Fit Life Adventure

An Ordinary Woman's Journey of Surviving Obesity


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What’s Up Doc?

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THIS CHILD WILL NOT THRIVE.

These words were written on my charts during the very start of my life. I will spare you the medical details of all I went through. Needless to say I was a very sick little girl. Lucky for me, my condition improved and for the most part I have gone on to live a fairly normal life. It is a life however, that has always been closely tied to doctors and specialists of all sorts. When my mom found one that worked well for us, we stuck with them. My current family doctor has known me since I was a preteen. She’s the one who gave me my required vaccines when I entered into the Veterinary Technician field. She helped facilitate and support my decision to get my tubes tied. As it goes with most doctors, she’s seen it all. Including my weight gain.

I hit a point about 3 years ago where the pain in my feet was excruciating. I used to be in denial about the reason why. “I work on my feet all day. I walk a lot for my job.” But my feet shouldn’t feel numb after a 30 minute dog walk. I wanted help with the pain. I figured my doctor could recommend someone. Instead she told me to lose weight. I remember hearing the words leave her mouth. It stung so bad. It was the first time my weight had ever been talked about in a doctor’s appointment. Internally I became so defensive. Couldn’t I just get a referral to chiropractor who deals with feet? They would massage them and the pain would subside. Lose weight?! Didn’t she know I spent years “accepting” myself? How dare she call that into question? I dug my heels in deeper. Whether or not I knew it, I wasn’t mentally ready for that change. I nodded my head along with the suggestions she made for me to start living and eating healthier. I was moments from tears and words were too hard to form. Her instructions felt so basic. I was certain she was dumbing it down for me. She made the process seem so simple. Like I could just go home right then and there and start doing it. It hurt to see the disappointment on her face as she turned to leave the room. Sort of like she knew I had no intention of even trying.

To “try” something is to admit that there is a possibility of accomplishing the task in front of you. If you can’t see at least a possible positive outcome then why even bother? After that doctors visit I already felt like a failure, so why on earth would I want to fail more? I truly did not believe that I could lose weight.

Belief is a strong power to posses. It can hold you back from things or it can propel you forward. It would be about a year later that I gained enough self confidence to TRY. The more confidence I gained in myself and my abilities, the more I could envision myself succeeding. It became real to me. It became attainable. I started to want it really bad.

I gained enough confidence to be consistent with my new lifestyle even through the moments that tested my new found conviction. I recall me and my mom being invited to a little housewarming party for a friend of ours who just had a baby. It was around the time when I had lost the first 20 lbs or so. I went out and bought a new outfit because I was feeling pretty good about myself. You know what – I actually felt GREAT about myself. I walked into the party with swagger. No one commented on my weight loss. Not a word. They actually commented on how fit my mom looked. I stayed strong in that moment. My mom’s success was not my failure. My weight loss and progress I was experiencing was already making a huge difference in my life. No one else needed to validate that for me. I told myself to just keep doing what I was doing. They’ll notice one day.

The reactions I get from people now is amazing. I work hard at staying humble. Getting my doctor’s attention is on a different level though. And just try to wipe that smug look off my face when my doctor walked back into the room a few weeks ago. I was beaming from ear to ear. First time in my life I couldn’t wait to see that woman.

“Amanda! You look great! What program are you doing? Weight watchers?”

“Nope, doc. Just started eating whole foods and introduced fitness”

She was floored by my results. She ordered some blood work for me to make sure my insides were on the right track too. As she wrote, she expressed great interest in my new lifestyle and even took my word for it this time when I told her my current weight.

Her eyes wandered for a second. She looked me straight in the eyes and told me she always knew I was a smart girl, even from a young age. She was glad I figured it out too.

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Who wears short shorts?

 

My city is notorious for crazy weather changes. You could easily wear a parka on Monday and then be lying on our sad excuse for a beach on Thursday. I find the older I get, the more I hate winter. But I hate summer even more. Big bodies get hotter faster, sweat more, require more energy to move, even BREATH sometimes! While it is perfectly acceptable to combat some of those problems by donning lighter and even less clothing options, I gave up wearing shorts when I was 15.

Some people can rock their size no matter what! Crop tops, bikinis, short shorts. Some women exude confidence and pull it off effortlessly. Not me.

