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Posts Tagged ‘Weight loss’

Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper

Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper (Photo credit: ManyLittleBlessings)

I remember a few years back, on the first Sunday of Lent, the minister at my church made a humorous observation, one that has stayed with me and that I repeat often. He said: “as good Protestants you’ve probably already given up on giving up.” I laughed then, and I laugh whenever I think of it. Up until last year I always gave something up for Lent. Usually it was chocolate, or ice cream, or some other guilty pleasure of which I was starting to feel a little ashamed.

The minister was encouraging us to see Lent as a time to broaden our understanding of spirituality, and to use the Lenten season for self improvement, if not for fasting. Last year, mostly because I couldn’t think of anything to give up, I decided that I would instead focus on adding something to my routine, and so I meditated. I meditated every night before bed, and enjoyed it so much that I shared my guided meditations with any friend who expressed an interest. Instead of giving up I decided to add in, to build up my spiritual health, rather than deny myself something I shouldn’t be eating anyhow. I added something to my life to make myself more spiritually aware, help ease my stress, and bring back a sense of calm. In fact, it was the best Lenten season I’d ever had—so good, that I swore I would never give up again.

This year, as we start Lenten anew I’ve changed my tune. I’ve decided to give up diet pop. Diet pop is more than just a guilty pleasure, it’s a daily indulgence that, I worry, is really problematic. So, for that reason, I’ve decided to give up diet pop.

We all have our Achilles heels, those foods that we know are bad for us, but that we can’t seem to pull ourselves away from. Mine is pop. A few years ago I switched to diet pop. I told myself that I needed the carbonation, but I couldn’t justify the sugar in regular pop. So I drank the diet pop, and didn’t give it another thought. But now I’ve reevaluated this indulgence, and I know that it has no place in my life. So I’m choosing to respect my belief that I deserve good health, and that good health is something I can achieve.

Over the summer I made the transition to a mostly plant-based diet. Since that time I’ve been really interested in food: how it’s made, what’s in it, and how it affects us. Then last week, when I was quite sick, I had no energy, so I found myself at home sleeping and watching movies. My second day home, I was flipping through Netflix when I found a documentary called Hungry for Change. I tried not to watch it; I was looking for a good laugh, but as nothing else really appealed to me, I decided to watch it.

Sure, there are lots of things that I took from this movie, but the one that really spoke to me was the information on diet pop. I won’t get into all of the arguments that Hungry for Change makes against diet pop, because frankly there are far too many of them, but there was one argument that really hit home with me. Aside from being full of chemicals, diet pop, the experts argued, is not calorie free. Manufacturers use artificial sweeteners, so that they can make the claim that it is calorie free. And in one sense this is true: no sugar means no calories. But these artificial sweeteners still have a lot of carbs in them, which when you ingest them are converted to sugar in the body. This is all stuff I know. I worked for many years in diabetes education, and so I have a pretty good idea about how this works. (By pretty good, I mean less than a dietician, but perhaps more than the average person.) Still, in spite of the fact that I know this, I continued to drink my stupid diet pop, and think nothing of it. But today it stops. I am giving up my diet pop, and replacing it with water, or other nutrient-rich drinks.

I struggled for a long time with this decision. I hate to “use” a time meant for spiritual reflection and personal betterment for something as base as kicking the pop habit, but I think that this is the right thing to do. I like to think that instead I’m using this time to bring myself back to a more natural diet, which will, hopefully, have other spiritual benefits.

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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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Please excuse our year-long absence, but it’s been a busy year for both Penelope and I. Penelope is now the proud mummy to a very cute and happy little boy. Penelope’s son Momo takes up a lot of her time, and some of mine, as I get to go over and be the doting aunt.

Still, you might say, why not share Penelope’s new son with the world? So many people do it, and you’re right, if ever there was a shareable baby it’s Momo (which is not his real name by the way).

Momo and mum, enjoying a sunny autumn day.

So, since this kid is cute, and babies are such a blessing, why the lengthy delay? The answer is two-pronged.

1) Penelope has been far too busy to write. Babies need a lot of attention!

2) I had what was very nearly the worst year of my life, and I shut down.

I started blogging so that I could focus on what was good in my life, and not worry about what was bad, or missing. My first blog was a simple blog, written by me, cataloguing my adventures with Cadie. But I started to realize that I wanted to talk about more than just dog walking, dog grooming, and dogs on television, so I started this blog with my best bud. Here we could talk about lifestyle, and we could be adventurous about sports, food, and social activities. But then I also started a blog detailing my love of vintage porcelain and glass. From there I had a scary moment with my finances, and I had to take on a part-time job, and then my weekday job became a nightmare. Suffice it to say that my plate was full, my outlook was bleak, and I needed to retreat.

Blogging for me was about seeing the positives in my life, focusing on what was working (Cadie and porcelain) rather than what wasn’t (my weight, my finances). I was determined to keep blogging a positive space for myself: I was going to “fake it [being happy]! until I made it!”

And I tried. I took copious amounts of pictures; every time I passed a cute little house, made a new treat, or tried something new I documented it. My plan was always to come back to this place, and to be the happy, positive person that I thought I could be.

2011 came to an end, and 2012 started out with some good and some bad. Before the 3rd of the month I was offered a new weekday job. I LOVE it! It’s the perfect environment for me, and I feel that my career is finally starting to get back on track. However, with the good, we must take the bad, and sadly my grandmother died in early January. I miss her every day, but I’m glad that she is now at peace, and no longer lonely or depressed. My grandmother and my mother also conspired to give me a little financial assistance that has allowed me to downgrade my commitment to my part-time job, and it has even opened up some new professional opportunities for me.

After a year plus of hard-core purging my home is finally starting to come together, and I am starting to feel calm and happy and I am once again looking forward to a pleasant future.

