Sunday, 31 August 2014

Concert fun times

Went to an amazing concert tonight. I was on my feet for about three hours, jumping up and down and enjoying the show immensely. We also walked about an hour and a half after the show to get back to the car. Super nice walk with a great warm breeze.

Food-wise it was tough, I had three options: Have a quick and dirty supper before the show, have food on-site (over-priced street meat) or something healthy after the show. I waited until after the show, knowing I'd still be wired and fired-up, and went to a decent 24hr restaurant and had a mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado and grilled chicken. It hit the spot and I'm glad I waited! My man regretted having his fries and said he should have opted for a salad and sandwich instead.

Even in unusual circumstances, I can't let my guard down. Not for a second. Even though I delayed my meal several hours, I knew I would not regret making the healthy choice for me :)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Change of plan and Weighing in

My allergies are really getting the best of me these past few days. Worse than they've been in many years. This morning was the worst so far. While walking at a quick pace, after about 10 minutes, I started to sneeze, nose began to run, eyes itched and it just became awful after that. It took about a couple of hours and some extra medication to look presentable again. With ragweed pollen dominating the air around here and sunny breezy days propelling it everywhere, I have to retreat to the indoors.

Change of plan: Instead of a morning walk, I'm going to do some workout DVDs instead. I've got a handful in my collection that will fit in with the 30 minute time-frame I need. 

Schedule

  • I have to adjust my wake up time to 15 minutes earlier so I can catch the bus to work and get in this workout at home. 
  • Which means I have to adjust my bedtime too. 
  • I might have to prepare my breakfast in advance the night before. Omelettes aren't so great reheated in the microwave, but I'll adjust to that too.
About my after work walk, I'll have to take it day by day. It really relaxes me and clears my head, like a walking meditation of sorts... but if the pollen clogs my head and makes me miserable... I'll walk when I can, but if I decide not to, I'll hop on the elliptical first thing when I get home and blast some tunes to help shake off the work day. 

Food-wise: Keeping it to simple meals this week, like eggs, grilled trout, salmon, chicken, flavoured with spices or fresh herbs, and lots of local veggies and some blueberries bought at the market. 

Weight-wise: 175.5 lbs, so down from last week. Slow but steady wins the race :)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Protein Shake Experiment - 5 Day Challenge

My friend has a side-line as a rep for a company that among other things, sells protein powder. For the past while she's been bugging me to give the powders a try to really lose weight and to have lots of energy in the morning.

Rise and shine? Ha ha!  I am not, and never was, a morning person. Even as a toddler, my mother says I'd be the last one to get up and last to bed. It takes at least an hour, a cup of coffee and a cold shower to get me into a state where I can hold a logical conversation :)

Maybe twice a week, I do a protein shake for breakfast, but that is only if I'm still in dreamland and am on the verge of being late for work.  I usually add in extras like a small amount of berries and some greens like spinach or kale.

So my friend has been getting more than a little pushy with the products so I said, "We'll do a blind challenge like they do with colas". She thought it was an interesting idea too.  Another friend and an acquaintance of ours also sell similar type product but from different companies so she contacted the friends, got samples of two other protein powders, then she went to the healthfood store to buy sample sizes of a couple of other brands. She then transferred the powders in to small plastic tubs labelled 1 through 5 and provided instructions on the preparation for each. I used unsweetened almond milk as my liquid of choice and prepared them using my blender (as opposed to one of those plastic shakey cups).

From Monday to Friday morning this week at 7:30am, I've been drinking down a protein shake for breakfast. I'd have half a 2-cup glass at home, then do my brisk walk, then I'd sip the other half on the bus on the way to work.

Taste: 
  • All the shakes were palatable. 
  • The textures varied somewhat, some were smooth one was rough (even after re-blending in the blender) but I'm not that picky. 
  • Some tasted like they were trying to be something else, like chocolate, it almost was but couldn't get there.
  • A couple were too sweet for me
Digestive or allergenic issues: None.

Energy levels:
  • Each worked well at getting my energy up to the point were I could complete my walk in the time that I need to catch my bus. 
  • By the time mid-morning rolled around, that's where I could tell that the shakes can't compete with real food for breakfast. I'd start to get physically hungry as in stomach growling, I'd get tired and twice had to resort to eating part of my lunch early.


