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Sometimes, Just Look Back


I really wanted to write something uplifting and inspiring this week. I wanted to be a shining light and encouraging.

Well, I always want to be that, but some weeks are just not the kind of weeks that bring out the “yippee” in a person. Then, I thought about Sunday this week. Doug and I went out for a little hike. For us, it’s become a little hike, but part way through, this hike it became more than just a hike. We had decided to do a trail that we have done lots of times. The start of the trail is 457 stairs, called The Coquitlam Crunch, then it moves into an incline, slow and steady, then it moves into hills and plateaus until we get to the place we call the Radio Tower and turn around and go back down. It is 10 km round trip and takes us about 2 hours.

Part way up our trip we met another hiker. She was new to the trail, so asked for directions and we were glad to help. We invited her to join us and she did. She was new to our little neighbourhood, as a matter of fact she was new to the province. We walked and talked and really had a nice visit as we went. We shared local shops we liked, parks to visit, trails to go on and really enjoyed talking with her. When we got home, it started me thinking about what it was like when we started out on that trail. Oh boy, how things have changed.

When we first started out on this particular trail, the 457 stairs were not there. It was just a steep gravel path. Wide and not as busy as it is now. The gravel slid under our feet, it was so steep, it was hard. The very first time I tried this trail, I was out of breath before the official beginning. I stopped so many times. Then for a while instead of stopping, I even walked up backwards a little so that I kept moving but used opposing muscles trying anything to get to the top without stopping. Each time I did this trail, I was sore for days.

Until this weekend, I hadn’t thought about how hard it was when we started.

As we have kept going on our journey, the pain in the beginning has apparently faded. We have been able to move past barely surviving the “Crunch”, to adding an additional 8 km to our little trip and we actually call it a short little trip to the Radio Tower.

I am not telling you this little story for any other reason than, sometimes we need to look back at where we came from, now and then. Life always just moves on, some people say with or without us but it really is in spite of us. Most of us will be blessed to see another birthday this year. And I can guess that if we look back just one year, things have happened that we didn’t plan. Great things happened and bad things happened too.

But here we are.

● So where do you want to be on this day next year?
● Do you want to be at the bottom of the 457 stairs looking up?
● Do you want to be at the top feeling like you have conquered that hill?
● Are you looking to add a few more km to your trip.

You get to decide. Because if you are blessed, you will see this day next year and again look back.

For us, as well as adding the extra hike to our ‘Crunch’, we now sometimes only do the stairs. Yup, we are officially crazy but if time is short we will do multiple sets of the stairs. We can actually do 5 sets of stairs which is about 3.5km in 40 min. This would have been impossible not that long ago.

So, today is Day 1. Find your ‘Crunch’, and start up those stairs. We will be cheering you on at step 1, km 1, run 1, until day 2. On that day, we start again. You Can Do It!!

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. – Carl Bard

How I Went from Fat to an Athlete’s Body


Looking back, when I first began my journey to better health, weight loss and now training like an athlete, my thinking was all wrong.

I’m a pretty driven “type A” person, and applied myself to accomplish my weight loss goal. What I didn’t understand at the time was, well many things, but what I believe to be the biggest obstacle to reaching your weight loss goal and maintaining it. The goal date was wrong.

I’m a big believer in setting realistic achievable goals, writing them down and sharing them with people who support you etc. What I’m referring to is the real goal and real date. Life is not cramming for a final because that activity is not sustainable long term. Either is dieting. Extreme calorie reduced diets, extreme restrictive food diets can not be maintained for life. If we are really honest, don’t we want a lifetime of health and wellness?

Yes, I understand getting to the perfect size for the grad dress (I have had teenage daughters) or the perfect Mother of the Bride or Groom dress …. But what does life look like after that “event” is a distant memory?

I got fat slow, so why would it be reasonable to get into shape fast. What if we agreed that in my case with life treating me pretty good, I gained one pound per month. Not a big deal right? It’s just a pound. I fluctuate 3 to 5 pounds per month now. Simple math says that’s 12 pounds in a year, over the course of seven years, that is a weight gain of 84 pounds. Now that’s a problem.

