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Sirene's Blog
Sirene's Blog

Officially over 40!
February 12, 2013 10:11 pm

My birthday was last week and I am now officially OVER 40!! I just turned 41

It's so funny how, when you are young and in your 20s, 40 seems so old and far away. Now that I am in my 40s, I, 20 seems like just yesterday!

People have asked me if I would like to go back to being 20 again.....

Not in a million years.

Yes I was young but that was it. I certainly wasn't healthier than I am now....certainly not more fit than I am now. And certainly not happier than I am now!

I would never trade youth for this feeling of power and control I have over my life now. This feeling of wisdom that comes not necessarily from age by itself, but from having LIVED through things that brought me to this place.

I can honestly say, despite the cliche, that my life began at 40. I am happily and eagerly looking forward to the NEXT 40!!

This is a picture of me today, looking (I think) and feeling better than ever!!

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Compromising positions in Yoga class...and other...
January 24, 2013 11:22 pm

So for anyone who has attempted yoga as a fat person, you know how difficult some of the poses can be. Maybe not the pose itself, but the whole breathing in and out while IN the pose can sometimes be an issue....not to mention the level of psychological discomfort

Yesterday in Yoga class....we were finishing up in "Happy Baby" pose....and I didn't even think for one second about how anyone might possibly be looking at me and laughing...

in case you don't know what that is....

A year or so ago, I would have been so self conscious, I wouldn't have been able to attend a yoga class....or if I did, I wouldn't have got the full benefit from it as I would have been too concerned with how I looked; silly, off balance, unable, too fat...etc....LET ALONE get myself into such a compromising position; IN PUBLIC!!! I was lying in bed last night thinking about this and how different I feel about it now.

Yes I still have my moments of fatness when I look in the mirror....more often than not actually, but I am attempting to do more than I ever thought I could possibly do. Yes, I am still scared to do it, but I can talk myself INTO it 95 % of the time now rather than talking myself OUT of things 95 % of the time!

I signed up for a 10km race, am still trying to convince myself to sign up for the half marathon, and even braved Lululemon on New Year's Eve! (sz 8 btw!!)

I just feel so....BRAVE...sometimes!!

Is this how normal people feel everyday???

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Back to School!
January 14, 2013 10:27 pm

Yesterday, I did it. I went in and signed up to start back to school in March. I am going to be a Registered Holistic Nutritionist!

I have been thinking about it for a while. When I quit my job back in October, it was always in the plans that I would take "something"....I just didn't  know what. It was very difficult to figure out first, exactly what I wanted to do and second, exactly what was the right thing to do. I have lived for so many years always trying to do the best for everyone else. Trying to do what is right for my kids, being a supportive wife/mother/caregiver etc. I have taken jobs I hated or that had really horrible hours just so that I could make things work for everyone else around me. The only time I was truly happy in my career was when I was working with kids, doing what I love to do...and that is teach.

Initially, I wanted to go back to school and get my teaching degree and papers, but looking into it I got a bit discouraged. Its a lengthy process and my Honey, although supportive emotionally, just cannot financially support this family on his salary. And because I got such a large chunk of severance pay last year, looking at my income tax from last year will eliminate me from any sort of loan or subsidy program. So my number 1 choice was off the list.

I had to think long and hard about what kinds of things do I like to do. What do I enjoy doing more than anything?

Well, I enjoy cooking.

OK. So maybe I could go back to school and become a certified baker, or pastry chef? Maybe I could become a specialized pastry chef in the field of gluten free products?? Or HEALTHY alternatives to high fat, high carb and high sugar pastries??

Maybe I could start my own business?

Then I thought about these things....and how would I be able to make all of these pastries and desserts without tasting them to see if they are good? You literally cannot be expected to make food for other people if you have not at least sampled it as a sort of quality assurance. And I don't think taste testing (even healthier alternatives) desserts and pastries all day is a very good idea for my health.

But this is good...this is closer to my ideal of what I can see myself doing career wise in the future.

Maybe I can help people make their own healthier versions of foods in general. Maybe I could try to help people learn bout nutrition, like I have, and make changes in their lives, like I have, for the better. A kind of  pay-it-forward career option.

Yes. I can see myself doing this.

I am a planner. I like to make lists and plan stuff in advance. I like to organize and re-organize, tweak and modify to suit needs, prune, purge and re-organize cupboards, pantries and grocery lists....all of these things sound like things that I really really really like doing. And meeting new people who are like minded, interested in health and nutrition? YESSSS!!!

And teaching! I would be teaching folks how to make healthier choices. How to  make positive changes. How to get healthy through diet. How to live in  a more natural and eco-friendly way.....yes I can do this.

So, that was a glimpse into the thought process that led me to finally make the decision to go back to school to study nutrition. I was worried about the commitment of 4 years for a BSc....but the more I looked around, the more I realized that there are dietitians and nutritionists. Kind of like the difference between psychologist and psychiatrist in my opinion.

I dont want to be the clinical type. I want to focus on health and wellness and positive life changes.

