Wednesday, December 3, 2014

calling myself out..

me at my goal weight of 165 lbs, an entire 50 pounds lighter than last year.

i just did it. again.. that common mistake people make that i mentioned in my last blog post.. i managed to reach my goal, and then i stopped doing all of the things that got me there. maybe not entirely, as a lot of them have become habit, like the fitbit ocd i now have. and of course, the Shakeology. thankfully i actually enjoy it, which is a miracle, and it's super simple to make.. and just happens to have a boost of everything i need for the days i'm feeling too lazy to be healthy. which has been a lot lately.

last time i caught myself in the act. this time i let it go on... thankfully i didn't gain any weight back. permanently anyways. but i have been feeling like crap, and it's starting to show on my face. my skin hates it when i eat oily or sugary things, and i'm totally guilty of downing a bag of chips or two in the past week, loaded with both. a little break-out is enough of a sign for me to get back up on it.

it's not like i dropped my healthy lifestyle completely, as i said i do have healthy habits established now, the smoothies and dark green based salads have still been staples in my diet. but i have been a little over-indulgent on things i shouldn't have. and as much as i hate to admit it [but i'm calling myself out here, that's the point..] i started smoking again. roughly around the same time i started working the job that i've been blaming my life-hate on, a physically demanding, mentally draining, and shift-rotating job at which i can barely afford to survive at let alone thrive. i'm still debating holding out at this company for an upcoming full-time position, or finding something new. the stress isn't helping my situation, so i have to stop letting it get to me and get on with my life.

that said, today i dropped the excuse of taking 20-40 thousand steps a day as a reason not to work out, and restarted the PiYo challenge. i decided to become a BeachBody coach earlier this summer because i do have faith in their products, their workouts certainly give results if you stick with them and do them correctly. the Shakeology was an added bonus, i never ever like shake mixes and usually ditch them before finishing a bag, but their vegan chocolate option is actually amazing. anyhoo back to the coach thing.. as much as i enjoy their products, and even though i have seen results and proven myself successful in using them, i'm far too modest to put myself out there and sell this thing.

i should really give it a shot though.. i'm just not sure where to begin. i have my story, i have results, and i'd really love to help other people do the same.. but i know it's expensive [not really, compared to a daily starbucks and picking up a new video game], and i know it takes dedication, and i'm not sure if i have what it takes to coach others when i sometimes have a hard time staying on track myself. i suppose that's just another realistic dynamic of being engaged in such a challenge, changing your entire lifestyle to encourage health from a state of illness can be daunting. being and/or having a coach is a good place to start with accountability. sometimes you fall down. no reason not to get back up.. at least that's what i'm telling myself. time to get up.

i'm so thankful that i started this blog. it's almost hard to believe without looking back, how heavy and unhealthy i was, and how i could allow myself to get that way especially knowing all that i know. it's a reminder of the challenges and the lessons, and a motivation when i feel like giving up on myself. although i have been determined to change my life and regain my health, i wasn't always confident that it would work. it's time to take it to the next level, beyond just losing a few pounds and reaching a numerical goal. for 2015 my new challenge is to strive for super-fit, and put this thing to work for me. i wanna be a coach, for real! because if i can do it, i truly and honestly believe that anyone can. i'm stubborn, 'lazy' at times, and LOVE food, on top of having a pre-existing health condition that causes weight gain and fatigue. and here i am, fifty pounds lighter and in far less pain. impossible is Nothing. onward!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

getting the goal.. and beyond.

well, i made it for a minute there. i did the seemingly impossible, losing fifty pounds in about 9 months. weight that took years to accumulate due to ill health and poor choices. weight that i'd never thought i could lose. and here i am.. i crossed the 'finish line', but it's not over yet.

i think a common mistake that people make when they set a goal for themselves most particularly involving weight loss, is thinking 'hey, i made it' and then suddenly stop all the good things they were doing to get them there in the first place. the weight comes back, the individual becomes frustrated and claims that the program or whatever 'didn't work'. of course i've said it before and i'll say it again, maintaining good health involves life-long changes for the better. no matter what you're doing to get there, chances are if you stop and go back to doing whatever you were doing before, you'd end up right where you began. unhealthy and unhappy.

not gonna lie, i did exactly that. but i caught myself soon enough.. one of the reasons i insist on stepping on the scale daily is to keep myself in check. just as it's not easy to tell you've lost weight when you're stuck inside your body, it's also hard to tell you've gained it. especially if it's 'only' five pounds. that extra long weekend of pizza and ciders and and smokes and submarine sandwiches took it's toll. five pounds on, guts in a knot and a yummy cough. gotta love it. nah.. gotta take responsibility, suck it up and get back on that there wagon.

after being a couple months without, i finally had to bite the bullet [ha!] and purchase a new nutribullet. i'd killed mine before leaving home anyways, so i didn't feel so bad getting a new one. now i just have to get back in the habit of using it daily.. at the very least i make sure to have my Shakeology. i know it's a shake mix, but it's delicious and filling and vegan which is a million times better than grabbing a cheeseburger on the go. i still have my hand crank juicer somewhere, but not having a garden to feed the compost to makes me more conscious of the waste. one of my new goals is to try some of those 'super boost' green drinks in the recipe book. and do my best to make them taste as cream as the booster juice... i don't know how they do it! but i will figure it out.

and beyond..
now that i know what 166 looks and feels like, i know my journey to better fitness isn't over. i'm not sure what i was expecting, except maybe to not feel so heavy on my feet. this is true. now that i've achieved this, i'm fairly confident that i can move forward from here with some more specific goals. now that the majority of the pounds that were in my way are gone, i can work on toning muscles, tightening up and maybe even push a little further down the scale.

my main challenge at the moment is re-establishing a routine. i've been kind of vagabonding around since the middle of summer which certainly added to the challenge of maintaining any sort of ritual. now that i've finally decided to settle in somewhere for the winter, i can re-build my healthy habits and work on some new ones. i have to get back on the workout routine for sure, the hills of Vancouver have been quite a help but now that i'm adjusting i have to continue to push my body's limits.

i'm currently working the night shift, which is tiring and not usually a good thing when trying to establish a healthy way of life. but it's my reality right now, and i have to make the best of it. working the opposite of everyone else kind of forces me to have a lot of time to myself, and though that gets a little uncomfortable at times, it's probably exactly what i need right now, so the best thing i can do is embrace it, and make the most of every moment.

well, that's where i'm at right now.. excited to achieve and to move forward. thanks again to all my readers family and friends for your ongoing support and encouragement. without it, i likely wouldn't be writing an ongoing success story. love! until next time..

Friday, September 19, 2014

21 months in - the journey

it's been a long one, and it's not over. i'd usually do this 'review' process around the end of the year to see where i'm at, but now is a better time. i've certainly come to the end of something. i have finally come to the end of being in the 'obese' range on most conventional BMI charts that compare height to weight. at 5'5 and 215lbs my BMI was around 35, and now i'm down to 173 which put me around 28. of course these charts don't know that i have more muscle than the average female my height/weight, so a proper BMI measurement at some point may be helpful. i'm still overweight, but not obese. says these charts. and that's something.

i've struggled with my weight for many years. when i was ten i was diagnosed with hashimoto's thyroiditis. for years my energy and weight would fluctuate, i would spend months at a time absolutely exhausted yet unable to sleep. no matter my efforts diet wise, it didn't seem to matter. i steadily gained weight, roughly 8 pounds a year since high school. being 'fat' never bothered me, but feeling unhealthy does. the last twenty pounds i gained i could really feel. it gets harder to walk, to bend, to move, to work... i was getting in the way of myself, and tiring myself out just carrying the extra me around. not to mention what goes on inside when carrying extra pounds...

insult to injury
long since my underyling health issues fully developed including digestive issues i've been living with since around the same age, i had done some of my own additional damage. pills, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, poor food choices, sugar, salt... the list goes on. there was a good number of years that i didn't much care about the state of my well-being, and i think most of us have been there. but not everyone recovers. i hope to recover.

the time had finally come where i felt motivated to do something about it. to take responsibility for my own health and well being, knowing no one else can do it for me. western medicine had no solutions, conventional dieting and exercise only served me temporarily. i had to make a change in my attitude towards myself and my health, and i had to make some real lasting lifestyle changes. but first i had to accept that i got myself into this mess, even if blindly i got here myself.. and i can and do have the power to dig myself out.

