Thursday, June 26, 2014: Today Girl

Lose 25 pounds, run 10km, squat body weight, save money, take tropical vacation, change life, become new person.  All thoughts that I have regularly and which become hugely overwhelming and defeating.  Thoughts that also project me so far into the future that I miss out on the day that I am living right now.  Even from week to week; I plan for the next week and the next month and project ahead to see what things will look like and I lose what they look like right now.  Through various forms of self-reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I can’t continue on being Unrealistic Expectation Girl. I need to be Today Girl. I spend so much time picturing my life as a different person; me…..but better.  Me…..but fitter.  Me…..but happier.  Me…….all the good qualities and none of the bad.  Me……perfect.  And the thought of trying to get to “perfect me” is exhausting and basically impossible.

So…..what if I change my thought process and focus on simply being the Me that I am right now.  Today Girl.  Today Girl looks at herself the way that she is right now….and banishes the “if this would change and that would get smaller and those would get bigger then I would be happier” thoughts.  Today Girl makes a budget and then makes spending decisions per the budget…and banishes the “6, 8, 12 months from now I’ll have saved $$$ and then I’ll be happier” thoughts.  Today Girl does a reasonable workout for the body and fitness she has today…..and banishes the “this is useless, I’ll never get there” and “6 months from now I’ll be a fierce, totally fit force to be reckoned with and then I’ll be happier” thoughts.

Today Girl recognizes where she is mentally and physically and works with exactly what she has right now and does not worry one iota about what she may have mentally or physically by tomorrow or next month.  Today Girl recognizes that this will be a new way of thinking and that it may feel strange and uncomfortable and even a bit backwards but Unrealistic Expectation Girl’s way of thinking wasn’t working so I’ll try this.

Something I have been sorely missing in the last 8 months is time to myself.  Just to think.  To check in, to recalibrate, to blank my thoughts and rest my brain.  I’ve lamented this lack of alone time for a while now, knowing that it’s part of my dissatisfaction with my life as it is right now.  But oddly, I’ve been unwilling to do anything to really take back that time for myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt like “our” needs are greater than my needs and I’ve been loath to do anything that makes any other party uncomfortable or put upon.   Given that it has recently become crystal clear to me just how valuable “time” can be and how greatly it can help my mood, outlook and disposition, I’ve made just “one small change” that my sister advised me to make.

Wednesday and Friday night are Chef’s Night Off.  Basically The Chef is out of the building and both parties can make, buy, eat or not eat whatever they want for dinner and the next day’s lunch.  PB&J?  Go for it. Order pizza?  Here’s the phone.  A plate of watermelon?  Sure thing.  Protein shake and almonds?  Great. Nothing at all?  Consider yourself on a fast then.  I complain (yes, it IS complaining) all the time about how I have no time and cooking is a huge time suck and I just need some downtime….and yet nothing changes.  No miracle helper is sent to me, I still plan, shop for and make every meal that we eat, months go by and I’m in the same position I was in before but getting progressively more burnt out and, yes, resentful.  So I have made the change that I need in order to care for myself.  And yes, there will be an impact and yes, there will be an adjustment and there might even be some resentment from one or both of us………….but it’s non-negotiable.  I need time and I’m taking it back.  I’m taking it from “us” and giving it to “me”.

This may seem like a small and strange little step to take…but it’s the first step in reclaiming myself and figuring out who I am now that the dust has settled.  It’s the first in a series of small changes that will see me become more responsible for myself and less responsible for everything that is “us”.


Golden Egg

Wouldn’t it be great if you got your slate wiped clean every single day?  If, every day, you got to start again with a gold star or an A+ in your chart?  I don’t think this is an original idea by any stretch but it’s been on my mind lately.  As a person who is on a seemingly endless quest for balance, I feel like this “New Day” idea is going to factor greatly in to where I go this year and how I get there.  I feel, for the first time ever like what happened yesterday doesn’t matter. I think that this is one of those clichés that everyone “says” but that you have to grow into understanding and really believing.

What I did yesterday, last week or last year doesn’t count.  I drank too much over the holidays and previous to that, ate too many chocolate almonds when I was going through my work transition.  Doesn’t matter.  I used to be a weight-room regular and had the physique to prove it (*).  Doesn’t matter.  Good or bad, it really doesn’t matter.  You wake up in the morning and start wherever your actions dropped you at the end of the day before.  If you ate crap and drank too much then your starting point is behind bloat and guilt.  If you ate your veggies and went for a walk then your starting point is in the light of self-respect and self-love.

I keep reading these articles that say that as you get past your early 30’s, certain hormones slow down and this changes and that changes and the things your body did before don’t happen as easily now and it was starting to get kind of depressing….like, through whatever circumstances I experienced or perceived, I missed the window on ever getting “there”.

