No one told me THAT would happen!!

I have a secret that no one talks about.

When you lose a lot of weight, and I mean A LOT, your skin doesn’t spring back into place.

You know all those photos for people in bikinis with tight skin in their ‘after’ photos…yeah, about that…

So we all know what I have been doing since January 1, 2011. I have been living my life in a different manner. I began ‘lifestyle’ change not a diet. This is me before:

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That is over 100lbs ago – about 107.8lbs to be precise.

As I lost weight, it was like my body was melting from the top down. I still have a giant ass and legs, but the weight on top left first. Weird. I noticed things like, rings falling off, my cheeks didn’t obstruct my vision, shoes got too big and underwear would slide down my hips as I walked. I couldn’t visually see me change, except I found my collar bone.

I could sit in theatre seats, I didn’t need seat belt extensions for the airplane, my kids could walk past me in the pantry, I use to have to move out of the way so they could enter.

As the weight continued to disappear, I noticed something else. My skin stayed where it was and didn’t leave. Think about that. Lose a person the size of my 16 year old daughter and the skin doesn’t spring back. Skin is heavy.

I talked to me Nurse about this issue…was there a cream? Was there more time needed? What did I need to do?

She said something very shocking to me.

Plastic Surgery.

Whaaaaaaaaa??????

What the hell man! I do this the hard way, no surgery, no lypo, no bariatric and you expect me to cut off my skin? How is THAT even fair??

I had a preconceived notion that plastic surgery meant vanity.

It does to some people. I talked to my doctor about it. Skin removal would ease the strain on my neck and back. I would be able to move more freely. I would be able to see the change and keep moving forward because honestly, I am only half way in my weight loss goal. He talked to me about a plastics surgeon that only works with people who have lost weight and have been able to maintain the weightless for over 2 years. The candidate cannot be on a fad diet nor can they be yoyoers. They must be healthy and fit to meet these requirements.

I thought about it for a while.

This was a big change. People don’t really understand. I was at the point where I could easily give up and go back to my old ways. Removing skin was for me, a bigger change than I had anticipated. It not only meant physically changing my body, but it mentally implied that I was ready to move forward and keep going. My long term commitment was still not over. I would have a lifetime of thinking of food as a battle. I never could relax for a moment. Kind of like a person with a drug or alcohol addiction. It is always there in the background, never leaving you. Removing skin was going to be me saying to my body – I let you down, but I never will again.

I was asked to be put on the list.

2 years later, the surgeon calls me for a consult.

Took you long enough pal.

I figured a year because I needed to maintain or keep losing…I had done just that. I kept moving forward and waited a really long time for this moment.

I entered his office on clinic morning and an entourage of interns and resident docs paraded behind him. I was asked to remove my clothes and stand in front of the gang while they poked, tugged, lifted, made inappropriate comments.

First I said no – there is too many people here and this is weird. Get out. They all left but the Resident – she was lovely and had great bedside manner, a gift that will be beat out of her as her tenure for surgery continues – and my Doc. He kept saying “these are crazy nipples” I smacked his hand and said “DUDE I am standing RIGHT HERE and can hear everything you say!”

He apologized and from that moment on, we had a good relationship. He agreed to my surgery saying I was an excellent candidate and I needed to get on another wait list….WTF?

Another list?

So I called his office where is staff were lovely, kind and compassionate. I was asked to go on the cancellation list.

Then I waited.

less than one month later I get the call : So….how’s 3 days from now?

Ummmm….yes??? Maybe???

Things that crossed my mind:

  • I can’t leave work, we are short staffed
  • I can’t leave work because I took on the extra to help out my boss
  • I can’t because I am running races this summer
  • I can’t because I am scared

Then I cried.

I went into my bosses office and asked to speak privately. I have this issue with thinking in my brain before getting the entire story out so I began the conversation with, “so I guess I have to say no but…”

He panicked and said “No TO WHAT??”

I told him about the surgery.

At that point I was prepared to quit. I didn’t want to because I respect him too much and I couldn’t do that to the team, but I was willing to.

He told me to do it and not to worry about a thing. He organized everything and I left that weekend feeling relaxed and able to put work behind me.

Step one to a successful surgery : Zero Stress

Step two: be fit

Step three: eat protein

My the third day I was laying in Day Surgery at the Lois Hole Women’s Hospital starving to death. No food or water since 11:30 the night before.

I have this great ability to sleep anytime/anywhere – so I did.

Then they took me up to the operating theatre where they drew all over me in sharpie in (including a happy face for me later) obviously the doc cut along the lines.

I woke up 2 hours later and wanted to eat. They said I would be nauseous  – nope – food please.

Here is what I discovered:

  • my fitness level made my recovery fast and effortless.
  • my core strength made moving in and out of bed a breeze
  • the nurse was worried about my blood pressure and resting heart rate. Apparently it was too low for someone my size (64 people! that is awesome) I told her I just ran a half marathon, I am a runner – suck it.
  • I was also asked about diabetes – I lost 100lbs and I run – suck it
  • My blood work showed my cholesterol was normal – again runner!!! Suck it and I eat healthy.
  • Size discrimination is rampant

Here I sit, 5 days later – I nap frequently because surgery makes me sleepy and they cut off 6.8 lbs of skin people!!! Walking to the car, I noticed my neck and back felt fantastic! The weight was gone. Now if only the potholes would leave I would be a happy camper!

