Goodbye Summer, hello Blogging..

It certainly has been a while…. No, I haven’t given up! I’ve just been taking a bit of a break.. a hiatus if you will… But I’m back!

The past year has been crazy, messy, and absolutely beautiful.. Everyone always tells you the first year of marriage is the “honeymoon phase”.. Well, for us, it was anything but ‘honeymoon-y’.. We went through a lot. Arguments, fights, screaming and crying (just me on this one).. It was tough, but we worked it out every time, and got through it stronger than before. It seems like we need to have all the arguments once..and then we’re ok. Maybe it’s our lack of proper communication skills, or the fact that neither of us grew up around happy, healthy relationships.. It could also be that we are both Taurus (too many May babies under one roof!), but I do know one thing for sure: I freaking love this Man even more than I did the day I said I do. And if this past year can bring us closer together, I cant wait to see what our future has in store for us…

54

Advertisements

The End of Whole30, and the start of something new.

It felt like as soon as my Whole30 journey began, it was over. It was a fast month, and the time flew by like nothing, leaving me realizing more than ever: you can do anything for 30 days. Excited by my changed body structure/composition and weight loss, I set out for the next step in my journey. How was I going to take myself to the next level? How was I going to maintain this new, healthy lifestyle?

My blood results showed great improvements in my T3 and T4 levels, as well as my TSH. I definitely cannot stop with this lifestyle. I have removed gluten, and incorporated a mass amount of fresh, organic (wherever possible) fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. I have re-introduced dairy, non-glutenous grains, and sugar (yikes!) with no problems. My journey is far from over.

Although I had formed all these new, healthy habits, I was beginning to dread making my way to the gym, bearing the cold outside (it’s still very much winter here), and trying to plow my way through some form of routine. I ended up dreading every second of it, and coming out feeling like I could have put in way more effort. I hated that feeling. I mean, come on, you just gave it your all for 30 days..who are you? After hearing all the hype about Shakeology (and researching the heck out of the ingredients), I decided to try a Beachbody Challenge. One week in and I knew it was going to work for me. I am SO EXCITED that I found this. So, what does this have to do with anything?

If you’re interested, please head over to my new blog: https://healthhypefitness.wordpress.com/

My first blog post explains the “WHY” on my new decision, and I have a lot of exciting information for you. I am so excited to get in the best shape of my life (and only have to work out 30-minutes a day 😉 )

If you’re interested, contact me today and we can chat about your goals! I can even become your free coach! If you want more information on Shakeology, or the Beachbody programs, here are a few links to help you get started:

http://www.beachbodycoach.com/astefanson

https://www.facebook.com/healthhypefitness

Your (new!) Beachbody Coach,

Ashley

Day 19: Eat all the Food.

Today I am hungry. I want to eat everything in sight.

Last night I dreamt of pizza. Cheesy, meaty pizza. I was only going to eat one slice, and “still be on Whole30”, but next thing you know I was eating the entire pizza, while crying. Is that really what my subconscious thinks of me?

Boo. On the bright side, it’s my Friday 🙂 I will be on the plane in 2 hours from now!

Is it dinner time yet?

-Ashley

Leaving on a Jet Plane..

Things have been crazy at work. We lost a few contracts, and as winter approaches everyone seems to be looking around, wondering why nothing is happening. The whispers of layoffs and office changes could be heard all around the office. Last season was great, but that’s just the ‘nature of the industry’.

Yeah, okay.

Needless to say when my boss came into my office last Thursday  morning and closed the door, the whispers began to feel all too real. At the start of the conversation, it was quickly made clear that I was not being laid off (phew!), but that the ‘department would need to undergo some changes’. After a solid 20 minute conversation, I had been tentatively offered a position in Northern Alberta in order to save someone else’s job in our company (who is unable to work in the said position due to lack of education). So bascially, I leave, or she leaves. A camp job. Hmm…

For a moment, the “25-year old girl who moved to Alberta to get rich directly out of university” in me flaired up. YESSS I want to go! Duhh. I was reminded to talk it over with my husband, and that a formal offer would be made later in the day.

