30-Day Plan: Day Six

Today is weigh-in day and I am feeling pretty excited!  I am definitely expecting to see some results on the scale tonight.  I am still shocked that I have been able to stick to my plan for six straight days now.  I have struggled for months to get back on track, and I am not sure what happened last week, but something just clicked.  Admittedly, not working right now makes it a lot easier.  I basically have no schedule so lots of time to plan, prep, cook, and work out.  I am already a little nervous about how this lifestyle will jive once I start working full-time again but for now I am just trying to focus on the present and work on instilling good habits. Before I go off on a tangent though, I do want to say that I know the number on the scale isn’t everything.  I will not be disappointed tonight if the loss isn’t as big as I am expecting because I feel incredible in so many other ways.  I have done this journey before and I know that the internal transformation often comes before the external.  The pride, excitement, and confidence I have felt this week are exactly the reasons I need to be doing this – the slimmer, trimmer body will come in time.  That being said, here’s how today went down:

Breakfast:  1 fried egg, 3 slices turkey bacon, water ~ followed shortly after by coffee with French-Vanilla-flavoured cream.  I’m still working on cutting back the cream in my coffee (mostly due to its high sugar content) but for now I’m just being sure to measure the cream carefully so I don’t overdo it.  I really see this simple cup of joe as a special treat to get my day started but with time I do hope that I can wean myself off the sweet cream.

This is quickly becoming my typical breakfast

This is quickly becoming my typical breakfast

Workout:  I really wasn’t feeling like working out today.  I procrastinated forever on the couch scrolling through Facebook and Instagram and watching HGTV for as long as I possibly could.   I knew I would regret it though if I didn’t workout and I reminded myself that this is only a 30-Day commitment (for now).  Plus, the DVD I had planned on doing is only 25 minutes long so I knew that I could get through that.  I hauled myself off the couch, laced up my Nikes and headed down to the basement where I completed Week 1 of Jillian Michael’s Ripped in 30 DVD. This is the same workout I did last week but I love that it’s short but intense.  In just 25 minutes, the DVD guides you through a variety of exercises that works multiple muscle groups at once for maximum fat burn.  Trust me, this workout is not easy (at least, not for me).  I still have to make a few modifications to some of the moves (even though Jillian says not to) but it feels so good to be getting back into these kind of workouts!

Level 1 kicked my butt today!

Level 1 kicked my butt today!

This guy was disappointed we didn't go walking today but the humidity was crazy!

This guy was disappointed we didn’t go walking today but the humidity was crazy!

Lunch:  Grilled turkey burger, 1 tablespoon of feta cheese, and grilled veggies with 1/2 cup of Chapman’s chocolate frozen yogurt for dessert.

My typical lunch.

My typical lunch.

Dinner:  1/2 boneless, skinless chicken breast grilled on the barbecue with a bit of Montreal Chicken spice, my version of Greek salad (mixed greens, red/green/yellow peppers, red onions, feta cheese, and Kraft Greek dressing, and a large slice of watermelon for dessert.

I finally learned how to grill a perfect piece of chicken!

I finally learned how to grill a perfect piece of chicken!

Workout 2:  1 hour, 15 minutes softball game

Snack: When I got home from my ball game I was feeling quite hungry and still had 5 WW points left so I decided to have a snack.  After some consideration, I decided to have some Greek yogurt and granola (or cereal in this case, since I didn’t have any granola on hand).  I was surprised that Greek yogurt is pretty high in points (5 points for 3/4 cup) so I carefully measured out just 1/4 cup (I used a small Tupperware dish to make it appear that the quantity was more than it actually was).  I used Harvest Crunch cereal which is also very high in points (9 points for 2/3 cup) but measured out 1/3 of a cup and added it to my yogurt for a total of 6 points!  All in all, it was a very tasty snack.

A somewhat healthy, yet yummy, snack.

A somewhat healthy, yet yummy, snack.

And, of course, since I started writing this post this morning, I’ve attended my Weight Watchers weigh-in and meeting.  I am going to be honest and say that I was slightly disappointed that I was only down 3 lbs.  I had been hoping for closer to five but then again I know the number on the scale is not the end all, be all.  There are so many factors that play into how much you weigh, on any given day, at any given time.  It could be water retention, hormones, the weather… Anything!  All that being said, losing these 3 lbs did bring me to a total of 10 lbs down (since I first started back at WW way back in March!)  I was thrilled about that and even received a snazzy ribbon as a reward from my Weight Watchers leader.

Feeling proud and ready to keep going!

Feeling proud and ready to keep going!

All in all, I am still feeling positive and encouraged.  I know that if I continue with these good habits I am developing that I will see more results!   As I mentioned above, the internal transformation is already taking place.  I feel so happy with my success in staying on plan and can’t believe that it will already be one week tomorrow!

6 days down, 24 to go!

 

30-Day Plan: Day Five

What a beauty of a day!  It was 26 degrees today with no humidity and lots of sun.  It really feels like summer today.  Having the summer off makes it even more amazing.  This morning I slept in, lounged in bed checking Facebook, and then got up and took the rest of the day pretty slowly. Isn’t that what Sunday’s are for?  Here’s how Day 5 has shaped up.

