Saturday, 5 March 2016

Surviving Winter and Other Serious Things

This last month has been pretty intense here weather-wise. Lots and lots of snow here and I've been spending a lot of time after work shovelling. When the snowbank hits seven feet, yes seven, it gets hard to throw the snow over the top! And it's been so very cold. I usually like Winter, but now, not so much. It's overstayed its welcome! 

All the extra work outside does make me feel good, those calories are getting burned up, but the chill afterwards basically alters my evenings in a big way. Sometimes I have to take a long hot bath just to feel normal again. Thankfully, it looks like warm temps on are the way!!! I'm looking forward to Spring!

My mother has had her ups and downs, with a few trips to the hospital due to allergies to her new medications, and low magnesium issues, so I'm still very concerned about her health. Her doctor was very blunt with her and said she could indeed have another heart attack any time since her risk factors are still present. That's giving her motivation to do all she can not to die. She is trying her best to get back on track with diet and daily walking to avoid having another heart attack. She's started physiotherapy and strength training but finds the exercises difficult since for the past thirty years, she's not done much other than occasionally walking. We talk about all the challenges and her head is definitely in the right place. She's lost ten pounds so far.

In my last post I showed those Richard Simmons DVDs she sent me and they are a hoot!! I tried them both and yeah, I still have two big left feet. I'm not going to do them often, just when I need a fun and emotional lift.

I do have some health concerns of my own as well. I've been feeling unusually tired for the past six months or so, and I shouldn't be waking up groggy and puffy. After visiting the doctor, and getting a couple of preliminary tests out of the way, he warned me of a couple of possible issues, including possible pre-diabetes. More tests are necessary. Although he said possible, I'm not happy it right now. I thought I was out of the danger zone. Since I'm in fact still overweight, currently 166.3 lbs, and the weight is concentrated around my middle, that right there is a major risk factor.  After taking my blood pressure, which he said was a little high, he did say it could be nothing so not to worry... but I can't help it. 

So my goals for the next while are to continue to:
- exercise every day, with cardio 5-6 times a week, strength exercises 3 times per week
- eat well
- keep watch on my portion sizes
- stay low sugar, and low sodium. 

Adding in:
- try not to worry about everything 
- meditation
- warm baths
- listen to more music, less TV and Internet
- dip into savings to pay for a weekly massage 

Monday, 15 February 2016

Aw Snap!

Keeping on track this week with my food was difficult this week. I took my calories down to 1200-1300/day to see what happened and I just got hungrier and hungrier. Basically, I set myself up for failure. I scarfed down a bunch of chips without thinking. Not going to do that again. I really didn't like how I felt while eating them, almost out of control. Yeah... time to take a closer look at that issue.  Meanwhile, I'm making sure my calories stay in my sweet spot, 1500 to 1600. 

It's really super cold here! After a milder than usual January, we're now in a cold snap. When there are frostbite warnings, I don't exercise much outside at all. I did walk to the grocery store and back as always; it's not that far away. When the temps go down like this from -20C to -40C (-4F to -40F), I throw on a few layers and bundle up. Down coat with hood, and it goes down to the knee, a knit hat, long johns, tightly woven jeans and a good pair of tall boots with a thick sole (or a pair of real mukluks). My mitts are boxer glove style. I won't let the cold trap my in the house. But I'm never out longer than 30 minutes in one stretch when it gets past -30C. My workouts are indoors. Elliptical or doing DVDs. Get a load of what my mother sent me for Valentine's Day...
She's hilarious! She's trying to get healthy after a heart attck this Fall, so we're motivating one another, especially with humour. Anyway, back in the day, during a slight chubby phase, I tried to Sweat to the Oldies but failed miserably because I'm pretty uncoordinated. If I remember rightly, there are a lot of dance moves in these routines and I just couldn't keep up! I'll have to try again to see if I'm more coordinated now. Probably not :)

Friday, 5 February 2016

Better Every Day

I've continued on with a modified version of the meal plans that I posted about  last time. I did add back in chicken and fish this week. No vegetarian life for me :)  I definitely feel better with less protein, and eating more veggies. While I still get cravings for foods I shouldn't have, the different kinds of foods on the plans left me feeling more satisfied after eating. It totally got me out of the food rut I was in. Bananas are not longer a staple of my diet either. Just got bored eating them, you know? They were my go-to morning snack, now more of a once or twice a week thing. Replaced them with a few dates and a small amount of nuts.

