Thursday, 29 September 2016

Thankful Thursday - Self-Discipline

As I move forward on this healthy lifestyle path (eating real food, exercising, etc. etc.), I realize I am blessed with self-discipline.  It is just who I am and who I have always been, so I don't think a lot about it normally. However, in several conversations I have had recently (with people who know about my journey and people who have commented on how awesome I look and asked what I am doing), I am reminded that this discipline is rare (see an early post where I went on my soapbox about motivation). But let's be clear, just because I have been able to do this, doesn't mean I like it or even want to do it. I set up systems to make myself more successful (i.e. fork over a lot of money to a trainer, put it in my to do list), lay out some rules for myself ( can have a drink on the weekend, you can have dark chocolate if you want), and I can just get it done. This is a blessing, so today I celebrate this discipline and my ability to commit to things and as I often say "I just get sh*t done." 

Editors note: I realize since I gave up most of my vices, I am swearing more lol!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Bonus Post - The Data Is In

Yesterday, F'in Alex did my weight and my body fat analysis.

It went something like this: First he weighed himself to make sure the scale worked (apparently it has issues),  and now I know how much he weighs. Then I got on the scale, and off the scale, and on the scale and off the scale, and on the scale and I said "Holy Sh*t."

Before I go on with this story (my attempt at building suspense), let's just go back half a step. In March I started on a path to figuring out what was causing me gut pain, and did the elimination diet. I lost close to 10 lbs with that. I started at 165 lbs, and ended around 155 lbs. I went from about 42 inches around my hips and belly button to 38 at the hips and 37 at the belly button. Weight loss was never my goal, my gut health was, the weight loss was a happy bi-product. However, it is great not to feel bloated all the time.

Fast forward to about 5 weeks ago when I went for my assessment with Alex. I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 155.9 lbs, with about 33% body fat (which by the way makes me obese). After 8 sessions (4 weeks) of strength training, I have lost another inch at my hips, half an inch at my belly button, and the number that made me say "Holy Sh*t" was 148.4 lbs. I am down 7.5 lbs . My body fat is down almost 2 %. Again, weight loss was never my goal, strength was. Yes, I am gaining strength too, but it is harder to see.

I have lost about 17 lbs this year, without really meaning to actually lose weight. I feel a little bad about this for all the people who really struggle with it. Maybe because my focus has been on other things (gut health, strength) it has been easier.

A conversation I had with F'in Alex yesterday:

FA: "Eventually you will plateau with weight loss."
Me: "I hope so, or I will be dead."
FA: "Good point."

Yes, I do hope at some point I find my ideal body weight and just maintain it.

F'in Alex and I also agreed I could have a drink a week, and I can keep my diet like it is. I didn't swear at him or call him a jerk once on Tuesday! I pointed that out to him and he said he had noticed, but it was fine if I did.

I am going to have to buy new pants, as all of mine are getting too big  (I can pull them down without taking them off) . . . Sam keeps say "first world problems."  I wonder what will be more expensive, the training or the new clothes??????

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Eating Clean

I admit I miss junk food. I savoured my 8th session celebration martini like I may never drink one again. It sounds bad, but I miss booze the most. I didn't drink that much before (a bottle of wine lasts me a week), but not drinking is hard. If I could add anything back, it would be booze! (Yes I have found a study that says moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers . . .)

I realized on Saturday that everything I put into my body now goes through a 3 stage evaluation:
1) Will this make me sick? (gluten, soy, too much potato, tomato, dairy etc.)
2) Is this Alex approved ? (will I get punished at the gym for eating it)
3) Do I want/like it?

This system can be exhausting! I feel like I am over-analyzing it at times. 

This weeks lunches - pumpkin curry soup (Alex approved)  and quinoa with asparagus (not Alex approved)

I also find myself both completely judging other people's food choices and completely envying them at the same time. I want to scream - "you are poisoning yourself, please pass me some so I can die from food with you too!" Fortunately, this has not happened yet, but some day in the grocery store, some poor person may get it! 

I know all the reasons why I should be eating basically the Paleo diet (with a  few more grains - it is the compromise Alex and I have reached). I watched Fed Up and Sugar Coated and I know how the processed food industry works. I know sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine but that doesn't help. Our culture is completely dominated by processed, easy, usually junky food and treats.  A week doesn't go by at work where there isn't cake or donuts. In my house I watch my husband eat ice cream, chips, and drink pop. Everywhere I look people are putting down real food. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend Adele Hello Parody. I thought I was going to pee my pants. 

