Thursday, December 29, 2011

Week 13 and Week 14 Results

Whoops!!  I haven't posted in 2 weeks and now Week 13 & Week 14 are both over. 

Week 13 results:
Weight Loss or Gain: -0 lbs
Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -17.5lbs

Week 14 results:
Weight Loss or Gain: +1.5lbs
Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -16lbs

I knew that I would have a gain at the end of Week 14.  This week was the hardest by far and included Christmas Eve (lots of munching and drinking), Christmas Day (lots of munching and drinking), and then another family party two days later that included lots of food.

No one ever wants to see a gain on the scale when they are trying to lose a substantial amount of weight BUT I am fine with it.  I expected it and I deserved it.  I over indulged (more on the wine then anything else), I ate well, I sampled some chocolates (yummy smooth chocolate balls with milky peanut butter), I had some baked goods and I didn't exercise at all.  See?  I deserved the 1.5lb gain.

I should be back on track now.  The only issue will be with New Year's Eve (in 2 days) which will probably include a bunch of wine.  I will still stay on track the rest of the time so let's just hope that the scale next week is much nicer to me!!

I probably won't post anything in this blog for the remainder of 2011 so I'll speak to you in 2012.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Week 12 Results

Week 12 is officially over!

Week 12 results:

Weight Loss or Gain: -1.5 lb

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -17.5 lbs

Yahoo!!  Woohoo!!  Yipppeeeee!!!  To say I am excited by that number is an understatement.

This week has had MANY challenges:

Challenge # 1: Two of my December functions happened in Week 12.  Actually 3 functions were supposed to take place this week but one had to get cancelled.  In any case, of the other two, one was not so hard to stay within my daily point range, the other seemed to be super hard.  The easier of the two was at my chidren's childcare Christmas party.  It was a buffet dinner filled with tonnes of food but I was very careful when I went up to fill my plate.  I stuck to the veggies, fruit and a few small sandwich things that I had brought.  The second function was the more difficult one.  It was a work Christmas lunch at one of my favourite Italian restaurants in Ottawa.  I have been to this restaurant numerous times and one of my favourite dishes is a Pasta Primavera with homemade fettucine noodles, broccoli, sundried tomatoes and a pesto cream sauce.  The pesto cream sauce is what had me a little worried.  I can't even imagine how much fat and calories are in that sauce.  Anyway, my friend convinced me that I should have it anyway.  She reminded me that it is one of my favourite dishes and if there was one Christmas function that I didn't have to be super careful was this one because they actually had a dish that I already know that I really enjoyed.  And she was right (thanks KW)!!  :)  So, in order to offset the calorie intake I was about to consume with the pasta, I chose not to have any wine at that meal and I didn't touch any of their fresh bread.  I started off with a minestrone soup (another dish of theirs that I absolutely love) and then had my delicious pasta.  You know what?  It was SO worth it.  If I am ever to go over on my calorie intake for a day, this is the type of meal that I want to do it with.  It was well worth it.  After the meal was over, a friend and I decided to walk back to work to burn off some of the calories.  It was about a 15-minute walk which I would like to think burned a few calories!!!

Challenge # 2: Pizza.  I wanted to get my kids pizza one night as a treat and because I just didn't feel like making dinner.  Sometimes we make our own but this time I decided on ordering a delivery pizza.  I knew that I had been pretty good during the day so I could treat myself to a couple of slices.  I ended up having quite a bit of salad on the side and two really yummy pieces of cheese pizza!  Mmmmmmm.

Challenge # 3: Christmas cookies!  It is a tradition at Christmas time to bake sugar cookies with my girls.  They love to cut them with the Christmas cookie cutters and decorate them with sprinkles.  Even though I am not a huge cookie eater, I did have to sample one (or two, or three) over the past few days.

Challenge # 4: M & M's.  I am planning on making a different type of cookie over the the weekend to bring to my girls' school for a cookie sale.  These ones are a little like sugar cookies but they also include red and green M&Ms.  I went to Bulk Barn over the weekend to buy enough for the recipe but I obviously bought too much because the bag was $15.  Eeeek.  This super expensive bag of M&Ms has been sitting in my cupboard for about 5 days now and the amount that I brought home is no longer the amount I have in my cupboard now!!  Yes, I have snuck in there on a few occasions and grabbed a small handful.

Even with all these challenges, I have tracked all of my eating (even the little handfuls of red and green M&Ms) every single day.  Even if I wasn't very happy with the number of points I had eaten for a particular meal (i.e. the yummy pasta with pesto cream sauce), I had to be honest with myself and put it in my spreadsheet.  I think that is one of the main reasons why I still lost weight.  I tracked every.single.thing that I ate.  By watching what I ate at other meals in the day, I was able to stay within my calories/points range most days (even the pizza day).  The only day I actually went over was the day I had the pasta with pesto cream sauce.  I'll tell you though, it was well worth it. 

So, now onto Week #13 which will have a few more challenges.  I'll just take each meal and each day at a time and plan accordingly.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Broken Hip Means Fewer Calories

As you know, I have a lot of parties/functions/get togethers to go to in the month of December (as most of you probably do). There are so many that I am really worried about how it will impact the numbers on the scale. Too much food and too much wine makes for a tough time trying to lose weight. Too much gain makes for a very unhappy me.

One of the functions that I had scheduled was last Friday, December 9th. I was invited to a girlfriend's house along with 5 other fabulous ladies. It was a potluck so we were each asked to bring a dish (either an appetizer or a dessert). If it was anything like it was last year, there was going to be a lot of yummy food and a decent amount of alcohol. One good thing was that I was going to have to drive home afterwards so I would have to limit the amount of alcohol I consumed (an excellent way to save some calories).

Unfortunately, I didn't end up going to the get together at all. My father fell and broke his hip (again) and was waiting to get operated on. My Mom & Dad were supposed to be my babysitters that night.  Instead, my Mom had to spend some of the time at the hospital with my Dad and then when she finally got to my house, she was too exhausted, frustrated, stressed and mentally drained to be on her own. She didn't ask me to stay but I knew she needed the company. My Mom has been through a lot in the past 2 years and that is just what good daughters do.

