Officially over 40!

Feb 12, 2013

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!!


Compromising positions in Yoga class...and other revelations

Jan 24, 2013

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???

1 comment

Back to School!

Jan 14, 2013

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!!



Jan 07, 2013

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!! :)




Black Bean Brownies

Jan 03, 2013

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!!



My poor Honey

Dec 27, 2012

I really got a glimpse of before and after obesity over the past few days. I know we "remember" what it was like but maybe sometimes we don't really remember. Being over a year out, I think its a bit like childbirth. You remember that it hurt, but its really hard to remember the exact feeling of the pain.

My honey is obese. No question about it. I will never push him to lose weight and never nag him about it because I know that there is nobody on the planet, especially not me, who can force him to lose the weight. It is something he has to choose to do on his own. We all know what THAT is like.

I bought him an Xbox 360 with Kinect for Christmas. I got him a Star Wars game and it comes with an river adventure game where you have to jump and dive and dance around in order to maneuver a raft through a series of obstacles on a raging river. It is ridiculously fun and quite a workout if I do say so myself! I was a bit winded!

My honey, on the other hand, was sweating buckets and had to take a break a few times!

I mean, the instructions do say....take a break if  you feel tired, etc.....but he was really sweating up a storm.

It really broke my heart to see how hard it was for him! He was loving it and having a great time, but he just couldn't keep up. And today, he said he is sore everywhere.

Admittedly, I can feel my calves today from all the jumping, but its really nothing more than an occasional , "Oh I have a muscle there" type of twinge.

I don't want to tell him that I don't want to play anymore, 1- because its not true and 2-because it really is a lot of fun and 3-he will be sad if I don't play with him. But I also don't want him to have a heart attack!

He is a big man who really doesn't know his own strength, but he also doesn't know his own weakness either. He was a hockey player when he was younger, so I think part of him still sees himself as an athlete. Unfortunately, he hasn't played hockey in 20 years other than at the rink with me and the kids. I know he is right there on the edge of that place where you just hate being fat so much...and its so frustrating to do anything, even just tie your shoes!! Its a workout for him to get dressed in the morning sometimes. I hear him panting and wheezing and my heart just breaks. In the summer, he tried running....I think mostly to try to have something in common with me and maybe a bit afraid that I might leave him.....insecure with my weight loss and all. But once he started back to work, he just couldn't get that momentum back and has given up on it. I can feel that part of him is disappointed in himself with having given up and I remember that pain; that feeling of failure and being betrayed by your own body. And again, my heart bleeds for him.

I am caught between trying to encourage him to continue his efforts whether its running or just playing the video game ( he *did* ask for the Biggest Loser game)  hoping he may lose some weight, while still trying to keep him safe and not hurt himself, but still maintain some level of his ego intact. Is that even possible????

Ugh! Men!!! Why do they have to be so complicated??




I give up on personal trainers!!

Dec 20, 2012

The trainer at the gym turned out to be true to form and gave me the low-down on a really great program that would "meet all my fitness goals" within one year. He spelled it all out in great detail and it sounded very achievable!!

Then the price tag.

3 sessions a week for 52 weeks at $ 62 a session is just a little over $ 10 grand.


I smiled because it was pretty much the exact same spiel I got pre-surgery from another trainer at the same chain (different location).

I told him there was no way I could afford that and he did his best to try to make it sound like I wasn't going to be paying 10 grand but in the end, it still ends up costing 10 grand. Easy payment plan or not...who has $ 1000 for a down payment the week before Christmas?? Or ANY time for that matter??? And really?? How is $ 200 bi-weekly 'affordable'?? That's more than a lot of car payments!!

Aside from the old saying that "you can't put a price on your health".....I think I was more hurt because after all the time I spent with this guy and he really seemed like he was listening to what I had to say, to what my goals were, etc. I just feel like I wasted so many hours of my life going through the whole process with him. It was very disappointing. Almost like dating!! As my good friend Maggie would say....what a waste of mascara!

Not only that, but he said that I could cut out the body pump and yoga classes and definitely cut out the running because cardio isn't what I need now....WTF??.....and just focus on weight training with a trainer.

But I LIKE the classes!! I LOVE running!! Why would anyone suggest that I cut these out ??

I was very discouraged and felt so disappointed and frustrated when I got home yesterday...what did I do???

Yep. Ate a chocolate.

Oh and it wasn't any old chocolate either. It was an Extra Dark Lindor chocolate.

And then ate another.

Guess how I felt about THAT??

Yep. Guilty and even more horrible.

Ahhh....good times. I remember when this type of behaviour was an everyday thing and probably several times a day. And also when I couldn't recognize it for what it was and stop it or even acknowledge it. Vicious circle that would spiral into a binge....yep. Good times.

I put the chocolates away and grabbed a piece of cheese. Then I started making supper and had a nice piece of chicken.

I still felt horrible so I grabbed the hot water bottle and went to snuggle with it on the couch and ended up going to bed early. First day of TOM too so maybe that had something to do with my emotions getting the better of me??

I woke up this morning and promised myself that I would just put yesterday in the past and start fresh with today. It certainly helps that I woke up to a whole world freshly covered in a (really thick!!) blanket of snow. Everything looks fresh and clean and pure today.

As Anne Shirley is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet.

