Category Archives: healthy living

Shayloss is going again

So since this blog is based on Shawshank Redemption and the Shayloss youtube channel, Shay has started another bet with a group of guys. Their plan is to race to see who can lose 50 pounds. Now I’m not that much over weight, in fact, I’m pretty happy with where my weight is, what I”m more concerned about is my body fat percentage.

Back in November, I got my body fat percentage checked, I was told I should be at about 20% for my age and height. I was at 37.5%. This is not good. I checked it back in February and it was down to 35%, so it’s heading in the right direction.

My goal right now is to try and lose another 4% off of the 35% by September. I don’t know how quick body fat percentage can be burned off, I don’t think it’s like losing pounds. I just got to keep working, swiming, walking, whatever I can do to try and bring that number down.

In this case it’s not so much eating, it’s moving.


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Living with Allergies

“Oh it can’t be that bad.”

“It’s all in your head.”

“You won’t even notice it’s there.”

“You just don’t like it.”

All things that have been said to me by family, friends, and even restaurants when I’ve expressed that I have an allergy to Pork and Grapes.

I have very odd allergies, and to make matters worse, my husband is allergic to Mustard, and my roomie is allergic to Shellfish. This makes not only eating out difficult, but grocery shopping a chore.

We constantly have to check ingredients. We used to use Miracle Whip because it was the only Mayo we could get that was safe, with no mustard, but they recently changed their recipe, so now all we can get is Helmans, which we don’t like as much in some of our recipes.

While the Shellfish and Mustard allergies are pretty bad, they are pretty easily avoidable (as much as I love shrimp, I’m perfectly fine keeping it out of my house to ensure that Roomie lives to the next day). The big issue is my Grape allergy. Grapes are hidden in all sorts of foods, even in things you wouldn’t think Grapes would be.

Like Country Harvest Omega 3 bread. I love Country Harvest, it’s the kind my Grandma always got and it’s the kind I always ate, but now I have to check the ingredients on EVERY package because some of them use Raisin paste as a sweetener.

It’s amazing how many things have Grape in it or are made from Grapes. Here’s a small list:

Balsamic Vinagrette
Raspberry Vinagrette
A1 Sauce
Pretty much any juice blend
Country harvest bread
Cream sauces for pasta
Grapeseed Oil
Razors/lotions that use Grapeseed Oil

Yes, I even have to look at the ingredients on my RAZORS! I grabbed one package of high end razors a number of years ago (I actually can’t remember the brand) and used them once… I had a rash that looked like I was getting Measles due to the fact that their moisturizing strip used Grapeseed Oil.

When my allergy started when I was a child, it was minor. I ate a pack of raisins, or grapes and I would cry that they were hot or spicy in my mouth. Then I started getting hives from them. Then two weeks ago, I was at an Aloette party, and I tried a bit of lotion on my arm. Within 5 seconds of putting it on, my arm was red, swollen, and itchy. I washed it off immediately, but it was too late. about 5-10 minutes later, my chest and throat were getting tight. I took a Benadryl and rushed to the hospital. Luckily the Benadryl worked, but it was still very scary.

I rate restaurants on how well their service is in regards to my allergies. There have been a couple where they’ve shrugged off the issue, and I’ve noticed Pork in my dinner, or could smell the Wine in the sauce. Then there have been restaurants that were so wonderful that the waitstaff alerted the manager to my questions, he came out and went over the entire menu with me, then personally supervised my meal being made to ensure that I could enjoy it without fear.

There was a time in highschool that I thought people’s reactions to peanut butter was being taken too seriously (I mean, not being able to eat peanut butter for 3 days before a child goes to preschool seemed a little over the top), but as someone who has very severe reactions to foods, I can understand a little bit more now.

These allergies have necessitated me making my own food at home a lot, just to ensure that everyone in the house can eat safely. We don’t buy premade frozen Shepherd’s Pie or Lasagna, because there’s too much chance that Mustard could be used to spice something. We are very careful to check all ingredients now, even if it means our grocery shopping trips take twice as long, and this helps a bit with eating healthier, and meal planning.

When you take an hour and a half shopping just to make sure your food is safe to eat, you tend to plan meals so that you don’t go shopping as often.

