Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

To do list is finally done!  I'm sure I sound like I'm a bit whack, but I was trying to get all this stuff done before the clock ticked over into 2011 because I wanted to start the new year off fresh - no niggly unfinished things nagging at me.  Must be the Chinese-y part of me coming out...for Chinese New Years, we're supposed to do a really good cleaning of the house to get rid of any bad luck that may have accumulated during the year...but avoid any cleaning the first few days of the new year to avoid sweeping away the good luck.  No fear there...we're doing the Resolution Run tomorrow morning and then I'm plunking myself on my butt all day and reading travel books - we're going to Hong Kong at the end of January!  Can't wait, I tell and shopping in an incredibly culturally rich environment....just my kinda place!

As I start looking forward to 2011 and my impending trip, I couldn't help but reminisce about 2010.  2009 was a recovery and rebuilding year as I tried to get my head on straight after being in an incredibly stressful and turbulent job, so 2010 felt like the first year in a long time that I felt like I was being true to myself and that I was doing things for me.  It was the first year in a long time - if ever - that I felt balanced.  So all in all - 2010 was a good year!

So with that, I'm looking forward to 2011 and what it brings - happy new year to you all!  Cheers to a happy and healthy 2011!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

TPC Final Weigh In - And the Results Are...

Can I just start off by saying that I'm sooooooo glad that the TPC is finally over?  Ha!  I got up this morning and was so tired from yesterday that I could barely work out and I was so, so, so incredibly sore from bootcamp.  I had multiple stops and starts and finally decided OK, snap out of it - just get 'er done...the sooner you finish, the sooner you can weigh in and the sooner you can have a TREAT.  That seemed to do the trick as I managed to pump out a good long cardio session.  I tell ya, I'll do anything for food.

Once I was done, I headed off to the studio.  As I was driving, I was thinking awww man...I know I didn't make the goal and now I'm going to have to stick my tail between my legs and tell everyone in bloggieland that I failed.  As I walked in, I said hi to everyone and shucked off as much clothing as possible while remaining somewhat decent and stepped up on the scale.  I had to giggle as the weigh in scene from the Biggest Loser popped into my head...I could picture Allie saying "Cindy, and your current weight is..."  all the while the annoying beepbeepbeep that the stupid scale makes was ringing in my ears...

Eight pounds total lost.  Gaaaah!!  So close.  SO CLOSE!!  As I saw my $150 flutter away and I started to feel like shite and a failure, I looked down and saw the actual number on the scale and it kind registered.  Wow.  Hey.  That's actually not too bad.  Eight pounds in eight weeks...that's pretty damn effing awesome if I do say so myself, especially during Christmas!  And I did make my main goal of not gaining weight during December and am going to start off 2011 healthy and in the best shape of my life.  I don't think I could have worked out any harder or eaten any cleaner.  Dammit...I'm actually kinda proud of myself!  Ha ha, I scoff at you Failure - I laugh in your face!

As soon as I walked out the door I called Hubs to tell him the news...and then stuffed a huge piece of banana bread in my mouth that I had packed with me because believe me, I was starving.  Ravenous.  Like I would have eaten durian if it was put in front of me.  The banana bread tasted like pure heaven as I scarfed it down.  Aaaaaaaand afterwards...well, the studio just happens to be next to my favourite store in the whole wide world Lululemon...and I treated myself to a pair of Wonder Under tights that I'd been coveting for a while.  Wheee!

So next steps?  I'm taking off the next few days and am going to enjoy myself, and I mean really enjoy myself...and then back to clean eating starting next week. Am I glad I did the TPC?  You bet.  It was hard and not a whole lot of fun some days - but it was totally worth it.  2011, here I come!

PS.  Thanks to you all for the support and helping me to be accountable...couldn't have done it without y'all.  XO

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TPC The Night Before Weigh In - Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease

OMG, am I ever tired.  I got up bright and early to head out to bootcamp this morning - and holy crap did the trainer kick our asses.  Like stomped on our butts...we did cardio pretty much the whole class and it was brutal.  Stairs, hills forward, hills backwards, sprints...OK, if I can't have Jillian Michaels, my trainer Christina is a pretty good facsimile.  She rocks.

After I got home I started in on my to do list - I'm sure it's not surprising to know that I'm a total list maker - I have to have lists for everything, in part because I love the feeling of crossing things off my list, in part because I'm a bit (OK a lot) anal...but mostly because in my old age I'm starting to really get forgetful.  So after a few days of chilling and doing pretty much nothing, my itch to dododogogogo started and I made a huge list of to-dos for myself - mostly which included cleaning the house from top to bottom.  I organized, I sorted, I scrubbed - no dust bunny was left unvacuumed!  I started at 8am and just finished now, almost eight hours later. I love the feeling of a clean, tidy house...and I'm hoping I burnt off a kajllion calories in the meantime as I was up and down the stairs (we live in a three level house) constantly...a built in stairmaster.  Ha! am I feeling the night before the weigh in?  I don't think I made the I posted yesterday, my weight is up from a week ago likely because of extra carbs and such eaten during Christmas.  Am I upset?  At first I was and I was whining to Hubs...and he said at least we didn't gain any weight, right?  And wasn't that really the goal?  That Hubs...such a wise sage. 

Anyways, the last chance plan is to do a final workout tomorrow morning, try to avoid drinking too much water and jet myself down to the studio to weigh in.  And...after I find out the results, a cupcake might just somehow land in my mouth.  Totally by accident though.  Heh.

Look out tomorrow for the results!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ten Goals for 2011

Whew.  Can't believe Christmas is over...and we're just a few short days away from 2011.  Yikes!  I've been pondering my goals for next year over the last while and was keeping a rough list in my daytimer that I kept adding to and deleting from...but I think I've finally come up with a list that I'm pretty happy with.   I'm definitely a goal driven type of person so really found that setting goals last year helped keep me on track - and of course, posting them on my blog helps to keep me accountable.  So here goes - my ten goals for 2011:

  1. Run a marathon - SURPRISE!  Betcha didn't see this one coming, right?  Ha ha!  I hate unfinished business and it still really upsets me when I think how close I was to knocking this one off my bucket list.  I am determined to do it this year.
  2. Incorporate more weights into workouts - after I finished training for my almost-marathon, I was completely shocked at how my muscle tone and strength levels totally went to hell.  Sure, I could run until the cows came home...but I was jiggly, soft and weak.  I could barely do pushups and I was so incredibly sore after the first few bootcamps that I did in the running off-season.  I've been doing more weights recently and have noticed a big difference in muscle tone and overall strength so I'd like to keep this up.  And of course, more lean muscle mass means more calories burned at rest.  Yes! 
  3. Maintain a consistent weight - this goal is two-fold...lighter means faster when it comes to running, and I feel best when I'm at my goal weight.  The first step to this goal was doing the Ten Pound Challenge - hopefully starting 2011 at my goal weight (and if I don't make the goal weight by Dec 30th, I'm going to continue until I do), and maintaining that weight throughout the year.  No more yo-yoing!!!  My biggest challenge will be balancing my food intake when I'm training for the marathon again - I need food/carbs to keep my energy levels up for the long runs, but I really want to avoid the marathon weight gain that I put on this year. 
  4. Eat mindfully - instead of saying "no dairy", "no eggs" or "no junk food" which isn't a positive way to look at food, my goal is to eat more mindfully and really think about what I'm putting in my mouth (and consequently what Hubs is putting in his) and making sure it's balanced from a multitude of perspectives - particularly carb/fat/protein breakdown, balancing food sources (see goal 5), being mindful of sustainability and balancing clean eating/treats.    Doing the Ten Pound Challenge really made me see that food is the key - I can exercise until the cows come home, but I can't exercise away a bad diet.
  5. Start Meatless Mondays - yippeeee! A cooking challenge. Even though I think a lot of Hubs' cholesterol issues are due to his carb intake, I'm sure cholesterol from animal sources isn't helping the issue. this a reason to buy some more cookbooks?  Heh.
  6. Write in my gratitude journal daily - 2010 was an epic fail for this, so I'm trying again.  When I started it last year, I found that it really changed how I viewed things and I started thinking more positively overall...and it became easier to focus on the good stuff rather than the shitty stuff. 
  7. Volunteer - I've talked about this a few times this year, but I'm going to go for it in 2011 and do my part to give back to the community.
  8. Keep up with supplements - yep, I'm a bad, bad girl.  I was doing really good at taking supplements up until maybe the Fall and then I totally fell off the bandwagon. Gaaah!  We ran out of stuff and never got around to stocking up so I got out of the habit.  I found it really made a difference in how I felt so I'd like to make sure I keep this up.
  9. Read 15 books - Hubs bought me a Kobo for an early Christmas present, and I loooooove it...looooooooooooooove it!!  *in Oprah voice*  I've been reading a bit every day and really enjoying getting back into books again.
  10. Be more aware of finances - even though I'm an accountant and good at looking at how an organization runs their finances, I will admit I don't pay enough attention to how my own finances are doing, namely in how my stuff is invested.  Every year I think I'll get on top of things but I tend to get lazy and just leave things in the hands of my financial planner.  Hubs and I did take a first step this year and had an assessment done of where we were at in terms of retirement and other long term financial goals, so I'd like to take it to the next level and take a more active role in working on our financial goals and making sure we reach them.
Alrighty - these are now posted in the permanent record of the interweb.  2011, here I come!

