Friday, April 26, 2013

Weigh-in Wednesday #13

So, no more Times Colonist Heath Challenge...and where does that leave me?  Well, I'm sitting here blogging in the lobby of the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre, so that should tell you something.  

After training hard for 3 months, it was time for a bit of a break...April 14th to the 21st was my "Active Rest" period.  What does that mean?  Exactly what it sounds like it means...active rest gives your body a break, it lets your joints recover from all the stress they've been under.  I worked out once a weekday (rather than 2 or 3 times) and only did light cardio...walking not running, elliptical not stairs, that sort of thing.

On Wednesday, I was expecting to stay the same and not lose too much as I'd gone pretty easy on the weekend and the beginning of the week.  When I stepped on the scale and saw 241.7, I was not surprised.

Starting weight:  292.1
1st weigh-in:  286.8
2nd weigh-in:  280.1
3rd weigh-in:  276.4
4th weigh-in:  274.1
5th weigh-in:  270.6
6th weigh-in:  266.2
7th weigh-in:  262
8th weigh-in:  261.4
9th weigh-in:  257.7
10th weigh-in 251.4
11th weigh-in 247.3
12th weigh-in 243.6
13th weigh-in 241.7
Now, let me just say that I did weigh-in officially the previous Thursday at PISE and saw even lower numbers, but I believe them to be false as it was a day after my real weigh-in day...and I purposefully dehydrated myself and skipped breakfast to get a super low number to go out with a bang.  Haha...so 241.7, I'll take it...that's 1.9 less than last week and brings me to a total of 50.4 pounds lost.  Not too shabby.
Now, let's see how my body deals with active rest plus a weekend away on Pender Island. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Advice and more from my Croatian conscience...

Upon hearing that I needed to lose one more pound to reach my initial goal of 50 pounds lost:
"Just go make big shet.  You loose van pound like det."
And, this is what he said when I reached that goal...and didn't answer any of his text messages (what?  I was busy!):
 "Bublićka, are you alive?  Did dey eat you finally?  Suzana vas so fet det kanabells use to write her luv letters daily, now only vunce a veek."
 Sometimes, if only very rarely, the Croatian is lovely...and says stuff like this:
"I had a vision of you dancing with me at the concert last night.  Your hair was blonde and you were at your goal weight."

Bring it on, Daniel-san.  Bring it on.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TC Health Challenge Finale - is it the end of an era? Not on your life!

Sunday, April 14th, 2013 - The TC Health Challenge Finale - As participants, the finale was our opportunity to show off all of our hard work...and get our pictures taken for the paper.  Apparently they didn't choose the deconstructed doll pose I first tried out...if I hunch my shoulders bring my elbows out and put my hands forwards on my ribcage and lift from the crown of my head and tilt it slightly to the right and then affect a doe-eyed, soft lipped vacant expression...you can almost see my clavicles.  But they didn't use that one.  It was much less high fashion, and much more friendly newspaper picture, decisively more local paper.
 
Before Sunday, Sandra McCulloch send out a request for information on our experience with the challenge.  Here's how I responded:
 
The TC Health Challenge has literally been life changing for me!
 
I knew when I first started that it wouldn’t just be a 3 month challenge, it would be a 3 month introduction to a healthy new lifestyle…a crash course of sorts in nutrition and fitness…and also, it would be my “job.”  When I first sat down to set weight loss goals with the ninja, my trainer Jonathan Carpenter, I suggested a reasonable 24 pounds…but he decided to double down and up the ante to 50 big ones.  I took a risk and agreed to it.  And, I am thrilled that I did…because here I am 3 months later 52.4 pounds lighter and 39.9 centimetres smaller.  Ninja is good, ninja is wise…I was just looking forward to wearing jeans instead of yoga pants.
 