Unfortunately for us, there isn’t much that can be done to “cure” allergies, it’s something we just have to live with. At least in this day and age it’s more acknowledged, and restaurants are more able to accomodate these requests.

I just ask, as a person who has lived with allergies for the bulk of her life, please, don’t ever try to tell a person that they just don’t like a food or it’s all in their head, and please, for the love of EVERYTHING, don’t hide what they’re allergic to in whatever you’re cooking for them, just to prove the allergy isn’t there. That’s a perfect way to having your friend/relative in the hospital, and VERY upset at you.

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Who am I?

Last night I was at a class that I’m taking called Financial Peace, which is all about learning how to care for your money and get out of debt. Yesterday’s class was about income. Getting a job that pays well, a job you love, a job that fulfills your need because it’s doing what you were put on the Earth to do. This brought on a lot of difficult thinking and looking at myself.

Looking back, I’ve not had one job that I LOVED… I’ve had jobs I’ve enjoyed, jobs I’ve liked, people who were great to work with, teams that I miss desperately… but the work I was doing has never felt right. I started off with the usual part time jobs, babysitting, Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s, waitressing… then I came to the time I needed to decide what I was going to do with my life. What college I wanted to attend, what career path I was going to take…. and nothing, I had NO clue.

I know now! And I’ll get to that later, I know what I wish I had done, where I wish I had gone, but at the time, I was lost. So when my Mother came to me with the job option she thought was the right one for me (the one that would pay well, that only took  1 year of college and would definitely have job availability) I took the option… I didn’t have another. I never thought about waiting, doing another year, thinking it through and not wasting my money (or rather, that of my mom and dad), as I barely made it 2 months before I dropped out of the program that was COMPLETELY not right for me.

I then went back to high school for a semester, and floundered around a bit. I love theatre, I love working in theater, and I love making costumes. I tried to go to an arts school for costume design, but my average wasn’t high enough. As sad as I was when it happened, it was a blessing in disguise. While I love theatre, love working in theatre and love making costumes, I love all these things as a HOBBY, and had I attempted to make it my job, I would have lost the love of them, what with deadlines, pressure, and working on things that just weren’t in my interest range.

I then got a full time job. It was not a great job, it was hard manual labour, hard hours, and lots of stress. It paid… ok, but it wasn’t great. It was in a building with no climate control, so I froze all winter and cooked all summer, and it was a job where I was standing for 10+ hours at a time. While I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, I knew what I DIDN’T want to do, and so, when I decided that I was going to go back to college, I didn’t look at what would make me happy, what would fulfill my life’s calling, or what I really wanted to do, I gave myself a list of critera.

1. It needed to be a job where I could sit down.
2. It needed to be a job that had climate control.
3. It needed to be a job that was engaging and interesting.
4. It needed to be a job that I felt comfortable and capable of doing.
5. It needed to be a job that had benefits.

And it was pretty much based on that order, with benefits being the least of my concerns, but a nice perk if it was available. So with that I sat down with my local community college’s book of classes and chose Administrative Assistant. It was a 2 year course, and it met all my criteria.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my course, but this is where things start to move into the, what I want to do, and what I chose to do. I LOVED my course because while I was taking it, I not only understood what I was learning, but I was assisting others in learning the topics as well. The act of learning something, taking it in, and then giving it to someone else as I taught them was so very fulfilling that it made me realize that ine of the main things I feel very led to is teaching… which… I’m not currently doing, so there’s one direction I missed. I didn’t listen to the urges, and I didn’t realize at the time what I was enjoying, it wasn’t until years later that I realized that I enjoyed the teaching, rather than the Admin work.

So I got a few different Admin positions over the last few years, and I’ve enjoyed the position (for the most part) at all of them. They all had their pluses and their minuses, but I’ve come to realize that this isn’t my ultimate goal. Eventually I will move on from this position, but right now, it’s working for me.

That direction that I know now, that if I could go back in time and talk to my 18 year old self as to what to go into… it would be languages. I love to learn languages, ever since I was in Grade 1 and my Mom put me into French Immersion. Right now, on my own, I’m teaching myself Japanese, but looking back and thinking about if I’d started this 10 years ago, I could have had my French back up to snuff and been able to do my N2 Japanese Literacy Proficiency Test by now.

