Forgive me, Readers, for I have sinned. Gosh, it’s been almost four months since I last blogged here. There’s actually an unpublished post I wrote about a month ago sitting in the backend. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to publish it. It’s called “I lost 25 pounds” — I never got around to finessing the title. I couldn’t bring myself to publish it because, I guess, I wasn’t ready to share, I needed more of a blogging break, or I just didn’t like it (it didn’t sound like me). So it remains in the backend collecting Internet dust; and so it will stay. Especially because…I’ve now lost 33 pounds! Hehee.

Check me out opening Toronto’s Disney on Ice show a few weeks ago on behalf of Today’s Parent (I’ve lost a few more pounds since then, too) — what an honour!

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Yes, I’ve finally lost the baby weight — something I’ve been trying to do pretty much since I started writing this blog (with a 10-month reprieve while I was preggers with the Rascal).

I’m pretty sure it took so long to lose the baby weight because, as I wrote at Today’s Parent (and please forgive me for spilling my guts there rather than here — it’s a bloggy balance I have yet to strike, clearly), having school-aged kids is awesome. The kids are amazingly more independent now, so they can entertain themselves more willingly when I’m riding the stationary bike or while I cook healthy food for us or while I count Weight Watchers points.

Yes, I’m on Weight Watchers (online — no in-person meetings for this introvert!). I chose this program because my friend Lolo (remember her?) was also on the diet, as well as several of my fabulous Today’s Parent colleagues. It was helpful to text Lolo whenever I was in a bind, and to vent about plateaus, tweet and restrain from eating office treats with my colleagues. Mind you, I never had a problem with office treats, but at least I didn’t have to refuse them alone anymore!

OK, I’m getting to the point where I’m wondering if I should publish this post or not. I seem to have left my blog legs at Today’s Parent. I am sooo busy there right now. There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening, and you’ll see a lot more writing from me — not just about celebrities! I even just had an article about — gasp — pregnancy published in our Today’s Parent Pregnancy magazine. I posted a photo of it on Facebook, if you want to check it out. I didn’t realize how graphic it was at a certain point. I probably should have cut the photo off before the vagina and rectum part.

Anyway, I know a lot of you have been trying to lose weight with me all these years. So, here are the little trickies I’ve learned on my weight-loss journey.

1. Give yourself a treat day
Even Jillian Michaels recommends this — for her kids, but still, it works. My treat day is Saturday (woohoo, almost there!). So, if I have cravings during the week, I put the food away and think to myself, “You can have it Saturday!” I even recommended this strategy to a smoker friend of mine. I suggested she try to refrain from smoking all week and then smoke all she wants on Saturdays. It hasn’t worked for her, alas, but you really have to want to quit, or to lose weight, to make it happen (see #2). Make sure you don’t go overboard on treat day, though, or it does sabotage your efforts, and you will feel sick. I speak from experience.

2. Be wanting and ready to lose weight
When I was at my highest weight, back in September, I started feeling physically averse to my flab. It’s sort of like when you really need a haircut, and, like, you need it now! I needed the fat off NOW. In the five years I’ve been trying to lose weight, I never had this fierce, physical desire or drive. It’s definitely key. Maybe it involves getting to your highest weight — or, as they say, hitting rock bottom. It was a key factor for me.

3. Control your cravings and log your food intake
I’ve plateaued a couple of times during my weight-loss journey. To get through plateaus I had to really take a look at what I was eating, and what I was craving — that’s easy to do if you’re using a weight loss app, like Weight Watchers’, which has a food log component (SO KEY). For the most part, I noticed, I started plateauing when I was eating too much bread or baked stuff: a homemade muffin for breakfast, crackers and hummus for lunch, bagel and peanut butter for dinner. It was all well within my daily points allowance, but not nutritious, and I was craving these foods. The more bread you eat, the more you want it. So, to lose the last 10 pounds or so, I’ve been limiting the bread and baked goods, and replacing some of those missing carbs with healthy whole grains, fruits and starchy vegetables. And, lo and behold, the weight peels off and I don’t need spelt ShaSha cookies for dessert anymore.

