Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hear And There

I never got around to posting about my hearing test results from Friday. I am thrilled to report that all is well! Basically, they rate different frequencies for each ear on a scale of loudness with a score of 25 or fewer decibels reflecting good, normal hearing. All of my ranks were in the -5 to 15 range, so I think I’m good. Unfortunately, now my husband suspects that I am actually ignoring him whenever I claim to be unable to hear his comments, but at least I have confirmation that my ears are working just fine!

I will be heading out to see my doctor tomorrow as per my decision to try and gain more perspective on my health as a whole. I’m not sure of exactly what tests she will be performing, nor of how long it will take to receive the results, but I will be asking her to check as many factors as possible. This may be the first time that I have ever been looking forward to my annual examination!

You Are My Sunshine

I got a new badge for my blog yesterday, but given my rather somber tone I wanted to write about it in a separate journal entry so I saved mentioning it until today. Much appreciation goes out to the fabulous Dawne for bestowing the Sunshine Award unto me! She knows just how much I love these great little nods of recognition and how touched I always am when someone deems me worthy of such accolades. Thank you so much, Dawne!

In accepting this award, the guidelines are as follows:

1. Post the logo on your blog.
2. Pass the award on to 12 fellow bloggers.
3. Link the nominees.
4. Let the nominees know they have won this award.
5. Link to the person you received this award from.

All easy stuff and I love that I get to pass it onto other people! These blogs – and so many more – definitely bring sunshine into my life!

1. Amy at The Not So Secret Life Of A Not So Super Together Mom
2. Carla at MizFitOnline.com
3. Chris at A Deliberate Life
4. Diane at Fit To The Finish
5. Jack at Jack Sh*t, Getting’ Fit
6. Jenn at Watch My Butt Shrink
7. Joania at Blueprint 2010: The Journey Continues…
8. K. at Fitcetera
9. Kari at Fat [Free] Me
10. L. at 100in12
11. S. at Ethereal Endeavor
12. Tammy at From Fat To Fab

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 9 glasses of water
- 1 pan-fried banana and light peanut butter wrap on a soft tortilla shell
- 1 mug toffee nut steamed skim milk
- 2 1/2 cups spinach salad with cubed cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, red pepper, Mandarin orange segments, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 3/4 cup fat free peach yogurt with 3/4 cup granola cereal
- 2/3 cup dried pineapple, papaya, and mango
- 2 small Mandarin oranges
- 3 egg white wrap on a soft tortilla shell with grated cheese, red pepper, frozen spinach, and pepper
- 5 whole wheat crackers

EXERCISE:
- 50 minute walk

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weigh-In For Week 29

I am down another 2.2 pounds this week. I am very happy with that! I am coming into the home stretch of the ‘overweight’ versus ‘normal’ divide for my body mass index. I wonder if I can get there for next week’s weigh-in when it is time for an update on my measurements and progress picture too.

A Dark Tail

I miss my dog.

This may not seem like an appropriate topic for a weight loss blog, but I assure you that there is a small connection, and – quite frankly – I really just need to get this off my chest.

I had my fabulous canine companion for nearly fifteen years, having received him as a birthday gift when I was a teenager. I moved out and he stayed at my childhood home, but whenever I visited it was obvious that he was my dog. There was a bond between us that only pet owners ever really understand. He rubbed his eyes on my legs to show his affection, and he sneezed when he was happy.

He got old. He was over 100 in ‘dog years’ at the end. He finally stopped eating and we had to put him down. He fell asleep for the last time with his chin resting in my lap and my fingers brushing through the thick, black fur on the top of his head.

I think about him a lot. I thought about him today because I had to go into the local veterinary’s office to ask a question about my cat – another animal with whom I have a deep bond. They brought up my dog and I had to tell them that he has been gone for a few years now. I managed to hold it together.

Then, when I settled in to do a little blog reading earlier tonight, I came across a post at Escape From Obesity that talks about viewing ourselves with the same unconditional love that our pets give to us. It was a touching essay that had me in tears long before its conclusion and, again, my thoughts wandered to my late furry companion.

A little later my husband and I left to go and do the C25K. We pulled into the parking lot at the local track, but were a little thrown off by the fact that there was a group of teenagers gathered. We decided to look at a nearby high school to see if there was an alternative pathway to run around without the audience. As we drove up the main street, away from the park, we slowed to pass by a police car stopped on the side of the road with its lights on.

In front of the vehicle, being protected from oncoming traffic by the gentler arm of the law, was a black dog laying dead in the street.

Almost instantly the tears started running down my face again. I was devastated for the owner of the beautiful canine, heartbroken that an animal had suffered such a fate, and sad for myself that my own wonderful pooch is not still around. It took me a good five minutes to compose myself and then I broke down again when my husband and I were pulled over talking about it. We decided to honour the fallen dog in the only way we could at that moment and we circled back, with a handful of daffodils hastily picked from the side of the road, and laid them next to the head of the noble beast.

So when I wanted to turn around and go home without doing the C25K – because, believe me, the temptation to just throw in the towel for the day was huge – I decided to dedicate my run tonight to my dog and to the one who lost its life this evening. When I jogged through the darkness – and, yes, it took everything inside of me to still go through with that initial plan – I imagined both of those canines running beside me. And when I was fatigued – which was often and considerable given the emotional upheaval I had just put myself through – I thought about how those animals will never be able to feel the earth beneath their own feet again.

Sometimes when we don’t feel like we have the strength to do what needs to be done, we must shift perspective. It is usually enough for me to do something because I can, but – when that construct is not adequate to sustain the spirit I require to continue – I will complete what I must, instead, because there are others who can not.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 9 glasses of water
- 1 pear
- 3 cups mixed salad with lettuce, shrimp, black olives, red and orange peppers, tomato, mushroom, onion, broccoli, green onion, and fat free Italian dressing
- 2 1/2 cups steamed asparagus with margarine
- 1 nectarine
- 3 cups spinach salad with cubed cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, apple, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 3/4 cup fat free peach yogurt with 1/2 cup granola cereal

EXERCISE:
- 30 minute walk
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 3 of Week 4)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Doctor Who?

I have set up a series of appointments for the next couple of weeks to have myself thoroughly checked out by medical professionals. I have a hearing test set up for later today, a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Monday, and a dental cleaning and check-up arranged for the following week. I would also like to make the time to go to the optometrist to have my eyes checked, but I haven’t been able to get in touch with anyone at that office yet.

Because of where I currently am on this journey I really like the idea of getting a total assessment of my health all at one time. I think that having a complete picture of how I am doing and what level my body is at, now that I have lost over one hundred pounds, will help me to fully comprehend the advantages that I have given myself due to all the hard work and determination that this journey has required. I believe that recognizing those benefits will aid me in continuing with these changes for the long term.

I know that not everything is directly affected by weight. The hearing test, for example, is mostly just about gathering the last few pieces necessary to finish the whole picture. At the same time, I am a strong believer in the holistic approach and I can’t help but wonder if my entire system – even the parts one may never suspect would have been altered by such measures – has been improved by the changes I have brought about for my general health.

The one thing that is a bit of a shame at this point in the game is that I never really had any readings taken last year when I was near my highest weight. I am generally pretty good about keeping up with such appointments, so most of my health care providers should have years of records from when I was obese, but I have been a bit remiss about such matters over the past year or so. Perhaps it’s for the best though that I don’t have anything to compare my upcoming results to. It’s possible that I would have become discourage before I even started if I had know the truth about how poorly I was treating my body and the potential damage I was causing to it such a short time ago.

Regardless, apart from my actual weight, my numbers were never so bad that any medical worker ever really raised any concerns. However, I am still looking forward to seeing exactly where I register at on the charts now that I am approaching a normal body mass index reading. I really hope that I am satisfied with the results.

I'll Take The Stairs

I did really well on the exercise front today which I am very pleased with. I have been feeling a tiny bit munchier than usual over these past couple of days – I’m thinking that it’s probably due to me being sick – but I have been able to keep it under control. I did manage to catch a little more sleep after my early rousing this morning and have gotten in a lot of water throughout the day too. Overall, I would say that it has been a good Thursday!

One major accomplishment that I just have to mention has to do with the fact that part of my workout tonight was walking up and down a flight of stairs. I have done this many times in the past – and generally do somewhere between fifteen and thirty repetitions – but have always done them in stints of three to six flights at a time, than taken a significant rest before starting again. Tonight I did fifty sets all at once! I did not stop once! I even sweated quite a lot which is pretty unusual for me (and, no, that doesn’t mean that I do not normally work hard at my workouts, because I do; I just don’t perspire much). I am very excited about this as it is obvious proof of my improving cardiovascular fitness!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 13 glasses of water
- 2 cups reduced sodium teriyaki noodles with canned chicken breast
- 1/2 golden delicious apple with cinnamon
- 1 carrot with calorie-wise three cheese ranch dressing
- 1 banana
- 1 pan-fried banana and light peanut butter wrap on a soft tortilla shell
- 3 cups spinach salad with cubed cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, onion, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 3/4 cup fat free peach yogurt with 3/4 cup granola cereal

EXERCISE:
- 20 minutes on the recumbent bike
- 4 sets of 10 knee push ups
- 4 sets of 10 squats
- 4 sets of 30 seconds of crouched shadow boxing with dumbbells with 2.5 lbs per arm
- 4 sets of 10 sit ups
- 4 sets of 15 bicep curls with 8 lbs per arm
- 4 sets of 10 bent leg donkey kicks for each leg
- 4 sets of 15 tricep curls with 5 lbs per arm
- 4 sets of 30 seconds of jumping jacks with 2.5 lbs per arm
- 4 sets of 25 side lying leg raises for each leg
- 50 sets of walking up and down stairs

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sick And Tired

I am still a bit sick, my left calf muscle continues to be tight for no good reason, and I woke up this morning after only five hours of rest and just couldn’t get back to sleep. Grr!

