My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the month “August, 2013”



So I went to visit a friend of mine not long ago. We hadn’t seen each other all summer so this was a chance to catch up and have some girl time. While I was there she and I chomped our way through a bag of M&Ms while watching TV. They were super yummy and I didn’t feel guilty at the time. Damn those brightly coloured candies; they go so perfectly with television and great conversations with one of my best friends.

The guilt set in later when I reminded myself I’m supposed to be on the 30 Day Challenge. I’m also writing this blog to set a positive example for other people. I felt I let myself down. I felt a little sad. I cursed the people who created M&Ms and made them so frickin’ delicious.

Setbacks happen. It’s part of Living by Design. We can’t be perfect and to expect this of myself is unrealistic. I can’t control what has already happened. However, I can control what I do next.

As I see it I have two options. I can say, “$%^*& it, I blew this 30 Day Challenge. Maybe I’ll try again another time.” Or I can recognize that I had a setback and my challenge is to not have any more. I can recognize that eating in front of the television is a bad habit that I want to break and that if I want chocolate, I’m better to eat a small amount of organic dark chocolate rather than half a bag of mass-produced candies. I can recommit to the challenge and Live by Design for the rest of the thirty days. Then when the next challenge comes around I can do even better than I did this time. It’s not about living perfectly; it’s about living better each day. I’m not going to punish myself for my mistakes. I’m going to learn from them. I hope you will too.


Losing my reasons to whine.

I hate running…don’t I?


Frogger (For those of you who are too young to remember).

Today I ran a mile. I ran all of it. I ran the hell out of it. Does it matter that my breath sounded like a death rattle? Or that the cars zipping past made me feel like I was in a game of Frogger? Or that I was the second last person in with a time of 9:03? Nope, nope and double-nope.

In the race of me against myself, I kicked my own ass…wait, that doesn’t make sense. Well, I did it. I leaned forward, I landed the balls of my feet first and I stayed positive. My only goal was to run the whole way and I did it. Now a much deserved rest.

Soooooo sweaty...

Soooooo sweaty…

So now what am I going to whine about at the gym if I can’t complain I hate running? Well, there’s still burpees, pull-up, hand-stands, skipping, and the trainers sometimes questionable choice in music, (I’m not naming names, I’m just saying).

As we train and live by design we lose our reasons to whine because our bodies are working at optimal levels, meaning when we ask our bodies to do something we can and will be able to do it. Embrace that feeling and release your complaints. It actually feels pretty great.

I’ve been bitten by the white devil.

Bridal planning…so much planning.

I didn’t plan my wedding as a kid. I never dreamed of big white dresses or flower arrangements. I wasn’t even sure I would get married until I met my partner. When he got down on one knee I was ready to say yes.

And so we plunged into wedding planning. My fiancé and I ran into some venue conflicts early and we moved the date of our wedding up…by a year. A 2015 wedding became a 2014 wedding in the blink of an eye. There are 199 days left until my wedding.

Command central for wedding planning.

Command central for wedding planning.

I could freak out but it’s our day and I don’t really feel like making myself crazy, (or more crazy than usual, anyway). I took two weeks out of my summer and I planned like it was my job. I was my own wedding planner. I battled the white devil to make my fiancé and I happy.

I find the whole world of wedding planning a bit frightening. Experts are telling you that you need things you’ve never even heard of, (response cards, boutonnieres, linen paper?) and everyone has a piece of advice.

My advice? Keep it simple and do what you want. I’m extraverted and love to be the center of attention. My fiancé is introverted and would rather people not focus their undivided attention on him. Therefore, he and I have made an agreement that if we’re not having fun, we’re not doing it. We are thriving in the land of compromise and laughter and I’ll be damned if anyone is going to wreck it for us. I will slap every bridal expert or family member who can’t deal with that. At the end of this strange, white puffy experience, my new husband and I will look at this time with joy, not regret. That’s the best wedding gift we can give ourselves.

Living well is the best life.

Everyone has been to at least one social function, (in my case a wedding,) where we didn’t want to see someone, (in my case an ex-boyfriend).

As this wedding approached I joked with Dr. Jamie that living well was the best revenge. Did I want to see my ex? No. But I was going to this wedding and I was going to look amazing.