It remains a battle. It isn't a new one to me. It is one I have been fighting really since I took on the elimination diet in March. I had hoped by now, it would be easier. Maybe as I see more results at the gym, which by the way because I have clearly lost my mind (lack of sugar and chemicals???) I have signed up for 12 more weeks of fun with my BFF Alex. (more about that in another post). 

Fingers crossed for me today, I really get my weight and body fat analysis done. It didn't get done on Thursday (I am not sure if Alex forgot or didn't want to do it, but apparently you can't do it after a workout) but he has promised to do it today (after I called him a liar and a jerk, and Sam told him to just give me my data it will make everyone else's life better). I am refusing to do anything until it is done (man, I totally wouldn't want to train me, I am a pain in the ass). Will share when I have them!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Thankful Thursday - Figuring Out The Cause

Totally worth getting in trouble for
Last Wednesday, I ended up with an upset stomach. I assumed it was because of the deep fried plantains I had at work (yes F'in Alex yelled at me about that one) and didn't think much more about  it. I had other symptoms of my system being out of whack at the end of the week, but assumed it was because of stress/not enough sleep etc. Last week was rough!

Then same thing happened Saturday, when I hadn't had plantains. I took a minute and looked back at what I had eaten, and it occurred to me that on both Wednesday and Saturday about 4 hours before my stomach took a turn for the worse, I had hummus. I went to the fridge and low and behold  my hummus had soy and wheat. I had thought I had checked this brand of hummus before but had not. Because I don't imagine soy and wheat as ingredients in hummus didn't double check. Silly me, it is processed I should double check! 

Who knew there would be soy and wheat in this!
While I am a little annoyed with myself because my body is currently very angry at me (likely from the soy, and it was so little), I am thankful that I was able to figure it out. I know in a week or so it will pass. I will now remember to double check products. I am thankful that I know what upsets my system and can do my best to avoid it.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The First Workout Injury

It was bound to happen sooner or later, especially with my track record of not being very coordinate. I worked with F'in Alex last Monday. As I had to move my session from Tuesday because I had a work meeting I couldn't move, we met at 7 am. This meant I was up around 4:30 to leave by 6. My body started mad at me. I told him that. I found the session really, really hard. Yes we increased the weights, but even harder than that and felt deflated after (which we have spoken about since and I got the coach pep talk - role my eyes).

I left the session grumpy but unaware I was injured. Wednesday morning around 3 am, I woke up with a terrible pain in my elbow. I assumed I slept on it and it would go away. It didn't. Thursday it was still sore. I asked my husband to look at it and he said it was swollen.

I got to the gym on Thursday. At this point of the week I wasn't motivated at all for life - I had a very rough week which I am not going to complain about (although no internet for 3 days was really, really annoying). Anyway, after the unsatisfactory work out Monday, coupled with elbow pain and a crappy week, the gym was about the last place I wanted to be.

My conversation with F'in Alex about the elbow went like this:

FA: "How are you?"
Me: "so-so"
FA: "Why?"
Me: "We hurt my elbow and it has been a crappy week."
Where it hurt
FA: thinking I was joking "What did you do?"
Me: "I am not sure what we did, but Sam (aka my husband) says it was swollen."
FA: "I will be there to check it out in a minute." He was finishing teaching a class.
A few minutes later
FA: "That reminds me I forgot to get you to sign the waiver." Yep hurting me reminded him I could sue him lol! But he did seem truly concerned about the elbow too.
FA: "Sam didn't tell me you were hurt when I saw him yesterday."
Me: "Sam didn't know, I only told him this morning because I didn't see him yesterday."
FA: After squeezing it and poking it "The tendon is inflamed. I am glad it is not in the back part of your elbow. That would be serious. This needs ice and rest. So today, we will do all legs."
Me: "Yay."

By the end of Thursday it was the worst it got. It was really, really swollen and hurt. It felt better on Friday (a little tender) but then again my butt and thighs were so sore, maybe I didn't notice a little elbow pain. By Saturday the pain was all gone. So I have survived my first workout injury.

This week officially marks week 4 of training. It is as far as I have paid for. I have to decide what to do next. I have been totally avoiding this decision, F'in Alex and I will discuss it, likely today during our training. Everyone in my life has a different idea about what I should do. I have been reading research on training to help make my decision. My problem with making this decision is that I hate everything about the gym, but I know it is good for me. I have also discovered that because of the pain it causes, my sleep (unless I take pain meds before bed) isn't as good. So I kind of feel crappy too. This is suppose to pass, but all of this isn't helping me decide.  Maybe the weigh in and the body fat measurements on Thursday will help because right now the one inch I have lost off my hips is just annoying as I am going to need all new pants (I know, first world problems).

