Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Busy week

Still here, I promise.

I was out of commission yesterday thanks to a nasty cold. I am still coughing like I've been in a burning building today, but at least it doesn't feel like there is something trying to break free from my chest cavity...

Due to time constraints, I wasn't completely successful in Monday's goals, but I don't think I did too badly:

Y - Cross at least two items off my list at work (I think I crossed off 4!)
X - Accomplish all errands required after work (Costco, Extra Foods (Cat food), and Dollarama)... I made it to the first two, but didn't make it to Dollarama. This was the least important of the three though.
Half - Eat a healthy supper :) - I give myself 50% for this one, because while I didn't eat fast food or anything of the like, we had a rotisserie chicken from the store and some potato salad - not exactly winning any awards there.
Y - Zumba! - Was late for class but made it. Tons of fun.
X - Get to bed before 10. - Got to bed at about 10:30, not too bad. Unfortunately I coughed my way through the night and got very little sleep.

I only had one goal yesterday, which was to get the snow cleared from the rental property. Gilles and I tackled it in about 20 minutes. I probably shouldn't have been out in the cold, but it needed to be done.

Today's goals are a little bit more detailed and tight. We are giving up possession of the rental house tomorrow, and as a part of our rental agreement need to get the furnace ducts cleaned today, and the carpets professionally cleaned (instead of paying a monthly deposit for having cats). I am also working from home during this time.

Gilles' life insurance came back denied, which I found ironic because he has no known health problems and I have more than one - and mine went through without a hitch. I suppose the reasoning that happened though is because I have made an effort to determine exactly what health problems I have, and have taken any measures possible to turn them around as much as possible. Gilles in the meantime, only goes to the doctor if he feels it is absolutely necessary (bad flu), and has never followed up on possible chronic conditions. Anyway, it is probably nothing - a bad sample (which wouldn't be surprising because he is humorously bad at having blood taken), high blood sugar, etc. My money is on that he will either be finally diagnosed with having Gilbert's syndrome, or that he will be diagnosed with an overactive thyroid though. We will find out soon! First step is finding out what the odd result on the bloodwork was, then we treat as necessary (if necessary), and then reapply. It means more bloodwork and paperwork, but at least we will know that we are properly covered.

After that, I have a few errands to run downtown again, and then am hoping to spend some time with our friends while Gilles goes for his hockey game tonight. So to summarize, my goals for today are:

- Cross at least two items off my list for work
- Complete furnace duct cleaning
- Notify landlord of final cost for furnace duct cleaning
- Complete carpet cleaning
- Find out why Gilles' blood work came back
- Complete errands
- Get to bed at a decent hour.

As I was home sick yesterday, I got some good pictures of our cats being ... well, cute. So here are my gratuitous cat pictures to close :)







Monday, January 28, 2013

Why hello there, are you still here?

Last week came and went without any blog updates, although there were no shortages of goals and work.

Some of the things that I accomplished in the last week (including two weekends):

- Move to the new house
- Work 40 hrs
- Clean the rental house (scrubbed top to bottom!)
- Unpack the kitchen (with no shortage of help from my mother!)
- Return to healthy eating
- Catch up on errands (sort of)
- Get new fish tank (60 gallons! More updates to come, once I have time to start setting up.)
- Change address with all remaining places (Mostly done - getting our mail forwarded for six months in case we missed anyone)


This list doesn't include the many smaller items we did as well, of course.

The next week looks like it will be a little more relaxing, but only in the sense that we aren't taking every moment of our spare time to clean. We still have appointments every night this week, other than tonight.

Tonight I will destress - it's time for a Zumba night.

So here are my goals for today - the month is almost over!

- Cross at least two items off my list at work
- Accomplish all errands required after work (Costco, Extra Foods (Cat food), and Dollarrama... pretty easy)
- Eat a healthy supper :)
- Zumba!
- Get to bed before 10.

Today is essentially a 'day off', and much needed because I have an awful head cold. Not to wish my life away, but I'm really looking forward to the weekend (and in turn, the end of the month). Bring me health, relaxation, and my paycheque! :P

More interesting posts to come, I promise. I will continue to input goals as often as I can, with the addition of:

- Mysty is getting fixed next week!
- Revitalizing my fishtank
- New 60 gallon fishtank
- Setting up a new home
- Decorating a bedroom
- Crafts/hobbies updates
- Weight loss and exercise updates,
etc. etc. etc. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong, I'm Disappointed

I'm extremely disappointed in Lance Armstrong today.

