Fit Life Adventure

An Ordinary Woman's Journey of Surviving Obesity


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Burpees in a Bathing Suit

It’s officially the summer. My second favorite season. Not that long ago I used to loathe it. Between the bugs and the humidity and the fact that bigger bodies tend to sweat more, summer was pretty low on the favorite season list.  But given my weightloss and my good mood lately (being in love will do that to you!) even the bees don’t bother me as much this year!

 Despite the fact that last summer was my first summer back in shorts, you may have assumed that it was also the summer I stepped back into a bathing suit. Well, you’d be wrong.

 Sure, I bought one. A cute navy blue halter tankini in fact. But I didn’t wear it. Not once. Just a handful of years ago the reason for me not wearing a proper bathing suit stemmed from insecurity and low self esteem. Last year I just didn’t know anyone with a pool…

For those who may still be suffering from the dreaded Swimsuit Syndrome, I feel your pain. I will always have the memories of shopping for bathing suits as a plus size woman. There’s no hiding anything under spandex and nylon. The shelf bras in them were laughable for my DDs and even the “figure flattering” sales pitch from the clothing tag wasn’t enough to make me feel confident in one. Sad part was, I’ve always loved the water. I love to swim. I was a strong swimmer and even took life saving courses in my teen years. The worst parts of the activity for me was taking the towel off (and trying to race like hell to get into the water so I could hide my cellulite under the waves) and getting back out…a bathing suit is already tight, but a wet bathing suit is even worse! 

Flash forward to 2 weeks ago where I not only wore this brand new, navy blue tankini for the first time (and without a towel wrapped around my waist) but I tight roped walked in it too! Yes, you read that correctly. I have some pretty incredible friends who just happen to have one set up in their backyard adjacent to their lovely swiming pool. (Shout out to Aaron and Briar!) 

I’ve made the recent public declarations that there isn’t anything I won’t try when it comes to moving my body and physical exercise. But I’ll admit tight rope walking was out of the box…even for me! Maybe it was concentrating on not falling off and breaking an ankle, but my mind wasn’t focussed at all on my body or how I might have looked soaking wet in that swimsuit, strutting my stuff on a rope 3 feet above the ground. I actually felt pretty damn good. 

To take things a step further than that, just a few days ago my cousin Terri thought it would be a fun adventure for the two of us to try our hand at FloatFit at our local YMCA. This is basically a cardio/strength style workout done on a stand up paddle board in the middle of a pool. Considering my backyard circus performance a couple weeks back, I had zero hesitation on agreeing to throw on my suit yet again. Whether I was constantly falling in the pool and getting back up on the board  or managing to actually do the exercise moves, I figured it would be a good workout either way.

 I didn’t fall in once. In fact, I found my balance rather quickly (a second shout out to my slowly developing abs!) and I was even doing burpees and single arm planks!! These can be a challenge on hard land as it is!

The moral here isn’t that you HAVE to be fit or athletic to enjoy these sorts of activities. But you need to have some level of self confidence to get the most out of them. People can possess that at any size, but in my experience, confidence does tend to fade a bit with each added pound. With my weight loss by no means does that make me cellulite free. I have a smaller frame and more muscle, but I’m still very much human. The biggest change with me with always be the chnage that occured in my mind. I made it onto the other side of my own fears. That’s where I became the woman I am today. The woman who does burpees in a bathing suit. 


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PROJECT FITFEST – The Making of an Expo

You know when people ask you the question “So what’s new with you?”, there’s usually 1 common answer…. “Oh you know, same old, same old.” The biggest peice of anxiety I have at this moment is trying to answer that question. Because EVERYTHING is new in my world! 

I certainly have settled into maintaining a lower weight these days. But the actions involved in “maintaining ” have me constantly on the move….and I love it!  Things are going great at my gym. I’ve made a bit of a name for myself there and the managers have tried to recruit me to either BE a personal trainer or HIRE a personal trainer. I’m flattered by both offers but I’m pretty content just assimilating into the gym rat lifestyle.

I ran Le Chocolat again….and beat my time by about 14 minutes! I crossed the finish line at 33.22. And in true Amanda fashion,  I got myself on the radio again! (Click that link to hear my interview! ) Not for the 5K, but for FitFest! What is FitFest you may ask? Well dear readers, I have decided to organize what I hope will be the largest Health and Fitness Fest in Windsor! 