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Mind Over Matter

As discussed, the first week at the gym was tough mentally for me. I really struggled with this, but  I am happy to report I was able to work through it and week 2, I killed it (and it nearly killed me)! Going to the gym is now slightly better than whale watching.  Now this doesn't mean I like going. I actually dislike the exercises (especially the running on the step, lunges and squats), and I dislike how I feel after (I am really suffering from DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness - in places I didn't know I even had muscles - this is suppose go get better, we will see - the pain is rather intense at times and places).
To help me work through the mental game,  I am working on being more positive about it (I am choosing to do this, I don't have to) and I have found 2 things I like about the gym.

1) I really enjoy telling a 24 year old (yes, I asked how old he was) to F-off repeatedly 2 times a week. There is something satisfying about this, even if he has figured out that when I am telling him where to go, he has pushed me to the right place.

2) While I don't like the doing, I am impressed what I can actually do. I have won the mental game (which is great), so the focus is on the physical one. Day one of chest press, I got up to 15 lbs. Yes, F'in Alex had to catch my hands at the end  but I didn't wimp out, even though I so wanted to - it was my body said enough. Also, the very last thing I did last week was a 1 minute and 30 second plank. 2.5 weeks before I could do 37 seconds. That is impressive to me. 

People keep asking me what I will do after my last 4 sessions. The truth is, I don't know. I know my strength goals won't be met, so I am going to have to do something. I have decided I will figure this out at session 8. For now, I will just focus on 4 more sessions and the count down to being able to have a martini (F'in Alex said I can have one after my 8 sessions are done). It is so not like me not to have this all planned out, but then being at the gym is so not like me, maybe it all works out. 

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Story About Whales

I didn't always hate whales. In my 20s, I was excited to go whale watching off the cost of Victoria B.C. We saw orcas and it was great.

The cover of this book stresses
me out!
Then I read Moby Dick and developed a whale phobia. I thought to myself, this is ridiculous, I am an adult scared by a book. I saw on TV, the story behind the story that inspired Moby Dick. I thought I will watch this, I will realize how stupid this fear is and get over it. The opposite happened. The real story is worse (I have blocked it out thankfully) and my true phobia was born.

It is a very specific phobia. I am afraid a whale will crush me. This means the phobia is limited to the really big whales - like, blue, grey, humpback. I am fine with dolphins, orcas, narwals, and belugas. I can't walk under a big whale skeleton. Museums always love to hang them on their ceilings, what is with that? And being on a boat whale watching is scary.

Before our trip to Iceland last year, I decided I was going to overcome this fear and go whale watching. I started doing cognitive behaviour therapy and systematic desensitization on myself (thank you education). Then my nightmare came true for a Canadian woman in Mexico. She was in a zodiac, the whale breached and it landed on her and killed her. You can read about this story Here. My fear was realized! At that point I was sure I would never whale watch.

When we arrived in Iceland, I had no plans on going whale watching, even though I knew it was something my husband would enjoy. As we drove around the island, we kept seeing brochures for it and heard people talking about it. The night before I entered my new decade I decided, let's try this. My only conditions were that we went in a ship and not a zodiac (one can get way to close in those little boats), and that I wouldn't take the pictures (that is usually my job). A couple days later I found myself on a ship, heading out to watch whales.

By the ship we went on
While everyone else excitedly entered the ship, I quietly sat on the inside and tried to talk myself into calm. I felt sick and dizzy, but kept saying "You can do this. This is 40."  When the first whale was spotted on the other side of the ship, I couldn't move to go see it. Everyone else rushed and pushed and I sat rooted in my spot, willing myself to keep breathing and to gather the strength to see it.

I was eventually able to look. I got through it. I didn't like it, but I did it.

After this trip we went to the whale museum. I enjoyed the part about how they hunted whales (it is the one species I would love to see disappear), and then we got to the skeletons on the ceiling. I didn't have the strength to physically walk under them. It was just too much.

While I remain phobic of whales, I am happy I made myself do this. It is a good example of how sometimes we just have to do things we are terrified and it doesn't usually kill us (even if in the moment it feels like it may).

The hump of our humpback

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Thankful Thursday - The Starry Sky

From the internet
During the summer I rarely see the stars. That is because it is light when I get up and light when I go to bed.  Now that winter approaches and the days are getting shorter, many mornings I am starting my walks under a starry sky. Last week I realized how much I missed seeing the stars. One of my favourite things about country living is the lack of light pollution meaning the starry sky is amazing!

