Sunday, 16 December 2012

My Birthday Blog!

Whooo Hoooo!! It's my birthday today!!! Yahooo!! Bring out the cake!  Light the candles!! Let's get this party started!!

So, it's just after 9 am and I'm still in bed.  I have enjoyed the morning snuggling with my boy and lingering over a delightful breakfast in bed of crepes, nutella, and banana courtesy of my awesome husband. And now I'm sipping on a coffee as I blog about my birthday.  Life is good!

And I know most people over the age of  20 don't shout their birthdays on the roof tops for the world to hear.  As we get older the special day evolves from being a day to celebrate getting a year older to a day to dread getting a year older.  It's all about the age--the number.  And so as the numbers increase, our enthusiasm for the day starts to wane. It becomes a reminder that we are indeed getting older, and now it's official.  It reminds us that our bodies are less flexible, our skin a bit saggier. We become humble, mentioning the occasion to only a few, telling ourselves that we don't expect lavish gifts, or big 'to do's', because, after all, it's just another day.

So here's the deal.  I love birthdays, especially mine.  I tell my friends about the day, I tell my husband how I want to celebrate it.  In fact, I've already posted it on Facebook as a way to celebrate the big event. Am I getting older?  Sure, but I was yesterday too!   We all get a bit older each day, but who cares?  The alternative to not getting older is not being alive, and isn't that the whole point?  Isn't that what we're celebrating?  Being alive? Being born!  And frankly, I'm damn happy to have been born! Thanks Mom and Dad for getting 'busy' all those years ago and making a baby!  Thanks Mom, for giving birth to me!  I'm glad you did it!!

And I guess I see birthdays a bit differently.  Like I said, it's a day to celebrate life.  My life.  And as corny as that sounds, I think that it's very important to celebrate our own lives.  For one thing--they're awfully short in the whole scheme of things, they're precious, and we only get one.  We don't get 'do over's' so we need to be vigilant about making good use of the ones we have.  And given this, birthdays are a great reminder to celebrate not this one particular day, but to celebrate each and every day.  It's a reminder to introduce passion and joy into our spirits and souls and do a proverbial Whoooo Hoooo about our lives and the wonderful people in them!

One other reason I love birthdays is because of the presents.  Anyone who knows me knows, I love presents.  Every year on my birthday I ALWAYS buy myself a birthday present. I actually started my little custom years ago when I was single, but now hit has continued to where it's a fun part of my birthday.  Sure, I get presents from my family and friends, but I always take the time to buy myself one too. And I always make sure to buy something for myself that I wouldn't normally buy.  It has to be fun. Ya, this might sound a bit corny, or a tad materialistic, especially since I'm a bit older--because let's face it--a common belief out there is that presents are for kids. But here's the deal.  I think presents, whether they're birthday, Christmas, or Mother's Day presents are very very important.  They are a symbolic way of telling ourselves and our loved ones that we're important. We're special.  We're worth it.  They're a way of celebrating our loved ones, and showing how much we are valued.  And that, to me, is something that we need to do every single year. When we get into that mode of not buying presents because we're too old, or because Christmas is just for kids, or because we don't need anything--we stop celebrating ourselves and making ourselves 'worth it.'  We stop feeling the joy and excitement for the day and what it really symbolizes--which is a day to rejoice in life itself and the glory of being that wonderful YOU!

And yeah, I never think of my birthday as a day to remind myself that I'm getting older.  It's a day to look back on the past year and reflect on all the good things that have happened, and what I've accomplished.  It's a day to make plans for the next year and add a few new tasks to my bucket list. I'm quite proud of the fact that I wrote my first book this year, and have decided to officially start on a second.  I've had a story rumbling around in my head for some time now, and so this year I will make it a priority to get started on this next book.  I'm happy that I've become a Beachbody coach and am excited to see the results I've gotten from completing the Insanity program, and so this year I will be working hard to incorporate a lot more strength training into my regime to see where that takes me.

 Finally, I see my birthday as a day to feel thankful for all the blessings in my life, for which there are many, like my good health, my amazing family, and my wonderful friends.  I have been blessed in so many ways, and today is a day to take a minute to really savor all the love in my life.

