{The Monkey taking a picture with a miniature toy ice cube.}

The fitness blog over at Todaysparent.com has been a really good thing for me personally. I’m finally reaching my long-time goal of getting fit and healthy, and losing some of the unhealthy habits I’d developed to cope with the emotional effects of my pregnancies. I’m not there yet, but it’s finally in sight. I’ve lost four pounds this week, and everything I’ve eaten on my in-between-challenges “cheat day” today, including my cherished chai latte, has tasted disgusting — I’m even feeling unpleasantly shaky and a little on the verge of crying.

Maybe it’s the cheaty chai. Or maybe it’s that blog and some of the feelings that it’s bringing up for me.

I’ve chosen a very different lifestyle than most people I know. So I’m assuming most people who read Todaysparent.com haven’t, or wouldn’t, choose it for themselves. I’ve always searched and struggled to find the “perfect” lifestyle, and I’ve never been able to find anything that feels right for me. I used to ask everyone what they ate, what they did to stay slim, and I’d read every diet book and magazine. Searching. Everything I read said something different: eat 5 meals a day; eat breakfast; don’t eat carbs; work out for 90 minutes a day; spin until you can’t feel your legs; jog; walk fast; lift weights; drink water. None of it has really spoken to me in the last few years. So none of it has worked for me (I’ve tried everything).

What speaks to me is my own body and, well…, ANCIENT STUFF.

This is why I’ve chosen daily yoga as a path. Practising my yoga, whether in the studio or at home, is one thing I know that is TRUE in my day. It’s just me, my body and my breath — and occasionally Betty White (the dog) or the Monkey, the Rascal or Minden (who loves to lick my yoga mat with his raspy tongue), or a hard kick in the head from the lithe woman in front of me who “jumps back” a little too close to my mat. And this is why I’ve chosen to eat the way I do.

I’m a very sensitive person. I get anxious if I overhear a news story or if I do the tiniest thing wrong. An anxious thought can throw me into tears or panic — especially since becoming a mother.

These days we’re just bombarded with information and interaction (online and off), and some of us can’t handle it without serious therapy. I learned that during my pregnancies, and I learn that now when I slip up and stop taking care of myself.

When Today’s Parent asked me to write a blog about my journey to weight loss I had no idea I’d really be writing about my life. MY LIFE and what exactly makes me tick.

My lifestyle choices are not mainstream. So I feel a little vulnerable talking about sauerkraut and kombu…. I almost want to cry that I’m telling a world that might not yet be open to it about sauerkraut and kombu, brown rice and shoyu. Will they shun me? Will they scoff? Will they think I’m loony?

Because I’m not. Or at least I don’t think I am. (And I know that’s not saying anything, but still.) Sure, I’m definitely definitely quirky and even a bit eccentric — I’ll give you that. But, like everyone, I’m just trying to feel good and be happy. I’m not telling anyone how to live their lives. I’m just trying to survive and be strong for my kids and to live the best way I can in a world that might otherwise knock me over.

So I don’t know how much to say right now. And I don’t know if I want to say anything anymore — just because this is all so intensely personal and different. Although I guess feeling vulnerable is a good exercise for a writer…. But I don’t know.

Maybe it’s the chai or the Rice Dream chocolate-mint-swirl frozen dessert that I just devoured to cap off “cheat day.” (Don’t worry, I’ve got brown rice and lentil miso soup bubbling on the stove….) Because I feel myself on the verge of tears again. Or maybe I need to be quiet for a bit and collect all my pieces.

I’ll figure it out. In the meantime — just — thank you for being here, for sticking around all these years and accepting me the way I am. You truly are gorgeous.

xo Haley-O

I’ve been working like a dog. It’s generally what happens this time every month — just before “production.” Last night alone, I finished two articles and wrote two blogs. And I’d already written three blogs, etc., etc., earlier in the day (and took the Rascal to the park, hosted the Monkey’s playdate, cooked dinner, etc., etc.). Gasp!

