Use it or Lose It

Hey everyone! For a few weeks I had been letting my at-home morning workouts slide. Doing constant push-ups on the counter started giving me a repetitive strain injury in my elbows (ouch), my babe was (and still is) teething his molars, and a thousand and one other things got in the way. So frustrating! I love working out, but sometimes you just can’t seem to make it happen.

But I noticed something interesting. My coffee intake massively increased, my general interest level started dropping and my energy levels plummeted.

Hunh?

Hunh?

You would think that since I wasn’t pushing myself super hard every day I would have more energy! My body wouldn’t be using up all it’s energy healing itself, I would have more time… But no. The exact opposite happened. My body started shutting down.

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Use it or Lose It

I’ve talked about this before: We are living in the 21st century walking around in bodies designed for cavemen. We pack on the pounds quicker and easier than we lose them, we instinctively check our surroundings every 7 minutes give or take (start watching for it!), and we are designed to move. Our bodies start to hate us after a while if we don’t let them loose! Basically: Our bodies are hyper active puppies. If we don’t take them out for daily walks and let them run around and smell the trees, they get depressed.

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

In order to keep your body in peak physical form, you do need to use it. I wrote a blog a few weeks ago called Abs are Made in the Kitchen. This is very true, you can’t have a great body with a bad diet (unless you’re a kid running around at level 11 all day every day) but you also won’t have a happy body unless you allow it to move.

Exercise works wonders on our bodies and our minds. By pushing our bodies to move faster, lift heavier, breathe harder; we’re allowing our bodies to do what they were designed to do. We were not designed to sit in front of a computer all day. We were designed to run, lift, carry and jump for hours on end on very little food. Obviously I’m not saying starve yourself, but I am saying our bodies are starving for action.

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

OMG EVERYTHING!!!!

If you compare our western cultures to those on the other side of the globe, you will see a very noticeable difference. Here, we’re suffering from an obesity epidemic. Illnesses due to poor diets and lack of exercise are greatly on the rise. When I went to community college, it was cheaper to get a heaping plate of fries drowned in gravy than it was to get a small plate of vegetables. And when you do get vegetables, it’s cheaper to get the ones dosed in toxic chemicals. Then you look at Eastern cultures… Children in China eat cucumbers as a tasty snack as opposed to Twinkies. Look at their sidewalk vendors: Where we have hotdogs, they have corn on the cob. Even people in their 80s are still running marathons!

Yes. This is real. Photo Credit: @LoneCaravan

Yes. This is real. Photo Credit: @LoneCaravan

It is possible to stay healthy and full of energy until long after we’ve typically given up in the west, but it does require some work. We need to give our bodies a purpose; a challenge. Those days when you feel the most like giving up are the days you need to push yourself harder.

Perfect example! I used to get sick. A lot. The last couple winters before I met my manfriend I had no less than 5 colds per winter. No joke. No exaggeration. Within 4 months I had 5 colds. Probably even 6. Know why? Because the second I felt that little tickle in my throat, I gave up. “Oh woe is me! I’m getting the sniffles! Better lay down.”

Pathetic.

In the four years we’ve been together I have had one cold. Total. Maybe two at most. Because I stopped giving in at the first sign of trouble and started fighting. Plus, I became a mother, and as we all know moms don’t get sick days. So now when I feel a throat tickle coming on I take 6 1000 mg Vitamin C capsules with an Emergen-C drink, I sleep a little more, and I work a little harder.

Much harder to do when there's a baby screaming for you and a kitchen that needs cleaning and supper that needs to be prepped... Someone pass me the Vitamin C, I'm going in!

Much harder to do when there’s a baby screaming for you and a kitchen that needs cleaning and supper that needs to be prepped… Someone pass me the Vitamin C, I’m going in!

Yes you read that right, I work HARDER. Working less does nothing but give your body less incentive to work more. The less you work, the less you want to work, so the less you work, and down the spiral you go.

Our bodies are designed beautifully, this is very true. But there is one major flaw:

The less you use it, the more you lose it.

It is actually a brilliant survival technique. What we don’t need, we shed. Did you know that when astronauts arrive in space, their first pee is chock-full of calcium? Gross, but also fascinating! Due to the lack of gravity, the lack of constant pressure on their bones, they don’t need all that bone mass so they start shedding it to be more energy efficient.

