Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pedal, Pedal, Pedal, Post

Chris and I went for an enjoyable bike ride the other day to the end of the road and back.  I went at full gear and he rode beside me at a decent pace so it actually felt like we were cycling together for enjoyment.  On this bike ride Chris mentioned how great it would be next summer to cycle together out to Lakefield and back for ice cream like he does on the weekend.

The next day was so nice on my drive home that I thought why not bike to Lakefield and back today?  but first drive my bike to the start of the trail at Trent University.  This way I would double my current cycling distance from 9km to just over 18km, but I would get to ride on a fairly flat pathway and get ice cream at the halfway point.  Chris came along with me and hooked up our brand new bike rack which was awesome.

The ride out was pretty easy peasy.  I went at a good pace and made it in 32 minutes roughly.  We cycled side by side most of the way and had a great chat.  Chris didn't know my whole intent on doing this bike ride was not just to say I did it and meet one of my goals, but to experience going to Hamlin's on a bicycle.  He insisted we share an ice cream cup because it was before dinner.

The ride back was not so nice.  It was supposed to be easier because we were following the river downstream, but we fought the wind the whole way back.  I was already tired and everything below my waist was numb and sore.  I felt like I was moving backwards I went so slow at times.  Chris tried to encourage me by telling me to keep pedaling and to see if I could beat my time on the way back.  This is where we ran into issues and had to have a little biking chat about our fitness mindsets.  This is how it went from my perspective.

Chris' mindset while cycling (how I view it): Amber, you should be like "I just biked 9km in 32 minutes.  That's awesome!  That's faster and farther than I've ever gone".  Look at me...I'm going to go another 9km with you.  I bet I can beat my time because I'm so good at cycling and all things sporty now that I lost weight and gained muscle.  I wonder if I will come across a road cyclist and then I can race him and be all proud that I beat them even though they didn't know we were racing.  I'm so pumped.  I'm pedaling fast.  I'm flying off the potholes and driveway bumps.  This is so great.  Yeah I beat my time!  I'm so amazing!  I bet I could do it even faster next time. Amber, that is what you should be thinking.

Amber's mindset while cycling (as I explained to Chris): Oh my God I'm tired.  I'm so tired.  Everything hurts.  Why did I decide to go all the way to Lakefield and back this year?  I should have waited until next year.  Now Chris is going to tell me that next year I need to set a bigger goal because I already finished this one.  That sucks.  Oh, my butt is numb.  I still have at least 30 more minutes to go.  Why am I going so slow?  I hate riding into the wind.  Oooh, yuk.  There are bugs flying into my face like crazy!  (Chris' response - that's why I wore sunglasses *smirk*).  There is no way I'm going to beat my time.  Chris, I'm not thinking about beating my time.  I'm just thinking about finishing at this point.  I'm trying so hard to keep pedaling and not think about how much I want to stop and have you ride ahead and come back with the car.  (Chris says "You can do it.  C'mon and keep pedaling")  I think I've become Dori in Finding Nemo and start saying a mantra to myself.  Chris asks me why I'm not trying to go faster.  I reply in exasperation "I'm not thinking about going faster.  I'm literally thinking pedal, pedal, pedal, just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling, oh a post up ahead - you can get there, pedal, pedal, pedal, post  Ooh ya I rock!  I made it to the post.  Pedal, pedal, pedal, there's some trees - that will stop the wind. etc."  I don't think Chris knew what to do with me at that point.

Suffice it to say.  We made it back and I cycled the whole way.  We didn't beat our time on the return, but still made good time.  It was quite enjoyable.  I'm still sore.  But, I can't wait to do it again next year.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"I Didn't Sign Up For This": My First Reaction to Chris' Lifestyle Change

When Chris first came home and told me that he was going to join the gym and get in shape so he could get his black belt I thought it was great.  I thought he would feel better and be able to do more and be excited about his new journey.  This was true.

What I didn't expect was that I wouldn't like his new passion as much as he did.  I wasn't ready to join him on his journey because I was in school full-time and working full-time and often fell asleep on the couch before dinner and stayed asleep until morning.  It was a miserable time.

As Chris became more excited about fitness and increasing his ability I became more frustrated with Chris.  He tracked every calorie and planned every meal and that took time.  Not to mention he didn't appreciate that I was eating whatever I wanted in front of him (ie. bringing home cinnamon buns) and I don't blame him. But, I didn't sign up for this weight loss goal - he did.  I did enjoy our healthy dinner challenges like our 1 week dinner salad challenge where we ate only salad for dinner and took turns making new ones (tuna and pine nuts on endive scoops, Waldorf salad, Greek salad, caramelized pear and toasted walnut salad, etc.)

