Exciting Opportunity!

Exciting Opportunity


For those of you in the Calgary area, I will be providing a free talk on meal planning and nutrition. I had the opportunity to speak for the Running Room a few months ago and it was an amazing experience. As a result I am going to be providing another presentation this September. Details are provided below. I hope to see you there.

*Spaces are limited so please RSVP to fitlessflavor@gmail.com

Meal planning invite

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

Is Honesty the Best Policy?

The Update I Have Been Dreading


 

Healthy Fresh Salad Ingredients 

Is honesty the best policy? Well we will soon find out. When I started this blog back in February 2015 I made a promise that I would be honest and transparent about the ups and downs of my new reality. I have been dreading this update, but here it goes. 

I was feeling overwhelmed with a few projects that were my plate. Between maintaining the blog and meal planning I started to feel burnt out. There is so much work that goes into this blog each week. I spend about 4-6 hours each day preparing the blog. But don’t worry, the actual amount of work from your side of things is not nearly that big of a commitment, I have done all of the work for you except the actual cooking๐Ÿ˜Š. However, the meal planning and diet analysis are a huge undertaking.  I do love the blog and do find the process very therapeutic in coping with my disease, I just reached a point that I needed a break.

I decided to take the last few months off of the meal planning portion of the blog. I still ate healthy, but was not strictly controlling my portions. After 8 weeks off I stepped back on the scale and hit probably one of the lowest points of my journey so far.

In only 8 weeks, taking a break from strict meal planning, I have gained everything back. I can’t believe I am about to share this, I now weigh 205 pounds.

One of my biggest hesitations for sharing this update is that I was honoured to be asked to share my success on television and radio. When you reach that level of media you feel like you should be bona fide expert in the weight-loss field. But friends I am just as human as everyone else struggling with a weight-loss journey.

I feel like I have completely let you all down. I have been so touched by the number of you who have told me that I have inspired you. I am hoping that in the midst of my failure I can inspire by being honest with my genuine struggles with this journey.

I guess this set back reveals how VITAL strict meal planning is for weight loss. I cannot afford to take a big break from meal planning. Proper portions are so important to maintain a proper weight. Back to actually measuring out a tablespoon and not estimating. When you estimate, or maybe it is just me, but when I estimate I am usually hungry so a tablespoon turns into a 1/4 cup! 

Moving forward I need to find a more sustainable way of maintaining the blog. My recipes may become less elaborate and you will likely see repeats. I believe I have moved away from the original focus of this blog. I have felt like I needed to provide a new beautiful and elaborate recipe for every single meal. No one has put that on me, I have done that to myself. I need to step back, simplify, and refocus on my diet analysis. 

I think that one of the most sustainable plans for me to follow is 4 days strict eating and 3 days smart eating. What I mean by that is for 4 days of the week follow a meal plan meticulously with precise portion sizes, and for 3 days don’t worry about following a plan, but still be very conscience about what and how I am eating. 

Back to square one and back to a strict meal plan. Meal planning has clearly become a necessary lifeline for me to cope with this disease. I hope you are still interested in following my journey. Thank you so much to everyone for your support throughout my journey of living with ARVC.

Here are my latest pictures: Fitless flavor Journey take 2!

DSC_0206 - Version 2

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Confessions of a crazy Pinterest mom – the 3rd birthday!

Confessions of a crazy Pinterest Mom

The 3rd birthday edition


I promised myself that the 3rd birthday would be simple and uncomplicated compared to the first and second birthdays! I clearly do not know how to implement simple and uncomplicated! For Charlotte’s 3rd birthday I went with an Olaf beach party theme. I love the irony of this theme ๐Ÿ˜‚! Charley is getting to the age where she would like a say in her birthday theme, but I just don’t have it in me to throw a frozen party with Anna and Elsa everywhere! I thought an Olaf beach party was a good compromise. With the beach aspect I could easily bring the cute ‘Pinterest‘ vibe into the party!

 

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

You can read all about The Decor, The Details, The Cake, The Activities & The Goody Bags! I hope I can help to inspire you if you are also planning an Olaf Beach Party!

The Decor 

The palm tree, parrot & flamingo inflatables are from Party City. For the table skirt I purchased 4 plastic green table cloths from the dollar store. I folded the cloth in half and cut slits to make it look like a grass skirt. I also purchased tissue paper from the dollar store and made the tissue paper hibiscus flowers using a tutorial from Pinterest. There are hundreds of tutorials for tissue paper flowers. 

