Monday, February 24, 2014


Some times you have to be adaptable.  No matter how well thought out your plans are, life sometimes gets in the way.  Like today.

  • Got an email from school about Liam having another headache
  • Got home to find Hilary sick 
  • Realized I had 20 minutes to get to school to sign up for parent teacher meetings
  • Noticed that we are almost out of milk
  • 3 math questions took over an hour and all of my patience
  • Have my own headache from being in an all day, boring but mentally taxing training session for work
So while I got in lots of walking going to the school and then for milk, I did not go to Tae Kwon Do tonight and I did not substitute with a work out at home. 

I did stick to my eating plan, with no extra snacking.

I'm calling the day a wash, having a cup of tea and heading to bed.  I'm all out of adaptability.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weigh in - Feb 22

Last Week's Weight - 221.3
Current Weight - 216.0

Weight Lost This Week - 5.3

Well that is a loss I can get used to!  I don't think I've ever lost 5 pounds in one week before.

This was a great week overall.  I exercised every day for at least 30 minutes, using the BeachBody videos that came with my 21 day Fix package.  I've never really been a fan of workout videos, but I have enjoyed these ones.  It helps that they are only 30 minutes long, give you frequent 15-30 second breaks and offer modified versions of each exercise if you can't keep up.

I also had the Shakeology shake every morning for breakfast.  It truly filled me up, helping me keep my overall calories each day between 1300-1700, lower then I've been able to get on my own.  Even with the low calories I wasn't hungry.  And even better, I didn't have any cravings all week.  Often when I get Liam a snack of cheese or pretzels, I'll help myself to a few bites.  But not this week, it just didn't seem interesting to me and I was already satisfied with what I had eaten.  I even made it through Saturday and Sunday at home without any snacking.

I've committed to sticking with the shakes and workouts for 21 days, so 2 more weeks to go.  I had set a slightly random goal of wanting to lose 15 pounds during the 21 days, something that I thought would be great to strive for, but didn't really believe I would be able to do it.  After all, the most I've ever lost in a week before was 2 pounds.  But after this mornings weigh in, I believe it might just be possible.

Friday, February 21, 2014

No Thank You

The smell of a vanilla cappuccino wafts down the row to mingle with the scent of toast and peanut butter. A plate of homemade cookies sits on the desk to my left. 3 rows over is the bowl of expensive dark chocolates, placed out for people to help themselves to. At lunch time a delivery person walks by with 15 piping-hot pizzas, leaving a trail of aroma in his wake. Someone does a mid-afternoon run to the store, coming back with mini chocolate Easter eggs and a box of Halloween sized chip bags to share. At least once a week someone forgets their lunch so they run and grab take out, bringing it back to eat at their desk.

These are the office food pitfalls that I navigate every day. I arrive with my healthy, pre-packed, pre-measured lunch, making sure that I don’t have any change on me so that I can’t augment my meal with an extra snack from the vending machine. My co-workers know that I am trying to eat right and lose weight, and in fact, more than half of them are doing the same thing. Mostly they don’t offer me whatever item is currently being passed around, but every now and then I have to deal with what I refer to as “the pushers”. You know the type…. “Aww come on, just one won’t hurt you, have a cookie/chocolate/timbit/snack.” And they seem genuinely insulted when I decline, as if our level of friendship is directly related to me accepting or refusing their fares.

Too many times of late I have fallen into the trap of accepting just one, having a wee taste or sampling something new. I know that individually none of these will derail my progress, but I don’t always have the willpower to stop at just one. So for my own success I have had to take the stance of saying “No Thank You” to all of it. One day I may be at a place that I won’t have to refuse, but I’m not there today.

Do you have “pushers” in your life? How do you handle them?

Monday, February 17, 2014

21 days

After gaining weight for the last 3 weeks, it’s time to knuckle down and get serious again. Luckily that coincides with a 21 day challenge I’ve signed up for. I was recently introduce to “Shakeology”. Not one to believe in fad diets, supplements or other snake oil ideas, I was pretty skeptical. An online friend who is a Team Beach Body coach, hooked me up with a couple of free samples to try. It was surprisingly tasty and my research has me believing that it really is made of all natural, good for you things. Since I like shakes, I figured I would give it a try.

The 21 day challenge also came with food containers to help with portion control and some work out videos. Since I’m old pro at calorie counting and portion control, I don’t think I’ll be using the containers as intended, but they do make good containers to take my lunch to work in. I was initially resistant to the work out videos as well, but I tried on last Thursday to see what it was like. I only made it through 20 of the 30 minute workout before I thought I was going to throw up, and it took 3 days before my thighs recovered enough that I could get in and out of a chair on my own. The part that I like the most about the video was that even though it was led by a skinny, chipper, I-workout-10-times-a-day woman, they had a regular sized woman also featured doing modified versions of the exercises for those of us who can’t keep up with the skinny, chipper leader. I found I was following a little bit of both of them – more so the modified versions as time wore on and I got more and more tired.