People continue to ask me what I did to lose weight. This festival will feature the small businesses and people in my community that I turned to throughout my health journey…plus a TON more! There will be public speakers, potential celebrity appearances and a charity aspect all rolled into a huge 2 day event. The website for my baby is Windsorfitfest.com. You can search the same title on Facebook. If you are in the Windsor, On area and would like to be a vendor or sponsor feel free to reach out. 

I’m pretty pumped up about spearheading this. The response so far has been overwhelming. I’ve only gotten the “dear in headlights” look twice! I preach the message of always pushing yourself and striving for more….I practice what I preach!


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I caved…

Fortune Cookie

A few things have happened recently that may surprise people – certainly those who know me well. The first is that I willingly went and donated blood  – AND signed up to do it again. It’s not needles that I have a hard time with, after all I am a Registered Veterinary Technician. Its just having a needle placed in the middle of my arm that has always made me very woozy. I nearly fainted as a small child. Every time I would end up at the hospital and an I.V drip was needed panic would ensue. Giving a small sample of blood for medical tests would require me in a full recumbent position. It’s only within the past year or so that I can sit up fully in the chair, like an adult….

But since I feel that my life has a greater purpose these days I figured it was time to face this fear and donate blood. I’ve heard the commercials and the sad stats one too many times about the lack of blood donors. It had been weighing on my mind for years. Setting up the appointment was painless. And to my surprise, so was the actual procedure. The part that hurt the worst was the prick on the finger to get your blood type. (I happen to be O Negative) The nurses were all friendly and if saving a life wasn’t incentive enough, I  got cookies and juice after.

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I’ve been feeling on a roll lately. I’ve been accomplishing more things I didn’t think I ever would. So when a friend approached me with the idea of using each other as motivation to take our health a step further, I was all ears.  So I agreed to my friend’s proposition. I actually  did it. I did the thing I thought I never would. I got a gym membership. Truth is, I want to lift heavier weights. I’ve mentioned in a previous post about my personal goals for this year. As awesome as my little home gym set up is, I need to up my game.

I’ve dabbled in gyms in the past. This isn’t my first rodeo. But something felt different this time. I think it’s my sense of purpose. I have such a specific mind set that my actions just mean more these days. But working out in public is very new to me. I am by no means a rookie when it comes to fitness, but to a leg press machine and the squat rack, I might as well be starting preschool all over again. I am a lot more nervous than I thought I would be. I completely understand why people are intimidated and find reasons not to go, or put it off.

But that’s no excuse for me and it’s not an excuse for you.

I was only slightly mortified when a trainer approached me and suggested I fix my range of motion on a tricep press machine. But I would rather do the exercise right and get the most out of it than save my precious ego. Truth is, I’m still learning. And I’m glad I am. I never want to stop getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. Especially when those things will elevate me to reach my goals and in this particular case, help to motivate a friend who is looking for her own change and renewal. Thank you Charlotte for helping to get me moving in the direction I have been facing for a while. I hope I can do the same for you!

 

 


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Life, Love and Weightloss – Get What You Want

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How is your new year going so far? Want a re do? You’re in luck! Happy Chinese New Year. Welcome to the Year Of The Rooster! This year boasts order, precision, excellence and never backing down. And according to Eugina Last from the Toronto Sun, “This year is perfect for those who strive to reach the ultimate level of life mentally, physically and financially, but not so good for those who favor being lazy or living the life of a couch potato.”

I think the Rooster may be my new spirit animal. The cat has been my animal of choice since exiting the womb. And the cat is just about the world’s definition of laziness. So maybe not the right fit for me. I am after all a morning person. The Rooster may have been my calling all along!

I’m not one to follow too strongly on the principals of western or eastern astrology, even religion for that matter. In my own life’s actions I trend towards following my head and my heart. Putting trust in both of mine has taken some time. Feeling confident about my decisions has taken even longer.

