Sunday, May 29, 2011

I DID it!!!!

Amy & I after the race

What an emotional roller coaster yesterday was for me!  Amy was telling me by Thursday she had butterflies in her stomach!  I didn't have any, but boy I sure had them by Saturday afternoon.  I think there's nothing I hate more than waiting to go somewhere, which I was waiting to leave, and hoping Todd would get home in time to come with me.  I think that's the least I can ask for my partner to be at the finish line for my first race!

It took us a little longer than expected to get downtown (we had picked up my best friend Christin on the way, being at the finish line is also a best friend duty).  There was a bad accident that really backed traffic up, and of course we were reaching 30 minutes before race time so there I was FREAKING out.  So at an opportune moment I jumped out of the car to walk to the starting corrals.  I was in the purple corral which is for those of us who think we can finish the 10K in 71-80 minutes, the corral right before the walkers.  Yes, I'm that slow!
I was somewhere around this group of people its the purple corral coming through but neither of my photographers managed to spot me at the start line

For awhile I milled around in my corral with all the other cattle.  Suddenly a cheer went up, it was 6:30 and the race was starting.  Of course it was a little while before we started to even move (being that far back), we walked most of the way up to the start line then off we went in a slow jog.  It was pretty warm and humid out so I made up my mind within the first few minutes to just take it at an easy pace (for me) and not kill myself.  Also considering this was my first 10K and there were sooo many people that at times you slow down navigating around walkers and slower runners.

Its a huge event imagine everyone with faster finish times than 71 minutes had already gone by!

Before WW

I had a couple of emotional moments shortly after the start when I was running along Queen Street in Downtown Ottawa.  The tears started to well up and my breathing got ragged, I just wanted to cry.  Just amazed at how far I've gone/come since I started my Weight Watchers journey in February 2008.  Once upon a time I was over 200 lbs, with a badly injured foot (torn & partially torn ligaments, because I was over 200 lbs doing Taekwon-Do), and even before that injury the only time you would catch me running was out of a burning house with a cat under each arm. 

Here I am about three and a half years later having lost all my weight (well pretty much, the last 10lbs just won't budge), something I would never imagined I could have done at some point.  I thought that I was just meant to be fat, that it was genetics.  Not only did I loose over 60lbs, but here I am, I find myself a RUNNER!  Something I started doing because it was my Achilles heel, my most hated and dreaded activity.  Not only was I running, but I was running a 10K in Downtown Ottawa at the year's biggest running event!  I can tell you its not easy running and crying at the same time.  I had to get my emotions under control and choke my tears back and just RUN!

What was my other emotional point you might ask, why the obvious moment of course!  CROSSING THE FINISH LINE!!! 

The race wasn't as easy as I had imagined it would be, part of that I would put down to the humidity and the heat (not that it was that hot, but I'm still getting used to running in warmer temperatures).  I was very glad for the new hydration pack I bought at the Sports Expo on Friday when I picked up my race kit.  I did need sips of water as I went along (I don't normally run with water on me) and we didn't get our first water station until 5K and well when you're running you know you end up wearing more of that water than drinking it!

The first kilometer felt very long, but tings didn't feel rough until I hit the 8 KM mark I was really struggling in terms of my pace and psychologically!  Up to that point I had managed to catch up to and get ahead of the 70 minute pace bunny, but slowly that slipped away and I just didn't have the omph to go any faster and I could feel my pace really struggling until I got to that last kilometer.  The crowds thickened, with cheering, cow bells and noise makers.  Little kids were reaching out for high fives (and I made a point of getting a few along the way).  As I got closer to the finish, I could hear people in the crowd cheering go Danielle!  There were complete strangers taking the time to pick up my name off of my race bib and cheering me on!  What a pick me up that was!

Sadly the closest Todd & Christin could get was just after the finish line so no victory shot but I will probably buy the over priced official photograph when they're posted!