Since “there” doesn’t really exist and there is no official road map to navigate to “there” and I’ve already made the declaration that I cannot wage war on myself anymore, what’s a woman to do?

I’ve put some goals down on paper and shared them here but I kept trying to fill in a long term goal.  My pie in the sky, golden egg, mystical rainbow, dream destination.  I realized that I don’t have one.  I’m not going to run a marathon, I have no tropical vacation planned, I’m not getting married….I just have my regular life and I want to love living it.   So my desire is to wake up each morning in the light of self-respect and self-love.   I would like every morning to be the achievement of my long-term goal.  Did I live my life in the balance of health, happiness, activity, relaxation, reward and discipline?  If the answer is yes?  That’s my mystical-rainbow-dream-destination-golden-egg.  It’s immeasurable and never ending and I’ll never “get there”…but with the right decisions I can go there every day.

(*) I only realized by recently looking at a picture from almost two years ago that I was in pretty decent form!  Since I had no balance and nothing was ever good enough, I never even noticed the excellent shape that I was in and that’s a crying shame.


Before I forget, I wanted to point out to you that along the top of the webpage there is now a tab called “FEED ME”.  This page will have my photos of various delicious recipes that I make.  Because they are my pictures but not my recipes, I set it up so that if you click on the picture you should be taken to that recipe on the website where I originally found it.  There are a couple on there already!  I’ll try to remember to put up a little note when I add something!

Now that I’ve gone and poured my coffee, let’s have a chat!

I ventured out into the snowy tundra at 4:12am this morning to hit the gym.  I will admit that last week when it was -17C windchill (1.4F), I did not go.  I truly didn’t think it was necessary and ya, I felt a little guilty at the end of the week when I’d missed those days but staying warm in bed when the wind was howling was more valuable to me.  Now that it’s just snow, I was game this morning!  I won’t pretend that it was easy to leap out from under a pillowy mountain of down softness….but….it’s not about being easy.  So since I’d made a three workout cycle, this morning was my first time trying it out.  And?  I nearly broke my ankle.  Sort of.  I was doing “mountain climbers” which I also call “sprinters”.  Here’s a picture of the general idea.

Mountain Climb


So ultimately you’re in a plank type position and you are rapidly doing a running in place motion.  Only…..when you get tired and your legs start turning to rubber, if you don’t pick your feet up high enough, your toes catch on the rubber flooring and you jam your ankle.  THEN, when you start doing donkey kicks and you’re kicking both feet up into the air behind you and SLAMMING them back down onto the floor, it makes you remember that you just jammed your ankle!  I guess the gym-angels were smiling down on me this morning though because I didn’t actually hurt myself, thank heavens!  So the gym felt good this morning and resolidified my goals and the fitness aspect of my balance.  Next date is either tomorrow and Friday or Thursday and Friday.  Or….given that my birthday weekend is this weekend, perhaps it should be all four days! Meh, we’ll see.

Tonight we’re having Ray’s son over for dinner and since it’s snowing and our house is all Christmassy and we’ll have a fire, I’m really looking forward to it, it’s very cozy!

In other Christmas news, as people who recently lost their jobs, gained new jobs (that pay less) and are still trying to recover financially, the sheer volume of requests for money and donations is overwhelming.  My new boss is very involved with his church and since he happens to own the business that we work for, he inundates the 15 employees with requests for time, money, goods etc.  Easily there’s an email every day when we get in asking us to buy tickets or come to an event or sponsor something or someone.  If I did everything that he’s emailed to us in the last month I would be down nearly $300 already!  The one thing that the company employees have committed to is sponsoring a family.  Only….after we all agreed, Boss has decided that we 15 people are going to put together not one hamper but TWO.  One for the family of 5 and one for a man recovering from some sort of addiction living in a residential facility.  It seems like a nice gesture….until you read the list of things that are on the “need” list.

NEED:  winter jacket, 2 pairs of jeans, techie gadget (eg. Ipod)

Don’t get me mistaken, I’m all for charity and Ray and I donate to lots of causes over the year that are important to us.  But a 45 yearold man recovering from addiction, living off the generosity of others needs an IPOD for his hamper??  Aside from how ridiculous that request even is, jeans are $40 Per Pair, a winter jacket is easily $100 and then we’re also supposed to provide toiletries, socks/underwear and also create a Christmas breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon etc) and a full Christmas dinner including a turkey or a large ham.  That’s for the ONE GUY.  Forget that we also have to put together the same two meals, toiletries and gifts for 3 teenage girls and their parents.  Seriously, I’m stressing out, who has this kind of money?  It’s absurd!  The smart decision would have been to offer ONE hamper, get each staff member to donate $20 and we would go and spend the $360 for One Family.   It is also somewhat distressing that at the end of the email about the hampers from the Pastor at the church that is organizing this, they have requested that each hamper gets “rounded out with a gift card so that the recipient(s) can buy something special.”  Theoretically this hamper donation thing could end up costing me more than I’m spending on members of my own family!  It makes me feel uncomfortable and like I’m stingy or uncharitable.  But I’m not going into debt on my credit card to help put an iPod into a recovering drug addict’s stocking.  Sorry, I’m just…not.

