Monday, September 29, 2014

The post about some wicked jet-lag, runnapalooza and thoughts on maintenance

Starting to feel normal again.

The past few weeks has been chaotic. Between events leading up to my European trip, to the actual trip, to the aftermath of coming home and dealing with the jet-lag...oh the jet-lag:-( It took me a full week to get back on my normal sleeping schedule. Funny, I didn't feel the jet-lag going to Europe, just coming home. Was in bed most nights by 8pm and up super early all week. Finally starting to feel like myself again. Back on my regular eating and exercise schedule.

In a jet-lag haze during the week, I did something I have never done before. I deleted my last blog. Don't ask how it happened. I'm not sure myself. It happened from my phone. With the push of a button, it was gone. I don't even have it in my to try and recreate it. It was about my London trip. In a nutshell, I met people, I walked a lot, I saw a ton of stuff and almost got killed by the fast moving vehicles that drive on the wrong side of the road. And I missed my family...a lot!

When I got back from my European adventure, I hadn't run since the half in Stockholm on the 13th. I started running regularly again last Sunday. And I'm back to running 5 days per week. It's what works best for me. I haven't been back to the gym in weeks. And I will go back. But I think I'm going to look at the classes. I felt bigger going to the gym. I like the way I feel and look when I run. Just running this past week has made me feel a difference in my jeans. They are getting looser once again. That and I've had little dairy and  fruit and no nuts. It would be awesome if I could have a trainer all the time, but I can't afford that. And the yoga and spin classes will do me well and make me work on the areas I need work on. My core especially with the yoga. I'll still do the machines for my shoulders and arms, but all the leg work I was doing? I don't think it's as important. I get lots of leg work through running.

My runs over the last week. I'll add 2K to my Sunday run till I get to 20K.

I've had conversations with several  people over the past few weeks about weight-loss versus maintenance. I've been asked a few times what I think is harder. Losing weight is hard work for sure. And mentally, it's more rewarding. When I was obese, I thought that all my troubles would go away if I was just normal size. And I had no lofty ideas about what my final weight would be. Initially, my goal was to be able to shop in regular size clothing stores. That meant fitting into a size 14. Sounded good to me. I wore size 24+ when I started. I never thought that I'd be wearing a size 8 and fitting into (M) clothing.

I'm not even sure how getting down to the size I am now happened. It just did with running and eventually, no matter if I ate less and exercised more, my size stopped changing. I just stayed the same. I guess this is where my body naturally wants to be. And that's fine. When I was losing weight, it was exciting. My body changed fairly frequently and it was so motivating to see the results. Kept me on plan. I had a goal I wanted to reach, which was to just keep seeing changes.

Once you hit maintenance, that stops. I work just as hard as ever, but I see minimal change right now. And to get any change, I have to work twice as hard. I'm not complaining mind you. My options are very limited right now. I either keep working as hard as I ever have to maintain my results, or I don't and start a steady weight gain again. My European vacation was a great lesson for me. Showed me that I cannot slack off even for a couple weeks without it affecting my body in a negative way.

I exercise daily. I eat a fairly regimented diet and have had to let go of a lot of foods I love for good (ie: grains, refined sugar). As much as I'd love to just eat whatever I want, I can't. And if I ever start doing that, it means I have given up on my health and I pray to God that never happens. Because no matter how much work I have to do now and have been doing over the past 3 years since I began my lifestyle change, it is worth it. The life I have right now is worth it. My family is worth it, and so am I.

Being back to work means eating out again. There's always something on the menu for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The post about an epic run and a bra jobbat at the Stockholm Halv

Before, during and after the race.