So, I ended up missing the lovely evening with friends. I still brought my friend, the hostess, the spinach & artichoke dip that I made, the French loaf that I bought and the wine that I had for her. I apologized for having to miss her party but explained that I had to be with my Mom when she returned from the hospital.

As much as I was disappointed that I couldn't attend the girls' night, there was one silver lining...I didn’t consume too many calories/points on Friday night.

Well, there's one event down, a gazillion more to go.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Week 11 Results

Week 11 is officially over!

Week 11 results:

Weight loss or gain: -1 lb

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -16 lbs

Yay!!  I am extremely happy with another pound down.  I am feeling super bloated today and assumed I would step on the scale and see a gain.  Actually I weighed myself about 30 minutes ago and I am feeling even more bloated at this very minute so I bet you that if I went on that scale right now, I'd be up the pound.  Damn you time of the month!!!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the numerous eating and/or drinking functions that I am going to over the next few weeks.  I just hope the scale is good to me throughout these celebrations.  I am going to try to be good and I usually have quite a bit of will power but 2-3 functions per week is a bit much, don't you think?!  Oh well, time will tell, right?!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Parties and Potlucks and Wine, Oh My!!

I got woken up shortly before 4am by one of my darling daughters and then I couldn't get back to sleep.  I laid there for about 30 minutes and finally decided that I should just get out of bed.  It isn't even 5:30 and I have showered, put in a load of laundry, checked emails, finished packing lunches and did a few other odd little jobs around the house.

Now I am sitting here enjoying a cup of tea thinking about everything that I have coming up in December.  I have to admit, I am really nervous.  I have lost 15 pounds so far and I want to continue to lose weight but the next 3 weeks are really going to be difficult.  I'll be lucky if I just stay the same and not gain anything in the next 3 weeks.  I know that sounds very negative but look at this crazy schedule:

Thursday, December 8th - party at my children's childcare which includes a huge buffet of food (appetizers, main dishes and tonnes of desserts)

Friday, December 9th - potluck at my friends' place which will include tonnes of food and wine.  The good thing is that I will have to limit the amount of alcohol I consume because I have to drive home.

Tuesday, December 13th - office Christmas party at lunch.  I may choose not to have wine at this function but the party is being held at an Italian restaurant and the vegetarian items on our group menu are pretty high in calories.  Eeek!

Thursday, December 15th - Christmas lunch with friends from work at Milestone's.  I think there is a nice vegetarian sandwich that I can have that isn't too bad.  

Friday, December 16th - Christmas "shindig" (as my sister calls it) at her place.  Lots of food and wine.  The good thing is that I will have to limit the amount of alcohol I consume because I have to drive home.

Saturday, December 17th - dinner out at a pub with my immediate family (kids, parents,  sister).  Not sure what's on the menu but I am sure I'll be having a glass of wine to celebrate the season. 

Tuesday, December 20th - Christmas party/potluck at my office. 

Friday, December 23rd - get together at my friend's place.  If it is anything like last year, we'll end up consuming LOTS of wine and quite a bit of food.

Saturday, December 24th - Christmas Eve (as you all know) - our immediate family always has a few glasses of wine to celebrate but I think this year we are going to be careful with the food that we eat.  In previous years it was usually crappy munchy food (i.e. M&M) which is full of fat, calories and sodium.

Then there is Christmas day and then another family party a few days after Christmas....Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh.....

So, those are the dates that are already set in stone.  God only knows what else may pop up between now and Christmas.

Here are a few ways that I think may help me in not gaining weight this month:
1. Continue at the gym every week.  Increase the 2 days a week to 3 days a week (if possible).
2. On the days where I have an evening function, I will be very careful in what I eat during the day - probably just a lot of fruit and veggies.
3. On the nights where I am consuming alcohol at someone's house, I will bring some diet sprite or 7Up.  My sister introduced to me what she calls the "Cheap Man's Sangria".  It is half red wine and half Sprite or 7Up.  So, if I bring the diet stuff then I can lower the calories that I am consuming in my alcohol.  
4. Of course, the obvious is to stick to the healthier dishes like veggies and fruit at all these potlucks but I have to be serious with myself.  I am going to want to sample some of those other yummy looking appetizers.  
5. I don't think desserts are going to be too big of a problem.  At this time of year, I actually prefer the appetizers over the desserts.  Don't get me wrong, some desserts are quite tempting and I may have a sample (or two) but I don't think I will overindulge.
6. LOTS of water.  I will continue to drink LOTS of water this month to help flush out a lot of the stuff I'll be putting in my body.

If anyone else has any other suggestions to help me out this month, please feel free to comment.  

Wishing us all luck over the next few weeks!!  :) 

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Week 10 Results

I have changed my weigh-in day.  I will now be weighing in on Thursday mornings (that extra day to work off any weekend festivities makes me feel better)!!  It is all about me, right?!  :)

So, Week 10 is officially over!

Week 10 results:

Weight loss or gain: -1 lb

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -15 lbs

Woohoo!  I am very excited for that loss.  I haven't been too bad this week but I have been doing a lot of "late evening nibbling" which is not a good habit.  I haven't been going over my points/calories but it still isn't wise to nibble late in the evening.  And when I say "late", I mean about 45min-1hour before going to bed. 

I am also very happy with that number 15.  I don't know why but every 5lbs feels like a milestone.  Now getting to the next milestone of 20lbs is going to be a challenge.  I would like to do it by the end of December BUT I have way too many functions coming up that involve eating and drinking.  I am not even talking about Christmas itself - I am referring to the other 6-7 social events that I have booked.  Eeek.  That is another post for another day. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Week 9 Results

Ooops.  I forgot to post this 2 days ago.

Week 9 is officially over!

Week 9 results:

Weight Loss or Gain: -0.5 lbs

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -14 lbs

I am quite content with the 0.5lb loss.  I had a nice night on Friday night which included 3 glasses of wine (a lovely Malbec - yummy) and a higher-than-normal calorie dinner.  I didn't overindulge but I did end up having a lot of points that day.  Actually, if I recall correctly, I think I had almost double my daily points that day.  Oh well, it was worth it.

This is the thing.  I want this weight loss to be as pain free as possible.  So far I don't feel like I have had to make too many changes to my diet or make too many sacrifices.  I still want to be able to go out and enjoy myself.  I just can't do it every night! 

