Metabolism. Kick it up a notch!

The invitation couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. After cramming a month’s work of Halloween inspired binging into one week, I had just stepped off a scale and was then ready to jump off a ledge. Luckily hope, in the form of the email notification sound on my BlackBerry, brought me back from the edge. This email contained potential knowledge, insight, foresight and answers to my loud, selfish prayers: Dear Lord, if you can’t help me to drop 5lbs, then at least make my friends gain 10. Amen. A bonus with this invite: it would only require 2 hours of my time. Double bonus: there would be snacks.  I excitedly (and hungrily) RSVP’d yes.

Peak Metabolism

Frustrated with trying to lose weight or achieve your training targets? Learn how to work with your body instead of against it by using key super foods for power-packed performance and sustainable weight-loss… ignite the natural fat-burning furnaces that lie dormant within.

A lot of buzzwords in the mix so had it been anyone else, I would have had many doubts about its touted promises. However, as I had worked with the instructor back in 2009 (Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Personal Trainer Judy Chambers, RNCP, CPT, of DynamicByNature fame) to kick ass in a weight loss competition, I knew this could be one fat-busting, kick ass class.

Top 3 Diet Myths that make you fat

  1. Starving yourself is a good way to lose weight
  2. Consuming non-fat dairy products or processed soy milk
  3. Avoiding fats or avoiding carbs

Arriving to class (on time, no less!), I thought we’d be forced to cook all the food ourselves (like 1950s housewives) and was pleasantly surprised to find that she had prepared and made all the snacks for us in advance (like we were 1950s husbands). Sample foods included an array of all natural, green foods:

  • Free range boiled eggs
  • Buckwheat polenta
  • Yam & kale curry
  • Cilantro pesto
  • Lemon coconut date balls (not pictured)

Free food, woo!

Even the drinks were metabolism boosting and included:

  • Maca tea
  • Herbal teas
  • Filtered water with sliced lemons

We’re invited to have a taste of the food and drink samples as we sit down for the workshop. The recipes for the food we sample are also included in the provided workbooks. Simple and straightforward, most recipes involve only a few items plus seasonings and all are easy to prepare. Best of all, everything tasted great.


This is the science of how food talks to our cells and Judy starts off by explaining to us that what we put into our bodies has an immense effect on everything we do. Our diet (what we eat) affects how our bodies function, how our bodies look (physical appearance) and our bodies’ health (ability to fight off illnesses/repair and regenerate itself). This leads us right into the good stuff we all came for – how to shed those unwanted pounds.

3 Dishes that will actually make you fat

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake
  2. Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches
  3. Grease Lightning(pictured) : seasoned curly fries topped with chicken nuggets, chicken fried steak,  pizza rolls, sliced corndogs then smothered in melted mozzarella cheese topped with a mixture of chili, bacon, and cheddar cheese.

    Courtesy – This is Why You’re Fat

Judy lets us in on several factors that cause weight gain and one resonates immediately with me – the cortisol connection: An inability to wake up in the mornings, a sluggish/tired feeling in the afternoons and an unbelievable burst of energy late at night (I could easily run a marathon – if the marathon started at 9pm). Essentially, my body thinks I’m stressed, pumps out cortisol inefficiently and needs to calm itself down to regulate my adrenal glands. My cure – proper rest, yoga/breathing exercises and a reduction in artificial stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and refined sugars.

Metabolism- Kick it up a notch

While I grieve for my morning double lattes and my mid afternoon gin and tonics (say it ain’t so!), we jump into a section titled Metabolic Mastery and learn 3 ways to kick start our metabolism:

#1 .Eat Natural, Whole Foods: obtain body/mind balance by eating foods found in nature


  • Natural condiments (sea salt, fresh herbs, organic spices, unrefined whole food sweeteners, etc.)

