Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Things I have noticed about motivation

What motivates you? When you're working on a project, are you motivated by the process, or the end result? Does the work you put into achieving the goal actually bring you more happiness than actually crossing the finish line?

I guess for me, it's a combination of the two. I love learning how to do something new, mastering a skill. I've learned to knit, to can, to cook. I like learning to dance, taking language classes, writing a novel. The process brings me more pleasure than the finished product, but at the same time...I'm definitely motivated by what I'm going to "get" when I'm finished.

When it comes to weight loss, it seems like the whole time, my eye is on "the prize" - a smaller me - and it's less about enjoying the process to get there.

I'm also motivated by external validation. A gold star, compliment, credit for my work. In the context of weight loss, that could mean a coworker or friend I don't see regularly asking me if I've lost weight. My mom telling me I look slimmer. Getting a compliment from my partner. And frankly, one of the things that is hard to swallow is the waiting period. when will someone notice? I notice. I feel different. I definitely notice that my clothes fit better. Surely I must look different?

But here's the thing. To other people - I don't. They might notice that I have more confidence, or more energy, but will they notice that I have less muffin top? Unlikely.

I read a few months ago that it takes 4 weeks for you to notice a difference in yourself, 8 weeks for your closest friends to notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice the difference.

Processing that has really helped me stay motivated. I do notice a difference at 3.5 weeks, but I live in my body and see and feel it every day.

I notice how after eating too much - even too much broccoli and chicken - I feel bloated and uncomfortable. I used to relish that "full" feeling. Now I loathe it.

I notice that in the mirror, my hips are slimmer. My belt is looser. My waist is smaller. These changes are tiny, but I feel better.

I feel lighter. I sleep better. How can anyone else notice whether I'm sleeping better?

Working to enjoy the process, and doing this for me and my personal growth (and shrinkage!) is definitely going to be a key to success. External validation and compliments are great, but at the end of the day, it has to be me who looks in the mirror and says, 'you look awesome, lady. keep going!'

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Weigh In

First of all, I want to brag a bit. Yesterday I went to Zumba despite several opportunities to ditch the gym. Gary couldn't make it, I could have gone home early, I had a headache, I was really tired - but instead, I went to Zumba, and then I wasn't grumpy and tired anymore. I was too busy sweating and shaking my rump and looking ridiculous to think about being tired.

This morning I saw some serious movement on the scale! I had a loss of 4.6 lbs. That's incredible. All that fish and cabbage must be paying off - and I'm showing myself that the one pizza binge I had was, in the grand scheme of things, not worth falling off the rails for. I got back up immediately, stuck to my diet and exercise plan and I feel awesome.

More importantly, I am feeling much better. I feel "lighter" and I definitely have more energy (despite complaining in my first paragraph about being tired). I can't imagine making it through the past three weeks feeling the way I was back in mid-January; sluggish, exhausted and embarassed. Now I feel empowered, in control and I'm working my way back to feeling quite sassy.

I've got a weekend full of plans with friends, several of which will put me smack in front of the beer and nacho train. But I'm determined now to stick to my plan; perhaps I will indulge myself in one cold, delicious beer, but that's it. How will I make that work? I'll have the car keys :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A new recipe

I really like cooking, and I particularly like it when I try a new food and a new recipe and it turns out really well.

I made Blackened Tilapia for dinner tonight. I've never cooked tilapia - in fact, I might have never actually eaten it - but it seems to be an inoffensive fish. Not too fishy tasting, not too difficult to cook. I know that I like cod and salmon, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I bought fresh tilapia filets at the fish counter at the Coop, they were about $7 for two good-sized filets.

I've linked to the recipe above, but the gist of it is really simple. While I heated a little olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet, I rubbed some cajun seasoning blend into both sides of the fish. I fried it for about 3 minutes per side, until it was cooked through. It was delicious!

Served with roasted cauliflower and carrots, it was a perfect, light, satisfying dinner that worked with Cycle 1 of my diet and is definitely going to be added to my list of quick go-to dinners for the future.

What's your favourite, healthy way to cook fish?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pizza is not a vegetable


I had a slip.

On Sunday, after waking up from a nap feeling less rested and relaxed and more tense and stressed, I walked into the living room and told Gary that we could either go to the grocery store and buy the stuff we needed for dinner, or we could order pizza, because one night off my diet wasn't going to kill me.

And you know what? It probably won't.

Outside of my diet and exercise life, the past two weeks have been really, really hard. Things are super stressful at work with the giant fundraiser and a transition of managers, I've had a falling out with my sibling (we'll patch it up, we always do), I'm getting worried about wedding planning stuff, and my friend, who is also my team-mate at work, was called out of the office unexpectedly to deal with a sudden illness in her family that ultimately resulted in the really untimely loss of her younger brother. He was a great guy, and he will be missed dearly.

