Sunday, October 27, 2013

Still running!

I have some shocking news: I haven't given up on running yet! I have not missed one session of my running group, which meets twice a week, and I had another race last weekend! This time, I did a 5k.

Happy because I'm near the finish line!
I had a crazy notion that I would try to run the entire thing, which did NOT happen. I did run most of it though, albeit very slowly. At one point, I was passed by a man carrying a full-size canoe. Yes. Man with canoe was faster than I was (as were LOTS of people pushing strollers and pulling wagons with kids in them).

But I'm really pleased with my time - 42:49. That's faster than I expected to do it, AND I was more than twice as fast as the 2.5k race I did two weeks before (my time was 22:05). So, even though I'm slow, I'm improving. :)

Eating well remains, as always, a struggle. But I just had some lentil soup, so that's something. All I can do is keep trying!

In other news, my 60s birthday party was lots of fun. After a few Youtube videos and an hour of teasing/hairspraying my hair, this was the end result:

It wasn't perfect, but I was satisfied.

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! Bye for now!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A few things

  • My 28th birthday is on Friday. I'm having a 1965-themed birthday party. I bought a new dress and tonight I'm going to practice putting my hair in a beehive. It may mean I don't have time to vacuum, but I think my friends will agree that I made the right choice.
  • I'm registered in a 5k run on Sunday. I will let you know how it goes (my goal is not to collapse, which should give you a sense of my fitness level these days!).
  • I bought a Fitbit One and it's my new best friend.
  • I have a cat right now, and this is what happens when I sit at my computer:
I tried to get a picture of her nudging my hand, but this is the best I could do.
  • The reason I have a cat right now is that my sister, Lucy, is living in Wales for a few months doing research with a professor there as part of her PhD (I don't know if I've mentioned on here before that I have such a smart sister!). Her boyfriend is with her right now, so I have his cat! 
  • My mom and I are planning a Europe trip to visit Lucy in December! We've never been to Europe before, so we are beyond excited.
Today I kept thinking about my dad. At work, I found myself thinking about the last few years before he died: all of the hospital visits, all of the surgeries, all of the recoveries. And yet, despite his poor health, his death still felt like such a shock.

At yoga, during Savasana, I was thinking about the time right around his death. I thought about the last day I ever saw him, in the hospital on New Year's Eve, 2011. I thought about the day he died. I was living in Thunder Bay when I found out. I packed a bag in a fog, got a friend to drive me to the airport, and boarded the next flight home to Toronto. I remember debating whether or not I should bring black clothing home - a part of me thought I should be optimistic and not pack for a funeral. But, of course, I knew there would be a funeral.

On the flight home, I listened to the same song on my ipod over and over again (Pumped Up Kicks, for some inexplicable reason). Thankfully, no one was sitting next to me. Less than 24 hours later, I was leaving the funeral home with my mom and my sister, having already made countless decisions about a situation that felt completely surreal.

I have no idea how I finished my school year (I was completing my B.Ed. at the time). I flew back to Thunder Bay after 2 weeks in Toronto, and somehow finished my coursework. Then I was back home for a 5-week practicum teaching high school English (the subject my dad had taught my whole life).

Some days, my dad's death is like a fact that my brain will occasionally flit to without making a big fuss. But sometimes, it feels like a piece of information that I can't quite process. Something does not compute. I can't understand where my dad is, and I don't quite believe that he doesn't know where I work now or where I live now, or that I didn't just talk to him yesterday on the phone.

I don't like to think about time passing - time feels like an ever-widening gulf between us. I felt this very acutely in the weeks after he died. Each passing minute was like an affront to his memory. It's a cliche, but it truly didn't feel right that the world could keep going on while he wasn't in it. I can't make sense of it sometimes, so I keep going over and over the facts in my brain, trying to fit it all together so I can finally have it neatly filed away and resolved.

Anyway, I should get ready for my 60s party on Friday. I think my dad would appreciate it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New Running Adventures

Last year, during my university's Homecoming weekend, I watched three of my closest friends run a 5km race. It was really fun to watch, but I was also very jealous that I wasn't running with them.

