Friday, 27 December 2013

Quickie After Christmas Post

Traveling over the holidays and I've now a day at home to grab some prezzies for the next set of relatives, wash some clothes and get other chores done. This morning I weighed in at 194 lbs. Up a .8 from the last time, and honestly, I'm not feeling bad about it. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I did eat food that I normally wouldn't: a few cookies, a couple of candy canes, some ham, gravy on turkey, cranberry, tourtiere (meat pie), lemon meringue pie. 

However, I watched my portions and didn't have second helpings. There was a crate of mandarin oranges from Maroc so I turned to those instead of chocolate. I wasn't able to get in too much outdoor activity due to an ice storm and slick sidewalks. Oh well, we spent a lot of quality time indoors with the family... and that is what the holidays are really all about :)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Holiday treats

Holiday atmosphere in the office and everyone is letting loose.  Lots of treats galore at the little get-togethers, in common-rooms and at assorted desks.  Clients bring in treats for us and colleagues bring in baked goodies and boxes of candies and chocolates.  I admit I did partake of some of the baked goods, but it was planned and I only had ONE, that's it.  I always keep a big mug of coffee or tea at these office party things and smile and join in conversations: no looking and drooling over the tempting treats.  Must remember my January Jeans pledge!

The stock image below is much like the spreads here in the office--just turns my stomach remembering how much of that stuff I used to be able to wolf down!
I love my job and I'm good at what I do... however, I hate that it is so sedentary. I'm chained to my computer and sit a desk for most of the day. I do get up and stretch often (sometimes a downward dog in my cubicle when no one's looking LOL), take a walk or take the stairs, ect., but the fact remains that I'm inactive for a good part of the day.  I have been pondering off and on a job change for something a bit more active, but that would mean a paycut, likely a dramatic one and at this point, my man can't make up the difference on his salary. For now I'm here and have to be active on my own time.

My potlucks and get-togethers with friends have been going very well. Planning in advance helps so much, especially when going to a restaurant and they post their menu online!  It's easy to make decisions ahead of time.  Thanks to Gwen for the tip about smuggling in lemon slices to the restaurant as dressing for salad. This particular restaurant didn't have lemons when my friends also asked the waitress for some.

I did have trouble getting out for walks this week due to the cold and windy weather. I'm not talking a cool breeze here but -30C/-22F (without the windchill) and frostbite warnings. I cut my walk on Saturday short and continued the workout on my elliptical at home.  I'm not fond of the elliptical (or treadmills or cardio classes at the gym) but it's an option when I can't get outside.  I do have to go outside to shovel the snow... which burns a calorie or two. So far this season, we've received over two feet and more is on the way.

Weight this week down to 193.2 lbs. I'm eating the right foods, example of my food plan posted here, but according to the tracking I do on MyFitnessPal, my portions recently are larger than usual and I'm still slacking on the exercise. Will do better this coming week. Remember, every little bit counts!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Weigh-In Wednesday and January Jeans

Stepping on the scale this morning, I knew the number wouldn't be good. The cravings for salty snacks, the fatigue during the past two days, now the cramps, the bloat: I'm at 196lbs.  I know this is temporary water weight, but still I hate to see the number on the scale go up.  Ggggrrrr! I'm going to make sure that number goes down!  I'm drinking lots of water and I'm eating light.  An hour-long walk outside through the snow is on the schedule for tomorrow. 

This coming weekend and through the week next week, there are five different parties: Three with friends and two at work. The food at two of the friends' parties should have a lot of healthy choices, especially since I'm bringing some veggie dishes. The other party is at a restaurant, but I took a look at their menu online and they have very very limited healthy choices. It'll be a Chicken Caesar salad with no dressing for me. Shhh... I'm smuggling in some cherry tomatoes to add to the salad because I can't stand the flavourless pink winter tomatoes restaurants use!

Work is a different story. Both work parties next week are food-fests of baked goods. I'll bring my big mug of coffee and... I don't know yet what strategy I'll use. I do have to be there. I do have to mingle for a good period of time because the bosses will be watching and they do remember who was naughty or nice! 

January Jeans 2014!!! I'll be keeping this mantra in my mind through all these upcoming temptations this holiday season. Spilling out of a pair of tight jeans in a few weeks is not what I want.  I'd rather be forced to have buy a new pair of jeans in a smaller size :)  

Monday, 9 December 2013

Ah Nuts!

This past weekend, there was a little get-together amongst friends and friends of friends. Although the buffet spread had mostly healthy choices, which was great,  there were also some natural nut mixes in little bowls here and there. After taking three handfuls, I stopped and asked myself what I thought I was doing (but I used much harsher language).

I was able to stop myself, analyse the situation and get a grip! I realised I wasn't hungry but there was a lull in the party and I found myself sort of awkwardly on my own. Everyone I knew went off on a beer run or a wine run.  Rather than mingling, I retreated to the nuts. I was just feeling a bit shy, that's all. I got away from the food, grabbed a club soda with lime and went and asked a girl where she bought her cute sparkly pumps. 

See how a couple of minutes of social awkwardness can cost an unplanned 500 calories or more? 

I guess I've grown accustomed to my own group of friends. I haven't been in situations lately where I've had to mingle with strangers in an intimate setting like at a fundraiser, gallery opening or other similar event. Sounds like this could be a New Years Resolution... get out and mingle with new people!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Ghosts of Holidays Past

Some time ago, in the not so distant past, the holidays with my family were a time of feasts, sitting, napping, snacking and feasting again.  Lurching away from the table with a belly full of food was a requirement.   A few times I retreated to a bedroom with a cold cloth on my forehead!

One would have chowed down on turkey with gravy then ham, then a slice of traditional tourtière (meat pie) with chili sauce, some boiled veggies, and mashed potatoes with butter and cream.  And don't forget the cranberry from a can!

