Archive for November, 2008

Weekly Check-In: Week 39

November 23, 2008

All in all I had a pretty good week. I met my calorie and exercise goals. Despite my procrastination, which I must not give into this week as I’m away for the weekend.

I actually noticed something pretty big this week. This may be TMI, but I think you’re all used to that from me by now. One of the things that really kicked me into gear on the whole “this time I’m doing it for real” health and fitness thing is one day I looked in the mirror, naked, and I was looking at my back.

I’ve always (or for a long time) have had the roll or crevice, or not sure what to call it, but there is a distinct line that cuts into and up my back from just below my rib-cage. This was my first ‘fat roll’ as I call it and it’s been there for a long time. Well, when I was looking in the mirror many months ago I noticed it had a friend that had joined it. It was located at the base of the shoulder blade roughly where the bra strap would go. And no, it didn’t go away when It took the bra off.

I don’t know why the second fat roll bothered me so much more than the first. But it did.

Anyways I was looking in the mirror yesterday, naked again, mirror, bathroom, shower, you do the math. Anyways I have a love hate relationship with my body as I’m going through these changes. On one hand I was liking the new definition in my shoulders, and how much slimmer my arms have become. On the other hand I was still hating how flabby my arms are, saggy my belly is and then I looked at my back….

I was in the process of being disappointed by my fat roll below my back ribcage, when I suddenly notice that it’s friend (by the bra strap) has departed. It’s gone, 100% gone! I can stretch and twist any which way I want, but it is gone!

It’s little successes like these that suddenly dawn on me, and seem to come out of the blue that give me hope that I can see my goals through.

Weekly Check-In: Week 38

November 17, 2008

I’m a little bit upset, because I just wrote this post and wordpress seems to have eaten it and won’t give it back.

In any case…

Setting a new 12-week goals seems to have kicked my motivation back into gear. It may be gear one, but it’s forward looking progress. It may also be the fact that I’m repeating my last failed 12-week goal and really do not want to have to say that I failed on the same goal twice. Once is humiliation enough.

My goal is to be at week 8 of 12 of phase II of my plan. That is to have for 8 weeks consistently eating an average of 1500 cal/day and exercised 4 days/week. This past week I finished week 3, which is as far as I have ever gotten in the plan. The catch being if I miss a week I need to deduct half of the weeks I have already achieved, so I’ve finished week 3 before, failed week four been back at trying to get week 2 and failed that and then started again. So, I am now staring down the never before achieved week 4.

I am having some success. I had my book club ladies on Sunday. We see each other about once a month. When I originally dropped from a size 20 to a size 14 relatively suddenly. Actually, I shouldn’t say suddenly. It took months of effort. However, it seemed that for months no signs were visible then suddenly it all just came off. Anyways, when I originally dropped that weight they noticed. Then yesterday they said that I’m slimming down again. There is some evidence to back this up. My jeans are fitting better, and a top that I wore yesterday which was too tight when I bought it now fits comfortably.

I have a very mixed body image at the moment. When I go to the gym I feel great. I think this is mainly because I am still exercising in my size 20 clothes, which are literally hanging off me, so I look like a rail in them now and I can see how far I’ve come. However, my ‘new’ size 14 clothes are not so new anymore. I can see the love handles, the squishy bit below my bra strap. Sure, these things were there before, but I was so sleek and slim as compared to my size 20 body that I only saw the positives. Now the size 14 body is feeling frumpy and ugly.

I need to use this feeling to motivate me to keep going, to keep up the consistency to keep work for the size 12, 10, 9, 8… until I feel I have a fit, toned body that I am proud of. I can see small changes, my arms slimming down, my stomach is smaller…. I need to focus on the positive results and keep working for them. Giving into the negative will only get me my size 20 body back perhaps with another extra size and I don’t want that.

My life balance goals are also starting to come back in line. I did well keeping up with household chores this week, catching up on my finances in addition to my health and beauty goals. I need to step it up on my career and entertainment goals.

