Ducks in the garage

April 28, 2009

Ok, confusing title, right? Well, I was there for this and I’m still confused! Here’s what happened:

Josh was cleaning the garage and I guess he turned his back for a couple minutes to straighten up some things. When he turned back around, there were a pair of ducks just hanging out in the garage like it was completely normal!

img_4149Oh, hello ducks! (Excuse the mess – it was a work in progress at the time!)

They eventually wandered out of the garage and over to the neighbour’s lawn where they usually hang out.

img_4150There they are right back where they should be. And check out that green lawn! We had a vicious thunderstorm the night before with lots of rain so everyone’s grass is radioactively green and growing like crazy!

What else happened yesterday? Well, summer clothes shopping! I headed to my usual store of choice, Old Navy and picked out a gazillion (or six) pairs of shorts before deciding that as cute as the light purple pair were, I’d really only be able to wear them with white or black shirts. I also ditched a pair of brown shorts for the same reason. I also picked out two skirts. One was a size 6 because I really liked the style and figured “why not try?” So, in the dressing room, I ended up liking a pair of black bermuda shorts and a dark denim mini. The size 6 skirt was hit and miss – it fit perfectly around the waist but my hips are too wide for that size. That’s definitely a problem I’ve experienced before! Even with my one pair of size 8 jeans, they are a perfect fit in the hips but there is a bit of room in the waist. All the ladies in my family are more “bottom heavy” with wider hips and thighs but smaller on top – I’m pretty much no exception when I’m slimmer – so I’ve got my genes to thank for that, but I’m totally fine with it!

So, here are the items I bought:

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And finally, I had a smoothie last night. It was pink!

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Yum! It had a couple strawberries, frozen raspberries, some raspberry yogurt, a bit of vanilla soy milk and a couple ice cubes.

While shopping yesterday I discovered PC Blue Menu vanilla soy milk. PC Blue Menu is pretty much my favourite line of food products – it’s healthy and tastes great. So, while the So Good vanilla was packing nearly 200 cals per cup, the PC stuff has 120 – slightly less than the So Good plain stuff. And it was 10 cents a carton cheaper, even with So Good on sale for about 40 cents off. Yay!

Today isn’t going to be too exciting: a couple errands then training for my job in the evening. After that, probably some house cleaning since my dad is visiting tomorrow and we have guests coming on Thursday. This week is going to be crazy busy!

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Weigh-in and social comparisons

April 27, 2009

Happy Monday! I hope that’s not an oxymoron… but it’s a lovely day here so happy it is!

I weighed in this morning and ….. 135.8! Down 1.7 pounds from last week! As my goal is 135 I’m pretty much there, but as I did set my deadline for the first Monday in May, I’m giving myself that extra week to get closer to 135.0. It may be a challenge as we are having house guests from Thursday until Monday, but I think I can manage it.

I can’t believe I’m almost at goal. I’ve been trying to get here for so long that it almost felt surreal to look down at the scale and see those numbers. I haven’t weighed 135 since high school! Since I’m turning 23 this year, it’s been almost 5 years! It’s a great feeling and I’m not letting anything else take away from it.

Not even those dreaded social comparisons. When I read Angela’s morning post on social comparisons relating to running, I realized “that’s me, but with weight loss”.

I’m a member of a blogging community where each member gets their own page complete with blogging, photos, about me, comments, etc. Popular weigh-in days appear to be Monday, Thursday and Saturday so updates pop up regularly through the day each of those days. Some members are posting losses, others gains and others no change. I find it very difficult not to compare my weigh-ins to anyone else’s.

I’ll read a post saying something like “I lost 2.5 pounds this week even though I ate fast food three times and didn’t work out at all” or “I only lost 1.5 this week, I’m disappointed”. These are just examples, not what people have actually posted, but there are similar themes. I read ones like the first and think “What the heck am I doing wrong?” when the truth is, I’m not doing anything wrong. Maybe I have to stick to eating healthy and working out 5-6 days a week to lose 1 pound while others can be more lax – my body is not the same as other people’s. We are all different both outwardly and inwardly. Just because one person can lounge around eating junk food and still lose weight, it does not mean that I can do that or that I’m not trying hard enough if I don’t lose more than them while sticking to my plan.

