Journey to the best health of my life (yes, the journey includes olives)


30 Days of HIIT: DONE!

I’ve been quiet on the blog about 30 Days of HIIT, but I promise that I was completing the daily challenges and am now DONE!  I sweat, I burned, I pushed, I conquered – that’s right: I kicked butt!

A lot of my comments for 30 Days of Cardio Blast spill over into this so I will refrain from repeating myself 🙂

I mentioned the awesome general stopwatch in another post but what I didn’t mention was that each daily workout has its own stopwatch at the bottom of the daily page with beeps to let you know you need to switch exercise.  See here for an example.  This was really useful during 30 days of HIIT because the exercises were based on time, rather than a specific number of reps.  All I had to do was listen out for the beep to move to the next exercise.  On a (technical) side note: the beeps did not work on Firefox for me, but they did work on Chrome.

I enjoyed the HIIT challenge just as much as I enjoyed the Cardio Blast challenge.  Yes, that’s right, I enjoyed it!  When I found it really tough I reminded myself that there was only seconds remaining and that helped me to keep pushing and not give up.  It is a really well thought out 30 days and I did not get bored.  I love that Neila Rey takes away all the thinking!  All I have to do is just do it!  As with my last 30 day challenge I saw noticeable improvements in various exercises.  It is truly amazing what a few minutes of dedication a day can do!

I’m glad I had completed the Cardio Blast challenge before doing the HIIT challenge.  I was already familiar with some movements, and it gave me confidence to try exercises that I was not necessarily comfortable with.  Some of the exercises in the HIIT challenge definitely took me to another level.  I’m completing these challenges while also keeping up with my regular workouts.  I feel like I’m getting stronger at a faster rate because of these challenges.  I see the difference in my regular workouts.

Most importantly, I feel really good.  I set out to complete two 30 day challenges and I’ve done them both!  Did you get that?  I met two goals!  I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it and I know that my dedication will pay off in the long run.  I am feeling very positive about the future – it has been a long time coming.

I’m starting my next 30 day challenge (thank you voters!) this week!






100 days!

I woke up this morning and spotted the countdown timer on my phone. It told me that there were 100 days left until May 1 which marks the end of the STMC.

Countdown to STMC

Countdown to STMC

100 days! That’s a great number I thought. It’s not too long that it feels like it’s going to go on forever, but it’s a great amount of time to make some real changes in my life. I can accomplish so much in 100 days. With a team of people I built a home in 2 days. 100 days is 50 times that! I’m excited. I haven’t been this excited in a long time. I have goals, I have a plan, I have 100 days and, most importantly, I have a team of really encouraging people… big hugs to my fellow participants!

Don’t get me wrong – my health journey won’t end in 100 days, but the challenge has definitely given me the push I needed.  It goes without saying – but thank you Carolina and Rob 🙂

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Why olives?

The short (and sweet) answer:  Olives have good fat and I love them!

The long (and more interesting) answer: I’ve spent most of my life running from fat.  I trusted the “food pyramid”, the low-fat, low-cal outlook.  I thought eating less, means lower calories, which means weight loss.  Sure, that might work in the short-term, but in hindsight my body was lacking in so many vital minerals and nutrients.  I was not healthy.  In addition, I was eating a lot of processed food that I believed were healthy for me.  These processed foods had ingredients that my body did not recognize and I can’t begin to tell you the extra sugar in them!  I discovered good fats and whole foods.  My world changed overnight.  Things finally made sense.

I’m happy to say that I don’t even enjoy those processed ‘healthy’ foods I ate in the past.  My taste buds are alive again.  I used to hate olives.  I had one by accident on a day soon after I made the switch to whole foods and well, my mouth did a happy dance!

I’m a great ingredient label reader (when I buy something with a wrapper) and food is far tastier when you cook it from fresh.  Nothing in a wrapper tastes as good as my home cooking!


I go to the gym – why am I still fat?