Not only were the portions huge during mealtimes, but the desserts... well there were usually at minimum a half-dozen to choose from.  At least two kinds of pie, cookies, bars, squares, tarts,french pastries, cake and don't forget to jack that up with some ice cream!  Usually four or five kinds to choose from.

Large varieties of snacks placed in bowls around the living room were plentiful.  Chips, popcorn, Nuts and Bolts, fudge, Satin Stripe Candy, "Chicken Bones" candy, canes on the tree, and at least two boxes of chocolates were always open: Turtles and Pot of Gold.  We would then gather around the television and watch a dozen cheezy Christmas movies on VHS my Mom rented if she got her way, or watch football if my Dad got his way.  As teens, we would trudge our way down to the basement to play video games.

This was the way for many years we'd "celebrate" the holidays.  This would almost be a binge. Pretty sad, but I know we weren't the only family who celebrated this way.  Or that still does.

When we moved out, as young adults, we'd come back home for a week or two and would be bombarded with food and treats.  And we'd be given a duffle bag-full each of food to take back our respective cities at the end of the holiday. One year, my brother and I decided this had to change.  As adults, we would usually take a long walk on Christmas Eve while the parents were at midnight mass.  This time, he said he was tired of gaining ten pounds through December and January. For a slim guy, that means he has to go up a pants size.  I always gained between fifteen and twenty pounds.  I wore track pants.  Or I wore my black fat pants.

It took an intervention of sorts with my mother and ten years, but things slowly changed.  You read correctly, ten years!

Now moderation is in place:
  • There is either a turkey breast or a ham on Christmas Day, not both.  
  • We still have meat pie but we have it on Christmas Eve.  
  • No more boiled veggies, they are roasted.  
  • There is a spinach salad with dried cranberries or pomegranate.  
  • One dessert, usually an apple pie or apple crisp. 
  • My mom still bakes, but it's for a charity bake sale. She'll freeze one tray of cookies for us but we usually don't eat them all. 
  • One kind of ice cream for my brother and mother.  
  • No more snacks laying around.  
  • There's always a bowl of fresh fruit and two cases of mandarin oranges.  
  • If a box of chocolates comes into the house, it's re-wrapped and re-gifted as a present for someone else.  
  • We will watch one or two holiday flicks, 
  • Go for a walk every day, visit some of the neighbours, check out the crazy decorated houses
  • if it's snowing, we shovel out random people's driveways! 

It's never too late to change family traditions. Don't let your holiday memories be of food and lethargy like many of mine.  Let them be of loved ones, laughs and love!

---------------------------------------

Wednesday Weigh-in 192.5lbs. The scale is still going down, slowly but surely.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday Weigh-in and a test of January Jeans

Scale is down a little to 194lbs. Yes down! I'm fighting off all sorts of viruses these days so that has sapped a lot of energy out of me and I'm fighting off the urge to hibernate. I'll be heading to the natural food and vitamin place to get stocked up on a few supplements to help me through the winter.

We've had a huge dump of snow and I've been shoveling for a couple of hours... snow looks lovely, but when push comes to shove, pushing and lifting heavy snow in the cold wind ain't fun. I'm just cranky because I didn't get a chance to get my walk in. I'm sure other snowfalls wont be as bad as this one! (Knock on wood, fingers and toes crossed).

January Jeans Test #1:

Work colleagues have already started bringing in Holiday treats. Store bought cheap-ass industrial chocolate. When I see a stuff like that, I think - IT'S A TRAP! -  and run away. There are about a handful of us who are eating healthier, but everyone else in the office lets loose. 

I feel better when I eat healthy foods.  When I don't, I feel like crap.
I feel better when I exercise. When I don't, I feel like crap.

I need to hold firm and make the healthy choice, which sometimes means just walking away.

Friday, 22 November 2013

January Jeans Club 2014

What a great motivator! Thank you to Marion for setting this up and to Satu for the cute badge. This comes at the perfect time. I got the all clear from my doctor -- my medical issue is resolved. (Ladies, your support and kind words  have meant a lot these past few weeks!)

With all the parties coming up, I'm going to do some reading this weekend, mull things over and come up with a plan of attack. I need a strategy that keeps those pounds off and doesn't offend anyone either.

One of the toughest issues is that so many family members and friends equate food with love. Meaning, if you reject the food that has been so lovingly prepared, you are in fact rejecting the person who prepared it. Many feelings have been hurt in the past because of this.

My calendar is starting to get filled with concerts, parties and other get-togethers, including hosting one of those parties. Either New Years Eve or a party sometime between Christmas and New Years. At least with the party we host, my man and I can have some measure of control on what is served to our guests. Looking forward to researching tasty and healthy recipes for a crowd!!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Weight go up, weight go down

It's almost a month until Christmas... where has the time gone? It goes so very  very fast. I've been thinking about the past, childhood, teenaged years, the confusing time of my young adulthood and these last years I've spent with my man and it seems like time is like sand slipping through my fingers!

My mother has been having a difficult time dealing with the first anniversary of the death of my father. Both with anticipating the anniversary then dealing with the many calls from friends and family asking her how's she's coping. She's still very sad. She's having trouble looking forward and positively towards life and the future.  It's hard to see her see verging on depression. She's always been positive in the worst of circumstances. I've not burdened her with the stuff I'm dealing with.

Emotionally I'm doing better than I thought I would. Physically, my weight this morning was at 195.5 lbs after climbing up to 204 lbs on Saturday! The added weight is water weight, a side-effect of a medical issue and medications I'm taking. This is part of the stuff I've been dealing with over the last month. I've had to take things slow lately. But I've been very conscious of my food intake and trying not to gain fat.

Tomorrow, if I get the all-clear health-wise, I'll join Marion at Affection for Fitness for the January Jeans 2014 challenge.

