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Travel trepidation

I love the idea of travelling – seeing new things, visiting new places and meeting a variety of people. And I just started a new job a few weeks ago, and this week, I’m travelling to Edmonton, Alberta.  I’m tremendously excited to spend time with my boss, visit another part of the country (even if it is Alberta in January) and hopefully catch up with some old friends.

However, being overweight presents many obstacles (some real, some perceived) when it comes to flying. Any new chair or seat presents an unspoken anxiety for me (I’m looking at you white plastic lawn chairs – you’re the spawn of Satan).  Compound this with sitting in close to proximity to another human being while travelling – often stressful for many people.

I have flown a few times in the last few years, and these are the incredibly embarrassing things I think about and do.

  1. quietly ask for a seat belt extender
  2. desperately try to arrive at my seat first so I can get in with the arm rest up, and then push it down as far as I possibly can so the person sitting next to me doesn’t notice that it’s not pushed down all the way
  3. politely apologize for the amount of space I take up to the person who sits next to me
  4. and then do everything I can to shrink myself so as to not take up too much space (shrink shoulders, fold my hands on my lap and aim to not move a muscle

Now, most of the time, people are polite, kind and understanding. However, the last time I flew, the man sitting next to me wasn’t so kind. As he sat down, he looked at me, and rolled his eyes in disgust.

He then slammed the arm rest down as hard as he could into my leg – causing it to bruise. But the physical pain was not nearly as bad as the shame I felt for how I looked. That two-hour flight was the longest two hours of my life. I’ve avoided flying since. Obviously, I think this guy is a jerk. But it’s hard not to feel bad when that sort of thing happens.

Thankfully, I have lost weight in the last few months, and – at the very least – am feeling more confident than I was the last time I flew. At least now, I’d have the ability to clap back at a jerk like that guy. I’m still nervous though.

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Weekly check in: Down another two pounds, which means 25 in the last three weeks at Port City Training and Fitness’ six-week challenge, and 52 overall.

best meal: spaghetti with spaghetti squashf26f0c965b6d16e097bd7c0cbd6fd5cd

Photo: Morguefile

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I’m back and down 50

Anyone who’s ever battled with their weight (and I don’t just mean people who obviously battle the bulge like I do – each of us has our own struggle) knows that it is always a work in progress.

My progress was stilted for awhile after my last blog post in 2016. And things got dark (though I pretended they didn’t).

In 2018, I had two distinct signs that it was time to take fitness and health more seriously than I ever had before. The first came in January when I was stopping for breaks on a less than kilometre walk from my house to my favourite pub because my back was in severe pain.

And the second came during a cancer scare last May (everything is clear, thank heavens), when I had to step on the scale and found out I was more than 400 pounds (408 to be exact) at the hospital during an appointment with a specialist. That may have been the worst I’ve ever felt about myself in my entire life.

The specialist did not make me feel better. “You need to lose 200 pounds.” (duh). “It’s like you have another person trying to escape you.” (ouch) “Do you know what a pound of butter looks like? It’s like you have an extra 200 of those.” (don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry. also: please determine whether or not I have cancer before shaming me about my weight).

He was not wrong, however. The weight has to come off. And some of it has!

I made a deal with myself as I began taking better care of myself, I wasn’t going to post publicly about any specifics until I lost more than 50 pounds. I crossed that threshold on Friday.

Though the decision to take this step needed to come from me (my body, my decisions, after all), I’ve had loads of help and support from friends and family, of course. But also, from Vicky, Amy and Robyn and Port City Training and Fitness. I CAN’T SAY ENOUGH GOOD ABOUT THIS GYM. From text messages when gym days are missed and just to check in, to a comfortable and open workout space to just the greatest people who attend.

My most recent 23 pounds (which I’ve taken off in the last two weeks during the gym’s six-week challenge), are in no small part because of following Vicky’s plan. It ain’t easy, but it works.

I will continue to catalogue the ups and downs on this blog (and I promise, the rest of the posts won’t be this long.) Here’s a bit of a before and (not going to call it after yet) so far.

 

Hijinx in the Hub City despite the best laid plans

I almost completed my second ever 5k today.

No, I wasn’t injured or strained.

