30-Day Plan: Day 29

First of all, I can’t believe it is the second last day of my 30-day plan!  Tomorrow marks the “end” of this journey but it is by no means truly the end.  In fact, I feel like I am just getting started on my path back to a healthier lifestyle – this thirty days was just the kick-start I needed to introduce some healthy habits back into my daily life.  I’ve already started considering news goals.  I really like the idea of a small commitment (like 30 days) because it makes things feel much more attainable.  If there is no “end” it feels overwhelming and like I will never make it.  That being said, as I already mentioned this so-called end isn’t really an end. I know that the habits I am trying to develop now need to stick around for life if I want to remain healthy and maintain a healthy weight.  But I also know that what’s key for me in being successful is taking it one day and one step at a time.  Here’s how Day 29 has gone:

Breakfast:  I only had one slice of turkey bacon left this morning so I decided to make two eggs and have a bit of vanilla yogurt on the side with it.  I ended up not really eating the second egg though, so my breakfast was a total of only 4 points.

I only ate about half of these eggs

I only ate about half of these eggs

After breakfast, I met a friend of mine at a local coffee shop where I ordered a coffee with a caramel shot and then added 2 tbsp of cream.  I have no idea how many points this would be but I am approximating it to be about 5 points which is what my cream at home comes out to.  I had planned on visiting with my friend for about an hour and then hitting Power Yoga at the gym, but I really should have known better because whenever me and this friend get together we just can’t stop talking!  Sure enough 2.5 hours later, we realized what time it was and said our goodbyes – fortunately no parking ticket for me even though the meter had run out an hour previous!

After our coffee date, I headed to the public library to return some books and check out some new ones.  Here’s a snap of the books I plan on reading over the next few weeks before school goes back in!

Hope I can finish all these before school goes back!

Hope I can finish all these before school goes back!

Lunch: After the library, I was starving so I zipped home to grab something to eat.  When I got there, I realized that my plan to just live off whatever was in the fridge for the next couple days, was not really a wise one – there really wasn’t much in there!  I was too hungry to go and do groceries at this point though so grabbed for the only thing available – a leftover hotdog (I checked later and couldn’t believe that one hotdog is 8 points!)  It’s also super hot and humid again today (we’re actually under a heat warning) so I had a 1/2 cup of chocolate frozen yogurt.  Not a healthy lunch at all!  This totally happened though because I did not plan carefully and should have gotten groceries  yesterday so I would have had something healthy prepared for today.  Plus, I waited much too long to eat and was ravenous so just grabbed whatever was the fastest and most easily available!  Ahh, it happens.

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After lunch, I headed to Walmart to stock up on some healthy eats.  My husband and I are already planning to pack groceries when we go on our trip and to do as much of our own cooking as possible (as I mentioned in a previous post this is easier on the pocket and the waistline so it’s a win-win!) I grabbed some more turkey bacon, turkey burgers, fresh salmon, eggs, rice cakes, coffee, some deli meat, buns, and diet pop.  After, I swung by the market and got fresh produce – mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, and watermelon.  Now we are stocked up and will be able to eat healthfully!

Dinner:  After picking up my son at the beach, we headed home.  Once again, I didn’t have anything planned for dinner (oops!)  For some reason, this hot weather makes me crave a nice, deli sandwich so we threw those together for dinner.  On mine I had a bit of deli meat (pepperoni and ham), cheddar cheese, 1 tbsp light mayo and some mustard.  Even though this doesn’t seem like much it adds up to about 10 points (ugh!)  Of course, this didn’t fill me up so I just had another 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt (I swear I could just live off frozen yogurt in this weather!!!  But at least it’s not ice cream!)  Dinner came to about a total of 14 points.

Stupid high in points but it hit the spot!

Stupid high in points but it hit the spot!

It's so hot that I want all the frozen yogurt!!

It’s so hot that I want all the frozen yogurt!!

It’s now early evening and I am over my points for today and haven’t done any physical activity.  I missed my class at the gym and it’s so hot outside.  I could do a workout in my basement but honestly after a busy afternoon of running around, I am feeling like I just want to take it easy this evening.  Plus I have that stack of new books to get through!  Haha.  If it cools off early enough though, I may try to take my dog for a walk.  Otherwise, I will have to use some of my “bonus” points for the ones I went over today. I am okay with that though.  Although I am not sure if I will be able to resist more frozen yogurt seeing as I feel like I could eat the whole tub right now!

