Fitness, Body Image and Being Happy With Yourself

I don’t really like to write about body image, but I feel that certain events over the past week have prompted me to do so. Earlier this week, an image posted by Cosmopolitan Magazine on their Facebook page sparked outrage when they referred to the woman in the photo as a plus-size model. The girl looked healthy and wasn’t one of those models where you could count her individual ribs (refreshing for once!), but the last thing I would do is call her plus-size.

Society places way too much pressure on women to look a certain way and be a certain size. However, regardless of you shape or weight, it seems like nothing is ever good enough.

  • You lose weight, people now think you are too skinny – “eat some doughnuts!”
  • You gain a few extra pounds – “are you sure you should eat that doughnut?”

In my own experiences, when I’ve lost a few pounds, people comment on how great I look (even though I may feel like I’ve lost my curves). But gain a few pounds and negative comments are made. In either case, people dance around the subject by asking you if you are ok, if you are sick, or if something is wrong. Thanks for the concern, but nothing is wrong – except for the unwelcome comments. I feel really awkward when people comment on my weight, to me it’s something personal, and if I’m satisfied with how I look, why should anyone else’s opinion matter?

I feel like these pressures also come into play after giving birth. The new moms we see in the media look like their pre-pregnancy selves within weeks. Some women are fortunate and bounce back naturally without much effort, and that’s great, but it’s not reality for majority of women. After I had Odin, it took me about 3 months (which to me is still too fast) to get back to pre-pregnancy weight – but definitely not pre-pregnancy “shape”. Breastfeeding was a major contributor, but I also started regular workouts 4 weeks after giving birth. During my pregnancy I made changes to my diet, incorporating more veggies into my diet, because I didn’t want Odin to be a picky eater like I was. I would feel like a hypocrite telling him to eat his carrots when I wasn’t eating my own. I feel like these modifications also aided in postpartum weight loss.

When it comes to exercise, running is my jam (the half marathon specifically). One of the things I’ve heard a few times in the past year is “you look too small, maybe you shouldn’t run so much”. Sure, I’m just going to cut back on something that makes me happy, makes me feel good and helps me de-stress: hells-to-the-no. When I started running it was out of a desire to lose weight I had gained in my first year of university, but now weight loss is not a motivating factor for why I run. I run because I LOVE to run. Running is what puts me in my happy place – ask my husband, I’m miserable if I go awhile without running or am recovering from injury.

All of this mumbo-jumbo to say:

What really matters is how you feel. The numbers on the scale may not be moving as quickly as you want them to, but suddenly all of your clothes are a bit roomier – celebrate that! Do you notice that your workouts that once seemed impossible have gotten easier?  Can you run longer distances than last week?Celebrate those things too! Celebrate the little accomplishments and remember that what matters most is your happiness and how you feel about yourself – not what others think you should look like. The scale is not the be-all-end-all. There are so many things that a scale doesn’t account for. You only live once, so remember to treat yo self! 

 

 

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Busy Body Boys

I grew up with a sister. My mom also grew up with a sister. My grandmother, their mother, grew up as one of five girls. Needless to say, there are a lot of girls in my family.

When I was pregnant with Odin, we did not find out the gender until he was born. And even when he was born, I had to wait a couple of minutes for someone to finally tell me if the baby I just pushed out of my body was a boy or a girl. Given the number of girls in my family, a lot of people thought that I was going to have a girl. I never had “that feeling” about what I was having, I knew I was having a baby and all I wanted was for he or she to be healthy. I had very detailed dreams during my pregnancy, in which a toddler boy was following me everywhere, peeking out from behind walls. Then one night I had a dream about having a baby and was introducing the baby by the full boy name that we had picked out should the baby be a boy – Odin Edward Khan.

When he was a baby, he wasn’t much for napping. He was extremely observant and was constantly aware of what was going on around him. People would always tell me “you just wait a few more months, he’s going to be a busy one!”. My go-to response was “I run 80-100km a week, I think I can handle it,” and then I’d laugh a little. When he was 9 months old he started to walk – then roughly two weeks later, he was running everywhere. That’s when we knew we were in trouble – and by trouble, I mean constantly on toddler tornado watch.

Someone's been watching me...

