Procrastination, Food Journaling, and Sharing: All in a Day of Non-Work

I just knocked a big to-do off my list.  It’s something unpleasant that I’ve been putting off for several weeks now, and it’s a gigantic relief to finally get it done.

Do you ever procrastinate?  In this case, my to-do item caused me so much anxiety just to think about it that I definitely avoided it as much as possible.  Not the best policy, I know.  You’d think eventually I’d be grown up enough to face things head on – but, apparently not.

Kind of a funny day today.  Woke up to a slightly sore IT band (lateral knee).  Not completely surprising, considering my run + workout yesterday.  So, I succumbed to excuse-making and didn’t go for a bike ride, though I pulled my lovely gel pack out of the freezer and iced my knee several times today.

I’ve got an easy 6k run on the agenda tomorrow.  Unless something happens to my knee overnight, I’ll be heading out there, but I’ll be looping close to home just in case I have to cut the run short and hurry home to ice.  If I do have to cut it short, I will either stationary bike or lift some weights instead.  No excuses allowed.  Make it work.

On the eating front, I’ve been food journaling as of late and now it’s time to Focus on Weight Loss.  For real.  No more procrastination when I comes to nutrition, either!

The beauty of food journaling is that you can’t kid yourself about exactly what you’re consuming.  If you don’t write it down, it’s easy enough to forget that extra slice of bread in the afternoon, or those few extra bites of lasagna you hoovered, or even the fact that you powered through oatmeal and a smoothie for breakfast, and then added in a piece of toast that your daughter left behind.

Let me tell you, my food journal is telling me that I am eating WAY too many starches.  It’s just that simple.  I worked with a dietitian all last year, so I’m pretty aware of what my diet should look like if I’m focusing on weight loss, and I am currently not there.  I’ve boosted my fruit and especially veggie intake over the past couple of weeks, and that’s fabulous.  But…I’m not only eating too many servings of starches, but also not the most nutritious forms of starches that I could.  As someone with PCOS (as I’ve mentioned before here and here), my body is not great at dealing with starches, so when I closely monitor the amount and type I consume, weight loss goes SO much better.

My nutrition action plan for this week:

  1. Keep up the good work with the veggies!  Make sure I get at least 4 servings per day 5 of 7 days this week. (I think I’ve been averaging 5 per day, so I feel good about this goal.)
  2. Food journal at least 5 days.
  3. Limit the starches to what I know I should be eating, and focus on getting whole grains most of the time.
  4. Limit myself to 2 treats this week (1 on Sunday, 1 next Wednesday).
  5. Track how much liquid I’m drinking at least 4 days this week.  Since my training is increasing, I’d better make sure I’m staying sufficiently hydrated.

Ugh, gold. What was I thinking?

As a reward for meeting my goals this week, I will get a polish change, because even though my spa day the other day was fantastic, I hate the colours I chose.  Not a big deal, but it’s a tempting enough reward, I think, to give me the extra kick in the pants I need.  [And, wow, can I get any more vapid and superficial?!?]
Also, thought I’d share a picture my daughter took of my husband and me on Sunday.  Pretty good photography for a 5 year old.  I’m totally bragging and bursting with pride, because that’s what moms do, right?
Ooh, and before I forget, check out this post from Kat over at Tenaciously Yours, and then head on over to  As I former band geek (clarinet) and avid reader of Kat’s blog, I wanted to share this great cause with ya’ll.
So, confess: are you a proscrastinator or a just-get-it-done kind of person?  Don’t worry, I won’t judge.  I’ve been rocking the procrastination thing for YEARS….though I am getting a little better.


My Tips for Acquiring a Fitness Habit

Getting well wishes from my kids at my first triathlon.

I’ve been working out regularly (i.e., at least 3 times per week) for 15 months now.  Oh, I’ve had periods since graduating from high school where I worked out for awhile, but I always seemed to fall off the wagon…or treadmill, maybe?  Anyway, at the end of my first year of dentistry, I decided that I needed to make some major changes in my life.  I was 33 years old, overweight (5’3″ and around 180lbs), diagnosed with PCOS, and I had gained over 15lbs my first year of dental school.  The girlfriend of one of my classmates was a personal trainer at a nearby gym, and I decided I’d work with her to kickstart my fitness regimen.

