Life Lessons: Skating and Sugar

January 19, 2009

Skater’s High

It really warmed up considerably this past weekend, which led to me participating in one of my favorite winter activities: ice skating! Here in Winnipeg we’ve become “famous” for our exceptionally long skating trail on the river, and I’m fortunate enough to live right on the river. There’s a bridge less than five minutes walking distance from my door in which a small shack is set up to leave your boots as you go out skating. It’s perfect.

I went skating on Saturday, enjoying the scenery and the company of all of the people (apparently tens of thousands of people were there that day!), for a good hour and fifteen minutes. The weather was beautiful again yesterday so I strapped on the skates and hit the ice once more. This time, I made the whole route in less than an hour.

We are all capable of much more than we think. The people out on the river are at all levels of skill; some have all the equipment and really know what they are doing, and others have clearly never put on skates in their life. My winter sport growing up was cross country skiing, and it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I started skating nearly every day in the winter months. I didn’t even know how to skate until my friend taught me once in high school. After that, I was on my own.

I have no idea how to put on the brakes. Nor can I skate backwards. In fact, most of those 8 year old hockey kids can skate circles around me. But I love it, I can keep my balance, and if the difference in speed between Saturday and Sunday is any indicator, I can skate pretty fast when I want to. And that is the result of one lesson years ago and then self-teaching from there. If you enjoy something and put the effort in to learn, setting your mind to it, you can accomplish so much.

Sugar Struggles

I have been struggling with the sugar addiction (I know you can all relate!), so on Friday I decided to go the whole day with no added sugars. Coincidentally, there was also a national no-sugar day set for Friday or something, so it worked out quite well! My biggest challenge was not having peanut butter. The all-natural peanut butter that I eat, PB2, has added sugar to it, so I was determined not to have any on Friday (I generally eat way too much of it on a daily basis). And I got through the day just fine. Had lots of fruit for the sugar kick and a handful of raisins because dried fruit works wonders if you’re trying to cut out added sugar, and I didn’t have any cravings. It was very successful. I’d like to go a week with no added sugar, though that’s going to be difficult, considering there’s sugar in everything from bread to cans of corn… I’ll have to do a considerable amount of prep before I issue that challenge for myself 🙂

Learning Contentment

It wasn’t until I was out on the ice by myself with big fat snowflakes falling that I began to think about all this and remember why it is that I live here. I’m sure that if (I refuse to say “when”!) the deepfreeze returns, I’ll promptly forget why I live in this part of the world, but for now I am at ease and content. When you can enjoy the outdoors and see the progress you’re making, it’s difficult to not be happy!


  1. Hi Sagan,
    I love this! I love it because – I think it’s awesome that you basically taught yourself to skate, and then can go out and do that whenever you want. Me? I can’t skate. Well, not without a wall nearby! I get out about once a year. A few years ago, we shoveled off the snow on a pond that is near our house, and tried skating. For me – it was an opportunity (opportunity??) to get sit down (okay, let’s call it what it was – falling…with style)(okay…forget the style part!). Anyway – I am impressed with anyone who can skate – so great job on that (and wow – that is a long “trail”).

  2. Hey Sagan, Happy Monday to you 🙂 I love skating, haven’t done it in probably more than 10 yrs, but love it! I just found an outdoor rink nearby that I’m begging my hubby to take me to, however he thinks that there is a huge risk involved with him breaking his head open or something…wimp!

    Glad to hear your feeling good!

  3. Man I admire you.

    Ive tried the ice so many times and inevitably the ankles cave and Im on my arse.

  4. Embarassing fact. Can’t skate. Can’t ski. Can’t rollerblade. I’m a complete klutz when I’m vertical!

  5. I can’t skate either! And it’s not for want of trying either – my hometown has a rink and we used to go quite a lot. I have so much fear of falling though, and feeling out of control!