I was late for the race, and couldn’t be happier about it.

I had two Moncton goals Sunday – to race and to eat at Tajmahal.

Unlike the last 5K I participated i  at Marathon by the Sea in 2015, I have actually been training for this sort of walk.

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Me after coming in last place at last year’s Marathon by the Sea in Saint John. My entire training regimen consisted of not drinking beer for three days.

Since early September, I’ve been participating in a fitness challenge at work. I went from being nearly sedentary  (and sad about gaining previously lost weight back) to averaging nearly 12,000 steps per day. This is in no small part to two colleagues who have fast-become my walking buddies and dear friends. Plus our other team members have been putting miles and miles on their shoes as well, which has kept me motivated – I’d never want to let my team down. And while it’s been fun, it hasn’t always been easy. Walking through blisters, rain and the many, many, MANY hills of Saint John has had its moments. After the first couple of weeks, my boss asked me if I enjoyed all the walking.  I looked at her and quickly said, NO! (For the record, this is no longer true.)

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Beating my personal best in the driving rain on Thanksgiving Sunday as part of a corporate walking challenge.

A week ago, I suggested we head to Moncton for the annual Legs for Literacy race Sunday morning.

Vastly underestimating the time it would take to get from Saint John to downtown Moncton, I saw the large pack of racers – predominantly dressed in blue – make their way around the corner as I sought a parking space.

I had my own race against time on my hands.

I found the race site and explained my situation.  I was too late to race,  but they handed me a cool new (and blue) long-sleeved T-shirt. I saw one of my dear former colleagues and his wife cross the finish line and cheered as loudly as I could. These races are fun (especially when you’re not running).

It then donned on me that I needed to get steps since I didn’t get my planned five kilometres. I found my friend with whom I travelled and we went on an adventure to Sackville.

We accidentally discovered the Waterfowl Park in the adorable university town (home of Mount Allison).

It. Is. Stunning.

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And because we had such an early start, it was not even noon when we finished.

Perfect,  time for some delicious Indian food.

It was perfect until we discovered the restaurant doesn’t open  until 4 p.m.

That meant it was time to shop. Then see a movie. Then finally, time for some delicious Indian food. Drove to Main Street. Closed for the weekend!!!!!!

I may have met zero of two Moncton goals, but hey, who doesn’t love a great story of hijinx in the Hub City.

(For the record, Pump House happily fed us and I started Christmas shopping).

Gone, but not forgotten

Have you ever been stabbed?

Well, I haven’t either; however, the intestine-squeezing, tear-inducing, feels-like-I’m-going-to-die pain of a gallbladder attack is how I’d imagine getting stabbed feels. (spoiler alert: not pleasant).

The good news is that these attacks, caused by stones, are a direct result of the nearly 50 pounds I’ve lost in the last number of months. I’ve been a little slack on the blogging, but not so slack on the actual reason I started the blog. I have to admit, I’m fairly proud of myself and, when I’m not suffering, I feel better than I have in quite a long time.

I actually RAN up the flight of stairs from the parking lot to my office after lunch today. It used to be that I’d hop up the first couple, then slow down so as to not embarrassingly run out of breath as I marched into work.

Now that spring has almost sprung, it’s time for me to step up my game. I feel like I’ve hit a rather depressing plateau in the last month or two. I’m still happy with what’s been accomplished so far, and happier still that I haven’t let this slump spin out of control into a smorgasbord of bad food choices (though sometimes I think it might be delicious for a moment), but I need to break my winter blahs and maybe even break a sweat.

Yes, it’s time to start working out. I’m always envious of my runner friends and family because they look like they have so much fun. Then, I actually try running and unless there’s something chasing me, I’m unlikely to make it more than a few paces. In fact, even if there was something chasing me, I’d probably be more successful trying to negotiate my way out of peril. And then there’s the treadmill. That is an absolutely terrifying machine. I’m cool with its cousin the elliptical, but the treadmill, it never stops. I once was walking away at the gym in Woodstock, while also gabbing with my then-roommate, and my foot hit the side of the machine. The machine kept going. I most definitely fell to the ground.

The terrifying treadmill and I are NOT friends.

Which brings me back to trying to find a palatable work out. Any suggestions, friends?