Not that I’m complaining. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do — WRITE! And I’m working with amazing people — the nicest, most supportive and cohesive group I’ve ever worked with. Go Today’s Parent! Seriously? RAH!

In addition to their awesomeness, I’m enamoured with Today’s Parent because I’m personally feeling better than I have in a long time. Despite suffering from post-bridge tooth pain, and despite being exhausted from not sleeping enough hours and being woken up within those few precious hours by a little RASCAL — “Mama, can I syeep with you?” — (and a hungry cat), I’ve never felt better.

They LOVE their mama….

And I have my Today’s Parent team to thank. If they hadn’t asked me to write a blog about my weight-loss journey, and talked to me about it and listened to me talk about it, I’d be sitting on the couch eating right now — instead of feeling light, energetic and a wee bit hungry and headachy from the Starbucks Soy No-Water CHAI WITHDRAWAL, FTW!

Anyway, I’m on Day 3 of my OWN weight loss challenge, which I developed in the course of writing THIS POST. And so far so good.

NOW, I’m going take a break from writing and this computer. And I’ll blog again in a couple of days when things settle down a bit and I get through some of these withdrawal and detox symptoms. I just didn’t want to let a week go by without checking in and sharing some revelations. There are more revelations, but — remember that chai-withdrawal headache I mentioned? — well, the brightness of this Macbook screen is unapologetically hurting my eyeballs and penetrating my throbbing head….

Back soon! I just had to say hi to my Gorgeouses! And…


(Also I had a dream I was dating Charlie Sheen last night. FYI.)

xo Haley-O

Frown Lines, by The Monkey, February 2011.

There is a very. curious. picture of me in the pages of this month’s issue of Today’s Parent Magazine. I mean, Harley Pasternak looks chiseled! But I look, well, what’s a good word for the opposite of chiseled? That would be me.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the art team at Today’s Parent is the BEST. I mean LOVE! (And they even showed me the rest of the final photo layout when they saw how DISTRESSED I was about how I looked in this one — and it was very reassuring! The photos are beautiful!) It’s all me in this one. And, okay, it’s Harley’s fault too for putting me in a très unflattering position! No one looks good in an ab twist that’s facing the camera, head in profile. OKAY JUST SEE FOR YOURSELF HERE. It’s arful. And if you want to know what “arful” means, click on the link.

So…? What’d you think? ALL THAT SAID, it is a teeny photo — a preview of the cool three-photo layout of Harley and me in the June issue of the magazine. Anyway, we’ll just pretend this wee photo never happened and wait for JUNE (well, May, when it comes out).

NOW, I’m going to bed. And I may or may not blog tomorrow about this little thing called non-attachment that I’ve been thinking about lately…. Also, I’ve been vilely ill for the past few days and it’s a wonder I’m able to put fingertips to keyboard and make any sense right now — having just come back (on this edge here of vile illness) from the National Ballet of Canada’s quite excellent production of Don Quixote.

And guess what, Gorgeouses!? Tomorrow I get my NEW TOOTH! A shining, beautiful, PERMANENT new front tooth. It’s going to be a grueling appointment, fo’shizzle, but beyond worth it after a WHOLE YEAR OF WAITING! Maybe it’s just what I need to get really motivated to kick it up a nartch for my “After” shoot — aka REDEMPTION shoot — in the December issue of Today’s Parent….

I’ll try to get some photos of the new teeth tomorrow if I don’t look too “wretched.” (Apparently I looked wretched today — but still way better than I look in my wee photo! EEEK!)


xo Haley-O

Aside from feeling “nudged” (which is a Jewish term for wanting to eat even though you’re not hungry), I feel great. And it all started last Thursday.

I’d been meaning to prepare you for the event. But I didn’t get around to it, and I didn’t want to think about it. Which is also why I didn’t crash diet for it — and I totally meant to and I totally should have. Instead I think I ate more, and chugged at least a chai a day to numb myself to what was to come….

