Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer fun

It was a beautiful day, so I told the boys we were going to Port Dalhousie for the day.  I took a frozen chicken out the night before, roasted it this morning, made a coleslaw, got together some baby carrots and light hummus, some sliced up melon and we had ourselves a phase 2 picnic.  No excuses for not staying on plan just because we were going to be gone for the day.  A little planning (and by little, I mean minimal) is all it took.
What a fun day we had.  When I think of last summer and how much I didn't want to leave my house, I'm embarrassed that I subjected my family to such deprivation.  Not only did we spend time at the beach, but there was also a carnival going on.  Jules loved the rides.  And I even went on a couple with him.  Something I wouldn't have done last year.  And, I actually wore a bathing suit on the beach WITHOUT a cover up.  That folks is progress!
Self portrait on the beach:)

Jules playing frisbee.
Jules braving the obstacle course.
Love the Tilt-a-whirl!

Jules riding solo.  My brave little man.
Waiting for Jules to get out of the Monkey Maze.
Tomorrow I'm going to a family luncheon.  The Italian side of my family (my in-laws).  Not an easy feat (considering the carb heavy menu), but totally doable.  I can always count on the fact that there will be chicken and salad.  So I'm covered.  Oh and I just had to brag that Beverly and I ran 6k last night and did pretty damned good considering our conditions.  We ran an under 8k per minute, up hill and in some pretty substantial heat.  We ROCK! And a quick shout out to Enz, who's running her first solo race tomorrow.  Good luck Enz!  And to the rest of you, enjoy the rest of your weekend:)

Thursday, June 28, 2012


That's how much weight I had to lose when I started following Dr. Poon's Metabolic Diet.  That number seemed overwhelming to me.  But truth be told, it wasn't the most weight I have ever had to lose. When I was in my 40th week of pregnancy, I weighed 310 pounds at my final prenatal appointment. I gained 44 pounds during my pregnancy.  Mostly because I felt that I could eat whatever I wanted because I was pregnant.  Don't ask me how I never developed gestational diabetes or hypertension. In fact, for whatever reason, during my pregnancy was the only time in my obese life that I had a "normal" blood pressure without medication.  Go figure!  My mother must have been watching over me from Heaven.

I guess I could give myself a bit of a pass on the 310 (I lost 20+ pounds after giving birth, then struggled down to about 285).  I was 40 weeks pregnant after all.  That doesn't excuse the other time I saw 300 on the scale.  I honestly can't remember if it was pre-marriage and Dr. Bernstein, or post. All I know is I went into Dr.  Pitt's office one day and stepped on the scale and it said 302.  That should have scared me straight, but it didn't.  I either started the Dr. Bernstein starvation diet (and lost 100 pounds in 8 months and kept it off for a few more months before gaining all and more back), or took pills to get my weight down to a "manageable" 280ish.  Why oh why did I not know about Dr. Poon earlier?  Even if I did, would I have followed it back then?  I probably wasn't ready.

People ask me all the time how I'm losing weight.  Not only did I follow the diet pretty religiously (with the exception of a month where I put myself on maintenance), but I began to exercise.  Both very important factors to losing weight.  However, that's not all.  You also have to have the proper mindset. Put very simply, I was ready.  I know that I am going to have to follow this lifestyle for the rest of my life.  I am going too have to eat low carb, low sugar, low fat forever.  That's not such a bad thing.  I'll still enjoy some foods I liked in the past, just in moderation.

It's all about keeping active and truly changing your lifestyle.  When I am on maintenance, I will be able to enjoy the odd treat here and there.  When I'm running 50-60k a week and maintaining my weight, I can definitely eat some of the calories I've burned through running.  Right now I do not eat my running calories.  That would defeat the purpose of why I run.  To me, exercise is not a reason to "reward" yourself if you're trying to lose weight.  I haven't earned anything if I haven't reached my goal.

Ok, so I just figured out how many calories I'd burn in a week if I ran 50k per week and weighed 159 (Dr. Poon's goal for me).  Whoa Nelly....3736.  That's a lot! I'm definitely becoming a serious runner. That folks is a great maintenance plan right there!  I could have a weekly treat!  This reminds me of a former co-worker.  He was a runner and brought HUGE containers of food for lunch.  Like seriously large portions.  He was a very fit man and ran like a maniac.  He was always hungry and couldn't eat enough in a day, but also couldn't stop running.  I don't think I'll have enough time in my day to eat constantly and be an ultra marathoner like him, but I'd like to not have to worry so much about gaining weight.

