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Monday, January 27, 2014

Stop the Slide (I think I'm going to be sick)

Another Monday with a confession following. My initial hope was to be an inspirational blogger on weight loss strategy for the new year.But things haven't gone as planned. For three weeks now. In fact, with two big bags of red licorice and one of potato chips (which I rarely eat) under my belt and an evening of full fat cheese, incredibly delightful East Indian fare with creamy paneer, fried samosas and doughnut balls soaked in sugar, I think I gained weight this week. My scales are broken, but my ski pants never lie. They're tighter!

No, I didn't touch a drop of alcohol so I saved some calories there. I worked out six of the seven days and ate wisely all week except for Friday and Saturday evening when I figure my idea of "letting loose" got in my way. (Hey, I'm still a reckless Party Girl!Watch me eat this ENTIRE bag of potato chips!)( and...what is a movie night out without licorice? I had to buy two big bags because my husband wanted me to share. Then he only ate three ropes. The rest simply disappeared electric pencil-sharpener style down my throat).

This decline from healthy habits seems to be ALL about attitude and  a post breast cancer "I don't care...I WANT TO FEEL ALIVE AGAIN" coming out of my pores.It's that kind of attitude that gets us overweight, into ruts, disease-laden and headed for an early retirement of the more permanent kind. If I keep this behaviour up, it will become harder and harder to stench the flow. Now that I've opened that tap again I'm finding it ridiculously hard to turn off.But it has to.It's a slippery slope with the bottom, the end of the path, being death by over-indulgence. That's where it ultimately leads; to obesity, heart disease, cancers,diabetes and on and on.I'm a far cry from that, but like an avalanche ...

Actually, it doesn't matter how far down the slope you've slipped. There will be a reckoning between you and your mirror or your ski pants where you decide to climb up instead of continuing the slide. The amount of determination has to equal the amount of your wanting to succeed. To be what you visualize yourself being. The only way to do that is to stop the process. To stand up to yourself right now and say "drop those treats." Then go stand in front of the mirror naked for ten minutes and see if you still want to eat them. No, I didn't think so.At least that's what I do.And need to do more often. Because I'm sliding on that slippery slope and instead of slowing down, the sliding is speeding up.

I have learned from experience that the longer I leave facing the trek back up, the harder it becomes.

So a few tips for us to remember:

Water is your best friend. Not only will it help flush the cravings away, it will get rid of toxins from the bad food, keep you full and plump up your skin.

Hungry? Make a pot of tea. If that doesn't work, have something ready and sensible to follow up with. An apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Celery and carrot sticks. Pop some cherry tomatoes. Crunch up ten natural almonds.

Tempted by a sweet tooth? I sweeten things with dates, natural stevia and honey or fruit juices sparingly. I found a Stevia in a hazelnut cream flavour and between that, Chai green tea bags and almond milk, my Chai tea lattes are once again back on my menu.

Crave salt? I overcome this by eating dulse, a dried ocean food better known as seaweed.

Need something sour? Eat cherries or make a sugarless fruit compote. Simply simmer apples, berries, chopped dates and a shot of any type of juice until thickened. Top with fat free, low sugar plain yogurt and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

Want a chocolate fix? Try the Sinless Chocolate Macaroons in my book Running From Cancer.

There is an answer to anything you're craving. Pizza? Buy the brown rice crust by Bob Miller packaging, plain tomato sauce with spices, toppings and low fat cheese. Lasagne? Use brown rice pasta noodles, no fat cottage cheese and skip the meat.Ice cream? Eat no fat yogurt with fresh fruit. It's all do-able.

As for a substitute for red licorice, there is fruit leather but I think I might simply skip the movie going for another six months.

Of course, if you can wear all the excessive calories off by exercising for hours, then there isn't an issue other than the lack of nutrition you would have received from eating healthier

It's a scale of balance and I'm GOING to tip things the other way. The first thing I'm going to do  is lessen my stress about it all and promise to stop talking about it on these blogs. There! I feel lighter already.

We all know what we have to do. Now lets get to it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Face Plant From The Wagon

Uh, oh. It's Monday again. Time to "weigh in." This is tougher than I thought it would be, in the fact that I feel I have to justify the few actions and set backs I go through each week. Yes, we all have them. But even with them, my life is still much healthier than it was a year ago. Being honest is what I try to be all about and so should you. Every misguided bite of crap should count. Add them up and know that next week, you CAN do better.
 So...first off, our scale broke? It won't seem to go past 20. Honest and careens into the 100+ and then comes back down to 20.

