Monday, September 9, 2013

Oh my aching. . .

This getting healthy thing is a pain in the ass.  Don't get me wrong, I want to do this, and I definitely need to do this, but I had kinda forgotten that it is actually a lot of work! It requires planning and forethought, not exactly my superpowers ( those tend to be more in the areas of BS detecting and identifying the sketch factor in the boyfriends of the lovely women I work with.  But I digress. . .)

Case in point, I now have to actually THINK about what food I put in my mouth  - no more random snacks and mindless ( and carefree!) eating.  I also have to find the appropriate balance between being mindful and being a crazy psycho woman who is addicted to the food tracker on my crapberry.  There IS a happy medium, I am sure of it.  Now to find it. . .

I also am back to packing my lunch, rather than using the "I don't have a lunch" excuse to eat those tasty treats of the devil known as french fries.  This also means I have to actually THINK (there's that word again!) about what I want for lunch and prepare it in advance!  No more excuses.  Sigh.

And then there is the little thing called exercise - in my cutesy moments I call it "Fitting in Fitness", which pretty much makes me want to throw up.  I do need to figure out how to fit it in - so easy to give it a pass at the end of the day and mornings are pretty challenging.  I am currently walking at lunch.  Grudgingly, very grudgingly.  ( I am still pouting that I cannot run, but that is a story for another post. . you are welcome!)

I am slowly improving - not perfect by any stretch, but I am getting back in the rhythm of living a healthier lifestyle.  Yes, it is indeed a pain in my rather large butt, however, it is always better to be sore from doing something, instead of nothing!  At least that is my story, and I am sticking to it!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy New Year. . .

Fall is a time for new beginnings.  The changing leaves, the start of school, the return to routine after a carefree summer - all of these signal a time of renewal for me, even more so that the actual new year, or even the newness of spring.  I am need of a fresh start, and now is as good a time as any, and perhaps the perfect time.

I admit it, I have been struggling.  Trying to stay positive, pretending not to notice how tight my clothes have become, how the effects of prednisone are revealing themselves in my ever expanding body, feeling defeated, and sore and tired.  SO very tired.  I hate feeling this way.  I don't like pasting on a smile and pretending that things will all be well, when deep inside I feel as though they will never again be truly "well".  I hate being that miserable, sorry for herself fat chick that doesn't exercise and eats to hide her feelings.  Been there, done that.  It's time for a change.  A fresh start.  Refocus.

So, I am back blogging.  It is a start.  It helps me stay focused on getting healthy.  I talked with a dietitian today, who politely pointed out that I am clearly overeating, and that only some of the weight gain can be attributed to drugs.  Damn her honesty!  She is right, and helped me to identify areas that need changes, and we began to design a path to make that happen.  Aquafit beckons.  I need to pull up my (very!) big girl panties and join the old gals at the pool.  And move a bit more everyday, even if I still hurt, even thought the multitude of medications I am taking (5 for RA, see below) aren't quite working just yet. They will.  I have to trust that.  And if they don't, I will have to try something else.

So Happy New Year!  Thanks for hanging in with me during the season of misery.  Hopefully, my humour will return when I get my ass off the couch.  Maybe you want to join me - a fresh start is always a good thing - a return to a fitness routine lost through the summer, or back to healthy eating after a summer of treats.  Maybe you want to quit smoking - why wait til January?  It is a new year today - let's start today.  I will if you will.

Now I am off to toast the New Year with a glass of something sparkling, that may or may not be champagne.  I am not telling!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Change is good, no really. . .

It has been a very long while since I posted.  Some of it is because I have just been busy and life has been full.  But a big part has been about what do I say?  I mean, this is supposed to be an inspirational blog that focuses on my journey to health.  And I haven't been feeling particularly healthy, and I certainly don't think I am inspirational in any way.  Especially lately.

Change is a difficult thing.  We say we want it, but when it comes right down to it, what we actually want is not  real change at all. We want all the surface changes - skinnier thighs, flatter stomach, less wrinkles, a happier life. . . but the real change, the deep, life altering change that shakes us to the core and reminds us of all the things we have been running from - now that is the kind of change that often remains elusive.