I am glad I did it. I look so different, feel fantastic and really need to run – but that is still 3 weeks away. I feel like I am on a really long taper.

The next phase will be the panelectomy  – the saggy skin that hangs low past my belly – I can’t WAIT for that one!

Meanwhile, I really feel like I am over the hill that was holding me back. Onwards and upwards and did you know that bras come WITHOUT industrial harnesses? AND in pretty colours?? Neither did I!

Me yesterday: My sister and I comparing chest sizes after I go from an I to a D – I still win 🙂

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That day I became became my own hero

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I did some things in the last 30 days that really amazed me.

  1. I took over the primary spot of managing at work, although temporary, I never excepted to be in this position. I have learned more about myself in a few shorts weeks than I thought possible. University was right, I am capable of so much more than I believed. It is a wonderful feeling to have the complete faith of those around you. I never had that in a work situation before. I like it.
  2. I fitness level is at a level that I didn’t believe to be possible and STILL carry around this kind of weight. I didn’t really train for the Calgary Half Marathon. The Trusty Steed tried to talk me out of running the half. saying I need to be careful, I might injure myself, I really need to evaluate the effects of recovery….blah, blah, blah….We have had this conversation before. I now just ignore him and do what I believe I am capable of. It’s not like I had never done a half marathon before. It wasn’t my first rodeo. I knew how far it was, I respected the distance AND I know about the best ways to reach optimum recovery for me. I ran it, and I never felt better during a half marathon. Never – EVER. I recovered right away and went to work the next day and stood on my feet ALL DAMN DAY. You know something? I have the medal to show for my accomplishment. I feel more proud of this medal than any other I have earned.
  3. I have always been afraid a body modification. The thing about weight loss that no one talks about is the extra skin that doesn’t spring back into place. I have people tell me that they had no trouble. Well, I am will to bet they didn’t 100lbs+. If their skin bounced back, I am super excited for them! Way to go! It is AWESOME that you loo and feel great! That didn’t happen for me. I am at the point of no longer seeing my progress. The more weight I loose, the same way I look. It is kind of discouraging. I talked to my Nurse at Weight Wise and she suggested Skin Removal. It isn’t for the feint of heart. I talked to my Doc and he referred me a Plastic Surgeon who specializes in procedures BECAUSE of weight loss. He won’t even talk to you if you are a yoyo dieter or a fad dieter or haven’t kept the weight off for years. I qualified. I had round one of 3 treatments. Let me tell you, after going through the first phase, I CANNOT WAIT for the second phase!!!

There you have it, 3 things that I did that amazed me. Each one will get their own special entry here on The Edmonton Tourist and here on Me and Mo. Stay tuned because we both know how I like to share crappy stuff that happens to me and then I turn it into lemonade – or Dole Whips because Dole Whips are better than Lemonade.

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Suddenly it was a lifestyle

39176_413620261539_5541464_nRemember way back when?? 2011 when I made the decision to move forward and change my lifestyle, I had hoped it would stick. It has taken me longer than I wanted but I haven’t gone back to that dark place where the weight piles on.

I am still losing weight.

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Shocking given my lack of focus, however, I have certain habits now that are healthy ones that haven changed. So that alone is what has seen me lose 7lbs in the month of January.

Cool.

Sure I went out for a lavish dinner when I was in WDW and had an appetizer, main dish, AND a dessert – along with 3/4 of a bottle of wine. My dinning partner had some of the bottle but was also indulging in other libations that were present at the start of dinner. I ate a churro, a couple of cookies and other than that, nothing outrageous. Why? I think food doesn’t hold that same appeal that it used to. I no longer think of food as a ‘treat’ or a ‘reward’. But I do enjoy it and make sure the calories are worthwhile. I am often heard asking “Is it worth the calories?” Dinner at the California Grill was a resounding YES, dinner at Captain Cooks? Not so much – so I played it safe, move vegetables less bread.

I was asked again recently how am I doing it? To be honest – I am not sure because I haven’t recorded my calories in a long while and I over indulged in sweet over Christmas and that is always hard because it is hard to ween yourself off of sweets – at least it is for me.

I do have a list of things I always do out of habit now. This makes it easier to cope. These are things my nutritionist encouraged me to do.

1. Weigh yourself once a week. Weight will fluctuate 7lbs in a week. Seems like a lot. But female cycles, water retention for too much sodium or not moving enough for a few days can really make a difference. any more than 5lbs is a warning to me to be more conscious about what I put into my mouth.

2. Keep track of your daily movement. I sucked at this until I go a Polar Loop. I lost about a dozen pedometers. The loop stays on my wrist and converts all movement to steps for me. I started out with a baseline and increase it by 10% per week.  When I was in WDW I was doing 37 thousand steps on average. That is 3x my goal. Pretty sure that is why it was okay with me eating a little more than normal – I was hungry and for good reason.

3. Eat enough protein. Protein keeps me from craving carbs. Who would rather eat a loaf of break than a steak? Well, I would, but by making sure I get enough grams of protein every day – I can reduce the carbs in my life. I no linger have them with dinner. I do at breakfast and lunch – lets face it, your body needs carbs. It is a quick energy and if you choose wisely, it will be good for you too. But protein feeds the muscles I am building and keeps me fuller…longer. The longer is good because my new job prevents me from snacking. This is good AND bad. Eating every 2 hours – smaller meals – is ideal for me. however, circumstances prevent me from achieving this. But I do get to drink more water than before. That is good.