Working consistently for 2 years those 80 pounds are gone! I feel great, my health has improved immensely. But notice that it took me 2 years, not a fad diet or some unhealthy routine. Most people who I have not seen for a year or two are shocked by the transformation.

My point here is simple. So what if it takes 2 to ­3 years to get to your goal weight. You just need to start. What I didn’t realize was that the healthier I got, the better I felt, the more I wanted to keep going, and do more. Now the path that I took and the program that I follow may not be your cup of tea or work for you. But trust me, every time you see progress, or one of your supporters cheers you on, you feel a little bit better. You make healthier choices because you want to, not because you have to. Now that simple understanding is the key to sustained health and wellness. It’s a lifestyle!

I’m not on a diet and did not diet to get this result. When I refer to the word “diet” I mean an unsustainable way of eating.

The prosperity of the world we live in has caused us to be gluttonous without even knowing. Now that I have a better understanding of food, nutrition, and portions, I’m shocked at how much most people overeat without even knowing. It’s absolutely obscene.

My program summarized:

● I eat clean,
● don’t salt my food,
● eat smaller portions,
● eat more protein,
● drink lots and lots of water,
● eat less carbs,
● eat healthy fats,
● drink less alcohol,
● don’t eat white sugar,
● don’t drink cow’s milk and
● exercise at least 4 days per week.

My workouts are age appropriate. I’m not 20, I’m 50. It takes longer for my body to recover, that’s a fact.

This is what works for me. I sought counsel from people who have expertise in food plans and healthy eating, exercise, and nutritional supplements.

I own it, I’m responsible for my body and my health. I got fat because of what I did. It’s not my parent’s fault, my wife’s fault, my job’s fault, it’s my fault. It’s not up to the government, my doctor, or anyone else to fix it. It’s up to me! (My doctors are shocked at the results and have asked me “how did you do it, what do you do?”)

I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with anyone who is interested. No judgment, I’m doing this for me, for my wife, and kids. I quite frankly don’t care what anyone else thinks.

I will cheer you on like the many I now cheer and applaud for their own effort to get health and lose weight.

Parting thought –


if not now, when, and if not why? you deserve it, believe it – Doug Morneau

Why Do We Struggle


Do you ever have those days when everything seems to go wrong?

As soon as you start to wake up you can feel that it is going to be one of those days. You forgot to set your alarm last night so you are now running behind. You trip on the way to the bathroom. The shirt you were going to wear still has some food on it from the last time you wore it. Somebody else finished the milk. And so it goes. Why do we have those days?

Funny when you start to look around, you can see when somebody else is having that day. But what is worse is when you can see them still having that day, a week later. So now you stop and look. Yup, I had that day, but not today, why are they still trapped in that bad day? The movie Groundhog Day comes to mind when Bill Murray is stuck on Feb 2 in a town he doesn’t want to be in. With people he doesn’t like. Doing a job he doesn’t want to do.

Is it really you who seems to have a bad day all the time. Why????

I have those days. Yup, sometimes they seem to stretch out for several in a row, but they always seem to go away….eventually. But some people seem to attract bad things into their world. Why?

I am sure that there are entire college courses devoted to this. And I am quite sure that you could put some therapist’s child through college trying to figure out why we have bad days and why they sometimes stretch out into longer periods of time. But I am not educated in that, I am just trying to figure things out as I go along and hopefully make sense of these things before my time here is done.

This is what I do know.

1. Life is not fair.
I am not sure where fair came from. Nobody ever promised fair. Stop waiting for fair.

2. Some days are going to suck.
They just are. Not all of them. Not forever. Just some of them.

3. You are not as unique as you sometimes want to be.
We all have problems. We all have some big ones and small ones, but nobody is immune to problems.

4. You will fail at somethings.
If everyone had success in everything, we would live in a very strange world.

Now for the rest of what I know.

1. We all have more strength than we realize.
When you look at what other people go through, you will soon see that there will be times when you will say “ I will take my problems over hers any day”

2. This too will pass.
Even Job in the Bible who was supposed to be a great guy, had everything taken from him; his wife, children, wealth, and health and he then had it all restored, new wife, more children, health restored and wealth was even greater.

3. If everything was easy, we would never know courage.
Courage comes when we need it, sometimes we will need to pluck some up and use it.

