, fruit, berries in the many different juices.

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Love the gorgeous color of the beetroot, fresh and vivid. I prefer to buy them ‘raw’ like this and peel them myself instead of buying them ‘prepared’. This way I know exactly whats been done to them, i.e absolutely nothing. Just the way I like it. I also believe that the whole point with juicing is to use fresh products, which is something I cannot get my head around when it comes to the current ‘smoothie’-trend. So many people seem to use frozen (packaged) products, something I would not really want to do if I could avoid it. However, I am not big into smoothies so perhaps there is something to it that I simply don’t get. As of now, I much prefer juicing as it is an excellent way to boost my body with plenty of nutritious benefits from raw vegetables and fruit.

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If you find it difficult to stomach the ‘earthy‘ taste of the beetroot (I did to begin with) then you can add a lemon in the mix. My experience is that it neutralise the overly earthy taste quite well. And I suppose most people know how fantastic lemon juice is for the body – yum – unfortunately not so awesome for our teeth so should be consumed with some caution for sure.

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So this is just about what I put into my beetroot juice, sometimes I add celery as well or any other green veggie, but as I didn’t have any at home today this had to do. I will also eat a very green lunch today so will most definitely get enough green vegetables in my body.

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Some of the finished product, don’t you just love the popping color? Not only the color is beautiful, the taste was as well and I am sure my body thanks me for the many health benefits. To borrow a slogan from Marks & Spencer, this juice is certainly… one that wows!

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Accompanying my juice I also had a lovely breakfast, scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes and some avocado – would have loved a bit more that, but it was a tad too ripe unfortunately. August can be a bit tricky when it comes to keeping vegetables and fruit. I always seem to forget and keep on purchasing the same amount and then have to make the most odd food combinations because I really don’t want to have to throw anything out. Anyway, I hope you all are having a lovely Sunday – I am heading out for a run later on tonight, fingers crossed it will be a fabulous one!

If you cannot eat the rainbow, at least eat your veggies.

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Simply cannot get enough of this dish at the moment. So ridiculously simple, so tremendously good. You have seen it all before, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper, leek, courgette, aubergine, sun-dried tomatoes and once finished topped with some low-fat feta cheese. Heavenly good.

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I have spent a good amount of time at the gym today, focusing on legs mainly. It was very busy, which is rather unusual during the summer but it was a ‘nice kind of busy’ if you know what I mean. People were focusing on their training and simply channeling that kind of ‘good’ workout energy. Normally I prefer to train alone, unless its with a Personal Trainer, but I love the company of other gym members. I love to learn from watching the super-fit people, the talented lifters and the splendid runners. They all serve as fabulous inspiration and motivation in my own fitness journey. But I also adore the beginners, the sometimes careful and insecure ones that seem to want to disappear into the walls when the machines make odd noises or when they cannot figure something out. And I love the many seniors, sometimes strong as oxes and more often than not they outrun me on the treadmill without breaking a sweat. I love the gym-family, when it is a good one. And I happen to be a member of a gym that has a lovely down to earth attitude, professional staff that also take the time to get to know you as well as carefully looked after machines and training areas. After all, the gym does serve as my second home, and it is important to me that it is a place where I as well as everyone else who spend time there, feel equally welcome.

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Anyway, post gym, I always want to eat something quick and healthy. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I tend to eat lighter during the day so a vegetable-based lunch is all I need really. I don’t feel the need to add another protein source, except for the feta cheese, as I hit my protein goals just fine every day. However, please note that I cannot be used as a general example of how you should eat, my diet is carefully controlled by my general practitioner due to my Hashimoto. If you struggle with weight loss or if you simply want to know what diet would suit you best, I recommend you to contact a professional (dietician, nutritionist or your GP) for adequate advice.

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It has been a lovely break to write this entry, but time flies and I have to get back to my psychology books for a bit. August is here and my next study year will ‘unofficially’ open up in September so it’s about time to get properly started now. This summer has disappeared in a heartbeat really, but somehow I still feel quite energised and happy and ready to take on another year. My second last one, kind of mind boggling to be honest, halfway there and through plenty of hard work and determination I have managed to get distinctions only up to this point. Hopefully it will be a lasting trend, I would love to finish with a first!