Since it's been icy and not ideal winter weather here, I've been turning more and more to indoor workouts. I dusted off some old cardio DVDs and have been doing them about 3 x per week (Leslie Sansone as well as the Caribbean workout with Shelly McDonald).  The other 3 days are for the elliptical.  Plus some stretching right after, about 15 minutes of yoga or pilates. 

With food and exercise, I have been consistent and it's paying off. Weight 165.0 lbs  

Friday, 15 January 2016

Taming the Appetite Beast

For whatever reason, I'm feeling so very hungry these days. I haven't figured it out exactly since I have a lot going on.  It's certainly one of five factors that is almost pushing me over the edge, which includes work stress and family stress.

I'm not acting on those hunger pangs, but feeling them super-strongly. Since I'm down another pound this week, I don't want to undo any progress. Grocery shopping is the worst because I smell the baked goods, and the temptation to buy a dozen pastries is very strong. Or when passing he deli counter, falling face-first into a big tray of lasagna seems like a good idea.

I decided to change things up a little to try to stifle my appetite. Tomorrow, I'm going to finish cobbling together a vegetarian meal plan for the week, starting Sunday. I'm using the Vegetarian Times Anti-Diabetes Diet and their 7 Day Portion Control Challenge as a guide. Some of the suggestions aren't my thing, like eggplant or breakfast tacos, so I will be making modifications to my own tastes. The cost of some vegetables and fruit has gone through the roof this week, so I'll have to be flexible. 

Exercise-wise, I'm still working on being 100% consistent. I'm about 75% so far.  I do get my walks in every day. But after work, it's sometimes tough to get that evening workout done. Sprucing up my workout space did encourage me to stick with my plan. By changing the lighting and re-arranging a few things, it made the space a bit more light and welcoming. 

The fight against my sloth and gluttony continues...

Monday, 4 January 2016

Good Day Today

A quick post today! All goals kept:
  • Weighed-in this morning at 170.5 lbs. 
  • Walked 40 minutes this morning. My neighbourhood path was blocked by snow still not yet plowed away by the city, so I got off the bus three stops ahead of my usual one once I got into town, and walked to work.
  • Shovelled 15 minutes of heavy icy snow. 
  • Did a light 30 minute exercise routine this evening.
  • Ate low-sugar and low-sodium. Calories today 1765. Could have included more veggies.
  • Just about to go to bed, so I can repeat tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

In the Thick of it, and 2016 Plans

This is the first night I've had time to myself to take a bit of a break! It's been busy around here. My pre-Christmas clampdown went quite well. Ate "clean", no processed food, lots of veggies, calories in check but made an exception for two cookies made by a friend. They were delicious and I have no food regret. Office temptations were nothing to me for some reason and I was able to resist the crap. Pre-Christmas weigh-in on the 23rd was down to 169.1 lbs. 

Christmas was pretty good in all aspects. Visiting with my family is always wonderful. Travel was great as there was no snow and the weather was unusually warm. I swam lengths for a half-hour at a  hotel pool, then splashed around for another 30 minutes. So relaxing. At my Mom's since she's been out of commission, there wasn't much bad stuff around, with the exception of a box of chocolates and a box of fancy cookies. For suppers, we prepared roast meats like turkey, chicken, beef roast and assorted veggies. Baked potatoes. Others ate lasagna and that was fine. I made sure my Mom went out for her walks by going out with her. I understand how it easy it is to become unmotivated.

This week I'm in the middle of a big challenge: food every-frikking-where! Since I'm hosting friends, visiting friends, and New Years eve and day are bigger events than last year. Last night, huge multi-course supper. Oof! All good healthy food, no deep-fried nor any cheese-laden things, but just too much of it. And each course served with alcohol. Yes I've been drinking a lot of calories this week. Am going to stop now so I don't drink through the New Year. 

