Monday, July 19, 2010

What's in your toolbox?

For every job we do, we have a toolbox. If I had to describe mine, it would be pink and sparkle.

I have been refining my weight loss tool box over the years. It started jam packed with despair, resentment, self doubt and loathing and a future full of potential health issues if I didn't change direction on the road I was on, oh and a of course a bag of oreos and bbq chips. Before I go into what's in there now, I should tell you what I had to take out first, besides all the negativity.
I started out with different types of gym memberships, I had joined the YMCA, mademoiselle spa and fitness one numerous times always with that enthusiasm that lasts during the first three weeks then fizzles out. I tossed the gym memberships and they are gone for good. Sounds crazy I know but don't worry they have been replaced.
Next, I had to make room in the "diet strategy" tray. I gave away all my WW pamphlets and various plans and reading material for that program. I tossed all my weekly trackers and my score cards with the stickers. I also said no more meetings or points or all the whole wheat carbs I can eat. I also cancelled my membership at the metabolic centre. No more sessions and weekly weigh-ins...that stress is enough to drive anyone to overeat!

So, with all that's what remains. I have a gym in my basement, I have weights and a treadmill and can't make any excuses about not wanting to go out once I get home from work, or I "forgot" to pack my gym bag. Plus I can work out any time I want.
Besides exercising at home I have added a bunch of activities to my arsenal against weight gain. I love going to hot yoga and always feel better after a class. For the past month and a half I have been going to booty camp and will continue through August as well. I also have picked up rollerblading again this summer and will be playing volleyball again in the fall.

Next, I started tracking my calories first using Fitday. It also tracked weight and measurements and provided some fairly good reports. I now use My Food Diary (MFD) and love love love it! It has a great database and I can add to it really easily. It also stores weight and measurements and has reports but it also has a few other resources and I can't forget, one of the most important features, the forums! I participate in monthly challenges, have a couple of progress threads and have met some excellent people who have certainly helped keep me on track. I have also got a bunch of great information there as well...more to come on that. This tool has certainly been one of the most important that I could have, and they have a mobile version which leads me to my next tool.

My blackberry has been a lifesaver, with the use of the MFD mobile app, surfing the forums, tracking my daily foods as well as the rest of the smart phone features. I would not have been as successful without it.

Something else the forum has provided is great feedback and reviews on books that have really helped others. One that has been instrumental in my progress has been the Beck Diet Solution. This book teaches you how to think like a thin person, I'm not kidding... It really really does and yes, they really do think differently than a fat person the secret is out! Another book I heard about was the Flat Belly Diet. This book stresses the importance and needs around your body and healthy fats (mono unsaturated fatty acids - mufas).

Now, about those oreos...those got replaced as well. I am not saying that I never eat junk food anymore cause I would be lying. But, what I have done is replace many of my favorite snacks with healthier options. I will snack on baked chips not fried or I make cookies from scratch so I can control the ingredients and make substitutions. I also opt for rice cakes or popcorn and 100 calorie snack sized products are my best friends these days. I have also incorporated a lot of other foods I didn't eat before such as black beans and chick peas, avocado, dark chocolate (no more milk chocolate) and quinoa.

So that's what's in my weight loss toolbox, what's in yours?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

I have been in-line skating since I was a kid. I started out with some no-name pair I got while visiting my Grandpa in Baltimore the summer I was going into the fifth grade. My mom and I spent a couple of weeks there while Grandpa rested and recuperated from surgery. It was a hot summer that year, I remember because my mom decided to roast a turkey (in the oven of course) when it was 104F that day! I would plan my skating adventures around the sun and wait until after 3pm to head outside.

Before that summer I had spent my time rollerskating up and down our street in my white and purple skates. Yes, I said rollerskates, remember those and the roller-rinks they use to have? And don't forget the popular Saturday afternoon or birthday party's spent at the rink. In the winter I took to the basement and skated around in circles. I wasn't exactly light on my toes...okay I'm still not but I just loved the feeling of cruising along the basement floor or on a freshly paved school playground. I was so excited when they resurfaced our street!

Fast forward twenty years and I'm still strapping the skates (and wrist guards) on and gliding my way along the beach path that stretches between Burlington and Hamilton. I use to get up at around sunrise on the weekend and head down to the waters edge. The lake is like a mirror at that time of day, usually there is a slight breeze and just a few other early risers along the path. Thinking about it now makes me want to set the alarm for Saturday morning...we'll see. ;)

I made my way down to the usual parking lot just past the lift bridge Saturday morning. I had my water bottle and MP3 player ready to go, strapped on the skates and hit the path. It was around 11:00 am by the time I got down there but the path traffic wasn't too busy. The weather was perfect and there was a good breeze in the air. I made my way along the path eying up my favorite yards, went past the go-kart track and hutches. People were already enjoying the patio at Baranga's and I could smell the hot dogs cooking at the beach side grill. With each stride I got closer to the loop where I usually take my first gulp of water and turn around to make my way back. Down at that end there are some great big trees and a few spots where the path is cool and shady. I usually slow down a little there but I don't stop. If I stop my feet feel like there are 10lb weights strapped on them and it makes getting going that much harder. I was feeling a little tired but pushed at the end making my way back to the parking lot, what a great workout!

