Saturday, October 30, 2010

in a word....

I've had such a crazy week. Things aren't letting up, either. I've decided to capture the highs and lows of the week by sharing a photo and a one-word caption to describe each of the past 7 days. Yes, I am THAT strapped for time today. Here is a snapshot of what has been happening in Rae-land:

1. Delicious
2. F@%&*!!!
3. Spooky
4. Spirit
5. Why??
6. Tradition

Next, a quick update as OktoberFast comes to an end. My goals for the month were to:
1. Avoid the Starbucks drive-thru all month.
I was successful with this challenge. Not only did I avoid my grande americanos, but I avoided ALL drive-thrus. My car was a beverage and food-free zone and I love it!

2. 50 miles on foot
I accomplished 41 miles. At first I felt a little disappointed in this, until I realized this is probably the most I've ever ran in a 31-day period. And hey - we still technically have 1 day left this month, so maybe I'll squeeze in another 4-5miles. ;)

November will soon be upon us. There is still time to find a worthy adversary for the Throwdown!


Monday, October 25, 2010


Big news! In the spirit of motivation, bloggie support and fuelling competitive fires, I am stoked to announce a new challenge for November:
This challenge idea was born out of a blogger friendship with Katie from Finding the Thin Within. You see, we have bonded over a mutual love of the Biggest Loser, running, and Bobby Flay (hence the name, which we borrowed from his Food Network show!). We have similar fitness levels and feel we're fairly well-matched for this challenge. The premise is simple: find a blogger of similar fitness level/weight and challenge one another to accomplish great things in November. For us, this is a mileage challenge. We will track all miles logged on foot. The one with the most miles logged by the end of November wins. Simple as that.

Now, I have to admit, I am getting nervous as this challenge draws near! If you read my last post which illustrated the extent of my dedication to running via pie chart, you'll know that I need a push in the right direction. I'm hoping the cold, dark days of November don't slow me down. ;)

I encourage you to get out there, find a worthy competitor and throw down the gauntlet, folks!

Now, being a teen of the 1990s (and from Toronto at that), the very word "throwdown" automatically brings the beats of Maestro Fresh Wes' Let Your Backbone Slide to mind:
"This is a throwdown, a showdown
hell no, I can't slow down!"

Sorry - but I just had to include the video as a little blast from the past. Don't hate! LOL

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NSVs abound!

This week can only be characterized as The Week of Non-Scale Victories. I managed to lose two pounds this week thanks to my renewed focus on my diet. But more importantly, I started to notice some interesting improvements that have nothing to do with the numbers on the scale:

1. I can take my jeans off without even unbuttoning them.
Yes! The jeans that I purchased not more than 2 months ago can be taken off by simply pulling them down over my hips without stopping to undo them. How did I learn this, you may ask? Well, let's just say that a long car ride and a full bladder resulted in a particularly eager sprint to the bathroom this week. A bit of frantic fumbling and...lo and behold - they're officially too big! The frugal part of me hates this development because I refuse to buy new clothing as the sizes drop (I try to recycle through smaller clothing that I've held onto over the years), but jeans are....essential. Know what I mean?

2. The small bath towel now wraps around me - and stays up!
I may have posted about this in a comment this week, but it is worth sharing again. You see, I have been using "the mammoth" bath towel for quite some time. My husband uses the regular bath towels because....ahem ...they just didn't wrap around me. Well, this week I happened to grab a regular sized towel and YES! It not only wrapped around me, but stayed up as I did my morning routine. No gaping, either. :)

3. I can sit in a booth at my favourite local diner - with room to spare!
It's been a few months since I visited this little restaurant. I used to loathe sitting in the booths because I had a hard time sliding my fat @$$ in and felt the table was right up under my ribcage. Well, it is now comfortable. *sigh of relief*

I know these NSVs may not sound like much to you, but for me, they are incredible feats. They truly illustrate the differences between being 300+ and 240+. I still have a long way to go on this journey, so I'll celebrate these little victories to keep me going. ;)

OktoberFast Challenge Update
I remain drive-thru free for October! I haven't caved to my morning Starbucks ritual yet. I have accomplished 30/50 miles on foot and need to step it up in order to meet my goal by the end of the month.