Well, tomorrow marks the last day of my 30-day plan!  I am unsure yet whether I will immediately start another 30-day plan or wait until I am back from my holiday – we are leaving town for 10 days and although we will pack healthy food there will still be a lot of temptations!  We are hitting a friend’s cottage for the weekend, Toronto for three days (where we will catch three Blue Jays games!!!) and then a long weekend of camping with my family!  I definitely plan on enjoying my vacation and indulging but also don’t want to go crazy either and erase all the hard work I have done over the last month!  It’s all about achieving a healthy balance – something I am still working on.

29 days down, 1 to go!

 

 

 

30-Day Plan: Day Sixteen

So I read an interesting article last night written by a guy who’d been obese all his life and then lost a lot of weight.  The article focussed on the psychological aspect of weight loss and was something I could really relate to.  Every time I go on a weight loss program, I feel a little neurotic about it.  I have to think so carefully about all my food choices each and every day.  I realize this is just a temporary thing.  I have to think hard and consciously make good choices until habits develop.  In the past, when I lost a significant amount of weight it took a year or two before I didn’t have to work so hard.  By then I had developed some pretty good habits and things came more naturally.  But for me, when I first start back on a program, it takes significant work.  I have to think carefully about all my choices, do extra work to prepare healthy meals, make sure I get my workouts in, and the hardest part of all – try to find a healthy balance between restricting myself and treating myself.

This week, I am on somewhat of a “holiday”.  Technically, I get the whole summer off but I’m out of town visiting family this week.  There have been a lot of food temptations this week and although I’ve done quite well with making good choices, it’s definitely been a challenge.  For one thing, we celebrated three birthdays this week so there’s been a lot of cake.  Also, there’s been a crazy heat wave going on so there’s been a lot of ice cream.  And of course, when families get together there’s always hearty meals to sit down to.  Since I am still on my 30-day program, I had intentions to restrict myself and stay as close to my daily 30 points as possible.  However, I do have to recognize that I am on “holidays” this week and need to be a little forgiving to myself.  That’s where the balance comes in.  And balance has always been the part I struggle with.  How many “treats” are just the right amount?  Am I being too restrictive?  Am I being too lenient?  If I have “treats” three days in a row, will it slowly evolve back into a bad habit?  (See this is where the neurotic part comes in… I end up over-thinking everything).

So the golden question is, how does one truly get to a place where they have established enough of the right habits that maintaining a healthy weight isn’t so much work?  Where I can feel like I am living freely and enjoying food, but I don’t have to worry about how much weight I might gain or what kind of habits I am creating?  And if I do start losing weight, when will I be truly happy with my body?  Is that even possible or do we all have insecurities no matter how fit and healthy we are?

I guess it’s just one of those days where I am over-thinking things.  That being said, I decided to go a little bit easier on myself today and indulge in my holidays a little.  Here’s how today has gone:

Workout 1:  Despite getting up three mornings in a row now to go walking at 7 a.m I have realized I am still definitely not a morning workout person.  I much prefer moving slowly after I get out of bed – watching morning talk shows, reading, checking social media feeds, and having a leisurely breakfast and coffee.  Nonetheless, I enjoy walking with Mom and she goes at 7 a.m.  So once again, I laced up my sneakers and off we went.  Today’s walk was no easier than yesterday’s, in fact I pretty much felt like I was sleep walking!  I dragged myself along though, and completed the 5km walk in about an hour for a total of 6 activity points.

Breakfast:  Today, I repeated yesterday’s breakfast – a fried egg, 3 slices of turkey bacon, and a slice of toast and butter.  Mmmm, toast and butter.  I seriously could eat a whole loaf of toast and butter for breakfast!  I think when I go back home I will find a healthier carb alternative (to help sustain hunger a little longer) but for now while on “vacation” I’m loving every single bite of toast and butter.  I also enjoyed a morning coffee with 4 tbsp of French- Vanilla cream.

This was yesterday's breakfast but I repeated it again today.

This was yesterday’s breakfast but I repeated it again today.