4. Exercise
Biking, sweaty Ashtanga yoga, walking, kickboxing DVDs, snowshoeing, skating….

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It’s all about convenience. This means I crack open the yoga mat more often at home than at the studio (alas), and I bike in front of the TV while dinner’s cooking, etc. The most I exercise (formally) is around 45 minutes, six days a week; I take a break on treat day. I also try to be as active as I can throughout the day, i.e., by taking the long route to the office washroom, parking a little farther from my destinations, walking instead of driving to the bank machine, tackling the dog, chasing the kids, etc.

4. Have a bite
Sometimes treats happen beyond “treat day.” My kids know that Mama’s treat day is Saturday. But I don’t want them to see me being rigid. If we’re presented with a cake, I’ll have a bite, even a sliver. They just know that having a treat day helps me eat healthy most of the time — which is what their goal should be, too.

I’m sure I’ll think of more tips after/if I press the “Publish” button here. But, let’s talk about it in the comments…or Facebook or Twitter. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about Weight Watchers, weight loss, Betty White — who recently got groomed (in case you were wondering based on the photo above…).

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She was still mad about getting groomed when I snapped this picture.

Alright, this was fun! We should do this more often. Truth is, I am SWAMPED at work, so it’s hard to find the time. And this whole post is a symptom of a little procrastination problem I’m having this morning. But, I guess now I’m warmed up to write!

See you soon.

Love!
xo Haley-O


I haven’t had a Starbucks grande-soy-no-water tazo-chai latte in over a week.

I haven’t had sugar (at least not consciously) in over a week. Except for that teensy amount of ketchup I put in the peanut sauce I made from scratch the other day, which my kids hated. Boooo.

I haven’t eaten much wheat in over a week. Except for those sprouted-grain Ezekiel breads, mmm, with some hummus or Daiya (vegan) cheese on them.

I haven’t really eaten after 8 p.m. Except last Friday night because they had no vegan food at my daughter’s religious schools’ “mandatory” Shabbat dinner. Only half the school showed up, so we are officially suckers. But, it’s OK because the Monkey was thrilled to be there and, quite frankly, the magician was fantastic, and it was interesting to see some faces from, ohhh, 20 years ago! No one ages any more….

I haven’t eaten anything too fatty in over a week.  Except last night, when Josh and I went to Disgraceland for dinner. He had a massive burger that I tried not to make eye contact with, while I ravenously scarfed down my magnificent vegan Caesar salad and vegan nachos (omigosh).

After dinner, we went to the Comedy Bar and laughed for two hours at the hilarious Sklars Brothers show. Here’s a photo of Josh (wearing contact lenses for the first time in 25 years — he thinks he looks bizarre) with Jason Sklar, whom you may recognize from Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, CSI and a buch of other stuff — really nice guy….

Jason’s other half, Randy Sklar, got stuck in Minneapolis, so they did their act via skype — hilarious!

It’s been ages since I went to the yoga shala…. I drive by there on my way to work, and I always hope to see someone walk in or out the front door. I miss everyone! But I need my new lifestyle to set in before I set any more goals. And, unfortunately, I seem to need to lose this weight before I feel comfortable doing yoga anywhere but here at home.

It’s been a week since I started practising yoga at home and exercising. I’ve been dancing a lot with the kids to my favourite radio station, working out with a video, walking the dogs, skating with the kids….

Yeah, It’s been a week since something finally snapped. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I started feeling really low in energy. All I wanted to eat was crap and sit on my couch. And my clothes just kept getting tighter.

So far, I’ve definitely lost a little weight, and people are telling me I look great all the time. As my naturopath, Tara Campbell (who’s helping me along this journey), said, the changes are coming from the inside — so it’s not new makeup, as people have suspected! I’ve just been drinking a lot of green smoothies and eating whole grains, legumes and veggies — all good stuff. Except for the nachos. But, you know, moderation….

