Archive for November, 2011

A few days ago I posted about the song Invincible by Hedley. I thought it might be interesting to share the entire playlist that I use for my Couch to 5k training. Music, I find, is as individual as the person listening to it. I use this combination of music because each song offers something.  Often it is as simple as a good beat. Other times there is a phrase or two in the lyrics that really speaks to me.

So… here is what I am currently listening to in the order they come up during my workout.

Invincible by Hedley
All to Myself by Mariana’s Trench
Hello (Single Edit) by Martin Solveig and Dragonette
The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
Give it Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sk8ter Boi by Avril Lavigne
Paint it Black by Vanessa Carlton
On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull
American Pie (DJ Amanda remix) by Madonna
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Green Day

Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so I’ll post new playlists as I switch things up. Changing the music, just like varying the workout, keeps things interesting.

I’d love to hear about what music you listen to when you are exercising. Feel free to post about your favorite workout songs in the comments area.


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When I wrote about my weight loss journey earlier this year I included a before and after shot. Still being a bit shy about my body, the after shot was of my face. Today, as I take a rest day from my running training, I thought I’d share two photos with you. The first was taken by our friend Brad in 1998 or thereabouts—a good year before I started doing rugged backpacking trips. I was in the 330 pound range (sadly, that wasn’t at my heaviest either). The second photo is of me at 197 pounds. It was taken this afternoon and I am wearing my running clothes by Skirt Sports.

So… if you ever feel like you can’t do it or you don’t have what it takes to make positive change in your life, just look at these photos. If I can do this… anyone can! As the Nike slogan says… Just Do It!

before – 330 pounds

runner in training

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I am a runner.
A runner named Turtle.
S l o w   a n d   s t e a d y.

Today I finish my first full week of the Couch to 5k Treadmill Version which is a program of interval training to build up to a five kilometer run. This will be my fourth workout even though the program is set for three. You see, I’ve decided that I really like it and would do it every day if it didn’t mean the possibility of overtraining. I may not be very fast. I may not be able to run for as long of a stretch as I’d like. But the important thing is that I am running. The walking is good—the running is awesome!

Running reminds of my grade school motto; “Mind, Body, Spirit”. This is how the three relate to me when it comes to running.

Loving myself means being truly accepting of the fact that I am limitless and can reach any intelligent goal I set for myself. This was the first step in my transformation from obese to active. Running is no different.

When I am pushing myself harder than I thought possible and it seems difficult I just visualize myself running in a race, wearing a number and chip. Then I imagine myself crossing the finish line. This visualization process propels me forward in my workout and it also puts positive vibes out into the universe. I’m sure the thought of going back to injecting insulin into my abdomen four times a day could be motivating but I go for the more positive approach because I believe, with my entire being, that the feelings I put out there are what comes back to me.

Aside from being much lighter than I was in the beginning of the journey to optimum health, which helps tremendously, I am also in better physical condition because of hiking, yoga, boosted walking, and the like. My lifestyle is quite active in comparison to the sedentary self I was twenty some years ago. I move. I’m stronger and more dedicated that I was even a mere decade ago. I have muscles that I actually feel now. With weight loss and fitness comes balance—life balance and physical balance. In other words, I am not falling over my fuzzy bunny slippers any longer.

The other big thing is that I am very conscious about what I put into my body and I do make better food choices, for the most part. Running makes that even more crucial because, even though I am not on medication, the reality is that I will always be diabetic and that presents some challenges.

Many people think, too often, with their minds and aren’t connected to their spirit. Take my new relationship with running for example. It started with my jogging on a wilderness beach in the middle of Algonquin Provincial Park with my son Tobias. The setting was perfect, the day gorgeous, and I felt connected. Fast forward two years later and after being inspired by my friends who run; I’ve embraced this athletic activity with open arms. Had I thought about it, I’m sure my mind would have given me a hundred reasons not to do this. But something deeper than that stirred. That was my spirit.

