Something Clicked!

I have a Mi Fit band.  Last June I was in a quandary about getting a fitness band.  A friend had one he wasn’t using – brand new, in the box, a gift from his company.  I’ve been wearing it ever since.  What I haven’t been doing over the last few months is paying attention.  So I didn’t know (and didn’t care much over the summer)  how many steps I was doing.


September 4th, I checked my statistics before bed.  I was so close to the 10,000 mark that in my pyjamas I quickly did enough to get me over.  And I did.

Then I did it the next day, and the next, and now I’m riding a 6 day streak!  And shaking my head a little about it.

That little “happy dance” that happened on Monday night has led to several sessions of determined walking in between other tasks that mostly have me sitting down.  I try to walk backwards, sideways (but not upside down).  I borrow techniques from Leslie Sansome, who I am sure will come in handy when the air is too bad to go out!

My new Mi Fit arrives on Monday (I hope!)  You see, the special charger for this gadget is still in Canada.  Fortunately one charge lasts a long time, but it’s down to 22%.  Not good if I want to stay on my roll.  The new one will also tell me the time, so I don’t need to wear a watch.

If you are contemplating a fitness band, stay tuned and see how I do with mine.  Or just get one (The Mi Fit is reasonably priced and pretty basic – no clutter) and see where it takes you.

And Ponnie….thanks for inspiring me to do some happy dancing!

Greetings from Beijing.


PS:  I currently use a Xiaomi phone (Buying local in China) and I can’t find the MiFit app for my Ipad.  I would make sure you can get the app for your phone before buying.


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Revamping the Porridge!

As I looked back on this blog, I realized that the last post was all about porridge.  This is a good thing, because many of us enjoy a good bowl of porridge as a meal.  I was going to write “Breakfast” but I think that narrows the scope of when we can eat this meal  It would maAnyke a great supper too, I think – although I haven’t tried it yet.  Maybe next week I could flip my meals!

Anyways, a lot has happened in the last months – I went home to all the good stuff I missed on this side of the Pacific – like Dempster’s Bread, maple syrup (and cheese), Dutch Chocolate sprinkle sandwiches….and lots of varieties of chocolate bars.  I have to be honest and say I went a bit crazy.  I wonder if sharing those summer months would have helped me stay more in control.

I’m back in Beijing for another year of teaching…although I almost did NOT get on the plane.  Part of the struggle was that my suitcases needed to go on a major diet if I was to get them on the plane!  And they had as hard a time losing weight as I did.  So I did the next best thing and took three suitcases.  The airport weigh scale informed me that they were all overweight!  That was crazy too.  So I managed to get the suitcases to the okay point and they did not weigh my carry-on!  I just had to leave my canned salmon behind.

I  many books with me this year and some of them were very heavy.  One of them is Discover the Power of Food by Janet Jacks.  I had read this book last summer but left it with my daughter.  This year I decided to take it with me to Beijing for some late night reading.  (This doesn’t work because the book is too heavy to hold while trying to fall asleep. Just to warn you!)

I have found it difficult to find a store that carries everything that I want, but thank goodness for the internet shopping mall called Taobao.  This is where China shops.  I have found steel cut oats there, but I haven’t ordered them yet!  I need to pay my connection for this weeks order.

“Janet’s Favourite Oatmeal”  calls for steel cut oats, salt, coconut butter ghee, hemp hearts, ground flax seeds and optional raisins.

Right now I’m using slowcook oats and millet as my main grain, star anise, pepper and tumeric for flavouring, and raisins and dried goji berries for fruit.  Tomorrow that is set to change, as I can now add coconut oil, hemp hearts and chia seeds to the mix.  I am so excited for tomorrow’s breakfast!



You can find out more at : and at: This is a far more informative link that includes podcasts and information about her stores in Southern Ontario!

Also check out her Facebook page and Youtube.  That’s what I’m doing later on this evening.

There are many books available (and I have several back home) but this one made it onto the plane and I will be using it this year as I try to lose at least 10 pounds this year.  (Maybe not what I originally set out to do – but I do intend to reach a healthy weight before I turn 65!)

Take care and thanks for joining me once again on this journey!


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Porridge – China Style!


Today I had the opportunity to try something I had heard about early in my China adventure.  Although breakfast is offered free of charge at my school, I have chosen to continue my habit of eating porridge.  In Canada it was a fairly simple recipe – oats, fruit and water, with coconut oil added sometimes, but certainly nothing complicated.  Then I heard about La Ba Zhou (Porridge) and set about modifying my breakfast.

