Archive for January, 2011

Working outYou start exercising NOW! You should get 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise every day but before you freak out and say what!? I NEVER exercise and now you want me to exercise 30 minutes everyday?

No, not exactly but that’s what your goal is. I mean, if you think you can do moderate exercise everyday, for 30 minutes, right away. Go for it! BUT…

I also think that the biggest and hardest thing to get past is your eating habits. Like I said you need to take things slow.. If you try to do too much, too soon, you WILL get frustrated and give up. I’m not saying to NOT go out and get exercise at all either. Go for a walk, play outside in the snow, go for a swim!

Before you really get serious about going to the gym or commit to anything long-term, start with your diet. Get rid of some of those bad habits first and it will make those tough work-outs much easier.

I know working out is just as hard as changing your eating habits but if you don’t have good eating habits at the beginning, when you start regular workouts, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Ease yourself into everything here. Moderate exercise to start, your goal is to not frustrate yourself and give up, your goal is to make changes, slowly, over time. Little changes that you can get use to, that you can adjust to before you move on to your next goal.

Remember you’ve had bad eating and exercise habits for many years, they aren’t going to change overnight, like magic. If it was THAT easy, you would have done it a long time ago!

I think the reason so many people think that going on some sort of “fad diet” is the only way to lose weight is because they want to lose it quickly. Hey so do I! But it’s not necessarily a HEALTHY diet and isn’t what will get you results that LAST. I’m not saying ALL diets are bad, you just need to look for a diet that will help you change your lifestyle over the long-term. Look for something that is easy to stick to and that doesn’t come with huge restrictions. It’s hard to stay on track when you know you CAN’T have something, kind of makes you want it that much more. Which makes some diets that much more frustrating. We’ll speak more about good/bad diets in a later post.

People really have no patience these days and with weight-loss, it’s all about having patience.

To lose weight and keep it off you NEED to watch the foods you eat and get regular exercise. You can’t have one without the other but if you are someone who hasn’t done either, you’ll have to introduce yourself slowly to both.

Only YOU know what YOU can handle. Only YOU know where your fitness level is, or what foods are your weakness’.

I can only tell you what I did when I started this process. It doesn’t mean it will apply to you, or maybe it does. This is just advice on where to start.

This whole eating healthy and working out thing, WAS a total mystery to me. I had never done both and succeeded, EVER! I had no clue what I was doing but this time around I went in with a little practice and had given it some thought on what went wrong in the past.

So what did I come up with? Why did I fail before? Well first off, I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t do any research. I went in blind! I just did what I thought was right and didn’t think it through. I had no clue what foods I should eat or why, what exercise I should do or why. I got a gym membership and didn’t go because I had no clue how to use the equipment and was too shy to ask. I thought I could get by with just using the swimming pool and that would be enough. I got bored real FAST!

What was my plan this time?

First, I started trying to figure out what those nutrition labels actually meant. I cut WAY down on sugar, cut out pop, cut out fried foods, cut down on carbs and fats, watched my sodium intake, ate smaller meals more often, shrank my portion sizes, drank more water. This was all over time and some things were easier to do than others. Sugar and fried foods were the hardest for me! Who am I kidding, it was all hard! But we all know it’s hard, that’s why we all have so much trouble losing the weight to begin with, it’s not easy. None of this is easy! But it will get easier.

You do need to do one thing though. Those labels on our food packages, you know the ones I’m talking about? Well they’re there for a reason! You really need to learn how to read them properly. Seriously! (A topic for the future? You bet!)

I made slow changes for a few weeks before I even started going to the gym. I was doing a bit of exercise, but not much. I wrote down my starting weight when I began this whole process, I was at 205 lbs when I started. A few weeks later(maybe 3-4 weeks) when I started going to the gym I was 196 lbs. I lost 9 lbs just by making changes to the way I ate..

This is where I give you a WARNING. If you’re thinking to yourself great! I don’t have to exercise, I can just change the way I eat and I’ll start shedding the pounds, you’re WRONG. It will come off at first, then you’ll slowly plateau and your weight won’t budge! You NEED to do both.

I know, not what you wanted to hear, sorry!

