Friday, January 28, 2011

Questions of Etiquette, or, Go Away, I'm Sweaty

Last night I was working out and in between exercises, I noticed this woman working out beside me. She was intense - working out with weights 3, 4, 5 times heavier than mine, doing all kinds of different exercises. She had an AMAZING body. Fitness Magazine model body. I wanted to ask her how she got started, if she was a trainer, how she knew how to do all of these things.

But the gym is a weird place. It's public, but we do things there that we would never, ever do in any other public venue. Like sweat. Or wear sweatpants. Or if you're a certain breed of gym-dude, grunt loudly and spit in the water fountain (WTF?).

It's not really cool for me to interrupt someone during the middle of their workout and get all chatty up in their business. On one hand, I think she might be really flattered - but on the other hand - I'd be saying, leave me alone, I'm clearly very busy.

And while we're on the topic, what is it with dudes thinking that the gym is a perfectly appropriate place to pick up women? Am I bothered by this because I'm generally Captain Frumpalot while I'm working out and couldn't attract that type of attention if my life depended on it? Somehow, I doubt it - after all, I'm not in the market for unsolicited romantic attention, I'm sort of full up in that department.

And furthermore, I'm too busy watching what not to wear doing intense cardio to care what I look like. I'm not there to impress, I'm there to sweat.

I had three sessions with a trainer. She is super attractive, French, and very very nice. And every single time we worked out, some random dude approached her and gave her his number, or asked her out.

Dudes. Not cool. The woman is at work, and very busy, and not to mention...her clients (those people you just stepped in front of and/or pushed out of the way) are paying her over a dollar a minute for her time.

What's the verdict? Am I just a really-uncool Fussbudget, out of touch with how things work now that the dowry cheque has been cashedI'm happily engaged? Should I ask that girl how she became so incredibly ripped and wise to the ways of the barbells?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday WI

Where did the week go? Holy cats. I swear I was just here, writing this post seconds ago and already a week (and a day!) has passed.

Oops. Time flies when you're hopping across the gym floor with a 10 kg medicine ball.

So yes, I have spent a ton of time at the gym this week. And last week. This month has been AWESOME for gym-going.

I'm trying to focus on more small meals, more protein, more vegetables, and less white, refined sugars and flours and delicious, delicious carbs.

This week I was down .2 lbs, a small loss. But a loss! 4 losses in a row! Sure, I'd like that number to be bigger, but I did make a major change to my workout routine.

I'm no longer afraid of "that side" of the gym anymore. I'm doing 3 days a week of strength training, and 3 cardio workouts of between 30 - 50 minutes. On Tuesday I did 75 minutes of cardio. Because I felt like it.

So if all this lugging around iron and squatting on bouncy balls and sweating means a smaller, tighter Meg, but not necessarily a lighter Meg immediately, then that's ok. Because I'm sleeping like a ROCK - and it's been a long time since something has tired me out so much that I don't toss and turn all night long.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wednesday WI

I was down another pound this morning. Three losses in a row! Woot!

My tracker for the week - click to enlarge.

You might notice that I've been trying to eat a little more consistently on a daily basis and spreading out my 'weekly points' allowance. I usually find that I use way more points one day of the week - usually on the weekend. Eating out on the weekends is almost always a big splurge, points-wise, but we haven't been eating out lately. Gary and I are both trying to eat better and spend less, so we decided to not eat dinners out until Valentine's Day. So far, so good!

Harder, even, than mountain climbers

I promise I'll tell you about my first 'real' workout session, but I need to get this out there into the ether.

Today has not been a banner day. Not a bad day, by any means - just an average Tuesday. I'm feeling a little sensitive, maybe, or maybe it's the weather. It's a bit of a blue Tuesday.

Regardless, a few hours ago I got some feedback on a project I'm working on that I perceived as negative and it sent me into a tailspin.

I immediately craved chocolate. Cookies. Pastry. Sweets. Whatever I could get my hands on. NOW.

