Modesty or Humility?



Yesterday a friend of mine posted on Facebook about modesty and humility. It’s not a subject I’ve ever really given a whole lot of thought to before, but I find myself really pondering this whole subject ever since.



Personally I can’t stop thinking about this and how it applies to my own life. I grew up putting myself in the modest box in a BIG way. I’d seek perfection of myself in just about everything and be devastated when I failed. I would constantly undersell who I was at every turn like it was my job. That constant quest for impossible perfection. I have always had a difficult time thinking my achievements were enough, I’ve gotten really good at trying to somehow reduce everything I do. Make my accomplishments small or only see the things I could have done better. It’s like a massive form of internal torture. I’ve really only become aware of this <sarcasm> glorious </sarcasm> behavior in the last ten years or so. At least in recognizing it I’ve learned there is something I can actively do something about it.

I now call that negative voice that likes to take over my thoughts my “shit bird”. It likes to land on my shoulder and shit all over just about everything I allow it to.  I’ve been learning how to shoo the damn shit bird off and clean up it’s tracks little by little. I’ve gotten better at seeing my gifts as I’ve gotten older, something Karen mentions in her posts. I’ve even learned to celebrate some of my accomplishments – especially professionally. But when it comes to my body I’m still a little stuck. At the moment the shit bird still rules the roost when it comes to how I see my body and my physical capabilities more often than not. This post has me thinking a lot about how to get unstuck here too.

IMG_2132 (1)



What’s interesting for me is how all of this applies to chronic pain and injury. What I’m learning these last few years about pain is that it seems to have this super power of taking you backwards in time. Back to a place where you look for all of the things that soothe you like when you were a kid and fell a little too hard. For me that includes those old deep set habits of getting really mean to myself. And wanting to eat things I know don’t help – sweet, salty and processed.

Karen’s analogy was like a lightening bolt of connection for me. I can see how this pattern has been playing out for me when it comes to fitness. I’ve been doing Crossfit for about 7 months now. I’ve been learning how to balance the movements with pain and how things with my injury flare up. It’s been a process of trying to learn when I’m really just underselling myself out of fear instead of pushing myself to do what I’m truly physically capable of (too much modesty) with when it’s appropriate to stop or pull back because I’m preventing more pain or further injury (true humility).

Like so many things in my life it comes back to recognizing that I’m just HUMAN. And that’s without doubt okay. The concept I learned of “perfection” so long ago is impossible and it’s not something to strive for. Modesty doesn’t help serve me. It’s just a form of personal torture to let go of. Turns out it’s more humility I need. That’s something I can focus on that feels like the right kind of possible.


Year of Mimi

progress not perfection

Etsy Shop: Farizula Designs


Remember all of that seeing the problem and taking action?  I do and I did. I quit Lean Eating and it was the right decision for me. It took a lot for me to let go of the Program and the pressure I was putting on myself to make it work when it wasn’t working for me because of where my mind had been. I was depressed and didn’t really acknowledge how much the depression impacted the finer details of my life. That’s the thing about depression, it can sneak up on you and consumes even the parts of your life that you’re trying the hardest to protect.

Now it’s November and it’s seven months later. There’s been a lot of letting go and a lot of hard work. Therapy and more time in the gym. Trying new things, including getting acquainted with my local Crossfit Box.

I elected to label 2014 the “Year of Mimi”. I wanted this year to be a changing point again. I year where my weight, shape and size are no longer the only focus of my self worth. A year when focus and worth shift. A year where the regular groove I had uncovered pre-accident returns.

Progress not Perfection

Since my accident three years ago (almost to the day) the weight gain that followed after finally finding success with both body image and fat loss my perception of myself had started to narrow. As it did and the depression increased, the pain and depression seemed to take over more of my life. It all worked together to complicate my state of mind. Gratefully the last six months,  asking for help, working in therapy and lots of hard work personally on my frame of mind (including self acknowledgement) I’m no longer depressed.  And that’s massive. For the second time in my life conquered it. Maybe not forever, as that doesn’t tend to be how life works, but for now.

There’s been a lot that’s changed in the last seven months. T and I have moved for the third time in three years. We’ve been in our new place just over three months now. Three moves in three years of marriage. Not for the weak hearted, and not without lots of very good reasons on our part. The new place is very different. I’m farther from work here than I’ve been, so it means commuting again. On moving day T also got full time work (versus part time) which we are so very grateful for. But the full time job meant different hours. Which meant, new home, new hours, new routine, new commute. I’ve been learning all over again the importance of just taking one. day. at. a. time.

Letting Go

I’m planner by nature so this has meant letting go. Shortly after our move T had surgery to remove T’s gallbladder. Everything went really well. It also meant after surgery T couldn’t return to work and lifting heavy things for 6 weeks. We got to spend 2 of those 6 weeks together when I took my vacation from work. We drove down to New York City and spent 5 days together exploring the city. I’d never been before and it was even more fun than I imagined. We got to see some friends and family along the way and after the city T and I got to spend some time with T’s  Aunt and family farther upstate in NY. We relaxed. We explored. We walked forever for days. T healed and so did I. It was perfect.

Gratefully it was also like a reset button for me. On my stress level, on my emotions, on my motivation. I came home relaxed and refreshed. Feeling more like myself than I had felt in months and months, maybe years.