No, he isn't someone that I've ever met, nor do I know what he is like personally. But as the icon representing the Live Strong brand, he has disappointed me.

Many people around the world looked up to Armstrong's successes saying 'If he can do it, I can do it."

Yes, the Live Strong brand has publicly disassociated itself from Lance Armstrong. Yes, it will always still hold said association, now tarnished, in the minds of the consumers.


I understand that the pressure to dope in professional sports must be enormous, as widespread and common as it is. I understand that there are likely many other people in the Tour de France who were doping, who will never be called out on it. But those are good enough reasons. Not when you are being raised up as an example to athletes around the world.

Here's the article:

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/cycling/story/2013/01/17/sp-lance-armstrong-oprah-winfrey-interview-live-tweets.html

Today's Goals: January 17 - 18th, 2012

My goals from the 16th included:

Y - Cross at least two items off my list of things to do at work
X - Pack any odds and ends left in the house
Y - Move two televisions to new house
X - Move corded telephone to new house
X - Be in bed before 10

NOT the most successful day. This dug into the next day too. (Goals unlisted previously).

Y - Cross at least two items off my list of things to do at work
X - Pack any odds and ends left in the house (This one is a partial. I got 2.5 rubbermaid bins full and got most everything, but there is still a bit left here and there)
Y - Work from home for 2hrs
X - Vacuum the carpets
X - Be in bed by 10

Wow.

Despite not getting most of my goals accomplished, I am ridiculously tired today. While I didn't get as much sleep as I would like, I am getting more than I normally would. I'm finally cluing in to that my intense tiredness is likely as much from my diet and exercise as from the amount of stuff we have to get done itself. Since we got back we haven't been eating as well as I would like (and horribly in this last week thanks to having no dishes). I also haven't been going to the gym, in favour of getting stuff done around the house.

I look forward to seeing how that changes next week. While I still won't be going to the gym I will be able to improve my diet, and cleaning out the rental house will be physical activity, if not necessarily cardio.

Here are my goals for today:

- Cross at least two items off my list of things to do at work
- Vacuum the carpets
- Get phone, internet and TV hooked up at the new house
- Get salad for helpers for Saturday
- Stop at bank
- Look beautiful for my brother's grad banquet
- Get to bed by midnight :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Today's Goals: January 16th, 2012

Recap from yesterday:

Y - Cross at least two items off my list of things to do at work
Y - Pack all jackets and footwear (at least I assume this is done, Gilles said he did it :) )
Y - Get beds ready for parents (all I have left to do is put labelled garbage bags in their rooms for them to transfer their bedding between houses without it having to get dirty
X - Pack all non-dresser, non-necessary for this week items in bedroom (I'd like to point out that I have completed this goal, but my husband hasn't packed up his closet yet so I can't actually call this complete. On the other hand, he has decided that he doesn't necessarily need anything in there until after this weekend anyway so he can throw it in his car at any time).
Y - Complete budget spreadsheet for shared and personal accounts (It was a scary but settling task at the same time)
X - Be in bed by 9pm (I think it was about 9:30 when I crashed, which isn't bad at all still)
BONUS: Gilles cleaned out the freezer, which is one of the items that was going to be on the next list of goals!

It was a rough evening. Supper took longer than I expected to make, so we started working while it was in the oven cooking. Both Gilles and I were very tired, and the many trips up and down three flights of stairs didn't help. Luckily relief came in knowing that we were intentionally going to go to bed early, and in the form of our cats' antics. That said, I think an audible sign of relief could be heard throughout the house when it came time to go sleep.

Today's goals are luckily a little less daunting (I hope):

- Cross at least two items off my list of things to do at work
- Pack any odds and ends left in the house
- Move two televisions to new house
- Move corded telephone to new house
- Be in bed before 10

The big move date is on Saturday and our phone line will be hooked up Friday... it's getting so close!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today's Goals: January 15th, 2013

Yesterday I thought that the goals that we had set for ourselves were out of reach. I was almost right, but we stuck to our guns and worked hard all evening. My first full success day! Here's what was accomplished:

Y - Cross at least two items off my list at work
Y - Eat supper at home (rental house)
Y - Pack and move all food to the new house
Y - Get at least seven hours of sleep (barely)

Bonus - Stop by pet store and buy new tags for cats (with new address), decorations for fish tank, and dental toys for cats!

