Thursday, January 30, 2014

The post about looking my best on camera, a new ThinkPad and #peachreps

Top left: all that was left of the banana bread after team meeting.
Bottom left: My new of my work place:)
Right: The banana bread before it was devoured.

  • Yesterday was team meeting. I made a loaf of Paleo banana bread. It actually turned out much better than I expected. I made it specifically for my boss and I because we are the only two people on the team with dietary restrictions. He's gluten free, and I'm also gluten free because I'm Paleo. Everyone on my team ate it and everyone said it was delicious. I wouldn't say it tasted like my regular banana bread, but it was still pretty darn good. It was dense but fluffy if that makes any sense. I got the recipe from George, the Civilized Caveman. The link is here.  The only thing I did differently is I added walnuts.  I won't be doing too much Paleo baking in the future. And definitely never stuff that stays in my house. I ate too much banana bread yesterday.
  • My husband wondered why I would allow the video of Julien and I making the banana bread get posted to Facebook. He said I did not look my best in the video. That is true. I have on no make-up, no contact lenses and I'm wearing my jammies. And the opening shot of my ass is huge. But Julien is super adorable in the video with his Beatles hair, and I actually don't care how I look. I may not look my best, but I look way better than I did 2.5 years ago.  You can watch the video on my Poonapalooza Facebook page here. And how many times did I have to say Paleo banana bread? Someone want to take a count for me?
  • Yesterday was an exciting one at work. We got new ThinkPads.  They removed my desktop computer and this mobile unit is mine to take everywhere with me. I am not very computer savvy, but I have been playing with it for the past day, and I'm getting better with it.  I now have a mobile office and other than team meeting (every other week), and supervision (every other alternating week), I have little reason to go into the office. Unless of course a client is coming to see me. This suits me just fine. I became "one of those people" today. I was in Starbucks for hours doing work. I just wanted the coffee. I can't log onto their wireless network as I have my own MIFI (for security reasons). But I felt all important and business like.  I had to sign a waiver at work saying that if my ThinkPad gets lost or damaged, my workplace will take $2000 from my pay. Yikes! That's some pressure to take super good care of it.
  • I worked late last night. That meant I could wait till sunlight before heading to the McMaster overpass to run my hills this morning. Six hill repeats and -19C with the windchill. Doesn't matter what the temp is. By the time I finish my warm-up, I'm sweating like nobody's business. It was busy on the Mac hill this morning. I was there just before 8 am classes. Lots of students rushing to class. So there was some skill needed while running the hills this morning. It required my undivided attention because lots of manoeuvring around people was involved. And even though I was sweating while I was running, as soon as I was done, I was freezing cold.  The Running Room wasn't opening for another hour, so I had to go and shiver in my cold car instead of shooting the shit with Ben while I warmed up. I'm definitely in need of that jumper that you offered to send me Jan;)
  • I remember when I started hill repeats a month ago. The first hill I ran was BRUTAL. By my sixth hill today, I felt strong. I think my glutes are definitely getting stronger. I have a little joke with a couple of my Twitter friends. We call hill repeats #peachreps because my goal is to have my ass look like a nice firm peach by the time I'm done hill repeats in another month. Fingers crossed I end up with a peach butt:) That's not likely going to happen, but may be a more realistic goal for when I join the gym in the spring. I'm going to embrace the next month of #peachreps. After that is speed work (I hate speed work) which is a necessary evil:(
  • Wednesday morning I dropped my run. It was -31C (with windchill) when I woke up, and I couldn't get motivated to run at 5:30 am in the dark in extreme cold. Call me lilly livered. I'm hoping I'll get to bed early tonight and get up at 4:45 am tomorrow to make the run up. It's going to be a balmy-11C with the windchill at 5 am. I have court in the morning with a client, so I have to leave my house by 7 am. That means I have to run no later than 5:15 am to get my 6K and some stretches in.  That is my plan, but if I don't make it, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I've only dropped 3 runs since I made my running come back in November. That's 94% compliance (51/54) and all dropped runs were weather related (1 b/c of the ice storm, 2 b/c of temperatures). Last month I missed zero runs even though I was sick with a cough for the entire month. That's not too shabby if I do say so myself. 
  • This has been a hard winter to run in for sure. Even though I have gotten lots of supportive comments about running on a treadmill or at an indoor track, I just can't. I'm an outdoor runner. If I used an indoor track or a treadmill, I'd hardly be hardcore, bad ass or epic anymore. And I would lose the title bat shit crazy. Hmmmmm, tempting as that is, I've become fond of bats. There's a definite status in owning that label. May not be what everyone strives for, but if I got to be known as that bat shit crazy winter runner on the Mac Hill, I wouldn't be too disappointed. I know that's what all the Mac students were thinking this morning with their raised eyebrows and sideways glances. Cool right?

Top left: Yesterday's weather and why I dropped my run:(
Bottom right: Today's running stats
Right: Looking dazed and confused on the Mac Overpass.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The post about snow cheeks, a productive morning and Paleo banana bread

Snow cheeks!

  • What was with all that overnight snow on Sunday night to Monday morning? I check the forecast RELIGIOUSLY for obvious reasons. We were supposed to get less than 1cm overnight. Imagine my surprise when I woke to 7.5 cm (3 inches) of snow on Monday morning. And I had to be in the office early for a meeting. I didn't get in till about 10:20 because I was driving behind a convoy of plows along the QEW.  The meeting should have been well underway. But alas, it was cancelled due to the weather. Now I am sure that I am the one who lives furthest away so WTF? I could have worked from home!!!!! I tell you, I never catch a break!
  • Although I was tempted to run yesterday morning so I wouldn't have to run in the frigid temperatures of this morning, I ended up resting as planned. Had I run, it would have been my 6th run in a row. I ran just after 8 am this morning. It was a touch colder than what it says on the weather forecast above. Minus 25C, -27C makes no difference in the grand scheme of things.  I can't really tell the difference in 2 degrees.  I will say this though,it was so cold that the running app on my phone did not work. My GPS froze and it said I only ran 3K.
  • I woke at 5am. Although the temperature wasn't supposed to get much warmer by sunrise, I just wanted to run in the daylight. It's hard enough running when it's -27C, but running in the dark in -27C is crazy!!!! I was supposed to run 6K, but wimped out at 5K because my lungs were on fire from the cold and I couldn't feel my toes anymore. There was another runner that I ran by twice during my run. I think he was doing the same route as me but backwards. He had a brown goatee which was completely white from sweat. My eyelashes froze together and my cheeks got snow/icicles on them from my sweat. I still manage to sweat in frigidly cold temperatures. I have to admit, miserable weather aside, I felt bad ass this morning.  I ran my best pace in a few weeks (6:32/K) and I deemed myself certifiably bat shit crazy. There's a real freedom in finally admitting that you have a problem.
  • Although I waited around to run this morning, I got more done in that 3 hours, than I did over the entire weekend.  I cleaned up the kitchen mess from the night before, I made banana bread, I prepared the slow cooker for Bolognese sauce (for dinner tonight), I made Julien's lunch, I made hard boiled eggs for the week, I cleaned the turkey carcass (to prepare for soup) from Sunday, I cleaned up all the dishes again, I read blogs, answered some emails, tended to my cats and enjoyed a few cups of coffee. Then I ran, got ready for work and drove to Toronto, then Brampton for client meetings. Busy, busy day! 
  • I decided not to take a break from my Tim Horton's drive-thru guy.  The young man who has a crush on me and works the drive-thru window was pretty much back to normal yesterday. I acted the same as I usually do and we exchanged a bit of small talk. As much small talk as you can in 30 seconds or less. I feel relieved because I felt badly for him. I know he was embarrassed, but he needs to know that I am incredibly easy going. So we are good and he seemed comfortable with me again. Yay!
  • Sometimes I think I come off as very snobby to others. Today I was in Starbucks in Vaughan and there was a suit (business man) sitting at a communal table. I faced him as I lined up for coffee and he looked up at me, kept eye contact with me while he folded his arms across his chest and sat back in his chair, still staring at me. Now the first thing that popped into my head? Why is he staring at me? What's wrong with me? Then he smiled at me and I didn't know what to do so I abruptly looked away. And then I felt guilty because I felt like I was being rude. And I never looked at him again. Now I could have just smiled back and then looked away, but I panicked because I am who I am. I need to work on reciprocating kind looks and accepting compliments from others. Usually when someone compliments me, I counter that compliment with an immediate put down about myself. Example? "Your legs look awesome in those pants". Answer..."that's because they hide all my flaws". Why I can't just say "thank you" instead of putting myself down is beyond me. I am going to practice compliment acceptance as should we all because I know I'm not alone!
  • I just baked my first loaf of Paleo Banana bread. My hubby actually filmed a bit of Julien and I making it, and he's uploading it onto his Facebook. I'll share it to my Poonapalooza Facebook page if you care to give it a look. It's 70% downloaded now, so it likely won't be up until tomorrow.  I'm heading to bed when I'm done this post. I have to be running by 5:30 am tomorrow. I have team meeting at 9:30 in Toronto,and there's always a lot of traffic on Wednesday mornings. I guess lots of workplaces have team meeting!  I won't be eating the banana bread until team meeting. If it's any good I'll share the recipe.  Egads! I just looked at the forecast. It's supposed to be -31 with the windchill tomorrow morning at 6am. That is just gross....

