10 Things I Would Tell the Old Me

Eight years ago on May 19th, I reached my goal weight.  It took a long time to get the 90+ pounds off, so that day was a pretty special one.

Every year I take a comparison shot because it keeps me motivated and it also allows me to look back into the eyes of the former me who didn’t believe in herself.

10 Things I Would Tell the Old Me (on life and having fun while maintaining goal weight)

I learned a lot this year.  What used to work in the earlier years to maintain my weight wasn’t working anymore.  My body adapted to the same exercise and food choices. I had to change-up my program and I quickly realized I needed help. I hired a kick-ass trainer; my beautiful friend Shannon. She created a strength program for me, and I was able to focus on strength training with her in the gym and cardio at home.  It took weeks to visually see any difference; it’s an exercise in patience I tell ya! However, I did feel results quickly…I was able to lift more weight and do more reps. My cardio improved too, I was able to run my 5K in a faster time once I was focusing on a leg strength day with core work too. Most importantly, I learned I can do a workout anywhere with very little equipment. No excuses.

As for the eating part of the equation, I had to completely change that as well.  Again, I felt out of control in that area so I joined in a Nutritional Challenge through BMS Bootcamps which I’m half way through.  I’m learning so much about food choices, and the true meaning of “eating clean”.  I realized I’m addicted to sugar! I was eating 100 calorie snack bars which were loaded with sugar and eating cereal every morning that was also very high in sugar (and often as a bedtime snack).  Once I cut back on the sugar, I got off the roller coaster of blood sugar crashes I used to have. I added more healthy fats into my diet as well. I have a sustained level of comfortable fullness by eating 5 times a day and enjoying natural foods. I don’t have the cravings for certain foods I used to have. My taste buds changed and I actually enjoy foods that I didn’t like before. Eating clean has been a gift in that I have more energy, my skin has cleared up, and my hair is growing fast too. Huh?! Good stuff. I have enjoyed cheat meals as well! Everything in balance.

The other day on my run I was thinking about that photo of me from 10 years ago. As crazy as this sounds, it’s as though it’s not even a photo of me but rather of a close friend. I feel sadness and empathy for the old version of me. It’s not about the aesthetics, but rather what I see in my eyes and what I know was in my mind. I see pain, frustration, the urge to stay home and not face people, loneliness, fear.  I had given up on myself and I didn’t believe my future was in my control. Feeling out of control everyday is no way to live. I didn’t understand the pride that comes from pushing myself both physically and mentally and how that transfers in a positive way to other areas of life. I was uncomfortably numb. That photo was taken just a few days before I made the decision to take control back and reclaim my life. So if I was to run into the old me in my life today, here’s what I would tell her…

10 things I would tell the old Me

1. You are going to have to do a lot of trial and error to find what works for you.  Not everything will work, you will try many things that don’t work. You will get to know your own body and metabolism, so trust yourself enough to listen to what your body needs and don’t panic when you need to reassess. Chill out chicky!

2. The most important thing you can do as you age is to add weight training into your program. By adding muscle you will burn calories at rest and there is no better exercise medium than strength training to test yourself and feel success quickly.

3. Don’t overcomplicated things.  Use cardio to burn calories, use strength training to build muscle which also burns calories at rest (replace the expanding fat with dense muscle), fuel your body with whole foods…healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains.  Eat often so you are never famished. Sleep 8 hours. Drink at least 12 glasses of water a day. Crank up your music and dance. Repeat.

4. Challenge yourself each and every day in some way. That voice that creeps in and tells you that you can’t is lying.

5. There is power in the vulnerability of sharing. Do not hold back sharing what you’ve learned simply because you are fearful of what other’s think of you. Like-minded people attract one another, and that can only happen when you live out loud.

6. Don’t give up when you don’t see results in the time frame you want. It took years to get to this point, you aren’t going to change over night. One step at a time grasshopper. 😉

7. Listen to your inner voice that knows what is best for you. Pay no attention to what others tell you that you “should” do. They don’t know your inner struggles, only you do. Sure another person can lose the weight while restricting calories, that doesn’t mean you should too. Slow and steady wins the race. Your goal is fitness, the weight will drop off in the process.

8. Start your journey by journaling your food, that way you can’t “pretend” you don’t know what you are eating. Knowledge is power; however, try not to be all-or-nothing which only ends in loss of control. Enjoy a cheat meal once and again. Balance is important. You won’t always have to journal your food, but if you find that you are slipping in your food choices, that trusty journal is a powerful way to get back on track.

9. If you have a bad eating day, recognize it as just that…one bad day with a clean slate the next. Get back on track and don’t beat yourself up about it.

