Archives for June 2011

Just in case you think I haven’t been knitting…

I have!

I knit almost every day (although not until I’ve exercised; priorities, please) and have finished a whole whack of projects since the last time I blogged about them. In fact, as you’re reading this, I am probably sitting in the car (not driving, of course) and knitting happily away on a simple, plain vanilla sock. I call this my ‘traveling sock’, because it rides around in my handbag and gets pulled out whenever there’s a few minutes available to knit. (My grandmother used to say something about idle hands and the devil’s work; guess I took that lesson a bit too seriously!).

In no particular order (more details on my Ravelry projects page)…

Beaded heart to heart

Rose lace stole

Wandering the Moors shawl

Cathy's Retirement Shawl

Wispy cardigan

Fallberry mitts

I’ve a few more projects OTN (‘on the needles’) as well as a gorgeous new shawl that’s just been blocked but needs some photos.

What have my knitting friends been up to lately?

Anyone going to Sock Summit in Portland, July 27-31? Look for me; I’ll be there!

A clean-eating road trip; pipe-dream or oxymoron?

Source: albertawow.com

Next week my family and I are heading out of town for our biggest road trip to date. Lots of miles to be covered, several hotels to check-in to and a couple of nights tent-camping promise to make for challenging meal planning.

While it’s tempting to just leave meals up to fate (there’s always a restaurant around…), there are several important reasons for packing your own food.

First and foremost, after a few hours in the car, kids cannot be expected to be on their best dinner-time behavior. They need to move, not sit and subjecting them to a restaurant meal can be an exercise in frustration (for both them and you). We try to time our meals around outdoor destinations; a park, a playground, a nature trail. First they move, then they eat. We save the dining out for a non-travel day and try to find an interesting, local restaurant (not a chain) to make it an event.

Secondly, we all know how difficult it is to find acceptable clean options when eating out. Typically, restaurant meals (in particular those served by the restaurants your kids want to eat at…) are high in carbs and fats. Portion sizes tend to be out of control. Wine and dessert tempt you. One meal at a restaurant and you’ve blown you calorie count for the day and used up a week’s worth of splurges. Do this every day and you’ll come back from your holidays bloated, ill-tempered and out of shape.

And last, but not at all least, it’s expensive! Do you know how much it costs for a family of five to eat at a not-at-all fancy restaurant? Somewhere in the ballpark of $40-50 for lunch and $70 plus for dinner. Multiply that by 8 to 10 days and you’ve eaten up (pun intended) a significant portion of your holiday finances. Personally, I’d rather spend the money on museums, outdoor adventures and souvenir yarn (you don’t buy souvenir yarn?!?!).

While I do allow some road trip treats (my sons and I love red licorice; my husband and daughter enjoy a bit of chocolate for an afternoon pick-me-up), I try to pack high quality, nutrient dense finger foods. Foods that can be eaten in the car or assembled into a meal on the fly.

  • Fresh fruit and veggies. I aim for fruit that can withstand abuse on the road (think apples, oranges, blueberries and grapes rather than bananas, pears, strawberries or peaches) and veggies that can be used to scoop up hummus, greek yogurt dip and my famous salmon and avocado mash (take a can of sockeye salmon, drain it and mash it up with half an avocado and a bit of lemon juice; yummy!). I pre-wash and cut peppers, cucumbers, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes before we leave home.
  • Dried fruit, cereal and nut mixes. I let each child make a bag of their own trail mix. If they make it themselves, they’re more likely to eat it. A few chocolate chips or mini-marshmallows have been known to sneak into the bags too.
  • Portable protein. A dozen hard-boiled eggs, some string cheese, single serving yogurt containers, roasted and sliced chicken breast. You can eat them a la carte, or combine them with your veggies to make a wrap or sandwich with;
  • whole wheat flour tortilla wraps, multigrain rice cakes and bagels; way better than pre-made sandwiches, which often end up soggy or smashed.

I’ll be doing some baking before we leave. Clean eating muffins, cookies and protein bars to tide us over between meals. I like several of Tosca Reno’s recipes. Check out The Gracious Pantry for more.

What do I avoid packing?

