Category Archives: Weight Loss

The Last Word On Body Weight

Seeing as I used to be a healthy living/fitness/weight loss blogger, I thought it might be fitting to address the weight issue surrounding my treatment. While I lost a lot of weight during my month in the hospital, I have managed to gain it all back and then some since beginning chemotherapy.

I have said a lot of times that being sick, like real sick, will change a person. Well, it has also changed my perspective on weight gain and weight loss. This is why you don’t hear me talk about it as much anymore, nor will I blather about it too much in the future.

I first started blogging in January 2009 after losing close to 30 lbs. Not a substantial amount of weight to lose, I know. And to be honest, it wasn’t really that hard. Most of the extra weight was brought on by too much beer and nachos, followed by a period of perhaps excessive restriction that accounted for losing those final 10lbs.

After the weight loss, I threw out all of my larger clothes, vowing to never get to that larger size again. I had completely overhauled my life and habits, and saw no reason why I would ever gain the weight back.

Well, once I eased up on my more restrictive habits, I gained 10-15lbs of it back. I was bummed, but honestly the freedom to eat and drink more normally was way better than any size on a pair of jeans. So while I missed my old body, my new one was good enough.

What I could have never predicted was that I’d get an illness where weight would be the least of my worries.

Since beginning treatment, my exercise habits have dropped to almost nothing. Walks or mild sessions on my indoor recumbent bike are all that I can handle. No calorie-scorchers here. I’m home all day next to a stocked kitchen. I’m bored all day and cooking in the kitchen is my favourite entertainment!

Finally, there’s the drugs and all their side effects. None of which have affected my appetite to the point where I can’t eat, just to the point where “health food” sounds the least appetizing (or digestible). Namely, the steroids make me feel hungry all the time and come with the lovely side-effect of “puffiness.” Especially a puffed up face.

Those who know me in real life know that I complain about the weight gain and puffiness fair bit. Mostly because my clothes don’t fit. It’s hard to not feel like a sick person when flannels are all I can manage. Future Susan is at angry Past Susan for throwing out all those old clothes!

The real reason why I don’t blog about it however, is that this experience has taught me that gaining some weight back IS NOT A BIG DEAL.

Who fucking cares.

I’m alive. I’m beating cancer. I’m not morbidly obese. It gives me some wiggle room in case I’m hospitalized again and experience a dramatic weight loss. And let’s face it, I’m already almost bald anyways.

I mean, it’s not like I’m sitting here with a bucket of KFC chicken saying it’s okay to quickly gain mass amounts of weight. Because to me, health is always a top priority.

But at the same time, I don’t know why I used to be so paranoid about gaining some of it back. It’s not the end of the world. Cancer has taught me that it’s more worthwhile to learn to appreciate my body for what it currently looks like, than to spend that time disliking it and trying to change it. Weight gain, scars, and bald head included.

It helps that I have an end date. As of this week, I have five more weeks until my last chemo treatment and until I’m off the steroids. I’m hoping some of the weight will come off just by virtue of finishing the drugs and feeling healthy enough to start exercising again. I’m not sure if I’ll bother trying to lose the rest. I think I may ditch the “back to shape” programs and just live my life in a healthy way that will prevent the cancer from coming back. But most of all in a way I can enjoy it. I’ve already lost six months to cancer, I don’t want to spend any more months of my life being a slave to anything else. Vanity weight included.

This past weekend was a good example of living and enjoying my life with cancer. It included a two hour walk on my favourite local trail with the dog.

Whole wheat pancakes.

Indian take-out!

Clockwise: garlic naan, basmati rice, dal makhni (black lentils), chicken dilbahar (with spinach and mint), chicken tikka masala, and onion bhaji (like a sweet onion patty – my favourite on this plate!)

Nanaimo bar.

A Canadian specialty for those who don’t know. A graham/chocolate/coconut layer, custard butter icing, then melted chocolate.

Food trivia!

Watching Buster play to his heart’s content with a golden retriever puppy, then steal his bed.

And hanging out with my best friend, Meghan.

We’ve been best friends since grade 1 and lived together in university. She’s off getting more educated in science-y things, and explained to me why eating the above Nanaimo bar with my current food restrictions could kill me. Thanks Meghan! Now I know how the smokers at the hospital feel. Getting off the chocolate has been rough. Especially when there’s no weight loss to show for it, har har har.

Vanity Pounds

I have found myself in a bit of a pickle.

Remember when I proclaimed I would lose my Toronto Ten pounds? I was all gung-ho to get back down to the smaller version of myself before I left the Maritimes.

Well, I haven’t. Not a smidge. I’m definitely eating better and exercising more regularly. But because I haven’t really done anything drastic or been very strict, it hasn’t translated into any form of weight loss.

I have to say, I’m not really that hung up about it. And it’s the lack of emotion about it that really confuses me.

I mean, my body is actually in a very happy place right now. It’s at that size I always was throughout high school and university before I gained a bunch of weight in third year, then ended up losing even more weight.

I am now asking myself… Are those 10 vanity pounds really worth it??

I don’t hate the way I look now. I’m 5’7” so my frame can handle it. If anything, I just wish I could lift weights again and get my muscle tone back. I love being able to brunch on the weekends, have drinks with friends, and not worry about maintaining my current weight. It’s really nice to skip the gym sometimes and not feel anxious about the calories I’m not burning. 

Now that I’m no longer a personal trainer, I also no longer feel the pressure to look the part. It is such a heavy burden off my shoulders. It’s nice to be in a place where I know my paychecks don’t depend on how I look.