PS.  Weigh in is in two days - got on the scale today and it's not looking so great for the ten pounds - where is Jillians Michaels when I need her?!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Signing Out For Christmas Break

Wow...can't believe Christmas is only a couple of days away!  I think we're ready - it's been a busy, crazy, hectic time, so I'm really looking forward to chilling during the Christmas break and taking 'er easy.  Hubs and I are done all the gift shopping, and headed out tonight to fight the crowds at the grocery store to pick up all the fixings for Christmas dinner.  I love cooking for other people so actually look forward to this every year and am testing out a few new recipes and a new method of cooking the turkey - am I crazy?  I've been doing it for so many years and have turkey dinner down to a science, so I might live to regret this...but I'm willing to give it a whirl anyways.  So here's what's on the menu:

Turkey with gravy/cranberry sauce
Ham with mustard sauce
Mashed garlic po-ta-toes
Homemade stuffing (new recipe)
Brussel sprouts sauteed with garlic
Baked sweet potatoes
Turnip puff
Glazed maple carrots
Celery root puree (new recipe)
Raspberry semifreddo (new recipe)
Rice (this is for my dad, who just doesn't feel happy unless he eats rice for dinner)

I'm super excited to test out making stuffing from scratch - I admit, I've done Stove Top the last few years and it's been less than stellar.  We used to buy this fabulous Fletcher's frozen stuffing but it's not available that stuff was tasty!  I was sad when we couldn't find it anymore.  Anyways, look out for some new recipe postings over the next while - I've heard the semifreddo is fabulous, and I've discovered a few to die for cookies while doing the Christmas baking that I've been meaning to share with everyone (including the recipe for the most fabulous peanut butter cookie ever - no lie).  Before we have this feast though, Hubs, my FIL and I are going out for a good long run on Christmas morning...gotta work off some of the semifreddo, right?

So with that, I'm signing out for the Christmas break - wishing you all a wonderful, happy Christmas with your loved ones.  Peace out, homies!

Monday, December 20, 2010

TPC Week 7 - Looking at the Bright Side

All I can say right now is bleh.  This weekend I was down and out either with food poisoning or the stomach flu and it was a doozy.  Not sure what happened but I couldn't keep food down or in...yes, yes TMI!  Anyways, as I lay at home recuperating, Hubs said that I should look at the bright side - not eating for two days and totally dehydrated means I'm probably at my 10 pound goal.  Ha!  Too bad the weigh in wasn't today.  I unfortunately missed my staff party which I was pretty bummed about - they're usually a lot of fun and the food sounded fabulous.  Anyways, I'm back on track and feeling better.  So far I'm holding on through the final stretch and just willing myself to get through until Dec 30th and then Hubs and I are going big on New Year's Eve!  We keep talking about what we're going to eat - I think that's the only thing keeping us going.  Well, that and $150.  Heh.

Anyways, this post is short and sweet and not much of an update.  So to spice it up, I thought I'd add a little clip from one of my fave shows, How I Met Your Mother.  Barney Stinson is a god.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three Things Thursday

  1. OK, whose bright idea was it to try to lose weight during Christmas?! I kid, I kid...sorta...hee hee. I'm sure once I'm past the crunch time and done the weigh in on the 30th, I'll be happy that I didn't pack on the usual winter coat I gain every December....but right now, man it's effing hard. I'm not doing too badly with the stuff like chips and cookies, but the eating out is killin' me! We've got dinner parties this Friday and Saturday, plus three Christmas lunches next week to get through...sometimes there's nothing really healthy on the menu, or it's really hard to resist temptation especially for a foodie like me. Hope I survive relatively unscathed!
  2. I sent the package off to my adopted soldier...yippeee! I emailed the organizer to let her know I'd sent the package out earlier this week, and she sent me back a really touching email thanking me. She then added that it would give hope and happiness to the recipient as they faced their next challenge - my soldier was being shipped out in the next few weeks to weed out Taliban insurgents in a really violent and volatile area of Afghanistan. I gotta admit, I got really verklempt thinking about these men and women who are out fighting on the front lines away from family and loved ones while we're here nice and safe in the comforts of our own home. Kind of puts things into perspective when I think about the trivial things that stress me out...these brave people are doing a job that so many of us would never do, or even think about. Anyways, I just really really hope that he gets the package before he heads out on his next mission.
  3. I don't know if I've turned into a huge crybaby or if it's this time of year that makes me like this, but I swear everything is getting to me...for the love of Pete, I was crying my eyes out while I was watching the Biggest Loser finale this week (you go Ada!)! Anyways, there was this story in our local paper that made me bawl my face off really touched me and was a good reminder to be thankful for what we have and to not forget to help those who are less fortunate...which is so easy to do when we're so busy with the season and get wrapped up in our own worlds.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ten Goals for 2010 - Year in Review

Whoa...can you believe that 2010 is almost over?!  Honestly, it feels like time has whizzed on when I think of the Olympics back in February, it seems like ages ago but it seems like just yesterday at the same time.  I'm sure this is a sign of getting old.  Anyways, I wanted to check back in on my goals for 2010 and see how I did.  Did I achieve all my goals?  Kinda? Sorta? Maybe?  Wait no longer, bloggie friends... 
  1. Run a marathon - well, OK we all know what happened with this one...nope, didn't make this goal but I'm gearing up for Marathon Quest 2011 and am hopefully taking all the right steps to get there injury free.  The positives?  I learned a ton about running, got in the best shape of my life cardio-wise and learned a lot about myself in the process.  I didn't actually run the marathon itself but's all about the journey and not necessarily the destination, right?
  2. Run a sub 2 hour half marathon - le sigh.  Another running goal not accomplished - hit a 2:02:44 at the Goodlife close but no cigar!  I'm hoping with the weight loss through the Ten Pound Challenge, I'll be faster and break the sub 2 hour barrier next year. 
  3. Wear a bikini in Hawaii - WOOT!  Nailed this one.  And it wasn't even all that bad!  I wasn't super comfortable with baring my middle aged body to the general viewing public, but people didn't run screaming off the beach either.   
  4. Pay attention to my health i.e. allergies, headaches - rocked this one.  I've significantly reduced the amount of dairy in my diet and it's made a big difference particularly with my skin.  I had a huge patch of excema on my forehead last year which has completely cleared up without any cortisone.  Sold.
  5. Run 10K in sub 55 minutes - oh yeah, baby!  54:17.   
  6. Think of what I'm grateful for every day - epic fail.  I did this for maybe the first two months faithfully and then fell off the grateful bandwagon.  Definitely bringing this one forward for 2011.
  7. Read one book a month - done, done and done!  I've finished a whopping 13 books this year...I'm really glad to get back into reading as it is definitely something I really do enjoy.
  8. Eat clean i.e. no dairy or eggs - I would say I did pretty well on this one.  Definitely not perfect, but for the most part, I've cut back a lot on dairy and eggs and have noticed signficant improvements in my skin, energy levels and tummy bloat. 
  9. Get my back in shape - doing awesome with my back - I was at my RMT last week and she said definitely noticed a decrease in knots so whatever I'm doing, to keep it up.  My physio is also liking what she's seeing and - knock on wood - I haven't had a major "outage" in awhile - last biggie was Sept 2009.  So happy!  I've been working a lot with my chiro, RMT, physio and throwing in yoga in there.  Oh, and standing up straight and watching my posture.  Heh.
  10. Eat more veggies - we've made a concerted effort to really bump up our veggie intake so I'd say we've hit this one.
So...not bad, not bad at all!  I'm pretty happy with how I did for 2010 - didn't make all my goals, but gives me something to strive for in 2011.  Look out soon for my goals for next year - here's looking forward to a happy and healthy 2011!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TPC Week 6 - Oopsie Daisy

Eighteen more days and three more Christmas dinners to get through...must remain strong!  This week was a tough week to get through...lots of eating out opportunities and I was busy after work most days so only managed to get in four workouts this week.  I need to ramp things up!  This week should be better, but we've got Christmas dinners to go to on Friday and Saturday this week and it's hard to say no and munch on carrots when everyone around you is eating delicious food.  Case in point - we had our annual block party last night.   Our cul de sac is new, so everyone all moved in around the same time back in 2004.  The first Christmas we all decided do a progressive party, so each house would do a different course along with some type of drink.  It was a great idea as we were all secretly nosy so wanted to go through each other's houses to see what everyone else had done.  Ha!  This started an annual tradition, so every year we do our house to house party and it's a total blast.  Some years things are tame, some years there've been all nighters pulled until 5am and some pretty green faces the next morning!

