Please enjoy my fitness blog for Today’s Parent! I’ve moved it over here. Welcome home, blog! Writing this blog was quite a journey, and I thank my team at Today’s Parent for allowing me to host it here. I hope it inspires you! Come see how I lost a lot of weight February 10 – April 12, 2011! xo Haley-O

********

February 10, 2011

Day 1: Fit & fab commitment (contract!)

It was this picture that got me started….

IMG_1614

It’s me and celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak. As hard as he tried, when I interviewed him last month, he couldn’t understand why anyone would wait to lose weight after having a baby. I don’t fully understand why I waited (it’s too loaded). Yet here I am. My “baby” is 3 years old, and I’m still 20 pounds 30 pounds overweight.

If you can’t really see how overweight I am in that photo, just wait. My “before” picture is about to be sprawled all over the pages of June’s issue of Today’s Parent Magazine, and you and the whole online world will see the video of Harley and me working out together! Eeek! He, of course, looks so good. And I look, weeeell bouncy? Round? Pregnant? And, OH WOW, did I wear the wrong bra (and not enough Spanx)! Just a heads up.

Anyway, I’ve decided it’s time. Well, I’ve decided it’s time about 1500 times in the past 3 years. So let’s just say Today’s Parent has decided it’s time.  At the end of April they’re going to shoot some “After” pictures of me. And if I don’t lose some weight, they’ll have no story. And if I don’t lose some weight, let’s face it, I’ll never lose it. Because there’s no bigger motivation than this.

How about you, Gorgeouses? Are you in this with me? Can we do this together? Because I need support. This is scary. “After” pictures in a magazine are scary, but losing weight is almost scarier. Why it’s so scary, I don’t know! So many mysteries…. I’m just comfortable and warm under all this extra weight. And I feel safe here and protected from all the other things I can’t control as a mother of two young kids, two cats and a dog. Gah!

But I guess it doesn’t matter how scared I am. I just have to commit. And isn’t it the COMMITMENT part that’s so darn hard? It’s like you have to commit, and re-commit, every time you pass a Starbucks or the kids bring home cookies or Grandma places the Friday-night dessert plate right in front of you….

And that’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to…COMMIT:

I, Haley Overland, OFFICIALLY commit to getting fit and fabulous right now.

Here’s one for you to cut, paste and print out:

I,  _____________________, OFFICIALLY commit to getting fit and fabulous right now.

If you’re not ready right now, then close this screen, eat ONE last cookie or drink one more Grande Starbucks soy no-water tazo chai and get back here fast because IT’S ON.

I’ll be catching up with you Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I expect full participation, okay? Because I. NEED. YOU. And because I want us all to support each other. Also apparently I think I’m Jillian Michaels now….

Are you in? Here are my goals for this week (Thursday to Thursday):

GOAL NUMBER ONE: No white sugar (or cane sugar) for 21 days. WHICH means, no grande-soy-no-water-tazo-chai-lattes for me, OMG.

GOAL NUMBER TWO: As per Harley’s 5-factor plan, eat three meals and two snacks daily. I’m having trouble with five meals (too busy!), so four will have to suffice sometimes.

GOAL NUMBER THREE: As per Harley’s 5-factor plan, cardio for 25 minutes, 5 days a week. Totally doable, right?

Start today. I’ll be doing some Turbo Jam with my 3-year-old in the living room, and while my 5.5-year-old’s (hopefully up in her room) with her play date….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recipe of the day for guaranteed weight loss (I’m having this for breakfast daily) — KALE SMOOTHIE (adapted from recipes by my naturopath Jennifer Baer):

kale

1 cup kale
1 cup berries
1 banana
1 cup soy/rice milk
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
cinnamon to taste

Dump all the ingredients in a blender and blend well! Sometimes I add chocolate Vega Shake-and-Go Smoothie powder for extra protein, omega 3s and chocolaty goodness…. Makes 2 servings (refrigerate for a snack or breakfast the next day). Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We’ve got lots to talk about. ARE YOU IN? Tell us your goals in the comments — and we’ll check on each other’s progress on Tuesday.

Love!

xo Haley-O

Photo: daveeza

 

********

February 15, 2011

Hit on the head in front of Starbucks

LindtValentinesHeart5.1oz

The fact that my husband gave me A BOX OF FREAKING CHOCOLATES for Valentine’s Day didn’t help. Grrrrr….

Yes. It was all downhill from there.

Sigh, yes. Today I had a Grand Soy No-Water Tazo Chai again. And, in case you’re wondering (everyone wonders), the reason this sugary habit has to stop is that it sets me up to FAIL the whole rest of the day — when I  could have started my day with a healthy kale smoothie. But, ugh!

ANYWAY, it’s time to get back on track. In the words of one of Oprah’s favourite health gurus, Kathy Freston, I’ve been “leaning in” to the big change all week, and now it’s time to lean all the way and just dive right in.

You know how I know it’s time? Because I was hit on the head with it by one of these this morning, as I was standing outside Starbucks with my last-ever Grande Soy No-Water Tazo Chai….

Sparrow

Yes, I was hit ON THE HEAD BY A SPARROW as I was walking to my car with my sinful treat. Actually, said SPARROW hit me in the head and then bounced off my chai. I’d say that was a sign.

ALSO, the barista told me she had a nightmare about an axe. So I started thinking the universe wants me to AXE this habit. That’s when I left the dreaded coffee shop and got hit in the head by the SPARROW.

To put an official stop this habit and replace it with some better ones, here’s the plan:

1. DOCUMENT. I will write down everything I plan to eat — this way I can soak grains and beans, buy smoothie bananas, stock up on kale, make soup for lunch, etc., etc. It’s all in the planning.

2. TAKE A DIFFERENT ROUTE TO WORK. This way I might even not only stop drinking chai lattes, but I will also get to work on time. *Cough.*

3. GET ARSE TO YOGA. Part of this whole leaning in thing is shifting EMOTIONALLY. We’re not just dieting, Gorgeouses, we’re dealing with our emotions — which are intricately intertwined with our eating, right? I know mine are. Yoga will help me deal with my stress and emotions.

4. GET OUTSIDE. I’ve been OK with this. In addition to my 25 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week, I’ve been trying to be active with my fam. Just this weekend we went snowshoeing at my parents’ cottage, and I took pics for you!

My snowshoes….

Snow Shoes

I’m the King of the World…!

King of the world

And the snow was HIGH! I made a path for my daughter….

Snowy

Because I’ve done so horribly on my diet already today, I’ll be eating the healthy dinner I had planned to eat for lunch today. A macrobiotic FEAST:

macro

I’m not sure if it’ll be any good. But it’s basically brown rice, kale, celery, toasted almonds and sauerkraut my friend Alice made me. For snack, I’ll have the “Feel Good Guru” Moira Nordholt’s green smoothie (minus the wheat bran) — it’s a little more palatable right now than last week’s adapted kale concoction.

Since I’m officially DUNZO “leaning in,” thanks to the sparrow, I’m doing my friend Moira‘s winter fast — 21 days of totally clean eating. It’s just time. Clearly, it is time. It is hit-me-on-the-head-with-a-sparrow time.

Now it’s your turn: How’s your week going? Are you leaning in or diving?

Love!

xo Haley-O

Photo of sparrow by Bill Blevins.

********

February 17, 2011

25 minutes of cardio? Pshh, no problem!

Because some of us need a little more motivation than others (*cough*), here’s a little video I dug up to inspire us….

{Olivia Newton John “Let’s Get Physical”}

Did you gasp as many times as I did watching this? They don’t make music videos like they used to — or men’s workout clothes!!!

