Thursday, November 7, 2013

I did it!

Ever since I started running I had convinced myself that I could never be one of those people who gets up at some unearthly hour to head out and run before work.  Why on earth would I want to give up an hour's sleep to go out in the cold and dark and do something that at best is unpleasant, but most likely is going to leave me sore?

Well yesterday I was bemoaning my lack of running.  I had last gotten out almost a week ago on Friday and the plans we have for this coming weekend were making it look like I wouldn't be able to get in a run at all.  Evenings are hard; I get home at 5:30 and between diner, homework and bedtime routines, I find it hard to fit in an hour + to gear up and get out.

Enough is enough I thought.  I can do this early morning thing!  So before bed last night I laid out my running clothes, including gloves, ear covers and a jacket, figuring that 5:00 AM would be cold.  I got up, ate a banana, got dressed and headed out.  I didn't even make it off the porch before ditching the jacket in the mailbox.  I took of the headband and gloves before  had gone 1/2 a kilometer.  It's a suspicious 11°C out this morning. Not exactly Nova Scotia November weather, but I'll take it!

I only ran for 25 minutes, just over 3km, but it felt great!  I listened to an audio book and enjoyed the quiet time.  And I think the cup of coffee I had when I got back was one of the best ones I've ever tasted.

I might just have to do this again!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Race Bling

Look what arrived in the mail today!

My first medal!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ghostly Gallop

I ran my first virtual 5K race today.  No, I didn't jog on the spot with a Wii remote in my pocket while my Mii went for a run around Wuhu Island.   A virtual race is an organized race that doesn't have a specific location.  People all around the world can participate by simply running the required distance on their own and then reporting back their results to the race organizers

A lot of virtual runs are done as fundraisers for various causes, or some are held to get online groups of people together, like the one I did today.  Organized by the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans, it allowed all of us who are members of their forum to participate in the run "together".  We even get a t-shirt and a finishers medal (I'm guessing mine is held up in customs and will  hopefully arrive this week).

So I laced up and ran 5K today. I never really believed people when they said that running was more mental than it was physical. I understood it today when after only 4 minutes of running I had to convince myself that I didn't actually need to walk and that I could push through it.  Running Andy overcame Lazy Andy and I managed to run the full 5K without walking at all.  I've only just started being able to do that, and it really is a great feeling of accomplishment.

Out of breath!

One of my better times, though I would really like to get below 40 just once!

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRun

I've mapped out a 5K route in my neighbourhood that is easy to remember and doesn't really have any hills.  I'm not ready for hills yet.

I have one more virtual run planned for November and then I think I'll be waiting (and training) for the spring race season to start.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fast Day Dinner

On fasting days I aim to eat a 300 calorie meal for dinner.  Hilary has done an amazing job at finding a variety of meals that are not only low-low cal, but tasty and filling.  Follow me on Tuesdays and Thursdays as I share our meal plans.


  • Spicy Shrimp
  • Broccoli Slaw with honey, olive oil and apple cider vinegar
  • Thin Tortilla

I had 2 wraps for a total of 298 calories.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Food Run

I ran my third official 5K race today!  It was a very hilly course, but beautiful, along a wooded trail with all the leaves turning red and orange.  



Around the 2K marker I started running with another woman and we stuck together till the end.  We were well paced with each other, and cursed the hills together while we walked up them.  

I love having a race planned and on my schedule as it really helps me to focus and keep training.  My next run is a virtual race next weekend!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Run for the Cure

I ran in my second organized 5K run today.

The Run for the Cure had over 5000 people in Halifax, so it was a very different feel from my first race.  It's also the first race I've done on city streets.   I didn't realize how hard it would be to just get through the starting line.

There were a few more hills than I'm used to, and I did have to walk a couple of times.  So I was very excited when I got home to see my uploaded MapMyRun data to find out that I had my best pace of 7:14 minutes/KM.  My best time before this was 8:35.   A friend who is a runner says that he always has better time on races then just training.  The excitement of people cheering you on, running in a pack and today there were even marching bands at strategic locations, gives you the boost to push yourself harder. It's so true.  At one point I was tiring out and thinking about walking when I passed a group of volunteers who started whooping and hollering and telling me what a great job I was doing.  Of course I couldn't start walking then!

I'm so glad that I signed up for this.  Not only is it a great cause, it was a great run too!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October's Goals

I made it through all of my September goals!  Now it's time to plan for October. Of course October has a holiday in it that centers around food (always the best holidays in my opinion) and my Mom is coming to visit for 2 weeks.  I don't want either of things to derail me completely, but I do want to enjoy myself.

  1. Wear my pedometer every day - aim for 10,000 steps per day
  2. Log all my food at My Fitness Pal
  3. Fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  4. Attend 10 TKD classes
I've signed up for three 5 km races this month!  
  1. Oct 6 - Run for the Cure
  2. Oct 20 - Food Run for Feed Nova Scotia
  3. Oct 27 - Ghostly Gallop Virtual Run
Based on that I am setting myself a goal of running 40 km this month.