And, so there you have it! That is why I LOVE Birthdays!!

And happy birthday to YOU!!  I know that there are many of you celebrating this month, and so I am sending you Happy Birthday Vibes your way!  May your day and year be filled with love and laughter and good health too!!

Happy Birthday cousin Robin!

Happy 18th Birthday to my good friend Quinn Hardie!

Happy Birthday to my former student Sarah Marten!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Angela Kimball!

Happy Birthday to my former student Alana Rutherford!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Tara Meikle!!

Happy Birthday cousin Kelly!

Happy Birthday cousin Ev!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Jacqueline Bissoon!

Happy Birthday to my former student Joey Dobson!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Laurissa Harkness!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Jesse Van Steelandt!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Jess Brown!

Happy Birthday to my former student Angela Worthman!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Cathy Rookes!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Nicole Gottert!!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Becca's daughter!

Happy Birthday to my good friend Jenn's son!!

Happy 50th Anniversary to my parents, Henry and Isabel Zarn!!!

And Happy Birthday to Jesus!!

If I've forgotten you, send me an email and we'll put your birthday here too!!


Friday, 14 December 2012

Why You Don't Need to Be 'Sporty Spice'

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not really the "Sporty Spice" kinda girl.  I don't have long graceful arms and legs that seem to fly through the air as I gracefully sprint down the road, or perform push up jacks, or suicide jumps like I was born doing them.

I'm short, and slow, and that's okay. When I'm in the middle of a push up jack or an oblique push up I probably look more like a marshmallow trying to bend itself in half.  I do my best though and I succeed--not because I was gifted a genetically talented set of legs or arms, adept at running quickly, or playing different sports.  I succeed because of one very small and simple fact:

It's all in your head.


Years ago I ran a full marathon.  26.2 miles of sweat and pain and sheer grit.  There were many times I wanted to throw in the towel and hit the nearest Tim Horton's for an extra large double double and a cheese croissant.  However, what kept me going was not my body--it was my mind.  It refused to let my feet stop moving, even when it hurt like the blazes of hell.

In fact, a lot of runners out there will train by running the last few grueling miles of the course first.  They will find the route and practice running it time and time again--feeling strong.  That feeling of power and confidence gets etched in their mind and soul, and come race day--when they hit the last and toughest part of the run, the memory kicks in and their body has a much easier time finding that reserve of energy and strength because it's used to feeling strong when it runs that part of the route.

Cool eh!

Your mind plays an integral part in success--not only in the exercise department, but in life in general.  If you think you can't--well, you can't.  It's as simple as that.  But if you tell yourself that you're strong, and powerful, and really practice feeling that way--pretty  soon your body will start believing it.

So, when you're slugging through month 2 of Insanity, and really hating those moves, why not take a day and fast forward to the end when you're generally feeling pretty bagged out, and do those moves feeling strong and refreshed.  Focus on imagining yourself powering through them, and visualize your body getting stronger with each jump and each squat.  Tell yourself over and over again that you are powerful, you are strong, you are powerful, you are strong.  And then when you actually do the workout, maybe, just maybe your body will remember what you've told it, and you will be able to pump out a few more reps.

And while you're doing that workout, rather than looking at the tv or the DVD player, staring at the timer bar or the cast doing the moves, thinking about how tired you are and how much you want to quit--keep your eyes off the tv and go into your  own mental space where you can draw from your own reserve of power and energy.  Focus on yourself and how strong you are, not on the tv and how much time is left before you get a water break.

Yes, easier said than done, but this stuff takes practice.

You can do it, you know.  You don't have to have long graceful arms and legs.  You don't have to look good in spandex. (I sure don't!)  Focus on the power that you have deep within you, and then get in there and find it!  It is there!!

If you are interested in getting fit and healthy, I want to hear from you!!  Click here to join my team and receive my free ebook, THE PLAN!  Today is the day!!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Are you sitting at home thinking..."I need help losing weight?"

It's Saturday afternoon, and maybe you're sitting in front of the computer, surfing the internet, searching for the clues to success, the Holy Grail of Happiness. You browse site after site, looking for things that will help you achieve your goals, make you fitter, make you leaner, make you happier.