It’s not all about weight loss though, I have met so many amazing people along the way…not only the people in the challenge, the TCers, the gang at the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre, mental coach ChristieGialloreto, my dietician Heather Dueck, and the ninja, of course…but the people in the grocery store who stopped to tell me they were going to go for a bike ride, the guy in the car who honked and shouted, “Keep up the good work,” the gal on the treadmill next to me who’s always up for a quick check in,  the dog walkers on the beach who waved me over and asked me loads of questions about the TC Health Challenge.  It’s everyone who read my blog and then put down the TV remote and went for a walk, or intended to buy cheesies but opted for an apple instead, or tagged me in some sort of inappropriate ecard regarding fitness & healthy eating…it’s all those people who became an extended support system for me.  They may not know it, but they kept me going…and will continue to keep me going.
 
Me and the ninja @ PISE.
Energy.  Well, I have a lot of it now…possibly too much of it.  I suffer from bouts of endorphin induced slap happiness, hyper activity, and extreme optimism.  I feel like I do everything faster, longer, and with more spirit now.  Stamina.  Those stairs I conquered in the first month…I run them now, and I walk all over the place instead of relying car rides or the bus.  I live so close to town, it’s nothing to just trot across the bridge.   Strength.  I do feel stronger, and I know I’m not a hard body yet but I have earned a few “lines.”  And, don’t think for a second that I haven’t stood in front of the bathroom mirror flexing and admiring my muscle definition.         

Radical change is often hard for everyone to accept…but my family and friends have been incredibly understanding and adaptable when it comes to my complete obsession with clean eating.  They have changed proposed meals at their houses, included exercise into our rendezvous, and some of them have even benefited from lifestyle change…my husband, Stéphane, has lost 24 pounds (he’s got even better legs now and he’s lost most of the beer gut).  The changes seem to have stuck, I don’t think I’ll ever get over eating 6 meals a day though.
 
What a crazy journey this has been…and will continue to be!  I’m excited for the future.
 
Thanks so much to the TC for this enormous opportunity!
 
So there you go.  
 
FIN.  
 
But not really...I'm gonna keep going.
 
April 14th - 21st was my "active rest" period, where I only worked out once a weekday for an hour....that was the active part.  My diet remained the same...I even managed to survive a breakfast buffet at a super fancy pantsy place, but I'll save that story for another post.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Love yourself! Go on, I dare you...

One of the possible side effects of losing 50 odd pounds has been unmerited über confidence - reverse body dysmorphism of sorts...at least for me.  


Last Saturday I was walking around like a rockstar...wearing size 18 blue jeans and a 3X leopard print sweater.  I even pulled out my old motorcycle jacket to go with, in my head I'm all Sophie Dahl meets Beth Ditto in Jean-Paul Gauthier (here I go with the comparisons again), but really, I'm Suzie Spitfyre, a fat girl in regular clothes.  I did don a pair of fabulous Tom Ford cream-coloured cat-eye sunglasses that I purchased last year in New Orleans though, so not ALL "regular."

I used to live under the cover of darkness...my entire wardrobe was black.  And I honestly thought that was my style, very New York, very chic, very MAC, but I think it was just a way to cover up what I didn't like about my body.  It's true what they say about black being slimming, but come on...how svelte can you look at 292 pounds?  On Saturday, I wasn't wearng a stitch of black...in fact, the only black that I had on was my eyeliner and mascara.  It made me wonder, how many people are out there running around, as I had been, hiding themselves under clothes that don't really do anything for them...clothes that don't express their style or personality?  Clothes that expound shame, self-loathing, and fear.

It is true that plus-size clothing leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to fit, colours, patterns, availability, cut, and cost, but they should never make you feel hopeless, unworthy, and depressed.  In the past, when I would get a new piece or an outfit even, I don't think I ever felt sexy or good about it, I was just thrilled that it bloody well fit.  And, that's a terrible way to live.  They are onl clothes after all!  They shouldn't dictate you mood or demeanor.  But, I couldn't have been the only one who yelled at their husband for throwing that extra, extra, extra large chemise that it took me years to find and went perfectly with all of my extra, extra, extra large dresses in the dryer.  I put so much stock into that one piece of clothing, that when it was shrunk beyond all recognition my life, for a few minutes, was over.  How horrible is that?