time to change
at the end of 2012 i made a resolution, and i made it publicly. i announced that i would do what it takes to find better health, and lose the weight. i started this blog to keep track of my progress, but also to keep me accountable. as soon as i started posting, people engaged in conversations about my proposed journey. people i would have never expected to read my blog started talking to me at work about how i was doing. this alone gave me tons of motivation not to give up, everyone is watching and cheering me on.

by the end of 2013 i had tried everything from running, to diet plans, to various meal replacement and weight loss products only to see temporary results. i did yoga, pilates [which are both great by the way, if you stick with them!], various 30, 60 and 90 day challenges, even that green coffee bean stuff. each thing did have an effect, but only short term. by the end of the year i was right back where i started weight wise, but much more informed. i learned that above all diet was key, before exercise routines and gym memberships, i had to start with what i'm made of, what i eat.

i had learned something precious. there are products and programs out there that do work, some that don't. many offer a 'boost' in the right direction, but without diligent maintenance it's easy to fall off. i finally found something that i wish i had found in the beginning, but at the same time i'm glad that i hadn't tried it right away as i wouldn't have known the true value when it comes to cost, quality and effort involved. before i get into that, i'll write a little more about finding my own path.

life's unexpected challenges
things happen that make you think.. unfortunate things mostly, like losing someone close to you. my cousin was only 32 when she lost the fight with cancer in March of this year. my mother was only 55 when she passed in May after spending the last twenty years of her life on disability. both of their lives were very much in the hands of western medicine, neither had much of a chance. it's hard to get your mind around things like that. it's difficult sometimes to continue searching for better health when it seems so impossible. headed down the same path health wise it really made think, what is wrong here? what are we doing to ourselves? i feel like now more than ever i must think 'outside the box'. i decided to start doing my own research.

self education
we have an infinite supply of information available to us every day instantly, and a lot of the time for 'free'. it takes a little sifting, common sense and citation but self education is completely possible and recommended. if you don't have any idea where to start looking, there's at least a couple dozen good 'food docs' out there these days that showcase the awesome power of food. there are two good ones to start with, Food Matters, and Hungry for Change. watch either or both and look further into the stories of the people shared and you will find leads to endless information.

beyond food documentaries i have also picked up many texts about nutrition and researched some of the fundamentals of nutritional science. what do we need to survive? to thrive? i've asked these questions before, only now i'm finding answers. and i've also found that everyone is unique and what works for some won't work for others, but overall the more raw vegetables fruits and foods included in my diet, the better i feel. juicing is an absolutely amazing discovery which helped to really kickstart my journey to better health.

making the changes
i learned the hard way... start slow. trying to change everything at once is simply too overwhelming which increases the chance of failure. for me anyways.. i've heard [and read] the same from others who have been successful in changing their routine and building healthy habits. i started by adding good things to my diet, ultimately crowding out foods that aren't as good for me and have less or no nutritional value. after eating good foods that aren't saturated in processed oils and salt and sugar, now if i reach for these things they just don't taste as good as i remember.

incorporating more exercise into my lifestyle was more of a challenge than i thought. a part of my struggle being that i was already living a reasonably active lifestyle, it seemed daunting to attempt to add more physical activity. the first thing i did was invest in one of my now favourite tecky little gadgets, the fitbit. now i know exactly how active i am and when, and i can see when i haven't been very active and challenge myself to get up and do something. it's better than an app that requires you to always have your phone on you, as it's tiny and discreet and the charge on the battery lasts about a week. i still use it to this day.

the first few months of 2014 i did little more than replace breakfast with smoothies and fresh pressed juice, and keep track of my steps making sure to get a little extra walk or jog in if i didn't meet my goal. i'd hit the gym a few times a week to make use of the machines. i noticed that on days i had made a juice i felt a lot more energy and didn't need a nap half way through my day. i was losing roughly one pound per week, which is substantial! i've more or less kept that rate up, as i'm 37 pounds lighter than i was in January.

as time went on making better food choices was reflexive. on the days i'd laze out and grab a quick snack, i'd feel it in my guts within the hour, instant regret. reaching for junk happens less and less often. my body craves the good stuff now that it knows what it's missing when i don't eat well. also i'd feel sluggish and sore if i didn't get enough activity in for the day, so i'd find a good workout to add to my routine.. my body now craves good exercise as well. and that's how i built some healthy habits!

where i'm at
fifty pounds seemed like an impossible weight loss goal at first, but now that i've come this far i'm confident i can [eventually] work myself back into the athlete i once was, maybe even a better one. i'm also sure that working through the last ten pounds may well take about as long as the first forty but i've learned something key: don't give up. it's okay to feel like crap some days and it's okay if i slip up, but it's important to never ever ever ever give up.

now back to my major discovery.. Beachbody! i owe the last ten pounds, and the simplification of my diet to this company and their incredible products. after learning the hard way all on my own that their workouts are the most effective, i was glad to have found them. i'm also glad i went through everything that i did first. i feel that i have a greater appreciation for finding a system that works for me that was designed by professionals that know their stuff. it gets even better..

i'm probably the hugest skeptic when it comes to health products and meal replacements, i've tried them all. when i became a Beachbody Coach i told my own coach that i'd totally rock the workouts and help others get into them, but i'd be highly unlikely to try their shake products. firstly because i'm sensitive to whey, and second there's no way their shake ingredients could even touch the lineup of healthy smoothie boosts i have sitting in my cupboard. she insisted that i give them a try at least, to get a feel for the products. after doing my research i found that they did indeed use a lot of those exact same boosts i had bought separately, and that they have a vegan option!

i was thrilled and had to try it. i've tried a few other vegan protein shakes and meal replacements and not liked the taste, even when blended with things. with my Shakeology, the taste isn't so bad, and it really satisfies my hunger. i am truly, absolutely amazed, and how much easier it is when traveling to make sure i get everything i need in a day.. instead of trying to find all my boosts and healthy stuff when traveling, i just need to bring a few packets of Shakeo with me, and suddenly it's way easier to be healthy on the road! what a relief, and what timing.

here's where i'm at now, 173lbs. little tank. Beachbody's PiYo workout [my new favourite] has helped me through. i'm strengthening muscles i forgot i had! i finally crushed a couple pounds off the plateau i've been stuck at [176lbs]. now just barely past it, i know it's going to be a lot of work moving forward. it's worth it to know i'm prolonging my life, and improving the state of the vessel that i'm experiencing it through. surviving is one thing, but to thrive.. that is my goal. and it's ongoing...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 18-30 - the Thirty Day Challenge

so i dropped off the face of the planet.. it happens! i kept up mostly with workouts until the day i boarded the bus, and then of course everything changed. i've managed to keep my diet in check since i left for the coast, there was one fast-food indulgence on the bus, and a frank at a husky stop. otherwise, not bad! i have a few packets of shakeo that i've been using every few days when i need a pickup, but i had skipped a shipment that was due the same time i'd planned to travel. i have other boosts to make smoothies with until the next box arrives.

the bus ride was rough, needless to say i didn't get much exercise. i did manage to get a few thousand steps in each day by walking as far and back as i could at meal stops, or doing laps of the terminal places i couldn't wander too far. sleep was minimal, bus travel isn't good for that unless you don't mind sitting for days on end. some people pass right out, not me... impossible.

after wandering Vancouver for a couple days i've already located places to  buy cheap fresh produce, and places to collect various healthy goodies i enjoy like unsweetened coconut water and bulk nuts and dried fruits. speaking of wandering Vancouver.. being a pedestrian in this city is a workout of it's own. i'd love to get a bike! everywhere is a hill. the way home for most people involves going up for the most part. i love that i haven't climbed an actual set of stairs all week and yet my fitbit sees the change in elevation with my steps as flights, apparently i did 43 flights yesterday.. that's pretty cool.

well i'm rockin' a place to stay for now in the city until i move along, and i'm doing my best to get back into a sort of routine. i've been retired from retail for a month now, and really digging in to what it takes to be a wellness coach so that i can help others make progress on their goals as i have, despite extra little challenges. right now being transient is one of those challenges, and i must adjust to my environment and situation.

