Category: health and fitness

Achieving Body Image Goals with CoolSculpting®

I have worked extremely hard to reach my fitness and body goals and while I am happy where I am, it is important to constantly watch my nutrition and fitness and re-evaluate my goals every few months. Even with constant monitoring of my nutrition through apps and working out at my gym, it can be quite difficult to reach those final fitness goals, or a few pounds can easily creep back on (especially around holidays that just passed and stressful periods at home or at work) or even those areas that just won’t respond to exercise. There are many of us who have stubborn pockets of fat – this is common and normal but unfortunately no matter how hard we work out both at the gym and in the kitchen, these areas will not go away.

I shared with you my weight loss journey and my initial consultation at The Plastic Surgery Clinic in Mississauga to discuss CoolSculpting®. CoolSculpting® is a non-surgical procedure that targets those areas where so many of us have difficulties in losing the fat (like our stomach, arms, flanks, etc…).[i]

For myself, I have areas of stubborn fat cells as well as excess skin from my weight loss. In my consultation with Linda we discussed my goals, areas of concerns and with her expertise came up with a treatment plan that addresses my problem areas but was also realistic. CoolSculpting® works by gently cooling targeted fat cells to induce the elimination of fat cells to help sculpt your body – but you’ve also got to be realistic about your body goals.[i]  

While I was excited for my first treatment, I have to be honest and admit that I was a little nervous. I had so many questions running through my mind:

“Will the procedure hurt with how cold it gets?”

“Will there be bruising?”

“Will I have to adjust the rest of my day or can I go straight back to work?”

“Do I have to do anything different after treatment to assist with the treatment?”

Linda helped address my anxiousness before I even vocalized some of my concerns. She showed me each applicator, how and why an applicator was chosen, the machine and the basics of how the procedure would work. The overview of the machine and the procedure, gave me that confidence I needed to start the treatment.

Linda had me undress (I was treating my flanks so I shimmied down into my underwear and sports bra – for those of you who are heading into your first treatment –make sure to wear something comfortable, loose and a sports bra is a must) and put on their disposable blue shorts. Using the CoolSculpting®  markers and a washable marker, Linda marked the treatment areas on my flanks that she would apply the applicators too.

When my treatment areas were marked and I was ready to begin treatment, Linda applied a cool, gel-like material over the treatment area (CoolAdhesive Pad shown above). She explained that this was used to protect the skin during the treatment from the cold temperatures which reassured me that my skin would be protected during the entire procedure which was one of my fears. I was still quite nervous for what the cold temperature would actually feel like even knowing I had that protective layer in between my skin and the applicator. I am a huge baby when it comes to being cold (as I am typing this in my office, I have a foot heater on my desk blowing to keep me warm!) so you can imagine my fears! 

Linda applied the applicators one at a time with a few minutes separating each application. The applicators are placed on to the treatment area and a slight vacuum pressure is applied to keep the applicator in place. It was an odd but not painful sensation when it first suctioned onto my body and then I did not feel the suction at all afterwards. When she showed me how my fat looked inside the applicator, I was at first shocked – it looked like it should hurt but it did not. I was so nervous to make a sudden move and
knock the applicator off!

She then began the cooling process with the machine with a press of the button. It began to slowly cool my treatment area and I felt some tingling at first but this sensation quickly went away. It was cold at first but this cold sensation also went away within the first five minutes. I expected a little bit more of an ache or pain but I did not experience any of that, she explained that the area usually becomes numb quickly after treatment begins (please bear in my mind that every individual has different pain tolerances so the experience that I had may not be the same as yours). After a few minutes of the initial applicator cooling, Linda applied the second applicator.

Each of my treatment areas (a total of two) took a total of thirty-five minutes to treat.  Linda worked to make me as comfortable as possible during the procedure which was no easy task as we were treating my flanks and I had to remain upright in the chair with a slight tilt forward.  She placed a u-shaped pillow around my back and brought a desk around for me so that I could place my notebook and kindle on and I also used it for support. I was constantly worried that I would make an awkward move and pop the applicator off and wouldn’t even realize it or ruin my treatment session. She assured me that the system would alert her if the applicator moves and if this happened, the procedure would have to be started all over again as the machine will stop itself.

Once my time was up, Linda removed the applicator and brought over another machine that would massage the area.

After the ‘massage’ I was free to go with my next appointment ready to be booked. My skin was slightly red in the treated areas and felt cool to the touch but it did not hurt. I had a slight numb feeling to the area but this was only to the touch. I was able to hop back in my car and I drove right into work. I finished off my work day and even attended my son’s soccer practice that night. I had no pain, side effects or cramping feeling. The redness was gone about five hours after the procedure. Before I left my appointment, I asked Linda if I had to do anything specific to assist with optimal results and she noted that my body would naturally remove the fat cells through an inflammatory response over the next two to three months.[i] Talk about music to my ears!

