Thursday, August 4, 2016

My very own "weight loss challenge"... with presents!

Weight Loss Box Challenge

This system is a reward-based weight loss challenge that I designed for my wight loss goals. It is different from others because you get a present every week that you complete your requirements.  But if you don't complete them, you forfeit your present for that week.  Here are the three requirements that I have to do:

1. At least 3 weight routines per week
2. At least 3 runs per week (one of which is my 10.5K)
3. Every single day I need to be in the green for MyFitnessPal, expect for sugar (the reason is because I dislike veggies but love fruit, so I eat a lot of fruit which has a lot of natural sugar). That means every day I have to put out more calories and carbs than I take in.

I keep track of it with his handy tracker (below). Every day I achieve my goals, I get this happy little dragon. Because dragons are awesome. My weeks start on Saturday and go to Friday. This is because Friday was always my binge day. It was the "I'm tired, let's get takeout," day, and that take out was followed by lots of dessert. So I needed a new reason to look forward to Friday, and getting to open my present each week fulfils that.

So, what are these presents? Well that is up to you and how much you want to spend/how creative you want to be. It is totally tailored to your personality. Because I didn't want to spend a lot, I went to the dollar store, and took advantage of the Body Shop's massive summer sale. Each item in my box was $1-3, added up over 13 weeks. It really isn't a big investment, like joining a gym or weight watchers, etc. Each week I get a motivational quote, something Wiccan, a few quotes from Cave Johnson (Thanks, Darrell!), a new poem I haven't read before, and my little present. You can really fill your weekly present with as much or as little as you want, as long as it will motivate you to want to get it. Because if you don't do your requirements, you don't get it!

As for the box, the NSLC sells their wine boxes and they are perfect! I got mine as a gift a long time ago and was using it as my chocolate box, so it seems fitting that it is now my weight loss box. They are $10, very attractive, and the proceeds go to the IWK hospital. Little brown bags can be found at the dollar store (in the kitchen isle, not the party supplies isle) and are great to hold your weekly gifts. Plus you can't see inside them, so by the time you get to week 5 it's kind of a surprise to see what you get.

That sums it up. I'm almost done week 5 now and it's looking good I'll be getting that present. And I'm starting to see some results, too :)


Losing weight is fucking hard. There is no easy way around it. If you have my genetic make-up, everything you eat will stick around on your stomach, butt, thighs, back (ugh, back fat!), etc. I've always been in the mid 140s (lbs) at 5 feet, 3 inches tall. I'm around a size 10. Most of the time I feel pretty good with how I look, and I'm an active person, but even running 30K a week wasn't enough to keep losing weight. Because I love bread, cheese, wine, pasta and chocolate/desserts. Running 30K a week was enough to maintain where I am, but I wanted to get down a little bit more.

But one of the hardest parts is the delay in success. You don't often see results in weight loss until at least 6 weeks. That part is always so discouraging for me. Every week you're working your ass off and it feels like you get nothing out of it other than being tired and cranky because your daily chocolate ration has been reduced to a pittance. This way, I get something to look forward to every week for my hard work.

Another motivator is that I'm running my first big run in October. It's a 10.5K. My current time for that run is 63 minutes - so around 6 minutes a KM. I want to get it down to under and hour, and I thought maybe if I weighed a little less I could run a little faster.

And then there is all the emotional baggage from being called fat and so on as I was growing up. Don't call girls / teens fat, okay, it messes them up. Just don't do it, even if they have put on a few pounds. And I was around a size 8 in jr. high / high school, so I'm not sure why I was getting called fat, but you know, when you're not pretty and popular, you're fair game for that kind of thing.

So I've always struggled with weight loss. It's a constant battle, and I really wanted to make a serious effort this time. Summer is the perfect time to lose weight! There is NO discounted chocolate in the summer. November we have cheap Halloween chocolate, then December - just don't even try in December, January there is cheap Christmas chocolate, February there is cheap Valentines chocolate, March / April there is cheap Easter chocolate. It's like the chocolate companies control the holidays or something. But those few summer months we are free of cheap chocolate temptation. There are no chocolate holidays in the summer!

