One Fit Chick.

Chronicles of my journey to health & well-being…

Whittle My Middle I

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Following in the footsteps of Angela over at, I have decided to create my own Whittle My Middle challenge for April 2010.

Angela had great success with this and I’m hoping to see results too.

I’m going to be doing 4 exercises every other day. I considered doing the same exercises as Angela but my fitness level is very different so I did some searching for exercises that are more within my range of ability. I found this video on YouTube and will be using these exercises for my first Whittle My Middle challenge.

Who: Any one can join me on this fitness challenge.

What: The Whittle My Middle I challenge involves 4 exercises, every other day, increasing the number of repetitions over the course of the month. You won’t see any benefit if you continue doing the same number of reps because you cannot build core strength if you don’t stress your core muscles a bit.

Where: Anywhere! The gym, your house, in the library (…yes, yes I will be spending quite a bit of time in the library this month)

When: every other day for the entire month of April

Why: build core strength and tone the abdominal muscles, and build confidence 🙂

You can track my progress on my official Whittle My Middle I challenge page. I’m going to construct a chart to show my progress over the course of the month. April has 30 days, but I’ll be doing the exercises every other day. That’s only 15 workouts, I can do it! Right?!

I will also post, on the official Whittle My Middle I page my current waist measurements.

I have to finish editing my paper on disease mongering before I can do anything today, so I’ll be back with an update!

Comment below and let me know if you’re going to take the challenge and whittle your middle!!


Written by Nour

April 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

Project Probiotics

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I have 7 major academic submissions pending. 4 essays and 3 finals…

And then? I will be officially done with my undergrad, and onto bigger and better things! (I’ll post on this later)

I submitted my nutritional microbiology (NFS485) report this afternoon. I wrote about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (or SIBO) in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and the potential role of probiotics in treatment.

It feels really refreshing to submit a report. 1 essay down, 3 more to go!

I really enjoy research reports, even though they can be very stressful at times. You learn so many new things! I learned something new about Rosacea when I was reading articles on SIBO and I want to share…

A number of research studies suggest that Rosacea may be secondary to SIBO, or that Rosacea may be exaggerated by SIBO. If you’re unfamiliar, Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that is characterized by flushing and/or reddish to purpleish discoloration of the skin. Pimple-like lesions are often observed in more severe cases.

My Rosacea

I have a mild case of Rosacea. I have a pale-red discoloration in my cheeks and I experience flushing. In pictures it looks like I’ve applied blush, but in real-life it looks quite blotchy (at least it does to me, haha!). It is one of those things that people tend to not notice about me until I point it out.

Lucky thinks that it’s cute and that it gives me a certain glow, but I really notice it when I look at my reflection in the mirror. I am, after all, my toughest critic.

My mom suffers from IBS, and sometimes I feel that I may meet the criteria for an IBS diagnosis too. (The criteria is called ‘ROME III’ and you can read about it here) I haven’t visited my doctor about this, yet. After my surgery, though, I’ve noticed these symptoms (bloating, irregular bowel movements, etc.) more and more. After the end-of-academic-year madness is over I’ll be sure to book an appointment with my family doctor.

In the meantime, I figured I should partake in Project Probiotics!

I went out and purchased a probiotic supplement by Webber Naturals:

Webbers Probiotic

Each capsule has 5 different strains of probiotics. You can get a supplement with 10 different strains of probiotics, but I figured I didn’t want to over do it. (It’s funny that we’re talking in billions, and I’m afraid of “over doing it” haha.)

I want to see if, over the course of a month, I can notice changes in the appearance of my Rosacea (and my GI symptoms) by taking a probiotic. There may be more to my Rosacea and my bloating, but it also may be as simple as restoring the balance in my intestinal ecosystem. (I could have said ‘microflora’ and been all science-geek on you, but I spared you from that… sorta!)

Have you supplemented your diet with probiotics? Did you notice healthful changes?