I realize that that’s in the past, and I need to look forward, so I’m working on speaking French with my friend from Quebec, and I’m working towards my N5 JLPT.

As far as teaching goes, I’m looking towards taking my Microsoft Certification exams which would allow me to train others in the programs, that would take me towards the teaching aspect of me… and add my languages to that, maybe do some training internationally…

While I may not know what my career will fully look like in 5 or 10 years, right now I have a better look at what I look like now, and what I might look like then.

I really think the big question for people with careers, students looking to go into college, and kids growing up is more “Who am I” and not “What do I want to be”.

I think I’ve found who I am, now let’s see what I can do with it.

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More Pressure Needed

This weekend was my first anniversary. It got me thinking a lot. Last year at this time I was sitting in Hawaii, relieved because I didn’t need to worry about my weight any more. My dress fit (mostly) and I could stop restricting my diet in hopes of dropping those last few pounds.

To put it bluntly, I was an unhealthy dieter, as so many women are.

I decided that my best way to lose weight was to just eat subway subs, following the subway diet, I mean, it worked wonders for others, it would work for me. I watched Biggest Loser, I read diet books… but I didn’t use my head.

All things considered, I am not fat, I’m 160 lbs and 5’6″, I’m bigger than what “beautiful” is right now, but I’m comfortable in my skin, I’m proud of who I am, and I’m sick of feeling like I need to adhere to society’s ideal. Every woman is different and I’m trying to keep that in mind as I go through my day.

That being said, I have some issues that need to be dealt with.

My husband and I went away for the weekend. We pointed our car North and kept driving until we got to where we thought was good (it eneded up being 10 hours of driving each way). I have to say, the side view mirrors in cars are VERY unflattering. In any other mirror I don’t mind my face, but in those mirrors I have the double chin to end all double chins!

I took some stock of my life, where I am now compared to where I was a year ago. I haven’t gone up in weight, however I still have way too high of a body fat percentage.

I’m supposed to be at 20%, I’m sitting at around 35%, which is down from the 37.5% that I was at in November, which means I’m making some good steps forward, but I have to keep going.

Taking stock of my life I realize that I eat WAY too much fried foods, rich foods, snacky foods. I need to make better choices, and in order to do that I need to educate myself. I need to learn about good foods that I can snack on that don’t involve gallons of vegetable oil and pounds of salt.

I need to add more green, and maybe some orange and yellow to my diet. I was doing good at this last summer, but over the winter it dropped off. Now that the nice weather is back, I can start walking down to the grocery store and stocking my desk up with fruits and healthy snacks.

I’m also trying to work on my exercize. I used to think that in order to make my body look more the way I want to I needed to strength train. I’ve been educating myself here too, and I’ve realized that for the most part I’m pretty strong already (need to work on my upper body but it’ll come). What I really need to do is cardio, I need to work off this layer of fat that I’ve got and help it slim up.

I don’t want to become skinny though, I’m happy with the shape of my body, however I’m concerned with my health. My family history has a frighteningly long list of health issues, and a lot of them stem from weight. The majority of my family, including both parents, have weight issues, and I’m trying to break the mold with this.

I’m trying to go jogging, or for walks at least, on my lunch. I’m making a point of heading to the gym on Saturday mornings at least, with the reward of going knitting afterwards. I figure I’ll work on my cardio as I have time throughout the week, and I’ll work on my strength training, with some cardio, on Saturdays.

I’ve also started up my SparkPeople account again. I’m tracking my food and I’m going to be reading a bunch of the articles on there to learn about healthier options for foods. I know about dried fruits and things like that, but I want to delve deeper and start making a good life change.

For starters, I need to eat more than just Cheerios and Milk for breakfast, add some cheese… a banana and apple, it might be a good breakfast… I just need to balance out my meals.

Oh… and I definitely need to skip the snack machine.

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Finally Spring!

So, we had an INCREDIBLY long winter here up in Canada, this morning, we woke up to it being nearly freezing temperature.

