28-day Challenge – Stick a Fork in Me I’m Done

Welcome to the end my friends. Yesterday marked the last day of the

Prevention 28-day Transformation Challenge, and although I don’t know that I would consider myself “transformed”, I definitely feel like I took some major steps in the right direction when it comes to my health.

I think the most interesting part of this challenge was that even though I wasn’t counting calories or fat grams or any other nutrient, I still managed to lose weight. Being conscious about what and how much I put in my body was enough to make me understand that eating 1500 calories a day is all well and good, but if it’s 1500 calories of Pepsi and Cheetos, it’s not going to make any difference in your health. Food is fuel. Grilled chicken and a salad will keep you going all day, Cheetos will probably only get you as far as the front door.

Although I had a hard time fitting in all my workouts during the challenge, I was working out more than I had before. I definitely need to make exercise a priority because I do feel great after I work out. I even tried yoga a couple of times while on the challenge and although I’m not great at it, I think I’m going to keep trying (as long as I don’t have to do it in public 😛 )

As I mentioned in previous blogs, although I started out strong, I kind of fizzled in the last two weeks of the challenge. I had a hard time balancing healthy living with being busy, and I think it’s something I’m always going to struggle with. I definitely think preparation is the key thing here and remembering that I need to put myself first, otherwise I’ll burn myself out. And no one wants that. 🙂

I had my last weigh in yesterday and in total I lost 7 lb over the 28 days. Not to shabby if I do say so myself. I had lost eight after Week 2, but then gained back pound in Week 3. For Week 4 I stayed exactly the same.

So now what do I do? Good question!! I carry on, try new foods, try new workouts, and hopefully continue to keep all of you entertained and with my blogs.  Blogging every day is HARD, which is why I think I wasn’t blogging so much towards the end.  I just ran out of things to say (hard to believe, but true).

One last thing I’d like to mention—yesterday the world lost an amazing person with Maya Angelou’s passing.  Her words have inspired so many people, but there is one particular quote of hers that always makes me want to go out there and take on the world:

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Off I go to kick some ass…

28-day Challenge Who Knows What Day I’m On!

Oy!  I’ve been a very bad blogger the last few (actually more like seven) days—not writing, indulging way to much, and working out way too little.  The good news is that it’s Monday, and everyone always has a chance to redeem themselves on a Monday—start the week off on the right foot and get that momentum back!

I’m not sure how I let myself get off track on the 28-day Challenge.  One bad eating day turned into two, and two turned into four, and well you know how it goes.  But, we’re not going to dwell on that.  The fact is I don’t want to give up.  I don’t look at it as starting over, I just look at it as continuing the process.  I’m always going to have some good days and bad days, but we get over it and we move on!

I have three days left in the challenge and I’ll try to end things on a high note:

  • Food prep for the week complete – check
  • Workouts scheduled for the week – check
  • “Me time” scheduled – check.

The next four weeks are going to be very hectic for me.  I’m covering for a co-worker who is on vacation for the next month plus I have school.  I think it’s important that I schedule my life for the four weeks so I can stay on top of everything, including my eating and my workouts.  You’ll see I scheduled some “me time” in there as well so I don’t go crazy and burn myself out, which I sometimes have a tendency to so.  I know what I’m like when I’m super busy so I’m taking steps ahead of time to mitigate any stressful disasters.

The one exciting thing I did this past week was invest in a Fitbit.  A Fitbit is a wireless health tracker.  I bought the Fitbit Flex, which you wear around your wrist and looks like this:

Fitbit Flex

The Fitbit Flex tracks how many steps I take, calories I burn, and distance I go.  If I wear it to bed it will even monitor my sleep and wake me in the morning with a light vibration on my wrist.  You can set goals and it will tell you how close you are to reaching your goal for the day keeping you motivated to keep going.  It syncs up with an app on my iPad and my laptop (wirelessly!) so I can check on my progress anytime.  I’m really excited to get started with my Fitbit and I have it all charged up for Monday.  A full charge lasts for five days so I can wear it day or night without worry that it’s going to run out of power.  I’ll use it for a little while and then post a full review on the blog in a few weeks.

