My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Sweets are my kryptonite

When I began changing my eating habits almost 3 years ago, some things were easier to give up than others. We cut out almost all processed foods, which wasn’t that big a deal. Giving up soft drinks was a little harder, but I managed to do it. Incorporating healthier foods wasn’t too difficult. We stopped eating out as often, but indulged now and then. I made little changes at first and not too many at a time because I knew if I did too much at once, it wasn’t going to stick. I love to cook, so learning new recipes and new ways to make things is exciting. I’m doing well for the most part, I think. But the one thing that has always given me trouble is sweets. I have a big sweet tooth, always have. That’s why I call sweets my kryptonite. I try not to have any in the house. If they are not around, I won’t crave them. In theory anyway. But sometimes I still do. Most things that I used to love but no longer eat, I don’t even worry about. They just don’t really appeal to anymore. But sweets are a different story. They have always appealed to me and still do. I fight the cravings every day. I’m not sure how to overcome them. Things that I used to love that weren’t good for me, I’ve either found a better alternative or just given up entirely. But sweets are a different story. And especially if it’s chocolate. There really isn’t a healthier alternative. At least not one that I’ve found. One of my passions is baking. My mother taught me to bake when I was young. To say I love to bake is an understatement. I find it relaxing and joyful. It’s hard to explain really. So if you are a person to loves to bake, has a big sweet tooth, but is trying to eat healthy, what do you do? That’s a question I’m still trying to find an answer to. So far, the answer is to still bake once in a while, but not sample what I make. And that is difficult. How can I know if others will enjoy what I’m making if I don’t taste it? How can I know if a new recipe is good? If I try to make the recipe healthier, how will I know if it works if I don’t taste it? Since most everyone I know knows that I’m trying to be healthier, most people are happy to taste what I make and give me their opinion. And that helps a lot, but it’s not quite the same. But it’s what I will keep doing, at least for now. I’m tying so hard, and some days I want to just throw in the towel. But I don’t. We were at a barbecue not long ago, and in celebration of a friend’s birthday, the was ice cream cake. I was offered a piece, but turned it down. And that was hard because I love ice cream. But I do slip now and then. We all do. We went camping, and I ate marshmallows and a s’more. Thankfully, that was a rare slip. Although I rarely slip, I still have the cravings. I still want the sweets. I still want the chocolate. I especially want the chocolate. I try to keep my mind on other things, but sweets are everywhere. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeings them. Maybe it was always like that. Maybe I just didn’t realize it before. But now that I’m trying to avoid them, it seems like I can’t get away from them. So what do I do? How do I keep my mind on healthier things? How do I stay on track? How do I avoid my kryptonite? Good questions. I wish I had the answers. The only answer I have right now is to take it one day at a time.

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New gym

So it’s been a week since my old gym closed and I was forced to find somewhere new to work out. Thanks to Tyler, that happened very quickly, the same day the gym closed actually. Even though Tyler said it was a great place and I would love it, I was still nervous about it. What if he was wrong? What if I hated it? What if I wasn’t comfortable there? What if … What if … What if. Now, I trust Tyler and respect his opinion, so I didn’t really think he’d steer me wrong. But I’m a worry-wart, so these are the things that ran through my head. Tyler asked me to meet him there the next afternoon, so I did. I got there before he did so I had a look around. He was right (as usual). It’s really nice. Very bright and inviting. Lots of nice equipment. And bigger than I originally thought too. The only real drawback is that it’s across town. But I can get there by bus (for those that don’t know, I don’t drive). So I signed up and hoped that I would be comfortable working out there. I knew it would take a little while for that. It did at my old gym too. I don’t really know anyone there yet. And I need to establish a new routine of going. Those things take time. And Tyler was going on vacation so I wouldn’t be seeing him for a bit. I was going to be on my own for 2 weeks. I did a little cardio that first day. I didn’t want to push too much because it was all new to me, especially the equipment. But it felt good so I was happy. This happened on a Friday. I was busy all weekend so I wouldn’t be able to go again until Monday. But that’s okay because I don’t usually workout on the weekends. When Monday rolled around, it felt a little weird not getting up early so I could get to the gym early to do cardio before my classes. It still feels a little weird. My new workout place does not offer classes. Probably the only thing I wish it had that it doesn’t. Okay, that’s not true. I wish it had a pool too, but that’s not a big deal. And actually, the classes aren’t that big of a deal either. So I get there, look around a bit more, look at stuff a bit closer. I like it. It has a nice atmosphere. I chuckle to myself because I can hear Tyler in my head, “I told you so”. Yeah you did, buddy, yeah you did. So I do my cardio, happy to have such nice equipment to workout on. The treadmills, bikes, steppers, and ellipticals each have their own little television. Oh cool is that! I’m not used to watching tv while working out, but I think I could grow to like it (hahaha). As I’m listening to my usual treadmill music, I began to think that maybe I should get some new music. As much as I love my Maroon 5, something different once in a while could be a good thing (yes, Tyler, I know what you’re going to say about that LOL). Anyway, Monday went well. As did Tuesday. I met the owner, chatted with him for a bit. He seems really nice. I can already tell I’m getting more comfortable. Wednesday came and went, as did Thursday. Each day I feel better. I still miss my classes though. Some of the stuff I can do on my own but it’s not quite the same. And I miss my regular workouts with Tyler. I know he is on a much-needed and well-deserved vacation, but I still miss him. I will be glad when he is back and our workouts resume. So for now I will do what I can on my own. Once I’ve established a new routine, I think it get even better. I’m trying to get there about the same time each day. It’s working so far. My first week at the new gym is complete. We’ll see how things go next week. I’ve read that changing your workout routine is good. It keeps you from getting complacent. This is a little more change than I would have liked, but I’m trying my best to get used to it. All things take time. Look for future updates on how things are going.

