Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dear Diet Diary: Father’s Day was a treat

Monday, June 21st

Dear Diet Diary,

Father’s Day was a treat! Hubby thoroughly enjoyed his first Father’s Day and the gifts that came with it. So did I. Breakfast chez King topped the list. I got to indulge in the Buttermilk Banana Split pancakes that I made from scratch. Yum! I tried to minimize the sin (at least on my side of the table) by skipping the side of sausage, instead filling my plate with fresh fruit.

Dinner by comparison, was not so pure. My intention was to cook a reasonably healthy meat lasagna. Unfortunately fatigue got the best of me. Our homemade Italian dinner was replaced by a home-delivered Italian dinner – one large Honolulu pizza. Ham, bacon and pineapple. Triple yum!

After a day of tasty cheat meals, I decided some redemption was in order. You’ll notice the meat lasagna makes an appearance on this reclamation Monday.

Breakfast

(approx. 385 calories; 5 g  fat; 8.5 g protein)

  • 1 cup Fiber 1 cereal with 2% milk
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 cup of coffee with 1/2 tsp. brown sugar & 1 tbsp. cream

Lunch

(approx. 550 calories; 22 g  fat; 18 g protein)

  • 2 eggs (scrambled with milk and butter)
  • 1 plantain (fried in virgin olive oil)
  • 1 slice sunflower flax bread (naked)
  • 1 cup of coffee with 1/2 tsp. brown sugar & 1 tbsp. cream

Afternoon Snack

(approx. 230 calories;  11 g  fat; 9 g protein)

  • 1 apple
  • 1 handful of  unsalted whole almonds
  • 1 cup chocolate soy milk

Afternoon Snack

(approx. 130 calories; 9 g  fat; 10 g protein)

  • 2 rye flat bread crackers
  • 1 small cube of part-skim mozzarella cheese

Dinner

(approx. 389 calories; 13g  fat; 31 g protein)

  • 1 serving of homemade meat lasagna

Evening Snack

(approx. 50 calories; 1.5g fat; .5g protein)

  • 1 handful of raisins
  • 1 cup of coffee with 1/2 tsp. brown sugar & 1 tbsp. cream

(Approx. Totals:  1734 calories; 61.5 g fat; 77 g protein)

+ 6 glasses of water throughout

It was (unintentionally) kind of a low-cal day. Fat intake was on target. And hm, not much in the way of veggies. More balance next time.

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Philosophically Eating: Deep thoughts on diet and wellness

It’s Saturday night as I write this. The street is buzzing with weekend revelry. My neighbours are boisterous and nonsensical. My husband and I in contrast, were just engaged in a quiet meaningful discussion about life. It had many tangents, some of which, were my evolving thoughts on healthy living. We were philosophically speaking of philosophical eating.

I’m not sure I can properly reconnect all the dots. Instead, I will share with you some of “the dots” as they were. I only hope I do this great conversation justice. Forgive me if this comes off somewhat disjointed.

We talked about knowledge versus desire. The more I read about nutrition, the more I understand the science of body function and weight loss. Caloric intake, fat consumption, etc. basically come down to math which anyone can calculate. The information is available to us all. But even with that information, we are often challenged to reach our wellness goals. Why is that? I see that while humans possess wisdom and intellect, we act on desire. We give into the chocolate croissant craving knowing it will thwart our weight loss plans.

We talked about motivation. I’ve embarked on a new career in fitness coaching. I originally perceived my role as imparting workout and nutritional information. I see now how important the motivational component is. True success will come from motivating women to change their behaviour. My husband says the key is in uncovering and conquering  our fears. What is the fear that is holding us back from our goal? What prevents us from being the disciplined eater and active person we want to be?

We talked about value. I used to value my title and career path. I knew a lot of people who did. But I see a shift happening among my peers. Our generation seems to value freedom and self direction more than anything. Many of us are walking away from the traditional 9-5 employment paradigm. Some of us are stepping away from a life with 2.1  kids and a dog. We are reinventing the idea of family, with adoption and same-sex marriages for example. We are living by our own values. We are thinking about our values as they relate to our health, our appearance and our food consumption. For me, it’s becoming worth it to cut back on entertainment and clothing, in order to afford organic skin care products and farmers market produce.