So why 13 weeks? I decided I wanted to make this big change in late June. My run is October 2, and just the timing of the two equalled out to 13 weeks (plus 2 days since my run is a Sunday). It was just the way the timing worked out. If you want to try 8 weeks, do that, or 10, whatever you think you can achieve. Start out small if you want and do 6 weeks.

As week 5 approaches, I have noticed some small changes and my clothes are getting a tiny bit big. So it's working! But I am being very good and doing my hardest at this. The presents are a huge motivator! I don't think I could have managed without that small reward each week. I've tried several times in the past and always failed. This reward system really works for me, and if you think it will work for you, good luck! (and let me know how it goes :) )

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction Part 2

I'm rather annoyed and disheartened to talk about my second posterior tibial tendonitis, aka my second ankle injury. The first occurred on my right ankle in November, taking me out of running for 4 weeks during my favourite running month, followed by a slow progression through December and January to get back up to 5K. But it was a full recovery, and a few weeks ago I made it to 10K by spring, which was the goal I set for myself last summer.

And now, my left ankle wanted to try out the injury. There isn't a lot of research about this injury, because it's kind of rare, so there are only some theories about why it happens beyond my physical structure, which is a factor. I have flat feet. There is no arch support there, making me much more susceptible to this injury. Some research suggests that hills or speed training can also cause this injury, and I do both. I was trying to get my 10.5K to under and hour by October, and I like doing 2 big hills a week (ideally I would run 4 days a week - 1 10.5K, 1 easy 6K, and 2 hill 6K).

I'll be seeing my orthotics doctor tomorrow, as I'd like to know why this is happening again since I've been wearing orthotics since Christmas.

I know it makes me sound entitled, but this injury really brings me down. Running is my natural anti-depressant. I haven't been myself since it happened almost two weeks ago. My spark has been dimmed.

Having kids is a huge blessing, but I have had to give up some of my passions for a while. In the process, I found something I love - running. I had a great system for including it in my life, and it is mostly free (other than the cost of shoes). And now it's being taken away once again. It's extremely frustrating. It may seem a little pathetic that I'm so sad to put running on hold for a second time in less than a year, but I can't help it.

I'm trying some alternatives, but I don't have many options, and even walking is still a little painful. I went for my first bike ride in about 20 years on Sunday on the SMB trail. It was nice - I did 11.5K. My mom has a nice bike so I have that option. But I don't want to bike in Halifax, and that is where I would do 3 out of 4 runs. So I've lost 3 days of exercise. Swimming is expensive and I don't have enough free time to make it worth the money (i.e. I won't be swimming 5 nights a week). And while biking is nice, it doesn't give you the same endorphin rush you get from running. Because I like spending time with my kids, I don't want to take one of the three hours I get with them in the evening to go exercise.

I like to challenge myself, and running is how I do that. I want to push myself further and faster, while doing it safely. I haven't done anything extreme that I didn't gradually move into. I even started light strength training to help with support.

I think this reason I'm so upset about this one is because I'm starting to doubt my abilities. Not for lack of trying, but just because of how I'm built. It's making me wonder if this is it for me - 10.5K at over an hour on a non-challenging pace. Have I reached my peek already, after just 3 years of running? I'll hopefully have more information tomorrow after talking to the doctor, but I really hope not. I don't think I would handle that loss very well.