 I’ll leave you with a bit of a funny today.  These are two phone conversations that I had yesterday, back to back.

 Shannon:  Hi, Customer, we tried to mail you a Christmas card and it came back saying you’d moved.  The address I had was 1234 Marinaside Crescent.

Customer:  Oh, ya, we moved to a new building.

Shannon:  OK, great.  Could I get your address then?

Customer:  My email address?

Shannon:  Err….no……not your email address…………..


Shannon:  Hi, Customer, we tried to mail you a Christmas card and it came back saying we were missing the unit number portion of the address.

Customer:  Oh, I’m just the receptionist.

Shannon:  Err….OK… you think you could tell me the unit number of the business so I could mail the card?

Customer:  I don’t have the unit number.  How about if I just give you the address?

Shannon:  OK, let’s try that.

Customer:  OK, the address is Unit 1730, 10355 King George…….

Shannon:  OK….so Unit 1730 then?

Customer:  I’m not really sure.


Happy Snow Day, Beautiful People!

Dessert For Dinner

OK, great start to the morning so far, the boss’s son just pointed out to me that I might want to untuck the hem of my skirt from the back of my pantyhose.  Grrrreat.  At least he told me before I went outside and crossed over into our other unit….although I may have noticed myself when I felt the cold breeze up my backside!  This on the heels of locking myself in the bathroom yesterday and then later, completely losing one of the days of the week.  I swear, there’s a part of me that still has an intermittent brain injury caused by the events of the last year.


If you follow me on Instagram (ladyshanny) you’ll already know that I made and served a grain free apple crisp as our dinner last night. Don’t gasp, if you think about it, a grain free apple crisp isn’t bad!  Apples:  good.  Coconut:  good.  Pecans:  good.  Almond flour:  good.  A small amount of maple syrup:  not the worst thing in the world.  All baked up and warm and fragrant on a cold, dark night:  perfect.  Eaten in front of a roaring fire with the Christmas tree lit and 70lbs of dog on my feet:  too much good to talk about!


Tonight I have to do Costco (really starting to hate doing it by myself).  And, I just cancelled some Friday evening plans which is a bit disappointing.  My mom, sister and I were supposed to go to the Christmas Market in Vancouver.  It’s an outdoor event and it’s going to be extremely cold tomorrow night.  Add a Canucks home game and the annual tree lighting festival to the first-Friday-in-December Christmas market and you have a recipe for insane crowds, packed trains and long lines.  So…..while it would have been festive (and freezing), we have decided to nix the idea.  I was really looking forward to buying some hand crafted soap, kind of bummed.

In happier news though, my sister will be taking the train to my house on Saturday morning and we have a day of Christmas festivities planned including a wee bit of Christmas shopping, decorating the banister, looking at old (and apparently hilarious) photos and maybe a bit of baking.  We also plan to head over to the forest near my house and see if we can take some (or get Ray to take some) sister-pictures.  And then, after we’re frozen?  This:

We’re planning to make coconut milk hot chocolate with whipped coconut cream and candy cane stir sticks!

We’re planning to make coconut milk hot chocolate with whipped coconut cream and candy cane stir sticks!

Happy early weekend, beautiful people!  The sun is shining beautifully here and if you turn your heater on you can almost pretend it’s not winter!

Feeling Chattier (or Typier) Now

I’m going for a drink with someone from my past tonight.  I’m not overly jazzed about it, it’s one of those situations where I was “friends” with him because it was more conducive to overall peace in the workplace than to not be.  And in fairness, he has an amazing ability to coach and help you draw out solutions to your own issues.  The trouble is that he’s not overly trustworthy and he flips and flops and power trips. He texted me the other day and asked if I wanted to meet him for a drink to catch up.  And…I sort of do, if only out of curiosity to find out what’s going on in his life….and I know he wants the inside scoop on all that has gone on at my previous workplace.  So ya, I agreed to go.  And then I invited my hubby to meet me there when he gets off work because I won’t have time to make dinner and the pub is on his way home (it’s mere blocks from our house, too) and we like any opportunity to go there.  Yesterday when I texted Old Acquaintance to confirm we were still on for today, I also mentioned that I’d invited Ray to meet me there on his way home from work.  This means that the total amount of “catching up” time that we have is about an hour before Ray gets there.  And Old Acquaintance was annoyed.  I felt a bit bad because he’d invited me for this visit and he is coming all the way out to my neighborhood to meet up and I’ve gone and truncated the visit.  But then I gave my head a shake!  This whole thing makes me slightly uncomfortable anyway, I see Old Acquaintance less than once a year, we have a bit of a rocky past (in that he wanted to fire me during the 7 months that he was my boss) and to be honest?  I want to have dinner with my hubby at our favorite pub!  Why do I care so hard whether some nearly-random person from my past is upset with an adult decision that I’ve made?  So, instead of dreading the visit and feeling bad about anything, I’m going to give all the gossip he wants (what do I care, I don’t work there anymore) and then have a delicious meal with my man.