Breakfast:  It was my tried-and-true turkey bacon and fried egg for breakfast this morning (with a little ketchup for dipping). I’m still exploring other options for breakfasts but thanks to some wonderful comments I’ve got a few ideas to try (thank you!) I did cook my egg to perfection this morning though, which made it that much more enjoyable!  As always, I had it with water to drink and then made my coffee (with 2 tbsp of French-Vanilla cream) and lounged around some more.  A nice, easy morning!

My go-to breakfast lately: turkey bacon, egg, water, and coffee

My go-to breakfast lately: turkey bacon, egg, water, and coffee

Workout 1: Shortly after breakfast (which was really more like brunch), I decided to head out to take my dog for a walk.  There’s a pretty lake just a 5-min drive from my house so I’ve been going there lately.  One lap around the lake is about 2.5 km so it’s a quick, easy walk with lots of picturesque scenery and a cute, little beach.  As we were finishing up our walk, the local triathlon was just wrapping up so there were a lot of people out and about and a festive atmosphere close to the beach.  This being said, as I passed the chip hut, I couldn’t help but start to think about burgers and fries.  Then I was thinking of ice cream, and ice cream sandwiches, and iced cappuccinos…. Sometimes even just thinking about these foods make me suddenly start craving them really bad, so I turned my mind to something else and avoided that hurdle!

Beauty day for a walk at the beach!

Beauty day for a walk at the beach!

Lunch/Dinner: Since breakfast had been so late today, my lunch was more like dinner. Can you guess what I had?  Yep, another turkey burger with feta and grilled veggies.  So easy and so delicious and only 3 WW points.  I may never eat a different lunch again!  This time, however, I did have a huge piece of watermelon to go along with it.

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Workout 2: After watching the ball game and having a nice, little visit with a friend, I decided to head back to the lake for another walk with my dog.  We did the 2.5 km lap and then sat on a bench under a tree to relax for a little while.  I just love being outside in the summer!

One of the signs I saw on my walk today - placed there for this morning's triathletes but encouraging nonetheless!

One of the signs I saw on my walk today – placed there for this morning’s triathletes but encouraging nonetheless!

Dinner/Snack:  When I got home from my second walk, I was feeling pretty hungry and craving something sweet so I decided to have 1/2 cup Chapman’s chocolate frozen yogurt.  Yum!  So creamy and delicious and only 4 WW points!  After, I was still feeling hungry.  I was only at 16 points for the day (out of my allotted 30) and it was nearing 7 p.m so I decided to “treat” myself again and had some Multigrain Wheat Thin crackers and guacamole (Holy Guacamole individual-sized packages).  I counted two portions of the crackers which, combined with the guac, added up 9 WW points.  This was probably not the “healthiest” of snacks but I do love some crackers and guacamole (and at least the guacamole has healthy fats, right?)

Eating right out of the measuring cup so I know my exact portion size.

Eating right out of the measuring cup so I know my exact portion size.

This used to be one of my regular not-so-healthy snacks. Now, I consider it a treat due to its higher fat and calorie content.

This used to be one of my regular not-so-healthy snacks. Now, I consider it a treat due to its higher fat and calorie content.

It is now just after 8 p.m and I currently still have 5 WW points left to meet my daily total.  I still can’t believe that just under a week ago I thought it was impossible to meet my points target and now there are days where I have to find something else to eat in order to make it to the target.   After only five days, I already feel like better habits are forming and that I miss some of my favourite junk foods less.  For me, so far, it’s all about waking up each day determined to stay on program and to do my best.  It’s about planning ahead and consciously thinking about my choices before making them.

5 days down, 25 to go!

 

 

30-Day Plan: Day Three

Wahoo!  Day three and I am still on track!  Today, I said no to homemade brownies and avoided the food court while out shopping even though the thought of burgers and fries sounded ah-mazing!  It’s all about the small successes, right?   Here’s how day three has looked:

Veggie and spinach omelette

Veggie and spinach omeletteBreakfast:  In effort to mix in some healthy carbs, I decided to make an omelette for breakfast this morning.  I used 1 whole egg and 1 egg omelette and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, spinach, red onions, peppers and a bit of feta cheese (I’ve been using feta cheese in everything lately because you need very little of it for a lot of flavour!) On the side, I had 3 slices of turkey bacon.  Surprisingly, I didn’t find this omelette near as satisfying as just regular fried eggs so I am going to have to find a few other breakfast alternatives before I get sick of eating a fried egg and turkey bacon every day for breakfast.  I am not a fan of oatmeal and am extremely picky when it comes to fruit so this is going to be a challenge!   I would gladly take any suggestions!  Some ideas I am planning on trying:  whole-grain toast with natural peanut butter and banana slices,  a slice of whole-grain toast topped with guacamole, fried egg, and tomato….  That’s pretty much all I have for ideas and I’m not even sure I’m really going to like either of those so please help me with healthy breakfast ideas!  (And again, please don’t say oatmeal!). Also, as usual, I started chugging my first big bottle of water at breakfast.

