A Zumbathon

On Saturday I was excited to attend my first Zumbathon: two hours of non-stop of Zumba to Latin-inspired music.

The experience was awesome and the guest Zumba instructors AMAZING! I loved the choreography, the music, and the energy that they brought to the room. After an hour and a half, my own energy was flagging a little but I could not stop. It is not often that a person can experience such talented instructors. At the end of the two hour stint, I was thirsty and tired – but content.

I was sore when I arrived home but the experience was worth it. Not only did I reach my goal of 10 000 steps, but I also enjoyed the exercise immensely. I look forward to attending the next one that the dance school organises.

Have you attended a Zumbathon?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Grateful for a Healthy Body

Processed with RookieThe end of last week was not good for me as my body could no longer fight all the germs that thrive in my school environment. My extreme fatigue eventually gave in and submitted to the stomach virus that is doing the rounds at school.

The unbearable stomach cramps, nausea, lack of appetite, and the desire to sleep finally overcame me on Friday. My husband treated us for dinner and brought home with him some delicious rice noodles from the restaurant where he had eaten lunch. I took one mouthful, could eat no more, and pushed my meal aside to save for the next day.

I spent the weekend recovering. The meals I ate were bland and I made sure I drank liquids to keep my body hydrated as I had suffered the consequences of contracting gastroenteritis. By the end of Sunday, I felt that I had recovered from my bout of stomach flu.

This week I am grateful for my healthy body. I do not enjoy felling ill and am thankful that I was able to  bounce back to normal health after 4 days.

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Health

My husband has been ill for the past 2 weeks – so ill that he has been sleeping for many hours (unusual for him) and has not gone to work. As I watch him going through the illness, I think of others whom I know who are in continual pain. I think, too, of a film I watched recently – You’re Not You starring Hilary Swank. The film is the story about  a woman who has ALS.

As I watched her going through the pain of her illness (Hilary Swank does an excellent job of portraying her character), the thought running through my mind was “I am so lucky that I am not sick”.

This week I am grateful for my health and that I am able to experience my days without pain.

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for her son

Lavendar Ladi was grateful for three things

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Grateful for Zumba Shoes

I have been doing Zumba for 9 months now. The first months were difficult as I struggled not only with the choreography, but also with catching my breath. However, I persevered and have come to love this form of exercise. There have been moments when I am truly dancing and am able to move to the music as I did all those years ago before I began my journey into Motherhood.

One of the things I have struggled with is the ability to move my feet sideways without hurting my feet and knees. The tread of the running shoes causes my foot to ‘stick’ to the floor. I used to think longingly of my ballroom shoes with their suede soles as they helped me move easily across the floor.

While waiting for class a few weeks ago, a few of us were talking with the teacher about shoes (she, of course, wears the correct Zumba shoes) and she mentioned that her shoes does not have the tread that the running shoes have. My decision made, I went online and shopped at zumbashop.ca for footwear.

My package arrived last Friday.

The package has arrived! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

With much excitement I opened the box and admired my new shoes.

My Zumba shoes. Stylish! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I enjoyed the shoe box as well and appreciated the statement printed in bold on it.

I have worn the shoes at two classes and have enjoyed dancing in them. My movements are easier now and the bonus is my feet do not ache as much – and neither do my knees.

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for modern conveniences

Lavender Ladi was grateful for the scent of Spring

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short Week

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Good morning everyone. Hope you are well this Saturday. It is gloomy outside and walking about the streets requires an umbrella today. Not the perfect weather but at least it is warmer than it was in the beginning of the week.

This week it was FREEZING in my classroom – so cold I was tempted to wear my gloves to keep my hands warm. It felt warmer outside even though the temperatures outside weren’t too high either. The second week of April is when the heating is switched off in the school and the next few weeks will not be pleasant until the building warms up naturally. In the meantime even the children are wearing sweaters – and the tissue box is handy.

On Monday night our Zumba instructor was unable to teach – and they could not get a substitute. Instead we had a BodyAttack class – it is a high impact class featuring a lot of running and strength exercises. He said he would go easy on us. I don’t know what difficult is because the class was HARD! A good experience, even though my body ached for three days afterwards.