When I reached that finished line I threw my hands up in the air, tears in my eyes.  There it was, I had done it, it was over!
After the race with my first run medal ever! 

I posted a finish time of 1:11:29 (or 71 minutes and 29 seconds), exactly where I had pictured myself to finish.  So now I have a baseline, and can stat to look towards setting a personal best!
The stats from my Nike+ sensor (see how I slowed at the last 2K)

My next race?  Why I've registered for the 2nd Annual Perth Kilt run!  This is an 8K race, where the kilt is mandatory!  I really can't wait this run is going to be so much fun, and hopefully I'll have some fun photos for you, I might just try to run with my camera, who knows.  I won't be doing this race alone, my two buddies from Taekwon-Do will be doing the run as well!

Amy & OMG we're athletes!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Eeek! Race Day Is Here!!!

It all started back in the fall over a casual conversation with my friend Amy at work.  We started talking about maybe doing a REAL race.  The big event in this area is Ottawa Race Weekend with a 5 & 10K on Saturday and a full and half Marathon on Sunday.  About fifteen minutes after our conversation Amy came back waving a piece of paper in my face, it was her registration for the Race Weekend 10K.  So I rose up to the occasion and registered right away.  Good thing we did because the 10K sold out by January/February this year!

I have NEVER done anything like this, anything this BIG.  Yes the last three years I've done the Run For the Cure 5K (and I will do it as long as I physically can as its an important cause to me), but it is a unofficially, untimed charity run.  Race Weekend is so big it brings 25 million dollars in revenue to the city of Ottawa!  Three years ago I would of never of imagined/pictured/thought about taking part in Ottawa's biggest 10K race of the year!  Here I am, 3 years later, 63 lbs lighter, and I AM a RUNNER!

I won't be setting any records this weekend, nor do I think I ever will set a record.  I'm aiming for a 75-70 minute finish time but really I'm just aiming to enjoy the experience and finish with a smile on my face, and maybe a tear in my eye.

Amy, thank you for pushing me!  Can't wait for our 1/2 marathon challenge this fall... guess we should get registered right?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Week In Review May 20-26

Sadly, my good efforts this week didn't pay off this week, I gained 0.6lbs but that's pretty small in the scheme of things I suppose.  I was a little disappointed with it because I thought I had a descent week, lots of activity (running, walking, ultimate frisbee, and Taekwon-do).

Tomorrow morning I'll be weighing in (and paying up).  The sad thing is when you weigh in monthly your weight tracker doesn't really reflect what's gone on in the last four weeks.  It doesn't show that my weight went even higher, then I've dropped it back down roughly to where I was when I last weighed in... but not to be within 2lbs of my goal weight which is why I'll be paying up.  Since I've lost the bulk of my weight, its just so hard to make my body lose anything, even after I've put on a few too many undesirable extra pounds.  I'm at a loss for what to do/what to change to make the weight shift.

So here's my week at a glance (click to biggify)

The Good:
  • I exercised 6/7 days this week
  • I started a new activity, Ultimate Frisbee... I had never played before!  I quite enjoy it and my teammates were very patient with me.
  • I got out for a 9.75K run on Saturday evening, I'm definately ready for my race this Saturday!
  • I did very well with the candy dishes this week
  • I am still doing well with temptation!
  • I am still tracking honestly
The Bad:
  • A little frustrated that my efforts didn't pay off at the scale
  • I think my food is getting static and I don't know how to change
  • I had a migraine Thursday night
The Ugly:
  • I can't think of anything ugly, so I guess that falls under the good category????
Upcoming Challenges:
  • To keep my chin up and keep on the right track towards weight loss
  • Keep to my 6/7 days of activity per week
  • Come up with some changes to shake up this body!
  • Running 10K on SATURDAY!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekly Meeting Topic Week 20: Breakfast is for Champions!

