A Battle through Weight Loss to a Place of Happiness, Health and Shaping My Body to Continue to Meet My Fitness Goals #CoolSculpting

I had spent the last ten years giving everything I could of myself to others – I wanted to be the best mother, wife, daughter, employee and friend. I have always been a person that enjoys giving to others but this time I had let it get too far and had put my own needs so far down my list that I never addressed them or took care of myself.

I found myself at a point where I had gained over one hundred pounds, making unhealthy nutritional choices, not participating in any physical activity and depressed. I gave so much of myself to others, that by the time it came to take care of myself, I was too exhausted and I had no more to give – I let myself go. I made several attempts to get back on track but each failure on the scale or during a workout was frustrating and seemed to put me two steps backwards. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing that was so wrong. I had the educational background in Kinesiology and I spent my teenage and early adult years being active, so how could I be failing so badly?

Denial.

I was in utter and complete denial. Denial that I was stretching myself too thin, denial that I was being as active as I should be and in denial that I was making healthy food choices.

The truth was I over eating, I was making bad food choices and was consuming far more calories than I was burning. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see the same person that others were seeing but it was affecting every aspect of my life. I would wear baggy clothes to hide my body, I was hiding from photos, I would only allow photos to be taken at certain angles and specific body parts and I was seeking help from my family doctor for depression. It was after the birth of my second son and my husband took a photo of us together outside the doctor’s office that I was horrified. I could not believe that the person in the photo was me. I did not recognize the person that I had become and I knew that this was enough – it was time to put me first.

I decided to make the hardest and most important decision of my life, to put me first. I was going to wake up and allow myself time to go to the gym without worrying about anyone else’s schedule, breakfast or lunch (within reason), I was going to eliminate the unhealthy food choices from my diet and I was going to allow myself to say no to taking on roles that I did not have the time to do (goodbye PTA council!). I had to make this choice for me, not only for me to feel better about myself but also for my health.

Over the course of a year, through a lot of hard work, determination and sacrifice I was able to lose just under one hundred and twenty pounds. It was exhilarating, not only was I happier but I found that part of me that I had lost. I wanted to get outside and play soccer with my kids, I wanted to be in the photos again (I can’t believe the years I went without taking a photo with my kids because I was ashamed) and I was confident. I was able to cut back on my anti-depressants and I stopped using food as a coping mechanism (which is the hardest thing to do – food was my comfort and even now I struggle with this). The best part of it all? Loving myself again. I knew this girl again, I was happy, confident in my own skin and took charge of my future. I refused to sit back and be a minor character in my own life.

So how did I do it?

First – download a calorie counting app and record everything you put in your mouth. Be brutally honest and record every last bite. You may be generally surprised at how quickly calories add up in a day. Using that knowledge, make healthier food choices (I increased lean protein and vegetables) and measured everything. In the beginning, I purchased a lot of pre-packaged portion meat so that I knew how many calories I was eating but you will get better.

Second – purchase or download a step counter on your phone and really watch how physically active you are. It is not enough just to make your step goal (and aim big!) but you should also be physically active for at least thirty minutes consecutively in a day. Find an activity that you like to do and dedicate time to it – I found a love of yoga this way.

Third – be kind and patient with yourself. Give yourself a lot of emotional and mental love. You didn’t gain weight overnight and it won’t disappear overnight. While I have come a long way, I STILL have stubborn areas of fat that I just cannot get rid of despite my efforts in the gym and in the kitchen. I am sure so many of you can understand this feeling! It sometimes feels like no amount of exercise and healthy diet choices will fix those areas. You are not alone and you are not crazy – this happens to so many men and women.

I am a firm believer of empowering women (and men) to do the things that make themselves happy and that lift their confidence up. This could be anything from as simple as a piercing or a tattoo to a minor plastic surgery enhancement like Botox or a procedure to remove fatty tissues. We all deserve happiness and confidence in our own skin, so do what makes you feel good!