This has been a big set back for me. See, I’m hoping to work more cardio into my workouts, and for me that’s mainly running or dancing. Now I’ve been working on dancing a bit (I love Japanese Pop music, and they have some fairly difficult dances to their songs, so I’m practicing those and dancing along.. maybe I’ll eventually get the courage to take video of me doing it… but not right now), but the running is hard.

I get bored easily, and I really dislike running on treadmills. I’ve managed to do some over the winter by going to the gym and watching tv while I run, but it’s just not my thing.

Now, however, the weather is getting nice enough for me to run outside and enjoy… or.. not.

My issue is that while I’m not “Fat”, I am VERY out of shape. I used to dance 4 hours per week, and 3 of those hours were consecutive on one day. I was able to keep going and dance all I wanted, and now I’m lucky to be able to jog for 5 minutes without feeling that I’m going to die.

So I really have to push myself with my running.

Anyway, today I knew it was going to be beautiful out so I brought a change of clothes, and decided I was going for a jog on my lunch break. Just before I went out I checked my route to see how long it was, and to make sure it was safe.

I was going to start off slow, a simple 1.5 km approx jog, and see how I felt.

5 years ago this would have been easy as pie. Well… this is how it turned out for me today:

Jog for 700 m – I felt good just before I started out, but 10 steps into my jog, my ankles were complaining, so I stopped for a few seconds to rotate them and loosen them up. I’d done some quick stretching prior to heading out, but clearly not enough. I then started jogging again and thought “wow, this isn’t so bad”… I didn’t realize that I was on a small hill and that was helping me. Once the hill evened out it became a lot harder, and for the last 100 m or so I was chanting in my head, “just to the corner, just to the corner”. I was going to let myself walk and catch my breath for a bit because I felt like my chest was going to explode all Alien style in a second.

Walk for 270 m  – so I was going to walk from one corner to the next, and I did… sort of. I felt like a beached whale or something. I couldn’t catch my breath, my throat was killing me, and my chest hurt. I kept coughing because apparently when I exercize my body goes into “Mucous production mode” and tries to smother me in order to get me to stop. About 20 m from where I’d decided to jog again I started feeling better, but still sore in the chest.

Jog for 350 m – Now here’s where my route plan went awry. See… that lovely little hill I jogged DOWN at the beginning, I now had to jog UP, only at this part of the run, the little slope was a cliff… or at least that’s what it felt like to me, but I was determined to jog it, or at least the majority of it. So I started up the hill, and about half way up my chest was ready to explode again. I told myself that I was going to make it up the hill or I was going to die… no alternative. About 80% of the way up I decided I was going to walk the last bit of the hill and then jog back to work.

Walk for 65 m – Trying desperately to grab my breath again, I wasn’t going to let myself go that easily! I was only letting myself walk to where the hill flattened out, so… I walked slower, to give my body more time to recouperate. By the time I hit my start up point again I was not happy, but I was determined.

Jog for 270 m – This was my home stretch and I was fighting myself all the way. My body wanted to throw a 3 year old tantrum and my brain had to turn all Mommy on it. I came up to my last corner, and there’s a car lot on it. I spent a good minute and a half lecturing myself mentally as to why I was not allowed to cut the corner and had to continue to jog until I hit my work parking lot. When I could see the parking lot, I tried to imagine a finish line rope across it… it didn’t work much, but it helped a bit.

To add insult to injury, all the pictures of joggers and such that I’ve seen have these beautiful people who look like gazelles as they run their races or through the woods. All are smiling, all are strong. I felt like an elephant with a broken leg, gallomping along my path, huffing and puffing. There was no smile, I was just concentrating on ensuring I had oxygen getting in my lungs.

I would just quit right now, figuring that running and I are just not meant to be.

But I know myself.

And that’s why before I even started, I gave myself a goal… then TOLD people about it.

I’m intending on running an 8 km race in July, it’s called the Dirty Dash, and it raises money for local charities. (It also has a 4 km race, but I’m pushing for the 8 because I can always downgrade).

I know that if I don’t run it, or just give up I’ll look pretty stupid to all the people I’ve talked about it.

