Category Archives: Physical Fitness

Weight Games and Switch-a-roo

I’ve recently been reading about Bob Harper’s (Biggest Loser) heart attack and new diet. I used to be a fan of the Biggest Loser during its first few seasons on television. I enjoyed watching the process of people working hard to achieve their weight loss dreams. Eventually I ceased watching the show after personally deciding the show promoted weight loss methods that were not healthy or manageable for the average overweight person.

I was happy to see the positive influence the show had on people who were trying to lose weight. The show encouraged people to exercise and diet their way to a healthy weight. What we now know is the majority of contestants did not keep off all the weight they lost during the competition and some even regained even more weight than they had lost while on the show.

It’s easy to believe that if we can find the perfect diet and do the right sweat inducing exercises, we will achieve weight loss perfection for the rest of our lives. We look towards personal trainers, nutritionists, registered dietitians, and celebrities for the answer. What I learned from reading Bob Harper’s story leading up to his heart attack, is that even some fitness and nutrition minded professionals don’t have the answer.

Bob Harper went from promoting his vegan lifestyle to promoting a paleo type diet. Now that he’s had a heart attack, he is promoting the Mediterranean diet. If a person who makes a living from physical fitness and dieting can’t make up his or her mind about which diet and exercise regimen is most successful, what chance do we as consumers and followers have in winning the weight loss and healthy lifestyle battle?

Fitness instructors encourage us to follow the latest cardio or strength training trend and add to that the constantly changing recommendations regarding what is and isn’t healthy for us to eat. I’ve always advocated for finding an activity you like and sticking to it. When you like something you are more likely to remain committed. As for eating habits, one of the simplest things to remember to keep processed foods at a minimum. When you reduce processed foods your only other option is to eat healthy, fresh foods. The consumption of healthy fats, whole grains, a modest amount of proteins, and fruits and vegetables will help you maintain a healthy diet. There is never a need to follow strict eating plans unless you have a medical condition.

As Christians it is important that we be discerning when it comes to the foods we consume and how we care for our body. Following restrictive trends and fads show how gullible we are.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10: 31-33

Thankfully what we eat has no influence on our salvation. But as believers it is important that we not encourage others to follow trends. By chasing fads we run the risk of not listening to the true needs of our individual bodies. You’ll also find yourself frequently moving from one method to another. Instead, find out what is best for your body and your lifestyle. Pray and ask God to reveal to you how to eat, what to eat, and how much exercise is good for your health. Let God be a part of your health.







Spring/Summer Happiness


March is gone and April is here. There really is no big difference between the two months except for the change in daylight hours. It feels great to have longer hours of sunlight.

For me, slightly warmer days and more hours of sunlight often means dreaming and planning a new fitness regime. I suddenly go from planning nights of Netflixing to arranging evenings filled with physical activity.

Spring To-do List:

Train for a marathon, check.

Start P90X again, check.

Loose 110 pounds by the end of summer, check.

Go Paleo, check.

My Pinterest board becomes active again with me posting any and every article that promises to help me become the fittest, trimmest, and fastest version of myself.

My fridge is suddenly filled with superfoods: spinach, collard greens, avocados, bell peppers, and anything that can be thrown into a smoothie.

The truth is this excitement rarely lasts into the second week of April. It only takes a few days of missed workout sessions, vegetables that were left to rot due to a preference for microwavable foods, and a reminder that I have a deep-seated hatred for long distance running.

Are you a Spring and Summer time fitness dreamer? Do you make grand plans to lose weight, get fit, eat better, and then accomplish none of those dreams? I don’t have a magic solution, but I will say this. If you know you’re a Spring/Summer dreamer, be realistic. Set your goals so they are about enjoying the things you do to stay active.

Why plan for a foot race when you know you are not likely to commit to the training; instead, make a goal of getting outdoors more often. Make a goal of watching less television in the evenings and you’ll suddenly find yourself with more time to be outdoors. What you choose to do outdoors is up to you. Go for a walk, toss a frisbee or football around, or play a sport. The goal is to pick something you will enjoy doing.

A strict meal plan might not be something you care to do, especially knowing you aren’t going to stick with it. Instead, aim to eat more fruits and vegetables. When BBQ season arrives, try grilling fruit and vegetables. Chop up some fruit and keep them in the fridge instead of eating foods from the cupboard.

I wish I was the only one who makes a habit of setting unrealistic goals, but I’m not. During the summer I stay active and eat healthy meals. Not because of a strict meal plan or rigorous exercise, but because I stay true to myself.  I choose to do things that I enjoy.

My wish for you this Spring and Summer is that you will also stay true to yourself. Do you enjoy long distance running, power yoga, or jogging up and down hundreds of stairs, great. Keep doing it. If not, find another way to keep yourself fit during the most visually beautiful and warm months of the year.

Are you happy with your diet related meals and strict eating plans, good, then stick with it; if not, then make the changes that will lead you to consuming healthy foods you actually enjoy.

Moving and feeding your body should not be something that brings unhappiness to your life. You can be healthy and happy. Taking care of your body isn’t about punishment or strict regiments.


Reflection and Questions:

-Do you associate healthiness with unhappiness?

-What is your personal definition of ‘happy and healthy’?

-Do you believe that a person can be happy while trying to achieve a fitness or health goal?





Fitness Failure: Here We Go Again!


I was thinking about those of us who fail to meet our summer fitness goals. Every year I make a goal and fall short. I’m at the age and stage of my life where I have no desire to stress over my fitness failures. I didn’t run a half marathon one year; another year I didn’t meet my goal of running a 5k every single month during the Spring and Summer; I didn’t’ lose 50 pounds in 5 weeks; and I didn’t stick with whatever latest Beach Body DVD that I had purchased. For me, summer has always been a season of missing the mark.

