Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The New Year's Resolution DELUSION



There's nothing quite like a million Facebook posts about New Year's Resolutions to piss me off, just enough, to get me out of my 'blog writing coma'.

So here it is...

**Disclaimer: This blog opinion is not a popular one. Chances are if you're a 'normal person' reading this, you subscribe to the said 'normal person belief' that one must make resolutions at New Years in order to be a 'better person'. HOWEVER, it has been my experience that if 'everyone else is doing it', then you probably SHOULDN'T 
(given that the average person typically doesn't have their shit together and therefore, most likely, doesn't have the first sweet clue HOW to get their shit together  {let alone give YOU advice on how to get YOUR shit together}. Did I say 'shit' too many times?
ALSO, if resolutions actually worked people wouldn't have to make the same ones year after year. Just sayin)**


Soooooo, needless to say... but I'll say it anyway...

It really annoys me when people think that the first day of a new year is the most important time of the year to make healthy life changes.




Just because the calendar turns another page, the transgressions and mistakes you've made over the past year are not magically whooshed away like some sort of Cinderella spell disintegrating at the stroke of midnight. 

Personal redemption and opportunity aren't suddenly available just because you managed to live another consecutive stretch of 365 days.  People say that New Years day is a blank page in a new book, and the pen is in your hands, waiting for you to make a fresh, new start. That's bollocks.
Every moment, every passing decision, and every day is another chance for you to get things right.

If your ability to have a modicum of self control over your finances, diet, exercise or being nice, ONLY comes around once a year... then I hate to break it to you, but that's just not going to cut it.

I'm not here to discourage anyone but to remind you that there is HOPE for change in EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE. Every day is a new day that you are alive and capable. You don't have to wait till January 1st to live a better life. 

Cheers,
Bootsy

Sunday, August 14, 2016

What To Expect When Giving Birth: How Painful Is Labor REALLY?



During my pregnancy I had a lot of anxiety about what the pain of labor would feel like. I tried to convince myself that childbirth wasn't that big of a deal because it was totally normal and natural. I would think to myself, "It can't be that bad... right? I mean, I know a lot of really wimpy, frail, tiny women (who probably have very tiny vaginas) who've popped out MULTIPLE kids! I should be able to do it no problem... right???"


Well... let me tell you how wrong I was.


If you thought losing your virginity hurt like a bastard just wait till your vagina becomes a full-fledged Baby Cannon!


Every mother has their own special tale of that miraculous, awe inspiring, life experience of giving birth to their precious child 


OR what I like to refer to as: 


"My 28 Hour Journey Through The Ninth Ring of Hell"



Yes, that's right... 28 hours from start to finish. A word to the wise, don't wait till you're 8 cm dilated to get your epidural, because by then, it doesn't really work very well :(  Learned that one the hard way. And YES, the rumors are true! Labor feels like you are POOPING OUT A BOWLING BALL.



I remember all of the horrific tales of labor that other women would share with me (some of these stories were gruesome to say the least) and I would privately think to myself, "Well... you've always been a bit of a wuss" or "She must be exaggerating." How could something so "natural", and "common place" be so awful? I basically feel like I was 'duped'. Big time! None of these 'labor horror stories' even came close to the mind blowing, excruciating pain of the actual experience. 

I don't know how to put this except that words cannot do the pain justice.

The human capacity for language, and all forms of communication as we know it on planet Earth, cannot adequately express or convey the pain of pushing a baby out of your Lady Flower. 

The pain scale rating of "10/10" has a whole new meaning for me. I will never again say my menstrual cramps are a 7/10, not even a 5/10! The only 10/10 for pain that has ever happened to me was when a human being was exiting out of my Old Kipper. My worst menstrual cramps will now be, and remain forever, at the most, a 3/10.


The human brain however, is a wonderful organ! It has this sophisticated, hard wired coping mechanism of 'blocking out' or 'dulling the edges' of past painful experiences. Naturally with time, the sharp, cutting, vivid memory of pain gets fuzzy and dulls a bit.

Ladies, don't be fooled! It's a trick! 

The first words out of my mouth after giving birth were directed to my husband, "You're getting a vasectomy next week!"... quickly followed by, "I'm never doing this again!".