The other day I stumbled upon a page on social media called Big Hips and Red Lips - "A celebration of life, love, laughter, lust, and learning to love your body."  This page helped me see things slightly differently, it embraced beauty at all sizes, and made me think maybe I should have started this love affair with myself much, much sooner.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think I hated myself all the time....but I certainly embraced a lot of negative self-talk.  "If only I could lose some weight, then I'd be happy.  If only my thighs were smaller, if only my boobs were perkier, if only my gut didn't jiggle so much,"  I said a lot of mean things to myself, and I started to believe them.  And, don't be fooled, this isn't just a fat chick thing...this is universal.  I know plenty of girls and guys of all shapes and sizes who want to change this and that...and my point is...LOVE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU ARE!  Don't be afraid to accept yourself and rock out what you've got.

This is such an important message, because I've been there, and I know how it feels.  I have experienced thin, fat, toned, lumpy, fit, flabby, and everything in between.  If I had loved myself the way I was, whatever I was and taken care of the important things like my health, I wouldn't be posting this...but I didn't, so here I am pleading with my audience to accept themselves.  It's much easier to change the things you don't like if you know yourself and love yourself no matter what.  I now have the extreme pleasure of changing my life.  A change spurred on by the Times Colonist Health Challenge, but also a change spurred on by the triumph of the human spirit, and the knowledge that healthy and hopeful is much better, mentally and physically, than unhealthy and hopeless.

I am still going through this process of practicing radical self-love and body acceptance.  There are still times when I feel amazing, sexy, and powerful, and then I see a picture that someone has taken of me and posted online, and I think, wow, do I ever have a long way to go.  But, that doesn't get me down any more...that simply gets me even more motivated do everything I can to reach my health and fitness goals.

In the words of the saucy redhead behind the front desk of the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre, "People see you how you see yourself."

So I conclude:  Confidence is always sexy...no matter what size you are.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Throwing my weight around.

No rest for the wicked

All this doesn't just end with the scale...there is also fitness testing, something I have been both looking forward too and dreading.  

When I first started this challenge, the ninja got me to do things while he held a clipboard.  Included in this testing was an 800M walk/run, push-ups, plank, a wall sit, and sit and reach test for flexibility.  

And my results?  Well, how do I put this?  They were pathetic.  At first I managed to do a wall sit for 10 seconds...and that was pretty terrible, so then I tried again and I got to 24 seconds...astounding, I know.  Then push-ups, and I got to 8.  Yup, 8 whole push-ups done on my knees with my gut pretty much holding me up, and not a very bendy elbow...I doubt I went to 90 degrees.  And I have no idea about the sit and reach (the results are still on that sheet of paper, where ever that is...in an office, filed away)...all I remember is that my stomach and my boobs made it very difficult to bend.  Nuff said.  I wasn't so bad at planking in comparison, I think I got 40 seconds or so.  The "run" and I included the quotation marks as I didn't run at all.  I walked.  I thought I walked it pretty fast too, I know I was all out of breath after completing it.  In my defense, I will add that Jonathan made me run down the field with a cone, so for me it was more of a 1K than 800M.  Haha...look how whiny I just got.  I don't like running.  It scares me.  13 minutes, that was my time.  Now, THAT scares me.

That was then, this is now.