A Note on Balance
Last week I discussed how I have a hard time focusing on diet and exercise at the same time. It seems to be one or the other for me. This week was no exception. I focused on my diet so much that I let my running slip a little. The chart below illustrates the extent of my exercise commitment! I did manage to get out for two 5ks, but it became an ongoing joke between Hubs and I that I was talking the talk and not walking the walk.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

diet renewal, DM and tasty tuesday regrets

For me, weight loss is more about diet than it is exercise. I worry that with my renewed commitment on the exercise front, I've been letting my diet slip a little. You see, there was a time that I was religiously tracking my calories with a 1500-1700 target in mind. Meals were planned every week. I rarely found myself standing in front of the fridge with a blank stare....hoping something delicious and healthy would magically appear!

This week I'm determined to get back on track with my diet. The meals are simple, easy and pre-planned. I'm focusing on 1500 calories per day with 3 meals (including breakfast) and 2 snacks. Oh, and no more eating after 7pm.

Unfortunately, this means I won't be creating any particularly inspired meals this week. My usual Tasty Tuesdays post is going to have to go on least for a week or two. Instead, I'll share some pics of the good (but boring) stuff I'm eating this week:

Is this what your meals look like when you're "on plan"?

Don't let this post fool you into thinking that the scales are going to tip away from exercise. I mean, I still have 25 miles to put it on foot as part of my OktoberFast challenge. ;)

As some of you know, I've been logging my mileage via updates on Daily Mile. If you are open to having one more website to login & track, I highly recommend it. It provides a great summary of your progress and a very supportive (experienced!!!) community of fellow athletes. If you're on DM, please add me as a friend.

Have a great week, all!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

the pain!

How wrong is it that I felt like Carl after my 5k today?

Friday, October 15, 2010

progress, soccer hotties & the perfect running song

Sorry for being MIA this past week - things have been insane at work. I've hardly had time to breathe let alone blog. In the spirit of a frantic Friday, let me get some stuff off my chest rapid-fire style!

1. The scale finally moved. It's only a one-pound loss, but I'll take it! I didn't think it was possible to hit a plateau with this much weight to loose, but here I am. Oh wait...was I supposed to be tracking calories?!?

2. I think I may have found the perfect running song. Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. That's it playing right now (well, unless you've muted my player!). It has been perfectly crafted to match my running pace and kicks it into high-gear right when I do. Wicked! What are your favourite running tunes?

3. OktoberFast Challenge Update: I have remained drive-thru free for October and I am slowly working towards my goal of 50 miles on foot for the month. To date I've managed 20/50. Looks like I have some catching up to do for the next two weeks!

4. Hubs scored two premium tickets to the final Home game for the Toronto FC which takes place tomorrow. Apparently the Reds have never beaten Columbus in nine attempts, so my hopes aren't least there will be some eye candy. Have you ever noticed that all soccer players are HOT? Must be all that running! ;)

That's it folks! I'm looking forward to catching up with your blogs this weekend.


Friday, October 8, 2010


This weekend marks Canadian Thanksgiving. Rather than lamenting all the goodies I won’t be indulging in this year, I felt it appropriate to commemorate the holiday with a little display of thankfulness. I’ve been blogging for about 5 months now and in that time I’ve come to be thankful for many new things in my life.

First, I am thankful for results! I started this journey some 40-ish pounds heavier than I am now. The first few months were quite frustrating because no matter how the scale changed, I just didn’t see any results. Don’t get me wrong – I felt the results. I enjoyed having more energy and sleeping better. But I never had the satisfaction of seeing my clothes fall off of me or having people stop me in my tracks to say how they’ve noticed a change. Well, that’s starting to change. People are starting to notice and there’s no denying I need a new wardrobe. I mean, my pants literally fell down off my butt as I ran up some stairs this morning. How cool is that? It also helps that I finally took the time to compare some Before/After pictures:

The pic on the left was taken in April of this year. My husband and I were at a maple syrup festival with some friends and this picture was snapped as we were about to make a long uphill climb towards the parking lot. It was about 1.5km on a 10% incline. I don’t know how I made it up that hill! I was huffing, puffing, red-faced, sweating and completely embarrassed that even 92 year olds were out-pacing me. This was a turning point for me. Flash forward to the pic on the right: taken last weekend while on a 10km hike. "Look chin!"

