argyle

Monday, December 30, 2013

Two More Days...

I have decided that January 1st will be the day I go back to my healthy eating and exercise plan. Which means I have two more days of allowing myself to eat those extra Christmas cookies and chocolates that seem to pop up everywhere. How does that even happen?

I'm going to go about my plan a little bit differently this time. Nothing drastic, but I need to change things up to stay motivated. I will post more details later in the week.

My weight, currently, is bad. Very very bad. As in, I've crept just a tiny bit into "overweight" territory. Which means that even though I'm not "officially" starting over until January first, I am going to try to not go completely overboard during the next two days.

It's not just about how I look - it's also about how I feel. Which isn't great. And I'm ready to get back at it. Finally ready.

Because I want to feel great, have more energy, and look like this again:



Yup...the thought of that makes me excited!

Until then...Happy New Year!!! Be safe and have fun!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ho ho ho!

Just popping by to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you all have a very safe and happy holiday!

I also wanted to share with you this quote, which I love, and make sure to remember during this special season:

Christmas gift suggestions:

To your enemy... give forgiveness.
To an opponent... give tolerance.
To a friend... give your heart.
To a customer... give service.
To all... give charity.
To every child... give a good example.
To yourself... give respect.

Merry Christmas. Everyone.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Diet Decision

I have a new plan for myself. It pertains to my eating and exercise, which (as everyone who has so much as BREATHED around me knows) I’ve been struggling with. I have entered a dangerous cycle of stuffing my face, and then barely eating to try to offset the calorie count. Which, inevitably, ends in me gorging on junk once again. It has to end before I can’t fit into any of my clothes. I already can’t fit into some of them – including ones I bought only a month ago!!! And I need to find more time to exercise, because feeling sluggish and tired all the time is no fun.

So what is my pan for the rest of the holiday season? It might not be what you think…

I will not worry about the scale until the New Year. At the beginning of January, I will once again weigh myself and make goals for myself. New Year, new me, you know the drill. Until then, I am going to focus on getting my binge eating under control. I will eat reasonably, but allow myself some treats. If I have a “bad meal”, I will not punish myself by shoving food down my throat for the rest of the night. I will focus on portion control, and choosing foods that I really enjoy. I will NOT be obsessed with every morsel that enters my mouth, because that is not what the holiday season should be about. I want to enjoy myself, without making my pants too small in the process. I will fit in activity when I can, even if it’s only 15 minutes here and there. And most importantly, I will be less hard on myself!

I also feel like I need to go back to giving myself little rewards for when I achieve my goals. If you have any ideas for what those rewards can be, please share them with me.

One final thing: less than a week left until Christmas. EEEKKK!!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

This and That

It's Christmastime, and life is busy. So much is happening, for me and for those around me. That means - even moreso than usual - that my mind is constantly running at high speed. Here are a few things I'm thinking of right now:

1. One of my lifelong friends is expecting a baby any day now. Actually, she was expecting him or her a whole week ago. I am impatiently awaiting this little one's arrival - what an exciting time of year to be having a baby! I can't wait to know: boy or girl? Blonde or Brunette? Name? Ahhh, I'm excited!

2. There are no more food-related holiday parties for me until Christmas. Will I finally get my eating back on track? Or will I devour the whole carton of candy cane ice cream that appeared in my fridge?

3. I'm hitting up the gym today, and going to focus on cardio - wish my the best of luck, because last week I was hurting in this area! I miss running without struggling!

4. On Friday, I set out to the mall to spread Christmas cheer through Random Acts of Kindness. It was an epic fail. I think I will make a separate post about this later.

5. My blog friend, Katie, had her Christmas wish come true a little early this year. You could call it a "special delivery" from the Father of Christmas. After going through so much heartache in her life, she deserves this. Read about her most special gift here.

Have a great week, everyone. And stay away from the malls - those places are scary right now!

P.S. How cool is this tree? I want to do one like it some day:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Long Time No LinkUp

It's been awhile, but I've finally decided to participate in another LINK UP!!! This one is about Christmas, so I just couldn't resist. I love the holidays! Besides, Jennifer

is helping host, so how could I not join in? I adore her!

Without further ado, may I present...

FatChick2FitChick


Favorite Christmas song.
- Sleigh Ride (the instrumental version!) A close second is Burl Ives' version of "Holly Jolly Christmas" (but you have to picture him as a Claymation snowman while listening to it)...or maybe "Christmas in Kilarney"...

Christmas song you can’t stand.
- Anything sad. Like the "Christmas Shoes" one. The holidays can be hard enough for some people without music out there to further depress them!

Favorite holiday movie.
- This is a tough one. Last year I discovered "Miracle on 34th Street", and I think that one is winning right now...

Real or artificial tree?
- I love real trees, but we have artificial

White or colored lights?
- I like both!

All matching ornaments or more random personal ornaments?
- Random and eclectic for SURE

Favorite ornament.
- I honestly don't think I can pick a favourite. I have so many that are special to me. Some of the most special ones involve memories made with my young children.

Angel or star tree-topper?
- We have a fairly boring star!

Does Santa wrap presents or leave them unwrapped?
- He wraps them, unless there is something large, like a dollhouse. Actually...come to think of it, I think there is usually one unwrapped...you know, to distract the children and prevent them from going completely wild while they wait to open the rest...

Favorite childhood memory.
- Seriously, how do you pick just one? Basically, anything that involved my grandparents. I can still see my Grandpa sitting in our family room, having waited for us to come downstairs and open gifts. And it was always exciting to visit my Nana and Papa and get to experience a second Christmas celebration with them - we even had our own stockings there!!!

Coffee, hot chocolate, or eggnog?
- Um, hot chocolate. Those other two things are gross.

Christmas morning at home or do you travel?
- HOME! I never want to travel at Christmas ever again!

Traditional holiday meal or something unconventional?
- We do a traditional meal on Boxing Day. But honestly, I could take it or leave it. Turkey doesn't excite me.

Personalized photo Christmas cards, store bought cards, e-cards, or “ain’t nobody got time for that”?
Photo cards!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hear the Bells RINGS!!!

On Sunday, we got together with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law to have an early little Christmas celebration. And since one of my gifts for them was a homemade project that is no longer a secret, I can now share it with you!

Behold:



I actually made the red one for me, and the green one for them. But now that I'm looking at it, they look so good together...I should have made two of each!!!

I got the idea of Pinterest, and just tweaked it a little bit to suit my needs. Here is the original "pin":



I love the original, but the ones I made were just what I wanted. I do like taking an idea and altering it just a bit to make it my own. It feels a little bit more personal that way :)

I hope that you are enjoying seeing some of projects. It's nice to share another side of me that isn't just about fitness and my horrible eating habits!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Phew!!!

I am happy and RELIEVED to tell you that I think I am FINALLY over being sick! Sheesh, that took three weeks!

And let me tell you...three weeks off of working out has had an effect on my level of fitness! I didn't think it could happen that quickly, but it did. For example, I could only run for 30 seconds on the treadmill at a fast pace that I can usually do for 2 minutes or more. And as far as weight-lifting goes...well, let's just say that things are feeling heavier than usual! But I will not dwell on that, because there is nothing I can do but move forward! I hit the gym Saturday and today, and am hoping to do so again tomorrow. Plus MAYBE I'll sneak in an early morning run soon...I say "maybe" because darn it, I do love sleep...

As I mentioned before, this last month was tough for me. Since I didn't feel well and couldn't exercise, I used it as an excuse to throw healthy eating out of the window. I should not have done that. I am not enjoying the weight gain. On Friday, I weighed in at 167 - a full ten pounds up from a month before. It's starting to come down, but my eating has still been pretty crazy. Christmastime is a tough time to re-start a weight-loss plan. But...that's not an excuse to not try, right? RIGHT!

My goal is to get down into the 150s before Christmas (might be tough!) and then just maintain my weight until New Year's. Let's see how I do with that!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fat Free Frida and Elf on the Shelf

So, I may have gained 10lbs in a month. Ooops. The good news is that I feel in a much better mindset today, and I'm ready to get this weight off. Now, let's move on...

On December 1st, our elf, Bernard, returned to our house fresh from the North Pole. He is already causing all sorts of shinanigans, and giving my kids lost of laughs. Here are just a few things we've found him up to so far:

1. Cross-dressing elf...


2. Hallowe'en:1, Christmas: 0


3. Soaring...


Do you have an elf? What has he been up to?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Getting Crafty

As promised, here are some pictures of projects that I have worked on recently. Remember, there are many that I can't share right now as they are Christmas gifts...but I will make sure to let you all see in the New Year!

Feast your eyes...

1. I learned to crochet, so I made this outdoorheadband...you know, to keep my ears warm during those early-morning runs...(hence how horrid I look)


2. I love wreath-making. This is the first year I attempted a yarn wreath, and I love the result!




3. Decided to do a little bit of sewing...




4...and a little more crocheting...


Interested in making any of these projects? Let me know, and I'll either post a tutorial, or link you up to the one I used. I love creating things, but thank GOODNESS I got this all done before the Christmas season hit...otherwise I'd be doomed!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Back at it?

