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 Inspiration (4)



I got an achievement badge on Fitbit today.  A Hot Air Balloon!!!!!  What a scream!!!  Oh the jokes that could be spun with that......  All jokes aside though, 2000 flights of stairs is nothing to sneeze at.  Well done ME!

This got me thinking about celebrating little things, that are actually big things.

The weather has finally turned and I'm back riding my bike again.  Serious bike people cringe at my riding gear but the phrase "get a life" springs to mind.  It works.  Period.

The path to work has to go through some inevitable traffic, but there is a long 3 km stretch of utter beauty.  It never fails to give me a bit of a lift.  When the mist is rising off the river and the Canada geese are honking ...... it's mesmerizing.

Here's me in full kit alongside my trusty beater.

And for those who really want to see more of me, this is the same spot on the path, just turning toward the river.  Isn't this a great place to bike in the morning?  This is worth celebrating.


The General says THANK YOU

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
C.S. Lewis

I love that quote.  In my mind it’s a proverb that I modify to suit my own purposes.  It never holds the same poetic rhyme but it’s meaningful to me.  Substitute the word “think” in that quote with “talk” and you get a window into my head.  It’s not that I don’t have things to talk about, it’s just that talking about myself is not a big one.

I am an introvert.  It has taken a long time to be able to fool a lot of people, but the truth is I am still a flaming introvert.  For the longest time I just avoided talkative people.  They sucked all the energy out of me.  Work gets tricky because you can’t avoid them, and you’re often stuck in meetings or even worse, on committees with them.  

Then I happened to take a course that required a Myers-Briggs assessment.  What a relief!!!!  I don’t particularly care that the purists are dissing the whole tool right now.  It showed me in a systematic way how different people relate to the world around them.  And I learned that the extroverts weren’t just walking jawbones without brains, talking was part of their thinking process.  This explained why yappy people often sit through meetings and appear to change their mind at least 5 times.  In truth, they were just testing things out loud.  Me on the other hand, I would seriously prefer that people would keep their trap SHUT and stop wasting my brain time until they have thought something through.  I even wondered if perhaps I was “slow” or something because lots of other people seem to leap to conclusions so much faster.  What I learned was that a) those folks haven’t reached anything yet, and b) if there is a window of quiet I can usually come to a conclusion in much less time and a lot less fussle.  I don’t tend to say anything until I’ve got something to say.  

The MB instructor used a metaphor that fits nicely.  She said that meeting people was like riding into an army camp as a visitor.  If you were dealing with an extrovert, then you were met by big cheeze General, who will immediately set to fussing personally over your cup of tea.  If you are dealing with an introvert, you will get the Aide de Camp who will politely look after you without all the fuss.  You won’t actually get to the introvert General until you show that your business requires their attention. EXACTLY!!!  I don’t know how many times in my life someone has said “I didn’t know you “ _____”!!  Here you can  insert “cared” or “had been there” or “played piano” or “spoke french” or whatever.  In a world that is seriously dominated by extroverts, I am learning to speak up.

I had another wakeup call in the changeroom the other day.  A lovely person, younger than I am, is using the therapy pool.  I’ve seen her on several occasions but we hadn’t talked before.  Mind you she’d clearly been talking about me with somebody chatty.  She asked when I was going to give “the talk” about my progress.  (The short answer is “after curling season”.)  But she goes on to give me some details about her health, and how she wants to improve enough to get in the pool swimming laps too.  Then she repeats herself about the need for me to give that talk.  Not only does she use the scary word (“inspiration”), but she does it with a catch in her voice and goes on to say that she doesn’t know a lot of people who have managed to do what I’ve done.  And then she says I “should” give that talk (a 3rd time).

At this point I’m thanking my lucky stars I’m an introvert and have years of experience not showing what I’m thinking.  Actually I wasn’t thinking.  I was just panicking.  On the outside my lips were flapping thank you, and some explanation of my time commitments at the moment.  On the inside I was just freaking.  Here is a stranger, who is emotionally moved by this example I’m setting.

