4/30/11

The Road to 26.2...

The road to 26.2 started the first time I laced up my sneakers and went for a run..

It started when I began signing up for and running races...



It started when I read all of your fabulous blogs that detailed training for and running a marathon....

It started when I read great running books and continued to be inspired...




It started when I began to think of eating as fuel and made conscious decisions on how I want to fuel my body to get the most out of it...

It started when I accomplished one dream (finishing a 1/2 marathon) and realized I could continue to reach for the stars...




I don't think I believed it then, but the road to 26.2 was being paved.

And I am here and I am ready.

26.2 on October 23, 2011.


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So tell me, have you ever run a marathon? Tell me about it? If not, would you?



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4/27/11

Finding My Healthy, Happy Weight

Based on the comments from yesterday's post it seems that tracking food, calories and exercise is much more common than I realized!

It's great to see so many of you taking advantage of the free online applications that allow you to better manage your healthy and balanced lifestyle. And for those of you who aren't able to use tracking due to a previous ED, I am proud that you acknowledge your triggers and avoid them for the sake of your health and well being. Good job everyone!!

As I was writing yesterday's post I asked myself why I was hesitant to discuss weight loss and weight management on my blog. After all its MY blog right? I guess the truth is I didn't want to be judged as vain. I also didn't want to offend anyone. I want this to be a positive space but I also want it to be candid and real and so with that I will say this:

I am currently working towards a weight loss goal of 15lbs.

Yes, I recently posted bikini photos in an effort to demonstrate my self-confidence but I will argue that wanting to lose weight and being confident are not mutually exclusive. I am not ashamed of what I look like today in any way. That being said, I know that I am 15lbs heavier then I was last year when I was taking better care of my self from a nutritional perspective.



Happy weight..curves included!


Thus, I know that my happy weight is my current weight less 15 lbs. Its a happy weight because I can maintain it through regular exercise and a wholesome diet but without deprivation or drastic restrictions.

Its also my happy weight because I am comfortable in my own skin but I maintain the feminine curves that I (and the Boyfriend) adore so much!

It took my some time to accept that my happy weight isn't a size 2. I struggled with the idea that I might never be as thin as some of the other women I know. But now I recognize that I am not a size 2 because I have full breasts and muscular quads and a booty that might give Beyonce a run for her money and those are things that I am 100% content with.

Me at my happy weight will never fit into a size 2 and I am fine with that. I'm just not that woman and thank goodness because how boring would we be if we were all cookie cutters of Natalie Portman anyway??

I'm happy with who I am but I can also admit I am a work in progress. My goal is to be the healthiest and happiest that I can be and that's a lifetime quest!





So tell me, do you have a "happy" weight? How do you define it?
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4/26/11

Accountability vs. Obsession

I'll admit, I am apprehensive to discuss weight and weight loss on my blog. I have witnessed a great deal of controversy in the healthy living community with respects to this highly sensitive subject and I have always opted to tread lightly (or barely at all)

The truth is, while I recognize and agree that our society puts a lot of emphasis on body image and a distorted understanding of what the ideal female shape is, I still believe weight and weight loss are topics that can't be ignored.



Source

To me weight serves as one of the (but not the only) key indicators of health.

A healthy body weight, when achieved through good nutrition and adequate physical activity, signals that we are providing our bodies with the fuel to perform at an optimal level on the inside and out.

Additionally, I can't help but look at weight maintenance as a preventative measure against diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

So yes, while it can be difficult to discern what a healthy weight and body shape is, and in many case it is varied from person to person based on a set of circumstances, I will come right out and say that I believe people do need to be held accountable for their health.

Food, exercise, rest and stress reduction are a part of health. When done properly these all lead to a healthy weight.

Thus, healthy weight=accountability, at least in my opinion.

I don't look past the fact that for some people a focus on weight becomes obsessive. Then again, I don't believe it necessarily goes hand in hand with obsession either. I believe many people (although perhaps not all) can hold themselves closely accountable without bordering on compulsion.