I’ve been having trouble fitting any kind of exercise into my schedule. At first, in the days following my Harley Pasternak adventure, I was totally motivated and didn’t question my ability to fit 25 minutes of exercise, five days a week, into my schedule. But, that motivation’s really dwindled. Harley’s a guy. He doesn’t have kids. He lives in LA. His clients live in LA. And they have him.

I’m working around the clock: 4 hours in the office and 2 hours in the evening (at least). When I’m not working, I’m taking care of my two young kids (and two cats and a dog, and a husband!). Do they really need to just hang around while I’m jumping up and down in front of the TV? Sometimes they exercise in their own way with me, sure. But it’s not anyone’s idea of fun. And it usually means dinner’s on the table 25 minutes later and I haven’t made anything for myself to eat.

Also when I’m not working, at least lately, I’m making smoothies, or cooking rice for the next day’s lunch. What about reading a book or watching SURVIVOR: REDEMPTION ISLAND (TEAM ROB ALL THE WAY!), or writing other blogs or articles.

What about friends? Today, I could be using the time I have between returning home from work and picking up my daughter (2-3pm) to workout at home (while my little guy plays with his trucks), but my friend had a baby recently and I have to visit her. Especially since I’ve already canceled on her 4 times.

Also I am tired. And I’m trying to make so many changes at once.

I barely managed to skip my habitual Starbucks run this morning. I grabbed a thermos of hot water with lemon and the smoothie I took the time to make last night, and I ran out the door feeling angry. I fought and fought and fought with myself. Get the chai, don’t get the chai, get the chai, yes no yes no no yes no — heyyy!

And, seriously? I think the sparrow knocked some sense into my head when it hit me the other day because, as I was contemplating heading to Starbucks this morning, a thought popped into my head: YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE THAT DRINK EWW!

And, you know what? I don’t! I don’t like that drink. And you know what else? Just yesterday, I worked at Starbucks while my little guy was at SportBall and I drank only a HERBAL TEA. Could it be that I have conquered my 5-year-long addiction to chai lattes? It’s WAY too early to tell. My heart, believe it or not, starts pounding at the thought of this.

You’re thinking I’m digressing, but I’m not. All these new “SHOULDS.” They get tiring and depressing. I just want to have a little fun, and everything’s a “should” or a “shouldn’t”: I should play with my son right now, I should make dinner, I shouldn’t eat my daughter’s Valentine’s Day loot, I should be working right now, I should…exercise.

Just? Where’s the fun? I thought it was in my daily morning Starbucks gorge. But it wasn’t. So, where? Maybe it’ll come with losing some weight and feeling lighter. As I get healthier, there’ll be more fun…. It’s just hard. Just when you thought parenting was hard? Dieting…! Or, let’s rephrase, taking care of ourselves…. So hard but so necessary. At least we have each other?

I did lose 2.5 pounds….

How’s it going for you?

Love!
xo Haley-O

********

February 22, 2011

Me – Who? (Featuring Betty White)

I’m late to posting today. Look at that, it’s 8pm. GLEE! Actually, I’m (sort of) watching Real Housewives of Atlanta. Nene Leakes just had a bunch of surgeries — a breast lift, nose job and liposuction. I want to be fit and fab, but I can safely say that I would never get liposuction. Would you? As you may have guessed, I don’t believe in quick fixes. That, and I just went through a grueling 5-hour dental procedure last Friday (I have a new front tooth! — well, almost), so maybe now’s not the time to think about any kind of surgery. Ow!

So I’m doing great on my Fit and Fab regime. And I’m calling it “Fit and Fab” because I don’t want to call it a “diet” or think of what we’re doing as “weight loss.” No, if we’re going to call it anything other than the “Fit and Fab” program, we can call it “Lifestyle Overhaul,” or how about “Me — Who?,” or “GORGEOUS.” Because We’re changing our lifestyles, right Gorgeouses? And we’re learning not only to take care of our kids, but ourselves, too. And I seriously think that, for most of us, this is the root of our “weight issues” after we have kids. We just have to figure it all out, and that takes longer for some of us than others.

Anyway, progress is happening! I still have not had a Starbucks soy, no-water tazo chai, and I’m not even craving it! THAT is major progress. Ma-jor.

This weekend was a long weekend here in Ontario, so we decided to go to my parents’ cottage again. And I did really well on our program there despite THE TOOTH PAIN. Yes, I did my hour-long yoga practice — even though I had to contend with THIS….

BettyWhiteYoga

Betty White (my dog) thought it was playtime on my mat, but she did help by adding some much needed resistance to some of my poses. I mean, try doing Purvottanasana with a dog on top of you. Not an easy feat. But sweet added challenge! And Betty White? She LOVED it.

In addition to my hour of yoga — in the same room as my children and my sister’s children, I should add (I was DETERMINED to do it!) — I went snowshoeing on the lake AND I rode the stationary bike for half an hour. And because my parents’ stationary bike has a game centre on it, I’m getting really good (I mean really good) at Tetris. BONUS.

While I didn’t huff and puff at all, I was really active, and I felt — and still feel — a boost in my energy level. Woohoo!

Because I was so active, I was even more motivated to eat well. Since we don’t have a blender up at the cottage (yet), I drank a lot of pre-made (alas, not homemade) soup that I brought up, salads, rice, good stuff. For my sweet treats, I had RAISINS, and I splurged on a MANGO. I KNOWWW! I’m doing awesome.

We did go out to dinner one night, and I decided what I was going to have before we left: pasta primavera, a glass of wine, a salad and some strawberry sorbet. I decided I’d worked out so hard and eaten so well, that a planned treat was in order.

I have to say I’m feeling great! Working out for 25 minutes during the week is still definitely a challenge. But if I can keep my weekends active, and go to yoga class (even though I want to sleep in) I’m halfway there.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me everything!

Love!

xo Haley-O

********

February 24, 2011

We are superheroes!

Here Gorgeouses. We have a theme song this week. We are officially superheroes. We can do it all. At the speed of light. No one can stop us. We don’t even — cough — need to sleep, like, EVER. Ready? Turn up the volume so you will feel as pumped up as possible….

ARE. YOU. WITH ME, SUPERGORGEOUSES!?

You think I’m kidding, right? No I’m not. Look at me. I wore Superman blue to work today (and I’m still wearing it here on my couch typing and watching Jersey Shore, FYI)….

IMG00334

You also MIGHT detect a slight lossage of the weight. But that’s a skinnifying mirror — see I don’t keep anything from you. Also I just made up two words in one sentence. Did you notice?

So, in the last post, I told you how awesome I’m doing on my diet and exercise regime. The last two days, however, have been a total BUST. I even had two Grande Soy No-Water Tazo Chais! While no sparrow hit me in the head for them or anything, I felt like crap the whole rest of the day. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and I was very irritable — which is not a good feeling when you’re mom to a 3- and a 5-year-old.

I haven’t even gone to yoga! What happened!?

Life happened, I guess. Because the truth is I’m not a Superhero — or, well, I wasn’t one yesterday or the day before. I’ve been working around the clock and my kids both aren’t sleeping well, so I needed that extra hour and a half to sleep. I really needed it.

So when Harley says everyone can fit 25 minutes of exercise into their day. NO. It’s NOT TRUE. I can’t. Or at least not always. Now that my major articles are done for the month, I might be able to fit in some exercise next week. Other than that, when I’m not working or sleeping, I’m dragging my kids here and there or cooking or feeding my cats or grocery shopping or picking up dishwashing soap or playing with my kids, reading to them, bathing them, taking them to swim class or picking them up from school or hosting playdates or taking a shower……..

