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.