Weekend plans.

Summer is here and I cannot help myself but spend most of the days outdoors. It is far too beautiful to stay indoors in front of a computer. Don’t really want to focus on anything else but this fabulous season and the gorgeous weather! To recap a bit though, I received positive news from my medical doctor in the sense that I do not have diabetes type 2. My thyroid levels on the other hand were all over the place. Cannot say that I was too surprised about that as I have been feeling slightly odd as of late. But hopefully it’ll be sorted in not too long, in particular since I will get to see a specialist at the end of September. Fingers crossed!

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In other news, I have been very busy training this week and absolutely loved every minute of it. Though it is super hot here at the moment I have kept my routine and done my runs, gym sessions, cycling, yoga and kickboxing (yep that is a new one and I am in love to say that least!). At the moment I really enjoy trying out new types of exercise I think it is because I am yet far from the form I used to be (mainly due to Hashimoto and the weight gain affiliated with this disease!) and as such I am trying to find the right balance – at this point in my life – where training will remain fun, enjoyable and yet challenging. I have always liked quite intensive training a lot more than slow paced ones, but lately I have started to see the beauty in the many fantastic challenges that yoga contributes with. The complete body knowledge and control in addition to the more ‘spiritual’ connection between muscles, body and mind is truly beautiful to experience. However, I am a rather restless soul whom find it difficult to queue and stand still for too long, I like the constant forward motion in general and I suppose that it is apparent in my training as well. Nonetheless, the mix of different training that I enjoy at the moment suits me perfectly. The only thing I miss is my hikes, but I will have to wait a bit longer till the pollen is gone and its safe to venture into the depths of the majestic forest. I miss it tremendously, and if I cannot find my calm anywhere else, I never fail to find it there.

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Anyway, it is Friday and I have a fun weekend ahead of me – a bit of studying (I am preparing for next study year, yes total nerd always have been! ♡) run tomorrow evening, kickboxing and yoga on Sunday and then on top of it all there is a triathlon this weekend in the city where I live so I think I might pop down to town and cheer the boys and girls on! If nothing else it will get me even more motivated to keep on going with my training. I wish you all a lovely weekend!

Monday, let’s go!

Monday is here, I really love the beginning of the week perhaps because all my stats start ‘anew’ (garmin, fitnesspal, gym routines etc) and I feel like I have all the power in the world to make it the  best possible week ever. However, this very week may require a few changes when it comes to my weekly training routine, since the boyfriend and I may be heading off to Prague and have a bit of a well deserved and much needed mini-holiday. Which would mean that at least one of my weekly runs will be in the capital of the Czech Republic, how awesome wouldn’t that be! Fingers crossed that we will be able to book and organise it quickly.

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Anyway, todays been a good day indeed, started off with a gym session, this time focusing on lower weights and more repetitions. It was almost empty in the gym which was rather nice actually, I find that its a tad easier to focus and get my workout routine into a nice flow when its not super busy. Finished off the session with 30 minutes of crosstraining, my least liked cardio machine, but its lean on my knees which complements my running well at the moment. Once back home I had a lunch (not vegetarian today) consisting of fried tomato (50 gram), spinach (50 gram), salmon (90 gram) and a little bit of low fat crème fraîche. It was gorgeous and a much needed boost post workout. When the food had gone down a little I decided to take on my second yoga session, and I may regret saying this later, but today it went significantly better than yesterday. Not sure if its because my body recognised the movements a bit or if my daily form was just a bit better today.  Whatever it was made it a lot easier to enjoy the session even though I have a long way to go before I can perform most of these fantastic poses to full satisfaction. But that is okay, I am stubborn and willing to learn no matter how long it will take for me to get that perfect flow.

I cannot help but pull the earth around me | How to destress and reap its benefits.

