healthy happy ekky: week 5 & Greens Soup Recipe

One month into my back-to-health journey and it clicked, again – but less loud and more profound.

It’s a lifestyle

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And the only thing that matters is how we feel! We count numbers, mix up ratios, go on diets, make changes and alterations – all for one major goal:

to feel better

Having focused on how I feel in the past few weeks I have made a few adjustments that help me stay on track with healthy lifestyle and it feels awesome.

Apart from stopping counting calories and macros after four weeks - although it has been a great learning experience that helped me figure out what I could do better, one other adjustment I made was changing my dinner game. I’ve realized that my weight gain was majorly stress-related and I’ve been coming home and relaxing and decompressing with food, often while watching a show. Nothing wrong with that, unless you do it 5-6 times a week and never skip dessert, and go for seconds, and eat peanut butter with a spoon...or three. And then over time you pack on pounds and feel sluggish and tired.

In this great talk that I shared below (unfortunately it was only recorded in Russian), a few very different, but equally badass and stunning Russian businesswomen share their tips on feeling amazing, fabulous and light.

One major tip that they swear by is not having dinner or having a very light easily-digestible one.

no dinner?!

According to them, it allows them to sleep better, burn fat while sleeping (as oppose to store it) and wake up energized and ready to embrace the day. They said it also helps them make decisions with increased agility and relax fully before bedtime. Yes, yes, yes, I thought, this is exactly how I want to feel. 

In fact, it is also backed up by science (I always make sure to check any fad claims - health nerd never sleeps). Bingo! 

They reference a famous Russian saying – "eat breakfast yourself, share your lunch with a friend and give your dinner to your enemy", which basically means: to feel your best, your biggest meal should be breakfast and then progressively, as the day goes by, you should eat less and less and it will be to your most benefit. I've heard about it all my life but because food is incredibly social (I go out to way too many dinners) and has become sort of an emotional treat (that after-work order of sushi always felt good), I often forgot to practice it. 

Now, I am all about those light dinners and continuing to focus on how I feel. The result – a few recipes that I tried and can’t wait to share with you. The recipe I am sharing today is the one my brother actually found - I assigned him to pick up a recipe he wants to try out of all my cookbooks and he chose one of the most nutritious ones. That was a proud sister moment for me indeed. 

RECIPE: Greens Soup

This soup is so refreshing and packs incredible amount of nutrients. Watercress, cucumber, celery…It’s a powerhouse in a bowl. Because it is chilled, it’s perfect on a hot summer day. Hydrating properties of cucumber will brighten up the skin, and protein in hemp and chia will keep you full until bed time. it with a side salad and a bowl of berries for dessert. I am crazy about cherries these days.

Adopted from: Superfood Kitchen

Ingredients: 

  • 6 cups cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 cup watercress
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp freeze-dried wheatgrass powder
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds

Cooking Instructions:

1. Blend cucumbers, watercress, water, celery and lime juice in a blender. My blender is too small so I divided ingredients in half and mixed them with 1 cup of water first and then did the second half of ingredients afterwards with the second cup.

2. Use a sieve over a big bowl and pour the mixture from the blender into the bowl. Press on it to get the most of the juice.

3. Pour the juice into the blender and mix with avocado, chia seeds and hemp hearts.

4. Garnish with desired seeds, greens and serve! 

I will update you with weight and stats on a monthly basis from now on. Because it's more about how we feel, and less about the numbers. Would also love to hear from you and your feedback in comments!

<3

Ekky

healthy happy ekky: week 2

Happy belated Canada Day to my Canadians and 4th of July to my Americans! Cheering with lemon water for two great nations right now (it's wineless Tuesday..)

The past week has been quite a bit of a crazy rollercoaster. Between my 11-year-old brother’s first campless week in Vancouver (I went from 0 to 24/7 of motherhood), running a half-marathon, celebrating Canada Day and working, I also managed to fall off a bike (that was an embarrassing one), work out really hard a few times before that (as if I knew the bruised life was coming), go on a hike, chill on the beach and … fall off slightly off track with nutrition while thinking I was crushing it... (another embarrassing one?)

