Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear Anonymous

Dear Anonymous

You know who you are currently recovering from an overdose of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. You are contemplating what your "final meal" is going to be tomorrow before you start on January 1st. You are drinking the rest of the egg nog, and have a fully stocked cabinet full of cheat foods ready for the final binge tomorrow. You know who you are...there's no hiding from me because that was me for so many years.

I want you to know that this will be hard, this will take dedication, this will take patience. You will not be 100% all the time, you will fall, you will cheat, but in those moments you will also have a choice to make. Are you ready to make that choice? The choice of getting back up and continuing on or giving up because its January 2nd and you just ate a ferrero rocher? Be prepared for that choice, be prepared to be strong because that is the test of your willingness to start/continue on your health journey. Get the garbage bag ready to purge the pantry, the starving children in Africa do not need the rest of the chocolates you were unable to shove in your mouth before the clock struck midnight.

I hope that you make that decision that you are important enough to do this. I hope that you make the choice to continue on when you fall down. 2012 could be the best year of your life, make it so by making you a priority.

Anonymous, you know who you are, do it for yourself and do it because you are capable.

"We cannot start over, but we can begin now, and make a new ending." Zig ziglar

2011 in Review

Another year done, a new about to start, wow how time flies. I just looked back on the post I wrote last year about the lessons I had learned "10 Lessons of 2010" and I realized that these lessons are still the same, except the lessons are now my life. The biggest difference between now and this time last year is that I am now in a place that I can say I am happy with where I am in my journey. For the first time in my entire life I will not be entering a new year with my main priorities/goals being non scale related, but rather fitness related. I still have a number goal, but as I said it is not my priority anymore.

A new year means new goals, new wants and new focus, but that doesn't mean we should forget what was accomplished in these last 365 days.

I am proud because...
1. I reached a total weight loss of 190 lbs
2. I lost 3% body fat & gained 9% in hydration. I lost 3.5 inches off my chest, 3.5 inches off my bra line, 2 inches off my upper thigh, 1 inch off my lower thigh, 1 inch off my arm, 4.5 inches off my waist, 7.5 inches off my belly button and 5 inches off my hips.
3. I ran a 1/2 marathon
4. I ran 10KM in 1:01
5. I rode a 75K bike ride
6. I went kayaking
7. I learned how to Stand Up Paddleboard
8. I completed the full course of Wildplay
9. I became a more open person and developed new relationships and friendships
10. I was asked to be an ambassador for the Biggest Winners program
11. I was close to being chosen to be in People Magazine
12. I learned how to have fun
13. I am wearing a size 10 and a medium/large shirt and no longer shop in any plus size stores.

And what do I want to accomplish in 2012? What is on my bucket list?
1. I want to be able to do a chin up, just one!
2. I want to run another 1/2 marathon
3. I want to run a marathon
4. I want to run the TC10K in under 1 hour
5. I want to go caving
6. I want to have a family
7. I want to go paragliding
8. I want to go river rafting
9. I want to have boudoir photos taken
10. I want to wear a size 6
11. I want to hike the west coast trail
12. I want to organize my office and KEEP it organized
13. I want to experiment more with my cooking
14. I want to create a vision quilt of my journey
15. I want to send birthday cards and Christmas cards (ties into the organization)
16. I want to create a 2012 time capsule to read next new years eve
17. I want to take a fitness course
18. I want to stick to my current financial budget
19. I want to take a dance class
20. I want to read more
21. I want to do more yoga, to offset all the running and avoid further injury
22. I want to complete the Tour de Victoria in June
23. I want to play slo pitch again
24. I want to document my blog in a book
25. I want to create a personalized tshirt/hoodie for me

I am looking forward to a year full of building friendships, living life and creating moments. I am blessed to have an amazing support network and community that will enable me to accomplish these things. Happy New Year to everyone who has supported me I hope 2012 brings you success and happiness, however that may look.

January 2011

December 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Close of Christmas

Christmas is over, food coma's have nearly passed, and we all start preparing to ring in 2012. I have had a wonderful holiday season so far. Last week we went tubing up at Mt. Washington with Maddison and Annabelle. It was a long drive up but well worth it. You can get amazing speed going down that hill! For me Christmas isn't about the presents, it's about creating moments and memories. Here are the four of us at the mountain

Even though tubing isn't exactly physically exhausting, doing this would not have even been on my agenda prior to losing weight. That is one thing I noticed about this year in particular, even though I take a "break" from being focused on my food 100% during the few days of Christmas, this year I didn't stuff my face just because I was on a "break". I still kept my portions under control, yet allowed the indulgences. Health is life, and just like life you cannot be 100% all the time and this time of year is a time where I allow the indulgences, but don't allow the over indulgences. I had one plate of Christmas dinner, and not an overflowing plate, and my contribution was dessert which was black bean brownies and frozen yogurt. Even the kids didn't know that there were beans in their dessert ;).

As with food, we also tried not to overindulge on the spending though im not as good with that one. We did a gift exchange with my family so we only had to buy for one person each and then contribute stocking stuffers. This is where my crafts came into play. I made motivational magnets for all the girls

It's kind of hard to see with the glare of the photo but the sayings are:

"You are stronger than your excues"
"celebrate who you are"
"Make a new ending"
"Strive for progress, not perfection"
"Do what makes you happy"
"Belive it Be It"
"Ever Day JUST DO IT"
"Redefine the impossible"
"Doubt your Doubts"
"Muscles are built by effort not excuses"
"Strong is the new beautiful"

I packed up some holiday tea and put that in the stockings along with holiday coffee and a travel mug for the boys. All I can say is next year I should start earlier, procrastination doesn't work well! This will have to be a goal for the new year I think. I still have a couple more days to think about what I want 2012 to look like and what my resolutions/goals will be. For now i'm going to enjoy the next few days of relax and get ready for my birthday dinner tonight.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A week until Christmas!!

Another week down, and I can't believe it's only a week away from Christmas - yikes!! Just getting ready now, at least I have tomorrow off work and can get organized. I have just stockings left to do but that seems to be hard, especially for any thoughts would be appreciated. My crafts are coming along, pictures to come after Christmas as to not give away any hints to those receiving them. I am not taking much time off at Christmas, I have tomorrow off and then taking Thursday the 22nd off to go up to Mt. Washington and take the girls tubing - excited. Then I have the Monday/Tuesday of the following week off as stats, and the following Monday/Tuesday off. So basically 3 - 3 day work weeks, which is nice.

My goal this week is to be on track with food, as I have been, but avoiding chocolate will be the key as I have been having some cheats which aren't horrible but just not conducive to weight loss. Also drinking more water, I have been drinking my 3 liters, but trying to up that to flush out my body. Nicki got me on to some super yummy holiday teas which I now have like hundreds of in my house - not kidding! They are at Thrifties, made by Bigelow

They smell amazing, and for me have helped with the cravings, in fact I'm drinking an eggnog one right now - yum!!

Some good news though, I went to physio on Wednesday, took me awhile to get in due to the stupid rules of how my extended health plan works, but I got in. Went to LifeMark (Westside Village) and saw Chris May, I was super happy with what he told me which was that my knee is not the issue it is just what is being effected. The issue is that I have a tight quad and IT band. He said basically what happened was when I was running the 1/2 and got to the 19K mark where I got tired my right leg started to get lazy and my food was no longer straight, this caused my knee to push out to the side which is causing the pain. The solution is that I need to strengthen/lengthen my quad and IT band. I'm happy that I haven't permanently injured myself, it just means that I have to take it easy still, limited biking, upper body and only a few squats to work back in. He gave me some stretches to do that i've been doing each day and I go back to see him again on this Wednesday.This whole injury thing has been a true test of patience for me because all I want to do is just get back into it but I KNOW that I need to listen to the medical professionals and just wait if I want to be able to run again.

And more exciting news that I must share, BDHQ is running a contest for the new year called "BDHQ-over", check out their website for details on it. This is seriously the most amazing opportunity ever!! You receive thousands of dollars worth of prizes, but not only that - you receive the opportunity to take control of your life and make the change once and for all, no more of this sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else do it, it's your turn to do it. So if you are seriously committed to getting healthy in 2012 then APPLY!! Contest closes Friday January 13th so get that application in.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

An Excuse Story

Let me start by saying this week I was not on track at all. I stopped doing the daily reverb journal and now that is 5 days missed I can't even say I have the energy to go back and do them all. I haven't really had the energy to do much this last week. Today we talked again about our stories, the story you tell yourself that is really your excuse. My story, which has been ongoing, is that story of "normal". The story in my head that goes something like this...

