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.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Unexpected Thanksgiving Challenges

Going to stay in an environment where I have no control over the food in the house is tough. I was surprised at the amount of junk food in the family home.  My mom has regained 30lbs of the weight she lost.  We had a good talk and it's basically she went back to eating convenient and fast food like pizza, Chinese (the deep-fried stuff, not authentic) and pasta.  

She's been having some health challenges, fibromyalgia is the main one, and the pain and fatigue has thrown for a loop lately.  Her pain interfered with her exercise classes and sometimes even walking 15 minutes is too much.  Playing into this is also the emotional... it's been almost two years since my father passed away and where she is in her grieving process she does not say.  She admitted to turning back to using food for comfort.  Sigh... yes, like mother like daughter.  At least she did have lots of fruit and veggies stocked, so she hasn't fallen too far.  I gave her my advice, but just being there for her, listening without judgment, and leading by example are the best things I can do.

Leaves floating on the Lake

Although I tried to keep on my feet and active, there was a lot of sitting and talking with relatives.  And sitting and more sitting. I volunteered to help do whatever chores or setting the table, ect., when I could just to keep moving. My man and I did get out for a walk and luckily enough it was a nice day.


As for my weight post-Thanksgiving, I'm up slightly to 171.0 lbs.  Was expecting a bigger gain but I'm just fine with .4 lbs given all the salty ham I ate!  Really I did keep my portions small, filled up on veggies and fruit, didn't drink too much alcohol and for dessert only had a slice of apple pie.  Yes, just the one :)  

For improvement this week: Hydration! At work, the water fountain is out of order so it's a trek to get to the nearest one. Not a trek really, more like the opening to that old TV show "Get Smart"! At home on weekends, it just seems that I forget. Solution: Carrying a 1 litre refillable water bottle wherever I go. And refill at least once during the day.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Pre-Thanksgiving Weigh-In

With all the activity and preparations in the next few days before Thanksgiving, I figured I'd post now.  So pre-Thanksgiving weight is 170.6 lbs, so slightly less than last week.  No big loss, but a loss nevertheless.  Although I'm happy that the scale is moving in the right direction, I know I still have a ways to go. Not to undervalue coming from over 220 lbs, the reality is I am still not near to  where I'd like to be.

Fall colours while walking on the weekend
Thanksgiving could be a good excuse to go off the rails and fall face first into a bowl of ice cream. That won't happen in my world, but what could is less activity than usual on account of travelling, spending time with relatives and just being out of my routine.  With brisk walking, I can do that pretty much anywhere. There will be tons of chores to do so I'll try and keep busy, on my feet and away from the cushy living room sofa.

As for food, that can be a mixed bag. As I've mentioned before, some relatives equate food with love and if you reject the food you are essentially rejecting them. It has gotten a lot better over the last few years, but this is always a concern.  

The menu for the various suppers usually is a roast beast of some sort, carby fixings, gravy and vegetables. My man does not follow the same eating style as I do, so he usually has no problem with any glutinous carbs that cross his path. But we both have issues with the desserts. The past few years, my Mother has retired her recipe for pecan pie (a.k.a. the devil's pie LOL) in favour of apple pie so I'm hoping the trend continues. I'll likely have one slice, one :)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Wednesday Weigh-In

We've really had the most beautiful Indian Summer that I can remember and the leaves are turning all sorts of pretty colours. The sun is setting earlier and earlier. The other evening I went out to do some gardening after supper and it was already dark at 7:30pm! Time really flies.

Starting to slowly change from spring/summer clothes to fall/winter clothes. I tried a couple of nice sweaters and a pair jeans that I had packed away a few years ago that were too small and they now fit. Very happy about that! 

Next step is the clothing store. I've been avoiding it because I don't have much time (or much money) lately to try on outfits and shop, but... it's come to a point where I've got to get a few new work basics: Blazer, cardigan, a couple of new blouses, dress pants, dark denims. One thing I've learned is to ALWAYS try things on. Every time. I find more and more odd variations in clothing. How can jeans in the same brand, same size, same style but a different colour can fit so differently? Just odd. 

Balancing work and getting my own stuff down has become more challenging. The work days are filled with meetings, appointments and other demands so no time for nice leisurely lunchtime walks with colleagues. I did a few quick solo walks around the building to at least get a bit of fresh air and the blood pumping :)

Down this week to 171.1 lbs, a couple more pounds gone. Some weeks, like last week, can be difficult but I'm learning that a bad week is not the end of the world. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Giveaway Winner

Thank you for your giveaway comments! The lucky winner of a copy of Sean Anderson's book Transformation Road as chosen by the Random Number Generator is... 

LuckyMama at A Long Weigh Away Congrats! So she's is actually very lucky after all :) If you haven't read her blog, please do stop by. She's also lost a lot of extra pounds this year, so double-congrats to her!! 

