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. I guess 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!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday and Re-Thinking Food

I've been doing okay and have been walking briskly part-way to work 4/5 days. And try a get a quickie nooner walk in there too. Trying to be active at the end of the work day is tough and it to be honest it doesn't happen. I do about 5K total for the day. Right now my goal while on these meds is not to gain. Another month or so and I should be off them. So far I've been successful in keeping away the gains: I'm still at 181 lbs.  

As for food, I looked over my little collection of recipe and weight-loss books over the weekend and I did try a few new recipes...

Breakfast:
-Veggie packed mini-quiches (no crust, with a small bit of lactose-free Swiss cheese)
Lunch:
-Turkey Burger on a Portobello mushroom cap, topped with grilled zuchs and onion 
Supper:
-Lemon Garlic Shrimp with asparagus and peppers

They were good and didn't require too much more time in the kitchen than usual. I think for the last  while I did find myself in a bit of a cookery rut there. I truly hate spending hours in the kitchen. My Mom loves it and would do it the live-long day but I didn't inherit the kitchen gene. I'd rather spend my time in my studio painting or meeting friends or just enjoying the day. So I usually prep on the weekends and freeze a lot of meals. Helps me out especially when I come home some nights nearing 7pm! Blah! Those are the nights when I do come home hungry, tired and vulnerable to naughty temptations. Having good nutritious food around saves my bacon, ha ha! 

Seriously, on those nights, I do consciously take time to eat at the table, preparing a nice setting, chew slowly and savour what I'm eating.  Just that small change has been so so helpful in turning my fat-girl thinking around. Mindless eating is a sure road back to morbid obesity.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Wednesday Weigh-in

Even though I'm following almost the same food and activity that I have for the past several weeks, weight has not shifted much all week. I weigh myself every morning, but record officially on Wednesdays. I'm at 181 lbs. I know the medication I'm on has fatigue and weight gain as possible side effects... I'm fighting it as much as I can. 

Food these days is about the same with some variations on lunch and dinner. I just have to be careful with portion sizes:

Morning: 2 Eggs with mushrooms and peppers (usual); or oatmeal and berries with almond milk, vanilla and cardamom (once a week or so); or smoothie with protein powder (twice a week or so).
1 cup coffee with almond milk 
Lunch: Grilled chicken or beef or bison on salad with 1/2 avocado sometimes with soup; or nori roll with smoked salmon or tuna with avocado, cukes and carrots
Snack: Small apple with sunflower seed butter; or tuna and red peppers
Supper: About the same kind of meal as lunch, just a smaller portion
-If still hungry in the evening, I have a cup of tea with a small amount of honey and tough it out until morning.

To all this I drink about 2 to 3 litres of water a day. 

Otherwise, not much new here. Battling dandelions and crazy growing vines in the garden. I'm certainly not missing the over 7 foot high snowbanks we had this past winter :)

Friday, 6 June 2014

Summer Clothes

A few weeks ago, I tried on a bunch of summer clothes that I had stored away from last year. Nothing is tight on me. Hooray!  Some pants and shorts are too loose in the hip and thigh, but can be belted so they are saved for now. Two pairs of low-rise shorts are way too loose and just can't be worn anywhere. Falling off my ass is not a good look.  Some of the tops are also looking shabby. So I've been clothes shopping. I don't mind it because I can usually find clothes that fit... eventually... but sometimes it's tough for this fat girl. It gets easier every season when I'm a bit smaller than the season before :) 

Trying everything on takes a while. I'll try on twenty items and only purchase one or two. I figure if it doesn't fit perfectly and isn't flattering, why waste money on it?  I used to think it fits, so it'll do. Not anymore. Even if something fits, it can make you look 20lbs bigger if it's a tent.

I've picked up a couple of nice skirts and one new top so far. From the thrift shop of all places!  This weekend, I'll be hitting the stores again.

One little problem I'm having is trying to find a nice comfortable light-weight summer jean. Most of the ones that fit my curves have 10 to 30% polyester along with cotton. Yep polyester, the enemy of the chubby girl in the hot summer heat. Gives a new definition to "hot pants"!

Since my man is away this weekend, I'll be doing a blitz with a friend on Saturday and on my own for the rest of the stores on Sunday. Lots of walking in the malls and the big box stores. Must remember to bring my big bottle of water this time! On the menu for lunch, a restaurant with lots of healthy options. The menu is online so I've already made my choice: Baby kale salad with cucumber, tomato and avocado, a bit of crumbled bacon, a bit of goat cheese topped with grilled chicken. I'm skipping the dressing and will ask for a lemon instead. Planning in advance is setting myself up for success, not restaurant failure!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Good Night's Sleep and Weigh-In Wednesday

The weather here has been hot, then cold, then rainy, the, warm then muggy. Basically all over the place. Didn't stop me from walking though.  I find with this medication I'm on, fatigue definitely sets in during the late afternoon. If I want to do any exercise that takes energy, it's got to be in the morning. And I'm such morning person! not.  

But I've got to do this. Not fail again. Even if it means getting up earlier, I've got to put my health as a priority. So far during the work week, 4 out of 5 morning brisk walks. And 3 quickie noon walks. Super-long weekend walks or hikes are definitely not first thing in the morning, but I got it done both days.  Still stretching every evening.

Sleep has been good, surprisingly so! I've added a warm bath before bed and that really seems to help me mentally unwind. One particularly hot and sticky night, I slept on the pull-out in the basement. I'm too cheap to keep the air conditioner running all the time :)

Food-wise, there have been moments of temptation: vending machines, free samples of organic dark chocolate at the grocery, chips at a party. I was able to resist. Thing is, I knew after having a bite of any of it,  I'd use it as an excuse to keep on eating and eating.  Reason being I've been stressing over some controlling mother-in-law stuff.  Think a carbon copy of Marie Barone from the sit-com Everybody Loves Raymond. 