4. Drink water. Don’t drink it all at once. spread it out during the day. Stop drinking your calories. This includes Juice, sugary drinks, frothy sweet coffees and smoothies. I admit to drinking alcohol. I enjoy wine and beer and scotch and rum, but not every day AND not binge drinking on weekends. If it doesn’t enhance my experience than I don’t drink it. So Alcohol is a rare beverage for me.

5. Eat different food every day. This shakes up your metabolism and keeps it cooking. Sure it is easy to eat cereal every day of your like. But changing it up keeps your body from becoming complacent. This is important. AND EAT more not less. Starving yourself and keeping yourself hungry puts your metabolism into survival mode. Not cool. You don’t want it saving your fat, you want it to USE your fat. Because quite frankly, you aren’t using it for anything useful anyways.

5. Don’t eat 2 hours before bed time. Breakfast is called Break-FAst meaning you fast all night and brake the fast by eating breakfast. The 2 hour window is because that is how long it takes your body to typically digest your dinner.

6. Don’t skip meals. This makes you binge eat at a later time of the day. Not helpful.

7. Are you hungry? Are you really? Do you know where you are hungry? Odd question for some. I get hungry in my mouth. This means I need oral stimulation – quiet from the peanut gallery thanks. Gum or a mint helps, so does drinking water through a straw. I don’t know why, but it does. I also get heart hungry. Anger, sadness, broken heart will have me in search of food to feel that deep chasm. I now make myself sit in my emotions and feel it. It doesn’t last long and then its over. Numbing it with food just made me this fat in the first place. Hungry in the tummy? There you go! EAT! Never feel shame about eating. Eating is good for you if you eat for hunger. It is fuel.

Remember Food is Fuel not Therapy and you will make out just fine.

Meanwhile, I hope to lose another 50lbs this year. 7 down and 43 to go. Totally doable because it is now my lifestyle.

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The Interview

December 16, 2009.

That was the day I sat at a table in my classroom and cried after school. Well…I sobbed like my heart was broken.

It was, but not in the traditional sense. I was crying because I hated my job. I hated my life and I hated the dark path I was spiralling down. Between that day and January 11, 2010 my life is blank. I cannot tell you what happened or who I spoke to or why I did things. I can’t tell you because somehow, I have erased it from my thoughts. I suspect it was to dark and sad to bother remembering.

Why January 11? I started a conversation with someone that day that changed the way I look at things. I didn’t know it then, but January 11th was the first day of a brighter future for me. I learned about running. I didn’t take it serious and still thought it would never be for me. But it interested me.

I began listening. More importantly, I began thinking.

A friend of mine who would become the most influential reason for change, asked me a series of questions one day. They required answers to questions that I had never thought about. Things that made up me. Books I read, movies I liked, favourite foods, activities I enjoy. It sounds inane, but for me I called this the interview.

The interview required me to examine myself. Look at myself in a light that was honest.

I don’t remember doing that before.

Looking at myself this way required me to examine my life and actions and discover why I was loathsome. Why I behaved the way I did and why did I always put myself last. The ironic part of this whole scenario was – my friend who asked me these questions, asked because they thought I had it all going on and wanted to learn from me.

HA!

They soon learned that we were the same except for one small detail: I aspired to change at faster rate to achieve a level that would put me on equal footing with them.

Did it work? No.

I realize now that we were equals. I never saw myself equal to anyone. I saw myself as less than average. Less than normal, and less than what I could possibly every hope to be.

3 years ago I never thought I would be a University graduate. I never thought I would ever run a half marathon, nor would I ever be working at a job I didn’t hate.

2 years ago I never thought I would be starting a foundation that would assist researchers that can find a cure for a disease that changes the lives of children and families in ways that is to painful to imagine it happening to you. I never thought people would stop me on the street because they recognize my face and know my story. I never thought I could do things independently and still be accepted by friends and family.

1 year ago I never thought I would work in the fitness industry. I thought I would always be discriminated against because of my weight. I thought pretty things were never meant for people who looked like me. I thought fitness clothes were just for gazelles and gorillas like me had to wear ill fitting mens clothes. Never did I think I would influence an entire industry and see the change happen in the spring and because I had the courage to speak up and ask for something I think I deserve.

Today I sat and cried just like I did 4 years ago, only this time I am crying because I do not recognize that place where I was. I cry because I turned dreams into goals achieved. Dreams without goals and a plan are just wishes. Wishes are just fireworks that go up in smoke.

A woman came into work the other day because she had heard I was working there now. She wanted to meet me. She wanted to hear my story. 4 years ago I just had a sad story. I still have dreams. Not all of those dreams will get goals and steps to work on. Why? Because I have learned that not every dream comes true because you out grow them. 4 years ago I had different dreams. None of them came true and quite frankly I am happy about that because you never know what is around the corner.

I don’t expect all my dreams to come true, but I have steps in place to make them a possibility.

Possibilities are endless.

This is me 4 years ago.

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This is me 2 weeks ago. My new shirt with the Foundation’s named and my new look never would have happened without a goal with a plan. It made all the difference…and so did the interview.

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Why am I always hungry?

It’s been a while since I thought about how my nutrition is impacting my weight loss. I have been on this diet lifestyle change for about 2.5 years. With about 6 months taken off for bad behavior. I suppose that is what makes me normal. Eating off plan and indulging in yumolicious things. However, I have had an epiphany of late.