Okay, let me take a step back. I'm not a doctor or a trained professional in this area, so I will continue by talking about myself specifically:

I believe I can and SHOULD track my eating habits and exercise patterns because this keeps me accountable and therefore healthy. Believe me when I say I want to be healthy. I really do. But sometimes its just to easy to "forget" about the Easter eggs you snuck before dinner or underestimate the number of calories in a yummy drink from your local coffee house.

Sometimes its easy for me to let myself slip, again and again and again. And then, as if out of no where I am feeling sluggish, my pants are much tighter, I have a reoccurring headache and I've gained 10lbs. Ooops!? Yeah, not exactly.

Enter My Fitness Pal, an online application that allows me to plug in my goal (weight loss, weight maintenance etc), my personal details including my activity level and voila I am given my calorie target. Throughout the day I input all the food and beverages that I consume and their calorie totals are subtracted from my initial target, ultimately determining if I am on target, over or under.






My favorite things about the tool are:

  • I am able to input my exercise for the day which add to my calorie target. In all honesty my target is quite low on a daily basis but when I exercise for 30 minutes or more I definitely have a more manageable calorie allotment for the day. (This has increased my motivation to workout pretty significantly)

  • The tool tracks saturated fat, fibre, protein and other nutritional information which are just as valuable as calories for overall health

  • The tool recognizes foods from my local grocery chain and restaurants which makes tracking quick and easy

  • Seeing the calorie content makes me take a closer look at the food I eat and the portion sizes. I am much less likely to overindulge if I know what a portion looks like or that the entire appetizer is 960cal (This happened today and I nearly fell off my chair. I didn't but proceeded to eat a 1/4 and "donated" the rest to The Boyfriend)

  • The tool has a Blackberry App so I can continue to track on the go. (The App is available for iPhone also)


I would honestly recommend this to anyone who want to track their eating and exercise habits for the short or long term. And while I would gather that many people are attracted to the tool for weight loss purposes I genuinely believe it can be beneficial for so much more then that.

Not everyone has pounds to lose but I do believe the vast majority of people could benefit from a closer inspection of the food that they eat for all the aspects of nutrition, calories included or not.

That said, I would not recommend this to anyone that has dealt with certain patterns of disordered eating as I fear that it could be a trigger for severe restriction.

My plan is to use the tool for a least a month in order to adopt the habits associated with eating the rights foods and enough (but not too much) of them.

 I will say that I am struggling with some binge eating issues (I discussed them here in the past) that I will address in future blog posts but this is a positive step in the right direction for me to get back on track with respects to my eating patterns.

I will update you in a month with my experiences using this tool and the impact it has had on my health-focused lifestyle.


So tell me, do you track your food intake or exercise? How do you feel about weight loss in the blog world?


*Please note that these are my honest opinions about the online application My Fitness Pal. I am not affiliated with the product or company and do not receive compensation for using or reviewing the application
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4/24/11

1/2 Marathon Training- Week Nine in Review

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful spring weekend with loved ones! I celebrated Easter with family on Friday and Saturday this year and was left with a day to do nothing but run and lounge around watching movies. Simply lovely huh?!

Its been a few weeks since a recapped my training (admittedly training went on hiatus while I was on vacation) but here's a look at my activities over the last week:

Monday: 30 min elliptical, 30 min easy running, 30 min spinning
Tuesday: Taught Cycle Pump (40 min)
Wednesday: 10 min easy running, 20 min spinning
Thursday: 6 mile run
Friday: rest
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 7 mile run:

Total distance ran: 25.5k

Here's what I learned:

  • Sometimes after a 10 day break from fitness you'll need to get back into it which ever way possible (90 minute varied sweat fest worked for me!!)

  • Sometimes you will cut yourself some slack about the "break"...after all dancing counts as fitness right?



















  • Sometimes you will get through a treadmill run by flipping through the latest issue of Fitness magazine...whatever works!