I sat at my desk and held back tears and made myself think about what I really wanted. Weigh in is tomorrow. I worked really hard at the gym this week. Do I really want one comment to flip me upside down and 'blow' all my progress?

No. I wanted comfort. I wanted something happy, something to get my mind of my troubles for a few minutes.

So I bitterly chomped on the celery and carrots I brought for my afternoon snack. I gathered up the courage to go talk to the person who said the thing that threw me off - and as it turns out, it was not intended to be critical (of course...).

I drank some water and I walked around the office.

But it was hard. Really hard. REALLY FREAKING HARD.

It's so easy for me to comfort myself with food. I've ALWAYS done it! What is wrong with me, that I can't self-soothe? We learn as babies to self-soothe, to put ourselves back to sleep, to calm down.

Why can't I, as a 26 year old woman, calm myself down without reaching for something sweet or salty or inevitably high calorie to shove in my mouth?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Getting ready for the week ahead

This weekend felt really busy to me - but in hindsight, it's just a regular weekend. I went out with friends on Friday night, I went to the gym, we had a big opening party at work on Saturday, and today Gary and I did errands and got ready for the week ahead.

We try to keep 'external' commitments to a minimum on Sundays. Sometimes we go to the gym (if we skipped Saturday's workout), but usually Gary and I have coffee together, talk about the last week and the week ahead, and buy groceries. Then it's time for chores and some relaxing - me with a book or napping, him on his computer.

Today I cleaned our kitchen, which was a bit of a disgrace. Then I prepped some snacks for the coming work week - bags full of washed, cut veggies and little containers of hummus. I cleaned out the fridge, packed up some leftovers for lunches, and then made pizza dough for dinners later this week.

It feels really good to have everything ready to go. Tonight I'll throw my gym bag together for my first workout session with my new trainer, and then the weekend will be over.

Do you like productive Sundays, or do you like to socialize with friends and family?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting Assessed

Well, I’m still alive. And, proud to say, feeling really positive. My fitness assessment yesterday was actually a really positive experience. I am shocked.

As usual, the whole world exploded about 30 minutes before the end of the work day (does that happen at anyone else’s office, or just mine?) and so my plans to arrive 15 minutes early all calm and collected were scrapped. Instead, I arrived at the gym 3 minutes early after hoofing it down the street in the cold, lugging my gym stuff, giant winter jacket, sneakers…etc. I changed my clothes, battled the locker room full of people still valiantly sticking to those resolutions, and headed to the front desk.

And there she was, waiting for me. She didn’t look evil. But come on. She must be evil.

Stephanie, the trainer assigned to the difficult task of convincing me that this was not a giant waste of time and an emotionally scarring experience, commented on my stress level. She could tell right away that I was uncomfortable, nervous, and probably a little stressed out.

Tip: If you’re doing this sort of thing and you’re not totally comfortable with the idea, seriously consider scheduling it for a time when you’re unlikely to be freaking out or worrying about arriving late.

Stephanie led me to a small room and told me that we’d talk first. She asked a few questions about me, told me a little bit about herself, the usual getting-to-know you business.

I had been given a booklet to fill out before the assessment, with a PARQ form (it’s a participant questionnaire/waiver form) and a few pages of questions. Some of the questions were really straight forward (how many hours of sleep did you get last night? Write down what you ate today?), and some of them made me think a little bit more.

Like – when were you happiest with your fitness ability? Never. Why do you want to achieve your goals? What do you need from the personal training staff?

We talked about past injuries, my current level of fitness, what I ate on a regular basis. We talked about what my goals were, and if they were realistic. Why they were important to me. We talked about obstacles, support, what I needed to succeed.

