Monthly Archives: April 2013

1 week (well, 6 days) and -6lbs later

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Willard says hello.

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And that he’s sorry for always being so dirty when I’m come to see him….. Right.

So it’s been 6 days now since I began the restricted diet of all restricted diets. Almost used to it now, managed to only drop about 6 or 7 lbs this week (I’m going to be some kind of unhappy if all the new clothes I just bought become to big after next week)..but let me tell you the first 3-4 days were pretty rough. It takes a couple rounds of the grocery store to adjust your self to finding things without sugar in them. OR dairy, gluten, or yeast for that matter.

This week has been a little insane anyway (what else is new). Two exams early in the week took up most of my focus (along with trying to find food in my cupboards that I could actually consume). Tuesday night was the first time I had a chance to grocery shop (had to make time as I realized driving home from the barn at 8pm that I had literally nothing I could eat- and this was after not really eating anything of substance for 6 hours) and it was an eye opener. For someone like me, who eats a pretty healthy diet- but relies on quick things to make, often finding food groups from fast sources, and has an deep love for KD, taking basically all those options away is like throwing a duck into a desert and telling it to find water. Okay, so that makes it sound awful. It wasn’t THAT bad. The fact that I was operating on an empty tank and in between exams probably didn’t help. Regardless, I was pretty lost in that grocery store. A friend gave me some good advice afterwards, which I learned quite quickly was pretty relevant.. “Stick to the outsides”. All the fresh (relative) veggies are on the outside. Which is a large portion of what I bought, and survived on this week.

Wednesday and Thursday went by pretty quickly. Wasn’t able to really make a real meal until late Thursday night. I started my full time job at MMSL Thursday, and barely made it through the day on what I had prepared to eat. My brain isn’t quite used to functioning on the rice crackers, veggies, and almond butter I was surviving on. Staring at spreadsheets and computer screens all day while taking in new information from my supervisors wiped me out by 11am. By the time I got out of the office and out to the barn that evening I was pretty much useless. The ride I did that night was pretty much me doing a lap of trotting and having to take a breather. Not myself at all. Thankfully I was able to get creative with some quinoa, farmers sausage, and veggies later that night. The only creative part, really, was making my own “pesto sister substance”. Olive oil, and some greek spices did the trick just fine!

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So good.

Since Thursday I’ve been getting along much better with meals. I cooked up a large amount of quinoa that night, which I’m able to concoct into many different things. Friday I created french toast style quinoa patties.

IMG_2643 If there is one meal I don’t have any problem with lately, it’s breakfast. Nobody has taken away my bacon. And Lord help them if they try. Usually I go for a 3-egg omelette bacon and spinach frittata/omelette type deal. This morning, since I had gone through all my eggs already, I got creative with some sweet potato, bacon, spinach, onions, and left over cinnamon quinoa.

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Speaking of bacon, I need to buy some more.

I love the food this diet forces me to eat. Building the habit of pre-planning a week of meals is the hardest thing for me. I’ve had numerous discussions with friends this week, at work and other places, who have given me tips on what and where to buy things, been able to relate with me as they are on similar restricted or paleo type diets, and given me some great ideas for things to cook and integrate into my already crazy busy lifestyle. For what I’ve lacked in gluten, dairy, yeast, and sugars this week- I’ve received ten-fold back in support from those around me. Which is awesome. And I love it.

As you probably have picked up from what I’ve already written about my experiences so far, it’s been kind of a roller coaster ride for my body. When I’m hungry, I get less of the usual stomach grumblies, and more of a major head ache and loss of all things concentration related. Shocking my body with a new, extreme, eating style the same week as two exams and starting a new full-time job, taking shifts at the gym, maintaining my usual work outs and riding schedule…Probably not the greatest idea in hindsight.  The first 4 days I was in a zombie fog. Fatigue like I’ve never experienced. Some of those fun symptoms like cramping, lack of appetite, and nausea as well, which Dr. Shrayder said may come out to play the first couple weeks, but nothing really. Thankfully between shifts this weekend I’ve been able to catch up on sleep and calories. Starting to feel way better.. Not completely firing on all cylinders yet though- just directed a very male client to the very female change room- luckily whatever cylinder that was kicked in BEFORE he opened the door. I’m 20 years old and I still mix up my right and my left. Terrifying.

Today before work I went a did some (still have more to do) shopping for the next week or so. Where I used to spend max $50 a week on groceries.. this week I’m already over the $100 range. And that’s still me being skimpy. I’m hoping once I get the basics I need for some of the recipes and meals (coconut everything (oil, flour, etc), beans, nuts, spices, and more), that I can get my budget down a bit again. Regardless, it’s a good thing I have a few different sources of income for the summer. Besides MMSL, and MORfit, I also agreed to coach the Graysville Light Horse 4H club this year. So starting next week I’ll be working with those kids for a few months. Also hoping to do some private lessons again this year on the side.

