Friday, 29 April 2011

Mental Roadblocks

It took me about 10 months to lose 12lbs. I started off at 212lbs and just couldn't picture myself getting back into the 100's. For all that it was just a number on a scale, dipping below 200lbs just didn't seem real.

Now I'm 40lbs less but in the same situation. My mental roadblock is getting into the 160's. I've gotten down to 170lbs twice since last summer. This time I'm going to succeed and push past that number into the 160's!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Hungry Monster has arrived!

Last week was so easy for losing weight, thanks to the fact that I was sick and just didn't feel like eating. I wasn't exercising (other than coughing) but cutting back on food was a breeze. No snacks, I wasn't hungry for them. Light meals and I was often full before I finished. At 8pm I was getting ready for bed and was a lot more interested in crawling into bed than having something to tide me over until morning.

This week is another story. I got up this morning and had to eat before exercising because I was so hungry. It's like my stomach is it's own entity... and it's a perpetually grumpy, pissed off entity growling "I'm hungry... feed me!!!" Within an hour of feeding the beast, it's back up and demanding more.

It's only 2:30pm here and I'm snacking on an apple in the hopes of quelling the Hungry Monster until a bit closer to dinner. The wind's *only* gusting to 56km/h now and it's currently not raining. I think I'll head across the street for a brisk walk to keep my mind off my stomach!

Update: I had a good brisk walk and did not get blown away by the wind. As you can see from the picture there's a *bit* more green and a lot more water thanks to all the rain we've had this week. I went out grocery shopping with my daughter last night and we picked out thin veggie patties and whole wheat WW buns along with low-fat, low-sodium frozen fries. We looked for lower sodium pickles too (that was interesting LOL). Burgers, fries, and home made fat-free chocolate pudding. I'm also making a salad. It should be good!

Monday, 25 April 2011

I love where I live!

There's a lot going for our location. We're directly across the street from a grocery store and big drug store. We live minutes away from family. We have four busses all within steps of our complex (including two that take us to our local YMCA). But one of my favourite things about where I live is how close we live to a park.

I walk out the side door of our building and down the street and I'm here...

... within minutes I can pretend I'm in the woods instead of in town. Listening to the birds... looking for rabbits... oohing over flowers...

If I want to go on a long walk then I usually catch the regional bus right beside the park and head into the next town over for a longer trail. Our local trail has a few quirks. The paved path starts midway through the park and is quite short. The rest of the path can get quite muddy and overgrown. And a chunk of the path is mainly used by the local teen population in search of a quiet place to hang out.

I headed out this morning for a walk knowing I'm not going to get another chance until next weekend. It started raining early this afternoon and isn't due to stop until sometime on Friday. It was quite dull out and chilly (especially compared to Saturday) but there were signs that spring really is coming. Greening grass, a few hardy blooms, buds opening on trees. I took a picture of myself at the top of a small local cliff (one usually only seen by local teens) and you can see how dull everything looks behind me.

Hopefully the buds I was looking at today... and this week's worth of rain... will make next weekend's walk more green!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Today's positive steps

I woke up feeling about 95% better today. Looks like the website I found yesterday was right when it said the 4th through 6th days are the worst then recovery starts on the 7th day. Today's the 7th day and I'm so glad to be feeling better!

This morning I went to a community meeting to listen to and speak with our local Liberal representative and Bob Rae. I've got pictures of me with them on my Facebook page too (which means I'll never be allowed in a Conservative rally LOL). I showed up at the meeting to discover they'd set out a box of a dozen doughnuts plus two bowls of treats (mini chocolate bars and suckers). The fridge was also well stocked with regular soft drinks. I got a glass of water.

After lunch I went out for a walk with teenage son and a friend of mine to a local green space. It wasn't a brisk walk, but considering the lack of exercise I've had this week, it was a good start for me. Plus it was gorgeous out, we left our coats in the car and halfway through the walk I was wishing I'd put on shorts. Considering yesterday was about 6C that was amazing!