That led me to the Holistic Nutritionist field of study. I looked around and as it turns out, the top school in Canada for Holistic Nutrition is right here in Ottawa!! Fate???

I went and signed up yesterday! I start March 4th!

Lookit me...I'm a student!!

Who knew that this journey would take me here? To quit my job and go back to school all because I lost 125 lbs??

No. Quit my job and losing 125 lbs gave me the confidence to finally accept and embrace the reality of MYSELF which led me to realize I had been traveling the wrong road for way too long and it was time to buck up and get off at the next fork. Hang a left and straight on til morning!!

I am SO EXCITED for this next chapter of my life to start!

Is it a new chapter?? Sometimes it feels like a whole new book!!

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January 7, 2013 6:54 am

So my honey and I were out the other day and he took me for breakfast. I ate a whole poached egg and a slice of ham and even a few bites of potatoes. On the one hand, I was impressed with the fact that I ate a whole egg but on the other hand, I was a bit worried because I could eat a whole egg.

My honey said to me "It's good to see you eating like a normal person"

That's when it hit me.

I *DO* eat like a normal person now.


For the past year, I haven't worried very much about portion size because the RNY surgery pretty much took care of that. I also haven't worried too much about calories because I have always tried hard to eat well, but more so because my portions were so small, I didnt really worry about calories much.  I mean really, 3oz of protein and 1/2c of veggies for supper isn't really much cause for concern.

So now, I really have to watch what I am eating a little more closely. I think I will go back to basics and start weighing and measuring all my foods again. This really is, after all, my diet for life.

I also need to re-focus on snacking. This whole being off work thing and trying to establish a routine over the past few months has been a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. And especially when you throw a major holiday in there like Christmas.....well lets just say that 3 meals and 2 snacks a day has become more of a constant grazing over 12 hours. Again, mostly healthy things and always things I should be eating; babybell cheese and a mandarin orange, a handful of almonds and a pear, carrot sticks with hummus....etc. But I bet if you add those up over the day, it probably adds up to more calories than I'd like to see.

I think I am ok on the exercise front. Running,  plus Goodlife classes3 times a week,  plus my new weight bench that my Honey got me for Christmas, I think I am all set. I did a really great workout this morning actually with the XBOX Kinect! I never thought those video games could actually be a real workout but man!!!....Bob Harper made me sweat alright!! LOL!!

I hadn't really intended to make New Year's Resolutions, but I guess mine will be: Back to Basics! Tracking my food being my  (new) number one priority.

Also, stay away from the TV during the day!!  When I take a break from housework or while I am having my post-workout protein smoothie and sit down in front of the TV for a few moments......ya right. A few moments turns into an hour or so!! You get totally sucked into the garbage that's on during the day! Its like a train wreck!! You just cant stop!!

So here's a late HURRAH! to 2013! It will be my first year of living normally!!

Uhh me?? Normal?? I never thought I would say THAT!! :)



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Black Bean Brownies
January 3, 2013 10:25 pm

I have been tinkering with gluten-free baking lately. At first, in the hopes that I would be able to eat bread again....but found that I can't even tolerate gluten-free bread. I always said before surgery that if I could have ONE issue, it would be that I shouldn't be able to eat bread since it was my nemesis!! Well little did I know how really difficult that really is!!! No more grabbing a quick sandwich for lunch, no toast for breakfast! No garlic bread. No more fresh bread right out of the oven all warm and soft....*drool*

It's definitely for the best since I am pretty sure that was a huge contributing factor in my weight to begin with!! My carb comfort!!

So I kept going with the gluten free cooking and baking anyway, because I like how I feel without the wheat. I feel less bloated and a lot less...full. Does that make sense?

I made a great batch of gluten free banana bread the other day and got several compliments on it. I had a killer banana bread recipe before so I was a bit wary on changing it up....but the reviews were good so I ventured out a little and made brownies.

I wanted to try to make them as healthy as possible, and gluten free. So I made Black Bean Brownies and WOW!!! SOOOO good!!!

I thought I would share the recipe since I really shouldn't hoard the yummy way up here in the Canadian Wilderness....where it was -28c yesterday btw....which is about -18f for you Americans. In other words...Brr!!

I still went out in my pyjamas to start the car though. You know you are Canadian when you can walk out in a tank top, pj bottoms and boots in minus 28 degrees.


So here it is.

Black Bean Brownies
  1 19oz can black beans drained and rinsed very well
 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder- dutch or regular  (add a little extra if desired)
 2/3 cup quick oats
 1/4 tsp salt
 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave or Honey
 3 stevia packs or 3 tbsp sugar
 1/3 cup coconut or vegetable oil 
 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
 3/4 tsp baking powder
 1 cup chocolate chips
optional: more chips, for presentation
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth.
Really blend well. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan.
Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook 15-18 minutes, then let cool
at least 10 minutes before trying to cut.

Makes 9-12 brownies.


Good luck!! If you try any substitutions, let me know how it turns out!!


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