ahhh yes and to conclude the 30 days i've lost 3 pounds and 4 inches total. not bad considering i'm nearing the end of my 50 pound weight loss goal! sorry about the delay, i'll attempt to stay connected in the coming weeks despite the impending adventures. to health, happiness, and fresh air!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 12-17 - the Thirty Day Challenge

all of a sudden, it got real busy. the good news is, i haven't skipped a shakeo or a workout. the meh news is, the scale isn't moving much.. but the number has decreased. i wasn't expecting much considering i'm at the last ten pounds of my fifty pound overall weight loss challenge this year, and i've been stuck here for a while. i lost over 30 pounds in the first 21 weeks, then.... huge plateau. the interesting thing is, my shape is changing. it's showing minimally in the measurements [i'm down overall about 2 inches and a pound and a half] but i do look and feel different. clothes fitting different, that sort of thing. something is happening..

i feel pretty good. i've been hella busy preparing for a big long journey west, and this challenge has been the cornerstone of keeping any sort of schedule or routine. i'm keeping up with it despite my strange sleep patterns, sometimes the workouts happen around midnight, sometimes it's early in the morning. but it's happening. i don't get to choose when i sleep, but i'm sleeping. i'm working on the when, and it won't help changing three time zones next week, so i think i'll wait on the when till i get there.

for the past few weeks we've been getting some pretty decent weather. cooler than our average summers, it's been nice sleeping outside in the tent. the time has come to pack it up, and busy as i have been, kick my agenda into high gear. each day between now and departure is right full, and it will be an even greater [but very much worth it!] challenge to keep it up. the bus journey will be interesting. i'm starting to collect some clean snacks, and some not-so-horrible treats so i'm not tempted to grab junk on the road.

well, i've got to get to my PiYo and clean up a little. tomorrow i have some running around to do, lunch with Matty [probably our last date before i go] and bring the last load of stuff i don't need to the storage locker. gotta fly!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Day 11 - the Thirty Day Challenge - Manual Juice Press

a couple months ago i'd ordered this manual juice press in my frustration of our power going out frequently in the morning. sometimes it'd be just long enough to not have the time to make juice. once i had it, the power stopped going out of course. i had this brilliant idea that perhaps i can cram this thing in my backpack somehow, and take this show on the road [still working on that!]. anyways, it sat in it's little box on the shelf ever since, and since i haven't been juicing much and miss it, i thought i'd giver a try.

it's about as easy to assemble as any masticating juicer, and it takes up less space. it does absolutely need a solid, immobile base [the counter on wheels was a no-go] to be able to crank it properly. of course everything is pressed by hand, and the juicer itself is smaller, so everything must be cut into very small pieces before attempting to press it through.

i found right away that i was more thoughtful about exactly how much produce to put through the juicer, and how much finished product i wanted to have. this is probably the slowest method of juicing, so every bit of liquid is noticed as it drips into the little cup.

celery makes the most juice. vegetables are key when juicing, and celery, believe it or not, is very juicy! and this is my favourite way to consume celery. or as little peanut-butter boats with raisins, or hummus.. oh anyways, back to the juicer.

something else incredible that i noticed about this thing, it takes a good amount of effort to turn that crank. and it's best with consistent pressure so that it doesn't jam. i had to switch arms for each 'load', and by the end of the 925ml jar i filled, i could feel my chest and arm muscles... neat!

all said, it's still not an every day activity, but i love juicing as a sure-fire cleanse or nutrition boost. so when i'm not feeling well or i want to refresh, juicing is where it's at. and this is my new favourite way to get'r done!

oh snap, the PiYo! that too. it was back to upper body today. i can't do the damn side-step with the PiYo curl or whatever that thing is called, so i just omit the step part and make sure i get a good stretch and flex in. other than that, it's not so bad. i did have pause a couple times, and it's still making me sweat. no movement on the scale, but i'm not really expecting it. i usually gain during my 'time-of-the-month' and shockingly i've only gained a pound. not bad.

i did the shakeo thing too. not sick of the recipe yet, but i should probably come up with another or order another flavour soon just in case. no plans yet for tomorrow, just going with the flow. peace!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Day 10 - the Thirty Day Challenge

yesterday was supposed to be my rest day in PiYo, but i worked it yesterday to reserve my day off for today, just in case. i knew i'd be visiting with family, making my way to the cemetery with my brother and stepdad, and i had a feeling a hike would be involved.

it was a gorgeous day. lots of sun, just the right breeze. i started right with the Shakeology, and packed it up into 250ml mason jars so i could take it with me. not gonna lie, i'm surprised at how long it keeps me full for. in fact, i was fully expecting it to be like every other shake i've tried that says it'll keep you full, but this stuff is for real! sometimes i can't even finish the last few sips.

anyways, after visiting mom, we dropped off my stepdad at home in Niagara and decided to venture to Queenston to do a little heritage walk and find the farm house that our family lived in before and during the war. our hike involved the path of endless stairs down the side of the escarpment, and the winding path to get back up. no problem passing the 10,000 step mark today, fitbit says we even did 16 flights of stairs on our journey. neat!

tomorrow, back into the PiYo!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Day 9 - the Thirty Day Challenge

not gonna lie, today was pretty uneventful. the first day of my cycle usually involves lying in my bed and writhing in pain, so the fact that i remained conscious is a miracle. today was supposed to be rest day in PiYo anyways, but my lower back was so tight i had to do something.

i skipped right to disk 2 and put in 'Buns'. i had to go a little slower than the tape and i needed about half an hour in child's pose after, but much to my surprise the pain in my back subsided. Shakeology was my saviour today, i likely wouldn't have eaten otherwise.

i even made a huge garden salad! absolutely every piece of produce was from our back yard. a cucumber, tomatoes, some kale and some parsley. delicious! my appetite just wasn't all there. i shared with Matt and of course he loved it.

tomorrow i'll be venturing out with my brother to visit family, the cemetery, and the Niagara Escarpment to learn more about our family history and what happened during the war. instead of today being PiYo rest day i'll save it for tomorrow, and we will likely get a hike in anyways.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Day 8 - the Thirty Day Challenge - Shakeology Recipe

alright day 8.. first of all, today was 'Sweat' day in PiYo land and holy crap i could barely keep up. i actually had to pause it a couple times! no one said i was in shape, which is the point in the first place. hopefully in a couple weeks i'll be able to make it straight through. as you could tell by the title of the episode, it was designed to get you moving. it's about ten minutes longer than the other ones so far and much quicker paced.

now back to that Shakeology stuff.. when i ordered it i'd told my coach that i would try it and probably stop the auto-order because i usually don't do premixed shakes. after yesterday's taste test i was a little more confident that i'd be able to 'work with it'. i have a fail-safe 'base' recipe that i've been hiding various supplements and superfoods in for my breakfast smoothies, so i decided to give that a try.

Chocolate Vegan Shakeology Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

in the NutriBullet tall cup i put a frozen banana [fresh is fine but not the 'frozen shake' consistency], some unsweetened almond milk and unsweetened coconut water to a bit under the fill line. then i add the Chocolate Vegan Shakeology, a tablespoon of cold pressed coconut oil, a tablespoon [or to taste] of natural peanut butter, and some hulled hemp. pulse a few times, then blend. sip,.... amazing.

first of all, yes i am aware of the extra calories from the banana, coconut oil and peanut butter. if this concerns you and you want to try the recipe, alter it as you need. i use a lot of calories throughout the day as i don't spend a whole lot of time at rest. plus, these ingredients keep me full for longer and give lots of energy and i don't need to eat as much later on, which is why i use this base in the first place. it's actually more filling with the shakeology, and i split it in to two servings, breakfast and brunch.

a good day indeed. tomorrow is 'rest day' in the PiYo program, but i'll surely find something to do to stay moving. until then..