Teenage son really wanted ice cream so we went to a nearby ice cream parlour for a treat. Son picked out a huge double-scoop treat in a chocolate dipped waffle bowl. I picked out a kiddie cone of orange sorbet (roughly 80 calories according to the Chapmans website). Bonus is I got full before I ate the cone and gave it to teenage son (who's going through a growth spurt and is perpetually hungry).

And for dinner tonight I made vegetarian hot and sour soup and a garden salad... followed with fresh strawberries for dessert.

I'm looking forward to seeing the scale go into the 160's next week and I know I can do it!

Friday, 22 April 2011


I picked up this cold on Sunday so I figure I should be getting to the tail end of it soon. Thank goodness because my coughing sounds like a cross between an 80 year old chain smoker and a cat coughing up a fur ball. My poor son couldn't decide whether to attempt the Heimlich maneuver or call 911. Once I stopped coughing he settled for a semi-sympathetic "Gee Mom... you sound really sick. Why don't you go to bed and let me on the computer?"

I managed to work my whole 8 hour shift at work today (I suspect my coworkers weren't entirely sure I'd make it LOL) and it was busy! Actually the busy was a good thing as it kept me moving and made the shift go by quickly.

I made a very simple dinner of spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce tonight. The pasta was my usual brand - PC Blue Menu Spaghetti with Omega-3. I like it because it tastes like plain white pasta but has 6g of fibre per serving and 13g of protein. The sauce was a quick sauce made with a can of no salt added diced tomatoes, a can of PC Blue Menu roasted red pepper and tomato soup, and diced peppers, onions, and celery (with herbs and garlic added for flavour). I often roast veggies for added flavour but that just wasn't happening tonight!

I toyed with the idea of heading out for a walk after dinner but the temperature's hovering around 6C, the wind was picking up, and the clouds were rolling in. And my last few coughing fits took a lot out of me. I'm counting them as cardio and core exercises and heading off for a bath instead! According to the forecast, tomorrow afternoon is supposed to be cloudy periods and a high of 16C... that sounds like wonderful walking weather.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Somebody call a waahhhmbulance!

I took a couple of cold tablets last night and crashed by 10pm, hoping to get a great night's sleep and start feeling better today. Then our building's fire alarm went off. No smoke on our floor but we could smell a plastic burning smell by our bathroom (the ventilation system is shared between units). We were outside in less than a minute. Bare feet in winter boots and converse runners (poor teenage daughter's toes)... shrugging on coats as we exited the building.

I snagged my cellphone on the way out, just in case the fire was close enough we wouldn't be allowed back in, and took a few pictures. The fire was close enough to our apartment that we were worried about sparks landing on our balcony (some did but they all went out). Luckily far enough from the fire that we were allowed inside after just over an hour. I don't know where the 10 units on the 6th floor ended up.

We walked inside our apartment, ready to go to bed, and discovered puddles through the kitchen and living room. Warm puddles of smoky brown water (the puddles reeked!). Soon I discovered there was water pouring down the inside of the wall between the living room and kitchen. My own personal waterfall except I couldn't see it.

By 4am I had almost every single towel we own (bath, beach, kitchen, and hand) sopping wet and heaped in the sink. I was falling asleep on my feet and the water just kept pouring. I stuck a big polar fleece blanket on the kitchen floor (with a towel) and a bath towel plus my living room throw and the last two kitchen towels on the living room floor. Then I unplugged the computer, stuck anything electronic on a shelf and went to bed.

Not quite three hours later I woke up. The water had thankfully stopped pouring and the towels and blankets were sodden with water. There was another puddle in the living room. I piled every wet item into my bundle buggy as fast as I could and dragged them, water streaming behind me, down to the laundry room. When I got upstairs the kids had mopped the puddles off the floor so I gave the floor a quick dry and a mop with clean water and vinegar. Everything is back in place, the laundry is done and put away, I made even the kids their Easter chocolates. There was a lot of luck there. I was going to make them yesterday and store them on the balcony but both kids were home sick.

