Tuesday, 29 December 2015

In the Thick of it, and 2016 Plans

This is the first night I've had time to myself to take a bit of a break! It's been busy around here. My pre-Christmas clampdown went quite well. Ate "clean", no processed food, lots of veggies, calories in check but made an exception for two cookies made by a friend. They were delicious and I have no food regret. Office temptations were nothing to me for some reason and I was able to resist the crap. Pre-Christmas weigh-in on the 23rd was down to 169.1 lbs. 

Christmas was pretty good in all aspects. Visiting with my family is always wonderful. Travel was great as there was no snow and the weather was unusually warm. I swam lengths for a half-hour at a  hotel pool, then splashed around for another 30 minutes. So relaxing. At my Mom's since she's been out of commission, there wasn't much bad stuff around, with the exception of a box of chocolates and a box of fancy cookies. For suppers, we prepared roast meats like turkey, chicken, beef roast and assorted veggies. Baked potatoes. Others ate lasagna and that was fine. I made sure my Mom went out for her walks by going out with her. I understand how it easy it is to become unmotivated.

This week I'm in the middle of a big challenge: food every-frikking-where! Since I'm hosting friends, visiting friends, and New Years eve and day are bigger events than last year. Last night, huge multi-course supper. Oof! All good healthy food, no deep-fried nor any cheese-laden things, but just too much of it. And each course served with alcohol. Yes I've been drinking a lot of calories this week. Am going to stop now so I don't drink through the New Year. 

On the good side, it's snowing now and I've been exercising by shoveling snow out of the driveway: An hour this morning and another half-hour this afternoon.

Plan for 2016: Consistency with food and exercise, and becoming more fit and healthy.  I weigh pretty much the same as last year at this same time, and have bounced up and down a little, but not much. For my height, which is short-far from statuesque, 160s/170s is still obese. 

Once I get back into the daily routine on January 4th, I'll be doing the following to ensure I'm moving toward fitness rather than staying in the same rut:

  • As always, eating a paleo-ish template with low-sugar and low-sodium. I plan to track and keep calories under 1800.

  • Every work-day morning: Walking 40 minutes to the public transportation station (through snow, sleet or shine).
  • Every work-day evening: 30 minutes of Body-weight exercises to build muscles.
  • Every work-day night: Getting into the bed before 11pm in order to wake up in time to walk in the morning.

Weekends are not always spent at home, sometimes I travel to my mom's... so...

  • Weekend mornings: Walk 40 minutes wherever I am, even if it's outside around the block or inside in a mall 100 times!
  • Weekend nights: Not succumbing to temptations through booze to eat what I shouldn't.

I'll post a post-holiday weight on the 4th. I don't think it'll be much over 170, but we'll see :)

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Start of Holiday Madness

We're in the beginnings of Holiday Madness around here. Parties, pot-lucks, restaurants, concerts, shopping, decorating and not forgetting to keep up with Marie Kondo style of tidying up all my stuff from top to bottom. I'm in the middle of shredding old bills and other paperwork that I'd stored in a huge filing cabinet. Want to get down to one binder for all my paperwork. Big challenge.

As for the eating, and the scale, I'm happy to report all is well on that score: Down to 171.2lbs. I've been counting calories, watching my portions closely, eating lots of veggies, and making sure not to snack on junky crap, especially this time of year when the office is filled with it. I am tempted, I can't lie about that. And I do go to bed with the feeling that I "need" to eat something more (which I really don't) but I'm ignoring that feeling. For the first time in a long while, I'm actually waking up hungry, not starving but hungry. 

Other than that, the weather has been so amazingly warm here! I've been walking outside, and even bike riding! This is unheard of in these parts at this time of here. We're usually deluged in drifts of snow! I've been sticking to making sure I get my heart pumping regularly, and de-stressing with yoga t'ai chi or simple stretching before bed.

These next few weeks, and into the New Year will be tough and challenge-filled, but I'm going to hang on and do what it takes to keep feeling good and healthy.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Weigh-in, and it just happens to be Wednesday

Tough month this past month and the scale shows it. Although I thought I had my emotional eating under control, I still make mistakes. Scale shows 175.9 lbs. So a jump up of about 10 lbs. 

Now that I'm back home and back to my routine, I know the weight will come off soon enough. However, the reality is that I've been in the high 160s for a long time now. And it's just not a healthy weight for me. If only I were a taller woman... :)

My mother survived her heart attack, my grandfather and father both died from heart attacks, some family members have naturally high cholesterol despite perfect diets and healthy lifestyles... for my health now and for the future, I know I've got to make changes before it's too late. There have been small signs that the universe has been trying to tell me something, this latest sign was a biggie. I can't just ignore it and pretend everything is the same.