In May I was officially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis - an autoimmune arthritis that is just not your grandma's arthritis.  It affects not only joints, but internal organs and eyes, and causes fatigue that is so far past tired it is hard to imagine.  I was not ready to hear it.  Even though it was "expected", it still slammed me.
And I was more than a little overwhelmed.  Try completely pissed off, frustrated and indignant.  After all - I had worked all of last year to "get healthy" - to lose some weight, to train for a half marathon, to feel good.  And now this.  The inevitable "why me?" crept in to my thoughts.

I am a few months past that now.  And although I can't answer "why me?", every day I am understanding more about myself, and this disease and what true health is.  And it ain't about a flat belly ( although that would be super fantastic!)

I have had to adjust my life - my priorities, my choices, balancing my energy and focusing on the things that are really important.  I get too tired to waste time on crap that is not truly a priority.  My awesome family, good friends, meaningful work, singing, coaching ball - these are the things that bring me joy and life and positive energy.  So that is where I put my time now.  I have learned to say "no" more often, and to put my feet up when I need to.  I am relearning how to eat healthy and focus on moving my body, not to get skinnier, but rather to improve my well being.  Despite the nasty drugs that make me pile on the weight I lost, and give me a lovely round moon face, I am trying to look at myself in a more holistic way, and to listen to my body.  Change my thinking, change my focus.  Real meaningful change that will actually improve my life and my health.  It is good.

I still get grumpy, I still wish I was training for a half marathon and not walking like an old lady and forcing myself to get to the pool and swim a lap or two.  I still choose to eat things that are bad for me.  But I am making healthy choices more often than unhealthy ones.  It is a winding path. This too is good.

So I have come to the conclusion that change is good - no really, it is.  Life is good, too.
And getting better each day.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Adjusting my sails.

It feels a bit like going to confession after a long while - "bless me it's been 3 weeks since my last blog post."

It has been a while, and my last post was not super positive, so I am really struggling with how to be both authentic to what is going on, as well as not being such a Debbie Downer that no one will ever want to read my blog again!  It is definitely not all doom and gloom, but things are different, and sometimes tough.

As you know from my last post, I am dealing with some kind of inflammatory arthritis - pretty sure that it is rheumatoid arthritis, but it needs to be confirmed by the rheumatologist (who I see in two weeks) .  I have to say the last few weeks have been a bit tough, as I get to know my limitations and look at balance and rest and activity in a brand new way.  Drugs help - and I am still somewhat inappropriately happy, as well as about 8 pounds heavier than I was a month ago ( thank you prednisone - NOT)
My sweet husband has been away on sabbatical in the middle east for the last 3 weeks - he comes home on Friday.  My awesome kids have been incredibly helpful, flexible and just plain fantastic.  It has been tiring, but overall I think we have done well - and yes I know there are amazing people who single parent all the time and my hat is off to each of you - I have always been in awe of how you do what you do.  For me, parenting alone, and adjusting to the limitations I have been experiencing lately, has been challenging and also an affirmation of my abilities as a parent - I do actually know what I am doing, and my kids didn't starve (a bonus since Mark does the cooking 90% of the time!).  Add that to the positive list!

On the not so positive list, I am having trouble adjusting to the limits that feeling as I do put on my life.  My pain is pretty well managed with the prednisone, as is the swelling, but my pesky feet and ankles don't really appreciate walking, climbing stairs or standing around coaching fastball.  The get cranky, and don't work as well as I would like.  I also get tired when I get too stressed or do too much - even when too much is very little.  This is really frustrating - even for someone like me who prefers to live life just this side of lazy.  It means I must be very aware of my energy levels, and adjust both my activity and my expectations based on that.

You can guess that I don't really like doing that.  I want to be able to maintain my somewhat crazy lifestyle - busy, full and chaotic.  I can't stand not being able to do what I want, when I want, just because my body is saying no.  But that is definitely the message - my body IS saying no, and like it or not I need to listen.  I can't actually ignore it this time.  That is the scary part, and it is the thing that is the hardest for me.  (For more on this - check out an awesome book When the Body Says No, by Gabor Matè.)

So I am adjusting.  It's a slow process, and it is a bit of a two steps forward, one step back kinda thing.  I will get there, I just need to remember to listen to my body and open my mind to a new way of doing - or more appropriately, a new way of being.  The winds are blowing - time to adjust the sails.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter. . .

