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Posts Tagged ‘healthy living’

My coach

My coach

We all know that having a great exercise partner can mean the difference between success and failure. But why not turn your BFF into a fool-proof exercise companion?

I am going to try to train Cadie to do this. I think she’d really like it, and it would be a great way to burn some extra energy on days when we can’t get out.

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The Rhone at Avignon.

My mother and I are planning a trip to Provence. I know, I’m so excited! I haven’t been on a trip since 2006, when mum and I went on a cruise of the Adriatic. This time we will cruise down the Rhone for something like 12 days, then we’ll send 3 days in Paris, then we’ll fly back to Toronto and collapse exhaustedly into our beds. Mum will rest, and I’ll have to get up and go to work, but there are worse fates.

The point is, when we booked this trip my mother made me promise that I would try to lose some weight. Our experience on the European cruise ship in 2006 told us that we were heavier than we should be, and, in fact, we were heavier than just about everyone else around us. Mum wants to make sure that we fit in. Maybe “fit in” is the wrong way of putting it, but she doesn’t want us to stand out either.

So I wish I could stand here today and tell you that I have been trying really hard, and then show you some fabulous before and after pictures of me and my fabulous new body. Unfortunately that just isn’t the case. Not because I’m not trying. I dutifully log onto my fitness pal every day: in fact it tells me that I’ve been logged on for 100 days in a row. I watch my food intake and try to balance it out with my energy output, but in spite of that I haven’t lost a pound. Not 1 pound in a 100 days. Not a goodwill pound, not an atta-girl pound. Nothing!

I have to stop giving into temptation and making these types of treats.

Don’t misunderstand me; this isn’t a mystery. I know why I’m not losing weight. For all the tracking and balancing that I’m doing, I’m still eating yummy things like cakes, cookies and homemade peanut butter cups, and that’s just my snacks. For lunch and dinner, I’m eating my greens, and my corn, as well as squash and tomato, but I’m doing it in veggie burgers and on pizzas.

Controlling my food intake has always been a challenge for me. When I was 16 my grandmother told me that I had the appetite of a man, and went on to say that she had never seen anything like it. Still, I was young, and healthy, and active, so it seemed to me that it was only normal that I should eat like a horse.

At 12 I lost a ton of weight, maybe as much as 30 or 50 pounds. I’m not sure, I didn’t have a scale. I just worked out in secret until all of the weight was gone. My eating habits were once again the topic of conversation, as my family, some friends, and their mothers all remarked that I had lost a ton of weight; they added that they hoped that I had the good sense to know when to stop.

What was I thinking when I made these?

My goal in life has never been about being stick thin, rather it was about reaching a healthy weight and then being able to maintain it. That way, I told myself, I wouldn’t have to have these humiliating and debasing conversations with well-intentioned people. Unfortunately, I once again find myself needing to lose weight, but this time I’m struggling to find exercise that won’t hurt my back, while also struggling to get the binge eating under control. As delicious as it all is, these treats are interfering with my life, and my goals. I’d like to go to France lighter and with more energy so that I can make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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Ottawa Ontario Canada  March 2011 — Rideau Can...

I used to run a lot when I was in my 20s, at least 3 times a week, and sometimes more if I need a breather from school, or if I felt that I had over-indulged. Running gave me such a nice, weightless feeling. It was a place where I could escape and just feel free. I remember my hair streaming out behind my head while my breath came in regular puffs of white mist. These were the days when I loved running, when I pitied anyone who couldn’t run. I felt strong, and independent and healthy, and I loved those feelings.

Those were the good runs, but there were also bad runs: runs that were fuelled by a broken heart, or crushing disappointments. These runs always seemed to end in hyperventilating, extra-stiff muscles and lengthy delays as I tried to regulate my breathing so that I could continue on my way.

