the secret to getting healthier…

yup.. I’ve figured it out! Work your ass off and then work some more... ! That’s right, no pill, no 2 week diet, no magic soup, no specific workout routine… none of that will get you there if you aren’t ready to take it on yourself and get YOURSELF there!

Exercise: walk, run, bike, swim, dance, lift weights, join a gym, take a belly dancing class, go to yoga, get a DVD, find a wii/xbox game … whatever it is… do IT. Scared to try something? just go and try it! who care’s if you aren’t perfect (uhh Angie? yeah I’m talking to you!) whatever you do, you are doing more than the person sitting on the couch saying “I wish I could lose weight/get fit/be skinnier”. Leaving that fear at the door has been awesome. I’ve gone on my own (big step for me!) to classes/activities. I’ve done belly dancing class, pole dancing, yoga, Zumba, HIIT, meditation classes, bootcamps, run clubs, water aerobics, played hockey …. just go for it! You never know what you may fall in love with!

Eat: yup, eat to lose weight. Don’t starve yourself! Don’t try a fad diet (as tempting as all those “after” photos look) Eat, enjoy, be creative, try new food/recipes. Take a nutrition course, take cooking glasses.. use google to your advantage. Prep food ahead of time, plan meals, don’t grocery shop in a rush when you are starved and have a kid hanging off your arm (although at times that can’t be avoided!)

I enjoyed my 3 day Dr. Oz cleanse, and actually it made me aware of the way some foods were affecting me (once I started eating some of the regular foods I eat again). For example, I’m a popcorn addict. I had some popcorn after my 3 day cleanse and 1. I got bloated 2. I got a killer migraine 3. my joints got achey. Years ago I did an allergy challenge diet… I’ve been very lax on foods that I was “sensitive” to. Yes certain foods I MUST avoid (eggs) due to severe allergies, but all the other stuff I just knew I’d deal with these reactions and left it at that. Last week, those reactions to just eating popcorn reminded me that, it’s no longer worth it – I don’t want to have those reactions. It’s not worth headaches, looking 8 months pregnant, stomach aches, sore joints (yes, food CAN and will do that to you).

Be consistent: for the past few months I wake up each day and (most days) reset my thinking. I don’t have an “all or nothing” attitude the way I used to. OR if I do, I’ve learned to recognize and correct it as best as I possibly can. i.e. I had a healthy breakfast but then I went to Starbucks for lunch and had a latte and some other high calorie nothing food.. it doesn’t mean the rest of my day is shot. It means the next meal will be healthy. It means I will go for a walk, go to yoga… OR just accept that yes I ate that food and I enjoyed it. So now, I ask myself – will I actually enjoy this, is it worth it?

Accept yourself now. Look at yourself. Be thankful for who you are now. Yup, I’m heavier than I want to be. However, I’m pretty sure that the people around me really could care less. They don’t like me for the weight I am or my clothing size... they like me for me. Yes, I can get whiney when my back is hurting so bad I can barely walk. But then I remember I can walk…. there’s others that can’t – that would do anything to just walk. Be thankful for what you have now. Take pride in the person you are right this very moment!

Plan ahead & make a date with yourself &/or friends: One thing that I’ve done for the past 2 months is sit down and map out all the hockey, badminton, ultimate, track and field, gymnastics dates and times and then work around that schedule and find time for me to fit in fitness. Right now fitness consists of yoga and walking (with a slight jog added in when my back is feeling okay). If it’s 6:30am or 8:30pm I make it happen. Some days I do miss it, some days just don’t go as planned. Again, it’s not the end of the world. Move on..

Yes you will get “stuck”, you may have a bad week/day … you might not want to drag yourself out of bed. Do you remember how good it feels to finish that workout? Do you remember how much healthier you feel when you eat well? Is that worth it? To me it is! Get up early to exercise, or after the kids have gone to bed. There’s so many days I want to lay on the couch in the quiet after our 3 kids are in bed. Go do that late yoga session, or take 30 mins to walk or do weights. A strong positive mental attitude will get you over those moments when it seems like nothing is working. And we all know there will be days like that, because that’s how life rolls.. it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference! I tend to only focus on my weight (the number).. I’ve stopped that. I look at things I’ve accomplished that I could never have done 6 months ago, 2 months ago, last week…. I’ve progressed. My number may not have gone down on the scale, but I FEEL better, I FEEL healthier… I am stronger, my balance is better…. celebrate every little positive thing on this journey called LIFE!



my back … it hurts

I’ve been telling my Dr. this for months and months now… stretching, exercise, X-rays … nothing

Today I got my CT scan results.  

