My Year By Design

The journey to living by design.

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

Happy Halloween!

Remember folks, Eat by Design is 80% of the time or better so it’s ok to have a little treat today, (moderation, moderation, moderation!)

candy in moderation

However, if you’re looking to stick to your plan you could always candy some bacon. Yum-yum!

candy bacon

If you’re a little worried about this situation for your kids:


here are a list of places where you can donate some of that candy to help others.

In London, Ontario:

London Food Bank

Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario

Across Canada:

Cash for Candy

Canada Red Cross

Ronald McDonald House

For our American Friends:

Any Soldier

Operation Gratitude

Operation Shoebox

Halloween Candy Buy Back


Check with your local dentist. For example, Forest Hill Orthodontics in Toronto, Ontario posted this to their Facebook page:

“Halloween is around the corner! Be sure to save your candy for our annual Swap Your Sweets contest. Donate your Halloween candy to a good cause by dropping it off at our office. Forest Hill Orthodontics will donate $1.00 per each pound of candy to a jackpot. The school that brings in the most candy wins the entire jackpot up to a maximum of $1,000! You too will receive a reward of 10 Bruno Bucks for every pound that you donate. Candy will be donated to a third world country. Candy drop off is between November 1st and 22nd.”

I’d like to think that if I had kids, I’d let them have some candy and then donate some to people less fortunate than themselves. What will you be doing with your leftover candy?


My 10 Core Values

So continuing on my journey to think by design, I Googled values charts and chose ten values I believe are my core values. If you want to follow along, you can use my list or find/create your own.

Here is my list with my choices in red:







Balance (home/work)

Being the best


Coaching Mentoring


Community Involvement



Conflict Resolution

Continuous learning





Ease with uncertainty









Financial stability



Future generations










Job security



Making a difference

Open communication





Professional Growth

Personal fulfillment

Personal growth
















Think by Design – 5 Steps to Success


Thinking by Design

Dr. Jamie outlined five steps we can take to begin thinking by design. I am going to summarize them briefly here and you can check out the Think by Design eBook to read about them in more detail.

Step 1. Develop a Conscious Philosophy.

As Dr. Jamie pointed out, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know.” We have to uncover what we don’t know. Dr. Jamie suggested you Google a values chart and choose 10 key values for yourself. Then ask four or five people who are close to you what they see as your values. How you live gives them the answer. If you see a contradiction between what they choose and how you live, you need to align your life with the things that are most important to you. This isn’t easy but it’s possible.

Start by making decisions based on your core values. Dr. Jamie suggested that we “Choose values over opportunities.” To do this he said we should use the doorman principle.

The idea is that your doorman knows your values and when faced with decisions, he lets them in or not based on what is most important to you. Therefore, your inner circle needs to match your values. This may force you to limit the influence others have on you when they don’t match your values. Keep in mind that others can still participate in your life in other, smaller ways but your key people need to value similar things to what you value.

Step 2. Build Self Esteem.

This is a huge step and it takes time. Dr. Jamie suggested reading Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. I’ll check this out in a later blog and post a review.

Step 3. Identify Your Vision.

Create a vision, not a vision board. I’ve always found the idea of vision boards kind of fluffy and silly, but we need to think consciously about how we want our lives to be and how they can be. Dr. Jamie pointed out that successful people all do two key things; they get up early and they read a lot. I was so excited when I head this because I get up at 5:30 each morning to do yoga and I read a book a week, (not including the reading I do as a teacher).

Step 4. Clarify Your Purpose.

Here Dr. Jamie made his second book recommendation. He suggested reading Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Again, I’ll try to give this a read and post a review in a later blog. The main point is that we have to know why. We need to know where we’re going. Dr. Jamie’s main question was, “How would waking up every day with a purpose affect your health?”

Step 5. Detail Your Strategy.

