Saturday, August 27, 2011

We're home!

Oh it feels good to be home!  We drove from Halifax to Toronto yesterday - that's right, 20 1/2 hours in one day.  It was hella long but worth it; sleeping in my own bed last night was amazing!

Also amazing was our week in Halifax.  What a beautiful city!  Also, what a beautiful part of the country and what a beautiful drive.  I'll share some pictures and stories soon, but right now we have to go pick up our kitty!  I've missed her so much!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pre-vacation update

Since we're heading out at 6 am tomorrow and I'm at work today and I'm still not packed, there's not much time to post before we leave. major development happened today and I must share:


That's right, another one bites the dust!  I still have two more to go, one each with CIBC and the National Student Loan Service Centre, but I'm well on track with those ones.  The next one to pay off is the CIBC loan, as it's the lowest balance of the remaining two. 

Here's where I stand:

CIBC: $3,985.55
NSLSC: $5,849.54
TOTAL: $9,835.09

You know, it's kind of amazing to see this figure below $10,000.  And it feels so good to be on track!  It's also a nice feeling to feel so good about my loans before vacation; makes me feel less guilty about the spending we'll be doing over the next week (but it's money we have saved, so it's not like I'll be compromising my payments because I want lobster).

Okay, back to work now.  Our travel companions are arriving tonight around 8 pm and the Beau is off today to do the last-minute things, but I'm hoping to get out of work early today so I can help him out and, you know, pack and stuff. 

See y'all in a week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

About those numbers...

So, remember the numbers I posted about awhile back?  Well, I've got a different perspective on those numbers now.  I just got back from seeing my doctor and when I told him I was keeping a food journal, he directed me to My Fitness Pal to log what I eat and how much I work out. 

Upon returning to my desk (armed with a salad for lunch, as much out of guilt as out of a desire to eat well) I signed up and got some different information.

To lose a pound a week, I have a daily limit of 1,520 calories.  Much lower than the approximate 2,000 I was given before.  I also have to work out five times a week for an hour to be able to eat that much; if I work out less, I eat less.  This feels a little daunting but I'll see how it goes.  The most important part is going to be seeing the calorie totals from what I eat.  There's also a mobile app for my Blackberry, so even while I'm on vacation next week I'll be able to log what I eat.  Next week could be scary.

BUT - if I keep at this and maintain these targets, I should be down 5 lb by the end of September, which would make me very happy!

Plank-a-day: 16/18

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #22

If there's one thing I've learned about myself while trying to lose weight, it's that I have trouble keeping the losing momentum going.  Last week, I was down 4 lb; this week, well....

192.2 lb

So it's four steps forward, one step back.  I really am good at this yo-yo-ing thing.  But on the bright side, it's two weeks now that I've kept 3 lb off, so that's good.

I also can't seem to quiet this voice in the back of my head saying, "Maybe 190-ish lb is where you should be."  I'm not going to throw in the towel yet though; I've still got 4 1/2 months left in the year to see where I can be.  And I've got about six weeks to hit my first goal of being 180 lb at the end of September.  So 3 lb over two weeks actually isn't the worst pace to be on.  If I keep that up, I'll hit my goal right on time!

Plank-a-day: 15/17 (and still at 30 seconds)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So, how's your Tuesday?

Today is my long day at work.  I started writing this post at 3:00 pm; it's now 7:30 pm, I've been here since 10:30 and I could be here until 2:00 am.  While I love my job, my long day inevitably ends up with long stretches of me waiting for things to get done (as the crux of my job is making sure things get done and not so much doing them) so I figured I may as well do an update.

I've done a number on my legs.  I ran on Sunday (not quite 3km, but I did increase my speed, so that's probably why).  I usually take a day off between runs but my legs felt so good yesterday that I thought I'd go for another run.  BIG MISTAKE.  I made it through 1 km before I had to start walking because my legs were aching.  Then, being the smart person I am, I decided to start running again.  That lasted about 1/2 km before I was back to walking.  Eventually I had to get off the treadmill and finish my cardio on the non-impactful bike.  My legs still hurt a bit today but I've been stretching them every chance I get and I won't be doing any more running this week, because...

We leave for Halifax on Saturday!  Super excited!  We're driving out with another couple and we'll be gone for a week, with four full days in Halifax.  This makes it even more important for my legs to be in good shape because we'll be doing a lot of walking - including, of course, a brewery tour.  We'd also like to go kayaking in the Bay of Fundy, hit up Shakespeare by the Sea and maybe even drive out to Peggy's Cove.  Also, there must be some ocean time because the ocean is amazing and who doesn't love an amazing ocean?!

