Sunday, July 25, 2010

3 hours of sleep makes for a happy girl.

Saturday's Stats:

Exercise Minutes: 27
Calories Burned 365

Onto today:

Wake time: 6:11am.

Bedtime from previous night: I was "in" bed by 10:20... I was trying to go to sleep by 10:40. I ended up dozing off....around after 3 am. Unfortunately, my brother decided that he really did want to do a marathon Lord of the Cringe yesterday with his girlfriend. The rec room, however, is right beside my bedroom. Do you know how loud that movie is. Everyone is always shouting. We get it. The ring must get to Mount Doom. Take it down a notch. Finally, after tossing and turning at quarter to 1am I asked them if it was possible to put the rest of the movie on hold. But the damage was already done. I was awake. It took another 2 hours for me to drift off.

(this morning i so did not close my door extra hard, or stomp around on the floor on top of his bedroom... and even if i did do that on purpose it was all in vain - that boy can sleep through anything. I know this because when I went to grab my wallet, his alarm was blasting)

Weight: Down 2 lbs. I knew that yesterday's weigh in must have been due to water weight (i.e. bloating) because there is no way I could naturally lose 2 lbs of body fat in a day. That being said, I am still up about 1.4 lbs from my weigh in a week ago.

Moving along, I had an uninspired breakfast of fibre one and a nectarine. I left extra early so that I could stop off at Tim Ho's for a grandissimo coffee. I even splurged and went with a double double. I thought the extra sugar would make me sweeter in attitude.

You may all be surprised - but it didn't work.

As soon as I got home, despite my best attempts, I crashed. I hate when I do this. I feel like I have effectively ruined my day. Now what I need to do is burn myself out for the evening so that I can fall asleep at a decent hour.

Workout Routine:

Upper Body Strength Training

Adapted from the book Body for Life, by Bill Phillips. I simply took his model, but inputted my own weights (he was doing like 40's - 80s....hahahah).

On tap for tonight:

1. Workout
2. Swim!
3. Finish Room
4. Stats of the day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 25th Plan

1. Wake up at 6 am (yuck! x a gazillion)
2. Breakfast - Fibre 1 + Fruit
3. Work 7:30 - 12:45 (double yuck x a gazillion)
4. Break - Chickpea Salad
5. Lunch - Spinach Salad with seeds + apple
6. Workout - Upper Body Strength Routine @ 2pm
7. Snack - Veggies + hummus and 1/4 cup almonds
8. Dinner - Black beans, Rice, Veggies all mixed together.
9. 10 Minute Cardio - SWIM!
10. After Dinner Snack - cookies x 2 + decaf tea
11. Bedtime - 11 pm (or whenever I zonk out, so probably closer to 6 pm)

1. Finish room

July 24th - Day Uno

Day One of my Last Chance Summer Shape Up Program...or LCSSUP (which really isn't any better).

Wake time: 7:09 - Success! I pressed the snooze button only once! (and that is quite the accomplishment for the girl who has to set 3 different times on her cell phone alarm.)

Weight: up 3.4 lbs from last weigh in (Yikes! But I'm not surprised. I did feel quite bloated this morning)

My 10 minute workout was this little beauty:

It was just enough to get me energized and a bit sweaty, without wiping me out completely. I think when I do have the time (and space in my bedroom - Bomb squad still hasn't come to clean up the mess) I will do my full workout in the morning, and save my little "10-minutes of daily cardio" for later on in the day.

I also walked the dog this morning. He looked so pitiful waiting at my parents door.

I know it is a bit too early to call, but I am enjoying this waking up early business. I had about 3 hours before having to go off to work  which was a dream. I also found that I was super productive in that time, because if I sat down for more than 5 minutes I became incredibly tired. Must keep moving!

I made a chickpea salad that should last me throughout the first part of the week:

1 can of chickpeas rinsed
1 cup carrots chopped
1/2 cup of the following chopped:
red peppers
green peppers


1/4 cup canola oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or vinegar of your choice...could also add more vinegar if prefer)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper to taste

Wonderful additions:
- sesame seeds
- feta cheese (always a must for me)
- olives
- tomatoes

Whisk dressing together and pour over peas and veg. Mix well. I find that this salad could use some extra seasoning, so after you serve it, sprinkle some extra salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  I served mine over a cup of spinach. It was delicious at break.


By the time I got home from work, I had no desire to partake in those cut up cucumber or pepper strips I made the night before. Instead I decided to peel off all the cheese and pepperoni to last nights left over pizza. Was it really worth it? In a word - Yes..

I did input it to my calorie tracker - so tis all good.

Unfortunately my workout space also happens to be where one of our many tv's are in the house - which was currently being occupied by my brother and his girlfriend who decided to watch all 3 Lord of the Rings movies. I'm not going to deny the fact that I am now considering doing the same thing despite how boring I thought they were when they were released.

So instead I decided to self-employ myself as bomb squad after-math cleaner upper and tackle the hideous mess that is my bedroom. Good news - I found a gift certificate to a hair salon. Bad news - i found tupperware from a chickpea salad made about the time of the bronze age.

I did have a bit of a nap, which I swore to myself I wouldn't do. But it was only about 30 minutes long. My naps are typically 3-hour long snooze extravaganzas. This was just long enough for me to get re-energized and make dinner.

Black bean and Sweet potato Enchiladas!

SOO good. Who says you have to give up your favourite things when you go vegetarian?  It was my first time trying them, and I will definitley be making them again. Here is the basic recipe that I used.  I didn't bother boiling the potato - just nuked it in the microwave. Make sure to serve with copious amounts of low fat sour cream!


On tap for tonight:

1. Workout (30 minutes of cardiolicious fun)
2. Finish Room
3. Facial!
4. Stats on the day.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Saturday July 24th Plan

Here is my first "Plan" for my new Last Chance Summer Shape Up program. I will update it tomorrow night to see how successful I was at sticking at it.

1. Wake up at 7 am
2. 10 minute video before work
3. Breakfast - Banana + Oatmeal (chia seeds)
4. Work 10-3
5. Break - Apple + chick pea salad
6. Before Dinner Snack - Veggies + hummus
7. Dinner - Sweet potato, black beans and spinach salad
8. Workout @ 3:30 (25 mins of Cardio)
9. After workout snack - 1/2 Clif Bar
10. Bed time - 11 pm


1. CLEAN ROOM! (bomb went off. thankfully no one was home)
2. Book Hair appointment
3. Give self Facial!

Ok.. we'll see how this works out. I'm guessing what I will struggle most with is the wakeup/bedtimes.