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30-Day Plan: Day Fourteen

So today has been a pretty awesome day mostly because it’s my Mama’s birthday!  For those of you who don’t know, my Mama and I are best friends.  I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful relationship with her and she is the most amazing woman I have ever known!  Needless to say, we did some celebrating today!  Here’s how today went:

Birthday girl!

Birthday girl!

Workout 1:  So the day started off with my Mom waking me up at 6:45 a.m to go for a walk!  I am so not a morning person, let alone a morning workout person!  I had actually discovered a while back that I do not prefer to work out in the morning.  My body just takes too long to physically wake up, making the early workout less enjoyable and not productive (in my opinion).  That being said, I agreed last night to get up early to go walking with Mom this morning – after all, it is her birthday, and I really do enjoy going for walks with my Mama!  We walked for about an hour and although the weather was pleasantly cool and the company was great, the walk itself was certainly tougher than normal as my body fought to wake up!  When we finally made it back home, I collapsed onto the couch where I stayed for about the next hour sipping on my morning coffee with French-Vanilla cream.

Breakfast:  After recovering from our morning walk, I cooked up a fried egg and 3 slices of turkey bacon for breakfast.  By this time, it was beautifully cool but sunny so I got to enjoy breakfast on the deck!  The rest of the family was also having bacon and eggs but they were eating the most delicious looking buttery toast with theirs.  I was practically yearning for one because it looked so good (have I mentioned my affinity for bread?!) but I knew there would be other temptations in the day (including birthday cake!) so I resisted and instead focussed on just enjoying the beautiful morning with my family.

Breakfast on the patio!

Breakfast on the patio!

Lunch:  For lunch I warmed up a leftover turkey burger and covered it with sautéed vegetables and a bit of feta cheese.  I also had a giant piece of watermelon and, after the early morning wake-up call, a second cup of coffee (and cream).

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Workout 2:  After lunch, we decided to do some adventuring for Mom’s birthday.  We headed about 45 minutes out of town where you can hike a short trail that comes out at a location called Devil’s Rock – which is essentially a lookout from a 300-foot cliff that provides the most spectacular views of Lake Temiskaming.   It took us about 20 minutes to make our way down the rugged, rocky trail through the woods.  I was glad it wasn’t too hot out today and for the cool shade all the trees offered.  But guys, let me tell you about these views when we finally made it! My pictures don’t even do it justice (only taken on my iPhone) but my breath was literally taken away!  I can’t believe I had grown up so close to this area and never discovered it before!  We spent some time walking around the top of the cliff (being very careful not to get too close to the edge!) taking photos, exploring the area, and just soaking in the stunning nature all around us.  After, it was a 20-minute hike on the same trail back to the car which all in all, was about  an hour of hiking and adventuring.

Hiking

Hiking trail

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Spectacular

Spectacular

Enjoying the view

Just over that edge is a 300-foot drop straight down to the sharp rocks and lake below! My heart was beating faster for sure!

On the ride back home, Mom wanted to stop for a coffee at Tim Horton’s.  My stepson ordered a Chocolate Maple Chill which is essentially a sugar-packed sweet drink similar to a chocolate milkshake.  After our hike and the heat, I had a pretty good hankering for an iced cappuccino, but again knowing there would be birthday cake after dinner, Idecided to pass and instead I ordered a nice cold bottle of water (although I did have half of a honey dip Timbit – my mom said she was “saving” me and bit half of it off before “allowing” me to have it – HAHA!)

Dinner:  As a gift to Mom, my husband and I took on the task of cooking dinner.  We invited my brother and his family so there were six adults and four children in all.  My husband makes the best cedar-plank salmon and I made some vegetable-flavoured rice and vegetables to go with it.  The veggies weren’t my favourite (but I wanted to try something different) so I smeared a little garlic butter on them to make them taste slightly better.   I also couldn’t resist a half-piece of toast and butter and then after I made one of the biggest diet faux-pas ever – I ate the crusts of my niece’s toast that she had left on her plate!  (Oh my god, I was dying to eat bread! Haha). And not going to lie, toast and butter is so darn good!

Not pictured – toast and butter!