    Food Pyramid: Seasonings at top, Fruits/ Veggies at base

  • Unrefined fats and oils (virgin coconut oil, cold pressed olive oil, organic ghee, etc.)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa, 100% wholegrain pastas, breads, cereals)
  • Naturally raised protein (Beans, peas, lentils, fresh nuts or seeds, free range eggs, wild fish, pasture fed meats, etc.)
  • Fresh Vegetables (lots of green veggies) and Whole Fruits

#2. Optimize your digestive track: increase your intake of enzymes and minerals to promote nutrient absorption and elimination of toxins

#3. Balance your hormonal systems: reduce stress, eat better, enjoy life!

Putting it all Together

The Peak Metabolism workshop stressed eating natural foods and reducing and eliminating processed foods. As you can tell, each aspect of the course can be a course on its own.  There are even upcoming cooking classes on preparing gluten free grains, vegetable dishes, superfood snacks and peak protein dishes.  To simply it all, Judy encourages you to start small by either breaking one bad habit or adding one healthy habit for 7 days.

All the tips learned in this workshop are straightforward and easy to follow and detailed how many foods, drinks (organic beer and wine are okay!), herbs, and spices a natural food diet can include (hint – a lot), where to find them and which local brands are best.  It may be overwhelming for some but for me one thing is clear:

I need to find me some free-range, organic gin.




Trick Question – which is the better choice:

  1. Butter or margarine?
  2. Cow Dairy or Soy milk?

Surprisingly, the answer is neither. Use coconut oil or ghee instead of butter or margerine and coconut milk or goat’s milk instead of dairy or soy (but if you have to have dairy, try to use whole or full fat, organic & NON-Homogenized).

A special thanks to Judy for inviting me to attend this informative class. Want to improve your health too? For more information on how to do that and to check out class details, please feel free to contact Judy directly @:

Judy Chambers RNCP, CPT

Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Personal Trainer

Tel #: 604.250.9999


Happy 365!

What a short, interesting trip it’s been

A year already. It’s a continuous theme in my blog posts: time flies. Now is the time to seize the day, carpe noctem, et cetera and on & on and so on and so forth.

Perhaps you’re a little confused, but in case you haven’t been paying attention (and in your defence, I haven’t been either):


Now THAT's an anniversary cake!

It’s been one year since I started this blog and today’s post is the first post of year two. Woo!  So technically I missed the anniversary date (September 27th) but just like in my relationships, I’m not one to pay particular attention to big dates (We’ve been together a year already? Are you sure?)  and this one-year mark is another milestone date that came by surprise.

I looked back at my first and still favourite post: the 3-way conundrum; which openly mocked the aftermath of the dissolution of a relationship. This took me more than 3 weeks to compose; it went through several different edits and rewrites and it had no accompanying photos (to protect the guilty). I had the simple goals at the time of keeping it simple, clever, clean and under 500 words (official word count: 512). Reading it again for the first time in over a year, I still like it for its brevity, hilarity, and clarity. It even had its corresponding facebook promotional post:

Going to lunch with an ex. I need to wear something that says ‘I’ve moved on”, “I’m happy with my life right now”, and “Your new girlfriend is probably a whore.” Hmmmm. I’m thinking something in a pattern perhaps? 😉

I’ll admit it’s slightly petty (and over a year later, I’m still totally okay with that), but it was also liberating at the time. It was writing therapy and I suggest you try it sometime (shake out those dusty skeletons).

Moving on, I moved on from there to write about anything, everything and all the fun little in-between activities that came along.

In the beginning

I had no real goal or direction. ‘Living’ is pretty general (just requires breathing – artificial or not) and could relate to many things. Whatever whim, activity or invitation came my way, I would quickly RSVP Y-E-S.  I may have only showed up to about half the events and arrived late to the rest of them (more fashionable that way, of course) but I have accomplished, experienced and been a part of the most random sampling of ‘living’ this side of the hereafter:

– There was my continuous, internal struggle for my love of food men manly food.

– Followed by my deep, outwardly struggle against the battle of the bulge (here’s a hint, I kicked its ASS!)

