Monday, May 18, 2015

The post about a 1st Communion, Mother's Day and recent belly pics

Fun with family for Julien's First Communion.
My sister top left, my niece top right...

  • So here I go again. Falling back into old patterns. Two weeks in between blog posts. Again, I'm running out of stuff to say. So here is a 2 week re-cap of my life. We celebrated Julien's 1st Communion at the beginning of the month. It was fairly low key. Just immediate family. It was a wonderful day and my boy was incredibly handsome in his chinos, dress shirt, tie and vest. No suit. So wasteful to spend hundreds of dollars on something he'll only wear once. I think he was the best dressed kid there, but I am biased:-)
  • After the ceremony in a church that was too hot for human life, we went to dinner at Tucker's Marketplace Buffet. Back to the church for a moment. How hot was it? It was so hot that an elderly man sitting in front of me almost passed out and had to be escorted from the church. I believe Julien's principal called 911 so they could check him out in the parking lot. A packed church with no ventilation does not make for a comfortable time.

Mother's day goodies:-)

  • Mother's Day is always bitter sweet for me. I hate that if I want to see my mom, I have to go to the graveyard. And My birth mother is gone as well. I was just getting to know her when she passed. But, I celebrate the wonderful gift that is my son on Mother's Day. Julien made me a beautiful jewelry box that he is so proud of. It's prominently displayed on my dresser and is the perfect size for my bangles. We got to have a "date" day the day before Mother's Day. Every Mother's Day I spend with my mother-in-law. I don't mind because when my mom was alive, we'd do lunch with my MIL and dinner with my mother. When I get Mother's Day to myself, it means my MIL is gone and I'd rather see her in the flesh on Mother's Day than not. 

Most recent pics of my abdomen. Taken last week.
Time to up the squats. That's one flat ass...

  • Longest running and most asked question I get regarding weight loss is where did my loose skin go. I've not a clue. I'm 45 in a couple of weeks. All I can say is I've been blessed with good elasticity on my abdomen. Now I'm not gonna lie. I'm standing as straight as possible to smooth out any wrinkles, but all in all, I'm happy with my abdominal area. It is soft though. I need to legit work on my muscle tone. I have lots of loosey goosey areas that could get nice and firm if I get my ass into a gym. 
  • I've found mobile "trainers" who will go to your gym and scream at you while you work out. That's exactly what I need. And they're billed under "physio" which is awesome for me because I have unlimited physio benefits through work. Just waiting for an assessment and I'm heading back into the gym. I'd like to get my body fat percentage down to 20-22%. Just the right amount of leanness with definition, in my opinion.

My first run with this girl since Stockholm. 

  • Training for the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon is going awesome. I'm up to 8 hill repeats and 18K for my long run. The event is being held on June 7th so I've 2 more long runs before the big day. My feet have been better. Not cured. They still go numb and cramp, but it's not as intense as it was. So although the acupuncture has helped, it's not been my cure for Morton's Neuroma
  • I am injured, again. It's my hamstring, again. The Intramuscular Stimulation Therapy helped while I was getting it, but it was intense and put me out of commission for a good day afterwards. I don't want to get poked and prodded anymore. Hence why working with a personal physio at my gym will be most beneficial. I need to work up my lower body, back and core strength. That will help most with my chronic injuries and make me a more efficient runner. My pace has gone down again. I'm running injured and it makes for a slow start. Can't remember when or if I ever ran uninjured. Yep, runner probs right there...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The post about maintenance

