Monday, April 26, 2010

Getting Back on the Healthy Train

Well, after a few days of cleaning up my eating I must say that I am feeling awesome. I've been eating lots of natural foods - steamed veggies, rice puff cereal (where the only ingredient is...rice! can you believe it?), beans and fruit. Honestly, my digestive system has always done me well, but the past week when I wasn't at my top I noticed I had an upset stomach for a few days. After one day of eating really well, the upsetness was gone and everything seems to be working how it should be.

I started down a path of super-healthy eating when I lost a lot of weight a few years ago. I've mentioned it in other posts, but not gone into a tonne of detail. Before I moved to Vancouver, and even at first when I got out here, I really tried to not buy processed foods. Anything that came from a can or a box was usually not chosen. I hadn't read anything about these real food revolutions at the time, I just noticed my body worked better when I made certain choices. And I also learned during this time that I loved to cook. Making my own soup and crackers was an inexpensive way to make my food budget stretch up to a week. Baking and cooking things that I traditionally bought pre-made, like veggie burgers, pizza and pancakes not only gave me the confidence of knowing what was going into my body, but also gave me the pride of learning to make all of these things, and making them in ways that actually taste really good.

One of the down-sides of cooking while living out here in Vancouver comes from the fact that I have known since almost the time that I got here that I would be heading back to Ontario once I finished school. Vancouver is too far from home and I miss so much about my home community of Windsor, Ontario. Because I've known that, I've been really reluctant to buy much in the way of kitchen gadgets. When we got here it was just our luck that a guy had moved out and wasn't able to fit his box of kitchen supplies in his car, so he gave them to the building managers, who then sold them to us. This box, which contained spatulas, a whisk, a couple of graters and some other serving utensils has been used as the bulk of our kitchen tools over the past year and a half. I've supplemented it with some things - a can opener, corkscrew and garlic press, but for the most part we haven't bought much. We also own 2 pots, one large and one small. The large pot was very inexpensive and, as a result, not very good. I also accidentally blew up the lid, so it is lidless. We have 3 frying pans, which is more than sufficient, and some bake wear that is usually enough. But because of my love of cooking I want fancier things. I want an awesome stock pot that I can make soups and chilis in. I want a food processor. I want a strainer. Can you believe I don't own a strainer?

Anyway, one of the biggest things I'm looking forward to when I get home is having a bigger kitchen and being able to buy all of the kitchen gadgets that my heart desires. Do you have kitchen gadgets that you can't live without?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weigh-In, a Pattern and Dress Sizes

Today was my weigh in, and I knew it wasn't going to be in my favour. Luckily I didn't gain, but I maintained. I think it's a little odd that I haven't gained once so far. Like how bad was I living for the past year that I managed to gain 56 pounds when in the past 4 months I haven't gained anything. I know it was bad. Never walking anywhere, eating out tonnes and not thinking about what I was eating, and snacking a lot more often and unhealthily than I needed to. Glad that's over with.

Anyway, my weight this week was the exact same as last week. At some point during the week I made this observation while looking at my weights over this journey - for the past 3 months (not counting January) I've had one week of weight loss, two weeks of maintaining, and one week of weight loss. So although I was able to attribute my maintains for the most part to poorer eating habits, I'm going to go ahead and guess that it has something to do with TOM. And next month, I'm going to try to nip it in the bud. I definitely noticed that I had a lot of cravings this week, so that's probably where that comes from.

I'm looking forward to a stellar week next week. I now have 10 days until my brother's wedding on May 1. I plan to eat only whole, natural foods starting on Friday (I have leftover soup at work for tomorrow that I don't want to waste, and I still have to do some grocery shopping) so that I can make sure I'm not getting too much sodium. It's amazing how much sodium almost every processed food has in it. Anyway, I'm planning to spend a lot of time on Friday putting together meals for the week because I'm working extra next week to make up for the 2 weeks I'll have mostly off. I fly home on Friday April 30, and get in at about 10PM.

I also don't have a dress yet, so I'm going shopping on Saturday morning for one. This is quite the risky business. I was looking online at dress sizes, and since I know my measurements, I was hoping that I could figure out what size of dress I should try on. Well I found all different sites with all different sizes. My waist is really the clincher; while it has gotten more proportionate, it is still the outlier in terms of the ratio to my chest and hips. So I look at the size that I should be in based on my waist. And some say size 18 while others say size 12. What's that all about? Well I looked a little bit deeper into it, and found out about vanity sizing. This term refers to sizes actually getting bigger over time so that people don't feel so big (e.g. even though I should be wearing a size 16 based on my waist size, now size 12s will fit me). I don't know about you guys, but this doesn't actually make me feel any better. So I am no longer deciding how healthy/fit I am based on the size of clothes that I fit into, because it means nothing. Instead, when I go shopping for my dress, I will try on dresses in whatever size fits me best, and not be ashamed to buy a size 16 if that's what looks best. Trying to fit myself into smaller clothes does nothing for me. I will wear what looks good on me and be happy about it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yummy Lentil Sloppy Joes

I am a huge fan of sloppy joes, but I haven't had them since I stopped eating meat. I usually like recipes that don't include veggie-meat products, and so I haven't made them with tvp or veggie ground. When I was home at Christmas my mom made me sloppy joes with eggplant, but I figured there should probably be a pretty good recipe with beans. I did some searching and put together a recipe based on a few that I found online. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture, so I'll have to take one next time I make them (they were good, so I'm sure I'll make them again soon).

Alright, so the recipe is:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
7 medium mushrooms
1.5 cup lentils
1 cup ketchup
1tbsp mustard
1 tbsp relish
Whole Wheat rolls

Sautee the onion and mushrooms in the olive oil over medium heat. Once they are lightly browned, add the lentils (I used canned but you could also use dried). Stir in the ketchup, mustard and relish and cook until cooked (about 5 minutes). Serve open faced over a whole wheat roll. Makes 4 servings. Calories per serving = 470.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Never Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today

Thomas Jefferson said that, and he was totally right. I thought about this today when I caught myself in an old bad habit. The past 3 days I haven't been stellar with my plan. I have been eating pretty well all day, but then in the evening going to get a snack like I used to do. I realized this in the bakery by my house this afternoon while I was running some errands and stopped to pick up something sweet for after dinner. I kind of saw it as a last goodbye because I was planning to get back on track tomorrow. Yikes! That is something the old me would have done, and it definitely does not get me any closer to my goal. I walked right out of the store and home.

After dinner, I was looking for a recipe that was healthy but would satiate my sweet tooth. Instead of baking anything I remembered that I had some frozen cranberries. I sprinkled a little sugar on them and they totally hit the spot, and at only 30 calories a way better choice than the butter tart that I was eyeing at the bakery (it was probably at least 500 was huge!). I don't know why I went back into that 'take a day off before the "real" weight loss commitment starts' mode, but I'm sure glad I got out of it. I've ridden that merry-go-round way too many times.

I used to work with at-risk youth and we taught them to ask themselves whether a decision would get them more or less of what they want. I guess it's a good tool for me to use too, because even though butter tarts are tempting, living a healthy lifestyle definitely gets me more of what I want.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Keep Pushing Forward

Well, I was definitely not expecting what I saw on the scale today. I got on, and it read the exact same as it did last week. 185. In the past, when I've had weeks of no loss, I've been able to attribute it to something - drinking alcohol, not eating as well as I can, or not exercising enough. This week, though, I really expected a loss. I worked out 6 of 7 days, a few times doing the Shred and a long bike ride or walk. I didn't drink one ounce of alcohol, which hasn't happened in a long time, and I ate really well for the whole week. I was pretty frustrated when I saw that number, but I'm trying to not let it get me down. All of that working out and making healthy choices wasn't for naught. It is contributing to my healthy lifestyle and even if it doesn't show up on the scale I feel better, and I can tell that my muscles are getting more defined.

I'll end this post with a NSV - I only lost half an inch between my chest, waist and hips this week, but it was on my waist. I looked up my waist-to-hip ratio, which is an indicator for health and risk of metabolic disease, and mine is currently .85. I've read that a healthy waist-to-hip ratio for women is below .8, so I'm getting closer every week. When I started this journey, my waist-to-hip ratio was .98, so I've made a vast improvement in the past 14 weeks, and I can definitely feel good about that.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

30 Day Shred, Level One

Well, today is the last day of level one of the 30 day shred for me. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do it all 10 days in a row, which was a bit of a disappointment for me but, nevertheless, after today I will have completed 10 workouts in level 1 and will be graduating to level 2, for better or for worse.