Last night was no different...we'd morphed the party over the years so now we serve nibblies and drinks and one house hosts the potluck.  Holy should have seen the spread at dinner!  The host cooked up a storm, plus each house brought a  I'm sure as you can tell by my blog title...I did fall off the wagon a bit.  I kept things under control - I had one helping on a side plate but oh, what a side plate it was!  The food debauchery I was OK with, as we haven't used all our free meals and I kept the portions small....but let's just say I may have overindulged a wee bit in the alcohol department.  I started the night off with a crown and ginger, continued on with wine and then ended it with tequila shooters and tummy definitely didn't feel so hot this morning when I woke up from mixing all that alcohol!  Anyways, going to stay strong and keep on track.  Just two more weeks to go!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Heard the News Today Oh Boy...

It was thirty years ago today that John Lennon was taken from us far too early.  RIP John.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gait Analysis - And the Results Are In....

I am beat.  Last day off of my glorious four day weekend...and it was nonstop!  I've been baking pretty much all day and I'm wiped.  Got up bright and early at 5am for bootcamp and it was a toughie.  They've introduced using tires into the routine - yep, tires!  It's actually kinda amazing how you can work out with practically anything and the tires were tough.  We had to hold them above our heads and run up and down a hill and I tell ya...I can feel my arms right now.  After bootcamp I headed home to get showered up/grab some brekkie, and went out to get stuff for my adopted soldier. I bought lots of treats like candies, cookies, chips, etc...and as I stood in line it felt like everyone was looking at what I was buying and thinking "whoa...what a terrible eater!!"  I'm sure they weren't, but I'm just paranoid like that.

After I got everything for my soldier, I toodled off to my gait analysis - I was suuuuupper excited because it's my first step to getting that first marathon under my belt.  It was pretty cool - I went in and the PT who did the analysis did a brief explanation and put all these wireless sensors on my body.  He started off by putting ones on my knees, ankles, hips and legs to get a starting point for how I normally hold my body, and then took the sensors off my knees, ankles and hips and left the rest.  I then did a slow walk on the treadmill and then sped up to an average 10K run pace.  Unfortunately, the poor PT had to do this three times because they had done some work on the computers over the weekend and whoever it was had changed some settings so it would mess up the readings...argh!  Third time was the charm though, and we got the readings.  As we were going through the set up, I told the PT about all my issues so he had an idea of what to look for.

After I got off the treadmill (at this point I was sweating like crazy, as I was running for a long time due to all the technical difficulties!), the PT went over the report with me and it was really, really interesting.  My right side is stiffer and I have a very late pronation - everyone's foot pronates to some degree, and I'm practically out of my stride when my foot pronates.  The big one is that I have extremely weak hip external rotators, which kinda makes sense.  I'm also slightly pigeon-toed in my stride, which probably wouldn't be the case if my hip rotators were strong.  The PT tested this out by having me lie on my back and pushed my leg in and outward while I tried resist.  I had no problem with stopping him from pushing my leg into my body, but when he pushed my leg away - it was like pushing over a feather!  He felt that this is likely the key...strengthening my hips would stop my stride from rotating inward and striking on the outside of my foot - that plus the stiffness and late pronation is all contributing to my right foot issues. The other comment he made that was interesting was that my body type is really flexible (confirms what my regular PT and Mr. Podiatrist Man said), but not naturally very strong and any strength that I did have was built up over time.  So what this means is that I'm naturally a weakling.  Ha!  Do I hear another physical challenge on the horizon?

Anyways, for anyone who is considering a gait analysis, I'd recommend it for sure.  You get a report at the end, so I'm taking that to my regular PT and getting her to work with me next year to strengthen my weak points.  MQ2011, here I come!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

TPC Week 5 - Silly Season

Man, is anyone else finding that they're totally on the gogogo with the holiday season here?  I took an extra extra long weekend this week to get stuff done and I'm finding I'm still not done everything I want to get done...I still have dozens and dozens of cookies I want to bake, gifts to wrap, gifts to buy, a house to decorate, a Christmas dinner to plan, cards to send, parties to go to and people to visit.  Yowza!  And of course, blog posts to write...and I just remembered that I haven't updated my Holiday Booty Buster Challenge spreadsheet since the first day so I've got to get on that too.  Oh le sigh.

I guess my point to that little spaz was that I'm finding it hard to fit in the workouts along with all the holiday stuff.   And because I'm so busy and kinda distracted, I'm finding the last few days I'm not being quite as careful with what I'm eating - while I'm not cheating (I did some baking today and didn't even sneak a butterscotch chip!), I'm getting lax on making sure my meals are balanced and am starting to get into the carb heavy foods again, and not watching my portion sizes.  Must get back on track....December 30th isn't that far away, and there are a lot of overindulging opportunities between now and then that could derail me.  Imma gonna have a little talk with myself to make sure I stay on track!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Things Thursdays

1.  Cans for Comments

Looks like Cans for Comments is taking off and there are a few other blogs out there that are taking part!    So feel free to leave comments as many times as you like on any posts new or old...please help me help the needy!

2.  Days Off

I am sooooooo excited - I've got an extra long weekend coming up which is awesome....I've got so much stuff to do now that the holiday season is underway.  I started a to-do list today and I keep adding to it - gah!  The biggest thing on the list - Christmas baking!  I love to bake, so I'm looking forward to getting down to business and testing out a ton of new recipes.  Now for quality control purposes, I'll have to taste test the recipes before I give them out - yes, such a hardship I know - but I'll try to keep it under control and not go crazy!

3.  My Adopted Soldier

Last year on a website that I frequent that shall remain unnamed, I heard about this program called the Chosen Soldier.  Basically, you "adopt" a Canadian soldier that's been posted overseas in Afghanistan and send them goodies for Christmas - I did this last year and it was so much fun I decided to sponsor another soldier again this year.  It was really neat because my soldier emailed me to say hello and send his thanks - so very cool!  I figure it's the least that I can do for those folks that are out on the front lines and who are away from their families at Christmas.  Now what to buy, what to buy....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Food for Thought

I was catching up on some blogs last night and came across this really interesting post over at Shut Up and Run.  In short, it was about our relationship with food, how it affects our body image and how we feel about ourselves.  At the end of the post, she asked the following questions:

Do you struggle with your own eating/weight gain/relationship with food? How does running play a part for you? Does it make you feel better about yourself, or is it merely a means of burning more calories? If you feel comfortable sharing, have you struggled with an eating disorder?

I thought about this post off and one for the past day or so - because to be honest I wasn't sure of what the answers were.   How do I feel about food?  Do I have a healthy relationship with food?  How do I feel about body image?  And why do I run? 

I will readily admit that in the past, I didn't have a healthy relationship with food.  In my very first entry  here on this blog, I wrote that I went on my first diet when I was 12...I was a heavy kid.  I still recall the taunts from kids in school, the comments from relatives who would call me fat, and even my own dad (who I think meant well in the crusty way that Asian dads do) telling me that girls weren't supposed to be fat like I was and that I would "never get a boyfriend" looking the way I did.  Hurtful?  Yes...and I'm sure that's where my body image issues come from.  While I didn't have anorexia or bulimia, I would say that I probably flirted with disordered eating for a lot of years - literally starving myself on an apple or a few rice cakes a day or obsessively counting calories in order to lose weight.

Then I had my TSN Turning Point moment (see entry here).  I can honestly say that even though it was a hard time, it truly was a gift to me.  It led me on the path to exercise and allowed me to discover running, where I now have such a different view on food and my body.  I now look at food as nourishment, fuel, and a source of enjoyment, rather than the enemy.  I still have lingering body image issues, but I want to be fit, strong and healthy, rather than just focussing on being rail thin.  As most of you know, I'm trying to lose those last stubborn 10 pounds but I'm doing it healthfully by focussing on proper nutrition and exercise, rather than the starvation tactics I would have used in the past.   Ain't no way I'm gonna abuse my body anymore!  Running gives me confidence and a reason to love and care for my body - which is why I love it and will never give it up.

