Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The [gravity] struggle

It's difficult sometimes to explain to someone who has never had weight challenges, what it feels like to be overweight. My loving, amazing partner comes from a family of eaters, most of which are also overweight. He tells me all the time that my weight doesn't matter, it's what's on the inside that counts. But what he forgets is how all that weight makes me feel on the inside.


Stress and depression are the two main factors in weight gain for me. If I land myself in a very stressful situation, my body retains fat. It's a defense mechanism of being in 'survival mode'. When I suddenly became homeless 2 and a half years ago [again] it was unexpected, and it put a lot of stress on my mind and body. I slowly started to retain the weight.

I remained in survival mode for so long it became difficult to switch it off. I kept gaining the weight even after finding a home, which stressed me out even more. I'd eat to numb the stress, which made me gain more weight. And the vicious cycle throws me into a landslide.


So back to my point. In the past two and a half years, I've gained 60 pounds. This put me well over 200 pounds, which some people find hard to believe.

I went ladder shopping for work, and a fella tried to sell me a cheaper ladder that was on sale for a third of the price of the one I was looking at, but I nearly exceeded the weight limit. When I pointed to the sticker and said I needed a stronger ladder, he looked me up and down and said, "is the ladder for yourself?" ... yes. Yes and I nearly exceed the limit on this ladder.

He told me if that's so, I certainly carry it well. I'm told that all the time when people hear what I weigh. Including my doctor. The fact that I don't look like I weigh over 200, or that I "carry it well" doesn't really matter. What matters is that I'm still carrying it!

Imagine walking into a grocery store, and you don't get a shopping cart. The first thing you go for is a 10lb bag of potatoes. Now you walk around with that bag for quite some time, and go back and slowly pick up 5 more. You can never put them down.

Those 6 ten pound bags of potatoes are now putting extra pressure on your feet.. on your ankles and knees. One of those bags lives on your chest, making it hard to breathe when you're trying to sleep. They're getting in the way of performing everyday activities. Carrying all that extra weight causes a lot of pain and discomfort over time, and does damage of it's own.

When I explained this to my wonderful, supportive, rail thin partner, he finally got what I was talking about. Now he really understands why I'm being so adamant about dropping the weight, why my feet always hurt and I'm exhausted after work. And ultimately why being so overweight makes me depressed and uncomfortable.

I'm so thankful that he's on board 100% with helping me lose the weight. For the first year that we've lived here and worked the same schedule, we would come home and he'd do any general maintenance on the yard or house our vehicle while I prepared dinner. But it was always a dinner "for him" that I would end up eating too.

The past week or so I have been juicing for dinner, and it takes time and prep and cleanup, and he's had no issues cooking the "real meals" while I make my batch of juice. He knows that I love cooking for him, but until I master my new healthy routine, he might have to do the cooking for a while. And he's quite alright with that.

He can see that it's paying off. In the past 3 weeks of eating cleaner and adding the juice, I've almost put down one full bag of those potatoes. I feel a little better already. My knees are thanking me (and it's a little easier to do up my pants!).

This is just the beginning. I have 5.2 bags of potatoes left to get rid of, and I'm getting there. Thanks again for reading, and for your love and support. And remember, if you're on a similar journey and you need a little motivation, I'm here for you too!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

I dreamt of tacos..

 For real. I had a hard time sleeping the other night, but in the hour or so I was asleep, I dreamt of making tacos. Meatless tacos with gluten free soft tortillas. It was such a vivid dream, step by step of these tacos in the making.

First I took a bunch of mushrooms and diced them into little cubes. I tossed them in a bowl with olive oil and a taco blend of spices, Himalayan salt, and a pinch of pepper.

I preheated my fry pan to an almost medium heat [4 on my stove dial] and fried my mushroom cubes til browned. In the meantime, I beat a large double-yolk farm egg, which I drizzled over the browned mushrooms and continued to fry until cooked.

In my nutribullet I made 'flour' from organic quick oats [2/3 cup-ish], and mixed in a bowl with almond milk until it became the consistency of porridge. I beat a double yolk farm egg and mixed thoroughly with the oat and almond milk blend.

Once the mushroom 'meat' was cooked, I transferred it back to the bowl. I used the same pan at the same temperature and added a little olive oil. I then used a ladle to scoop the oat mix onto the centre of the hot pan, and a spatula to spread the mix onto a thin circle.