This past week, I have been hungry. The kind of hungry where if a cow would walk by me right this minute, chance of it walking away without a large bite taken out of it would be slim to none. I don’t get these hungry episodes very often, but when I do look out if you are holding a sandwich, I might take your hand off.

I haven’t done anything particularly different. I have switched up my running days. Surprising my body and metabolism into a new routine. I added cycling into the mix and although I am not going any great distances, my legs and ass hurt from the newness of this sport. (secretly I am thinking about trying this out Diva Duathlon next fall. My dream of a Tri has fallen by the wayside until I can get my dizzy under control from that schwannoma that has taken up residence in the head. The good news is on land, I am golden! In the pool – not so much. The distances for the Diva are 3 km RUN – 12 km BIKE – 2 km RUN. So doable I find it exciting! Can you picture it? Me and Danger Bike working together to conquer this course? I will ride all winter with this in mind. The running 3k – then 2k should be fine.

Getting back to the HUNGRY. This past week I have noticed I have made choices based on what will fill my tummy and provide good energy. I have turned my back on the vegetarian me for a bit and have indulged in MEAT. Shocking, no – I am not a hard and fast vegetarian, I mostly am because I don’t care for meat, the flavor, the prepping of it, the look or smell, be lately – I JUST WANT TO EAT IT!. So I do. I have learned the hard way that listening to your bodies cravings is a way to keep you healthy – not the sugar cravings…that is different. But if your body wants and apple…eat an apple. If your body wants water, DRINK WATER. Simple formula but it takes time to be able to listen to what your body wants and  needs. My focus is not skinny, a number or anything related to the diet aspect. My focus is health, and awareness. I want to be aware of my nutritional needs because that is what enables me to run farther and be active, with a side benefit of brain power. Given that I have eaten non stop for several weeks. Beef/Chicken/Fish/Beans/Legumes/Eggs and all the organic veg in my fridge, one would think I am getting bigger rather than smaller.

HA! Tricked YOU!

I put on a long sleeve shirt that I purchased when I began losing weight. It is a stretchy, comfy shirt that sat snugly on my hips – well – just at my hips. It was still quite snug last year around this time. I put it on today and it fell below my butt. I have to make sure I am wearing the right undergarments because the cleavage factor is more prominent, meaning that what use to be a modest amount of chest showing, I could easily get arrested now. I am not ready to buy new clothes. I have a limited of suitable items for business meetings and a closet full of race shirts I can wear around the house. I am going through a rapid weight-loss phase right now, when I taper off – then I will hit the stores again.

I look at myself and can’t see the difference. My family can’t either, although Chatterbox will hug measure me and is able to hug up to her elbows where before she couldn’t reach around me. That is cool.

I have changed running tech shirt sizes. I have gone from finally fitting into a 2XL to being very comfy in a L. I have stopped recording my food intake. I want to try to listen and respond better. I think I am deceiving that.

In this photo, to me I look the same. Except my shoulders and chest are much smaller. My hips are smaller too. It seems that the hips and butt will be the last place the weight leaves me. Size difference? 26 in 2011/16 in 2013. That is progress and my hair is better too. Nutrition makes a difference with all facets of the body. my nails are great, hairs is healthier and my skin is clearer. All wins in my book.

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Moral of the story? Make it a habit. Habits are hard to break.

Running isn’t awesome

I learned something about myself this week and I am not sure it is a good thing. Not only am I a medal whore, but apparently I am a statistical whore too.

That is not good when you are supposed to run for the pureness of the sport, for the sheer delight of being out in nature. Knowing you are at one with your thoughts is supposed to be enough for you.

Yeah…right…

The person who said that is a liar, as in “Liar, Liar, Pants on fire.”

Apparently I am not the only person on the planet who feels this way. I need to run with my Garmin when I need motivation for distance. Running anything longer than 10km I need my iPod too. My brain gets mean and says evil things to me so I block it out.

I strapped on my watch on Sunday to discover that ChatterBox had hijacked it for her run earlier in the day. My watch asked me if I had wanted a reset or did I wish to continue with the pace that was in there already. Hmmm….sure I would like to continue with her pace. She runs twice as fast as me. She is a Gazelle, she has long runner legs (slim and strong – think Deena Castor) she is fast without trying so her LSD is twice as fast as my race pace. Her race pace is the speed of light. If she wasn’t my 15-year-old, I just might hate her. BUT I have this weird feeling towards her – I think its pride and it isn’t at all competitive. My watch continued to tell me how slow I was behind the gazelle’s pace. I didn’t care, I plugged into The Marathon Show and just ran.

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It was all good until the halfway mark. I then ran out of the river valley and got this weird craving for Snapple Ice Tea. Do they make it anymore? I very rarely crave food anymore. Since I have worked with my dietician I have a very even glycemic index and my nutritional needs are met, so cravings just don’t happen anymore – or very rarely.

This time I didn’t have any Nuun on me. I needed sugar and caffeine, so I ran towards the Wild Earth Bakery and had an ice tea (the best EVER) and felt very refreshed. From the bakery is was downhill back towards the valley where I parked my car. 12km in the books.

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Tuesday, I took my 17 year old giant to the park. He read his book while I ran around the park for a couple of laps. He watched me run by and yelled, “That’s not running! That is barely walking!!” Did I mention that I hate my kids? He is a couch potato. He is the Skip on his curling rink (people think it is team but it is called a rink) and he sprints to the bus every morning because he is late. That is the extent of his exercise – oh and he rides his bike to meet his girlfriend for “coffee”.