I would suffer through the hottest days in the summer wearing jeans because I didn’t like my legs. When I did try shorts they would just rise up while I walked and were a pain the neck. I even rocked a farmers tan for years because I hated my arms so much I would stay in t-shirts all summer long. In high school I started getting spider veins, the horrible raised ones too. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see.

I can actually recall the last time I wore shorts. It was on holiday in Collingwood, Ontario. Me and my family did the whole scenic caves hike. I remember the way my thighs rubbed together as I walked. My shorts kept riding up and I had to constantly be fussing with them. At the end of the day I got to deal with raw, chapped inner thighs. It was horrible. Of all the clothing I have saved over the years, those shorts have hung around the longest. They were the only pair I owned at 15 and so in an emergency situation or maybe just to do laundry at home, I might break them out. I tried them on for the first time in years in preparation for our spring/summer transition. They fell off me. Right to my ankles. This told me two things. One, I am smaller now than I was when I was 15. And two, I better get my butt to the mall and go shopping!

 

Shopping in past years has never been a favourite activity of mine. I dreaded going. I knew I could only find my size in just a few stores and even if I had money to burn, I would probably only walk away with one or two things that I actually felt ok in. It got to the point that just finding something that fit was enough – didn’t matter if I didn’t like the colour or pattern. If I needed the clothing article and I was lucky it fit, then I bought it.

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Shopping is massively different for me now. I’ve even got a bit of an addiction with it. Which I feel has really perpetuated itself. When you are constantly a different size month after month, you HAVE to keep buying clothes – so really it’s not my fault! Wink wink.

 

I am no longer forced to shop at just 3 stores, I can shop at them all – except the plus size stores! With all these physical changes happening, I find the changes with my mind a bit slower. The weight is falling off of me faster than my mind can cope. Walking into a standard sized store, I still feel like the sales people look at me and think “Why is she shopping here?”

I have been told by some friends that they don’t understand why I would have any hang ups at all about how I look in clothes now. But I spend so much of my day focused on my body. Either how it looks, preforms or feels. There is a good chance I am still just as critical about it, maybe more so, than I was when I was obese. The reflection in the mirror is definitely a different one and my confidence is still adapting to it. So yeah, even though my thighs are smaller, wearing shorts is going to be a big deal for me this year. I might not be 100% comfortable wearing them, but I am getting there. My body is still changing and is not “perfect”. I still see my “flaws” but I have more courage now than I have had in a really long time. I might actually enjoy summer this year.

 

I am really proud of getting to this point. I keep reminding myself that real change happens at the end of my comfort zone. That change applies as much to my body as it does to my mind.

 

 


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Chubby, plus size, curvy, obese, fat, big boned, full figured, plump, overweight…fluffy?!

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I used to be fat. Clinically obese to be exact. If you had asked me during that time in my life to describe myself, I wouldn’t have used either of those words. I probably would’ve stuck with “plus size”. Those are the words that the stores I had to shop in used for their merchandise and somehow softens the blow of being overweight. I was definitely in denial about how bad my weight problem really was. I also had very low self esteem about the whole thing. There are some people who have much worse self esteem and they absolutely hate and despise themselves. Then there is the other end of the spectrum. People who are overweight and have just as much confidence as some of the body builders I know. Those people would have no problem at all referring to themselves a “fat”. But how about referring to someone else as fat? What if someone was asked to describe you and the word they chose was chubby? Would that offend you?

I heard about an Edmonton woman, Connie Levitsky, who worked at Addition Elle, which is a plus size fashion store, who got fired because of a FaceBook post she made. She is an overweight individual herself and is very comfortable about her size and enjoyed her job.fluffy post  Her FaceBook post went like this: “Conquering the world, one well-dressed fat lady at a time.” The store didn’t like that descriptor for their clientele. So they ended up firing her. Getting fired over the post was pretty rash, A simple “Please don’t call the customers fat” would’ve done it I think. They eventually offered her the job back and she declined. Her position on her social media post is that the word “fat” shouldn’t have a stigma around it. No offense, but a TON of words SHOULDN’T have stigmas around them. Like, feminist for example.

Like it or not a stigma does, and will remain, attached to the word “fat”. It’s great that she feels so confident to use the word to describe herself, but I can absolutely understand how other people, might not appreciate it so much. Depending on the context, that word can cut like a dagger. I get that trying to use it more often, and by an overweight person themselves, might take away the sting of it. But as long as there are rude, hateful and insulting people using the word “fat” as means to hurt someone, it will always carry a stigma. However, using it in that way says a great deal more about the person using it than the person they are trying to hurt.