  • Pre-made, boil-in-a bag dinners. Too much fat, salt and sugar. Not enough protein and veggies.
  • Canned soups or stews. Expensive (for what you’re getting) and usually high in salt.
  • Noode/rice/bean mixes. Typically made of white flour or rice, high in salt and sometimes fat, low in protein and veggies.
  • Hot dogs, pre-made hamburger patties and processed meats. Possible links between deli meats and colon cancer have scared me right away from these sources of protein.
  • Juice boxes. Too much sugar (the last thing kids need when confined to a car). I pack a water bottle for everybody and tuck them in their cup holders for easy access while traveling. Remember to fill them up every time you stop for a rest or a bathroom break!
Camping meals will include whole wheat pasta (brown rice takes too long to cook on a Coleman stove) with homemade chicken and veggie tomato sauce (I make the sauce at home, freeze it and use the frozen container as an ice pack in my cooler); low sodium organic chicken broth (I buy it in a box) to which I’ll add pre-cooked chicken breasts and fresh veggies; cheese and veggie burritos (sauteed stove-top in a bit of extra virgin olive oil).

Source: purcellmountainfarms.com

For breakfast, I’ll whip up some pancakes; I make my own mix ahead of time by combining pre-made pancake mix with flax seed, wheat germ, wheat bran, cinnamon and quinoa flakes (have you tried quinoa flakes? They’re fabulous. They cook super quick and make a nice variation on oatmeal with a lot more protein to boot). All I need to do is add eggs and a bit of oil before cooking them up tent-side. I’ll also have oats on hand to make some overnight oatmeal for my breakfast.

Source: bctravel.com

I don’t plan on bringing everything we need with us. There will be local farmer’s markets and farm stands where we’re headed and sometimes grocery shopping as an out-of-towner can be fun. You never know what new delicacies you might stumble across! And since we’ll be traveling through wine country, you can bet I’ll be saving some of my splurges for vino!

Do you stick to clean eating on your holidays?

What tricks have you learned to keep from over-indulging on vacation?

Where are you going this summer?

Non-traditional uses for your bathroom scale

I am no longer friends with the scales in my bathroom.

We used to see each other regularly, in various stages of undress. I thought we understood each other. Now I see that I’ve been misled. This relationships is no longer a healthy one and needs to end. Right. Now.

Why, you ask?

Well, no matter how clean my diet, how challenging and frequent my workouts, how well hydrated I am, the scale stubbornly refuses to budge. Stuck perpetually at 145 pounds.

This makes no sense to me. My jeans fit great. I’m happy with how I look in a bikini. I’m working out six days a week and lifting heavier than ever. Yesterday I did 80 (!) freakin’ pushups in under ten minutes.

I think it’s time. Time to find another use for the bathroom scales.

How about a headstone for the goldfish’s burial site?

Or an extra body to make me legal in the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane?

The glass one would make a lovely centerpiece.

Maybe a chopping board?

Or possibly a picture frame? (Awww, what a cute kid!)

For a more mundane option, try it as a plant stand. Or a place to stack extra toilet paper rolls. Or a computer mouse pad?

The options are only as limited as your imagination! Are you with me? Shall we stop with the incessant weigh-ins?

How often do you weigh yourself?
Why?
How would you re-purpose your bathroom scales?

If variety is the spice of life, why does routine make me so darn happy?

In my roles as a fitness trainer and healthy lifestyle coach I frequently talk to my clients about the importance of cross-training and eating a wide variety of healthy foods each day.

Cross-training, or the inclusion of a number of different types of exercise in your fitness plan, confuses your muscles, prevents boredom and reduces the likelihood of repetitive strain injuries.

Similarly, including lots of different colors, textures and food types in your diet ensures that your body gets all the nutrients it needs, keeping you healthy and providing you with the energy you need to get through your busy day.

Clearly, variety in both fitness and nutrition is good! Yet despite the benefits of a varied diet and exercise routine, many of us are more successful at reaching our health goals when we limit our options and stick to a schedule.

How can we reconcile the two? Why not plan your variety?

I’m fortunate, that in my job as a group fitness instructor, my weekly schedule includes teaching a variety of class types; spinning, step aerobics and muscular endurance training (lighter weights, lots of reps). The days that I do each type of workout are rigidly scheduled. Typically, I add an extra couple of pure strength training sessions in the gym (heavy weights, few reps). Lots of variety, but a schedule that I religiously adhere to.

Planned variety.

In the kitchen, I’m also fairly consistent (some would say ‘boring’ 🙂 ) in what I eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I have several options for each meal that I swap out from day to day.