I want to be normal like everyone else I see around me who is a "normal weight". I want to look in the mirror and see that instead of still seeing someone with a weight issue. So when I am a group/social setting, which happens all the time, I just want to be "normal" and not stand out. Logically I know I don't stand out, i'm a normal weight, but the story in my head keeps running. Then the story becomes, well if you want to be normal like everyone else then you should be able to eat those cookies, why can they eat the cookies and I can't if i'm supposed to be normal like them?

That was pretty much the ongoing story all week...and the results?? well I gained 4 lbs, yes some of that is due to me getting my period, but not all of it. Am I angry? NO. Disappointed? Yes. Of coarse i'm disappointed, but I've learned from doing this for nearly four years that there is no point in getting mad about it, just move on and do better. I recognize that it will take time for me to work through this "story" and that it won't happen right away but I also know that I will get through it just like I have overcome all the other stories.

So moving on from this week, I must get back on track. I'm prepared with my food, have a fully stocked fridge, have a meal plan and a workout plan. I'm focusing on figuring out what my fitness goals are going to be for 2012 that, at this point, do not involve running.

Oh and on a side note, we had our Christmas dinner for the Burn Fund last night and I fit into an amazing dress that Raeleen gave me. It helped in the department of "feeling normal".

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reverb 2011 - Day 5 & 6

Day 5 Prompt 5 on 5

What are 5 things you have done for yourself in 2011?
-I truly put myself first this year. I put my needs first, even though I still struggle with being a people pleaser, I have learned how to balance that with putting what I need above all else. If I can't take care of myself then I can't be a good friend, wife, aunty or daughter.
-I stood up for my beliefs, I voiced my concerns and feel like I have become a stronger person.
-I trained, trained, trained and trained some more to ensure I reached goals I never thought were possible.
-I taught myself how to accept me for who I am and love my body
-I celebrated my accomplishments through means other than food

What are 5 things you have done for others in 2011?
-I helped someone make the decision to get healthy
-I listened and helped a friend through a tough time
-I helped raise money for charity
-I bought a gift for a child I didn't know
-I coached someone I had never met over the phone about how to find motivation

What are 5 things that held you back from doing things for others?
-Feeling as though my help is not wanted
-Never wanting to burden someone who doesn't want help
-Spending time putting myself first
-Time management

What are 5 things that you want to do for yourself in 2012?
-finish what I started, reach 200 lbs lost
-continue blogging
-run another 1/2 marathon
-complete a triathlon
-run the TC 10K in under an hour

What are 5 things you want to do for others in 2012?
-inspire someone to chose to start their journey
-teach someone how to run
-be a friendly ear
-lead by example

Day 6 Laughter

Reflect on the last time you laughed so hard your sides hurt, your mascara ran down your face, or you wet your pants?

I find this question really hard to answer. I have had a hard time showing my emotions, happiness/sadness, doesn't matter what end of the spectrum. It is hard for me to show my feelings to most people, even laughter. The one person that has the ability to make me laugh so hard I want to cry is my husband though, I can't really pinpoint an exact time, but I do know that he can make me smile and laugh even when i'm trying to be mad. This can be frustrating, sometimes I just want to be mad!! LOL.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reverb 2011 - Day 4 Addition through subtraction

What have you let go of this year and how has it affected you?

I have truly let go of the need to focus on the number on the scale. Like I said yesterday, once I got under 200, really the number became meaningless. It took me a long time to get into that head space of not caring about it, but I can honestly say I am there. I still weigh in every week, but my focus is not on what the scale says, my focus is on how strong and amazing I feel. I focus on how my clothes fit, instead of what number appears every week. I will always weigh myself weekly to ensure I am on track and accountable, but what the number says does not define me as a person, nor should it define anyone. By letting go of the need to focus on the number it has allowed me to be more focused on being healthy and defining healthy by my actions. I am healthy at 170 lbs, even though by definition that is still overweight, I am healthy because I live a healthy weight and that number does not define me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reverb 2011 - Day 3 A Moment in Time

New hair cut - thanks Wendy :)....Eye brows threaded....Eye lashes tinted, I feel pretty oh so pretty oh and NEW coat as well from the Bay, and bonus IT WAS A SMALL!! yes you heard me A SMALL and on sale.. can this weekend get any better?

And now Day 3 of reverb

A Moment in Time
Tell us about one moment that you lived in 2011 that you will never forget.

The day I weighed in at 199 I will never forget. That moment was a moment I had fought for for a long time and at times a moment I thought would never come. I remember I avoided weighing in all week at home because I knew how close I was to seeing it, I waited until Sunday morning to weigh in at the studio and saw the number. It was a huge flood of emotions that had built up for so long, it was achieving something that really seemed so far away. Especially at 360 lbs, the thought of weighing one hundred and anything seemed impossible, but then it was there, all that hard work paying off. I remember I had a shift at that point from caring about the number to not really caring anymore and just focusing on my health. Once I could say I weighed one hundred and something then to me the rest didn't matter. I will never forget it, and I think that is a good thing because it keeps me motivated to maintain where I am and never go back.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reverb 2011 - Day 2 My Children Will Do It Differently

TGIF!! :) Today's reverb is "my children will do it differently". If you're interested where i'm getting these from you can google REVERB11 or also subscribe to some blogs that will email it out. I get mine from

Day 2: My Children Will Do it Differently
If you could choose one thing that your children will do or experience in a different way than you have, what would it be and why?

I never want my children to experience the pain of loneliness, the feeling that no one in he world is there for you. That was my experience for many years, the loneliness led to the food which led to the weight which led to more loneliness = a vicious cycle. Food was my friend, it didn't talk back, well it didn't talk period which I guess is why I was so lonely. I never want my children to have to feel the pain of watching their classmates experience milestones while they sit in the background. I want my children to be strong, independent, compassionate and kind. I want them to go to the parties and have what would be classified as "normal teenage experiences". I want them to live life to the fullest.

I recognize I cannot go back and change my childhood or my teenage years. I am older, healthier, stronger and wiser. I do recognize however that I want more for my children than what I had. I will raise them to be strong enough to do what I was unable to do for many years, love themselves.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reverb 2011 - Day 1 One Word

I came across this concept called reverb last night and it intrigued me. I was reading it on someone elses blog and it spread through many blogs. The idea is to look back on your year and find moments that you want to remember or document. It doesn't have to be in the form of a blog, it could be a simple daily journal, or whatever, or you don't even have to do this every day. But the people organizing this "reverb" will post/email daily promts and you then write something based on that prompt. I read through a few of the entries from 2010 and it just seemed like an amazing way to reflect on what has happened over the last year, those little moments big or small. So here I go, be prepared to hear alot more from me!! I can't promise every day, and if I don't make it one day then I will double up on the next, that's my intent :).

Day 1: One Word
Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word.
Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?

To me 2011 was the year that I reached a normal weight, I went from obese to normal in my body fat, I fit into regular sized clothing and I started to feel normal. So if I had to encapsulate 2011 in one word it would be success. Even though I have been on this weight loss journey for nearly four years, 2011 I finally started to feel successful. I finally saw what I did as an achievement, instead of a failure that I was trying to fix.

2012 for me in one word is final. I know that I will see myself reach 200 lbs lost, I will discover new strength, I will attempt new feats, I will continue to move forward in the never ending journey of health and wellness and I will finish what I started.

I'd love to hear from you guys, how do you encapsulate 2011? and what would you use to capture 2012?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Getting Crafty

I have to say even though I have been extremely frustrated with my lack of workouts I felt good about my week. I felt in control of my food again, my emotions, myself. When I feel like that then I know that I can make good choices. Now the key is to keep myself in this good place.

I have not been participating in Biggest Winners which has been very frustrating for me to not be there and have that support, though I know that i'm doing what is best for me. This past week I did personal training, still at BDHQ, but only 30 minute sessions and solely strength focused. I can't do any exercise that involves my legs which makes it very difficult, so no biking, walking, running. Obviously I can't NOT walk, but I have to limit that. It's amazing how creative the trainers can get when you have limitations, i'm extremely grateful for being given the option to participate in personal training. I know without it I would not be on track.