So 130 pounds to lose.  What a daunting number that was for me.  The 40 pounds I have left to lose seems much more doable.  I'm almost 2/3rds there (I think...I really suck at math).  But even 130 is achievable, I just needed to find my inner strength.  Whatever your number might be, don't be overwhelmed.  If you want it bad enough, you will do it.  I wanted it bad enough and just knew the time had come to take control of my life.  I used to obsess over this quote and didn't want to play it over and over in  my head one more time.  Where will you be a year from now?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

These are a few of my favourite things

I swore I wasn't going to post today, then I started reading blogs and felt like posting, so here it goes. A few things I'm excited about.  I'm only 9 pounds away from being "overweight" according to the BMI scale.  That's an important milestone for me because I have been obese pretty much my whole life (except when I was 6 and under, and for about 6 months in 2000).   My hubby and I are going to run a 5k together in August during the Dundas Cactus Festival.  And on Thursday, I'm getting my wedding ring back and my mother's wedding set back from the jewelers.  I sent them in to get sized down.

My wedding band was a size 8 1/2 and it was too small for me when I got married.  I ordered it small on purpose because I was embarrassed to get a 10, which was what I truly needed.  I only wore it on my wedding day and needed to use soap to get it off.  In it's place over the years, I wore a size 10 silver ring.  I got it sized down to a 6 1/2.  My father gave me my mother's wedding set about a month ago.  I was shocked that her rings were also a size 8 1/2.  She was not a big woman, but was Polish and my co-worker says she probably had big fingers because she was working with her hands so much (she made a lot of pierogi).  I'm very excited to get my rings back and no longer have to fear losing them.  My wedding band almost came off a few times while I was washing my hands.
My assistant baker.  Funny thing is,
he doesn't eat the banana bread either!
I guess I'm also excited (or maybe awed) by the amount of will power I have.  My boy and I made banana bread on Sunday so I could bring it into work for a meeting.  The recipe makes a loaf as well as a bundt cake.  I brought the loaf to the meeting, and gave the bundt cake to my co-workers.  It was gone by the end of the day.  I don't know why, but I still enjoy baking.  I often make several loaves or cakes a month and have never eaten any of it. You can ask my co-workers, they'll vouch for me! Why I do this is a mystery to me.   I love banana bread, and baked goods of any kind.  I guess I don't want people who come by my home to go without because I've changed my lifestyle.  I always have something to serve with coffee.  And my dad loves it, so I give him a loaf here and there.

In my last post, I used a quote from a Coldplay song called "Fix You".  This appears to be a very popular inspirational song.  It was also used in the last inspirational running video I posted.  While scrolling through  running videos on YouTube, I came across another gem that brought tears to my eyes.  This is exactly where I want to be one day (minus the Iron Man).  Yesterday, someone asked me why I run.  I run so I can continue to motivate myself and encourage others.  I run to prove to myself that I can.  I run to show others that you can do anything if you really want it. I run to be the best example I can to my son.  I run so that one day, I will be able to enjoy life like a "normal" sized person.  I run because it makes me feel really good (most of the time).  I run for my existence.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

But if you never try you'll never know

Jules is such a peanut here.
We're on our way back from the beach,
and I'm wearing my new bathing suit!
This was one of the inspirational quotes along the route of the Meredith Hagan Inspiration Run.  I saw it about half way through my run and thought about it the rest of the way to the finish line.  This time last year, I never knew I could run, let alone run races.  I'm never going to actually win a race, but I do win every time I run one.  I'm racing against myself.  I'm running for my health and to get my life back.  I'm going to have some good races and runs, and some really bad ones too.  That doesn't matter to me though because I'm the one who's winning in the end.  

This morning was the first time in a real long time that I didn't want to run.  Most Sunday mornings I'm up at the crack of dawn to get ready for my morning run with my clinic.  I woke at 7:30 am which left me with just enough time to dress, brush my teeth and get myself out the door.  I drove to the Running Room feeling blah.  Maybe it was because I just ran a 5.6k trail race yesterday, but I had very little enthusiasm to run today.  Our group decided on a 5k that goes through a wooded trail and comes up a pretty long, steady incline and then down and up another shorter incline.  Once I started running I was reminded once again why I do this.  I felt great!  By the time my run was done, my crabby mood had lifted and I felt like a million bucks.  Running is not only good for the body, it's good for the soul too.

I've been toying with starting other forms of exercise (to strengthen) along with the running.  As I've said in the past, I've never been athletic and have usually turned my back on any kind of physical activity.  But I'll never know what I do and don't like if I don't try.  Strengthening will only make my core stronger which will make me run faster.  Right now I can't imagine loving anything as much as I love running, but it's entirely possible.  Maybe biking...swimming...OMG, I can become a triathlete!  Likely not.  I'd hate to be wet and have to bike or run afterwards.  Call me a diva, but I don't think I'd like the discomfort!  But I could do those things as stand alone sports.