The idea shouldn’t be to force your relaxed, carefree attitude towards the “fat word” onto others. The aim instead should be one of empowerment. There are many ways to feel empowered to a point where no matter what word might get thrown at you, you have the self confidence to handle it. It is naive to think we live in a world where people will eventually stop using words to hurt others. Trust me, if “fat” somehow loses its stigma, those jerks will just find another word to use.

The inside jokes, snickers and size discrimination tends to be one that is still socially acceptable. Start making racial jokes at your next family gathering and I guarantee you won’t get the same reaction from everyone in the room. Yet watching fat people trip and fall on America’s Funniest Home Videos or sharing in a snide comment your friend makes when you see an overweight family enter a McDonalds is pretty common place. Many workplaces won’t even hire obese people in fear that they will be lazy and incompetent at their job. You are absolutely able to have your own thoughts and opinions about others. Free speech is a cool thing. But it is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted especially when those opinions are hurled at others in an attempt to make them feel less of a human being…or trying to destigmatize a word for an entire group of people publicly. Might not be embraced by everyone – case and point.)

I wonder how many of you reading this are feeling pretty good about yourselves because you know that you aren’t the kind of person to make judgments upon others? You can say you are non discriminatory, but not one person could ever say that they didn’t form an initial opinion about someone based off their appearance. It happens all the time. It is human nature. Not just size discrimination either. If you are grocery shopping and see a teenager, pants half way down their ass, 10 facial piercings with multi-coloured hair, there will likely be some conclusions about who they are formed in your mind. Doesn’t make you a bad person. (Shooting them dirty looks or muttering rude comments about them under your breath does.) You just don’t know their story, that’s all.

I have the unique pleasure of getting to live my life knowing both sides of that fence – being obese and being fit. I carry extra compassion and empathy for those individuals struggling with their weight. You have no idea if the 400 lb person you see in front of you has just lost 5 lbs today and is feeling really great about themselves. You don’t know if a medical condition put them in that state or 1000 bags of Cheetos. You don’t know. You don’t know if they are in denial about their health or if they make jokes at their own expense and have a lighthearted approach to their situation or if the rude stare that you just gave them is going to worsen an already low self esteem. Just some food for thought.


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Muscles Aren’t Just For Men

Fitness update time!

I recently weighed in at 169.4 lbs which makes my total weight loss just over 130 lbs. Depending on the different people I see in a given day, I am almost certainly talking about how and what I am doing to get these results. (Even the cashier at my Mac’s corner store said something!) Once they find out exactly how much I have lost, their next question is “When are you going to stop?” “Someday” tends to be my response. Because, as I explain to them, fitness and health for me will be a constant factor in my life. It is never going away and I don’t want it to. It isn’t just a diet or exercise plan I am doing for a little while. No. This is a LIFESTYLE and I plan to live it, every single day, for the rest of my life.

I try to sway their line of questions towards my goals instead of the number on the scale. While that number is important goal to a degree, it is not all I want to accomplish. And I am trusting that my new, healthy body will help me dictate a “stopping point”. So if we actually get this far into the conversation, I bring up one of these said goals for this year. Building lean muscle. Again, depending on who it is I am talking to, I get a mixed reaction. A reaction similar to how most people responded when I said I would hit the 100 lb weight loss mark by last Christmas. They smile at me in the way you do when a small child is telling you that they are going to be an astronaut or a world famous elephant trainer when they grow up….“That’s nice dear, good luck with that.” They feel it is an impossible goal. But if at this point, the fact that I lost 130 lbs naturally isn’t somehow an indicator of my tenacity and will power then I guess they will likely always be a skeptic of things they probably could never dream of doing themselves.

The other response I sometimes get is, “You want muscle? By lifting weights? Aren’t you afraid of getting too bulky?” To me that’s like saying you wouldn’t want to drive a car fast because you don’t want to be Mario Andretti. I’m not setting out to lift weights like a body builder, so no, getting bulky isn’t a concern of mine. I want tight, defined muscles and mark my words – I will have them.