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

The It’s Luau time sign is from Party City. The adorable VW surf Westfalia is from some cute boutique store in Palm Springs. Sorry I know that doesn’t help, but my mom bought it a few years ago and I LOVE IT! I was so excited when it worked perfectly with the decor! 

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

The Olaf decal was from Michaels. It came with 2 Olaf decals. The hibiscus felt flowers and the the inflatable beach balls were from the dollar store.

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

The Details

I love bringing in all the fun little details that pull each party together. The party always starts with the invite. The Invite sets the tone of what to expect. All of Charley’s invites said:

I can’t wait to see what my buddies all think of me, 

Just imagine how much cooler I’ll be when I’m 3!

I made sure to find a super ‘cool’ picture of Charley! But how perfect does that work out for an Olaf beach party invitation?!!! As you can tell I was pretty proud of myself when I came up with that!

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

 All the goody bags could be found and picked up from Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Sauna! Along with the Big Summer Blowout that included incredible deals like half off swimming suits, clogs, and sun balm, all goody bags had to go and were free at the end of the party! The kids all loved this little detail! I also incorporated some of Olaf’s most memorable quotes about summer. When all the guests arrived there was a bowl full of Lei’s at the front. I purchased the Lei’s from Party City, they come in packs of 25, 50 and 144. I think the Freezes were one of my favourite details. They were also a must, it was 30 degrees Celsius out!  

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

The Cake

I made Charley’s cake again this year! Yes I know I am also just as SHOCKED!!!! I had so much fun making her cake and all the cupcakes. I made an 8 inch rainbow bit cake for the top tier and 3 tiers of cupcakes (I should clarify I did use boxed cake mixes). I also used pre-made fondant from Bulk Barn and coloured the fondant with Wilton Icing Color. For the cupcakes I used cupcake cups that I found at the dollar store. I have also seen them at Michaels. They are AMAZING!!! I don’t know if I would ever use a regular muffin liner again. With the baking cups you do not need to use a muffin tin, so you can bake way more cupcakes. I just lined up all the cups on a baking sheet.

Making this cake and working with fondant was way too much fun! For my sister’s birthday a few years ago we went to a Fondant Basics Course at SAIT. It was about 4 hours long and the best 80 dollars I have ever spent! It equipped me with the basic skills to produce Charley’s 3rd birthday cake!      

I had to free hand the hibiscus flowers, I could not find just a simple flower cookie cutter anywhere. For the Happy Birthday Charlotte sign I used letter cutters. For the Palm tree I used a wooden skewer and wrapped fondant around it. The tissue paper flowers on toothpicks were from  Party City and I made the fondant beach balls. I am definitely not good enough to hand carve an Olaf out of Fondant or modelling chocolate yet, there are some corners that just have to be cut! The hula Olaf was on clearance from the Disney Store.

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

The Activities

To keep everyone entertained we had an Olaf piรฑata. I was worried that attacking and destroying Olaf may disturb the children, but their excitement for candy outweighed any long-term scaring of dismembering Olaf with a hockey stick! The Piรฑata was from Bulk Barn. We also rented a bouncy house with palm trees from Fun 4us Rentals in Calgary. I would definitely rent a bouncy house from them again! The cost was extremely reasonable, you have the bouncy house for 24 hours, the set up is really easy, and the staff was extremely friendly and easy to get a hold of!

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

The Goody (Goodie?) Bags 

Oh the goody bags! I know I am ridiculous, but the goody bags are definitely one of my favourite elements of planning a party! I love tying the entire theme together with goody bag and I think I successfully pulled that off this year! The beach buckets and beach balls are from Party City, and the Olaf water shooters are from the dollar store (specifically Dollarama).  

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Olaf beach party birthday @fitlessflavor

Whoo! I am tired! I swear next year will be a slab cake and streamers! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ … Probably not! #Ihaveaproblem

Heading into month 6!

Heading into month 6!

Fruit Harvest Selection In Bowls

I cannot believe that it has almost been half a year since I started this blog! I promised at this start of this project I would be honest about my journey, so here it is, my results last month were dismal. No change in weight, and only one inch lost.