    I’m up for doing a no added sugar challenge! I’ve got bad for eating processed food again and it’s a vicious circle…

    TA x

  6. Skating can be quite the workout! Great job! Yes the sugar challenges….personally I am not into sugar all that much. Now pasta…that is my challenge! 🙂

  7. I miss ice skating! We used to have a visiting rink here in the winter, but with the economy, it melted, so to speak! Roller Blades just don’t have as clean a line, and stopping, forgetaboutit!!

    I’ve heard Chromium Picolinate decreases sugar cravings. I take it every day. Does it work. I don’t know, but I don’t crave sugar.

  8. I used to be a competitive figure skater, and miss it – but I still skate for fun from time to time. Loved reading this!! 🙂

  9. I haven’t skated in years! I was never very good, and never had skates that fit properly, so my feet were always sore. But we used to shovel the snow off the reservoir near our house, so got all kinds of workouts! First, we slid down the hill (we used it for toboganning), then we’d shovel snow, then skate. Then climb back up the hill. No wonder we were skinny kids!

    I saw your skating trail on the news last night and thought of you!

  10. Ice skating is so fun! Good for you!

    I’m impressed with your day without sugar!

    Have a wonderful Monday!

  11. Ive been having trouble keeping my sugar under control too. seems like if i have one off day- it turns into 2 and 3

    Kelly Turner

  12. Good for you Sagan. I tend to hide inside this time of year (my cats and I really have a lot in common…). I have to say that skating is something that I’ve never learned to do, despite trying. I can hobble around, but I don’t feel confident or safe at all, so I don’t tend to enjoy it much. I used to love cross country skiing though, and I miss being able to walk out my front door, strap on my skis and take off.

  13. Lance- the only way to fall while skating is to fall with style 😉

    Rupal- you should definitely take advantage of that rink! Hubby can wear a helmet.

    MizFit- oh I’ve perfected the art of falling down 😀

    Dee- no worries, you should see me try to catch or throw a ball. It’s really pathetic lol. ZERO hand-eye coordination.

    TA- I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m starting the challenge! Just need to get supplies and stuff ahead of time hehe.

    Mark- mmm pasta. Have you tried tofu shiritaki noodles or spaghetti squash? They are both great alternatives to pasta!

    Dr. J- intriguing, I’ve never heard of that.

    VeggieGirl- wow, that’s really cool! I’ve never used figure skating skates- just hockey skates.

    Bag Lady- the next time you’re in Winnipeg (haha) I’ll take you skating on the river 🙂

    Strongandhealthy- you too!

    Kelly- ooh yes. It’s so sneaky like that.

    JavaChick- skiing is fantastic. Its been way too long since I was out on the trails.

  14. I never really thought about added sugars and all. But wow, great job on Friday tackling that. I do wonder if I incorporate lots of added sugars myself too. Kind of scary to think about it, to tell you the truth.

    And wow, awesome with the skating. I just need to master the skills of, well, stopping. -lol-

  15. Hm, I wonder how many sugars I’m consuming… none I don’t think. It hasn’t been that hard though with new flavors, yummy and distracting :). Now I want to go ice skating!

  16. Great post!! I haven’t been ice skating in years, but when I did, my daughter would skate circles around me while I held on to the edge of rink!

    I bet it would be fun to skate on a river though. I live by a river too, but it never really freezes all the way through because of the current. But some snowmobile people don’t care and take their chances!

    Happy Monday!

  17. I want to go skating sometime again in the future, but I need to get a good pair of skates. The ones I’ve used in the past have always given me pain in my feet. Winnepeg sounds beautiful.

  18. I love ice skating. I don’t get to go very often now that I live in California though.

    Congrats on your challenge! I have a product rec for you – “Better’n Peanut Butter”. I just picked some up at Trader Joe’s yesterday and I was able to limit myself to 2 tablespoons, which only clocks in at 100 calories! It does have added sugar, and it tastes kind of like one of those non-natural PB’s, but I didn’t have an urge to keep dipping the spoon back in but it still tasted awesome on apples and persimmons. I really liked it.