Keeping positive is my goal for the next couple of months and getting through the upcoming stress of the holidays without falling mouth first into a plate of cookies or other tempting treats!

Book recommendation if you'd like a light read: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Nerdy guy is looking for a wife... chick-lit vibe but written from a man's perspective :)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Still Dealing with Stuff

So my stuff continues. I might blog about what's going on at a later time. Everyone has tough issues to deal with from time to time and it's my turn I suppose. Weight is back up to 195lbs and it's mostly water weight: the bloat is measurable. Not feeling my best but am coping and taking things one day at a time, or trying to anyway.  I'm still keeping a food journal and am conscious of what I am eating and why. 

With the first anniversary of my father's death this weekend, my stuff will take a back-seat to support my mother. Even though she is still in a lot of pain and misses him quite a bit, she's been able to survive and begin to enjoy life again on her own.  One piece of advice she had for me is to never to lose myself in a relationship. She did with my father and now she is coming back into her own.  

I do miss my father and dealing with emotions has been hard this past year. Seeing a counsellor has helped but I still have a difficult time sleeping and finding peace of mind. That's something to keep working on.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Dealing with stuff

Dealing with a lot of personal issues right now... I may write about what's going on later on down the road but right now, I just don't feel like it.  I've vented to my man and now I'm drained. One thing however, I'm not letting these issues interfere with my weight loss. I'm down 2lbs to 192lbs this week.  

I've been walking a lot for stress relief... a lot.

Eating my way through a tough time won't get me anywhere. Calories not over 1600 per day. I've kept to nutritionally sound food even though Halloween treats were everywhere. Some well-meaning colleague even left a pile of chocolates on my desk. Gah!!  I just scooped then up and put them in the common room. They disappeared soon enough.

Here's my food plan from last week:

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with peppers and mushrooms (sometime with smoked salmon)
or 
Steel-cut oatmeal with berries and almond milk
or 
Power smoothie

Lunch:

Squash Soup with

Salad with grilled meat, or canned salmon
or
Left-overs from previous night's supper

Supper:

Stir fried veggies (broccoli, carrots, peppers) and chicken
or
Roast chicken and veggies (beets, sweet potato, onions) on a bed of kale
or 
Baked trout Amandine with tons of extra green beans
or
Stuffed peppers with lean ground beef and shredded carrots, onion and celery (no cheese!)

Snacks:

Either fruit or carrot sticks 
(I'm still off the natural almonds for the time being because they are too tasty and I end up eating more than I should)
Sugarless gum (trying to give this up but I cant do it yet)


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Quick weigh-in

This morning the scale read 194lbs. I'm not surprised as things have been busy around here and I've not been able to stick to my usual exercise routine. After work and evening appointments almost every night have been throwing me off my game!  (Optometrist, dentist, appliance store, specialty yarn store for my mom, ect...)
 
Have been getting as much walking in there as possible, which is a great stress reliever, but it isn't helping me shrink in size. If I'm lucky and don't oversleep in the morning, I'm exercising for 20 minutes on the eliptical to get the blood pumping. With food I'm on track -- no self-sabotaging like last week. Calories range from 1500 to 1800. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Visit to the Clinic and Weigh-In

Regular check-ups are pretty important especially if you're trying to get healthy. I don't have a family physician who knows me and or my history, so I have to take charge of my health. 

Even though I live in a large city, I can't find a family doctor who takes new patients. However, there are more specialists around than you can shake a stick at!! Unless you have a serious condition that requires monitoring (like high blood pressure or Type II Diabetes) it's difficult to get a family doctor. Of course you can go to a clinic and see Dr. X or Y and get your problem you have treated, but preventative medicine or a talk about how life is going has no place in a busy impersonal clinic. But that is the kind of healthcare I face. More than one of us has had to be proactive and I've become my own (albeit unwilling) expert on my health. I ask for copies of all my test results as it happens medical records seem to get lost a lot in these parts. I also do my research to know what tests I should be pushing for and when. 

Anyway the upshot of this past visit is that my overall health is improving. Blood pressure a little high (probably a bit of white coat syndrome), cholesterol is good but could be better, thyroid is fine and still not diabetic. 

Weight this morning is 193lbs. Been bouncing all week between 190 and 198. Food-wise, I made two stupid choices of the starchy carb variety... aka fries and potato chips. Duh, why did I do that? Sigh, the eternal struggle to understand the reason behind the choices I make.

It's been an unusually busy/hectic week with overtime at work, house repairs, house guests, appointments and add in cleaning, cooking and laundry...  the evenings have not been my own. I tried to take walks when I could during the day, but that it is not enough to get slim and trim. I'll do better next week.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Weigh-in Wednesday

Must be a fluke !!! I don't know what to think...
I weigh myself every morning, and even with socks on, this past week I've slowly losing to 195 and all of a sudden today, this 190 pops up! 

Mulling this over and it must be the three cups of coffee yesterday acted as a diuretic. Oh well, the scale is only one tool in the arsenal of fat fighting. Once the tape measure shows a lower number and I have to buy a smaller size in pants, then I'll know I'm on the right track.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Thanksgiving! And mostly paleo :D

Back at home for the long holiday weekend and looks like a change is coming. My Mother has been having some health problems and of course, the doctor recommends losing weight and getting moving every day. I've been talking to her about the dangers of processed foods, and she's realizing all those processed carbs cant be good. So this Thanksgiving supper was turkey, ham, a big pan of roasted root veggies with  splash of coconut oil and maple syrup and a salad of baby greens with a balsamic vinegar dressing. 

The exception to all this paleolishness was the pies for dessert. I just cant resist my Mom's apple pie. Only had one piece and I don't regret it. It was a great long weekend, with time spent doing chores outside my Mom's house, a walk around my old hometown and a long hike with the whole family.