9 Months of Selfies



When we returned from our trip I realized something. After nine whole months of taking a selfie a day in an effort to see myself in a new light I realized my project has already served its purpose. I set out to take a year of selfies when I really struggling with depression and with my own body image. It was difficult for me to see my reflection, to see those images on my phone screen, to actually make them public. But as the days, weeks and months went by and my depression improved and I worked in therapy on my self image I found it easier to see myself, to take different photos, to share. And finally I found I didn’t need the project. After my vacation I felt like I was returning to a grounded place. Like I had found myself again. It was a big piece to my Mimi puzzle that I was missing and my 9-months-of-selfies helped me discover that again in ways I can’t even explain. I will forever be grateful to Vivienne McMaster and her Be Your Own Beloved course for helping show me the light that is embracing a new way of seeing yourself through selfies. There truly isn’t anything vain about it, instead it is it’s own kind of magic for self image if you let it be.

Year of Mimi

Award Pic

After our vacation came something else very BIG in my professional life. The week after vacation I was on a plane again to Toronto to receive an award for the work I do. It was the first award of it’s kind in Canada. The award win came with some homework to present a workshop to my colleagues at our national meeting. It was really an amazing adventure in recognizing the value of what I do as a career and in allowing myself to accept the accolades without shrugging it off. It was a big deal for me. And a bigger deal to acknowledge it personally and really treasure the experience. I was so grateful to see what I do and what so many of my colleagues do across Canada as Program Administrators for residency education acknowledged this way. I can’t wait to celebrate my colleagues in the years to come.

Do The Scary Stuff

xfit insta

This fall I have really been trying to sort out what to do with my fitness. My gym routine with our new commute and work life wasn’t working well. I wasn’t pushing and I wasn’t motivated. I had rewnewed motivation to try something and right about the same time the Crossfit Box – CFK that T had been working out at for months offered an “Intro to Crossfit” ladies night class. It terrified me but I tried to silence those “no-can-do” voices in my mind and went for it. I figured out how to get myself there Tuesday and Thursday nights even when T was at work and worked at it. Four weeks later the intro class wrapped and I decided to take their offer for a discounted two month trial. Just last night I completed their foundations classes and I’ve already been to two “real” crossfit classes. I’m actually enjoying the workouts.

Once I got over the initial fear of not understanding the process, the set up, the people and allowed myself to relax and no worry about however I had modify things to get my workout done it’s acutally been fun. It feels like a new way to push myself and my fitness level. I LOVE the weights and the strength and the lifting. The endurance part will be a struggle for me for a while. As will the pull ups and the double unders. But I’m pushing myself. I’m asking questions and I’m trying to reach outside the box (ha! see what I did there?) and move the boundary lines. Last night in my final fundamentals class we worked on pull ups. For me that meant trying to find out how many giant elastic bands to use for me to work on the movement. I had to go back to the bar after the class and ask for extra help to do it. But I asked for the help. I figured out how many bands were the right combo for me. It’s still scary, but it will get easier if I just keep pushing and I just keep trying.

Year of Mimi

year of Mimi

Already this year has truly been a year of Mimi and it’s not over yet. I’m so grateful to have T as my partner in all of this. These first years of marriage also being years of recovery take a toll.  We are adventuring together and exploring ourselves, but never losing sight of our partnership and our love. This year has brought me closer to myself again and in turn closer to my T-Rex.  This year for me has also allowed me to put the pieces back together and recognize not only the things that I was missing, but work to find a way to relax more even when everything is changing. In the process I’ve been able to notice the new patterns. Patterns that I’ve discovered are mostly related to how all of this change impacts my stress level and how stress sets off all of the bad badness.  When my attitude and approach to life in general is more relaxed, my bodies response to change is more relaxed. Just like I learned five years ago pre accident if I change my mindset and my attitude the rest can follow. The rest can be enjoyed. The rest can always be a year of Mimi.




Seeing the Problem & Taking Action

from etsyshop HoneycombandHive

from etsyshop HoneycombandHive

Worthy is my word for 2014.

Feeling my own worth is precisely what I need to focus on. Remembering that I am indeed important, believing in the things that I have to offer, that I am deserving of love (including loving myself) is the key. It’s like the secret. If I can do that, if I can unlock that part of myself that I am completely in control of, all of the good stuff I wish for follows. I’ve been able to unlock that part of me before, and magic happened. But it seems I’ve been trying slowly but surely to try and lock it away. Seriously? Who does that to themselves on purpose? It seems that I do.

BUT! I know what I’m up to. I’ve been becoming increasingly aware of it. And if I’m being really really honest with myself I’ve been feeling the shadow of depression creep on me again. And it’s not what I want. It’s starting to take a toll on me, and it’s impacting my relationship with T. So something had to give. I knew I needed to recruit some help. So I went back to counselling. I’m seeing a new psychologist and I’m two weeks and two appointments in and I have a list of homework to help myself with support.

I saw the problem growing and I took action.


I also know I just came through a very intense, very stressful time in my office and I recognized the connection between the two things and the feeling the anxiety growing. So I took action there too. I asked to use up the remainder of my vacation time before it rolls over in April and I took 6 days off work (Friday through Wednesday). I signed off my work email and put up a vacation notice and I haven’t checked it once since I’ve been off. I’m aware it will be overwhelming when I return to play catch up, but I’m also aware that no one will die, nothing horrible will happen and I need a break.

I saw the problem growing and I took action.





Also, lately I’ve had a growing feeling of having a lot of difficulty seeing myself in photographs. Through much of 2013 I got WAY too judgy with myself. My self critic was in overdrive and I needed to do something to put the brakes on shit bird that was getting way out of control. So I challenged myself in the style of the gorgeous Vivienne McMaster who runs a self portrait class called “Be Your Own Beloved” that helps you see yourself through a different lens. I needed to see myself through a fresh lens, so I embarked on the #yearofmimi drawing inspiration from Be Your Own Beloved and I’m challenging myself to a self portrait everyday of 2014. Somedays that viewpoint is a whole lot easier than others. And there are still days when it’s difficult to see the photographs, but I’d be lying if I told you the first 35 days of this project haven’t helped me see myself differently. It’s a special kind of magic.