I am deliberately not setting any weight loss goals.  If I continue to focus on healthy eating and exercise, the number on the scale become irrelevant (or so I try to tell myself).

What are your goals for the month?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Run or Dye

Today was my second organized 5K "race".  I didn't do a whole lot of running as the terrain was very steep hills, some mud and a lot of slippery grass.  Instead we walked most of the course and had fun getting tye-dyed.

I started out the day all squeaky clean.

With my friend Kelly.

Before we even made it to the starting line, I was covered in purple.

By the end I was a rainbow of colours.

We had a blast and I'm so glad I did it.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Running Club

When I first started running this year, I joined a learn to run program offered through Liam's school.  We met every Friday night for an hour.  It was great to have people to run with who offer encouragement.  Since that ended in June I've been running by myself.

I do enjoy running by myself.  It's nice to have time to reflect, lose myself to my tunes or listen to an audio book.  But I miss the encouragement.  Someone telling me that I can make it 5 more steps or matching their pace with mine so that we end a run together.

So I've decided to form a running group!  So far it seems to be just some of the people that were part of the original learn to run program, but I'm hoping that it will grow.  We'll meet at the school on  Friday nights for an hour, and collect a $2.00 donation - with all funds going to the school.  There are lots of quiet side streets and even a neighbourhood full of paved walkways far from any roads.  I'll research up coming runs in the city that we can join, maybe find some interesting articles to share and generally have fun.

Have you ever run a running group, or been part of one?  What did you like or hate about it?  All suggestions are welcomed.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Running Update

Now that the heat of the summer is over, I'm getting back into running again. After my first 5K in June I only got out a few times.  I did manage to run while on vacation, and even got my Mom to run with me!

Taking nearly a month off meant that I felt the need to start back with 5 and 6 minute intervals.  Without the push of a group or a specific training plan to follow, I found that I really had to convince myself that I could increase the intervals each week.  I pushed myself up to 8 minutes and hit a mental block about going any further.

Tonight I decided to try something completely different.  I had spoken to someone who had done the learn to run program with me and she is now running 10K without walking at all!!  She finds it easier to just keep running instead of stopping and starting.  If she gets winded or finds it hard to keep going, she simply slows her pace down for a bit, but never to a complete walk.

I admit that I was skeptical and really doubted that I would ever be able to run 5K without walking, let alone 10K.  So tonight I ditched my interval timer app and just turned on a stopwatch and my tunes.  I surprised myself by being able to run 12 minutes before I felt that I HAD to walk.  But I only walked for about 20-30 seconds, instead of a whole minute.  I did a full 5K, and yes I did walk several times, but only for short bits and I still felt great at the end of the run.  I think I might ditch the interval app completely and just listen to my body.

Friday, August 30, 2013

September Goals

  1. Wear my pedometer every day
  2. Track ALL of my food in MFP, every day
  3. Attend a minimum of 9 Tae Kwon Do classes
  4. Fast for 7 days
  5. Run at least 10 times

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Post Vacation Weigh In

Pre-Vacation Weight - 199.5
Current Weight - 207.8

Weight gained while on vacation: 8.3

No big surprise there!

I hit my lowest weight just before leaving after 5 weeks of bi-weekly fasting.  There was certainly no fasting while on vacation for 2 weeks!  There was Continental Breakfasts, ice cream stops, Tim Horton's Double Double (with 18% cream!), dinner out every night and a fair bit of alcohol.

There was some exercise, even though we did spend up to 6 hours a day in the car for half of the vacation.  I got in the pool with Liam nearly every day, we walked a LOT at different touristy spots (and a lot of that up and down MOUNTAINS) and I even managed 3 short runs.

We are home now and I'll be back to work, Fasting and Tae Kwon Do this week.  I've already gotten back to running, getting out twice already, with plans to go again today.  I'm confident that the weight will come off again and that I'll continue to feel great.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Running with Mom

I went for a run today while on vacation & my 70 year old mother, who has never run, came with me!  She made it through 3 sets of 1 minute before we walked the rest of the way.  I don't think she'll do it again but it was great to run with her.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fasting Weigh In - Week 5

Last Week's Weight - 203.2
Current Weight - 199.5

Weight Lost This Week: 3.7

It's been a long time in coming but the numbers on the scale finally start with a 1!  2 fasting days, 2 days of TKD, 1 run and eating well the rest of the week was the magic formula.

Of course we leave for vacation in 3 days.  I won't be fasting while we are gone because a) it's vacation!  and b) we will be in the car driving 6 hours a day for more than half of our vacation and I don't want to have to stop every 30 minutes to pee because I've consumed 3 litres of water.

