Friday, July 27, 2012


In yesterday's self discovery workshop we talked about the Shadow Effect. It is a book written by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson. Taking a small reading from the book we had some good conversation on how the "shadow" has shown up in our lives. The shadow is essentially your inner self, that part that you have hidden, maybe it's secrets or lies, those things that haunt you that would kill you if anyone knew, or it could be guilt and shame. The book describes it in much more detail, and i'm interested to read the entire thing.

Step one of finding your way out of your shadow is to stop projecting. This is about putting your own issues/weakness onto other people. The whole idea of what you see in others could be found in yourself (though often we don't want to admit that). In the book it gives a list of different forms that projection can take and what that projection can hide. For me I identified with Superiority and Defensiveness. It's funny because I don't identify with the definition of superiority, but I bang on identify with the attitudes and feelings that come along with it. Here is an excerpt directly from the book.

Superiority: "I know that I'm better than you. You should see this and acknowledge it."
The "shadow's" unconscious feeling is: "Superiority disguises the feeling that you are a failure or that others would reject you if they knew who you really are."

Defensiveness: "You're attacking me, so i'm not listening to you"
The "shadow's" unconscious feeling is: disguises the feeling that you are unworthy and weak. Unless you defend yourself from others, you will start attacking yourself."

I definitely don't go around thinking i'm better than anyone, and hope that is not what is seen (though new attitude remember, don't care what others think). Where I identify is kind of an overlap between the two. For example, if I come up with an idea or suggestion (work or personal) and the other person doesn't see my perspective or "way of doing things" I get defensive. The internal dialog goes something like this: why don't they like my idea? what's wrong with me? why did they ask for my opinion and then not take it? don't you know i've done this before why aren't you listening? i'd better not open myself up again because they will likely shoot me down.

Like I said, I identify more with the feelings associated with the forms of projection. I have a deep seeded feeling that I am a failure, I've lost 190 lbs and i'm a failure, yup - that's how I feel deep down, because I allowed myself to get to 360 lbs that's a failure right? This is all stuff i'm working through, and working on improving, and absolutely can say that I know I am in a way better head space at this moment than I have been in my entire weight loss journey. I'm starting to become proud of myself for the little things. I feel incredibly blessed to have such amazing, supportive people in my life. And i'm learning that it's okay to show those failures, because it shows that i'm human.

Next step? Find my way out of the shadow, stop allowing my beliefs of myself prevent me from being open. Again, another test of life, and we will see if this one works. Last week's test, "ask for help" and I have raised about half of the money it will cost for the course, I'd say A! Because this test was not about actually getting the money, it was about going through the process of asking for the help from those around me, and being okay with them seeing my struggle.

Look at me - i'm growing up! :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just One Bite

"Just have one doughnut, it won't kill you"
"You don't need to lose more weight, aren't you skinny enough?"
"Come on live a little"

These are only a few of the statements I have heard throughout this weight loss journey. The saboteurs! Those people in our lives, weather intending or not, that try and stall our efforts. Just when you get into a rhythm and start to make progress there are those individuals that slip in the comments here and there. What can we do about it? Nothing really, we can't control how someone else reacts to our success, but what we can control is our reaction to their statements.

For me first I must recognize why they are making these statements and trying to sabotage me. Really, I know they care, but what I have come to realize is that the people who are saying these things are either people who are stick skinny and never had a weight issue, or also struggle and are scared to see you succeed where they are not. Jealousy plays a huge role, and trust me I have faced that a lot in my journey. My reaction now is to just invite them along for the ride. Instead of giving into the temptation I say no thanks and invite them to bootcamp, which they then graciously decline :). I can't force anyone to make changes they don't want to make, just like they can't force me to give into temptations and give up what i've worked so hard for. It's all a choice, bottom line, it's even a choice if I decide to let their sabotaging efforts affect me.

So after recognizing WHY people try and sabotage me, I then developed further strategy for responding to it. In my current workplace I have been there almost two years, I've been pretty much the same size the entire time I've been there so my current coworkers did not see my entire weight loss transformation. In order to ensure I was on track I had to set expectations with my coworkers when it came time for pot lucks, I simply told them that I had worked really hard to become healthy and that i'm not willing to sacrifice that, I brush off the jokes. They are now very respectful of my choices, and I am often complemented on my control. With my friends, most have seen me go through this transformation and how much work I put into it, when going to parties or BBQs I try to bring something healthy as a dish to ensure I have good options. I bring my bottle of water, and keep myself busy with catching up on their lives instead of catching up on my lack of chips in my diet.

