Monday, July 26, 2010

Race recap - first 5K

Here at SOTS I generally ponder something for a while and then write a post. I rarely give you a day-to-day moment-to-moment account of my world. However, you get to read exactly what I experienced during my first race. The times are close, but let's be real here, it's not like I was checking my watch the whole time, so they may be off a bit.

5 AM - wake up. Feelin' nervous first race energy.

6:30 AM - alarm goes off. Get out of bed.

7:15 AM - consume massive bowl of steel cut outs.

8:15 AM - out the door.

9 AM - arrive at race.

9:01 AM - notice bouncy castle. Wonder if adults are allowed to play, too.

9:05 AM - register for race. Realize there is no chip timing or bibs despite what the website said. Boyfriend writes number 24 on my arm in provided dry erase marker.

9:10 AM - meet up with Sole Mate and wait for other Running Room Learn to Runners to arrive.

10:20 AM - check route. Locate water stations. Decide not to wear fuel belt.

10:25 AM - set Garmin for 2 x 15:1 intervals. That should put my 1 minute walk at the water station and keep me on track to finish under 30 minutes.

10:28 AM - Sole Mate and I toe the line.

10:30 AM - 5k start!!!

10:32 AM - arrive at stoplight where volunteers will ensure we can easily cross and direct us on the next leg of the race. Except... volunteers are MIA. Wait until light changes and make educated guess re: course.

10:34 AM - Sole Mate and I realize we started WAY to fast and adjust our pace.

10:36 AM - Sole Mate falls a few steps behind.

10:38 AM - Sole Mate falls further back. Suspect that ridiculously fast start killed her. Am only surviving due to genetic stubbornness (thanks, Dad!).

10:40 AM - assess situation. Am comfortable at current pace. Am running in a group of men. Can see one female running a few paces ahead of me.

10:42 AM - fairly certain the humidity has now reached 40 degrees.

10:43 AM - notice trail is very beautiful. Make note to run here again.

10:45 AM - walk break. Where's the freakin' water station? Check Garmin - am past 2.5K. What the heck?

10:47 AM - arrive at water station. They don't have water ready. Cups are empty. Bottles are in unopened 24 packs. I grab what I can and curse myself for leaving my fuel belt in the car.

10:48 AM - assure myself that even though it's 30 plus degrees outside it's okay that I don't have water because I'm more than 1/2 done.

10:49 AM - pass 2.5K sign. Check Garmin - have gone more than 3K. Curse like a sailor.

10:52 AM - pass female from earlier.

10:55 AM - fairly certain am melting. Humidity is causing breathing issues. Consider using inhaler.

10:56 AM - remember inhaler is in pocket of fuel belt... in the car.

10:57 AM - continue cursing myself for leaving fuel belt behind.

10:58 AM - begin losing a mental battle. Have no idea how long this race actually is. No clue how to pace myself. Desperately miss Sole Mate.

11:00 AM - if finish line is not around next corner I will 1) have asthma attack 2) cry or 3) scream profanities.

11:01 AM - round corner. See boyfriend taking photos. Realize finish is close. Sprint.

11:02 AM - finish!!!

11:03 AM - head directly to water tent and chug a bottle of water. Learn that route is actually 6.3K, not 5. Wonder why no one thought to mention that.

11:04 AM - cheer face off as Sole Mate crosses finish line.

11:05 AM - learn that finish times were not recorded. Whatever. Very proud of us.

11:06 AM - chug two more bottles of water while cheering on the rest of the Running Room team. Take many sweaty happy photos to commemorate the event.

11:35 AM - drive back to start point.

11:50 AM - stretch it out.

11:55 AM - winners are announced, but more importantly runners are encouraged to enjoy the bouncy castle.

11:56 AM - played in bouncy castle. Come on, what else did you think would happen?

12:00 PM - 1st race experience complete. Let's eat!

There were a few organizational bumps along the way, but all in all I’m happy with my first race experience. According to Garmin, I finished in just over 32 minutes, which means I didn’t quite make my 30 minute race goal. Given that it was sweltering out and the route was an extra 1.3K, I’m happy with 32. I was 5th overall and the first female to finish. Not too shabby.

SOTS wonders... what was your first race like?

Friday, July 23, 2010

A little friendly competition

On the first night of my Running Room Learn to Run clinic, I met my Sole Mate. We fell into pace during the first run and have stuck together ever since. We’re both running newbies. We're the same age. We get along, but don't know much about each other outside of running. She is a perfect training partner for me. We are so in sync that our RR instructor thought we knew each other before the clinic.

During our last day of Learn to Run, the instructor pulled us aside for a little chat about our first 5K race on Saturday. She told us to get our game faces on because during tomorrow's race Sole Mate and I are direct competition.

We hadn't thought of that. It never crossed our minds. When visualizing the finish line, I imagined crossing it with Sole Mate; one of those hand-holding, high-fiving joint victory moments. But one of us will have to finish before the other. There's no avoiding it.

This is my first race and I plan to finish in 30 minutes. I'm certainly not in it to win it, but I am competitive. It's one of my greatest strengths. My competitive nature motivates and drives me: to get the best grades; to do the best job; to do one more agonizing push up. I constantly try to one-up myself. My competitive nature is also a weakness. I am my own worst critic and expect perfection of myself. I also rarely take the time to acknowledge accomplishments because I'm already focused on the next goal (case in point – I’ve already signed up for Running Room’s 10K clinic).

The more I thought about it, the less comfortable I was considering Sole Mate “the competition.” Perhaps I can simply shut of my competitive nature for one race. This race is about celebrating; celebrating a new found friend and being stronger than I was before the accident. Instead of obsessing over beating other runners, I’m focusing on running a good race and attaining my time goal.

Regardless of who crosses the finish line first, I plan to give Sole Mate a big hug and marvel at how far we’ve come over the past 10 weeks. In the next race we may be each other’s competition, but tomorrow is just like every other time we hit the pavement.

SOTS wonders... what happens when your training partner becomes “the competition”? Is it possible to and should you try to turn off your competitive nature during a race?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Defining yourself

How do you define yourself? I'm talking about the deep-down fundamentals at the core of who you are.

A few months ago (yes, I've been pondering this for ages), I went for lunch with a mentor of mine. She's basically my Yoda. She wouldn't like that comparison and would much prefer I call her my Branch Rickey, but I'm trying to appeal to mass knowledge here. Anyhoo, we discussed my concussion and how it was screwing with my sense of self.

I had never taken the time to figure out what makes me tick. Luckily this extremely insightful woman had and her conclusions were spot on.

