Monday, April 11, 2011

One Month Later

I'm happy to report that I've met my goal! Alhamdulilah, I've lost 6 lbs! It hasn't been easy but here are a few things that I've realized about myself this past month:

1. Cravings. If I'm really craving something, I should eat it. Otherwise, I'll end up eating everything else in the house, even without being hungry. I'll end up feeling gross because I'll be disgustingly full and I'll still be craving whatever I wanted in the first place. So, I now go ahead and have the 300 calorie chips or chocolate instead of eating 1000 calories.

2. Water. Whenever I feel tired I think back to how much water I drank and realize that I haven't drank enough. It's amazing that something so simple makes you feel fabulous.

3. Eating protein. I used to find this challenging since I'm not a big meat eater. I'm still not sure how much protein I should be getting to fuel my workouts, but I'm focusing on protein from cheeses, beans and legumes, and veggie burgers. I'm still trying to figure out how to get more fish in my diet. I'm lazy and don't like to defrost and marinate then bake it. Plus, sometimes baked fish just tastes gross.

4. Fats. I used to have this strange notion that if you eat fats, you will be fat. Which is ridiculous. So I've included nuts and cheeses back into my diet; whereas, years ago, I would limit my consumption or eliminate them all together. Portion control is key, so I can't sit down in front of the television and eat the whole bag of almonds. A food scale helps with that.

5. Listening to my body. I injured my left shoulder two weeks ago, and I'm not sure how.. My left quad muscle was also hurting and hubby said I'm going to get a muscle tear if I don't take it easy. So I've lessened my weights on these muscles for now. Also, sometimes I just feel TIRED. So if I don't feel like dragging myself to the gym, I won't. Because I end up hating it and feeling negative towards the exercise I've always loved. I'm currently exercising every-other day. And if I'm feeling energetic in between, then I'll go.

6. Dark Chocolate. Is my crack. I'm now addicted to having it every day. Three little squares are only 90 calories and because it's concentrated cocoa, it's super satisfying and I have no desire to eat the whole package.

7. New Gear. There is nothing like going running-shoe shopping and finding a $150 shoe on sale for $9.99!!  The cheapest I`ve ever spent for my mizunos is $70, so I`m thrilled that I found the exact shoe (I bought two of them) I wanted for this price. Alhamdulilah. So at least now I don`t need to worry about having the proper shoes for my gym workouts and runs.

8. Teaching fitness classes. I've thought about this before; and I`m going to make this my long-term goal. I`m already spending hours at the gym each week in their classes, so why not do the training and get paid for it? A lot of the trainers are full-time teachers and do this on the side. So I promised myself that it's something I'm going to work towards inshallah.

9. I love fresh food and salads. It's not cheap to eat healthy, nevermind the costs of organically grown foods (which I can't afford). It really makes me thankful for Allah's blessings. I look at other families in the supermarket checkout and wonder if their food choices are for economic reasons. It's alot cheaper to eat processed crap. So Alhamdulilah for fresh foods.

Dinner: Cooked veggies with couscous, chicken breast with basil and oregano, and a fresh salad. 

Lunch: Salad with couscous, feta cheese, and chickpeas. Wow I'm getting hungry now.

10. Goal-Setting. Thinking about what I`ve done the past month to lose the weight, I realize that it is not as difficult as I expected. It just requires a mind-shift and dedication. Also, I probably wouldn't have met my goal if I didn't write it down for myself and the rest of the world to see.

I still have a long way to go. So, my goal for the next month is to continue eating well and exercising to lose 5 lbs. Anyone else want to join me?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week 2

I'm beginning to doubt the accuracy of my scale. It shows that I lost 3 lbs this week. I have been careful with what I eat and I worked out like crazy, but it seems to be too much for one week. Oh well, I will be positive and think that it's true and that my efforts have given me the results I want. To be sure, I'll get my weight/fat assessed by the end of the month by a trainer at my gym.

