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!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Challenge # 3 & A Fantastic Recipe

Seriously?  Week # 1 and I am already on to Challenge # 3?  Yup, you got it.  I am just a sucker for punishment - maybe I shouldn't have started this weight loss journey the day of my birthday.  Didn't I know that there would be celebrating?  

So, tonight was my birthday dinner with my family.  I call this Challenge # 3 because my Mom makes some awesome vegetarian dishes for me but, unfortunately, a lot of it is not very low in points (i.e. hashbrown casserole, broccoli/cauliflower/cheese dish etc).  Being the supportive Mom that she is, she asked me in advance what I wanted to eat for my birthday dinner.  It didn't take me long to decide on an old Weight Watchers' recipe that I had, eggplant parmesan.  She has made it a few times too and we all love it (except one of my children who I call "Miss Picky Pants" but that is another story for another day).  In addition to making me dinner, my Mom wanted to get a cake.  I politely told her that it was not necessary because I didn't need it (no one else really did either) and I would be fine with sticking a candle in my eggplant parmesan if they needed sing me "Happy Birthday"!

Luckily Challenge # 3 wasn't too difficult of a challenge, phew!  My sister did bring wine but I had figured that she would so I made sure to save a few extra points in the day for the glass of wine.  It was my birthday celebration so I think I deserved it.

Now, on to the recipe that I mentioned in the title.  I am sure you would have guessed that it would be the "Eggplant Parmesan" that I had for my birthday dinner.  That would be a very good guess but it is actually the wrong one (sorry).  I will share that recipe on another day when I have it in front of me and I can locate the nutritional information.  I wanted to share a completely different recipe with you instead because it is one that I decided to try today.  

I have been drooling over healthy soup recipes for a few years now and I had never made one, up until today.  A week or so ago, I found a delicious looking recipe for "Cream of Broccoli" soup that was low in fat, high in protein & fibre and low in points (bonus).  Seeing as broccoli was on sale for $0.99 at my local Farm Boy I decided now was the perfect time considering the recipe calls for 10 cups of broccoli!!  Here is the recipe:    

Cream of Broccoli Soup

10 cups of broccoli
1 medium spanish onion, chopped
1.5 tbsp margarine
2 cartons of vegetable (or beef) broth
2 cans of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee onions and margarine in a pot until golden.
Add broccoli and broth and bring to a boil.
Cook until broccoli is tender.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Add white kidney beans and cook until beans are warm.
Fill blender until about 1/2 full and mix on low.
Blend whole pot.
Freezes great.

Nutritional Info (per 1 cup serving):
Protein = 5gr
Carb = 10 gr
Fibre = 10+ gr
Fat = 1 gr
Points Plus = 1 point

A few notes from me:
I used low sodium vegetable broth and I found the soup a little bland.  Next time I may use regular sodium broth.  I will also add some garlic and celery to the onion while it is cooking to add some more flavour.
I was able to get 8 x 2 cup servings into containers for lunches at work. 


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Challenge # 2 - Movie Night at My House

(Yawn!  It is very late and I should be going to bed)

It is only Week # 1 of my weight loss journey and tonight, I was already faced with Challenge # 2.  A couple of days ago I had my first challenge on my weight loss journey and I solved that little challenge but tonight, I was faced with yet another!

The challenge - I invited a few friends over to my place tonight to watch the movie "Bridesmaids".  

Before I get to Challenge # 2, I have to explain how I came about owning the movie "Bridesmaids" which had just been released on DVD.  One of my fantastic friends called me the day of my birthday and while chatting we discussed my new journey that I am undertaking.  She is a very supportive friend but did ask about wine consumption because when we get together we do like to have a glass of wine (or two)!  I explained to her that there was no way in h*ll that I would be giving wine up completely but that I would be careful of how much and how often I consume it.  Little did I know, she had actually planned on getting me a bottle of wine for my birthday.  She quickly changed her plans and decided to pick me up the new movie that I had been raving about (I had already seen it in the theatre and told her how hilarious it was).  She so graciously brought it over that night and I was absolutely thrilled.  As much as I love wine, the movie was a much better gift.    

Now, back to Challenge # 2.  Why do you think watching a movie at my place would be a challenge?  I am not a big junk food eater or chip eater and I don't usually have the stuff in my house but when I have friends over for movies, someone usually brings a bag of something (nachos, Smart Food, chips etc).  Also, someone usually brings a bottle of wine.  Being that it was a Saturday, my points consumption was already a bit on the higher side by the time dinner was over (breakfast with my children, lunch with my children, dinner with my children etc).  I had to be upfront and honest to my friend and told her about my journey and my concerns of having all these temptations in my house during my first week.  She completely understood and said that it would be a wine-free night (boohoo) and she would bring over a healthy snack.