I'll be weighing in on Wednesday, but since I bought the new scale I've been weighing myself a few times a day. My weight fluctuates between two and four pounds depending on the time of day, levels of hydration and if I've been to the bathroom or not. Now I'm weighing in daily, mornings only. Imagine checking in on the scale several times a day... that could drive a person crazy! 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Not Losing Control

Tonight I'm thinking about eating even when I know I'm full.  At least this time I'm taking time to think about how I'd feel if I actually opened the fridge or pantry and ate something.  My old habit would be to stuff my face without a second thought.

It's strange though because I had a great supper of bison steak wrapped in a strip of organic bacon and a huge pile of green beans and I've been eating well all the live long day. There's no real physical reason to actually eat anything else.  I've been getting my walks and cardio/weights every day this week and one yoga session to especially stretch out my back and feeling pretty good.

My food journal on My Fitness Pal has tabulated that I'm at 1525 cals for the day, so that's a reason not to eat anything else... I'll take it!

Headed for a quick shower and then hitting the hay :)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Flinging the Scale out the Window!

I've written a couple of times about my scale. It's an old-fashioned dial scale I bought in the early 2000s. About a year and a half ago, I wrote this about my scale being wonky. Ever since, I've used a pile of hand weights to recalibrate it probably about once a month. I usually weigh myself every other day.

At yesterday's visit to the doctor's, I had an official weigh-in. I was shocked  at the number. This morning, I went to a local gym to use their scale to compare the numbers: Pretty much the same, just a pound off. My scale at home is wonky and evidently the recalibrating doesn't work anymore. There is over a ten pound difference... meaning I weight 12lbs MORE than I thought. That's right 12!!! 

My man also checked his weight and he was 20lbs more than he thought. That is a big blow for him... he is finally starting to think about getting onboard with a healthier lifestyle. We went right out to the store and bought a new scale. 

My OLD scale results:





(There is a crack on the glass there when I threw it out the window. Didn't seem to make any difference to how it works, ha ha! )





NEW scale results:
I'm more angry at myself than sad. How dumb to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich. Lately, I've been feeling more puffy and slow since my last visit to the doctor's in early June.

Scale or no scale, I should have paid attention to what my body was trying to tell me.

I admit I have been coasting along over the summer, since June, and my vacation was certainly far from active. Since then there have been a few bumps in the road especially with the two weeks of conferences. I could throw myself a pity party and boo-hoo and whine but I'd rather just channel my anger in a positive direction and get this weight off!


The Food Plan:
Pretty much as I've been doing, 90% paleo/primal, but cracking down in a few key areas.
  1. Daily weigh-ins on NEW digital scale and a weekly weigh-in posted on blog to keep accountable.
  2. Write down every single thing that goes in mouth in food journal and tabulate calories.
  3. Measuring all food that goes in mouth! Strict portion control especially on fats.
  4. No natural almonds or any packaged "clean" snacks like LaraBars for the next couple of months.
  5. Keeping away from all processed food and dairy. 
Since the seasons are changing, I had already started with making meals in advance and sticking them in the freezer. A variety of soups and a big batch of Moroccan-style stew.

The Exercise Plan
Thinking back since the start of summer, I haven't making the most of my days. On average I've been working out three out of five weekdays. Weekends have been hit and miss. Time for that to change.

Weekdays: If I can get a longer lunch-time, I will try for at least a 20 minute walk.  Since I cannot seem to get my ass out of bed in the morning, weekday activity is going to happen between quitting time and 10pm. 
  1. Weight training (at least 30 mins., on my own or following DVDs)
  2. Cardio (at least 20 mins. on the Elliptical)
  3. Walking (at least one hour after work)
Weekends: one day will be a rest day, the other day must have 2 of the 3 workouts above. As an option, I'm also throwing in 30 minutes of Pilates or Yoga a few times a week... gotta keep my flexibility.

So now that the old scale has been tossed, I have no excuse for progress in the coming months. I have the right tools, I have the knowledge: no reason not to loose this weight and get fit!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Sometimes You Just Need a Griddled Cheese Sandwich

I've been sick for the past couple of days with a sore throat, stuffed nose and feeling like a truck ran over me. Colds and flus always seem to pop up at the changing of seasons. To keep my immune system up, squash soup  and other kinds of soups have been on the menu along with scrambled eggs and other bland and light eats. I've lost my appetite for my paleo/primal regime... I can't stand to eat meat, sweet potatoes or kale right now. 

The other night I just had this craving for a griddled cheese sandwich. I hadn't thought of one of those in a very long time, but it definitely is one of my past comfort foods. Since my man doesn't follow the same diet as I do, there is bread and cheese and all sorts of other processed food in the house. It doesn't bother or tempt me as much as it did at first. 

But for some reason I just wanted that griddled cheese! It was delicious. Two slices whole wheat bread, a slice of processed cheese and butter on the outside and then throw it on the griddle! Simple and just what I needed. No evil after effects either! However, I don't feel like having another for a long while. No, it's not paleo/primal by any means, but I don't feel like a sandwich will derail my long-term eating plan.

The only  exercise I've been doing is up and down the stairs and ten minute walks around my block. But I've been feeling lumpy and dumpy lately... for about the past month or so. My weight on the scale doesn't seem to reflect how I'm feeling on the outside... feeling chubby and tubby.

Plans for the upcoming week: shaking off this cold. Exercise. Lots of nutritious food. Prepping meals in advance. No more griddled cheese :)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Connections

There's a fellow blogger here in the interwebz who reminds me quite a lot of my past self. And it makes me sad...

About ten years ago I was super-shy, introverted, only had one friend, likely depressed, lost in  an online world and a world of books and games, sleeping my weekends away, not going out of my parents' house very often and not dating or even thinking about experiencing true love.

