Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Face the Scale!

I think my commitment really showed tonight, as I dug my car out of the snow trenches in order to get to my TOPS meeting. Because darn it, I was getting there! When the snow shoveling endeavour started to seem like it may not be successful in the time frame I had, I must admit I was rather sulky. Becca and I did managed to get the cars out in the nick of time. Ultimately, since the road conditions were rather poor, I ended up hitching a ride with my Mum in her 4-wheel drive vehicle, just in case. But it is the fact that I was going to do what I had to do to get there, that counts.

I had absolutely no other reason to leave the comfort of my home - but I needed to face the scale after my Boston weekend, accept the number and move forward - whether I gained or not. That's just what you need to do when you worry that you had a bad week, you went on vacation, had a girls night, let yourself splurge just a little too much or any of the other 100 scenarios that make you worry about weigh-in. Accept and move forward.

I know that this theory is easier said than done. It has always been a downfall for me as well. I usually get frustrated and give in entirely. I have vowed that I will not do this anymore. If you feel like something is not working or that you're at stand still, take some time to look for new exercises, new meals, new ideas, new whatever it is that you feel is sabotaging your success (which is usually myself).

I'm constantly online reading other weight loss blog posts for motivation and browsing Pinterest for tips and tricks. One thing I constantly come across are - smoothies.

Now, I've mentioned before how terribly fussy I am, and the frustration it can create when trying to eat well. I have tried smoothies over and over and just can't tolerate them. After much thought, I've summed this up to one main ingredient - yogurt. I do not like yogurt at all - no matter the flavour. After some Pinterest Browsing, I discovered that many non yogurt people, such as myself are using Sprite Zero or Diet 7Up to make smoothies and decided to give it a try.

I took a look at several pins and blogs and it seems like you can substitute the yogurt like so in almost any basic smoothie recipe.

I decided to try a classic...
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
1 cup of strawberries
1-2 bananas (depending on how you like it, cut up)
1 cup ice
1/2 cup Sprite Zero

Add to the blender and grind.
Pour and enjoy for 150 calories!

Delicious...low calorie...yet satisfying. Since it was missing yogurt - a very filling component of a smoothie...I decided to throw back a glass of water beforehand. I'm not sure if that was necessary or not, but I definitely didn't have an issue holding over until supper. If I had of had some ground flax seed on hand, I would have thrown that in as well.

The best part about this smoothie is that you can freeze it for an on the fly breakfast, lunch or snack. I ration the mix into baggies to throw into the freezer at school for the week. About 9:30am, I take it out and it's ready to go at my 10am break. They tell you not to drink your calories - but if you're going to drink your breakfast or your lunch, as I do for weigh-in day, check out Stilettos & Legos. She offers a great list of creative zero or low calorie drinks - including this intriguing Pineapple Amaretto Smoothie for treat night.

Speaking of treat night...or treat weekend! I have very little regrets from my trip to Boston. I did really well overall. I'm not saying I did not splurge - or veer off course a bit, because I sure did. I had some bagel breakfasts, even though I'm cutting back on carbs. I also ordered Pepsi (twice!) even though I'm cutting that out altogether. Not to mention, the martini. But I figured I had all day to walk the streets of Boston and work it off. However, I drank a lot of water as well and ordered caesar salads for sides. Cautious, but not crazy. Still gotta live, right?

Sadly enough - my struggle this week was not my weekend getaway...It is working out. I am having a difficult time working it into my schedule or finding the life to do it at the end of my day. Again, thanks to the wonderful world wide web, I found a little help.

Most things I have read say it takes about 21 days to create a habit. I decided to use this theory. If I find a way to try to stick to something for 21 days, I figure, even if it doesn't naturally create a habit by that point...I should have that feel good feeling and just want to keep going, right? Let's hope! So how do I find a way to stick to it for 21 days?