So, moving on.  Now that I’ve been back to the gym successfully for two weeks, I feel like it’s time to make things a bit more interesting.  Not stupidly difficult or obsessive or the way that I’ve been in the past.  No, I want some new things, things to make me excited and to get new “skills”.  So, below I’ve noted the workouts that I’m going to do for the next three weeks, three days a week (since that’s my commitment for now).

Day One

  • 10 minute warmup jog
  • 1000m row
  • BW – 3 x 20 – sprinters (that’s not what they’re called….I think they’re called mountain climbs but it uses the pre-sprint posture)
  • BW – 3 x 10 plies (this is a type of squat fm ballet….basically heels together, toes pointed out, butt tucked under (instead of bum way back like a normal squat)
  • BW – 3 x 15 two leg donkey kicks
  • 3 x 10 machine ham curls
  • 3 x 10 machine leg press
  • 3 x 10 machine inner thigh press
  • ABDOMINALS (I’ve been using the gym’s ab machine circuit and it just brutalizes my abs, I love it!)

Day Two

  • 25 minute treadmill sprint program (smthg I found online)
  • 3 x 10 machine lat pulldowns)
  • 3 x 10 dumbell tricep kickbacks
  • 3 x 10 reverse barbell curl
  • 3 x 10 machine seated rows
  • 3 x 10 dumbell shoulder raise

Day Three

  • Mile-row-mile (this is basically run a mile as quick as possible, get off and row 2000M as quick as possible and then get back on and run another mile.  It’s one of my favourite things…that I also hate!)
  • 3 x 15 weight-plate squat press
  • 3 x 8 weight-plate lunges (these lunges and squats last Friday nearly crippled me….in the best possible way, I could barely get out of bed on Saturday morning!)

So there it is….three weeks of workouts which pretty much brings me through my birthday and just about onto Christmas’s doorstep.  It’s only 3 days per week and each workout is just a little over 85 minutes including warmup & stretching. I’m excited about it, I’m looking forward to trying some new things and working out in a slightly different way than I have before.  I have treadmill sprints combined with an upper body day, some dynamic full body moves combined with a lower body day and then a good met-con combined with some full body exercises.  And……because I’ve always lamented that I’ve never had abs, I’ll be doing abdominals every visit! Seems dumb in hindsight that I would complain about not having abs when I have never, not one time, ever concentrated any significant effort on them!

Maybe in the New Year, depending on making sure that I maintain the nice balance that I’m cultivating here, I might try one of the programs that’s out there online, maybe Jamie Eason’s Live Fit program (minus the crackpot, completely fat free nutrition plan).

I think it is possible, with a bit of practice to maintain calm and balance while also wanting improvement and success.  I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. So I’ll work hard at the gym every time I go….and then leave it there.  Won and done.  And I’m going to make sure to re-evaluate regularly to make sure….because this whole “balanced life” thing is all new to me, remember?

My Car Analogy

I didn’t have a cookie last night.  This is to say, I bought grain free cashew cookies (holy crap they were expensive) the other day and gave myself permission to have a cookie in the evening if I feel like it.  If you’ve ever read my blog in the past you would know how I feel about sugar.  One tiny taste and I’m catapulted down the rabbit hole and it takes weeks or months for me to pull myself together and clean up!  Needless to say I was a little tentative when I bought the cookies but I felt that the enjoyment of a small cookie from time to time would be working with my desire to find and maintain balance.  From a purely financial point of view I refuse to share these cookies with Ray and I wondered if that would trigger my instinct to guard food.  My point is that why would I give him a $1.25 2” cookie when he can and chooses to eat whatever cookies or Halloween candy we have around whenever he feels like it.  No, the $15 cookies are mine.  The first night I sat down with my coffee and had a cookie.   The next night I had another cookie with my coffee while watching television.  Last night I didn’t, last night I had an orange with my coffee and then went to bed.  I noticed last night that now that I’ve got these little cookies in the fridge and that I am permitting myself to have one (every night if I want), they aren’t controlling me.  I don’t dream about them all day long at work and I don’t sneak eat them before Ray gets home.