It was a long, tiring day but I'm very proud and happy with the result.



So, what's left to do today?

Here are my goals:

- Cross at least two items of my list of things to do at work
- Pack all extra jackets and footwear
- Move clothing from laundry room into dressers
- Get beds ready for parents
- Pack all non-dresser, non-necessary for this week items in bedroom
- Complete budget spreadsheet for shared and personal accounts
- Be in bed by 9pm

It's a long list, but most of the items shouldn't take too long to do. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Today's Goals: January 12th- 14th, 2013

Okay, so obviously with the dates listed these aren't just today's goals, they encompass the whole weekend. I'm okay with that though, because while I didn't write them down anywhere I definitely had a lot of goals in mind, which I did very well with. First though, a rehash of Friday's goals:

Y - Gain possession of the house with no problems
X - Finish packing the basement closet items
Y - Finish packing Gilles' room
Y - Cross at least two items off my to-do list at work
Y - Get at least 8 hrs of sleep

So I managed to accomplish everything except for the basement closet. I'm happy with this, because all that is left in the basement closet is jackets, which I will just toss into a suitcase. It took until about midnight to finish packing up Gilles' room, but it was a big victory. I'm very happy it is done.

The goals I had in mind for Saturday:

Y - Drop off used propane tank at recycling depot
Y - Drop off wedding dress to get drycleaned (finally!)
Y - Drop off clothing/appliance donations
Y - Drop off recycling at Sarcan
Y - Clean and move fish tank
X - Pack bedroom

Cleaning and moving the fish tank ended up being a bigger job than I anticipated, because we learned that the plug that we wanted to use for it at the new house was switch controlled (as was the plug that I wanted to use for my computer). This obviously wouldn't work, but note the use of the word 'was'. Love that my husband is an electrician! He bypassed the switch so that now the plugs receive a steady current. It renders the switch useless, but that is much preferable to having my fish tank and computer accidentally shut off all the time (which they would have been as it is the first switch), or having to tape over it. After we finished with that, we ended up going out for a late supper (we finished at 9pm) with a friend and then rewarding ourselves for the rest of the evening by watching Brave. (Great movie).

Sunday was another busy day. At this point we were both tired of packing and moving and yaddha yaddha yaddha, but we persisted. It ended up being a very productive day.

Y - Finish packing bathroom (Gilles)
Y - Pack kitchen dishes & small appliances
Y - Move kitchen dishes & small appliances to new house (this took two loads using both cars)
Y - Organize kitchen dishes & small appliances at new house
Y - Move items from small freezer into small freezer at new house (Gilles)
Y - Finalize fish tank transfer (add fish)
X - Pack bedroom
Y - Get food that doesn't require dishes for the week

See a trend? Haha. There isn't a lot to pack in the bedroom so we haven't been in a huge hurry about it. We ended the day by settling down to watch Crazy, Stupid Love. It was a cute movie and had both of us laughing throughout.

I personally think that today's goals are a bit out of reach, but Gilles believes that it is doable. We'll see!

- Cross at least two items off my list at work
- Eat supper at home (rental house)
- Pack and move all food to the new house
- Get at least seven hours of sleep

Do you make lists for yourself, or goals of what you want to do each day? Or what do you do that keeps you focused and efficient?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Today's Goals: Friday January 11th, 2013

First, a review of yesterday's goals:



X - Finish packing the basement closet items
X - Pack/prepare at least half of the items in the garage
Y - Finish all of today's errands
Y - Cross at least two items off of my to-do list at work

Gilles asked me to help him pack up his room last night, which changed my packing plans resulting in the first two not being achieved. Altogether though, I think I did very well for the day.

Today's goals:

- Gain possession of the house with no problems (kind of a gratuitous goal, but an exciting one)
- Finish packing the basement closet items
- Finish packing Gilles' room
- Cross at least two items off my to-do list at work
- Get at least 8 hrs of sleep


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today's Goals: Thursday January 10th, 2013

Call me crazy, but I was looking at the Biggest Loser's Pinterest page, and saw the pin from Dolvett "Give yourself a goal every day, and just get better". I found that completely inspiring. Thinking about this, I decided that this is something that I really want to do. I was thinking about the best way to do this - should I get a new notebook just for this? Should I just write it in my phone? Then I realized that this really is the best place for it. So here it is, my first goal of the day. There won't be a lot of exercise goals this month simply because we are in the middle of moving, but there are lots of other things that I need to accomplish....

