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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!

Body Love

Woo!! T-G-I-F!! This is an especially exciting weekend because my mommy is coming to visit! She arrives Friday evening and staying until we get sick of each other :)

I pre-wrote some of this post, so I’m going to keep the food rambles to a minimum. I just got back from an evening out with the gals from work and it’s waaaay past my bedtime!

Started the day off with my new favourite cardio sesh at the gym. 35 minutes of intervals on the elliptical – 1 minute sprints followed by 2 minutes recovery at varying levels. Then 10 minutes on the rowing machine and 10 minutes on the stepmill. I don’t know why but my heart rate was mega high today!! I maxed out at 179 (91%) which I typically only do in races or really fast training runs – not on the elliptical!

Refuelled at the office with smoked salmon, laughing cow, mustard, capers, onions, sprouts, lettuce on an english muffin.

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And an orange :)

Lunch was a beast of a salad.

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Tossed in some canola oil + red wine vinegar and topped with leftover Spinach, Ham and Ricotta Pie. The pie tasted awesome cold on top of the salad! Definitely deserves a remake for tomorrow.

Supper involved more ham because I have a huge chunk of it in my fridge I need to get through! For some reason my mind has been drifting to ham and cheese oatmeal so I made it for dinner.

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  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 whole egg, whisked in while cooking
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 55g ham, cubed
  • 15g old cheddar cheese

Look at those creamy custard oats!!!

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Ohmygaaaahhhhthiswasgood. So, so good. I want it for supper again tomorrow too ;)

 

Now on to more serious matters…

I’ve noticed there are two kinds of food bloggers – those who are losing weight/maintaining a weight loss, and those who are in recovery from an eating disorder.

This has always fascinated me, that two people with seemingly opposite goals can be drawn to the other. While I’m in the former group – a weight loss gal – I know that I have a lot of readers who deal with disordered eating. Conversely, I read a lot of blogs written by those who are in ED recovery.

The obvious similarity is that our problems are problems with food. We eat too much, not enough, obsess over it, control it, and think about it all the time. But it has always gone beyond that for me. The things those struggling with ED write about often hit very close to home with me. While I have dealt with a few food issues, I have never dove deep into disordered eating. Any of my old struggles with food stemmed from a lack of knowledge, nothing deeper than that.

So why do I always read these blogs nodding my head in agreement? I know what it’s like to hate my body. I know what it’s like to find comfort in treating it badly.

I think this is something a lot of people can relate to, not just those who’ve suffered from an eating disorder.

In my REAL story, I say “I went to a deep and dark place, and for a brief moment, myself and my family had genuine concern I wasn’t going to come out.”

At this time in my life, I was suffering from serious anxiety and depression. I found comfort in my depression. I would wake up every morning, and instead of dragging myself through another day, I would cozy up to the awful feelings inside and stay in bed. I would often pull the covers over my head, wishing it was a hole I could just crawl into and lavish in my depressive thoughts forever. There were many mornings where I would collapse on the kitchen floor, crying hysterically to my mother who just wanted me to get up and go to school. I liked where I was in my miserable depressive state, and I stubbornly did not want to venture out.

I also found comfort in treating my body badly. I liked being reckless with it. I found an odd comfort in puffing back cigarettes, knowing they were slowly killing me. Yes, I ingested drugs, again liking how I felt when I was weak and helpless to their effects. I didn’t like myself, so why would I want to take the time to treat my body well? If anything, I wanted to punish my body.

This has been weighing heavily on my mind as I’ve been reading from a lot of bloggers recently about how they found comfort in their eating disorders. It just sounds so much like how I felt about my depression and body during my own darkest days.

So how did I get out of it? It was quite simple actually. My parents brought me to a psychologist who sat me down and told me straight up that I was responsible for my own depression and I was the only person who could get myself out of it. I don’t know what happened, but a light bulb went off in that moment. I realized I didn’t have to find comfort in my depression anymore, but I had the power and ability to crawl out of the hole I dug for myself. Only me. Just one decision.

The body-love took a lot longer to get the hang of. I don’t think that really clicked for me until I decided to lose the extra weight for good. I think part of the reason I was overweight for so long is because I didn’t love my body. During my weight loss process though, I woke up every day with a new confidence in my own skin. It wasn’t because I was getting skinnier, but I was getting skinnier because I respected my body enough to not treat it badly anymore.

So that is my story. My two take-home points are – only you can change your thoughts and state of well being, and your number-one relationship needs to be the one you have with yourself. Love your body, mind and spirit.