I saw the problem growing and I took action.


So that leads me to the space where I see a problem, but I don’t know what to do. My adventures in Lean Eating since July have not been productive in the physical sense at all. And by at all I mean I am exactly where I was weight and measurement wise today that I was on Day 1 of the program. And it’s not the program’s fault. All of the excellent foundations and habits and workouts are still there. And I’m still doing the workouts, but mentally? I’m not there. I’m not in it. I’m floundering. And what it comes down to? Every time? It’s worthiness.

The reason I was so successful when I did Lean Eating the first time three years ago was without question due to my head space. I felt worthy. Actually, it was more than a feeling. I believed I was worthy. I believed I was worth the effort and the focus and concentration. I was confident that I could do it. That belief and that confidence was the driving force behind everything. I’ve read that it’s the positive mind set so many of the Lean Eaters that bring the biggest transformations, and I understand the connection. Because this time it feels so completely different for me.

This time? I’m not convinced of that. I haven’t been convinced of that in a long time. And the reasons for that are wrapped up in bows of chronic pain and looming depression and increasing anxiety (hey, did you know that chronic pain is linked to those things clinically?) Yeah, seems obvious to me now that I know, but I didn’t realize how the brain links those three things so intimately.

I see the problem, but I’m not entirely sure of the action to take.


What I really like about Lean Eating these last eight months of my life is that it’s given me structure and routine and a focus to maintain on healthy habits. I’ve still been doing my workouts and I’m slowly rebuilding my strength. I haven’t lost the foundation of healthy eating habits that I built the first time I completed LE, and the program this time has refreshed those habits. But as the months go by and my physical results stay exactly the same it’s an almost constant reminder to me that I’m failing. Or at least that is how my mind is seeing it right now. I get stuck in these cycles of comparing the last time, and seeing my team mates tell their success stories and share their photos and I find myself despairing and disconnecting. I feel defeated every week when my weight and measurements don’t shrink. I know I should be trying to see the positive here. The strength returning and even the fact that I haven’t been gaining weight. And some days I’m able to recognize the positive. But mostly it just seems hurt my spirit that I’m not able to see my own worth enough now to make this work. It’s devastating, and it’s true. The reason it’s not working it because I don’t believe enough. At least not lately. But I’m working on it. I’m seeing the problems and I’m taking action to try and help myself.

I’m not sure whether to just drop out of LE right now and let it go until I’m in a stronger mindset. I’m not sure if that makes me a quitter. I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of the structure because I feel like it’s what’s keeping me moving and getting stronger. If I let go of that what will I replace it with?

But as I’m writing this…I’m realizing. I think the program isn’t a joyful thing for me right now.  It’s draining the limited energy I have just trying to hang on, and if I’m being honest that’s not why it’s there and it’s not how it’s designed. What I need to do is heed the advice that planted a seed a week ago. The action I need to take first is to come up with a plan for myself without Lean Eating. Something that makes me feel really good and only compares me to me right now. Something that feeds my joy and helps me believe in me again. But definitely something that keeps me moving and helps me rebuild my worthiness and my confidence.

I’m not 100% sure what that will look like yet, but that’s okay. I can be patient and take action. I can follow the plan.


from etsy shop LisaBarbero

from etsy shop LisaBarbero

Forgetting Goal Setting

photo (50)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the WHAT that I plan on tackling in 2014.

And then I started thinking more about the HOW I was going to tackle all of those WHATs this year.

While in the pondering procress I read this article.

It’s all about forgetting goal setting, and talking about how it’s not the goals that actually help you achieve, it’s the systems you set up that get you there that really make the difference. And I realized something…

That’s actually my philosophy. It’s part of why I love PN so much. It’s never been the desire to lose fat or get stronger or be faster that gets me there. It isn’t actually having lost the weight or being stronger that make me happy. It’s the habits I build and the steps I take consistently everyday that make me feel good. It’s the system I set up for myself that can either help me progress or drag me downward.  Having a goal can actually suck me down a notch or two, it reminds me constantly that I’m not happy where I am right now. For two years now I’ve had the goal of “getting back to where I was.” Losing the weight again. I’m not there. It’s like a dark cloud hanging over my head reminding me I’m not worthy. And that’s bullshit.

I really love James Clear’s last line: “I think I’m going to officially declare 2014 the “Year of the Sloth” so that everyone will be forced to slow down and make consistent, methodical progress rather than chasing sexy goals for a few weeks and then flaming out.” And I think it reflects exactly what I’ve been craving. A reason to slow. the. eff. down. A reason to feel good about all of the little decisions I make in the run of the day that are votes for me. 

Breaking down the Systems

Lucky for me I’m already in PNLE so I’ve got built in daily systems to go by. I have a daily habit to focus on. I have a workout to get done. I have a daily lesson to absorb. All I have to do is follow suit. Use the system. Every day follow through. Consistency always has been the key for me and it never fails to make me feel better. The more I refine the system and follow through with the basics the better I feel. And if the past is any indication the better my results.

I know I’m craving some change right now. So much so that yesterday I had a conversation with T about not continuing with the second half of the LE Program and finding something new all together. I thought about it a lot yesterday. Whether the change I’m craving has something to do with LE. Instead what I think is that the change I’m craving is internal. At the same time as wanting to slow down and chill out about the weight and the scales, I want to find myself pushing harder. Following through more. A desire to get a whole lot stronger physically. Especially now that I know that the pain is what it is and pushing myself physically now isn’t likely going to cause more damage.