Alhamdulilah I'm really proud of last week's workouts. Here's a summary:

Monday March 14 - Body combat followed by 15 mins of cardio.

Tuesday - Body pump followed by 45 mins of cardio, which included a 25 min run.

Wednesday - My muscles were on fire so I took the day off. I stayed home and watched clips of the biggest loser.

Thursday - I imagined being verbally abused by the biggest loser trainers, which helped me work out for over 2 hours; Body Pump, then step class, then 15 mins of extra cardio.

Friday - Body combat.

Saturday - I realized that I didn't get as much runs in this week like I had planned. Unfortunately, I could only fun for 20 mins. I was just REALLY tired. So I got off the treadmill and did a group class called body attack. It was very challenging and much much harder than I remember. It used to be one of my favourites. Anyways, I got through it, but I won't lie - it was PURE, torturous EVIL. Then in the evening, hubby wanted to take me out for dessert. I was debating in the car whether to order a dessert plate, plain ice cream, fruit, or just tea. So in the end, I ordered a waffle with ice cream and honestly, it was the best thing I ever ate. :) It was probably 1000 calories but oh well.. once in a while, I need to treat myself.

Sunday - Off.

I'm going to take it a bit easy this week at the gym, my body needs a break and my back and legs are just begging me to vegitate on the couch.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week 1 Update

So here's my update: Alhamdulilah, I've basically lost 0.5 kilos, which is basically 1 lb. Wooohoo!!

I'm monitoring my calorie intake; but to be honest, I'm tired of eating vegetables and I'm getting bored of Salads..although I'm now in love with this new baked salmon recipe I tried. I wanted to take pics to share but it was just too delecious, I couldn't stand to get up and get my camera. Anyone have any low-cal food ideas/websites to share?

Here's a summary of my workouts for the past week:

March 8 - Body Pump; 10 mins on the treadmill on a high incline. I was planning to walk a bit more but then I was told a man was going to be coming into the gym; so instead of working out with my hijab on, I left.

March 9 - 45 mins of cardio. A 20 min run and 20 min walk on incline. Burned 440 calories. Walking is actually much harder than running for some reason. But I guess my body isn't used to walking on an incline so that's why it was painful.

March 10 - In too much pain to move.

March 11 - Body Combat followed by Body Pump. I wanted to die and my muscles were screaming in agony, but Alhamdulilah I got through it. I forgot how Combat destroys my arm/back muscles. But my shoulder muscles were glad to be worked for the first time in months.

March 12 - Off.

March 13 - Body Pump and 45 mins of cardio; 15 running and 10 on an incline, then 20 mins on the eleptical.

This week; I'll try to fit in 3 body pump classes and do more cardio. My goal is to up my running time to 25 to 30 mins.

p.s. I went running shoe shopping. My obese feet are happy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Home is sweet, but without the sugar for now.

Alhamdulilah, I'm back home, which is super fantastic!! I was so excited to land that I wanted to hug random Canadians that were at the airport. It's good to be back home with my hubby and my family. I'm so blessed to have them in my life. But this post isn't going to explain the joys of being back in Canada, or how much I miss sleeping in my bed, or the wonderful quality of Canadian toilet paper, or the fact that I can now use public restrooms without fear of catching a disease and dying an early death.

Basically, I've gained lots of weight and my pants no longer fit. I've gained 6 kilos, which is about 13 lbs. Which is ALOT considering I was away for a little less than 4 months. But I promised myself this post wouldn't be a negative diatribe. Of course I'm dissapointed; but the fact is, that sometimes we lose track of our health for one reason or another. But the important thing is to remember that if you put your mind to it, you can do whatever you want. If you want something badly enough, you have to work hard to results.

Instead, I'm going to focus on what I plan to do to get myself back to where I was before I left. Feeling strong, energetic, and back to a healthier weight (And no, I refuse to tell anyone how much that is, heck, it took years before my husband found out).

