I'm a grandma!!


Okay, so not really... but my gorgeous German Pinscher boy, Xavier, who I wrote about having to send to Saskatchewan WAYYY back in February is now the daddy of five gorgeous babies! Yes, dog people get very weird about things like this. We love babies. Who doesn't, really? And aren't these adorable? The only way they would have been better is if Miss True (the proud momma) had waited until May 2 to have them, so I could have birthday babies. But we'll make do with five healthy, happy babies.

Had a good workout last night. True to my word, I did not do any cardio, minus the cardio burst that I put in the middle of all my legs workouts. I don't think I needed it actually. Good God, I was tired. Shawn is still tweaking my new program, so Ambition Fairy and I just sat down and decided to come up with our own for the night.

Oh, I've never introduced you to Ambition Fairy? She's a spiteful, malicious, sneaky little something-or-other that lurks around waiting for moments when my guard is down and then strikes, coming up with new ways to convince me to torture myself.

Ambition Fairy: You know, you should really do those side steps off the bosu rather than the bench - it would be more challenging.

Me: I hate doing those off the bosu... I feel like I'm going to fall.

AF: But just imagine how much you're improving your balance and core strength...

Me: Well, yeah, I guess... won't kill me...

.... Little while later.....

AF: You know, you really could do three sets of those lunges rather than two.

Me: Yeah, but my knee has been bothering me lately.

AF: Lunges don't bother your knee if you do them right - it'll be incentive to make sure you're keeping proper form.

Me: I suppose I could just keep the lighter weight for the third set...

AF: Really, are you ever going to improve doing that?

Me: No, I guess not... a third set at twenty pounds won't kill me.

AF: That's the spirit!


Have I mentioned that I hate Ambition Fairy? Gonna seriously lock her ass in the trunk of my car.

I have a training session with Shawn tonight, which I am very much looking forward to. During my session on Tuesday, he made quite a deal over telling me how much I had improved, and even said that my commitment and improvement had inspired him to start working harder, which really made me feel good - even though I had no idea how to respond to that. I'm not good at taking compliments. He also spent a few minutes commenting on how my physique and physical appearance is changing (in trying to reassure me that I am obviously on the right track, nutrition-wise), which I actually found a little disconcerting - I'm really unaccustomed to someone being quite so observant of my appearance and so... objectively analytical. All positive comments, obviously, but, yeah. It was different. Part of being overweight is being accustomed to having people look by you, or through you, or simply ignoring people looking at you. The comments I receive now are limited to "Oh my goodness, you look great!" They aren't generally targeted to "Your hips are narrower, your legs, while more muscular, are slimmer, you've gotten considerably slimmer through the body...." etc. For Shawn, obviously, this is nothing more than a measure of how well our program is working, the same as measurements during an assessment - for me, it's a brief moment of "WTF, why are you noticing what I look li- oh, yeah, that's what I'm paying you for, isn't it?" (See, my irrationality is only brief and fleeting... logic does kick in.)

I've also decided, once again, as I get closer to my weight-loss goal, that I really need to re-align my thinking. My goal has always been "lose weight." Why? To be thin. But I have a serious self-image problem. I need to accept that. I think it's something that anyone who has chronically struggled with their weight likely struggles with. I just don't think it's healthy to say I want to "be thin." That's not a goal. That's a means of torturing myself and setting myself up for a really unhealthy obsession with my weight.

However, I am learning that I love to run. Losing weight makes it easier to run. Most runners stay on the lean side. So, my new goal is to become a runner - and I am losing weight to become a better runner. My goal is no longer a number on a scale; all lowering that number will do is help me reach my real goal.

There is a marathon in PEI in October. While I don't expect to be able to run the marathon (which is 26.2 miles), I might talk to Shawn and see if he thinks I would be able to do a 10k by October. It would be something to work towards, anyway.

And, it's Friday, and this is getting long, so I must skip to my FUN FACTS FRIDAY!!

  • If you're a little scatterbrained like me, and yet rely on some sort of daily medication (like my migraine meds), the people at RealAge have a neat trick to help you remember taking your meds each day. Incorporate a unique action, like patting your head, tapping the doorframe, or turning in a circle when you take your dose. That way, you'll remember the action and the dose. Plus, the dog will have a great time look at you in confusion!

  • Do you get the sniffles merely at the sight of a sick person? Not likely. New research suggests that simply the sight of an ill person boosts our body's immune response. Of course, by that theory, with the nine months I spent working in the province's biggest hospital, I should be Superwoman, and yet I spent most of those nine months with a cold. Hmmm.....

  • Harbouring a chocolate craving? Is there a chance you're feeling a bit down too? A recent survey showed that people who showed signs of moderate to severe depression were more likely to consume chocolate than those who were relatively free of depressive symptoms. While the occasional treat is okay, if you find yourself turning to chocolate a lot to relieve emotional burdens, try to find a new outlet, like exercise, meditation, or talking to a friend.
That's that for today! Have a great Friday everyone and a wonderful weekend!

My Confession...

I have to confess....

I was bad last night.

I broke one of my "rules."

I went for a run.

It partly amazes me that I'm coming here and that is what I have to confess. For whatever reason, or for any number of reasons, last night wasn't a good night. I got home, and my mind was reeling. I felt like I was coiled too tight, and my brain was just on hyper-drive. Of course, Wednesday is my day off from training. I can go for a walk, or do yoga, but I'm not supposed to train.

I tried everything to chill out. I tried working with Xavier, but I was short-tempered and irritable. Scratch that. Not taking my mood out on the dog. I tried yoga, but I couldn't focus. I tried reading, but I couldn't sit still. My brain was screaming at me, and getting ready to launch into full-scale rebellion mode, where it decides if I won't do something about the level of mental unrest I'm experiencing, then it's going to start causing me physical unrest - by convincing me I need to eat.

Finally I gave up. My mental wiredness was manifesting into just pent-up energy, and I needed to get rid of it. I changed into track pants and a tank and cover, strapped on my new running belt, and laced up my sneakers.

"Just a short run," I promised. "Not gonna push it, just enough to take the edge off. Five minutes or so. Then I'll walk."

Three kilometres (give or take) and twenty minutes later... yeah. Well, it took the edge off. Shawn and I were talking Sunday night about how much more mentally focused we are after a good workout, and I was certainly calmer at least. And lost the "OMG, going to eat the refrigerator" impulse. Overall, just much happier. But, last night was supposed to be my night off. Lesser of two evils, perhaps? I've just decided not to do any cardio tonight, and hope that balances it out.

Not sure it was the best way to deal with this, but it beat a hot fudge sundae.

In other news, Dr. Mike & Well Within Chiropractic sent me my first birthday card! It gave me warm, fuzzy feelings (no, it doesn't take much). Also dulled the sting of my nephew bursting into tears when I told him I was turning 27 (he's 4 okay - I guess to him, that is absolutely ancient). I know I'm finding it a bit traumatic - maybe he was just trying to sympathize? Certainly made for a light few minutes.

That's that for today. Must get started on my actual day. Happy Thursday - one more day till Friday! Cheers everyone!!

Paying tolls on the Path to Wellness

I'm pretty sure I'd have a lot more money if I was less committed to being healthy. Because, oh my goodness, being healthy is proving very expensive.

There are some expenses that I understand and accept as choices I've made to make my journey on this path a little easier. My personal trainer, for instance, is a luxury. He's like a really high-tech fitness GPS that gets me around potholes and detours and helps me find my way back when I get lost. And he gives me someone to talk to. (What, you guys don't talk to your GPS?) I think with the rising obesity rates in this country, there should be incentives given to people to encourage them to seek professional help to achieve a healthy weight and improve their lifestyle (rather than pouring money into studies on whether or not we should cover the cost of bariatric surgery), but I acknowledge that Shawn is a luxury (I'm sure he'd be thrilled to hear that).

The chiropractor... that one I'm a little iffy on. Technically, if I went through the hospital, and got a doctor to declare it medically necessary, I could have physiotherapy covered under our provincial medical insurance. I made the choice to see a chiropractor, I made the choice to try that treatment, and there wasn't an acute issue to be treated at the time I started seeing him. Under our current model of medical care, I can accept how something like chiropractic could fall back to me.

The higher cost of eating healthy has always gotten to me. Maybe it's different where you live, but the cost of fresh produce, fresh lean meat, natural-option foods, whole-grains - it's outrageously more expensive than eating the processed, refined, sugary, floury, high-fat, high-sodium crap that makes up the average North American diet and is slowly killing us. And that's not even mentioning the gap between organic and non-organic (a switch I would love to make but can't.) Really, what message are we sending when orange juice is $3 for two litres, and orange pop (or soda, for you Americans) is 69 cents? It's cheaper to drink pop than it is to drink bottled water (if you're like me and can't stand the taste of chlorine)! What is wrong with that picture? When we're looking for ways to "improve our country's health" instead of lowering the sodium in processed food, why not just subsidize non-processed food so people can actually afford it? I mean, if you want to eat the processed crap and send yourself into an early grave - well, Darwin called that natural selection - but give the rest of us who want to do the right thing a chance.