Last Chance Summer Shape Up!

The summer is almost gone. And I feel like I have wasted it away. Whether it be trapped indoors at my job, or just too lazy to bother to escape the air conditioned house - the summer seems to have flown by.

And with this comes the realization that I have not really focused on my diet and exercise goals. Therefore, I am doing something I haven't quite done before - setting a deadline.

Goal: To lose 5 lbs by the end of August

Plan: Track Calories and workout 6 days a week.

Start Date: July 24th, 2010 (so we can ignore those 4 slices of pizza I ate in 4 minutes tonight. It isn't July 24th yet).

Time Span: 38 glorious days


1. Weigh in everyday.

- studies have shown that those who weigh in on a consistent basis are more likely to maintain and keep weight off than those who don't. I am not going to weigh myself everyday for the rest of my life, but for the purposes of this program, I think it will be a good motivator.

2. Go to Bed at the same time/get up at the same time everyday.

- this will be perhaps one of the greatest mini-challenges. I am a night owl. I can easily be up till 4 am and not even bat an eye. This however, kicks me in the butt when I have to work at 7:30 in the morning. Instead, I plan on going to bed early, rising early - and if necessary napping during the day before work so that I can last through any evening shifts I may get.

3. Track calories @ sparkpeople

- i have faltered on this aspect of my healthy lifestyle. It is so important to me to track my calories - however, it is tedious work.

4. Strength Training and Aerobics on opposite days

- to actually maintain and be consistent with my exercise routine, I have to figure out what works for me. Circuit training did not work for me. It was too intense. I simply did not want to do it. Therefore, while it was an effective exercise program - it didn't work out too well when I would choose the hagen daaz over Jillian Michaels. Separating my strength and aerobics may be not as effective in burning calories - but it is far more manageable.

5. Do one 10-minute video or cardio activity every day.

6. Make weekly/daily plans for foods to eat, errands to run, chores to do etc.

7. BLOG! (to keep me accountable of course... not to procrastinate on other, more pressing matters).

Hopefully these 7 strategies will help me lose those 5 lbs. And then I can start it all over again... 3 more times before I get to my end-goal weight!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pushing the Reset Button

I've applied to the Starting Over House circa 2003.

haha. I kid, I kid. They denied my application.

But in all seriousness - I am starting over on the diet-leg of my "healthy lifestyle journey".  Since my last post, where I was all excited about how far i've come blah, blah, blah - I have become very complacent with my current status.

Complacency can kill any diet/exercise program. As it did with me. It started with something simple - like not tracking my calories eaten everyday. Then I started to make less than stellar food choices. But I compensated for maintaining a consistent exercise routine. Without consistent efforts in all areas however, my motivation and steam ran low. Beyond low - it was non-existent.

Unfortunately this bad attitude crept its way into my life. As I write this though - doesn't this make sense? My diet and exercise isn't something that is separate from my life. It is all part and parcel of who I am.

For the last few weeks I have been perma-mad and resentful. Those who know me, know I am a very controlled person -who can be just an itsy bit neurotic. With my diet and exercise program falling through the cracks, it felt like the poop had hit the fan. And the mess was disgusting - as I assume it would be if that situation had actually happened.

And poop is a good place to start - as it usually is. Eating loads of crap (chips ALL of the time) made for a very unhappy stomach.  And it paid me back big time.

This was at least tolerable. I was able to still maintain a good workout routine. However, that quickly ended. Without fueling my body with good, energy packed food my workouts starting to be listless. My energy level fell to the depths of despair. The depths. of. despair.

Over dramatic? Hells no!

I need to get worked up about something - it might as well be this!  Admittedly, I didn't do horribly. I still managed to lose weight - but I feel like that was dehydration. Because surprise, surprise - my water intake dwindled as well. My body, used to getting in water in Lake Ontario quantity (but not quality), was feeling dehydrated - hungoverish.

Needless to say, I have to change. For the sake of me, my relationships and my body - I need to push the reset button.
So here is my game plan:

1. I have started a brand-spanking new account on SparkPeople. Maybe this isn't necessary - but I will restart all the initial diet stages that I clearly haven't developed or maintained as well as I had hoped.

2. Create a list of foods that I must ALWAYS have in the house. This will keep me from straying away and towards those less than desirable but oh so yummy foods.

3. Create an exercise workout plan. A plan that I can stick to, but one of which I will see results with. I will focus on cardio and strength training...but more importantly mixing it up.

4. Scheduling in the exercise. This is imperative. It is one thing to say that I will come up with an exercise plan - but to actually do it? That's a whole other kettle of fish (that saying is right up there with the "poop hitting fan" remark).

There we go. Easy peasy.

I mean writing the list. The actual implementation is going to be as tough as steel. Abs of steel that is.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tears...over a pant size? Get over yourself.

for a good reason!

While bathing suit shopping (yikes!), I just wanted to try on a pair of pants to see if i had gone down a size.

I knew what the risks were. If i couldn't fit into the pants I would be heartbroken. But i figured at 15 lbs lost, that should be about one pant size - so I might as well try.....

and they fit!!!

It was the weirdest feeling. I haven't been a size 10 since I was 15, and that was 8 years ago. I was just in shock. Utter, utter shock... and if the pants hadn't been so gosh darn ugly I would have bought them as a memento.

The real reason why I had to go shopping was for a bathing suit (I've been avoiding clothing stores at all costs since starting this weight loss journey for 2 reasons: a. I don't want to buy clothes when I am in between sizes and 2. I simply don't have the money, or rather I am reallocating it to trying out new healthy (yet expensive) superfoods).

I was in desperate need of a new swim suit. The elastic in my old one was completely gone (when I accidentally flashed a lifeguard while swimming is when I realized I needed to get a new one).

I decided to go to a store that sells cheap, but good quality clothes (for us Canadians I went to the Real Canadian Superstore). There swimsuit selection was AWESOME!

