Saturday, July 28, 2012

Couch to 5K and Week 5

Today was my third and final workout for week 5 of the Couch to 5K program and it was one I was dreading.

So far, I haven't had any problems with the program, especially through the first three weeks. With short running intervals, those three weeks were easy to complete and made me feel like a running rock star.

Week 4 started to get a bit tougher, as the running intervals got a bit longer, but I soldiered through. I was a little winded after a couple of those workouts but I completed them and that's what mattered.

Then came Week 5.

For Week 5, all workouts were different, with the running intervals getting longer with each workout. First I started with three 5-minute running intervals, broken up by 3-minute walking intervals. This was tough but doable and I managed just fine.

Then I had two 8-minute running intervals with a 5-minute walking interval in the middle. At this point I'd never run 8 minutes straight so I was a bit worried. Still, I not only got through it but felt amazing afterwards.

For today, I faced my biggest challenge yet: 20 minutes of straight running. No walking. Just running for twenty. Minutes. Straight.

And you know what? I did it.


By 17 minutes I was starting to feel it. By 19 minutes, I was more than feeling it. By 20 minutes, I was ecstatic to be done. But I did it. I didn't walk. I didn't slow down. I didn't curl up in the fetal position and go flying off the treadmill.

I ran for 20 minutes straight. And I'm damn proud of that.

And I didn't even need my inhaler. I can't remember if I've talked about my asthma before, but I've got it. It would be an easy enough thing to hide behind and say, "I'd be able to run better if it weren't for my asthma." Thing is, there are plenty of athletes who have it, including Olympic athletes, and as long as you manage it properly you can do well at physical activities. It's because of this that I choose to approach my asthma this way: "I manage my asthma with two inhalers to allow me to do the best I can. Instead of using it as a crutch, I see my asthma as something to overcome."

Simple as that.

Although I may have done so well with my run today because of my awesome Olympic pedicure:

Friday, July 27, 2012

My maturing tastes

When I first started WW, I was a little nervous about what I would snack on that would keep my points down. It was great that most vegetables were zero points, but even better that all fruit were zero points - except that I didn't really like fruit when I started.


Until WW, I was never really a big fruit eater. I had chronic ear infections as a kid so I drank a lot of banana-flavoured medicine; I think that turned me off bananas. And then I find most other fruit too acidic. I've always loved melon but they're high GI foods so when I was trying to eat low-GI I stayed away from them.

That didn't leave much for me to eat.

Lately, though, I've been rediscovering my love of melons (zero points > low GI) and finding that I absolutely love strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. I'd much rather eat a bowl of sliced strawberries than a bowl of chips. Seriously. I'm also quickly becoming fond of pineapple oranges (as long as it's a nice sweet orange - not too acidic).

I'm still not a fan of apples or bananas but my tastes have definitely grown up to embrace delicious fruit that's good for me, in all their zero-point glory.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WW Weigh-In #29

Not bad news this week, but not really good either:

Last week: 187.8 lb
This week: 187.8 lb
Total lost this week: 0 lb

Weight loss target: 181.8 lb
To reach target: 6.0 lb

Sure, I had the doughnut binge earlier this week, but I tracked all those points and I was still within my range. I think the problem may be a bit...erm...south. Digestive, if you know what I mean. To the point where I may need to see a doctor. I hope all the plumbing is working just fine, but in case it's not I think it's best to have the professionals take a look.

I guess I need more than a pretty new blog design to get the weight off.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Confessions of a Weight Watcher: Doughnuts

I ate 47 points worth of doughnuts today.

To put this in perspective, my daily points allotment is 30.

That is all.

So much fruit!

And not a yogurt commercial in sight.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

House hunting update

The latest update on the house hunting front is that there isn't one.

No house. No update. No nothing.

And because it's summer the market is pretty quiet right now, there's not much to look at either. All in all, I'm at a pretty frustrating point with the whole exercise right now. I know we'll find a house, so I'm not in one of my, "It will NEVER work out!" moods. It's more that I'm just fed up with the inaction. I'd rather be out looking at mediocre houses than not doing anything.

Honestly, I'm almost at the point where I'd rather be in a bidding war than not offering at all.

Eventually I'll calm down and get back to being rational about the whole thing. It's just that I really, REALLY hate holding patterns.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back to the beginning

I'm pretty frustrated with my weight gain lately. It just really sucks. And I know why it's happening and I'm just being really stubborn about accepting why and doing anything about it.

So it's time to go back to the beginning.

When I first started Weight Watchers, I not only tracked everything I ate, but I also strove to not use up any activity points. I was even wary of using up my extra 49 weekly points, but I learned I could and still lose weight. I just felt better seeing those extra activity points still hanging around, unused, as if saying, "You could have eaten me, but you didn't! Good for you!"

I know I'm supposed to use up those points; WW is structured that way so I'll still lose weight even if I have zero extra points at the end of each week. I also know it's a psychological thing with me, having those activity points left over.

But the kicker? Back when I was doing that, I was enjoying what I was eating, I didn't feel deprived, I was working out frequently enough to feel good but not so much to feel over-extended - in short, everything was great.