So, I know this rant seems a little out of tone and character, but it does have a root. In fact, it has a root in my root canal. The one I had this morning that cost me $550 out of my own pocket. Pretty much all of my savings gone. And it isn't done, since it only left me with a temporary filling, that I'll need to have replaced, for likely another $200-300. This, after I finished watching several news reports last night about how good oral health is linked to overall good health and has all sorts of other implications. I'm sorry, this is ridiculous. That is, quite simply, taking good health out of the reach of the low-income family. I had dental insurance; because I have a pre-existing condition, I can only get a very limited amount of coverage, which we exhausted in half a cleaning and one visit. As of right now, from my own pocket, I've spent nearly $1000 on my teeth - and I'm nowhere near finished. Yet the outrageous amount I get taxed is apparently justified because I have free health care - it's just not extended to things they don't deem medically necessary - like my mouth.

So, to basically sum up how I'm feeling right now....

The tolls on the Path to Wellness are just starting to get to me.

*rant over*

I did have a really good session with Shawn last night - very positive and very challenging. He designed a program meant to really test the strength in my back and it certainly did that. Also got few new exercises I can't wait to try out on my own. Today is my day off, and I think tomorrow I'll work out another leg routine, but I'll definitely bank them. Especially Russian twists on the stability ball - if you're into a good core workout - look these up. He also helped answer why my knees have been bothering me on the bikes, and so I've been thinking of ways I can try to modify it so they aren't bothering me so much. And, he tried to reassure me a bit on the dietary/nutrition end of things, while reminding me not to become too obsessive about it - because obsessive is kind of in my nature. All in all, a good night. And, I should have my new program by Friday! Yay!

In the meantime, have a great Wednesday, and try not to get caught unawares by any tolls...


Do you ever just have blah days? Or days that seem okay, then suddenly go all blah?

My workout went all blah yesterday.

I hate when that happens. It isn't very often - usually I do really well, and even if I'm dragging getting to the gym, I can rev it up at the gym, but not yesterday. I was just... blah. I've been playing with my program a little, trying to vary it up while Shawn designs a new one for me, but nothing seemed to be working. Even the old steadfasts just weren't feeling it. And cardio... blah. I've been stubbornly ignoring the bikes for, oh, at least a month or better, so I decided I really needed to stop doing that, and committed to at least twenty minutes at a high HR steady state workout on one of the bikes (a good ideas, since my VO2 assessment is done on the bike, and I'm pretty sure Shawn is going to spring another assessment on me one of these days). Not even three minutes in and my left knee started to burn. What the...? I'm confident it isn't the knee joint because I did twenty minutes on the Stairmaster the night before and my knee was fine. But nonetheless, hurt it did. Like, enough that I could only make it another five minutes or so, and that was taking the odd break. Maybe my legs were just still tired from Sunday night. Maybe it was just a blah night.

I'm also not sure about my diet, again. I seem more fatigued than usual lately. I'm sleeping well, and up as early as ever (usually beating my alarm up) but I'm just fatigued. This is usually a sign that my potassium is down. More bananas, I guess. And more spinach with my suppers. Either that or I'm just not eating enough again. When did eating get so complicated? This was much easier on my old "1400" calorie plan. Of course, I think if I tried to subsist on 1400 calories now, I'd fall over. Or, it could just be the really craptastic weather we've had lately. Lack of Vitamin D, maybe? Your thoughts out there in blogger world?

Training session tonight, and a dreaded root canal first thing tomorrow morning. I hate dental work. Oh well, that should be the last for a little while at least. Need some time to let my bank account recover.


My real update

OK, so that last one was just for fun... I guess I need a real update, albeit a brief one, since my daily allotted slacking off time really doesn't allow for *two* posts. And my photo today has nothing to do with my post. I was just going through my Photobucket and remembered how much I loved it. This is my Sheltie, Austin. And this was the prototype of a jump I designed and built for our agility team. I filled the bottom in with more flowers so it looks better now.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my trainer? I really do. Again, I didn't undertake any extensive screening process to find Shawn. Literally, he was the trainer who had a time open when I went to book my health assessment. So, it really was a luck of the draw thing. And I've now heard enough horror stories about people with trainers who didn't listen to them, or who pushed them too hard, or who just didn't know what they were doing, to really appreciate how lucky I am. Not only is he knowledgeable, he's supportive. He's enthusiastic about every one of my successes, and reminds me not to be so hard on myself when I falter. I think, overall, he's been very good for me.

Last night we did a really challenging legs workout, apparently, Shawn claimed, because my legs have been getting a lot stronger and I've been improving even faster than he had anticipated. Wow. Challenging was right. We spent a lot of time doing one-legged exercises that didn't just challenge my strength, but my balance and coordination, and my ability not to get frustrated at myself. It was good though. Really interesting and a lot of fun. We were also working in the personal training studio, rather than the gym at large, which was great - it was quiet, and private, and it was so much easier to focus and work. And, there were mirrors everywhere, which made it easier to keep watching my form. We also seemed to get a lot more accomplished and still have a chance to just talk - I'm not there to chat with Shawn, but at the same time, he's really the only one I can talk to about this whole fitness thing, about the challenges, the highs and the lows, and so sometimes having the time to just talk about the high from running or the mental fight to try to convince myself I can do something is really helpful.

I have a chiropractic appointment tonight, and for the first time in a week, don't feel like I'm wound tighter than a coiled spring. I think Dr. Mike will be pleased. Then off to the gym - must decide what I'm actually doing tonight - definitely something upper body!

Happy Monday everyone!

I've been tagged! Guilty or innocent?

Oh this is too fun!!

I decided to scan through my blog list this morning before writing my update (I even procrastinate on this, it's great), and as I was chuckling my way through Baygirl's always entertaining What's the Story, Morning Glory, I realize I've been tagged!

So, happily passing it along...

The rules of the game:
RULE 1- You can only say Guilty or Innocent. (I don't like this rule - it's more fun if I can make my own little remarks)
RULE 2- You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks!
RULE 3- Copy and paste this into your notes, delete my answers, type in your answers and tag to your friends to answer this.

The Questions:

1. Asked someone to marry you? Guilty
2. Ever kissed someone of the same sex? Guilty
3. Danced on a table in a bar? Guilty
4. Ever told a lie? Guilty
5. Had feelings for someone whose feelings you can’t have back? Guilty
6. Kissed a picture? Guilty
7. Slept in until 5 PM? Guilty
8. Fallen asleep at work/school? Guilty
9. Held a snake? Guilty
10. Been suspended from school? Innocent
11. Worked at a fast food restaurant? Innocent
12. Stolen from a store? Guilty
13. Been fired from a job? Innocent
14. Done something you regret? Guilty
15. Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Guilty
16. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? Guilty
17. Kissed in the rain? Guilty
18. Sat on a roof top? Guilty
19. Kissed someone you shouldn't? Guilty
20. Sang in the shower? Guilty
21. Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on? Innocent
22. Shaved your head? Innocent
23. Had a boxing membership? Innocent
24. Made a boyfriend/Girlfriend cry? Guilty
25. Been in a band? Guilty
26. Shot a gun? Guilty
27. Donated Blood? Guilty
28. Eaten alligator meat? Innocent
29. Eaten cheesecake? Guilty
30. Still love someone you shouldn’t? Guilty
31. Have/had a tattoo? Innocent
32. Liked someone, but will never tell who? Guilty
33. Been too honest? Guilty
34. Ruined a surprise? Guilty
35. Ate in a restaurant and got so bloated that you couldn’t walk afterward? Guilty
36. Erased someone in your friends list? Guilty
37. Dressed in a woman’s clothes (if you’re a guy) or man’s clothes (if you’re a girl)? Guilty
38. Joined a pageant? Guilty
39. Been told that you’re handsome or beautiful by someone who really meant what they said? Guilty
40. Had communication with your ex? Guilty
41.Got totally drunk on the night before exam? Guilty
42. Got so angry that you cried? Guilty

Ummm, don't know if that makes me *quite* as guilty as Baygirl, though I got a few she didn't. In my defense, I was in university for like, seven years. And spent at least one of those years as very good friends with the Captain and Jose Quervo.

(In other exciting news, I just took a big mouthful of coffee and had most of it run down my trachea instead of my esophagus, causing me to spew it back up onto my desk. Awesome. Great start to a Monday.)

So, for my tag, I believe I will tag... the 30 Day Challenge and River@ Losing on Purpose.

Have fun!

Your guilty pleasure?

Everyone has one... that one thing you do to make yourself feel better, when no one else is around, that you refuse to actually feel guilty for, even though you call it your guilty pleasure...

Mine, like so many of us out there, used to be some sort of scrumptious snack. Likely chocolate and ice cream based. Those days are behind me.

In return, I've switched to going into stores where once I couldn't fit into the clothes and trying on gorgeous stuff I have no intention of buying, just to see how it looks. And sometimes, just to hear the compliments. It works as an amazing balm for my ego. That is, of course, until something hits so hard I'm just dying to actually buy it.