By adding the millet, nuts and sesame seeds, I thought I was getting close to the real thing, but now that I’ve gotten the real deal at the Lama Temple here in Beijing, I know I need to revisit breakfast.  Especially since there is no oatmeal in this pot.

My challenge is that I cook for one and would have to cook at reheat my porridge, something I have done in the past, so that isn’t so bad.

The two links below include recipes and information, but remember:  this is only one of many recipes that take advantage of the season and the location.  Use what is available!

I’ve combined porridge oats, millet and a German porridge mix that is easily available.  To this I add some raisins, dried berries and nuts.  I’ve also included sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, but no beans since they take too long to cook.  To add more flavour and anti-oxidants I’ve added star anise, tumeric and some black pepper to the mix.  Sometimes I also add a few oolong tea leaves.  I try to soak the ingredients overnight, which is when I add my salt.  (1/4 cup mix to 1 cup water)

This with half a chopped apple makes a pretty great breakfast.  My next experiment will be the full out La Ba porridge  – because it is GREAT!  Try it and see!

Enjoy your porridge!



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Tea, Hot Water and Other Drinks!

Those who have known me a long time, know that I love my coffee – it was a ritual for many years – special cup, milk frother and coffee grinder.  All that got left behind when I came to Beijing.  And I really thought I could do without it – NOT!  ( I lasted 4 days and then I started running out of my tea!)

For the past four months I have been drinking instant coffee with some kind of cappucino mixture that Nescafe puts out.  It is very nice, fills up a large cup and I usually have one or two per day.  That hasn’t changed since I came here.  The teachers lounge at school (a restful room of great beauty) makes a real cup of coffee, which I can enjoy once a day for free.  I usually take advantage of that!

However, it’s my water drinking that has changed the most since coming to China.  All my collegues drink hot water.  We have two very large thermos flasks that hold tap water that has been heated to boiling.  There is a special boiler on each floor that serves its teachers and students.  I’ve actually gotten used to this and enjoy hot water at home as well.

My tea drinking habits have changed as well.  I love my Earl Grey tea and very quickly ran out of my Stash Double.  Not too worried, I bought a package of Twinings – it’s not the same.  Fortunately a friend brought me 3 boxes from the US, so I’d better be good till July.  I usually enjoy a cuppa after work, but not every day.

I have learned to add very small amounts of tea and other herbs to my hot water.  I enjoy Oolong, but rather than a strong brew, I  use much less and enjoy it more – and without adding sweetener to it!  Sometimes I add mint, or fennel, chrysanthemum or saffron – whatever is handy at my desk or in the kitchen.  This has been a great way to cut back on the late night eating that was part of my life back in Canada.  I can  heartily recommend this new habit and fully intend to import it when I come home!20151217_123953

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2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 230 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Year without Posts!

Good morning from Beijing, China where the air is not great but the sun is shining.  Wordpress has sent me an email discussing my last year, but just looking at the date gives me some distress.  I haven’t posted in over a year.  (It is after all, January 2, 2016 here – although it is still the first in Calgary!)

I don’t have a weigh scale here, so I have no idea what I weigh at this point.  But I can share this with whoever needs some encouragement to change their physical habits!

You can change and adjust.  It isn’t easy.  It is hard.  Changing locations may change the availability of the food you love, but it is still there – and also easily replaced with other foods if you are not careful!

I did take some measurements and I’ve lost a few centimetres around my waist.  I’ve also taken in my jeans to keep them from falling off while I ride the subway. So while we may not be playing with numbers this year, I do intend to keep myself accountable in the following way:

I commit to posting here once a week to  be accountable for my exercising habits.  I will share some of the new things I’ve been doing since I got to Beijing, in the  hopes that they may encourage you to try different things.

Thanks for sticking with me!



(This is a picture of me successfully crossing a very rickety bridge north east of Beijing.  I do not like these kinds of wobbly affairs, but I knew I’d have to cross it, to get to where we were going!  Here’s to more bridges in 2016)did it!

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A New Year and a New Journey.

I had big dreams for the past number of years of just losing one little measly pound.  Success?  Not really.

At my last TOPS weigh-in in December I was 247.2 pounds.  Another year, irretrievably gone, and no success in this area of my life.  It is damn frustrating.  But, it is also my responsibility.  I can pass the blame to no-one.  I made the choices I made, putting other things ahead of my health, and this is the reality I bring to 2015!