As I've mentioned, a few weeks ago I joined a "Learn to Run" group. Seeing as it had only been a couple of weeks since I got back into running, I was planning to watch my friends run that same 5k again. But then, my running group leader suggested that run/walking the 2.5km loop of the same race would be a good idea. For some reason, this had never even occurred to me. After he put the idea in my head, I quickly signed up - and two more of my friends decided to do the 2.5 km loop as well!

So, one week ago, all 5 of us participated in the Laurier Loop! I really pushed myself, and I was very surprised when I was able to run all the way to the water station (which I think was at the halfway point, about 1.25km).

Feeling good around the 1 km mark!

With my besties after the race! I wish someone had told me about my hair situation.
It was pretty brutal finishing the race. The last leg was to run around a stadium track to the finish line, and I had decided I wanted to run that whole section. It was really hard, and I think I was definitely running slower than a walking pace, but I still managed to finish. My time was 22:04 - not too shabby, in my opinion! :)

It was so fun to be in the race atmosphere, I've signed up for a 5k on October 20... 2 days after my 28th birthday. I know I won't be able to run the entire thing, but that's okay. I'm just so happy that I'm feeling excited about running again.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Amazing Week

I know you're all dying to know how my massive meal prep adventure ended up. I'm pleased to say it was a success!! I didn't eat perfectly all week (I may or may not have had all you can sushi last night), but it helped a LOT having so much stuff ready to go. The dinners I made didn't turn out all that great for some reason, but my breakfasts and lunches were really good. I saved a lot of money because I wasn't constantly buying food, and I know I ate WAY healthier than I have been lately.

I also exercised a lot this week! On Wednesday I had my second Vinyasa Yoga class, and on Thursday, I went for my second run with my learn-to-run group. This morning, I ventured out all by myself. It was a very short run (maybe 15 minutes, and I alternated running and walking), but as you can see, I was still very sweaty afterwards:

I knew I wanted to do some more meal prep today, but I wasn't sure I had the energy to do as much as I did last week. Here's what I ended up with:

I have stuff for five lunch salads, ready-to-go baggies of cut up veggies, and spinach, berries, and flaxseed ready to go into smoothies. In the back right corner is my rice cooker, with a huge batch of steel cut oats. I was also planning to make lentil soup, but I forgot to get potatoes at the grocery store (I was going to use this recipe). So, I chopped up the veggies I needed and put them in a big bowl to cook tomorrow night or Tuesday (I was already in my pyjama pants when I noticed the missing potatoes and was NOT willing to venture back out of my apartment).

I am feeling really good! Let's hope I keep this up for another week. :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Outside my comfort zone

Hello, friends!

Today has been AMAZING. It feels like I was eating constantly all day (and I pretty much was), and I still haven't finished everything I'd prepared yesterday. And it was a pretty relaxed day at work - tomorrow I will not have as much time to leisurely munch on my salad for an hour!

The food I prepped yesterday was great today. The "blanched" asparagus was delish, as was the black bean soup that looked suspiciously watery yesterday. Now I'm eating the chickpea curry that I threw together (and accidentally dumped too much turmeric in), and it's quite good (and spicy)! I decided to have the food I was least looking forward to today, in the hopes that my "first day motivation" would help me power through. And it did!

After work, I walked home, gulped down a green smoothie, and threw on my running clothes:

Yes, that's painter's tape around the door behind me. What of it?
Then I bravely rushed off (read: walked slowly) to a local running store to join a "Learn to Run" group! Now, according to this very blog, at one point in my life I could run 5k without stopping (which I only did once ever, but you know. Still counts). Tonight, we ran for one minute/walked for one minute, and went a VERY SHORT DISTANCE (about 4 long blocks total. I think it was around 1.5 km). And I DIED. My lungs were burning and I think I was the second-last person back to the store at the end. But I did it! And everyone was really nice. As some other slowpokes and I crested the hill to the halfway point, we totally got applause.