Today, for the first time in 2/12 weeks, I am going to try to make it to the gym.

I am going to take it easy, but I hope that I can get in at least a half decent work out.

Wish me luck...I'm still sick, but I'm even more sick of sitting around doing nothing.

Sorry that I don't have a better post today. Next time I'll try to include some photos of stuff I've been working on!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fat-Free Fatty Fatty Fatty

I suck.

I was doing so well this month, and then I was sidelined by the cold that never ends. (Basically as annoying as the "Song that Never Ends", but even worse). I have had absolutely no energy to work out for the last two weeks. My cold was actually almost gone, and then it started all over again. Fun, eh? And I've been eating horrendously. I don't know what's happening, but my brain has completely lost the "lifestyle change" mindset that was working for me. I do not like this. It feels like two steps forward, two steps back. My pants are snug, my belly is bloated, and I feel like garbage. So why oh why can't I stop?

I guess I should share with you the results of my workout challenge, even though I didn't meet my goals. I'll do that next week.

All I can say now is this: Thanks. GOODNESS. It's. FRIDAY!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Q&A Time!!!

Here are answers to your lovely questions...

1. How are things going with your depression?

Thanks for asking. That's actually a tough one to answer, because it really depends on the day. I think I'm doing better than I was two months ago. Usually once winter hits, things get tougher for me, but that hasn't started yet. We've had a really sunny November here, and it's helped a lot. Also, my doctor is upping my meds for the upcoming months, so that will help too :P

2. Do you ever argue with your parents or find it hard to live in such close proximity?

It's not nearly as challenging as I thought! I just really wish that we didn't have to share a kitchen. If we did decide to do this for the long-term (and that's a big IF) we would definitely need a house with a REAL inlaw suite!

3. Did you always want children?

Oh yes. Always. Probably creepily so. I can remember watching "Father of the Bride 2" and stuffing a pillow under my shirt, desperate to know what pregnancy felt like. And I think I was about 10 years old!!! When I was older, I tried to imagine what life would be like without kids, and it just never felt right for me. I was born to be a momma!

4. I love how you style your hair. I would like to see more about how you do it...

This actually SHOCKED me to read, because I feel like I'm always fighting with my hair! My hair is naturally wavy. When I straighten it, I simply blow-dry it then use a straightening iron to smooth things down. My hair also holds a curl well, and for that I use a 3/4" curling iron. The key is to not curl all the way to the end - leave about an inch of hair uncurled, or else it will look too fancy and perfect :) Oh yes, and I usually shower at night. My hair needs time to calm down before I can go out in public :)

5. Done any craft projects lately?

Yes, I just finished a Christmas wreath! I am going to post a picture and some basic instructions soon, so stay tuned!

6. Do you want more kids?

Sometimes. We used to want four kids! But we won't be having any more, due to finances and the life we want to be able to provide for our children. Still, sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it feels like someone will always be missing from our family. Sometimes my heart aches just a bit when I see someone else is pregnant with their third or fourth. Other times, though, I see families of 3+ kids and think there is NO WAY I'd be able to handle the chaos! We are lucky to have a niece and nephew in the same city who are the same age as our kids, so when we want our four-kid fix, we can have it :)

7. How is your running going?

I feel like my running is just getting worse and worse! I would love to hear advice from some runners about what I can do. I can usually only manage about two runs each week, so my speed and endurance in struggling. Any tips?

That's all for now! Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reminder...

A special note today to my American friends: I hope that you are all keeping safe with the crazy weather that some of you have been experiencing. I hear that it's pretty bad in some areas, and that it may effect travel (and parades! Oh no!) during your Thanksgiving weekend. I sincerely hope that all of you are able to have the holiday you had planned. These times are so special.

Speaking of holidays...I wanted to re-link you all to a guest post that I posted previously on this blog. You can read it here. It's about keeping healthy and active during the holidays, so I thought it was a perfect timing for a reminder! It's a long read, but worth it. I especially want to bring your attention to this part:

"When it comes to the holidays, I give myself a break. But only a little break. I aim to make at least 80 percent of what I eat very healthy–reasonably low in fat, low-carb, natural, high in nutrients. Then I don’t feel so bad when I indulge in the slice of pie or a piece of Christmas fudge."

And also, even more importantly, this part:

"The holidays should be a time of getting together with family and enjoying winter activities. I stay in shape and indulge moderately, so I can participate fully in both."

Some great advice from a great lady! And please, leave our lady Emily a message - she's new to the blogging world, and I for one think she deserves some encouragement!!!

Have a great week! The Q&A results are coming soon, I promise!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I'm Still Here...

...still sick

...still have no energy

...still working my my Q&A post (it's not too late to send in your Q's!)

...still a lamesauce

I'm also working on a Christmas List-related post. Do you guys still make Christmas lists? Or am I the only one whose parents still demand it? I honesty don't even care about getting gifts for myself. Except for my stocking. I love my stocking. But otherwise, Christmas really has become all about giving to others. I always thought that adults were lying when they said that they could not receive a single gift during the season and still be happy, but now I know that it's true. Which makes coming up with a list for myself even harder! A list for what my kiddos want and need? Now that's easy!!!

What about you? What's on your list this year? What are you buying for others? Started shopping yet?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sigh...

I swear, every time I come up with a new fitness routine for myself, I end up getting sick. So it should be no surprise that I'm going through it again: I got sent home from work for hacking up a storm, and now I'm at home throwing myself a mini pity party. I don't get sick a lot, but when I do, it's never minor.

Since my brain is too foggy to think much for myself, I thought I'd share with you some thoughts from Tim - he is the husband of the wonderful Jennifer, who, in my opinion, is a huge inspiration. If you haven't checked out her blog before, please do so now!!

Now, a few thoughts from her husband:

Physical appearance aside, what is the biggest change you've noticed in your wife since beginning her new, healthy-living journey?

I would have to say her confidence! She has a new glow about her that she never had before. She is wearing outfits that she always wanted to wear but was afraid to go out in public because she would think people would make fun of her.

Now she proudly wears new things and loves showing them off.

And what is the biggest change you've felt in YOURSELF since jumping on board?

The biggest change for me would have to be just an overall stamina in everyday activities. At 240lbs (my heaviest weight), I would get out of breath at the simplest of things such as bending over to tie my shoe. It sounds crazy, but that's how out of shape I was. Now at 180lbs, I am able to wear skinner fitting clothes and don't have to rely on my belt to hold my pants up. I too now have a stronger confidence that allows me a comfortable lifestyle.

There you have it: just a little reminder that there are benefits to a healthy lifestyle that extend beyond how you look.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fat-Free Friday: Good News/Bad News Edition

Good News: I weigh 158.4 today. I love still being in the 150s.

Bad News: That means I gained weight this week. I ate like a linebacker last weekend.

Good News: I learned that my gym is open until 10pm during the week. This means that I can pop in, if I choose to, after the kids are in bed. It's win-win: more time with the kids, but still time for myself!

Bad News: I feel a cold coming on...so I may not have the energy yet for nighttime workouts.

Good News: I got up at 6am for an early morning run, and the weather was great!

Bad News: I kept stopping to walk. I totally wussed out on this one.

Good News: I am going shopping with my sister tomorrow - ALL DAY!

Bad News: I will miss going to a My Little Pony show with my daughter. Poor husband has to go instead.

Good News: I am completely on schedule - if not ahead of schedule - with my crafting projects!

Bad News: I've sacrificed sleep to craft. Not a smart idea.

Here's hoping for a good weekend. Keep those Q&A questions coming, too - I've recieved some great ones already that I am excited to answer! But I could use a few more :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let's Do a Q&A

I am having trouble coming up with my next blog post, so why not do a little Q&A to get my juices flowing?

Send me your questions - it can be about weight loss, crafting, family life...whatever!!! I do one of these every now and then, and I find that it helps inspire me...so let's hope it does that again!

You can respond with your question as a comment here, or email me at bren.babysteps@yahoo.ca

Thanks in advance!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Oh, Yesterday...

Yesterday started out AMAZING. I went for another early morning run (Up ate 6:30 again? Me? Yes Ma'ams). It wasn't dark this time due to the time change, which made it much more enjoyable. I do find that I like the quiet solitude of an early morning run. I may very well make this a weekly thing.

Then, it was onto the main excitement of the day: shopping with my mom and sister. The goal was to get my sister some new clothes as part of her birthday gift, and to enjoy a nice meal at the Olive Garden. This little trip involved crossing the border into the USA, because we like to check out different malls, and because we don't have an Olive Garden where we live. The perfect plan for the perfect day.

First, though, I made the mistake of handing my mom my passport for safe keeping. She, in turn, accidentally left if on the roof of the car, which we didn't realize until we were in line to head into the USA. (Don't worry - my husband rescued my passport from our driveway, so no one is going to be crossing into un-native lands on my ticket). Somehow, I was still allowed to enter America, and we made it to the mall in good timing.