So, I'll take that 0.5lb loss.  Thank you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week 8 Results

Week 8 is officially over!

Week 8 results:

Weight Loss or Gain: -2.5 lbs

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -13.5 lbs

YAY!!  I am super excited.  I was hoping that I would lose last week's gain and then some and I did. I know why I gained last week and I know I got back on track this week.  I went to the gym twice for some low impact cardio and I was careful with what I ate.  I did have the odd treat but that is okay too.  This weight loss regime is not about starving myself or depriving myself, it is about learning to eat in moderation and watching my portions and increasing my protein while reducing my carbs.  

I'm a happy girl!  :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mommy, is this your size?

One of the things that I am NOT going to teach my children is to be obsessed with their weight and be unhappy with their body image.  I spent most of my teenage and adult years worrying about what I looked like and what weight I was (sadly, I look back at those photos now and wonder why I was so concerned because I was a pretty healthy weight in my teen years).  I don't want my children to grow up concerned about this.

Besides making sure they have a healthy body image, I don't want them to hear me discuss my weight and/or trying to lose weight.  They see me choose healthy options when it comes to eating and they hear me discuss going to the gym at work but they won't hear me discuss trying to lose weight. 

So, the other day, I brought my girls to the mall with me to do a bit of shopping.  I was at one of my favourite clothing stores and I was looking through a rack of tops.  I was in the XL section checking out their selection (which was pretty dismal).  One of my girls (5-years old) was looking through the XS section and quite loudly said "Mommy, is this your size"?  I would have loved to respond with "oh god, how Mommy wishes to be that size" but instead I just said "no, honey, Mommy is actually this size over here".  She then proceeded to come over to my section and help me choose a shirt.

I was sort of laughing on the inside about that comment and the woman beside me in the XL section had a smirk on her face too.  

Oh, the things kids say!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Week 7 Results

Week 7 is officially over!

Week 7 results:

Weight Loss or Gain: +1.5 lbs

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -11 lbs

Oh frig!!  That is my first gain in 7 weeks.  While I am not proud of it, I can understand why:
1. I have had wine 4 evenings this week (heehee - oops).
2. I am bloated like you wouldn't believe.  I even woke up at around 2am and felt like I had put on 5 pounds.  That lovely time of the month is coming soon.  Blech.
3. I had Halloween candy on Halloween night and a few times this week.  Even though I tracked it, I still don't think it did me any favours.
4. I have been back at the gym for the past 1.5 weeks.  I am not working out like mad but perhaps I have gained a teeny bit of muscle all ready.

Anyway, it sucks to see a gain but I hope I can pull a decent numbered loss next week.

Back to it!!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

French Fries & Potato Chips for Dinner

If someone told you that they ate french fries and potato chips for dinner AND they were overweight, you would probably think to yourself "well, no wonder you are overweight if you eat stuff like that for dinner".  

The truth of the matter is, I actually don't eat french fries or potato chips very often.  I never buy french fries to make at home so the only time I eat them is at a restaurant and even then, I don't choose them as a side dish all the time.  The majority of the time I choose a side salad.  I would guess that I probably eat french fries about 3-4 times per year.  As for potato chips, it is probably even less.  I don't buy them.  I actually don't even like them that much.  If I was given a choice between chips, pretzels or popcorn, the latter two would win every time.  This isn't to say that I don't ever eat them.  I may nibble on some at a party or get together if there is a bowl sitting out.  They are definitely a treat.  I would guess that I probably eat chips about 2 times per year.

So, why this post?  Well, I did eat french fries and potato chips last night for dinner.  Actually, the french fries was part of the main meal but the potato chips were just a last minute decision because I wanted try out a recipe that I saw a long time ago.

Let's start with the first recipe:

Homemade French Fries

3 regular size white potatoes, peeled & washed
1 tsp olive oil (or whatever oil you have on hand but I only have olive oil)
Salt and pepper to season
Any other seasoning that you want (cayenne, garlic etc).

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into french fry size.  Put them in a bowl of water for 15 minutes (this helps get rid of some of the starch and will help them cook better).  Then drain the bowl and lay the potatoes out on a paper towel.  Pat them to dry.  Put them back into the bowl (that you have dried of all the remaining water).  Add the oil and as much salt and/or pepper as you want.  Toss it all together.  Lay them out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes, flipping them often.  Some of the smaller pieces may burn if in for the whole time so each time I flipped them, I took those ones out and let my kiddies and I sample them.

There you have it.  Low fat, homemade french fries.  My girls and I really enjoyed them.  Besides tasting like a little treat, I was happy knowing that my girls and I were eating homemade french fries that didn't need to be deep fried in order to taste good.

Now onto the next recipe, the potato chips.  The only reason I even made these is because I was eyeing this recipe on a website that I frequent for years.  I had never tried them so I figured that seeing as I was already washing the potatoes and cutting them, I would try this recipe too.  Let's just think of it as an appetizer.

Healthy Potato Chips  

Instead of posting the recipe, easiest thing would be for you to read this blog entry on one of my favourite recipe sites:  Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
If you scroll down a bit, you will see the recipe for the potato chips.  I used just one potato so my girls and I could try it out.  They were quite tasty.  Next time I will use more salt but they were pretty good.  I would definitely make them again.

Now, I should mention that the french fries and potato chips weren't the only items on the menu.  We also had some veggies and meat as well (well, I had a vegetarian protein)!!!

So, if you are having a craving for a salty carb but a healthy one too, try one of the recipes above.  They hit the spot!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Week 6 Results

Week 6 is officially over!

Week 6 results:

Weight Loss or Gain: -1.5 lbs

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -12.5 lbs

I was really scared to get on the scale this morning.  If you read last night's blog post, you would know that I didn't have a great week last week.  I treated myself more than I would usually treat myself.  Blame it on birthday celebrations (not mine; my kiddies) and Halloween. 

Even though I tried to track all of those extra treats, I was still pretty certain that I would gain this week (or, at least stay the same).

I did go to the gym yesterday (I'll blog about that another day) but seeing as it was my first day back in over a year and a half, I took it easy.  I only walked on the treadmill for 12 minutes and then went on the stationary bike for 15 minutes.  Maybe the few calories I burned helped me out a little. 

