another important FOCUS

I had a long chat with M last night about my plans and goals for the next year and beyond, and after going on for quite a while about my careful and calculated and detailed idea of how life is going to look for me, he piped up with “just make sure that you make more time to have fun, Amber — sounds to me like you are planning on routine and nothing else…what about being spontaneous, when are you gonna give youself a chance to really live and do what matters to you?”  At first I was sort of annoyed and offended and felt defensive about the comment, because I AM planning on having fun, but I need to have a very strict routine to keep myself on the straight and narrow. Right? Of course, right!

But…then after thinking about it some more in the wee hours of the morning,  in all reality, I don’t actually do a lot of the fun/meaningful things I WANT to do…like playing and performing music, writing, getting out into nature.   M ferquently asks me about this and it’s kind of embarassing.  He’ll say things like “you’re a musician, right?  So how come I never hear you playing?”.  GAH.  I love/hate honest feedback like that.  I always give him excuses too, mostly along the lines of, “well, I WILL do it, I just don’t have time right now”, to which he slowly nods his head and seems disappointed.

I have traveled, yes, and I played a lot of gigs as a teenager/young adult, saw some great concerts in my life, and have gone on some great outdoor adventures…but none of these have happened often enough, and c’mon, lady, there is so much more! The boyfriend, himself, is a pretty wild guy and has a talent for making life an adventure…sometimes to the point of recklessness (MEN!). I am his opposite, the careful, calculated, responsible one, but I am liking that he is challenging me to loosen up! I suppose that was a bit part of the appeal.

I’ve been working very hard to make money and pay off debt and be responsible and get to the next “stage” of life, if you will. However, there is a part of me that is screaming, “Amber! You’re almost 27 and you’ve barely taken any risks or enjoyed your life in ways that really matter to you!”  It’s kind of disheartening. There are things I want to try, places I want to go, songs I want to write. I suppose that this whole working hard and paying off debt is what is GOING to get me there, even in terms have having more downtime eventually, but I also recognize that I have a tendency to hole up in my house and accept the status quo rather than go out into the world and really explore…and I want to change this.

Money is a big part of WHY I don’t do very much. Either I don’t want to spend it because I feel it’s frivolous or I don’t have enough of it when I do want to spend it so I don’t bother. Now I am in a much more stable place financially, but at the same time, a lot of my money is going to a high rent (in order to stay in an apartment that I LOVE TO BITS) and all kinds of “keeping up with the times” costs, like cell phones and credit cards and yada yada yada. So, there still is not as much surplus as there could be if I were to really simplify things. But how to go about this? I know not!

I consider myself pretty low maintenance in the first place, but I think that living in a big city makes simplification kind of a challenge. Therefore, I am going to add this to the “focus” of my life — this simplicity that I am craving; a simplicity that will be a catalyst for having more at my disposal when all is said and done and hence the ability to ENJOY more of the things in life that matter to me. It will also make all of the hard work I am putting into my life mean a lot more. I have been working very hard for years and years, and I want to have something to SHOW for it!

So, on this journey of health and balance, this is another part of my life that is becoming much more  important to me — the part where I enjoy myself and make the most of my hard work, mange my money responsibly and allow it to benefit me in the most meaningful ways.

Something for me to work towards. More fun. More spontaneity. More self exploration. Less waste. Less fear. Less hesitation.

Hopefully, this will be the year I step out!



My 101st post and it’s RAINING BUCKETS OUTSIDE

Howdy.  It’s raining.  *whines*.  And we’re talking Amazon-jungle- fat- raindrops- that-manage- to- sneak- under- your- umbrella- and- soak- you- anyways- with- evil- force kinda rain…and it’s also cold.  February in Vancouver — what can be done?!

Well, the last few days I have been sick with a cold and trying to rest.  I am better at taking care of myself when I’m sick than I used to be, and tend to get well faster because of it. I feel rested today and my head is considerably clearer physically (sinuses are finally starting to unswell!) and mentally than it has been for quite some time.

I wanted to say thank you to those of you who very kindly wrote me with some suggestions for ways to increase exercise in my daily life.   I did spend a lot of time thinking about it and talking with friends and fellow bloggers , and I have come up with a plan of action…literally, a plan that requires me putting my body into more action!  🙂

First of all, as of yesterday I am on a LIMITED (and I mean next to none) dairy diet and am cutting out all overly-processed foods and refined sugars from my diet.  So far, I am doing splendidly, mind you it has been less than 24 hours!  Pride cometh before a…donut.  Anyway.  I have analyzed the healthy foods I am eating versus the unhealthy foods I END UP eating simply because they are there and have taken the proverbial ax to the latter and added to the former!  By March 1st, my kitchen is going to be completely WHOLE FOODS, my friends, and everything that’s in it is going to be beneficial to my health and wellbeing!  I already have some recipes for homemade granolas, almond milk, sauces, nut butters, breads, etc, that I’m going to put to the test and hopefully they will prove to be delicious and nutritious and replace some of the unhealthier versions I’m using currently.  That is the first step — removing the food obstacles.

I recognized last week that I haven’t been as careful with my eating as I used to be in the beginning of my weight loss blogging journey, because I got a bit cocky about having my weight under control and being an “active” person.  However, the “active” part of me started to become more and more inactive over the winter months and thus the careless eating habits caught up with me and prevented any further weight loss.  It’s simple really, as I always reiterate on this blog — healthy eating plus exercise equals weight loss and there’s no truly HEALTHY way around it.  Period.

