“Hmmm let’s see. How about cucumbers and raisins for eyes and a tiny piece of red pepper for the nose. I’ll cut apple into sticks and use them for the mouth, ears and whiskers! Oh and a bit of ketchup for blood, I’m so clever. Lookey here! It’s a cat who sort of looks like a vampire!” (OLM is dead serious about vampires lately)
Search Results for: lifestyle
It’s been just over two weeks since I returned from the most significant journey of my life. And no, I didn’t give birth to a child, rather it was a rebirth, a reclamation of my life before giving birth to my son.
It’s been five years since I had my bundle of joy and yet I am still reeling from the effect that giving birth at 43 has had on my mental, emotional and physical state.
The gift of my beautiful boy was worth every moment of angst, every minute of lost sleep but I was so tired for so long that it was impossible most times to do anything else but go through the motions.
I suffered from debilitating insomnia, mild to moderate postpartum depression and as a result of my inactivity and tendency towards less than healthy food choices, metabolic syndrome; a group of risk factors that include high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol and excessive abdominal fat. I gained over fifty pounds as a result.
Pear shape turns apple: the perfect heart attack storm.
I was diagnosed as obese fairly recently but was fortunate that high blood pressure wasn’t one of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome that plagued me. It can turn quickly I’m told so I got my butt in gear to prevent high blood pressure from settling in. But my joints ached, my stress level was at an all time high and I was sad about the whole mess.
I have taken steps on my own to get my health back on track including joining the gym, juicing, mindful eating, daily yoga, cutting out sugar, antidepressants and the Polo Weight Loss Challenge, which by the way was amazing. But none of the challenges I’ve done on my own incorporated ALL aspects of wellness.
So when I was invited to spend a week up in the Kootenays at Mountain Trek as I told you in this post, an all-inclusive luxurious weight loss and fitness retreat, it proved to be the single most important step I’ve taken yet towards redefining and regaining my health from every angle.
The Mountain Trek program approaches wellness holistically by incorporating the 5 pillars of wellness: realigning and resetting metabolism, five to seven hours of fitness in the form of daily yoga hiking and strength training after dinner, detoxification through eating organic food, sweating like a mother, hydrotherapy and nearly daily therapeutic massage.
An early bedtime each night to get the 7-9 hours of rejuvenating sleep, and stress-reducing activities to recalibrate mental and emotional well-being by being in nature, informative talks and of course the all-inclusive experience which means we didn’t have to think about our schedules, meals or laundry!
This is the entrance to the yoga studio and spa. The hot tub and cold plunge were key to detoxification and of course the view of the lake and mountains just to the right.
Daily yoga kept us limber, injury free and happy.
Our dining room became our haven. Amazing food and great conversation was had here.
The resort is beautiful in its own right but in case we didn’t notice there were lovely bouquets of flowers everywhere.
A week at Mountain Trek changed me
Wall after wall of excuses and profound physical exhaustion hit me on the trails. There were many times that I thought about escaping, taking the next flight out or spending the day in my room, reading a book. But I knew that I would discover what I was made of here and I didn’t want to give up. When you stop and feel your body recovering and realize that the wall is a psychological one, you dig deep and find a way to keep going.
Our last hike was nearly five hours long and I really thought it would break me. But as I realized we were near the trail head where we started I powered through the fatigue, walking tall and strong. I have NEVER been more proud of myself. And that, my friend, is something everyone needs to experience. We are capable of so much more than we realize.
This sign along the way reinforced this fierce belief in myself. So if you don’t mind mama bear, I’ll borrow it.
Here’s a photo of Annie and Hannah, two of the amazing women I spent a lot of my time on the trails with. And there were eight other participants, from all walks of life who impacted my experience is such a positive way.
I hope you are reading this and when you do, say hi!
Taking Mountain Trek home
I struggled, I cried, I elated, I let go and came out the other side, stronger, more resilient and less stressed. I’m left with a hunger to finally sink into and own the healthy lifestyle I have been craving for years. I am so grateful.
And to make sure I sink into my experience in the real world I will incorporate these simple principles to stay on track.
- Fun daily activity of at least 40 minutes during the week, including some or all of the following: yoga, walking, strength training, cycling, swimming, endurance training and yes…HIKING! I love it!
- Eating whole food every 2-3 hours (three meals and two snacks)
- Eat within 30 minutes of waking
- Protein with every meal and snack
- Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day (I’ll keep a water glass on my desk and a water bottle with me when I go out)
- Eliminating caffeine after 1pm
- Eating dinner before 6pm
I feel better than I have in years and my body is noticeably stronger. I gained one pound of muscle in the week I was there which is certainly the most impressive part. At 48 years young this isn’t easy to do.
Oh and I lost 10.6 pounds. Woot!
Thank you to all the people at Mountain Trek who took care of me and believed in me even when I didn’t. Thank you to Air Canada for the smooth flight and getting me to Castlegar sooner than expected and thank you to the girls at the Hume Hotel’s Aura Spa and Salon for taking care of my feet after a week of hiking in the forest. It’s probably the best pedicure I’ve had since I was working and training others in the spa industry myself!
