Thursday, January 29, 2009

In the comments on my last post, MizFit asked me to define "warming up". So I went and checked the "Last 24 Hours" on the Environment Canada weather page. Overnight it warmed up to 4C (around 4 am this morning). By 8 am this morning, the temperature was back down to -8C. When we went out to the garage this morning and Husband hit the button to open the garage door there was this loud cracking sound that was the garage door breaking free of the ice - it had been frozen to the ground. Never a dull moment, I tell ya.

So - summing up the weather - at the beginning of the week, we were in the -20s. Ever so briefly last night, the temperature rose above 0. Then in went back down, though thankfully not back to the -20s....Not yet anyway.

Everything was a mess this morning of course - roads, sidewalks. I am so looking forward to spring, can't wait for all this ice to melt so it's safe to walk on the sidewalks again.

In other news...The yoga trend is continuing and I have added a little treadmill action in there. Seem to be finding my cold-weather-groove.

Also, I want to go home and play Rock Band on the Wii. Never thought I'd hear myself saying I want to go play a computer game, but it's been a while since I've done any Rock-Band-ing and I'm kinda missing it. I feel like picking up the mic and singing along with a few tunes. Not that I sing well or anything, but I have fun doing it. I like dancing around to the music while singing along...As well as I can dance while squinting at the screen trying to read the lyrics. Got that mental image? Fantastic. My work here is done.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter, winter everywhere...

I know I said I was going to get back to weight loss blogging, but I don't seem to be in the mood to talk about it much. Maybe it's the deep freeze we've got going on. Seriously - we're encased in ice around here. We've had snow and freezing rain and snow. It's cold, it gets warm, it freezes again. Yards are covered in glossy white. Sidewalks are treacherous.

This is right outside the cat door:


The ice is sort of broken up right there. But over most of the yard it is solid:


Not sure if you can tell, but you can actually see the cat's reflection in the ice. He wasn't interested in staying out long...


Tomorrow we're supposed to get more snow. At least it will warm up a bit for that...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

At 8:00 am this morning it was -25°C with a windchill of -34°C. Nasty weather. It actually warmed up to -16°C this afternoon, but now it is -27°C Brr!

We got together with our group of friends on Saturday night for one of our usual theme dinners. The theme for this one was breakfast! We had all kinds of breakfast-y things and it was lots of fun.

When the hostess sent out the invitation (through Facebook) she suggested that we could wear pajamas if we wanted to. I liked the idea in theory - what could be more comfortable? But when it came down to it, I could not make myself leave the house in pajamas. If I had known for sure it was only going to be our regular group, maybe I could have done it, I don't know. But the hostess had said there might be a few new people and the idea of meeting someone for the first time while wearing my pajamas just didn't sit well. So off I went in my jeans and sweater and I was perfectly comfortable all evening; I don't think I would have been in pajamas. And I was not the only one - most of us were in jeans.

So I'm curious - how would you feel about that? Would you be happy to go off to a dinner party in pajamas?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Yoga Week

I'm not sure if it's the January blahs - maybe the cold weather is slowing me down? Whatever the reason, I've been having the hardest time getting back into my regular exercise routine.

At the beginning of this week I decided that I would find a way to fit in something every day - even if it was something small...So when my Monday evening did not go as planned, and I found it was getting too close to bedtime, I decided to pop in my Candlelight Yoga DVD. I figured a) light exercise is better than no exercise, and b) I could use a little stress relief before trying to sleep.

I always light a fire in the wood stove when we get home from work, and keep it stoked all evening. So when I went down to the basement for my yoga session, the basement was warm and toasty. I thought: this is going to be good.

And it was.

It was so good that I decided to keep it going for the rest of the week. On Tuesday it was getting late and I almost wimped out...on day 2 of my plan?...I told myself there was no reason I could not fit in a half hour of yoga. So I did.

I've managed four days in a row so far, and I plan to do another session tonight. This is the first week this month that I've actually managed to stick to a routine, which feels like an accomplishment.

Also, almostafraidtomentionforfearitwontstickbut, the scale showed a 0.6 lb loss this morning...May not be much, but I'll take it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another slow cooker experiment...

I have never worked my way so methodically through a cookbook. Anyway, we tried another new recipe today - Curious Chicken Chili. It had an interesting mix of ingredients, so we thought it should be good. Alas, we found it a bit bland...just seemed like it was missing something. Ah well, they can't all be winners, right?

The unfortunate result is that I was left wanting something more to eat. I knew that I'd had enough calories, but my taste buds were not satisfied. I tried eating 2 Peek Freans LifeStyle Lemon Crisp cookies, but they aren't exactly bursting with flavor either.