I thought I'd post my thoughts/experiences about the shred at the end of every level. I've been using 2 pound weights...or more specifically, balls (they were on sale). These have been my companions over the last couple of weeks:

Sorry for the super dark photo, but you get the idea. I found that 2 pounds was pretty perfect. The shoulder exercises in the first circuit were hard at first with 2 pounds, but they got easier as the days went on. The flys in the third circuit were really easy right from the get-go, so heavier weights for that exercise would have been good. My bf has 5lb weights, and he had to put them down part way through the aforementioned shoulder exercises every time. Neither of us can do the full push-ups yet, and I'm a little unsure if I ever will be able to.

I've definitely noticed a big difference in my arms. After the first workout my abs and legs were really sore, but I wasn't sore at all after subsequent workouts. Don't get me wrong, it's hard stuff. I sweat a lot every time, I grunted, I begged Jillian to stop, but at the end it was totally worth it. My bf says he doesn't feel like he's getting as good of a workout as he would at the gym, but I think that's because he's 'phoning it in' (haha). I found that even though I was getting stronger, she presents you with enough modifications to keep it challenging every time.

My biggest criticism is that the stretching section leaves a little to be desired. I don't feel like my flexibility is increasing each time as a direct result of that section. I might start throwing some yoga back in a few days a week to supplement this workout, but at less than 30 minutes, you still have time to add other stuff in. I have to say I was a bit disappointed when I watched level 2 (I like to know what's coming up...and man does it look hard!) and she includes the exact same stretches as she did in level 1.

So, that's my experience with the first 10 days of the 30 Day Shred. Overall, I'm pretty happy that I hopped on this bandwagon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Great Outdoors

I did a lot of cycling this weekend. It was really sunny every day (I even have a little colour on my cheeks to prove it). I didn't ride bikes a lot growing up. I'm super clumsy, and my family can tell you a hundred stories about me riding into fire pits while camping, into parked cars, and falling down hills. It wasn't until I was in my early 20's that I really became even remotely comfortable on a bike (read: I rode on the road for the first time [but only when there was no traffic]). When I started dating my bf I found out that he had a love for cycling, so I started doing some longer rides with him. Last spring I bought a great Trek Hybrid bike, and let me tell you, it's a major improvement from the supercycles I'd been riding up till now.

Anyway, yesterday the bf and I headed over to a place called Deep Cove in North Vancouver. This means we had to cross the Lions Gate Bridge from Vancouver into North Vancouver. Here's me at the top of the bridge in full cycle regalia:

Yeah, this is right before a super scary downhill coming down the bridge. I look tough there but you should have seen me about 2 minutes later. Luckily there's an off-road bike lane, but I still ride my brakes the whole time. Going down hill freaks me out big time. Once in North Van we took some sketchy routes before finding a good path that took us all the way into Deep Cove. I had heard this place was beautiful, and I heard right. Here I am taking a break:

Overall, it was a pretty sweet 50 kilometer ride and I would definitely do it again. Next weekend we have bigger hills to climb, though, and I'll try to get some more shots of that too. I also got my bike hooked up with some snazzy fenders and a rack on Friday, which you can see in the photos. I was super sore when I got home last night, but surprisingly this morning I felt great!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Self Motivation

I read a post by Barbara on Thursday about the struggles that come with adopting a healthy lifestyle, and whether those would ever go away. I had too much to say to just post a comment. It brought me back to the last time that I lost this weight. When I got into a 'normal' weight for the first time in my adult (and maybe even entire) life, everything felt different. I found that I was working out in ways that didn't require motivation. I was on a baseball team and a volleyball team. When I went out with friends we often went for a walk, or went to the batting cages or to a driving range. I took up golf. I chose my bicycle when I was going out - to work, to friend's houses, and I walked to a lot of places too. Around this time I actually took my car off the road because I realized that everywhere I went was within active transportation distance. My mantra was that everything was within walking distance, some places just took longer than others. I bought a pair of great hiking boots and kept this up in the winter, too. As long as you're dressed properly the snow is just another challenge.

In terms of eating healthy, I surprised myself by really embracing a healthy diet (diet as in the foods I chose, not some kind of weight loss strategy). I loved the way my body felt when I fueled it with good food like fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. That weighed down feeling that you get when you eat too much or too many processed foods? That didn't fit in well with my new lifestyle. I needed to be light on my feet so that I could run and jump and just move properly. The choices I made were no longer related to weight loss, but I recognized my body as a machine; and like any machine, the better you take care of it, the better it works.

Now, you may be wondering how I ended up 3 years later writing a weight loss blog. Well, as strong as all of those feelings were, and even though they resulted in me keeping the weight off at home, when the game changed I managed to forget my motivation. I moved away from my hometown. I moved in with someone who had very different eating habits from me. I went to school full time and worked three jobs. I found it hard to find time to work out, to make my own healthy meals on a really tight budget, and I didn't have the social connections to keep up the sports and active lifestyle that I had developed. They say it takes 8 weeks to form a habit. I think after 2 months of living a more sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle, that became habitual too. So now I'm on my way back, and because I've done this before, I am not starting from scratch. I have some skills that I can dust off and build on. And I am trying to learn how to adapt to the different situations that I am faced with, so that even when the game changes, I can still make healthy choices, and as time goes on those healthy choices are becoming the easier ones again.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

...Must Come Down!

I was really excited for my weigh in this week. I feel like I've finally made some great strides in the right direction. So this morning I got to my weigh in, and my scale looked back at me and said...185! I haven't had a 3 pound weight loss since my 3rd week on this journey. So I did a little dance:

(No, I didn't go to a bar at 9 in the morning...this was a while back but an appropriate picture).

So then I took my measurements, and I lost half an inch everywhere, which means that I finally lost some inches on my hips after weeks of not doing so. Yay!

Super excited for April. I think this is my month. For that reason I decided to join Tammy's Summer Challenge (thanks to Keelie). So my goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of the month. It's lofty, but we'll see what happens!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Riding my Stallion

The whole time that I've been writing this blog, I've had an ulterior motive for weight loss in the back of my mind. Some people think I'm crazy, some think I'm ambitious, and some think I'm crazy (yeah, it's about 2 thirds to 1 third), but I am planning to ride my bike across Canada this summer. Yep, 6500 kms west to east. How did I get myself into this mess make this decision? Well, when my bf and I decided to go back to Ontario when we were done school, he said that he wanted to ride his bike. I said have fun I'll meet you there. But then, I watched a documentary that our friend Mike Beauchamp made when he did the trip in 2005. Immediately following said documentary, without thought or filter, the words "I want to ride my bike across Canada" came out of my mouth. About two days later, I was the proud owner of this stallion:

Yep, she's a beaut. They didn't have any in pink, which would have been my first option, but I've got the water bottle to hold down the pinkiness. I've got her souped up some and I'm going to get fenders and a rack for my panniers later this week. I rode quite a bit last summer but then not at all this year until this weekend. And guess what? It was FANTASTIC!!! There is this hill on one of the rides that I like that I distinctly remember never making it up last summer. This weekend, though, I made it up it, no sweat (okay, a little sweat, but you know what I mean).

It's an added motivation for me to be as healthy as I can because Lord knows I don't want to end up carrying my obese self plus all my stuff up the rocky mountains. I'd rather be as fit and light as I can be. We plan to leave around May 24. Let the training [officially] begin!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Movin' on Down

Last week, I bought a pair of size 12 jeans. For some reason all of my old size 12s have gone missing (my bedroom is like an abyss when it comes to clothes, and I've also moved some stuff home to Ontario). I have a pair of size 11s, which are not quite ready to fit yet, and some even smaller ones which I'm guessing will be on the shelf for a while still. Anyway, I only had one pair of size 14 jeans, and I'd been putting quite a strain on them what with wearing them when I should have been wearing at least a size 18 (note: I'm not weird and wearing the same pants every day [but I won't judge you if you do]; I wear dress pants to work and often wear sweats around the house or on days off). Anyway, they're getting a little tattered and I've also been noticing that they're a little big, so I decided to go shopping. And I ended up with these:

I've got to say, I'm pretty happy with them. There's still a bit of a love handle sticking out over the top, but that should be gone in no time and I can keep my size 14s around until then. But just for remembrance's sake, here's the shot I took 2 months ago of me in my 'fat jeans':
Yep, as I stated then, I wore those when I was 9 pounds and 11" bigger, too. So glad to be heading in the right direction, and I think my pants are as well. I don't know how much more they could take!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Well, it's been a while. But that doesn't mean I've been making bad choices and being sedentary. Not at all. The thing is, with my dad here for 11 days, and my thesis deadlines coming to a head, I had to prioritize. And unfortunately, blogging was something that had to go for a couple of weeks. I still managed to fit some activity in, and to make meals rather than buy them some time. That is evident by the fact that rather than gain weight over the past few weeks, I have lost a pound. Not great by anyone's standards, but it tells me that this really is a lifestyle. Even when I had so much work to do on my thesis that my supervisor didn't think I would get done, and when my dad was here wanting to go out for beer and wine, I still managed to stay on track.