We all know that weight loss is a combination of food and exercise. Sadly, it's 80% what you put into your body and 20% what you do at the gym. If it were only the oposite then life would be so much easier!

My goal is to lose 20 lbs by the end of July. I know this is a realistic goal because they say a healthy weight loss should be no more than 1-2 lbs a week. So for the next month, my goal is to lose 5 lbs.

So here is my plan for the next 4 weeks in terms of food intake:

1. No junk food whatsoever. Not even home-made deliciousness.

2. Increase on the vegetables; eat more salads. Basically, lettuce has no calories.

3. Portion control is key, which is something I've never thought of before (I generally eat healthy foods, so that's not the issue. The issue is that I tend to eat too much of it). I shall use to track my calories for the day. Which should be helpful because it makes you mindful of the serving amount you are eating.  Oh crap, I've already eaten 500 of 1573 calories and it's not even 9am yet!!

4. No late-night eating. I shall not eat after dinner.

5. Drink LOTS of water. Basically 10 cups a day or more.

6. No fried foods.. baked all the way.

7. I shall not say goodbye to bread, but I shall eat less of it. And no white rice.

8. For the first time in my life, I'm going to go sugar-less.. that means no sugar in my tea/coffee/drinks.. I'm using honey instead which actually tastes pretty good. Of course naturally occuring sugar in fruit is good.

9. Aiming to get more healthy protein in my diet.. Beans, fish, certain low fat cheeses, etc.

And in terms of working out:

1. Enjoy going back to Body Pump (weights), Body Combat (kickboxing) and other awesome fitness classes at my local gym.

2. Work out 5 times a week; of those, 3 must include weights. On my days off, I will need to feel like my muscles worked hard enough to deserve a break.

3. Slowly build up my endurance through running again.

4. Push myself beyond what's comfortable and familiar.

5. Prove all those stupid personal trainers that walk around with their high pony tails and squeaky voices that I don't need them to lose weight.

I'm excited.

So next Monday, which will be March 14th, I shall post again with an update on the situation. Hopefully, I'll have some good news to report. In the meantime, I'm going to go snack on some fruit.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Freedom, and the lack there of

And so, an update on my endorphins; they have ceased to exist, and that makes me sad.

During the past few weeks, Egypt underwent a revolution and that has been absolutely incredible to witness. However, due to the unsafe nature of the streets (thugs, gun-fire, etc) I spent more than a week at home. I was honestly too afraid to go venture out to the gym or the nearby track. Sounds of military tanks, gun-fire, and screaming in the night do that to a person.

When things calmed down, I was out several times this week trying to go to the gym, but they were closed due to the curfew in Egypt. Which sucked. But my feelings of dissapointment made me feel even worse because I really shouldn't have be thinking about my stupid runs when people were out there fighting for their freedom and their lives. What kind of person would that make me?

But when I don't work out I go through withdrawl symptoms. I physically feel pain in my back, arms, and legs. I don't why that happens, but it's not pretty. You know the typical movie scene in a rehab hospital where a drug addict is kicking and screaming? That's basically me. I feel like a caged animal who needs to break free and just run and never stop. But instead all I could do is sit in front of the tv and watch history taking place. And stuff my face with food. Lots of food.

The other day, I was all geared up and knew that I was going to have a great workout..(you know when your energy level is at its prime during the day) then I started walking to the nearby gym but got stuck in the rain and I found it closed. Then I decided to try another gym and by the time I got there, it was to close in 30 mins. My workout was too short. It made me both angry and dissapointed. So much for my endorphin kick.

So all I can do is vow to try again tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm watching this awesome video over and over. And I'm thinking how it would be truly freeing to run to its words.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Egypt RANT

 You know that friend that you don't see often? The one that you've known for years, the one that you miss.. Well that's Egypt for me. I haven't been here in almost three years and I missed it terribly. But now that I'm here, it's mostly a disappointment and I want to go home.