I was running my last lap around the the park – a quick (HAHAHAHAHA) 5k when my boy started walking beside me. HE WAS WALKING – sure at a brisk pace, but still!!! THen he started  talking my ear off. Here is the thing about me. I am really introverted when I run. Don’t talk to me. AND DO NOT expect me to talk back to you. I pulled out my ear buds and said “cool” as a response to whatever sciency thing he was talking about, and then I said “I have one last lap then I will meet you in the car.” He is smart. He understood that I did not want to talk. That makes me lose my focus and then I can’t run. It’s a mental thing. He was happy to leave.

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After my runs, I love to go to my computer BEFORE I SHOWER and upload my watch. I had to delete 10 runs from ChatterBox – I think I need to get her, her own watch and GPS. I like looking at my chart and seeing how far I have come since January. My LSD pace is 30 seconds faster than a month ago. This is shocking to me. It gives me hope for the WDW half marathon, although I have taken the attitude of John Bingham, “I am not slow, I am just getting my money’s worth.” Because I am cheap like that. It must be my Scottish Heritage. OR it’s because I am slow and I lie, whatever the reason – I am faster than I was!

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That brings me to DangerBike. I ordered a bike computer from Left Lane Sports. Why? Because I need to know how fast/how far/how much I improve over time. I just cannot make myself get on it without having a baseline. Yes I am scientific like that. So there is poor DangerBike sitting there, waiting for me to give it some attention.

But I just can’t.

Not until I can log it into DailyMile.

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See?

I am a statistical whore.

Great planning led to the greatest run of my life

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I ran my first 10 miler today (16k). I was up last night mapping out distances choosing which path to take. I needed a plan.

My running team members on fb gave me some tips like, break it up into small goals and celebrate those successes. Respect the distance – you know the usual “YOU CAN DO IT” stuff. They were right – I did it. None of it would have happened without a plan.

I made a plan and actually stuck to it! You must be as shocked I was! My brain usually talks me out of hard but not this time, I was ready.

I mapped out an 8km out and back in the river valley. I wanted something newish so it wouldn’t have bad mojo attached to it. I tend to do that to my runs, if it was not a great one, that bad memory and feeling doom that trail forever. Sometimes I go back to conquer but I need to be in the right frame of mind. That was not today. I have not had a decent run in quite sometime and I needed to boost my confidence. I created a solid game plan and saw it through to the end.

First the mapping. I decided to try something completely new. I ran from Fort Edmonton Park to Hawrelak Park and back.

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I did the big hill on the River Trail Loop first then headed over to Whitemud park. My plan was to do that last but I was in the ZONE and didn’t want to mess up my cadence up climbing stairs to Quesnel Bridge. I decided to break up my run into 3 5k sections. The first 5k would bring me to the stairs.

I ran in a smooth rhythm to the base of Keillor Hill then turned around and came back. It was not very busy but I saw my first horse on the running trail. As I made my way toward the stairs I decided that I would take photos of each 5k marker and the 8k halfway point.

First marker was the Talus Dome. It is an incredibly expensive art installation located next to the Whytemud Freeway. Odd place for art, but I like it.

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I finished climbing the stairs and made my way across the Quesnel Bridge. I had never crossed it on foot before. A lifetime in the City and I had never been here on foot. Big moment for me. Observations? It was LOUD and the view is similar to all the other bridges I have run across except the railing was so high it partially obstructed my view – and I am a tallish girl 5’8″!

Once on the other side I dealt with the steepest switch back in the river valley – I think – or at least the steepest one I have found. I slid partially down the hill because it had started pouring rain at this point. the road was slick but the trail was stunning! It felt like running in Jasper National Park. Loved it! I made my way through Laurier Park and knew I needed to follow some roads past the Zoo. I had a pretty good idea from the map the night before so I get running.

By the time I made to the 8km mark or half way, I was in Buena Vista Dog Park. I had no idea where I was and said so on FourSquare, but I knew in relation to the map. So technically I was not lost.

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I stayed on the trail, which was a lot of gravel – not so fun for running – and made it to the Hawrelak Bridge where I crossed it and ran the park loop. Everyone and their dog was there! It turned out to be Pets in the Park day and it was packed. Halfway around the the park loop I was at the 10k mark and I was feeling awesome!

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I hadn’t felt this great at the 10k mark ever. That made me feel pretty great! I was concerned about my time but at that moment on the podcast I was listening to, The Marathon Show with Joe Taricani, he was talking about the LSD (Long Slow Distance) and how it is designed to build stamina and endurance, he assured me the speed would come later, so I kept going. I finished the loop and ran back over the bridge. It had stopped raining after I left Laurier Park and it became quite hot. I was soaked from the rain and the wind came up so that cooled me off nicely.

Retracing my path on the return trip, it started pouring rain again in Laurier Park! It was as if there was a switch turned on every time I entered. it wasn’t just a little rain, it was full on downpour. The kind that creates chaffing and blisters. Swell.

I made it back to the steep climb and it felt AWESOME on my calves. I decided to take the stairs up and this stretched out my legs in that delicious way that feels great when they are tired. Before I knew it, I was running over Quesnel Bridge at the 15k mark.

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The bridge was slick but I had decent footing and kept running. I didn’t run down the stairs because it felt great to walk and stretch out the calves.