OK! Off to NYC to meet my new nephew! This one-day trip will definitely be a challenge, diet wise. But Josh is now on a diet too, so he’ll help me. Besides, I may treat myself to Starbucks, since I can’t bring my blender with me, and one chai, in a different country, totally does not count.

Check out my Oscar fashions roundup, which is, by the way, the reason this post is a bit suckage (late, late night, FTW!)….

Love!

xo Haley-O


I try.

I try to be a good mother.

I try to be a good wife and daughter and friend and relative.

I try to be a good person.

I try to be a good student and employee and coworker.

I try to write well.

I try to entertain and delight.

I try eat well.

I try to practice yoga. Every day.

I try to exercise.

I try to breathe and meditate and be spiritual.

I try to look presentable.

I try to be compassionate.

I try not to eat or wear animal products.

I try to keep a clean house.

I try not to lie, get mad, eat too much sugar, skip meals, spend too much money.

I try to manage anxious thoughts, stave off panic and ride waves of depression without slipping back into the deep.

I try to keep my plants alive and my pets fed.

I try to support and help others.

I try to be green and heal the planet.

I try to keep my family happy and healthy.

I try to set a good example for my kids.

This holiday I stopped trying.

I took a holiday from parenting and everything else at my parents’ cottage. I ate a lot, slept a lot, relaxed, gained weight. I let my kids eat cookies for breakfast, spend the day in their pajamas and watch Star Wars.

We played a lot of Sorry! (the Rascal’s our Sorry! champ!)….

We made a (sorry) snowman….

I slid down a hill on this Spider-man sled over and over again and laughed….

We went snowshoeing….

We danced and did our thing….

And I bought a sparkly pompom hat and scarf, fell in love with Ryan Gosling, baked cookies with the Rascal, read books, coloured and went for fairy walks with the Monkey, played tons of soccer, gazed at the stars, the moon and the nearly-frozen lake….

I’ve quoted this a bunch of times here in this blog and I’ll quote it again. My wonderful former yoga teacher, Monica Voss, said this about an asana (yoga pose) during one of our classes a few years ago: Sometimes we have to collapse the structure so we can gradually rebuild. I’ve never forgotten it.

And I’ve done it again.

I’ve collapsed the structure — The Structure of Trying — in which, like a guinea pig, I try and I try and I try to attain goal after goal and I’m just running and running and time is passing, wheel is spinning, and I’m getting nowhere. And I’m still heavier than I’d like to be, getting heavier. And still anxious. And perpetually tired. Endlessly busy, and buying, and sitting, and doing, and pushing, and giving, and hungry, and full, and struggling.

I’ve collapsed the structure. And I’m very gradually building a new foundation — starting with me.

I’ve found a really gentle guide on holistic nutritionist Meghan Telpner’s website called 21 Days to Health. It’s an ebook that involves making small daily changes to your life, like drinking lemon water in the morning (Day 1), flossing every time you brush (Day 2), going to bed 15 minutes earlier (Day 3), and so on. I do a lot of these things already (like flossing!), but I’ve been feeling such a sense of accomplishment, simply because I’ve managed to drink lemon water every morning for the past 5 days — never mind the fact that I haven’t been inside a Starbucks in five days either!(!!)

That easy, daily sense of accomplishment is golden for someone like me.

At the same time, I’ve been energized enough to make all my own meals, feed my family well, eat greens, take a lunch to work, eat lunch, avoid sugar, drink more water, and stay away from Starbucks!(!!)