This is what I was thinking while we were having our conversation:

This woman is a competitive bodybuilder (I think…there’s a bit of a language barrier). How could this woman with her perfect body ever understand what was going on in my head? What it’s like? How intimidating this is? How could she understand what I’m thinking and going through, the struggles I have not to call it a day, skip the gym and eat my way through a giant plate o’ lasagna when I’m feeling crappy about the world? I’m sure she’s never eaten lasagna in her life. Wait a second, is she suggesting I eat sweet potatoes for breakfast?
Then she took my measurements, blood pressure, and heart rate. Good news – my blood pressure and heart rate are pretty much perfect.

Then she asked me to take off my shoe and sock and stuck four stickers on my left side – two on my feet, two on my arm and hooked me up to some kind of electrical device that measures your body composition.

And this is where it all clicked for me.

My body fat percentage is higher than it should be – which is not healthy. I can do cardio until I’m blue in the face, and that’s awesome, but it’s unlikely to have much of an effect on my lean muscle to fat ratio.

I don’t know the first thing about strength training, which is what I’m going to need to do to build muscle and reduce that body fat percentage.

Then Stephanie walked me through the training plan she would suggest for me – a foundation phase, a muscle building phase, a fat burning phase, and maintenance. We talked about what type of exercise I like to do, and what’s an ideal number of times a week to work out.

And then she took me out on the gym floor and I watched my form as I did squats and lunges, both on the floor and on a bosu ball thing. Not once did she laugh at me for not being able to do something. Not once did she yell. Not once did I cry – or even want to cry.

When my 60 minutes was up, Stephanie suggested that I do 30 minutes of cardio, if I had the time. I did – and I really pushed it.

I’ve never wanted to work out with a trainer. I’m definitely a do-it-yourself type of person. I’ve always been smart enough to catch on quickly to new things and learn things myself. If I couldn’t figure it out, I wasn’t going to ask for help – because that would be showing a weakness, right?

But I can’t do this myself.

I have two more free sessions with my gym – one that’s included in membership, and one that I won.

I have another session scheduled with Stephanie on Monday – a full workout this time.
I’ve asked her if we can develop a plan that I can do on my own, because at the moment, I don’t know if I can afford to hire a personal trainer. Getting the gym membership itself was a bit of a stretch. I work in the non-profit sector, I have other expenses…we all do.

But I’d really like to make this work, somehow. Realizing that I need to change my body-fat percentage was a huge wakeup call, and I don’t think that can be achieved with spin class and zumba and elliptical workouts alone.

I’m intimidated, and a little nervous about our workout on Monday, but for the first time, I’m also excited. I can’t stop thinking about it. In my world, that means I must really want it. If anyone would like to buy me a personal trainer for my birthday, which is coming up in 4 short months, you know how to get in touch ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Assessment

This afternoon I have an appointment with a personal trainer at my gym to do the free 'fitness consultation' that came with my gym membership. Following the consultation, I'll also have two more actual workout sessions with the trainer.

To say that I am apprehensive is putting it mildly.

Big Fear.

I've never worked out with a trainer. I'm terrified. What if this person embarrasses me? What if she makes fun of me? What if I can't do what she wants me to do? What if she laughs at me? What if everyone in the gym laughs? What if I burst into tears? What if they patronize me, or talk to me as if I'm stupid, which might even be the worst of all. Look, I know I'm fluffy, okay? I look at myself every single day. Abs? I do not have them. Rolls? Yes, yes I do.

I had put off this consultation for months successfully. Then I got totally busted by a trainer on my way out of the gym on Tuesday night. He asked if I was training with anyone. I said no, but come on. I could smell the upsale from a mile away - I do work in Marketing. Then he asked if I had enjoyed my complimentary sessions, and I couldn't lie to him.

So he signed me up promptly for an appointment with Stephanie, who I am sure is lovely.

And probably evil.

So if you never hear from me again, it's because Stephanie the Trainer, with her routine of squats and jump-thrust-burpie-mountainclimbers killed me.

It was nice knowing you guys.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday WI

Wow! It feels like forever since I've had a loss two weeks in a row.