I do plan to make good food choices while we travel.  We'll be going through the Okanagan valley and hope to find lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  And of course once we hit the coast there will be fresh seafood.  I'm going to take my running clothes with me in the hopes that I can get out at least once in each of the provinces that we'll be in for a run.  We'll be staying near the water in BC and I think a run along the trail that borders the shoreline would be wonderful.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fasting Weigh in - Week 4

Last Week's Weight - 202.8
Current Weight - 203.2

Weight Lost Gained  This Week: 0.4

Another small gain this week.  I only Fasted for a day and half.  Thursday was Liam's Birthday so we went out for dinner and Hilary made her famous Chocolate Irish Potato Cake at his request.  I don't usually Fast on Wednesday's because of TKD.  I tried to Fast again on Friday to make up for it, but I did it without having something for breakfast before leaving home and by noon I was head-achy and starving in a way that water and positive thinking just wasn't going to over come.

Now the cakes (yes, he ended up having 2) are almost gone, we have no social eating plans for this week, TKD  is on for Mon and Wed  and the stars and planets are all aligned.  This will be a great week!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fasting Weigh in - Week 3

Last Week's Weight - 201.9
Current Weight - 202.8

Weight Lost Gained  This Week - 0.9

No big surprise that I gained almost a pound this week. I had a 4 day weekend last weekend, and while I did Fast on Tuesday and Thursday, I certainly enjoyed more treats during the rest of the week then I should have.

We are in the midst of a heat wave, several days at 30C plus, even through the night.  It certainly makes me lose my appetite for much beyond fresh fruit and water.   Though I will confess that I have enjoyed some 67 calorie beer in the heat.

The journey continues!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fasting Weigh In - Week 2

Last Week's Weight - 204.8
Current Weight - 201.9

Weight Lost This Week - 2.9

It's great to see the weight loss continue this week! I fasted for 2 days this week but was pretty limited in my exercise.  We didn't make it to TKD all week, but I did get out for a 40 minute run on Saturday. I also enjoyed a few too many treats Friday night, but that is the joy of the 5:2 Fast diet approach.

My goal this week is to get back to TKD and to try and run more.  I may only fast one day this week as I've taken a vacation day on Tuesday to enjoy an extra long Canada Day weekend.  We have lots of yummy, healthy meals planned for the week, so I'm okay with skipping one Fasting day and just watching what I eat the rest of the time.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dyed Trying

It's been 2 weeks since I ran my first ever 5k run and I've only managed to get out and run once since then.  Turns out that I need a wee bit more motivation then just knowing that it's good for me.  Someone suggested that I find another 5k race and sign up for it.  Then I have a committed date and I've paid money, so I will feel that I have to keep at it.  Good advice!

So on September 28th I will be running my next 5k, a fun looking race called Run or Dye.  I've even formed a team, Dyed Trying, and have convinced some co-workers to run it with me.  The fun part of this run is that at every km mark volunteers throw coloured cornstarch at you so that by the finish line you are a tie-dyed human canvas.

Now I just need to get out running again so that I will be ready to go in September.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fasting Weigh In - Week 1

Starting Weight - 208.9
Current Weight - 204.8
Weight Lost This Week - 4.1

Even though I did 3 fasting days a few weeks ago, I am considering this my first official week.  And what a great way to start off again!  While I doubt that I will continue to lose at a rate of 4 pounds a week, I was very pleased when I got on the scale this morning.

I fasted on Tuesday and Thursday.  I found both days to be fairly easy, with Thursday being the better of the two.  On both days I had an egg white omelette before leaving for work and simply drank water and green tea throughout the day.  My evening meals were yummy salads, including a great quinoa recipe that Hilary found for us on Thursday.  I even went to Liam's end of school picnic on a fasting day and served hot dogs and ice cream for 2 hours before having a chance to eat my salad and I still wasn't starving by that point.

I really do see the sustainability of this plan.  While I have watched what I eat on non-fasting days I have enjoyed ice cream, fried chicken, take away Chinese food, and a gourmet hamburger.  I don't feel deprived in any way and it's very easy to tell myself to soldier on when a hunger pang does hit mid morning of a fasting day.  Knowing that it's only for a few more hours makes it easy to handle and move on.

One thing that did come up that may or may not be related to fasting, is that I tested as anaemic when I went to donate blood yesterday.  Their cut off for your iron level is 125somethings and mine was only 113.  While I've been eating more meat and some dark leafy greens, I suspect that I'm not getting enough vitamin C for my body to be able to absorb the iron. I'm going to try to rectify that going forward.

We are already planning this week's fasting dinners, and I'm looking forward to another successful week.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Back at it

For the last two weeks I have not focused on weight loss.  I didn't track my calories, I didn't worry about eating ice cream, I didn't wear my pedometer and count my steps.  I also didn't go completely overboard, making healthy choices when I could. We've also had a car for the last 10 days which has meant no walking and a lot more fast food.  My focus was on getting ready to run my first 5K.

So the results on the scale this morning were not at all surprising.  In 2 weeks I gained 7 pounds. This week we are back to low carb meals and 2 days of Fasting.  I anticipate that the weight will come off fairly quickly and I can get back to working towards my goal weight. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Personal Best

Since this is my first race, any time would qualify as my Personal Best.  But I am happy with my time of 42:16 for the 5k Ocean Breeze Trail Run.    More importantly, I finished!