It was really motivating to be in a group. When the leader addressed us all at the beginning and gave us a bit of a pep talk, I found it really inspiring! It wasn't anything groundbreaking, but sometimes you just need to hear that kind of thing ("you'll be amazed at what you are capable of," etc).

I was so glad on the walk home that my dinner was prepared and waiting for me in the fridge. If that hadn't been the case, I am 95% sure I would have picked up dinner on the way, thinking I "deserved" it because of my running. But really, do I deserve to load up my body with fat, give myself stomachaches, gain more weight, and get heart disease? No! I deserve lots of veggies and whole foods that will give me energy and make me healthier. But seriously, if my food wasn't waiting for me, I totally would have gotten two slices of pizza. Not one. TWO.

AND I am SO happy that tomorrow's meals are ready too! I can now chillax with the new Breaking Bad and my knitting (HELLO, best night ever) and get to bed early. (Um, of course those dishes from my cooking marathon aren't still in my sink. I'm totally a responsible adult who keeps a tidy home. Totally.)

Meal Prepping Adventures (Video Post!)

Hi everyone!

So... I decided to make a video post! Bear in mind this is my first video, and I had no idea what I was doing. Enjoy! :)

It was really fun to make this video. I obviously have a lot of room for improvement, but hopefully it wasn't too painful to watch.

I wasn't sure how to add this text to the video itself, but I used the song “See You Later” by Pitx, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Some of the recipes from the video:

Veggie Pot Pie

Black Bean and Salsa Soup

Chickpea Curry

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Adventures in Exercise

I have a secret that I think it's time I shared with you.

A few months ago, in a fit of optimism (and perhaps temporary insanity?), I signed up for a race in early May. A couple of my friends were signing up, and I thought it would give me some motivation to get back to running. There's only one catch - it's a 10K race.

I have been running on and off since then, but I'm definitely nowhere near where I should be at this point. I have about 8 weeks left, and I've been thinking about switching to the 5K race instead (which I'm also nowhere near ready for, fyi).

Anyway, last week I was Skyping with my friend Eszter, and happened to mention my dilemma. Now, Eszter is a personal trainer and runs her own fitness business in Halifax (Sculptura Women's Fitness). She had lots of suggestions and set me up with a training plan to try and get me ready for the 10K. It involves interval training on the treadmill, lifting heavy weights, and a kettlebell. Scary stuff.

I couldn't let Eszter down, so on Wednesday morning I ventured into the weights area of my gym (which was much more crowded than it should have been at 7 am). Thankfully, it was made less intimidating by the fact that I went with my new gym buddy, a male colleague who was willing to show me the ropes. Thursday I attempted the intervals on the treadmill, and yesterday I was back in the weight room - alone. I had been told that Saturday mornings at the gym would be empty, because everyone is hungover (I work out at a university gym). Unfortunately, it was still crowded, but I braved the weights and got through it just fine. :)

In other news, I bought a foam roller! A foam roller is a tube of dense foam that is supposed to have the effect of a massage when you roll your muscles over it. I must admit, I felt pretty foolish rolling around my apartment on this thing. I'm not sure yet how I feel about it, but at the very least, I think I'm building some upper body strength trying to hold myself up with my arms while rolling my legs on it! Here's a video of some foam roller exercises so you can picture how silly I look doing it.

Well, I'm off for an outdoor run! Wish me luck!

Monday, March 4, 2013

What next?

I've been thinking a lot about starting a new challengey-type-thingy on here. The truth is, when I declare on this blog that I'm going to eat a certain way for x amount of time and post my food, I do it. (Unfortunately, I never seem to keep up the momentum after the challenge is over...)

Anyway, while trying to come up with what my new challenge might be, I remembered a book that's been gathering dust on my shelf: The Beck Diet Solution. The Beck Diet Solution takes you day-by-day through various cognitive behavioural strategies and activities to "train your brain to think like a thin person." I have started the program before, but never stuck to it past about Day 2. I  really like a lot of the ideas in the book and I've always intended to actually get through the entire thing one of these days... so, I'm starting it again! Today! I don't think it would be very interesting if I posted my daily task every single day, so I'll aim for a weekly recap. :)

I'm still struggling SO MUCH with my eating. I will buy tons of healthy food and even cook a few meals, but then I end up buying most of my meals out (which I can't really afford financially, let alone healthwise)! If I just prepared all my own food, I would feel much better. So, starting today, I am going to stick to eating my own healthy food. Hopefully the Beck Diet Solution will help with my willpower (or lack thereof).