This is about your health and while eating healthy is a good start to getting healthier, the exercise is needed for a MILLION health reasons! Think of the weight-loss as a bonus to you eating healthy and exercising. It isn’t the goal. Your goal is to get healthy, to live longer so you can enjoy life!

Follow this link to learn about 7 little-known tricks that shave pounds.

Protein CrepeSome mornings I feel like having a pancake! This is a good substitute because it has tons of protein, which is something you should eat more of. It tastes pretty good as well! Top with a little sugar-free syrup or sugar-less jam or even a bit of peanut butter and yum!

Protein Crepe

6 tbsp of egg white (I buy the container of egg whites)

1/2 cup of quick cooking oats

1 scoop of whey protein (I use vanilla, I’ve used chocolate before which works just as well)

1/8 cup of water

Mix together and then cook it like you would a pancake on a frying pan. I use olive oil cooking spray. That’s it! Quick and easy breakfast!

Pomelo, what’s that?

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Food
Honey Pomelo

Honey Pomelo

This year, I am trying new things. I plan on trying new exercises, new foods, new recipes. Growing up I had my basics, apples, bananas, oranges and veggies like potato, asparagus, corn. We didn’t have tons of options, you kind of just ate what was put in front of you. I have to admit I was pretty picky and would sit at the table for hours on end because I just refused to eat some foods.

Now that I’m older I realize that there’s so many more options out there and so many ways of cooking things, that the foods that I thought I hated actually kind of taste good, if you try them different ways.

So with this blog you’ll get to experience some new foods with me, some new exercises, even new recipes.. who knows what this will bring. Maybe even check out some new restaurants! After all, it’s all about learning and you don’t know unless you try!

I was in the grocery store one day and I saw this huge fruit. It’s called a Pomelo. I though what the heck is that? I’ve never heard of a Pomelo before. Luckily the big bin of fruit had a short description beside it, which said it was a sweeter version of a grapefruit. I LOVE grapefruit but I admit they are a little bitter. So I thought why not give it a try.

I actually Googled it first on my iPhone before I put it in my basket to get more of a sense of what it tastes like. But it still made its way into my basket.

Now looking at the picture here it’s hard to tell you the exact size but I’d say it’s probably 2 to 3 times the size of a grapefruit. When you slice it in half, it still looks pretty similar but when you start to cut into it, that’s when you start to notice the difference. It’s much drier then a grapefruit. I find grapefruit very juicy, this has minimal juice and is more the texture of a pineapple.

When you bite into it, again it had the texture of a pineapple but the taste of a grapefruit, just a little sweeter. Not bad but I still prefer a grapefruit!

If you want to learn more about the Pomelo you can read more here.

To read about some of the health and weight-loss benefits of Pomelo follow this link.

Women using the washroomSo by now hopefully you’ve taken me up on my advice and have started drinking more water. Not sure what I’m talking about check out the post. and you’re probably thinking, this is crazy! I have to run to the bathroom every 10 minutes. What’s the point? I put it in, it comes right back out!

Ok, so here’s the deal. Everything you do will have an effect on your body.  Your body is use to you doing the same old thing and it’s been in that survival mode, coping with the lack of water you have given it. You haven’t given your body the chance to wash out all the waste and toxins because you haven’t been giving it enough water. As soon as your body gets the chance to rid itself of waste, it will take advantage of that opportunity. So yes, you will be running to the washroom for a little while, until your body finishes getting rid of all the waste. I know this is discouraging but if you stick with it, your body will get use to the extra water you’re putting into it and I swear you won’t be running to the washroom every 10 minutes forever!

I just want to point out that not only does water have its weight-loss benefits,  it also helps your skin. Your skin loves water! Water, like I said flushes out all the toxins in your body, your skin will totally benefit from this! You’ll notice your skin become clearer and more radiant. Yawning

Now all the things you will be doing to change your lifestyle, whether it’s how you exercise or the foods you eat, these all have their side effects. I’m warning you now, some aren’t pleasant, some may even be weird but most are only temporary. You might have to figure out the cause for yourself for a few that stick around but it could just be something you’re doing wrong, a food your body doesn’t digest properly, even something as simple as not breathing properly can cause side effects while you exercise such as excessive yawning. (yeah that’s one of the weird ones!)