I am definitely one of those people who get a few days into an illness and quickly grow tired of the entire affair. I’m not suggesting that anyone actually likes being sick; I just get impatient with it faster than most, I think. I want so desperately to be well!

The achy muscle has me thrown off too. I still have no idea how I got it and my assumption that it would work itself out right away has obviously been disproved. On the positive side, it is not bothering me enough during the course of the day to amount to more than a small annoyance and exercising has required only minor modification to compensate for the tightness.

But now, on top that, I can’t get back to sleep! Argh! I generally go to bed quite late, but my life still allows for an average of eight hours of rest every day. I know many people work off of a lot less time in bed, and I was one of them until my scheduled changed, but this is how it has been for a couple of years now and it can really throw a wrench into my day when my sleep pattern is disrupted. I feel sluggish and like I am not operating at my best when I wake up like this.

I also doubt that being tired all day is very conducive to getter either my cold symptoms or my tense calf to improve. In fact, I am pretty sure that any temporary moodiness that my unrest creates will only serve to magnify my impairments in my mind. Sigh. Maybe I will try one last time to get just a little more shut-eye…

Running In Circles

My husband has gotten it into his head that come what may he will be finishing the C25K program with me. Now, I really appreciate the support and all – and I certainly am not opposed to seeing my darling man become a fitter version of himself – but he HATES running.

He loathes jogging around that track.

He despises it.

He would probably rather cover the more delicate parts of his anatomy with honey and then venture too close to a gathering of fire ants than keep on doing the program.

Yet, he insists on continuing.

I do not understand it and, quite frankly, I don’t really feel like he has offered any reasonable explanation for why he even wants to continue. Apart from a raging desire to complete the program for the sake of completing it, he hasn’t offered any real insight into why he is so determined to finish what he started.

I get why I am doing it. I can even easily comprehend why he began it with me. But every single time we go to the track to do our approximately half hour long session I can sense the tension in him before we start. It is easy to note his displeasure while he is in the middle of the jogging and equally simple to see the hatred for the activity practically radiating off of him once we are done. Truly, it is that bad!

Why does he keep at it?!

I love my husband deeply and, in the spirit of the amazing communication that we share, have already had several conversations with him about this. It isn’t actually affecting my time at the track at all – otherwise I might have a genuine reason to beg him to stop – but I can see how much he dislikes it and so I keep offering him solutions. I’ve suggested that he slow his pace to match mine, just walk while I jog, quit altogether, and so on. He won’t hear of it.

Normally, I can figure out the reasons behind pretty much every one of the man’s behaviours; I am generally very in tune with his thoughts and I just get why he does the things he does. But I can’t seem to make sense of this. He asked me last night, “Do you have to understand it?”

Good question.

Maybe there is a lesson here. Perhaps I should spend a little less time questioning his journey and put a bit more effort into supporting the one person who has been there for me through every single step of my own. This is an opportunity to show the man I love more than anything that I can accept him and his decisions in the same unconditional way that he does me and mine. I have a chance to tell my husband how amazing I think he is by not speaking a word.

He will keep running. I guarantee it. His determination will keep him going and his example will encourage me to do the same, just as my own energy will renew me and him when the need arises. He and I may travel through this life together in a variety of fashions – walking, jogging, running, sprinting, hopping, skipping, crawling, strolling, and dancing – but we will forever do so side by side and hand in hand.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 10 glasses of water
- 1 burger on a thin bun with light cheese, spinach, onion, mushroom, fat free Miracle Whip, mustard, and relish
- 1 bite of a homemade cranberry cinnamon granola bar
- 1 homemade chocolate and peanut butter granola bar
- 3 cups spinach salad with croutons, dried cranberries, orange pepper, mushroom, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 1 pear
- 1 sandwich on whole wheat bread with light peanut butter and light strawberry jam
- 1/2 golden delicious apple with cinnamon

EXERCISE:
- 35 minute step workout video
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 2 of Week 4)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Musical Interlude

My stomach – and let me clarify for class’ sake that I do precisely mean my stomach and not any other body part – is groaning and moaning away right now! It’s not in the way you would expect though, given that I am still sick. I just had a cheeseburger, since I’m still trying to slowly use up a lot of the foods that are in the freezer, and it is just going off! There are squeaks, squeals, grumbles, gurgles, and deep rumblings coming from my midsection right now. It’s actually pretty funny, but I am really glad my husband is not here to listen to this rather orchestrated demonstration because he would be rolling on the floor laughing in disbelief at the variety of sounds my tummy is capable of making!

The Results Are In

Recently I posted a poll asking people how they measure their journey to health. Well, the results are in and they are not altogether unexpected. Out of the 38 individuals who weighed-in on this query, no one opted for ‘mental and emotional changes’ nor for ‘verbal confirmation’ as their go to resource when examining progress. Neither did anyone voice any other ways in which they tracked their level of success as the ‘other’ option was also left without any votes. The other six possibilities that I listed tallied in the following manner:

18 votes for 'the scale' accounted for 47.4%
3 votes for 'measurements and sizes' accounted for 7.9%
1 vote for ‘BMI, WHR, or body fat’ accounted for 2.6%
2 votes for 'general physical changes' accounted for 5.3%
1 vote for ‘following through’ accounted for 2.6%
13 votes for 'an even distribution of all of these' accounted for 34.2%

Nearly half of the people who voted are basing the majority of their perception of success or failure on what the scale says. Like I said, it was not unexpected to see the results. I am honest enough to admit that it is the tool I use the most frequently.

It’s hard to be on a journey where we know that the numbers are not the only thing that matter, but which is also most easily measurable by exactly such means. No wonder stepping up onto that fickle one-inch platform is an emotional experience for so many. It’s important to remember though that there are quite a few other ways to keep track of the progress that is being made.

For me, I would like to get to a point where I am able to strike a bit more of a balance between gauging my journey according to the definitive reading on the scale and also using the more subjective measurement techniques that were listed as options in this poll. Developing more faith in the results that are suggested from loose fitting clothing, growing self-esteem, or improved flexibility can only be a good thing. Relying less on a single measure of success, and more on the general improvements that are seen while walking this path to improved health, is something that I strive for even if I am not there yet.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 10 glasses of water
- 1 banana
- 1 toasted sandwich on whole wheat bread with margarine, bacon, and an egg
- 3/4 cup fat free peach yogurt with 1 cup Rice Krispies
- 1 Mandarin orange
- 1/2 cup dried pineapple, papaya, and mango
- 3 cups spinach salad with croutons, dried cranberries, orange pepper, mushrooms, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 2 cups steamed asparagus with margarine
- 5 whole wheat crackers with light cheese

EXERCISE:
- 1 hour Belly Dancing For Fitness class
- 35 minute walk
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 1 of Week 4)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Ramblings

I am a tinge more chipper this morning although I still don’t feel like I am quite up to par with the mood or the wellness. I have one really weird thing to report: I woke up with some significant tightness in my left calf. I have no idea where that could have come from and so far it has not worked itself out. I really hope it doesn’t bother me during my exercise today.

My energy is definitely lacking so I am trying to fuel myself with lots of protein. I think it’s just this cold, or whatever it is, working its way through my system. I don’t really feel all that ill, but I am worn down and still a bit achy. The sinuses and the throat are being affected too, but only marginally.

I have belly dancing tonight and I am planning a low-key walk too (although, I did just notice that it has started to rain, so we will see about that last part). I didn’t get to do the scheduled C25K program yesterday, so technically that has been shifted onto this evening’s agenda as well. I would really like to get it done, but I will be listening to my body to decide if it is worth it or not. If I am too tired or sick, so be it. There is always tomorrow and I refuse to play catch up to the detriment of my health or mental well-being. I have to remember that I am more important than a schedule!

It's Not Easy Being Blue

My exercise plan for today has been kiboshed. I don’t feel very good about this, but I guess I left it too late for it to be realistic.

I’m feeling a bit down right this second; it’s kind of out of nowhere, but there it is. I suddenly find myself with just a touch of melancholy to accompany the quiet misery of being sick.

This week’s not yet shaping up to be a very successful one as far as healthy choices go. I wish I was feeling more optimistic...

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 10 glasses of water
- 1 Mandarin orange
- 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin with margarine, bacon, and an egg
- 1 banana nut energy bar
- 1 pear
- 3 cups spinach salad with croutons, dried cranberries, yellow pepper, mushroom, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 3/4 cup fat free lemon chiffon yogurt

EXERCISE:
- 30 stomach crunches

Monday, February 22, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try, And Gain

I am up about a pound and a half from yesterday morning because of the food choices I made throughout my afternoon and evening downtown. The problem isn’t necessarily the decisions I made, but the fact that I don’t feel all that bad about them.

I tried. I mean I really put in a significant amount of effort into finding healthier options for the things that I was to eat prior to caving and actually consuming what I did. I fully admit that there are a few things I could have done better – aren’t there always – but, nevertheless, I stand by the fact that I really did genuinely try to choose more healthily than I ultimately did.

