My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Goodbye 2013 – a year in review

Well it’s almost time to say goodbye to another year.
Where did the time go? I don’t know about you, but for me 2013 seemed to just fly by.
It was a year of ups and downs, trials and celebrations, good times and not-so-good times. Here are some highlights, in no particular order:

At the beginning of the year, I set 4 goals for myself. I completed them all in 6 months. I was pretty proud of myself for that. But that gave me 6 months of not really having a focus.

I hit a plateau in April that I still haven’t been able to break free of. I’m working on it, but it’s hard.

I hit a milestone with my trainer Tyler – losing 100 pounds since we started working together. (For the record, I’ve lost more than that, that’s just how much I’ve lost with him)

I had to say a temporary goodbye to a dear friend when he decided to go back to school (across the country) to finish his degree. I’m very proud of him for doing that. I miss him very much.

I’m having to rely on myself now.  I’m doing the best I can, but it’s very hard. Some days I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do this on my own.

I injured my right foot (I strained the arch) in the summer because I was pushing myself too hard, too fast. Lesson learned.

I completed my first 10k event in April. It was harder than I thought it would be, but incredibly proud of myself for doing it.

I completed three 5k races this year. And I bested my time with each one.

After injuring my foot, I had to put a temporary halt to jogging, but was finally able to resume. I’m working on improving my time, and then I’ll work on speed. So far, I’ve only been using the treadmill, but hoping to try out the indoor track at my local sports centre, and eventually outside. I know the treadmill is much easier than outdoor jogging, and I know when I switch my time and endurance will drop back a bit.

Like I said, right now I’m working on increasing my time. At a slow speed on the treadmill, I’m up to 20 minutes of non-stop jogging. Very proud of that. Hoping to continue to increase my time in the new year.

I started volunteering to nourish my soul. I work with an incredible organization called Celebrate the Hero. And I work with some amazing people. I feel so blessed to be working with them.

Among the things I do for Celebrate the Hero, I write stories about the good things I’m my community. That’s pretty awesome.

I’m also doing some work for the Canadian Cancer Society, another great organization.

I’ve made some wonderful new friends this year. That’s always a good thing.

After being on it for 5 years, my doctor took me off the medication for high blood pressure. He said I didn’t need it anymore, that my weight loss and my regimen of exercise and clean eating has brought it down to normal levels. He’s very happy with me.

I’ve had a consultation with a plastic surgeon to remove the large amount of loose skin I now have because of my weight loss. I’m hoping that will take place in 2014. It will be done in stages. I’m very excited about that!

I travelled to Arizona to see my dear friend Jeff, who I had not seen in like 17 years, although we communicate regular via texting, Facebook, and emails. I had a great time and got to meet some of his fantastic family. I hope to visit again soon.


The longer I make my way through this journey, the more I learn and the more I realize I still have a lot to learn. I have good days and bad days. I always try to do my best, but I still struggle. Tomorrow is a new day, a new chance to start over. One bad day or one bad meal or one bad (or missed) workout is not the end of the world. My journey to a healthier me is a marathon, not a sprint. These things take time, and I need to remember that.

Although I’ve had a few setbacks this year, I’m determined to meet my long-term goals. I know I have a lot of work still ahead of me, but I’m not giving up. I repeat – I’M NOT GIVING UP! I just need to find my way around the obstacles in front of me.


My Community: Christmas shopping in Downtown Belleville

This year I’ve been making a conscience effort to support the local shops, restaurants, etc in my town. I’ve been visiting our farmers’ market more often. I’ve been trying new restaurants and coffee shops. I’ve checked out new stores. And I plan to continue to do so. We all need to support local businesses or they will disappear.

So since it’s Christmas time, I decided I would make an extra effort to do some of my shopping locally. So one afternoon I walked downtown to get started. I’ve seen several stores downtown that I’d always wanted to go into, so I decided this would be the perfect time.

First, I stopped in at Sweet Escape Cafe for a candy cane hot chocolate. It was so good and totally hit the spot. It has become one of my favourite places in town.

Next I stopped in Fusion Gifts. It’s actually 3 shops in 1 – Fusion Gifts, Glamour Junkie, and Glass Art Designs. I was cheerfully greeted by the lady behind the counter. I happily walked through the shop admiring the wonderful assortment of items for sale. There was scarves and jewelry, candles, beautiful glass work items, paintings and other items by local artists, and much more. Definitely worth checking out. I made my purchase and continued on.

Next up was That Special Touch. A lovely little shop with clothing and accessories. I chatted with the owner, Darla, as I browsed the selection.

Next I went into a new store called Hello Gorgeous. I’d heard a lot about the store and I was anxious to see what they had. I was greeted by Erin. We happily chatted as I browsed the wonderful selection of clothing and accessories. I was excited to see such beautiful items. I saw several things I would love to get for myself, but I was shopping for others, so I decided to save that for another time. Again, I made my purchase and continued on.

Next door is Richard Davis, a store that sells mainly men’s wear. They have a nice selection of items like shirts, ties, sweaters, and accessories.