This morning I stepped on my old clunker of a scale and weighed in at 209.4. That's a loss of 1.6 lbs. Yay! It's also consistant with what I weighed in at yesterday morning, so I'm going to take it as "accurate". I still haven't decided whether I'll just replace the battery in my scale or get a whole new one, but thanks for your input!

Here's my tracker from this week. Again, pretty good with the activity levels!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blaming the Scale

I'm beginning to think that I need to buy a new scale.

I know that sounds like a cop-out - blaming the machine instead of taking responsibility myself. But there's got to be something wrong when I can step on the scale, step off, and then two minutes later step back on and be up 3 lbs. Right? Or am I crazy?

Just to clarify: I don't usually weigh myself every two minutes, but I was doing an experiment.

If I do buy a new scale, does anyone have any reccomendations? I'm currently using one I inherited from an old roommate, so I'm not actually very attached to it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Calzone Goddess

That's my new nickname. At least, the nickname I have given myself.

This weekend I made an awesome dinner. Sensational, actually.

As a kid, we ate a ton of pizza pops. Literally a ton. I'm sure we kept the pizza pop factory in business. Whenever my Mom went to a conference, which, in my childhood memory was ALL THE TIME - but was probably 3 times a year - we had pizza pops. We had them for lunches, for dinner, I wouldn't be surprised if my brother occasionally ate them for breakfast. By my preteens I was so desperately sick of pizza pops that I learned to cook so that when Mom was busy and Dad was in charge, I wouldn't need to eat the godforsaken pizza pops.

Then I moved away from home, swearing to never again eat a pizza pop. I, like many freshman far from home, lived in a dorm with cafeteria privileges. Once a month, we had a special night that every single student looked forward to: Calzone night.

Newsflash, 2002 Megan: Calzones are just way, way better pizza pops. But lord, how I loved them. EVERYONE loved them. The Dining Centre was packed. You had to get there early, or Sorry, No Calzones for You.

My baby brother would go on to live in the same residence for a couple years, but by then Calzones were a regular fixture on the menu, not just a once a month treat.

Tonight, I made Calzones. God, they were delicious.

This is where I apologize for the fact that I didn't take photos while making them, so you'll have to trust me. Delicious. Attractive. Pretty much the sex symbol of food you can eat with one hand.

Or a fork and knife, if you're classy. Like me.

Megan's Calzones

Step One. Go back in time a few days, a week, whatever. Make this pizza dough recipe or the pizza dough recipe of your choosing. Let the dough rise, split it in half. Make one pizza. Freeze the other half of the dough.

Here's a trick I learned during my tenure making pizza at a restaurant-type fast foodish drive in establishment: spray the first layer of saran wrap you use to wrap up the dough with oil or pam first. That way, it won't stick after it's been thawed! Double-wrap that dough ball to protect it from freezer burn or something.

Don't have a time machine? Make the dough today and stash half of it for pizza later this week.

Don't want to make your own dough? Buy it frozen from a pizza joint or the grocery store.

Step Two: Back to today. Take dough out of freezer and thaw. Let dough come to room temperature before you work with it - it's easier to work with than cold dough.

Split dough ball into 4 equal parts.

Flatten each into a thin circle, but not so thin that it tears or is see-through. You don't want filling busting out, that's not atractive.

I made each calzone one at a time because we're short on counter space, but go nuts assembly-line style if you have a big kitchen.

Place dough on a greased cookie sheet. You can sprinkle the sheet with cornmeal if you're fancy. Usually I am, today, I am not.

Step Three:

Place about one cup MAX of your choice of toppings on ONE HALF of the dough circle. This is not a lot of toppings. If you look at it and go, Meh, not enough! you've probably hit it spot on.

Suggestion: put the toppings on, then spoon a little sauce on top of them. 3 tbs or so is LOTS of sauce.

This next bit is important: leave about a 1/2 inch border of nekkid dough around the outside of your toppings.

Toppings I used: chopped turkey breast deli meat, pineapple chunks, mozzarella cheese strings *my friend Robert just cringed at the idea of cheese strings*, pizza sauce.