Day 7 - the Thirty Day Challenge - Shakeology first impressions

alright now for the fun! i've been excited to try different recipes with Shakeology ever since a friend told me about it. if i'm going to use a shake or meal replacement it must be vegan as whey does unpleasant things inside my stomach. in fact, i don't usually use any pre-mixed shake at all vegan or not, i've never found one i enjoy enough to keep using.

that said, it's usually all kinds of fun trying to hide the taste of said shake mix inside of some crazy recipe. i wanted to try my first serving on it's own though with some almond milk just to get a good idea of what i'm working with. the grit isn't as bad as others i've tried, and the cacao seems to mask the fresh-cut-lawn taste. it took a few sips before i could accept the taste [after my own recipe for smoothies not much stands a chance taste wise]. BUT! i could accept it.. just on it's own. that would never happen with other shake mixes. i hate to name names but i loved Vega as for what it could do for me, but there was no way in hell i could drink it straight, and it was a struggle even blending it.

 alright so we got taste covered. did it keep me full? actually, yeah it pretty well did the trick till noon and i get up at six. i usually don't eat much in the evening anyways, and i didn't feel the need to eat more than usual that's for sure. i don't know about curbing cravings though, that probably would come in time. and if it works to help for weight loss, i'm hoping i'll be able to tell in the first couple weeks.

oh energy, that i had today for sure. i went to the gym today and came home immediately after and did PiYo. the stretching felt good, and the flexing i could def feel the muscles that were worked yesterday. i hope i see some results from this program, i'm digging it so far.

tomorrow, trying an actual recipe for Shakeology, and PiYo: Sweat.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Day 6 - the Thirty Day Challenge - PiYo first impressions

today was better. i finally got to pick up my challenge pack! when i brought it home i got started right away. i had already tried PiYo-Align, the intro to PiYo just to get a feel for the moves. i was hoping it wasn't too low impact to have noticeable results. today i tried the second episode, Define [lower body].

to my shock and utter amazement, by the end of the workout, i was SWEATING! like i mean actually good and drippin. my problems with some workouts is they either aren't to-the-point enough to keep me engaged to the point of sweating [i don't like dancy-schmancy fancy moves type workouts, far too uncoordinated], or for whatever reason i make it through and barely break a sweat til the end. this stuff had me sweating! and flexing! and stretching! i felt like i had accomplished something at the end, and wasn't horribly sore from over exerting my joints. in fact, my joints are just fine. so far, i like it.

my Shakeology was in there too, but i had already made my home brew for the day. tomorrow i'll write a post about that experience of course, as i'm not usually one to enjoy shake mixes. we'll see!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Day 5 - the Thirty Day Challenge

man i thought yesterday was rough.. the challenge to lay my mother to rest isn't over yet. i'm not having an easy time dealing with the town she is buried in. i never imagined i'd be fighting bylaws and paying a fortune to put her to rest in her hometown with her family in a plot they already own. and now town won't let me mark her grave, it's all been very upsetting.

on top of that i'm having a hard time getting my finances together according to plan. apparently the company from which we get our deferred profits is 'overwhelmed with clients making account changes'. as in, i'm not the only one who... yeah. so i likely won't have that loot until well after i'm gone west, which i also learned today. it just hasn't been a good day. i'll tell you what was good, the bag of home baked cookies in the freezer...


still, if i wasn't conscious of myself today i wouldn't have bothered even making the shakes or sticking to veggies otherwise, i would have just gone to mcD's for a bag of greasy cheese burgs. i almost did walk over there too. it's close enough... and there's plenty of other greasy options just steps away from my front door. which adds to the challenge, especially when the wind comes in from that direction when the fryers are going. mmm.... anyways.

keeping my steps up too, well trying my best. on work days 30,000 steps was no problem even if i rode my bike to work. now that i'm retired i actually have to stop myself from riding some places just so i can get in my steps. yesterday i made a random fitbit check and bam! 14141 steps. my mom had a thing with the number 14. maybe she was trying to tell me to calm the eff down, and do what i gotta do. or something. either way, i felt a little better to see it.

tomorrow... please come shakeology and PiYo challenge!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 4 - the Thirty Day Challenge

nothing to see here, folks.

just as predicted, today was a recovery day. and not from working out... from eating way too much at a family reunion yesterday. i didn't feel too fantastic this morning, my guts reminded me the real reason why i can't eat all kinds of food. today was mostly relaxation, a good couple hours of biking back and forth to the garage.

i managed to mostly pull my diet together today, but i had to eat some left over roast potatoes and corn from yesterday. other than that and my smoothies i didn't consume too much. i'm hoping my package comes tomorrow, i could really use some motivation to get on track. i suppose it doesn't help that it's been a rough week, trying to deal with finally getting to bury my mother's ashes months after she passed only to be met with disagreeable situations. and unfortunately it's not over yet, rest her soul.

thankfully i signed up to an accountability group started by my coach. if it wasn't for this i likely just wouldn't care right now, and be gorging on everything in sight.


i know i've said this before and i'll say it again, tomorrow is a new day.

i miss you mom, and i won't give up on myself. for you, but for me really. thanks for life.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Day 3 - the Thirty Day Challenge

ughhh holiday weekend! well, it wasn't all bad, there was a rather large selection of green salad and vegetables, so i stuck to that. i'll have to admit that i felt i must try the garbage can turkey. i had never seen a turkey cooked that way before, and i concluded that at least it wasn't deep-fried, and gave it a try. delicious by the way, very tender.

i managed to get 15,000 steps, as i had mentioned last post getting the minimum of ten thousand is proving to be more of a challenge now that i'm 'retired'. i'm sure that will change soon once i hit the road again. minus the bus trip of course. let's not think about that yet.

Matt's family barbecue was at a campground with it's own lake and a few trails around the grounds. we made sure  to do the tour and snap a pic of the sunset on the way back to camp. i had a feeling today wasn't going to be easy, i almost died to return to the trailer to see a huge platter of assorted grandma-baked gluten free cookies. i couldn't help myself, they were even gluten free! one of the grand kids have an allergy. he became my best friend and my worst enemy in that moment.

earlier in the day, before surrendering to this feast, i did manage to get a bit of a workout in. i couldn't wait any longer to get my PiYo so i streamed the first episode off the interwebs to get a feel for the moves. not bad! i'm excited to try it. i also went for a short twenty minute jog, another 40 squats just because, and spent some rest time in child's pose on the mat under the canopy of my tent. again, not horrible for a holiday long weekend. another day without alcoholic beverages, in fact the only thing i drank all day [besides my breakfast shake] was water.

 alright, one more day of this silly long weekend. tomorrow i can tell you already will be recovery from today. i don't anticipate being able to move very much, but i will try anyway.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Day 2 - the Thirty Day Challenge

i'm not sure whose idea it was to start this challenge on a long weekend.. haha. just kidding Steph! i didn't get my challenge pack in the mail yet from Beachbody so i'm still kinda freestyling until it gets here. it was rather warm and humid today so it didn't take much effort to get a sweat on.

i started my day by dragging all of my camping gear out of the house. i live in the basement, so every trip out of the house was up a flight of stairs. i made sure to only grab one piece of gear at a time to do as many flights as i could. once i got the big tent assembled, i took a break to do 40 squats under the tree. after i set both tents up and dragged them around the yard looking for a good spot, i decided it'd be a good day to also run some stuff down to the garage.

in order to get the most of the mission, i made three trips back and forth from my house to the garage on my bicycle, with my rucksack stacked full to the top. it added up to about an hour of slightly more intensive riding. i also broke a good sweat organizing the garage, moving heavy stuff around. one thing i'm worried about being newly retired from a warehouse job is not having that all-day physical engagement sort of forced on me. i'm certainly not getting the 30,000 steps a day i was getting at work and i have to find ways to compensate.

when i came back home i decided i may as well have a fire. chopping wood is a good workout, and i hadn't done it in a while. i settled in with a nice big bowl of cucumber salad. i don't drink alcohol, so there's no challenge to avoid something like that on a holiday weekend. but there's no avoiding lounging around. some moderate exercise, clean eating and a decent amount of rest. tomorrow i have to focus on getting the steps in!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Day 1 - the Thirty Day Challenge

i've been a little stuck lately, and i needed a boost to get me out of the rut. the main reason i started this blog is for accountability, and so that i can look back at my journey to reflect on what i did to get where i am today. last week i decided i'd step it up a notch, and sign up for an online fitness club. as you can see over the past couple years i've tried various programs and products with different levels of success. so far it's clear that nutrition is a big part of it, and the best workouts for me are ones that involve little or no equipment.

my friend Steph introduced me to Team Beachbody, the very company that produces some of my favourite workouts. i decided it'd be a good idea, given i'm a fan of their products and the price was right. after taking a look around the site, i decided right away that i wanted to be a coach. with tools like this available i could keep myself accountable, and help others to reach their goals at the same time. sounds kinda like exactly what i was looking for. i joined her challenge group, which started today, August 1st.

to sign up just as a club member is only 2.99 a week. for a network of buddies to keep you in check, and a workout schedule template to follow it's not a bad deal. as any good fitness club should have, there's also a free option.