She proposed that I define myself in the following way:
1. I am tough and can handle anything on my own.
2. I am a hard-worker who will go above and beyond the call of duty.
3. I am an active and contributing member of society.

No wonder I felt I was losing myself! The concussion proved that I was not as tough as I like to think I am. I had to quit my job and was no longer hard-working. I spent hours on the couch alone, so there goes my contribution to society. Okay, I realize I'm being a drama queen, but it's how I felt at the time.

I was terrified that I wouldn't be "me" again; that those core elements I used to define myself were gone. I wasn't entirely sure I liked the new "me." I was scared my friends and family would secretly wish I was who I used to be. I kept trying to get back to being the person I was before the accident.

Slowly but surely the "me-ness" returned: my sense of humour came back; my ability to express myself returned; my physical strength grew. I felt more and more like myself.

And I stopped trying to be the "me" from before my accident. Luckily, with healing came wisdom. I learned from the accident and became a richer person for the experience. I wouldn’t go back to being the woman without this new wealth of knowledge.

I look at the way I defined myself pre-accident. I don't know for sure, but I suspect my core values have shifted in the past few months. Only time will tell, but I'm curious to see how I will define myself in the future.

SOTS wonders... How do you define yourself? Can your core values change or are they an inherent part of you?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Eating safety net

After breaking up with Weight Watchers, counting Points bothers me. I have been calorie counting in one form or another for years. I'm sick of looking at food and seeing numbers. I need a mental break.

As a child, I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. I was very in tune with my body's needs and wants. When I didn't want to eat something, there was no making me consume it (there were many untouched broccoli florets in my childhood).

Somewhere along the way I lost the connection to my body. I started eating what the latest fad told me to eat – low carb, fat free, no sugar added. I consumed a specific number of Points or calories regardless of my hunger. Some days I ate when I wasn't hungry just to meet my caloric goal. Other times I went hungry because I was out of Points for the day.

When I started my elimination diet, the nutritionist wanted me to give up counting and start listening to my body. Over the two months, I was more aware of my body, but I still diligently counted WW Points. My brain couldn’t process the concept of eating without restrictions.

I may be sick of Points and counting, but I'm not sure I'm ready for full blown intuitive eating. Ultimately I'll get there, but I need a stepping stone. Truth be told, I actually need a safety net. I don't trust myself to honestly evaluate my eats if I can't see them in writing. No numbers or measurements - just the time of day, my hunger level, and what I eat in general terms.

It’s scary to give up counting after so long. I’m afraid that without the self-imposed limitations my eating will get out of control. It’s ridiculous that I don’t trust myself to know when I’m full. It’s so simple in writing. Ask myself if I’m hungry. If the answer is no, put down the tasty treat. No problem in theory. Now let’s see how it goes in execution.

SOTS wonders… does intuitive eating scare or exhilarate you?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 goal update

1. Try yoga.

UPDATE: Done. I started practicing yoga in January and haven’t looked back. I used to avoid yoga because I didn’t think I could quiet my mind. Plus, I’m not very flexible. Now I take an hour each week to focus on restoring and rejuvenating my body and mind.

2. Reach/maintain a healthy body weight.

UPDATE: Half way there. I’ve reached goal. Hooray! Now for the maintaining part…

3. Stop biting my hands.

UPDATE: So far no good. Any advice is welcome. This is proving to be a tough one for me.I’ve realized that I’m less likely to bite and pick my hands if my nails are polished so I’ll be giving myself more manicures in the future.

4. Go to spin class.

UPDATE: Not yet. I don’t have a gym membership right now and won’t until I’m employed. This will happen as soon as I’m back living the Goodlife.

5. Learn to run.

UPDATE: Heck yes! I run my first 5K on July 24. Eep, that’s next weekend.

6. Find a better life/work balance.

UPDATE: Well, I can’t really do this one yet since I don’t have a job. My doctors have approved my return to the workforce so I’m currently job hunting. I am looking at job opportunities very carefully to ensure the positions I apply to will allow for a healthy life/work balance.

2.5 out of 6. I better get a move on! Half the year is already gone.

SOTS wonders… how are you doing with your goals?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Run like a horse

I've decided to tackle something that's been bugging me for years. I want to be a runner.

Back in public school, I ran track and field. I have a box of red ribbons to show that I was a decent sprinter. My tiny stick legs were speedy and I loved being one of the fastest girls in class.

Then it all changed one fateful afternoon. I was running the 400 metre race at the local track and field meet. As I crossed the finish line, I heard one of the coolest boys in class say "she runs like a horse." In my pre-pubescent self-conscious mind that meant "she looks ugly when she runs." I'm ashamed to admit that I stopped running. I would only run during organized sports and even then I worried about how I looked.

Years passed and I spent a good deal of time on the elliptical and my bike. Once or twice I even ventured out to try running, but never made it past 5 minutes. Jealousy raged whenever I saw someone out for a jog. I wanted to do that.

A few months ago, I’d had enough wishing so I signed up for The Running Room's Learn to Run program. I'm not a runner yet, but I'm getting there. I have my first 5K race on July 24.

I’m horrified that one comment and my own insecurity kept me from running. Although at the time I thought the cool boy was insulting me, I think it was actually a compliment. I mean, have you watched a horse run? It’s damn impressive. They’re fast and graceful. I hope I still run like a horse.

SOTS wonders... what aren't you doing that you could be? What's holding you back?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breaking up with Weight Watchers

At first, I was so in love. Weight Watchers seemed like a perfect fit. Once the honeymoon period was over, it turned into a bad relationship. WW and I simply weren't seeing eye-to-eye. I tried to make it work, but we had different goals. It was hard to admit, but the relationship was over and it was time to say goodbye.

I joined WW to lose those last few really stubborn pounds. At first, all was going well and I figured I'd be rocking Lifetime in a few short months. Then I stalled. Then I gained. Then I lost. Then I stalled. Then I gained. Then I lost. Then I stalled. You get the picture.

I finally realized that my body was telling me it was done. I was at my happy, healthy, natural body weight. Yippee! I decided to call Goal.

Unfortunately WW wouldn't let me because I hadn't lost enough weight since joining. I pondered that. First, I came up with some crazy ways I could lose the weight and officially call goal. Luckily I was reminded that this is about health not a number on the scale (Thanks, Jess!). I decided not to let an international company dictate my body. So, WW and I broke up.

It's been about a month and, I have to tell you, I feel great. This has been a three-year, 46-pound weight loss journey. There have been ups and downs; six-month plateaus; entire Deep 'n' Delicious cakes consumed; and many nutrition books read. The result? I haven't had such a healthy relationship with my body in years.