I’m want to shake things up a little. Find what I love in my workouts again. I did my intervals this morning with my kettle bell. And I realized I missed my kettle bell. I liked that it made me feel strong. I liked that I could push myself with it. And I liked how I felt after. It brought me joy. huh. go figure. Something I have in my own home, something that’s part of the PN system. And I liked it. There was that feeling that I’ve been missing. I want to chase that feeling.

from etsy shop LittleRedWindow

from etsy shop LittleRedWindow

Numbers are just numbers

I’m also finding myself letting the status quo with my weight and measurements get me down. I’m giving that information WAY too much power. I really like the idea of releasing the power of the scale and measurements by just making them a “feedback loop”. James Clear says in that article that, “feedback loops are important for building good systems because they allow you to keep track of many different pieces without feeling the pressure to predict what is going to happen with everything. Forget about predicting the future and build a system that can signal when you need to make adjustments.” For me this is the perfect way to redefine how I look at the data from my measurements and weight each week. It can help me know when to make some changes to my system. Period. Full stop. No need to bury my head in shame because the scale spun too far in the + direction instead of the -. No need to feel like a failure if my measurements aren’t down. They aren’t related it’s just data.

I’ve spent too much time in the last two years allowing what the number on the scale said define my own worth. 2014 is the year of worthy. No more. It will creep around, all of the bad habits do that. They sneak up you. But I’ll stay aware. I stop letting it scare me. When it sneaks up behind me I’ll try and steal the power back until there’s no more sneaking.

from esty shop licoricewhipshop

from esty shop licoricewhipshop

The Value of Goals

I’m not saying this renders goals essentially useless. Absolutely not. I just think this is a fantastic way for me to reframe how I take on a new year. I love the idea of starting fresh. I love the idea of focusing on my systems and the rest following me. Like James Clear says “None of this is to say that goals are useless…goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.” And that’s what I want this year. Progress MADE.


Wishing on a Year

I have a lot of wishes for this year. I’m not sure if it’s entirely fair to make wishes just because it’s January 1st. Wishes are truly a year round kind of thing. But there is something to be said about that clean slate, fresh start feeling. It feels exciting and new.

It also doesn’t hurt that January 1st around these parts here in Halifax is ushering 2014 in with a cold crisp sunny day.

Tara and I are a local coffee shop sitting across the table from one another and choosing to spend an hour or two of the first day of 2014 writing down some of our thoughts and some of our wishes.

We got away from that a bit in 2013. Away from our blogging, away from ourselves, and in some ways farther away from each other. I’m looking forward to coming closer again.

  • Closer to blogging – how we first met, how we both process, a tool to express and communicate.
  • Closer to ourselves – to our wishes and hopes and motivations again.
  • Closer to each other – learning new ways to share and finding new adventures, taking on new challenges together.

We woke up this morning next to one another and excited to welcome this New Year. Tara said 10 minutes after waking up, “it’s been a great year so far”. I said a little later this morning to her when she said it again after breakfast – “lets keep saying that all year long this year, okay?” That’s my wish. For 2014 to be a great year.

via etsy shop - whiskerprints

via etsy shop – whiskerprints

Wishes need action

Here’s the thing about wishes. I know you can wish on a star, on the moon, on the chair at the kitchen table. But without actually taking action your wish will stay aloft and wait for you. So that’s what next for me. Crafting the action plan.

It’s not about resolutions and it’s not about guarantees. More about pushing myself farther, reaching outside my usual comfort zone.

I’m working on a 10 ways list  similar to what Roni has come up with for 2014. And maybe a few new things to try mixed in like Dacia’s plan each week.

For now I’m starting with today. Spending some time with the one I love, writing out some thoughts about the year ahead and looking forward to a delicious meal with some New Year’s Day black eyed peas for luck.



reflections & worthiness

mirror self portrait

2013 feels like a lot of blur. There was black, there was white, but mostly it feels like gray.

That isn’t to say that there wasn’t a whole lot of good stuff happening, just that it feels like I was whirled around in a bit of a fog and BOOM I find myself on the edge of a brand new year.

Hello 2014.

I’m paying attention.

I’m slowing down.

I’d like to focus again please.

some amazing

Some amazing things I remember fondly from 2013:

2013 reflections

  • Maple sugar on snow at Sugar Moon Farms with Tara in March
  • Two weeks later Tara’s Permanent Residency coming through and a whirlwind trip to the CAN/US Border
  • An April MEC 5K with my brother and T around the ramparts of Citadel
  • Seeing my most favorite Gaybours be happily wedded after in April
  • Moving from the Hydrostone over to Oxford Street in June
  • The Bluenose 10K and making it through (all be it slower than imagined)
  • Welcoming a new niece to the world – PLo July 3rd
  • Seeing Tara accomplish her big fitness goal of 2013 and becoming an Ironman 70.3
  • Surviving Mud Hero (despite my frustrations)
  • Witnessing dear friends find their people and marry with so much happy
  • Walking my first half marathon (with Tara by side) in September
  • An incredible fall vacation to the West Coast with the one I love (including the BEST DAY EVER!)
  • Embarking on my first jewelry craft shows before the Holidays with redstar5designs
  • Lots of Holiday joy with my friends and family

 some not so amazing

from etsy shop Ruby& Sass

from etsy shop Ruby& Sass

Some things that I’d very much like to let go of as I turn around and slow. the. eff. down into 2014:

All of the anger at my body and myself. I don’t want to be so damn angry and guilty anymore. It’s not my body’s fault that my brain feels the pain, it’s not my brain’s fault that the default behavior to soothe the hurt with food is so damn carved in. No more blame and no more anger.

focus & wishes

from etsyshop ThomsonStudios

from etsyshop ThomsonStudios

Some things I’d really like to focus on in 2014:

I want T and I to really focus on reducing our debt in 2014.I’d love to be so close to debt free by 2015 that we feel less trapped by our debt and more free to plan adventures and think WAY outside our respective boxes.