My hubby and I were talking about our summer vacation this year.  I want to go camping and do things like tubing down rapids, zip-lining, rock climbing.  Things I would have never attempted last summer.  I would have been happy to watch, but would have never participated.  He was so happy that I was suggesting this stuff and said, "this is what I've always wanted to do with you".  That broke my heart a little because not only has my weight been holding me back, it's been holding back someone I love as well.  I'm determined more than ever now to reach my goal and NEVER hold back my son.  I may or may not love doing these things, but if I never try I'll never know!
I figured out how to download the video from my phone.  Here I am just before I crossed the finish line in my trail race yesterday.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meredith Hagan Foundation - Inspiration Run

Have you been inspired today?  I was this morning.  I spent the morning at the Mountsberg Conservation Area with my running gals Enz, Beverley, Tanya, Pauline and our newest running gal, Dawn.  Meredith Hagan was a triathlete who died in a tragic cycling accident two years ago.  Her family has formed the Meredith Hagan Foundation to keep her legacy alive.  You can read more about the Inspiration Run and Meredith here.
The bracelet in  my bling bag.
This was a very well organized event that had a lot of bling for such a small race.  It was a 5.6k trail run and I can't tell you what my time was and I don't think I care (Enz just sent me my results...see them below).  I felt good just getting out and running for such a worthy cause.  Chokes me up a bit to think about her daughter and her family and friends at the event.  Every one was so pumped and happy to be carrying on her legacy.  It was a lot of fun and the inspirational signs along the route were indeed uplifting.
Not too bad considering it was a 5.6k and I had
monstrous hills and wheat fields to contend with.
What wasn't uplifting was the ginormous hill that I walked up.  There was no way I was gonna run up that monster and waste my energy.  Running down it was quite a feat too.  There were tree roots everywhere and I really had to watch where I was stepping.  Running in trails is much different than running on asphalt.  Not only are there the humongous hills to contend with, but I ran through really long grass (for quite a distance) and felt like Laura in the opening credits of Little House on the Prairie.   I'm just glad I didn't pull a Carrie and fall:)
Jules waiting for me to cross the finish line!
So there are no pictures of me crossing the finish line.  My husband decided to video tape me and I can't get it to download on my computer.  These however are the post race and post freshen up photos.  Check out that medal.  It was HUGE and heavy.  And just for the record, the reason Pauline doesn't have a medal is because she was a bandita again (she ran the race but didn't register).
The medal ribbon says "stronger, harder, faster"

Enz, Beverly, me, Pauline, Dawn

Post race lunch at Kelsey's.  Don't ask why the boy has glowing eyes!
I added this one 'cos Pauline and Beverly look so pretty.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today is gonna be the day

So I've done it.  I have officially hit my Onederwall.  I haven't weighed under 200 pounds in about 12 years.  And at that time it was for a very short period of time.  This morning I weighed in at 199.4.  I hope to never see a 2 at the beginning of my weight again.  Dr. Stephen was very happy with my progress and even happier that my blood pressure was 110/75.  That is another number I have never seen.  What shocked him even more was when I told him that I've been off my 2 blood pressure medications since February.  He had no idea!  Probably something I should have mentioned when I started attending the clinic again in the middle of May.

When I first began my journey, my BMI was 46, this morning it was 31.  Seeing these differences makes me feel really good about what I have done over the past 9 months.  And it really motivates me to continue and reach my goal!  My weight-loss seems to be moving along slow and steady right now, and I'm okay with that.  Even if there's not a big dip in the scale, I notice that my fat mass percentage (on the Tanita Body Composition Analyzer) is always going down.  I'm guessing it's because I'm gaining muscle from the running.  Three pounds here, 4 pounds there, I'm good with the numbers, as long as the scale keeps going down.

Something I can be proud of is that since I began this journey, I have never had a gain at a weigh-in.  I stayed the same once (because I retained a lot of water weight), and lost a measly pound in a month (while doing maintenance), but never gained.  I have followed the diet pretty much religiously.  I do have a "treat" day.  That would be my weigh-in day.  Ask Denise at the Ontario Nutrition Store.  It's the one day I purchase about three Poon approved snacks...and eat them all in one day.   Today it was 2 Chocolite bars, and the Emerald Cinnamon Roasted Almonds.  I don't recommend eating all your snacks in one day like I do, but it's the only time I eat snacks at all on this diet, and something I look forward to at every weigh-in.  It helps to keep me focused and frankly, I get sick of the snacks in one day, and am good for the next two weeks again.  So this works for me!

I also wanted to give a BIG shout out to my girl Beverly over at A Pond's View.  She started Dr. Poon's Metabolic Diet a week ago Tuesday, and lost 4.6 pounds in her first week.  I'm super proud of her.  I bought the book for her a couple of weeks ago, she spent the weekend of June 9th reading it, and began the diet the following Tuesday.  She's doing great and I hope I'm being a support to her.  It's hard to do something like this on your own.  She lives in Hamilton like me, so it's difficult for her to get to a clinic.  Big kudos to her for starting her journey!

I'm going to go visit my tattoo artist next week.  I'll get him to draw me up something new (with an idea I have), then I'll decide how I'm going to alter Heloise.  The beginner yoga is a much easier promise to keep.  I tell you, getting healthy comes with a lot of anxiety!   Speaking of anxiety, I went bathing suit shopping today.  I ended up buying this number from Old Navy.
I can't believe how anxious I was to try it on.  The bathing suit I wore last summer was sized 3x (24W).  I bought this one in a L (12/14R).  And it actually looked good on me.  I tell you ruching hides many, many, many imperfections!  I may even break it in this weekend with the boy.  He said he wanted to go swimming tomorrow.  Since he has a professional activity day at school and I took the day off work, it is very possible.  What ever I decide to do tomorrow, I am going to get a good run in first thing in the morning!