And guess what? I'm finished my thesis. Well, just about. I have some revisions to do, but I'm hoping to get them done in the next few days, and then I'm a master.

The bf and I have also started doing the 30 day shred. We had to take a couple of days off after the first day because it was my thesis defense and then I went out the next night after work with some of my girlfriends to celebrate, but we're entirely back on track now and I recently found out that my mom has it, so if I don't finish all 30 days before I head home for my brother's wedding on April 30, I can finish it up there. My mom and I are also supposed to do a 5k on May 7, but she got a stress fracture in her foot last week. We're hoping it will be healed in time, but I definitely don't want her to push it. I'm a little disappointed because I was really looking forward to it (I've definitely got the running bug). We'll see how it goes.

If you take a look at my measurements, my waist is FINALLY smaller than my chest. How amazing. I'm really noticing the changes. I find it a little weird that I haven't been losing anything off of my hips lately, but they were disproportionately small before, and maybe now that I'm shredding I'll notice a difference.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week in Review

Wow. I've been gone for a while. I got really busy trying to finish up my thesis (it's due next Wednesday) and my dad came to visit. He's still here but entertained with some poker so I have a few minutes to catch up. So much has gone on this week! I figure best way to review is to just go through day by day.

Wednesday: Weighed in. Result - down 2 pounds to 189 and 1 inch. Woot!

I was so excited to say "hellooooo 180's" (this picture is old). My dad also arrived on this day and we went out. I was craving a burger (veggie) so I had one, but only a couple of fries. Of course I had some mandatory beers as well.

Thursday: Following my night of beering it up with the dadsies I had a conference that I was staffing a booth at all day. I didn't get to drink much water (just one water bottle) all day and I was super thirsty. I went to the gym this night (to train for my 5k) and it was the worst run I have had since I started. I realized part way through it that my calves were probably screaming because I was dehydrated. Word of advice? Drink your water! It makes things so much better!

Friday: Another day at the conference and picked up my race kit (which was actually just my bib number and a pair of free gloves. I thought it would be more official). The rest of the night I just laid low.

Saturday: Race day! My personal trainer friend ended up doing it with me, and it was AWESOME! I finished in 38:46, which is the exact same time as my fastest time on the treadmill. This made me really excited because there are A LOT of uphills on the race, and it usually doesn't rain or have huge wind gusts on the treadmill, so the race was actually a lot harder than it would be just running on the treadmill. I also ran about 600 metres on the track before the race (this is a great way to start a race - your body is already primed for running. Just keep your heart rate up and you're good to go!). I also went to visit my relatives with my dad who live on Vancouver Island. We went to a concert and I did a tonne of dancing, which definitely burned some calories (needed given that I had a few beers).

Sunday: A relaxing day on the Island with my family. Didn't work out (I was pretty sore). I also didn't drink any beer this day, which is pretty big for me. I love beer, but I just had some nice lemon water and I was totally satisfied all day (probably helps that I was recovering from the night before).

Monday: Came home from the Island and did a lot of walking this day. Fun times with dad & the bf. Also had some thesis meetings which went pretty well.

Today: Again lots of walking. Haven't been to the gym since Thursday but it's hard to make it there when you have visitors. I might try to revisit a stair workout tomorrow. I'm also pretty worried about my weigh in tomorrow (mostly because I've taken a couple of peeks at the scale). If I gain I'll be disappointed, but as I said I did partake in a few beers over the week so I can't REALLY complain. But, seriously, I ran a 5k. And did lots of walking and even other running earlier in the week. I've also been eating awesome. Even better than when my sis was here earlier in the month. Hopefully tomorrow won't be that bad.

That's all for now! I'll be back tomorrow to post about the damage (or hopefully lack thereof).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Foot in Front of the Other

I never thought I would be a runner. I've never had any desire to run. Even when I was fit before running didn't cross my mind. I've had bad knees and a bad back and I really just thought that everything would hurt if I ran. How wrong I was! I am really starting to enjoy running (I wouldn't say love yet...we're dating). I feel like it's the easiest way to see how much your health is improving over short amounts of time. The first time I ran it was for 5 minutes at 4.5 (and I thought I might die). Today I finished a 5k in under 40 minutes (and I thought I might die). To know that my body is really getting that much better in only a few weeks is amazing. I can't wait to see how much stronger I get. I told my friend that I would run one of her runs (45-60 mins) with her before the end of May. Setting fitness goals for me is the most motivating way to stay active.

Speaking of running... The way I see it, there are 3 main ways that it can go down on Saturday:

1) I run the 5k somewhere between 38 and 44 minutes like I have in training
2) I get freaked out by all the people and end up walking it in 75 minutes
3) I feed off of other people's adrenaline and finish in 33 minutes

I'm aiming for #1, but I won't be disappointed with #3. No matter what, #2 will not happen. I have a plan to run for 2 songs on my running playlist (about 9 minutes) and walk for a minute. I think it's pretty solid, but we shall find out! I'm struggling a little with taking days off because I want to train as much as I can, but after running 2 days in a row this weekend, I realize that the day off is there for a reason. So, tomorrow is a day off and Thursday is my 'last chance workout' before the race. I'm ready for it!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sour Cream, Anyone?

I don't have much time to write today - lots of work to do on my thesis. But I thought I'd share an ongoing breakfast struggle I've been having. It seems like every day something goes wrong with my planned breakfast - my bread has gone moldy, the bf ate the last of the fruit, the egg I intended to cook was broken. Today, however, I got a surprise that was completely within my control. Apparently I wasn't paying attention while I shopped yesterday, because when I pulled out the cottage cheese that I bought as part of my breakfast, I realized that it was actually sour cream. Awesome. If you have a good, healthy recipe that involves sour cream, please pass it along!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

She's Like the Wind

Holy moly, I just ran for 35 minutes. 25 minutes straight, then about 2.5 minutes off and another 10 minutes. I also did a 2.5 minute warm up, and went a grand total of 3.1 miles (that's a 5k). I ran 2 miles straight without stopping. And I'm pretty confident that I can get close to running the full 5k by the end of the week, judging by the fact that I didn't die tonight. I am really worried about doing it outside rather than on the treadmill, though. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with a friend and we're going to do some outdoor running together.

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I work at a recreation and parks organization. We certify fitness leaders and personal trainers in the province. I work with a lot of people who are really fit, and who teach other people to be really fit. Gaining 50 pounds while I've been working there has been pretty embarrassing. I would say I'm without a doubt the least healthy staff person there, but not for long! The friend that I'm going running with tomorrow works with me, and is a personal trainer and fitness leader, as well as being an avid runner. I'm pretty lucky that she's willing to help me get ready for the race.

On a complete side note, the past couple of days it's been absolutely treacherous to meet my minimum calories (1200). I've been eating lots - 3 meals and 3 snacks (I usually only have two snacks), and I still have to have a 4th snack to get me to the minimum. Right now I'm about to go down to the store to get something that'll give me about 150 calories to reach 1200 for the day. I know it could be worse, but who really has to stuff themselves to eat that much? I'm not hungry!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cool Runnings

Running outside, it's way different from a treadmill. I did it for the first time this morning. My runner friends told me that I should run outside a few times before the 5k next weekend (next weekend! eek!). So I did. I had mapped out my route last week before my sister came, and today was the first chance I had to try it out. I got a little lost. I'm not too worried about that happening at the race, because I can follow people pretty well, but my own little route ended up being about 3k instead.

There were two main differences I found with running outside. The first was that you didn't have the treadmill to pace you. I think I always ran too fast at first then found my groove. But I always started walking fairly quickly after. It was partly not knowing my route, partly because I hadn't run for a few days, and partly mental. The second thing that was weird? People actually do look at you. Unlike at the gym where everyone is in their own zone and most of the time no one is facing you, when you're running outside (in a major city on a main route) there are always people walking opposite you, people hanging out in the grass with their dogs, people sitting on benches. Lots of people. For me, it was a bit of stage fright that I'm going to have to get over.

There are some things that I know I'll love about running outside too, though. It's not all bad. Like the wind; my gym has fans on it's treadmills, but they're nothing like actually feeling the wind blow. The scenery is also great. It's fun to see things change as you go. And then there's actually getting somewhere. There's something to be said for a destination.