  • Sometimes you will realize running is an important part of your life but so are good friends and great memories (like your running partner turned friend getting married!!!)










































  • Sometimes you will realize that you are 3 weeks away from your 1/2 marathon and whether you trained enough or not you are prepared to give it all you got!!
I can't believe how quickly this race is sneaking up on me. I am really excited to pin on a bib and race again and I have my fingers crossed for good weather next weekend when I run my first 10k of the season.


So tell me, other than healthy living what is really important to you?
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4/23/11

Happy Easter

For those of you who celebrate I hope you have a wonderful weekend with family, friends and loved ones.



















Happy Easter my friends!!


So tell me, how have you spent the weekend? What's your favorite thing about Easter? Mine is time with family and little foil wrapped chocolate eggs
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4/21/11

Wise Ass!

For all the runners out there...

The next time a non-runner asks you the question:

"What the heck do you run if there is nothing chasing you??"

You should say:

"It might not make sense now, but one day when we are on an African safari together and a hungry lion begins to chase us, you are sure gonna wish you'd practiced for that moment as much as I did!"

As a wise man once said, you don't ever have to be fast enough to out-run the lion, only fast enough to out-run the person next to you!



















So tell me, what's a funny running saying or story you have seen (on the web, t-shirt, bumper sticker) or heard lately
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4/20/11

I'm Too Sexy For My ,,,,

First off I want to take a moment and thank you all for your comments on my last post. I am flattered, I really really am!! There was a day when a bikini photo wouldn't have been taken let alone posted to the Internet for anyone to see. I am glad I have gotten to this point. Jena said it best: It's empowering.



















Seeing all of your comments coming in really got me thinking about self confidence (mine and others) and where it comes from. In the past, my own confidence came from (near) perfection. If I got an A+ on a paper I felt great. If I won a public speaking competition or was top of my class I felt proud and held my head high. If in someone else's estimation I was the funniest/smartest/prettiest girl I would smile ear to ear. On those days I was confident.

On the days when I wasn't the funniest, didn't get the best grade or found out I'd gotten a few questions wrong on an exam my confidence took a nose dive. But why? Only days earlier I was on top of the world. How could a 90% test score or someone else being called the most attractive girl in school change all that?

Perspective.

You see it was never about what it meant to be the best so much as how I viewed not being the best. The errors, the room for improvement, the good but not good enough. Even when I did well I would dwell on how I could have done better. And it has literally robbed me of so much pride and joy that I should have taken in the accomplishments that I have made.

Now is my chance to change all that. As I said yesterday I am not at my ideal weight but that doesn't mean that I can't be happy with the way I look or feel. If I focus on the positives (I love my curves in a sassy dress) instead of the negatives (I wish I had slimmer thighs) I am a happier girl without losing a single pound!
























Similarly I can choose to look at what I am doing to get ready for my upcoming 1/2 marathon (super hydrating. eating a variety of wholesome food, cross training) instead of obsessing about all the miles I didn't run or hills I didn't train on. Race day will come either way so its up to me to decide how I want to feel about it when it gets here.



















Realistically my life was never and will never be perfect. There will be bumps in the road, I will fall down and get back up, I will make mistakes, come in 2nd (or 302nd) and fly under the radar. Slowly but surely I am learning that its more than fine to be a work in progress. I'm perfectly imperfect and and that's is fine by me.

And if all else fails, I get an A+ in sass. Heck, I've got some to share if you're interested!!



















So tell me, what makes you feel confident? Go ahead and brag!
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4/19/11

Healthy Living on Vacation: How Did I Do??

You may recall that I wrote a post outlining my approach to healthy living while on vacation prior to leaving for Cuba. In it I detailed that while I was on vacation I was not completely abandoning all the key elements of a healthy lifestyle like nutritious eats and physical activity.

So how did I do with that you ask?

Ok. Not great, not terrible.

I did run, albeit it was once and only 25 minutes but I still made the effort to lace up my sneakers and get out there.

I ate healthy foods like fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken and rice.



