 

Breakfast and the first bottle of water for the day

Breakfast and the first bottle of water for the day

Lunch:  My husband and I had errands to run at the mall today.  By the time we were nearly done I was starting to get hungry for lunch. As we strolled past the food court I was so tempted to have a burger and fries but I just kept on walking!  Then as we headed out to our car, Montana’s restaurant loomed across the parking lot and the thought of nachos and fajitas crossed my mind… Yum!  But instead of caving, I hurried home and whipped up a much healthier lunch.  Today I grilled a beef burger and then topped it with a sprinkle of feta cheese and my usual grilled veggies.  After, I had a huge piece of watermelon.

Lunch was so tasty that I ate half of it before I remembered to snap a photo!

Lunch was so tasty that I ate half of it before I remembered to snap a photo!

My husband and I continued to run our errands  after lunch.   At this point, I could feel a bit of a headache coming on (which I am still attributing to my slight caffeine addiction!) so I made a coffee, carefully measured out some French-Vanilla cream, and took my coffee to go while we finished running errands.

Dinner: After all our running around today, by 5 p.m I was feeling pretty hungry!  Luckily, I had put a whole chicken in the crockpot this morning (just a little bit of chicken broth and cook on low for the day – super easy!) I made my version of a Greek salad and ate it with the chicken breast (after removing the skin).  In my salad I included, mixed greens, romaine lettuce, red onions, peppers, feta cheese and light Greek dressing.

My version of a Greek salad.

My version of a Greek salad.

Dessert: I am a huge chocolate lover and haven’t treated myself to chocolate in a few days (and after eating it every day, that’s saying something!) So today after I had cleaned up dinner, I treated myself to 1/2 cup of chocolate frozen yogurt.  I even ate it straight out of the measuring cup so I knew exactly the portion I was eating!  It was cold, creamy, and absolutely delicious!  It definitely satisfied my chocolate craving and for only 4 Weight Watchers points!

Workout 1:  Since it was such a busy day, I only had time for one short workout today but it was definitely an intense one!  I swear by any of Jillian Michaels DVDs and own about ten of them! Tonight I did the week 1 workout of the Ripped in 30 DVD and this workout is no joke!  It consists of 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minutes of abs and in total there are three different sets.  It’s only a 20-minute workout but I was dripping with sweat and could barely breathe when I was done!   Definitely a great workout!

This workout is short but intense!

This workout is short but intense!

Snack: I’m still in the habit of having a snack in the evening although I am trying to make healthier choices.  Tonight I decided to try a smoothie (I really hate the texture of most fruits so I am trying different ways to consume fruit).  In my blender, I combined 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt,  frozen pineapples, mangoe, and strawberries, and 1/2 a banana. It turned out okay but I still wasn’t really feeling it.  I passed on the smoothie and instead tried 1 slice of whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter and a few slices of banana.  Although I wasn’t too crazy about the banana (again with the texture thing), I was able to finish it and the toast and the peanut butter were very satisfying (I am a huge fan of peanut butter and jam, but sadly most store-bought jams have way too much added sugar!)

Last night but not least, another small victory today was that after searching forever for a pair of denim walking shorts, I finally found some today!  The best part?  I bought a size smaller than I would have needed last summer.  Great feeling, am I right ladies?!  It’s all about the baby steps and celebrating small successes along the way!

3 days down, 27 to go!

30-Day Plan: Day Two

First of all, let me say that I am so proud of myself for the success I had yesterday.  I actually came in 3 points under my allotted target for the day and worked out.  Before yesterday, I definitely thought staying within 30 Weight Watchers points was impossible, but now I’ve proved to myself that with some creativity and determination, I can do it!

That being said, I woke up today craving a giant bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios (my typical breakfast).  I knew right away that today would be slightly more challenging than yesterday.  And although it has been, I am happy to say that so far so good.   Here’s how today has shaped up.

Breakfast:  Although I was craving sugary cereal, I knew if I started my day off “wrong”, that it would set my whole day off on the wrong foot.  I’m a big creature of habit and when it comes to cooking, I like to keep things as simple as possible, so I repeated yesterday’s breakfast – 1 fried egg, 4 slices of turkey bacon, and a huge bottle of water.  (Normally, I’d drink milk with breakfast but I am trying to drink more water so I’ve been starting as soon as I get up!)

I've been trying to drink three of these bottles a day for a total of 96 oz. of water per day.

I’ve been trying to drink three of these bottles a day for a total of 96 oz. of water per day.

Workout 1:  One of the luxuries of having the summer off is that I can fit in my workout whenever it works for me.  This morning, not long after breakfast I was lounging on the couch and all I could think about was eating.  That, and taking a nap.  But I had planned to check out a noon-hour Zumba class at my gym today and although I still felt really tired, I decided that a workout might actually wake me up and it would distract me from wanting to eat.  So I got up off the couch (not always easy to do), and got my butt to the gym!  And I was pleasantly surprised by this class!  The music was fantastic, the instructor was good, and it definitely elevated my heart rate!  I am not going to lie though.  When I left nearly an hour later, my legs were aching, I was hungry, and I felt really tired. (I thought cardio sessions were supposed to increase energy?)  Oh well, at least I didn’t stay home where I just would have ate and laid on the couch!