Sighh, anyway. I saw some guidelines for a healthy heart from the king of all cardiologists, Dr. Dean Ornish — in the February issue of Yoga Journal (pp. 47-50). Here are my faves:

1. Eat a “wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes”;

2. Enjoy “natural, unrefined soy foods” like miso and tempeh;

3. Get your omega 3s (3 grams);

4. Do yoga relaxation exercises every day, “for at least a few minutes,” to ease stress;

5. Practice yoga to balance your extreme emotions;

6.  “DON’T OVEREXERCISE” (emphasis added). Studies show “extreme exercise, like running 10 miles if that’s not your norm, may actually promote inflammation”;

7. “Get 20 to 30 minues of slow to moderate walking daily.” Oy veh. But walking might be doable to and from school pickup and some of the kids’ activities.

I like these guidelines. Superhero that I am, I’ll try to achieve all this. BUT, Superhero that I am, I’ll cut myself some slack on weeks like this week — when I need to do these things the most because stressed to the MAX. Hmmm.

There’s always tomorrow. We start again?

Now go FLY!

But, first, talk to me in the comments. You have to keep us all posted on how YOU’RE doing!

Love!

xo Haley-O

********

February 28, 2011

Eye of the Tiger: Time to refocus

And this week’s theme song….

{video}

I’m not naming any names or anything, but some of us (ahem) may have lost our edge this week. Some of us may EVEN have surrendered to the evil lure of the soy-no-water-tazo-chai — despite sparrow warnings. And some of us, thank goodness, managed to get an extension on our magazine “After” shoot.

*Cough.*

Yes! It’s time to refocus. But we’re being realistic here. If I can’t sustain an exercise routine for a couple of measly weeks, it’s not going to work.

I was doing so great. Getting in my 25 minutes of cardio, riding my parents’ stationary bike, going to yoga. But then I gave up. Cracked under the pressure (of a TON of work). And I didn’t just give up on the cardio — I gave up on EVERYTHING. I stopped exercising. I started drinking chai lattes. I stopped going to yoga. I started going to bed really late. Everything collapsed.

It’s just so harrrrrrd.

But it’s time to stop whining and refocus. Not in the Rocky sense of focus because I don’t have any mountains to climb, or heavy logs to lift, and I get tendinitis from skipping rope.

I’m just kind of taking it easy on myself. So here’s the plan.

To get me back on track this week, I’ve ACTUALLY ordered meal delivery. Yes, I hath SPLURGED! I found a place that cooks organic, vegan, macrobiotics-style (my favourite) and that is relatively affordable for me — especially if my kids enjoy some of the food, too.

Check out this week’s meals (from Greenzebrakitchen.com in Toronto)….

food2

We got “Stuffed Buttercup Squash with Quinoa, Apple and Broccoli,” “Sesame Brown Rice with Pan-Fried Tofu, Seaweed-Edamame Salad and Pickled Vegetables,” “Spicy Black Eyed Peas with Collard Greens and Yams” — all in compostable plastic containers, for the win!

My kids already devoured several of the “Cheesy Kale Chips” and “Jam Dot Cookies.” OH! And I almost forgot the side dishes and homemade granola (that the kids will love and that will last way longer than the week)….

food1

Yum!

I know this seems extravagant. But it’s just for one week — to get me back on track. And I don’t have a gym membership. And I didn’t buy that stationary bike. And I still haven’t bought a new dishwasher. And, enough with these excuses, doggone it, I’m worth it!

Think of all the time I’ll save this week not having to cook for myself! AND maybe I’ll learn a thing or two about eating well again…. It’s a learning experience, right, Gorgeouses? So worth it.

I’ll let you know how it’s going Thursday. In the meantime, here’s the plan:

DIET: Eat Green Zebra delivery meals, their roasted nuts for snacks, or “seed crackers” (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers seed crackers) with Zebra’s “Red Pepper, Pomegranate and Walnut Dip.”

EXERCISE: I’m lucky I can leave work in time to pick my daughter up from school. So I’ll strap my son into a stroller 20 minutes early and walk around the block a few times. Then we’ll all walk home — including my little guy, who also needs exercise! NO STROLLER FOR YOU! Maybe I’ll drag my dog Betty White out, too.

IMG_14022-300x225

PEACE: I’ve got to go to yoga. The muscle building aspect of Ashtanga yoga is a bonus. But really it’s about strengthening my mind for this really challenging process of losing weight WHILE parenting.

What’s your plan, Gorgeouses? Please share! We’re in this TOGETHER!

Love!
xo Haley-O

 

********

March 3, 2011

Check me out in the standing splits!

IMG_7698

There’s at least one thing about my body that I really love. I’m flexible. I mean, really flexible. Are you ready?

IMG00227-2-2

I can’t believe I’m showing you these photos. Both of them were taken over a year ago — judging by the jolly jumper in the background of that second photo, probably about three years ago for that one. And, if you can believe it, I’m even more flexible now, since I started practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga 6 days a week in a heated room. Somehow I always end up right beside one of the heaters, too….

I’m showing you these to illustrate a wee point. Or maybe two points.

First, during this “fit and fab” process, it’s really important that we love our bodies, even if we don’t necessarily like they way they look right now. So I thought I’d show you this one thing I love about my body.

I love that I’m flexible.

Second, the style of yoga I practice is not easy (no matter what Harley Pasternak may or may not have told me in his green room that day). No, I’ve chosen to practice a style of yoga that’s very difficult and demanding. I’d sooner stay in BED or bliss out in some gentle Hatha class. But I’ve been determined to stick to this practice — AND I HAVE (except for a wee February FAIL). Yes, I’ve been going to the yoga studio 5 to 6 days a week for months now!

WHAT IS SHE RAMBLING ABOUT?

Here’s the thing! I’m STICKING to something.

I had this revelation this morning. Actually, my friend Stan had this revelation for me. She came over to me as I was rolling up my mat and asked me how the five-meals-a-day plan was going.

“I don’t know,” I said, doubtfully. “I can’t seem to stick anything.”

She shook her head. “No,” she said. And she gestured to my mat with a noticeably serious look on her face.

Eureka! She’s right! I CAN stick to this yoga. That means I can stick to ANYTHING IF I PUT MY MIND TO IT. Thank you, Stan!

So we are PUTTING OUR MINDS TO IT right now. Enough reading and planning and over-thinking. Time to do it. I think Nike said it best: JUST DO IT. DO IT! JUST. DO. IT.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me 1) what you love about your bodies, and 2) one thing you’ve stuck to (you’re a parent, right? there’s one MAJOR thing right there — talk about perseverance!). And then let’s get to it. More walking at least 30 minutes this weekend (fresh air and sunlight equals gooooood). More eating well when we’re hungry (not over-thinking). More yoga (more listening to our bodies). We’re going for it. No turning back.

Namaste….

Love!

xo Haley-O

 

********

March 8, 2011

I ain’t built like a supermodel

Dedicated to women everywhere, in honour of International Women’s day….

First: this week’s theme song….

Gorgeouses, I am SICK. And when I said I wanted to lose weight, I didn’t have THIS in mind, thankyouverymuch. While I’m sitting on my butt, head throbbing, beside my 3-year-old, who’s onto — throb — his third Diego (shoot, his cheeks look red, too!), I’m not even THINKING about Starbucks. So there’s that.

