Saturday, October 31, 2009

"When you make a change, you make a difference"

So I've been following the Body for Life program for some time. A while back I had invested in the Body for Life Journal. Each day Bill writes a Lesson for Life. So I thought it would be great to use the lesson as a jumping off point.

I've been working hard to get myself back in shape. Will I ever look like I did when I was in the best shape of my life (22)? Who knows. It's not impossible. It might take me a while ... I'm a long way from 22. OMG that was half my lifetime ago. Chronologically. Of course I don't feel, act or look it (so I've been told). And I think you only get better with age....

So I've been making changes. To my nutrition, my workouts, my habits. And they've been paying off. I can only hope that by being an example to others, I can encourage them to tackle whatever it is they want to accomplish. Better health, weight loss, changing a job ... whatever it is that they want to do but they have something that's holding them back.

Not only am I eating healthier and making wiser choices when I go out for meals, I have more energy to keep going all day. I finally found the nerve to start complimenting people ... on what they're wearing, what they're doing, what they say ... whatever. I used to think it all the time but I was afraid to speak up. Of course people I know, it's easy. Total strangers ... not so much. But I've always admired people who can. And I always wanted to. So slowly but surely I'm speaking up more. And most people appreciate it. And if I can put a smile on someone's face, I've accomplished my mission.

So speaking of change, I thought this would be a good place to share my changes. The before pics were taking about 15 months ago ... then after just 1 week ago. I've had a few setbacks since starting my journey in Sept 08. Spent most of last winter sick (colds, infections, whatever ... nothing critical though thankfully) and wasn't able to work out for almost 3 months. But I started in earnest on March 22, 2009 and have only missed 2 weeks recently because of a sinus infection that put me out of commission.

If I can encourage one person to make a change from this ... I'm a happy girl.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Patience needed

It's really hit me the past few days. We seem to have become a society that's impatient, self-absorbed, intolerant. Maybe it's the GO train community ... maybe they're former TTCers. Pushy, impolite, rude, just gotta get in to get that seat even if you have to step on, push aside or smack somebody else with your umbrella, purse, napsack. It used to be such a civilized mode of transporation. And it's still a damned site better than the TTC. But this is not meant to be a rant. Did that. Don't need to repeat right now.

I'm a firm believer in "pay it forward". Hold a door open for someone else, whether they need it or not. It's just the polite thing to do. Man or woman, doesn't matter. I was getting off the train tonight and I heard a woman say to a man, you're losing your (coat) belt, and caught it for him. Even a smile goes so far. I know I always feel better when someone smiles at me ... if I'm paying attention enough, I tr to make sure I smile back.

People don't need grand gestures ... even the little things can make a person's day. Like saying "I like your shoes". Yes, I have a little shoe fetish.... It can make a person's day.

It always amazes me how pleasant and polite and happy people can be during the Christmas holidays. Why can't we be like that all year round.

I'd like to issue a challenge to anyone interested ... make it a habit of complimenting or encouraging at least 1 person every day. It's amazing how good it'll make you feel.

I do have a confession to make. This is not really my idea. Bill Phillips writes about the "Universal Law of Reciprocation" which is basically what I've said above. It helps us get outside ourselves a little and encourages someone else. You never know when your encouragement or compliment can make someone's day when they're having a really bad one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I need to rant ....

I try to be a logical, practical person who thinks before she panics. Of course that doesn't always happen, but I'm trying.

I got home tonight, turned on CP24 (why, I have no idea) and all I hear is about H1N1and the panic that's spreading because a 13 year old boy died a couple of days ago. Was it tragic? absolutely. should it have happened ... absolutely not. Apparently he had asthma (underlying condition) which put him at a much higher risk. Since that story broke (and of course they keep harping and harping and harping about it), Sick Kids is being inundated, emergency rooms are overcrowded more than usual, Telehealth Ontario at 6:00 p.m. was a 7 hour wait to speak with a nurse.

People. PLEASE keep your heads about yourselves. Be smart. Be safe. But please don't panic. The vast majority of people who contract it have nothing worse than any other type of flu. Do I start to feel panicky from time to time the more I hear about it? Absolutely. Do I try my best to stay calm and rational. Absolutely.

One of the biggest scourges of our day is the blasted media. Instead of just informing people of the situation and stressing prevention, they go on. and on. and on...... making a mountain out of a molehill (not that this flu is trivial, I'm not saying that at all. We're inundated with media. Everywhere. Of course it's our decision whether to read, listen or watch or not.