Today is Saturday.  Today is gym day.  In fact, I go to the gym 4 to 5 times a week.  I admit, there are a few weeks where I don’t make at least 4 times, but, on the whole, for the last 5 years I’ve been going at least 4 times a week.  In addition, I’ve had a personal trainer for the last 4 years (and he kicks my butt every Saturday!).  I should have the body of Megan Fox by now.  But I don’t.  Why is that?  Here’s what I think:

1. I suffered from PE (pulmonary embolism) and was on warfarin for 6 months

My PE in 2009 was caused by the birth control pill.  When I was taken into hospital they did not know if I would survive the night.  I was in hospital for 5 days.  Since then I don’t even want to have tylenol for a headache (read: hate any medication – natural remedies all the way).  Warfarin was mandotory, but my body did not react to well (read: crazy weight gain).  I feel like I’ve been fighting that episode ever since.  If I ever have another clot I’ll be on warfarin for life – that’s a scary thought that is constantly at the back of my mind.

2. I have PCOS

This is not an excuse, but I do find that my body (read: fat) is very stubborn.  For the longest time I didn’t know why.  I suspected I had PCOS, but every doctor said I didn’t (and somehow it was my fault that I was fat – and I believed them).  After my PE I was finally correctly diagnosed.  Since then I have tried everything to beat PCOS naturally – it’s a battle that I plan to win!

3. I have an unhealthy relationship with food

By ‘unhealthy relationship’ I mean that food is used to celebrate things, to fill a hole when I’m sad and to keep my mouth busy when I’m working.  My extended family still tell stories of when I’d hide and eat chocolates (read: I laugh it off, but its extremely embarrassing and a painful memory).

I”m much better than I was before.  I have to keep reminding myself that food is fuel.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t need to enjoy what I eat, but that does mean I am conscious of everything I put in my mouth, and consious of trying to make sure that what I put in my mouth is whole foods.

I can’t pinpoint why I have this unhealthy relationship with food.  I grew up in a home with a loving and supportive family.  There was no  big and terrible incident.  Maybe it’s because my extended family kept telling me I was fat (keep in mind I remember this from when I was as young as 4 or 5 – I have pictures and no, I wasn’t fat.  I just wasn’t skinny like my cousins); maybe it’s because when I was 10 I went to a family gathering and one of my uncles said I’d put on some weight (as opposed to “hello, how’s school?”); maybe it’s because I’ve been told I’m pretty, but I just need to – yep, you guessed it – lose weight.  Whatever the reason, I have spent my adult life trying to find a way to correct this bad relationship with food.

4. When I don’t see results I lose motivation

Like I mentioned, my body is stubborn and I’ve had a couple of bumps along the way.  My weight was 178lbs when I started with my trainer.  I’m now 236lbs.  This does nothing for my motivation.  My motivation is that the doctor told me that I probably only survived the PE because I had a strong heart.  I only had a strong heart because I had been regularly working out.  I owe exercise my life.  I know that this should be all the motivation I need, but the extra tight clothes (and bigger sizes) make it difficult on a day to day basis.

5. I didn’t discover “Paleo” until this year

I heard about the paleo lifestyle earlier this year and completed Whole30 to kick me off in the right direction.  I had amazing results – more energy, better skin, weight loss and, most importantly, I felt really good.  It’s the first time in my life that I’ve tried to stick to the paleo lifestyle since then.  I know that results won’t be overnight, but it feels like a relief to find a way of eating that doesn’t make me feel deprived (and is extremely tasty!).  It’s also great to know that I’m feeding my body exactly what it needs – good whole nourishing foods.

So, there you have it.  These are my top 5 reasons for still being fat.  I will write a post in the future that gives my top 5 reasons for feeling and looking great after reaching my personal health goals! 🙂


Am I foxy?

No – but I would love to be!  Foxy is not just about how I look, but also about how I feel.  I’m overweight and have been my whole life.  I’m 5’2″ and 230lbs + (I stopped looking at 230lbs).  I carry most of the weight in my stomach, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have chunky legs or arms.  Women who are in their third trimester have smaller tummies than me.  Last week I was on the train and a pregnant woman sat down next to me.  The woman opposite commented how big she was.  She had a smaller tummy than me.  It just made me feel awful.  I’m ready to make a change.  I’ve tried paleo and completed w30 (in early 2013).  I wish I had kept up with it – I had amazing results and felt so good about myself.  I can’t dwell on the past though.  I know it works for me and I just have to focus on eating paleo again – making it a lifestyle change.  Eating paleo is the first time I’ve ever lost weight without feeling like I was depriving myself, without feeling like I was on a diet.  My body responded well.  At this point it’s about my mind – about avoiding temptations that I know do not benefit me and doing what I need to do to be the healthiest version of myself.