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Friday, May 13, 2011

Skinny by....Half Marathon

It's official.  I am running a half marathon in 1 day 9 hours and about 30 min.  7:30am I will take my first steps and hopefully under 3 hours later I will cross that finish line.

I can't say for sure that I am ready but I know I have put in my best effort, most days.  Is that vague enough?  I was flip flopping back and forth over the running the half or switching to the 10k.  Each day I would wake up and have made my decision only to go to sleep with a different thought.  I can't say how many times I have changed my mind but today as I drove down to get my race kit, I drove by the 'Official Start Line of the Mississauga Marathon' and I got a little teary.  I messaged my support system, Krysta and Craig, to ask if I was crazy for wanting to do the half and both of them told me they knew I could do it.  I knew at that moment that it would be better to try and fail then to fail to try.  Worst cast scenario, I run 10km and walk the rest.  I know I can do 10!

I will be cheering myself on at each kilometer marker and I may just have a couple cheerleaders there for support.  I will make sure to let you all know that I survived.

And now to relax.  Only 1 day 9 hours and about 10 min until my first half marathon!


Jocelyn, the half marathoner!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Skinny by....Challenge

I AM SORRY.  I have been a terrible blogger and it took a Facebook message to remind me that I started this thing for a reason.  (Thanks Melissa!)

I may be awful at blogging but I am definitely getting better at fitness and health.

The strong have survived our "Work" Outs and there are three of us that have kept up with at least 2 work outs a week at work.  We have been switching it up between three different videos to keep it interesting and that seems to be working quite well.

I have joined a Biggest Loser challenge at work and we are in week 5.  My percentage of weight loss to date is 2.58%.  Basically 5lbs which puts me at 189lbs as of last Monday.  I am doing my best (and more) to take the weight off.  I am more interested in inches and my jeans are the best indication of that.  Slow and steady!

Boot camp!  My body aches just thinking about it.  I joined a boot camp that was offered through my gym at no extra charge.  My body dreads it but my mind knows it's the best thing for me.  It's only once a week and I am surviving.  I did think it was a good idea to run the 6.8 km to the gym today and while I got picked up by a friend about 1.5km away from the gym I was still wiped by the time I got there and then had to give it my all for an hour outside.  I obviously battled through or these words would not be here.

I have been training for the half marathon and am beginning to get a little stronger but it's a struggle every run.  I am nervous but I have a couple run plans and I am going to keep pushing and training.  Less than 2 weeks to go.

Training for the 60km walk is going well.  Fundraising has hit a bit of standstill and I need to keep knocking on doors and getting the word out to get support for the amazing cause.  Yesterday I participated in a 10km training walk with Craig and Christina there to support me.  It rained and was frigid but I never once felt like I couldn't do it.  SUCCESS!

Now, to you I pose a challenge.  The weather is getting warmer, the rain seems to be falling less often and so let's make May a month to make moves.  I challenge each of you to travel 100km without a car this month.  Walk, run, rollerblade or bike.  There is no official way to track this, just your honesty.  If you did 5 km a day starting tomorrow you could achieve an odometer of 145km this month.  I don't have a prize to offer other than your own health and feeling of achievement.  That seems like a great reward to me!

Good luck and good health!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Skinny by....Frugality

What does being frugal have to do with weight loss?  A TON!

A gym membership doesn't always survive budget cuts and fresh healthy food isn't always cheap.  I have made a promise to myself to get my finances in order, cut my debt and save more money and this is forcing me to examine every line in my budget and that includes my fitness routine and my grocery bills.

I am a lucky girl who benefits from a corporate discount on my gym membership and the price is very reasonable.  I know that because I go often enough (4-6 times per week) I am getting my moneys worth.  If you find that you are paying for a gym membership and don't seem to get there as often as you thought you would, you are probably overpaying.  Before you sign up for a gym membership, take a look at your lifestyle.  Be realistic.  Really decide if you have the time, energy and money to dedicate to working out at a gym.  How many times will be get there each week?  Do the benefits seem higher than the cost?  If your membership is $40 a month, how much are you paying per visit based on your assessment?  If you think a gym is the best exercise solution, then promise yourself and your schedule.  Some people may find that the gym doesn't suit their lifestyle, there are so many other options!