Today's Goals: Thursday January 10th, 2013

- Finish packing the basement closet items
- Pack/prepare at least half of the items in the garage
- Finish all of today's errands
- Cross at least two items off of my to-do list at work


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fitness & Weight Loss: A Year in Review

It has now officially been a year since I first started my weight loss efforts in earnest. At the time, I was at an all-time heavy weight of 220 lbs, and climbing. None of my clothes fit well, and I was ashamed of the way I looked. I had lost weight in the past, but it hadn't stuck.

The realization that I needed to lose weight came to me from several different angles. There was the gentle prodding from my immediate family, although by itself that would have simply been a reminder that I was overweight. There was also the fact that my weight had never, ever been so high. When I hit 220 lbs, it was really an eye-opening. Then there was my health.

There were a few different factors that contributed to the health problem. The most visible factor was that I have arthritis in my knees. Being that it was November, the weather was getting colder and maneuverability was becoming harder and harder. At one point that winter, I couldn't get in and out of my own car without pulling myself up on the top of the door frame to reduce the load on my legs. A couple of health reasons that weren't as obvious were that I was starting to have a real problem with acid reflux, and that my blood pressure was increasing. I went to the doctor because I was certain that I had an ulcer - perhaps even a bleeding one. He told me that all of my symptoms were directly related to my weight. Ouch.

I started by reducing my calories to 1400/day, and tracking what I ate. Shortly thereafter, I began the hunt for a low-cost gym. First I obtained a free 30-day pass to Curves. I had heard a lot of people talk about how much they enjoyed it and figured it was something I could try. I found that I was disappointed though, as their workouts consisted of only a circuit, including very little cardio. The machines were "resistance adjustable" based on how quickly you pushed them. It was probably what I needed to start, but I quickly found that the machines weren't giving me the level of workout I wanted. While I was a little bit stronger, I didn't feel that I had improved my overall fitness level after that month.

I then managed to snag a 4-week free pass to the YWCA, so I tried out that option. It was a better gym with a wider variety of equipment, but the focus was on weights with a small area for cardio equipment upstairs, that was always near full. I seriously considered buying a pass here afterward, but wasn't satisfied overall.

During this time, my husband left town to go to school for a couple of months, so I tried following pre-planned meals using Sparkpeople.com. I chose for it to be completely nutritionally balanced, at 1300 calories/day. It was definitely effective - I lost the most weight during this time that I had so far. However, by the end of the two months I was very, very tired of hummus, as it seemed to be a staple in almost every meal (in order to maintain the amount of fibre and other nutrients necessary without increasing the number of calories).  It was very difficult not to cheat during this time and eat items that weren't on the meal plan, however as I was only cooking for myself and didn't have my husband's food around during this time, I managed not to.

At this point, a friend of mine suggested that we start going to the gym and running together. I agreed, and ended up purchasing a City Leisure pass. This granted me access to six gyms, skating, and swimming. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I was quite embarrassed by how out of shape I was and how little I could do. At this point, I could run on the treadmill at 4km/h for about 5 minutes before I had to stop and walk.

My husband came home from school, and I switched back to calorie counting, as I again had to cook his meals. I used the website CalorieCount.about.com, the same website I continue to use for calorie counting today. After having been on the meal plan and not eating much carbs or treats for two months, I can definitely say that my diet suffered during the first couple weeks. My meals were all carb/grease heavy, and I was over my calorie limit most days.

I didn't allow this to stop me though. It was time to change it up a bit - all this meant was going from online to written calorie counting for awhile. Having that book beside me at all times made all the difference - it was a constant reminder of my goal. It's funny how small of a change you need to make to change your mindset sometime.

At this point, the same friend that I went to the gym with asked if we could try a Zumba class. I was skeptical (did I really want to shape my groove thang in front of a bunch of people I had never met?) but decided to go. Best decision we could have made. I loved it.

After that, we attended the Zumba class at the gym weekly for about 10 months. When I first started I was breathing hard any time the tempo increased, but by the end I wasn`t breathing hard through the entire thing!

We also starting running. At first we ran indoors on the track - it took me about 45 minutes to walk/run about 2 km. As spring came we started running outside as well - it was a difficult transition (it took about 1.5x the amount of time to run the same distance, and I felt much more tired afterward).

I ran a 10K in May, and finished in 1h18min.