Of course, after dinner we had to have birthday cake!  My sister-in-law and nieces had made the prettiest little cake which they decorated with purple and yellow icing, sprinkles, and little candies.  Since I was in charge of cutting and serving the cake, I made sure to cut myself a fairly small piece which I enjoyed very much!  Surprisingly, I didn’t even want a second piece after the first was done.  I mean, I could have eaten another one mindlessly (which I may have done in the past) and then felt really sick afterwards.  But I’ve already started to notice that now that I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar, when I do eat something sweet, it tastes really sweet and because of that, just a small amount is enough.

A yummy treat

A yummy treat

It’s now nearly bedtime and I won’t be having an evening snack tonight since we finished dinner/dessert pretty late.  I’m happy to say that I don’t even feel the least bit guilty about having that cake because I planned ahead for it.  I made the conscious choice to have it and avoided other treats throughout the day knowing I would be having it. Plus, I kept my portion a reasonable size, ate slowly, enjoyed every bite and accepted that I was done instead of mindlessly eating seconds.  This is a huge success for me!  It will still take time for me to learn to treat myself without feeling guilty, but it’s all about baby steps, right?

14 days down, 16 to go!

30-Day Plan: Day Ten

Wow, Day 10 is finally here and I am officially one-third of the way through my 30-day plan!   I really can’t tell you guys how excited I am by that!  I’m headed out on my weekend camping trip pretty soon but we’re still waiting on my husband to get home from work so I figured I’d write a quick update about how today has gone so far!

Breakfast:  I returned to my typical breakfast today – 1 fried egg and 3 slices of turkey bacon.  I also pre-cooked another package of turkey bacon which I am bringing camping with me this weekend!  Pre-cooking makes breakfasts so quick and easy because I often wake up pretty hungry (especially since I’m snacking a lot less at night!) I also had a coffee with 5 tablespoons of French-Vanilla cream (don’t judge me, I counted the points!)

Workout:  Okay, so this heading really shouldn’t be here because I did not work out today. I had planned to do my Jillian Micahels DVD this morning but when I got up, I just wasn’t feeling it.  I made the excuse that I had a lot to do but really that’s all it was, an excuse, because I actually had more than enough time to workout today and do the tasks that needed to be done.  That’s okay though because I’ve worked out every day this week and I definitely believe in rest days.  I will make up for it by trying to do a lot of walking and swimming this weekend!

Lunch: Turkey burger, feta cheese, and sautéed veggies followed by a huge slice of watermelon – keeping things simple! 🙂

Dinner: Since we are headed out right after dinner, I decided to do something quick and easy, and grabbed a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store for dinner.  I had one of the breasts (no skin!) and paired it with a few sweet potatoes (grilled with diced red onions) and my typical sautéed vegetables.  It made for a pretty easy yet satisfying dinner although I am not going to lie, I was super craving pizza for dinner tonight (I even scoped out the frozen pizza aisle in the grocery store!)  It wasn’t that tough to make the right choice though, after reminding myself that there will be lots of opportunity for treats this weekend.  I skipped out on the pizza and grabbed the chicken instead.

Tonight's dinner.

Tonight’s dinner.

So I am currently sitting at 22 points for the day with 8 remaining which should work out good for snacks around the campfire tonight!  Time to go load up the car and get moving – the great outdoors is waiting!   Have a great weekend everybody – you’ll hear from me soon!

10 days down, 20 to go!

30-Day Plan: Day Nine

 


Ok guys, I can not believe that I am almost a third of the way into my 30-day commitment!  Nine days and still going strong. Truthfully writing daily updates here is part of what’s kept me going.  I guess in a way it’s a form of accountability.  Plus I’ve got a few people who comment regularly and are giving me suggestions and encouragement which is really appreciated!  (Thanks guys!)

As I was walking the other day, I started to consider if I should change the format of my posts about my 30-Day Plan.  I thought about whether or not I should put more or less photos, whether I should make my posts shorter and less detailed, and even whether I should post a question asking what people would like to see more (or less) of.  But then, I quickly realized that pleasing other people is not the reason for this blog.  Sure, I want people to read it, and comment and share their support and suggestions.  But if they don’t that’s okay too.  Because the purpose of writing about my weight loss journey is partly to inspire others, but more importantly, to keep myself accountable.  With that being said, here’s Day 9.