See you soon with a Beck Diet Solution update!

Friday, February 22, 2013


I can't sleep. While I was lying in bed, I kept thinking about my feet.

I have two healthy, functioning feet. Admittedly, they need orthotics and old lady shoes, but they carry my considerable weight and don't cause me too much grief.

I have two perfectly good feet and I don't have heart disease and I don't have diabetes.

In early October, 2000, I was about to turn 15. I came home late one day after going to a friend's house after school. I turned onto my street and saw an ambulance in the distance. I just knew that it was at my house... and I was right. My dad had had a heart attack. Thankfully, my older sister was home and he got help in time. He had quadruple bypass surgery and was in the hospital for about a month. On Christmas Eve, 2002, when I was in grade 12, my dad had to have his left foot amputated due to complications related to his diabetes. A few years later, in 2007, they amputated his right foot.

My dad suffered immeasurably during the last 15 years or so of his life (besides what I've mentioned so far, he had to deal with further surgery on his stump after the first amputation, another heart attack, diabetic retinopathy and eye issues, kidney problems, congestive heart failure, and related complications... all of which meant chronic pain and many, many hospital stays). It felt like as soon as he recovered from one setback, he experienced another one. But my dad never gave up. He maintained his sense of humour. He was always the life of the party. He kept working, as a high school English teacher. And, perhaps most inspiring, he kept exercising.

My dad was an athlete his whole life. He excelled at any sport he tried - hockey, baseball, football, squash. He was a natural. When I was growing up, he would also go for long walks every single night. I went with him only once or twice (I'm sorry to say, walking really wasn't my thing). He also loved riding his bike: there were a few summers where we would go for a bike picnic in Mount Pleasant Cemetery almost every single day.

I can't imagine how it felt for him to lose his feet. And even without his feet, he still exercised. He would lift weights in his wheelchair and use his old rowing machine religiously. When we were at the cottage, he would go out for long trips in the rowboat. He would go for walks, with his prostheses and two canes. And he would swim. Almost every day, he would wheel himself down to the non-wheelchair-accessible pool in our condo building, alone, and use his upper body strength to lift himself from his chair, to a stool, to the steps, into the pool. With no feet.

And sometimes often I'm too lazy to take a 10-minute walk to the gym.

If I don't make a permanent change, I will get diabetes. I will have a heart attack. Of this, I am certain.

Sure, I wish my clothes fit better, but honestly... I've had my fill of hospitals. The thought of open-heart surgery makes me squeamish. So... let's avoid all of that, shall we?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Two things.

1. I did something super fun last Sunday! Hint:

Yes, that is the amazing Meghan Telpner!! I was lucky enough to be in attendance at her Meal Prep Made Easy class. I have wanted to attend one of her in-person classes for AGES, but I've never been able to make it. When she announced that she was doing one last in-person class (for awhile, anyway), I signed myself up immediately.

The class was SO much fun. Meghan's loft/kitchen was delightful, and her teaching style was entertaining and inspiring. There were about 22 of us in the course, and we got to sample everything she made. The food was INCREDIBLE. Of course, I had to buy a few goodies while I was there, including a super awesome glass straw:

2. Last night, I tried my spiral slicer for the very first time! Funnily enough, I bought this online from Meghan Telpner's store months and months ago, but never got around to using it (oopsies).

 It worked really well and was super fun to use! Yay, zucchini noodles!

That's all for now. My lack of posts lately is completely due to laziness, I must admit.. I'm not very busy and I have no excuses... I wish I could say this will change, but I can't say for sure!

Bye for now!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow Day!

Is there anything better than a snow day? I think not!

I slept in late, spent most of the day in my pyjamas (and the rest in sweatpants), and did a lot of knitting while watching The Walking Dead.

