Member Since Aug 21, 2007 Gal Female | Send Message Send Message
Last Login Dec 1, 2015
Location Calgary AB CA
Birthdate 1981-08-25


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Hello, my name is Heather! I'm 34 years old & originally from St. John's, Newfoundland. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with my husband, cat and daughter, born in November 2014 :)

I am the moderator of CC's Recipes Forum. Come on over and post your favourite healthy dishes!

My weight loss story:

Losing weight was/is the hardest thing I've ever done but it's also the one of the most rewarding & life changing.

As a kid, I was always overweight and I always HATED it. I wanted to change the way I looked but I didn't have the will power or stamina to stick to a "diet" so I was easily discouraged. I was very inactive and LOVED salty junk food like pizza & Doritos. Potatoes & the occasional carrot were the only vegetables I'd willingly eat. I was emotionally addicted to nutrient-poor, taste-good foods.

When I started university in 1999, my size 38 wide-leg MEN'S jeanswere feeling tight so I finally decided to do SOMETHING. A female-only fitness centre called Active Women (similar to Curves) opened in my city so I bit the bullet and joined. On my first day, I weighed in at 224 lbs, which I can only assume was my all-time highest weight. I did their circuit several times a week, cut way back on fast food & soft drinks and tried to watch my diet. Once I started to see the weight come off and people started to notice, I was hooked! I was no longer interested in eating junk food all the time. When I graduated from university 4.5 years later, I had lost 50 lbs and kept it off!

In 2004, I moved out to Western Canada but didn't rejoin the gym right away. After a year of not working out (...and drinking beer too often... and eating too much fast food), I noticed I was starting to gain a bit of weight again... a total nightmare for me!

In July 2005, I decided to do a 10-day cleanse designed by a naturopath, which involved eating all whole foods, consuming a lot of water and eliminating dairy, soy, gluten, bread products, caffeine, alcohol, red meat and salt. This was a big eye-opener for me, in terms of proper eating. I was cooking for myself for the first time! The cleanse started me on the right path to proper eating habits and adequate water consumption and it turned me on to natural/organic food choices.

On February 2, 2006, I weighed about 185 lbs and I realized I wasn't going to get any thinner/healthier if I didn't do some work. Once again, I fully committed myself to working out regularly and eating properly. I split my time between Curves and a conventional gym, exercising 3-6 times a week and I completely revamped my eating habits once again by doing the following:

  • Drinking at least 2 litres of water daily
  • Drinking water with meals instead of diet soda, juice or milk  
  • Loading up on fruits & vegetables
  • Cutting down on bread, dairy and alcohol (but I didn't cut them out entirely!)
  • Carefully watching portion sizes (measuring when I can)
  • Learning how to cook instead of relying on frozen meals 
  • Experimenting with vegetarian/vegan recipes 
  • Eating more protein, fibre, fruits and vegetables
  • Eating each of the 4 food groups in every meal

By doing this, I lost additional 20 lbs! Several months later, my weight loss stalled but I was still looking to lose those "last 10 pounds". At this point, I decided to quit Curves and I got very serious about my physical fitness & my diet. 

In February 2008, I visited a nutritionist who suggested I cut out artificial sweeteners, cut down on excess sugar and add more protein, whole foods and vegetables to my diet. I gave up Splenda and packaged diet foods completely and increased my protein to 90-120 g daily... it has made a HUGE difference in my appetite! I am rarely hungry or snack-y. This nutritionist visit and the book Fast Food Nation made me take a closer look at the foods I had been consuming. At this point, I became a Clean Eater. I am very conscientious about my food choices: I eat whole, mostly organic, unprocessed or minimally processed foods and avoid fast food/"diet" foods that have ingredients I can't pronounce. I make sure to include good protein and lots of vegetables into every meal/snack and to eat dark green vegetables at least 2-3 times per day. I LOVE searching for and experimenting with healthful recipes while trying new fruits, vegetables, proteins, herbs and spices. I also drink plenty of water every day. I do eat the occasional treat but it has to be something worthwhile and decadent. I eat clean ~90% of the time so there's a little room for an indulgence sometimes. Eating this way makes me feel great! I follow all the nutritional guidelines I listed and don't feel the need to count calories.

I had been trying to get rid of those "the last 10 pounds" for a long time. It was especially hard considering how committed I was to regular work outs & proper, clean food choices. I had been at the same weight for about three years until I revisited my nutritionist. She suggested I cut out processed soy (from tofu & soy milk). A few weeks later, I was noticing inch loss and I was down a few pounds so I can only assume it was because of this elimination! 