Here are my "Top Five Tips For Dealing With Sabotage"
1. Recognize why the other person is trying to sabotage you
2. Plan ahead when going into social situations
3. Set expectations with your coworkers/family on what is ok and what isn't
4. Vocalize your goals and don't be afraid to stand up for yourself
5. Create your environment to be conducive to your healthy lifestyle (ie. don't keep chips in your house for your friends when they come over)

Question: What do you do to deal with external sabotage?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to Eat Out and Eat Clean

Oh Sunday, I love Sunday's, I know for most that means work the next day, but not for me. I'm on holidays for a week - freedom! Had another fabulous and focused week, still some emotional struggles, but I was on track and lost 0.6 lbs. Not ONLY 0.6 lbs, I lost 0.6 lbs, there's no ONLY in weight loss. But another reason I love Sundays is the after workout breakfast. Seriously, breakfast is sometimes 95% of the reason I get out of bed to come work out on a Sunday morning, sometimes its not, but it can be a pretty motivating reason to get up when all I want to do is sleep in.

With some great summer weather that already happened and hopefully more to come a big theme that was occurring for many people this week was balancing the eating out with trying to lose weight. Food is a very social thing in our culture, going out for a drink after work, or for dinner, it's ingrained in our culture and sometimes there's just no way around it. I've significantly cut back on the amount I eat out, mostly for financial reasons, but also for health reasons. Sunday mornings is one of my allowed meals out. At breakfast this morning we were brainstorming on tips to eat out and still stick to the plan and some great places that have healthy options.

Here is what we came up with...

Substitutions you can ask for in "most" restaurants:
-dressing on the side
-a vinegar based dressing instead of cream based
-meat grilled instead of fried
-no croutons
-no cheese
-salad instead of fries
-bun-less burgers or whole wheat buns (sometimes)
-dry toast
-want eggs benny? order it on one piece of dry whole wheat toast, hollandaise on the side and fruit instead of the potatoes
-most breakfast restaurants will make you a custom eggs & toast or eggs & fruit etc. if you ask
-edamame beans are a great appy in most restaurants, but come with lots of salt, you can ask them to simply steam the edamame and leave the seasoning off.
-Starbucks protein shakes, you can ask for non fat milk and 1/2 the banana instead of whole banana
-non fat lattes

Other Tips
-ask for half your meal to be packed up before you get it at the table, some portions tend to be very large, or split the entree
-don't be afraid to ask how things are cooked or if substitutions can be made that are not listed on the menu, worse they can say is no
-if nothing on the menu looks like a good choice, often you can ask for a simple green salad with grilled chicken
-check out the menu online before going to the restaurant so you know ahead of time

Restaurant Recommendations
-ReBar, located in Bastion Square, is our go to restaurant every Sunday (yes creatures of habit). The servers at this restaurant probably just think "oh wow the problem table again" LOL, but you know what seriously we always get awesome service and the servers actually remember ALL our custom orders without even writing it down, how can we not come back week after week. One of my favorites to order is just side dishes, this morning I had 3 poached eggs, pinto beans, grilled tomatoes and a side of fruit. With my coffee and tip that only came to $16.
-Oak Bay Bistro. BDHQ over winner John Waller is the executive chef and I have been a few times, each time fabulous food. They make delicious breakfast frittata and of coarse accommodating to your substitutions. They have also added a protein shake to their menu which is filled with tons of delicious ingredients.
-Boston Pizza. So obviously pizza is not top on the clean eating list, but if you are headed out with a group they do have some good choices. I like ordering an individual pizza on thin whole wheat crust, normally chicken & veggies, I will ask for no cheese and extra vegetables, then when the pizza comes I sprinkle some Parmesan on it. I will order a side salad and eat half of the pizza and the salad. In order to ensure I only eat 1/2 the pizza I ask for a to go box right away so I set it aside.
-The Noodle Box. They offer great options to customize your meal, but remember there is a large amount of sodium in most of their boxes. I will normally order spicy peanut chicken box, no carb, split box. This makes my meal into two meals, you can also ask for brown rice instead of the noodles but I enjoy the no carb. The nutritional info on the website shows that if you were to order it with rice, 1/2 the box would be 464 calories and 1060mg of sodium, you can also limit this by asking for 1/2 the amount of sauce, or just don't eat all the sauce.
-Brown's Social House. The have a healthy social bowl which I have ordered every time, it comes with chicken (or fish), braised cabbage and a side salad if you order it low carb or you can have it with the almond rice. They also have a cowboy and cowgirl salad which are really good.
-Nandos Chicken. You can eat the chicken without the skin, they have side salads and also premium salads. I normally order spring Mix salad with chicken which comes with vinaigrette dressing, this comes to only $12.
-Though I have not eaten there, another recommendation was for Ferris Upstairs or the Clay Pigeon, they will also accommodate your customization and have good choices according to "the BW breakfast crew".