That summer I lost 10lbs with the help of a few different trainers at the gym (my classmate’s girlfriend moved on to a different job) and by following Weight Watchers online.  The school year started, though, and my motivation to fit in my workouts started to fizzle.  Not wanting to lose the fitness gains I’d made over the summer, I asked a fit friend of mine, A.N., if she knew of any good personal trainers.  A.N. suggested my trainer, Lindsay, based on what she’d heard from some of her fit friends.  So, I contacted Lindsay and we started meeting weekly.  She listened to what I wanted – to increase my fitness level, lose weight, no more than 3 workouts per week – and designed a program that worked for me.
Fast forward almost a year and I still meet with my trainer weekly.  She helps keep for accountable for getting my workouts in, keeps my workouts fresh and interesting, and constantly challenges me to get fitter.  She also encouraged me to enter my first sprint triathlon (she’s an Ironman herself) and is helping me train for my first half marathon.  With her help, and that of my dietitian, I’ve lost another 20lbs.  I can do unassisted triceps dips, chin ups (though just a couple) and lots of pushups.  I recently ran 11k in a row (part of a 21k training run), and can do 7.5 mph x 1 minute running intervals on the treadmill without feeling like I’m going to hurl.  My resting heart rate is down from around 70 bpm to 52 bpm and my blood pressure has gone from 120/80 to 100/60 (yes, it’s on the low side).  I feel GOOD.
I’m not a fitness expert by any stretch – just a regular mom trying to get fitter.  Everyone is different and has her own challenges, and what works for me may not work for you, but here are some tips that I hope will help you fit exercise into your life.
  1. Set some goals.  Keep them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely).  Set some long-term ones (do the Queen City half marathon on September 12th in less than 2:30) and short-term ones (run 11k without stopping, do weights twice this week, focus on relaxing my shoulders during this run).
  2. Make a plan.  Once you have your long- and short-term goals set, set out your workouts to achieve your goals.  I’m lucky -my trainer does this for me, but there are lots of training plans available online.  Want to run a 5k?  Sign up for a Learn to Run clinic, and follow their plan, or check out  Interested in strength training?  Consider checking out a program like Women’s Health Fit Coach, Shape’s Virtual Trainer, or SparkPeople (none of which I’ve used, but they look pretty good!).
  3. Schedule your workouts into your calendar.  I do this on a weekly basis and plan according to my husband’s schedule, kids’ activities, extra appointments, social events, and my schedule.  I find I’m more committed to getting my workout in, I can save time by getting my gear ready ahead of time, and I can overcome scheduling obstacles that lurk in my week.
  4. Do it in the morning. Trust me, I know: mornings suck.  But if it guarantees that you’ll get your workout in before the craziness of the day, then “Just do it” *swoosh*  I’ve also read a few different places (but haven’t found the study) that more than 90% of consistent exercisers workout in the morning.  If you can always work out later in the day, then that’s great, too (and I’m jealous).  You have to make it convenient for you.
  5. Sign up for a race.  This is a big one for me in terms of motivation.  5k, 10k, sprint tri, marathon.  Whatever floats your boat.  It’ll help you be consistent and plan ahead.  It’ll also make you focus on function over form (i.e., what your body can do instead of how it looks) and may help you want to fuel your body for performance rather than putting in less nutritious options.
  6. Get yourself an amazing trainer who is enthusiastic about fitness and healthy living.  It rubs off – trust me.  I meet with my trainer weekly, and the while cost does add up, it’s so been worth it for me.  I figure I don’t spend that much money on shopping, drinks, and eating out, so this is my indulgence.  Also, any good trainer can certainly understand your budgetary constraints and can meet with you at whatever intervals fit into your schedule and budget: bi-weekly, monthly, every couple of months, etc.
  7. Tell your friends and family what you’re up to. Once you tell everyone you’re doing a half marathon, it’s a lot harder to brush off those workouts
  8. Mix it up. There’s a reason why so many people love doing triathlons.  Beyond swimming, biking, and running, you could spin, do yoga, walk, lift weights, take a bootcamp class, sign up for a pole dancing class…you get the picture.
  9. Strength train. Once you start, you’ll want to get even stronger.  Just don’t forget to change up your workouts and increase the weight after awhile!
  10. Talk to fit friends and ask what they’re up to.  You’ll be motivated by their commitment to fitness, which can help you to stick to your workouts or even to try something new.
  11. Get some gym equipment or videos for at home. Sometimes making it to the gym is harder than doing the workout, not to mention the gym fees.  Sometimes a home workout is the only option, like when you have no child care available and your gym doesn’t offer it when you want it.  Options include things like a jump rope, resistance tubing or bands, a physio ball, a Bosu, dumbbells.  Larger pieces include a bench and cardio equipment.  For DVDs, you can check out Collage Video for an excellent assortment and reviews.
  12. Keep a fitness journal. I find this a big motivator because I can look back and see just how far I’ve come.  It can also help you track your progress and adjust your plans accordingly.  Is it time to increase the weight you’re lifting?  Are you meeting your goals for the week?  Month?  Year?  Are there workouts you’re missing because you aren’t enjoying them or because you haven’t been planning around your schedule effectively?  My journal now consists of my Garmin data, e-mails I send to my trainer and dietitian, and my blog, but I have used Fitbook in the past and really liked it.  Fitbook allows you to set your goals for 12 weeks, track your workouts, and log what you’re eating. Another good option is The Ultimate Workout Log, which is geared more for tracking just your workouts.  There are lots of online options, too, including  SparkPeople and Daily Mile.
  13. Blog! Once you post your goals, you’ll feel publicly committed to sticking to them.  This is pretty similar to keeping a fitness journal, just in electronic form.  You can even make your blog private, if you’re more comfortable with that.