Someone’s been watching me…

Fast forward to today – Odin is just a few days shy of being 20 months old. That’s 4 months away from turning 2 (insert panic attack here), and as everyone so graciously informed me months ago, he is busy! He is constantly on the go and doesn’t want to miss out on anything. He is fiercely independent, knows exactly what he wants and pays unusual attention to detail for a kid his age. When I try to challenge him with different activities such as sorting shapes, building with blocks and wooden peg puzzles, he masters then after a couple of tries. Sure, he gets frustrated and throws fits when he can’t figure something out at first, but he applauds and is so proud of himself once he has mastered something new. He keeps us on our toes, and rarely goes to bed before 9:30pm, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I see so much of Ryan and myself in Odin and watching him learn all of these new skills has got to be the most rewarding experience we’ve ever had.

At the rate he is going, he will be joining me on my daily runs by the time he is 4 😉

Odin at the San Francisco Zoo

Odin at the San Francisco Zoo

Mama’s Running Must-Haves

I am very picky particular about a lot of things in my life, so it’s not very shocking that I am extra particular about my running gear. I own more pairs of running shoes than I do the rest of my other topes of shoes combined. I do way more research and put far more effort into purchasing running shoes and clothes – which likely sounds a bit odd coming from a girl. With that, I give you my running must haves:

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1. Oiselle Tanks

When one of my favourite professional runners, Kara Goucher, left Nike and signed with Oiselle earlier this year, I knew that Oiselle must be pretty special. I visited their website and found a few too many running tanks that magically found their way into my shopping cart and into my running wardrobe. To say I love their tanks is an understatement. The styles I have are the Winona (shown), Running Shimmel (similar here) and the Three Friends Tank. I love everything about these tanks. They don’t bunch or slide when you run, they breathe really well and they are so, so soft! There are so many other pieces from Oiselle that are on my “must own” list 😉

2. Under Armour Compression Capris

I struggle to find appropriate bottoms for between season running. When I purchased these capris, I wasn’t sure what to think, as I ordered them online and never tried them on in a store before doing so. I wasn’t disappointed. After reading a lot of reviews, these came highly recommended, and I must say that I have to agree with all of the people out there who love these. They fit like a glove, they aren’t ridiculously warm and the wide waistband hold the pants in place. I can even get away with wearing these if I’m running outside early in the morning in the summer.

3. Asics Preleus

These are my current go-to outdoor shoe. They are the lightest (and brightest) pair of Asics I’ve ever owned. I really don’t like heavy shoes, especially for outdoor running, so these have been a perfect match for me. An added bonus is that these shoes were so comfortable from day 1 – no breaking in required.

4. Mizuno Wave Inspire 8

This pair of Mizunos are my treadmill shoes. These are only worn indoors on my treadmill. They are super light, supportive and are a shoe that matches my gait and movement habits. I strongly suggest everyone get an analysis done before getting running shoes, as everyone moves differently and has different foot needs. What works for me might not be supportive enough for someone else.

4. Garmin Forerunner

For outdoor runs I like to know my distance, average pace, calories burned and total run time. I’m very competitive with myself and goal oriented, so knowing these stats is really important. These stats are also important to me when training for races, as certain days of the week are devoted to different running patterns, and knowing my pace is necessary. I’m extremely loyal to Garmin, as their products last forever, and trust me, I use my watch all the time and it’s been worth every penny.

 

Family Favourites: The Iceland Edition

In October 2011, Ryan and I took a trip to Iceland. We had always wanted to go there, and after speaking with representatives from Icelandair at a local travel show, our desire to travel to Iceland intensified. During the summer in 2011, I received an email announcing a price drop on one of the Iceland packages we had been looking at, and before I knew it, we had our flights booked. We were going to Iceland to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary!

During our trip, we covered a lot of ground and came across a number of things that will bring us back to Iceland – hopefully sooner rather than later. Iceland had a huge impact on us even though we were there for a very brief time (we even ended up naming our son Odin).