I think the topic of this blog entry says it all!  Once upon a time during my teens I wouldn't eat breakfast.  I used to sleep as late as I could, showering the night before, rolling out of bed 10 minutes before the bus would show up, get dressed and knock back a cup of tea (I have never been a coffee drinker) and hop on the bus and go to school.  If I did grab something to eat, it was always a chocolate chip muffin from the caf.  Healthy eh?  No wonder why I went from a size 13 to a 16 in high school!  I don't think working in the grocery store helped either.

One day during another one of my many migraines in high school my art teacher asked me if I ate breakfast.  Well, we all know that answer... no.  I recall that the idea of eating in the morning used to turn my stomach.  At that point I started trying to eat in the morning.  Now I often find I'm certainly hungry and ready to eat in the morning!

Why is breakfast important?  Well like gas in your car, its fuel for your body to get you up and going!

What are the benefits of a balanced breakfast?
  1. Helps avoid snacking and overeating
  2. Provides energy for activity
  3. Boosts concentration and focus
  4. Delivers nutrients for good health
Let me share with you some of my breakfast favourites:
  • Reduced sugar apple cinnamon oatmeal (instant) with raisins
  • Fiber 1 Crunch Original cereal with banana, raisins & milk or bananas, strawberries & milk
  • Peanut butter roll up - small whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter on it, roll it around a banana
  • Smoothie - 3 frozen strawberries, 1/3c frozen mango, 1/3c mixed field berries, 1 banana, 1/2c milk, 1 small container of low fat yogurt, 1/2c water, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, sometimes a dash of honey to make it nice and sweet, it tastes like candy!
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Mini bagel & light cream cheese
  • Hard boiled egg on whole wheat toast
  • Apple with peanut butter and raisins
Can you tell I like bananas and raisins?

My leader shared a recipe with us and actually had a little sample, it wasn't bad and a good idea to have in the fridge

Marianne's Dog's Breakfast (aka: Breakfast of Champions)
  • 2c quick oats
  • 1/2c bran flakes
  • 3/4c orange juice
  • 1/2c milk
  • 1/4c honey
  • 1 apple, grated
Mix all the ingredients together, keeps in the fridge for 1 week
1/2 c = 6 points, supposedly this is super filling!

So what are your breakfast go-to meals?

Wow!  Saturday is getting closer and closer!  My 10K at the Ottawa Race Weekend is that evening!  Eeeek!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Week in Review May 13-19

Another week, another pound.  Well actually, that's 1.4 lbs the scale moved in the right direction again this week this time with a better number from the week before!  Slowly I hope I'm well on my way to getting rid of my recently gained weight.  Only 6 lbs to get back to goal, 4 lbs so I don't have to pay at Weight Watchers!  I don't think that will happen for this month, since next week is my last opportunity to get weighed in for the month of May.  Miracles have happened...

The week I would say started out well, and went fairly well.  I do see a trend though, I do really well with the temptations until about Wednesday then things go downhill.  I would say I ate pretty well all week long until then, for some strange reason I have this urge to pig out Wednesdays/Thursdays.  Am I afraid of my own success and trying to subconsciously sabotaging myself?

So this is what the week looked like (not bad I'd say):

The Good:
  • I've earned a lot of activity points this past week and I'm back to running, but the weather wouldn't co-operate for outdoor runs.  We pretty much had rain every day this past week.
  • Each week I feel I'm doing better dealing with temptation
  • I went to my WW meeting today, 3 in a row now!
  • I'm up to 21 days of tracking honestly
The Bad:
  • Candy dishes continue to haunt me
  • Everywhere I turn at work lately there seems to be food up for grabs somewhere!
  • I hit the mid-week slump and started making some bad food choices
The Ugly
  • I ate way too many cookies on Wednesday (but they were tracked)
  • I've been having some issues with migraines this past week
Upcoming Challenges
  • I don't think this food thing at work is going to slow down, we're heading into our last month of school soon and food seems be ever present at this time of year.  I have to just focus on not giving into temptation one more day that the previous week and eventually it'll be all seven days!
  • Next Saturday is Ottawa Race weekend!  Eeeek!  My 10K is upon me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Setbacks Lead To Comebacks...

