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Flashback Friday – Being Healthy AND Social

Happy weekend everyone! Or, at least, I hope it’s a happy one :)

I got my day off to a good start with the Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones DVD.

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It’s a 50-minute strength DVD, divided into seven circuits, going through about four moves two times in each circuit. Mostly made up of combination moves that work both lower-body and upper-body at the same time. It’s perfect for days like today where I want a low intensity workout. Although, it’s no walk in the park either. I was sweating up a storm and my shoulders are sore!

Only had 20 minutes for breakfast today so I went for one of my favourite quick n’ tasty morning meals.

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Waffles! What else :P Nature’s Path maple cinnamon freezer waffles, topped with a mixture of cottage cheese, cashew butter, maple syrup and cinnamon. Since I scorched my toaster oven, I had to make these in my full-sized oven. Still have to learn how to do that without burning them…

Morning snack at work was a banana and almond butter.

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Except this banana gave me a tummy ache :( Sometimes they do that, I have no idea why…

I broke into my lunch at 11:30am. No point in waiting till noon if I already have a growling belly!

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Tofurkey sandwich with the usual suspects: pickles, mustard, onions, tomato, spinach, side of baby carrots.

I ended up running errands over my lunch break, and what was supposed to be a quick stop at Shoppers Drug Mart turned into a $150 haul.

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I never budget for beauty supplies, nor do I ever splurge and buy nice beauty items. So in celebration of being paid yesterday, I did! That hair straightener by the way, is a wireless one. While it’s a nifty gadget to have, I don’t think it’s the quality iron that I need. I may have to throw down close to another $100 to get a more solid one :( I hate spending money on beauty crap!

Afternoon snack was a stinky one…

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I get so embarrassed eating boiled eggs in public. I had to apologize profusely to my officemate.

Dinner had more eggs – a smoked mackerel egg white scramble.

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  • onions
  • sweet peppers
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • mushrooms
  • chopped chipotle
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • smoked mackerel
  • old cheddar cheese

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Nomnom. The smoked fish/smoky chipotle flavour combination was a great one. Don’t know why I don’t do “spicy” with smoked meats more often!

 

Flashback Friday – Q&A Edition

As soon as I got tonight’s question, I knew I had to save it for a Flashback Friday post.

What was the biggest struggle you faced with your weight loss and maintenance journeys? Sorry if this is already asked, and if it is then feel free to ignore it. I know you have talked about in the blog in general, but I’m just wondering what the one hardest thing was. Thanks!

Tina

I suppose I’ve yammered on a lot about various struggles I encountered while losing weight and maintaining my 30 lb weight loss, but I’ve never picked out one aspect that I really struggled with throughout. For me, the hardest part was, and is, leading a normal social life.

When I first began my journey, I would say I lead a pretty active social life. I was in my third-year of university, had a solid group of friends and a boyfriend I hung out with regularly. Thing is, I really only did two things when I hung out with other people – drink and eat. I’d been able to keep my weight at a reasonable level up until that point by walking everywhere. But once I got my car, it all went downhill (or technically, “up-scale”)

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This picture of me in Jamaica is probably 5 lbs below my highest weight. I was eating and drinking like I didn’t have a care in the world. Litres of draft beer would be consumed, with piles of nachos, and pieces of cake, all the while laughing and having a grand ole time with my friends.

Then I realized enough was enough, and I changed. The first course of action I took was giving up beer. At first, my friends laughed, as if it were some sort of joke. But I dropped close to 6 lbs those first three weeks without beer, which was motivation enough for me not to go back.

Then the peer pressure began, my friends would try to force it on me, or said I was being a party pooper. In all honesty, I felt like a party pooper too. Hanging out in a dark pub while people ate and drank what they wanted was no longer fun for me. I found myself obsessing over what I couldn’t have, and ignoring the conversations going on around me.

I also became very controlling over what I put in my body. About a month into my weight loss journey, I went on a trip up north with my family.

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By this point, I’d lost around 15 lbs and I was feeling pretty good about myself. I was on-track, and determined not to let anything throw me off. But this trip was probably one of the hardest for me socially. I had been learning about the nutritional value of all my foods, and found it very difficult to let myself go knowing what I was consuming. Back then, no one even knew I was trying to lose weight, so I’m sure they were all confused as to why I was freaking out about eating potato salad!!

I also felt out of place when I would make healthy substitutes in front of other people. I really wanted to be one of the normal people at barbecues who could gobble up sausages and buns with reckless abandon.

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Instead, I felt like I had a huge target on my back for going with the healthier options.

Part of my struggle with this also came from the fact that I was a university student. Drinking on the weekends (okay, weeknights too) is just what college kids do. So not wanting to do those things made me feel very much like an outsider.

