Tag Archives: weight loss

Bit the Bullet

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I finally gave in. I had been trying to get fit by 40 without spending copious amounts of money. This was partly due to the fact that I didn’t want to feed the “diet industry,” and partly due to the fact that I don’t have a lot of money to spend. But, about a week and a half ago, I finally joined a gym.

My decision was spurned by a Facebook friend. She posted something about joining a local gym and getting a discount because she’s a school board employee. It sounded like a pretty good deal – $15 month, and you can workout at any of their locations. Throw into the mix that my best friend works for this company and can train me at any location, and I was sold. I joined on January 31.

Upon joining, they require you to do a fitness evaluation. I kind of dreaded this, as it meant stepping on the scale. As suspected, I had gained more weight than I care to mention. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I’m a lot closer to my heaviest weight than I’d like to be.

I must admit: I’m not convinced I can stick with this. I’m not sure I can do it. I don’t think it’s going to work. I’m feeling fat and don’t have the time or energy to fully embrace this. But if I don’t do this, I’m just going to gain more weight and my health will deteriorate even more. This is something I need to do, even if it’s not something I want to do.

So I’ve done it. I’ve joined a gym. And I’ve worked out three times in the last 6 days. I am trying to be gentle on myself, and not push myself so hard that I end up feeling sore and discouraged. Today, I did 35 minutes on the treadmill, and really worked up a sweat. It wasn’t much, but it’s a start. I did my best without pushing myself toward defeat. I was hoping to do 40 minutes, but my back was starting to bother me, and I decided that, today, 35 minutes was my best.

I am trying hard to focus on this concept of “my best.” My best is different than your best, and it’s different than that skinny 20-something I see running effortlessly (not just walking like I do) on the treadmill. It’s difficult for me to not compare myself for others. I am such a competitive perfectionist: I need to be the best. But I cannot be successful with this endeavor if I’m comparing myself to other women. I need to compare myself to me.

I am looking forward to getting together with my best friend later this week. She is putting together a workout for me and is going to help me reach my goals. I love her dearly, and am going to try to do my best with whatever she puts together for me.

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Excuses, excuses.

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Okay, okay. I know: I haven’t posted in a long time. I have some really good excuses though!

Excuse #1: My laptop is dead. My son fried it. I’m writing this on my iPhone, which is incredibly inconvenient.

Excuse #2: He’s probably going to hate this, but my boyfriend is the second excuse. But it’s not what you think! I’m not saying that I’m too busy being utterly in love to write a blog post. Quite frankly, being single and looking for love was much more time consuming.

No, this is a different type of excuse. My boyfriend has this amazing way of making me feel beautiful. For the first time in my life, I feel physically desired and desirable. Which is totally unheard of for a woman with serious body image issues.

I’ve been deliriously happy these past four and a half months. I’ve also been ignoring taking care of myself. Truth be told, I have been enjoying having someone else take care of me…. Not so much in a literal way, but in an emotionally supportive kind of way. However, I will openly admit that I have ceased to take good care of myself.

I’ve been eating like crap. I haven’t been exercising. I’ve gained weight. How much, I’m not sure, as I’m loathe to step on the scale. All I know is that my fat clothes have started to get tight. My skin looks dull and worn. I’m tired most of the time. I feel physically gross.

The good news is that the back pain that had been plaguing me has improved. I no longer have crippling sciatica pain down my right leg.

The bad news? I have done nothing to work towards my goal. And I’m really mad at myself.

I’ve realized that I started this goal wanting to be thinner and healthier to find love. I truly thought that no one could possibly love me when I look like this. I was, thank the lord, completely wrong. But now I’m lacking the motivation that came from self-loathing.

Late this past summer, I had started eating clean. It felt great. I had more energy, my skin looked great, and I felt younger. Then, the stress of work hit. I have a very difficult group of kids in my class this year. At the end of the day, I am worn out, stressed and tired. More often than not, I stop somewhere for a coffee and a pastry of some sort. Or even just a chocolate bar.

That was the start of the downward decline. A cookie after work slowly became bad lunches, quick dinners and McDonald’s drive-thru for breakfast.

I have to turn things around. I know, from experience, if I try to do it all at once, I will fall flat on my face. Baby steps. They work.