I'm still going to do my planks while in Halifax.  Our hotel has a fitness room too, so I'm hoping to squeeze in a workout or two (but no running!).  My body needs to do weightlifting regularly or else my back gets sore - such is life with an ample chest.  Plus I like how I feel after a good session with weights and since we plan on doing a lot of walking in Halifax, I'll be getting in my share of cardio.  I also did my plank today, so I'm 13/15 - and I'm up to a solid 30 seconds.  Woot!

I think it's time I see a nutritionist as well.  I get the stomach gurgles more than I'd like, and probably more than I should.  I feel like everything I eat makes me bloated and uncomfortable.  One of the things I love about work is that we have an on-site health centre, complete with nutritionist (and a massage therapist, who I also want to go see, as the therapist will file my benefits claim for me!).  

I've also decided that I want some personal training sessions in the new year.  My money is better spent on my debt until then, but by that time I figure I'll need a good shake-up to my workout routine.  There are trainers here at my work gym, so I'll go see one of them and (hopefully) enjoy the "hurts so good" hurt that will be put on me.

There's not much else going on right now.  I'm looking forward to fall and enjoying the cooler days and much cooler nights we've been having.  I've also been enjoying all the lovely fall fashion that's been coming out and I can't wait to be back in denim and cozy sweaters.  I've also decided this is the year I find a pair of knee-high boots.  I have large calves, which have thus far thwarted me from getting boots, but I'm determined to find ones that fit for fall.  As long as they're brown.  I love tall brown boots.

All right, back to work.  Gotta get this magazine out the door!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Goal Recap

Over a few posts, I've listed out the various goals I want to achieve between now and December 31, 2011.  Here's a quick recap:

Goal:Plank - do a plank a day for the month of August (and - why not? - the rest of the year)

Goal:Run - be able to run 5 km

Goal:Food - maintain a food journal

Goal:Weight - weigh 170 lb

Goal:Pants - fit into my Esprit jeans

Goal:Dress - fit into my pretty purple dress

Goal:Debt - to have only $5,000 remaining on my student loads


Plank-a-day update: 10/12 (I missed yesterday out of laziness/forgetfulness - worst excuse ever)


I've been making great progress this year on my student loans but I really, really want the damned things paid off! 

Here's where I stand right now:

CIBC: $ 3,981.35
NSLSC #1: $ 5,843.66
NSLSC #2: $ 493.64

Total owing: $10,318.65

With only 4 1/2 months left this year, I want to get as much paid off as I can.

GOAL: Get my students loans down to $5,000 owing

STATUS: $5,318.65 to go

PLAN: Throw every bit of extra money I have at my debts

Ideally, I'll pay off even more and have less that $5,000 owing when 2012 arrives, but I want to set achievable goals that I can (hopefully/maybe) surpass so I feel even awesomer about myself!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What real women look like

I discovered the best website today.  It's called My Body Gallery and it's a site of photos of real women.  You can search for women built like you, by inputting the height, weight, clothing size, even body type that you want to view.  And - voila! - suddenly a gallery full of beautiful real women. 

I was amazed at the photos I saw of women my height and weight and how beautiful and happy they looked.  So I decided, "That's how I want to be."

And I will be.

Seriously, these women are smokin'!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #21

I got back on the scale today and I was a little worried; I've eaten terribly the last two days (and by terribly I mean terrible for me yet oh so delicious) and I was worried this would be reflected in my weight.

But I hopped on anyways and saw....191.2 lb.  That's a 4 lb loss!  Wowza!

I've been sticking with my workouts but I really think the food journal is helping me.  There have been a few times when I've made better choices because I didn't want to have to write my awful choices down.  Even though no one else reads my food journal, once it's down on paper it's there to stare back at me and I don't like that kind of guilt.  And after such a successful weigh-in, I want to keep it going!

Plank-a-day: 9/10

Monday, August 8, 2011


My mom bought this very cute dress on the sale rack at a store in Parry Sound and since it didn't quite fit her, she offered it to me.  I really like it and - at a size 12 - was hopeful it would fit:

From the front, it doesn't look too bad; it's a little tight across the abdomen, but not unbearably so.  The problem is when I turn around:

I can't get the sucker zipped up.  It is possible that I'll never be able to fit it; my rib cage might be too big (and I'd rather not lose any bone mass).  But if I'm able to lose an inch or two off my chest I should be able to get the dress done up. 

