Saturday, 28 February 2015

50 Days of Cold

This has been a long winter. Long. The canal in the city where I live has been open for skating for a record-breaking fifty days in a row. Meaning it's been cold enough to keep that ice nice and frozen solid for all this time. I have strapped on the skates and done the 14K back and forth along the length more times than I thought I would. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Seriously, you do get nice and warm... once you get going :) 

Since I don't skate with my camera anymore (2 broken ones), here's a link to pics by the National Capital Commission for any skating fanatics: Rideau Canal Flickr Set

Although I have been fighting against excessive weight gain due to the meds I'm on, I was surprised this week to see that number on the scale dip into the mid-160s. I think it's because I've been more conscious about tracking my every single activity and getting up and moving, even though that bone-tiredness creeps in.

Food-wise, mostly good choices made. An experiment to try to wean myself off coffee worked so-so. I had three work days coffee free, and I felt good. Just a little groggier than usual at the start of the day. Since I only drink one measured cup, with a little lactose-free milk and sometimes some stevia, there are no big withdrawal symptoms.

Plans for this week: Watch the finale of Parks and Recreation on the pvr. 
And follow the sound advice of my favourite Ron Swanson quotation:
Intensity: Give 100%. 110% is impossible. Only idiots recommend that.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Baby, it's Cold Outside!!

If I'm writing that it's cold, it truly means it's Cold! Normally I do love the winter, but by now we usually get a break in the cold.  A little warm spell, a little hope that Spring will come again... someday.  This year it seems like more and more days than not, I'm wearing my heavy-duty winter gear.  My mind is fighting against my inner lazy bear: Must Not Hibernate!!  The elliptical in my basement has been my escape from laziness. Weight is status quo. 

Food-wise my choices haven't been super this past week.  Had some hot chocolate from a Tim Hortons and regretted it later.  Let's call it digestive distress.  Not sure if it was the lactose or the large amounts of sugar or a combo of the two.  Never again.  I can make better tasting and better quality warm drinks at home: Coffee with freshly ground organic beans, or a cup of tea brewed from loose leaves (yep, organic too). 

Looking over my food journals and MyFitnessPal on Sunday, I noticed a bad trend; I've been turning more toward sugar and bready carbs to help "feel" warm. So I went to the store and stocked up on some good stuff and did some food prep for the week: 

-Made some chili with variety of beans and ground chicken instead of beef. 
-Roasted a chicken with a bunch of root vegetables; carrots, potatoes, parsnips, onions and a ton of garlic.
-From the chicken bones, made some stock and made a pot of chicken soup and also made a butternut squash soup. 

There were some nice Medjool dates, oranges and grapefruit on sale, so far they are filling that craving for some sweetness.

Leaving you with a fave song by James Brown that makes me get off my couch!





Saturday, 7 February 2015

Quiet Saturday

For the first time in a while, I'm spending a quiet Saturday at home. I've had a lovely morning walking about 5K, then cooling down by listening to The Beatles, The Police, Fleetwood Mac and a bunch of new alternative rock/folk music. On my brunch menu: an omelette with mushrooms, peppers and cherry tomatoes. And a big cup of coffee, a real treat for me since I usually limit it  to one measured cup per day.  I've switched to an organic brand of bean and find the taste to be even more addictive!

I'm going to head out soon, walk to the store, get some groceries, do some food prep for the coming week and settle in for a quiet evening with a good movie.

Weight-wise, I'm steady as she goes. Still in the high 160s. It's been hard not to gain. The medication I'm on makes it a real battle against fatigue. But keeping strict track of what I'm eating through my food journal and MyFitnessPal has made it a little easier.

We've got a lot of snow here recently, but nothing like last year, thank goodness! On average, about once or twice a week, I do have to spend an hour or two shoveling. Since it's been very cold the snow that falls is nice fluffy snow, which is so much easier to handle than the heavy wet kind that falls when the temperature is warmer, like near freezing. 

