A Year Of Change

One Year Ago …

I installed an app on my phone and I decided it was time to get serious.

Get serious about my health.  About how I treat my body.  About how I will face the rest of my years.

You see, I was doing ok, really.  But I felt sluggish.  Sluggish and tired.  My cholesterol was starting to creep up.  Getting out of my chair was beginning to hurt.  Running up my stairs left me winded. I was out of shape (well, I WAS a shape… just not one I was happy with), getting older every year (yes, like the rest of the world) and knowing that it was only going to get harder with every passing year if I didn’t get my ass in gear.

I visited my doctor and arranged to have iron shots because I’ve been extremely low for years, and never able to catch up with it.  It was like an instant shot of life being transfused into me.  Without all that nasty digestive crap that I’d been putting myself through for years with so little results.  That was step one.

Step two was to finally get over myself and just decide to join a gym.  I hated gyms……..  I never really went to one before. The truth is I feared them.  I was afraid that if I went to one, I would be judged.  I’ve never, in my whole life been athletic.  Always the last kid picked for the team.  Always the write off in gym class that wasn’t worth the teacher’s time or effort.  Always the kid that wasn’t fast enough or strong enough or competitive enough.  I was the kid who was teased  or maybe even worse.. ignored.

So, off I went to the gym, with butterflies in my stomach and my heart in my throat.  Now, I already wrote a blog post about that first day and so I won’t rehash it.  (you can scroll back a few if you want to read it – it won’t be hard to find – I don’t’ blog that often…)  I was sure I was going to hate it.  That I’d last a month, maybe lose a lb or two and then decide it wasn’t for me.

Slowly I began to feel comfortable.  Then I actually began to like it.  I began to feel like I was part of a community.    I mean, most of these people I don’t talk to.  I don’t’ know their names, (I have affectionately given them names inside my head though) or their jobs or anything about them.  But there is a certain comfort in seeing those same faces every day.  Of acknowledging them across the room with a nod or a smile or even just  meeting eyes.  These people have no idea how much a part of my daily life they have become, but the truth is that I look forward to seeing them, even if we don’t speak.

Then there are the awesome staff and instructors at the Y.  What a great team! Through them I  have found so much encouragement and joy.  I can attribute SO much of my success this past year to them.  It is them, who kept me going back, kept things interesting, encouraged me to keep working, to work harder and stronger.  Who had faith that I could complete their crazy, amazing classes, even when I didn’t have that faith in myself. That showed me what I am capable of.  That I should believe.  They have given me the confidence back that I lost so long ago.

And then there is Terry.    He’s been with me every step of the way, making great gains himself.  We learned how to eat together.  How to work efficiently together. And how to support each other in our journeys.  Once again, I could not have done  all that I have without his support.

With the support of all these wonderful people I have reached goals that I have never even imagined, including becoming a certified fitness instructor and teaching fitness classes of my own. .  What an amazing thing..   to give back the things that were so freely given to me.

One thing I’d like to mention is that it’s hard to go to the gym for the first time.  People can feel afraid of being judged, and they think they need to get into shape first. I know I felt that way.  I felt SO conspicuous.  But the truth is..  everyone is there for the same reason.  We all started somewhere, and honestly, when I see a new person at the gym I am happy for them.  Happy for them for wanting to make a change and get healthier.  And excited for them, because I know if they stick with it, it is going to make them healthier and the personal achievements to be had are so amazing!

So, here are my one year totals…

I have lost approximately 55 lbs.  (it varies a few lbs from week to week, of course)

I have lost 10 pant sizes.  From a size 16/18 to a size 6

Neck   from 15 to 13.5 inches

Waist from 42 to 35 inches

Hips from 46 to 37.5 inches


And now my Pearls Of Wisdom….



  • My body was tired because I never gave it a chance to wake up
  • My mind was more tired than my body
  • Your body, if given a chance, WANTS to move.  It IS a machine and it needs the proper fuel and the chance to work
  • It feels good to feel strong
  • I miss my boobs.  They went first 😦
  • Buying clothes is a lot easier now
  • Buying panties and bras that fit properly is still a pain in the ass
  • I have veins that I never noticed before.  I kind of like them
  • No matter how much weight we lose, we will never look like what we imagine we will.  I always thought I’d be curvy. Turns out I’m straight up and down 😦
  • Stretch marks never go away, nor the skin that increased with them
  • People will try to make you eat crap, 5 minutes after they praise all your hard work and success
  • You will spend a lot of time defending your food choices.  (AKA = really, I don’t miss french fries.    Seriously!!)
  • Cholesterol?  Not an issue any more
  • When you lose fat, your wrinkles become more noticeable
  • It feels pretty good when you tell your son that you are going to a Manitoba Fitness Council convention and he just smiles at you and says “who would have ever thought?”
  • My body still gets tired..  but it’s a different kind of tired now
  • My body does not look like I imagined it would if I ever lost weight.  Sadly, not even close
  • I know that I will never be truly happy with what my body looks like.  I will always think “if only this or if only that”  but I’ve also learned that it’s ok to love it all the same
  • You never get over craving chocolate or peanut butter.. or both at the same time
  • It takes great dedication and sacrifice to achieve so much in a short time… but it’s worth it
  • Spaghetti squash makes a great pasta substitute and it sounds really cool when you drop it on the floor at the grocery store
  • Buying a whole new wardrobe is damn expensive
  • People you know will not recognize you and walk right past you
  • It might not necessarily be WHAT you are eating – but HOW MUCH of it you eat
  • People will suddenly call you a “skinny bitch”.  that’s not fair.  I worked hard.  It wasn’t luck
  • Losing weight and getting in shape will not make you a super star..  you already are one
  • People want to know the “magic secret”.  There isn’t one.  It’s hard work and sacrifice – but it’s totally worth every bit
  • People expect you to “stop” once you reach your goal.  This is a lifetime thing.  It will never stop.  I shall forever be a work in progress
  • I may not miss french fries..  but I sure do miss Cheezies…

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no matter how much weight you lose, or how much your body changes, or how much healthier your yearly physical tests come back, you will always still find something about yourself to be unhappy about.  So don’t wait to love yourself. Don’t waste time.  I kick myself that it took me so damn long to do this.  Love yourself now.

