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 

 

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 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!

Take Care and Be Well

Hello friends!  How have you been?  A number of people have reminded me in the last few days that I haven’t posted recently, so I thought I best get myself to the computer and get some writing done!

There is a saying that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, and that has certainly been the case for me this month.  I’ve had some stressful work deadlines, sickness, and definitely some general malaise from this crap-tastic weather we have been having here in Southern Ontario.  So while I typically enjoy March (it’s my birthday month!) I can honestly say I’m not sorry to see this one come to and end.

[Note: today is the first day that the temperature is actually above +5°C and the sun is shining, so perhaps Mother Nature’s attitude is starting to improve]

It’s just like life to throw a bunch of things at you all at once, as if to say, “Hehehe, let’s see how she handles this!”  What I thought would be a relatively easy month at work, turned into a crazy stressful few weeks with multiple deadlines and lots of overtime. Of course as soon as my deadlines were complete I got sick.  I shouldn’t be surprised though.  Throughout all of the stress and craziness at work, I spent more time worrying about deadlines and not enough time taking care of myself.

Although we should obviously take care of ourselves all the time, it’s in those busy, stressful, and maddening moments that we need to take care of ourselves the most. 

I know that sounds crazy, right?  You’re thinking, “I’m super busy and stressed out, I just want to get though it and be done with it.”  That was exactly my mindset too; I’ll just power though and do what I need to do and take care of myself later.  Well guess what kids? Later came and I ended up having to take extra time to get myself healthy (and I’m still battling this cold).

I put together a list of things you can do to help keep yourself going during those moments of craziness—all the things that I SHOULD have done, but will definitely remember to do the next time life becomes too erratic.

1.  Try and keep some routines

When you’re busy you may not be able to keep all your daily routines, but you should definitely try not to break too many.  Eat your breakfast, take your vitamins, go for a walk, don’t break that scheduled date night with your partner—those little things can go along way in making those stressful days feel a little calmer.

2.  Give yourself room to breathe

I used to give presentations for an organization I volunteered with and when I first started giving the presentations I would stand up at the front and speak sentence after sentence after sentence, just trying to get out everything I wanted to say.  During one presentation, a mentor of mine was standing at the back of the room when she held up a sign that said “BREATHE”.  I would forget to breathe.  How does someone forget to breathe?  You’re busy, the adrenaline is pumping, you want to get things finished and it’s just go time.  Suddenly you look up and hours have flow by, and you can’t remember where the time went or when the last time was that you looked up from your task.  Stop, take a 30 seconds and just breathe.

3.  Just say no

I have a hard time saying no.  I’m very conscious of not wanting to disappoint people.  Sometimes though, you just have to say no to some things.  You know on flights when they tell you in case of an emergency to secure you’re own oxygen mask first before helping someone else?  If you can’t help yourself first, you’re not going to be good to anyone else.  Sometimes that means saying no.

4.  Be realistic

You aren’t perfect.  None of us are.  You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve got.  You’re got 24 hours in a day and only two hands.  Remember to do what you can and do your best – that’s all anyone can really ask of you.

5.  Make a plan

When things start to get crazy and chaotic the more I need to sit down and formulate a plan.  I know the feeling and what starts to happen – my desk gets messy, I try to complete multiple tasks at once (none of them very well I might add), and I start to become forgetful.  It’s right at that moment that I know I need to stop, clean up my desk, make a list of the things I need to get done and formulate a plan to get there.  It takes 15 minutes, but it sets the tone for better productivity and fewer mistakes.

6.  Sleep

If there is one thing that I need to get more of it is sleep.  When I’m busy, this is usually the first thing that I sacrifice when in reality it should be the very LAST thing I sacrifice (if at all).  Not getting enough sleep makes me tired, irritable, sluggish, etc., etc…  It’s only in the last few years that I have some to understand exactly how important sleep is, so I cannot express this one enough.  SLEEP!

7.  Eat well

It is so easy to slip into a pattern of eating poorly when you’re busy, or getting into the mentality that you deserve “treats” for all your hard work.  Trust me, I know.  Eating is my go to stress relief and the last few weeks were no exception.  I started skipping breakfast and got too busy to make my lunch for work, opting instead to grab something at the food court (always a disaster).  If you know you have a particularly busy time coming up, why not pre-make some food?  Grill some chicken and make a big salad, that way you always have good, healthy food on hand.