Many yoga studios offer flexible options to meet your budget and time needs.  Most offer an unlimited first week for $20, sort of a try before you buy.  A few have classes that are taught by newly graduated teachers at a discounted price ($5 or so).  I even found one that offers free yoga in exchange for work at their studio (

A lot of fitness studios and boot camp places offer free try it classes.  Even if they don't advertise it, you can always ask.  I am not saying this is an ultimate fix, you can only live off the trials until you run out of new places but perhaps along the way you will find the program and schedule that will work best for you and ensure you get your moneys worth.

As the weather gets warmer the cheapest and most convenient form of exercise is just getting outside, putting one foot in front of the other and walking or running in your neighbourhood.  I did that today and loved every minute.  The best part is, outside doesn't have opening or closing hours and there is no commute or cost.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy my "Work" outs (the 3 times a week we work out at work) is that it's free and different.  Don't get me wrong, there was an initial cost.  I did have to buy the video but the nice thing is that it's a one time fee and there is no set schedule to it.  Find a DVD that will challenge you, that has different levels to keep you working harder and setting your goals higher each week.  I got 3 DVDs for under $20 and that means I have lots of workout combinations at the press of button without leaving my house (or work).

Whichever way you choose, make sure you stick with it and commit for your health.  A gym membership is far cheaper than a future of medical issues that can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.

As for the groceries, there are a few simple ways to save money and eat healthy at the same time.

1) Stop eating out!  There is so much that goes into your food when you eat at a restaurant that you don't know about.  Extra salt, oil, full fat everything!  If you do find yourself out at a restaurant, make a healthy choice an entree salad, fish and veggies and ask for alterations, if you want to get a wrap don't go with the fries on the side.  Opt for a salad, usually a garden salad is the same price, and if it's not it's one fee that is worth it.  Avoiding meals out will probably decrease those couple of drinks you would have with a meal as well.  Alcohol is chock full of sugar and extra calories.  It's an easy way to lose a couple pounds and save a couple dollars.

2) Actually cook at home.  If you start thinking more about what you are putting into your body you can plan for it.  When you make dinner make enough for lunch the next day.  If you have lots of time on Sunday make a couple meals for the week that you can freeze and then pop in the oven.  A healthier option that offers convenience.

3) Pay attention to food prices.  Become familiar with the cost of your standard grocery item. offers all the flyers in your neighbourhood and allows you to find the cheapest price.  That doesn't mean travelling to 12 grocery stores to save 50 cents here and there.  See which store is going to offer you the greatest savings that week and go there.

4) Know what's in season.  Fruits and veggies are going to be more expensive in the winter.  Switch to frozen when you can.  They have the same nutrients.  In the summer, find your local farmer's market and actually shop there.  You will be supporting your local economy, saving money and eating healthy food.

5) Only buy what you need.  Plan your meals and buy accordingly.  MAKE A LIST.  Just because it's on sale and healthy doesn't mean you should buy 3.  Wasted food doesn't help your wallet.

6) Prepare snacks.  Take a couple minutes when you get home from grocery shopping and wash your fruits and veggies and put them into individual snack bags.  It becomes a lot easier to eat healthy if it's convenient.

I would love to hear about your healthy/frugal tips.  I am no saint.  I don't always make all of this happen but if it's always in the back of my mind more often then not I will make the right choice.  I hope to find some time to try some of the free try it classes in the near future.  I did manage to get outside for a run today and it felt great.  I can feel the warmer weather sneaking in.

Spring is in the air!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Work" Outs, Half Marathon Training and Vegan Chili

Hello Everyone,

Here I sit at work avoiding the weather that seems to be producing a disgusting mess outside and counting down the days until we can all get back outside and enjoy some fresh air.  With 21km to run and 60 km to walk this year I need to hit the pavement to prepare for the challenges that the terrain brings.  In the meantime, like thousands and thousands of cooped up Canadians I am finding my motivation and training at the gym.