Back to writing I go…

NOTE: please don’t follow in my footsteps and start taking a probiotic supplement without first consulting with your family physician or local pharmacist.  Because of my undergraduate background, I feel comfortable doing this without prior consultation with my family physician. I am doing this at my own risk and discretion. I do not, however, recommend you do this, especially if you are being cared for by a medical practitioner for IBS or other conditions.

Written by Nour

March 31, 2010 at 7:41 am

Sleep deprived sunsets are the BEST!

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I wrote my NFS486 (Nutrition and Human Disease) Final this afternoon. I had a good bout of pre-test butterflies all morning, just enough to keep the adrenaline levels under control!

Lucky and I had breakfast together before starting our morning commute to Toronto. I fell asleep on his shoulder on the train ride into the big T-dot. It was a nice morning nap; I didn’t sleep well because I was up studying quite late.

I indulged in THREE Venti Chai teas (not the lattes, just the tea bag) from Starbucks. Such a guilty pleasure. The Starbucks Tazo Chai tea blend is probably the most authentic spiced tea I’ve tried. I always just accepted that Chai teas are spiced black teas, until I had a taste of the Chai that Lucky’s Mom made one morning. Pure spiced bliss, made with love straight from the Punjab.

After my final, I met up with Lucky and his friends. We had lunch together. The guys got some thai food while I got a Greek chicken pita wrap with a side salad.  The boys wanted to grab a Friday afternoon drink but I wasn’t up for alcohol (I don’t drink much anyways) so Lucky and I headed home.

When we got home it was about 5:30pm and the sun had begun to set. We drove to a small park, sat facing the river and watched the sunset. It was a great way to end the week.I was so tired; snuggling while the sun set was perfection.

I didn’t go to the gym much this week, although I tried; I had a lot of schoolwork to do. I went twice and did 20 minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 mph and incline 4.0, and 20 minutes on the elliptical hill setting. It really helped keep my stress at bay. I would have liked to go more though.

What helps you deal with your stresses? I really want to give yoga a try.

I have a really busy week next week; three essays and a Final. Also, today is one of my best friend’s birthdays. Her boyfriend and I have collaborated to plan a surprise brunch&movie tomorrow. Hopefully we get it right.

Later gators!

Written by Nour

March 27, 2010 at 12:32 am

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Think Positive!

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A couple posts ago I wrote about how I’ve been putting off my weight loss and wellbeing goals.

Part of the reason I’ve been so good at procrastinating this aspect of my life is the lack of positive thinking.

“I won’t succeed, therefore I will not try.”

It is a fear of failure (and laziness) that makes this logic very appealing. It is very challenging to balance my work and academic responsibilities with life (Lucky, friends, family, and me time) in addition  to routinely working out at the gym and planning my meals to avoid binges. It is easier not to try, especially when you’re prone to negative thinking (as I am).

Who said this was going to be easy? No one (although, one can argue that the media makes this claim).

I read a post recently on ZenHabits titled “How to be a Positive Person, in under 300 words“, coincidently only a day or two since I made my first commitment to just do it. Leo’s suggestions will serve as a constant reminder for myself:

Realize it’s possible, instead of telling yourself why you can’t.
aware of your self-talk.
Squash negative thoughts like a bug.
Replace them with positive thoughts.
Love what you have already.
Be grateful for your life, your gifts, and other people.
Every day.
Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
But be inspired by them.
Accept criticism with grace.
But ignore the naysayers.
See bad things as a blessing in disguise.
See failure as a stepping stone to success.
Surround yourself by those who are positive.
Complain less, smile more.
Image that you’re already positive.
Then become that person in your next act.

The biggest challenge for me is dealing with my negative thoughts and reminding myself that failure is a stepping stone to success, it is experience that teaches you. I think this blog will help me with this because although I’ve thought about having my own blog for a good 2-3 years I’m only working on one now. I was discouraged out of fear that my writing style was inadequate. I will get better; one spelling error at a time, one blog post at a time…

What is most challenging for you? Do you find it difficult to think positive, especially on a rainy day?