And just to clarify for my American friends and anyone else who uses the Fahrenheit scale to measure temperature.  When I ran on Wednesday (see post here), it was 40 degrees Celsius which is 104 Fahrenheit.  Much thanks to my friend Marc over at Fat or Fit? Changing the Status Quo for figuring that out for me!  So you see?  The jury's in.  I am crazier than a shit house rat!
I look a little unstable here.
Heat will do that to you.
Just to clarify...this picture was taken over a week ago!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just plain crazy!

I may be a little...or a lot crazy.  Why I thought it was a good idea for a practice run today in 40 degree heat is beyond me.  Is that dedication or what?  Don't listen to me.  I do not recommend running in this kind of weather.  We did a trail run with some pretty big hills.  I ran for a total of about 24 minutes before I felt light headed and put an end to my misery.

I walked.  Something I have never done before.  No matter how fatigued or bad I've felt during a run, I have never stopped and walked.  I absolutely did the right thing.  If I didn't walk, I would be face down on the asphalt behind McMaster University right now.  So I'm real good with my decision to walk.  Thank goodness this heat is supposed to break tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to more seasonal temperatures on Saturday for my trail race.

I go for my weigh-in tomorrow morning and I'm feeling good about hitting my Onederwall.  I said I'd join beginner yoga when that happens (which will have to happen in the fall, 'cos that's when the next sessions through Parks and Rec begin...and I can't afford to go to an actual studio) as well as get Heloise altered.  I'm not gonna lie, getting my tattoo altered scares the Bejeezus out of me.  But I have to make her prettier.  She's so dull and faded.  

Work is exhausting me right now and I can't wait until the third week in July when I'm off for three weeks, back for one, then off for two weeks.  I really, really, really need some time off.  I've lost that love'in feeling towards my job.  Maybe some new cases is just what I need to keep my mind working and my skills sharp!  I feel like I need more challenges, but I just don't have the time to commit to new stuff right now.   Maybe in the fall after I find some balance with my impending summer vacation?  Here's hoping!
A running montage my brother-in-law took of me.
Don't ask why I look so angry in the middle picture...
likely because I had to do this over and over and over again!

Monday, June 18, 2012

That silver haired daddy of mine!

I hope everyone had a good weekend and Father's Day.  I had a pretty packed weekend with my family.  Saturday was my last Yoga class till the fall.  This coming Saturday is really the last class, but I have the Meredith Hagan Inspiration Run, so I won't be attending.  I'm really looking forward to the trail run this weekend.  It's a 5.6k and it's in trails, which I always prefer to run.  It's not chip timed, but there is a really nice medal and a technical t-shirt.  And it's for a good cause!

After my Yoga class on Saturday, we went to Port Dalhousie for the afternoon.  Julien loves to ride the 5 cent carousel.  The first time we went there he was about 8 months old.  We've taken him back every year since.  This is the first year I actually rode the carousel with him.  In the past, I've just ridden in the seat that looks like a sleigh or I've stood beside him.  He was so excited because we rode side by side on the horses that go up and down.
This is baby Jules at the Port Dalhousie carousel.
His very first visit ever!
I cropped out the back part of me again in an
attempt to look "slimmer".
And here are our recent pictures of the Port Dalhousie Carousel.  We are all riding together, so I did my best to capture the moment!

Sunday morning was a practice run and I had a pretty good run.  Sometimes when I run with my clinic, I don't feel like I'm working myself enough.  Sunday I just ran with Enz, and we did pretty good.  I got in a full 5k, so I was happy.  I do need to add more distance to my runs.  My clinic instructor says if I keep running 5k, I'll get really good at running 5k, but there won't be any challenge left.  I definitely need more challenge! My former clinic instructor seems to think I'll be ready to run a half marathon (21.1k) by spring 2013.  Since she believes in me, I best start believing in myself a little more.  The half marathon clinic I'll likely take is in November.  They only offer them twice a year.   Maybe I'll be ready by then.  I'll have ran a couple of 10k's by that time.