Bottom line is you can make clean eating work in your lifestyle, you don't have to deprive yourself or never go out to eat ever again, it's about educating yourself on what customization can happen and choosing wisely. It is not realistic to never eat out, but you can make good choices and "minimize the damage".

What is your favorite place to eat out and what substitutions do you make?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creating New First Impressions

In this journey of self discovery I have been faced with multiple challenges, emotions, frustrations, and one thing was consistent I challenged myself. I challenged myself every day, except in one area of my life, except in letting people see the real true inner me, that is still a struggle and I don't show the struggle.

I feel so honored right now to have found an amazing friend and some new member in my support network. A friend who seriously challenges me every time I see her. Challenges me to be a better me, I feel more tired after talking to her than I do after a workout sometimes. A friend who leaves me with homework - who does that? ;). Today's homework is to "ask for help", which is actually scary because then that means i'm showing people my struggle and then i'm failing, so homework = ask for help to raise $600 (or find accommodation) to get me to Vancouver for the end of August for a self-discovery/self-improvement workshop so that I can do the course and go to Mexico (maybe). This will take some contemplation on my part to make some phone calls and actually ask for help, but I will do it because I promised her and well because i'm telling all of you.

Apart from being left with homework tonight was another amazing conversation with some new friends. Among a variety of topics there was one key element to the conversation that really stuck with me. You are the only one who expects you to be the person you were ten minutes ago. Just let that sink true is that statement, really we are the ones that create the belief of who we are supposed to be. The expectation that we have to have a 9-5 job and bring in a regular pay cheque every 2 weeks, we are responsible, loyal and the list goes on. Is who we believe we are supposed to be, actually who we want to be? Are we happy in that 9-5 job or are we "married" to that job because of our commitments? If you honestly step back and look at your life, you are the one that puts those expectations out there, yes there is alot of fear attached to those expectations and that's why we have them. If we don't have that 9-5 job and we took a risk of being self employed would we survive? would we lose our house? could we do all the things we wanted to do? That fear is crippling for most people so we get stuck in a routine, and fail to actually live our lives with risks that create reward.

So honestly stepping back and looking, I have played it safe emotionally. I stay in my bubble and I know it. I haven't pushed the envelope because i'm scared to leave the 9-5, im terrified of not being able to pay my bills because of that expectation I have created of myself that I have to be financially stable at all times. This is my present reality

The good thing is that every single day we have the opportunity to reinvent and recreate ourselves. Every day we wake up with a clean slate and we write on that slate throughout the day as we create. What if we approached our day, each day, with a clean slate? What if tomorrow you woke up and looked in the mirror and said "I am beautiful, I am strong, I am alive" instead of "im fat, my butt is too big, im not happy" and what if you actually believed it? What if you carried this trend into your relationships? Thinking of it this way really made me reflect, I mean let me be honest here - those that know me personally know that being social and outgoing is extremely difficult and hard for me - the fear is completely paralyzing sometimes. But what if I went into a new social situation where I knew no one and they didn't know me? I would have an opportunity to create a whole new first impression. So each and every day my new mission is to create new first impressions. That means wiping the slate clean of any pre-conceived notions of people, not approaching conversations with prior judgment, and just giving a fresh start. What I put out to the world I will receive back, so by choosing not to make pre-judgments of people or myself I am putting that openness out to the world, it will come back in the form of new possibilities. This is an experiment in life, but let's see what happens, all I can do is try and without trying I could never know if it could make the change I need.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Maintain Patience, Be Consistent

Another successful weigh in and week for many people, down another 3.8 lbs and inching closer back to my pre-surgery weight. But I have to say I feel absolutely more in control of my food than I have in a long time. Perhaps it's all the nice weather making me want to eat more salads? I'll go with that. Either way, I still have a ways to go, but that's ok.