Thanks for the great post, Shut Up and Run!  Love ones that make me think.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cans for Comments

As you guys all know, I'm all about the food...and at this time of year, I'm always reminded about those people who aren't as fortunate as we are to be able to food on the table.  Food is such an important thing for me and Hubs, and to think that there are people out there who don't have enough to eat honestly breaks my heart.  I've been hearing a lot lately that food banks have seen a real change in the demographic that is using the service...there's a lot of working poor who can't afford to feed their families.  I was pondering what else I can do to help the hungry...hmmmm...

Enter Cans for Comments!  This is going around in bloggieland, and it's such an awesome idea.  For December 1st - 15th, I will donate one can of food to our local food bank, the Mustard Seed, for every comment that I receive.  And as an extra incentive to leave comments, I'll also donate $1 for each comment to the food a can and $1 for each comment!  Hunger-related issues really resonate with me so I'm happy to put my money where my mouth is (pun intended).  Was that a collective groan I heard?  Heh.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coffee...and Cake

Every month I always looking forward to my coffee date with one of my besties B...we have a standing date to meet once a month early on a Sunday morning for coffee, goodies and a chat.  We met at my last workplace and we pretty much clicked right from the very beginning - which is funny because we worked in departments who tend to be (but not always) at odds with each other...Finance and Human Resources.  It was awesome because not only did we become friends, but we worked together really well.  I'm so happy that we're still in touch!

Anyways, today was our coffee date, and I was thinking about the "goodies" portion of the program.  Normally I pick up store muffins - our favourite grocery store has these fabulous apple ginger muffins that are delicious...spicy, ginger-y and...full of fat.  Yikes!  What to do?  I dug around in my cookbooks for something that tasted good but wasn't off the charts for fat and found this little gem from one of my fave cookbooks:

Blueberry Crumb Cake - from America's Test Kitchen's Healthy Family Cookbook

makes one 8-inch square cake
serves 12

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled (this is a little less than 1/4 pound)
1 cup lowfat sour cream
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking pan with baking spray. 

Pulse the two flours, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a food processor to combine.  With the food processor running, add 5 tbsps of the melted butter and process until the flour mixture looks sandy.

Transfer 1/4 cup of the flour mixture to a medium bowl and set aside for the topping.  Add the sour cream, egg, and vanilla to the flour mixture in the food processor and pulse until the mixture just comes together, about 8 pulses (do not overmix).

Transfer the batter to a large bowl and gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Stir the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon into the reserved flour mixture.  Add the remaining tablespoon melted butter and toss gently with a fork until incorporated and some larger pea-sized crumbs have developed.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the batter.  (At this point, if you are making this ahead of time, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours or frozen up to 1 month.  Bake as directed, increasing baking time to 40 - 45 mins if refrigerated or 55 to 60 minutes if frozen).

Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Do not overbake, as it will be very dry;  err on the side of underdone when testing for doneness.

Per serving - 240 calories, 7g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 38 g carbs, 3g protein, 1g fibre, 170 mg sodium.

This was a hit!  My adjustments:  I used frozen, not fresh berries so baked it for the full 35 minutes and probably could have baked it another 5 minutes...the frozen berries made it really moist and it was just ever so slightly underdone in the middle.  I also didn't use the food processor because...well, I'm a lazy baker, so hate washing the food processor.  Yes, I know.  This cake would have been fabulous warm as the topping is sooo yummy and cinnamon-y.  Definitely a keeper!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

TPC Week 4 - And the Results Are....

My day of reckoning has arrived!  To start the day off...and to potentially work off some final calories, we went for a nice 12K run this morning downtown. After all the nasty snowy weather we've had, today turned out to be a beautiful crisp sunny morning, which was perfect for a run.  Loved it.

After our run, we got showered up and headed to where I was going to weigh in.  At this point I was dying of thirst, because I didn't drink a ton of water after the run to avoid excess water weight on the scale.  I got on the scale and....

6.8 pounds down!  YAHOOO!!!  I was soooo happy!!  Hubs had gone off shopping while I was weighing in, so I ran off to find him so I could tell him my good news...he said he's still going to "Tommy Europe" me because it ain't over till it's over...and he doesn't want me to relax and start cheating.  Ahhh...Hubs...he is such a good fella. 

I'm super happy - and it gives me even more resolve to stick with it.  December is going to be really, really, really tough as we have party after party after party to go to...and we're hosting Xmas dinner as well.  I guess the good thing about that is I can control what goes into the cooking.  The other good thing is that Fabulous Boss has given us the week off between Xmas and New Year's (see, this is why I call him fabulous!), so I can spend lots of extra time working off any caloric excesses.  I really want to start the year off feeling good and healthy, not crappy from all the holiday excesses like I have every year for as long as I can remember.  Anyways, I'm gonna stick my nose to the grindstone and work my hardest to make my goal. 


Friday, November 26, 2010

Cue Scary Music

Well, it's almost here - first weigh in is tomorrow morning!  We're going for a run first thing and then head 'er down to face my doom.  I'm hoping I made the 5 pounds - but if not, no biggie.  I'm really happy with how we've been doing - nary a chip or chocolate has passed these lips in 4 weeks - and we're both feeling pretty good overall! I'm also pleased with our workouts as well - we've been pretty consistent and have hit at least 5 times a week.  I've been lifting weights a lot lately and have been noticing improvements - I used to be able to curl 20 pounds so want to get to that point (or higher!) again.  The one thing I have noticed is that I tire more easily when I'm doing long cardio sessions - which I guess just reinforces that you can't cut back calories when training for long races - food gives you energy.  Now I actually kinda wish I'd taken pictures before I started so I could see the difference - but I'm definitely noticing the difference in my clothes and am feeling much more comfortable now.  I've seen a significant reduction in my chicken cutlets - you know, that nasty little area by my armpit.  They're more like Chicken McNuggets now...heh.

It's interesting what you notice when you cut the crap out.  The cravings - while they do hit every so often - have really gone down a lot.  We'd be cravy every day, all day at the beginning, but now it's occasional and not as strong.  Especially our sugar cravings - I do think that sugar triggers some sort of addictive quality in people - the more you have, the more you want.  When I have anything salty, I really notice how it affects me - my throat gets parched and I hate how I feel.  And this is coming from a self professed salt hound!  The last few weeks have really highlighted to me how much it's about the food - you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.

The funniest thing is that Hubs has become a total food cop now!  We were talking about what we could eat tomorrow after weighing in to treat ourselves - something not 100% clean, but not off the charts bad either.  I suggested maybe a nice wonton soup with rice noodles...and he says "well I don't's white rice noodles..."  Oy vey, I've created a monster!  Joking, I'm really glad that's he's embraced it.  Now that's not to say that we're not already dreaming of what we're going to eat after the last weigh in...gotta have something to look forward to, right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Pressure, the Pressure...

OK, the pressure is now officially on!  The scale hasn't budged at all in the past week so I'm really going to have to ramp things up...I sense another hard cardio session tonight.  I was telling Hubs about my plight on the way to work today as I weighed myself this morning (he is officially down 7 pounds without really even trying - such a brat) and he says "well, that's it...I'm going to have to go all Tommy Europe on your ass, simple as that."  Ha!  For those of you who don't know who Tommy Europe is...well, this is what he looks like:

Looks at those pipes!!  Dude is the trainer for Slice Networks Last Ten Pounds Bootcamp and Bulging Brides and was voted the number one trainer in Vancouver.  He's an ex-football player turned personal trainer, and he isn't averse to kicking some major ass and using a bullhorn AND megaphone while doing it.  Aaaand...while he's kinda hot (OK, a LOT hot), he scares the pants off me and I don't scare that easily when it comes to exercise.  He's the only guy that Hubs says has any right to wear spandex tights...ain't no one gonna make fun of him!

Hubs better be gentle with me...there's always payback, right?  Happy wife, happy life...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chilly Night Chicken

Yowza, Old Man Winter is definitely here to stay.  We had another snowstorm today and we're having crazy winds resulting in temps expected to hit -16 celsius with the windchill.  OK yes...that doesn't sound all that bad, but for us little old Victorians who aren't used to this kind of weather - that's c-c-cccold!  And it's a really, really damp cold so it just cuts right through to the bone.  Nasty stuff.