SOTS wonders... if you've lost weight, how did you know when you were done? Was it a number on the scale, how your jeans fit, or simply a feeling?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Isn't that sweet

Big thanks to Michelle over at Garlic Chronicles. She presented me with my first blogger award. I'm very honoured (especially since I've been slacking on my posts lately).

The rules of the award state that I need to link back to the person who honoured me, list 10 little known things about myself, and share the award with five bloggers I admire. Here we go:

1. I've broken both ankles, but not at the same time.
2. I treasured Popples when I was a kid.
3. I blast show tunes while cleaning the apartment.
4. I've read every Sweet Valley High book ever written.
5. I was prom queen.
6. My childhood idol was She-ra.
7. I subscribe to National Geographic.
8. I rarely reply to event invitations on Facebook.
9. I eat a jar of almond butter each week.
10. I'm a morning person.

For more random fact about me, check out this post.

Now the five bloggers I admire. I look forward to reading each and every one of their posts.
Jess at Truly into Fitness
Allie at Dancing in My Nuddy Pants
Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers
Jamie at Embracing Balance
Angela at Oh She Glows

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food for thought: wrap up

Way back on April 24 I began an elimination diet. I cut out dairy, gluten, soy, and processed sugar. After a detox phase, I added each back one at a time and monitored my body’s reaction. Dairy went poorly. Gluten was fine, although I’ll be eating less of it moving forward. Soy was so uneventful I didn’t even blog about it. I can’t say I’ve added processed sugar back to my diet. I stopped craving it weeks ago, so I didn’t feel the need to re-introduce it. I’m satisfying my sweet tooth with tones of fruit and the occasional maple syrup dollop. When I tell people about the elimination diet they immediately ask if it was worth it. In a word, yes.

In addition to learning which foods my body likes and doesn’t like, I gleaned a few other things.

-Fruit is delicious.
-Dried fruit is too delicious to keep in the cupboards. Portion control is a bit of an issue.
-Roasted almond butter should be its own food group. Holy yum wow.
-My weight didn’t change, but my body didn’t feel as jiggly and my muscles looked more defined.
-Eating clean means you don’t need Tums.
- Food guilt is a waste of time. Make smart choices. Treat yourself. Enjoy every bite.

And so the elimination diet ends. On to the next challenge… more on that later.

SOTS wonders… would you try an elimination diet?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Food for thought: ahhh, gluten

Gluten returns! It’s been too many weeks to count since I’d had gluten thanks to my elimination diet. I recently got the gluten go-ahead and have now satisfied my avocado sandwich craving. Confession – I actually satisfied this craving multiple times in one day. My body rejoiced! There were no negative gluten reactions. Sadly, this only makes me more aware of how poorly my system handles dairy.

As hard as this is to type, I have decided to take a break from dairy. I’m not saying I’ll never eat cheese/yogurt again (that’s too much for my poor brain to handle), but I’m listening to my body and cutting it out for the time being.

Next up, soy makes a comeback.

SOTS wonders… what would be the most difficult food for you to give up?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Returning to life as I knew it

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a proper recovery update. I’m happy to report that I’m doing much better. I have a few lingering symptoms – headaches with pressure changes and occasional dizziness. My head is less squishy. I realize that sounds weird, but it’s a very good sign. I’ve also had days without headaches. Hugely exciting! I had an MRI and all was clear, which means I’ll eventually make a full recovery.

Gone are the activity restrictions! The deal is that I can do whatever I want, but I have to stop if I get a headache. So far, I’ve been to the movies (caused a headache, but only a minor one) and a Jays game (major headache, but totally worth it). I’ve been more physically active and started strength training. My body is thrilled to be active again. If muscles could smile, believe me, mine would.

My doctors even gave me the go-ahead to search for a job. Frankly, I needed this. I’m going a bit nutty without a job. I feel like I don’t do anything all day long, which is frustrating for a Type A personality. I’ve promised myself that I won’t go back to being the work-obsessed blackberry-addicted crazy person I was before. After all, this is my quest for a balanced life.

SOTS wonders… how would you fill the days?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Food for thought: the return of dairy

It’s baaaaack. After five weeks without dairy, I’m working it back in to my diet. I was so excited. I bought my favourite yogurt - Liberte Plain Greek Yogurt. I added fresh raspberries. My mouth watered in anticipation. I carefully spooned out a perfect yogurt to berry ratio. AND…

It didn’t taste as good as I remember. HUH? I love this stuff. I know I do. I used to eat it every single day. Okay, mouthful two... good, but not the little slice of heaven I remember. Well, that’s strange.

I finished the bowl. I had another serving the next day. It started to taste better. I rekindled my love of yogurt. I thought to myself, “Whew. Thank goodness I can digest yogurt.”

Sadly the following day I had a very upset stomach. I’m really hoping it wasn’t the yogurt. I’m waiting a few days and giving my beloved Liberte another try. Please, please, please don’t let yogurt upset my stomach. I’m already saying so long, farewell to cheese. Must I also give up yogurt?

I have to admit it’s tough to tell exactly what caused the upset stomach. It could easily have been the dairy since it was the only unusual thing I ate that day, but I don’t want to write off yogurt before I’m certain it was the culprit. That said, it’s very tough to motivate yourself to eat more dairy when you suspect dairy is making you sick. Hmmm, I thought the hardest part of the elimination diet would be cutting things out. Turns out the hardest part is adding food back in. Who would have thought?

Also, I miss bread in a major way. I really want to eat an avocado sandwich. I’ve been thinking about it for days. Fingers-crossed the nutritionist tells me gluten is next.

SOTS wonders… BREAD! Seriously, it’s all I can think about right now.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Food for thought: weeks three and four update

Time got away from me. I ended up doing an extra week of my elimination diet. Four weeks without soy, gluten, dairy, sugar, and heavily processed food. It’s supposed to be time to start adding foods back into my diet, but things have been thrown for a loop.

By loop, I mean I attended a wedding yesterday and didn’t have control over what I ate. The vegetarian option was a plate of cheese-stuffed ravioli. That’s gluten, dairy, and likely some sugar (in the sauce). I know I should’ve asked for a plate of veggies or a second salad, but I hate to make a big deal about food at weddings.

Today I feel sick. Really sick. My stomach is upset. My whole body aches. I don’t know which of the eliminated foods is the culprit, but my guess is cheese. I’ve learned a valuable lesson – it’s better to make a special request than it is to eat something you know will make you sick. Seems so logical now. Ahhh, hindsight.

Sooooooo, I consulted with my nutritionist and I’m eating clean for 10 more days. At day 10, I’ll add dairy to my diet. Here we go again!