It's amazing how just a little thing like 'sex' can end with such a beautiful, chaotic symphony of vaginal destruction.


But all joking aside... it really was the most painfully horrific thing that's ever happened to me in my life.

My 'Mom Friends' are now trying to convince me that the second baby is much easier... YA, RIGHT! If it IS easier, it's only because my postpartum vagina is now extra 'roomy'. Hahahaha Just kidding! It 'bounces' back to it's original size... sort of... Ah, who am I kidding? My vagina's HUGE.  My vagina is so big that if it were named after a movie it would be 'Interstellar' starring Matthew McConaughey! Except in this version of the film Matthew would never make his way home.







Now a year later, I feel myself subtly sliding into the cozy, warm 'oblivion section' of my brain (the best place to be!) that says to me, "Awe... it wasn't that bad. You could do that again."  Ya right brain! Nice try! That's just the hormone Oxytocin (mixed with Vodka) and with our silly, little basic human instinct to keep our 'blood line' going for future generations... no biggy.

Honestly though...

When I think about the wonderment of labor,  
I have come to the conclusion that it must be the mixture of the two extremes; 
"the worst pain ever" tied in with "the best thing that's ever happened" 
that makes it all so worthwhile and exciting.




**Disclaimer: I love my baby and I would easily do it all over again in a heartbeat for her... she's the most precious thing to me. 

I'm curious about everyone's personal stories. What was your birth experience like?


Friday, April 15, 2016

Breastfeeding: What Does Your Milk 'Let Down' Feel Like?



When I was pregnant, my Aunt was talking to me one day about her experiences with breastfeeding and described what her milk 'let down' felt like.

At the time, I had no clue that a woman's 'let down' felt like anything. Apparently, all women experience different sensations when it comes to breastfeeding.

My aunt described her 'let down' as, "It felt like my nipples were going to sneeze." lol!

I have a close friend that says she never noticed her 'let down', and didn't have any sensation when it happened. This was also my Mother's experience too.

Some women describe it as a prickly, tingling sensation.

Luckily for me, my 'let down' sensation feels like a burning, hot, iron skillet is searing my nipples off. Lovely!

Also, during the first month or two of nursing, whenever I would experience my 'let down' I would simultaneously become crazy thirsty. There always had to be a huge glass of water beside me whenever I would feed my baby.

What was your 'let down' experience?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My Mom Taught Me How To Say "F*#K OFF!"




When I was a little girl I was super polite. My mom had encouraged me to be forgiving, humble and not to repay evil with evil but instead, be nice to my enemies. I was a good little girl.

Being a good girl was a good thing to be! I did well in school, I wasn't a 'problem child', and my mom was very proud of me.

As a child, my mom and I moved around a lot. She was a single parent with little to no support or education, so we relocated often for her to find work. Being the constant 'new kid' at school was a big target on my back (not to mention my freckles and chubby cheeks).

Where ever we lived, it seemed like I was constantly picked on and bullied.

The worst it ever got was when I came home one day, at the tender age of 6, with bruises all over my body. Earlier that afternoon, after school, three boys my age had ganged up on me, threw me against a chain-link fence and proceeded to punch and kick me.

My mother took me to the Doctor and after he examined and spoke with me, he took my mother aside and quietly said, "This child has no sense of self preservation."

This came as a shock to her. She had always taught me the 'Golden Rule' and encouraged me to be a good girl. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that by not teaching me to defend myself, or to stand up for myself, she was essentially sending her little sheep out to the wolves.

That's when things changed.

Later at home my mom asked me if I knew any curse words. I was in shock. She said,"Do you know what the F-word is?"  Stunned, I answered, "Yes.", feeling my cheeks flush bright red. Using some caution in her approach she taught me how and when to say, "F*#K OFF!". She outlined the different circumstances of when that kind of language would be OK to use, and she taught me some basic self defense moves like 'Karate Chopping' and kicking. It was definitely emphasized that I should not just go around and randomly hit people, and if I was getting picked on to go to my teacher or a supervising adult first. BUT, if I was getting pushed around, beat up, hit, kicked it was OK to stand up for myself and hit back, or say "F*#K OFF!".