There are two parts to this little tale. First, when we were enjoying the sights of the city, I had a very intense craving come on just after lunch for dessert. I initially tried to ignore it; I thought that I could trick myself into forgetting about the sweetness I so wanted, but it just wouldn’t go away. So I informed my husband that I wanted to make a good choice about what type of dessert I would have rather than just flying off the handle and fully giving in to any ultra-gooey, -sugary, -fatty treat my mind could concoct. He understood and so we set off to find something that fit the bill.

We went into pretty much every single shop that sold desserts all up and down the main shopping strip, looked all through the mall, and even got in the car and drove out of the city centre to three different known dessert stores in an attempt to find a reduced fat or reduced calorie option. We spent over and hour and a half at this endeavor. Nothing. Nothing! Can you believe it!? I was so incredibly frustrated! I actually remember turning to my man at one point and questioning why the majority of society sees fit to tell people that they need to be slender to be deemed attractive, yet makes it so difficult to find a healthy alternative to sweet indulgences. I was utterly blown away by the impossibility of finding just a single substitute.

So, I went with the key lime cheesecake. Yup. I could have decided not to have anything, but I was afraid that would lead to a worse binge later on. I could have just had half the slice rather than devouring the whole thing, yet I kept bringing that fork up to my mouth. I probably could have even found a slightly better option than that particular dessert at the establishment I finally caved at, but the key lime flavour is one of my favorites and very hard to find and by that point I was so fed up with the situation that justifications kicked in resulting in the ultimate choice.

The other story from yesterday’s eating isn’t quite as exciting, but it is along the same lines. At the end of the night we met up with a group of friends and my brother and decided to go out to eat. I didn’t foresee any issues since I had not yet had dinner and I was confident that I could find a healthy option at whatever restaurant we went to. Can you see where this is going? I looked over that menu at least six times trying to find something that wasn’t deep fried, covered in sauce, or overflowing with the noodles I knew I couldn’t resist. Again, there was nothing. I opted for the healthiest item I could find: skewered chicken satay with peanut sauce on the side.

It was delicious, but I know the fat and sodium content was probably pretty astronomical. Yes, I could have portioned it out and eaten less, but by that point I was feeling the emotional toil of having put so much effort towards discovering better alternatives to no avail. You know, I should just face the facts: I wanted to eat it all so I did. Also, at the end of the meal the extremely friendly owner of the venue came over and generously poured each of us a shot of Grand Marnier. Of course I drank mine. It was a decision made in the moment, and if I regret it in the future so be it, yet I enjoyed the few seconds of shared jubilation brought on by the hospitality of the kind restaurant proprietor.

So, I wasn’t overly proud of what I consumed, but I also can’t really seem to beat myself up about it too much. I do feel like I put in more effort than I ever would have in the past to find the healthier options but they just weren’t available yesterday. Maybe it’s more justification, but if it is I think I am fine with that too. This is for life; it’s not a diet and it’s not about deprivation. Sometimes, life offers you cheesecake, and once in a while it hands you the fork too.

Why Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today?

There is one valid reason I can think of in answer to my title query: I’m tired.

I do have a number of thoughts on how my day turned out, but I really am exhausted and think that sleep is a much better option than writing just now. I will delve into my reflections on how today went come morning; for now though I am going to close my eyes and enjoy some good old-fashioned procrastination.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 sliced yellow pepper with calorie-wise three cheese ranch dressing
- 1 homemade blackberry scone with margarine
- 8 pieces of a California sushi roll with soy sauce
- 1/2 banana nut energy bar
- 1 piece of key lime cheesecake
- 1 small lettuce wrap with beef, vegetables, noodles, and black bean sauce
- 2 cups chicken satay with peanut sauce
- 1 shot Grand Marnier

EXERCISE:
- 30 stomach crunches

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Am Not Sick!

Okay… yes, I am. I was just trying to give my attempted escape into the fantasy world one last valiant effort before facing reality, I suppose.

In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle doesn’t it seem like we should be able to skip all the colds and flu's and general malaise? Wouldn’t that be fair? After putting in all the effort to take care of ourselves and to change our lives for the better, I think such a trade off is only just. But, there I go attempting to slip into some fictitious parallel universe again. Sigh…

Okay, my plan for today should include rest and relaxation. I’m not sure that I will be getting much respite from the busyness, but I am confident that I will find today relaxing. My husband and I will be heading into the cite centre to walk around and do a bit of sight-seeing within our own locale. It should be a good day and, regardless of the lack of downtime, it will keep me fairly active and be a nice change from the norm.

Besides, it’s not like I’m sick or anything.

Symptomatic Of Denial

Argh! I am still feeling icky! I wouldn’t yet say that I am sick (but that’s probably just because I’m stubborn and I prefer the fantasy world when it comes to admitting to an illness), but I am not exactly feeling well.

Several hours ago I got home from a long walk – I figure if I am going to succumb to some cold or flu at least I can get in the workouts while I am still doing alright – and an hour later I changed into my nice fluffy robe with the intention of living in it for the rest of the evening. A bath was in order though, of course, to try and relieve some of my aches and then it was right back into the ultra soft garment to bring myself some comfort.

My fabulous husband gave me a nice massage to try and further soothe the dull pains that I am experiencing. That’s one of the worst parts of coming down with something for me: I hate how achy I get. I also tried relaxing with a hot mug of NeoCitron; you have to love that stuff even if it is just to appreciate the lemony warmth and the memories of having it as a kid.

Now I am turning in extra early to try and get a good night’s sleep. I hope I feel better in the morning!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 2 homemade dark chocolate cranberry walnut clusters
- 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin with margarine, bacon, and an egg
- 1 strawberry flavoured bran bar
- 1 small mug coconut steamed skim milk
- 1 banana
- 3 cups spinach salad with croutons, dried cranberries, yellow pepper, mushroom, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 1 mug of NeoCitron

EXERCISE:
- 35 minute step workout video
- 1 hour and 35 minute walk

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weigh-In For Week 28

I stepped on the scale this morning and was quite happy to see an even 163 looking back at me. I feel like I did a really great job of amping up the exercise this week and I think that helped counter the few indulgences that I had.

On the not so great side of things, I woke up Friday and today with a little bit of a sore throat. It went away before too long yesterday and I felt pretty good through most of the evening; so far it is holding on this afternoon though and I have a bit of a headache coming on too. I really hope I am not getting sick! I have taken a multivitamin and an acetaminophen to try and reduce the symptoms, so we will see how I feel later on.

It makes me a bit nervous to think about developing an illness right now because the last time that happened it coincided with the one and only significant occurrence of binge eating that I have had since I began this journey. I know that one does not necessarily dictate the other, but it is on my mind. Plus, being sick is just downright unpleasant!

The Day The Music Died

I was so annoyed this evening! I went out to do the last day of Week 3 for the C25K program – which I have actually been enjoying more than the first couple of weeks – and my MP3 player died on me less than half way through the session. Plus, it was right at the start of the best song on the podcast. I was not happy!

Thank goodness my husband has been doing it with me. He runs faster than I do and he just uses the timer on his watch to keep track of when to jog and when to walk. We always start out doing the warm up walk together, we go at our own pace once the intervals start, and then we circle back to meet up when it is time for the cool down.

Tonight though, once the battery for my MP3 player gave up the ghost, I had to keep on circling back to him so that I could watch him for the cues that the intervals were starting or stopping. Ugh! It was very annoying, but I am thankful that he was there and that I didn’t just give up because things were not working out how I would have liked.

The battery has been replaced now and my MP3 player has been tested and loaded up with the audio for Week 4. I am nervous about starting this next series as it has intervals that are five minutes long. I know I have run for longer than that a couple of times since starting this blog, but I find that the stop and go technique that is required for this program actually keeps me from fully hitting my stride. Personally, I think it’s a bit more difficult than if I were to just jog for a longer amount of time with no pauses.

I really hope I don’t have any more issues with my music quitting on me. It was really jarring and frustrating to suddenly have silence in place of the high energy tunes I took the time to put together for this. I actually don’t have any problem with jogging when there is no music; it was just that it was a change I wasn’t counting on and I was unhappy with the unexpected in this case. I suppose we will see what Monday brings…

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 11 glasses of water
- 1 banana
- 2 egg wrap on a soft tortilla shell with yellow pepper, onion, and pepper
- 1 strawberry flavoured bran bar
- 2 cups grapes
- 2 homemade tuna cakes
- 3/4 cup fat free black cherry yogurt with 1 cup Rice Krispies
- 2 cups heated strawberries and blueberries with cinnamon and sugar

EXERCISE:
- 35 minute step workout video
- 25 minutes of the C25K program (Day 3 of Week 3)

Friday, February 19, 2010

How Do You Measure Up?

I have noticed a lot of discussion online lately about the power that is given to the scale when determining the level of success one has on a journey to better health. There have been posts written about the internal celebrations that happen when the machine cooperates, remarks made on how frustrating the one inch beastie can be when it doesn’t reflect what we would like, and even the occasional indifferent comment made about a weigh-in that would have others literally jumping for joy or, conversely, ready to throw the device right out the window. It remains a powerful tool on this pilgrimage, and while it is not the only measure of progress, it is the one that lends itself to the most controversy.

I have heard that the findings of a number of scientific studies suggest that weighing regularly is a great way to stay on track, but an equal number of essays have been written on the detriment of such actions. People walking this path weigh one or two times per day, per week, per month, and sometimes go even longer or shorter in between climbing atop that flat surface and staring down towards their feet on a quest for information. As with so many other things, individuals are generally quite capable of determining what way is right for their situation – often through trial and error – and some actually put little to no stock in the number that stares back at them.