The day was great. But when it came to dinner, I went into all-you-can-eat-in-one-meal mode, and stuffed my face. It was glorious. It was delicious. It was a gain-four-pounds-in-one-night-but-don't-kind of meal.

Except today. Today I care. Because my insides are rebelling against me. I think next time, I should avoid eating so much rich food all at one. I seriously felt like I was pregnant after that meal. I could barely sit comfortably!

All in all, though, it was a fun day. But unlike my morning runs, it's something I shouldn't do so frequently!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fat-Free Friday

It's Friday, I weigh 155.8 and I do NOT feel well. So instead of a longer post, I'll leave you with one of my gem-like tips of the day.



Brenna EXTREMELY USEFUL Tip of the Day: If you are NOT pregnant...then you really, really shouldn't be "eating for two". (Note: by "you", I really mean "me". Bad Brenna).

That's all. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen...

This past Saturday, I did something that I never, EVER thought I'd do before: I got up - WILLINGLY - on a Saturday morning at 6-freaking-30 to go for a run before my kids woke up. Do I even need to tell you how much of a rockstar I felt like? I am NOT a morning person, and I NEVER get up early unless I absolutely have to...you know, if I don't want to lose my job or whatever. So this morning run was a HUGE deal to me.

I also learned something: I am still afraid of the dark. When I started running, it was mostly dark outside, and was I ever creeped out. And you know what's NOT so great when you have a scaredy-cat running in the dark around her neighbourhood? Hallowe'en decorations. Creepy.

I learned something else, too: morning running must make me delirious, because I felt like I was running so fast and hard...and when I finished, my time showed me that I was actually slower than usual. I actually had to laugh at that - I have stopped taking myself so seriously when it comes to running. It's much more enjoyable that way. I'd still love to do races at some point, and my ultimate goal would be a half marathon...but that can wait until my kids are older. Right now, I'm okay with just having fun with fitness.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Before Pictures

Since I'm getting my little buns in gear this month, I thought it was worth taking some "before" pictures to document my progress. I honestly think that taking pictures is way better than just weighing yourself, as it's the best way to compare and see where the changes are happening in your body. Without further ado...here they are:



Not bad, right? If you had told me two years ago that I would be posting pictures of myself on the internet in just a SPORTS BRA, I would have laughed in your face. But now...it's no big deal.

I'm not unhappy with how I look. I remember that in high school, I really hated my body. (Though looking back, I looked great). But I also remember looking in the mirror one day and liking what I saw...until I thought about bathing suit season that was fast approaching. And then I thought, "Okay, if I'm ONLY unhappy with myself when I'm wearing a bikini, then that's a pretty stupid thing to be hating myself about." I try to keep that in mind these days. Motherhood has changed my body, and I know that it can't be perfect. I just want my pants to fit better. If your goal is to look great in a bathing suit, that's a fine goal - but don't let that idea get the way of your own self worth. It's really not worth it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fat-Free Friday and November Challenge

Today I weigh 157.4, and I am THRILLED to be in the 150's. I've been eating better, feeling better, and my "go-to" jeans, though still snug, are starting to fit better. Here is last month vs. this month:



I'm getting there.

Now, onto the good stuff...

Some of you may remember that I used to be a total weight-loss nerd. I liked to make up monthly challenges for myself, and I'd even NAME them. I haven't been doing that as much recently, and I realized...maybe that's why I haven't felt as motivated! Because I haven't had something more concrete to be working on. My running has been frustrating me, and I need a need challenge. So, I'm kicking it old school.

Back a few years ago, when I lost weight the first time, I used to pick a certain number of a particular exercise to do in a given month. It felt more flexible than having daily goals, but was still a challenge. I haven't done something like that in years, but for this month, I'm bringing sexy back.

Welcome to my "Fitter FaLaLa" challenge!

The goal is to pick a certain number of squats, pushups, and/or crunches to complete during the month of November. And don't go easy on yourself! Figure out how many you could easily do in a day, double that, and multiply it by 30. Or something. There really is no mathematical formula...just challenge yourself!

I will be doing the following:
1000 Squats
1000 Push Ups (girl-style mostly, because I'm weak)
1000 Crunches (or Sit Ups...I'm aiming for 50/50)

I'm also planning on getting in 50 minutes of planking during the month. A minute here, 30 seconds there...whatever it takes.

Also, for you crunchers, feel free to vary the types of crunches you do in order to target more muscles.

I am excited for this challenge. I will squat until I scream. I will crunch until I curse. I will push up until...I punch? Plank until I pout? Hmmm....

Feel free to use weights. Or don't. Pick one exercise, or pick three. Do whatever will work for YOU.

Who's joining me?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!!!

I hope that everyone has a safe and Happy Hallowe'en today!!!

I have a new challenge that I am starting for myself tomorrow. I hope that you will join me for it! I WOULD call it "Fit for FaLaLa" if I was crazy like that. I can't wait to get into the best shape possible...before Christmas time comes and I ruin it all :)

I'll share more details later, but for now...take care!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Do a (Not-So-Perfect) Sock Bun

I love the look of sock buns...they seem like the perfect no-fuss hair style. However, I have never been able to get them right. But, after seeing other bloggers recently rocking the 'do, I decided to give it another try. Here is what I came up with:

Step 1. Make or obtain one of those donut-shaped thingy-madingies you need to create a sock bun. This is important!

Step 2. Put hair into ponytail at desired height (I like both low and high)

Step 3. Put donut-thingy through your ponytail until it rests against your head

Step 4. Pull donut-thingy close to the end of your ponytail

Step 5. Redo Step 4 because you're a klutz and let all of the hair fall out

Step 6. Repeat Step 5, then 4, then 5, then 4...

Step 7. Carefully roll donut-thing down towards your head, carefully putting the hair around it as you go.

Step 8. Sigh. Repeat Step 3, then 4, then 5...

Step 9. It doesn't look right. Repeat previous steps

Step 10. #$*!@! this crap...

Step 11. Finally finish! It should feel relatively snug, but put some bobby pins in to secure it into place.

Step 12. Decide to get a shorter hair cut so that you don't have to deal with this again.

Oh, and also, make sure to take a picture of it AFTER you've sweated it out at the gym, because that is THE most flattering way to go.



Sigh. Maybe I should stick to helping my daughter decorate pumpkins?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Family Photos

Here are a few more of our Fall Family Photos (minus the ones that will be adorning our Christmas cards this year!) Keep in mind that we did not use a professional photographer - just my husband and my dad! I'm still working on editing them to be a bit brighter and sharper...but overall I think they turned out okay!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fat-Free Friday

Today, I am grumpy. I was having problems with my scale, so I had to play around and rejig it and reset it...and it appears my weight isn't quite as low as I thought it was all week. I'm at 160.4, and I am dying to be back in the 150s. So....grumpy.

Any, enough about me. I have a treat for you today: a special guest post from my pal Emily, all about surviving the holidays while still following a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy!

---------------------------

Hi all, I'm Emily Stone, a SAHM, proud wife, runner, fitness freak, health food addict, and animal lover! I also have an intense passion for writing, and luckily for me, Brenna has been generous enough to let me share my writing on her wonderful blog. So today, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite tips for keeping the weight off during the holiday season! If you have any questions feel free to email me at estone292@gmail.com!

Now, onto the post...

Keeping weight off during the holiday season – A Post from Emily Stone

The holidays are coming seemingly faster this year. I absolutely love the fall and preparing for feasts and parties. But I don’t want this seasons to derail my fitness plans. I find that if I maintain an exercise regimen, and loosen up on my dietary restrictions just a little, I can have an excellent holiday season without having to detox come January.

Keep Moving

A month ago, I enjoyed exercising harder and longer with the moderate temperatures. But now, it’s not as temperate anymore. That jarring cold when I step outside to take the kids to school in the morning sometimes makes me want to rush back to security under the covers. Never fear, I know what to do. When it’s time for me to bring my workouts inside, I still enjoy a thorough but shorter session. Fall and winter are best for interval training. I perform one exercise for a short period until I’m about reading to keel over, then move to another. Each individual exercise is intense, so I get a very powerful workout in a short period of time. An excellent example of interval training is the Focus T25 workoutby Insanity creator Shaun T. All it takes is 25 minutes, and I’m done.

Indulge Occasionally

I have gone on diets in the past where I have to stick precisely to the diet all the time. This can be a nightmare, and why I think most really strict diets fail. When the holidays start sneaking up on me, I try to take a rational approach to them. For example, I always buy the Halloween candy far too early. By the time Halloween arrives, everyone has eaten the candy. This year, I took little zipper bags, wrote names on them and portioned out a handful of pieces that everyone in the house could have. Then I hid the rest of the candy. Once the bags are empty, that’s it until Halloween. I didn’t feel compelled to binge because I knew I could have a piece or two. And surprisingly, everyone else in the house stopped binging, too. I think this approach applies especially well to big-feast holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re anything like me, you get to Thanksgiving, see all the pies, and panic. Oh no, zillions of calories! Deep breaths, I’m going to be OK. I will eat a slice of pie. Or maybe follow my mother’s advice and eat two half-slices of pie, so I can get a variety. One slice of pie is not going to kill my diet, as long as I’m eating healthily otherwise.