SOTS wonders…do you feel bad making special dietary requests at fancy events?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Food for thought: week two update

Okay, I’m done week two and well into week three of my elimination diet. I’ve said so long farewell (at least for now) to soy, gluten, dairy, sugar, and heavily processed food.

During the first week, I went through a detox phase where I was lethargic and every muscle in my body ached. Week two was a different story. I’ve had more energy and don’t suffer from the food highs and lows I used to.

I’m yet to have a serious craving for any of the eliminated foods. I’m actually shocked I haven’t had an insane sugar craving given that my sweet tooth is out of control. Dried fruit has been my go to when I need a little something sweet.

I continue to be more aware of my physical hunger. Also, I can feel how hunger affects my body. I can’t wait until my stomach is growling: by then I’m a cranky individual. I need to eat when I first feel the hunger rumbles.

My favourite thing about the elimination diet? No food guilt! I don’t think I realized how much time I wasted worrying about what I was going to eat, when I was going to eat it, and what it was doing to my body. I’ve been feeling guilty about food for years. And I’m not just talking about guilt when I’m half way through a Deep ‘n’ Delicious cake. I’d also feel guilty about eating too much, not eating enough, and what I was choosing to eating. I managed to feel guilty for everything about food. Talk about a waste of time. But I’m letting go of my food guilt. I eat good food until I’m satisfied… and I don’t feel bad about it. It’s liberating!

SOTS wonders… do you have food guilt?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Six months ago today

Six months ago today I was hit in the head with a softball. Maybe it’s my glass-half-full attitude, but I wouldn’t change what happened. I’ve discovered a lot about myself because of the accident, and I’ve taken time to evaluate my life. Here are six lessons from the past six months:

1. Wear a helmet. I was playing in a Sunday beer league that doesn’t require batters to wear helmets. Regardless of the league’s policy about helmets, I should’ve had one on my head. From now on, I’ll take responsibility for my own safety.

2. Surround yourself with generous loving people. Boyfriend, family, and friends got me through this. They take better care of me than I do, and I appreciate each and every one of them.

3. Respect your mind and body. During the first few weeks – okay, fine, months – I tried to force my recovery. I pushed myself too hard too fast. Just because you can push through the pain doesn’t mean you should. Listen to your body and respect what it tells you. Take the time you need to fully recover from an injury.

4. Recognize there’s more to life than your career. I was a blackberry-addicted career-aholic who couldn’t leave work at the office. I can see now that there’s more to life and more to me than my job.

5. Be a priority in your own life. I’ll return to the workforce with new found perspective. I will put me first. I won’t sacrifice healthy eating, exercise, and sleep the way I used to. I will make my health a priority.

6. Don’t let an accident keep you from what you love. Yes, I was hit in the head. Yes, the past few months have been difficult. But I love softball. I’ve been playing since I was a kid and this is the first major injury I’ve had. I will play again as soon as I’m able.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Food for thought: week one update

It’s been a week since I eliminated soy, gluten, dairy, sugar, and heavily processed food from my diet. This is not a permanent change, but will last for two more weeks to see if I have any food intolerances. Some random thoughts from my first week:

-I’m more aware of my physical hunger.
-I don’t feel guilty about the food I eat.
-I eat when I’m hungry; not when I’m emotional.
-I love roasted chick peas.
-I eat to “satisfied” instead of “full.”
- I felt very lethargic on day four, but now I’m bursting with energy.
-I haven’t found good gluten-free bread.
- I’m compelled to finish everything on my plate, even when I’m satisfied.
-I don’t spend the whole day thinking about when/what I’m going to eat next.
-I’m less concerned with WW Point values.
-I haven’t had any cravings yet.
-I may be eating too many nuts and dried fruit.

SOTS wonders… do you know any good gluten-free bread?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Food for thought

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to learn more about nutrition. What I should eat. What I should avoid. Sounds easy, right? It turns out learning about nutrition is no simple task. You have to wade through a ton of marketing, gimmicks, and tag lines to find out what should actually end up on your plate.

Thanks to Michael Pollan, Dr. Oz, and a variety of bloggers, I have a much better sense of what’s healthy. Now I need to know what works specifically for my body. I met with a nutritionist this week to review my eating habits. I’m an octo-lavo vegetarian who relies heavily on soy and carbs. Oh, and my diet is chock-full of sugar.

The nutritionist issued a challenge: eliminate soy, dairy, gluten, and sugar (fruit is fine) for the next three weeks. Then I’ll add each food group back in one at a time to see if I have any intolerance. I’m also supposed to add protein smoothies into my life and start eating whole eggs instead of just whites.

The challenge starts tomorrow. I’ve stocked my cupboards. I’m working on a meal plan (well, I will be as soon as I’m done this post). Despite being outwardly prepared, I’m scared. I love yogurt and muesli and tofu and SUGAR! I can’t believe I’m going to give them up. I haven’t tried a challenge like this before, but I realize that if I want to understand my body (and I do) I need to give this a shot. Plus, I’d like to prove to myself that I can make choices based on my body’s needs: not my emotional wants. I’m curious to see the results.

I need to make myself accountable, so I'll be posting updates on SOTS. Deep breath, and here we go!

SOTS wonders… have you done an elimination diet? What did you learn about yourself?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wanted: Role Model

I have a friend… whoa, I must be channeling Jen. This friend is one of the healthiest people I know. He eats well, exercises, has a good life/work balance, and indulges in occasional treats. A few months ago, I mentioned I wanted to adopt a healthier lifestyle and he offered two pieces of advice. They’ve really helped me, so I’m going to share them with you.

1. Do one active thing at the start of each day that doesn’t count as a workout. This activity can be anything you’d like: push-ups; jumping jacks; or a walk. I like this because it keeps you active even on your rest days and it starts the day off right. His morning activity sounded like so much fun that I stole it. Each morning, I crank up my favourite tunes and dance around the apartment for 15 minutes. Talk about a great way to start the day!

2. Choose a healthy living role model. Someone who embodies the health ideals you’re aiming for. Someone who inspires you. Someone you can emulate on your tough days. His role model is Madonna, because she’s hella in shape and has been for years. I don’t have one healthy living role model: I have a couple. First of all, I like Kate Winslet because she curvy, healthy, and hasn’t given in to Hollywood pressures to be size 0. I also like Ellen Degeneres’ take on fitness and healthy living (check out her SHAPE cover this month). Jess inspires me through her blog and every week at my WW meeting. Angela’s moving journey and thoughtful posts get me thinking about my food/life choices and challenge me to face my eating demons. Those are just a few of the people currently inspiring me.

There you have it. I hope my friend’s wise words are as helpful for you as they’ve been for me.

SOTS wonders… who’s your role model?