So long bone density! Hello moon walking. Level: expert

So long bone density! Hello moon walking. Level: Expert

The same thing happens across the board. What we don’t use, we inevitably lose. Muscles get weaker over time, bone density goes away, connective tissue weakens… Slowly our bodies start to fall apart and weaken if we stop using them.

So stop letting your body waste away long before its time! There is absolutely no excuse. I am insanely busy, and I still make time to work out every morning. I often joke that I have an entire day long before noon. Designate a corner to be your workout area, set up some of those baby play mats from Walmart, and get to it! The hardest part is getting up to the point where you’re about to start. Once you get started, your body takes over. Because your body wants to workout! It’s your brain that gets in the way. Now that I’ve been back on my workout schedule for the last two weeks, I feel amazing! I’m drinking less coffee, I’m sleeping better, I’m getting more done in the run of the day, and I am all around more interested and more happy. Plus I’m getting my muscle definition back again, always a fantastic feeling. What more could you ask for?

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

Ignorance Will Steal Your Bliss

Happy St. Paddy’s Day one and all! I hope you’re all celebrating responsibly and feeling the luck o’ the Irish. If you are one of the many today over indulging, more power to you! Just remember the calories do count, and tomorrow will come, so make smart decisions.

On to today’s topic: Ignorance. Growing up, we were utterly and completely and blissfully unaware of the importance of food. We knew we had to finish what was on our plates because there were (and are) starving children in Africa. But that was about the start and finish of what we knew about food.

Unfortunately for some of us, our nutritional education ended there. I didn’t know eating bread would make me fat. I had no idea there were certain foods you should eat at certain times of the day. I certainly didn’t know eating an entire plate of mashed potatoes was considered unhealthy. I was completely clueless! I lived in a world of blissful ignorance… Until I hit my 20s. Then chaos ensued.

These count as a vegetable right?

These count as a vegetable right?

Today’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Ignorance Will Steal Your Bliss

Food only meant pleasure to me growing up. I like Coke. I want Coke. I drink Coke now. Little did I know it was rotting my teeth (which I wouldn’t discover until I went to the dentist at 26 after not going for 5 years and discovered I had my first SEVEN cavities) and it was changing my body in ways I would inevitably grow to regret. We always had sweets in our house. Cookies, cake, pop, crackers, chips, you name it we had it. We never thought anything of it. It was just food! We had no idea that eventually we would grow up, stop running around like maniacs, our metabolism would slow down, and we would get fat. It was an unavoidable truth of which we were blissfully ignorant.

Today: A ridiculously hard workout we would dread. Then: The bestest day ever!

Today: A ridiculously hard workout we would dread. Then: The bestest day ever!

My weight roller-coastered like crazy when my metabolism started slowing down. Honestly it started when I was still a kid, around grade 5 or 6 I started to pudge out. We moved into a new house with satellite TV and I would sit there for hours devouring all these cartoons I had never seen before. Then around the end of Jr. High I started walking more and I slimmed back down again. By the end of High School however my fate was sealed. I had developed the mother of all sweet tooths, and nothing could have stopped that train wreck. Except maybe some information, a glimpse into my future… But even then I doubt it. It’s like I said in a previous blog: Weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that pizza was sitting in front of me at that moment looking and smelling irresistible.

After that it was a gong show. I ballooned up to 170 pounds before I even knew what hit me. That’s when I started fighting back. I didn’t have the tools, but I had motivation. I started walking more, I attempted to watch what I was eating. I was broke, living with some friends in the city, so not having money for groceries most weeks really helped me drop some pounds. Plus walking everywhere since I couldn’t really afford transportation was a major bonus.

Sweet one more block and I'll have worked off that Cheeto I had for brunch.

Sweet one more block and I’ll have worked off that Cheeto I had for brunch.

It all turned around when I met the man I’m still with today. I was in good shape, thanks to the broke girl diet, and we would spend all of our time outside. Hiking, exploring, it was amazing! Before I knew it I was in great shape. Then I went on unemployment and basically became a bump on a log for a few months. The pounds started slowly stacking up more and more… Luckily, he wasn’t like everyone else I knew up until that point. He didn’t pat me on the head and hand me a brownie to make me feel better about gaining weight. He helped me. He started researching healthy eating and gently pointed me in the right direction. He would come over and take me out for walks, show me exercises I could do, basically he snapped me out of it. He showed me that I was the one in control. Weight gain wasn’t “just happening” to me, I was making it happen to me.