Overall, I may not be willing to give up the treadmill just yet, but I definitely want to spend a lot more time running outside.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


When I leave work I have to walk up this mini-hill (mini in Vancouver, the most massive hill ever in southwestern Ontario). The hill used to be a bit of a problem, but lately I've forgotten about it and I don't even break pace when I'm walking up it. But today, I broke a sweat. I huffed and puffed. I felt awful. I was carrying some stuff home that I don't usually carry. As I was having such a hard time, I started wondering..."hmm...I wonder how much all of this stuff weighs? I wonder if I'm close to my former weight right now". So I came home and weighed myself. And I was. I was 210 pounds with the stuff in my hands. This means that me + all the stuff was a measly 4 pounds heavier than my heaviest weight. At the rate I was going I could have easily gained that in a month if I hadn't turned things around. And then I started imagining what it would have been like to have carried the almost 20 pounds of stuff at 206 pounds when I was super unhealthy and my cardiovascular system was shot. Probably wouldn't have been anywhere near the walk in the park it was today.

It's things like these - 5 minutes of my day - that make me see the changes. They open my eyes to the countless benefits that being a healthy weight can offer. Carrying that stuff was brutal today, but it was so much easier than it would have been 2 months ago. This isn't about lifting weights or pushing myself to run a little farther, it's about being able to live a normal life without having to worry about whether or not my body can handle it.

The experience today really made me see how far I've come. But knowing that one day carrying 20 pounds up a mini-hill will be easy? That makes me realize how far I still have to go.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guess What I Am (not)

I'm not obese! I'm not obese, yeah!

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Woo! This morning was really exciting. I decided today that I want to change my weigh ins to Wednesdays permanently. I changed it last week because my sister was coming into town, but I found that I got to enjoy the results more because I'm not rushing off to work like I am on Thursdays. I also always feel like I'm sabotaging myself on weigh-in days because I'm tired after work and usually don't work out aside from walking home from the skytrain. By weighing in on Wednesday's I'll combat this feeling because I have all day to work out.

So, I stepped on the scale this morning and weighed in at 191 pounds. I couldn't be happier. I also decided, why not marry my measurement day and weigh in day now? I have always been measuring myself the day after my weigh in because when I originally started my weigh ins I didn't have a measuring tape. Today I measured myself, and I'm down 1 inch from last week, which brings me to 20.5 inches lost in 8 weeks!

In honour of my 8 week weight loss-iversary, no longer being obese AND losing 20(.5) inches, I figured I'd post some progress pics.

 Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Making Good Choices

I think that was the theme of my week with my sister visiting. I can't say I made perfect choices, I can't even say I made awesome or great choices, but I can, without a doubt, say that I made good choices. I said no to eating when I wasn't hungry. I ordered salads as sides instead of something fried. I always ate the salad first, so that if I got full it was on good stuff and when I chose to stop eating (which I did, almost every meal there was food left on my plate), it was after I had consumed the healthiest things that make my body run better.

Speaking of running, I haven't done any of it. I've been walking quite a bit still, it seems like it's just a lifestyle habit now to walk places more often than taking the bus. Even up the deadly hill that starts at my house - I think I have an easier time walking up that now than I did when I moved here and was 40 pounds lighter. Nevertheless, I see my ticker counting down to my first 5k, and I feel a little tinge of nervousness in the back of my mind. I scouted out a 5k route around my house, and I've walked it but haven't run it yet. I now have 10 days to train for this run...wish me luck!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

At-Home Workout

My sister and I are going to visit my aunt and uncle today, and we have to leave really soon so I didn't have time to go to the gym first. I wanted to do something, though, so I decided I would do some kind of at-home workout while my laundry was in the dryer. With my sister in the living room it's hard to really do anything in my apartment, so I took a lesson from the bitch cakes manual and headed for the stairs. I knew doing all 30 flights in my building at once would be setting myself up for failure, so I decided to go from the basement to my floor and repeat that (8 flights each). I had about 30 minutes, and my goal was to do 8 sets, or 64 flights.

In the style of bitch cakes (although not nearly as glamorous), I took a before and after photo of myself:

That's me before (remember it's pretty early in the morning here). And here is me after completing 4 sets of stairs. I did the 4 sets (32 flights total) in about 15 minutes, almost died from leg muscles that I didn't know existed being in pain and not being able to catch my breath for the life of me, so I stopped. I had to push myself to do the last 2 sets, let alone 4 more after that. Anyway, here I am (after chugging water like I had just been in a desert).

Sorry for the poor quality all I've got is a camera phone. Anyway, I now have something to work up to. I'm also amazed by the fact that I didn't see anyone in the stairwell. There are hundreds of people in my building, and no one takes the stairs? Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's funny how much things can change in a day. I had a post ready for yesterday, but didn't get a chance to write it. My sister came to visit from Ontario. This was super unexpected - she got Olympic fever, realized she had a free place to stay in Vancouver and booked a flight on Monday. I picked her up at the airport yesterday. But before I did, I did my weekly weigh in a day early. See, I know I've been amazing this week. Even though I wasn't sure what I'd be eating on the weekend when I volunteered, I left myself a lot of calories and came home and tracked, and if I needed to eat more I did. Easy as that. I worked out super hard too. My 'lazy' days still involved a couple miles of walking. I felt amazing. And I weighed in, even a day early, at 193. That's a 2 pound loss, and finally breaking my 3 week plateau at 195. Yay!

Why did I weigh in a day early, you ask? Because I didn't want the weigh in to be looming over my head the first day my little sister was here. So it wasn't. Like it really wasn't. I actually consumed 2 days worth of calories yesterday (mostly from beer). By far the most since I've been on this journey. At first I felt awful (it might have been the hangover), but as the day went on I became more and more at peace with the decisions I made. Because they were choices. And it was one day (more like an evening) of bad choices. And I learned some stuff - like I would rather have salad than fries. I ordered the fries with my wrap but kept eyeing my bf's salad instead. This is good to know.

Here's the thing - I don't know how to deal when people come to visit or unexpected events happen, because I've never had to before. I'm new to this, and so each time I make a bad choice I can learn from it. It's when  you keep repeating the same choice over and over again that it becomes a problem. I feel like I've learned from this, and now I'm moving on. And off to get some yoga in before bed.

PS - Here's me carrying the Olympic Flame with my team of colleagues from every province and territory in Canada. Yeah!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Muscle Madness

I've been overweight my whole life. When I was 9 years old I wore size 9 pants. When I was in grade 7 I weighed 160 pounds. When I lost weight before I actually passed each of these and ended up in a smaller pant size (size 8) and weight (150) than I had been in my adult life. But I had something that I didn't have way back then. I had muscle. I had never seen my body with muscle on it, I didn't even know what it could look like. I LOVED it.

I'm not the kind of girl who likes big muscle. I know some people who have lost weight and then went to bodybuilding, and I'm fairly confident that that will never be me. But I really love finding new muscles. One of my favourites was a leg muscle like this girl has:

I can see it now - but only barely if I hold my leg straight up in the air while I'm laying down (I think this lets the fat move out of the way). I also love the back of the leg muscle that you can see when you're shaving your legs. This is something that really motivates me to keep going - finding new muscles and really seeing the changes in my body.

So I'm curious - have you found any new muscles? Am I the only weird one that gets excited about muscles?

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Wheels on the Bus

I'm a public transit commuter. I can walk to school, but I often take the bus (on account of running late). I also can walk to/from the skytrain station, which I do sometimes, but I have to take two skytrains to get to work two days a week no matter what (I've also cycled there once). The commute to work is what I'm writing about today; in total it takes 50 minutes if I'm bussing it to the skytrain station, and about an hour if I walk.

I was excited to start using public transit when I moved to Vancouver. My home town does not have a very reliable transportation system, so your options are really walking, cycling or driving, all of which I did regularly. Here in Vancouver you have so many transportation options you don't need a car (unless you ever hope to get out of the lower mainland, but that's another story). So, I moved here, got my mandatory upass, which all university students pay for, and hopped on a bus.

Despite the buses being busy, it was generally a pretty good thing. But then winter came, and with big coats and backpacks I started to notice that my seat was a little crowded when I was flanked by other people. Then the spring came and I no longer had the coat on, but the seat was still crowded. It was me. I was crowding my own seat with the amount of space I was taking up.