We talked about choice. We have one life to live. That life is full of choices. Once we decide how we want to live, we make an ongoing series of choices that support that goal. One can choose to be a strong, energetic healthy individual. That person then decides to eat well, keep active, get rest and manage stress. By extension, that person may choose on most given days to eat a balanced breakfast, walk to work, go to sleep early or meditate before bed.

One can also choose to be unconcerned about wellness. That person can eat indulgently, be sedentary, lack sleep and maintain a high-stress life. Large doses of Double Whoppers, chauffeured rides, late night parties and fits of rage are then acceptable.

The point is that every choice we make either supports or opposes our goal.

We talked about modern day capitalist society. This one gets heavy. We basically talked about the down side to our style of modern living – the mass production of food; lack of business ethics; instant gratification; obesity problems, etc. Why are Coca Cola beverages allowed to be made and sold? Why are we so enamoured with lattes and frappuccinos? Doesn’t it just seem more natural to grow (locally) and consume real food? I have a greater appreciation now for such things as organic foods, local farmers and clean diets.

We talked about creation. As a Christian, this one is very meaningful for me. I believe God created the Earth. I believe God created man. I believe God put on this Earth everything man needs to be nourished. Our bodies were designed to function on all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that natural foods provide. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, poultry, meat and water are our natural foods. It’s no coincidence that these are the backbone to any good diet.

I understand now why Rastafari talk about “living off the land”. I’m more open now to the need for cleansing (detoxing). I am increasingly suspicious about the prominence of cancers and other diseases. Doesn’t it stand to reason that consuming unnatural substances (not created for our bodies) would have detrimental effects?

We talked about repentance. Repent is Greek for “re-think” – literally to change ones mind. To change our well-being, we have to rethink our ways. Perhaps we need to rethink our response to desires. Maybe we need to rethink our fears. We definitely need to rethink our choices. And on an even deeper level, we can rethink our philosophies on society and its relationship with food. We can explore and act in accordance with our own values and beliefs.

Weight loss issues aside, I’m feeling drawn to a new way of living. My motivations are changing. Having trophies and skinny jeans feels great, but ethical sustainable living may feel even better. My pendulum is starting to swing.

I choose to be a strong beautiful vessel for this life God has given me. I accept the challenge that a disciplined life presents. I value my self and will make small changes to live accordingly.

Have I got you thinking?

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Progress Update: 8 months postpartum

Life during the last few weeks could be titled “How Debbie Got Her Groove Back”. Or more accurately “Debbie Got Her Groove Back”. I say that because I’m not so sure how it happened. It’s actually taken me by surprise. At eight months postpartum, I feel I’ve not only turned a corner but crossed a bridge.

Baby

When baby girl was a newborn, I read a handy book that helped identify her personality type. According to “The Baby Whisperer”, she was a Textbook/Spirited baby. Oh, so true! Her growth seems pretty average but her personality is far from so. She is fun-loving, playful, vocal, assertive and at times rambunctious. It’s a joy (though sometime trying) to watch her discover her physical self. She’s not yet crawling but her days are filled with rolling, reaching, grabbing, throwing, pulling and pseudo walking.

Belly

Without much specific effort, I am seeing some improvement. Widthwise my belly is getting smaller. There is definitely less handle to love, LOL.  What I’m not loving is the size of my belly from front to back. Despite the know-how, I haven’t done much to strengthen my abdominal muscles. The weakened muscles are still causing my stomach to protrude forward in a loathsome way. As the rest of my body shapes up, I see my stomach area lagging behind. Or lagging forward as the case may be. I think the motivation to re-enter Ab Rehab is coming.

Abs relaxed

Abs contracted

Abs contracted

Barbells

This is the most exciting of my news. I’m back, baby! I’m in the gym lifting real weights and I love it! Hubby’s change in work schedule has worked in my favour. I’m now able to workout in the late afternoon or evening as I prefer. Somehow I find it unnatural to lift weights in the morning. I’ve been hitting the gym about four times a week for light cardio and full body strength workouts. My husband sees me flexing and posing in the mirror and knows things have gotten serious, LOL.