Because I went into Christmas knowing that number, and wanting to lose weight over the holidays, I did make some decisions that were helpful to me.  I actually missed a few eggnog lattes (and retained my Christmas spirit), didn’t overeat too often, and even managed a few visits to the gym.

I did do a lot of geo-caching in the fall and winter, so I will end this first post of the next phase of my journey with a photo of one of them!

2014-09-26 10.45.24

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I Won’t Wake up Starving?

I have always, for as long as I can remember, eaten something before bed.  There is something in me that says this must be done.  When I switched to working more evenings, it got even worse.  Some nights I would have a whole meal before bed.  Toast, some fruit, some cheese… And sometimes I would hit the peanut butter jar with tablespoons instead of teaspoons.

The reality here is that I was so afraid of being hungry that I would just eat, eat, eat and it was insane.  I knew that, and I know it.  I don’t keep peanut butter in the house anymore.  However, that’s only the first step to stopping my evening insanity.

Last Wednesday I began listening to this book and something clicked, or snapped or something:

women_food_and_god_book_review-198x300Here’s a link to a review of the book.  I’ve discovered that I really enjoy listening to books as I drive to work (at least half an hour 3 times a week!) I started this last Wednesday and the only thing that changed was this:

If you wake up and you’re hungry…

you can have something to eat then.

That’s it.  Permission to eat later if I’m hungry.  How could something so simple take me so long to figure out?  There is of course more to the book, and I’m only half way through.  But if this is all that I take away from it – I’m a happy camper. I haven’t eaten after work since this eye-opener and I haven’t woken up hungry either.

I don’t know if anyone else has this struggle, but if you do, I hope this helps!

Have a great day!


PS:  I’m still climbing mountains.  I’m sure I’m at least half-way up Mount Logan, but I haven’t had time to add up the numbers.  Hopefully on Wednesday!


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Still Climbing!

There’s more information here about the actual climb and it’s also the source of my picture, so I thought I’d share it first off!



Some day I hope to be one of these people, fit and ready to reach the top of a mountain!  In the meantime I keep racking up the elevation on my fitness machines at the Y and taking notes.

This month I added up the elevation I climbed as I exercised on the elliptical and the bike.  The total was a nice round number:

2223 + 10810 + 7926 + 5841 ft  = 26800 feet of elevation for the month of January.

To climb up and down my mountain, I need to do 38682 ft.  So, I’ve definitely reached the top and I’m on the way down!  Just 11882 feet to go and I can head back to Canada and climb our Mount Logan!  I should be done that by the end of this week!

I shifted to doing more time on the elliptical because it burned those calories a lot faster and I still need to burn between 3 and 5 hundred calories per workout.  The Mount Killimanjaro option is still the one of choice, but I’m moving up to level 8 on all my machines.  My goal is to move one level up each week until I reach level 12.  I’m also trying to increase my time on the rowing machine and I’m up to 12 minutes.  The goal has been to burn at least 100 calories there before I head to the elliptical.

Weights has taken a bit of a back seat as I continue the situps, crunches etc.  We’ll see how it keeps progressing.  In the meantime, I’m being encouraged by the success of my daughter who is working off her post-baby belly.  It sure is more fun to have an encouragement partner on the journey!

I need to keep working on the rest of my life, so I’ll stop for now.  I do want to get things done so that I can be at the gym nice and early!  Enjoy the day wherever you are!



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Celebrating Anyways…

Being Wednesday, it is also my TOPS day and I went and faced the scale.  I was excited because this is the first month that I’ve been able to attend each meeting – a good reason to celebrate.  Showing up is important!

I had hoped to lose a little more than I did – but while I’m pretty good at the exercise part, the after work snacking is still my favourite method of shooting myself in the foot.    I do still have reason to celebrate – a loss of .75 pounds – close enough to my goal to make me more determined to get going.



The daisies are for the loss and that funky green flower is for my perfect attendance this month.  I have to tell you that I’m thrilled to bits to have those flowers in my livingroom today – especially since it’s snowing again in Calgary.

A book I am listening to, Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes by Joyce Meyer is a reminder that life’s successes should be celebrated and I want to be more mindful of this.  It’s easy for me to berate myself over my mistakes and failures, and easy to forget to celebrate my successes!

I hope that I can begin to focus more on the small successes that happen each day – rather than making  those  failures bigger than they really are.

Perhaps that will be encouraging to you as well!  Here’s to the successes you’ve enjoyed today!



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