Top: My very painful and appropriately placed paper cut.
Bottom: Paleo Banana Bread!!!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The post about running, boredom, food and the drug LSD...not necessarily in that order

My POV while making dinner Saturday night.
I posted this on Twitter, that's how bored I was!

  • So this post promises to be gripping and attention grabbing. Not so much. I have little to tell you about my weekend.  I do promise to be a whiner and a killjoy in a few moments. Stay tuned. 
  • Yesterday was boring, boring, boring.  Weekly chores. I spent way too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. That is all.
  • I did run 5K yesterday morning. It wasn't so cold, only -9C, but it was snowing pretty steadily. Made for a very slow run because I had to contend with blowing and drifting snow. I only had to wear two layers though. A nice change from the 4 layers I have been wearing of late. 

The temps from today's LSD, my pic from yesterday's run.

  • So here comes the whining part. My spirit is slowly crumbling. I am so done with winter it is not even funny. Now I know what you're all thinking. I should just join the gym and run on a treadmill. I ran on a treadmill once and all I thought the entire time was how much I hated running on a treadmill. I vowed never to do it again unless absolutely necessary. It's not the running I hate. It's the running in sub-zero temperatures that is getting to me. And I can never catch a break on my long run days. 
  • Today was cold (-21C with windchill) when I headed out for my 14K run and my feet were wet the entire time because I stepped in a slush puddle about 500m into my run. It sucked badly. Not only were my feet wet, but my toes cramped badly at 10K and the last 4K was spent running in some pretty substantial pain. It frustrated me so badly that I almost burst into tears when I got into my house. Prior to breaking my ankle, I was running much further distances before my toes would cramp (about 20K). Now I'm only running half that distance and I'm in pain. Makes me question my ability to finish the 30K at the end of March. I'm questioning my ability, but I'll never give up. I will still head out for my 16K next Sunday and deal with the pain because that's what I do. I pray that the temperatures will be warmer and that it won't snow again. I ran in snow both days this weekend and I am feeling it in my calves. I'm not feeling hardcore, bad ass or epic anymore. I'm feeling beaten up and abused. Mother Nature is a BITCH!
  • I ran 5 days in a row. Tomorrow is my rest day, but I'm tempted to run my 6K for Tuesday because Tuesday's temp is supposed to be -30C with the windchill. I may just rest, then suck it up on Tuesday and layer up. If I rest tomorrow and skip Tuesday's run, I'll have to make it up on Friday again which means another week of running 5 days in a row.  Runner problems!

My eats from the weekend. Clockwise from top left, sausage and chicken
, cappuccino made with unsweetened almond milk, turkey dinner with
rutabaga and sweet potato mash, sauteed red cabbage, cumin carrots.

  • A few people have asked about what I'm eating lately. Since it was a very slow weekend, I'll show you what I ate this weekend. I had a few sausages, I had a bit of chicken breast, so I put them together and made sausage and chicken ratatouille. Genius, I know.  I roasted a turkey today and made sides of sauteed red cabbage, sweet potato (and rutabaga) mash and cumin carrots. It was very yummy and very filling. After dinner I headed out to Domestique Cafe in Dundas to have coffee with Tanya. I ordered a cappuccino made with unsweetened almond milk. Paleo cappuccino!
  • I was in a mood yesterday. I spent the day staring at Julien's messy toy room and wanted to grab a garbage bag so badly and throw everything out.  That would have been wrong. So I restrained myself and opened some Merlot instead. Red wine makes everything better. The good news is that today he cleaned it up on his own. I did bribe him with a loonie ($1), but that is inconsequential. He got it done!

Yesterday and today...

  • I haven't mentioned him in a while, so I will tell you all that I'm thinking of Finn a lot lately. He's never far from my thoughts. Every night when I walk into my bedroom in the dark, I step over the place he would normally be sleeping. It's still a strange feeling to come home and not have him greet me at the door. I have two cats,but it is just not the same. They can both be prickly at times. Finn was just full of love for us. I miss my beautiful boy like crazy and it still feels surreal that he's not with us anymore. And no, I'm not getting another dog...
  • Other than my afternoon wine date with Elin, that pretty much wraps up my weekend. Boring! At least I got to see Elin and Tanya. Both those women rock and raise my spirits:) I'm off to bed. I'm tired and I have a meeting early in the morning. If I wake at 5am, I'll run. If I don't, I won't. Or maybe I'll consult my Magic 8-Ball. The answer? Outlook not so good:(

Bwahahahahahaha!!!!!! Funny, but let's be clear that I'm
not suggesting anyone take drugs to lose weight!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The post about more cold running, Twitter hacks and Steven and Chris...revisited

Feeling bad ass, hardcore and bat shit crazy all at once!

