Down with moderation – and other 2014 reflections

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away” ~Neil Young

TOTALLY have mixed feelings looking back at 2014.

Love love love love all this:

  • Two amazingly awesome incredible this-is-so-me/can-I-do-this-forever backcountry hiking trips with my coz
  • A 25K trail run, a half-marathon road race, and a handful of smaller trail races
  • A winter snowshoeing backcountry adventure; a crazy road trip to off-season Glacier National Park in Montana; an #unexpecteddrive to Alberta’s badlands = all with my girl, J.
  • Losing 30ish pounds

Not so in love with this:

  • ONLY losing 30ish pounds (it should have been more)

But now I just sound greedy.

Last year I wrote: “2014 is about getting fit, and getting outside.  Losing weight is the icing on the cake + the foam on my beer, but the ultimate goal is to be healthy and fit.”

Anyway, I DID GET OUTSIDE which was my main goal for 2014.  And I had SOOOO much fun.

But I think in my heart of hearts, I didn’t JUST want to get outside. I wanted to be in crazy good shape, have muscles, no body fat and of course, continue to explore the mountains and weigh a whole lot less.  So – I think I need to revamp my goals for this coming year to reflect those thoughts!

If that’s what I really want, I’m going to have to work really hard and be super committed for #LeanMean2015.

[insert whine here] I was really trying to do that “everything in moderation” stuff in 2014 and balance the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of my life, but oddly enough when I stopped going balls to the wall with the weight loss in around June and just followed a ‘program,’ my results were not as dramatic.  True? False?  Hm. Or did I get lazy?

Down with moderation!  Go big or go home.  Will this work in 2015??  WE SHALL SEE.

Game plan to follow!!  Have a DELIGHTFUL New Year’s Eve.

Brokedown palace

It’s been a week of feeling broken down.

Tired, sore, painful, stiff, cold, busted.

I’ve forgotten about the sniffles, and am totally gutted about the sore back.  I returned to the chiro and the lovely young doc dug his thumbs deep into my glutes, my hip flexors, you name it.  The wincing pain mostly stopped after that visit but then everything froze up.  I walked around like I was made of glass, afraid to make any sudden moves.

Doing penance for all those summer months of frivolous hiking, imbibing, etc I’m sad to have wasted all that time not concentrating on my weight loss and overall fitness.  It’s the old story, right? Don’t know what you’ve got until it’s taken away? (HA – this is the part where I get the tough love from Miz J. telling me to BUCK UP and stop feeling sorry for myself and GET ON WITH IT. Thank you, Miz J.)

I swear I will be the workout QUEEN for 90 days solid of fitness and clean eating as soon as my bod is ready to face Tony Horton. I swear.  (Like making promises to God to be good only if…). You’re my witness(es).

On the flip side, I’m excited to get training for more than one reason.  For three reasons, actually.  All will be revealed in time.  It just goes back to having goals, having a WHY.  WHY I/you/any of us want to get in shape and be healthy, happy, awesome.

Oh – AND I’ve started dreaming (literally – like at night, eyes closed and everything) about the Camino de Santiago. Is it time again already?? Hmm….

My newest scheme – P90 (yo Tony!)

Soooo, after an entire summer and first month of fall having LOST NO WEIGHT, I’m onto yet another scheme of awesome.

Backing up a bit… after the 21 Day Fix (which WORKED) I got on board with the newest (at the time) program release from Beachbody, which was PiYo – a combination Pilates/Yoga exercise plan. This program is truly challenging, and it builds strength using your own body weight. You also get more flexible. However, I didn’t follow the PiYo meal plan, and I only half-heartedly attempted to maintain the 21 Day Fix meal plan while doing PiYo. I did do a cleanse – which was really good – but then ate my pounds back on.  It all equals one big bomb.

Blergh.

So – back at it. I’ve got the new Tony Horton program in my hot little paws: P90 = “for everyone.” Super excited about this one, but I totally have that nagging feeling that I won’t stick to the food plan or the workout schedule etc. I got all psyched up for DAY ONE, and then boom! Caught a cold.

Here I am, tip-tap-typing away, snotty as all hell and now with a sore lower back from laying in bed mindlessly watching Netflix with the lap top propped up on my tummy. ALL NOT GOOD.

