Food police. Not to be mistaken with the Dream Police.

My obsession with eating clean, getting in shape and losing weight has me on the verge of orthorexia nervosa.

I’m not quite there, but I can see this going down in a pretty ugly way. For the past two weeks, sticking to my exercise training plan and my food plan, I’ve become ridiculously fixated on righteous eating.

My life has begun to orbit around my food rules. When to eat, what to eat, how much to eat. Packing my lunch. Tupperware, Tupperware, more Tupperware.  Sizable lunchbags to compete with those at a construction site. Chaos and mayhem if my carefully orchestrated menu is disrupted by the daily comings and goings of family, friends and work, God forbid. Cancel ALL social situations revolving around a meal/snack time, which is, really, ALWAYS unless you catch me in some lucky 2-hour window before my next broccoli break.

“I’m TRAINING,” was my answer. “How do you expect me to get in shape and lose weight if I make exceptions every five minutes??”  If not the plan, my SHEER WILL will certainly burn fat.

And even worse, I was channeling not only my INNER critic but the words were marching to the edge of my tongue and preparing to dive off: “Um, you really shouldn’t eat that you know, because …. it’s full of sugar/fat/processed/etc.”  Hello?? I’m the one with the weight problem, not them. Let them have their doughnuts, pizza, and ALL that dressing on the salad with the chicken that STILL. HAS. SKIN.   P.S. Elevators are for sissies.

Time out. TIIIIIME OUT.

Musical interlude: And now I’m caught in a trap. I can’t walk out. Because I love you too much, baby. Why can’t you see?  What you’re doing to me?

And THEN – so I allowed myself a rest day or two where I ate lasagna – and M&Ms (it’s like, if I’m not being very, very good, I’m simply being horrid) – and then felt the need to jump up and work all that off before it could settle gleefully onto that tire around my waist. Argh!

So. Yes, okay, I don’t really have orthorexia nervosa after only a week or so, but I get how easy it is to slip into the rut.  I feel like I’m the food police and I’ve GOT to ease up..

I need to be Zen about this for the rest of the month.

Proceed.

Peace.

 

Fast food for the backcountry

Planning continues for the backcountry hikes this summer.

No surprise, I’ve been working more on the “hmmm, what can I eat” rather than the “how many stairs can I climb” questions.

Stockpiling trail food

I seriously have an arsenal of dehydrated shepherd’s pie, spaghetti and meatballs and bananas foster, among others.  I could very well be a doomsday prepper at this rate.

Here are my top five greatly-anticipated pre-packaged trail meals for this summer:

1. Shepherd’s Pie – like mom used to make, Backpacker’s Pantry
2. AlpineAire‘s Forever Young Mac & Cheese
3. Tsampa Soup – channelling the power of the Sherpas
4. Peanut & Raisin Oatmeal, Backpacker’s Pantry
5. Fire Roasted Veg Blend, Mountain House – eat yer veggies!

[And stay tuned for reviews later in the summer as to whether these lived up to their reputations!]

The pre-packaged dehydrated meals often have a reputation of being hit and miss, not to mention chock-full of sodium… I actually don’t mind the fact that that sodium levels are a bit high on these meals.  I’m huge on losing salt when I sweat, and without a serious replenishment, I am apt to become generally useless, drool or pass out.

As for taste, well, it comes down to a wee bit of desperation because you’ve been on the trail for 4 days already and there’s not a cheeseburger in sight.  Mostly, the flavours are slightly off the mark compared to the real thing, but you just tell yourself the faulty Star Trek-esque replicators were malfunctioning. Sometimes, though, going through the homemaker motions of preparing and eating a meal is actually quite comforting when, hey, you’re sleeping in a tent for yet another night with mere microfibers between you and big giant bears.

Yummers! Bananas Foster in the wild

Yummers! Bananas Foster in the wild

The majority of the pre-packaged meals I’m bringing I’ve already tested on the trail, and am happy with, or I’ve watched my companions chow down and thought I should get some (as a result of a little camp-food envy).  I’ve bought a few new ones to try, like guacamole; although I’m not sure how to avoid crushing the chips that come with it.

I’ve dabbled in the idea of dehydrating food on my own, and even ordered a book on it. Alas, I actually don’t anticipate ever investing in a dehydrator, so … I may attempt it all on a very low-set oven temperature.  But I am kind of too lazy to do this… we’ll see.

Trust me, my entire oh-so-gourmet backpacking menu won’t be “fast food” per se… but it’s good to have a few pre-made foil packets each trip for the nights you are too zonked to play house, or if the rain is belting down and you just need to eat and hit the sack…

What are your favourite backcountry foods?

