Tag Archives: Fitness

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.


http://bydawnnicole.com/2016/05/june-challenge-prompts.html (Doodle or Photo)


Food/Healthy Eating

http://whole30.com/new/ (Whole 30, 30 Day Challenge)

https://www.good.is/articles/the-good-30-day-challenge-go-vegetarian/ (30 Day challenge to try a vegetarian diet)

http://veganeasy.org/30-Day-Menu/ (30 Days of trying easy vegan meals and menus)

http://simplegreensmoothies.com/30-day-challenge/ (30 Days of healthy green smoothies)



http://www.creativeiphoneography.com/30-day-photos-project.html (30 Days of photos)

Art Journaling


http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/01/01/jumpstart-your-journaling-a-31-day-challenge/ (Art Journaling for Men)


http://www.leanintoart.com/artsoundoff/  (A Month of Art Journaling)

Journaling and Gratitude


https://daysofgratitude.com/ (Gratitude Journaling)

Great Random Challenges



Fitness and Physical Health


http://30×30.davidsuzuki.org/ (David Suzuki, 30 days of 30 minutes outdoors)

http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/dare-do-more (From Men’s Fitness)













Personal Spring Tune Up 2016


Spring Self_Tune Up
Source: Pixeltango

It’s April, and where I live that still means snow, wind, and toques. However, April also means happier moods thanks to more daylight hours, warmer weather, and the anticipation of the end of snow for at least a few months. It’s wonderful to watch the city transform from dark and white, to brown, to green and colourful.

Each Spring I do a massive decluttering of my place. During Winter months I tend to accumulate a lot of unnecessary things that get tucked away on shelves, in baskets, cupboards, wherever I shove items, that’s where they stay until a pile topples over or I need to find something I hadn’t needed all winter long.

The beginnings of this season usually involves home owners dedicating their weekends to readying the garden and lawn; and getting their vehicles prepped for Spring. I was thinking this morning about how we tend to prepare our possessions for a new season, but we don’t often prepare our bodies and minds for the changes in nature.

I don’t handle our Northern winters very well, especially because I am dependent on public transit. Nothing kills your joy faster than walking after dark, in dirty snow, bundled up for the cold weather. So when Spring arrives I look forward to new activities and revisiting old ones. This takes some thought and preparation.

Your Turn!

The following can help prepare you for a great Spring and Summer season; don’t let another year go by where you coulda’ shoulda’, woulda’, but didn’t.

Deep clean your home and your vehicle. Great weather means great company and nothing helps people clean faster than knowing someone is coming to your home. Here is a website with a variety of tips, schedules, and information on getting organized and maintaining a clean home. If your vehicle is a mess of fast food containers, empty coffee cups, and paper products; then a spring clean up of the inside of your car is a good idea. Set aside a few hours to clear everything out and take it to the car wash where you can clean both the inside and outside.

What’s your yard, garage, and shed looking like? If it’s a mess, schedule time to tend to these areas. It is absolutely necessary to schedule a date and time to get these things done otherwise we will always find other things to do or procrastinate to the point where we are no longer left with choices. No one likes fines from by-law officers for something like not keeping up your yard, a task that would have only taken at most an hour.



Rejuvenate your body. If you’ve neglected your body all winter or want to get prepared for more physical activities, it’s important to ease back into it. If you are going to pick up running or switch to outdoor running, be prepared in order to decrease your chances of injury and increase your opportunities for success. Here is a link to Runners World online where you can find information on training, dressing for the weather, and footwear. The link to Olivas Trunk Unlocked leads to a great article on spring cleaning your body.




Another important way to prepare your body is to eat seasonal fruit. If you are able to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables and shop at farmer’s markets, great, if not, then the grocery store chains will have to do. The good thing about buying in-season produce is the cheaper price. Spring and Summer seasonal foods are often on sale or the prices are lower. I know I’m looking forward to cherries, peaches, nectarines, grapes, and watermelon. These items are quite pricey where I live. During the off-season peaches and nectarines are $3.99/pound.



After eating heavy foods all winter, the body might be in needs of a cleanse. There are a lot of exaggerated claims made by companies who sell body cleanse and detox products, but the truth is there is no need to go to extremes to cleanse the body when switching to a healthier eating regime. If you do decide to do a program, I recommend looking into The Masters Cleanse and Wild Rose D-Tox. With the Master’s Cleanse you are limited to 10 days of a mixed lemon water drink whereas the Wild Rose D-Tox allows you to eat a variety of foods from a list; you won’t ever be hungry on the 12 Day D-Tox program.



If you’re not into cleansing and detoxing, but know that your body is in need of a change from a diet of heavy foods, and processed goods a great place to start would be clean eating. This link will give you a simple breakdown of the clean eating lifestyle.