For example;

  • Breakfast is always either overnight oats with fruit (berries, banana, apricot, pear or apple) and nuts or nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew or pumpkin) or eggs with leafy greens (spinach, kale or swiss chard; all from my kitchen garden) and sauteed veggies (onions, peppers, mushrooms or tomatoes).
  • Lunch is a salad with protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, shrimp or eggs) the specific ingredients vary with what’s in the fridge (and what needs to be eaten before it’s past it’s prime or picked before it bolts!).
  • Snacks are either fruit and nuts (only a handful) a whey protein shake or a homemade protein bar.
  • Dinner is always some sort of lean protein and a bunch of veggies, either steamed, roasted, stir fried or served in a salad.

By choosing from standard options I know that I’m meeting my daily protein, fat and carbohydrate goals. By switching up the specific ingredients in my standard options I know I’m getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.

Again, planned variety.

Knowing ahead of time what my day will look like in terms of exercise and nutrition helps me keep my health and fitness goals on track. For me, planned variety is the spice of life.

Do you keep a strict exercise and nutrition schedule?
Do you plan for variety like I do?

No more pencils, no more books, no more getting to the gym?

Two weeks and summer holidays are upon us. Eleven glorious weeks of sunshine (fingers crossed), outdoor activities (please no rain) and family togetherness (as much as you can stand).

A break from packing lunches; great! No more after school rushing around; bring it! Homework wars finished for the year; hallelujah!

Regular workouts at the gym; on hold until September.

Sound familiar?

While it’s great to have the kids home for the summer (or at least the first few weeks of it…), for many parents school holidays mean a major disruption to their fitness routines. School age children may not be old enough to be left on their own while mom or dad goes to the gym. If your fitness facility has child-minding, it’s usually limited to younger kids and if your kids are anything like mine, it’s the last place they want to spend an hour of their summer holiday!

What’s a fit chick (or fit dude) to do?

Make your backyard (or carport or porch or deck or playroom; see below) your gym for the summer. Set aside 30 minutes of your day. Give your kids something to do that doesn’t require your attention, grab a bottle of water and lace up your running shoes. All you need is a pair (or two) of moderate weight dumbbells (8-15 pounds, depending on how strong you are) and a yoga mat (if you don’t like to sit on the hard ground).

Here’s a minimal equipment workout that’s guaranteed to get your heart rate up and your sweat on. The key is to maintain intensity from start to finish while minimizing your rest time between exercises. Make sure you stop for water breaks, particularly if the weather is warm.

Begin each workout with 5 to 7 minutes of range of motion movements (arm swings, leg kicks, shoulder rolls, ankle circles) and light calisthenics (butt kickers, jumping jacks, one foot hops, light jogging in place) to warm your muscles up, prepare your joints for the work to come and elevate your heart rate slightly.

Perform 10 to 16 repetitions of each exercise in rapid succession. Rest for 2 minutes at the end of the entire circuit and repeat. New exercisers should begin with 1 circuit, more advanced exercisers may perform 2 or 3 circuits. Check out the demo video (made by me!) if you need help interpreting my written instructions.

  • Dumbbell squat presses; feet hip width apart, weights held above your shoulders, palms may face your ears or forward; mix it up! squat back, knees behind toes and push up through the heels to standing while simultaneously pressing the weights up over your head
  • Pushups from toes; if you can’t do 10 to 16, stop one short of a face plant; avoid the temptation to perform pushups from your knees, removing your lower core and glutes from the exercise
  • Dumbbell bent over row; palms facing your sides, lead with your elbows like you’re starting a motor, both arms at once
  • Prisoner squat jumps; hands behind your head to increase core involvement, land light and low, explode back up
  • Alternating forward lunges plus dumbbell bicep curls; aim for 90 degree angles in both knees at the bottom of the movement; bicep curls can be palm up or palm in aka “hammer curls”
  • Walking plank*; start in a plank position, on toes and forearms; walk left forearm up to hand, walk right forearm up to hand, walk left hand down to forearm, walk right hand down to forearm, one rep completed; perform half of your reps with one arm leading then switch to the other arm for the remainder  * if you absolutely can’t do this one, just hold a plank, on forearms and toes, for as long as you can; keep your core tight and back straight
  • One arm dumbbell swings; start with feet shoulder width apart; hold dumbbell in one hand, long end hanging down; bend at the knees and reach back between your legs, with an almost straight arm; straighten legs, push hips forward and use the lower body momentum to swing the weight up to chin level; lower and repeat with some intensity; switch arms half way through your reps
  • Side lunges plus dumbbell reach; start with feet hip width apart, one dumbbell in each hand; with right leg, step out to the right, drop your butt back into a squat, right knee bent at 90 degrees, left leg straight; reach dumbbells down to touch the floor on either side of your right foot; using left leg, pull body back to starting position; perform half of your reps to one side, then switch sides for the remainder
  • V sit with long arm dumbbell rotation; sit down (finally!), leaning back into a V-sit; heels on the ground, shoulders away from your ears, tummy held tight; hold a single dumbbell in both hands, straighten arms (as long as you can) and rotate your torso until weight is almost touching the ground at your side; use your abs to pull yourself back to the starting position; alternate sides until you’ve done all your reps
  • Lateral bounds; looks like speed skating; core tight, stay low, push off with side of foot; one bound in each direction equals one rep