As a bonus, I am a Brilliant Distinctions Member which is a reward program for customers that use the following products: Botox Cosmetic®, Juvéderm®, Latisse®, SkinMedica® and Belkyra®. Each procedure earns you points that you can later redeem for savings on future treatments. I have used this to save on the treatments that I do more frequently like Botox and Juvederm but it would be a fantastic way to save on additional CoolSculpting® treatments. Treatment plans and prices vary per person, which is why it is so important to ensure you book a consultation to go over your specific treatment plan.

You may start to see changes in as early as three weeks after your CoolSculpting® procedure but results may take up to three months to become visible

I made a follow-up with Linda to review my treatment and discuss the next steps in two and a half months. I can’t wait to share with you my results after treatment, don’t forget to check back in after a few weeks to see my results!

Disclosure: I received the above-mentioned CoolSculpting® procedure in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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


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


[i] Zeltiq Data On File. About CoolSculpting. 2017.

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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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Refresh Your Summer Goals with Low Carb on the Go #DKCanada

DK Canada

Low Carb on the Go, contains more than eighty fast, healthy low carb recipes for busy lifestyles.

Refresh Your Summer Goals with Low Carb on the Go

About Low Carb on the Go

Low-carb eating is a sustainable lifestyle choice for people who want to lose weight, stabilize blood sugar, or simply avoid the afternoon carb coma. Fitting a low-carbohydrate diet into your busy day is easy with more than 80 meal and snack recipes bursting with modern, vegetable and protein packed ideas such as Chia Seed and Turmeric Pudding, Coconut and Vanilla Energy Balls, and Chicken Teriyaki with Cauliflower Rice. Discover tips and tricks for healthy meal prep, and the best way to store and transport your low-carb lunch to keep it looking and tasting fresh. Each recipe contains nutritional information, including the all-important carb count, as well as a handy guide to prep time and equipment you’ll need. With Low Carb on the Go, you can plan your low-carb diet and stick to it with more than 80 delicious, healthy meals and snacks for anytime, anywhere.

My Thoughts

I have been on a low carb, high protein and vegetable diet for the last three years. It has successfully helped me to lose and maintain a loss of just over one hundred pounds. When I first started the diet, I was afraid of all carbs – growing up in an Italian home carbs were essential right? But they also led me to a weight gain and being obese. What I didn’t truly understand was that carbs were not my enemy – it was the choice of carbs in combination with portion sizes (to this day I have a hard time with portion sizes and my kids constantly tease me about how much food I dish them when they say just a little please!).

Low Carb on the Go starts off with a great section on how low carbs is not no carbs and the difference between good and bad carbs. This is so important for all individuals to understand, whether you are following a low carb diet or not. It helps to understand the effects of bad carbs on our blood sugar and the way we feel overall after eating bad carbs (I am sure you can all relate to the crash and burn after a sugar rush?).

Variety is key to this diet – it can be so easy to get into a rut and then give up on following the diet. Trust me – I have done it myself so many times! Recipes can become boring, you want to stick with what works or you may not have enough ingredients to complete a recipe so you may just give up.

Planning ahead and keeping variety in your diet is so important – your body needs it! I liked how this book gives you recipe ideas for every type of meal – from breakfast to snacks to breads (yes breads!) to vegetarian and meat dishes. The recipes were easy to follow and are spread out over two pages. One page being an enticing photo of the completed recipe and the second an ingredient list and directions. Each recipe also contains a breakdown of the caloric content including carbohydrate count, protein, calories as well as many recipes have tips included to ensure the recipe comes out as planned. This is a great recipe book which will be extremely helpful in planning out and building on your low carb diet with its easy to follow instructions and simple recipes. It is a great starting point for those starting out on a low carb lifestyle.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Chapters and DK Canada.

About the Author

Sandra and  Mirko Stupning run the Low Carb Rezepte (Recipes) website, dedicated to everyday delicious low-carb recipes, which attracts more than two million unique visitors a year. The success of the website led Sandra and Mirko to publish their first e-book, The Low Carb Cookbook, to enthusiastic feedback. With a large social media presence (more than 130,000 likes on the Low Carb Rezepte Facebook page), Sandra and Mirko have successfully turned their collection of low-carb recipes into a high-profile brand. Sandra Stupning is a qualified nutritionist; both authors are passionate about cooking and healthy eating.

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

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Renew Energy, Decrease Stress and Improve Your Life with Practical Ayurveda

DK Canada

Are you looking for renewed energy, relief from stress, improved sleep, and much more?  Then Practical Ayurveda is for you!

Renew Energy, Decrease Stress and Improve Your Life with Practical Ayurveda

About Practical Ayurveda

Practised in India for millennia, Ayurveda means life-knowledge – it reveals the path to ultimate wellbeing by identifying your individual characteristics and patterns of health, and showing you how to bring balance to your life.

Find out Ayurvedic body type (prakriti) through a simple self-assessment questionnaire, and learn how to adjust your diet to suit your body type using recipes and ingredient lists, stretch and energize your body through yoga, and focus and relax your mind with meditation and positive thinking exercises. You can also look up home therapies and remedies for a variety of common ailments.

