Thursday, 28 December 2017

Forget Resolutions - Let's Do Challenges!

Resolutions don't work. The science of behaviour change (which I spend my days immersed in) explains why. I won't go into the science of it all, but will sum up, saying you will do something will not usually cause you to do it.

Because I am goal oriented and have been inspired by some of my favourite non-dog blogs/Podcasts ( and, I am going to set monthly challenges for myself.

I started by creating a list of all the 'little habits' I want to address in 2018.  From this list (or from future ideas) I am going to pick a challenge a month. Even though I am usually an over planner, I am not planning my challenges too far in advance. I have an idea what I may pick for February but nothing past that.  I want to be open to seeing where life takes me and what I need.

Of course, I have picked January's. My challenge for January is 'inner peace'. I am doing a 30 day yoga challenge with yoga with adriene. I am also going to add a meditation challenge to this.  I will meditate at least 5 minutes (ideally 10) of mediation a day. I had been doing this at the start of 2017 but it dropped off. I am using insight timer.

To help keep me accountable, I will post once a week about it. I will try and post random other things from my life on another day. My goal is to post here two times a week.

Do you have any 'resolutions'?

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Successes of 2017

New Year's Eve 2016

It feels like just yesterday I was standing on the deck of a ship in Thailand welcoming 2017. Here we are 12 months later.  It has been a busy year.

Today we celebrate the successes!

Travel: I had 3 big trips this year. Asia, Oregon, Caribbean/Florida. I am so lucky to have the opportunities to travel so much.  Traveling reminds me of how lucky I am in my life and also gives me the chance to step outside my life. It also has given me the opportunity to visit friends and make new ones.

Pups: I have kept my two alive and healthy for another year. After losing 2 so young, I celebrate this as an accomplishment. I think they are both pretty happy too!

Working out/back: I finished 80 sessions with a personal trainer, and didn't kill him. I have been able to keep up the working out at home. I have only missed a few work outs. While I lost a little ground healing my back as I had to take a slow a few things down,  I am now fairly pain free (I am still in recovery) and am getting back to where I was. I find working out at home to be much less stressful and as close to enjoyable as it can be!

My Gut: While I got contaminated a few times this year and I have been eating too much dairy the past few weeks, overall, my gut has been the best it has ever been.

Work: I had a very successful year. It was an extremely busy year and I changed roles so it has been a bit of an adjustment. There were moments it felt overwhelming, but we are ending well and I feel prepared for the craziness that will be 2018 as the province unrolls a new program for individuals with ASD and people have a lot of funding. It will be an exciting challenge (and extremely challenging at times).

Those are my big successes this year!  What are you proud of this year?

In Muppet Theatre in Disney - December 2017

Thursday, 14 December 2017

How I Got My Sleep Back

I have always been a pretty good sleeper. From 10 days old I slept 6 or 7 hours a night. My mom couldn't understand why new moms reported being so tired. Don't worry, my sister taught her why new moms are often tired! I also developed my dad's ability to sleep through anything. Once in a hotel (with a friend who is a light sleeper), I didn't move when the fire alarm went off. Don't worry, usually when I am alone, I don't sleep this deep (although if Sam is out late, I rarely hear him come in. Phod will tell me if something is really wrong!) I have had the occasional night of restlessness but never long stretches, so when I stopped sleeping last year I didn't know what to do. I usually slept 7-8 and 6 hours was definitely not cutting it!

It all started when I started going to the gym. I developed the rare complication of my hormones getting messed up and being wide awake after a few hours sleep. Then my dad got really sick and nearly died. That was a little bit stressful. Then work got crazy. Before I knew it I was lucky to get 6 hours of sleep. It got the worst over the summer when I was barely getting 6 restless hours.

I was feeling rather fed up about it, when the group of students I supervise (other professionals looking to become Board Certified Behaviour Analysts) selected a sleep study for our group. After reading this I knew I had to make some changes. I wanted my 7-8 hours back!

This is what I did:
-I turned my FitBit sleep tracker off sensitive. I was afraid seeing all the tossing and turning was causing me to believe I wasn't sleeping as well as I was.
-I reintroduced more carbs into my life. I was very, very strict about them for about 10 months. Since adding them back (and yes this includes a couple drinks a week), yes I have gained 2 lbs but all my clothes fit, and yes I may be holding a little more bloat in my gut (but this may also be related to the fact I had to change my working out for a couple months and am just getting back into it and I believe I got a little bit contaminated while traveling), but now I am averaging 7-8 hours of sleep per week instead of just over 6.
-During the last few weeks I have been able to adjust my sleep schedule so I am only getting up around 6. Yes, there will be the occasional day I will have to get up at 5, but I seem to sleep best from about 10-6.

I feel more relaxed and in control. I rarely feel like I need a nap at work. Some afternoons it was all I could do to stay awake. Now, while I enjoy my Saturday afternoon and, I don't feel I need a nap every day.

That is how I got my sleep back. I hope I never have such a long stretch of poor sleep again.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

About Me - 25 answers

Because I love a list and haven't taken the time to formulate some of the posts for here that are bouncing around my head, I borrowed this from Yamini.