So what the heck happened?

Simple: I got lazy. I started taking things for granted. I started cheating on tracking points. I started assuming I knew how to make the right decisions.

Time to stop doing all that and refresh this weight loss journey. Time to stop making excuses. Time to start being honest with myself.

And time to start losing weight again!

WW Weigh-In #28

Sorry, it's a late post today. I did weigh in this morning but then had a super busy day, so I'm only now getting around to the (bad) news:

Last week: 187.2 lb
This week: 187.8 lb
Total gained this week: 0.6 lb

Weight loss target: 181.8 lb
To reach target: 6.0 lb

Eff this.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Couch to 5K update

Well hello! I hope you're all doing well this fine Tuesday afternoon!

Remember how I started the Couch to 5K program? Well, I'm still with it. The first three weeks were a little easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and today I start week 4.

Last week, the running portion of each workout maxed out at nine minutes. Today, I'm facing a running portion of 16 minutes. Given, it's broken up into more manageable intervals, but suddenly I find myself getting into it. And it's exciting!

By the end of the program I should be running for 30 minutes straight. Right now, that feels almost impossible (emphasis on the almost). Really I just hope I can get through this week. Of course it's not going to get any easier (or maybe it will, as I build up strength) but I'm definitely not ready to fail.

I do have to survive those zombies, after all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Confessions of a Weight Watcher: Portions

It's been awhile since I posted a WW confession, probably because I've been an all-around bad Weight Watcher. Sigh. But I'm getting back on track which means I'm discovering more sins to confess.

And I must admit: I suck at portion control. 

When I measure, I'm good. When I eat zero-point foods, I'm good (because I pig out). But when I say, "I'll just have a bit", that bit turns into everything in front of me.

Like today, when I ate 3/4 of a small container of Haagen-Dazs rocky road ice cream - and logged a cool 26 points for my efforts. Was it a delicious 26 points? sure. Was it a worthwhile 26 points? Erm, not really. Will I do it again? There's a chance. I mean, those marshmallow swirls were so good and the chunks of almonds were awesome...

But with only 29 points per day, I can think of better ways to spend them. Like on, you know, the food my body needs to function and stuff.

Oh, Haagen-Dazs, it was nice while it lasted.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

WW Weigh-In #27

Yesterday was not a good day. In fact, this week has not been a good week and it was compounded just a bit when I got on the scale:

Last week: 185.2 lb
This week: 187.2 lb
Total gained this week: 2.0 lb

Weight loss target: 181.8 lb
To reach target: 5.4 lb

Honestly, I was taken by surprise. A 2lb gain was much more than I expected and proceeded to deflate me immensely. So I pouted and scowled and stormed around the house for a bit, then put on my best fake smile and went to get my hair cut.

Interestingly enough, that's where my mood broke (and not just because of my fresh new 'do).

While chatting with my stylist, Sergio, we started talking about football (a.k.a soccer), as he's Argentinian and I knew he was into it. While he didn't watch Euro Cup (no Argentina), we started talking about football players and, of course, David Beckham. I then expressed that I don't find Becks attractive; his is not the body type I enjoy. Sergio was surprised to hear this, as he thought all women lusted for the Beckham-bodied type. We then started talking about body shapes and sizes and how men feel pressure to look good (which, honestly, surprised me) and he said that what attracts him most, beyond womanly curves, is sensuality and a woman who projects a confidence and love of herself. This is the first time I've heard first-hand a man say this, without being pointedly asked or without some fishing for compliments. He finished the conversation by saying, "No matter what shape, there someone out there for everyone."

Amen to that.

And, without even realizing it, my mood was slowly buoyed and finally lifted by the end of the conversation. I'm even still feeling better today. I still want to be slimmer, more toned and more fit, but now I feel calmer having heard a man essentially say it's okay to be me as I am. Just own it.

Perhaps I should work on that, along with my squats.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Today is not a good day

I'll be back later with my weigh-in update but today is not a good day, physically, mentally or emotionally.

I just need a little time.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bathing suit blues

The house hunting has been a bit of a downer lately and the heat here in the city has been almost unbearable, so the Beau and I took advantage of an invitation to the cottage and spent the weekend on Georgian Bay.

'Twas heavenly.

We spent the weekend kayaking, swimming, reading, sleeping, eating delicious food, drinking delicious wine and spending time with family (we were with the Beau's parents and sister). It was relaxing, refreshing, rejuvenating - it was just what we needed.

Yet, despite being with family and with the man who loves me, despite being in a sheltered spot with few people around (or at least around in close proximity), despite no one really caring what I look like, I could barely stand to be in my bathing suit. (Yes, the bathing suit I was so excited to have bought.)

I honestly don't know what's wrong with me. Sure, I know where my bathing suit anxiety comes from but that should help me defeat it, rather than continue to fan the flames. Why am I so worried about how I look? Why do I feel the need to constantly adjust, lest a perceived bulge appear in the wrong place? Why do I have to ask the Beau if I look okay?