Our first summer together! We would run all over Peggy's Cove. I believe at this point in time I was trying to jump to that next rock and not feeling too confident... Hence the face.

Our first summer together! We would run all over Peggy’s Cove. I believe at this point in time I was trying to jump to that next rock and not feeling too confident… Hence the face.

And I was the only one who could turn it around.

So I started going to the gym, tracking my weight, really watching my diet. It was fantastic! For the first time in my life I felt like a winner. Then a year later I got pregnant and all hell broke loose again.

Boom! And this was before I thought I put on "too much" weight. Eep!

Boom! And this was before I thought I put on “too much” weight. Eep!

Gah! Life. It always manages to get in the way. At that point in the story, most women would give up. Hell, a lot of them have. It’s one thing to gain the “Freshman 15” and bounce back. It’s quite another to gain the “Pregnant Lady 70” and have your skin lose its ability to “bounce back.” But I have fought tooth and nail to get here. I wanted to quit. More times than I can count. But I knew I didn’t want to live the rest of my life like that. I didn’t want to die a little every time I looked in the mirror. I didn’t want to think my partner was lying to me every time he told me I was beautiful. I wanted to earn it. I wanted to be a MILF. Yep, I said it. Vanity is a funny thing. It can be the death of us, or it can be the perfect motivating factor to kick it into high gear.

Yep, that's the baby in my arms... So why do I look even bigger than in that last picture? I'll give you a hint... I wasn't just "swollen" from being pregnant. I didn't know how to eat properly. Hard lesson to learn.

Yep, that’s the baby in my arms… So why do I look even bigger than in that last picture? I’ll give you a hint… I wasn’t just “swollen” from being pregnant. I didn’t know how to eat properly. Hard lesson to learn.

So yes, ignorance has stolen my bliss time and time again. I’m sure many of you have very similar stories. It’s not fun to put it all on front street. To completely own up to our failures. But when you do, you take your power back.

I am the one who got me fat. It wasn’t the Oreo commercials. It wasn’t the inventors of the Caramilk bar (bastards.) And it certainly wasn’t Ben or Jerry. It was me. I alone put on all that weight.

And I alone took it off again.

Back in my pre-baby clothes!!! Best. Feeling. Ever.

Back in my pre-baby clothes!!! Best. Feeling. Ever.

I can now state with overwhelming pride that I weigh less than I did when I got pregnant. We started the Slow Carb Diet one year ago. I weighed in at a whopping 186 pounds. I am now down to 135. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. Second only to having a baby, obviously.

I know you can do it too! It’s never too late. It’s never impossible. The only thing standing in your way is YOU. Stop letting ignorance steal your bliss. Do some research, keep reading my blog, follow me on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds for tons of amazing recipes and motivation. You don’t have to do this alone. I’ve already made the path, you just need to follow it.

Losing Weight Won’t Fix The Problem… But It’s A Great Place To Start

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you’re all starting your week off right and feeling fabulous! But I know for some of you it’s only Monday and already you’re feeling like a failure. It’s okay. We all have those days, those weeks, those months. It happens.

The important thing is to not beat yourself up for it. Understand that you made a mistake somewhere, own it, and move on. Don’t let yourself stay down in the dark place.

But most importantly, don’t let yourself make the dark place more comfortable.

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Losing Weight Won’t Fix The Problem… But It’s A Great Place To Start

I’ve seen a few different articles and images on my Facebook feed over the last week that were all instant red flags. They all seemed really nice and supportive, helping people feel better, which is all fantastic. But when someone breaks their leg, do you want to make them feel better for having a broken leg while keeping the leg broken? Or make them feel better while helping them to fix the leg?

Hey girl, we're all here. You're really depressed you gained 5 pounds? Cool we'll be right there with a large pizza, let's talk.

Hey girl, we’re all here. You’re really depressed you gained 5 pounds? Cool we’ll be right there with a large pizza, let’s talk.

The general idea in these articles was that losing weight won’t make you happy.

This is such a dangerous statement and made me want to punch the author in the face.

All I saw was the headline. I didn’t have to read the article to know what it said. I’ve read it a thousand different times by a thousand different authors.

“There’s no such thing as happy skinny people.”

“Food is life!”

“Don’t deprive yourself, enjoy your life and be happy!”

Yadda yadda yadda.