 

As Maya Angelou says, “When you know better, you do better.”  Now you and I both know better.  Let’s do better.  🙂

Onwards and upwards to April I say!  I’m looking forward to some warmer weather, getting in some walks and breathing in some fresh springtime air.

Super-spectacular Meltdown Week

The last couple of weeks have not been great. I’ve been struggling with my eating, not getting any exercise, and am generally unhappy with the way I’ve been (or not been) handling my health. All of this led to a spectacular meltdown Monday afternoon. I tend to keep things bottled up inside, until BLAM! I can’t take it anymore and all the toxic stuff inside comes spewing forth like an emotional volcano. Villagers take cover…she’s gonna blow.

(This is going to be a rant by the way, so if you’re not interested in listening to me complain for a couple of paragraphs, you can skip this post 🙂 )

Let’s start with dairy. DAIRY!! Why didn’t one of you tell me how hard it is to give up dairy?? It’s everywhere taunting me, mocking me. I have dreams of swimming in cheese sauce, while cows float by on rafts. I’ve slipped up a few times, but I’m trying to stay on track.

Next is my general eating, which has been—out of control sounds harsh—but basically that’s it in a nut shell. Food consumes my thoughts on a regular basis, and definitely way more than it should:

What time is it? Do I need to eat?
How many calories are in that?
What should I have for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
How much fat is in that?
Have I eaten enough today?
Should I skip dinner since I ate a big lunch?
Fuck it, pass me the Doritos.

And on, and on, and on…the cycle in my head never stops. It’s exhausting. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think eating should be this hard. I’m probably the most frustrated I’ve been in a while and I honestly don’t know what to do.

Then there is this weather issue…COLD! SNOW! COLD!!! I am so unmotivated to go anywhere and do anything other than go to the office and home. I feel like a bear in hibernation mode.

These are sob stories…I know. There are people way worse off than me, and I’m just complaining, but if someone out there is wondering how hard and frustrating it is to lose weight then read no further. This is the real deal, and I’m tired of pretending like I have my shit together and everything is going well. It’s not. It sucks on a pretty regular basis. I read these amazing success stories every day of people who have persevered and lost the weight and got themselves healthy. All I think is why can’t I do that? What glitch is there inside my brain that just won’t let me do what I’m supposed to do to lose the weight. I mean, I’m a smart girl, and I’ve got the resources to do it, but for some reason I just can’t get things to click.

My meltdown yesterday got directed towards my friend Dave, who patiently listened to me vent and then calmly told me two things:

  1. Losing weight is hard. It’s physiological and psychological. It’s like trying to beat an addiction.
  2. You need to try to go easier on yourself.

How quickly we forget – that was my one and only resolution for 2014. Go easy on myself. If I could just learn that lesson, I bet everything else would fall into place. Maybe that’s the click I need.

Ah Sugar Sugar…

classic_lgThere is nothing so lovely as the promise of food to soothe my aching soul.

A tad dramatic, but stick with me on this…

Food is my go-to choice for emotional comfort—happy or sad mind you—it can mend my most broken of hearts and reward my greatest triumphs.  There is one specific little food-type vixen, however, that can set my heart a flutter like no other.

Sugar.  You saucy little minx…

Whether she’s hiding in a carb-loaded macaroni and cheese, or spooned into a cup of tea in its most refined, granular state, I love all her forms.  Especially when I’ve had a bad day (I told you I was going somewhere with this).

I started back to work this week after a two-week, much deserved, I-have-to-get-out-of-this-office-before-I-curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-under-my-desk vacation.  Why on earth do I ever think that I’ll be able to ease back into work with a stroll rather than a sprint?  I never learn.

Yesterday and today were both filled with chaos-induced stress and ended with me in the office this evening until 7 pm. “Why, Victoria, why?”, you may be asking yourself, “why would you stay in the office so late?”. Some people tell me I’m crazy, others tell me I’m dedicated to my job.  I think I fall somewhere square in the middle…but I digress.

As I was packing up to leave the office, my mind was only on one thing – FOOD!  Ahhhh…COMFORT!!  Come to mama!!  Time Horton’s for donuts?  McDonald’s for a Quarter Pounder??  No..No…Cinnabon!!!  Sweet, sugary goodness all wrapped up in a convenient to-go box—they think of everything those Cinnabon people—and as luck would have it there is a Cinnabon on the way home at the train station.  Hallelujah!!