The plan is to get back to what works for me. For the next month, I'll be on a strict Paleo template with calories of 1600 to 1800 per day and tracking everything. Add in at least 30 minutes of walking per day, and to start back with cardio five days a week, along with T'ai Chi or yoga. That gets me to Christmas.

This year, since my mother's still recovering, I'll be cooking most of the Christmas Eve supper, which for us is the important meal of the holidays, and is called the Réveillon. I'm likely going to prepare a baked salmon or a trout almandine with roasted vegetables. I haven't planned the rest but there's still lots of time. We're going to a hotel buffet for Christmas supper (my mother's choice), so there will be all traditional fixings.

In honour of American Thanksgiving, I'll be watching Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter. Love their supper with competing birds, one organic the other not. Although the movie is funny and touching in places, it makes me value my own family all the more !!!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

When the Sh!t Hits the Fan

A series of unfortunate events have plagued my family for the past while. Most importantly, my mother suffering a heart attack. She is doing better and is taking things slowly. She qualified for some of the classic risk factors: Obese (190 lbs at 5'1) and hypertensive (blood pressure always over 140/90). 

She'd been having lots of difficulty breathing in the past six months and it was attributed (mistakenly) to asthma. Dizziness and blurry vision attributed (mistakenly again!) to migraines. Surgery has helped enormously improve the blood flow not only through her heart but to her lungs and head. She is breathing so much better, and her brain-fog is clearing. She'll soon be able to get back into her routine without any assistance from me for her daily tasks. However she has lost a lot of strength and that will hopefully come back in due course with rehabilitation and changing her lifestyle. Also hoping the side-effects from the medications she now needs to take won't affect her progress. Since she got back home, the neighbours in the small community where she lives have been so very kind and offered to do "anything anytime" for her.
I've been at her side through all this, helping her in and out of the hospital, and it has been stressful and an eye-opener in many ways. All this came just before the third anniversary of my father's death from a heart attack. You'll never know how relieved I am to still have her here. 
Since I've not been at work or in my own home, I feel the pounds have been piling on in the last month or so. Food choices were limited at the hospital, and I wasn't able to make the best choices due to physical or emotional fatigue. Didn't succumb to fast food or fries, but overate generally like sandwiches which I'm not used to eating regularly.  Exercise has been less than minimal. Stayed away from sugary stuff.
Now that things are settling down with my mother well on her way through recovery, I'll be back at my own place soon and able to exercise regularly again. I know any pounds gained will be flying off. I'll weigh-in when I get back.

Friday, 23 October 2015


I don't catch viruses every other week like I used to back when I was over 220lbs, but I've caught a very nasty cold. By eating well, exercising and thorough hand washing, I thought that should keep away the big nasty germs but no, this time they've come for me anyway. I haven't been pushing myself with exercise because no energy, and it can get hard to breathe. Easy walking for now will have to do. I've set up a humidifier in my bedroom so my sinuses don't dry up overnight.

Not much of an appetite either, so I'm making sure to get enough liquids, veggies and protein in. I was smart enough to make a huge batch of squash soup with a home-made base of chicken stock, so I'm covered for some meals. For the rest, I'm keeping it simple: eggs with maybe a slice of toast, apples, lazy cabbage rolls in the crock pot (easy on the rice), take-out rotisserie chicken with salad. A friend dropped by with some chicken noodle soup, make by a local company, and it was so good, not super-salty like most commercial soups you buy in the can. Drinking water and tea like crazy, but whether it actually helps or not to flush out the virus, I'm not sure about that.  

Weight is a little less, bouncing around 165 to 167 lbs.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Navigating Thanksgiving and Organizing

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I'm pleasantly surprised. My mother actually stuck to a healthy menu. She's had her own ups and downs with weight, and this past six months she's gained about 20 lbs. I didn't quite know what to expect for Thanksgiving, if she had gone back to her old ways. But nope, she's back to eating healthy.  Over the course of the long weekend we ate roast beef, roast mixed root vegetables, baked fish, mini-veggie quiches. And for the big day, on the menu: organic roasted chicken, veggie casserole, and a kale salad. KALE! Between the good eats and all the yard work that I did around her place, I didn't gain any weight. That includes two pieces of homemade apple pie.