But now here I sit. I'm so cold I'm shaking, even with the heat up and a blanket wrapped around me. I am so tired I could cry. And I have no idea in the world what to make for dinner. Not only that but the grocery stores are closed tomorrow so if I don't get out shopping tonight, I don't know what we'll eat tomorrow either. Canned pumpkin and chickpeas on rice anyone? Hopefully one of my kids will have a burst of energy when they get home and I can bribe someone to head out.

For the positive side. I have the Physical Challenge for the Wii today. For those who have never used the My Fitness Coach, every 10 workouts you have to weigh and measure yourself then do a variety of exercises and measure your pulse. When I weighed myself this morning the scale read 170lbs... leaving me at a 42lb weight loss (woo hoo... meaning of life!). Next week I plan to be in the 160's!

I didn't bother watermarking the pictures because a) I'm too darn tired and b) they're so crappy I can't imagine anyone stealing them in the first place LOL

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

40 pound weight loss

I weighed myself this morning and was thrilled to discover I've lost 4lbs this week... bringing me down to 172lbs. My start weight on January 1st 2009 was 212lbs which puts me at a 40lb loss.

I figured I'd search up a bunch of 40lb objects on Google to get a tangible idea of how much I'd lost but didn't have much luck. I did find a few pictures though.

Here's a 40lb motor bike and...

A 40lb dog. I didn't add a link to the original photo because it was on one of those "Google Answer" pages and I couldn't even find the photo on the page (the dog is named Zoe). And...

40lbs of sweet potatoes. I didn't find many photos but I found enough to be glad I've lost that 40lbs! I've noticed a huge difference in how I feel already. I'm sick right now (along with most of Canada LOL) but I can't remember the last time I had a cold like this. Before I had a cold about once a month.

I really noticed it when it comes to donating blood. You can donate once every three months which adds up to about 4 times a year (depending on when the clinics fall). Looking at the back of my blood donor card for the last 7 donations I donated on:

July 14, 2007
December 8, 2008
April 13, 2009
December 19, 2009
November 20, 2010
January 22, 2011
March 19, 2011

My previous donation had been in 2006 so I missed three donations in 2007, three in 2008, two in 2009 and three in 2010. Most of those appointments were made then cancelled because I was sick. I haven't missed a donation since November (my next is in another month).

I have approximately 32lbs to go before I reach my goal weight. I'm looking forward to becoming even healthier!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Making choices

I was sick all day yesterday and never got around to blogging (or exercising for that matter). A rousing game of Mario Kart tired me out... enough said LOL.

Today I worked for 3 1/2 hours and got sent home early plus my boss found someone to cover my shift for tomorrow. One of my coworkers offered to perform the Heimlich maneuver during one of my coughing fits... also enough said LOL.

We had frozen pizza for dinner tonight. Not the best option although not the worst. I had it with a tossed salad and a glass of skim milk. I'll probably never buy the pizza again. It was billed as a garlic bread bruschetta pizza but for me it was too bland and too sweet. I'd rather make a more flavourful (and less fatty) pizza myself.

After dinner I needed to stop by work and told my son that if he walked with me I'd pick up a treat for him. I'd been all set to buy a new doughnut, similar to a boston cream but with caramel filling and toffee sprinkles. I'm glad I didn't as the doughnut (at 330 calories and 11 grams of fat) had the exact same amount of calories and almost as much fat as the pizza. I got two timbits instead.

And now I'm having a mug of tea instead of a mug of hot chocolate. And hopefully tomorrow I'll feel well enough to pull out the My Fitness Coach in the morning!

UPDATE: I thawed a container of egg whites and roasted veggies to make a wrap on Monday and it turned out very well. I'll be taking another one with me to work on Friday for my morning break!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Blissful Bubbles

I woke up this morning, exercised with the My Fitness Coach for 15 minutes then headed off to work. I walked home after work with wind and snow slapping me in the face. Came home to my teenage son still feeling crummy.