So do your best to stay healthy. Eat healthy, fresh, REAL food (not the processed crap and fast food that so many of us (myself included from time to time) eat), drink lots of water, take your vitamins (especially C), get plenty of fresh air and exercise.

I'm going to check with my doctor but I suspect I'll be off to get a flu shot (I get the general one every year). Being asthmatic makes me a little nervous. But we'll see. I know the concerns about it being relatively untested.

So here's to good health and keeping our heads about us.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soul searching

When I started this journey it was about getting fit and healthy, and that's what a lot of this blog has been about. I try to encourage others, be an example of what can be done. What I have done hasn't been miraculous and certainly hasn't been without its share of ups and downs ... of frustrations and questioning.

I do know that I cannot go back to the way things used to be. I can't carry that weight anymore. I can't be so tired and drained and directionless. So many changes have occurred on this journey. Not only have I removed a bunch of fat, gained a bunch of muscle, I've gained confidence. In who I am and what I do ... for a living and as a human being. I'm not afraid to look at people.

It's been a strange occurrence ... to have people actually look at me, look me in the eye, to smile at me. At first I thought there was something wrong. Did I have something on my face? Were my clothes askew? What was wrong? I finally realized that it wasn't about what was wrong, but rather what was right. The confidence is there. I've been told I look approachable. People start talking to me when I'm out and about. Guys (usually black guys ... I certainly don't mean any offence ... I love them ... they so much less inhibited than us "white folks") smile and say "hey".

If I can make somebody smile, encourage someone, especially when they're down, be some sort of positive influence on just one person, I'm a happy camper.

I've questioned myself a lot over the years...questioned my purpose in life. Some people do such spectacular things with their lives, I feel a little intimidated and inadequate. But then I realize that we're all here for our own purpose. And whether that's to be a great parent and raise great kids, to care for parents or other loved ones when they ill, to generally be a positive role model for others ... so other people can see what a difference they can make ... we don't all have to be Mother Teresa or Ghandi or a surgeon or missionary. Just being that best "you" that you can be ... is a life well invested.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reshaping your body ... it is possible

I was working out yesterday morning and it hit me again ... it really is possible to reshape your body with weight training. I've been alternating strength training and circuit training. I've never had much of a rear. I was blessed (cursed?) with my mother's rear. Everything else I got from my dad (other than the obvious ... I'm not sure where they came from) ... HE actually had a nice butt. I digress ... again. When I started this journey I had a fairly flat butt, no shape and wider at the hips than the cheeks. But things are a changin'! I actually have shape to my bottom. And my waist is coming back. My "natural" shape is an H. I'm rather thick waisted ... always have been. But it's been so great to see the fat going and the muscles taking shape again ... my legs are doing better ... my abs are deplorable. You mean I actually have ab muscles??? I haven't seen them in YEARS! But that's ok, 'cause I'm workin' on it. I sure didn't get here overnight and I sure won't get to my goal overnight.

But the moral of my long story, not to tell you what I've done ... rather to show you what CAN be done. It's not easy. It takes a lot of work ... especially in your 40's ... but it is so worth it! So I encourage you ... if you really want to make some changes ... you can. It is possible. You just need to find what works for you. Of course I highly recommend the Body for Life program. It's simply (not easy), sensible and straightforward. You can find the link on the front page of this blog.

So have a great day ... and never stop pursuing your dreams.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Everything in perspective ...

So the other day on Barry's blog, he talked about all the crap we went through last year (from my breaking my finger, chest infection and breaking my ankle ... all in January 2008), to his dad's heart attack (he's ok now after a triple by-pass and pacemaker), my mom dying, Barry's accident ... and the list went on.

I was at the hair salon on Friday, we were almost done so I called Barry to pick me up. He didn't answer his phone. Gotta admit, I was a little annoyed. I tried again 5 minutes later. He picked up and said hi and handed the phone to his companion ... they were having tea at Starbucks in Chapters. P is this amazing man who we met when we were renovating our kitchen. He spent hours (literally) with us ... it was a learning experience for all of us. We were trying to get the kitchen designed right with the cabinetry and we were using Mills Pride ready to assemble. So we had to be precise with our measurements. My brother had re-designed the original kitchen about 26 years prior. We gutted it but kept a very similar footprint since the basics worked so well. With 3 doorways and a window in a room about 11.5 x 13 feet, and it was basically a box, it was tricky.