Friday, April 16, 2010

What if

First of all, my apologies to those who weren’t able to comment yesterday. Blogger was acting up, but I’ve made some changes to SOTS’s layout and hopefully the problem is fixed.

Lately I’ve had a serious case of the what ifs.

-What if I hadn’t been hit by the softball?
-What if my sense of humour doesn’t come back?
-What if I can’t return to my previous career?
-What if I put the weight back on?
-What if I lose my newfound perspective once I return to the workforce?

Yeesh. Talk about a pity party and worry fest. In general, I’m a glass half full type of person, but lately I’ve been getting stuck in cycles of negative thinking. Frankly, I don’t like this new habit of mine. It’s time to turn these negative what ifs around and see the positive side of things.

-What if I hadn’t taken the time to heal properly?
-What if I hadn’t chosen to eat healthier?
-What if I didn’t have this time to evaluate my life?
-What if I treated my mind and body with respect every day?

Oh, hey. I think I just found my missing mantra. Today I will treat my mind and body with respect.

SOTS wonders… what’s your positive what if?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Food bloggers make it look so easy

I arrived home from my me time yesterday to find a package waiting on my doorstep. I LOVE getting mail: especially packages that contain goodies! I wish I could say I took a photo, but I didn’t. I tore right into the box as soon as I realized it was from Whit at Whit's Getting Fit.

Check out the amazing treats Whit sent my way!

Okay, food bloggers make food photos look so easy. First, I couldn’t figure out how to properly display the treats. Then I spent 30-minutes trying to take decent photos and all I got was blurry shots. I definitely didn’t do this fantastic swag justice.

This is my first taste of Archer Farms and Trader Joe’s since I’m a Canadian girl and neither are available here. I can’t wait to crack into the Mango Peach salsa. Sounds dee-lish! Plus, I’ve never had edamame. I can’t think of a better way to taste it than dipped in dark chocolate. AND there’s a Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna bar I’ve been drooling over. Check out that cool cup (which I’m drinking from as I type this).

Boyfriend was also excited about the goodies. He called dibs on a few things right away as we both began sampling. It’s possible the dill pickle cashews, caramel cashews, and two crème eggs didn’t make it through the night.

Big thank you, Whit!

SOTS wonders… what are your favourite Archer Farms or TJ treats?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tick, tick, tick

“It must be so nice to have all that time.”

That’s a common response when people find out I’m on sick leave. I have to tell you, this time off is a mixed blessing.

Yes, it’s great to have time to evaluate my life. I certainly needed to take a break from my high-stress career-driven world and re-visit my priorities. To be honest, nothing short of a softball to the head could’ve slowed me down so this accident may have been a blessing in disguise. I’m lucky to have a chance to pause and reflect on how my goals and priorities have changed over the last few years.

The flip side of this time off is that it isn’t a vacation. That list of things I’d do if “I only had the time” isn’t getting shorter. Cars, trains, and planes aggravate my symptoms so travelling is out. My computer time is limited so writing a book isn’t an option (although I do love writing blog posts). That’s not to say I’m doing nothing. I’ve cleaned out the kitchen cupboards. I’ve reorganized my closet. I’ve tried new recipes. But most importantly, I’m healing.

Before the accident I used time as an excuse. I skipped the gym because I didn’t have enough time for a good work out. I grabbed unhealthy food on the go because I didn’t have time to grocery shop and prepare my own meals. Heck, I even skipped annual physicals because I didn’t have time for a doctor’s appointment.

I didn’t take the time to treat myself with respect. I filled my days with excuses and put other people’s priorities before my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t have time for me, but I know I wasted at least 30 minutes each day. Was it absolutely necessary for me to give up my lunch hour to get in that extra bit of work? Was it imperative I beat that next level of Lego Indiana Jones on my DS? Did I really need to re-watch that episode of The Simpsons for the eighth time?

I’m giving myself 30 minutes of guilt-free “me time” every day. This isn’t a huge challenge while on sick leave, but it’s something that I need to start now so that it’s a habit when I re-enter the workforce. I will make myself and my health a priority.

Today my “me time” will be a 30-minute walk to my favourite tea shop.

SOTS wonders… how will you find 30 minutes today and what will you use your “me time” for?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Celebrate good times

I received excellent news from the doctors this week. First of all, I was misdiagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms of PTSD I’m suffering from also occur in cases of Post Concussion Syndrome. One thing to deal with is much better than two. That’s celebration number one!

Secondly, the docs say I can do more physical activity. As of late, my exercise has been limited to a daily 30-minute walk and yoga. Well, the docs have doubled it. I can go for two 30-minute walks, but I have to make sure to rest between them. This works out perfectly because David’s Tea (which I am obsessed with) is exactly a 30-minute walk from my apartment. More exercise? That’s celebration number two!

I’m feeling better each and every day. That’s celebration number three!

SOTS wonders… what are you celebrating today?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm two-timing

Yesterday I had my first date with a new physiotherapist, but I haven’t broken up with my other physiotherapist. It turns out I’m just not a one-therapist kind of girl. From now on I’ll be seeing both of them. Never on the same day, of course.

All kidding aside, they’re actually working together to help alleviate my headaches and dizzy spells. The new physiotherapist explained to me what’s physically happening with my head. I will now recap that info for you. Please keep in mind that this info has been processed through my damaged brain and may come out slightly garbled.

You know that soft squishy stuff that surrounds your skull? Well, when you get hit in the head with a softball that stuff shifts. I think of it as memory foam. The softball pushed the memory foam to the right side of my skull and it hasn’t returned to where it belongs. So, I have a lopsided head.

Since there’s more memory foam on one side of my skull that means there’s more blood flowing through it. This is part of the reason why I get dizzy and have headaches. Too much blood on one side, not enough on the other.

My lopsided head also means that I’m holding my body off-centre. I’ve been joking that I have Bobble-head syndrome (which is something I made up, but I imagine you know what I mean) because my head feels like it’s bobbing all over the place. My head never feels like it’s sitting comfortably on my neck. Well, turns out it isn’t sitting comfortably because of the lopsided memory foam. My body doesn’t know how to account for the extra weight and overcompensates.

At this point in the explanation I began to wonder how they’d fix this. Am I destined to be lopsided forever? No, not to worry. The physiotherapists can straighten me out. Physiotherapy for Post Concussion Syndrome consists of the most painful head massage ever. The physiotherapist very gently massages my head and shifts the memory foam back into position. This alleviates pressure in my head, and allows nerves and veins to function normally. Oh yeah, it also causes mind-numbing headaches that knock me out for a solid 24 hours. Once that initial headache subsides the rest of my week is better. Yay for improvement!