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My first 5k event!

So last Sunday, I did something I didn’t think possible. Okay, okay, I thought it possible, but not until next year. I walked in and completed my very first 5k event! When I first started working out at the gym, it was something I put on my goal list. I thought if I worked hard, I should be able to do it in 2013. When I first started working out with Tyler, I told him about it. He said he could help me with that. I put it aside, in the back of my mind, although not completely hidden. I knew it was something I wanted to eventually do.

A couple of months ago, during a group workout session with some friends, my friend Matt asked if I was going to do a 5k/10k event he was doing in July. I said I didn’t know if I was ready to. Tyler, who was leading the session, said he thought I should do it, that I was ready. I said I’d think about it because I really didn’t know if I could. Matt kept asking me to do it until I finally agreed. I was very nervous. I really was not sure I could. Tyler, as always, was convinced I could. I started pushing myself more and more to get ready. A week before the event I really pushed hard. Monday I did 5k on the treadmill (in 2 parts); Tuesday Tyler and I did a 5k walk outside without stopping; Wednesday I took it a little easy and only did 3k on the treadmill; Thursday I did 5k on the treadmill again; Friday I only did a little less than 3k on the treadmill, but that evening, I did 5k outside along the route of the event on Sunday. All of that plus my regular gym classes and workouts with Tyler. Saturday I rested as best I could, but I was very nervous for Sunday.

Sunday I was up early to get ready. I was still very nervous. I hoped I finished. It was hot and humid, not the best conditions for a 5k walk. Tyler wouldn’t be there to see me walk, but he was with me in spirit. The event starts and off we go. I’m the only one walking, everyone else is running/jogging. It was so humid and it as only 9:30am. I tried to keep a good pace, but could feel myself slowing down now and then. I tried pushing myself. I really wanted to finish. I didn’t really care how long it took. I just wanted to cross the finish line. The route was along the waterfront so the scenery was beautiful. Several people were out walk or running, other than those in the event. I get to the halfway point and need to stop to catch my breath. Have some water … Breath … Try to relax … You are doing great … Halfway done … Keep going. I knew that voice. It was Tyler. He’s always in my head. I keep going. It’s so hard to breath. Keep drinking, stay hydrated. My legs are hurting a little but I don’t want to stop. You’re doing great! I’m slowing down again, but that’s okay. Need to stop again to breath. I poured some water on my head. Felt good. Wish the water had been colder. Keep going. My toes are cramping up a little. Keep going. Can’t breathe. Need to stop. There is a bench ahead. I sit down for a few minutes so I can breathe. Wish I had remembered to bring my puffer. Deep breathes. You’re doing fine. Okay I can breath again. Only about a quarter of the way to go. Let’s finish this! Seems like it’s been forever since this thing started. Almost there. Almost there. Up a little hill. Around a couple of corners. There’s the finish line! And there are my friends who already finished waiting for me and cheering me on. And I’m cross the line! 1 hour 28 minutes 58 seconds. Not too bad for my first event and considering how hot and humid it was. I did it! And I did it a year sooner than I thought I would be able to. I wish Tyler could have been there to see it. I did it with his help. I am so proud of myself. I hope he’s proud of me too.