It’s another Comfortable Lie. They make the reader feel better about giving up on losing weight. “Well it won’t make me happy! Bring on the cheesecake!” I speak from experience. I too have fallen prey to these misguided articles time and time again.

Losing weight won't make me happy?! God dammit where's my cheesecake?

Losing weight won’t make me happy?! God dammit where’s my cheesecake?

They are trying to do good, don’t get me wrong. But the point isn’t to make someone feel good about their failures. We should be helping people see where they failed and how they can do better.

Now, they did come pretty close to hitting a very, very important truth. A truth that absolutely does need to be known to everyone.

Being overweight isn’t the problem. It’s a symptom of the problem.

If you were to wake up tomorrow and be your dream weight, you wouldn’t be happy.

Well, obviously you’d be happy.

Thank you magical weight loss fairy!

Thank you magical weight loss fairy!

But that happiness would be fleeting.

Sure you could go out and try on all the bikinis, wear all your old clothes you haven’t seen in a decade, walk down the street and feel proud…

But after a while, this gnawing feeling would start to creep back in…

That hole, the one you were trying to fill with food, would start to ache again.

Someone get me a cookie, I'm feeling my feelings again...

Someone get me a cookie, I’m feeling my feelings again…

We don’t eat because we’re overweight.

We’re overweight because we eat.

And we eat because we’re unhappy.

Look at the times you’re most likely to binge. Now look at the base emotion of these times:

Really happy occasions that simultaneously depress us because we’re alone/overweight/getting older etc. For example: Birthdays, parties, holidays.

Really sad occasions; losses, someone close to you is hurting, sad movies even.

Stress and boredom I’m sure are all on the list as well.

When we don’t want to deal with our feelings, we bury them under a pound of ice cream.

It’s our feelings that need fixing.

But do you know what is actually fantastic for feeling better?

DOING SOMETHING!

Who needs diet pills and Prozac when you have a mop and a bucket?

Who needs diet pills and Prozac when you have a mop and a bucket?

Doing anything! When I start to feel a mean case of the munchies coming on I don’t sit and stew. I drink a glass of water or make some black coffee, and I clean! I’ll scrub the bathroom, mop the floors, dust all the windows; In other words, I extrovert.

What’s better than cleaning?

Working out! If I didn’t have a baby, you better believe I would be at the gym at least 5 days a week. As it is I plank and push-up and stretch whenever I have a free 60 seconds.

Wait... Why was I sad again?

Wait… What was I sad about?

As Elle Woods put it so beautifully in Legally Blond “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”

If you’re actively working on improving your health in one way or another, you’re going to feel better.

So no, waking up tomorrow and magically being your dream weight and body shape won’t fix the problem.

It’s the long road to that body; It’s the dedication and discipline and self discovery; That is what will make you feel better.

She just realized she hasn't even thought about a cookie in 6 months.

She just realized she hasn’t even thought about a cookie in 6 months.

What are some of the major realizations you’ve had on your road to success? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and Twitter @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

Happy Monday! I’m here to help take away a little bit of the mystery this week. There’s one really unfortunate little mind game we don’t mean to play on ourselves that will forever keep us in our fat pants. Luckily I’ve been to the other side and back again (a couple times now) so I am speaking from experience and can help you to not make the same mistakes!

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate...

If only this happened as soon as we ate the chocolate…

Saying no to delicious food is hard. I know, I’ve been there. I didn’t gain 70 pounds while I was pregnant because of some junk food gnome who force fed me cake while I was sleeping. I gained 70 pounds while pregnant because saying no to the Caramilk bar that second was so much more painful than the inevitable weight gain.

No, wait, that’s not even a little bit true.

All that weight gain hurt oh so much more.

But at the moment the Caramilk bar was in front of me? Saying no hurt more.

Why?

Because as soon as I put that sweet, delicious (and EVIL!!!) Caramilk bar to my lips I didn’t instantly gain 5 pounds. But I did have chocolate. The weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that chocolate? That was happening that second.

My nemesis.

My nemesis.