1.  What is your middle name?   

2.  What was your favorite subject in school?  
                  History and English

3.  What is your favorite drink? 
                  Tea; I also love oj, water and hot chocolate with booze in it, and a good vodka martini and of course a Bellini!

4.  What is your favorite song at the moment?  
                   This changes with my mood - OneRepublic is currently my favourite band. I also love Matchbox Twenty and the Fray.

5.  What is your favorite food? 
                   I am a foodie, I love food. Things I love include - a really nice cheese, chocolate, Brussel sprouts, latkes, a very nice steak, potatoes/sweet potatoes, asparagus

6.  What is the last thing you bought?  
                   Bags to store our Christmas trees as the boxes are falling apart and not keeping the mice  out!  

7.  Favorite book of all time?
                   Also hard - I reread the Alchemist every year. I also adore Les Mis, The Shadow in the Wind and anything by Timothy Findley

8.  Favorite color?
                   Blue! Any shade! I am kind of into pinks and greys right now too. 

9.  Do you have any pets?
                   Currently my 2 dogs. Formally 2 dogs and 2 cats. 

10. Favorite perfume?
                   Don't wear one

11.  Favorite holiday? 
                   Hanukkah - I love the food. (I know it is weird since I am not Jewish or religious in any way). 

12.  Are you married?
                   Yep, for half my life now! 

13.  Have you ever been out of the country? How many times?

                      Yes, more times then I can count. I have been out 3 times this year! I have been to 23 countries and 3 territories
14.  Do you speak any other language?
                   I know a tiny bit of French.

15.  How many siblings do you have?
                   One sister

16.  What is your favorite shop?
                   The grocery store.  I am not a big shopper any more, but I love grocery shopping. 

17.  Favorite restaurant?
                   I love Lone Star fajitas but I love a little place near by in and old train station. 

18.  When was the last time you cried? 
                   Today, when I read about a dog that had died. 

19.  Favorite blog?
                   I love all the blogs I follow, I couldn't pick one. 

20.  Favorite movie?
                   The Muppet Movie - 1979; X-Men Origins - Wolverine; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, both versions

21.  Favorite TV show?
                  Ray Donovan

22.  PC or Mac?

23.  What phone do you have?
                   iPhone 5SE

24.  How tall are you?

25.  Can you cook?
                   I have a very basic cooking repertoire!  When I have time I don't hate it, but I don't love it. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

A Day In The Life

I have been a little blog neglectful recently, in a few moments because I was lazy and a few times because I have days like this.

This was yesterday - it is representative of the kind of days I have!

Awake 5:30.
45 minute walk in the rain/snow with the pups
Deal with some work things
Get ready for the day
Drive to the car dealership to get my winter tires and an oil change
Wait an hour for the shuttle to my office which is 15 minutes away (never have waited more than like 30 minutes)
The last 10 minutes is because some guy had to get his breakfast. The dealership has a restaurant. He eats his greasy breakfast in the car. Yum.
Get to work about 30 minutes later than I wanted to.
Dealt with email that had come in between 7 am and then (about 10:15)
Observed one of my little guys. It was a good observation.
Had a parent meeting with a family whose 22 year old has started to engage in self-injurious behaviour. Started to work out a treatment plan.
12:15 - with a colleague drove to a 21 year old client's home. The client is very aggressive with his mom when she tries to take him places. Started a treatment plan for that
1 pm back at the office
While eating lunch met with the team of the 22 year old about some things to try to prevent the self-injurious behaviour in the short term
At 1:45 Got a call that a 4 year old up north (I consult to Northern Ontario) has engaged in over 1000 aggressive acts in 1.75 hour. Skype in for 15 minutes to try some things.
Have a meeting about one of my other little guys for an hour.
Try and get work done while worrying about all the aggression and my shuttle that is to take me back to my car.
At 4, the shuttle hasn't arrived. I call, they say they will call back. They don't.
At 4:15, I call and cancel the shuttle. At this point I have not car and am going to be late for my electrolysis appointment. I contact her and she says it is ok, she can wait. I am pretty much freaking out at this point because I have severe anxiety over being late. People are asking me if I am ok, and I actually said no!
A coworker kindly drives me the 20 minutes to my appointment. I am 15 minutes late. On the way the shuttle calls to say they are there to pick me up. They are rude with me because they didn't get the message that I had cancelled it.
I have an involuntary twitch during the electrolysis procedure that leaves a small burn. She doesn't feel comfortable continuing. We were 15 minutes from being done my bikini line.  I will just have to shave that little patch on my vacation.
So now I am a 5 minute drive from my car. Fortunately, my electrolysis appointment is across the street from my BFF. She was scheduled to be home in 15 minutes, so I go and wait for her.
I get to spend 45 minutes with my BFF. She drives me to my car.
I have a migraine starting at this point. I pop pills.
Around 7 pm I get my car. I drive home.
It is freezing rain.
2 deer almost jump out in front of me.
The wind nearly blows me off the road at one point.
I get home at 8.
Sam makes me an omelette as I haven't had dinner.
I zone out on social media while talking to him. I have no attention span really.
At 9, I am done. I get ready for bed.
By 9:30 I was asleep.

So no surprise I was awake at 4:45. I have not been productive with this time today, but feel more relaxed then yesterday.

Do other people have days like that?