Fingers crossed that I can de-snot and feel better soon so that I can get started on something new. The year is almost OVER! I need to crack the whip and get into shape here, people.

Seriously.

The agony of the non-scale victory

It’s that time again. When the scale stops moving and every single pound lost is an epic battle to the death.  My weight has been fluctuating a bunch for the past two months but still comes back and settles at 200 lbs.  I don’t WANT to be 200 lbs. Anymore. Ever.

This is the part where I’m supposed to be all

  • I went on two epic backcountry hiking trips
  • The two pairs of summer pants I bought in May from Costco actually fit now, and are on the verge of being too loose
  • Upper body muscle tone is developing slowly but surely
  • I set a personal best for a 5K
  • I feel stronger when I run
  • Blah blah blah

I am simply ungrateful for these changes.

I want to be 50 lbs lighter.

Anyway.  I’m back into running/training mode in order to not die on my next big race.  It’s a 21ish km road race in the mountains at the end of September, and I’d like to finish in a respectable time. My 25K trail race in May took me 4 hours…ahaaa.  I’m aiming for about 3.0 hrs on this next race.  Just a nice steady run.

My PiYo workouts have been terrific for building strength and improving my flexibility.  PiYo kind of surprises you that way. You think nothing is happening but suddenly you’re stronger, more flexible, have endurance, etc.

Over the long weekend, I took the opportunity to clean out my closest to get ready for fall. I love fall. To heck with the lazy days of summer. Fall is fresh, new, clean – truly the start of my new year is September rather than January.  But I digress.

Clothes.  I decided to clean out all my XXL summer clothes from the closet, because by the time next summer rolls around, those won’t fit. Heck, they don’t fit now! They hang off me but I wear them because that’s what I have.

I got out the blue recycling bags and trudged upstairs.  I dug deep into the closet for every last stitch. Shirts, sweater, skirts. XXL. Gone. Into the donation bag.  Some things I’d never even worn, because ultimately, I’d bought them only because they fit but I, in fact, hated them.  In fact, I have a lot of clothes I bought only because they fit. That’s just crap. It steals away who you are. Your identity and self-expression.

But enough whining. The clothes are culled, and I’m left with a skeleton crew of some pants and skirts, and a few sweaters (some of which are still too big but I need SOMETHING to wear to work…).  I started digging through my fall clothes to be proactive and weed out the  big ones, and was delighted to find a bag dedicated to items that were once all too small!  Most of them I can now FIT. Woot.

So, not much has changed since my July weigh-in.  And I apologize for forgetting August – I was in the backcountry at that point and had no Internet or inclination to share stagnant results. [Insert sad face]

For NO EXCUSES SEPTEMBER, the game plan is to lose 6 pounds. SIX. POUNDS.  That shouldn’t be too hard, right? I’m going back on the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, and my workouts will be running, PiYo and the occasional 21 Day Fix workout.

X-Weighted and pushing back

Tackling obesity in youth is a big freaking deal.

What gets me the most is that kids just don’t arrive in this world shoving junk in their faces and sitting around in front of the TV. Nope. As parents, we play a huge part in this.

It kills me to see families taking their kids to McDonald’s regularly or giving the kids Gatorade or pop, and filling their lunches with packaged foods. I did all of this. As parents, we brought the potato chips into the house, didn’t limit the video gaming time, and fed the kids processed foods in the name of time and convenience for ourselves.

In 2009, my family did a Canadian TV program called “X-Weighted.” X-Weighted follows the get-in-shape journey of individuals over a period of six months. Our season of the show featured children and families. My husband and I were both obese, and our junior high-aged boys were overweight.

All of the chubby little kids that season were not feeding themselves junk or sitting on the couch for no reason. The parents have a huge impact. Well – this was us. We were a part of the problem. If not THE problem.

So, we decided to do something about it under the eye of a nation. Or at least, whoever watched the Slice Network.

We got on the show after they’d already started filming due to another family dropping out; that left us with three months of filming. The production company gave us $1,000 towards fitness-related costs. We chose to purchase bikes. Otherwise, we were on our own to figure out what to do to get in shape. The film crew was just there to record the story as it unfolded.