Weight (lbs) Waist (in) Bust (in) Chest (in) Hips (in) Thigh (in) Calf (in) Arm (in)
Start 200 39 40 35 46 27 16 13
Month 1 190 38 39 33 44 26.5 15.5 12.5
Month 2 185 35 38.5 32.5 43 26 15 12
Month 3 182 34.5 37.5 32 42.5 25.5 15 12
Month 4 182 34 37.5 32 42.5 25.5 15 12
Month 5 182 34 37.5 32 42 25.5 15 11.5
Month 6 185 34 37 32 42 25 15 11.5
Month 7 185 34 37 32 42 25 15 11.5
Month 8 185 34 37 32 42 25 15 11
Month 9 185 33 37 31.5 42 25 15 11
Month 10 185 33 37 31 41.5 25 15 11

I am almost becoming at bit depressed at this point in my journey. Each week I step on the scale it is such on overwhelming reminder of my new reality. I become so discouraged, and then bitterness quickly follows. I have a pity party for myself that starts off with: “I do not get it?!!! I am essentially eating perfectly.” Then the unhealthy comparison game starts playing in my head, “why can so many of my friends eat a Big Mac meal like it is celery and drink alcohol like it is water?!  The only ab work I have ever seen them do is the odd sneeze or giggle here and there, and if I even think about a Big Mac I gain 5 pounds.” From there it spirals into ugly wallowing in self pity “it is bad enough that I have this life threatening heart condition, I also have to struggle with my weight. Can I not just catch a break somewhere?!!!” I ended up wallowing in a two cheeseburger meal from McDonalds and topped it off with an Oreo McFlurry…. and a few of Charley’s chicken nuggets! You cannot get much more honest than that!

I am not sharing these thoughts to be a downer, or to make you feel sorry for me, rather it is to be honest about my struggles with this journey. I feel like I am constantly sharing all of my highs and I want to be transparent. When Charley was 7 months old I was finally able to sit back and let my reality sink in. I experienced a pretty terrible time of depression. I struggled all the more when I saw other people facing difficulties with a smile on their face. This made me feel guilty that I was not able to do a better job at coping, and the depression became even worse. I do not want you to read about my journey and think that I am only having positive weight-loss experiences. I am also having my fair share of challenges. Please do not be discouraged at whatever point you may be in your own weight-loss journey! I know that this road will continue to be full of highs, lows, and new challenges.  I have been blessed with all of your incredible encouragement. Many of you have commended me on how amazing it is that I have turned a difficult situation into something positive, when many others would choose to wallow. But trust me there has been lots of wallowing, and I am sure there will be some more in the future. 

I knew that I would hit a plateau, but I did not think it would last this long. When I was a personal trainer I never put any weight into what the scale had to say (pun intended). With exercise there are such drastic changes to your body composition. As a result, the scale is not a reliable indication of your progress. However, as far as I know (based on the infant knowledge base of nutritional sciences) diet does not have the same impact on body composition. 

When I was a trainer I would always find ways to challenge or shock the body. I would never let it get use to the same program or exercises. This was a highly successful approach for my clients, especially when they reached a plateau. This week I knew I had to do something with my meal plan to challenge my metabolism. I have been reading a lot lately about foods that are considered “metabolizing booster foods” or “negative calorie foods.” When the body requires more energy to breakdown a food than the calories the food provides, it is considered a negative calorie food. I am not sure I agree with this theory, but I am willing to try something new to promote my metabolism. 

Metabolism boosting and negative calorie foods

Green Organic Vegetables

I incorporated all of these metabolism boosting and negative calorie foods into the meal plan for Month 6 – Week 1:

According to ELLE kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods, it clears toxins from the body, and suppresses appetite.  Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids, which assist in communicating with the bodies fat storage hormones. Brazil nuts are considered little fat-burners. They assist in converting the thyroid hormone to its active form and they intercept toxins that are stored in fat cells, which contribute to cellulite. Chia seeds activate fat-burning hormones and suppress appetite. Supposably, Wild salmon can spot reduce and metabolize fat, specifically from your abdomen by improving insulin sensitivity. Wild salmon also activates the thyroid hormone. Oysters are the richest food source of zinc. Zinc decreases appetite and cravings induced by ‘that time of the month.’ Consuming at least a 1/4 tsp of Cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar. 

