5 Tips for Healthy Eating at the Office

Happy New Year to all! How are those New Year’s Resolutions going? Did you commit to getting healthy, getting active, or getting organized? According to Strava, we’ve officially made it past “Quitter’s Day” on Friday, and we’re chugging along towards success! Regardless of your motivations, though, eating healthy is an important goal, especially for those of us that spend most of our week in a sedentary work environment. While I’m not 100% consistent when it comes to healthy eating at the office, I’ve made huge strides in the past year. Here are some of my top tips to help you prioritize nutrition in 2018.

Prepare for Success

The first step to healthy eating at the office is to figure out where your healthy food will come from. Your work cafeteria can be a solid choice if there are healthy and affordable options available. But it’s generally more feasible and consistent to bring your meals from home. If you don’t have them already, stock up on some food storage containers. It helps to have various sizes for mains, sides, desserts, and snacks. If you’re making your food at home, leftovers will be your best friend!

Once you’re prepped at home, if you haven’t already, survey your work space for amenities. If your office has a fridge, you’re off to a good start. Look around for other small appliances, such as microwaves, toasters, or even blenders. Having any of these available will go a long way for your meal prepping plans. And if you don’t have any way to reheat your meals, don’t prep any foods that you don’t enjoy cold!

Expect the Afternoon Snack Attack

This may take some trial and error. Find some healthy snacks that you really enjoy and make sure to have them on hand. This way, you’re nowhere near as tempted when the 3pm donut break rolls around. (I work at Tim Hortons, I would know!) Your snack of choice might be some trail mix, a piece of fruit, or maybe even a healthy protein bar or shake. Keep experimenting until you find what you like. My personal favourite right now is chocolate chip Larabars:

That said, if you have this option, don’t keep your snacks right at your desk.  If you do, you might find yourself reaching into your desk every time you feel hungry — and that feeling might actually be boredom, thirst, or exhaustion. Make sure you keep your snacks a few yards away from your desk. Then you’ll have to get up for a snack, and get a few more steps on that Fitbit of yours!

Stay Hydrated

Speaking of thirst, you may have heard that it’s often hard to tell the difference between hunger and thirst. When you’re in the zone at work, it can be even more difficult to be in tune with your thirst cues. And once you start actually feeling parched, your body has already been thirsty for a while! So when it comes to water, you need to be proactive. Keep a refillable water bottle with you at all times at work. I personally carry a Swell bottle with me throughout the day and fill it at least three times, for a total of 6 cups throughout the day at the office. If water just doesn’t cut it for you, consider bringing in a few slices of lemon or a handful of berries to pop into your water bottle to make your hydration a little more exciting!

It’s Okay to Say No

it can be great to have some office birthday cake every week or two. But in my office, it feels like there’s a birthday almost daily — not to mention chocolate left over from Christmas, and any other goodies that might appear in the lunchroom. Remember to evaluate the treats that you’re being offered. Do you really enjoy that type of food? Does it match your goals for the year? Feel free to say no. Be gracious with your refusal, of course. I would even recommend leveraging the Tone It Up-approved phrase, “I’m not in the mood for that”. More on that below from the TIU trainers, if you’re curious:

Also remember that there are shades of grey when it comes to treats. Consider taking a smaller portion, splitting with a colleague, or making your own healthy snacks to share. I brought in these healthy chocolate berry muffins and my coworkers were obsessed!

Be Realistic

This tip manifests itself in a lot of ways when it comes to healthy eating at the office.

For starters, think about your office and what situations tend to crop up that sabotage your plans to eat healthy at work. Do you often stay late and miss your dinner at home? Try meal prepping dinner and bringing it to work as a backup plan. (I mentioned this tip in my post about surviving long hours at the office a few months ago!) Do you have a co-worker that is always stealing half of your snack? Bring double. (Or tell them off — your call!) If you find that you’re always craving chocolate in the afternoon, don’t try to quell that with a salty snack. Bring along some sweet snacks, like a piece of fruit or even some dark chocolate that will cure those cravings in no time.