After a week of rain, we woke up to a beautiful, sunshiny day, with the temperature hitting 20°C.  It was nice and cool along the water, but a section of the trail was cut off from any breeze and was down right HOT. I ran with my running partner from the Learn To Run program.  After running together for the last 10 weeks it was great to finish the race together.

Before the race, squinting into the sun.

Pre-race warm up.

Sheila and I coming into the finish line.

Almost there.

I'm so glad that I stuck with the 10 weeks of training and ran the race this morning.  I hope to keep running, even without the push of a planned event to work towards.

Friday, June 14, 2013

My first race kit

12 hours to go!

How to run your best 5k ever

This is pretty timely since my first 5k is tomorrow!

Get health and fitness tips at

Saturday, June 1, 2013

IF diary and running update

I've made it through  3 days of Fasting.  It was no where near as hard as I thought it would be.  Thursday was my first time Fasting at home.  I thought being surrounded by food in the cupboards and fruit in the fruit bowl would make it harder to resist.  But I drank lots of water and green tea and didn't once feel like I wanted to cheat.

Hilary fasted with me on Thursday out of solidarity.  She found it a lot harder.  She is not a huge water drinker and doesn't like green tea, and I think that was what made it harder for her.  Filling up with calorie free liquids can take the edge off.

So it seems that this approach really does work.  I started out last Wednesday, before my first fast day at 206.5 and I weighed in Friday morning, after my 3rd fasting day at 201.9.  That's a loss of 4.6 pounds in just over a week!  I'm sure I will go up again with several non-fasting days in a row, but as long as I don't go up more then I lose, I think this will work for me.

The down side is that 2 of my 4 running days each week fall on the same days as fasting.   I would need 9 days each week to be able to keep TKD, running and fasting all on separate days.  I tried running last Tuesday after fasting all day.  I was scheduled for 4 sets of 8 minutes.  The first 2 sets were great, but I could only make it through 6 minutes more of running before I simply ran out of steam.  I didn't even bother to try on Thursday.

I've decided to not Fast again until after I run the Ocean Breeze 5k run on June 15th.  That gives me 2 more weeks to train and prepare for it.  Since weight loss isn't my ultimate goal, but being healthy and in shape is, this seems like the best plan.

I ran my first set of 9 minutes last night with our Learn to Run group.  It hit 30° C yesterday and the heat nearly did me in.  I've always been a delicate flower in the heat, so running in it is not my idea of fun.  I did have to stop a couple for times and walk for 30 seconds before I was able to keep going.  I run with the same person every Friday and we think that we will likely run the 5K with 8 minute sets as neither of us are really ready for 9 or 10 minutes.  We'll see how we do over the next 2 weeks.

13 days to go!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Running Update - Week 8

Week 8 of my 10 week running program started on Friday.  I really can't believe I've made it this far!  From struggling to run 1 minute at time, I can now run 8 minutes!!  I'm not fast and I'm sure it's not pretty, but gosh darn it, I'm running!

The group of people that I'm doing the learn to run program with are fabulous.  The 2 instructors are so encouraging.  And I've found a great running buddy for our Friday night runs who moves at my speed.  I'm hoping to be able to run the 5k with her since we run really well together.

In the 3 remaining weeks before the race on June 5th, I will move up from sets of 8 minutes to 9s and ultimately 10s.  I'm always so intimidated by the move to a longer set but so far I always seem to manage it.

Last Sunday I had the worst running day yet.  I was supposed to be doing 4 sets of 7 minutes, but I couldn't get past 5 minutes without having to walk.  Everything hurt, I felt like throwing up and I was ready to quit the whole idea of running a race.  I cut my run short and went home.  I told myself that if the next day was just as bad that I would seriously thinking about giving up.  As the fates would have it, I had my best run ever on Monday. My head is back in the game and I'm ready to keep going.

20 days to go!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

IF Diary - Day One of Fasting

(can I just say that I've been around adoption type blogs too long, every time I see the acronym IF I automatically think invitro-fertilization)


Today was the first day of Fasting.  I had my omelette toast and green tea before leaving for work.  Throughout the day all I had was 2L of water (with calorie free flavoring) and 4 cups of green tea. I felt hungry around 10:30, the time I normally have a morning snack, and then again around 14:30.  Each time I was able to distract myself and wasn't very bothered by it.

At no point during the day did I feel faint, dizzy or head-achy, all side effects that I thought I would have to deal with.  I did however feel EXTREMELY tired.  I'm not sure if I'm just tired or if it is an effect of the low calorie intake.  I yawned my way through the afternoon but have perked up since getting home.

My salad for diner was huge and very filling:

And even now, 2 hours later, I still don't feel hungry.  Weird......

I weighed in this morning at 206.5 lbs and my waist measured at 42 inches.  I don't have a timeline in mind for how long I want to do this.  Once I see how sustainable the 2 days of fasting is, I'll have a better idea of my long term plan.