After a few minutes it was browned perfectly, using the same method of determining doneness as making pancakes. The oat mix takes a little longer to cook through than wheat flour. They turned out light, a little fluffy, and perfect for rolling full of goodness. The eggs could be replaced with a vegan option of preferred, but I don't mind my farm fresh gems.

I spooned the mushroom mix, a little salsa, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and cubed avocado tossed with lemon juice and a pinch of garlic powder. The avocado brings the creaminess you'd get from sour cream with a zip of lemon [which prevents the oxidation of the avocado]. Cheese was an optional item as it happened to be in the fridge, but I forgot to add it, and didn't even notice. The tacos were every bit as delicious as they were in my dreams.

Well, there you have it... my dream taco 'recipe'. My goal is to eat healthy so I can be healthy, and find whole  foods options that don't sacrifice on flavour. Because I LOVE FOOD! and I want to feel good too. Cheers!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

5 pounds down..

53 to go. And when your monthly trend has been an increase of 4 or 5 pounds, losing five is an amazing feeling. My current weight is 218, down from 223, with a goal of 165. It's a reasonable goal that would put me at a size 8 pant, and is my optimal weight for performance and strength.

So, what have I done differently? First, no sugar. I've cut out pretty much all processed foods besides the occasional gluten free bread toasted veggie sandwich, and my vegan protein powder that gets mixed into my morning smoothies.

I've also been doing my best to drink more water. I've cut out fruit juices, I never drink soda, and if I want something warm I'll opt for a rooibos or green and peppermint tea sweetened with local non pasteurized honey. In order to make water easier to drink (and more hydrating), I add a shot of organic lemon juice, and a splash of coconut water. Bam, naturally flavored water!

For me, diet is the number one factor when it comes to losing weight. My system simply can not deal with processed, artificial food-like substances. Even though I am well aware of this, I had slipped back into the trap. I was eating whatever I could get for cheap that would keep well, not considering the damage it would cause.

 When I'm craving sweets, I reach for a fruit. I keep apples and bananas on hand for when my body screams for sugar. The trick to this and not going for unhealthy junk food is simple- don't buy the junk. Don't even have it in the house. Living half an hour from the nearest grocery store helps me with this.. and of course, making my partner well aware of my healthy intentions.

Otherwise, I haven't really been doing much different. My next big step is to get more exercise in my day. I've been exhausted lately now that I'm finally back to work, and when I come home aching, it's hard to find the motivation. I'm trying to train myself to wake up earlier so I cam include a half hour routine before work.

Well, that's where I'm at. I have re-proven to myself that something as simple as eating a more natural diet and avoiding sugar makes a big difference on it's own. This week I will start waking up 45 minutes earlier to make an attempt at a morning workout routine. Happy Sunday!

Monday, January 29, 2018

28 days later...

So. Four weeks in to 2018. Call me traditional, but I've always had the best luck with New Year's resolutions. Perhaps it's just the idea of setting such a symbolic deadline, either way, I use the conscious cue to my advantage. I want this year to be measurably better for me health wise than last year, and so far I'm on the right track.

First, I'm done with nicotine. I'm finally off the hook. I don't even feel the need to vape anymore, I'm well over it. I couldn't be more proud of myself for doing it, and thankful that I'm finally free of that trap. It's hard to heal a body that is constantly being assaulted by toxins, so this was a critical first step. I worked on this diligently last year. That whole 2 months of no work and being broke admittedly helped a lot. See? I knew the lull in finances had it's purpose!

Next unhealthy habit to go, was eating things that I am aware cause pain and damage and weight gain when I eat them. It's a lot of things. To summarize, my genes were not at all prepared for all these modern day processed foods and refined substances and isolated nutrients. Everyone in my maternal bloodline has had an uncomfortable and deadly struggle with these in our past few generations. Kicking processed "foods" out of my diet is essential for healing. I'm well on my way with this too.

My morning smoothie game is strong. I make sure they're packed full of plant based superfoods, and free of refined sugars or artificial anythings. They're filling, nutrient dense, and give me the energy I need to get my day going. I follow that with a warm peppermint or rooibos tea with local honey. Much better than my "orange pekoe double double and a berry muffin" from Timmies on the way to work.

Lunches can be a challenge, but I'm including as much plant based whole foods as I can, and pass on the bread. I kept eating breads until I built up a 'tolerance'... and that tolerance came with several pounds of body fat. I've learned that's how my body reacts to things it doesn't like. It retains fat and creates extra mucous to attempt to 'buffer' the effects of whatever-it-is I shouldn't be eating. Makes sense, really. And since lunch is typically my main actual "meal" of the day, I'm doing much better at making it a healthy one.