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Here’s a list of some of our Iceland favourites:

Icelandair:

Icelandair made our trip flow so smoothly. From booking our tickets and being able to purchase shuttle tickets to our hotel while checking out with our trip package (which was equally as awesome, as our day trips were already included in the package we selected), it was nice to take care of everything in one spot. The flight to Iceland was overnight, and the blankets they gave us on the flight we so soft and snuggly – I still talk about these blankets regularly and would love to get my hands on one to have at home 😉

Farmer’s Market:

A lot of people don’t realize that it doesn’t actually get that cold in Iceland. If anything, the wind is what makes it feel colder out. Being Canadian, we have long, cold winters, and I’m always trying to find gear that will keep me warm in the winter. I bought a hat from Farmer’s Market on our trip and I still wear it today. I ordered another hat a few weeks ago from their online store, as these hats are the warmest things I’ve ever worn, and Icelandic sheep’s wool is water resistant– aka perfect for winter in Ottawa! I recently found out that a store in Montreal will be carrying Farmer’s Market clothing – bye, bye bank account 😉

The Blue Lagoon:

Icelandair offers a layover to destinations in Europe where you stop in Iceland and can go to the Blue Lagoon before heading back to the airport to catch your connecting flight – if you are traveling to Europe and have the time, I definitely recommend making this stop. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that offers an extremely unique experience and is surrounded by gorgeous scenery that you’ll only find in Iceland. I kick myself repeatedly for not purchasing some silica mud to bring home with me – this stuff is located in large tubs throughout the outdoor baths and makes your skin feel unbelievably soft.

The Icelandic Christmas Story:

When we return to Iceland, we have to buy the story book about the Christmas trolls/Yule Lads. When we were on one of our day trips, our guide told us the story and it was probably the most unique Christmas story we’d ever heard. It’ll be an interesting one to read to Odin when he is older!

Food:

Icelandic lamb – enough said.

Also, the fish and potatoes from Icelandic Fish and Chips were delicious. We will be making a stop there when we return!

The land:

Iceland is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. I was able to stand in one spot and just by turning in a circle I was able to see glaciers, waterfalls, volcano tops and rolling hills. We got to see geysers, the impact of tectonic plates separating at Thingvellir, the Northern Lights, and so, so many other things that I could go on about forever.
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Music:

Our love of Icelandic bands existed much before our trip took place, but to this day, even Odin loves Of Monsters and Men and Sigur Rós.

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Weekend Recap

I’ve always been a fan of the weekend, but lately I find myself looking forward to the weekend even more than usual. Perhaps it’s because it’s summer, but  it’s also because it means more time with Ryan and Odin. In the past few weeks, Odin has been changing everyday. He starts saying new words/phrases and develops new interests everyday. It’s such an exciting time!

As far as the World Cup goes, it was a disappointing weekend in our house with losses for Brazil and Argentina.

On Friday when we got home from work, we picked up Odin and went to Ryan’s parents house for his brother’s birthday. We were able to stay and visit for a bit before heading back home so that Ryan could have a quick nap before heading back into Ottawa for an overnight shift at the hospital.

On Saturday, Odin and I got up and made waffles for breakfast, watched some Jimmy Fallon on the DVR while we ate and then went for a walk to see the cows and horses at the farms down the road. After our walk we spent forever playing with Mega Bloks while Ryan slept.

odin khan

The boys sat down to watch the Brazil/Netherlands game while I went for a long run. After dinner, we took Odin for another walk to say goodnight to all of the farm animals. We went downstairs to watch some tv, and while we were playing, Odin fell and hit his head on the coffee table, which meant we were in for a long night and a trip to the hospital. We finally got back home and in bed around 1:30am.

Sunday, we were all exhausted. It was raining, which was totally fine with us, as we could use a lazy day. In between some episodes of Orange is the New Black and the World Cup final, we did laundry, vacuuming and a few other chores, as one of my closest friends was coming over for dinner and we didn’t want our house to look like a complete disaster. We had a wonderful dinner and visit, and Odin had tons of fun showing off his new tricks. Once my friend left, we started getting Odin ready for bed, which is the equivalent of herding a million cats.

Then Monday morning arrived. Still sleep deprived from Saturday, I hit snooze and did not get up for my morning run. It was probably for the best, as I seem to be having a major case of the Monday’s. Is it Friday yet?

It’s Friday, I’m in Love!

It’s a Friday in the summer time – you can’t ask for much more than that!

This is one of the few weekends that we get to spend around our house, which is a nice change of pace for us. Here are some of my weekend reads:

 Books

There’s a bit of a contrast between the two, but for those of you who know me, this book combo makes total sense 🙂 We will also be watching the World Cup finals over the weekend –

Happy Friday everyone!

I Finally Registered for a Half Marathon

No, it’s not the first half marathon I’ve registered to run in. It’s my sixth, maybe my seventh – I’ve lost track. The last half marathon that I registered for was the Army Run in Ottawa in September 2011. It only seems fitting that this same race would be the first one I register for after my…hiatus, for lack of a better word.