What are your suggestions for sticking to your workout regime?  What hurdles do you have to overcome on a regular basis to get your workout in?  Do you hate mornings as much as I do?

Weight Loss Update

Just over a month ago, I set a goal of losing 5 lbs by August 25th.  Click here to read that post.  On July 26th, I weighed in at 154 lbs, so I was aiming for 149 lbs.  Did I hit my target, you wonder?  I sure did!  As of Wednesday, I weighed 147 lbs, so I even lost a little extra – a total of 7 lbs.  Woohoo!

I’m going to try and lose another 5 lbs by September 25th, which would take me down to 142 lbs.  Wow!  I seriously don’t remember the last time I weighed so little.  Since I weighed 152 lbs when I got married 12 1/2 years ago, I’m going to guess it’s been at least 13 years since I’ve been this weight.  That’s pretty amazing!  I have come a long way (from 180 lbs in May of 2009), and the really good thing is that I still feel motivated to continue with the healthy eating and workouts.

I had always read that if you want to lose weight permanently, you have to treat any changes you make as lifetime changes, not short term.  That means not “dieting” but eating healthfully all the time, and leading an active lifestyle on an ongoing basis.  I feel like I’ve finally achieved this!  I’m not saying that I’ll never have a week or two or even four (vacation, anyone?) where I may indulge more and workout less than usual, but I know how much better I feel now that I’m active and eat well and I don’t want to go back to how I felt before, or how much I WEIGHED before.

It may seem like 5 lbs in a month is not that tough to do, but as I said here, losing even a pound a week is tough for me due to my PCOS.  Add in stress from school and a decrease in the volume and frequency of my workouts due to my school schedule, and you get a few hurdles for me to overcome in order to hit my target.  I know I can do it – I’ll just have to stick really closely to my eating plan and make sure the workouts I get in are good quality ones.

I get to run tomorrow to test out my IT band.  I’m nervous, but hopeful.  My half marathon is 2 weeks from today, so I’m really hoping that this run goes well.  If not, well, I guess I’ll be swimming tomorrow.  The rest of my week looks like this:

  • Tuesday: 300 workout (high rep strength workout)
  • Wednesday: swim and core
  • Thursday: gym workout with my trainer
  • Friday: 10k run (assuming my IT band is okay)
  • Saturday: off
  • Sunday: interval run

My kids are home from my parents – they were visiting for a whole week!  We went and picked them up yesterday.  Since I had CPR training yesterday afternoon and we had to drive an hour and a half to pick up the kids, I decided to bring my bike along and do my hour workout on the way, so to speak.  My husband dropped me off on the highway about 25k from where were were going.  Usually, I have an average pace of 22-23 km/hr, but it was pretty windy and I had a tailwind, so I figured a couple extra km would be enough to account for that.  I was wrong – it was SO windy that I had to add on several km at the end.  However, these were not as easy as the first 25k, because I had a severe crosswind and then a headwind for the last 750m or so.  I seriously thought about getting off and walking, it was so windy.  But I made it, and then had a cheeseburger and a few bites of an Oreo Blizzard at DQ with my family.  Yum!