My goal for these 21 days is to drink one of their shakes every morning (I bought the chocolate version, and wow, is it great tasting!), keep my calories under 1900 a day and to work out at least 30 minutes a day – either at TKD or one of their videos. 3 weeks is a small enough time frame to not be overwhelming. We have no plans or celebrations in the next 3 weeks, and won’t be renting cars either, so that will keep me out of the fast food drive thrus.

Yesterday I weighed in, got Hilary to help me take my measurements and some "before" pictures (which  won't be sharing!)   I'm really hoping that this is the kickstart that I need to get myself back on track!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weigh In - February 16

Last Week's Weight - 220.9
Current Weight - 221.3

Weight Gained This Week - 0.4

Apparently last week's lesson didn't stick, so I repeated the same pattern with the same results.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-Albert Einstein 
So, it begins... again.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Nourish Your Soul

It's not just your body that you need to take care of on this journey to health.  It's too easy to get caught up in eating the right food at the right time, exercising and tracking everything.  Before you know it, you have forgotten to live life and enjoy it.

It's also easy to lose sight of your relationships with the ones you love if you focus solely on yourself.  The ones I love are two of the main reasons that I want to get healthy so that I can enjoy life with them.  So today I have taken the day off work to celebrate Valentine's Day with both Hilary and Liam.

I'll be spending the morning at Liam's school receiving food from other parents, preparing trays for each class then serving buffet to Liam and his classmates for their Valentine's Day shared lunch.

Hilary and I will have some quality couple time with couple's massages at BodyMends!  Afterwards we'll pick up some sushi (and chicken fingers for the kid) and have a nice family evening together.

I never want to lose sight of why I am doing this.  Yes, I'm doing it for me, but for me to be happy, fulfilled and complete, I need my loved ones with me.  Otherwise it would be a very healthy, but lonely life.

So today I will focus less on calories, portions and how many steps I've taken.

Today I focus on nourishing my soul.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

6 week accountability

6 weeks ago I joined an online accountability group.  The premise was simple.  A group of people virtually meeting up every day to help keep each other accountable to the goals we set for ourselves.

I set a goal of not skipping Tae Kwon Do for the 6 weeks.  That would equate to 16 classes.  I made it to 11.  A couple were cancelled because of the weather, 1 I was legitimately sick and the others..... I just didn't have it in me to go those nights.

And that was okay.

Not making my goal to 100% helped me realize that no one is perfect and that there are times when you just have to let something go.  That doesn't mean you've failed.  You haven't ruined everything for ever.  Let it go and move on.

I made it to more classes in these last 6 weeks then I did for the previous 3 months combined.  I felt accountable - to myself for setting the goal and to the group who was there to encourage me and cheer me on.

I will continue to grow my accountability to myself as I strive towards my overall goal of better health.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


One of the areas that I finding that I struggle with the most on this journey is snacking in the evening. I can do great all day long. Mainly because my lunch is pre-packed and I don’t take any money with me to the office. So there is simply no opportunity to snack or deviate from my plan for the day. (saying no to office treats is a whole other post)

Once I get home however, all bets are off. It feels like a constant battle is being waged in my mind.

“Ooh, look chips!”
  “Wait, you don’t need chips

“I’m bored…. I wonder what’s in the cupboard?”   
    “You’re bored, not hungry, go get a glass of water.

Sometimes I’m successful at talking myself out of the snack. Sometimes the “good” dialogue can’t be heard over the crunching, because I’ve already stuffed something in my mouth before I even realize what I’m doing. Most people will say, “just don’t keep snacks and junk food in the house.” And that is a great suggestion, and we don’t have a lot of snacks around. But I don’t live alone and I need to overcome my issues without imposing my needs on everyone else. For me though it doesn’t even have to be “bad” or junk food. I’m just as happy to snack on healthy, good for me food. It’s just that even good for you food still adds unnecessary calories. And since I’m working on losing weight, not gaining more, I need to keep my calorie intake under control.

So I continue to try to stay busy in the evening and enjoy my dinner at a not too early, not too late time that helps to ward off hunger. If I do catch myself with food in my mouth, I try to stop and not overdo it. And mostly, I try not to beat myself up too much when I do end up snacking, knowing that tomorrow is another day.

How do you avoid snacking?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Four Fs

This post contains TMI!

Four Fs
Fat, female, flatulent, forty. A mnemonic with clinical currency as factors classically associated with cholelithiasis and acute cholecystitis
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
This past summer, while we were on vacation no less, I started having a most embarrassing problem with excessive flatulence.   Not only was it excessive, my loved ones, who suffered in the van with me, described it as if something had died inside me and was trying to get out.  The smell was really that bad.