Breakfast: Surprise!  I tried something different for breakfast today!  Instead of my usual turkey bacon and fried egg, I was really craving toast so I made one slice of multigrain toast and had 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter on it.  I had 1/3 cup of vanilla yogurt on the side. I was a little surprised to find that this breakfast actually held me over for about four hours before I started feeling hungry for lunch.  Looks like I may have another safe option on the days when I don’t feel like bacon and eggs.

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Workout 1:  I only did one workout today which was a Zumba class at my gym.  It was pretty cardio intensive and I had a very good sweat going by the time it was done!  What I enjoy about Zumba though is the great music and the fact that you get to dance!  The routines are fairly easy to pick up because the choreography is simple and repetitive.  If you’ve never tried Zumba and enjoy dancing, I highly recommend It! This 50-minute workout earned me 7 WW activity points!

Lunch: When I got home from the gym, I was actually craving my typical lunch of turkey burger, feta cheese, and sautéed veggies.  I still can not get over how delicious this simple and healthy meal is!  I followed it with another giant piece of juicy and sweet watermelon, and some more water.

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It was a rainy afternoon so I spent most of it on the couch reading (FYI: The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis is a truly enjoyable and entertaining fictional read about life in Canadian politics!) While I read, I enjoyed a coffee with 5 tablespoons of French-vanilla cream.  Yes I know, 5 tablespoons is a lot of cream but I figured since I was only at 9 points after lunch, I could spare five more for the simple pleasure of a deliciously sweet coffee.

In between all the rain, I noticed these darlings blooming in the backyard!

In between all the rain, I noticed these darlings blooming in the backyard!

Dinner: I finally used up the last of my chicken tonight and made another Chicken Taco Salad (same as before: mixed greens, romaine, peppers, onions, chicken, shredded cheddar, a few flavoured tortilla chips, and a bit of light Italian dressing).  It was a bigger portion than usual tonight so it came in at about 10 points instead of 7.  That still put me at 24 points so I decided to indulge my chocolate craving after dinner with 1/2 cup chocolate frozen yogurt.

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It’s now nearly 9 p.m and I’ve still got 2 WW points left to reach my target for the day.  I am not sure yet what I will have for a snack – I am thinking maybe a few almonds.  In the meantime, I am still continuing to prepare for this weekend’s camping trip (I head out tomorrow night).  I’m planning on bringing my usual foods:  eggs, turkey bacon, coffee, loads of water, turkey burgers, chicken, diced vegetables, mixed greens and lettuce, watermelon and am going to throw in some treats like Quaker Mini Crisspie rice cakes and Breton BBQ cracker chips (I’m hoping the latter two will help me overcome the temptation to eat chips which I know will be on hand!) I’ve also saved all my bonus points so I might be able to indulge in a cheat meal or two, like pancakes or a hotdog cooked on the fire!  I also plan to bring my food journal with me – writing everything down not only helps to keep track of my daily points but also helps me to make better decisions about what I am eating.   Finally, I hope to be a little more active this weekend than I normally am when I go camping.  The park I am going to has lots of interesting hiking trails and a great beach so I’ll make efforts to get some activity in as well.  Finally, I’m most looking forward to being with my family and enjoying the great outdoors! (I will update the blog when I get home to let you know how it all went!)

9 days down, 21 to go!

Hot and Miserable: Why Being Overweight in the Summer Sucks

Well it’s been a rough couple of weeks in the “back on track” department.  I haven’t exactly been eating on plan and have been slacking big-time with my workouts.  But today, something happened that has me re-motivated and ready to get back on track, again.

Before I tell you what happened today, let me take you back to a day last summer when I experienced a pretty big wake-up call.  My husband and I were on our annual trip to Toronto to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Our hotel was located about a 20-30- minute walk from the Rogers Centre where we were going to see our favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays.  Upon arrival at the hotel, we were notified that the elevators were broken and we’d have to carry our luggage up several flights of steep stairs.  This task was so difficult for me (because I had allowed myself to get so incredibly out of shape) that my husband ended up having to carry all of our luggage, while I still struggled to make it up the stairs.  After that fiasco, we set out on foot to head to the Blue Jays game.  Well it was a 40-degree day admist the concrete jungle of Toronto where the humidity rises to well above the actual temperature.  In the air-conditioned comfort of our hotel room, I had foolishly chosen to wear dark denim capris, sandals, and my Jays jersey (made from extremely heavy, non-breathable material!) Let me get to the point, and say that that walk was torture.  I started sweating immediately upon stepping foot outside.  I could feel sweat dripping from everywhere – making my hairline wet, rolling down my back, and soaking my clothes.  I felt terrible.  I hate being hot and throughout that entire walk I was so miserable.  Once we arrived, I made my husband force his way through the packed Jays shop in hopes of finding a lightweight tank I could fit into.  Unfortunately the crowds inside made my condition even more unbearable and we finally opted to just find our seats, which thankfully, were in the shade.