Last week we started our "Work" Outs for the Arse at work.  Tuesday was our first day and we hadn't really thought ahead.  We had a tv and a dvd player but the dvd player had no remote.  I had brought a stack of videos with me but all required set-up by way of remote control.  All but ONE, Flirty Girl Fitness G.I. Jane Boot Camp.   All it needed was a play button and we were sweating our way through a half hour of squats, burpies, jumping jacks, ab work and push ups.  Melissa Jane Shaw (our Choreographer on most projects and the instructor on this particular workout video) gave me this video as a Closing Night gift for Scrooge and I had only put it in my dvd player once at home.  The next day I could barely walk and sitting down was an ordeal.  Pam, Christina, Rob, Danny and I worked it out and cursed it out.  I think it's worse when you know the person yelling at you from the television because you seem to take it more personally. 
General concensus: I didn't feel quite so beat up the next day as I did the first time, but I am no where near the fitness level this video would require on a daily basis.  Let's put it on the back burner for now.

Wednesday we were all set for our work out.  I brought in a dvd player and the all important remote.  We got the tv set up early and tested it just to be sure.   Biggest Loser Boot Camp with Bob made us work hard but never left us struggling to keep up.  There were a couple modifications for the less fit and the 30 minutes flew by.  General concensus:  This video is a keeper.  There are 3 levels to grow (or shrink) into and everyone gets to work out to their own fitness level.

We had a successful first week and had more or less the same people Friday and then Tuesday of this week.  We were meant to work out today but in the quieter times around the office we have people on vacation or out an about at workshops, auditions, events, etc.  That doesn't mean we have fallen off the wagon, it just means we'll have to work twice as hard on Friday.

I don't have a big update for my Half Marathon Training.  I am getting stronger each time I run and I am pacing my progress.  I don't want to do too much too soon so right now I am running 4km at the gym at least 4 times a week and hoping that by the end of next week I can have it up to 5km.  21km seems easier to swallow in small does, but I will get there.  I can feel it.  Really, in my bum, legs, knees, ankles, I can feel it! 

One of my favourite rainy day recipes is Chili and not too long ago I made a big ol' batch of Vegan Chili.  It is not for anyone who is afraid of a little gas.  I can promise that this chili will make you clear a room so make sure everyone that you are sharing a room or bed with is eating it too.  There is no exact science to this recipe.  It's all about tasting and your own preference.

Vegan Chili

1 package of Veggie Ground Round (available in any grocery store, usally Yves is the brand)
1 can of chick peas
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of black beans
1 large can of diced tomatoes
2 cans of tomato paste
mushrooms, onions, celery (cook them a little bit in a pan first)
chili powder or chipotle chili powder to taste (start with a few shakes and see where you end up)
half salt & pepper to taste

In a slow cooker mix all ingredients.  Cook for a couple hours, tasting frequently to check if you need more spice.  Serve with a side salad or a piece of whole wheat garlic bread. 

If you have questions about this one let me know.  I never follow a recipe, it's chili and it's hard to mess that up.

Cheers for now,

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Recipes, Training, and Weight loss

When I began this blog not so long ago I was very excited at the idea of posting at least 3 times a week.  Apparently my life just doesn't allow that.  Sure, there are times when I could have sat and thrown together a few sentences but sometimes you just need to sit and be a vegetable in your down time.  I think I am most likely to be a once or twice a week blogger.  Some weeks in my life just aren't interesting.

Now on to the good stuff.......

I am now a member of the Cassie Campbell Community Centre and have been pretty consistent about getting to the gym to work out.  I had a couple lazy days this week but less than last week and I think that is an improvement.  I do have my standard program at the gym but have managed to throw in a couple things to keep it interesting.  I make sure to do a cardio warm up of at least 15 min, usually this is a run on the treadmill, then either arms or legs get worked out, then on to abs, because I am determined to have a least a four pack, and then back to cardio, again usually running but I am going to try and mix it up a bit.  Krysta and I made it to swimming on Friday morning before 7:00am.  I don't think laps are for me but it isn't terrible to get into a bathing suit at least once a week to remind me that the summer isn't too far away.

