Friday, 28 September 2012


Borrowed from a TRUE friend!
Driven by being the perfect mom, wife, girlfriend, employee? Black and white with little grey - and definitely not fifty shades?! All or nothing attitude - if I can't do it all I won't do it at all? Welcome to my club! Only perfectionists are allowed. Only one rule - do it right or don't do it. Show of hands please. Well, that lasted two seconds.

One of the hardest things I have had to work on when cleaning out the dark closet of my life was this streak of perfectionism. It resided along with people pleasing and false pride but had hidden itself well as I took on the big task of spring cleaning in the autumn of my life! I danced a little as I took that shiny box, false pride, off the shelf, admired the gems and little halo engraved in the upper right corner. Such a nice little box but, oh my, when you opened the lid - well, it was empty. That's right, empty. All those great things I thought about myself were made of air - hot air. I tossed it out of the closet on to the junk heap and kept digging. Over the next few months I tripped over it now and again but for the most part, I was able to live my life with a humble spirit and genuine pride and reap the benefits of closer, healthier relationships.

The people pleasing shrine had its own, dedicated spot behind the closet door right across from the floor length mirror. I found I could look in my mirror and see the reflection of its homey, raffia trimmed edges - all sweet and soft and smelling of apple pie and Comet - afterall, this little box had seen a lot of food and cleaning and shopping and gifting - of course it would carry the hint of all that "pleasing" business I had stuffed into its deep pockets.  Even though the gingham fabric and cute pink and blue ribbons contrasted with the later addition of business suit jacket and conservative but classy pumps it had certainly propped me up, encouraging me to say yes when I felt no.  Really?! That old thing - I pushed it through the closet door and took the hose to it one fine summer day and all the finery disolved into the fertile soil I was cultivating - my authentic self.  Choosing to live authentically was truly the beginning of my journey to health.  Examining all those beliefs and values I had hidden in various nooks and crannies and comparing them to the ones that sat out in full view for the world to see - wow!  They clashed with each other, some even drove me to tears as I wrestled with them but, one day I was able to pack away my well constructed image and start to reveal the real me.  My yes became a true yes; my no was kind but assertive. 

But, my closet wasn't empty. Perfectionism is a tough little critter because it is always masquerading as something else. It is a weakness that can be viewed as a strength if you happen to be my employer or partner or friend.  But, that crafty devil doesn't fool me as much as it used to. I can smell the odour of deception when I start to stay too late too often at work or try on 10 different outfits and 20 different accessories before going to the staff Christmas party.  Or how about that time I couldn't hand in my latest quarterly forecast because I just needed to find one more value that might change that particular estimate by ten cents!  Huh!  Perfectionism - the true monster - needed to be sent packing. However was I going to be perfect - perfectly on my journey to health, perfect weight, perfect exercise program - when I also needed room to breathe, to live.  There were no roses worth sniffing in that dark, dusty corner of the closet!  So, I gathered up my courage and my online cheering squad - and you know who you are in this "we" - and with a joint effort - we pushed and shoved the critter out into the light.  It wasn't really a bright light but a combined light shed from blog to blog, challenge to challenge, reaching across miles but not so intense it blinded.  Just enough to say, you are enough right now - not perfect but then, who would want to be!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Forty Days of Walking

Forty days of consistently walking each day for a minimum of 30 minutes - I am amazed at the results. I can walk briskly for 1 hr with no problem. I climb over 50 stairs without a rest and I can still breathe when I reach the top. I have gone hiking clambering over rocks, skirting along a creek and ducking under low branches and then stood in the spray of Big Horn Falls - no sweat! In addition, I have lost 12 pounds so far on this walking challenge! Yahoo! Overall, my weight loss since July 9 has been over 20 lb.  (since Nov 2011 - 40 lb!). 

Waiting to join Weight Watchers online was a benefit - I knew I needed to be 100% ready for a weight loss program and that did not happen until I had sorted out the food allergies/sensitivities. Done! Now it means sticking with the WW program which has surprisingly been fairly easy. Raouf cooks on plan every day and we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. My bread consumption is very low and I watch pasta and pizza carefully. The new Points Plus program has been amazing and simple but then I try hard to keep  it simple. No need to complicate it with elaborate recipes. We had salads and some form of protein all summer and now soups - yum - I love soup!

Day 40 of my 100 Day Walking Challenge was supposed to be Saturday (Sep 22)! I made plans for a momentous occasion - a celebration of sticking to it but then I got sick and missed a day. I decided the number was not as important as the change consistently walking every day has made in my life and moved forth on my planned adventure. We hopped in the car and took a 120 K (2.5 hr!) drive up a forestry road that took us into the wilderness of the foothills of Alberta. I have not been here for about 33 years - at least not with the desire to hike into Big Horn Falls! This is not a long hike - in deed, it is only about 20 minutes into the small canyon - but these minutes added up to the up/down/over/under experience mentioned in my first paragraph. I had given up on ever being able to do this again. My knees were a wreck, my weight had increased and, I had aged! But, on Saturday, I knew I had worked hard for many weeks, increased my strength, dropped 20 lb and, realistically, I wasn't exactly going to get younger! We set out through amazingly beautiful country where few tourists venture unless they are horse back riders or hard core hikers or campers. The good news - you can drive there; the bad news - it is almost all gravel! BUT the views were soul-drenching! Golden aspens and poplars in stark contrast to the deep green pine and spruce. Crisp clean air and silence - you just don't get that kind of silence in the city. We arrived at the trailhead and I teetered on my first rock, jumped to the second, climbed the ledge, inched along, up to the trail, under the branches, back down to the creek bed and - voila , arrived at the falls. Easy! Knees were perfect. Heart rate and breathing - normal. New trail boots - happy to be walking on pine needles and river rock instead of pavement! My heart soared when I felt the spray of the waterfall, heard the tumbling water and soaked in the memory! This was a victory - this 20 minute hike will be a source of encouragement and heart-lifting as I continue on my journey to health. Obesity and lethargy are being conquered from the inside out. I will never forget this moment. What an awesome Autumn! What will Winter bring?!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

25 Days and Still Walking - Cake and New Boots to Celebrate!

So, Friday was the official silver anniversary of the 100-Day Walking Challenge. Twenty five days of walking at least 30 minutes per day for me! The challenge has significantly contributed to my consistent weight loss of over 2 lb per week. I love the increased strength I feel with each step and that sense of well being a little exercise creates. AND I love, love, love my baggy pants that prove I have lost the 20 lb my scale says I have.

To celebrate Raouf and I went out and bought ourselves new walking shoes - trail boots, actually plus a membership at Mountain Equipment Co-operative! Now, we were surrounded by very fit hikers while contemplating our purchase and it was a little intimidating to inform my very helpful service rep. that I wasn't going to be attempting any major hikes in these boots - just something under 3 hours tops and would mostly be wandering around rough urban terrain but she still smiled and started pulling her suggestions out. Six boots later I decided to buy the first pair I tried on - isn't that always the way! These will come in handy when we take off to Indonesia, Malysia and Thailand next spring. We had thought Europe in Fall 2013 but due to the unrest in Tunisia (and that that was supposed to be part of the European/North Africa plan), we have opted to make Trip #2 taking us back to Asia.