Yeah, you know those layouts in magazines where they have a girl in tight clothes demonstrating workout moves? You know the ones. Usually the girl is really svelte with nary a nugget of flab. Well, Today’s Parent Magazine selected moi for such a role.  And I agreed.

The thing is, not only did I agree to do a layout, but I also agreed to do the VIDEO for TodaysParent.com. And, apparently, there is no airbrushing a video. And that “slimming lense” that Andrew Dunlop, our web editor and video master, told me he’d use for the shoot? Doesn’t in fact exist. Aaaaaandrew!

That’s Andrew. I snapped that shot when we got to The Shopping Channel headquarters, which was where the photo and video shoots took place. Why there, you ask? Because that was where the guy who was going to show me the MOVES was advertising his new products: Harley Pasternak.

You may have read about him in the gossip mags, when the stars talk about their diet and exercise regimes, because he’s worked with most of them. His insane list of his star clients includes the likes of Halle Berry, Natalie Portman, Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, Jason Segel, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Downy Jr., Jennifer Hudson, Paul Rudd (my new crush), Katy Perry and Jessica Simpson….

…and now me!

Here’s Harley and me posing for my blog….

I really shouldn’t smile in pictures. Not only does my fake front tooth look horrid (I’m getting the bridge in just a few weeks woohoo!), but my cheeks balloon out like my 5-year-old’s….

See, here’s a picture of me not smiling (granted a little distorted, but you can still see the difference)….

Got my hair and makeup did by the gorj Michelle Rosen and sweet outfit styled by the gorj Vanessa Taylor.

And please don’t get all “Haley, you look AMAZING” on me because even I can say I look slimmish in this photo. But there’s a sizable leftover-pregnancy pot that you can’t really see in that photo for some reason. You’ll see it in the video (trust me — it’s going to be SO embarrassing), and possibly even in the photos.

Anyway, that photo was shot in my GREEN ROOM. I had my very own green room right next to Harley Pasternak’s green room. Which turned out to be a bit of a problem because — look at my green room door….

“Haley” looks a lot like “Harley.” So I may or may not have — okay I did! I did! — walked into Harley Pasternak’s green room instead of mine. And that’s how he and I met for the first time. Awkward. Very. Very awkward: “Hi, H-H-H-Harley! I’m H-H-H-Haley. Oops. Heh. I’m actually interviewing you later and doing that whole workout thing with you. See I walked in here because my name’s ‘Haley’? Kind of looks like ‘Harley,’ you know? Don’t you think? Okay thanx bai.”

I returned to his green room a little later to interview him about fitness and celebs and why I can’t seem to lose weight — he’s not into my yoga or my veganism — and it was cool and relaxed. I got lots of goods.

And so now here’s the thing. When I left, I promised Harley that I’d get on this and do his program: I’d do his 25 minute workout DVD with the “Harley Bar” (both of which I received care of The Shopping Channel) 5 times a week, and I’d eat 5 times a day — as per his 5-factor program — and, finally, that I’d lose 25 pounds, to which he replied, “Don’t put a number on it.” Okay no number.

But, see, here’s the thing: not only did I make this promise to Harley Pasternak, but I’ve made it BIG TIME to Today’s Parent Magazine. In the November Issue of Today’s Parent, you will see a finally FIT and HEALTHY me…. It’s set in stone in the editorial calendar. And we’re shooting my “AFTER” PHOTO in April.

So it’s officially ON. For years now, you’ve been hearing about my dieting trials and tribulations. And enough is enough. I mean, when I got a new boss a few months ago, I felt compelled to tell her I wasn’t pregnant so she wouldn’t wonder about it. And that’s just not okay. Not okay. I’m tired of looking pregnant. Yes, my pregnancies were emotionally and physically traumatizing. But it’s time to shed it all and move on.