I started out with my typical one piece...tried a few on. They were cute on the hanger, but when I tried them on, they made me look squat and lumpy. And while I realize that this is the combination that most girls go for - i wasn't impressed...and a little dismayed. I mean if a one piece doesn't look good on me - there is no way a two piece will.

But my friend was working that night, and suggested that I try on a few two piece swimsuits. I tried on some tankinis - they had the same effect, kind of hugged me in all the wrong places. And as we all know, misplaced hugs are quite unfortunate. But I couldn't dare try on a midriff baring two piece, could I?

Well I did! And I am very proud, and somewhat shocked by the results:

Ok. So I'm not super skinny. And I carry around a pair of thunder thighs as if they were a coveted possession. But nonetheless - I liked the way that I looked. I think for only those of us who have been struggling with our body weight, and our self image can understand how foreign of a concept that can be. To actually like yourself, half naked...bizarre.

On the drive home, I welled up in tears. I couldn't believe how emotional this was for me. I haven't just lost 15 lbs. It's more than that. I have lost a shell of shame and guilt too. There are a few more shells under that one, but at least this new bikini is helping me to expose them to the world (or just my boyfriend and any peeping neighbours).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Weight Gain, despite increased exercise. What the H-E- Double Hockey Sticks?

In the last two weeks I have dramatically increased my physical exercise. I am doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Slim Down Challenge.  I am making my way through it, currently on Day 11 (should be on Day 13 or 14 I think...not that it matters). I can't believe I am going to say this, but I am really enjoying it!  It is hard work...hard, hard work. I have been a hot, sweaty mess more times than I can count (ok.. I suppose 10 times, considering I am on Day 11).

Her videos focus on circuit training - an exercise method that combines high-intensity aerobics and resistance training. Circuit training is particularly useful for developing endurance and lean muscles. It isn't useful if you want to add bulk or significant strength to your body. This is because it focuses on working the muscles with less resistance, but more repetitions (I use 3-5 lbs weights only).  

Don't confuse Jillian Michael's circuits with places like Curves (or other "gyms" that use "circuit training" for 30 minutes). Curves is a great option for beginners, or those less mobile - however it is very difficult to improve or go beyond a certain level of fitness experience.

Anyway - I digress.

So yes. I have been doing her 3 workout videos, and feeling great. So you can imagine how utterly shocked I was last Wednesday when I did my weekly weigh in and GAINED 2lbs. Ugghhh.. And I certainly have not lost it yet. I stepped on the scale this morning out of curiosity and I had gained ANOTHER 1 lb.

I realize a weight gain of 2-3 lbs isn't anything drastic, but I can't help but feel like this is 2-3 weeks wasted and lost. 2-3 weeks of hard work that are all for nought...and now the additional 2-3 weeks it will take me to lose this weight.

All this hardwork, for nothing!

Well, thank the high heavens, not exactly.

People were telling me that, because muscle weighs more than fat - that must be the reason. This however, isn't really true. Muscle weighs the same as fat - think of that old trick question: "What weighs more, 1 lb of feathers or 1 lb of gold?"

Spoiler alert: they weigh the same amount. Yes, it takes many times more feathers than pieces of gold (i'll still take the gold) - but a lub is a lub (lb - phonetically).   Muscle takes up less space than fat, so for the same space you can pack in more muscle cells than fat.

Here is why I, and others may be experiencing a weight gain due to initial increased exercise:

The extra weight is most likely water retention. As a female, I am all too familiar with water retention - however, lately with Jillian's obsessive enjoyment of making me doing bicycle crunches, I have been feeling quite the opposite of bloated.  This also isn't water retention that can easily be flushed out with increased water consumption like I can when feeling bloated.

As you begin a new exercise routine - especially one that is resistance focused - your muscles begin to start storing fuel - so it is easily accessible for when they are worked. Your muscles need fuel in the form of glycogen. However, we get our sugar in the form of glucose (think carbs).  In order to convert the glucose into 1 molecule of glycogen it takes 3 molecules of water.

So thinking about this logically - as your body starts to store glycogen for your muscles, it is going to retain extra water.  This is why you can see the numbers on the scale stall...or increase.  Despite the want for immediate results - this is a good thing. You want your muscles to be well hydrated and well fuelled. When this is the case - you are able to work harder, longer - making weight loss and shaping up an inevitability.  When your muscles become adjusted to the increased level of activity, they will start to not need as many extra "stores" of fuel, and the water retention will decrease.

Even though you are gaining "weight", by regularly exercising you will still be losing fat. The scale ends up being a hindrance here. Better measures of success are your body fat % (i've already started to see a drop in mine), and inches lost.

To put it in perspective - I have gained 3 lbs these last 2 weeks, however, I am now too small for a pair of pants that when I bought them I was too big for. That made me far more happy than anything the scale had to say.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Naomi Cambell and why she's angry all the time (New Series)

The pressure to stay thin and beautiful in Hollywood is a multi-million dollar industry on its own. Celebs are paid gazillions to hawk the latest diet pills (ahem...Kim Kardashian), and be spokespeople for various weight loss programs (like the ever successful Kirstie Alley). It is tough to decipher what is actually healthy versus what can do more harm than good.

Celebs are in the business to look perfect, and have the salaries to do so. Let's face it, anyone can remain slim when they can afford to pay dietitians, personal trainers, and chefs for around the clock service.  That being said, there are some pretty crazy plans and diets out there - that all have a beautiful, celebrity face to be the "proof" that you too can look like that.

I am going to tackle and perhaps debunk the myriad of celebrity, or probably more aptly named "fad" diets that are out there.
The first casualty is super-model Naomi Campbell. Notorious for her anger issues and Russel Crowe inspired phone throwing abilities, I suspect that the reason behind her temper tantrums can be attributed to more than just an inflated ego.

Recently on Oprah, Naomi claimed her trim figure was due to regular exercise and completing what is known as "The Master Cleanse" (also called the Lemonade Diet).  Or in my books... the "You have to be crazy Diet" (clever right? I can hear your laughter and feel the pain of your sides splitting).
 First off, this "current" trend diet was actually published way back in 1976.   For a society that knows orange, green, and mustard yellow paisley, crushed velvet couches are bad for our health - how can we still be adhering to this diet?

Its claims are that you can lose up to 2 lbs a DAY if you follow it.

