Monday, May 31, 2010

Skinny jeans

My current wardrobe is basically boot cut jeans, solid coloured tshirts and sweaters, and the occasional collared shirt or jackety blazer. I wear the same clothes to work and at home, which is clearly a sign that I need a wardrobe overhaul. The jeans I'm wearing right now are getting a bit saggy in the bum, so I look forward to replacing them. The sad state of affairs of my closet is very much tied to the fact that for the past few years, I've put off buying new clothes until I'm a smaller size.
I have a mental list of all the things I have deemed myself unfit to wear. I was going to phrase that "too chubby to wear", but I feel that's a bit harsh for a Monday. Some of these things are just downright unflattering, period, and always will be. Like skinny jeans. Nope, not on this lady. I don't think it matters how many kilometres I run or how many carrot sticks I snack on insted of baklava, these hips aren't going anywhere. And so, skinny jeans are out. So are tube tops. And mini skirts. But hey, a girl can dream, right?

Someday I'll be confident and comfortable in sleeveless tops without a cardigan or jacket. I'll rock that red bikini. I'll tuck my jeans into tall boots, and zipping them up won't be a tight squeeze. I'll skip the spanx, and wear skirts cut above the knee instead of at that super-flattering mid-calf length.
Those days are coming, and soon, I hope. I have a dress in the closet I'd like to wear to a party in September, but I think that's an unrealistic goal (the thing has never fit, except for a brief period of time when I was at my all-time lowest adult weight). For now, I'm going to try to squeeze myself into the dark denim trouser jeans I was wearing last summer.

Do you keep goal clothes in your closet? What about in your mind? What do you dream of wearing? Does it motivate you?

Friday, May 28, 2010

What will I look like when I get to my goal?

Check out this amazing toy on Redbook magazine's website. In moments of weakness, I've often wondered 'What difference will it make if I give up? I've never been thin, I don't even know what a thin Meg would look like.'

Well, hell yes. If I look like this when I get to my ultimate goal - not eating ripple chips, stiff muscles and a lot of hard work is TOTALLY worth it.

This is a photo of myself today on the left, and on the right is me about 60 lbs thinner, according to this website tool. Holy crap.

(Click to enlarge the image)

Things I would gladly give up

I was having coffee with my lunch-buddy Dana yesterday and the conversation turned to diet and weight loss. Because I'm sort of obsessed with it at the moment.
But we were talking about how one of the big learnings of losing weight is making choices about how you want to spend your daily allotment of calories/points/food group servings/whatever. If you want a glass of wine (or three) on Saturday? Add ten minutes to your cardio, do another set of weights, or don't eat carb-heavy foods that weekend. Sure, it sounds easy. But in practice, it's much, much harder.
Everyone has favourite foods. Or drinks. Everyone needs to learn to make choices to incorporate those favourites, in moderation, into their lives.
I would rather pass on a slice of cake and have cheese on my sandwich. I would rather give up fast food than butter chicken. I'd trade a lifetime of crappy sheet cakes for a great slice of pie every now and then. I'd rather have salad with no bread or treat for lunch than give up pasta at dinner. I'll pass on dessert for an extra piece of pizza. Frankly, I'd rather have food than beer. I'll give up that margarita for an extra taco.
What about you? What are you willing to give up, and in exchange for what special treat?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Other Victories

Yesterday I did hit the pool, like I had planned. I usually do 30 there-and-back 'laps' of the pool, which takes me around 30 minutes with two little breaks when I tread water or do other aquafit-style exercises. Last night I did them all without any breaks, and was done in 26 minutes. That's a great improvement in time, I think!

Today we had a staff meeting at work. The 'refreshments', at 9:00 in the morning?


This is what I said to the cupcakes:

That's right. I turned them down. I love cupcakes, and these were the really decadent ones, but I don't love them enough to have one instead of a different treat this week. (Like beer! Or wine!) I knew I'd have a challenging dinner tonight so I stuck to my guns and my coffee with skim milk.

This weight loss thing really isn't easy, and I know I'm still in the honeymoon phase. But I'll take it while I can get it - hopefully by the time the going gets tough, I'll have worked out a few more tactics to stick it out for the long haul.