Fabulous Boss let us go home early today (hmmm, I think that's gonna stick - that's his name from now on) because of the snow situation.  Yesterday was my cooking day, and I'd prepped this dish but forgot to cook it - ahhh, I love happy accidents!  This smelled amazing while it was in the oven and was the perfect meal for a cold, snowy night - great flavour and the lemon zest made it taste really alive and fresh.  And it was soooo easy!   It's from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook - a seriously amazing looking cookbook...I've flagged all the recipes I want to make from it and there's about 20 that are going to be making the rotation soon...including this recipe.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken - from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics Cookbook

1 3 1/2 pound chicken, flattened
kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved

Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tsp salt on each side.

Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and 1 tsp pepper in a ceramic or class dish just large enough to hold the flattened chicken.  Add the chicken, and turn to coat.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight, turning once or twice.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on one side of grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat).  Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grille.  Place the chicken on the cooler side skin side up, and weight it down with the dish you used for marinating.  Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown.  Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.  Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grille, cut side down, for the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Take chicken to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut chicken in quarters, sprinkle with salt and service with grilled lemon halves.

My adjustments:  I marinated this in a plastic bag - I find marinating chicken in a dish doesn't really get the marinade into the meat.  I also baked this, rather than grilling....I thought it'd be a wee bit cold to stand outside.  I baked this for 35 minutes at 450 degrees - fat was spitting everywhere but for any kind of bone in chicken in the oven, that temp for that length of time produces the juiciest and perfectly done meat. 

Deelish - I just ate and my mouth was watering as I typed up the recipe.  Huge thumbs up....Ina Garten is my new favourite cook!  Vij...don't be jealous...I still love you too.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Foodie Heaven

So I've mentioned my obsession with cookbooks.  I'm on a total bingefest of cookbooks right now - in the last two weeks I've bought ten new ones.  It's like crack!  Everywhere I turn, there's cookbooks on sale...and ones that I've totally been wanting.  I mentioned I bought the latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook...and liked it so much that I went online and noticed that they were on sale so I bought all the other cookbooks she has.  Then today I went to Winners (OMG, I love Winners) and found a Jamie Oliver and two Mario Batali's that I've been jonesing for, all at great prices.

Maybe it's because I can't eat all the delicious and decadent food I want, I'm filling the hole by reading about it?  Ha!  Anyways, I'm in foodie heaven right now - it's cold and snowy out, the fireplace is on and I'm about to break into my stack of cookbooks.  Life is good.

PS.  No...those aren't my cookbooks....I'm not quite at the calibre of being able to cook like Thomas Keller.  I hope one day though!

TPC Week 3 - Down to the Wire's going to be tough to get the first five pounds I think. I can't believe it's been three weeks already!  Clothes are definitely feeling looser, but any movement on the scale is stalling.  Gah.  It didn't help that I had to go to Van on Thursday for a's hard eating well when I'm away from home.  I didn't eat as well as I have been and definitely didn't drink enough water - I'm parched and I'm puffy around the waist and eyes again.  I headed to the big city Thursday soon as I got in I went to the gym and worked out, and then headed up to my room to order up some dinner.  Hmmm...not a whole lot of healthy choices.  Why is that?!  I don't expect hotels to be totally low fat or anything but why is everything dripping in cream or butter?!  I ended up ordering a salad with salmon and prawns ($30!!!!  highway robbery!!!) and a butternut squash soup - which was delicious, but packed with cream.  Sigh.  Waste not, want not, right?  I ate it but left half.  Double sigh.  I hate wasting food.

The next day was harder.  I had a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and hard boiled eggs and I squeezed in  a workout in the morning.  Lunch was a bit more difficult to work around - it was pasta, pasta, protein.  I pretty much had to have the pasta otherwise I would have only had salad and that wasn't going to keep me full until I got home to Victoria at around 7:30.  So I gave in and ate the friggin' pasta.  But...I didn't have any dessert!  Go me.

Anyways, back on track again for next week - lots of water, balanced meals and gobs of exercise...first weigh in is Nov 27th, so look out for the results in a week!  Will she or won't she get her $50 back for 5 pounds?  Drumroll please....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tis the Season...Almost

Where did the year go?  I can't believe that we're halfway through November and the holiday season is almost upon us - it feels like it was just yesterday that it was last Christmas!  It's going to be a really busy December for us this year - we've got dinner parties and other social stuff booked for every weekend already!  And lots of lunches, coffees and other dates so far.  As much as I love to stay home, I really enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  I'm thankful that we have friends who actually want to hang with us, weirdos that we are.  Hee.

Hmmm.  Dinner parties...lunches.  Chocolates.  Appies.  Gah!  Must.Stay.Strong.  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Foodie's Faves

Sigh.  My four day weekend is rapidly coming to a close, but it's been an awesome few days.  Basically its consisted of a lot of hanging out with Hubs, blogging, watching mucho television and reading - sooooo wonderful.  I've been really trying to make an effort to get back to reading...ever since I was a little kid, I've always loved to read.  Every weekend my dad would drop me off at the local library and I'd spend all day there, rummaging through all the books.  I actually taught myself how to crochet from books I borrowed from the library!  Not that I can remember how now, but that's OK - that was over 30 years ago so whatev.  Anyways, with all the busyness that comes with building a career and going through the CGA program, I stopped reading...I'd would mayyybe read one book a year if I was lucky, hence one of my goals for 2010 was to read a book a month.  So happy to report I've hit my dozen, and might even make 15 if I'm lucky.  Go me! 

Anyways, along with my love of "regular" books, I loooooovvvee cookbooks.  LOVE.THEM.  I actually read them like books, flipping through page by page poring over the recipes and imagining what the recipes taste like.  Through the years I've collected close to a hundred...and the collection is growing bigger and bigger each year.  Hee hee.  Some women collect shoes, I collect cookbooks!  I thought I'd share a few of my favourites that are my go-tos, where pretty much everything I've made from them has been a success:

Eat Shrink and Be Merry (Janet and Greta Podleski):
I'd read a lot about this cookbook through one of my favourite internet sites so decided to pick it up - and sooo glad I's awesome.  The recipes are easy, use commonly found ingredients and focus on tasting good while being healthy.  I would say I've made about half the recipes out of this book and they've all been winners.  The second cookbook in the series called Crazyplates has the best manicotta recipe - whenever I've made it, people go crazy.

The Joy of Cooking:
If anyone were to ask the one cookbook that every person should own, this would be it.  Lots of how-tos, and the recipes are great.  I would imagine they've been tested over and over again to make sure they're good.  I made the pasta e fagioli and oxtail soup recently and they were both delish.

The Best of Bridge/The Rest of the Best of Bridge/basically any of the "Bridge" Series:
My go-tos for good, homey stuff that's really tasty...everthing I've made has turned out and the desserts and baked goods are to die for.  There is a killer carmelized onion dip that will make you pass out from happiness.  Fo' real.

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Marcella Hazan):
Definitely a must have if you like Italian cooking - there's lots of instructions and valuable information - it's kind of like the Joy of Cooking for Italian food.

The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook:
I'm a HUGE fan of the America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated folks...they're all about things tasting good, but a lot of the recipes are kinda high in fat.  Liberal use of bacon fat used - and while I love bacon, I don't love the artery clogging effect!  I picked up this cookbook recently at Costco and the stuff I've made so far has been really good...without the bacon fat!

Joy of Wokking/Yan Can Cook (Martin Yan):
So who does a little Asian lady turn to when she wants to cook Chinese?  My man, Martin Yan.  I bought these two cookbooks at a used bookstore and they have pretty much every Cantonese dish known to man in them.  I love scouring used bookstores for cookbooks - I always look for really old, out of print cookbooks and have found a few real gems along the way.'s our secret now...

Vij's at Home (Vikram Vij):
I've waxed poetic about this already, so I won't go on and on and on again.  Buy it.  Now.

UPDATE:  I just bought the Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?  cookbook tonight and I can't decide what to make first.  It may make my list of faves soon!  Costco always gets the new cookbook releases and the prices are fantastic.  Just sayin'. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

TPC Week 2 - Humming Along


I am definitely crave-y today....and for some reason, I keep watching cooking shows!  Gah!  I must be a glutton for punishment or something.  I was watching this show called Phantom Gourmet and they were talking about the best steakhouses in Boston.  Holy - I could feel myself salivating throughout the whole show.

