Was I Being “Body Positive” Or Destroying My Health?

I love my body. I love that it has carried four babies, two of them being twins. I love that it has birthed my children. I love that it has scars and stretch marks and dimples. It has many and it is the road map of my life. When you really think about it, a woman’s body is incredible and can do incredible things.

But lately… lately I have been letting it down.

Before twins I always had a negative relationship with my body. I got angry when it wouldn’t shed pounds. I covered it up because to me it wasn’t ideal. I starved it and overtrained it and cursed it when it didn’t perform.

During my twin pregnancy everything was stripped away, and my one job was to grow and incubate my babies. I felt my body stretch, my hips seperate, and my heart race. But despite the pain my girls thrived. My body did it’s job.

During those days as I lay on the sofa with a pillow between my knees I made myself a promise. I promised to thank it. I promised to care for it and treat it the way it deserved. That meant losing the weight I purposely put on during my pregnancy, feeding it the right foods and strengthening it. But above all, I would rehabilitate my body with love.

I did. I followed through with my promise. It was a journey but I kept my promise.

You can read about my body after babies journey in my popular blog post: What Having Four Kids (Including Twins) Has Done To My Body and My Confidence.

At least until last year.

Last year I had a couple of life events that shook me. I was stressed and started to reach for food as comfort. I overate at every meal and every snack. I gave myself constant stomach aches, (which is really risky for me because in the previous year I suffered from Diverticulitis), but in the moment while I ate I felt numb and numb felt good.

Besides, a trend was building that was telling me that curvy was good. That adding on some extra weight and embracing it was actually the kind thing to do for my body. Or at least, that was how I was interpreting it.

But I didn’t feel good.

So I’d try to be mindful of my portions and ramp up my exercise and then it would fall apart.

I began posting on Instagram, along with almost everyone else, photos of my curvier body and how I was embracing my curves and buying new clothes to fit the new me.

But I didn’t feel good.

I was out of breath, was getting light-headed often, I had a sore back, and felt lethargic. So I’d try again with a new goal of caring for my body better, (which for my small 5’2″ frame meant shedding some of those pounds), and I shared this goal of health online. The response? Some positive, but I also received some blowback because the goal I was after wasn’t popular. This threw me and once again, and I stopped.

Was it guilt that I felt? I’m not sure, but I felt like I was doing something wrong.

But I didn’t feel good.

In January I turned 36, and I started to notice my body felt stiff. Really stiff. I initially joked that it was just my age, but 36? Really?

So, a few weeks ago I decided to be really honest with myself and step on a scale. Yes, a scale, which in my opinion, can be a great tool for some if used properly. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe what I had done to myself. What about the promise?

Enough was enough. It was time to make positive changes for my health and make sure I protected what I knew was right. I went through my social media and unfollowed anyone who I felt was making me second guess my goal. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault that I had lost sight of my goal of health, but it was making me second guess myself.

I’ve made sure that what I was doing to move more was on my terms and left me feeling satisfied and proud. I am working out every morning. Sometimes it’s ten minutes of stretches and abs. Other days I hop on my treadmill and run while watching Netflix.

I am taking my time to pre-cook my meals days in advance, and slow down and enjoy every bite and today my gut health is better than ever. Don’t worry, I am enjoying indulging on our weekly date night and here and there. But not everyday.

Today I am choosing love. I am choosing health.

I have lost seven pounds, and plan to shed more.

I’m happy and I feel good. I’m climbing the stairs without getting winded and my body feels more flexible.

I think some really great things are coming out of the current body positivity movement. But somehow along the way balance was lost and a bizarre version of reverse body-shaming has begun. I fell victim to this trend and I am 36.

I worry about my three daughters entering a world where the conversation is so one-sided. I want them to love their body at all stages of their life. I want them to know that we are all different and our relationship with our bodies is a personal one.

I want them to treat their bodies the way they deserve to be treated. I want the goal of health to be important to them.

You can be curvy and be healthy. You can love yourself and still chase a goal.

Body positivity should be a movement based on knowing yourself, accepting other people’s choices and cheering each other on. Body positivity should be about listening to your body and knowing when it is in a season of grief, healing, growing another life, rehabilitation or renewal. Body positivity should be about knowing the difference between embracing health and settling into a body that may not be thriving.

Above all, body positivity should be about supporting each other, knowing that what may work for one person may not work for another. That one person may need a strategy or a diet to battle inflammation or digestive issues, and that a scale can be a great tool for one person, but a torment for another. Body positivity should be about erasing judgement and saying I support you and your journey towards health.

I am choosing what’s right for me. I am choosing to chase health, and happiness.

I will be documenting my journey on Instagram and I’d like you to join the conversation and follow along there.

My friend Ana at Bluebird Kisses has also written an article on this topic. I’d love for you to weigh in and let me know what you think about this current trend.