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Physio - Session Two

Session two went like this:

I waited 20 minutes past the start of my appointment to see my therapist (she told me she is always behind so I was prepared).
She did an assessment and noted and improvement in my back already.
We discussed how the tape got really itchy so I got to forgo it for a week at least.
She gave me a very painful massage and put heat on me while she took my card file of exercises and highlighted the ones she really wanted me to do, pulled some she did not want me to do and left some she was fine with me mixing in (darn lunges are out).
She told me in her 17 years on the job (and she has been a therapist with the Canadian Olympic team) she has never seen exercises so organized.
She gave me a couple more stretches to do.
I paid $70.

Now in fairness to her, she said we are starting slow so we don't make it too much worse as we make it better. She has to see how my body reacts and likely assess if me and see what I will/can do. Next week we will be looking at deep core exercises. I likely will have to do core work every day. She also wants to look at making my gluts stronger (good thing she is seeing them after my year of working out or she would have been shocked at how weak they could be). We will also likely start dry needling. They can't call it acupuncture.

That is where we are. I am working on sleeping on my back. It is a work in progress:)

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Too Funny - My Secret Talent

My BFF's 10 year old plays competitive hockey (some of you would call it ice hockey, but here in Canada it is just hockey). As a fundraiser for the team, they did a $10 per entry  hockey pool.

Half step back. I don't like hockey. (I don't really like sports to be honest. I can tolerate football.) I don't know much about hockey. On a good day I could come up with maybe a dozen current players. Sam loves hockey, he is a huge fan, that is why I know about a dozen players.

I have never been in a hockey pool. When I was given this sheet with like 150 players in different categories, it was a bit overwhelming. I decided the only way to pick a team was to objectify men. I Googled ever guy in a category and picked the one who was the best looking of the bunch. Sometimes there wasn't really a good looking guy in the bunch and I had to pick the best of the worst. FYI if you Google that many hockey players in a short time, Google thinks you are a robot and you have to keep clicking "I am not a robot".  I had to pick some teams at the end too. I picked those based on the colours I liked best - so basically teams with blue!

My sister and her husband also joined this pool. They are both true fans who know about the sport.

There are almost 200 people in this pool. Sam declined.

One week in I am tied for 9th. My sister is one point behind me and tied for 15th. My brother-in-law is near the bottom at place 168. Sam and I laughed really hard that I had cracked the top 10.

We will see how Kio's Kuties (K10 was misread so I am now Kio) do this season. If I finish well, I may have discovered I have a secret talent!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Spine Alignment


Months ago I complained about a sore hip. Well it didn't get better. It got worse and caused pain down my right leg. I finally went to the doctor who sent me to physio. Tuesday I met with my new physiotherapist, Marie-Claire.

Short story - my pain is caused because my spine is misaligned - likely caused by my scoliosis. Working out, likely running (which I have always hated), aggravated it. Now we have to fix the alignment. She said in an ideal world, I would have gotten my spine aligned before starting my training last year. Hindsight . . . . .

As I look at the picture above, of my gloriously taped back, you can see that even there, in the 10 seconds it took to get this picture, with my shirt pulled up awkwardly , standing in a pile of dog toys, I lean to the right. The goal is to get my spine centred.

The first steps are:
-the tape
-side twists
-being aware and correcting my posture
-and the really, really hard and terrible one, learning to sleep on my back.  Night one was a bit of a nightmare in the figurative sense of the word!

She is hoping that 6-8 sessions will fix me up.  I will be going once per week. Here is a new way for me to learn about my body.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Cooking Up A Storm

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen on Sunday cooking my lunches for the week and doing some dinner prep. The secret ingredient was 'rice' this week. Didn't mean for it to be, but it turns out my beets had gone bad so I couldn't make a vegetarian borscht. I had to get creative (and my creative I mean find other recipes to follow using the ingredients I have).

Here is what I came up with:

A vegetarian stuffed pepper. As I can only eat so much pepper at a time, I cut them in half and made half stuffed peppers.

Fake vegetarian cabbage rolls. It is basically a cabbage roll casserole and instead of taking the time to lovingly roll each one (I would not have the patience for that), you chop the cabbage up and layer it like a casserole. 

My new favourite flourless muffins. One of my co-workers gave me the recipe. They are peanut butter, banana, baking soda, vanilla, egg, salt, cinnamon and honey. They cook in 15 minutes. My coworker uses wow butter as our office is nut free, but obviously I can't eat a soy product, so I use pb and only eat them outside the office. The recipe can be found HERE.

Mexican rice to go with our fajitas for dinner tonight. 

Vegetarian re-fried beans to go with dinner too! 

This proves when given the time and a lot of recipes, I can actually cook! 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Goodbye To The Sneaky Five

When I was the strictest with my diet I weighted 142 lbs. I was always hungry and miserable. So I loosened the reigns a little, mainly by eating a little more pasta, potatoes and rice. I felt good around 144-145 and decided this would be my target weight. [My research for my body type suggest this was well within my target range of a healthy weight and it gives me a healthy BMI].