I ended up eating an entire bag of Crispy Minis.

This is something that I know about myself - I'm one of those 'Live to Eat' people, rather than an 'Eat to Live' type. I try to manage it by making sure I keep my taste buds happy with healthy meals. But some days that doesn't work out and obviously I need to work on my response to that.

Still, I feel like I've been doing not too bad overall and I guess I could have done worse than eating a bag of Crispy Minis.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ice Bound

Thanks for all the responses to my question about the sheets. I had ordered the sheets from Sears. When I washed them, the seam came apart so I went to Sears on Saturday to return them. I explained what had happened and the reaction I got from the clerk was "We don't give refunds on merchandise that has been used." I said they are not "used"; I washed them and the seam came apart. Her response was basically that washed is the same as used. She seemed to be completely missing the point. It's not like I washed them and changed my mind. I washed them and the seam came apart. To me, that is defective merchandise. I have a tendency not to make statements that I think are obvious. I say "The seam came apart when I washed them" and I expect the person on the other end of the conversation to come to the obvious conclusion "that should not happen with a brand new set of sheets, that is defective merchandise." Possibly I was expecting too much from the poor girl.

She said they would fix them, but even then I found felt like she was being a bit snarky about it. Referring to their seamstress she said "I bet she could fix that in two seconds. I could fix that in two seconds."

I hate returning things, I always feel vaguely apologetic about it, and I'm not very good at standing up for myself. I honestly was not expecting that kind of reaction. I've worked in retail. When someone buys something and it comes apart right away, it's not surprising they'd want to return it. Unfortunately, I also have a pretty slow reaction time. I said if they could fix them that was fine, and I also requested they ask the seamstress to check the other seams.

After I walked away it really started bugging me. I'm not sure if that really is the policy at Sears, or if this person was misunderstanding, but in any case it didn't feel like very good customer service. She did not seem at all concerned about the fact that a brand new set of sheets had a seam come apart in the wash. I don't know. It was just bugging me and I guess I wanted to know that other people would have done the same thing.

Anyway, enough of that.

After work today, we stopped at the superstore ti pick up a couple of things, and on the way out I saw they had planters of crocuses and daffodils. It made me smile, so I thought I would pass it on:


Because right now, my world is looking like this...








It snowed all day Sunday. Then warmed up and turned to rain over night. Then the temperature dropped again by morning. Everything is covered in ice.

Crocuses and daffodils are seeming a long way off.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Quick Weekend Recap

Saturday was a busy day. Had an appointment to get my hair trimmed. When I'm Uptown on a Saturday I like to take time to look around the shops and of course right now there are sales on. I found a winter jacket with a hood (as previously noted, I do not own one which seems silly given the weather we get around here) and even though I knew it was a mistake I checked out the sale racks at my favorite shoe store and, of course, bought shoes (somebody help me, I can't stop myself). Then I needed to do some other shopping/running around, and buy groceries on my way home. Phew. Busy day.

Husband and I made a stir-fry with shrimp & lots of veggies for supper, served over noodles. And as a weekend treat I had some Sour Cream & Chive Crispy Minis for a snack while watching some TV in the evening.

Sunday turned out to be a snow day. It snowed all day - the upside being that at least the temperature warmed up a bit. Husband & I camped out in the living room for a while in the morning, just relaxing, but finally I said I had to get moving and get some things done. Spent the afternoon getting cleaning & laundry done, then got in a workout.

We did another Slow Cooker Sunday which was awesome. We made a recipe called Beef Curry Hotpot from the Company's Coming Slow Cooker Cookbook. I would say that it had the consistency of a stew, but rather that potato, veg & gravy, it had apples, raisins & dried apricots and was flavored with Curry powder (also red pepper flakes because I put them in almost everything I make). We served it over Basmati rice and it was very tasty - sweet & tangy. I don't like beef stew, but this was good and I would definitely make it again. Friendly calorie-count too. And after dinner I had barely a sink full of dishes to do - just the rice cooker and a few other odds & ends that couldn't go in the dishwasher. I think I'm in love with my slow cooker.

After supper I had a Think Organic Bar for dessert. I picked it up at the grocery store on Sautrday to give it a try. I found it to be kind of dry, I think I prefer LaraBars.

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see 145 lb on the scale. I realize it could bounce back up again tomorrow, but it was still nice to see.

Off-topic question: If you bought a new set of sheets, washed them ~ according to the care instructions ~ and took them out of the dryer to find that one of the corner seams on the fitted sheet had come apart, what would you think/do?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Adventures In Dieting Chapter 3: Dragging Husband Along...