Stay tuned for my next post as I continue to reveal more about how I’m incorporating my Mountain Trek experience at home. This stuff is just too good to keep to myself!
For more information or to register for the most comprehensive fitness and weight loss vacation you’ll ever experience, click HERE.
3800 North Street
Ainsworth Hot Springs, BC
V0G 1A0 Canada
Disclaimer: I wasn’t compensated for this post but I was given the opportunity to stay at Mountain Trek for seven nights. I am so very grateful. Thank you to Kirkland Shave, your guidance was key to my success, our amazing hiking guides, the kitchen crew, housekeeping, massage therapists and the rest of you who made this happen. Love, love, love!
We are a dairy family and always will be. And while it’s true that our stomachs are not the best equipped to deal with dairy, there are more and more options for lactose-free choices that keep us coming back for more. My favourite dairy product is yogurt these days so that is why I am sharing this article with you. Enjoy!
Dairy Farmers of Canada created a unique way to show how yogurt is part of a balanced diet
When Dairy Farmers of Canada attended The Health, Sports & Lifestyle Expo in Vancouver, they created a powerful and captivating performance to highlight the surprising benefits of yogurt, which aids in the prevention of high blood pressure.
The performance, and the film of it, were made to promote the free Get Enough Helper App, which helps people track what they eat based on recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide.
In the video, we see a gymnast stacking and balancing a series of chairs in front of conference attendees. The gymnast then climbs, twists and contorts his body at seemingly impossible angles on top of the chairs, to show how far we each stretch to find balance in our day.
The performance is intensely physical and dangerous – much like high blood pressure – and encourages the audience to use the Get Enough Helper App to help the fight against high blood pressure. Each day someone uses the App, Dairy Farmers of Canada donates $1 on their behalf to the Heart & Stroke Foundation to support the fight against high blood pressure.
The performance is spellbinding, engaging and stunning, and the video shows conference attendees watching in rapt attention while enjoying complimentary yogurt parfaits and savouring the surprising health benefits of yogurt.
Have a look!
For more information go to GetEnough.ca.
I was compensated for this post but the opinions are entirely my own, as usual.
I’m not a big fan of resolutions. But I do love how the new year can bring a sense of renewal and revived purpose to my life. With that in mind I have put together a list of FIVE things that will help me focus on the good in my life and bring with it prosperity and a greater sense of joy in 2015.
It’s a big list but it’s amazing what a night of sleeping through can do for my sense of hopefulness. If I can get more of that I’ll enjoy the process with a better attitude and more determination than ever.
5 Things for a Happier, more Prosperous New Year
1. Spend more face to face time with friends
I went out with girlfriends the other night and it was the first time in a long time that I felt rested and ready and actually excited to go out for dinner. I had such a good time with these ladies and I realized how much I missed being social. I know I’ll never be an extrovert or start going out every night, but I do know that I will do it more in 2015.
Not once did I have to stifle a yawn and that’s speaks volumes of how much better I’m feeling. I even got a shockingly sweet and rather sexy compliment from a random stranger on my way back to the car. Something about how gorgeous I was and if he had more time how he would want to get into my pants. Whaaat?!
I had my hair and makeup done and I felt really good I guess I must have looked hot, which when you’re 47 years old comes as quite a surprise. At least for me. Things are looking up!
I also want to get outside and exercise and drink in the fresh air more with friends. Coffee dates , forest walks, beachcombing and the seawall are on my list as I seek more face to face with friends and less time on social media.
2. Set the Intention for 2015 with a Word
I’m not sure what the word will be yet but it needs to encapsulate what will drive me in 2015. I am excited for the coming year and I want to make sure I harness that and remind myself often. I have a few ideas floating around but haven’t come up with just one. Tenacity, present, mindful and focused come to mind but I’ll keep you posted.
3. Cook More Real Food
I just made the most amazing pancakes yesterday morning with my brand new Kitchen Aid mixer that I got for Christmas. Normally, I wouldn’t like something so practical but I’m telling you this baby excites me! Not only is it a fun apple green colour but it makes cooking and baking more enjoyable. Time is precious as they say and if it means easier times in the kitchen then sign me up.
My goal is to eat and cook more whole foods and not spend a lot of time doing it. That can only come as a result of planning our meals and being more mindful of what I am putting in our bellies.
4. Lose 50 Pounds
I’ve been struggling to lose weight as you may have guessed. I am not into dieting or restrictive eating or over exercising, which is a good thing. But I’ve pretty much gotten away with that weight wise until the last five years since having my son. I know that now more than ever it is critical to get the excess weight off and I’ve written a few pieces on my journey and have made changes to my diet but it hasn’t been enough, especially this past holiday season. I think it’s been the worst for me as far as overindulging goes. Stay tuned as I take on a new challenge on this front at the Polo Health and Longevity Clinic in New Westminster. I’m taking on a cleanse of sorts, stripping my diet of white sugar and non-foods but I’m not entirely sure of the details yet so stay tuned. If Mark Donnelly of Canucks Anthem fame can do it. so can I!
