A Life Update

No oneI haven’t really written a life update recently.  I notice my blogs seem to be almost more formal sometimes.  I think I need to get back to the blogs where I just ramble…they are much more fun to write (and I’m sure to read!)

There has been a lot going on the last couple of weeks.  The two most significant things revolve around my job and my confidence in myself.  So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Let’s start with the meaty stuff – my confidence!  Over the last few weeks I’ve really been thinking a lot about how I feel about myself—what I look like, my personality, what I believe, and how other people see me.  There were a couple of occasions over the last few weeks where I was put into the awkward position of having to face some not-so-nice comments hurled in my direction in regards to my weight.  I’m not going to go into specifics, other than to say that my feelings were hurt, as they easily are.  I’m a pretty sensitive person, but that doesn’t justify having to endure hurtful comments.

As I said, this happened a couple of times over the last few weeks.  The first time I was just hurt and sad.  It’s hard when the people you think are on your side show their true colours.  Remember when I wrote about the guy on the street who mooed at me?  That was nothing compared to this.  The second time hurt even more, but it led to me having an a-ha moment about myself. It’s a moment I wished I’d had so long ago, but one that I’m glad finally penetrated my thick skull.

It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me.  It only matters what I think of me.

The truth is I am a beautiful girl.  I’m smart, I’m caring, I’m funny, and I’m good friend.  I’m also overweight, but that isn’t a character flaw.  It’s just a fact.  And I’m tired of some people acting like if I’m not thin I couldn’t possibly amount to anything.  The unfortunate part is that for the longest time I bought into it.  That because I’m fat, I’m somehow less than everyone else.  I’m just sorry it took me most of my adult life for that to sink in – despite friends trying to convince me otherwise.  I guess sometimes you just have to come to these realizations on your own and in your own time.

The other significant, although less meaty item is that I am officially a telecommuter!  I am now working from home five days a week.  Same job, just no commute (unless you count the stumble from the bedroom to my desk each morning).  I have to say, I was somewhat apprehensive about working from home on a permanent, full-time basis, and I guess maybe I kind of still am.  I definitely need to get myself into some kind of routine.  When I first found out I was going to be working from home full-time, all I could think about were the negative aspects—by myself, all day, lonely, putting in longer hours because I wouldn’t have to commute—but upon further reflection I think I have a really amazing opportunity here.  This could be the opportunity to really get a leg up on taking care of me and putting myself first.  I can definitely make time for exercise everyday.  I can make myself healthy meals and not worry about eating out in food courts at lunch or having to drag a lunch with me to work. The possibilities are endless.  This is going to be a great!!

One last little update for you—my back and left leg are finally starting to feel better.  After a few weeks of physiotherapy and some very painful acupuncture treatments, things are finally starting to look up.  Walking long distances can still be difficult, and I do have to deal with daily leg pain from my sciatic nerve, but I’m optimistic that with further physiotherapy soon I’ll be as good as new!

Ciao for now friends!

 

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.

Link

Dealing with Injury

I have had my fair share of injuries in my 39 years on this planet.

Although I’m happy to say I’ve never broken a bone (which frankly shocks me given my propensity for falling down), but I have managed to injure myself on many occasions, from sprained ankles all the way to muscle pulls in my back.  My current back injury; however, is probably the worst injury I’ve had, the most pain I’ve ever been in, and taken the longest to bounce back from.

Last week I went out for breakfast with my parents.  My leg was particularly sore, and I was hobbling around with my cane in a pretty miserable mood; and when Victoria is in a mood, everyone is going to know about it (what can I say, I have a flair for the dramatic). I made a comment about being confined at home, unable to go very far because of my inability to walk and my father, being the very straight forward person that he is said “Feeling a little sorry for yourself are we?” It needed to be said, because over those past couple of weeks since I hurt my back I had really been down in the dumps.

Strategies for Dealing with Injuries

They say hindsight is 20/20, so I thought I’d share a few ideas for how to deal with being injured that I wish I’d know before I hurt myself.  Some things I’m doing now, some things I should have done right from the beginning.  But hey, we live and we learn!

Be sad, but don’t be sad for too long
Everyone is entitled to feel badly when they are hurt.  I certainly did.  I was in pain, barely able to move and I turned that into a sad, pity fest.  It was ok for a little while, but you know what? It didn’t make me feel better, in fact it made me feel worse, to the point where I was just disgruntled and sad about everything.  Not good.  You can be upset about your circumstances, just don’t let it take over your life.