In any case, I am chuffed!!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Challenge # 4 - Halloween & Kids' Birthday Celebrations

I have been having a difficult time staying within my points this week which makes me very nervous to step on the scale tomorrow morning.

My children celebrated their birthday last Thursday so between numerous celebrations for them and Halloween (yesterday), there have been many temptations in our house and in our lives lately!!  Where to start?

1. Thursday night we took the kiddies out to celebrate their birthday.  We let them choose the location and they chose a restaurant that doesn't offer many low calorie or low point items.  I have already posted about this restaurant in the past (see my "OMG, the veggie burger is how much" post) and while their menu looks like they have some healthier options, the nutritional info on their website says otherwise.  I was a bit worried about going again so I studied their website and tried to find a few other options besides the high fat veggie burger.  I came up with two options which would have kept me within my points for the day.  Unfortunately, what I didn't realize was that the specific restaurant they chose is one a "tester" restaurant.  It is one of their restaurants where they test out new menu items.  The options I chose weren't even on their menu.  Quite a few new items were though.  They even had a section with menu items that were fewer then 600 calories.  Sounds good BUT there was not other nutritional info (i.e. fat, fibre, protein etc).  In the end I ordered from the "less than 600 calories" section.  It was a 1/2 portion of pasta with a tonne of veggies and a salad on the side.  The meal wasn't anything special but it filled me up and I *think* I stayed within my points.

2. There were numerous other birthday celebrations which included some tasty little cupcakes.  Everyone around me (adults and kids) said they were delicious.  I ended up giving in and having half of one.  Was it worth the points?  I don't think so.  

3. Halloween.  Need I say more?  Even if you don't like chocolate or have a sweet tooth, those little tiny bite size chocolates are very tempting.  I think I ended up having about 5 or 6.  Oops!!

So, wish me luck tomorrow morning.  I would love to lose a pound (or two) but I would be very happy if I just stayed the same and didn't gain anything!  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week 5 Results

Week 5 is officially over!

Week 5 results:

Weight Loss or Gain: -1.5 lbs

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -11 lbs

Woohoo!!  I am quite excited about this week's loss for a few reasons:

1. One of my sister's colleagues and I had a friendly challenge (no money involved) to see if we could lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.  That challenge is done!
2. I was tempted on numerous occasions to go over my calorie intake for the day.  Besides the wine that I already mentioned in a previous post, I was also sent home yesterday with a batch of homemade double chocolate chip cookies.  A colleague at work and I had a small mishap in our work kitchen and she felt the need to apologize by baking me cookies. If you are wondering, the mishap was that her freshly poured coffee was accidentally poured all over me, coffee grinds and all.  It wasn't boiling hot so it didn't burn me (thank god because it was on my entire forearm) but it was all over my sweater (white & grey) so there was the chance of it being stained.  In any case, the stains came out with a friend's "Tide to Go" stick and all was fine.  However, she still felt the need to apologize by giving me a batch of cookies.  I had 1 last night, my children each had one and the rest are in the freezer!

So, all in all, I am very pleased with Week 5's results!!  Yippee.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oh wine, how I love thee!

I love wine, yes I do.  While starting this new venture, I decided to cut back my consumption.  It's not that I was having a bottle every night and getting drunk or anything.  I was in the habit though of having one glass every few nights.  It was very relaxing once the kids were in bed and the dishes were done and lunches for the next day were made to sit down and have a nice, glass of wine (just one though).

I decided to cut that habit out because of the unnecessary calories that came with consuming wine on a regular basis.  

Don't get me wrong - I haven't cut it out completely.  Hell no.  What would life be like without a nice glass of wine on occasion?  I have just cut down the frequency.

I have been able to incorporate a glass here and there during the past 4 weeks.  There have been a few celebrations (my birthday and Thanksgiving) and they all required a glass or two of wine.  

Last night was a bit tricky for me though.  My friend came over for a visit and she enjoys wine just as much as I do.

So, I needed to plan for this.  I first had to figure out (for absolute certain because before I just guessed) how many points were in each glass of wine I consume.  I took out a measuring cup and poured 1 cup (8oz) of water into a wine glass.  Did you know that 8oz of wine = 8 points.  8oz doesn't even completely fill one of my wine glasses.  Eeeek!!  

So, I had to be completely honest with myself and to my food tracker.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to stop at just one glass.  My friend and I were going to watch a movie (at my house) and we also liked to sit around and chat beforehand.  I knew I would have at least two.

Two glasses of wine = 16 points.  Holy heck - I only get 29 points per day (and an extra 5 if I want or need it).

Luckily I didn't eat a lot yesterday.  I only had a late breakfast then I got so busy with the girls all day that I didn't sit down to eat again until 5:30pm.  I made myself a lighter dinner (light on calories and light on points) so I could save for my wine (high on calories and high on points).

You know what, it worked.  I didn't feel hungry (meaning, I didn't starve myself) AND I got to enjoy two decent size glasses of wine over the course of the evening.

So, as long as I don't go overboard and drink TOO much in one evening, I can still enjoy a glass (or two) of wine on occasion.  

There is a Wine and Food Festival coming here in a couple of weeks and, as much as I love going there, I am kind of relieved that my schedule with my children doesn't allow me to this year.  I would probably drink a few days worth of points in one evening!!  I can figure that all out next year when the Wine and Food Festival returns!!  Maybe by then I'll have reached my goal and I can be a bit more flexible with my "party nights"!!  And, if you haven't been, it is quite the party night!!      

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When life gives you lemons.....

.........make better tasting water. 

For the past few years, I have been part of a water club at work.  It was a pretty sweet deal - $10 for 2 months of unlimited bottled water.  For various reasons, they had to discontinue the water club and those of us in the water club were all left wondering how we were going to quench our thirst and get our daily intake of water without breaking the bank.  Buying small bottles of water on a daily basis would get very expensive AND it would not be good for the environment.

The answer may be obvious to some.  You may be thinking, "just do what most people do and drink out of the tap, right"?!