Everyone’s standard of beauty is different. My intention is not to convince you that a strong, lean looking woman is attractive. That’s your call. But to me, it is such a picture of health, beautyshe ra and focused dedication. It has taken me a long time to realize I am capable of living that life. Since I was a little girl I tended to look up to and admire that sort of physique. My childhood hero was She-Ra Princess of Power!

Now She -Ra is the sort of idol young girls should have. For thoshe  ra coverse who don’t know, she’s the 80’s equivalent to Wonder Woman. She=Ra is the twin sister to the well known He-Man. I thought she was magnificent. (I still do!!) She was tough, stunning, wielded a sword, had serious muscles to fight the evil Hordak and his minions AND rode a figgin unicorn for crying out loud! I wanted to be her.

Besides fictional heroes, there are other women who I admire for their incredible physical achievements. A recent one is Kacy Catanzaro. I watched her compete on the tv show American Ninja Warrior and become the first woman to climb the “warKACY 3p wall” and move onto the secondary stage of the competition. This show is no joke. You have to have incredible strength and agility to compete and every one of the people who try out are such amazing athletes.

Watching this show is beyond inspiring for me. But Kaci is a step above the others in my mind. She is a gymnast first and foremost and extremely tiny – at only 4 feet 11 inches.Kacy-Catanzaro-Speaker1

At face value, you might not expect much from her. But boy would she prove you wrong. KACY1

It’s women like She Ra and Kaci who should be looked up to and admired. Not the Kim Kardashians of the world.

In my quest for continued fitness I have run across others who share similar goals. Goals they would like to accomplish but some of them feel it may be an uphill battle. They have taken the initial steps in their own journey. Things like beginning a specific eating plan or deciding to join a gym. They’ve told me that they are a bit nervous to take those next steps in fear that they will be judged as beginners who don’t know what they are doing. A weight room in a gym, for instance, can be very intimidating for a woman. I recall when I first started training for my 5k at the start of this year. I actually googled “how to run” because I didn’t want to look like an amateur on the track compared to any other runners who might cross my path. I was afraid they’d be thinking “What is this girl trying to prove? She shouldn’t be out here.” Doing a bit of homework on the subject did help my confidence, but what helped my confidence even more was putting myself though that initial, awkward and uncomfortable feeling of starting to run. Once I got all the way around the small track and I wasn’t fully out of breath, I had the confidence to circle around it again. By my third lap, you could have pointed right at me and laughed out loud. I had such high self esteem that I would have run past you smiling ear to ear.

Change is supposed to be uncomfortable to start. That means you are doing something you wouldn’t normally. It doesn’t hurt to ask questions and do a little bit of research before if you think it might help. Like looking up the names of weight machines before you go to the gym and just working on one muscle group the day you go. Slowly familiarize yourself with the gym and the staff – you could even ask them to give you a tour of the weight room. Every single person who begins a fitness journey HAS to start somewhere. There was a point where we were all beginners and a bit anxious about what we were doing. Remember that that feeling is temporary. The pride you will feel after completing that uncomfortable task will far outweigh any of the stares or remarks you think you will get. (Most of the people in a gym are pretty focused on themselves anyways and really could care less about you!)

We all have the ability to reach outside our comfort zone. Start small, build confidence. If you want change then that’s exactly what you have to do – change.

beauty


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Stop Killing Your Kids

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I know that the tone of this blog post isn’t all that groundbreaking. Though some of the actual statistics are beyond frustrating . Regardless of the fact that I am not having children, I still notice the serious disconnect to what IS happening and what SHOULD be happening for the health and well being of the next generation.

Children start learning about nutrition from quite an early age. Thanks to my Playskool kitchen set, it was about age 4 for me. If kids are exposed to certain media images, they can recognize a McDonald’s by the age of 3. Since we all know how quickly young brains are developing and taking in the world around them, we should be doing everything we can to arm them for the best possible, healthy life. Based on your values, culture and beliefs, I get that this may differ slightly from home to home. But the basic principles of science and nutrition are pretty standard. Yet I see so many parents raising kids who have an easier time identifying chicken fingers and Poptarts instead of celery and radishes.

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I spent several hours reading through Ontario’s Health Program for grades 1 through 8. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with some of what I read. Kids are learning about product labels, food allergies, illnesses, obesity, micro and macro nutrient, even how to read food labels and the tricks companies use to sell products. So if teachers are arming children with a great arsenal of healthy information, where is this disconnect coming from?