There are many other ways to decide if such a journey is creating results and a lot of people have alternatively embraced this line of thinking. Fitting into smaller sized clothing is an excellent indicator of the progress that is being made, just as taking and recording measurements of one’s body can provide similar information. Having goal outfits is yet another way to determine how well one is doing in the quest to drop extra pounds. Furthermore, specific numbers such as those found when investigating the body mass index, the waist to hip ratio, or the caliper pinch – to determine the body fat to muscle ratio – are ways to note change in an easily trackable manner.

There are also a lot of different physical cues that let us know how we are doing. Is walking easier? Are joints less sore? Have cravings for high fat foods started to diminish? Are ten pound weights being used instead of five pounders? Do fresh foods suddenly seem more filling and tasty? Are painted toenails no longer the result of an embarrassing display of graceless contortions? Are bones being rediscovered as they come closer to the surface? So many unexpected pieces of evidence come up on this journey and they provide a detailed tapestry of the different ways that losing weight alters us and enriches our lives.

Mental and emotional changes are another way in which one can consider their progress. Is exercise starting to feel like a treat? Has motivation taken on a life of its own? Is confidence increasing? Are there milestones that mean more than anyone else could ever comprehend? Have celebrations become about more than the buffet table? Do certain epiphanies bring even more determination? Is joy the prevailing emotion? Again, there are countless victories that can be recognized as invaluable pieces of this process. The way that thoughts and feelings become different as one travels along such a path can bring a wealth of rewards that were never expected when taking those first few steps.

Verbal confirmation and just sticking to the plan are two last tools that I can think of which may be used regularly to determine how well the journey is unfolding. Validation from others and comments from loved ones – or even strangers – can be a powerful motivator. Likewise, just knowing that whatever program or lifestyle changes have been implemented are being followed closely – regardless of the amount of success gleaned from these other categories – can be an excellent way to verify the achievements we are all working towards.

So, I turn this question to you, dear reader. Surely, there is a combination of some or all of these things that help you determine how well you are doing, but what helps you along the majority of the time? Are there any other significant measures of success that I have missed?

I MEASURE MY JOURNEY TO HEALTH LARGELY BY:

This Is A Recording

I got in a lot of great exercise today! I found a glitch in one of my workout DVD’s which is a bit frustrating though and I have had it for far too long to return it. Also, I bought a new belly dancing DVD just last week and tried it out yesterday. I’m not sure what it is about this type of exercise video, but I haven’t yet found a recorded version that I enjoy. I like my class, but the three DVD’s I have tried just haven’t done it for me which is a shame considering that I would like to learn and practice more. Maybe I will try looking for clips online.

Last week I tried a particularly difficult step video for just the second time (the first time was months ago and I almost shut it off because I really struggled trying to keep up) and I had such a hard time with the moves! The segment is only thirty minutes long with a five minute cool down afterwards, but I spent at least an hour – probably closer to an hour and a half – rewinding over and over to watch and mimic what the demonstrators were doing so that I could figure out the steps. Stubbornness or determination, I’m not sure which, kept me at it until I finally learned it all and now I can do it without too much difficulty and frustration.

I like that I have added DVD’s into my normal routine a little more; I feel like it keeps my body guessing when I throw different things at it once in a while. I will be looking for new ones in the near future too just to add a bit more variety. I love step videos, but those seem to be the hardest type for me to find locally, so hopefully I am able to find something else that peaks my interest.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 10 glasses of water
- 2 cups grapes
- 2 egg wrap on a soft tortilla shell with onion, mushrooms, canned black olives, and pepper
- 1/2 peanut butter granola bar
- 1/2 blueberry yogurt bar
- 3 cups Caesar salad with croutons, dried cranberries, canned black olives, and fat free dressing
- 3/4 cup piƱa colada low fat yogurt with 1 cup Rice Krispies
- 1 cup yellow pepper with calorie-reduced three cheese dressing

EXERCISE:
- 35 minute step workout video
- 35 minute hi-lo workout video
- 30 minute walk

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How Do I Look?

I was in my belly dancing class a couple of days ago and just before the session started a conversation on weight loss quickly spread throughout the whole group. There is a surprisingly wide variety of woman in that small collection of fifteen to twenty individuals. There are representatives from those in their 20’s through their 60’s, several people from different cultural backgrounds, and just about every shape that you can imagine a lady having is also present. I love the diversity!

At any rate, there was lots of discussion on the different ways in which to lose weight – fast versus slow, exercising as opposed to or in cooperation with changing the diet, and so forth. At one point, the very cute and well-proportioned instructor contributed her opinion that you just need to truly commit to successfully lose weight and that determination to stay on your program will ultimately be the number one tool to help you drop the pounds.

There was approximately half a second of palpable tension before one of the other students – a woman who has managed to slowly lose about fifty pounds and who is still working at losing at least another forty – voiced her disagreement. She was obviously offended that such a comment would be put forward by someone who hadn’t experienced all she had been through.

Our instructor quickly followed that up with a bit of a shocker by saying, “I’m five-foot-one and I use to weigh nearly one-eighty. I lost fifty pounds.”

The point of me writing this isn’t to start a debate on the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to lose weight. Personally, I am of the opinion that it is the individual journey that makes it a success or not. The person who is going through the process is the most important factor regardless of whether their particular journey includes calorie counting, low fat options, copious amounts of weight training, simply walking, quick and large losses, slow and steady progress, the occasional gain, or any of the other myriad of things that can possibly come into play when talking about how to drop those extra pounds.

No, what I am delving into right now is the fact that every person in that studio had a serious change of perspective when the instructor revealed her history. Many had constructed assumptions simply because of what she looks like now, and some people gave consideration to her opinion based solely on what they saw in front of them at that moment. As soon as it was disclosed that she could relate to weight loss struggles on a personal level it seemed like her opinion suddenly held more bearing – that her experience as an obese individual granted her the recognition of a wider scope of wisdom on the topic from those participating in her class.

I am not sure what to think of that. I know that the few times I have mentioned to people I just met that I have lost a hundred pounds that they look me up and down in disbelief and exclaim, “Really!?” I, too, am reaching a point where half a lifetime of weight issues are now being erased from the view of the public. No longer are the majority of my scars visible. I do not carry the burden of obesity as heavy proof stretched across every inch of my body any more.

I wonder who will doubt my wisdom in the future simply because I fail to show outward signs of the battle I have long fought? I wonder whom I will question when they appear differently to my eyes than they may have if I simply looked, instead, with my heart?

Celebrate Good Times

I feel like I have been doing a touch too much celebratory eating over these past few days. I haven’t had anything really awful – and, yes, I even include the McDonald’s cheeseburger from yesterday in that sentiment since it is a complete anomaly and much better than the super-sized meal it would have been just over six months ago – but I still think that I need to reign it in.

I don’t want to become too lax just because I hit a big milestone or due to the fact that I am quickly becoming happier with my body and health. I certainly don’t want to start undoing all my hard work and I know that I have it in me to push to my posted goal weight and beyond. I’m not done yet!

Just to be clear with myself, being out with a friend who wants sushi is not a good enough reason to have that particular item when I was initially planning on salad. Opting for fast food, when I felt like commemorating a personal victory, just because the healthier options didn’t seem exciting enough is not a great plan. Being in a wonderful mood is not cause to regularly order fancy coffeehouse drinks.

I have been in such an incredibly positive place the past few days, but I really need to remind myself to stay focused. After all, continuing to be committed to this new lifestyle will give me a lot more to be happy about in the long run than enjoying a few treats in the here and now will ever provide.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 banana
- 2/3 cocoa coconut cluster energy bar
- 8 pieces of a California sushi roll with soy sauce
- 1 mug of coconut steamed skim milk
- 3/4 low fat spiced apple yogurt with 1/2 cup granola cereal
- 3 cups orange pepper and mushrooms with calorie-wise three cheese ranch dressing

EXERCISE:
- 35 minute step workout video
- 35 minute belly dancing workout video
- 25 minutes of the C25K program (Day 2 of Week 3)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My, Oh My, What A Wonderful Day

I got a later and an earlier start to my morning than what I was expecting which is why I am posting so far on in the day. I was supposed to rise and shine very early to get something done, but I slept in too late and wasn't coherent enough to realize it until it was too late to go. Then, once I did get up, I was immediately phoned by a friend and asked to meet up so I had to rush to get out the door quickly.

So, to prevent myself from having to think of something interesting to say now that I am finally in front of a computer for the first time today, and to accommodate the request I have had for a picture of my little zip-lining adventure yesterday, I present the following:
You can see the tower in the background that we launched from; the photograph was obviously taken from the platform of the one that you land on. I'm on the left and my husband is on the right. It was such a blast and I am still really proud that I was able to come out from behind my weight-related issues to make this happen!

Zipping Along

Guess what I did today? Go on… guess. Okay, on second thought, don’t bother because you will never figure it out! It is far too random!

I went zip-lining!!!

Wow! What an experience!!! I had SO much fun! It was a 550 foot line that crossed over the nearby metropolis’ centre area, right above the heads of hundreds of people, and went from a height of about eight stories over street level to approximately four stories above the ground. It was amazing!

This is something that I NEVER could have done at 266 pounds! Not only do they have weight restrictions – which I may have been allowed to just barely skim beneath as I came in at only nine pounds under the absolute maximum – but they also have measurement requirements which I definitely would not have met. They warn that women who are a size 18 are unlikely to fit into the necessary gear and, as I was a size 24W, there was no way that I could have done what I did today in the past.