  • This post is going to talk solely about maintenance. I am currently in my third year of maintenance. That in itself is a huge accomplishment for me because in the past I couldn't maintain a lower weight for longer than weeks. I'd always drop 20-30 pounds and gain it right back after I tired of dieting. And that's what I did. I always dieted. I never made permanent lifestyle changes.
  • Before I can talk about maintenance, I have to tell you a bit about my history with obesity. I have been a yo-yo dieter throughout my lifetime. I have spent the majority of my life morbidly obese. I started gaining weight steadily when I was around 7. By the time I was 10, I was morbidly obese. When I was 13, I was admitted into the Eating Disorders clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. I was put on a protein sparing diet (meat and vitamins) and dropped a significant amount of weight just as high school began. I went from being a morbidly obese teenager, to being an obese teen. That diet didn't last long for me but I was able to keep my weight "under control" through my teens by binging and purging. I got caught by my mother and I stopped around the age of 20. I also gained a significant amount of weight once I stopped that behavior.
  • In my late 20's (after spending about 5 years at being well over 300 pounds), I was able to drop over 100 pounds through diet alone. A starvation diet to be exact. It was about 800 calories a day. I dropped all that weight in under a year and I gained over 100 pounds back in record time. And I spent my 30's with my weight fluctuating 30 pounds either side of 300. when I got really big (size 24's were too tight), I'd refuse to step on a scale. I spent most of my adulthood recommitting to a new diet every Monday. And I tried them all. I've paid for diets, I've taken supplements, medication, injections. You name it. I have likely done it. I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars on weight management.
  • Binging has always been my eating method of choice. I'd eat processed carbs until I was so full I couldn't move. Bread, pasta, rice. Anything doughy. That food was comforting for me and I'd eat when I was happy, sad, bored, angry. Basically all the time. So processed carbs? Definitely my down fall. I never met a processed carb I didn't like.
  • Then the summer of 2011 happened and that's when I had my moment of clarity. My visit to the amusement park where I couldn't fit on a ride with my son. I knew I needed to make changes with my weight and my health. I was on 2 blood pressure medications and my birth mother was battling with type 2 diabetes. I wanted to be around for my son. 
  • So my doctor referred me for bariatric surgery and a government funded diet. Dr. Poon's Diet Clinic called me within a week and I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a try while I waited for my referral for bariatric surgery to go through. I ended up following Dr. Poon's diet and I lost over 130 pounds in 15 months. I never ended up going to the information session for bariatric surgery. When I first started Dr. Poon's diet I was doubtful I would be successful because it was very low carb, and a no processed carbs or refined sugar diet. But the longer I stayed away from the carbs and sugar, the easier it became. And the results were consistent. I lost an average of 8.5 pounds a month. 
  • When I was approaching maintenance I began to panic. Dr. Poon's maintenance plan allowed for grains and processed carbs again. Knowing my binging past, I didn't think that bringing those foods back into my life would be beneficial for me. I thought they would be more of a temptation than anything else. That's when I started looking into alternative lifestyles. I followed the blogs of a few women who were following a Paleo/Primal lifestyle and decided to research them more. I ended up choosing the Paleo lifestyle.
  • I run. A lot. I started running when I weighed 230 pounds. One of the things I loved about Dr. Poon's diet was that there was no calorie counting or measuring. Especially after I started running. I just always ate till I was full. Lean protein and leafy greens were pretty much unlimited.I do the same thing now while following Paleo. That is a freedom with food I don't ever recall having. I rarely weigh myself but I know if I've been indulging in too much wine, nuts, or fruit by how my clothes fit. If things don't feel right, I give up the fruit, wine and nuts till I feel "normal" again. Usually a couple weeks. I have worn the same clothing size since December 2012.
  • Maintenance is hard. I was at a gathering last night and was talking about maintenance to a group of women. They were surprised when I said that the hardest part of weight loss is maintenance. I've lost and gained hundreds of pounds throughout my lifetime. I've no problem losing weight. It's keeping it off that's always been the struggle. And it wasn't till I figured out that I simply had to permanently change my lifestyle and cut certain foods out of my life that I have been successful at it. 
  • Weight loss is inspiring. You see regular changes in your body and that's exciting and motivating. It's incentive. I still have incentive, but it's not as spectacular. My incentive now is to never again look like I used to. And I work twice as hard to maintain my results. I run 5 days a week, I bike 2x per week, I do yoga 3x per week and strengthening exercises daily. I still eat a restrictive diet. And I plan. There is always planning and scheduling so I can get all my fitness and meal prep in. Because I have a very busy life outside of maintenance. 
  • The media always focuses on weight loss with shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss. Many of us can lose weight, no problem. It's keeping it off that baffles. That is where the media focus should be. The daily work that I put in to maintaining my weight loss is all consuming. It's exhausting, it's frustrating, it's necessary. Because my alternative is grim. I made a promise to myself and my son. I'll not go back to weighing 300+ pounds. I only truly started living 3 years ago. So even if I never look different than I do right at this moment, the life I live now is enough incentive. Living life is my motivation.

The left pic is me in the mid 90's. That's me at my heaviest. I probably weighed
about 330 pounds. That jacket was a size 3x and I couldn't button it. The right
pic is of me on April 1, 2015.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The post about training hard, my abdomen and Canadian Running

A sunroof selfie from last week. I just like this picture. And the filter almost
eliminated my crow's feet. Almost...