Second, I am so very thankful for my running shoes. Getting fitted for proper running shoes changed my life and enabled me to carry on with my intervals without pain. I hope that Mizuno never gets rid of the Wave Alchemy shoes! More than that though, these shoes represent the path to fitness and a new lifestyle that I can’t imagine trading for the world.

Third, I am thankful for Clean Eating magazine. Many of you have heard me profess my love of this publication before. It has become the most invaluable ‘cook book’ on my shelf and provides me with loads of inspiration to adjust my favourite menu items into healthy, delicious, satisfying meals (and they don’t even pay me to say that!).

Finally, I am thankful for YOU. I could not do this without the encouragement, support and occasional (but much needed) ass-kicking that I so faithfully receive from my readers and friends. If you had asked me why I blog 5 months ago I would have told you it was about accountability. It’s more than that. Blogging has been a way to connect with people who share similar goals, similar dreams and, most importantly, a vehicle we can all use to remind each other that our dreams ARE possible.

What are you thankful for?


Monday, October 4, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays #9 - Just Stew It!

I love me a good stew. This weeks recipe represents the first of several seasonal dishes that will feature the best of Canada's Fall ingredients. It is hearty, satisfying and allows you to get in your lean protein and veggies.

Ingredients round up: a cup or two of good red wine, 2 T tomato paste, pearl onions, olive oil, 2-3 bay leaves, 2 potatoes, 2 onions, 2 turnips, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 1.5 lb sirloin steak or stewing beef.
PLUS a secret ingredient (to be revealed below!).

Begin by chopping all of your veggies. This should be a rough chop.

Next, heat 2 T olive oil in a deep pot. When the oil is hot, sear the beef on all sides. You may have to do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan. Cook the beef just long enough to get a nice brown caramelized colour.

It will look like this. Don't worry about all those brown bits in the bottom. That is just flavour waiting to be included in our stew stock.

Add a cup or two of your favourite red wine. TIP: don't cook with anything you wouldn't drink! This will deglaze the pan. Scrape up some of those brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Time for the secret ingredient! In the spirit of OktoberFast, I decided to include a can of Creemore Springs Kellerbier. This is a hearty beer from a fantastic local micro-brewery - it should help beef up the stew. If you're not fortunate enough to have access to beer from Creemore Springs, just substitute your favourite dark ale.

Top up the pot with a few cups of beef stock.

Next, add all of your veggies: potato, celery, carrots, onion. Top up the pot with water so that the contents are just barely covered with liquid. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes.

When the veggies have started to soften, add your flavouring agents: tomato paste, pearl onions, bay leaves and rosemary. Put on the lid and let this simmer for 90 minutes. The longer the better!

Mmmmm......tastes like Fall!


Friday, October 1, 2010


Well, well, well…no weight loss for me this week, but given I was able to keep off the 5-pounds I dropped due to my cold, I’ll take it!!

This marks the first day of a new challenge I’ve decided to embark on:

Designed by Big Clyde and Patrick, this choose-your-own-adventure challenge is going to help Yours Truly commit to a few focused short-term goals:

1. I will log 50 miles (on foot) this month
I have been slacking off on my running since I was sick and I need a proverbial kick in the butt to get back on track. A goal of 50 miles will force me to get in three sessions of Couch-to-5k per week. Who knows – maybe this will be the month I actually ‘graduate’ the program. I will need to throw in a few bonus 5ks to reach this mileage. I’m already envisioning a few long hikes in the crisp Fall air! :)

2. I will be drive-thru free this month
Nope – this has nothing to do with convenience “meals”. It has everything to do with reducing my insane caffeine intake. I’ve been drinking 2-3 HUGE coffees per day, primarily when behind the wheel. Coffee has become an absolute necessity to get me through my commute. So much so that I’ve actually conditioned myself to seek coffee whenever I’m in a car. Just the other day I berated Hubs for not enabling me by stopping for coffee before we got on the highway for a long drive. Poor guy. To be honest, this is going to be the most difficult of the two goals. I could almost hear Starbucks calling to me this morning as I drove past. Here she comes! Wait a minute. What the…? Rae?! What will you do without your Grande Americano?” *tear*

Finally, in the true spirit of Octoberfest, I am going to feature seasonal meals that include beer as much as possible in my weekly recipe posts. Join me next Tuesday for stewy-goodness! Miam!

And remember…

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure!
– Czech proverb

Have a great weekend!