Think of these foods and exercises as medicine. All medicines have side effects. Medicine that comes in pill form doesn’t usually have good side effects.

This medicine (food and exercise) has WAY more good side effects then bad. The bad, weird and annoying usually go away. So stick with it and before you know it you’ll be getting ONLY the benefits of eating healthy and exercising.

Baby steps

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Health, Hints & Tips

Photo by: Michael Scott at scottphotographics.com

So yesterday I went through some of the lessons that I’ve learned over the past couple years. If you don’t remember what I said or you didn’t get a change to read the post, you can read it here. Today I just wanted to talk a bit about the first lesson I covered, which was that you can’t do everything all at once. This applies to food and exercise. The last thing I want you to do is cut out all bad foods and start going to the gym 5 times a week. It’s unrealistic, especially for people who aren’t use to it. You have to start slow and make small changes.

Now these small changes all depend on YOU. Some people have a weakness for sugar, others its salt or chips. Today we’ll start with one thing and that’s.. Water

My main beverage of choice in 2007 was pop. I hated water, I rarely drank it unless it was in the form of a juice mix.

Sugar is not your friend. I’ll go into more details in a later post on sugars, maybe even with a few guest bloggers to help get my point across but for now I will just say sugar=bad. A lot of those drinks you’re substituting for water have sugar in them, likely a ton of it! So my goal for the first week was to drink more water, less pop and other sugary drinks. If you have a pop/juice addiction you don’t have to cut it out completely the first week but say you have 2-3 pops a day, have 1. If you have a couple a week, have one and save it for the weekend.

Now I’m lucky where I work because we have one of those water coolers/filters and I actually got a water dispenser for mWater Dispensery home as well. I buy a case of bottled water and then refill the bottles. A case lasts me a while! Eventually you need to recycle the bottles because I’m sure after a week or so they’ll get bacteria on them. Or use washable containers.

I can tell you this, at first I hated drinking water all the time.. but I got used to it and now that I am use to not having all that sugar when I do drink juice or pop it’s WAY too sweet for me and I have a hard time drinking it. I actually will drink a diet pop instead of a regular pop just because I can’t handle the sugar. What I’m saying is that if you don’t like water, take baby steps and make adjustments so that you slowly start getting use to it. I promise you, you WILL get use to it!

Why is water so important? <– click the link to find out more

Well your body is about 75% water, so you obviously need water to stay alive. That’s a given, but why else?

Your kidneys have a hard time functioning without it. When your kidneys can’t do its job properly then the liver has to take over to help out. Why is that not good? Well your liver plays a major role in getting rid of fat and if it has to take over for the kidneys to help them out, then you’re not burning as much fat, so FAT gets stored in the body and your weight loss will slow down or won’t happen at all.

Water also rids your body of waste, such things as toxins and excess fat. If you’re drinking enough water it helps to flush out those wastes.

If you find that you retain water – drinking water actually helps treat water retention. I know weird huh? But it’s true. When your body isn’t getting enough water it’s thinking that it needs to store it, that whole survival mode thing. So, if you give your body the amount of water that it needs, it will get rid of all that water its storing and voilà, goodbye swollen feet, legs and abdomen! Cutting down on salt also helps with water retention but I’ll talk more about salt in another blog!

If you aren’t getting enough water, your body has to take it from other places such as your colon. If your colon dries up then what do you think happens? Constipation, maybe some gas, bloating… not what you want? Drink water!

Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. I drink lots of water! I have no clue how much a day but I’m better at work then when I’m at home. Mostly because at work I use it as a break from sitting at my desk all the time. (Much better than a smoke break!) At home I’m always on the go, so I tend to forget. Which is why I leave water bottles in the rooms that I spend the most time in. When I sit down or walk by it, I usually see it and grab a sip.

Water bottlesAnother tip is If you think you are starting to feel hungry, drink a glass of water. Sometimes we mistake hunger pains for thirst. Try a glass of water first before eating, it’s not going to hurt you!

