Friday, August 31, 2007

New jeans = awesome

I bought some new jeans today and now I can't stop looking at my legs. The jeans were bought in a hurry (they were needed to avert a major wardrobe malfunction*) but dang if my legs don't look mighty fine in them. My legs are much thinner than I thought they were and I've been trying not to stare at them as I walk.

The jeans are dark-blue size 12 petites, just right for my short legs. They're also tighter than I would normally get which is why, combined with the narrow cut of the leg, I think they look so good. Normally, I'd just get something on the loose side because I'm all about comfort. But not this pair. This pair looks great. My legs look great! I don't know how long it's been since I've looked at my legs with admiration instead of disgust :) :) :)

* Desperate for pants this morning, I grabbed my old pre-WW jeans to wear to work. Though most of the day was spent hitching them up, the near critical meltdown came in the evening as I was walking in the mall. With each step, the waistband dipped lower and lower until it cleared a good three inches of underwear. I knew then that it was essential for me to buy new pants lest I get arrested by mall security for indecent exposure. It was a near thing, but a strategically placed hand on the hip with one finger slipped through a belt loop kept the whole thing from going horribly wrong.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Compliments in the kitchen

I received another compliment on my weight loss today. It was from a coworker who had mentioned it a few months back, but wanted to compliment me again on how amazing I was doing. She said that I had lost "a lot" of weight. I guess my small frame really doesn't carry weight well. Or, to put a positive spin on it, I guess my small frame loses weight really well ;)

One other thing that struck me about the conversation was that it occurred in the kitchen again. I seem to be getting more compliments there than anywhere else.

Mental note to self: hang around in the kitchen more often.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Pantyhose Polka

Tiny Trim Tip of the Day: getting into pantyhose is NO easier after losing weight. It was hard at 204lbs, and it's still hard at 169lbs. I didn't mention it before, but I earned a good number of Activity Points rolling around on the bathroom floor at the wedding trying to get into a pair. There was a few tense minutes when I couldn't get the crotch section to go any higher than mid-thigh. I briefly considered just leaving it be, but decided I couldn't pull off walking around like a duck all day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Peas sir, no more!

I just wanted to take a moment out of my busy day to say that sometimes life isn't fair. I'm working on a particular project right now that requires me to work with high resolution images of food. Not just any food...delicious food. I'm talking full-colour cheesecake the size of my monitor. Even the peas look good and that's saying something.

If there's lick marks on my screen at the end of the day, it's not my fault!

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something really really really tired

I know some of you have been wondering where I've been since my last post. Well, I'll tell ya. I've been acting as an impromptu wedding organizer for some good friends.

We found out last Sunday that they wanted my husband to be the best man. So there was a flurry of activity in trying to get a tux rented with only a week to spare. Then there was half-marathon training walks, dropping off decorating supplies to the bride, and shopping for new shoes. I know there was more, but last week was kind've a blur.

Saturday was spent on setup - mainly decorating the arch and helping with yardwork. I then found out that we were asked to drive the bride and groom to their hotel after the wedding. This is fine of course, but our car was dirty and we hadn't planned on decorating it. So, the afternoon was spent running around trying to find car decorations, getting the car washed inside and out, and driving around looking for road side stands selling dahlias (more flowers were needed for decorating). The evening was spent fluffing car pompoms, designing a "just married" sign, and making last minute decorations.

Yesterday, being the day of the wedding, saw us up at 6a so that we could get showered, pickup a platter of food, decorate the car, and get to the house by 10a for more setup. After that, it was a bit of a blur. There was so much to do. Flower arranging, food serving, more decorating, making sure everything was where it was supposed to be, getting dressed up, taking pictures, making a toss bouquet on short notice, trying to fix the arch so it wouldn't blow down during the ceremony, serving cake, etc. etc. etc.! And everyone kept asking me wedding questions. Which is funny, because I've only been married once, and that was seven years ago!

I was wearing my pedometer the whole day and wound up clocking over 10,000 steps (half of which in heels!). Food-wise, it was a bit of a write-off. Though I don't think I overate, I wasn't too particular about what I chose. Ah well, I figure all those steps I took has to count for something!