Fast forward to 8pm when they show up on my door step with a non-fat Chai Latte for each of us from the new coffee shop around the corner and a plate of carrots and hummus!!  I chuckled at the site of her with the carrots (instead of a bag of Smart Food popcorn) but I loved her for being so supportive.

To my dear friend with the carrots: you know me, I have to be very strict at the beginning but we'll be having a glass of wine together again in no time!!   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Challenge # 1 - My Birthday Lunch

As you know, it was my 39th birthday yesterday.  A few of my friends at work like to get together for lunch for each other's birthdays.  The routine is to go to a restaurant that is within walking distance to our work.  A few weeks ago when we discussed my birthday lunch, we decided we would go to a delicious restaurant called "Aroma Meze" the day after my birthday.  It is a lovely, little restaurant that serves small plates of various Greek dishes.  They give you a menu with approximately 20-25 choices and you choose 4 which are then served to you in smaller portions so you can sample the dishes (as opposed to having a big dish of just one selection).  I really do love the food there and it has been a really long time since I have been there so I was really looking forward to going.  

Unfortunately though, this became Challenge # 1 on this journey of mine.  Why?  Well, as much as I absolutely love the food there, I find that the vegetarian dishes to be a bit higher in fat then I would like.  Some are fried, some are deep fried, some are baked in lots of cheese etc.  You get the picture.  Seeing as this was Day # 2 of my "weight loss journey" (not sure what else to call it), I decided that it would be too early to "treat" myself to this restaurant.  I call it a treat because I would have to be careful of my food intake for the rest of the week as a result of one lunch.  Don't get me wrong, I know all about "everything in moderation" and "you can't deprive yourself" and "you can treat yourself now and again" but NOT on Day #2.  I just figured that this would be sabotaging my efforts and I would not be starting off on the right foot. 

So, this morning before the lunch, I discussed this issue with my friends and asked if they would mind if we changed locations.  They were very understanding and one of them even said "This is YOUR birthday lunch and if it is going to cause you to be stressed about it then we don't want to celebrate your lunch there" (well, maybe not word for word but that is what she was trying to say).  I am sure they all wanted to go to Aroma Meze as much as I did but we decided that we could go back there in a few months time when I feel much more comfortable (read: less guilty) treating myself!  

We ended up having a lovely Birthday lunch at a little Italian place a few blocks away that have wonderful salads.  I had a scrumptious salad loaded with grilled veggies, oyster mushrooms & goat cheese and a slice of homemade bread with rosemary.  I was very honest with my tracking and calculated it to be about 15 points (the cheese & dressing & bread really rack up the points) but that was still better then the alternative on that day.

Thanks again, ladies, for a wonderful lunch!!  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy 39th Birthday to Me!!

Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!
In Exactly One Year,
I am going to be 40!

Yes, today is my birthday and today I turned 39 years old.  I really don't mind turning 39 and getting older.  What I do mind though is how my body has aged.  Ugh.  I can handle a few little wrinkles and the beginning of an age spot on my hand but I what I can't handle is the weight.  My weight is definitely my main concern.  At 39 years old and 5ft3in tall (yes, I am a shorty), I weigh *bleep bleep* pounds.  Yuck!!  

Now you are probably asking yourself, why would someone have a blog on their weight loss journey without telling everyone how much their starting weight is?  Simple - if you know me in real life, and I assume the only ones reading this are people that know me, then you know what I look like.  You may not know exactly how much I weigh but I am going to take a guess that you can see the extra weight on my body.  If my assumptions are correct then you really don't need to know that nasty number from the scale, do you?!  I am going to get pretty personal in this blog but I still think I am going to keep the amount I weigh to myself.  Who knows, if I happen to lose 60-70 pounds in the next year (or so) then maybe I'll finally reveal today's "starting" weight.  I just won't be doing that yet.

Anyway, today is my birthday.  Happy Birthday to me!!  I turn 40 in exactly one year and I have a goal I want to reach by the time I turn that milestone age.  My *realistic goal* is to lose 40 pounds by the time I am 40 years old.  I also have a *dream goal* and that is to lose 60 pounds but I don't want to get ahead of myself.  If I get to my *realistic goal* then I'll start looking forward to my *dream goal*.

So, how do I plan on reaching my goal?  The way it has worked for me in the past is Weight Watchers and counting points.  When you read more about me in this blog, you will find out that my weight has been up and down my entire life.  I don't plan on going to any Weight Watchers meetings but I do plan on tracking what I eat every day and counting my points/calories/fat etc.  I already eat a tonne of fruit and veggies so I will continue to do so.  I also plan on going back to the gym.  Although, I will be honest, the gym and any other form of exercise has never assisted in my weight loss before but it does make for a healthier, more energetic me!!   

Anyway, I better get back to work (I am working from home as my birthday present to myself, a shiny, new $4700 furnace, is being installed).  I shall be back though, don't you worry!!