Wednesday: WI 2

I was down 2 lbs this morning. That brings my total loss so far to 5.2 lbs, if anyone is keeping track (I'm sure it's just me...)
Tonight we're ordering in Chinese food with some friends. This is going to be challenging - the kind of chinese food I like the best is the fried fatty stuff in the sweet, spicy, sticky sauce. I've decided I'm going to have a salad immediately after work, and then have just a little bit of my favourites - ginger beef and sweet and sour chicken, with some rice and veggies.
What type of cuisine is your favourite? How do you fit it into your eating plan, or have you made it off-limits? My favourite is Mexican, and last night we made a taco salad with ground turkey breast, lots of lettuce and salsa, a little bit of cheese and a few of the expensive, organic tortilla chips. Much lighter than enchiladas, that's for sure. I have leftovers for lunch - can't wait!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

False Start

Last week I decided that I wanted to try out a new fitness class, Zumba. I found a drop-in class that didn't require registering for 10 weeks OR a gym membership AND that was in the evenings. Why was this so hard?! All I want is to try out something new before I commit to over $100 in class fees or a gym membership, because if I don't enjoy doing something I know I won't stick to it.
But victory! I found a class that met my needs. This morning, I packed my lunch and a high-protein snack, figured out what bus to take to get to the class, packed up my clothes and water bottle and arranged for a ride home after the class.
I was ready and rarin' to go. I even declined an invitation for a pub night because trying this workout was more appealing than turning down wings and cheese fries for two hours.
Well, turns out that the class in question is on Thursday. Thank god I double-checked the time the class ended, or I would have found myself wandering the suburbs in search of a fitness class two days early!
I guess I'll go for a swim tonight instead. Any other ideas of things I could try? Do you know of any cool fitness classes in Calgary (or elsewhere)?

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Ahh. There is truly nothing like visiting my mom and dad - it's like visiting Camp Relaxation, minus the spa treatments. (Now that I think of it, I bet there's a tube of peel-off cucumber mask and some foot cream kicking around smewhere, left over from my high school days, so there could be spa treatments!) Reading, movies, good food, naps - exactly what I needed after a few stressful weeks!

We got in late last night, after stopping for dinner at (horror) McDonalds. I had planned and accounted for dinner at Quiznos. I was looking forward to Quiznos. I knew what I could eat and how many points were going to be in it, and I had planned my day around it. Surprise! There's no Quiznos anymore on the way home.

So I had a small plain cheeseburger, half a small order of fries and some apple slices. Yes, I had a Happy Meal, minus the toy. I was depressed that I couldn't have 'what I really wanted' but I'm proud that I didn't cave and order a Quarter Pounder and giant fries.

I stuck my 30 Day Shred dvd in my bag and thought that I might do it if I had the chance over the weekend, but I wasn't going to be paranoid about it. As it turns out, my parents had a commitment this afternoon so while Gary puttered around with Dad's sound system, I shredded.

But I didn't bring my weights. And my Dad's are 10 pound weights. The dvd recommends up to 5 pound weights, and at home, I use 3 pound ones (yes, I'm wimpy!).

So I used what I had:

Two of these.

And finally, for dessert tonight my mom found a great cupcake recipe that uses a can of diet soda and two egg whites instead of the oil, eggs and liquid you usually add to a cake mix. One cupcake? 2 points!

The trick to sticking to this plan for me is going to flexibility. I can't eat what I planned? Substitute something reasonable while staying on plan. I don't have what I need to exercise? Figure out a different way to fit activity in. I want a treat? Find a way to make it work.

Three for three so far this weekend. I hope you're having just as great a time! Have you found any substitutions that help you make whatever you're doing work for you?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long Weekend Survival