For the past few years, I've been experimenting with a low grain/high protein/higher good fat/low sugar diet. This change was greatly influenced by my personal trainer's urging to learn more about the Paleo Diet. While I'm not willing to commit to a 100% Paleo diet, I have definitely seen some results with my modified version. I also feel much more satiated and satisfied when I eat this way, compared to when I ate a low-fat, grain-based, higher carb meal or snack. I try to avoid sugar as much as possible, or at least opt for natural sweeteners instead. My daily diet is mostly gluten-free and grain-free, though I do include quinoa and buckwheat at times (high protein pseudo-grains). Thankfully, I haven't been diagnosed with a gluten allergy/intolerance but I have noticed I feel better when I keep wheat consumption to a minimum.

Exercise is a huge part of my life and I believe it goes hand-in-hand with diet in achieving long term weight loss. After several years of casual cardio exercise at the gym and the monotonous Curves circuit, I needed to do something different. In the summer of 2008, I completed two 6-week bootcamps and I loved them! They really sparked a level of fitness in me that I didn't know existed, motivating me to push harder than I ever thought I could. I even started running regularly, something I never thought I could do. In an effort to lose "the last 10 pounds", I then switched gears to more intense & focused strength training routines with less lengthy, steady state cardio

My typical week of exercise includes 5 days of workouts & 2 days of rest. I meet with my personal trainer once a week. My sessions used to include things like strength training, metabolic conditioning, speed/agility, calorie burning workouts, recovery, etc. Each session is dedicated to something different. It's incredibly varied, which is amazing, and I've seen some awesome results since I've started. In 2013, I trained for an Olympic lifting competition and loved the mental & physical aspects of the sport. When I'm not with my trainer, I strength train, or hit the treadmill or a local park to tackle sprint or hill intervals or I'll go for a steady pace run. Slow & steady cardio is a rarity though unless I'm training for a race. I enjoy training & racing for 5 - 10 km distances in the summertime. I will sometimes take a boot camp-style class at my gym, or I'll go for a nice long bike ride, hike or walk outside. Recently, I've been putting more focus on post-exercise stretching and have added at least 1 session of power or flow yoga per week. 

Nowadays, fitness is my goal, rather than pound loss. I'm generally satisfied with how I look and I am focusing on adopting a healthy mental outlook on my body instead. I realize that in reality, the number on the scale really means nothing and should not determine a person's progress or worth. I have stopped stepping on the scale and it has done wonders for my sanity. 

Pregnancy: I am due with my first baby in November 22nd, 2014. I have been enjoying this ride so far! I've been very lucky to not have experienced many negative pregnancy symptoms so I've been able to continue working out and eating healthfully. I have definitely relaxed my too-strict-at-times attitude towards food and it has been amazing.

Recommended Reading for Food/Health/Diet/Lifestyle Information that really had an impact on me: 

  • Magic Foods by Robert A Barnett taught me a lot about the importance of the Glycemic Index & why particular foods are beneficial to your health. It's a bit outdated but years ago, it got me thinking about my food choices. 
  • The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. A great introduction to a clean eating lifestyle. She lays out the importance of "you are what you eat" and provides practical tips on how to eat healthfully in your daily life. Again, I bit outdated and not quite in line with my current food philosophy but it's a excellent starting point for those who are looking to clean up their diet.
  • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser completely changed the way I viewed junk food and turned me off fast food for good. The brainwashing, corruption and greed involved with fast food restaurants astounded me and it's all at the cost of their customer's health. It's a must read.
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan offers great in-depth discussions on where your food actually comes from. Fascinating stuff.
  • The Paleo Solution: by Robb Wolf. An interesting and hilarious book about why the Paleo Diet is the best & most common sense way to eat.

If you have any questions about food, recipes, weight loss, fitness or anything, feel free to drop me a line :)


Interests 47: barbecue, bike riding, bison steak, bootcamp, bowling, buckwheat, clean eating, coffee, crossfit, deadlifts, exercise, fitness, food, fruit, getting outside on a sunny day, healthy eating, holistic nutrition, hot yoga, interval training, jogging, kale, nut butters, olympic lifting, oxygen magazine, paleo, pearl jam, personal training, pilates, protein, quinoa, quoting homer simpson, r.e.m., reading, running, shopping, spending time with loved ones, sprints, squats, starbucks, strength training, tempeh, the simpsons, trying new wines & foods, vegetables, vegetarian cooking, weight training, weights
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