I started using the app called Lose It for nutrition tracking this week and it only took me 8 days to figure out that it synced my steps with the Health App … and increased my calorie limit! Since the interface is totally new to me, I didn’t question anything until two days ago when I stepped on the scale and it hasn’t moved..

I learned the lesson and changed the settings so apps don’t sync any longer and now I’ve been under my calorie goal for the past two days, so we are back on track! 

I am used to myfitnesspal app for tracking but its very medical-like interface has left me uninspired so many times that I decided to give Lost It a try this time around. I will do a review of both apps in the next few posts after I get a handle of Lose It but so far I can say that finally I enjoy tracking my food which has never been the case before. The app is colorful and still pretty slick and clean-looking.

Forging ahead! This week (that started on Monday) has already been great – I meal prepped buddha bowls for lunch, went to the gym twice (huge shout out to my gym sister Shany – waking up at 5:30am is waaay easier when you know you’ll be malfunctioning through the sleepy walk to the gym together) and stayed on track with nutrition.

I started following the rules of IIFYM and my nutrition goal is to stay on track with it this week. Does anyone have any experience with IIFYM approach? I love that it’s not limiting in the types of foods you can eat while still keeping you accountable. With macros that the formula calculated for me I was able to eat all my favorite foods while hitting all the numbers the past two days. I am excited about it!!!

Also, speaking of favorite foods - I am severely obsessed with Body Energy Club Smoothies... i have converted many innocent souls including my little bro (it's a great alternative when he asks for ice cream ... hehe) so you must try it too. These smoothies are just plain amazing. 

PS - I was not paid or compensated to write this. I just wanted to make my obsession official, that's all.

AND onto the numbers for this & past week

Workout Plan this week (July 3-9)

Monday: 45 min cardio (35 min steady jog + 10 min HIIT on the treadmill)  + Lower Body lifting

Tuesday: 15 min cardio (steady elliptical) + Upper Body lifting

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: 15 min cardio (steadt elliptical) + Lower Body lifting

Friday: 1 hour Hot Yoga

Saturday: 1 hour cardio (jog/step) + 1 hour 15 min Hot Yoga

Sunday: Hike Grouse Gr

week 2: weekly update - June 26 - July 2

 SW: 159.6 lbs

CW: 158.6 lbs (same as last week)

SBF: 35 %

·CBF: 32.7% (-0.9% since last week)

·Avg daily calories: 1705 kcal

·Macros: Fat 30.6% - Carbs 48,7 % - Protein 20.7%

xxx E

healthy happy ekky: week 1

About a week ago I have discovered that I gained around 20 lbs since graduating university. I rolled up my sleeves, got my fitness tracker on track, joined the gym and have been on a weight loss journey ever since.

The thought of putting it on my blog terrified me though. I mean, am I not the fit chick that preaches healthy eating and exercises like all the time? Am I not supposed to have all my ducks (& chicken breasts) in a row?? It turns out, things happen.

how I got here

I’ll tell you, in all honesty - emotional eating derived from lack of structure in knowing where I am headed next. I wouldn’t call it feeling stuck, but if it helps you to better grasp it, sure, I felt stuck not having a plan of action for the next few years. I knew generally where I wanted to be but had no set plan.

Once I recognized that it made me anxious, I took steps to fix it. A lot of deliberate analysis, meditation and hard questions and the plan has been made. Hooray! It might change, it might get altered but once it’s on paper and in my head – I feel calm and ready to tackle anything!

body image & what’s right for me

Then, the question arose about weight. Do I really need to tackle it? I surely have played with an idea of embracing the “womanly body” (as a few of my girlfriends call this minor post-uni weight gain) – watching gazillion videos of Ashley Graham doing squats on insta definitely left me feeling inspired and grateful and loving towards my curves; fit and curvy are by no means mutually exclusive.

But this is where I had to dig a bit deeper and be more honest with myself. The developing acceptance of curvier bodies on social media makes me incredibly happy for where our society is headed.

BUT.