After bidding farewell to my best friend who is off on a "business" trip to Brazil for three weeks (lucky &%$@), I decided to stop at a nearby mall which happens to have one of our only Running Room stores in the province and pick up my coveted running belt. It's pink. I'll have to get a picture. With my new belt in hand, I wandered down the mall to one of the fun, chic, "girly" stores, which had their spring stock of dresses on display.

I couldn't help it. I had to indulge my inner diva, just for a bit.

So many gorgeous dresses. They didn't all look gorgeous, but most looked great. And then I put on this one, and WOW. And it was nothing like the dresses I once would have worn. It was fitted. It hugged every curve. It wasn't meant to hide and conceal and drape. It was meant to show off and attract attention. I walked out of the dressing room to check it out and both salesgirl and another customer gasped. Oh my God, I wanted to buy that dress.

It's $170. For a dress for which I have no real use.

It hurt to put it back. But maybe I'll get invited to something that will need me to go get it, and it will still be there. And maybe it'll even be on sale. Hey, I can dream right? And in the mean time, I can use the memory of me in that dress as motivation to keep going.

In other news, I ran for a full twenty minutes on the treadmill last night, even increasing my pace slightly. Oh my goodness I was proud of myself. I even had to stop to brag to Shawn. He was proud of me too, and pointed out, rightfully, how much I've improved since his decision to take me out for a run - all it took was getting me past that mental barrier. And I know he's right, because even as I work out myself, I fight with that mental barrier telling me I can't. External motivation is a good thing, and knowing someone else think you're capable is a pretty big boost to getting to the point where you think you're capable. One of the biggest motivators I had last night was being able to constantly think how awesome it would be to tell Shawn I had, and knowing he would be proud of me.

I'm struggling again with the whole diet thing though. I'm finding in the evenings I'm either ravenous or exhausted. Hmm. This is confusing me. I'm going to have to sit down and really figure out what I'm doing wrong here.

Training session and step class both tomorrow - yay! If I don't update by Monday, it's because I might be dead.


Have I mentioned how much I love Fridays?

Two whole days before I have to deal with work again (I'm mad at work this week - turns out I won't be getting the benefits I was promised when I was hired).

Two whole days to myself, and they're promising to be nice. And, the warehouse sale at the clothing outlet my sister works at is on this weekend, which means new, cheap workout clothes.

A chance to make real food, not meals prepared in twenty minutes or less.

Maybe even a shot at some window shopping here or there.

I love Fridays.

Of course, I have to get through Friday first. Unlike most Fridays, I don't have a training session tonight, because my usual time was booked, so I'm going to be training on Sunday night instead. Oh well. I don't mind coming in to train on weekends, and it lets me use step class as my cardio workout after. I'm just hoping Shawn *doesn't* opt for a legs workout, or I will be very, very sore.

I decided I felt better enough last night to go back to the gym for a workout - okay, I just wasn't missing two nights in a row - and looking over what I'd done lately, decided it was high time I put myself through a legs workout. But, I'm kind of bored with the same set of machine-based, pyramid set legs exercises Shawn had on my program, and he hasn't finished my new program yet. So, while I was supposed to be working, I sat down, thought of all the exercises that I found really challenging (i.e., the ones that made me call Shawn bad names inside my head - or not inside my head) and then sketched them more or less into a workout. Throw in ten or fifteen minutes worth of core work and twenty-five minutes of cardio and holy crap, was I tired. I finally got a decent night's sleep anyway. I am a little concerned about my knees bothering me through some of the exercises though, but they really aren't bothering me enough to make me stop - just enough to make me notice. And unlike before, the pain doesn't seem to be lasting past the exercise itself. I *could* see a doctor, but I know my doctor - his advice is going to be to stop the activity causing the pain, which is completely counter-productive at this point. I'd rather push through as long as it isn't lingering. I know one or two of my readers have some expertise here, and I'm happy to entertain other opinions though.

Am settling into the new diet - sort of - or at least getting a little more comfortable with it. I am less hungry, though I find I really have to watch myself from emotional or impulse eating. It's a little easier when new people keep seeing me and commenting on how good I look - gives me the confidence to believe in what I'm doing and not think that I'm going to fail miserably. And I love being able to eat a real, hearty breakfast - not that I didn't love my fruit smoothies, but peanut butter and banana on toast... mmmm.

And on that note, must adjourn for FUN FACTS FRIDAY

Our first fun fact of the week is about one of my very favourite breakfast food. For those of you struggling with high blood pressure, try adding oatmeal to your daily diet. Studies have shown that this powerful grain can lower blood pressure, help control blood sugar, and lower choesterol. High in fibre and protein, it'll also leave you feeling full until your morning snack. And it's very yummy!

You all know my job is stressful, and I know many of you lead stressful lives. Next time it gets to be too much, take five minutes and give yourself a mini-foot massage. A quick foot massage can have almost the same stress-reducing benefits as a full-body rubdown!

I know I'm reluctant to see a doctor, but a new study shows that, on average, most Canadian women will wait longer to see a specialist for medical problems than men. While researchers haven't shed a lot of light on why, it does have serious implications for women's health in Canada.

And that's that. Have a happy weekend everyone!

Vodka has 56 calories per shot....

First things first, let me share this with you:

Cranky Fitness

I'm obsessed with reading nutrition and health articles, and this blog was referenced in one of the many I was reading. Oh my goodness, what a riot. If you haven't read it yet, and you're on a diet, I so recommend it. I especially liked "How Not To Make an Ass of Yourself at the Gym." I think that should be handed out with new memberships. Especially the part about cleaning the equipment after you've sweated on it. Because that's just... eww. I don't want to touch your sweat. Even if you're hot (as in appearance, not body temperature), I don't want to touch your sweat.

As my mouth bothered me all day yesterday, I normally take Wednesday off from working out, and it was the gym's anniversary and thus a big-ass party was being held and it would be nuts to try to get a workout in, I stuck with the plan of making yesterday a "rest" day. I didn't get a yoga workout in, because I decided to train my German Pinscher, Xavier, for a bit - and wow, did I ever notice the difference in my own fitness working with him. He's a fair-sized, fast-moving dog, and usually a thirty minute training session would be tiring. I got through the whole session and hardly even noticed I was working (and as I'm writing this, I'm wondering if training the dog counts as training for me - I hope not, because don't have time to train both of us on the same day, so he'll have to be worked on my off days). Handling the dogs was one of my biggest motivators for losing the weight - breeds like German Pinschers should look elegant in the ring, and I couldn't imagine Xavier looking elegant when I looked so awkward. I have to say, even bundled against cooler temperatures last night, I felt much more elegant moving than I have in a long time.

I was debating calling Well Within yesterday and asking if I could move my appointment up by one day, and I really wish I had. Between the stress of the dental appointment, sleeping oddly because I didn't want to lay on that side of my face, and ongoing work stress, my neck and back bothered me most of the day yesterday and are still bothering me. Yay! Stress is great! If there are 56 calories in a shot of vodka, I only need to shave that many off every meal, and 25 out of each of my morning and afternoon snacks, and I could have like, four shots of vodka a day. That might make the work day easier to get through. It might also make my workout a little more challenging. I might need to rethink this. There has to be a way.

My mouth still hurts today. Anyone have any suggestions that don't involve painkillers that will upset my stomach? Or vodka? Not that I'm completely averse to the vodka...

Should actually go start my workday now. Must say, oh readers of mine, you've been quite negligent about commenting lately. I'm feeling unloved (this is presuming anyone is reading and I'm not talking to myself - something else I'm not averse to. And think, that's sans vodka. Some vodka might really liven up this blog.)

Happy Thursday!

My Wish List

Since my birthday is coming up (May 2 - I turn the big 2-7 and I'm trying not to have a meltdown), I thought it might be fun to post my wishlist of things I really, really want to get. Of course, I won't get any of these for my birthday because a) a lot of them are expensive, and those people who buy me gifts aren't buying me expensive gifts; b) most of my family doesn't really do the "birthday" thing; and c) no one I know in "real life" actually knows about this blog (lets me be a little more open with me feelings that way) and they wouldn't think to ask if I want fitness stuff for my birthday.

But, I can still write my wishlist down, right? My plan is that as I reach fitness goals, I'm going to reward myself with one thing from this list!

My List

1. Running/Hydration Belt: Ever since Shawn mentioned this during our 7k run, I have been coveting one. I've been researching and reading and comparing... and I want one so badly. This one, ideally, I think, though I'd be quite happy with this one as well. That one comes in a pink-lilacy colour, which makes me happy. Accomplished!! I have it! It's pink!

2. Heart Rate Monitor: I really don't know why I need one, and should likely ask someone (i.e. Shawn) why people have them before I race out and spend that kind of money (and I likely will), but they look awesome. I mean, it just sort of screams "I'm an athlete," doesn't it? And the type that's just a wristwatch with all the time features would, again, look very cool. Garmin also has one that is kind of lilac-pink coloured. I like pink. It's a happy colour.