  • Ran an epic race with my gal Tanya yesterday. What made this race epic? The fact that it was Tanya's first half marathon, and my first international race. I wore a Canada shirt that I bought at the Running Room. I had to represent!
  • It was a strange start time for me. Four o'clock in the afternoon! I have never done a long run late in the day. I am a morning runner. I'm not sure it worked out well for me. I wasn't sure what I should eat. I didn't want to have any stomach issues during the race. Running for 2+ hours can really suck if you have indigestion. 
  • I came to Stockholm to run with Tanya so the plan was that we would stay together and take our time. We had fun. That was the whole point. I don't even know what our time was. We crossed the start line together and crossed the finish line together. We probably did a 2.5 hour half. That is a great time for a first half and truth be told, I was not in my best running form.
  • I took scale back week to the extreme. I ran 18K on the Sunday before the half...then didn't run again until I ran the half. NOT A GOOD PLAN and an important lesson learned. My hammies were so tight by around 15K it wasn't funny. My toes were also cramped up real good by this time. The last 6K was pretty painful with the  Morton's Neuroma. I could feel the neuroma pressing down into my shoe every step I took.
  • Some interesting observations during this race. There were lots of spectators. We ran through very touristy areas of Stockholm. The people were an excited and high energy group. But no one makes poster board signs. Not a sign to be seen anywhere. Everyone yelled "bra jobbat" pronounced bra yobbit which means "good job".
  • Stockholm is a very hilly city. We ran up and down so may hills. We walked around all day Friday and I didn't really take note of the hills until I had to run them. Hilly but beautiful.
  • We started the race by running through a tunnel for about 700m. I've decided that I do not like running through tunnels. It was freaking hot in there! No air flow and boy did I sweat...then got immediately chilled once we ran outdoors again.
  • The refreshment stations served water, sports drinks, Pepsi, bananas, energy bars and some candies that reminded me of Sweet Tarts. I'm sure they had electrolites in them but they were powdery. It seemed strange to not get any gels. I can't eat food while I run because if anyone's gonna expire during a run, it will be me trying to choke down an energy bar. I did take a bite and they were yummy peanut butter flavor, but I couldn't have more than a small nibble.
  • There was a station near the end of the race where they sprayed your legs with a special muscle spray. It made my calves tingle and the jury's still out on whether or not I liked it.Throughout the course were live bands set up on stages with different genres of music. The Garmin Power Station had a metal band which made me immediately think of Linda:-)
  • After the race we got a bag of goodies which included a banana, cashews, raisins, Pepsi, a Swedish chocolate bar and cooling muscle gel. We also got water and sweet buns (which I declined). 
  • All in all the race was well organized. They did staggered starts. The elites started at 3:30 pm, I was supposed to start at 3:55 pm, but started at 4:05 pm with Tanya. When I tried to go into her corral, they kept telling me I had to go to F. Strict! But I got to stay with Tanya. There were lots of water stations and toilets. And baggage check was a dream.
  • This was an awesome experience. I am so proud of Tanya for completing her first half marathon upright and smiling...which was our ultimate goal. Stockholm is a beautiful city to run through and the weather was perfect fall weather to run in. Once we got home, we opened a Red California Zinfandel to celebrate and ate a couple squares  of dark chocolate each with it. Well deserved treats for an awesome run and a bra jobbat:-)

Medals and California zinfandel. A winning combination!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Greetings from Sweden:-)

My flight from Toronto to Newark to Stockholm.

Hej hej! I'm here! The land of Vikings and fair haired beautiful blond people:-)  A quick picture post. The first group is my journey here, the second what I saw around Stockholm today. Also a pic of my running bib and the best smoked salmon I've ever had!

Swedish pigeons eat ice cream:-) And they have Metro here too!!!

Some observations I've made while here. In general, people are quite fit. I've encountered very few smokers. Swedes do not greet strangers, but they are very polite and helpful. The coffee here is awesome...even the stuff sold at the gas station. But they don't use cream, only milk. Many, many fathers take on the role of caretaker, which is pretty hot. Plastic is the main form of currency here. The biggest atrocity you can commit here is to harm a child or animal. Stockholm is beautiful:-)
This was sooooooo yummy. I could eat this every day!!!
There's a Canadian flag on my that!!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The post about a European vacation

Well, I am leaving for Stockholm today with a very heavy heart. I am leaving my family for 4 days. And on Sunday...almost 1 year to the day that I broke my fibula, Julien broke his while playing at a neighbor's house. I know he'll be fine because my husband is going to be awesome, but what timing! I'm anxious enough leaving him for 10 days...