CoolSculpting®  is a procedure that was developed several years ago and is designed to target specific areas of the body visible fat bulges on the abdomen and “love handles”, inner and outer thigh, and bra and back fat (how many of you can relate to these stubborn and common fat areas – I know I can!). (1).

While I have a list of areas that I think are a problem and that I do not like, I strongly believe that every individual needs to take the time to consult with a qualified CoolSculpting® clinician to discuss their body and concerns and in turn have them examine your body. Together you can create a treatment plan that is reasonable, meets your goals and will achieve the results that you were originally looking for. Never, ever skip this very important part and always ensure that the clinician you are meeting with has been certified by CoolSculpting® so that you will not be disappointed.

I met with Linda at The Plastic Surgery Clinic in Mississauga and she floored me with her knowledge and passion about the CoolSculpting® procedure (she is CoolSculpting® certified if you hadn’t already guessed). She addressed all of my concerns and took the time to explain each of my problem areas and which area would be suitable for treatment and which ones would not. It is often quite hard to talk about our own body and while most times I am not shy, it can be embarrassing to admit that I have fat and I can’t get rid of it. I am not ashamed of my body or my weight loss but it can be hard to open up to another person about it especially with someone you have never met before. Linda was kind, compassionate and never made me feel embarrassed about my body, she made me want to talk to her about my concerns and discuss potential treatment options.

I learned that because of some of the extra skin around my stomach area from the weight loss that this would not be a suitable area to treat because when the frozen fat cells are naturally eliminated it may leave me with additional loose skin. My hips, while I feel like they are huge, did not actually meet the criteria for treatment and the picture below illustrates why – the bulge of fat would not fit into the applicator and would not be an effective treatment. I also noticed that my left and right side are quite uneven, go figure how the body works!

Linda made me feel confident that the areas she wanted to treat (flanks) were reasonable areas and that I was not going to waste my effort and hopes on an unrealistic treatment. She was open and honest and worked with me to answer all of my questions and explained my potential end result.

Facts about CoolSculpting®:

  • CoolSculpting® is a clinically proven, non-surgical treatment used remove stubborn fat from your body. (3)
  • CoolSculpting® can be used on visible fat bulges on the abdomen and “love handles”, inner and outer thigh, and bra and back fat. (4)
  • CoolSculpting® works by gently cooling targeted fat cells to 4°C to induce the controlled elimination of fat cells, to help sculpt your body. (5) Essentially, it freezes fat away.
  • CoolSculpting® patients will be able to resume normal activities immediately after treatment. (6,7)
  • Following treatment, the body’s immune system clears and eliminates these dead cells and fat through its natural processes. (8,9)

Make sure you always follow the ‘ABCs of Patient Safety’ to ensure you are getting the best possible treatment:

  • Ask about the treatment facts
  • Be aware of the treatment you are getting and by whom,  all CoolSculpting® certified clinics are listed on CoolSculpting.com
  • Consultation at a qualified CoolSculpting® certified practice to ensure best treatment
  • For more information or to find a qualified clinic in your area, visit http://www.coolsculpting.com

I left my appointment with Linda feeling excited, nervous and very much ready to try CoolSculpting®. I finally felt like I had a reasonable amount of control over my body, the stubborn fat I just couldn’t get rid of and I couldn’t wait to give those fat cells a shock! Check back in two weeks for all the details on my first CoolSculpting® treatment at The Plastic Surgery Clinic!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned Consult and CoolSculpting® treatment as part of my participation in the program and in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

1. Zeltiq Data On File. About CoolSculpting. 2017.

2. Zeltiq Data On File. About CoolSculpting. 2017.

3. Zelickson B, et al. American Society for Dermatology Surgery 2009;35:1462–70.

4. Zeltiq Data On File. About CoolSculpting. 2017.

5. Zelickson B, et al. American Society for Dermatology Surgery 2009;35:1462–70.

6. Krueger N, et al. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 2014;7:201–205.

7. Nelson AA (ed) Avram MM. Fat removal: Invasive and noninvasive body contouring. Wiley- Blackwell; 1st edition. April 2015. ISBN-10144433428X.