Lunch:  By the time I got home from the gym, I was pretty hungry. I used the last leftover turkey burger from yesterday and repeated the same meal again.  I sautéed some peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and red onions in olive oil and put it on top of the burger along with a bit of feta cheese and salt and pepper.  Yum!  Since I was so hungry from my workout, I devoured a huge piece of watermelon while I waited for my veggies to cook, and then because it was so delicious, I ate another huge piece after my burger.  And of course, I drank more water.

My new favourite and so low in WW points!

My new favourite and so low in WW points!

This afternoon, I was still feeling really sleepy.  I realize that after only one day of eating healthy, my energy levels likely won’t be affected, but I also think this is due to the fact that I have been over-sleeping. Last night I went to bed around 11 p.m hoping that it would force my body to wake up early (I hate to have to set an alarm in the summer!) but I still dozed until about 10:30 this morning!  I guess I am going to have to resort to setting an alarm after all, to keep my body on track with its 8-hour-a-night sleep that I typically get.   Anyway, I lounged and dozed a little on the couch this afternoon, but it really only made me feel lazy so I got up and decided to take care of a few of the tasks on my to-do list.  I made a quick coffee and carefully measured out my favourite cream so as not to use too much.  (Side note:  When I am starting to feel hungry, I’ve noticed that if I keep myself busy and distract myself for a little while, I don’t really notice it as much).

Dinner:  Tonight I grilled some pork chops and used just a tiny bit of BBQ sauce for flavour.  I sautéed some more of my favourite veggies (sprinkled with a bit of feta) and this time added a side of sweet potatoes for some healthy carbs (I buy the frozen ones that are sliced into small chips – sautée them in a bit of olive oil and salt and they are delicious!)  I was very surprised at how full I felt after dinner!

This meal was surprisingly filling.

This meal was surprisingly filling.

Workout 2: After dinner tonight, I had a baseball game.  We play in a mixed, softball fun league.  Although there are some pretty good players, it’s pretty casual and mostly everyone is just out to have some fun.  That being said, running those bases can sure give you a quick cardio blast!  And let’s be honest, any form of activity is better than sitting at home on the couch!

Snack:  By 8:30 pm, I still had 8 Weight Watchers points left ( I still can’t believe I have been able to stay under my points!)  Although it wasn’t a healthy snack, I decided to go a bit easy on myself and enjoyed a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios (carefully measured so as not to go over proper portion size) and some low-fat milk.   This came to a total of 8 points, which put me exactly at my allotted 30 WW points for the day!

So, all in all, although the morning started off tough, I am very proud that Day 2 was just as successful as the first.  It’s definitely taking a lot of conscious effort on my part.  I have to carefully think about each food and drink before I decide what I am going to have. If I don’t take the time to think about my choices, I end up eating mindlessly and definitely not healthfully.  I’m hoping that eventually I’ll have to think about these things less as they become my new habits.  For now, I am still feeling determined to stay on my new program.  One day at a time 🙂

 

 

 

My 30-Day Plan: Day One

Day One

After last night’s Weight Watchers meeting, I am feeling really motivated to try cleaning up my diet again.  As much as I hate to admit it, there’s no denying that the only way to lose weight and feel better, is to eat more healthfully.

I truly believe that I am a sugar addict.  (I recently read a post online that said sugar is not addictive, I don’t believe that for one second).  I know I am not the only one that can say that once I’ve eaten sugar my body just craves more.  It’s constant, up and down spikes, that literally sometimes make my head spin (in a dizzy, headache-y kind of way) and make me feel lethargic and unmotivated.  Yet, I can’t quit.  The food and drinks I consume that are loaded with sugar are just so…. Delicious.

But that being said, I am so sick and tired of how these unhealthy foods make me feel – low energy, tired, sluggish, and overweight.   As I get older and have fallen back into old habits, I have noticed a significant decrease in my energy levels.  I used to be go-go-go all the time.  Others actually remarked on my high energy levels and asked how I managed to do it.  Deep within me, I know the answer to that question:  I was eating healthfully and was very active. 

Me - healthy and energetic

Me – healthy and energetic

Fitting in activity has never been too much of a problem for me.  Admittedly, I am nowhere near where I used to be activity-wise (high-intensity aerobics, running, weight lifting, playing soccer) but I do enjoy different types of physical activity (walking, playing baseball, yoga, hiking, workout DVDs).  The problem for me has always been eating properly – nourishing my body and giving it what it needs to function to its maximum potential instead of just satisfying my taste buds, emotions, and habits.

Recently, I’ve been feeling quite frustrated over the changes that need to be made in my diet.  I know that I have to just accept that changes need to be made and that if I can stick with it for a few weeks, those changes will become easier and eventually become habits.  But as always, it’s getting started that’s the hardest part.  I dread the thought of eating fruit (I know, it’s weird, but I am totally not a fan!),  of eating salads (I have yet to find one that’s healthy and that I truly enjoy), of eating less carbs (I loooove bread, crackers, cereal, etc.), and of giving up sugary treats (especially the French Vanilla flavoured cream I dump in crazy amounts into my coffee).