Not quite kicking and screaming.

So, I had told Husband that while I was working on this weight loss thing, he could eat what I eat or make his own. However, Husband stepped on the scale recently and was not happy with what he saw, so he would like to lose a few pounds himself...

Saturday I made Sweet Potato Lentil Chili from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. We had a box of Coconut Shrimp in the freezer that didn't get eaten over the holidays. Husband was wanting to eat them so I said we could have them along with the Sweet Potato Chili. He did eat it, but he let me know that he didn't love it (in all honesty, this has been my least fave of the Eat, Drink & Be Vegan recipes so far - guess that's what I get for feeding him a recipe I hadn't tried out yet).

He's been pretty happy with the Slow Cooker meals though, and with the Chicken Cacciatore I made sure we both had a good serving of raw veggies to munch as well, which filled us up and kept Husband from going back for a second helping. Raw veggies with dinner is something that I try to do on a regular basis, since that's my favorite way of eating veggies, but lately we've got out of the habit. Time to jump back in!

Yesterday we stopped at the grocery store on the way home and he asked what we would be having for dinner tonight. I ran down the available options, ending with the container of leftover Sweet Potato Lentil Chili in the freezer. I said I thought he probably wouldn't want that, but he said he would eat it as long as he had some protein on the side.

After perusing the meat display, he decided to get himself a small steak and make himself a stir-fry instead, using up the rest of those frozen veggies that I don't want to eat. Works for me.

Husband then surprised me by comparing calorie counts on snack items he was considering, and then choosing the one he felt was best. I have no idea where that came from - maybe my habits are starting to rub off on him a bit.

Since I didn't have to worry about feeding Husband as soon as we got home from work, I changed into workout gear and headed for the basement. I was somewhat surprised when I came back upstairs to find that he hadn't made his dinner yet. Seems like I need not feel guilty about taking time to work out before dinner, since he was in no rush when left to his own devices.

Off we went to the kitchen to make our separate dinners. I heated up my leftover Sweet Potato Lentil Chili, and since we had some tortillas left in the fridge (from when Sister was here - they need to be used up), I made myself a cheese quesadilla to go along with my chili. Add some homemade salsa and I had a very tasty meal...Though I ended up being too full from eating the quesadilla and only ate about half my chili.

The only down side is the extra pots and other cooking utensils - when you are cooking two separate meals it makes more of a mess.

We are still having nasty cold weather - even colder than the beginning of the week. Eek. Spring is coming, right?

Seems like most of the Fabulous Feline photos lately have featured Fred - he's just better at posing for pictures. However, we wouldn't want George to feel left out, so here he is demonstrating how to go about beating the January weather...Stay inside with a blanket!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Adventures In Dieting Chapter 2: Eating For Weight Loss With the Slow Cooker


We've had the slow cooker for 2 weeks now and have used it 3 times. I'm already thinking that I should have had one years ago. I am also thinking that this could be a real asset in my effort to Eat For Weight Loss if I use it well.

Along with the crockpot, my lovely Mum gave us the Company's Coming Most Loved Slow Cooker Creations cookbook. Husband was quite keen to use the slow cooker and kept urging me to pick out a recipe. Then when I did pick out a recipe for our first try he vetoed my selection and picked something different. Silly man.

We've tried three recipes so far, and these are my thoughts on each.

Recipe #1: Moroccan Chicken (Thursday, Jan 8)
Husband chose this recipe and we basically had everything on hand to make it, which was a bonus. Though, we did use chicken breasts instead of the chicken thighs that the recipe called for because a)that's what we had, and b)Husband seems to want nothing to do with chicken thighs.

I looked at the recipe the night before, wondering if I should do some prep work up front, but it looked pretty easy and Husband said he would help in the morning so I didn't bother. As it turned out, it was easy, but it still took more time than I really have first thing in the morning. So lesson learned there.

As for how it turned out: At dinner time I made some couscous and steamed some frozen broccoli & cauliflower and we were ready to eat. The chicken was good, but I felt like the flavor could be improved; just seemed like it was missing something. I would probably make it again but play with the seasonings a bit.

Recipe #2: Tex-Mex Taco Soup (Sunday, Jan 11)
This recipe was actually for a larger slow cooker than we have, but the recipe looked like something we would really enjoy so I decided to just scale back the ingredients a bit. Even though I was making this on a weekend, I decided to do all my chopping of veggies the night before so that I would have less to do in the morning.