Here's how it works:
You simply consume a liquid diet of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and spring water. It is essentially fasting. No wonder people do see major weight loss when on this program.


Your body goes into starvation mode. This is when you start to break down your muscle tissue to use up the energy. Muscle doesn't weigh more than fat (pound for pound, muscle and fat weigh the same. Muscle cells take up less space than fat cells).  Your metabolism breaks down completely, so that the next time you eat solid foods, your body puts it on as fat...BECAUSE you no longer have a metabolism to burn up the calories consumed. Also, since your body is in starvation mode, it packs on all food as fat, thinking it won't see another more energy (food) for an extensive period of time.

This diet is in actual fact counter-intuitive if you plan to sustain any long term weight loss goals. It can be dangerous, you end up being a skinny fat person. You can actually weigh more once you go back to normal eating than before the cleanse.

Not only that, but we all know that food is the fuel for everything in our body - including our moods. There is a reason why when you start getting hungry, your crankiness can spike through the roof (ahem...that never happens to me). Consider going weeks on end feeling cranky, fatigued and down right gross. But least you will lose weight...and then gain it all back + more.

This diet gets a 0/5 from me. I'm not a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist - however, I do know a thing or two about food. There is no way I would ever consider a diet in which food was eliminated completely.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Happy Victoria Day!

For those of us in Canada, we get to celebrate the birth of Queen Victoria...otherwise known as May 2-4 weekend where you try and drink your weight in beer.

I took it as a chance to have a day off and just relax. That didn't mean however that my approach to a healthy lifestyle had to. This is becoming one of my biggest challenges - is realizing that I need to change my mentality.  Eating a healthy and balanced diet shouldn't be something that I want to take a break from. It needs to become as natural and instinctual as eating itself.

It seems like a simple concept. But it isn't.

I spent the day at my boyfriends house. That itself is a bit of a challenge. I came prepared, bringing myself black beans, almond milk, blueberries and fibre one. He was awesome and bought me some broccoli so I could make sure I get my daily serving of dark greens.

I didn't have breakfast today because we slept in (it was heavenly) so by the time I was hungry it was already time for lunch time fare.

I had a mixture of sorts. Quinoa served with black beans, broccoli and onions and flavoured with feta cheese and Renees Spring Herb dressing.

It was yummy! And looks particularly good on this plate.

For dessert, which i rarely crave, I had a mini chocolate fudgesicle.

It was the perfect amount. I highly recommend these "mini" versions of ice treats. They are usually just the right size, and because they are smaller, they are low in saturated fat.

Today I did day 5 of the Slim Down Challenge.  I did Day 4 yesterday, and it was a piece of cake. The 30 Day Shred, Level 1 is becoming quite manageable. Today, however, I was dying. I think there are two reasons for this (*cough* excuses *cough*):

1. I was removed from my typical workout environment. I tried it out at my boyfriend's place. I had space issues. I kept feeling like I was going to hit into a door or wall, or cat. It wasn't ideal.

2. I can't remember what my second reason was.

I worked out for 24 minutes. It was long enough. Hopefully next time I have to workout to that vid I will be more prepared. I was going to try and do it again later tonight, but that never...ever...ever happens.

Now it's time for my favourite segment: Guess who had what!?  I made dinner for my boyfriend tonight, and made him whatever he wanted (He did clean up the apartment and our dishes, so I thought I owed him).

(Don't let the hairy legs fool you, I can get quite lazy)

Obviously I had the salad. I haven't had a salad in ages, and it was well worth the wait. I had romaine lettuce (it's all there was - but I usually prefer spinach), chick peas, onions, tomatoes, broccoli with feta and spring dressing. With a side of berries, I felt it was a great meal to have for a summery, holiday meal.

For both of my lunch and dinner meals I had legumes as my protein source. Particularly the black beans are being labelled as the new superfood to take over from soybeans.  Black beans are a great source of fibre, plus are a great choice for protein. More importantly however, Black beans contain antioxidants - comparable to that of cranberries in amount. 

Antioxidants are molecules in foods that help prevent or slow down oxidation chemical reactions in the body. Cells naturally produce oxidation reactions, which lead to cell damage (which can result in cancer, heart disease, diabetes etc.). Try and eat foods that are dark in colour. This usually means that they are higher in antioxidants. Think blueberries, cranberries, black beans and red kidney beans.

Tonight, we enjoyed a gentle spring breeze as we sipped our coffee and watched the various fire works display from my boyfriend's balcony.

it made me want summer to come oh so quickly.

Friday, May 21, 2010

3 Bags of Chips on the Kitchen Counter...eff

As I was making a fresh batch of almond milk, my sister came home from the grocery store with not one, but THREE bags of chips.  Granted one of them hasn't been opened yet. Yep, that's right. Apparently that's what saves this from being absolutley obese.

It isn't as if my morning started much better.

In the bag was my standard breakfast sandwich from Timmy Ho's. I get an egg and cheese on an english muffin. That, with a large coffee with 2 milk is a decent breakfast. Not nutritious in the least, but calorie-wise, it is quite manageable. The timbits on the other hand are not. And none fell on the floor this time. Ugghh. The problem was that we went into the store. And all those yummy timbits were just calling my name. Loudly.  I only had 5...hah so the equivalent of one doughnut.

Moving on, I fared a bit better at work.

Lunch was - Spinach salad (avocado, almonds, onions + dressing), apple, special K bar.

It made me feel like I was getting back on track! That always gives me momentum. I truly reccommend to anyone who has kind of gotten off track to just make themselves one healthy meal. It will really boost your willingness to get back on track and continue to eat healthy. 

When I came home after work, I was in no mood to get inventive. I had some left over soup in my freezer. I just put that in the microwave, defrosted and enjoyed. 

This picture totally reminds me of those recipe books from the 70's and 80's - where all the pictures of the food looks brown and old. I don't think that the idea of the fresh vegetable was invented until the late 90s. 

Anyway - despite the lackluster photo - it was delicious. This is my Lentil and Vegetable Soup - and it is super easy.  A fresh batch can be made in about 30 mins, and it freezes easily. 