I finished my shopping day with a stop at the dollar store. I love dollar stores. You can find stocking stuffers, decorations, craft supplies, pet items, kitchen accessories, and much more.

There are several other stores as well. There is Richelle’s, Pure Honey Boutique, La Maison D’Eva, Pinnacle Music Studio, Roluf’s Travels, Scalliwag Toys, and much more.

There’s a lot more than just shops. There are also several wonderful restaurants and cafés, including Capers, The Old Firehouse, and Cafe E, Bourbon Street Pizza Company. There is also The Empire Theatre, the library, and several other wonderful businesses. Do yourself a favour and check out Downtown Belleville for yourself.

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Thankful challenge

At the beginning of November, I was challenged to post on my Facebook wall each day something that I’m thankful for.  I took up the challenge, and this is the result.  I hope you enjoy! I hope my post inspires you to be thankful for the blessings in your life.  Note: this is a long post (LOL)


Day 1:

I’m thankful for my wonderful husband. I’m thankful for my friend Jeffrey Zaben who is everything a friend should be and much much more. And I’m thankful for my cats who constantly keep me entertained.

Day 2:

I’m thankful for my brothers. They have always been there for me and I hope they know how much I love them. They are a constant inspiration to me.

I’m thankful for my dad. He’s an amazing man and I love him.

I’m thankful for autumn. It’s my favourite time of year.

Day 3:

I’m thankful for old friends.  I have some I’ve known for 30 years.  They’ve helped me through good times and bad.  And although we no longer live close to each other, they will always be close in my heart.

I’m thankful for the squirrels and blue jays in my neighbourhood who come to my front porch looking for food.  And especially the one I named Alvin because he learned to trust me and take a peanut from my hand.  They put a smile on my face every time I see them.

I’m thankful for the ladies at my local coffee shop.  They always have a smile and kind word for every customer.  And they make really awesome coffee.

Day 4:

I’m thankful that the city and the bus drivers have come to an agreement so there won’t be a bus strike.

I’m thankful for my love of books. It allows me to travel to many different places, times, worlds and meet many different people. If you’re a lover of books like I am, you understand.

I’m thankful for peppermint tea. It helps me feel better when I’m not feeling well.

Day 5:

I’m thankful for my work with Celebrate the Hero.  I’m inspired every day.  Such an amazing organization.

I’m thankful to Nick and Britini for … well, for everything.  They are both amazing people and do an incredible job.  They welcomed me with open arms.  And I learn from them every time I’m with them.  They inspire me to want to do more to make the world a better place.  They make the world a better place just being themselves.

Day 6:

Today I’m thanking a few people who have helped teach me that just because life throws you a few curveballs, doesn’t mean you give up. It means you fight that much harder.

My friend Alan Zaben, who is an incredible inspiration.

My friend Joe, who has an amazing zest for life.

My friend Sean Buckley, who has become like a mentor to me (even though I’m older than he is). He helps keep me motivated when I feel like giving up.

Day 7:

I’m thankful for my cousins. I love the whole crazy bunch of them.  Even though we live miles and miles apart and don’t get to see each other much, they are always in my heart.

I’m thankful for my friend Elizabeth Schillings McLennan for always being there and for know just when I need a laugh (i.e. the maple syrup house)

I’m thankful for my friend and sister-in-law Julie Kontur for just being the wonderful person she is.

Day 8:

I’m thankful for my friend Jaime who is just one of the sweetest people I know and who’s smile lights up every room she enters

I’m thankful for my Aunt Liz who is just a beautiful person inside and out.

I’m thankful for my mom. Even though she isn’t here anymore, I will always be thankful for the things she taught me (or at least tried to teach me). I admit I didn’t always appreciate her when I was going up, but as I got older I realized just how remarkable she was. I love you mom.

Day 9:

I’m thankful to live in my town, my province, my country.  Not that I don’t love where I came from … I do and always will … but this is my home and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I’m thankful to have gone through all I have in the last few years.  Every moment has helped me become the person I am today.

I’m thankful I finally listened to the universe when it was telling me I needed to change who and what I was.

Day 10:

I’m thankful for apples, turkey bacon, greek yogurt, broccoli, and other yummy foods that make eating healthy a delight

I’m thankful for the knowledge I’m gained in the last few years on how to eat healthy

I’m thankful for chocolate when I want to indulge in something sweet

Day 11:

I’m thankful for all the men and women (past, present, and future) who serve in our armed forces. They sacrifice a lot to protect us and our freedoms and I will be eternally grateful.

Day 12:

I’m thankful for those people who see a need and want to help, who want to be the good in the world and inspire others to be the good as well.

Day 13:

I’m thankful for my friend Tyler, who has helped me in so many ways, taught me more than I thought possible, and is just an all-around good guy.  You rock, dude!

I’m thankful for my friend Nick, who introduced me to a new genre of books to read and who inspires me to be a better writer.

I’m thankful for Facebook which has made it possible for me to stay connected to friends and family far away, and as well as find new friends.