If your team goes out for lunch every Friday, plan around it. Bringing a packed lunch with the intention of skipping out on your team event will only make you feel guilty. Bring healthy snacks for the rest of the day. If you know which restaurant you’re going to ahead of time, consider checking out the menu online and picking out a healthier choice beforehand. I find I can make better choices without the sensory overload of sitting in a loud, delicious-smelling restaurant.

Furthermore, find healthy foods that excite you. If your office has a salad bar but you don’t like any of the ingredients, don’t force yourself to eat a plate of lettuce. Bring something from home or seek out restaurants that have the types of foods you actually enjoy. Personally, I’ve found that I really love corn, cooked carrots, sunflower seeds, and sun-dried tomatoes, so adding those ingredients makes my healthy food a lot more fun.


How do you prioritize healthy eating at the office?

How to Begin a Yoga Practice At Home

We are only a couple of weeks away from a brand new year! For many of us, 2017 has been incredibly challenging year. So this is a perfect time to reflect and create new, sustainable habits to enrich your body, mind, and soul. A great example of this, and one that I would personally recommend, is to begin a yoga practice.

Contrary to popular belief, yoga is much more about focus and well-being than strength and flexibility. But with a consistent practice, you will begin to see evidence of all of these benefits and more. Here’s my advice for beginning your yoga journey in 2018.

Make a Commitment to Your Yoga Practice

The biggest downfall of New Year’s Resolutions is a lack of accountability. You can tell yourself you’ll eat healthy, save money, spend more time with family, floss every day… But if you’re the only one that will ever know if you succeed, then you don’t have much motivation one way or the other. Get clear on your intentions for beginning a yoga practice, and then commit — and do it publicly. This will depend on your personality, but share your goal with a person or group of people that will motivate you to succeed.

I made a commitment to join a 30-Day Yoga Challenge (more on that below) last year, and shared the journey on Instagram. Having thousands of others practicing (virtually) alongside me every day was great for motivation and accountability. Or better yet, find a friend or family member to begin a yoga practice with you. Whether or not you physically practice together, hold each other accountable and support each other through the process.

If your motivations are more intrinsic, commit to your goals on paper. Write them down, create trackers, record your successes and failures. If you’re a planner junkie, consider using a planner intended specifically for supporting your yoga journey:

Create Space

The more time you spend learning about yoga, the more you’ll learn than “create space” has many important meanings. As you begin your practice, I suggest you focus on these three:

  • Create space in your home: Decide where you would like to practice. You may need to move furniture around a bit. If you want your space to be more immersive, set up some scented candles or other mood lighting. I found this especially important when I practiced in the early morning: my overhead lights were too bright! The best setups for a home yoga practice are ones that don’t require much effort on a daily basis. The fewer barriers you have to beginning your practice each day, the more likely you are to stick with it!
  • Create space in your schedule: The best way to build a yoga practice is to create consistency in your schedule. For you, this may mean practicing first thing in the morning, over your lunch break, before bed, or whenever you have time. In my personal experience, morning yoga is the most effective — your brain hasn’t yet had time to stress about everything coming up throughout the day.
  • Create space in your heart: Okay, that sounds a bit woo-woo. (And that’s SO not my style!) What I mean is that you should prepare to be vulnerable and let go of your expectations. Create space for the personal discovery aspect of yoga. Take the time to teach yourself that a yoga practice isn’t just a workout regimen. Don’t obsess over nailing postures or perfecting technique. Try to focus more on the mind-body connection and on letting go of your thoughts and distractions. I have a long way to go on this, too, but we can work on creating this space together!

Find Your Tools

Walking into a Lululemon to buy yoga gear for the first time can be super intimidating. But when you’re just starting out, you only need two things: a mat, and some comfy clothes that allow you to move. (Got leggings and a t-shirt? You’re good to go.) You can do a bit of googling to choose a mat that fits your lifestyle and pricepoint. Or you can check out this post on the Best Yoga Mats from Reviews.com, which does all the research work for you! They explored 30 leading mats to determine quality choices for yogis who are eco-conscious, on a budget, or simply don’t like the cleaning process. I personally use a yoga mat from Lole, which is a great mid-range option:

If you have a few extra dollars to invest in your yoga practice, I would recommend picking up a couple of yoga blocks. They are great for beginners because they help support you in poses that would otherwise be too difficult until you improved your strength or flexibility. For example, I sometimes prop my hands up on yoga blocks in High Lunge to relieve some tension when my hips are tight. Pick up a pair here:

Begin Your Yoga Practice

Experienced yogis can practice yoga sequences on the fly. But if you’re new to yoga and beginning a home yoga practice, YouTube is about to become your best friend. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m a huge fan of the Yoga With Adriene YouTube Channel. She offers a variety of video practices for all levels that are perfect for home use. Plus, she’s about to kick off her annual 30-Day Yoga Journey — this year’s is titled “True”, and it kicks off January 1st! Sign up today right here! And feel free to join me on my True journey on my fitness Instagram account.