So besides today's cravings - Hubs and I are still doing great on the challenge.  Woohoo!  It's so funny, Hubs is now all over this challenge like a dirty shirt - we ran into someone the other day and they asked if he'd lost weight. I've actually noticed that his clothes are looking looser too. Just like a man, eh? He scales back a bit and the pounds are dropping off him left, right and centre...I'm working out dutifully and eating really clean but my body is hanging on to every last ounce. So funny.  Anyways, no cheats at all, and for the most part I'm not feeling deprived.  I keep a food and exercise journal (recommended by my bootcamp for accountability) and noticed that I'm not watching my food breakdown as closely and am favouring carbs again so I've got to make sure I keep things better balanced between carbs, fats and protein.  I'm also using a lot of nut butter lately and snacking on nuts more so need to ease up on that too - nuts have lots of proteins, minerals and other good stuff, but also a ton of fat too. 

Results so far?  I'm noticing my clothes are fitting looser now too, especially across the chest - I'm definitely an apple shape and I gain weight all in my torso, especially the girls.  Now most people might think that's awesome, but being so short and small framed, it's really hard to find clothes that fit when the girls are...uh...well, when my cup runneth over.  If they fit the girls, the shirt is too baggy.  If the rest of the shirt fits, I get major gapping and pulling.  Blech.  Anyways, things are definitely loosening up so I'm happy.  Yay!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Marathon Quest 2011 - Step One

Ahhhhh.  What an awesome few days so far - my wonderful boss gave us today off so we ended up getting  a four day weekend.  Can I say how much I love him?  Hubs had to go to work today so I've just been chillin' at home and started thinking about Marathon Quest 2011.

I've been thinking about what I learned during MQ2010 and what I can do to make sure that MQ2011 is a success.  First step - a gait analysis.  As you guys know, I was having some issues with my right foot which my physiotherapist thought was due to muscle imbalances affecting my gait.  At the race expo for the Goodlife Victoria, there was a booth with a local physiotherapist who can do a gait analysis with a special new fangled machine - woohoo!  I'd read about gait analysis on the Running Injury Clinic site online and in Canadian Runner a few months ago but it hadn't come to Victoria yet - so was super excited to see it was finally here!

Hubs and I went to talk to the guys at the booth and Hubs was soooo excited - he called right away and made an appointment.  He's been having troubles with pain in his bum/glutes and the gait analysis he had done totally confirmed that it was the way he was running that was causing the issue - he actually has weak glutes and he would drop his right hip when he runs.  What they do is stick little sensors all over your legs and get you to run at your normal 10K pace, tell you what's going on and then give you a report afterwards that you can take to your regular physiotherapist for exercises or other treatment.  Sold!  I booked an appointment for the beginning of December and I'm excited to see what it tells me.

So gait analysis is my starting point -  I figure there's lots of time between now and May to work on whatever muscles or issues I need to work on to make sure MQ2011 is a success.  Once I start marathon training in May, I'm booking monthly physio and massage appointments to make sure I take care of things before any issues start up.  Goodlife Victoria 2011 - here I come!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Hubs and I just got back from attending the local Remembrance Day ceremonies - we always try to make it because...well, it's the least we can do to pay our respects to those that fought for us so we have the freedom we have today.  I always get choked up when the veterans parade past us and people are all clapping for them.  And...sadly, I always notice that the number of veterans gets smaller and smaller every year.  The one good thing that I noticed though is the number of teens who were there...there was this group of five young guys, who took the time to come down and pay their respects and just didn't treat today as a day off school.  Cool.

Thanks to all those who fought for us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Whaaaat?! Let Me At 'Em....

I think I can feel a vein in my temple throbbing.  I was catching up and seeing what was going on in bloggieland and happened across this post over at Shut Up and Run.  Of course, being the inquisitive little Asian lady that I am, I decided to go read the article "Are New York Marathoners Athletes?" to see what the fuss was all about. 

After I extracted myself from the ceiling and calmed myself down, I started to think about what these asshats are saying.  And alls I gots to say is that some people are so negative.  And jealous.  OK, I get that these two jackasses are trying to be controversial and get people to read their article - but to poo poo on the effort it takes to run a marathon?  That everyone who isn't an elite is ridiculous - and not an athlete?  That runners are all self involved?  I'd love to see either of these guys take the months required to train for the marathon, try to complete it and then see what they have to say.  Personally, I hate armchair critics.  It's pretty obvious to me that these two individuals have never set any kind of physical challenges for themselves but somehow feel justified in mocking those that do.  Sad.

The other part that really gets my goat is how they define an athlete.  No - marathoners are not twisting in the air or doing backflips.  But is running not a sport?  And is an athlete not someone who trains for a sport?  It takes hours and hours to train to build up the speed, endurance and stamina to run a marathon.  In a lot of ways, those who are running for hours and hours are the real athletes - mentally and physically the battle to just keep moving is a feat in itself.   But really, who cares about labels.  It's the overall negativity and derisiveness in this article that really makes my blood boil. A small minded article from smalled minded people.

Whew...OK, got that off my chest!  My blood pressure is back to normal now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Goodbye Geb

I got a little (OK, a lot) verklempt after seeing this video - Haile Gebrselassie, (also affectionately known as Geb) one of the greatest runners of our time, had to announce his retirement after a DNF at 16 miles at the New York City Marathon.  This guy is the world record holder in the marathon at 2:03:59 - basically this man can run the marathon the same time it takes me to the half - this guy is crazy fast.  Amazing.

Enjoy your retirement, Geb.  We'll miss ya.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Black Bean Brownies - Who Woulda Thunk

So I was thinking the other day - just because I'm on this 8 week craziness, doesn't mean I can't have a healthy treat once in awhile, right?  I've been hearing a lot about black bean brownies lately so decided to give 'em a whirl after I saw them on my bootcamp's blog

Pretty darn tasty!  I can't really taste the beans and they have a rich, chocolate-y flavour to them - almost slightly bitter like dark chocolate.  Don't get me wrong...they're not quite an nice ooey gooey fudge-y brownie...but as a close substitute, they're awesome!  I like that they're relatively low in fat (you could make them even lower by using applesauce) and you get a fibre/protein punch from the bean.  The texture is different so be warned...slightly grainy but I'm used to that kind of texture as it's similar to Chinese red bean buns (which I adore).  I left out the chocolate chips, but if you put those on top, I think you might be able to fool even the most avid chocoholic!

Black Bean Brownies - from BDHQ blog

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish.

Combine the black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, agave, and instant coffee in a blender; blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes.
My changes:  I cut back on the oil to 2 tbsp and left out the chips - and they still turned out great.  Next time I might add some nuts or something to oomph up the texture. Two thumbs up on this!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TPC Week 1 - What a Difference

Can't believe what a difference between this Saturday and last Saturday - last week we were total gourmands, eating everything in we had the option of having a free meal, and we chose not to.  Can you believe that?  This is coming from the person who ate nachos, pizza and instant noodles for dinner last Saturday.

Overall, the challenge is going really well.  It's still hard but now that we're on a roll, it's becoming a lot easier to not cheat, or even want to cheat.  Besides my whisky indiscretion from a few nights ago, my food has been super clean.  I feel totally different too...not bloated and already my clothes are starting to fit better.  Hubs is doing fabulous - he got on the scale this morning and he lost 5 pounds!!  He's been eating the same stuff I have and cutting back his portion sizes as well.  Nary a chip has passed our lips and we've even got a bowl of Halloween candy left over from last week that neither of us has touched.  Losing weight is 80% what you put in your mouth so I'll have to remember that when I get tempted. 

We're still keeping up on our workouts as well....we headed out for a 10K run this morning which was fabulous.  It was a grey and drizzly day, but it was so nice to run on the trails with all the leaves everywhere...and the air smelled so fresh and clean.  So far, so good for Week 1!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.  Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge

Alrighty - if it has the word "challenge" in it, I'm all over it.  I heard about this last year as a lot of peeps in the bloggieland were doing it but I didn't get on the wagon fast enough.  I'm all over some bootie bustin' action this winter though!  Check out the deets on the challenge here which is being set up by Amanda at RuntoTheFinish - there's some good swag to be given away and it'll hopefully stop us from gaining weight during the holiday season - a win-win all around! C' know you want to...

2.  Test No. 1

So far I've been a good girl and stuck on my diet - but tonight will be the first major test of my willpower.  I belong to a scotch club (loooove the stuff) and I registered for a scotch tasting well before I knew I was going to do the 10 Pound Challenge.  So what happens at one of these gigs is that you sample a small selection of scotches from a featured distiller and once you're substantially liquored up, you go stuff your face at a curry buffet (which is fitting for this tasting, as the distiller is from India).  Now the scotch...I'll drink some of it but can abstain from pounding it down as it's potent stuff.  The curry buffet however...pappadums, naan...butter chicken and deep fried samosas or pakoras...gaaah!   Did I say I LOVE Indian food?   And we all know what happens when you drink a little...inhibitions fly out the window and next thing you know I'm loading up my plate with roti after roti and shovelling butter chicken in my face as fast as I can.  I'll stay strong tonight though and steer away from the breads and stick with chicken (I'll try to get as much sauce off as I can) and veggies...God I pray there are veggies.