Lots of medical words that I’m going to have to look up… (I got her to print report for me)

Basically :

  • A disc bulge at L3-4 that flattens the anterior thecal sac
  • A moderate circumferential disc bulge at L4-5 that indents the anterior thecal sac
  • Early spinal canal stenosis
  • A disc bulge at L5-S1 .. greater on left … contacting my S1nerve root
  • Mild spondylosis

So now… on to an MRI

Dr. told me to lose weight (insert cynical laugh here!) ummmm YES, that IS what I’ve been attempting to do for 6 months!  Why I’ve come to you repeatedly asking “what’s wrong” “something isn’t right”.  The answer:  don’t eat late at night, cut your carbs.  BIG SIGHHHH  

And work on my core, once again .. I’ve been doing this for months.  Not that I expect instant results, but I’d hope something would have happened (in the weight loss department) by now.  And the pain? It doesn’t get any better.

At the very least, I know that all those times that I’m in tears trying to walk up the stairs, or that I feel like I’m really OLD when I get up out of bed in the morning… barely able to take a few steps at first.  They aren’t in my head, I’m not dreaming up pain.  I know why Advil etc. does nothing.  I just “grin and bear it”.  Pain is constant, some days way worse than others.  However, life goes on – there’s other people out there dealing with more pain and sickness than this…  and so … I grit my teeth and keep going.  It’s not the end of the world!  Hopefully there will be more information once I get my MRI.

I do my exercises that my physiotherapist gave me, I do yoga, I stretch, I workout, I lift weights, I do cardio, I log my food, I eat my veggies, I drink my water, I rarely drink alcohol, I rarely eat packaged foods, I pay attention to what I’m eating, I take my vitamins … is that not enough? One day it will all come together right? And the pounds will drop?

I’ll keep lacing up my shoes, I’ll keep eating well, going to yoga, exercising, walking  – I’ll continue to make my body better and healthier!

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Holidays, a time to relax or a time to exercise?

Exercise or Relax?  In Hawaii… hmmmm?  Maybe a combo?

I knew in the back of my mind that the day we returned from holidays was the day I had to do my “official mid-way weigh in” for Kin’s Green Fighters… this stayed with me the entire trip – I couldn’t let it go.  My weight has constantly gone up for the past 6+ months and I’m not exactly enjoying that fact.  However I did NOT let it deter me from having a fantastic family holiday.

I did do active things on holiday… snorkelling, swimming, body surfing, walking, being conscious of what I ate (most of the time!), tennis, pickle ball…. it was a great holiday!  I even got to read TWO novels, I miss reading and it was awesome to have some quiet time to read. I did bring my purple exercise band… apparently rubber does deteriorate over time, because I broke the band and it snapped a good one on my foot! OUCH!

As for the weight thing… you will have to wait until Friday to get the dirt on that one (we can’t post until then)

I do know that I need to continue with my workouts at home, I will keep going to Hot Yoga and go on more walks… perhaps even a jog?  I haven’t been able to take a full stride without an excessive amount of pain for the past 8 months or so.  I finally had a CT scan just before we left for holidays & I’m hoping that this will give me some answers as to why I’m in so much pain.  I have sciatica, and I’ve dealt with that for 16 years, but this is even worse and it gets quite frustrating feeling limited to what I can do for exercise.  I know if I do anything that entails too much jumping, or longer strides (tennis, jogging etc) I pay for it later that day or I just can’t even do it at all because my body revolts.

So far Hot Yoga and weight training have saved me, when I’m able to be in control of what my body does I can usually modify to make it work.  My trainer offers alternatives to certain exercises if my back is really bothering me on a certain day as well.

And so, I do the best I can.  I stay conscious of what I eat and I try to keep up with exercise and being active as often as possible.

Now it’s back to reality.. a one day “break” and then we are off to the cabin to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday.  She’s bringing 3 friends with her.  So it will be me and 6 kids…. wish me luck!


and the challenge is officially ON!

For the past number of months I’ve been attempting to get healthier. Eating well, exercising and hoping the numbers on the scale and the inches on the tape measure decline.  It’s been slow going! VERY slow as far as I’m concerned, at least on the weight loss part.  I’ve definitely gained some strength & have also led a mainly healthy eating plan.

When I saw this Kin’s Market challenge I thought, “why the hell not?” and so I entered, immediately forgetting I had until I received a phone call.  Suddenly, now that March 1st has arrived and the challenge begins, this whole being in “public” during my attempt at getting healthier and increasing my fitness level has become very intimidating!

Seeing my face in the paper, finding out my body fat percentage, sharing that with anyone who reads the paper… it scares the S#*T out of me! So what am I afraid of?  FAILURE, a word that I have recently told myself I would eradicate from my vocabulary. But what am I failing at? What is the goal here? I know I’m already getting healthier, I know I’m stronger than I was 5 months ago.  I’ve built muscle.  I eat well. It can only get better from here …… right?!

Somewhere in my mind there’s some level of perfection I’m attempting to attain.  I know that leaving this vague notion of something perfect in my mind will get me nowhere.  Perfection, as far as I’m concerned, is unattainable – why? Because if, or should I say when, I reach whatever that “goal” is, my expectations are yet again raised. So here I am, wanting to run for the hills, cringing at being in the Surrey Leader on a weekly basis & having to share my story to the public. I’m afraid that I will somehow let someone down because I couldn’t lose the inches or weight in the right amount of time.