3. Nike's Half-Zip Running Top: I know it's getting warmer here, but I love this long-sleeved top from Nike. Paired with a tank, it would just be so awesome for a cooler spring or fall run. And it comes in pink or purple. Or, the Sphere Dry Distance Running Shirt. Because that's a pretty shade of blue.

4. Nike's Base Layer Running Tank Top: Oh, and the guts to wear it in public without a cover would be nice too. I'll get there, I'm sure. But this looks like it would be awesome for summer days. The Livestrong Pacer Sleeveless Running Top would be awesome too.

5. Any pair of good quality fitness capris. Reebok makes any especially nice pair with their Pink Ribbon line, and I love my Reebok pants, so these might be my first reward.

6. Nike Shox. Starting at $120US a pair, I'm not getting them any time soon, but if the hype is to be believed, they're awesome. They also look amazing, and Nike will let you totally custom design them. Bonus points!

7. Anything UnderArmour. Right now, out of my price range for workout gear, but I would love to try one of their HeatGear tops for running.

I know I'm forgetting stuff, so I'm going to leave this here (maybe link to it on the side somewhere) and keep coming back and updating, or providing updates as to what I've managed to achieve. Because that would be fun.

No pain, no gain?

First, my apologies for not posting yesterday. I had a dentist appointment to have a few troublesome teeth pulled, so I took a sick day, and decided to use the extra time in the morning to fit in my training session with Shawn, since I was pretty sure I wouldn't be up to it after. Guess what? I was right.

My training session went great. Shawn designed another upper body workout that had a lot of exercises involving the stability ball, which I really like doing. On the upside, I'm getting a little more stable. On the downside, it's not that much more stable. I do seem to be improving on my core strength and my back though - medicine ball twists and even a high plank with knee raises didn't seem to take as much out of me as I was expecting.

The dentist appointment... blech. Okay, credit where credit is due, I think I have a very good dentist. He remembers me between visits (things like the fact that I'm going to law school - perhaps made easier because his wife is a lawyer), he checks in with me often when he's working, and he understands that this is hard for me. And he does his best to make sure I'm not in any undue pain; for instance, I noted last time that the freezing hurt quite a bit, and this time, he seemed to do something differently, because it didn't hurt nearly as much. He also stopped immediately when he realized one of the roots he was trying to remove (a molar that had broken several years earlier) was in fact infected and thus hadn't frozen completely. Ow, by the way. Not fun. Took a fair bit more freezing to get it out. That being said, having teeth pulled is jut not fun, leaves you feeling blechy, and leaves you with a sore mouth. So I went home yesterday and crawled into bed. It meant my diet for the day sucked, as I missed all my snacks and my meals were all spaced far apart, and then all I wanted to do when I finally crawled out of bed was eat, but then I wouldn't have felt like eating for most of the day anyway.

Today is my "day off" from training, and just as well, I think, because I'm still not feeling 100%. I'll go for a walk and do my yoga - we have sunshine for the first time in over a week, and they're talking about temperatures in the double digits (of the Celsius scale, for any American readers). I should go to the gym, given my crappy eating habits yesterday, but I'm trying to break myself of the mindset that exercise is a punishment for eating - especially since I like exercising. This whole thing should go hand-in-hand as a new lifestyle, not as a results-motivated incentive.

Oh, and I pushed myself up to five-minute running intervals on Monday night! I was so proud of myself! Knowing how to run makes a huge difference!

That's that for today. Going to go wallow in my miserableness now.

Busy, busy, busy me....

Dog show weekends are a little hectic.

Trying to plan them around everything else I do make them really hectic.

On the upside, I made it to step class last night!

I also slept really, really well.

This is where I would normally start derailing. I don't multitask terribly well (despite my apparent ability to work and blog), and so when my life starts getting hectic, things that seem less important at the time (like eating) start to slide. Dog show weekend are usually an example of the worst eating habits one could ever have. Living on coffee, running on little sleep, long hours in a car then standing on concrete all day, eating crappy, deep-fried dog show fare, if you stop to eat at all, or relying on the nearest fast-food joint - it's not good. And yet, this year, I've been resolved not to let that happen. I pack snacks and lunches, take bottles of water (and try to remember to actually drink them), get enough rest, take breaks from grooming, whatever I can think of.

So far, so good. Not perfect, but better. Okay, my ring call yesterday meant I was in the car during my lunch, so lunch was a collection of foods that could be eaten with my fingers from Tupperware dishes, but it contained protein, a whole grain, and complex carbohydrates (and lots of vegetables). I tried to remember to drink my water, but I know my consumption was down a lot from a normal day. Funny, on Saturday, when I had a 9 am ring call, I know I wasn't drinking my usual amount of water (as I was grooming and practicing, etc. and forgot), by the time I got back to my car, I was thirsty. I drank an entire bottle of water in less than half an hour. I guess my body is getting used to this water thing.

Still working on the new diet thing. It's.... tough. Admittedly, with the larger breakfast, I'm not hungry as much, though I'm thinking about what I'm eating more, which makes me want to eat. But I'm not actually hungry. It's still the mental aspect - I feel a little like a failure when I tally up my calories and I'm over 1500 for a day. And I'm worried that I won't lose weight. It's stupid, I know. The sheer amount I work out means the weight will come off, because my body is using the calories I'm taking in, but I still get anxious. That peanut butter and banana on toast I'm allowed to have for breakfast does help alleviate some of that anxiety though. I love peanut butter and banana on toast.

Having the remainder of my wisdom teeth out tomorrow, and unfortunately, no one at work has gotten back to me on the whole health insurance thing, which is a bit of a PITA. It also means I'm rearranging my schedule to meet with Shawn first thing in the morning rather than in the afternoon - this should be interesting! I'm not sure how much of a morning person I really am. I guess we're about to find out. At least I should be too tired to be a basket case by the time I get to the dentist though!

That's it...

I'm not asking questions anymore.

Every time I ask a question, I find out I've been doing this wrong. And then I get confused, because I thought I was doing it right, since I was obviously getting results and moving forward. And then I get confused and frustrated trying to figure out how to do things right.

Ignorance really is bliss, and I want to be a more blissful person. Because the current asking questions person is just frustrated.

Last week, of course, was my revelation that I'm working out too much. Okay, I get this. I've even managed to figure out how to work with this new "two days off" mandate. And I do understand why it's necessary.

This week, I was invited by Well Within to try a one-month trial of their new "Creating Wellness" website, which is essentially a coaching website for positive lifestyle changes. It designs meal plans, creates fitness plans, offers advice, etc. While I have lots of opinions about the website, when I was going through their meal plans (which I won't be using because they don't offer a way to easily make the plans low-sodium, which is one of the hallmarks of my own diet - I have low potassium, and keeping my sodium low helps my body absorb potassium) I noticed a few things about their calorie splits that confused me. So, I decided to ask Shawn about it, and about how I should be splitting my allotted calories.

Somehow, in the course of all this, I find out I'm not eating enough for breakfast or supper, not eating a big enough snack on days I'm training, I'm not eating enough snacks, and... well, ultimately, Shawn decided, probably not eating enough. And yet I come close to my 1500 calorie mark every day and stop eating at give or take 8:00 pm, which is exactly what I was told. Only now he's okay if I go over that, because of the amount I work out. As long as I have a source of protein, a whole grain, and a complex carbohydrate at every meal. And it would be nice if 70% of what I was eating was vegetables, because vegetables are so much better for you. And a snack later in the evening isn't that bad either.

I am so confused. He did actually plan out a sample breakfast (which is when we discovered I wasn't eating enough for breakfast - I nearly stopped breathing when his sample breakfast came to 500 calories, where most of mine don't top 400), to give me an idea of what my meals should look like, but it's still hard to imagine eating that much. Plus, it's completely counter-intuitive that, while I'm trying to lose weight, in the last two weeks I have been told to exercise less and eat more. Don't get me wrong, I trust Shawn and I'm sure he knows what he's talking about. Intellectually, I understand the principles behind what he's saying. It's just that not-so-intellectual part of my brain that is currently screaming "WTF?!? Put down the peanut butter and step away from that 200 calories of toast!"

*sigh* I really need to just suck it up though. As I always tell others, if it was easy, everyone would do it. And in the meantime, I'll try to figure this out.

Had a great workout last night, anyway. We were focusing on legs, with a few core exercises thrown in for fun, and I really enjoyed some of the new exercises we were working on. There were a lot of things that required me to work on my balance and coordination... and Shawn and I both discovered I really, really have a problem with the whole "straight" concept. It seemed like every exercise he was telling me to square myself off better, or straighten my body, or put my leg more under me. I think he's actually given up on trying to verbally explain to me where I'm wrong, because now he just physically repositions me. I rock. Can't even stand straight. And, yes, I do run people off of sidewalks.

Was off to the dog show today, then grocery shopping for the regular fare, plus some of the new things on my list that fall under the "things I didn't eat before but should probably eat now" category. Like granola bars. Always a treat I didn't allow myself, or allowed very rarely. Apparently the ideal snack before a training session would be a granola bar and a banana. Like, both. Which is 200+ calories. Yeah, that boggled my mind too. This is going to take some getting used to.