Sorry if this is a repeat of FB posts... just trying to get my thoughts down on this process.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Intermittent Fasting

I saw my doctor yesterday and we discussed the fact that my weight loss has plateaued for the past 9 months.  I've lost and gained the same 6 pounds over and over again, despite my increase in activity with running and TKD.

Now, this is a doctor that I've been seeing for 15 years, who has always preached good eating, less calories and more exercise as the only way to weight loss.  She doesn't believe in fads, quick fixes or drugs.  So I was very surprised when she recommend  Intermittent Fasting and that I should read the book The Fast Diet.

After researching it a bit online, I went out and bought the book.  I haven't finished reading it yet,but so far it seems to be based on a whole lot of science and study, unlike most diet plans (which is why my doctor is endorsing it).  The overall concept of IF is that you fast 2 days a week, limiting yourself to just 500 calories on those days.  Since I currently eat around 1500 calories a day, this seems pretty extreme.  However, based on my doctor's recommendation and what I have read on my own, I'm going to give it a go.

Tomorrow will be my first Fasting day.  I'm planning to have an egg white omelette and a piece of toast before I leave for work, giving me 200 calories.  I will then just drink green tea and water throughout the day and will have a salad with shrimp and avocado for dinner, for my other 300 calories.

I've forewarned my co-workers that I may be grumpier than usual, and to PLEASE not offer me food.  The group of people I work with are very bad for always having candies, cookies and chocolates at their desks. Hilary, my rock, is on board with not just supporting me, but trying the Fasting day too.

While I don't expect miraculous results, I would be very happy if some of this weight would start to come off.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Running - 2 Weeks down

I've completed 2 full weeks of my running program.   With this program we run 5 out of 7 days each week, and each day the number of minutes spent running increases.  The first day I only had to run 1 minute before being able to walk.  By the 10th set, I wasn't sure I could run for a full minute.  Today I'll be lacing up and heading out to run 4 sets of 5 minutes.  I'm a little nervous, as I've only gone as long as 4 minutes at a time one other day, so this is a big jump.

Running a full 5k still seems very far away.  Right now I'm averaging about 3.8 km with the 30 minutes I'm doing each day.  I know that as I add more running minutes and have less walking ones, that the distance will increase.  It's still another 7 weeks until the actual race, so I feel good that I have lots of training time left.

The one thing I find I'm struggling with the most is what to wear.  It's April in Nova Scotia, so it rains a lot, it's foggy and drizzly, there's a lot of wind and it's still pretty cold out.  But within 10 minutes of running, I'm so hot that I'm ready to strip down to my bra.   I hate having to take off my hat, gloves and coat while I'm running and try to stuff them in pockets, or tie the coat around my waist, so I've given up on all of that and have accepted that I'll just be cold to start and freezing when I do my cool down walk.

Overall I do enjoy running.  I know, it surprises me too.  There is something to be said about the sense of accomplishment when you finish.   Of course that might change today after my 4th set of 5 minutes!!

Monday, April 15, 2013


 I never would have considered running to be a sport that required a lot of gear or gadgets.  And really, it doesn't "require" anything beyond a good pair of shoes and a great sports bra (DO NOT skimp on a good sports bra ladies, it is not worth it)

But I have found that I now have 3 different gadgets that have become part of my running kit.

This one isn't specific to running, in fact I wear it everyday.  It's a step counter that automatically syncs up to their website to track your daily number of steps.  I was amazed at how many steps 30 minutes of running/walking can add.

I recently won this watch from a Toys are Tools giveaway.  I was very excited because I knew that I was going to start learning to run and this has a great counter feature.  You can not only watch the timer run down, but the whole watch vibrates letting you know when the minute is up.  This worked great for the first week of training when my intervals were all 1 or 2 minutes.  Now that I'm getting into sets of 4-5 minutes, it's a lot harder to keep track of the number of times it's gone off during each set.  That led me to my next gadget.

Ipod Touch with an UltraTimer App

I searched out a few apps before settling on this one.  It has the ability for me to set up any combination of run/walk times as well as lets me pick the number of sets to do for each run.  It has great sound effects like a groaning crowd when it's time to run, cheering when you are supposed to walk and applause when you are finished all sets.  It runs in the back ground while you listen to your music, even turning down the music so that you can hear it's updates.  The counter numbers are also nice and big and you can set different background colours, so that at a glance you know if you should be running or walking.

I love technology and any new toy to play with while I take up this new activity helps to keep me interested.  What gadgets do you run with?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weigh In - April 14

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 209.4

It's been a month since I last checked in here with a weigh in.  I've really been struggling this last month and I'm up 4 pounds since then.

I'm doing well on the exercise front, keeping up with TKD 3 days a week and I can now call myself a runner.  I just can't seem to keep my appetite in check, and worse, I can't make good food choices when I am hungry.  I know that if I were to knuckle down and get my calorie and carb intakes back under control, that the weight will start coming off again.