It should not take away from what I’ve done. I shouldn’t feel upset when reading someone’s disappointment over losing “only” 1.5 pounds if I lost 1.2. That doesn’t mean my loss is a disappointment and I’m sure the same person would congratulate me on an excellent loss because that 1.5 is based on their own standards or goals and they aren’t applying it to everyone. I shouldn’t feel upset or lazy when someone loses double what I did by eating at Mickey D’s three times that week and only working out once. Why not?

Because everyone is different.

I need to remember that next time I read one of those posts and immediately feel defeated or jealous. It’s not a competition or a race. It’s about getting healthy and feeling better about who I am.

And today I’m celebrating my “almost goal” by going shopping for some much needed summer clothes. The weather is warming up (up to 27C today) and I can’t wait to feel comfortable wearing summer clothes again. It’s been way too long!


Homemade sweet potato fries

April 25, 2009

So I loved the sweet potato fries at Boston Pizza so much that I had to try making my own last night!

I browsed a few recipes online to get an idea of spices and came up with this, based on what was already in my spice cupboard:

  • oregano
  • salt
  • ground coriander

Cumin was also another popular seasoning, as well as paprkia, so cominbations of any of these would probably be delicious!

First, I preheated the oven to 425F. I sliced the potato in half, then cut it in long strips, which were halved again to make pretty thick-cut fries – definitely like what you’d get at a chip truck. I mixed up the spices with a couple tablespoons of olive oil (light tasting extra virgin but other types would probably be just as good) and rolled each fry in the oily mixture before putting it on a non-stick baking sheet (some recipes suggested parchment if your baking sheet isn’t super non-stick). Toss the fries in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes and rotating the pan in the oven – do this or they’ll be black on one side! Even turning them, I still had some that ended up a little toasty!

I served them up with some homemade dip – light mayo with ground coriander stirred in – but they were still tasty plain.

Et voila:

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I decided to have them as the main feature of my meal with some broccoli and cauliflower (with some grated sharp cheddar) on the side – you can just barely see them hanging out in the corners of the picture.

Sweet potato fries are my new addiction. So tasty!

In super awesome great news: I finished the first draft of my thesis! AHHH! Huge relief. My supervisor is taking off to Spain tomorrow (ugh… if only) so I had to have it in today if I wanted edits before May 13 when she gets back – um, yes please considering my mark is due by May 22. I can’t belive I’m so close to having it done!

Today is supposed to be a hot one! Not sure what to do on the exercise front – it’s already hot hot hot in my bedroom where the elliptical is. I do have a window air conditioner but it seems so wrong to need to use it in April! We’ll see – I’ll try with just a fan blowing and throw the A/C on if it gets too hot. I thought about a run but it’s already 19C at 9:30am! Holy moly! I know that’s not blazing hot, but it is when we’ve been used to 10-12C for the past while. That’s one reason I’m looking forward to getting the treadmill from my parents – I hate being all warm and sweaty and gross while working out, which is why I probably won’t run outside too often in summer.

Hope everyone has a great Saturday!


Quinoa experiment

April 24, 2009

Well, I successfully made quinoa last night! Unfortunately I don’t have a picture – apparently the rechargeable batteries in my camera are dead!

Here’s what I used:

  • 1/3 c quinoa (this was a guess as most recipes were for side dishes)
  • 2ish c of chopped veggies (I used broccoli and carrots)
  • 2 c veggie stock

I brought the veggie stock to a boil while I rinsed the quinoa – this removes the bitter outter coating. Some varieties come pre-washed but I didn’t want to take my chances! I added the quinoa to the veggie stock and cooked it over medium-high heat for 7 minutes. Then I added the chopped veggies and let the mixture boil for another 5-6 minutes. I drained the small amount of leftover liquid very carefully. After throwing a tablespoon of stir fry sauce (Asian 5 Spice flavour) on top, I was ready to eat.