So there is my long overdue update!  I didn’t lose any weight last week (in fact I gained a pound 😦 ) but hey, I’ll just have to work harder this week.  I’m still further ahead then I was when I started!

28-day Challenge Days 15, 16, 17 and 18

Why is it so hard to stay on track with healthy eating during the weekend?  It’s like my brain hears “It’s Friday!!” and suddenly all I can think about are all the foods I shouldn’t be indulging in.  Ice cream…macaroni and cheese…cheeseburgers…poutine…it is a never ending barrage of imagery, like a torturous slide show in my head.

I’ll admit, I had a few unhealthy meals during the past few days.  One meal in particular took place on Sunday morning in which I had breakfast with my parents at a local diner in town.  I just couldn’t resist the allure of pancakes with syrup.

Now those who know me know that I can be a bit of a sugar junkie, but since I’ve been eating fairly clean over the last couple of weeks I’ve let go of a lot of refined sugar out of my diet.  I know sugar isn’t good for me, but I don’t know if I really understood just how not good for me it really is.  Until I ate those pancakes.

To start, they tasted fantastic—all warm and light and fluffy, and the syrup sticky and sweet.  I was in food heaven.  I ate them, enjoyed them, and tried to not feel guilty about indulging—sometimes you just have to enjoy!  After breakfast my brother and I went to run a few errands which included going to Target and the grocery store.  Five minutes in at Target I was talking a mile-a-minute, bouncing all over the place, with my brother staring at me like I had lost my mind.  This is the part of the sugar rush I love—happy, fun, all energy.  I try and hold on to this feeling as long as I can because I know what’s coming.

It hit me just as we were heading into the grocery store.  The crash.  Suddenly I’m exhausted, achy and if I could have, I would have laid down in the grocery store parking lot and had a nap.  This is the part of the sugar rush I hate.  I felt like I’d been hit with a wrecking ball and just longed to lay down and sleep.

(The interesting thing about my body on sugar is that it’s the same feeling as my body on alcohol.  When I’ve had too much to drink I’m high-energy, go-go-go…but when I’m done, I’m done.  I suddenly get really tired and all I want to do is go home to bed.)

If anything, I definitely learned my lesson this weekend.  Sugar truly is the devil.  Although I might be able to indulge a little bit every now and then, I definitely need to be very aware of how much I’m consuming.  I don’t want to feel like that again.  It was an awful reminder of the way I used to eat only two and a half weeks ago!  Look at me, I’m growing. 😛

So, as I say every week – let’s get back on track (I wonder if I’ll get through a whole week without feeling like I need to get back on track).

Get in those workouts, eat consciously and push hard this week!! 🙂

28-day Challenge Week 2 Recap

Oh my!  What a week!

I have been crazy busy with work and school (but that’s ok I like busy) and I got to see Harley Pasternak talk (I started reading the Body Reset Diet, and so far I’m impressed—more on that coming soon).  I didn’t do everything I was supposed to this week, but I’m certainly not beating myself up about it.  I’ve had worse weeks, and this just throws more fuel on the fire to work harder next week.

I was lax on my workouts and only got in a couple, but hey, a couple is better than none.  I ate a few things I shouldn’t have this week, but hey, I’m not perfect…and those cookies were SCREAMING my name.

Let’s talk about my weight then, shall we??  Despite not having the best week, I still managed to lose….wait for it….

2 lb!!

A LOVELY surprise when I got on the scale to do my weigh in for the week.  I can do this!  I think the best part of all this is that I’m not counting calories or fat grams, I’m just eating well and watching my portion sizes.  So YAY me….YAY!!  That’s 8 lb total lost in two weeks.

(Yeah, I’m excited today…girl has a right to celebrate!)

