SERENE_ME's SparkPeople Blog SERENE_ME's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community A decade. Last year I was a bit late - forgot the date completely actually. This year I'm two days early but perhaps that's because it's a landmark. 10 years ago on the 4th of January I said "enough". <BR> <BR> 10 years ago I had just come off a holiday eating binge that had me heaving in disgust. I remember making a batch of white chocolate and raspberry scones and eating so many as they came from the oven that there weren't enough left for my guests. My mother had made a pound of butter into shortb... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 13:51:52 EST National News? Last week created a bit of buzz of the 15 minutes of fame variety for my husband and me. Canada's national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, did a half page article on us for its "How They Lost It" feature. <BR> <BR> While I had hoped a little more about our maintenance journey would have been mentioned (not really in keeping with the name of the feature I realize), it was still fun to have our story read far and wide and to hear from people all over the country that they had seen it. <BR> <BR... Mon, 16 Sep 2013 09:34:28 EST I hate exercise. I really do. <BR> <BR> Well, maybe not exercise itself. It's more true to say that I absolutely hate the idea of exercising. No matter what it is - and in these now almost 10 years since I began my transformation, trust me, I've tried EVERYTHING - I dread it. <BR> <BR> In fact, the mere thought of having to change and get into my exercise gear and do whatever I have planned for the day triggers a deep response of loathing from my over involved brain. "You're going to run? Why bother?" it a... Wed, 15 May 2013 15:54:38 EST Hmmmm, I'm forgetting something You know how you sometimes sit on a date and know that it means something but can't quite remember? That's how I've been feeling all week about January 5th. I know it must mean something but what? <BR> <BR> It finally came to me this afternoon as I was thinking about last night's Biggest Loser premiere and trying to decide if I wanted to watch it or not. All of a sudden I remembered... <BR> <BR> January 5, 2004 is the date I decided to get healthy once and for all. Sitting at 221lbs and sta... Mon, 7 Jan 2013 21:50:07 EST No longer afraid of Real Mayonnaise I had to laugh at a recent episode of Biggest Loser when last year's contestants were aghast at Buddy's choice of a tsp of REAL mayo over one of the fake options. Seriously, there were several outraged comments and Becky looked like she'd been told Buddy was an axe murderer - it was quite funny. But it did make me think. <BR> <BR> Then this morning the daily sparkpeople email asked if my sugar cravings were out of control. I took the quiz and discovered, no surprise, that they weren't! And t... Tue, 3 Apr 2012 09:19:45 EST What Health Is... One of my first memories of being a sweet young first year university nursing student is sitting in a classroom during orientation and being required to write out a definition of health. At the time I recall thinking “what the heck do I know about health? I just got here.” In retrospect, I realise that I wasn’t actually “required” to do anything. The exercise was part of a Professor’s research and, no doubt, we were all given the usually blah, blah, blah consent speech but, since I knew ev... Tue, 6 Dec 2011 10:41:08 EST Mythbuster As I approach my 3rd anniversary of permanently removing 85lbs from my body, I am thinking about all of the rules I have broken in the weight loss and maintenance game. You know the ones I’m talking about: do this and this and this and for heaven’s sake stop doing THAT. Those rules. You can find them embedded in the dogma of every legitimate weight loss program on the planet with a few crazies ( such as eat grapefruit only on Mondays and never during a full moon) upping the ante in the rule b... Fri, 18 Nov 2011 14:18:12 EST Afraid of Commitment? It's as old as time itself. The story of a couple hooking up but one of the pair is afraid of making a long term commitment to the relationship for fear of how it would restrict their future choices. In literature and film, it usually results in the relationship falling apart at the seams with the offending party realising too late that their one chance of happiness is now lost forever. Cue sappy violin music. <BR> <BR> Yes, a commitment made today is going to have an impact on our futures. ... Fri, 4 Nov 2011 10:57:21 EST Crazy A few weeks ago, during a long run on a very hot day, some young guy with all