Add those things up and I'm really, really stressed.

When we buy groceries, we do it on Sundays. Except on long weekends, when we buy groceries on Mondays. Usually on long weekends, we'll go out to dinner a few times or we're just not here - but this weekend was different. I can't really go out to eat, plus, money is a bit tight right now. But we didn't plan ahead, and so on Sunday night, when we had no groceries and I was feeling quite down and a bit sorry for myself, I called Panago for help.

I ate four slices of thin crust hawaiian pizza, and yes, it was delicious. I could have stopped at two slices. And I'm back on my diet plan today, eating veggies and chicken and yogurt and fish and eggs.

I feel some regret, but it's just one meal, one breakdown in preparation and stress levels and self-pity.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bridal Buffing

I love a long weekend. I especially love a long weekend with nowhere to go - with both our families living in different provinces, Gary and I spend most long weekends of the year driving to his mom's in BC, or my parents' house in Saskatchewan. But this weekend, we are home, with no major plans, and it feels so good.

This morning we slept in, which was heaven. Finally we got up and headed to the gym.

image source

I did 30 minutes of cardio and then did a strength training workout. For this past week, I've been using an App I bought, and I'm really liking it so far.

As we all know, I'm a bride-to-be, and though I've managed to keep my stack of bridal magazines to a paltry four - and I bought almost all of them before we actually got engaged - brides are kind of a walking target for wedding-themed stuff. I've been good at restraining myself for the most part, but this one I sprung for.

The app is called Shape Bride, and it was produced by Shape Magazine. It was something like $1.99, so I hit "buy" one night and figured that I might as well see what it was like.

I really enjoy using it. It's an eight-week plan, with 3 strength training workouts per week (you do the same routines for the first four weeks, then there's a new set for the second four weeks), and three suggested cardio workouts. There's also an abs and core section, and then some bridal planning tips that I am completely ignoring because I really don't need another reminder that I have a ton of stuff to do and am rapidly running out of time.

You do each one of the three strength training routines a week, on non-consecutive days. They're all different, but hit the same major areas - arms, shoulders, back, legs (lunges and squats, damn you!) and a core exercise. Pretty much the basic areas any lady wearing a dress that may not be or might be strapless - and may have long lace sleeves, but maybe it doesn't - or maybe she's wearing a cape, I dunno, you can still do that in July - is concerned about toning up.

I'm doing my own thing for cardio right now, because I like to hit a zumba class at least once a week, but aim for at least 3 sessions lasting 30 minutes or longer a week.

The routines are easy to follow, the app doesn't require internet, which is great because I just have an iPod touch and the gym has no wifi. I'm definitely feeling it in my arms and my thighs!

I don't have the money to hire a personal trainer right now, and for 2 bucks, I'm satisfied. The routines can be done at home or at the gym - you need hand weights, a resistance cord, a bench or chair and a mat.

If you're not a bride, there are other Shape apps, like a "little black dress" workout, a pilates app, and one that focuses on the lower body. I'll definitely be checking them out when this wedding is over.

I was not compensated in any way for this blog post, I just thought this was a cool product and wanted to share.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Weigh-In


I weighed in this morning and posted a loss of 1.6 lbs.

The scale is a funny thing. So is the body. Yesterday morning I weighed myself, which I know is a habit I need to drop, but I was down BIG time - like, 6 lbs. Seeing that number made me a little giddy, and so when I weighed in this morning and it was a much more modest loss, I was mildly disapointed.

But then I took my rocks out of the jar and felt pretty pleased with myself.

I do feel really good, and after 4 days of the 17 Day Diet plan, I have more energy and the cravings for spaghetti and pastry have started to subside. Last night's dinner of roasted cauliflower, salmon and salad was extremely satisfying. It feels awesome.

Except - well, this is kind of a gross thing to reveal on the interwebs, but when you eat a lot of "roughage" vegetables, like cabbage and broccoli and cauliflower, your digestion can behave in strange ways. I'm looking forward to some movement in that area, but other than that, I really do feel awesome.

I can't believe I just blogged about constipation.

Well, there you go. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Baby carrots, peas and water.

Yesterday was really good. I happily ate my salads and veggies and chicken breast and fish. I did an elliptical workout and felt really great at the end of the day, no cravings to report.

Today is a different story. Day two, and I'm craving pasta. And pie. Carby and sweet.

But I gave myself a pep talk as I dished out my veggies.

Do you want to eat pie, or do you want to buy cute new summer clothes for your new, slimmer figure?
Erm, clothes.

Do you want to skip the gym, or do you want to feel proud on your wedding day?

Totally going to the gym!

Do you want to say to hell with it, and go out for italian, or do you want to FINALLY wear a bikini on the beach, on your honeymoon?