So I digress (shocking I know). It turns out that they found tumours in P's stomach and bowel. Before he had a chance to have surgery, he had a heart attack and almost died 3 times on the table. Fortunately the tumours were benign. Did I mention his dad died just after he finally had surgery? And he's only 57, not overweight, eats well, fairly healthy. Yeesh. I might be a little off on the details ... I wasn't there and Barry was so overloaded with info he's not sure he got it all right ... but suffice it to say that what he's gone through in the past few months has given me a new perspective on our 2008.

So the moral of my story ... live life to the fullest. If you're in a situation that's affecting your health (mental or physical), try to do something about it. Whether it's therapy, a new job, getting out of a toxic relationship ... doesn't matter. Life is just way too short to stay in a situation that causes you to lose sleep, get sick (mentally or physically), or any other host of problems. I know it's way easier said than done. But I've been in a few situations that took me way too long to get out of. But once I did, life was so much better.

so much going on ....

I got a little lazy yesterday and didn't post. Lots of stuff happening.
- got back on track with Body for Life
- went to see Chris Botti (he's contemporary jazz trumpeter who is PHENOMENAL!) perform life at Massy Hall
- we're taking a break from the last model contest of the year ... Barry's only entered 1 item and isn't sure he'll actually place this time but I have faith ... it's a beautiful military motorcycle
- I've ordered a couple of new pieces of jewellery from my sister ... her stuff has advanced a lot since she first started ... or I should say my sister and her daughter (see my link to for some beautiful hand-crafted one-of-a-kind jewellery)
- we're having a really nice long weekend ... nothing earth shattering ... just pretty relaxing.
- got my hair cut and shaped. It's still fairly long but has more style to it now ... gotta tell you ... my stylist Ray is AMAZING!
- tomorrow I ramp things back up on my workouts ... I took it fairly easy last week because I didn't want to get sick again ... but I've only got 11 weeks left and some pretty lofty goals so I gotta kick it.
- life is great ... be sure you enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Encouragement and Understanding

Things have been going a little crazy at work lately. Like nobody else is experiencing THAT one. But I'm happy to still HAVE my job, which for the most part I enjoy. It's not boring even though reviewing commercial leases SOUNDS boring, but there's always something to learn. A couple of my co-workers have been laid off recently. But they're expected to work until the end of next week which is really hard.

So I've been trying to encourage them and stay positive. It's amazing how just a little encouragement helps people. Whether it's work, a fitness program, a new hobby, whatever. I think we got so caught up in "the grind" that we forget to encourage others. It doesn't cost us anything. Just a couple of minutes. And it can mean the world to someone. Because we never know what other people are going through.

One of my girlfriends was coming up the escalator at the GO station this morning and the "rule" is to stand right, walk left. A guy was stopped on the left side, texting. She politely said "excuse me" which he ignored. So then she responded "why do you have to be so rude", to which he looked back, smirked and went on texting. As she approached our "spot" where I was waiting, she turned to the guy and said "hope you don't get hit by a car" to which he smirked. Of course our initial response was "how RUDE". And while there was no need for him to stand in the way (he could have moved to the right ... instead he made everyone else walk around him), and I admit my initial reaction was "you're really not THAT important that it can't wait until you're stationary somewhere". But then it occurred to me. Maybe it was something important. Maybe it was earth shattering news and he simply couldn't wait until he got into "position". For those who do the whole commuter train thing ... you'll understand.

I'm trying very hard to remind myself that while things may appear to be one way, we really don't know the other person's situation and should make judgements. Cause we never know when we'll need someone else's understanding.

So have a great night ... the weekend's almost here. And Barry and I are off to see Chris Botti (contemporary jazz musician ... he plays the trumpet) tomorrow night so we'll be in touch on Friday! Enjoy.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I've actually started checking out more blogs lately. Barry's got some interesting blogging friends and I stumbled across one of the blogs that Cindy follows and WOW! It's the first time I've been brought to tears reading someone's work. Maybe it's the mood I'm in. Maybe what he wrote just hit me right at this time. And he's only 28. Which kinda sounds a like condascending and I certainly don't mean it to be. I try to remember what I was like at 22 or 28 or even 35. I think my 45th birthday approaching is starting to have an effect on me. I mean, I sure don't feel it, and have been told I don't act or look it. Being child-free probably helps HUGE.

My hope is to someday have that kind of effect on someone. Whether it's the blog or in person, I don't care. I think we get so caught up sometimes in living and running and working and trying to do all the things we want to do that we forget to slow down, stop and smell and roses. (sorry, that sounds a little cliche but it's true).