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Saturday and I am a proud spinach warrior(ess). Well, not really a warrior, if anything I am a lot more of a lover than a warrior any time of the day. I have spent most of my day outdoors in the lovely sunshine, met up with the boyfriend at lunch, went for a rejuvenating power- walk to soak up the sun while enjoying the fabulous view of a couple of buzzards performing sky circles in the air. The beauty and the grace of their every moment will never cease to mesmerise me. The artistry in preserving energy from the warm beams of the sun while at the same time being able to gaze down below is a heavenly privilege indeed. But really, how lucky are we not to live here and now? Some days, such as today I have to pinch myself in an effort to ‘wake up’ and fully – with all that I am – enjoy the beauty that is all around. It makes me realise how tremendously grateful I am for the life that I’m able to lead, for the freedom I have to speak, for the opinions I am allowed to voice, for the possibility to educate myself and being able to enjoy the many comforts of my every day life. I think these moments of silent reflection are vital to appreciate the otherwise considered mundane, the everyday things and incidents that is easy to take for granted without contemplating the bigger picture. Thus, to stop and take it all in, is my way of finding great peace within, to slow down and simply allow myself to exist in the now, free from the pressure of life itself and the stressful environment our busy lives often can be.

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I firmly believe that the body does not know the difference between physical and emotional stress. Many people train as if there was no tomorrow despite being absolutely drained emotionally. I am no personal trainer so I do not know if its possible to achieve good results while carrying pent up stress in your body. But, as a budding psychologist I wholeheartedly believe that too much stress can destroy bodies, minds and peoples lives.

The importance of allowing yourself time to do nothing and using that time to teach your mind and body how to fully relax is a vital skill in todays society.

Compared to former social systems and current collectivist societies, our western contemporary society is constantly increasing its demands on the individual. We have moved from being happy campers in a much bigger machinery where the efforts of everyone was of more importance than the individuals to a society where the achievements of the individual is paramount. Contrary to the collectivist social system, the western world values cognitive intelligence- above emotional, and as such leave very little room for  developing skills in self-awareness. Without this essential skill we also lack the ability to understand how our emotional state of mind can create stress, and subsequently impact our general health. As a result, far too many people push themselves until their physical bodies crash, literally. The shortcoming in understanding and listening to our emotional needs, emerge in many of the present stress-related problems our health service is currently battling. Because what happens when we solely focus on the surface and very little on the inside? Well, we crash and burn. Perhaps not at once, but sooner or later it comes down to two options; crash or learn.

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I am by no means innocent of taking part in the rat-race that an individualist society brings forth, I too strive for my own individual achievements. It does not matter if its related to training or studying, I want to succeed and more so, I want to be truly good (to not say, brilliant) at what I am doing. It’s a notion that has been incorporated in every cell of my body since I was very young. Achievement is key and the problem with this is that the concept of self-worth is now being measured by how well we perform instead of the fact that we partook. Stress has many faces, and it impacts people differently – I do believe that the best grounds for success is to first achieve and learn how to maintain a sound balance in life. To allow ourselves to simply stop every now and then is a good start to reconnect body and mind. It’s important to challenge ourselves to begin noticing the little mindless things as well as the grand gestures and other significant aspects of our lives.

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To me, the health conscious food I carefully prepare represents finding peace and balance in my life. It’s a magnificent tribute to my body and mind, to everything that I am. But I also find balance and beauty in the many hikes I do in the national park, through the comforting voices of the majestic trees and the many opportunities to lose myself in daydreams while watching the birds of prey. However it is not only in solitude I ground myself, its also in the true meetings with people that lead with their hearts. In the many warm words that lingers within my mind for years, sometimes outliving the individual that once formed the conversation in perfect balance with his or her very essence. Its in the appreciations and abundant gratitudes, in the many thank you’s and I love you’s that forever flows within me, around me and out of me. And perhaps most of all, I find life-balance in my training routine. In the many runs, in the sometimes heavy legs, in the featherlight legs, in the bouncing feet and in the never-ending deep all-encompassing breaths cheered on by my beating heart. The immense inner peace that exercise brings forth is my biggest love of them all, and I am in absolute awe of how my mind so effortlessly controls my body. How it all just finds its balance if I simply let it, despite starting every day anew. I love how easy and relaxed life feels when its just me and the path ahead, and I cannot help but want to gently pull the earth around me, enveloping my entire being in its utter balance and inner peace.