Honor the 80/20 Rule

That is where the 80/20 Rule comes in. When it comes to the holidays, I give myself a break. But only a little break. I aim to make at least 80 percent of what I eat very healthy–reasonably low in fat, low-carb, natural, high in nutrients. Then I don’t feel so bad when I indulge in the slice of pie or a piece of Christmas fudge. The trick is to make healthy food stay healthy. For example, sweet potatoes. These tubers are a powerhouse of nutrients! However, I have to watch for those syrupy-sweet concoctions that always make the rounds at the holidays. If I can’t make it myself with a minimum of sweetener, I try to eat from the bottom of the pan, to avoid the worst of the glaze and marshmallows.

The holidays should be a time of getting together with family and enjoying winter activities. I stay in shape and indulge moderately, so I can participate fully in both.

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I hope that you took the time to read Emily's post, because there are some GREAT tips in there - I know I'll be trying some!

See you next week!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Photo Sneak Peek...

...PHOTO FAIL!!!



Yup. That's about how the day went...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Happy Monday!!!

I hope you are having a great start to your week! I know I am! (Okay, honestly, I'm writing this post on Sunday night, but I darned well HOPE that I will be having a great Monday!) I had a nice weekend featuring a baby shower and a get-together with out-of-town friends, so I'm feeling pretty chipper. Tomorrow my husband and I are attempting some family photos with the kids (I'm obsessed with photo cards right now) so please wish me luck!!!

Also, my weight loss has been holding steady despite some eating challenges, and I managed to sneak in a morning workout today when I thought I wouldn't have the chance...and I am SORE! That actually puts me in a good mood, if you can believe it!

Also, guess what arrived in the mail on Friday...



It's my blog friend's FIRST PUBLISHED NOVEL, and it's out and ready for you to read! I've just started reading it, and I already feel like I can relate to the character and writing style. If you are interested in checking it out, it's called "The Luminaries: Kinetic" and you can find it on Amazon. I may do a more detailed post about this later :) But please, if you are open to different types of books, why not support a stay-at-home mom whose trying to fulfil her dream?

There's your guilt trip for the day :) Have a great week!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fat-Free Friday

Good news today, peeps! Not only have I lost all of my vacation weight, but I also lost an additional...wait for it...0.2 pounds!!! Ha ha...I'll take it though!

Right now I'm at exactly 160lbs. The scale must know how badly I want to be back in the 150s, so it's purposely mocking me. No worries. I'll get you next week, Mr. Scale.

I don't have much interesting stuff to say today. I plan on working on a craft project during my lunch break. This one isn't a gift, so as soon as it's done I can share pictures with you all!! Aren't you excited?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weighty Matters

Whew!

So, remember how I told you that last time I went away on a mini vacation, I gained four pounds? And how this time, I was hoping to gain less? Well, I did…technically speaking. I only gained 3.8, ha ha! Take THAT scale! (Also, I’ve already lost 1.5 of that in just a day, so that THAT AGAIN!) I am in a great mindset – motivated but not obsessed – and I look forward to watching the scale keep going down.

Now, enough about me. Let’s talk…

Some of your have probably read the story about the “hot mom” (read article here) who got a lot of flack for posting a picture of her enviable figure alongside her three sons with the caption, “What’s your excuse?” Maria Kang looks flawless, happy, and cute as heck. And yet, people want to criticize.

Now, I’m not sure what people are objecting to the most. Do they assume that being fit and toned means she’s neglecting her kids? That wouldn’t be fair. She says herself that she exercises instead of watching TV, gets up early to fit in her workouts, and exercises at the park while her children play. None of this makes her a bad, selfish mother. Give the woman a break. Moms are allowed to look good.

On the other hand, are people objecting to the “What’s your excuse?” tagline? Because that I would understand. I have never myself been a fan of the “no more excuses” mantra that people throw at each other when it comes to fitness, eating, or anything else in life. It’s one thing if you use to help motivate yourself, but it’s quite another to use that phrase as a weapon to shame people into changes their habits (Please note: I don’t think Kang was trying to do that. I believe hers was more of an “If I can do it, so can you” intention). I can appreciate the fact that some people will always have an easier time losing weight, and others will struggle, and I keep in mind that what ,may seem like “excuses” to others might be very real reasons to someone else. Just because those reasons don’t make goals unachievable doesn’t mean that they don’t make them a heck of a lot more difficult. It’s unavoidable. Life happens!

And that’s the reality: life is hard. And it’s harder for some people than others…or at least it feels that way to them. Encouragement goes a long way. Check your judgement at the door.

Not to mention…what’s with fat-bashing? Having a well-toned physique is not the only mark of good health and success. You can actually be overweight and in better health than someone slimmer. (For all we know, funny-honey Melissa McCarthy could be, internally, the picture of good health. And talk about successful!) I guess I just will never understand the need to shame women about their bodies – whether it’s because they’re a sexy momma, or a heavier hottie. Why is our worth tied to our appearance? Men would never put up with this, and good on them. So…why do we?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nervous Nelly

I am back from my mini vacation!

We had a great time - lots of fun, loads of SHOPPING, and yummy food! Well worth whatever (temporary) weight gain I've experienced! I even got a few things from the Guess Outlet that made me feel fantastic!

With that said, I am nervous as heck to step on the scale tomorrow. I am just reminding myself that last time I took a mini vacation, I gained 4 lbs, but lost it by the end of the week. I hope I have the same luck this time.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fat-Free Holy Crap!

Welcome to Fat-Free Friday: Holy Crap Edition.

I lost...wait for it....SIX POUNDS THIS WEEK!!! SIX!!!! EEEK!!! And I didn't even starve myself!!! I even ate out a few times, and just made really, really good choices. I am so proud!

Now, I KNOW that a big reason why my loss was so big was because I went from eating horrendously to eating pretty well. But that doesn't change the fact that I also upped my intensity with my workout, and pushed myself a LOT during my run. (I ran 2.5km in just under 15 minues, which is pretty much my goal timing for a 5k...but I stopped tracking after that because I ran a different route and have no idea how far I got. I know, though, that I wouldn't have lasted another 2.5 at that pace. Still need to work on it!)

This big loss actually means that I have already lost the entire amount I wanted to for this whole month. But I'm not stopping here. This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, AND we are going away. I know that there will be some eating challenges, and I know I might gain a pound or two back...but by the end of the month, I am DETERMINED to be back in the 150s...I can't wait!

To my fellow Canadians...Happy Thanksgiving! And remember, it's okay to indulge a bit during holidays...just get back on track afterwards :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hyped Up

Guess what I’ve been up to lately?

Craftin’ it up…OLD SCHOOL!

(That’s what we used to say in high school, when we got back into crafting. We were coolz, yo.)

Anyway, I’ve been a bit manic lately – too much energy and creative ideas, so there’s no time to sleep – and as a result I went out a bought a whole WHACK of crafting gear. For Christmas project-making. In October.

Of course I can’t share most of my ideas with you YET, because they are indeed gifts for people who may or may not read this blog. However, I can tell you that if you go onto Pinterest and enter “Christmas Craft Ideas”, it will be all the inspiration you need! I have chosen projects that are neither hard nor horribly time consuming for the most part. Unlike last year when I made that felt playhouse for my kids and wanted to run away and to Greenland, it took so long.

In other news, want to hear something embarassing? I went to the gym yesterday, but I forgot my shoes. I tried to work out (safely) in my sock feet, but they kicked me out. So much for the great butt-kicking exercises I had planned!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fitter Fall Challenges

Guess what everyone?

No, I am NOT eating like garbage and being lazy. Surprised? You're probably shocked based on my recent history!! I'm actually back (mostly) on the weight-loss wagon, and I'm feeling great! It only takes a few days of sweating it out and cutting out copious amounts of fat to feel better, I guess! I'm already feeling less bloated, and because of that my tummy is looking better. Thank goodness!

I gave myself some goals for this week: to go to the gym 3 times, to do one exercise video, and to maybe go for a run if the weather permits. So far, I've gone to the gym twice, and I did Level 1 of the 30-Day Shred on DVD. A great start, if I do say so myself!

But, there are some long term fitness goals that I have in mind, and I'm working towards them as well. They include:

- Being able to run 5k in under 30 minutes. This a long term goal. Lately, I've been struggling to get my time under 32 minutes, which is about a 10 1/2 minute mile - so that will be my first goal. Heck, lately I've been struggling sometimes to get it under 35!!! My fastest time EVER was 30.5 minutes, and that was a year ago!!! So this will definitely take work.

- Being able to do 10 REAL push ups. Right now I can barely do 2. I lack arm strength.

- Being able to squat with a 50lb bar - right now I struggle to do 40 - Holding a 2-minutes plank: this is a shorter term goal that I hope to reach by the end of the month.