10. This one is important: HAVE FUN!!! Don’t be so serious, this is a lifestyle for the rest of your life…so you better make it fun. Ride your bike, dance-walk, high-five a stranger, shake your ass, takes 10,000 steps a day and put a ‘lil attitude into it, don’t go one day without laughing, get outside with the kids (by the way old version of me, you’re going to have some pretty amazing kids who are going to make all of this totally worth it)

From my heart to yours,


P.S. If you are on your own weight loss journey and want some pretty cool resources to help you out, check them out HERE

Recipe for Success via a Chick’s Weird Mind

I went for a run yesterday.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I ran. You see I’ve been “meaning to”, but good intentions mean nothing if you don’t actually lace up the runners. It’s like telling a friend you “meant” to phone them, but you didn’t because you were pinning crafts you will never actually craft on Pinterest.

Anywhoooo, As I was running I was wondering why I haven’t hit the trails in a while, and after much thought I had a EUREKA! moment.

I’ve put off running because my mind told me I need to lose these extra 10 pounds I’ve put on.

You would think that if my head said I should lose them, that would translate into the urge to run it off.  For me, It has the opposite effect.

What it does is put pressure on me and it panics me a little. Which spirals into NOT wanting to run, making a few bad food choices, which turns into more bad food choices, which turns into beating myself up, to pass me the chocolate, which leads to a chocolate face sportin’ a pout on the couch.

Here is the key to maintaining my healthy weight

(which for me is a weight that I can maintain and still enjoy chocolate and a martini with good friends).  

The key to maintaining is that my goal is to be fit and healthy.

~the will to exercise attaches to the desire to clear my mind of stress and improve health by building endurance and muscle. For the good of my mind, it has nothing to do with burning calories so I can lose pounds. Exercise makes me feel alive. I feel like Chuck Norris after a good workout, mixed with a dash of Angela Lansbury circa Murder She Wrote.

~the desire to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water produces understanding that these foods are what fuel my energy levels. Healthy foods
+ lots of water = energy, less sick days, and the added bonus of good skin.

~Balance in life is important. Enjoy the beautiful parts of life. Positive out, positive in. Live life with gratitude and a thankful heart. And above all, always give more than you take.

When I combine these factors: Exercise + Healthy Foods + A Grateful Heart: it’s a recipe for Success!

Onto the next part of the formula…Define success?

If I were to measure success by the number on a scale, I would feel like I’m failing!  Especially when I add weight training to my exercise routine.  Muscle weighs more than fat.

It’s the way I think about things that make me feel successful.

I will give you two scenarios to explain it, because this thought process eluded me for years!

Scenario 1: I weigh myself in the morning. I am up 2 pounds from the last time I weighed. Shit balls. Time to work out. Go for a run thinking about the stupid 2 pound gain the entire run. Return home. Drink water. Think about all the foods I want to eat but can’t eat because I’m chubby-chubberson…insert more self-deprecating talk here. Eat a salad with no dressing. Get hungry. Sport my angry eyes. Air punch something. Spend the day thinking about the chocolate bar I’ve hidden in the top shelf of the pantry. Stop taunting me Reece’s peanut butter cup.  Time for supper. What can I eat with the least amount of calories? I choose more salad. Put the kids to bed and the Reese’s peanut butter cup comes alive in the pantry, screaming at me “Hey Chrissy, I’m a cup of sunshine”. Go eat it and return to the pantry to find more snacks. Nothing looks good. Walk away. Return to the pantry with lowered expectations. Eat a bag of butter flavoured mini-rice cakes. Go to bed feeling like a loser with no will power. Will do better tomorrow.

Scenario 2: Wake up and feel off. Why? Realize I have missed part of the maintaining equation. Mood and energy is down, lace up my runners. Run in the sunshine focusing on gratitude simply for the gift that I am able to run. See a goose on the trail, run large circle around it while I scream a bit as it hisses at me. Thank you goose for improving my running time. Return home feeling like a million bucks. I’m awesome. Drink water. I’m hungry and the fridge is full of  fruits, and veggies and left over chicken. Perfect foods to give me even more energy. Drink more water. Feel productive and alive. Turn up music and dance like an idiot around my house. Kids roll their eyes. Try to force a son-mom dance…it’s like dancing with a mannequin. Plan supper, going to roast some veggies with olive oil, seasoned just right with a side of fish and dash of love (I’m corny that way). Eat until I’m full, it feels good to fuel my body with the right foods.   Drink more water. Feeling successful and full of joy and pride, I pat myself on the back. Watch Modern Family on the boob tube and choke on my water as I laugh. Life is good, today was great.

See the difference?! The key to success lies within the mind. That’s great news! I have lived both sides of those scenarios, and life is just a whole lot more fun in scenario #2. I believe I have also given you a glimpse into my weird mind.

I will leave you with some iPhone photo moments, taken when I stopped to enjoy the sunsets and to smell the flowers. 🙂

And a video that my friend Clint shared with me today that brought a smile to my face.

Clint also created a facebook page with thoughts, photos, and links to bring a smile to your day: http://www.facebook.com/sideofthebed

I wish you a ridiculous amount of success finding joy through out your day!