Finish your workout with a short cool down (you can repeat your warm up range of motion exercises or just walk around the yard) and some slow stretches. Stretching is not rocket science; pay attention to the parts of your body that feel tight and move them into an elongated (stretched) position. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 s.

If you’re just starting an exercise program, start with 3 workouts a week. Alternate training days with rest, or active living days (that means you should feel free to walk, bike, swim or paddle on your ‘off’ days). More experienced exercisers might try for 4 or 5 workouts a week; 2 or 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 1 day off, perhaps.

Are you in? Feel free to share your progress with me here or on Facebook (Tamara Grand; I accept all friends!).

How do you plan to stay fit this summer?

The end of the No Sugar Challenge; lessons learned

Yesterday marked the end of week four of the No Sugar Challenge. It wasn’t nearly as difficult to get through as I had initially thought it would be. Really. There were occasions when it would have been nice to indulge (a retirement party luncheon, a birthday party, coffee with friends), but it didn’t kill me not to and the urge for something sweet passed quickly each time.

Now that the Challenge is over, will I continue my (almost) sugar-free ways? Perhaps and maybe and most of the time.

I will continue to be vigilant in the grocery store, reading labels and looking for no-sugar alternatives, particularly in the cereal and pre-packaged food aisles. One of the most important things the Challenge has taught me is how frequently some form of sugar or other (see Fit. Fabulous. Forever. for a list of the most common ones; scroll down, it’s there) appears on the ingredient list of prepared foods. Mom was right; home cooked is best!

I plan to keep experimenting with cleaner, less sweet snack options for myself and my family. I have been amazed at the number of websites devoted to clean eating and have downloaded dozens of delicious sounding (and looking!; the photography on many of these sites is mouth watering) recipes.

Dessert will still be served on Friday and Sunday nights (we eat dinner at 5 sharp if you’re planning on stopping by!). As the children’s palates are slower to evolve than mine, I won’t abandon their favourites completely (I make a killer, full sugar brownie!), but will pay closer attention to portion control and make less in general so as not to have leftovers tempting us the day after. Don’t even think of asking for seconds.

The chocolate syrup in my coffee? Totally unnecessary. My taste buds are completely used to a skinny latte; my ‘non-fat, no-whip, half-sweet mocha’ days are gone for good (although I’ve been ordering my coffee that way for so long I now have to stop and think for a moment before telling the barista what I’d like!).

An apple and some nuts do a way better job of getting me through the after-school-before-dinner low energy doldrums than a cookie or a muffin. An added bonus has been the realization that I don’t need another cup of coffee to get through the afternoon when I’m eating healthier snacks.

Several times during the Challenge I gave in to temptation (we had three family birthdays in just 10 days and birthday cake was eaten on each occasion; I have been told that even Tosca eats cake on her birthday!). After having been sugar-free for three or four days at a time, I had the chance to observe it’s full effects. Not pretty.

Sugar changes my mood. At first, it makes me feel good. Happy and full of energy. Encouraging me to have a little more (“just one more cookie”, “how about a scoop of ice cream with those berries?”, “but dark chocolate is good for you”). Sugar wants company. More. And more. And more again.

Within an hour of consuming it, my hands get shaky, my brain moves at warp speed and I have a hard time focusing on mental tasks. The coming down feels almost like a hang over. Draggy, lethargic, sad. I’m short tempered and irritable. Sugar is a feel-good drug, but unlike other white, crystalline, mood-altering substances, it’s legal.

Making the mental connection between the tempting treat and it’s after-effects before indulging is a powerful way to change old habits. Just another example of how being mindful can help us make good choices when it comes to fuelling our bodies.

Good night and sweet dreams!