the wisdom of his few years on earth deigned to stick his head out a car's window and call me crazy. First I just laughed. But then I got thinking about it a little because, frankly, running on a shady sidewalk seemed less crazy than undoing your seatbelt and poking your head out of a moving car to yell at a pedestrian. <BR> <BR> Then I thought some more about it. Was it crazy to be out running in the heat and hum... Mon, 8 Aug 2011 15:40:10 EST Balancing Act When I was a young girl, Olga Korbut ruled the gymnastic's world. Of all her feats in the gym, the balance beam was my absolute favourite. How any human could make the moves she was able to make on that narrow, (and dangerously hard), plank of wood was beyond me! Absolutely terrifying and mesmerising at the same time! <BR> <BR> Our high school's gymnastic's team was desperate enough to allow a complete newbie like me join for fun. While athletic, I'm not particularly graceful, flexible nor m... Wed, 20 Jul 2011 10:54:19 EST Getting up and doing it all again today When you successfully lose a large amount of weight and maintain that loss, people want to know the secret. Because, we're all convinced that there's a secret. I am getting used to people looking me up and down when we first get together after a few months apart - they're checking me out to see how much weight I've regained. Because it's no secret that people lose weight all the time then regain it almost as quickly. Those of us who maintain a large weight loss must know something everyone el... Wed, 13 Jul 2011 10:58:35 EST What do I deserve? It's funny that the universe is so steadfast in its ability to send to you what you need or should have! I haven't billed my new, private coaching practice as weight loss coaching yet I am attracting primarily clients who wish to lose weight. Because my practice is on the phone and my clients are from all over North America, they don't get to see me and don't usually know that I've lost weight. In fact, during 2 initial interview sessions, 2 separate clients said they had seen my photo on my ... Thu, 23 Jun 2011 08:46:25 EST Feeding our feelings. I recently asked a client if she thought she were an emotional eater. Her response struck a chord with me. "Well," she said, "I used to be. But I haven't had that much stress in my life lately and I'm still eating poorly so I don't know that I really am." <BR> <BR> I had to think about this for a minute because, on the face of it, it sounded like every other thing I've thought about emotional eating for myself. If I had a really bad day, I'd come home and open the fridge. After the cheese an... Thu, 9 Jun 2011 17:03:10 EST Why I run. It's National Running Day!! <BR> <BR> I didn't know this until an hour ago but I'm excited all the same. A whole day devoted to celebrating my favourite sport of all time! Woo Hoo! <BR> <BR> What better day to explore my passion than today? So, here it goes - why I run. <BR> <BR> I run... <BR> <BR> *because it is one of the most primitive and beautiful forms of human motion <BR> <BR> *to enhance the flow of endorphins through my body <BR> <BR> *because I feel like I'm 17 again when I ... Wed, 1 Jun 2011 10:59:47 EST The importance of being kind. I wish, quite simply, to be more kind. <BR> <BR> Oh, don't get me wrong! I'm kind now - I seek ways to help people, say please and thank you frequently, hold doors open and am generous with my gifts and talents. I'm no slouch in the kindness department but I still wish to be more kind because I now understand that kindness isn't a set of finite acts but rather, like spirit, an inate way of being in the world that has absolutely no boundaries. However kind I am today, I can be more kind tomor... Tue, 24 May 2011 12:15:46 EST Grateful "I can find gratitude in anything!" <BR> <BR> "Anything?" queried my incredulous friend. <BR> <BR> "ANYthing!" I asserted, "Name it - I'll find a reason to be grateful for it." <BR> <BR> Needless to say my friend was doubtful. So much so that she challenged me to spend the weekend looking for the holes in my belief. <BR> <BR> But I had no doubt I could do it. When people ask me what was the very first thing I did to begin the transformation journey that culminated in a loss of 85lbs, they... Mon, 16 May 2011 09:06:43 EST A winter gone away I am so glad to be here. <BR> <BR> Well, truth be told, I'm not really glad to be HERE, in Southern Ontario, where, despite the lovely spring temperatures making promises to weary souls, there's still a lot of snow on the ground. Not here here but here, on sparkpeople! <BR> <BR> I had a strange and glorious winter in