I’ve set myself some homework, to draw up a holiday schedule to get holiday shopping, cards, done and schedule the family visits, parties… part of me feels like planning fun ruins fun, however, if I am going to stay on top of my goals, and not be the cliche person who throws out all of my work over the holidays only to set a new year’s resolution of weight loss then I need to stay on track through the holidays. The only way to do that is to plan.

Crunchy Bits:

Week 6 Q3 – November 9 – November 15, 2008
Overall: 73%
Household: 100%
Health & Beauty: 100%
Finance: 105%
Career: 48%
Entertainment: 14%

Quarter 3 October 5 – January 3rd, 2008

Running Weekly Average
Overall: 66%
Household: 70%
Health & Beauty: 66%
Finance: 59%
Career: 71%
Entertainment: 66%

Quarter 2:
July 2008 – September 2008
Overall: 45%
Household: 63%
Health & Beauty: 55%
Finance: 34%
Career: 30%
Entertainment: 41%

Quarter 1:
April 2008 – June 2008
Overall: 55%
Household: 75%
Health & Beauty: 62%
Finance: 46%
Career: 36%
Entertainment: 53%

Weekly Check-In: Week 38

November 17, 2008

Setting a new 12-week goal, which I did on October 19th, 2008 seems to have kicked my motivation back into gear. Gear one maybe, but proceeding forward nonetheless. It may also be that I’m repeating my goal from the last 12-weeks.

This past week went well. I met all my exercise and kept my eating in line. Which are the only two things I need to do to meet my 12-week goal, I’ve said that by January 11th, 2009 that I will be 8 weeks in to having 12 consistent weeks of eating at 1500 cal/day (on average) and going to the gym 4 days / week. This past week I completed week 3 of 12. I’ve managed to do 3 weeks before, so this week week 4 of 12 is the first time I’ve ventured into the 4th week and hope for success.

Things are looking up. I had my book club ladies yesterday, we see each other about once a month. When I first dropped weight rather suddenly. I don’t mean that I lost a whole lot of weight in a short time, but for a long time, months, it seemed like I was not loosing any weight and then suddenly after months of effort I seemed to become a size 14 after being a size 20 for a long time. In any case they noticed when that happened a few months back, and I got some compliments that I’m slimming down again. I don’t feel it myself yet. But there’s some proof to back it up, my jeans are fitting a bit looser, and the top that I wore, which, the first time I wore it was a little tighter than I like was a comfortable fit.

I have a very screwed up body image at the moment. When I’m at the gym I feel great. Probably because I’m still exercising in my old size 20 work out clothes which are almost hanging off me now. I can look in the mirror and I look like a stick figure in these oversized clothes. That’s a big ego boost. But, at the same time, my new size 14 stuff is not longer all that ‘new’ and I don’t think I’m a size 12 yet, so I am now seeing the love handles, and the squishy bit in the back at the bottom of the bra strap. Sure, they were there before, but as compared to my size 20 body, size 14 was looking pretty sleek and slim. Now size 14 is starting to feel frumpy and ugly.

I need to use this mixed image to find motivation to continue. There is no point in hating my size 14 body so that I dive into pint after pint of Haagen Daaz and get my size 20 body back. Instead I have to keep working on my consistency. That will help in the long run. If I can get there, and 12-weeks is really not a long time (I’m at 38 week’s in this entire plan!), then I can change things up, start measuring and making new plans. But, for now, it’s one foot in front of the other and working for change.

My life balance goals are also starting to kick up a notch, didn’t do quite as well as last week, but I did well in Household, Health and Finance, not as well on Career or Entertainment. Just having these goals though is helping to keep my life in a bit more of an even keel than it was coming up to the holidays last year.