Today I’m thinking about International Women’s Day, and how darn much we women struggle to look good every day. The dieting, the exercise, the hair (it’s been 3 months since my last haircut and I already look like COUSIN IT), the shoes, the clothes, the anti-aging, the makeup. All that, PLUS the important stuff: we mother, work, feed, feed, feed, bathe, dress, keep safe, brush teeth. ALL the little things we do. WE DESERVE OUR CAKE AND TO EAT IT TOO!

Sigh, and we stress about food. I don’t know about you, but I struggled with eating disorders when I was a teenager and all the way into my 20s. Most women I know suffered from eating disorders at one time or another. And it’s just enough, you know? Enough.

The last thing I ever want is for my daughter to suffer the way I did — with food, with body image, weight and all the other stuff that comes with that. To borrow India Arie’s words in this week’s theme song, I AIN’T NO SUPERMODEL. And I’m never going to be. I just want to be fit and fab for WHO I AM. THAT’S the goal. And that’s the message I want to send my daughter. I want her to love herself.

Sighh…. I can’t afford to focus on food and fitness and my body ALL DAY LONG. Honour my body, yes! But obsess about it, no. I can’t, and I won’t, do it.

Don’t get me started about women around the world. And how very frivolous our weight obsession — epidemic — is in their midst…..

Bygones if this is gibberish. I have no way of knowing in my fever-induced delirium and splitting headache. BUT I DID want to be with you today, no matter what state I’m in — to wish you a very happy, a very beautiful, INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

Next week! Look forward to my interview with THIS GUY…. He’s going to show us how to get fit and fab HIS WAY.

Love!
xo Haley-O

********

March 10, 2011

OMG PHOTO! Kicking it up a notch!

Look at this!

LOOK. AT THIS.

Hold on. Let me download the photo for you.

It’s a WEE photo of Harley Pasternak and me in the “scrapbook” page of the April issue of Today’s Parent Magazine.

Hold on. Just a second. Okay. *Gag.* Nauseous. Here.

Betty_White

Oh wait. BYGONES! How’d THAT get there? My dog by the way.

I may or may not be stalling here. *Cough.*

Her name is Betty White.

She’s 1 year old and suffers from a MASSIVE UNDERBITE. You can stick your finger between her top and bottom teeth, when her jaw is CLOSED.

ALRIGHT FINE HERE! HERE IT IS:

Haley-Harley

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

This fuzzy photo doesn’t even do the actual photo justice. I look ARFUL. Yes ARFUL. It’s what you get when you combine AWFUL and DOG. ARF-UL.

And so I am officially catapulting myself full-speed-ahead into LOSE-THAT-BELLY (and, hello?, CHIN, ARMS) mode.

I know the camera adds 10 pounds. And I’ll admit it really did here. I’m overweight, yes, but even some of my colleagues are saying I don’t (or didn’t) look this big in real life. Then again, Harley looks amazing there….

Now I totally get why celebrities are so skinny….

In all fairness to myself, though, who ON EARTH would look good doing that exercise? At that angle? Even with photographers as totally awesome — THE BEST — as ours!?

A-ny-way. I’m a little nauseous right now. But I’m dealing with it. And I guess it’s time to really face the music. Because I need some major redeeming-of-self after this photo. And, fortunately, we have an “AFTER” PHOTO SHOOT coming up.

So here’s the plan. The KICKING IT UP A NARTCH  (that’s notch + dog) plan:

1. My general manager, Elana Schachter, is insisting that I eat a good, solid, hearty breakfast. She swears by oatmeal. So I’m going to do that, and I’ll eat it at work.

2. Cardio. We need more cardio because we do enough muscle building with the daily Ashtanga Yoga practice (it’s SO not EASY, Harley!). The weather, as you know has been total CARP, so for now, we need to get the heart rate up for at least 30 minutes some other consistent way (how are YOU doing it?). For me, maybe a video really is in order. This is my favourite series for cardio.

3. I was so sick this week that I went to my doctor. She happened to check my thyroid, and it looks PERF. So, there’s no excuse for my bulging belly! But she did recommend Weight Watchers. Because I’m a VEGAN (in case you didn’t notice), she suggested I call them and ask them for a personalized program.

BUT, I think I’m looking into this book instead (or for now) — which I hear is DA BOMB….

Great-Life-Diet

The author Denny Waxman’s a macrobiotics king. And before you close the window on me — WAIT, DON’T GO! — I love the idea of macrobiotics not as a fad but as something ANCIENT and true. I’m a very spiritually-oriented person, you know? I seem to manage to maintain a regular Ashtanga Yoga practice in the wee hours of the morning, so why can’t I practice the aspect of  saucha — the yogic law of purity — which involves a good, clean diet (not even wee hours in the morning)?

A-ny-way, I guess that’s for another blog post, if you’re really interested. Let me know in the comments, after you tell me my photo’s NOT THAT BAD. Wahhh.

Yes, it’s time to turn it up a nartch (arf!). Big time. How about NO DESSERT? What’s the deal with dessert anyway…? Stay tuned!

Love!

xo Haley-O

********

March 15, 2011

Taking care of myself means….

With everything going on in the news lately, I’ve been finding myself very anxious. It seems like horrible stories hit harder when you’re a mom. You can feel them physically in your heart, in your legs, all through you, more than ever.

And the little things we worry about day to day seem so insignificant. Until the managing editor of Today’s Parent Magazine comes up to you in the hall and asks you how your fitness challenge is going and you look down at your still-bulging belly and get nervous again.

It’s amazing how quickly our perspective changes — from world catastrophe to belly. Catastrophe to belly.

Maybe it’s a coping mechanism that I should be thankful for. Regardless, I’m anxious.

So I’m yet again shifting my focus. Magazine “after” photos aside, physical and mental health is important and shouldn’t be taken for granted. My kids need their mom to feel calm and strong — and not like the anxious basket-case she might become in a flash. A flash of an image on the news, of a story on the radio, of a frightening billboard image (I really wish they’d take down those Exorcist movie posters already!).

Taking care of myself means ditching grande soy no-water tazo chais and, in doing so, ditching hypoglycemia — which wreaks havoc on anxious types like myself.

Taking care of myself means replacing those chais with other sweet treats (“Yin” treats in macrobiotics), like diluted grape juice — a childhood favourite-thing of mine — and raisins in my morning oatmeal.

Taking care of myself means cooking food — aka, not defrosting Amy’s no-cheese pizza (my fave! Nom nom), or ordering overly salty Thai food.

Taking care of myself means eating vegetables and warm comforting soups. Macrobiotics aside, even Dr. Oz recommends a diet rife with MISO SOUP. Check out my miso soup, which I photographed with my blackberry so I could post it on twitter (hence the fuzziness, bygones!)….

257925481

Taking care of myself means replacing some structured exercise (DVDs) that weren’t working for me with outdoor walks, lucky me, on country roads with my family — not to burn calories but to move my body in a balancing, rhythmic way that promotes health and peace of mind.

Road

Taking care of myself means going to yoga EVERY DAY — even if it means I have to actually promise my teacher that I’ll be there every day (or practice when I can’t make it to the “shala”…).

David: See you Sunday, Haley.

Me: I can’t — I’m away that day.

David: {gives Haley stink eye}.

Me: Okay, I’ll practice Sunday but see you Monday. I promise.

David: {Smiles} Good.

Taking care of myself means not being being so rigid. It means playing a little within the structure of daily routine: taking my daughter on nature walks to look for fairies, dancing with her and my twirling son, baking healthy rice crispy squares, finally getting a plant for my desk and kitchen window, playing with my pets….

