Category: Lifestyle

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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Calling All Wizards! Throw a Harry Potter Themed Game Night with Goliath Games

Calling All Wizards! Throw a Harry Potter Themed Game Night with Goliath Games

Hands up where are all my Harry Potter fans?

I fell in love with the series years ago, I loved that the characters were young, brave and all of the magic. I wanted to be able to wave a wand and command spells long before this series came to light as a young child (I don’t think I am alone in this?). Even though the series started before my children were born, they also love the books and movies. This shows the power of Harry Potter – the story and characters can reach out to and relate to all age groups and genders.

Goliath Games has released two Harry Potter games that will add plenty of magic to your game night or to the every day.

Calling All Wizards! Throw a Harry Potter Themed Game Night with Goliath Games

If you are ready to cast spells, win the Tri-Wizard cup, explore Hogwarts and capture fantastic beasts – these games are for you!

Harry Potter Tri-Wizard Maze will have you muggles and wizards race around the board in order to capture the Tri-Wizard cup! Be careful as you head around the maze as there are traps that could help or hurt you.

Calling All Wizards! Throw a Harry Potter Themed Game Night with Goliath Games

This game is designed for two to four players and can be played by anyone five years of age and up. It is similar to Trouble, where you “pop” the center and dice will roll indicating how many spaces you can take. Depending on where you land, you may have to pick up a card which will hold either something that can help you win or put you back a couple of spaces. We LOVED this game – my youngest actually ripped the package open trying to get this one out. It was challenging but not overwhelming so that young kids couldn’t play. We played a few times without drawing the cards and it was still a lot of fun but the cards do at that extra bit of magic. My kids were quite clever with this game, I think they figured out how to ‘pop’ the dice to get the best rolls, I lost every round to them (my pieces were the red ones above!).

Maybe you are looking for a greater mental challenge? Then Harry Potter Magical Beasts Game will fit the bill.

Calling All Wizards! Throw a Harry Potter Themed Game Night with Goliath Games

Magical beasts are running loose at Hogwarts and it is up to you and your friends to save the day. You can choose to be one of the main characters (we had a small argument over who will be Harry but I was able to be Hermione so I was happy!). You must work through the clues and Hogwarts building and grounds in order to recapture the beasts before it is too late. This interactive board game has a swinging playing board, both sides of the board can be used which took me a bit to wrap my head around but once you get it, I couldn’t believe how clever it was. This game is definitely a bit more complicated and geared towards older children and adults, I would suggest eight to ten years of age or older.

These games added an element of magic, mystery and fun to our nights and with this cold weather settling in, we will definitely be looking at having more family game nights. We loved that each time you played the games, it was different – you never really knew what to expect and you could add your own elements of magic into the games to make them your own.

Make sure you connect with Goliath Games on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with the newest toys, games and more!

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

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Your Home, Your Oasis – Keep it Fresh with Febreze Air Purifier

Febreze

I love my home – I can not wait to come home from a busy day at work to throw off my shoes, get into comfy clothes and just unwind with my kids before we are back out the door for soccer practices. I know I am not alone in this, your home should be the one place in the world that is your special place where you can escape the craziness of life.

The only complaint I have?

Between two dogs and two active young boys, our home can become stinky and full of dust quite fast. There are weeks that I feel I can not keep up with the dust, dog dander and the smell from the soccer cleats (honestly – how is it even possible that cleats can become so stinky???).

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

But look at those adorable faces – I wouldn’t change it for anything even when you come home and have to clean before you can relax.

To top it off, both of my boys and myself have allergies and asthma which means we have to be extra careful in the home with dust and the dog dander. To combat the allergies and dog dander in the home and to prevent medical flare ups, we make sure that we follow the steps below:

  • Limit the amount of carpet in the house. Our main floors and bedrooms are laminate which makes it easier to spot the dust and vacuum on a regular basis. I know this isn’t the most budget friendly option for every home but this has definitely helped us out as a family.
  • Change dog bedding three times a week. Our eldest dog has a skin condition that I like to explain to others as similar to dandruff. Her skin is always itchy and she constantly scratches and pulls off layers of skin and fur. When she has a flare up, we have to be careful and ensure we are vacuuming her sleeping area and keeping her blankets clean to remove the flakes from the floor. For reasons that the vet can not explain, when she has these flare ups her skin also becomes oily and emits a foul smell.
  • Chore charts to include our children in the dusting, vacuuming and dog walks. We have tried many different methods in the past but we found that recording their completion of chores on the fridge puts a competitive edge to their chores and helps get it done.

The number one item that we have introduced into our home to help improve air quality? A Febreze Air purifier.

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

This air filter comes in three sizes (table top, mini tower and tower) and has the ability to trap up to 99% of the most common airborne particles like dust, pollen and pet dander with the added bonus of the famous Febreze scents.

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

We used the tower for the toughest area in our home, the living room, and the table top for the bedroom. Once you have decided on the most appropriate size for the area, set up is extremely easy. We literally pulled the system out, removed the taping, inserted the filter and Febreze cartridge and the unit was ready to go.