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Then of course there was the fitness aspect of it. It took me a really long time to learn how to explain to people that I’m up at 5am to workout everyday. Or that I’m training for things like triathlons and half-marathons. 

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Even now, trying to explain to friends, family and colleagues about my personal training aspirations is difficult.

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I hate to sound like a broken record here, but the two things I’ve learned about having a “normal” social life while losing/maintaining weight is that it’s all about honesty and balance. I was never straight-up with people about my trying to lose weight. I’m sure my family and friends would have understood and been more accepting had I just been like “I don’t want to go to the pub tonight because I’m trying to lose weight, let’s do something else.”

In terms of balance, I should have loosened up on myself a little in the early weight-loss days too. I needn’t have been so strict in situations where I should have focused on the people around me, not the food being offered. Instead of saying “absolutely no beer,” I now have no problem with drinking a couple with friends every once in a while. It doesn’t really add up to much in the grand scheme of things. Same goes with exercise – it’s worth it to skip one early morning workout sometimes so I can have a late night out with friends!

I’ve also learned that having a good social life also important to my overall health. Perfect diet and exercise patterns aren’t the only things required to make me a happy person. I need more interaction, thought provocation, and whole-hearted belly-laughs to keep me thriving on a daily basis :)

And with that, I send all my bloggie friends a giant HEART!! <3

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Thank you to Emily for showing the Valentine’s Day love (only 5 days late, not bad for Canada Post!). Now it’s my turn to give it back to all my readers :)

Lost catch-up beckons! Night night! xoxo

 

P.S. I’m still taking questions for the Q&As, comment or e-mail away!

Fatty February Update!

I had a blast reading through everyone’s favourite alcoholic drinks! Glad to hear I’m not the only rye/whiskey girl. Many of you probably know that I’m not a huge drinker anymore. In fact, I consume alcohol maybe only once a month now? If even! I wrote about it in this post. I lost my taste and desire for it, but at the same time, I still need a big night out on the rare occasion :)

Monday was a pretty typical day for me. I was quite proud of myself for dragging my butt to the Monday morning spin class despite my whacky weekend. I pulled myself to the gym again today for some treadmill work and a full-body workout. Nothing suuuuper intense, but a solid sweat sesh nonetheless.

Treadmill

Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-5 3.5 0.0
5-6 5.5 0.0
6-7 6.0 0.0
7-8 6.5 0.0
8-9 7.0 0.0
9-10 5.5 0.5
10-11 6.0 0.5
11-12 6.5 0.5
12-13 7.0 0.5
13-14 5.5 1.0
14-15 6.0 1.0
15-16 6.5 1.0
16-17 7.0 1.0
17-18 5.5 1.5
18-19 6.0 1.5
19-20 6.5 1.5
20-21 7.0 1.5
21-22 5.5 2.0
22-23 6.0 2.0
23-24 6.5 2.0
24-25 7.0 2.0

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Barbell squat  45 lbs 12 1
Barbell squat  55 lbs 10 1
Barbell squat  65 lbs 8 1

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Wide-grip lat pulldown  55 lbs 8-12 3
Pistol squat  bw 8-12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Incline dumbbell shoulder press 20 lbs ea 8-12 3
Static lunge  10 lbs ea 12 3

 

Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Cable horizontal woodchop  35 lbs 12 3
Hanging leg raises  bw 12 3

 

I feel like I should add that I’m still in the beginner stages of the pistol squat! Someday my leg will stick out perfectly in front of me and I’ll get my bum to the floor. But right now my foot just sort of dangles as I try to get my thigh parallel to the ground. It’s tough! I’ve got old-lady hips too, so my threshold for lower-body weightlifting is pretty darn low. My hips were popping and hurting by the time I got to the leg raises.

Today’s desk-breakfast was more cold goo.

Grape nuts and yogurt
Not overnight oats but Grape Nuts! I randomly picked up a box of Grape Nuts cereal because I’d never tried it before. I mixed it with yogurt, almond butter and blueberries. It made my breakfast almost cake-like in texture. I hear the cereal is good heated up, I’ll try that next :)

Morning snack was one of my new favourites, inspired by my mom!

Armstrong cheese
While my mom was visiting, she kept eating deli meat wrapped around cheese. Turns out it’s an awesome high-protein, high-fat snack. Today’s was smoked tofurkey slices around Armstrong herb & cheddar cheese.

Lunch was leftovers!

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This is what I also had for supper on Monday. It was crazy good for being so crazy simple and made-up on the spot.

  • ground turkey
  • 1 can Heinz chili-spiced kidney beans
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • sweet peppers
  • minced jalepeno
  • minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp garlic tomato paste
  • fresh green beans

I was so excited about my leftovers today, I forgot to pack an afternoon snack. I had to venture down to the university’s cafeteria where there were unusually slim pickings.