So I've been thinking about the future quite a bit lately and not being too sure about what it holds.
Maybe it's just because January was a long and dark month here that my thoughts are turning more inward. The more than 50 lbs I've lost and am pretty sure won't be back... Satisfaction or sometimes lack of satisfaction in my career... My life and the direction it's heading... The future in general. Trying not to navel-gaze too excessively, just trying to make the best choices and decisions that I can.

"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time" -Abraham Lincoln.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Take a Walk

Walking is my main way to cope with the stresses of daily life. Most times, at the end of the work day, the walk gives me the energy I need in the evening to get my chores and meal prep done. Rather than nestling into couch and watching TV and wasting the night away.

This winter I've had a mostly no-excuses view on getting in my daily walk... frostbite warnings and icy conditions excepted. On those days, I hop on the elliptical but it's not the same. I miss that fresh air, the sound of my boots crunching on snow and moving my legs through the snow or cold.

My grandmother absolutely loved walking every single day and stayed trim despite her love affairs with butter and salt. Living into her 90s, she still loved to walk, even if it was just around the nursing home grounds. 

One of the challenges I have is staying out the path of cars while keeping visible at the same time.  Reflective tape is plastered on my jacket and splash pants. My sub-urban neighbourhood has no sidewalks. Just wide streets. The main roads will have sidewalks, but as a municipal cost-cutting measure, only one sidewalk on the street gets plowed in winter. As described in this news story called Better urban design could add years to your life, hopefully planners  are waking up.

Weight and food-wise: status quo. I'm the same weight as the last weigh-in. I'm keeping track of food in a little notebook and on MyFitnessPal. 

Leaving with a fave track from my playlist, a musician from the UK named Kwabena Adjepong but goes by Kwabs. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wrap it up Already

Long time, no post! In my case it doesn't mean I've fallen face-first into a bucket of  ice cream or chips; I've just been busy. And the interwebz and/or my outdated browser ate my Holiday Wrap-up post on Saturday!

Before the holidays I was sick with pneumonia. After recovering I was able to start to catch up on all the to-do lists I have laying around here. Got all purchases made for Christmas and healthy baking for home was done! However... over the holidays, my mother became very ill with influenza as well as an intestinal infection. She had a hard time breathing and chest pain so wound up in the hospital. 

All that coughing and the virus made her pretty weak, so I became caregiver over the holidays and beyond. I mean over a week of fatigue, severe coughing, some fluid on the lungs, and severe body aches. My mother is doing much better now. Everyone around but me seemed to have caught the flu. I didn't get the vaccination for it this year, so I'm not sure why it passed me by.

It was nice (in a way) to be busy with caring for others to forget my own worries. Too busy to dwell on things I can't change. One thing was at the forefront of my mind: Focus on health. This affected every single decision I made in regard to what I ate, and what activity I was able to squeeze in.
  • We had a "Green Christmas" this year so no snow, but rain. I usually take a long walk on X-mas Eve but walking on ice is pretty treacherous, so I improvised. I went to a local hotel (nothing else open early on Christmas morning) and asked to used their pool to swim a 5k instead of walking it... It's faster to walk it.
  • Since my mother was sick, she didn't get around to making/buying all the Christmas treats she wanted. Less temptations strewn around is always a good thing in my book!
  • My indulgences were planned beforehand: A small handful of Chicken Bones (the chocolate-filled cinnamon candy not the actual chicken), SIL's home-made cookies (too good, so I quit after two), slice of apple pie, a bowl of popcorn and some alcohol (I rarely drink anymore)
  • Becoming an expert soup-maker has its advantages: lots of delicious left-overs.
  • Not being judgemental when it comes to the bland or low fibre diet for those who are sick. If white bread toast and white rice, soup and applesauce is all the body can handle, so be it.
  • Taking care of everyone else doesn't mean I can't take care of me.
Now that I'm back home, that long to-do list is still there and bigger than ever. I'm knocking one item off the list at time. Otherwise, I'd just too stressed out... and for me that leads down the road to bad decisions!