I have set myself some homework to figure out a holiday schedule, family visits, shopping, cards, parties, that includes time for the gym and myself. If I can get myself to do it, then I should be able to manage to be one of those annoying people who has their holiday shopping done at the beginning of December and more importantly this will give me time to fit in gym and personal time consistently through the holiday.

Crunchy Bits:

Week 6 Q3 – November 9 – November 15, 2008
Overall: 73%
Household: 100%
Health & Beauty: 100%
Finance: 105%
Career: 48%
Entertainment: 14%

Quarter 3 October 5 – January 3rd, 2008

Running Weekly Average
Overall: 66%
Household: 70%
Health & Beauty: 66%
Finance: 59%
Career: 71%
Entertainment: 66%

Quarter 2:
July 2008 – September 2008
Overall: 45%
Household: 63%
Health & Beauty: 55%
Finance: 34%
Career: 30%
Entertainment: 41%

Quarter 1:
April 2008 – June 2008
Overall: 55%
Household: 75%
Health & Beauty: 62%
Finance: 46%
Career: 36%
Entertainment: 53%

Remembrance Day – For the Soldier War Protester

November 11, 2008
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

In a past life I joined the Canadian Forces, I was a ‘reso‘, which means that I was in an officer stream where I went to school and served part time on weekends, holidays and during the summer. The idea is to server for four years, get your education subsidized and then become an enlisted officer.

I joined for the same reason as a lot of others. My family didn’t make much money, it was a free education. At the time I wanted to be an engineer, all things tech were sexy, and the military had the most tech. Joining the military in Canada was a bit of a joke at the time. Canada has not been involved in a ‘war’ to my generations knowledge since the second world war. We were peacekeepers, two of our three operating subs were in the West Edmonton Mall as display items, and I was pretty sure going in the Canadian Military was still using the Ross Rifle.

On a more personal level I wanted to make up for the fact that when we came to Canada as north Irish immigrants we were seen as terrorists, I wanted to prove my patriotism. My mother’s father (French Canadian) had wanted to join during the second world war, but was denied because he was not physically fit (epileptic). I thought he would be proud of me. Not that he was actually alive at the time. It was all very naive.

I made it through my basic training and lasted about 2 years before I left the military and switched my degree to political science, now funded by student loans. I remain listed in the Canadian Reserves (you never really leave), but short of conscription I have no obligations to join up in the current campaigns.

When Iraq looked imminent I slowly got involved in the anti-war movement. Then I dove head in. I was on the student blockades at York U. I was on the team of organizers that was arrested when the administration decided the permit they signed was not worth the paper it was written on (we were released a few hours later when it was obvious we did have a permit). It was a big shift from soldier to war protester.

I never told the people I protested with that I had been Canadian Forces. I didn’t want to become some cliche spokesperson.

The thing that shocked me the most as an anti-war protestor was the anger of what I can only describe as pro-war protestors. Whom, I still fail to understand. I’m sure these pro-war protestors thought they were supporting the troops, but I would be surprised if any of them had ever met the troops, or a soldier.

I still had some unique access to people in the Forces through my personal relationships. I used these connections to write my masters research paper, which was on the construction of a militarized masculinity as a heroic figure in our culture. When I talked to members they spoke to me freely about their opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the members I talked to were against both campaigns. One officer I spoke to said that 60% of the troops this officer had, had already expressed that they hoped the Canadian government would not send them into Iraq. Nevertheless, soldiers are soldiers. They do understand the commitments they’ve made, and they would go, if they were asked.

If Iraq or Afghanistan had happened while I was still a reso I don’t know that it would have been as easy for me to walk away. I’m almost certain that I would be in Afghanistan right now.

I know is seems counter intuitive to be a reservist and to be a war-protestor. But, there are lots of us. I’m sure there are people who would hate us for it. I think that’s part of why I do it.