Reading her blog makes me so uncomfortable because she's who I could have been had I stayed in my rut.

What changed for me long ago was I took a big risk to break away from my family, moving to another town and to taking a job outside my comfort zone.  After making a wide variety of friends and dating on and off, and pondering the universe thinking about what being human really means, I've started to settle into the life I'd longed for all those years ago.

This change didn't happen overnight. It took a few years to get the ball rolling.  I started small by reading books like the how to make friends ones by Dale Carnegie, then just getting out there in the world, joining clubs, volunteering for charities, asking guys out, making mistakes and making a fool of myself sometimes... because that's how you learn!

Now I have a great job, a loving man, plans for a family of our own and a large circle of friends near and far. I'm not as afraid as I was about meeting strangers in person or trying new things. Fear was holding me back for so long.

I still struggle with a few things, with fear every so often, communicating effectively with my man and of course my weight issues which I'll likely struggle with for the rest of my life. But I'm living this life as fully, completely as I can. I'm not wallowing in a sea of self-pity, I'm not sleeping my life away anymore.



"Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect..."  -Howards End by EM Forster.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Three Down

Already three pounds down! It must have been partly water retention from the salty and carby diet of the past couple of weeks. The hike in the rain on Saturday and eating healthy food has me back on the right course. The weather sucked on Saturday but some of the trails are crushed rock so not terribly muddy or slippery.  I was out there for just over three and a half hours, but I'm not  an expert hiker like our friend Jeanette so I stuck to the easier trails. It was too rainy to bring the camera. I got drenched especially my hiking shoes  but I  didn't care one little bit :)

We're having a nice warm weather streak here so I took a long walk after work on Monday and felt great once I got home. Felt even better having remembered to plug in the crock pot in the morning, then coming home to find supper all ready! Pork butt was on sale this week and acorn squash are plentiful so I chopped some onions, garlic, threw it all in the crock pot with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. It smelled soooo good. The pork fell apart, in a good way!! I ate it over some greens.

Tonight is mid-week chore night and I've laundry to do. Fun times! Anyhoo, I think by next weekend another few pounds will be gone.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Five Up

I've been Missing in Action for a couple of weeks. Work sent me out to back to back conferences when a colleague who was supposed to attend had a death in the family. I only had a couple of days to prep for the trips so I packed some LaraBars, nuts, Almond milk and steel-cut oatmeal and hoped for the best.

The first conference was held in Nowheresville, far from civilization. It's meant to be a conference centre to concentrate on your organization's issues and not be distracted by the city's temptations... Anyway, the food was bad, just lots of processed crap everywhere, but I tried to make the best out of it by choosing veggies or fruit. The suppers were carb-laden nightmares.

There was a basic gym... no windows, not very good air circulation, a couple of treadmills, ellipticals, body balls and a range of hand weights. A super-chlorinated indoor/outdoor pool was also available... but I didn't use it. They had also a few easy trails around the woods, so that made for nice brisk walking circuits.

Wow, the days were so long and draining... sitting, talking and taking notes. Then break for food and repeat with the blah blah blah, argh!

Second conference was about the same, except more nutritious food served and held in a hotel in a major city. But no on-site gym or pool so they gave vouchers to go five blocks away to a regular gym. Thank goodness it had everything one could wish for. I was able to re-stock some almond milk and pick up organic dates and natural almonds at a health food store.

Upshot is I've gained five pounds. And I feel every five of them. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't exercised each day and actually ate all the crap food that was on offer?

I'm happy to be back home now and back to my regular food and exercise routines. I know the pounds will fall away pretty quickly in the next week or two. I've a three hour hike planned for tomorrow rain or shine!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Pushing myself

Got an hour in of yard work today, but afterward, I just felt sweaty, tired, less stressed but very deflated. I didn't want to mow the lawn and yank weeds but I knew that if I didn't get my fat ass in gear, it wouldn't get done. I'm feeling guilty that I don't have the energy to do my strength workout or yoga tonight.

Although I'm healthier than I was last year, my goal of being lean and fit seems so far away right at this moment. I know we all have these moments sometimes... and the trick is not to wallow like a pig in the muck and think that it is time to give up....because it's not. 

"Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time."
- Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Not working it

Being back at work from vacation this past week has not been a joy.... personality clashes in the team have been escalating. My job is very sedentary, I'm at the computer all day and for the most part I'm responsible for my own work and getting my projects completed on time. There are some projects that require teamwork. The consequence of this situation is that we've had to work longer hours to cover a Passive-Aggressive colleague's work that has been left undone. Sigh.
 
By the time I get home, have supper, run errands, get stuff ready for the next day, get some yoga in there, I'm just wiped out and sleep way into the morning.... and yes, missing my morning workout. This has to change! Since the Labour Day weekend is coming up, I'm hoping to de-stress and get back on track.
 
Eating has been okay but I'm not getting enough water during the work day and drinking too much coffee. Bad combo, I know it! Also not getting enough veggies in and now is the best time to take advantage of farm fresh produce. One cheat: I did eat some bread and paid dearly for it with major gas and nasty intestinal disruptions.  
 
The dial on the scale hasn't moved this week but that could be the dust and grime in it. It's one of those old-timey dial scales that I bought in 1999. This coming week, I am going to spend $40 or so on a digital scale to get more accurate results.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Back from vacation

Being back in my own bed feels so so good! But I do miss the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs at the campsite. I do not miss the noisy weekender campers but thankfully I brought along my earplugs and sleeping mask. We spent our days mostly swimming and hanging out at the beach, a couple of days hiking and one day it was so rainy we found a mall and shopped.

We had over 14hrs of driving one way, so we did have to stop for meals and sleep. Although I did bring some provisions with me, they were mainly healthy snack foods. We stopped at roadside diners for the most part because the cooks in the kitchen can be way more flexible with their menu than any fast-food place could ever be.