i'm glad i joined a support group, as my first day was a little rough. today was also the day we could finally bury my mother. knowing i'd need time later on, i went for a nice hour long bike ride in the morning, and packed a bunch of clean food for lunch, with a couple smoothies. good thing i did, trying to find something clean on a foodplace menu isn't easy. especially when your mind is elsewhere. my mother's story and how she passed inspired me to take a better look [and action] into my own health.

my thirty day challenge consists of a low-impact workout program, some biking, a vague clean-eating/vegan diet and meal plan, a smoothie or two, and soon to introduce the Shakeology. they have vegan shakes which are hard to find. especially that taste good! i usually mix up my own shakes, but there are lots of ingredients [which a lot of are in Shakeology] and i won't be able to carry them around. i'm pretty excited to see if there's noticeable results, i already feel better knowing i have such a neat program to look forward to with impressive success stories. i'd like to add my own to the pile, and i've already have reached some key milestones towards my goal. today, clean eats, and organizing my schedule.

not a bad start to the thirty days considering. tomorrow is a new day.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

time to Thrive.

as of yesterday afternoon, i am officially retired from my full-time job as a retail supervisor. i have decided that in order to better my health and my life, i must take the time to make my well-being my 'full time job'. for the next thirty days, no excuses, no slip-ups, no cheating. lots of exercise, proper rest, and healthy clean eating. learning, too.

after the first few weeks, i take the show on the road. i'll be travelling to the west coast where there is a presence in the 'wellness industry' to learn more about becoming a health coach, and continue on my own personal journey towards better health and fitness. there's a lot of work ahead of me, and some honest dedication. i've come this far already, there's no turning back!

thanks to everyone who has been following my journey so far, your words of encouragement come with loads of support. i'm confident that i can not only succeed at my goals of losing weight, gaining health and building a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle, but also one day help others succeed too.

if you're interested in following my journey through all the ups and downs and delicious details, check out my page at help me achieve my goals just by following! thanks again:)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

the Junk

it's addictive, and it's everywhere. in fact, sometimes it's the only option. i've been a little stressed and strapped for time lately, so i've been making less-than-awesome food choices the past few days. Matt took me out for lunch that included fries, there was a dose of subway in there, and a chicken wrap from wendy's. all within three days! oh and a small ice cap from timmies accompanied that wrap. bleh! i felt horrible after, had a horrible time in the can. brought me right back to the "IBS" days... we'll get into that later.

but first, to top it all off [and so that i never forget it], i had to grab one last serving of mcD's. i've been good all day. in fact, it was almost two full days of being back on my mostly raw vegan regime. i had almost made a full recovery from the binge. but i had to be sure...

i ordered one of each of my favourite things, a mcdouble [with plus cornichons], a small fry and small vanilla ice coffee. my mouth was already watering from the smell. i got my meal first while my brother waited for his sandwiches. we ate my fries at the counter. salty heaven. the oil still hot. wash it down with some of that ice coffee... after a couple sips it starts.

there's an acidy taste at the back of my mouth. a few more sips and i can feel the mucus in my throat starting to flow. this naturally made me feel thirsty and need to drink more to wash it away. oh, right. the sugar, the 'milk'.. that's what that stuff does.

then, the burger. no photo needed, we all know what that stuff looks like. plasticy cheese product hanging off the edge. i ate most of it, besides the pickles it tasted pretty bland. the whole deal smelled so good and my mouth watered for it, but by the end of the indulgence, the indigestion had already begun. oh... yeah. but g*d damn the first few bites were delicious!

by the time i had taken the last bite [before tossing the rest in the bag] i felt like i had just been kicked in the stomach. i had to sit for a few minutes to sort it out. by the time we got to his car, i had a full-blown headache. it's two hours later right now actually, and i still have that headache. and i almost feel like my skin wants to break out. woah. that's all kinds of not good.


when i was a kid, i had all kinds of things wrong with me. horrible nerves, acid reflux at the age of ten.. by the time i was a teen i was already a wreck. like most kids in my generation, i grew up on grilled cheese and kraft dinner, with pot roast or chicken and potatoes with a steamed veggie on the weekends. the occasional happy meal was a treat. 

when i got older, these symptoms of constant discomfort were continuous, but the diet was never in question. diagnoses were quick assumptions based on how i was feeling on my last visit to the doc. their tests and blood work never found a true cause. i had everything from IBS to severe acid reflux. sometimes i'd vomit small amounts of bile, scorching my throat for days. this is horrible for anyone, but especially frightening at the age of twelve. throw hashimoto's thyroiditis on top of that, and you've got a stressed out fat kid.

for years it didn't matter what i ate, it made my guts hurt. was it wheat? acidy tomato sauce? dairy? meat? it was anything, everything i ate. even vegetables and fruit. the problem likely being that my guts simply weren't used to having them. the proper fibre after days of not having any would be painful passing through. i'd eat salad but then there's the dressing.. i had no idea i was constantly assaulting my body just by eating refined and processed foods. i suppose it'd be safe to assume that things sold en masse for the purpose of human consumption would be good for you, right? all the added vitamins and minerals.. then if you look at the second ingredient of just about anything, the sugar...


after a few hours, the most immediate symptoms are fading into a dull annoyance. something most people would take a tums for, or try to soothe with a glass of milk.  here i am thinking.. is this what's really going on? do we all just think 'oh it's just a little indigestion' and move on? repeating the same vicious cycle of eating junk, feeling like crap, eating better for a few days to make up for it [and maybe go for a run] then start all over? is this why we're so sick? so fat? ....probably. we think we're eating food, our bodies are trying to tell us no, this isn't food, we ignore, then we get sick and fat and irritated. hmh.

the saddest part of it is, this is all 'normal'. well, it was more normal in the 80's and 90's, now people are aware that the majority of things sold for human consumption aren't actually food, but everyone eats it so it's okay. everyone enjoys it, so it's not going anywhere. it's so incredibly easy to 'fall off the [diet] wagon' and grab a quick snack. and it's just as easy to do the same thing the very next day. when you've become a 'regular' and servers know your breakfast order before you get to the counter, there's a problem.

i've been doing incredibly well this year in my get healthy venture. when i started this blog in 2013, i lost about 20 pounds by sheer force, and eventually gained it all back. at the beginning of 2014 i weighed roughly 210 pounds, and by july made it down to 175. after my binge i'm sitting around 180. now that i've been keeping a close eye on my weight, it is apparent that when i eat crap my body bloats and retains water. this will show on the scale as a couple pounds extra in as little as a day. it'll take me a week to get it off again. and it doesn't even have to be as drastic as a cheeseburger, it can be something as innocent as a single serving bag of lay's or a 'healthier' subway sub.

i've said this before, but even with the knowledge that most of the stuff out there to eat is garbage, we still reach for it. it's incredibly challenging to choose real, unprocessed food over the quick fixes not only because snacks are so delicious, but that's mostly what is available. thinking back to the last time i was on the road, a lot of the time the only 'food' places for miles served.. well, junk. i would absolutely eat as much fresh as i could when i happened upon it, but for the most part, things that keep well or are served quickly often made the menu.

point is, it's still a choice. i think mentally a part of this binge for me began at the idea that soon i'll be on a bus for a few days straight headed to the coast, and the only food choices available en route aren't the best ones. it'll be unlikely to find anything fresh, the occasional banana or apple at a truck stop or gas station perhaps. there aren't many markets along the highway for said coach buses to stop at. i think maybe i wanted to see [while still in a controlled environment] if my body could handle all that, and truthfully after said and done it made me very uncomfortable. the symptoms of 'IBS' that have been all but gone since i started eating cleaner came back full force in the matter of three days. could it be that this backup diagnosis of 'irritable bowels' is simply our bodies' response to eating processed junk?

i'd bet my ass on it. literally.

and since i'm getting too old to spend half a week on the bus in the first place, i don't fancy doing so suffering from symptoms of IBS, so imma be sure to pack myself as much real food as i can to make it through. and then continue on, wherever i end up, eating just... real... food. imagine that? i mean the odd treat once in a blue moon won't kill me.. but it's my mission to find real food out there, everywhere, anywhere i go. i've been managing here now that i've found a taste for goodness, but what will i do without my blender? the adventure awaits!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


after weeks of being stuck in the same place regardless of my efforts, i had come to realize that nutrition wise, i have done all that i can to improve my physical health. but i'm still 'not there' yet. i feel better, but not my best. there's still a stress that has been weighing me down.