Ask for help
When I first injured my back, I tried so hard to do things on my own, determined to not have to rely on anyone for help.  Yeah, that lasted for about 5 minutes.  One night I had dropped something on the floor, and tried desperately to find a way to get down to pick it up.  My brother walked over to where I was and said “you know, you could just ask for help”.  So, I did.  Turns out it’s not that hard and now I’m actually pretty good at it.  I even had to ask my brother to put my socks on for me last week…now that’s love!

Embrace alternatives
Since I had hurt my back a few times before, I started in quickly with the steps I normally take when I pull a muscle in my back—heat, ice, rest, anti-inflammatory pills—and after awhile it usually does the trick.  This time though, my tired and true remedies weren’t cutting it.  I bit the bullet and went to see my doctor who prescribed physiotherapy over massage therapy, much to my dismay.  Physiotherapy isn’t something I’ve been through before, but now that I have a few session under my belt, I’m glad I followed the doctor’s advice and went.  It’s going to help me in the long run and be preventative.  As it turns out, my physiotherapy includes a massage therapy component, as well as an acupuncture component—something I’ve also never tried before. Be open to trying things you’ve never done before that might help.  Acupuncture isn’t something I have ever been interested in or knew much about, but hey, it can’t hurt to try!!

Patience is a virtue
I am not a patient person.  Seriously, I want my back fixed and I want it fixed now.  But that is not happening, and it has been very frustrating for me.  Especially now that I’m doing physiotherapy, I want to see results fast, but that’s just not how it works.  This injury has been a big lesson in patience for me.  Being impatient about healing and the progress I’m making just stresses me out, so I’m trying hard to just go with the flow.  As much as healing is in my hands, there is a big part that is really out of my hands, and I just have to rely on my body to do its thing…at whatever pace it wants.

Overcoming injury certainly isn’t easy, but these lessons have certainly made it a bit easier for me.  Everyday I’m one step closer to healthy.

Injury Update and Back to Blogging

Hi friends!  Sorry I’ve been such an absentee blogger lately, but truthfully other than lying around and  bellyaching over my back injury, I haven’t been doing very much.  If you’re just joining our program, allow me to catch you up.

At the end of July, through complete fault of my own, I managed to pull the muscles in my lower back.  While I was doing laundry one Sunday afternoon I reached back to grab my laundry cart, twisted the wrong way, and proceeded to belt out a string on obscenities that would make Denis Leary blush.  After a lot of intense pain, doctors appointments, and an emergency room visit, I basically spent the better part of the last four weeks in a drug induced haze trying to numb the pain and heal.

While my lower back muscles have finally healed, I am still suffering from nerve pain in my left leg, which has been diagnosed as a bulging disk.  The disks in your spine act as cushions between your vertebrae.  A bulging disk means that the disk is extending outside of the space it normally would.  That “bulge” is pressing on my sciatic nerve, causing pain in my left leg from my hip to my ankle.

While I am still in pain, the pain is not nearly as bad as it was earlier on.  I’m off the hard drugs now, I’m walking (sometimes with the assistance of a cane—it depends on how far I have to go), and I’m back at work (part-time working from home, part-time working in the office).  I’ve just started physiotherapy, which I’ll blog about a little, and on Wednesday I’m going to try acupuncture for the first time, which I’ll blog about as well.  I’m equal parts nervous and excited about the acupuncture, and really just interested to see what kind of results I get.  Hey, at this point, I’ve got nothing to lose!

Needless to say, not much has been going on in the way of healthy living.  It’s hard to want to eat healthy when all you want is comfort and when you can barely walk, let alone exercise, it’s pretty frustrating.  Too much take out and comfort food has definitely been my downfall.  I was beating myself up about it for a while there, but in the end I found it wasn’t doing much good.  It only added to the stress of being injured and making me more angry at myself.  To say I’ve been harbouring a bit of anger is probably an understatement.  I thought coming back to blogging would help me work through some of that anger and help get me back up off the mat.  I may have been knocked down, but I’m not out.

Happy Labour Day everyone…here’s to the start of September, and a fabulous fall season (I love autumn, I’m so excited!!).

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Yes friends, I hurt my back.  Again.