To finish, and keep things light, I've always loved this Simpsons quote about arch support. Everything in life can go back to the Simpsons!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My very long ramblings about daycare

I never noticed how much money influenced my behaviour until my kids started daycare. A professional daycare is very expensive - roughly a mortgage payment amount of cash is taken from my bank account each month to ensure my kids are safe, well cared for, well fed, educated and overall loved. Most of the time I am grateful that the daycare provides really care about my kids and try their best to ensure they are happy and well looked after. But it does boil down to me paying a lot for a service. And when someone pays about $1,500 a month for a service, I think it should be exceptional. That's not usually the word I would use describe my kid's daycare. 

One of the main factors that makes me a constant thorn in their side is the amount of things that have gone missing while my kids have been there. Underwear, pants, even very rare toys that were sent for show and tell because I was told show and tell is an organized event. Sure, until the toys go missing then the teachers preach to me about how it's not about bringing special toys, it's about just showing things from around the classroom. After having lost so many toys, I feel horrible when I see other kids bringing in toys when I don't let Victor, because I fear it will get lost again and I can't afford to keep buying replacements. I replaced one for $20 after an the daycare launched a very long search, (was not offered compensation) but I can't keep doing that. I have explained time and again to Victor that things get lost at daycare. And when he pleads "But I won't lose it" I'm not shy to place the blame where I feel it belongs and tell him that daycare will lose it. 

My husband and I decided to phase out naps for Victor because he was up so late at night. What I thought should be a simple discussion that consisted of "don't let Victor have naps" turned out to be several frustrated moments on my part because my request was not being respected. I found out he had been napping and when I confronted daycare about it, I was told that those teachers didn't know he wasn't supposed to have naps. Or another teacher told me that it's difficult to keep him awake because "then he doesn't like us." I didn't know how to respond to that statement. I stumbled through "but I'm his mom and this is what I want." to which she actually said, "Should we do rock paper scissors for it?" I couldn't believe that! I'm paying $1,500 a month, and she has the gall to so blatantly deny my request like that? Over the months I think it got better, but they were/are having trouble keeping him awake because books couldn't keep him interested enough. So I got him a special magnet book with construction trucks to play with instead. At least I was coming up with solutions and ideas. I don't want to be someone who complains but doesn't try to help. Sometimes he is just so tired he falls asleep, so I've tried to work out a compromise that if that happens, he can't sleep past 30 minutes. I have no way of knowing if they're being faithful, but they don't fill me with confidence. 

Daycare isn't just the monthly fee. Between what goes missing, and what we need to have stocked there, there are additional fees that require me to keep buying things that I don't think I should. Victor often has pee accidents, and fine he's not yet 4 that's okay. So that means he needs 5 pairs of underwear and pants to be kept at daycare in addition to the ones I send him in. One day Victor came home in splash pants because I forgot to send in extras. Who makes a kid wear splash pants?! Those are insulated pants that would make he very warm all day. One day they put him in my other son's pants. How well do you think pants that said 18 months fit a 3 year old? Annoyed, I asked if they promoted the kids to pee. Oh yes, every 2 hours. Well, if he's still having daily accidents, I can't be the only one to figure out that maybe it should be more than every 2 hours? is that a huge discovery I have made? 

One of the most frustrating parts of all this is that if they would follow through on parent suggestions, this kind of thing could be avoided. Instead of Victor having to wear splash pants, there could be a stock of daycare clothes with their name written in huge letters that could be borrowed, washed, and returned if a parent forgets. I have offered to go to the local thrift store, at which you can fill a garbage bag for $15, and buy them clothes that could be used for these kinds of situations for kids of both genders and all necessary ages. They liked the idea, but not enough to follow through and make the request and allow me the funds. 

I know about the daycare extra funds because I'm one of about 5 parents who sit on the parent-teacher committee. I sit on the committee for 3 reasons. The first is that daycare is always doing fund-raising and looking for extra money, which I don't contribute to because between this bill and all my others, I don't have must of anything left. So I give my time instead. The second is that I want to know what's going on at the place where my kids spend the majority of their waking hours. And the third is so I can offer solutions or ideas about how to improve things to alleviate frustrations. An example of this was my suggestion for white boards in drop off rooms. Kids dropped off first thing are not with their teachers until later when more kids arrive. I've often left messages for their teachers that never make it to them (such as, William's diapers are too tight). It is frustrating, but I'm sure that drop-off teacher has her own issues to worry about and can't remember everything. So I suggested a white board be placed in the drop off classrooms, to give parents the chance to write a note about their child for their teacher to see. This was in early November. It's now early January and still no white boards, even though everyone loved the idea at the meeting. 