Our first step was to set a goal: at the end of the three months we wanted to do a family bike and hike adventure in the mountains, and be in good enough shape that this wouldn’t kill us and leave us as bear snax in the wilderness.

Second, we tossed out the crap food from the house. Processed foods, mostly. (I became a huge carb Nazi, which I know now was a little extreme, but it worked at the time.) Being the mom and the one who produced 98% of the family meals, I felt an extreme pressure to feed my crew with good stuff – whether they liked it or not. I had to develop a pretty thick skin.

Third, we got active. We hired a trainer, Jordan Galloway, to train us as a family. He had simple, effective boot-camp and gym-based workouts for us twice a week for about 10 weeks. We all pushed through and learned this stuff together, and Jordan worked brilliantly with the boys. The other side of getting active was to do something each evening and weekend that we weren’t meeting with Jordan. We didn’t limit the video gaming time, per se, but we just packed the schedule with walking, swimming, bike rides etc. Both boys learned to ride bikes during this time.

Fourth, we supported each other. This was tricky. My husband is super competitive and always wanted to win the weigh-ins, bike the farthest and burn the most calories. Having young teen boys, this sometimes backfired rather than inspired the kids. Overall, we encouraged and motivated one another to be better – for ourselves and our kids’ health down the road.

I learned a lot about our family during these three months:

  • We’d been doing A LOT around food: snacks at movies, snacks at football games, special seasonal meals, etc. It was disheartening to learn so many of our favourite/regular foods were not really high in nutritional value.
  • When given no choices, the kids conformed and responded nicely. Seriously – taking on that parent role of guiding the kids in their eating habits was beneficial. When they left to go on sleepovers or out with their friends, they knew to make the “best” choices.
  • Taking care of the family felt really positive. My husband supported me in all the menu plans that came to the table. He used to be the first one to say “I don’t like what we’re having for dinner” and go make his own, and eat in front of the TV. Having a united front was a big deal, and eating together at the table, so important.

Over the three months, my husband lost 30 lbs, I lost 29 and the boys each lost 19. Huge difference. We did this by maintaining a healthy nutritional intake and being active. No pills, no shakes, no magic drug. We wrapped it all up with a wonderful family holiday of biking and hiking in Lake Louise and Lake O’Hara.

But you know, what worried me the most was that this wouldn’t stick. I think I even said on camera that I would never want to be 29lbs heavier again, ever. Ever. Why would I do that to myself?

What happened?

Well… we didn’t keep our trainer, Jordan, after the show was done. It was an extra expense that seemed like a luxury. Without Jordan, we didn’t continue the more intense workouts. We did still go out and do things as a family, but we didn’t feel the pressure or obligation to do it quite as often without the cameras on.

Slowly – very slowly – white bread started creeping back in on demand from the family, and the whole grains mostly disappeared. I stopped being the carb Nazi and didn’t push greens as much as I used to. Meal planning – a huge amount of work – fell off the wagon a bit. Bagels, coffee with cream/sugar and the occasional box of Timbits started being a weekly treat from Tim Hortons. “I’ve lost 29 lbs, I deserve a treat.” It took less than a year to lose most of the healthy habits developed during the show. And then I started to gain…

First it was an extra 5lbs back on. Then 7. Then 10lbs, then 15lbs. Eventually, by 2013, I was back up and beyond my starting weight with the show. S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y.

Perhaps part of the challenge is that I never sat down and addressed some of the issues that got me to that weight in the first place. WHY I am morbidly obese. WHY I now want to lose weight. What are my issues, man?? (And trust me, I’m still working on those right now)

Without getting to the meat of the problem, my newfound “fitness” was temporary.

With the exception of my oldest son, all of us gained weight back.

Which is ridiculous.

That’s part of the reason why, in January 2014, I decided to do something about my health, weight and fitness. I know I’ve done it before, and can do it again. So far, this go around, it’s taken me A LOT LONGER. Instead of 3 months to lose 29 lbs, it’s taken me 6 months to lose 35 lbs.

Every single pound is a fight. A lotta blood, sweat and tears.

And I feel like I’m doing it ALONE.