I am still going on Sunday to weigh in and stay accountable. I actually ended up losing 4 lbs at last Sunday's weigh in and this week 2.6 lbs. It's almost like the lack of exercise or the limited exercise is allowing my body to catch up. Seeing the progress and the number change is keeping me motivated to stay on track. I've been really focused with my food and not eating late at night. I've been making sure I get 3-4 meals with veggies in them and 1-2 with fruit. But the key has been saying NO about five times per day at work to the constant food. Only ONE is not an option, it is NONE!

Yesterday we did vision boards again, my favorite :) getting to be crafty! I'm trying to make it my new outlet, in place of exercise since that's not happening every day. I have some ideas in the work, secret ideas though ;). Here is my latest vision board...

It's more of a WHY board than a vision board. I made it my reasons why I do this and why I continue to do this and it is hanging right at my front door so I see it every day I walk out the door. If you can't read the image here are my reasons WHY:

*do it for the ones that said you couldn't
*because you are stronger than your excuses
*to never have to take another "before" picture
*to be an inspiration to others
*the feeling of being normal
*to be sexy and know it
*the gap between your thighs
*to be strong, happy and alive
*to prove you are capable
*to finish what you started
*do it because YOU CAN

I stole some pictures from my new obsession - Pintrest. Molly also made an awesome vision board taking some awesome quotes from Pintrest as well.

Now to keep engaged and crafty and away from Christmas food/candy/crap is the key for the month of December. Stay tuned for my next project.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Are you addicted to food?

I was watching the new episode of Private Practice yesterday, one of my favorite shows. The episode was dealing with an Oxycontin addition which one of the doctors and her fiance had. Her rock bottom moment was her fiance dying from an overdose. This got me thinking about food, and how much I hear food is an addiction just like drugs. I used to believe that, in fact that was my excuse for many years. Let me say this, I DO NOT believe that food can be an addiction; however, I DO believe that someone can be addicted to sugar. I think it's important to separate these two. Food to me is classified as real and whole whereas sugar is fake. I could only wish I had a spinach addiction.

I often get messages from people, I don't know, who read this blog asking for help. The most common response I get when I tell them what it takes is that they are addicted to food so it's just that much harder for them to overcome. Trust me, I know what it's like to be overpowered by the urge to binge to get that high, but it's the sugar that is overpowering. I've never once wanted to binge on broccoli, though apparently I should be doing this, it's always been something sugar filled or carbs.

I used to believe that it was harder to overcome this addiction because you have to eat, whereas with let's say alcohol, you could avoid it all together. Now I see it in a whole new light. You CAN avoid sugar all together. You CAN eat a diet filled with FOOD (real food) and be healthy and fulfilled. Absolutely it is hard, don't get me wrong, but don't allow yourself to use the fact that you have to eat to be an excuse not to try at all. To me saying "I have a food addiction" is an excuse to not even try. I have heard on numerous occasions people say "I will be fat forever, that is the way it will be, i'm a food addict". That statement makes me cringe. But the reality is when someone hits their rock bottom and they are ready to change they will reach out and make that choice to do so. No one can force it.

So what are the steps to overcoming a "sugar addiction"?

#1: Make the choice that YOU WANT TO CHANGE NOW
#2: Purge your kitchen, get rid of all the bad sugar and replace them with nourishing foods. No "one last time" meals (refer to #1)
#3: Realize that there will be withdrawals and make a plan how you will deal with this. Maybe it is keeping lots of yummy fruits or veggies prepared and easy to access or maybe it is finding a new favorite tea to drink
#4: Commit to the process for 30 days. After just a few days you will notice a difference, but after 30 days of constant clean eating and no sugar you will not crave it physically. When it's not in your body and not in your environment then you don't need it or crave it.
#5: Be kind to yourself and reward yourself for working hard. Create a reward for yourself that you will get when you reach the place that you feel you have conquered your sugar addiction.

And when you find yourself falling off the wagon start back again at step #1.
"Success is not final ,failure is not fatal,it is the courage to continue that counts"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Facing the Feelings

To start off, I realize I've been extremely absent from writing, I've felt "blocked" for the last two weeks just not knowing what to say. I've felt myself go in this downward spiral of emotions and just not wanting to even write or talk about it at all - which I realize is not healthy. I've just been emotional, and I couldn't pinpoint why, but then I realized that I had lost my outlet that was allowing me to expend my frustrations - running. It's almost like the fact that I can't express my feelings/frustrations by going out and running is meaning i'm having to face my feelings and feel them, i'm not used to that, i'm used to being able to immerse my energy into exercise to deal with my frustrations/feelings.

The thing is it's not something specific that happened, apart from the injury, it's just life in general that is feeling like it is weighing down on me (work, school, personal etc. etc.). I'm mad at myself because I haven't been focused on my food like I should be and I know I can fix that by just making good choices, but for some reason I seem to be giving into temptation whereas when i'm focused I can avoid it. I feel frustrated because I've done this long enough, why does this still happen? I recognize and know that it's a process and I can tell myself that but that doesn't stop me from feeling disappointed in myself. I know how amazing it feels to be 100% on track and focused, so why can't I get myself back there? These mind games we play with ourselves, the self sabotage, it just seems to be winning right now and I need to take back control. Writing this "confession" so to speak is my first step to that.

I could feel this disappointment looming as I sat there and watched the fitness competition last Saturday night. I watched all those strong women and thought, I will never ever look like that and that makes me sad. I look at my body naked in the mirror and think about how my body would look if I was able to have the surgery to remove the skin that haunts me. But then I have to weigh that with the fact that I want a family right now and know that I can't have both. It's the competing priorities of what I want and what is realistic in my life right now and the fact that what I want is not happening. I think I also define these women as strong, not just because they have amazing bodies, but they have the confidence to get up there and show it off to the world. I feel less than confident right now. Being alone and highly emotional at the show coupled with no food in about five hours, was not a good mixture to then embarrassing myself. I wanted to introduce myself to Tosca Reno and tell her what an inspiration she was to me in my weight loss journey. I stood there in the back and let everyone go in front of me, then I got up the nerve to introduce myself and all my emotions just poured out of my eyes - embarrassing - I can't even have a normal adult conversation without controlling my emotions. I thought that losing all this weight would make me confident and it has helped, but I still have a long way to go. I just don't know how long it will take and I hope I can one day be that person I want to be.

Even writing this post, I have spent the last hour writing and re-writing because I just thought about how embarrassed I was of my actions/reactions these last few weeks. So what am I going to take from this? Well I do feel like i'm back on track with food now, I've organized my meals for the week, no junk in my house and my water is good. I am going to get my x-ray on my knee and face the reality of what is wrong with me. Apart from those two things I know I can do, the rest I need to take one moment at a time, one work day at a time, one workout at a time. I recognize that I have not failed because I am choosing, yet again, to get back up and try again.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Wants

I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want, So tell me what you want, what you really really want, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really really really wanna zigazig ha. Ok so I don't really know what zigazig means, but it sounds cool, maybe I do want it, but it's not on my list. But what do I really want? I've made list after list about what I want, but this is an ongoing exercise and time to do it all over again.

My first want list was in January. I completed several goals and then created a new want list in May.

The May list was:
1-to be successful in the 10lb challenge
2-to have a family
3-to run a 1/2 marathon in 2011
4-to be satisfied in my job
5-to reach 200lbs lost by December 31, 2011
6-to get my asthma tested
7-to get my focus back on losing weight
8-to do "spring cleaning" on the house
9-to ride my bike
10-to play soccer
11-to feel in control again
12-to develop a new relationship with the word no
13-to start hiking again
14-to read a book (I don't read enough)
15-to be successful in the current job competition at work
16-to keep blogging
17-to create a 5 year business/career plan
18-to register at Camosun for accounting in the fall
19-to declutter our bedroom
20-to create a training plan for the 1/2 marathon in October

I can say I've successfully completed several of these items. I was successful in the 10lb challenge, I ran the half marathon,I got my asthma tested, i'm focused, I road my bike, played soccer and hiked I got a promotion at work, I registered and am completing my accounting course and I have been blogging. So what do I want NOW?

1-to run again
2-to have a family
3-to feel like I am successful in my job
4-to reach 200lbs lost by December 31, 2011
5-to obtain an A in my accounting class
6-to start planning my homemade gifts for Christmas
7-to finish my accounting project
8-to wear a size 8
9-to feel 100%

My list has decreased in size. I think in part because alot of the things I want right now are contingent on me actually being able to run. For example I want to complete another 1/2 marathon and beat my time but if I can't run then that's not going to happen, I want to complete a sprint triathlon, I want to run the TC10K in under an hour. All these things I want in addition to my above list are contingent on me recovering from this injury. Part of me doesn't want to write these additional wants down on my list because I am scared to death that I won't be able to run again.