What do you want? What a loaded question. For some people it may take a while to figure it out. Once you do, expect to get creative in finding ways to hold onto the core of it. In life and love I think it comes down to determining what your bottom line is. And working outwards from there. For me, I have always needed to be goal specific. Weight loss taught me that. God, what hasn’t weight loss taught me? Some people may turn to bible scriptures to help them decide paths to take in life. Others may look to horoscopes, even lines from their favourite songs for guidance about decision making. For me, all roads seem to lead back to weight loss.

It had to be more than “ I want to lose weight.” That sentence is so vague. It had to be broken down into specific components and then plans of action were needed for each component. My life is no different.

From day one of running my business I had small goals that I set for myself – and achieved. EVERY SINGLE ONE. It didn’t happen by chance or because I wished it into existence. It was a goal, a plan and I put it into action. Some took longer than others, but over the course of a decade they’ve all happened. And guess what? It’s not over. I’m still setting new ones. What I want is always evolving, but the core of what Amanda’s Pet Sitting stands for stays the same.

Love follows the same path. It is fair to say I’ve wanted different things at different times. Like the other aspects of my life, some of them have taken longer to achieve. But if past life lessons have taught me anything, it’s that I eventually always get there. In previous matters of the heart, my standards were much different. I equate a lot of that to being overweight. I attracted a different sort of person due to the vibes I was sending out. My lack of self confidence shone through me in a myriad of ways. My lack of self respect did the same thing. I would find myself surrounded by the type of person who found those traits attractive. The moment I began to give myself more value, my eyes opened. My standards towards myself changed and I began to understand what I truly wanted. What I truly deserved. I take comfort in knowing that because I have a higher value towards myself, then that’s now the type of person that will be in my life. Someone who sees my value. I will settle for nothing less.

To figure out what we want, we have to keep experiencing life. We can’t be that couch potato and sit around waiting for it happen. Nor do we need to feel pressured into creating something that isn’t there, something false. Just live life. Live your life. Do the things that make you happy, go to the places that entice your soul. That energy is the key to getting what you want. Never back down. Embrace your inner Rooster.


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New Year New Goals

How many reading this have already broken your New Years resolution? How may never set one at all? And what is your reason for not setting one? I am of the mindset where every day there are goals being set. In my world, I don’t need the start of a year to do that. Neither do you. Let the beginning of the year signify a fresh start by all means, but your personal goals need to be happening all year round.

As much as this is a time to look ahead and make plans, I find myself doing a lot of reflecting on the year I just came through. In terms of “success” I feel I nailed about every opportunity that came my way. I hear people talk about how rotten they thought 2016 was. I do not at all share that sentiment. But I was dialed in and more focused on myself than I have been a good portion of my life. I brought a sense of positivity and possibility to everything I touched, so I guess that is to be expected.

It just takes a couple seconds to hop through some previous blog posts of mine to see how exciting the past year has been for me. So in looking ahead to the coming year I initially thought “God… how can 2017 even come close to being as great as 2016?” Surely there will be no magazine cover, no huge weight loss accomplishments or radio interviews. (AM800 can’t seem to get enough of me, so who really knows on that last one…)

It’s true I won’t have any of those old accomplishments, but I’m planning on a whole new set. The goals I have for myself may not be as noticeable as a 150lb weight loss, but it doesn’t make them any less significant. My journey is ongoing and I’d like to share what I wish to achieve in the next 12 months. Maybe in December we can revisit my goals and take a look at the progress made. Because there WILL be progress made.

For 2017, I have personal and health related goals in front of me. I’ll start with the health related ones. I plan to build muscle. To be specific, I plan to build glute, ab and tricep muscles. These are the areas that I feel a bit self conscious of. I have done pretty good with the whole lose skin issue that can plague people who lose a drastic amount of weight. I believe that the bit that I have is 100% manageable with exercise and time. By building muscle in these areas it will change my body’s composition. Muscle preforms very different on the body vs fat. So even though the “weight loss” portion of my journey is pretty much over, the overall look of my body is still in a state of change. Some people have told me just to leave things be. They tell me that I have come so far why would I need to push farther? But, why wouldn’t I want to push farther?! My journey has never been to get to a point and settle in. I have one life and I plan to make the most of it. That includes pushing boundaries and limits.

It’s really fun to learn that you have control and power over your own body. The changes I want to see will take time and dedication. I feel like I am working from a blank canvas in some respects despite the road I have traveled. I think now is a good a time as any to share some intimate before photos. Takes a bit of courage on my part to post these, but I have done harder things than this in the past couple years.