And I can cross it off my bucket list!

Up next: 10k???? OMG really???

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Good news, Bad news

Okay, Bad news first. My gym closed. They had been struggling for a while, but tried to keep things going. They just couldn’t do it any more. And I’m sad. Sad for everyone really. Sad for those that owned it, sad for those that worked there, sad for those who enjoyed working out there, sad for myself. I felt like I found a home there. I really enjoyed going there. I met some really nice people, some of whom I now call friends. I’m going to miss them all. I’m going to miss my classes. As weird as it sounds, I’m going to miss the equipment, even those that I struggled with. I’m going to miss the stairs Tyler made me run up. I’m going to miss the bosu balls I never got the hang of. I’m going to miss the stupid box Tyler made me do step-ups on. I’m going to miss it all. On the last day, I walked through the gym, remembering and saying goodbye. I was terrified when I first heard it was closing. Terrified I wouldn’t find another place I liked. Terrified I would lose Tyler. Terrified I would lose my momentum. But now I think I’m okay, I’ve made my peace with it closing. Time to move on.

So what’s the Good news?

First bit of good news is that I’m not losing Tyler. When he first told me about the gym closing, I was terrified. I was so afraid of what happen if I didn’t have him to help me. I could feel myself starting to panic. But he reassured me that I would not lose him. And that was the only thing that kept me from completely freaking out. So we are still going to train together. We’re just going to be switching things up, looking for new ways to work out, new ways to push me. And I think that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s what my workout routine needs, to be shaken up. Maybe I was becoming too comfortable with the way things were. Time for a change.

Second bit of good news is Tyler has already found us a new place to workout. This was my other big worry. Where would we go? What would we do? I know we could do some stuff outside, but what about those days it’s too hot? Or it’s raining? What about what if we didn’t find a place before winter? So many things went through my mind. But Tyler kept telling me it would be okay. He would find something for us. He told me to trust him. And I do. And he did.

Things are going to be different now, but it’s okay. Will this affect my momentum? Hopefully not. As Tyler told me, it’s not the end of the story, just the start of a new chapter. Look for a blog entry soon about my new workout place.


I’ve made a lot of progress in such a short time

So this morning I did a 5+k walk with Tyler. And we did it in 1 hour 15 minutes. Much better time than I thought I’d do it in. We had almost 2 hours to complete it, and based on my times in the treadmill, I thought I could get it done in 90 minutes. Never dreamed I would do better on the first try! I’m not going to lie, I was nervous to attempt it today, never having done that much walking at a time. But I really impressed myself. I think it helped having someone to chat with as I was walking, and encourage me along the way. It boggles my mind sometimes to think how far I’ve come in such a short time. The things I can do now that I never thought I’d be able to do, or at least not do so soon. At this rate, I might be running before I know it (hahaha). I’m set to do a 5k walk this weekend for charity. I had set the goal of doing a 5k for next year, not thinking I’d be ready this soon. I guess that means I’ll have to change next year’s goal to doing a 10k.

When I first started going to the gym, it was sometimes hard to do 30 minutes on the treadmill, and I usually had to stop at least once. Now I can do 60-70 minutes without stopping at all! And I’m going at a quicker pace as well.

When I first tried to do a plank, I couldn’t. The first I could actually do it, I could only hold it about 2 seconds. I’m still not very good at them, but I’ve been able to hold one for 20 seconds. I’m making progress at least.

And the mere fact that I make it to the gym 5 days a week amazes me sometimes. It’s not something I thought I would ever be able to do. Or ever want to do for that matter. But something clicked inside me, something changed. I’m not sure how or why or when, but it did and I’m happy. I actually love going to the gym. I love working out until I’m drenched in sweat and my muscles ache. It’s weird to hear myself say that. Sometimes I wish I could have felt like this in my 20s, but maybe I wouldn’t have appreciated it then. Now in my 40s, going to the gym actually makes me feel younger. Sometimes I forget how old I really am. I like that.

I’ve written before how others have told me what an inspiration I am to them. Well today, I inspired myself. I amazed myself. How could I not be proud of what I did today. I’ve gone from someone who slept as late as she wanted and spent the majority of her day on the couch or in front of her computer, to someone who gets up at 6am 5 days a week and goes to the gym and works her butt off. All that in less than 6 months. I don’t mean to sound snobby or full of myself, but I think that’s pretty damn impressive!

