Sunday, February 27, 2011

The importance of a support system

The journey of weight loss is not just one that you go through by yourself, there are people who will join you for a portion of it, there are people who will be constants and there will people who will want nothing to do with your journey. I could not imagine doing what i'm doing if I didn't have the support of my family and friends. For the most part John will eat whatever I cook and does not buy unhealthy food, there are times when he does but I am strong enough to say no to those temptations. I don't know if i'd be strong enough when I first started if I didn't have the support of my spouse. So weather you are first starting on your journey or have been doing this for a long time having a support system is of a huge importance.

So what do you do when you feel like you have no support? What if your spouse isn't on board with eating healthy or doesn't believe that you can succeed? What if you are living on your own and have no one to look out for you? Here are my tips for success:

#1. Have a conversation with those closest to you about why you are doing this, why it's important to you and express that you would like their support.
#2. Find someone who is going through a similar journey, maybe that is through a local support group or an online community. There are so many people to reach out to and share your concerns.
#3. Journal your feelings, how does certain peoples reactions make you feel?
#4. Lead by example. Maybe your spouse isn't on board, but when they see how committed you are are see your progress they will hopefully come around. When your friends/co-workers see your progress the will want whatever magic pill you're on.
#5. Share your story. Tell anyone and everyone about your goals, about what you're doing, at least some of them will be interested.

The bottom line is you will find support where you least expect it, and that support will change over time. My support system started with an online community and now it has grown to the Biggest Winners, my family, my friends, my co-workers. Now I am a support system for other people and am so proud to be able to lead by example and show people how to change their lives. A few weeks ago I had coffee with a friend, Sandi, who was struggling with her weight and wanted to make changes like I had. I suggested to her that instead of feeling overwhelmed with the whole process of losing weight, break it down. Through discussion she broke it down to a 30 day period and challenged herself to eat healthy, continue to go to the gym, and cut out alcohol. I told her to vocalize her goals and post them on facebook so that she was forced to stay committed. She posted her 30 day challenge on facebook and I am so proud of her today! After 30 days she lost 15.2lbs and 13 inches - AWESOME!! Not everyone believed that she could do it, but she stuck with it and used her support system and was hugely successful. I am so proud of her, and it felt amazing to be able to help someone succeed like that.

"Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps." Helmut Schmidt

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My 10K X 2 Weekend

Well I have to admit I have felt slightly out of sorts this week. I went to Vancouver with John on Tuesday night and came home on Wednesday night so I missed both Tuesday and Wednesday of working out which is unusual for me. It's funny how you body becomes so accustomed to working out and you actually physically miss it. This week will be better though, i'm back on schedule and will make all my workouts.

I didn't feel like I got a good workout in until yesterday when we did the Elk/Beaver Lake 10K. I've walked the trails before, probably like 2 years ago, but have never been able to run them. It was an optional Saturday Biggest Winner session led by Tricia & Carol who run the BDHQ run clinics. Tricia ran with me the whole time, which was great because running with someone who is better than you makes you push yourself. And it keeps me busy and not focused on the running. I was so proud of myself, I ran the whole way around the lakes apart from stopping for about 1-2 minutes to help someone in a wheel chair who had got stuck in the mud. And I did it in record time 1:08.95 - way below my initial goal of 1:20. So my revised 10K goal is now 1:05, once I reach that then i'll revise it again, but I don't want to set a goal that is unachievable in the short term. I'd rather think what can I achieve in the next couple of months then go from there.

Today we also did another run in Biggest Winners, from the studio out to the breakwater, ran the breakwater almost two times and then back. I'd approximate that at about 10K as well, when I did it a couple weeks ago with Nicki we just did the breakwater once and it was 8.25K, this time I did the breakwater almost twice but also ran the inner harbour while we were waiting for people to catch up. I'm not sure on the time for today as we stopped in between to do some triceps, pushups and burpees, but during the time we were actually running I did not stop! I could NEVER have done this a few months ago, let alone at 360 lbs. These are the things I am focusing on because right now the scale is not liking me, it just is not letting me see that #1 right now for some reason. But I just keep focusing on the NON scale measurements, like the fact that in the last 8 weeks I've lost another 2 inches off my waist. The number will change eventually, I know that, I just have to stay focused.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

24 Things to Always Remember And One Thing to Never Forget

When I started my weight loss journey at the beginning of 2008 I was using a website called Spark People. I haven't used it in over a year but still get daily e-mails and still have a profile. The other day I received an e-mail from Spark People telling me that I was nominated as a "motivational member". That prompted me to go update my profile and take a look at everything that I loved about that website. In doing so I re-read some of my blog entries that I had posted on Spark People and found this poem I had posted back in 2008. It's a great reminder of what is really important in out lives, regardless if you are going through a weight loss journey or not.