I remember clearly, a week or two later, a bully at school started picking on me while we were out on recess. I said, "Stop. I'm going to tell on you."  He then punched me in the shoulder. To his great surprise, instead of just 'taking it' and crying, I "KARATE CHOPPED" him immediately in the arm. I can still remember the look on his face as he recoiled in shock.

He never bothered me again.

Throughout my teenage years and as a young women, there have been times where I had to pull out the 'BIG GUNS' in situations where using the word 'NO' wasn't enough. There have been times when I felt someone was being too aggressive with me and being a "nice, polite woman" just wasn't going to cut it.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's really important to learn manners and be polite, but it's also equally important to know how to stand up and defend yourself, and know how to curse like a trucker if the moment calls for it.

Sometimes life gets hard and bad things happen. When push comes to shove you need to have a back bone and survive... and when the going gets tough, little Miss Goody-Two-Shoes needs to move over and make room for Big, Ole, Nasty Bertha!

Cheers!
Bootsy

Monday, December 7, 2015

How I Lost my Pregnancy Weight in 16 Weeks



What's more annoying than trying to lose your unwanted pregnancy weight???  Answer: Some health crazed, first-time mom bragging about how she lost all her pregnancy weight in 16 weeks AND writing a blog about it.   Ta-Daaaaa! Here I am! lol  :D

**I should warn everyone in advance... I'm sharing what worked for me and writing about the choices that I decided to make for myself about health and fitness. No judgments against anyone else, No offense intended, and No bragging here... I only say this because some people's reactions can be really negative. My desire is that everyone be motivated to be healthy and feel good about themselves... for whatever that means for the individual! :D


My Initial Concerns About Losing the Weight...

I've experimented with a lot of diets and exercise programs though out my life, but when it came to losing the pregnancy weight after my first child was born, I wasn't sure what to expect. My mind was flooded with worries and questions: "Am I ever going to lose the weight?", "Is it going to be crazy hard and take years?", "Will my body respond the same to my regular diet and exercise?". Since I chose to exclusively breastfeed, I also had concerns about 'keeping up my milk supply', which I had heard could diminish significantly if women lost their weight too quickly or weren't eating enough.

With a little bit of research and using similar techniques I've used throughout my life, I was able to shed the unwanted pounds within four months while maintaining a good milk supply for baby!


Here's a picture of me the day I found out I was pregnant...


I weighed 153 lbs.
(Should I look happier?? lol)



Here is a photo of me four days before I went into labor...


I weighed 202 lbs (roughly a 50 pound weight gain)
Awe... look at me. So innocent and unaware of the 28 hours of vaginal trauma that was soon to take place.


Here is a photo of my first week postpartum... 


I weighed 190 lbs. 
(The only thing bigger than my belly is my new friend 'Mr. Hemorrhoid'!) 



And by four months postpartum... Here I am! :D


153 lbs 
(plus 16 lbs of baby in my arm!)



Sooo... How did I do it?

The answer isn't overly mysterious and it won't cause any Earth shattering 'Ka-Booms!' lol

I basically ate sensibly (while enjoying small amounts of junk food) and exercised regularly with a slow and gradual increase in intensity/duration.


My Diet

I didn't stick to any specific diet plan or cut any food items out completely. I'm a firm believer that you can eat all the things you love as long as it's in moderation. I also didn't severely restrict my caloric intake. When you're breastfeeding you need to eat 1800-2200 calories per day. If you don't eat enough (or if you get pregnant unknowingly!) your milk supply could severely drop.

For the most part I ate the same things averaging at about 4-5 meals/day. I found that if I stuck with the same, healthy meals everyday (with minimal variation), it kept things really simple and easy to follow. As a result, I could afford to have a treat in the evening! By eating healthy throughout the day I was 'saving up' my extra calories for tasty treats that I really enjoyed eating after dinner... but, in moderation of course.