It takes serious drive and stamina (I’m breaking a mental sweat over here, people) to bring in the good stuff and be that lone example in a family of four. Okay, I shouldn’t play the martyr…I’ve been reaching out to friends and thank goodness I have awesome adventure buddies to do things with. BUT they’re not in my house, and seeing me every day, and checking on me to make the right decisions.

Moving forward into the latter half of my FAT TO FIT journey, I’m making promises to myself:

  • The groceries I’m buying are super healthy. I will not pay for any groceries that are crap food. If my husband is along, throwing processed food in my cart, he can pay for that stuff himself. (I know that doesn’t entirely solve the problem but I need to take a stand)
  • I will continue to be a low-key, positive influence in the lives of my family and figure out how to draw them in with love, affection and adoration to be healthier every day.
  • I will invite, invite, invite everyone around me – family, friends, strangers – to be a part of my fitness journey, challenge groups, whatever. Let’s just be ACTIVE.
  • I will get fit.
  • I will not give up.

All said and done, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that working for something good, awesome, right, etc takes time and commitment.

Do it for yourself, and for the positive impact it will have on the people around you, like your family and your little ones.  I wish I had my act together when I was a young mum… a healthier start for MY kids.  Make the change NOW!!

(Wow – second ranting post of the week…lol)

PS: I would link to our X-Weighted episode for you but Slice has removed the majority (if not all) of the X-Weighted episodes from the Slice Network website. If you catch us on re-runs, we  originally aired December 24, 2009, in the episode titled “Hugh.” In all our crazy glory.

AWOL

If you don’t hear from me in quite some time, it’s not because I’m off on an exotic holiday, or that I reached my goal weight and am done blogging… No, it usually means I’m up to no good. And didn’t really want to or know how to share those shenanigans.

Following my 21 Day Fix (woohoo) I checked out mentally. Totally. For like, almost 2 weeks. I was still loosely following the plan in an attempt at round 2 of the Fix, but I skipped some workouts and didn’t eat totally on plan. Maybe I just needed a break?

I’ve really got to ease up on my all or nothing issues (ahhh balance – always my challenge). PiYo trainer, Chalene Johnson, says that if you follow the 80/20 rule, that’s just fine: stick to your program 80% of the time and you’re doing great. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

THE GOOD NEWS is that I’m back 100% and feeling good:

  • Fun times at the Color Me Rad 5K with a great bunch of ladies.
  • My 60-day PiYo challenge group kicked off yesterday with a group of women who are ready to make a change – so excited.
  • My epic hiking trips are just around the corner, the mountains are calling…
  • I sat down and inked a workout regime combining the 21 Day Fix & PiYo sessions plus a running schedule in preparation for my 21K in the September.
  • Summer arrived in Edmonton: sun is out, heat is on. I have a glorious farmer’s tan.

Happy middle of July! Talk soon. xox

Day Twenty-One – (Time flies when you’re having fun)

Last day of the 21 Day Fix!

(Round ONE!)

I’m easing into my last day of the 21 Day Fix feeling pretty awesome.

I had a great breakfast (eggs, toast, Greek yogurt, blueberries and strawberries), caught up on some email, did a few chores, then will get my Yoga Fix done for the day.  It’s not quite lunch time here, and the rain is pounding down outside.  All around good times…

I’ve now lost 7.5 lbs in total.  I’ll post my weight and measurements tomorrow for the “final” results.

I really like the meal plan and the workouts. Never have I been so consistent in working out than with this program. Even when I was training for my 25K run, I would fudge days and put it off.  With the 21 Day Fix, I can say to myself “it’s only 30 minutes” and it can be done at home. No driving, no packing up stuff, no changing/showering at the gym…it’s been so easy to get it done.

And with that, I feel pretty accomplished. It’s almost easy to succeed, if that makes sense. You are totally set up for success with the way the program is organized.

Here are some food pix of meals I’ve made with the 21 Day Fix portioning. Like I’ve said before, there are LOTS of food options, but I’m a creature of habit and often eat the same things over and over…

chicken pasta 21 day Choc PB banana Shakeo butterscotch yogurt mango butterscotch

parfaitShay salad 21 butterscotchYogurt parfait butterscotch