What are your workout plans for the week?  Did you enjoy your weekend?

Eating Update

Much healthier before I turned them into cherry cobbler.

During the course of my first week of blogging, I committed to sticking to my meal plan for 7 days, not eating unplanned snacks, and generally getting back on track with my eating.  Click here and here to read about it.

I was really successful that first week (yay!  bribery works).  I cut out the unnecessary snacks, resumed my healthful diet, and lost 4 lbs!

I’m happy to say that I’ve stayed very much on track with my eating this week, too.  Okay, there was that one piece of homemade cherry cobbler (click here for the recipe and what I had to say about it) that wasn’t in my plan, and I may have snuck in one piece of chocolate, but overall I’m really happy with how I’m doing.  Of course the weight loss has slowed down dramatically, because who can reasonably lose 4 lbs per week?  Not me.  Please, I hope for 1 lb a week, and that happens pretty much only when I’m sticking very closely to a healthy meal plan and working out regularly.  Blasted PCOS!

So eating lately has been good, and I’ve been getting most of my workouts in.  Now to work on my non-fitness goals for the week.  The piles of paper in the office are calling.

Yummy Oatmeal Recipes

I have oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast.  That’s right.  EVERY.  MORNING.  It’s really filling, makes you feel warm and fuzzy in the winter, and is actually pretty easy and quick to make if you use your microwave.  I looked online for some nutritional info, and one serving has 150 calories, 3 g of fat, 27 g of carbs, 3 g of fibre, and 6 g of protein.  Click here for the details.  Looks pretty good, non?  The benefits don’t end there!  To quote an article from WebMD, “Because [oatmeal’s] high in soluble fiber, ‘it’s slower to digest and it won’t raise your blood sugar as much or as quickly. It’s going to work better at controlling blood sugar over time.'”  This is good news for me, since I likely have insulin resistance due to my PCOS.

Still, plain oatmeal is not all that appealing, so I try to mix it up, using different types of fruit and spices to turn plain oatmeal into something both healthy AND delicious.  Here are a few of my favourite recipes:

Blueberry Oatmeal

  • 1/3 c large flake oats
  • 1/2 c frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 c water
  • several sprinkles of cinnamon

Cook in the microwave for 3 minutes or so (depending on your microwave – ours is crappy), and then stir in a couple of drops of vanilla.

Oatmeal with Raisins

  • 1/3 c large flake oats
  • 2 tbsp – 1/4 c raisins
  • 3/4 c water
  • several heavy sprinkles of cinnamon
  • light sprinkles of nutmeg
  • sometimes a couple sprinkles of ginger

Cook in the microwave for about 2 minutes, and then stir in a little vanilla.  Sometimes I put some sea salt on top, too.  Yum.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1/3 c large flake oats
  • 1 apple, chopped (with skin on)
  • 3/4 c water
  • heavy sprinkles of cinnamon
  • light sprinkles of nutmeg

Cook in the microwave until the apples are soft (usually I do 3 minutes, stir, and then another minute), and then stir in a little vanilla (yes, I LOVE vanilla and think people should use more of it).

I recently tried a new combo inspired by a Facebook post by fitbook by fitlosophy.

I tried it out (without the nuts, because we don’t have nuts in our house – niece has severe allergies and it makes me less nervous this way) and it was pretty darn good, but I tweaked the recipe a little to reflect what I usually have for breakfast:

Cherry Oatmeal

  • 1/3 c oatmeal
  • 1/2 c pitted cherries
  • 3/4 c water

Cook in the microwave for 2 minutes or so, and then stir in a little vanilla (of course!).  I haven’t tried it with any spices, but a little cinnamon would probably be pretty yummy, or maybe a pinch of ginger.

I also stumbled across some delicious-looking combos at the Quaker Oatmeal site.  Click here to see.  I may have to try a couple of these out soon!  Strawberry Banana Parfait and Cherry Chocolate Crunch?  Yes, please.  I would use plain oatmeal, of course, but I still think they would be fantastic.  Let me know if you have any oatmeal recipes to suggest!