Right now though, it’s been an hour and a half since I finished my run and I still feel kinda light headed and like my chest is tight. Oh well, it’s something that I need to do in order to change from a broken legged elephant to a graceful gazelle….

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The other side of healthy living

When people talk about healthy living, they quite often focus on eating right and exercizing regularly. They talk about their physical health, their progress with it, and how much it has changed their life.

However, just because you change patterns with your eating, your exercize, your lifestyle, that just doesn’t complete full healthy living. There’s a whole other side of healthy living that a lot of blogs and books don’t cover.

They’re like society, they only worry about the superficial. Do you appear healthy? Are you healthy on the outside?

Now don’t get my wrong, some of my favourite blogs are food blogs, recipe blogs, exercize blogs. I love Oh She Glows, she has some of my favourite recipes, I also read the blogs at Bodies in Motivation, where I really feel pushed to continue with my exercize schedule, even when I don’t want to. The big reason I enjoy these two sites is because they do focus on other areas of healthy living.

The inside part of it.

Healthy living isn’t just how you look, it’s how you feel, how you think, how you live.

You can train yourself to not go head down in a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (hello personal comfort food) whenever you’re hurt, tired, or depressed. But if you don’t deal with what’s making you hurt, tired or depressed, it’s just denying yourself something for the sake of denying yourself. To prove to yourself that you’re strong, you can get past these urges, and look, you fit a size 10 now.

It’s not a matter of “getting past” urges, it’s dealing with what is causing the urges. If every time you reach for the ice cream it’s because you’ve had a fight with your Mom, then you have to deal with your Mom!!! Otherwise, if you distract yourself from the ice cream by running on the treadmill, you’re just changing one obsession for another, and that’s not healthy!

You may have  a good body, but if your mental state isn’t there, you’re not getting the healthy body with the right reasons.

As part of that, I’m working towards healing some past hurts this year. My “bad feeling” obsessions are as follows:

-Youtube (I distract myself from real life by watching videos of other people’s lives)
-Romance Novels (If I felt unfufilled in my relationship with my husband, I’d find a different one in a book)
-The afore mentioned Ice Cream (When I got upset, I didn’t care about my body so I’d give up and eat my favourite dessert)
-My Imagination (When life becomes boring or to tough to handle, I escape to a story/movie that I have going in my head… it’s weird, but it’s a coping mechanism from childhood)

So, these have all become unhealthy things in my life. I’ve already taken steps to improve some of them.


I have already started cutting back my internet time. I calculated out how many hours I spent watching youtube videos, and it was more than I care to reveal here. I was wasting my life away in front of my computer. So I’m cutting back on that, I’m trying to get myself down to maybe an hour a day. Which means I’m missing a BUNCH of videos because I just don’t have time to watch them, but it’s something I need to get past. Due to this extra time I’ve been able to hit the gym more, cook dinner, and read more… which brings us to:

Romance Novels

I checked last year through my library, journal, and memory, and I discovered that throughout the year of 2010, I did NOT read a full book other than a Romance novel at ALL. This, really saddened me. I mean come on… am I that sad of a person that the only books I read are romance? I’ve given myself a mandate. I need to read more for education and self healing. This is not to mean that I CAN’T read fiction or something, but I really want to stay away from Romance this year. (I’ve read one romance novel, but I started it at the end of December and finished it on New Years… I’m still counting it, but it’s just one, and I haven’t read any since). I’m going to put a page up top that lists the books I read this year. I’m hoping it looks a lot nicer than last years, which I’m too embarrassed to post.

Ice Cream

I should probably add Chips to this as well. I love snacky foods, and sugary ice cream. As stated above, I love Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream, particularly Hagen Daaz, and I also really love chips. Now my cruddy eating usually falls around visits with family that don’t go well, fights with hubby or general feeling bad about myself. To counteract this I have placed some rules on myself. I’m not allowed to have change on my at ANY time (the vending machines at work are cheap and too easily accessed). Ice Cream is not allowed in the house (ok, so sometimes it is… we have a tub of it in the freezer right now, but when this happens, I’m not allowed to have more than a small scoop of it a day… and my hubby is very helpful with this in not eating it in front of me, or making sure he only gets a small bowl so I don’t feel like I’ve got such a piddly little amount). I’m also not allowed to eat ANYTHING after a major blow out with family. I’m notorious for gorging myself on any food I can find. So if it takes leaving the house to go for a drive with hubby or what, I just can’t have anything to eat until I’ve calmed down. Or if I NEED to eat, then it must be small and healthy, like a salad, or pita or something.