At the time I blamed it on being lactose intolerant and apparently unable to remember to take lactase enzyme pills before having ice cream.  And since we were on vacation, there was a lot of ice cream.

However, the problem has continued to plague me and those around me ever since.  It doesn't happen daily, but frequent enough to be problematic.  The only saving grace is that it seems to be limited to occurring in the evenings, so I don't often have to deal with it while I'm at work.

Just over 2 years ago I had been having pains under my rib cage on the right hand side.  The pain could be so bad as to double me over in tears at time.  Again, it wasn't happening regularly and I was never able to associate it to any specific food or trigger.  The suspect was gallstones so I was sent for an ultrasound.  By the time I had the ultrasound, the pains had all but vanished.  In the last year I think I've only had one or "attacks" and never as bad as they had been.

Now, with the onset of the "Four Fs" I am once again wondering about gallstones as the culprit.  Gallstones, lactose intolerance, Celiac disease or mystery infections from travelling the world seem to be the prime culprits (outside of eating beans, beans the musical fruit) for excessive, odorous flatulence.  Since I haven't been outside of Canada in 10 years and I can't link up cause and effect with eating a specific food, gallstones have become my current self-diagnosis.

Of course the next step is to talk to the doctor.  Hopefully we can get this under control before Liam and Hilary ask me move out!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weigh In Feb 9

Last Week's Weight - 220.2
Current Weight - 220.9

Weight Gained This Week - 0.7

Lessons learned this week:  While this is a life long journey I'm on, I can't take a week off and still be successful.  I'm not yet at a place where I can let loose and not focus on the journey every day.  No exercise this week and a binge day reflect that in a gain on the scales.

It also reflects more in how I felt about myself and my attitude.  While seeing the numbers on the scale go down is great, it's not the whole story.  I need to focus on feeling better, having more energy and simply being happy every day.  I know that I feel better when I get more exercise.  I know that I feel better when I don't binge on junk food.  Yet I continue to sabotage myself.  That is my goal for this week.  I will not fall into that trap.

I will have a great week.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


“Mama, are you still obsessed?” asked my 11 year old son from the couch. It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about. I had just finished my weekly weigh-in with the Wii Fit. Did he think I was obsessed with weighing myself? Obsessed with weight loss? But then it dawned on me. He was asking if I was still obese.

Obese. Such an unobtrusive word to be packed with such power.

While I love the Wii Fit for weighing myself, I really can’t stand the stupid cartoon of the balance board that shouts out “That’s Obese!” every time I weigh in. In fact, I no longer turn on the volume when I weigh myself.  I know that I’m obese. I don’t need it shouted at me every couple of days. And I don't need my 11 year old son to hear it either.

Liam and I talked about what it means to be obese, and why I weigh myself. I try not to talk about being on a diet, or eating “bad” foods. While he currently struggles with gaining weight and has a lot of food issues, I want him to have a healthy relationship with food and his weight. Girls are often seen as the ones who struggle with body image issues and eating disorders, but it can hit boys too.

Parenting is a hard gig, full of potholes and pitfalls.  Fighting against peer pressure and the media makes it even harder.  Add in my own struggles and it seems like a perfect storm.  I'm hoping that Liam and I can keep up an open and honest dialogue about food, body image, weight, exercise and health.  I also hope that if I lead by example, he will follow.

How do you handle body image and weight issues with your children?

Statistics for Eating Disorders in Males
source: National Eating Disorder Information Center

  • Four percent of boys in grades nine and ten reported anabolic steroid use in a 2002 study, showing that body preoccupation and attempts to alter one’s body are issues affecting both men and women.
    Boyce, W. F. (2004). Young people in Canada: their health and well-being. Ottawa, Ontario: Health Canada.

  • The fashion industry has long dictated that female models be tall and waif-like; however, male models are now facing increasing pressure to slim down and appear more androgynous, in order to book top fashion jobs.
    Trebay, G. (2008, February 7). The Vanishing Point. The New York Times. Retrieved from

  • In a survey of adolescents in grades 7-12, 30% of girls and 25% of boys reported teasing by peers about their weight. Such teasing has been found to persist in the home as well - 29% of girls and 16% of boys reported having been teased by a family member about their weight.
    Eisenberg, M. E. & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2003). Associations of Weight-Based Teasing and Emotional Well-Being Among Adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 157(6), 733-738.