In terms of my own health, I'm back on a medication that I was on this past summer. It's nothing obesity related and not an anti-depressant. A lot of people gain weight on it, but I was able to maintain when I was on it before. Fatigue and weight gain are some of the possible side effects. More exercise to stay at the same weight, so fun times ahead, right? Actually it's not that bad :) 

The weather has really changed here too. More snow, more cold.  I could really hibernate... but that only works on bears, like I commented to Shannon on her post about battling cravings and getting active. I've actually been bundling up and facing the cold and walking. Oh yes, I have been facing -15C (5F) or so temperatures to get my walk in or an hour of shoveling snow. At -30C (-22F) limited walking only. So (mostly) no excuses!  

Also been doing some dvd workouts for cardio to get the heart pumping: Jillian Michaels, Shelly McDonald from Caribbean Workout (love the tropical backgrounds). A bit of elliptical or going up and down the stairs at home and work as a last resort. For de-stressing yoga and T'ai Chi are still my stand-bys.

Since it's Wednesday I'm weighing in at 168.3 lbs, pretty much the same as last week. My goal for the next couple of months is not to gain because of the meds. If I can loose, I won't complain :)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Weighing in after the Holidays

This is going to be a quickie post.  And my weight is: 168.2 lbs, a 0.3 lbs difference than my last weigh-in, so slightly less than three weeks ago.  My goal was not to gain over the Holidays.  Lots of stuff going on here so will write a longer post this weekend. Until then...

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Weighing-in and Holiday Blogging Break

Eating well hasn't been hard, but temptations are getting more tempting all the time. They're everywhere in the office, I mean everywhere man!  However, it doesn't mean I have to put any of those treats in my mouth.  Weight on Wednesday:  Down to 168.5 lbs.  I'm staying true to my pledge not to gain over the holidays.  If I can stay at this same weight or a little lower once the holidays are over, I'll be very satisfied. 

I'll be taking a blogging break until Wednesday January 7th. I'm feeling a bit like Eeyore these days... and I don't like that much.  Exercise has helped so much to lift my grey clouds, and I hope to strap on my skates soon.  Perhaps my trip back home and a good talk with my mother will bring some peace, love and lightness.  

I'm wishing you readers who stop by all good things, and more :) Happy Holidaze! 

Leaving you with a favourite tune of mine by the Vince Guaraldi Trio:

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I wasn't able to post as I usually do mid-week as a big snowstorm came rolling  through here and I spent a couple of my evenings shovelling snow.  After I was done, I chose a warm shower to rinse off the sweat, soothe sore muscles and then sleep instead of posting.

Blue Sky! A small break in the clouds
Another challenging issue is my computer, my rapidly ageing computer with its unsupported browsers. Although I am reading blogs, sometimes when I try to comment, the interwebz swallow the comments into the abyss.  I'll likely be using the computer at the office or the library as an alternative until I can buy a new computer after the holidays.  I'll do some research online but I just can't face an electronics store right now to test products; they are so crazy busy right now.

Weight on Wednesday: 169.8 lbs


Emotionally right now I'm facing some heartbreak.  I'm not going to go into details, but I'm having a tough time.  The reason why I mention it at all is to show how I am breaking the cycle of emotional eating.  

After a deluge of of work at the office, stress on the home-front, heartbreak and physical fatigue from shovelling, I was feeling just so tired of everything.  Five years ago, I would have most definitely soothed myself with food: ordered in a couple of pizzas, wings and fries and gorged over the course of the weekend.  

This time, when I came home and sat for a few moments on the couch, my thoughts strayed briefly to ordering in pizza and I had this little conversation with myself:

JUST STOP. STOP AND THINK.  What do you really want?
-To feel better yes of course, but ain't happening right now.  I can only focus on doing what is best for me. 

AND WHAT IS THE BEST FOOD?  It ain't two pizzas over two days is it?
-No. Only if I want to go back to being over 220lbs.

EASY CHOICE THEN?
-Yes. 

After that I got up, looked in my fridge, found eggs, green peppers, mushrooms and some lactose-free Swiss cheese and made myself an omelette. And truly felt so much better afterwards for making that choice.

What is important to me is to always have healthy choices available in the kitchen. If I didn't happen to have have eggs and veggies on hand, I do have a freezer with a few soups, a couple of portions of Moroccan chicken stew, some chili, and some frozen veggies.