This may sound a little out there, but it’s what I need to do to curb my eating. I’m also not allowed to substitute the elliptical, jogging, or walking for the food. I must just STOP and deal with my emotions before I can continue. I have an addictive personality, and thankfully I never got into drugs, smoking, or to deep in alcohol, but I get addicted to other things very easily so I have to place limits.

My Imagination

This one I really will have problems with. It’s something I’ve had as long as I can remember. And if I could get the stories I’ve written in my head out on paper I’d probably be a famous author or screenwriter right now. But I’m not, and I can’t, and these different lives I’ve lived in my head are not exactly healthy and are really just a way for me to not live in the real world when things get too tough. My hubby always knows something’s not right when my eyes glazing over increases, because I’m not really there with him. I’m not sure exactly what I can do to stop this escape, like I said, it’s something I’ve done since I was a wee child. I had a difficult childhood and this made it livable, when things were too rough, I had a better life to live in my head, and it always had a happy ending. It’s hard to type this out, but as I’m typing for me, and not for anyone else, I need to get it out there.

Having it on the page makes it real, brings it to the forefront and makes me realize I need to work on it.

The only other thing I can think of the escape the spiral of my imagination is to enter counselling. That’s a big step and a somewhat frightening one for me.

It may just be the only way to get my inside healthy…

It amazes me sometimes how my writing goes. This post isn’t anything like I originally planned it. The good thing though is that I’m not trying to write for someone else, this is an open journal yes, where people can see what I write, but it’s a journal for me, to look back on and see how I’ve changed. And this post is truly just me, typing and letting my thoughts take over.

Sorry if I bore you 🙂

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Status Update

Went to the gym last night, and I’m working on making healthier meals at home which include more beans and legumes and rice.

Last night we had chicken with seasoning salt, oregano and lemon juice squeezed over top, then roasted in the oven till just done. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to make the rice, so I made instant mashed potatoes (not that healthy, but better than just chicken and peas….) Tonight I’m making a hamburger meal with salsa, carrots, onions and navy beans mixed together, served over rice.

Trying very hard to not snack… snacking is my bane!!! I love chips and chocolate and the snack machines at work are $0.50 for ANYTHING!!! So I’ve stopped having change on me and started bringing berries with me to work to snack on.

The good thing is that I’m not putting on any weight, the bad thing is, I’m not losing any weight. I’m hoping to go to the gym later this week to do some cardio on the treadmill (and get my weekly tv watching in… I love TV but we don’t have cable at home, so I go to the gym to watch it… especially the food network… mmmmmm).

Probably my biggest issue with food though is my LOVE of processed foods… I was raised on Mac & Cheese, Hotdogs, frozen dinners and such, or the cheapest real food my mom could buy (a normal dinner would be dry hamburger, peas and instant rice… not the healthiest or yummiest meals out there). I have been hankering for Kraft Dinner SO MUCH lately, especially the white cheddar kind… ugh. It’s so hard…

Maybe I’ll try and make a healthier version.. I found a recipe for home made vegan mac and cheese that uses nutritional yeast and butternut squash in the sauce…

To top it all off, I’m trying to cut back my gluten intake, not cut it out entirely (not sure I could do that) but at least not eat white pasta, white bread, things like that. I’ll have pitas, or eat things with wheat sometimes, but I’m trying to really cut back on all the breads I’ve been eating. Working on filling that part of my diet with healthier grains like quinoa, red rice, and spelt. We’ll see how well I do.

I feel pretty much fine with my body all things considered, but I’ve had my fat % checked at the gym and I’m sitting at around 37 % which is almost double where I’m supposed to be, so that’s what I’m working on now more than losing weight.

So I need to hit the gym more, do some more cardio, work off these fat stores that I’ve built up and just keep on keeping on.

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