A typical day would be...
1st meal: COFFEE! (with soy milk), 1 slice whole wheat toast with peanut butter and half a banana sliced on top (1/2 banana = 1 serving of fruit)

2nd meal: Two eggs, 1 babybel cheese (light), 1 slice whole wheat toast with margarine, 1 yogurt cup

3rd meal: 1 serving of soup (usually a vegetable/chicken broth based soup or, my favorite, Butternut squash!), 4 soda crackers, 1 apple

4th meal: Big Salad! A tonne of romaine lettuce, 1/2 a tomato, 1/2 an avocado, 2 Tbs chopped Walnuts, 1 serving cheddar cheese (cut into little cubes), 1/2 chicken breast cooked with 1 Tbs BBQ sauce. (Salad Dressing: 1 Tbs Olive Oil, 1 tsp Lemon juice, 1 tsp honey mustard/dijon mustard)

5th meal: TREAT
[moderation is key here... my treat could be any food I wanted as long as it was kept down to roughly 100-400 calories. For example: 1 ice cream bar (or 2 sometimes! lol), or 2-3 slices of thin crust frozen pizza, or 1-2 servings of potato chips]. Also, not every night was a 'big' treat. Sometimes I would just have a piece of toast and a babybel before bed or another yogurt cup.

**The key to having the treat in the evening is sort of similar to the old children's suppertime rule 'You have to eat your supper first before you can have dessert'. After I eat my big salad for dinner I'm less likely to over-indulge in the junk food later... so, no matter what the treat is: pizza, chips, nachos.. I always eat dinner first! It's super important not to eat junk food when you're starving! :)




My Exercise Routine

For the first 6 weeks after delivering my baby I was pretty much 'Out of Commission'! Due to the vaginal trauma (to say the least! lol) and the subsequent various discomforts that are a result of childbirth (aka, 'hemorrhoids', Ouch!), and sleepless nights, any kind of physical activity was very slow and minimal. 

On about day 3 or 4 postpartum I started off by taking a teeny tiny walk (more like a hobble), only about 30 meters down my road, and literally went at a snails pace. It was pretty pathetic. I was so surprised that just 'walking' would end up really hurting my "postpartum Lady Bits". It seriously felt like with every step I took my vagina was going to fall out. After the first week or two I could walk to the end of my road and back, then I progressed to walking around the block. Once walking became less painful/uncomfortable I started taking longer walks at a more normal pace. By week 7, I was ready to start my "Walk/Jog" routine.


What is a "Walk/Jog routine" you ask??? Well, let me tell you...

A 'walk/jog' is where you alternate between walking and jogging for a length of time or for a specific distance. 

My 'walk/jog' Routine...

-I plotted out (roughly) a 2 km loop around my neighborhood for my 'walk/jog's'.

-Every other day, I would 'walk/jog' my 2 km loop by starting off with walking for one minute, then jogging for one minute... and repeated that for the duration of my 2 km loop. I continued with the 'one minute walk/one minute jog' routine for roughly a week or two until I felt comfortable doing it.

-As I got stronger, I progressed to walking for one minute and then jogging for two minutes... then it was 'walk for one minute/jog for 3 mins'... and so on.  Once I felt comfortable for a few 'walk/jogs' at that time increment I would increase the 'jog time' by only one minute. 

-Now, by week 18, I'm jogging my 3 km loop with only one walk break in the middle. My ultimate goal is to be able to jog the entire loop 'comfortably'.

When I first started out, my 'jogging' was super, dooper, slow! Seriously, old people walking their Terriers would pass me. I would do my routine at night time so no one could see how out of shape I was. My motto was, "It's better to be moving slowly than to not be moving at all". I tried not to expect too much of myself as far as strength and cardio. I knew that the results would come later as long as I didn't give up.

(*Note: I never work on jogging "faster". I only try to jog for "longer". Speed will come naturally once you get stronger and gain better cardio. It's more important to increase the duration of exercise. You have to be careful not to injure yourself by doing too much, too soon. After delivering a baby, your body still has the hormone 'relaxin' flowing through your body which is responsible for 'relaxing' your ligaments which ultimately can lead to unstable joints and subsequent injuries.)


As far as 'weight lifting' or resistance training, I didn't do any! lol
The only thing I did was pick up my baby, rock her to sleep, carry her around, dance with her, burp her and push her in the stroller during walks. It's great resistance training on it's own!