For now it is just listen to my body, be 100% on track with my food and stay positive and hopeful that I will recover fast.

So tell me what YOU want, what you really really want.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Biggest Winner Inspiration: Part 4

I'd like to introduce you all to a very special, amazing and inspirational woman who is part of the Biggest Winners (BWs) group. Jana Archer came a close second to being crowned the biggest winner of our last session. She lost an incredible 44lbs and 36 inches in only 12 weeks. Jana recently joined us in BWs after doing some personal training through BDHQ. Every time I see Jana in the gym I am so proud of how far she has come. She is always smiling, even through the squats and pushups, she has this way of always having a smile on her face and keeping all of us going. So when I asked her if she was willing to share her story with me for this blog I was delighted that she was willing to be so open and honest. It's not an easy thing, especially early on in your journey, to be so honest with yourself and others about why you got to this place. But don't let me tell you, let Jana tell you and i'm sure you'll agree that she is amazing.

Why did you start?

To be completely honest, I started because I had a friend at work (wonderful Sherry McKay), who wouldn't leave me alone! My sister, Heather, also played a huge part in it even being possible. That all being said, I also think I was ready to start taking control of my life and my health.

In summer 2010, Heather heard me napping at home one day (as I did almost constantly) and said to me, “I think you have sleep apnea.” She had recently been diagnosed with it and with her new CPAP machine she was feeling better than she had in years. I knew I hadn't been sleeping well and was struggling through each day to stay awake and function through work and other activities. Somehow I was managing, but I was exhausted all of the time. I often had to pull the car over on the way home, just to close my eyes for a few minutes and muster the energy to keep driving. Sometimes I’d sit in the car after I got home and not even have the energy to get out of the car and walk up the stairs into the house.

It took a bit of time, with my sister calling doctors to make appointments for me (I was too afraid), for me to get in and get tested. I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea; the night I got tested I stopped breathing over 450 times. I was told it was a wonder I hadn't died in my sleep. This moment was the beginning of my transition. I got my CPAP machine and suddenly, I had energy once again. The day after my first night sleeping with it I was hyperactive the entire day because I had actually slept well for likely the first time in 6-7 years. This was in August.

Going back a bit (as these pieces overlap): In spring 2010, I was at work and a woman in the hallway said hi to me. I had no idea who she was but we conversed for a bit; I left the conversation very confused as to who I had talked to. When I saw this person again, I still didn't recognize her but near the end of the conversation she said something that triggered a memory. I realized it was Sherry, but still was rather puzzled because I didn't recognize her at all. I went to a friend of hers and asked if something had changed; that when I was told how much weight she had lost. I was stunned and realized this is why I didn’t recognize her. Of course, I had very much wanted to lose weight for some time so I went and talked to Sherry about it. I asked what she did and how she did it; she very openly shared her story. She asked if I wanted information about her gym, and after I said yes she forwarded it to me. I looked at it... terrified...and thought - there is NO way I could ever do this. I told her about dealing with my sleep issues and how I'd consider it AFTER that was dealt with. On the inside, all I could think was that there was no way I was going to open myself up to the humiliation I thought I would feel when I stepped into a gym.

But... Sherry persisted. She kept checking in on me, asking me if I wanted to go in with her one day or set up a personal training session. I avoided her for a few months and at the same time, went to the doctor and got my CPAP. Once I realized I had lost my excuse to not go to the gym, I transitioned to avoiding Sherry at work. I would duck into bathrooms or try not to make eye contact whenever I saw her. I thought she got the hint, but then one day I received an email from her trainer, Lovisa. Lovisa suggested we go for a walk and talk about the trying some personal training. As much as I wanted to, I decided I couldn't be mad at Sherry for this. And as much as I wanted to say no to Lovisa, I said yes... noting that "walking and talking and I didn't get along at all". Lovisa said we'd just chat on the grass outside of the building where I work. Of course, this wasn’t the case - we walked all around the Royal Jubilee Hospital site where I work. I could barely breathe half of the time or move due to pain in my lower back. One thing I noticed was that Lovisa never once pointed out my struggles. She just stopped every once and awhile, letting me catch my breath, stretch my back... She didn't ostracize me, she just chatted with me like I was 'normal'. I got less scared. At the end of the walk (longer than I had walked in a few years), she asked me if I wanted to come into the gym on Saturday. I was still terrified, but now also intrigued, hopeful, and... unable to say no. So I went. On the Saturday, I trained with Michele Shorter. I can’t remember much about what I actually did that first session, but I know I could barely lift the three pound weights and do the step-ups. I worked out and she pushed me to work, but supported me the entire time. She helped me get up off the floor when I couldn’t. I cried at one point when we talked about what brought me to this point. At the end of the session I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but that hope that started after I talked to Sherry and that grew after my walk with Lovisa was now stronger. I realized this gym was different and that maybe I’d actually succeed… so I made the commitment to keep coming back.

How long have you struggled with weight?

I've struggled with my weight for a very long time; at some point in my life I developed a habit of eating to make myself feel better or deal with stress and anxieties. I remember being overweight in high school, but not significantly. I was maybe 20-30 pounds more than I 'should' have been, except in grade 12 when I dropped to my lowest weight of 143 pounds. Things got significantly worse about nine years ago. I gained a lot of weight after I moved out of my parent's house and into an apartment with my new husband. Although I was exercising quite a bit (cycling and swimming), poor eating habits, insane hormones from the birth control pill, and then a knee injury, started the spiral to where I ended up a year ago.

What inspired you to start BWs?

It was actually more practicality than inspiration that led me to the BW program. First, while personal training was awesome, it was more than I could afford for the long term. I considered lessening the number of personal training sessions I was doing (from three back to two) but this contradicted another fact – I wanted to work out more. I had grown to love working out, but two to three times per week wasn’t cutting it. The BW program was less than half the cost of my monthly personal training sessions and I would get to work out a minimum of four times per week. I was scared about going from a safe, one on one atmosphere to a group, but it was the best and most logical answer.

What keeps you coming back?

Bri, you asked me to make this post quite awhile ago. Since that time I've struggled with actually putting all of my thoughts on paper and even when I finally did, I couldn't send it. I thought maybe it was just because it wasn't good enough yet, or that I was procrastinating (or just forgetting to send it as is often the norm for me). This morning I had one of those light bulb moments that made me realize this was completely off the mark. I've been afraid. I've been so terrified of putting myself out there, opening myself up to people who may not be up to date on where I'm at and who I am. It's hard, to think about people who knew me at “my best” now knowing that where I was and where I am. But you know, along with this realization this morning, a new feeling hit me: I do still care about what people think of me, but I care a whole lot less than I did before. I am so incredibly proud of myself right now and while I may have been thin back then, that wasn’t an indication of my overall health. Now, I'm taking on something that has controlled my life for too long and I'm moving toward real health in the process.

There's my physical health: I now actually love running, boxing, lifting weights, circuit classes, and so much more. I could even dance for three hours at one of my closest friend’s wedding without breaking much of a sweat! I can get into cars without worrying about the length of the seatbelt and I can go to restaurants and not worry about fitting into a booth. These are just a few of the small milestones I have experienced, but there are so many more!

Even more importantly, however, it's my mental/emotional health: I used to be terrified of going out of the house, because the looks and comments I would receive from people on the street tore me up inside. Now, if I get a look or a comment, I react completely differently. I realize that yes, I'm currently bigger than many people but that's only temporary, and hey... if only they could have seen me awhile ago! I feel sorry for these people who feel the need to tear someone else down possibly because of their own insecurities. Then I get this feeling of pride - that I am doing so much and doing so well. I'm moving forward in my life and its SUPER exciting. I have a great family, wonderful and caring friends, an awesome support system, a great job, and so many possibilities on the horizon. Nothing is going to stop me - and although I may have rough patches as I work to change my patterns that got me to where I was a year ago - I know I can take them on because I am and will conquer one of the biggest struggles in my life. That makes me strong. That makes me confident - and I don't want to be afraid anymore. That makes me excited - because there is so much to be excited about. This, and all the other little accomplishments that I'm experiencing daily, makes me keep coming back.

What is the hardest part?

As much as I said the mental/emotional health piece is getting better, this is also one of the hardest parts. I can make it through muscle or joint pain after a good workout, but sometimes it is so hard to shut off the voices in my head that say that I should stop, that there’s no point, that I’ll never get to my goal, that I’m not smart enough, good enough, or worth enough, or that I simply can’t do it. It’s a constant battle and it’s draining. But amidst that, I’m making choices to help myself.