My workouts are short but effective. Each day I do 15-20 minutes on the elliptical machine. Then for strength, I do one exercise for chest, back, quads, hamstrings, shoulders and arms. I superset two exercises and do three sets of each. I also make sure to vary the exercises between machines and free weights.

It took eight months to happen, but I’m really really in a groove. I don’t just see myself “getting back into shape after baby”. I see myself getting back to competition shape. This is just the beginning. I’m laying down the foundation by restoring my muscle strength and endurance. Then once baby is weaned, it’s on!!

What’s going on with you and baby at the 8 month mark?

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Dear Diet Diary: It was a good day

Sunday, June 13

Dear Diet Diary,

I’ve certainly had my fill. A week’s worth of leftover christening cake is more indulgence than any woman needs! I’m ready to bid farewell to the sugary treats for awhile. I don’t even think I’ll miss them.

My fitness assessment is just four weeks away. I’ll be nine months postpartum then. You know what they say – it takes nine months to gain the weight, and at least nine months to lose it. I really hope to fit into my favourite jeans by then. Hence the not-so-bitter sweet farewell.

Today was my first really good diet day. (Not diet, like DIET; diet like nutrition). I ate well and had a healthy calorie intake. Plus I had good fats and a total fat intake within the recommended daily allowance. 27% of my calories came from fat. It was a good day.

Breakfast:

(approx. 400 calories, 14g fat, 14g protein)

  • 1 slice sunflower flax bread with 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 cup chocolate soy milk
  • 1/2 banana

Morning Workout:

  • 15 min. cardio
  • Full body strength routine

Post-Workout Snack:

(approx. 50 calories, 1/2g fat, 1/2g protein)

  • 1/2 banana

Lunch:

(approx. 350 calories, 9-1/2g fat, 30g protein)

  • Homemade open faced turkey & cheese sandwich on sunflower flax bread
  • 1 handful strawberries
  • 1 cup coffee with 1 tbsp cream and 1 tsp sugar

Afternoon Snack:

(approx. 110 calories, 3g fat, 2g protein)

  • 3 rye flat breads with white bean dip and avocado

Dinner:

(approx. 700 calories, 17g fat, 29g protein)

  • 1 serving home-made bean & lentil casserole
  • 3/4 cup (cooked) brown rice
  • 1/2 sweet potato (baked in olive oil)
  • 1 cup salad (spinach, kale, tomato)

Evening Snack:

(approx. 295 calories, 15g fat, 10g protein)

  • 3 handfuls of  store-bought Super Mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit)
  • 1 cup coffee with cream and sugar

Overnight Snack:

(approx. 160 calories, 3g fat, 6g protein)

  • 1/2 cup chocolate soy milk

Note: Water Throughout

(approx. total  2065 calories, 62g fat, 93g protein)

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Armed & Dangerous: A bout of tendinitis

I wish this post was about my blazing guns..my killer biceps…my Popeye arms. Sadly it’s not.  The only thing killer about my arms right now is a fierce bout of tendinitis.

Back in January, I wrote about my postpartum aches and pains (see Jan 7, “War Wounds”) I mentioned a pain in my wrist that I assumed was carpal tunnel syndrome. Months later the pain has worsened. That  fiery burn at the base of my thumb has led to a gnawing pain in my forearm. It is almost unbearable when I first wake up in the morning. At times I can’t move my wrist and at other times it  “cracks” under pressure. Not fun.


After ruling out the possibility of arthritis, my family physician diagnosed it as tendinitis. His prescription? “Don’t use that hand”. Um, does he know my infant daughter needs to be carried around? His advice left me totally unsatisfied. I had to leave with a better solution so I purchased a wrist brace the pharmacy on my way out. Literally retail therapy, LOL. Turns out the brace restricted my hand movement so much that it was too impractical to wear at home every day.