  19. Sharon- my version of stopping is skating into a snowbank. It works great! And its really scary when you start looking at just how many things have got sugar added to them.

    Danielle- lol well there might be a LITTLE bit of sugar in those Belgian waffles… 😉 Wish I was there!!

    Biz319- gah, hope those people don’t get hurt. Our river is super solid.

    Tony- thanks for reading! It can be quite a pretty place. Good luck on finding some decent skates:)

    Maggie- ooh I’ll have to look for that one, thanks! Don’t have Trader Joe’s around here, sadly- do you know if its sold in regular stores?

  20. I love skating! I took lessons as a kid and was in a few ice shows (both of my brothers were hockey players and my dad was a hockey referee), but these days, I skate just for the fun of it.

    I’ve found that most people who can ice skate can also ski — same ankle position, I think. Now there’s something I haven’t done in years, but I’d love to.

    Given the snow piled up outside my office window right now, I appreciate you reminding me of the joy of winter sports :-).

  21. I’m really missing Canada 😦

    Only afew weeks left untill I head out there, I can’t wait!

  22. that sounds like so much fun!! proud of you for the self-imposed sugar ban 🙂 maybe i should give that a try for a jumpstart…

  23. Glad you had such a good time skating! Good luck with your no-sugar possible challenge. I really need to do something like that too. I’m such a sugar junkie. And you’re right – it really is in everything!

  24. It must be very very cold where you are to be able to skate down the river! How cool is that! I haven’t been skating for years, and that was at the local (slightly scabby) rink.

  25. “We are all capable of much more than we think. ” I couldn’t agree more, and I’m seeing that more and more every day. Being outdoors reminds me of why i do all sorts of things. I’ve yet to go skiing this season or the past 3…but that is my favorite winter sport. The outdoors and a great workout all in one.

  26. hmm, i haven’t heard of the river in winnipeg but i have heard about skating on the rideau canal which is definitely something i want to do someday!

    hockey/ice skating nerd? check …

  27. I’m not sure if it’s sold in other stores… I know you can order it on Amazon though! And I think through their website as well.

  28. As a Canadian, I am ashamed to say I’m not much of a skater 😦 Nor skiier. I can sled with the best of ’em though 🙂

    I hear you with kicking the sugar. I’ve been trying to cut back on my use of artifical sweeteners, mainly Splenda. Some days I’m so good, and other days I’m off the wagon in two seconds flat. Good on you for doing so well with it 🙂 Isn’t it annoying how you find sugar in places you would never expect, like salad dressing. I mean, seriously, who wants sweetened green veggies?

  29. I used to skate when I was much younger. It’s been f—–y years since.

  30. Sounds great. Love the visual. I have never ice skated on anything but an inside rink.

    When you start leaving the sugar behind those fruits taste all the sweeter. I think of oranges as a dessert now.

  31. Dara- I think you might be on to something with the ankle positioning! That would explain a lot.

    Jack- hope that the nice weather holds until you come 🙂

    ttfn300- I’ll let you know when I’ve got the challenge up and running.

    Charlotte- my challenges? Inspired by your experiments.

    Jellybean- heh cold is one word for it…

    Fitness Surfer- and you, my dear, epitomize that! Love how you set your mind to something and accomplish it (and have the photo journey to prove it!)

    T- ah the animosity between Winnipeg and Ottawa… (come to Winnipeg. Our trail is longer;))

    Maggie- okay, thanks! I’ll look for it.

    Rachel- as long as you can sled, you know you’re Canadian!

    Tom- hehe. Time to get back out there 😉

    James- so very true. Mmm oranges.

  32. Thanks! There are times i feel a little too assertive about reaching my goals, and i want to help others reach their goals along my way without running any one over =)

    I love your perspective on life, and how you chose to enjoy even the simple things. Your a great example, uplifting, and motivating. Thanks!

  33. The skating sounds fun–what a great way to get outdoors in the winter!

  34. Oh, I love this post! I wish I could go ice skating, how fun! 🙂

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