I protest war, Iraq and Afghanistan particularly because they are political wars. I know there is a time and place where militarism is needed. War will mean our soldiers will die, and our soldiers accept that. The problem is that our political administrations accept that too easily. When we decide to pay for a political cause in blood, then I want to know that there is an iron-clad reason that we are sending people to die. I want to know that we have exhausted every single other diplomatic option before we write the check in numbers of bodies. I was not convinced of this with Iraq or Afghanistan.

Being against the war does not mean that I do not support our troops. I think we do need military funding to get our troops the equipment they need to get the job done. I think we do need to get our troops our as soon as possible, bearing in mind that we now have an obligation to the citizens of Afghanistan.

I know that the soldiers who have been in Afghanistan are in conflict between a desire to get out of a personal hell and a reluctance to see NATO troops leave because they know what will happen to the people and the country. A country where they have seen pain, suffering, hope and pride in a way that does not exist in a developed nation like Canada. I know our soldiers are doing the best job they possibly can in terrible circumstances. I know our soldiers screw up sometimes, make bad judgement calls, and questionable actions. I know that I can’t second guess these as I am not there.

What I can do is put pressure on our government to get our soldiers out of this situation. To put pressure on the government to use more diplomatic avenues and less military ones, to send more aid, more food, more infrastructure. And, most importantly to think more next time before they pay with lives again.

I am a soldier. I am a war protestor. These are not mutually exclusive identities.

On remembrance day (and everyday), I remember Mark a boy from my street, he died in Afghanistan, I remember 3 others who are in Afghanistan, and I remember my civic duties to do the best that I can to make our government THINK before paying with our lives.

Weekly Check-In – Week 37

November 10, 2008

Success, another post within a week. I just caught up with Confessions of a Food Addict where she suggests that when reading weight loss blogs you can usually tell how well it’s going by how neglected the blog is. That is, if it’s not going well, chances are neither is the weight loss / health goals.

I have to agree. It’s a pretty good indicator that I’m doing poorly when I don’t post at least once a week. That being said, I will repeat: Success, another post within a week!

Last week actually went very VERY well. I for some reason had no trouble keeping the calories under control, and I got to the gym 4 times in the week despite leaving the last workout to the last day. I also felt more in control of other areas of my life and did well on my life balance goals.

So, I’m back to week 2 of 12 on my consistency plan, working on week 3 three week, I may yet crack the never before seen week 4 next week. If I can keep this up it may only take me 11 months to complete 2 12-week plans. I need to ditch that sarcasm though. It really is an achievement. I’ve never stayed with any weight loss / get in shape / get healthy program this long before EVER. So, I’ve had some setbacks, but none have really been longer than for a couple of weeks, and even during those weeks I had days I tried. Quite a remarkable change from being completely a workaholic-to-couch-to-pizza-to-couch-to-work kinda gal for months on end.

I’m even happy to report that I woke up at 6:30 am…. on a Monday morning… AND…. got my butt out of bed to go to the gym this morning. Without an alarm clock. Go me!

The Crunchy bits

Week 5 Q3 – November 2 – November 8, 2008
Overall: 88%
Household: 95%
Health & Beauty: 100%
Finance: 100%
Career: 105%
Entertainment: 38%


Quarter 3 October 5 – January 3rd, 2008

Running Weekly Average
Overall: 38%
Household: 64%
Health & Beauty: 59%
Finance: 50%
Career: 75%
Entertainment: 77%


Quarter 1:
April 2008 – June 2008
Overall: 55%
Household: 75%
Health & Beauty: 62%
Finance: 46%
Career: 36%
Entertainment: 53%


Quarter 2:
July 2008 – September 2008
Overall: 45%
Household: 63%
Health & Beauty: 55%
Finance: 34%
Career: 30%
Entertainment: 41%

Thank You Americans – From Canada

November 5, 2008

As a Canadian I am not sure if American’s are aware of exactly how closely the world watches American politics. Watching an American election is a hard thing to do as a non-citizen. The video’s that came out during the campaign of some McCain supporters who were so obviously ignorant and full of hate are baffling. America is undoubtedly the most powerful nation on earth, and it is hard to understand why when we see such ignorance, short term thinking and outright hate. It is often hard to know if we should be hoping for the USA to fall and let another world power rise, or if we should dare hope for change to be possible within the USA.

