Friday, December 31, 2010

Any excuse will do

The month of December passed and I barely even stepped foot in the gym. Any excuse to skip a workout was good enough for me - I haven't finished making my Aunt's gift, I haven't wrapped presents, I haven't cleaned the apartment, I worked too hard, I'm feeling under the weather, it's too cold. But the worst?

I don't want to haul my giant gym bag to work. It's so heavy.

How lame is that? But it's true. I work less than 10 blocks from home, and the gym is on my way. I didn't want to struggle with my giant winter coat, my giant boots, my big heavy gym bag...so I didn't take it to work. And then when I came home, the couch beat a workout DVD every single time.

So I hit up sportchek and picked up this:



(Well, something similar. Different bag, same basic style)

I own several gym bags. Most of them were free duffle bags. They're just way too big, so I'd been using an overnight-size shoulder bag. It was way too heavy with everything I'd managed to cram in there.

So this makes me downsize.

My pants, top and sports bra fit perfectly. There's a pocket on the outside for my water bottle, and two zips for my keys, wallet and phone. There's a little zip on the inside where I keep a small bottle of lotion, a small stick of deoderant and a little bottle of the hair product I use. I toss in my hairbrush and a headband and I'm good to go.

Missing? Towels - they're provided by the gym. And shoes.

The locker room at my gym has shoe storage. It's definitely at your own risk - but my sneakers were $30 at Costco. If someone wants to steal them that badly I'm willing to let them go. Plus, I have a spare pair at home for those days when we hit a different gym or I workout in the living room.

Hopefully this lighter load will help me make it to the gym regularly over my lunch break. I do love that post-spin class high!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Locker Room NO.

The downside of working the week between Christmas and New Years is that you are working the week between Christmas and New Years, a week generally reserved for lounging and resting and doing jigsaw puzzles and eating.

The upside is that the gym is pretty empty, and you can take a little bit longer over your lunch break because you're the only one in the office and you've received one email so far that day.

So I went to Spin class at lunch, and I was surprised that it was almost full. BUt yay me! That's two Spin classes this week, and last night Gary and I went to the gym and I put in 40 minutes on the elliptical. I can feel the perogies burning off my thighs already.

I walked into the pretty busy locker room and standing in front of me is a 10 year old boy and his mother.

Now, I am going to preface this by saying that I don't have children. I'm sure I don't understand how hard it is to have someone depending on you at all times, and I won't until I'm there myself.

But honestly.

The gym downtown is (as far as I understood...) an adults-only facility. If you have a membership at the downtown club, you can use any of the gyms in that chain across Calgary OR Edmonton.

Your sitter cancelled? Plenty of those clubs have free child care services.

Only one family car? And someone else has it downtown? Plenty of those clubs are accessible by public transit - in fact, one if them is basically beside the c-train station.

Why did you bring your ten year old to the adults only gym? And if you did, fine. But why did you bring your ten year old son into the Women's locker room?

I don't care if your son isn't uncomfortable with this. I am uncomfortable with this. Sure, there are family change rooms at most pools and I expect to see little (like, 3 - 5) boys in the locker rooms when I go to the Y or a public swimming pool. I expect there are little girls in the Men's with their dads, too.

But ten?

Ten is old enough to make me feel uncomfortable about dropping trou in front of your child. Ten is old enough to sit in the lobby by himself and wait for Mom.

Am I out of line? I almost complained to the manager, but I felt that was a bit much. There's not much he could have done, anyway. I almost turned around and left, I was so uncomfortable.

Toning Shoes



why yes, I do want a butt like that...

Contrary to my collection of as-seen-on-tv devices (Magic Bullet Blender, ShamWow!, SlapChop), I don't see myself as a person who buys into gimmicks.

I know that cutting corners might get you to your goal faster, but I know that doesn't often last. Putting in the work is really the only way to do things.

But I've seen so many ads for those toning sneakers that I'm starting to want a pair. And now they're on sale because of Boxing Week. And unlike the toning pantyhose I looked at the other day at the Bay, these actually seem like they might be useful.