Because we all know that once you lose that weight, you'll be happy, right?

That's what I thought.

I was convinced I'd enjoy life more, and people would like me better if I was skinnier.

And so today, although I've got a number of things I'd like to blog about, I've decided to blog about happiness.

I saw this picture on a friend's Facebook wall today, and it struck a chord with me.

It's interesting isn't it.  Can you picture the scene? This creative and intelligent boy in school, surrounded by his wrinkled and uptight elders, telling them that they didn't understand life because they didn't get that one of the best goals in life is just to be happy?  

It made me pause, and think.

Are you happy, truly, filled to the brim with joy, right this very minute?  Do you like your 'lot in life'?  Are you who you want to be, and where you want to be?

Good question eh.

And here's the deal, you might be wondering, what the heck does this have to do with health and fitness?

The answer is.....


Why are you working out?  Why do you want to lose weight?

Who do you eat obsessively, or do self-destructive things to your body?

How is getting fit and losing weight going to change your life?  Will it make you happier, or will the sadness, the inner demons, the discontent be waiting there for you, just around the corner?  Will they haunt you and lurk, waiting for your will power and resolve to falter so they can tempt you back into that giant size bag of chips or that extra large cone?

And here's a question, what does it truly take to be happy? Money? Status? Career achievement? Family? Health? Friends?

I ask these questions for a number of reasons. If you're visiting this page because you want to lose weight, that is great!  The Beachbody programs are fantastic, and hey, I'm an awesome coach (just saying), but the first thing that you need to do is to take a very careful look at what is going on inside your heart, in your life, and really think about how happy you are.  And if you're not overly thrilled with where you are at this present moment, of if you haven't had a good belly laugh, or felt pure joy in a very long time, then you need to do some inner reflection and think about why.  What is going on to make you feel the way you do, and then find a way to change things. 

I'll let you in on a little secret, one that I learned a very long time ago, one that changed the way I live my life:


Life is not a dress rehearsal.  We don't get a do-over.  We don't get a repeat.

Today is the day to take the bull by the horns and get out there and truly experience each and every day.  Today is the day to make your 'bucket list' and then set out to accomplish every single thing on that list.  And the things on your list don't have to be biggies.  They can be simple, like volunteering at a local shelter, or running a half-marathon.  Maybe you've always dreamed of learning how to play the ukulele.  The sky is the limit!!  

And once you start rejoicing in the simple pleasure of life, celebrating each and every day that comes along, feeling pure passion about where you are, who you are, and what you're doing--you may just find that the inner demons that have been driving you to head to the cookie bag and the chip bowl, the same ones who tell you that you'll never fit into those skinny jeans--you may just find that they have buggered right off.

I don't know a lot of things, but I do know a few simple truths:

1. Life is short, so celebrate each and every day to its fullest. Don't worry about being proper all the time.  Laugh, joke around, be silly, get your hands dirty.  
2. You CAN get fit and health if you make a commitment to yourself that you are worth the time and energy that it requires to succeed. You are worth it.  And if you really think about what you are putting into your mouth and sweat your ass off on a regular basis, you will see results.
3. Happiness doesn't come in a dollar bill.  It comes in smiles across good meals, holding hands, cuddles on the couch, good belly laughs, and the comfort of good friends and family. 

So, if you need help losing weight, my advice to you, as a Beachbody coach, is to do things to make yourself happy, commit to yourself, and work to success. 

And know, that I am here, cheering you on, each and every step of the way.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Figuring Out Your Caloric Intake For Weight Loss

Ahhh the dreaded "calorie" talk.

We've all heard it, haven't we.  It's almost as bad as the 'birds & the bees' talk we got when we were 12 eh.  Everyone groans when the topic comes up and pretends not to be listening.

We all know food has calories, and that taking in too many will make our asses look like marshmallow's on steroids.  And we all know that we should be keeping track of how many calories we're taking in on a daily basis. However, it just doesn't seem like a lot of fun.

So what should we be doing then?  And what do I think?