I wondered this morning, have I never tried this?  Have I never given myself permission to have a treat that fits into my life without destroying anything else that I have going?  Not cheesecake every night or a handful of chocolates….but a cookie with evening coffee?  Really?  I’ve never done this?  Have I never allowed “healthy”, “gym” and “fitness” to coexist with “treat” and “enjoyment”??  I don’t think I ever have.  If I was in “enjoyment” mode then I was eating inappropriate treats too frequently and not doing anything considerable for exercise.  If I was in “healthy/fitness” mode then every thought in my head and action in my life somehow was directed towards that.

Honestly?  How exhausting!  Like stomping on the gas pedal, right to the floor and lurching forward at rocket speed (hopefully without getting injured) and then slamming hard on the brakes to come to a complete standstill (hopefully without putting my head through the windshield) and then putting my foot to the floor again and expecting, no demanding, to be at maximum speed immediately.  STOP!   GO!  STOP!  GOOO!

Jesus Murphy, seriously, stop.  Just stop.

I went to the gym on Wednesday and then again this morning.  This morning was the first weights workout I’ve done since August.  I’ve lost muscle.  I’ve lost strength.  I’ve lost definition.  But, considering that I’ve found my balance and my sanity, I was able to remind myself that since there is no more STOP-GO-STOP-GO-STOP anymore, it doesn’t really matter.  It doesn’t matter if I lose 1 pound of my 15 every week.  It doesn’t matter if it takes me two months (or three or four) to get back to lifting the weight that I was at previously.  And during the time that I’ll be losing that weight and building that muscle I’ll also be eating a cookie and drinking red wine and lying in bed reading a book and putting my head in my dog’s warm, squishy neck and taking a nap.  So will it all be slower?  You bet.  Will my results be different?  Maybe.  Will it be more enjoyable, less anxiety driven, more liveable?  Hell yes.

I don’t really know how I did it before, how I would get myself all ramped up from nothing to everything over and over again.  I do know that time and again I would become extremely frustrated because it always felt like I was starting again, like I never got anywhere, like I never could get any further than where I could get. It’s funny now, that I couldn’t see the flaw then.  I would stomp on the gas for the same general duration and then hit the brakes.  Stay stopped for around the same length of time while doing the same sort of things each time.  And then stomp the gas again until I couldn’t anymore.  And, surprise, I could never get any further.  You’re shocked, right?  I was.  Often.   Eventually the speed at which I was moving and the duration that I could keep going for were dramatically reduced until eventually I just ran out of fuel.  I kept trying to stomp on the gas and nothing would happen.  No go.  Stalled.

Eventually, through much self-reflection and asking for help to a few different people, I’ve been able to put a new kind of fuel in the tank (peace, kindness, realism) and by gently feathering on the gas pedal I’ve gotten moving again.  Gently.  Slowly.  Quietly.

Tonight we’re going to our favourite pub for dinner with Ray’s kids and then they’re coming back to our house to decorate our tree…with some drinks in hand.  I thought about what I would eat at the pub.  The trap with “balance” is that it’s easy to forget that sometimes you have to take things away to keep the equilibrium.  I’ve been adding cookies and couch time to bring back my ability to have enjoyment while still being healthy….but in this case I need to take away some indulgence at dinner time.  So….I will have a salmon salad at the pub (it’s so good anyway!) because lunch today was shepherd’s pie which was a bit heavy and we’ll be drinking which is extra intake as well.  French fries and a bunless egg & chorizo burger would have been delicious….but this time it just doesn’t fit in.  It’ll be there the next time around and when I do have it I’ll know that it’s because it fits.  We’re doing our Christmas shopping this weekend and going to one of our favourite salad bars for lunch.  We’ll also finish the decorating and I’ll do some cooking….of what I’m not quite sure yet.

Happy weekend!

Practicing Balance

It’s been a few days since my last post and I’m happy to report that I’ve gained a pound and a half and gone to the gym twice.  OK, so I’m not technically “happy” about the gain, but normally, that gained pound and a half would send me into a spiral and an internal rage filled with mean words and hate-face.  I’m working very hard on not caring about it.  Because?  I didn’t do anything to deserve the gain except be a woman and get my period.

What I have done is gone to the gym twice for a total of 2,000 meters rowed and 4 miles run.  What I have done is eaten healthy, whole foods.  What I have done is gone outside and gone on a date and gone to bed early.

I was emailing with my sister last week and admitted that I have never had balance.  I’ve said I’ve had balance….but in reality I swing wildly from one side to the other.  No booze, no sugar, no starchy carbs, gym hard four times a week, long & fast dog walk every day.  And then, later, when that insanity wears off I swing wildly over to the other side and drink and eat chocolate and barely get off the couch.  And to be perfectly honest, regardless of which side the pendulum is on, I can’t say I have ever really been happy with myself.  When I’m on the “gym side” I never worked hard enough, never lifted heavy enough, never gave up enough enjoyment to get where I thought I wnted to be.  When I was on the “couch side”…well, you can imagine, I was berating myself for having fallen down.