Close to the campground was a farm with a huge variety of fresh fruit and veggies as well as big fields to "pick-your-own" berries, peaches or cherries.

We did go out a few times for supper at restaurants. I was surprised that many of the menus in New York State had a calorie count beside every item! That was an eyeopener. I had grilled chicken and salad and at another chain restaurant they had a spaghetti squash instead of pasta with a meat sauce so I went for that.

For our main meals we'd go into town every couple of days and buy meat or fish for grilling on the BBQ.

Otherwise here is a typical camping day:

Breakfast
Protein powder shake with water or Scrambled Eggs
Peaches or Pluots (crazy hybrid of a plum and an apricot, tasted more plummy) or other fruit

Snack
Natural Almonds or Dates

Lunch
small tin of Tuna on Lettuce
Cucumbers and Tomatoes
Carrots

Supper
organic Sausage on the BBQ (or other grilled meats or fish)
roasted Corn on the cob
Salad

If still hungry, I ate fresh fruit.
Drank lots of water! As an alternative, I drank some flavoured seltzer once in a while.

As we went through New York City twice, I did Plan Cheats:
Two slices Pizza
One Hot Dog
One Italian Ice

Unplanned cheats
One slice of locally made Rhubarb-Apple Pie
One "Whatchamacallit" Chocolate Bar

I was hoping not to gain any weight while on vacation and I didn't. Still the same. My activity level wasn't up enough to lose any weight.

Overall, I do feel so much less stressed for completely unplugging and just putting my mind on vacation. The only care in the world I had was having enough trashy magazines to read at the beach!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

On Vacation

My man and I are going on vacation shortly and I can guarantee I'll be aiming for a 90% clean eating vacation. Since we'll be camping, we'll be eating lots of veggies and grilling on the bbq at the campsite. We're not going into the remote woods or anything... we'll be about 20 minutes by car away from civilization.
 
While on the road however, sometimes choices are limited. For snacks, I've stocked up on high quality organic natural almonds, dates and some trail mix. Every town has a grocery store, so there's no excuse not to pick up veggies and fruit.
 
I'll also be tracking and will probably post my food journal when I get back. 
 
This is my first long vacation in eight months so I'm looking forward to hiking and swimming every day and to completely unplugging from technology for a few weeks :)
 
 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Busy and a bit stressed before vacation

Work is crazy these days. Isn't summer supposed to be the time when everyone is on vacation and taking it easy? I'm swamped and need a couple of good days of quiet in my cubicle to plow through the paperwork and wrap up projects. I've got five working days to get my sh!t done before I go off on vacation, so the pressure is on!

I've not been on vacation since.... since Christmas? Wow. That's too long. I'll be able to unhook my brain and the computer for two weeks. My man and I are going camping so I'm hoping for good weather. 
 
On the home front, I've been cleaning and organising like a mad woman. "Spring Cleaning" came late this year, ha ha! Honestly, it's out of frustation because I keep misplacing things when I can't see past the clutter.  

I'm battling vines and hedges that are growing like mad! With all the rain then high heat, they are growing like crazy. I'm going to give up and call in the professionals to do a major trim. I know it's not the best time of year to do this but they've grown so high they are reaching  the telephone and cable lines.
 
Some medical stuff is going on which always stresses me out.  I'm still going through some tests. Doctor has recommended watching my protein intake as he's concerned about my kidneys.
 
Food-wise I've been eating clean, but I'm going back to tracking to make sure I'm not eating too much protein. Especially on vacation I have a tendency to gain, so maybe this is a chance to lose for a change.
  
Weight-wise I'm holding steady. I'm okay with that. After last week's debacle, I thought I'd surely see a gain on that scale!

 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Fail

I’ve been a lazy ass this week, made two very bad “food” choices and the scale hasn’t moved, as expected. 
 
I was feeling down due to a specific issue and ate my way through a large bag of corn twists. Also had a Camino espresso bean chocolate bar. Even though I always keep a stocked fridge and pantry (eg. a variety of vegetables, some fruit, dried dates and natural almonds), I turned to the dark side… rather than going through my usual steps.
Identify the emotion: fear, loss, stress, anger, hurt feelings, loneliness, ect.
Then do any of these:
  • Go for a long walk outside
  • Yoga or meditation
  • Take a warm bath
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Re-read a chapter of a favourite book
  • Listen to some music
  • Call a friend
Alter the situation, accept it or adapt! Do not procrastinate, deal with it as soon as you can.
 
In my case, changing old habits and turning to a new way of dealing with problems is not like throwing a switch.  I really wish it was. It would make life so much simpler. But life is not always easy or fair. I’m thankful that this emotional eating is not a regular occurrence anymore and over time, it’s happening less and less.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Heat and fighting laziness

In this city, we get heat waves all through the summer into September and while the first blast of heat and oppressive humidity comes as a shock to the system, by the second you know what to expect. The temperatures are in the 30 to 35C range and humidity makes it seem even hotter.
 
During times like these, I feel like crawling onto the couch and veg out in front of the television to watch classic black and white movies from the 30s and 40s while eating salty snacks and drinking cola. 
 
Not going to do it!  Instead I'm trying to keep moving as much as I can. In the morning, I've been walking as briskly as I can outside. If I'm feeling the heat, I'll just work out in the basement instead: Elliptical then weights.  After work, if there are no errands to run, or a second workout, I'm tending to the lawn, yanking and whipper-snipping weeds. Once that's done there are always chores to do in the house to keep me busy and away from the television.
 
I keep reminding myself that when I'm lean, fit and healthy, I'll probably be able to handle the heat so much better than I can now. 