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All smiles even after I sweated my way to the stadium!

The whole point of this is to say that this experience was a major wake-up call for me.  Summers are hard when you are overweight and out of shape.  Sweating from everywhere makes you feel gross (and you’re probably already struggling with self-acceptance, as I was) and the heat caused by excess body fat, simply makes you miserable. I realized then that had I not let myself get so out of shape both climbing the stairs at the hotel, and walking on a hot summer day, would not have been such miserable tasks.  This revelation, of course, just made me feel more miserable as I began wallowing in frustration and disappointment.

So what does all this have to do with today?  So far it’s been a decent spring.  We’ve had plenty of 20-degree days where it feels amazing to be outside and it makes me feel excited for summer.  But what day did my husband and I choose to leave all of our outside jobs to?  The hottest day of the spring so far.  Today it was 30-degrees and just doing the simplest job (ie. Washing patio furniture) was completely exhausting.  The heat felt unbearable and I wanted nothing more to escape it.  This was frustrating because I had intended to get a whole lot of work done outside today (our yard always needs it badly after a long winter) but I just couldn’t take the heat.  Once again, I came to realize that if I wasn’t so overweight and was eating better and working out more regularly, these sort of tasks probably wouldn’t be so arduous.

But instead of being angry with myself this time (which I am trying hard not to do – although it isn’t easy), I am trying to take this reminder of that terrible day last summer and let it be my motivation.  I am tired of being so miserably hot and out of shape in the summer.  I am tired of not having enough energy and suffering headaches due to bad eating habits.

As of today, our annual Toronto trip is about 10 weeks away. That’s 10 weeks to change my diet and get back to working out.  It’s only been three weeks since I fell off track of my latest attempt and I am determined not to let these three weeks off the wagon become three months.  I understand that I won’t always be “perfect”, but I also have to realize when something needs  to be done, and do something about it.

So, I’m starting with soccer practice tonight.  It’s still extremely hot out and I haven’t played in several years, so I am fully expecting this practice to be brutal.  But I am going to honour where my body is at today, and I am going to push it just a little past where it comfortably wants to go.  That, and I am going to drink lots, and lots, and lots of water.  Wish me luck, I am certainly going to need it!

Morning Workouts

I discovered something about myself this morning.  I realized that I am not a morning person.  At least not when it comes to working out.

It’s true, I don’t have much difficulty when my alarm goes off on a work day.  I do hit snooze a couple times, but once my feet hit the floor, I go through my normal routine pretty easily, and by the time I arrive at work an hour later, I’m not even thinking about my bed anymore.

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But when it comes to setting an alarm, to get up and work out, it just doesn’t seem to be working for me.  I’ve tried it a few Saturday’s now – set my alarm for 7:45 (allowing for a couple snoozes), to be at the gym for 9:00 AM.  I’m able to get myself out of bed and get myself there but despite the loud music, heavy weights, and overall energy of the other people in the class, I just can’t get my head into the game that early in the day.

So I’ve decided to skip the Saturday morning 9AM Body Pump class and readjust my schedule.  I’ll go back to hitting the Friday evening class instead so that Saturday morning I can lounge around my house taking it easy before I really start my day.  So that’ll mean Body Pump Monday, Wednesdady and Friday evenings, yoga Tuesday evenings, and then on the weekends, I’ll stick to running since it’s flexible enough that I can go whenever it suits me.

Again, it’s all about figuring out what works for you.  The idea of getting up early on the weekend to get a workout in before starting my day sounds extremely appealing to me.  It’s something I wish I could do.  But it’s just not working.  As my favourite author Gretchen Rubin would say, I have to accept that what works for others, doesn’t mean it will work for me.