But as I said, last night’s meeting, was a bit of a wake up call.  It’s time to accept that the only way to look and feel the way I want to, is to clean up my diet and slowly train myself to eat better.  I am proud to say I woke up today with determination to eat better and to start to learn ways that I can do this.   Here’s how today has shaped up so far:

Breakfast: Rather than start my day with a bowl of sugary cereal as usual, I focussed on incorporating more protein and healthy fats.  I cooked up a fried egg and 4 slices of turkey bacon and started drinking my first huge bottle of water for the day.

Workout 1: I’m totally loving yoga lately (although I’m still definitely a beginner) so I tried a new class at the gym today – power yoga.  My intention for today’s class was to accept my body where it is today.  I’m not going to lie, every day my Instagram is flooded with professional yogis and their incredibly beautiful yoga poses that I can only some day dream of achieving.  But I know my body is just beginning it’s journey so rather than being too hard to on myself I focussed on challenging my body but also accepting it’s limitations.  It turned out to be a great workout!

Lunch: After yoga, I went grocery shopping and stocked up on fruits, vegetables, and other healthy items.   It was one of those rare occurrences where my cart is full of healthy-only items and I’m secretly hoping other people look at its contents with admiration (Am I the only one?)  Some of the things I bought:  salmon, shrimp, Greek yogurt, eggs, unsweetened almond milk, natural peanut butter, and tons of fruit and vegetables.

When I got home, I grilled a turkey burger for lunch.  I sprinkled it with a tablespoon of feta cheese and then covered it in sautéed vegetables.  I was skeptical, but it was seriously delicious!  I continued to drink my water like crazy.

Turkey burger with feta cheese and sautéed veggies.

Turkey burger with feta cheese and sautéed veggies.

After lunch, I decided to try a recipe I saw on television this morning for a homemade “skinny” chocolate shake.  In my blender, I mixed 3/4 cup of chocolate frozen yogurt, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 banana, and 1 teaspoon of cocoa.  The texture was creamy and smooth and it tasted pretty good.  However, I am not really a fan of bananas and while I know it added to the creaminess and the sweetness of this drink, the smell and taste of the banana was slightly off-putting.  Still, it is certainly a healthy alternative and something I think I could get used to, to fill that chocolate fix!

I drank half of it before I remembered to take a photo!

I drank half of it before I remembered to take a photo!

Late afternoon:  an hour or so after lunch, I felt the headache start to set in.  I’ve yet to determine if this headache is caused by lack of caffeine or lack of sugar (although I’m leaning towards a bit of a caffeine addiction as I’d just had the healthy shake).  My biggest pitfall with coffee is that I use about 4 tablespoons of French Vanilla cream per 14 oz. of coffee (which essentially makes it one of the sweetest cofees ever!)  I know this is a huge area I need to improve on, so today I made about half the amount of coffee and half the amount of cream.  It was a little less sweet than normal but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked that I could taste the actual coffee a little more!

Workout 2:  Late this afternoon, I was feeling pretty tired (it’s a gloomy day today).  I really wanted to curl up with a blanket and take a nap.  But seeing as I had to pick up my daughter close to my regular walking route, I decided to see if taking a walk would actually boost my energy.  Tucker (my dog) and I finished a 2.5 km walk and I am happy to say that I don’t feel nearly as tired now (well, maybe a little bit).  Either way, I am really glad I got in that extra workout as I have promised myself that each day this week, I would go for a walk and incorporate some other kind of workout.

One of my favourite walking routes lately.

One of my favourite walking routes lately.

Dinner:  I know a huge part of eating right is planning ahead, but I totally flaked on planning a healthy dinner today.  So after my walk, I swung by the grocery store and picked up a rotisserie chicken.  I knew I wanted to incorporate veggies into dinner, so I whipped up one of the only salads I actually enjoy – Greek (with a twist – I had forgotten to get cucumbers and don’t really like tomatoes or olives, so I added yellow and red peppers, and red onions to mine with a little feta and low-calorie Greek dressing).  This, paired with the chicken, turned out to be more enjoyable than I had anticipated, although it’s only been just under an hour since I ate it and I am still feeling a little hungry.  Luckily, I still have room for a little snack later on (and I’m still chugging water).

All in all, I am thrilled with how well I did today!  In fact, since joining Weight Watchers about four months ago, this is the first day that I have actually stayed within my allotted 30 points for the day (normally I range anywhere between 40 and up!)  I know every day won’t be this easy but I hope that I can continue to incorporate small, healthy changes each day because small, steady changes always lead to bigger ones! What will be key for me will be to continue trying different things, searching for recipes, and finding healthy alternatives for some of my favourites.

All this being said, while I was walking this afternoon, I realized that it is exactly 30 days until my husband and I leave on our much-anticipated summer vacation (to a friend’s cottage for the weekend, 4 days in Toronto, and then a family camping weekend).  I would love to drop a few pounds  and feel more energetic by the time our vacation rolls around (and I love nice, round numbers like 30), so I have decided to commit to my own 30-day plan.