Love yourself first, and then work on the rest.  We spend too much time hating on ourselves.  Wear your best perfume, drink out of your crystal glasses, dance like you don’t care if anyone is watching, and love yourself.


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OOPS! I lost my head! 1

OOPS!  I lost my head!   1

*OOPS! I’ve Lost My Head I *

A few weeks ago I posted about feeling as though nothing was inspiring me any more photographically. I have become bored of my own work, and the work of others because as beautiful as all the photos I see are, they are often of the same subject matter over and over again.

I’ve been feeling this in my own work for quite some time now, and I’ve become very lethargic in my desire to produce work lately. This isn’t me saying that I don’t like my photos – I do, for the most part, but what this is, is me saying that I feel I have lost my creative edge.

It happens to all of us, from time to time, but I’ve been feeling it for quite a while now.

I talked to a few very good friends about it, and was given excellent advice. And then I sat on it for a while. I just let the info I’d collected, the realization of what I finally admitted to myself, just sit for a while, and put a lot of thought into what I was going to do about it.

I finally decided it is time for me to move on. To get my ass in gear again and start using my creative mind to make something “different”.

Yes, I’m sure this idea is not truly original. I’m sure it’s been done. Is being done, and will be done again and again. But it’s new to ME and I hope to kick start my creative process again.

I had a lot of fun with this first one. I can see that I have a lot to learn, and a lot of room to grow, but it is the first of what I hope will be a fun and artistic series. I’m not putting a time limit on this.. it will come as it comes. But, boy do I have ideas swimming through my head. It feels good to have those juices flowing again!!

I owe a HUGE thank you to +Olivier Du Tré for talking me out of my rut. You know who loves you, baby!! And another HUGE thank you to +Mark Rodriguez who so willingly gave me some pointers and helped me to figure out what to do about that darn neckline!!! The man is amazing, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that because you have to already know.

So.. here is number One…….. in “OOPS! I lost my head!” because we all lose our heads sometimes….

The White Nothing

The White Nothing

Last night I dreamed…

I dreamed of a tree that stood alone in the White Nothing.

The White Nothing was all encompassing and covered everything leaving only the tree, with me, standing under it.
As I stood under the tree looking up into it’s spindly branches, I felt protected and safe there, as though it was my guardian, and it’s many arms seemed to circle around me in a gentle embrace.
The White Nothing was very lonely, however, and it pressed in on me like a cold fingerless hand, wanting my breath and the warmth of my soul. Squeezing it out of me.

And then there you were.

Standing beside me. Holding my hand. Creating energy that drove the white nothing back. We sat under the tree for a life time, telling each other our secret dreams and fears, laughing until we cried, and crying until we laughed again.
The White Nothing stood still all around us and watched. Curious. Seeking answers to what it was seeing.
Finally the White Nothing gave up and receded. Bit by bit. Little by little, leaving us to our play. Maybe we beat it. Maybe it felt sorry for us. Or maybe it just didn’t know what to do with us. But we beat it.


We beat it.

And now we still sit under the tree, holding hands and leaning our shoulders together. Knowing we are not alone.

We will never be alone.

Because we are friends.



Today I came home to find a letter in my mail box from Healthy Brandon.
I had no idea what it could be about, so I curiously opened it up to find a letter telling me that someone had nominated me for the “Power To Inspire Award”.

This award is to recognize individuals who have made a personal commitment to healthy living and inspired others to make positive changes in their own lives in the areas of Mind, Body and Spirit.

I have no idea who nominated me. I hope that person will tell me who they are so that I can thank them, because I couldn’t even make it through the letter without crying.

I wasn’t accepted but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that someone felt I would even deserve such an award for simply doing what I’m doing to make my life better.

I didn’t set out on this journey to be an inspiration for anything, and I’m honestly surprised every day at how far I’ve come, but to have people tell me that I’m inspiring to them… wow. Just.. wow.

I have never, in my life, felt like I could inspire anyone to do anything. I’m just not “that person”, you know? The thing is, this, in itself… inspires me to do what I’m doing even better. To pour myself even more into becoming the best yoga leader I can be. To work harder to reach my goals. Maybe to set some new goals for myself.. and this time, to go into it knowing that I can and that I will succeed, instead of timidly poking my toe into the water. And to know that there might be even just one person out there that I can affect for the better. Someone who I can help. Someone who looks at what I’ve accomplished and has made changes in their own life, because they believe that if Ican do it, then they can too.

That’s quite an honour. And it’s also very humbling.

So, who ever you are, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much what you did means to me. I’ll do my best to keep moving forward, and I hope that you come along with me. ♥

When We Are Gone

When We Are Gone

If We Were Gone

The other day I slipped away from work to visit the local art gallery here and take in an exhibition of Vincent McMillan.  

Vincent has been photographing Chernobyl for 44 years, documenting the decay of the places abandoned and left behind after the disaster.

The photos are fascinating and so thought provoking.  I stood in front of these amazing photos in awe (the photos look SOOOOO much better printed large than you’ll see on your screen – his lighting is amazing..) and couldn’t help but think about how the whole world would look if man was suddenly just..  gone.  

I marvelled at how nature takes back over and starts to consume and cover everything, and just takes back what is hers.

Check out his web page – some of the albums show you the same photos spaced years apart and it’s quite interesting.