Then I began to hate Chris' time away to do fitness.  I was exhausted from work and school and Chris was exhausted from work and school, but he was able to go to the gym everyday, hockey several times a week, and karate several times a week.  I, however, felt like I had no time and that things around the house were not getting done.  I felt like I was carrying the household (this was not true - just seemed that way because I was jealous Chris had free time to do his fitness and sport stuff and I did not have time for me).  I wanted Chris home and although I thought it was great he was so committed to his goal I did not care.  Deep down I wanted him to quit.  I didn't sign up for a relationship where my husband was at the gym for several hours a day.  That was not the kind of person I wanted to spend my day with (or not spend my day with since he was at the gym).

Then Chris finally met his weight goal (or surpassed I should say).  He was so low in weight that he looked sickly - literally.  You should look at our wedding photo and the before and after photos below to see the difference.
Chris back when I met him.  All cute and cuddly. 225lbs

Chris at our wedding. 155lbs

Chris looking super sexy now. 165lbs

This was a super hard time because Chris didn't think he was too thin.  He wasn't eating enough and he was working out a lot.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  Now I was married to this thin man who looked nothing like the man I fell in love with and I was still my overweight self.  I felt like we were an odd couple pairing as we no longer matched in looks and lifestyle.  So I started my weight-loss journey (half-heartedly) and thought to myself and expressed to Chris that "I didn't sign up for this".  I wanted my movie-watching, couch sitting, restaurant eating partner back.  I had to start changing my mindset.

But then things settled down and Chris was home more and I was home more and fitness became part of his life, but not the center of his life.  He was able to go to the gym for less time once he reached his goal and eat a lot more - this also took effort on his part and a lot of convincing on mine.  Things were much better.

Now, I'm actually committed to my own fitness journey.  I'm seeing the results and I'm doing more.  I never wanted to be a fitnessy-type person.  I don't want to be better at sports-type things.  I just want to feel better.  Things are getting easier and I'm having to do more to get that feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of working out hard.  I never thought I would be setting fitness challenges for myself.  I never thought my body would tell me it has to do something active because it misses it.  And, now I think to myself "I didn't sign up for this, but thank God I did".

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I'm Changing and So Is My Blog

Yesterday I set a goal of doing 50 crunches every hour during my 12 hour work shift.  This in itself was bizarre because it is not something I would normally do - challenge myself, especially at work.  I managed to complete the task and through that process learned something new.  I am more like my husband than I realized and I may have more of a desire to be fit than I thought.

You see, I set my goal as 50 crunches an hour because I thought this would be impossibly hard after the first two sets.  I honestly did not think I would complete the challenge, but wanted to set my sights high.  Surprising fact: it was super easy!  I finished each set quickly and thought "wow that wasn't hard at all".  I used to be sweaty and gasping for breath after doing something like that.  Then the challenge got easier throughout the day.  Mind-boggling!

By the end of the night I was thinking "if I'm going to do this tomorrow (yes, I know, I thought about doing it again the next day -another first) I'm going to have to increase it to 100 crunches an hour so I can feel the burn".  That didn't sit well with my brain though.  I was actually contemplating increasing my physical exercise because I wanted to feel like I had put in hard work.  That is so not me.  Or was not me in the past I guess.  I had to chat that out with Chris because it surprised me so much to say "450 crunches in one day is not enough for me anymore".  I never thought those words would come from my mouth.  I think Chris was pleased to see me sway to his side of the mental fitness journey.  I, however, was a bit disturbed by it.

That leads me to the new direction of my blog posts.  A friend has been in stitches hearing about my recants of Chris' and my fitness talks.  She thinks it is hilarious to hear my descriptions and expressions we have for each other when we just don't get each others' thinking.  So, Chris and I are trying to work out the kinks and then we will begin posting our "fitness talks" on our blogs.  You can read our conversations from both our perspectives.  Maybe that will help others who have asked understand how we support each other and learn from each other when it comes to being healthier and more active.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Every Hour Ab Challenge

Chris recently took up a touchdown push-up challenge where he completed 1000 push-ups in one day.  I felt I needed a bit of this inspiration, but push-ups are too hard (especially on the concrete floor at work) so he he suggested I pick something else to do once an hour to get me out of my office chair.  I said I'd think about it, but what I really thought was "Yeah right, there is no way I'm doing anything every hour I'm at work.  I need to be able to answer the phone lines and dispatch".

But, here I am at work for 12 hours, reading about Chris' Run For Your Life Zombie run and feeling like I need to do something as I missed the gym yesterday and won't go again until Monday.  So hour number one ends and I climb down onto the floor and bang out 50 crunches (10 each of upper, left side, right side, lower, and back extension).  That wasn't too hard and it didn't take much longer than an online tv commercial break.  So I create a tracking sheet and think maybe I can do this every hour...maybe.  That would be 550 abs by the end of my shift.  A little daunting, but do-able.