On Father's Day, I had a BBQ for my father, brother and hubby.  To stay on plan, I made a chicken and pork souvlaki dinner.  With the souvlaki, I also made vegetable kebabs, Greek salad (with my own dressing), lemon-garlic potatoes and home made banana cake.  I ate a lot of meat, veggie kebabs and some of the Greek salad. The rest was off limits!  My family also indulged in a special Father's Day cake my sister-in-law brought.  All in all it was an enjoyable and yummy dinner!  I absolutely love souvlaki and used this marinade to make it and it was so flavorful!  Just because it's a special occasion is no reason to go off plan.  Just like a boy scout, I am always prepared!
My dad, brother and me!
Love these guys!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An ode to my former self...and other shenanigans

I'm a little obsessed with finding "fat" pictures of myself.  I still have plenty of fat to lose, but I mean the real fat pictures of me.  The dreaded "before"pictures.  The pickings are slim.  I did not like to be photographed.  Another way I was able to avoid my weight issue.  If I couldn't see first hand how large I was, I wasn't really that big now was I?  But every once and a while, I come across a new gem like this one taken last July in Colonial Williamsburg.
A VERY unflattering photo!
The funny thing is, sometimes I still see that person when I look in the mirror.  I have to do side by side comparisons in order to really see the difference in myself.  Truth be told, I don't hate that person.  I could never hate her.  She was there for so many important moments in my life.  She married my husband, she was with my mother when she passed away, she gave birth to my son.  She did all the things I hold dearest in my heart.  I wish I could have been her back then, but everything happens for a reason.  Being her has made me a stronger person.  I never want to be her again, but I appreciate all that she's taught me.

Without her aching back and knees, her heel spurs, her high blood pressure, her body sores from skin rubbing together, her shortness of breath after climbing a flight of stairs, the binges that left her feeling nauseous, her endless lack of motivation and consistent tiredness, without all these things I may not be where I am in my journey right now.  I thank her everyday for feeling twice her age and giving me the kick in the pants I needed to get my life back.  I know I'm not her anymore, but sometimes it's hard to let go of the security she represented.

I'm always going to have self-esteem issues.  When I was at my biggest, it was easy to be the clown and hide behind my huge clothes.  Nobody really paid much attention to me and I was fine with that.  Lately, men have started to look at me.  A very strange and foreign occurrence because I'm not used to the attention.  I know I should feel flattered, but it really makes me uncomfortable because I don't know how to react.  And FYI!  If I'm wearing a wedding ring, it means I'm taken.  Sheesh!

I usually stare at the compliment or pass maker like a deer in head lights, then turn and flee.  Much like an actual deer would do.  Probably looks a little crazy, but I really don't know how else to handle this situation.  I've been over weight pretty much my whole life.  This is all very novel to me.  I've thought of flashing them my stomach, which at the moment displays my loose skin.  That would likely scare them away.  It sure as hell scares me every time I see it!  Which brings me to topic number three...or four, I've lost count.

Loose skin.  I'm hoping that Dr. Pitt is not just saying it to make me feel better about my wrinkly belly, saddle bags and flabby arms, but I'm really hopeful that he's right and they may tighten up within a year of reaching goal.  Now he could just be talking smack because he doesn't want to have to deal with my wailing, but in a perfect world, I will not have to have plastic surgery to correct my loose skin.  I'm thinking it's very likely I'll have to have my arms done, the rest of me I can fake.  I'm not adverse to Spanx and a good push up bra.

What an eclectic post.  It started out a little poignant and turned into my family physician talking smack over my loose skin.  Just to kick things up yet one more notch, I got to see myself running on tape.  Lets just say I really need to work on my form.  I had no idea I ran like Phoebe from friends!  Why did no one tell me?  I don't really, but I did get to see all my jiggly bits which makes me want to run even more to get rid of said jiggly bits.  I need to challenge myself more during my runs and have started to run more trails and hills.  My clinic instructor also suggested that I need to add more distance to my runs.  5k just isn't cutting it anymore.  Because lets face it, as much as I wish it could stay this easy, my ass isn't going to run itself off!
My fearless photog (aka my brother-in-law) taking some stills
of me on the Rail Trail.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cajun rainbow trout with grilled asparagus and coleslaw

I think I already mentioned how much I love summer eating.  The BBQ was a wonderful invention and my main tool for being able to eat a high protein diet effortlessly.  This Sunday I made something real yummy.  Grilled rainbow trout with asparagus.  It was so simple to prepare and super yummy.
To prepare the trout, all you need is olive oil and spices of your choice.  I just used Hy's Cajun Seasoning found at Costco.  I rubbed the fish with the olive oil, then sprinkled the Cajun seasoning over the fish, placed it on a double layer of heavy duty aluminium foil skin side down and grilled until flaky.  The fish was so moist and flavourful, a little seasoning goes a long way.

For the asparagus, I tossed the trimmed stalks in olive oil, half salt, pepper and a touch of garlic powder.  I grilled them directly on the grill until soft.  Just before serving, I squeezed fresh lemon juice over the asparagus.  Do not leave the grill unattended.  Both the fish and the asparagus cook quickly and can easily burn.  I served the fish and asparagus with a coleslaw that I made with a bagged coleslaw mix, red onion (phase 2), rice vinegar (phase 2), and canola oil.  You can easily leave out the onion, replace the rice vinegar with regular or red wine vinegar and add some half salt and pepper to make it phase 1 friendly. Bon appetite!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Denial is not a river in Egypt

I'm pretty sure I cropped out the back half
of me to make me look smaller in this photo.