MY ultimate happiest place is when I am my in my “fittest and thinnest”. Again, I want to emphasize the word “MY”. What is true for me might not be true for anyone else and that’s totally ok. So naturally we arrive at…

goals

  • I weigh 140 lbs on September 21, 2017. I go on vacation on September 21 and it’s a perfect amount of time to get back in shape - slightly more than 12 weeks. Starting weight = 159.6 lbs.
  • I have 25% body fat on September 21, 2017. I have never had such low body fat and never had body fat % goals before so this one is more experimental. I have started at 35% and will see where I land in 12 weeks.

how

First and foremost, I promise 100% commitment to my goals and being honest and transparent in what I write. No need for sugarcoating occasional hanger or pretending like fat “just melted on its own” while I “ate whatever I wanted”. It will be work and it might be hard at times.

Second, I promise disciplined accountability for the next 12 weeks which means:

-> I will share a weekly update on Saturday evenings OR Sunday afternoons (depending on my weekend plans), in which I will update you on total weight lost, total body fat % lost, workouts I did the past week and how was my nutrition - i.e avg calories per week and macros. I will also cover different weight loss topics each week – I have some exciting stuff prepared which I know will be fun to read.

kind of like a disclaimer

  • I am not passing harsh judgment for gaining weight onto myself as I know it’s counter-productive. It’s all learning process and it's just weight. People go through worse challenges in life than a 20 lbs weight gain. But it is making me less happy so it's time to shake it up.
  • I believe ALL bodies ARE beautiful. I truly do. I don't want you EVER feel like you need to lose weight/gain weight because I choose to. You are beautiful as you are. 
  • I will (obviously) approach it the healthy way. Meaning: lots of exercise, lots of healthy food, allowed indulgences and no restrictions on the types of food I should be eating. Quitting sugar or alcohol or being vegan in the past have always been great experiments but they didn't inspire a long term commitment to my health. Also I am a nerd - I love researching and experimenting with scientifically proven methods. I naturally gravitate to the long-term truth than a short-term fix.
  • the name, healthy happy ekky was the name of my first blog that I started right after graduation. By choosing this name, I want to emphasize continuity and bring out all the passion for healthy living that I have always had but wasn't fully embracing.
  • I hope you learn something from my fitness journey and we can encourage and inspire each other to turn our dreams into a reality. If you are on a fitness journey yourself – just know, I am proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and kicking ass. Keep pushing!

week 1: weekly update - June 18 - June 24

  • SW: 159.6 lbs
  • CW: 158.6 lbs (-1 lbs this week)
  • SBF: 35 %
  • CBF: 33.6% (-1.4% this week)
  • Avg daily calories: 1558 kcal
  • Macros: Fat 31% - Carbs 42 % - Protein 27%

I want to dedicate this journey to my dearest grandma Svetlana who left this earth on June 22, 2017. I will dearly miss her with all my heart! One thing she always said was that taking care of yourself will benefit everyone around you, so she taught me to put in the love and the effort in being my healthiest self. I am truly inspired by her and want to do this for her as much as for myself - I know she is watching <3

See you next week! Same time, same place 

xx Ekky

VFW FW 2017

This past week I volunteered at the Vancouver Fashion Week and I am still feeling the buzz. Shows, interviews, the fast pace, meeting tons of cool people...I just loved it. 

should have worn sunglasses

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I attended 5 out of 7 days of the week and helped out on the media team- big shout out to Jalila, Ariene, Lexie, Nancy and Julianna for being the best team ever and showing up for the challenge every day. Wish I'd taken more photos with you :D Next time!

team "chips on the front row". so happy to have met you lady

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Some of the shows left me breathless - collections were captivating and very well thought-out. VFW is truly a platform for any designer to showcase their vision - there weren't themes on specific days and collections varied from experimental to classical to eco-fashion to niche designs like hats and lingerie. 

Throughout the week I've learned what kind of aesthetic inspires me the most: it is the combination of minimalism, grunge, soft and translucent beauty, geometric shapes and lines, innovation in garment design and eccentric attitude in both design and presentation. Lmk in comments what kind of aesthetic inspires you! 