This weekend my boyfriend and I are headed to my parents' house. My mom is a fantastic cook, and our family loves to eat. Mom comments here regularly, so she knows that I'm changing my eating habits, and she's already researched a bunch of healthy recipes to try out. Thanks for making it easier for me, Mom!
Long weekends and holidays can be really hard when you're watching what you eat. Thanksgiving and Christmas are particularly hard for me, but Victoria Day and Canada Day - not so much. If I get invited to a BBQ or party of some sort, I know I can either bring something healthier and 'safe' to munch on - like a salad or fruit-based dessert - or those options will be there. There's no rule that says I have to eat three hot dogs and a bunch of chips just because they're available, right?
I think summer is an easier season for weight loss - the warm weather makes it easier to be active, and fresh produce is in season, available and delicious. Not to mention that when it gets bloody hot, I'm not really in the mood to eat!
I am a little disappointed that I won't be going to the gym on Saturday. I've packed my workout clothes, so I can try to sneak in a long walk with my mom or maybe even jump on the treadmill they have in the basement. Yesterday I really didn't feel like doing anything when I got home from work, but instead of talking myself out of it, I talked myself into throwing on my gym togs and doing the dreaded 30 Day Shred. I've done Level One (there are three levels - each is apparently progressively more killer) four times and it's still a tough workout. I didn't collapse and die and I'm not sore today, so I take that as a good sign.
I also take it as a good sign that I worked out instead of saying, 'ah, I'll get it tomorrow' because I knew I might not fit in some activity this weekend.
Are long weekends tough for you? Do they throw off your gym routine? What are your favourite healthy summer foods?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I'm currently reading a book about cognitive therapy and eating. It's The Beck Diet Solution, subtitled something like "Think Like a Thin Person!" and is so obnoxiously hot pink that I can't bring myself to read it in public. I picked it up for $6 in the bargain section at Chapters a few weeks ago, but have only recently cracked it open.
The book is supposed to act as a companion for whatever diet you chose. It's full of exercises and pledges and checklists to help you retrain your fat person brain. So far, some of the tools have been great, like making a list of the reasons I want to lose weight, and keeping it in my purse so I can review it before I decide I really, really, really need a cookie.
It's working so far - I didn't need a cookie. I needed a walk around the office to cool my jets and clear my head.
But the introduction of the book is really depressing. It basically declares my biggest food fear and the thing that most often leads to a complete diet derailment.
You can never, ever, ever eat whatever you want, whenever you want, in the quantity that you want, if you want to be thin and stay thin. Thin people suffer for their thin-ness, even the ones that are 'naturally' thin. It's about choices - and sacrifices. Sure, the book says, your skinny friend might be chowing down on a banana split right now, but she's going to suffer for it later, either at the gym or at her next meal.
This is depressing. I LOVE to eat good food. I love to cook good food. I love trying restaurants and eating whatever I want on vacation and delicious treats. But in the week since I read that statement, I realised that it's actually helpful. It's not healthy to eat fried fast food or poutine for lunch every day. Being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want is never going to happen. If I sacrifice and sweat only to reach a 'reward' of falling off my diet as soon as I've reached my goal, I'll be back here again in no time. The sooner I realise that and learn to make moderation and healthier choices my BFFs, the better.
Are you depressed by this idea? Have you read this book?

Week One: WI

This morning I was actually excited to step on the scale. I had a really good week. There are 5 gold stars on my exercise calendar, I have consumed mostly veggies and lean protein and my big indulgence this week was hummus and flatbread with two glasses of wine on Saturday night. While those flatbread wedges were probably soaked in oil to make them so yummy, I feel like that's a far better splurge than, say, an entire cheesecake. Or a tray of baklava. Or a giant plate of poutine and a hot dog. Or a large pizza. Not that I could actually eat any of those things in one sitting, but over the course of a week? Sure.
At any rate, this week I lost 3.2 lbs. Yay for me!
(WI = weigh in)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Magic Numbers

This morning I got a text from a friend telling me that she'd reached her weight loss goal. I congratulated her, and she told me she still had a little ways to go, but I'm very proud of her.
Then I started thinking about goal weights.
I hate the concept of a goal weight, but it's a necessary evil for Weight Watchers. I don't like the idea of success being defined strictly by a number on the scale - there are so many other magical numbers that add up to the mix.
Measurements, clothing size, BMI, running pace, minutes of activity - these are all things I consider to be markers of success. I would love - LOVE - to see a smaller number on the scale. At this point, I need to lose 61 lbs to be at the top end of the recommended weight for my height, according to Weight Watchers. I'm not sure that losing any more weight than that is realistic or even possible, but that might be self doubt and fear talking.
But what I'm learning is that it's more important to me to be a smaller dress size and have smaller measurements and be able to run further and faster than to see a magical number on the scale.
Tomorrow is my first weigh-in, and I'm going to try to remind myself of that. The first WW weigh in is always a bit of a spectacle. It's 'average' to see a loss of 3-8 lbs in that first week, and it can be disappointing in the weeks that follow when your results don't match up to that first week of dieting glory. So here I go, trying to remind myself that if the scale doesn't move that much, not to be disappointed. I can definitely do more wimpy lady pushups this week than I could last week - and that's progress.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The polyester pants

I bought some new capri pants on Saturday. They're black, they're flattering, I'll be able to wear them all summer.
But they're made of polyester. The kind of polyester that swishes loudly when my thighs rub together. Which is all the time. Not attractive.
Last week I made a list of all the reasons I want to lose weight. Some of them are very personal, some of them are health related, and some of them are sort of shallow. Among the reasons on the list - I want to be able to live a more active, fun lifestyle and not feel self concious while doing it. I want to feel good about myself. I want to live longer. I want to buy cute clothes in a smaller size.
I want to not have to default to the only pants available that fit me, because they are always made of cheap polyester - but ironically, cost a fortune.
What are your reasons for wanting to lose weight?