24 Things to Always Remember And One Thing to Never Forget
Collin McCarty

Your presence is a present to the world.
You're unique and one of a kind.
Your life can be what you want it to be.
Take the days just one at a time.

Count your blessings, not your troubles.
You'll make it through whatever comes along.
Within you are so many answers.
Understand, have courage, be strong.

Don't put limits on yourself.
So many dreams are waiting to be realized.
Decisions are too important to leave to chance.
Reach for your peak, your goal, and your prize.

Nothing wastes more energy than worrying.
The longer one carries a problem, the heavier it gets.
Don't take things too seriously.
Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

Remember that a little love goes a long way.
Remember that a lot . . . goes forever.
Remember that friendship is a wise investment.
Life's treasures are people . . . together.

Realize that it's never too late.
Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
Have health and hope and happiness.
Take the time to wish upon a star.

And don't ever forget . . .
For even a day . . .
How very special you are....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Looking Forward - Vision Boarding

Today was the start of another health dedicated weekend. This morning Nicki and I ran for an hour. We went from the studio on lower Johnson to the breakwater, ran the breakwater and came back. That was 8.25 KM and it took us an hour of doing 10 minutes of running 1 minute walking. I was very proud of myself for running for that long and far - well worth it as the rain started just after we finished. We ran at a pace of 7:21 per KM which was pretty darn good.

This afternoon our workshop was Vision Boarding. Essentially you want to take your long term/short term goals and a vision of what you want your life to look like in 10 years and be creative.

Mine was a bit more short term, i'm looking at more over the next year. As you can see it is very health/wellness focused which I definitely intend the next 10 years of my life to look like but for right now this board is something I can look at every day and remind myself why I am doing this. From the picture it's hard to read the quotes but I included some of my favorite quotes on there so I can read them when i'm having a tough time. They are:

“Recipe for happiness: Live with enthusiasm, smile for no reason, love without conditions, act with purpose, listen with your heart, and laugh often.”

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

“It’s hard to beat a person that never gives up.”

“You will never find time for anything. You must make it.”

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There’s no such thing as life in-between.”

“Fear less, hope more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Hate less, love more; And all good things are yours.”

“There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

“Excellence is the result of caring more than others think wise, risking more than others think safe, dreaming more than others think practical, and expecting more than others think possible.”

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”

This Vision Board will be an ongoing project for sure. It's something I can add too anytime I come across a picture/quote that I like, but it can be in my bedroom so I can see it every day. For those of you who have never done this I highly suggest trying it, it is fun to be creative and a good use of those old magazines you got lying around.

Tomorrow is weigh in day and I definitely won't be in ONEderland yet, unless there is some miracle, but I am hoping to be that much closer. The last few weeks the numbers have been going down slow, but they are going down and that is the important thing. Here's to an epic Sunday Biggest Winner workout & weigh in followed by RE-BAR! YUM YUM YUM

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The road to success is not straight

The road to success is not straight.
There is a curve called Failure,
A loop called Confusion,
Speed bumps called Friends,
Red lights called Enemies,
Caution lights called Family,
You will have flats called Jobs,
But, if you have a spare called Determination,
An engine called Perseverance,
Insurance called Faith,
A driver called God,
You will make it to a place called Success

By no means am I a religious person, but I read this quote/poem and though it was just so relevant in my life. It is always good to remind ourselves that none of us are perfect, we will slip up but we pick ourselves back up and keep on going. Exactly what the first statement says "the road to success is not straight", it's not, there's no easy way to get there, theres no pill theres no magic wish, it's just a lot of blood, sweat and determination that will get us to our goals. There will be many obstacles along the way, but keep that determination and perseverance and success is sure to follow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

YoYo to MoJo - Behavior Modification

Thanks to Lori Horne who ran our workshop at BDHQ today. No matter where you are on your health journey a session like this is still useful. Lori lead us through a cliff notes version of her workshop that would normally be done over the course of four, two hour session. The basis of the workshop is how to faciliate a health related behavior change and bridge that gap between intention and behavior.