With the holidays, both at work and at parties, the massive amount of food temptations are a bit overwhelming right now. I don't want to isolate myself by skipping out of all activities, but food centered activities I'm not participating in any. Like the cookie exchange and cookie competition at work. I'll be at my desk. I do not want to put myself into a difficult food situation on purpose.  What I can do is take it day by day, situation by situation, moment by moment, choice by choice.  Making the right choices.  And leaving parties early if need be.

I pledge not to gain weight over the holidays.  Last year, from American Thanksgiving to the Orthodox Christmas I lost 5lbs with the January Jeans Club.  I'm re-reading Marion's archived January Jeans posts from last year at Affection for Fitness to keep motivated.  Come January 1st, I will not have any regrets about my choices.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Blahs

Feeling kinda blah these past couple of days. I do know why partly, but the rest of the blahs is a mystery. With my mood and the freaky weather I've only been able to get outdoors and exercise a few times, however my main workouts are going to shift to the indoors i.e. my basement where the elliptical is acting as a clothes line right now.  I started yesterday morning with a few old-style exercises to get my heart pumping: jumping jacks and push-ups. I forgot how killer push-ups are.  I'm starting slowly...
Feeling out of sorts is no excuse for slacking and falling into a bag of chips.  I've been eating well, but once again I noticed my portion sizes creeping up...  not exactly  sure why my stomach is making me think I'm hungrier than usual. Likely emotional and added stress. And I started to have a cup of coffee in the afternoons in addition to my morning cup... not a good habit for me. I'll switch to decaf or tea.

The other day, I did try an experiment with using ground bison to bake a Tourtière rather than pork. It turned out really delicious! Will have to tinker a bit with the seasonings but I think it'll be a permanent change.

Weight this week is 171.3lbs. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Back in the Saddle

And it feels good to shake off the sickness. Being back at work this week for a few days was exhausting: lots of things to do!

At home as well there are so very many items on my various "To Do" lists. Although my man was able to hold down the fort and keep pots from boiling over, I'm slowly getting back to my responsibilities and chores.
Once the urgent stuff is taken care of, then I'll turn my mind to Christmas and buying gifts, decorating and baking a few Tourtières (French-Canadian meat pie) for upcoming pot-lucks

In the meantime, I still have to take things easy with exercise but that's not an excuse. I'm getting my doggies rollin'... Crack that whip, Rawhide!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

With a Little Help from my Friends...

... I'm getting by. I've had such nice people stopping by with low-sodium high-veggie soups (potato-leek, onion with duck fat, carrot and pear, squash and sweet potato, minestrone and chicken noodle), deviled eggs, egg-salad sandwiches, roasted chicken and veggie casseroles... wow, such great friends.  It was also so nice to see such lovely comments from you all out there in the blogosphere; it really warmed my heart :)

My man is also more helpful these days, but not as a cook. He calls himself a sandwich-master and microwave jockey. He's been keeping busy with laundry, cleaning and  shoveling snow. We had our first big snowfall of the season, which usually happens mid to late November.

Unfortunately this recovery is taking longer than I thought, but the worst of the pneumonia is over. I'm still on strong meds and have been taking things slowly. I get dizzy a lot of the time, so slow is okay! I've also received advice from friends about eating immune boosting foods, taking various supplements and products. I think for me it was just bad timing... picking up a sinus infection which slowed me down, then picking up pneumonia, likely at the Dr.'s office or hospital, and that knocked me out. I haven't been this ill since I was a child, when I caught everything under the sun as children do. 

This time of year also is sad and difficult as it's the 2nd anniversary of my father's sudden death. Last year, we visited the grave; this year I could not go outside. It's been too cold and my lung can't take it.  I had to honour his memory a little differently by looking at pictures of the good times we shared, remembering our reflective talks and peaceful canoe excursions at the cottage that he built, and feeling that grief, not as sharp and breath-catchingly painful as it once was, but grief nonetheless.  My mother still has a hard time, of course, and I wish I could help her, ease her pain somehow... but she has made progress from last year when she had difficulty seeing a future for herself.