In answer to the question "If you were to be a cast away all alone on a deserted island which record would you choose to have with you?

LuckyMama answered: I'm a Queen freak - all of it, but I'd probably take Innuendo.
BUT, there's a new artist I found - small at the moment - named George Ezra. Young fellow too, but I'm loving his voice!

If you don't know about George Ezra he's English and recently released his first album called Wanted on Voyage. He has a distinct voice and writes catchy folk melodies. It should be interesting to see how his career evolves.   


My choice is... well, it took a while to decide. Here was my thinking on narrowing down the list:

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? 
Oliver Jones or Oscar Peterson? 
Mozart or Beethoven? 
Joni Mitchell or Carole King? 
John Coltrane or Miles Davis? 
Alanis Morrisette or Tori Amos? 
Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan? 
Radiohead or U2? 
Bessie Smith or Robert Johnson? 
PJ Harvey or Bjork? 
Missy Elliott or Beastie Boys? ... yeah it goes on and on...

In the end, I had to chose what over time has stayed with me the most on a personal level:

Kate Bush's album Hounds of Love.  In particular, I've listened to the song Running Up that Hill so many times since discovering her catalogue of music and it speaks to me on so many levels. Mostly relationship-wise,  but also when facing any challenge and of course weight-wise. The version I've linked to is the remixed version she performed at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Lady Business and Weighing In

Riding the lady hormone roller coaster. Not a fun ride this week. So emotional this time. This was the first time I've cried over a commercial on TV. Just want to wear yoga pants, a hoodie and a knit cap (to keep the bad hair days at bay) and hide away watching Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth edition). Did this affect weight loss?  Yeah I chose to let it. Bad choice. Not going to blame anything or anyone else but me.

In terms of exercise, I wasn't pushing myself at all. Although I did my workouts, morning pilates DVD and weekend and after work walks, I was just going through the motions. Rather than finding little ways of being active through the day, I just coasted. No stretches at my desk. No extra going up and down the stairs at work or at home. I certainly could have directed those crazy hormonal emotions into working it hard, but I chose the easy way out.

In terms of food consumption, although I ate all the right things, I ate more than I should have. Examples: extra helpings of roasted sweet potatoes, bigger portions of meat, more guacamole, more sunflower seed butter on apple slices... those extra calories add up quicker than one thinks!

Weigh-in: 175.5 lbs. Up 2.2 lbs from last week.  It was a nice run of small losses week after week, and this is the first gain in a while. Even before I stepped on the scale this morning, I could feel the bloat and I just don't like how it makes me feel.  Will work hard this coming week to get back into action.

How? I'm going to change things up. I'm going back to my 30 minute morning brisk walks before work since the ragweed pollen is almost gone. I find it's so much easier and requires less concentration to just walk quickly. I'll still do my after work walk to unwind about 30+ minutes, and also go back to doing the workout DVDs either before or after supper rather than in the morning. 

Didn't fall too far down the rabbit hole this time. But I can sure see how I could wind up there and back to being over 220 lbs if I choose to keep making the same bad decisions. Won't happen next week. I choose not to let that happen.


PS: My little giveaway closes tomorrow, so if you haven't entered you can here

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Giveaway and that Wednesday Scale Thing

Having received a free extra copy of Sean Anderson's book Transformation Road : My Trip to Over 500 Pounds and Back, I've decided to pass it along to a lucky reader. 
Sean felt that he was tardy in sending out the copy of his book that I bought, so he added another signed copy in the mail. How nice is that? When I received it a couple of weeks ago I thought how can I return this favour? I figure the best way to pay him back is to pay it forward.

This is not a how-to lose weight book, rather a very honest chronicle of Sean's history with morbid obesity. Some passages were hard to read, especially the ones where he details the effects on his family. He writes with his authentic voice and if you've ever read his blog, it's that same honest writing you'll find in this book.

All you have to do is answer the following question in the Comments on this post:  

If you were to be a cast away all alone on a deserted island (with an iPod of course, ha ha!) which record would you choose to have with you?

I'm such a music lover and supporter of local musicians, I'm having a hard time answering this question! I'll give my answer with the winner's name next Friday September 26th.

  • The winner will be chosen by a random number generator
  • Entries close on Thursday 25 September 2014 at 11pm /EST
  • I'll send the book to wherever in the world the winner is located, even the South Pole :)
Since I'm a small blogger and am not doing any promotion to try to get a larger following, the chances of winning are good.