the next step is to look deeper into my lifestyle, my environments and my habits. i'm very anxious lately, as i tend to become when i'm overburdened with belongings, expenses and unhealthy habits. i've had to rethink what is important to me right now. for a while i needed money to fulfill the lifestyle choices i had made. for now, it's time i crave.

i'm certainly not giving up on my healthy diet choices, and i've been putting more effort into being conscious of everything i eat, and my portions. people [myself included] seem to eat more than needed to operate. in fact, the over eating seems to slow me down. i function better when consuming smaller portions yet more often than just a few times a day. overall i eat less than what the typical north american diet would consider three meals, but i try to eat as nutrient dense foods as i can, and stay well hydrated.

reverting back to my classic mode of transience, more or less living out of a rucksack, will free me of much of the stress that i have been dealing with the last while. there will be other stresses of course, the kinds that are needed to be effective in my decisions and actions, not the consistent repetative ones that never change regardless of any efforts made. after a while those kinds of stresses become too overwhelming to deal with, and i must take a break.

it's time to explore my options. i'm breaking out of my current lifestyle to experience other ways of living across my home country. the diversity of climate and culture here alone is an adventure of experiences and lessons i'm looking forward to. i'm not sure how long i'll be on the move, i suppose as long as it takes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nah Give Up

it's been a couple months since my last post on this blog.. but i haven't given up. self care has mostly remained at the top of my priority list since my mother's passing in May, though i've had a couple rough weeks. i juice more or less every day. i don't feel right if i go too long without it.

i weigh 177lbs. that's 29 pounds less than i did at the beginning of this year. i've been kind of stuck here for a while, but when i think back to when i was stuck at 200, and 190, i don't feel so bad. i've been doing my best to go to the gym, if i make it a couple times a week. my diet is improving by default. my guts no longer put up with any crap.. if i eat junk, i feel it right away. helps to make sugar and refined foods less desirable. and they just don't taste the same.

there's more to healing than just better food and exercise. 
it's attitude, it's environment,
it's the elimination [or at least severe reduction] of stress in my life.
it's letting go of guilt, of anger, of negative emotions.
it's playing outside in the dirt.

the garden has been sweet to me this year. i spend many hours in it's perimeters. there's something magical about the ever growing ever-changing world that lies outside the back door. something i think that's easier to absorb when we grow food. the magic of knowing you provided for the earth so that it may provide for you, and the cycle that continues. it's a good feeling.

Friday, April 25, 2014

be the change, drink the juice.

something strange is happening.. more like something awesome! this challenge has become more than just my own. i started this blog in january of 2013 with the idea that publicly noting my journey to find health would keep me on track. well, it's working. i can honestly say that after everything i've tried, triumphs and defeats, i may have given up long ago if i didn't make a point of sharing it all.

 it hasn't been an easy journey, that's the truth. but it's getting better. the reality is, there isn't a magic pill or quick diet or cleanse that will fix all of my problems or lose all of my extra pounds. it takes a lifestyle change, an attitude alteration, and dedication to finding true health. i wasn't always the most motivated person in the world, nor the best educated on the subject of nutrition. after a year and a half of reading, researching, and trying different things, i am finally on the right path to what works best for me.

now back to the challenge. people around me are starting to notice a difference.. maybe even more than i have seen in myself. i've lost 18 pounds since the beginning of 2014, and i have a lot more energy [and a lot less tummy aches] than ever. naturally, people want to know what i'm doing and they want to try too.

for quite some time now, i've known what i needed to do. but i always had excuses like i'm too broke to eat well, or i don't have time or any means to prepare a decent meal. when really i could have been prioritizing my money [and my time] better, and being more resourceful with the tools i had available to me. i have less of a 'kitchen' now than i ever have in an established dwelling, yet i prepare [and grow!] more of my own food these days than i have my whole life. and by prepare i don't mean pop a microwave dinner in the nuke or boil up some KD, i mean using fresh ingredients from scratch.

a couple years ago i started collecting things to jumpstart into a more healthy lifestyle like a juicer and a blender and planted a garden in the yard. after a few months the juicer became too much of a hassle, the blender lost it's appeal, and the garden didn't fair so well. this cycle repeated for a few years, each year saw improvements.

finally something clicked inside of me. i decided it was time to take responsibility for my self and my own health. i do have a choice in the matter, i can choose to live a healthier lifestyle, or i can choose to keep putting it off and slowly accumulate various health discomforts. today, i choose health. and yesterday, and hopefully a bunch of tomorrows too.

early in the year i blew the dust off the juicer and got right back into it. i fed my mind with all of the information about the benefits of juicing raw vegetables, and the idea became more appealing. eventually the vegetables that once tasted bitter to me juiced have mellowed out. cucumber simply tastes like freshness now, and celery is barely noticeable beside the hint of ginger and lime. this time around, instead of jumping right into hardcore veggie juicing, i started with the apples and added in the veg. now the only fruit i use is an apple or two and a bit of lemon lime to zest it up and keep it fresh.

every day in the lunch room, someone asks what i'm drinking. and i tell them! some are grossed out at the idea of pressed veggies, some are intrigued, and some even ask for a taste. this keeps me conscious every morning when i'm packing my lunch bag what i'm going to take.. am i making healthy choices? can i really make it to first break without my super smoothie? i know i don't feel like making juice right now [five in the morning], but do i really want to go all day without it? nah. i might be tired some days [not all days anymore] but i know it's worth it to do this for myself. it makes me feel better. and every week or so, the scale moves a notch towards my goal.

it's starting to catch on.

people that i work with are picking up on these healthy habits, and trying them on for size. even my parents who in recent years were more health savvy than i, have taken interest in this juicy new facet of my life. i love hearing the reports on others' juicing and nutribullet-ing adventures. especially the parts where they notice a positive change in their health, and on the scale. it's nice to have friends to take this journey with me, the more the merrier. if i can inspire others to be more conscious of their own health by drinking a big ol' jar of juice every day, then it's already too good to stop.

be the change... drink the juice!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

tobacco free-dom!

it's been a while since i've mentioned it, and now that it's come to mind i believe it deserves it's very own post. about a year ago, i had pledged as my 'MSP' that i'd quit smoking cigarettes. i'm not gonna lie, it was tough.. but more than worth it.

last year was a crazy one with lots of travel and sudden unexpected stresses, but despite everything i made my best effort to quit. the fact that it's 'so much more' than simply inhaling burning tobacco kept me coming back.. an excuse to go out for break, to get away from whatever is happening in the moment and snuff it out with a drag and a puff. stepping out to the smoke hole is a social event in itself.

i had quit about this time last year, and i was doing so well.... until i had to get on an airplane. i had pretty much sworn off any sort of traveling that involved leaving the ground, and an opportunity of a lifetime had come about and i simply couldn't say no. i also couldn't keep my nerves in order waiting to board that first flight without half a pack of cigarettes blasting through my lungs to calm me.

i spent most of the rest of the year not smoking, until the next big journey, and the next... and finally in october after my last plane ride, i had decided i was done with it. i was kind of disappointed in myself for not having reached my goals by my goal date [lose weight/gain health/quit smoking by october/dominican trip] that i felt i had to do something right away. i had realized that there was little point in trying to improve my overall health if i'd refused to quit poisoning myself on a daily basis. i had to stop. suddenly, cigarettes were no longer as appealing. the long, horribly cold winter helped.

that being said, it's been five months since i've smoked a cigarette, and a year since i 'quit' [as in no longer bought cigarettes, but gladly accepted when someone said 'you look like you could use a smoke']. i don't need a smoke anymore, don't want one either. in fact, i'd tried at some point and it made me feel sick, i had to put it down. i'm finally done with it. after all i've been reading and learning about nutrition and what goes on inside these crazy bodies of ours, i couldn't stomach the idea of doing that much damage to myself. i wish with all my heart i could make others feel the same way.

smoking is a choice. for a long time i knew that, yet i chose to smoke. sure i felt 'addicted', they're addictive. but i also knew that it was my choice. if at any time i could decide that i didn't want to do it anymore, i'd find the will and the strength to stop. it's very true for me at least... in order for change to happen, you have to actually want it. i want to find my health, and i'm willing to do whatever it takes. one step at a time of course, and for me this was a critical one.