Dunt, dunt, dut dah! Post-It Page Markers to the rescue! I placed 30 page markers in a very public and evident place in my house, that I would need to walk by and stare at daily. I decided to go with 30 - just in case 21 did not cut it for a stubborn soul such as myself. I'm going to create a schedule, rotating cardio and strength and when I complete a work out, I can remove a marker. Hopefully in 30 days, a work out regimen will be born.

I also decided it was time to take my measurements - oh boy, we'll save that for a later date! But on the bright side, I braved the elements, made it to TOPS and lost 2.6 lbs.

Miss Rice is 7.8 lbs smaller in two weeks, and right on schedule for my goal!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thirty and...a country fan???

Probably not (even after a fabulous Garth concert). Any of you who know me, know I am NOT a country fan. I do of course know some country - very classic country such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, etc. I am not a fan of the new country - the pop country. However, I do know Garth. I would include him in my classic country category.

Both my cousin, Courtney and my roommate, Becca - my best friends, are huge Garth Brooks fans. Therefore, when he announced that he was doing a World Tour - it was all that was discussed during our visits. It's a wonder they did not crash his website with their frequent tour date check-ins. When he finally and thankfully announced a concert in Boston - it was on! They were all over it, and dragging me along for the ride.

I am always down for a concert, and a trip - and I think both were pleasantly surprised with my knowledge of Garth. I probably know more of his songs than any other country artist - besides Shania. I am not actually a fan of Shania, but when I got my first cd player in elementary school, I of course needed a cd to play in it. My mother fished me out a cd or two from the Walmart $5 bin. Since I really just wanted to use my cd player - I played that $5 cd endlessly. I listened to Shania's self titled 1993 cd, for days! I still know every word!

Saturday arrives, we take off in the morning, as there is a storm on its way - with two huge Garth fans and my happy pills. We finally encounter the storm somewhere between Bangor and Portland. Our trusty driver Courtney trudges along, while I DJ. I'm sure Becca spent this portion of the drive rolling her eyes and wondering how on earth she ended up here, while we sang our hearts out to Roxette, Pat Benatar, Bob Segar and the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. 

We head slow and steady into the storm... all of the traffic is moving along together in the slow lane. Along comes an 18 wheeler - with the need to pass us all. As he is speeding alongside us - he must lose vision or control or both, because he swerves into our lane - and the water and slush come blasting at us - Courtney cranks the wind shield wipers but we have zero visibility. We are pretty sure we're under this trucks tire - hence the water wave, and the feeling that we're travelling through a car wash. Courtney holds steady and eventually the truck driver regains control - or sanity, not sure which and slides back into his lane. The singing has stopped. I pat Courtney on the shoulder for her superb driving skills, but I'm pretty sure she's still in shock. It takes a minute for us all to come around and continue our dance party. In the moment of terror, not to mention zero visibility - we didn't retrieve the "How's My Driving" number - but if we had - it would not have been a pleasant review!   
Prior to the near death experience, and the worst of the weather -
when it was still fun and games - and apparently fun to take pictures LOL
Slightly recovered from our near death experience, we arrive in Portland. The storm is raging, so we decide to stay put and eat at the hotel restaurant. BTW - if anyone is travelling to Portland and taking the train, The Clarion is the place to stay. It is located just around the corner from the train station, has reasonable rates and nice rooms. They even have air mattresses - in case 2 members of your party might be Typhoid Mary (Courtney and I), leaving the last member not too eager to share a bed with either of us. 

The big day arrives and we're all up before the crack of dawn (who knew a one hour time difference would throw you off). Courtney and I were stirring before 4am, Becca shortly behind. We arrive at the station by 7:30am, ready to go. The train comes along - and we settle into some seats.

Now, if you know me (or Courty, or Becca) then another thing you know about me is that I have a comfort zone and prefer to be in it, and you to be out of it. However, that was not an option on this trip! I have a bum knee and broke my tailbone last year - I am too old to be cramped up in a compact area, regardless of my preference on personal space. Therefore, the train ride looked a little something like this...