Ottawa Army Run Half Marathon  2011

Ottawa Army Run Half Marathon 2011

I ran the Army Run in 2011 and a few months after that I got pregnant with Odin. I ran while pregnant, but with a due date near the end of November in 2012, a fall half marathon wasn’t really in the cards for me. The last race I registered for was when I was 6 months pregnant. It was a 5km race back home in Brockville that my cousin organized for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and I ran the race with my sister (it was her first one!). I haven’t registered for a race since then. I was hesitant to register for any races in 2013, as I wasn’t sure how much training I’d be able to fit in with a newborn, then I hesitated again when it came to registering for a spring race, as I wasn’t sure how realistic my “running at 4am” plan was going to be when I returned to work in December 2013.

Turns out, I would have been totally fine running a race last fall, or this spring. I was the only one stopping myself. I was chickening out – big time.

I wasn’t sure what running would be like after having a baby. Would I lose my endurance? Would I even enjoy running? How in the world would I find time for running, let alone a stretch of time needed for a long run?

The more I thought about it, the real reason I was afraid to register for a half marathon was that I was running better than I’ve ever run before and the expectations I’d placed on myself were much more than they were before. Prior to having Odin, my regular runs were around a 5:00min/km pace and my fastest half marathon was in the 1:47 range. I’d come close to reaching my goal of a 1:45 half marathon, but still hadn’t achieved it. Since having Odin, my regular runs are at a 4:30min/km and I’ve run a few half marathon distances on the streets in my neighbourhood, with this being my best result:

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I’m constantly afraid that I’m going to hit a wall before the Army Run. I’m afraid that it’s going to be one of those days where I just have a bad run – which is disappointing when you’ve been working up to something for so long. I need to drop these fears and run my own race, do what I’ve been doing to get the results I’ve been getting, and stop beating myself up over “what ifs”. I know I’m capable of certain things, and it’s tough if you don’t perform to a certain expectation on a specific day, but the flip side of that is just that – it’s one day. I am lucky to be running, to be healthy, and for so many other things, that I can’t let a few “what ifs” hold me back.

 

 

 

Date Night: The Michael Buble Edition

Back in the fall, Michael Buble announced a tour, and he would be making an Ottawa stop. My husband really, really, wanted to go, so I bought tickets for us for Christmas. Ryan loves Michael Buble. I on the other hand, think he is super funny when he does interviews, and is tremendously talented, but am was indifferent on whether or not I was a fan of his music. However, because of how talented he is, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

The concert finally took place last week and to say I loved every second of it would be an understatement. The opening act, Naturally 7, blew my mind. They are incredibly talented and many people were convinced that there was a band playing behind the curtains, when in fact, it was just the seven members of the group, singing and sounding like a band with their vocals. The performed ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay and I was sold. We’ve been Youtubing their performances for a few days now. I highly recommend checking them out.

Michael Buble in Ottawa

Then it was time for Mr.Buble. He sang a few songs and got right into interacting with the audience. There was a man holding a sign that read ‘Please help me get lucky tonight. Take a picture with my wife’. Buble took a picture with the guy and his family, and they even had a gift on hand for Noah, Buble’s son, who was also there. Buble cracked a few more jokes about Ottawa and hockey, and got back into the music. The rest of the concert was that way, which is so refreshing, as many artists these days barely interact with the audience.

Michael Buble in Ottawa

His band is comprised of so many talented individuals, and his strings section for the night was local to Ottawa. During the final song of the night, Buble sang sans microphone and we could hear every word clearly, and we were almost in the last row of the arena – now that is what I call talent. His voice is so strong and he makes singing look so effortless. He performed for two hours and claimed that he didn’t want to leave – and I think everyone else in the crowd would have been alright if he just kept going 😉

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Many of the people there were guys being dragged out by their girlfriends/fiancees/wives, but in our case, it was the opposite – and I am so thankful for it! We had an amazing time and I felt like I should have been throwing more money on the stage, as we got way more than our moneys worth. If Michael Buble is ever in a city near you, I highly recommend going, even if you aren’t a huge fan. I’m more of a Foo Fighters/Rise Against/Pearl Jam person and I went straight home after the concert and loaded all of Michael Buble’s songs onto my iPod. I seriously cannot even put into words how amazing the concert was. It’s one of those things you just need to experience.