Running the numbers...

The great thing about pictures is sometimes they can be relevant... and sometimes I just want to add one because I like it. Like this one. It makes me smile.

My motivation isn't a bear chasing me, it's a small, evil white contraption which bears witness to every one of my falters and missteps. It scolds me for the days when I say screw it and have that chocolate bar. Its judgmental glare makes me walk away from that plate of cookies. And even when I've been incredibly good and diligent, it still only metes out praise in the smallest, stingiest doses.

Okay, so I have a little animosity towards my scale. I'm not good at the whole weight thing.

However, it was a whole different story this morning when I stepped on my scale, and it announced for me, in its emotionless flat readout, that I had finally hit the ten-pound mark!

I've restarted my weight measurements, beginning with my fitness assessment with Shawn, rather than going from the beginning of my weight loss attempts. This seemed reasonable, since I was so drastically changing - well, everything. As you all know, the last week has been... bad. I've been threatening to drop-kick that evil little white something-or-other. But this morning, I got there. I have finally lost ten pounds, which means I have just over fifteen pounds to go! I know it's not supposed to be about the numbers on the scale (which Shawn will no doubt remind me of, even as he congratulates me, when I tell him this), but it was such a great feeling. Perfect way to start my Friday.

I'm still actually glowing a little over last night as well. I decided, for one of the first times since Shawn took me out on our 7k run, to try running again on my own. My knee has been bothering me, so I've been sticking to the elliptical (or the horrid rowing machine that Shawn made me do for twenty minutes on Tuesday night - "Oh, you don't like rowing? That's because it works." Imagine an obscene gesture and insert it here, k?) Anyhow, I thought I would, with all my newfound tips and tricks on how to run, try just jumping on the treadmill and running for as long as I could without stopping - just to see how long I could do. After all, I ran for an hour (not straight - I took breaks) with Shawn.

I actually find it harder to run on the treadmill. My stride seems less natural, and I'm guesstimating at the right speed. But, I like having something to actually time how long I'm running.

I made it nine whole minutes on my first stint before my body finally cried "uncle!"

And even then, it wasn't a complete surrender. Two minutes to recover, I decided to try the last nine at a run as well. About a minute and a half in, though, I developed horrid shin splints, and needed an extra minute to walk them out, then tried again, and got another six-and-a-half minutes! I am so happy! It seems like ages ago that I used to push to get my one minute intervals on the treadmill. I might actually become a runner yet.

Another training session tonight - yay! - and a dog show this weekend. Schedule looks a little funky, which means I may not be back in time for step on Sunday. That is the bad thing about dog show season. I'll have a few weekends like that. But, there's always a class on Wednesday night I can catch just in case.

And my food cravings are finally, really starting to back of. I think my diet might have been a little lacking in fibre, because when I looked at the foods I was craving (bread, oatmeal, rice, my All-Bran bars), they're all quite high in fibre. So, I added some in to each of my snacks - we'll see how it goes.

This has become a really long post, but I do want to give my FRIDAY FUN FACTS

  • Want a way to burn calories without trying? Brew a cup of tea. Research has suggested that a few cups of tea could help you burn up to an additional 80 calories daily!

  • Green, leafy goodness! Everyone knows I'm a huge fan of spinach for its nutritional value, but turns out, it might also help safeguard your liver. So next time your salad calls for lettuce, replace it with some spinach instead!

  • B-healthy! A diet high in B-vitamin folate and B-6 might help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Fish, liver, meats, whole grains and fortified cereals are sources of vitamin B-6, while vegetables and fruits, whole or enriched grains, fortified cereals, beans and legumes are sources of folate.
Everyone have a happy Friday and a great weekend!

Yoga Cat

Are you all appreciating my efforts to include pictures with each post? I'm actually a photographer, but I just don't have many photos that are really relevant to what I talk about. So, you're stuck with Google. Besides, Yoga Cat is awesome.

So, my yoga workout last night worked brilliantly (despite having to deal with the mocking from my family members who refuse to listen to me when I try to explain what yoga is, and that it is not "scratching your ear with your foot". I found this great website at YogaDownload.com where I could download a free twenty-minute class onto my MP3 player, set my mat by our duck pond, and let the stress of the day go. Then I followed up with a twenty minute walk and just felt much better. The food cravings are even starting to die down a bit. Of course, coming to work today, the stress came back, but I can work out tonight.

I did quickly run my plan for my "day off" by Shawn to make sure it still counted as down time, and he fully endorsed the whole yoga thing (and would have actually recommended it had he thought of it). I had a few other questions as well, regarding my program, and I think he's (correctly) picked up that I'm getting a bit bored with it, and so offered to design a new program for me. Yay!! That makes me excited. I like new things.

Chiropractic appointment last night.... definitely showed signs of the stress I'm under. I've also agree to try a one-month free trial of their "Creating Wellness" website, for which I have an orientation session tonight. Still not sold on this, but I'll give it a try. If it gets to be too stressful or confusing, having too many people tell me things or getting too much conflicting information, I'll back out. The "Creating Wellness" program left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth with it's base assumption that I could never be 100% well without being medication free. While I don't advocate pharmaceuticals as a first-line defense, and think other forms of treatment should always be pursued, my own specific condition (cluster headaches) are extremely poorly understood, and I spent six years exploring other options before finally taking the medication option. I think the fact that I control my chronic condition responsibly speaks more to my wellness than whether or not I'm just medication free. But, I'll try anything.

I also have to advocate oatmeal as a morning snack. No milk, no sugar, just some cinnamon and vanilla. Yum. My coworkers are all commenting on how good it smelled. But it's mine. And it tasted good too.

Happy days!

Pokey pokey

I've developed an odd new habit.

I randomly poke myself.

My arm. My leg. My stomach. My ribs.

No, I'm not nuts. Well, I might be, but that is not enough evidence. But I can feel things. I'm not squishy like I once was. I'm also very glad I have a private office, or my co-workers would really think I'm strange.

I am also very fond of Dory from Finding Nemo. But I digress.

Anyway, yes, so, my poking habit. I can feel muscles. It is so many degrees of awesome. Shawn was commenting the other night that he could see a lot more definition in my arms, but I didn't really pay a lot of attention. He's a very positive, encouraging person (this is a good thing, don't get me wrong), and I'm rather hard-wired not to really take compliments at face value (not really a good thing - we're working on it). So it wasn't until I went to put lotion on the other day that I realized - my arms really aren't as squishy. Then I bent down to fix my shoe and I rested a hand against my thigh - it's less squishy too! Go to smooth a blouse and... when did my upper abdomen get so... un-squishy?

This is awesome.

Had a great workout last night. I had specifically asked for a really challenging core/abs/back workout, and that's what I got. Honestly, I am proud of myself. Some of those exercises were hard. When I started, I would have gotten frustrated, mad at myself, self-conscious - Shawn would have spent more time coaching me through the emotional upset of not getting them than actually working on the exercises. Last night, I think I did really well. Not only did I do really well in a lot of the new exercises he showed me (I think I have a new favourite exercise in side crunches - those are awesome), even the ones I found more challenging, like those using a stability ball, I managed to laugh my way through all my fumbles and stumbles. I'm not very stable, apparently (that's not what I mean). By the end of it, I was considerably less cranky and hormonal.

Today is another mandated "day off." I think I might try some low-impact yoga tonight, just to mitigate the effects of the stress of my workday, and I'll go for a walk, but no gym. I do have a chiropractic appointment, and a couple of errands to run, so hopefully I won't notice the change much.

In the meantime, I'm going back to poking myself.

Enter at your own risk....

I want to bite someone's head off, I could eat myself out of house and home (of foods I don't eat anyway), stupid things are really irritating me, I am mentally retarded and physically a klutz, and I considered drop-kicking both my scale and my computer this morning. Except that I probably would have broken something trying to do it. And I feel fat and ugly.

Aren't hormones great?

Among the many unfair things women have to deal with when it comes to weight loss that men don't have to deal with (along with having to consume less calories and having less muscle mass) is stupid hormone fluctuations. What game of rock-paper-scissors did we lose to get stuck with this crap anyway? And yes, even the fact that we get stuck with this is pissing me off.


I am trying a new mix of vitamin supplements to see if I can't mitigate some of the symptoms of this, to make myself a little easier to deal with, and I'll speak to my chiropractor on Wednesday to see if he has any other suggestions (he's good with supplements and such). The chiropractic has helped some, but not as much as I thought it would. And in the meantime, I'll try to avoid eating my weight in sweets and bread, and making my co-workers cry. I think I'm going to be in a lot of "phone meetings" for the next two days.

In other news, Shawn gets to deal with me tonight! And we're doing a super hard core/abs workout that I specifically requested! Poor, clueless soul has no idea what he's walking into.... You all might want to pray for him.

