My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Goodbye 2012 …

Well it’s time. Time to say goodbye to 2012. What a year it has been. One of the best years of my entire life. And I can say that confidently. A lot happened this year. More than I thought possible.

For me, 2011 had been a rough year so I was hopeful for 2012. And the year started out well. I entered a weight loss competition/fundraiser for the hospital and joined a gym. For the first time in my life, I was enjoying going to the gym. And I was proud of myself for that. The more I worked out, the more I realized I could do. It was exciting. And the more I did, the more weight I lost. I lost more in 2012 than I ever had before. I’m not going to say it was easy. I had some rough patches. And more than once I felt like giving up. But I didn’t. And I’m so happy I didn’t.

And I made some great new friends this year. Tyler, Nick, Joe, Edel, Chase, Sarah, Liz, Matt — just to name a few! Of course, I lost a few friends too. And while part of me is sad about that, I’m doing my best not to dwell on it. I try to remember that there is a reason everything happens … So maybe I learned what I needed from them or vice versa, so it’s time we move on. It’s still a little sad.

I was introduced to a new genre of books this year as well. Okay, not “new” but “new to me”. I have always loved to read. There is just something about holding a book in your hands, the feel of the pages. And I love it when a book captures my attention within the first couple of paragraphs. That’s how my love-affair with science fiction/fantasy books started. I was handed a copy of Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie and told to read it. I was almost immediately hooked. And when I was done, I was given a list of other books and other authors to read. And I have loved them all. I’ve read more than 30 books this year, and I already have a large list to start on for 2013. I’m so excited about that!!!

I did a couple of things this year that I didn’t think I could do. I walked across a bridge that used to scare me to drive over. I even stopped at the top and looked over the edge. Now that has had me thinking of other bridges I can walk. I participated in and completed a 5k walk for charity. It was hard and at times I didn’t know if I could finish, but I did and it was amazing. Now I’m looking at doing 10k events.

I’ve learned a lot this year too. I learned I’m stronger than I thought. I learned I’m more stubborn than ever. I learned that it is okay not to be perfect. I learned it’s okay to let people see your vulnerable side. I learned it’s okay to be scared. I learned it’s okay to be proud of myself. And I learned it’s okay to let go.

This year also saw me continuing to be cancer free. I hit the 3 year mark at the end of October. I only have to see my oncologist once a year now. I can hardly wait until i never have to see him again. He’s a great doctor, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t ever want to have to need him again. I do see my family doctor on a regular basis. And he is thrilled with how well I’m doing. My asthma is well under control and my blood pressure is coming down. I’m hoping that I will eventually be able to stop taking medication for that, but I think I’m still a bit away from that.

I’m really proud of myself. I accomplished a lot this year. But I didn’t do it alone. I had a lot of help. The support I received from my friends and family was overwhelming at times. I didn’t realize how much support I had until I really needed it. It’s amazing and wonderful. I want to say thank you to everyone who has been in my corner. Your love and encouragement and support means the world to me. It’s partly because of you that I had such great success this year.

So here’s goodbye to a great year … And hello to what hopefully will be an even better one! Happy New Year everyone!


Vacation review and getting back on track

Ok so I’m back from vacation and Christmas is over. It’s time to get back on track. I knew when I was planning my vacation, that I was going to be a little “bad”, but I was intent on not getting too far off track. I was afraid that if I went too far, it would be really difficult to get back. So my plan was to stick to my schedule as much as I could and get in at least one really good workout while I was gone. I had planned on treating myself a little with food, but not go overboard.

So how did I do?

Well, not as good as I had hoped I would. I think if I were to give myself a grade, it would have to a “C-“.

I’m a little disappointed in myself. I know I could have done better. I should have been stronger. I should have been able to resist more.

But on the other hand, this was my first major vacation and Christmas since I started this part of journey. And really, it could have been a lot worse. I could have completely gone off track. I could have indulged in everything instead of just a little.

So where did I go wrong? What could I have done better?