SOTS wonders… are you loyal to one physiotherapist?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Missing Mantra

When I was trying to lose weight I had a mantra: be as strong physically as you are mentally. I kept this little saying on a cue card in my wallet. If I considered ordering a dessert or skipping a workout, I’d whip out the card, read the mantra, and remember my goal.

This was all fine and dandy until my accident. I’m not so mentally strong any more. Plus, the mantra focuses on getting fit and I need to focus on getting healthy (similar, but different goals).

My doctors suggested I write a mantra about “active healing.” They’ve correctly determined that I consider healing passive and inactive. Essentially I feel lazy. Whenever I feel guilty about the hours spent in front of the television, I’m supposed to heal actively by visualizing the repairs my brain is making to itself. They charged me with the task of writing a new mantra about putting my physical and mental health first.

Hmmm, this is the type of task I love and yet… no mantra. No ideas. No drafts. No works in progress. Just an empty word document.

My fitness mantra came naturally. It just kept popping into my head. This new mantra feels forced. The creative juices haven’t been flowing and I wonder if it’s because I’m trying too hard.

SOTS wonders… do you have a mantra? Did you sit down and write it or did it come naturally to you?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Putting the "occasion" back in occasional

I have a serious sweet tooth. At this moment, there is ice cream, chocolate, cookies, and Mini Eggs (which are so tempting that they are their own category) lurking in my cupboards. Generally this isn’t a problem for me. I have willpower and can resist temptation. But lately I’ve been an emotional eating machine. I shovel junk food into my mouth so fast that I don’t even know what I’m eating. I certain don’t enjoy or even taste the sweet treats crossing my lips. What’s the point of Mini Eggs if you don’t taste them?

It doesn’t happen every day, but I’ve certainly noticed that lately the “occasion” has left my occasional treats. Instead of savouring a delicious “worth-it” treat at a special event, I’m consuming mass quantities of quasi-yummy treats on my couch, alone, when no one will see.

Obviously this type of eating has nothing to do with physical hunger. Clearly I’m using food as medication. Instead of dealing with what’s bothering me, I try to placate myself with sugar. The result? I feel guilty for overeating and I still haven’t dealt with the real problem.

The next time I’m on the verge of a binge, I’ll ask myself “am I physically hungry?” If the answer is no, I’ll follow up with “then why am I reaching for the mint chocolate chip ice cream?” The first question will be an easy answer. The second will hopefully force me to delve into what’s causing these out of character cravings.

SOTS wonders… how do you handle emotional eating?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I’m often met with skeptical looks when I tell people I’m recovering from a concussion five months after being hit in the head with a softball. Before the accident I thought a concussion wasn’t that big a deal. It’s a term that’s thrown around a lot, especially with sports injuries. I assumed that it took a couple of weeks to recover. I didn’t realize that “concussion” encompasses everything from a bump on the head to serious brain trauma. Apparently there’s quite a debate in the medical community about the term “concussion” and the need to better define the varying degrees of injury.

I also didn’t know about the long term effects of a concussion. I’ve been diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS), which can last for days, weeks, months, or even years. The symptoms of PCS include:

1. Headaches – I haven’t had a day in 5 months without one.
2. Dizziness – Usually when I stand up too fast.
3. Fatigue – I’d love to tell you about this, but I need to go take a nap.
4. Irritability – I can’t think of an example, but I’m sure Boyfriend can (sorry, Boyfriend).
5. Insomnia – I rarely sleep and when I do, I have nightmares.
6. Loss of concentration and memory – I have trouble following the plot of CSI. ‘nuff said.
7. Noise and light sensitivity – Quiet, dark rooms are my haven right now.

My doctor recently added a second acronym to my list – PTSD. Yup, that’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Frankly, I was a bit taken aback by this. I felt uncomfy with this new diagnosis because, in my mind, PTSD is for survivors of car accidents, violent crimes, and war. I didn’t feel my accident was severe enough. My doctor quickly assured me that PTSD is quite common after any type of trauma. The symptoms of PTSD include:

1. Avoiding discussion about the event, especially feelings about the event – I hate talking about my feelings. I feel like I’m burdening people. This one is really tough for me. That said, the blog is helping; at least I’m writing about the accident.
2. Inability to remember aspects of the accident – I think I remember it, but there are some blurry bits and a few gaps in my memory.
3. Decreased feelings/emotions – I don’t laugh or smile as much.
4. Flashbacks to the incident – This usually comes in the form of nightmares for me.
5. Insomnia – Gah! This is a symptom of both PCS and PTSD. No wonder I’m so tired.

Okay, so this all sounds scary, but I’m making huge improvements. Concussions require time and lots of rest to heal. Since leaving my job to focus on my health, my recovery has been progressing very well. Yes, I still have headaches, but they’re less intense than they were. My speech is still slower than my usual gibber, but it is significantly faster than it was a few weeks ago. Slowly but surely, I’m getting back to me.

SOTS wonders…who do you talk to about your feelings?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Am I addicted to guilt?

Caitlin’s post yesterday about guilt really got my brain wheels turning. Am I addicted to guilt? How much of the day do I spent feeling guilty about things?

Part of my concussion recovery is tracking how I feel physically and emotionally. I have a symptoms journal where I note when I have a headache or dizzy spell and how bad it is on a scale of 1-10. After guilt came up a couple of times during my last doctor appointment, I also record when and why I feel guilty. Egad! Talk about opening a can of worms.

I have food related guilt: I ate too much; I didn’t eat enough; I could’ve made better choices. I have activity guilt: I didn’t do enough today; I did too much today. I have concussion guilt: I should be healing faster; I’m not a contributing member of society; I’m inconveniencing people. And a million other small things that add up to a whole lotta time wasted on feeling bad.

Even the guilt journal makes me feel guilty because I don’t write everything down. You know things are out of hand when you feel guilty about your guilt journal. Fairly counterproductive, no?

I’ve always been a perfectionist who aims to exceed expectation. This begs the question: is guilt what drives me? I don’t think so, and yet there’s no denying that I spent a large portion of my day worrying that I could’ve done any number of things better.

I believe self-analysis is healthy; by examining our actions and choices we are better equipped for the future. That said, often times my self-reflection focuses on the negative instead of the positive, which leads to – you guessed it – guilt. It turns out I’m the biggest bully in my life! I need to stop beating myself up.

To get a handle on guilt, I’m going to try Caitlin’s four steps. It’s time to focus more energy on the positive!

SOTS wonders… what role does guilt play in your life?

Monday, March 22, 2010

SOTS facelift

Check it out! Stilettos on the Streetcar got a facelift courtesy of Nik at Milankov Marketing & Design. SOTS now boasts a proper colour scheme and some fancy new graphics. Very swanky. With the new look, I’m one step closer to feeling like a real blogger.