My intention for next week is to make myself a priority.  I didn’t do that this past week…I let work and other life things dictate my schedule.  I need to make sure I’m dictating it and get those workouts in!!

Yes we can!!  Woohoo!!

28-day Challenge Day 13

I don’t know about anyone else, but it was been a busy week for me…and it’s only Wednesday!  Work got incredibly busy this week, school has heated up (I have my first quiz in two weeks and my first essay is due in six weeks!), which unfortunately has meant everything else has taken a back seat.  It’s really been a lack of planning on my part, but I’m not doing too badly.  The thing that is really suffering are my workouts.  I promised myself I would make them more of a priority and I just haven’t.  If anyone has any tips to help me get my ass in gear, I’m all ears.

Yesterday was a pretty cool day as I got a chance to see Harley Pasternak talk.  He was in Toronto promoting his new

book The Body Reset Diet Cookbook.  If you aren’t familiar with Harley Pasternak, he is a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based personal trainer (you can check out his website here).  He whips bodies like Natalie Portman and Jennifer Hudson into shape.

I knew a little bit about Harley going into the talk, but I have never read any of his books.  I was interested in learning his philosophy on weight loss and healthy eating.  To say I was blown away is an understatement.  Harley is not your average weight loss guru just trying to hawk a book.  I found his view on weight loss to be very much in line with mine.  Bottom line—everything in moderation.  He doesn’t believe in cutting out certain food groups and thinks food can be healthy and be enjoyed.  Finally a man who’s speaking my language!!

He spoke about the recipes in his new book and showed the group a few prepared examples like the Carrot/Pineapple/Ginger Smoothie and the Asian Chicken Salad, both of which looked delicious.  He had samples on hand of the Fruit and Nut Popcorn Bars, which were AMAZING!  I actually turned my nose up at them at first thinking they were probably going to taste like crap, but after one bite I was hooked.  If a snack like this can be good for me and taste great then count me in.

I bought both The Body Reset Diet and The Body Reset Diet Cookbook.  I’ll read both and post reviews if each in the coming weeks.  I’m very excited about trying some of the recipes in the cookbook, a lot of them look right up my alley.

Ok friends, back to work *sigh*…my only solace is knowing that this weekend is a long weekend!  Woohoo!!  Enjoy everyone!

28-day Challenge Day 12

There are some days when everything just falls into place. You’ve got on the perfect shade of lipstick (Syrup by MAC), the perfect song plays on your way to work (Suit and Tie by Justin Timberlake), and on the train a cute guy gives you the look (you know which look I’m talking about). All of these perfect little things add up to a calmness and a confidence that just makes you feel good. I call these my FGLG days—Feelin’ Good and Lookin’ Good. It just so happens that Monday was one of those days.

I have to say, my attitude has changed dramatically in the last little while, especially when it comes to my weight loss. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I did a little extra eatin’ on the weekend, none of which was very good for me. Today I set the wheels back in motion: I ate a healthy breakfast and scheduled a workout setting myself up for a successful day and week. A few months ago eating poorly would have sent me down a path of further unhealthy eating; now it’s just fuel for me to get right back on track.

What’s with the attitude change? I love my FGLG days, and I want more of them. They’re addictive. I never used to feel this way about myself, often times just too insecure about my weight and the way I looked. Here’s the thing though: my weight has only slightly changed in the last little while and I’m starting to have more FGLG days. I’m taking better care of myself on a consistent basis and THAT is making me feel good. I’m fueling my body with yummy, whole foods; I’m exercising my body with semi-regular workouts (I really need to step that up); and I’m doing little things that make me feel great like using a fantastic smelling body oil, or getting my nails done, or having coffee with a friend.

We all want to have FGLG days, and I want you to know that you don’t have to wait to lose the weight to have them. For a long time I thought that I did—I’ll never have confidence until I’m thinner, I’ll be happier when I’m 50 lb lighter, or 75 lb, or 100 lb—but it’s not true. Just knowing that I’m changing things is making me feel good and any weight loss is definitely going to be icing on the cake (mmm…cake 😉 ).