And with that, I am going back to my Saturday (late) morning coffee and possibly later, a nap.

 

 

Learning To Run… Again

It’ll be six years next month that I first met a goal I never thought I’d accomplish.  It’ll be six years next month since I ran my first 10k marathon.

The race was in Ottawa and it was an experience I will never forget.  I had spent months teaching myself to run, had ran a couple of 5ks, had experienced the runner’s high, and had extended my goal to 10k.  I still remember the training day when I ran one straight hour without stopping to walk.  I was nearly in tears.  Me, a forever non-runner, had taught myself to run.  I could run for one hour without stopping.  The feeling was exhilarating.

So on a sunny and humid evening in May of 2010, I joined nearly ten thousand other runners for Ottawa Race Weekend’s 10k marathon.  The run was hard (and I stopped to walk a few times) but the exhilaration of crossing that finish line was something I’ll never forget.  I had done it.  I was a runner.  And even though my time wasn’t really fast, I felt just as credible as every other runner in that race.  Everywhere around the grounds afterward were people sporting their finisher medals but I think I may have been wearing mine most proudly.  My amazing friends and husband (then boyfriend) greeted me with a bouquet of flowers afterwards and then we went out dancing all night as a celebration.  It was incredible.

My friend Jason and I after completing my first ever 10k

My friend Jason and I after completing my first ever 10k

The following year, I ran the race again.  My time was a couple minutes slower but this time I was thrilled that I had run the entire 10k without walking!  They had also changed the route so that we ran alongside Ottawa’s beautiful Rideau Canal.  It was a cool summer evening and the sun shining over the water was gorgeous.  Thousands of people lined the race route handing out water, cheering us on, and holding up signs with hilarious and encouraging messages.  Again, my boyfriend, friends and I threw a massive celebration afterwards and I went home with another shiny finisher’s medal.

Proudly sporting my finisher's medal after the Ottawa 10k in 2011

Proudly sporting my finisher’s medal after the Ottawa 10k in 2011

Another time I felt amazing after a race was in 2011 when I ran a 5k race here in my hometown and placed 2nd in my age category. Albeit there were only six women in my category altogether, but the opportunity to stand on the podium and be presented with the “silver” medal felt extremely rewarding!  Another proud moment in my books.

Silver medalist on the podium in 2012

Silver medalist on the podium in 2012

I continued to run into 2012 but was soon hit by an illness that pretty much halted my running altogether.  That year, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and went through a series of tests and medications until I finally found one that worked.  While I’m happy to say I’ve now been in remission from colitis for three years, I never did get back into running.

Until today.

Today, I laced up my old Nikes, downloaded a new “running” list, plugged my earphones into my ears, and started Day 1 of my new “learn-to-run” program.  It was certainly an easy one (six intervals of run 30 seconds, walk 3 minutes) but just the old feeling of being out there in my running gear, pounding the pavement, felt amazing.  I felt like my old self again.  My old, athletic self.  The self of six years ago who crossed that finish line in Ottawa with soaring levels of confidence, pride, and self-love.

And despite it only being Run 1 of a 13-week program, the old feelings that came back to me today caused my motivation to soar.  In my mind, I’m already registering for races, conquering distances, and meeting personal best times.  I can’t wait!

Happy Running!

 

Huge Results!

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It’s been a little while now since I’ve been back to the gym and working out on a pretty regular basis.  About 3-4 times a week, I’m attending Body Pump classes at our local Goodlife and once a week I’m doing yoga.  I have noticed that my flexibility is already improving and that I can lift slightly heavier weights than when I first started.  But on the outside, there hasn’t been any major changes.  I’m down about 4 lbs. total and my pants may be fitting a touch looser, but overall there’s been no significant change.

While this may seem disheartening and like it would make me want to quit altogether,  I am thrilled to say that, in fact, it’s just the opposite.  And that’s because the inner transformation I have experienced in such a short time is truly incredible.