When I look at myself a year ago, and my husband looks at pictures of me he says, "I can't believe you were ever that big".  Well believe it baby, I really was that big.  I think that both of us were in denial about my health and my weight.  Even those around me never said anything to me about how I looked.  Not that it was anyone's else's responsibility but my own to look out for my health.  I was wholly responsible for how I looked, what I ate, how I lived my life.  Although I looked happy on the outside, I was miserable inside.  I felt trapped and burdened by my weight, but that is because I chose to do nothing about it.

Sure I told myself that I was not as big as I looked, but plus sized 24 really is big.  I was in big denial about what I truly looked like, how I felt inside, and what carrying this extra weight was doing to my health.  Sometimes I wonder if I would care enough about myself right now to lose the weight if I never had my son.  I never cared enough before his birth to help myself.  He is my biggest motivation to get healthy.  It wasn't until he started to get older and notice things around him that I knew I needed to make a change.  I never wanted him to remember me fat...except in pictures.  And I don't think he will.
My neighbour took this picture of me a couple
of weeks guessed it, after a run:)

I also need to lead by example.  If I expect him to eat healthy and be active, I need to show him that I am in control of my eating and making good choices.  One of my biggest fears for him is that he will struggle with his weight the way I struggled with mine.  I don't think I'm making the same mistakes my parents made with me.  I never use food as a reward.  My little guy has no time to sit around and eat out of boredom, we always have him doing something outside of the home.  He watches TV everyday, but not a lot.  A half an hour before school and just before bed.  With the nicer weather, there is no reason to be sitting around at home.

Denial is what got me to the state I was in.  I truly brainwashed myself into believing that I didn't mind carrying around an additional 130 pounds.  I told myself that I carried myself well, that even though I was obese, I was well put together.  I believed I was still healthy enough because at least I wasn't diabetic, didn't have sleep apnea, and although I had high blood pressure, that was all that was wrong with me...That folks is 100% denial!  It is freeing to be able to acknowledge it for the first time in my life.

On the flip side, I can't deny how I feel now.  I'm proud of my accomplishments.  I'm proud that I have my eating under control, I'm proud that I took up running and didn't quit when it got hard, I'm proud that I haven't "cheated" during my lifestyle change.  I'm proud that I have goals and aspirations for myself that I thought I would never have.

I'm going to run a 10k this fall, I'm going to run a two-person relay in a 30k this coming March, and next fall, I'm going to run a half marathon (or die trying)!  If you asked me last June about any of this, I would have choked on my Boston cream donut while trying not to laugh out loud.  It's amazing what nine months of taking my life back has accomplished for me.  And one day, one day, I may just get in good enough shape to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon.  Whenever I feel like I can't accomplish what I want, I watch this video.  It gets me every time:)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Restaurant dining 101

As you all know, I eat out A LOT.  My job requires me to dine out frequently with clients.  On average, I'd say I eat out 3 meals a week with clients.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  And I always eat where they ask to go.  After all, the dining experience is about them, not me.  I have been following the metabolic diet I'm on for almost 9 months.  It will be nine months the 18th of June.  Because I have to eat out so much, I learned early on how to get over the hurdles that can be very difficult for any dieter.

Since I can't plan ahead because I don't necessarily know where I'm going, I have to be prepared to ask for what I want.  Never be afraid to ask for something not on the menu.  Unless it is a fast-food chain (which I try to avoid as much as possible, but if I can't I just order bottled water or coffee), there's really no reason that a restaurant shouldn't be able to accommodate your dietary needs.  I have gone to a sit down pizzeria near my work with a client and saw virtually nothing I could eat on the menu.  Everything was pizza or pasta.  I saw the toppings they put on the pizza which included chicken, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini...etc.  I asked the waiter if I could get a grilled chicken breast with a side of sauteed veggies and they were more than happy to accommodate me.  You just have to ask.  I ate with my client, and still stayed on plan!

One place I frequent regularly is the Mandarin.  That is a Chinese buffet chain in Southern Ontario.  Lots of really bad, high carb, deep fried food.  But my clients LOVE it.  The first time I went when I started my diet plan, I asked what kind of oil they use to cook with.  It's oil I am allowed to use in my own day-to-day cooking.  Although I can stay on plan when I go there, it is VERY high in sodium so I need to drink a ton of water during and after my meal.  There are lots of food choices for me and I always leave feeling quite full.  If you're following Phase 2 of the diet, there are even more options.  I tend to follow Phase 1 when I eat out with clients even if I do eat Phase 2 regularly.  It makes me feel better about eating out and not preparing the food on my own.
My phase 1 friendly starter at the Mandarin.
Shrimp, cucumber, mushrooms, hard boiled eggs.
The lemon is for my water.

