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 Humour (6)


Captain obvious came calling......

There's a funny little ditty circulating on facebook and other places right now that goes something like: "If at first you don't succeed, why don't you try what your coach said in the first place?" Now when it's yourself you're coaching, it gets a bit tricky laying blame.....

Yesterday was a commitment milestone: 500 pool sessions since June 2011.  So what did I do to celebrate?  Easy answer: try and break a personal record.

Actually, for a complete story I need to back up to last friday.  It was one of those rare occasions when I had the lane entirely to myself.  Well I'd better "make hay while the sun shines" then!!!  So I decided that I was going to swim as hard as I could possibly swim for a kilometre.  I didn't pace myself very well at the beginning and couldn't keep the hard pace.  In the end I matched my latest benchmark time, but didn't do any better.  This was a little bit disappointing because I had really pushed as hard as I could.  I actually thought I was going to set a new benchmark for myself.  

So today, marking event 500, I decided to try something different.  I swam in the best form that I could manage.  That meant keeping the straightest legs, the best hip rotation, the best arm reach and the best handpulls that I could do on every single stroke.  This also meant no daydreaming: just pure concentration on technique.  End result?  NEW BENCHMARK!  In fact it was over 1 minute better than my last best time.

In some ways this is hilarious.  As a coach, I know that form/technique is critical to efficiency.  However, knowing it and living that knowledge is obviously not the same thing.  Apparently I needed to prove for myself what I already know and coach: the greatest amount of pushing for speed will not achieve as much as proper technique.  Solid technique ALWAYS comes BEFORE speed!!!  LOL.  Captain obvious delivering another lesson eh?

I've been getting some ragging about photo's lately.  Here's one taken recently while I was at a conference in Montreal.


The thump of dropping shoes.....

We’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And it did.  My husband will lose his job at the end of June.  It has been a threat for a while, and it happened.

I thought I was ready.  It is a huge change, but not a life-threatening one.  We have options and we will not be forced to sell anything large to make ends meet.  We are in as good shape as you can be when these sorts of things happen.

Still, the day that he received his official letter was a bit of a scramble.  Some folks knew & some folks didn’t.  Bad news travels fast.  We were talking, analyzing, planning, fretting, and complaining about timing.  

All of a sudden I realize the time.  It was 6 pm.  I have a class that starts at 6 pm.  So I make a beeline for the stairs to go change out of my work clothes.  Literally half way up the stairs I stop myself.  What’s wrong with this picture?

Here I was rushing to change my clothes, then I would be rushing downtown (25-30 mins drive), I’d have to find parking, and ultimately run to the class which is UPSTAIRS in the building.  Assuming a minimum of red lights being run, I would be 45 minutes late, out of breath and rushing into a mindfulness and meditation class which I am taking in order to cope with my hectic life!!!  I repeat -- what’s wrong with this picture???

So I stopped myself on the stairs.  I didn’t go to class.  We took a family walk with the dogs around the block instead.   Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.


The Paradox that is Insulin

Spring is on the doorstep.  Officially it’s already here but clearly nobody thought to include the bike paths on that memo.  They’re still clogged with snow.  So for now I’m just dreaming about dragging my trusted beater out of the garage and stirring up some dust.  Soon though....

With that dreaming comes planning.  This time last year I was over 80 pounds heavier, and I hadn’t yet discovered the miracle of ketosis and insulin control.  This year I’m feeling better than I have for a long time and very much looking forward to the ride along the river in the mornings.

One of my go-to-guys on nutrition & training combined with ketosis is Ben Greenfield.  He recently dropped a simple gem on the “best” time to exercize (when your goal is fat loss).  His recommendation was to do it when you’re in a “fasted state”, ie before you eat.  

For me, the most convenient time for that would be mornings.  OK: exercize before breakfast.  Taking it one step further, pack my breakfast on the bike, so I can eat it when I get to work.  This is actually a good idea since it might save time in the morning.  

What to pack for breakfast?  Something cooked and only needs warming, or something cold.  Since it is immediately post workout, there needs to be some easily digestible protein for muscle repair, and there needs to be some carbohydrate.  WHAT???  

Yes that’s what I said.  SOME carbohydrate.  Why?  Carbohydrates are the root of all evil bringing on that whole insulin roller coaster ride.  That’s true.  That’s why the qualifying word was “some” carbohydrate.  Insulin is the primary hormone that generates fat storage, and therefore something I have happily reduced through ketosis.  However, nothing in the metabolic system ever serves only one function, and one of insulin’s other functions is in building muscle.  In order to finish that triathlon I will need to build some more muscle strength AND endurance.  To build muscle you have to a) use it and b) feed it.  How much carb?  When?  What kinds?  OH MY.

Then there’s this whole body composition question.  I am currently reading a “lean mass” (ie not fat) that is more than my target weight, which ultimately includes a healthy fat proportion.  There obviously needs to be some recycling that’s about to happen.  Perhaps it’s already started.  I notice that the body fat percentage on my scales hasn’t changed for the last 15 pounds I’ve lost.  The only way that can be true is if ALL components are being reduced, and not just the fat content.  The fancy term for all that is autophagy.

It may surprise you, but I actually don’t have anything in my various tracking devices that can shed any light on that question.  I notice that I have more difficulty restraining two dogs on lead when they both decide to charge.  I had put that down to just having 135 pounds less ballast that the dogs had to shift to go where they wanted.  Perhaps it’s also because I’m not carrying the same muscle mass?  That would also stand to reason since I’m no longer needing to heft those 135 pounds around either.  I probably AM losing muscle mass simply because I no longer need to use it for such a big load.  There’s a homework assignment for a rainy week eh?

I got a link to a website today that just completely cracked me up.  It’s called  Now I know that it’s tasteless and more, but sometimes all these rose-coloured glasses just make me want to scream.  Every once in a while something ironic just cracks me up.  This was one of them.  In a way there’s a message in it.  Sometimes you SHOULD just take your licks, learn, and move on.  Recognize that moment and move on.


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.


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!