The summer came and I let a few more treats creep into my diet. I wasn't getting enough exercise. Before I knew it, the scale was getting close to 150 lbs. It wasn't so much the number of the scale that bothered me, rather I was clearly bloated and I didn't feel the best. Rather than beat myself up about it, I just increased my exercise (by brining yoga back regularly) and was slightly stricter on the treats. It took a few weeks, but I am happy to report I am sitting around 145 and am not bloated and am feeling better.

Sometimes I think these little slips are good reminders on why I am so strict with my diet and workout routine. I feel better. I am sure I will slip again, but by monitoring myself I think I can nip any problems in the bud before they become serious.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Why I Still Eat Meat

Because I am a little obsessive (imagine that!) I spend a lot of time thinking about how to improve my life. I spend a lot of time reading, listening to podcasts etc. etc. Knowledge is power after all.

In my research, it has become clear to me that a plant based diet is the healthiest. Gladiators ate all plants for goodness sake.  [Although perhaps following the diet of people who were just trying to kill each other, isn't the best!] There are also all the animal right reasons for moving to a plant based diet. I have watched some of "those" documentaries. I understand the ethical issues with big farms. With all this knowledge I have toyed with the idea of eating a vegetarian diet.  However, I have come to the conclusion that for now I will continue to eat some animal products and meat.

Why I still eat meat:

First, I admit I enjoy meat. My last meal would include a steak (ideally from Michael Jordan's in Chicago - best one I have ever eaten). I also look forward to the holiday turkey and brisket.

Second, I love cheese more. When I have completely given up dairy, cheese is one of the foods I crave the most.

Ok, let's be honest, I am just a bit of a foodie! I like food and feel limited enough already!

Third, Sam does all the cooking. He is a huge meat eater. He does an amazing job at cooking around all my other food things. Asking him to cook no meat all the time would result in me having to cook more. Yep, I am a little lazy.

Finally, given my gluten and soy limitations, a pure plant-based diet  or even a vegetarian diet likely wouldn't work in all environments. I could make it work at home, but it would become even more challenging to eat out, eat at other's homes etc. etc. It can be near impossible now, so I can only imagine.

What I am doing instead

I am trying to limit my meat consumption to one meal per day. Occasionally due to leftovers or other things this doesn't happen, but I am doing my best.

I am trying to eat vegetarian 2 whole days per week. One of these days is usually Wednesday as Sam is out and I have to feed myself all 3 meals. Sam and I are doing more vegetarian meals too. I have found some amazing gf porgies and a cheese ravioli we love in a homemade tomato sauce.

These changes mean I am eating meat about 5 times per week. I may look to slowly decrease this more, but for now, I think it is a good start.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Foam Glow

In March my BFF asked me to join her and others in a 5k race, the Foam Glow. At the time she hoped to use it as motivation to start moving more.

Fast forward 6 months and she no longer really wanted to do it and had done nothing to prepare. But we spent $40 on it, we were doing it! We walked (very slowly) 5k in the dark, at the race track and into the woods. 2 times (because a machine was broken) we walked through foam that made us glow. The race ended in a party that shot glow in the dark foam.

Me and the team

Dancing in the foam

Foam flying from the sky

My BFF getting foamed - the glow part doesn't show in pictures

While I am trying to get past the chemicals we dumped on ourselves and into the environment (being aware can take all the fun out of things!), it was a fun (in a getting to hang out with people and walk and chat and trip in dark holes and walk into people because the light blinded you kind of way). It was a bit cold (I think it was around 10 C/50F) and you could see your breath. It was a unique experience that had me out of the house until 11!  Not sure I would do it again, but I would do a 5k walk again. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

My Perfect Day

Mike Campbell, from the Live Immediately podcast (which is one of my favourites), ends every interview by asking his guest what his/her perfect day looks like. It is a great and interesting question.

This is my perfect, non-vacation day.

Get up early without an alarm.
Walk the dogs for about an hour.
Sit and read blogs while I eat my breakfast.
Work for a couple hours.
Do yoga.
Have lunch.
Spend the afternoon reading and writing.
Take the dogs for another walk/play
Have Sam cook a great dinner.
Soak in the tub
Watch a show
Go to bed to read.

It is that simple:)

What is your perfect day?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Eating In Portland

Sam recently changed jobs and one of his new co-worker's wife also is gf/soy free. He said she doesn't enjoy eating. Sam said I love eating. It is true. I am a bit of a foodie. What I don't usually enjoy is eating out. Knowing I am getting safe food when outside of my kitchen is usually challenging. However, it was very easy in Portland.

Here is some of the yummy food we ate:)

At this Vegan place called No Bones Beach Club on Mississippi Avenue (they labelled all the food as gluten free, soy free, contains nuts):

I had a stuffed pepper. It had jack fruit in it. I had never had jack fruit. It really had the texture of chicken or pulled pork. It was soooooo good! 


Sam had deep fried avocado tacos (which he loved - note his is generally a carnivore). These would have also been safe for me to eat.

Even at the zoo, there was a BBQ in the middle of an area (that had a line) that made organic, gf food.  Here we shared a garden fresh salad with BBQ chicken and awesome potatoes.

In the food truck district, we found a Mexican place that had gf options. 
Sam had tacos (note: Tacos are one of his favourite foods)

I had enchiladas. The green looks a bit gross in the picture I admit, but it tasted really good! 