So now I'm at work, dead tired and in need of more caffeine. Tonight we've been asked over for the unwrapping of gifts so it's not quite over. I did manage to get in for my weigh-in and meeting on Saturday morning so I still have to post my results. As soon as I get time, I'll be sure to wave my magic blogger wand and get that posted!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Twenty-ninth Weigh-in

Another weigh-in under my belt and yet another .8 lbs lost. That's three weeks in a row! I'd say it was a trend, but the last time I said that, the trend changed completely. Regardless, this means I've lost another five pounds AND I've met my mini-goal of reducing my BMI to 29.9! Officially, I am no longer obese. I'm now just "overweight." Hehe, it's funny that I'm so excited about that! This also means it's charm time. I've already ordered one for this latest 5lbs and another for achieving my mini-goal.

The meeting itself was good. We did a little exercise by closing our eyes and imagining a time in our lives that required patience and persistence to overcome. We then imagined the feelings from that time applying to our weight loss efforts. Finally, we replaced the image by seeing ourselves at goal. Like the goofy girl I am, I started smiling at that point :)

After the meeting, I was approached by another member who asked how much I had lost as she didn't quite catch it when I received my star. She then congratulated me on my loss and said that she had been keeping an eye on me and watching me get thinner and thinner. That was super duper awesome. So much so, I really must approach someone else at the meeting and compliment them, too. I'm shy in real life, but this feeling deserves passing along to someone else despite my wallflower-ness!

I'll close with a great quote our leader gave us. It really is true. The great mountain that's ahead of us can be crossed one pebble at a time.

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain.” – Unknown

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The slippery slope

I haven't been doing the best that I could be doing on Weight Watchers during the last month. I know this because, among other things, I haven't been tracking as carefully as I should be. I've been going on a slow insidious downhill slide. It started around the time my doctor decreased the dosage of my medication for depression. Normally I'm on an even keel, but a change in dosage caused the whole ship to shudder.

When I'm in a funk, it's hard to function. Anyone who's ever battled with depression knows what this is like. In my case, though I wasn't binging, I wasn't caring a whole lot about what was going in my mouth. I gave myself permission to skip eating a few veggies one day. That slipped to two days, and sooner than you can say "I hate beets," a week and a half had passed with a spotty record of meeting the healthy guidelines of fruits, veggies, milk, water, oil, you name it.

Fortunately, the funk passed, but it was replaced by an increase in projects at work. Which left no time for me to indulge in my favourite internet hobby of reading up on all things Weight Watches. Between this and the funk, I've felt rather isolated and like I'm not really following the program despite tracking my points every day.

This brings me to a few realizations. The first, is that if you give yourself permission to slip, you better be sure it doesn't lead to that slippery slope. Or, if you find yourself halfway down that slope, find a rope, tie a knot in it, and hang on. The second, is the importance of connection and community. Taking inspiration from others is not a small thing. It keeps you going and reminds you that you're not alone.

This week for me has been going better. My mood is up and I've recommitted to careful tracking and meeting the healthy guidelines, veggies included. I'm also going to make time to participate in the WW community a bit more. If not in the day, in the evening at least. I do so enjoy reading everyone's blogs and I miss it. Tonight though, it's time for bed. My rope is tied and I'm hanging on. And as they say, tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Crockpotting across the universe

True to my word, I've been crockpotting up a storm for the last week or so. Well, as much of a storm as three crockpot dishes can make. But hey, it's three more dishes than I would usually make with my crockpot during the summer months. So far, all the recipes I've tried have come from Fix It and Forget it Lightly - a low-fat crockpot recipe book. Though I've been finding some recipes are lacking in proper instructions or a certain je ne sais quois, in general, I'm happy with the book as a good starting point for meal ideas.