I’m actually kind of loving the challenge all this is giving me. Hopefully it will get a little less exhausting as I get more into the habits. I’m getting to exercise my creativity in the kitchen (as my mom will tell you I am the worst at actually following recipes) by making up things as I go half the time. This is forcing me to build those skills, and habits to live the kind of lifestyle I’ve been headed towards anyway. As I’ve told many people this week- this is just life shoving me off the cliff putting things like this off. It’s not like I was going to get less busy this summer and suddenly have time to make a change in my lifestyle. There is only one way for me to do this sort of thing- and that is to just do it.

Since I’m risking being long-winded here.. I’ll end with some pictures from throughout the week!

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Lessons, Habits, Progress

Decided to take a study break to write a post. And now I have writers block. THANKS BRAIN.

We’re in the home stretch. Only two exams left this week- after a quite successful run of five.  Found out today that I got a 94% on the psychology paper I wrote on the power dynamics Eric Lamaze used to influence the series of events surrounding the disqualification of Tiffany Foster from the olympics and FEI’s hypersensitivity protocol. I also got a B on my A&P lab exam, and a B+ on my P&C practical. Both those written exams felt very good as well, so hoping for good results there.

Besides studying like crazy, I’ve been working as much as I can, as well as riding and working out. So basically the past month all aspects of my life have been colliding into one big happy fun time. There were a couple weeks in there where I managed to pick up around 4-5 shifts in the week, as well as got out to the barn 5 times (as well as other forms of exercise), and wrote 1-2 exams. There is a reason “time-management skills”  has it’s own section on my resume. I’m getting used to living out of my car and using gas stations for wardrobe changes. Between driving across the city for work and play, and out to the country for training, I don’t have a lot of time to spend at Ainslie St. The time that used to be taken up by classes is quickly being replaced by five billion other things. Speaking of which I should really figure out when my spring class starts.

As of today I’ve had three lessons with M&C, and they have all brought significant improvements (for both me and Willard). The first lesson was really fun. We focused on grid work, and it was clear the Willard missed jumping over things. I felt great in the tack, confident and focused. The second lesson was a bit different. I was less focused to begin with, but that quickly changed as the lesson progressed. In the beginning I was sluggish in the saddle, my back hurt and my knee was not enjoying much of anything. Then I realized how much I was falling into old bad habits (hip angle too closed, shoulders forward, leg back). Then I thought about all that work I put into that biomechanics project I did my first term, and between that and Charlene manually adjusting my position in the saddle, I quickly fixed my own biomechanics and had quite a productive lesson after that. Just took me a while to wake up that time apparently. But it was an enlightening lesson for me in many ways, one of those ways seeing how my education- all those technical things about the human body I’ve been studying all year- are truly helping me to progress as a rider. It’s helping me change my perspective on things like those pesky old bad habits I’ve been trying to banish for so long. I stumbled across a quote the other day that fits this situation.. “When bad habits are hard to break, try bending them”. A lot of it is about perception.

That lesson showed me that I am well on my way to gaining new perspective, and that maybe those habits won’t always hinder me- but instead help me to progress further.

Oh, and the horse was good too.

My lesson today was much more focused (from my view anyway). Since Willard is still pretty enthusiastic about the whole jumping idea (sound effects included). We did quite a bit of transition work, before and after jumps. While is is very keen to jump, he is listening much better than even a few weeks ago. Where he used to grab the bit and launch himself at jumps, he was waiting with me for deeper distances and actually rounding himself over the jumps (of course followed by a squeal and a buck after because apparently it feels really good to jump oxers lately). Today there was only some of that, moreso after the jumps opposed to before. Charlene thinks that one more week and this “spring freshness” should be out of his system. Can’t blame him really, jumping IS pretty fun.

The biggest difference I’m noticing in my riding so far this season is that I am also better at waiting in the tack. Previously I had a tendancy to see a distance, and wait for it, but let myself fall forward in anticipation- which would throw the horse off, and lead to a chip or a extra stride before the jump. Whether it be my common sense progressing, my improved over all fitness, or M&C’s strategies working (probably all three), it brings a lot more confidence into my ride. For both horse and rider.

So that’s riding covered. The only other sort of interesting news I have that is fitness related is that I’ve finally started making ground with my pesky quad injury. After a few months arguing with it (especially during running), with the help of my ATs awesome/horribly painfully effective thumbs and elbows, as well as well planned rehab exercises, it has progressed from quitting at 1 mile, then to 2 miles, and now last week we were up to 3 miles before it started feeling like WWIII was taking place in my left leg and glutes. That day I also did a 5 miler maintaining a 10:30min/mile pace! Personal best for this kid! My training has kind of shifted from being in the gym 5 days a week to being in the barn 5 days a week mixed with more running and more body weight/pilates style exercises. I’ve found that for now, with my schedule and what is most effective for my lifestyle at the moment, this is the program that works right now. I still try and do a heavy lifting day 1-2 times a week, because it really is effective for me as a rider. I’m really looking forward to this summer to expand my training more with new ideas that come up!