Another interesting factor of our train ride - sitting beside the dysfunctional divorced couple...who argued about everything that each other said the entire 3 hours. Needless to say, I felt very normal that day. 

Finally...arrival in Boston! We check into the Holiday Inn Express (yet another fabulous hotel recommendation). It was across the road from the train station and TD Garden. Even though we could not technically check in until 3pm and arrived around 11am - they stored our luggage for us, told us they would get our room ready asap and we could check in early. The view, however, leaves much to be desired. 

We decided to walk down to Quincy Market and do some browsing, souvenir shopping, etc. I loved all the old roads and pathways! It's beautiful. I also love markets. I was in my element.

The time arrived for us to think about eating. The first 4-5 restaurants we came across, had a full seafood only menu - not really the best option if you're allergic to shellfish, like me. "Lergic!" became my phrase of the weekend. As soon as we approached a restaurant and my eyes fell upon their fish and anchor decorated menu, I'd raise my finger into the air and announce "Lergic!". We eventually made our way to the Hard Rock Cafe and had a lovely meal. I tried my best to pick a nice option - which STILL landed me a whoppin' 1,147 calories on top of the bagel and cream cheese I had on the train. It was a good thing it was going to be my only real meal of the day. And, I confess...I had a Pepsi! However - I was on a trip and I decided I would try to be cautious but not crazy, and live a little. 

We ventured back to the hotel to get ready...

...and then we headed out for some cocktails before the concert. Crazy Courty wore her black high heels on the slick and treacherous Boston streets! I could barely keep upright in my boots! 

We had some fabulous nachos (waaaaay over my calories at this point, I'm sure) and magaritas/martinis at Boston Beer Works (another recommendation). This was probably one of the many prime moments that Becca decided we should NOT return to our homes, our jobs, our lives and just chase Garth on tour, drinking margaritas and singing our hearts out lol. 

It's finally time for the gates to open...Courtney and Becca have remained relatively calm, and I am shocked that I haven't had to reel them in. We venture over to TD Garden, we wait for the gates to open...everyone is still in a very serene state...I'm a little WTF. 

We file in with the crowd...Courtney and Becca: still serene. Brittany: still WTF. 

We go past security - no status change. I finally ask what the beeeep is going on. 

No tickets. We haven't received our tickets yet...they're both in panic that there is a problem. They keep pushing us along, telling us we're ok. It is now that I realize, their serene state is actually a state of panic. I'm really WTF at this point - if there is an issue and we don't have tickets, what am I going to do with these two? I will just have to walk away, go back to hotel, let everything run its course and bail them from Boston jail in the morning. 

We approach the final leg...the man asks us for our tickets. Courtney tells him we ordered them online, he kindly asks us for the credit card used to order them, scans it with his little machine hooked to his belt and out pops our 3 tickets! 

This is the exact moment the craziness sets in....I have two happy fan....atics! 

We find our AMAZING seats - thanks to Becca's inability to accept the first 20 shitty seats they tried to offer her....and wait. This was extremely painful for both of them. At one point, Courtney even threatens that if I don't know the words and can't sing along, I'll have to move!! Thankfully, I knew more Garth than she anticipated. 

Courtney was so excited, she broke the face out of her watch! 

The show finally begins...I have two people in complete awe! 

There he is, folks! 

20 years and a few pounds hasn't slowed him down! 

The Garth High - Thing 1

The Garth High - Thing 2.

It sadly comes to an end...3 hours of Classic Garth! 

I must say it was a fabulous concert, I did a lot of singing, hooting, hollering and dancing - country fan or not! We returned home safely, lucky enough to get ahead of the storm of the decade. Extra lucky to have a snow day today, and an opportunity to rest up and begin planning our life of chasing Garth on tour, drinking margaritas and singing until our vocal chords clamp up. 