a beautiful beach cottage 100 feet from the Gulf of Mexico. It was an unusually warm and sunny February, ( or so the locals said), and I lapped it up like a cat with a dish of... Thu, 17 Mar 2011 20:40:24 EST The Blame Game Let me say right up front that I’m not out to indict anyone. I’m mostly speaking from experience and, as a keen observer of human nature, I’m expanding what I know was on my insides to the insides of others. So, forgive me for making this generalization about us but, as a rule, we people not great at taking responsibility. We often play the Blame Game. Let me use myself as an example: <BR> <BR> When I was obese, I told more than one person I was overweight because I came from an obese family... Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:47:41 EST My inner fat girl There are many weight loss websites and I have signed up for notices from lots of them - mostly I delete the messages and I rarely go to the sites - why bother? We have the best, most comprehensive and amazing site here at sparkpeople, right? But this morning one of the notices was for a woman's blog and its title resonated with me so I clicked over to it and read with total empathy. <BR> <BR> The 45 year old woman had lost over 100 lbs and was now sitting at 141. She'd had a stroke at 40 an... Thu, 20 Jan 2011 08:43:15 EST I can - an affirmation of success. I can. <BR> <BR> There are so many things that I can do now that I couldn't (or wouldn't try!) when I was obese. It's been awhile since I have visited these but having these reminders of what has changed (and why) has been good motivation and celebration through these now many months of maintenance. All tools at the ready! All hands on deck! <BR> <BR> I can touch my toes without bending my knees. I can almost get my hand flat on the ground although I have tight hips so it's hard. <BR> <BR>... Sat, 8 Jan 2011 17:36:29 EST It's been 7 years!!! I was watching Biggest Loser last night and one of the contestants, Arthur, was becoming overwhelmed by the fact that, despite having already lost 150 lbs prior to joining the cast, he still had 300 lbs to go. He kept saying "I have to lose my father" (who weighs 300 lbs, not that he had to die first in order for the son to succeed!!!). How utterly defeating it must be to him to realize just how much fat he has to get rid of! <BR> <BR> I remember sitting in my doctor's office 7 years ago tod... Wed, 5 Jan 2011 08:33:22 EST Feeling jittery. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to wallow in a bad place? I've been in a few bad places in my long life and it's always been easier to sit there in the muck of it than to pull myself out and find a better place to be. <BR> <BR> For example - my weight. I was obese for so long! It was never a happy place for me. I could never pretend that those extra pounds creeping up over my thighs and jiggling on my belly were good things. I worried constantly about my health - convinced I was killin... Tue, 4 Jan 2011 09:28:37 EST New Year's Revelations I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions. That's not to say I haven't made more than my fair share over the years but, given that they've generally all fallen through within a few days of their conception, I haven't really benefitted from the exercise. So - I don't make resolutions. <BR> <BR> Instead, I use the end of the year as a time to reflect on the many great teachings of the previous year. What did I achieve? What did I learn? What changed for the good or the bad or, more importantly, wh... Sat, 1 Jan 2011 21:02:54 EST Quick update on my darling daughter... As many of you know, my DD has been ill for months with a series of connected illnesses that culminated in a diagnosis of Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) back in early November. This extremely rare neurological illness strikes about 1 in a million people and the vast majority of those afflicted are young children. That means that in Canada, at any given time, there are likely just 5 or 6 adult sufferers whose symptoms are all over the map and whose recoveries are as individual as ... Fri, 10 Dec 2010 10:21:42 EST Marathon I trained for it once my injuries from the spring healed and it was evident that they could handle the hard work. <BR> I trained for it because my daughter was so sick and a 10 week plan looked like it would take my mind off her illness for a few hours a week. <BR> I trained for it by getting up at 5 am and logging many kilometers in the fall darkness. <BR> I trained for it all alone because I don't know any other runners. <BR> I trained without thinking about it - no special food, cross ... Wed, 10 Nov 2010 15:33:51 EST The road less travelled. FIRST and FOREMOST: <BR> <BR> THANK YOU SPARKFRIENDS!!! <BR> <BR> I am feeling very loved and supported. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and offering words of encouragement - they mean so much to me! <BR> <BR> Second - family update: <BR> <BR> My DD with the optic neuritis is feeling better physically but the recovery of her vision has been slow. We were advised yesterday that there has been no improvement in her one, completely blind eye and only marginal improvement in her other... Fri, 29 Oct 2010 08:43:01 EST When it rains...'s a hurricane at my house. <BR> <BR> Life has been coming at me with double fisting punches for about 2 months now. Let me encapsulate the craziness as quickly as I can: <BR> <BR> August: My 2 year old grandson came for a visit from Colorado and I knew something wasn't right - the way any mother of 4 knows when something isn't right. Sure enough, DD#1 takes him home to the doctor and he's diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Lots of assessment and treatment plans to come for my ... Wed, 20 Oct 2010 14:02:43 EST Sweet September There's nothing like finishing August with a raging heat wave to make you appreciate the arrival of September. <BR> <BR> Last week, I was surfacing from the relative coolness of the subway to find myself instantly bathed in sweat from a furnace blast of hot, humid, dead air. Usually I can tolerate the heat - like most modern city folk, I move from air conditioned space to air conditioned space with relative ease. And, while muggy hot days seem to slow time as you move yourself through soup,... Tue, 7 Sep 2010 14:46:12 EST Economics 101 I've always thought my husband, Steven, should have been an economist. He's got the credentials that head in the right direction (an MBA) and the natural inclinations (a lifelong facility with mathematics - he's the only person I've ever known to get a 98% score in graduate school statistics course) for it. And he thinks like one. Heading into a Provincial Park last weekend, I suggested we consider getting a season's pass since we're likely to be park hopping a fair bit this summer. He took 2... Mon, 31 May 2010 15:49:54 EST This feels like magic. The fear is gone. Totally gone. I really can't believe it, but it is gone. <BR> <BR> Those of you who have lost and maintained any amount of weight will know of this fear. It's the one that makes you wake up with a start in the morning checking under the covers to see if the weight has returned. It's the one that makes you weight yourself excessively - so convinced are you that the weight is back. It's the one that knows we've been down this path before. The one that doesn't really trust tha... Fri, 30 Apr 2010 11:29:42 EST Engaged in the present and looking forward. I've bitten off more than I can chew this winter - metaphorically speaking that is! <BR> <BR> For the past 3 winters I've done the same thing; knowing that the dark months of January and February are going to weigh heavy on my mind and spirit, I've filled up the calendar so the days are full and busy thus keeping my depressive brain out of the literal cookie jar. <BR> <BR> It works but, come April 1, I feel like the April Fool as I scramble to complete winter commitments and begin the regr... Wed, 31 Mar 2010 08:36:46 EST Photo Op I know I'm getting old - it says so both on my birth certificate AND my driver's license if nothing else. But there are other indications that the old grey matter isn't quite what it used to be. <BR> <BR> Take, for example, this recent selecetion of photos I discovered neatly stacked in the back of my desk drawer. I never would have looked way back there had we not been renovating the room the desk was in and, being the super organizer that I am, I decided nothing was more important than ge... Tue, 16 Feb 2010 20:20:34 EST Olympic Sized Dreams My DH and I were watching "The Rookie" on TV the other night - I'm pretty sure we saw it in the theater when it first came out because I recognized the opening scene where 2 nuns are blessing a dry patch of desert in Texas hoping their investment in an oil scheme would pay off. Clearly they were prepared to encourage their highest power to help them achieve their dream! <BR> <BR> I liked the movie the first time around and enjoyed it even more the second time - and not just for some of the q... Wed, 10 Feb 2010 11:58:35 EST Hard Truth I was balancing on one foot this morning wrestling with a recalcitrant sock and an uncooperative pant leg. My DH looked over at me and said, "Do