Results: None of the shakes really wowed me. They'll all just okay. 

I did pick number 3, the one with more texture, as the one I liked best, which turned out to be Garden of Life Raw Protein, vanilla flavour. My man had a taste and spat it out! Ha ha! Just goes to show you this is really all subjective. My friend was sad as this is not the result she anticipated.

Afterward I got to view the ingredients lists of all products. The one I chose passed my ingredients test, although it does have stevia. 

Some of the others had:
Sugar like fructose or sugar subsitutes;
Hidden ingredients: proprietary or exclusive blends;
Ingredients lists that were way too long.

If you think a protein powder or meal replacement shake is for you, do some taste testing and be sure to read the ingredients labels and watch out for hidden sugars: http://www.hungryforchange.tv/article/how-to-spot-sugar-on-food-labels 

To put it into perspective, my breakfast this morning of a chanterelle mushroom omelette with a bit of fresh chervil, tarragon, chive and parlsey is a much better choice than any processed protein powder shake.  

I'm definitely going to make more of an effort to eat a real breakfast everyday!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wednesday Weigh-in

Since I had fun and was busy with friends, music and my man this past weekend, I've been left with a pile o'chores to do Monday, yesterday and today  after work:
  • Laundry (3 loads)
  • Light clean all over the house
  • Pull weeds
  • Mow lawn
  • Battle vines growing in hedge
Had to skip my brisk after-work walks three days in a row and I really missed it.  It's just a good way for me to clear my head after a long day in front of the computer and sort of wipes the mental slate clean of any work-related stress or particular worries I may have.  Just deeply breathing in the fresh air is just so relaxing...  except... it's allergy season for me! Achoo!

Ragweed is my sworn enemy!  It's like a having a cold from August to the first frost.  Itchy nose, sneezing, watery itchy eyes, and sometimes a tiny bit of asthma.  Over the years I've done shots, naturopathic drops under the tongue, other odd things friends have recommended, so now I'm not willing to spend any more money now on "miracle cures".  I just deal with it, always have tissues on me and try and limit the amount of anti-histamines I have to take as much as possible. 

So when I had to pull weeds yesterday, wearing thick rubber gloves, some of them were ragweed.  The kind we have here look like baby carrots, but when you pull them, you realise they are so not carrots, not at all.

As for weighing in, I'm at 177.2 lbs.  Up a wee bit from last week but I expected that.   Food-wise, I've been a little less vigilant than I should be with my portions.  I noticed last night that I was rushing my meal.  Even though I might have been hungry, at this point, there's no excuse for not taking time, slowing chewing and enjoying my meal.  

Being conscious and aware of what and how I'm eating during meals helps me stay focused. I remember when I was over 220 lbs, being in a daze during meals and during all those snacks... just shovelling it all in to fill a void. 

Exercise wise, as mentioned above, three missed 30-minute brisk walks and two missed pilates sessions. For the sake of my mental health and the great way I feel afterward, I just cannot skip out on these.

Next time I know I'm going to have a super busy weekend, I'll just whip up a schedule and actually list all the meals, activities, meet ups, workouts, and allot time for each. That way there will be no excuses, none :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Weekend Shenanigans

This weekend was a bit of an exceptional one. Usually my weekends involve chores, meeting up with friends, activity and meal prep for the upcoming week.  This one didn't involve much of that. Since my man is a musician, his gigs usually happen in bars. This time, he was a featured artist during a sort of a 8-hour Music-a-Thon, so we spent a while in this particular drinking establishment. 

During the afternoon and evening, I was able to enjoy the other music acts and sipped on soda water (seltzer) with a squeeze of lemon. Once my man's set was over (he was in good voice and did great!!) we went out for a quick bite. We went for Asian: hot and sour soup, then some stir-fry chicken and veggies, no added salt, hold the rice, hold the noodles. When we returned to the venue to meet up with friends, see and support the rest of the bands, I got a little thirsty... gin and soda water thirsty! I don't drink often, but when I do, it doesn't take much to get a buzz. Let's just say that high spirits ensued! And mischief and shenanigans. But never giving into any crazy cravings for fries or other junk food!!  A good night was had. A very good night indeed!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Coffee is Deliciously Evil and Weigh-in

This week, I'm feeling more and more in tune with my body.  More conscious.  Probably because I'm sore all over!  ha!  But really, it's feeling the muscles activate as I move, keeping good form as I go through various exercises, standing taller, having more balance, being aware of my shape in a good way.  But... also feeling that fat jiggling during more vigorous cardio workouts... and knowing that excess has got to go. And it will go, only if I keep being consistent!