that's it for now, breathe easy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

the scale

it's an important tool when on a journey to better health, i find. i never used to care about the numbers, but without some way to measure it's hard to see results. last year i'd used our roommates scale for the first half, then after we moved we went the second half of the year without one. i suppose i felt a little lost because i couldn't tell if i was making a difference, so i finally caved and picked one up at the start of the year.

i spent a majority of my late teens and early twenties wandering around with a rucksack, stopping from time to time to inhabit random dwellings but i never stayed for long. when i was kept busy getting up before sunrise and constantly on the move, my weight was pretty average. i settled into the domesticated life when i came back to town and started working full time night shift. i gained weight quickly, having hashimoto's didn't help my cause. after a couple years i had gone from 150 [which i already thought was heavy] to over 180. i stopped looking.. my heaviest weight was 213 pounds by the start of 2012. oh, i'm 5'5", just in case you were wondering. i'd never had the nerve to take a picture of the scale back then, i was in denial that my weight was out of control.

by sheer force i managed to lose ten pounds, but it took me a year to do it. i leveled out at 205 which stayed my average weight for another year. at the beginning of 2013 i started this blog, and my search for the 'perfect diet and exercise' regime that would help me lose weight. i lost a few pounds here and there, i think i'd lost about ten pounds total [all of which i gained back], but at least i'd gained hope that it is possible to make the numbers go in the other direction.

when i stepped on the scale today, i was half expecting my numbers to have gone up a couple notches for having 'fallen off the wagon' a few days ago and had a veggie burger combo, and the next day a small order of fries. i'd kept up with the juicing and other healthy inputs of course, but still.. i was totally shocked when i looked down. i really couldn't believe it, i had to reset the scale a few times and rub my eyes to make sure everything was working right.

189.6! i can't even remember the last time i saw a number under 190. i know it's just a pound less than the last time i mentioned my weight, but it still seems so surreal! i suppose i didn't want to get my hopes up on bringing my weight down, and it was super extra satisfying to know i made it under my next expected plateau. i mean, it could still be one, but i'm staying positive. hard work and dedication and self-education truly does pay off. until next time.... yay!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

spring CLEANing

something very strange just happened... let me try and explain.

first of all, i haven't been doing a whole lot of writing because i've been doing a whole lot of reading. and juicing, and blending, and stretching and relaxing, and for realsies most nights even sleeping... and despite just getting over a bug i'm feeling pretty good.

anyhoo.. for quite some time now, i've been doing my own research and experimentation to figure out exactly what is the best diet for me. i've read all kinds of books, watched over a dozen food documentaries, taken online courses in nutrition, and researched various references to attempt to discover what is best to put into my body. not only that, but how to 'cleanse' and reset my digestive system through nutrition. 

a while ago, we picked up a NutriBullet as i've always had a hard time getting food into me before too early in the morning, and all of my days begin so early. but there are a bunch of things i didn't like the idea of throwing in a blender [namely vegetables, specifically greens] so i decided to invest in a brand new masticating juicer. i found it on sale right at the beginning of the year and got an amazing deal! of course, it was 'new year's resolution season', the best time to find health related gadgets and exercise equipment on sale.

i started juicing as often as i could. before long, it had also become a part of my daily ritual, juicing enough mostly vegetables to get me through the day. after everything i've learned i find it really difficult to put processed foods into my body, and i've had to get creative with what i juice and blend to keep it interesting [and tasty!] and before long, slowly but surely, i started to see results.

so i'm walking through the bookstore on my lunch with a determination to find a book on food combining. i pretty well knew going in there that i'd need to order it as there wouldn't be one in store, and i was right. on my way in i passed this table with a bunch of healthy recipe books, raw vegan stuff, that sort of thing.. and down on the corner there was two copies of a book called 'CLEAN'. plain white cover, small paperback print, nothing fancy. while every other book on this table was a glossy print or fancy hardcover. for some reason that was the book i was compelled to pick up.

i flipped it over and wuh.. a familiar face! i've been watching so many documentaries and reading so many books i couldn't remember which i'd remembered it from, but there he was. Alejandro Junger, M.D.. i looked at the cover and thought, for whatever reason.. nah this guy is going to tell me things i already know. what i don't know is proper food combination, i gotta cover that first. i put the book down and went over to the ordering station.

a store clerk came up to me and asked if i needed any help. i told her what i was looking for, and she told me her life story. she was raised on meat and potatoes and raw milk. rarely greens, and yet there she stood before me.. healthy and energetic [though more overweight than i] and pushing seventy. she was trying to convince me that i don't really need any vegetables to survive, i just need to eat good food. we had accepted one another's difference of opinion.. but she had thrown me off the track i was on to ordering that book, and taken up most of my lunch. i walked back to the fancy display table as a last minute decision [i needed a new book to digest!] and i picked up a copy of Clean.

i started reading right away. and there it was...

...a synchronicity! i mean, these things happen... but it was just too uncanny. i picked up a book that i was somehow drawn to, and it was a familiar face. his program applies some habits that i'm already practicing based on everything that i've learned, and it has already been working for me. i turned to page eleven and my eye was immediately drawn to the words Eleven Eleven. i had to look again... i couldn't believe it! i've had this obsession with these numbers since i was ten years old, and there they were. i couldn't help but feel like in that moment, the universe was telling me 'hey! you got it...'

so, that's my story. or, the beginning anyways. i'm on my second read-through of this fantastic program, which even provides ways to mentally prepare, and things to keep in mind while you cleanse. like the fact that it's 'only three weeks'. this particular program has some very strict, although not restrictive [in the sense of calories, just choosing the right ones!] guidelines to get the maximum benefits in this relatively short amount of time. snacks at a party, a gathering at a restaurant, these things aren't so horrible to attend without consuming if you can just keep in mind what you are doing for your health, and that once it's over those snacks will come around again. only next time you might not crave them as much, after seeing and feeling the results of such an intensive, restorative program.. that's actually very simple!

needless to say, i'm going to give it a try. i'm already on the right path as far as easing in, and being prepared with the tools i need. now i need to collect a few more ingredients, a few more reliable, relatively simple and delicious 'clean' recipes, and just a smidgen more willpower. i'm almost there...

[ps! i forgot to mention... i'm now at 190.8 pounds! that's keeping with the average of a pound a week weight loss. i hit that plateau of 195, but the juicing and blending combo along with better choices helped me overcome it quickly. just sayin'!]

Saturday, March 22, 2014

sick day.

i never call in sick. ever. but i did.. it was.. interesting. yay fever...

so here's what happened. everyone at work was getting sick. i just had to go and say it.. "i'm not worried, i never get sick!". and that has been mostly true. i believe that it has a lot to do with the fact that i have been juicing and consuming 3-4 quarts of freshly juiced vegetables and citrus every day for a few weeks. i had started juicing daily at the beginning of the year, but as soon as all the flu bugs started going around, i doubled up. i had made it through my entire team at work [and my boyfriend] getting sick twice so far this year. i thought i had it beat.

til early thursday morning... the power went out. i couldn't make my juice, or my power packed mean green breakfast smoothie. i ate a banana, which is about all the solid food i can stomach that early in the morning, and walked to work in the dark. i did my best not to panic, but i knew i was walking into a battlefield unshielded. i'm positive i had already picked up the bug, but had remained unaffected because of the daily bombardment of pro-healthy goodness.

i made it through my workday somehow, i was tired within the first couple hours. i usually would have had plenty of energy from my daily breakfast smoothie.. and of course, i felt very hungry. my joints were swelling already. i had learned from various sources that fresh celery juice was good for joint pain. i guess i hadn't realized how well it was working until i suddenly didn't have it in me. i was in slow motion all day. i couldn't concentrate, and all i wanted to do was faceplant into my bed.

as soon as i got home [and the power was finally restored] i made an emergency batch of fresh orange and apple juice with a double dose of ginger. i slammed it. i was already horribly exhausted, so in an attempt to beat the bug i went to bed early so that my body might have a fighting chance against it. 1am rolled around, and i was awoken by the heat of my own fever. dang. i tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use. by 4am i was calling work, pounding head, fever, aches and chills... the sick finally got me.

i really, really hate getting sick. and i hate missing work.. but knowing that i was already compromised and now weakened, i felt it best to stay home and deal with it right away rather than prolong the suffering. it's not all bad though, i learned a very important lesson; patience.

what does patience have to do with anything?? well..