I like a slow start to my mornings on the weekend, but then I tend to be busy for the rest of the day. Often on Sunday evenings, after I've been rushing around trying to clean the house, do laundry, and catch up on everything else, when dinner time rolls around the though of having to cook and then clean up another mess is very discouraging. Slow cooker to the rescue!

Sunday morning, while I was waiting for oatmeal to cook and coffee to brew, I got my soup going in the crock pot. I had a relaxing morning, then got busy cleaning the house. After cleaning I was just about to exercise when my Mom called, so we chatted for 45 minutes, then I got on with my exercise. Then it was dinner time and all I had to do was go into the kitchen and dish up some soup. It was perfect.

The crock pot was full to the brim, this made enough for two meals for us. I really enjoyed the soup - it was flavorful and perfectly cooked (though it should be noted that the only spices called for by the recipe were dried basil and some fresh parsley at the end; I decided that taco soup should have some taco seasonings, so I added ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes). I will definitely make this again.

Recipe #3: Chicken Cacciatore (Tuesday, Jan 13)
Husband and I prepped the chicken & veggies on Monday night, then after I cleaned up the kitchen I put out everything that we'd need in the morning. In the morning I chopped garlic, opened tomatoes and mixed spices, but other than that everything was done.


After work I chopped some raw veggies, cooked some pasta and we were good to go. The Chicken Cacciatore was another hit - though again, we will probably adjust the seasonings next time to suit our tastes. We had it again for supper tonight and there is enough left for another meal.

The cookbook includes nutritional information for all of the recipes which I love. t just makes things so much easier. All of the recipes that we've made so far have had very friendly calorie counts. Being able to come home to a weight loss friendly and tasty meal should definitely help my Eat For Weight Loss goal. And it should keep Husband happy too!

As to how Husband is reacting to my new plan, as MizFit asked in the comments on my last post...I'll have an update on that tomorrow.

Also by the way, the cats are still enjoying their box.



Monday, January 12, 2009

Adventures in Dieting Chapter 1: Eating For Weight Loss

As always, for me, the first hurdle to tackle is food. You could argue that perhaps my workouts are not optimized for weight loss, but the fact remains that I do work out regularly. I enjoy my unstructured, flexible approach and as long as I'm happy and enjoying my workouts, I will keep doing them. So, for now anyway, my attitude towards exercise is: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I have always acknowledged that eating is my biggest problem.

In my mind, as I think about how to approach this Diet Experiment, I have been using the term "Eating for Weight Loss" rather than "Dieting". They amount to the same thing, but "Eating for Weight Loss" seems friendlier and it's also more descriptive - it reminds me of what I am trying to accomplish.

The basic plan:

1. I am back to tracking calories but I'm not going to get too obsessed. I need the tracking for accountability and for a reality check. If I find I'm not getting anywhere, a review of what I've been eating is a good place to start.

2. I am going to work very hard at planning weight loss friendly meals that I will enjoy eating. I have told Husband that I need to lose weight and he can eat what I eat or he can make his own dinner. It just gets too hard to try and accommodate both of us. It may not seem like it should be, but it is. That being said, I will make sure the kitchen is stocked with options for both of us; I'm not leaving him completely in the lurch.

3. Pay attention. To portions. To how I am feeling. To what I am eating. To what I am doing.

That is basically it. It's a fairly free and easy plan. Along the way, I'm hoping that I can learn and adjust and finally make this work.

I have been easing my way into Eating For Weight Loss over the past week or so. We still have a few weight loss unfriendly foods around the house, but they are slowly disappearing. Plus, I imagine it's going to take some time to figure out the right meals and snacks to keep me going while meeting the calorie requirements. But so far, I am feeling less pressure with this approach. If I have a meal or a day that's not so great, I'm not beating myself up about it. Granted, it's early days. It always seems easy in the beginning. But I'm going to try very hard to keep the pressure off.

I had a fabulous weekend; nothing pressing to be done, no where that we had to be, which was just what I wanted. I got some things done around the house, did the grocery shopping and some cooking, got in some exercise, and still had time to relax. That's how I like my weekends!

This morning was -20 which was not so enjoyable, but it's supposed to warm up and snow for the next couple of days. Won't that be nice.

          Gratuitous Cat Photo. Just because.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's time...

I took some time off from weight loss blogging because I felt like it was starting to make me a little crazy. I kept working out. Eating was hit and miss. In other words: Status quo. But that doesn't mean I completely stopped thinking about it, and by late fall/early winter, I knew I had to give this thing another go...I just didn't feel quite ready to start. By mid-December I was getting closer though, and I wrote the following post...