Knowing that the sexiest thing a woman can wear is her confidence, I took steps before the wedding to feel amazing. I worked out and got my spine checked. I ate food that made my belly happy, (chicken breast on salad with curry dressing). I got my hair done and treated myself to a manicure and pedicure. I talked to my fiancé about my feelings and we made a game plan to go for a walk if I felt uncomfortable.

By the time I got to the wedding I felt great. From the looks my ex gave me, I looked great too, but my only thought of him was Keep your looks to yourself, you don’t get to look at me like that anymore. What he thought didn’t matter because I was there with my wonderful fiancé and my friends celebrating the happy couple.

When we’d had enough, my fiancé and I made our polite goodbyes and escaped to the parking lot. As we danced together under the moon with music pouring from my car’s windows, I was happy and that is the best life to have.

So for those of you wondering how I looked that night, I don’t mean to toot my own horn but…

Toot Toot!

Toot Toot!

All the updates you need.

If you’ve been thinking you’d like to try West London CrossFit, join us for the next free class Tuesday August 27th at 7:30pm. Just click here to get your free class. And if you’re nervous about going and you can’t get someone to go with you, I’ll be your workout buddy! Leave me a message in this post and I’ll meet you there!


You can also come out for the Good Health Walk October 5th at 9am in Springbank Park. Your registration fee ($20 for adults, $10 for students, children under 4 are free) goes to the Thames Valley Education Foundation to support healthy active living programs for students. You don’t have to be a practice member to participate so grab your friends, family and even your pets and meet us there.

Health Walk

Finally, the Life By Design seminar schedule is out.


Move By Design – Tuesday, September 10th at the LBD SC, 7:30pm.

Think By Design – Tuesday, October 8th at the Café of Life, 7:15pm.

Eat By Design – Tuesday, November 5th at the LBD SC, 8:00pm.

Setting the Habits.

When my alarm chimes at 6:00am I am immediately seized with the urge to punch someone. I’m a teacher. It’s the summer. Who in their right mind is trying to wake me up? Oh right, me.

As I mentioned in my intro, I’ve been going to West London CrossFit for a while but I’ve been a part-time member. There’s nothing wrong with that. CrossFit sells 10 passes for a reason and going twice a week has improved my body shape and confidence. However, since I do have the summer off, (aside from teaching summer school online,) I decided to make going to the gym a more frequent habit. I wanted to move from twice a week to four or five times a week. It takes time to set habits. There’s no point in trying to start off going to the gym five times a week. After all, we don’t learn to drive by taking a cross-country trip. Instead, we start by driving around the block and then move to longer trips and highway driving later on. Building up our bodies is no different. We need to start in simple ways and then build to more frequent, more complex workouts over time.

I should mention that on the days I don’t go to CrossFit, I am not sitting on the couch, stuffing myself on nachos and cake. I supplement my CrossFit workouts with yoga, swimming, biking and hiking. Exercise helps me manage my anxiety and sleep better so as long as I do something active each day, I feel better. However, I have noticed that CrossFit gives me the best results for maintaining a healthy weight and improve my muscle tone, (and what girl doesn’t want a better bathing suit body?)

Right now, I’m up to going to CrossFit three to four times a week. It’s not always easy to get my butt to the gym. This morning two furry little people snuggled up to me and tried to convince me to hit the snooze button.

Could you say no to these faces?

Could you say no to these faces?

Instead, I dragged myself up, ignored the sleepy meows of protest and stumbled to my office. Luckily this awaited me:

I laid out my workout gear the night before to help motivate me.

I laid out my workout gear the night before to help motivate me.

So now I have to sign off. I’ve got to get to CrossFit in time to do my mobility work.

Are you in?


The 30 Day Challenge is back! This is our chance to Live By Design together. You know you want to be my challenge buddy.  I’m trying to do it for a full year but you can sign up to try it for thirty days. All you have to do is go to to post ideas, tip, photos and questions. It’s like a support group without all the touchy-feely who-hah, (that’s right, I wrote who-hah, can’t take it back now, let’s move on).