Happy Easter!  Or perhaps I should say "inappropriately Happy Easter!!  Lately, I've taken to being "inappropriately happy". I didn't even know you could be inappropriately happy - at least not until I looked up the side effects for the new medication I am on for the as yet undecided typed of arthritis I have been struggling with.  (The current thought is now Rheumatoid Arthritis- I see the rheumatologist in a few weeks - I am holding out for a weird virus or temporary something rare - rather than chronic auto immune disease)

Let's ponder that for a moment, shall we. . .  I feel like complete crap-joint pain, swelling, stiffness, fatigue beyond belief - and then I start a new medication that makes me feel, well, HUMAN, for the first time in weeks, and apparently I should be aware -  I can become inappropriately happy, as a result of taking this drug!  Thank you Captain Obvious!  This is not the side effect I am worried about, but good to let me know.  Just in case I need to dial down the happiness if it gets really out of control.

I am feeling better, I know it's somewhat temporary due primarily to the prednisone I am taking. That sh*t is powerful - and also destructive.  It eats away at bones, impairs sleep, raises blood pressure, and makes you cranky.  But, wow - it really works.  And at this point, I will take it.  Anything to have some semblance of my life back.

I am (very grudgingly) making some changes in my life.  Working less, sleeping more, practicing meditation -emphasis on the practice - "quieting my mind" may just be the hardest thing I am asked to do in a day.  I cannot put on a ball glove, which causes me a great deal of grief and sadness, but I am blessed by amazing parents who run my practices, while still allowing me to "motivate" the girls on my team with a few well placed shouts.  Running is out, and I am trying to appreciate what walking can do for my body.  I am starting  some water based exercise next week, and hoping yoga will also become a part of my regular routine.  Baby steps, really, since I still am oh-so-tired, nor completely pain free.  Life is different.

I am lucky - I have a great GP now, and a relatively quick referral to a specialist ( nothing to sneeze at in long wait time BC), and incredibly supportive circle of family, friends, church family, and colleagues.  That makes this all manageable - this is why I am inappropriately happy - and not miserable, at least most of the time.

 So a very Happy Easter to everyone - it is after all, a time for new life, renewal and hope.

And I will take that every time.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Winds of Change

So, I have been at a loss as to what to blog about over the past while.  I am not feeling overly trans-formative at the moment, although there are lots of changes happening in my life.

As you know from reading my blog, I have been struggling over the past while while with an assortment of aches and pains, and what I thought were overuse injuries from my run/strength training program.  Unfortunately, there is more to it than I initially thought, and for me that means some big adjustments ahead.

It started with joint pain and swelling - ankles, hips, knees - first one, than both sides of my body.  Must be too much training, I thought, so I dialed it back a bit, but the pain increased, and moved to my wrists and hands, as well.  Morning stiffness, of the kind that means it takes about an hour and a half just to get moving has joined the party, along with an almost overwhelming fatigue.  The "I feel like a brand new mom times about 10 000"  kind of fatigue.  On the plus side (not really, but I need a win) I have lost about 13 pounds over the last few weeks, with no exercise of any kind - for the first time in my life I can honestly say I am not hungry.  Now I know something is wrong.

It seems that I have developed some type of inflammatory arthritis, autoimmune in nature.  The initial thinking was reactive arthritis, perhaps in response to an infection.  Unfortunately, there is no infection we can identify, and it may be that we are looking at rheumatoid arthritis instead, or another of the over 100 types of arthritis that can impact any one of us at any time.  I admit - it is pretty overwhelming and scary.  I have lots of pain, and the tiredness has really sucked a lot of the fun out of life at the moment.  I have cut back on work, running is out of the question - even swimming one lap is out of reach at the moment.  Coaching softball is going to require a lot of help and support from my team and their parents - I can't hold or swing a bat properly right now.  I am trying to be patient while waiting to see a specialist and figure out what is going on.  I can feel the winds of change begin to blow.

It has meant some difficult changes.  I am not super great at taking it easy.  I miss running, and working out.  The simplest things exhaust me.  It sucks.  And yet I am deeply aware that there are so many things much worse that I could have to deal with.  Finding a balance daily is keeping me mindful - not such a bad thing.

So, for now, I don't have a lot of funny adventures from my workout and weight loss world.  That will return, when I am just a bit more settled, and know more about what this may mean long term.  I am certain it will work out, and that I will find a way to achieve my goals for my health - even if those goals may need just a bit of renovation.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dig deep. . .