Diverticulitis, my move towards a new lifestyle and general life and blog update

mother and daughterWhere do I start this one? I feel like I haven’t checked in with all of you here on the blog, in terms of me, personally in quite a while. Let’s talk health, lifestyle and the blog.

I guess it goes back to last spring.

Last spring, after a quieter winter, life got busy. I lot of exciting projects came my way, I had a lot of travel, both for work and vacations, and the kids schedules were getting busier.

During that excitement I noticed my energy levels lagging, heart palpitations kept coming and I was often light-headed. I kept putting it off and finally I went to see my doctor when it dawned on me that I hadn’t had a physical in over FOUR YEARS!

Whoops!

My blood work came back showing that my iron levels were in the toilet. So I started to take iron supplements and my energy levels came back.

This past summer was a blur of travel and work deadlines. I’ve been working on some really exciting projects,

filming

and our family even went to Mexico.

Mexico

sisters

The peak was definitely my trip with Mike to New York, without kids, for our ten year anniversary. We basically ate and walked our way through New York. I had been a few times before, but it was Mike’s first time to New York and he loved it just as much as I thought he would.

By the end of August I started having abdominal pains that were different than any IBS symptom I had experienced in the past. But, typical me… I ignored them.

But by the second day, as Mike watched me try to put Beau to bed doubled over in agony, he insisted I go to the emergency room. I compromised and agreed to booking a doctor’s appointment for the following day.

The next morning, about five minutes after Mike walked out the door to work, as I began to make our kids’ breakfast, I gripped the counter as our kitchen spun, and I managed to make it to our couch, shooting an S.O.S. text to Mike…

“I’m not well.” It said.

The next thing I knew, our door flew open and there was Mike, ready to take over with the kids. I was so glad to see him.

Later that morning we left to my doctor’s appointment. As she checked my belly, my doctor decided to give my abdomen a little shake and I screamed in pain. That gave me a one way ticket to the Emergency room.

Hours, many tests and a ruled out appendicitis later I almost left the hospital feeling like it was a waste of time, but a general surgeon visited me and convinced me to stay for a CT scan. Thank goodness he did.

in the hospital

It turned out that I had diverticulitis.

Diverticulosis happens when pouches (diverticula) form in the wall of the colon. If these pouches get inflamed or infected, it is called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can be very painful.Webmd

I was told that I was very lucky that I had gone in when I had and an abscess, or a perforation hadn’t occurred and was sent home with two antibiotics.

Since then I have had follow up appointments and a colonoscopy is booked for late fall. But truthfully, I haven’t felt the same since.

I have been exhausted, and nervous that I am going to eat the wrong thing  and set it off again. I will always have these colon outpouchings, and it is my job to eat an extremely healthy, high fibre diet.

This for me has been a big wake-up call. I have been making some huge lifestyle changes including being less busy, moving towards a more minimalist life, having laser focus on work, but not trying to do everything, making more time to cook, and moving towards a more plant-based diet.

I have also been exploring my health on a deeper level. I have been peeling the onion as to why I am having so many digestive issues and struggling with my energy and I am even changing my skeptical opinion about essential oils, naturalpathic medicine (I grew up in a medical home, so that’s a hard one for me), and moving towards a happier, healthier, fuller life.

I have so much more to say, including how my recent health has shaken my confidence. How I am reteaching myself to get up in the morning to workout. How I am learning to have a better relationship with cooking and my kitchen. How I got a live blood cell analysis, and what was found.

For a while there I was pouring my heart out on my YouTube videos, (which I will continue to do), but not here on the blog. I started to get it in my head that the older my kids got, the more polished my posts had to be and the more beautiful my photos had to get. And that simply isn’t true.

Comparison truly was my thief of joy.

In fact, yesterday, while Mike and sat in a silent waiting room, I was scrolling through Facebook searching for a blog post to dive into to pass the time. I couldn’t find any. I turned to Mike and said, I wish I brought my headphones. Everything these days is video. I miss reading a raw, authentic blog post.

I guess there is a place still for personal blog posts.

So, with that all being said, I am going to be showing up here, on my blog more. Journaling my journey through motherhood, womanhood, marriage, wellbeing, health and lifestyle. I will by pouring my heart out to you unfiltered. Letting you in.

I am looking at this a bit as a new chapter for my blog. I hope you join me!

Oh, and in case you want to catch up on some of the big events that I mentioned, here are the vlogs that documented those moments…




What I Learned, And How I Surprised Myself With My Two Week Cardio Challenge

I woke up this morning and finally felt, for the first time in a long time, that my body was stronger. As I started to take a few steps after getting out of bed, I noticed that everything felt, well… less loose, to put it bluntly.

This wonderful feeling piqued my curiosity and I decided to hop on the scale. I was down three pounds. Three hard-earned pounds in two weeks, and I felt good.