 

 

Train your brain – 3 Day Refresh

So, April, I’d decided to push a little harder with my fitness goals.  (Gilmore Girls and ice cream drove me to this point).

I gave the 3-Day Refresh, a little Beachbody kick start product, a whirl to get the bod back on track.  I did it with the ever-amazing Miz J. as a rather spur of the moment kind of thing the Tuesday right after Easter. (What!? Huh?! Eeek!) We both happened to have the kit, and it was a huge “no time like the present” move forward.

(Admittedly, for me it was a desperate psychological ploy to make progress in my fitness regime.  I need to see results.  And I did – I got them.)

The Refresh has fibre and protein components, and the holes around it are filled with loads of water, green tea, fresh fruit and veg.  We did it bang on in the middle of the week  – Tue/Wed/Thu – and that helped with keeping busy and not sitting around waiting for our next feeding time.

Day 1 – Tuesday convo outtakes
“I’m at work surrounded by the scent of chicken fingers and a tray of sushi.”
“Two more days! We can do it!!!”
“I was grumpy between work and dinner.”
“Family wants Easter ham and blueberry waffles…I’m eating cucumbers and tomatoes.”

Day 2 – Wednesday convo outtakes
“I couldn’t resist, and I did weigh myself this morning… am down…! But don’t want to speak too loudly about it as I really need to keep this off. No more yo-yo stuff.”
“Woke up hungry this morning. Wanting coffee.”
“Tracking the food keeps me more honest.”
“Vinegar is my new booze. I just dumped it all over this salad and shot back what was left.”
“Made it [to the end of the day] … food all okay. Workout done. Self tanner on face to raise self esteem.”
“24 hours [left] – whooohooo!”

Day 3 – Thursday convo outtakes
“Empty colon” [check]
“For my healthy fat I brought a chunk of coconut oil. BLERGH. Like eating wax.”
“I’ve just had that fibre sweep and am counting down the minutes ‘til I can have lunch.”
“Good thing I have to stick to this strict plan. Mindless snacking would have started…”

In the end – we both lost weight (5 lbs each) in the three days, but this should be expected when, as mentioned above, our colons were empty and we were peeing every hour with all the water.  We kept up our exercising throughout the Refresh, and walking a lot.  And having a partner in crime made a huge difference…no man is an island.

Moving ahead, cautiously optimistic – suddenly I was panicked… what do I eat now??  With such a clean slate, I felt like I couldn’t possibly bring precious food into my system.  I agonized over every frigging thing I ate on Friday. It truly was a case of obsession. Today, I’ve relaxed a bit more, but boy – I think about everything before eating. That’s probably a good thing. It’s like my brain has been re-trained.

Overall, I feel less bloated in the tummy, lighter, experiencing clarity (right??) and as for cravings – like for SUGAR – are actually gone. Onward. Ho.

Weight update
March 30: 214 lbs
April 11: 207 lbs

Whiny McWhinerton

Tonight I took ice cream to bed and watched Gilmore Girls – endlessly – on Netflix.

Mmm sexy.

Full disclosure… I gained weight at Christmas, and then boom! January – even MORE.  I’ve been trying like hell to get back on track.  And the crazy thing is that I’ve been soooo good about making healthy choices: hitting the food groups, getting the portions right, mixing up my workout routines, and last week I even cut out all sugar for 7 days…no luck.

The yo-yo machine is making me nuts.  No beer, no cookies, no nachos, no cream/sugar in my coffee…and still, the weight is merciless.  I used to be frustrated about plateauing at 200 lbs, and now the dial is frakked up at 214. Seriously…

That’s all I’ve got for today.

Blergh.

 

Backcountry hiking, half-marathon running, fat-reducing is-it-summer-yet PLAN

I love winter.

I really, really do love winter. I play outside on my snowshoes. I find excuses to buy really awesome winter socks, and I now own three winter coats. I like frost and cold. I love the stillness of being in the woods, branches heavy with snow.

And, in the depths of this delightful deep freeze, I love, really love, planning for the summer.

I’ve had my maps out since December trying to figure out where to hike this summer, and how to work those trips around my running schedule and my girls’ adventure to Iceland and Scotland…

And the over-arching issue for all of these grand plans is simply to get in shape.

So, starting with my fabulous 37.9% body fat (erg – I should really just be calling that 38%) I need yet another plan…

Having blogged for about a year now, I’m seeing a bit of repetition… that there’s more plotting and planning than actual DOING going on a lot of the time. But being in a bit of a bind – getting chubbier again and having some big goals to kick this year – I need to get on with that DOING part.