I’m spending time with family and friends – those who encourage me and lift me up, while I can be there for them as well. I'm finding healthy ways to handle my anxieties and make positive decisions in my life. I’m taking time for myself doing such things as going to the beach with a latte on a cool fall evening. I making an effort to raise my head up as I walk and look at nature, and getting out with my camera and taking pictures again (my passion for photography was blocked until now due to my inability to move well). I’m trying to remember that “I can” rather than “I cant”. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy and that I won’t struggle, but I am making progress.

Total weight loss to date?
84 pounds! I lost 44 pounds in my first session of BW and 40 pounds before that since I started personal training at BDHQ.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself before this process what would you say?

Simply put…

You CAN do it and it will be one of the best things you’ve ever done. Trust me.

Jana said "I was ready to start taking control of my life and my health" well you have absolutely done that, look at what you've accomplished in such a short period of time. I cannot be more proud of you for what you have done in so little time and I know everyone else in your life is as well. You have blossomed from someone who is hiding beneath the weight to and stronger, more vibrant woman. I am so happy to be a part of this journey with you Jana and I know you will succeed and keep going, even if there are bumps along the way, always remember where you came from and how far you've come and continue to be proud of yourself for that. LOOK AT YOU NOW!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm not PEOPLE worthy but still worthy

A couple months ago I submitted my story online to be considered for use in the January issue of People Magazine, yes THE People Magazine. It was a long shot, but I figured why not. I was delighted, but surprised at the same time to receive an e-mail a month later from the PR company who works with People Magazine, they had shortlisted my story for consideration but needed some more information and photos. Of coarse this was super exciting news, the thought of maybe being featured in a national publication that millions of people would read and the ability to hopefully inspire someone else to make the change that I have. I needed photos FAST and reached out to Nicki to help. In literally an hour she had arranged a photographer, shoes and had set up a mini-photo shoot for me. I told her i'd bring her to New York when they chose me for the cover which I think contributed to her speed in organizing. We went through my closet, found a dress that had been given to me by a fellow Biggest Winner that had never fit me before and now it did. The shoe situation was a little more dire, for those who know me you know that i'm probably one of the most low maintenance woman you know, I don't wear makeup, I don't own fancy shoes or jewelry and I wash my hear and wear it. This obviously wouldn't do for a People Magazine photo shoot, so a call out to the Biggest Winner group resulting in some "scary" shoes being donated for use - any form of heal for me is scary. Wide feet and fancy shoes generally don't work well together, these shoes were so painful but apparently that's the price you have to pay for beauty, so i'm told.

Here are a couple of the photos taken by Mary Jane of Mary Jane Howland Photography

Please visit Mary Jane's website at she does some amazing work, you can also "like" her on Facebook at

Doing this photo shoot was both fun but outside of my comfort zone. I'm not used to being the center of attention, but that's what this was all about. She made me feel comfortable and relaxed and Nicki was also there lending a hand. I have to say the photos turned out amazing.

I sent the photos off to the PR rep who then told me I would have to wait another month to find out if I was going to be selected for the "Half My Size" issue. Unfortunately, I found out the other day, that I came very close but was not chosen. Even though I wasn't worthy for the cover of People Magazine, that doesn't take away from what I've accomplished, I know that. I also didn't allow myself to get overly excited about this because I didn't want to be disappointed in the event I didn't get chosen, which worked out well in this case. I'm totally fine with it, obviously still a bit disappointing, but okay with it, their loss right? I was told that they MAY still use my story at some point in time in another context, but at this point I'm not going to be obtaining fame.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Harrison Hot Springs Weekend

Just got back from a lovely weekend away with the whole family at Harrison Hot Springs. John and I stayed with Maddison & Annabelle in an adjoining room which also connected to Craig & Kailie.

Here are my beautiful nieces...

It wasn't necessairly the most relaxing weekend given I was an adopted parent for a day, but that's okay I did still get to rest my knee and enjoy the hot springs. I'm still battling a cold which unfortunately proceeded to get worse over the weekend not better because our room was right above where people smoke. No real option to move us since there were three adjoining rooms and it was only one more night. We arrived really late on Friday night and basically just said our hellos and then played some poker with everyone. Saturday was a LOT of swimming and card playing. Sunday we checked out and did a portion of the Circle Farm Tour. First stop was "The Back Porch" where we got some delicious organic coffee and flour. Then it was on to the Canadian Hazelnut stop where we got some coffee flavoured hazelnuts, dark chocolate hazelnut butter and some u-pick hazelnuts. Here are the hazelnut trees...

Last stop before the ferry terminal was The Farm House Natural Cheeses where everyone else was too busy eating all the cheese samples that I just watched :). Of coarse doing all these farm tours did not assist in the cold situation which meant I was way worse then when I went away but that is the price I have to pay unfortunately. I knew that I would get allergic but didn't want to give up time to spend with all the kids. With my already existing bout of laryngitis at play this caused another yuck cold to start :(. We headed for the 5PM ferry and made it just before it started to get super busy. So basically I don't feel like I had a relaxing weekend, I feel exhausted, run down and sick :( but still had a wonderful time with my girls, oh and John ;).

This week will be all about staying focused with my food, making sure i'm getting veggies at every meal and fruit and one and listening to my body even when it's frustrating.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I cannot...but I can

I've been a bit frustrated and overwhelmed with everything this last week. Since running the 1/2 marathon a week ago today I have had alot going on. I wrote my first midterm on Wednesday, I was immersed in a brand new job feeling lost and without support, being overwhelmed with keeping up with my life and now i'm injured and frustrated with my lack of mobility. Even though all of this was going on I still knew that what was best for me was to make it to my workouts, even if I couldn't be 100%, it always is best for me to be there with my constant group of supportive people. I think also its this change in weather the last week, it seems to have drastically gotten colder. I've tried very hard this week to just be on track with my food as much as possible, knowing that the intensity level of my workouts would be minimal, and i've done relatively okay with this, not super, but okay. I was happy that I maintained at this week's weigh in. You would think that running 21 KM would make you lose weight, but really it didn't, I was up about 4 lbs after the race, so maintaining was a good thing for me this week. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to get my knee checked out and just hoping he doesn't tell me that I need to stop running.

So with being a bit out of whack this week I was happy to have a bit of a wake up call this morning from Jen Ziebart of Empower Inquiry Life Designs. She came and talked to the Biggest Winners at the end of today's workout. It seems that I wasn't the only one struggling this week. Many people were very open about their struggles and excuses. What I took from this talk was that everything in life is based on a choice. You make a choice every day to wake up. You make a choice to eat healthy or not eat healthy. You make a choice to make your workout or make up your workout. It all comes back to YOU. We discussed, if you can't do something for some reason what CAN you do. Well right now I CAN'T run like I want to be able to but I CAN power walk or ride the bike, I CAN control what I put in my body and I CAN make it to the workouts. So instead of getting frustrated with myself that I can't run like I want to, I'm focusing on the fact that I can be in control of my food and nutrition. I'm focusing on not getting so frustrated with myself, being nicer to myself. Something Jen said that really hit home with me was "if your mother knew how you talked to yourself she wouldn't let you hang out with you". It's so true, we are our own worst critics most of the time. So this weeks focus will be #1 A+ nutrition and #2 what CAN I do?

Every time you find yourself saying "I can't do ____" make sure you finish that sentence with "but I can do ____". Make a list for the week on your "cannot's" and plan on what you are doing instead, write a "can" list.

Monday, October 10, 2011

1/2 Marathon Milestone

Running a 1/2 marathon was something I would never imagined possible even just a year ago, let alone running for 10 minutes. Even though I had already lost a significant amount of weight before joining Biggest Winners, I never actually thought I would be a runner, I thought that I just couldn't do it because of my asthma and my knees and a whole long list of reasons which were really just excuses in the end. Through a lot of hard work I was able to find a way around my asthma and actually breathe when I ran, I worked through the pain and learned how to make it work for my body. Now I can actually say "I am a runner" and believe it.

This whole past week has been a huge write off in terms of work outs because I've been so sick, the laryngitis came back again :(. So needless to say I was a little nervous that I hadn't worked out in six days and was just about to run 21 KM and was still sick. But I had worked so hard for this day and committed so much time that a cold wasn't going to stop me from doing it even if I couldn't breathe. The day was beautiful and thankfully the rain held off for us and all the other runners. We finished the first 10K no problem in just 1:01 but then the asthma started to set in and the pain and by about 12K I felt like it was never going to end. My family came out to cheer us on and keep us going, they were at about the 10K mark and then the 15K mark coming back through and it was definatly what I needed to keep going.