– A reason to settle for Mr. Right Now: Be my anti-valentine

– Reasons why you shouldn’t (or maybe I shouldn’t) drink and shop

Free booze + shopping =$60 cheap "gold" earrings

– How the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics took over my life. Then a second time. Then again.

-I’m telling the world: What really happens in Vegas

My second home

– Would you like to go salsa dancing with me? Great. Be ready @ 3AM to go.

– Spilling the beans on a great girl’s night out

– My limited number of good deeds (unfortunately just wanting to be good doesn’t count. Humph) Maybe giving up my car counts?

– How I joined the polar bear club (kind of like the mile high club but totally different)

– The time I became a degenerate gambler (bet you 5 to 1 and my right kidney that it won’t happen again!)

…etc, and on & on and so on and so forth. 52 weeks and 52 posts and its getting more fun by the week. I’m even considering changing to a more than once a week format but I think that kind of radical thinking should be saved for year three (crazy hippie thinking!).

Where we go from here

Year one was about trying different activities, living through new experiences, taking part in unusual events and being open minded to everything (especially this).

In year two, I still want to try new things (so much to try, taste and do!) but I’ll be going to the people this time. Confused? Perfect. That’s how I like my audience – highly expectant and in the dark.

Curious? Great! That’s even better.

Stay tuned. 😉




Ok fine, here are a couple hints:

  • Gastronomic Anomalies: with so much good food out there, why do people feel the need to make this stuff??
  • Happy Sexy You
  • How am I supposed to eat THAT?
  • The bartering system: the real oldest profession

Anniversary cake image

In Vegas

And the winner is…

In this corner, weighing in @ a 20% drop in weight is…Nelley!

1000’s of workout hours, 100’s of healthy meals carefully planned out, dozens of supportive friends and family members, 9 health-minded gals, 6 month timeline, goal setting of 1-2lbs per week, 1 cash prize, 0 excuses.

Nelley - Up & coming rapper

Thank you scale, thank you girls and thank you dear, sweet motivating $$$.

This award means so much to me. First of all, I would like to thank God, without whom I never would have had the courage to launch my rapping career – oh wait. Wrong speech. That’s my 2011 best new artist Grammy award speech. Stay tuned for that one but in the meantime…(shuffling papers)

Ok, here we go:

First of all, I’d like to thank water, of which I drank 9+ glasses per day for the past 6 months. In addition – I’d like to thank readily available restrooms for your support with this endeavour.

I’d also like to thank Taco Bell the other night and my body’s resulting reaction to it as a reminder that cheap, greasy food in large quantities (although delectably delicious) is not made for a healthier body. I would also like to apologize to my good friend who was literally trapped in the enclosed ‘Taco Bell reaction space’ with me as we traveled up to Whistler, BC. You truly are a trooper and I thank you for that.

Thank you to the hardcore trainers @ crossfitwestside for repeatedly kicking my arse twice a week and making me lift weights heavier than I imagined (they made me dead lift 225lbs!) and doing workouts I never thought possible (150 squats followed by 75 sit-ups in under 5 minutes- say what??)

Peace out to the naturalistic dietitian and health foods specialist @ Dynamic By Nature who finally confirmed my belief that diet and processed low fat foods are crap and that organic, all natural full fat foods (in smaller portions) are the way to go.

Our house was just past the 2nd mountain over there

Of course, I can’t forget to thank my dear, sweet parents for this past summer. Although they did rent a wonderful home for us to use, they opted to go carless AND chose a rental home that was a 35 minute walk from EVERYTHING in Lahti, Finland. This forced me to walk everywhere and anywhere up to 3 times a day for several weeks. Yah. Thanks for that. Thanks a lot.

Namaste to the hot yoga folks @ Bikram Yoga who generously extended the 7 x90 minute remaining sessions I had for another 6 months. No I haven’t gone since they extended my membership but I’m sure the stress I put on myself to go and then the guilt I felt for not going surely resulted in some burnt calories.