Two weeks ago, I started a cardio challenge that was inspired by a recent bout of anxiety. My anxiety had lead to me taking up running and I could feel my anxiety melting away. This was when I realized that my body and mind craved cardio, something that I had been avoiding for a long time.

Going into the two-week challenge I had three main goals:

  1. To incorporate daily fitness into my routine and help strengthen my body.
  2. To use running as stress-release and to control my anxiety.
  3. To not only set a good example for both my kids and my husband, but to include them in my cardio journey as well.

But the challenge ended up going far beyond these three goals.

For the first few days I found it hard to work cardio into my day. I was constantly pushing it to the end of my to-do list and not making time for it before the day was over. Finally I had an epiphany. I had to make cardio my priority. So I began running mid-morning each day, which was the perfect fit.IMG_3718

It was a great feeling to know that I had got my run in and didn’t have to fit it in for the rest of the day. I also enjoyed breaking up sitting at my computer all morning and getting some fresh air and sunshine… even when a squirrel tried to throw a branch at me.IMG_3678

Next it was time to add my family to the mix. Although we haven’t done any bike rides yet due to some much-needed bike repairs, we have gone on many nature hikes. We even found a pond near our house and have enjoyed watching the frogs hop around.IMG_6450

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One realization my husband Mike and I had was to not only bring a double stroller for our twin toddlers, but also a wagon for our older kids. This way they could hop out and explore and run here and there, but when they got tired they could jump back into the wagon. This saved us from lots of complaining and the pushing and pulling added to Mike and I’s workout as well.

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When I challenged the kids to races, they thought it was so fun. Our twins couldn’t stop laughing from their stroller as they watched. Apparently the sight of mommy running is pretty rare and funny.

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But the biggest surprise for me was this: I became hooked on cardio. Actually so much that I started participating in activities I used to just leave for Mike. My new favourite activity is gardening, and I’m not just taking about pulling a weed here and there, but labour-intensive digging and planting.

gardening

There is this feeling you get when you have been doing more cardio. Your muscles ache, but it’s a good, hard-earned pain. Your body feels tighter, you have more energy, your mind is clearer and you have more perspective. This is a feeling that I am going to continue reaching for, way past my two-week challenge.

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My entire family stayed hydrated with Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water while staying active. As far as flavor goes, I find the Cranberry Mango Passionfruit tastes like a treat; it’s almost dessert-like. The Cranberry Raspberry and the Cranberry Pomegranate were more refreshing, with the Cranberry Pomegranate tasting a bit more tart.

We each have our favourites, mine being the Cranberry Mango Passionfruit. Beau has become an Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water connoisseur. Her favourite flavours are tied between the Cranberry Pomegranate and the Cranberry Raspberry flavours, or what she calls “the red and purple bottles.”

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Knowing that I was only consuming 10 calories per drink was great, and that our whole family was hydrating themselves with a drink that has no GMOs lets me breathe easy.

Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water is a tasty and low-calorie way to hydrate in a more meaningful way. Packed with the power of 50 cranberries, PACt® Cranberry Extract Water delivers unique cranberry health benefits. Visit http://pact.oceanspray.ca to learn more and find out where to buy PACt® water at a store near you.

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Ocean Spray® via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ocean Spray®.

How Anxiety Inspired Me To Start Running And Begin A Two-Week Challenge

A few weeks ago, I was anxious. I could audibly hear every breath exiting and entering my body. Every task, including putting my kids’ shoes on for them, was a struggle. I had a lot on my mind that included worrying about one of my kids, who was struggling, and some tough work-based decisions that I had to make.

anxiety and parenting

I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and I would be crushed at any moment. I wasn’t able to answer my kids’ questions without hearing a quiver in my voice. I was shattering.

One day, as I finally hit send on an email that had been weighing heavily on me, something told me that I needed to run. Physically run away from my problems and gain some perspective. Luckily, my husband Mike was just walking in the door from work at that moment and I was able to leave him with the kids and head out the door.

As I rounded the corner from the streets lined with houses and entered the path through the forest near my house, my feet began to move faster. I was running… fast. My muscles ached as my body tried to comprehend this new feeling.

running

You see, despite working out and getting my (new) body back after babies, I wasn’t doing any cardio, only resistance training. Up until this point, I didn’t see the need to do cardio. I was getting the results I wanted to see from portion control, resistance training and making healthy dietary choices. Why bother with sweaty, time-consuming cardio? Little did I know that my mind and body had been craving cardio the entire time.

running

As I continued to run along that path, something incredible began to happen. I stopped worrying. For the first time in a week, I didn’t feel like I was going to shatter. My mind was gaining perspective and new ideas and solutions were bubbling to the surface. My entire being was strengthening and I was flying.

running

Throughout the next week, I flew out the door each day as Mike came home from work. I was smiling again, and going through my day with ease and confidence. My anxiety disappeared and I was able to tackle each problem that came my way with a clear mind. I even began to feel my body strengthen. But as life with kids goes, illness decided to pay a visit to our home and my runs were put on pause.