GOAL: Fit into my super-cute purple-dotted Parry Sound dress

STATUS: Can't zip the damn thing up

PLAN: Keep doing what I'm doing


Plank-a-day update: 7/8

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Over a year ago, I ordered some clothes from Esprit.  I have lots of luck finding stuff that fits at Esprit and wanted to take advantage of the great deals that can be found on its website.  I ordered several things: a t-shirt; a tank top; a pencil skirt; a dress; and a pair of jeans.  Amazingly, everything fit...except the jeans.  Now, Esprit does offer free returns but you have to send the package from a DHL depot - which are not exactly in abundance (the nearest one to me is in Burlington and it would have cost more in gas to drive there and back than the jeans I bought).  So I've had the jeans kicking around, thinking I would offer them to various friends and whoever fit them would get them.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try them on, just for fun.  The first time I tried them on, I couldn't get them over my hips.  Suddenly ---- I COULD!  So these pants have now become Goal:Pants.

GOAL: Fit into my Esprit jeans


The pictures isn't the best, but I think you can tell that the jeans don't exactly fit well.  They're much too tight around the mid-section and I'm not sure I can sit down in them. 

PLAN: Keep doing what I'm doing!


Plank-a-day update: 6/7

Friday, August 5, 2011

The numbers game

I've only been keeping my food journal for a few days but I was shocked at how many calories I calculated I was consuming each day - about 2,000!  This feels like a lot, but I wanted to know if it really is so I turned to the trusty internets and looked up various values associated with weight and eating.

First, my BMI, which is 30.5.  This puts me in the obese category.  My healthy BMI range is 18.5-24.9 and to hit this range, I need to hit...

My happy weight, which is 118 lb - 159 lb.  That's 11 lb less that my current target goal.

So this made me feel rather crappy.  I was all proud of my target weight and then my BMI measurement tells me it's still not healthy.  I know I have to lose some weight, so I decided to calculate my caloric needs for various weights - and suddenly things didn't seem so bad.  I calculated my daily needs at both a moderately active level and a slightly active level; even though I work out about five times a week, I don't know what the calculator considers "moderate" or "slight" activity so I wanted to err on the side of caution and have even more numbers for comparison.


Current weight: 195 lb
Daily calories needed to maintain weight with moderate activity level: 2,880
Daily calories needed to maintain weight with slight activity level: 2,437

Target weight: 170 lb
Daily calories needed to maintain weight with moderate activity level: 2,511
Daily calories needed to maintain weight with slight activity level: 2,125

"Happy" weight: 159 lb
Daily calories needed to maintain weight with moderate activity level: 2,348

Daily calories needed to maintain weight with slight activity level:1,987

Suddenly, the 2,000 calories/day I've been calculating don't seem so bad.  In fact, according to this, it's not enough!  Now I'm not about to start eating a donut or three every day, but I don't feel so bad about myself now.  It's also interesting to note that 2,125 - 2,348 calories a day might put somewhere between my target weight and "happy" weight.  (This might be a bit of a rash conclusion.)

Anyhoo...after getting the numbers from the various calculators, I don't feel quite so bad about my goals, my eating or even my current weight.  Of course, the scale might tell a different story next week but at least that will help me know if I'm on the right track or not!

And if you're interested, all the calculators I used can be found here, through

Plank challenge update: 4/5 (still only missed the one day!)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to be down to 170 lb by the end of the year.  With my current weight at 195 lb, that's a 25 lb loss.  I'm not going to lie, it's going to be hard.  When I started this whole weight loss thing, my goal was 30 lb - so I've only managed to lose 5 lb in about six months. 

Not good statistics.

So really, it's crunch time now (and I hate crunches). 

GOAL: 170 lb

STATUS: 195 lb

PLAN: Exercise and eat right and weigh in weekly.

I really want to be there.  I think I want to be there badly enough to make this work. 



Plank challenge update: 2/3 (I'm still at work so I can't count today yet.)
I missed Tuesday because I left for work at 8:45 am and got home at 2:30 am.  Long-ass day = no plank = okay by me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Check out my new notebook:

Isn't it cute?  And it's an EcoJot one so when I bought this little guy, another one was donated to a child in need.  Win-win.

But it's not just an adorable notebook with cupcake-like owls on the front; it will also be my food journal.  I've read countless times that a big factor in successful weight loss is keeping a food journal.  I've scoffed at the idea under the premise that I can keep track of what I eat on my own, but the real reason I haven't logged my eating habits yet is because I'm scared of what will end up on the page.  It's not that my eating habits are bad, it's that they could be better.