From my heart to yours,


6 years ago today

Six years ago today, I reached my goal weight.  Back then I was part of an amazing healthy living support group called “Journey to the Heart” (JTTH), led by my dear friend Ginette. There was a reunion week-end planned the year I reached my goal, and during the celebrations, I received my key chain which signified all the work I put into reach my goal.  I carry that treasured key chain with me today.

The JTTH reunion week-end is a time I will never forget and I’ve made some incredible friendships thanks to the creation of that group.  The women I’ve met through JTTH touched my heart and taught me so much about life…to persevere, to keep going when I wanted to quit, and the power that comes along with a community of understanding and supportive friends.  Thank you!

Ginette handing me my goal weight keychain

I love when an anniversary rolls around for all dates that mark a change in life. These milestones remind one to look back to the beginning and reflect on the changes and growth that’s transpired through the years.

Today, I want to thank to all those amazing people in my life that were my inspirations, my reasons for moving forward, my teachers of life lessons. One of the most amazing lessons I’ve learned over the last few years is that when you finally figure out who you are and put it out there, you will draw in the most amazing like-minded individuals.  I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am for my friends and family.  You are most definitely food for my soul.  So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Collectively, you have changed my life.

I wasted many years…living in fear.  Fear of the unknown, of change, and of failure.  But you know what?  I’m thankful for those years because I would have never appreciated the goodness of life if I hadn’t once taken it for granted.

I remember a time about 8 years ago, my son Ty wanted me to go swimming with him.  I just couldn’t bring myself to put on a swim suit. I avoided facing the reality that I had packed on over 90 pounds in a period of just a few years.  I avoided friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while, social situations, and getting my photo taken (I have very few pictures with me and my kids when I was at my heaviest).  My fear, anxiety, and remorse not only held me back from living life, but it also held my kids back from being active.  I wish I loved myself at that time in my life, I lost out on building relationships with those I loved.

I used to believe that being proud of your accomplishments was being boastful and arrogant. But let me tell you my friends, I need to be proud of changing my lifestyle because it’s directly tied to my body image.  I’ve had a few friends joke to me over the years that I’m too wrapped up in the calorie/fat content in foods, and in my need to stay active.

The only way I’ve managed to stay at my goal weight is by staying focussed on what I’m eating, but more importantly, on the correlation between food and activity.  It’s necessary for me.  If I’m not diligent in that area, I WILL gain the weight back. I’m at a healthy weight today, and I plan to stay that way because it’s the place I physically feel the best.

Our bodies are designed to eat whole natural foods and to move!  As long as I’m physically able to be active, I believe I should be and I’ve learned that lesson from those who are not physically able to be active.  There’s so many ways to add physical activity to one’s daily life.  Walking instead of driving, biking with the kids, dancing like an idiot, anything that gets that heart rate up for a bit…it makes me feel alive inside.

I forget sometimes that people who just meet me have no idea of where I started, and because of my tendency to be socially awkward, it takes some time to “get” me. 😛  I’m working on the whole “I won’t be awkward in public situations”, although awkwardness is just a part of who I am I’ve decided!  I’ve become OK with being misjudged on many occasions.

I do hope I never portray that I think I have all the answers in this area, because I can assure you that I don’t! I can only attest to what works for me, but everyone is different. I believe life is a continual learning curve…all one can do is their best and their best changes as life changes.  I didn’t start running for 30 minutes, I started running for 30 seconds.  Seriously a few years ago, I was physically unable to sustain a running pace for more than 30 seconds.  BUT…the body adapts quickly, and within two weeks I was able to run 1 minute, then 5, then 10, then 20, and so on.

Photo on Right: Taken by my beautiful friend Amy Alexander.

This is how I view things today, feeling pride is actually a bi-product of gratitude.  I am so grateful for a life where I recognize all the blessings around our family.  I’m grateful for the amazing people I’ve met along the way. I’m grateful that I am able to pass on what I learned….if it touches another’s heart.  A circle of support is something to treasure, and it’s built up through sharing and connecting on a genuine level.

So today, I look back with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart.

The photo below from 2002 was one of the rare instances that I went swimming with my kids.  Today, we spend much of our time on the beach and in the water when we go to the lake. 🙂

I finally feel like I’m home within my own life and there’s so much more life to live.

I want to show my kids that life is meant to be actively lived when I was once a side-line Mom, scared to try new things. You can only do the best you can in each stage of your life.

Music is one of those gifts that mark life events, and when you hear a song tied to a memory, you are taken right back there again. This piece from the film “The Piano”, was one I used to listen to over and over again (on cassette tape!) It reminds me of a difficult place in my life; however I’ve learned so much going through those difficult times so I’m just grateful.

To my supportive friends and family, I love you!  You amaze me with each passing day. As life flies by, you continue to prove that there are no limits to your strength, wisdom, and acceptance.

From my grateful heart to yours,

Christine, 6 years at goal weight 🙂