Well, the problem with that is, I am a bit of a water snob.  I don't like tap water.  Actually, I don't like city tap water.  Not at all.  I think I was spoiled because, as a child, my parents lived in the country where the water that ran from the tap tasted like fresh, cold spring water.  Really, it did.  I think that is where my love for water began.

Then in 1996 I began working on cruise ships and the quality of the water in the taps was very poor so we were told to buy bottled water to drink.  I continued to drink bottled water for the next 7 years that I worked on ships and then that habit just continued once I returned to land for good.  

I have tried city tap water since returning to land but I just can't get past the taste.  I can't explain it but I don't like it.  

So, what was I to do with this situation I found myself in at work? 

For those of you who don't drink a lot of water, this may not seem like an issue.  For me, it was a huge issue.  The thing is - I LOVE water.  I do.  It is my drink of choice.  If you offer me the choice between a glass of milk, juice, pop or water, I will choose water probably 99.9% of the time.  Of course, if you offer me a glass of wine, I may choose that but I was talking about non-alcoholic beverages.  Not only do I prefer water but I drink it a lot.  It is not a chore for me to get the recommended amount into me.  I drink so much that I have even wondered if I was drinking too much (is that even possible)?  

So, back to my work situation.  After going a few days with only having one glass (at the most) of that unbearable tasting water from the fountain, I had to come up with a solution fast.  I was craving my water and I wasn't getting anywhere near the recommended daily amount.  

That night, while I was getting some fruit out of the fridge, I came across two little lemons that had been buried at the bottom of the crisper.  I thought to myself that this may be the solution.  This would hopefully make my fountain water at work bearable.

The next day I brought in one of the lemons, cut up a few slices and added it to my glass of water.  Well, not only was it WAY more bearable, it was absolutely delicious.  I have always liked lemon with water but I never thought to bring some to work.

Who would have thought that such a simple, little citrus fruit could make me so happy?  I am back to drinking my regular amount of water and I feel so much better.

Oh, and one last little added bonus, did you know that lemons have some great health benefits too?  It is a win-win situation!

So, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade (or at least some better tasting water)!  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week 4 Results

Week 4 is officially over!

Week 4 results:

Weight Loss or Gain: -2.5lbs

Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -9.5lbs

Am I happy?  You better freakin' believe it!!  I actually may have lost 3 pounds this week but I don't want to get too excited so I put 2.5.  Let me explain.

I always weigh in on a Wednesday morning before my shower.  This morning, I decided to step on the scale before taking the dog out for a walk.  I was down 2.5lbs.  Woohoo!!  I was so excited.  Then I took the dog for a walk.  Not too long of a walk, just about 20 minutes. 

I got back home and decided to jump back on the scale before getting in the shower.  I am not exactly sure why I did it but it may be because I actually didn't believe the 2.5lb loss.  I actually thought it would be much less (maybe a 1lb or 0.5lb loss).  So, much to my surprise, the scale showed a 3lb loss instead.  What?  Did that 20 minute walk just shave another 0.5lb off of me?  Probably not.

I decided that I would be best to put down that I lost 2.5lbs as that is more realistic then 3lbs, isn't it?

Either way, I am stoked!!  :) 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Copycat & A Shout Out

This will be a fairly short post.  I just wanted to publicly (you know, because I have TONNES of readers) thank my friend (LG) at work.  This morning we were talking about Fall jackets and I was complaining that I couldn't button mine up around my huge belly and that I was going to have to go and buy a new jacket for Fall.  I also wanted to buy one that was warmer because the one I have been wearing is getting a little cool in the mornings. 

She showed me the jacket she had just bought and the style was perfect for my body frame (especially the larger belly).  It also had a liner on the inside which would keep me nice and warm for those mornings at the bus stop when it is 5 degrees.  Brrr.  Oh, and it also had a hood - something that was lacking in my current jacket.  On those days where it is just raining lightly, it would be easier pulling the hood up then to yank out my umbrella!!

I told her how much I liked the jacket and semi-jokingly, I said "I may have to go out and buy one".  The kind individual that she is, she told me that if I did it wouldn't matter.  She would be okay with it.

Well, guess what I did last night?  Yup, you guessed it.  I was a complete copycat.  I was out shopping last night for a few things and I popped into the store that she got her jacket at and bought one.  The size was perfect, the price was right and it zipped up over my freakin' belly.

So, I would like to give a shout out to LG at work!!  Thank you for letting me buy the same jacket you have.  I am sorry but I really had to.  It was very necessary!  

Now I will go to work tomorrow morning with a nice, new jacket that I can zip up all the way (instead of only buttoning up the top two buttons) and I'll be perfectly warm at the bus stop too.  Thanks!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Belly, belly go away....

This afternoon, while the girls were happily chanting the song "Rain, rain, go away", I was singing (in my head) "Belly, belly go away" but NOT to come back another day.

This damn belly of mine is getting in the way and I am not happy with it at all.

When I was younger (teenage years & my 20's) and I was unhappy with my weight I was still blessed with a rather flat tummy.  My friends even commented on it.  I wouldn't wear tummy shirts and show off my tummy or anything but it was still relatively flat.  I still remember when body suits were in style (in my 20's) and I would wear jeans and a bodysuit to show off my flat tummy.  Well, not these days!!!

I am now cursed with a rather large belly.  I think it must have something to do with carrying two babies (at the same time).  I managed to actually lose a lot of weight while off for a year on maternity leave and I ended up being smaller then I was pre-pregnancy.  Unfortunately though, in the past 4 years, I have put on 50 pounds.  Sadly, a lot of it, has gone to my belly.  I think it is because that area of my body was so stretched out from being pregnant that it was a perfect area for all the extra fat to go.  

While I know that this is the worst area to gain weight (so my doctor has reminded me), it is also a very uncomfortable area to gain weight too.  Actually, it is rather embarrassing sometimes.