SHAPE promoted tuna, grapefruit, oats, and hot peppers as metabolism boosting foods. Supposably tuna, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids stimulates the production of leptin and revs up your metabolism. Leptin is a key hormone in reducing weight by providing a feeling of satiety. Grapefruit is a source of naringenin. Apparently, this antioxidant assists insulin to stabilize blood sugar and it improves how efficiently you burn calories. Oats and whole grains make you feel full for longer and according to SHAPE they take more energy to digest than they provide. Finally, spicy pepper contain capsaicin, which can increase the efficiency of your metabolism for up to 3 hours after consuming.

Bembu encourages consuming asparagus for its low caloric content, but high nutrient composition. Beans also have a positive impact on boosting your metabolism. Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are high in B vitamins, which are a great support for your metabolism. According to Bembu Celery    is a thermogenic food and is pack full of calcium. Cucumber boosts your metabolism due to its high water content, low caloric content, and rich reservoir of micronutritents. Ginger has metabolism-increasing properties. Lemons allegedly clean the digestive tract (funny the article did not actually explain how they do this, you have got to love it when people make all these wonderful claims, but do not back it up with research or an explanation of the physiology). Melons are great for satisfying a sweet tooth while being low in calories. Water, key component in metabolism reactions.

Finally, according to the Foodie Junky these foods burn more calories than they contain. As mentioned already, celery, grapefruit, cucumber, and asparagus, . Other foods that burn more to digest than they contain include: lettuce and leafy greens, watermelon, lean meats like chicken breast, broths, yogurt, oranges, tomatoes, and arugula.

While I might not agree with the claims that these are ‘negative calorie foods’ or ‘metabolism boosters,’ they are still all perfectly healthy options. So this week I took all of these suggested foods and incorporated them into my recipes. The results after one week?! ….. no weight loss! I realize one week is a very short period of time. However, I am normally eating all of these foods anyways. I did feel thinner, which is vain to say, but the scale did not budge. I will continue to incorporate these ingredients into my meal plans, because they nutrient dense and healthy, not because they may be negative calories or metabolism boosters!  

 

Television taught me how to cook

Rustic Table Setting

Television taught me how to cook; thank you Food Network

Ever since my family doctor gave me the advice that I needed to “learn to enjoy the cooking process” my life has been set on an entirely new path that I never could have imagined. If you had told me 6 months ago that I would have a food blog, I would have laughed out loud!ย Who could have foreseen that a girl who honestly thought that the only way to prepare scallop potatoes was from a box, would end up publishing a weekly food blog! So how did I get to this point?

I shared with you at the beginning of this journey that it all started with acquiring the right tools. After obtaining the right tools the next step was to learn how to use them, or in other words, there was the small task of learning how to cook.

I have always been a fan of the Food Network, but before my diagnosis, my favourite shows were all the competition ones. I always love a good episode of Chopped, Food Network Star, Cutthroat Kitchen, or The Kids Baking Championship.

However, after my new reality was abruptly imposed on me, I started to enjoy the culinary educational shows more and more. Most, if not all of the cooking skills that I have acquired, are from watching the Food Network. Sorry Mom, I know I should say it was from you, but we both know, along with anyone who knows you that is not the case (I love you, and I know that you are laughing reading this right now because you also know it is the truth!).

I have learned such invaluable skills from watch an embarrassing number of hours of the Food Network. My favourite shows right now are The Pioneer Woman, which I believe I have mentioned a million times before; Love her! ย My other top pick right now is Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Home Cooking. I actually record this show because I have learned so many useful cooking tips. If you are serious about improving your cooking skills I would highly recommend watching Chef Ramsay’s show. You canย watch episodes online if you do not have the Food Network as a part of your cable package.

Bake with Anna Olson is another great show, especially if you interested in developing your baking skills. I also enjoy Chef Michael’s Kitchen and French Food at Home.

Another series that I really love is Pitchin’ In. The show does not necessarilyย teach you how to cook, but it provides tremendous insight into where your food comes from, the dedication of the individuals and families involved, and the work it takes to get the ingredient to your plate.

I would not consider myself a professional by any means, but I feel much more competent in the kitchen, thanks to The Food Network and shows like The Pioneer Woman and Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate home cooking.

Before the Food Network I honestly do not know how I would have learned to cook! What are some of your favourite cooking shows? I would love to hear about them. Not that I need to add additional hours of television to my day, but really is it television or education? I argue that it is just a digital classroom!

For my meal plan for month 5, week 2, all of the recipes are from, or inspired by The Food Network. Check it out!