I was grateful that we had a short working week. I felt tired and knowing this fact kept me going strong. Yesterday I did a lot of resting and I feel much better today.

Now I am off to Zumba. I am really enjoying the classes and have reached the point where I keep hearing the music in my head. I remember when I used to dance – I would hear the music in my head and dance in my head as well. I am sure that once I know the choreography, I will be doing Zumba in my mind while I am walking, and in my  sleep!

Doing Zumba has definitely helped me with my sleep. It is rare now that I lie awake for hours in the early hours of the morning. I like that I sleep well and begin a day well-rested. When I am not tired I do have more patience with the children I teach and with my family members. I do not see myself stopping this form of exercise. And the bonus is that I do not need a partner to continue it!

After my exercise class, I will get things ready and do a little shopping for tomorrow’s dinner. I enjoy our Sunday family dinners – and the bonus will be that Monday is no school 🙂

I wish you a wonderful Easter Sunday with your family (if you celebrate this holiday). Do not eat too many of those chocolate eggs!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Nerd in the Brain)

To Count Or Not To Count?

To Count or not to count? That is the question.

Image result for lose itRemember I told you at the beginning of the year that I was going to count calories using the Lose it! app? I has been a month now that I have been logging every morsel that I eat into my daily record. I have been diligent about the tracking – noting down every drink, every meal, and every snack.

I am sure you are wondering whether tracking my caloric input has affected my weight. I can tell you that it hasn’t. The needle on the scale hasn’t budged and I still weigh the same as I did 5 weeks ago when I began recording the number of calories that I consume.

The tracking has made me think about my food and whether I am ‘allowed’ to eat it or not. Personally I feel that I have become even more focused on my eating – and not always in a good way. I found myself measuring my cereal, the milk I use, and even the butter I spread on my toast. It does take out the joy of preparing a meal. I could get used to measuring my meals – but doing so is not working for me.

Tracking my caloric intake has also been difficult at times. Many of my meals are cooked from scratch and how do I figure out what the calories are of a serving of fried rice? Or homemade vegetable soup? I found this to be a little frustrating.

Tracking calories, however, has reinforced that natural, whole foods do have less calories than the prepackaged foods that are made by bulk in factories. Thus it is better to focus on eating whole fruit and vegetables as opposed to the snacks and foods that are laden with sugar and so easy to enjoy.

To count or not to count? My decision is not to count. After the discipline of tracking for a month (remember that my word of the year is discipline?), I have decided that I need to find another way of changing my eating habits.

On what do you base your eating habits?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Let’s Zumba!

Women, and a few men, moved through the glass doors into the open space and gravitated to their spots. I hung back, choosing a space near the closed doorway. Self-consciously I pulled my t-shirt down and breathed an internal sigh of relief as I noticed that I was not the only overweight person in the room older than 30. I had steeled myself for months to join this class. Twenty years ago I would have been one of those women who walked through the door with confidence. But now? I knew I would not be able to keep up the pace.

Image result for zumba“Welcome to Zumba. If you are are here for the first time, don’t worry if you can’t keep up. Put your feet to the ground, move to the music, and have fun!”

Five minutes later I was looking at the clock. My breathing was laboured, my heart was racing, and it was difficult to move my feet at the speed of the instructor’s. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. I kept at it, determined that I would once again move like I did twenty years ago. Not only did I want to lose my excess weight, but I also wanted to regain my fitness.

The class ended with sweat dripping down my face. I had not been able to keep up – the moves were unknown to me, and many of them were fast. But I finished. And decided to go back for more.

It had been seventeen years since the last time I had done any type of cardio exercise. I chose to do Zumba because it is a dance-based exercise and I have always loved dance. It is not quite the same as what I used to do when I danced Latin and Ballroom but in joining a Zumba class I can move rhythmically to the music.

I danced my first Zumba class six months ago – and now no longer look at the clock after five minutes. My legs are stronger and I am therefore able to do most of the moves. I still get lost with the choreography, but not as often. I have not lost weight, but have lost centimetres. I join a class twice a week when I am able – and would go more often if there were more classes available at my local gym.