Started with the 800M run.  I wanted to run at least part of it...all of it?  Not sure if that's possible. 18 times back and forth down that long hallway at the Crystal...the ninja says it's nothing, I beg to differ.  Oh, fuck it!  Here goes nothing...I start my run, concentrating on regulating my breath (thank you, yoga) and I'm feeling pretty good, I'm feeling like I can do this...oh my gods, how much farther?  Huff puff.  The ninja tells me I've done 8 lengths, "You're half way there."  It doesn't matter that he can't do math, he's pretty.  And, I suspect that is some sort of training trick to make me think that I can do it.  It kinda worked.  I hyperventilated myself through another 8 laps and then I only had two to go.  The ninja shouts out a time and tells me, "Do it in less than 6."  I tried to lengthen my stride and go faster, put everything I had into it...and finished the thing in 5 minutes and 45 seconds.  That is probably really terrible compared to other people's times...but I just more than halved my previous time...so I am pretty proud of myself.  AND, I ran the whole thing!

No time to celebrate...there was more work to be done.  Started with the wall sit.  I have been practicing those, and I know I've gotten better.  Wow, 90 degrees is really low...and there's less distraction in the fitness room...damn, I like watching the boxers or the swimmers have at 'er when I'm wall sitting, makes the time pass faster and distracts from the burning of the thighs.  I'll look out the window...at nothing.  GRRR.  Usually I pop out of wall sits, but after a minute 19 my legs were jumping around like heavy rain bouncing off pavement...and then I slid to the ground in defeat.  But still, a minute 19!  Victory is mine!

The next two tests I don't want to talk about, but I will.  I planked for a minute and something, I can't even remember...I've tried to put it out of my mind obviously.  And, I did 23 push-ups.  So both were improvements over my last numbers...however, I could tell that the ninja was disappointed that I didn't plank longer and that I didn't bend further in my push-ups...or do more of them.  Awww, man...I was disappointed too, but what can you do?  Let's talk about my run again!  Haha..

The last test was the sit and bend, and I know I did better at that one, as my stomach has flattened significantly over the last 3 months....18 cm off my waist or something like that...not bad, not bad at all.  More importantly, I can actually feel my abs when I do sit-ups now, before it felt like I was using the muscles in my jaw and neck - not pretty.

And then it was all over and I was free to go home.  Awww...man, now what am I going to do?

One last ninja session before Sunday's finale, that's what!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's time to quit drinking water and put on the garbage bags...as I can't fit into my Catwoman costume anymore.

No, not really, I just need to workout really hard a couple times in the hottest place ever...oh good, my membership is at the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre.  Actually, I think that's part of my success...I must remember to write Josh a thank you note.

Having only lost 3.7 pounds this week putting me at exactly 48.5 pounds lost in total, I knew I was going to have to sweat...so the ninja worked me out in the AM, and then I skipped the Crystal Fools on Wednesday night so that I could sweat it out on the elliptical.  I clicked the machine up to the highest incline and highest tension that I have ever gone and then gave 'er for an hour...and I forgot my water bottle in the car, so I only drank limited amounts from the fountain.  Am I the only one who finds that difficult to do?  Haha...I seem to take in more air than water.

Went home after and had a salad with no salt in the dressing and went straight to bed, nothing like an official weigh-in to make you work out like a crazy woman, eat some grass, and go to sleep early so that the next day comes faster.     

Morning of the PISE weigh-in and I'm resorting to clever tactics like dehydrating myself by working out and not drinking water and eating veggies with no salt...brilliant.  I promise, I don't do this every weigh-in, just this one.

And on this occasion...I actually weighed my clothes. 

It would be easy to just say that my weigh-in didn't go according to plan because of my 3 pounds of underwear, but that would be a cop-out, because much to my surprise, my clothes weren't that heavy.  Yvette, one of last year's participants in the Times Colonist Health Challenge, suggested that I get Holly from PISE to move the scale into the bathroom if things don't go according to plan...and then I could undress and weigh-in nekkid in the stall while she read the numbers poking out from underneath the door.  Yvette has done this...which makes me smile, and think, ah, she too knows the secrets.  Or, I could just not eat breakfast until after weigh-in.