The summer was difficult. I didn`t exercise as much as I should have. My mindset almost went into `vacation mode`. I didn`t eat as well either - while I attempted to eat as healthy as I could and calorie count, we spent a lot of time camping and I found myself wanting to eat smokies and marshmallows - and sometimes giving in. I managed to stay at the same weight over the summer, but didn`t lose any weight.

That brought me to my second 10K in September. I was worried about it when I went in, having really not done any training over the course of the summer. I needn`t have been so worried though - I finished in 1h17min.

For the months of October - December, I did a cleanse, followed by a meal plan. The cleanse was called the GM Cleanse - it focused on a different food each day, and a soup that consisted of mostly cabbage, tomato and onion. The cleanse was a mistake. While I did lose three pounds that week, I was extremely irritable by the end of the week.

From there, I started another meal plan. This time, I had set up the meal plan on my own by combining about 10 different meal plans found online. I made it 62 days long, but my goal with this one wasn`t a date goal, it was a weight goal. I would continue to follow the meal plan until I lost 15 pounds.

I anticipated that it would take approximately the 62 days that I allotted. Unfortunately by the end of about 90 days, I still had a pound to go and we were going into the first family Christmas. I had become obsessed with my weight loss by this point, collecting fitspiration posts on pinterest and exercising at least once a day. It was a very difficult and emotional decision to go off of my meal plan for the Christmas season - much more so than it should have been.

In the end though, I had so many people telling me that a break would be good for me - that my body needed to see change in order for my weight loss to continue - that I made the leap. Even though I still had one pound to go to reach my goal, I stopped.

Three weeks later, I have only exercised a handful of times and have been eating as I wish (within reason). I haven`t weighed myself. Admittedly, I am nervous to see what I will return to on Monday. I know that I have gained at least 3 pounds - hopefully not too much more.

My intention is that I will continue to exercise on a daily basis (although most of my exercise in the next month will take place in the shape of packing, moving and cleaning). I will return to calorie counting with an acceptable range or 1200-1300 calories per day. I will also create a written rulebook of what I am and am not allowed to facilitate my weight loss (number of pop allowed per month, frequency of eating out, etc.) My ultimate goal is to reach 150lbs by the end of August, and I truly hope that I can reach that goal. I also wish to run a half marathon in the end of May, although if this is not possible I am willing to consider doing this in the fall instead.

In the last year I have gone from 220lbs to 176 lbs. It hasn't been without physical and emotional difficulty. It definitely hasn't been without a ton of extra effort. But my blood pressure is back to normal, I rarely have pain in my knees, the acid reflux is gone, and my self-confidence has improved ten-fold. I am very happy to say that this is what I have been able to accomplish in a year. I am excited to see what the next year will bring.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Years Resolutions

As everyone hunkers down and decides what they want to accomplish in the new year, I feel inclined to follow suit. I have a few different thought patterns when it comes to what I want to accomplish in the new year, as evidenced by my list of resolutions. Here is what I would like to accomplish in 2013:

- Read 30 novels. That's just over two for every month, and I will allow half of these to be audiobooks, as I know that  this is the only way I will actually have the time to accomplish this goal.

- Get down to 150lbs. This one is pretty self explanatory. I will keep doing what I have been doing... calorie counting, playing frisbee, going to classes at the gym, working out in general. I will do another meal plan in April/May while Gilles is in school, and push to finally reach that goal. If I'm lucky, I'll get there by summer. My 'push' goal for this is to get down to 150lbs by no later than the end of August.

- Completely renovate our new bedroom. We get possession of the house January 11th. While Gilles is in school in April/May, I'd like to repaint the bedroom, as well as stain all of the wood in the room. I'm using this picture as inspiration:

Photo courtesy: http://www.homecreat.com/

- Run 30km in every month. This should be pretty manageable, especially when I'm training - when I'm not training it will keep me focused on putting my feet to the pavement (or track, or treadmill, as it may be). Elliptical or biking will not count toward this goal.

- Get my groceries without a vehicle at least once a month. As long as I keep my grocery list under control, this should be pretty attainable, as the new place that I am moving to is only 1.3km to the Extra Foods nearby (yup, I mapped it out!). That means that I could easily walk it if I have the time, or use it is a part of my running goal, or bike it if I'm in a hurry. In fact, I should rarely need to take a vehicle unless I am stopping quick on the way home from work (it is right on-route), or am picking up something really heavy/awkward (ie/ cat litter, or a broom).