I am officially sidelined.  Grrrrr.  After a plague of minor and not so minor injuries ( sprains, strains, bursitis, plus some arthritis in my hips and knees), it seems that running may not be in my future - at least not the foreseeable future.  ( I am still holding out hope that it will be possible at some point - gotta keep the dream alive!)  I am also now on crutches, after my doctor lost it and told me that if I don't actually "rest and do nothing" I will be  a crippled old woman in a wheelchair at age 55.  Thanks Doc.  ( She may have been a wee bit annoyed at my lack of compliance!)  Needless to say, I am trying very hard to "rest and do nothing".

Crutches suck, by the way.

Despite my joking, I am pretty devastated.  It does seem that every time I get to a certain point in my fitness, something happens and I am back to square one, again.  For the billionth time.  I do not dig this.  Not quite sure what lesson it is that I am supposed to be learning from this, but it makes me pretty darn crabby.  I am not fun when I am crabby,  In fact, I am not fun to be around when I am crabby.  (Sorry family and friends.)

So once again I feel like I am at a crossroads in terms of this process.  Along with not being able to exercise at all ( not even old lady aqua aerobics - sorry to offend any aqua aerobics enthusiasts) until they figure out exactly what is going on, my eating has pretty much devolved into a sugar and saturated fat laced disaster.  Oh the predictability of these old patterns - just when I thought I had my sh*t together.  A friendly reminder from the universe that I still have a LOT of internal work still to do ( don't we all).

So now I need to regroup and come up with a new plan.  I am deeply grieving the fact that I won't be running my half marathon.  I cannot bring myself to completely let it go as a goal/dream, but it may be that I need to make some difficult decisions about running in the (hopefully not too near) future.  Honestly, I can't go there right now.  Astonishingly, the thought of giving up running brings me to tears - something I never in my entire life believed would be possible.  A sign of  some progress, I guess.

My new plan will likely include walking - and yes walking enthusiasts, I know you think it is amazing - I am not quite so enthusiastic - and possibly swimming.  No aqua aerobics. Ever. Seriously.  Yes, I am knocking it BEFORE I try it.  My doc suggested cycling when I get the green light to exercise.  I smiled politely, nodded my head, and thought about stabbing my eyes with a fork.  Cycling isn't really my thing (although Freddy Mercury almost had me convinced).  Obviously I have a little resistance to trying something new.  But i will get over that.  I have to.

As for the eating, I think it's time to put the pity party to bed and stop medicating myself with sugar and fat.  And mac and cheese.  And ice cream.  And potato chips.  Did I mention the sugar and fat?  time to refocus, and eat to improve my health and speed my healing.  Hello again, kale chips.

It is time to dig deep - to find the motivation I need to stay focused on my long term goal of  living a healthy life, even the when things go to hell.  I mean really, there are problems in the world a lot worse than me not being able to run a half marathon.  But I will need to dig deep within myself to stay focused and motivated over the next while.  And that is ok, because it is all part of the process - but no guarantees that I won't be a wee bit crabby along the way.  I am good, but not THAT good!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Let's talk. . .

Typically, I try to be somewhat funny and irreverent, and just a little cheeky when I am blogging.  It is a fairly honed skill I have developed over the years - a bit of a stereotype, actually.  You know, the fat funny girl, the one everyone finds hilarious, the one who often does not ever reveal what is actually going on inside.  I like that part of me - it keeps me safe when I don't want to "go there", and plus it is a bit of a bonus that when you are somewhat funny, people like to be around you.  And I really like people around me.

But today I want to be serious.  Partly for me, partly for the many, many people who live with mental illness in this country, and around the world.  Here in Canada, tomorrow, February 12th is "Let's Talk" day, sponsored by Bell.  It is a day to talk openly about mental illness, to try to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and to assist people to access resources for diagnosis, treatment and support.  I think it is a very important initiative, for very personal reasons.

You see, I have a mental illness.  Yup, it's true.  The fat, funny gal with the big laugh, and bigger butt.  I have lived with depression for many years, beginning when I was first diagnosed in 1st year university, up to today.  Almost 30 years. Two thirds of my life.

Some of you know this about me.  Most people don't.  There is really no need for me to announce the fact to everyone I meet - "Hi I'm Jacquelin and I live with a mental illness, let's be friends!"  But today I want to share this part of who I am, because I believe it is really, really important that we talk about mental illness, that we are honest about our experiences, and that we seek solutions together.  It is not the end of the world for me to have depression, but at times in my life it has sure felt like it.  I am hoping that by sharing my story, I can break down some of the stigma about who gets a mental illness and what that looks like.

