Sunday, March 24, 2013

Part 2 - Fitness and Vacation: Two Things I Don't Normally Mix

My cruise week was the fourth and final week of my fitness commitment to myself.  Week four is the hardest week for me when it comes to fitness because my enthusiasm has worn off and I get tired of working out.  I figured the change of scenery would help me out to get over the hump.

Saturday morning I did my weigh-in and headed to work before leaving for our trip.  I told Chris ahead of time that I packed enough clothes to workout 7 days, but my goal was to complete 5 workouts.  I also told him that I was on vacation, on a cruise ship, and therefore would not be counting calories so he should just get it out of his head now that I'm going to eat whatever I want.  He is very supportive, but I know he is not a mind reader so I have learned to voice my goals clearly.

Interesting factoid:  The average cruise passenger gains 1.5lbs a day on their cruise.  With 7 days at sea I was set to gain 10.5lbs on vacation - a feat I did not think possible.  After seeing some people and what they were eating though I quickly realized some people were out to break that record. Chris, on several occasions, made sure to point out said people.  I think with his new "thin and fit" eyes he sees obesity around him to a greater degree than I do with my "on the journey" eyes.  I do concede that people that were unhealthy were far unhealthier than anyone I've seen before.  It was also eye-opening to see that Carnival was in possession of several wheelchairs in use by its passengers that I can only describe as double-wide because they were wider than the chairs in the dining hall and just cleared the sides of the disembarking ramp.

Vacation Fitness

Sunday - (boarded the ship) none
Monday - (Nassau) 5 hour walk around town, 10km cycle and 5 minute treadmill run in the gym
Tuesday - (sea day) 2km run on the outdoor running track...1 running lap, 1 walking lap for a total of 12 laps
Wednesday - (San Juan) arm and leg day...weight machines in the gym
Thursday - (St. Thomas) 1.5 hour walk to and around town, 1 hour swim in the ocean (including laps)

"The 99 Steps" in St. Thomas (there were more than 120 of them) 
Friday - (sea day) none...recovering from the plantar fasciitis I woke up with on Wednesday
Saturday - (sea day) none...foot still really sore, went for bamboo massage instead
Sunday - (left the ship) none

Final Verdict: I achieved 4 of 5 intended workouts.  Not the 7 I came prepared for, nor the 5 I had set as a goal, but it was 4 more workouts than I have done on any other vacation.  And, I must admit I was very disappointed about not being able to run on the jogging track more than once after I overexerted myself I pulled the fascia in my foot at the start of the week - hence the two non-running workouts on Wed/Thu.

Amber and Chris' Cruise Ship Elevator Rules
Note: Our cabin was located on deck 1 at the front of the ship with the highest deck being the spa above us on deck 14.  This makes it easy to take the elevator straight up to the gym without having to walk the full length of the ship in sweaty clothes.  Unfortunately the running track was at the back of the ship.


#1 When going either up or down it is ridiculous to take the elevator for 1 floor unless you have an injury, a wheelchair, a cane, or two babes in arms. It is amazing how many people waited lengthy periods of time for an elevator only to ride it for one floor.
#2 When going down you must walk if you are traveling 3 floors or less.
#3 When going up you must walk if you are traveling 2 floors or less.
#4 If you are going up 3 floors or more the following factors are considered:
did you just finish walking a lot from somewhere else? - ride
are you carrying lots of stuff? - ride
is the elevator door opening and heading in your direction - ride
did you just come from a nap? - walk
are you in a rush? - walk fast
are you racing to win a ship on a stick? - run
did you ask yourself all these questions and an elevator still has not arrived? - I guess you're walking
#5 When your wife is wearing high heels all rules stated above are to be disregarded.  You are taking the elevator or you are trading shoes with her.  It's your choice.

Food and Nutrition

Final Verdict: On previous cruises I've gained very little, if any weight and I did not workout.  This cruise I worked out and I ate what I wanted.  I gained 5lbs!  I was very surprised as I felt my activity level was increased dramatically.  However, so was the richness of the food I was eating.  I'm happy to report though that 1 week later with only mild effort almost all that weight has come back off.  Here's a comparison of my eating habits on and off the ship so you can see the difference.

On the Ship
Off the Ship
omelet (cheese/peppers/tomato/bacon)
bagel with cream cheese
1 piece thick French toast with syrup
fresh fruit salad

small skim milk

1st Lunch
local cuisine split 2 dishes with Chris
tortilla with cream cheese and sprouts
fish, rice & beans, plantain
conch fritters (fried)


Afternoon Drink
2nd Lunch
frozen banana daquiri (no alcohol)

cucumber slices

3 dinner rolls with butter
chicken breast
cream of pumpkin soup
green beans
split a didja with Chris - shark fritter
tomato salad
glass of skim milk
salmon entrée with veggies

grand marnier souffle with sauce

split a diet coconut cake with Chris



Evening Snack
Evening Snack
frozen yogurt
hot chocolate with marshmallows

Part 1 - Overweight and On Vacation: What's It Like?