Here's some mini-reviews of the recipes I've tried:

  • Machaca Beef: This recipe gets bonus points just for the name. It's fun to say. Go ahead, say it out loud. Machaca. See? Told you it was fun. Anyways, this is a shredded beef recipe. Whole beef roast, onions, chili peppers, salsa, you get the idea. The result is shredded meat for tacos and taco-like things. We had it with a 1-point WeightWatchers wrap and a tablespoon of fat-free sour cream. It was pretty tasty! I wound up freezing little bundles of it because it made so much.
  • Turkey Roast: Ground turkey mixed with seasoning and smushed into a loaf at the bottom of the crockpot. If your first thought is "wow, doesn't that paint a pretty picture" you'd be right. It isn't a pretty picture. I wound up adding some dried cranberries and onions to the mix to try and liven it up. The result, though not company-worthy, was a nice enough turkey meatloaf. The cranberries added a Thanksgiving flavour to the dish and were a good addition.
  • Italian Chicken Stew: A mostly vegetable and bean soup with a few pieces of chicken thrown in. My husband loved it. I found it a bit too tomato-y. However, that's not the recipe's fault. That was mine. I went with my own combo of tomatoes and beans. If there's a next time with this dish, it'll involve following the directions more and substituting chicken broth instead of water. Imagine, following the directions. Pffft.
Of the recipes above, I'd definitely make the Machaca Beef again. If only for the name. Machaca.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sewing my way to fitness

Today was supposed to be a training day for the half-marathon. An endurance walk of 8k. However, we were unexpectedly accompanied by a five-year-old that a friend had brought along. Before we began the walk, I spent some time looking between the printout of our route and the five-year old. I'd look at the map, look at the five-year-old, and look at the map again.

Call me a softy, but I just didn't have it in me to make the five-year-old walk 8 kilometres. I mean, if she was training to do a half-marathon, I woulda brought out the old whip. But alas, she was more interested in being a kid. So I modified our route to take us straight to a playground. Much fun was had by all. Even when I accidentally ate a medium-sized ice-cream cone. Heehee, oops!

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about the unsung health benefits of sewing. When I came home from the unsuccessful training walk, I went straight to making a basket liner for aforementioned-friend's wedding next week. I didn't even get out of my walking clothes, so, as a consequence, I happened to be wearing my pedometer.

Now, my sewing setup is less than ideal. In fact, it sucks. My serger is on the dining room table, my ironing board is in the kitchen, and my sewing machine is in the bedroom. When I'm working on a project that requires all three, you can bet I do a lot of moving between them. Until this afternoon, I didn't realize just how much moving I did. After finishing the liner, I checked my pedometer and was surprised to find that a couple hours of sewing had racked up over 4,000 steps!

So there you have it, ladies and gents. You can't make a five-year old walk an 8k, but you CAN burn calories while sewing. I bet Bowflex wouldn't want this to get out.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Twenty-eighth Weigh-in

I'm down another .8 lbs today! And would you look at that, I'm actually just over the halfway mark! That's both exciting and daunting at the same time, haha. I'm not quite at my BMI goal yet. Somewhere along the line I miscalculated or forgot what the actual figure was. I need to be 169 lbs even to hop that line. Maybe next week!

I also apologize for my absence this week. Work has been crazy busy and I've had no time to blog or read blogs, or do anything other than spend my days, well, working!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cucumbers and deerage

There's something to be said for walking. The fresh air, the exercise, the strange things you see along the way. For example, this sign that was posted alongside the trail. We're not sure what it's advertising, aside from the fact that they happen to have well-endowed cucumbers. There was no trailside stand from which we could buy them or any other indication of where said "cukes" were.

There was, however, a profusion of deer growing all over the property. There was at least five of these guys in various stages of munching. Perhaps they ate the cucumbers? The one pictured here was curled up in the grass, cute as could be until she decided we were annoying enough that she'd rather show us her backside.

Our training walks are getting longer now and we're holding up well. When we have good walks like tonight's, it's easy to keep going. We've been going a month now which is hard to believe. I haven't missed a training session either and I'm feeling really good about that. Two more months and it's go time!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Goodies from Goody

I found a great product the other day and finally had a chance to test drive it during my half-marathon training walk this evening. They're called StayPut No Slide headbands and are made by Goody. Indeed, the headbands live up to their name - they stay put and don't slide. I found them comfortable and they didn't tear at my hair or otherwise hurt at all when putting them on or taking them off. They're made out of a stretchy fabric with rubber-esque thread woven through the length of them and come in various colours. I bought mine in a three-pack at London Drugs.