I am training for two events right now, the Mississauga Half Marathon on May 15th and the Weekend to End Women's Cancers on September 10th and 11th.  I can't wait for the Weekend Walk (60km) and I am thrilled to be part of such an amazing event and help make an impact in the fight against cancer.   But first, the Half Marathon.  I am nervous.  Plain and simple.  I am going to work as hard as I can to complete it I am going to set myself a goal time and hopefully beat it, but if I don't I will still have made myself a healthier and more active person and that is my real goal.  I have found a training program for the Half Marathon and I started it a month ago or so and then fell off the wagon.  I will get back on it and keep you all up to date on how it goes.

I would like to take a moment and address an issue that is usually very closely related to health and fitness and that is weight.  I debated with myself whether or not to touch on this subject in such an open and public area, to lay it out for the world to see and quite frankly I think I need to.   My goal is to lose at least 40 lbs.  When I started this blog I had stepped on the scale that morning and weighed in at 200 lbs.  I wasn't as freaked out as you may have thought.  At my thinnest I weighed in at 175 lbs and that was just over a year ago.  I am a strong believer that weight is just a number, that the way you feel about your health and your self confidence should really be the most important things.  I think my weight is a good guide for me, little milestones that I can track and record but fitting into my skinny jeans is a pretty good feeling as well and that isn't always reflected on my scale.   This morning I weighed in at 192.4 lbs.  At the bottom of future blogs you will see my weight loss to date and my current weight.  I don't promise it was always be lower than the week before, but I do promise to not obsess over that.  Weight comes and goes, I will fluctuate a couple pounds here and there and I will get my butt back to the gym and kick it twice as hard.

I mentioned a recipe for Chicken and Chickpea Casserole on my last blog.  I haven't had a chance to try it out yet, but perhaps I can throw that challenge to you.  I will probably try it when I am only cooking for 1 and Craig is back on afternoons as it leaves me to things like beans, green vegetables and tofu.  He has been really great about adopting our new healthier meal plan but there are still some things he's just not so into and chickpeas are one of them.  I can accept that.  So friends, give it a try and let me know if there are things that you would suggest to make it better.

Chicken and Chickpea Casserole

(Serves 4)
3 medium sized chicken breasts
1 medium red onion
1 large/2 small carrots
½ of a 15oz/400g can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1¼ cups/200g sweetcorn
1¼ cups/300g passata (sieved tomatoes) 
or 14oz/400g can of tomatoes
½ tablespoon bouillon or other stock
5 dashes of tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1.  Pre-heat oven to 150°C/300°F.

2. Chop the onion into 8 sections and break the layers appart as you put them into an ovenproof casserol dish. Peal and cut the carrots into round slices about a quarter of an inch thick. 

3.  Cut the chicken breast into small cubes and put into the dish with the carrot and all the other ingredients.

4.  Mix the ingredients together in the dish and then cover with a lid (or foil if you have no lid).   

5.  Cook for 55 minutes then serve with yogurt.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)
Calories: 248
Protein: 26g
Fat: 2g
- Saturated: 0g
- Cholesterol: 51mg
Carbohydrate: 33g
- Sugars: 8g
Fiber: 6g
Sodium: 418mg

Look forward to:  An update on "Work" Outs and Vegan Chili

Now to watch the Oscars!

Cheers to health,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Body Flow, dog walking, and house painting

Fear not!  I have not fallen off the wagon, I did take a computer break though.  I was dog sitting Tosca Thursday to Saturday last week and she took the place of my computer as she cuddled on my lap.   She also motivated me to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather we had.  

Tosca has so much energy it's hard to keep her from moving and she needed an outlet for it.  We went for a walk almost as soon as we got out of the car on Thursday.  The warmer weather was lovely and it just made me itch for spring.  We wandered down some paths around my neighbourhood that I didn't even know existed and did pretty well at keeping up a great pace.  30 minutes later we found ourselves back home and sure enough Tosca was wired and needed to play.  Up the stairs, down the stairs, figure 8 of the living room, down the stairs, up the stairs, figure 8 of the living room, if I ran around the house even half as much as she did I am sure I wouldn't even need a gym membership. 