Overall impressions: It’s definitely a different texture but I enjoyed it! The veggie stock made the whole dish quite flavourful and the stir fry sauce added a slight kick. Considering how easy it was to make, I think it’ll be a great dish for nights when I don’t have much time.

Check out the nutritional info per 1/2 cup:

  • 317 calories
  • 5 g fat
  • 6 g fibre
  • 12 g protein
  • It also gives you 42% of your RDA for magnesium and 21% of your iron!

Looks pretty good to me!

As a final FYI, Bulk Barn sells organic quinoa. I found it in the cereals aisle, right beside granolas. If you’re new to quinoa it’s a perfect way to buy just a little bit to sample!


Sweet potato fries & shrimp skewers

April 23, 2009

I went out for dinner last night with the roommates. We went to Boston Pizza, which seems like an odd choice considering I’m watching what I eat. But, surprisingly, they have a healthy choices section of their menu and I researched the best options online before we went out. Going out for dinner is still possible when you’re losing weight as long as you do your homework! So many restaurants have nutritional info for their menu online now.

I decided on getting sweet potato fries as an appetizer (270 cal) and shrimp skewers with a garden salad for an entree (180 cal). I skipped out on dessert and just had water to drink. The sweet potato fries were amazing! I can’t wait to try making my own, oven baked version at some point. I love fries but not the calories they bring. So sweet potato fries are perfect since they are way more nutrient-packed than regular potatoes meaning they actually fill me up. By the time my entree arrived, I already felt nearly full, so thankfully it was fairly light. The skewers weren’t anything to write home about but they weren’t bad. I’d maybe order them again since I do love shrimp!

When I got home, I made a smoothie with strawberries, raspberries and yogurt for a healthy dessert. After everything settled, the boyfriend and I went out for a 45 minute walk so overall it was a nice evening.

Yesterday’s positive thing: I stuck to my decisions about what to order when I got to the restaurant, even though other things on the menu sounded good. I also skipped dessert and made something healthier when I got home so I didn’t have to feel deprived.

Today I’ve been a busy bee – yardwork in the morning (about 45 minutes) and then writing my thesis like a champ. My supervisor is heading off on vacation (lucky woman!) on Sunday, so I’m supposed to send as much as I have written on Saturday morning for revisions. She won’t get back until May 13 – just over a week before my grade has to be in – so the schedule is a little tight! But I think I’ll make it, since I have all the sections but the discussion finished, and the discussion is at least half done. So at the most I might need to make major revisions to the discussion when she returns, but unlike some supervisors, mine changes things once and sticks to it. I know some will change certain parts and leave others intact and then at the next draft, change the parts they left alone before. Indecisive much? I just can’t wait to be done with this semester!

My other grades are in – I got an A- in my social psych seminar and an A+ in geography! Yay! My geo prof is a machine – no lie. Our exam was at 6:30pm on Friday April 17 and when I logged in to check my marks on Tuesday April 21, they were posted. What?! He’s insane! But I love it – better that then waiting weeks.

So on the agenda for the rest of the day – making quinoa for the first time, an evening run and finishing a resume that has to be in by 4:30pm tomorrow. Crossing my fingers for it – or any job at this point!

Today’s positive thing: The weather is gorgeous but I buckled down and got a bunch of work done on my thesis. I actually feel pretty accomplished and proud of myself for that. I’m also pretty amped about that A+ in geography – that’s my 4th one so far!

Have a great evening!


It’s smoothie time!