5. Rock my Business
As you already know I joined Younique as a Presenter and am having quite a bit of fun! I love the idea of taking more time for myself and that includes making sure that when I leave the house I’ve put a little bit of effort into my appearance. It just makes me feel better! When OLM goes to Kindergarten in September I’ll have built a team if amazing people to work with and created an income and lifestyle that allows me to continue to stay home and spend time with my family when it really matters.
Thank you for reading.
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If you’ve read this blog in the past, you’d know about ‘Fat Lady Loses 50’, a series of posts dedicated to telling my story about how I am losing the baby weight and *cough* some other residual weight I’ve gained since my lifestyle has become much less sedentary in this new life as a mom.
As you may already know, this life of mine as a mom is not new any longer. My son is four and a half and growing like crazy. Egad, seriously!
I’m telling you this because I’ve had a breakthrough of sorts on the subject. I am dropping the FAT but not in the way you might think.
I have been ‘trying’ to own the word FAT by shedding a label that pokes fun at myself as a way to let go of the pain it has caused me and to get to why I’m holding on to the excess poundage.
I didn’t know it but I was fat-shaming
I have been fat-shaming myself and I didn’t know it, not really. I thought that by calling myself FAT I was owning it, that I was taking back the power that word had over me for so many years.
I don’t think it has worked very well so I am letting the moniker go. I’m not sure how I will describe my journey back to health (sans a certain amount of weight) but that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is taking each day one at a time.
Here’s what I’m working on in the meantime.
- Taking the focus off the number on the scale and focus instead on being awesome, brave, having fun, and breathing more deeply!
- Getting enough sleep every night.
- Getting my 16 hugs a day.
- Logging some physical activity every day.
- Living more simply.
- Making healthier choices when feeding my family.
- And living in the moment, because really what else do we have?
- Looking for love in all the right places!
There is no place for fat-shaming in my life anymore. The most important person in my life deserves to be treated kindly and with great respect and love.
After all, you can’t give what you don’t have.
This past weekend I subjected myself to a two night sleep apnea test at the suggestion of a doctor. You know, the one that told me I was obese? Ya that one.
I don’t hold any grudges, but I do hold the image of that assessment in my mind and probably will for some time to come. It’s not a bad thing as long as I don’t beat myself up with it. For now, it has motivated me to make some changes in my lifestyle.
In my previous post I listed off 23 challenging life experiences that have brought me to where I am now. They were mostly negative as the past few years have been tough but with the changes I am making now their impact will fade over time.
Lack of Quality Sleep
The number one issue I am facing, still, is lack of quality sleep. I know I know, lots of parents experience this but for me the fatigue never goes away. I never wake up feeling refreshed. In fact in the past 10 years I don’t remember one single morning that I woke up feeling good.
So, I took a sleep test. I had to pick up a monitor at a shop nearby and strap it on for two nights. It checked my breathing, heart rate and oxygen levels. I probably looked like a freak with cello tape on my face to keep the tubes from falling out of my nose. And I had to put a monitor on my index finger and somehow manage to keep it on all night. That proved not so easy as it was a bit tight, (are my fingertips obese too?).
After it was secured with tape (I’m sure I ripped a few hairs out in the process, by the way if you ever do a sleep test make sure to use tape that’s not difficult to remove) it was pretty easy to keep the monitor in place.
I took the monitor back yesterday and the results were available to me right away.
It turns out I don’t have sleep apnea but I’m not really surprised. I’ve never been told I snore consistently or stop breathing. We were just ruling it out. Since I wrote this post I got a call from the doctor. It turns out that I do in fact have sleep apnea. WTF?! But, it’s not treatable through any other means besides exercise and losing weight.
The sleep apnea I have is rated a 5 which means that I stop breathing 5 times an hour. But apparently that is not cause for concern at this point. When I go back in 6 months to do a reassessment we’ll see if it changes or not. I guess I better get my butt to the gym more often and stop eating sugar!
Onto the next step.
I’ll probably have to go back to have a full on in-laboratory sleep assessment like the one I had five years ago to see if the restless leg issue I have is worse or now have one of the 92 other sleep disorders out there so I’m not out of the woods yet. (Maybe I can blame my ‘obesity’ on sleep-eating, although if I were doing that I would also be sleep-cleaning too as there is clearly no evidence of me eating while sleeping).
Until then, this is what I’ve learned about getting better sleep. These helpful tips are pretty much a no-brainer but it’s good to be reminded.
[Tweet “This is a great reminder! The do’s and don’t of good sleep. #sleephygiene #sleepapnea”]
Blood Test Results
Oh and my blood test results came back negative for the most part. The only concerns are cholesterol, which is a bit high and iron level is low. I’ll get those rechecked in a few months and also see to an ultrasound to check for fibroids too. I suppose I’m getting to the age where menopause will soon be throwing another wrench into the mix. Lovely.
Aren’t you glad you know this about me now? Ha ha..