When did this become bigger than me?  When did this cease to be about the size of my arse?  Where did all this responsibility come from?   Ghandi on a hunger strike was an inspiration.  I’m just losing weight.  I’ll borrow from J.K. Rowling “I’m just Meghann”.  That’s not working so well.  I’m surrounded by a lot of Hagrids it seems, and I’m going to have to learn to speak faster!

What started this scary little trip?  I looked at my twitter account today, thinking that I’m spending a lot of time reading it so perhaps I should whittle down the number of people that I follow.  That’s when I discovered that there’s 47 people who’ve taken the time to follow me on twitter.  ME.  Holy cow.  That’s scary.  I mean, THANK YOU.  I’ve been using the blog as a means to force some organization into my thoughts.  It's a way to draw conclusions in the chaos that is change, it was for me ........ Suck it up Meghann.  Just say THANK YOU.

Happy Easter.
from the General.


Motivation defined (or not)

Some days you just have to go with the flow.  It seems that “motivation” is floating on the river  today.  I saw a news article on the CBC New Brunswick site yesterday that just blew me away.  Wait.  Let’s just set the mental scene first.

I’ve been feeling incredibly proud of myself lately.  Beginning to feel normal and when I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window or something now, it’s not such a jolt to the psyche.  I recognize myself; the mental is starting to jive with the reality.  Don’t get me wrong - there’s lots of things to rattle me like “It must be the light - I can’t REALLY have that much grey hair already?”.  

But you get the drift - feeling smug.  ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THREE.  June 2011 to now - 20 months at an ave. 1.5 lbs/wk - that’s nothing to sneeze at.  But the shy person inside me also remembers EXACTLY how scary it was when I hit my mental wall and started this life-changing journey.  And I remember how a couple people made a difference, and the journey started improving - still freaking hard mind you - but improving.  Ultimately, leading me to the YMCA fitness instructor that I’ve started on.

The CBC/NB article?  It included an interview with an incredibly strong person named Betty Bevans who pulled herself up by her bootstraps and lost over 300 pounds.  LIKE  WOW.  I’m proud to just live in the same province as she does!  Even deeper than that, I know how hard it was for me to change my momentum, so words fail me on what a phenomenal depth of character it took her to make that change from a situation that was undoubtedly an even steeper climb than mine.  I want to learn from her.  I’ve found her blog and facebook, and with a little bit of luck, someday I might get to meet her.  

A newsletter rolled in from Metabolic Effect this week with another pearl of wisdom.
Language is more than just words, it is instructions for your brain.  The way you say something can make a difference in how you behave.  Take the words don't and can't. Researchers studying willpower in dieters found that switching their language from can't to don't had a striking impact on their ability to stay away from foods that did not serve their goal.

That notion works for me.  I was chatting to a locker-room buddy yesterday and she asked me “How can you stand it not being able to eat potatoes?”  My answer was “I can eat potatoes, but I don’t.  It’s just not worth it.”  An aha moment saying those words aloud.  This path is working for me, without cravings, and especially without ANY of the mental anguish that accompanied all of the starvation pathways I’d tried before.  THIS FITS.  I “can” have potatoes but I “don’t” because there’s something else more important.  I’m not even sure that counts as willpower.  I would call it clarity more than willpower.  My focus is elsewhere, and I’m not going to get derailed with “small potatoes”.

A newsletter from Vic Magary came in this week.  I’ve not talked about him but his byline peaked my interest: “Fitness is simple: Eat, Train, Rest, Repeat.”  LOL   His message this week was taking weight loss motivation from his dog.  A dog has absolute needs that must be addressed or the consequences are messy.  So he takes his dog for a morning walk every single day.  He links this idea to problems in weight management in that if you neglect yourself then health consequences are future events, whereas if you neglect your dog the consequences can be found on the rug.  He goes on to discuss instant gratification and how that expectation undermines healthy efforts.

The logic in this argument is sound, but I’m finding that it leaves out something, in other words a little bit of “je ne sais quoi”.  I think I’m struggling with the power of the aversive here, or actually the lack of power in the aversive to create change.  I’ll try to explain it in terms of dog training.