My first baby step is to cut out the after school visit to Starbucks and Timmies. This I can do. I need to plan for being tired and worn out after work. That means packing a healthy, energizing snack for after school.

Today, I had an apple and a snack/cereal type bar in the car on the way home. The apple was a good choice. The bar? Not so much. I was rather proud of myself for bypassing Tim Hortons, but then promptly had a stack of Oreos when I got home.

Perhaps I also need to look at why I’m so tired at the end of the day. Yes, work is hard and exhausting. But am I properly fueling my body? Nope. I know I’m not staying hydrated. And I’m not eating in a way that will keep me energized.

Definitely something to think about. However, for the next week, I will focus on not stopping for sugary snacks on the way home.

Back in the saddle again

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Recently, someone complimented me on a certain body part. I did not believe him. But, that’s his opinion, and who am I to argue (said while silently disagreeing with his point of view). I would dearly like to believe him, I really would. I’ve been focusing on the mental and emotional aspects of my body image issues, trying to find a way to believe him when he compliments me on my body.

It hasn’t been working all that well.

Sure, I can accept that he has an opinion about how he views my body. I get that part. I just don’t agree with his opinion. Quite frankly, because I so vehemently disagree with his opinion, it is oftentimes a huge struggle for me to accept it as fact and not just a nicety. And so, I sit here, mulling over it, trying to come to terms with it, pouring my heart out in my journal…. to no avail. I simply cannot accept the fact that someone could be physically attracted to me.

Tonight, I had a bit of a revelation. I was mulling over different blog ideas in my head, sussing them out, gauging my thoughts and opinions, when it hit me:

No amount of thinking or trying to change my beliefs is going to help me accept his opinion. The only way I can possibly agree with how he sees me is to actually have a great (insert body part here).

When someone tells me that I have a nice smile or beautiful eyes, I believe them. Why? Because I can look at myself in the mirror and see that I do, indeed, have nice eyes and a great smile. The eyes I have my mother to thank, and the teeth? A great orthodontist. But the rest of me? Yeah. Not so much.

I can psychoanalyze the heck out of my body image issues. I can try different types of therapy and counseling. I can buy fancy clothes and wear great accessories: none of it is going to help.

The only way I will ever be able to believe my boyfriend when he comments on my body is if I work hard to create a body that I can love.

I read a great blog post today by the KnowledgeMaven about filling yourself up with love. She writes:

Every now and again, though, we need to turn the mirror of veracity on ourselves and provide the same love and support that we provide to others to ourselves. For me, the truth is that I often found it easier to have enough faith for everyone else.

Upon reading this, I realized that I don’t love my body, and I definitely don’t treat it in a loving way. That’s why I have such a hard time accepting my boyfriend’s opinion of me. And, that’s why I often feel uncomfortable when he treats me in loving ways.

Confession time: I haven’t truly exercised in months. In the last two months, I’ve been using baked goods to deal with stress. My pants are getting tight and I haven’t stepped on the scale in a long time. In short, I’ve been neglecting myself. In the last few weeks, my body has been trying to send me this message; aches & pains, stiffness, digestion ailments, and general moodiness have prevailed. I really don’t like the way I feel.

So, I’m setting some goals for the week ahead:

1. Eat clean 50-75% of the time.
2. Reduce my coffee intake and swap it for green tea.
3. Drink more water (aiming for 2 litres/day)
4. Morning yoga 3x this week.

My reward will be a spa night for myself, including a bubble bath, mud mask, candle light and maybe a glass of wine. I like how this reward focuses on treating my body with love!

When 50% is a Good Thing

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If you don’t already know, I’m a school teacher. I spend a lot of my time marking and grading. When I was a kid, if you got 50% on a test, it was a bad thing (I can’t remember, but I seem to think it earned you a “D”) Nowadays, a 50% is a C- (which means “not yet meeting expectations”). Grades are a big thing for me – not only professionally, but personally. I have spent pretty much all of my life around this idea of being graded. In elementary and secondary school, I brought home decent enough grades to keep my parents happy without having to do too much work. Now that my own children are entering high school, we talk about the importance of a good GPA as it pertains to getting into post-secondary programs.  As a music student, I took Royal Conservatory Exams, and remember the thrill of getting a “First Class Honours with Distinction” on a few theory exams…. and, I remember the devastation of failing my grade 10 practical exam the first time I took it (a pass, in that instance, was 70%). When I recently returned to university, I decided that this was my time to shine, and I pushed myself to get straight As. Each essay I got back with a lovely red “A” on the last page brought me joy. Those A+s were cause for celebration. When I was doing my teaching practicum, which was a pass/fail program, a friend and I resolved to give each other As at the end of the term, because we were both so driven by letter grades.  And, I’ve been known to brag about graduation from my B.Ed program with straight A+s. Grades are omnipresent in my life.