  • I don't have much to talk about today. Let's see. What did I do yesterday? I got up at 5am and ran at about 5:40. It was very cold. It's hard enough running in the dark, but running in the dark in extreme cold temperatures is just that little extra kick in the crotch. My eye lashes froze together again and my sweat formed tiny icicles on my face. That always makes me feel a bit hardcore.  I never eat before I run. That's called a fasting workout and burns any fat stores you have. I have noticed a difference in my legs and thighs. I haven't dropped a lot of weight, but I have gotten smaller.  Small enough that I went down a size.  I do eat as soon as I get home though to rebuild muscle.  
  • Well I went to the dentist for my 6 month check up. I apparently have very good bone density. That's supposed to be important according to my dentist. Every time I go there, they treat me like I'm someone special. Everyone. My dentist, dental hygienist, and the receptionists.  It's kinda awkward.
  • But not as awkward as seeing Pete (my admirer) at the Tim Horton's drive-thru yesterday. He didn't make eye contact with me and was a bit cold towards me. Strange young man. I was being exceptionally chipper and friendly to try and show him that I didn't think anything of what he said to me on Tuesday. I didn't go to Timmies today so I'll try to convince him this whole thing is just water under the bridge on Monday. Not sure how I'll do that just yet. Maybe we need some time apart and I should frequent a different Tim's for a week or so...
  • I have been eating out like it's my job all week. Oh wait a minute, it is my job. I have dined with several of my clients and was only home for dinner once.  Even when I am out I follow Paleo as closely as possible. I ate at a rotisserie chicken place twice, so that's easy because I get half a chicken with either salad or sweet potato fries. I also ate at the Pickle Barrel. I normally get a salad there with grilled chicken, but this week I ended up getting a shaved turkey sandwich without the bread and I doubled the meat and had garden salad with it. It was good. I also ate at the Mandarin, which is super easy. There's a big salad bar, a carvery, grilled meat and fresh fruit. So it's easy to eat there. Even when I followed Dr. Poon's diet, I ate there at least once a week because I had two clients who always chose Mandarin for lunch. Because I eat out so much, and have been since I've been at this job (in my 14th year), I find it easiest to make a plan and stick to it. My plan has always been poultry (when possible) and salad or vegetables. So that is usually what I get when I eat out. Once in a while I'll get sweet potato fries. And only because my running mileage is going up now.
  • I'm watching the blizzard like conditions outside my window right now and am not looking forward to my 5K run tomorrow. I ran 5 hill repeats today. I'm not gonna lie. When I started out and the wind was bitch slapping my face, I made it about a kilometer before I felt like admitting defeat and heading back to the Running Room. But then I kept telling myself that if I do that even one time, I'll give myself permission to do it again, and then again and before I know it, I'll be skipping runs left right and center. So I sucked it up. And I'm glad I did. By the time I made it to the Mac Hill I was sweating, felt nice and warmed up and my hills were a breeze. So my eyelashes froze together and the sweat froze to my face and my water froze, but I got it done. And I felt bad ass. There's nothing better than the feeling after a particularly difficult run. Although the run felt awesome, the weather was a pain in the ass and sometimes even painful.
  • My Twitter got hacked today. I got a few direct messages from people saying that I sent them messages with attachments they couldn't open. This happened to me when I first signed up for Twitter just over a year ago. Perhaps it's a yearly occurrence? Who knows. All I know is if you follow me on Twitter, don't open anything with an attachment unless it's my blog post or an Instagram picture:) I've reset my password. This is what I had to do last time. I also had to delete a few tweets that weren't mine. Oh well, hopefully this has been remedied. No one has DM'd me since around 5pm.
  • I also want to apologize in case anyone has seen inappropriate ads on my website. I have no idea what's going on with the ads on blogger and other sites I frequent. There are ads popping up all over the place and words highlighted in blue on other people's blogs that have never run ads before. If I scroll over the blue, an ad pops up. I was alerted by Myra that there was a provocative ad objectifying women that popped up on my site. It was there for a moment, then when she went back to see again, it was an ad for a Quest Bar. I have no idea how that ad showed up on my blog, and I can't figure out why all these ads are showing up on pretty much every site I go to. Even government websites! I haven't done anything different or changed any settings on my server. So I am stumped. Sorry if you've seen a disgusting ad on my site. I didn't put it there. The only ads I ever see on my site are for fitness products, or weight-loss. 
  • It was one year ago today that I taped the Steven and Chris Show. Funny how I remember the date. Funnier still, I remember how freaking cold it was that day because we walked from the CBC studio to Kelsey's for lunch after and froze our asses off. The day was pretty much a mirror image of today. When I look back at the photos of me at that time, I know that I look different today. I really had a blast taping that show. It was so much fun and really helped out a lot with my self esteem. But the picture on the left does not look like me. Kristjan called it the Kardashian look and he had to put heavy make up on me for the cameras, but I think I look a lot older there. The shape of my face has changed and of course my hair has grown a lot. I did listen to what he taught me though. Although I do not wear a lot of make-up and I don't wear it everyday, I still do the 5 in 5 routine he showed me. I always start with moisturizer, then concealer under the eyes and over blemishes, pressed powder over the entire face, blush, mascara and lip color. I actually don't do the lip color unless I'm going out, but I do use balm like a champ. It really does take five minutes to put my face on every morning. He gave me $500 in Aveda products. They are long gone and have been switched for Covergirl and Maybelline products. Shhhh, don't tell him. They work just as well in my opinion.
  • I'm off to bed. For someone who had nothing to say, I sure rambled on for a spell. I apologize for that too. Not a very exciting weekend. Laundry and roasting a turkey. That's pretty much it. And trying to keep warm. Sunday is my long run (14K) and the temperature is supposed to be -18C. Piece of cake. I ran in that temperature all last winter! Enjoy your weekend:)

Loved my hair color a year ago!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The post about another extreme cold run, Chinese zodiac and CNN

It was quite the nippy run this morning:)

  • Monday was a sick day. I could barely talk when I woke up in the morning and pretty much spent the day vegged out on my couch. I drank, what seemed like, gallons of lemon ginger tea with honey and by nightfall, my voice was back. That was unfortunate for my family. I'm sure they enjoyed my silence. Poor Julien. He was genuinely concerned and kept worrying about when I was going to find my voice again.  When my voice came back, he told me I sounded like a stranger! Since I couldn't talk on Monday I dressed like a mime. I wore all black and wore my hair in a slicked back ponytail.  It just seemed fitting.
  • Monday was my scheduled rest day, Tuesday was my forced rest day. I was feeling well enough to go back to work on Tuesday, and I would have even run, but it was -30C (-22F) with the windchill. I stuck my head out the door and my face hurt, so I knew I just couldn't do it.  I checked out the forecast for the rest of the week and began to freak out. The temperatures did not look like they were getting much warmer later on in the week. It called for -28C (-18.4F) for this morning, and I didn't want to miss another run, so I resigned myself to suck it up and run. When I got up at 5:30am, it was -28C and DARK! I worked late last night, so I decided to flex my time and go to work later so that I could at least run in the daylight. Hubby wanted to run as well, so I waited until he dropped Jules off at school and we headed out for a 6K together.
  • Even with the sun it was freaking cold. My run was slow (for -26) too because hubby was struggling a bit and I  kept looking back to check on him. He's just coming back after his concussion (which turned out to be okay last weekend so he never went to urgent care). I wore 2 layers on my bottom, 3 pairs of socks, 4 top layers, 2 pairs of gloves, a bandana and a hat. I never got warm. But I did sweat. The sweat froze to my face in tiny icicles and my eyelashes froze together.  I wanted to take a picture when I got home, but my phone froze and I couldn't use my camera. All in all it was a bitterly cold run in the sun. I have a cold, dark run to look forward to tomorrow. I have to run by 6am at the latest because I have a dental appointment in Scarborough at 10:15am followed by my first appointment for the day. The scheduled temperature is -24C with the windchill and snow. Lovely! I'll be layering up again!

My Chinese Zodiac says I am a dog and my compatible partner should be
a Horse or a Tiger. My husband is a pig:( My fortune from yesterday. My
client finished the sentence with "or blow his head off". Keeping warm at
my satellite office in between appointments:)

  • So yesterday I downloaded my ireport onto CNN. I haven't been featured yet. What it means is that I've told them a bit about myself and members can read my blurb and decide if I should be the feature weight-loss story of the week. If it gets enough votes of "This belongs on CNN" under "What do you think of this story", it will be featured on CNN.  So if you are a CNN member, or if you want to join the community and leave a comment and/or vote, please do so. I'd love for Dr. Poon to get more recognition in North America. He's helped so many people in the greater Toronto area, and so many more can be helped. Obesity is a major epidemic in North America and I am living proof (along with countless others) that Dr. Poon's diet works. So go read the story and share it on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+. Share it all around. You can read it here.
  • I felt bad for my Tim Horton's guy yesterday. Back in November I mentioned him. He was growing a mustache for Movember and I already knew he had a bit of a crush on me and complimented his mustache which he ended up keeping on for most of December. He shaved it off while I was on Christmas vacation. I saw him last week a couple of times, then saw him yesterday morning. He asked me how I was, I said I was cold because it was -28C at the time. And he said, "no, you're, I mean, I mean keep warm". Then he turned beet red and just turned and walked away from the drive thru window. He didn't even give me my coffee. Another server came and apologized for him and gave me my coffee.  It could get a bit awkward when I go through the drive thru tomorrow morning.  Did I also mention that he's about 21. I'm old enough to be his mom.