Which is why I've started a food journal. 

GOAL:  To keep a food journal for the rest of the year to evaluate my eating habits

STATUS: Started on August 3

PLAN: Keep my journal with me at all times (or as much as I can) so I can accurately log what I eat

I'm going to use it to see not only what I eat and how much but how I feel after.  I get gurgly tummy more often than I'd like and I've wondered if I might be lactose intolerant so this will help me keep track of what dairy I eat and how I feel after.  And, after each weekly weigh-in, I can look back at what I ate over the week to see how that has influenced my weight loss (or gain). 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


With five months left in 2011, I've realized that I've made some good changes in my life but that I don't have any strictly defined goals with deadlines (I'm a very deadline-driven person) so I've decided to change that.  There are a few things I'd like to accomplish between now and December 31 and I'm going to start listing them out, starting with running.

GOAL: To be able to run 5 km (and to complete a 5-km race next spring)

STATUS: Currently at 3 km

PLAN: Add 0.25 km to my distance every two weeks from August - November, then spend December maintaining that distance

I've read that you should aim to increase your distance by no more than 10% a week, so being at 3km right now puts me in good position to do this.  I'm not going to lie, it's going to be a challenge for sure; not sure if my lungs or my legs will give out first but I do think I can do this. 

To help keep on top of this and my other goals, I'm going to do a quick update on the last day of every month.  Then, on December 31, I'm going to ring in the New Year celebrating having reached all my goals!

Monday, August 1, 2011


I mentioned before that I had some goals in mind that I wanted to achieve before the year is out.  The first one I have to bring up today as it's a monthly challenge I'm issuing for myself and I'm starting today.

The goal: do a plank a day for a month.

Not sure what a plank is?  Well, it's this:

You can also do it this way:

(And I wouldn't mind looking like her!)

My goal is to eventually be able to hold the plank position for one minute.  Right now, I'm good for about 20 seconds and start shaking when I push to 30 seconds.  I also start to lose form after 20 seconds, so I've got some work to do.

The beautiful thing about this goal is that it's so easy to fit into my day.  It's pretty much a guarantee that I'll watch at least one TV show every day, so I'm hoping to fit my plank in during commercials.  Just like that, I get an ab workout and get closer to my goal.

Easy peasy lemon squeezie, as the kids these days would say.

Back at it

Today is August 1, meaning I'm back on the scale.  I made sure I hopped on before eating, just because I wanted to, you know, be as light as possible.  I'll admit, there was a part of me hoping to see the number come in below 190, as a kind of reward for staying away from the scale for a week and just focusing on exercise and trying to make good eating choices.

Alas, 'twas not to be: I weighed in at 195.2 lb. 

Yes, I'm not thrilled with this number but I can tell I'm getting slimmer: my clothes fit better; I'm liking my reflection more; and I've recently purchased a few items of clothing (two pairs of shorts and a pair of pants) in beautiful size 12.  I'm wondering if part of the weight gain is due to me increasing my muscle mass, but since I haven't weighed myself for a month I can't be sure.

I'm going to restart my Up-Down Challenge with my next official weigh-in on Wednesday August 10 and I'm still going to reward myself with a book; increasing my book ownership is going to be the "up" part of the challenge.  But since I'm doing the Canadian Book Challenge, I'll be getting books for that as well, so every time I lose 5 lb, I'm buying a book for myself. 

Once again, I find myself aiming for 190.2 lb so that's my short-term goal.  Here's a list of where I want to be and when:

By September 30,  I would like to weigh 180 lb.
By November 30, I would like to weigh 170 lb.
By December 31, I would like to still weigh 170 lb.

I'll be really happy if I can hit 170 lb and maintain that weight, especially during the delicious Christmas season.  And 170 lb feels like it's a good weight for me to aim for, because I should be able to achieve it and because I think it's a good weight for my body type.

I've also got some other goals, which I'll outline this coming week.  It's been nice being off the scale for a month, but it does help motivate me so I can't stay away.  But to help alleviate the disappointment I feel when the scale doesn't go down as much as I'd like (or when it goes up) I'm going to have other things to use as a way to measure my progress.  Because sometimes progress can't be gauged by a simple number on a simple scale.

Even with all this planned in my mind, I still wanted to take advantage of the holiday Monday so I made the Beau and I a delicious brunch:

Homemade crepes topped with fresh blueberry sauce, Phoenician yogurt with cinnamon, peameal bacon and orange slices.  YUM!

(Oh, and I'll get back on the loan updates starting August 10 as well!)