1 medium onion chopped
2 carrots (sliced)
2 stalks of celery (chopped)
1 clove of garlic minced
1 cup of lentils
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 tsp canola oil


1. In a large saucepan heat up oil over medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic and sautee for 5 minutes.
2. Add in carrots and celery. Continue to cook with the cover on for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add in 1 cup of lentils
4. Add in 6 Cups of Vegetable Broth. (You can buy vegetable broth, however, you can also buy vegetable bouillion (powder).  Add in 1 rounded tsp per cup of warm water. Stir and dissolve...can add in more powder to taste)
5. Bring soup to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.

It's ready to eat after that. Let it cool down a bit before you refridgerate/freeze it. 

This makes 8 servings - however, I will eat 2 at a time..easily.

I got inspired today after successfully completing day 3 of my Slim Down Challenge and made a fresh batch of almond milk, and grounded up some flax seed. All the while stuffing chips, and tostitos laced with cheese sauce in my mouth. So counter intuitive.

All I wanted to do was sit down and have chips with a diet coke. But, I decided instead to make a green monster. I added half a scoop of protein powder and it became a meal on it's own.

My dad looked at it and said it looked similar to the vomit he just cleaned up from my dog.

And I'm going to end it on that note.

Day 3 Slim Down Challenge


That's all I have to say.

Smell, look, taste (maybe not the last one). but gross indeed. And yet I feel great!  Day 3 of the Jillian Michaels slim down challenge is a 55 minute workout vid called "No More Trouble Zones". It is basically circuit training - focusing primarily on strength. I am becoming more and more of a Jillian Michaels fan as I continue to do her vids. She makes some really great points throughout with regards to workouts, and definitely has my number when it comes to exercising.

There were a few exercises that I had to do the modified version of (which she provided), and one exercise I just couldn't do at all (a side plank... how the hells am I supposed to lift my entire, overweight body off the floor on just one of my flabby arms, Jillian?).  And there were most definitely a number of times when I out loud told Jillian to "eff herself".   But I'm done, and hopefully a stronger, better version of where I was before.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Today is my weigh-in day. I am happy to say that I am a loser. A loser because I am down 1.8lbs. I have now lost 15.8 lbs! Only 20 - 30 lbs left to go. A cake walk. An effing cake walk.

This got me thinking about the notion of cheat days. I typically don't give myself "cheat days" but rather prescribe to the dieting style of "zig zag" eating (or calorie cycling).  The idea behind zig zagging is that over the course of a week you eat a different amount of calories each day. Some days you eat in your high end of the range, and then the next day you eat low, and the day after you eat in the mid range.....lather, rinse, repeat. So long as you stay within your healthy calorie range (which depends on your weight and activity level) it can be a pretty effective method for weight loss and breaking a plateau. The reason why is because you are keeping your body guessing. Basically, you are figuratively keeping your body on its toes. If you only eat a certain number of calories everyday, your metabolism will become adjusted to this (whether there is a calorie deficit or not). This is why many people who have followed a strict low calorie diet will eventually come to a plateau where weight loss stops. Using calorie cycling, you are tricking your metabolism. This may seem counterintuitive, but by calorie cycling - and eating more calories some days will actually rev up your metabolism. I don't actively calorie zig zag. I just naturally eat more on somedays than on others.

I feel like "cheat days" - which you allow yourself to consume whatever foods, and in any amounts you want - can be a risky game. To put it in perspective, how easy is it to just forget about working out if you haven't done it for awhile? Too easy.

Well, I think it is the same idea with cheat days. Let's face it, most of us who have entered into some form of weight loss program have done so because our previous lifestyles were detrimental to our health. Our food consumption was probably above and beyond what was necessary. So let's be honest with ourselves - cheat days are simply days in which you allow yourself to revert back to those bad habits you have worked so hard to break. You can't just bite one nail, without biting the rest off. For me, the same theory applies to dieting. If I allow myself one day to eat whatever I want (and perhaps more importantly, however much of it I want), it certainly would be more challenging to get back on the spinach leaf salad.

Here's where zig zagging and weekly weigh ins come into play. When you know there are days in which you can eat more calories, but still stay within a healthy range, you are more likely to commit to an overall weight loss program for the long term.

Take Wednesday par example:

It was my weigh in (and I lost 1.8lbs - but you already knew that).  I know that this is the longest amount of time I have until my next weigh in. Therefore, I make sure that I eat the most amount of calories on this day. While the benefits of calorie cycling (zig-zagging) aren't scientifically documented, I personally feel it works well for me. It is a bit liberating to know that on Wednesdays I can "treat" myself to a 12 inch veggie sub...however, I still have it sans cheese, mayo or sub sauce (oh sub I miss thee). I don't even miss the cheese. But by not having those toppings I take what used to be an 870 calorie "healthy" option to a reasonable and enjoyable 430 calories. I load it up with veggies and use mustard. Tres delicioso. Even with eating this "indulgence" I still remain with in my healthy calorie range to lose weight - just on the higher end.

While moderation is key, I do believe that there are some foods that need to be eliminated from your diet altogether. There is absolutley no reason why you should look forward to your bucket of fried chicken come a successful weigh in.  Furthermore, any foods that contain any amount of trans fat should be avoided like the bubonic plague.

I am not the picture of perfection (only when it comes to my diet - for everything else, yes. Yes, I am). But I am certainly getting better. (I have limited myself to just 2 buckets of fried chicken a day!)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Even though I weigh in tomorrow I still helped myself to those chips.

Today started out great!  I got to sleep in a bit, and then had time to make myself a great breakfast.

I had a breakfast sandwich of sorts inspired by one of my favourite little cafes.

Pictured is a piece of whole wheat toast, with 1/2 a serving of cheddar cheese (15 g), 2 egg whites and a couple of slices of apple. Mmmmm.. The apple really adds a great crunch and sweetness to the whole thing. I also had 1/2 a serving (1/4 cup) of Fibre One cereal with 1/4 cup of almond milk. Must make more soon. Because I only make 1 batch of almond milk at a time, I find I have to make it quite often. I don't think it is worth the risk though of making more, because there are no preservatives in it - i don't want it to go bad.

Around midday I started telling myself that I needed to workout. I was dreading this. My workout routines have become just that - routine. It is so boring and typical. I decided I needed to amp up my workout, so I dusted off some dvds.

I have a series of dvds from Jillian Michaels.