Size 6 skinny jeans on the left (which I did not purchase).
Size 6 bootleg jeans on the right. 

  • A side by side comparison to show you exactly why the skinny jeans are not a good style on me. Thank you to everyone who complimented me on them, but I think you can see why the bootleg cut is much more flattering to my figure. I have runner's legs. They are fairly muscled and I'm good with that. Don't piss me off though. I can crush your head with my inner thighs...just say'in:)
  • My paralyzed hand is coming along nicely. It's about 90% better. I pretty much have full use of it. Just once in a while it will feel weaker than normal, but it's only when I'm lifting with the wrist, and not all the time.
  • This extreme cold weather is reeking havoc with my hair. It's super dry right now. It got very dry during our last extreme cold spell too. I'm trying to keep it as hydrated as possible but it is proving difficult.  The ends are also in desperate need of a trim. I'm going to have to go see Kristjan sooner than later. My hair needs an intervention, stat!
  • My gal Tanya asked me to run a 5K race with her. It's a Valentine's race in Burlington. What an awesome idea! She's moving away at the end of February (to Stockholm) and we took the Learn to Run Clinic together through the Running Room back in March 2012. I ran my first race with Tanya, and I will run her last race in Canada (for a while) with her. We're gonna get a room after;)
  • I'm off to bed. My eyes are getting droopy and I'm still feeling a bit run down. I have a 6K in the morning. I'm putting off hills until Friday morning which means I will be running 5 days in a row. It's all good. I hate missing runs due to illness or extreme cold, so I will feel better doing 5 days of running. It's my penance for having skipped Tuesday's run. Good night beautiful people!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The post about some skinny jeans, an inappropriate menu and my longest run (post broken ankle)

  • I am going to try and keep this as short and sweet as I can. I am not feeling great. I had full on laryngitis last night, and I'm dealing with sporadic laryngitis today. My throat feels like I've swallowed a bunch of razor blades.  The good news is that no one else in my family is sick.  But more importantly, I did not miss a run this weekend:) The bad news is that I think I'll likely be calling in sick tomorrow. I need rest, lemon, honey and ginger (a prescription given to me by this brilliant doctor I know:). So I'm using pictures for this post, with a few bullets here and there.
  • Friday night I went out to dinner with my father and brother. While driving out to my dad's place, I stopped into Old Navy to look at some jeans because I was emailed a coupon. For the fun of it I tried on a pair of size 6 (US) skinny jeans. Regardless of the fact that my legs look like sausages in them and they feel like compression pants, I was able to button and zip them without a struggle. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would fit into a size 6 anything. One of my goals during weight-loss was to be able to shop in regular sized clothing stores. I figured I would have been happy enough fitting into a size 14 and XL.  When I got down to a size 12, I was ecstatic.  Wearing size 6 is surreal to me. Skinny jeans do not suit my runner's legs. I have thick upper thighs and calves due to muscle. I'm okay with that. Perhaps when I start strength training in the spring, they'll lean out a bit and I can revisit the skinny jeans.  I did end up purchasing a pair of size 6 boot leg jeans. Picture to follow Patricia:)

And, I would never purchase a pair of jeans with
holes in them. 

  • Last week I took a client to eat at Wimpy's Diner. Now is it just me, or does that menu sound a bit suggestive? I posted a picture on Instagram and everyone who commented on it was focused on the amount of meat the burger was. I was focused on the "Wow...It's Big! It's Juicy!" "ARE YOU READY FOR IT?" Am I a 12-year-old boy in a 43-year-old woman's body? Maybe.  And just in case you're wondering, I ordered salad with grilled chicken and drank about 4 glasses of water with lemon.  My client did not get the 20oz burger, but opted for the 10oz instead.

Yes, my mind is in the gutter!

  • Yesterday I met my gal Tanya at the Running Room and we headed out for a 5K run. We got some newly fallen snow and the roads were a bit slick, but nothing compared to the sheet of ice we ran on last Saturday. She's moving to Stockholm at the end of February, so I'd like to get as many runs in with her that I can. We both felt pretty sluggish. I wasn't feeling great because my throat was sore, and Tanya is still coming back from her running hiatus which included some injuries. Regardless of the fact that we both felt like crap, we were able to smile for the camera and getter done! And afterwards, I got to watch Tanya purchase a bitch'in pair of new shoes. They were purple!

My Adidas are ready for retirement. 767.5K I've clocked in those babies.
My Mizunos only have 384K on them, so they'll have to do until I get my
employee discount back in the spring.

  • My brother-in-law spent the last four days with us. Julien LOVES it when Uncle Ross comes to see him. They are super close and have a ton of fun together. We were trying to figure out what to do last night and hubby reminded me that we had $150 left on our gift card for the Prince of Wales Hotel. So we decided to drive to Niagara Falls to see the Festival of Lights. First we drove to Niagara-on-the-Lake and ate dinner in the P of W Hotel lounge. That's right, I brought my 6-year-old into a bar. Don't judge me. He ordered milk with a yogurt chaser.  Dinner was nice, but my hubby and BIL did nothing but complain about what a rip off everything was. Yes the food is over priced, but we can't take the $150 in cash, so we might as well use the card up!  The Festival of Lights was lovely. By this time though, I had completely lost my voice. Probably not a bad thing for my family, but I can't keep quiet. It was painful for me.  After we saw the lights, we headed to the arcade for about 1.5 hours where I slept upright on a bench, then headed back home. I got ZERO pictures of the lights because my phone died:(

Some snaps in the hotel lounge. Check out the mini
ketchup and mustard!

  • This morning I woke up and had my voice back. Although it was quite husky and raspy (aka: jazz lounge singer), I could talk and it didn't feel as painful as it does right now. So I geared up, and headed out for my LSD (long slow distance) just after 9am. I felt sluggish. My legs felt like lead. And although it usually takes a few kilometers for me to get my rhythm during a run, it never came today. To add insult to injury, my toes cramped pretty badly by 10.5K and I suddenly remembered very clearly what Morton's Neuroma feels like. It frick'in hurts! Thank goodness I had Wally Lamb to distract me because the last 1.5K was spent with me cursing my feet and wishing I could have them transplanted. If that was possible, I'd like them to be size 8 please.  Regardless of feeling like a pile of horse manure, I got my run done.  I watched my phone to see exactly when I got to 12K and walked the last 300 meters home because I had to work out the cramps in my toes. It scares me to have my toes cramp so early. How am I going to run 30K?  Pre-broken ankle, I was able to run 26K, so I'm just keeping the faith that all will be well.

Why the smile when I'm feeling like shit? Because I'm done!!!!!!

  • Here is the final video in the Anniversary Series.  It's called Driving the shit box. We're back in my car and it's loud and smells like gas. Yes it did make a ton of noise and had no pick-up because it was in desperate need of a tune up. It has since been serviced and runs like a dream now...NOT. It's still a piece of crap. Night, night beautiful people. I need to go and rest my head. I'm tired and my voice is gone once again:( 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The post about a concussion, insecurities and the Stockholm Halvmarathon

On the hill at the McMaster overpass.