While I was cruising Goody's web site looking for product shots, I stumbled across another goody - a free podcast of workout music. I'm listening to it now and it's pretty groovable. Not necessarily my style, but hey, it's free! You'll need to provide a name and email address to get to the download page so be sure to use any "spam catcher" addresses you might have like yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Twenty-seventh weigh-in

I'm down .8 lbs this week. I'm so close to moving into another set of numbers! Not to mention, my BMI is very close to my mini-goal of 29.9. I'm at 30.1 right now and can taste it!

The meeting today was about my favourite topic - food. Thought-provoking topics are great and all, but it's nice to have "fun" topics every so often. We discussed ways of making restaurant foods at home. For example, pizza, Chinese food, Mexican food and so on. I've got some great new ideas on toppings for homemade pizza (Yves pepperoni, light feta, green/red peppers, fresh basil, ground turkey, grilled chicken, and shrimp/prawns) as well as a renewed desire to start using my crockpot more.

Normally, I reserve crockpot cooking for the fall and winter, but one lady said she uses hers all year round, in the summertime especially as a crockpot heats your house up a lot less. What a great idea! So I'm going to sit down now and go through Fix It and Forget It Lightly and pick some recipes for this week.

I'll close with a great quote I picked up from one of the meeting members a few weeks back:

Many a mickle makes a muckle" - Scottish Proverb

That is to say, every little bit helps!

Bad day yesterday

I've been feeling rather crummy the last few days. Tired, sore throat, and just generally depressed. It culminated last night in a binge on the tastiest low-fat thing I've had to date: French Twists made by Barry's Bakery. I'd post a picture of them here, but it'll make me want more!

Anyways, I ate pretty much the whole bag and now I have a sugar hangover this morning. Joy. What a way to make myself feel better. Not! But I sucked it up, tracked them in my journal and fortunately I haven't blown my weekly allowance yet.

It was a near thing, but obviously I can't have these things in the house. At 1 point each, one at a time is okay, but not the whole bag >_<

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nifty site: SparkPeople

Every so often, a website called SparkPeople will be mentioned over on the WW boards. I finally checked it out yesterday and I like what I see. It's a diet site to be sure, but it's completely free and looks like a lot of fun.

It has the basic tools like calorie intake calculation and a customizable food tracker. But where the really nifty part comes in is the fitness tracker. You can create your own strength training routine by selecting from a long list of exercises designed to strengthen your core, upper body, or lower body. Just keep clicking on the exercises you want to try, and it adds it to your routine for the day. It will also tell you how many sets and repetitions are needed for each exercise. Unsure of how to perform a certain exercise? There's demos of everything. And as near as I can tell, you don't need any special equipment aside from dumbbells, stretching bands, and an exercise ball. If you don't have all of those, you can set your preferences to indicate which of these you do have and it'll only show you exercises you can perform using the equipment you happen to have on hand.

The other tool that I'm excited about is their recipe section. Like Recipezaar and similar sites, it has user-submitted recipes, as well as reviews. However, the recipes at SparkPeople are geared towards the healthy crowd so you're not wading through scads of recipes looking for something that might fit your points allowance. There's nutritional info, too, but like anything user-submitted, be sure to recalculate it yourself.

There's a lot of other fun tools on SparkPeople like being able to join teams that may have similar goals. During the account-creation process, the site will suggest teams that may fit the goals you've entered. You can choose to join the teams right then or wait until you've had a chance to check them out. Each team has their own message board on which you can participate. Speaking of message boards, there's also a public message board system with private messaging and the ability to add pictures to your profile and signature. And lastly, there's something called SparkPoints which you earn by accomplishing certain things every day or by taking one-time challenges. I'm not entirely sure what they're there for (you can't exchange them for physical prizes) but they seem fun enough to try and earn some as a no-cost reward system.

All that said, I wouldn't jump ship entirely from eTools to SparkPeople. Each is designed for a specific need. My need happens to be counting points. However, I see sites like SparkPeople as an additional resource which may help with my journey. Plus, I like fun gadgets whether they be online or in the real world.

Check it out if you have a spare few minutes, there's bound to be something there to help you with your goal!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Shopping on the “Other” Side

It is true when they say the grass is always greener on the other side. I never expected it to apply to clothes shopping as well. Over the last week or so, I've been wandering into regular-size stores like a lost lamb. Shopping feels different and not in a good way. Instead of seeing sizes that are too large for me, I'm now confronted with size fours, zeros and even double-zeros. Who the heck can fit in a double-zero anyways???