I've now completed 4 hourly sets of abs.  I've discovered that an hour is not a long time when you are working and trying to do something on the hour.  It's making my shift go by quickly and my back is hurting less as I go along.  Somehow the ab crunches are becoming easier rather than harder as the day progresses.  That just boggles my mind.

Update: I managed to do my 50 crunches every hour at work for the most part.  It got super busy at one point which threw off my times so I got 9 sets complete instead of 11.  Still decent though.  And, in the process I learned something the next post to find out what.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blogging Inspiration from Chris

Chris is doing a blog post a day for this month over at his blog Wisdom, Courage, Power that you should check out.  I don't think I could keep up to a post a day so I'm condensing his ideas into one post a week.

What are your 5 favourite veggies?                   Least favourite?
1) carrots                                                               1) broccoli
2) corn                                                                   2) cauliflower
3) squash                                                               3) brussel sprouts
4) green/yellow beans                                             4) roast or boiled potatoes
5) peas                                                                   5) cooked spinach (although raw spinach is yummy)
Runner up: parsnips, yams                                      Runner up: asparagus

My Fitness Bucket List
1) Run 5km without walking
2) Go on a canoe trip
3) Touch my toes without bending my knees
4) Cycle 50km in one day
5) Swim 10 laps without stopping in proper form

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cycling Like I've Never Cycled Before...Literally

When I was a kid I loved to ride my bike.  My first bike was a red tricycle with a white seat and it was awesome.  Then I had a pink bike with a basket and streamers and clickers on the spokes.  I thought I was pretty cool.  That was the end of me owning my own bikes though.

After that all my bikes were inherited from adult family members.  I started my no training wheel adventures on a banana seat bicycle my mom passed onto me from her childhood days.  We even added pegs on the back wheels so we could ride two in the seat, one on the wheels, and when adventurous another one on the handlebars.

In grade school I rode an old brown bike with orange handle bars that I got from behind my grandmother's shed.  It was the ugliest thing ever and the only thing that made it worse was the neon yellow helmet I had to wear to make me "highly visible" after my mom helped out at the scene of an accident where a young boy on a bike was hit by a car at the end of my cul de sac.  That bike had three gears and was a little clunky, but it still got me home on school lunch breaks to swim in hot weather before I had to boot it back to class while eating on the go.

My next bike was a shared bike between me and my mom.  It was her teenage years bike.  White with ram horn style handlebars.  It had lots of gears and I remember feeling proud of myself for mastering her bike because I could not touch the ground when I rode it since it was set for her height and not mine.

Eventually my dad decided that he could part with his bike because he had not taken it out of the garage in many years and giving it to me would mean my mom, brother, and I could all ride together.  It was the first bike since my pink one with streamers that I truly liked because it was royal blue and had 18 speeds.  The only problem was it was a boy's bike which didn't matter to me, but my friends thought it was strange.  I rode this bike right through university.

The first bike I bought was when I met Chris.  He convinced me to get a mountain bike because that is what he loves riding and we were going to ride together.  I had only owned road bikes before that, but I went along with his suggestion.  I like my bike, but I'm not convinced that mountain bikes are for me.  I have a really hard time adjusting to the fact that I have to lean down onto my handlebars rather than ride sitting upright because my other bikes all had raised handlebars.

That was a much lengthier recap about my cycling ownership history than I thought it would be.  The whole point was to get to this part which is cycling like I've never cycled before...literally.  Chris rode my bike a few times while his bike was in the shop.  He was surprised to see how low my seat was.  I have been riding it so I can touch the ground flat foot on both sides.  Apparently this is incorrect cycling positioning.  He raised my seat and I teetered on my tip toes, especially on our sloped driveway, and then he sent me out cycling.!  It was sooooo much easier to peddle.  I actually topped out on my gear speeds at one point (a first!) and I made it up all the hills on my bike rides two days in a row!!!  That folks means I met one of my goals highlighted on the right-hand side of my blog.  Yeah me!  And, thanks to Chris.

Monday, September 10, 2012

FMM: Have You Ever?

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Have You Ever?