Go nuts here. Use whatever you like on pizza, whatever is in the fridge, or a combo of the two. Taco or fajita leftovers would be awesome. Stir fry leftovers would work. Meatballs. Canned tuna. Just veggies. BBQ steak bits. Roast beef. Chicken. Tofu. Eggs and bacon.

Play with the sauces - salsa, peanut sauce, bbq sauce, alfredo sauce, teriyaki...whatever! This is a great way to use leftover bits and bobs of veggies in the fridge. Make everyone's to order, if you're a nice person. I'm not. Turkey and pineapple for us all!

Step - where am I? Four?:

Fold the un-topping'd dough over the toppings. Pinch edges together tightly to seal. You can do this a couple ways - use a fork or do what I did - pull the dough over just the toppings, leaving that border you left uncovered. Then roll the dough border OVER the top folded over dough and smush down with your fingers tightly to seal. Fold ends under. This should make a vaguely crescent/half-circle shaped delight.

You can now do a quick brush over the top with an egg wash if you're fancy. I'm not.

Step Five: Go back in time to between Step Three and Four and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Step Six: Bake on the cookie sheet for 12 minutes. The dough might be brown, or it might not, but tap the top - it shouldn't be mushy or soft.

Let cool for a minute or two before devouring.

This makes FOUR pretty large calzones. One would be lots for dinner with a nice salad. I will leave you to calculate points and nutritional info yourself, but this came in really low for me because of the minimal toppings used and their low points values.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I grew up in a land-locked province. We didn't eat fish when I was growing up - probably because early on, I was disgusted by expressed a sincere distaste for fish sticks, the only form of seafood I was familiar with.

Now I'm a full-fledged grown up lady and I have come around to our friendly edibles of the sea. Well, some of them. I'm not very adventurous - I have cooked scallops a few times, shrimp (already peeled, please!) a few more times, and a lot of salmon. I loooove calamari, deep fried and spritzed with lemon - but obviously that's out of the question most of the time now!

So help me expand my horizons - what's your favourite fish? How do you cook it? Share some recipes, please!

PS - I'll have a product review from CSN coming soon! Who knows what the product will be...something for the kitchen? New shoes? Maybe a few snazzy new modern duvet covers?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Surprise in my Latte

Yesterday was a killer day at work. I was on my feet (in heels!) all day long and by the time I got home after 9pm, I was exhausted! My whole body aches today, but I'm still planning to go to Zumba tonight.
This morning I felt like I deserved a little treat, so I stopped at Second Cup for a latte. I love Second Cup's hazelnut lattes. I love lattes in general, obviously, but the Second Cup ones taste so rich and creamy.
Too rich and creamy, in fact.
So I checked the Nutritional Info after the last of my large non-fat latte went down the hatch.
A skim latte is not actually a bad choice. It has protein and calcium from the milk, and while a grande non-fat latte at Starbucks usually clocks in at 4 points, that's worth it to me.
The 20 oz Non Fat Hazelnut Latte at Second Cup, on the other hand?
15 points. FIFTEEN!
And here I thought all they were adding was a couple pumps of hazlenut syrup - probably an extra 100 calories, max. Nope. 16 grams of fat? Where is that coming from? It's a NON-FAT latte!
I think it must be full of butter. That's really the only logical explanation. Everything that tastes that good is chock-a-block packed with butter, yes?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wednesday WI

I was down 1 lb this morning, weighing in at 211. I'm satisfied, but I hoped it would be more. Then again, we ate dinner really late, and I was up really early. So who knows.

Then again, I try to remind myself that if I lose 1 lb a week, in a year, that's 52 lbs! We're getting married in July/August of 2012, so I'm not short on time.

This week's points tracker. Friday, December 31 isn't accurate, but I didn't realize until just now that I hadn't logged what I ate in the evening at a party - 2 glasses of wine, about 4 pieces of sushi, a couple handfuls of chips and 3 cookies. So that probably knocks out the rest of that day's points and a third of my remaining Weekly Allowance.