There are teachers at daycare who smoke, which is a source of constant stress for me, and it goes back to the money again. If I'm paying this much, I want to feel my child is in safe care. To me, that's not being left with teachers who smell like smoke. One morning I didn't even let a teacher pick up Victor because she reeked of smoke. Apparently she felt bad about that because I didn't feel comfortable leaving my child with her. Well she could fix that by not smoking before working with infants and toddlers.

Every day there are teachers who can't hide this dislike of me on their face. They know I'm annoying. They know I will raise my voice, or be very frustrated in front of everyone. But sadly my negative behaviour, which I'm working on, still comes from the fact that I'm paying so much money for this, so I feel it should be working better than it is. Everyday it's something. The dinosaurs I brought in for William to make his drop off easier are gone. Victor's missing his gloves again and when he is picked up they tell my parents (who do pick up) that he didn't have any gloves. I see kids going home with other children's jackets. Every day I think "what are they going to lose now?"

There are many days when the frustration of daycare reduces me to tears. So I think why not do something about it so I'm not stressed? There are other daycares. But there aren't other best friends for my kids. Victor is an introvert and very shy around people he doesn't know. At daycare he has a group of friends he talks about everyday and I know he loves to play with them. He likes most of his teachers and knows their names. It's on the bus route for his eventual school. how much stress am I willing to endure so he doesn't have to go through the stress of having everything he knows changed? I'm always on guard when I arrive because I expect something will be off or wrong. It's not a healthy relationship to have with those who take care of my kids. 

I really have tried to be understanding. I've told the director that managing a daycare must be like holding water with string. I come up with solutions as best I can so I'm not just someone who complains. But when a teacher is 15 minutes late opening, that translates to 30 additional minutes with traffic and results in me and my husband being late, yes I will yell to hurry up and keep ringing the bell. I have a short fuse when things aren't on time or operating as well as they should. But I know this and I'm working on it, for my sake and for those around me.

Then I grapple with the guilt of even sending my kids to daycare since it causes such deep stress. I could quit my job that I absolutely love and work a retail job that I would hate on evenings and weekends that would let me make the difference. But I don't want to forfeit my career that I've worked so hard at.

I know my kids are happy with their daycare, but I want to be happy with it, too.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 recap

As someone who always keeps a running journal to jot down my thoughts, I can easily flip through the past year and see what stood out. Here are a few highlights from 2015

Depression poems published! (

The joy of yoga! (which will be full again in January...)

Feeling fat, but also feeling strong and seeing successful weight loss

My baby starting daycare

Vettel moving to Ferrari

My best friend's baby!

My other best friends tragic ectopic pregnancy

Accepting that my body fed my kids, so it's okay that it's not what it used to be.

Building a backyard for the kids

Discovering two new favourite authors; Fiona McIntosh and Kate Morton

Writing again!

Mudhero with my Mom

A love of sewing

Our family is complete

Going off my antidepressants a year early

Another autumn late night trip to the ER, this time for an ovarian cyst rupture

A wonderful visit from my mother and sister in law

A fun escape to Toronto for a few days

Trudeau sweeping in with a majority

A disappointing tendinitis that set me back almost 2 months of running

Getting back up to 5K by the end of the year

A tooth extraction


And finally, on December 28 I saw Star Wars with Tim and my Dad

Friday, December 18, 2015

Hallunications Hovering

Over a year ago my husband took me to the ER at 2am while my mom came to watch the kids. My brain had experienced such intense sleep deprivation that I experienced a hypnagogic hallucination. I felt a few more throughout the months that followed that trip, but fortunately it's not overly dangerous and as long as someone can be with me at the time I didn't need to go to the hospital. 