Last thing, do your body a favour and drink a glass of water first thing in the morning when you wake up. You’ve just spent a whole workdays worth of time sleeping, without putting any water in your body. You need to replenish!

So your challenge for this week is drink more water! Seems simple? For some it will be a huge challenge but like I said your body will thank you for it and you WILL get use to it! Eventually you’ll even crave it!

If you have any suggestions, tips or comments about please leave a comment! I’d love to hear what you all have to say.

Time for changeSome of you are new to this weight-loss thing, others may have tried every diet in the book!

Here are some of the lessons I have learned along the way to help me lose weight and not gain it back….

# 1 – The hardest lesson I had to learn when I started to lose weight and get healthier was you can’t do it all at once. A lot of reasons why I failed in the past was because I tried making too many lifestyle changes all at the same time. This doesn’t always work. I’m not saying their aren’t some people out there that made a change over-night and succeeded. I’m just saying most people don’t… it works for a little while, it gets too hard, so you give up.

Losing weight is hard, exercising when you’re not use to it, is hard, eating healthy is hard. You need to go in with a plan.. This is a lifestyle change, it’s not a diet you go on for a couple of months to lose some weight. You need to change the way you live! Forever! Period!

#2 – The second biggest lesson I had to learn was that I can’t control everything.. Even if you have a plan set for the week, life happens! Things come up, plans change.. you must be flexible and live your life!

#3 – Don’t starve yourself! You might see results right away but this is no way to lose weight and is not healthy! Your body will go into survival mode when you skip a meal and start storing fat instead of getting rid of it. It’s best to eat healthier, smaller meals and snacks every 3-4 hours throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels steady and your energy continuous throughout the day.. Your body with thank you for it, I promise you!

#4 – Take the word “DIET” out of your vocabulary – “DIETS” are something that you go on for a couple of months to get the results you want, then return back to your normal eating after. Sorry to say this but these “diets” aren’t worth the effort. The whole idea to this is that you enjoy the foods you eat, that you still allow yourself to enjoy the odd treat.. Just don’t overdo it! It’s okay to eat good 95% of the time and 5% save for the night out with friends or that chocolate bar you have craved all week. The trick is to not have a CHEAT DAY, have a cheat snack or cheat meal. After you’re done, forget it ever happened and move on. Don’t feel guilty about it. You shouldn’t have to restrict yourself from foods you enjoy for long periods of time. This will just frustrate you, you’ll give up, you’ll end up gaining back the weight you took off and gain even more weight back on.

#5 – Learn to listen to your body, when you have stomach pains after you eat, your body is telling you something, when you are aching and don’t know why, try to find out the reason. People don’t think you hurt just because you do, that’s you. There’s a reason for it. Consider yourself lucky that you feel the pain, some people have silent killers lurking in their bodies. They don’t know that they are hurting inside so they continue not doing anything about it. They’re a walking time bomb, until one day something big happens, a health scare and then you have to change.. don’t wait for that day, please! Do the changes now, when you can!

#6 – Don’t look at exercise, eating healthy, working out as a way to lose weight. It’s not something you do until you reach your goal weight. This isn’t something you do for the short-term. If you look at this as a challenge, as a way to enjoy life, to have fun, to have new experiences, learn new things, you’ll enjoy it that much more and you’ll be getting healthier doing it. This is purely for your health, you can still be overweight and healthy. Studies have shown that people who still have weight on them (not around the waist) but are regularly exercising and eating healthy, those people could be just as healthy as those who are at a good weight, sometimes even healthier if those people who are skinnier aren’t exercising or eating healthy. Read a great story on this in TIME.

You CAN have fun exercising, you just have to find things that you like to do, mix things up, don’t do the same thing every day or you’ll get bored.

There are MANY more lessons I have learned over the past couple of years. I can’t fit them all into one blog, I’ll be here all night! So I’ll be sure to add more as we go along. If you have a lesson you’ve learned during your weight-loss experience and would like to share, sound off in the comments section or send me an email: tiana.macleod@sunmedia.ca

How I got to where I am now

Posted: January 25, 2011 in Health
Before and after

A before and after photo to compare my weight loss

Alright, for those of you who don’t know me, which is probably most of you, my name is Tiana. I’ve struggled with my weight all my adult life..

