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.