Why post about it now? Because today I noticed that when I sit on the seat I fit comfortably in the centre area that was meant for people to sit. I don't hang over the edges. I have two siblings so I know how important it is not to cross that line between the couch cushions (or bus seats in this case), and I am now able to comfortably not do this. I'm so happy because for the past year I've been holding my arms in front of me, squeezing every muscle I can think of (and control) in so that I am not imposing on everyone else, and now I can sit a little more comfortably. Woot woot!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More on the 5k

It may seem out of the blue that I signed up for a 5k, but it is the result of a lot of thoughtful consideration. Before January when I started training for the torch relay I had never run before. I mean, I'd run - when I was trying to catch the bus, in a joke race with a friend, and in grade school when they made all of the soccer players train with the cross country team (a direct contributor to me not trying out for the high school team); but I'd never purposefully run. While I was training, though, I really started to enjoy pushing myself and seeing what I could do and how much better and easier it felt every time I went to the gym. I started thinking that I didn't really want this experience to end with the torch relay, so I looked up some different race options. I'm planning to leave Vancouver in May, so I figured I might as well get one done here before then, especially since it's known for it's outdoorsiness and beauty. That's why I signed up for the St. Patrick's Day race on March 13.

I also started to look at some races back home in Ontario. I found a race that's about 2 weeks before my mom's 50th birthday in May. She has always been active and enjoys challenging herself as well, so I called her and proposed that we do it together. She is so excited and it makes me even more pumped about it. My mom and I have never really worked out together, and I'm looking forward to sharing this with her. I also know that she will LOVE to tell all of her friends about her accomplishment at her birthday party, which happens to be the next day.

So that's a little more info. I did run on the treadmill today, but didn't do the whole 5k. I really pushed myself on a bike yesterday and was feeling the pain today. I usually finish about  2.25 miles in 30 minutes, and 5k is 3.1 miles. I'm looking forward to getting there next time!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Standing Still (but not for long)

Well, for the second week in a row my weight loss has been at a standstill. Although this week I also did not lose any inches. I can't say I'm not disappointed, but I know why it's happened and I know that I can make it better. One of the ways - I signed up for a 5K. It's really soon (March 13). Probably too soon, but before I registered I looked at the results from last year, and it's truly a walk/run. The fastest time was just over 15 minutes, and the slowest was about an hour and a half. I'm pretty confident that I can finish somewhere in between. Right now I'm running 17.5 out of 30 minutes on the treadmill. I'm going to start spending more time on the treadmill so that I can finish the 5k every time, and hopefully improve my time every time. One of my coworkers also suggested that I do some running outside because apparently it's way different than running inside. We're going to go for a little run on Monday at work.

On that note, while I didn't lose inches/pounds this week, I did have some wins that I want to mention:

1) I took the stairs while walking to the skytrain with my coworker who is also a personal trainer. A few weeks ago she took the stairs and I rode beside her on the escalator. This time, when we got to the top, I wasn't even out of breath (although she was a little).

2) I tracked my food and physical activity every day. I think this is really important because even on the days when it was out of my control (from volunteering at the Olympics), I was able to take more control by acknowledging what I ate and staying aware.

3) I got active every day last week. No matter what, I walked for a minimum of an hour every day. Even if I didn't see the results as a loss on the scale, I did see them as not a gain. This is definitely a good thing.

4) I didn't quit. Even though this is my second week with no change, and things have been hard and stressful, I'm still here. I'm still doing this. I'm not saying "ahh, time for some fast food and better luck next time". I'm saying "time to buckle down and fix what I'm doing wrong to make me successful this time". This is a big one for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I feel a million times better today. Immediately following my rant yesterday I pulled out my yoga mat, put on a DVD and did an hour of yoga. When I was my most fit I used to practice yoga every day. I've struggled with a bad back since I was a teenager and it really helped. The DVD I have is called Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss. It has 4 different modification options, 3 different sections, and overall I'm a huge fan.

I bought the DVD years and years ago before I lost weight the first time. I tried it once, didn't make it through it and decided it wasn't for me. Then, after I lost weight a friend of mine kept trying to convince me to go to a class with her at a local studio. I repeatedly said no. Eventually she guilt tripped me into it (she had just gone through a breakup and didn't want to go to class alone) and I went. I was really worried because I tend to laugh when I'm nervous, when I don't know what to do, just laugh pretty often in general. But the class started and I loved it. Then, near the end, we were doing bridge pose:
It's pretty much common knowledge in the yoga world that you can't turn your head when you're in this position. I didn't know this, and turned my head to my friend and started talking. The teacher came by and straightened my head with her hands. Ahh - my worst nightmare had come true! It was near the end of the class, and I decided I was going to do everything right from then on. 

But right before relaxation pose, the teacher said "blah blah blah blah blah put your hand on your belly". I somehow missed the first part. My eyes were closed, and I obediently put my hand on my belly. A couple of minutes later, I felt a whoosh and there was a blanket on top of me. I slowly opened one eye and looked around. NOBODY else had a blanket. What did this mean? Was I in trouble? Did I have some special responsibility I didn't know about? I had all kinds of thoughts running through my head. Then I thought "blah blah blah blah blah put your hand on your belly" ~ "if you want a blanket, put your hand on your belly". I started laughing uncontrollably. Luckily I'm a girl guide and had to learn to hide my laughter from leaders sitting outside my tent as a kid, so it was silent laughter. But my chin was quivering and I had tears streaming down my face. When class was finally over my friend looked at me and had no idea why I was crying. I ended up joining that studio, but I never put my hand on my belly again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This Game of Catch Up

Well, I just tracked all of my food since Friday. I'm getting pretty frustrated because I was volunteering for the Olympics all weekend, and despite the fact that it is a sport related event, the food is definitely not healthy. What's worse, you have no idea what you're going to get until you get there. Lots of refined carbs. VERY few vegetables. Like, the most veggies I've had there were the day I opted for cream of broccoli soup. Even most of the sandwiches don't have any veggies on them. I went over my calories on two days (helped along by my birthday which included 2 beers on Friday and a piece of cake on Saturday). I also haven't made it to the gym at all, although I have still been doing a lot of walking. Hours and hours of walking a day.

I'm mostly frustrated because I really wanted to be back on track this week, but I feel like it's been out of my control. We eat when they tell us to eat (another difficult thing because it's usually around 4:00 for dinner...which means I'm hungry when I get home late at night), we don't get as much water as I would like (security is really strict so you're not supposed to bring water in), and we eat what they make for us (one meat option and one vegetarian option usually...I'm a vegetarian which means no choice). Ugh!

Gotta love rants. I have plans to go to the gym today. But with only 2 days until my weigh in I'm not feeling positive about it this week. It's disappointing because I was on my way to making my mini-goal of not obese next week. Oh well, whether I get there next week or in a couple of weeks, I'll get there. And I'll never turn back.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

Well, I asked for anything but a gain, and I got it. I maintained at 195. I'm totally happy with this, considering the lack of vigorous exercise/super healthy eating that I experienced last week. I pulled out the measuring tape today for my weekly measurements, and I've now come up with a theory - sometimes it takes your weight time to catch up with what your body is doing? The weeks with the smallest gains so far, I have also had the most inches lost. Weird, but I'm glad that I do the measurement thing to keep me motivated on weeks like this. I lost a total of 4 inches this week. And even better ~ my belly is catching up with my boobs! There is now only one inch different. I can hardly wait for the week where my chest measurement is bigger than my waist measurement. I'll have a party.

Speaking of parties, this week probably won't be the absolute best for healthy eating and exercise either. I'm a volunteer for the Olympics, which makes my schedule a little busier. Today is the opening ceremonies and so I can't do my usual Friday gym time. It's already been a week since I've made it there, but it'll have to wait again until Sunday. I've been walking a lot more than usual, though, so hopefully that'll be worth something. The other thing this week is that tomorrow is my birthday! Yay! I will probably be indulging in some sweets, though...your birthday only comes once a year!

I have 4 pounds and 2 weeks left for my "not-obese" goal. I'm going to really try this week to lose a couple so that I can get there. Here's to moderation!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to Reality (almost)

I have had an amazing few days. The uniform fit for my torch relay experience, and I ended up not having to run as we had people with various levels of ability on our team and decided to keep it slow so that everyone could enjoy it. Here's a pic of me with the bf before the run:

The whole experience was so unreal I can hardly describe it. The adrenaline, making kids (and their parents) SO happy by taking photos with them, seeing other torchbearers and how the experience affected them. It was incredible, and I'll never forget it.
Today I had the opportunity to go to the Opening Ceremonies dress rehearsal because I'm a volunteer. I'm a little disappointed in the people who leaked information about it after being granted this great opportunity, and so all I'm going to say is - watch it! It's amazing.