I don't think that wearing them while I sit on the couch and eat chips is going to slim my thighs - don't get me wrong. But if I wore them on my walks to work, or to the gym, or shopping - do you think they'd really help with muscle conditioning? Or is it just a scam to make me buy more $100 runners?

Does anyone have them? Can anyone point me in the direction of a good, unbiased review of them? Are they going to end up killing my feet?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

feeling like a cabbage roll

Oh, hello there.

On the bright side - I had a marvelous Christmas holiday with my family. And this week, despite eating every single thing in sight for the past few days, I've only gained 1 lb.

On the not-so-bright side, I've been hiding from you in shame, because I've been eating everything in sight for not only the past few days, but at least 3 weeks.

It's not been pretty.

I'm currently at 212 lbs.

Over the holidays, at one point between shoving cookies in my mouth and washing them down with glass after glass of rye and coke or red wine, my mom and I reminded ourselves that after the holiday, it's back to the old "double-you double-you".

But I'm so ready for getting back to it. The sweets are still calling my name - I almost had pie for breakfast -and January is going to be a great month for sure, but why not just start now?

Yesterday I dragged myself off the couch and went to spin class at the gym. This morning, I've logged in to Weight Watchers and already tracked my breakfast (3/4 cup non-fat greek yogurt, 1 banana, 2 tbs granola and a coffee) and lunch (homemade pizza).

I'm tired of feeling like a stuffed cabbage roll. I really needed a break, but now I've been not exercising and eating like crap for long enough to remember that I really don't like feeling sluggish and tired.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday WI

The scale showed 209.2 this morning, an increase of .4 lbs. I'm not surprised, but I'm looking forward to next week.
 
I am pretty impressed with this new plan. Tonight we're going to the Keg for Gary's office Christmas party. I pre-calculated the points for what I always have for dinner there, and because of the protein count of the steak and a few adjustments - garden salad instead of caesar, skipping over the bread - I managed to fit it into my daily points total without a problem. Some lentil veggie soup for lunch, fruit for snacks and I'll make it through the day satisfied and completely on plan. I might even have some room for wine...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meatless Mexican Monday!

Apparently Meatless Mondays are a 'thing'. I didn't really know that, but Gary and I are trying to eat less meat for a few reasons. It's cheaper, it's healthy, and it's fun. I like trying out new recipes!
 
Monday night I gave these lentil tacos a go. I've tried making lentil taco filling before, in my slow cooker, and it was a disaster. A smoking, charred disaster. These were great. I didn't use taco seasoning (I thought about it - so easy!) to keep the sodium lower. I also used low-sodium chicken broth, but you could use vegetable broth or beef broth, whatever you have - or even water, and just up the spices to your taste.
 
This recipe is a keeper. The taco filling is flavourful but not greasy, has a great chewy texture and fantastic spicyness - but the best part is, it's customizable. Your family doesn't like spice? Use mild salsa and the chili powder sparingly. I upped the chili powder a bit and used a medium salsa and it was sooo good. And easy. And low-fat, high in fibre and protein, and delicious. Did I mention delicious?
 
This would also be good for taco salad, or in a burrito, or on nachos...
 
Lentil Tacos (originally from a Taste of Home publication I bought at the supermarket)

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano - I didn't have any so I used some cayenne pepper instead.
2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup salsa
 
Taco fixings - whatever you like, or:
12 taco shells
1-1/2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
6 tablespoons fat-free sour cream - or plain fat-free greek yogurt!
 
In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly. Stir in salsa.
Spoon about 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream. Yield: 6 servings.
 
Nutrition Facts: 2 tacos equals 361 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 25 mg cholesterol, 874 mg sodium, 44 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber, 19 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 starch, 2 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weight Watchers Points Plus - Day One

Re-learning is a process I don't really enjoy. I love learning new things, but I get frustrated when I feel like I'm behind, or 'speed it up, I know this already...' or I struggle to grasp concepts that used to be familiar.