I'm tired of making excuses and simply need to gain control of my will power.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I am a runner

It’s been almost a week since I officially entered the land of being a runner. I joined a “Learn to Run” program offered through Liam’s school. The intent is to get all of us non-runners up and running (pun fully intended) by June 15th so that we can run our first 5k trail run- The Ocean Breeze – which is a school fund raiser. 

The program is based on interval training – running, interspersed with 1 minute bouts of walking. The first day we ran 1 minute and walked 1 minute for 20 minutes. Surprisingly, no one died. No one even cried or threw up. We all made it back to the school for a stretching session and lots of high fives. It even rained, so I can even call myself someone who runs in the rain.

Since then I have followed the daily program, working my way up to running for 6 two-minute intervals. Tomorrow will be our second group session and the trainers seem to think that we will be ready to run 4 sets of four-minute runs….I’m skeptical , but willing to give it a go.

I never thought I would be a runner. It always seemed like a silly sport, a bit of a waste of time. But I kinda get it now. There really is something to the endorphin high you get when you stop. I like being alone with my thoughts (even if my thoughts quickly become a mantra of “just a few more steps, you can do it”). I’ve also been struggling with weight loss for the last month, gaining instead of losing. That has finally turned around this week, I think in no small part thanks to the great workout I’m getting by running 5 days a week.

So if you are in the North end of Halifax and see a bald headed woman plodding along, give me a shout out.  Any and all encouragement accepted.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bodyweight Beginner Calisthenics Workout

Tribesports has come out with another great workout guide that can be done at the park (if it ever stops snowing!)   This routine consists of 5 repetitions of 5 different exercises:
  1. Australian Pull-ups 
  2. Split Squats (right leg) 
  3. Split Squats (left leg) 
  4. Lying Knee Tucks 
  5. Push-ups
Not sure what an Australian Pull-up is?  Neither was I till I watched the video guide.  

I don't have a lot of upper arm strength yet, but I think the pull-ups will be a great way to work on that.  My form for push ups leaves a lot to be desired as well, but it's getting better!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Clothing Dilemma

 Over the past 3 years I have lost just over 50 pounds.   That’s the equivalent of no longer having a small child sharing my clothes with me.  The problem right now is that most of my clothes are more than 3 years old, so are sized for a much larger me.  And since I like clothes to be loose and baggy, some of those clothes were too big for me when I did weigh 50 pounds more.

Some things, like sweaters and shirts I can make do with.  But the track pants that require me to hold them up when I walk, really should go.  The problem that I have is that I’m cheap frugal and don’t want to spend any money on new clothes when I’m planning to lose another 50 pounds.  And for the most part, my existing clothes are in perfectly good shape and I would not consider replacing them if they still fit me.

Recently several people have commented on the fact that my clothes are just too big for me.  Hilary finally hauled me into a store to buy new track pants (my clothing option of choice to lounge in at home).  We were in a name brand, regular size store (as opposed to the full figured stores I normally shop in).  My first inkling was to try on an XL size pair of pants.  Hilary was having nothing to do with that and made me take in not only a L but a M pair too.  The heavens almost sang to me when I left the store with a MEDIUM pair of pants in my possession.   

Hilary also bought herself some new pants this week, and despite having tried them on in the store, found that 2 of the pairs she brought home felt too big on her once she wore them for a bit.  So I tried them on and they fit me perfectly.  These pants are only a size 16.  I don’t think I have worn a size 16 since I was 12 years old! 

While I have resisted buying new clothes, having new clothes in smaller sizes is such a wonderful boost.  It makes the weight loss much more real and tangible than just a number on the scale.  And a little retail therapy can really brighten up your day.  Now I just have to admit that I need some new tops and I’ll be stylin’ from head to toe.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weigh In - March 17

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 205

Weight lost gained this week -  1.5 lbs

No big surprise that I gained on March break!  My MIL is here looking after Liam for the week, so there has been a bit more wine and a bit more dining out than I would normally have.  I've had a lovely week and enjoyed every bite.

I have started using my kettlebell every day and I do think that has helped to keep the gain this week to a minimum.

Another week begins and the journey continues.................

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The truth about sitting down

I sit for the majority of my day.  40 minutes on the bus, 8 hours at work, and more time in the evenings either at the computer or in front of the TV.  I try to make an effort to get up and walk whenever I can.  While I wait for the bus I do laps of the station.  I try to get up at least once an hour at work and do a full lap of our fairly large office.  The evenings are harder, since I'm usually pretty tired and just want to crap out in a chair. I try to overcome the fatigue and do some exercise.   Read on to find out more about the perils of sitting.
Sitting is Killing You

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to work out at home

Being new to working out, I really had no idea what to do.  I had no desire (or money) to join a gym or hire a personal trainer.  I also didn't have an unlimited budget (or space) to fill my home with equipment.   So far my expenses have been pretty low; I've bought a yoga mat and a pair of 8 lb dumbbells.  I also bought a skipping rope, but quickly realized I have no where to skip.  The empty bedroom upstairs would be perfect, but the ceiling is too low.  So the skipping rope is a bit of a write off till I can get outside.