And, so, for my yogi readers: I haven’t been to yoga. I’ve gone from my daily, trying Ashtanga practice to effectively ZIP. But I feel good. I’ve been taking my practice into my own hands, laying down the necessary foundation of a good diet (and general self-care), on which to gradually build a proper yoga practice — and everything else. The yoga just wasn’t working: I was gaining weight, not sleeping, feeling anxious. But then again it was working. It’s now forcing me to make space for yoga in my life (as my current yoga teacher might say) by cleaning up my diet (but, as you know, he would definitely not condone not practicing to make the space…!). And cleaning up my diet, for me, has meant limiting strenuous exercise. At least for now. I will be in class tomorrow, though, and probably a few times next week. Eventually, I’ll build my practice up to where it was, but I’ll be stronger and healthier and lean enough to progress in it and, finally, to be assisted in twists without shame, crying (or laughing!). It’s worth a try.

So it seems 2012 is starting quietly, calmly, privately (hence the lack of blog posts…), pensively, lightly, (somewhat) effortlessly, deliciously, healthfully, joyfully.

I brought a delicious casserole I made and an orange to work today….

Happy New Year, Gorgeouses…!

Love!

xo Haley-O


A few weeks ago, I hurried out of yoga class to get to work and stopped to say bye and thanks to my super-amazing yoga teacher David.

“My twists are terrible,” I told him as I slipped on my crocs.

“Awful!” He laughed.

“Terribly awful,” I insisted.

“How’s your diet?”

How’s my diet? At first I was excited that he asked because it meant that some good, motivating diet advice from my super-amazing health and spirituality guru was about to come. But, then I realized, gratefully, what an incredibly brave question that was for him to ask me. As my yoga buddy Jeff pointed out, it really shows the depths of a teacher’s compassion and investment in his students — that he’s willing to risk a slap in the face from overweight female straggler. Super amazing.

“It’s bad,” I told him. “Too many soy-chai lattes, sugar, bread, peanut butter. No time to cook for myself, blah blah blah.”

“That’s not good,” he told me. “You need to feed yourself.”

Feed yourself. My gosh. Once again, super-amazing yoga teacher has triggered epiphany. Feed myself. My gosh, I don’t feed myself. I eat, but I don’t feed myself. And I totally 100% eat to numb my emotions. I figured it out on my vacation over the last two weeks in cottage and farm country — i.e., miles away from STARBUCKS. A whole bunch of emotions (even happy ones!) surfaced as a result of not starting my days with a Starbucks sugar rush, and I had no idea what to do with them other than face them head-on or continue to stuff them down unsuccessfully with the sweetest cinnamony syrup I could find.

Practising yoga every day helped. Emotions arose and then vanished after a few poses. And I survived, incredibly.

I kayaked alone almost every day, and I noticed my emotions as I braved some big waves. Emotions ebbed and flowed. Seriously. It was meditation on water. And I survived, incredibly.

I tried to feed myself, as David advised. And I didn’t do that great. I ate chips (which I never eat), the kids’ vegan gummy bears, dark chocolate, peanut butter bagel sandwiches. I wasn’t feeding myself. I was eating.

And now that I’m back from vacation, I’m back on chai lattes.

So today’s the day, Gorgeouses. I’m going to start officially to feed myself. And I know it’s going to be tough, but I’m going to face my emotions head-on without food: anxieties about the kids, the stresses of feeding my family every day, responding to demands, tantrums, needs, wants (never mind my own needs and wants…). I can’t be a perfect parent because there’s just no such thing — I know that — but the stress of doing my best every day takes its toll. And sometimes at the end of the day I just want to veg — lay like broccoli, rather than eat it. I know this now.

Just breathe.

My body is supposed to be my temple. I believe that. And I want to move faster, feel lighter, look better.

I’ve been noticing lately that some women wear scarves around their necks to adorn their bodies. Others ink themselves with awesome tattoos. Others twist shiny strands into intricate ‘dos just to go to work.

I wear makeup — not to adorn my temple, ahem, but to cover up the results of not feeding myself: zits, dehydration, exhaustion, need I go on? As for my hair, I’ll always wash and go….

But I took the kids to the grocery store today. We stocked up on veggies, fruits, all good organic stuff. And when we got home, I took the time to wash and chop everything up instead of letting it all rot untouched in my fridge, as usual.