Life is too short and people are too precious to take for granted. We all need to do our little bit to help ... to be a positive influence ... to help the environment ... to make someone else's life a little better.

A family member got word today that her mother-in-law in dying. Her husband made it out to be with his mom. I hope she gets there in time too. It's a long trip for her and I hope that she makes it. Reminds me of the call I got when my mom was slipping away. It doesn't matter how old, or how sick they are .. it still hurts.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 1, Week 1 of Body for Life Challenge

So today finally arrived and I got up later than expected but did my workout, ate healthy, stayed away from the potato chips that Barry ate beside me, although I do confess I had to have a little coke (caffeine issues) but today was good all round.

I took my measurements again today for the first time in 2 months and good news/bad news ... not a lot of change. Down a little here and there but the important thing was I didn't go up. And oddly enough I really wasn't that disappointed. I knew things weren't working like I wanted them too. So I decided to change things and go back to Body for Life. It's worked in the past and no reason why it wouldn't work now.

So wish me luck and I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

my biggest fear

Barry recently tagged me, to which I responded on his post. One of the questions was your biggest fear. I originally said losing Barry, which still holds true. But that is something I may not have any control over.

My biggest fear, over which I have total control, is becoming the stereotypical middle aged woman. I listen to a lot of women in my age bracket. They're overweight. Tired. Stressed. Caught in the middle between growing children and aging parents. And of course we women think we're invincible and responsible for everything and everyone.

I listen as they complain of bad knees, spoiled kids, husbands who don't help, lack of time. I could go on and on but you get the point. And yet they do nothing to change this. They don't seem to be able to find the time or the inclination to do anything about it. I've spoken with a couple of women recently who know they need to change things ... to get some exercise. Neither of them has been able to get into it. I told both of them that they will do it when they're ready.

I know. I tried for YEARS to lose fat and get fit. I started and stopped. I talked about it. I planned for it. But nothing stuck until I started getting up at 4:30 a.m. Is it the answer for everyone. Absolutely not. Do I recommend it. Absolutely. Not the 4:30 part. But the early morning workout part. It's liberating. It takes discipline. But it's totally worth it. Does a structured daily workout work for everyone. Absolutely not. If you like to dance ... dance. If you like yoga, do yoga. If you love to walk ... get outside ... take the spouse, the kids, the dog, the neighbour. Whoever.

The important thing to do is to do SOMETHING. Anything. It's not about losing fat and getting fit although it's definitely a nice bonus. But it's about doing something for YOU. To make YOU feel good about YOU. It's not for the boss, the spouse, the parents or the kids. It's something that makes YOU feel good.

We (humans) were never meant to sit on our rear ends all day. We were meant to move to stay limber. Staying active gives us more energy. Keeps us young. Keeps our joints limber.

But to help even further, I highly recommend supplementation. Find a good, reputable health food store. Or go to a nutritionist and/or a naturopath.

Short story long, ladies ... take care of yourself. You're too special, and too important to neglect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

back to work ...

so I felt pdretty great this morning. started feeling a little rough by lunch ... went out for wings and felt better ... until this afternoon. "they" say that the air quality is acceptable. I think they're "standard" is completed (#&#) UP! by the end of the day i felt like crap again. But now that i'm home with my hunny and my restless Squeezel (that's one of Widget's many names), I feel much better. except for when he (Widget that is) walks over my chest en route to daddy.

only 3 days left of the week and then I get back to working out again. YAY!

Monday, October 12, 2009

coming around

I'm actually starting to feel better. It's been a week since I felt good. It's been a long haul but today I finally had the energy to make my hubby chocolate chip cookies, an extra latte, fruit salad, chopped up the veggies for the week, even did a bit of clean up outside and went for a little walk.

I finally feel like I've turned a corner. So this week I'll be going for walks and reading up on Body for Life again. I'll get back at it on Sunday, following the Body for Life method.I love the workouts and the meal plans are so easy to follow and nutritious.

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

starting to feel human again

So it hit Tuesday morning. And has knocked me on my ass since then. I thought I was going to cough up a lung or two the last couple of days. It's been breaking up so I guess that's a good thing. Gross. But good.

First time I've been on the computer since Wednesday night. And yes, I do get VERY sucky when I'm sick. I don't want to be around anyone other than Barry and him I need around. Anyway ... life goes on.

I actually got outside and we did a little clean up in the yard. Not much mind you, but at least it got me outside and moving. Felt great. It was a nice day so I'm happy to have spent the half hour or so working. And tomorrow it will continue. Go for a walk in the morning (that's about as much cardio as I can handle right now) and do a bit of ab work and slowly get back into my routine.