Miss Rice might have a little cowgirl in her, after all ;) 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Weigh-In Wednesday

It's Weigh-In Wednesday! Hopefully I am always this eager to check in. Although - I do have one struggle from this past week...I have been sick the entire time! I couldn't decide whether that was going to work in my favour or not.This did help curb my appetite, but working out was out of the question.

Regardless, I still have positives from the week - I accomplished a lot in terms of goals I was hoping to complete. I have evaluated the things I am involved in and determined what needs to be a priority and what I can cut out (even though it make me feel terribly guilty).

In terms of my weight loss baby steps (this week being to modify my beverages). I did extremely well. Pepsi has been cut out. As for coffee - this is a work in progress...I love coffee - I love trashy coffee, the trashier the better - meaning lots and lots of sugary delicious creamer. I love me some trashy coffee. Drinking black coffee is not going to cut it. I have tried making clean eating creamers, I tried almond milk, honey, other sweeteners. None of it is doing it for me. None of them suit me, therefore I know none of these alternatives will stick. So - unless I magically come across a miracle alternative that I equally enjoy - coffee may just have to be a Saturday/Sunday treat, and that is going to take some will power!

So let's talk about water. Another goal, this week. I am trying to ensure I drink the daily requirement of water.  Except - how much is that? Some of the research says 64 oz, some say 91 oz. But since this is a new concept to me, I decided to start with 64 oz.

Which leads me to my fabulous find of the week!! I am not a drinker. I could go all day and drink from one glass. I can sit and eat a meal without a liquid of any sort. Drinking this amount of water is going to be a full-time job! If you have similar issues - pay attention...

I bought a bottle, like above. I filled it and kept it refrigerated so the water is nice and cold AND, most importantly - measured out for you. You know how much water you have managed to drink and how much you have left. I also carried around a smaller water bottle to fill and actually drink from - instead of lugging around the large container.

I try to consistently drink from it and of course, the goal is that it's gone at the end of the day. In the beginning, I felt so water logged. I was literally choking it down the first few days - forcing myself to finish, but it's getting easier. One thing I find that helps is to mark the large jug, like in the photos below.

The next piece of the "dieting" puzzle is to make modifications to my meals and snacks. This seems like a multi-step process - and that's because it is! This week I want to ensure I continue to keep a food diary - like my TOPS leader says - If you bite it, write it! Some areas I want to begin to watch and work on are cutting down on carbs, watching my sugar and sodium levels, and...drum roll please....portion control!

This is going to take a few weeks to work out. My biggest concern is what a fussy eater I am. It really limits my options. I have already started to work on this - and I will not lie, I spent countless amounts of time planning for this past week. It's not easy. I spent hours online looking for recipes, making shopping lists and preparing meals. It seems like such a waste of time - as I could be doing some kick ass cardio or a kettle bell work out, but it really is as equally important.

I managed to find a whole week worth of low-carb, low calorie meals that were enjoyable and filling ( took me a LONG time to do this). But, to help you all out - I am going to share another fabulous find, and hopefully help cut out some of the time consuming planning for you.

Check out Stuffed Peppers from Kayln's Kitchen. Many stuffed pepper recipes include beans and many things I am just not going to eat. This recipe was great. The only change we made was to use turkey burger opposed to turkey sausage and add a little bit of spice to make up for the missing flavour from the sausage. Our peppers worked out to be 390 calories each. One pepper was more than enough! Becca and I even shared a pepper for lunch the next day, which made an UNDER 200 CALORIE LUNCH that was filling and nutritious. Perfection!

So, now for the moment of truth - after weigh-in this week I am 4.8lbs. smaller! I feel great about my weigh-in, I think this is a good start and I'm taking things slow enough that it should be sustainable for the rest of my days, not just the next 218! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Thirty and...300lbs?!

Have you ever had someone post a photo of you online and you just state at it blankly...and think, do I really look like that? Well, these two photos did that for me. I couldn't believe it. I was mortified. I wanted to hit the "untag" button. Then I thought, what's the point? This is clearly what I look like. This is clearly what people see. Just because I am seeing it for the first time, reallllllly seeing it, doesn't mean it's not real and it's not out there. Untagging it does not make it go away.