I definitely relaxed..by the pool..on the beach..in the hotel lobby...in my room...pretty much everywhere I could! I read trashy gossip magazines, started a new book and caught up with my best friend. In the relaxation department I think I get top marks!


On the flip side I also ate not so healthy things like donuts, chocolate and ice cream. But c'mon, it was free and unlimited! Whats a girl to do really?


















I also drank more then I needed to and paid the price big time. I don't have any photos to share of that moment...you're welcome for that!

And I ended up with health issues has a result of not taking proper care of my self and my eyes. Stupid mistake and one that I can't afford to make again. Seeing is kind of a big deal to me!!



















If you ever take any of my advice (despite any medical certification or training) please remember to take out your contact lenses when you sleep. Hypoxia is a scary, painful and inconvenient thing. Take my word for it.

So yes, there were lessons learned on this vacation such as: one tequila, two tequila three tequila...you're sick as a dog and will miss the much awaited trip on a catamaran. But even more importantly I came back with a refreshed perspective and the knowledge that I need to:

  • take more time to relax on a regular basis and not wait for an annual vacation to decompress.

  • accept the things I cannot change. To put it bluntly, shit happens. Sometimes you can't do anything but go with it.

  • embrace who you are right now. I'm not at my ideal weight and all my pants are a little snug but I am confident and I feel good about the me that I am and that I will be. Getting back on track with my healthy little life will only add to that sentiment. But for now I am comfortable enough to post a *gasp* bathing suit picture and not care who see it or what he/she might think about it either!!
























Self-love as a souvenir? I'll take it!


So tell me, whats the best thing you ever brought home from vacation?
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4/17/11

A Mini Cuba Vacation Update

Hi everyone! It feels like its been forever since I last blogged. Its funny how a week doing you regular routine and a week away seem so completely different. What's even funnier is that I expected the week on vacation to be the one that flew by but it didn't. Cool huh?

I have actually been back since Friday evening but with the exception of a few emails and reading a couple of my favorite blogs I stayed pretty much disconnected. I missed The Boyfriend in a big bad way while I was gone so it was nice to have lots of alone time together!

In case you were eagerly awaiting my return and the obligatory vacation photos that I promised I would share, here are a few:






















































Overall the vacation was really good. There were a few mishaps at the hotel and I dealt with a few health related issues while I was away but I still got to spend a relaxing week in the sun with good friends which is what really matters in the big picture right?





































What I do know for sure is that while I like going on vacation there is no place like home (even if it is snowing in April!!)


So tell me, what's your favorite part of vacation? What's your least favorite? Mine is waiting around at the airport before the flight and waiting to check in
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4/8/11

Cuz I'm Leavin' on a Jet Plane...

Well this is it, the day I have been eagerly waiting for.....We leave for Cuba this morning!! I am so excited I had a tough time sleeping last night (You'd swear I was 5 and we were headed for Disneyland instead)

Thank you all for your well wishes! I can't wait to share this fantastic trip with you. Not only is it a much-needed vacation I also get to be present as these two crazy kids get hitched!
















If you have a second click here to wish them well!


Here's what you can expect from Health, Happiness and Skinny Jeans in the weeks after I get back:
  • Vacation update including pictures
  • 1/2 Marathon Training...One month 'til the big day
  • A closer look at my struggles with compulsive eating
  • My first race of the year!
  • My first experience with Cross Fit
  • And lots, lots more....





Have a great week everyone...I can't wait to catch up when I get back!

And I'm off to the airport....ciao for now!



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4/6/11

Pack, tan, laundry..not necessarily in that order

There's something about a sun kissed glow that makes you look young, vibrant, healthy and beach ready don't you think?

There really is nothing like a tan...a spray tan that is!

In preparation for my trip (36 hours..OMG!) I decided to get a little bronzed up with the help of Tan on the Run which is a travelling air brush spray tan service available here in Toronto and select cities throughout Canada.

Before:


















Now that's a girl who just went through a long Canadian winter if I ever saw one!