So I saw this number on my scale this morning. 
And I know this number is a lie. 4 lbs lost in a week? No. It is my weight, yes, but due to what I drank yesterday, I'm sure it's a dehydrated weight :

-  Four cups of coffee before 2pm 
 (it was fresh from Columbia and freaking delicious!) 
-  A mug of green tea at about 4pm 
-  Five cups of water total for the day

This makes for an extremely diuretic day!  And one I won't repeat any time soon.  I usually only have one cup of coffee in the morning, that's it.  Yesterday was a big mistake of drinking waaaaaay too much caffeine!  Once the evening came round I felt jittery and not even remotely sleepy or relaxed.  However, I got lots of extra exercise in by going up and down the stairs to go to the washroom:)

I've started again to weigh myself every morning, which I might actually stop, but record it only on Wednesdays.  Yesterday's number was 177.8 lbs.  I'm putting a virtual asterisk on today's weigh-in.

Food-wise there are all sorts of great deals at the market, got lots of interesting lettuces, zucchinis and this week I've indulged in "peaches and cream" variety of corn on the cob.  This is the only time of year that I have it because it's local and just tastes so good.  The rest of the year, I don't have it. Except if I pop some corn at home in the air popper and that's become more of a rarity now. 

Otherwise, my food template is about the same as last week.  I just like a menu that's easy to prepare in advance and, above all, to keep things simple.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Rollin' Along

Slowly but surely I'm adding activity back into my schedule. Although I feel like going full-throttle, that's just asking for an injury. I started off slowly but this week increased the time for some activities and will continue to increase the time or difficulty every week. I am feeling the after-burn of sore muscles. Right now it's shoulders and abs.

I also dusted off my roller skates and got in some laps around the rink.  It's been a while since my derby days and I'm more than a little rusty but I had fun. I'm just glad I didn't fall on my butt! But my glutes were sore for a couple of days afterward it actually hurt to sit down and get up.









So here's basically what I've been up to...

Work Week:
Before work 30 minute brisk walk downhill
Can't count on having time at lunch for exercise but if I can squeeze it in I do
After work 30 minute brisk walk uphill
Before bed stretching: Pilates, 20 minutes

Added 3x week:
Elliptical 15 minutes followed by...
Strength training and body weight exercises like those fun-time Burpees, 20 minutes

Weekend: 
1 hour or more brisk walk or could be a hike
Before bed stretching: Pilates, however long I need to stretch
Fun: 
Bike ride
Roller skating

As for eats, about the same:

Breakfast
Coffee with almond milk or lactose free milk 

Scrambled eggs with peppers and mushrooms 
or 
Smoothie (any protein powder without whey and without sugar, plus 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 banana with almond milk or lactose free milk)

Lunch:
Big salad with tomatoes, cukes, avocado and grilled chicken 
or
Left-overs from previous night's supper

Supper:
Stir fried veggies (broccoli, carrots, peppers) and chicken
or
Roast chicken and veggies (sweet potato, onions) on a bed of spinach or kale
or 
Baked fish with green beans or carrots or whatever looked good at the market
or
Grilled bison and a big salad with avocado
or 
Crock pot chicken thighs (no skin) in a Harissa sauce (North African hot chili pepper paste with tomatoes and herbs) on a bed of kale and/or with sweet potato
AM or PM Snacks:
Either a small fruit 
or 
Carrot and/or celery sticks with tuna
or
Organic sunflower seed butter on an apple 

Before bed:
Chamomile Tea


I'm still not eating raw nuts, still too triggering - I always end up eating more than I should.


To stave off crazy cravings, I still chew way too much Sugarless gum.

Being consistent with all this is the key and this is certainly do-able. I can always change this up depending on the schedule. 