Well, here's the deal.  Years ago, when I tried to lose weight by counting calories, I went a bit overboard on the whole calorie restriction thing. I went from counting my calories to severely restricting my calories, to the point where I was only taking in about 1100 calories per day.  Needless to say I had hardly any energy to walk to the bathroom for a pee during the commercial breaks of my favorite tv show, much less do a decent workout.  In essence, I was starving myself, and although I lost weight, it wasn't a long term solution.  Who can keep that kind of nonsense up for any length of time? I sure couldn't.  While I was doing it, I'd give myself one cheat day (and that in itself is a topic for a whole blog post).  During the week when I was 'eating properly' I'd lay in bed at night and fantasize about all the delectable treats I was going to snarf down on my 'fun day.'  Cherry strudel, croissants, fries, chips, chocolate--you name it--I was going to eat it. And when the monumental day would arrive--I would do just that--inhale anything and everything I could get my greasy little fingers on--to the point where I'd eat myself into a sugar induced coma, and go to bed literally hating myself for such self-abuse.

Needless to say, it didn't work.  I couldn't maintain that kind of lifestyle, for one thing.  The cheat day behavior wasn't healthy in the least, and I had next to no energy to workout.

Eventually, however, I did find something that did work, and I'd like to share it with you.

It's called....wait for it....being realistic.

What? Being Realistic? That's it?

Well, let me explain.

If you want to be healthy (and yes, lose weight), you have to be realistic about how you want to live your life. Is starving yourself going to work in the long run? Absolutely not!  So get the notion of extreme calorie restriction out of your head.  It doesn't work, for many reasons.

Also, if you want to achieve long term health and success, you will have to wrap your head around the fact that you are going to have to exercise.  Plain and simple.  There are NO quick fixes here, and if you haven't already, it's time to build an effective workout program into your daily schedule.

So, you need to have enough calories to fuel your body for the day to day functions, and you also will need the energy to get some good workouts in.

When I started the Insanity program I really came to grips with the fact that food is fuel. And if I want that machine of a body I own to run properly, I was going to have to put good quality fuel into it.  And that means not only enough calories, but good quality calories as well.

The Insanity Nutrition Guide uses the Harris Benedict Equation to help you determine how many calories you're going to need each day. And to begin with, we're going to assume that you're working out on a regular basis.

(This is right from the guide.)

Step 1:

For Women:  655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)

For Men: 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

Step 2:

Take that number from above and multiply by the level of exercise listed below:

1.2  = Sedentary: Little or no exercise
1.375 = Lightly Active: Light exercise (1 to 3 days/week)
1.55 = Moderately Active: Moderate exercise (3 to 5 days/week)
1.7 = Very Active: Hard exercise (6 to 7 days/week)
1.9 = Extremely Active: Hard daily exercise and/or a physical job

Step 3:

The number that you now have will tell you your calorie needs for weight maintenance. Now, you will adjust this number up or down, depending on your weight loss or gain goals:

See below:

~ For weight loss, subtract 500 calories per day from your number in step 2.
~ For weight maintenance, do nothing, just use the number from step 2.
~ For weight gain, add 250 to 300 calories per day to your number from step 2.

Now that you have figured out your calorie needs, you may see that you are currently either eating too much or too little.  It is also possible for people who want to lose weight to not be eating enough.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that 'less is better' and do what I did. 1100 calories is way to little to eat--especially since I was also trying to exercise.  As it stands, my caloric intake for weight loss is at about 1800.  I eat considerably more now than I did before, but I also have the energy I require to perform well during my workouts, and I never feel starved.

I also eat breakfast (always plain oatmeal and egg whites), and every 2 1/2 to 3 hours after that.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!  By eating breakfast and every few hours after that, you are kick starting your metabolism, keeping your blood sugar leveled out, and preventing your body from going into starvation mode (where it holds onto fat because it thinks you are starving it).

So, my friends, the lesson of the day is that YES, you do need to keep track of your calories, but not to starve yourself.  You want to ensure that you are taking in enough calories and enough of the good stuff.

If you haven't already, check out  It's a great website that will help you not only track your calories, but also help you determine if you're eating enough protein/carbs/fat, because, let's face it--your body needs both lean protein and good carbs to function.

Eat well, live well!!


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