IMG_1263-1024x768 IMG_1129-300x166 IMG_05141-1024x919

Taking care of myself means being thankful for what I have and discovering joys beyond grande soy no-water tazo chais and Jersey Shore and Survivor: Redemption Island (Boston Rob, FTW!), oh!, and Celebrity Apprentice (looove!).

Taking care of myself means not being so hard on myself when I fail.

Group hug?

We have a lot to be thankful for, Gorgeouses.

Now it’s your turn. How will YOU take care of yourself?

Love!

xo Haley-O

********

March 17, 2011

Interview with 10-Pound Shred Pro Tommy Europe

Ever watch The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp? It’s a very motivating TV show in which a hardcore fitness pro and his sidekick nutrition expert help people lose that seemingly-unbudgeable last 10 pounds. Well, I had a chance to interview the hardcore fitness pro TOMMY EUROPE. Look at him:

Europe_Tommy

HARDCORE, right? You don’t want to disappoint this guy. It’s, like, you better lose that last 10 pounds OR ELSE! Well, he’s got a new book out so we can all benefit from his training without being on national TV….

51312tUqeML._SS500_

He was very kind to answer a bunch of my whimpy questions. And his answers are VERY MOTIVATING. Checkit! And we’ll DISCUSS in the comments. And bygones that I haven’t been around in the comments lately. I’ll be better, promise. It’s just I’ve been using the time to do mom stuff and COOK, let’s say, and WALK, and write blogs, and my dog is barking so hard right now AT NOTHING. Where were we? Oh yeah, CHECKIT!

***********

Many of our readers are moms, like me, who are trying to lose the baby weight. Our biggest struggle is finding the time to workout. So…, how do you suggest moms find time to fit exercise into their day?

For all moms time is very limited. So you have to take full advantage of your “personal time.”  10PS [The 10-Pound Shred] addresses this issue with short intense workouts (30-45min), that can be done at home, outdoors, or the gym. No excuses.

Should our focus be on cardio or weights. How should we divide that focus? I.e., 30 minutes cardio per day, plus muscle work 3 times per week?

The book encompasses all phases of a healthy lifestyle. Each week there are 3 resistance workouts, and 2 cardio workouts. Add a balanced meal plan in there and you’ll be off to the races.

How quickly can we get in out best shape?

How hard are you willing to work? 4 weeks of pushing the pace will yield you a stronger, leaner, more toned body

Motivate us! A lot of us are just TIRED because we’re so busy caring for others — so much so that we’re not motivated to take care of ourselves. We’d rather sit down with a good book or reality TV show than move our buns. What do you suggest? How to change these habits? What would you tell someone like me? MOTIVATE ME, PLEASE!

Just get moving! If you don’t take care of the machine (yourself), the machine will break down. Put down the bon bons, and get your butt in gear. You have to think of it as a lifestyle change, so make it a habit. One thing I tell people is to have a reset button. When you fall off of the course, forget about it, and be better tomorrow. One of motivational pushes that I tell people to recite to themselves is “I Can…I Will.” Are you motivated now???

YES! I LIKE IT! NO MORE BON BONS, FTW!

What nutrition-related tips do you have for moms who want to both lose weight and shape up?

Eat a balanced meal plan that ALWAYS starts with breakfast. Avoid refined, sugary foods. Increase your consumption of fruits & veggies, along with meals with fiber. Lucky for you, the 10PS has it all down for you.

How quickly can a mom realistically get into bathing suit shape?

It all depends on how hard she works physically, and how strong she is mentally. And if she is following a healthy lifestyle. [See question 3.]

What exercises (or kind of exercise) do you recommend for moms carrying our babies around all the time and for moms who are breastfeeding. Are there special back-strengthening exercises? Arms? How do we protect ourselves, keep ourselves strong, from the wear-and-tear of motherhood?

Take a full body approach like those found in the 10PS. Your core will strengthen which will keep you strong & able to keep up with the demands of motherhood. Squats, lunges, pullups, pushups, jack knifes, etc should be part of your overall routine.

Can you tell me about your current/upcoming projects? I’m sure our readers will want MORE of you! So, please tell us where to go in addition to your book.

I’ve got a SHRED BOOTCAMP tour happening, where I visit all over the country. I’ll be putting one on in Toronto on April 17th, all details of what I’m up to can also be found on www.tommyeurope.tv. You can also follow me on twitter @TommyEurope for frequent updates, thoughts of the day, motivation tips, and mini workout programs…SSF (Super Set Fridays). Have fun with the book, I promise great results, if you give your full efforts!

*************

Lucky for me, I have the book right in front of me, and it’s packed with great ideas, tips and motivation! He even at one point talks about how that person on the couch stuffing her face is no longer you. That’s the old you, he says. The new you wants to get moving. I wish I could find the quote. I LOST IT. But there’s lots of talk like that in the book. Very motivating, INDEED!

So what do you th– HEY! PUT AWAY THAT BON BON! YEAH, YOU. I SEEEEEE YOU! Hee!

Talk to me.

xo Haley-O

********

March 22, 2011

Would you hold it against me if I fail?

Would you hold it against me if I…if I…if I…FAIL?

THIS WEEK’S THEME SONG:

OH! Sorry! How’d that get there? Here. Oops, let’s do it again.

THIS WEEK’S THEME SONG:

Okay, I really didn’t enjoy that video. Will you hold it against me? Maybe I’m getting old. Or feeling fat. But the video is painful. The song’s aiight, though. Britney, baby. Never gets old. It’s our theme song for this week.

Would you hold it against me if I’m failing right now?

I think I may have even gained weight this week.

I just. Maybe this whole “After” shoot for the magazine is too much pressure. I’ve heard fitness trainers say that having a good goal is an asset for a dieter. A wedding, class reunion, vacation, summer, POST-WEIGHT-LOSS AFTER SHOOT…. But I’ve actually been-there-done-that with all of these goals in the three years since my youngest child was born (except the reunion — I don’t do reunions for obvious reasons). I’ve had a wedding to go to, my friend’s wedding in Bermuda (vacation PLUS wedding), and I’ve been through three summers, and now, you know, the “after” shoot. Nothing. No weight loss.

I feel like when I have these major goals for my weight loss, I just fail. They DON’T help me.

So I’m thinking maybe I need to have smaller goals? Can I go ONE WEEK without eating sugar, for example? Can I go ONE DAY without that damn chai tea latte?

WHY is this so hard? It really should be easy. I am a crappy eater. If I just stopped drinking chais (which should be easy enough), I’d shave 250 extra calories A DAY from my diet. That right there would be progress. If I stopped eating bread (which should be easy enough), I’d get more fiber in my diet from whole grains. That right there would be progress. If I stopped eating three hours before bed, I’d shave maybe 1000 CALORIES! That right there would be progress.

If I did all that and continued doing my yoga practice and simply going outside with the kids most days? That right there would be progress.

doga

I’ve been failing so far. Ask any of my colleagues if they see any difference in my physique. Nothing. I still look pregnant.

But I know I want this. I’m just very tired. And I’m a little overwhelmed in general. I feel like I need to get obsessed or something. And I’m just not. And I don’t think that kind of obsession would be healthy for my children to be around, anyway. I’ve always been a person of extremes. I need to find that healthy middle ground….

And I need to find some drive.

We’re going to be showing you a video of Harley Pasternak and me working out together. I watched it yesterday, and it scared me a little that I hardly cringed when I saw how heavy I looked in the video. I didn’t cry. I didn’t beg anyone not to post it. I just accepted it. It is what it is. And so I’m realizing that it’s this underlying attitude — this complacence — that has to change. Because I may not be cringing anymore in HORROR at the way I look, but the desire to change is still there. Way down deep. I’m just scared to succeed. I’m just scared to fail. And I’m just scared to see what I’m like without all these habits — what life would be like, what I would feel, how I would handle things, pressure, work without all that comfort food. Where will I find comfort? Where do other moms find comfort?