This week, for me, has been one of the most challenging. I think I haven't gone one day without bursting into tears/feeling like it, in the last week. I will just say that alot of the "hard work" of weight loss has happened for me this week, along with some family stress. Alot that I just can't even write about right now, or go into, because it's still raw and fresh, but what I will say is that i'm pretty proud of myself for overcoming the continual emotional eating urge. I was proud to step on the scale this morning, knowing that I had been consistent all week.

We went to the Rock the Shores concert on Friday, gorgeous day, apart from the random thunderstorm that Victoria never gets. But the venue was awesome, and what I LOVED was that they allowed you to bring your own food in. We had a BBQ before we went, and ate chicken and salad, and then we had packed chopped veggies, hummus, oranges, water and nuts which sustained us for the rest of the night. This meant no hour long lines to get food, we just laid on the grass and enjoyed the concert, well until they stopped it for the thunder & lightning. I know that if I had bought food there, it would not have been a pretty sight on the scale this morning.

My intention for this week? Continue to maintain my patience with myself, allow my body healing time, and do my chiro/physio exercises a minimum of two times per day. With time and consistency I will get there. What is your intention for this week? How will you be successful?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week One Update

Yesterday was the first weigh in of the summer session, some fantastic numbers. I was personally pleased to lose 4 lbs this last week, getting back closer to my pre-surgery weight. I know I was incredibly focused this last week, my food was 100%, I worked out every day and drank all my water. All I can feel is confidence when I step on the scale, regardless if the number shows it or not. That is one of the biggest lessons of weight loss, the number cannot define you, if you put in the effort and do the work the results will show.

After class we had a check in which involved writing our want list, an exercise we have done many times before but an important one. It's a great reflection tool to look back on these lists and see what we've accomplished. We also talked about the nutritional guidelines, with so many new people starting the program this session it is an important topic to cover. The food aspect is absolutely 80% of weight loss, and learning how to incorporate it into your life is difficult - especially for those that have never been taught anything about nutrition.

Before starting Biggest Winners (BW) I had done many "diets": low carb, isagenix, low calorie, low fat, cleanses. When starting BWs I realized that I would never be on a diet again, I would be learning a lifestyle and now two years later I can honestly say it is a lifestyle. I can honestly say I will eat this way for the rest of my life. I know how powerful my body feels when I feed it healthy foods. I know how in control I feel when I am eating clean, working out and drinking all my water. Yes you can lose weight by going low carb or super high protein or cleansing or following any of those other "fad diets" but can you sustain it? Nicki has a saying "if you can't maintain the weight by eating that way you have no business losing the weight that way" and this is absolutely true.

I know for some, learning this new lifestyle can be overwhelming, especially when also starting a new workout regime. It's alot of changes all at once. But the important thing is sticking to it, figuring out what works for your life and your family, and incorporating the nutritional guidelines. I highly recommend the Tosca Reno book "The Eat Clean Diet Recharged" or "Just the Rules", both lay out the guidelines in a super simple fashion. She also has written books geared towards family, women and men.

This summer session is all about "getting back to basics", following the guidelines of the program and the Eat Clean Diet and having lots of fun in the mean time. We had a challenge to drink all our water 7 days in a row, and almost everyone completed this, the winner (Chris) took home some great prizes, one which included the Tosca Reno book "Just the Rules".

This week's challenge is to have our two complex carb servings every day, and of coarse still maintain the 3L of water every day. Complex carbs can be found in alot of things, and affect weight loss if you eat too many of them. Complex carbs are things like bread, rice, grains, beans, hummus. Your serving size should be no bigger than the size of YOUR fist. My complex carbs are normally pancakes for one meal and hummus and veggies in another. I think this challenge will be far more difficult for people than they think, but its a challenge that makes you be very conscious of your food intake.