The training has begun. I’m still doing my daily Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga (it is NOT EASY, Harley) and eating vegan. But I’ve added a few more healthy meals in there — which is doing wonders for my apparent hyperglycemia — and Harley’s 25-minute 5-factor workout DVDs. Apparently, even Lady Gaga (another one of Harley’s star clients) works out for 25 minutes, 5 days a week (unless she happens to have extra time on her hands). You’d think these celebs worked out for hours. But Harley says no.

I think that’s all for now because, man, I’m writing a book here. But I will say this: Jennifer Hudson has Weight Watchers (and Harley Pasternak) behind her, and look at her! And now, very thankfully, I have Today’s Parent behind me. And maybe that’s what it’ll take to DO THIS THING. An “after” picture in a magazine: now that’s motivation! *Shivers.* I think it’s ON, Gorgeouses! Yes, it’s ON!

So, your turn. Want to join me? I WILL post your before and after photo right here if you want it…. Do it do it!


xo Haley-O

Photo source

I think I just wasted 20 minutes of my life (which I’ll never get back) adding two new words to the Urban Dictionary.

GORJ (= gorgeous)

AGORJABLE (= both gorgeous and adorable)

We’ve been using GORJ around here for years now. But AGORJABLE’s definitely a new one. It emerged on twitter (as so much does) when I was direct-messaging my AGORJABLE friend, Ms. @Lindseyjay, who also happens to be GORJ. There — I just used both words in a sentence, in one sentence.

The Urban Dictionary’s not quite the OED, but I’ll get there. I also invented the word LAPPAH, if you recall….

Where was I? I had to leave…. Just lost another 10 minutes of my life (which I’ll never get back) adding LAPPAH to the Urban Dictionary. Please tell me this isn’t as addictive as twitter, or chai lattes….

By the way, don’t search for any of my new words yet. The Urban Dictionary editors have to approve them. But I’m thinking if they approved Sh–––g– and F–––@*&%$, then they’ll probably approve GORJ, AGORJABLE and LAPPAH.

Shh…. Betty White is sleeping, so we have to be quiet….

And I know what you’re thinking. She looks JUST like the dog “Kyle” in Despicable Me with that halucious underbite (and no you’re not having a déjà vu — I’ve definitely mentioned this before, but I like these pictures better!)….

Oh gosh! HALUCIOUS isn’t a real word either, is it? Gotta go.


My Urban Dictionary addiction is healthier than Starbucks, I guess. I suppose I should see if UGGERS and BRILLERS are in there, too…. Ugh. Tired! Hold on.

I’m back.

So, Gorgeouses, in addition to all these super-exciting new words, I’ve made two significant changes in my life. (And no, this isn’t a déjà vu either.) I officially-officially quit Starbucks-soy-no-water-tazo-chai lattes AND I’ve been going to the Ashtanga yoga “shala” every. single. day. Except Saturdays and moon days (it’s traditional not to practice yoga on the days of the new and full moon because the body has less energy and is more prone to injury).

Somehow, it was always okay to go to the gym every day. Why not yoga, until now?

It just so happens I’m not the only crazy “Ashtangi” around these parts. Have you seen Eden Kennedy’s brillers Yogabeans! blog? I’m doing what those action figures are doing every. single. day.

I never thought I’d love sweating in a hot shala every day doing intense yoga that has my heart pumping, face beet red. Yoga was always about bliss before, and breathing into your toes…. Now it’s about tradition, strength, focus, presence and, more than ever (and unexpectedly), community. I have the support I need to get strong and fit and calm(er) and healthy. That, and I get to be with other crazy Ashtangis every day. And they are a cool people. I’m telling you. Cool. (Although I’m a little irate with some of them for being in MEXICO right now on a dream retreat. Grrrr….)

After my yoga practice today, Alice left a “reward” for me at the front desk. And I’ve been verklempt about it ever since. It was the most delicious thing I’d tasted in a long time because it was a homemade, macrobiotic, nourishing nourishing treat. Look how pretty….