I'm pretty sure the coworker who caught me muttering to myself thinks I'm totally bonkers, but for now - cravings conquered.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Night Prep

I had a disappointing weigh-in on Friday. I was up about 4 lbs. I know why - it's been an incredibly stressful week at work, preparing for our big party (which went so well), getting ready for my current manager to transition off the mat leave she's been covering and my "regular" manager to come back; and covering my coworker's desk as she's been called away for a family emergency. I've been tired, and when I'm tired, I go straight for the carby treats and talk myself out of the gym.

The good news is, I'm taking it in stride. I'm still down in weight overall, and I'm starting the 17 Day Diet plan again tomorrow. I need a little more structure right now, as one scone tends to lead me down a cookie-paved sugar path. Cookies - see you in a few weeks :)

I've picked up all the groceries I'll need for my week. Eggs and smoothies for breakfasts, salads and chicken vegetable soup for lunches, and fish and roasted veggies for dinners.

I baked 5 chicken breasts and sliced them up for salads and the soup that I'll make later this week. Veggies are ready to go in the crisper, and I'm actually really looking forward to it - because eating that way ultimately gives me so much more energy. It's just hard to remember that when the candy bowl is calling, right?

Yesterday was the big party, and I found a dress late on Friday afternoon at Ricki's. It's a knit turquoise wrap dress, and I ADORE it. I got several compliments from other shoppers, and then at the party strangers came up to me and told me that they loved what I was wearing. That's always such a huge boost, isn't it?

I only got one, terrible, very late night grumpy face "Can I go home and take these damn shoes off, it's been 8 hours..." picture. I'll be wearing this dress until it falls apart, I love it so much, so I guarantee I'll get a better shot at one of the wedding-related functions we've got coming up.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Report

I'm going to admit that I didn't track what I ate this weekend. We went home to visit my Mom and Dad, attend the annual Oasis Players Dinner Theatre (coincidentally, the caterers were serving the same menu we will serve at our wedding, so we got to try it out. I believe that in fancy wedding circles, they call this a "tasting")

I watched what I ate and tried not to go overboard, and that'll have to do. It was a very busy weekend.

On the upside, I had my first dress fitting. I was worried that the dress I bought in November, that was too big then, might not fit anymore due to my few months of completely out of control overindulgence.

Good news! It fit! We worked with the seamstress to pin the bustle hooks (this will be complicated, Bridespeoples, brace yourself) and she's taking it in an inch on either side at the bustline, according to my measurements now. If in June, it's still too big, because I have become smaller, then we'll go smaller yet.

I can't wait to wear it! I felt really gorgeous, even with bad hair and pins sticking out in every direction.

Is this what it looks like? Perhaps yes. Perhaps no. You'll find out in July :)

Friday, February 3, 2012


I took 56 rocks out of the jar this morning.

That's a lot of rocks!

I was down 5.6 lbs today, and I'm owning every single one of them. It feels great to be back on track.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

But I'm Not at My Ideal Formal Wear Weight

I've talked about this before, a while ago. I've got a job that requires me to attend a number of "fabulous parties" every year. They are excellent parties and don't get me wrong - a lot of fun - but they can also be very stressful.

Particularly the "what do I wear?" issue.

I have a large stock of cocktail dresses I keep in my closet and rotate through for events. Most of them are black, most of them are at least 5 years old, and all of them are boring.

We have a big, big, BIG event at work next weekend, and I've just learned that not only will I be attending, I'll also be speaking on-camera to any media that attend.

I need to look awesome.

I've got two options - one is a sparkly red cocktail dress that is swishy and fun, but VERY loud. And maybe a bit matronly.

The other is aforementioned bridesmaid's dress that doesn't fit.

I don't really have the money to go buy a whole new outfit, nor do I want to buy a new party dress in the size I'm currently at, given that I hope to be minus forty-five pounds in the future.


Double spanx it and wear the bridesmaid's dress, or risk looking like a rhino in a sparkly red gown next to the herd of tastefully sequined gazelles?

Sometimes, being a lady is really, really hard.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Roses for my Calendar

This is a familiar tactic, and one I've never stopped doing, but the tiny little star stickers I've been posting on my calendar on days that I work out aren't cutting it for me anymore.

For the month of February, every day that I go to the gym, I'll get one of these totally obnoxious glitter and rhinestone rose stickers on the calendar.

I picked the roses for two reasons - one, I'm a sucker for seasonal holidays (Turkeys in October, Shamrocks in March) and it's the cheesiest of all the holidays this month, but the second is more personal. The flowers I've chosen for my wedding bouquet are red roses.

Every time I see these gaudy, sparkly, fabulous stickers, I'll remember that vision, the goal I have of walking down the aisle, confident and feeling beautiful.