Dinner was the worst. After a long day of work the last thing I'd want to do was make two separate meals at the same time in one kitchen. My partner is a carnivore which I don't have a problem with [unless I end up sharing the meal which always ends in a stomach ache]. He likes his heavy starchy gluteny filling supper, but for me I must avoid eating heavy so late in the day. Another benefit of having time off was having the time to come up with some evening snack ideas that don't hurt me- but we can still sit down together to enjoy a bite.

Food is life. What you put in you is what you get out of it. I know this, I've done my research and I've seen my results [which I kept track of in the history of this blog]. But I had let the stresses that were in my life rule me. I stopped caring. I ate whatever I could afford or get my hands on even knowing it'd do damage to my body, but at the time would rather maintain on cheap 'food' than suffer starvation. When you spend an extended amount of time stuck in "survival mode" it can be the biggest challenge to get out of it. And many of us are stuck in that mode without even realizing. Well, I'm done with just merely surviving. It's time to Thrive. For good this time.

My third- and possibly greatest challenge to overcome this year is staying in motion. It just hit me a couple weeks ago. One of the biggest factors I have still currently working against me is something that I also rely on- my mode of transportation. 2017 was my first entire year behind the wheel in my whole life. When I lived in the city I did a LOT of walking. I had to, I didn't drive. Now that I live in the country and work a job that requires a lot of tools, driving is essential.

Not only that, but the shift in my career path definitely affected my daily step count. I went from commercial landscaping [practically jogging whilst pushing a mower for 6+ hours of my day], to working with sharp sheet metal [which you don't want to move quickly with], and standing on a ladder for more than half of my day. Running the machines took it's toll on my wrists and elbow, which was one of many reasons I had to make the switch. Gardening, however, is a good workout [and yoga session!] for me, which I get to do at home.

Between those two major changes, I walk maybe a quarter of the distance daily that I did most days in the past. I went from my Fitbit telling me I've taken 35-40,000 steps a day without noticing, to struggling to find the time to get in ten thousand steps. Of course I stopped using my Fitbit one day, and kind of forgot about it for a year or two. I had no place to plug it in for quite some time, and had more things on my mind than how many steps I got in a day.

All the weight I gained from all the things I did [and didn't] led up to "the moment". I had a funeral to go to early in the month [for someone who died of a heart attack at 39], and I realized I no longer [by FAR] fit into my "fancy pants". And that realization led to my next dilemma.. if my fancy pants don't fit, then neither do my waders.

The last time I wore my waders was a few months ago, around the time I twisted my ankle. I hadn't worn them since because my swollen ankle wouldn't fit into my wading boots, and now my arse doesn't fit where it needs to go either. No waders means no river hiking... which is a million more points against me. *sigh*. This weight has got to go.

I'm in it for the long haul here. When I lost an abundance of weight a few years ago, I did so pretty quickly. I lost [on average] two pounds a week for almost a year. Needless to say, it didn't work out for me in the end. I'm right back where I was. This time, so far, I've lost roughly a half a pound a week. It's grueling at times waiting for my pants to fit, but I feel better about the slower transition into a healthier diet. Now all I need in my strength.

Well, that's my rant for the day, and this is where I'm at. Thank you for reading, your encouragement and for helping me stay accountable. And if you're facing the struggle to find your own health, don't forget I'm here for you too.


Monday, January 1, 2018

2018- making it my year

When I started this blog 5 years ago, I was sick, tired and overweight. It took a year to figure out what my body needs to not only survive but thrive, and then another year to make it happen. I worked out a diet and exercise plan, and by the end of 2014 I had lost 70 pounds. After being in BC for a year I fell upon some hard times, and into a deep depression. I managed my way out of it eventually, but had slowly startd to regain the weight.

In 2016, I was on my own and homeless. When a close friend passed away in June, I flew home and almost stayed, but I met my now life partner when I returned to BC to pack up shop. By the time we met I had more or less given up on maintaining my health, I was more focused on staying alive and trying to find a place to live. Working full time and sleeping outside meant more fast food than I'm willing to admit, no proper sleep, and boat loads of unavoidable stress.