1km left and that took me to my car. Done! I couldn’t believe how great I felt! I attributed it to my planning.

Not only did I break it up into 5k sections, but I also planned carefully for fuel and hydration. Last week I had run out of water and that contributed to me feeling like crap and not finishing my run. This week I was prepared. I packed my 4 6oz ifitness bottles on my belt. I also packed a 562ml bottle of water wrapped in a bandana sling and tided to my belt. I planned to drink all my fuel belt water by 8k if I needed it. I needed it in the worst way. at 8k I refilled my 4 bottles and drank the last mouthful of the bottle and threw into recycle. (I may not have known where I was but in Edmonton there is a blue recycle box on every corner!) I had enough water to get me to my car where I had a 8oz bottle of Nuun waiting for me and a 24 oz bottle of water if I needed it.

I hold the honor for the slowest 5k runner in the history of runners everywhere. I run a 50 minute 5k 45min if I am running race pace. LSD takes me slower so every hour or just over 5k I had a gel. Chocolate Power Gel because it tastes like Hersey’s Chocolate in the Yellow can…my FAVORITE that I never eat any more because it is loaded with corn syrup. Boooooooo to corn Syrup no matter how tasty it is. So at 5k-ish and 10k-ish I had gel. I pushed the second gel until I felt sluggish. Sure enough it was at the 2 hour mark.

Last week I had a banana at 13k and it perked me right up! I felt like I could keep going another few kilometers! So this time I packed a half a banana in my fuel belt. I ate it at 14k. Suddenly I felt like I had the energy to power through to my car where more water was waiting for me.

The Nuun went down great. I love that it isn’t sweet and it does the replacement job of gatorade. All of these fuel and hydration plans worked so well I wish I knew about the importance of them the first time I trained to walk the half marathon. In 2011 when I had walked the 16k I thought I was going to die. I came home after 4.5 hours and slept in the bathtub for the rest of the day.

My recovery today was awesome. I came home to yogurt and almonds, water and had a hot shower because I was freezing from the cold rain. I then got to work doing chores and and things that needed to get done. I am not sore or stiff because the protein/carb combination refuels my muscles and keeps them happy. I stretch out a bit and am good to go.

The lesson learned from this? Fuel up and hydrate! You may need to experiment with what works for you. My dietician helped me figure this out for me. Recovery time is quick and I sleep so well after my run days! I definitely think I am meeting my goal of good recovery. That was as important to me as making the distance in the first place. So that means today was a complete win!

Happy Running!

 

The training wheels came off and now I am ready to proceed with the rest of the journey

549273_349576008488429_102793663_nRemember way back to January 2010 when I started this Just Me and Mo Project? I was pretty worried about failing and not being able to find the MO to finish off what I started. My goal was simple. Make the outside me match the inside me. I took several steps to get there, I made small changes that became great habits and I began a fitness journey that has rocked my world and turned me into a medal whore. I am 90lbs lighter than I was that day in January.

I had been going to the Weight Wise Clinic that was created to give people the tools they need to change their lifestyle and lead a healthier life. It can be done with or without bariatric surgery. I decided not to choose surgery and continue down the path I am on. I have to say I have been successful but I also have to say it hasn’t been easy.

Today my Health Nurse Coordinator transitioned me out of the program. She said I have the tools, I am applying what I have learned and my weight keeps coming down. In fact, I am 2 dress sizes down from the last time I saw her. I am feeling empowered.

After I went to visit the Nurse, I was sent to dietary to discuss my plan.

My big question was how do I figure out when I need to drop my calorie intake and how to I proceed with maintenance?

Well obviously the maintenance will be in about 2 years time, but she won’t be in my life so I needed that formula. You know something? There IS a mathematical formula! Who knew this weight loss thing was all math?

Um… me. I knew that I need to burn more calories than I ingest. The simple formula of eat less and move more, but did you know that your body needs a basic amount just to have organ function? I bet you don’t think about that when you stand on the scale and wish you were the same size as you were in high school.

Oh come on, are you really thinking you body will let you get back to the weight when you were 17? It isn’t going to happen in a healthy manner, I can guarantee that!

Here is the formula:

10 x wt (kg) + 6.25 x Ht (cm) – 5 x Age (yrs) + 5 = BMR (male)
10 x wt (kg) + 6.25 x Ht (cm) – 5 x Age (yrs) -161 = BMR (female)

You need to use the metric system for this formula or it won’t work. The good news is metric makes math easy. So figuring that out, I need to consume 1550 calories a day to lose about 1-2lbs a week. Any more than that and I am putting myself at risk for taking off too much and putting right back on again. No thanks, 2 years of hard work and I am wanting to go back to where I was. My dietician told me not to drop below 1200 calories per day. If I always food journal then I will have a pretty good idea when I will be finished losing weight. You see, I don’t get to pick a number out of the air. I was told I have about 90 more lbs to lose. That will not put me in the 17 year old weight bracket I was in high school. In fact that will leave me about 50lbs heavier than I was back then. BUT!

But?

YES BUT! I am fitter now than I was then. I am healthier now than I was then and I can easily see myself being a size 10 or smaller when I reach that goal. That is based on my current size and height. I don’t know about you, but I am stoked about being a size 10.