David suggested that I don’t do anything extreme to feed myself. No raw diets, low-carb diets. Definitely a vegan diet, of course. He likes the macrobiotic way of eating. But he said that if, for example, I can’t find time to make a macrobiotic breakfast (i.e., porridge and blanched greens, blergh…) after yoga practice, that I should have fruit and nuts — “just feed yourself!”

So I’m going back to basics, with the help of this book and this new book…. And then we’ll see about getting macro-fancy. I just need to feed myself, and not eat so much. Know what I mean?

By the way, David did say that I can allow myself my favourite drug drink on moon days — so, I’m looking forward to Sunday….

How about you? Do you feed yourself? How?

Love!

xo Haley-O

 

 


So, NEWSFLASH: I have high cholesterol.

My doc gave me the great news last Wednesday. Which was perfect because Josh was out of town all week so I was freaking out that I was heading for a heart attack all by myself all week. He’s home now, but I’m over it. My cholesterol’s not THAT high. And I guess I’m lucky we caught it while I’m in my mid-thirties. CRAZY that I have this in my mid-thirties. SCARY that I have this in my mid-thirties — especially since my family has seen some major heart issues this year.

I’m so lucky, though. This is a good, gentle kind of wake-up call. The Glinda of wake-up calls. Very thankful.

When I first heard the news, though, I got a little depressed. And, sadly, I found myself relieved that Josh was away so I couldn’t make it out to the Yoga shala. I just suddenly felt like I was morbidly obese, and I was embarrassed to be there and dreading those Marichyasana twists. Also, I’m a vegan. What’s a proud vegan yogi doing with high cholesterol? I felt guilty as charged — only I can’t remember the last time I ate anything to do with animals (other than the odd piece of birthday cake).

My doctor says this is most likely a weight thing or a hereditary thing, which I hope doesn’t mean that I’m destined for LIPATOR or whatever that cholesterol drug is called. Because I won’t do it. As I’ve said before, I’d rather not pee those meds into our rivers, lakes and oceans — I’m just not that important.

But I’m the most important person in the world to at least two very important people.

I need to be my absolute healthiest for my kids. So I’m going to fix this. The first thing I need to do is stop being weirdly afraid to lose weight, and, of course, I need to lose weight now. I mean REALLY lose weight — not lose it for a week and then gain it back. I need to change my lifestyle and just chill about this.

I know I’m not a sick person. I’m totally strong and capable of turning this thing around. Watch me, Gorgeouses. I’m in a better mood, and I’m making changes. My big thing is cutting out the sugar, which I hear creates cholesterol or something, and I need to eat frequent meals (the doc gave me a whole guide). Plus I’m reading Allen Carr’s Lose Weight Now, which is supposed to hypnotize you into losing weight, and no matter how I feel about myself and my diagnosis, I have to get my arse to the yoga shala and sweat it out among all those gorj, sweaty, inspiring people…. I’ll keep you posted!

Gotta go for now, my kitty wants to cuddle.

Okay, so while I’m busy cleaning up my entire act, you need to go out and pick up the June issue of Today’s Parent Magazine! (We’ll talk about that next time…. People are stopping me in the streets!) Open it up to p. 33, and you’ll see my latest print article and PHOTOS of celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak and me working out together. The issue came out at the perfect time, ahem, because the camera definitely adds 10 pounds….

Love!

xo Haley-O


Gorgeouses, I’ve been writing so much lately that the thought of writing this. next. word. is actually making me a little nauseous. But still. I’m dedicated, or something. And so I persevere and write through the nausea. Ahhhhh.

Still nauseous.

I think it might be the rain that’s making me nauseous actually. Or, more likely, my diet. My diet has gone to carp. And I think I gained five pounds back. BUT I finally did weigh myself this morning and saw that I lost a total of 8 pounds since I started my fitness challenges. Which means I’d probably lost about 18 pounds before Passover — when all that matzah flour effectively unleavened my willpower….

