Thursday, April 29, 2010

Westminster Ponds - The Journey Continues

Who knew you could get lost in the middle of a not-very-big city? The natural space and beauty of Westminster Ponds is of considerably greater magnitude than I had originally thought. You CAN get lost wandering about the millions of pathways - I have proof!

But obviously we found our way out again and what's more important we found our way back to where we had parked our car!

None of the wandering however, took away from the beauty that surrounded us on all sides.

Incredible, isn't it?

A bit of human carving adds interest to this tree.

Can you spot Bucky Beaver working away on a tree branch?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I happened to stop by the other day and happily saw that I had a credit of almost $35.00. Someone has been paying me back - in fact - several someones! I immediately turned around and reloaned the money out to the above 45 year old Togo woman named Benina who runs a small store in which she sells generic items. Her stock was running low and she had requested her first loan to enable her to restock.

This is my ninth loan since I began loaning in October. My goal was one per month and I have exceeded that goal by two loans. I can't help myself - I see that credit and I don't want it just sitting there when it could be helping another mother, like Benina - a mother of five - raise and educate her family.

So far three women have repaid me in full and the others range in repayment from 12% to 87%. There have been no defaults or money lost so far. This lending opportunity handled by Kiva and their field agents is totally a win/win adventure. The thrill of lending what is to me a token amount of money (think 4 to 5 Starbucks lattes) to women in the most under-developed nations in the world while I sit with my feet up at said Starbucks drinking water and a decaf coffee and having an effect on their lives is immeasurable.

It really makes me feel such gratitude for what I have.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Revving up Your Metabolism

You may or may not have noticed but I emptied out my closet of all of my "fat" clothes. These are the items I resort to when my "regular-sized" (its all relative isn't it - who am I trying to kid?) clothing gets to be a wee bit or a whoa holy smokes bit too tight.

Thanks to the calcium diet that I've been adhering to (except for this past weekend but that's another story) for the past month and which has helped me to lose just over 12 pounds of gross hideous lard. My weight has gone from an all-time high (except when pregnant) of 139 lbs to a much more reasonable 126 lbs. I would like to hover between 123 and 125 lbs which puts my BMI at 22.3. I can live with that (hopefully for a long time!)

Now that my weight has plateaued for a few days I hit the internet looking for ways to rev up my metabolism in order to maximize the calories lost through exercise and diet. Here's what I learned:

  • Drink water COLD (yes, it really does work)

  • Spice up your food with cayenne (I add it to my omelettes along with jalepeno peppers and crushed red chillies; cinnamon is another great spice which speeds up your metabolism

  • Increase intake of green tea (called the "metabolism potion")

  • Alternate quick sprints with slower intervals while walking, running, biking

  • Lift weights up and down slowly

  • Take fish oils daily: 6 gms and it needs to contain at least 300EPA and 200DHA and take 2 hours before working out (it enhances fat oxidation during exercise!)

  • Eat your larger meal at noon and your lighter meal at night & eat good sources of protein like fish and chicken

  • Reduce alcohol

  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep at night

  • Have several short 10 minute workouts throughout the day vs. 1 long workout to increase the afterburn (length of time your metabolism is working hard to burn calories/fat)

  • Eat raw veggies (negative calorie effect - more about that later)

  • Gain more muscle (muscle burns off the calories longer and more efficiently than fat)

Time will tell if implementing these TIPS will have the hoped-for effect. I am doing as many as I can - the 8 hours of sleep is next to impossible however. Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Calcium Diet

On March 15th I started a diet called The Calcium Diet. But I better back up a bit. For the previous two weeks I had been reading a book with the catchy title "How the Rich Get Thin" by Dr. Jana Klauer who specializes in helping people with obesity issues in New York city.

Yes, I was hooked by the title but while I was reading it (for free at Chapters) I KNEW that this was a lifestyle eating program that was directed at me and women like me.

Women like me are: over 50, going through menopause, work at fairly sedentary jobs and having been putting on a pound or two a year since their metabolism slowed down since hitting 40. Sound familiar??

The Calcium Diet has five non-negotiables: an hour of daily exercise (yes, housework and walking count - just get MOVING), calcium-rich foods, high-quality protein at every meal, conquering food cravings by eating "filling" as opposed to "fattening" foods, and eliminating all processed foods.

The keys are calcium-rich foods (all low-fat dairy products, fish and dark-green veggies) and lots and lots of protein with the best sources being: egg-whites, fish, shellfish, turkey and chicken.

Finding a diet that emphasizes dairy was like finding a pot of gold! I love cheese, yogurt, milk and cottage cheese. Finding low fat (0 - 1%) was easy. As my partner knows I could live on plain yogurt smothered in fresh fruit, cereal and nuts, seeds and raisins. All of those add-ons though add a lot of calories. I have now come to love my plain 0% yogurt with just fresh fruit and a teaspoon of flax seeds, ground or whole.

I get to add cheese to my egg-white omelets and to spice things up I add hot peppers, cayenne pepper, bits of chicken, sauted sweet peppers and onions. Delicious!

Four weeks later I still feel totally satisfied with what I am eating on a daily basis. Never have I stuck to an eating plan for longer than one week. And I have lost 11.6 pounds. So far. I have more energy and fit back into clothing I haven't worn for quite a while.

Stay tuned for more info about this diet, my progress and tips for revving up your metabolism to increase FAT loss.

K'Naan - Mixtape Version of "Strugglin'"

You will want to listen to this video over and over again!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring has Sprung

At the trailer in Bayfield
At the trailer
My new lilac bush at the trailer
Snowdrops at home
A trailing bush in my backyard