Today, however, I realized something very important: 50% is good enough.

Wow – I could hear my friends gasping at reading me say that!!! But, it’s true.

This week, I started following the Eat-Clean Diet (which isn’t really a diet as much as it is a lifestyle change for me). Typically, when I start a new “diet” it’s an all-or-nothing thing for me. If I couldn’t give myself a grade of “A” (or better) after a couple of days, I’d get so discouraged, and quit. Which would often lead to me feeling depressed and thereby eating more (usually in the form of chocolate).

Last Friday, during my counselling appointment, my counsellor had me set some goals. I decided that I’d eat clean for breakfast and lunch, which, a few days later, turned into “eat clean for two meals/snacks per day.” I know it sounds like a simple goal, but for me to not strive for perfection is very, very difficult.

You know what? It’s working! In striving for this partial goal, this ‘not-quite-perfect’ goal, I am actually feeling successful!! Sure, I’ve had a few “dirty meals” (um, Burger King isn’t ‘clean eating’ last time I checked), but, because my goal is two meals/day clean, I’m not beating myself up when I have one unhealthy meal. Ok, so I had that piece of cake and a can of pop at lunch today… who cares?!? It was one meal, and I didn’t let it ruin my day! I had a very healthy breakfast, and my dinner was really clean…. and tonight, when I was having a major sugar craving, I waited it out, reminding myself that this is just my body’s way of getting used to a new lifestyle, one that doesn’t depend on refined sugars for energy.

How cool is that?!?!

Even though yesterday I had Burger King for lunch, and today I splurged a bit, I don’t feel like a failure. I am able to focus on my success because I met my goal. And I can do it again tomorrow, and the day after that. Then, once I get used to eating 50% clean, I can increase it to 75% clean.

When I went to search for an image for this post, the first thing I typed into the search engine was “50%.” Do you know what came up? A bunch of 50% Off sale signs. That made me chuckle… maybe this 50% approach will help me take pounds off!!

I’ve never been one for baby steps. No siree. I’ve always been an ‘all or nothing’ type gal. However, I’m learning to be kinder to myself, to love myself, and to forgive myself. I’ve said it before that we treat our pets better than we treat ourselves. As I get ready to embark on a new year of teaching (and grading!) I need to remember something very, very important:

I am a great teacher who treats her students with love, compassion, empathy, kindness, respect and dignity (as every good teacher does): it’s time I started treating myself as well as I treat my students.

When a student fails a spelling test, I don’t tell them they should just quit school! When a student feels discouraged by an assignment that seems too difficult, I help them work through it, step by step. My goal as an educator is to help my students believe in themselves and feel proud of a job well done. I have come to learn that one student’s amazing achievement may be another student’s worst work; I work hard to help my kids recognize their strengths and improve their weaknesses. I encourage them to keep trying, over and over again, until they learn.

Why should I be any different with myself? Why can’t I encourage myself to keep trying and trying until I learn a new way of living? Because, really, it isn’t about the grade. Ask any teacher: grades are not as important as the lessons learned.

I am learning. I am learning a new way of being. It won’t always come easy, but as long as I try my best, I will succeed.

So, yeah, 50% is a good thing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating Clean

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Today, I am starting something new: Clean Eating. It’s a term I’ve been hearing over and over again since starting this journey. The way I see it is that if the universe keeps presenting you with an idea, perhaps you should listen. There are hundreds and hundreds of diet books, programs, pills, magic potions, on which you can spend money. Those of you who have been following my blog know that I’m trying to become fit and healthy without giving into the propaganda of the diet industry (and without giving them a ton of money!)

Well, I have to admit, I gave in the other day and bought a “diet book”. Actually, I bought three diet books, costing me a total of $33. Which really isn’t that bad.

What books, you ask?