Day 14:

I’m thankful for all those who have helped me believe in myself, who’ve taught me that I can do things I once thought impossible, who’ve helped me become a better version of me.  There are so many in that group, more than I can really say, but I want to mention a few people:

Tyler, who saw something in me that even I didn’t see, who lent me some of his confidence when I had trouble finding my own, and has always believed in me (even when I didn’t believe in myself)

Matt, Amy, Liz, Karen, Aidan, Andreas, Jenn, and everyone else I’ve met through Quinte’s Biggest Loser.  You all accepted me from the beginning, and you have no idea how wonderful that was/is.

Carrie, who has always been there, even when she moved to Ottawa.


Jeff, who has been through it and understands.

Day 15:

I’m thankful for penguins and bunnies because they make me smile

I’m thankful for coffee, because some days things don’t get done without it

I’m thankful for Scooby Doo and the gang for making me happy for 43 years and counting 🙂

Day 16:

I’m thankful for that little voice in my head that convinces me to keep going when I want to give up, that helps guide me to better choices, and reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing

Day 17:

I’m thankful for the NFL. It has provided many many MANY hours of entertainment since I was very young. I always look forward to the fall when football season starts.

And I’m thankful for the Denver Broncos, who have been my favourite team for 28 years and counting, through good times and bad.

And I’m thankful someone had the good sense to convince Peyton Manning to become a Bronco. He’s a great addition to my team 🙂

Day 18:

I’m thankful for the sore muscles I get after a workout because it means I’m working hard!

I’m thankful to have someone to talk to while I’m on the treadmill because it helps make the time go by faster

I’m thankful I can have a nap when I get home from the gym because some days I just need a nap! LOL

Day 19:

I’m thankful I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on my plate, and family and friends that love me.

Day 20:

I’m thankful for my beautiful niece Ashlie.  She’s been a joy in my life since the day she was born.  And now she’s all grown up with a wonderful family of her own.  I am so proud of her.  And I’m also thankful for Ashlie’s husband Carlos and their beautiful girls, Isabella and Ariana.  I love them all so much.

Day 21:

I’m thankful for those around me who see the changes in me long before I can see them.

I’m thankful for fun workout clothes.

I’m thankful that I’m at a size where I can buy fun workout clothes.

Day 22:

I’m thankful for my bright pink running shoes because you can’t be unhappy wearing bright pink running shoes (hahaha)

I’m thankful for my inner strength that keeps me going when part of me really wants to give up

I’m thankful for Pinterest for helping me find so much inspiration and motivation!

Day 23:

I’m thankful my parents taught me to cook and I’m thankful I had and still have a passion to learn.

Day 24:

I’m thankful for quiet Sundays when I can do my weekly food prep, curl up with a hot cup of tea, and watch football.

I’m thankful I learned preparing most of my meals and snacks for the week makes keeping track of what I’m eating so much easier, and also keeps me from eating stuff I really shouldn’t.

Day 25:

I’m thankful for the songs on my playlists because sometimes they are exactly what I need to hear.

I’m thankful for moments of solitude when I can just relax and recharge.

I’m thankful I’ve learned to recognize when I need to relax and recharge.

Day 26:

I’m thankful for flowers and soft rain in the spring; the warm summer sun; the changing leaves and crisp air in the fall; and soft billowy snow in the winter.

Day 27:

I’m thankful I discovered at a young age the joy of reading. Sometimes required for school, but more often something I picked for the pure pleasure of reading. I’ve spent many many hours lost in the worlds created by the authors, whether it was the story of love and life during the civil war in Gone with the Wind, the often cruel world of Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire, the poetically written stories of Guy Gavriel Kay, solving crimes along with various detectives created by James Patterson, or the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other books I’ve read over the years. From The Velveteen Rabbit to Encyclopedia Brown to Emily of New Moon; from books of poetry to books by Tom Clancy and W.E.B Griffin; from epic adventures like Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time to autobiographies by Bill Clinton and Andre Agassi, and others. With each new book, each new author I discover, my world expands to hold them all. Each book I read leaves a lasting impression on my soul. I’m thankful to every author of every book I’ve ever read for changing my world forever.

Day 28:

Happy Thanksgiving to my American family and friends.  I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with love and laughter.  I wish I was with you today to celebrate.

If I was, I might say something like:

Thank you for the food before us, the family and friends beside us, and the love between us.

I’m truly thankful for each and every one of you.  You are always in my heart.

Day 29:

Today I’m giving a shout-out to one of my favourite blogs.

I’m thankful for my friend Leslee at Her Happy Balance.  I came across her blog early this year and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.  She posts recipes, about her workouts, things she loves, products she reviews, all kinds of things.  Her posts are insightful and funny and relevant and just a joy to read.  I highly recommend you check it out.  I’m thankful I came across her blog.

Day 30:

I’m thankful I took up this daily challenge.  It helped remind just how blessed my life really is.  And it helped me slow down to notice the little things we sometimes take for granted.

I’m thankful for Yesterday, for what it’s taught me; Today, for being here to experience it, and Tomorrow, for the gifts I hope it brings!

Thank you all for indulging me this month with my list about things I’m thankful for


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