Other news, since it's Weigh-in Wednesday, I'm at 173.3 lbs. Slightly less than last week.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Scrambling and Wednesday Weigh-In

I've been scrambling in the kitchen since Monday and I don't like it. Basically, since I was on vacation for four days, I didn't have time to do much food prep for the work-week. Trying to grill fish in the morning on the Foreman grill while trying to dry my hair has been... interesting but mostly stressful. I should have done the prep before I left. Seriously I don't know what I was thinking. Just not thinking!  

Went to the grocery, stocked up on some eggs, meats and fish. I think all I had left was a can of tuna in the pantry and no other protein. I bought a couple of big chicken breasts, baked them tonight with a small amount of chili pepper flakes, garlic, coriander, cumin and a bit of cinnamon. Sort of Thai inspired seasoning. Had about 6oz of the chicken for supper on a bed of greens with some sweet potato fries, and I made a small amount of harissa mayo. 

Growing up as a latch-key kid in suburbia in the 80s, all I knew about mayonnaise was it came in a Hellmans jar. My mom, while a fab cook, when she was working full time she went for convenience and casseroles. It wasn't until I met my man's relatives who are French/Italian and into their traditional cookery that they told me mayo is basically just beaten eggs. Who knew? Since I still have some harissa paste left, I just beat it in with the eggs and the other ingredients (oil,vinegar, Dijon mustard, a little salt) and it made a mayo with a spicy kick.  

I'm still somewhat clueless about the basic techniques of cookery. Sure I can follow a recipe, but I mean knowing what various cuts of meat are best for and how to properly cook veggies to bring out their natural flavours. I'd like to take a course but the one I'd like to take is $ costly $. Since money is tight right now, I'm socking away a bit of my pay each month. One part of a cooking course I can skip is the desserts and baking part. Will not step anywhere in that minefield!

Weight-wise, down this week again. Not much, but that's about what I expected to have lost. Now at 173.7 lbs.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Have Passport, Will Travel

One thing I love to do is travel. I never used to be this way. But my man's enthusiasm for exploring the world is contagious.  And honestly, I figure since you only live once and it's better to live without regrets.  When my man said he was sick of the daily grind and the inconsistent weather, I agreed and we decided to plan a quick get-away. 

Money is tight right now so our limit was $50/per day for the both of us for four days. So that means a road trip to the good old U.S. of A. where gas and lodging are much cheaper than here Canada. After a 10hr drive we made it to the beach! We had great weather and hot temps while back home it was rainy and much colder.

My eating was not exactly on plan, had some fries and some chocolate, but I didn't go far off the rails and did not use the word "vacation" as an excuse to eat anything and everything. For most meals, we bought what we wanted at a grocery store, threw it in the cooler and headed for the beach for the day.  Salads and roast chicken and pre-cut veggies and some fruit as a snack for me; and cold cuts, cheese and bread for sandwiches for him. One night, we rinsed the sand out of our hair, got cleaned up had a fancy restaurant supper. He had the Chicken Parm, I had the grilled salmon and seasonal vegetables, no rice thank you very much.  

Even though my man and I agree to disagree about diet and nutrition, we have  an understanding to never ever sabotage one another's efforts. I'm not envious or craving in any way the food my man chooses to eat. I just know that my body does better on low carbs. When I used to eat a plateful of pasta, I'd feel so sleepy afterwards, like my energy was sucked right out of me. On this trip, I was able to have lots of fun in the ocean and swim and play in the waves on my boogie board and still have energy for a long evening walk along the beautiful coast.

Otherwise I got burnt to a crisp. Even with sunscreen. "Honey, please pass the aloe" :)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Sore Muscles and Weigh In

Having replaced my morning walk with workout DVDs, I've really noticed how my overall fitness levels are not super great. Sure I can walk a long time without getting tired but I'm now working muscles that haven't worked together in a while. In my collection I have a few Jillian Michaels, a Bootcamp one with 12 different routines, and some yoga and pilates. This past week I was able to get in all my morning workouts and all my after work walks, plus T'ai Chi before bed. Weekend had two long walks. My day of rest was actually Labour Day, ha ha!

Weight wise, I'm at 174.9 lbs, so down from last week. What's working for me...

Lowering stress levels through:

  • Daily brisk walking in rain, shine, or snowstorms
  • T'ai Chi, easy yoga or pilates or light stretching before bedtime
  • Getting 7 hours of sleep per night
  • Speaking with a counsellor to gain insight into and to work through various personal issues 

Eating food as fuel:

  • Limiting all processed foods to a great extent
  • Limiting sugar
  • Limiting salt
  • Limiting grains
  • Limiting dairy (only lactose-free)
  • Organic when possible
  • Lots of variety of fresh veggies and some fruit from local sources

It helps that right now my life is not stress-filled as it was and have no medical issues. Even though I'm not losing weight at an astounding rate, I'm feeling these changes I'm making and have been making over the past while are permanent. Not only changes in daily habits but my true core beliefs about food.

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 :)