The week has definitely done a number on my routine, though. Tomorrow is weigh in day, and I've only made it to the gym once since my last weigh in. I have done a lot of walking, though. When I got home from my weekend of meetings yesterday I tracked everything I ate on Spark People. I wanted to track while I was there but the hotel I stayed at charged for internet use and I decided not to buck up. We hardly had a minute of free time anyway. I went over calories 2 days and under 2 days. The days I went over also involved a little beer, but not too much. All I'm hoping for this week is that I don't gain anything. I hope everyone's been having a great week! Looking forward to catching up on my favourite blogs.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Test

This weekend will definitely be a test. My torchbearer experience will be here on Sunday, and from Saturday until Tuesday I am out of town in meetings. The thing about staying in a hotel and being in meetings the whole time is that I have almost no control over the food that I eat. Two nights we will be in a restaurant, so I should be able to order off the menu and find something pretty healthy, but other than that it's whatever the organizers make available during the day. Working breakfasts and lunches don't make for easy planning. And I'm a planner. Oh my goodness am I a planner. I usually have my meals planned for the week when I go to the grocery store. I know how many calories they are, when I can have a little extra, and whether or not I'm getting the right amount of macronutrients. I'll say it again...this weekend will be a test.

On the plus side there's a gym in the hotel so I can at least get a couple of workouts in. There's also some really nice pools. The problem is that I brought every bathing suit that fits home when I went back for Christmas, and only kept a little bikini here (that I planned to fit into in the summer...catching a pattern here?). So, I won't be able to take part in the swimming. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Today was my weigh in day and I'm down another 2 pounds. This is pretty awesome. I feel great and this is definitely the first time that I've stuck with weight loss for more than 2 weeks since I've been out here. Now I'm at 5 weeks and counting!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Skinny on my Fat Jeans

I have a confession. I wear a size 14 pants. No, I haven't been on here lying about my measurements for the past few weeks. I actually shove my big butt (and stomach) into a pair of pants that totally don't fit. And I've been doing it all along. Somehow I feel like buying over a size 14 makes me feel bigger, even though it looks like this:

That's right...this is 11 inches and 9 pounds from where I used to be wearing these pants. Not a pretty sight, I must say. So at this point in my journey not only am I trying to get into some kind of skinny clothes, but I'm actually trying to fit in my fat clothes without busting out of them. This isn't the only pair of pants that I do it with. I'm a culprit with work pants too. I make sure to wear long shirts so that the pop-outiness doesn't show. I'm looking forward to actually being a size 14 and making these jeans look good.

In other news, I kicked my butt at the gym today. Hardcore. It felt great!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Bridesmaid Dress Story

So as I mentioned, I started gaining wait pretty much as soon as I moved to Vancouver. One month and 6 days after I moved here, however, my best friend was getting married. I was flying back for the wedding, and it was going to be great fun. It was the weekend after I started school, though, so I could only make it home late Thursday night (1am) until Sunday morning (8:30am). I was fitted for my dress in May and my mom was going to pick it up before I got home. We had made an appointment for a relative who is a seamstress to come by first thing Friday morning in case I needed any alterations.

Well I got home, went to bed, and the next morning got up what felt like dreadfully early (3 hour time difference, don't forget) and put on the dress. It took both my mom and Colleen (the seamstress) to zip it up, but it got zipped and it was fine. Then I went out for lunch with my mom and mother in law, had some wine and french fries and some other carborific food. Then had pizza for dinner with more wine. Then went out with a girlfriend for a night of delicious beer consumption. It was a super fun day.

The next morning I got up even earlier than the day before and headed to my friend's house to get ready. I got my hair done, my make-up, it was a super fun pampering session. Then came time to put our dresses on. I had mused with a couple of my friend's that I'd need help doing mine up. One of my other friends said she was in the same boat. The dress had this satin strip around the midsection that had no give to it, so it was really hard to get it past that point. I zipped hers up first, easy peasy. Then she went to zip mine up....oh....that's a little tough. We called in another bridesmaid to help...yeah, still no luck. So I suggested that I lay down. We went into the living room and I laid on the floor. Now there were 3 bridesmaids trying to zip me up. One holding in my belly, one pulling the dress together, and the other one trying to get the thing to zip. The bride is standing behind me laughing her butt off (as all good best friends should) and her mom is above me telling me to go run around outside. This went on for what felt like forever, but was definitely at least 10 minutes (after I laid down). All the while the photographer is snapping shots. Finally, as we were about to get out the butter...


SUCCESS!! (BTW, John Lyons is an exceptional photographer in Windsor. If you're getting married in southwestern Ontario check him out).

Unless you've risked not being able to wear a bridesmaid dress to your best friend's wedding, you have no idea the relief I felt on this day. It was incredible. Still not incredible enough to stop me from gaining another 46 pounds afterward, but definitely something I'll never forget. 
The wedding was amazing, and partway through the night the bride's mom came up to me and asked if I was okay. I said I was, and asked why. She said she told her sister about the dress situation and her sister was sure I couldn't breathe. Luckily I could. Sitting down was a little tough, but I just danced all night and even went to the after party in the dress. So word to the wise - order a size up if you doubt your ability to maintain. It saves a lot of headaches. But you might miss out on a great story.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Happy Monday. Thank goodness that's over with.

I'm posting a pizza crust recipe that I love. I first made it about six months ago after my coworker gave it to me quite a while before that. I was afraid to cook with yeast. Once I got over it I realized it's actually pretty easy and this recipe is definitely tasty. I'm not a great cook, so sometimes it turns out crunchy and sometimes it's soft. Not really sure what I do differently, but it tastes great either way. I usually cut mine into 12 slices and have 2 in a meal. The crust itself is 199 calories for 2 slices...then you can get creative with what you put on it.


Pizza Crust Recipe:

1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 cup flour
Proof the yeast in warm water with sugar (I use brown because that's what I works...). Let sit for about 10 minutes.

Add in oil and salt and about 2 cups of flour. Knead the dough and add more flower until it's no longer sticky. Let sit for about 10 more minutes covered (I put it in a bowl with a towel over top).

Roll out and put on whatever surface you're baking it on. Top with your favourite toppings and bake in a preheated oven at about 350 degrees. How long you bake it depends on the topping, but I usually check it at 15 and 20 minutes. When the crust is golden and cheese (if any) is melted it's ready.

The toppings on my pizza were pizza sauce (100 mls), roasted red peppers (1 slice, about half a pepper), artichoke hearts (4 hearts) and feta cheese (half a cup). It's a pretty delicious combo and altogether is 281 calories. Serve it with a salad or some fruit and it's a pretty great meal.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't Take My Word for It

So, I had the beer. Not 2, but 3 of them. And then some fruity drink that my friends made back at their place. I'm a little disappointed but I've decided that I'm just going to seriously kick my own butt this week to make up for it. Mini-wins are that I didn't get pizza after the bar like most of my friends were, I bought all of my beers directly from the waitress instead of joining in on my friends pitchers, which allowed me to know exactly how much I was drinking and track it, and I also didn't eat when I got home, which is usually my m.o. after a few drinks. I would love to come up with something to have instead of alcohol when I'm at the bar. It's easy enough when I'm at a friend's house to not drink, but at the bar it just seems like the thing to do. I don't drink pop and I chug water like I'm in a desert, so I'll have to try to think of something.

Short post today, lots of work to do and it's late. I spent some time at the gym and I can't believe how much easier & better it feels every time I go. Tomorrow I'm going to post my pizza recipe because I love it and would love to share it. Happy Monday (almost!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Those Darn Stairs (reprise)

So last night I realized that I hadn't taken the stairs at all this week, and that I wanted to take them 3 times. I hadn't planned to go out for any reason, but I asked my bf if he wanted to go to the store and the bank (he said yes because he's a sucker for late night snacks...I feel a little bad for the sabotage but he didn't mind). When we got back I almost automatically got on the elevator, then realized that I was ruining the plan and left to go for the stairs. I took the 6 flights, started dying around flight 4, but made it. Our apartment is at the end of the hallway right next to the stairs...on the OTHER side of the building. I walked right into the wrong apartment. I startled the couple who were sitting on their couch enjoying their Friday night, quickly apologized, closed the door and headed back to my apartment laughing. My bf thinks I should put a note under their door. I would rather let it stay a mystery. He said I would freak out if that happened, but I reminded him that I always lock the door so it probably wouldn't. Hopefully they got over it pretty quickly but it'll probably be more than a little awkward if I see them in the elevator any time soon. Maybe I'll stick to the stairwell on my side of the building from now on.

Friday, January 29, 2010

To Beer or Not to Beer

For the record, the picture in yesterday's post was not current. It was from 2 summers ago at my going away party (a bring your own theme party where my theme was a slumber party). Also, the beer in my hand in no way indicates my actual preference for beer. My dad drinks blue, the party was at his house, and when I am with him I also drink blue so that we can have that special bond. Also also, I've tasted American-style blue, and it is not the same as the blue that you can purchase in Canada, so don't judge me based on that either.