I need to change my thought pattern, remove the pressure and remind myself this is a journey about health, and improving it – along with improving my fitness level.  It’s about living a full and satisfying life.

I know for me the fear of failure has often taken the form of excuses and rationalizations about why I can’t do something. “Oh I’m so busy today”, “I don’t feel well”, “the kids need me at home”, “I need to fold socks”, “I’m tired”,  “it’s raining out”…..

Fear of the unknown becomes your jailer and your prison.  You stagnate.  Wasn’t it FDR that said, “ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”?

So it’s time for me to drop the fear, gain a healthier life and hopefully also drop some pounds.  Oh and maybe the occasional shove in the right direction by someone won’t hurt!

Want to go for a walk? I’ll find a way to go with you!  Want to meet me at the gym?!  Want to share healthy recipe ideas? … I’m open to it all!  WE can do this!

Here’s a photo I took this past summer … I added a little quote to the photo.  I have this as the homepage on my cell phone as a daily reminder!

And a cool little acronym I found.

The workout I never thought I could have

Today I went to my regular training class with Andrea of LifeDesigns. I take part in one of her 12 week programs called “Bounce”. This is my second time taking part in Bounce and I LOVE it. Andrea works with women and delves into not only the fitness and health side of things, but she also gets inside your head (in a very good way!).

lifting weights

lifting heavy and feeling great!

My Bounce group of 4 had a killer workout! If you had told me 5 months ago, that I would be curling 25lb+, doing lunges holding 35lbs, running sets of stairs (repeatedly!), holding a plank for over 1 min, doing “real men” pushups etc. I never would have believed you!

With Andrea’s constant encouragement, positivity and her 100% confidence in me (when I didn’t have it) she has pushed me way beyond what I thought I could ever accomplish. I’ve also been working with her on my nutrition, using the myfitnesspal app is also helpful! Andrea has tracked my food logs and given amazing pointers (more grains, consistency, eat more….) I love fruit and veggies, so luckily that part isn’t a trial for me. My favourite breakfasts are smoothies and I’ve complied quite a list of recipes! I’ve found that the possible culprit of my very very sloooowww weight loss could be that I: do not get enough protein, don’t eat enough calories, and need to cut back on evening snacking.

If you have ever considered looking into a trainer, and don’t want to go to a “big gym” or find them intimidating (I do!) then Andrea is the lady for you. The women that I have met through Andrea have become some of my very close friends. We bond over dumbbells and squats, we laugh and share common frustrations and goals and there is ALWAYS encouragement. I feel very lucky to have discovered such amazing people!

Am I the only one who gets excited about making a new smoothie for breakfast?!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

diet vs. life

How does one stick to a “diet” when life gets in the way? …. in my own personal experience, they don’t! That’s why this is not just about a diet for me (in the sense that most people view this word) – this is about making a healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life.  So how will I deal with all the situations that arise in day-to-day life?  Things like; eating out, holidays, work, busy schedules, kids’ hockey tournaments and all the other things that seem to arise

I can think of a few scenarios that take place when life happens for me:

1. I indulge & don’t care

  • in this case I’ve just gone and thrown the whole “diet” out the window said F&*K it and just loaded up to extreme
  • I’ll have eaten well all week and then Friday night hits and it’s a free-for-all
  • I’ve found this to NOT be an effective way of living a healthy lifestyle… I could never stick to a “diet” because all my old (bad) eating habits wouldn’t be fixed, I would just be covering them up
  • there was always some food that was on the “bad” list and that was ALL I could think of!

2. obsess & feel guilty, and then don’t enjoy it at all

  • I’ve at times gone too far, obsessing over every morsel that is about to enter my mouth, and there is no enjoyment in that
    • how fun is it to go out with friends and say “No thank-you” to appy’s and drinks?!
  • I’ve felt guilty for “enjoying” something and then call myself weak because I couldn’t stop myself from having a beer or eating a piece of cake or pizza

3. plan, prep & enjoy

  • I’ve learned that this seems to be the best thing for me
  • When I have planned to the best of my ability I am able to enjoy any food … all in moderation
  • If I know we are going to a restaurant I will google the menu and plan ahead, if we are going to dinner at a friend’s or family member’s home I will enjoy it, all in moderation
  • I will make meals ahead of time, have healthy snacks on hand, grocery shop accordingly

I will no longer let food rule me, there aren’t foods that are “off-limits” – that just backfires! I will however stay conscious with my eating, continue logging my meals on the myfitnesspal app (you can find me as ella_b76)

I started letting go of the guilt a few months back, this was thanks to working with an amazing trainer!  She was and always has been encouraging and extremely helpful!  The word “diet” is slowly being eliminated from my vocabulary and “healthy lifestyle” is taking it’s place