I want to find the things that bring me fitness joy again. I miss being excited about my workouts. I miss waking up and looking forward to getting to the gym. Lately I just seem dread it, but feel more guilt when I don’t get it done. I’m tired of worrying so much about not being the “right” weight. I’m tired of feeling like it matters so much. In fact, I’m not so sure it matters at all. I think what matters a helluva lot more is finding the movement stuff that makes me happy again.

 Lean eating

So I’m at the half way point of my year long return to the PN Lean Eating Program. My results haven’t been what they were in six months this go round like they were the last go round. In fact, if you look at the scale there are no results at all. I’ve moved up and down the same 5lbs on the scale since the beginning. My measurements have slowly been following a downward trend since I started. But even there, it’s 12 inches total in difference since July 2013. But you know where the progress does come in? My brain. My mind. I can feel the other grooves finding their way through my brain again. Slowly. Those habits are layering themselves down through my synapses and I can feel that I’m thinking a little differently when I panic (most of the time), and feeling a little differently about my body when I look in the mirror (more often).

I also know that there is a lot different this time than the last time and I need to be cautious when I compare. This time my life and how I plan things involves someone I care about very much. My decisions about when and what I eat and when and where I workout affect someone else. But more dramatically different this time than all of those other factors is that my drive is different. That underlying feeling that I could push myself without doubt or fear. The feeling that I was much more conscious about living my life, more focused on the things that made me burst with joy, more determined to enjoy how I was spending my time instead of worrying. The first time, I was deliberately choosing to take steps way outside of my comfort zone to see what it would feel like. I felt a whole lot more in control of me.

All of this said, I think I’ve realized that 2013 was a process of revisiting. It took me mentally a few steps backwards. Sometimes you need to go back to remember why it was you went forward in the first place. And I think I’m realizing I may need a little help to get me into forward motion again when it comes to the desire to push. The self assured feeling of worthiness.

all of which leads me to choosing a word for 2014.

wor·thy  (wûr)

adj. wor·thi·erwor·thi·est

1. Having worth, merit, or value; useful or valuable.
2. Honorable; admirable: a worthy fellow.
3. Having sufficient worth; deserving: worthy to be revered; worthy of acclaim.
n. pl. wor·thies

An eminent or distinguished person.
2014 will be the year of worthiness. A reminder of all of the things that are worth it.
Including me.

I’d like to take the time I have left with the LE program and try to push harder. See if I can uncover my worth a little more by pushing.


from etsy shop KriyaGraphics

from etsy shop KriyaGraphics

 Push Harder

I really feel like I’m missing the feeling of Tara being proud of me. I feel like it’s been a very long time since something I have done fitness wise has made T proud of me. I realize that’s much more likely to be my impression and not actually the truth, but even in our first counselling session she talked about me being “so far behind her” when it comes to fitness ability etc. that she’s wanted to stop pushing to make the gap between us feel smaller. That made me so. very. sad.  Part of the foundation of our relationship was as inspirations to each other. There was a point reading each other’s journeys here in our blogs when were chasing each other’s deadlift weights. And now. Now she doesn’t want to push herself because it makes the gap between what she can do and what I can do larger. Farther for me to try and chase her. And if it gets too big she’s afraid I’ll never catch up.

Feeling of my heart breaking.

but then I read this from one of my superheroes M. Glatzel –  “You are strong enough to withstand a little heartbreak. Breathe into it. There is a lesson there, even if the lesson is simply to highlight the magnitude of your inner strength and resolve.” and things break wide open once more.

A diagnosis

After almost two years on a wait list I finally got in to see a Neurologist here for an EMG and Nerve Conduction Study. I now know precisely what the trouble has been. I know I have an ulnar neuropathy, but not a nerve impingement. I know that there may always be some pain due to the nerve at my elbow being slightly off track, but it’s not dangerous and there’s no nerve involvement in other places that the test revealed. To finally KNOW an official diagnosis has been a relief. I can return to massage therapy and not worry about screwing something else up or having even more pain. When it comes to my injuries I finally know HOW I can move forward. I may always have pain, but the fear of making things worse is over. It’s like a discovery that will allow me move on.

shitkicking 2014

Dear 2014

So 2014 here’s the deal. This year will be the year of worthiness.

It will be a year I rediscover my drive without fear and push myself again. Farther.

I will highlight just how damn big my inner strength and drive are.

I will find myself looking Tara in the eyes and hearing her tell me how proud of me she is once more.

But better than all of that. I’ll be proud of myself.



Life in Phases

Etsy artist Milatree - "Champagne Supernova"

Etsy artist Milatree – “Champagne Supernova”

It’s officially been six weeks since I started the July 2013 cohort of Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating.

PN breaks the program up into Phases. There are new workouts for each phase and new habits every two weeks. Habits that are meant to build on one another, easing you into things one at a time.

My first six weeks have personally been a bit a roller coaster and I’m trying to focus really hard on seeing how I rose to the challenges despite the valleys of disappointment.


When it comes to the habits, so far we’ve had 3.

Habit One: I’ve been a champ at taking my fish oil and probiotics. Missed only one day out of the last six weeks, and learned that day if I don’t take them before I leave the house in the morning the odds are pretty good I won’t remember until the next day. Routine and consistency is the key to habits.

Habit Two: The other two habits that follow are what PN likes to call the “anchor” habits. These are the habits to go back to if everything else feels like it’s falling apart. These are the two habits that I will remember when when I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing (OFTEN). I will just remember to EAT SLOWLY – I’m talking put my fork down in between bites, chew and taste each bite, take a drink of water between all of the bites and consciously, mindfully, slowly eat each meal.