I finished this hat, which I desperately need!

I'm still plugging along foodwise, for the most part. There was an incident last night with some buttery microwave popcorn, BUT I didn't feel very good afterwards and I ate well today. Plus, I ate a lot of kale yesterday:

That has to cancel out the damage, right?!

I hope you all enjoyed your snow day (if you got one!). I'm going to knit a bit more and go to bed (if the pounding, vibrating music coming from my downstairs neighbours' ever quiets down...).

Tomorrow I'm off to Toronto, and probably eating out for the rest of the weekend. Let's hope I don't go TOO crazy! I'm also doing something fun on Sunday that I'll be sure to tell you all about afterwards...


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Back to cooking

Hi folks! So, it's been three days of healthy cooking and eating, and I feel great. I have energy, my stomach isn't having any issues, and I have that smug I'm so healthy feeling. I have willpower of steel and can't imagine ever going back to my old ways (of, you know, last week). Might as well enjoy it while it lasts, right? ;)

Ever since my awesome results from following the Eat to Live program for 6 weeks last summer, I have been "planning" to get back to a similar way of eating. I have had a few false starts, where I bought some groceries or cooked a few big meals to freeze and have on hand, but nothing has stuck. Instead, I've found myself buying practically every meal out for the past little while... and now I'm more or less back at my highest weight ever. And I refuse to buy any more new pairs of pants!

I decided to eliminate the planning/thinking step of eating healthy and try out a 7-day meal plan from Happy Herbivore. I have two Happy Herbivore cookbooks, and really like Lindsay's blog. The meal plans are plant-based and low-fat. I haven't been cooking lately and I wanted to learn some go-to, easy dishes that don't involve meat or cheese. Since I live alone, it's easy to get stuck eating the same thing over and over again (and getting sick of it and ordering a pizza instead). The meal plan is designed for one person and most of the recipes are just one or two servings (she also has a family option).

I am not following the plan exactly (which was my original intention), but I'd say I'm doing a pretty good job! I'm mostly just having oatmeal for breakfast, and I've switched around some of the lunches and dinners, but other than that I've been sticking to it pretty closely.  Here are some of my eats from the past few days:

Lentil and sweet potato stew. This was surprisingly good. However, I didn't use low-sodium vegetable broth like I was supposed to, and it did taste rather salty.

Salad, broccoli, and macaroni (brown rice pasta) and "cheese." I didn't use Lindsay's recipe for the "cheese" because I was missing one of the ingredients (yellow miso). I used a recipe I found online instead and I did NOT like it. I think it was because of all the nutritional yeast. I ended up rinsing the sauce off and eating the pasta by itself...

Moroccan stew, with chickpeas, carrots, and potatoes. This stew was amazing and so simple to make! 

Tonight for dinner, I had Veggie Pot Pie with biscuits on top. SO delicious and quick to make! I added some frozen spinach that wasn't called for in the recipe because hey, why not?

For the most part, I'm really enjoying the recipes. The best part is that everything is fast and easy to prepare.

I think I will get the new meal plan for next week, and just see how things go for now. I'm not going to be too strict with myself. I know I won't be home for the next two weekends, and I might eat a bad meal or two. But hopefully that won't derail me!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another fresh start.

I've been here before. Kitchen full of fresh produce and healthy groceries, food for the week planned out, sink full of dirty dishes after cooking up a few healthy meals. Feeling excited about all the weight I'm going to lose and all the clothes I'm going to fit into again. Eager for a fresh start.

I often feel like a broken record. I keep going back and forth between eating really well for a few days, and then eating junk for a few weeks. I will make a plan to be healthy and then it falls by the wayside. I'm always hesitant to tell friends about my new way of eating, or post about it here, because I know I've said it all before. But all I can do is keep trying, and hope that one of these attempts will stick. After all, what's the alternative?

I can waste time moping around, eating potato chips, and wishing I was as thin as I used to be (and I do that quite a bit, don't get me wrong), or I can accept where I am and move forward. So today, I'm starting again.