8. Zelickson B, et al. American Society for Dermatology Surgery 2009;35:1462–70.

9. Klein KB, et al. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2009;41:785–90.

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From An-Other Land Spotlight

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From An-Other Land dives deep into immigration today for the diaspora and its many facets with characters who seek to define themselves in an intercultural setting that is less and less sure of itself.

About From An-Other Land

Never has been the conversation on immigration more pertinent than now, post 2016 US elections. From cancellation of refugee protection and zero tolerance to undercurrent crackdown on H visas to the border wall – the resurgence of nationalism is hitting the globalized population head-on.

But what is immigration today? A question of life or death – fleeing of persecution? A compulsion? Or a mere pursuance of privilege? And what is the US today? A land of opportunities? Or a quagmire impossible to comprehend, inherently racist and selfish?

From An-Other Land dives deep into immigration today for the diaspora and its many facets with characters who seek to define themselves in an intercultural setting that is less and less sure of itself. A reality check and a guide for anyone who wants to understand the modern-day US.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Tanushree Ghosh works in Tech and has a Doctorate in Chemistry from the Cornell University. She is also a social activist and writer. Her blog posts, op-eds, poems, and stories are in effort to provoke thoughts, especially towards issues concerning women and social justice.

She is a contributor (past and present) to several popular e-zines (incl. The Huffington Post US, The Logical Indian, Youth Ki Awaaz, Tribune India, Women’s Web, and Cafe Dissensus). Her literary resume includes poems and stories featured in national and international magazines (Words Pauses and Noises, UK; TUCK, Glimmer Train Honorable mention) as well as inclusion in seven anthologies such as Defiant Dreams (Oprah 2016 reading list placeholder) and The Best Asian Short Stories 2017 (published out of Singapore by Kitaab). Her first single author book, From An-Other Land is on immigration.

She has held different leadership roles in non-profits (ASHA and AID India) and is the founder and director of Her Rights (www.herrights.website), a 501(3) c non-profit committed to furthering the cause of gender equality. She is often an invited speaker or panelist for both corporate and non-profit endeavors.

Connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

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Realm Book Review

History tells his story. This is hers.

About Realm

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

My Thoughts

I am a huge history fan and I love reading books set in this time period and this novel does not disappoint.

While the focus on so many novels is your strong, brave, fearless MALE hero – this novel takes a different approach. It follows Roxana’s story who as a young girl at the tender age of sixteen marries Alexander the Great. Now you think with such a husband, she would be forced into the back burner of the story but her tale is unique. She is just as fearless as him and perhaps even stronger?

She is not of royal blood but is a strong young woman who has grown up learning to be independent, take care of herself and not to bend to societal rules. Her beauty is what first attracts Alexander’s eye but it is her fierce determination, strength and confidence which sets them down the path of true love.

This path, while full of love, is also full of lies, war and constant struggle for power. She is caught up in the web of deceit many times and has to rely on herself only in order to survive. She is clever, strong, fierce and everything you want to be. You feel her pain when she loses her first child in labour and rejoice with her when she does give birth. Your heart is sore for her as she struggles for acceptance and to understand the politics and rules that guide her life. You hurt alongside her at the loss of her husband and when she is not allowed to grieve as she has to do everything to protect her child.

It is an incredible story from start to finish that you will not want to put down. I read this book in one sitting as I was just fascinated by her and her journey. This is a book that does not disappoint!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon (releases May 14, 2019).

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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#TakeFlight and Soar with the Mini Pop Kids!

Get ready for an incredible live singing and dancing performance from an outstanding group of young children, the Mini Pop Kids!

We were first introduced to the Mini Pop Kids when my eldest was quite a bit younger. They did an amazing job of covering popular songs and making them age appropriate yet still being enjoyable for adults and kids. They originally launched in the 1980s (yes you heard that right) and went on to sell millions of albums worldwide. They relaunched in 2004 and their popularity has continued to soar.