I feel a bit better having written this down. Do you? Should we try this? Should we make real, gentle, no-pressure goals for one week? Should we shake on it? Do we even need to shake on it if we acknowledge that somewhere deep inside, beneath the extra weight and complacence, there’s a fierce desire to make this change.

FOR ONE WEEK:

1. No white or cane sugar (maple syrup and brown rice syrup in moderation is okay) — this means no chai lattes.
2. No flour products.
3. No eating 3 hours before bed — kitchen’s closed after dinner.
4. Mindful eating — we will try the civilized thing and eat at the table (not in the car or in front of the TV).
5. Continue daily yoga and walks outside (any kind of walk).

Do you want this? I do. I’m serious. I want this. Tomorrow’s my wedding anniversary, and Friday’s my mom’s birthday, and Sunday’s Josh-O’s birthday. So there will be so much CAKE (and I’m the designated cake buyer!). But I will RESIST. One bite for good luck — deal? DEAL.

There’s no failing anymore. Because we’re keeping things small and we’re owning it. This is about me. And this is about you. No one else. Let’s check in on each other Thursday.

Love!
xo Haley-O

********

March 24, 2011

The sweet taste of success

I’m doing it I’M REALLY DOING IT!

Something about this one-week CHALLENGE is really working for me. It lit my fire, Baby. Resurrected my competitive edge. Gave me something to prove in the nearer future.

I feel great — albeit a little hungry at the moment. And you have to excuse me if this blog post is a little incoherent. By this time of night, I’m usually eating myself into oblivion to stay awake and work. Not tonight, though. Tonight I’m on water only. I’m a little hungry, a little fidgety, a little bug-eyed, but very determined.

This is only DAY 2 of our one-week challenge, but I feel such a difference. Actually, I felt a difference right away. After ONE NIGHT of not eating anything after dinner, I woke up (this morning) feeling toned and slim. I went to yoga feeling smaller and a little less self-conscious. Imagine how I’ll feel, and maybe even look, after Day 7!

Yes, at this early point, I actually feel slimmer!? When I look in the mirror I find myself a weee surprised that I don’t look any different. Yet.

I think the BEST part of this challenge is that I’m doing it at the worst possible time. Not only am I swamped with work, but I celebrated my anniversary last night, and we have birthdays galore this weekend. I MYSELF am picking up TWO cakes for TWO parties tomorrow! And tomorrow night’s host (a close relative) is already pressuring me to eat pasta. But NO. One-week challenge. Nothing is stopping me. I need to see this through.

Surprisingly, the biggest challenge for me so far is not the no-night-eating or the cakes or caffeine/chai/sugar withdrawal. I woke up with a mild headache, but it was nothing compared to the laziness I felt at the end of the day today. I so wanted to grab a veggie burger and these yummy massive spelt pita-buns I bought last week. But I forced myself to stand up on my tired feet, cook a pasta dinner for my family, and cook THIS for myself (sorry, my camera ran out of batteries, so I used my blackberry):

IMG00444

It’s tofu sauteed in a bit of olive oil (I didn’t measure the oil because my macrobiotics counselor/good friend Alice told me not to worry so much about oils), and brown rice with carrots, kale and a bit of KOMBU (a seaweed that makes brown rice more digestible when cooked with it). I also made a yummy peanut sauce (a glop of peanut butter, a splash of orange juice, a drop of shoyu, a squirt of the agave-sweetened ketchup I happened to pick up the other day, 1 garlic clove, a small chunk of grated ginger). Et voilà!

IMG00446

Definitely too many cucumbers…. They were just a good contrast to the dish, I thought, and I was way too lazy to make a salad! I made a double portion of this dish so I could bring leftovers to dinner tomorrow night. Smart, right!? Hee!

The only part of the challenge I’m NOT managing to do — and I’m not beating myself up about it — is “4. Mindful eating — we will try the civilized thing and eat at the table (not in the car or in front of the TV).” I have managed not to eat in the car (not including my homemade no-sugar chai tea from the BAG, blerghh). But I love eating on my couch. I just do. And my rice/tofu dish wasn’t ready in time for me to eat with Josh-O and the kids, so I collapsed on the couch with it as soon as Josh took the kids upstairs for their baths.

But, I think it’s okay! It’s okay to scrap #4 for now — especially since I’m finding eating grains and other healthier foods is making me a more conscious eater automatically. I’m not plowing blindly through a pack of my kids’ vegan gummy bears (which I don’t even LIKE, anyway). So there’s progress. Not perfection, but progress.

And isn’t that amazing: to diet without perfection; to lose weight without obsessing; to have a little fun; to take on a challenge that isn’t a marathon.

There’s so much more to tell. I’m learning so much through this challenge. Where’d it come from anyway? ME! Not Harley Pasternak’s. Not Tommy Europe‘s. As fabulous as they are…, this plan came from me. Even though people thought I was being hard on myself with all these “rules,” I just knew it was time and that THIS was what I needed to do. I just knew. And, to think, I figured it out in the process of writing Tuesday’s blog post! So THANK YOU for that.

Now it’s your turn! Whether you’re doing the one-week challenge or Weight Watchers or taking it day by day or doing something all your own, how’s it going? Let’s talk in the comments! We’re in this TOGETHER!

Love!

xo Haley-O

 

********

March 29, 2011

Challenge #1: COMPLETE (on to the NEXT!)

Gorgeouses, I’m so excited to tell you that challenge #1 is complete! I went an entire week with no sugar, no flour, no eating after dinner! I did an hour of hardcore Ashtanga yoga every day (except rest day on Sunday), and I got outside for a walk with the kids every day.

I DID IT!

How do I feel? Was it hard? What’s next? That’s what you’re wondering, right? Checkit….

HOW DO I FEEL?

I feel GREAT! I have to say I didn’t feel deprived the whole week. I was excited about the challenge and really determined to do it. I have no idea WHERE that determination came from (because it’s not like I haven’t challenged myself online like this before — at least a hundred times in the past three years), but I’m grateful for it.

Come to think of it, maybe this challenge worked because I approached it with knowledge that I haven’t had before. I’ve been a vegan for about 3 years now, and, while most people lose weight when they go veg, I gained weight. And I think it’s because I didn’t know how to eat. It’s not like you can just cut all the “carbs” out of your diet and watch the pounds melt off. And it’s very easy to just live on Starbucks soy no-water tazo chai and Amy’s no-cheese pizza (yum!)….

But this year, I’ve made more vegan friends, and they’ve — well she’s — taught me how to eat. So I went into this challenge with grains and beans soaking on my counter top, sauerkraut and bok choy in my fridge and kombu in my pantry. I’ve been reading about this way of eating for a LONG time (just like I read about yoga for a LONG time before really practising it), and now I’ve finally put it 100% into practice.

AND I FEEL GREAT! I have more energy. My moods are more stable. I have more self-confidence. I’m less self-critical and self-blaming, less anxious. I wake up with a skip in my step. My yoga practice is much improved AND more enjoyable. I can think more clearly at work. My memory’s sharper. OH, and one more crazy one? MY EYESIGHT IS BETTER!

It’s the weirdest thing. After one week of eating well and taking care of myself, I was able to see to the very end of a street I pass every day when I leave the parking lot at work — “WOW, there’s Mt. Pleasant,” I said to myself. My daughter also asked me about a poem I have taped up on the kitchen wall. I WAS ABLE TO READ IT TO HER FROM THE OTHER END OF THE KITCHEN.