Dinner's ready so I must run.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

feeling like crap and a little lonely

it must be the sinus infection. I've been home alone for the past 2 days ... I don't do well alone for too long.

you gotta be careful what you put out there ... Monday morning I got up and thought "I'd love to take a week off" and the next day I'm flat on my back.

but that's life ... I'll just get healthy again and get back to working out. I miss it. It does my attitude a world of good as well as my body.


Monday, October 5, 2009

and another sinus infectioin ....

I've been wondering why I've been feeling tired and dragged out. Figured it out today. Another sinus infection. You know, I've been eatiing well, working out, drinking lots of water, doing everything right and I still got an infection.

But no matter, I'll keep a positive attitude, drink lots of water, get lots of sleep (yeah right).
Speaking of sleep, I hear my bed calling ....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

a different kind of workout

So we went to a DJ Tiesto concert last night. I think I danced for about 3 1/2 hours straight. Nothing extremely strenuous ... just constant. Great concert ... had a blast despite the cigarettes and pot. There wasn't a lot around me so I was able to deal with it. But what a great alternative workout instead of my usual Sunday morning cardio session.

Even though I have 5 weeks left instead of 4, I'm changing up my circuit training sessions for the next 5 weeks. The weights keep going up and up and I'm almost at stregth training levels. I should increase my reps to 12-15 instead of 10 and up my cardio between sets from 30 to 60 seconds but I"m already working 50 minutes straight. But I'll start with 12 reps instead of 10 to see how much longer this takes.

Had a pretty lazy day ... slept in until almost 10:30 which only happens on EXTREMELY rare occasions .... I feel a little guilty about it ... but not enough to do anything about it. And it's off to bed in a couple of hours. Yeesh.

You know, sometimes it really sucks to be so regimented in my schedule. I used to be a lot more spontaneous and kinda fly by the seat of my pants. But I guess that's what got me into this shape in the first place. So if I have to make some sacrifices to get where I want to be ... I guess I make some sacrifices. It'll be worth it in the long run.

It hit me today ... Barry was so excited about the concert last night and still high as a kite (so to speak) today about it. I tried to think about who or what would get me so pumped up and I couldn't think of anything or anyone. Which is really sad. It feels like I've kinda lost a bit of that spark in my life and I don't know why. But I'm determined to find it again....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Major Life Events

So my hubby and a few friends have listed their major events in their lives, whether they're interesting, life changing, whatever. So I thought I'd do something shocking and follow suit.

  • Met the love of my life and actually married him.
  • Nursed my Dad through his final couple of months.
  • Reconnected with my sister after way too many years ... to bad she had to get sick to bring us back together ... over something that was said but not meant. I didn't even remember saying it.
  • Flew in the cockpit of a Dash 8 airplane during landing in Atlantic City (obviously this one happened a LONG time ago)
  • Drove a Via Train (again ... a LONG time ago) ... I had met a guy, who turned out to be a baggage handler and he took me up to the engine. This was out in the middle of freeking nowhere and I got off the train with a complete stranger. Yes, I was a young and stupid. And trusting. And the world was a different place 20 years ago.
  • Had breakfast with the White Lions at the Metro Zoo early in the morning before the zoo opened. Barry and our friends D&H were with us. Before kids. THAT was a long time ago. (see a trend here ... my life got a little stable after I got married)
  • Got followed by a guy along Spadina and Dundas when I was 22 and had JUST moved downtown T.O. ... walked into the Police Station, told the cop I was being followed, to which he said "I don't blame him, I'd follow you myself". Great cop...
  • Volunteered as a Big Sister.
  • Went to Vegas when I was 19 ... say Bolder City and Hoover Dam.
  • Helped hubby renovate the main floor of our house (bungalow) with little help from contractors. Everything from planning to demo to drywalling.
  • Dug up about 3,000 s.f. of sod over a 12-18 month period ... got bit by the gardening bug and kept expanding.
  • Helped hubby build a deck and pergola.
  • Met some crazy neighbours who I absolutely adore. And their friends ... some of whom (K) are some of my favourite people.

You know, I just realized that my life has really been fairly uneventful. Time to change that. We're going to a DJ Tiesto concert (trance/dance music) with about 8,000 other people. All ages. THAT will be interesting.

So what about you? What interesting/exciting/major things have happened in your life?
Lemme know. Love to hear from you.