Since I was volunteering, I did not bring my DSLR with me (honestly I would not have time to take pictures even if I did... running from runway to backstage to the media room left only the time to send snapchat updates and insta stories (haha I did indulge in those though... follow me @ekky_m or ekkym on snapchat !). But here are a few pics I did manage to take.

these slippers by @alex.s.yu I want them, like now

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3/3 ... something about these sleeves... @alogon_official @vanfashionweek

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favorite look by Moskal last night. So airy 🌬

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I am so lucky to have had my first fashion week volunteer experience at VFW because of strength of fashion community here in Vancouver, something that I seek everywhere I go and value deeply.

FYI - definitely will be writing more on fashion since now I am addicted to Fashion Weeks. I would love to hear your thoughts about it though!! Let me know if you found fashion interesting :) In my opinion fashion = self-expression and a way to reflect on the outside what you are on the inside. Do you agree? 

🙃

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I am going to be at Eco Fashion Week this weekend so stay tuned for updates about it (most likely will be tons of insta+snapchat combo hehe)

Sending lots of spring love your way! 

xx Ekky

love yourself some meditation

Meditation is one of those things you know is really good for you but finding the time and, more importantly, making the effort, is usually terribly challenging. At least for me it has always been the case.

However, recently more people are talking about it, friends are trying it, it’s in the news, it’s practically everywhere. So I began to feel a true real FOMO and decided to give it an honest shot.

Without setting a set plan or goal to meditate x times y times a week (for the first time ever),  I simply allowed myself to perceive meditation as a self-care practice and just do it whenever I felt inclined to.

I meditated probably ten-fifteen times since December, just for up to 10 minutes every time. I enjoyed it, learned to notice my breath, but most times was just thinking about my day unable to let the thoughts go. Yet it has always made me feel better at the end so I continued to peacefully sit or lie down every once in a while.

And a few days ago, at a group meditation class at my office (another reason I love my job), I felt IT for the first time. I made my way back to my desk and anxiously (it was a very peaceful type of anxiety - 20 min of meditating do that to you) scribbled down what I felt and I am so excited to share it with you!

I laid flat on my back with one blanket underneath me and one on me. There was a bolster under my knees and I felt strong connection to the floor through my lower back region. I breathed in through my body like a wave. On an inhale, I sent the wave from legs to head and then on an exhale I sent the wave through my back, from head to legs.

With each thought coming, I kindly let go, without judgment, just accepting that thoughts will keep coming. There were maybe ten of them, not too many overall...

And then it started. I would describe it as a galaxy dance outside of my body but inside me. It felt as thought it was both inside and outside, and the only connection to my body I felt through my low back.

I wasn’t scared to continue that dance. I wasn’t scared at all. In fact, I wanted that dance, that spin, to continue, and most importantly, I wanted it to continue at the same pace.

The pace was perfect. It was fast but felt so perfectly in control. I was just in the state of joy from existence of that dance, knowing and accepting that eventually it will end.

But not yet.

Through darkness and blinking lights that felt like strokes of falling stars, it took me to a place where I’d never thought I’d be. It showed me a vivid, juicy image. Many images and moments, as if they were real. And they were, I knew, they were real and true.

That place it took me…It was unexpected. I never thought I would be there. Yet I was, there, loving, happy, true to myself and to the world. Aligned. Challenged. And really, really true. Images kept changing in a perfect speed, but they were all in that time and place and I was just there in them.

Coming back to the room, I had to put in a little extra bitter sweet effort. Opening eyes took few extra seconds …but now I knew.

And all of a sudden it became so easy to be.

I am so hooked now! 

I really hope you try meditation as your self-care practice and give yourself some love through it, it really is the time where you can be just you! And please, let me know your experience with it - I am so curious about this practice – I think it unlocks something divine in us and I am so excited to learn how it is for you.

Also – if you have blogs, resources or suggestions about meditation please let them here too!

One that I wanted to share that is not purely about meditation, but about eternal self-love all of us so desperately need is Zen Habits. Make sure to subscribe – every single one of Leo's letters shift my perspective and help me understand myself and the world better.