I'm writing this in December, even though I know I won't be posting it until sometime in early January. I am already thinking ahead to the new year, thinking about goals, what I have learned over the past year, things that have worked/not worked. As is often the case, when my brain gets going on something, I have to stop and focus on it, get it out of my system, so that I can get on with other things that I need to do. So here I am.

I started this blog in the hopes that it would be a tool to aid in my weight loss efforts. I have "met" some fantastic bloggers - all of them intelligent and caring people - who have given me things to think about along the way. I thank all of you for that.

I still haven't managed to lose the weight though.

I am not here to moan and complain about it. I am here to think about what lessons can be learned, and what I can do from here on out. I plan to put the focus back on weight loss - at least until gardening season rolls around again, then all bets are off and you will all be subjected to many more photos of gardens and cats! I'm not entirely sure what is going to happen with all of this...Will I finally figure things out and make some progress? Have I really managed to learn anything? Am I willing, have I learned how to change things?

One thing that feels different is my attitude. Before, I was always on a mission. I had weight loss targets, calorie goals, workout plans, and if I didn't meet the expectations I had set for myself, it felt like I had failed the mission. Possibly all the 'failures' have made me more cautious, but my attitude now is more experimental. I'm thinking more along the lines of "let's try this and see what happens" rather than "I must do this and lose pounds."

I don't know whether this attitude will last. I don't know whether it will make any difference at all. But I want to go with it and see what happens.

Stay tuned, we're all about to find out...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Post-Holiday Weigh In

I'm ready for a clean slate, but in the past I have regretted deleting my weight history. So, I thought I'd do the same thing I've started doing with my monthly workouts ~ I'll keep these in a post so that it's there to go back and review if I wish to.

Now...The damage from the holidays. On Monday I was actually up to 148.1, which I was not happy to see. But as of today I am back down to 146.5 which is pretty much back to the upper end of the range I've been bouncing around in for the past several months. So I feel ok with that. It's still not where I want to be, but at least I haven't made things any worse.

So. Clean slate time. My new starting weight, may it slowly but surely dwindle down to a healthy number...

Today: 146.5

Start Weight:
Aug 01: 145.1
Weigh Ins:
Aug 08: 146.7
Aug 15: 143.9
Aug 22: 145.0
Aug 29: 144.1
Sep 05: 144.8
Sep 12: 144.1
Sep 19: 144.0
Sep 26: 144.9
Oct 03: 146.2
Oct 10: 144.5
Oct 17: 144.8
Oct 24: 146.0
Oct 31: 146.2
Nov 07: 144.9
Nov 13: 144.9
Nov 21: 145.5
Nov 28: 146.7
Dec 05: 145.3
Dec 12: 144.4
Dec 19: 144.5
Dec 26: 146.0

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Anniversary gift from my parents...

Crockpot for Husband and me, new toy for the Fabulous Felines!


Monday, January 5, 2009

And a good time was had by all...


Husband and I had almost 2 weeks off, which was lovely. Normally we do go home to Nova Scotia, but we weren't able to this year. While I felt bad because I knew our families were disappointed, it was nice to stay home and relax!

My sister came over on the 30th. Brother-in-law had planned to come as well, but he got sick at the last minute. Sister came anyway because we had big plans! We picked her up at the ferry terminal on Tuesday evening, and headed for Canadian Tire where we picked up painting supplies. Wednesday we relaxed and met friends for dinner. Then Thursday we got down to business: we painted the spare bedroom (or as Sister likes to call it "Sister's room").


It took us 4 days because of the awful dark pink colour on the walls (it was there when we moved in and we never got around to painting). We had to put on two coats of primer, then paint the base colour, then the stripes, then finish touching up on the fourth day.

The boys weren't sure what to make of all the commotion, but yesterday when we were putting the room back together, Fred had to come in for a game of "Make the Bed" with Sister...


And then George had to come check things out as well.


They seem to have decided that it's alright.

Sister and I are quite pleased with how it all turned out. Sister actually deserves the credit, she came up with the plan.



So, that's what I've been up to - it kept us busy. When we weren't playing Debbie Travis we were eating - painting makes you hungry!

I'd like to say that I'm all ready to get back on the straight and narrow, but unfortunately there is still too much crap food in my kitchen. I know that some might deal with that by chucking it all, but I can't bring myself to do that. So instead of going cold turkey on chips & chocolate, I guess I'll be weaning myself off over the next few days. Wish me luck.

Went back to work today. Now I'm really tired so I think I'll be turning in early. Gotta ease back into this work routine thing as well!