And, it turns out, both the tankini tops I bought are too big in the torso, at least when I'm in the water. Both of them float around my midsection like an underwater tarp and then cling in folds when I'm out of the water. This isn't a bad thing, really, as it keeps them from being too tight and therefore inducing further flab panic, but it doesn't do much to help me feel better about myself (because now I feel like some dumpy broad in a dumpy suit).

In the past, there have been summers where I've pretty much lived in a bathing suit and I wasn't nearly this anxious. Sure, I was aware of how jiggly I was but I was baby-sitting those summers and too busy running after a kid to really worry. But now I'm just so aware of everything (I perceive to be) wrong with my swimsuit-clad body.

And it's becoming exhausting to despise myself this much, even with my weight loss success and renewed exercise momentum. I guess I have hit a plateau, and I know I have to work to get past it - and I will. But I'd be just fine to not have to wear a bathing suit pretty much ever again.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boxes and boxes and boxes of books

I packed some books tonight. 10 boxes, to be specific. No, we haven't bought a house yet but we're getting things ready for when we have to stage the condo - and staging means moving out A LOT of furniture. Since that includes bookcases, we have to pack books.

And we have plenty of books!

I should also note that there are about 15 boxes of my books currently sitting in storage and we've already packed two boxes of books here. Oh, and we still haven't packed them all. Hopefully we'll be able to fit everything in our five bookcases.

It's a hard life for a book lover.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

WW Weigh-In #26

Week 26! That's halfway through the year! I fully plan to stick to WW for the rest of the year (even with my sporadic points tracking) so this is my midterm weigh-in. I was fully expecting more gain but I was pleasantly surprised:

Last week: 186.8 lb
This week: 185.2 lb
Total lost this week: 1.6 lb

Weight loss target: 181.8 lb
To reach target: 3.4 lb

Once again, I see myself staring down about three and a half pounds from losing 10% of my starting body weight. I want this SO BAD. I can do it! I can do it! I can do it!

Because it's the halfway point of the year, I wanted to also share the good, the bad and the ugly of what I've learned through the past 26 weeks.

The good: I've lost - and kept off - 15 pounds since starting. 15 pounds COMPLETELY gone!
The bad: I've been slipping of late, gaining and losing the same five pounds. But I'm still working on getting past that.
The ugly: I still get more irritated and annoyed than I should when I see how women are portrayed in the media and the expectations of how they should look. I still need to work on better body acceptance.

The good: I've discovered healthier food that I actually like and I've been enjoying eating better. I'm also getting better with food portions.
The bad: I still have my moments of weakness, usually involving chocolate.
The ugly: Pizza. It's my biggest weakness and I always eat too much. I'm beginning to think it's got to be all or nothing.

The good: I'm fitting into smaller sizes! Woo hoo!
The bad: I'm shrinking out of clothes I haven't had for very long.
The ugly: Nada. This is going really well!

The good: Through WW, I'm discovering the points values for various activities and, really, I'd rather accumulate as many activity points as I can - which means lots of exercising - which is good for me and my weight!
The bad: I still struggle with motivation, but I'm getting better.
The ugly: I'm not as far as I'd like to be with my running and 5K training, but I'm hoping to turn that around with my Couch to 5K program.

Overall though, I'm happy with what I've been learning and how far I've come. I know I still have work to do and some struggles to overcome but it's still a learning process and I'm going to find that sweet spot where my ideal weight, ideal menu and ideal lifestyle all come together in perfect harmony.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back to (better) budgeting

Since paying off my student loans in March, I've been both responsible with my money and more than a little profligate.

On the responsible side, I've increased my biweekly RRSP contribution; I've set up a biweekly TFSA contribution; and I've joined the employee share accumulation plan (ESAP) here at work, again with biweekly contributions. So every paycheque, money is automatically deposited into these accounts - and I don't even miss it. It's pretty great.

On the profligate side, I've bought some lovely new clothes; ordered in and eaten out whenever I've wanted; bought some things for my mom's house; and never been without a nice bottle of wine. It's been fun, I must admit, and I've felt so good knowing I don't have to pinch every penny that comes my way.

But it's time to get the spending under control (again) and get back to budgeting (again). The more houses we look at, the more it sinks in that this is a purchase that's going to happen - hopefully sooner than later - and a new house means all kinds of costs. And not just the regular costs associated with purchasing a home (commission, lawyer's fees, land transfer, taxes), but the fun costs, like new furniture and paint and curtains and linens and all the other fun things that help make a house a home.

The Beau and I talk quite a bit about what we want to do with the space we get and that conversation changes depending on what kind of space we're talking about. But even with the changes, we still want to be able to buy what we need but also what we like; it's our home and we don't want to buy the cheapest IKEA light fixture because that's all we can afford. Likewise, we don't want to be living with barely enough furniture because we don't have the funds for a new sofa.

We have also gone furniture shopping (probably more than we should have!) and we know not just what we like but what we'd like to spend. So really, it's high time I rein in my free spending and keep a better eye on the bottom line. As delicious as red wine is, leather club chairs are much more appealing - and will last SO much longer.