I didn’t like to work out, I didn’t eat properly, in high school my regular lunch everyday was poutine.. sounds gross I know but yeah it was..

I stayed at a good weight until the end of high school, miraculously (not sure how) Maybe from walking I suppose… but then came college.. I moved to the city, took the bus.. no more walking, I sat on my butt, day in and day out, class after class!

It didn’t help that I worked part-time at a fast food chain near where I lived.. I was broke and the food was cheap! The life of a student, I know!

Pants getting too tight

Pants getting too tight

The weight slowly crept up on me, my jeans got tighter and before I knew it I needed new clothes..

It didn’t stop there cause after college, I went up North.. not North like Timmins, North Arctic North.. Nunavut!

I have to say that is where my health took a tumble-down hill…

I found myself in the worst shape I had ever been in and this was making me so depressed. Using a snowmobile and ATV most of the time to get around, I didn’t walk or get much exercise..

Northmart in Iqaluit

Northmart in Iqaluit, Nunavut

A one month contract turned into a 3 year contract.. sad thing about the North, unhealthy food is MUCH cheaper and easier to find than healthy food.. but then again everything in Nunavut is expensive!

Needless to say I gained more weight.. it’s not like one day I looked at myself and the mirror and said hey look I’m fat!!.. It didn’t happen overnight I gained I’d say about 10 lbs a year consistently for at least 6 to 7 years..

It crept up on me! I didn’t see it coming and really I can’t say I thought I was that fat! I look at my pictures now (there’s not many) of that time when I had gained weight and I still can’t believe that was me..

If only I knew then what I knew now… So when did things change for me?

Well, I moved back to Ontario, had been here for about 3 years when I got a new job… I had only been at this job maybe a

Rosy Ghannai before and after

Rosy Ghannai before and after

month when I met a person who really set out to do this amazing transformation.. Lose 125 lbs in 1 year…At first I thought she was nuts! But then I thought, well hey if she can pull this off.. then why the heck can’t I?

To see video of Rosy during her weightloss transformation, check out my Youtube channel.

After seeing her lose weight month after month I thought it was time to take advantage of my gym discount through work…

Now I had tried the gym thing before and because I have bad hips, was out of shape and had no clue what I was doing.. I got discouraged really quickly!! I’d say a month, maybe less. Sad, I know!

This time, I got a trainer for the first couple of months to help me, show me how to use the equipment before I set off on my own. What a difference a bit of direction made…

That was in July of 2008, I weighed 205 lbs when I started..
I couldn’t do more than 5 min on the treadmill, and because of my sore hips and all the extra weight on my joints I was sore.. it hurt, I can’t lie! Everything hurt!!

I didn’t do anything at the beginning other than the recumbent bike and light weights..  I watched what I ate and the pounds slowly started coming off.. in 2 months I lost 20 lbs! I was doing it!! I was losing weight…

Since then I haven’t been able to lose another 20 lbs in 2 months, but I have managed to figure out how to lose it slowly over time and when I wasn’t trying to lose more weight, I was able to keep the weight I had already lost off…
I have since managed to conquer the elliptical and the treadmill, which I always avoided because it killed my hips.. I can even jog on the treadmill now! Yeah me, jog!!! Never thought I’d hear those two words together in one sentence…

Tiana in 2010

I have to say, my life in July of 2008 changed.. it’s been a slow process with many setbacks but that’s where I’m at now.. so far I’m down 45 lbs.. I can’t say I’m the healthiest person around but I can say that I’m still learning, figuring things out, finding out what works and what doesn’t and teaching others what I have learned along the way.

When you make a change in your life, and people notice a difference in how you look, it inspires people. It gives them that kick that they need to get moving, get off the couch and get healthier…

Hopefully I can help give you that kick!

This blog and these videos I’ll be doing are intended to inform, to give tips, ideas, learn from not only me but each other.. hopefully I’ll get some guest bloggers along the way and introduce you to some interesting and amazing people who have or will teach us new things.. I haven’t learned all that there is to learn about being healthy but as we all learn, we can all share.