Had a chiropractic appointment last night, and a workout. The chiropractic seemed to go well, though I was fighting through the workout. It's the lower body/legs program Shawn has designed, which is freaking hard. Add twenty minutes of cardio on the end and I'm just exhausted. I was even mad at the elliptical machine for...well, being hard. Even though I set the program. Yup, hormones are great. Then managed to slice my finger trying to make supper (I dropped a knife), and spill a full cup of broccoli, and throw some rice all over the counter.... it was a good night.

Now I'm going back to my "phone meetings."

I want chocolate.

Back to the grind

Monday again, on a real work week, which I'm dutifully delaying starting by updating my blog. It's a good thing I'm pretty much the only one supervising me.

I've decided my "new" schedule will have me taking Wednesdays and Saturdays off from training. I usually have a chiropractic appointment on Wednesdays, which means I end up being very late getting home from the gym, plus I usually train with Shawn on Tuesdays.... so it makes sense to take Wednesday off. I already take Saturday off. Obviously that isn't set in stone, as my schedule can be a little nuts, but for a base routine, it works. When I saw Shawn at the gym last night, he did remind me (in that "I'm smiling while I say this but I am serious" tone) that I'm allowed to take a day off.

I had a good workout last night. Decided to run through Shawn's upper body/chest/triceps program, and I didn't do too badly. I've been struggling to keep pace, and I was late getting to the gym, so I didn't think I'd have time to get through it all before step class. I dropped everything from three sets to two, and didn't get through the second set of chest flies (they're at the end of the workout, and even dropping the weight back, I was just played out), but besides that, I got through all of the exercises and several core/back exercises in about forty-five minutes. I was really impressed with the upright chest press - last time I tried this program, I couldn't get anywhere near the starting weight. I think I had to drop ten or fifteen pounds back. Of course, I was also sick with a cold. Last night I got through the whole drop set (start at 50 lbs for 10 reps, 40 for 12, 30 for 15, then start over) for two reps. I also got a fair bit of my body weight for the first set of triceps body weight dips. Unfortunately, I still suck at pushups. Like, really suck. I got, maybe, five from my toes, and maybe another seven from my knees. And this morning, my wrist is bothering me. This bothers me, because pushups are part of my fitness assessment, and I'm going to keep scoring lousy if I can't get them.

Step was fun, and really challenging. My knee is still giving me some trouble, but I made it though more of the class before it started to bother me. We're also doing newer steps that I've never seen before, which means I'm back to having to remember to breathe, step, think and listen all at the same time - and unfortunately, my brain prioritizes those in reverse order. Good fun! I don't pass out. It's really quite a rush when I do get all the steps and the routine down though. Step is like dancing, and I always wanted to be able to dance. The club has just started offering Zumba regularly as well, and as soon as the craze has died down a bit, I'm planning to start attending that too.

Fun article for you all to read on sugar substitutes, since I've been extolling to lots of people lately on just giving up soda and not going "diet" - I should confess though, my one cup of coffee each day is sweetened with Sugar Twin and not sugar.

Real Age - Sugar Substitutes

And, another "recipe" - I thought I'd share with you all my current salad recipe which is making up my lunch each day. The great thing about this is that if, like me, your week is incredibly busy, most of the veggies you can pre-chop and store in Tupperware containers in your fridge. Then all you have to do each night is mix them together!

This is a BIG salad, and literally, my whole lunch. It keeps me full until my afternoon snack, easily, and my afternoon snack is usually just carrots and celery sticks. It also has two good sources of protein - the chicken and the edamame.

Spinach Celery Salad with Chicken

2-2.5 cups chopped fresh spinach (~20 calories)
1/4 cup diced celery (~8 calories)
1/4 cup diced cucumber (~4 calories - crunchy water yay!)
1/4 cup diced tomato (~10 calories)
1/4 cup diced sweet pepper (~10 calories)
1/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (~8 calories)
1/4 diced apple, with peel (~20 calories)
1/4 cup edamame, cooked and chilled (~55 calories)
1 serving chicken breast, diced (~140 calories)

Top with one tablespoon of your choice of low-cal salad dressing - right now I'm favouring Kraft's Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sundried Tomato (30 cals) and mix well. You can also add one tablespoon of low-fat cheese (~45 cals) if you choose.

Total calories (with dressing, not including cheese option): 305

This is very high in potassium, iron, fibre, vitamins, nutrients, plus is a buttload of servings of fruits and veggies. The fibre and the protein will leave you feeling full all afternoon! And it tastes great!

Have a great Monday everyone!

Reflections on a Day Off

So, yesterday was my first real "day off" in some time. I realized I haven't been really been taking a day off from training, because on days I don't go to the gym, I run and do core exercises at home. So, instead of training six days a week, I really was training seven days a week, and I know that's not right. So, yesterday I had a real day off. I did laundry (my gamey gym clothes). I went shopping. I cooked an unbelievably yummy chicken quesadilla that was only about 425 calories (I'll post my recipe below).

And, I went for a walk. About four kilometres total. I didn't do any core exercises, not even any stretching. Just a walk.

It feels a bit.... odd. This morning I'm itching to go for a run, or do some core work, or something. But I have step tonight, so I know I'll get a good workout there, plus I'll go through one of Shawn's upper-body programs. And, I slept well last night, so it wasn't like I had a plethora of extra energy to expend. In fact, chances are, I've been exhausting myself, rather than just exercising. So, instead, I'm lounging around in my very comfy yoga clothes and being a bit lazy. I need to make up my salads and such for lunch for the week later, which will at least keep me busy. Think I'll do that closer to lunch so I can combine making that and lunch.

So, step tonight - yay! I'm not hacking and coughing this week, so I should be good. Let's hope my knees decide to play nice.

Oh, and my own recipe for my super yummy chicken quesdilla (obviously, this is done to my specific taste - you can alter it for yours):

Chicken Quesadilla

1 serving chicken breast, diced
approx 1/4 small sweet pepper (pick a colour - I used orange), sliced very thin
approx 1/8 red onion, sliced thin
approx 2 mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons green onions, diced very small
1 tablespoon salsa (you pick strength)
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon shredded low-fat cheese (I like Kraft Low-Fat Tex Mex)
1 large whole-grain tortilla (I used Dempsters Ancient Grains - 190 calories)

Using a non-stick frying pan, cook chicken, peppers, onions, and mushrooms (I half-cook the chicken, then add veggies, but I'm assuming you all have the basics on how to cook). Set aside and wipe out pan.

Away from heat, set tortilla open in pan. In one half spread one tablespoon of salsa, topped with one tablespoon of sour cream. Then evenly spread veggies and chicken and top with cheese. Moving back to heat (on high), fold tortilla over and hold in place for several minutes while the bottom side grills. The tortilla should start to hold its shape on its own. To flip, use either a large egg turner and carefully turn from the outside edge, or cover pan with a plate, flip quesadilla onto the plate, and then slide it back in. To remove, cover pan with place and turn out (I am so impressed I managed to do this). Cut into four pieces.

Mix remaining tablespoon sour cream with green onions, and use as dipping sauce or spread over top. (Optional - I just like sour cream)

Serve with alone or with a light garden or spinach salad!

Food for thought...

...because it's 10:30 at night and that's the only kind I'm allowed. And my brain is tired of it and screaming for the other kind to make it shut up. So you get two posts in one night to keep my hands busy until I go to bed.

So, I remembered one of the many questions I meant to ask Shawn tonight (who I also unfortunately shared my cold with - I feel so bad). Of all the research I've done and reading I've accomplished, I have yet to figure out how much I should be working out. So, I took the same approach I take when road-working or training one of my dogs - six days on, one day off. It didn't really seem excessive to me, I enjoy my workouts, and I seem to be seeing results.

However, when I tell others how often I work out (like Dr. Mike), I was getting met with reactions that made me think maybe this was not quite correct. So, I made a mental note to ask Shawn.

Apparently I wasn't misinterpreting those responses. Shawn told me tonight he doesn't want to see me at the gym anymore than five times a week. Any more, and I'm overdoing it.


Since my schedule and his schedule don't always jive, he really wouldn't know how often I was coming to the gym - other than on the days he's there, which would be likely four days a week. And I talk about going on Sunday, so that would make five. He really had no reason to believe I was showing up nearly every day except the odd Saturday.

We may have nipped a problem in the bud here, because ever since he told me this, it has been causing me a lot of stress. It's only one less workout! Not the end of the world. But it feels like it, a little. I'm not going to pretend that the gym isn't my source of stress relief. It is. I enjoy going, it's an escape from work and home, I have friends there, I'm comfortable there. For someone who has such a difficult time fitting into new places, the gym has become a sanctuary of sorts. And yet, I know intellectually that what I'm experiencing is a warning sign of exercise compulsion. I also know my temperament lends itself to this sort of thing. I got a very serious "discussion verging on lecture" on the dangers of over-training - which apparently he can speak to from experience - and though our talk was cut short by another client (why do people do that? If I see my trainer with a client, I leave or wait until he's finished), I expect it'll come up again. He has offered to give me more to do if I don't feel like I'm working hard enough, or if I'm moving beyond my program. Which I'm not, I don't think. I just need to learn to use my program more effectively.