My coach

Still, when I think back to my running days all I remember is the good: the runs where I felt invincible, where I knew I was young, healthy and strong, and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. There was the time in Ottawa when my run was fuelled by a broken heart and had been delayed by crying fits and hyperventilating. But I managed to get myself going again, and when I reached the end of my route and set my first foot on Laurier bridge the sky exploded into bright greens, reds and blues as we started the annual Winterlude celebration. There was also the Christmas morning when I decided to head out for a run before the festivities began. The sky was so blue, the trees so bare, and the earth covered by a thin layer of crystallized frost. The memory of that run is so idyllic to me that I sometimes forget that I was running down service roads, past empty factories and warehouses. I can’t remember anything else from that Christmas day, but I relive that run regularly.

Me, out for a rare run.

My running days are well and truly behind me now. A back injury and worsening asthma make if difficult for me to commit to a running routine, though that hasn’t stopped me from going on the occasional run. These days the bulk of my exercise has to happen in the pool. I don’t love swimming, not yet; I haven’t created the kinds of memories and the emotional bond that I had with running. In the pool I feel weak and uncoordinated, and I hate these feelings. I routinely find myself clinging to  the side of the pool gasping for air,  or clutching my side, waiting for the cramps to pass. So I find myself looking for more and more opportunities to skip out, to tell myself that I’m too busy, that I can’t get in the pool because it’s too cold outside, etc. But I know that this isn’t who I am, I know that I am a fighter at heart, and that I just need to commit myself to improving my skill, to becoming a stronger swimmer, so that I can find my stride, and feel strong after each workout. Then, maybe I could love it as much as I loved running.

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Deutsch: Ben & Jerrys Cherry Garcia

I often think about support systems. How we keep ourselves on track, and the people who are standing beside us, urging us on, are a big part of the success we experience. For most of us, we get the majority of our support from friends and family. Some of us might have the support of health care professionals, but at the end of the day, the decision to exercise, or to have that second bowl of ice cream, is between us, the voices in our heads, and often the reflection in the mirror. So I guess it’s not all that surprising that we often make the wrong decision.

I have been lucky enough to discover a new supporter. Back in March I walked into my local convenience store and picked up a bag of chips, a two-litre bottle of Dr. Pepper, and a pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream. While I was waiting for the charges to clear my account I started chatting to the sales clerk. I told her that it was my first splurge in two weeks. She laughed and asked if I was on a diet. I laughed and said, well… yes, but also it’s about saving money, since junk food is expensive. Then we both laughed, because my three items had come to nearly twenty dollars. I took my “treasures” and went home to enjoy them.

A few weeks ago I had another series of cravings. I was in the store three more times, in as many days. On my second trip the sales clerk reminded me that I had given up junk food. I became defensive, and told her that I deserved some credit for not coming in before. She laughed and packed my treats into my Lulu Lemon bag.

I could make no such protestation when I arrived the next day with my Lulu Lemon bag in font of my face. She laughed as soon as she saw me slink into the store. Undeterred, I got my treats, said a few self loathing words to her, and turned to leave. In a pathetic attempt to salvage some dignity and pretend that I have willpower, I said “you won’t see me now for a long time.” “Good,” she said, “I’m here all the time.” And with that I left, knowing that I had lost my anonymity, but had gained a new supporter. And an important supporter at that; now that I know there is another set of eyes on me I think twice before spur of the moment over indulgencies.

It’s been two months since that last meeting, and my only interaction with this kind sales clerk is when I stop my dog walk to wave at her through the open door. It’s good to know that she’s keeping me on track.

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Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

Image via Wikipedia

I was planning on writing a very nice post about friendship and soufflés today, but then I fell asleep at 8 pm last night, so no such post exists. Instead I’m going to take the time to review where I’m at with my goals for 2011. I’ve also decided that I should probably do this every month, otherwise my goals will be forgotten and 2011 will be a lost year.

1) Stay the course. CHECK! I’m just trying to be more mindful of caloric intake and caloric output.

2) Find inner peace (i.e. meditate). I haven’t started yet. One of my coworkers meditates and she promised to bring me some getting started equipment, it just hasn’t happened yet.