The next few hours flew by, and after a phone call to the husband we both agreed that the “8 days on, 6 days off” rotation I was being offered would be okay, and would likely not be a need for imminent divorce. So it was settled. Where’s my offer?

It was soon apparent that they had spoken too soon, and HR was on holiday’s until Monday. Oh coool, let’s just put my life on hold for a second (or 4 days), shall we? Friday and the weekend passed, slowly..while I thought over every possible scenario in my head and asked my husband as many questions as possible about ‘camp life’ (which he is all too familiar with).

By the time Monday rolled around I was pretty much ready to put on some wool socks and roll out.  I was given a bit more information on Monday morning, although I still wasn’t enlightened on the most important things: such as my hours of work, size of camp, gym facilities and quality of food. I was enrolled in a vast array of training courses for the next few days and scheduled for my drug and alcohol test. I can now officially say I am able to use a ladder and dig a trench safely and effectively. 😉 Silly.

Side Bar: I have been googling like crazy, trying to find information about the secret little realm I’m about to enter into. Sounds scary, fun, stupid, neat, cold, and snowy…but really overall there isn’t that much info. UNTIL NOW, my lucky friends. I am going to keep you all posted on my journey… I bet you can hardly wait!

So, I fly out on Monday at 1:00pm to Wood Buffalo, Alberta. Google that shit.. No, but seriously…you will be afraid when you see how close to the top of the world I will be. Looks cold.

So now that the flight is booked, things are starting to look a little more real. “25-year old girl who moved to Alberta to get rich directly out of university” is hiding somewhere in a corner, and Ashley is here, trying to imagine what it will really be like up there. It’s only 8 days at a time..right?

So! As of now, my main thoughts are:

  1. I still don’t know what hours I will be working..only that I will be doing 10-hour days. Fingers crossed I’m not up by 5am..
  2. Camp food — I’ve heard everything from “OMG RED SEAL TRAINED CHEFS” to “bring trail mix and protein bars…”
  3. The gym — Will it be shitty, or will it be great? Perhaps this will be the motivation I need to stop eating like a chunker?
  4. No matter how bad it is, the first cheque will make it all worth it, no?
  5. Only 11 more sleeps and I get 6 days off (That’s the spirit!! :))
  6. I’ve never done 10 hour days…  I think 10 hour office days are probably very different than 10 (or 12!) hour “working-outside-in-the-minus-50” days.. which is typical for most of the people up there . I should probably not complain, ever, no matter what.
  7. Everyone I talk to keeps warning me about the male/female ratio, and how I needed to “watch myself” and “be careful”. Yesterday I was even warned by the lady who provided one of my training courses that I should “not speak to a man unless spoke to first, as it may give off the wrong impression”. Uhh sorry, what century are we living in?
  8. Will I miss J too much? I’m scared..but I know it will be fine…as long as he misses me just as much. ❤

Four more sleeps and a few shopping trips from now and I’ll be flying up to the Great White North (literally?)…weird.

Fingers crossed.

❤ Ash

 

Long weekend = short week

I tried to get J to tell me which he was more excited for, the long weekend, or the short week. Apparently, according to him, they’re the same thing (Uh, no). Although today is Tuesday, it’s really my Monday (thank you, holiday Monday!) and I feel blessed I got to skip the typical Monday blues. ❤ Happy, happy, happy.

We had a Thanksgiving dinner (non-traditional style) last night.  I made my very first ham, homemade mac n’ cheese (J’s request), roasted root veggies, broccoli, homemade buns, and blueberry pie. My cousin’s girlfriend (my cousin is the only family I have here, other than J, of course) brought a pumpkin chocolate cheesecake. J’s friend from back home came, also. The 5 of us (and the three pups, of course), had a good time, and it was nice…it still isn’t quite the same being away from my family (will it ever be?), but we are getting to the point where I don’t cry on holidays.. 😉 Also, my ham turned out PERFECTLY, if I may say so myself. I think everyone was in a food coma when they left, and I was very happy that I was already at home…no travelling on a full belly for me! 🙂

On another note: I woke up bright and early and started a new gym. I always have trouble getting out of bed for morning gym sesh’s.. Usually (9 times out of 10) I make up some kind of excuse as to why re-setting my alarm and getting two more hours of sleep is a better plan….