My main includes, grilled chicken, green beans, sauteed mushrooms, garlic broccoli
and flank steak from the carvery.  I usually go back for some seconds of the meat.
Today I had dinner with a client at the Pickle Barrel.  There are a few good menu options there for Phase 1 and 2 of the diet.  I ordered the Lemon-Herb Grilled Chicken Shish-Kebab.  It is described in the menu as Grilled, marinated chicken kebabs served with a grilled vegetable medley, rice, garlic bread, tzaziki sauce and Greek salad.

First I asked what the chicken was marinated in and was told that it was a lemon/olive oil/garlic/herb marinade. Something I could eat.  The veggies were also grilled with olive oil and herbs.  I asked them to hold the rice, tzaziki and garlic bread and changed the Greek salad to mixed greens with olive oil and vinegar.  This is what my final meal looked like, minus the salad which they brought earlier.
This was a lot of food.  The only veggies I couldn't eat to stick to Phase 1 were the  red peppers
and red onion.  There were LOTS of mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant under the HUGE amount of
chicken they served.  I actually left food on my plate because there was so much!
Learning to eat out is an important skill to master.  A lifestyle change is not just for now, it's forever.  If I can plan ahead for eating out, I do.  I'll go on-line to look at menus, call ahead and ask if they can accommodate my dietary needs etc.  If I had serious food allergies I would do the exact same thing.  I have to think of myself as being allergic to carbs and sugar.  Therefore I need to plan.  I can't be lazy about my health.  If I'm going to a party or social gathering where I know there will be a lot of finger foods, I eat before going. That way, if there's nothing I can eat, I won't be tempted to eat foods I shouldn't.

It is tricks like this that have kept me on plan over the past 8 1/2 months.  I don't exclude myself from social gatherings because of food, I plan for them.  I have to live, and I have to eat like this for the rest of my life.  Food is just fuel for my body and mind.  It is no longer a recreational activity for me.  We are all capable of making good choices.  Ask yourself what is more important.  Good health or a good binge.  The health brings longevity, the binge brings nausea and guilt.  I choose health!

The photo on the left was taken in Williamsburg, Virginia in July 2011, the photo on the right was taken on this past Sunday after the Weight Watchers Walk-it 5K.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy birthday Baby!

Today was my husband's 41st birthday...and my 42nd.  We share the same birthday and this is a fact that has bonded us since high school.  And one of the main reasons we decided to get hitched.  Kidding!  Truth be told, I would like to have my own day, but if I have to share with someone, he's a great birthday buddy.  The free dinner is reason enough (this I will explain later).

Today was a fun filled, jam packed day.  We started out the morning doing the Weight Watchers Walk-it 5k with the Running Room.  I brought my hubby, the boy and the mutt.  It was a total family affair and even though Jules only held out for the first 2.5k loop, I finished the 5k with my gals Enz and Pauline.  Honestly, kids are lazy. This is what Jules looked like during the walk.
I pulled him for 2.5k, then handed him off to the hubby.
Thank goodness the course was a loop!
In his defense though, he wouldn't have kept up.
Isn't he adorable:)
After the 5k walk, it was back home for coffee and breaky.  We waited around until after lunch and then sent Jules off to his best bud's birthday party.  This gave my hubby, Enz and I the opportunity to hit the Rail Trail for a run.  My hubby is just starting out, so we ran 2:1 intervals up a steady incline.  He did awesome.  He listened to his body and knew exactly when he should stop. All in all he ran about 2.5k.

I continued with Enz to the 3k marker, then turned around and ran back the same 3k in 23:57 with no walk breaks.  Yesterday was the first time I tried to run without walk breaks. I ran the same 6k and ran for 34 minutes straight yesterday.  I knew I didn't need walk breaks anymore because my breathing stays in a fairly comfortable and steady rhythm. Sometimes the walk breaks I was taking barely changed my breathing at all, so I knew that I could try to run straight and I can.  My next goal will be to run 5k with no walk breaks.  I'll work on this over the next couple of weeks.

Jules and I hamming it up before leaving for dinner.
All in all I clocked 11k today.  Five walking, and 6 running.  That's over 1000 calories burned.  Because my hubby and I share a birthday, we go to Tucker's Marketplace once a year to celebrate.  It's an all you can eat buffet in Ontario.  It's not a bad deal.  For $13 and some change, my family of three had dinner.  The final bill included Jules's dinner ($4), my Perrier, my hubby's diet coke, Jules's milk and our dinners (regularly $22 each)...for free.  If you go on your birthday, you eat for free with picture ID.  My waitress was happy.  We left her a hefty tip!