I think I completed the 15km in a new record time of 54mins 30 second. I should start keeping a log. I know the first time out with my heart rate monitor had a time of 58mins so that's about a 4 minute improvement already.

I have skated in a few fund-raising efforts over the years and hope to do participate in more in the years to come. If you are a bike rider or rollerblader and have done the Heart and Stroke - Ride for Heart then you know how awesome it is to have one of busiest highways in Canada opened up just for you!

keep them doggies rollin' ;o)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Never thought I would join the army

Last month my friend Ali and I embarked on our first ever booty camp series. We weren't really sure what to expect so we decided to sigh up for a 4 week session (two camps a week) instead of the 8 week session.

On Monday June 7th we made our separate ways over to the elementary school where the classes are held. The session is organized in blocks, we warm up, do strength training, cardio then cool down and stretching. The night started off with squats, squats and more squats. We squatted out way into the cardio portion of the night that was a blend of running and jumping. We finished off with some interval running and tomato faces. Next up, we were off to rip our abs. Our trainer warned us she LOVED squats, lunges and you guessed it...planks!!!

We hit the mats and got into position with 60 seconds on the clock. Yeah right I thought... who was she kidding! She called out go! I raised myself on my forearms and toes and almost instantly I felt the burn. It wasn't long before I started shaking and collapsed down to my knees and then down on to my belly. I gave it another weak attempt but I was done. After the planks we stretched it out and we were finished for the night.

I walked a little funny for the few days following that night and missed the second session that week due to a cold I had picked up that first night.

Fast forward three weeks and 6 more camps to our last class on Wednesday, June 30. We did yup you guessed it, more squats. We did a set of 10 ran, set of 20, ran, set of 30, ran, set of 40, ran then worked our way back down to the set of ten. 160 squats later we did a circuit cardio session with sets of push ups, ladders, skipping, marching and of course burpees! We did three or four rounds of the circuit and then completed the night with the fit test. I missed it initially so this was my only time but plan to see an improvement when I run it again at the end of July. I finished running back and forth across a soccer field, 20 lunges and 20 sit ups and 20 more squats (I think) in 4:34.

Last session night after night we worked on planks and I was so happy that on the second last night I held the plank for the full 60 seconds! I spent the minute grumbling and grunting but I wasn't giving up! I felt my abs starting to shake but I held on and pushed my tail bone out more to try and get more space between me and the mat. Let me tell you, it felt great once she called time and I dropped to the ground!

Even after all the torture we subjected ourselves to for those four weeks, we didn't hesitate to sign up for the July session!

I have to hand it to Ali, when ever I suggest some new exercise adventure she is always the first to reply and say she'll be there! She really helps make camp fun and we encourage each other to push that little bit harder... We know what buttons to push to get the other that little bit madder or energized to push and get through that set! I'm so glad she joined the booty camp army too!

With this weeks extreme heat alert, you know what I am talking about if you live in and around the GTA, camp was canceled last night. I went Monday and it was H O T but still a great workout! Last night I made my way down to the cool basement and popped in the booty camp DVD and proceeded to kick my own butt for the night. It will be good to get back to camp next week and I am looking forward to working out in the outdoors again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So you know where I am coming from...

This is the story of how I finally came to the decision that enough was enough, the time had come to lose the weight for good!

How this new journey began...

The date was December 2007 and the scale was tipping at 220lbs. My husband and I were having dinner with my parents and uncle who was visiting for the holidays. My uncle is a type-2 diabetic. During the course of the meal, he began significantly perspiring, he looked as though he had just walked out of the shower. I called his name repeatedly and looked at my father in horror asking if we needed to call 911. It took a few minutes for my uncle to come around and after he said he had just taken too much of his insulin medication.

It was that night, that dinner that put me on my path to loosing weight and living a healthier life. Seeing my uncle go through that diabetic episode made me realize what my future had in store for me if I didn't act now. I started working out immediately and I started tracking my calories and exercise daily to keep my on track.

Fast forward two years...

I certainly feel like a different woman, more confident and I have a much better self esteem even compared to a year ago. I am on my way to losing the rest of the weight and I know it will happen because I believe in myself and I am making the necessary changes, physically, emotionally and mentally that are required for me to be successful.

Time goes by, you might as well make the most of it...

Today is July 7, 2010. I have now been at this for 2.5 years and it's definitely getting easier. Eating properly and exercising 4-5 days a week is now my norm and I like that. I have seen a loss over 20lbs since the start of the year bringing my total loss to 62lbs and about 30 inches from around my whole body. I am so lucky to have had the wake up call when I did that holiday season back in 2007 other wise I don't think I would be sitting here, not on this site and definitely not at this weight.