From the internet - Orion - one of the few constellations I know and things I remember from my astronomy class! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Why Is This So Hard?

I have been struggling with the mental aspect of working with a personal trainer more than the physical one. It has really stressed me out (made worse by deciding to do this during the most stressful couple weeks of work for the entire year - and that I have given up all my vices because I have accepted F'in Alex's challenge for no pasta, ice cream, pancakes, booze etc. for 3 weeks).

I think the main reason this is such a struggle is because I don't view myself as athletic. I am a nerd, an academic. My life has focused on learning. I have completed 15 years of post-secondary education. I am making up for hating reading as a kid, but reading all the time now. I spend my long commute listening to podcasts and learning. I take courses for fun. Being anything other than an uncoordinated and clumsy nerd is something I can't picture.

Just for a little perspective: I have never been able to do a somersault (even as a young kid) or touch my toes. My elementary school gym teacher often had me sit out during activities because I was a danger to myself and others. I was always the last kid or near to last kid picked on the playground for any game (I don't blame the other kids, I wouldn't have picked me either, I was terrible).

I am doing the work I need to do to reframe how I see myself by setting realistic goals for myself for this training. The goal isn't to be an athlete, the goal is to be stronger. That should be doable in my trainer knows what he is doing and he appears to. And while F'in Alex (yes, I call him this to his face with all the missing letters and he laughs) believes he is going to make me love training and change my life, I am working toward not finding the gym one of the most terrifying places on earth, and at best a neutral place. Maybe if that happens, my life will really have changed.

I have printed this out and pasted it on my water bottle 

Sunday, 4 September 2016

New Years

I have always believed the new year should be this weekend. Maybe that is just a remnant of 28 years in the education system, where the new year starts in September. Maybe it is because my clients, their schedules and teams change the most this time of year. Maybe it is because it is more of a season change moving summer to autumn then in January. Maybe because the dead of a Canadian winter is just not the time to celebrate anything or make any plans other than hibernating!

However, as I sit here contemplating the new year, it occurs to me, it doesn't matter when it is. A new year is really nothing more than a change in date.  We use it to mark time and reflect on what we have accomplished or failed to accomplish and as a way to put off doing things we should do, but aren't completely motivated to do.

Instead of waiting for the new year, the new month or whatever is keeping us from our dreams or a better life, we should remember:

Happy New Day!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Thankful Thursday - I Didn't Pass Out

Today I am thankful that I didn't pass out during my first training session with Alex. Twice I got so dizzy I was sure I was going to, but I immediately told him and we took a break.

This brings me to how it went. It is fair to say "it went". Alex seems like a nice enough person, but he is now "f-in' Alex" in our house. (Our cleaner's name is also Alex so it helps us keep straight who we are talking about lol). While I say that about him, he did a good job at pushing me when I needed to and stopping when I couldn't/was about to die. He is not very good at counting (my husband had told me that), and because my job requires data while doing other things, I can talk and count, so I corrected him several times.

From the internet
There was only one completely embarrassing moment. He wanted me to step on and off the Bosu ball (which I am calling the Bozo ball). I told him I can't do that, my balance isn't good enough. He said to try (clearly he didn't believe me), I did, I fell off. He said we would work up to that, I said, likely never going to happen. I did a year of physio on something similar - could never do it.

I am allowed to swear at him and as a 41 year old woman, there is something satisfying about telling a fit 25ish year old guy where to go.  There are some great things you earn as you get older.

The gym is in the building my husband works in, so he popped in and waved. He said he did this to make sure we were both alive. I really think he is more worried that I will kill Alex then him killing me.

At the end he told me I had "potential" and he sent a follow up email saying how great I did and telling me to avoid sugar (aka alcohol - he thought there was too much in my food log) which was easy because eating and drinking was the last thing on the planet I wanted to do on Tuesday. I thought exercise was suppose to make you hungry.

I am sore enough as I type this on Wednesday. My pecs are the sorest. The rest isn't as bad as I expected.

The big question - is this better or worse than whale watching. I think if falls between whale watching and blood work. I have the same upset stomach before whale watching, I have to use the same cognitive behaviour therapy on myself to go/keep going as whale watching, but the physical distress is more like blood work, where I always pass out.

And yes, I love to get my teeth cleaned. If I had the money I would go every 3 months. I am actually going tomorrow and am looking forward to it! Yes - I am weird.