Let me give you some examples: 
1. Today my girls and I decided to go outside in the driveway to play jump rope.  I had to move my car onto the street so they could have more room.  When I was done moving the car, I put the keys into my pocket.  A short while later, while squatting down to help one of my girls fix something, my car started beeping at me.  Yup, you heard it - my car beeped at me.  Every time I leaned over to help her, my car would beep.  My stupid belly fat kept rolling onto my car keys and hitting the "door lock" button on the key chain so the car would then in turn beep saying "yup, thanks for that, I am locked now"....over and over and over again!!  Great party trick that is, eh?!
2. Awhile ago while I was getting my children dressed and ready for school, I decided that they were done needing my help and I would go and get myself changed and ready.  It was a Friday which meant I could wear jeans to work.  I managed to get my jeans and bra on before one of them yelled from the bathroom.  I don't remember what the problem was (it wasn't an emergency I can assure you that) but it meant that I was in the bathroom, in front of the huge ass mirror in only a bra and jeans.  I had to bend over for whatever reason and, well, sadly, while in a fitting pair of jeans, some of my belly fat decided to roll over my jeans.  Not pretty.  What was more embarrassing was my daughter, pointing to the roll saying "Mommy, what is that"?  I still don't recall what I told her but I do remember thinking to myself "I hope she never has to learn first hand what this actually is".
3. Back to today.  After dinner, the girls and I were about to go for our evening walk around the block.  We have started doing this a few nights a week which we all really enjoy.  Anyway, we were standing in front of the full-length mirror in the entrance and one of my daughters started showing me how she jumps skip rope, minus the skip rope of course.  She then asked me to try.  Well, I did.  Thank god I was fully clothed and wearing a jacket because it was not pretty what my belly was doing when I was jumping up and down.  

I could give you more examples but they are all rather embarrassing.  Add to the fact that I can't zip or button up a lot of my jackets around my belly anymore.  It sucks and is just one more reason why I need to lose this weight.  As soon as possible.  

Belly, belly, go away.  Don't come back another day!
Belly, belly, go away.  Don't come back another day!  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A bite here, a bite there.....

For those of you who are parents, you are going to probably relate to my other problem.  Well, I wouldn't call it a problem - it is more like another contributor to my weight gain over recent years.

Nibbling on my children's food. 

I'll give you an example.  Today I took my girls out to a restaurant for breakfast after they had their swimming lesson.  I was good and I ordered a dry English Muffin (no butter) and two VERY hard boiled eggs.  The girls each had an order of french toast and some fresh fruit.  I finished my breakfast and felt satisfied with what I ate.  Then the girls claimed that they were done and didn't want anymore.  So, what did I do?  Before the waitress came over to take the plates, I sat there picking at their french toast and syrup.  To be fair, I only had about 6-8 bites but still, it is still 6-8 bites more than I needed.

This is a habit that I think is going to be hard to break.  I know it isn't horribly, unhealthy food (i.e. french fries, chips etc) but still, it is extra calories that I really don't need.  I don't need a few bites of whatever is left on their plate.

For those of you who are parents, do you do this?  If so, do you know why we do this?  

For me, I wonder if it is because I was raised in a house where I was told to eat everything that was put on my plate.  I think it is a generation thing because a lot of my friends tell me their parents were the same.  I have read that children actually know when they are full and satisfied so, at a very young age, I decided not to make my children eat everything on their plate.  If they feel full and they tell me they have had enough, I believe them.  I don't make them stuff anymore in.  Instead, I take the plate away but then what do I do?  I go and take a few bites before turfing the rest in the garbage.

There, I admit it, I am a "pick at my children's plate when they are done" addict.  Now that I have admitted it and come out of the closet, maybe I can do something about it.  Maybe the next time I see food left on their plate and I am bringing it to the kitchen, I'll remember this entry in my blog.  Then maybe I will go directly to the garbage and not let any of it make its' way into my mouth!

Aw, crap, I am making homemade macaroni and cheese tonight.  My girls love it but there is always some left in their bowl because they ask for seconds but don't ever finish their seconds.  Perhaps tonight I'll make their second helping just enough for a bite or two so they'll eat it!!  There's an idea!    

BTW, I should note that every single day when I fill out my spreadsheet on how many points/calories I have eaten, there is always a little entry that says "nibbles on girls' food".  I usually calculate it as 2-4 points.  At least I am actually counting it instead of forgetting about it.      

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Thoughts on "The Biggest Loser"

I have never watched an entire season of "The Biggest Loser" but I have caught snippets of episodes over the years.  Last season I saw the final show where they showed how much everyone lost from the beginning of the season until the end.  It was pretty awesome.  I didn't know any of the contestants but some of their stories were very inspirational.    

Since starting this new journey (losing 40lbs by 40), I decided to PVR this season to see what it is all about.  I know the show isn't completely realistic.  We don't all have a personal trainer who kicks our asses on a daily basis.  We don't all own a private gym or an Olympic size swimming pool and I am sure most of us do not (can not) work out 6-8 hours per day.  This I know.  What is real though is that these are individuals with real problems and real lives and that have huge weight issues.

The episode I am currently watching is making me cry.  One of the teams won a challenge and the prize was to be able to chat via video with their family.  Most of them have children which is why it is hitting so close to home for me.

There are many reasons why I want to lose weight (hmmm....maybe I should start a new post on ALL the reasons why) but one of the main reasons is my children.  I want to be a good role model for them.  I want them to see Mommy as a healthy adult who makes good choices in life.  I am a firm believer in leading by example which is why my girls have rarely seen me eat something that is considered unhealthy.  They have actually even seen me complete a 5K run (in October 2009 - another topic for another day).  I still remember for months afterwards, whenever they would see someone running they would say "Mommy, that person is running just like you" or "Mommy, when we grow up, can we run with you"?  I felt so proud.  I want them to say these things to me again.  I want them to run like me and run with me when they get bigger. 

{BTW, for what it's worth - I know I haven't told anyone how much I weigh (yet) but I will say that I do weigh less then all of the contestants that are on there.  I am not saying this as a "pat on the back" or "good for me", I am just stating a fact in case you were wondering!!}  

So, regardless of whether I can completely relate to all of the contestants, I can relate to how they feel about their families, specifically their children.  Just like the contestants, I want to lose weight and be healthier for my children.  I want to be a good role model and I want to live a VERY long life so I can see them grow up.  To me, this is one of the main reasons, as a parent, to lose weight, exercise and be healthy.  I love my children more than anything and I would do anything for them.  They deserve to have a Mommy who does everything she can to lose weight, have more energy, and be a good role model.  I owe it to them.