But, despite what I am about to disclose, my pants ARE looser this Monday. The hard work continued everyday except for Saturday where a respite on the couch with Pepto Bismal, Tylenol and plenty of fluids helped nurse my alcohol poisoning from Friday night.

What happened? It was a great bottle of wine. I was simply trying a sip of something new. That was the good news. The bad news is Barry happened to have a second bottle of it. When that was downed, we decided to cabin hop and that just lead to more glasses of wine. It was a major deja vus from days that I'd hoped were behind me.

"It was nice to see the old Deb back," a friend commented. I'm not quite sure how to take that.I realize it was meant in fun, but I never want to go through that again. Being  physically sick from alcohol, besides being a major sign my body cannot take it, is so pathetic, preventable and cruel.And just like the cancer experience, I never want to go through it again.

So I've returned to being the new Deb, not begrudging or judging anyone else their glowing moments, of their highs and the impending lows that come with drinking. Or the weight gain. Or the expense, the wishing I hadn't said what I'd said because I ALWAYS say something I shouldn't. Some of us just shouldn't drink. Let's say good-bye to THAT Debi, shall we?

Oh, and I also gobbled down two white chocolate baking squares, (there is no other chocolate in the house) and two back-to-back Starbuck Chai Latte's, nachos with full fat cheese (no other cheese in the house) and two grilled cheese sandwiches. Subtract two meals I missed because I couldn't eat and it all came out to a minus on the broken scale. I figure I have three pounds to go to goal weight and the end of the weight talks!

Shouldn't be that hard when I won't be drinking anything but water and tea with Stevia next week.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Belly Fat Busting

This picture shows the Pillsbury Dough Girl effect much better than the one hidden behind bathing suit materiel. This ring of flotation is enough to get myself another cancer lottery ticket or two as fat can promote cancer cell growth, especially when this fat is comprised solely of high sugar and animal  fat intake.

What kinds of health problems are linked to overweight and obesity?

Excess weight may increase the risk for many health problems, including
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease and strokes
  • certain types of cancer
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • fatty liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • pregnancy problems, such as high blood sugar during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and increased risk for cesarean delivery (C-section) Borrowed From:

Like an actress who gains weight for a role, I let myself put on this weight to show you HOW it can come off almost as painlessly as it went on. Okay,that was the secondary idea after having been a good girl for so long, I decided to let loose and then turn the lemons into lemonade.

After week one, the scales are down a solid three pounds. I am at 147 and have been for 3 days. That was after seven solid days of one hour of exercise per day. Jogging for 40 minutes on Sunday and Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday Aqua Aerobics with a 10 minute swim after,Tuesday and Thursday weight training with a 20 minute jog after and Sunday three hours of hard skiing. The seventh day was my "treat day" where two hot chocolates spiked with a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream snuck into the "plan" and were down my gullet before I knew what happened. 
The normal diet was alcohol-free but laden with "Saudi Champagnes (ice-filled glass with no-sodium soda water poured almost to the rim. A quarter cup or less of white grape juice (or any unsweetened real juice) floated on top! Very thirst quenching. Lots of herbal tea and glasses of water. Stevia the sweetener if any was called for and almond milk the dairy.

Breakfast for me is always oatmeal (1/4 cup with water cooked in the microwave with 1/4 cup frozen blueberries), a dozen grapes, a sprinkle of sunflower, pumpkin and Nutracleanse seeds (contains ground flax and Psyllium for clean colon and waste management), a half cup of plain, fat free probiotic yogurt and a half cup of chilled almond milk (plain, original). Lunch was usually left-overs from a sugar- free dinner: fats only from coconut oil used as conservatively as possible.Moose burgers on brown rice buns, grilled cheese made from coconut oil as a spread, low fat cheese and brown rice bread. Dinner: usually fish or free-range skinless chicken, carbs either absent or brown rice, quinoa or brown rice pasta with LOTS of vegetables. Dessert chocolate macaroons from my book beneath plain yogurt, seeds (see above) and fresh fruit. 

I LOST three pounds. On someone with more weight to lose, I predict a loss of five pounds after a week like mine.
One thing I HAVE noticed besides a slight, if any change in anything but the scale number is my "furnace" is burning hotter, meaning I am needing more "fuel" to keep up with my body. This makes me hungrier, so I added a snack at ten a.m (an apple with 1 TBSP plain pnut butter as a dip) and another at 3 p.m. (a brown rice cracker with low fat cheese and a few grapes). This keeps me full between meals so I am less likely to gorge.