So what does it mean to live with depression?  For me it has meant lots of sadness, lots of dark days, lots of therapy, and lots of love and laughter.  Sometimes, life has seemed so dark that I thought I would never survive, I didn't want to.  There have been moments of absolute profound joy, like when each of my beautiful children were born.  There has been an ocean of tears, hours of talking and thinking and listening with  a therapist, and a virtual pharmacy of antidepressants to figure out what would work for me at any given time in my life.  It has been incredibly difficult at times, and I have been blessed with family and friends and a partner who have chosen to love me in spite of the challenges that living with a depressed person present.  Let's face it - mental illness is not for the faint of heart.  Anyone who thinks that it is an "easy" out has absolutely no clue what it means to deal with mental health concerns on a daily basis, year in, year out.

Despite the challenges, I am lucky.  I have had access to therapy, and medication when I needed it, and a circle of supportive people who have loved me in spite of how crazy I have felt ( and acted).  Sometimes I wish I didn't have to still take anti depressants every day.  I sometimes feel like I want to be "normal", whatever that is, and who defines what that is, anyway?  But like an insulin dependent diabetic, I have a chemical imbalance in my body that requires me to manage it with medication.  It is not an easy way out, or me failing to deal with my problems.  It is what helps me to be a healthy mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter, worker, and coach.  And I am all of those things and much, much more.  So much more than a diagnosis.

So, my secret is out.  Never really was a secret, but it wasn't something I felt comfortable sharing widely.  But talking about mental illness is the thing that ultimately is going to help me, and many others like me, and their families and friends.  Mental illness is not a character flaw, nor is it a disability.  It is simply one piece of the complicated puzzle that makes up me.  I am ok with that.  And I hope you will be, too.
For more information on depression and other mental illnesses, please check out the following links:

For info about mental health and children and youth:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oh The Changes I've Made!

I am not known for my cooking abilities-in fact it is the complete opposite. I am notorious for my lack of cooking aptitude. I don't dig cooking, I am not really that good at it, and it is a LOT of effort I would rather put elsewhere! ( Like napping, resting, or sleeping!)

 Enter my spouse. In have joked for years that I married him for his cooking-you can probably guess that while I don't love cooking, I really love eating. Mark is a fabulous cook, as our many dinner guests over the years will attest. He makes amazing Indian, Greek and Asian food-which is incredibly tasty - and often not quite as healthy as is required by my current healthy lifestyle! (Sorry, my love!)

Over the past year I have tried to develop my cooking skills and have managed to develop quite a repertoire of healthy meals. I secretly have started to enjoy cooking (well, not so secretly, now!). Previously, when Mark has had to be at a meeting or out of town, I have relied on chicken fingers and fries, take out pizza, or a trip to McD's. Gross, but true.

Earlier this week our family was having a discussion about Mark's upcoming trip to the Middle East. It went something like this:

 Ben(my 13 yr old): Who's gonna cook when dad is away?

 Me: I will-unless you are planning to!

 Emily(my 12 year old): You? Oh no!

 Me: Gee thanks Em-what's the problem with me?

 Emily: You are going make us eat healthy (accompanied by major grimace)

 Mark: I cook healthy! (Accompanied by major grimace)

 Emily: But dad, mom is SERIOUSLY healthy-like hardcore. We'll die.

I almost cried I was so happy!! Seriously- it was worth Mark's annoyance at being the less healthy cook in the house! My kids now see me as hardcore healthy, and that never would have happened a year ago!

It reminded me again that change happens over time, and that it often is the little changes made that add up to the bigger shift in lifestyle and perspective.

So in preparation for being chief cook for a month, I have been scanning healthy cookbooks and websites for new recipes. Something with a little tofu, perhaps, or Chia seeds-after all, I AM hardcore!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Let's talk about stretch, baby. . . .

So, yoga.

In an effort to broaden my healthy activity horizons, I decided to try to incorporate some yoga into my workout routine this year.  Also, my gym now offers yoga, and I feel like I should take advantage of yoga classes that I don't have to pay extra for.  Because I am cheap.  That's how I roll.