I've been home a week now from vacation.  That's how long it has taken to settle back into routines, catch up on sleep, and finish an endless supply of laundry.   Chris is posting about all the awesome things we saw and did on our cruise.  Rather than repeat that check out his blog here to find out about those things. Read on in my post if you want to know more about traveling as someone who is overweight because that is what my mind was consumed with before traveling this year.


I love packing.  I love the excitement of getting ready, choosing what I want to take, and fitting it into a suitcase.  I hate that plus-size clothing takes up more space than regular-sized clothing because I can't pack as much.  This was just amplified by my decision to pack gym clothing so I could workout everyday on the ship.  How on earth was I going to fit 2 outfits per day, plus formal clothing, and swimsuits into one suitcase and not go over the 50lb weight limit?

The Final Verdict: My gym clothing consisted of the t-shirt, underwear, and socks I wore the day before and I air dried my workout pants in the closet to wear for a second day later in the week.  At times like this I wish my workout shorts doubled as my going out shorts and my swim trunks like they do for Chris.  My suitcase weighed in at 46lbs on the way there and 49lbs on the way home.

These push together to make a king-sized bed.
Chris and I are a typical married couple that share a queen-sized bed.  We learned very early on that we are not blanket compatible though so Chris makes his side of the bed with a sheet or light comforter and I make mine with two heavy duvets (even in the summer) that I cocoon myself into (or as Chris refers to it when he tucks me in "a bean burrito").  When we stay in hotels we enjoy splurging on a king-sized bed to stretch out on together or in the case of this trip we each wound up with our own double bed.  Sometimes it is just nice to sleep diagonally on a bed. :)

The Final Verdict: I'm glad to report we survived the blanket sharing in our king-sized bed in our cruise cabin.  I think this was partially due to the warmer bedroom temperature and the crack down the middle of the bed created by pushing the two single beds together.  Either that or the gentle rocking of the ship that lulled us to sleep within minutes no matter what time of day or night we laid down.

Our seats

Airline Travel
I've flown before on Westjet, Jet Blue, Delta, and American Airlines.  This time we were flying Air Canada.  I've learned a few things from previous experiences and I must say that after reading some blogs flying terrified me for the first time in my life. I was convinced based on others' reports that it was inevitable that I would die of embarrassment on at least one occasion.  Thankfully this did not happen.

I learned early on that airline security is not kind to big-breasted ladies because my under wire bras always set off the metal detectors which results in a lengthy delay at every gate so I could be frisked down and manually scanned.  I got smart and removed the wires from an older bra and have designated this to be my travel bra.  That bra, a pair of yoga pants, a t-shirt, and a light workout jacket (packed into the carry on bag) have me smooth sailing through the gates now.

My last two cruises I weighed about the same as I do now.  I flew Delta when I weighed about 50lbs less and had one flight where I found my seat to be a little tight, but at my current weight I've always fit in the chairs.  Still, after reading some horror stories I did some research.  My airline had 17.83 inch wide seats.  I figured my butt would fit in that, but I did some measurements just to be sure.  Then I realized my widest part is my hips so I measured again just to be safe.  Now by measuring I don't mean with a measuring tape - I did that and discovered my hips are wider than 17.83 inches, but I knew I had sat in tighter spaces than that.  Instead I sat in chairs with arms and measured them and even squished myself in a sliding door and measured that distance too.  I could clear 17.5 inches!

The next concern was would I need a seatbelt extender.  I had actually never heard of a seatbelt extender until I started reading blogs this year and the whole thought of maybe needing one terrified me.  I've always been able to do up the airplane seatbelt, some a little tighter than others, so I just crossed my fingers and hoped everything would be fine.  Sure enough it was and I even had several inches of belt as wiggle room if I kept the belt fully extended.

Chris and I lucked out on both of our flights.  We scored the middle and window seats of an exit row.  On the way there we had the best seats I've ever had.  An exit row with the washroom in front of us.  That meant we not only got extra leg room, but there was about 5 feet of free space ahead of us instead of another row of seats.  We could easily come and go without climbing over anyone and we did not have to shimmy down the aisle to get to the washroom.  Not that I used the washroom.  On all the flights I've been on I've only used an airplane washroom once.  I like to avoid public washrooms and cramped spaces as much as possible.  At one point Chris even put my tray table down (from the chair arm) and it sat flat across my lap.  I've had others that don't because my thighs do not always clear the tray table space.  On the way back our exit row was behind another row of seats so Chris did have to climb over a girl to get in and out, but we were still able to stretch out more.