The time has come. I am making the vow to not become Thirty and...300lbs. Obviously weight loss does not just happen. There needs to be a plan - now plans, organization, lists - those fall under the things that I am good at. Probably because I have no memory and no I need to be good at those things. I've thought about what has not worked for me in the past and one of the major factors would be too much too soon as well as being unrealistic. I need to take it one step at a time, one change/goal at a time. They also need to be tangible/realistic goals for me and my lifestyle in order to have the ability to become long term. For example, I am a fussy eater. I must take the time to find things I will eat and enjoy and not claim I am going to choke down brussel sprouts for the rest of my days, knowing this will inevitably come to an end.

I have always been bigger, even as a child. As hard as it is to believe, and as much as it goes against science – I have been healthy. My blood pressure, sugar levels, cholesterol have all been good. No issues or concerns. I had a healthy energy level and was able to participate in anything I wanted to – walking local trails, kayaking, walking with my dog, playing with kids, etc. 

Over the last 2 years or so, I've discovered a decline. I guess it was all catching up with me. I'm probably “only” 20 lbs heavier than I was in college – however, I'm carrying it more distinctively and I'm starting to see a decrease in my energy, my abilities and my health. There’s also a large decrease in the ability to get the pounds off. I used to think about losing weight and I would. However, without any of the implications of the weight – I didn't have much of a drive to follow through. Now that I am seeing those complications, taking the weight off is vital, yet I know it’s going to be a huge task. Taking the amount of weight off that I need to is a task for anyone, and like most, I have some obstacles in my way.  

The decline...
First, I lead an extremely busy life. I work full-time, but I am fortunate to work at a school roughly from 8am-3/4pm. I do a lot of work outside of these hours as well. I am also a Girl Guide leader. I am a Cheer coach. I tutor. I am a house/child/dog sitter. I am Vice-Chair of our local Library board. I am also taking some online classes. I am part of the Campobello Violence Prevention Team. I am a huge advocate for literacy and Autism. Not to mention, events here and there throughout the year that I host or help with. In any spare minutes, I always have more work I can tend to and Girl Guides is a never ending task. The worst part – this is me having already cut back from last year! All of these things are great – I enjoy them, they make me happy and feel good…but I need time for me. I need time for this.

My second obstacle: my knee. Shortly after I graduated high school, I dislocated my kneecap. There was very little they could do for my knee at the time. Of course it was popped back in, but has given me non-stop trouble for the past 12 years. It’s clear that the excessive popping in and out of my loose knee cap has caused further damage. I have a lot of pain in my knee and it is at times immobile. It’s difficult to walk for periods of time, running is not an option, bending is very difficult and painful as well. I am not sure how to exercise the extent that I need to without causing further injury, without the excruciating pain, etc. I'm sure this has also assisted in the increase in weight and decline in abilities. 

Now, to overcome the obstacles. 

It's time to let go - it makes it extra fun to do it in song, if you like. It's okay to be average. It's okay to do the minimum. I am, in all sense of the phrase, a Type A personality, so this does not come easy. However, there will not be a me, if I don't tend to this. I need to scale back, so I have time to do what is needed, what is important, what it vital. As for my knee, I have already visited my family doctor. She has placed me on a temporary medication for the time being and I have gone for x-rays and an MRI to see what further damage has been caused over the these years so we can determine what needs to be done. 

Well done!?! Well...that was the easy part in comparison. Those obstacles do not simple get me to my goal.

My next task was to find resources. The area I live in is small, and we have limited resources. Until this past week, there was an absence in the world of weight loss/management programs. There is only one gym - which is run solely on volunteers and therefore is limited in their hours and abilities. Yet, fortunately for me and this adventure - in the neighbouring town, a TOPS chapter started. The timing couldn't be better. I attended Wednesday, registered and had my first weigh in...which I am going to share with you.