Looking forward to another committed week food wise and some more fantastic results on the scale next week.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

BW Runs and Runs and Runs

This morning was day one of our Biggest Winner "Run Club" organized by BW Ambassador Nicki Reich. Fantastic turn out - 10 people. We started off slow with 2 minutes walking 2 minutes running at a slow pace, getting everyone used to it. So many committed people showing up for day one, it was great to see. Most are planning on running/walking the half marathon in October. Such an amazing goal, and something I know will make those who complete it incredibly proud. I know my half last October is one of the top things I am proud of myself for. It's something that anyone who trains and dedicates themselves to doing should be proud of. It requires hours of training, time away from your family, and commitment to bettering your fitness level. Bottom line it requires dedication, so when you run those 21.1 KM in October it is an incredible feeling of accomplishment, and super emotional when it is your first one.

For me today was hard, every time I go out to run I am scared, I don't trust my body anymore. I did it though, felt good during, and after, but of coarse not later on. Ice and advil should help and I am crossing my fingers that when I wake up in the morning I can walk. I tried to get out and enjoy this beautiful day - went down to the inner harbour to check out the buskers, about a 1.5K walk, was fine going down, but then the pain set in, took me almost an hour to get home because of how much I had to stop. I have to be honest, I walked very slowly past like a hundred temptations on the way home and thinking of how much I wanted to stop and get an ice cream or cookie or something because of how frustrated I was feeling. But then I reminded myself that I have goals, goals that do not involve running, and I want to reach those so no cookies / ice cream for me, instead I had an iced coffee = no calories. And also you know I didn't wanna miss out on my point for having a perfect day, can't let Nicki win that easily. Home I got, eventually, with the ice on my knee and sitting on the couch with my water and laptop, let's just hope I can walk tomorrow. It might be time to start to plan the funeral for my running career, but i'm not quite ready to give up yet.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Scary Thing - Em's Reflection

In one of the recent 21 day challenges I challenged people to do just one thing that scared them. Going on the premise of doing one thing every day that scares you, I thought that may be a bit intense for some people, so the challenge was to just pick one thing. If you missed the post you can see it here.

My good friend Emily who has been an amazing support in this program has embraced the Biggest Winners program head on. She shows up and works hard and the results show. Just look at these before and after pics.

And of coarse because of her nature of going full force, she picked something that I think is pretty scary. When I asked her to send me a quick paragraph on what her scary thing was to include in the blog post on it she sent me an entire page of what I can only explain as honesty. To top it all off she is willing to put herself out there and share it with everyone who reads this blog.

So here it is, Emily's Reflection on her "scary thing"

How do we decide what scares us? In our most recent 21-day challenge we had to ‘do something that scares you’. For me the reality is that everything about the biggest winner (BW) program terrifies me. This program is so much more than just working out. Together with some truly inspiring and beautiful people over this last 9 months I have come face to face with some pretty intense emotions and memories. In this program you quickly discover that if you want to truly embrace everything that BW is then there is NO hiding from yourself. It is about getting to the root of why you are the way you are so that you can then figure out how to make a true difference and become more of the person you want to be.

For me, how I got here is rooted a lot in with a sickeningly destructive past ‘relationship’ that resulted in some major lasting scars and an overwhelming need to hide from the world at all costs. To do this I buried myself in food, sleep, and school for a long time. BW and this year of transformation has changed all of that. With muscular strength and weight loss I have gained confidence, great friendships, and finally (after way too long), the desire to embrace all things that life has to offer. But desire does not come without fear, at least not for me. Anything I truly care about obtaining I am also truly terrified of losing. I fight with a desperate need to protect myself from going back to a situation like I got myself in when I was young and stupid - where it all began for me. For this reason putting myself out there in the dating world again (especially a blind date!) was a terrifying thought. So when Nicki first brought up the idea of setting me up on a blind date my first thought was “good god no! I can’t do that!”. I instantly felt so panicked and flustered that I couldn’t even think of the right questions to ask or what to say.