Above is the visual we used in the workshop to follow along. At the very top of the board you can see the 5 steps that the workshop goes through. We talked a lot about the first step which is self assessment, this is taking a look at what your current state is. There is hard data such as BMI and weight and then soft data which is your own perception. In Lori's full length workshops she would of had us do a visual of our self assessment by using images or magazine cut outs to make a collage to have accessible to you. My self assessment is: "I am 206 lbs, I am 5'7, I am 27 years old, I perceive myself to be strong, independent and capable".

We talked about the concept of personal agency which is you regulate your own behavior. Basically, you and only you are responsible for your behavior. You are responsible to ensure you make healthy choices and exercise. It's about taking responsibility for your actions. I think I have a strong personal agency and good control over my behavior surrounding food, but I still slip up now and again.

We went through an exercise where we rated our attitudes towards exercise, self-efficacy, perceived behavioral control, and social support and norms. You would what your level of belief was in the statement. So for example "Most people in my social network want me to exercise" I answered "Strongly Agree". What I learned from this exercise is that the social aspect of weight loss and health is HUGE. If I did not have the Biggest Winners group to support me, push me, and keep me accountable I don't think I would be so successful. I don't know many people in my social network that work out a lot. I also don't know many people who have gone through a huge body transformation or who could understand where I am coming from when I get frustrated. You need the social/emotional support just as much as the physical exercise. If everyone in your life thinks that you working out is a waste of time and skipping those donuts at work is silly, then it will be extremely difficult for you to be successful. You must surround yourself with people who support your goals.

We talked about the interchangeable stages that we go through when starting/continuing on a health journey. You can change between adoption, adherence and maintenance from day to day. I feel like right now I am at maintenance. Health is a habit to me, I enjoy working out, I enjoy eating healthy food. But sometimes I slip back to adherence, I still go through the motions and I still work out but it doesn't feel like a habit, i'm forcing myself to get to the gym. Just being aware that it's ok to change between these stages is important, I don't have to be 100% all the time, but I just have to keep going.

Lori said something that was so meaningful to me, she said "physical energy is the only renewable resource you have". This is soooo true. Physical energy can be renewed over and over again, but it is fueled by your thoughts and feelings. Those thoughts and feelings can prevent you from creating that physical energy. It's such a simple concept, but sometimes so difficult to implement. Optimal health = increased physical exercise + decreased sedentary behavior + healthy eating

We finished the workshop by breaking into two groups and doing a visual exercise where we identified our goals and identified the "what/when/where/how/who" of achieving those goals. Since I love being crafty it was a great exercise. Below is the picture of what our group (Sheri, Ellen and myself) came up with...

We identified the things that we wanted to stop doing, what we were going to start doing and what we were going to keep doing. We definitely didn't have enough time, we could have added a lot more. But you can get the jist from this. The other group (Aidan, Heather, Michelle and Erna) created one as well...

Overall it was an excellent session and can definitely see the benefit of doing more of this. Especially in a group setting where you can hear each others point of views. if you want more information on Lori's coaching she has her own coaching business called "YoYo to MoJo Health Coaching" and she can be reached via e-mail at or phone 250-580-1747

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Writing your I CAN list

As far as i'm concerned the word CAN'T does not exist. I can't lose weight, I can't run a marathon, I can't eat healthy. Well I know that those statements are not true, I know some amazing people who have accomplished some amazing things all by being positive and believing that they CAN do it. Even though I am at a stall on my weight loss right now that doesn't mean that I will give up. I know I can do it, I know I will get there. So here's a little exercise...try writing an I CAN list. This will allow you to reflect on all the amazing things you can do. Here's just a few of mine:

I CAN run for 10 minutes without stopping
I CAN work out 6 days a week and still feel like I have energy left over
I CAN get up at 5:30AM and not die
I CAN do push-ups from my toes
I CAN do 2 tricep push-ups on the tire
I CAN eat delicious, healthy food and avoid the donuts at work
I CAN shop in a regular clothing store
I CAN wear boots
I CAN wear a sexy dress :)

Now try making your own list, what can you do?

"When life gives you 100 reason to CRY, show life that you have 1000 reason to SMILE. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear."-Emmanuel Tiwo