Well I think I actually started out fairly well. When we got to Florida, we went grocery shopping. I bought fruit to snack on, ingredients to make a smoothie for breakfast, and some veggies and turkey to make for dinner. I was trying to keep things as similar as I could to home.

What I didn’t expect was not getting up early in the morning, not eating on a “normal” schedule, and eating out a lot. I was expecting to eat out, but not every day and sometimes twice a day. That really threw me off. And I found that because I wasn’t eating every 2-3 hours like I’ve been used to, when we did sit down to eat, I was so hungry that I would overeat. And because I was hungry, I would not always pick the best stuff.

So what did I do right?

One night I was offered a free piece of pie, but turned it down. There were plenty of sweet treats, and I only had 1 piece of candy. I even baked cookies with my niece and didn’t eat any.

I did get a lot of great compliments from my family. They said I look great. They were amazed at how dedicated I’ve been. That felt really good. We talked a lot about what I’d been doing and where I want to go in the future. They seemed really interested in what I had to say.

And while I had a great time in Florida and visiting with my family, I feel like I let myself down a bit. I know what I should have been doing, but didn’t do it. I should have made better food choices. I should have found the time to workout.

And now that I’m home, it’s time to get back on track. Time to go back to making the right food choices. Time to hit the gym on a regular basis. Time to get back to normal. My normal anyway. I find it a little funny that this is now my normal. Eating right and hitting the gym 5 days a week. Might be a little crazy to some people, maybe even most people. But not to me. I feel better when I’m eating right and working out.

It may take me a few days to get totally back where I need to be, but I’m well on my way. And I’m already feeling better.

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Struggling with food

I love food. Always have. My mom was a great cook, so I learned to love food early. And I learned to use food as a comfort. Now I’m learning to look at food differently. But it’s a struggle sometimes. There are things I crave, but I know they aren’t good for me. Like sweets, especially chocolate. I know it’s better to eat clean. I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables and lean proteins. I know I should stay away from processed foods, too much sugar, and too much fat. But just because I know these things, doesn’t mean it’s easy to do them. I often struggle with food. Not every day. But often enough. Since I began my journey 3 years ago, I’ve tried hard to change my eating habits. I started out slow, changing a little at a time. I knew that if I tried to change too much at once, there was a good chance the changes wouldn’t stick. I started by cutting back on sodas and processed foods. I moved on to cutting back on sweets. I tried to incorporate more fruits and veggies as well. I think I did pretty good for the most part. Especially since I was new to it and just winging it. When I joined the gym this year and began seriously working out, I knew I had to be more serious about my eating habits. I don’t like to call it a diet. Diets inevitably fail. This is a lifestyle change. Tyler had me start a food diary. You really pay more attention to what you eat when you have to write it down. After reviewing it, he helped me by showing ways to cut calories, fat, sugar, etc out of what I was eating. He gave me suggestions of better things to eat. Am I always good? Do I always follow the guidelines he gave me? No and no. I try hard though. But some days it’s a real struggle. Some days I crave certain foods, mostly sweets. I’ve given in a few times, and almost always have regretted it. As good as I want the treat to taste, it doesn’t seem to. I always feel guilty about giving in. I’m trying hard not to, but it’s not easy. I wonder if he is disappointed in me for giving in. I’m disappointed in me for giving in. Will I always have these struggles? I certainly hope not. I hope it will get easier to say no, to stick to my eating plan. Because I’m an emotional eater, I have often struggled with food. I think I’m getting better at not turning to food for comfort. It’s a slow process though, and sometimes I have to take it one day at a time, one meal at a time. But I’m getting there. And that’s a good thing. I just have to remember not to give up. And that I have a whole group of people supporting me. And if I slip a little, it’s not the end of the world. Just pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going.

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Christmas has always been special to me. There is something almost magical about this time of year. Being surrounded by family and friends, hunting for just the right gift for each person on your list, having the house filled with the smell of freshly baked cookies, watching the snow fall outside while you are cuddled up inside.