I made my way out of the -38°C polar vortex (thank you for teaching me that term this morning Al Roker) and into the warm train station.  So, here’s the thing about Cinnabon—it has a very obvious aroma.  Some might call it a dream-like state for your nostrils.  This sugar and cinnamon bouquet, however, does not stay contained within the walls of Cinnabon itself-no, no, no, no, no, no-it wafts throughout the entire train station, and proceeds to slap you in the face as you walk through the doors.  So even if you wanted to avoid it, there’s not a polar vortex’s chance in hell that’s going to happen.

Check the clock, 15 minutes until my train departs…check the Cinnabon, no line-up…at last the fates are aligned, destiny has taken my hand, mercy is for the weak!!! (ok, I may have watched the Karate Kid over the weekend, ignore that last part).  I meander over and stand in front of the Cinnabon, coming face-to-face with my arch nemesis.  It’s now-or-never, do-or-die time.  As I stand there, it suddenly occurs to me that I don’t have to do this.  I’ve been eating well this week, I’m back to the gym tomorrow morning, why do I want to ruin this?  Why, Victoria WHY???

The truth is I don’t want to ruin this, I was just momentarily blinded by Sugar and her promise of feel-good endorphins and mouth-watering deliciousness.  What she always fails to mention though is that the mouth-watering deliciousness quickly turns into an unhappy belly.  Oh and those feel-good endorphins?  Yeah they get pushed off a cliff by their good friend depressed sugar coma.  So what starts out as a rockin’ good time, quickly turns into Victoria laying on the couch moaning “why do I do this to myself?”.  Why indeed Victoria, why indeed.

So what do I do??  I’m standing there, 5 minutes left on the clock, unhappy, hungry, and worst of all desperate—and ain’t no one making a good choice when they are desperate.  I do a 180, searching for an answer, and behind me lies my salvation—a little sandwich shop.  Before I know it I’m standing in front of said shop ordering a turkey and veg on whole grain and a bottle of water.  Whole Grain Bread!  Vegetables!!  Water!!!  I have control…I have the POWER!!

Take that Sugar-bitch…there’s a new sheriff in town.

So what started as a completely crazy day and slowly morphed into what could have been a day in which I completely sabotaged myself, turned out ok.  Victoria got fed, felt better, and didn’t let good ol’ Sugar get the best of her.

Until me meet again my friend…until we meet again.

Two Steps Forward One Step Back

I like to get things going.  I love making plans and starting off on the right foot.  I’m an idea girl!!  Grand plans trickle from my brain—

“I’m going to walk 5 km every day this week, and I’m going to paint the whole apartment in three days, and I’m going to go back to school…and then, and then….”

Sometimes I have a hard time with the execution part.  OK, a lot of the time.

I can be a bit of a procrastinator (as evidenced by my failed attempt at blogging for Blogtember), and sometimes what sounded good in my head two days ago, now sounds crazy.  I don’t exactly know what happens in those two days, but somehow my brain wakes up and says “Forget it!!”  Sometimes I seriously wonder if I have some mild form of attention deficit disorder.  Focus Victoria, FOCUS!

Other times though I feel like life is somehow conspiring against me.  This week for example—I wrote a great post on Sunday about not giving up and read some great comments from people who were so amazingly supportive.  I was charged up and ready to go!!  On Monday I followed my eating plan, drank plenty of water, and went for a nice long walk with my Dad.  Way to start the week off right!  Monday evening before I went to bed I felt a little off.  Kind of tired and a little achy, and my throat was scratchy.  Fast forward eight hours and I’m waking up to a sore throat, stiff body and I can barely will myself out of bed.  I’m sick!!!  By end of day Tuesday I had an ear infection and a fever.  Why is it that just when I get myself moving forward I get pushed back down!

We’re now at Thursday and I’m still feeling pretty rough, though better than I was earlier in the week.  I’m going to get back to my walking this weekend and enjoy this gorgeous fall weather we have been having in Southern Ontario!  Beautiful sunny, crisp fall days…I can’t stand missing any more of them.  I can’t let a little sickness slow me down.

Things are pretty busy in my world right now…work is off the charts crazy, I’ve just started Blog School (learning everything I need to about the big, wide world of blogging), working on my writing, and trying to make myself a priority all at the same time.  FOCUS!! 🙂