Outside of weight-loss and health, I've been eye-balling some Christmas crafts and trying to choose which ones to do. I'll share more details with you once I've figured it out!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fat-Free Friday...Back to Basics

Shortly after I hit my first goal weight - which was almost a year ago - I remember how great I felt. I had this amazing sense of accomplishment, higher self-esteem, and the confidence to know that I was no longer letting food control me. I was hitting fitness goals left, right, and centre, and clothes shopping was becoming fun once again. I also remember thinking, "How did I ever let myself gain so much weight", and thought of how mad at myself I'd be if I let that happen again.

Unfortunately, as you all know, I HAVE been letting it happen again. And I know, without a doubt, that if I don't get a handle on myself, I will be right back up at my start weight before I know it. I'm a binger, a stuff-my-facer, which means that the pounds pile on VERY quickly.

Right now I weigh 166.2... My original goal, if you can remember, was 157 (but then I adjusted it as I continued to lose). So consider 157 to be my current aim. I know I can do it. I am starting up yet ANOTHER new challenge for myself, and I'm hoping that this time I stick to it. I am calling this my "Fitter Fall" challenge, and you are welcome to join me. I will eat better, by revisiting my old habits; I will run better, by challenging myself more and more each week; and I will learn to love myself again, by reminding myself that I am perfectly capable of doing this. I refuse to let food control me forever.

And I HOPE that I can inspire someone out there to not give up. There IS no giving up!

I HOPE to lose 5-6 pounds in four weeks, and then keep going. I know that this will be a challenge, because this month holds a lot of food-related events. But I also know that with a little bit of planning, I can stay above water. I did it last year, and I can do it again. For added motivation, I'm planning on doing some family photos at the beginning of November, and I do NOT want to look bloated!

Just as a refresher, here is the picture I posted when I realized that I could no longer fit nicely into my "go to" jeans. Muffin top central alert...or so I thought! Things are actually a bit worse now (but I'm too lazy to take a new picture)



I WILL fit into those jeans again. I WILL regain my confidence. I will succeed.

Will you stay with me?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Q&A With Fellow Bloggers

A little while ago, I got the idea to do a fun, random question-and-answer period featuring some of my favourite bloggers and blogging friends. I would like to thank all of them for indulging me! A variety of topics are covered, so hopefully there is at least one that will interest everyone!

If you are interested in being part of a future Q&A on this blog, email me!!!

Now, onto the good stuff...

"You had a lot of weight to lose when you first started. How did you keep motivated without getting overwhelmed?"

"In the beginning, I just wanted to succeed so badly, that I literally removed failure as an option. I knew that I had to remove the option to cheat and/or fail. I was very rigid and strict in order to maintain focus. Actually seeing progress is a huge motivator to keep going. I had to remind myself, though, on "off" weeks where the scale did not move, that not working out and not eating well would only serve to put me back not forward. That was the hardest mental hurdle to overcome. I think that helped me to keep momentum and focus." - Jennifer, from FatChick2FitChick (who lost 100 pounds already!!!)

"How do achieve balance between family life, work, exercise...and everything else?!"

"First and foremost, my family is my top priority, so they always come first! Our time together as a whole family is spent mostly in the evenings and weekends, when Robb is home from work. We have to actually schedule things on the calendar in order to make them happen. I'm blessed to be able to work from home two evenings a week when Robb is home to watch the boys. I love this as a way to get some adult interaction and earn a little income, but still consider myself a stay at home mom. Fitness and exercise time comes in last, I spend time working out when the boys are napping, or at night when again, Robb is home to play with them. At the most, I spend an hour at a time working out, usually less. I think it's all about prioritizing the things that make you the most happy." - Katie, from When Hello Means Goodbye

"What one piece of advice would you give to a new blogger about what NOT to do?"

"Don't worry about your audience. Write and say what you want. If people like what you have to say, they'll be back to read more." - Brandi Laughlin from Mama Laughlin

"Where do you get your cake and crafting ideas?"

Obviously Pinterest is a great source for creative ideas, but I also get them from magazines, books...and just randomly Googling different topics. There are so many ideas out there, that sometimes the hardest part is choosing what to make! - question posed to ME

...And if any of you are struggling with infertility, please read the following message from a woman whose been there, fought the good fight, and ended up with adorable twins!

"What advice would you give to someone who was just diagnosed with fertility problems and feeling hopeless"?

"I struggled for years with infertility. I went through many rounds of fertility treatments before moving on to my last shot: IVF. After 2 miscarriages, this one IVF finally stuck and I am now a mother of boy/girl twins. And this is probably not what you want to hear right now…

For those starting out in their infertility journey, my first advice is to cry it out. If you have to let it out… don’t hold back. Go ahead and hate the word “relax”, and not want to see your friends and families with tiny babies for a while, you have lost something and you need to mourn it. Go ahead and look up your options. Nothing is definite. Even those who have been told they have less than 10% chances have had a chance to conceive on their own and others like me, have been lucky that science has evolved as much as it has. You might feel like the world has come to an end, and you know what? It has. The innocence is gone. The forever hope is gone. And that fear of never becoming a mother takes over. But once you’ve had time to cry it out and ask over and over again: “Why me?”, you’ll see that the only world that ended is the one where you didn’t have to fight as hard. From now on, you are nothing but a fighter. You can overcome anything short of death. Yes, yes you can. -Shanny, from

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Monday, make it a Fun-day

Guess what?

1. I spent way too much time eating my feelings last week, and I am NOT happy about the numbers appearing on the scale today. Time to reign it in! Are you all surprised to hear me say that...again?

2. I am loving evening family walks...the weather is gorgeous, and the leaves are just starting to change colours. Perfect.

3. I still really needs to win the lottery.

4. I really really want to go to Disney World again. (the last time was only a year ago!)

5. I MIGHT be more obsessed with My Little Pony than my daughter is. Oh well.

In other news, I'm just finishing up a post that features advice from fellow bloggers (some of whom you may know!) so please stay tuned for that this week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm Still Here!!!

I promise I'm still here.

I'm just making a bad habit out of wallowing in my own self-destructing thoughts.

I'll work on it.

I promise.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Losing the Battle...

So, I have a cold. I guess it's that time of year again...the weather is changing back and forth, mucking with our immune systems, and the kids, back in school, are welcoming gangs of germs back into our homes every day. Although I have no energy, I think I should just be thankful that it's just a cold and nothing more!

So, clearly this minor illness is not the reason that I bawled my face off today after work.

I realized something today, something that's been nagging at the back of my mind for months now: I can't handle being a working mom . Not with everything else I have to deal with...not with how much I have to fight every morning just to get out of bed on a GOOD day. On a good day, I'm exhausted and barely hanging on. And yet, I can't afford to NOT be a working mom. I'm stuck. And I don't know what to do. I know this problem isn't unique to me...and I'm just in awe of those who have learned to cope.

When I wrote my previous post about depression, I was experiencing a lot of emotions. One of them was anger - I was fed up. Fed up with life, fed up with people who don't try to understand, fed up with the lack of resources out there to help people who are suffering...just angry. There was fight left in me. Things are different now.

Now? I have no fight left. I feel like I'm giving up, but can't do anything to stop it. Some days it feels like I'm losing the battle...other days it feels like I've already lost. I'm doing my best to hang in there for my kids, but I just don't know how to do this anymore. How do you convince yourself it's worth getting up when the majority of your time awake is spent in misery? I'm struggling to find the answer to that...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fat-Free Frigging Around

I’m tirrrrreeedddd. Thank goodness it’s Friday…although I have to work tomorrow…andno one likes working Saturdays, am I right?

So, I KNOW I said that I was going to be recording my weight every Friday to keep myself accountable, BUT…not today. Hear me out. I’m having some “issues” (let’s just go with that to prevent going into TMI territory…heh) and it’s causing me to bloat like a Labour Day Parade balloon. As a result, I am up almost two pounds from what I was when I peeked two days ago. No point in getting stressed about that, right? RIGHT?!??! (just agree with me) If this “issue” is gone by Sunday, I might recheck things then 

Other than that, I’ve been working like a madwoman this week, but NOT working OUT like a madwoman. Epic fail pour moi.

Hopefully I will have more to report to you next week, and more posts. I need to ditch my slacker ways!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy Monday!

I got nothing!

I'm working on a (hopefully) interesting post for later on, but until then...have a good start to the week!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fat-Free Friday

Let's get right to it: I lost another 1.2 pounds this week, despite some not-so-perfect eating choices, putting me at 160lbs exactly. Oh 150's, I am knocking on your door!

Other than that...I got nothing. I really wish that I had more of an update for today, but my week has been pretty dull. I worked, worked out, playing with my kiddos and watched TV. Have any of you ever watched, "Who Do You Think You Are", where they look up the ancestry of different celebrities? It's quite interesting. I was watching a few old episodes and MAN - Lisa Kudrow's was SO depressing! I can't even imagine going through what her family experienced. It was very sad, but I'm glad I watched it. Anyway...if you have any interest in history, it's a pretty cool show to watch. That and the Little Couple.