We also talked about panel surgery or Panniculectomy Surgery (Abdominoplasty). There is a good chance I will be covered under Alberta Health Care for this procedure. It is the removal of my belly skin – not fat. I am getting rid of the fat but the skin is loose and droopy – how attractive… It is more common in mothers due to the pregnancy thing but I was obese and pregnant so it is higher for me. This is one of those woulda shoulda coulda moments for me. At any rate, I will lose all the weight I can and then talk to my doctor about the excess skin if necessary.

So, where does that leave me? I no longer have medical support services.

Not true, I have my amazing Doctor. If I find I need dietician support, I can access that through the Primary Health Services (free to patients in the Edmonton Area whose doctor is connected to the PCN) Which mine is and its an AMAZING service!

Meanwhile I have to stay committed to fitness. I have mapped out my fitness goals way off into the future so I am always working on something. I learned my lesson after my first half marathon and got the Marathon Blues. It was a big set back, so this time I am prepared.

It’s a big day in my Me and Mo Journey. I am now ready to remove the training wheels and head out on my own.

Yay me!

You want me to eat more WHAT?

English: vegetables

English: vegetables (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s talk about food choices.

In consultation with my dietician (her name is Lisa and she is hilarious – I’m girl crushing a bit. She is my new one because my old dietician just wasn’t helpful) on a monthly basis, I was was required to add more vegetables into my daily intake.

Yuck.

Let’s clarify a few things. I am mostly vegetarian. I do not enjoy meat. I like fish, the odd burger and a really good steak every now and then. My daughter is a vegetarian so cooking a single meal that meets her nutritional requirements makes life simple. The boy likes MEAT. So I throw a steak or a chicken breast on the grill and serve a veggie side and he is set. SO why do I dislike Vegetables? I don’t really, I just HATE food prep.

My go to veg is bagged salad. It comes in a bag, I slice open the bag and I eat the veg from the bag. Boring but is a lazy girls easy salad.

My challenge was to fit 4 cups of vegetables into my daily diet and salad could only be one up of that total. FINE LISA! Challenge accepted!

My favorite food is rice – white arborio rice. Then least nutritional grain out there. I thought about why I like it. It is neutral. It is gluteny. It absorbs sauces very well and is filling.

My challenge? Limit less nutritional grains (better yet – Eliminate) from my intake. Make it an occasional food. Substitute vegetables.

This meant I needed to think differently about what I eat and how I eat. I grew up with meat, potatoes/rice/pasta and a veg sitting on my plate. Meat and veg were the small portions and the starch was the bigger portion. Obviously… I needed to reverse that habit.

Solution? Pinterest.

My go-to food inspiration.

I discovered cauliflower.

I ate it before, never loved it. Gets cold very fast after it is cooked. Raw is better. It is a good ovarian cancer fighter and has other benefits, most of all it is real food – not processed. I am so over processed food. I like real food – stuff that has one ingredient on the label… Cauliflower.

Pinterest suggested I throw a head of cauliflower into the food processor and chop it up to the consistency of rice.

So I did that.

Then it said to add it to my stir-fry at the last minute (it is so small you can just scare it with heat)

So I did that.

Then add what ever sauce you like.

Eat it.

Did I mention I am lazy when it comes to vegetable prep? I shop in the frozen section sometimes for veg. My local has bags of pre-cut mixed stir-fry suitable veg. The ingredients are broccoli, bell pepper, onion, cauliflower, water chestnuts, baby corn, green beans, edamame beans, carrots, and mushrooms – no other ingredients = good. They also have the same stuff in the fresh section. Pre-cut = good.

I use a bag of frozen veg, I add a can of what ever beans are in the cupboard – I like black beans or white beans – added protein  the shredded cauliflower and sauce. I like yellow curry or Thai peanut. 2 cups of this meal ends up being about 320 calories. I am FULL afterwards and satisfied for a very long time. This satisfies Lisa, no salad and a variety of other vegetables. This satisfies me, no meat yet lots of protein. The bulk of the calories come from the sauce, but I gave up rice for sauce so it is a fair trade in my books.

The added benefit is I like the way I feel. All those vegetables make me feel energized.

I have salad everyday for lunch and challenge myself to find alternatives for dinner that don’t include boiled veg on the side. Here is a list of veg I have added to my meals on a regular basis. I am stoked about the variety of vitamins I have included!

  1. Kale chips – I make lots and keep in a container for crunch/salty snacking
  2. Eggplant – baked in a tomato ragu – FAB (eggplant is my pasta substitute)
  3. Spaghetti squash mac and cheese – sometimes I want CHEESE, melty gooey cheesey goodness! Spaghetti squash is my macaroni substitute because it is the cheese I love, not necessarily the pasta.
  4. Vegetarian Chili  – I throw left- over veg from the week (not lettuce  into the food processor and add it to my chili. I uses 3 different cans of beans (red and white kidney beans and black beans) and tinned tomatoes. So delicious!

Tell me how YOU add more vegetables into your life. I really need to know, Lisa can be brutal.

How am I doing it? I’ll tell you.

549273_349576008488429_102793663_nI went out last night and ate fish and chips at the local chip shop. Do I feel guilty? No, it’s just food I rarely indulge in. There was a special occasion that called for Pub food. It was my mom’s birthday and to celebrate her adopted British heritage, we went to Brits and then off to the Diana Exhibit at West Edmonton Mall. We saw the Princess’ wedding dress and ball gowns, Sir Elton John’s chicken scratch and Sir George Martin’s musical score. It was kind of cool. All the women of my family went, 4 generations. I am the largest.