The Key Factors in Losing My Pregnancy Weight

1. I was a healthy weight and somewhat physically fit before getting pregnant. (See my blog articles for more details: My Secret to Healthy Weight Loss and Management & Why You're Not Losing Weight)
2. I worked out regularly, walked everyday and ate sensibly during my entire pregnancy.
3. During the postpartum period (after week 6) I was committed to doing my exercise routine every other day, no excuses. (Even in the first few weeks, I was slowly walking and mobilizing.)
4. I breastfed my baby. It burns calories like crazy! (300-500 calories a day) :D
5. I drank water all the time. It wasn't hard because breastfeeding made me crazy thirsty. No sooner would my baby latch on and I would 'all of a sudden' be dying for a huge glass of water. Oh Oxytocin, you crazy hormone!
6. I ate my 'healthy food' during the day first before rewarding myself with my 'treat'... And, I didn't let myself eat junk food when I was starving. Moderation is key!






My Motivation to Lose My Pregnancy Weight

1. I have made the decision in my life that I want to be "Healthy" physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually; and I have my own definition of what that means for me.
2. I want my child to have a healthy mother who is able to play with her, keep up with her, and live a long, full life so I can be there for her.
3. Our children mimic our behaviors and learn from our example as parents. I want my daughter to live a healthy life and value the act of 'taking care of herself' in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually... just like 'Mommy' and 'Daddy'!


Please feel free to leave any comments, suggestions or stories of what worked for you!

Cheers!
Bootsy

*Disclaimer- Always consult with your physician before starting any new diet or exercise program*


**UPDATE!  JUNE 2, 2016**



I am now 10 months postpartum and I reached my original fitness goal as of January, 2016 and I feel great!

My current weight is 142 lbs (I'm down to my high school weight... Yay!). I am currently 11 lbs less than my pre-pregnancy weight. It has never been my intention to try to weigh a specific number, but instead, my desire is to attain (and maintain) a self determined fitness level AND eat healthy (most of the time! *wink).

During the past few months I have made my maintained my original fitness goal of jogging my 3 km loop, every other day, as well as eating sensibly. My daughter is now 10 months old, still nursing 4-5 times a day (as well as eating meals), weighs 23 lbs now and is happy, healthy and strong!

No matter where you're starting from, as far as your current weight or fitness level, you can take the same, tiny, baby steps that I did and make a big change. It takes time, persistence and just taking it one day at a time. One choice at a time. All you have to do, is try to make the next choice, the right one!

Cheers,
Bootsy

Sunday, September 6, 2015

“But I Don’t Want to Grow Up”: Top 5 Summer Camps for Adults Only



The latest craze in “Adult Vacationing” invites you to re-experience all of the nostalgic, playful memories of our childhood summers with the added bonus of being allowed to consume alcohol! Adult summer camps are popping up all over North America and include a variety of different activities and themes such as: water sports, arts & crafts, learning workshops, music, campfire s’mores, open bar parties and even one that teaches the basics of surviving a Zombie Apocalypse! 





#5. If you’re interested in developing your survival skills and learning to "live by your wits", then look no further! SOS Wilderness Survival is an adult summer camp located in Bruno, S.K. that specializes in teaching participants how to build a shelter, hunt and forage for food and clean water, while also learning the psychology behind surviving in the elements.






#4. Unleash your inner scientist by discovering, up close and personal, Canada’s sub-arctic wildlife. Located on the Hudson Bay, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre offers participants various marine-based activities such as beluga whale encounters, trips on large jet boats, zodiacs, and kayaking.






#3. Did you ever wish that you could, “boldly go where no man has gone before”?  Then book your next vacation in Huntsville, Alabama, where you can experience the fun and exhilaration of Space Camp as you train for space missions and get to take part in real astronaut simulators. “Engage!”






#2. Are you an aspiring chef at heart? Check out Holland College’s culinary themed adult camp located in beautiful Charlottetown, P.E.I.  Experiences include cooking workshops, checking out the local markets, working alongside accomplished chefs to prepare exquisite meals, and getting to feast on your culinary creations at the end of each day… Bon Appetite!