you remember when it was hard for you to bend over to tie up your shoe? Did you ever think you'd be able to do a flamingo manoeuvre at this age?" After I stopped laughing (it's harder to balance while you're laughing!!) and donned my sock, I started thinking about this idea of hard. <BR> <BR> I'm at that interesting stage of thinness where I now kn... Wed, 20 Jan 2010 10:43:49 EST 6 years ago today... ... I had just returned from the doctor's office and discovered, to my horror that a) I weighed 221 lbs and b) I had gained 5 lbs over the previous year even though I had started exercising that year. <BR> <BR> It was a sad and defeating moment of my life compounded tenfold by my insistence to my doctor that my metabolism was clearly broken; that I didn't deserve to be so overweight when I ate so well and was so active!! It rang hollow to my ears even as I said it and I can still see my fit,... Tue, 5 Jan 2010 13:38:45 EST The Moderation Myth Over the past 5 (I'm going to have to change that to 6 soon since I started this process on January 5, 2004!) 6 years I've developed a lot of tools and tricks to help me lose weight and keep it off. I've had to do this. And you have to do it too. There is almost nothing of my pre-January 2004 lifestyle that contributed to health - most of it, in fact, can firmly be looked at as a direct cause of or, at the least, contributing factor to, my obesity. And so, a lot of things have had to change, ... Mon, 7 Dec 2009 14:21:10 EST Motivator of the Day???? Nov 26, 2009 Okay, I'm not always the brightest lightbulb on the string. Until this morning, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a Motivator of the Day - but, apparently, there is and I'm it today. <BR> <BR> Wow. I am humbled and honoured beyond belief. <BR> <BR> My journey of recovery from obesity has been an intense exploration of myself. Sometimes, while wrestling with a particularly difficult aspect of my life that was feeding my obesity and keeping me overweight, I have felt very selfish -... Thu, 26 Nov 2009 09:51:50 EST Getting out of my own way. My youngest DD is 20 - she's intelligent, charming, funny, anxiety riddled, extremely introverted and, quite frankly, has been through a lot. Shy, anxious kids do best with stability and, when it mattered most, we weren't able to offer her that. <BR> <BR> A job change required moving across country right after her 8th grade year. Starting high school in a new area was overwhelming to her and she internalized her fear and anxiety to such an extent that she began having mini panic attacks. Fo... Wed, 18 Nov 2009 12:23:49 EST Self Love and Injuries Well, I've done it again. I've injured myself. <BR> <BR> The first time I suffered from an athletic injury in my entire life was in 1992. I was taking step aerobic classes at my local YMCA and enjoying my improved fitness very much. But, without a lot of warning, my knees gave out. Proud, young and, okay, also stupid, I did not seek help. I continued to barrel along with my fitness goals until my knees pretty much stopped working. I spent 6 months having to set the alarm clock 30 minutes ahe... Thu, 12 Nov 2009 12:06:09 EST Why I love the Biggest Loser Oh, I know, there are lots of reasons to hate it. It's "reality TV" to begin with and that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. And no, it can't be replicated in the real world - taking 6 months off of life to deal with your weight issues would bankrupt most families so, no, it can't be done the same way as seen on TV. <BR> <BR> Dieticians and trainers like to chime in with their own disgust - the diet is too restrictive, the participants are at risk, it's too dangerous, the trainers are ... Sun, 1 Nov 2009 08:30:52 EST ...and then there's the other side of it (Oct 26 blog continued) So - I'm now ignoring as many of the little, less than supportive, downright hurtful, occasionally mean comments that people make about those of us who have lost weight. But there is, of course, another side of it. <BR> <BR> If I'm going to choose NOT to be unduly influenced by the negative stuff people blurt out for no reason, I'm also going to choose to find my positive support more from within myself than from outside sources. <BR> <BR> I started thinking about this after reading a long ... Tue, 27 Oct 2009 11:16:46 EST I've been thinking... I have some of my biggest thinking sessions while I run. Something about pounding the pavement for 2 hours on a Sunday morning just lends itself to deep thoughts - when else in a crazy busy week do you get the luxury of 2 hours of uninterrupted thinking? I don't wear an ipod, I