By the time we had found a place to live, the damage was done. We've been in our home almost a year now, and instead of focusing on my health as I had planned to, I was more focused on maintaining steady work, and grasping at anything to keep this place up and running. The huge veggie garden and remote location meant more fresh food and far less junk, but I was still overloaded with stress a majority of the time, and made no time for myself.

It's a new year, and I want to make it the best one yet. I'm still unsure of my work situation and beyond broke, but I want to make the best of what I have access to. More work will come, but in the meantime I can't let my current situation stress me to death. I swear it, stress is 90% of why I'm sick and gaining weight.

Ironically this past week we've been locked into any ice age, literally.. the two cities nearest to us have been without power, roads closed due to fallen trees and downed power lines, and we spent a couple nights heating the house by generator. Obviously juicing or smoothies or buying fresh produce was out of the question, so I had to focus on what I could do in the moment. Reduce stress, and plan ahead.

This past 5 years I have learned a lot. I'm armed with the knowledge I've accumulated, including knowing from experience that better health and weight loss is possible despite my autoimmune issues. I started 2018 off right this morning with a vegan protein smoothie, a peppermint tea and a freshly charged fitbit.

Bring it 2018... I'm ready to make a life-long commitment to my health and well being!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

10k30 challenge: week 1

Starting a new routine can be a challenge. In my case I'm attempting to get back to my old healthy habits that I know work, and the most effective way I find to do so, is to publicly challenge myself. It's accountability, and motivation. I tell everyone I can what I'm doing, so if they catch me slipping they can call me out, and cheer me on when I nail it. My partner thankfully does exactly that, as do many of my friends and family back home. So anyways, that's why I let everyone know about it. The reason for the challenge though, is repeating these actions daily for any decent length of time helps me to incorporate them into my everyday life- long term. If I've managed to take my ten thousand steps every day for thirty days in a row, then I know surely this can be an everyday thing. I do the same thing with my diet, if I'm doing a juice fast, I let everyone know I'm doing it [and why].

My utter lack of fitness really hit me when my partner had his kids come to visit. The kids wanted to bike down the road while we followed on foot. I realized how winded I was and we hadn't even made it to the end of the road.. it was almost a breakdown moment considering I used to hike miles of rugged terrain carrying a pack from 30 to 60 pounds depending on the season for days or weeks on end. Right now, I don't think I could even hike the smallest one of these hills out here without collapsing in pain and exhaustion.

When I first moved out west I'd lucked out on having a place to crash in East Van. No matter where you walk in that city, you're on a hill and in a matter of time, you get used to it. I did a lot of walking in Vancouver, and thankfully I was still carrying my fitbit at the time to reflect that. 25-40 thousand steps a day wasn't uncommon, and without even thinking about it. Even after my roof collapsed and I lived in a pickup truck for half a year [and on a couch for the other half ] I still managed to get enough exercise whether I was collecting firewood or working in the city. Now that I have a home again and in the country this time, driving to get places.. my step count had dropped drastically. But I didn't notice without my step counter, eventually the scale tipped me off.


Day 1: it was effing cold. Winter winds were whipping through the valley, but I strapped on my shoes and got out there. My face was a little frozen but I loved it, it felt good to be out there moving. It's pretty easy to get cooped up inside in colder months and stagnate, especially outside the city. I had found my fitbit in my basket of stuff that I haven't touched for a couple of years. I had been wearing it for a week before I started this challenge to observe what my patterns are like now... I was horrified to see that my average for that week was maybe 6 thousand steps a day, my lowest being just over three thousand. No wonder I was winded trying to walk briskly to the end of my road.

Day 3: I was really lucky that I had started on a long weekend because I could get into a step routine during daylight hours before having to get out there in the dark. This time of year there's only 8 good hours of daylight which can be demotivating at times. By day 3 I was out of bed and ready to get stepping before the sun. I felt excited to get out there and make it down to the creek [at the end of the road] so that I could adventure around in the woods before my walk back. I had been brisk walking that way every day, and also 'slow running' to the other end [a shorter distance] and back daily to make my quota.

Day 5: by the fifth day, I'm starting to get tired. I'm back to work and making time to get the rest of my steps in after, and keeping house and making it happen... but I'm tired. No above and beyond, but I did complete my goal.

Day 7: still tired, but starting to get my second wind. I only have Sunday off this weekend as opposed to the long weekend I started with. I got up early this morning to get my steppin' on before doing a half day at work, and it was a beautiful morning to get outside.