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Iced tea and other discoveries

Growing up, the only iced tea I was familiar with was that powered brown sugary mix that you add to water. The first time I travelled with my man down to Massachusetts, we stopped at a diner and the waitress asked "Would you like sweetened or unsweetened iced tea, hun?" She explained that they make tea in a big batch, let it cool and stick it in the refrigerator. I had forgotten about that until this week when I was tired of guzzling water, lemon water, seltzer with lime in the heat and humidity. I made some iced tea using some Lemon Zinger and it was so refreshing... sure beats a Diet Coke! No, not adding any sugar either :) Raided the cupboard for some other teas, and I found ginger green tea then adding some squirts from a lemon seems to taste the best to me.

Today was the first day here in a while that hasn't been humid... probably won't last. I'm doing my brisk walks in the morning because by the time I get home after work, the temperature is usually up to 28C (82F) with a 35C (95F) or more humidex reading. Tried to exercise outside after work but the heat, plus humidity, plus long day at work, plus lack of sleep equals a half-assed workout! I'm sticking to mornings even though it's not my favourite part of the day.

I'm still having trouble with my sleep patterns: Still averaging about 5 to 6 hours a night. A friend recommended spraying my sheets with lavender. It worked well. Not perfect, I felt relaxed all week, so here's that recipe:
Add 1 tsp. lavender essential oil to an empty spray bottle containing 1/4 cup unflavoured vodka and 3 1/2 cups distilled water. Shake before spraying.

Have been trying a new veggie this week... fennel! I used some in a regular stir-fry and in this Green bean, mushroom and fennel salad. A nice change from my regular routine!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Smog-a-licious

It's another day of smog here in my city and it makes it harder to exercise outside. Sort of like breathing in thick air. This morning, my legs were like lead pipes and I felt like a slow poke turtle plodding along my 30 minute not-so-brisk walk. I was still a sweaty mess by the time I got back to my place. If the air is still bad tomorrow, I'll just workout indoors. My elliptical and the Rebounder are ready and waiting for me :)

Canada Day on Monday was filled with BBQ'd goodness! Chicken, burgers and the crowd favourite: Salmon on a cedar plank. We've been eating delicious left-overs for the past two days. I'm trying to keep portions in control. With the wealth of tasty and fresh veggies and fruit out there, I'm feeling mostly satisfied with my meals these days.

Cravings are still coming and going especially at the grocery store. I keep seeing my trigger foods (Doritos, Cheezy-Poofs and Corn Twists) on sale on entering the store and on the ends of a few aisles. I have to deal with this head-on. I could go to another store, but that is admitting food has conquered me. That the food engineers have me hooked forever.  It has not defeated me and will not.

The following is from the NYTimes article: 'The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food':




Thursday, 27 June 2013

June in review

I'm chained like a monkey to my computer all day at work; it's a super sedentary job.  Thinking over this last month, I could have done much better on the exercise front. I know to feel good and lose this weight,  I have to move as much as possible. Looking back on my exercise logs, it's averaged out to 3 out of 7 days per week. In my book, that's a fail.

I have to be exercising 5 or 6 out of 7 days. By exercise, I mean strength training with cardio for a total of at least an hour of sweatiness per day. Yoga and Pilates is an additional feel-good activity I do sometimes at home in the evenings, but it's for stretching and relaxation.

I am losing weight, but it's coming off too slowly. I know what I have to do.

As for food, I'm doing well. Sticking with eating protein, tons of veggies, some fruit and trying to avoid most processed food. However, I'm still fighting cravings and temptations. Invites to barbecues are frequent and I can easily brush off the potato salads and such, but the tortilla chips or fries and alcohol is problematic. On two occasions I've had to physically remove myself... once from the food area outside and hang out inside my friend's living room and the other time I actually left the party early. I knew if I stayed, I'd make the wrong choices. What can I say, I'm still working on willpower, or lack thereof.

Jeanette has a great post today called Protein, fat and carbs and portion sizes  Check it out :)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Not much new

Just doing things as per usual. Losing a bit of weight each week. I'm sticking with eating as nature intended, very little processed food, and once a week I seem to lose my appetite and eat a lot less than usual. Will have to work on drinking more water... I tend to forget at work when it's busy. Right now it's about 1.5 litres of water a day, a cup of coffee in the morning and a cup of tea in the evenings. 
 
Still getting my brisk walks in and doing some workouts on the Rebounder and elliptical in the basement on rainy mornings when I'm running late and don't want to deal with wet clothes and soaked sneakers. Will probably be riding my bike more now in the evenings as the water has receded from the bike paths that are beside the river in my neck of the woods. I envy those who can ride their bikes to work. I theory I could, but the rush-hour traffic is just too dangerous in some sections on the route I'd have to take.
 
Reading  and commenting on blogs once in a while. I try not to spend too much time online (because I can so easily get sucked in for hours at a time) but find the ones on my list really help keep me motivated and on track. 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Battling against my inner Fat Girl

Being overweight for twenty plus years will warp anyone's thinking. Some days I'm fighting bad habits and old negative voices in my head when I'm faced with stress or issues that come up. I'm usually able to deal, but once in a while it's hard.

My fear is slipping back into my old Fat Girl Coma. That comatose state when I was laying on the couch, sometimes for the entire weekend in pyjamas,  isolating myself from others and seeking comfort in crappy food. Sure I'd feel soothed for a time, then the next day, I'd feel lousy, and look bloated and gross.

During the recent Whole30 challenge in May, someone at work brought in treats and I automatically popped one into my mouth and started chewing. I did spit it out when no one was looking. I caught myself in time... but it's that automatic reaction that scares me.

Yesterday evening, it happened at the grocery store. I veered into the centre aisles and I bought some chocolate, not organic chocolate (not that it would be any better) but a box of dirty highly-processed chocolate and caramel-covered pecans. I put them in my cart with the other groceries, paid for them, got them home and set them on my coffee table in the living room.