i've been spending the past fifteen months learning everything i can about having an autoimmune disease, and what i should be doing to overcome it. and sometimes it's hard to see any progress, especially when it comes to the weight loss and my overall energy. it wasn't until i suddenly lost access to the abundant nourishment that i've been using to help my body heal, that i realized it was doing anything at all. and having to spend a day without these wonderful nectars of life reminded me that changes don't just happen over night, and that i am doing so much to support my body's healing system. giving up at this point is not an option.

that being said... there is progress.

first of all, i did end up quitting smoking last year, which i believe is helping immensely. for everything overall. overcoming addictions isn't easy for anyone, and i have a history with addiction. i'm still amazed that i no longer have cravings, and am even most usually repulsed at the idea of smoking a cigarette. and then, there's my weight. having hashimoto's has made losing weight pretty well impossible my whole life. it was more subtle when i spent the majority of my time living, wandering and generally being outside, but the weight gain had hastened since becoming a full-time domesticated human. i went from gaining on average two pounds a year at that point in my life, to a whopping ten pounds a year. so in the past five years that i have been living a 'standard north american lifestyle', i'd put on fifty pounds. Fifty. Pounds.

by the time i had finally purchased a scale so that i could keep track of my progress, i was over two hundred. since i started paying exceptional attention to what i put into my body, i have lost ten of those pounds in the past ten weeks. it seems to me like a slow start, and it's hard to stay positive when i'm not seeing the difference so much yet, but it's happening. the numbers on the scale are no longer going in the direction of extreme obesity. yay me!

so about that sick day.. yeah, i'm still sick. but! not to the point of absolute bed ridden horror that Matt seems to go through when he gets sick. not so sick that i can't move for days like i used to get. i have the aches and my chest is on fire for the first couple hours that i'm awake, but i feel much better already than the day it hit me [yesterday]. i'm taming the fever, and i'm still able to get out for fresh air, and as long as i keep up with the juicing and lots of greens i should be ready to go back to work again on monday. but for now... relaxation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

back to the juicer

yea, i haven't posted in a while. i just wanted to put it out there.. i haven't given up. i do however have to take a break from checking the scale. again. it's certainly not as productive right now as keeping up with the numbers on my fitbit. after a few weeks of keeping tabs on my sleep and activity levels, it's given me some perspective on how to better sort my time.

for instance, i can track my sleep patterns. on overage, i'm 'restless' around 4am. it's pretty well pointless for me to try and go back to sleep once i've woken up, so i'm beginning to accept that is just simply my wake up time. so instead of staying up til eleven and setting an alarm for five, i've shifted my sleep schedule back an hour to get the most out of my energy. now instead of preparing all of my juice for the next day before bed, i can do so in the morning before i go to work. thankfully i work a steady shift which has really helped me to begin to get my health on track. and juice is better the day it's made anyway.

speaking of juice.. juicing is something that's really easy to be lazy about. the preparations, the clean up, not to mention the walk every second day to the grocery to get another load of produce.. but i've been managing to keep up with it. i have noticed that my tastes are beginning to change; celery isn't as bitter as it once was, and parsley isn't as weird in a juice as the first time i tried it. i'm finally adjusting to the sudden influx of raw veggie juice.

to make the whole process easier, i've kind of turned it into a ritual. one that is adaptable whenever i discover an easier or faster way to do something. it's taken me a couple months to figure out what works for me and what are the best things to include in my juice, so here's a basic outline.

first of all, i invested in a slow juicer. i had an 'express' juicer at first, but i find i get way more juice out of the cold press, and there's more options as to what i can put through it. that being said, my finished product makes about 4-4.5 pints [8 or 9 cups] which lasts me a whole day. i'm currently not juice fasting, but i'm still consuming mostly plant based whole foods in only necessary amounts to get enough fat and other nutrients that i can't get from the juice. otherwise, that amount of juice keeps me feeling full most of the day.

i have an hour and a half to get ready for work in the morning, and i have to leave my house around 6am to get there on time. by quarter to five, i'm gathering my juicer. the whole process- setup, prep, juicing and cleanup takes about 45 minutes.

first i juice the green 'base' veggies, celery and cucumber. one bunch and two whole ones respectively. this alone makes up almost a third of the juice. then i juice the lemon and ginger into that, and collect in a juice pitcher. i then juice a whole pineapple and add that to the pitcher. next a couple of apples/or asian pears, oranges, a lime, carrots, depending on what i have on hand and what is freshest at the market. i give it one good stir and then pour it out into four pint sized mason jars, leaving a little space in a couple of them for the 'boosts'. for these i use beet root as one, and dark leafy greens such as spinach or parsley as another. these and other sorts of things that have many health benefits but a strong/bitter taste i spare the rest of the batch from and keep them as a 'meal' of their own.

cleanup gets easier every time, once a 'ritual' is formed and refined it doesn't seem so daunting of a task. some may say that it's a lot of effort for some juice, but really i think quite the opposite. it's minimal 'effort' to absorb lots of nutrients and enzymes from raw, 'living' plant based foods that i'd certainly not be able to eat all in one day. in fact, my entire day would be steady munching to pack all of that goodness in! i didn't start out with this amount, maybe half and worked my way up.

some things that i have noticed: i started with roughly two quarts of juice a day at the beginning of the year, and i am telling you i haven't had so much as a sniffle since. i have seen my entire team at work, most of my friends, and my boyfriend [who i live with] through some nasty cold and flu viruses and i remain completely unaffected. this may be due to the outrageous amounts of actual, real true vitamin C [and everything else!] that i'm juicing from fresh produce. i would at least have one quart if i had to spread my supply, as a day without juice is a day without energy. i have recently upped my intake to double [so 4 quarts total per day], and in turn my insatiable appetite for all things horrible for me is easing off. food cravings aren't nearly as bad, and in fact processed foods taste different [not as good] to me now that i have had such an elevated intake of raw, real food.

so here's hoping that the next leg of this journey i'm on involves some real weight loss. i think my body is starting to realize that no, i'm not starving her.. and yeah, it's okay to let go of those extra pounds that were protecting my precious organs from all the 'dead food' i've been bombarding my body with over the years. you take what you can get, right? well now that i'm not living out of a backpack and have a steady income i have no excuses not to take better care of myself. here's to my health..

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Insanity [fit test]

i finally decided to try it.. Insanity! i had heard so much about it from a few devoted friends, friends who have seen results. i have a few days off, and today being a holiday ['Family Day',] there's not much else to do but focus on myself.

i found out that the gym that i signed up for right down the street has postponed it's opening again.. for another 6 weeks! i was looking so forward to getting on the machines that i was neglecting to do much about exercise in the meantime. beyond my walks and a few reps here and there on my Lebert bars, i had gotten pretty sedentary this winter sulking about the cold. i felt i was depending on the gym to open in order for me to have the means to focus on my fitness.. it's so cold in our apartment most of the time it's hard to find the motivation to come out from under the blankets.

no more waiting. i started to do some research into different at-home workouts to find if there may be some i can do in my tiny bachelor apartment. there are so many good ones out there, the three that caught my attention are P90X, Insanity, and T25. i even started looking up different exercises for the Equalizers so that i can chart out a routine. up until this point i was more or less freestyling with the bars, but i'm now trying to keep track of what i am doing so i can challenge myself later, and see that i am getting stronger.

anyhoo... the Insanity Fit Test! i figure, even if i don't start the Insanity workouts right away, it'd be nice to know where i'm at. i made my own tracking sheet to record my results and well... i was actually pleasantly surprised. i didn't think i would be able to do all of the moves for the test, but i could actually do most even if it was just a few times. the jumps i could do only slowly and few, i'm still working on that ankle sprain and i don't want to push it. the push-up jacks and 'suicide jumps' i substituted for pull-ups on my Equalizers, and push-ups from my knees using one of the bars as a grip. i am also doing my best to remain conscious of my old wrist injury, and until i get some more weight off i don't want to attempt to hold my body weight with my wrists in that position.

that being said.. NO EXCUSES! if there is something that i can't fully 'do' in a workout, i'll modify it slightly so that i can work the same muscles until i can do the moves. after my fit test and trying bits of other workouts i had a burst of energy, and decided to go on a 7.8km walk around the city. it was the first sunny day in a while that i wasn't stuck inside at work and [though still frigid!] it was nice to get out.

now i'm looking into other routines, and creating one of my own. more on that later!