don't run with a buddy - it's just me and my thoughts together out there fending off bugs, errant dogs (on and off leash) and distracted drivers. <BR> <BR> Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how much we rely on ot... Mon, 26 Oct 2009 23:11:28 EST Giving Thanks As we approach Turkey Day here in Canada, my thoughts turn to giving thanks. After all, this holiday started for both Canada and the US as a way for those starving, lost souls in the New World to show appreciation to the natives for their help in ensuring that this winter was going to be so much better than last winter. Of course, the natives were only part of the thanks - most went to the current God in favour at the time but, in my own, secular way, I prefer to see it as a thanks to real pe... Thu, 8 Oct 2009 15:41:32 EST Dream Big - letter to my kids So, first, I need to thank you for the Hannah Montana card that almost gave me a heart attack when I opened it. I could not believe it was Hannah Montana!!! How can there BE so many Hannah Montana things in this world??? So, thanks!!! I think. <BR> <BR> Second, thanks for coming and watching me run - even though you only saw me for a couple of seconds twice, it still meant a lot to me to have you guys cheering for me like crazy people. It was very hard to run that far that fast but having a... Mon, 28 Sep 2009 13:22:23 EST Setting the bar higher than I ever thought possible. On Sunday, I am going to run my first half marathon - 21.1km non-stop running. <BR> <BR> I signed up for this event early last spring when the snow was melting, the sky was blue and running outside (which I do year round) was actually becoming pleasant. I hadn't been drinking, didn't have a little brain cramp - I just decided that it would be nice to have something to run towards - instead of running away from being fat which is why I started to run in the first place. Since I was no longe... Thu, 24 Sep 2009 14:53:04 EST Summer's Gone I get up at 5:30 am to run twice a week and I am seriously distressed that it is dark now when I do so!! This morning, in fact, it was still a little dark by the time I got back to the house! When I am running on those gorgeous early summer mornings, I feel like it'll always be thus - green, lush, birds serenading me, sun just starting to heat the air - anything is possible on those beautiful days. <BR> <BR> But, September is now half over - the official end to summer is just around the corn... Wed, 16 Sep 2009 11:55:43 EST The second set. Today I shopped for fall clothes. I started last fall as a size 12 and worked my way down to a size 6 that was hanging off of me when the warm weather moved in. I gave away my size 6's in March and purchased a spring/summer wardrobe in size 2's (when I could find them) and size 4's when a little extra roominess was appropriate. <BR> <BR> I was thrilled with my new wardrobe but nagging doubts made it feel temporary - as smaller clothing has often been "temporary" in the past. Back in April wh... Tue, 8 Sep 2009 23:02:41 EST Vacation Report Well, I won't bore you with more details about my backpacking trip - it was fabulous and inspiring and soul-filling and, if interested, you can visit my facebook and see some pictures of it: <BR> <BR><BR>7070&id=744700322&l=ea90707d3b <BR> <BR> And, in retrospect - maintaining my weight was a big "no brainer" - I backpacked 40 km with a 40lb pack, ran 11 km and walked/day hiked 34 km - an 85km week! I almost couldn't eat enough for fuel, never mind w... Mon, 31 Aug 2009 17:49:35 EST Vacation Alert Ah, I LOVE setting the autoresponder on my work email to a "Vacation Alert" - I know it'll bite me in the butt when I get back and there are 370 emails waiting my immediate attention but, in the meantime, I am on vacation!! <BR> <BR> We leave tomorrow for Alberta's Kananaskis region in the mountains. I've been a busy beaver dehydrating food and prepping meals for our foray into the back country next week. This is the first time I've made all of our food for backpacking from scratch - somewhe... Wed, 19 Aug 2009 22:50:50 EST I'm going backpacking. I can't really describe to you what backpacking is like for me. If you've never strapped a big, bulky, heavy pack onto your shoulders and stepped off the main road to head fearlessly into the wilds, you won't get it. Everything about it sounds like hard work when you describe it. But everything about it feels like freedom and life itself to me and my DH. <BR> <BR> I've been on some pretty amazing trips - many times climbing into the Rockies and sitting atop a mountain ridge where there is tr... Tue, 11 Aug 2009 16:25:43 EST