 

Question of the Day: What’s one thing you love about your body? One thing you love about your personality? I love my long, lean legs. I’m pushing 5’7” and most of that height is in my legs! I also love my simple personality. I’m a to-the-point kind of person. No drama, no extra fluff. Just plain and simple :)

Time to Get Serious

Thanks again for all the bee-day wishes! I had a wonderful day yesterday. Now I’m just preparing myself for a very busy week ahead at work!! I have a few more 10+ hour work days ahead of me :\

I did at least continue the celebration for breakfast.

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  • 1 packet multi grain instant oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 sliced banana
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (it’s national PB day after all!)
  • mini marshmallows
  • sprinkles!! Just for you Deb ;)

And then I had a piece of beet cake as my pre-workout snack. Totally powdered me through a tough one!

Treadmill

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

This particular treadmill workout is getting easier!! Yay!! Improvement! :D

Elliptical

Minutes Level Intensity
0-2 10 low
2-3 14 high
3-5 11 medium
5-6 15 high
6-8 12 medium
8-9 16 high
9-11 13 medium
11-12 17 high
12-14 13 medium
14-15 16 high
15-17 12 medium
17-18 15 high
18-20 11 low

Rowing Machine

Minutes Grip
0-2 overhand
2-4 underhand
4-6 overhand
6-8 underhand
8-10 overhand

Stair Machine

Minutes Level
0-1 8
1-2 9
2-3 10
3-4 11
4-5 12
5-6 9
6-7 10
7-8 11
8-9 12
9-10 13

 

L-O-V-E-D this. Will definitely be added to my new Fitness Page (which is still a major work in progress – lots of updates to come!).

I find long cardio workouts at the gym are a lot more fun when I only have to do 10-20 minutes on each machine. Makes it fly by! I also work at a higher intensity because I keep switching to different things. Definitely helped that my mommy came with me too :D However, at the end of the elliptical session, we saw someone fall off a treadmill!! Holy scary. If you ever feel like you’re falling off a treadmill, just let yourself go. Trying to hold yourself on only worsens the situation :\

My tummy was yelling at me by the end of this workout, so I fed it right away.

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Laughing cow, roast chicken, tuna, onion, tomato and romaine on a pita. They chicken/tuna combo was delicious!

Shortly afterward it was time to make the boring drive home. I kept awake by singing along to CDs at the top of my lungs. This song in particular got a few encores.

No groceries at home, luckily I had some goodies stashed in the freezer.

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Ketchup with a side of turkey mini-meatloaves and butternut squash fries.

Liz – I let the fries sit with sea salt for a few minutes, then squeezed the moisture out a second time – totally worked!! Made for a much sturdier b-nut fry :D Thanks for the suggestion!!

 

Time to get Serious

Okay guys, I’m gonna be straight up with you. I’m still struggling to lose the few pounds I gained over Christmas. Not the end of the world. But, I’m a little bigger than my “happy weight.” My snacking has been a little off the charts. I don’t photograph everything I eat, and that includes the multiple handfuls of chocolate chips and cereal (among other things) I eat at night.

I’ve struggled a lot over these past two months to find an eating and exercise routine that worked through TWO job changes. Yes, I’m on my third job in less than two months. I’ve worked inconsistent hours at differing activity levels over the past eight weeks, it’s messed with my body and food routine immensely. On the bright side, I’ll be in a stable job for these next three months and I’ll finally be able to get into a routine with it.

So what does this mean? No, I’m not making silly self-imposed rules. I’m not doing boot camp or giving up sugar (the horror!!). But, I will be counting calories again. Maybe not every single day, and not religiously. But I like the accountability it gives me with snacking. I know there’s varying opinions on this, but I know what works for me :)

I also want to keep track of my foods so I can look at my day and see where I’m not eating whole, “clean” foods. I exercise tons, but I realize my body composition issues are diet related. I just need to polish it up a tad and I should be able to see and most importantly feel a difference.

Part of this is because my birthday is now behind me, so I have no more big “splurge” days on the horizon. The biggest part however, is that I’m going to be a personal trainer in three months, and I want to look the part. I don’t expect to have the bod of Jillian Michaels. But I’d like to lose a little body fat and actually “bulk” my upper-body (my limbs are quite scrawny). The way I see it, you wouldn’t get your hair cut by a hairstylist with bad hair, so why listen to a trainer with a pudgy tummy?

As always, I’ll keep you updated on how I’m doing with this. There will still be marshmallows, just not every day ;) I feel best when I go back to basics with my food. And I want to start experimenting more with my exercise! I want to get a little more serious with my weight lifting, and try to incorporate more plyometrics. Hopefully there will be tons of new workouts popping up over the next several weeks :)

 

Question of the Day: Do you or have you worked with a personal trainer? What was your experience like? I’ve actually never worked with a trainer before. Mostly because I like learning the stuff myself and choosing what I want to do. But it will be interesting to job shadow with one in the coming months!

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