Some dogs are a privelege to train. Just like nutrition, every expert on the planet has a different way to train a dog.  If you are able to “correctly” apply the chosen technique, the dog will learn.  You can view this as the dog “obeys” the human.  Or you can look at it like the dog chooses to “please” the human.  Or you can look at it somewhere in between and realize that the dog is a lot smarter than you think and the dog has learned the path of least resistance to the dog’s idea of highest reward.  SO, if your training is about something aversive TO THE DOG, then the dog will avoid the displeasing thing.  The problem with the logic is that unless the unpleasant thing is registering on the radar, the dog has nothing to avoid and hence, the dog isn’t likely to “obey” the human in this scenario either.  An extremely common example of this is dogs who will walk with their human on leash, but instantly disappear into the woods when the leash is off.  Lesson?  Value of human TO THE DOG needs to improve because it’s really, really humiliating to discover your dog only stays with you when they’re tied on!!

So my struggle with the notion of aversive consequences being motivational is that it’s only motivational if the consequences are bad enough to transcend all your thoughts. It doesn’t work in dog training.  I’m doubting that it works on humans either.  So I come back to a pearl from Joel Runyon that I’ve already mentioned:  “Motivation is over-rated.  Get disciplined instead.”  Putting that in my words: Decide what’s important to you and make your choices accordingly.  Clarity trumps willpower every time.

CBC New Brunswick article including the Betty Bevans Interview
Article quoted by Metabolic Effect is The Amazing Power of 'I Don't' (Rather Than 'I Can't')
Vic Magary
Joel Runyon


Get Healthy. Go for it while we can.

Each day brings a new message.  Today was more poignant than most.

I’ve mentioned before that my weight loss journey is a rather insipid story compared to some of the other women in the change room.  I mutter and bitch about aches and pains while congratulating myself on my healthy nutrition plan.  I celebrate the kilometres that I’ve logged in the pool.  I’ve got a job that allows me consistent lunch hours so that I can walk up the hill and go for a swim in a beautiful multi-million dollar facility.  And for some reason people call me an inspiration because I’ve lost 113 pounds.  

Let me tell you about my friend Joan.  Now there’s an inspiration.  Joan is one kick-ass cancer survivor.  She’s one of the most entertaining people in the change room.  She’s absolutely one of the most positive individuals I’ve met in a long time.  Sure she has her ugh days, but she always comes up swinging again.

Earlier this year she endured a round of chemo and then took off for a cruise.  That’s brilliant!  If you’re gonna feel sick anyway, why not enjoy the tropics from a deck chair instead of moping around here with the mosquitoes?  Good choice!  Don’t wait for spring.  Just live every day and enjoy whatever you can in it.

A short while ago Joan unexpectedly lost her husband.  What a blessing that she took that cruise when she did.  I know that my inclination would have been to put it off until I felt better, my hangnail was healed, my pimples cleared up, or something equally pressing.  How foolish.  We usually head back to British Columbia every 5 years  for the gathering of the clan.  I’m thinking that’s too long.  Next summer is a better choice.   Why wait 3 more?

Today was especially mind-blowing.  I was just chatting to Joan about my upcoming trip to Ottawa for a meeting, and how excited I was to be able to visit a cousin or two while I was in the big smoke.  She mentioned she was going to Ottawa next week too.  That’s Cool.  Why?  To take her husband’s place and accept his Order of Canada at the Governor General’s ceremony.  There’s no way she wanted his medal to just get mailed.  He worked hard for it.  He deserved it.  She would go in his place.  I totally agree.

All the time I was swimming today I was thinking about all the things on my bucket list..... see the critturs in the Galapagos, visit Macchu Picchu, walk up Mt. Kilimanjaro, ride a Mongolian pony and sleep in a yurt....  my list goes on forever.  Alan wants to scuba dive in the tropics.  It puts this whole diet and exercize trip in the right perspective.

Get Heathy
Go for it while we can

There's no picture today.  Joan's husband Ken worked tirelessly for the NB Lung Association for many many years.  I'm glad I was a small part of Bike for Breath this year.  All the more incentive for next year.