There are still statistics that say their generation will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents. Childhood obesity HAS doubled in the past 30 years. And recently the youngest case of childhood diabetes was recorded in a 3 year old from Texas. Three years old! So this is even before this kid would get to learn about good nutrition and making healthy decisions from her teachers. At this point in her life all she has are her loving parents making her food decisions for her. Toddlers don’t do the grocery shopping.

It is time for parents to wake up and start learning these healthy habits themselves and have something more to pass along to their offspring. I know it takes a village to raise a child, so the onus cannot simply be put on parents and parents alone. The school systems may have the right idea when it comes to the most of the education they give your kids about food but WAAAY too much emphasis is put on Canada’s Food Guide, which in my opinion, could use a bit of an over haul. CanadaFoodGuide_Page_1 For instance, the largest section points towards grains and breads. Choose enriched they say? Enriched products are the products that have had all the nutrients stripped from them and machines add some synthetic versions back in! Then there is the whole part of the pyramid devoted to dairy. The case for milk to be such a vital role in the development of a child’s teeth and bones is weak. After you wean a child from breast milk, it is not necessary for further development to then have them consume the milk from cattle. They do not need to be drinking milk! No other species does this. New research also raises questions about the notion that milk actually keeps bones strong. A 2013 study published in the journal ‘JAMA Pediatrics’ found that children who live in countries with lower rates of milk consumption have lower bone fracture rates than those in milk drinking countries. But milk is supposed to do a body good right? In fact milk actually depletes the calcium from our bones! Calcium is an acid neutralizer. Our bones are the largest storage of calcium in our bodies. The very same calcium that we need to stay strong is actually being pulled out the bones to help neutralize the acidifying effects of the milk. This causes – get ready for it – a calcium deficit! Not to mention that 3/4 of the world’s population has a lactose intolerance or allergy. I am one of them. That number should speak volumes.

A December 2014 study in the Archives of Disease in Children found that preschoolers who drink three or more servings of milk a day are likely to be taller, but also more obese and overweight. And if you are still not convinced that milk should not be the holy grail for school lunches (or any meal for that matter) take into consideration the calories and sugar. A 2% glass of milk has 11g of sugar and is about 135 calories. Fruit juices will get you no brownie points either as orange juice has 112 calories and 20g of sugar. To put that into perspective, Coke has 98 calories and 25 g of sugar! If the food choices are on point but the drinks look like this, we are doing kids no favours here. Water is where it is at. It does not have to be boring. Water infused with frozen fruits to keep it cold all day long is absolutely delicious! Throw some Disney princesses or dinosaurs on a colourful reusable water bottle and your kid will have some extra swagger on the schoolyard.Childhood_Obesity_Epidemic_Apple

The guideline for what food and drinks are sold at grade schools has SOME regulations, but what the kids bring from home is ultimately the parent’s choice. According to the Ontario School Food and Beverage policy (2010), candy and sports drinks are not allowed to be sold, but donuts, croissants, corn chips, pizza, pop and pastries are all fine. What?! So while the schools are on the right track in some areas, I believe they really need to practice what they preach in the lunch room. I am not saying that pizza, chips and juice should NEVER be consumed. They should simply be looked at as special treats. Not what will be expected every other Tuesday of the month because it’s Pizza Day at school for your 8 year old.

As important as making healthy food choices are, being an active kid is just as crucial. I don’t find it the least bit cute that a 2 year old can swipe their little finger on your tablet to feed the digital fish. I get that technology is very much a part of our everyday lives now, but there has to be limits. Physical activity shouldn’t just be reserved for gym class. (And lets face it, gym class can really suck.) Hell, team sports might not be for everyone. So besides the activities that are forced upon the youth during school hours, when they get home, it shouldn’t be just straight to the nearest screen. If organized sports is just too time consuming or too expensive there are many other options for activity. Imagination shouldn’t be reserved for only those who MAKE the video games.

Children should be outside in the fresh air, getting scrapes and bruises, riding bikes, building forts in your basement out of sheets and blankets or at the park around the block.20160403_080224 I am so proud of the revamped parks in my city! They have taken the typical jungle gym and made it something that, even I as a 31 year old, want to go and play on!!20160401_125922 They sure beat the hell out of the jungle gyms from my childhood. We got that metal slide that would heat up in the mid day sun. It would take the flesh right off the back of your thighs. You took your chances with that thing in August, let me tell you.It doesn’t take a masters degree to come up with fun things for kids to do. I find it’s a bit of a cop out to always park them in front of a box that is intended to entertain them. There can be a time and place for that – Saturday morning cartoons anyone?