 Now. I don't believe that any of these claims can be true - nor do i wan them to actually come to be. I want my weight loss to be slow and steady. As frustrating as that may be sometimes, I know that when it goes off, it stays off.

There is an exercise plan at where you can download a PDF of an exercise schedule. I have chosen to do the 30 day slim down, and it looks quite intense.

I did level one of the 30 day Shred today - and it was tough, but i could get through it. When I was done, I guzzled down some protein powder mixed with almond milk.

It isn't exactly the best tasting thing ever. It is more so the texture. Protein doesn't dissolve well, and gets very lumpy and clingy in the glass. It was a joy to drink down.

I then made a quick lunch, because I was running short on time.

 I had a green monster + almond cheese and crackers. It was no breakfast sandwich, but it did it's part. I also scrounged together break foods, but it didn't amount to much:
Broccoli, carrots and dip. Apple with almonds and a special K bar. Woohoo. It wasn't a lot but it satisfied me enough to get through the messiest shift ever (2 people spilled stuff, that I had to clean up while they just stood and waited...and watched).

I was surprised at how tired I was at the beginning of work today. I chalked it up to working out at a more intense level - but that usually energizes me. It was the first time in a long time that I had almost a full day to myself before having to go into work for 4pm, so maybe that was it. Regardless, I was a zombie for the first part of that shift.

Tomorrow is my weigh in day (I weigh in once a week to see if any progress has been made). I feel like I self- sabotage myself, because the moment I got home tonight, I beelined for the open bag of chips. Sitting there eating them and watching the Hills Aftershow was a delight. I will probably regret those actions tomorrow though when I have to look at the scale. What sucks more so, is that I am only 1.0lbs away from a mini shopping spree to kitchen stuff plus. I am pretty adamant about my weight goals. Even if I lost 0.8 lbs this week, I would not consider that reaching my 15 lbs goal.

Tomorrow is another day off! I'm getting used to these!

Day 1 Slim Down Challenge

Oh lordy.

That was quite the workout. My arms are still trembling. Coming soon will be my measurements. I hope to see some progress. It's funny. I am not a huge Jillian Michaels fan. I don't watch "The Biggest Loser", but she made some really good points during the workout. She definitely had my number when it came to going to the gym (which I haven't done i a year) - but I would just hop on an elliptical and mindlessly workout. Not really seeing any results. It was because I wasn't really training my body or getting it working. Not the case anymore. And the other great thing about this workout is that it is portable. I will definitely be able to do this at other places if I am away.

Now off to guzzle down some protein powder and shower before work.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Manic Mondays Indeed.

I realize many people probably dread Mondays. I'm no different. Even though most weeks I work seven days a week (split between my paid job, and my volunteer position), I still can discern that a monday is noticeably different from any other day of the week. Monday's are when I go to my volunteer position as a teacher/classroom aide at a local high school. It's rewarding, fulfilling a need for me to stay current in the education system - but gosh darn does 6 am come too soon.

On my good days, I pack up a breakfast to go. Most times however, I just skip it (a big no-no). Then for lunch, if i have any energy after working the weekend, I may manage to make myself something to bring. Usually, however, for mondays I buy it at the local grocery store.

There are two major problems with me buying my lunch. The first is the nutrition. When you really think about it, how convenient is it to buy a head of broccoli, or a package of spinach? One suggestion would be to hit up the frozen dinner section - however, these need to be closely scrutinized. Usually they are chock full of calories, saturated fat and sodium. Not to mention all the preservatives and additives. Plus, I don't eat meat. There are very few options available to me. I did come across one selection however, and I was quite surprised. It is the "No Name" brand from the Loblaws chain. It is the Pomodoro Rigatoni. It isn't exactly "nutritious" but at 190 calories and 3 g of fat - it is something I can get behind to tide me over till I can get home and make myself something appropriate. Then I usually go for an apple and a bag of baby carrots.

The second issue with buying your lunch is the cost. With student debt galore, I am trying to cut costs anywhere and everywhere. Brown bagging it has eliminated a lot of superfluous spending. This is why I choose to go to the grocery store instead of the Subway that is in the same plaza. Even though those subs are advertised at 3.49, after you add the taxes and any drinks/sides - you can easily be paying upwards of $6-10 for a meal. The No-Name frozen dinner was $0.93, + a $0.97 bag of baby carrots and a $0.21 apple, I was doing just fine with curbing my expenditures.

When I got home from school it is usually around 4pm ish. I don't care what time people traditionally start dinner - i got those pots and cutting boards out. I'm ravenous by the time I get home. Why wait for dinner? I put a pot on for some pasta and then made myself a little snack to tide me over till the dinner was actually done.

Does anyone else do this? I feel like by making a snack before preparing a meal it prevents me from snacking through out the dinner making process. I probably ingest fewer calories by doing this. I had my typical 2 servings of almond cheese, and a serving of breton crackers.

I seriously need to invest in some more prettier plates. I don't know what inspired my mother to buy these. Personally they remind me of the metal camping plates and cups we had.  Nothing says inspired cooking like forest green plates with bird poo paint splatters all over it.

For dinner I had some left overs with grilled veggies. I made sure to weigh out just 1/2 a serving of whole wheat pasta. It was the perfect amount!  And half a serving is only 150 calories. That is quite manageable.

I am in love with my digital scale. It makes portion control so much easier. I got this star-frit version at Canadian tire for $13.99 *sale price. I can honestly say that this, plus my measuring spoons/cups is a major contributing factor to my decreasing waist size.

I decided to rummage through the vegetable drawer to see what was in there. I found 1/2 a zucchini, 1 portobello mushroom and some button mushrooms. Perfect! Grilled veggies (hah. it was on a frying pan...grilled inspired veggies then). I added a bit of onion for the flavour - i love onions in everything!

My Grilled Veggies (Simple!)

1. Slice up your favourite veggies. Peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, onions and bok choy work really well.

2. Heat up your frying pan on medium heat (or bbq). Add 1 tsp of canola oil.

3. Add in your onions first. They take the longest to cook. Saute them for at least 5 minutes before you add in your other veggies.

4. Add in the other veggies. Mix around frequently.

5. Add in your favourite flavourings. My standby is about 2-3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar + 1/8 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Mix together and pour over veggies.