Capture

Not this time! My new gym is SO cool! It’s actually a lady who lives just down the street (a 2 minute jog) who has made her basement into a full gym! It has a private entrance, and you’re given a key with your membership. You book your 1.5hour time slot in advance, and you are the only person there.. you can bring up to 3 other people with you for no additional fee. It is AMAZING. Working out alone, in a full gym, with a private bathroom, two TV’s, your own stereo, ipod hook-ups, workout dvds (MANY of them) and an area to do them?! Oh wow, why didn’t I think of that? Also, booking in advance means that even if I don’t show up, I am still paying = I am actually getting out of bed.

Yay, yay, yay yaaaaaaaaaaaay. I am a happy camper.

 

xo

Ashley

Thankful Thursday

With Thursday here again (holy cow time is FLYING BY– am I getting old?), a serious lack of new happenings on my life, and Thanksgiving fast approaching, I decided to have a rather simple day in my blog world: Thankful Thursday.

I encourage you all to do the same. What are you thankful for?

gop-ajsneak-18

Today, I am thankful for my husband. Although, at times, I want to kick his butt, he is an amazing man. Thank you for being here for me. Thank you for helping me get the courage to move to another province, and for letting me cry when I missed home. Thank you for accepting my insatiable love for dogs…and listening every time I find one that we just have to help. Thank you for always kissing me before you leave in the morning, and for letting me stay in bed for that extra 20 minutes. Thank you for taking the dogs for pees at night, when it is too cold for me, and for not getting mad when I am behind seventeen loads of laundry. Thank you for trying to understand me.  I love you more than words can say, and I am so thankful to have you in my life. ❤

Go Home, Thyroid, You’re Drunk..

I think I am getting the flu. My body aches like I can’t explain: it feels like I got hit by a bus. I have had a headache for 9.5 days (yes, I have been keeping track). I never get headaches. Yesterday was the worst. It felt like my body was giving up…my muslces hurt!!! This morning I woke up, expecting to be bed-ridden, but nope, still the same, except now my throat is a bit sore. If you’re coming to play, flu, please come now. I am not interested in prolonging this experience any further. GET OUT OF MY BODY.

On another note, I had a follow-up appointment last week with my Naturopath.

We have determined that I have very low stomach acid production (who knew?), and I am now on supplements. When I say low, I don’t mean low, either. I mean low like “you should only be able to take 2 acid pills max per meal without pain” and I can take 5..no problem.   Now before you roll your eyes (or is that just the old me?), please understand that I used to be anti-“hippie doctor”, too. I thought it was bogus, and people who took oil of oregano made me giggle. But after this thyroid fiasco started,  I began feeling like an 80-year old woman, and my MD said “Get used to it. You’ll be on the medication for the rest of your life”, I decided to burst through my conservative bubble and try it out. Oh boy, I’m glad I did.. he’s awesome. While I’m sure there are some cases that Naturopaths are, in-fact, glorified “hippie doctors”, Dr. M rocks! Everything he says is so logical, hey did you know that low stomach acid means low protein digestion means low amino acid digestion and low mineral availability? And that, combined with the fact that my thyroid is in constant underdrive is probably contributing to my feeling like a bag of poo all the time? OH and probably why my body is holding onto these last 10 pounds like a life raft? DUHH!!! It makes so much sense. Everything he says makes so. much. sense. I love him.

 

Besides that, I got another blood test. He called today with my results, and we chatted for a while (it’s so nice not feeling rushed by a doctor). With the blood results in hand, he thinks my ‘flu’ is actually my thyroid. I’m hoping for the flu…seems more short term.  So what’s up with my thyroid? HAHA good question, I’m not sure it has any idea.