Success is Small Steps

It all started in elementary and has continued ever since. There were my major summer fitness fails, resulting in zero weight loss and zero increase in fitness level and in some cases a lot of waste money.

In desperation after many diet and weight loss failures in my 20’s I begged doctors for weight loss pills. I was refused. They all used the same spiel about eating more vegetables, exercising, and drinking water; something I didn’t want to hear. I had great success with an over the counter product called Xenadrine. I didn’t lose any weight, instead, I had increased concentration. I was no longer fidgeting during college lectures, my mind no longer felt scattered, I was more organized, and my habit of constantly interrupting people and being hyperactive had decreased. Xenadrine was temporarily taken off of Canadian shelves due to one of it’s ingredients named ephedra. I noticed the difference in my behaviour when I could no longer access the product. My positive experience with Xenical is what finally led to me seeing a doctor and educational psychologist for a diagnosis of ADHD. There were people, including my professors who hinted that I might have ADHD, but at the time I didn’t believe it. Turns out they were correct. In hindsight I’m not sure how I had missed all the classic symptoms of the disorder. Oddly enough, I didn’t lose any weight from taking medication for ADHD. I have no explanation for that seeing as weight loss is one of the side effects. I laugh knowing that I even failed at loosing weight from a stimulant.

My doctor offered what was deemed to be a safer weight loss pill called Xenical. It worked, I lost weight, and I also lost a lot of oily stool from my butt. Yes, leaky, smelly, oily liquid would uncontrollably ooze out of my bottom night and day. I went through numerous underwear and pants that got discarded when even Tide couldn’t help. I lost weight because I eventually became afraid to eat. I was afraid to eat because everything that I consumed turned into the gross oily mess that leaked out of me.

It was after the leaky butt episode that I decided I would never diet again. Out of desperation and frustration I was willing to risk heart problems from prescription weight loss pills, but there was no way I would continue to risk oozing grossness all over me and anything I sat on. No way.

Failure is not Final

My earlier summer fitness failures taught me that I often make unrealistic and often ridiculous decisions when I become desperate to lose weight or try to become fitter in a short period of time. I also realized I wasted a lot of money trying to lose weight. It’s important to invest money in becoming healthy, it’s worth it, but spending money on things that are made during rash, desperate moments are never a good idea.

Despite repeatedly falling short each Summer I know I’ll keep making health and fitness goals. Despite my failures I continue to make progress with each new goal that I attempt. I keep making progress because I don’t stop. I continue to move forwards by not letting the fact that I continue to fall short become my destiny. Maybe you didn’t do a 10K, can 7k be enough for your right now? So what if you didn’t lose 30 pounds, can 15 be enough for you? You might have planned to eat a cooked breakfast every day, but only seem to average 3 days out of the week. Is this an improvement? Yes, then good job, keep going and 3 days will eventually turn into 5 days.

Phil 4:13


Consider some of your goals that became “failures”. Can you see them in a different light? Are your “failures” a form of progress? Might those “failures” actually be a form of success?

Take some time to think of your failures and find the positive in them. No life experience goes to waste when we learn from them by growing and transforming.


Challenge Yourself This Summer


Take the Challenge


June has finally arrived, and I am excited that northern Alberta is officially past snow season. I look forward to getting up at 4:30 a.m. each morning and taking my daily 5k – 7k morning walk or jog. No one seems to want to take me up on my offer to try waking up with the sunrise and going for morning walks or runs before leaving for work. I can’t fault the them; not everyone finds waking up early to be a motivating and beautiful experience. I on the other hand, find the mornings to be peaceful and beautiful; it’s my favourite way to start the day, with quiet and the beauty of nature.

During May I decided to take David Suzuki’s 30×30 Nature Challenge. It was great, I committed to 30 days of walking in nature each day. The greatest challenge for me was walking in the rain. I hate being in the rain, soaking wet, and cold. The last couple of weeks in May had plenty of rain, but I knew I had to tolerate the rain if I was going to make it through the challenge, and to my surprise I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would.

I’ve now enlisted in a new challenge for June and I intend to do a new 30 or 31-day challenge each month until the end of August 2016. For June I will be doing a 30 Day Yoga challenge. I don’t like going to yoga studios because of the high prices, so I intend to do the challenge from home on my own.

You might not be interested in waking up at 4:30 a.m. each day, walking for 30 minutes outdoors, or trying yoga for 30 days straight, but I believe there’s something you are interested in committing yourself to engage in for 30 straight days.

Challenges are meaningful

30 Day challenges are great because the commitment is short, it’s a great way to introduce yourself to new things that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to engage in for longer periods of time. 30 Day challenges also allow for variety; after the month is over you can always switch to something different.

These challenges end with a great feeling of accomplishment; you started something, you committed to it, you were disciplined, and you accomplished your goal. In the end you always learn something new about yourself and the world around you. It’s important to note that 30 Day challenges involve no competition with others; these activities are intended to help you grow in your personal development. These challenges are for you and no one else.

I’m mostly interested in physical and stress release challenges, but there are plenty of other types of challenges that may be of interest to you.  Below is list with some links to get you started.

Drawing/Doodling (Doodle or Photo)

Food/Healthy Eating (Whole 30, 30 Day Challenge) (30 Day challenge to try a vegetarian diet) (30 Days of trying easy vegan meals and menus) (30 Days of healthy green smoothies)

Photography/Photos (30 Days of photos)

Art Journaling (Art Journaling for Men)  (A Month of Art Journaling)

Journaling and Gratitude (Gratitude Journaling)

Great Random Challenges

Fitness and Physical Health

http://30× (David Suzuki, 30 days of 30 minutes outdoors) (From Men’s Fitness)