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Cruise Day Countdown – T Minus one day…

Yup, you saw that right.  We leave for our cruise tomorrow, I can hardly believe it’s finally time!  Believe it or not, I haven’t even started packing yet.  I’ve been setting the odd thing aside, but the actual suitcase is still downstairs, guess I should get to that.

It’s also been about a month since we started our exercise program, and it feels like a milestone.  I wish I would have weighed myself at the very beginning, but I didn’t have a scale. So the weight that you see is a little over two weeks old.  I made an exception and weighed myself yesterday so I would know how I do while I’m away.

Weight (two weeks ago) 178lbs – Weight yesterday 170lbs.  That’s 8 pounds in a little over two weeks!

Waist measurement (4 weeks ago) 41” – Today 37”!  That’s 4 inches off my waist alone!

Chest 38″ – 36″

Hips 43″ – 41 1/2″

Butt 44″ – 42″

Thighs 26″ – 25″

Biceps 12 1/2″ – 12″

That’s a total of 11 inches off my body in four weeks…

I’ve got to say that it really hasn’t been easy, but the results are so worth it!  I figure in total I’ve lost in the area of 10-15lbs all together and gained however much muscle.  I’m wearing clothes I haven’t even looked at in years, and now that I’m on a roll I have no intentions of slacking off.  I honestly don’t feel much need to.  I will admit getting into class this week has been tough, but I think that has more to do with where my head is, rather than lack of motivation.  I managed 5 work outs last week, and in 4 days this week I went in twice.  It would have been more but with hair and doctor’s appointments I just didn’t have the time.  Although the real test will be seeing how I do with all that amazing food around me while we’re on the boat.  Our trainer has passed along an ‘at home’ workout that we can do while we’re away but I’m also told there will be classes on the ship.  I will be happy with myself if I can maintain where I am, as there’s really no excuse for us to loose ground.

Multi Testing Mommy asked if I could post a sample menu of what I eat day to day.  This has developed over the last few weeks and seems to be working for me.

Breakfast

– Apple
-2-3 Eggs scrambled with green onion, onion powder, garlic powder, and a touch of salt.  Lately I’ve been adding a tiny sprinkle of light cheese for taste.

Snack

-Real turkey breast from Sunterra on the way to work
-Every morning I take about 15 minutes and cut up a ton of fruit & veg that I snack on throughout the day (strawberries, cantaloupe, whole red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, carrots)

Lunch (After work, about 3 o’clock)

This one is hard because I’m not at home so I usually go up to the food court (yikes) and grab something that is 100% protein.  Bourbon chicken, or souvlaki, something like that, I realize there are hidden carbs in most of this stuff and I should try and bring something from home, but it’s a time issue.  I will work on this when I get home.

Dinner

-Chicken breast/steak/tornado’s etc with sauted broccoli and carrots, or a stir fry of mainly veg and chicken.  I do cook up some carbs (rice, pasta etc) for the rest of the family, and if I do decide to have some I have very little.

For other low carb dinners, check out Cook’n, a recipe program that gives you nutritional values for all of the pre-loaded, as well as recipes you add yourself.  You get a free cookbook with purchase, and I chose their low carb option that has over 1,500 low carb recipes!  If you’d like a copy, enter our Cook’n giveaway!

I did this absolute zero carb thing for about a week, but at the end of it I started getting really tired, really early and wondered if the complete lack of carbs was the culprit.  Sure enough, I made myself some spaghetti with whole wheat noodles that night and the next day I was fine.  So, I’ve started incorporating a very small amount of carbs in my last meal of the day and it seems to have worked itself out.  The cravings are still minimal, and I have tons of energy now.

A couple of years back I lost a bunch of weight on one of those ‘programs.’  It didn’t last, but one thing I learned back then was that to loose weight you need to eat almost constantly.  Sounds kind of like an oxy moron, doesn’t it?  But it’s true.  Small, frequent, and healthy meals are key to ramping up your metabolism.  Another thing I learned is that your weight loss journey begins, and just about ends at the grocery store.  Eat before you go, make a list of healthy foods for the week, and stick with it.  When you’re at home and hungry, those sugary, crappy foods won’t be available to you.

My head is well and truly spinning with the amount of stuff I still have to do.  I have one more work shift to force myself through before I can truly put my mind to nothing but our vacation, but my head is a little ahead of the game.  Yesterdays shift was tough, today is going to be near impossible.  Thankfully we don’t leave until late afternoon tomorrow, so I will have time to get stuff done.