Not knowing what to do, I was very lucky to come across Tribesports.   Every week I put together a daily workout plan based on the challenges that I've signed up for.

Tribesports has all sort of challenges that are based on repetitions of exercises to be done every day for a week.  Everything from lunges and crunches to something called "dead bugs".  Publicly declaring that I've committed to doing the challenge and then logging in every day to update my progress give me the push and incentive I need to get the challenge done.  Even better is having people encourage me.   I've done more new and different exercises since joining Tribesports than I ever thought possible.  Jumping Jacks, squats,  bicep curls and planks.  They offer instructions, pictures and even video links for how-to's.

It's like having my own personal trainer available 24/7.

Tribesports encouraged this

Monday, March 11, 2013

Step one

  1. Buy new running shoes...................check!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weigh in March 10

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 203.5

Weight lost this week -  4.8 lbs

Now that is what I'm talking about!  I haven't been this low since last September, when I fell off the "Get Fit Wagon" and lost my focus.  I'm back on it now!

This week was another week of focusing on low-carb options.  I really am enjoying it and not finding that I'm hungry or missing any one thing.  I have been drinking a lot of green tea as a calorie free hot beverage option.  I'm also trying to keep up my water intake.  Both of those are good things to turn to if I am hungry during the day.

I made an effort this week to exercise on my non-Tae Kwon Do days.  And I really pushed myself at TKD. On Wednesday I was able to run for the full warm up, about 10 minutes, without having to stop and walk.   I haven't started running outside of TKD in preparation for the Ocean Breeze Trail Run, but weather permitting, I'm hoping to this week.  I will be taking a Learn to Run course at Liam's school that starts on April 5th, so that I can run the 5K without killing myself.

This was also the week that I did not weigh myself every day.  The first couple of days were hard and I really, really wanted to, but I didn't.  By day 3 I realized that it was nice not to be stressing about the little ups and downs that naturally occur over the course of several days.  And of course it was a great surprise to step on this morning and see a 4.8 lb loss!

Liam is off school for March break this week and my MIL is here to visit.  I'll be very concious of the change in our routine and will be making efforts not to let that derail me.  I'm sure there will be nights when we eat out, and there is more wine in my house now than there usually is.  I'm going to enjoy myself, but within moderation, planning the rest of my day to be even better food options so that I can indulge a bit at dinner.  I'll also try to increase my exercise to help compensate too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Kettlebells are cast iron weights that have been used since the 1700's.  They were originally developed to help train the Soviet Army but soon become popular with the general population and even started being used in competitive events in the 1940's.  They can vary in weight from as little as 5 lbs all the way up to an impressive 75 lbs.  They are a great addition to a home gym - they don't take up much space but offer a full body workout, including strength and endurance.

I was first introduced to kettlebell workouts when my SIL bought me the book The Swing! The author, Tracy Reifkind lost 100 lbs simply by swinging a kettlebell. The book is a great read and her story is very inspiring. She also includes a great section on selecting the right kettlebell for you and proper technique for building a workout routine around kettlebell swinging. My SIL uses her kettlebell as part of her workout routine and loves it.  It doesn't take a lot of time and you can pick it up and start swinging while you are waiting for the laundry to finish or the water to boil for a cup of tea.

Lots of gyms are now offering kettlebell classes, but really, it's something you can just as easily do on your own at home. Tribesports has a great kettlebell challenge that just came out this week. With just one kettlebell you can do 4 different exercises.  They recommend that women start with an 8 lb weight and once you are comfortable with that and have developed good form, you can move up to a 15 pound kettlebell.  Just click on the image below to see all the details on the Tribesports challenge, including detailed guides on each of the 4 exercises.

Let's get swinging!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Mental Obstacles

I have great plans!  I know that I can do things... run a 5K, pass my next TKD test, lose the next 10 pounds.   And yet, I struggle with mental obstacles.

I come up with all sorts of reasons for why I can't do something:

  • I don't have shoes
  • I don't have pants to run in
  • It's too cold out
  • It's too icy
  • I need to lose more weight before I start to run
  • I have the wrong music on my Ipod

Then I have what I consider the self sabotaging thoughts.
  • I'll skip working out today and do it twice tomorrow
  • I've already gone over on my calories so I may as well eat this cookie
  • I don't have time to exercise
  • I have more important things to do right now

None of the things I have listed can't be overcome.  
  • I do have a pair of shoes.  They might be old but they will do to get me started.  
  • I have yoga pants, I just need to tuck the wide legs into socks so I don't trip on them. 
  • I can wear a sweater and a hat and gloves. Once I get moving I doubt I'll be cold.  
  • The ice is now mostly gone and the side walks are clear.  
  • If I start running I will probably lose more weight.  
  • And really, that last one?  LAME.