Healthy eating patterns and physical activity can set kids up for a lifetime of good habits. What parent doesn’t want the best for the kids? Don’t use the excuse that eating healthy costs too much. An experiment done in 2014 by ABC News found that eating a fast food dinner for a family of three, cost about $22 and a home cooked meal cost just $12. You might have to shop some sale items and get creative but I don’t see where that is impossible for ANY family.

I can’t just pick on fast food. Although their menu is like a sitting duck for critique when you have more chemicals in your food than actual food ingredients. ( I dare you try try to read through the insane amount of ingredients in the cheese ALONE in a Big Mac) Even the sit down restaurants have a poor excuse for the kid’s menu. Grilled cheese, hamburger, spaghetti ad meatballs. Its almost insulting that they market that food specifically for kids. Let’s give them more credit and more choices shall we?swiss-chalet-kids-menu (1)Cooking dinner can be a whole family activity. The meal will have half the calories and leave you a lot more satisfied. There are so many “quick and easy” recipes to find online, it will not take you hours to cook. As parents you need to get more creative and use YOUR imaginations to make these foods exciting and something to be enjoyed.

You don’t do children any favours by taking the easy way when it comes to meals and leading active lives. When our tax dollars go towards gastric bypass surgeries, health care costs for the morbidly obese, and a population is dying of totally preventable causes, it affects everyone. You don’t have to wait until there is a problem to then DO something about it. Change begins with us adults and we can ALL do better.

 

 


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You Are What You Eat – The food choices I made to lose over 120 pounds

If there is one single piece of information you can take away from particular blog post it would be-don’t start at the top because then you have no where to go.

It’s gotten really easy for me to spot the moment in the conversation when I’ve lost the person I am talking to. Their eyes glaze over, the head tilts slightly to one side and I can tell that my words have little meaning at this point. As soon as they hear that actual WORK has to be put in to “losing all that weight”- that’s it. They’ve checked out. I think sometimes they would prefer to hear that I did actually have super powers, or that there is a magical fruit that grows on the weight loss tree of miracles and I have the map to get to it. Sadly, not the case. The short of it is to get your diet in check and add in exercise. Then they all want specifics. But you see when I am approached by near strangers, which happens more than I like to admit (they either overheard my conversation with someone else or they see me walking dogs past their house everyday and notice I look different) I know that I would be standing there explaining my new lifestyle for about an hour. And that “check out point” comes at about the 3 minute mark. So maybe I’ll just point them all to this post.

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I don’t want this to be some great debate about which is healthier – vegan, vegetarian or omnivore. Let’s be respectful and play nice. As well, diet is just a brick in the weight loss pyramid – a big brick – but still just a part.

I can tell you that if you are starting out from a very poor diet and little to no exercise, that 85% of your “hard work” is going to stem from what you put in your mouth. I lost the first 100 lbs with mostly changing my diet. The major key with any lifestyle change is to start slow. If you make a bunch of changes right away 2 things may happen. First, you might become so overwhelmed you can’t keep it up or feel deprived that you simply give up. Second is perhaps you do get some results – yea! But then you have no idea which of the changes you made is affecting you, so tweaking what you did when you hit a plateau will be extremely difficult and again overwhelming. Pick a couple things to start changing and add in more as your confidence grows and your waistline shrinks.

If you are excited, like I was, about the prospect of changing your life, you might want to jump in head first. Don’t. Best to start from the beginning. Understanding what food is. The following is going to be a far cry from a science lesson here and I am by no means a dietitian. But if you get the basics of nutrition down, then you have a solid foundation and that is exactly where you need to start.20160331_134942

If you are aiming for optimum nutrition and in turn fat loss, almost all your meals should have a healthy balance of macro nutrients. If you are eating whole foods, from as close to nature as possible ( no white pasta/potatoes/rice/breads, highly processed foods or refined sugars) then the micro nutrients will automatically be there for you ( ie. minerals, vitamins etc..)

So, what are macro nutrients?