With a typical Calgary spring flourish, it went from spring to winter overnight, and while I am thankful we didn’t get the 25cm of snow that was forecast it still did snow and it looks like it wants to stick around for a while.  It’s cold and very ugly, and I’m glad I won’t be here for it!  Hopefully by the time we get back this last hiccup of winter will be long gone.  Although I have to remember this is Calgary and that is highly unlikely.  Either way though, 2 days from now we’ll be in the sun and loving it!

I have no idea what our internet connection will be like out there, so you might not hear from me for a little while.  I’ll make it up to everyone with lots of pictures though!!!

If you’d like to check in with a couple other bloggers working to get fit, you can visit their weekly posts here:

Lets Get Healthy Together – Multi Testing Mommy
Fit n Firm Friday, week 11 – Pampered Patty

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Cruise Day Countdown – Less Carbs = No cravings!

We only have one week to go until we leave, actually it’s 8 days but who’s counting?  I am determined to get as many workouts in as I can this week and the half of next that we’ll be here.  So far I’ve done three days in a row, and plan to attend class again tonight.  The workouts are getting so much easier as I go.  That’s not to say that they’re actually easy, just easier in comparison to that first week.  That first week I felt like I would never be able to get through an entire class, not to mention barely being able to walk the next day.  Now I can pretty much get through the entire thing with very few modifications.  I love the idea that both Chelsea and I are getting stronger and it shows.

I won’t be weighed again until Saturday, as I refuse to watch that scale every day but I have no doubt that I will have lost at least another pound or two.  That doesn’t sound like much until you think of a pound of butter, and then it’s kind of gross.  On top of the amount I’m losing I have to remember that I’m also gaining a ton of muscle, which weighs more than fat.  I did however take my measurements again and was able to say good-bye to another inch around my waist!  That’s more than three inches total in as many weeks.  I’m wearing clothes I haven’t worn in years and it feels fantastic.

Original Current (After 3 weeks)
Body Fat – ??? 42% Last Saturday Body Fat – 40%!!!!
Weight – ???  – 175 Last Saturday Weight – 171.8!!!
Waist – 41” Waist – 38”

*That’s another three pounds this week, and a gigantic 2% of my body fat GONE!  I am thrilled!

Other than the workouts one of the most helpful things our trainer explained to us this week is the process of carbs, insulin, and how they relate to cravings.  People generally eat three meals a day, and during those meals they tend to eat a fair amount of carbs.  Carbs are responsible for increasing the amount of insulin your body produces giving you highs, and pretty big lows throughout the day.  Those lows are what are responsible for your cravings.  During the first couple of weeks I was working out I wasn’t watching my diet as carefully as I should have been.  I thought I was doing well by staying away from takeout and high fat items, but by the end of the day my cravings were so bad I generally caved in.  After the process was explained to me, I got motivated to cut back on carbs and I honestly can’t believe how much of a difference it’s made.  I fill up during the day with veggies, protein, and fruit, and by night time I have absolutely no interest in gorging, usually I’m not even very hungry at all so my night time meals are miniscule.  In comparison to those first couple of weeks, it really has made the world of difference.  Give it a try for a day or two and you will see what I mean!!!

The nerves are really ratcheting up now that we are so close to leaving.  I feel like we’ve been waiting forever, but now that it’s almost time, I feel like I have a million things to do and no time to do them in.  Figures!  How do you get ready for a vacation?  Lists, organize to death, or fly by the seat of your pants?  I’m also still looking for cruising tips for all you more experienced travellers!

Oasis of the Seas, this is the boat we'll be on in one week!

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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Cruise Day Countdown – Is it Time Yet?

Less than two weeks until we leave on our first ever vacation!  I’m beyond excited.  It’s also just a little over two weeks since we started our journey to a new and more healthy life.  Yesterday we signed up to continue on with our program, and just signing that paper made me feel better.  As the start to our new program, we took our weight, body fat, and I took my measurements again, and this time I’m going to suck it up and post just a few markers to keep track of what’s going on.

Original Current (After 2 weeks)
Body Fat – ??? Body Fat – 42%
Weight – ???  – 178 Last Saturday Weight – 175
Waist – 41” Waist – 39”

That body fat count made me cringe.  42%, yikes!  That’s almost half my body!  It’s a good thing I’m already working towards changing it.  I feel good, and I know it won’t be long until that body fat count is long gone.  Just those two little inches around my waist has made the world of difference in my motivation.  Since we took those stats last Saturday my decisions regarding food have been so much easier.  I’m to the point where I don’t want to sabotage myself anymore.  So last week Chelsea and I went out to the grocery store and bought everything we’d need to eat healthy this week.  As I said last week, planning ahead is key.  We purchased tons of raw veggies and enough ingredients to make sure that our healthy meals would be easy decisions throughout the week.  I will be weighed again today and have no doubt that I will be able to say goodbye to at least a pound or two.  ***  Update – I was weighed yesterday and found out I lost three pounds this week!!!  ***

I also just received my coconut oil to review.  Funny enough, without knowing that I was getting some my trainer had been touting the benefits just the day before.  It’s pretty amazing stuff and I can’t wait to try it out.  We’ll have some recipes for you next week, and a review giveaway in the next couple.