Keep in mind, I am currently on Synthroid, which should, in my non- hippie-doctor’s opinion, be a cure-all treatment (P.S. I hope that’s not politically incorrect, since I’ve now said it three times.. I’m only trying to relate to the old me 😉 )

June 26 Blood Test:

  • Free T3: low, outside normal range (but borderline acceptable)
  • Free T4: low (but acceptable)
  • TSH: okay, but low
  • TPA (Antibody): too high

Based on this, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and given a new medication *supplement* to help faciliate the T4 to T3 conversion (Synthroid is T4). At this stage, I asked for T3, and he told me T3 is only really used by people in body competitions who want to get realllly, realllly lean. Uhh…okay, so can I have T3? No such luck.

Last week’s Blood Test:

  • Free T3: Way too low (almost 1 pmol/L lower than last time)
  • Free T4: Too low, lower than last time (but still borderline acceptable)
  • TSH: much better, within limits
  • TPA: much lower..almost within limits

SO! Based on this, I do NOT have an autoimmune disease, I do NOT have Hashimoto’s. BUT, Hashimoto’s is a sneaky little bugger, and who knows, I could have it next blood test. 😐 Yeah, okay, this sounds dumb…is this a real disease? I still can’t have T3. Today, I will start on a new medication, again, to help facilitate the transition even harder..maybe even FORCE it a bit.

Come on T4, lose a T already, would you?!?! I need to get my energy back, and kick this flu.

Xo

Ashley

 

The newest member of the clan.

Last time we went camping,  we were abruptly awakened to the sound of the tent wall tearing open..oh, and the sight of a crazy black dog jumping out the side. It was 7:15am and Ben saw a cow near our tent. He was just trying to protect us, I’m sure…*insert eye roll here*.

Needless to say, after chasing Ben through a large open field filled with 30 plus cows (that I was convinced were going to trample him), we headed home early. I think in that moment, Ben became a cow. He was one with the pack, but they didnt want anything to do with him…poor dude. By the time we got him to come back to us, him and a large bull were in a face-off. Ben was crunched down with his front legs bent, taunting the bull…” but I want to play!!!”, as the bull charged at Ben.. only a few feet at a time. He was issuing a warning, Ben didnt get it, and J and I were still half asleep and shoeless…running through a cow lease. It was neat. 

Rein stood beside us the entire time.  I think she was as confused as the cows…she would glance up at us, as if to say “what the hell is he doing?”.

After that trip, I wanted a camper. We started looking, and came across this little beauty. Ive always been a tent-camping girl, and always said I’d never have a camper… I guess I lied. Anyway, we decided we wanted something very basic.  A small camper..cheap, basic,  light (we only have a half tonne truck), with no bells and whistles, and bonus points if we can go winter camping…
Here she is:

image

The lady was asking a lot more than our agreed upon budget, but after looking at it and going home, we decided we’d go back and be honest: we can’t afford this…but we’d love it. We offered her a reasonable amount under asking, told her we understood if she couldn’t accept it, and explained we just thought we’d try. Guess what? She gave it to us for $500 less than we even offered! !! She said she was excited to see it go to a good home..where it would get a lot of use.

I am so, so excited. Thanksgiving weekend (next weekend for us Canadian folks), we are heading out. Thank you, B from down the street. We will take care of your beauty 🙂 🙂

“I want a burger”

I think that has to be my husband’s favorite text ever.. I’m sure many men dream of sultry texts from their wives, illustrating what’s to come that evening. ..but not mine. Nope, he’s just stoked that burgers are in his near future. That’s his favorite dinner, too (I got lucky), and if I throw on a few pieces of bacon and a fried egg, I win the wife-of-the-hour award…easy peasy.  I wish I could see the smile on his face when he got it.. much better than “chicken breast and salad for dinner”, I’m sure.

Mine will be sans bun, as usual, and maybe I’ll go the “grass-fed, organic, triple the price, local, 100% all-natural, Alberta beef” route.. that would be healthy. 😉

 

Go burgers.

 

P.S. I had a Naturopath appointment last night, and thus have a blood test today…soon… I am diabolically afraid of needles..especially the kinds that stab into my veins. This will also be my first blood test in many, many years where I do not force J to accompany, stand too close for comfort, and allow me to burry my head and nails into his body. He’s the best human stress ball there is. ❤ When I am nervous, I’m kind of like a 10-year old who’s had way too much sugar: hence the burger post.

Finger’s crossed they don’t miss my vein..