Now that everyone is healthy again, I am ready to jump back into my running routine. I am beginning a two-week challenge to be #evenbetter. I will be running each day while maintaining my resistance training and healthy dietary choices. I will also start including my family in my cardio journey, including going on family bike rides and nature hikes.

running

Because I struggle at times to get enough water, Ocean Spray® will be keeping me hydrated with their Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Waters so I can dial up on all the healthy benefits.

Ocean Spray PACt

So, what are my goals during this two-week challenge? There are three main ones that stand out to me:

  1. To incorporate daily fitness into my routine and help strengthen my body.
  2. To use running as a stress-release and to control my anxiety.
  3. To not only set a good example for both my kids and my husband, but to include them in my cardio journey as well.

Keeping myself (and my family) hydrated with Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water flavours – including Cranberry Pomegranate, Cranberry Raspberry and Cranberry Mango Passionfruit – will make the entire challenge a little more fun and sweet!

Ocean Spray PACt

The last time I was really into running, I either found that I would get bored of drinking so much water, or not drink enough and end up dehydrated. Ocean Spray® has created the perfect low-calorie drink that is full of ingredients I can feel good about putting into my body.

Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water delivers unique cranberry benefits. It contains PACs, or proanthocyanidins – unique, powerful elements found deep inside cranberries – to help protect against certain harmful bacteria from sticking in the urinary tract.

Made from purified water, each bottle is only 10 calories, is naturally sweetened, and contains no GMOs or artificial colours – the colour comes straight from the red cranberries.

I am really excited to start this journey with my family and see what kind of benefits each of us gain from adding more cardio to our daily lives. Make sure to check in in two weeks to see how we did!

Ocean Spray® PACt® Cranberry Extract Water is a tasty and low-calorie way to hydrate in a more meaningful way. Packed with the power of 50 cranberries, PACt® cranberry extract water delivers unique cranberry health benefits. Visit http://pact.oceanspray.ca to learn more and find out where to buy PACt® water at a store near you.

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Ocean Spray® via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ocean Spray®.

What I Do To Reduce My Daily Stress

IMG_3378I never truly knew what stress felt like until I became a mother. Some days it’s the little things that get to me, like the stress of getting everyone out the door. Other days its the bigger things like health issues with my kids.

Over the years I have learned that I needed to work a few stress-reducing routines into my day, everyday, to keep myself happy and healthy.

Here are some ways I reduce my stress each day…

I work out. Rarely a day goes by that I miss my mini workout. I find taking those twenty minutes each morning to stretch and resistance-train sets the tone for the day. I know I have done something for myself, and feel stronger throughout the day.IMG_3335

I have a beauty regime. For a long time I would throw sweats, a sports bra and t-shirt on, maybe wash my face, brush my teeth and put my hair in a ponytail and get on with my day. First it was when I was doing the SAHM thing, then it was when I was working from home. I finally realized that doing this was not only making me unhappy, but I was gaining a little weight too.

Now, I take the time each day to shower, (I only wash my hair every three days, let’s not get ahead of ourselves), wear nicer clothes (including jeans) and a proper bra, and put some makeup on. This beauty regime not only helps me keep the weight off, but also reduces my stress.

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I rest and have a treat each day. Every single day, around 2 p.m., after I’ve had my lunch, I stop working, doing housework, or even playing with my kids and have what I call “mommy’s quiet time.” This is when our twins are napping, so I am able to protect this time each day. On the weekends I send our older kids to their rooms for their own quiet time, and often send my husband out to run errands, or he heads out to the gym.

I make myself a coffee, grab a sweet treat and cozy-up under a blanket on the couch and watch whatever TV show I am currently binging on for about 45 minutes. I will often doze off and take a quick nap. Doing this for myself each day is probably this biggest way I reduce my stress and reset myself. I am very protective of this time, and my entire family knows that I am always more patient and happy afterwards.

I go to bed early. I am very protective of my sleep. I always have been. I am a morning person and need to get to bed by 10 p.m. and be asleep before 11 p.m. to make the most of my early morning wake-up.

Doing this has many benefits. I stay healthy (even when my kids are sick), I fight off stress, I am less likely to eat unhealthy and am generally more happy.


Since April is Stress Awareness Month, Nesting Story has teamed up with Casper, the sleep startup that created the perfect mattress, sheets and pillow for everyone. Here is Casper’s napping guide 101, that shares different types of naps and even some reasons why you might need a nap (as if you really need a reason). Visit Casper.com to learn more about their mattresses and sheets.Casper Napping101_LRG

This post was sponsored by Casper. All opinions are my own.