The Mini Pop Kids landed in Hamilton on February 23rd at FirstOntario Concert Hall and they set the place on fire with their energy, fantastic vocals and dance moves. The atmosphere was electric the moment you walked into the hall. Children were dressed up to match their favourite Mini Pop Kids and I have to admit some of those children were quite the little fashionistas! We took several photos in front of the signs marking our very first concert and made sure to pick up a light up microphone. Once we entered the hall roughly thirty minutes before the concert started, we were treated to recordings of the group that had us dancing and singing long before the show started.

Once the group made their entrance on stage, the audience went wild with excitement. Kids were singing, dancing and screaming. I was embarrassing my youngest with my off tune vocals! The group covered many of the current top hits as well as two of their own original songs, Take Flight and Get Loud. Their Get Loud song is a song that you may have heard before and is associated with the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto (a place close to my own heart) and a portion of the proceeds from this song goes right back to the Hospital.

The show was engaging, the vocals were amazing – this group of kids are beyond talented. While the songs were from the top hits, parents will love how well they covered the songs that had a few words that may not have been age appropriate. They also had the words to each song running live on the main screen behind them to help encourage you to sing along, I have to admit I had been singing quite a few of these songs wrong for quite a while! It was so special and heart warming to watch the children dance in their seats, run up to the stage and how warm and responsive the Mini Pop Kids were in coming down to give the kids high fives.

Not only is the group vocally incredible but they are also very talented in dancing. Our son loved the way Kalan danced (he made me record several of his dance moves) and follow him on Instagram so that he could practice his moves. For an extra bit of local love, the group was joined on stage by a local dance group, which I found out later is something they do in each stop. What an special moment for those children and parents – watching them dance along side the group.

Make sure to check to see if the Mini Pop Kids are stopping at a location near you (they have stops until the end of April) here.

Don’t forget to give the Mini Pop Kids some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: We received tickets to see the Mini Pop Kids live. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Trials and Trails Book Review

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Through trials along their trails, LeRoy and Johnny B transform people they meet, brand the world a better place, and reap the benefits.

About Trials and Trails

With a past of slavery and compliance, LeRoy has learned to pick his battles carefully. Johnny B, a quick-tempered Sioux, is still learning to control his anger. When dangerous circumstances bond them together, the pair learn to navigate Reconstruction Era America and all its prejudices. They save an innocent man from hanging, reunite two old friends, assist in an honorable death for an elder Indian, and discover their worth as they steadily assimilate self-respect into their lives.

From Jim Halverson’s debut novel comes a tale of adventure, purpose, and the pursuit of self-actualization. Cowboys and psychology ride hand in hand, traveling a journey from living life on the edge to finding a place of belonging, joy, vulnerability, and distinction. Through trials along their trails, LeRoy and Johnny B transform people they meet, brand the world a better place, and reap the benefits.

My Thoughts

In this novel, we are introduced to two characters whose pasts seem so different but at the same time they are so much alike as they try to make a way in a world that just doesn’t quite accept them yet.

LeRoy is a past slave who carries the scars of his past with him. He is quite and gentle, puts a lot of thought into his words and has a good heart. He is slow to anger and has learned to pick his battles carefully. In contrast, Johnny B is Sioux who witnessed the death of his family and was raised by a white family. He was left on his own when the man who took him passed away and this man’s wife could no longer care for him. He is quick to anger and doesn’t tend to hold back his feelings.

The two are making their way through the West in the 1870s and are met with racism, hurtful comments and distrust. Throughout this, they stay true to their morals, beliefs and values. They are two genuine, good hearted men who care about others around them regardless of what has happened to them. They face misconceptions head on in a respectful manner and command respect from these same individuals with their determination, kindness, knowledge and respect for others.

This is a feel good novel full of life lessons for those reading the novel and a reminder to us that at the end of the day we are all the same and to treat each other with respect and kindness.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 4/5

About the Author

Jim Halverson grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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