I think I did pretty good this week!

'twas the night before weigh-in

I really feel like this week has been a re-boot for me in terms of my effort with weight watchers.

Going back to the gym almost every day, eating salads instead of fried foods, snacking on fruit instead of pastry. Instead of being hard, returning to all of my healthy habits feels like slipping into a favourite, perfectly-broken in pair of jeans.

But I know that if I step on the scale tomorrow morning and am not totally satisfied with the results, I am going to have a minor freak-out.

Losing weight was so easy for me in the beginning. May - July, even August, it was exciting and fresh and new. Late August - October wasn't awesome. It outright sucked. And November and December were half-hearted, sad attempts to convince myself I was still on a diet, still working to lose weight, even while I packed in another cookie or got comfortable in the groove on the couch made by my increasingly wide rear end.

I am feeling better, eating well and working out does that for you, but today was SHITE - not work stress, but a too-much-general-stress, too-many-unknowns type of stress. I didn't want to go to the gym at 6:45 when Gary got home, but he'd had a crappy day. I knew he'd feel worse without working out, and then I'd feel worse, and that's a nasty downward spiral - so we went.

40 minutes with Stacy and Clinton on the elliptical and I feel a little better. So it's 9:00 and we haven't eaten yet. So what. So I don't lose 10 pounds overnight. So what. So I haven't lost as much weight as I thought I would have by now. So what.

Cross your fingers for me, guys.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pizza crusts, grocery shopping and the gym

That was the sum of my last two days.

I went to the gym on Sunday and today, clocking some time on the elliptical and stationary bikes. I didn't make it to the new class at the gym, but I did learn that it's circuit training with cardio intervals. Looks interesting, but intimidating. Have any of you tried a class like that?

This afternoon post-workout, we hit Extreme Pita for lunch. I wasn't feeling like a pita wrap and I was planning on making pizza, so pita pizza was out. Instead, I had a salad with falafel patties. It was really good! I'll definitely be going back for it again soon.

Then, armed with a list of healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner plans, Gary and I went to pick up our usual week's worth of groceries. This week we spent $130, which is more than what we usually spend - between $75 - 100. But we did stock up on brown rice, a big bag of frozen chicken breasts, sauces, and other staples to help us stick with our healthy eating ambitions for the new year.

One of the meals I'd love to master is healthy pizza. I made pizza dough using my KitchenAid again, using this recipe for Whole Wheat crust. It uses half and half white and whole wheat flour. It was AMAZING. Next time, I think I'll use all whole wheat, and then adjust from there. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's lunch...leftover pizza.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The first day of 2011

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year's Eve! We spent the evening with friends, playing rowdy board games (Catchphrase and Cranium) and eating sushi. I drove, so no rum-and-coke binge this year - but go figure that Gary was the one a bit saucy last night, and he was bright-eyed and bushytailed this morning, while I was dragging my butt out of bed with a killer headache.

We were invited over to my brother's for brunch, so we packed up the cinnamon rolls I made yesterday (delish, but a total splurge!) with my fancy new KitchenAid Mixer (thanks AGAIN, Mom and Dad!). They were amazing. I was so happy to be able to bake such a fantastic treat, have one (or two) and then leave the rest behind.

After that, I napped the afternoon away, made a quick dinner and cleaned up the kitchen a bit.

Now I'm settling in with a stack of magazines and a cookbook, planning what we're going to eat this week for dinner. I bought the Eating Clean cookbook right before Christmas, and I'm excited to try out some new meals.

Tomorrow morning we're off to the gym. I'm tempted to try out a new class called Fire, but there is no class description on the schedule and I'll be honest, I'm afraid that it'll be hard and hurt. I have no idea what it is - cardio, strength training, leaping through hoops set aflame? I don't like going into things unprepared. But I guess it's only an hour of my life, right?