The basic strategy for the next few months is to increase weight training and cardio while cutting calories via “clean eating”. Tah-dah. Yep, that’s it.

I’ve gone old school again, and printed out a calendar, upon which I’ve penciled in my workout schedule.  The training is essentially worked backwards from my half-marathon trail race in July and my half-marathon road race in August.  And the best part is that I reward myself with stickers on the days I work out. Oh yes, stickers work for me. And I work for stickers. (Who doesn’t love happy face stickers??)

So far, I have FOUR stickers!!!!!!!  WOOT!  And let the positive visualization begin :)

37% Fat Tuesday

Happy Fat Tuesday to you and you and YOU.  Throw me some beads, would ya?  And I’ll reveal… that I had waffles ALL DAY LONG today.

Waffles with strawberry compote.

Waffles with vanilla ice cream and blackberries.

Waffles with a tropical fruit salad and coconut yogurt.

Waffles with saffron & rosewater ice cream and pistachios.

Palate cleanser: Havarti.

Waffles with more vanilla ice cream, bananas and maple syrup.

Waffles with strawberry Jello.

Palate cleanser: a pancake and more Havarti.

Waffles with vanilla yogurt, raisins and walnuts.

Palate cleanser: Havarti and Brie.

Seriously.  Shrove Tuesday is OVER, thank goodness, and the delightfully Spartan season of Lent is upon us. Forty days and forty nights of thinking about what I’ve done/become…lol.

On another fat note, I had my fat composition done by some great scientific types over at the University of Alberta.  They do public testing on Wednesdays, and I took the plunge (literally) to find out where I stand, all scale-battles aside.

The process is really kinda cool. You are first weighed.  Then you are tested to see how much air you can expel from your lungs.  THEN the real fun begins as you shimmy into your bathing costume, sit on a metal chair with a weight belt across your lap, blow out every last breath and are then lowered UNDERWATER for 10 seconds while they get a reading.

Yes, there is math involved in all this.

Long story short, my body fat composition is sitting at a hefty 37%. I’ve got some work to do!  Let’s make a plan……….

Happy FAT TUESDAY!  Woot!

 

 

 

Stretchy pants, cabin fever & other anniversary adventures

Let’s just say that the mountain/wedding anniversary celebrations have passed and the era of the stretchy pants has begun.

Seriously, that’s all I’ve been wearing since being away for a week in the Canadian Rockies. Things with elastic waists.  It was a daily struggle between “I want to look good naked” and “C’mon, treat yourself.”

BearStrTavernx I did have quite a bit of control over food the majority of the holiday which was spent at Baker Creek, with a kitchen to prep our own food.  Baker Creek consisted of delightful log cabins in the woods with absolute peace and quiet. So much P&Q that I was getting FAR TOO MUCH SLEEP and a little edgy by the time I finished two novels in four days (The Girl on the Train and A Man Called Ove), and played all the solitaire I could handle, and was wrinkly from hot-tubbing in the wonderful Jacuzzi in our cabin.

No TVs, no telephones and the WiFi on our various gadgets was very limited. Funny how my modern-day decompression habits include scrolling FB or IG.

I lacked the ability to fully chill, and I bugged my husband daily about going out for snowshoe treks.  Yep, I was a complete pest. Our first snowshoe day out was across frozen Lake Louise to the ice waterfall, back again to the Chateau, then up to Mirror Lake, just below Lake Agnes. He thought he was going to die.  He thought I was trying to kill him. Not exactly romantic anniversary stuff.  The trail WAS steep, but we’d done that route a gazillion times before. I guess on snowshoes was a little more challenging. Or it was the altitude. Or maybe because we are not in fab shape. Or the last time we did that was 20 years ago. Or something.KickingitonPtarmiganx

So, by the next day, he was committing to only short snowshoe excursions (which caused me to pout, stomp and act like a child) because he knew at the end of the week I’d booked us into Skoki Lodge and the only way in to the backcountry was to snowshoe for 11K and he’d have no choice at that point.  I need to rest, he said.  It drove me batty.  He was calm and cool as a cucumber.  (How does he do it??)

Returning to Skoki Lodge (read about my last foray into the snowbound backcountry with Miz J.) was an exciting prospect, as I wanted to introduce my husband to these kinds of adventures that are near and dear to my heart.  He was wary.  Very wary. No running water. No electricity.  His biggest fear was sleeping quarters.