I haven't set my sights on another 5k just yet but when I do, I know they'll be out there cheering me on at the finish line.   And down the road, I am sure the 3 of us will be finishing a race together!  I look forward to it.    


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week 3 Results

Week 3 is officially over!  

Week 3 results:
Weight Loss or Gain: -1.5
Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -7

I have to say, I am quite excited about that number for a few reasons:
Reason #1: A loss is a loss, right?
Reason #2: A 1.5 loss on week 3 is higher then I would have expected.  I usually lose more for Week 1 & 2 and then Week 3 I either stay the same or sometimes gain.
Reason #3: That lovely female yucky visitor is coming soon which makes me bloat and feel 10 pounds heavier.  I just assumed that heavy feeling would show up on the scale today.  Glad it didn't.
Reason #4: Thanksgiving dinner was only a few days ago where I stuffed myself with delicious Tofurky, mashed potatoes and veggies smothered in gravy.  I had a relatively healthy dessert which I will chat about in another post.  I also consumed 3 delicious glasses of wine over the course of the evening.
Reason #5: Mint Girl Guide Cookies.  Even though I said I don't have much of a sweet tooth, my children are selling those nasty little temptations for the first time.  Being the supportive Mommy that I am, I bought a box.  Those damn things were calling my names on a few separate occasions this week.  

Anyway, even with all those reasons I just listed, I tracked all my points (even those damn, little minty temptations) and I actually stayed in my target point range every single day!!

Lordy, Lordy is a very happy girl this week!!

BTW, if you are wondering how many points are in the Mint Girl Guide cookies, it is 3 points for 2 cookies. 

Friday, October 07, 2011's "Tofurky" time in Canada!!

It is Thanksgiving weekend this weekend in Canada!! 

For most of you, Thanksgiving dinner is the time to fill your little bellies with turkey and stuffing and all the fixin's! 

For me (and a few other lovely people I know), Thanksgiving means Tofurky!!  I guess we can eat it at other times of year as well but it is mandatory for us to have on Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinner.

I was introduced to Tofurky about 8 years ago by a friend.  I was telling her that I just didn't understand all the hype about Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  For years (alright, decades) people around me would talk about their holiday meal and it was almost as if their eyes would light up.  I just didn't get it. 

Besides being a vegetarian for 20+ years, I am also allergic to poultry.  My family discovered this allergy when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  That meant, at a very young age, I was no longer allowed to have turkey, turkey gravy or the delicious turkey dressing that everyone else around me was having.  Apparently, my Mom makes the best dressing/stuffing!! 

So, from the age of 7 or 8 and until I was vegetarian, my Mom would usually make a small ham so I could have some of that.  It really wasn't the same.  Then, after becoming vegetarian in my teens, my holiday meal was usually a pasta dish or some other vegetarian dish that didn't take too long to prepare.  At the end of the meal, I just didn't seem as satisfied as the other dinner guests.  I didn't get the same pleasure out of the meal as everyone else did.

That eventually all changed.  Fastforward to 2003 when I cooked my first ever Tofurky.  I can't recall if it was Thanksgiving or Christmas but that really doesn't matter.  What does matter is my meal.  OH MY GOD - my meal.  I finally got it.  I finally got what all the fuss was about.  Here I was with a full plate of food that looked just like everyone elses.  I had a slice of tofurky, some vegetarian tofurky dressing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and vegetarian gravy.  I ate every last bite and sat there with a silly grin on my face.  I finally understood it.  I don't know how to describe it but I guess I don't have to.  You all understand.  Whether it be turkey or Tofurky, a holiday meal surrounded by people that you love, is just a wonderful feeling!!

If you want to find out more about the amazing Tofurky products, you can check them out here: Tofurky ProductsThey have a lot of other products besides a Tofurky roast.  

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my Canadian friends and family.  I hope you have a lovely weekend surrounded by loved ones.  

For those in Ottawa, get your butts outdoors.  It is supposed to be a beautiful Fall weekend!  

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Week 2 Results

Week 2 is officially over! 

Week 2 results:
Weight Loss or Gain: -1.5
Total Weight Loss (since beginning): -5.5

While I am not overly excited about the loss and I really wish it was more (like 10lbs...hahaha), I have to be realistic.  I can't lose big numbers every week.  I also have to remind myself that there will be weeks where I won't lose any and I may even gain a pound (or two).  I just have to look at the BIG picture.  Please, to all of you who read this, remind me of this when I have a bad week or even a few bad weeks.  I must look at the big picture!! 

Monday, October 03, 2011

Poopy Soupy

Even though I don't eat particularly unhealthy, I am wise enough to know that I can always make some small improvements in my diet. One of these improvements would be to add more variety in what I eat on a weekly basis.  In the past, I have been successful in my weight loss when I have attempted to keep things interesting by trying out new recipes.

So, in my efforts to try to add more variety to my meals and to try to make more homemade meals, I decided to try another new soup recipe over the weekend. It was a potato soup recipe that I have been eyeing for awhile on a blog that I follow. When I say "follow", unfortunately that doesn't mean that I have actually tried any of the recipes (yet). I have been reading the blog for a couple of years now and have printed off numerous recipes that I want to try. They are all low-fat (or fat-free) and vegetarian (actually they are vegan but I wouldn't need to make them all completely vegan). I promise I will share this blog with you another day but I really don’t want my first link to her site to be in a blog entry entitled "Poopy Soupy".

So, as I said, I decided to try making another soup yesterday. It was a potato soup recipe and it had very few ingredients so I figured, "what the heck", it won't take me long and the kiddies are happily playing with their toys in their playroom. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish which may sound long but that included peeling the potatoes, waiting for them to boil (20 minutes) then waiting for them to simmer with the broth and spices (15 minutes) etc. It wasn't as if I was standing there in the kitchen for 45 minutes.

So, at the point where the soup was simmering, I noticed an odd smell when I lifted the lid of the pot. I thought to myself that it must be something about the mixture of the spices and that it would go away once the soup was mixed together in the blender. Once the soup was completely done, I poured myself a bowl to try. Before the soup even entered my mouth, that pungent smell hit me again. There is no other way of describing it other than saying that it smelt like manure. Really, it did (to me at least). The kids didn't notice it (thank god) but I sure did. I struggled trying to eat the entire bowl but besides the smell of manure, it still tasted good. I guess I convinced myself that since there wasn't actually manure in it, then it was fine!!