Habit Three: EAT UNTIL 80% FULL. I know, I know, I was thinking the same thing – what the hell is 80% full? Isn’t full just full? How the hell do you know when you’re “approaching” full? Don’t you just eat until the food is gone? Yeah, that’s the thing about anchor habits, their truth is revealed when you really start to practice and you start to understand that they really and truly make sense. If you are consciously eating slowly and tasting each bite and pausing to listen to how your body feels you start to understand that you really can tell when you have had enough. I’m getting good enough at it now to understand even 60% full and  the difference between feeling hungry an hour later or feeling hungry three hours later. It’s like slowly learning to rewire these connections that your body just naturally has. Your body is smart. It knows when you’ve had enough – you just need to use your brain and give it a chance to connect to those signals and BOOM, there it is – it was there the whole time, you just need to slow down enough to be able to listen.

So those are the habits, and if performing well in terms of compliance with the program was just about the habits and workouts than I rocked then first six weeks. I had more consistent days of workouts and habits than I have had in a really long time. The entire six weeks I took each day as it came and did what I was supposed to. Until last Thursday…

Etsy Artist Nikki Galapon - "things will be different"

Etsy Artist Nikki Galapon – “things will be different”

Pain & the Difference

This time LE is different for me. In just about ALL of the ways. Sure, the format and the platform are similar. Sure, there are still teams and coaches. But everything feels different. My body is different. I’m emotionally and physically in a very different place than I was three years ago. And the biggest difference? Pain.

Every day I have a degree of pain. Certain things I do can aggravate it and I try my best to avoid those things so I can get through my days minimizing the pain. Certain things in the workouts can aggravate whatever is wrong with my left arm/elbow/shoulder and make it hurt. Sometimes the hurt comes and sometimes the hurt goes. But last Thursday the hurt was accidental and it was mega-Pain. Tara and I were getting ready for bed. It had been a good day, I was headed to crawl in under the covers when I accidentally hit my left elbow hard on the bookshelf beside the bed. I hit my elbow exactly in the spot that I shouldn’t have. It was white blinding pain. I doubled over and were it not for the proximity of the bed I would have been on the floor. I almost threw up it hurt so bad. Stole my breath and took me what felt like 10 long minutes before I could breathe let alone acknowledge Tara’s questions. I breathed my way through the pain long enough to maneuver myself on to my right side and laid there a long time before sleep came despite the pain. Friday was almost unbearable. Spending the day at my desk trying to work through the waves of pain and doing my best not to let it show all over my face. Friday I missed my workout.

Saturday I missed my workout, hoping and praying that rest and quiet would let whatever first storm I set off would settle. Hour by hour that passed slowly the pain receded, like the tide going out. Sunday morning came and things felt almost back to my new post-accident normal. By that I mean the constant acknowledgement that something about my left arm/side is different but not a crippling unbearable pain. And today, Monday I finally got a good workout in. And the pain came about halfway through the workout, but I was as careful as I could be and now a few hours later it is already resolving. This is the new normal. This is one of the major different factors this time.

Faith & Believing

The other major difference? My frame of mind. First, let me just state for the record that I firmly believe that pain does something to your brain and overrides all of the circuits. Second let me tell you that, I don’t really have the same degree of faith that I can do this this time. In fact it feels like I have a whole different brain this time. That former head space of mine told me I could do anything and I could give you three positive reasons to just try as a default. I really miss that brain. This time I have a brain who sees the three reasons why it’s not even worth trying. This time I see all of the reasons why I hate this body of mine because of all of the things it’s CAN’T do now instead of seeing even how different things still are than this girl:

September 2009

September 2009

That’s the funny thing about pain and physical set backs, they can steal more than just your abilities physically. They can steal how your brain works too. You can wake up one day and find yourself wandering back through these ancient deep set behaviors so black with negativity that you’re uncomfortable again in your own skin and you find yourself thinking – “what the fuck?, I’ve conquered this shit before and here I am again wading back through all of this and I forget how to get out.” So that’s where I am. I’ve recognized that negative-Mimi brain (as Tara likes to call it) is reappearing again and I’m really not enjoying being in my own skin. BUT here’s the deal. I am self-aware enough to know that this is happening. I’m not so far into this black cloud of negativity that I’m oblivious to just what is happening. and also…? I’m a little terrified. I’m scared that I won’t find my way through it again this time and reclaim the head space of “positive-Mimi”. I mean I can still remember days when I felt SO Certain that I deserved an amazing body because I was an amazing person in 2009 when I was 90lbs heavier than I am right now. That’s the funny thing about self confidence isn’t it?

You just have to believe.

You just have to have a little Faith.

You just have to remember you’re worth something. Something big.

You just have to know what you deserve.

from Etsy - FancyThatDesignHouse

from Etsy – FancyThatDesignHouse


I don’t remember exactly how I found myself believing in Me before, but I do remember a whole lot of practice and positive-self-talk. I know it took time and a LOT of practice before I set some grooves in my brain that felt like “normal”. So along with my PNLE habits these days I’m going to institute some practice for this brain of mine.

  1. Three Things – AKA take the 1 damn negative thing you’re thinking and give yourself 3 positive things to mull over instead 
  2. Talk Out Loud – I have a default tendency to take my light and hide it under as many bushels as I can find. This one reminds me to talk about my light. Or my life. Just dare myself to share a little. It comes back to me, even though it’s scary at first. And it builds a little confidence…exactly what I’m shooting for.
  3. Get Comfortable Being Alone – I’m alone a lot more these days now that Tara is working and our schedules are opposite. Lately that being alone has just made me lonely and more often than not lets me slide backwards a little into darker places of my brain. That’s no fun for anyone. So I need to come up with a strategy to make alone time more fun again. Explore old hobbies, reconnect with people I love, find some new friends.