4. We can’t have light without dark.
I know it sounds cliche, that’s because it is. The truth is that the stars are still there in
the daytime, you just can’t see them because the sun is brighter.

5. Life is good.
It just is. Struggles and all. Find the things that make you smile, even if its on the inside.

6. If you want change, then be the change.
If you want out of a sticky situation, do it. If you want more, then be more. If you want to earn more, then find a way to do that. If you want to get fit, then do it.

Some things out there will never have answers, sometimes you just need to accept that and get on with what we do know. You are loved. You are not alone. You are capable of great things.

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month. – Theodore Roosevelt

Officially Obese


In the fall of 2011 my husband Doug and I began on a new journey toward healthy.

If you have read our profiles, you have seen that it has been quite a journey. We made a commitment to doing whatever it took to get our health back. Although I was in good health, according to my doctor, I was officially obese. Yup, I was officially obese and yet, each time I had visited the doc, it was not recommended that I lose weight to better my health. Doug,by the way, was also officially obese. Check out this page if you want to secretly look at your own range. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases­onditions/obesity/in­depth/bmi-calculator/itt­20084938

According to Wikipedia;

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.[1][2] In Western countries, people are considered obese when their body mass index (BMI),[3] a measurement obtained by dividing a person's weight by the square of the person's height, exceeds 30 kg/m2, with the range 25-30 kg/m2 defined as overweight.

We set out to find a trainer. We simply put out a request on Facebook to our friends. So right from the start our journey to get healthy was a public one. Accountability is a funny thing. We received a couple of recommendations and did some interviews. Yes, we interviewed them as they were interviewing us. Dean and Leigh Brandt at Body by Brandt http://www.bodybybrandt.com/ was who we chose to turn to for our transformation.

We told Dean and Leigh right up front that we would do whatever it took to get us back into a weight zone that we really belonged in. We were given a meal plan, and a workout schedule. Three days a week in the gym and a brand new way to eat. You would think after eating for over 40 years, we would know how to feed ourselves. Well, like most North Americans, we knew how to eat A LOT, but not properly.

Today, nearly 4 years later, there are aspects of our ‘new’ lives that I love and some aspects that I still struggle with. Some I don’t mind dealing with, some I would love to get rid of, but won’t.

Love it, not so much

1. OATMEAL :­ I have never loved oatmeal, still don’t, but I eat it before the gym on gym days.

2. WEIGHT and MEASURE DAY :­ This is still a bitter pill to swallow. The results are never what I want them to be.

3. 6 AM ALARM ­: I don’t do mornings. Still don’t do mornings. Three days a week, we are in the gym by 7am.

4. BREAD :­ I do miss the ease of just slapping a sandwich together because I can’t think of what else to eat.

5. MEAL PLANNING ­: Planning meals ahead of time so that they are not just a feast of starch is real work some days.

6. STINKY GYM SHOES : ­ With several days in the gym each week and outside activities too, our shoe cupboard is full and smelly.

Love the new

1. REWARD MEALS :­ Some of these are epic, some are comfort food, but I love them all.

2. NORMAL SIZE CLOTHING STORES :­ There were a lot of years that I couldn’t shop in regular shops. Now, I can. Sometimes, it still makes me teary in the change room. I hope it always does. I don’t want to ever go backward.

3. WINE ­: we still love wine. Now, we have it as a reward and it tastes so much better.

4. GYM CLOTHES : ­ Thanks to Lululemon, gym gear has become comfort wear everywhere. It really is comfortable when you get stuff that finally fits right.

5. GROCERY SHOPPING :­ When you eat mostly in the outer aisles, you spend less time label reading. You buy whole, real food, with very few ingredients.

6. ENERGY : Although I fall into bed exhausted each night, I have so much more energy during the day.

7. FEEL BETTER :­ I just feel better generally. Better moods, rarely sick, skin and hair are healthy.

8. MUSCLE ACHE : ­ In the beginning, I really didn’t like this, but now I wait for it because I know I earned it.

9. PRIVATE TIME ­: Not something I talk about normally, but when you are stronger, more flexible, not out of breathe, somethings are WAY better! wink wink nudge nudge

Embrace the changes, learn to adapt to the new and different things. Don’t settle for just ok when great is what you were meant for.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly. — Proverb