Alice says it’s my reward for going baked-goods FREE until January. Mmmm-mmm! Be part of the challenge, get the recipe, and potentially earn your very own “rice triangle sandwich” at ALICE’S NEW Macrobiotic food blog — you’ll see my pretty sandwich and I are featured in her post!

I’m telling you Gorgeouses! I have a new lease on life. Finally, I’m taking care of BOTH my family AND myself. At 3 and 5 years old, my kids are thoroughly entertained and excited by their mama’s curious passion. And I see how good it is for them to see me taking care of myself and doing something, to think!, for me (who?) — which, really, is ultimately for them…. Because practicing my yoga and eating right make me a happier, healthier and more present mom (and person all around).

Now, sit back, and watch me melt off 20 pounds with joy….

Love! xoxo Haley-O

I’ve been complaining a wee bit about waking up at 6am every morning to do yoga and I think I’ve figured out what the problem is.

I wake up at 6am — usually after a late night working — so I can do something for me. Something QUIET and JUST for me.

Usually, my kids wake up at around 7:30am (also 2:30, 4:45, and 5:40, but that’s for another blog post). So I figured if I wanted to do any sort of thing that was JUST FOR ME under my roof, I better set my alarm a little earlier, pad softly down the stairs and enjoy.

Not so much.

The moment I shift into consciousness, the moment my eyelids dare part, HE wakes up….

And then SHE wakes up….

Thankfully, SHE stays put in bed….

But occasionally — and with special thanks to DAYLIGHT SAVINGS — she gets up too and at some point, usually midway into my yoga practice, wants breakfast….

We’ll not talk about the horrid cat situation. Okay — twist my arm — briefly: HE wakes up shortly before 6am (of course), steals my last precious minutes of sleep by locating any perceivable piece of plastic and crinkling it (i.e., threatening to eat it and die), or spilling the water on my night table (i.e., right-next-to-my-Kobo).

Sic ‘em, Betty White…!

So waking up at 6am would be EASY and maybe even JOYFUL if I didn’t have to contend with all of the above — not to mention that pesky little voice in my head that goes on and on about stuff like, “You could sooo, toooootally stay in bed until 7:30,” “what’s one day off of yoga?” “You need a break,” “You deserve a break,” and, of course, “can we have a chai latte later? Maybe don’t do yoga and have a chai today, and then be PERFECT tomorrow?” “You’ll never lose this weight, so screw it!” Ugh.

It’s truly amazing, then, when you think about it, that I actually got up at 6am every morning this week AND got start-to-finish through my yoga practice. I let out the dog, I set Rascal up on the couch (he never stays there), I break up cat-and-dog fights, I get Rascal water and the Monkey some cereal and blueberries…. “Can I lie on you?” Rascal asks, as I fold over in janu sirsasana C….

It’s not exactly meditative like yoga’s supposed to be…. But occasionally, like in a semi-uninterrupted janu sirsasana B, my mind gets really quiet, and 5 breaths can feel like 5 minutes…and I can maybe sense a sweet little surrender.

But, there ARE people who do this sort of thing no problem. A friend of mine with a 1- and 3-year-old wakes up at 5am to workout blissfully in her basement. Her kids, however, aren’t high maintenance….

My yoga teacher, who has a 5-month-old, wakes up a THREE A-M to practice…. I knowww!

Still there are others like Sarah, mom of FOUR. She wakes up at 5:30am every morning because that’s WHEN HER KIDS WAKE UP. Does she get any time to herself at all — let alone to workout? Who am I to complain about a self-imposed 6am?

So questions. Is it selfish of me to EXPECT time for myself at 6am? It’s not even like waking up at 5am would make a difference, I remind you, since the Rascal LIVES for “up time.”  I mean, my kids are 3 and 5. Isn’t it healthy for them to see mom taking care of herself and taking SOME time for herself? Thoughts?