Weight this week, a teensy bit lower than last week: 181.1lbs

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Hodge-podge of Miscellany and Weigh-In

I've been quiet lately, just trucking along as usual, reading blogs (but not commenting too much) and thinking about things.

Finished reading The Diet Fix by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff and the upshot is:  it's just okay.  If you can find a copy on sale or at the library, I'd say it's worth a read. I found a lot of good common sense tips and strategies, things I already knew, such as logging all your food in a diary and count those calories!  A good quote is "The more weight you want to permanently lose, the more of your lifestyle you're going to have to permanently change" Very True!   But... he is okay with sugar substitutes like Splenda. For myself anyway, I find that sugar or substitutes makes me crave sugary sweet stuff all the more. And I try and keep away from processed man-made franken-foods like Splenda. (Natural, organic as much as possible works well for me.) He did not address stress/emotional eating in any meaningful way or food intolerances. Maybe saving it for another book?

On the medical front, I've had some news (not bad news, really) that I've been processing and discussing with my man. I'll be taking some meds. Have to. The doctor said some of the side effects will include fatigue.  At this point, I can't imagine being any more fatigued. This past week, my sleeping has been about five to six hours per night mainly because I can't seem to relax, stop thinking and let go. Hoping it's just a blip. I started taking a warm bath, with a few lavender drops, before bed the night before last and it seemed to help.

Been eating on track for the most part, a couple of chocolate cheats this week. I don't regret it. High quality indulgences that I didn't want to pass up. I wasn't acting out of stress or any other emotion. Nor did I chow down on a whole box! 

Exercise could always be better but I've been walking every day and stretching in some way every night. A gym membership is on the horizon. My man has said he'd join with me too. A nice step in the right direction :) With hot summer days around the corner, I won't want to be outside when it's hot, hazy, humid and smoggy. Besides I need to start using heavier dumbells. These 5lb ones I have are no longer a challenge.

Weight: 181.3 lbs   A number that is still going down :)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Eating out, Books and Still Going Down

Navigating the mine-field of eating out has been a challenge lately. Lots of graduations and birthdays have just passed and are coming up. And all involve supper at restaurants.  I know I've been making the wiser choices judging by the scale and looser pants. I usually order grilled lean meats no salt added and salads with no dressing. Drinks... water with lemon or lime, seltzer or if I'm feeling it, a white spritzer. For dessert? I chew sugar-free mint gum. Boring but it works.

I've been reading a new weight loss book and re-reading a couple of others. The new one is The Diet Fix by Yoni Freedhoff and the re-reading are Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels and Eat Clean Diet Recharged by Tosca Reno. I know it's a bit of an odd way to read, but I read one book on the bus, one on breaks at work and another before bedtime.  It's one way to keep my mind focused on staying on track :)  I'll write a little review of The Diet Fix in a couple of weeks once I'm done.

One discouraging aspect of my life lately is that even though I've been losing steadily, it's coming very slowly off my waist. Hips, legs and everywhere else are coming along... just not that belly fat. That stubborn belly fat. In my case I just have to be patient. I'll likely see slow progress and it'll be the last to go. My mother and I share the same apple shape so I know it's part genetics. The answer I think will lie in shaking up my exercise routine. I'll be looking into what I can do and exercises that I won't get tired of doing this week.

Weight 182.5 lbs  

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Mom, Chemical Footprint and a Weigh-in

Had a really nice weekend visiting my Mom. Bonus was it's warm enough to wear sandals for the first time this season! We went shoe shopping and I picked up a nice pair for work. My Mom chose a pair of Birkenstocks. Didn't know she was a hippie, ha ha! Made me realise how I've not been taking care of my feet over the winter, so we gave each other pedicures. Emery boards, foot soaks, olive oil and moisturizer, woo-hoo! No polish though... I'm just not into that.

Once home, I noticed I had some spring cleaning to do. Lots of dust and sand have come into the house from outside so after taking off a layer with a damp mop, I had a second go-round with a water-vinegar mix with a little bit of dish soap and some lavender oil drops. Did the trick. 

More and more, I'm looking to reduce the amount of chemicals I use. Like with food, just trying to make better choices. I use a damp cloth, vinegar water or baking soda water mixes as much as possible. I still keep bleach though... you never know when you have to disinfect. I use it rarely. Still haven't found a good 100% solution for the laundry yet. Method or Seventh Generation brands do an okay job.

One solution I found was for antiperspirant. I no longer use it. I use deodorant instead. I kept getting skin irritations with the standard antiperspirant brands that I had to find another solution. Also I had a couple of white dress shirts that became pit-stained. Apparently it's the aluminum that does that.  Finding a "natural" deodorant has been a trial. Going through over ten different brands until I found one that worked with my own body's chemistry.

As for sunscreen, I haven't found any ideal solution here either. The Environmental Working Group's Guide to Sunscreens is a good place to start. I use one that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide even though they make my skin look a bit paler than I already am. Avobenzone makes me itch like crazy so I stay away from that ingredient. I also will wear a hat and stay in the shade whenever I can. But I love traveling to the beach and swimming at the lake so... I takes my chances :)

Weigh-in: 183.1 lbs

Not as good as I've been doing lately, but that number is still going down. This week I had a hard time getting a good night's sleep, which in turn made me extra groggy in the mornings and running late I had skimpy breakfasts. The domino effect set in and I became a hungry hippo at the end of the day. Yes, that problem again with eating big portions at suppertime. Also because of running late, I didn't walk in the morning and was too tired at the end of the day to make up for the lost workout.  Will do better this week!