Sending you lots of Valentine’s Fire & Love ❤

xxx Ekky

perfect job series: introduction

Finding a job is tough. Finding a perfect job is tougher. Finding what constitutes a perfect job seems like a daunting task, and sometimes takes decades. But it doesn't have to. Let me explain my.

I want to start these series with a little introduction into my job-searching-landing background. 

I've worked at three companies in the past year and a half. Every time I started a job, it felt perfect. It felt like stars lined up for me to get the opportunity I was getting. Sometimes I had to do a push - think four 1.5-2-hour interviews in four consecutive days with the same company to get those stars to line up. Sometimes, it was a natural "yes" on both ends after a 30-min conversation and things just worked out naturally. 

But it was always perfect. For that particular season of my life.

  • My first job taught me complicated corporate words and structures, showed me that work can be fun.
  • My second job made me tough and helped me become strategic and realistic. It allowed me to experience various leadership styles and helped me shape my own identity as a leader. And, frankly, made me realize that you can truly dislike your job and love the experience anyways, because you simply learn so much!
  • It's too early to evaluate what my third job teaches me as I've had it just for over a month...But it's too hard not to share :P Two teaser words for you: culture & integrity.

So if you are a good between-the-lines reader, you can notice that some descriptions above seem far from perfect.

But they are. My philosophy in finding a perfect job lays fundamentally in loving the crap out of each and every experience you get, staying true to yourself and looking at every opportunity through the lens of discovery.

So if you are searching for a company to get passionate about, don't know whether your current job is serving you, considering switching fields, can't decide on a specific role, looking to define your destiny, find your dream career path, or already having the most perfect job - please join me in this conversation during this series! I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic and learn from your experience!

Have a fabulous day!!

hiking and positive thinking

truly important concepts are simple
and could be explained with truly simple examples

There is no better way to explain the power of positive thinking than with a simple hike on a BC trail.

Try thinking "I can't do this, it sucks, why am I doing this" while pirouetting from one slippery rock (or root) onto another and you'll inevitably hit your head in a painful slow-motion fall

It was raining all day yesterday, but a few friends and I went on a mini-hike regardless. The trail was slippery, I wasn't dressed for it but I was in a stellar mood.

I was stepping on all of the dryer rocks, loving the sights around and was having tons of fun.

Then a lightning-speed thought of slipping creeped into my head and I fell.

It wasn't a big fall but it was enough to hit my brain with a century-old thought of wisdom:

when you are trying to climb a mountain, or reach the top, there is no room for negative thoughts

so, few lessons learned:

- negative thoughts block creativity and cloud consciousness. fall is inevitable!

- the closer to the top you get, the more important that your mind stays clear and positive

- hikes are awesome!! let's go on one ;)


What has hiking taught you? What are other ways that help you get back to positive thinking? What hikes would you recommend in BC (or anywhere else)?
 

P.S. huge thanks to Eric and Mariel, my first-year roommate, for taking us on one amazing scenic drive, and doughnuts and Deep Cove and all the BC insights. Super stoked for Mariel to be living her dream and moving to LA, I'll be there visiting oh so very soon xx

P.S. huge thanks to Eric and Mariel, my first-year roommate, for taking us on one amazing scenic drive, and doughnuts and Deep Cove and all the BC insights. Super stoked for Mariel to be living her dream and moving to LA, I'll be there visiting oh so very soon xx

10 tips to love your 30-day yoga challenge

When I was fifteen, my mom made me sign up for a gym membership, hoping to transform me from a sneaking out party-lover to a somewhat healthy and responsible teen. I despised exercise with all my heart so I found the most low-key type on the gym menu - yoga. The condition was that I go twice a week, and so I went.

And it stuck. It wasn't a love at first sight, and it does seem like an arranged marriage, but hey, here I am eight years later adventuring through my fourth 30-day yoga challenge, and absolutely loving it. Thanks mom <3 

30-day challenges are awesome though: they taught me so much about myself; they open up channels of acceptance, love and compassion in me; they balance my mood, my life and help me become who I believe I am destined to be - a pretzel. 