The problem I’ve had this week is that work is interfering with my classes.  With the amount of hours I’ve been putting in, sleep has suffered, and making sure I get my butt in there hasn’t been as easy as I would like.  I have gotten in four times this week, which is the goal, but I will need to figure something out if I’m going to continue to do it.  Our trainer has equated a getting to a healthy lifestyle with starting a fire.  To get a fire going you need, fuel, oxygen, and a spark.  To achieve you goals in fitness, you need good nutrition, plenty of sleep, and a mixed cardio/weight program, if any of those are not in play things fall apart.  I need to get things straightened out before things fall apart, it’s back to that planning ahead thing.  I am going in this morning, but I’m going on 2 nights in a row of only 4 hours sleep.

If anyone is in the Calgary area and interested in the program I’m attending, there is a free trial period, and if you go through me we can also get you a deal if you sign up.  It is a wonderful program with caring trainers, two locations, and tons of choices for class times.  Give me a shout through our contact page and we’ll hook you up.  I would love to see you there!

With under two weeks left until we leave both Chelsea and I are getting nervous.  I think I mentioned before that I know my nerves are due to never having done anything like this before.  To help with that, I will be doing some posts throughout the next two weeks spotlighting the ports we’ll be visiting along with some travel tips.  Please join us!

**** Don’t forget to enter our Vera Wang giveaway! ****

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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Cruise Day Countdown – Staying Motivated

It is just over a week since Chelsea and I started our exercise program. Both of us are doing so much better after such a short time that I can’t wait to see how we’re doing in a month. During that first class I thought I would never get through it. Never get through it, and maybe pass out along the way. Don’t tell our trainer this, but yesterday’s class was almost easy, in comparison anyhow. After just one week, I feel stronger, have more energy, and I’m once again excited about life.

I haven’t bothered to re-take our measurements yet, and I still don’t own a scale, I doubt there would be much change, but I do know I’m firming up, I feel it, and my clothes fit better already. Unfortunately the program that we’re doing right now is only two weeks long. We have a two week gym membership to try out to fill the last two weeks before vacation, so we can see which we like better. Having started now though, I think we will be joining back up when we get back from vacation, hopefully for an eight week program now that we know we can do it.

The exercise is going well, the diet not so much. That’s not to say I’m running out for McDonald’s every day or anything like that but I’m not having the easiest of times staying away from things that I know are not good for me. I do really well during the day sticking to fruits, veg, and healthy carbs, but come night time everything seems to go out the window. One of the biggest problems I see is time. With the program I’m not getting home until 7pm, or sometimes even later. By that point the last thing I want to do is spend an hour or more in the kitchen, and picking up the phone looks fantastic in comparison. This week I will be focusing on dinners, and finding quick, and healthy ways to stay on track. Do you have any recipes to pass on?

We picked up our return tickets this week and had the same problem as the first one’s we purchased. When I looked originally the tickets were $245. By the time I was ready to buy them, a week later, they had gone through the roof. We figured out that by staying in Florida for three extra days we would save hundreds of dollars, that includes the extra hotel, living, and off work expenses believe it or not! It’s something to think about if you are booking your vacation, tally up costs for hotel, food, and time off work, and compare it against flight costs to see if you might save money by staying a bit longer. More vacation, less money, who would have thought?

Marigot open market, St Maarten

Both of us are getting over the top excited by our new adventures coming up. I’m also a little nervous though. I know the nerves come from the fact that I’ve never done anything like this before, so I want to educate myself as much as possible. I’ve been reading like crazy but I would love to hear from you. Have you ever been on a cruise? What do we need to know? Any tips? We will be visiting Fort Lauderdale, Nassau, Bahamas, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, VI, and Philipsburgh, St Martin/St Maarten. Have you been to any of these places? What are some of the ‘must see’ attractions?