  • This morning was my second hill workout. I got up early, did some on-line work, then headed out just before 9am to run my four hills. Last week I ran three and it was difficult. This week I felt great. I always have a slower pace running hills because when I get to the top, I walk for about 50 meters to drink water before heading back down the hill at a slower pace to recover. I run up the hill faster than my regular pace, but not fast enough that I'm gonna vomit.  Push yourself, but not too hard! Save the vomiting for the race:)  It was a crisp, sunny morning. Perfect for a run!
  • Two weeks ago, my husband bumped his head on the hatchback of our Hyundai and got a concussion.  He has been out of sorts since. He went to the doctor about 5 days in and was told to rest. He's still experiencing weakness and nausea. He hasn't run in a couple of weeks and is falling behind in training for the Bay. I think he should go back to the doctor and get sent in for a CT scan. His doctor does not believe in referrals for CT scans because of the radiation. WTF? If he's not feeling good by Saturday, I'm sending him to Urgent Care.
  • I'm a year in at my goal weight, and my self esteem is still pretty effed up.  I know it takes a while for the brain to catch up with and accept how I look to others (normal sized), but I still have major insecurities. I thought things would be different by now. I still get startled when I see my reflection when I'm in the community because I can't believe that's really me.  I am always comparing myself to others that I'm standing with. Doesn't matter the sizes or the body types of the people I'm with, I still think that I am sticking out like a sore thumb because I am the biggest.  Even wearing my new size 7 (US) jeans yesterday gave me anxiety. I was sure that they didn't fit me well and I was just fooling myself by wearing them. My co-worker told me that my ass looked fine in them and she wanted to slap it! That cracked me up and I secretly wished she had slapped it.  And after wearing them for the day, I find that they are not as form fitting as I wanted them to be. They are a bit loose in the butt and upper thigh area. I wouldn't even dream of trying on a size 5 though.

Wearing the size 7 jeans. The boy is growing like a weed.
Checkout Baby in the background. She's from the "Total
Eclipse of the Heart" video. And I'm not sure why there's
a highlight on my crotch...

  • I am my worst critic. I should be happy with the way my body has changed over the past 2+ years, but I always feel that it's not enough. That I can do more. That is why I am joining the gym in the spring.  I always need to have a goal or a challenge to work towards or else I'm scared of losing my focus.  That is why my running hiatuses do not last long. Unless of course they're forced (ie: broken ankle). Once I finish training for one thing, I have to find a new goal to work on. After I run the Around the Bay (30K) at the end of March, I am going to teach another running clinic. I'd like to do the Learn to Run again. I love teaching brand new runners. Reminds me of where I started and I love encouraging and supporting others. Hopefully they move on to other clinics and end up loving running as much as I do!  I'll look into another 1/2 marathon for June (possibly the Niagara Falls Women's 1/2 again), then in September, I think I am going to cross the Atlantic Ocean venture into Scandinavia and run my first international race!
  • My gal Tanya and her family are moving to Stockholm at the end Of February.  Her husband is being transferred there for work and their Visas just got approved. I am very sad that the only other person I ever run with is leaving me. I will miss her because even though we run sporadically, we socialize frequently.  I will see her again in the summer because she's coming back to visit for the month of July. That works out perfectly because we can start training together for the Stockholm Half Marathon which happens on September 13th! I am so excited to have the opportunity to fly to Sweden and run an international race with a woman that I took the Learn To Run clinic with back in March 2012.  It will be an awesome experience and I will be stopping over in London for a few days on my way home. I was in London about 20 years ago with my parents when we were flying to South Africa for my brother's wedding.  We spent a few days looking around, but I barely saw anything and vowed I'd go back again one day to visit. This is one of my goals for 2014. To vacation alone and run a destination race!
  • Someone commented a few blogs back about wanting me to post what I ate again. The reason I stopped posting my food is because it is mostly the same stuff day in and day out. I don't have a huge food palate, and that is not because Paleo is limited and boring. There are tons of awesome recipes that can be made Paleo. It's because I lack time and imagination.  And I just don't care that much about what I eat because it is just fuel for my body.  I don't feel it's inspirational at all to post lame pictures of my food and a repetitive food journal.  I could be completely wrong though. Majority will rule!
  • The next video in the Anniversary Series entitled The Lot. It's short and not so sweet. Upon returning to St. Catherines, we look upon my orange shit box in the Lexus dealership parking lot. *Hangs head in shame*

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The post about another slippery LSD, Jaclyn Smith hair and thrifty finds

Despite the more seasonal temperatures, Sunday's run was another slow
and slippery one! About 5K was on ice! Really need Yaktrax...

  • Sunday's long slow distance really was slow. Super slow. I mistakenly assumed that since the temperatures had been mild for the two days leading up to my long run day, that most of the ice would be melted. Wrong! Even the roads were slick. At least half of my run was done on icy surfaces. The up side is that I'm becoming an efficient ice runner. It takes waaaaaaaay too much concentration to run on the ice though. I am definitely investing in a pair of Yaktax for next winter. I'll get them in the spring when I teach a running clinic at the Running Room and get back my employee discount. It's a sweet discount! And since I'm getting them for next winter, it will be the driest winter we've had in years...I just know it!
  • Right now I am listening to one of my favorite authors while I run. Wally Lamb!!! Love all of his books. I just downloaded an audio copy of We are Water from the Hamilton library. I'm excited to run because I love to run, but also because I get to listen to my book.  Wally Lamb is a great story teller, and he also narrates the book. A nice break from "literature" for a while...
  • Yesterday I had something I haven't eaten in over two years. Indian lunch buffet with a client. This was the first time a client has chosen Indian food as their meal of choice. I was surprised to say the least.  I love Indian food and it was my "last supper" before my lifestyle change. That would be the last meal I had on September 16, 2011, the day before I started Dr. Poon.  Definitely a cheat day because I ate sauces and I have no idea what they were.  But I stuck to chicken, some chili fish and fresh fruit. It was definitely yummy, and I got my Indian fix for a good while now. I didn't feel great right afterwards.  I felt bloated.  By the end of the afternoon, my bloat subsided because I drank water like a champ.  No repercussions today, and I got right back on plan as soon as I left the buffet. 

My new leather jacket from Value Village!!!!!

  • Yesterday I ventured to Value Village to scope out some new skinny jeans. I heard there was a 50% off sale, but it was only for members.  How was I not a member until yesterday? I am a VV fanatic! Anyway, I was not successful in finding skinny jeans, but I did find this awesome lambskin leather jacket for...wait for it...$5.99.  That's right I said $5.99! I have a very similar Danier one, but it is longer and a touch big on me. This one fits me like a glove and cost $5.99!  If I was a member and got the 50% off, it would have cost me $3. I don't get it. It was marked down so low because the leather is distressed and warn, just the way I like it! I wore it today and got mucho compliments on it.
  • Monday was a bang less and sock bun kinda day.  I love the curls I get after I take the sock bun out. I feel like I have Jaclyn Smith hair...except mine is not so thick.  And Jaclyn Smith is gorgeous! I hope I age like her.  She's 68 and is still smoking hot. Every time I take the sock bun out and get these awesome curls, I have nowhere to go but bed...

Don't we look identical? OK, maybe not. But my hair is pretty big post sock bun!