I eat out A LOT because of work, and life in general.  And I have always been able to stick to my plan.  Today I ate chicken, turkey, salmon, roast beef and lots of veggies.  I left feeling pretty darned satisfied and I ate until I was full.
My first plate included, roasted chicken (skin removed), salmon, sauteed cabbage and cucumber salad.
Because it was my birthday, and I burned over a thousand calories, I did phase 2 of Dr. Poon's diet.  I deserved it for Pete's sake!  These pictures are testament to the fact that I am not on a starvation diet (as some people may think...namely my father).  I eat a lot.  More so now that I have been running.  Eating the proper foods raises your metabolism, as does interval running.  And as an added bonus, I never have stomach problems anymore.  I LOVE this eating plan.  This is a good thing because I'll follow it (with more inclusions on maintenance) for the rest of my life.  Not because I have to but because I want to.  I have never felt better!
My second plate included, turkey, roast beef, zucchini and carrots.
Fine dining this place is not, but it's not bad...for free!  Hey beggars can't be choosers!  And I left feeling perhaps a little too full.  Who doesn't love turkey?  Trust me, if you are dedicated to succeeding in your journey, no restaurant can be tempting enough to stray. There are always options that will fit your dietary needs.  And I am not timid about asking for exclusions, inclusions any kinds of changes necessary to a menu item.  I send food back if it's not prepared the way I asked.  I've never been told "no" yet and like I said, I eat out a lot (11 times last month for work, 4 personal).

All in all, this is probably one of the best birthdays I've had in a long time.  I got to do a lot of  family things, but I also got to do something special with my hubby.  He says he wants to start running and I want to encourage him as much as possible.  Who knows, maybe one day we'll run a marathon together.
The birthday runners.  We just got back from our first ever run together!

Friday, June 1, 2012

No more excuses!

I'm feeling a little (or a lot) overwhelmed and completely humbled by the support and kind words that I have received via blog comments, Facebook comments, and private emails from readers who say I am an "inspiration" to them.  I never dreamed I would be able to inspire anyone regarding weight-loss and a healthy lifestyle.  For 41 years, I have been unable to inspire myself.  I don't know how I got to this place in my life where I am so focused on something good for me, that it has completely taken over my life.

How many times have I dieted over the years, convinced that this time I would finally do it?  Too many to count.  Something in my head clicked this time around because I have never been able to commit to something that wasn't a "quick fix" before.  A co-worker approached me last week and asked me what my secret was.  She has a significant amount of weight to lose and she wanted to know what my "quick fix" was.  I told her that sadly, there wasn't one.  I have lost almost 90 pounds by diet and exercise alone.  She was surprised and congratulated me for my success, but I could tell that she wanted to hear that I took some sort of magic pill or something.

This is not easy.  Sticking to a completely different lifestyle than what one is used to is not easy.  But I knew that this time I was ready and I was not going to make excuses anymore.  That is exactly what I have done my whole life.  I have made excuses as to why I was 130 pounds over weight.  Some of my favourites included but are not limited to:
  1. I have a slow metabolism.
  2. I can't exercise because I have heel spurs and bad knees. 
  3. It's genetic.
  4. Although I'm obese, I am still pretty healthy.
  5. I really don't eat that much.
I could go on and on and on.  But I won't.  I got tired of making the excuses and decided that I finally needed to act.  The day I went for my first appointment (it was a Friday) at Dr. Poon's clinic, I recall Dr. Stephen being very blunt and honest with me about my weight and health and I really appreciated it.  He didn't sugar coat anything, he told it like it was.  I was at risk for a huge list of diseases and ailments and if I didn't do something about it now,  things would only get worse for me as I aged.  That message was crystal clear and something I absolutely needed to hear.

I remember being given the option of starting the "diet" on Monday, and coming back in two weeks for my second weigh-in.  I left the office and had every intention of having a last "hurrah" weekend.  I was going to indulge like no one's business, then get down to business first thing Monday morning.  As the day wore on, and I continued to obsess over food, I realized that I had to start immediately and take control of my life once and for all.

I could no longer be a slave to food and instead needed to master my self control.  There was going to be no magic pill, no quick fix.  I either had to do this now, or resign myself to a future of disease and an early grave.   I woke up on Saturday morning with nothing "Poon friendly" in my house except eggs, cabbage and low sodium canned tuna.  You know what I did?  I ate that as my meal, started my food journal, and went shopping for things I could eat. I haven't looked back since.

I have completely dispelled every excuse I have ever made in regards to being 130 pounds over weight.  I have proven that:
  1. With proper food and exercise, my metabolism works just fine.  
  2. I can exercise without issue and once I dropped some weight, the heel spurs and bad knees magically disappeared.
  3. My birth mother is a larger woman, but I have managed to lose almost 90 pounds.  It is not genetic!
  4. I had high blood pressure and was on 2 medications to control it.  I am no longer on any blood pressure meds and my blood pressure is very normal, thank you very much!
  5. I did eat a lot....of processed carbohydrates, sugar and fat.  Once I cut those out, the weight started to fall off.
Is this lifestyle easy?  I'm not gonna lie, some days are easier and some days are really hard.  What keeps me focused with my eye on the prize is the way I feel.  I have never had so much energy.  I actually look forward to running and doing yoga.  That was completely foreign to me 8 1/2 months ago.  I thank everyone for their on-going support and kind words.  It means the world to me that people read what I have to say and take something away from it that may help them on their own journey.  My wish for you is that you continue to find inspiration where you can, but also that you begin to inspire yourselves.  Because...