Now that that's cleared up, I have some serious decision making to do. You see, after a huge deadline today, my friends and I are going out for a celebratory evening tomorrow. These types of evenings usually involve copious amounts of alcohol, most commonly in the form of beer. Last time I went out was 3 weeks ago, and that night I drank my signature rye and waters instead of beer, which was pretty easy because we were at a Legion which aren't typically known for their selection of quality beer. However the place we're going tomorrow does have good beer. I was home for Christmas, and this means that the last time I had the BC beer that I love so much was almost 2 months ago. Hence, I am faced with a dilemma...

To beer or not to beer...

I looked up the calories, and one pint of my favourite pale ale, from everything I can find is somewhere between 150 - 200 calories, with between 10 and 15 grams of carbs. Pretty much everything else is negligible. The only real calorie recommendations that I have are on Spark People and they tell me to eat between 1200 and 1550 calories daily. I generally tend to stay pretty close to the 1200 mark. This means that even eating normally I have about 350 calories to play with. So I started crunching some numbers. I can eat extra healthy during the day (including making the delish home made pizza that I had planned for dinner) and still manage to stay under 1450 calories, while having 2 pints of beer. I calculated the beer at 195 calories each, for a grand total of 390. Pretty generous based on my web searching.

I still feel like it's wasted calories, but I also feel like I don't want to deprive myself of something that I really enjoy. I've had chocolate very sparingly over the past month and that hasn't ruined me. But alcohol seems different, because it's so many empty calories. If I was back home and wanted a night out of drinking I would just have the rye and water and not think twice. A couple of those at 70 calories each and I'm laughing...but in BC the beer I have access to is so much better. I think I'm going to do it, but I would love some input. Do you drink when you're trying to lose weight? How often, how much?

On a good note I've lost another 2 inches this week, bringing my grand total for the month to 11. I'm pretty stoked. I also tried on the torchbearer uniform and it looks SO much better. I can definitely wear it proudly now. I'll post pics as it gets closer to the date (8 days!!).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weigh in #4

I felt great last night. The bf and I went to the gym. I didn't talk about the last time that I went before yesterday. It was a challenge. This has been my treadmill schedule:

3.5 - 5 minutes
4.5 - 10 minutes
3.5 - 5 minutes
4.5 - 5 minutes
2.5 - 5 minutes

Well on Sunday I decided that I should increase the second 4.5 to a 5. Oh my goodness I thought I was going to hurl. I ended up having to break it into 2 two and a half minute sections. I still got it done, but there was no way I could do it all at once. So yesterday I decided to try the same thing again. And I did it. Not only did I do it, but the 10 minutes at 4.5 were WAY easier than they'd ever been. And then I got through the whole 5 minutes at 5 without worrying about impending death. It was great. I'm excited to go back and try it again tomorrow.

Today was my weigh in day. I was worried because in my experience if I go to the gym the day before a weigh in I don't lose as much as I expect. So I basically tried not to build up my expectations as I got on the scale. But then I read it...197!! I lost 3 pounds last week. I was ecstatic. It tempted me to change my "not obese" goal but I'm going to keep it the same. If I reach it sooner, great. But I'm not going to get my hopes up and then be disappointed if I have a low week and don't reach it.

So, here I am, waving goodbye to the 200's once and for all.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The 4 Month D-Day Explained

I have this nagging little tracker at the bottom of my page reminding me that I have a deadline. I've heard of a lot of people who have goal outfits, and on many tv shows contestants/participants are encouraged to do this. I don't have a goal outfit (other than the torchbearer one which was sort of out of my control), but I do have a goal event to wear an outfit to. My step-brother (although I call him my brother) is getting married on May 1. Below is a picture of myself along with my brother, sister and mom at her wedding in 2003. I remember being disappointed that I was in front because I would take up so much of the picture. I don't know what my weight was then, but I know I was unhappy with it (I actually did a surprisingly good job of hiding it in this picture - there were photos of me from the side where you could clearly see my protruding belly).


I would like to feel better about myself at the wedding in May than I did in this picture. I would like to be able to dance without ruining my hair from sweat, and I would like to be able to get a dress that I'm really confident and comfortable in. So my four month d-day isn't really about a goal outfit, it's about a goal state of mind. So far, I feel like I'm on the right track to making it there and having a great time at the wedding with my family. I'll be sure to post pictures of me tearing it up!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I don't think I've mentioned it here yet, but I don't eat meat. I do eat fish. I chose to stop eating meat a few years ago for health reasons. Well, actually I'd only BEEN eating meat at that point for about 5 years. When I was growing up I didn't like the taste so I just didn't eat it (I can remember my parents freaking out while I sat at the dinner table and refused to eat a really nice steak as a child...they just couldn't understand...). When I decided to make the switch again I went to see a nutritionist and she was the one that suggested that I keep the fish in for protein. I like fish, so that wasn't really a big deal. I generally eat some kind of seafood once or twice a week now.

Anyway, this week I signed on to spark people and I've been tracking my nutritional intake. Every day it tells me that I don't eat enough protein. I struggle with this because I've read articles that say that we don't need as much protein as most experts say we do, and with so many conflicting opinions I don't know who to believe. Anyway, I figure I can try to reach the minimum recommended protein per day and I'll probably be okay. In order to do this, though, I basically need to double my regular protein intake. I remembered that my bf has some protein powder in the cupboard (a giant costco-sized container that he will probably never run out of). So I had some today. I've used protein powder in the past, and I really don't mind it as much as some people seem to. But I'm curious...Do others use it? What do you think of it?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Those Darn Stairs

One of my goals, which has been a goal for a long time, is to take the stairs more in my apartment building. Well really, to take the stairs at all would be more than I take them now, so I'll start it off at just taking the stairs. I live on the 9th floor of a 30 story building, and while 9 floors sounds really daunting, we're on a hill so it's technically only 6 flights of stairs from the main entrance. I'm actually pretty good at taking the stairs down. This isn't really much of a feat as it's a lot faster than waiting for the elevator and not really anything I could consider the workout. But every time I think about taking the stairs up I feel like Rocky getting ready for the big fight and then I back down. I've promised myself that this week I'm going to take them up at least 3 times. This is me putting it in writing so I have something to live up to. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A New Goal

As I mentioned in my first post, I was hesitant to set a weight-specific goal for this process. But I've recently decided that I should set one, specifically related to my BMI. I'm currently classified as obese. That's a little hard for me to hear, and I'd much rather not be in that category anymore. So, I have now set the goal of not being obese. In order to do this at my height I need to be 191 pounds. So I'm currently at 200 pounds, and I have 9 more to lose to get to this mini-goal. I'd like to reach this goal by February 25, which is 5 weeks from now. That would require me to lose 2 pounds a week for four weeks, and 1 pound for the 5th week (maybe not in that order).

I'm excited about reaching this goal, and I think having something to look forward to in the next few weeks. Initially I was tempted to set the goal for my birthday (February 13, 3 weeks from now) but I resisted that temptation. It's pretty common for me to set unrealistic goals and then give up when I don't reach them, and then have to start over. So I'm also proud that I'm setting a goal that I'll hopefully be able to reach. Now off to the gym to make it happen!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thank Goodness for Measuring Tapes!

I pulled out the measuring tape and was expecting to see some changes. Even in the short amount of time since I've been tracking it I have noticed that my clothes fit better. I also tried on the Torchbearer jacket and it no longer looks like olympic-inspired cellophane. What I did not expect, however, was that I would have lost 5.5 inches this week! I'm so stoked. This means 9 inches in total (2 weeks) from my chest, waist and hips. I am so happy I decided to measure myself as well as watching the scale.

I also spent some more time with my friend the treadmill today, and got up to 15 minutes of running-time, which, at 4.5 mph means that I ran almost 2 kilometers...torch relay, here I come! Next time I'm planning to increase the speed up to 5 mph. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Weekly Weigh In

Well, today was my weigh in for week 2. Down 1 pound. I am actually impressed because although I try really hard not to get on the scale every day, I still do most days, and I wasn't expecting to lose anything this week. On a sidenote, has anyone ever got on the scale, gone back to bed for 2 hours, not changed anything and got back on the scale? I did this one day this week (I often try to be uber productive by getting up really early in the morning, but some days I decide I need some more z's before facing the world) and found that I lost 2 pounds in that time. So in 2 hours of doing nothing but sleeping I weighed 2 pounds less. It kind of tempts me to just stay in bed (although I won't!).