If you've never been to the Miami airport you are lucky.  It by far had the most disgusting washrooms I've ever seen (losing only to a downtown Toronto subway station washroom).  How is it that women forget how to use a toilet when they are out of the comfort of their own washroom?    Are they so afraid of getting someone else's germs that they would rather pee all over the floor?  And trust me when I say that was not the worst that I saw.  Other than lack of cleanliness nothing unusual to report.  Like anywhere I came across a few washrooms where door swing was not taken into consideration and I had to straddle the toilet to open and close the door, but cruise cabin washrooms are much roomier than people will have you believe.  I never once had the shower curtain stick to my behind like the comedian on the cruise ship would have you believe.
Sidenote: In Nassau, Chris and I visited one public restroom at the Fish Fry.  This bathroom had an attendant who sat at a desk outside the men's and women's washrooms.  I'm not quite sure what her purpose was.  She looked bored to death.  But then again we saw a lot of people who seemed to have important jobs doing not much of anything in Nassau (like working security at the top of a flight of stairs or in an empty parking lot).  It was almost like if you were physically capable of working and were trustworthy the government gave you a job of some sort.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Fitness and Vacation: Two Things I Don't Normally Mix

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cash for Calories Challenge: End Result

At the beginning of January I mentioned some co-workers threw $100 in a pot to get external motivation to lose weight.  The winner was set to win about $1000 at the end of 9 weeks with second place taking $250.  The goal was to have the highest percentage of weight loss in order to make the result fair.  I chose not to enter because I predicted the winner would have about an 8% loss and I didn't want to be pressured to lose over 20lbs in 9 weeks.

I made a good decision because the winner lost 16% of her weight (26lbs)!  She reduced her calories, walked frequently and continued to play volleyball a few times a week.  She stressed that she did absolutely no strength training because she didn't want to gain muscle because then she wouldn't win.  She is looking forward to the next few weeks because she can now add the strength training she wants.

If I wanted to win I would have needed to lose 5lbs a week!  I don't think that is a healthy or sustainable way to do weight loss.  I'm much happier doing this on my own.  And, I'm extra happy I did not lose $100 and instead lost 5lbs.

I also can't wait to see what this week will bring as I enter week 4 of my 20 day workout challenge with this week aboard a cruise ship.  Snorkeling, running, cycling, hiking, swimming here I come!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Husband is Sexy (and he knows it)

I talk about my husband on here all the time, but rarely do I post photos of us (mainly because we really do need to take more photos of us together).  I also seldom say (to anyone but him) what it is I love and admire about him.  So here is my public declaration.

Today my husband, Chris, put up a blog post on Wisdom Courage Power of himself as Clark Kent.


This is an accurate portrayal of my hubby - always in a superhero t-shirt (even under karate or dress clothes) and always posing...not for anyone in particular, just for himself.  He feels good (healthy) and he looks good (healthy) and he knows it.  I know it too, but then again I always thought he was sexy.

When I first met my husband he looked like this...


In fact, this is one of the first pictures I saw of Chris.  It was a picture that made me think "this guy is so cute he is out of my league".  I was so impressed by Chris on our first date that I knew I was going to marry him.  I told him so on our second date.  Subsequently our third date was 8 months later because I scared him off.  When I met Chris he was in the 220lbs range.  When we got married 2 years later he was around 155lbs.  It was a shock to our relationship because we no longer spent the bulk of our time the same way (watching movies/tv on the couch and going out for dinner).  It took some adjusting and we are better for it.  Now I'm catching up and I'm excited to see what comes next.

My favourite picture of Chris though is from our wedding day.  I snapped this photo with a cellphone while we were on route from the church to the park for photos.  Every time I see it pop up on our digital frame I swoon.  It takes me back to that moment when we climbed into the car together as newlyweds and looked at each other for the first time without others watching over us.  He looks at peace and it reminds me how much he loves me.

One of the gifts we got for my bridal shower was a leather bound book for friends/family to write their advice in and for us to scrapbook items of importance over the years.  It's fun to read through each year and we have added our own tradition of writing each other a letter on our anniversary and filing it away in the book after it is read.  It's a great way to remind each other what qualities we appreciate in each other, what we are happy to have overcome or done together in the past year, and what we are looking forward to in the future.  Right now I cannot appreciate my husband's unwavering support and encouragement enough.  His belief in me pushes me forward when I forget how much I am capable of doing when I set my mind to it.  I am a lucky, lucky girl.

Friday, March 1, 2013

I Feel Thinner...and Apparently Look It Too!

Last night I was standing infront of the mirror and I thought "Hey, I look thinner".  I haven't lost any inches, but I felt like I looked thinner because I felt thinner.  I felt like I was more fit and healthier.  I'm understanding why Chris spends so much time checking himself out in the mirror.  He has even taken to subconsciously posing when he stands up from the couch before he proceeds with his mission.  It's actually quite funny to watch when he stands up like he is Superman called to action.

I was at the chiropractor today and as I was leaving she stopped me and said "you're looking good, did you lose weight?"  It brightened my day.  I am feeling more confident (I know, who thought that was possible?) so I am portraying that, standing taller, and I'm radiating health.  People are noticing.  I am noticing.  I'm only 10 days into my challenge and I already know the answer to my question is yes, I am happier.

It hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows though.  I have made late night trips to the gym because I put off going for as long as possible in the day.  I've made extra trips into town because I squeezed something in before a workout.  And, tonight I went for a bare minimum swim of 12 laps (almost not worth going, but I went which is an improvement) because my back is killing me and my shins are sore from yesterday's run.  Did I mention I ran a full kilometre before walking?  Or that I ran 7.5 minutes straight at 5mph?  Or that I beat my record by several minutes completing my 3 miles in 24 minutes?  That's right...I'm awesome!!!