I love it! Zumba is definitely for me. During the winter months, the obstacle I have to overcome is getting there. It is not pleasant leaving the warmth of our home to walk through frigid temperatures to the gym. In the argument to myself, I always bring up my word of the year: Discipline.

Have you tried a Zumba class?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Counting Calories

I have never felt the need to count calories; to measure the amount of food I eat and write down every morsel that passes my lips. But then I have never weighed as much as I currently do. After speaking to a friend of mine and reading a blog post by a fellow blogger, I decided to try something new to help me loose weight.

Laurie, a talented photographer who has shared her weight loss journey on her blog,  suggests using the app Lose It!

Image result for lose it After reading her blog post, I searched for the app and downloaded it onto my iPad. I have been counting the calories I eat for a week now and logging them into the app. As Laurie promised, the app is easy to use. Once you have added a meal to your day, the programme saves the information and it is so much quicker to insert the next time you eat that food. Adding new foods is easy – especially if the package has a bar code which you can scan.

Have I lost weight? No. But it has only been a week. I have noticed, though, that I am more careful about what I eat. And I think twice before grabbing that second cookie, or another piece of chocolate. Using the app and counting my calories has encouraged me to think more carefully about the amount of food that I eat, and the choices I make on what to put on my plate.

My word for this year is discipline and the app is helping me to be more disciplined about what I eat.

Do you count calories?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

A Wholesome Breakfast

I wish to go back to the diet I followed before I had my children. My diet at this time consisted of whole foods and a minimum amount of bread, meat and diary products. Getting back to work after being a stay-at-home mom has slowly moved me towards the easier options of eating bread for lunch and snacking on sugar-laden and factory-made treats. The result has been weight gain and a feeling of fatigue I believe is not only a result of my work, but also a result of what I am putting in my mouth. Getting back into the correct way of eating does take time and it is something that is to be done in stages. My first step is to eat fruit only for breakfast. This is no hardship for me as I love the juicy, sweet taste of this food.

Every morning I now eat a bowl filled to the brim with fuit. I eat until I am full. I eat until I no longer feel the pangs of hunger. My body is still adjusting to this meal in the morning (instead of cereal or porridge) but I know that there will be a time when this bowl will be enough until it is time for me to eat lunch. I now eat a snack at first recess (around 10am) when the children do and it consists of a fruit: a banana, an apple, or even a pear. The drawers in my desk are now empty of granola bars and I plan to keep them that way.

What do you eat for breakfast?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. The prompt this week is: Whole)

An Exercise Update

Each weekday I open the door to our home and I breathe a sigh of relief. I feel weary to the bone and I long to sit on the sofa for a while in silence and think of nothing. My children know to give me 5 minutes rest before they bombard me with “Mommy, can you sign this?”, “Mommy can you help me?”, “Mommy look what I got for my test”.

Working with 5 year olds tires me out: my voice is croaky at the end of the day, and I am beat. The last thing I wish to do is go out again, one hour after I have arrived home, to walk to Taekwondo with my girls. Yet when the time comes, I get them ready to go knowing that the exercise will do them good. On our walk to the dojang, I hear some stories about the girls’ day. At the moment it is getting a bit chilly, so we walk briskly – exercising on our way to some formal training.

Arriving at the Taekwondo school, we are greeted by friendly faces and smiles. Each time we enter the place where we exercise, I know we made the right decision to enrol there. The school has a friendly and inviting atmosphere that is welcoming and comforting to my children.

When the exercises begin, my heart starts pumping. I am fitter than I was when I began in May – though I still get out of breathe and struggle at times to keep up with the young members of the school. As I exercise, though, I feel my weariness slip away from me bit by bit. At the end of the class, sweat trickling down my brow, I feel a satisfaction in the fact that I have moved my body and that my movements are improving.

I leave the class feeling invigorated and ready for the walk home. When I lay my head on my pillow to sleep, I quickly drift off. A bonus of exercise, for me, is that I do not struggle to fall asleep on the days I have exerted myself physically.

Do you have an inner battle with yourself before going to exercise?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013