Studies have actually been done on this. It’s instant gratification versus future reward. Some people are better than others at weighing the pros and cons. But most of us, especially when it comes to food, will take delicious food this second over an athletic body in the future. It’s instant gratification. Here’s a link to an article in The New Yorker on The Marshmallow Experiment:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=all

I will sum it up here for you: Children were brought into a room one at a time. There was a plate of marshmallows in front of them. They were told that they could have one marshmallow now. Or! If they waited a couple minutes while the man left the room, when he returned they could have two marshmallows. As with most social experiments, some subjects were able to sit patiently and wait (delayed gratification) others needed their marshmallow right away (instant gratification) and others after a few minutes realized they were alone with candy and started stuffing their face with all of it (evil master minded geniuses of the future)

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Ah yes, I know that feeling all too well.

Delayed gratification is what we really have a problem with. We aren’t oracles, we can’t see into the future, we can’t say for certain whether or not saying no to this delicious treat in front of us now will result in a beach-ready body by summer, so we opt for instant gratification.

And that is where we fail.

Willpower has received a bad rep as of late. We’re told we’re denying ourselves, we’re making ourselves miserable, we’re torturing ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. But do you know who’s saying that? Other fat people trying to make themselves feel better for also caving in to instant gratification.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived... Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Oh yeah, she looks really deprived… Deprived of a miserable life maybe.

Delayed gratification is the best feeling you will ever have. Even on junk food days I still put this into effect. Yeah sure I could devour that cookie before I’m even out of the Tim’s drive through. Or, I can take my time. Enjoy having it in my presence. Enjoy knowing that I could eat that cookie at any second, but I am choosing not to. I’m not letting the cookie dictate my actions. I am the one in control.

Control is good. Control is the difference between gaining 5 pounds or losing 30 by the end of the year. It’s easy to practice small bursts of self control, but it’s constant vigilance that will make you come out on top.

Stop thinking of it as depriving yourself. That’s letting the cookie rule you. You rule the cookie. You tell that cookie when and where you’ll eat it, not the other way around. I don’t know about you, but as a child I always had boxes of Oreos and Fudgee-os and bags upon bags of chips in the cupboards. But I wouldn’t sit around all day thinking “Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies.” Somewhere along the line, the control went from me to the food. In the last few years, if I knew there were cookies in the house, I was eating them until they were gone. No questions asked.

My other nemesis.

My other nemesis.

I still have trouble with it. That’s why I need to keep that food out of the house. I’m not depriving myself. I’m taking my power back. And you can too. Just remember:

 You rule the cookie. The cookie does not rule you.

Your turn! What are some ways you’re taking your power back and enjoying that sense of delayed gratification? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwetypounds and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Happy (almost) Monday, everyone! I’m a day behind, whoops! This week I thought I’d share with you a sort of dirty little secret I’ve stumbled across in my years of trying to achieve a body I could be proud of. I can’t say I tried it all; I was ridiculously clueless when it came to a healthy diet. I didn’t try crash diets, or juice cleanses. I briefly tried Weight Watchers but writing it all down and assigning points when I was already in school just seemed like way too much extra homework.

No. More. Homework.

No. More. Homework.

I pretty much gave up on dieting. About 6 years ago I moved into the city and started walking everywhere. That was a major game changer. Nothing like being broke with your job a half hour walk away and no mode of transportation available other than your feet to make you really start dropping the pounds.

The "Broke Girl" Workout

The “Broke Girl” Workout

But no matter what I did; if I worked out really hard, if I stopped working out entirely, if I walked a half hour every day, if I drove one block to get the mail, if I did an hour of yoga every morning, if I thought about doing yoga one minute every two weeks; There was only one major factor that really decided whether or not I was losing weight that week:

The food that went into my stomach.

This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the age old cop out: “I can’t wait to get on the treadmill again so I can eat whatever I want!” “As soon as I get that gym membership, look out candy aisle! I’m coming for you!” “No, it’s cool, I can totally have this third slice of cheesecake, I went to the gym today!”

And what’s funny is that these are always the same women complaining about how they can’t lose any weight.

facepalm-seriously-660x440

It doesn’t matter how hard you work out. Because here’s a side order Uncomfortable Truth for you…

Unless You’re Already In Ridonkulous Shape You Will Never Work Out Hard Enough To Cancel Out A Cheesecake

Our bodies are designed pretty stupidly. It’s very easy to gain weight, and insanely difficult to take it off again. But what makes it even harder is when we set up all these road blocks for ourselves. Road blocks in the shape of brownies.

Sweet delicious road blocks.

Sweet delicious road blocks.