Do I have to sleep next to a stranger, he asked.  He was recalling the summer I took him and the boys to several of the Alpine Club of Canada backcountry huts, where everyone bunks down on padded sleeping platforms right next to one another, and God forbid you’re next to the dude who farts sausage stink all night or snores like a freight train. (He experienced both).

I assured him that no, he didn’t have to share a room, and in fact I’d booked the Honeymoon Cabin – a little log cabin completely separate from the main lodge.  He was quite thrilled about that.  And then when I told him all of our food was provided by stellar backcountry chefs, he perked up even more. No noisy people, no cooking and no cleaning… all good.

FirstlookxBlessed with a bluebird day and crazy warm temperatures for January, our Skoki day couldn’t have been more perfect.  We checked out of our  little cabin at Baker Creek and prepared to go every more rustic.  I was SUPER PROUD of him for making the trek out to the lodge.  Not only was he chipper, but he booked it along and we snowshoed up and over two mountain passes and down into Skoki Valley to the lodge in 3.5 hrs arriving mid-afternoon in time for tea. Not bad!! Well deserving of a night in our very own wee cabin.

Skoki’s honeymoon cabin is – by all means – the way to go. The lodge, built in the 1920s, is charming but squeaky, with the ability to hear all of your neighbours in the adjoining rooms. The cabin’s resounding silence conjured up the epic depth and aloneness of the being the only two people in the world on a fluffy king bed with a softer than soft duvet.  Totally amorous if you had any energy left after snowshoeing in, scarfing down multiple bowls of soul-defying tomato orzo soup with homemade biscuits, guzzling lemonade, snacking on cheddar and brie and pecans and blackberries, and polishing off every last crumb of both the gingerbread AND the lemon tea cakes because you couldn’t quite make up your mind which would go better with your third steaming cup of apple raspberry tea.

We completely passed out in that cozy bed until the sun set, and we found ourselves hurriedly throwing on hut booties and sweaters a few minutes before the dinner bell at 7:00 pm. Like we could fit more food in.Firesburningx

The lodge’s great room transformed into a candlelit haven, with staff moving quietly to and fro, preparing for the evening meal.  The menu board promised halibut, spanakopita, Skoki salad, roasted vegetables and chocolate cake.  We selected seats at the long, polished table and were soon joined by our fellow inmates. My dear extroverted husband took over our social obligations and I sweetly faded into the background, observing.  We met folks from Calgary (tell me a time at Skoki where you don’t meet someone from Calgary…) and a couple from the States. There was the obligatory teen, and a few groups of friends, along with some Aussies for good measure.  Most everyone was lovely, and only a few you’d like to short-sheet their beds. Which could actually be done because there are no locks on the doors at Skoki.

A delightful affair, is dinner at Skoki Lodge. Not only because of the stellar menus created and prepared by Katie Mitzel and her staff, but because it is communal, taking us all back to the art of conversation.

I’d like to say after a leisurely dinner that we fell into a fitful sleep from all that mountain air and good food, but alas we did not.  Bedtime at Skoki tends to take place between 9:00 – 10:00 pm, but we were wide awake following our afternoon nap and dinner.  We warmed up the cabin and did a bit of an electronic cheat, listening to the CBC’s Vinyl Cafe on my iPod, watching the battery operated twinkle lights we’d hung in the cabin windows.  It was after 1:00 am and several chilly excursions to the outhouse that we finally fell asleep….just in time to get up for our 8:00 am breakfast. Yes, breakfast.

SkokiteaxAll about the food.  The Skoki kitchen serves up both a cold and hot breakfast (second breakfast!) followed quickly by the make-your-own-lunch accouterments for either your day trips around the lodge or your trip back to reality.  We only stayed the one night, so we made off with cookies and pockets of trail mix, not bothering with the sandwiches this go around.

Our journey back was a slog up Deception Pass and then the long-haul to Skiing Louise and an endless trudge down the ski-out.  Last time, lifties put us over the mountain but this year, snowshoers had to use the ski-out…which added a ridiculous amount of time and effort. Any shine from the lodge might have worn off DH at this point. In fact, yes, yes it was most certainly gone.  There was a lot of cursing about snowshoes and walking and inconsiderate people making other people snowshoe so far just to reach cars where there are heated seats and mobile chargers.

Despite all the tromping around in the wilderness, I still managed to eat my weight in food, and upon arriving back in Banff (and massaging my legs back to life) we had a celebratory (as in, we’re alive!) steak dinner. Mmmm steak.

Hence the stretchy pants.

It might take some time to recover. I might need another week.