So where do I want to be going forward?  I want to be at the gym a couple-three days a week, I want to sit on the sofa and watch my shows on a Saturday afternoon.  I want to drink a glass of nice red wine as many nights per week as I feel like (just for health-sake I will limit that to one glass per night) and on the days that I just don’t feel like wine, I’ll drink tea.  I want to make brownies and let Ray eat three quarters of them and take one in my lunch as a treat.  I want coconut macaroons in the freezer for the long, dark winter nights when we cuddle up on the couch and feel like a treat.  I want every meal I eat to be veggie-heavy because I feel better physically when I do that.  I want to try yoga.  I want to sleep in on Sunday mornings.  I want to ride my bicycle to work.  I want to sit on the couch on Friday night and listen to music and talk to my man.  I.  Want.  Balance.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who can walk their dog up to Starbucks and get a coffee and then walk back home.  Fortunately our home is about a mile and a half from a Starbucks, through a gorgeous forest.  Unfortunately, I always behave as though I’m on some sort of speed mission and when you always have to be walking at the max of your ability, it’s hard to sip a coffee.  I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that can go for a stroll.  Why must I always be running, in a rush, not able to enjoy the moment?  Because I have no balance.  Until now.

So….while it’s only been less than a week, I have been practicing my balance.  Yesterday we went to the chiropractor and then out for a coffee.  I had a red tea latte and a chocolate pecan tarte (grain free).  It was delicious….but so sweet that I stopped myself at the halfway mark and brought the other half home.  I’m eating it now with a coffee.  Today we walked our dog to the drug store and then came home and decorated the outside of our house for Christmas.  It was a tonne of work and between that and our walk, we spent most of the day outside.  Now, after doing some precooking as well as making dinner, I’m tanked out on the couch under the electric blanket (with the aforementioned piece of tarte and a coffee).

It feels good.  I feel good knowing that on Tuesday I’ll go back to the gym in the morning and it also feels good knowing I get to sleep until 6am tomorrow.  It feels good that I didn’t look at the clock or my iphone all day.  I feel good that I enjoy my new job and the people I work with.  I am happy that I’ve met the people that Ray works with and that they are all really nice, fun people.

I don’t know why I feel different.  Maybe it’s knowing that I’m going to treat myself nicely regardless of how far I run or how much I eat or what the scale says?  Maybe it’s knowing that I’m going to do the things that are right for my body and my health and my heart?

Maybe, a month before I turn 35, I’m figuring out one of the tricks of life.

She’s A Long One This Morning!

As I’ve written about, I took my measurements on January 1st and then stepped away from the scale which up until now has been completely unheard of for me.  You can go back a little ways to the beginning of January and read about the scale getting tossed and how I felt about it.  But let me tell you that it was one of the best things that I have ever done for myself.  No longer am I driven to pay homage to the finicky, narrow minded scale.  Now I just get to do things that feel good because I like them and they’re the right thing to do.  Now I get to eat nutritional foods that bring me enjoyment, health and that fuel hard work at the gym and in my regular life instead of worrying that the banana or the squash is going to drive the number upwards and psyche me out.  It’s all good, a huge relief.  You may think I’m nuts but I am as grateful for tossing the scale as I am every day for my decision 5 years ago to quit smoking.  It doesn’t feel good to be chained to anything whether it’s tobacco or a little blue glowing number every morning. 

I also really liked an idea that I’d had at the end of 2010 to be able to easily see my activity level.  All through 2011 I marked my gym dates and any significant walks down in my date book and then gave them a little green checkmark.  This year I decided I wanted to be able to more easily see my success snowballing week after week so in 2013 all my completed gym dates will be marked in the book and highlit in bright pink.  My main goal for January was to see lots of pink throughout the month.  So how successful was I?

There are 31 days in January and I “pinked” 10 of them!  I went from an exercise “dry spell” (aside from regular dog walking which, for the distance and speed we were going, doesn’t count) to pinking over 30% of a month!   My original goal was to “pink” more than 50% of the month but with our troubles with Snoopy and the fallout which came after, that just was not possible.

So what is the February plan?  Well let’s see.  I’ve pretty much baled on rowing on Monday mornings every day in January except one so that’s clearly a non-starter.  Jogging has been alright but not wonderful, I’ve only made it twice in January for the long indoor treadmill run although I have been jogging outside a very little bit.  Jogging I need to do something better about though because it goes with other things that I want to achieve.  So I’ll keep Saturdays for February….except for the first Saturday in February because I’ll be out of town having some very much needed downtime!  And I’ll definitely be keeping heavy lifting days on Tuesday & Thursday.  I would DEARLY love to add another day in there so I’m going to tentatively mark Wednesday in as a weights day as well.  That gives me heavy lifting on Tues, Wed & Thurs and jogging on Saturday.  I think that I should be alright with that for a month.  It plans in three down days, two of which are in a row.  So once again I’m going to set the goal for over 50% attendance at the gym over the month.   