I was pretty happy with my activity level last week. For some reason, though, I feel that an hour spent walking is not as well used as an hour spent at the gym doing more rigorous cardio. I'm trying to get over that because I think a walk in the sun is just what I need some days (especially in rainy Vancouver). Next week I hope to get some yoga in (more on my yoga love in a future post), because my bf is going back to work after 3 weeks vacation. I've loved having him home, but in our tiny apartment it makes it hard to do much of anything, let alone work out.

I was really really craving fish and chips today. Instead of going to a pub and having a fried version, though, I went to the grocery store and got some sweet potato fries and battered fish. I contemplated getting a fish fillet instead, and now I am regretting my decision a bit. When I looked at what 250 calories of fish looked like of the battered stuff I probably could have done without it. It was pretty tiny, and most of it was the batter, there was very little fish in there. The fries were great though and it totally hit the spot, all for under 450 calories.

I didn't have a measuring tape the day I did my first weigh in, so my measurement day and weigh in day are a day apart. I probably should just switch it up one week to have them on the same day, but for now it gives me something to look forward to on Thursdays and Fridays, so tomorrow we'll see if any inches have come off with that pound.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Allie vs. the Treadmill, Round 2

First of all, thanks to everyone for their kind words and offers of support. I didn't really expect much feedback when I started writing, but it's been a welcome surprise!

This week is really busy for me. I have a first draft of my thesis due next week, and I can't help but feel I'm really behind. Some of it is beyond my control, however, and I had a HUGE step in the right direction today, so I'm looking forward to getting the first draft off of my desk and moving forward. It's definitely a challenge to make healthy food choices and find time to exercise with so much going on, but so far so good.

And that leads me to my exciting news of the day. I had round two with running on the treadmill tonight, and it was great. It's amazing that I already feel so much better (i.e. I don't feel like I'm going to die at the 1.5 minute mark), and with the nerves of the first time behind me, I was able to double my running time (up to 10's a start!). I'll be heading back on Thursday for another match, and I plan to up the ante again this time.

Tomorrow is my weigh in day so I'll write more then!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carrying Weight the Unhealthy Way

They say that carrying your weight in your midsection (particularly your stomach) is really unhealthy. I think it's really useful that 'they' say that. Because I've been foolishly carrying my weight there my whole life. But now that I know, I can look at my body and say "Excuse me, could you please distribute yourself in a more proportional manner? You're increasing my risk of developing metabolic disease". Except I'm pretty sure it won't listen.

I have always carried my weight around my midsection. I've actually been asked if I was pregnant on a number of occasions (I almost like being asked because the look on the other person's face when you tell them you're not is pretty priceless). I find it interesting that on Canadian weight loss shows like last 10 pounds bootcamp and x weighted people with body types like mine are rarely the subjects.

When I was losing weight I generally evaluated my success by looking at my side view. I thought this picture would be a good one to look at over the next weeks and months to see how I'm doing. For the record I started with a 45" waist and after 1 week I had lost 1 inch. I'm happy with that progression.

As you may have noticed my legs aren't really proportionate with my body, and neither are my arms. It's not that I like do all kinds of leg and arm exercises and leave my belly to rest. For some reason this is just how my body is made up. I think it contributes to the pregnancy thing. I took this picture of my arm flexing. While I love watching my arms get toned (it happens much faster than anything else), if my arm stayed this size I wouldn't complain.

So I'm interested to know - where do you carry your weight?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Losing Weight is as Easy as Being in the Olympics

Last night, I was thinking about why I'm writing this. It turns out there are two reasons. One fairly obvious reason is accountability. If I just keep eating Miss Vickies and watching mtv I'm gonna feel pretty crappy about the fact that I made this pledge on the web. The other reason, though, is way more important. It's that I'm a liar. I'm not normally a liar. I consider myself a very trustworthy individual, but in this case, I myself...a lot.

You see, it's not like the weight came back on all at once. I gained it slowly. First it was 10 pounds. And I said to myself "10 pounds, nothing. I could lose that any time". Then it was 30 pounds, and I though "Pfft...30 pounds. I've lost 50 pounds, I can handle 30". But then it was 50 pounds, and I started to realize it wasn't that easy. I somehow had convinced myself for a year that when I lost the weight the first time it was a cake-walk, but it wasn't. It was hard work and I had to literally work my butt off to do it. If I didn't work out 5 days a week I didn't lose weight. If I'm going to be stuck losing the weight a second time I want it to be for good. So I'm going to document it. Every day. And hopefully this'll be the last time.

To inspire me, here's a picture from 2007 of skinny-me:

Now, I also have another, more short-term weight loss goal I have to worry about. I'm an Olympic Torchbearer. I'll be carrying the torch with a team on February 7, and I'm so not ready. In more than one way. About a week and a half ago I got my uniform. When you're selected as a torchbearer you have to go online and say what uniform size you want and how fast you plan to run (more on that in a minute). I looked at the sizes (unisex) and thought...hmm...February 7th...that's about 12 weeks away. I should choose a size small. Thank GOD I came to my senses and went with a medium. I'm really good at budgeting how much weight I can lose in a set amount of time, I'm just not good at actually doing the work.

So I got the uniform in the mail when I was at work and my coworkers wanted me to try it on. No FREAKIN way! I had no idea if this thing was going to even close let alone zip up. I waited until I was in the safety of my apartment and tried it on. My boyfriend knew that I was a bit stressed out about it, and he was a good sport. But you know those uniforms that the skeleton or speedskating competitors wear? That's what this looked like on me. At least I'll be an aerodynamic torchbearer. So goal #1 by February 7th: lose a couple inches around the midsection so that I don't have to lay on the ground and wrap my belly around my back to wear the damn uniform. (PS - I looked up the rules. You're allowed to alter the uniform in a way that doesn't change the look, but if the uniform doesn't fit you have to drop out of the relay).

Goal #2 is a little more daunting. I have to run. Most torchbearers run 300 meters, and that would be a lot for me. But because I'm running as part of a team, I actually carry the torch for 50 meters, but I run with my group for an entire kilometer. Yes, that's correct, a KILOMETER. I'm pretty sure the last time I ran that far was in grade 8 when I was forced to be on the cross country team so I could play soccer. I took that as my cue not to try out for the high school team the next year. I now consider myself in training for this kilometer of doom. Before yesterday, the only time I had ever run on a treadmill was when I was trying to beat my friend's calories as we worked out side by side at the gym. That lasted about 30 seconds. But I'm determined to not pass out during my mind-blowing once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I'm training. I went to the gym, cautiously approached the treadmill (only once two were open next to each other so my bf could be there for moral support) and started out. I started at 2.0...then made my way up, until finally I hit 4.5!! Some might not even call this a run, but boy was it a run for me. Before I even got there I didn't think I would make it. But I did. I ran at 4.5 for 5 whole minutes. And I don't feel all that bad today. Score 1 for Allie on Allie versus the treadmill.

I can't post this without recording a quote that one of my mom's friends made to her upon finding out of my Olympic involvement "You're Daughter's a Torchbearer? She Must be Quite the Athlete"...quite the athlete indeed...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Happened?

About four and a half years ago I was this weight (well, to be absolutely correct, my max was 200 pounds so I'm a little heavier this time around). I started losing - 25 pounds first, then, ever so slowly, more and more until I settled around 150 pounds. I was fit - as athletic as I'd ever been, I was happy, and I felt great. I kept the weight off completely for about 2 years.

In August 2008 I moved from my home town in Ontario to Vancouver to pursue a Master's degree. I was excited - I thought I was going to be even more fit when I came home. I knew about the active lifestyle in Vancouver, and how Vancouverites are the fittest Canadians. I thought I was going to be one of them.  But as soon as I got here I started gaining weight. And in 12 months I was back up to my heaviest weight.

I can't really say why I gained so much weight so quickly. I guess it's a combination of things. School has been stressful, and I've been working a lot to pay for it (3 jobs most of the time). Without a lot of time on my hands I find myself buying takeout pretty often, and without much disposable income it's hard to make healthy choices. I also REALLY  love beer. And Vancouver is known for it's amazing mircobreweries. Pub time is when my friends and I get to vent, share ideas, and it's where we've become the closeknit group that we are today. But it's definitely not good for my waistline.

So, the challenge now...I'm done my classes and work has slowed down. I'm also at the limit of what I'm willing to gain (my highest weight - last week - was 206 pounds). I've been supporting my local gym for about 7 months, and I'm ready to cash in on that investment. I'm going to lose this weight. I'm not setting a precise goal weight. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to be able to walk up the 6 flights of stairs to my apartment without breaking a sweat or losing my breath. I want to be active every day. I want this to happen by May 1, 2010.

Those are my goals, and this is my journey.