Today, Americans have shown us why the USA is a world leader. Voters in the US have given us reason for hope. Reason to believe that American will not turn inwards, letting itself be ripped apart by hate and the religious extremism it is claiming to fight elsewhere.

For Canadians, I believe many of us will wake up with a political hang over tomorrow morning with an acute awareness of how far we need to go in our own country. With our own federal election not even a month behind us Canadians will now have to give up our smug progressive mantle. It is absolutely no longer possible for Canadians to believe ourselves more progressive and forward thinking than our southern neighbours. We will for the next four years be reminded that we voted for war, we voted for the status quo that is rewarding the rich on Bay St. and drowning the towns and manufacturing economy of this country. We voted for an administration that advised the world not to invest in the strongest provincial economy in the country. We have for the first time seen Ontario need equalization payments. We have not looked forward, we have not looked for hope, we have not looked for change.

Nevertheless we can learn a lot from Barack Obama starting today. Barack Obama did not become president overnight, it was a long road. That road was about mobilizing people, the people who did not come out to the polls last time, the people who did not think that politics was relevant to their daily lives.

For the next 2, 3, 4 years Canadians need to strive for the first time since JFK to be more like the Americans. To instill hope in our grassroots and to empower them with the possibility of change.

Thank you, our American neighbours, for being our international leaders.

Weekly Check in – Week 36

November 3, 2008

Success, a weekly check in within 1 week. 

I have also been moderately successful at staying or getting back on track. I am still not measuring up to my initial gung-ho (is there a correct way to spell that?) motivated first 12 weeks. However, I am still persisting. I have not given up, at least not entirely, and I’m trudging along. 

What does this mean?

Well it means as compared to my first stellar results of dropping 6 full dress sizes I have nothing new to report in that department. It also means that I have not gained back any size / weight, or if I have it’s not noticeable. 

This is an important realization for me. I often fall victim to the all or nothing mentality. If I can’t do it all then I should just bin it all and start again at some later point in time. The results of this mentality are well documented in the diet industry, my weight loss history, and my closet. All binning the whole thing accomplishes is gaining back all the weight I lost and then some. 

So why should I celebrate not loosing weight? Well, maybe I shouldn’t celebrate that, but I should celebrate not gaining it back or maintaining. I have been the same size for months now. My jeans are not too tight, I fit into winter clothes that looked good on me a few years back. They’re actually a bit loose. 

This is what I must keep in mind:

Why All Or Nothing Doesn’t work

All = weight loss, health & fitness success

Nothing = weight gain, health & fitness failures & harder challenges in the future

Something = Maintenance, holding onto past successes and not creating new future challenges. 

When I get to that place, and I do visit often, where I think that because I can’t do it all I should do none of it, I need to remember that doing nothing is actually a step backwards, if I can just do a bit, then that will keep me where I am, and that, is something. 

The Crunchy Bits

Week 4 Q3 – October 26 – November 1, 2008
Overall: 66%
Household: 57%
Health & Beauty: 86%
Finance: 52%
Career: 48%
Entertainment: 86%


Quarter 3 October 5 – January 3rd, 2008
Running Weekly Average
Overall: 59%
Household: 56%
Health & Beauty: 49%
Finance: 37%
Career: 68%
Entertainment: 87%


Quarter 1:
April 2008 – June 2008
Overall: 55%
Household: 75%
Health & Beauty: 62%
Finance: 46%
Career: 36%
Entertainment: 53%


Quarter 2:
July 2008 – September 2008
Overall: 45%
Household: 63%
Health & Beauty: 55%
Finance: 34%
Career: 30%
Entertainment: 41%