So God chocolate soy milk

They didn’t even have granola bars!! The chocolate soy milk was pretty good though, I haven’t had it in a while.

I’m also doing well on “operation-become-an-office-tea-drinker.”

Lipton chamomile tea

Today’s chamomile was also brought to me by the cafeteria. Not sure how I feel about these Lipton teas they offer. They never actually taste like what’s on the label.

I needed to clean the kitchen when I got home, which means a roasted dinner. Throw everything in the oven then clean while it cooks!

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I had tons of root veggies in my fridge to use up – white turnip and parsnip. I used to hate turnip growing up, but I loved it tonight!

And some pepper squash.

pepper squash

Spread with some real buttah ;)

And a giant chicken breast stuffed with Olive & Feta Hummus.

stuffed chicken

To stuff my chicken, I just slit it down the side and sandwich the good stuff in there :) Hummus and laughing cow are probably my favourite stuffings.

Evening snack was another one of my new favourites – protein cookie dough.

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Mixed up 30g chocolate whey protein powder and vanilla almond milk until it was a nice thick goo. Then I stirred in 2 tsp peanut butter, mini chocolate chips and sprinkles. Love this. It seems teeny tiny, but I assure you it’s filling – and that means a lot coming from me!

While licking on my protein batter, I finally cracked open this beast:

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Oof. It’s been a while! I kinda stopped studying after my course was delayed by three months. Alas, the course date is fast approaching again (mid-March!) and I still have a lot to get through. Tonight, I learned all about muscular concepts. Lots of info.

 

Fatty February Update!

Seeing as its past the mid-month mark now, I want to do a quick Fatty February update! I was doing reallyreally well before my Halifax trip. Adding olive oil to things, eating fatty fish and having lots of nut butter. But it obviously all went out the window for a few days there :P Right now, I’m just trying to get back on track with it! These past couple days I’ve been relying on nut butter waaay too much – about 3-4 tbsp a day as my main fat sources. I haven’t tracked my food intake, but I know it’s not enough, and not a balanced way to get it. Making sure I get a wide variety of healthy fats is definitely going to be a continued effort on my part. I’m workin’ on it!

As for any noticeable difference – my belly pudge shrank. Seriously. I half-credit it to my cutting out carb-heavy snacks at night (been doing mostly protein snacks before bed). But I think upping my fat has balanced my macronutrients out to a ratio that is much kinder to my belly bloat.

I weighed myself this morning, and even after the mass consumption of high-calorie sugar foods this weekend, I’m back at my pre-Christmas “happy weight.” Again, I can’t fully credit this to upping my fats, but I think consciously choosing fattier foods has just led to a more balanced diet on my part. One that has helped me maintain my weight better.

So far so good! No noticeable difference with my skin and hair, but I swear my nails are growing faster.

 

Question of the Day: Fatty February-ers – how are you doing? Any noticeable changes? Any fatty foods you’re loving?

Snow Problem

This is the view out my window today:

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It’s been snow storming all day. We’re could get up to 20 cm (~9 inches). Sooo not looking forward to shovelling out of my driveway to get to the gym before work tomorrow! I’m contemplating going out and doing some of it later tonight. I hate shovelling. With every ounce of my being,

Anyways, so last night Chris and I found a great website called DSLR Tips. It seriously has everything you could want to know about the settings and options on an SLR camera. As you know, I got a Canon Rebel XS for Christmas. I know a little bit about photography from taking photojournalism and broadcast television in school, but I still have a lot to learn!

So after watching the videos last night I started playing around with my aperture settings. Here it is at F3.5…

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And F22…

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Neat eh?? I also learned about taking cool action shots, scenic photos and finally figured out my manual focus. (I’m not very good at reading manuals, I’m more of a “experiment till I figure it out” person)

So far I have no immediate plans to get a new lens, because I think the one I have now (18-55mm) is good enough for my current purposes. However, I want to get one of those little table-top tripods asap, and might start looking into getting a detachable strobe flash. Fun!! :D

Okay, now I’ll get to the food photos I took with said camera (which reminds me, I should really put that battery back into my smoke alarm…).

One notable thing from yesterday was the Primal Strip that Deb gave me.

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It’s meatless beef jerky made out of seitan. I’ve never had this before and I was so excited to try it! Definitely a good pick on Deb’s part ;)

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I really liked it. I ate it plain, but wished I had some crackers and cheese to pair it with. Also, now I really want to try real beef jerky again – I haven’t had it since I was a kid!

Speaking of Deb, I attempted a bowl of protein pimped oatbran for breakfast.

