Current Happenings

Plains & Pastures Bike Tour (2013)

I'm so proud to live here! Fredericton folks are just AMAZING!!!  Thank you one and all!!  My team raised over $2000.  The support was humbling.  What a great place to be!!!

Mind you, the journey isn't about me - it's about people who fight this horrible disease on a daily basis.  If you're reading this now, I hope you'll come back and sponsor me in the ride next time. 


Bike for Breath

Many thanks to everyone and their generosity.  The amazing people in my life supported me to the tune of $377.  Some days it is just great to be here!   (Fall 2012)


Entries in Attitude (7)


Suck it up.

When I start feeling really down, reality always smacks me a good one.  I've definitely been overwhelmed lately.  Nothing overly bad in any corner - just took on too much at once. "Coping" is kind of like "experience".  You don't figure out how to cope until you're over your head.  Just like experience is another word for mistakes so that you can recognize them when you do it again. 

As things get ticked off the "to-do" list, molehills start looking less like mountains and you tell yourself to just suck it up. 

I got a wonderful email from my cousin yesterday.  She'd gone looking for inspiration in my blog.  Now that is just seriously cool.  Someone who knows me well and still thinks I've got something worth reading?  Mind boggling actually.  Thanks L!

Swimming is part of my daily routine.  This is what I do with my lunch time.  I don't dare let myself skip a day, because that's the thin edge of the wedge.  Skip one, skip two and pretty soon you've quit.  So, I go.  Every day, rain or shine, whether I feel like it or not.  Joel Runyon would say "embrace the suck".  I go.  Just get in the pool and kick the crap out of the water.  Crawl out exhausted and smug.  Yes.  Daily workout?  Check.  Good girl.

When I feel like this, I tend to just get in and get out.  However, one of the aquastretch people was in the changing room and she's a nice, chatty, friendly type so she wasn't having any truck with my hermit mode.  Somehow or other conversation gets around to motivation and she outright tells me how much I motivate her.  Now I DID in fact say "Thank you" but my brain was totally stuck on "HUH?"  And she goes on to say that she gets a kick watching me move my little bead on the string with every lap, and she thinks to herself that if she keeps on with her programme she'll soon be able to swim laps in the pool too.

Now that is just way too cool for words.  In truth I hardly know her from Adam's housecat, but in the bizarre world that is the changing room, somehow she's looking to me for motivation.  Holy cow.  I had absolutely no clue. 

That's when you give yourself a good swift kick in the pants and say "Suck it up".  Get over yourself.  There's 2 examples of helping others when my head was nowhere near the game.  Just imagine if I paid attention?  Scary stuff.  Probably one of the best possible reasons to become a trainer.

Everybody keeps ragging about "before" and "after" pictures, and I keep saying "But I'm not done!".  Nobody listens.  FINE  Here's what before and after 134 looks like.


Building a better attitude


"Like a cat on a hot tin roof.  Sometimes winning is just hanging on."

Those lines have stuck in my brain for a long time.  It’s from a play by Tennessee Williams, but I remember the movie version with Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives.  Taylor’s character fights the odds and the family she married into -- that’s her classic answer for why she doesn’t just pack up and leave.  Attitude is so dependent on the outlook you choose.  I say that deliberately because in truth there is nothing for me to complain about.  So it’s time to choose a better attitude.

The single best way to do that is do something for somebody else.   I’m gathering a team of crazy people to join me in a bike ride supporting Multiple Sclerosis.  Why MS?  Because it’s a horrible disease.  I see folks with it in the care centres where I take my Therapy Dog. 

AND....  Because I can.  It’s a bike ride.  I can do that.  Last summer I was biking approx. 125 kilometres a week.  The Plains & Pastures Bike Tour is approx. 125 kms in two days.  I’ve got three months to train up for it.  Here goes......

I absolutely HATE fundraising.  I console myself knowing that it is in support of a good cause, and I can do it with a clear conscience since none of the money is going in my pocket.  I’ve already paid my registration costs, so EVERY PENNY I raise goes to the MS Society.

If anybody has a brilliant idea for fundraising I’d like to hear it.  So far here’s my list of things I’m going to do:

1) Sew a few bags -- raffle them off.

2) Present a seminar on how I’ve lost my 134 pounds -- ask for freewill donations

3) Present a seminar on Animal Assisted Therapy -- I’ve been doing that with my dogs for over 20 years now so people might register for something like that if they know the money is going for a good cause.

Between my husband and I we need to raise $500.  Clearly we need a few more ideas!!!