Oh, and I lost about 4 pounds…!

So, how do I feel? GREAT. Imagine how I’ll feel if I keep going (read on).

WAS IT HARD?

At times it was hard. Particularly last night, when I realized at 10:45pm that I had nothing prepared for lunch the next day. When you’re not eating flour, it’s not like you can just whip up a sandwich, or throw some crackers and dip into a container. Luckily I had cooked grains and beans in my fridge, and plenty of veggies to put to use. So I dragged my butt off the couch and into the kitchen. And this is what I made (again with the blackberry camera, bygones!)….

Brown rice and bok choy….

IMG00448

Alice’s chickpea salad (tastes like tuna salad and EASIEST YUMMY RECIPE EVER!)….

IMG00451

AND LOOK AT THE TIME….

IMG00449

I’d started off dreading cooking that late at night. But I was only cooking for myself, you know? Not the kids, not the hubby. It was QUIET in the house! And I got a good groove going. I was in bed by 11:30. And lunch today was YUM! I added some instant miso soup to the lunchbox and capped it all off with some diluted grape juice.

WHAT NEXT?

If you’re doing this challenge with me (you make your own rules, or follow mine!), then tomorrow we get a DAY OFF! This means that I will be at the corner Starbucks first thing in the morning, and in the freezer section after work searching for Amy’s no-cheese pizza and Rice Dream chocolate-mint-swirl frozen dessert. YUM. I’m half dreading the day off — because I’m feeling so good — and I’m half definitely looking forward to it.

On Thursday we increase the challenge to TEN DAYS. So challenge #2 starts Thursday and ends Saturday, April 9th. So next “cheat day” is Sunday, April 10th. ARE YOU IN!?

And it doesn’t have to be major, you know? It seems like a really strict challenge, I know, with the no-this, no-that. But I ate all the grains I wanted and I cooked good food — including some scrumptious healthy desserts. And I did have a bite of a my mom’s and Josh-O’s birthday cakes. One bite on special occasions is definitely OK. And you’ll be surprised at how satisfying one bite can be!

SO, CHALLENGE #2 BEGINS THURSDAY. Enjoy your day off! And talk to me in the comments! What’s YOUR plan? Are you in?

Love!

xo Haley-O

 

********

March 31, 2011

Losing weight: The basics

Betty-White-dog

That was me a little over a week ago, and yesterday (my cheat day), and for the past three and a half years. GET OFF THE COUCH, BETTY WHITE. Trying to get Betty to go for a walk is like pulling teeth (and, believe me, I know what that feels like — long story). But we’ve been getting outside every day. It’s a key part of our challenge.

So let’s talk for a minute about what we’re doing. I just want you to know that when I talk about what I’m doing — what the details of my challenge are — week to week, I know it’s not for everyone. I mean, I was listening to a radio show on my way home from work just today, and the host of the show was all gung-ho about her weight loss plan: something about twice-a-day shots of lemon juice, acai, goji berries and fibre. I mean, BLECH! And I can see some of you saying that about my brown-rice-and-bok-choy concoction, or my talk of sauerkraut.

But I think there are basic elements that will work for everyone. LET US REVIEW, shall we, Gorgeouses?

1. Baby steps. I’ve tried to lose this weight for 3 years with an attitude of “I’m never going to have a chai latte again EVER.” When I committed myself to ONE WEEK of clean eating, I was able to achieve it and see how great it feels to eat well in a small amount of time. This has motivated me to take on a 10-day challenge. After that I’ll do 2 weeks, and so on, until I lose the weight — and by then my horrible old habits will be gonzo.

2. Don’t eat after dinner. It’s so easy for moms to chow down as soon as they put the kids to bed, but it definitely packs on the pounds and kills your diet. Just don’t do it. You’ll be hungry and fidgety the first few evenings, but you’ll love the way you feel in the morning.

3. Move a little. My workout DVDs were boring the heck out of me. So committing to get outside once a day has been great. You can’t sit on your couch when you’re outside, you know? And once you start walking, it’s easy to keep going. I always bring my kids. I’ll put my son in the stroller, or I’ll race the kids to each stop sign.

Those are my three weight loss secrets for moms — who are so busy taking care of others that taking care of themselves should NOT be another chore!

I’ll have more tips next week. But now it’s YOUR TURN to chime in. Because we all want your tips! What are your go-to tips for getting fit and fabulous? AND what are you doing right now? Tell us so you can be accountable — because, trust me, being accountable works! Go ahead and use this space. We’re here for you.

Love!

xo Haley-O

 

********

April 5, 2011

Getting “stronger” & a “bit smaller”!

Mom-Doing-Yoga
{By Rascal Overland, 3.5 years old, April 2011.}

That’s what he said in his typically serious, occasionally monotone yoga master voice. He watched (probably as shocked as I was) as I stayed in a pose I’ve been working on for TEN MONTHS. “Good,” he said.

Then I YELLED in the silent room full of heavily-breathing students, each doing their own thing, “YOU’RE NOT HOLDING ME!?!”

“Try not to think about it.”

As he helped me get into the pose on the other side, I stated the obvious: “It’s getting better!”

“You’re stronger, and you’re getting a bit smaller.”

A bit smaller. Did you hear that, Gorgeouses? A BIT SMALLER. And stronger! YEE-HAW!

I’m about midway through my second challenge: 10 days of no sugar, no flour, no eating after dinner, daily Ashtanga yoga classes and getting outside. I don’t feel as “high” as I did on our first 1-week challenge. I’m a little tired from all the cooking, and I may ACTUALLY need to eat a little more, since I’m losing weight — or at least inches — pretty quickly.

I was going to keep going with the challenges until I could do it for 3 solid weeks. But I think the maximum I can do is 2 weeks. I need the “goal” date to be in the foreseeable future, and 3 weeks feels a bit too far away — kind of like the “after” photo I’m scheduled to shoot some time in June. So right now, after I complete this challenge, Saturday, I’ll be challenging myself 2 weeks at a time with a 1-day break in between, every other Sunday. Dunzo. Loves it.

As for exercise, Harley had told me yoga was too easy, and that I wouldn’t lose the weight by practising yoga alone. But I can now say from experience that that’s not true. For someone like me, who gets tendonitis from any kind of mainstream exercise (yes, even SPINNING!), yoga is ideal. But you have to do it every day (except Saturdays), and I think you have to sweat a lot. Otherwise, you won’t see the results — you won’t work the muscles the way you would doing, say, Harley’s 5 Factor Fitness DVDs or Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred.

What do you think? How are you doing on your weight loss journey? If I’m losing weight, I think, ANYONE CAN! I’m telling you MINI CHALLENGES! That’s the key! And take out that sugar — it’s bad news.

Anyway, what’s your exercise? Are you a spinner? Do you love exercise DVDs (which ones)? Jogging? Walking? On Thursday I’ll show you what I’ve been doing with the kids outside — great workout AND FUN!

Love!

xo Haley-O

 

********

April 7, 2011

Naughty diet confession: What’s the deal with breakfast?

800px-Cup_of_Earl_Gray

UPDATE: After you read this, please read my latest post. The comments here, and my kids’ breakfast this morning,  got me thinking.

That. Is my breakfast.

Well, it’s someone else’s “evening tea.” Someone else who’s a better photographer than I am…. My tea is a lot more opaque and less red than that.