Hurt so good; adventures in foam rolling

Today I bought one of these:

foam rolling

Fifteen inches of neoprene-covered pain-inducing misery. I bought it at the local sports shop and it came with three pressure balls, a poster and a DVD (humorously titled ‘This is How we Roll’).

Why? ITBS. Illiotibial Band Syndrome. If you have to ask what this is, count your blessings.

Several months ago I posted about a knee injury I sustained while doing one of the workouts from The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. Note that I am not implying that this workout is to blame for my injury; I love the book and it’s workouts. Perhaps that day, I loved it a bit too much.

In retrospect, I was lifting too heavy (increasing my load by more than 10% of the previous workout’s load; definitely a no-no). Not sure why, other than some days I feel stronger than I actually am and tend to push myself a bit too hard in the gym (there are worse things, I suppose).

I failed to stabilize my left knee during the up phase of a bench step up. The knee veered inwards; I immediately got down from the step and hobbled towards an ice pack.

Fast forward a month or two. The knee seems to have recovered well. I feel no pain during step class or on the spinning bike. My strength workouts have resumed (although I have not re-introduced step ups to my training; still a little gun shy) and I’m feeling great (note to self, pain and injury are always preceded by a feeling of invincibility…).

I introduce single leg squats to a client and with the second demonstrated rep, feel my left knee give way again. Same inward movement, same lateral pain. Clearly, my recovery was not complete.

This time around I decided to see a physiotherapist right away (well, right after Googling ‘knee pain’ and reading a whole bunch of articles that terrified me into thinking I might never be able to exercise again; don’t ever turn to Google with your health concerns). Might as well find out what kind of injury I’m looking at and get some suggestions as to how to rehab it (other than rest and time, which clearly didn’t work!).

After some questions about the location of the pain (outside edge of knee), the circumstances in which I feel it (during lunges, walking downstairs), a few basic range of motion tests and comparisons between my left and right sides (left side weaker during squats), my physiotherapist diagnosed me with IT band syndrome. Otherwise known as Runner’s Knee.

Paradoxically, I don’t run. I walk, jump, spin and step, but I’m not a runner. How could this be?

While running is the most common way of incurring ITBS, it also happens when athletes progress too quickly in their training (in other words, try to do more or lift heavier than their body is ready for) and cannot properly stabilize their knee under load.

foam rolling

Source: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0415/p1545.html

The IT band is a strong, thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of the leg. It starts at the hip and runs along the outer thigh and attaches on the outside edge of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint. The band works with the quadriceps (thigh muscles) to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint during movement. IT band syndrome is typically caused by inflammation of the IT band, which in turn, can be caused by muscle tightness or lack of flexibility in the gluteals (buttocks) or quadriceps (thigh).

Tight butt. This is all sounding familiar. Several years ago I went to physio to help resolve some lower back pain. Diagnosis? Tight gluteals and hamstrings. Rx? Stretch ’em and strengthen my core.

This time round I’ve been advised to step up my glute stretching (including some good old tennis ball rolling; place a tennis or pressure ball between the tight spot on your butt cheek and the wall, draw circles with your butt while pressing into the ball. Ouch!), start foam rolling my IT band to loosen up the fascia (YouTube link) and strengthen the lower quadriceps with single leg half squats.

You’ve probably seen people foam rolling at the gym. It’s one of several techniques referred to as myofascial release. Typically, you lay over top of the roller (which is really just a high density ‘pool noodle’), and use your body weight to administer just the right amount of pressure to the affected body part. Rolling back and forth stimulates relaxation of tight muscles (myo) and connective tissue (fascia) and allowing the antagonistic (or opposing) muscle to properly activate.

The squats aren’t so bad, it’s the myofascial release that’s the killer.

As I roll, I can’t decide whether to swear or cry. It hurts that much.

My physiotherapist says to foam roll both sides once or twice a day until rolling on the injured side only hurts as much as rolling on the uninjured side (both sides hurt like hell, but the right side is a paler shade of hell than the left). It might take a week. It might take a month. The point is to be consistent and persistent in the treatment.

Although we have foam rollers at my gym, I don’t get there every day. So I bought my own self-administered torture device. Looking forward (not) to spending a few minutes with it morning, noon and night for the foreseeable future.

Anticipating the day when using it is just painful, not all out agony.

This is what 44 looks like and I’m okay with it!

Today I’m 44!

What does 44 look like?

My face has a few more wrinkles; a lifetime of laughter with a few worries thrown in. I’m okay with that.