If you really want to lose weight, you need to focus on what you’re putting into your body. Food is fuel. That’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s a fact. Our bodies need food to keep going. If we fill ourselves with junk, our bodies will work like junky old cars that should have been on the scrap heap decades ago.

This is your body on pop.

This is your body on junk.

You can work out until you’re blue in the face, but if you’re not focusing on a proper diet it’s all in vain. Yeah sure, you might stop yourself from gaining even more weight, but you’re not going to lose weight. And if losing weight is your goal, you need to allow yourself to be a little bit uncomfortable.

So stop telling yourself that comfortable lie that working out negates all of the bad food. It’s far from true, and I think deep down you know that. You know that because at the end of the year you’ve gained weight, even if it’s 5 pounds or less, you’ve still gained weight. The working out didn’t help. Because you didn’t help yourself.

So start helping yourself! Don’t eat empty calories and really fattening foods all the time. Assign yourself specific days to eat bad foods, or goals (after I lose 10 pounds I’ll have a junk food day!) or holidays, and stick with them. And by all means, go to the gym, do workouts at home, get active! It’s one of the best things you can do for your body. It’s just not the best thing.

Nature's liposuction.

Nature’s liposuction.

So there you have it! If you’re ready to really start seeing results, put the cheeseburgers and pop down, and pick the celery up. I know healthy food looks scary at first, but once you get in the swing of it… It’s tastes so much better than you could ever imagine. For our junk food day this week we opted for cheeseburgers. I had always been anti-veg but recently got on the mushrooms and onions train… Oh. My. Burger. Sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions are the best thing to happen to a cheeseburger since the invention of the cheeseburger. So don’t be scared! Experiment with new healthy foods, cook them in a variety of different methods and dishes until you find a way that works for you. Your inner skinny-girl will thank you!

Your turn! What are some of your favourite healthy foods? What did you used to hate and learned to embrace? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

If It Looks Too Good To Be True…

Hey guys! Welcome to this week’s episode of me crushing all your hopes and dreams. That sounds harsh, but I can’t help but feel a little bit bad about this blog… You see, I was once like you, dear reader. I would look on Pinterest, or at my Low Carb cookbooks, and see all these wonderful recipes for “Healthy Chocolate Cake” and “Healthy Pizza” and think “Wow! I can still eat all my favourite foods and lose weight?! Life is awesome!”

And then I gained over 70 pounds by the end of my pregnancy and a year and a half later I still have those ever frustrating last 20 pounds to shed. Well, 10 or 15 pounds now, but you get my point.

But it said it was a HEALTHY cheesecake!

But it said it was a HEALTHY cheesecake!

Le sigh.

Unfortunately this is a sad truth for most women. We’ll make these awesome sounding “healthy” recipes, and as the years go by keep putting on more and more weight and never really know why.

God damn you Pinterest, you lying bastard!

LIES

LIES

Which brings me to this week’s Uncomfortable Truth:

If It Looks Too Good To Be True, It Is

This is a very, very dangerous game we play with ourselves. For some reason, healthy scares us. I personally blame cartoons. Every character’s favourite food is cookies, or pizza, or ice cream. And what happens when a Brussels sprout pops on screen? They freak out and vomit every where. I didn’t touch a Brussels sprout until I was 27! And you know what? They are freakin’ delicious.

The only exception.

The only exception.

So because of this programming we’ve been bombarded with, unbeknownst to us since we were infants, we’re convinced that healthy can’t be tasty. What are you nuts? Who would ever choose to eat salad over pizza?! If the Ninja Turtles choose pizza, then so do I. If Homer Simpson says “You don’t win friends with salad” then who am I to argue? If the Cookie Monster devours every cookie in sight…

My childhood. No pizza could ever compare.

My childhood. No pizza could ever compare.

You get my point.

But as my palate has learned in this last year or so of experimenting with new foods, healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. It doesn’t mean having to eat “bird food” or things that taste like dirt. You just need to be interested enough to learn about healthy food, and how to best prepare it so it tastes a thousand times better than a bucket of deep fried chicken parts.

Yum? Not since I discovered the deliciousness that is anything else!

Yum? Not since I discovered the deliciousness that is anything else!

To go back to my original point, I get violently angry now when I research new healthy recipes on Pinterest. You know what I find? People trying to fake healthy. People so desperate to hold on to their favourite foods they’ll change them just enough to deem it “healthy” to the untrained eye.