I did get to a TOPS meeting a couple of weeks ago and it was really good. Nice welcoming people, great vibe, and good tips. The only thing is that it is really out of my way, as in it took me almost two hours to get home by public transportation. None of the members live in my area so I'll have to mull  over joining. The costs are pretty low, $36 per year and a $5 monthly Chapter fee. It might be worth the hassle...

Otherwise, things have been busy in my corner of the world. A couple of minor colds, and some household maintenance issues: furnace, roof, Fall cleanup outside, and re-organizing the shed.

I've also just finished reading the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. It's given me the impetus to declutter some more. About a year and a half ago, I did a major clean up of the house, and actually my entire life.  I donated loads of clothes, kitchen items, books and stuff. I shredded some old bills and other papers that I thought I needed to keep. It was a lot of hard work over the course of several weeks.

But, since then a lot has creeped back in.  The messiness is a reflection of my state of mind at times, and adds unnecessary stress. And I never really tackled all my sentimental keepsakes. Have to admit, I have a hard time letting go of stuff.  But if you were to come and visit, you wouldn't see anything wrong... but if you open the closets or the drawers, look out!

Kondo advises keeping the things you love "that spark joy" and getting rid of the things you don't. Also interesting to me, she advises tidying by category rather than going room by room. Her book does not contain any photos of the method she advises to fold clothing, but there are tons videos on YouTube. And a lot of people have posted their before and afters online as well.

The actual book is translated from the Japanese so some of the writing style is a little odd sounding. And some of the ideas she presents do not apply really to the climate where I live, or my way of life. But it's easy enough to take the ideas that could work well and adapt them. I'm not ready yet to start this week, because I'm too busy in the evenings, but I'll probably give it a go soon, likely starting next week with my clothes, coats, shoes, boots and bags.

Weight down a little to 167.3 lbs.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Support Systems

In trying to break through my plateau, I've been looking into local support groups in my community. I figure maybe getting out of the house once a week to attend a meeting, meet new people, and get new perspectives that might help me change my mindset. A kick in the ass, of sorts.

Online support has been a tremendous help, such a great motivator, and so far has helped me to get over 50 lbs down from my highest weight, but I think I need some support face-to-face.

My first stop was to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. The welcome I received was lukewarm. No problem, I thought, maybe this OA group is like a high school clique of cool kids? But as the meeting wore on, I found that I didn't really agree with the twelve steps... or the whole philosophy. I'm glad it works for some, but I know that it just wouldn't work for me right now.

Second on the list, a weight loss support group I found on Meetup. Even though it had great reviews, it turned out to be a  only asales pitch for a herbal appetite control supplement. I left as soon as I understood.

Thirdly, a Weight Watchers meeting. Since I found out the first meeting is free, and is an easy 30 minute walk from my house, I figured I'd check it out. The vibe was good, the meeting informative, and people were really welcoming (not just the leader who was trying to get me to sign up ASAP). The big down side are the fees: $35 to register and then extra weekly fees. Or almost $300 for six months. 

Budget-wise, I'd be taking a hit there. My fiscally conservative instinct is telling me not to join right now. But my impulsive free-spending part wants to try it now, now, now! Priority-wise, a personal trainer is where I should spend any extra money. Then if I had some left over, I'd think about paying that price for WW.

Next week, I'll check out a TOPS meeting, but since there is not one nearby, the closest about an hour by public transport from my place, it'll have to be on an evening where I have nothing else on my plate :)

In the meantime, I do have a long-time good friend who is also trying to lose about 30 lbs, so we do take lunchtime brisk walks together, and trade healthy recipes. Down side: We often enable each others' laziness! 

Weight 169.1 lbs

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Trying to Break this Pattern

It's back to the same bad habits. I commit to a plan, lose five pounds, and then regain. Then repeat, again and again. The weekends are definitely my Achilles Heel. Without the structure I have during the week, it falls apart on the weekend. Even though Saturdays and Sundays are packed with activity, poor choices on my part when it comes to food is a big part of the cause. The past weekends have included several restaurant outings and barbecues with family and friends. I've done well avoiding junk at BBQs by bringing a big veggie platter. Not my choice to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries at restaurants, but it's certainly my choice as to what I choose to order off the menu.

There is something that will impede me from any restaurant eating in the next while: Financial issues! I'm still in the black as far as my savings are concerned, but my insurance company has not reimbursed me like they should have for the medications I've had to take for the past few years. Looks like a huge fight is a brewin'. Sigh. Big Stress. Yuck.