What sorts of things make you feel good? Have you had an FGLG day? Tell me about it in the comments below.

28-Day Challenge Days 8, 9, 10, and 11

Nothing very exciting has been going on so I decided to bundle up the last few days into one post.  It’s mostly been work and studying.  I’m super excited about being back in school and am loving my first class.  I am working towards my certificate in Publishing at Ryerson University and my first class is Practical Grammar and Punctuation.  It may sound tedious and boring to some, but I’m enjoying it (I know, I’m a total geek).

I got in some cardio and strength training on Saturday morning, finally focusing on exercise as I said I would this week.  the weather on Saturday morning was beautiful—sunny with a cool breeze—and I couldn’t wait to get out there for a walk.  I power walked 30 minutes listening to some tunes and all felt right with the world.  I’m so happy the nice weather is here.  I love being outside and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.

I tried something different for my strength training session.  I recently came across Tone it Up! a website of strength training workouts by these two fabulous ladies Karena and Katrina.  I found them on YouTube which led me to their website.  They have great strength training workouts of various types and lengths (plus so much more – nutrition, tips and tricks, recipes, etc.).  They just started their summer Bikini Series so I did the total body Bikini Body workout.  Some of the moves were a little difficult for me, but if I couldn’t do something I just substituted a different exercise so I still got the full workout and benefits.

On the food side I did a little grocery shopping and stocked up for the week.  This week I’ll try and share with you some of the dishes I’ve been enjoying.  Right now I’m typically eating a lot of the same things every day, which some people may find boring but it works for me.  As I start to try out more recipes I’m sure my meals will become more diverse.  I say if something works, go for it.

I also indulged maybe a little too much this past weekend.  You let your guard down for one minute and suddenly there is a chocolate chip cookie in your mouth…and then another…and then…well let’s just say I learned my lesson.  Even though I ate a few things I probably shouldn’t have, I’m proud of the way I handled it.  I got right back up off the dirt and kept on moving.  No feeling sorry for this girl!!

28-day Challenge Week One Recap

Well here we are at Day 7!!  I made it through Week One and it was a pretty good one if I do say so myself.

The Highs

I think one of the best things this week was that I managed to keep my eating mostly on track.  I had a couple of—we’ll call them indiscretions—but for the most part I stuck to eating whole foods and stayed away from the processed and packaged junk.

The other good thing this week was that I think I stuck to my intention of showing up, at least when it came to eating.  I planned, I cooked and it worked in my favour because I had yummy, healthy eats available.

The Lows

The low this week was my utter lack of exercise.  I only got in one strength training workout this week and only about an hour of cardio.  It was something, but I’m going to try harder this coming week to make exercise a priority.

The other low was the bagel and cream cheese I ate at the train station on Day 6.  That was me just eating because I could and not because I needed to.  I thought about why I ate the bagel and the only thing I could come up with was that I felt like I deserved a reward.  I had just come from my first class at Ryerson that went really well and I’d been having a really great eating week.  When I emotionally eat, my brain doesn’t seem to distinguish between happy and unhappy.  When I’m unhappy, I’m eating to soothe, when I’m happy I’m eating to reward.

Week One Weigh In

Drum roll please……………………….I lost 6 lb!!  I’m very excited and going to use this as momentum to push ahead into week two.

Week Two Intention

My intention for week two is to move my body more.  I did a piss poor job of exercising this past week so I’m going to focus on that this week.  I’m looking forward to week two—incorporating more exercise and refining my eating a little more.  It’s going to be a great week!

28-day Challenge Day 5

I’m starting to revel in the little victories.  I’ve had a lot of them lately and they are starting to add up.