  • Yes, I know. Two weeks. Two weeks since I blogged. This is likely going to be picture heavy because I don't have too much to say. Easter came and went very uneventfully. I had my family over to my house for Good Friday. I made Salmon, Haddock, broccoli and perogy. Guess what I didn't have? My family loves perogy and it was a staple during holidays in my house while growing up. My mother was Polish. I used to make them homemade, but since I no longer eat them, I buy them from a Polish bakery. Such a cheater. They still taste pretty good according to my brother. 
  • We spent Easter Sunday with my in-laws. Julien was spoiled with money. Lots and lots of money. Italians love to hand out cash. He got a basket from the Easter bunny which is never easy to fill because he doesn't like chocolate and very little candy. Just gummies and suckers. There's only so many gummies and suckers you can get a kid. He eats a bit the day he gets it, then forgets about them. So he got a video game and books. He was happy and is still at an age where he doesn't care or notice that his video game was previously enjoyed. Score, and another cheat

My very "optimistic" training schedule for the rest of April.

  • I've mentioned that I am currently training for the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon. Again, one of my favorite races to date. A well organized event and I got to run it with my running mentor Carol. I didn't personal best for the Around the Bay. Not even close. I still haven't looked at my official time. I know it's about 12 minutes slower. I would like to PB for this race. So I am training hard. I'm running 5 days a week including hill repeats, Cycling up the escarpment twice per week, yoga twice per week, and taking two additional classes for lower body strengthening through the week. I'm also doing squats, clam shells, monster walks, negative heel lifts and major stretching daily as per my athletic therapist's instruction. This past week was my first week and I stuck to my schedule except for the additional strengthening classes because acupuncture and physio appointments happened instead. And I know that having such a full schedule could result in burnout. So I'm listening to my body. If I need a rest day, I will rest.
  • Athletic therapy is going well. My AT is knowledgeable at what he does. He treats all the McMaster University athletes and me. I hang out with a bunch of university students who are hoping to one day be Olympic bound. Then there's little ole me. Talk about feeling intimidated. I'm hoping to dazzle them with my quick wit and humor. Hoping for an invite to the next keg night. Back to my therapy. I have to run on the dreadmill, a lot. But that's when he screams direction at me to correct my form. He's a screamer and a toucher. When he yells, I listen. Right now I'm building up my glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. And I'm leading with my knees instead of my nose like I tend to do. Thank God there are no mirrors in the treadmill area.

Coffee time? I don't even have a 2 pack yet...

  • One of the most asked questions I get via my blogger email, Instagram and Twitter direct message is if I've had skin removal surgery. I've not talked about this in a while so I'll divulge this information once again. I mentioned in my last post that I plan on getting an upper arm lift this coming fall. That is the area that was most noticeably affected by my weight loss. I have areas to tighten and tone, but that will happen in the gym. If I had unlimited funds, I'd get the upper arm lift, a breast lift (not enhancement), and some lipo on my outer thighs and lower abdomen (above c-section scar). The outer thighs and abdomen can be made better in the gym. Of that I am certain. So that is what I will do. It takes hard work to get results and as much as I hate the gym, I have to build up my lower body anyway for running performance. I might as well get some abs while I'm there. So the answer is no. I've not had skin removal surgery. 
  • Right now I am focused on dropping a bit of weight. I want to get leaner before I start to build muscle. Last summer when I went hard in the gym for a couple months I got bulkier. That's not what I want. I want to get rid of the excess fat and then strengthen and build up muscle. I've been chasing ketosis all week. Eating only protein and veggies grown above ground. I check my urine every morning. Nothing. But I did lose 4 pounds from Monday to Friday. So at least the scale is going in the right direction. And I can feel a difference in my clothes. Once I drop 10-15 pounds in total, I'll start with the weights again. Exciting times!!!

One of my last wine times (with Tanya) before going very low carb again.

  • I've not mentioned this yet even though it happened a couple months ago. My best running gal Tanya has moved home. Remember how heart broken I was that she moved to Stockholm? Then I went all the way to Stockholm to run a half marathon with her? Good times! Well she is back and we are reunited. We still need to run, and that will happen soon.  We are going to do some races together. The Meredith Hagan Inspiration Run in Mountsberg Conservation Area on June 20th for one. I've run this race twice. It's mostly trails and a great run. Meredith Hagan was a triathlete who was killed in a cycling accident with a car. The Meredith Hagan Foundation holds this race every year around her birthday to raise money for a local charity. This is near and dear to Tanya's heart because her hubby went to school with Meredith. 
  • So, something exciting happened yesterday. I swung by Coles to pick up a couple copies of Canadian Running Magazine. Because lo and behold, there is an article about me in there. Editor-in-chief Michael Doyle and staff writer (and Twitter buddy) Noel Paine wrote an awesome story about how running has changed my life. LOVED doing this interview. Mostly because I got to talk about something I'm passionate about. Running, running and more running.

Yep, got the cashier to photograph me in the store. I was the only customer there!