As for weight, I'm at 180.1 lbs. Down from last week so I'm good with that. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Summertime Sadness and Getting Back on Track

The weather here has been very up and down. Sunny and warm, perfect days really, then the past few days cold and now rainy and autumn-like.  Actually I had some home-made chicken soup tonight for supper. I always keep some kind of soup in the freezer in case I get sick. This time the soup was a healthy comfort; it took the chill off almost everything.

I've been going through something difficult, so I'm feeling a lot of sadness, but sad without negativity. There are things I can't control. I have them go and have faith that things will work out for the best in the end. Finding true joy again will take time and dwelling and moping in negativity is not an option. I'm focusing on changing the things I can. Like taking care of my health and fitness.

The doctor gave me the go-ahead to resume an active lifestyle, so the plan is to slowly get back to brisk walks, get back on the elliptical, do some weight training and yoga/pilates. My body is at about the same weight as it has been for the past while, 181.7 lbs, but I feel so much less fit. My arms have quickly turned flabby and my body is so stiff. It's actually very scary how quickly this happened. 

I'm glad I'm more and more able to view food just as fuel not as something to fill a void. Will ice cream make my current situation any better? Nope, it'd just be added extra calories I don't need. Would chips or pizza make me happy? Nope, they'd just make me feel dehydrated and bloated because of all that salt.

We all face stresses and set-backs. It's the way you deal with them determines whether you've made progress or not.  I'm proud I have made progress.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Stasis

Have been taking things easy. A lot of couch surfing which is something I'm actually having a hard time dealing with. You'd think that watching episodes of various HBO shows wouldn't bore me, but honestly I'd rather be more active. The weather has been so nice lately, perfect weather really, I'd rather go for a swim or a hike, but have to take it easy and heal up for another five or six days. Gentle walking and beginner T'ai Chi has been it for exercise. 

Food-wise I'm eating lots of veggies and some locally grown fruit. Example delicious peaches! I could eat a whole basketful. Peaches trucked in from other countries taste mostly like cardboard. Made some crock pot pulled pork. I can't remember which other blogger had mentioned it and I've had a hankering for some since. I've cut my portion sizes in consequence of the lighter activity so I haven't gained this week :)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Weigh-in Wednesday (a little late!) and an update

I've been basically eating clean for the most part, and when I have indulged I've been making sure that the indulgence is actually worth the calories. 
Examples: 

1) I was offered a slice of grocery store cake with cheap ingredients that I had a hard time pronouncing = not worth it!  

2) Homemade raspberry pie made with locally grown organic berries = worth it and had a normal-sized slice, not a big one!

Been having some cravings on and off for Chester's Corn Twists, one of my long list of kryptonite foods. You know, the foods that can seriously derail you and throw you way way off track.  I think it's just stress. Even though I'm still on vacation, I've had a series of doctors appointments and have had a minor procedure done yesterday. The only exercise I can do for the next few weeks is walking. That's okay since that's my main exercise anyway.

Weight is still fairly steady at 182.5 lbs.  Honestly while I'm going through this medical stuff, I'm just trying my best not to gain. Not exactly the point of a weight-loss blog, but that's how it is for now. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

No Weigh-In this Week...

...because I got a last minute invite to a friend's cottage for a few days and am nowhere near a scale. And that's okay. I'm not over-indulging and have been  keeping active by walking and now swimming, canoeing and hiking. And I'm certainly sleeping soundly at night! 

I do appreciate this lovely tranquillity, fresh air and being far from the city. But this is a summer home rather than a seasonal cottage so it's not getting back to basics... by no means. Laundry, dishwasher, TV and wifi, so it's a very comfortable getaway. No sleeping on a slowly leaking mattress in a cramped tent this year LOL

I've also been catching up on some fun novel reading. I usually don't get much of a chance during the work week; these days it's maybe a few minutes before bed. The bus is way too crowded during the commute and truth be told, I've missed my stop once or twice on account of an interesting part in a book!

On the list:

-Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding 
(third Bridget Jones book and apparently most hated by fans? We'll see. I'm about half-way through now)
-The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick 
(same author as Silver Linings Playbook)
-A couple of Scandinavian mysteries
-And of course, a couple of smutty romances ;)

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Vacation time

I'm off from work for a couple of weeks and I sure need the time off. When clients starts to irritate you, time for a break! I'm usually a mellow, go-with-the-flow type of person, but when I start getting too be a cranky pants, then it's vacation time!