I had the post above written out yesterday to publish this morning.  You’ll notice that the tone is somewhat energetic and zippy, forward moving and positive.  Unfortunately that’s not really how I’m feeling at all!

In truth?  I feel awful.  Something isn’t right and it seems to be getting worse each day.  Monday sucked, Tuesday was a little better, Wednesday started out alright and then tanked and today I just feel horrible.  I can’t even specifically describe what my problem is, I just don’t feel right.  Negative and hateful and sad and tired and a little depressed.  I’m foggy and overwhelmed and a bit numbed feeling.  It comes in waves and it’s kicking the crap out of me. 

I’ve always been a very perceptive person and while sometimes that’s a bit of a curse, in the case of figuring out your physiology, it’s a total blessing!  I can usually pinpoint what is causing me the issues and then make a change.  This time though, it’s like I’m trying to listen but with cotton in my ears.  The one thing that I do keep hearing over and over when I ask the “what is the matter with me?” question, is “CREATINE”. 

Part of my poor feeling has to do with the fact that I have become so bloated and uncomfortable in the last four days that I could cry.  My pants don’t fit, my ring doesn’t fit, I can SEE the water retention in every part of my body.  Creatine also can cause increased anxiety which I really don’t need ever, let alone right now.  I chose to take a buffered version of the supplement because everything pointed to it not having any of the side effects that creatine monohydrate can have, bloat, anxiety, cramping etc.  Having done further research yesterday and going away from the bodybuilding forums/websites and into the medical and scientific websites and plowing through all the jargon, it seems that there is no appreciable difference between the two in water gain, overall well feeling or muscle gain.  No appreciable difference.  Which means that the bloating and increased ill feeling that I’m having I am going to attribute to the new supplement and stop taking it immediately.  I have such a sensitive system, I can completely see my body not responding well to an additive that is supposed to make it do something outside of whatever is natural. 

I feel pissed off and annoyed that I thought I could give myself an edge to get better results faster.  Have I learned NOTHING from the last year of doing grain free and trying to get closer to a natural existence?  Obviously I needed to learn this lesson again.  I am good enough the way I am and if I want to make changes or improvements, the only thing that will get me there is dedication, hard work and time.  Creatine was supposed to cut down on the “time” portion a bit and enhance the “hard work” portion.  But it’s so not worth it.

Today is my one year anniversary of going grain free.  Today marks the spot in the road where a year ago I decided to go “against the grain” (haha) and do what my body was telling me that it needed.  I heard it loud and clear and went forward and I will never, ever look back.  The things that I have gained over this year are priceless to me, they’re my foundation and my propulsion forward.  I am so sorry though, that after a year of pretty much feeling great that today, on my anniversary date, I feel like such a bag of crap.  I guess what that tells me is that this is ongoing, a constant learning and adjusting experiment.  That nothing is ever static, things change and I have to change and learn and try with it. 

I realize this has been a really long post so if you’ve made it this far, congratulations!  There’s no prize here at the end, just me.  😉

Tomorrow after work we head out on our weekend away, pictures on Instagram (ladyshanny) and Twitter (@prettybikr).  I’m going to use this weekend away as a line in the sand.  I’m going to relax and enjoy and eat chips and drink wine and cherish my hubby.  I’m also going to drink lots of water and walk around and take a nap and eat healthy food.  It’s a 3.5 hour trip up that I’m going to use to flip my switch out of this month of heartache and struggle…and a 3.5 hour trip back that I’m going to use to center myself, clear my head and get back in my game!

Less Enjoyment, Happier Overall?

Morning! It’s been such an odd weekend, feels like I had lots of days off but at the same time it flew by! Unfortunately I blew off the gym this morning (was supposed to be rowing & stretching) because I laid awake and tossed and turned all night. When my alarm went off I felt like I would benefit more from an extra hour of sleep more than I would from rowing. However, I did not sleep for that hour, I tossed and turned and got repeatedly kicked in the back by the dog after Ray let her into our bed. So….failed this morning on the effort, but nothing I can change now.

This weekend was busy, I went to the gym Saturday morning (did not make my speed or distance goal on the treadmill….and was actually SO far off that I think my calculations from the weekend before were wonky) and then came home, wolfed down breakfast and we went to a meeting for a couple hours and then went and bought fence repair supplies. Ray and his son worked on the fence (after we dropped a 150lb fence panel on my ankle) while I took Grace and my sunglasses and went for a good brisk walk. It felt so good to be in the cold sunshine, like it was rinsing away any bad thoughts or toxicity. Very refreshing! We ended up going 6.2km and when we got home, laid under a heap of blankets to warm back up!





Sunday we did groceries and errands and then cleaned our house before starting dinner and taking the dog for another good walk.