PS: After writing this post, I got emails and comments suggesting that I’m too hard on myself. You don’t know the half of it, I’m afraid. But, it’s the way I am, and I’m working on it. Recognition goooooood. I suppose a very good product of all this is that I’m surprisingly not hard on my kids. I hope (pray) they’re never this hard on themselves, and that I can learn to be less hard on myself before they start to notice. Taking care of myself, I think, is a start — even if it means embracing a little discipline. Now, please excuse me, I need to go lift my puppy off my dining room table again. (Special thanks to RJ….)


PPPS: My colleague told me Minden and I look alike.


xo Haley-O

Imagine if I could wake up at 6am everyday, do yoga everyday, cook healthy food everyday, drink herbal tea instead of Starbucks’ chai cracké every day…. Is it possible?

I live every day in the aimless shadow of this perfection. So let’s figure out what’s going on here, what’s actually attainable, and what I might be like, what I might look like, if I could possibly live this near-perfect lifestyle. Because what I might be like, or what I might look like, is in part (I think) what I’m afraid of.

Emotions aside, there are three obvious things to think about now that enough is officially enough:

A) I can do this. People do this. It’s possible. Anything’s possible, they say — except maybe somersaulting all the way around the world. In the air. With your feet behind your head. And your eyes crossed.

B) All the constant striving has to stop. Either just do it, or stop striving and accept things as they are (which won’t work because this just isn’t healthy, or the way I want to live, and enough is enough, and more about that over in the kitchen).

C) This striving is actually who I am. A Virgo. Quintessential. Perfectionista. Which means I’m constantly disappointed in myself because no one can be a perfect mother or person — but certainly clean eating and an hour of yoga a day and a dog that doesn’t jet down the street every time you open the front door is a kind of achievable perfection, no?

So I think what we need is A+B+C. I accept that I’m a perfectionist. But I can’t keep beating myself up all the time and giving up on things I want in this short, precious life. Yet I know this one thing I want for myself (and ultimately for my loved ones) is attainable. As my brillers yoga teacher told me, and as @lindseyjay kindly reminds me every day, “I can have this if I want it.”

As I write this, my little guy’s sticking his fingers on either side of my mouth, and streeeetching — you see why I only blog once a week now, sighh…. No longer the perfect every-day blogger I once was. Is everything FAIL? WAH! Wah wah. I know.

So I have a new focus, and hopefully this will do the trick. COMMITMENT. Eureka!

It’s not: “Should I or shouldn’t I have that chai fa-ri-ckin latte?” Instead it’s: “How committed am I right now?” If I find my level of commitment is 3 out of 10, I need to take a few breaths, conjure up an image in my mind of Jennifer Aniston in a bikini (at 40!), and raise it to 5, and then to 8, 10, 11, and drive right on by the seductive green sign.

Maybe this sudden new focus, new urgency, explains why I’ve been dreaming constantly about this guy….

…and seeing him and elephants elephants elephants everywhere. Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles. How awesomely fitting.

I think it’s time.

No. It’s time.

It’s time for a rebirth. Not of the old, pre-motherhood me — who was skinny and fit and driven and self-obsessed — but of a new healthier me who just so happens to set a better example for her children and maybe even for others, too.

So it’s on. Starting (necessarily, I think) with a cleanse. The Fall Fast begins…………NOW, with the famous Feel Good Guru of Toronto. Who’s with me?

And it’s on. Yoga six mornings a week — with a break on Saturdays and Moon Days — as the Yoga Guru prescribed. No need for aerobics. Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is crazy rigorous. Though it’s so much more than a workout…. How committed are you?

Join me for a complexion-clearing, calorie-buring green smoothie? Cheers!

And now the Rascal’s calling me “Hayay.” He still can’t fully pronounce those L’s. Haley. Hmm. Who’s that? Who will that be (or look like) if I attain this attainable goal? Time to find out again. Not scary at all.


xo Haley-O

« Previous PageNext Page »