Friday morning we woke up early and went out for another walk travelling the same loop as the day before.  Tosca met a little girl on the walk playing in a playground so she gave her a nice big smooch and we went on our way.  I am certain that it made the little girl's day but it also made mine.  We got back home and I will admit that I became a bit lazy and couldn't convince myself to go to the gym.  I relaxed on the couch and did some research on videos for our "Work" Outs for next week.  I have decided we will be starting with Biggest Loser Boot Camp.  It's a tough work out but with less intense modifications and I am hoping it doesn't scare anyone away.

My sister moved into her new house this weekend and I spend Saturday and Sunday helping paint it from top to bottom.  That is a workout on it's own and a nice change from a structured workout.  I was a very good health nut and avoided alcohol and junk eating on Saturday.  I did indulge a bit yesterday by treating myself to a couple of beer, but all in all I still kept an eye on what I put in my body.   

I skipped the gym today.   I shouldn't have but it's a holiday and I spent some time getting our master bedroom ready to paint.  Please forgive me for a less than stellar couple of days.  I promise more excitement tomorrow.  

Look forward to: 
Our first "Work" Out and Chicken and Chick Pea Casserole

Cheers to health!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Body Combat, Body Attack, Body Flow and an exciting "Work" Out

I had my doubts but here I am after surviving two classes back to back at Goodlife last night.  I did Body Combat first and felt more nervous about the over crowding than I did about the fact that I haven't been in the class for a while.  Body Combat is a ridiculously energetic program that is based on martial arts and draws from karate, boxing, taekwondo, tai chi, and muay thai.  It is all done to up beat, high energy music and you strike, punch and kick your way through the hour class.  They don't cap the classes as Goodlife so when I felt myself scaling back on the exercises it wasn't because I was tired (although I was pushed pretty hard) but because I feared that I might be kicked or punch by all the people around me that had no concept of their personal workout bubble.  I survived the hour including the really intense girl that takes the class whom I have been told likes to be close to people so when she is looking in the mirror it actually looks like she's punching someone in the head.  I left that studio and her behind and headed over to.....

Body attack where they take you through a cardio workout for strength and stamina.  They combine athletic aerobic moves with strength and stabilization.  I found a spot near the back as this is a class I had never taken before and it too was way over crowded.  I need to be able to see the instructor and the other people to make sure I am not the only one that looks like an idiot as I flail through the hour.  So we're warming up and I think I am catching on and then the door opens behind me and who walks through it.  INTENSE GIRL.  Now there is no punching and kicking in Attack but that doesn't stop her from grunting and yelling.  Lucky for me I was far enough away from her to not feel like I might be eaten but others did not fare so well.  My condolences.  

I woke up this morning and could still walk and move all my limbs so I have to give myself a bit of kudos for that.  I forced myself through work today without falling asleep, it was touch and go at a few points.  I can't quite figure out why I was so exhausted but I am wondering if I should blame the fact that I gave up coffee.  I did make it to the gym tonight, I ran for about 25 minutes and then headed to Body Flow.  Body Flow has always been one of my favourites.   It makes me all warm and tingly just thinking about it.   Flow combines pilates, yoga and thai chi to stretch and tone muscles with a focus on balance and flexibility.  The class always ends with a 5 to 10 min meditation and I find myself walking out like I just took a much needed nap.  This is one Goodlife class I will miss.  

And now.....THE BIG NEWS!

After some discussion today, we will be starting "Work" Outs for the Arse (get it!  It's a play on Arts.-courtesy of Christina).  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the end of our work day we will all head to the main rehearsal hall and work out to an exercise DVD from one of our collections.  Each week a new person will be responsible for the DVD which will keep it fresh and challenging.  There is the added bonus of it being a team building exercise.  We start Tuesday and I volunteered to organize it and provide the DVD for week one because I am a keener.  I will make sure to report back on it's progress and let you know what DVD I decide on.  

I think I will take it a little easy tomorrow and either do a run and some abs at the gym or if the weather allows take Tosca (I am dog-sitting until Saturday for my sister) for a walk.  Now I am off to relax which may or may not lead to me closing my eyes.  I really am wiped out.

Goodnight and good health to all,