On top of all that are the serious mental restrictions that I constantly placed on myself 100 pounds ago. I can pretty much guarantee that until these past couple of months I would have convinced myself that there was a serious possibility that my heart couldn’t handle the adrenalin that an experience like that inevitably produces. I would have talked myself out of the chance to do something like this because I so desperately feared my lack of fitness to the point that I thought it was detrimental to my immediate health in stressful situations. Just writing that makes me so sad and incredulous that I ever got to that point! I am so relieved that I am not still in that place now!

It was an awesome, incredible experience and one that I will never forget – for so many reasons! I can’t believe that I did that today, but I also can’t believe that I ever took the opportunity to do so away from myself. No more! This girl is living life to the fullest and if something tries to get in her way, she’ll just zip-line right over it to prove that there are no longer any limitations that can hold her back!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 egg white wrap on a whole wheat tortilla shell with feta cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 mug toffee nut steamed skim milk
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 4 French fries
- 1 cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, and onions
- 1/3 cocoa coconut cluster energy bar
- 8 pieces of a California sushi roll with soy sauce
- 1/2 homemade mini pizza on a whole wheat pita wrap with pizza sauce, deli turkey beer sausage, grated part skim cheese, and canned black olives

EXERCISE:
- 1 hour Belly Dancing For Fitness class

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Way In

Today was crazy busy and tomorrow will be the same, so I probably won’t get back here to post again until the evening. As it is, I am exhausted now so I am going to throw a few NSV’s up here in point form to save time so that I can head to bed sooner while also recording these fun weight loss markers. I do love noting the stuff that I accomplish on the way in to a happier, healthier me, and not only the things I achieve during the weigh-ins

  • Regarding the outfit that is photographed in my last post, I forgot to mention that the jeans are 11/12’s! I can’t believe I am down yet another size!!!

  • Also, in reference to that outfit, I was able to purchase both the jacket and the pants from a store that I have not been able to shop in since I was a teenager. This particular shop has always been ‘the’ place that I wanted to be able to walk into again one day and eventually be able to fit into the clothes, and I am thrilled to say that I finally can and did!

  • My behind really hurts now if I sit for any length of time in a hard chair… most of my cushioning is gone!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 homemade mini pizza on a whole wheat pita wrap with pizza sauce, deli turkey beer sausage, grated part skim cheese, and canned black olives
- 5 cups salad with deli ham, grated cheese, lettuce, tomato, black olives, green pepper, onion, and honey mustard dressing
- 12 candy hearts
- 1 mug coconut steamed skim milk
- 1 banana nut bread energy bar

EXERCISE:
- 25 minutes of the C25K program (Day 1 of Week 3)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Picture Perfect

I just had to share this photograph! I can't even begin to express how amazing I felt in this outfit last night! I look at this and can't believe that it's me... I am so happy right now!!!

One Year Ago...

Today was wonderful! I had such a great evening spending time with loved ones and I did get a lot of really positive, lovely remarks about my transformation. It was just a great night and I had a ton of fun!

One of the special things about tonight’s event is that one year ago, while sitting pretty much at my heaviest weight, I was celebrating the same birthday with the same people. Except I can recall a very different emotion attached to last year’s party due to one conversation in particular that I had with the patriarch.

This group of people has been in my life for about two decades now so I am considered family and, as such, have long looked at the man I am speaking about as a father figure. Last February, he and I found ourselves in the kitchen having a deep conversation about all of the different facets of life. We chatted about what was going on in our lives, what was taking place in the world, and of ideas and thoughts and dreams. Inevitably – I say this because he, too, is an individual who struggles with extra pounds – the topic of weight loss was finally broached.

I remember that I fought to maintain my composure as I discussed in detail all I had tried over the previous year or two to drop the excess weight. I probably smiled at him with tears clinging to my eyelashes as I simultaneously enjoyed the openness that we share and abashedly admitted to my shortcomings. Then he told me something I will never forget.

“Maybe losing weight is just one of those things that you won’t ever be able to do.”

It was said with every loving fiber of his being, and undoubtedly with the intention of easing my obvious frustration with the issue, but still was so incredibly opposite to my way of thinking that I haven’t forgotten anything about that moment. And I told him so then; I argued that I didn’t believe that and that I absolutely could do anything I set my mind to… that anything was possible.

I got to remind him of that conversation today. I got to tell him that I knew he was wrong then and that I still believe that anything is possible. We laughed, we hugged, and he told me he is proud. He told me I’m inspiring.

Happy Love Day, everyone!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 9 glasses of water
- 3 cups Caesar salad with Parmesan cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, and fat free dressing
- 1/2 glass of sparkling apple juice
- 1 cup green beans
- 3 sweet pickles
- 1/2 cup sour cream mashed potatoes
- 2 slices roast beef
- 1 homemade Yorkshire pudding
- 1 cup homemade reduced fat, reduced calorie trifle
- 1 piece angel food cake
- 1 mug of coconut steamed skim milk

EXERCISE:
- 4 sets of 30 seconds of crouched shadow boxing with dumbbells with 2.5 lbs for each arm
- 2 sets of 2 minutes of weight lifting with 2.5 lbs per arm
- 3 sets of 30 seconds of jumping jacks with 2.5 lbs per arm

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just A Trifle Excited

I am heading out tonight to attend a birthday party and I will be dressed in a brand new outfit that – quite uncharacteristically – I can’t wait to show off! I am excited to see the people who will be there both just to spend time with them and to have them see the changes that I have continued to go through since Christmas.

It’s a potluck and I have taken it upon myself to create a reduced fat, reduced calorie version of a not-quite-traditional trifle. I am planning to watch my portion control on most things at supper and am hoping to find vegetables or a salad that I like so that I can largely fill my plate up with those. I’m fairly confident that there will be a second dessert there this evening that I will likely want to sample, so it never hurts to plan ahead and know what choices I will be making to allow for certain indulgences.

I am still flying high because of my milestone loss! I just can’t shake this feeling and, truth be told, I am happy to have it hang around for a while longer. It’s going to be a wonderful Valentine’s Day and I hope everyone else is also fortunate enough to be celebrating with their loved ones!

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Companions

Today was a great day! I was feeling up all day long and got in a couple of really good, high energy workouts. I did much better on my water intake than I have been doing and I made healthy choices about what to eat too. My mood was elevated and I have just been floating along with this wonderful sense of accomplishment. I still can barely believe that I have lost one hundred pounds!

I am in awe of the fact that I have somehow discovered the quiet strength that resides within me to make a success out of my weight loss journey. With the Chinese New Year starting today, I am reminded once more of the seemingly endless chances we have to begin again. There is always time to find that starting off point, to hone in on that internal quality that will finally allow you to make this work long term, and to set about making the changes that need to be made. This innate power is not always forthcoming – and not always immediately recognizable to us or to others – but it is there. Inside, there is that spark in each and every one of us that makes anything possible. I believe this completely! We just need to learn how to tap into that fortitude and we are unstoppable!

I am still so blown away by everything I have experienced over these past six months! This latest accomplishment is no exception. It was pointed out to me that I have given myself quite the Valentine’s Day gift by reaching this milestone right now and I totally agree.

It makes me realize and appreciate though just how much support I have had along the way from those who have come to know me online. Each person who reads this blog, stops to comment, sends me an email, or otherwise reaches out has had a hand in my successes as I have moved towards improving my life and my health. Thank you! You are those unseen individuals who make my day brighter and my determination steeled more often than you would ever guess.

I want you all to know how much I appreciate you! On this day, which celebrates both new beginnings and love, I am pausing to let you know just how eternally grateful I am for everything you have all done to enrich my life. I simply could not be doing this without you! Thank you so much for your support, encouragement, wisdom, humour, understanding, compassion, and – most of all – friendship!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 10 glasses of water
- 1/2 cup pear fruit cup
- 2 homemade tuna cakes
- 3/4 cup fat free lemon chiffon yogurt
- 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin with honey
- 1 strawberry flavoured bran bar
- 3 cups Caesar salad with Parmesan cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, and fat free dressing

EXERCISE:
- 35 minute step workout video
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 3 of Week 2)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weigh-In For Week 27

I HAVE LOST 100 POUNDS!!!!!

I can’t believe it! I woke up this morning and weighed myself and for the first time the scale read under 166 – 165.4 to be precise. This means that I am down 2.4 from last week, I have had a loss of over 89 pounds since beginning this blog six months ago on August 12th of last year, and I have dropped over 100 pounds from my highest weight of 266 from exactly ten months ago in April of 2009!

100 POUNDS!!! Do you know what that works out to!?! I have lost the equivalent of one of the following:

  • about four hundred and fifty chocolate bars
  • eighty basketballs
  • over thirty college textbooks
  • more than eleven jugs of milk
  • eight bread machines
  • five big pumpkins
  • three bicycles
  • approximately one large bale of hay
  • an average hellfire missile
  • a female Newfoundland dog

WOW!!!!! I just have to say it one more time… I lost 100 pounds!!! Woo hoo!

I am so excited to have reached this milestone and even more geared up than ever to keep on travelling down the scale and making my way to a healthier me! This is for life in so many different ways!!!