Talking negatively to myself, the exact words I won't write here, I asked myself, What was I doing? Really?  

I got up, put the chocs into a gift bag and headed next door and gave it to the neighbours.  I said it was just a present for being such great neighbours. They were touched and seemed pleased.

I cannot trust myself with this kind of food in the house. I just cannot. I had to get rid of it completely. 

I had a big mug of ginger tea and a couple of dates. Felt a bit better. Thought over what I almost did and why. The why this time was loneliness. I called a friend for a long chat, did some yoga and fell asleep at a reasonable hour.  No Fat Girl Coma this time, no Fat Girl Coma ever again.  

Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Joy of reintroducing certain foods after Whole30

The above title is meant as sarcasm. I felt great at the end of my month of Whole30. Eating mostly as nature intended worked wonders for my whole being. Right now, I'm pretty much following the same eating plan as I posted last month. This week I started introducing back some stuff back into my diet... sometimes with disastrous results.

Started with a bit of dairy. A bit of 2% milk in my morning coffee to start and then had some cheese with lunch. Big mistake. Bloating and other nasty stuff followed. I was allergic to milk as a kid and have been sensitive ever since. Over the years I've tried Greek yoghurt and other 'modified milk products' with no success. I'm just going to stay away from dairy as much as possible.

Tried some sugar in the form of an energy bar...meh, everything tastes too sweet now. I looked at my food diary and found that I'm eating too many dates and sunflower seed butter. Will work at reducing that amount. I have to measure out the butter from the jar from now on with an actual tablespoon because I went overboard the other day... wound up having about eight dates and eight spoonfuls of SSButter. Not good!

I guess the worst reaction I had was to bread of all things. My man bought a baguette from the bakery, I had a few slices with supper and later in the evening I was bloated in the extreme, almost two inches of bloat on the waist... so happy it was just gas... and happy that I was not at work!

One of the best decisions was to reintroduce a half-cup of steel-cut oatmeal in the morning. I mixed in a handful of raspberries and had a couple of egg whites scrambled with veggies on the side. Gave me a full feeling until four hours later at lunchtime. I'm not eating oatmeal everyday, for now two to three times a week is enough.

Starting to research more about Primal, Paleo, ect., but I'm certainly trying to keep true to the Whole9 principles.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Final thoughts on Whole30

I've had a very good experience and will continue with this style of eating. Simply, I feel good.

Like many, for years I've used food to stuff down emotions. That bad habit is hard to break but I'm finding you can over time. My mantra over this past month has been: Food is fuel for my body, nothing more.

At certain times, out of the blue, I would have strong cravings for crappy food like twinkies and fries but I was prepared for that. I knew there would be times when I'd have to make choices. Stay on plan or screw up once again? This article and flowchart about Nutritional Off-Roading helped me.

Summary of results (template borred from Enz)
Pros:
  • I've got more energy throughout the day. Before, my energy levels would rise and fall like a roller coaster. I'm not half-asleep on my desk in the afternoons anymore!
  • No more brain fog
  • I've lost almost two inches off my waist and thighs
  • Complexion is somewhat improved
  • Clothes fit better and can fit into some of my size 13/14 summer clothes
  • Saved money by not buying pricey processed franken-foods
  • Enjoyed trying sauerkraut. No idea it was so good.
  • PMS symptoms lessened greatly
  • Bonus: My man said I had a glow about me...aw shucks!
Cons:
  • My gut really had a hard time if it got an overload of a certain veggie, like kale, which would lead to intestinal unpleasantness.
  • Still having trouble falling asleep at night, so I'll look for other solutions to that problem

So the pros outweigh the cons. Anyone surprised? I'm convinced. Will be adding back in some foods once in a while, but it will be an exception. I'm not looking to go back to old habits. I'm looking forward to implementing these new ones.

Day 30 of Whole30

So this is my last day of Whole30. I'll post separately about my results and thoughts.
 
Not so hungry this morning and I was in a big hurry to get out the door...

Breakfast
1 hard boiled Egg
1 Apple

Lunch
4 oz Bison rib-eye Steak  on a bed of Mâché (Some people know this as lamb lettuce, it's sweet, nutty but not bitter)
2 tbsps olive oil balsamic vinaigrette
1 cup Cucumber

Snack
Handful of natural almonds

Supper
Grilled Chicken breasts on wilted Spinach and Mushrooms
1 cup Cucumber

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day 29 of Whole30

Another so-so kind of morning. Having a difficult time getting to sleep as thoughts keep pounding through head. Getting an average of five or six hours per night these days. At least I am sleeping straight through the night.

Breakfast
Smoked salmon
1 1/2 cup Pineapple

Lunch
Spinach salad with diced Chorizo, cherry Tomatoes and 1 cup thinly sliced yellow and red Peppers on top
2tbsps olive oil balsamic vinaigrette

Snack
1 small handful natural Almonds
1/2 dried Fig (Didn't like it!)

Supper
3oz Bison rib-eye steak on a bed of Spinach
1/4 cup Cucumber

Snack
Apple with 2 tbsps of Sunflower seed butter

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Day 28 of Whole30

Not a bad day today... just wish I could wake up all refreshed in the mornings. I keep having that sleepy and groggy feeling until about 10am. Coffee or no coffee.

Breakfast
1/4 cup left-over omelette
Nori wrap with smoked salmon, mushrooms and thinly sliced red and yellow peppers
1 1/2 cups pineapple
Lunch
Grilled chicken on lots of spinach with thinly sliced red and yellow peppers
2 tbsps olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette
Snack
1 handful natural almonds
Supper
1 Hamburger patty with 1/3cup sauerkraut, mom's home-made relish, bruschetta
Snack
apple with sunflower seed butter
2 dates