This is where most people fail because they stop short of completing this step. Probably because it takes the most work. Dr. Jamie let us know that we have to go home and work through the steps to get the benefit. True health is hard work and we need to preserver to reach health. We have to take our values and create strategies. For example, if you value health, your strategy is Life by Design. If your goal is job security, you need to detail the steps you will take to achieve this, (e.g. more training, creating a better resume, etc.) You will feel when you have contradictions with your core values. Most people avoid those thoughts, but as Dr. Jamie stated, “Do the work, put the effort in and extraordinary things will happen”

Dr. Jamie also showed us bits of his Life Book, a beautiful creation where he ponders questions like, “What do I believe? What do I want? Why do I want it? What action steps do I need to take?” Stay tuned to future blogs to see how I work on this too!


Coming up next: My 10 Core Values.

Think By Design Seminar

Sharing thoughts and information

I recently attended the Think by Design seminar at the Café of Life. This piece of Living by Design is one of the more difficult parts for me but it is a critical part of achieving an extraordinary life.

Dr. Jamie explained that, “How we think is the primary determination of how our life will be.” Therefore, what we achieve comes from what we think and how we think affects our physiology. This makes sense because stress affects the body, which causes subluxations and eventually illness.

Ultimately, our bodies and brains want to be healthy. As Dr. Jamie said, “The natural state of the body is health.” Our bodies want to perform their best but to do this we have to be thinking our best too. Getting checked lets us think more clearly.

To return to health we need to give the body what it needs for a sustained period of time, preferably a lifetime. As Dr. Jamie explained, “The goal of your care is to increase your body’s adaptability.” Adaptability is the optimal state for health because it means we can deal with anything that comes our way. So to clarify, most people’s bodies exist in one of three states; the body can have serious health problems (such as disease), chronic health problems (such as pain), or adaptability. We can move towards an optimal state because when we adapt better, we perform better and heal better. The bonus side effect of this is that we don’t need to decrease stress if we increase adaptability.

Dr. Jamie pointed out that, “Not everything we believe is true” and part of balancing our lives is balancing our thoughts. This made so much sense to me because harbouring unhealthy thought patterns affects our mental and physical health. At the end of the seminar, we went home with an eBook to continue our thought experiments. In my next few blogs, I will be recording my own journey through this process. I hope it will inspire you to try it for yourself.

Coming up next: Think by Design – The 5 Steps to Success.

Just take the frickin’ compliment.

The other day a friend told me I had great legs. I responded, “Thanks. It actually used to be one of the areas of my body I was most self-conscious about.” This was not always a natural response for me. If someone tried to compliment me, I’d likely blush, mumble a bit and say something mildly disparaging about myself to balance it out.

Lots of people do this without thinking; they question or deny any words of kindness. Somehow we have the misguided idea that accepting a compliment is vain. It’s a silly idea that doesn’t help our self images. Women tend to be really bad at this sort of thing. Compliment most ladies and they will either deny it, (“Oh, I don’t think my legs look so great”) or give you a mushy, not-so-sincere compliment in return, (“Are you kidding? Look at how great you look in that dress!)

My advice? Just take the compliment. Take it and say thank you. Then when you’re feeling sad, take out that compliment and allow its warmth to sooth you.

As you train better and eat better and think better, people will notice and want to compliment you. Don’t be ungracious. If someone takes the time to compliment you, at least take the time to accept kindly. Part of being healthy is having a strong enough sense of self to accept the good and be thankful.

23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing

I found a really interesting post recently called 23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing.

The blogger from “Be Free” summarized 23 items from a Huffington Post article and bolded the ones she is prone to doing. I’m going to do the same thing here but use red text for the ones that give me problems.

  1. Apologizing all the time;
  2. Saying “yes” to everyone else;
  3. Saying “no” to yourself;
  4. Viewing food as the enemy;
  5. Body-snarking – outloud or in your own head;
  6. Feeling like an impostor when you accomplish something professionally;
  7. Obsessively untagging every “unflattering” photo of you that ever existed online;
  8. Comparing your real life to someone else’s virtual one;
  9. Holding on to regrets and guilt;
  10. Wearing heels every day;
  11. Judging other women’s sex lives;
  12. Judging your own sex life;
  13. Trying to be “chill”;
  14. Fearing the label “crazy”;
  15. WebMD-ing everything;
  16. Worrying that your life doesn’t look like Pinterest;
  17. Fearing being alone;
  18. Being in relationships for the sake of having a relationship;
  19. Not taking advantage of your vacation days;
  20. Holding on to toxic friendships;
  21. Spending time with people out of obligation;
  22. Being embarrassed about your interests;
  23. Setting deadlines for major life events.