In the meantime, I'm on a strict budget. At least there is a very good selection of local vegetables around at great prices. For beef, chicken, fish,  etc., it'll be what's on sale that will dictate my menus.  No more organic, unless it's the same price or less than the non-organic food. Budget overrides ethics.

As for my new gym membership, I've cancelled it, thankfully with only a very small penalty. I did get a few good workouts in with a personal trainer, he gave me a body-weight exercise routine, so that knowledge will have to sustain me until I can afford him again. Despite my sabotaging ways, I do feel my clothes more loosely.

Weight: 171.7 lbs

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Back to it

After a wonderful and completely relaxing vacation, I'm missing the tropics so much, especially Oahu. My lifestyle was so much more active there than back at home. Disturbed sleep was not an issue. And being in a completely different place, my seasonal allergies were non-existent. I'd never felt better! Here was an average day:
  • 8am Wake-up
  • Breakfast: Coffee first, with beans from a local plantation, to eat usually something simple, like eggs or yoghurt and fruit 
  • 9am - Get outside and hike up a mountain or explore a nearby city's cultural scene
  • Noonish - Big Lunch! Stir Fry, Japanese, or Thai, sometimes a burger but always making sure to have lots of fresh veggies 
  • Head to a beach
  • Read trashy romance novels under a palm tree 
  • Shake off the laziness by body boarding or swimming in the waves
  • If hungry, a healthy snack of a handful of nuts or some fresh fruit 
  • 7pm, Sunset - Means time to shower off the sand
  • Supper - Like lunch but smaller portions 
  • Evening - Explore a nearby city with a walk or a drive
  • 10 or 11pm - Sleep
What a tough life LOL

So now I'm over the jet-lag and I'm back in the groove of the daily grind. Weighing less, generally feeling better, and trying to keep as active as I can. But... yes there's a but, it is hard. My workload has increased due to lack of staff at work, the boss has called early meetings all week, and I've had to take on additional duties which leaves me so tired at the end of the day. Stress is creeping back in. 

I know this is just temporary until September when other staff members come back from vacation. I just have to hang in there just a few more weeks. Here's the plan:
  • Morning workouts on the elliptical, and body weight exercises 
  • Keep eating lots of veggies. There is so much choice now and at low prices!
  • Be sure to get into bed early, no late nights

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Battling Burnout

I've been MIA for the past month or so, but I've not gained weight, which is what usually happens when bloggers go silent. I've just been busy working on my mental state, which hasn't been all that great. 

Therapy and a support group have been helpful. But in addition to my own issues, add in some family issues, major work stresses, and I'm just plain tired, burnt out. And not getting enough decent nights sleep; 6 hours per night on average is far from ideal. I've been working with my therapist on issues I can control, and getting help to get back into the activities I used to love. 

My plan for this month includes getting away for a real vacation. The last time I took any non-medical related time off was around Christmas-time. Even though my issues and stresses will certainly be waiting for me when I come back, the break and a change of scenery will do me good. The only thing is, when on vacation it doesn't mean I'll be off my food plan, it'll just be a heck of a lot harder to stay on track. 

Although eating at restaurants will be more frequent, I'll make wise choices and am going to be sure to get as many meals/healthy snacks from local grocery stores or markets. My food template: Lots of vegetables and some fruit, lean protein, low-sugar, low-sodium, and limiting processed packaged foods.

As for exercise, I've been only been doing the minimum to keep the weight where it is. I still walk, do some yoga, and walk to and from the grocery store instead of using the car. But my level of actual physical fitness has degraded since I was last at this same weight when I was on my way up to gaining over 220lbs. Stamina is less, muscles have shrunk, flexibility is down and fat is higher. When I have to run to make it to the bus, I'm sucking wind like a vacuum cleaner... and that's not fit, not healthy at all. That's what I'll be concentrating on this month, building up fitness. 

I know I'll be hiking and walking quite a bit on vacation, but certainly there will be time unwind and laze on a beach or two with a good book. And get a little vitamin D recharge from the sun. 

There's nothing worse than coming back from a vacation, stepping on that scale, and seeing the number jump 10 lbs higher. That will not happen here.

Monday, 25 May 2015

A Small Victory

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Promises, Promises

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

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

Doable goals for this week:

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

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

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sink or Swim?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A Colder Winter than Planned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 28 February 2015

50 Days of Cold

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Baby, it's Cold Outside!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Quiet Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Take a Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wrap it up Already

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Weighing in after the Holidays

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