  • Today I ventured to Old Navy and Reitmans in search of skinny jeans. Old Navy was a mess. The clearance section was too chaotic and I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I currently wear a pair of size 8 skinny jeans, but they are getting baggy in the butt and thigh area. I can still wear them, but they need a belt so if I want to wear something form fitting, The belt sticks out like a sore thumb. I tried on a pair of size 7 skinny jeans from Reitmans and they fit me pretty good. They were under $10 on clearance and were originally priced at $46. I would NEVER pay $46 for a pair of jeans. Even if I did have money lying around. I'm cheap like that.
  • My bangs are getting long again. I posted this question on FB, Twitter and Instagram. Should I get them trimmed, or leave them long? The almost unanimous consensus was that I should leave them long. I think I will for now. I am going to see Kristjan for a haircut very soon. The end of January marks 1 year since I had my makeover for the Steven and Chris Show. (Wow! I just looked at the link, and I don't look like that anymore. I weighed 165 during that show taping. And I still think I had on waaaaay too much make up!) Kristjan was the last stylist to cut my hair. So my hair has grown at least 5" in the last year. It fell just below my shoulders for the show. Now it almost reaches my boobs! I definitely need a good cut and style. And I want Kristjan to do it. But I need to get $100 together to go see him. He's expensive!

The long bangs stay!

  • I got the crap scared out of me today. I drive a lot for my job, and I have had many near misses on the highway. Mostly with transport trailers. The big trucks freak me out and nothing makes me more nervous than being boxed in by a few big rigs.  During rush hour in bumper to bumper traffic, you always get the impatient driver that swerves in and out of traffic to get one car length ahead. I mean seriously, is that really going to buy you significant time? NO!!!!!!! Today an SUV was behind me while we were driving 40KM/hr. I was in the far left lane and had a rig beside me.  The SUV was tailgating me which pissed me off because I have no where to go loser!  I like to leave room between me and the guy ahead of me in case he breaks suddenly. Anyway, the guy in front of me slams on his breaks and I break causing the SUV to miss barreling into me by inches.  I watched him in my rear view mirror and braced myself for impact, but he ended up going onto the shoulder instead and I nearly wet myself. Hate him and hate that I have no control over the bad drivers around me.
  • I stopped into the mechanics this afternoon for an oil change. I had my client with me because he asked if he could check out the garage.  He's interested in cars and is thinking of getting into the automotive trade. So I brought him along to chat up my mechanics.While we were there, there was another guy (well call him Dude) waiting for his car and he was a serial talker. Now I guess I am just not that perceptive, but after we left, my client told me that Dude was checking me out, a lot. I am dense because I did not notice. I went to the bathroom and went into the garage to talk to my mechanic a couple of times. When I left, Dude asked my client if we were together. My client is 20! Sometimes I don't think I look 43, but with a 20 year old? Shit. That made me feel icky. My client told me Dude was looking at my ass and staring at me. And I am oblivious the entire time.  The only thing I did notice about Dude was his very impressive mullet. I haven't seen such a specimen since the 80's. It put Joe Dirt's mullet to shame. Although the 80's is making a bit of a comeback, I'm pretty sure the mullet should stay in the past.  We did have a good hearty laugh over the mullet after we left the garage.
  • Here is the 21st video in the Anniversary Series of videos. Man, our anniversary was on November 2nd and we're just at #21 now! Only 2 left after this I think. Anyway, it's called Driving to St. Catherines. We are leaving Niagara-on-the-Lake and heading back to the dealership to drop the Lexus off. Hubby is sad and I talk about trying on brand new leather coats.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The post about the January Jeans Club, nerve palsy, hill repeats and my slipperiest run to date

  • I have been remiss is reporting back about how I fared in this year's edition of the January Jeans Club. Marion over at Affection for Fitness hosted a challenge this holiday season. The challenge was to simply NOT gain wait over the holidays. I think I can say with absolute conviction, that I nailed this challenge. I haven't weighed in for almost two weeks and saw that I have dropped another 1/2 a pound. My weight this morning was 156.5. Now that could simply be water fluctuation. I'm not putting too much stock in the number on the scale right now. All I know is that my size 8 skinny jeans that used to fit me like a glove, are sagging in the butt and I have to pull them up a lot when I wear them. I may soon have to invest in another pair of skinny jeans. I am finally dropping weight in my ass and thighs. Likely because there's no where else for it to come off.  
  • I will always be curvy, and I'm okay with that. I like my curves. And I have been told by one elderly woman that I have a nice bum. I'll take it because a compliment is a compliment! I think my ass is a tad flat.  Needs some muscle definition for sure.  I'm looking forward to starting at the gym in the spring (after I run the Bay). I'm curious to see how my body is going to change when I introduce strength training to it. Running will still be my main form of exercise because I love it so much. But I'm going to go to the gym a few days a week and see what happens. I think it will make me a better runner too.

My ass in my skinny jeans.  Looks a little flat no?
Pulled these babies up as high as they would go just before
the photo was snapped. My butt looks GIANT!

  • This past week was a bit of a mess for my running schedule. I have a no excuses rule when it comes to running. I feel like I made one on Thursday. I had to drop Tuesday's run due to the temperature. It was -38C with the windchill, and I had to declare that a national emergency. No running on that day because I value my skin, fingers and toes. So I ran Wednesday and was supposed to do hill repeats on Thursday. I use the hill at McMaster University for hill repeats. It's about 400m long and it's cleared in the winter because there are parking lots at the bottom of the hill and people have to walk along the pathways. I normally run in the morning and I couldn't go and run on the campus at 5am on Thursday for a few reasons. The bottom of the hill is adjacent to the Dundas Valley. That means wild animals and vagabonds. And if I get approached by a possum, angry or otherwise, I'll lose my mind. I am terrified of possums! There is no one walking around the campus at 5am, and no buses or security would be patrolling the area. In a nutshell, I didn't feel safe. If I waited until the evening to run the hills, the paths are lit, the shuttle bus is running, security is out, and the campus is busy due to night classes.  So I planned to run my hills Thursday after work. Well Thursday evening rolls around and I just couldn't do it. I was beat by the time I rolled into Hamilton at 7pm, and couldn't even fathom for a moment running hills. Also my boss advised me against running all together because he freaked me out about my paralyzed hand and kept telling me I could be doing worse damage because it's all connected to my spine (talk about over-analyszing). So I decided to put the run off till Friday which is normally my planned rest day. I am happy to report that I did run my hills on Friday after I saw the orthopedic surgeon at St. Joseph's in regards to my paralyzed hand. I am strictly a morning runner! Should I give myself a break? I just changed one running day for another.
  • Hills sucked. I was at about 7 hill repeats back in August just before I broke my ankle. I ran 3 on Friday and the first one was brutal. The last one was the easiest. A hill repeat workout is as follows; a 3K warm up run to the hill, run down the hill then run back up at a faster pace, run down the hill again (which is also recovery) then run back up at a faster pace then repeat. Next week I move onto 4 hills until I get all the way to 10 hill repeats. By the time I'm doing 10 hills, I'll be running about 10K. I got as far as 9 hills when I was training for my last two half marathons. So I know I can do this. And I better end up with a bitching,shapely ass. Nuff said!

You think I would have looked a touch more ecstatic than this after
completing my hill workout!