Sabotaging thoughts are a lot harder to overcome.  I need to focus each and every moment on what my ultimate goal is: getting healthy.   Every time I'm faced with an option that is not going to help me along that path I need to stop and make the better choice.  I will stop self sabotaging my progress.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rooibos tea

Hilary and I started drinking Rooibos tea several years ago.  We enjoy a version that is flavoured with vanilla almost every night before bed.  Within 20 minutes of finishing a hot cup, I can barely keep my eyes open.  It's the best sleep aide I've ever tried.  Even our son Liam will often ask for a cup of "sleepy" tea at night.  Since a good night's sleep is so important to health and fitness, I ensure that I enjoy a nice hot cup every night to help send me off to dreamland.

Rooibos tea originates from South Africa.  It's naturally sweet and contains no caffeine.  It's also been found to have many health benefits ranging from:

  • calming stomach cramps, even colicky babies
  • alleviating allergy symptoms
  • preventing the development of fatty liver disease
  • potential in treating diabetes
  • and even preventing cancer
What is the best way to prepare a cup Rooibos tea?
To make a really good cup of rooibos, use freshly boiled water. This ensures you get the best infusion or extraction from the dried leaves. You need to allow time for the leaves to infuse and open, releasing their fragrance and flavour. If using loose-leaf tea, the rule of thumb is one to two teaspoons per cup for two to four minutes, depending on the strength you like. If you prefer tea bags, work on one per cup. A longer extraction time will result in stronger tea. Once it is poured, enjoy immediately.

The South African Rooibos Council suggests that you drink upwards of 6 cups of Rooibos tea a day to get the maximum health benefits. Since we mainly use it as a sleep aid, I was skeptical about drinking it throughout the day.  I didn't need to be falling asleep at my desk every tea time!  However, while the tea's calming effect can be felt no matter what time you drink it, it does not cause drowsiness during the day.  There is currently no research to explain why this is so, and the sleep aid nature of Rooibos is mostly anecdotal.  But as someone who drinks it every day, I truly believe in it's seemingly magical abilities.

All photos and facts courtesy of The South African Rooibos Council

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weigh In March 3

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 208.3

Weight lost GAINED this week -  2.9 lbs

Another week with another gain.  And a big gain at that.   It's hard not to get discouraged when the scale isn't going the way I want it to.  I recognize all the things this week that have contributed to this gain, and I'm vowing to have a better week this week.  Having to miss Tae Kwon Do both Monday and Wednesday is a very big factor I'm sure.  Luckily there is nothing going on this week that will cause me to miss any classes.

I'm also going to change my habit of weighing myself daily.  Hopefully if I simply focus on good choices and a healthy life style, the scale will move in my favour at the end of the week.  So I'm staying off the scale until next Sunday.

We are going to continue with the low-carb approach, eating lots of fresh foods and I will commit to working out every day, even the days I go to TKD.  I find it hardest on those days to fit in the home routine I've put together for the week, but I will find a way.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I'm going for it!

This year Liam's school is trying something different as a fund raiser.  They are hosting a trail run.  It will include a 5K run, a 10K run, a 5K walk and a 2K run for the kids.

I have never run a race before.  Really, I've never run before.  Sure we run for about 10 minutes as our warm up at TaeKwon-Do, but that is as far and long as I've ever done.  It works out to be about 0.5K, a far cry from 5K.  And it's only been in recent weeks that I can occasionally run that length without having to stop and walk for a bit.

Even so, I'm entering the 5K run on June 15th.  The school is also offering a "Learn to Run" program that starts in April.  Along with that I'm going to start the Couch to 5K program as soon as the snow and ice are gone.

Until I can get out and start running, I'm working on strength building with indoor exercises.  I continue to take challenges from Tribesports that are body weight based, so that I can do them any time and any where. Of course losing some more weight will also help with running.  The less mass I have to move, the better!

Please consider joining me on June 15th and entering one of the runs.  Check out the Ocean Breeze Trail Run website for details and to register.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

10 diet traps

This info-graphic from shows 10 of the top diet traps that people fall into and gives ways to avoid them.  I have fallen into all 10 traps at one point or another.  The first 2 have been key to most of my weight loss so far:  portion control and calorie counting.

aavoid them 10 Diet Traps and How to Avoid Them

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weigh in February 24

Starting Weight - 217 on January 1st, 2013
Current Weight - 205.4

Weight lost GAINED this week -  0.6 lbs

No surprise that I gained this week.  While I mostly tried to follow the low-carb approach, I had several moments of giving in and eating everything in sight: a cup of almonds, a whole big chocolate bar, 2 donuts and chocolate muffin.  Ugh.

Today is the start of a new week, so I start again.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Will power

....I have none.

Today was a horrible day for food choices.  Faced with temptation 3 different times, I caved EACH time.  And each time I felt like crap because I was eating crap that I haven't had in a while.  You would think after the first or maybe even the second time that I would have learned.  Nope... hours later I did it again.

I can make fabulous choices when planning, I can say No Thank you to people offering me snacks and treats at the office.  But if I have access to junk food, I simply cave.  

This is going to be my goal for the next while.  To take control of my will power.  To not cave to simple desires that I know are not good for me.