So I have been to a few classes now.  I have discovered a couple of very important things:

1)  I don't believe I have a body built for yoga.
2)  Yoga is WAY more work than it looks.
3)  Yoga in a body not meant for yoga is not super relaxing,meditative, or all new age happy.
4)  Yoga pants are not for everyone.

Now many of my friends are yoga-devotees and have been singing its praises to me for years.  I think I like the IDEA of doing yoga more than actually DOING yoga.  Actually I am like that about a lot of things that turn out to be a lot of effort on my part.  I am basically lazy - we have had this discussion before, if you recall.

So, yoga.  I don't care how kind people are, and how accepting - there is just something unnerving about bending over with my my rather large *ss in front of some lovely skinny girl who looks like she is in one of those tampon commercials where you can do "anything".  Relax and breathe.  Yup - that is so not going to happen.  I can't shut off the talk in my brain about how uncomfortable this is, how long will I have to hold this pose, why are there so many freaking mirrors in this room?  And the inevitable, do these yoga pants make my butt look fat?  (The answer to that one is an unequivocal "YES"!)

Why can't I do this?  Well,  it suddenly occurs to me that I might need more than 5 sessions before  I can actually decide that I can't do it.  I know, a shocking realization that people devote their entire lives to the practice of yoga and I seem to think I will be super yogi in about 5 min.  Patience, grasshopper.

Hmmm - I feel another life lesson coming on.  Maybe it is about the process of quieting my mind and living into the discomfort.  Or about actually letting go of the voices that chatter on in my head about what I am not, and how I am not "right" for yoga, or anything else, for that matter.  Maybe I actually have to let go of my own ideas about who does yoga and who does not.  Maybe I need to suck it up and do the work - spiritually, emotionally, physically.  Sigh.

So, yoga.  I think I am going to keep up with it for a while longer, and see where it takes me.  I may not be a lulu girl just yet, but I have funny feeling it has something to teach me - even if it is just that giving up won't teach me anything.


Sunday, January 6, 2013


So, now that the hoopla of Christmas and New Year's is over, the hard work begins.  And let's face it, it will definitely be hard work.  After the sugar and fat high that was the holiday season ( for me anyway - I am sure none of you ever let anything unhealthy pass your lips ;) ) is over, the reality of what it means to eat healthy and work out regularly has hit.  And it's only week one.  

Eliminating all that nasty white stuff from my diet ( AGAIN!) has left me a little on the grumpy side ( my family might say a LOT on the grumpy side), and tired, sluggish and headache-y. You know the foods I mean:  white bread, white rice, potatoes (baked, mashed, fries, chips), pasta, cereal, anything breaded or batter dipped (e.g., fried chicken, shrimp tempura), cereal, and anything made with white flour or sugar.  You know, the yummy stuff that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside - until it burns through your body and makes you crash and start all over again.  

The impact of removing it from my diet should tell me that white carbs and sugar cannot be good for me - so I am glad I am eliminating it.  But it sure is tough - and let me hasten to say that I am  NOT engaged in a war on carbs - just the white ones!  Healthy carbs like veggies, whole grains, legumes and fruit are tasty and nutritious!  And they don't give me a sugar hangover.

Healthy fats are also good - unhealthy transfats and extra added fat that has no nutritional value is on my avoid list.

I refuse to give up caffeine, but I am down from drinking  a pot and a half a day to about three (alright, four) cups ( thank you Keurig - and yes, I do have a reusable filter for my machine, so I don't have to drink the little disposable ones - so don't go all eco crusader on me please - but I do drink the little disposable ones sometimes, ok, a little more frequently than sometimes :S).

Moderation is the key for me this year.  I am not really known for my ability to be moderate - ask my husband, or my friends, or anyone who has ever been on the receiving end of one of my impromptu sermons on one social justice issue or another.  I am trying to learn.

This has to be sustainable - when I go to the extreme I am not actually being healthy, and I usually end up feeling deprived, and in the case of fitness - injured.  So this year, I am aiming for balance.  ( I can hardly write that without cracking up - because really, I am as unbalanced as they come!)

I am even going to try yoga - balance and moderation, balance and moderation, balance and moderation.  . . fake it til I make it, fake it til I make it. . . fake it til I make it!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy, Healthy New Year!

What a difference a year makes.  2012 was "my year of transformation".  Kinda lofty goal, as I think about it - after all, transformation is a pretty tall order!  And as I reflect on the past year, I realize more and more that transformation is a process, a life long process - clearly not something that happens in days, weeks, months or even years.  Of course, I actually did know that, at least on a surface level, but I have come to know it on a much more intimate, deep level over the course of the last 12 months.