Off to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence starving all the way...and only 30 minutes to wait until my appointment.  Curses for being so early!  I can't wait to see my results...I know that I have lost a significant amount of weight, and I'm positive that my measurements will be much improved as well.  So I have a certain spring in my step when Holly comes to fetch me...yes, I am very thin and powerful in my new body...and what the hell are these real athletes doing here being weighed-in and having their measurements taken as well?  And can they take their shirts off?  OMG...they did!  What else can I think into actuality?  I want millions of dollars!  Okay, maybe I'm not thin and powerful...maybe I'm still curvy and a character...but what are you going to do?  After a quick change into a very thin, very light tank top, I stepped onto the scale and weighed in at exactly 52.4 pounds less than when I started this challenge.

In the last few years, I have become quite the "high-fiver."  I'm not sure Holly was ready for it when I gave her a rather enthusiastic slap on the hand...I nearly hugged her, but as I'm more of a kisser than a hugger, safer to leave it at high five.  Best not to freak out the person pinching you with calipers.  I went through the rest of the testing, and learned that I had lost 39.9 centimetres!

Pleased as punch, that's me.

Weigh-In Wednesday #12

Can it be?  Are we already here?  Have I been postponing this last TC Health Challenge unofficial Wednesday Weigh-in blog post because I don't want this magical time to end?

Maybe...
Definitely.

Like leaving the swimming pool when I was 7...just 10 more minutes, puhleeeeze!!!  I promise to be good.  I'll clean my room, I'll empty the dishwasher...I'll do my homework! 

And I have been doing my homework, nothing like writing down your goals to hold you accountable...Christie was right.  I may have tripled up on my workouts too...mornings consisted of elliptical or treadmill then aerobics, at noon there was sp!nn!ng with Teresa, and I would return to the gym again in the evening with Stéphane, not to mention my nijnja workouts with Jonathan and yoga with TarynI am officially a gym rat.

Was it worth it?
Yes...almost.

Starting weight:  292.1
1st weigh-in:  286.8
2nd weigh-in:  280.1
3rd weigh-in:  276.4
4th weigh-in:  274.1
5th weigh-in:  270.6
6th weigh-in:  266.2
7th weigh-in:  262
8th weigh-in:  261.4
9th weigh-in:  257.7
10th weigh-in 251.4
11th weigh-in 247.3
12th weigh-in 243.6

One more frigggin' pound and I would have been able to round up to 50 pounds lost.  Ugh...48.5 pounds...if only there was another official, weigh-in.  Haha...oh, wait, there is...tomorrow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

There are zero calories in eye candy.

I am a walking contradiction.

In my last post, I just told all the men who take their shirts off on cardio equipment to put them back on...however, I feel different about men in the weight room.   

Gentlemen, flex on.

I follow a very strict eating plan but, occasionally, I indulge in eye candy. 

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this public service announcement:

When I work out, I get sweaty...really sweaty...and yet, I have never felt the urge to whip off my shirt à la Brandi Chastain.  So why is it that some of the men at the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre do?  I like to think of this phenomenon as "the peacock effect."  This should rustle a few
"Hey, ladies!"
feathers to be sure. 

When I train, I generally don't wear make-up, I'm in impossibly stretchy clothing that pretty much shows ever curve and dimple, my hair is soaked with perspiration and stuffed into ponytails, and the last thing on my mind is how sexy I look.  

I'm more concerned with pushing myself further than the last time I was on the elliptical, or picking up my knees higher in aerobics class (or actually following the not-so-complicated choreography, let's be honest), or even running for longer than a minute and a half on the treadmill before jumping off...and at no time have I ever thought, I bet it'd be really attractive to show more skin and let it all hang out.  Or, how about I show off those stretched out tattoos on my lower back that I haven't had a chance to get touched up in 17 years.  Nor, have I contemplated running on the treadmill sans part of my wardrobe....and neither should you.

I think there's a sign somewhere in the facility that says:  No shirt, no shoes, no service...and if there isn't, there should be.

So please, boys...shirts on while working out.

Swimmers, as you were.