Just when I’d resigned to live with the pain, an angel named Rhonda came to my aid. I call her an angel but her actual title is Registered Massage Therapist. I had booked my mommy group friends a relaxing spa afternoon at Sunny Mummy Where childcare is part of their service. Amen. I would have been very happy with 30 minutes of knot-alleviating neck, back and shoulder rubbing. I was beyond happy when Rhonda offered me actual solutions for my arm and wrist pain. For $60 I left with a treasure chest of advice and an aggressive arm massage that felt like heaven.

Per Rhonda’s advice, I now do daily stretches to help lengthen the tight inflamed tendons that run through my forearms. I use the frozen peas my daughter won’t eat as an ice pack. I try to alternate arms more when holding the little princess. Oh, and I’m wearing that almost forgotten wrist guard as I type. Now if only I had a better benefit plan. I would visit that registered heavenly goddess each week!

Once again, I will save you from a lengthy and unqualified anatomy lesson. But I will let you know this. Based on what I’ve read, tendinitis is  thought to be an overuse injury. That means as long as I have to repeatedly lift and hold my daughter, I probably wouldn’t see any relief from this problem. In fact, it could just continue to get worse. I’m in danger of it affected my grip. God forbid it impair my ability to hold a barbell!

All kidding aside, I’m definitely not keen on having this problem plague me for months to come. I am again reminded of the benefits of supplementary care. Doctors do fabulous work, but sometimes it’s the RMTs, physiotherapists and chiropractors who seem armed with the best methods of care.

Have you experienced problems as a result of all the baby-carrying ? How have you managed the pain?

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Pay it Backward: A word of thanks to my readers

Paying it forward is a commendable practice. I most definitely support positive contributions to the karmic universe. I write this entry at the risk of disrupting that energy flow. Today I reflect on the people who have supported my journey. Today I take a moment to thank my readers.

A fit life is not an easy life. Nobody however fit, gets away from the ‘work’ in working out. Each workout is laborious. Most diets are met with sacrifice. Bodybuilding competition requires painstaking commitment. Out of habit runners can labour on the road to comeback.  Even trainers can feel tested on days when they’d rather lounge than lunge.

This postpartum journey is like nothing I could have imagined. My quest for post-baby fitness has been harder than I ever anticipated. After seven months I am still trying to navigate fluctuating nap times, feeding schedules and energy levels. I have felt the work.

For six months I’ve employed different workout strategies. There was:

  • the FitMom DVD. Boring.
  • the 3-day strength training splits at GoodLife. Who was I kidding?!
  • the Ab Rehab program. Um, yeah.
  • the GoodLife Yoga and Body Pump classes. Short-lived.
  • the spring runs in the ‘hood. Even shorter lived.
  • one spin class Just for fun.
  • the long city walking. Surprisingly effective and still in effect.
  • a trial Belly Bootcamp workout in the park. Not so pleasant in 30+ degree weather.
  • the nighttime full body gym workouts. My newest endeavour.

I haven’t exactly committed to a routine. I have however, committed to the overall goal. I’m determined to find my way back to a lean rock solid body. And you, dear reader, have been a big part of that.

I’m motivated by the desire to compete again. After only one show, I know the stage is a place I love like no other. Oil me up, pin that number on me and I’m ready to shine! But I realize now that my return is realistically at least a year away. That’s a long way away. So I have found other motivation to keep me going day by day. That’s where you come in.

In writing this blog, I’ve made a statement to the world. I’ve announced my goals out loud. Kinda like a Jonas brother making a public virginity promise, LOL. Now I’ve got something to prove. I’ve got a promise to live up to. And after hearing how I’ve inspired so many of you, I definitely want to make it across the finish line.

I may have given away my FitMom DVD. I may have abandoned lunchtime Body Pump classes. But trust me, I am dedicated to this goal. I’ll keep trying new tactics until I find something that works. In the meantime, this melange of exercise has not been in vain. Just wait ’till you read my 8 month progress update. I look forward to having a kick ass story at the end of this journey. Thanks for reading and keeping me honest.

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