Okay, THAT was my perception of how the week went, food wise. In reality I DID the exercise mentioned, BUT I allowed myself a third drink: a glass of wine on Friday, a handful of chocolate chips (BIG scoop) on Sunday. a Chai Latte(high sugar content even when made with skim milk) on Saturday, a second helping of dinner after an already stacked plate and two low-cal desserts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

So I am LUCKY that scale is down at all. If I really want the scale to go down faster, I can't possibly exercise any more AND keep up working, so it means the calorie intake is going to have to suffer. I think, actually I KNOW I can do much better next week, reminding myself this is all only until I reach my goal at 143. Four HARD , stubborn pounds to go.Those last ones are always the hardest.

Pass the air, please.I'd like another helping!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lose Seven Pounds In A Month?

Alright. This may not look like a lot of excess weight on this body. But to the trained eye and worse, to my favourite, no, make that ALL my pants, I got "pillowy" over the last two months of Ho-Ho-Holi-Daze. That excess seven pounds is comprised of the worst things a post cancer patient could have eaten.

To my defense, I have spent since August 2010 worrying about myself and what I was doing to encourage cancer growth through what I was putting into my body. 
Over the next year, I would cut out the toxins: buying cleaners and beauty products with only natural ingredients. I changed my diet to include double the fruit and vegetables and replaced the bread,white flour, pasta and rice with brown rice products. I drink herbal and decaf green tea and drink lemon water.
I have cut the drinking down to absolute minimal with less than two drinks a week being the norm. The weight simply came off on its own with a little help from daily exercise.

I have been such a nauseatingly GOOD girl. What cancer could possibly run away with my life?

I am also on pills for five years that help prevent an occurrence. Now what are my chances of getting cancer at this very moment? I am thinking in the negatives.
SO... I gave myself a Christmas present. I let myself go absolutely sugar-insane over the holidays, starting in mid November. I ate licorice (two bags full in one sitting). I ate all the home baked almond roca, made another batch, then proceeded to eat it all once on table trays. There was cheese fondue with cheese buns, coconut balls and chocolate truffles. Date squares, apple crisp, turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, Ollie Balls, ice cream, egg nog and whipped cream.And you know that was only the half of it. How about three blueberry teas in one night (and a following hang-over that wanted gooey fries and a donut for lunch)

For once in my life it was a no holds barred pig-out. Potato chips, chezzies, pistachio and macadamia nuts covered in chocolate and straight up. BBQ sauce, sweet and sour sauce, butter sauce. I ate BUTTER! I haven't touched that stuff in years. And BACON. although I had to cross myself first just in case it took me down on the spot. Surprisingly, I survived and lived to eat the other five strips in the pan.

The result was a yet another person looking back at me from the mirror. Someone I remembered from years past. Someone that had worked very hard for three years to get down to the 143 I was most happy at.

The funny thing is I am happy. Happy I did that for myself, knowing full well I would stop it on January 1, as I did. That I would rise to this occasion as I always have with simply another goal to obtain. Getting back to feeling comfortable no matter what I wear.

And now it's reckoning time. The muzzle has been slipped over my mouth. The sugared treats and any lingering shred of Christmas treat  indecency has been donated, eaten, tossed or re-gifted.

Monday saw me at Aqua Fitness with the Seniors crew before a forty minute leisurely jog. Tuesday was a 6 a:m session at the gym followed by another slow jog for 20 minutes. Wednesday was Aqua aerobics followed by 15 minutes of extra laps. 

Getting the picture? 

Breakfast is ALWAYS oatmeal with plain, no-fat yogurt, berries and grapes, almond milk and seeds. A snack at ten is an apple, lunch is no fat, low cal and hearty vegi and brown rice wise. Three o'clock snack is usually a spoonful of pnut butter on a rye cracker. Dinner is either brown rice pasta, rice or flour with more vegi's- sometimes four or five. Chicken, fish or moose. And the best part of the day- dessert with more plain yogurt, seeds and berries. Or my chocolate macaroon recipe from my book Running From Cancer with the above poured over top to make a sundae.

And you have read my plan for taking this ring around my waist off the sooner the better.I'm betting one month, but thinking probably two. Those last five are the hardest to lose.Here goes nothing.

Keep posted weekly for the next Monday photo and weigh-in.