No real plans. Doctors' appointments prevent any long journeys anywhere right now. Just some day-trips and playing tourist in my city. There are all sorts of festivals and lots of free music shows around.  Money is very tighter this year because of medical expenses and at the same time trying to save to buy a house. Been trying to save for a while now and it's not easy. The cost of living keeps on rising, but my salary doesn't keep pace.

I do try not to succumb to the temptation that just because I'm on a vacation, it's a free-for-all food-wise. Since it's summer, there is more tasty local produce around so there's no excuse to eat crap when tasty strawberries and veggies like lettuces, such as Swiss chard, are available and not trucked in from the other side of the world.
  
One of the hardest situations for me to navigate these days are parties and BBQs. When treats are all laid out in front of me, I am now tempted. I think it's just because I'm in a more vulnerable head-space right now. I usually bring along a fruit or veggie tray and stick with the healthy stuff and keep as far away physically from the treats as possible. I have actually left a party early when I felt like I was going to cave in. Most friends seem to understand. If they don't they are just not real friends.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

More of the same and Wednesday Weigh in

The numbers on that scale don't lie, I'm at 182.3lbs. So holding pretty well steady for the past while. I don't mind too much. This medication I've been on has been challenging. The fatigue and occasional bloating, just ick. Anyway, another month on the meds to go.

I've had some close calls with cravings and such but most of the time, I've been able to let them pass. Mostly. I did have a 1/2 cup of lime green jello this past weekend. I still have no clue why I've been craving that for the past few weeks. But that 1/2 cup did the trick and I'm not craving anymore. It's rare that I have sugary stuff. I've reduced the amounts of sugar I consume and when I do have some sweetness, it's maple syrup, honey or stevia, in small amounts.

Was a good girl on Canada Day. Did not indulge but waved my red and white flag instead!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Almost, but not quite

Had a tough day today. One of many these days. When I got home, I just wasn't in the best mood or head space. Tonight I almost binged. A small variety of delivered crap was in front of me and I could only eat a couple of pieces of white-meat fried chicken. I picked the skin off, too greasy and tasted like cigarette ashes.

Even though I consciously know not to turn to food for comfort, I still sometimes do. No matter how many books I read or how much counselling I get.  I'm just glad I was able to stop and think and act before it was too late... Before I felt bloated and sick and ashamed. 

I've thrown out the rest of the food, except the green salad. I'll save that for tomorrow.  I'm still a bit hungry, but I'm making a better choice: some wild strawberries from my garden. Cleanses the palate nicely :)  Sweet, tiny and delicious and what my body needs. Not crap processed junk food. Before bed, I'll head for a nice relaxing bath and a good think about things.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Working Hard to Maintain

You know, I just wish things were easier but they are not. So I have to deal with these issues rather than bury my face in a pile of chips or chocolates like I might have done a few years back.  I'm having to work so much harder now just to maintain at 181 lbs.  Food is being tracked. Exercise has been stepped up, literally. Still walking before and after work but also walking up and down the stairs in my house, since it's nice and cool inside :)

One thing I've slacked on this past week is hydration. I have get that water in! Especially now that we have hotter and more humid days.

I've also been getting "sausage fingers" during the walks outdoors. But that's a normal circulation issue  for me--means my body is working extra hard.

Lime Jello hankerings have been driving me a little insane, but I've been ignoring then so far. Why of all things lime jello??  Sugar, sodium, or the gelatin?  I tried limes in my water, limes and a little stevia with water... but no dice. I've got some people coming over this weekend. If I'm still hankering for this, I'll do up some jello shots for them and make a little 1 cup of the green goo for me.

I'm looking forward to some time off work soon. I love my job, but everyone needs a break once in a while. One week is okay. But with two or more away, I feel like I've really left the job and those worries behind. Even if it's just a staycation. Lots of music fests are and will be happening so I'm going to unwind to the music!

Anyway I bought a lottery ticket, a very rare purchase for me. Who knows, maybe I'll win a free ticket! Ha!