  • On Friday morning I made my way over to the Plastics Clinic at St. Joseph's to meet with the orthopedic surgeon. I am not going to lie, I had a pretty stressful week. I had all kinds of crazy going on in my head. I was convinced I had a bunch of symptoms for Multiple Sclerosis, or much worse, an inoperable brain tumor. I know, I know. Drama queen. Seriously, I always imagine the absolute worst.  So my splint was starting to look all shoddy like, and the hot ER doctor told me to purchase a splint from Shopper's Drug Mart if the tensor bandage started to look grungy. I went into my linen cupboard in search of a new tensor bandage and what did I find? Not one but two removable wrist splints that I purchased from Shopper's...and they fit my left wrist. So this has happened to me before. For the life of me (and my husband, and my brother) I could not remember why I wore the splints in the past. So I wear the splint to work on Thursday and head over to see my oldest work friend Linda in hopes that she can shed some light on the situation.  Lo and behold, she remembered why I wore the splint. I had bad tendinitis about 5 years ago from nursing Julien and lifting his car seat out of my car. He nursed better from the left side. That is why I wake up with my left arm numb and it gets all tingly.  So this all started to fall into place and make sense. Long story short (and this is getting pretty long), I pinched the same nerve again in my sleep some how and this whole thing should blow over in a few weeks. If I'm still not 100% in a month, I should go back to the clinic because there could be more extensive nerve damage that may require intervention. But doctor felt very strongly that I would recover completely on my own. I'm at about 80% right now. And I don't have to wear the splint anymore. And he told me to keep running because it would help the situation, not hinder it! 
  • This morning I met Tanya at the Running Room and we went for a very slippery 5K run. Honest to God, we were just trying not to fall on our asses. Although the temps were mild (+3C) and I easily wore one layer of everything, There was still a thick layer of wet ice to contend with. We ran down Cootes Drive (which is on an incline), and ran back up it again. At some parts of our run we had to run on top of the snow banks because we were just slipping and sliding all over the place. My feet were soaked and I am shocked I didn't fall. I was yakking the entire time and trying to concentrate as well. I'm not a good multi-tasker!  All in all it was a good run. The pace was slower, but considering our conditions? We kicked ass!!!! And got to maintain our dignity by not falling on our asses:)

Check out that ice, ice baby!

  • Well I'm heading to bed. You get left with a very short video from the Anniversary Series called, In a Teepee.  Hubby is trying to photograph my in the teepee, but doesn't realize that the camera is still on video. Gripping, I know!

Friday, January 10, 2014

No Grains, No Gains

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 like women who are living the life and succeeding!

I was very honored and humbled to be asked (in the middle of December) to be a part of a monthly blog topic for a group of maintainers who are living a grain-free lifestyle. We call ourselves No Grains, No Gains. Once per month, we will each answer the same blog topic and link to each other's blogs. So without further ado, here is blog topic #1 - How I found Paleo!

My name is Leigh Costa. I'm a 43 year old wife (to Rob) and mother (to 6-year-old Julien). I work full-time and my husband is a stay-at-home father (who should probably write his own blog). I am 5'7" and currently weigh 157 pounds and wear size a 8 (US). My comfortable weight range is a new number because my goal weight was 165, and I lost 8 pounds over the last three months with little effort (I'll get back to that in a little bit). I'd like to stay within 5 pounds of my current weight. My heaviest recorded weight was 310 pounds. But I went several years without weighing myself in my mid 20's and I know that my weight was higher than 310 from looking at pictures. You can read a more in depth post about "My Story" here.

This is me at 25, eating processed carbs and refined sugar like it was
my job. I know I weigh over 310 pounds here. This was me at my biggest.

I live in Southern Ontario, Canada in a city called Hamilton. Hamilton is about 75K west of downtown Toronto, and 75K north west of Niagara Falls. I work in Toronto, so I have anywhere between a 1.5 - 2 hour commute each way.  My husband and I follow the Paleo lifestyle and we are both runners and are currently training for our first 30K road race (which happens the last Sunday in March).

I was morbidly obese for most of my life. I am from the Ojibwa First Nation and was adopted as an infant into a Scottish/Polish family. I began gaining weight at the age of 7 and was the only obese person in my family. I was raised on a carbohydrate heavy European diet, and became addicted to grains and refined sugar at a young age. As a child I hoarded food and ate in secret. I have tried many times over the years to lose weight and nothing worked for me. I am a text book binge eater. After my son was born, I looked into weigh loss surgery and was put on a waiting list to have gastric bypass, but the surgeon lost his licence (due to inappropriate sexual conduct with female patients) and the list no longer existed.

When Julien was 3, we went on a family vacation to Williamsburg, VA and I couldn't fit on a ride with him at Busch Gardens. I had to get off and my husband went on in my place. As embarrassing as that moment was, it was the wake-up call I needed. I realized that my weight issues did not just effect my life, but they were effecting the life of my child as well. I vowed at that moment to get healthy. When I got back from Williamsburg, I went to see my family doctor to discuss weight loss options. He made another referral for gastric bypass surgery, I got a prescription for Xenical, and he also suggested that I check out a diet clinic that was covered by our health care plan. I weighed 297 pounds.

This is me in Williamsburg VA, the
summer of 2011.

I got called by the diet clinic within a week and went in for a consultation. I qualified for the diet because I was on 2 blood pressure pills to treat hypertension. I learned that I would have to give up all processed carbs, refined sugar, dairy and legumes and would only be permitted to eat lean protein and vegetables that grow above ground. I was also allowed to have artificial sweeteners and some specialty low carb foods. This diet was not Paleo, but it was a high protein, low carb, low fat, low sodium diet developed by Dr. Poon to treat type II diabetics and help them get off medication. This was my introduction to the Dr. Poon Metabolic Diet.  When I started Dr. Poon's diet, I stopped taking the Xenical.

Although the diet is strict, and I initially balked at it, I was never hungry. I was allowed to eat as much lean protein and leafy green vegetables as I wanted to feel full. I made two week goals for myself and as the weight started to come off, I was motivated to keep moving forward. I discovered something very important about my relationship with food. I cannot eat anything in moderation. The reason why this diet worked for me where so many others failed is because I cut out all the foods that were my binge triggers.  The longer I stayed away from them, the easier it became to resist them.  Even though I got an appointment for the Bariatric clinic regarding the surgery three months into my Dr. Poon experience, I cancelled the appointment and decided to stick to what was working for me.  I lost 132 pounds in 15 months.

When I reached my goal weight of 165 in December 2012, I was very nervous about what maintenance would look like for me.  I was terrified of gaining weight back when I started reintroducing foods back into my diet. This caused me a lot of anxiety, and I had an a-ha moment when I realized that I didn't need to add grains or refined sugar back into my diet. EVER. Once I made that decision, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I'd already been without them for 15 months, and I honestly didn't miss them. I also read blogs of women who were successful maintainers and grain free (see links below). I decided to take my grain-free lifestyle a step further in March 2013, and go Paleo.

I had been eating pretty close to Paleo anyway, so the transition was pretty easy. I had to give up dairy, artificial sweeteners and legumes, but I ate those in moderation anyway so it wasn't too difficult for me. I think it was much harder for my hubby. He went from eating everything to eating Paleo. He's not as strict as I am, but he has managed to drop 20+ pounds over the past year and is building a lot of muscle through running.

As I previously mentioned, I am also a runner. I began running when I weighed 230 pounds. That was back in March 2012.  I had been following Dr. Poon's Metabolic Diet for the previous 6 months and had lost about 60 pounds, but reached a bit of a plateau. I had never exercised a day in my life and decided to join a learn to run clinic through my local Running Room.  I met my running mentor Carol there, and she encouraged me and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. If it wasn't for Carol, I don't know if I would have continued running after the clinic finished. Running was one of the hardest things I ever did, but I kept with it and have completed 2 half marathons as well as numerous smaller races.

I was training for my first marathon this past fall, but broke my ankle and was unable to run for 10 weeks. During my running hiatus, I ate diligently and lost a few pounds which could have been muscle. Once I started running again, I began to drop weight. Even though I don't measure portion size on Paleo (except for nuts) and I eat until I'm full, my weight dipped down to my lowest adult weight ever. And I wasn't even trying to lose anything!