So we need a challenge. And we need one fast. Because David gave me another new set of yoga poses! And it was a disaster this morning.

I’m doing dropbacks now (with help, of course)! Here’s my gorj friend Miss Stan, my teacher David’s wife, demonstrating dropbacks when she was pregnant. And, in case you’re wondering, it was totally safe for her pregnancy because she was a pro at them before she became pregnant and just LOOK AT THEIR BABY (I rest my case):

Yes, I’m more obsessed with yoga than ever. It’s good that you noticed. And thanks, really, for indulging me. As a thank you, I give you a virtual mwwwwwwah and cottage pics from the long weekend!

The lake has defrosted….

Betty White demonstrated the utter brilliance that Malteses are known for and JUMPED IN the freshly defrosted water. It was so cold that she swam right back to shore, so I couldn’t get a good pic. But oy….

Oh, and dammit we lost our ball…!

But the shells we found made up for it….

And now….

CHALLENGE IS ON. Who’s with me? No sugar, no flour, no eating after dinner, awesome vigorous Ashtanga yoga practice daily.

I’ve got rice on the stove….

Steamed cauliflower and miso soup made….

Alice’s Tahini-Lemon dressing….

I’m all set. One week. NAY! TWO WEEKS: no sugar, no flour, no eating after dinner, daily awesome vigorous Ashtanga yoga. Are you doing a challenge with me? What are your challenge “rules” (for lack of better term)? LET’S DO IT! We’re BACK! TWO WEEKS.

Challenge ends: Friday, May the 14th. You in!?

Next week, we’ll talk sauerkraut and ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana. Bwah! LOOK AT THE TIME! I gotta get to bed! Tomorrow’s the Royal Wedding, and I’m getting up at 3am to live blog and tweet for Today’s Parent. So come visit me on twitter and over at my second home Celebrity Candy! The Monkey thiiiiiiiiiinks she’s waking up at 3am with me. She’ll NEVER do it. But we’ll see. I do have a pretty pink cupcake waiting for her (not me, blergh).

Love!

xo Haley-O


I have a really tight schedule. So much so that I often say my top priorities are my family, my job and my friends — in that order. Sadly, I don’t have much time for friends. I have a full-time job and part-time help with the kids. And when I’m not caring for my kids or working, I’m trying to take care of myself, you know, so I don’t break into a million tiny pieces: I go to yoga every day, and I cook now…a lot.

But tonight I made time for a friend, and it was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. Here’s a fuzzy (alas, unflattering) photo of us….

What you don’t see is my two little Monkeys by our sides — I’d already used up my babysitting quota the night before when I went way downtown to hang out with my fabulous blogger friends.

What you don’t see is the jade “friendship” necklaces we bought shortly after taking this photo from a lonely street vendor. It was like we were kids again. Even though my own kids were there — providing the usual entertainment.

What you don’t see is her gorgeously pregnant belly. She wanted me to put a pink star on the photo (we didn’t end up getting) of it — just like I do over the Monkeys’ faces. She’s a funny one, that Erna!

Jill, or ERNA (as we like to call each other), is one of my oldest friends. She’s gorj and VERY PREGNANT with her first child. She’s a soul friend whom I don’t need to see all the time in order to stay close.

So I’m tweaking my priority list a bit and making at least a little more time for friends (and a regular date night with Josh, maybe?) — even if it seems there is no time. Because I may be exhausted from another late night, but I feel content, and like I’ve lived a little. And something tells me that’s a good thing.

Love!

xo Haley-O

PS. I lost a lot of weight writing my Fitness Blog at Today’s Parent! Here’s my “after” photo (for now)….

I’m in the process of migrating the posts to Cheaty Monkey, where the Fitness blog will now live (humungous thanks to my amazing team at Today’s Parent for gifting me with it)! Now to KEEP the weight off and lose some more. It’s harder without a blog to write! So we’ll have to talk about that here and get back on the wagon ASAP! Love!

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