The other little thing I want to mention is about running. I've decided that when I run outside (I usually run 5k) I won't worry too much about my speed. As I've said, I'm not a fast runner. But, when I run on the treadmill (DREADmill) at the gym, the I will work on a faster pace. My mini-goal is to be able to run at 6.1 for at least 10 minutes straight. I don't exactly know what I picked that, but nonetheless, I'm sticking with it! I started at two minutes, and each time I go to the gym I add 30 seconds of running time at that speed. So, I've made it to 3 1/2 minutes without dying, and next time I'll aim for 4 minutes. I like having something to work at, and if it makes me a slightly faster runner in the end, then great. If not...at least I've burned some extra calories, right?

I hope everyone has a good weekend. Stay safe!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Trying and Failing

Sometimes, in life, we have to accept that there are certain things we can't change. There are things that we might want to be, or want to do, but no matter how hard we try, we just don't succeed. And that's okay. Nobody is perfect, and nobody can do every single thing that they want to do. We're not superhumans, after all.

And guess what? That applies to all areas of life: exercise, parenting, work-life balance.... Often we set challenges for ourselves, and we may hit many (or even most) of them, but inevitably we run into one particular challenge that seems impossible to overcome. The tricky part is knowing when it's best to keep trying, and when it's time to step back and, "I can't do this. I'm done. And that's okay."

For me, recently, it's been about running. LAME, I know. I don't have anything deeper right now, okay? (Actually, that's a lie. There are so many areas of my life that I could apply this to, but I'm choosing to talk to you about running today, because that's what's on my mind). I have come to the conclusion that I am never going to be a fast runner. No matter how hard I try, my speed just isn't increasing. And I think I'm starting to accept that. Sure, I still have a goal to run 5k in under 30 minutes, but if I can manage to do that even ONCE I'll be happy. And if I can't do it at all, I won't die. I've realized that I am much more of a distance runner - I can push myself to run longer and farther, but not faster. And instead of being disappointed about not being able to do it all, I'm choosing to be happy about the progress that I do make.

Maybe you can't run fast, like me. Maybe you can't run at all. Maybe you can't do push ups, or a chin up, or squats with a 50-lbs weight. Maybe you can't do DIY-projects while maintaining a half-crazy household. Maybe you skip the homemade meal a few times a week. Maybe you've tried and tried and tried, but still aren't succeeding in whatever you hope to achieve. That doesn't make you a failure. Trying isn't failing. Changing goals, creating new ones, and abandoning other are not failures - as long as you keep going.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ten (Random) Things on Tuesday...

1. Today it is HOT – after a few days of feeling like autumn is fast approaching, we’re back to summer weather. Bring out the shorts and tanks!

2. Despite what I said in my previous post, I am still trying to increase my running speed. I’ll just never learn!

3. My abs hurt. I guess adding in several different exercises is doing something.

4. I am having horrible sugar cravings this week. I tried to distract myself by watching a movie, but my daughter wanted to see “Wreck It Ralph” and it features a game called “Sugar Rush"...so of course I ended up face-first in a tub of chocolate Philadelphia cream cheese.

5. I want to win the lottery. (I don’t actually buy tickets, so my plan is a guaranteed failure.)

6. I wish I hadn't stayed up until 2am last night playing Spider Solitaire. Yes, it took me THAT long to win. I'm, um...dedicated?

7. I'm obsessed with Bill and Jenn from "The Little Couple". I think they are the probably the most normal family on TV. And their son is cute as heck!

8. I wonder if my daughter will ever tell me anything about her day at kindergarten.

9. I wonder if my son will ever stop jumping off of the furniture.

10. I miss my husband. He's gone for a month (with possibly the occasional visit) doing a course, and it's no fun at all. Except on nights when "The Little Couple" is on. (See #7). Which is tonight!

Have a great day, everyone!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

One Day Late...

I wrote this post yesterday...but forgot to ACTUALLY post it! Whoopsy-daisy! Better late than never, though, right? Here it is:

Happy Fat-Free Friday!!! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and there is just a hint of autumn in the air. Today is a good day!

If I were to recap the last week in terms of my weight loss, I’d say that I did pretty well. I hit most of my goals for the week, although fitting in three servings of vegetables a day has been a challenge. Fruit is so much yummier! But I did manage to eat better, work out at least 3 times, PLUS I did some arm and ab exercises every night before bed. So overall I feel that my week was satisfactory…and I lost 1.2 pounds to boot! Happy enough about that, even though I was *hoping* for more!

If I lost 1.2 every week, I’d be around 155 at the end of my six week challenge. It’s not quite where I want to be, but I would be okay with that. I am SO looking forward to even just being out of the 160’s!!!

I have nothing else exciting to write about, because I'm JUST that boring, so...have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Aaralyn's First Day of School

Yesterday was my daughter's first day of kindergarten. Please feel free to insert any cliché along the lines of "Oh my gosh, they grow up so FAST!" here. It's all true.

I'm not sure where it works elsewhere, but here where I live, kids have two years of kindergarten being entering grade one. Attending kindergarten is optional, but it's part of the public school system, so most people choose to enrol their children. Starting next year, every kindergarten class in my province will run for the full-day. Right now, my daughter is only going in the afternoons, and I think it's going to work out very well for her. Also, the classes mix both the junior and senior kindergarten students, which means that Aaralyn gets to be in the same class as the boy next door. Fun!

BUT...can we get back to her first day...and the TOTAL REJECTION I experienced?

My child did not cry on her first day of school. This is good. My child did not freak out and refuse to listen when the teacher asked them to come inside. This is also good. But my child also DID NOT CARE ABOUT HUGGING HER MOTHER GOODBYE went she went in for her first day. What the heck?!?!? One child had to be physically extracted from his entwinement around his mother's waist, but MY child doesn't even care that I'm leaving. I'm so offended. *pout*

Nah, it's all good. And today, we're going to try the girls (my niece is attending the school as well) on the bus. Only kindergarten students in my neighbourhood qualify for the bus, so I guess we should take advantage of it while we can!!!

Still...I'm just not ready for my little girl to grow up...

In other news, I peeked at the scale today, and it looks like I'm already down a pound. This is great, but I know that my official weigh in on Friday might not be, as I'll probably be PMSing badly (re: water retention central) by then. This is why I gave myself permission to peek today :)

Have a great week, everyone!

P.S. The kindergarten teacher has a blog for the classroom. How freaking COOL is that?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Fall Into Fall" Challenge

Hellooooo ladies! (Still not sure if I have any “gents” around here yet…) Hope you’re all having a great start to your week.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my Summer Slimdown Challenge was a bust. I started the 6-week challenge at 162 lbs, and I finished it at 162.4 lbs. LAME! Not impressive, I know, but I’m telling you all anyway because I like to keep myself honest. Besides, let’s be real: you all knew I was blowing it big time! No sense in hiding these things!

The GOOD news is that during the past week, I’ve really gotten my eating (mostly) back on track, and I feel like I’m in a much better mindset. So I am excited to bring you all my “Fall Into Fall” challenge! I make these cheesily-named challenges for myself for motivation, and to help me achieve my goals. And corny or not, you are welcome to join me!

I’m challenging myself for the six weeks between September 1st and Canadian Thanksgiving. I like my challenges to be no longer than six weeks, because any longer and I lose interest. Hey, what can I say – I’m human! And right now, the six-week timing works out perfectly because my family is taking a mini-vacay over the Thanksgiving weekend – not to anywhere fancy, but nonetheless it’s extra motivation, right? And what’s even MORE of a motivation is that I tried on my “go-to” jeans - you know, the jeans that you just LOVE to wear, not matter how old or ugly they get, because they make you feel awesome – and it wasn’t a good story. They looked like this:



MUFFIN TOP CENTRAL!!! Aren’t I a hottie?

Here are my goals, and my plan for how to achieve them:

Goals:
-Lose 10 pounds (the amount I gained back in just one summer.) This will bring me back into my goal range of 148-153. I am, however, thinking about changing that range to 150-155 which might be more realistic. We'll see.
-Lose inches, and get more definition back in my arms and “abs”
-Fit back into my “go-to” jeans (WITHOUT the muffin top)
-Get back into the “lifestyle change” mindset – this is NOT a diet!
-Have more energy once again!

How I’ll do it:
-Exercise 3-5 times per week
-Cleaner eating, staying within my daily Points value
-Lots of water
-CUT OUT before-bed snacking (I can’t even tell you how much peanut butter I’ve shoved into my pie-hole between the hours of 12am and 1am)
-MORE vegetables...aiming for 3 servings at least per day
-LESS EATING OUT (my biggest problem this summer)
-I’ll go back to posting my “Fat-Free Friday” posts to track my progress on this blog

Feel free to post your own goals in the comments section – let’s help keep each other accountable!

