Jumping In and Landing Softly

Where does a girl start when she’s coming off of an injury (well, technically still injured), and wanting to get back to some healthy living?  Secret of Change QuoteShe starts at the beginning…by focusing on what she can do, and not what she can’t do.

It began with a trip to the grocery store.

I certainly haven’t been giving my health much thought over the last six weeks, at least that’s what the 10 lb I gained are telling me.  By filling myself with comfort food and laying around on the couch, I basically invited those 10 lb in and rented them a room in my apartment. But like any crazy, annoying roommate, I’m ready to kick them out.  Unfortunately, they won’t leave without a fight.

Over the weekend, still bogged down with pain in my leg from my sciatic nerve, I was thinking about how I could begin to get back into a healthy frame of mind.  I’m not able to do much in the exercise department right now, so my plan is to focus on food.  Without having to worry about fitting in workouts, or how many calories I’m burning, I can put all my attention on cleaning up my diet and learning to eat for energy and sustenance rather than pure pleasure.  Or because I’m sad.  Or lonely.  Or bored.  Or my shoe is untied.  Take your pick.

A couple of weeks ago I went out for coffee with my friend Christine, and we were discussing my blog.  She mentioned the 28-day Challenge I had completed back in May.  That was the Prevention Magazine Challenge in which I practiced clean eating clean and exercised for 28 days.  I mentioned to Christine that I lost 7 lb at the end of 28 days, and that it was the most weight I has lost since I started the blog.  Her response kind of stopped me in my tracks:

“If it was working so well, why did you stop?”

That’s a fantastic question!  Why did I stop?  I could have easily carried on with clean eating and kept the momentum going.  I keep thinking about going back to Weight Watchers, or joining Jenny Craig, or the doing the Southbeach Diet, or any one of a million different diets, hoping that one of them might work this time.  In the meantime I’ve been completely ignoring the one thing that DID work for me, which is eating clean.  The one thing that ISN’T as diet at all, but an overall way to eat for health and nutrition.

So, I went to the grocery store.  I stocked up on healthy foods I love and now I’m prepared to start moving towards learning more about eating clean.  I’ve got a couple of books to read, I’ve scoured the Internet for information, and I’m arming myself with all the information I need.  I’m making in my mission to educate myself about food and how it can help my body.

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Anger, Thy Name Is Victoria

The last two weeks have been, what I can only describe as, a complete disaster.

I injured my back, and just when I was starting to feel better, I took a turn for the worse and injured it further.  I spent the better part of four hours in the hospital, in the middle of the night, hoping like hell a doctor could make the intense pain go away.  I was prescribed medication, which made my feet swell up, made me tired all the time, and included a host of other symptoms I’m not going to share (trust me, you don’t want to know).  I’ve been in pain basically 24/7, parked on the couch, or a chair, or whatever piece of furniture was comfortable at the time (it changed daily), all while switching between ice and heat on my back (because what felt good changed daily as well).  I have been miserable, and moody, and whiney, and frankly I’m surprised my brother hasn’t moved out and left me here on my own.

You know what the worst part of all of this crap is?  I have no one to blame but myself.

I’m so angry at myself.  I’ve spent the last two weeks feeling sorry for myself:

  • My back hurts so I’m going to rest and watch TV for hours.
  • My back hurts so I’m going eat whatever I want to comfort myself.
  • My back hurts so I’m going to continue to eat whatever I want…

I know I was injured, and I know I needed to rest (which I did), and I know I needed some TLC (which I got), but I missed a golden opportunity here friends.  My weight factors into what happened to my back, and instead of trying to do something about it, I ate. And ate, and ate.  I haven’t weighed myself, but I’m sure I’ve gained like 10 lb in the last two weeks.  As a matter of fact, wait right here and I’ll go weigh myself.

Yep, ten pounds, boy did I call that.  I am now officially at the highest weight I have ever been.  😦

The question that now remains is: what am I going to so about it?  I’m going to take that anger—the sadness, the desperateness I’m feeling—and channel it into my health.  It’s on now, no holds barred.  I said that I was going to start asking for help, and I absolutely will.  I have friends who know fitness, I have friends who know food, I have friends who live healthy lifestyles who can teach me and inspire me to become the best me I can be.  Right now I don’t feel like best version of me, and I want that to change.

So today, is the day.

Today is the day I put all my excuses behind me and I go for it.  I’ll have limitations at first—my back is still healing, I’m still dealing with medication side effects—but I will do what I can until I can do more.  Then I’ll do more after that until I get where I want to be.

There is no turning back, so watch out.  Things are about to change.

What is My Excuse?