Between everything else, the mission to solve my GI problems is continuing. The naturopath I consulted in March originally suspected parasite, while the Gastroenterologist recently suggested it definitely was not a parasite, and although I don’t have too many of the symptoms, Crohn’s might be the case and would like to proceed with a colonoscopy to confirm, which I said I would consider after all the other tests came back. I did stool and saliva testing for the Naturopath, and more blood tests for the Gastroenterologist. The GI guy was correct on the parasites, as I saw the naturopath today and got my test results back. The tests also showed some inflammation in my small intestines, but that could correlate with the high levels of yeast, bacterial growth, and gluten build-up also present. So while I wait the next 2 months for my Gastroenterologist to get blood test results, the naturopath has put me on 3 different herbal supplements to rid my gut of the bad bacteria, yeast, and gluten- as well as recommended I try out a restricted diet. Restricted being the understatement of the year.

Long story short (seriously though, I got a 100-page reference package), I am to avoid all gluten, dairy, and sugar- limit my fruit intake and bump up my veggie intake. I’m not sure how my Starbuck’s addiction feels about this. However, while I initially panicked because, lets face it, that is a lot of things I can’t eat, I then realized that my diet lately has been shifting that direction anyway. It will definitely take a little more time and effort on my part to make the complete shift, but I have been looking at the “paleo” way of life for a while, and this restricted diet is not too far off that line of thinking. The past month or so, I have been feeling really good, and during that past month I’ve been eating less starchy/processed stuff. So maybe, hopefully, the naturopath is onto something with this. Either way, it’s a new adventure.. or maybe challenge is a better word! I hope to make time to record some of how it goes on here, so if you’re interested make sure you stay tuned!

I finish exams Wednesday, where I will get approximately a 12hr break before I start full-time at the Manitoba Major Soccer League as their program coordinator for the summer. It’s sure to be a crazy summer (per usual), while I keep around 10 hrs a week in shifts at the gym, plus full time at MMSL, riding, showing, spring courses, and everything else in between. Bring it on!

 

 

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That familiar-unfamiliar feeling

What a week! Classes are done finally and now it’s just wading through the 5 exams this month until I can shift my focus completely to work and riding (and my spring course..)!

Today I dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on my new summer job. This job will keep me in the city for the summer. While there is a certain amount of excitement about the job itself, and the experience it will give me, there is also a feeling quite similar to one I had frequently while overseas. The being outside of your comfort zone and growing up type feeling. Something new, something exciting, something maybe a little bit scary? It seems ridiculous to compare the two- staying in the city for the summer, somewhere already pretty familiar to travelling across the world, alone. But, is the first summer I will spend away (away is dramatic- its only an hour) from home. It seems to be eliciting some homesickness-like vibes.

So much of this past year has been about putting myself outside of my comfort zone- taking on the unfamiliar and the scary- and finding out where it takes me. That unfamiliarity is almost normal. Its starting to seem that just when I get used to one thing, I find a new challenge to take on. That’s what pursuing higher education is about though, right? Sometimes its not even an unfamiliar challenge that pops up- it quite often is something familiar to me, a challenge I have dealt with and worked through already, but presented in a new way. Demanding that I re-look at how I faced it before and develop a new game plan for how to deal with it now.

Those who know me best know that I love taking on a challenge. Which is why, although the unfamiliarity of stepping outside of that comfort zone is usually terrifying, I have been consciously making the effort to do it more and more. I can’t lie, it is completely exhausting, deflating, and runs me down some of the time. However, the changes I have noticed in myself as a student, friend, athlete, young professional, etc etc, show what that effort is providing me with. I am able to set goals and work towards them with confidence, even if the road along the way isn’t one I’ve travelled before.

Everyday is a new adventure, yadda yadda.

That got deep fast.

Apparently there are lots of things floating around in my head right now.

To summarize, summer job= staying in the city= mixed feelings.

I’ve had two rides on the grey beast since moving him to McMullans for some spring butt kicking. He has been exceptional both times. Tonight consisted of about 45 minutes of bending, and transition. His transitions are so so nice (miraculously) even now after the winter off- that is- until about the 30 minute mark when the energy levels start to dwindle. When we started our hack today he was floating around the ring in great balance, bending around my leg like nobody’s business. But as we continued to work- the whole floating thing went down the spectrum a bit, and he relied a little bit more my hands instead of carrying himself. It was good to spend a bit longer with him tonight, to see where we are at in terms of lateral work and general flat work. Fitness wise, he is way above my expectations. The biggest thing for the next little while is going to be reminding him how to balance himself, and getting some fluidity/impulsion back into his trot. And of course reminding my body what it is like to be in the saddle on a regular basis!

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Like I never left

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Not that I actually went that far. Bit dramatic- it was really only 6 months off this time.

Got on Willard for the first time tonight he was, dare I say, perfect! Compared to last spring when it was like riding a horse who forgot most of his training- tonight he floated around like this was his day job. I think he was equally as happy as I am to be back in work. When I got to the barn and put him in the cross ties I swear I saw a glint of excitement in his eyes. And then a look of disappointment as he peered out of his stall at me as I left the barn. “Are you leaving already, mom?”.
If this is any sort of foreshadowing for the next few months- I’ll take it!

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