Here’s my plan…. Please let me know if you have any suggestions!

What I Will Do:

– set small goals to focus on each day (as I said before, small changes lead to big ones)   Which could be any / all of the following….

-find ways to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into my daily diet

-find ways to cut back drastically on sugar

-focus on protein, carbs, and healthy fats at each meal/snack

-eat mostly whole foods – fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fat-free dairy, whole grains

-find healthy alternatives for “treats” to make the transition easier

-be mentally prepared to accept that changing my diet will be challenging but that I am up for the challenge!

-be prepared that it will take a significant amount of time to “train my brain” into truly enjoying and craving new, healthier foods

-lean on my loved ones for support

-check out the Weight Watchers online community for ideas and additional support

-continue to walk regularly and incorporate other workouts like yoga, Jillian Micahels DVDS, and baseball

-make time to prep and plan meals

-drink water, water, and more water!

-keep a food journal and track Weight Watchers points

-regularly attend Weight Watchers meetings for accountability, ideas, and support

-accept my body where it is today but also push it to be better

Phew.  Long blog post!  If you actually made it to the end of this, please take a minute and leave a comment to let me know that I have your support!  Positive affirmations are so helpful and greatly appreciated.  I really want to do this.  Day 1 down, 29 to go!

 

 

 

Celebrating Non-Scale Victories

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Tonight at my Weight Watchers meeting, we held a discussion about keeping track of our successes.  Our leader encouraged us to write down non-scale victories and to look back at them when we need an extra boost or are having a bad day.  As an avid journal keeper and list marker, I liked this idea of writing things down in order to return to it again and again.  I also like external accountability.  I considered using Facebook as my outlet – it’s a great place for little “snippets” and there’s nothing like putting it out there to the social media world for external accountability.  But I certainly don’t want to be one of “those” people either (I am sure I have several FB friends who could care less about my weight loss efforts).  I have a private FB group with a few friends where we keep each other on track and send regular updates.  That works but I still wanted a larger audience. I considered Instagram but I’m a writer and needed a larger writing space.  Then, the obvious occurred to me – I can use my blog to record and write about my experiences, questions, ideas, and general thinking about my weight loss/fitness journey!   So, if you’re reading this I hope that you are interested in exercise, nutrition, fitness, weight loss or any other related topic.  It’s becoming a significant part of my life again and I have a lot to say.

But back to the idea of recording small successes.  I’m excited to report that I’ve had a lot of them this week!  Before I get to what they are, I think it’s important to mention that focussing on and celebrating these small victories is absolutely key in the grander scheme of losing weight.  (Trust me, I’ve been there and done it before!) Once you have even one small success, it drives you to want more.  Than you have another, and you want more.  Each step you take in the right direction just keeps propelling you and driving you to take the next step.  It’s amazing how once you get the ball rolling how fast your motivation takes off!  That’s exactly how I am feeling tonight.  I have taken a lot of small steps lately that have sent my motivation into over-drive!  It’s an incredible feeling, and although it took some effort to get started, it’s been truly surprising how quickly the momentum builds.

Here are some of my small (non-scale) victories this week:

1. Getting myself to the gym even when I didn’t really feel like going – I always tell myself that you never regret a workout but you nearly always regret skipping a workout.  I knew on this night that if I had skipped the gym, I would have stayed home and felt crummy about it.  Also, I have a pretty good gym routine going but I knew that if I skipped even just one night (without a valid excuse) it might lead to skipping another night, and another, and so on….  Preventing disruption in a routine that’s new is so important and I’m certainly glad that I was able to recognize this enough that I was able to get my butt out the door and to the gym that night!

Getting set up for Body Pump at the gym.

Getting set up for Body Pump at the gym.

2. Incorporating more vegetables (and some fruits) into my meals – I am a carb-lover.  I could subsist on pizza, pasta, bread, crackers, and chips if you let me.  But I haven’t been seeing the results I want and I knew what was holding me back.  Too many carbs and little to no fruits and vegetables.  Now, I’m really not a fan of fruit (I know. It’s weird – I’m still working on it), although I did eat a huge piece of watermelon the other day instead of the crackers I’d normally have had.  But I’ve been making a point to include vegetables in at least two meals per day.  The first couple of days I tried eating salads until the third day when I realized, I really don’t like salads.  The next night I roasted my vegetables and realized I really enjoy roasted vegetables!  So now that’s what I am doing. It really takes getting to know how things work for you and doing it that way.  Sure, I will continue to explore other salad options and other ways to get my veggies in (oh, I do love an omelette packed with veggies!) but for now I’ve realized I do like roasted veggies and it’s working so why not stick with it?

Dinner this week.

Dinner this week.