We all have work to do on ourselves and sometimes that internal brain-emotion stuff is the toughest to work through. If you’re a woman, try to reduce the number of items that you do. If you’re not a woman, hug the ladies in your life and remind them that they are amazing just the way they are.

Halloween By Design?

A story in pictures.

So I absolutely LOVE Halloween.

So I absolutely LOVE Halloween.

But I'm a little worried about giving this...

But I’m a little worried about giving this…

to these guys.

to these guys.

But if I don't give out this...

But if I don’t give out this…

I'm worried about this...

I’m worried about this…

or this...

or this…

or this. I know some of you think I'm overreacting, but if you've ever denied a sugar-crazed 3-year-old candy, you know what I mean.

or this. I know some of you think I’m overreacting, but if you’ve ever denied a sugar-crazed 3 year old candy, you know what I mean.

But what do I do?

I don't really want to give out this...

I don’t really want to give out this…

or these.

or these.

And I'm NOT giving out these.

And I’m NOT giving out these.

So what's a healthy girl to do? I'm taking suggestions in the comment below.

So what’s a healthy girl to do? I’m taking suggestions in the comments below.


Kids and Fruit Togther Forever!

What did you guys sell to fundraise as kids? I remember selling cookies, chocolate bars, chocolate covered almonds, magazines, wrapping paper (the non-recyclable foil kind back then,) goodies at bake sales, cakes at cake walks, cheese and cheese baskets, and books. Wow, looking at it like that, I was a tiny bout of diabetes in pig-tales.


I’m proud to say that organizations for kids have more of a social conscience now. My school (and many others in my school board) are now selling fruit and veggies.


Specifically, my school is selling apples to raise money for athletics programs. The message our school is sending out is that we are selling healthy, local food to support programs that encourage students to be active. I couldn’t be more proud. I hope your local organizations are doing the same.

13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.

I found this post when surfing around the other day. It reminded me of when I first started working out in a consistent way. I really like working out now. I didn’t when I first started. I had a difficult time finding an activity I found engaging. Mostly I would get bored and give up. My trick is to participate in a number of different activities, (for me, yoga, weight training, swimming, biking and hiking).

However, exercise wasn’t really a part of my routine until I realized it was making me feel better in mind AND body. It wasn’t just about being lean and healthy; exercise helped me think positively and live better. Now if I skip a workout, my body complains and I don’t feel as happy as days where I get  good sweat on.

The Good Health Walk

Today was the Good Health Walk. We gathered at Springbank Park to participate in a 5km walk and raise money for local physical education programs. Nick and I helped out, walked and snapped photos. Check out what the walk looked like.

Once I signed in, I was ready to go!

Once I signed in, I was ready to go!

I helped with the registration table.

I helped with the registration table.

Despite the drizzle, we were busy.

Despite the drizzle, we were busy.

I was glad to see so many people brought their families.

I was glad to see so many people brought their families.

Puppies were also welcome.

Puppies were also welcome.

Here's our amazing group!

Here’s our amazing group!

Dr. Justine introduced the event.

Dr. Justine introduced the event.

Dr. Jamie gave a (surprisingly) brief talk about Living by Design.

Dr. Jamie gave a (surprisingly) brief talk about Living by Design.

We stretched as a group.

We stretched as a group.

Squat to stand stretches.

Squat to stand stretches.

Everyone tried to squat.

Everyone tried to squat.



It was easier for some than others.

It was easier for some than others.

The day was a wonderful success! Thanks to everyone who volunteered and participated. If you have more photos, post them below so everyone can share!

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