This is Phase 2. I have a month of practicing this September. I hope October and Phase 3 finds me feeling so much more awesome.

Because if there is something I can at least to pretend to believe for now, it’s this: I do deserve to be awesome.


Counting Days and Time for a Change

photo (32)

There are times when you really have to take a look at where you are. You know, like on January 1st or your birthday, when you reflect back on the year before and you decide to make some changes.

I’m at one of those points, but not because it’s my birthday and not because it’s a New Year. Although maybe in some ways I don’t really understand yet, it IS a new year for me.

Counting Days

It’s been exactly 624 days since I was hit by a truck.

It’s been 623 days since Tara arrived here in Halifax with me.

And as of yesterday it’s been two years since Tara and I were married in Vancouver. That’s 670 days of having the greatest support in my life as my legally wedded spouse.

It’s also been 932 days since I completed Lean Eating for Women on January 7, 2011.

For 308 days I was able to maintain my weight loss within 10lbs of my PN final weigh in. Until the accident. Even in this recovery, even with the pain, even knowing I needed help from experts, in my head I still think of myself as self-reliant. I still like to think I learned something when I learned how to push my body and lost that 120lbs. I can say with a certain degree of pride that I still tried my damnedest to keep moving while I was recovering. I can say that I was more active and ate more whole foods than most people I know even over the last 624 days. But while recovering, while learning to live with pain, while emotionally riding a roller coaster of feeling good about small triumphs and gasping for air in crushing defeats, my weight and my measurements have continued to creep upwards. And with it the panic rises inside me. So many of my clothes don’t fit anymore. I look at photographs and I can see the weight on my body and on my face and I struggle not to compare with where I was before.

In between

Despite everything it was a struggle for me to admit that I needed more help than I already have. I felt like I was just letting everyone down (including myself) as my efforts day to day just continued to add up to more weight on the scale. But I can’t give up. I can’t just keep letting this slow creep take me down. So I had to make a decision. I had to decide what the action plan was going to be. And it was easier said than done.

I knew there was a new cohort of PNLE starting this July. And I started talking about joining again. I spoke the words out loud and I asked the people who have supported me through everything so far if they would support me again if I went for it. And I got resounding love and support.

If my efforts alone were enough, if the things I have learned about my body before the accident were enough, I would be back to my maintenance weight all alone. And that’s the funny thing about change. It takes a lot more than your own self-preparedness to get you there. You need help, sometimes more help than you want to admit you need. And it’s what I need right now. I need help so I can figure out how to live in the body I have now and how I can use the body I have now, pain and all, to get back to a place with weight and with fitness that feels like me.

 Asking for help and making decisions

So today I’m a week into the Program. One habit at a time I will make progress. Each day with decisions and hard work I will rebuild my strength – both physical and emotional.

So 360 days from today I will find myself stronger and fitter than ever before, with or without pain.

When Tara and I celebrate our third anniversary I will be able to look myself in the mirror and be confident that I made a tough decision to change and make that change with a community of support behind me.

I’m grateful.

Grateful for courage enough to go back to a Program that helped me solidify habits that I believe in.

January 2011 – Post LE (the first time)
Photo credit:

Grateful for support in my decision from someone who introduced me to PN in the first place and has been a key to me not losing my mind in this emotional roller coaster of a recovery process.

photo (2)

Grateful most of all for a partner who loves me no matter what and supports my decisions with all of her heart, body and actions every. single. day.

Here’s to the next 360 days and to a whole lot of change…one thing at a time.




Goals & Checklists

Source: Etsy artist inkanddirtdesigns

Source: Etsy artist inkanddirtdesigns


I turned 34 on February 4th. My 30th birthday was a big catalyst for me starting my life changing journey, or as my friend Susan Ito (Foodie McBody) calls it my ‘Healthaversary’. How lucky for me that my birthday and my Healthaversary happen to be one in the same. For me it’s the time of year that really reflect on where I’ve been and what I really want to accomplish in my next year of life. It’s like my own personal New Year one month and three days late.

This year for my Healthaversary I wanted to focus. I wanted to sort through the year and a half of recovery and rebuild some physical and emotional prowess. So I gave myself a bit of a challenge. Take three steps back from the phone, the computer and the exposure to what every one else has going on and focus on me. And I have. The last couple of months I’ve taken a back seat a from my social media exposure. And through a major miracle of strength of mind I have managed to start a new habit. No iphone in the bedroom.

My bedtime iPhone relationship

Yes. I’m one of those. (or I was). I would check my phone and Facebook feed and email before I tried to fall asleep and I would catch myself checking my phone before looking into my Mate Tara’s eyes to say good morning. And my sleep has never been great. I hung onto the habit out of attachment and would use the excuse “but it’s the only alarm clock we have” when Tara would ask me to try leaving it plugged in in the kitchen all night. It was scary for some reason to feel three rooms of detachment. But, I did it. We went and found an old school alarm clock and from that night forward my phone gets plugged in as we’re getting ready for bed in the kitchen and there it stays until the next morning.

And you know what?

It’s gotten a whole lot easier to leave it there. To wind my brain down at night. To connect with the love of my life. To find pleasure in reading a book again before I drift off to sleep. It’s been a big WIN. And a new habit I think will stick for good. Thank you ‘healthaversary’ for the gift of freedom from something I didn’t even realize was sinking me as much as it was.