From the research I’ve been doing, this approach seems to make sense to me. Eat more of the healthy stuff – protein, complex carbs, healthy oils; Eat less of the unhealthy stuff – sugars, refined foods, calorie-dense/nutrient poor, prepackaged foods. Sure, I could probably figure this out all on my own, but I love learning, and knowledge is power, right?

Tosca Reno, the author, states that our physiques are 10% genetics, 10% training and 80% nutrition.  I cannot control genetics (which, in reality, I’ve been somewhat blessed with! My dad is a very trim man. From my mother, I am blessed with amazing skin!). The thought of training freaks me out – I still don’t see myself as a ‘exerciser’. But I love to eat. And, I can control food!! And if 80% of how I look is determined by what I eat, that means I can control how I look! That’s great news.

This past week, I have felt tired, depressed, unmotivated, lazy, listless, and have sat around on the couch like a blob.  I’m not surprised: I’ve been filling up on simple carbs and sugary food. I really don’t recall eating much fruit and veggies in the last week. And once you feel that way, it is really hard to be motived out of it.

Fortunately, I have help. My darling friend Jenn and I went grocery shopping together this morning. She’s doing the Eat-Clean thing too (albeit for slightly different reasons than I). She’s helping me with grocery lists and menu plans, which is a godsend. It was nice to go shopping with someone else – I felt far less tempted to buy junky stuff (although, I did buy some not-so-healthy choices for my kids, but it’s things that I generally don’t eat, so I’m not tempted to eat it).

I had my first Eat-Clean lunch today:

2 pc. sprout grain bread

1/2 avocado

1 tomato slice

1 oz. reduced fat cheese

A bit of sprouts

1 c. strawberries

I am SO full, and feel great. I am looking forward to seeing what heath benefits I can notice in the next few days. I’m a bit worried that it will be hard to give up sugar entirely, wondering what type of withdrawal symptoms I may experience. I am looking forward to having more energy, feeling more clear-headed and emotionally stable (less mood swings), having healthier looking skin and, of course, losing weight.

I was reading in Tosca’s book that you can expect to lose 3 lbs a week. I’m not sure if that will happen to me, because I’m not focusing on going “all or nothing” with this. I know myself well enough to know that if I do go all gung-ho on this, and try my best to follow it perfectly, the minute I mess up, I’ll give up. I’m trying to see this as a lifestyle change, taking it one day at a time. I was talking with my therapist yesterday, and she was helping me set some  goals. This week’s goal that I came up with in counselling is to eat clean for breakfast and lunch.  I think I’m going to tweak that a bit: Aim to eat clean for two main meals and snacks/day. I have menu plans and a fully stocked fridge with healthy food. I think I can do this!

 

Wake Up Call

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Last week, my 12 year old son and I went swimming. We are blessed to have an indoor pool in our complex that has a life guard 5 days/week. My son and I had a ton of fun – having races and a treading water contest (after 12 minutes, we called it a draw!). The next day, I was feeling a bit sore, which was to be expected because I haven’t been swimming in a while.

But the pain persisted a bit. Two days later, my hip was still a bit sore. And it wasn’t getting better. This morning, it was my whole leg.

Crap. Sciatica is back.

This time, it’s on my right side. In the summer of 2009, I had a very similar pain on my left side. A pain that I ignored. It got worse and worse. Turns out it was caused by a herniated disc which needed surgery. But, the neurosurgeon refused to do the surgery if I didn’t lose weight first. So, I lost weight, and the problem got better.

However, I’ve since put a bit of that weight back on. And now the pain is returning.

Last time, I ignored it for far too long. I am not going to make that mistake again. I remember the pain like it was yesterday. To say it was excruciating would be an understatement. I couldn’t drive a car for more than 5 minutes without being in tears. I couldn’t sit down for long. Standing up hurt too. Getting out of bed was near impossible. I was taking upwards of 15 prescription painkillers a day, and it still didn’t dull the pain. It was bad.

I refuse to experience that again.

I have been far too lax on my goals this summer. Ok, ok. I’ve been downright lazy. Part of me excuses myself, saying that I’ve been relaxing. Which I have been – and it’s really the first time in a very, very long time that I have been able to truly relax – not worry about a job or money – in many years. My soul has needed that. And, I think I’ve done a lot of personal, spiritual growth in the last two months.