And, finally, here are my starting inches for the areas I’m most concerned about:

Arm: 12.5
Waist: 29.75
Hips: 43

Come on, everyone…let’s do this!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Advice on Getting "Back on Track"

A little bit over a week ago, I was still struggling to lug my lazy butt back onto the weight-loss bandwagon. So, I posted on an online "Fit Camp" that I belong to, and asked for THEIR top pieces of advice about getting back on track. Here is what they had to say:

1. "Start with a support group!!!" - Amy W

2. "Meal plan!! Whenever I need to get back on track, I meal plan, list out every ingredient and hit the grocery store. I feel SOOO guilty about throwing out food I didn't eat so that way I actually cook the meals I have bought the ingredients for" - Wendy W

3. ""Schedule" your workout like you would schedule anything else." - Valori T

4. "I post my Big Girl photos on my fridge, in the pantry, in my bathroom by my mirror. To remind myself how far I have come, and how quickly I could be there again if I don't get my ass together!" -Sheila R

5. "Start small: more water less juice, re-committing to small bursts of exercise a few times a week, and letting go of guilt." - Christina F

6. "Food prep, a s*** ton of water, and some sort of exercise 4x a week! " -Patricia

7. "Change up your motivators. When I started I had pics of celebs on my fridge. Then once that impact was gone I created a vision board. A new one each month. Then I started a list of rewards for when I reach a milestone such as a tan at 50% lost, hair & nail supplement ($85) when I get to 'normal' weight range, etc. Then I also created a spreadsheet that has about 10 different calculations on it so everyday when I punch in my weight it gives me results for my lost pounds list, pounds to goal, kilos lost, kilos to goal, kilos to next milestone, percentages lost etc. and finally I use a glass chalk pen to write myself messages of encouragement around the house. That way you keep motivating yourself from lots of different angles." - Sonya

Great tips, ladies! Thanks for sharing them! And I hope that you, my readers, gain some inspiration from them!

P.S. Apparently I like using exclamation marks...dork...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

LITERALLY Ran Into a Problem Yesterday

So, first of all, let me say this: when I use the word "literally", I MEAN literally. I do not confused it with the word "figuratively". And neither should you. No, it has NOT "literally" been a million years since we last saw each other. You're not LITERALLY five feet taller than your sister. Stop it. Stop it now. (With that said, we'll get to my story in a minute.)

Second of all...thank you SO MUCH to every who left comments on my "Depression Sucks" post. I received several private messages letting me know that, by putting it all out there, I have helped to make a lot of people feel more normal. While I never like to hear that others are suffering, it's good to know that I can connect with those who do. I really hope that, together, we can help break the stigma associated with mental health disorders, and help create a more compassionate community. That is so important to me.

Now, onto my story about literally running into trouble. While I was out jogging yesterday, I ran into a little problem. Can you guess what it was?



(Yes, I'm REALLY sweaty. It was hot!)

Anyway, in case you can't tell...those are bugs all over my chest. BUGS. You know those teeny little ones that swarm around you in in the summer, right at eye level? Well, I guess I ran through one too many clouds of them, because this is what I looked like when I got home. Attractive, yes? My daughter was so confused. And I felt gross. Guess who took a shower right away?

And with that, I'll end my lame story of the day with a much BETTER picture:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blither and Blather

This was me last week:

“Darn you, coworkers! Bringing in cookies and chocolate and forcing it down my throat…can’t you see that I brought a banana with me to try to keep things healthy? You’re going DOWN.”

(Yeah yeah yeah…darn ME and my limited willpower, you say. Well, right now I’m in a sassy-frassy mood, and I don’t feel like accepting responsibility for my own problems, mmkay?)

And here is me this week:

Willpower? No problem! You can keep your cookies and cakes – I got my oatmeal for lunch and I’m feeling skinnier already!

Sometimes, it just takes a change in perspective to make ourselves feel better. And having confidence DEFINITELY helps with weight loss, I’ve learned.

It’s funny – before, when I wanted to lose weight, I didn’t care about having self-confidence. I thought that if I felt good about myself, I’d stop caring about my weight-loss goals. It was so wrong of me to think that way. I actually WANTED to hate my body, thinking it would motivate me to change. In reality, the worse I felt, the LESS motivated I was. And the more I ate. But, when I started exercising, my confidence went up very quickly. Whenever I lost a pound, made healthy choices, or noticed my clothes getting looser, I felt good about myself. And that made me want to keep going…and improve even more.

Please don’t let yourself focus only on the flaws you think you need to change. Find something about your body that you like – and flaunt it! Let yourself gain that much-deserved confidence. Because, in my experience, the better you feel about your body, the more you’ll want to take care of it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Depression Sucks

For a long time, I have debated writing a post that touched more on my struggle with depression and anxiety. One the one hand, I thought it would be somewhat cathartic and therapeutic to just put it all out there; on the other hand, it's not something that I talk about often outside of my immediate family and circle of friends. It's a sensitive subject, and one that is prone to a LOT of judgement. I get it, to a point. To those who are unaffected by them, mental health problems seem to defy logic. I know that what I and others experience is hard to understand. Even so, while understanding our struggles might be difficult, treating others with kindness should not be. If I get no other message across with this post, I hope that one sticks. We can always afford to be more kind.

Ultimately, I have decided to talk about this, after some urging from friends, in an attempt to help others. If even one or two people read this and feel more "normal" and less alone afterwards, then it will have been worth it. Please understand that every individual is different, though, and that I can only speak of what is true for me.

So, here is my life...

I wake up in the morning, and instantly wish I hadn't. To me, there is something wonderful and calming about the blissful nothingness that sleep provides. But from the moment I awake, my brain tortures me. Or at least that is what it feels like. Between the anxiety that causes my brain to LITERALLY never stop, and the negative thoughts that are a constant in my head, being awake isn't a treat. I stay in bed until the last possible minute before getting up. Because the truth is, I don't want to get up. Ever.

Time with my kids brings me joy, albeit with the proverbial cloud floating around over my head. But when I have to head off to work, it's another story. I don't work at a bad place. I don't work at a particularly stressful place. And I have great coworkers who are a pleasure to work with. There is simply no logical reason as to why heading to work should be such a problem for me, except that I CAN NOT cope. Remember when I said that my brain does not stop running along? That includes time where I am at work. I'm not sure that there is any way I can properly articulate how exhausting it is for me to try to focus my brain for hours at a time. I can feel my heart racing, my palms sweating, tears welling up in my eyes, and my internal body temperature shoot up as I try to keep myself composed. I plaster a smile on my face, and make as many lame jokes and I possibly can to keep the mood light. But in reality, I'm wondering how long it is until my next break so that I can just go and lose it in the bathroom. And then I feel like a child.

By the time I get home, my brain is done. I can not focus on anything, and I feel trapped in a state of near-constant daydreaming. I feel that my family suffers for it, and my kids suffer. And I only work part time!!! For financial reasons, I need a full time position (sooner rather than later) and the thought of that makes me physically ill. I simply do not understand how I will ever be able to survive that without being committed to a loonie bin.

I have to engage in a lot of self-talk during the day, too, to prevent my thoughts from going too dark. I hate to over the "life is tiring" mantra, but I can't stress enough how I tire myself out. That might be the worst part - how exhausted I am. Just from living life. Every day.

I have a loving husband, two amazing children whom I love more than anything else in the world, and a great family...and yet every day is just simply something that I have to "get through". How pathetic is that? Sometimes, I just don't know how long I can keep going...

I am not writing this for sympathy. I do not want that. I am writing this to help others understand what their loved ones might be going through. If you don't care to understand, fine. You can judge me if you want. But this is my reality. And believe me, I am doing my best. And so are so many others. Every day. In every country of the world. We are NOT alone.

Without fail, there is one thing I look forward to every day (aside from time with my family, OBVIOUSLY): when I climb into bed, shut off the lights, and wait for sweet oblivion to welcome me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I'm Back, Baby!

Back at the weight loss game, that is!

I should be more specific: today I felt like I was back. Yesterday I was not back. Yesterday I was face-first in a bag of dill pickle chips that SOMONE (not me) brought home from the store. Obviously I couldn't help myself. But today, I pretty much rocked it. Okay, okay, I did sneak a few chips again, but I stopped myself before finishing the whole bag. And that is a win to me!

I also went to one of my favourite gym classes today after work. It's called Body Attack, and is a high intensity cardio and toning class. I was DRIPPING in sweat - I love that feeling! No better way of knowing how hard you are working! I just need to stay motivated enough to keep at it and have more those bathing-in-my-own-filth type of feelings!

I know that I pretty much abandoned my Summer Slimdown challenge, but don't you worry...I have new plans starting September 1st for an Autumn challenge. I really need to fit back into my favourite jeans (which are currently giving me major muffin-top). Stay tuned!

One last thing: during my class today, while we were doing our ab exercises, I was reminded of this picture...I think it describes me to a T:



Hey, you gotta laugh at yourself, right?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What. Is. This...?

No, no, no. This can't be happening:



I had heard the rumor that they had turned my daughter's beloved "My Little Pony" series into a featured movie, and this is the end result. "Equestria Girls." Why does the "pony" look like a person, you ask? Well, because that's the plot of the movie: the ponies turn into teenage girls. Shenanigans ensue.