Setbacks lead to comebacks, if that's true.... why are comebacks so hard?

I've been playing lip service to getting these 8 lbs I've put on back off again.  As of yesterday I've started yet again to get "serious", to get back on program.  Boy is this hard oh so hard.  At home my environment is temptation free, but work is a different story.  On Monday alone, two candy dishes with chocolate on it, more chocolate on the back counter at work, cinnamon buns, and assorted fruit breads on a table in the staff hallway, and cupcakes in student services.  Each of these traps I had to navigate yesterday, I almost crumbled a few times but I didn't.  I'm proud of that.  Today, not so many stumbling blocks, the same candy dishes are well stocked, I did spot cupcakes again, and one different temptation doughnuts.  Arrrgh!  Again I walked away from all of this.  Day two, successful.

The other thing I'm coming back from is that darned cold I had over a week ago now.  It took until mid last week to get my energy levels back.  This past weekend the congestion in my lungs finally cleared up and I ran for the first time on Saturday morning in 10 days.  It wasn't a big run, only 2 miles running 5 minutes, walking 1 minute.  No where near the 10K I'll be running in 10 days.  Today I had to fight myself to get back on the treadmill after work (the weather has been so cold, wet and miserable, almost like October).  Tonight I managed to run for 15 minutes (at a slower pace than before my illness) without a walk break, I was determined to put in 5K tonight.  The rest of the time I ran at a 5:1 ratio.  I completed it, proud of that. 

This comeback is going to be a really long road.  I just have to keep trying, eventually it'll stick.

Weekly Meeting Topic Week 19 : Managing Relationships

This past week was a busy one and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it to my regular Saturday morning WW meeting so I felt well enough and had the time to go to my old group on Tuesday nights.  There were still a few familiar faces there, it was nice to see them!

Last week's topic was about managing your relationships.  No one does or can loose weight alone, no matter how you try to keep your weight loss plan a secret from others when you don't go looking for help you're setting yourself up for a tough journey.

When I thought about joining Weight Watchers, initially I was going to keep joining WW top secret from EVERYONE!  Then I gave myself one of those V8 slaps on the forehead... why should I be ASHAMED to admit that I needed to loose weight and that I needed help to do it.  No one should be made to feel ashamed when they're moving onto the right path?  So I came home, told Todd and told the world and right away I had a HUGE support network of family and friends 100% behind me all the way.  So please don't keep your journey top secret, let people know and let them help you!

In the meeting we talked about three different personality types :

Jealous Jerri
  • this person is jealous of the success of others, or their strength to change themselves and their life
Polly The Food Pusher
  • this could be a family member or a friend or your Mom who feels food is love and they love to cook/bake your favourite dishes that are not weight management friendly.  This is also the person that often will tell you "live a little, have just one".  Sometimes one is all that takes that could lead to a binge.
Negative Nelly
  • this is the person that sees the bad in every situation and will not hesitate to let you know.  My best advice if you have one of these people in your life is just not to SHARE ANYTHING with this person, because when you want to share something that you're proud of or makes you feel good, this person will point out the negative and leave you feeling like shit
The long and the short of this is you need to be aware of these profiles above and recognize who these people are in your life.  You need to find the best strategy to deal with them.  Or use their traits to fuel your fire, and PROVE THEM WRONG!  Ask for help from those who are important to you, and be specific with how you'd like them to help you.

Never forget, to thank the people around you for their help and support.  A kind thank you always goes a long way!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekly Meeting Topic Week 18 (getting caught up): Can You Dine Out and Still Lose Weight?

This is the meeting topic from two weeks ago, when I started going back to my meetings.  I didn't post this sooner due to being sick, then spending all week getting caught up from being sick!