Not to sound like a late-night infomercial, but there’s no obligation here. Your task is to live better in every part of your life (not just the diet and exercise part) for thirty days. I’ll be blasting my way through the challenge and sharing my stories as I go. Just like me, you are probably thinking “But I have X, Y and Z coming up. There’s no way I can do the challenge now.” There is no ideal time to do this challenge. I’m plunging in during my return to school time, (damn you staff room snacks,) and with my wedding looming, (showers and cake tastings and wine, oh my!) The challenge is to do better, not to be perfect.

The thought of taking this on during a stressful time makes me want to sit in the tub and drink wine. However, to stay true to the challenge, I’m going to keep the warm bath, add a good book and replace the glass of Pinot with a cup of tea. Day one and I’m off to a great start!

Where is Your Brain When You Train?

I hope this video gives you the same belly laugh I got out of it. It did get me thinking about mindfulness while training. Like John Pinette, I often think about others things I’d like to be doing while in class. I daydream or make lists for the rest of my day or dream about my well-earned dinner.

I know other people do it too because I see them checking their cell phones and we all distract each other now and again by chatting. I’ve even caught people with day-dreamy eyes. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s natural for our minds to be active while our bodies works. However, I do wonder what would happen if I spent more of my time in class fully focused on my training. I have to think it would improve my form and maybe even my ability to lift more weight. Mindfulness and a meditative state are encouraged in yoga. I can’t see why it wouldn’t help with Olympic lifting. It wouldn’t be easy though because I like talking and joking with my classmates. Maybe I can try to strike a balance between the two so I can chat a bit but then become centred and mindful as I go into my lifts. I’ll let you know how it works.

Nothing beats a good sit.

rest here

Since starting at West London CrossFit, I’ve had to change my views on how to work out. I always thought a workout was where you went as hard as you could for an hour, threw up a little and then cried in the car on the way home. Not so, my barbel bunnies.

The coaches have been insisting we sit, literally sit down on the floor, between work sets. This has taken some getting used to and from the sound of the coaches bellowing, “Sit your butts down! Rest!” I know I’m not the only one. I still feel awkward about it. Part of my workout is spent sitting, mostly listening to my body groan or contemplating where the coaches might bury my body if I die during the next set. What should I be doing in this time? Catching my breath? Contemplating my next set? Thinking about my form in the last set and ways I can improve it? Asking a trainer for feedback? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

There is purpose to this rest period. It allows your body to reload. As we lift heavy, we break down muscle. That muscle takes time to build itself back up. If we constantly break muscle down with no recovery time, eventually our muscles will be too weak to lift more. It also makes for safer training because we’re less likely to have to bail out of heavy sets. Also, as a sideline, it feels better. Since I’ve begun making sure I get my rest, I can lift more and I feel better about my form. Now my body demands its rest time as much as it wants workout time.

Oh and just a P.S. if you don’t need the rest between sets, you may not be working hard enough 😉

I will not die on this run.

Today's WOD (workout of the day) looked a lot easier than it was.

Today’s WOD (workout of the day) looked a lot easier than it was.

As I pulled my car into the West London Crossfit parking lot for the 7am class, I noticed the 6am class was out running. I slowed my car and thought, “I could turn around right now, have a doughnut and go back to bed. No one would ever know I was here.”

Tempting, oh so tempting, but I battled that sleepy little devil off my shoulder and stuck it out. It was actually an interesting class that dealt with the proper way to run. I never realized that I was actually fighting myself every time I tried to run. I was keeping my body upright and landing mostly on my heals, making it more difficult to pick up speed. By leaning forward, landing the balls of my feet first and not twisting my upper body, my run today felt more natural. I was less out of breath by the end.

To be clear, running and I are not BFFs now. We’re not even close acquaintances. You are never going to see me in full body spandex, huffing it through the early morning streets with my ear-buds in. I have no desire to be a jogger. However, I don’t mind being a better runner.

One of the sucky parts of working out is that the stuff you don’t like doing is usually the stuff your body needs most. I don’t like running because I get winded; I get winded because I need more endurance. How do I get more endurance? By running more. *Sigh* Sometimes the workout Gods can be cruel. At least I’m sticking with it.

Post Navigation