Check your finances. Sunshine means spending lots of time on patios, going to sporting events, and bring-a-side-dish bbq’s. This also means spending more money. Take a look at your spending habits from the past 3 months. Aside from necessary bills and payments, what did you spend most of your money on? If you aren’t happy with where you spent your money during the winter, try making changes for spring and summer. Try making a budget, it is easy to over spend during the warmer months when there are a lot more recreational and social options available.


spring planning

Closet Check. It’s time to switch clothing and bring out items you haven’t seen or touched in several months. Try on your clothes to see if they still fit. It’s annoying when you plan to wear an item only to find out that you’ve either gained or lost weight during the winter or what you thought was a great item last year no longer looks good to you. If you no longer want the item, get rid of it. Save your closet space for things you will actually wear.

Bring out all of your summer items and put away the winter gear. I have a large Rubbermaid container where I place out of season items. This way everything is in one place and I won’t have to go searching for it 5 months from now.


Spring List 2016

Get Creative, Get Going. No need to be house bound when the weather is great. Tap into your creative side, or dust of your bucket list. What are some things you’d like to do or try this summer? Be intentional by writing it down, or take a step further by writing it down and making a commitment by registering or paying ahead for these activities. Maybe you want to do more golfing, or run in a foot race. How about an overnight or weekend trip? It might even be something as simple as starting a garden in your yard. The choice is yours.




However you choose to spend these next few months, may it bring you peace, good memories, and personal growth!


Fit Guy Fat: Lessons Learned With Grace and Understanding


My Personal Trainer Is Killing Me

We’ve heard the complaints: Personal Trainers are evil! They are mean, bossy, and pushy! They’ve never been overweight so how could they know how we feel and what we go through?

There might be personal trainers who fit these descriptions, but from what I’ve noticed; a number of people who have a dislike for personal trainers and their profession, have all failed at successfully losing weight or achieving any significant fitness goal.

We need to be honest; personal trainers are there to challenge their clients mentally and physically. They are not there to babysit us or do the work for us. I’ve had personal trainers in the past, some were great, some were a waste of my time. What I liked about having a personal trainer was the accountability that came along with having someone design a program for me with the expectation that I would follow it during the week until our next one-on-one session.

If I had to guess why some personal trainers develop a lack of sympathy or compassion for overweight and out of shape clients it is because they’ve heard every excuse possible from people who don’t want to do the difficult work of changing their habits and routines. I hate exercising and any time I’ve paid for personal training services I’ve informed the gym staff to pair me with someone who has a lot of patience for an overweight out of shape crybaby like me.

I do as I’m told to, but I don’t do so quietly. I’m that woman at the gym who sometimes mumbles swear words under her breath and looks as if I am ready to roll over and die while engaging in exercise I’ve deemed “too hard” for me. Yup, I tremble, sweat, and swear. I’m never quite sure which is worse, the grunting weight lifter, or me the whimpering, mumbling, shaking lady who creates a backlog of annoyed lifters as they wait for me to finish.

Personal Trainer Personal Lies

There is a new show in on A&E as of January 2016 called Fit To Fat To Fit. The purpose of the show is to help personal trainers experience what it’s like to be overweight and have to lose weight. It is meant to help trainers develop more understanding and compassion for what their clients have to go through. According to A&E, this show is “A ground breaking new series that follows personal fitness trainers from across the country as they undertake the most extreme weight-loss experiment ever: by forcing themselves to gain weight, they aim to better understand the struggles of their obese clients as they lose the weight together.”

Listen and learn. Don’t let your stubbornness, ego, and pride ever prevent you from achieving a necessary and important goal in life.

Personal Trainers Are Fun

A trainer shouldn’t need to have been formerly overweight in order to help clients. People who have never had a trainer don’t want to accept the fact that we, the clients, still have to do the work. It’s uncomfortable having someone tell you what to do and how to do it, but personal trainers are teachers and we are the students.

As I continue to focus on my One Word for 2016, grace, I am reminded to have grace towards people who don’t understand the struggle of weight loss. I can’t expect people to know what it’s like to have to develop a new way of thinking, eating, and moving if they have never been obese. With grace I am able to decrease my feelings of anger and frustration that occur every time someone makes an oversimplified suggestion or assumption about ways to loose weight.

Grace allows me to not focus on personal trainers who haven’t yet arrived at a place of compassion or for those who have become tired of hearing repeated excuses from clients. Grace means not being hard on myself when I have skipped a session or didn’t stick to the workout schedule for the week. Grace means not being discouraged when the scale or a measuring instrument doesn’t reflect the numbers I want to see.

Whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle or run further and quicker, grace needs to be included in your transformation. Kindness and compassion towards yourself and your body will keep you going unlike self-punishment which never leads you to a place of healthiness.