But, it’s time to get of my lazy behind and get moving. Every time I do exercise, I feel great. I really do. I’m beginning to notice the amazing endorphin rush that comes from exercising. And I like it.  This brush with pain has made me realize that I need to take this more seriously. I do not want the rest of my life to be riddled with health problems.

Winning Streak

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Ok, my friends who know me well are probably thinking “What the heck?! Why does she have a picture of the Canucks on her blog? She is the farthest thing from a hockey fan I know!!”  But, hear me out… there’s a reason I have a picture of the hometown favourites on my blog.

Anyone who follows the Canucks (and let me tell you: Canucks fans are pretty loyal!) will tell you how excited people get when the Canucks get on a winning streak. The last few years have been an emotional roller coaster with this team. Leading up to the play-offs, every new winning streak brings on more hopes for the elusive prize: the Stanley Cup. And, lately, the ‘Nucks have royally failed to bring it home. Yet the fans keep coming back for more.

Personally, I haven’t really understood the emotional roller coaster of being a hockey fan. Yay! They’re winning! Boo! The Canucks suck. OOOOhhhhhh, we’re totally going to win the cup this year. Man, this bites! We lost in game 7.  And people pay a lot of money for this?

But they keep coming back, time and time again. Even though their beloved team has let them down once again and caused city-wide riots, come the start of a new season, Rogers Arena is filled to capacity with cheering fans.

I never really understood that until today. No, I haven’t had a change of heart and become the world’s biggest hockey fan. But, I am having a winning streak.

And it feels good.

For the past three days, I have made a concerted effort to get out and exercise. As I alluded to recently, I fell off the wagon big time over the past two weeks. I haven’t stepped on the scale out of fear. I was feeling defeated.

I’m not sure what made me get out and go for a walk on Sunday night, but I did. And then again last night (mind you, that time, my friend Jenn texted me and gently nagged me, which I think helped a bit). Tonight, I spent over 90 minutes exercising, and it felt fantastic!! I even made an effort to smile at the cute guys I met along with way. Some of them even smiled back.

So, that’s a three day winning streak. Pretty cool.  I just checked a hockey stat (oh my, what is the world coming to?!?!) The longest winning streak the Canucks have ever been on was 10 games, back in 2002. Ten. That’s not a very big number.  And that was over a three week period. That’s one game every two days.

I wonder if I could beat that record? Exercise at least 10 times in a three week period?  When I started to think about this whole idea of a winning streak, I got really excited… “I wonder how many days in a row I can exercise, without missing a day?” But really, how realistic is that for a girl who is just beginning her road to fitness.

Here’s the plan: work out at least 10 times in 21 days. If I can do that, my winning streak is just as good as the Canucks. Maybe I’ll beat that record!

If you count the last three days (which I am totally doing), I basically have to work out seven more times before the end of the month.  Oh yeah, I am totally going to beat the Canucks.

And, if I lose? That’s ok. The Canucks lose all the time. Their longest winless streak was in 1973. In the span of one month, they had 10 losses and three ties. But, they came back. And they keep coming back, time and time again. Even after the loss is a colossal one, like losing to Boston in the 7th game of the Stanley Cup finals (see, I do pay attention – I didn’t even have to google that one!). Even though they sometimes lose, their fans keep cheering them on.

And you know what?

That’s what this blog is like for me. Facing my failures (hard for a perfectionist with an anxiety disorder!), owning up to them, and picking myself back up. But the best part? The cheering section! You know who you are…. the friends I’ve known for years, the new friends I’ve met only recently, and the virtual friends I’m making through this blog: you all cheer me on. And that means a lot.

Maybe that’s what keeps the Canucks going – showing up for their fans. Sure, they lose a game every now and then (and you know what? They’re really good at losing!), but they keep coming back time and time again to an arena full of fans proudly cheering them on.

I can do this. I can win this fight. I will be successful. The great thing is, my success isn’t measured by winning a big fancy trophy. And, now that I think about it, it’s not even measured by reaching my goal weight. It’s measured in days: having days in which I make healthy choices and make positive changes towards improved fitness. The “Stanley Cup” for me – reaching my goal weight – is just the icing on the cake. Oooohhhh. I wonder if I’ll get to my goal weight before the Canucks win the cup. Chances are I will, seeing as how the Canucks are pretty good at dropping the ball.

Well, I’ll be… I done gone and motivated myself!