SOTS wonders… what do you think of the new look?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A girl's gotta eat

There’s no magic concussion pill that relieves symptoms. Plus, each brain heals differently, so it’s a bit of a trial and error adventure when it comes to treatment. There is rarely a moment I don’t have a headache, but I have found ways to relieve it: hydration, healthy eats, and sleep.

I noticed that when I eat certain foods my brain gets cloudy. It’s like walking through fog. I can still put together sentences and handle the day, but everything is a little fuzzy and confusing.

After observing the influence food has on my symptoms, my doctor and I discussed a few eating guidelines. None of these are revolutionary. Most of them are common sense. Basically it boils down to “give your body good fuel so your brain can heal.” Here are a few things I’m avoiding:

1. Heavily processed foods
2. White sugar and flour
3. Sucralose, aspartame, and high-fructose corn syrup
4. Alcohol
5. Caffeine

Like I said, it’s not rocket science but cutting these out (or at least cutting them down) has made a huge difference. I’m giving my brain what it needs to recover and I’m not experiencing the fogginess as often.

But here’s the kicker, it’s not just my brain that feels better. It’s my entire body! I have more energy. I rarely have an upset stomach. I’m more satisfied after I eat. Plus, I don’t get the raging cravings I used to. Don’t get me wrong, my sweet tooth is still thriving, but it’s not the same all-encompassing eat-an-entire-cake craving it used to be.

I’m going to take this couch time as an opportunity to learn more about what my body needs. With any luck, I can heal my brain and learn to properly care for my body at the same time.

SOTS wonders… how did you learn about nutrition? Any book recommendations?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Operation hydration

Although I drink a lot of water, I’ve recently noticed my symptoms get worse if I’m not hydrated. Carla’s Project Hydrate couldn’t have happened at a better time. I plan to drink 90 ounces of H2O each day. That’s approximately 11 glasses. My brain (and body) will be happy.

SOTS wonders… do you drink enough water?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Doctor's orders

I am a bad patient.

I often pretend I feel better than I do when the doctors ask about my symptoms. When reporting to friends and family, I downplay what the doctors have told me. I also tend to modify the doctor’s orders to suit my liking.

None of this is good, but what really makes me a bad patient is that I convinced my doctor to let me go back to work before I was ready. I actually went into my appointment with a pre-planned pitch to get her to sign-off on me returning to the office part time. I put on makeup so I didn’t look tired. I downplayed my symptoms. Truth be told, I probably flat out lied… to my doctor. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

This is just one example of me pushing myself too hard during recovery. There are a shameful number of examples I could share with you, but let’s leave it at this one since it is pretty bad. Now that I’m officially on sick leave, I have no excuse to focus on anything except healing (and healthy eating). To that end, here’s what my GP, concussion specialist, and physiotherapist have told me:

1. It was a serious concussion – they prefer I say that I suffered a brain injury because it clarifies the severity of the concussion.
2. The swelling is reduced, but my brain is still bruised.
3. Full recovery will take at least a year.
4. Recovery is slowed by asking too much of my brain too soon.

And their orders (even the ones I don’t like):

1. Avoid all physical, mental, and emotional stress.
2. Avoid anything that causes anxiety.
3. Avoid activities requiring extended focus.
4. No physical exercise except walking and yoga.
5. No reading.
6. No big screen movies, concerts, sporting events, or theatre.
7. No drinking.
8. No driving.
9. No flying or extended travel time.
10. Limited blackberry and computer use.
11. If a headache develops, immediately stop any activity that may be causing it.

SOTS wonders… do you have any ideas to fill the days? Any good TV shows to watch? Movies to rent?

Monday, March 8, 2010

While I'm at it

While I’m divulging things, I have another confession. I joined Weight Watchers in January. I don’t know why I consider this a confession. Perhaps, it’s because I didn’t intend for this blog to be about my body. Having said that, I don’t want to ignore this aspect of my life or pretend it’s not something I’m working on, especially since one of my 2010 goals is maintaining a healthy body weight.

As a result of the concussion, I am acutely aware that my body is fragile and I need to take good care of it, which prompted me to join WW. This is the ideal time to get a handle on my body since I’m on sick leave and have doctor recommended eating guidelines. No more dieting. I’m looking for a lifestyle change. I want to put the best fuel into my body without feeling like I’m depriving myself.

Although I’m a new WW member, I’m actually at the end of my weight loss journey. I’ve treated my body very badly in the past. University was the first time I felt pressure to look a certain way and I responded by eating next to nothing – usually no more than a bowl of rice a day. I starved myself down to 110 pounds during first year. In the following years, I replaced starvation with overindulgence. My eating habits, combined with hypothyroidism, lead to 186 pounds.

Three years ago, a picture of me was posted on Facebook and I didn’t even recognize the girl in the photo. It shocked me into action. I began working out and made changes to my diet. I lost 24 pounds and felt like myself again. I hovered around that weight for a year before deciding that I could go a step further. I currently weigh 145 pounds and I’m happy with my body.

You may be wondering why I would join WW when I’m already at a healthy body weight. Well, I seem to know how to gain weight and how to lose it, but not how to maintain. I’m hoping WW will keep me on track and provide support during the times I’d like eat an entire vanilla cake.

SOTS wonders… do you tell people when you’re on a diet or making a lifestyle change? Are you afraid of being judged?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Full disclosure

The reason I started Stilettos on the Streetcar was to give myself an outlet as I recover from an injury. I knew it would be challenging to share my feelings (gah, I hate talking about my feelings), but I also realize it’s necessary for recovery. That said I’ve been procrastinating like a mad woman. For some reason, typing what happened makes it real. Posting it makes it even more real.

In an effort to get this recovery train rolling, I need to divulge the nature of my accident. In November, I was hit in the head with a softball while playing in a Sunday rec league. Amazing Boyfriend immediately took me to the hospital. My forehead was huge – think The Goonies. I didn’t see the initial swelling because Boyfriend and Sister thought it would freak me out. They know me so well.

Five hours of observation and a CT scan later, I was told that I’d suffered a concussion. Boyfriend had to wake me up every hour all night (poor Boyfriend. This was not a fun task. Love him).

For the first few days, I was a disaster. I was speaking at a snail’s pace; became easily confused; passed out; lost words; and had pounding headaches. Plus, there were nightmares and waking visions. Anything I saw or heard during the day would transform into frightening dreams as soon as I fell asleep. And yet, in my concussed stupor, I assumed I’d be back in the office the following week.