 

Coral World, St Thomas, USVI

From what I have seen so far, here are some of the activities I would love to see/do. In St Thomas there is a beautiful underwater observatory. It is called ‘Coral World.’ It’s a building that goes right out into the ocean, and underwater so you can see what’s happening under there without getting wet. They offer many exhibits like a stingray pool, shark watching, and turtle pool amongst many other things. In St Maarten, we are hoping to take an Island tour. The tour is done by a local and showcases the highlights of the Island such as a tour of Oyster Pond, a beautiful marina in between the two sides of St Martin/St Maarten, a stop at one of the best beaches on the Island, a tour of the open market on the French side, shopping, and a stop at the local beach bar. I really like the idea of being able to see everything without the possibility of getting lost, however, I’m an independent person so I’m not sure how I’m going to like being told what to do, when I have to leave etc. We’ll see how it goes.

Blue Lagoon Island, Nassau

Lastly there is Nassau, this is the one I’m having the most trouble with. It seems that Nassau has been taken over by the huge money making ‘Atlantis.’ When you look at pics of the Island, that’s pretty much all you see. Even though I’ve never travelled, I know I’m not a typical ‘tourist.’ The idea of being a tourist with all the trappings just doesn’t appeal to me. I want to see the country for what it really is, I would love a glimpse of the locals, and their day to day lives, not a show that’s put on for the entertainment of visitors. As I looked for things to do on Nassau, it’s really not easy to find stuff that does not include Atlantis. While I was looking around, and before I did a bit of research, I attempted to book a dolphin ‘encounter.’ Turns out that Atlantis has a lock on any bookings such as this from the cruise ship, as I tried to book through another place and was told they could not accept our reservation and I would have to go to Atlantis, huh, made me want to spend time there even less. After reading more about swimming with dolphins, I don’t want to do it at all, but that is a discussion for another post. So, we’ve decided that since we will only be there for 5 hours we’re going to hit the beaches in Nassau, seems it’s the only thing we can do that doesn’t involve the gaudy resort. There is a beautiful beach on Nassau called the ‘Blue Lagoon’ I have no idea if this is the actual Blue Lagoon, but it’s where we’ll be.

Spices, Marigot open market, St Maarten.

 

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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Cruise Day Countdown – Health & Travel

 

So, I’m so late in getting my ‘Friday’ post up that I’m not going to bother.  It seems getting a teenager to stand still long enough for measurements is harder than you might think.  I did do my own measurements though, and I’m, quite frankly, too embarrassed to post them.  What I can say though is that the last week has been incredibly eye opening for me, I’ve picked up some really bad habits that have had a very detrimental effect on my body.

Up until the last couple of years, I was the girl who could eat anything she wanted and never put on an ounce.  I remember being in the bathroom of a club once at the tender age of 19 and a woman asked me if I was anorexic, I was horrified at the time, but assured her that I ate quite well.  Even after having my kids, my metabolism continued to stay really high.  Now that I’m in my late thirties though, it is failing me.  This is probably not a bad thing, as now I can truly see what my eating habits are doing to my body.  Unfortunately, Chelsea seems to have picked up her metabolism from her dad’s side, and is already struggling at the age of 18.

Thanks to Multi Testing Mommy, who posted a link to the Heart & Stroke Healthy Weight ap.  I decided to give it a try, as it’s a great way to get an idea of how you’re doing, and keep track of your progress as you go.  What I found out as I entered my information is that I fall into the ‘overweight’ category.  That was devastating to me, I’ve never been overweight in my life!  Not only am I ‘overweight’ but according to the Heart & Stroke foundation my waist measurement puts me into the category of increased risk of Heart disease and stroke.  According to them, where you carry your weight is a good indicator of those increased risks.

So all of this has motivated me more than ever to eat healthier and get in shape.  Chelsea and I started our exercise program yesterday, and let me tell you, there is no better indicator of how you’re doing than a sadistic trainer shouting in your ear.  It was a 45 minute session from hell, and both of us had a really hard time keeping up.  We did manage though to do a modified version of about 90% of the program, by the end we were both feeling pretty good about ourselves.  Most of the others that were there had been going for a long time, and informed us that it was a very hard class to have started out with.  I really hope they weren’t just trying to make us feel better as we go back tonight, yikes!

With only four weeks to go before our cruise, Chelsea and I both have reasonable expectations for what we can accomplish between now and then.  Our trip was just the motivating factor to get us moving, and I fully intend to continue long passed.  The good news is no matter how little you do, you’re making a difference in your health.  Check out this article on exercise and your DNA, it’s motivating!

Picture I took from my seat on our last trip to Toronto.