Written by Nour

March 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm

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March Madness

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The title says it all. March is Madness at U of T!



Madness, right? I am overwhelmed with deadlines and assignments and April exam preparation.

Yesterday morning I presented a debate on the issue of soy consumption in post menopausal women for a nutrition course I’m taking. My partner is a self-proclaimed foodie that was already very knowledgeable in the area of vegan dietetics. I learned a lot about soy products, and maybe we can discuss the controversy here. I didn’t realize how deep the controversy is until I started looking at the scientific literature. My conclusions? Know your risks and know your soy.

I have several written papers due as April rolls in and, needless to say, I am stressed. I was really hoping to post more often this week, but I just had too much going on. In addition to finalizing my debate research, I had a quiz this morning to prepare for and a research summary due for tomorrow morning.

Being new to blogging, I’m not sure how to get all my ‘thoughts’ in, how often to blog, etc. I guess it is really up to me.

I want to touch upon my motivation to just do it and get ‘er done but I’m really tired so I’m going to have to put it off for yet another night. Oh, the irony… haha!

Seriously, though, it is 1:02 am where I am! It is time for me to get some shut eye and re-energize for tomorrow.

Sweet dreams!


Written by Nour

March 19, 2010 at 5:05 am

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Just Do It

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I have been procrastinating my “premier blog post” for a couple of weeks now.

By nature, I am a perfectionist! It is often thought that perfectionism is a good thing. And it is, to an extent. The idea of coming up with the perfect blog post, perfect report, perfect <enter final goal here> is far more stressful than just doing it and rolling with the punches, going with the flow.

I learned this in my first year of University; a very hard lesson indeed. In highschool, I rarely (if ever) struggled; assignments and test preparation came easy, and the workload was relatively light. When I started my undergraduate degree, the workload was significantly greater (exponentially so, actually). The material was more challenging and the relationship between professor and student in first year is pretty null. I spent more time stressing about perfection that the thought of starting the task at hand was overwhelming.

Solution? Procrastinate.

Bad Nour, bad!

I, apparently, thought this was a good idea. That is, until my first round of grades were released. Wanting to salvage my GPA, I attended some student study workshops and these shed light on this “perfectionist personality” . I’ve been working really hard since to avoid procrastinating, or at least catch it before it became too late to save myself.

I’ve been good, I swear. (At least when it comes to academic-related tasks).

In complaining talking to Lucky about how I’ve been feeling these past couple of weeks (I utter the phrase “I feel fat” a lot), I’ve realized that procrastination has been at the root of my lack of weight loss, clean eating, and healthy living success.

I lost a fair bit of weight during the summer of 2009. I was able to restrict my diet out of fear that my gallbladder would explode. I was (magically??) able to avoid over-indulgence. Since having my gallbladder removed in December, and recovering from my post-op complication, I have been very lenient with myself. (What happened to the magic? Fear can do wonders, can’t it?!)

I procrastinate when I am overwhelmed.

I have between 40 and 50 pounds of weight to lose. That is a lot of pounds! A very overwhelming number of pounds.

In fact, my goals are beyond just losing a lot of pounds. They are to be fit and to be healthy.

This is a goal that is far more overwhelming than any project, or test, or academic endeavor that I have faced to date and so I have procrastinated it for what I can consider forever.

No more, Nour, no more!

I am going to do as Nike extols and just do it. After all, that is why I set up this blog – a place to share my experiences, my thoughts, and to find motivation.

Please comment below. I’m new to the blog world and I do not feel as though I am a strong writer. Good and bad comments are welcome (how else will I learn?)

Just do it!


Written by Nour

March 16, 2010 at 12:00 am

Hello world!

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I have yet to make my first blog post! Come back soon for updates! In the meantime, please read the about me page…

Written by Nour

March 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

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