The funny thing is that the best part about this morning was not actually seeing the number on the scale. The memory that I will always hold in my heart was when I told my husband and he picked me up in his arms and held me there, hugging me tightly. When I realized that he wasn’t going to throw his back out or otherwise hurt himself by holding my weight off the ground – that I was finally light enough for him to lift me up without hesitation – I let the tears flow freely. I am so proud and happy!

This Post Needs A Shy Physician With Allergies

Well, my mood is up and I'm feeling happy, but my alertness is way down and I think I am at risk of coming across as a bit dopey at this point! This is only because it was such a long day though and I am up past my bedtime. I should have quite a bit more time to do a decent post tomorrow – and I do have a number of small things I need to write about – so I will retire for now to ensure that my coherency remains in tact and that I will wake up rested and much less sleepy in the morning.

One thing I will mention before I go to bed is that I noticed I have not been doing as well as I normally do with my water intake over these past few days. I just haven’t felt as thirsty as usual. I wonder if, perhaps, that may be a contributing factor to my elevated crankiness levels of late and one of the reasons I have felt so grumpy.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 7 glasses of water
- 1 banana
- 2 homemade tuna cakes
- 1/2 cup peach fruit cup
- 3 cups mixed greens salad with tomato, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, yellow pepper, and fat free Italian dressing
- 1 pear
- 1 cup canned Mandarin oranges

EXERCISE:
- 15 minute walk
- 1 hour step workout video

Friday, February 12, 2010

Someone Stop The Roller Coaster - I Want Off

Up and down and all around! That’s where the fun that are my emotions took me today. I’m still feeling pretty pissy about things right now, although I am trying to focus a bit more on the positive – it’s just hard sometimes when I get in my head like I have today.

I am going to take tomorrow morning off from posting just because I have an early start and don’t yet know how the rest of the day is going to shape up. I suspect it will be another full afternoon and evening, but I am determined to stay on track. Regardless, I will be back to report – hopefully with a slightly sunnier disposition – in twenty-four hours or so.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 6 glasses of water
- 1/2 cup pear fruit cup
- 1/2 cup peach fruit cup
- 2 egg wrap on a soft tortilla shell with grated cheese, grated zucchini, onion, and pepper
- 3 cups mixed greens salad with grated cheese, shrimp, croutons, onion, red and yellow pepper, tomato, broccoli, mushroom, and fat free Italian dressing
- 1 mug of coconut steamed skim milk
- 6 inch sub on whole wheat bun with ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, green pepper, black olives, onion, light mayonnaise, mustard, and pepper
- 3 bites of a white chocolate macadamia cookie
- 1 cup of canned Mandarin oranges

EXERCISE:
- 5 hours and 30 minutes of walking around while shopping
- 2 sets of 30 seconds of crouched shadow boxing with dumbbells with 2.5 lbs for each arm

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Internal Struggle

Okay, so the mood has definitely been dampened a bit. Why is it that when I am feeling at my best something inevitably happens that steers me towards getting upset?

I had a bit of an internal conversation because of this. It went something like:

Frustrated Me: Well, forget this! I’m going to go get fat!
Reasonable Me: Whoa! Hold on there a second… what are you talking about?
Frustrated Me: I am so angry right now! I just want to eat.
Reasonable Me: Too bad. That’s not going to solve anything.
Frustrated Me: And!?! I don’t care about solving anything! I just want to stuff my face!
Reasonable Me: Yet, again, I come back with a resounding ‘too bad’. Go make a salad.

There may have been a few expletives that were omitted from Frustrated Me’s side of the dialogue.

Ebb And Flow

I had a bit of a headache for part of the evening. I am thinking that it is because I hadn’t had much water until later on, but even a sore noggin did not spoil my good mood. I am so, SO excited and honoured to be one of the people who will carry the Paralympic torch and I can’t wait for the next four weeks to pass so that I can make Canada proud!

I spent a good deal of this evening walking around the mall, taking my time, shopping for the rest of my reward / just for me outfit. I still haven’t been able to locate any bottoms that I am happy with, but I will head back out tomorrow if I have time and try to find something suitable. More walking will undoubtedly ensue when I am able to continue searching for this last key item to my ensemble.

Unfortunately, I did munch on a few shopping centre treats. I didn’t have anything too bad – and, honestly, I was out purposely enjoying time with myself so I can’t even claim to care very much about whether it was right or wrong – so I am okay with the few indulgences that happened today. I’m pretty sure they will combine with all the walking I did to result in a wash on the scale!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 3 small Mandarin oranges
- 1 cup peach fruit cups
- 2 egg wrap on a soft tortilla shell with cheese, red pepper, onion, and pepper
- 6 large pieces of a dynamite sushi roll with soy sauce
- 1 almond and apricot nutrition bar
- 1 mug coconut steamed skim milk
- 1/2 ice wine dark chocolate
- 1/2 orange chocolate

EXERCISE:
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 2 of Week 2)
- 35 minute walk
- 4 hours of walking around while shopping

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's Official!!!

As of a few minutes ago I received verbal confirmation that I am able to spread the word about the fact that I AM GOING TO BE A PARALYMPIC TORCH BEARER!!!!! OMG! I am SO excited!!! This is HUGE!

I knew about a month ago that I was probably going to be doing this, but I had to sign a confidentiality clause stating that I would not say anything until I was confirmed. Now that I am sure it is happening I am free to sing it from the rooftops: I AM GOING TO CARRY THE PARALYMPIC TORCH!!! WHEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Outfitted For Self-Preservation

I followed through on what I said I would earlier and did some soul searching. You know what I learned? Retail therapy makes me feel better!

It has been far too long since I splurged on any type of clothing. I have had to buy jeans and tops along this journey – simply to have something to wear – but everything I have purchased so far has been very basic. I go to the larger department stores to keep the cost reasonable and even frequent the thrift shops quite a bit. I’m cheap when it comes to buying anything for myself, and it definitely shows in my wardrobe.

This is why I splurged today. It is also why I will take a bit more time tomorrow and continue making my creditors happy. I have decided that I have earned an outfit. I want one really nice, well put together look that I can feel confident in. Everything I own is either old (granted, I have two very nice older dresses that I fit into right now, but I also have nowhere to wear them) or plain. I want something new and sparkly!

Okay, so maybe this isn’t the best way to implement a long standing trend for me to turn to whenever I need my batteries recharged. I can admit to that. However, I do think that this is just what I need to be able to say, “I did that for me.” Right now, I think that is important. Knowing that I did something like this for myself will give me the peace of mind I need to discover what I should be doing on a regular basis to relax and find ‘me time’.

I’m not entirely sure what my restoration plan will look like yet, but I know that I have been thinking a lot about Miz’s recent post on self-preservation kits. I think that creating something like that – a collection of items that I could turn to whenever I feel the need – could really help.

I know that this post and the last one have been more on the mental health aspects of this journey and I hope I am not boring my readers too much right now. I just feel like this is an important part of the process and something that I should really examine thoroughly so that I can continue on successfully with the weight loss and healthier gains. There are so many facets to this new lifestyle and I just wouldn't be doing it - or myself - justice if I skipped over anything.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 cup canned pineapple pieces
- 1/2 homemade mini pizza on a whole wheat pita wrap with garlic and basil pizza sauce, deli turkey beer sausage, grated part skim cheese, and mushrooms
- 1/2 cup pear fruit cup
- 1 wrap on a soft tortilla shell with shrimp, cheese, spinach, dried cranberries, fat free Miracle Whip, mustard, and pepper
- 2 miniature Mandarin oranges
- 1 cup of fruit salad with pineapple, grapes, orange, and grapefruit

EXERCISE:
- 1 hour and 35 minutes of walking completed in 3 outings (35 minutes long, 15 minutes long, and 45 minutes long)
- 1 hour Belly Dancing For Fitness class

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Need A Time Out

Something has been bothering me since last night. I was perusing the blogs that I frequent and came across a great post by Diane at Fit To The Finish on the importance of taking time out of your busy schedule on a regular basis to just do something for yourself. The article culminated in a seemingly simple question posed to the reader, asking what their favorite thing to do for themselves might be.

I had no answer.

I thought for quite a while about the query, trying to imagine what I enjoy doing when I am in need of a recharge. Eventually, working under the assumption that I was over-thinking the problem and missing some obvious solution, I turned to my husband and asked him his opinion on what I do for me. He, too, had to really think about it, and then he finally came up with and offered a response: helping others.

I honestly felt like crying. I know that I am not the type to generally put a lot of my own needs before the wishes of other people – that really doesn’t bother me. In fact, I like being that person. What shocked me though was the reality that I haven’t even remotely considered putting myself and my mental well-being first in a very long time. Somewhere along the way, I completely stopped thinking about what I need to keep going.

What do I do when I have to revitalize myself? Nothing, apart from pushing through! I just did this the other day! I feel like I never make the allowances for myself – regarding the downtime, the mistakes, and the luxury of taking it easy – that I do for others.

This whole topic has me very uneasy. I don’t like the thought that I have let the neglect of my own needs go so far. I shouldn’t have this much difficulty coming up with things that I do for myself in the promotion of my well-being and sense of self worth.

To be clear, I love my life! I have the best husband in the world and a good network of family and friends. I live in a country that provides me with more than I could ever ask for and I have a vast network of resources for just about anything I would ever need to explore. I get a lot of joy from the day to day bustle and I feel blessed and happy much, much more than frustrated and sad. Things are great!

But these types of introspective examinations often make me realize just how much more I need to learn and grow. When I look at where I fall on my list of priorities… well, I don’t even think I make the list. I totally forgot to put myself on the map when figuring out what has to happen to keep things running smoothly in my life.