For me, spirit is where inspiration lives. It is always sparked by someone I meet or something I see or hear or read or do. It can be as simple as the cool crisp air of a pretty Fall day. It happens in the weirdest places at the most oddball times. Inspiration often turns into passion. Sometimes it is an “A-ha!” moment and other times it is a more gentle progression. In my mind, the spirit is what connects the mind and body. It is important to have a sense of the spirit. In my life that means having hope, passion, and love. It involves being in balance with the world around me. Connecting to nature helps me do this. Music makes me feel grounded. So does mediation. And running… makes me feel alive.

So, here I am. Running and liking loving it. (Shh… don’t tell anyone!).

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Another birthday has passed giving me pause to reflect on my life thus far and think about the future.

When I was in my late teens, I was stuck in Wasaga Beach in a dead-end job working for two of the worst bosses I’ve ever encountered—a couple whose marital problems spilled over into the workplace. I wanted out of that town and fast. At the time I made a mental list of some of the things I wanted to accomplish. Here is that list of milestones.

  • Move out on my own
  • Get a university degree
  • Get married to a terrific guy
  • Have children
  • Backpack
  • Lose weight
  • Become a published author
  • Teach

So, at nineteen years old I applied to the University of Guelph and was accepted. I dumped my boyfriend of the time and headed south to Guelph. My first semester started a few months after my twentieth birthday and I never looked back. Of course, I made a few mistakes along the way—like getting involved with the ever-so-cute boyfriend from hell. I ended up dropping out of university without completing my double major in Fine Arts and English Literature. While I didn’t get the degree I so voraciously went after in the beginning, I set out to do pretty much everything else on my list.

I met Bryan right around the same time I became a university drop-out and we got married a year and a half later. That was almost twenty years ago. We have two bright and beautiful children. I took up backpacking and my passion for the outdoors spilled over into other areas of my life and I took control of my health. Not only did I lose weight, I lost the weight of an entire person. I became a published author twice over and soon to be thrice. I even have the opportunity to teach several times a year, which was why I was going to university in the first place. So you see, everything worked out and I did what I set out to do, more or less, I just took a bit of a different path to get there. Life has a funny way of pulling you in the direction you should be going in.

I thought it was time to make another list of milestones. These are other things that I would like to do in the next decade or so. Some are more immediate than that. Here are my milestones…

  • Achieve my final weight loss goal
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Run a 5K race
  • Write a book about my weight loss journey
  • Visit Nepal
  • Hike the Annapurna Circuit
  • See a Kermode or Spirit Bear
  • Visit the East Coast
  • Learn to speak French
  • Rock climb
  • Learn to rappel

The list is made. Let’s see what I can accomplish. I’d love to hear what is on your list so feel free to post in the comments section.

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Okay, I’ll admit that I am a music junkie. I find that certain songs mean a lot to me. The latest on that list is Invincible by Hedley. This song speaks to me on many levels and I have my own interpretations of it. I find it inspiring and motivational.

“But I found the strength inside to see,
Found the better part of me,
And I’ll never let it go.
I’ve come a long long way,
Made a lot of mistakes.
But I’m breathin’, breathin’,
That’s right and I mean it, mean it.
This time I’m a little run down,
I’ve been living out loud.
I can beat it, beat it,
That’s right ’cause I’m feeling, feeling.

Those of you who know me well also know that I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life. I’ve lost people very close to me. I’ve dealt with abusive and toxic people. I’ve lost everything I own in a fire. And… I’ve always been able to get up, dust myself off, and reach deep inside for something to help me move forward. Strength.

I chose this as the first track I listen to with my Couch to 5K training. I listen to the song as I do my warm-up walking and it helps me reflect on my own life—reminding me that I can do anything I set my mind to. I feel “invincible”, if only for that moment.

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Of course, I am kidding about the title (well maybe only a little). While I would rather walk outside, I’ve reached the decision that a treadmill is an essential piece of gear… even if it is gracing my living room at the moment. How did I come to this crazy conclusion? No, I wasn’t sipping on a little too much Shiraz. I merely decided that I am going to become a runner. Yes, I said runner. I’ll break here for a moment and let you pick your jaw up off the keyboard.

Now that you’ve collected yourself, I will explain how this all happened. You see, I’ve thought about the idea of running many times. I usually shelve the idea as quickly as I can. No matter what I did, there it was staring me in the face. I wanted to become a runner.