I’d also like to thank that grossly overweight woman walking with a cane at the Cinnabon shop in the Las Vegas airport for reminding me that the perfect topper to a weekend filled with booze, burgers, pizza and fries was the grilled chicken sandwich I had and not the 6 pack of frosting covered thigh-busters she was devouring… right?? As a compromise I considered incorporating frosting in the salad somehow.  Luckily sanity won out. Darn sanity.

Props to my favourite British reality TV show – You Are What You Eat as the repeated clips of participants during an actual colonoscopy coupled with bloated, stretched out unhealthy bellies being rubbed and prodded really motivates you to move your butt…and to cringe and look away. Then to peek back again because it’s so gross you can’t believe what they let you see on British TV. Then look away again until you think it’s safe. Then peak and squeal in horror as you see there’s even more flesh to goggle at and prod and squeeze. Then rinse eyeballs and repeat.

Another big thank you to the gross Chinese food restaurant on my block for proving that greasy, shiny Chinese food isn’t always delicious and is sometimes better left to die and rot in the shiny metal chafing dishes from whence it came. Gawd bless.

Shout out to liciousliving, a healthy eating delivery/take out shop based in Toronto and Vancouver from where, early on,  I purchased several meals a week and who inspired me to create several favourites such as:

Maple Smoked Salmon salad;

Maple smoked salmon, red/yellow peppers, spiced walnuts

Dill & Crab Cake Salad;

Organic Crab Cakes, fresh dill, red grapes & sliced strawberries

and my famous (to me at least) Shrimp Caesar Salad:

Shrimp, avocado, red peppers & celery

Big ups to Dr. Phil who recommends as you slim down to remove all your larger sized clothing so there’s nothing to fall back into. Great advice but I must have missed the episode on who pays for the new stuff you need to replace the old stuff.  I should ask his pal Maury Povich. If he can track down the 20th man who might be the father, surely he can easily find one who might pay for my new wardrobe.  DNA test optional.

Which brings me to ‘3 Cheers!’ to my roomie, a trend-spotting, highly fashionable shopper whose closet, mostly unbeknownst to her, I have raided on numerous occasions. Her extensive wardrobe of hip and beautiful items seriously bulked up my own baggy and dowdy duds.  Stylish blazers and carefully tailored shirts can go a long way to improve the look of pants that are several sizes too big.  Were she ever to peruse my Facebook photos she would surely note that half my outfits look strangely familiar, hee hee hee.

And a final thank you to the wad of cash. Woo!  It’s not a whole lot but enough to cover my purchase of new runners, workout tops, jogging pants, jeans that fit, work pants that fit (yee gads this is 9-1-1!),  a winter jacket, a workout hoodie, a leather weekend bag, a few winter sweaters from Old Navy, winter boots, rain boots,  a new belt, a blazer from Banana Republic (on sale of course), a couple new shirts, a few blouses and anything else I held off buying for the last 6 months. To put it in perspective, for the past 3 weeks I’ve been using safety pins, a $9 belt on its tightest rung, a dash of hope and a heap-load of prayers to keep my work pants up.

I think it’s finally time to go shopping.

The Final STATS:

Height: 5’7” (no change, heh heh)
% weight loss: 20%
In lbs: 44lbs
In kilos: 20kg

Inches lost
Bust: 3.5″
Waist/abdomen: 5″
Hips: 4″ (still got that booty, woo!)

Exercise Program
Crossfit total body workouts- 2x/week
Cardio and/or weightlifting workouts @ the local gym 4x/week
Other- boxing, spin classes, yoga, walking, dance classes: 1x/week
Healthy Eating:
– Lots of water, minimal sodas/sugary drinks
– 1 salad with a protein and a fiber source as a meal EVERYDAY
– Healthy eating 6 to 7 days/week…usually.  😉
Photo credit: middle of nowhere