I suspect the rest of today will be spent doing some soul searching. Either that or I’ll try to get some more items off my to do list, check in on some friends, research different workout options, run some errands, work on a couple homemade gifts, clean the house, bake for my husband’s co-workers, go grocery shopping, phone my parents, look for information on upcoming 5K’s, spend time with my better half, pick up some supplies, do the laundry…

Running To The Beat Of A Different Drum

One of the cool things that I discovered when investigating the C25K program is that there is a link on the website that connects to a free downloadable no-music podcast. It features only the audio cues necessary to stay on track with the timing of each week’s training.

I used this great tool and, with a little time and the help of some video editing software, was able to create my own personalized playlists with the cues playing over top of the music. I really thought this was an excellent alternative to using the tracks other people have put together as I am now able to listen to songs that I actually choose specifically to keep me motivated when jogging.

I have only created my own versions for the first and second weeks so far, but I am hoping to get the rest done soon. I thought it might be fun to showcase the random musical tastes that are uniquely mine, so I am posting the lists of songs below. Enjoy!

Week 1:
You Are The Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne
With A Little Help From My Friends – Across The Universe Soundtrack
Days Like This – Van Morrison
Grace Kelly – Mika
It’s Raining Men – Martha Wash
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Twist And Shout - The Beatles
Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves – Xena Soundtrack
King Of Spain – Moxy Fruvous

Week 2:
All You Need Is Love – Across The Universe Soundtrack
Summer Of ‘69 – Bryan Adams
Love Shack – B-52’s
Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks
Patricia The Stripper – Chris De Burgh
Greased Lightning – Grease Soundtrack
Get Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
Piece Of My Heart – Janis Joplin

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 10 glasses of water
- 1 1/2 cups canned pear halves
- 1 homemade mini pizza on a whole wheat pita wrap with garlic and basil pizza sauce, deli turkey beer sausage, grated part skim cheese, and mushrooms
- 3 1/2 cups spinach salad with shrimp, 1 light Laughing Cow cheese wedge, croutons, yellow pepper, green onion, dried cranberries, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 1 strawberry flavoured bran bar
- 1/2 piece homemade low fat, low calorie zucchini bread with margarine
- 3 miniature Mandarin oranges
- 2 cups Caesar salad with Parmesan cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, and fat free dressing
- 3/4 cup fat free black cherry yogurt with 1 cup almond and honey oats cereal

EXERCISE:
- 30 minute walk
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 1 of Week 2)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not

One of the big chores that I got done yesterday was going through all of the dry, canned, and frozen food that is in the house and making a mental inventory of what we have. It’s been a long time since this was done. I am going to be trying to incorporate a lot of these items into my diet over the next few weeks to try and use up the majority of the excess stuff that we have. I will be doing this in a healthy way.

There is quite a bit of preserved fruit, so that shouldn’t take too much adjusting. I know it’s not as good for me as fresh produce, but at least I am not letting anything go to waste. There are a number of cans of flaked meat, plus lots of the frozen packaged variety too, which means that I will be making more meals that utilize that food group. There are a few pre-packaged dehydrated items that I will go through a little more slowly. Also, I have a lot of soup that should be used up before the warmer weather hits and it is likely shuffled to the back of the cupboard.

The biggest thing that I need to be careful of while implementing this process is monitoring my sodium intake. I don’t want to make these temporary adjustments to the detriment of my weight loss, and the potential for water retention could result in exactly that. I think, though, that the biggest selling point of this plan is that it will shake things up for my body and keep it guessing. A lot of the items were bought prior to me beginning this journey and I want to make sure that they aren’t wasted, but it is also an opportunity to surprise my system with the introduction of unfamiliar foods in a health-conscious manner.

And On The Seventh Day...

It was not the best day in the world as far as my eating goes, but it also wasn’t all that bad. My exercise, on the other hand, really could have been improved. I pretty much just forced out a few crunches before I sat down to write this to make sure that I had something to report.

It was just a bit of a running around, getting stuff done, and visiting with people kind of a day. I did not plan properly and so it wasn’t the best that I could have done, but I know I will do better tomorrow. I’m not beating myself up about it!

Two really interesting things happened today. First, I had a photo taken of me and when I went to look at the digital image to see how it had turned out, I was a bit taken aback by how slender I looked. There has been a few times over the past couple of months when I have noticed the photographic evidence not meshing with how I think I appear (but in a good way, for a change). Today really surprised me though because I did actually think of that specific word when I saw the image: slender.

The other thing which took place that was a first is that my wonderful father-in-law told me today not to lose too much weight. Wow! Those are words I never really thought I would hear. I am so appreciative that he cares so much and wants to make sure that I take care of myself! Having read about other individuals’ journeys I was prepared to eventually get this kind of feedback from the people I love – I think it must be very unnerving to watch someone’s physical appearance change so drastically – but I know that the truth is that I am still technically overweight and that I am not yet done losing. I am fortunate that I have always generally carried my weight very evenly, but I think it throws people off when they discover the actual numbers – both now and when I was at my heaviest.

Overall, my day was really great! I got to spend time with several loved ones, made some significant headway on some chores around the house, had a lovely, long, and relaxing chat with my better half, got to cross something off my life list, celebrated the Superbowl victory of my team of choice, and was in a pretty fabulous mood all day long! Here’s to more absolutely perfect Sundays!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 9 glasses of water
- 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin with light peanut butter
- 1 mug gingerbread steamed soy milk
- 2 small Mandarin oranges
- 3 cups spinach salad with 1 light Laughing cow cheese wedge, croutons, yellow pepper, mushrooms, green onion, dried cranberries, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 1 fiber chocolate delite bar
- 1 white dinner bun with butter
- 2/3 cup roast potatoes
- 2/3 cup roast pork
- 1/3 cup canned corn
- 1/2 cup rainbow sherbet
- 1 bite of a cupcake with icing
- 4 sips of beer

EXERCISE:
- 30 stomach crunches

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Universe Isn't The Only Thing Collapsing In On Itself

Where is my bellybutton going? With the flesh on my abdomen becoming increasingly soft and pliable as I lose more weight, there seems to be a slight flap forming over the opening. It’s not really an unattractive or annoying development, but if I go to stick my finger in there – don’t ask – now I have to aim from a lower angle to avoid pushing the skin into the abyss.

I hate it when my husband tries to poke around in there (which I’m sure he does just to test my patience) so maybe this is my body’s way of protecting itself. It’s sort of like when a snail pulls shut the shell’s operculum and is less vulnerable!

In all seriousness though, it’s so strange to experience such a wide array of changes that I never expected and certainly never could have anticipated. There are some things that are not a surprise like the lower scale number, the smaller sizes, and the increased stamina and energy, but there is still a lot that happens that comes as a bit of a shock when losing a large amount of weight. I would definitely rank this recent personal microcosm of the theory of universal collapse with the latter.

Dream Girl

I awoke from my slumber this morning fairly slowly and was able to recall a lot of what I had been dreaming about as I gently drifted into full consciousness. It was all about food.

Specifically I can remember that I was at a restaurant with at least one friend and she was trying to get me to order a hot toddy. I turned it down, however, because I knew that it was largely made up of butter (apparently my sleeping brain mixed the drink up with hot buttered rum).

Next I started ordering items from the menu, but I was flip-flopping between being really good and not caring at all. Basically I would refuse to order any fries because they were bad for me, and then I would ask for onion rings. I contemplated and decided against a huge greasy burger, but wound up requesting an enormous plate of chicken chow mien. I wouldn’t consider getting the fancy pasta with cream sauce, yet I had no qualms about diving into a massive slab of cheesecake topped with whip and caramel sauce. These are just a few examples as this went on for a while.

Then – and I remember this very clearly – I noticed that they had white chocolate eggnog truffle steamed milk! Does such a thing even exist?! Did my mind seriously create this unbelievably tempting, yet evil, flavour?

Finally, I recall that there was a machine that we could take all the food to – or more accurately duplicates of the food, since I ate most of what I ordered – in the back of the restaurant that measured out how many calories everything had when you tossed items into its opening. After throwing everything I had consumed in, it turned out I had already had 3000 calories in that one sitting. Then after putting the few things into the machine that I was still debating eating, it turned out that the tally came in at 5000 calories. That’s when I remembered that the next day was my weigh-in.

I have no idea what that dream was all about, but it was technically food related so I figured it warranted a journal entry. Now if I can just figure out how to make a low fat version of that steamed milk and come up with a prototype for the calorie counting machine I’ll be rich!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 10 glasses of water
- 3/4 cup fat free lemon chiffon yogurt
- 1 piece of homemade low fat, low calorie zucchini bread with margarine
- 1 bite of a pumpkin spice scone
- 1 wrap on a soft tortilla shell with deli turkey breast, grated cheese, spinach, dried cranberries, fat free Miracle Whip, mustard, and pepper
- 2 1/2 cups celery and orange pepper with calorie-wise three cheese ranch dressing
- 2 cups steamed asparagus with margarine
- 3 miniature Mandarin oranges
- 1 fiber chocolate delite bar
- 3 cups spinach salad with 1 light Laughing Cow wedge, croutons, dried cranberries, red pepper, green onion, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing

EXERCISE:
- 50 minute walk
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 3 of Week 1)
- 45 minute workout video

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weigh-In For Week 26

I am down to 167.8 as of this morning which means I have slipped into a new ‘decade’ since my last weigh-in. I am less than two pounds away from being able to say that I have lost one hundred pounds from my highest weight! I know that the numbers are not the only thing that is important on this journey, but I have to admit that I am feeling pretty happy about this week’s loss. It’s been a bit of an emotional go of things lately and – right or wrong – this is a welcome pick-me-up.