I keep trying to tell myself that I feel fine but I'm coughing, exhausted, and my back and head hurts. So tonight's a night of bubbles. I just finished a mug of hot chocolate (took the above picture simply because I thought the bubbles looked neat) and I'm heading off for a warm lavender bubble bath and some advil.

I'm hoping a relaxing evening and a good night's sleep will help. My fingers are crossed I'm not coming down with what my son has. At least my throat isn't hurting (yet). And luckily I've got tomorrow off.

I can't say much about today health wise (cough cough) except to say I did exercise and, other than my hot chocolate haven't eaten anything junky. Hopefully I'll wake up feeling great in the morning.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Not good enough

It's funny how three little words can have such a big impact. A year and a half ago I started using a Wii game called My Fitness Coach almost every morning for 15 minutes. It was my exercise and I made a point to carve out time for it, even getting up at 5:20am so I could fit it in before work.

I did this for a year and lost 40lbs during that time. But then something funny happened. I started looking at other people's weight loss and exercise efforts and suddenly my 15 minutes seemed like nothing, a worthless effort compared to hour(s) long workouts and long runs. What did I think 15 minutes a day would accomplish?

So last summer I pretty much stopped using the My Fitness Coach, figuring that going to the Y two or three times a week would be better anyways. And here I've sat for a year, hovering between the same three pounds.

Three little words...

Now I'm working on three new little words "consistency is key". Sure, it's only 15 little minutes but it's 15 minutes every single day, seven days a week. That adds up to almost 2 hours a week. That's a lot of exercise to cut out because it's not good enough.

Those same little words apply to what I'm eating as well. It's easy to make excuses for "treats". I worked hard today and only got a chance to drink half my hot chocolate this morning... I'll make a second mug as a treat. I'm hungry and don't feel like cooking right now... I'll order in from the restaurant next door as a treat. We're getting off the bus right beside the cupcake store... let's pick up one each as a treat. Ice cream for dessert? Okay, it'll be our treat. Before long treats are a several times a day occurrence.

Consistency is key... healthy eating means eating healthy foods pretty much all the time. There's room for treats but they should be the exception and not the norm.

Today's been a chilly and gloomy day. I exercised with the My Fitness Coach for 30 minutes instead of my usual 15 to make up for the fact that I'm not going anywhere for a walk. The farthest I've gone today is across the street to pick up antibiotics for my son (who's still feverish and has slept almost all day) and I half expected the wind to blow me even farther. I've eaten good choices today and have a healthy and low fat dinner planned for tonight too.

While I was at the drug store waiting for my son's prescription, I used the blood pressure machine and came up with these results.

I'm pleased with the results and am looking forward to seeing them go lower. According to Shoppers my blood pressure is in the optimal range and the range above it is normal. But according to the Mayo clinic, my blood pressure is in the normal range and the range above it is prehypertension. Makes me glad I'm not in Shoppers "normal range".

Friday, 15 April 2011

The best laid plans

I think one of the hardest things about dieting is the fact life does not flow smoothly. Life doesn't follow our plans.

I got up this morning knowing today was going to be a busy day. An 8 hour shift at work followed immediately with a knee ultrasound for my daughter. And my son wanted to use the elliptical at the Y then go for a swim. I figured we'd come home from the ultrasound, grab a quick bite to eat and head right out to the Y.

My first bump occurred moments after I got my daughter up for school and one of her first comments to me was "My stomach's bugging me. I feel sick." I called her school while running into work.

My second bump came when I was leaving work and discovered my son was home sick and had been since lunchtime. I don't have a phone near me at work.

Of course that meant that exercising at the Y was off for sure. Son's feverish and coughing several times a minute.

Third bump came courtesy of Mother Nature. I've got tomorrow off and planned on taking a good long walk in the sunshine. It was freezing today but I figured I'd just wear a winter coat again and walk fast. That was until I called my sister and she commented on all the rain we're supposed to get tomorrow. Yep, pouring rain all day tomorrow with a high of 6C.