We also found some appropriate sweets at Ruby's (I think that is what it was called). Same had ice cream and they had a gf/soy free Raspberry Lime sherbet. It had a really nice tang to it. 

I wish we had more time to eat in Portland, there was lots of good food to try! 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

One Year

Yesterday, as I was doing my first strength session in over a week (I did yoga on my travels but not strength training), I realized it had been exactly one year since I started at the gym. For a year, I have been a person who works out. I have to admit, I had never predicted that and I hope I am a person who works out for at least another 40 years.

In Portland
I don't like the actual workout much better than I did 365 days ago, but I do know I am not actually going to die during it - I just wish I was going to! I do admit I like how I feel after now. I like how I look. I can get through wanting to die because of those two things.

As I was holding my plank it occurred to me that in the 6 or so weeks since I left the gym, I don't miss a thing about going. I prefer working out at home alone. I prefer alone to even working out with Sam, although I don't mind him being there. I don't think I enjoy it because I am going easy on myself. I am careful with a few exercises  (chest press, skull crushers, flies). I do them a little lighter or not as many reps if I am very shaky because I don't have a spotter. I really don't want to drop a weigh on my head. That would not be good. I can be just as sore after a home workout. My abs were sore for 4 days before vacation. I think I just prefer doing things alone.

Now that the strength training is part of my routine, my goal is to increase the yoga I am doing and as sugar and carbs have creeped back into my diet, I want to look at reducing them.

Come back on Tuesday to see some of the AMAZING food I ate in Portland.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Back At It

Last week while visiting my parents with my sister and her children (aged 3 and 1), I didn't follow my healthy lifestyle the way I could have.  I didn't get any extra exercise (no workouts, no yoga), although with the exception of one day I got my daily steps. I also got to lift  30lb and 35lb children and sometimes carry them.

I also didn't eat as healthy/well as I could have. There may have been a lot of Swedish Berries, Fuzzy Peaches, Ice Cream, Bugles, and Corn Nuts consumed and not the usual volume of vegetables. This left my gut a bit wrecked and me feeling very bloated. Slowly it is returning to normal, but it is still not at 100%

I am not going to regret my decisions while I was away, or beat myself up over them. There is no point of being self-defeating. Many people would use that bad week as an excuse to quit. I will not. I can't go back. That was last week. This is this week. Since coming home on Thursday I have done two strength workouts (man those were hard but I did it) and one yoga. Also, I am back to eating what I usual eat. 

I am sure in a few more days my body will forgive me and I will be back to my new normal. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

My Car - Testing My Patience

I drive a 2012 Chevy Equinox with almost 230 000 km (about 143 000 miles) on it. I love my car.

Back 5.5 years ago when I bought the car, the plan had been to get a gently used car as I drive so much. However, at the time it was cheaper to buy a new car because there was no interest on car loans, so I bought my Equinox with the plan to drive it until she died. That is still the plan as I still owe a few thousand dollars on it, although 2 weeks ago I wondered if she had died. 

She started sounding 'too loud' to me, so I took her in for service. I took her to the dealership I generally go to. There I discovered they had missed telling me a number of regular maintenance things had not been done (like I track spark plug replacement or fluid flushes, I assume their computer will tell me I need that done). I also had to have a part of the exhaust replaced and needing break work. $2500 later she was running like new.

When I went to my parents I drove to my sister's and we took her car (car seats already in it). I left my car at her place for the 6 days. After 8.25 hours of driving with some cranky children, you can imagine I was looking forward to getting home (which is about an hour, hour and a quarter more driving). I loaded my things into my car and went to leave. My car wouldn't start. I realized I had left the middle console open. I called CAA and got a boost. I made it home. I started my car Friday, but didn't drive it, it was fine. Saturday, we went to get groceries and my car was dead again. 

After calling the neighbour who would have booster cables (he was away) and going to a store to buy some (they had just sold the last set), we called CAA again. They came, boosted my car and I drove directly to a mechanics to have a new battery put in. That was only another $250. Apparently 5 years and that many clicks on it, one would expect a battery to die. 

Let's hope my car is good to go, except oil changes and maybe a new rear wiper. If not I think my patience with it will be done! 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Results

317 Days - 80 sessions - 60 hours - 87 million gallons of sweat  and twice as many swear words

-I am down 12 lbs
-Final body fat was down 5 % (it was up 1% from last measurement - will watch this with our new fancy scale - there is a story about that for another day!)
-The 3 areas I measured have me down a total of 6.5 inches
-Went from a medium/large and 8-10 to a small and 2-4
-I am clearly stronger. I don't have flying squirrel arms, I have biceps and I am still crushing on my abs.
-I can hold a plank exhausted for at least 1.5 minutes (fresh I started at 37 seconds)
-I can do heavier weights across the board.
-I can control the dogs when we come across wildlife etc. I am no longer fearful of ending up face first in a ditch!

I told Sam he needs this t-shirt:

Thursday, 13 July 2017

So Long And Thanks For All The Sweat

So this post isn't too long, I will write about the last session today and share the results next week.

Today was session 80. Considering I didn't think I could get through 8, this is amazing. Today was also the first time I was actually excited to go to the gym.  I told F'in Alex and he laughed. Yep, I was excited to be leaving.