The grey is creeping in (and will creep right back out again when I see my hair dresser this afternoon; thanks Tracey!), but my formerly straight hair now has curls! Definitely okay with that!

There are some stretch marks; testament to the three children my body has nurtured and born. Not quite so okay with these, but easily covered up with clothes!

My boobs are neither as perky or as close to my chin as they used to be (no pics; My children read this blog). I’m okay with that; after attracting a husband and feeding three infants they’ve more than done what they were meant to do. (But thank goodness for push up bras!)

My arms and legs are strong, from years of picking up and carrying and piggybacking and stroller pushing and toboggan pulling. From lifting weights and choreographing step classes and riding spinning bikes.

All in all, I think 44 looks pretty good!

What does 44 feel like?

Strong, resilient, focused and content. I’m where I want to be, doing what I’m passionate about and surrounded by people who love me and energize me (while most of that energy is positive, my children are working on their morning attitudes…). I still have goals and push myself towards them, but with less urgency and impatience than I did when I was younger.

You can bet I’ll be having cake tonight to celebrate; everybody should have cake (yes, cake with sugar!) on their birthday!

Happy 44th birthday to me!

P.S. I’ve been foam rolling; more on that tomorrow…

The end of a perfect record OR a reminder to be mindful

Yesterday marked the end of a nearly*** perfect driving record. Almost twenty-eight years without a single ticket (I’m aging myself here, aren’t I?)

Yesterday, I was pulled over for speeding. And not just plain old speeding, wait for it; speeding in a school zone.

Gasp!

Now those of you who know me well appreciate that I am a typical first born; I don’t break rules. I file my taxes on time, never carry a balance on my Visa, always wait my turn in line and cannot tell a lie (I’ve tried and it’s obvious to everyone). I am generally, a careful, attentive driver.

Yesterday, I was not.

It was a very busy day. I finished with a client at 10 and had half an hour before I was scheduled to pick my daughter up from school to take her to the hospital (just a regular, three month appointment with her cardiologist; long story). It was my youngest son’s birthday and he had asked me to pick up some Timbits to share with his classmates at lunch. This, because he doesn’t particularly like my healthier version of a cupcake…

(The irony of getting a speeding ticket while enroute to Tim Hortons during the third week of my no sugar challenge does not escape me.)

Anyways, not being in the habit of visiting Tim Hortons (no linky, for obvious reasons!), and in particular, never having driven there from this client’s house, I ventured down a street I had never driven on before. My internal GPS told me it was the right thing to do.

I started down a steep hill, stopped at a pedestrian cross walk to let an elderly couple get across the street and picked up speed again as I neared the bottom of the slope. I noticed the police officer in the middle of the road at about the same time as I saw the school zone sign. We made eye contact and he motioned me to pull over. I knew immediately that I was hooped.

In my town, the speed limit in residential neighborhoods is 50 km per hour (that’s about 30 mph). In school zones, drivers must slow down to 30 kph (18 mph). I am a firm believer in reduced speeds around schools, so I will not whine or complain about my ticket. Children’s safety is more important than Timbits (in oh so many ways!).

The officer asked me if I knew how fast I was going. I didn’t and told him so. He asked me where I was going and I told him the story, apologizing for speeding and admitting that I just wasn’t paying attention; I was preoccupied with my to-d0 list.

He told me that I had been clocked going 50 kph (recall that this is acceptable outside of school zones, I’m really not a speed demon) and as a consequence, he would have to give me a ticket. However, because I had told him the truth and appeared contrite he would reduce the amount from $256 to $196. I guess honesty pays (but not nearly enough…).

This whole episode made me think a lot about being attentive and mindful, not just to what you eat and how you exercise, but to all of the details of your day. We have a saying in my house (having two impulsive boys, we say it alot!); “accidents happen when people are careless”. I was careless. Fortunately, there was no accident. This time.

We talked about “mommy’s little mistake” at dinner. My children were amused that I had done exactly what I have been heard to criticize other drivers for. I used the experience to talk about the importance of taking responsibility and accepting the consequences of one’s actions. The value of being ‘in the moment’ and aware of your actions at all times.

My youngest child’s response to the size of the ticket was “Wow, Mom, that money would have bought a lot of apps!” Myself, I was thinking about how I wouldn’t be able to buy myself that new Lululemon jacket I’ve been coveting, having just donated the money to local government…

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.  ~Buddha

*** About 5 years ago I was stopped for going 35 kph in a school zone (what is it with me and school zones?). I was given a warning. No infraction, no ticket, no affect on driving record!