April 22, 2009

After talking to my roommate about my weigh-in and gain of 2.2 pounds, he said he thinks the Wii Fit (what I use to weigh with) might be out to lunch. It told him he gained 7 pounds in a week. Yeah, right. So, the scale in the balance board seems to be wonky. We decided to go splits on a new scale for the bathroom and when I jumped on it Tuesday morning, it said 137.5. Now that’s more like it!

I also got something else new! My mom knew I wanted a blender, so when she saw Zellers had an Oster for $30 – half price – she told me to go ahead and buy it, and when she and my dad visit next week, she’d give me the money for it. How sweet is my mom? She knows I’m a little strapped for cash right now – or at least until I get my tax return (the tax man and I are now BFF considering how much my return is – yay!)

So of course, I had to try making my very own green monster inspired by Angela at Oh She Glows !

First of all, here’s my new blender:

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And here’s my ingredient lineup:

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  • plain soy milk (about 1/2 cup)
  • a handful and a bit of organic spinach
  • a couple strawberries just because
  • a banana – I used half

And the result?

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Now that’s green! (Excuse the awful mess on my desk)

I think my boyfriend was freaked out by this – I don’t blame him. I was a little scared too! Haha! But the taste was nice – I couldn’t taste the spinach. All I tasted was banana with a hint of strawberry every now and then. Mmm!

I’m going to do some more experimenting with smoothies – I found some recipes online for fruit smoothies and they’re all pretty healthy. Most of them are sweetened by a bit of yogurt or honey, or they’re just plain fruit. If anyone has recipes of their own, definitely let me know! I’m looking forward to increasing my fruit and veggie intake this way and of course making some tasty iced treats in the summer!

I’m now off to make some tea – African red – then run some errands on this grey and rainy day. I need to go to Bulk Barn and then the Bell store to see if I can score a promotional cellphone plan I found online. Let’s hope so, since I think it’s for new subscribers only, but we’ll see!


Weigh-in and last night’s run

April 20, 2009

First things first: weigh-in.

This didn’t go very well. After not weighing last Monday, I expected to be down on the scale since I ate healthy all week and got tons of exercise.

But: I saw a gain of 2.2 pounds!

What the heck?

For this to be true weight gain (and not water weight, etc), I would have had to eat 500 calories per day over my maintenance calories – or 2500 per day – for the past two weeks! There’s no way I did that so I’m almost positive this is water weight or increased muscle mass or a combination of several factors. At least I hope so.

Even so, I was pretty disappointed to see that number! I’ve been trying so hard and feeling as though I’m doing almost everything right. I swear, this is why the scale and I can’t be friends – hear that, scale?

I’m trying to bounce back from this and think positive! So here are yesterday’s & today’s positive things (since I have a terrible memory and forgot about doing this yesterday!):

Yesterday’s positive note: I went for a run. This in itself is positive since I hadn’t gone for one all week. But it gets even better. I’ve been trying to increase the interval distances I’m running – adding in a half or full block extra each time to work on my endurance. So, I started running one block earlier than I normally would when I was heading home and decided to go to the next major street. Well, I got there and kept running. I figured I’d run until the next street. And then the next. And another. I finally stopped because I was getting close to home and needed to start cooling down. But guess what? I ran a whole kilometre without any walking breaks! The most I’ve ever done before was 500-600m! Hello, progress! One kilometre is amazing for me, considering I haven’t been running long or that consistently (oops). I just felt in the zone. My breathing was fine (which is usually my problem – I get short of breath fast) and I just settled into a rhythm – I felt so amazing! I feel really proud of doing this and I know that distance will only increase with time!

Today’s positive note: I’m bouncing back from that awful gain this morning with renewed determination to give it my best shot this week! I already started out strong with 50 minutes of intervals on the elliptical – I’m setting all sorts of exericse records lately!

On the agenda today: THESIS. I have slacked long enough so I’m buckling down and getting back into school-mode! It’s supposed to rain until Wednesday night, so I won’t have nice weather as a distraction. Hopefully I can get a couple pages written in that time.

So I’m off to get some writing done!