I’m sure ready to kick-start spring.

You say goodbye, and I say hello

From blackouts and board games to the temptation of burger and fries, it’s been quite a time since my last post.
Like so many in the region, we were without power for almost six whole days – and it was pretty fun for the most part. Board games by candlelight and the kindness of friends and neighbours with electricity flowing into their homes was pretty great. In terms of my challenge, it also led me to not eat as much as I may have typically through the Christmas season.
I’m not saying I showed perfect restraint, because I sure didn’t, but I also don’t feel like I overindulged.
I’ve lost another five pounds, which brings my grand total to 29! Another 21 and I’ll hit my first goal.
Of course I’m thrilled about this, but it feels like it’s moving pretty slowly. At the same time, I don’t feel completely overwhelmed by lifestyle changes.
Sometimes I forget that people actually read this blog.
For instance, on Saturday I went to the Ale House for yet another going away party. (Aside: The going away party was for one of my bosses, whom I’ve grown to respect a great deal over the past year and a bit. This is one of the hardest losses for me personally at work because he’s been so good to me as a mentor and friend. I’ve learned much from him and will miss him dearly.) This gathering brought together not only most of my current coworkers, but also a few ex-pats – who incidentally, have been keeping up with this blog!!!
As I was analyzing the menu, seriously considering a burger and fries, a former coworker sat next to me and almost immediately said,
“I’ve been reading your blog! I love it.” She then complimented my writing style, and coming from this exceptional writer, was one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten. She also single-handedly made me reconsider my order.
I definitely ordered something with vegetables.

Holding off over the holidays

Chocolate frogs. Rice Krispie squares. Peanut butter balls. Shortbread cookies. Butter tart squares. Chips. More chips. Cookies. Doughnuts. Timbits. Chocolate. More chocolate.

This is the list of dangerously delicious foods that have crossed my path in the last two weeks. Some of it baked at home. Some of it brought into work and left out all day long taunting me. Those long days at my desk when the hunger pangs – after my healthy lunch has long run out – set in and there is that (insert name of deliciously dangerous snack here) just sitting there, mere steps away. 

So I made myself a deal. I decided I wasn’t going to feel guilty if I slipped up…on two conditions: 1) it was going to be homemade and 2) it wasn’t simply going to be because it was there. It was going to be during actual celebration (and of course in moderation).

When I went to my work Christmas party – I sampled some delicious snacks – and they were worth every calorie. When store-bought junk food was taunting me at the office, I resisted. Every time. I’m not gonna lie and say that was easy. It wasn’t. It was painstakingly awful. But I did it and I’m so proud of myself.

And it’s paying off. As of this morning, I was down another five pounds since I last posted. That brings the grand total to 25 pounds, which is halfway to my first goal and 1/8th of my final goal. 

Everything’s coming up Katelin

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks-ish since my last post.

First, I took a vacation! I visited my adorable nephew (and his mom and dad), along with amazing friends in Carleton County before heading to the Annapolis Valley for what will forever be known as three days of decadence. 

My friend Gill runs a Saint John-based winery tour business (Uncorked Tours), and used our three-day getaway to visit our dear friend Laurel as a pseudo business trip. When a working vacation means copious amounts of wine, how can you go wrong? A couple of times on the trip, I questioned my food (and beverage) choices, but decided to make a lifelong change, we have to allow ourselves those decadent moments. For the first time in my dieting history, I didn’t let the overwhelming guilt of ‘cheating’ throw me completely off course. Upon my return home, I was back on track.

I was reinvigorated after a few days off and felt great being back at work last week. The great feelings only improved after I was officially offered a full time job upon completion of my one-year contract. I’m extremely happy about this on a professional level, but especially happy on a personal level because I get to stay in my hometown/home province where my support system is.

Finally, I have to admit I was afraid to step on my scale after the three-days-of-decadence experience, but I finally got up the nerve on Monday. I was down another 4.5 lbs, bringing my grand total to 21. 

I’m not going to lie and say this process has been easy, and I am well aware the darkest days are yet to come, but I am really proud of my accomplishments thus far.

I’m also one step closer to darkening the doors of the scary, scary gym. My workout clothes and sneakers are in my car.