So here is a list of things that I find irksome..

1. Traffic. Too many cars and not enough space leads to traffic chaos. No patience, no common courtesy.. It's like a battle trying to get from point A to B. I've decided to now walk or take a taxi to wherever I need to go. But walking could also get you killed so ya, better watch out. Pedestrians need to yeild to traffic, never the other way around.

2. Body odour. It's January so it really boggles my mind why some people still STINK. It's not just the stink that comes after a hard day's work. It's like a stink upon stink. In specific, girls at the local gym. Why can't they just wash their gym clothes before wearing them again? Or here's a thought.. deodorant. Sometimes I wonder if they don't realize or don't care that their smell makes others want to barf.

Also, lady who was in front of me while I was on the treadmill today. Wow. Just wow. Please don't lift weights in front of me as the fan carries your underarm stench to my nostrils. I'm already nauseated trying to run on this broken treadmill that I'm sure will catch fire any second.

Also, lady who's tights were too tight. I can tell you're not wearing any underwear.

3. To my bed and pillows.. I now know that my love for you was, is, and always will be true. I haven't had a good night's sleep since I left you. I miss you damn it.

4. Feeling sick and nauseated all the time. Maybe it's the new medication, or maybe it's what's in the food.. but lately my energy level is at a zero. I find myself napping and just lying around like a lazy bum.

5. Making plans and then cancelling them. Or waiting around for the seamstress to show up, realizing that she's just not coming and you've just wasted your day. Basically, in Egypt, today means tomorrow, 10 minutes means 2 hours, and tomorrow means next week.

6. The total lack of organization at the Doctor's office. Here I am waiting for hours and you let Mr. A, B, and C walk in and see the doctor ahead of me. Stupid *Enter appropriate vulgarity here*. I swear, next time I will swear at you in English and if you understand I won't give a crap.

7. My runs are now extinct. I was sick for a long time and haven't been to the gym in a month. I'm now down to a slow jog that doesn't go past 10 minutes. It makes me sad that I have to work that much harder to get to where I used to be.

I will now try to compile a few things about Egypt that make me happy:

1. Seeing my younger sister get married. This trumps all that I wrote above. I'm happy beyond words when I see her and her husband together. When I think about her being married I have to swallow and hold back tears. Mostly because of how things you pray and wish for happen to the people you love most. Alhamdulilah, it's wonderful to watch her at the happiest she's ever been.

2. The Mediterranean Sea - Just the sight of you calms me and makes me forget all my troubles.

3. My nieces. I'm so happy that I will be able to watch you grow in the next few months before I have to leave. I don't appreciate being scratched, bit, barfed on,  or having both of you pull my hair simultaneously, but I've fallen in love with you. Your smiles and laughter make my heart happy.

4. Spelling mistakes in the most random locations. Like this juice shop that misspelled EVERY word, including juice.

Ok, that's all I got for now. Gotta get me some Fig Juiec.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy List

"If you would count up the favors of Allah, never would you be able to number them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Al-Nahl, 18)

There are so many things to be thankful for in my life right now.. but this is not a list of those. That list would be endless. These are a few things that make me happy/smile/feel fulfilled. Inspired of course by this happiness-inducing blog...

1. Finding the one. My sister is engaged. I found out through a text while driving; I must have looked like a complete retard driving with a huge smile plastered to my face for half an hour. And really the rest of the day.

I remember thinking at that point that good/awesome/fabulous/screaming-for-joy things do happen. You make dua, you try to be patient, you put your hope in Allah.. :) And one day, it just does. Anyways, this recent event has just opened up a new hope-filled mentality for me.