On the plus side I did exercise with my Wii this morning before work and I was active all day at work. Tomorrow, since it's raining I'll exercise for 30 minutes with the Wii instead of my usual 15 minutes and I'll continue to eat healthy as well. It won't be what I planned but it still will be healthy.

Life is never going to flow smoothly. There is no time that our plans will go without interruption. No time there isn't a holiday, party, family dinner, picnic/barbecue, or vacation full of treats and lots of relaxation. The only way to be successful is to realize that life is not going to give us perfect opportunities. We need to do the best we can with what we've got. And, with that, I'll leave you with a quote...

"If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin."

-Ivan Turgenev

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Breakfast Prep

I was thinking yesterday morning about how nice it would be to have a scrambled egg for breakfast, all mixed with yummy veggies. Which works well on the weekend if I have a day off but not so well on school days or days I work.

I thought about it a bit more and decided to precook veggies and add a 1/4 cup egg whites and a 1/4 cup veggies to small storage containers and freeze them. Then I can thaw them overnight and scramble them up in the morning.

I picked up a bunch of fresh veggies this morning and got all my containers prepped.

I haven't tried a frozen one yet but I whipped up a wrap with the same scrambled egg mixture today and it worked out really well.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

My diet (and a recipe)

I have been a vegetarian for about two decades now. I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian in my early 20's for ethical reasons and it wasn't until I was in my 30's that I started paying more attention to the health reasons. These days I'm still a vegetarian. I eat free range eggs, drink skim milk and avoid all other animal products (including rennet and gelatin).

I try to eat as natural as possible, avoiding artificial sweeteners and highly processed food. Some days it's easier than others. Both my teens love "Yves Veggie Ground Round" in tacos, chili, and spaghetti sauce and both love "President's Choice Blue Menu the world's best meatless breaded chicken strips". While both are processed they're high in protein, low fat, and contain fibre which makes them worth my while to add to our diet as a treat. And eating naturally makes it tricky buying yogourt some days. Both my teenage daughter and I sigh over the dessert lines for yogourts but with artificial sweeteners and gelatin in them they just don't seem worth it - even with the leopard print designs and the 30-something calorie servings. Astro has a line of gelatin free yogourt and I buy the one with the least calories (100 calories per cup).

I often get comments and questions when people find out I'm a vegetarian and usually they're the same ones over and over (and over and over LOL). The comments tend to be "I thought about becoming a vegetarian but..." and end with either "I love meat too much" or "I couldn't do it, I'm just not cut out to be a vegetarian". The fact is that even people who love the taste of meat become vegetarian. No one who knew me thought I'd stick with being a vegetarian as I was a huge meat eater. Even as a baby I used to cry for bacon. And I have to wonder what on earth people were eating that they couldn't be a vegetarian. I get that not everyone can be a vegetarian. Someone who's allergic to wheat, soy, nuts, peas, nightshade plants, milk, and oranges is going to find eating a vegetarian diet a tad tricky for example. But I wonder how many people became junk food vegetarians as teens, subsiding on macaroni and cheese with fries (hold the gravy) and twizzlers then gave up on the whole idea of being a vegetarian when they became anaemic.

The main question I get is "what on earth do you eat?" and the answer is "pretty much what everyone else eats but without the meat". We eat spaghetti with homemade vegetable-tomato sauce, soup, chili, curry, tacos, lasagna and so on. Plus lots of salads (my teenage daughter loves spinach salads), fresh fruit, and fresh veggies. And muffins... healthy homemade muffins :o) Which leads to my recipe (based on my Mom's banana bread recipe).

Low Fat Banana Berry Muffins
~ makes 16 muffins

1¾ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ cup ground flax
½ cup sugar
¼ cup pureed mixed berries (thinned with grape juice enough to blend)
2 tbsp vanilla yogourt
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 medium mashed ripe bananas
½ orange (juice and zest)

Preheat oven to 350F and spray muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Grate orange zest into a small bowl then cut and squeeze the orange into the bowl. Mash bananas with the orange and add berry mixture. Set aside. Blend flour, baking powder, salt, soda, and spices. Stir in flax.