My mom taught me to cook and bake when I was young, so I was always helping her in the kitchen. As I got older, it didn’t feel like Christmas until I was baking, especially when I was living on my own. I looked forward to the box of goodies my mom would send me each year. Now I bake for friends and for my people in my husband’s office. I think they look forward to receiving the goodies as I do to baking them. The year I had surgery to remove my cancer, I was determined to continue my tradition. Several people told me that it was okay if I didn’t feel up to making cookies. But I told them that I would still be baking because to me, it isn’t really Christmas if I don’t bake cookies. I didn’t make as many as I normally make, and I needed help, but I was happy that I got some done. Summer 2011 my mom died and I was devastated. I wondered if I would ever want to bake again at Christmas. I wondered if Christmas would ever feel the same without her, even though we lived far apart. As the holiday season approached last year, I started to feel better, almost happy again. And I felt the urge to bake. Sometimes I wonder if that was my mom’s doing. Maybe she was watching over me, and knowing how much I love it, she helped me get back into the kitchen. My mom was a very special woman and I still miss her every day. So now it’s Christmas 2012. And I baked up a storm, probably made more cookies this year than I have in quite a while. The difference this year is I only ate 1 cookie. That’s right. I ate 1 cookie. This year, for the first time, I’m having great success with my journey to be healthier. And as much as I love the cookies I make, I love me more. I love where I’m headed. I love what I’m able to do. And I want to continue to do well. So I didn’t indulge as I would have in the past. And I’m perfectly happy with that. And I will continue my tradition of baking, and giving the goodies to others to enjoy. And I will do it because it makes me happy. And it’s just isn’t Christmas if I don’t bake cookies.

My husband and I went to visit my niece Ashlie and her family before Christmas, and we were going to see my brother Jerry and his wife Julie as well. My niece, knowing that I would be baking, asked if I would bring some cookies. I was going to, but decided on something better. Instead, I packed a few of my favourite recipes to take with me. When we got there, I told her that instead of bringing her cookies, I thought it would be more fun and more special if we baked them together. I would teach her like my mom taught me. My niece is extra special to me. I love her as if she was my daughter. Many times over the years I wished she could have been, but that’s another story. She was excited at the idea of baking together. We had a great time baking together. I was thrilled to share a few of my secrets with her. Maybe it will become a new tradition. I would love it to be.

Almost every year since we got married, my husband and I spend Christmas with his mom, and his brother and sister-in-law. There is a new addition to the family this year — Allan and Trish had a baby boy named Alex in October. We are so excited to be with them for Alex’s first Christmas. There is something extra special about that. Even though he won’t really know or understand what’s going on, there is just something about the first Christmas.

For the first time in quite a whole I’m really looking forward to Christmas. I’m healthier and happier than I think I have ever been. As much as I love the traditions of the past, I’m looking forward to making new traditions as well, ones that reflect the new me. I’ve done many great things this year and looking forward to continuing to do more in 2013. Look for a post next week about resolutions for the new year.

I will end this post by saying Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season. Thank you for your support this year. Whether it was words of encouragement when I felt like giving up or just visiting my blog, it has meant the world to me. Thank you so much. May all your wishes come true.

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Being on vacation

What is it about being on vacation that makes you almost forget about your goals and being healthier? Why do we eat things we shouldn’t? Why do we brush off our workouts? These are questions I’m struggling with right now. I’m currently on a little holiday in Florida, visiting family. I promised myself before I left that I would be as good as possible, that I would continue to eat as clean as I could, and that I would get in at least one good workout. I did give myself permission to be a little bad, but not go overboard. My husband and I are staying with my niece and her family. They live on the 3rd floor, so I do have to go up and down a couple flights of stairs, but that’s not enough of a workout. I need to get to a gym and really sweat! I’m certainly missing my workouts with Tyler. But I need to learn to push myself when he’s not around. I need to remember why I started this journey and why I need to stay on course. I need to remind myself that just because I’m not at home does not mean I can eat whatever I want. Being on vacation does not mean I won’t gain weight if I don’t eat properly. In fact, I think I need to be more vigilant than ever! I’m trying. We went grocery shopping when we got here. I got fruit to snack on, ingredients to make my smoothie for breakfast, and veggies and lean protein for lunches and/or dinners. But it’s when we go out that I’m concerned. I’m afraid of losing control. What if we go somewhere that I can’t make really healthy choices? I need to be careful. I don’t want to undo all the progress I’ve made. I don’t want to go backwards. So what do I do? How do I have fun but maintain control? How do I balance enjoying myself and keeping true to my goals? I wish I knew the answers. Right now I’m just taking it one step at a time, one meal at a time, one day at a time. I don’t know, but maybe that is the answer.