6. Stir mix together continuously until all veggies are well coated. Keep stirring for about 6-10 minutes until desired tenderness is reached. I prefer my veggies to be a bit more on the firm side, so I had them on the heat for less.

If you are using the bbq, then you probably have - or should have - one of these:

This is a great tool. Place it on your BBQ and allow it to heat up. Than you just put on your vegetables. Whenever I am grilling up a veggie burger, I always make sure to add a few grilled veggies using this. It definitely gives that distinctive BBQ flavour.

For the rest of dinner, I had my left over black beans with tomatoes and herbs.

I drizzled the pasta and the grilled veggies with 1 tsp of FlaxseedFlaxseed oil contains omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids. It can help prevent cancer, increase metabolism, strengthen finger and toe nails, increases body's energy and stamina...the list is endless. Click here for more information.

It is important to note that you should NEVER cook with flaxseed oil. Only use it for salads, smoothies or post cooking when food isn't as hot. This is because the fat in flaxseed oil is highly unstable and can denature quite quickly. When this happens, the oil goes rancid and has quite a bitter taste. This is the reason why you should always keep your flaxseed oil in the fridge. I have a terrible habit of leaving products out. Well, my mom put my flaxseed oil away in the cabinet with the rest of our oils ... it was disgusting. It almost tasted like very, very strong tea that had been sitting out too long. Needless to say, it had to be dumped.

And finally. This is the reason why I need to photograph the food I eat everyday, and not only that - but eat everyday!

At around 9 pm tonight I was hungry. Believe it or not, late night snacking isn't one of my major problems. Nor do I believe that late night snacking will lead to weight gain (so long as you stay within your healthy calorie range). However, I certainly did not eat enough calories today, and by the late evening I was craving carbs and salt.  At least I was proportional with this snack. I had two pieces of wheat bread, with 1 tsp each of margarine and jam. I feel quite like a hypocrite. I posted a blog about how I am trying to get away from highly processed foods - and I eat the one thing that, frankly, I don't think can even be considered food. I just have to remember it's a process, one of which I have to trust.

Public Safety Announcement

In France, they are now offering the Big Mac on a whole wheat bun. I actually hate when food companies do this.

A Big Mac has to be my favourite fast food item. Since going veg/healthy - these have been no where near my mouth. But come on. Let's call a spade a spade. Just because you are changing one aspect, doesn't mean the whole of that artery clogger is going to be any healthier.

I hate when food companies come out with these new labels for their foods that have the latest buzz words on them. Like Organic Macaroni and Cheese (it's still refined noodles, with an orange powdery substance that reveals itself to be cheese-like only after adding copious amounts of milk and butter) or labelling Potato chips as "Trans fat free". Granted it is important to limit your trans fat intake to all of about zero, but just because your favourite snack now doesn't have any doesn't give you excuse to chow down.

In general, when you are grocery shopping within the aisles, it is truly a buyer beware situation. With new buzz words that are being revealed by "top food scientists", you are going to find products labelled with them. Like how many items now pride themselves on have a serving of Omega 3's in them? Does it ever make you wonder if a cookie should even have omega 3's in them? Or if that is the justifiable reason to eat 2 or 3?

If you are interested in how food science has changed the way we eat and our diets, I highly recommend Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food".  It's a bit dense to get through, but your perspective on what you eat will certainly change.

Pretty Pretty Please? With a fresh, organic cherry on top?

What surprises me most of vegan/raw diets is how much they rely on gadgets and appliances. I suppose it makes sense, i mean conventional methods of cooking go against their philosophies. For some reason, when I think of vegan and raw diets (and I know that these are two separate eating lifestyles, just because you are one, doesn't mean you are the other), I think of those who are soul of the earth, hemp-wearing, dreadlocked individuals. I suppose I envision hippie Amish people. I realize that this is completely false, and in fact, vegans and raw dieters must be more inventive and creative.

Here are a list of tools, gadgets and appliances that I wished I could get...or rather here's my christmas list 7 months in advance:

(all these items are found at a large raw, health food supplier for Canada)

1. A spiralizer

Spiralizers are these nifty tools (and inexpensive - this particular model is only $30). They take vegetables and fruit (must be a firm variety) and creates thin like noodles or slices of it. Raw dieters enjoy this because it allows them to create a pasta of likes. Now you can enjoy some of your favourite pasta dishes "raw". While this may not seem tempting to others, I think that this is a cool gadget that will make me more inspired to get in my daily servings of veggies and fruit.

2. Dehydrator

Now, I have a dehydrator. I have a 90's Ron "I spray paint my bald spot" Popeil dehydrator. They have seriously improved since then.  The new styles of dehydrators are sleeker and more compact. They also allow for more types of dehydrating as you can purchase teflon sheets to make things like crackers and fruit leather.  This is mainstay for most raw eaters because it allows them to recreate many of the favourite treats without adding any denaturing, harmful heat.  This is the apartment sized model, and it runs about $150 - $200.

3. A citrus Juicer

Now, I know that I don't need a $60 citrus juicer. There are ones you can buy at the dollar store. I get this. But this is my wishlist, and wish lists are supposed to be extravagant. I'm not much for juicing. In fact when I started trying to lose weight, I pretty much ruled out drinking juice. I didn't want to waste my precious calories on it. The other issue with juicing (for weight loss) is that it removes all the fibre. You are better off eating the orange, and forcing your body to process the fibre (thereby making you feel fuller, longer) than drinking the equivalent calories in juice. That being said, lemons are particularly good for digestion, and I'm not going to be eating any lemon wedges any time soon. I love adding fresh squeezed lemon juice to my club soda, or regular water. It makes it a lot easier to get in those 8 glasses a day. I hate however, having gross seeds or pulp floating around. There is something unnatural about having solids floating around in your liquid.

And Finally....

4. Vitamix Blender!!

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Vitamix Blender was the Cadillac of all blenders.  It is one of those items that you will leave in your will to that lucky someone. If you want the perfect smoothie, soup, or ground grains, this is for you. However, if you don't want amounts to a small country's GDP ($500) on an appliance, maybe you should consider something else. I feel like if you were to use your blender everyday, and actually keep it out on the counter than it would be justifiable to make the purchase. I'm not quite at that level yet, but I certainly would be if the blender gods granted me this one wish.

