Monday, 25 May 2015

A Small Victory

Removing an item off my trigger list feels really good. I won't say it it's 100% off forever and ever, but for the past several months anyway, ice cream has gradually lost its power over me. I don't know exactly when it happened, but I know partly why. Lactose-intolerance is a big part of it. Most dairy products now cause digestive turbulence of some kind in me. It doesn't feel good to eat it anymore, even in small quantities. Now there can be some in the house, and I won't touch it. Even taking a Lactaid and eating it anyway has no appeal. That soothing comfort I used to find there long ago is not there anymore.

My other main trigger foods remain and are not allowed in my house:
- anything salty and fatty, deep fried stuff, especially crackers and potato chips
- nuts, raw or roasted
- chocolate
- anything sugary and fatty, especially cereal and doughnuts

Food: Past couple of weeks have been good. No over-indulging at BBQs and parties. My strategy has been to load up on veggies, then have a small portion of BBQed meat or chicken.
Otherwise, I've measured and tracked everything while limiting sugar and salt as much as possible. I've also been searching for nice fiddleheads (tasty little unfurled fern)! I'll check the market tomorrow. I've only seen shabby ones so far this year.

Weight: Has stabilised at 169.7lbs... it was bouncing around like crazy.
Sleep: I can do better there.
Exercise: I can do better there too, especially if I don't get a good night's sleep, exercise won't come easy.
Mental: Making sure to go out with friends and not isolating is key at this point. I'm trying hard to focus on the things I can change, and still setting small doable goals. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Promises, Promises

I met my goals for last week, modest though they were. I walked every day for at least 30 minutes and I met a friend for a movie. We saw Hannah and her Sisters at the local art house movie theatre. They run "oldies but goodies" a few times a month. It was nice to get out of my rut of isolation, and it was just what was needed. I also forgot how much I love Classic movies. And now I also want to visit New York in the Fall :)

After hosting a 80s movie night at my place last night with a couple of friends,  I do feel like I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. We watched Flashdance, Little Darlings and Foxes. While I wouldn't call them classics, I do call them fun movies about love and friendship.
The pollen vortex is affecting me quite a bit, so I'm very happy the pharmaceutical industry exists. I'm sure I'm single-handedly keeping tissue makers in business these days!  Switching to a morning workout on the elliptical in the basement instead of outdoor walks in the morning and during my lunch break is my best course of action.

Doable goals for this week:

1- Exercise 30 minutes every day.
2- Measure the food I eat with actual measuring cups, spoons and kitchen scale, because my portions are still too big.

Since it's 80s flashback week, here's Naked Eyes with Promises Promises. Boy, music videos were so low-budget back then! :

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sink or Swim?

That's what I keep thinking to myself these days. Do I want to sink or swim?

I've been dealing with a lot of stuff; not just the physical, but the emotional and just all-around painful, not just from the present but the past too. Add to that questioning my faith in what I thought I believed in. Right now, it's sometimes hard to see the future or make plans for one; it's not impossible, just difficult.

It's like being unbalanced on a kind of precipice, and fighting against the slide into grief and depression. I am getting professional help and have been going to a specialized support group, which has been incredibly helpful.

No, I have not fallen face-first into a barrel of ice cream or chips. The solution to my issues is not that easy. And it would be easier, I've done it before, pushing down and numbing the pain with junk food.

My two closest friends know what's been going on and have been supportive. But I've been isolating myself from other friends and acquaintances. It's something that I have been slowly doing since January, and it's really not healthy. With various medical appointments, hospitalization, and now that I am well, the increased work stress, making legitimate and not so legitimate excuses to stay away from social activities has been easy. That is something I'll start to change.

Weight: 175lbs. Yes, that's a set-back and is a result of not getting regular exercise. At first, not being physically able to walk briskly, and then not wanting to for the past three weeks, has been the reason the extra 7lbs. Since walking is one of the ways I cope with the stresses of the daily grind, I do miss having that peace of mind only exercise can bring. I realize now it's a necessity in my life.

Food: Have not been tracking. At first, I was on a medical diet, then went back to my usual template, mostly eating veggies, lean proteins and fruits, and some carbs like oatmeal and high-fibre bread.
-I did have some real ice cream (made with cream and eggs, not modified milk ingredients), but had some digestive turbulence afterward. It seems my lactose intolerance is worsening slowly.
-Ate a bag of corn twists and regretted that so much, especially due to the high salt content. My face actually showed the bloat and my body was sluggish.

Plans for this week: Actually having a plan with doable goals is a good first step! 1-Get back into an exercise routine. 2-Contact some friends and make arrangements to get-together for a movie.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A Colder Winter than Planned

The weather here has turned much warmer and we are finally getting sunny days. Temperatures are still hovering around freezing but the snow is melting. The birds are coming back; lots of cardinals and blue-jays, especially. My old friends the crows made their appearance earlier this winter.

I've not been in the mood to blog of late for a very good reason. Okay, so sometimes in the past, I've mentioned health issues but I've never been specific until now. What I've been dealing with is In Vitro Fertilisation and the difficult effects which all that entails. When my man was younger, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He had the trifecta of chemo, radiation and then surgery. He survived with a only a few side effects and must see an oncologist every year for the rest of his life. Before he began treatments, he made arrangements with the fertility clinic in the likely case that his fertility never came back. When we first discussed starting a family, this meant IVF as our only option.

It's been hard: Numerous appointments, blood tests, injections, medications, soaring and dropping hormones plus emotions, stress, pain, fatigue. Along the way, my man and I try and find the funny side, the lighter side of our experience but it's no picnic.  And now, this time, the failure has hit me especially hard. Once again we were so very hopeful, then excited, and then we had to face massive disappointment. My body will take about another two months to recover to the point where we can try again. As for my current state of mind, I am battered but still hopeful.

We are seeing a counsellor who specialises in helping couples who are struggling with IVF and related issues, which has really helped. This situation can really make or break a couple. We've seen it first-hand in the waiting room once or twice when couples are suffering from IVF burnout.

Taking things day by day, expressing feelings in constructive not destructive ways is how we're coping. I no longer have any shame about letting my emotions flow out, it's mostly tears now, but can sometimes there is anger and regret. The worst thing to do is shove those emotions far down into your soul. It's like poison really.  The emotions build and build and then get spewed out in huge and usually negative ways. Letting my man take care of me and doing all the household chores and cooking has been a little weird (and sometimes funny) but he says at least now he feels like he's contributing something other than just holding my hand. We're holding on to one another to get through this.

Am I turning to food for comfort? No, that'd be the worst thing to do. On the menu, oatmeal with chia seeds and berries for breakfast or an omelette; then for lunch or dinner, fish, chicken or eggs paired with lots of nutrient dense veggies like dark leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes. My man and I have been going out more for meals since neither of us feel much like cooking but we're making wise choices. No fast food. To help balance my electrolytes after my ordeal, the doctor suggested drinking sports drinks. No way I was drinking that sugar-laden stuff. My trusted pharmacist suggested electrolyte tablets instead. Overall, I felt better for it.

Exercise: Gentle walking only. My body needs to heal. As I feel better and energy levels and hormones regulate and get back to normal, I'll add more. It's surprising how quickly a body loses muscle tone but I'll rebuild back what was lost.

My next steps are to take it easy, be kind to myself and to my man, not to isolate myself too much from friends and to keep busy more often than not. Our time here on this earth is so short so I'm focusing on the positive and on things I can change.  This will help me not to dwell in the past or slide into the darkness, but to keep looking forward to the future.

I'll leave with a song that my man played and sang to me (not in Spanish however).

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.


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


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.