The best way to track progress is through a picture. This year I will build some glute muscles to reshape my bum – it took a bit of a hit with the fat loss, and my abs I plan to tighten up. For kicks, I’m throwing in my tricpes too. They’ve come a long way, but I know I can improve them as well. These specific goals will be accomplished by weight training and some cardio. I bought a barbell over the holidays and have begun weighted squats. It was suggested to me to use a bench to ensure proper form. I am still learning and working on mine but I know it is VERY important to know proper form before engaging in larger weight bearing exercises. I hope by the end of the year to not only have gown a booty, but eliminate the need for the bench.20170112_144435.jpg

Another health related goal involves volleyball. I play rec volleyball a couple times a week. My skill has improved over the years but I’ve always been tentative when it comes to jumping and blocking at the net. I know I have the height to be able to do this. It is the timing of the jumps that makes me hesitant. My goal is to improve upon that. Even if I don’t get the block and instead take the ball to my face , I need to conquer my fear and start jumping more.

One of my personal goals will be to do some traveling this year. Be it on my own or with someone else. Life is about experiences and there are so many places I haven’t been and would like to be. I want to stop dreaming of them and actually visit them.

And lastly, and maybe most importantly I will be focusing on worrying less. I want to live in the moment. I want to be grateful for the happiness I find myself in right now. Really sink in to those moments. I am a planner – in my line of work I have to be. But planning is also my nature to a certain degree. When you are so focused on whats next, you might miss the here and the now. And my here and now is pretty fricken awesome. Happy New Year!


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The Explanation

It feels good to write again. I knew it would.

I also knew it would take a bit of time to get the right words together. For those waiting, thank you for your patience.

I’ve been told my decisions as of late have been rather shocking and my guess is that if I have any hope at shedding light onto the situation, the right words are kinda essential. Anyone who’s followed my blog for some time would know that my transformation was one not only of the body but of the mind. As much as I haven’t changed, I still have. Over the course of the past couple years I have left behind the girl who felt that her happiness rested solely on the happiness of the people around her. A girl who was afraid to have too many of her own opinions in fear that it would cause a conflict, and someone who didn’t value herself. I have developed a level of knowledge and understanding towards myself, my desires, my dreams and ultimately my happiness. So indeed, I am a different person. The person I am today has grown apart from her husband.

When I made the decision to separate and divorce, it was only natural for those on his side of things to cast me as the villain. It’s that sort of social construct that people adhere to when they don’t understand the situation. Someone needs to be the victim. As with most separations, the reasons behind the final decision can be riddled with complications. Mine is no exception. I did a pretty good job of convincing others while trying to convince myself that I was truly happy. To keep the peace I would sacrifice my own wants and desires. I was meek and afraid to stand up for myself. The balance in our relationship shifted throughout my weight loss journey and things could not go on the way they were. There had been a gradual lead up to that moment. There were small signs that I would let sneak out and if you were paying close enough attention you may have caught them. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t make it work. But the effort could not come just from me. And over many years of being pushed away, I had been pushed too far.

With my new found self, I gathered the courage to leave.

It isn’t my fault alone. It also isn’t his fault. We’re both to blame for the demise of the relationship. I fell out of love with someone who pushed me away due to his own limitations with love. That’s the short of it.

My weight loss has shown me that I can achieve whatever I want in life. So for the past year or so, I have really been contemplating what that looked like to me. I have an imaginary line in my brain. One that signifies happiness. I think the best chance any of us have in this life to enjoy it fully and without reservations, is to move ourselves towards that line. People may not understand your motives or reasons. It really isn’t up to them to make the call on your life. If you honor your own dreams and wishes then you too can keep reaching for your own line of happiness. I wish mine didn’t have to include hurt feelings of others, but I do truly believe that everyone involved in my circumstance has a shot to be just as happy. You can’t continue to cast a victim mentality on either party. What we both need is to rise higher than before. We need to evaluate what happened and the role we played, then prepare for the next stage of our life. Whatever that may be. We need to learn from our mistakes and move forward with that new knowledge.