I still wanted to find out what the smell was. I made my way back to the kitchen and sniffed the rosemary. It smelt fine. Then I sniffed the container with the vegetable broth. It smelt fine. Then I sniffed the white pepper. OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! It absolutely reeked. Manure is still the only way I can describe the smell. Why the heck does my white pepper smell like manure? There was no time for me to do anymore investigating as we were heading out shortly to run errands so I decided I would just come back to it later.

Later that evening I decided to search Google for the answer because I couldn't figure it out. Well, wouldn't you know it, I am not the only person in this world who finds that white pepper smells like manure. There were posts and threads and other discussions about it. I will admit that I am probably in a very teeny minority who thinks this but at least I am not alone.

Now I need to figure out what to do with my leftover Poopy Soupy!!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

OMG!! The vegetable burger is how much?

So tonight we were at Kelsey's for dinner.  It is not my favourite restaurant in the world but the kids like it and there are some relatively healthier options on their menu (or so I thought there would be).

It wasn't a definite that we were going out to dinner so I hadn't saved myself a tonne of points/calories for a huge, high calorie/high fat meal.  I really should have planned in advance just in case.

I decide on the way there that I'll just get a salad with a glass of water with lemon (as opposed to a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage).  When we got there and I checked out the salad options on their menu, I was definitely disappointed.  There were only 4 salads to choose from and even their garden salad sounded awful (who puts raisins in a garden salad)?!  I wish restaurants would just have a regular garden salad chock full of all veggies imaginable.  You know, like the one you would make at home - lettuce, celery, cucumbers, carrots, peppers etc.  So, I opted for the vegetable burger with a salad on the side.  I figured that it couldn't be too high in points/calories, could it? 

WRONG!!  Bad choice!

I enjoyed the burger and the salad and stayed away from the desserts.  I don't usually have desserts at restaurants anyways but sometimes it is tempting!  When I got home, I decided to check out the nutritional info of the vegetable burger on the Kelsey's website and then plugged the info (fat, carbs, protein & fibre) into the Weight Watchers calculator: 22 points.  OMG, 22?  That is almost all of my daily points/calories.  Are you freakin' serious?  Here I was thinking that I was choosing a "healthier option" and the thing turns out to be loaded in tonnes of fat (I can't remember how many grams but I think it was over 30).  Frig. 

I definitely see trips to Kelsey's in the future because the kiddies like it.  I'll just have to check out what other vegetarian options they have and go from there.

Oh, and by the way, if you are wondering why I keep referring to points/calories it is because a lot of you may not know what the point system is all about.  The points are calculated taking into consideration the fat, carbs, protein and fibre.  Even though they don't calculate the actual calories, I believe the allotted points a person is given in a day is the equivalent of the amount of calories a person should consume in a day.  Not to say that I am supposed to have 29 calories a day but 29 points is probably the equivalent of how many calories I should eat (based on weight and age).  

Good night.  

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

From Wikipedia: "Elephant in the room" is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed.  The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.

I find this expression quite appropriate when it comes to describing how I feel a lot of the time when I am in social situations (specifically the second sentence in the Wikipedia description above).  I have actually felt this way a lot over the past couple of decades in various situations.  

I am not saying that I am an actual problem that others do not want to discuss and I am not saying that I actually look like an elephant but seeing as the elephant is one of the larger land mammals, I feel like I can relate.

Let me explain.

I have always had a very poor opinion of myself and my weight.  I have been like this most of my life starting in my teen years.  I have also always compared myself to others around me.  Don't ask me why but I have.  To give you an example, when I am in a room with strangers, I usually look around the room and realize that I am one of (if not THE) biggest person in the room.  I still do it to this day.  When take public transportation to work, I look around and think to myself "OMG, I am the biggest person on this bus" (sometimes I am not THE biggest but I am one of the biggest).  If I am in a bar or restaurant, I notice it too.  If I am at a big social gathering (i.e. wedding, shower etc) I look around and notice the exact same thing.  And now that I have put on so much weight in the past few years, I have realized that at work, I am the biggest employee in my department.    

You know what?  This feeling SUCKS.  It absolutely sucks.  I don't need to be the smallest or the prettiest but I really just want to be an average size again.  I have been average-sized before and I want to be average-sized again.  That really isn't too much to ask for, is it?

For those of you who are already reading my blog (I did send it to a few select people), I did warn you that this blog was going to be honest and very personal.  Next time you are with me in a large group setting and you see me looking around the room when we first get there then you will probably know what I am doing.  Don't worry, I won't do it the entire time we are there.  It usually just takes me a few seconds to quickly scan the room.  Hopefully in the not so distant future though when you are with me, and I look around the room, I will get a little smile or smirk on my face!  Then you can be pretty certain that I have determined that I am not THE biggest or even one of the biggest in that room.  At that point, "average-sized me" will have arrived!!  

Here is looking forward to average-sized me!  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 1 Results

The first week of my weight loss journey is now over.  Did I find it hard?  Well, it had a few challenges (as you may have read) but I didn't find it too hard.  

First Week 1 Results: Down 4 pounds

Should I celebrate?  While I am happy with the results, I don't see a need to celebrate.  In the past, I have been able to fluctuate 5-6 pounds in a week (and often) so, while this 4 pound loss is lovely, I won't be celebrating just yet.

My next step in this journey is to sign up for the gym at my work.  I was a member at the gym 2 years ago and I really enjoyed it.  The treadmill in that gym is where I completed my Couch to 5K (C25K) program.  I also took part in a few 5k organized runs (i.e. Breast Cancer Run, Santa Shuffle) after learning how to run on the treadmill.  Anyway, I ended up cancelling my membership after about 6 months when they increased the prices and no longer accepted monthly installments.  The price got a bit too high for me in my current financial situation.  It still is a bit high but I decided that I was worth the $300 every 6 months and my health, overall well being and mental state deserved it!

Now if I can just remember to bring my cheque book to work to pay for this.  I am starting in October so it looks like next week I'll be back to lugging my towels and gym clothes back and forth on the bus.  Fun times!