Now in terms of my  exercise routine, I am going to stick with my 30 min every day on the treadmill at work and 20 minutes of yoga afterwards three times weekly.  I am adding to my weekly routine ONE Bikram’s yoga class at the Bikram’s studio just up the street from me (the convenience of this location will help me to stay motivated to get there!), which will be a big part of the strength training component of my weekly exercise.  One Bikram’s class gets ALL your major muscle groups challenged with all kinds of yummy resistance, and the sweating from the heat detoxifies you for the week, I swear it!! I will also make an effort to fit in one exercise class at my local community centre (i.e. Zumba fit, Salsa fit, Cario Pump) every week  to boost the cardio portion of my weekly exercise and also just so I feel I am letting loose and having FUN with exercise, which is the way it should be!  I will start this routine next week as I am still recovering from a cold and getting my apartment all sorted out post rennovations and repairs.  There will be updates, obviously, and I’ll keep you posted on when I overcome the plateau I am in.

Thanks, again, readers for the advice and encouragement.  I have been a little more demotivated than usual and every bit of positive feedback helps!


Oh, and I almost forgot!!!!!


HAPPY VALENTINES DAY.  ALL WE NEED I LOVE…and respect, and dignity, and reciprocation, and humility, and compassion. 😉


My 100th post! And it’s a SUNNY DAY TODAY!

When I logged in to write a post for today, I realized that this will be my 100th post on this blog!  Yippee!  It was around this time last year that I committed to starting 5 Foot 2 and Shrinking, not knowing exactly how it would affect my life or how long I would commit to it — and now here I am, February 7, 2011, 32 lbs lighter, doing my 100th post and still in the game of healthy living! Definitely something to be happy and grateful about today.  Definitely something to THANK myself for.


Thank you, self, for sticking to your goals and working hard to accomplish what matters to you. 🙂


I am the kind of person that has always charged ahead in life, sometimes out of necessity, or survival, and sometimes just due to my own impatience.  This blog has helped me to achieve a more balanced approach to an issue I have struggled with for many years, one that you can’t really charge ahead in or expect  fast results from.  I have learned patience in weight loss.  I have learned to be proud of myself for small achievements, i.e. a pound or two lost in a month, rather than upset with myself for not getting from A to Z at light speed.  I am still working hard for this and the journey isn’t over. I am 100 posts into this blog and I’m sure I’ll write another 100 posts before I am at goal weight.  And you know what, that’s perfectly fine with me.  This girl is finally learning to do things the healthy way and treat herself with patience and respect.


Having said that, there is something I came to terms with this weekend that must be shared and brought to light — I have plateaued.




I’ve been hovering around the 160 lb mark for months now (since October).  It has a lot to do with quitting hot yoga and not adding enough extra exercise to compensate for that.  Also, I have not continued to aggressively curtail my not-so-great eating habits.  I have known for a couple of weeks now that there are still things I need to eat less of or cut out completely, mainly sugary foods and dairy.  There is a part of me that has been resistant to this because I have already made so many changes and cut out so much that I don’t want to have to cut out anything more.  BUT, weight loss is more important to me than these foods when it REALLY comes down to it.  I’m not saying I can never have French fries or a piece of chocolate cake again in my life, only that I have plateaued and because of that I need to let go of the high-calorie, high-fat foods again for quite a while until I am able to push past the plateau and get to the next level!


And exercise.  Well, when I read about weight loss plateaus it seems like one of the most successful ways of getting out of a plateau is to change up and intensify your workout routine.  To be honest, this feels very challenging and somewhat intimidating to me.  I am very pressed for time right now as I work two jobs and also fitting in a social life, a romantic relationship, and hobbies that I love.  Adding more time for exercise outside of the 50 minutes per day at work  I have already committed to seems like a bit too much to ask from me!  And yet, I know I can find a way if I really want to.   It’s only going to make me feel better, look better, and LIVE better if I step things up!  I’m just stalling cause, well, like I said, I’m a bit scared. :S


I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do to accomplish this.  I will need to take a few days to re-organize myself and come up with a plan.  It has to be realistic for me physically, it has to fit into my schedule, and it has to accomplish as much as possible in the least amount of time.  In the back of my mind I hear the voice of healthy happy me that’s saying “Amber, go back to yoga!”.  Hmmmm.  You know, HOT YOGA, that activity that helped me successfully lose 20 lbs in just a few months without drastically changing my lifestyle or diet?  Yeah.  That would make a lot of sense, and yet the frugal part of my brain is rebutting with “but you can’t afford $100 a month for a feaking yoga membership, you hippy!”, to which the healthy happy me is responding “you can’t afford not to!”.  GAH.  Internal struggle lives on.


So.  This is a week for making some decisions.  I either need to go back to hot yoga (I would do Bikrams Yoga at a studio near my house this time around for $96/month, which is an even HARDER workout than hot yoga at YYoga) or I need to create a new exercise routine that challenges me more than my current one but costs nothing.  ONE WEEK.  After that, a decision must be made and action must be taken, because 100 posts into the game the reality is plateau has crept up on me!


I don’t resent this, I accept it and am ready to do what it takes to get to where I want to be.


Any advice?  Pass it along!!