In a separate bowl stir together sugar, applesauce and egg whites.

Add dry ingredients alternately to wet ingredients with mashed bananas. Blend well after each addition. Scoop ¼ cup batter into the muffin pans. Bake for 25 minutes.

Consistant Exercise

I recently realized that when I joined our local YMCA my exercise went down. Before I joined the Y, I was using a Wii Game called the My Fitness Coach and exercising for 15 minutes almost every morning.

It's not an exciting program. Maya, the computerized personal trainer, is very obviously computerized and it has some glitches like occasionally tossing you the same exercise 4 times in a row (Swim2 again?). But I don't have to travel to get there and I can get up 20 minutes earlier before work and get some exercise in.

When we got our Y membership I was thrilled with all the options. Swimming, a walking track, exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, a bunch of classes. Except life keeps getting in the way. Ooo... boxfit's this Thursday evening. Oh... teenage daughter has a dentist appointment at the same time and can't sign the paperwork. And it's easy after working on my feet for 8 hours to say "I've had enough exercise today, I'll go next week". Not to say we never get to the Y, we're usually there twice a week. But a 45 minute long session and half an hour on the elliptical don't add up to seven 15 minute sessions. And usually isn't every week.

Two days ago I bought myself a new exercise mat and ball from our local Shoppers Drug Mart and, starting yesterday morning, I decided I am going to exercise for 15 minutes a morning every morning PLUS hit the Y on both Monday and Thursday for Bars & Plates and Boxfit. I'm dragging my teenage son with me (teenage daughter has a knee injury and won't get dragged until we sort out exactly what's wrong with her knee). Anything else we get done at the Y will be a bonus.

What are you doing for exercise?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The backstory

I didn't worry much about dieting or exercise for much of my adult life. Life was too short to avoid eating yummy food and it was much too short to waste my time in gyms. Every once in a while I'd look at myself and think "it would be nice to lose some weight". I'd make an attempt for a couple of weeks then dive into chocolate (preferably bags of milk chocolate chips) and forget about it again.

December 2008 I decided that I really needed to lose weight. I set New Year's Day 2009 to be my start date and signed up at SparkPeople that day. I was floored to realize I weighed 212lbs and figured I'd be at my goal weight of 140lbs by September. I even had a little chart with all my weight loss milestones and my reward for reaching those goals (ahh... so naive... so innocent). My biggest downfall was weight fluctuations. There's not much more frustrating then struggling for a month and a half to lose 8lbs only to weigh yourself and discover you've regained six pounds in a week. Sure, it's only water weight but it was enough for me to say "screw the diet... if all my hard work can disappear in a week what difference does it make".

That July I watched as my life spiraled out of my control. And in the middle of all my troubles my Mom got around to loading her spring photos onto her computer and emailed me a couple. One was a picture of me sitting at a picnic table that May. To say it was a shock would be an understatement. I'd put a lot of effort into looking good that day and was wearing my favourite capris, my favourite shirt, and a vest I loved. This was not the me I pictured when I imagined myself.

I decided as soon as I saw my picture that, while I couldn't do anything about issues beyond my control, I could do something about my weight. By the end of the following July I'd dropped down to 170lbs... a 42lb loss. By the following week I'd bumped back up to 173lbs and I've been bouncing between 173lbs and 176lbs ever since.

I've made a lot of positive steps since July 2009. I'm eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, walking more, and we joined our local YMCA last summer. But after stalling, weight loss wise, for 8 months I felt it was time to do something different. Something that forced me to think about what I'm doing daily and make myself accountable in writing. I stink at food journalling and counting calories but I can blather for hours so I figured a blog would be my best option :o)

I'll leave you with a more recent photo of myself, taken myself after I cut my own hair last month.