John and I separated about the 15K mark as his knees were hurting too much and he had to walk. I kept going with my 10 and 1s had 3 asthma attacks along the way but used my inhaler and kept going. By about 19K I just started breaking down, I was physically and emotionally just DONE, I felt like I literally could not move my legs any more and all I wanted to do was walk, I couldn't breathe but I knew that it was just 2 more kilometers and I would be done, I just kept telling myself that 2 KM is fast, i can do that, only 12 more minutes. By the 900 meters to go mark I was about to collapse but just kept focusing on the signs that reminded me I was almost finished. By the 100 meter to go a runner came up behind me who I don't even know and pushed/encouraged me across the finish where I basically collapsed in the medics arms. I was able to recoup myself in a few minutes and bring myself back to normal. I guess I had pushed myself to my limits and beyond because I could hardly even stand up, let alone walk.

Coming out of the medic tent I went to get my medal from Nicki who gave me a huge hug and congratulations. Let me just tell you I was an emotional mess for the rest of the day though. I am proud of myself for doing it, and after it was done I said "i'm never doing that again" but today's a new day, I would do that again because I want a better time. I completed my first half marathon in 2:14:00 and now I want to beat that time because I know I can do way better if I wasn't sick. Regardless, bottom line, I still beat my husband who completed it in 2:17. In case you haven't realized, we are a little competitive.

Today I feel like my body is broken, I can't walk, but thankfully we are going to get massages and get some of this lactic acid out of our muscles.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Where do you start?

I was looking online trying to find studies about people who had lost weight and kept it off. Reading over a few studies, each giving different stats, the key element was that upwards of 90% of people who lose weight do not keep it off and end up gaining some or all of it back. I am telling you all right now and making a commitment that I will never ever go back. Obviously there will be times, such as pregnancy, where weight may come back on; however, I am committed to being focused on my health and myself 100%. I have proven that I can lose weight and keep it off. Because of my success I am often asked how I do it? what is my secret? where do I start? By no means am I claiming to be an expert, all I can tell you is what my experience is and what has worked for me.

I have tried every fad diet known to man, DIETS DO NOT WORK. When someone asks me what diet i'm on my response is "I don't diet" and that's true, I don't. I eat clean, I eat small portions and I am aware of what I put into my body. I work out 5-6 days per week and choose active options instead of sedentary. I don't count calories and I drink lots of water. I fuel my body for energy and not for emotions. So doesn't that sound simple? Sure it's super simple and it works. It's SIMPLE but not EASY - I know that I've been there and I still get into those situations. It's about having the tools and knowledge of self to know what to do and be prepared.

So back to the question - where do I start?
#1: Recognize that eating right is 80-90% of weight loss, you can work out all you want but if you ware putting crap food in your body it will be very difficult for you to lose weight.
#2: Be 100% committed to eating clean with 5-6 small meals per day. Clean means no processed foods, no white sugar, no white flour and a healthy balance of protein, carbs (fibrous/complex) & good fats at each meal.
#3: Now that you are committed to eating clean and you know that eating clean will enable you to lose weight you must commit time. Set aside time each week to ensure you are prepared. Always be prepared!! I work a Monday to Friday job so on Sunday's I will go grocery shopping for my weekly food and will also prepare meals for the week. This is a huge time commitment, and often takes up a good portion of my Sunday, but without this I would be lost the rest of the week and would not be prepared. I will often eat the same thing all week for at least 2-3 meals, which can get boring, but I just remind myself i'm not eating for enjoyment, i'm eating to fuel my body.
#4: Make a workout plan. Each week or each month or whatever works for your schedule set aside time for your workouts, write it on a calendar and commit to it. Maybe you need to find a fitness buddy to be accountable to. For me I am committed to my Biggest Winners group but also have buddies that I know I can call on for extra workouts.
#5: Write down everything you eat! Yes EVERYTHING! Even if you slip up, write it down and be accountable to it. Your body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what you write down.
#6: Recognize that slip ups will happen, but that doesn't mean you have to stop. Take it one meal at a time, one day at a time, and slowly but surely the changes that seem so hard will just become habit.

So those are my tips for getting started. There are some great online resources when it comes to Clean Eating as well as books. I recommend any of Tosca Reno's Clean Eating books, she outlines what it means and breaks it all down for you. Some websites I like are The Gracious Pantry, The Eat Clean Diet and The Joy of Clean Eating. There are so many out there, but it's important to get a good foundation and understanding of what clean eating before you try being creative with your food choices. Remember don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork.

Also, here are some simple substitutions you can make right now that will help you make a transition to eating cleaner.

#1: Fat free greek yogurt - substitute it for sour cream in any recipe, you can also make your own cream cheese with the yogurt by straining the water out of it and flavoring it with whatever herbs you like (very yummy!), or make your own frozen yogurt by adding some natural sweetener such as honey and fruit and freezing.
#2: Dip your veggies in salsa or hummus instead of high fat/sugar dressings like ranch.
#3: Use cottage cheese as a dressing on your salad
#4: Use hummus or avocado instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich.
#5: No more white flour!! Whole wheat everything.
#6: Water Water Water! Dump out those pops and juices, all your body needs is water. If you're bored of regular plain old water try it with some lemon in it or fresh fruit to flavor it.

Here's an idea of what I eat on an average day:
6:30AM - Fat Free Greek Yogurt with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter & organic granola (usually make my own clean recipe)
10:00AM - Salad with cucumber, tomatoes and peppers topped with cottage cheese & 1/2 a chicken breast
1:00PM - turkey chili
4:00PM - fruit with almonds or cottage cheese
7:30PM - chicken & steamed veggies
Every meal has a protein and a carb (fibrous/complex) in it and I avoid eating any complex carbs like bread/rice in my last two meals of the day because otherwise it just sits in my stomach.

There's no time like the present people - start now! You've only got 3 choices in life — give up, give in, or give it all you've got.

Friday, September 30, 2011

And The Winner Is...

This past Sunday marked the end of our most recent Biggest Winners session. We had our Amazing Race workout with Black Team versus White Team. The concept was show up in either black or white and that would determine what team you were on. It was 12 black and 7 white but that just made it more competitive.

Meet the white team...
and the black team...

I have to say BW's Amazing Race is waaaaaaay better than the TV show - not that i've really watched it enough to be the best judge - but hey i'm a little biased. #1 we don't eliminate people #2 well us BWs are just STRONG and can do anything we put our minds too and #3 I really think that our hosts Michele Shorter & Carol Morrison are just plain better than Phil Keoghan. The race was full of plenty of challenges, carpools and even a yield. Lots of squats, lunges, and just hard work by everyone made it another awesome final workout. It was a close race right to the end but black beat us by a few seconds - way to go everyone!

Now onto the most exciting new from Sunday, the question everyone wanted to know, who was the Biggest Winner? Im so proud to say that Molly was crowned Biggest Winner for this session, not only did she lose a significant amount of weight in 12 weeks, she broke a long standing Biggest Winner record along with another lovely lady, Jana (stay tuned for that amazing story). Molly lost an incredible 48lbs and 53 inches in 12 weeks. This was Molly's first session with us and I remember her first day, she looked terrified, now she exudes confidence every time she is in the gym and is a shining example of dedication. Molly allowed me to interview her for this post and get some insight into how she did this. Reading her responses to my questions literally brought me to tears. I could see so much of how I felt/feel in what she writes. I think you will have the same response when you have to hear what she has to say.

But first here is Molly before...

and Molly after....where'd you go?? Oh that's right you left it on the floor of BDHQ

Now some insight into the lovely Molly..

How much weight have you lost to date?
To be honest, I’m not even sure! There was a long period of time where I didn’t even think about venturing near (let alone onto) a scale. The last time I weighed myself before joining BW was just over a two years ago. I had been watching a season of the Biggest Loser (sitting on the couch eating ice cream, most likely) and wondered how I stacked up. I knew I was the heaviest I had ever been, and feared that I had probably tipped over the 300lb mark. Needless to say, I was stunned when the scale read 386.5lbs. So, from that mark, I’m down 95.9lbs. Which, wow, I didn’t realize until right now! I started this past session of the Biggest Winner at 338.8lbs and am now at 290.6, so 48lbs of that 95 has come in the last three months.