Need any help with YOUR waist line? Contact me. I have a son who has made it his business to get you into the best shape of your life. Guaranteed! Or, you can do what I'm doing and just DO it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Years Time Crunch

Every New Year's Day I have a ritual I perform. No, I don't slaughter an animal or drop to my knees in prayer. But you're close if you're thinking that way. My ritual is symbolic in that it makes this addled ADD brain sit and contemplate what I accomplished, messed up or got distracted with my goals in the past year. Then I try to figure out some REALISTIC ways of bettering my program. Maybe I could have applied myself more with getting my anti-cancer message out to the world as intended, maybe I could have listened to my husband's council more often because when he says left, I go right. Not intentionally, but it's the way I'm wired.I should be more structured like he is, more rigid with my time.

I think for people like me, it's about routine and how I schedule my days. It needs to start with an alarm clock because on these dark mornings, I want to stay in bed until 9. A waste of 2 good hours to get before the computer screen and accomplish something.

I need to organize my time at my desk better because the social media aspect of the writing life seems to take over. That means consolidating the Twitter, FaceBook (3 pages!!)e-mail and Pinterest somehow. One message needs to go out to all the followers.I'll have to search for a program that can do that.

I need to make a schedule up and try to stick to it. Like 7-8:30 social media. 9-11 in town for swimming and errands.Lunch. 1-5 writing. Prep dinner. Hot tub with husband.7-10 editing. Or something like that. You can already see how life gets in the way. Hot tubs and town. Of course, none of that will work when we're at the ski cabin. It will go more like 8-9 prep for skiing (breakfast, washing, dressing, listening to weather reports and ski hill chatter about conditions we'll be facing) 9:30-4 ripping up the fresh powder or touring the mountain on special skis that enable us to walk uphill with furry "skins" on them before skiing back down again in the powder still untouched in the out-of-bounds areas. Light snacks from 4-5 before dinner 6-7 and then usually it's entertainment time to mosey to another cabin for laughs or to the lodge for ??? You can see there is a great need for me to set aside more time when I'm on the mountain! Some fun will have to go. The tobogganing? The Thrilling Thursdays with the free appies and prizes? The surprise drop-in guests?

This will be harder than I thought. It's funny that writer's can apply to be secluded for weeks or a month at a time in rustic settings (like log cabins on a  mountain) People pay big money so that they can get away from life buzzing continually around them and get to the task of typing out something the world will want to read. It takes concentration to flip into the story you are creating and an interruption flips you back to reality. You are momentarily puzzled at where you are at before you answer a question about where someone's cell phone is (in MY purse of course) or where his keys are (yes, check MY purse) or a yap with someone on the phone. Flipping back into the story takes less than a minute, but then you have to find where you are and get that stream flowing again. You have to remember what it is you are setting up because every word must work to moving a story forward. A well published author told me this year "You have to be prepared to defend every word," and I have already found that to be true.

So I have plenty of peaceful seclusion, but I still have the ability to let life (like searching for a brie cheese seafood pasta sauce recipe for 2 hours) sidetrack me.

So, I am going to try and let less distractions get in my way this year. Now that my two books are on shelves, it's up to me to see that the buzz around them increases and  keep the momentum going forward while editing my second Mystery to come out in 2014 and writing the book on ADD. What time slot should I pencil that in?

I'm thinking I should simply not go to sleep. That would give me 8 hours of quiet time to produce pages of gibberish I would have to fix in the morning. Sigh.

No, I'm thinking 2014 will be a year of compromise. Same amount of life, yet more writing. With two more children engaged this year, a hip operation for my father back east sending us across Canada, more cancer relays, fundraising for a portable MRI (more on that in a future blog) for the north (including Smithers!) and exercise, my time for writing is going to have to be "whenever possible."

So if you see me hunched over my lap top while in the lounge on the ski hill, or writing notes on a napkin at your home, popping out of the pool to say "aha! That's what that character should do!" please don't label me. It's a New Year's Resolution in action.

The problem is it sounds suspiciously like the exact game-plan I followed in 2013?

But hey, I published not one but two books, got them out to BC through two cross province book tours, two CBC radio interviews, CFTK TV, PG TV the Georgia Strait, countless newspapers and audiences I presented to on top of a trip to Kaui, hiking trips, a wedding in Revelstoke and sixty days of skiing, so maybe the old plan wasn't as bad as I thought?

 I'm thinking a few less days of skiing will be enough change to let me get my balance straightened out.

And now, by looking at the clock, I see I'm off to start the year on the right foot. Time to get dressed and continue my day!
Writing starts in exactly 34 minutes!

Wishing you the ability to find a little more time to challenge yourself in 2014. Happy New Year everyone!