Carbohydrates

These little guys are not the enemy! (at least the “good” ones aren’t) The role of carbs is to be your energy source. You are going to need good sources of it for everyday function but especially if you are adding in exercise! The body will take a carbohydrate and turn it into glucose ( blood sugar). Too much of this and your body will store it as fat. There are 2 types of carbs – sugars and starches. Sugars are simple carbohydrates like cake, soda, candy, and even fruits. Starches are complex carbohydrates that take longer to be digested (keep you fuller!) and include foods such as breads, grains, pasta, and vegetables. The idea when it comes to weight loss is to really limit the sugary carbs and focus on whole grain options for your starches. Really read labels! You’d be surprised how many “enriched whole wheat breads just have caramel food colouring and that’s it! Companies can get away with so much! Some of my favourites from this category include sprouted wheat bread ( Ezekiel bread), ALL veggies, whole grain quinoa, oatmeal and brown rice.

Proteins

Please don’t mistake proteins as only coming from meat sources. Not the case at all. And also a macro group that you do not want to put on the back shelf. Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles. They are considered to be thermogenic, which means that your body actually uses energy to break them down, more than any of the other macro nutrients. It helps you feel satiated and it aids in the production of hormones and enzymes. Every cell in your body uses it! Examples of this macro include meats, fish, protein bars/powders, eggs, soy, legumes, beans and nut butters. Important to be sure you have lots of fiber rich foods in your diet when consuming a good deal of protein – helps keep things… “moving”. As well, if you do consume meat, get lean cuts or trim off excess fat. The animal fat is really no good for you.

Fats

You do not get fat by eating fat, lets dispel that myth right now. Excess stored fat comes primarily from sugar and it’s many evil forms. You need fats to live, plain and simple. They provide essential fatty acids which our bodies cannot make on their own and must be obtained from foods. They also help the body absorb specific vitamins. However, there are a few kinds of fat. The unsaturated fats are the ok ones. Now these little guys can help lower bad cholesterol if used in place of the other type of fat – saturated fat. Keep in mind they do pack a punch when it comes to calories. So don’t be going nuts with your oils and dressings! And it goes without saying that you should be staying away from fried foods. Good sources of healthy unsaturated fats include extra virgin olive oils, coconut oils, avocados, natural peanut butter, nuts, tofu, seeds and salmon.20160321_164148

Everyone’s goals are going to be different. For myself, I had a lot of weight to lose – over 100 lbs and I knew if I lost too quickly I would look like a deflated balloon. Since I am not one to be happily signing up for skin removal surgery, my plan was to go slow and steady and build lean muscle as I lost fat. Not the whole lose one pound a day crap either. I aimed for 2 to 4 lbs a week at the beginning. My food for the day consists of a ratio of about 40% proteins, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat. My final meal of the day is always just pure protein, like a shake or egg whites.I treat fruit as a treat and cut out dairy as it is not essential to live. Calcium can be found in plenty of the natural foods I was eating so there is no concern there. I enjoy a square of dark chocolate every once in a while too.

The key if you have a horrible metabolism (like me!) is to eat smaller more frequent meals (4-6x day) to keep your body at a rate where it will burn stored fat. I never have cheat DAYS, maybe a cheat meal once every couple weeks. Holidays are still celebrated but I don’t over do it. I am very consistent and practice self control. I don’t think too much about future events like “Oh no, what will I do at Uncle Fred’s backyard BBQ in 3 weeks?” I stay focused on the day in front of me. I will never sit out of these functions either just because I am conscious of what I’m eating. You need to seriously re evaluate your plan if you are letting food come between you and seeing family. You CAN do both! Before you know it, it’s the end of a month and you’ve got real results. That high will keep you motivated along with how great you are going to feel. AND YOU DO FEEL FANTASTIC. It isn’t a bullshit line that people use, you really do!20160331_134332

I have slowly introduced new types of macro nutrients, re evaluated my portions (like how much salad dressing I was really using) and introduced protein powders and bars. Again, I made these adjustments over time. And if you ask me 6 months from now what my diet looks like, it will probably be slightly different from today. But that’s a good thing. My diet should be constantly evolving. I should be trying new foods, recipes, and getting excited about the yummy concoctions I create and the continued success of this way of life!

Week to week, my results vary and that is to be expected. Many factors can alter the number on the scale. The important thing is to NOT STOP. Major change won’t happen overnight, but it WILL happen. I am living proof.

If anyone has any questions about even more specifics to my diet, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me a personal email.