The plan.

Penelope and I have been talking about starting this back up again for quite some time, so the plan is to do two posts this week–just a little something to get us started again. From there we will do one post every week, probably on Wednesdays. Life has changed, and it’s more complicated now, so we’re not going to make this a weight loss blog; instead this is a blog about navigating life. Eating foods that make us drool, figuring out how to manage a housekeeping schedule, some talk about our hobbies, and of course we’ll keep you posted on what we did over our weekends, and why they were awesome.

I’ve been sewing. Wait until you see what I’m making Momo for his birthday.

If any of you are still left, I hope you’ll stay with us as we move into the next stage of our life and blogging adventures.

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The Next Odyssey….

So I don’t want you to think that I’m getting cocky, because I’m not. I know my weight loss is only temporary, and that I will probably be back to my original weight by the weekend. But I am starting to think about my next adventure. I’m standing here on the precipice of something big (read: I’m sitting at my computer looking for a good excuse to put this off). The truth is that it’s time to start dating again.

It’s been such a long time since I broke up with my ex that I had sort of made up my mind that I didn’t need to date ever again. Honestly, the ex was a real handful. He bulldozed me, and it really messed me up. It’s pretty heavy baggage, and I was happy to sit here and tell myself that I would never do it again. But everyone has baggage, and it was time to leave mine behind me. And that’s why I made dating a new year’s resolution.

I actually did try…a little earlier in the year, but then that stupid suitcase got too heavy, so I dropped it and went on my merry little way. But I got brave again at the beginning of September, and I created a new profile on another, better dating site.

Online dating is weird. I’ve met a couple of guys, and some of them seem nice, but there are a lot of, shall we say, overeager people. I met one guy who asked for my real name after only 2 minutes of online chatting, after 10 minutes of chatting he was making arrangements to meet, 20 minutes after online chatting he was naming our children, and I was finished with our chat. They can’t all be like this right?

It’s weird to go from keeping myself completely closed off to deciding to open myself up to this. But people tell me there are some really nice guys out there. So I’m off to see for myself if this is true.

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weight loss exercise class

Image by ninahale via Flickr

So as you know I’ve spent the last year trying to lose weight. I’ve started taking classes, forcing myself on the treadmill, I’ve kept food diaries, and I’ve tried to focus on healthy lifestyle choices. I was going about it all wrong. All I needed to do was get dental surgery.

Yup, dental surgery was the answer. I had a gum graft a little over 2 weeks ago, and the rules you have to stick to following a gum graft are pretty strict. You have to stick to soft foods, chew on the other side of your mouth, and make sure that you are constantly rinsing your mouth so that bacteria doesn’t start to form.

The truth is that the whole process has been so unpleasant; the roof of my mouth has felt so stressed and the need to rinse with warm salt water made eating a very unpleasant option. So instead of eating I’ve been drinking. I drink a lot of Carnation instant breakfast and V8. I supplement this with ice cream and yogurt. A lot of ice cream and yogurt. The truth is that I was very worried that I would gain weight. I was worried about drinking my calories–it’s so easy to lose track–but so far, so good.

I haven’t been on a scale in more than 2 weeks, so I have no idea of what I actually weigh, but I judge my weight based on my ability to fit into my clothes, and my clothes have been fitting much better. In fact, I’ve been able to get into some clothes that I haven’t worn since before I started dating my ex.

So, having finally achieved some success with my weight loss I’m feeling pretty good. Now all I need to do is find a way to keep it off once I start eating solids again.

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So here we are, the 100th post, and I need to have some progress to report.

The good news is that I was so productive in January that I am feeling awesome. In fact,  2  weeks ago I felt better than I had in a long time. I mean, I felt so good that I almost posted this at that time. I didn’t, obviously, but I did treat myself to a new lipstick to celebrate.

I’ve always been curious about lip stains, it seems like such a good idea. Disappointingly, I didn’t find that it lasted much longer than regular lipstick, so I think I will just go back to my nice neutral gloss. But I digress.

As I was saying, 2 weeks ago I was on top of the world, skating 2 to 3 times a week, 2 exercise classes a week. In hindsight I should have done my post at that time, because it’s funny what 2 weeks can bring. In my case it was an insane amount of stress, both personal and professional, which means the skating was cut out from my lunch time activities first, and then my after work class last Tuesday so that I could focus on getting caught up.

Staying on track when times are good is easy. Exercise and healthy food is just part of what we do. Staying on track when things are busy is much harder, that’s when we’re tempted to take short cuts to make the routine easier. Still I have a weight loss of between 2 to 5 Lbs. to report 2 weeks ago; it’s not much, but it’s something, and I think slow and steady is the way to go.

Stress doesn’t last forever, and I’ll soon be back to my routine, and back on track. On the plus side, I’ve gained things that far outweigh weight loss (no pun intended):

  • I feel so much stronger it’s not even funny.
  • I am happier, and I spend a lot less time sleeping or moping around the apartment. Instead I use my spare time to do blog posts, bake mini muffins, read books, answer emails, do some light sewing and rug hooking, and keep the house clean. I’ve also joined some clubs, and I have tons of ideas about how I’m going to spend the rest of the winter buzzing around like a social butterfly.
  • I can keep up with the dog (well, sort of). I mean I can’t catch her if she runs away, she’s just too fast, but at least I don’t feel like I’m running through concrete trying.
  • I am starting to see minor changes in the way my clothes fit (some good, some bad), but definitely headed in the right direction.
  • I have more confidence, and I know I can do it.

So, rather than focus on the fact that I have not accomplished my goal, strictly speaking, I am going to post this picture of me, and know that I will definitely make my next goal. A new dress for Easter…and maybe a new hat too ;D

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