I also learned a lot about buying airline tickets this week.  Have I mentioned that this is the first real vacation either of us has ever been on?  The passports that we’ve just gotten are the first for both of us.  Now before I booked our cruise I spoke with several different people to ask if April would be a good month for cheap plane tickets and was told by all that, yes, it was.  Well, I was finally able to go and purchase my tickets after scrimping and saving and was very excited.  I went into our local travel agent office all set to get what we needed.  I told her that we were somewhat flexible on when we could leave and come back, within a couple of days as a hotel room in Florida for a night would be cheaper than full price tickets.  Turns out that it’s a good thing we were flexible.  As she was looking through the computer, her eye’s began to bulge and she very meekly asked if I realized that we were leaving on Easter long weekend?  My stomach began to drop at that point.  I had no idea.

As a result of it being Easter long weekend, even 5 weeks in advance there were almost no tickets left, much less any at seat sale price.  We got very lucky finding two tickets to get us there, unfortunately the only one’s left have us laying over in Ottawa for *9* hours.  So what should be a five hour flight is going to take us more than 14.  To top it off, neither of us are very happy about flying, and now we have to take two flights just to get there, and who knows how many coming back, I haven’t even bought those tickets yet.

So, the moral of the story is, check your calendar before you book, and buy those tickets as far in advance as you can manage.

Nassau Bahamas cruise port - Only four more weeks until we're headed right for this spot!!!

 

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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Cruise Day Countdown!

About a year ago at this time, my friends and I were madly voting away in a contest to win a cruise vacation.  I didn’t think I stood a chance in heck of actually winning, but as it turned out, by the end I was the one with the most votes.  A few weeks later I received my certificate in the mail telling me I was the proud owner of a 7 day Caribbean cruise for 2, and that I had a whole year to use it.  What I didn’t count on was that the cruise itself isn’t really the biggest cost, and flights were not included in my prize, nor were any of the ‘upgrades.’  Either way, I swore to myself that I would make it happen.  So, about a month or two ago, I realized that my year was very quickly running out.  I had until April 15th, so I called and booked it for April 7th in the hopes that by some miracle we could pay for the flights.

Oasis of the Seas

April 7th is now 6 weeks away, and after scrimping, and saving our pennies, we’re all set to go!  Passports and plane tickets are in hand, and my daughter and I are now planning out everything we’ll do aboard Oasis of the Seas, and on our shore excursions in Nassau, St Martin, and St Thomas.  This is a first for both of us.  Raising a special needs child doesn’t leave a whole lot of money laying around for vacations, so I’m very grateful that I will be able to share this with Chelsea.  Ben and Dad will have their own vacation in a few months, and they’re happy with that.

I’d been so busy worrying about plane tickets, passports, time off work, and everything else that goes along with a vacation, that once it was all done I came to the startling conclusion that I was going to be visiting a tropical locale, and that I would not only be wearing summer clothing that shows off legs, and arms, but <gasp> having to wear a bathing suit.  That was when the panic really set in.  We moved to Calgary about 5 years ago, and while I enjoy summers here, they are as far from hot and humid as you can get.  Swimming is not a Calgary summer time activity, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I put on a bathing suit.  Not only that, but it’s been a long winter, spent mostly in front of the computer, causing my weight to reach an all time high.

As all of this was running around in my brain, I realized that not only am I bigger than I’ve ever been, but I really don’t feel all that great.  I’m more tired than usual, less motivated to get out and do things that I normally would jump at the chance for, and just generally feeling blah.  All of this has resulted in a drastic change to my diet, completely cutting out sugar, restricting carbs, increasing fruits & veggies, and lowering fat intake.  I’m not following any particular diet, but in the week since I’ve made the changes, I’m already starting to feel more like myself.  Chelsea and I have also signed ourselves up for an exercise program.  We only have 6 weeks, but at this point, I’m more interested in feeling better than what I will look like in my bathing suit, so we’re going to give it all we’ve got.

I’ve also come across a few other bloggers who are keeping track of their progress on a weekly ‘Fit-N-Firm Friday,’ that have really motivated me.  They’ve already started so if you’re looking for motivation, these ladies have some great idea, check ’em out!  Starting this Friday, Chelsea and I will be posting our stats, along with a count down to cruise day!

Multi Testing Mommy
Pampered Patty
Domesticated Mama
Whispered Inspirations
Kats Confessions

If you’re at all interested, Mighty Ships did a program on Oasis of the Seas that not only shows the boat, but the exact cruise we will be going on.  You can watch it here.

Have you been on a cruise?  What do we need to know?  Are there any ‘must see’s’ on the Islands we’ll be visiting?

Natoma

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Health and Beauty

 

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