WOW – was I ever wrong. Turns out, “concussion” can mean anything from little bump on the noggin to serious brain trauma. After seeing my family doctor, I was told I’d suffered a serious concussion with significant swelling and bruising in my brain. I was put on sick leave for two months. This was a nightmare for a Type A career-driven person like me.

I was told to avoid all physical, mental, and emotional stress. Essentially, I sat on the couch and watched a tonne of television. Slowly but surely I got better. My speech improved. The headaches lessened. In the New Year, I went back to work part time. I tried this for a month, but many of my symptoms returned. Eventually I had to admit that I couldn’t do my high stress, high expectation job so I resigned my position. This was a very had decision for me, but I realize now that I was pushing myself way too hard. I was asking my brain to be 100% in three months. A broken ankle takes longer to heal than that.

And that brings us to now. I’m currently focusing on healing my body. It’s a struggle every day because there isn’t a visible injury. With no cast or bruise to remind me that I’m injured, I often push myself too far and then pay for it.

This post is my pledge to do a better job of taking care of me. I promise to listen to my body’s signals and focus on healing. And I will share that journey with you.

SOTS wonders… have you ever had a concussion? How long did your recovery take? Do you have any healing tips?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gettin' bendy

2010 goal number one complete!

Yesterday I tried yoga for the first time. My doctor recommended it as excellent post-concussion therapy so I booked a private lesson at my apartment. The majority of the lesson was mat work since my head can’t handle too many up and down movements. The instructor modified poses to take pressure off my head and carefully planned the session to encourage blood flow without a head-rush.

My first impression of yoga? AH-MAZING! I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed. For anyone intimidated by yoga (I know I was), a private lesson is a fab way to start. Since the session was tailor-made for me I could ask questions and learn proper positioning. Also, I noticed new things about my body: I carry tension in my hips and my shoulders are always tense.

Even now, my entire body feels relaxed. Yoga is definitely something I’ll work into my life. It gets me one step closer to balance, both physically and emotionally!

SOTS wonders…what’s your favourite type of yoga and why?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get them in writing

Everything I’ve been reading lately says that if I write down my goals I am more likely to achieve them. I know, I know… most people post resolutions at the beginning of January. I dance to the beat of my own drum, so I’m posting them at the end of the month. Plus, I didn’t want to post some willy-nilly goals before I’d really thought them through. After much consideration, I’m prepared to commit. Without further ado, my 2010 goals:

1. Try yoga – I’ve never given it a shot, but my doctor’s is recommending it as part of my recovery.

2. Reach/maintain a healthy body weight – I can lose weight and gain weight, but never simply maintain weight.

3. Stop biting my hands – I don’t bite my nails, but I do bite/pick the skin around them until I bleed.

4. Go to spin class – I love to bike, but I don’t know if I love to bike with loud music and someone yelling at me to push it harder. We shall see.

5. Learn to run – I see a Running Room class in my future.

6. Find a better life/work balance – this one should happen naturally if I successfully accomplish the other goals.

SOTS wonders…what are your tips to successfully accomplish goals?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Overheard on the streetcar

I was riding the streetcar today (no, not in my stilettos. I was rocking some sneakers on the way to the gym) and I overheard a very disturbing statement.

“I’m not eating today ‘cause I’m feeling heavy.”

I’ll admit, I rubber-necked around to see who would utter these words. I was horrified to see that I was looking at a teenage boy. No, your eyes didn’t deceive you – it was a teenage boy. The kind who should be scarfing down hot dogs, potato chips, pizza, ice cream and any number of other guilty pleasures in quantities that would turn most people’s stomach. I was forced to face a pre-conceived notion that teenage boys eat whatever they want. Turns out, not all of them do.

Beyond the surprise of who said this, I was bothered by the sentiment itself. Although I haven’t shared this with you yet (both of you. Yup, I now have two subscribers…yay!), I’m in the middle of a diet overhaul. I’ve changed what I eat in order to speed up my recovery process and maintain a healthy body weight. I will confess that there was a time I’d skip meals in an effort to lose weight, but that ship has sailed. Skipping meals only made me gain weight. A missed meal led to indulgences and guilt-eating. Now, I don’t EVER skip meals. I enjoy every one of them.

SOTS wonders… do you skip meals when you feel heavy?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

He may be grouchy, but he's still my favourite

I ventured into the world of Green Monster smoothies today. Up until now, the green hue has been a beverage turn-off for me, but I decided to brave it because they are so darn good for you. I threw a banana, 2 cups of spinach, 1 tsp of flax seed oil, and a cup of milk into the magic bullet, and let ‘er rip.

The bevvie tasted like banana and the texture was good, but I just don’t like to drink meals (soup – I’m lookin’ at you here). I need to chew to feel satisfied. So, for the time being, Oscar, you’re still my favourite Green Monster.

SOTS wonders… what’s your favourite Green Monster?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10 things about me

In an effort to learn how to define myself without referring to my career, I’ve made a list of 10 random things about me… and not one of them mentions my job title. I’d call this progress.

1. I would happily eat oatmeal every morning for the rest of my life.

2. I pride myself on my book collection. Feel free – actually, I encourage you – to judge me by it.

3. I moisturize head-to-toe daily.

4. I assume people don’t remember who I am even after they’ve met me multiple times.

5. I have my father’s eyes.

6. I own a guitar, but don’t know how to play.

7. I love my nose ring; my mother tolerates it.

8. I am afraid of fish. That said, there are three living in my apartment. Boyfriend got them for Christmas. For the record, the fish I live with are not scary. They’re actually quite entertaining.

9. I only drink three things: milk, tea, and water.

10. I colour code my closet and alphabetize my DVDs.

SOTS wonders... how do you define yourself?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hi Heels!

Wearing stilettos on the streetcar is kind of like writing your first blog post. You're slightly unsure of yourself, and hope you don’t end up feeling stupid for deciding to do it.

I’m still determining exactly what this blog will be, but here’s what I do know: I need to make a life change. I’ve recently been forced (read: suffered an injury) to take a long hard look at my life. Confession – the long hard look didn’t happen until after I’d watched HOURS of daytime television, but it did happen and that’s the important part.

I’ve realized that I define myself by my career and have a very unhealthy addiction to my blackberry. Even on sick leave I couldn’t put it down. Also, I often sacrifice gym time, healthy eating, and sleep – sometimes for good reasons, but often for no reason at all.

I need to find a healthier life/work balance where I have a successful career, but I also make time for myself. I need to learn to be a “me advocate.”

I’m not one to talk about my feelings and emotions so each and every blog post will be a challenge for me. I’ll share with you (whoever you are) the ups and downs of my world – hopefully with a bit humour – as I begin my quest to find balance.