But if I’m being honest, the real reason why I still think about losing those 10 vanity pounds stems purely from the fact that I’m a single girl. Plain and simple.

But knowing the choices I’d have to make in order to lose those pounds, I know I’d then become a pretty boring single girl as well.

At this point in my life, especially considering that I am overcoming an injury, all I can ask is to be healthy. That’s getting my green veggies, staying active, and enjoying some of the best pleasures in life. You know I’m talking about cookies here.

I’m not saying I’m giving up on losing those 10 lbs. Especially considering I no longer fit into my summer clothes from last year. But I’m still not committed to living in a calorie deficit either. So I’m stuck somewhere in the middle here and just don’t know which way to go.

Ugh. Weight loss. What I’d give to just not have to think about it ever again.

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Me, as a morbidly obese baby, back when rolls were acceptable.

P.S. I’m off to see my surgeon this morning to get the surgery verdict. Wish me luck!!

Weekly Round Up

Heyo! Welcome to the weekend my friends :)

Thanks a bunch for all your support on my Bye Bye TO 10 post. As promised, I’ll be sharing some of my normal, run of the mill, weekly eats as I lose those pesky 10 lbs. I am not calorie counting or doing any crazy diets. Just trying to eat good, simple, mostly made at home food!

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It’s been a long time since I blogged a bowl of oatmeal. Mostly because I’ve been eating nothing but PB&J oats since 2009.

In a small pot, I put in 1/2 cup rolled oats + 1 cup water. I let that come to a simmer, then stir in 1/2 cup egg whites and a generous amount of cinnamon. Once the egg whites are added, I keep it at a slow simmer and stir frequently so it gets smooth & creamy. No chunky bits of egg allowed. Sometimes I pour in milk as I go. I like my oats thick and overcooked.

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Topped with a dollop of peanut butter and jam! This bowl fills me up until lunch every single time. It’s the protein in the egg whites that does it. Otherwise I’d be gnawing my arm off by 9am!

I’ve had a lot of early mornings this week with physio appointments and a job interview. So I’ve also been eating these Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oat Squares for breakfast and snacks on the go.

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Just like a baked version of oatmeal… right? ;)

My dad has this sheet of coupons on his fridge for donairs at Greco. Every time I go to open the fridge, I’m taunted by the delicious image of a greasy, meaty donair. Instead of rushing off to the nearest Greco to get one, I opted to make a better version at home this week.

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It never occurred to me to make these on my own until the Maritime Kitchen Party when I realized just how easy it is.

Donairs are a Maritime specialty, invented in Halifax, Nova Scotia and based off the idea of a doner kebab. It’s a lot like a gyro, but instead of a tangy tzatziki, it comes with sweet garlic sauce.

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Making the meat at home is SUPER easy. I use this recipe. You start by putting the spices in a mixing bowl. I didn’t use all of these, and substituted some based on what I had on hand:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef

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You mix the ground beef in with the spices and then pick it up and throw it on the counter. Do that 20 times, kneading it each time in between. It’s incredibly entertaining to do. I used extra lean ground beef, but I’m sure you could use bison or turkey if you wanted to.

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Bake at 350F for 75 minutes, turning halfway through. Donair shops slice the meat off vertical spits. Clearly I don’t have one of those at home, so this’ll do!

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The idea is actually to dry out the meat by overworking it. That way you can slice it into thin loaf-like pieces. I’ve heard putting the raw meat into a food processor works too.

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I need to work on my one-armed slicing skills.

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The meat is then stuffed into a pita with tomato, lettuce and onions. The best part though is the SAUCE.

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You can make the sauce at home using evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar and garlic. But stores in the Maritimes sell it by the bottle because we use it on everything. Especially good on top of pizza!!

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Take that Greco! No sketchy donair meat here. And fresh out of the oven, it was uh-mazing.

Last but not least, I got a package of Annie’s goodies from Danica the other day. We only have select Annie’s products in Canada so I was excited to see some new-to-me products!

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If I were to describe Annie’s, it would be like classic children’s food made healthier. Eating Annie’s microwave mac n’ cheese for dinner is totally acceptable ;)

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I added some brussels sprouts to green it up.

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Their powdered cheese is significantly less sketchy than Kraft.

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For my protein, I added a can of smoked herring.

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I know, I know. This probably grosses some of you out. Get over it ;) I usually add tuna to mac n’ cheese, but the smoky flavour of the fish was downright delicious with the cheesy noodles!

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The cheese sauce was a million times better than Kraft Dinner and there was more than enough in the packet to coat the noodles. No need to add extra cheese here!

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I’ve also been snacking on their new granola bars. My favourite flavour being peanut, obviously.

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They are pretty small. Here’s a size comparison using the back of my hand because I can’t rotate my left hand to face the ceiling!

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It’s actually the perfect size for when you need just a little sumthin’ to get you through to the next meal.

I used to religiously do three small meals + three large snacks a day. But my appetite significantly decreased when I stopped exercising after my accident. Now I do three larger meals a day with maybe one or two small snacks. This is how I ate my first 22 years of life and I think it’s the style that suits me best.

I really enjoy eating until full, then waiting until I’m hungry again to eat my next meal. Before with the 6 meals, I never felt satisfied after eating and ate when I didn’t really need to. It screwed up my hunger signals.

It’s all about finding what works best for your body. An individual way to keep yourself fuelled and satisfied without overeating. Seems like a lifelong process, doesn’t it?

Question of the Day: What’s the best thing you ate all week? Mine was actually a curried lentil soup from an organic store in Moncton called Dolma.

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