 TRUE Yoga with Adriene - Yoga Practice At Home 

Are you committing to a yoga practice for the upcoming new year? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

How to Prep for Your Workday Workou

Most of us are super busy these days, and it can be hard to fit exercise into that jam-packed schedule. I’ve posted before on the benefits of morning workouts, which have helped me establish a regular fitness routine. Mornings don’t work for everyone, though, so lunch breaks are the next best opportunity to get in some exercise. Plus, if your office has a gym inside or nearby, you can take advantage of those amenities with a workday workout.

But squeezing in a workout over lunch can be challenging. And I hate to say it, but the transition is even more difficult for ladies. Unlike most guys I know, I can’t have a full shower and be ready to get back to work in ten minutes flat! So when it comes to mid-day exercise, I can’t afford to waste time or effort in getting it done. Preparation is key to making your workday workout work for you. Here are some of my tips for doing just that!

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Staying Cool Outside Your Comfort Zone

The first time I went to a hot yoga class, I was sweating buckets… And that’s before the class even began! I’d just signed up for an intro class pass at my local studio, and decided to make the most of it. I didn’t have someone to come along with me to the class, let alone someone with hot yoga experience that could show me the ropes. In fact, I’d never even been to a new type of class without a friend there as a safety net. I read as much as I could about hot yoga online before the class, and it still sounded super intimidating. “Feeling like you might pass out is normal” isn’t the most reassuring thing to find out. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone!

Whether it’s in the realm of fitness, school, work, or even hobbies, I’ve always struggled with going beyond my comfort zone. I somehow developed the mentality that if I wasn’t good at something, there was no point in doing it. If I’d never done it before, of course I wasn’t good at it! This became a vicious cycle. It definitely made it easier to have friends or family lead the way. So for many years, I only tried new things if someone else was doing it too. This strategy worked pretty well… Until I graduated.

If you’re a student, I’ll let you in on a little secret: real life doesn’t have extracurricular fairs. And there’s no curriculum forcing you to try new things. If you let the pressure get to you — like I did for a while there — you will just stick with whatever routines you formed in school. Maybe that means you’ll party every weekend, or maybe you’ll just stay home and watch Netflix. (I’ll let you guess which one describes me!) But as that super-popular Pinterest quote says:

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone - Flinntrospection

Ah, the eternal wisdom of Pinterest quotes.

If you want to grow, you have to go beyond that comfort zone! 

That said, how do you stay cool once you step into the unknown and the heat is on? Thinking back to that first class last winter, the strategies I used in hot yoga are applicable to pretty much any uncomfortable situation.

  • Take deep breaths. Listen to the gentle music playing (or the ambient sounds around you), and focus on those simple sensations. It helps you tune out the endless chatter of self-doubt, and to calm the physical and emotional impacts of new and uncomfortable situations. Make yourself comfortable in the physical sense, whether that means rolling your shoulders, finding some comfy furniture, or choosing products that promote comfort and support from brands like Tommy John (check them out here). No matter what you’re tackling, give yourself permission to find your zen.
  • View others’ success as inspiration, not competition. I definitely struggle with comparison and the impostor syndrome that follows. But lately I’ve tried to be mindful of the times when I notice others that are better at something than I am, and to use the opportunity to set goals rather than to foster jealousy and embarrassment. A yoga example: crow pose isn’t in my practice at this point, but many other people in my classes seem to have it down pat. It’s been a conscious process to focus on my own journey and keep a level head (so to speak) when the pose comes up in yoga class.
  • Track and embrace your progress — then keep going. As you continue to work through a new challenge, you will grow… And so will your comfort zone. At that point it can become easy, once again, to stay in that space. But the more you try new things, the more you will be able to handle — and even avoid — the discomfort that comes with it. Feel free to think beyond the typical linear trajectory of growth, too. When it comes to yoga, it’s easy to think of the practice as a checklist of poses to master. But I know that my biggest hurdle is a mental one. It’s all about quieting the mind, focusing on the breath, going with the flow. Look for new ways to challenge yourself, and you’ll learn how to stay calm, cool, and collected in the process.