After just a few weeks of consistently going to the gym (and making a few small changes to my diet), my motivation is soaring, my energy levels are up drastically, and my overall confidence has improved.  I’ve always known that exercise has significant effects on the mind (not just the body), but I somehow had forgotten just how quickly those effects take place.  I have such a positive outlook now and really feel like I can achieve my goals.  And the more I work out, the more motivated I feel, and the higher I set those goals for myself!  So take it from me, a girl who’s spent countless hours buried under blankets on the couch, feeling miserable, tired, and lazy – if you can somehow find the willpower to do that first workout, you’ll be taking a step in a direction towards better confidence, better energy, better motivation, and most importantly, better self love!

#TBT: Using Old Habits to Build the New

Tonight I was looking through some pictures, and as is often the case when I see pictures of my much healthier, slimmer, fitter self, I once again became totally motivated to get back on the weight-loss wagon.

The picture that inspired my motivation tonight - taken two years ago on our honeymoon.

The picture that inspired my motivation tonight – taken two years ago on our honeymoon.

Admittedly, I’ve been subsisting on a diet of hotdogs and nacho dip while home alone this week and I know that’s the first thing that’s got to stop.  My weight loss/gain has been a journey and one thing I’ve learned along the way is that it’s true what they say about weight loss being “20% exercise, and 80% nutrition”.

So I know a major overhaul to my diet is in order again.  I think back to all the changes I made before and how, gradually, over the last few years I’ve reintroduced foods that I had basically written off.  I also remember how surprised I had been when I had gotten to the point that my metabolism was trained to work so hard that I could indulge in treats and not gain back a single pound.  Then again, my concept of “treats” back then was a lot different too – it was more of a “once in awhile” mentality as opposed to the “every afternoon and most evenings” mentality that it is now.

One of the things I attribute my past success most to is the Weight Watchers program.  Weight Watchers taught me almost everything I know about eating better, exercising, and incorporating healthy habits into my daily life.  I was so naïve about many things the first time I joined and now, after being out of the program for a substantial amount of time, I am starting to think that maybe I need a good refresher.  Maybe it’s time for me to join Weight Watchers again.  Maybe it’s time to start new, get a fresh perspective, and start re-building those habits that I had worked so hard for the first time.

One of those habits that the program taught me and that I know absolutely and positively works is keeping a food journal.  The problem with me and food journals is that I tend to write down everything I eat as long as it’s healthy and the right kinds of foods.  As soon as I fall off track and start over-eating or indulging in too much junk food, I tend to not track.  So this time, I am putting it out there – starting tomorrow morning, I am going to track everything I eat and drink.  I will stay accountable … and maybe even share my food journals on here?  Hmmm….

I love how toned and healthy my body is here.

I love how toned and healthy my body is here.

The other sad part about my weight gain, is that I had reached a spot where I was actually becoming physically fit and now I have lost all the benefits of that hard work.  It’s a hard pill to swallow but I have to accept it for what it is.  A few years ago I could run 10km, now I can barely walk half of that without feeling tired and feeling aches and pains in my legs and hips.  It’s a sad reality, but one that can be changed.  One that I have to change if for no other reason than my own physical health… although wearing a bikini again sounds awfully nice too!

Not only that, but I want to be fit again.  As much hard work as it was, working out gave me so much confidence and made me so proud of my accomplishments. I built habits I had never imagined myself having.  I worked hard and it paid off.  Not only did I learn to run but I participated in 10-km races.  I did workouts at the gym that are seriously cardio-intense and not for the faint of heart.  I regularly let Jillian Michaels kick my butt (her workout DVDs are amazing) and was even getting pretty decent at some of the toughest moves.  I bought a bike and used it.  I love that.  I love that I did all that and I want more than anything to have that back in my life again.

But it’s going to take baby steps.  If I were to try one of those DVDs right now, I’d barely make it through the first five minutes.  I need to start out slow, and build up to where I was before.  That’s the intimidating part – I don’t remember where I started before.  I remember the finish line (and all its rewards and benefits) so much but I don’t remember the starting line.

So I guess it’s time to make a new starting line.  One advantage I do have this time is all the knowledge I gathered along the way last time, and since then.  I know that this time my efforts have to be fuelled by love and positivity rather than by self-loathing.  I know I need to make changes to my diet again starting by tossing the leftover hotdogs in my fridge.  I know that I can’t be afraid of working out.  I have to accept that I am no longer where I was, but that slowly and steadily, I can and will get there again.  Wish me luck!

Healthy and happy.

Healthy and happy.