I love the Paleo lifestyle because it is simple to follow and structured. I am in the best shape of my life and have the resting heart rate of an athlete. I have tons of energy, and I learned how to have a much healthier relationship with food. Being a former binge eater has made me realize that moderation will never work for me.  I cannot ever have "just one" and I know that. But you know what? That's okay. I don't need one, I have many years of good health ahead of me and I'm enjoying my son's childhood.  There is no better feeling than setting (what not too long ago would have been impossible) goals to reach, and actually completing them. For the first time in my life I feel like I'm in complete control of my eating.  That is an awesome feeling and there is nothing I could eat that would be worth giving up anything I have achieved in the past couple of years.  Now I ask you to go and check out these wonderful ladies!  They have interesting stories and information to share.  The unknown can be scary, but knowledge is power!

Against the Grain
For Life
Living the Life
Garden Girl

This is me grain free! And wearing horizontal stripes!!!
Michael is my official (@ work) photographer and honest to God, he cracks
me up. The middle picture is the best non-laughing picture we got today!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The post about the coldest day ever, the run that almost wasn't and my BMI certificate

Left: Water vapor above Lake Ontario yesterday because the water was warmer
than the air. It was -38C/-36.4F with the wind chill.
Right: That cracks me up!

  • This is going to have to be a short post. I have my splint off to type, and I'm sure I'm not supposed to be typing. Hate wearing the splint. That's all I have to say about that.
  • Looking forward to seeing the orthopedic surgeon on Friday morning and hopefully getting some answers.  Although the movement of the hand is getting stronger and I'd have to say it's at about 75%, I need some, okay, a lot of reassurance that everything is going to return to normal.
  • Yesterday was a scheduled 6K steady run. I did not run. It was -38C with the windchill at 5:30am, and since I value the skin on my face and my fingers and toes, I opted to sit that run out. I am not gonna lie. It was a hard decision to make, and it grated on me all day. And I need to give myself a break. I declared yesterday's temperature a near apocalypse. Forgiven!

It's a good thing I looked at the temperature this morning. A -20C windchill?
Piece of cake! Got geared up and headed out at 6:30am!

  • I was stalking the Weather Network on Tuesday night to see what the temps this morning were going to be. It was still bitterly cold when I got home at 11 pm last night. The predicted temps were -33C with the windchill. So I resigned myself to sit another run out. I woke up at 6am because I figured I wasn't running, and I was working in Hamilton for the day. My house did not seem nearly as cold as it was the day before, so I checked the temperature and it was -20 with the windchill! I couldn't get my running gear on fast enough. Got a 5.3K run in, through downtown Hamilton, on a thick layer of very uneven and bumpy ice. Pace was not impressive at 7:12/km, but I gotter done. If there wasn't ice, I would have been much faster just to get back home ASAP. Cold run but I'm not complaining.  I was just happy to run.
  • So according to US News, the Paleo Diet ranks last (#31) on the "Best Diets" list. Jenny Craig ranked #8 because pre-packaged and processed food is super healthy for you. And SlimFast #13? Are your freaking kidding me? So my "whole food" approach to eating is a big crock of shit! That is all I'm going to say about that.

Finally receiving my BMI certificate from Trish! She is the BIGGEST
sweetheart...and a big loser too:) 160 pounds lost! My eyes are so squinty
on the right because I was trying not to cry:)

  • I got home so late last night because I headed out to Scarborough for the Dr. Poon support group. Regardless of the frigid temperatures, there were seven of us that braved the cold. I got to meet Shannen! You know Shannen from a few posts back, who ran her first 5K and sent me the lovely message because her running coach told her to thank the person who inspired her to run on race day. Still my favorite message to date! Also got to hang with the regulars and was super surprised because although I never received my BMI certificate from Dr. Poon, Trish made a special one just for me and got the group to sign it. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little choked up. What an adorably sweet thing to do!  Looking forward to seeing everyone again next month (I hope)!
  • I'm signing off now, I'll leave you with the 19th video in the Anniversary Series entitled, Marvin Gaye and a Tin Leopard. We discuss my husband's favorite song of all time (Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke), as well as bad behavior at the Queen's Landing. I'm off to have coffee with my running gals Dawn and Monica. Good night all:)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The post about a paralyzed hand...and that's pretty much it!

There is a plaster splint under there...

Oh what a night! I woke up at 1:30am this morning to use the bathroom, and I noticed right away that I did not have great mobility in my left hand. After using the bathroom, I went to the kitchen to grab a drink of water and couldn't grip the water bottle. I figured I must have slept funny on my arm and went back to bed. Something similar has happened when I've woken up in the past, but the sensation has been pins and needles or numbness in my left hand, never loss of use. I went back to bed figuring it would go away by the time I woke up in the morning. Julien came into my bed at 3am and woke me up. My hand was still not working right. So I went downstairs and Googled some stuff. I started to get anxious because I thought maybe I had a mini stroke and there was a 4.5 hour of opportunity to get treated at Emergency. So I got dressed and drove myself to the hospital around 4am.

I got hooked up to a heart monitor right away and blood work was drawn. The doctor did some strength tests on me and felt pretty strongly that I did not have a stroke.  After the blood tests came back, he came and told me that I did not have a stroke but did possibly pinch or bruise a nerve in my sleep.  So he splint my arm and I have to go to see the orthopedic surgeon on Friday. Now I've had all day to think about this.  I remember back in September after I broke my ankle that I had a numbness in my left arm that lasted for a few days, then went away on it's own. I have also woken up several times with my left arm numb, but feeling would come back once I started moving around. But loss of use has never happened before until this morning.

When I was morbidly obese, I used to sleep on my stomach and I would tuck my left arm under me when I slept. It went numb a lot back in the day.  Not sure if I caused nerve damage by doing that.  Because I have some use of my hand, and the nature of the paralysis (if it's hanging down, I can't lift it up, but I can grip and pull down), the doctor's certain it is a damaged nerve. So weird the way it happened. I was just sleeping!!!!!

I do have another experience with random paralysis that happened in my sleep before. When I was 16, I woke up with the right side of my face paralyzed. I was admitted to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for a week where they ran a bunch of tests on me. Initially they thought I could have had a stroke because not only was my face paralyzed, but I had limited mobility in my right arm as well. I was eventually diagnosed with Bell's Palsy.  The Bell's Palsy hung around for 4 months before going away just like it came, in the night. I just woke up one day completely normal again.

Although the doctor at the ER assured me that I would regain mobility of my hand in time, it could be as long as months.  He also said it come back on it's own in days. Even if it does come back in days, I still have to go to the orthopedic surgeon so he can determine how bad the nerve damage is.  Not a horrible scenario, but I haven't been out of my leg cast for three months yet, and here I am splinted up again! My silver lining? This affects my running...not at all! My hand is in zero pain. It's splint to prevent any further damage.

Today was my long run day. It was pretty brutal. Not because of the splint. The splint was no problem. I was groggy and tired due to being in the ER from 4-7 am.  I rested at home for a couple of hours on my couch, but never actually went to sleep. So the 10K I ran this afternoon was not my best run. And my toes cramped on my left foot for the first time post broken ankle. Now I remember what Morton's Neuroma feels like! Bottom line is I gotter done with no excuses!

Not looking forward to the rest of my running week. Tomorrow is my rest day, Tuesday is supposed to be -33 with the windchill and Thursday is hill repeats. I may actually do my hill repeats in the evening.  The hill I use is on the McMaster campus and I'm not sure I'd feel safe running that hill alone at 5am in the morning. There's always more traffic in the evening because of night classes. I bid you all goodnight. I am beat. I've been up since 3am, and didn't have a solid sleep prior to then. I'm giving this one quick read over before hitting publish, so I apologize if there are lots of typos!

Top left: Getting ready to leave for my run.
Bottom left: Just back from my brutal run.
Right: Not my best pace, but I did it!!!