This time I was innocently doing laundry on Sunday.  I twisted the wrong way when I was moving my laundry basket and BAM…back spasm.  I’ve been down for the count ever since, only today finally starting to feel some relief.  Though I’m sure it will still be a few more days before I’m totally back to normal (actually scratch that, I’ll never be normal 😉 ).

I know why this keeps happening; why I am always at odds with my back.  It’s because of my weight.  I carry my excess weight in my stomach, and my back is constantly compensating for the extra weight.  I’ve always known this, but guess I’ve always kind of tried to ignore it.  That was until yesterday, when I just couldn’t ignore it any longer.

Yesterday I was in some pretty severe pain.  Nothing was making me feel better—not heat, or ice, or drugs—all I felt was pain.  It was one of those times when I’m so uncomfortable all I can do is cry.  But this crying wasn’t just because it hurt, I was crying because I was angry at myself for letting my weight get this out of control.  I’ve had opportunity after opportunity to do something about it, but I’ve just never tried hard enough.

I made a pretty bold statement to my brother today.  He picked me up after work and as we were driving I said to him:

“I’m ready to make a serious commitment to doing something about my weight.”

The weird part?  I actually meant it.

The best part?  I’ve started by asking for help.

I’ve never been good at asking for help.  I like to be the one who people come to for help, not the other way around.  But in this instance, I definitely need to call in reinforcements.  Over the last year lots of friends have offered their help to set me up on the track to success, but I always thought I just needed to do it on my own.  Lesson learned.

So over the next few weeks I’ll write more about how I’m asking for the help I need to get to the place I want to be: healthy.

“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on “going it alone.” Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.” Brené Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Suppose to Be and Embrace Who You Are 

 

Back At It

Yesterday marked my first day back to the gym in…well, let’s just say it’s been a long time.

I wandered over to my local Goodlife gym on Monday to start getting my flab into tip-top shape. I actually like my gym because they have a women’s only workout area. It’s not that I dislike working out in front of men; I just find working out in the women’s area slightly less intimidating. I say slightly because there are some honest-to-God, fantastically fit women at my gym. I used to look at these women and think “I will never look like that.” However, yesterday all I could think was “I can’t wait to look like that!” That thought was immediately followed by “Crap, what do I need to do to look like that?”

Working out has always been difficult for me, basically because I’m impatient. I want to see results and I want to see them quickly, and when I don’t, I start to get discouraged. I have PROMISED myself that I’m not going to do that this time. Rather than be dependent on the results, I’m want to focus on the process. Exercise has SO MANY other benefits besides weight loss:

  • more energy
  • better mental clarity
  • increase in endorphins (yay happy feelings!)
  • boost self-confidence
  • better sleep
  • better sex life (um, yes please!)

Leagally Blonde

 

When I look at that list I think “Why wouldn’t I want to exercise?” I have three words for you peeps:

IT’S FREAKIN’ HARD!! (and “freakin’” was not my first word choice by the way 😉 )

Exercising as an overweight person sucks. It might even suck as a fit person, I don’t know, I’ve never really been fit, but I doubt it does. Having to lug weights around on top of the body weight I already carry is exhausting. But enough of my complaining! What are we going to do about it!??

SUCK IT UP!  Yes, it’s hard, and yes I was tired when it was over.  But you know what?  It was a good tired (as my brother says).  I had this fantastic sense of accomplishment when I was finished.  I cam home, showered, and headed to bed feeling quite proud of myself!

My brother and I have talked about how I feel when I overeat.  To remember that awful, hideous feeling the next time I feel like stuffing my face in the hopes that it will remind me that if I over indulge I am sure to feel like crap.  I’m going to do the same with the feeling I get after I go to the gym.  Remembering—on those days when I am feeling lazy and don’t want to go workout—how amazing and accomplished I’ll feel when I’ve gone out there and worked towards what I want.  Take that fat.

 

A Fresh Start

A fresh start.  I’ve uttered these words a million times…I’m hoping this time is the last time.Nick Horby Quote

(Notice I said hoping—I’m so commitment-phobic.)

In all honesty, I thought seriously about making Saturday’s post my last—shutting down the blog, shutting my mouth, and never talking about my weight again—but I received so many kind words from friends who care about me, letting me know how much I’m loved and how awesome they think I am.  I also heard from people who I reached out to tell me how much they enjoy reading the blog.   It made me stop and take some time on Sunday to think hard about what my next move should be.