How do you stay cool when the pressure’s on?

How the Halton Parks 150 Hiking Challenge Made My Summer (1)

Since I moved to Oakville over two years ago, I’ve tried to take advantage of the great outdoors as much as I can. It helps that I live so close to Lake Ontario for lovely summer strolls. But I also discovered the Halton Parks, a collection of seven conservation areas along the Niagara Escarpment. A couple of my previous posts talked about my experiences at these parks, such as Hilton Falls and the Nassagaweya Canyon, and my newfound love for hiking. This year, they launched a hiking challenge (or trail running or mountain biking or rock climbing, depending on your sport of choice) called the Halton Parks 150, in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. My quest to complete the challenge took over my summer… in a really positive way! Continue reading

How I Became a Morning Workout Person

You know those people you see out jogging every morning? Or those people who finish exercising at the gym before you’re even out of bed? Or worse, your friends that post gym selfies or yoga poses with the sunrise as their backdrop? They are what we call “morning workout people”. Maybe they drive you nuts, but you’re probably a little bit jealous of them too. Where the heck do they get the energy and motivation to be a morning workout person?

I used to totally envy those people. The thought of waking up and working out seemed totally out of reach. But now, a year later, I’m one of them. I wake up at 5:45 (and some days at 5:20) to start my day and sweat it out. If you’re familiar with Tone It Up, my favourite online fitness community, the morning workout is so important that it has a name: the “Bootycall”. And it’s a daily occurrence, not just a few times a week or only weekdays! So how did I go from never exercising in the morning (or at all, for that matter) to putting in a morning workout every damn day?Continue reading

Four Things I Wish I Learned in High School

School is back in session! Are you lamenting the end of summer vacation (or maybe celebrating it)? I’ve been out of school for a few years now, and it still feels strange not heading back to class after Labour Day. Looking back on high school, I definitely learned a lot, both inside the classroom and out. But there are a number of life lessons I wish we’d all learned in high school. If you’re a student, know a student, are a teacher, or know a teacher, let me know if you agree! Continue reading

Whether it’s a tight deadline or an unexpectedly massive workload, sometimes your 9-5 can turn into a “9-whenever”. Extended work hours can seriously drain you for days to come. Despite my best efforts, I tend to pull some long hours at work for a variety of reasons, so I’ve had to develop ways to make the schedule a bit more bearable. Try out these tips next time you need to stay late at the office! Continue reading

Lessons from my First Road Trip

Hello from the East Coast! I’m currently on vacation in Sackville, New Brunswick on my first-ever road trip. It’s only been a few days, but I’ve learned a lot already! Here are some of the road trip lessons I’ve learned so far:

Be Flexible…

The prospect of a road trip was initially pretty stressful for me. Planning routes, stops, and excursions was a lot, not to mention having to rely on the weather’s cooperation! I’ve learned over the past couple of days, though, that having an open mind and a flexible schedule makes for a much more relaxing trip. This was especially clear when we realized we accidentally set our Bed & Breakfast check-out a day too early! Rather than panicking and trying to stick to a rigid plan, we took the opportunity to book our extra day in Gaspé to hike in one of its National Parks. I’m looking forward to the (unplanned) adventure! Continue reading

Five Simple Choices That Help Me Save Money

Millennials are having a really hard time these days when it comes to finances. Mountains of student debt, underemployment, housing prices through the roof… It’s crazy! And without a clear game plan, a lot of us are struggling to make ends meet and achieve our goals. While it’s not as easy as forgoing avocado toast (for a few decades), every money-saving habit helps to build the foundation for your financial future. For me, the most reliable ways to save money are the ones I don’t even think about. Here are five everyday choices and habits that help me save up. 

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