#1. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead and think you could survive a real life Zombie Apocalypse, then head out to Bancroft, Ontario and bring several pairs of clean underwear! This adult themed Zombie Survival Camp offers participants three days of rigorous training in weapon development, hand to hand combat skills, leadership and archery to ultimately prepare you for your final test… a simulated Zombie attack on the camp!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Waiting For Baby: The Art of Winding Up a Real Life 'Jack in the Box'



As I walk into the local Hospital for my fifth obstetrics appointment I pretty much have the routine down pat by now. First, I register at the reception desk, go pee in a cup, then a nurse takes me to be weighed, takes my blood pressure and then I sit and wait in the examination room for the Doctor to come it. This visit I notice a very large, metal speculum on the bedside table and I'm wondering just how 'intimate and interactive' we're going to get today. When the Doctor comes in I get the standard, "Hello... how is everything going?" and then she proceeds to measure my belly, listen to the baby's heart beat and poke and prod around my belly to feel for the baby's positioning. Same old, same old.

This visit is a bit different from the others I've had in the past couple of months. At the end of the examination, instead of the routine, "See you next week", or, "Call anytime if you have any questions", I get the abridged, 3 minute, quick and dirty version of, "When You Go Into Labor This is What To Do" speech. It suddenly hits me; "Wow... things are getting really real!" The doctor talks to me about what to do when my water breaks, how to rule out false labor and how long to wait at home before coming into the hospital when I start having regular contractions. I'm thinking to myself, "OK, she's basically telling me I could go at anytime."  This is quite frightening.

Today I am 37 weeks (plus 3 days) pregnant. At 198 lbs I am, quite literally, bursting at the seams. When I walk through the house the floor creaks in places it never creaked before. I have to pee 5 minutes after I pee. Everything is uncomfortable, even sitting down... especially sitting down actually! I have a nice, daily rotation of walking, sitting, standing and laying down for small increments of time each. Just the act of 'getting out of bed' should be made an official Olympic Sport for pregnant woman. I've become a master at 'puttering' around the house; my newest skill! If I go out to run errands I have about a 60 minute window of time to do what I need to do before I'm either exhausted, in pain, starving, or all three. At present, the most entertaining and exciting thing for me to do, is to be taken for a drive (like a dog for goodness sake) to Tim Horton's and get an Iced Lemonade. The other day, for sheer entertainment, I sat inside the house, looked out the window and watched my husband mow the entire lawn. It's pretty sad. Due to the fact that I can't go out and do very much, I feel like I'm kind of a drag to be around. I actually broke down and cried the other day because I felt like I "wasn't any fun to be around." My husband quickly comforted and reassured me saying, "Of course you're fun to be around...(long pause)" then proceeded to not be able to think of anything to use as an example.

Now that I'm in the final stages of waiting for the baby to come, I definitely feel this sense of a real life 'Jack in the Box' being constantly wound up; I always hated that toy. I don't really care for surprises much and this one is going to be the surprise of a lifetime... 'Go Go Gadget Vagina!" I wonder to myself, "Where will I be when labor starts?" Will I be out in the grocery store, and all of a sudden my water breaks while I'm reaching for the container of Caramel Pecan Crunch frozen yogurt? I can already hear the overhead announcement, "Clean Up... Aisle 9... Bio hazard Spill!"  Or, will it happen when I'm driving in my car? Would I then have to sell my car with a disclaimer on the advertisement, "For Sale: 2008 Cobalt, 4 door, Silver, the driver's seat kind of has some amniotic fluid on it."

I've had several women tell me that when their labor started they initially thought they had to go to the bathroom to have a large poo. Now, whenever I go to the bathroom I'm thinking to myself, "Is this a poo or the baby?"  It's getting ridiculous. I try to relax but I'm naturally a bit of a 'Nervous Nelly' to begin with. I've been told that sometimes the onset of labor is mostly starts with lower back pain, and overall tummy tightness... but I get that all the time these days. I've read that most first time mothers (like myself) end up going late, but all of my closest girlfriends have all gone early with babies. There's really no way to prepare or to foresee it coming.

I guess for now, it's just me and this 'Jack in the Box' game that is in constant play, endlessly winding up, getting closer and closer to the big, scary "Bonjour!"



Cheers,
Bootsy!

I'm curious to hear your thoughts! :)
What were your first beginning signs of labor? Did you have anything start happening that was different in the days leading up to your delivery?