3) Dating. Can we just skip this one? I have signed up for an online dating site, but so far I haven’t really met anyone there I’d want to talk to. So I guess half a check. Does such a thing exist? Should I be talking to people I think are totally wrong, just to say I’m doing it?

4) Find adventure. CHECK! Penelope and I are taking the dogs on a winter hike this weekend, so I’m on the cusp of adventure.

5) Defrumpify. CHECK! I’ve been making an effort to wear makeup to work most days, and that little bit of extra effort has made me feel less frumpy for sure.

6) See the world. Well, I have been back to Brantford to visit with my family, and I am planning a trip to Guelph next weekend…wait, those places aren’t new. Maybe travel is best put off until the summer when the roads are a little less “iffy.”

7) Skate my brains out! CHECK! Well, I mean, I still have brains in my head, but I have been out skating twice already, and I plan to go again at lunch, and 3 times is a new season high. My goal is to make it to 25 outings this winter.

8) Also called 8. Adding Step Class to my routine. CHECK! I’ve only missed one class since Christmas, and that was because I had a migraine. I even went to class in that week between Christmas and New Years.

9) Balance the books. This is as embarrassing as the dating entry. I am bringing my lunch to work more often, and I have been thinking things through before buying them, and I haven’t bought much, but still I feel like there’s more I could do on this front. I hope to have better progress to report in Feb.

10) Edit. I have not edited this list, but I have been editing my home. I’ve already purged a whole bunch of stuff from my life, and I have planned a party with some friends to do more purging. (There’s one thing you should know about me, and that’s that everything is a party. I can, and do, plan parties for everything, including throwing away garbage.)

So that’s how the goals stack up at the end of January, and now I have a road map for February.

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Wii Fit - Instant Fave!

Image by nataliej via Flickr

So, Circe and I started this blog almost a month ago, and so far I’ve only written one post. Unfortunately, that’s mostly because I don’t have anything to report in terms of our healthy living goals. B and I have had a busy month, and, as it always seems to during these times, our eating has suffered. I also haven’t made any time for exercise, other than my daily walk with Toby and my lone hike with Circe and the dogs.

I’m hoping I can get back on track this week. My exercise goal this week: to do at least half an hour of Wii Fit each night. It doesn’t sound like much, but I need to start somewhere. This idea was actually inspired by my parents. I went home to visit them this weekend, and they asked me to help them get set up on Wii Fit. They’ve had the game for about 2 years, and in all that time they’ve only played once (the day they got it, in fact). But they’ve recently retired and they want to start getting some daily exercise. So I showed them how to get it set up (only laughing a little at their attempts to use the Wii remote) and and they’re ready to start their new routine tomorrow.

I figure I should do the same, since in all honesty, I really haven’t played the game too much more than they have in the 2 and a half years B and I have owned it.  The reason, of course, is my own laziness. Aside from not bothering to make enough time for it, it’s always such a big ordeal to get it set up!

First I have to locate the game, and put it in the Wii. Then I have to pull out the Wii balance board, and move the coffee table out of the way so there’s a spot for it. Then I have to turn on the game. This is more complicated than it sounds, as it takes three remotes: one for the TV, one for the sound system, and one for the Wii. And more often than not, I have to change the batteries in the Wii remote.

Once the game is finally on, I usually procrastinate for a while in lieu of actually exercising. First I’ll weigh myself, and then examine the graphs to see how my weight and BMI have changed over time (luckily for me, this is not much). Next, I’ll weigh my dog, just for the fun of it. His weight never really changes either, but he enjoys barking at his little doggy avatar. This never fails to amuse me, and I’ll let him bark and growl for a bit. With those essentials out of the way, I’ll hem and haw over the games before I actually decide what I want to do. By this time, I’ve wasted at least half an hour, which never seems to leave me much time for actual exercising.

I aim to change all that, starting tomorrow. After all, if Circe can get up at 5am to work out with Gillian Michaels, surely I can take some time out of my evening to do a little Wii Fitting! So tomorrow it is. Wish me luck!

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