But of course I did not do any of this on my own. I’ve had a lot of help and support along the way. My loving husband Dan (of course), my wonderful friend Jeff, my awesome friend Tyler, the friends I made through Quinte’s Biggest Loser, my friends Sharlene and Paul, and Stacey and Steven (who I know I haven’t had a lot of time for lately, and for that I’m truly sorry), my family (of course), and everyone who stops me to say how great I look, or how impressed they are by me, or how I’m an inspiration to them. Thank you to everyone for all of your support. I couldn’t have made it this far without you. And I hope you all will be there for a long time to come because this is just the beginning!

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I think I can, I think I can …

This is a tough one for me. It’s knowing deep down that you can do something. It’s being self-assured. It’s about confidence. I’ve written about it before. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was young.

In the past few months I’ve gotten better at it, but there are times I still struggle. There are days where I feel like I could climb a mountain. And there are days where I don’t feel like I can even put on the boots.

Some days it seems easy. I get through my workout without a problem and I’m not feeling that sore. And then there are those other days. Days like this past Friday. Days where it seems to take every bit of energy I have to get it done. When I started going to the gym 5 days a week, I knew it was going to be a challenge for me. But I made a commitment to myself to go and I’m doing my best. Some days my body is sore and I’m feeling tired and I don’t know if I can get it done, but somehow I do.

I worked hard Thursday. Really hard. And I think I did really well for the most part. I was feeling the aches long before I left the gym. And I was still feeling them Friday morning. But I still got up, still went to the gym, determined to do the best I could. But I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it. Friday was only cardio and 1 class. I’m trying to do 1-2 hours of cardio a day. Not always easy. When I got on the treadmill Friday morning, I was hurting. I thought there was no way I could be able to get even 1 hour in. I was cursing myself for working so hard Thursday, pushing myself past my limits. My whole body was just hurting. Even my normal treadmill music wasn’t helping. I had to stop at 20 minutes. It just hurt too much. Those doubting voices were in my head. Those voices I try so hard not to listen to. They were screaming. Hard to ignore. I was kicking myself for working so hard last week. I sat down to rest, had lots of time before class. I put on some music and tried to relax, tried not to listen to the voices in my head, tried to ignore my sore muscles.

Tyler came in, I turned off the music, we chatted for a while before class. I was worried I wouldn’t even be able to get through class. We started class. Only 4 of us. I pushed myself to get through it. Not easy, but I did it. I thought about just calling it a day. Tyler asked me if I was going to do some cardio. I told him I didn’t know. He asked if I just didn’t want to. I said it’s not that I didn’t want to, it’s that I wasn’t sure I had the strength to. He told me that I do have the strength. He said “you can do it. I know you can”. I told him “I’m glad one of us is confident that I can”, and I laughed. He said “only one of us needs to”. I thought that was good. Really good. So I headed to the treadmill determined to do it, determined not to let him down. It was hard to even climb the stairs. But there I was on the treadmill, trying hard to do 45 minutes. I was going slow, just trying to get it done. I turned on my treadmill music. That helped. I was alone most of the time. It hurt, but I kept going. Tried not to watch the time. Just listened to the music and sang along when I knew the words. Time seemed to go slowly at first. I tried not to think of my sore muscles. I kept going. Checked the time now and then … 20 minutes, OMG that seemed to take forever … Keep going, you can do it … 30 minutes … 43 minutes … Almost there … Keep going … Try for an hour … Not that much longer. Not sure where that voice was coming from. But it kept me going. Then 53 minutes … Muscles are still aching, but I don’t want to stop now … Almost there. Finally, 60 minutes. There’s the voice again … It’s okay, you can stop now. I was tired and sweating and aching all over. I made it down to the locker room, grabbed my stuff and headed out to catch the bus home.

When I finally get home I sent Tyler a text … “Hey Tyler, just wanted to let you know I somehow managed to get in an hour on the treadmill after you left”. He texts back … “Good job!! I don’t know how you do it some days”. I reply … “me either. But your confidence in me really helps”. I don’t know if he realizes just how much of an impact that has on me. Just knowing that someone believes in me when I’m not sure I believe in myself. He thinks I can do it, and that makes me think that maybe I can too. I don’t know if he ever has doubts about me. If he does, he doesn’t say them to me. He always seems to believe I can do it. That belief, that confidence is contagious. Everyone needs someone in their corner like that. Some days that’s what gets me through.

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