UPDATE:  well, I drank all the whisky but I resisted all the naan and samosas and bad stuff and stuck with chickpeas and a tiny bit of butter chicken and curried lamb.  Like a smidgen.  So not bad.  I'm not sure if I'll be makin' bootcamp tomorrow morning.  Just sayin'.

 3.  Cracked

I went to the chiro last night and got cracked again - little by little the back is feeling better but there are still some errant aches and pains that are happening.  I'll be all good and then feel a twinge in my back and then my hip and front thigh start to get this twanging nerve pain...gah.  I'm sure the vertabrae being out probably irritated some nerves and it might take a bit for things to settle down.  Just glad it's starting to feel better though!  Bring on the running.  Hee.

UPDATE:  after the whisky, my back feels much better.  Great in fact!  :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gettin' Better was a good day and I wasn't gnawing my arm off because I was hungry all day long...yay!  Three days in and so far so good...I haven't cheated and I'm feeling less loafy and puffy...must be all the water I'm drinking.  I'm supposed to try and get 3L of water in a day - needless to say, I'm probably driving all the girls at work crazy because I'm always marching up and down the hall to go to the washroom!  Sorry gals.  Heh.

The other thing that is gettin' better is my back...I went to my chiro last week and got cracked - one of my lower vertebrae was out of place and it's feeling better than it was last week - I was sooo sore and achy.  I still get sore sitting in the car (must be the position?) but sitting at work is gettin' better.  Just really hope this gets better as it's affecting my running...and that ain't good.  Darn rear-ending!  Anyways, I'm going to take 'er easy this week to let it mend before I get back into anything too vigorous.  In the meantime though, I've been doing a lot more upper body weight work and lovin' it...gotta get rid of the chicken arms - Linda Hamilton's gonna have nothin' on me. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Product Review - Vege Greens Vegan Protein

Day two of the Challenge is definitely proving to be a little bit harder...I'm trying to eat smaller, more frequent meals but nothing is keeping me full for more than a few hours.  Hungry.All.The.Time.  I'm so used to eating way more especially when I was training for the marathon so I've got to learn to scale back - I can't eat the same way as I did when I was running for hours.  I'll definitely need to pack more substantial snacks so I don't get too hungry.  I made a big batch of hummus this weekend so must remember to pack some with me to work tomorrow...mmmm, hummus.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I generally don't have a problem getting enough protein for lunch and dinner, but have a really difficult time with breakfast since I shouldn't have dairy or eggs (food sensitivities).  Protein definitely keeps me fuller longer so I really want to make sure I get enough at breakfast.   I take Greens+ Extra Energy by Genuine Health every day which I really like - but unfortunately it doesn't have any protein in it.  Last week I was out shopping and noticed this product:

I'd heard of VegeGreens before as my bootcamp trainers are huge on it - apparently one serving of the regular VegeGreens provides the antioxidant value of 6 - 8 servings of veggies.  I haven't compared it directly to Greens+ but thought I'd give this stuff a try - it provides a great protein wallop at 26 grams for one scoop and the protein comes from all vegan sources.  Woot!  Now the big test...what does this stuff taste like?!  The only flavour this stuff comes in is "natural vanilla" I don't know about you, but almost all vanilla flavoured protein powders I've tried have not been great.  Putrid, actually.

I gotta say - not bad!  I made myself a shake yesterday for breakfast with some soy milk, banana and strawberries and it was pretty I tried it this morning as is and it was definitely doable!  A tiny bit gritty but not bad compared to some rice protein powders I've tried. For those of you who are interested, here is the link to the product's website, where they list the full ingredients:

VegeGreens Vegan Protein
So two thumbs up on this product...vegan, not bad tasting, packed full of antioxidants/minerals and apparently a portion of sales goes towards the David Suzuki Foundation - can it get any better than that?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day of Debauchery

OK, holy day of debauchery or what, Batman.  I actually started this post last night, but was in such a food coma I couldn't sit up straight and stay awake for more than 10 minutes last night.  Let's see...where to start?  Hmmm....may as well start this sordid tale right at the beginning...

Hubs and I have been planning this day for weeks...our last hurrah before we embark on 8 weeks of hell cleaning eating, so our thoughts were go big or go home.  Hubs has been craving breakfast food lately, so we got our butts out of bed early to be down at our fave breakfast joint The Blue Fox right when they opened.  I had the eggs and chorizo sausage, while Hubs had the Fox's Grille - a huge plate of food that we actually noticed a couple were actually sharing.  Yikes!  After we devoured our food, I went to go weigh in...maybe not the smartest idea to do that since I probably consumed about five pounds of food, but we wanted to get to the restaurant early as there's always a line up to eat there.  Before I got on that scale, I shucked off as much clothing as I possibly could and faced the music.  Not good.  I'm a good 15 pounds heavier than I was when I got married seven years ago - the couple of pounds of weight creeping up each year doesn't seem like a big deal, but cumulatively it really adds up.  At the rate I'm going, I'd be up 20 pounds by the time we hit our 10th anniversary!  Gah - not good for someone who's only 5'2''.  Le sigh.

We ran some errands and then went home.  Hubs brought out our Goody Box, and we did an admirable job of eating all the crap so it wouldn't tempt us - there's pretty much no bad food left in the house right now.  We ate all the chocolates, finished off all the half opened chip was a feeding frenzy.  But it didn't stop there.  A few hours later, we got peckish once again and decided to have dinner.  And what was dinner, you ask?  Pizza, nachos and instant noodles.  Yep, you read that right...all three!  Oh, and some cookies for dessert.  We rolled ourselves onto the couch and I couldn't even keep my eyes open...all that fat, sugar, sodium and nasty carbs were coursing through my veins.  We definitely went big.

So needless to say - this morning I felt like a pile of shite, and had nooooo problem eating healthy today.  Day 1 of the Challenge is going well - no cheating, even when confronted with burgers, hot dogs, cookies, candy and pizza at our annual Halloween block party - 55 more days to go!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Victory for Vij

I'm quickly falling in love with the Vij's at Home cookbook.  I've been looking through my cookbooks for some recipes to make during the 10 Pound Challenge - in return for Hubs doing the eating plan with me, I said I'd really zhuuuush up the food so he won't feel like he's missing anything.  Plus I'm sure just eating grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies for 8 weeks is going to be pretty tiresome.   I love a cooking challenge so I'm all over it!

I was intrigued when I saw this recipe for Spicy Cauliflower "Steak"....normally cauliflower isn't something I love, but I don't mind it.  The ingredients for this are pretty healthy and this recipe made it onto their Rangoli menu (Rangoli is the name of the bistro that is also owned by Vij) so I figured it had to be pretty good.

YUM-O, as stinkin' Rachel Ray would say.  I really like this one - Hubs really liked it too (mostly because he said it covered up the taste of the cauliflower - his words, not mine!) and it's pretty quick and easy to make and would be great with some rice or as a side for roast chicken.  Lots of flavour, and it's even tastier the next day. 

Spicy Cauliflower Steak - from Vij's at Home

1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cayenne
10 cloves (optional)
3 inch cinnamon stick (optional)

Cut cauliflower as you would a pie, into 6 pieces if it's a smaller head and 8 pieces if it's a larger one.  Wash and drain.

Combine oil and tomatoes in a large wide pot on medium high heat.  Add ginger, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cloves and cinnamon, stir well and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until oil glistens from the tomatoes.

Reduce the heat to low while you mix in cauliflower.  Carefully place each large piece cauliflower into the pot and gently stir so that the tomato masala covers all the pieces.  if necessary, use a large spoon to ladle tomato masala into the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower pieces.

Increase the medium, cover and cook for 8 - 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  When you stir, if you notice the cauliflower isn't cooking, increase the heat.  Pierce one of the larger pieces with a knife to see if it is soft but not mushy.