After:






































Now that's a little better don't ya think?

The best part is that it took less than 1/2 hour (including the time to stand around and completely dry), it looks really authentic and there's no harmful UVA or UVB rays. That's right friends, its beauty meets health and I am so down for that!!!


And because I am so excited for my trip I thought I would share some of my amazing fashion bargains that are perfect for a beach getaway!

$15



$20

$8


How awesome is that? I love getting fun clothes at a great price.

All and all I'd say I am just about ready for vacation to begin. One more long run, laundry, packing and 2 nights sleep and I am off!


So tell me, have you have tried an air brushed tan? Do you have any luck finding good deals on fashion items?
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4/4/11

Healthy Living on Vacation

With just a few days to go before my trip to Cuba I am definitely getting excited about the fun in the sun, lounging on the beach, mojitos at the swim up bar, buffet breakfasts everyday and late nights at the disco, the lobby bar or dancing it up at Cynthia's wedding.


















Yes, vacations are great for getting away from it all. But does all mean all, as in a healthy lifestyle?

I say no but with an explanation:

Yes I plan to seek out healthy eats like fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. That said if there are croissants at the breakfast buffet I am all over that like bees on a honey comb baby!

Yes I plan to work in some physical activity like running on the beach and playing volleyball and I may even hit the resort's gym a few times but I am not doing any of this at the expense of fun or a mojito. I rarely drink alcohol or choose to unnecessarily skip a workout in regular life so its my time to indulge a little.

Yes I plan to relax and de-stress and come back feeling rejuvenated. There's no ifs, and or buts about this one. Its a priority.

In short I am not going to abandon my lifestyle completely when I'm away but I am also going to enjoy myself and not worry about calories consumed or kilometres ran. For those 7 days I am Sam the Vacation Edition! I can not wait to get started

Now to make sure I leave room in my suitcase for these guys



















 And convince this guy that he's gotta sit this trip out




















Sorry Lil' Piglet but someone has got to stay back and keep The Boyfriend company while I'm gone


4 more sleeps!!

So tell me, what are your thoughts on healthy living while on vacation? Do you keep up with your regular eating habits and exercise routine while you are away?
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4/3/11

1/2 Marathon Training- Week Six in Review

I am not sure what the weather is like in your neck of the woods but it was gorgeous here in Toronto this weekend and for the first time in ages I actually looked forward to running outside! I think spring fever will really help my 1/2 marathon training because there is something utterly amazing about running in warm sunshine after a long winter. Hello Spring, we've been waiting for you!!
Here's a recap of my 1/2 marathon training over the last 7 days:

Monday: Ran 10.5 miles (treadmill)
Tuesday: Spinning (30 min)Strength training(50 min)
Wednesday: Spinning (20 min)
Thursday: Taught Tabata (45min) Hills training 2 miles
Friday: Taught Cycle Pump (50min)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Ran 13.1 miles

Total distance ran: 41k

Here's what I learned:

  • Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do...in this case 2 hours of running on a treadmill. It wasn't the most fun thing I have done but I got through it and am better for it! (truthfully I can't believe I did it. I never would have even tried a year ago!)

  • Sometimes you learn what you need to fuel your long runs and when you need to start using it.


















  • Sometimes you are going to eat well, get lots of sleep and hydrate like its your job! Other times you are going to eat a delicious cupcake and enjoy every damn bite!




















  • Sometimes you are going to teach a class of one during cross training and get the best workout you've had in a while!

  • Sometimes you are going to feel sorry for yourself, doubt your abilities and wallow in stress and self pity



















  • Sometimes you are going to shake off the blues and do this instead:




















That's right..that sucker says 13.1 miles. I ran the equivalent distance of a half marathon today!! I can't even explain how relieved I was to have the energy and the will to do it. It makes me feel a lot better about the races coming up in May and the timing for that feeling couldn't have been better.

And with that I am off to rest my sore legs and start packing for Cuba...5 days and counting!n



So tell me, what have you done recently that exceed even your own expectations?
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