That sucks.

I have made serious progress and meet weekly with an emotional eating group. That helps a lot, but I still get asked on a regular basis “what are you doing to lose the weight?”

I have bad news for you. There is no secret. It is simple math. Burn more calories than you intake, in other words: Eat less Move more. There you have it, simple math.

In two years I have lost the equivalent of my daughter = 80lbs. I still need to lose the equivalent of my son. But I don’t think about it much any more. Small changes that I made two years ago have become habit for the most part. Cookies are still my weakness, and I don’t love vegetables (because I am a lazy cook and I hate prep) but I will share with you small changes that I have made to help me be successful.

  1. Record every thing you eat! Don’t lie about it either. I downloaded MyFitnessPal onto my iPhone  I have it on my iPad and on my laptop. Every time something goes into my mouth I record it. This does a couple of things, A) it makes me mindful of eating – grabbing a handful of something out of the pantry while I cook dinner better be pea pods rather than tortilla chips Calorie difference is 40 verses 290. B) It gives me a baseline. When I lose weight in one week and not in another, I can look back and see what I did differently. C) MyFitnessPal does all the math for me, it will scan barcodes for nutritional information AND it lets me record and save favorite meals. I love my breakfast to be the SAME 6 days a week. Greek yogurt, All-bran buds and a banana. Same same same. It is easy and I don’t think about it. Simple. Think about intake this way: A meal has 3-4 different food groups and should be between 300-500 calories. A snack has 1-2 different food groups and should be between 100-150 calories. Add me as a friend on MyFitnessPal, send me a message with your email and we can connect. The more support the better. 
  2. Don’t drink your calories! Every morning before I do anything I drink a mug of water. That is 2 cups of water towards my daily goal of 8. I eat breakfast and I have a cup of coffee. I gave up milk/cream/sugar in my coffee because that is another 120 calories I can eat. Food makes you full and satisfied, beverages are empty calories. I only drink water, coffee, tea and on occasion I drink wine or beer. Molson has a decent tasting beer called Molson 67. 67 calories of one bottle. It even tastes like Canadian beer – I can’t drink American beer because it is watery. I like strong flavors. Apothic Red wine 122 calories. For me it is an indulgence that I enjoy. It isn’t every week, I only drink occasionaly,but I always record it.
  3. Don’t call it a diet! I have changed my lifestyle, I don’t diet. That means this food change is forever and I have to live with it. There is no point in depriving yourself, that leads to bingeing. Having chocolate, sweets, crunching/salty food is just that. FOOD. It isn’t evil, it isn’t forbidden, it is  special. Special means once in a while or occasionally  Just like birthdays. Birthdays are not daily, when you have something special enjoy it. Take it slow. Put the first bite into your mouth and ask yourself about it. Does it taste good? No? Then stop eating it. Save your calories for food that is worth while. Does it taste good? Yes? Then ask yourself after every bite if you need more or are you done. You will likely not need to eat all of it. I have learned that a taste is very satisfying. I swear.
  4. Stop ingesting Aspartame! This was the most difficult thing I have ever done. It is addicting. It makes you crave sweets and studies show you WILL gain weight because you trick your brain into thinking you are eating sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more you want. Since kicking the Diet Coke habit, I rarely want sweets. I went to the Hong Kong bakery last night and didn’t buy myself a thing. I didn’t deprive myself I just didn’t feel like anything. Part of that is I no longer crave sweets. That took a good month to kick that habit. The other part was I was satisfied after eating my dinner and I didn’t feel like I need more food. That leads me to the last tip…
  5. Think about where you are hungry! That sounds redonkulus but its true. If you are hungry, truly hungry, your tummy will say so, you can feel weak or cranky and possibly light headed. This means you need fuel. So treat your body to protein, drink water have fruits and veg. Stick to the food groups. Stop thinking that food is a treat. It is not a treat, Food is Fuel. Treats are new shoes or shiny things, books and a nap. Food is Fuel. If you are hungry in your mouth, you need oral stimulation. Chew gum, drink water, have spicy tea. If you are hungry in your heart (Emotional eaters I am looking at you)  feel your emotion. Let it out. It is okay to feel stuff. Cry, scream laugh – I don’t care but don’t drug it with food. emotions are for feeling not suppressing. It is like any other addiction. Be conscious of your behavior when you intake food.

Remember, you didn’t put this weight on over night. It is going to take months (in my case years 2 and counting) to get it off. I am willing to put in the work. I started moving by swimming, then I walked and now I run. Eat less Move more. Simple math.

So, last night I ate one piece of beer battered fish and a handful of chips (fries) and tartar sauce. I felt sick afterwards. I can’t tell you the last time I ate that much fried food. Total calorie count? Hard to say but a good estimate was 760 calories taking into count the portion size ( I split a meal with my ChatterBox). I had 157 calories left over for the day. I feel sluggish today. I need vegetables in the worst way. But two years ago, this feeling was normal. I now hate it. I love the way I feel when I eat clean. So was last night worth it? Yes and no. It was my mom’s birthday part and that made it worth it. I feel gross today and know I will struggle through my run, water and fresh food will help. Will there be a next time? Perhaps, but it won’t be my suggestion. I will go for a special occasion and maybe next time eat before I go and buy a little something to pick at with the group. Will I feel deprived? No, I will feel empowered.

Choices we make today affect who you are tomorrow.