Favourite pic from 2012 - I look happy & healthy!!

One year ago I stepped on the scale and saw the highest number I had ever seen before.  273 pounds.  Holy crap - I was the size of a large mule deer ( yes, I looked that up - what can I say - I needed an impressive example of how obese I had become).  Obese was a word I had never owned up to, but it was staring me in the mirror and on the scale.  I was humiliated, sad, angry and yes, I really hated what I had allowed to happen.  I hated my unhealthy life.  This is from last January 1st - the weight, the horrifying measurements, and how I really felt about it all. ( if you are offended by, ahem, colourful language - skip the photo!)

Hurts my heart to see how unhappy I was.  And then of course, the ever so flattering before pics:

I look so damn miserable - felt that way, too.  And pretty hopeless, and unhappy, and unhealthy, and ....

Mostly, I felt defeated.  Like it was impossible to change, that I was forever stuck in an unhealthy body with no ability to show the world the person who I can be - the active, happy, satisfied person that I strive to be.

Let's just say a Happy New Year it was not.

Luckily for me - an opportunity for change was around the corner.

Winning the BDHQ Over contest was life changing for me, but the most important changes are not the ones visible from the outside.  At the beginning, I envisioned myself at least 100 pounds thinner on January 1st , 2013 ( must have been high on exercise endorphins in that moment!) wearing tight fitting workout gear that revealed my newly toned six pack - and yes I know that is a stretch a B_I_I_I_I_I_I_I_G stretch!

Well, guess what?  I didn't lose 100 lbs, or 80 or even 50.  As of today, I am down 39 pounds.  Not really impressive, at least not on the surface.  But there is more - much more.

I am also a total of 50 inches smaller than I was one year ago.  I have gone from a size 24 to a size 16-18 - and for the first time since my kids were born I can go into a non plus sized store and buy a shirt and it actually fits me.

I have run a 5K, an 8 K and a 10K, and I am registered to run a half marathon (21.1 K) in June 2013.  I can swing a yellow kettlebell and finish Christina's Filthy Fifty and not die.  I can squat with the best of them. I have committed to another year of working out with the fabulous peeps at BDHQ.  I am fighting my f-ing plank - and this year I will be victorious over it.

Despite numerous setbacks in my physical, emotional, and personal life, I am still committed to eating healthy and working out. (This my friends, is a minor miracle in itself, as I have never followed through with anything health related in my entire life - when the things get tough I have always just jumped off the wagon and drove to the nearest McDonald's)

I am mostly happy, and for the first time in a long time I am hopeful.  Hopeful that I will continue to change and transform.  Hopeful that I can show the world the me under all that unhealthy fat, but never have quite felt the confidence to fully share. Hopeful that I can be the author of my own story and that it has a happy ending.

I believe I can do this, and I am painfully aware of how much work it will take - and I STILL believe I can do it.  I don't believe I will do it in a week, month, or a year. I do believe that this is a journey that I started last year and will continue to be on for the rest of my life.

I am not the Biggest Loser, or the Biggest Winner.  I  don't have a six pack - I have stretch marks and extra skin.  It is beautiful, because it reminds me I am strong enough to give birth to four babies, and live to tell the tale.  I am no longer the Biggest Liar ( to myself - every time I tell myself that I am fat, or ugly or that I can't do this).  I like my life and I like me - most of the time - and I am resilient enough to overcome the obstacles that are sure to come my way, as they do for all of us.

I am proud of my accomplishments this year, and grateful to all the amazing people in my life that have supported me - my family, the awesome staff of BDHQ, my friends near and far - how blessed am I to have such light in my life.  Thank you.  Your love, support and encouragement have made this possible and I am ever grateful.

In the next weeks I will have some updated photos  - sorry, no boudoir photos - not YET, anyway  ;).  And I have decided to keep the blog going.  It keeps me real, and what else do I have to do???  I hope you will stay tuned for year two of My Year of Transformation - I can't guarantee a six pack, or a 100 pound weight loss, but I promise to be somewhat funny, and sometimes serious, and always as honest as I can be.  So Happy, Healthy New Year - for me, and hopefully for you, too.

Let's inspire each other to be who we really are - for that, my friends, is always enough.