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There’s a wonderful pictorial of what to do if you click on the above link. Basically, you mix egg whites till they puff up,and add them to your oatbran to make it uber fluffy. I don’t have a hand or stand mixer, so I attempted to puff my egg whites using an immersion blender. Didn’t go so well. I got a few big bubbles, but it mostly just increased in volume a little. No major pouffage :(

The bowl was still mega delicious though, and the egg whites did make for a more voluminous bowl. I also stirred in some of Emily’s dried apples and topped it with almond butter and white chocolate chips. 

After finally getting my Google Reader down to zero, I braved the winter storm for an awesome lifting workout. I actually pre-planned this one before leaving. I wanted to make it a full-body workout, and alternated my sets with ab moves a la Janetha ;)

Warm-up:
20 minutes “MIIT” (medium intensity intervals) on the elliptical
3 min @ level 10
2 min @ level 12
1 min @ level 16
2 min @ level 13
1 min @ level 17
2 min @ level 14
1 min @ level 18
2 min @ level 14
1 min @ level 17
2 min @ level 13
1 min @ level 16
2 min @ level 12

Assisted pull-up: 3 sets, 75 lbs x 8
Plank: 3 sets, 60 sec

Barbell lunge: 3 sets, 30 lbs x 20 (alternating legs) 
Side plank: 3 sets, 30 sec each side

Barbell curl: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15
Skull crusher: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15
Barbell upright row: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15

Medicine ball squat: 3 sets, 11 lbs x 12
Russian twist: 3 sets, 11 lbs x 24

Dumbbell pullover: 3 sets, 20 lbs x 15
Plank up: 3 sets, bw x 8

Cool-down:
Stretching :)

Good times. The New Year Resolution-ers are starting to show up at the gym, but they seem to stick to the cardio machines. The weight area was just full of all the usual suspects.

Lunch was my typical fare. Can never go wrong with a sandwich or pita midday :)

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This one had Italian tofurkey slices, spinach dip, olives, pickles, pickled onions + spinach. Veggies with a little hummus on the side. Yum! I’m still on a pickle kick. I promise you I am not preggers.

I decided to head back into the storm this afternoon for groceries. It was either today or wait till Tuesday night. Yeah, wasn’t gonna make it. Had a snack first in case I got stuck in the snow somewhere.

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The third and final flavour of my Vega bar haul they sent me to test – Chocolate Decadence. 

vegainfo vegainfo 
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So my first bite was kinda icky. It tasted like chocolate mud. But, the more bites I took, the more i got into it. I’ll basically eat anything with chocolate in it. However, I don’t think I’d ever willingly spend my money on this flavour. Again, the nutritionals that accompany this bar are awesome, but if I want “chocolate decadence,” I’m cracking into my 80% Lindt.

My grocery trip was successful. My fridge is now full of ingredients to make meals and snacks for my first week at my new job!

Dinner had to be warm and comforting because of the weather. But it also had to be easy so I could clean while it cooked. Enter: roasting pan dinner.

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Directions: throw a protein source and appetizing veggie combos on a roasting pan. Season, and bake! This mix is tofu, brussel sprouts, red onion, mushroom, sweet potato, garlic and Kirkland no-salt seasoning. Took 30 minutes to cook – just enough time to do my dishes and scrub the floor ;)

 

So I kinda feel like today was my first day “back on track” from the holidays. Not gonna beat around the bush here – my pants are tight. Nothing major, around 3-ish lbs with some nice tummy bloat. Yesterday’s eats weren’t documented, but I ended up going to Chris’ parent’s place for a roast beef dinner. Delicious, but definitely the end of the line for me. Time to get back to my simpler eats :)

Also, I’ve devised a new workout schedule for myself! I’ve been anti-schedule for several months now after all the training I did in the summer. But I find myself wanting something to follow now, and working Mon-Fri at my new job should make that much easier. Here’s what I’ve got planned for this month:

Monday: 60 min spin class
Tuesday: Yoga/Rest
Wednesday: 40 min run, shoulders, abs
Thursday: Yoga/Rest
Friday: Lower body, abs
Saturday: 60 min run, chest, abs
Sunday: Step class, biceps, triceps

So normally I do full-body or upper-body workouts, with a lot of compound moves. But I’ve decided to try separating my muscle groups and pairing some of it with cardio. There’s no specific reason why I’m doing this, I just thought it would be nice to change it up for a while. Don’t want to get bored with my routine!

It also bears mentioning that I’ll likely only do yoga once a week, and take one total rest day. I’ve also designed it so my hardest workouts are on the weekend (my days off) and that there’s some flexibility with trading out days, or doing morning/evening workouts.

Again, this is just for this month to see how it works. Next month I’ll probably start thinking about half marathon training :)

 

Phew! This was a rambly post. Hope you’re not putting off anything important to get through it all :)

 

Question of the Day: What does your usual workout schedule look like? I’m genuinely interested, I always love to hear about what other people do for workouts!

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