I had tried to convince him on Tuesday I was totally cool with doing the weigh in and then going for breakfast poutine. [Poutine: Quebec dish made of fries, cheese curds and gravy - breakfast version uses home fries]. He said he wouldn't let me eat something like that in front of him. (Note: I actually don't like poutine as I don't like gravy). I also suggested just going for coffee. He said I didn't drink it. I said I could have a tea. He still said no, we were going to have fun. Or at least he was going to have fun. 

Our session started with handing over our fobs, the gift exchange and final weigh in. F'in Alex seemed very surprised I had gotten him something. I told him it was my way of apologizing for all the terrible things I have said out loud to him and about him. (My mom would want everyone to know she raised me to be more polite then I was!) F'in Alex loved his gift and said it made his month. He couldn't believe I had figured out red was his favourite colour (here are the clues: He wears red shoes, he has a red bag, he almost always wears red . . . clearly I am an amazing detective) and surprised I hadn't put swear words on it. I said I didn't know where he would want to put it and putting swear words might limit where he could display it. (See note above about my mother raising me to be polite).

He surprised us with a token of appreciation too, which was very kind of him.

The session was more or less the same as the past 79 except we got to pick most of the exercises. He gave us sort of categories and we each picked one. In spite the fact I made his month and my results are amazing, he did not go easy on me. He was looking for the final F-Off - which he got when I gave him the finger. I had been polite to him for 11 consecutive sessions - which is amazing for me! Today  I got to do things like push 290 lbs and shatter my mountain climber record of 300 with 450. 

We said goodbye - I pointed out it wasn't a sad day as I have achieved my goals. I wanted to be stronger  and I wanted to know enough to safely work at home. 

That was it. I showered and drove the 45 minutes home to work from home for the rest of the day.

I will spend the next couple of days celebrating this accomplishment - mainly not killing a man or throwing up in a gym. Today I told him if he pushed me that hard, I was aiming for his shoes because what did I care, I wasn't going to see any of the people in the gym ever again. The plan is on Sunday to officially start working out at home.  

The next chapter begins . . . . .

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Khakis

When the parcel with my birthday clothes arrived (thanks to my dear friend K for the gift card) I was excited and apprehensive.  I didn't even wait to carry the package to the bedroom. In the  kitchen I  slide out of my capris and slide into the khakis.

The not special khakis
Me: "What do you think?"
Sam: "They are fine. Nothing special."
Me: "They are very special. They are my first size 2."

311 days since my first training session I went from a size 8-10 to a size 2-4.

The dropping of the pant size has been mentally challenging for me for reasons I don't fully understand other than I hate change. It has had me very stressed and to be honest I have been a little obsessed with it. Sam often says 'enough about your pants'.

I am still in shock as I truly didn't think my waist could get smaller and was concerned it may be about to go the other way because to be honest I have been as strict on my eating. [Note: By not strict I mean I had some ice cream and skittles last weekend and have eaten rice and pasta more frequently].

I have decided enough is enough about being pants obsessed. I am just going to accept this is what it is. I can now fit into some size 2 pants. I also fit into small shirts (although as shirts are more forgiving can still pull off some medium and large ones depending on the style).

I could argue I am leaving the gym better dressed then when I started:)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Coming To A New Beginning

Today marks 3 sessions left with F'in Alex. It means starting in a week and a half, I will be completely responsible for maintaining my own exercise program. I am excited and slightly terrified. 

I am excited for the reasons I have stated before, convenience mainly, and the money I will save. I am terrified that I won't maintain it. I look at the calendar and see some weeks I am traveling and won't have access to a gym and worry I will fall off the boat. So many people don't maintain behaviour change. Will I become a stat?

I am hoping I can use my skills as a behaviour analyst (I do help people change behaviour for a living after all) to create a plan I can follow. I am hoping the momentum I have gained and the reinforcing side effects of being healthier will help carry me forward.

I suppose if all else fails, I can go back to the gym . . . . maybe the threat of that will be enough to keep me on the path forward.

Besides, no offense to F'in Alex, but I like my home coach better:)

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Canada Turned 150

and I really didn't care. If my sister hadn't asked to come up (and my brother-in-law, which lead to inviting friends), I likely would have done nothing.

For years it seems (the joys of living in the national capital region) the country was planning this big birthday bash. People were excited. People planned big things. Downtown Ottawa was practically shut down for days as they created a secure perimeter to ensure people's safety (the joys of living in a terror filled world). The weather was not great on the big day, there were issues with security, the indigenous people protested, Bono sung, Prince Charles visited, and I only cared a little. I did watch most of the noon day show because I was slightly interested and so I had some water cooler talk at the office.

I was thinking why don't I care that Canada is 150. I am 6th + generation Canadian. My ancestors have lived in Canada (and some in the US) before the countries existed. I don't have any immigration/refuge stories in my recent family history. I don't even think about being Canadian. It is just a thing I take for granted. That is one of the reasons I didn't care.

I didn't care either because I hate crowds. I have done the Hill (referring to Parliament Hill where the bulk of the celebrations take place) before, and it is a zoo. This year with all the security screening (people apparently waited up to 8 hours at times) it was even messier than usual. I also don't like the bathroom situation either. The Hill boasted 72 portable toilets for the 31 000 people who could have been on it. (I believe the numbers were only like 25 000 people, but still). 