On the good side, it's snowing now and I've been exercising by shoveling snow out of the driveway: An hour this morning and another half-hour this afternoon.

Plan for 2016: Consistency with food and exercise, and becoming more fit and healthy.  I weigh pretty much the same as last year at this same time, and have bounced up and down a little, but not much. For my height, which is short-far from statuesque, 160s/170s is still obese. 

Once I get back into the daily routine on January 4th, I'll be doing the following to ensure I'm moving toward fitness rather than staying in the same rut:

  • As always, eating a paleo-ish template with low-sugar and low-sodium. I plan to track and keep calories under 1800.

  • Every work-day morning: Walking 40 minutes to the public transportation station (through snow, sleet or shine).
  • Every work-day evening: 30 minutes of Body-weight exercises to build muscles.
  • Every work-day night: Getting into the bed before 11pm in order to wake up in time to walk in the morning.

Weekends are not always spent at home, sometimes I travel to my mom's... so...

  • Weekend mornings: Walk 40 minutes wherever I am, even if it's outside around the block or inside in a mall 100 times!
  • Weekend nights: Not succumbing to temptations through booze to eat what I shouldn't.

I'll post a post-holiday weight on the 4th. I don't think it'll be much over 170, but we'll see :)

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Start of Holiday Madness

We're in the beginnings of Holiday Madness around here. Parties, pot-lucks, restaurants, concerts, shopping, decorating and not forgetting to keep up with Marie Kondo style of tidying up all my stuff from top to bottom. I'm in the middle of shredding old bills and other paperwork that I'd stored in a huge filing cabinet. Want to get down to one binder for all my paperwork. Big challenge.

As for the eating, and the scale, I'm happy to report all is well on that score: Down to 171.2lbs. I've been counting calories, watching my portions closely, eating lots of veggies, and making sure not to snack on junky crap, especially this time of year when the office is filled with it. I am tempted, I can't lie about that. And I do go to bed with the feeling that I "need" to eat something more (which I really don't) but I'm ignoring that feeling. For the first time in a long while, I'm actually waking up hungry, not starving but hungry. 

Other than that, the weather has been so amazingly warm here! I've been walking outside, and even bike riding! This is unheard of in these parts at this time of here. We're usually deluged in drifts of snow! I've been sticking to making sure I get my heart pumping regularly, and de-stressing with yoga t'ai chi or simple stretching before bed.

These next few weeks, and into the New Year will be tough and challenge-filled, but I'm going to hang on and do what it takes to keep feeling good and healthy.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Weigh-in, and it just happens to be Wednesday

Tough month this past month and the scale shows it. Although I thought I had my emotional eating under control, I still make mistakes. Scale shows 175.9 lbs. So a jump up of about 10 lbs. 

Now that I'm back home and back to my routine, I know the weight will come off soon enough. However, the reality is that I've been in the high 160s for a long time now. And it's just not a healthy weight for me. If only I were a taller woman... :)

My mother survived her heart attack, my grandfather and father both died from heart attacks, some family members have naturally high cholesterol despite perfect diets and healthy lifestyles... for my health now and for the future, I know I've got to make changes before it's too late. There have been small signs that the universe has been trying to tell me something, this latest sign was a biggie. I can't just ignore it and pretend everything is the same.

The plan is to get back to what works for me. For the next month, I'll be on a strict Paleo template with calories of 1600 to 1800 per day and tracking everything. Add in at least 30 minutes of walking per day, and to start back with cardio five days a week, along with T'ai Chi or yoga. That gets me to Christmas.

This year, since my mother's still recovering, I'll be cooking most of the Christmas Eve supper, which for us is the important meal of the holidays, and is called the Réveillon. I'm likely going to prepare a baked salmon or a trout almandine with roasted vegetables. I haven't planned the rest but there's still lots of time. We're going to a hotel buffet for Christmas supper (my mother's choice), so there will be all traditional fixings.

In honour of American Thanksgiving, I'll be watching Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter. Love their supper with competing birds, one organic the other not. Although the movie is funny and touching in places, it makes me value my own family all the more !!!