Yes, I’m happy to report that I managed to find a good alternative to my Starbucks soy no-water tazo chai cracké. It’s a sweet, spicy, nutty beige-ish loose-leaf chai tea. And I just love making it myself: stuffing the tea leaves into a biodegradable, bleach-free (bygones) tea bag, dunking it into the hot water, adding some rice milk and sipping it on the way to work as I listen, finally relaxed after struggling to get my kids ready for school and myself out the door, to my favourite morning radio shows.

This has become my new ritual. I’ve successfully replaced my sugary, fatty breakfast with…tea. Just tea. YEE-HAW!

And THAT is my naughty diet confession. I DON’T EAT BREAKFAST ANYMORE.

I know this is dieting no-no NUMBER ONE. But it’s working for me, and I know instinctively that it’s what’s best for my body. I just don’t want to eat in the morning and, frankly, I don’t have time for it. As you may remember, I’d been bringing smoothies to work every morning for breakfast. But I got sick of that green smoothie — I mean BARF. Then I tried oatmeal. And I realized that when I ate the oatmeal, I wasn’t hungry until 2:00pm, which is way past lunchtime and prime mommy-son time (and, trust me, he does not want to sit and watch me eat).

So I decided to have my soothing tea for “breakfast” on the way to work, and to have my great big lunch as early as 11am every day. I have a handful of toasted almonds when I get hungry later in the afternoon, and I eat a great big dinner — and a healthy dessert (I’ll share some recipes ASAP).

Unfortunately, I eat my great big dinner a little too late in the evening. I’m still not organized enough to cook my dinner WHILE I cook the rest of the family’s dinner. But I’ll get there.

What do you think? Are you going to yell at me in the comments to EAT BREAKFAST!? Hee! Do you have any naughty diet confessions? And what do you think of breakfast?

Love! xo Haley-O

Photo: David Wilmot (daramot)

 

********

April 8, 2011

Haley’s Naughty Diet Confession Revisited

I have to follow up my last post. Reading it this morning, I think it needs some clarification and rethinking. Because, truth be told, if my children told me they didn’t want to eat breakfast anymore, I wouldn’t be cool with it.

I found myself insisting they eat breakfast just this morning. What am I, a hypocrite?

So I’m a bit confused right now. Because part of the challenge of dieting as a mom is that you have to set an example for your children.

I’m not pretending to know it all here. And I don’t want to come off as obsessive about losing this baby weight either. Because, frankly, I’m the least weight-obsessed person I know. Not eating breakfast is something that’s felt good for me for the past 2 weeks. But maybe that’s not long enough to know if it’s the answer….

Also, It’s 10:30 right now, and I’m hungry and I wish I’d brought an apple or something, like one of the commenters on the last post suggested.

Writing a weight-loss blog is a difficult thing to do. I’m exploring and experimenting and listening. But I’m also setting an example.

That said, I’m going to interview an expert next week. It’ll be all about breakfast and whether or not it’s important once you’re all growed up.

Thanks for the great feedback. I’m NOT an expert, and I’m still a little rusty at all this dieting stuff.

xo Haley-O

 

********

April 9, 2011

My body is my expert

So now I’m very confused. I woke up this morning feeling anxious about this blog. Part of me wanted to throw it into the garbage and the other wanted to stay with it and remind all of you of (or introduce you to) this bestselling Oprah favourite….

wfg-book-coversm

It’s definitely one of the books I came across (my wonderful nutritionist recommended it to me) that showed me dieting isn’t the answer and that my own body has all the answers.

What I want to teach my children is not RULES about food. But LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If my kids are going to bed at 7:30pm, they are most likely good and hungry for breakfast in the morning. Well, sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. If I put something yummy on the table, they will definitely go for it. But I’m not going to give them rules. And I certainly want to research this concept more….

Geneen Roth’s book reminded me of the most pivotal “diet” book I ever read — it and saved me from my numerous eating disorders when I was in university. And I want to get back to this NOW….

intuitiveeating

I remember my doctor recommending it because I was so confused about what/when/how to eat. Here are the 10 “principles” outlined in the book:

1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor Your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police
5. Respect Your Fullness
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
7. Honor Your Feelings
8. Respect Your Body
9. Exercise — Feel the Difference
10. Honor Your Health — Gentle Nutrition
(Click here for an explanation of each principle by the book’s authors.)

So I’m throwing out all the rules and listening to my body. And in a way that’s what I have been trying to do all along. I put myself on a CHALLENGE, not a “diet,” to see what life would be like without being enslaved to sugar first thing in the morning. What I found was that I didn’t need a formal breakfast — I didn’t need it that WEEK. Towards the end of the week, I started feeling hungrier in the morning, and so I realize saying “I don’t eat breakfast” isn’t necessarily the case every day.

I’ve been blogging elsewhere for over 5 years now. It should be a snap for me. But this blog is fraught with all kinds of confusion. Part of me wants to just scrunch it all up into a ball and hurl it into the Internet ether — never to be seen again. The other part thinks it’s a very healthy and necessary exploration for me.

When I gave up sugar, I was able to see what was underneath all the numbness sugar brings. I’m actually happier here. I don’t have to give up sugar for good, but my body’s definitely showing me signs that it’s happier — clearer skin, more energy, weight loss (weight loss isn’t even the best benefit, to think!). I’m now able to listen to my body. I’m able to eat, like a slim person, when I’m hungry. And that, not anyone or anything else, will be my guide. To my mind, that’s the healthiest way for me (and I can only speak for me) to be.

I’m not sure where this blog goes from here. My body is my expert.

Love!
xo Haley-O

********

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fab, Fit and Farewell(ish)

As you know from my last post, I’ve been very conflicted about writing this blog. On the one hand, it’s been a healthy exploration for me. I never would have come up with the effective concept of “Mini Challenge” (vs. “Diet”) if it hadn’t been for this pivotal post.

Writing this blog forced me to look inward in a way I hadn’t before — at my diet, my lifestyle and my overall complacency. It’s very easy to just keep living chai latte to chai latte. It’s life-changing when you challenge yourself to make real changes, to get underneath the latte and see what’s really there.

So here I am….

HaleyO

I can’t tell you how much weight I’ve lost, but you can see that the weight loss is significant! This blog was definitely the catalyst, as well as you and your comments, encouragement and partnership in this. So how grateful am I?!

The thing is, though, that at this point I don’t want to become obsessive about diet and fitness. I don’t want to make any more rules or go on any more challenges — unless I ever feel like the heavy hand of SUGAR is holding me down again. I want to be quiet for a while and listen to my body.

By doing my no-sugar, no-flour challenges, I cleared the slate. I even replaced sugar-and-fat laden breakfasts with no breakfasts. But now I may add an apple to my morning menu. Next week I may add some nuts. Before we know it I may be adding five meals a day. Who knows? But my body will inform my nutrition — now that I can finally listen to it.

This is the last Fit and Fab with Haley-O post here at Today’s Parent. Professionally, I need to focus my energy on researching and writing more articles and, of course, on our CELEBRITY CANDY blog because it really is FLYING! Remarkably FLYING!

But this isn’t farewell. I’ll definitely keep chronicling my weight loss journey on my personal blog, Cheaty Monkey. There I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing on my own time and not, what feels like obsessively, twice a week here. So please do join me there for the rest of the story and more healthy recipes in the Cheaty Kitchen!

All of these Fitness posts will live on Cheaty Monkey soon — and I thank my team for that gift because this blog has been so life-changing for me that I really do want to take it home with me! So if you need extra motivation, or to read the story about the sparrow hitting me on the head again…. It’ll all be there.

Thanks for everything, Gorgeouses!
And please keep me posted on your progress!
Love!
xo Haley-O