At the beginning of my forays into the other side, I felt like a stranger in a strange land. Too skinny clothing and commission sales associates. I had forgotten about those, sales associates that is. I know they're trying to do their job, but I like to be left alone and only get help when asked. I knew I was in foreign territory when I stepped out of a change room to show my husband a so-so outfit when a perky girl popped up and exclaimed I looked "darling." Gah!

The unexpected emotions that come with shopping in regular size stores also dogged my footsteps. I started imagining that I really ought not to be there, especially when one store's "Large" would only fit a six-year old. I even wandered back into the plus-size sections and Addition Elle, seeking the comfort of the known. But even then I felt like an outsider. It was like I was in limbo. A specter doomed to exist between the two worlds.

However, with a number of shopping excursions under my belt, I'm slowly becoming acclimatized. I'm pickier about the places I wander into and have been mainly sticking to stores that carry both plus-size and regular size. Though I'm not technically a plus-size anymore, I just like the comfort that section brings to me and will wander through it when I'm feeling overwhelmed. My soul refreshed, I'll invariably return to the other side which, for some reason, always looks a bit greener.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Twenty-sixth Weigh-in

I think whatever it was that caused my big gain two weeks ago has finally left. I'm down 2.8 lbs this week. I wore the same clothes as last time and everything. The only thing different I did this week was made a conscious effort not to eat anything super salty the day before. My leader said last week that salty foods like sushi can cause water retention. Whoops. I love sushi and my husband and I tend to have it on Friday nights as a treat. I mean, I knew about salt and water retention but never equated sushi with being overly salty.

On another note, many thanks to all of you who've visited in the last few days and left such wonderful comments. They really mean a lot to me and your encouragement is much appreciated. Though the internet can be a scary place, y'all certainly make it warm and fuzzy :)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Six months

Today is a special day. Six months ago, I plucked up the courage and walked through the door of my local Weight Watchers. Shortly thereafter I picked up the March/April issue of the Weight Watchers magazine. In the issue was an article about how to make changes stick. I read it, and re-read it, and never forgot one of the "secrets" the article revealed: patience.

It said the average amount of time people would stick with something before going back to their previous habits was 3 to 6 months. But, after 6 months, they were more apt to stick with it. I did as the article suggested and promised to myself that I'd make it to 6 months.

I kept that promise and today I hardly recognize myself. I feel fitter, I look better, and I'm prouder. It was a hard promise to keep and I often had my doubts, but it got easier and more of a habit as time went on. Which is what, I suppose, the article was saying. Stick with it long enough and you'll do it by rote.

Though I was going to post a generic inspirational image to mark this day, I thought it more fitting to post another set of progress pics to illustrated just how far 6 months can take you. Here's to another six months. I've stuck to it until now, and I'll stick to it through to goal.

Left: Christmas 2006, 204 lbs
Right: August 2007, 173 lbs
(and yes, that's a Wii controller in my hand)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Goodbye Penningtons

I had always thought that when this day came, it'd be much more momentous. That I'd walk into Penningtons, try on an "X" and find it too loose. I'd shed a tear of happiness and perhaps sadness before bidding adieu to my faithful plus-size store and galloping off to a smaller-size store in the peachy glow of sunset.

Instead, this day came quietly as I was researching clothing conversion charts. I had been trying on clothes at the Bay this evening, trying to find suitable clothes for a wedding when I started getting curious as to how letter sizes translated to number sizes. I went home, fired up the internet and found myself a conversion chart.

The "large" shirt I tried on was a size 12. The skirt I tried on was also a size 12. Both fit perfectly. And, as I was contemplating the conversion chart, two realizations hit. I used to be a size 20 and Penningtons only carries 14+.

This means I no longer have to shop at Penningtons. Or Addition Elle. Or the "Above Average" section of department stores. Or any other "Women's" sections for that matter.

I used to say that I hated shopping at Penningtons and the like. But now that I'm officially into new clothing territory, I can't help but think with fondness and gratitude that there are stores like Penningtons. Being able to find nice clothes in my size meant a world to me though I felt shameful to admit it.

So, farewell Penningtons. May you prosper and may you always help women feel good about themselves.