This is also the first weigh-in of the month and, as usual, the time I choose to update my measurements and progress picture. The one thing I noticed this time that was significantly different is that my arms went down twice as much as they have in past months – I think I am safe in attributing that result to the strength training portions of the 30 Day Shred.

Weight - 167.8 lbs (-86.8 from start / -13.4 from Jan.)
Bust - 38.0 inches (-12.0 from start / -2.0 from Jan.)
Waist - 36.0 inches (-12.0 from start / -2.0 from Jan.)
Hips - 43.5 inches (-11.5 from start / -1.0 from Jan.)
Arms - 14.0 inches (-3.5 from start / -1.0 from Jan.)
Thighs - 25.0 inches (-7.5 from start / -1.5 from Jan.)
BMI - 26.3 (-13.6 from start / -2.1 from Jan.)
This month I am having a little difficulty seeing the changes from my last photograph apart from those in my aforementioned arms. That could easily be because of the state of mind I am still in however. Nevertheless, I am feeling like January was a successful month despite all the ups and downs. February is much shorter though, so I will have to make sure that I stay on the ball to see even more developments in just four weeks.

It's A Good Thing

I think I spent more time in the kitchen today than I do in a typical week. I made a variation on my Delish Squished Fish Disks, two batches of Macaroni And Cheese Soup, and a couple loaves of low fat, low calorie Zucchini Bread. Move over Martha Stewart!

The tuna cakes were just for regular eats today for my hubby and me, but I made the soup and the larger bread for a family that needs it right now. I good friend of mine brought their situation to my attention and I have a hard time denying anybody help when it is within my means. We will enjoy the smaller of the two loaves tomorrow as it is too late to be eating something so close to bedtime. It just came out of the oven though and the amazing smell has got me drooling all over this keyboard!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 11 glasses of water
- 1 large banana
- 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin with light peanut butter
- 1 Mandarin orange
- 2 cups strawberry caprese salad with basil, part skim mozzarella cheese, and a balsamic vinegar, olive oil, seasoning, and pepper dressing
- 5 cups low fat popcorn
- 2 homemade tuna cakes
- 1 pear
- 3 spoonfuls of homemade macaroni and cheese soup

EXERCISE:
- 50 minutes walk
- 8 push ups
- 30 seconds for each leg of a static lunge with bicep curls with 2 lbs for each arm
- 30 seconds of crouched shadow boxing with dumbbells with 2 lbs for each arm

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've Had The Energy Sucked Right Out Of Me

I gave blood yesterday and, as a result, I am feeling pretty worn out right now. I already went for a walk today, but if this energy crash continues I think that will have to be the total culmination of my activities. I’d love to get in some more exercise and will do just that if I start to feel revitalized later on, but I have to listen to my body. For the time being it is simply telling me that I need to rest.

Savoir Fare

Lyn from Escape From Obesity recently wrote two blog entries that caught my attention. First, she posted a nice looking recipe for an adaptation on a caprese salad; basically, strawberries were used in place of tomatoes. I have never even tasted the original form of this type of dish so I tried the variation this afternoon and I have to say that it was delicious! The blending of the different flavours really made this meal for me.

The other bit of food knowledge that Lyn peaked my interest with was when she talked about how she has finally incorporated grapefruit into her diet. Since the issues that she sited were virtually identical to the reasons I have always given when saying that I hate this sour fruit, I thought it may be time to give it another try while carefully following the advice laid out in her post.

Honestly, it was pretty good. I can’t claim that I am going to make grapefruit a daily or weekly staple, but at least now I know that I can have some if I experience a craving – and after what I had yesterday, there very well may be the occasional craving in my future. What it came down to was picking the right variety (pink or red, rather than white) and adding a little honey to amp up the sweetness factor. All in all, I thought it was a nice change from the other fruits I usually consume.

Another blogger, Heather from Heather’s House, emailed me a recipe for Monterey Jack Fish Cakes following my recent experiment with creating my own tuna cakes. Again, I just had to try them and I was not disappointed! They were so yummy and I can not get over the fact that I seem to be past my aversion to all fish. Plus, my husband is extra happy that I am cooking up such scrumptious meals for him.

I am so pleased that I am becoming a bit more accustomed with the different foods that are out there, the many ways in which to prepare them, and the variety of opportunities to simply try something new. Finally being open-minded about fare that I used to turn my nose up has given my taste buds a lot to be thankful for!

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 9 glasses of water
- 1 pear
- 2 homemade sole cakes with cheese dip
- 1 Mandarin orange
- 1/2 almond and coconut nutrition bar
- 1 glass of a strawberry breakfast drink
- 1 glass of peach juice
- 2 shortcake biscuits
- 1 mug coconut steamed skim milk
- 2 cups strawberry caprese salad with basil, part skim mozzarella cheese, and a balsamic vinegar, olive oil, seasoning, and pepper dressing

EXERCISE:
- 30 minutes of the C25K program (Day 2 of Week 1)
- 2 hours and 20 minutes of walking completed in 2 outings (2 hour and 5 minutes long and 15 minutes long)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Brave Heart

A couple of days ago, when I was feeling at my lowest, my husband gave me some advice in an attempt to help me find the perseverance and strength for this journey that he knows resides within. He told me that although I have hit a bump in the road, it is no reason for me to go flying off into a ditch. Keep going straight, he prompted, and eventually you’ll get to where you need to go. “You know what works, so just do that,” was his rather insightful recommendation.

Then he peaked at me from the corner of his eye and, completely deadpan, said, “And remember… they can take our lands, but they can never take… OUR FREEDOM!” Talk about a supportive husband, or at least a man who can pull random quotes out of nowhere when trying to make his wife feel better. I’m fairly certain that he was rather pleased with himself when I laughed out loud despite my dejected mood.

Can You Spot The Oxymoron?

Since beginning this blog nearly six months ago, I have done my very best to incorporate healthy choices into my menus. I am not perfect and will never aim to make fabulous selections one hundred percent of the time, but I am eating better right now than I have in my entire life – by a long shot.

I used to be the queen of the processed, pre-packed foods. If it wasn’t instantly edible out of the box or bag, or at least ready after five minutes in the microwave, I pretty much had no interest in it. With such habits, it’s not hard to imagine the copious amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat that I ingested on a daily basis.

So when I talk about how I now generally aim to have whole foods in my diet, what I mean is that I am doing the best that I can given that this is still quite new to me. As a rule, I travel more along the outside of a store when I need to get groceries rather than trekking through the aisles that are heavily laden with less than ideal packaged options. The deli, bakery, produce section, and dairy products are typically stocked along the walls and I find that using this guideline helps me make better decisions about what to put into my cart (and body).

Yes, I still eat some items that are likely over-processed and I will probably always feel the need to have a small amount of my dressings and dips to accompany my vegetables. I eat out sometimes too; although, even then, I try to find restaurants that provide options which include fresher products instead of frozen ones. With some other stuff I don’t doubt that I am fooling myself as far as what the ingredient list would illuminate if I bothered to check, but I am really okay with that for now. Like so much in life, when it comes to change, it’s all relative – and I am leaps and bounds away from the unhealthy habits that I used to sport.

All of this prefacing is so that I can explain why I felt the way I did earlier this afternoon. Today and yesterday I tried a few different nutrition bars since I have recently been reading about the amazing ones other people seem to be enjoying of late. I was only able to locate one of the specific kinds I have heard about, but I actually tried three different brands over the last two days.

They were very tasty and I honestly enjoyed every bite that I had, yet after sampling the last two types today I noticed a short while later that I felt both full and empty. It was the strangest feeling, but at the same time something that seemed very familiar. I had the sensation of being weighted down in my midsection – as if I had eaten too much – but I was still hungry.

Then it hit me! I felt preserved. I felt like I did when I was eating all of that other pre-packaged and over-processed stuff. It was as if I could feel the preservatives and abundance of ingredients making their way into my system and complicating the inner workings of my body. It was an unexpected epiphany, but one that was very welcome.

I still have a few of these bars in my house and, I admit, they won’t be going to waste. I did enjoy them and will likely have them again very soon. However, I am definitely going to be spreading them out over a longer period of time and viewing them as treats and not staples.

This was a good lesson for me today. It reminded me that I really don’t want to go back to the unhealthy eating that I demonstrated so regularly before. My body is happier because of what I choose to fuel it with now, and I can no longer imagine switching back to the foods which left it in a state of perpetually detrimental preservation.

FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 8 glasses of water
- 1 banana
- 3/4 cup fat free blueberry yogurt with 1 cup whole grain Cheerios
- 1 wrap on a soft tortilla shell with deli turkey breast, cheese, spinach, dried cranberries, fat free Miracle Whip, mustard, and pepper
- 1 apple-cinnamon crisp bar
- 1 Mandarin orange
- 1/2 almond and coconut nutrition bar
- 2 cups steamed asparagus with margarine
- 1 pink grapefruit with honey

EXERCISE:
- 1 hour and 15 minutes of walking completed in 2 outings (35 minutes long and 40 minutes long)
- 15 squats
- 15 lunges for each leg
- 8 push ups
- 50 stomach crunches
- 15 bent leg donkey kicks for each leg
- 25 side lying leg raises for each leg
- 5 sets of walking up and down stairs

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