I also don't care because I think the money could have been better spent. A quick Google search says it all cost at least 1/2 billion dollars. That is an insane amount of money for a party. That money could have been used to help our indigenous peoples, health care, education etc. etc. That sort of money could have meaningfully helped people. That just ticks me off. 

The next big celebration will be in 50 years. Hopefully, I will be lucky and be 92 at it. Maybe I will appreciate the party more then or maybe I just won't care. 

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Treat Trouble

Found this:

No gluten, no soy, but lots of dairy and sugar, and sooooooooooo good! It is going to be the perfect summer treat! 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Standing Desk

NB over at spoke so highly of her standing desk, I since I am going to be working at home more, I decided it was time to get one. For a birthday present for myself, I ordered it from Costco and was excited when it arrived on my birthday!

I need to get a better mat to stand on, but so far I am enjoying it. I am standing for 30-40 minutes and then sitting for about an hour. I am hoping that standing more will help keep my hip loose.  Will keep you posted with how it goes! 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hip, Hip, Really Hurts

My right hip had been feeling tighter than usual so I scheduled a massage. The last time it felt like this the massage really helped it.

This time it was a different experience. I had one of the worst knots the massage therapist had ever seen. She worked really hard to try and get it all out but couldn't. While she was working on it, it was some of the worst pain I had felt in my whole life. I thought I was going to scream or pass out, it was that bad.

The next day, which was a gym day of course, the pain was still about an 8/10. I think F'in Alex was a bit frustrated at the end because he had to modify everything. By the end of the day it was feeling better.

It was doing ok, still a little stiff, until I had this great idea to go on an aerial course. I think the time I fell was the time I sort of hurt it again. I am hoping with stretching and some rest it will be better.  I think I will get another massage sooner rather than later.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Aerial Adventure

To celebrate my birthday this year I decided I wanted to do something 'crazy' and  I selected zip lining. We live 15 minutes and almost every day drive by  Lafleche Aerial Park and Zipline Courses, so there was no excuse not to go.

Ready to go!

Sam signed us up for a 3 hour tour. It included a whole bunch of crazy obstacles, like the pictures I have borrowed from the internet, and some cool zip lining.

This is the last obstacle of the course and felt endless

You are clipped on anytime you are off the ground and you slowly make your way across obstacles and zip lines in a group.

Yesterday was pretty hot. There was also a risk of thunderstorms and rain, but the park runs courses unless someone on the course sees lightning. About 1/2 way in the thunder and rain hit. And by rain I mean it downpour. Every inch of us was soaked and we were called down for about 10 minutes due to lightning before we were given the all clear to return to the sky. At this point Sam, along with 4 others decided to be done for the day. I continued on.

I never felt really scared. I did slip once in the storm but caught myself and I have a pretty nice slip and fall on a very slippery log (not as epic as one of the women in the group who slipped in about the same place and fell off the obstacle and needed a lot of help to get up. When I saw her at the end her arm was already totally bruised).

It was physically very tough and I don't know that if I hadn't been training for 36 weeks if I could have done it. I did rock walls (made extra hard because you have to let go with one hand to move your carabiner), and spider's nets and used muscles I don't usually use except at the gym. I felt strong and I am sure tomorrow (or if you are reading this on the day it goes live Monday) I am going to be sore, but what is new:)

I loved zip lining. They have a zip lining only course I want to go back to! I didn't think I would love that, but I did.

10 people started with our group and 3 finished. I was the first of the group to finish. It was a nice way to end 41 and prepare for 42 (which is the answer to life, the universe and everything - Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Planning Travel

There is some research to suggest that it is the planning of a trip that brings as much joy as the trip itself. This is not the case for me. I do not enjoy planning the details of trips. It is not my thing. Sam generally does this for us and I think he enjoys it.

I dislike the process so much, that I actually procrastinated it. I am not a person who usually procrastinates. But I realized our trip to Oregon to see our blog friends (which I am truly very excited about) was coming soon and I better get on it!

I had already spend like 3 hours figuring out where to stay when meeting up with our friends. I went with my first Air B and B. We had also used our points on our credit card to purchases our flights. This past weekend,  I had to rent the car (which required a lot of shopping around as prices had gone up) and get a hotel in Portland for our first night and one by the airport for the last night as we have an early morning flight out. I am happy to say it is all done now. Maybe now I can just enjoy the waiting for the trip!

From our cruise January 2016 - the Carribean

Tuesday, 6 June 2017


The last 9 months or so has become a test of both my physical and mental strength. To celebrate all I have achieved and to fulfill a dream I got this:

I have wanted a tattoo on my wrist for a very long time and have gone back and forth on the design. I wanted simple (in part because I know how much it hurts and in part because that is who I am) and meaningful.  When I embarked on the physical strength portion of this journey I came across the Japanese kanji for strength. I loved the shape of this kanji and loved that it was Japanese. I lived in Tokyo for 3 of the most amazing months of my life, so Japan will always have a special place in my heart. This image has been on my water bottle since day 1 in the gym, a reminder of my goal. Now, thanks to my BFF who went with me to get this (and gave me the deposit for my upcoming birthday) and get her own first tattoo (and we had a weird and wonderful amazing night) here it is. I am in complete love with it.