I haven’t blogged in awhile, I’ve been really busy, blah, blah, blah…you know the drill (we’ve been down this road so many times before).

Last night I got a chance to come up for a bit of air after a long and busy week, and I started thinking about all the things I’m not doing that I should be doing.

  • I’m not taking my workouts seriously (if working out at all).
  • I’m not thinking about what I’m eating before I eat it.
  • I’m not practicing good sleep hygiene (which is essential for me, because I’m a terrible sleeper).
  • I’m not treating myself with kindness.

Why do I always put myself last on the list?  Why do I always put other people’s needs ahead of my own?  Am I just to nice?  Am I a pushover? (I don’t think so).  Am I destined to look and feel this way for the rest of my life?

When it comes right down to it, I really have very little in the way of excuses to not be doing what I’m suppose to be doing—living a healthy life so I will have a healthy, fit body and an abundance of energy.  I don’t have a husband, I don’t have children—it’s just me, I am responsible only for me.  Not that either of those things should or would stop anyone from living a healthy life, what I’m saying is there are others who have WAY more on their plate than I do and still manage to live a healthy lifestyle.  Instead of feeling healthy and energetic, most days I feel like an old, deflated, worn out soccer ball.

The truth is, it’s difficult to live a healthy life because it’s so easy not to.  It’s easy to hit the snooze button, roll over and go back to sleep, but it’s difficult to dig deep, get up and workout.  It’s easy to eat three donuts (because they taste so damn good and they’re sitting right there, mocking you), but it’s difficult to make the decision to forgo the sweets and eat something healthy.

Temptation is everywhere and every time I give in I feel weak.

But I’m going to be strong because for me, giving up is not an option.  I just need to find my motivation!

My Motivation to Practice Healthy Living

  1. I want to have a healthy, fit body and mind.
  2. I want to have ENERGY!
  3. I want to feel good in my skin.
  4. I want to have a healthy, fit body and mind heading into my later years (which some days I feel are rapidly approaching, I assure you).

These are the reasons to get up in the morning and workout, these are the reasons to forgo the donut and eat the salad, these are the reasons to stop making excuses and start taking my health SERIOUSLY!  NO EXCUSES!!

There, end rant.  I feel better now.  I think I’ll go workout 🙂

Oh Yes I’m the Great Pretender

I’m going to come clean, folks.  I’ve been living a lie and I can’t take it anymore.  I need to get this deception off my chest, and even though people may judge me for it, I’m willing to deal with that.  OK, no more stalling…here it is:

I hate oatmeal.

I know, it’s not that striking a revelation but it’s the truth nonetheless.  I really do hate it.  I know I’m suppose to like it—it’s good for me, it’s full of fiber—but seriously I just don’t.  It’s mushy and gross and tastes like pre-chewed cardboard.  (I don’t know what pre-chewed cardboard tastes like, but if I had to imagine it, oatmeal is the closest thing I could think of).  Unless this oatmeal is coming to me in cookie form with chocolate chips, I’m not interested.

“But wait Victoria!” I hear you saying, and I know what you’re going to tell me.  Try preparing it a different way—add apples, or cinnamon, or almonds, or Fruit Loops!!  Trust me, I have tried preparing it 57 different ways (although probably not very healthy, the Fruit Loops option does sound intriguing) and I just can’t do it any more.  Nothing tastes good.  I have been choking it down in the morning for breakfast not because I want to, but because I feel like I have to and I say no more.  NO MORE I SAY!

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we insist on eating things that we hate just because they are good for us?  It ends up not being healthy and in the long run certainly doesn’t aid in weight loss (if that’s what you’re aiming for).  I’m miserable when I have to eat things I don’t enjoy (ex. cooked carrots and cantaloupe to name a couple) and I grow resentful that I can’t have what I want.  All just for the sake of more nutrients and better health.  I think you definitely see this come into play on a lot of diets that restrict foods.  You’re not left with many alternatives and therefore forced to eat what is left on your food list, even if you don’t enjoy it.  How could anyone possibly enjoy that?

Today, I am officially putting an end to this madness.  Mark your calendars friends, from this day forward, June 2, 2014, I will no longer eat foods I don’t like just because they are good for me!  I will search for alternatives, research recipes, and try new foods all in the name of keeping my sanity.  Grocery shopping and preparing food will no longer be drudgery, it will be a joyous occasion when we sing and dance and…ok wait, sorry, I got a little carried away there.  The point it, it’s gonna be good 🙂

Are there foods you’re eating that you HATE but are consuming just because they are good for you or provide some sort of healthy benefit?  Are there alternatives you could seek out?  Share with me and leave a comment below!

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!! 🙂