Why did you start?
I started because I made the mistake of telling one of my close friends about BW and BDHQ and she forced the issue! It sounds silly, but it’s actually true. I saw an ad for BW and casually mentioned it in conversation to both her and my mother. Little did I know, that was the beginning of my journey. All of a sudden I had a message on my phone from Michele Shorter of BDHQ inviting me to come in for a meeting to talk about the program! My mother had made a call to the studio, and had given Michele my cell phone number in the process. I was mortified, pretty upset, and most of all terrified. I managed to ignore two or three (or maybe four...) messages from Michele until my co-worker & close friend Yvette caught wind of what was going on. She came and sat in my office in the middle of our workday and proceeded to very successfully guilt me into calling Michele back and setting up a meeting for the next day. Yvette came with me to meet with Michele, (probably because she knew if she didn't, there was no way I would go) and before I knew it I was signed up for the session of BW starting a few days later. I’m still not sure how it all happened, but I’m awfully thankful that I had someone in my corner to give me a little (or really big) push to get started! (As a side note, Yvette’s now coming to 6 studio classes a week with me at BDHQ, so she wasn’t all talk!)

How long have you struggled with weight?
I’ve struggled with weight for all of my adult life. Growing up, a number of members of my family were overweight, although it wasn’t something I was particularly conscious of. I was a fairly serious ballet dancer, and consequently never had to worry about working out or eating healthy. My family moved often, and my early teens were spent switching between countries and parents. My dancing took a backseat and I put on weight, but again, didn’t really pay too much attention. A few years later into my teens, I was in a hit-and-run accident that killed my father and left me with a number of serious injuries. It took months for me to be able to hold a pencil, so dancing was obviously a thing of the past. I was depressed but not willing to admit it, and began to put on weight rapidly. By the time I was in high school, I was well over 250lbs. I tried a number of diets with no success, mostly because I wasn’t willing to put in any kind of effort, and eventually just resigned myself to living my “new” life as an overweight person...Until this year!

What inspired you to start BWs?
Well, I already told the story about how I was not-so-gently nudged into starting...But I know that regardless of any outside influence, I had to be ready to make a change in order to actually stick with the program. I didn’t know if I was in fact ready or not, but I knew that it certainly wasn’t going to make things worse. My mom had been fighting an incredibly tough battle with breast cancer, I was working 65 or 70 hours a week, drinking a ton of coffee and a fair amount of bourbon, and smoking way too many cigarettes. I was on a pretty quick path to disaster, and knew that something needed to change. I figured the worst that would happen is that I’d waste a little bit of time & maybe I’d be a little bit sore, but at least I’d get away from my desk for a few hours a week. Little did I know...! I also remember reading this blog during one of the sleepless nights I spent worrying before I started BW and being completely amazed by your journey, Bri. There was a little part of me, right then, that started to hope that maybe, possibly, I could do it too. So, thanks for that!

What keeps you coming back?
I had to think about this one, because there were so many possible answers, but the short version is I come back because I love it! I never dreamt I’d be saying that about anything that involved exercise, but it’s true. I love that my body is changing, I love feeling stronger and seeing improvements from one workout to the next, I love finally feeling like I’m making proactive choices and having some investment in my own health and well-being, and I love the people who I get to travel this path with. The support from folks in the BW program and all of the trainers at BDHQ is truly amazing, and they are often a big part of the reason I can convince myself to get out of bed for those 6am sessions! I’m constantly inspired by the people that I workout alongside who are working so hard to change their lives, and I’m always motivated by the trainers who are working just as hard to help us make that change. The generosity of time, knowledge, encouragement, and compassion from everyone involved is absolutely incredible.

What is the hardest part?
The hardest part for me is the “head” stuff. I know how to eat healthy & I know how to work-out. It’s certainly not easy to do those two things by any stretch, but it’s also not rocket science. It’s the mental & emotional work that needs to happen in conjunction that makes me want to flee quickly in the other direction! I’m not the most “touchy-feely” person in the world, and most of the time I’d rather listen than share my own thoughts or feelings. I spent many years working as a social worker, and got really excellent at talking about other people’s emotions without ever having to go near my own. I’m finally beginning to realize that, in addition to all of my hard work in the gym & in the kitchen, I’m going to have to do the hard work in my own head to succeed in the long run. I’ll admit that the thought of that still quite seriously terrifies me, and I can think of about 1,000 reasons not to do it in any given moment. I’ve got a long way to go, but it is one of my goals for the next session to at least start thinking about it (if I don’t chicken out...)
Molly, I can totally relate to this, you are absolutely right the head stuff is HARD, and it is one of the hardest things for me still as well. Just know that you will make those changes slowly and before you know it you will be an entirely different person both inside and out.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself before this process what would you say?
I’d tell myself that it’s not too late! It is possible, and it’s worth the work. Or, maybe more importantly, I’m worth the work. I spent a lot of years not caring; about myself, about my health, about anything in general, really. I was numb, and I was focused on surviving...or so I thought, at the time. I’ve realized now that I was just self-destructing in a painfully slow way. It breaks my heart to look back at all of the years I wasted, but I’m also incredibly thankful that I’ve started to figure it out now, instead of 20 years from now or too late altogether! I’d tell myself that reaching out is the best thing I could do, finding support & getting uncomfortable, as unimaginably hard as it may seem at first, will actually make things exponentially better. I’d tell myself that it’s a long process, and that it’s hard process, but that it’s so much easier in so many ways too. Easier to walk down the street with friends, easier to get out of bed in the morning, easier to chase after kids, easier to just be alive! And I’d tell myself again, as many times as it took, that it’s worth it.

Molly you are wise and you GET IT. I can see that you know this is a journey and you will conquer this battle. Thank you so much for being so open and honest. Don't think of the years you wasted, they make up who you are and they are creating this journey you are on now. The most important thing is you are choosing to make this change and are committed to it, keep up all the amazing work and keep inspiring us all.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting Organized

I've found myself very overwhelmed this last week. School, work, pressure, failures, the list goes on and on. You know when you just have one of those weeks where everything just seems too much? That seemed to be my week. I was going through the motions and doing what I was supposed to do but feeling overwhelmed with everything which is not like me. On a positive note I was down 2.5 lbs this week and finished this session of Biggest Winners at 178 which is below my 50% goal. Now the key is to stay focused and on track this week while we are "off". Really, we are never on a vacation from our health but this is really the closest you can get. I also need to try to prioritize better this week and not let myself get overwhelmed. This is going to mean I need to be organized today, finish my homework, write out my schedule for the week and JUST DO IT!

I started my hot yoga Groupon this last week and actually started to enjoy it. I've done hot yoga before, and really didn't like it at all, but when the Groupon is $30 and I was going with a friend I figured i'd give it another shot. I went with my niece Madison on Tuesday night, she was just extremely flexible as i'm struggling to hold my leg up but you know she's a teenager and well i'm not :). Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to be down 1.5 lbs the next morning and to be able to maintain that. Nicki joined me on Thursday night for another class. I think the difference between this time and the last time is that well apart from the obvious that I am much smaller, I could actually feel a difference. I had kind of pulled or strained my hamstring a few days before because it was so tight from all the running. After doing just one class I could feel it was much loser and didn't hurt as much. Though I still can't say that i'm addicted and love it, but I can say that I can see a benefit from it and will actually keep doing it for the rest of the Groupon. This week since there is no Biggest Winners I will probably try to go a few more times.

I will also need to do a couple of runs this week in preparation for the 1/2 marathon but I am done with the super long distances now and can just do smaller distances. I do feel ready though and excited to run it. My goal is 2:20 and I think I can totally do that.