My adjustments - I cut the oil down to about 1/8th of a cup and left out the cloves and cinnamon stick.  That's it - delish.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.  T-minus Two Days

I have two more days of freedom until I weigh in and my life is over...KIDDING!  Actually, I'm kind of excited to get started - I haven't been eating great and having lots of "last hurrahs" throughout the week (hello hedgehogs..hee hee) so am looking forward to eating properly again.  I've been thinking about what our meals are going to be - I see lots of veggies, complex carbs and lean proteins in our future.  Lunches and dinners are pretty easy, but I have a really hard time with getting protein for breakfast since I can't have dairy or eggs.  I think I'll be doing more smoothies with vegetable protein since it's not good to have too much soy either.  I bought a new product that I have yet to try, so will blog more about it once I get a chance to test it out.

2.  Ow

I swear - this could be used as an instrument of torture...

Holy crap, I used the foam roller for the first time tonight and it KILLS!  I've been having some really bad lower back/glute pain lately - unfortunately I think the rear-ender I had last month has messed up my back and some days it hurts badly to sit for too long.  Once I'm up and moving I'm OK, but going from sit to stand is really painful.  It was bothering me a lot today so I decided to test out the foam roller we have, that Hubs got for his broken bum (piriformis).  Thing looks innocuous, right?  I positioned myself on it, got it under my bum/hip and started to roll and I almost went through the roof.  Zoiks! Thing works like a hot damn...I like it!

3.  Puppypuppypuppypuppy

OMG, cutest thing ever!!  My coworker M is the proud new mummy of a chocolate lab puppy named Finn, so she brought him into the office today.  So unbearably cute.  He's all roly poly chubby puppy right now, so sweet. day I'll get my greyhound!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Think First, Talk Later

In the infamous words of Kanye...Imma let you finish...but I gots something to say that's been festering inside me for ages and I have to let out.  Now normally I keep my thoughts to myself, but a few things have happened recently that's really brought this to the forefront and I had to blog about it.  Today is one of those "flows freely from the fingers" moments and I have to take advantage of these times while I can! 

Naysayers.  Ironic, isn't it?  I'm writing a blog post bitching about negative people.  One of the principles that I trytrytry to live by is to not judge others or their choices in life.  To each their own, is my motto.  Sure, if you were in imminent physical danger I'd speak up...or if you were thinking about running away with a convicted murder, of course I'd stop you.  But as far as general life decisions, I don't understand why people feel the need to make negative comments or pipe up with their two bits.  Maybe it's because they fear change, maybe they can't relate and feel the need to make fun of something that's different from what they would do, maybe those decisions make them rethink their choices.  I don't know...but whatever it is, it really chaps my hide when people aren't supportive.

A small example.  It's not a huge life changing event but something that I'm doing that is important to me.  I'm doing this 10 pound challenge and I'm doing it over the holiday season.  Yes, it'll be hard and I know it...I have my reasons for why I'm doing it then.  I've heard more than a few times about how hard/difficult/crazy it's going to be and that I'm nuts for even trying...just some really negative comments.  Well gosh...thanks so much for the overwhelming support!  I feel really great and positive now.  And so supported.  How about "hey, that's awesome - your running times will improve" or "good on ya, you'll start the new year off great!"  Frankly, that kinda shizz annoys the effing hell out of me and comments like that are just so unnecessary.   Luckily I'm a stubborn ass kind of person (I am a Taurus, after all) who'll dig their heels in and think "I'll show 'em"...but I've seen so many examples of this recently (and not just towards me) that it makes me want to cuff some people upside the head and ask them what kind of children their momma raised. Sure, I know I can just ignore people and their snide comments but sometimes it's not that easy.

So I'm going to put it out there - be kind.  Be supportive of others.   Think more about what we say (or write, for that matter) as you never know how words will affect someone.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bloggie Block

So a question to other bloggers out there - do you ever run out of ideas?  Or have writer's block?  Last week I couldn't think of anything to write about...and when I did get an idea, I wrote the entry and never posted it because it just didn't quite say what I was so eloquently trying to express.  Some days stuff flows from my fingertips easily, and some days it's like pulling teeth.  Bleh.  Then all of a sudden, there were post inspirations everywhere...I'd be walking along and shazam!  An idea would jump out at me.  I'd be watching TV and pow!  Another idea would slap me upside the head.  I had so many coming at me that I actually had to jot them all down in an unposted blog entry, to keep track of them all.  Ooooh, you lucky, lucky people.

Today's topic?  I was reading this entry from Ben Does Life and it got me all riled up (but in a good way).  Basically, he has readers who want to run races but are afraid...either afraid to be seen because they're embarassed about being overweight, or embarrassed about being slow.  I vehemently agree with him that no one, and I mean NO ONE is looking at you and judging you.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.  After I finished the half at the Goodlife Victoria Marathon, I went back to watch the marathoners come in and was treated (yes, that's right...treated) to the chance to watch the 3 hours plus half marathoners cross the finish line.  I guarantee you no one was scoffing at them, no one was looking at their weight or their age or anything for that matter.  People were clapping and cheering each other on because we're all running in each other's footsteps - there's this sense of camraderie at a race that you just don't get at other events.  I decided then and there that I wanted to volunteer at a race (hopefully at the finish line) because seeing the happiness on these people's faces was indescribable.  Seriously.  There really is something magical about a race. 

So please...if you're thinking about doing a race but are scared...or actually if you want to start any kind of exercise program but are concerned about what you look like or what others think - take the leap of faith and just do it. 

Oh...and if you do hear anything less than positive? Let me know, cuz they're going to get a mouthful of my fist.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The World is My Oyster

I'm so excited....the planets have aligned for me today and I'm done all my errands before noon!  Woohoo!!  Cooking - done.  Laundry - check.  Housework - finished.  Workout - complete!  So what am I going to do today?  I'm going to hunker down with a nice cup of tea and a huge stack of cookbooks, magazines and other reading material that I can't get to and just chill.  Now I can't decide...what to read first?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crazy Eights

I can't believe how out of shape I am.  Like seriously out of shape.  I hadn't gone to bootcamp in 8 weeks...went this Wed and Fri and I'm really, really sore.   Like crazy sore.  I can barely get in and out of my car and getting up out of a chair is painful.  I'm actually more sore now than I was after running the half marathon.   I admit - secretly I'm one of those weird people who actually loves feeling sore because it means I worked hard and I'm getting stronger - but it amazes me what changes can happen in such a short period of time.  What's 8 weeks?  And it wasn't like I wasn't exercising at all - but I was only running and not doing any kind of strength work.  Eight weeks isn't a long time period at all, right?

That got me to thinking...if I can lose this much fitness in 8 weeks, what will 8 weeks do for me on the flip side?  The 10 pound challenge I'm in is 8 weeks long.  If I really stick with it, concentrate on the goal and really eat clean and exercise, I'll hopefully hit my goal.  Then I bootcamp also does an 8 week personal training program where they'll do personal training sessions 4 times a week, one outdoor/indoor class, fitness testing before/after and nutrition accountability/counselling.  I'm intrigued...I'm looking into it but not sure what time of the day the sessions would be...early morning works best for me but we'll see.  I was thinking I'd do the 10 pound challenge to lose the excess jiggle, and then do the personal training sessions to really build up some lean muscle and get some really great conditioning.  My cardio is pretty strong but definitely my strength could use some work.  And I need the motivation to keep me going, which is why I like bootcamp - I need someone to push me and I think the personal training might just be the it shouldn't really interfere with my running schedule.  Oh...and the most important thing...lots more blog fodder!  I hope it works out, I'm excited to try something new and mix up my's hard to stick to something when it starts to get boring.

Side note - the number 8 is an extremely lucky number for the Chinese - I'll take that as a good sign that all these 8s will bring me success!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Counting Down

A week and  half more to go until I start the 10 Pound Challenge.  I seriously am craving everything under the sun, likely because I'm going to be cut off from all that is delicious and tasty in the world.  I know, I's only 8 weeks...and I'll still allow myself one free meal on Saturdays.  I know food is 80% of the battle, so I've got to really clean up my eating and once I do that hopefully the 10 pounds will just meeelllt off me like butter, right? 

The good thing is that my coworker J is also working at losing weight and is targetting to finish at the end of December, so I've got a partner in crime.  It's hard to resist stuff during the holiday season, so I won't feel so alone when I have to say no to that glass of wine (argh) or that chocolate (double argh).  I'm kind of excited to get started actually - I'm tired of the chub rub!  I'll have to really work hard on planning our meals to make sure we're getting enough protein - good old Hubs has agreed to do the food/exercise with me so that's awesome too.  Always nice to have support!  Hubs is already planning our "Last Supper" on Oct 30th (day of the weigh in) as I'm going to officially start on the 31st....knowing Hubs, it's gonna be a doozy!  Heh.