Cutting myself some slack...

Sometimes things get so messed up that you can’t see the forest for the trees.  What trees?  Focus is an issue of late .....  WHAT has to GIVE?  I always wonder how I get myself into these frazzled situations, it always starts with good intentions.

So let’s recap ....

1)  I work full time.  Check.  Millions of people do that every day and it’s lucky to have a good job in this neck of the woods.  
2)  I have a family.  Check.  Again I’m blessed.  
3)  I have a busy family and my daughter needed a coach for the school team or else there wouldn’t be a team.  OK --- a half dozen other children stand to lose out too.  OK.  So we’re coaching.  That has ended up being four times per week.  Ugh. OK Just suck it up buttercup.  Children deserve opportunities and they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about the work they cause their parents.  So shut up already and be grateful that a handful of teenagers are actually willing to listen to you at certain times of the day...... SO Check.
4)  I have some really, really great friends and it just happens that one of them needs to take her son for surgery, so I’m babysitting her dog.  This is NOT a problem: it’s a good dog, super nice temperament and it gets along just fine with my own two dogs.  Check.  In truth this isn’t a huge favour at all -- it’s more like extra play time with somebody else’s dog ...... that is until the guest dog went into heat!!!!!  OH SIGH.  OK -- NOW this has become a favour!!!  A highly milkable favour .....  LOL.  But in the meantime I’m coping with two male dogs and a female in heat ..... OK ... CHECK
5)  Then there’s this whole weight loss journey thing ..... and the golden opportunity I’ve got to make a difference in other people’s lives by getting the YMCA Fitness Leadership training.  This is a privilege.  There’s support and guidance for me getting into this whole scary venture, mentors, instructors, the whole nine yards.  Wahoo ... CHECK.  Oh but wait -- it’s now adding up to FOUR weekends since the end of January -- and there’s homework for each session too ...... OK this is starting to add up to a lot of time now .....
6)  That should explain the enfrazzlement.  
So what gives?  Quit work?  Ummm tempting but impractical.  Quit being a parent?  Ummm even less practical.  Put the dog on the street?  Ummm no.  Quit the course?  NO -- that’s not an option.  Not only would it mean a long wait until they’re offered again, it would mean an even longer wait before I could make a difference.  This is important to me.  This is someplace I have some unique perspective that could really help someone turn their life around like I did. 

So nothing gives ..... just some things will get finished sooner than others.  By summer this will be something to laugh about ....

Actually something gives: some slack.  I’m down to only losing approx 1/2 pound per week in the last 6 weeks.  You know what?  That’s still none too shabby.  It’s not like Christmas where I was pleased with just not gaining over the holidays.  I’m still losing ...... Time to cut myself some slack.  Things WILL come out in the wash.


Confidence - Arrogance - Ignorance and Fine Lines

One of the things I’ve been doing for the past year and a half has been to read and learn as many things as I can about nutrition, physiology, exercize and metabolism.  

My brain likes to see the big picture, then start attaching details.  I liken this to one of those old fashioned mug racks hanging on the wall.  Without building the rack in the first place, you’ve got nowhere to put the cups.  So making tea is a waste of time because you’re not going to be able to find any cups.  When the  brain fog begins to clear, this approach often leads me to question the underpinnings of positions, opinions, recommendations, etc.  I’ve had a couple aha moments lately.  There is no shortage of expert guru’s out there.  The trick is in sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Coach Michael Boyle has achieved serious guru status in strength, conditioning and all things sports in the USA.  I figured that I could probably learn a lot from his materials.  I certainly did, but not what I was expecting.  He wrote an article in 2010 about training an obese client, and actually talked about how much he didn’t know for a client like this and how often you see trainers making recommendations that are dangerous and foolish.  OK - this is a good start.  I can relate to humble.  Then a few things started jarring.
“In the real world psychology is job one when taking on an overweight client. Overweight clients are conditioned to fail. You have to remind yourself that this will probably not be the first time this client has attempted to lose weight or to change their diet. ...... snip.... If you want to succeed with your overweight clients you must be willing to become the biggest part of their support structure. Daily emails, texts and or phone calls will be essential to insure compliance and encourage continued participation. Very often your relationship with the client may be the only thing that prevents them from giving up.”

Oh my.  These poor little obese morons that are so utterly dependent upon YOU for salvation?  What the hell happened to the education process and working yourself out of a job?   Daily communication to insure compliance??  You have got to be kidding me.....  Why would you think that??  Because fat people are incapable of managing anything without your divine trainer help?  