Spring Fever

There’s something about Spring that gets me excited about the year ahead. It’s more than just the longer days and the sunny warmth and new growth all around. It’s a feeling of really wanting to get my stuff together. This month (April) it will be four years that I started working out with my Trainer Chris at Functional Fitness. I’ve always needed to maintain goals to keep moving forward. I feel a little aimless when I don’t have something I’m working on. So on my birthday/Healthaversary I came up with a plan. A stars on a calendar plan that hails from my elementary school days. Here’s how it works:


photo (27)


How I’m Doing It

I’m keeping it simple. I’m not taking on too much. And I’ve got a super easy system that is really working for me. See that calendar up there? T and I have had a calendar on the fridge like this as long as we’ve lived together. It’s how we keep track of lots of things, races, dinners and outings with friends, appointments etc. And now, it’s how I keep track of my goals. I use stars. Just like in grade school. And you know what? IT STILL WORKS!

photo 3 (3)

  • The Gold Stars : are for my daily workout completed (or a due rest day)
  • The Blue Stars : are for my water intake, at least 8cups a day but shooting for 12.5 (100 oz)
  • The Red Stars : are for extra special, holy crap I kicked serious ass days

I’ve been using my star system now for three months. I’ve earned that gold star consistently at least 5 times a week. The water sometimes eludes me, but I’ve got more blue stars than not (especially since we started using this app called Plant Nanny). And guess what? It’s been a whole lot easier to focus. I’m trying some things and I’m regaining more strength physically and mentally that I’ve been missing. That whole ‘keep it simple’ thing really does work.

Don’t Forget the Reward

Here’s the catch though…if you don’t give yourself a reward for all of those stars earned, I mean besides stacking them up every day and reveling in your awesome-ness, you might start to falter a little. I had a tough time thinking up a reward for myself that didn’t revolve around food. (go figure) But Spring reminded me of something…flowers on my desk at work make me feel good. They aren’t too expensive and if I can stack up more than 10 stars in a week I get to have some. March meant some tulips for me week to week and I loved it!

photo 2 (4)

Exciting Things

This last week has been a whirlwind of excitement for Tara and I. Tara has been here in Canada since the day after my accident, November 8th, 2011. And she’s been here as a visitor while we awaited our application for Permanent Residency for T on spousal sponsorship. The last 18 months have been a trial of patience and frustration with a process we had absolutely no control over. We watched the mailbox every day in hopes that the Confirmation paperwork would finally be in there. And last week (while I was conveniently on vacation from work) it arrived. Finally at long last Tara is an official Permanent Resident of Canada and she is able to work and earn an income. And being the person of action that she is, the minute she had the PR documents, we went and got her Social Insurance Number and she applied for work. The day after that she had a job interview and the day after that a full time job offer. She starts work thing coming Wednesday.

It means a lot of change coming up for us. Change in our routine, in our income and in the amount of time that we will have to spend together. It’s exciting and a little bit scary to see how our relationship will evolve now that our constant waiting is over. We both have a lot to look forward to and some very serious goals coming up. Tara will tackle her first Half Ironman on June 23rd and on the very first day Tara starts her full time job I will be starting the incredible Mara Glatzel‘s BLH Live 12 week course. I have never feel a stronger pull to try something or to push outside my emotional comfort zone and I’m really excited to see how it all unfolds.


Spring is Springing

One of things I’ve missed the most about my hiatus from social media is reading what you’re all up to. Link me your latest! Tell me what you’ve been up to. What do you have to look forward to this Spring? Three months into 2013 what you done just for you? Are you as excited as I am to see the buds budding and the sun shining a little bit longer each day?

Betting on a Diet?

The DietBet

On January 2nd I signed up with all kinds of awesome-sauce people I know for Roni Noone’s very first DietBet. The whole idea behind DietBet is using money as a motivator. You pledge a certain amount (for Roni’s game it was $20) and if you can lose 4% of your body weight in four weeks you win. You will share the pot with everyone else who managed to lose 4% of their body weight in four weeks.

We all feel that urge to start over in January. There’s something magnetic about the New Year and starting fresh after the holidays. I caught that bug this year. I didn’t make any resolutions, but I do like to set goals. They keep me focused and they remind me of the things I have to look forward to. I can’t say that this DietBet is a goal of mine. But I suppose the added motivation can’t hurt.

I’ve been on this Life Changing Journey of mind for almost three years. I’ve learned a lot about myself about how my body works. I have 40lbs I would like to lose. 25lbs of that 40 I would be losing for the second time in a body post-accident and after a year of recovery and trying to move forward each day. What I do know about this body of mine is that it doesn’t like to let go. For me to lose 4% of my body weight I need to average 2lbs a week for the 4 week challenge. And I’ve NEVER, EVER, not once on this journey been able to lose that consistently. My average is 1lb a week and that’s on a good week. Sometimes I’ll lose 3 or 4lbs and then sit there for a couple of weeks before I see another change. I know this about myself and I’ve grown to be okay with it. Frankly, I know from experience that slow weight loss equals LASTING weight loss. The lasting part is more important to me than fast part any day of the week. For me this Life Changing Journey is about lasting change. When I see these 40lbs come off my body again after my accident I don’t want to see them come back again.

My Plan of Attack for DietBet

My January plan while “playing” in this DietBet is:

  1. Keep it Simple.
  2. Nothing drastic, nothing crazy.
  3. Drink my water EVERY DAY. Mimimum of 8 cups (64oz) – aiming for 12.5 cups (100 oz)
  4. NO Sugar. Zip. Zero. Nada.
  5. Get my workouts in (Bootcamp Mon/Wed/Fri, Sessions with my Trainer Tues/Thurs and run + pool with T on Sunday)
  6. Track my food and workouts in My Fitness Pal (PS username is red5tar5 if you’d like to friend me on MFP).

That’s it. I will do all of the above, and see what four weeks brings.

This is how I lost 100+lbs before. This is what works for me in the long term. This is what feels good.

One thing is for sure, on Wednesday I will be two weeks in and I already feel like a different person from the inside out. That to me counts for enough. And that to me is worth more than $20 any day of the week.

How’s your January going? What’s keeping you motivated?