Whether you’re adopting this ancient lifestyle practice yourself, through your yoga practice, or as an alternative therapy, use Practical Ayurveda to apply its wisdom to your modern lifestyle.

My Thoughts

Roughly about three years ago, I introduced yoga into my weekly routine. What started off as just a trial became something I fell in love. I love my daily sessions both in class and at home. It helps me to shut down the negativity and everything that is bothering me, embrace quiet and thoughtfulness. It helped that I had an amazing teacher who embraced the lifestyle.

My only fall back? I didn’t know how to incorporate  the whole body practice into my day-to-day. I knew I loved yoga but that is just one small piece of a bigger picture.

This book helped me to fully immerse, understand and appreciate the Ayurveda lifestyle from diet to sleep to exercise. It gives a great history and explanation of all the terms that you may have heard but didn’t quite understand. I loved the questionnaire that was included in this book to help determine which of three Ayurvedic body types you were because without determining this you would still be at square one. After completing this, you can either head straight to the sections that pertain to you (which are easily identifiable) or you can read through each body type to get a better understanding and appreciation of the complete lifestyle.

One of the best parts of this book is how they help you to introduce and adopt this lifestyle into your own daily routine. It isn’t a list of twenty things to do right now (but hey if you can do that all the power to you!) but instead introduce these items first and get into that routine, the following week add this and so on. It isn’t meant to be an instant, incorporate every aspect of the book into your lifestyle. I think we have all tried to do this before with any lifestyle change and from experience know that this doesn’t always work. This book will help you succeed in adopting these changes and arm you with the knowledge of why you are making these changes.

This book is an incredible resource and starting point for anyone that is interested in learning more or adopting the Ayurveda lifestyle. It includes step by step instructions, history and meaning of terms, recipes, stretches and yoga poses and much more to aid you on your journey. It is written in clear, precise and easy to follow manner which is perfect for beginners to more advanced individuals on their wellness journey.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and DK Canada.

Rating: 5/5

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

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Harmony Patches: Easy Application for Natural Relief of Digestive, Cough, Cold and Allergies

Harmony Patches: Easy Application for Natural Relief of Digestive, Cough, Cold and Allergies

One of the hardest jobs of being a parent? Giving your child, no matter what age, their medication. It has led to tears, screaming and absolute breakdowns in our house.

Both of our children as infants suffered from digestive symptoms, especially our youngest. I breastfed him for the first six months before he decided to wean himself. When we switched him to formula, he began to vomit daily and would cry every night. After multiple different brands tried, our family physician switched him to soy which seemed to help.

On top of this, our children suffer from allergies and eczema. We deal with runny noses, red eyes and coughing from early spring right through to the fall. You can imagine how they have begun to react to having to take medications orally! Not to mention that many of the over the counter medications can not be taken by children under the age of four that leaves you with very few options, frustrating right?

Harmony Patches: Easy Application for Natural Relief of Digestive, Cough, Cold and Allergies

About Harmony Patches

Harmony Patches were designed to be placed strategically on the body for fast relief of specific symptoms. The patches release the ingredients gradually, which provides lasting relief over a period of time (we used ours over ten hours as directed on the label).

The patches are completely natural – ingredients include organic ginger, chamomile and fennel used in differing amounts. These ingredients are completely safe and have been found to be effective for all ages (they have also been used for centuries). The patches adhesive contain no silicone, latex, acrylic or rubber, which makes them gentle and perfect for sensitive skin (and if you suffer from digestive and allergic conditions more than likely, you also have sensitive skin).

The Harmony patches come in:

Harmony Patches: Easy Application for Natural Relief of Digestive, Cough, Cold and Allergies

Our Thoughts

I could not wait to try these patches out both on myself and my youngest. It is allergy season for us and we are all suffering with plugged noses, sinus pain, coughs and red eyes. The products were all natural (a definite bonus) and contained no allergens that could cause my skin to react (I am allergic to latex).

The patches were easy to apply, just peel and follow the instructions on where to apply on the chest or stomach. They stuck to the skin easily and came off just as easy without any pain or leaving any marks or residue. I really liked the ease and simplicity of application, we had no fights or spilled liquid on the floor.

The patches were left on between ten and twelve hours which is great for school and work. I was able to apply my son’s before I left for work and he had relief throughout the day. There were no side effects from the patches – no drowsiness or headaches. Sometimes with liquid medication, we found our youngest would first get hyper and then crash, which forced us to give him medication at night but he was having no relief during the day when pollen count was highest.

The Harmony patches are a fantastic alternative for parents for both their children and themselves, to relieve common digestive, cough, cold and allergy symptoms throughout the year. They are easy to use, provide great relief with no side effects. A win for everyone involved.

About Dr. Loo

Dr. Loo is a graduate of the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine and has served as a Clinical Professor at Stanford University Medical School for twenty-one years. She is an expert in five schools of Chinese medicine. She has been a presenter to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. She is the author of several medical textbooks and has lectured throughout the US, Canada, Europe and China.

Where to Purchase

You can purchase the Harmony patches both on their website and Amazon.

Make sure to follow Harmony Patches on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with their products and the newest information.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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