In the last while, I have really lost sight of what it is that I want—why I’m trying to lose weight and what it is that I want to achieve.  I’m constantly shoving my priorities aside to make room for other things, namely work.  I don’t want to do that anymore.  I want my priorities to come first.  I came up with a few ideas to get me back on track and put what I want front and center.

What do I want to achieve?

  • I want to get my body to a healthy weight.  I want to have lots of energy, I want to sleep better, I want to enjoy the body I live in.

What are my priorities?

  • Fueling my body with healthy, good-for-me food
  • Exercising to gain and keep strength and endurance
  • Keeping my stress-level down and my energy up.

How will I do this?

  • Weekly grocery shopping and food prep—Sunday’s will be my day to shop and prep my food for the week.
  • Back to clean eating—limit processed food and junk food in my diet—I’m not going to say I’ll never indulge again, but
  • Bringing my lunch to work and limit the amount of meals I eat out.
  • Scheduling my workouts—treating these as appointments that are non-negotiable.  Unless we’re facing Armageddon I’m working out.
  • Getting back to my daily meditations—I really miss this.  I find that daily meditations, just 20 minutes a day, really keep me calm and centred.
  • Lastly—and most importantly—stop talking about and JUST DO IT ALREADY!

There, now I have a plan.  Actually, just getting that all down makes me feel so much better.  Ready to go forth and conquer!

 

A Sweaty Mess

There are many types of women in the word—short, tall, fat, thin, rational, psychotic—each unique in their own way.  Some women are gentle and delicate.  They won’t walk, they float; they don’t sweat, they glisten.  They are graceful and beautifully feminine.

Then there is me.

Not so gentle, definitely not delicate; I stomp around like a bull in a china shop and I sweat…unfortunately.  Allow me to paint you a picture…

I had been in a hurry all day at work on Tuesday—edit this document, attend this meeting, update this schedule—it was a relentless day.  In addition to this work related craziness, I was writing my midterm exam that evening for the grammar and punctuation class I  am taking.  My brain was all over the place trying to concentrate on work and remember the verb tense for the subjunctive mood.  Yes, verbs have moods.  I can totally relate.

My plan was to leave work early so I could get to my exam a little early, relax and cram a bit before the test started.  Yeah, not so much.  “Victoria can you look at this?  Victoria can you send me document XYZ?”  Hey dudes, can you leave me alone for five minutes so I can try and remember what a pronoun-antecedent agreement is?  After work I ended up rushing to my class and was in quite the state (read: chaos personified) by the time I arrived.  Here’s a simple little equation:

Southern Ontario humidity + fat girl running to class = sweaty mess

So there I am—heavy breathing, furrowed brow, shirt clinging to me (and not in a hot, sexy way…no, no, no, no, no)—trying desperately to remember what an appositive noun is (please don’t ask because I still can’t remember) while I write my three-hour exam.

So now my exam is finished and because I’m possibly the slowest test taker in the world, it takes me all three hours plus about 10 extra minutes my teacher gave me (because she’s super cool).  Now I need to rush to catch my train home.  I run to the subway station and miss the subway that is just pulling in.  Why you ask?  Because I got my bag caught in the turnstile.  Yeah…that is so how I role.  I am truly a comedy of errors.

I catch the next subway and finally get to the train station and of course the train I happened to be catching is boarding on the furthest track from where the subway let me off.  A quick shout out to anyone who works or knows someone who works for GO Transit—and I say this with love—there are 15 different tracks available at Union Station, why in the name of all that is holy do you make me run to the other side of the station?  WHY??

So I run—heart racing, heavy breathing—to the other side of the station and up not one but TWO flights of stairs to catch my train.  Anyone want to take a stab at what I looked like at the end of this little marathon?  Anyone?  Bueller?    SWEATY MESS.  I also think I may have had a mild heart attack, but I’m nota doctor so I can’t verify that for sure.

I board the train and I take  my seat…wait, what is that I feel?  Could it be?  Sweet mother of…it’s air conditioning!  Sweaty mess, meet your salvation.  A cool silver lining in what was a crazy sweaty day.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be that graceful, delicate, non-sweaty girl—my instincts tell me no—but maybe that’s ok.  The world needs all kinds of different women, even ones who are a sweaty mess I suppose. 😉

 

 

 

 

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!