Khan Family Fun Facts

I always enjoy reading posts when fellow bloggers share some fun facts about themselves and their families. It helps us get to know the writer a bit better and creates that feeling of a more personal relationship, even though you’ve never actually met the person. Here are a few things about our family:

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  1. My husband and I met in a bar – I wanted to know the score of the Red Wings game and the rest is history.
  2. I was told I wouldn’t be able to run – 6 half marathons later, I’ve learned that nothing is impossible.
  3. We got married on October 9th, 2010 and our wedding song was Adam Sandler’s “I Wanna Grow Old With You” from The Wedding Singer.
  4. We went to Iceland for our first wedding anniversary and it was truly a life changing experience.
  5. Odin’s name comes from our trip to Iceland, and his middle name, Edward, is after Ryan’s late grandfather – not the sparkly Twilight vampire.
  6. I have a ridiculous obsession with Harry Potter and the Foo Fighters.
  7. I originally wanted to be a paediatric oncologist, but ended up going to business school.
  8. When I was pregnant with Odin the only things that curbed my morning sickness were ginger ale and regular Ruffles chips (breakfast of champions!)
  9. My husband loves all animals, and Odin is following in his footsteps. Odin also loves sports, which he gets from both of us 🙂
  10. Odin went to his first NFL game (Patriots at Bills)  when he was 9 months old and his first concert (Of Monsters and Men) at 6 months.
  11. My guilty reality tv show of choice is Giuliana & Bill.
  12. Odin’s first plane ride was at 16 months – we went from Ottawa to San Francisco and he was a super flyer!
  13. When Odin was born, he was the first grandchild on both sides of our family, and the first great-great grandchild for my now late great grandmother.
  14. My husband has the largest dvd collection of anyone I know – we stopped counting after we got to 2000… (and they are sorted alphabetically).
  15. My husband loves Welland and the Niagara region as much as I do, which I love, especially since he had never even been to that area before we met.

I hope this has given you a bit more insight into our little family 🙂

19 Months of Odin Edward

June 29th marked 19 months since Odin was born. It’s been the most exciting adventure of our lives, and we can’t believe how much Odin had changed since he was born. He is such a little boy now with the most hilarious personality and a belly laugh that can make the gloomiest days awhile lot brighter.

Odin in WellandDSCN0252DSCN0257

Here are some of Odin’s favourite things right now:

  • Animals – Odin loves all types of animals. We take him for walks everyday down the street to check out the cows, horses and other farm animals. He waves to all of them and says “hi!”.
  • His cousins – We got to visit with Thomas and Matthew on the weekend and Odin loves these two so much. He searched all over my aunt’s house looking for them after they left.
  • Swimming – Odin is such a confident little guy in the water, which makes me so happy. He already loves splashing around and jumping in from the side.
  • The vacuum – Odin loves the vacuum cleaner so much that we bought him a toy Dyson so that we can actually get our vacuuming done without it turning into a fight over the vacuum cleaner.
  • Fruit – this kid cannot get enough watermelon. He also loves cantaloupe, bananas, honey dew melon, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and occasionally blackberries and blueberries.
  • Goodnight Moon – Odin’s favourite book by far is Goodnight Moon. You can hide it in a mix of all his other books and he will find it in two seconds. He brings the book to us and climbs in our lap, then insists that we read it to him 30 times in  row.
  • Jimmy Fallon and The Roots – We PVR the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, which Odin is currently obsessed with. He loves when Hashtag the Panda dances and he loves when the Roots perform. Not to mention the odd appearance from Jeff the Animal Guy.
  • The Cheesecake Factory – No matter which city we are in, Odin is definitely aware when he is at the Cheesecake Factory. He loves the bread and bananas that they give him when we arrive, and of course he loves sneaking some bites from mommy’s cheesecake.
  • Running – not surprising, but Odin started walking on his own at 9.5 months and shortly after started running everywhere. He definitely gets this from me.
  • Mega Bloks – Odin could build with his blocks for hours. He loves building tall towers and matching his blocks by colour.
  • Storytelling – Odin tells some pretty lengthy stories. Mostly just gibberish, but his favourite words right now are hi, bye, kitty, uh oh, and tay-tou (thank you).
  • His wagon – Odin loves his wagon. Whether it’s riding in the wagon or pulling it up the road by himself, he can’t get enough of it.