Quinte’s Biggest Loser 2

So 2012 started with me joining a local weight loss competition that was also a fundraiser for our local hospital. A friend suggested it, so a bunch of us joined. That’s how I started going to the gym this year. I didn’t do that well, only lost 15 pounds. But I was doing it on my own. And I didn’t know as much as I do now.

It’s almost time for that competition to start again and I’m already signed up! It only lasts for 3 months, but a lot can happen in that time. I’m friends with the guy who won this year. Next year is all mine.

And this time around I’m not alone. Now I have Tyler. He’s my secret weapon. I swear I’m going to get a t-shirt made that says “My secret weapon is my personal trainer” and I will wear it with pride. He will be kicking my ass harder, pushing me farther, and as always, supporting me every step of the way. But he’s not all. I also have Chase, my friend and co-owner of the gym I go to. He’ll be helping me with strength training and making sure I stay on track. And then there’s Sarah, my new friend. She’ll be working out with me, offering her support, and also keeping me on track. These are the main members of Team Coleman. There are others too — Mike, Joe, Meagan, just to name a few. I will have lots of people supporting me. And with their help, how can I lose? Even if I don’t “win” the competition, I feel like I’ve won in the game of life.

The contest officially starts January 8, 2013. It will be 3 months of harder workouts, finding and breaking my limits, learning new things, conquering more goals. I will need to be more conscious of what I eat, no slipping, no “being bad”. I will need to let my competitiveness take over a bit. I will need to push myself farther than ever before.

So in the new year, look for more posts all about what’s going on, how I’m doing, what I’m learning and what goals I’ve reached. It’s going to be a crazy ride!

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Pangs of jealousy -or- I didn’t know I was so competitive

I don’t consider myself a competitive person. Nor do I think I’m a jealous person. Or at least I never used to. But it seems lately that I am becoming one … when it comes to my workouts anyway. I noticed it the first time a few months ago, but didn’t really pay attention to it, thinking it was just a one-time thing. Being at the gym 5 days a week gives me a lot of time to see others working out, seeing what they are capable of. I see someone running, and I want to be able to do that. I see someone using the elliptical with ease and I want to be able to do that. I see someone holding a plank for a long time with relative ease, and I want to do that! If others can do it, why can’t I? I know I’ve come a very long way this year. And I try to remember that when my jealousy flares up. But sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes the pangs of jealousy are stronger than the voice in my head that says “you’ll get there”. I’m working on that though. Sometimes those pangs make me sad. That’s a little weird, isn’t it? I try not to let them get to me. I try to remember that I’m still learning. But sometimes it’s hard. And that’s where the competitiveness comes into play. It drives me to push myself farther than I’ve ever gone before. I want to lift more, do more reps, try a new level, do things I’ve never done before. But I have to be careful. I can’t let that side of me overrule my common sense. I have to be careful that I don’t push myself to the point of getting hurt. It’s a balancing act. And I’m learning.

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Slow posts

Okay, I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately. I’ve had a bit of writers block lately. And it’s frustrating. I want to write. I need to write. But every time I’ve tried recently, it hasn’t come out right. I know what I’d like to say, but when I put it down, it doesn’t look right, doesn’t sound right. I would delete and try again. Still not right. I’d give up for a few days. Then try again. Still not right. Very frustrating. Makes me angry. But I think I’m past it now. Or at least I hope so. I’ve got a few posts in the works, so look for them over the next couple of days. And hopefully more will soon follow. Thank you for your patience and your continued support.

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