Friday, May 14, 2010

The good and the bad

Good: I'm very proud of myself - I completed two killer workouts this week, with plans to keep up the momentum. Tonight I'm going to go for a swim and tomorrow I'll go to the gym with Gary.
Bad: I'm so sore I can barely walk. Actually, I can barely sit down. It hurts to live.
Good: Great VIP party last night at work  -  great music, great guest list, gorgeous art. I love celebrating our team's success at events like this - it's so rewarding.

Bad: Outrageous spread of delicious fatty treats.

Good: I stuck to raw veggies, a piece of pita and a dab of hummus and one glass of wine.

Bad: Incredible stiffness means I walk around like a 96 year old woman, calling attention to myself. As if I needed any more help in that department.

Good: I was photographed by the society page guy!

Bad: I'm not at my optimal society page weight.

Good: It's FRIDAY!
Bad: I see no bad side of it being FRIDAY!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Still more pain

I have a work event this evening, and I knew I wouldn't have time to come home, do my 30 minutes of sadistic jumping jacks/squat thrusts/bicycle crunches/etc, and get back to work in time for the paaartaaay, so I got up early this morning and threw on some clothes, popped in the dvd and suffered.
It's one thing to leap head first into an aggressive strength-and-cardio circuit training system after years of doing only cardio, it's quite another to do it again 15 hours later.
But hey. I survived. I made it through the workout, I made it into and back out of the shower (I was concerned there for a minute - when one can barely move, adding slippery tile and wet feet into the mix is bad) and I made it to work.
Ouch. If you hear someone softly whimpering on the bathroom floor because they have collapsed and their thighs are burning and they can't for the life of them get back up, do me a favour and help a sister out?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


You know what I realized recently?

I do not want exercise to be hard. I don't want to hurt during OR after. I want to sweat a little bit, feel a rush of endorphins and be a little glowy.

Basically, I want to do Sit and Be Fit with the rest of the formerly-active octogenarians.

I am ashamed of this.

Last night I determined that if I want a hot bod (or even just a reasonably attractive, smaller-than-today bod), I'm actually going to have to actually bust my butt for it.

Einstein said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I've done weight watchers before and had great results, so that's okay. But my lazy-arse 40 minutes including cooldown 'cardio' is going to have to go.

So I turned to a source that I have always sort of loathed, and had until now defined as the complete opposite of what I want in a workout:

Tonight I completed the first level for the first time. Yep, everything I thought about Jillian Michaels is true: she is annoying, she is evil, she says stupid 'motivating' things like "you don't quit on me at the finish line" and it includes pushups, which I hate, and it is HARD.

My thighs, they freaking burn.

But it's different. And maybe this time, I'll get different results.

Or I'll collapse and die. But it's worth a shot.

Now Leaving the State of Denial

I stepped on the scale this morning. That's right, I bit the bullet. I got out of bed, before I jumped in the shower, and hauled the scale out of the dusty back corner of the linen closet, where things I don't want to see go to die.
I stepped on, held my breath, and waited for the digital readout. The number flashed, and I was confused. There was no way in hell I had magically lost 100 lbs in the last year. OMG, gravity is broken!!
Then in my morning bleariness, I realized it was set to kg, not lbs.
I stepped back on the scale and was shocked and disgusted.
I am way, way heavier than I thought I was. I gained back the weight I lost and THEN SOME in all capitals, bolded if I could do that via this posting from email thing.
That's not great news first thing in the morning, before I've had a shower and a cup of coffee and feel even remotely human. But I immediately walked into the living room and signed up for Weight Watchers online. It worked for me before, but I quit because...we'll get into that, or you can read the archives of ye olde blog.
New day, new start, new goal - be less of a giant hippo lady.
Then I had a shower and felt more rational. New day, new start, new goal - lose 5% of my body weight (roughly 12 lbs) by July 11th.