3. I avoided temptations – I had two work events this week where lunch was provided.  Knowing there are usually some pretty healthy options, I skipped packing my own and indulged in the provided lunch.  The first day was lasagna (of which I enjoyed a small piece), house salad or Caesar (I chose house with light dressing even though I love Caesar!), white dinner rolls (which I resisted!) and then large brownies or large cookies for dessert (which I also resisted!)  The key for me here was taking the time to consciously decide if I should have the bread and dessert or not.  It worked in my favour that the cookies were pre-packaged and actually didn’t really look that appetizing (I know, right?  I didn’t realize they could make a cookie that doesn’ look or taste amazing! Cookies are seriously my biggest downfall!)  Anyway, I took a real hard look at that cookie (and the brownie which was also pre-packaged) and decided that likely what would happen is that I would eat it, it wouldn’t taste as amazing as I had anticipated, and then I’d feel enormously guilty afterward.  It just wasn’t worth it.  I passed.  I SAID NO TO COOKIES AND BROWNIES, people!  This is huge!  It may seem insignificant to some, but I know the willpower it took to say no.  Am I ever glad I did!

4.  I drank a chocolate milkshake and ate some chocolate and didn’t feel guilty! – This is worth noting because so many of us beat ourselves up if we go off track even the slightest.  We wallow in feelings of guilt which can lead to more bad habits.  But what I’m beginning to learn is that to make this a lifestyle and not just a diet, nd to make it stick FOREVER, we have to indulge now and then.  And we can’t beat ourselves up for it!  You do have to take those few minutes to decide if the indulgence will really be worth it or not though.  I knew as soon as I took the first sip of that chocolate milkshake on Saturday that it was worth it.  I thoroughly enjoyed every. single. sip.  It was delicious, it was amazing, it was so satisfying.  Why would I let guilt take away all that?  I finished the milkshake and moved on.  I didn’t let guilt take over and write the rest of the day (or week or month) off.  Instead I got right back on track at my next meal.  (Again, this is HUGE for me because it’s something I’ve struggled with so much in the past!)  Then, today during lunch there was a whole tray of desserts including these little tiny brownies that I’ve had before and that I know are absolutely delicious!  I made the conscious choice that having one would be worth the indulgence.  So I had one.  And it was so scrumptious and wonderful that I had another one.  And do you know what?  I’m not mad at myself!  I ate on plan the rest of the day and didn’t let those two little brownies throw my whole day off.  (For instance, knowing I had had the brownies helped me to resist the potato wedges my husband brought home at dinner! I had roasted sweet potato chunks instead). It’s all about indulging in moderation, truly enjoying those small treats, and not feeling badly about it. Trust me, I know it isn’t easy to do which is why it’s actually a pretty BIG victory for me!

Worth every delicious, chocolate-y sip.

Worth every delicious, chocolate-y sip.

So those are my non-scale victories for this past week.  It’s these tiny, but at the same time, momentous moments that keep me going.  No matter what goal you are working towards, it’s important to focus on the small yet significant steps that get you there.  If we can keep doing that, eventually all of those tiny moments will get us where we ultimately want to be.

 

 

 

Balance

It’s pretty common knowledge that most people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions.  Usually, I’m right there with those that have the best intentions, but fall off the wagon just a few weeks in.  This time around though, I am happy to say that three months into the new year, my resolutions are still ringing true for me.  In fact, the two mantras I had pinpointed as my “themes” for the year (Good enough is good enough, and Be gentle with yourself) are ideas I still think about almost daily.

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Lately, though, this idea of being gentle with myself has taken a slight twist.  While I still definitely need to remember to be gentle with myself and that good enough is good enough, I’ve started to realize that, in life, there is also a place for pushing oneself.  For striving.  For achieving.  And for setting tough goals.  I started to consider this contradiction.  I want to be more gentle with myself, but in light of some new goals I’ve set, I also need to be a little tough on myself (more about that in a minute). Then as I was reading one of my favourite books The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I found a quote that summed this up perfectly.  Rubin states. “There is a constant tug between striving and accepting… there is a time for both pursuing and accepting.”   I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Recently, I’ve jumped back on the “getting healthy” bandwagon.  I’ve started working out (3-4 times per week), re-joined Weight Watchers, and started the same Learn to Run program I had so much success with in the past.  This, of course, can’t happen without a little self discipline and hard work.  In other words, I have to be a little tough on myself.  I have to tell myself no when the cookies and cakes are calling my name and I have to push myself to lace up my sneakers and get my workout in, when I’d rather be lounging on the couch.  I have to skip the junk food aisle in the grocery store, and stock up on fruits and veggies instead.  I have to go to the gym when I’d rather be sipping hot cocoa and blogging.  It’s definitely not easy and if I’m too gentle on myself, I’ll be diving into the closest chip bag and subsisting on pizza before we know it.

That being said, in retrospect I truly believe that one of the reasons I gained all of my weight back (after losing 65 lbs.) is that I wasn’t gentle on myself last time.  Every time I slipped up, fell of program, or indulged just a little too much, I’d become so upset with myself that I’d quit altogether.  I was resentful because I felt like I had to be “good” all the time to lose weight.  (And there certainly wasn’t room for pizza when I’m being “good”.)  So this time around, while I have to push myself, I know I also have to be gentle on myself.  Some days I’ll eat healthy, workout, and feel amazing and strong.  Other days, I’ll stay in my pyjamas, eat junk food, and feel……. Guilt-free.