So yes. This is stressful for me tonight, but I know it's for the best. This is about learning to do this properly, and I can't do that if I'm always nursing overtraining injuries or overworking myself.

And we're back to...

Friday!!! My favourite day of the week!!

One, last work day before the weekend!

Two, training session with Shawn tonight!

We are not going for another run. He has promised me that we are doing something more upper-body. Not that the spirit isn't willing - I'm still all warm-fuzzy-glowy feeling from Tuesday night - but I don't think the body is quite so on board. My butt is still protesting, and I've managed to somehow injure my right knee. Which is great considering it's my left which is the bad one. Been icing it since last night, but it is still sore (which means I look like the oh-so-fashionable one at work, using the scarf I wore today to tie my ice pack around my knee. Very sexy). I did a lot of core work on my own last night, and I'm kind of hoping we have a good, strong ab/back workout again tonight. If not, I might ask Shawn if we could plan one for the future. I mean, I love toning my arms, but my core strength is where I really still need work, and where I don't tend to push myself.

I do have to say, I find my home life really creating a lot of strain for me on this path this week. As I've mentioned before, I don't get a lot of outside support, particularly for the whole "get in shape" endeavour; that's not so hard to take, really. I'm used to doing things on my own, and what support I do get (from Shawn, especially, and the intermittent support from my siblings and their significant others, who are behind me), is usually enough to keep me moving forward. But now I'm feeling more and more like those closest to me, who should be behind me, just aren't. In fact, sometimes it even feels like they are trying to sabotage me, or would like to see me fail. It started out as snide or off-handed remarks, then dismissal of the changes I was being advised to make, even going so far as to imply if I was serious, I wouldn't need a trainer. This week, the tactic has switched to being "concerned for my health" and that I'm overdoing it, despite my repeated explanations of "this is why I work with a trainer". So I can't overdo it or hurt myself. While I fight to stick to my diet, I have these voices nattering in my ear about how I can't be eating enough (I am), about how the books aren't always right, about how all these so-called "rules" change every few years (they don't), about how you can't stick a generic plan to an individual person (hence why I have the trainer) - essentially, trying to give me excuses to overeat. That's how I got into this problem in the first place. This is hard enough without the feeling that everything I put in my mouth is under scrutiny, and without the criticism. This week, I decided to try changing my diet up a bit, taking out the brown rice I usually have for lunch and adding in a large salad with a ton of different vegetables instead, and a diced chicken breast for protein. I'm a big fan of salads and figured it would work. Plus, it's a little lower in calories and gives me more servings of fruits and vegetables. And it's super yummy. Well, I've miscalculated somewhere, because when I left the gym yesterday, after a not-really hard workout, I was exhausted. I either didn't drink enough water during the day (doesn't seem like it but maybe) or didn't eat enough, or didn't eat properly (more likely). I've been reconsidering the salad thing, because I'm finding myself quite hungry in the afternoon when I get back to work. I mentioned this, in passing, last night, and immediately got jumped on with "We said you aren't eating enough. We knew that diet wasn't right!"

That's not what it means! I changed something, and it didn't work. Now, I go figure out how to change it again. Today, I'm adding a glass of skim milk with my lunch, to see if it will make a difference, and I'll mention it to Shawn and see if he has any suggestions. Maybe some edamame or something to boost the protein in that salad?

That's going to be my challenge all along this path, I think - avoiding those kinds of potholes.

But, today is Friday, which means Fun Facts Friday!

Spring is coming and with it, the first allergy season of the year! If you find yourself especially tired and depressed during allergy season or throughout the year, there might be something to it. Researchers have suggested there might be a link between problems such as chronic fatigue or depression and allergy response.

That headache or sore back plaguing you? Try taking slow, deep breaths. Studies indicate that the slow deep breathing might produce a calming response from the parasympathetic nervous system that counters the pain response from the sympathetic nervous system.

Ladies, lace up those sneakers! Walking briskly as little as twice a week can reduce your stroke risk as much as 30%. A study that looked at the most beneficial type of exercise for lowering stroke risk factors showed that there was no siginifcant benefit gained by higher-intensity activities - a brisk walk was all it would take. And of course, the more often, the better!

Have a great weekend everyone and get out for a walk!

Sometimes life is cruel...

It is a gorgeous, sunny day...

My cold has broken for the first time in a week and a half...

And I'm sitting in a stupid basement office.

Somewhere, karma is laughing at me for all that time I would spend days like these cooped up indoors at my computer. Because all I want to do right now is be outside.


Office life is the real reason this country has a shortage of vitamin D. I'm convinced of it.

So, I'm still a little stiff and sore from my run on Tuesday night, and yet, I still feel great. That warm, fuzzy, "oh my goodness, I can't believe how far I ran" feeling is still there (I even put as much of the route into Google Maps as I could - just the road portion alone was four km total, and we spent A LOT of time in the park, so I can see that making up another three km - plus there were all those stupid stairs). I'm a bit dumbfounded, in fact. I never would have believed I could have done that. I didn't believe I could do that (I turned to Shawn approximately a quarter of the way in and asked if he had a cell phone for when I died). My coughing has gone away, at last, besides the occasional here and there. I have ended up with a nagging pain in my right knee, possibly from the workout I did last night, which I'm not all that thrilled with... especially since my right knee doesn't generally cause me problems. I'll take it easy tonight and hopefully it'll clear up on its own. I do need to pick up some ice packs, I think.

I forgot to ask Dr. Mike my questions last night *facepalm*. Oh well. I see him again next week. We got preoccupied talking about running and my cold and the combination of the two. I'm also down to two adjustments a week, which is a little easier on the bank account, especially since my insurance company is as slow as cold molasses about getting my claims processed and getting money back to me. I *just* got the reimbursement for my first set of chiropractic adjustments. As in, the ones I had done March 1 and 4. Yeah. Awesome. Good thing I didn't that money, like, quickly.

Going to try a light training session tonight - probably just some cardio and core work - and then I have a session with Shawn again tomorrow. We are NOT going for another run, but it should be a good workout nonetheless. I'm looking forward to it.

Think you can...

...or think you can't, either way, you're right.

Another of my favourite quotes, and yet, one I so rarely manage to heed when it comes to myself.

And yet another reason why hiring Shawn was a good idea. He thinks I can. And he won't let me get away with thinking I can't. At the very least, he doesn't care if I think I can't.

I enjoy running, but I don't consider myself very good at it. On my own, I've been pushing myself up to about twenty minute stints, running at three minute intervals. Certainly not a marathon runner, but something. More than I could do when I started, admittedly. But, in retrospect, it really wasn't pushing myself.

Last night, as I was warming up, Shawn came over with one of those smiles that always makes me get a little worried and a little nauseous... and announced that since we had such a beautiful night, he was taking me on a run to Victoria Park.

The route he planned out was approximately seven kilometres, round trip, with a trip up and down the horrid Jacob's Ladder, a 120-step staircase, in the middle. At a run. My own run is about three kilometres, takes about twenty minutes, and doesn't have stairs. And I walk a lot of it. Oh yes, I was scared. I was nearly wetting myself, I was so scared.

But I did it. Okay, I had to take a couple of breaks, and walk a bit (not much - Shawn wouldn't let me walk for much), but I did it. I ran for more or less an hour.

This morning, I'm sore, stiff, still a little tired... and I feel great. I don't think this is the runner's high Shawn was talking about (good God, that man can talk - I don't think he shut up the whole time; I had to conserve every breath for... well, breathing, and he just kept on chattering like we were having coffee), but it is definitely a high. I've got a pretty nasty cough, which I think is dredged up from the last vestiges of my cold, but I'm hoping it's just the last of the crap working its way out of my chest. I'm going to pick up some zinc lozenges at lunch, I think, and see if they help.

The run also gave me a much-needed chance to talk to Shawn about some of my bigger goals now, and some of the challenges I'm facing. In a normal training session, we don't have that opportunity, because he's so busy teaching and making sure I don't hurt myself and I'm so busy trying to learn and not drop anything on my foot or his feet. He's a runner, so obviously he's well placed to teach me to run (and off to a very good start), and was very enthusiastic about my idea of becoming a fitness instructor (even offered to be my guinea pig if I ever wanted to try designing a program). I'm actually so energized by it all that I've actually started looking into what I'd need to do to become a fitness instructor, and might even try getting at least my Nutrition and Wellness Certification the next time the course is offered in this area. I also got to at least mention some of the difficulties I face with the lack of personal support, and it was reassuring to hear the words I've been telling myself come from someone else. I know that likely sounds silly, but it helps.

Chiropractic appointment today - have a couple of questions I must remember to ask Dr. Mike. Seriously looking to invest in at least one new notebook, as by the time I got to the end of my run last night, I was so tired I had completely forgotten the questions I wanted to ask Shawn. Go me.

Last night was definitely fun though. And a definite high.

Weight loss and common sense

While doing my daily run-through of news articles related to health, wellness, and fitness (this is actually part of my job, so it's only partly slacking off.... whereas stopping to blog about it is completely slacking off), I came across this article on MSN.ca which I really needed to share.