It's now the morning of day 9, and I'm sitting here writing while I wait for the rain to slow down. I've been pulling out the scale every couple of days to check if my weight has changed, and I have seen my weight go down 2 pounds and back up one. That's far better than a steady increase, like what has been happening this past year. I have only made minimal changes to my diet in the past week, doing my best to avoid breads and pasta, margarine and cheese, and chips and sweets. I've been brewing my own tea with honey and almond milk instead of grabbing Timmies, and having a smoothie with fruits and Vega to get me going and keep me satiated all morning. I'm hoping to squeeze in a 2 day juice fast the next time I have two days off, so I'm preparing myself for that as well.

That's about all I have to say for today, I'm going to do some kitchen calisthenics while I wait out the rain. Thanks for reading! And a huge thank you for cheering me on. I will get there, one step at a time. Cheers back at ya!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Where I'm at

Starting over isn't easy.. hence why it's taken me over a year to get back up on my horse.  As a very brief recap, I became very unhealthy in my late twenties and gained a lot of weight. In 2013-2014 I managed to lose almost 70 pounds total. Over the past year, I've almost gained it all back, and I'm sick all over again. So, here I am.. starting over.

One thing I'd recommend on any health and fitness journey whether starting from scratch or looking to reach new goals, is to find a coach. I was lucky enough that a wonderful coach found me.. so now it's time to take a look at where I'm at. I decided to share this info like I'm sharing everything else to keep my own records, and to hopefully inspire others along the way.

Here we go..


Age: 32 years
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 122.7 lbs
Size: 16

Health challenges:
Autoimmune disorder, hashimoto's thyroiditis, endometriosis, IBS, insomnia.
Tendonitis, carpal tunnel in right arm/ hand, sciatic nerve damage.


Mostly vegetarian. No milk ever, cheese sometimes, farm fresh eggs, garden veg [we grew a literal ton this summer]. Lately have been eating a lot of pasta and breads, and rice.

Guilty pleasures; our lunch snacks the past while included chips and the most chocolate laden granola bars you can even buy. Fast food maybe every 6 weeks we cave. Cutting back on the timmies. I buy cookies when the children visit... and partake in their consumption.


30-45 mins of brisk walkng per day
10-15 mins calisthenics per day
Minimal stretching

I'm currently challenging myself to take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, and half hour of active routine. I like to mix some pieces of insanity and p90x for as long as I can handle with other calisthenics workout.


I'm currently living in what some lovingly refer to as a 'tiny home'.. which in actuality is a very small farm house out in the country. I do have access to long country roads, farm fields, and a waterway. I don't have very much space for indoor workouts and such, my whole house can be walked corner to corner in about eleven paces.

That said I am hoping to reacquire the gear that I had before moving west, as it worked for me by allowing me a variety of exercises with minimal equipment and space. These simple items include a yoga mat, small weights, and Lebert Equalizer bars.


The word sleep mostly exists in my vocabulary with the word 'can't' in front of it, I have had issues sleeping all my life. This week has been better than most averaging 6 hours a night, but I have had several weeks that average only 3 and a half. The amount I am active doesn't always necessarily mean more sleep, my sleeping patterns are often affected by weather, pain levels, the fullness of the moon,  and various stresses and occasional anxiety.


Speaking of stresses, there's far fewer in my life now in my life right now than there was say, 2 years ago. I'm no longer sleeping in the back of a pickup truck, or a tent or someone's couch, so there's that. My current stresses involve money and debt. Who doesn't stress about those things? I do lose sleep over it at times, but I'm grateful to be safe and warm and dry.

Lately my biggest stress though, has been about my health. I've been struggling with several issues that are exacerbated by not getting all the exercise I need for over a year, and the crappy diet I was consuming for the almost 2 years before that. I've only just begun to make some changes, but I often stress about the damage done.


I'm a non-drinker, and proud to say that as of this month I'm a non-smoker too. I did smoke about a pack and a half a day, and slowly weaned myself off using a vapor device.

Since driving and working long days on ladders, my daily step count is less than a quarter of what it was living in the city, walking and commuting. Not to mention my previous job involved pushing a mower or some various other small engine machine. I have become 'lazy' using my manual labour jobs as an excuse to do so.


To regain control of my health through proper diet and nutrition, and improve my strength through exercise and movement. In short, I want to feel better so that I can better enjoy the life that I've worked hard for.


That's it for now. Stay tuned for challenge updates! I'll be writing about the ups and downs of my first week literally getting back on my feet. Thanks so much for reading, and your continuing support!