If you haven't tried, I really hope you consider doing it - you will be amazed what it will do for you. I also want you to be ready for this experience so here are a few tips on loving your own 30-day challenge.

  • Celebrate your commitment! 

And not just in the beginning. The challenge, this act of kindness you are doing for yourself and those around you, really deserves a constant celebration. By celebration I don't mean going out or buying something new (although you are totally welcome to! Reward yourself ;)Just turn your mind to a celebration mode. Imagine a feeling of a Friday night. It's like, yay fireworks, you are doing it! 

  • Plan ahead.

I know that if I don't put it in my calendar - it won't happen. Every week on Sunday I lay out the schedule of my yoga studio, sit down with my iCal and map out my yoga week.

  • Do it with a friend. Or not.

I've done two of my challenges alone and two with a friend. Both experiences were enlightening in their own way. Doing it with a friend provides motivation to go, it's easier to get up at 5:30am to go to class for sure. So if your goal is to connect your practice with your day-to-day life, then doing it with a friend is ideal. But if you want to train your commitment muscle and dig very deep into your personal practice then doing it alone is the answer. It all depends on your goals. Speaking of goals...

  • Have a goal. Or not.

Usually we associate goals with work, with deliverables and deadlines. Or with something specific and achievable in our personal lives. But play with this one here - there are no rules! It is your challenge and you can have any type of goal your heart desires.  It doesn't need to be SMART; it just has to be something you want to feel.If your goal is to have fun, go for it. If it is to build your core strength, or something even more specific like "do a handstand without a wall by the end of the challenge" (my goal) - it is all great. Just focus on how you want to feel at the end.

  • Mix up class styles. 

There are so many class styles, and many studios have different names for the same kind of practice so it does get confusing. But don't let it turn you away from trying - usually instructors provide options and modifications if you need them.  Here is a quick reference of classes from the most relaxing to the most intense: restorative/yin -> hatha -> vinyasa/flow -> ashtanga/power/bikram/any hot class.

  • Track classes you attended.

It is my first time tracking this challenge and I love it. I have a page in my notebook where I dedicate a line per class naming the teacher, the type of practice, the time, location and I also rate my classes. 5 to which I would be back; 3 to which I would be back if it is at convenient time and 1 if hmmm.. it didn't work out for me. The page grows every day, I see my progress and I also can always go back and see which class and instructor I liked.

  • Try yin.

Feeling exhausted in the middle of your challenge? Yin is here for you. I would describe it as laying on the floor with blankets and bolsters and feeling extremely comfortable but I am sure there is a more spiritual sophisticated yoga definition for it. It is seriously the best. Usually mid-challenge I do yin 3-5 times a week - that's just what I need. Listen to your body.

  • Go crazy and do a yoga day.

Energized? Do a few classes a day.  I love doing a power followed by yin, or 2 flow practices, one in the AM and one in the PM. Make sure to count them all towards your challenge. That's what usually happens mostly in the beginning of the challenge for me - I like feeling like I am ahead of the game. Then it feels so good to...

  • Take a break. 

Sometimes things come up and you have to miss a day. Embrace it :) Guilt should never be a feeling you experience during the challenge. Take extra few days after the challenge to finish it or do a few classes a day. Most importantly - don't ever, ever stress about it. 

  • Nourish your body.

Yoga challenge is the best opportunity to get back on track with a healthy lifestyle and to develop more healthy habits. Don't forget to eat well, learn some new recipes, drink a lot of tea and water. I love kombucha as a post-yoga drink - bubbles add an element of celebration and we circle back to point one.

namaste

Studios I've done challenges at and highly recommend:

If you want to do it at your own pace and don't know where to start- check out Yoga with Adriene.Adriene, witty and laid-back yoga instructor is so much fun to follow along!

Great resources to check out:

If you have any questions about yoga or want me to elaborate on something I mentioned above in a separate post please feel free to message me or leave a comment!

Have you done a challenge yourself? What was your experience like? Where did you do it? Share share share!