When first thinking about the ‘something that scares you’ I was hoping to make my ‘thing’ challenging myself and following through on completing a Spartan Sprint obstacle race. When Bri pointed out that I had already committed to this challenge before the start of the 21 day period I admit I inwardly pouted a bit. Well what else? At Nicki’s low pressure nudging I had been emailing her friend a bit, but was still thinking that I would chicken out and not end up meeting up with him. It happened to be the day that I was really thinking/deciding what to do for my scary thing that he emailed asking if I wanted to meet up. Crap, hard to say no now, right? I needed something for my challenge. Ok, deep breath and just say yes. Book it sooner rather than later so you don’t have time to overthink it and cancel… Keep it simple and low pressure. So I did, and I tell you I was so relieved to actually have fun on that date! Thanks to that first scary step, I realize now that I am finally getting to a point where I can choose to believe that there ARE plenty of good guys in this world, and that I may actually deserve to be with one of them.

One date has luckily turned into a few, and I am so incredibly happy that I decided to put myself out there and do this. No matter what happens, I am challenging myself, learning and growing. I am also rediscovering who I am and where I stand. It is still scary every day, and I do worry that I could lose myself again, but I am finally actually living life – not hiding from it. I will make mistakes and I will fall, but I know that I will be able to pick myself up again, learn and move on. My challenge now is in not repeating old patterns of insecurity, which is a whole new other level of scary. But when the fear is overwhelming and I am getting too much into my own head I try to just stop and look at how far I have come, and how incredibly lucky I am to be here. I hope that people will get from this the desire to overcome your fear, get out there and challenge yourself to do something that scares you. No matter what the outcome, you will be proud of yourself for trying. Some of the greatest things in life are also the scariest, and if you let fear rule you could be missing out on so much that is wonderful. Have fun ☺

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Fresh Start

Last week was the finish of another session of Biggest Winners. We had some fabulous results with Michelle coming out (by very close margin) as winner of the last session.

She looks fantastic!! Michelle lost 34.6 pounds and 32 inches in just 12 weeks - pure motivation right there - and so proud of your commitment to this program Michelle. No excuses, no gimmicks, she worked the program and it payed off big time. Honorable mention goes to Jaylene who lost 34 lbs and also looks fabulous. Rhonda also lost 20 inches off her body. All three of these women exude so much happiness and I can just see the progress both mentally and physically.

Success like this is the reason that I continue to do this. Though I have to admit (as you all know from my last few posts) that my motivation has been lacking with the lack of workout out and not being on track. I'm happy to report i'm not 194 lbs which is what I got up to right after surgery. My starting weight for this next session is 185 lbs, and my goal is 25 lbs which is 2 lbs a week. But to be honest, i'm not concerned about the number, my goal is really to find that feeling of control again, that feeling of power that comes with saying no to the bad food. So this session Nicki and I have challenged each other to an ambassador challenge - she has titled it Good vs. Evil. Who will prevail? Well my wager is on myself of coarse ;), but I think we will both come out winners in the end getting ourselves back on track and having fun in the interm.

I've made myself a vision board / tracking chart for this challenge and it is hanging in my living room right beside my TV (I can see it right now in fact). I'm a pretty motivated person when it comes to challenges, especially if i'm being called out publicly, so I think this is the perfect thing to keep me accountable this summer.

So you can't really see the chart, but there is a place for every single day for the next 12 weeks, and every day there is a check box for food / water / workout / plank. So for every day I get a check mark in every place I get a point (same for Nicki) and the person with the most points at the end wins - there will be some bonus points as well based on group challenges within the program. What do we win? well just bragging rights, and our "control" back of our own health really. So day one was yesterday, got all my check marks and am on track to get them all today as well. I also put my goals on the vision board for this session which are: 4 minute plank, 160lbs, run 5KM without pain, and wear a size 8.

With the plank, that ties into another challenge which Emily and I have just decided on. During fitness testing on Sunday I held a 3 minute plank, which I have done before, and she held a 3:05. We have challenged each other to get to a 4 minute plank by our next fitness test in 12 weeks. So in order for me to do that I am going to do a plank every single day for the next 12 weeks to build up the strength. Like I said i'm motivated by challenges, I don't like to lose, so I have some serious work ahead of me but i'm ready for it.

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change their future by merely changing their attitude.” -Oprah Winfrey