We need to honor our true selves. Letting go is not giving up. I am ready for what lies ahead. I am strong and am capable of living a life where I am able to love fully and receive that love in return. I look forward to sharing the next chapter with you.


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Meeting The Masses 

​A huge benefit to having your personal weight loss story spread all over social media, newspapers and a multi national magazine, is getting the chance to talk to other people about THEIR stories.  Making a connection with another human being who is travelling the same road. We might be at different parts of the road, but we’re on the same one.

 The past couple weeks have been super busy with my day job but I have found the time to meet up with some pretty amazing people. First, I got to meet with a mother and her 16 year old daughter from my hometown. I was contacted by Cathy, the mom, when the whole insanity about Woman’s World Magazine first began. Sam, her daughter, is looking to begin a weight loss transformation and wanted to meet with me to talk more about how to start. She’s light-years ahead of where I was at that age. Being sixteen is hard enough to deal with, without having to work on a weight loss goal.  But this girl is so determined, I could tell instantly when I met her. She reminds me so much of myself just a couple years ago! She’s ready! It was so heart warming to see her face light up at the suggestions of different food options and the journey ahead of her.

 I was nervous to meet them, hoping I would live up to any hype that may have been built up about me. They were  both so pleasant and friendly that any hesitations I had quickly went away. During our conversation I didn’t sense any self doubt from Sam at all. Not once did she moan or groan about the changes that will come her way. It felt like a real connection was made and I can’t wait to see how far she goes! And she WILL go far! 

Secondly, I was invited to T.O.P.S. Which is a weight loss support group that stands for “taking off pounds sensibly”. Turns out they have been around for a really long time.  I actually had never heard of it before being asked to be a guest speaker. I was beyond touched and delighted to do it. But public speaking causes such anxiety for me, it’s ridiculous.  I figured there wouldn’t be THAT many people there, not hundreds by any stretch. So I should be able to remain conscious enough to get through it.   

I was told a fairly decent sized group checked in that night along with a few people who specifically wanted to meet ME! So nuts!  No pressure there at all! There was about 30 or so in the room. I was also informed that the turnout was more than they’re used to on a given week. That was pretty incredible to hear. And beyond flattering.

 The stories that were told to me that night and the inspiration that was all throughout the room was overwhelming. I might not have known any of those people but I instantly felt like I was among peers, because I was! My feelings of anxiety quickly dissipated.  

Their meeting started with a weigh in and everyone discussed how their week went in terms of pounds lost. It was so incredible to see the support that they got from each other be it .5 of a lb lost, or 3 lbs. In my eyes they were all winners, even those that gained.  They still showed up to the meeting, they had the confidence to get out of their home, and go get inspired to continue on their journey. I’m not sure if they realize how much power was circulating around that room, but I felt it big time. The meeting was pretty much centered around me and my story and there was a large question and answer portion afterwards. They asked a lot of familiar questions to me and a couple hard hitting ones. One that stood out specifically was why I chose to lose weight alone, as in NOT in a group like theirs.  My answer was this, I have always been the sort of person to go my own way. Often the harder route, but I always get to my goal one way or another. But there are numerous ways to lose weight and get fit. A group like T.O.P.S  is so valuable to so many people. And I can see what a great source of empowerment it is for its members. It doesn’t require strict food or meal plans, a workout program and it’s the furthest thing from a “diet trend”. It’s simply a group of individuals having a discussion. Things that work for them, approaches that didn’t.  A bunch of like minds all coming together. I would highly suggest looking into something like this if you’re the type of person who might thrive in this sort of setting.

As the question period was rapping up, I was gifted some lovely flowers and touching card. People said how neat it was having a celebrity come to the meeting! I am such a far cry from that sort of notoriety but this was the first time that I got such a large number of people in one room to hear me talk ans who all wanted to meet me and knew my story because they had seen the magazine or seen me on TV.  As they were literally packing up the tables and chairs and turning the lights off in the hall, I still had a line up of people asking QUESTIONS!  I was so surprised at how engaged they all seemed to be with me. It’s one thing to get an email or Facebook comment telling  you how much of a difference you’re making to someone,  but to look them square in the eyes and hear that  is on a whole other level. Too feel the praise and adoration in person, and to really engage in a conversation in real time was an experience I’ll never forget.