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.