While it was touch and go for my BFF she got through it and got her spirit animal:

Picture taken right after hers was done

To celebrate we drank some of these:

I don't think it is an accident an ass was the topper of my drink:)

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Snicker Saturday

It is so true. Next time you pick up something with a label, look, it probably has soy! 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Working Out Without A Trainer

We have now completed 3/5 workouts we are doing while F'in Alex is on vacation. We had a week between sessions with my unexpected stay at my parents. But never fear, I had my yoga mat with me so I was able to do some of that while there.

[FYI: If you are interested in yoga I rotate between using the site and the YouTube channel].

So working out at home without our coach/trainer (who was sweet enough to text me earlier this week to check in on us):

Sam says he likes the time slot at the gym, 8:15 better than the slot at home which weekdays is 6 am. I actually prefer the early time slot. I walk the dogs as my warm up and then get the workout done. In fairness to Sam, he usually only gets up at 6:30, while I often get up at 5 or so. I think he finds the rest about the same. He seems to want to die about the same:)

I like the time slot.I like having my own music and not having to listen to the crappy dance music the gym plays (and not having those horrible songs stuck in my head all day). I like having complete control over what I am doing (the order, the exercises). I like the flexibility of the schedule - my goal is 2 days and if life happens I can more easily move a day. I like not having strangers around (our gym is downtown Gatineau which is a little seedy at times).  I like not having to wait for a change room. I like not having to make sure I have shaved before going to the gym. I like not having to pack all the extra stuff. I like not having to pay to park.

I would say I like training at home better than going to the gym. I think the adjustment back to the gym for the last 13 sessions will be hard. To be honest I would just rather train at home. But I have a contract and be damned if I am going to pay all that money and not go. Besides I may still learn something and I have a collection of random questions to ask F'in Alex (I have a list so I won't forget).

I am grateful that we had these 2.5 weeks to try training alone. It has shown me that it is doable.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Muddling Along

If I made a list of everyone in the world I know and ranked them in order of who I would want to take care of 'sick' people, I would put my dogs higher on it then me. I am not a natural caregiver. The hand holding and being patient isn't my strength. I am the person you call if you want to get shit done. I am a doer, not a carer. So having the opportunity to take care of my parents for a few days has been a challenge.

I have broken my days into the things I need to do which include: making sure everyone has their meds, making sure everyone is fed, making sure everyone has drinks, walking the dog, and doing light housework. I have made this about doing and more than caring.

The biggest challenge is the feeding people. I am not a cook. The first night was the scariest - Mom had lamb chops out to cook, so that is what I needed to cook.  Dad showed me how to turn on the BBQ and Sam nearly died laughing walking me through the cooking of them via FaceTime. I also baked sweet potatoes, asparagus and peas.

My parents had low expectations for this meal (summed up by the following: my mom asking if I knew to lower the rack in the oven before cooking the potatoes, and Sam asking "what were they thinking?"  and "can you order a pizza instead?"). In the end dinner looked like this:

It came out better than expected. More than edible! 

Night two, I decided to play to my strengths and make a pasta dish my parents love. It turned out ok too. 

My dad also wanted ice cream so I made him a banana split. He says it isn't a real banana split because we didn't have maraschino cherries and I had to use a real cherry.

Night 3 - first roasted chicken dinner. The chicken wasn't totally cooked at the bone even though I followed my mom and the internets instructions. But enough was safe for dinner and then I cooked it more for leftovers. 

In the end, I kept my parents alive and at least didn't make things worse:)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Fun Questions To Answer!

I love lists and questions - so when I found this, I thought it would be fun.

First name no, middle name is my mom's

Really cried, October 31  

Thank god I get to type this, you will have a prayer to read it. My printing/writing combo is terrible.


Only fur ones

No idea

Never:)  seriously, all the time, probably too much 

Nope - they had sort of ruptured by the time they took them out. 

No but went skydiving

I can't eat it anymore but alphabets was probably my fav.
My gym shoes are the only ones I would have to and no - I am too tired

Strongest I have ever been and yes I am wonder woman

Can't eat it anymore but mint chip or chocolate peanut butter. Now plain chocolate

No idea - I will have to pay more attention

15. RED OR PINK?  

My anxiety, which sets off my OCD and I get in a horrible cycle

Hmmmmm - I don't really have anyone I miss the most. I have moments where I miss all the people I have lost 
I think I am in a good place with all of this - it is just maintenance

none - bare feet! 

Steak and salad

The TV is on - my parents are watching Family Feud

Blue - probably a dark shade

Grass, chocolate, 5:30 am in the spring, beach

A coworker

I love both but live in my mountain hideaway


Natural - dark brown - current lighter brown with highlights

28. EYE COLOR?  
My father called them "shit brindle" - brown/green hazel

Nope, wear my glasses. Contacts damaged my eyes

Brussel Sprouts

Neither - I like a drama with a realistic ending

Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 - Total amazing Canadian movie




Chocolate mousse 

Strength Training  


Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson - copy given to my great grandmother's sister in 1915

Don't own one


Too young to have an opinion

Not sure if it is Tokyo or Bali

I am exceptionally organized

Deep River

Rural Quebec 

Grey stone

Twlight Blue