Now it's time to get organized and on track for the week: prep food, do homework, do laundry, clean house, organize email/blog. I know I will feel less overwhelmed once that is all done and I can relax for the rest of the day.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer Bucket List: Grouse Grind

With summer drawing to a close I feel like it was here and gone so fast. Really the weather didn't start to get nice until August this year so that has alot to do with it feeling so short. I have to say though that this has been the most amazing summer, not only because I completed 9 out of 11 items of my summertime bucket list but mostly because it is the first summer EVER that I was actually excited about it being summer. Every other year I have actually dreaded summer, it meant wearing less clothes which meant showing my body and showing everything I disliked about myself. Summer used to mean feeling embarrassed to walk down the street and wishing I was able to wear the cute clothes that all my friends were wearing. Not this year!! This year I was actually excited, this year I knew I was going to fit into those cute clothes and enjoy all those activities I wanted to do which was a huge part of why I created my bucket list. For those of you who need a refresher, my bucket list involved the following items:

#1: Go to Wild Play and complete the Monkido course
#2: Go Ziplining again at Adrenaline
#3: Rent Kayaks
#4: Day trip to Vancouver to complete the Grouse Grind
#5: Day trip to Vancouver and go to Playland
#6: Go tubing up at Lake Cowichan
#7: Go hiking a few times: Mt. Work, Mt. Wells, Mt Finlayson, Mt. Doug or any other reachable places around the island
#8: Run around Thetis Lake and swim to the island as a cool off
#9: Ride my bike for some short day trips around Victoria
#10: After work BBQ`s & badminton/bocce at Willows Beach
#11: Do the indoor climbing at Crag X Climbing Gym

I successfully completed all those items except for #5 and #6. After my attempt at going on rides at the Saanich Fair I axed the idea of going back to Playland. The tubing, it just never came to fruition, but I have nothing to complain about. I really did so much this summer, it was like cramming in all the fun things I always wanted to do into 3 months. Yesterday was the last item of my bucket list that I checked off. Nicki and I headed to North Vancouver to conquore the Grouse Grind. For those of you who don't know what it is let's just say it's nickname is "Mother Nature's Stairmaster". It is a 2.9KM hike up an to an elevation of 3,700 feet involving 2,830 stairs. Here we are just about to start our hike...
The hike starts ok. Apart from the fact that it was pouring rain out, you think "bah we are strong, we can do this" as you have people running past you. As we pass the half way mark we're making good time and stop to take a photo.
Suprisingly we are still looking kind of all right at this point, wet, but all right. The second part of the hike get's harder as we get higher up in elevation. And as we get into the last 1/4 of the hike it gets increasingly wet and steep. I said it was like hiking up a shower. Literally I could feel the sweat pooring from my forehead but by the time I got to the top I was just drenched in water that all the sweat was gone. Here we are at the top, I just love Nicki's picture so much it captured exactly how we both felt at that moment.
We were both freezing cold and exhausted but made our way inside to grab a hot latte and try to get some feeling back in our hands. Luckily we didn't have to walk down the mountain, we took the gondola down. We were two drenched rats inside the gondola with the nice dry people who took the gondola up to the top. Once we got to the bottom and to the car the rain had STOPPED!! Well the only good thing about that is that we were able to get dry and changed since we had just had a shower :). We headed off to Richmond and checked out Ikea. I bought nothing but Nicki found some cute pillows for Gavin's room. We ate lunch at the River Rock Casino and were planning on getting a massage but were too tired, yes too tired for a massage. We were both just DONE and needing to get back to Victoria. It made for a lovely day, but long. A long day, and a long list of accomplishments/challenges this summer...maybe this means I need a fall bucket list?? hmmm..

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How do you define being healthy?

It was a busy, long week this week. I started my class at Camosun on Wednesday. I was by far one of the oldest people in that class, it was quite strange. I got there early and picked a seat and just watched high school play out again, but this time it was quite funny since I didn't really care about what anyone thought this time. I think most of the people in the class had been in high school together and just graduated. I'm looking forward to getting into the class and getting into a routine which will happen this week. But sitting in that class at having high school flash backs got me thinking about everything I've done over the last three years. I know I am proud of myself, but then I still have a hard time reconciling my outer appearance with my inner appearance. What I mean by this is, I see pictures of myself and think "wow i'm so small now" but I see myself in the mirror and I think "you still have a long way to go". So how do I be okay who I am now and reconcile this in my head? The bigger question is how do I define being healthy?

On Thursday I went to the doctor to get my test results from my latest blood work and asthma test. He confirmed for me that yes I do have asthma, but there is nothing that can be done about it I just have to manage exactly how I have been. He told me I have awesome cholesterol levels at 1.8, with ideal being 3. He confirmed for me that I do not have the hereditary blood clotting disorder that I was concerned about which could have been giving us issues conceiving. He has now given us the referral to the fertility doctor but also reassured me that everything is normal. I felt good going out of there and feeling like everything was taken care of which allows me to just focus back in on training and losing the last of my weight.

So back to the question, how do I define being healthy when I still feel like my body isn't where I want it to be?

#1: I recognize that I have amazing cardio endurance, I can run for 18KM, I will run a 1/2 marathon, I can do double classes.
#2: I make healthy choices and recognize why it is important to do so
#3: I can recover fast, even when i'm working through asthma
#4: I would rather be outside, being active, then being inside all day

All these things I can do are my definition of being healthy, regardless of how I feel about where I am at on the scale, I know the bottom line is that I am healthy. So ask yourself, how do you define healthy? Regardless of if you are at the beginning or end of your journey the fact that you are on a journey defines the fact that you are choosing to be healthy and that is something to be proud of.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just Keeping Busy

I'm sitting here with thoughts of donuts and chips and food swirling in my head. The internal battle of food versus strength is currently happening inside my head which is why i'm writing because i'm doing anything I can possibly do right now to remind myself that I don't want to walk down those stairs and eat a large blizzard or consume the large bag of chips that is sitting in my cupboard.

Unfortunately I didn't measure up to par to get the promotion I had applied for, but I can deal with that and move on because I have come to realize that is the nature of working in the type of job I work in. The problem was coupled with the news that I had failed on the work front I had again failed on the home front. You know same old story that happens every month and same old disappointment. Today was extra hard though because I had just been to see Stephanie's beautiful baby girl yesterday and left that hospital room so proud and happy for her but at the same time so sad for myself. I reminded myself that when it is the right time it will happen, but that talk gets old really fast.

So as I was coming home from work all I wanted to do was sit on the couch and wallow in my sorrow. Instead I told myself how good I will feel if I just exercise, the cramps in my stomach and my emotional cramps will subside if I just work it out. My dear Tonia took me on a little adventure run around Mt. Doug and I knew after about five minutes in that everything was going to be okay. Like I said before, I have never been disappointed in a workout, I just have to start and get myself there.
I know I must remain positive and be grateful for what I have, my health, a home, a wonderful husband and amazing friends. So I will keep myself busy and go to bed early to avoid the chips and ice cream that are calling my name. I will stare at this picture of the old me and remind myself that I never want to be that way again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodbye Long Weekends

Oh long weekends how I love you. And now it's my last :( well for awhile. I will no longer be on 4 day work weeks, instead i'll be back to 5 days with two of those days being short days. I know it's all worth it, but it's kind of sad because I really loved my long weekends. Starting Wednesday I will officially be a student again, WEIRD!! I'm starting back at Camosun taking accounting two mornings a week so I will go into work late those two days. No more lunch time workouts for me, but I can now fit in some morning ones at least. My schedule will come, i'll figure it out over the next couple of weeks as I see how the school thing plays out.

But let me tell you about how this weekend went. Friday was my glorious rest day, oh how it was needed after the 18KM run. Saturday John and I went to outdoor bootcamp at Beaver Lake for fitness tests. I could defiantly tell my legs/hips/body were not healed from the 18KM because I ran my fastest 1K in 5:45 and I felt like I was going to die after that. Really, I know I could have done better if my legs were fresh. After bootcamp we went with Nicki and her boys to the Saanich Fair. Let me tell you I am no longer 15!! or even 19!! The berries did me in. I don't think I've ever actually felt like I was going to be nauseous and could not contain it. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on other things for what felt like the longest 2 minutes of my life. And after that I was pretty much done for the day. Heat + Berry Ride = Not a happy Bri!! Sunday was Biggest Winners in the morning with not such a good weigh in, I was up 0.5 lbs, but really I don't care at this point because I know its a side effect of all the running. You would think that running would help you lose weigh, well not when you are running for 2 hours and putting that much stress on your body. My body is retaining fluid like crazy. Sunday afternoon we headed out to Beaver Lake and had a nice relaxing afternoon. Today I had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful Keira Elizabeth Pringle - congratulations Stephanie & Jordan so happy for your new addition.

Following my squishy baby time, and containing my emotions, I headed out to Thetis Lake with Kristine & Gina for a lovely swim to the island and back. Let me tell you, that was the freaking hardest thing I've done in a long time. I swear it was easier the last time I did it, and I was 60 lbs heavier - fat floats apparently. That 40 minute swim was a HARD workout, I was even having an asthma attack but made it. Overall it was a lovely, gorgeous weekend but back to work tomorrow and back to a full time work week for the next three months.