I just can not bring myself to check out this movie. Can NOT. It's way too creepy. And why turn them into teenagers? Is that the supposed age of the characters normally? I don't think my poor brain can handle this.

With that said, if any of you have had the misfortune of being exposed to this creep-fest...can you at least tell me how it is?

P.S. As you can probably tell, I'm still struggling with what to blog about :) Please send me your ideas!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Makes Me Lazy

I'm too lazy to clean, too lazy to cook, too lazy to exercise as much...and apparently too lazy to even think of good blog topics to write!!

Please, peeps, give me some inspiration! What do you want to read about? What should I write about next? Let me know...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Ran Yesterday...

...7.5 kilometres!!!! I am so excited that I didn't die.

Lately, my mileage has been suffering, and I've been sticking to 5km runs. But yesterday, I had a little bit of extra fire in my soul I guess, and I decided to make it a long one.

Here is the funny thing about running: I find that, sometimes, the longer I go, the easier it gets.

The first couple of kilometres is the hardest. Once I get to five, I feel like I want to stop. But then, shortly after that, I feel that I FINALLY hit my (slow) stride, and I can just keep going. In fact, the only reason I even stopped yesterday at 7.5 was because I ran out of time! I can't believe I forgot about this until yesterday!

Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I really enjoyed myself. I am so glad to have re-discovered my LOVE of running. I guess I'm meant to be a distance runner?

I'm heading to a Blue Jay's game tonight. You're going DOWN, Red Sox! (Err...probably not...but one can hope, right?)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Not Sure How to Start this Post...

Something has been rolling around in my head for awhile...but I'm not sure exactly how to write it out. It's a real weakness of mine, having thoughts rolling around in my head that I can't manage to get out. But, I'm going to try. It needs to be said.

I feel like I suck.

I guess that's the best way to start. Lately, I've been engaging in a lot of self-loathing. Whether it relates to work, motherhood, or health and fitness, I just have been feeling like I can't do anything right. I'm sure that part of these feelings are due to stress, and that some are related to my anxiety and depression problems (actually, I KNOW that's a big factor), but nonetheless, it's been no fun going around feeling like there is a big grey cloud following me.

No, I'm not saying this for sympathy. I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I am telling you this for a reason.

My regular followers have probably noticed that my blogging has sucked lately. It hasn't been as upbeat, nor as interesting. The truth is, my Debbie Downer attitude has left me feeling very un-inspirational. And I struggle with what to write.

When I started making this blog into one that revolved more around fitness and weight loss, there were two reasons for it: One, to help keep myself accountable, and two, to hopefully encourage others who were struggling. I know that when I struggle, one of the most motivating things for me is to read about others' successes. And I wanted to help be that person for you.

I'm not special, so I really believed that if I could do it, you could too.

But because I've been struggling so much lately, I feel like I don't deserve to be thought of that way. Lately, I've been the prime example of what NOT to do. I don't know what to write about because all I want to do is whine about how hard things have been for my lately...and that is just not helpful to anyone. I worry that people will look and me and think, "Wow, everything in moderation? Follow your own advice, woman!"

But, at the same time, I have been SO LUCKY. I haven't received one negative comment or email. Only encouragement. And for that, I am so thankful. And because of that, I will still continue to write.

I need to start making a real, HONEST effort to get back on track. It's going to be a challenge this week, because I'm on holidays from work...but what better time to start that when it's challenging?

I think I'm back. And I hope you stick around to help me re-lose these last 10 pounds.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Junk I Love

This summer, as you know, my cravings have been getting the better of me. So, just to get it out of my system, I thought I'd share with you some of the junk food that I adore:

1. Ice Cream. It's been my biggest down fall this summer. Especially McDonald's Oreo McFlurry's.


2. Chips, especially this kind of Dill Pickle Chips :


But, you have to eat them with this dip:


3. French Fries. Why do they have to be so good?


4. When I'm trying to be good, I eat this yogurt-covered pretzels. They are the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Unfortunately, the benefit of the 100-calorie packs is eliminated when you eat several...


5. And, finally...any kind of chocolate...seriously, any kind...


What are YOUR biggest food weaknesses?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Runner's High? Not for me!

There are a log of blogs out there that are dedicated to fitness and exercise. Among them, many feature bloggers who are into running, like myself. What I've noticed in a lot of these blogs is that there tends to be a post describing "runner's high"...a feeling of euphoria that occurs at some point during their run. It's described as an amazing feeling that helps motivate them for future endeavors.

I, however, do not get this.

Nope. I have no idea what a runner's high feels like. How I wish I did!

I do, however, get what I call "runner's indifference". At some point during my runs, I reach a point where I stop feeling like I'm torturing myself, where my breathing has regulated, and even if my muscles feel sore, I'm running at a steady pace. And at that point, I may not feel great or amazing, but I do feel like I could keep going for quite awhile. Like, "I can stop anytime, but I don't NEED to." Take THAT, former lazy self!

So, I'd like to hear from you, if you are a runner, or any other type of athlete. Do you have experience with runner's high...or can you merely relate to my indifference? Why do you think some people get this elated feeling while others miss out? Tell me, please!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer Bucket List

A couple of weeks ago, I was on vacation from work. I have another vacation coming up next week, but it occurred to me that I never recapped the last one!!! So let me do that now...

The week was wonderful! The weather was hot...almost unbearably so! But, I didn't let that stop us from crossing some things off of our summer bucket list. We didn't go away, but we did enjoy several day trips and excursions. We had a very busy week actually! My husband didn't have the whole week off, so my parents helped me with the kids on some of our outings. Here is what we did:

We:

- Took the kids to a local(ish) playground and splash area
- Spent some time in the family pool
- Went to a zoo in a nearby town
- Took my daughter to a nearby (mini) waterpark AND the drive-in movie theatre to see Despicable Me 2 (it's quite funny, by the way)
- Went to a BIGGER waterpark
- Drove about an hour away to a Safari/Zoo-type area (and got caught in a really bad storm!)
- Helped prepare for, and attended, my niece's 4th birthday party (yes, I made the cake!)

Overall, it was a tiring week - but so much fun!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rough Start

My "Summer Slimdown" is off to a rough start. Don't expect to see a Fat-Free Friday post from me tomorrow - I don't even want to know what the scale says!!! Ulgh...

Part of my struggling has been due to some stress that I've been experiencing lately, which is causing me to eat my feelings. And I have a LOT of feelings. I know, I know...excuses, excuses. BUT...we also got some very good news this week: my husband passed his licensing exam, so after years of working as an apprentice, he is FINALLY a licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer!!! So of COURSE we had to go out and celebrate. And you can't celebrate without an appetizer, entrée, dessert and wine, now can you?

So, what I've learned is...when I feel bad, I want to eat, and when I feel good, I want to eat. And that's a problem.

But, I feel like today is going to be the start of some better weeks ahead! I went for a run last night (and pushed myself, despite wanting to stop every darned second!) and have eaten really well so far today. And I am determined to re-lose these pesky 10 pounds. Because I can't wait to look like this again:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to Live With Your Parents (but not for the rest of your life)

Let me just put this out there:

I still live with my parents.

Put your eyes back in your head. I KNOW it’s a bit weird.

And actually, by “still live with”, I really mean “live with again”, and by “I”, I mean “my husband, kids and I”. Yes, we are just one big, happy, multi-generational family.

Seriously, it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

And it’s not as rare as you may think, either. A surprising number of North Americans live in these type of family households (of course I forget the actual percentage, because I’m cool like that, but I think it was somewhere between 15-20%). Not to mention other countries and cultures where this arrangement is the norm.

We used to live in a condo. Now, we don’t. I don’t want to bore you with details about the why and how, but let’s just say that it isn’t the horror story many people may think. All of us get to save money and share household work…and it’s kind of nice having extra help with the kids. It’s pretty much like having free, live-in nannies…who tell you how to parent your kids. And hog the kitchen. (I’m KIDDING, Mom and Dad. Well, kinda).

Here are some pros and cons of sharing a home with another generation:

Getting Ready In the Morning

Pro: People are around to help watch the kids, so that if I get behind schedule (which is often), I don’t have to rip my hair out trying to get ready while two kids wrap themselves around my leg.
Con: I can’t walk around half-naked…not that I do that….

The Kitchen

Pro: Yay! People to share cooking duties with (I hate cooking. I’d rather swallow fire.)
Con: There is literally someone in the kitchen ALL the damned time. Tripping each other.

Bedtime

Pro: If both of my kids are “just done for the day” at the same time, and my husband is at work, I can have help putting them to bed.
Con: Extra excuses for my daughter to NOT go to bed. “But I need to hug Grammy! But Grampy didn’t give me a kiss! WAHHH.”

Pets

Pro: Between us, we have three cats, two dogs, and a fish tanks. So much animal life around all the time!
Con: SO MUCH animal life around ALL THE TIME.

Is this plan forever? No, not at all. But for the time being (and for my sanity), it really has been a blessing…

Mostly…