1. Jumped out of an airplane?  No, but I might someday.
2. Lived alone?  Best time of my life - first housesitting for my grandparents for 3 months then having my own apartment.
3. Met a celebrity? No, unless you count before she got famous.
4. Said something to someone that you immediately regret saying? Of course, but thankfully not very often.
5. Had a manicure/pedicure? I used to all the time.  I even had acrylic nails for a long time.  I don't know about you, but I can't even remember the last time my toes didn't have nail polish on them - it's to the point where my toes look naked to me when I take the polish off to repaint them.
6.  Gotten a hickey?  I remember my first (Josh) and my last (Chris - recently too lol)
7. Owned a pet that was not a dog or a cat?  Hamsters and fish.
8. Been outside of your home country?  Of course.  A few places in the USA and many in the Caribbean.
9. Kissed your best friend? Not my best friend.  But in high school I kissed and dated several of my friends.
10. Eaten food that fell on the floor?  Always.
11. Met someone online? Many times.
12. Been on TV? When I was in grade 7 I was on a local trivia gameshow for schools.  We won!
13. Had braces?  Yes, by choice when I was younger.  I was unable to wear a retainer after though as I am one of the few people who spit retainers (or sometimes chuck them across the room) in her sleep.  And, during the day I attended 3 French classes and 1 English so I couldn't speak properly with it in.
14. Gone skinny dipping?  Many times - I was going to say sadly none with my husband because he hates the lake, but then I remembered the time we owned a pool ;).
15. Been to the opera? No.  I would love to go at least once to check it out.  I go to a lot of theatre productions though.
16. Been caught making out by a policeman?  No.
17. Sung in public? It's part of my job as a teacher.  I do it on an almost daily basis.
18. Handed out candy on Halloween? Last year was the first year I was able to do this.
19. Been snowed in? No.  I used to love snow days from school though - now I have to report to school as a teacher so no more snow days for me.
20. Fallen in front of other people? Of course.  Especially when on ice.
21. Cheated on a test? I've glanced at a few questions here and there to job my memory.
22. Regretted saying “I love you” to someone? Never.  I fall in love quickly as I see the good in most people.  I'm never afraid to have my heart broken.
23. Finished a meal in a restaurant and realized that you didn’t have your wallet? Totally.  Thankfully Chris had his.
24. Shot a gun? Definitely.  My dad was a C.O. with army and then air cadets.  We shot air rifles in the backyard a few times and I went to the range to shoot some handguns. 
25. Heard a song that was written for (or about) you? Not a song.  But a poem.  And once someone made me a mixed tape that had them acting as radio dj between songs.

List your 5 favourite healthy living / fitness blogs

I read my husband's blog a lot and he has recently taken up a new challenge from Fitness Cheerleader where you post to your blog everyday for the month of September.  His topic for today had me thinking about which blogs I visit the most to get my much needed dose of positive encouragement or need for relatability.  Here are 5 of my latest blog check-ins:

Wisdom Courage Power is my husband's blog.  Like he said, he would not get offended wither if I didn't post his, but I genuinely find him hilarious and I read his blog the most.

All the Weigh is Kenlie's blog and I participate in many of her FMM challenges and am always amazed by her ability to speak up for others even when it puts her into an uncomfortable position.  If she lived near me I would totally try to make friends with her.

Never Seconds is about the coolest blog I've read recently.  VEG is a young girl who began posting pictures and nutritional information about her school lunches (seriously go back to the start of her blog and begin reading there).  It's so cool to see what she, and then others around the world, have for their school lunch program.  She took a stand with the help of her dad about making her school lunches more healthy.  But, then she didn't stop there.  No...she decided to start raising money for Mary's Meals to provide food to children and next thing you know she raised £113,912.06 and is building an entire kitchen with the funds.  How awesome is that!

Affection for Fitness is Marion's blog and it is one of the first blogs that really got me into reading about health, fitness and exercise.  She's one smart cookie so her blogs always get me thinking.

Amazing in Motion is Aimee's blog.  She always leaves me comments for motivation and sends me tips for training.  Her journey through running has been amazing to follow.  Plus she seems likes a pretty awesome mom when I read about her adventures with her son.

Honourable mentions: I Dream of Skinny , Back to MILF Status , and The Fat Girl's Guide to Life (which is a blog that is no longer posted to, but was really awesome when Mandy kept it up).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saggy Underpants

Chris and I went shopping and errand running the other day.  It was quite the adventure and I apparently did not dress properly for the day.  An overflowing laundry basket had me grabbing a pair of booty short underwear in the morning instead of my usual pick and it was a bad decision through and through.

I spent countless trips to and from the car with my underwear creeping up my behind or twisted around as I slid into the car.  I don't think I've ever picked out so many wedgies.  I was very tempted to go commando by the time I announced to Chris that I thought my butt was too small because my underwear didn't fit anymore.  He laughed and told me that was an unusual complaint - having a butt that was too small.  Seems the 5lbs I'm down came directly from my butt cheeks.

I think I've also gained some muscle and lost more fat.  Maybe it's in my head, but when I look in the mirror parts of me are looking a little more defined and I'm seeing more curves along my mid-section.  Everything seems to be a little more stream-lined.  Whether it's in my head or not it's pretty awesome and encouraging.

On another note I think I've converted Chris into a swimmer.  He splashes a lot, but he enjoys going more now that he has a purpose and a goal.  He squirms like a little girl complete with a pout on his face though if you stick him in the lake - our one and only Ontario beach day together lasted all of 10 minutes.