Yesterday my lunch plans fell though and because I had no lunch packed with me I needed to go and wade through the sea of food court food stalls looking for something to eat.  I made myself a promise that I wasn’t going to go out until I had a plan.  The plan was a whole wheat grilled chicken pita wrap with lots of veggies.  I got in, got the pita, and got out.  I stuck to the plan and felt great about that.

After work I had to go over to the Ryerson University campus to pick up some text books.  I’ve gone back to school to get my certificate in Publishing and my first class starts Tuesday (very excited!!!).  I walked from the office over to campus, which is about a 20 minute walk.  I was going to walk from campus to the train station to go home, but it would have been about a 30 to 35 minute walk and I was already so tired, I just wanted to get home.  I had ended up at campus a little longer than I had anticipated so it was 6:15pm before I caught the train home.  I stood in the train station looking at all the food stalls—Cinnabon, McDonalds, Tim Hortons, Mrs. Fields Cookies, Dairy Queen—and I was soooooo hungry!  But I thought really hard about all the progress I’ve made over the last five days and I just didn’t want to ruin it.  I grabbed a bottle of water and managed to hang on until I could get home and make myself something healthy to eat.

I think the lessons learned yesterday are about planning and being prepared.  Now I couldn’t foresee my lunch plans changing, but I did put a plan in place before I went to the food court.  I could easily have just said to hell with it and eaten whatever I wanted, but I didn’t.  I could have given in at the train station, but I didn’t (and frankly I even surprised myself with that one).  Going forward I’m going to start keeping some healthy snacks in my bag—an apple, some almonds and sunflower seeds, or even a protein bar.  Then I have some healthy options available all the time and I won’t be tempted to stuff my gob with double cheeseburgers.  Mmmmm… cheeseburgers………sorry…lost my train of thought there. 😉

I’m really looking forward to doing a weigh in on Thursday.  I’ve made some great progress this week and I’m excited to see if it will be reflected on the scale.  Even if it’s not, I still had some great victories. 🙂

28-day Challenge Day 4

I’ve written a lot about my eating over the last few days, but I haven’t written much about the fitness part of this 28-day challenge.  I’ve been procrastinating about working out.  Why?  Well I’ll tell you, but you have to promise to keep it to yourself.

I hate to exercise.

I wish I was the type of person who enjoyed it, but I just don’t.  When you’re my size, exercising is HARD.  It’s sweaty, uncomfortable and exhausting.  And that’s just getting my gym clothes on and my shoes done up.  I watch exercise DVD’s and get inspired thinking, “I can do this!!”  Then I try and it’s miserable for me.  I can’t do half the exercises, which leads me to quit trying.  I ultimately came to the conclusion that I’m just never going to enjoy exercise.

On Day 4 I did my first strength training workout, but again I was a little frustrated.  There are four exercises in the workout program for week one provided by Prevention Magazine.  I was able to do three of the four.  One of them, the Pilates Roll-up with Forward Fold, was really difficult for me.  I carry most of my weight in my stomach and I have back issues, so anything on the floor where I have to sit up is really difficult for me.

So there I am, laying on the floor in the living room, feeling ridiculous, wondering how I’m going to get through this if I can’t even do these simple exercises.  Then it occurred to me: modification.  Why don’t I just modify the exercises I can’t do into exercises I can do!  So that’s what I did.  I searched some of my favourite workout videos for exercises that worked the same muscle groups (in this case my core muscles) but that I could do without worry about hurting myself.  Problem solved—I got through the workout and felt great after I was done.

On the food side of things, I got creative in the kitchen and put together a simple tomato sauce of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, garlic, basil and oregano with wilted spinach.  I made some Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Wholegrain Pasta to go along with it and topped it with a little ricotta cheese.  YUM!!!  It turned out fantastic!  If you haven’t tried the Ezekiel pasta, I recommend trying it.  I wasn’t sure at first if I would like it, but I really did.  Plus it has 9 grams of protein and 7 grams of fibre in a 2 oz serving.  So I can have my pasta and eat it too. 🙂

Happy Monday and I hope everyone has a great week!