Then came the kicker:  I have done a lot of research and have come to a simple conclusion. Overweight people generally eat too much.

There it is.  Obesity is purely because these poor morbid fools with no control and no drive and who haven’t managed to do anything but give up in their lifetime JUST EAT TOO MUCH.  Really?  I so wish I’d seen this post 20 years ago.  It would have answered a lot of questions.    

Adding much insult to injury, he goes on:  Think ready, fire, aim but, aim a little low with an obese client instead of a little high. I love “don’t worry be crappy” and “ready, fire, aim”. I learn well on my feet. Just remember to use your common sense and keep it simple. These are not athletes.

Not an athlete?  Really?  So biking a few thousand kilometres and swimming a few hundred kilometres is not a feat of athleticism because obese people are not athletes?  Needless to say I did NOT spend 40 clams on his videotaped lecture on the training programme for his ONE client.  With this belittling and patronizing attitude I am actually surprised that this one client was happy with the process.

This article had set my teeth on edge, and while the ignorance was blatant I couldn’t let it go.  Then it struck me.  This person is probably one of those lucky bastards that won the genetic lottery and has never battled weight in their entire life.  One of the smug ones that think they’ve got all the answers, but in fact don’t even understand the question.  I moved on (finally).

This whole lesson came to the fore again just a few days ago when a trainer I was following on twitter made a vaguely similar comment.  

My advice - Stop trying to get a PhD in endocrinology by studying blog posts and articles about hormones and hormone interactions and stick with this simple plan:   Consistency of Effort in the gym + eating a little less than you want to.

OMG.  Are you kidding me?  Fat people are fat because they’re inconsistent in the gym (aka lazy slobs) AND they eat too much?  Forget all that endocrinology mumbo jumbo and get your big-mouthed lazy ass to the gym.  That’s all that’s wrong with you.

Well here’s a news flash for anybody who happens to think that little quote is anything but utter crap.  I’m eating MORE than I was eating back when I couldn’t lose and I’m now exercizing LESS than I was doing before and still losing weight.  

Until I actually figured out EXACTLY what was happening to my body and why following the Canada Food Guide is utter nonsense, then I was susceptible to ill-fitting advice from guru’s just like this one.  I’m whittling the Twitter list down now to a small selection of trainers (that is getting fewer all the time), medical doctors, nutritionists, some psych & motivation folks, and a LOT of researchers.  

In fact, I’m getting to the point where I don’t put much stock in advice from anyone who hasn’t personally conquered over a hundred pounds in their life.  I’ve tried diets.  I’ve tried starvation.  I’ve tried manual labour AND exercizing to excess.  I’ve tried psych counseling.  I’ve tried Over-Eaters Anonymous.  I’ve even dabbled briefly in hypnosis.  

NONE of that stuff worked until I started to understand the interactions among nutrition and hormones and exercize.  Buddy was right on one thing: you don’t need an PhD in endocrinology.  I’m doing just fine thank you.   And that’s why I’m going to become a trainer.  

I’m into a new book right now by Abigail C. Saguy called “What’s Wrong With Fat?”.  She’s a sociologist looking at the construct of the obesity problem and how the way we think about the problem sets up the solutions we advocate to cure it.  She talks about one approach as the “Immorality Frame” where being fat is “condemned as evidence of sloth and gluttony”(p.40).  

Indeed.  Both people spurring my rant today have clearly bought into that frame.  I have six key words in response: 

Genetic lottery,


Go Fly a Kite. 

Here's a picture off Facebook that says it all.


Have you been sick?

What gives?  People are starting to ask with great regularity whether or not Alan or I have been sick.  Are you kidding me?  Is that the most common thing that people think of when you lose weight? 

The first time it happened I thought it was amusing and the person was embarassed.  Now it's getting tiresome.  Alan's staff are even getting fed up answering questions because people are scared to ask Alan himself .... just in case it gets all awkward or something -- like maybe he's going to actually spill the gory details of medical procedures or something.


It is an incredibly sad commentary if that's the first thing people think of!! Is it so very unusual to turn your health around?  Judging by the increasing regularity of this question, I'm beginning to think so.  

Another thing that's beginning to creep me out:  being called an "inspiration".  That's just way too much pressure.  Ghandi was an inspiration.  I'm just melting the lard off my butt.  That's it - that's all.  Getting healthy - one day at a time. 

One day at a time.

New Boots and Skinny Jeans

Each day is getting better!