I did weigh myself because I was concerned about some bloating, my lack of activity and not tracking anything. I'm at 172.2 lbs,  so pretty much where I've been for the past while, in the low 170s.  It's reassuring that I haven't gained but for right now, I'll just concentrate on getting well and back to my old self again. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Everything all at Once

Sometimes you go through periods when everything happens all at once and it's like that now for me.  I'm still sick, but with pneumonia now. So lots of drugs, rest and all the rest. Feeling lousy and it hurts to breathe. Tracking weight is not a priority, so I haven't weighed in. 

Thankfully I have a great man taking care of me and some great friends who have stopped by with some homemade soups. My stockpile of soup in my freezer ran out last week and I'm not a fan of the high-sodium low-veggie canned stuff. Once I feel better and am on the mend, then I'll get back to my old routines. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Quickie Update

Another day left on antibiotics, hooray! I am shaking the sinus infection and feeling better than last week, but this is week three of the yuckiness and feeling meh.  Just started commenting on blogs again... got a lot of catching up to do online!
Still sticking with what works: lots of liquids, rest, some exercise, eating well and probiotics.
Weight is up by about a pound to 171.6 lbs.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sicko

Not feeling my best these days, I was thinking it was just a little cold that wouldn't go away. But no, it's a bacterial sinus infection. Yuck! So I'm on antibiotics and taking every kind of measure to get better and to minimise the drug's side-effects:

  • Lactose-free probiotics. There is a brand that is readily available in my neck of the woods that carries a choice of fermented rice or soy. 
  • Drinking lots of liquids like water, water with lemon, seltzer and the occasional juice. I feel like it's about to pour out of my ears, but I know it's good for me. 
  • Eating a bit less than usual since I don't have much appetite: scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes and lots of soups like chicken soup, onion, carrot & leek, squash&carrot. It's easy when I've already got a little stockpile in the freezer. Plus I'm getting lots of good vitamin C from natural sources.
  • Exercise. No reason to stop moving except some fatigue. Walking in the morning but not briskly, well-off my pace but still moving. Pilates and yoga in the evening. I'd rather curl up on the couch and watch some cartoons but that's my old fat girl's excuse. 
  • Rest. Getting a good night's sleep is essential. I do wake up to blow my nose but usually go right back to sleep. If I have trouble, I just listen to a short podcast or some soothing music and I fall asleep within 10 minutes.
Weight-wise I'm about the same, 170.7 lbs.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Long Sad Day and Wednesday Weigh-In

Getting this out of the way first... weighed in this morning as is my usual and the results: 170.5 lbs.  A 1/2 lb less than last week.  

It's been a very long day, a terribly sad day.  An incident on Monday where a soldier was killed surprised a lot of us and we had been told security levels had been raised from low to medium. Now today, a soldier was gunned down not a 10 minute walk away from work.  My heart really goes out to the families, this is so tragic.  Fellow Canadians killing Canadians is just a shock.

The office was on lock down all day, meaning no one could leave.  This was the first time we've faced this kind of emergency so everyone had varying levels of stress.  People reacted in very different ways:
  • Some urged chocolate and comfort eating. 
  • Some were generous enough to pool healthy lunch items for those who had planned to go out to a restaurant so didn't have any food to eat. There is no cafeteria in the workplace only vending machines.
  • Some used gentle humour to diffuse tension. 
  • A few were afraid and crying. 
  • A few were angry. 
  • And one colleague in particular spewed the most racist and hateful remarks I've ever heard, ever.  From past experience, I know there is no reasoning with this woman. She's been previously warned about her inappropriate behaviour. 
I just kept faith in the RCMP and local police and knowing that they were doing all they could to get the situation resolved.  

A few nice things happened today: 
  • Most of us bonded together and helped one another through the long day. 
  • The weather was nice enough so that when we were finally allowed to leave, walking an extra 30 minutes to get to public transportation was an easy walk. 
  • A reward of a SweeTango apple (Honeycrisp hybrid) was all the indulgence I needed on a day like today
  • Many loved ones and friends sent messages to ask if I was okay.
Off to take a bath and then to bed; it's been a long day. Take care out there folks.