You know what’s healthy? Cauliflower.

Actual yum!

Healthy.

You know what’s not healthy? Cauliflower coated in so much cheese you can barely even taste it.

Not healthy.

Not healthy.

Don’t hide your vegetables under bad food. That will only trick you into thinking you’re eating good so you put your guard down, pig out, and gain weight. Even if you don’t pig out, a cauliflower crusted pizza is still pizza. It’s not only the bread that makes pizza bad. Cheese is very, very high in calories. It also has a very high glycemic index, meaning it is much more likely to boost your blood sugar and make you gain weight faster than other foods with the same amount of calories.

When it comes to wanting something sweet… I get it. I really, really, really get it. When it comes to sugar cravings, some days I don’t know how I’ll get through it. Now, most people think that that’s sad. It’s sad that I can want something so bad and “deprive” myself of it. But do you know what I want more than that cookie? A body I can be proud of. Sugar cravings will pass. The taste of the cookie is gone 20 seconds after that last bite. But the feeling of pride I get from overcoming the craving, that lasts forever.

So when you want some dessert… There’s not much you can do. Sure, you can make these “gluten free” cookies or cake or muffins, but they’re not going to help you lose weight. If it looks too good to be true, it is. If you want to lose weight, don’t bake anything. Not even gluten free anything. If it has sugar in it in any form, if it has carbs in it in any form (gluten free included!) It. Will. Make. You. Gain. Weight.

Gluten free does not mean it's healthy.

Gluten free does not equal healthy.

A healthy dessert to have once in a while would be a cup of plain Greek yogurt with a handful of berries in it and no more than a tablespoon of organic honey. It’s not going to taste like ice cream. It’s not going to taste like cheesecake. But it is tasty in it’s own right.

That’s the scary change we need to make. We need to stop dressing up healthy food and expect it to taste like bad food. Bad food is delicious, there’s no denying it. But we pay a price for it. Start appreciating the subtle and delicious flavors of healthy food.

So that’s the question you need to ask yourself. Are you willing to sacrifice a body you can be proud of forever for 5 minutes with something that tastes good? A moment on the lips forever on the hips isn’t just a cheeky old saying to make you want to punch your Grandma in the face. It’s a hard fact.

Smart ass.

Smart ass.

The change needs to start with us. We need to change our palates. It won’t be easy at first, but nothing great is ever easy at first. Start small, find some delicious sounding really tasty recipes (I have a ton of them on Pinterest!) and start there. Then start experimenting, get really interested in what you’re cooking. Before you know it you’ll dive in to a spinach salad with orange pieces and red pepper and a balsamic vinaigrette with the same passion you once dove into a poutine with bacon.

Don’t fear healthy. Healthy food is actually delicious, and it leaves you feeling energized, and most importantly… It leaves you feeling proud.

What are some of your biggest road blocks when it comes to weight loss? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/last20pounds and you can follow me on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!

Five Easy Tweaks To Jump Start Your Weight Loss

This week I thought I’d share with you five very small and easy tweaks I’ve made to my lifestyle and diet that have really helped me shed the pounds.

Often we bog ourselves down with huge changes. THIS RARELY WORKS. Don’t try to completely overhaul your life over night. When you take on too much at once, more often than not you’re setting yourself up to fail. As babies, we don’t go from barely able to hold our heads up to running around the block the next day. You take one small baby step at a time. Take a gradient approach to your goals; Small, calculated steps will get you there a lot faster than big, misdirected ones.

Stairs were invented for a reason. No one makes it to the top with one step. Unless you're Spiderman.

Stairs were invented for a reason. No one makes it to the top with one step. Unless you’re Spiderman.

Our next Uncomfortable Truth:

You Need To Start Slow

If you want to really start heading towards your weight loss goal, make a few small, simple changes to see some big results. Here are the five simple changes I’ve made to see some serious results.

Skip The Coffee Cream – I’ve touched on this one a few times now, but it’s worth repeating. What is cow’s milk? It’s milk made by a mama cow to feed a baby cow. A cow that needs to grow up to be a helluva lot bigger than us a helluva lot quicker. More bad? Cow’s today are pumped full of so many hormones and antibiotics it’s amazing their milk and meat is still edible. When you’re starting your day, do you want to consume something that will jack your blood sugar and make you gain weight? Or something that tastes good, will give you much more energy, and will in turn jack your metabolism? Black coffee for the win! And throw away the sugar.