The quick answer to the above question is ... YES.  I lost all of my 63ish lbs going out for dinner once a week on average.  I go out for dinner almost every Friday evening with my bestie Christin.  Over the years we have evolved from going out for groceries together (Christin doesn't have a car so we shop together and I drive her around) and a fast food hamburger, to going to the gym followed by grocery shopping and dinner out.  So every Friday we have managed to turn a mundane chore into a social event and a chance to get caught up.

In this day and age many of us don't eat all 21 meals in a week at home, I don't do you?  When you're first starting a weight loss plan I think one of the most terrifying things besides starting to exercise is that first trip to a restaurant.  You could turn the invite down, you can stay home, safe, eating your safe foods.  But honestly, is that real life?  No!  If you don't learn how to cope with social situations and food right away you never will be able to.  I am the first to admit that some events I'm successful in my plan of attack, and at other times I'm a complete failure.  In a social situation its easy to fall prey to unhealthy choices or fall into the habit of eating the same/similar foods as the people you're with.

So how can you be successful at weight loss while having meals out?
  • Come up with a plan to stay on track
  • Go armed with your dining out booklet from Weight Watchers
  • If you don't have one or WW isn't your weight loss method, become a restaurant detective!  Once you know where you're going for your meal out hop on the Internet try to find the restaurant's website, check out their online menu (if they have one) and in this day and age, more restaurants have their nutritional information available online.
  • With the above information go to the restaurant armed with the knowledge of what choices off of the menu are best choices for your weight loss goals... and something you'll enjoy and order that.  To not be tempted by any other choices, turn down a menu and be sure to order first, then you are not tempted to change your mind.
  • Look for key words when decoding the menu like grilled, steamed, roasted, baked... etc these are all healthy words.
  • Become a food snob, ask to have your dish prepared a particular way, ask for sauces on the side, replace high fat/calorie sides with extra vegetables, salad, baked potato, etc.
  • Be a restaurant snob too, be the one to suggest the restaurant or if someone makes a suggestion that you know would tempt you too much, or you know you can't eat there healthily, ask if you can go to a different restaurant
  • Ask for a take-out box when your meal comes and package 1/2 of it away for leftovers the next day
  • Have an appetizer as a meal
  • Avoid alcohol, it will weaken your resolve or at least make sure you've ordered your meal BEFORE you have that drink.
  • Water is your friend, ask for a glass of water to go with your drink at dinner
  • Have a light low calorie/zero point snack before leaving the house, never go to the restaurant hungry!
  • Ask the server not to bring the bread basket/chips/etc.
  • Put your fork down while you're chewing and take some time to talk to your friends/family during the meal
  • Order a kids/seniors meal
  • Share dessert
  • Have a coffee/tea to sip on after dinner then you don't feel left out over decadent desserts
Yes, eating out can be scary but there are so many tactics above that if you stick to your plan you can enjoy your dinner out!

Week in Review May 6-12

After last weekend being a rough one, from being sick I finally started to feel better on Tuesday.  The week just improved from there.  The end result of being sick though was all the getting caught up which I felt like I was doing all week.  Not only was playing catch-up all weekend but I was spending my other free moments getting ready to have my friends over for a stitching get together!  It was our usual routine of stitch-eat-sleep!

Now as for my journey to get my extra 8lbs off, sigh.  I'm only down 0.4lbs this week, but its a move in the right direction.... right?  Every little bit helps.  I was awesome for the first part of the week, but once Wednesday rolled around, my resolve and will-power started flagging.  I admit to some bad choices in the latter half of my week.

So here's my week at a glance (click to biggify)

The Good
  • Moving towards making more better choices each day
  • Tracked honestly for 17 days in a row
  • Gone to WW meetings two weeks in a row
  • Exercised each day that I could
  • Starting to feel better and better about myself
  • The scale moved down a little
The Bad
  • Wasn't healthy enough to run this past week
  • Started being tempted by sweets
  • Busy = No proper dinners
The Ugly
  • Thursday saw more sweets going into this girl's mouth.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Week in Review April 29-May 5

Oh what a week!  I woke up on Tuesday with a sore throat and it just all went downhill from there.  Tuesday night I went and saw Bon Jovi in concert despite the sore throat and exhaustion.  I think that's the one night all week long I had my best sleep due to being so tired, I've not slept through the night since.