Why? Because I need this. If I'm going to do this - once and for all - I need something to motivate me. I think for this to truly work, it would benefit me to put it out there. Even though I know people see me, they know how overweight I am...doing this is still very difficult. I feel very exposed. I feel nervous. I feel insecure. As if somehow I was hiding it before? But... If I know people know - I will feel the need to succeed.

My first weigh-in, I tipped the scale at 300.8lbs. Since, as I pointed out with my online photos - people see this every day, I'm sure it's no surprise to you. It is however to me. In 2004, I weighed my smallest since I was approximately 15 years old, at 245lbs. Since I want to set a tangible goal for my birthday. I have decided it will be to lose 50lbs by August 28th, which will put me in a close range to my smallest weight.

This week my goal will be to modify my beverages, by cutting out soda, altering how I drink my coffee and ensuring I drink lots of water. Each Wednesday, I'll post my weigh-in and goals I've set for that week - in hopes this blog, this public information and support from my followers will help me reach my goal and...

Find Miss Rice...220 days and counting! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thirty and... ½ Excuses

I am good at a lot of things…following through may not be one of them. 

I did finish a college program, but started University and didn't finish. I had no idea what I wanted to major in. I have never been able to shed these unwanted/unneeded pounds. I have started diet after diet, life change after life change. This problem is not just with large tasks as I've mentioned, but simple day to day enjoyments such as blogging. I have also started many blogs and never followed through. Always an excuse. Not enough time, not enough energy. I pour myself into my work, into my community (being the things I am good at) which leads back to not enough time and not enough energy - for me! After much thought, I decided that 30 IS going to be The Year of Brittany. The problem is, after all these years, I'm not even sure who I am. I've lost myself in doing what everyone else wants me to do. 

Two things I have been told regarding tongues: 
1) They’re the fastest healing muscle in your body. 
2) Tongue piercings grown over quite quickly (likely due to #1).
I have never actually researched either fact…But, recently I was told I would need to do an MRI, and remove my tongue ring. I had my tongue pierced in June of 2003. I NEVER remember dates like this. I don’t remember many things in general. However, during a lifetime of uncertainties, moving like a gypsy, indecision, inability to commit and I’m sure you get the idea…the one thing I have committed to in this lifetime – is that tongue ring. The longest commitment I have ever made, I wasn't about to lose it over this MRI! I think this is a prime example of a) the type of commitments I HAVE been able to make and b) the seriousness of my inability to see things through. All is well, they let me remove my tongue ring last minute, the MRI took all of 30 minutes and I quickly slipped the sucker back in. Again, just a lovely example so you understand the disaster you're dealing with.

20 yrs. old
My 20’s has full of a lot of not-knowing-who-I-am-any-more-or-did-I-ever?! I know, I know! It’s just not right. Here I am, 29…and I’m just sorting it out…but at least it is in time for 30 - because I can’t be known as 30 ½ excuses. I can be 30 and...thriving, 30 and...thrilled, 30 and...a lot of things. But not 30 and full of excuses. So even though it has taken far too long for one to find oneself, I am glad I am finally going to do it. I am going to this mission, to this blog and to 30 other things along the way! 

Pushing 30! 
So what have I learned in my 20's? Let's see...
I like purple. I like Fall - the leaves, the colours, the weather. I like kids. I love my job. I want to return to school and get my Education Degree. I love my fur babies. I like home renovation/DIY projects with Becca. I like surprising my friends and family with unique or home made gifts. I like things that are caramel, cinnamon and pumpkin flavoured. I like spelling things with a U, like a true Canadian. I like being a proud Canadian. I liked myself better when I had more energy and was healthier. I like vintage. I like photography. 

Surely, out of all these things - I can set myself up pretty darn nice for my 30's. 
So let's get's time to Find Miss Rice: 222 days and counting...