Mind & Spirit

Family makeover diary: Month 8

Canadian Living
Mind & Spirit

Family makeover diary: Month 8

Read about this family's wellness journey with Canadian Living Magazine and a dream team of coaches.

Month eight brings some exciting realizations for me! I know now, more than ever, that my body does need increased activity in order to continue seeing the changes I want to see. Not that I ever doubted this, but seeing is believing. Last month I was devastated when I didn't lose any weight or inches. I was going to the gym 3 times a week, doing the weight resistance training but I wasn't doing any more than that. Sue told me I needed to add in the cardio workout but because I was seeing results without that component, I didn't feel the urge to add it in. I had already changed from no physical activity to exercising three times a week. Why should I exercise more than that? I felt that should be enough. But after the disappointment of my November weigh-in, I made a commitment to exercise more, to do cardio exercise on the days I wasn't doing weight training.

This past month I exercised at least six days per week. Initially, on the cardio days I started off with a 20-minute workout and worked up. Now, at the end of the month, I am doing approximately 30 to 35 minutes of cardio (six times per week). Most of the times I use the cross trainer and occasionally I get on the treadmill and alternate walking with a slow run. I don't particularly like running but it certainly does get my heart rate up to where I want it to be during a cardio workout.

After a month of this increased activity I had my weigh-in with Sue. I was down 3.2 pounds from last month and I lost 3.75 inches! I worked hard during the workouts and it obviously paid off. I am very excited!

This month poses its own challenges. Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. I love the social activity and interaction with family and friends. Our family is very busy entertaining and attending parties. But as we all know, the holiday season can be a difficult time for anyone trying to watch their food intake. I'm not particularly fond of the sweets but I love the appetizers and hors d' oeuvres at parties, and of course the cheese. When I have cravings, it is usually for savoury food. And these items are just as plentiful this time of year as are the cookies and desserts.

I spoke with Fran earlier this month and we talked about getting through the holidays without over indulging. She suggested concentrating on the portion size of my food and the fat content. Her advice was "don't waste the calories." That is how I am going to approach my food intake. Do I want something badly enough that I am willing to take in the calories that go along with it? That will be the question I ask when I feel like treating myself.

It amazes me when friends, neighbours and even colleagues at work approach me and tell me they have joined the gym because I have inspired them to do something about their health. This has happened a few times lately and honestly, this gives me the motivation and strength I need to continue doing what I have been doing.

Cassandra has really helped me realize how important motivation is. It's also been important for me to see myself working towards some of my goals, even if it is something small, like avoiding a second serving at dinner or saying no to sweets at work.

With Sue's ongoing support and encouragement, I have established a regular routine of training at the gym. It is an activity I schedule and plan for everyday, not sporadically as I did in the past, but as regular as brushing my teeth. This daily routine has become a must do and I plan my week ensuring I have my gym time.

My battle with food has become more manageable over the past few months. There are times that I still have cravings for certain things but I think I manage this better now than ever before. My thinking has changed to making better choices all the time. The food I pack for the day when I go to work includes lots of fruit and veggies.

With the arrival of snow, family activities are easy to do with weekend skiing. Every Saturday morning Despina and the girls have lessons so we go to the club in the morning and stay until mid-afternoon. And on Sundays we are back for recreational skiing, enjoying the time we have outdoors away from the TV and computer.

I had a hard time getting to the gym this month. My homework load was very heavy and I found it difficult making the time to get to the gym. This is a busy month because we are finishing up the term. I have a lot of homework and many assignments that need to be completed. Next month will probably be busy too because I have exams. I'm not sure how people get to the gym every day. I don't know how my mom and dad do it because they are so busy at home and at work. I need to figure out how to make time to be more active.

I get some exercise during the day by walking to and from school. I think that is about 3.2 km both ways. I have gym every day and I participate in all the activities. And we have just started going to the Oshawa Ski Club. I am snowboarding every Saturday and Sunday and we plan to go sometimes during the week.

This month I was working really hard with my gymnastics. I even had an extra session with my coach Krista during the Christmas holidays. I learned my floor routine for my competitions and got my music. My music is really neat, it sounds like Spanish or Mexican music. It is fun to do my floor routine.

Because we were so busy this month I didn't have a chance to meet Sue at the gym. But Sue said that I am getting a lot of exercise because I go to gymnastics for nine hours every week.


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Mind & Spirit

Family makeover diary: Month 8