So the sore throat on Tuesday progressed to a cough on Wednesday, to stuffed up Thursday night.  Today its full on congestion, cough, and low grade fever.  Oh yeah, and I can't TASTE anything, nothing, nada.  Sigh.  Did not make it to the gym or anything today!

This morning was the dreaded weigh in day and that's just what it turned out to be, I had hopes for a stay the same or maybe loose 1/2 a pound maybe even a pound.  Nope I gained 0.8 lbs so now I'm pretty much 8lbs over my goal weight.

I had a not bad week food-wise, a number of days I ate over my daily allowance but not wayyy over.  I still had weekly points left.  Now I did have some empty calories this week, on two occasions I was brought a cupcake (which never happens) and well cake/cupcakes are one of my never turn down foods and they were both worth the points.  On the other hand I earned over 40 activity points, I did some sort of activity 6/7 days this past week.  The result of my efforts and honest tracking... a kick in the face.  Fingers crossed, its just my body's reaction to this cold and that next week will be better.  So I'll continue on this course of tracking honestly, trying to do some sort of activity 6/7 days a week (today had to be a rest day so I'm hoping I'm feeling well enough for a walk tomorrow).  Hopefully I'm feeling well enough to go to WW tomorrow morning.

The Good
  • I made it to my WW meeting on Saturday
  • I exercised 6/7 days this week
  • I tracked honestly every day
  • Have managed to vary my food menu all week long
The Bad
  • Still having sugar cravings and sometimes giving into them
The Ugly
  • I have a awful cold!
  • Probably ate too many empty calories (2 cupcakes, 1/2 slice banana bread, a few too many oatmeal chocolate chip cookies), but I tracked all of them!
  • Had a bad craving for chewy, soft oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and started eating around my carving.  So I knew it was best just to buy the smallest pack I could get from the grocery store bakery and get it out of my system.  At least Todd helped or the damage could of been worse.
Upcoming Challenges
  • Shake this cold, and be healthy for race weekend
  • Try to remain active without making this cold worse
  • Continue to track honestly
  • Try to eat less empty calories
  • Go to my WW meeting

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekly Meeting Topic: Learn to Play With Your Food

I think many of us who are trying to loose weight often fall into the same trap, the same one I'm guilty of finding myself in a lot of the time.  Eating the same foods day after day.  We like to think we're helping our weight loss efforts by sticking to a known menu.  We know the calories, we (mostly) like the foods, and well its just plain easy.

Sadly, the body is a pretty clever thing.  The body gets used to consuming and processing these foods, in the end it becomes very efficient and processing those calories.  When this starts to happen, the body starts to hang onto its fat.  Not only does your body start to revolt by slowing your weight loss, but you can be setting yourself up for sabotage.  You can start to feel deprived, which can start with a splurge, leading to a binge, which often leads to a sense of guilt and you cold end up abandoning your weight loss efforts. 

How do you stop this by happening, but by playing with your food!  I don't mean really play with your food but mix up your menu!

Here are some ideas to help you mix things up :
  • Review your A-Z food list, pick out something, a fruit or a vegetable you've never tried before
  • Try one of the recipes in your Weight Watchers Weekly
  • There's a wealth of recipes out there, in WW cookbooks, magazines, and so many more online
  • Match your menu to the season, the warmer weather is here its time for spring and summer salads, slowly local veggies and fruit will come into season, enjoy them while they're here.
  • Swap recipes with a friend, have dinner at someones house and enjoy a healthy meal?  Don't be shy to ask for that recipe
It was suggested one should have a wide range of meals to pick from:
  • 10 different breakfasts
  • 15 different lunches
  • 20 different dinners
I guess I've got some homework to do!