Living Large: Gaining Back the Weight Once Lost

The premise of the article is about a woman who successfully dieted from a size 32 down to a size 6, and gained a great deal of fame and attention for her success; however, within three years, she had regained over half that weight. Her explanation? She is "biologically condemned" and suffers from a "raging addiction to high-fructose corn syrup" which triggers the same dopamine reaction in her brain as, say cocaine would for a drug addict. Those who manage to lose weight successfully and keep it off, she argues, are just biologically gifted or very, very lucky, or "work so hard at it that it's become their life."

If you read on in the article, however, her method for losing her weight: "a spectacularly rigid no-sugar, no-flour, no-snacking diet."

I think I just found the flaw in her weight loss plan.

In all the drivel she spouted, she got one thing right. Those people that succeed? They work so hard at it that it becomes their life. But only because they design plans that can become their life. Weight loss shouldn't be extreme self-deprivation. It's about long-lasting lifestyle alterations. If you can't see yourself doing it for the rest of your life - how many of us could live without flour and sugar for the rest of our lives - then why do you think a weight-loss program based on those principles is going to be successful?

Their is no trick or easy fix to weight loss - and no need to buy into the "weight loss industry" that apparently wants us all to be on that roller-coaster. Just take your ideas about weight loss, combine them with a little common sense, and start moving forward.

I need more notebooks

Notebook 1: Food Diary (I have this)

Notebook 2: Back-up food diary for when I leave my food diary at work over a long weekend. Stupid stupid me.

Notebook 3: Questions to ask Shawn

Notebook 4: Questions to ask Dr. Mike

Notebook 5: Fun Facts for my Blog

Yes, I definitely need more notebooks. My life is best organized via notebooks. I forget things without notebooks. I forget lots of things. Like the one notebook I do actually have.


I'm a little lost without my food diary. I'm going through withdrawal actually.

My last day of "vacation" before I'm back to work tomorrow. Decided to do some grocery shopping, and really punched up the whole healthy eating thing, getting A LOT of fish, chicken, fresh vegetables, etc. Also made my pre-mixed salad (which I love), which did seem to cut down on lunch prep time.

Got in a pretty good workout today - not phenomenal as this cold is still sitting on my chest, but better than I've had. I'm looking forward to my training session with Shawn tomorrow. Hopefully this is the very last of this horrid thing.

Today was my also progress exam for my chiropractic appointments. I was really impressed. Not necessarily with the results, though the surface electromyography looks much, much better, but with Dr. Mike's whole attitude. They had me fill out a survey regarding my experience, and he was very thorough about going through it with me, discussing everything I had written, answering any questions I might have and clarifying any confusion. I was really quite blown away by the whole experience.

And for your viewing pleasure: my sEMG scans! The first was the initial scan, take in early February. The second is the scan done today, after one month of chiropractic care. White is normal nerve activity, blue is the start of a problem, green is mild nerve impairment, red is significant nerve impairment, and black.... is very bad. Fortunately, there is no more black. I'm not sure why a couple of places have worsened; it's on my list of things to ask. They are also a brilliant display of my inability to scan things straight. This is why I hate lines.

Breathing is good....

Shawn has explained this to me before, I'm sure. So I know breathing is good.

Breathing and step class are a very good combination. In fact, I'd say it's almost essential. Actually, probably is essential.

Might explain why step class was so hard tonight.

This cold needs to find a new home. I have never actually considered quitting a class, but I considered it tonight. I actually had to step back for a second once to catch my breath. This is a little aggravating. I don't like not working at my full capacity. I'm just hoping that if I'm only compromised a little while under the weather, I'll be that much better when I'm actually in good health again.

Finally got through my clothing purge. I think everything left in my closet is my size, or close to it. There are a couple of cocktail dresses which might be too big, but I'll either sell those or give them to someone I like. I have A LOT less in the way of clothing, and a lot of clothing which is just transition stuff; that is, clothes to wear so I just have stuff.

I'm going to try a new approach to meals, I think. Right now meal prep is taking a lot out of me. I get home from the gym around 7:30, and then often have to prepare my own supper (because the meal my mother has cooked isn't suitable for my diet, or because it's a "fend for yourself" night), which puts me after 8:00 eating. Then I have to take care of my dogs, and prepare my lunch for the next day, and all my snacks. Then I have to make sure I have clothes and gym gear for the next day. It means even after I get home, it's 9:30-10:00 at night before I actually get a chance to unwind. So, starting this week, I'm going to try to have more things ready to go - i.e., have chicken breasts cooked, vegetables chopped for a salad, fruit diced for snacks, etc. This way, things are much easier, and faster, to put together. Just trying to avoid any potential pitfalls. If you have any other suggestions (keeping in mind that I don't regularly eat commercially prepared food, canned food, "microwave meals," etc.) I'd love to hear them!

Progress report for chiropractor tomorrow!! Yay!

Discovering yourself....

With my glorious four day weekend on me, my sister and I decided we would have one of our very rare "girls' days out" today after my morning stint at the gym. I desperately needed some new cheap clothes, and if ANYONE can find good clothes for cheap, it's my sister. She is a veritable gold mine in all those discount stores. Throw in lunch and gossip and some time away from it all and it makes for a good day.

However, in the midst of all this shopping, like many things in my life now, I suddenly had a revelation. I have no idea who the person in the mirror is anymore. I mean, I know who I am. I'm not having an identity crisis. And I'm not nuts (though many would disagree). It's just that, for twenty-odd years, I've looked at that person, and seen the same thing staring back, and now, I don't see that. I've never seen this girl who lives to get up and go to the gym, or who is more concerned with nutritional values than just indulging some whim. I see someone who is more comfortable in workout clothes than in business suits, and willing to pay more for them too. And, for the first time today, I got a glimpse of a girl I might actually think is almost... pretty.

It's a really, really strange feeling.

Clothes shopping as a whole is kind of surreal right now. I pick up clothes in the size I know I'm wearing, and as I'm holding them in the dressing room, that second before I try them on, there's this heart-stopping instant where I think, "It's way too small; it'll never fit."

And then it does. That's a bit of a high. Actually, that's a lot of a high.

I still have a long way to go on my path, and still have lots to learn, and sometimes I think some of the most important things I'm going to learn from all this, are the things I didn't know I needed to be taught.

Good Friday to you!

Indeed, it is Good Friday, which means a super-long weekend for all of us here in Canada (since we celebrate Easter Monday)! I love Easter!

And keeping with the season, I have my own Easter miracle to share. My dear friend Kymmy, who I told you all about yesterday, proved that an indomitable spirit and the collective will of hundreds of friends across the world truly can triumph. Despite a severe head injury and broken neck, and odds quoted at approximately 35%, she is awake and talking!!!! She flew through the surgery, and though she has a long road to recovery, she is on that road now. I am so happy, and thank you to everyone who kept her in your thoughts.

My cold (yes, I'm resigned to admitting I actually have a cold) is stubbornly hanging on, and today has settled in my upper chest with a rather nagging, hacking cough. Hopefully, this means the end is nigh (the cold's end, not mine... though there are times...) The gym is closed for Good Friday (but not Easter Sunday.... oohhhkaaayyy....) so I won't be going in for a workout. I'm going to try to get a run in, and maybe some core work if I can handle it, but with the cold now in my chest, it is compromising my respiratory ability, so, as Shawn has been trying to teach me, I'll have to listen to my body. Stupid body. Why can't it learn to listen to me? I've been telling it to stop being sick for the past four days.

I have a "progress session" with Dr. Mike on Monday, to find out if the chiropractic is actually making any difference to my back. I do notice some difference, and I have to say, he is a miracle worker when it comes to quickly alleviating the minor aches and pains caused by muscle strains, etc. Which I get a lot because of the whole gym thing. Plus, he usually has a few sound pieces of advice for whatever issues I have that week, or just an interesting anecdote or two. I enjoy going to the chiropractor.

And it's Friday, so my three fun facts!

In honour of the fact that Shawn was commenting on the fun cracking noise my knee made as I was doing squats off the bench this week, here are three key elements to improving cartilage formation and knee function: strengthen your quadriceps (the large muscle in the front of your thigh), commit to regular vigorous exercise (that doesn't hurt your joints), and eat foods rich in omega-3s, like fish, berries, flaxseed, and avocado.

As I fight off my cold, researchers are suggesting large doses of vitamin D might help fight off the flu. Studies with children have suggested that taking 1,200 IU of the "sunshine vitamin" might help ward off the nasty bug which makes the rounds each winter (when most of us are getting less vitamin D from the sun, coincidentally).

And, in honour of the season, a bite of chocolate might help your heart. (Yay!) Researchers have suggested that eating one square of dark chocolate each day could lower your risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. But be warned: if you indulge in this high-calorie, high-fat snack without eating fewer calories elsewhere or exercising regularly to burn off the extra intake, you'll negate the chocolate's benefits by packing on extra pounds.

Have a great long weekend, everyone, and enjoy your Easter!



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