It's not dangerous, but it's terrifying. It always began the same; my arms would start to jerk and spaz uncontrollably. This was shortly followed by my grasp on reality - that grasp that the majority of people have all the time and never really think about - slipping away. I could feel my sanity being taken from me. Stolen by a lack of sleep. The most frightening part is that it doesn't happen instantly. It takes a few minutes of laying there, wrestling with it, fighting to stay sane. Bargaining, offering anything, anything to stay sane. My mantra would become "stay with me, stay with me" because it feels like I'm about to disappear into madness.Of the times that it took over, it lasts for about an hour. You talk, chatter, jerk, swim on the floor, watch your hands floating, giggle and spin around. And somewhere in the back you're still there, but you won't be able to get back to "normal" for at least an hour.

Sometimes I was able to fight it back, keep it at bay. It's been so long since I've experienced that. But then last night I came so close. I must have forgotten to take my sleeping pills because at 12:30am I was still wide awake (normally I fall asleep around 9:30-10pm). My arms started to spaz and the fear of losing my mind returned. I chanted to myself to stay sane, to "stay with me." I took another, or the first, pill and was lucky to fall back to sleep instantly. 

But coming so close again made me realise just how deep this wound is. Over a year ago the initial "break" occurred, and yet I'm still extremely sensitive to sleep deprivation. Our minds are so fragile. It's not like a broken bone that heals and then you're okay. The wounds of the mind take years to heal, yet no one can see it. 

And in case you are wondering, the sleeping medication I'm on is Quetiapine. Also known as Seroquel. This drug is not a "sleeping pill" - it's an anti-psychotic and in high doses is used for schizophrenic patients. I'm on 50 a night. If I were to take 100 a night, I would be sedated.  That's how sever my sleep disorder is, how fragile my mind is right now. Still, after 15 months.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Feminist Experiment

As 2015 comes to a close, I've noticed there are still so many articles about women being threatened just because they identify as a feminist. Serious threats, such as rape, murder, and murder of family members. Yet when these cowards (because that's what they are) issue the threats, they are not held accountable. I'm not entirely sure why, as I haven't experienced these threats. If I did, I would call the police. Threats like that should not be taken lightly. Yet thousands are made every day. I'm sure some of those women have contacted the authorities, but nothing is done. So some women take matters into their own hands and contact the mans employers (awesome) or their family members (equally awesome) in an attempt to get some kind of action. Because if the police aren't going to take it seriously then what other options are there than to take matters into their own hands?

So this is my experiment. I, a person who wields no influence over the general masses, am going to start writing some feminist-esk blogs to see what happens. Will people I don't know threaten me? Will they attempt to belittle me and spew cruelties at me? It hasn't happened yet, but once I announce to the internet that I'm a feminist, will I be attacked because I want equality for women and men? 

I'm not into twitter and my facebook is just personal, so I won't be tearing up social media unless friends share my blog posts. I work full time and am a mom when not at work, then I sleep. So I don't really have time to live on the internet as well. 

Here is my first feminist statement, with more to follow over the next few weeks. These are just a few, feel free to add your own in the comments.

5 Reasons Why We Need Feminism:
(in no order)

1. So when a serial rapist, who happens to be a famous male, is caught, he will go to jail
2. So women never, ever, feel like they are to blame after being assaulted / sexually assaulted
3. So students are educated early in life that feminism only means equality for men and women
4. To do away with the ridiculous saying "boys will be boys" when boys are acting in a way towards girls that deserves discipline 
5. And, on the lighter side, so there will be a sitcom / popular show with a plus size, average looking woman married to a typical "hot" man, instead of the other way around like it always is