Now, to plan my menu while browsing the flyers and have some lovely quinoa with pecans and raisins for breakfast.  Then maybe a little 5k on the treadmill?? Sounds like a good way to start a new day






Body composition

Dec 11, 2012

15 months ago, my percentage of body fat was 50 %. I was morbidly obese.

Yesterday, I went for a fitness assessment that was part of my new gym membership package. The young man was quite nice, listened carefully and we had a great discussion about what it is that I wanted to get out of my gym time. The jury is still out on whether or not he will turn into a salesman and try to bully me into some crazy $ 10 000 personal training package claiming I wont possibly be able to accomplish my goals on my own, or some other such nonsense....but I am trying to be open minded so ...we"ll see.

Part of the assessment was a weigh-in. My scale at home is not a big fat liar!!! Yay!!! I really am down to 175! On a normal person scale even!! I was pretty stoked about that.

Another part of the assessment was a body composition test.....where you stand on a special scale that measures your muscle mass and fat mass separately. My body fat percentage is now 35 %.

At first I was like...oh cool it's down by 15 %. That's great! Yay me!

But then he showed me the chart.

The percentage range for each category from underfat to morbidly obese are only about 5 %. For my age (at over 40) I am now in the "healthy" range.




Age Range Too Low % Healthy % Too High % Obese
20-39 yrs. Under 21% 21-33% 33-39% Over 39%
40-59 yrs. Under 23% 23-35% 35-40% Over 40%
60-79+yrs. Under 24% 24-36% 36-42% Over 42%





And this is not a 'fat' doctor telling me I am healthy either. This is a person who never knew me when I was fat. This is a professional in the fitness field. This is the staff of a FITNESS facility telling me that I am in the HEALTHY range!!!

The tears came and I couldn't help it, but I cried right there in his office.



Les Mills' Body Pump

Dec 04, 2012

I love running.

Now though, I think it's time to ramp up my workout routine and try out a fitness class.

I found a freebie class so I figured hey, what have I got to lose??

I checked out my local Goodlife gym and went in for one of those Les Mills Body Pump classes. I was pretty terrified before going in because I haven't been to the gym in a while and if you have read my previous blogs, you will see that I haven't exactly had the best experiences! And if you watch it online...yikes!!!

The reception dude was very nice and helped me set up my "station". I kept thinking, "why do I need a station"? The online  demo online didn't say anything about a 'station'!! First panic moment because I feel like I am not prepared now and dont know what I am getting myself into!!

It was really just getting your step/bench and weights all prepared and ready to go. So here I am, ready to go, trying to melt into the background and be invisible like every other time I have ever been in a gym....feeling terribly self conscious and feeling like everyone is looking at the fat chick in the room. Second panic moment because I feel like the center of Fat Universe and everyone has a telescope....

The instructor has a microphone thingy on and is standing on a little platform in front and doesn't she call me out just as the class is starting. "Let's welcome Jennifer!!" and everyone turns to looks at me. I smiled and waved and wanted to die....everyone seemed very pleasant though and just interested in starting the class.

I did feel self conscious, but not nearly as bad as a year and a half ago. I could still feel the weight of every scrap of saggy skin and the unsightly melted candle look around my middle section felt like it was SO OBVIOUS to everyone in the felt like I was wearing a flourescent coloured pool noodle like a hula hoop that screamed, "Look at me! I am huge!!"

But as I glanced in the mirror to see how red my face had gotten, lo and behold, I looked pretty much like everyone else!


I wasn't much (if any) fatter than anyone else in the room!! As a matter of fact, I will even venture as far to say that there were people in the room bigger than me. (Do you know how hard it was to type that??) Of course, I was going to be the only one with really low weights and who probably couldn't do most of the exercises though, right? Because I was new and these people were regulars?


I managed the whole class!! With WEIGHTS!! Ya they were low weights but I didn't have to drop them halfway through, and some people did. Not to criticize them at all was freakin hard and it would be very easy to misjudge how much weight you think you could manage. 800 reps throughout the entire class??? That is verging on insane levels!! And BOY am I feeling it today!!!

The instructor was great; very encouraging and kept an eye on me like she said she would. She called me out a few times, saying I had good form or asking how I was doing etc and was glad I was still smiling halfway It was a really fun class and I am definitely going back on Friday.

Hopefully, by then, I will be able move my arms again ;p




New vitamin issue more than 1 yr out??

Dec 02, 2012

Back Story:

I had low iron but have been able to absorb it via pills pretty well. I have to take 2x350mg at night as well as the 18mg in each multivitamin. I take 2 of those every morning with my B12, then calcium and D through the day and I take the iron at night because it makes me nauseous. By the time the nausea kicks in though, I am usually asleep.

Trying to save money, I bought a generic brand of multi and had a terrible time with them. They made me nauseous and gassy and I felt horrible for about 20 minutes. I mentioned it to the APN at my last visit and she suggested that the binders some generic brands use could be the cause. So I switched back to my regular brand (One-A-Day Silver for Women) because I never had an issue before.

Until now!

The past few days I have been nauseous and gassy right after I take them. Then this morning, I actually vomited! I have only vomited twice since surgery and I am over a year out! This is crazy! I may have even broken some blood vessels around my eyes!! Very attractive.

And No, I am absolutely NOT pregnant....

Any other veterans have sudden issues with vitamins so far out?? What did you do?


About Me
Surgery Date
Dec 02, 2010
Member Since

Friends 203

Latest Blog 96