That's kind of what this new plan is like. It's familiar enough - you could points, you get a certain number of points a day and a weekly 'bonus amount' of points, you earn points with activity.

But the way the points are calculated is different. And it's messing with me!

Old WW plan calculated points using calories, fat and fibre. The New Plan uses fat, carbohydrates, protein and fibre. Note the absence of calories - because caloric count is really just a formula using the others, or so I understand it.

I could eyeball the points on something pretty quickly by using the nutritional information before. Now, I've got no clue.

I freaked out about it for about three minutes. How was I going to make good choices in the grocery store? How would I know what to order on a menu with a quick review of the nutritional information? HOW?!

Obviously by using my brain.

The new plan focuses on whole foods and good nutrition. Fruit and veggies are all (almost all of them, anyway) 'free', or zero points. A banana on the old plan was 2 points. On the new plan? 0.

So I took a deep breath and reminded myself:

Use your head, Meg. When picking food at the grocery store or restaurant, choose those that are full of veggies, lean protein and whole grains. Stay away from creamy sauces and fried foods. Opt for fresh fruit as a snack more often.

It's actually remarkably common sense - and I think that it'll really teach me the skills I need for this to be a life-long doable thing, not just a quick fix. A banana is a good snack. A granola bar is a good snack too, but lacks the vitamins and nutrients of the banana. Use your head.

This is what I ate:

Breakfast:

1 package multigrain oatmeal - 4 points
1 banana - 0 points
1 Grande Nonfat Earl Grey tea latte - 5 points

Lunch:

Thai Chicken Frozen Dinner - 7 points
1 apple - 0 points
1 mandarin orange - 0 points

Snacks:

1 apple flavour larabar - 5 points
1 slice high fibre bread - 2 points
1 tbs peanut butter - 3 points

Dinner:

2 lentil tacos - 11 points
1 cup spanish rice - 7 points

Total: 44 points

I used 9 of my weekly points, but that latte and the rice will be totally worth it :)

Not Starting Over, Starting Fresh

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me, motivation wise. I've gone back to some old habits and behaviours, some of which I'm really not proud of.



Right here is a fine example. Yes, that's poutine and a hot dog scarfed down while reading a health and fitness magazine. You wouldn't believe the number of times I've done exactly that in my lifetime. It's embarassing. But there it is.

I've gone to the gym twice since we got back from our vacation, which I better than not going at all, but still not great. I've eaten pretty much whatever I want, whenever I want. I've tried to be reasonable in the quantity I eat, and stop eating when I'm satisfied, but that doesn't always work for me.

Last Wednesday I was up .6 lbs, to 208.8lbs. Right back to where I stared when I pledged to get under 200lbs by Christmas. Christmas is less than three weeks away, and it's not going to happen.

I'm tired. I'm tired of working out and making better choices and thinking about weight loss all the time. I'm tired of trying new things and not getting results. I'm tired of doing the things that used to work, but don't anymore. I'm feeling quite frustrated - it was really, really hard to get to where I am - just over 20lbs down - and I've still got 40 to go. I know how hard that's going to be, and it's daunting.

I don't want to hate the process of finding a wedding gown. I don't want to be frantic about it and sad about how I look for the rest of my life, never mind on the day I'll be the most photographed in my entire life.

But it's hard. And I feel stuck. And I'm sad and angry at myself, and frustrated and tired.

Today the new Weight Watchers program started, and so it's another uphill process. I have to learn a whole new plan, another new way of eating, and learn to get back into doing more activity.

I'm excited, but timid. I've decided to ease myself back into this - maybe I just went too hard and burned out. I'm going to learn the new plan, take baby steps, and head back to the gym - but you won't see me there every day.

It's a welcome change in plans. I'm excited to start fresh. I'm a little burned out, but I'm not giving up. Not today, not tomorrow, not anytime soon.