I made a pork roast for dinner last night with mashed cauli & slow cooked kale. Earlier in the day I roasted a whole head of garlic in the oven and then squeezed that into the cauliflower before mashing it for something different. Very strong smelling of garlic but the flavor of roasted garlic is so mile that it was delicious. The slow roasted kale was alright, more effort than result but something a bit different.

I mentioned after we’d eaten dinner that I feel like I’ve come to a spot where I don’t really find food that enjoyable anymore. Ray’s first comment was “Wow, well that’s really sad!”. In a way it is, but if you consider the reaction that people have when they eat a butter tart or a big thick slice of moist chocolate cake covered in fudgey icing, I don’t get that anymore. Nothing I eat causes that reaction in my brain (which I think is probably good). As we all know (or should know by now), chocolate and sugar/fat combos release a feel-good reaction in the brain which is short lived and addictive. It’s not that I don’t think that food tastes good, just that…….it’s just food. It’s meat, two veggies and a fat (or cooked in fat). Pork roast and cooked kale aren’t giving me the same reaction that greasy, cheesy pizza would.

While maybe it’s sad that I don’t get that sort of enjoyment out of food anymore, I have something else instead. I have a content feeling when I know I’m eating fresh, whole, nutritious foods that taste good. I have a proud feeling when I can incorporate a “super food” into the menu. That’s all I get from food these days though. Fuel and nutrition. It’s a bit sad, I guess. But I suspect it’s where we’re supposed to be. My feel good hormones come from exercise and fresh air and sex instead of cookies, chips and pizza. I don’t think about food constantly anymore, I just eat it when I’m hungry. Granted, I do spend about an hour every Sunday making a menu & checking recipes before doing our weekly shop, but once it’s on the menu and the ingredients are bought, I don’t really think about it again until it’s time to cook it.

Now that I have less enjoyment wrapped up in the food I eat, am I happier overall? I would have to say I am. Because less obsession with the food means less clutter in my head, there is no should I or shouldn’t I or negotiating with myself over what or how much to eat. Because I don’t create artificial reactions in my brain with chemically enhanced foods designed to foster addiction, I am clear to feel good more often, to get genuine reactions to stimuli and to feel other emotions related to food (pride, conviction, satisfaction). And because I don’t have to worry about calories in vs calories out or how much I have to burn at the gym to make up for a meal since I’m eating real whole foods, maintaining my healthy weight is virtually mindless. And that makes me very happy overall!

Conviction Notice

Did you read my last post, Eviction Notice?  Well today’s post is about a Conviction Notice.  Not a conviction where you end up in jail but the conviction meaning “strong belief or opinion”.

You see, when I tossed my scale out a wonderful thing happened.  Nothing that I did meant anything.  Not as far as the scale was concerned, anyway.  Getting up at 6:30am on Saturday morning to fit a treadmill run in before our day got underway was done because I wanted to do it and I knew that I would feel good after.  It wasn’t done with the purpose of trying to lower the scale number.  Everything that I’ve eaten since the 1st of January has been for nutritional purposes, fuel purposes and enjoyment purposes.  The foods that I have avoided (sugar) have been easy to avoid because they make me feel horrible.  That’s much easier to do than having an internal debate about whether or not the chocolate is going to make me fat.

Even this morning when I was packing up my tote to head out for work and realized that I really wanted a banana.  I haven’t had a banana in a very, VERY long time.  Bananas are good for you.  One every now and then isn’t the end of the world, but when I was scale-driven I would base my decision on my number.  Had this morning’s number been a bit higher, I’d have told myself to wait until it was lower.  And had it been lower I’d have been slightly euphoric and no frigging way would I eat a banana and risk having the extra starch and sugar jack that number up.  And so, something healthy that would give me enjoymnet would never get eaten.  So crazy!

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I ran 4.86km this weekend in 29 minutes, I took my dog on her first “learn to jog” outing on Sunday (not far, she has to be eased into it) and this morning I went to the gym and rowed 3522 meters in 19 minutes (would have been in 16 minutes save for the couple breaks I had to take so I could breathe again, rowing is hard!).  Tomorrow is a heavy lifting day and then Wednesday is a rest day.

I feel good.  My activity is varied and keeps me challenged and I’m doing it because I want to, not because I’m trying to appease the scale.  That’s all good!

Now, moving in a completely different direction, our life is about to change again, this little cutie is joining our family on January 16th.

Snoopy is a 7 month old boy boxer that was surrendered by his family due to financial strain.  He's coming up from LA to join our family on a three week trial.  If our resident boxer can get along with him then he'll be a permanent addition.

Snoopy is a 7 month old boy boxer that was surrendered by his family due to financial strain. He’s coming up from LA to join our family on a three week trial. If our resident boxer can get along with him then he’ll be a permanent addition.