There are many other products that I want to get, but these are my top four. Part of what keeps my weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey fresh and new is getting fun products and gadgets. I am more inspired to make a great dinner if I have a fun plate to serve it on, or an item like the spiralizer to make some zucchini angel hair pasta.

I am one pound away from my 15 lb goal. The reward for this weight loss is a $25 shopping spree to I will definitely post pictures of what I decided to buy (which believe it or not, $25 can go a long way there).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16 2010 - Workout

Here is my plan for a workout tonight:

All videos are available at

New You Bootcamp - 10 minutes
Cardio Kick Boxing - 10 minutes
Boot Camp - 10 minutes

Strength Training

1. Upper body with free weights and stability ball - 10 minutes
2. Core/abs with stabilitiy ball - 8 minutes
3. Leg work - 8 minutes
4. Dumbbell workout + Stretch - 20 minutes

My playlist for tonight:
* notice the beibs has made an appearance. 

Yes. That Pizza you sneaked in today has to be included.

This is day 3 of my food blogging/journal shenanigans. And for some reason, the pics didn't save onto my card.. all except one. I am interested to see if this made any difference come next wednesday when I have to weigh in. Last week I lost 2 lbs (!), so I fear that maybe this week it will be a different story.

I began the day on an off foot (is that even a saying?)

(insert picture of a piece of stale, cold left over pizza ).

It was a tiny slice, I swear! but what a waste! It tasted tres horrible. But I did include it in my nutrition tracker for today (that and the other piece i managed to get in.. ) I thought I could make it better by having a heart healthy breakfast.

(insert pic of me gobbling down a bowlful of almond milk + fibre one + strawberries emoticon)

but alas.. that cold, disgusting, stale pizza was calling my naturally I had another piece. emoticon

I managed for the first time today to do a workout at my bf's apartment. emoticon
It wasn't the best, most intense workout I have done (by far) but it was a workout nonetheless. The problem is that his apartment is on the top floor of a non-air conditioned builiding. Even though it is the month of May, things got quite stuffy quite quickly when I began jumping and kicking emoticon . I did Coach Nicole's Cardio Kick boxing, and both of her Boot Camp Vids (seen here). I think I need to start thinking about buying some new workout dvds (or just find the one's I have).

After working out, I had my typical lunch. Black beans I had brought over from home + rice and broccoli. It worked out well. I just sprinkled some feta cheese goodness on it. Feta cheese is my go to food item. It requires so little (i swear by just 10 g), but adds so much flavour.

I brown bagged it to work today.

This is two breaks worth of food. Left over lunch, almond cheese, crackers apple and a special K bar.

That special K bar really had me thinking though. It promotes itself as being a healthy choice - and at only 90 calories, it certainly has me hooked. I use it as a way to get in my crunchy/sweet...sometimes chocolatey fix. That being said, have you looked at the list of ingredients? I can barely pronounce any of them, let alone know what they are. I am going to try and focus on only eating foods with an ingredient roster I can pronounce, describe and spell (ok, maybe not the last one.. my spelinng is atrocious). My game plan will be to start planning out my meals more carefully. To say that I will focus only on whole foods is to vague I think.

I truly expect this to be quite the challenge, one of which I am not quite prepared to do just yet. Maybe I will wait till my costco sized box of special K bars is gone to begin.

Anyway! Sorry for the lack of pics in this post. Hopefully my camera will get it's act together for tomorrow...because it is the equipments fault always...never the user.

What are your thoughts on consuming food products with an ingredient list that might as well be in a foreign language? emoticon

Timbits on the car floor means I can't eat anymore.

Day 2...

Today there was the usual disruption, as I was over at the boyfriend's place. What this usually means is that I am taken out of my element for food. But i came slightly prepared.

For breakfast we had eggs (eggwhite omellete for me), hashbrowns and fruit (guess which plate was whos)

He made me make sure that the strawberries were in the shot. Because that cancels out the 1 1/2 cups of hasbrowns.

I planned ahead slightly the night before and brought over almond cheese (see previous food log for recipe), ryvita crackers and black beans.

The almond cheese and crackers I had as a snack to tide me over before I made actual lunch. Today was sort of a borning, non-doing anything day. Even though I had to work in the evening, I considered it a day off of sorts. Any chance I can get to just hang out and relax with the bf I'll take.

For lunch I had to get a bit creative. One of the staples that I have left over at his place is Quinoa. Quinoa is actually a seed, that when cooked is fluffy like rice, couscous in texture and it has a nutty texture. Because it is a seed, it is actually a complete protein, making it an excellent choice. I added sauted onions, quinoa and black beans together. I mixed in a tiny amount (10g) of feta cheese with some Renee's Spring Herb Dressing:

It wasn't my best, but it was healthy. I added the other half of my orange from breakfast to round out my meal.

I worked a mini little 4 hour shift today at work, which actually was quite the hinderance. emoticon

I had an apple, special K bar and some water. Quite unimpressive. emoticon

By the time I got home, I had to rush to have dinner, because I needed to get in my workout before the boy came and picked me up for the night. I grabbed a container of my lentil and vegetable soup from the freezer. It didn't really stand up to the freezer, but it was nonetheless tasty. I complimented it with some almond cheese (did i mention this stuff blows my mind? emoticon). I layered Ryvita crisp bread with spinach and the cheese. Delish! The left over spinach (I measured out a cup) I just threw in my soup.

I then worked out for a good 30 mins, but had no energy to do my full hour of strength training. At least I got in my 30 mins of cardio (did 3 of coach nicoles kick boxing/cardio vids). ( emoticon).

Post workout was time for my Green Monster:

My Green Monster Includes:

2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 cups baby spinach (put in a bowl with water and microwave for 2 mins)
1 cup almond milk
1 banana

(blend all this, than add in some ice cubes and switch to ice crusher). It's refreshing and delicious. IF i had strength trained, I would have had 1/2 a scoopful of protein powder (more on that later).

Than it was off to the boy's house. Where I indulged in a late night snack of garlic bread. It was uber tasty, but oh so bad for me i know.

and finally - my reason as to why blogging my food journal keeps me accountable

i only ate 5 timbits though. only 5...because the rest fell on the car floor.