  • Health Canada found that almost one in every two girls and almost one in every five boys of grade 10 either were on a diet or wanted to lose weight.
    Trends in the Health of Canadian Youth. A report based on the data collected through the 1989/90, 1993/94 and 1997/98 survey cycles for the World Health Organization Cross-National Collaborative Study: Health Behaviours in School-Age Children (HBSC). The trend comparisons report on data collected from among 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds in Canada. This report includes data from a selection of other countries as well as data from grade 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 students in Canada. The report can be found at the following website:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Running Pace

I am a fairly slow runner. While I’m working on my speed, I still consider myself to be slow. Last summer when I ran my first 5k race, I finished in 42:16, with a pace of 8:23 minutes per km. My goal is to run a 10k race in June of this year. At a pace of 8:23 that would mean it would take me an hour and 23 minutes to finish.

To make matters worse, since I’ve not been running as frequently as I was last summer, my pace is now averaging closer to 9:40. That would put the 10k at an approx time of an hour and 36 minutes*   I've also never ran longer then 45 minutes in one session.  Anything that starts with "an hour..." sounds pretty daunting.

When I look back at the results of last year’s Ocean Breeze 10k (the one I’m planning to do this year), the slowest person finished in an hour and 17 minutes at a pace of 7:46.


While I don't care about being last, I'm not sure how I would feel finishing 20 minutes after everyone else.  Would they have all packed up and left by that point?

I'm not going to let this get me down.  I'm going to use this to focus my energy on working harder to get back (at least) to my pace from last year.

I will do this.

* Times based on Runner’s World pace charts.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Not enough sleep

I've hit a slump again where I'm not sleeping well.  I fall asleep easily (after a cup of Roiboos tea and some melatonin) but I wake up between 1:00 and 3:00 and toss and turn until the last 10 glorious minutes before my alarm goes off at 5:40.  Why is that always the best sleep of the night?

I can't take OTC sleep aids (besides melatonin) because they have the opposite effect on me.  Within an hour of taking them, I'm revved up and can feel the blood coursing through my veins.  I've tried a variety of OTC meds that are not specific to sleeping, like Gravol or muscle relaxants, but they have very little effect on the quality or quantity of sleep that I get.

I suspect that some of the issue is the dreaded (and unavoidable) problem of simply getting older.   While I consider myself far too young to be even considering "the change" I have to admit to having a few episodes of night sweats recently.  Personally I'm blaming too many blankets, but it's a factor I can't completely overlook.  With no maternal health history, I don't know when women in my family start having menopause symptoms.  I'm hoping they were all much, much older than I am now.

I know that caffeine and alcohol are not factors.  I'm getting exercise 3 times a week, and trying to walk every day.  There is no physical reason for me to not sleep well.  A lot of it is in my head - I just can't seem to shut down once I wake up in the middle of the night.  Random thoughts just keep swirling around.   Like the commercial for Tylenol Nighttime that has the woman tossing and turning and wondering "What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?"  I'm not having deep thoughts... I'm not worrying about my taxes, my mortgage or car payments.... I don't have any family stress.... my job is going well....  I just can't stop my brain.

I know, from past experience, that this will pass, usually within a few weeks.  Until then though, I'm tired and I would really, really like to sleep through the night.

Do you have trouble sleeping?  Any tried and true solutions?

Monday, February 3, 2014


I don’t often crave a specific food. I will sometimes crave sweet, salty or crunchy, but those cravings can be satisfied by many different foods. The one food that I do crave however is bananas. Somehow my body just seems to know when I need bananas. Years ago when I had a major surgery, the only thing I wanted when I got home and was coming out of my drug enduced stupor was a banana.

Bananas are a great food that can be used in so many ways. On their own, cut up on cereal, as part of a smoothie or on a sundae. Hilary even makes a chicken curry dish that includes hot, cooked bananas! One of my favorite deserts is bananas Foster – bananas cooked in butter, brown sugar and rum. They are also easy to travel with, offering a quick and easy go-to snack, especially if you have one of these!


Bananas pack a lot of punch for a snack size serving. The calories are not excessively high – around 100 calories/per banana, but are enough to give you an energy boost and work well as a post-workout food.   They are also a great source of potassium. The Chiquita Banana website states “the potassium in bananas stimulates your muscles, nerves and brain cells, and as a bonus, can also help reduce blood pressure and risk of stroke".   They also contain 15% of your daily Vitamin C requirement, making it a well rounded fruit.

Do you ever crave a specific food? 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weigh In - February 2

Last Week's Weight - 220.2
Current Weight - 220.2

Weight Lost This Week - No Change

I'm celebrating a week of no change because it's a week of no gain!!  I knew this would be a tough week to lose:  No Wednesday TKD, we had desert (twice!  And we never have desert), lunch out with work friends, and we had a car this weekend, so it meant that we splurged and ate take out on Saturday.

I am also celebrating the fact that I've lost 5.3 pounds in January!  That is a pace that I can be happy with.  If I lose 5 pounds every month I'll be down 60 pounds in a year!!  That would be a great success.

So a new week begins.  Meals are planned.  Lunch is packed.  I'm ready to get February on it's way.