2. Being thankful to Allah. Did you know that sincerely thanking Allah for His blessings will cause you to recieve even more blessings? This past Ramadan, I`ve been trying to read more of the meaning of the Quran, rather than just the Arabic. One of the recurring themes in the Quran is to thank Allah for all His favours:

And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): "If you are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; But if you show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed." (Abraham, 7)

Basically, be grateful, sincerely say Alhamdulilah for the blessings you have in your life. If you do, Allah promises to add more favours, and give you more blessings. This topic actually requires a separate post. But for now, I'll just say that this is absolutely true and I have experienced this recently. I shall not share all the details.. but know that at this point, it keeps me happy and sane to saying Alhamdulilah.

3. Coffee, I love you. I'm sorry but this list wouldn't be complete without good, hot, fresh coffee. I don't have my own coffee maker for fear of becoming a coffee-addict. But I've always been a fan.. unfortunately, I'm always on the hunt for freshly made coffee. By the time my caffine cravings kick in, it's after 11am and it seems that all the good coffee has already been finished by the early-rising-work-going-crowd. Damn them. Damn them all. But still, Coffee, *insert facebook heart here* when you're good and hot, I'm happy.

p.s. For any of you that watch "The Marriage Ref"; I am that woman who is ridiculously picky about having fresh coffee at a restaurant. Ok, I'm not as rude as her, but I get it. Old coffee is just disgusting nasty crap.

4. Driving and Autumn. Together. Driving around during the day while all the early-rising-work-going crowd is stuck in cubicles all over the city makes me giggle inside. It's my secret pleasure to drive along on empty streets that are beautifully adorned by the colours of fall.

5. Being able to (kind-of) afford not working. And being a bum for a while. And a housewife. A housewife who really doesn't do dishes or cook as often as she should. But more the watch-tv-all-day-and-get-crumbs-on-the-couch kind of person. The kind of person who takes free art classes at the local library. Who cares if I'm the only one who isn't a senior citizen? It's liberating to be able to do things during the day.. who knew that turpentine can be used to blend in the colours of pastels?

6. Working-out. And lounging on the couch for the rest of the day. I've been pretty consistent with  my working out. I haven't lost the weight yet but at this point it doesn't really matter. I've got my endorphin-addiction back and I love it. Plus I'm getting stronger, faster, and hopefully will continue along that path. Nothing beats pushing yourself to the limit until your body can handle no more.. (ie.hunger/exhaustion) Followed this order 1. Hot shower 2. Driving home along empty streets 3. Food that is prepared in under 5 mins 4. Watching TV episodes and lying around for the rest of the day just being extra lazy.

7. That deciduous tree outside my window. It's just so calming to sit quietly and stare at you swaying in the wind. It calms me to look at you and just soak in all your coloured beauty. I know that soon you will be leaf-less but that's ok. I've watched you turn yellow and now orange, and you're beautiful.

8. My sisters. You know when you were little and you hated them and you wished you were an only child? Your parents told you that you would all appreciate each other when you got older. They were right. I'm so blessed to have sisters who are just as crazy as I am.

9. New Running Tunes. When I hear a new song that I like, I always look forward to adding it to my running playlist. I look forward to downloading, playing, and running hard to its words. Maybe it will turn out to be one that inspires me. I'm currently looking forward to running to these two: and.. (I'm sorry but the actual video is just insane and does no justice to the song, hence only the lyrics for this one)

10. Subway Naps. There is something so annoying about being on the subway. So it's no surprise that one of the best feelings is to sleep and suddenly find yourself awake at your destination; 45 minutes later! Daytime naps are fabulous, and if they help you avoid the tediousness of your subway route, even better!

11.Mizunos. I have big, wide, flat feet. So basically, my feet destroy any shoe that they come into contact with. Running shoes are no different. It took me a while to find a brand that I'm comfortable in; so ever since I found them, I haven't run in anything else. They are usually darn expensive, so I usually wear my old running shoes until I'm actually in pain (due to the lack of support/destroyed mid-sole). Anyhow, Mizunos, you keep my ridiculous feet happy, you make running easier, and therefore you are on this list.