I’d jog in little spurts. We’d be walking home from a friend’s home and I’d jog the block. It felt nice. Good. I started doing a boosted walking/jogging workout on DVD. It feels good to move faster and it burns more fat. I need that. I gear-tested some awesome fitness clothing from Skirt Sports which would be perfect for running and I look cute in it. I have shoes, albeit I really need to get a pair especially for running.  I consulted Coach Google and found a Couch to 5K program. It looked simple enough. So, what was I waiting for? Whatever it was, the waiting stopped this week.

The last treadmill we owned made a fabulous hanger and magazine rack. It melted in the house fire, with a sleeping bag slung over the control panel. Did I mention that I said I would NEVER replace it? Well, it seems I’ve changed my mind. I had run out of excuses to put it off any longer and I decided that we’d buy a treadmill this week. Something used. Bryan searched online and found the perfect one. He made an appointment to go see it. Monday evening I had him call the man to ask a question and he said had been sold. We looked at many others online, called about a few listings to no avail. All sold. I continued the search on Wednesday morning, and by Wednesday evening I was walking and jogging on our new-to-us treadmill.

Bryan has always been super-supportive of my wanting to be fit but he loathes treadmills. What’s different this time around is that Bryan sees the value of using it. He’s even keen on running the race with me and he has started training for it—on the treadmill. Your jaw hit the keyboard a second time, didn’t it? The man who says something sarcastic every time he passes a runner has decided to become one himself! Too funny.

So here is the goal… The Ford Race to End Diabetes takes place sometime near the end of April 2012 in Oakville. I can’t wait. This will be my first official race and what better choice considering I am diabetic. I’m a little nervous but with the support of all my running friends and my darling husband, I will greet and achieve this milestone with great enthusiasm.

Me running. Simply wild.

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the “fat” clothes

that’s one big nightie

I’m not exactly sure why I hung onto my “fat” clothes, many of which I haven’t been able to wear in a decade. Perhaps on some level I just didn’t see myself has having lost that much weight. Or maybe I was hanging onto them as a just-in-case measure. I brought them to the place we stayed while we waited for the closing on our home in Brantford. I packed them again and brought them to the house when we finally took possession. They sat in a multitude of boxes in the loft for several months before I unpacked them. I’ve moved them from dresser to closet and back again a few times. This summer I threw out a few items that were just too worn to give away (like the nightie in the photo on the right). I just couldn’t let go of the rest.

Bryan, darling husband that he is, was extremely supportive and knew that I was having a hard time letting go. We were sitting sipping our morning coffee this Sunday when he gently approached the subject. “Laurie”, he said. “You know all those clothes upstairs? They are far too big for you now and you’ve been health-conscious, so I am sure you won’t be wearing them ever again. They are also looking a little dated. Let me help you get them out of there.” What he didn’t say, until later, was that we really needed to free up some “real-estate” in the closets. Of course, I was having some reality issues. He’d toss me a top and I’d insist that it still fit me. “Try it on. I’ll bet it’s huge on you!” was what he’d retort. Then we’d laugh at how baggy the piece was. There were literally dozens upon dozens of things that I had to purge.

This morning, while chatting with a friend, I was pondering about why getting rid of some old baggy clothes was so difficult for me. After we said our goodbyes I thought about our conversation and realized something. I really was scared to let go. Why? Reaching my goal weight has a vulnerability to it and I am closer to that goal than I have ever been. You see, I had put up walls. Big huge ones!  Morbidly obese wasn’t just a description of what I had done to my health… it was a safe place for me to hide. Being the fat girl protected me from a lot of negativity and pain. The thing is that sooner or later one has to deal with those painful things that end up being barriers to being alive. Sure I was living when I was obese but I never felt really alive until I dealt with the issues and started doing things I never thought possible—like becoming an active Mom and being wilderness traveler and writing books.

As Bryan drove to the charity drop box last night, I wondered for a fleeting moment whether I had done the right thing or not. It was right. It needed to be done. The act of getting rid of my “fat” clothes is my way of saying that I love myself and living healthy, and that the only place for me is one where I am moving forward.

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