My poor Boo getting cast at Urgent Care on Sunday.

Just a real quick post to let you all know that I won't have access to a laptop. Any brief posts I do will be off of my phone. Probably just pictures and a few words. Stockholm Halv is on Saturday. Although my head is all over the place right now, I'm excited to see Tanya and her boy. And I'm excited to run in Sweden. Got a Canada running shirt to make sure I'm representing:-) I will be Tweeting and Instagraming and my posts will show up on my Poonapalooza Facebook page. Feel free to follow along:-) Back to regular blogging when I get back on the 20th and life has had time to settle down! Now gotta get ready because I'm leaving on a jet plane:-)

Friday, September 5, 2014

No grains, no gains - Is eating Paleo more expensive?

A group of Primal/Paleo/Grain Free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding.

This month's topic is about whether eating grain free, low carb, high protein is expensive. That is a fair question and an easy assumption to make. Following the Paleo lifestyle means that my food expenses are taken up mostly by produce and protein. The most expensive things on any shopping list. I have had to live on a very tight budget through the years. My son is still quite young (6 yrs old) and we're currently a one income household and have been since he was a year old. So how do I afford to eat the way I do? Savvy shopping!

First off, I do not eat organic. I know there are laws around selling organic, but unless I grow it my own garden, how do I really know? Horrible attitude I know. And the other reason I don't eat organic? I can't afford it! Lets face it, processed carbs, refined sugar and prepared foods are easy and cheaper. The foods I buy are made up of one ingredient. Chicken, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, onions, get the gist. It's up to me to make it into something. 

Prior to my lifestyle change, I wanted meals to be quick and easy. Anything that required prep before hand was considered too much work. I also ate crappy,processed prepared food. Eating the way I do takes little planning. Throw some protein in a marinade (olive oil, garlic and lemon juice go a long way), grill it with a couple of veggie sides and I've got myself a meal! Easy...but back to food costs.

Since I'm not made of money, and meat and produce can be pricey, I have become quite the frugal shopper. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada. There are several grocery stores that do something called price matching. Every Wednesday night in my neighborhood is flyer night. A roll of store flyers are delivered door to door. I love flyer night. I get a glass of wine, pull out all the grocery flyers and a black marker and get to work. I circle all the advertised specials of the week for meat/fish and produce. Doesn't matter where the deal is, if it's in a flyer, it's fair game. 

After completing this task, I make my grocery list. Whatever is on sale for the week, makes my list. Then I take the list, and the circled flyers (you have to show the advertised price) to the grocery store that does price matching and they will give me the sale items for the prices advertised regardless of whether or not they have the item on sale or not. I have been doing this for years now. Since I started on Dr. Poon 3 years ago. On meat alone, I can save upwards of $30 per week. But on average my food bill for a family of 3 is around $100 per week. This past week it was only $75. That's pretty decent since our staple is meat.

I've become quite efficient at price matching and have a pretty smooth system worked out. And I price match non food items too. Even if I'm saving just a little per item, it all adds up! We also keep eating out to a minimum. Once every other week. One restaurant bill is a half week's worth of groceries. But it's fun to have a family meal out once in a while as a treat. I hear the excuse that eating healthy is expensive. It doesn't have to be. All it takes is some planning and a bit of time. It's so worth it though. The changes in your health are worth it. You're worth it. 

Check out my blogging buddies. They're gonna share their opinions on whether or not eating grain free is expensive. I'm sure they have tips on keeping the costs down as well. 

Garden Girl
The Sunny Coconut

What eating grain free has done for me. Just got my new health card. I have a neck again:-)