Sweet delicious coffee beans. Why ruin them with insta-fat?

Sweet delicious coffee beans. Why ruin them with insta-fat?

Burn All Of Your Artificial Sweeteners – Somehow it got into society’s head that artificial sweeteners are actually better for you than sugar. It’s time to unlearn this lie. We’ve all heard that they’re connecting aspartame with cancer, but in today’s world what doesn’t give us cancer, right? Faulty logic. If you know it’s no good, and you can cut it out, then cut it out! Artificial sweeteners are worse for you. There’s no denying it. If you absolutely must sweeten something, use organic honey. It is so much more delicious.

Here’s an article I found on artificial sweeteners from CBC if you need further convincing.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/artificial-sweeteners-tied-to-obesity-type-2-diabetes-1.1352987

Cut The Carbs – Obviously I’ve already touched on this one, but if there is one thing I have found that has worked better than anything else I’ve done, it’s eliminating carbs from my diet. We consume enough carbohydrates in vegetables and meat that we should never need to turn to a bagel. Or pasta. Even if it’s whole grain, just avoid it. Nothing will you fill you up more, give you more energy, and make you feel like a million bucks better than a meal that is 75% vegetables and 25% meat. Last night for supper we had steaks with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms and roasted brussels sprouts, and it was the best damn meal I’ve had in a while. Carbs don’t add flavor or variety, they add pounds and inches. You may not be able to cut all carbs from your diet right away, and that’s okay. Baby steps. Start by eliminating them from one meal a day, and expand from there. And I would like to think this goes without saying, but just to be clear…..

CAKE AND CHOCOLATE COUNT AS CARBS.

Just because they're round doesn't mean they equal a well rounded diet.

Just because they’re round doesn’t mean they equal a well rounded diet.

Stop Snacking On High Calorie Snacks – A couple months ago I realized it was my tiny little cup of raisins and almonds holding me back from losing weight. At first it baffled me, until I mentioned it to my man-friend who looked at me like I had ten heads. Of course it was holding me back. That tiny little snack didn’t fill me, it wasn’t satisfying. It spiked my blood sugar, making me crave more food, and it was packed with more fat and calories than the whole plate of celery and hummus I could’ve had instead. Which incidentally tastes better and would’ve left me satisfied. Go through your cupboards. Throw out every little “100 Calorie Snack” bag you have. They will only leave you wanting more and keep you farther and farther away from your goals.

Junk is junk is junk. No matter what pretty wrapping you put on it.

Junk is junk is junk. No matter what pretty wrapping you put on it.

Move More – Okay, this one seems too simple to be true, but man does it work! Today we’re so concerned with time. Get there quicker, get it done, on to the next thing, go go go!!! We’ve completed so much by day’s end we figure we must have burned a million calories. But although your car was going really fast, your computer was working really hard, your vacuum was in peak form… You never really moved all that much. It may take a couple extra minutes but next time walk to the corner store to grab your eggs. And on the way back, do bicep curls with the bag. Sweep instead of vacuuming. Stand while you’re on your computer, and maybe do some push-ups on the counter while you’re trolling through Facebook. Did you know that I stand while writing every blog? My computer doesn’t live at a desk or dining room table. It lives on my kitchen counter so I can multi-task like a boss (or stay at home mom) and do squats or push-ups while I’m reading and writing. Have 30 seconds to stand around while the microwave counts down? Do a 30 second plank! You have time to fit in a 30 minute work out every day. You just have to do it in 30 second intervals. By the end of the day you’ll have more energy, you’ll sleep better, and when you wake up in the morning and weigh yourself? No better way to start the day than with a great big smile and renewed enthusiasm.

One set of 20 as you walk to the car. Best work out I know.

One set of 20 as you walk to the car. Best work out I know.

Those are my five easy peasy lemon squeezy ways to lose weight with minimal effort. And like I said, they’ve worked for me! Just find little ways to start implementing them. Before you know it you’ll hate the taste of cream in your coffee, you’ll forget why you ever drove to get the mail, and you’ll laugh at those poor misguided fools buying diet pop and 100 calorie snacks for their lunch.

What are some of your favorite little tweaks and adjustments you’ve made to help lose weight? Sound off below!

You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lasttwentypounds or Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/Last20Pounds and you can follow me on Twitter as @Last20Pounds. See you next week!