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All this, of course, is called balance which ironically is another one of my “themes” for 2016.  When I chose “balance”, I was focussed more on letting go of my over-achieving, perfectionist ways and making more room for rest and relaxation.  But now I’m starting to truly understand what balance means.  It means that there’s still a place for pushing myself.  There’s still a place for striving, achieving, working hard, saying no when you want to say yes, and being just a little bit of a perfectionist. But there’s also a time for being gentle.  For accepting that I will make mistakes, that not all days will be perfect, and that at the end of the day, life all is about balance and I’m finally starting to figure that out.

 

How are you doing with your 2016 resolutions?

#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.

 

It’s time… (A Very Personal Struggle)

Feeling great after the 10k.

Feeling great after the 10k.

Sometimes you need that one friend in your life who will tell you exactly what you need to hear, no matter how hard it may be to hear it.

Thank God, I have my husband.

We had a conversation today that I may not have wanted to have, but needed to  desperately.

We had a conversation about my weight.

It’s no secret that I have struggled with my weight for most of my life.  About four years ago though, I thought I finally had it figured out.  Over a course of a few years (and a lot of hard work!), I had dropped 65 lbs. and felt better than ever.  During that time, I learned so many things about nutrition, healthy eating, portion sizes, exercise, and fitness.  I tracked what I ate meticulously, attended Weight Watchers meetings regularly, and was constantly challenging my body physically.  I was over-the-moon with my new, slim, fit body and all the praise and comments I got from others. One of my proudest moments, was in 2011 when I completed my first 10k race as part of Ottawa’s Race Weekend.  I may not have been the fastest runner that day, but the fact that I had come that far in my fitness routine and achieved such an accomplishment was thrilling to me!

Bradley and I after running the 10k in Ottawa.

Bradley and I after running the 10k in Ottawa.

From 2010 until 2013, I maintained my weight loss.  I continued working out and introducing new challenges to my fitness routine.  I watched what I ate and my new, higher metabolism allowed me to have treats without wreaking havoc on my process.  I reached all kinds of milestones and felt a new sense of confidence and self-love that I had never experienced before.

Then I got married.

I don’t blame my marriage at all for my weight loss, it’s just the turning point for when I started gaining back all the weight I had lost. Shortly after we got married, I began a new job an hour away which drastically changed my daily schedule.  Ever since, I have done nothing but let my newly-formed, healthy habits go. Devastatingly, this has resulted in all 65 lbs. being packed on over the last two years.

Now, instead of the highly motivated, inspiring, and life-loving girl I was, I have once again become a person who is filled with disappointment, anger, and overwhelming sadness for what I have let happen. Why did I do this?  How come I have let this happen?  I swore to myself I’d never gain the weight back! I say to myself again and again.  The negative self-talk is overwhelming.

And like so many others, I let those terrible, negative thoughts take over me.  Instead of fighting back with positivity and motivation, I gave in.  I gave up all the habits I had worked so hard on, and resorted back to all the bad ones that got me into trouble in the first place. Instead of loving myself and working hard to improve myself, I sit on the couch, do nothing, and think about the next tasty snack I will eat.

Why do I do this?  I have no idea.  It’s like there is a constant inner battle in my own mind that utterly exhausts meMy own little angel and devil, each sitting on a shoulder.  One side tells me all the reasons I need to get healthy again, the other side tries to make excuses, tries to make me believe that I can be happy like this.

Except I know I can’t.

And my husband confirmed that this afternoon.  As tears of frustration streamed down my cheeks, he sweetly sat me on his lap and pointed to pictures hanging on our wall where I am fit, healthy, and happy. “You don’t smile like that anymore,” he told me. I cried.  I cried because he’s right, he’s so right, and that’s just the saddest thing to me.  All this time, I have been trying to convince myself that I can be heavy and happy and while I truly believe this is possible for some people, I know it just isn’t for me.

Strong body, strong mind.

Strong body, strong mind.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all about being skinny. It’s not about getting hung up over some number on a scale, or going on a drastic, restrictive diet. It’s about feeling good about myself.  It’s about being strong, physically and mentally. It’s about establishing habits that will improve my overall health, habits that will help me live longer, and be happier.

So it’s time.  It’s time to let go of all the anger, the whys, the how-did-I-let-this-happen?  It’s time to stop dwelling on what was, and time to start making changes to what is.  The fortunate part for me is that I have all the tools.  I know how to lose weight, get fit, and be healthy because I’ve done it all before.

I really believe today was a turning point.  My dear, loving, sweet husband made me realize that it’s time to let go of all the excuses, turn off the negative self-talk, and do something.  He cautiously and carefully pointed out to me what I already know – if I don’t do something, I am going to end up obese, miserable, and sick.  It’s my reality and it’s time to accept it.  I know him doing this was coming from a place of honesty and love, and frankly, I love him for telling me what I needed to hear.

I am not going to lie – thinking about starting all over again is daunting.  I am scared of failure.  I am scared I won’t know where to start, or that I will always be exhausted and won’t have the energy to go on.  But it’s time.  It’s time to start taking care of me again.  It’s time to stop all the negativity and to work for what I deserve ~ a fit, happy, healthy body and mind.   I’ve got this!  🙂