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

We noticed a marked improvement in as little as a day – when the units were operating you didn’t notice the smell from our dogs and the dust didn’t bother us, the air quality in our home was greatly improved. When you forgot to turn the units on and came home, the smells and air quality hit you like a wall (for me I feel it the worst in my sinuses with instant sinus pain, sneezing and irritation).

You can choose from three air cleaning settings on the unit, we had a personal preference for the highest setting for a good portion of the day and using the middle setting at night. The setting choice would come down to how tough the area is with the air particles and smell, since our family spends a great amount of time in our living room and on the main floor – we needed the strongest setting to combat the smells and dust/pet dander. The same applies to the scent setting, you can choose how strong you want the Febreze scent to be. The units are discreet and can be placed in any room without distracting from your décor.

Are you fighting dust and indoor particles? Use my tips above and check out this helpful video that provides you with additional steps to keep your living room clean, fresh and free from airborne particles:

How do you help control and eliminate airborne particles in your home and keep your home smelling fresh?

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

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Turn Your Living Room into an Escape Room with MacGyver: The Escape Room Game!

Turn Your Living Room into an Escape Room with MacGyver: The Escape Room Game!

Do you love the thrill and challenge of solving questions under pressure? But maybe you don’t have the time or an escape room nearby? Or friends that are difficult to get together? Then MacGyver: The Escape Room game is for you – it is literally an escape room in a box that can be played in the convenience of your living room.

Turn Your Living Room into an Escape Room with MacGyver: The Escape Room Game!

About MacGyver: The Escape Room

The game includes five roughly one hour-long numbered missions that you will need to work through in order to solve the missions. The game connects with an interactive website that assists you in solving clues and guiding you through the mission. The missions have been designed with MacGyver in mind – inspired from the original show! You will need to work in a group of up to four to escape from an underground lab, land an airplane, survive a dangerous factory, flee from a missile solo and outsmart Murdoc in the finale. Whew – no easy task there, right?

Turn Your Living Room into an Escape Room with MacGyver: The Escape Room Game!

What The Game Contains

  • Instruction sheet with link to the interactive website
  • Five mission envelopes that MUST be opened in order and only in a specific order as you uncover and solve each clue (each mission envelope will contain multiple small envelopes that have clues and more to help you solve the mission).
  • One utility bag for you to fill up as you go along

Turn Your Living Room into an Escape Room with MacGyver: The Escape Room Game!

Our Thoughts

Having never been in an Escape Room but always wanting to try it out because of the positive feedback we have heard, we couldn’t wait to dive into the game. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, the website is a huge help as it guides you with extra items you may need (paper and pencil, etc..) and when to open the next envelope. You can set up each mission to be completed in a certain amount of time (hard) or no timing (easy), which we set ours to as we didn’t want the extra pressure during our first mission although we kept this setting throughout.

Clearly we had to work on our problem solving skills when we got stuck on clue one! Finding the secret code in the lasers to begin the game – when we realized we were looking in the wrong spot – we were looking on the envelope instead of paying attention to the instructions on the computer which would have guided us to the correct spot – we had a good laugh. Once we got into the swing of it, it did get easier but it was still challenging and full of fun and laughter. The clues have just enough challenge to keep you on your toes but not so much so that you get frustrated and want to give up.

It is important to note, that once you have played each mission – it would be difficult to replay them as you would have a hard time re-sealing the envelopes and clues. It’s not impossible as it would depend on how you ripped them open – so be careful as you open each one. When you compare the price to visiting an actual escape room and the convenience of being able to play at home, this is by far the better choice.

The game is intended for individuals twelve and over, along with one to four players but we included our seven-year old who had a great time assisting us with the clues, writing things down and entering things into the computer (he is quite tech savvy) so don’t let age limit you!

MacGyver: The Escape Room Game is created and distributed by Pressman Toys, who have been helping families have fun since the 1920s! Make sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on the newest products, games and more.

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

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Take an Adventure This Summer with My Gnome on the Roam

Gnome on the Roam

Summer break for children is set to begin in just over two weeks. As parents we may be busy trying to figure out how to fill the weeks. It could be with summer camp, day trips and even daily activities. While fun is always at the heart of what we do, education is so important! We want to keep their minds just as active during the summer months being creative, writing and reading.

Take an Adventure This Summer with My Gnome on the Roam

What is Gnome on the Roam?

Gustav, the Gnome, is an inquisitive gnome who longs to explore the world outside of his own yard. In order to do so, he needs the help and love of your child to make this happen!

Take an Adventure This Summer with My Gnome on the Roam

Your Gnome arrives at your home in their own special suitcase ready for your child to take them on an adventure. Your Gnome brings with them a special journal for your child to record their adventures in, Gnome on the Roam book and a very special pen to write with.

Take an Adventure This Summer with My Gnome on the Roam

When your Gnome arrives you can take some time to decorate him/her to give the Gnome a personal touch and connect each other. We also downloaded the app on the Apple Store to get new ideas, create online journals, upload photos and more. You can also visit the website to get more ideas (resource list), colouring book and the adventurers guide.

Take an Adventure This Summer with My Gnome on the Roam

I loved that the kit encourages families to explore their world around them and to expand their knowledge when they get home. It doesn’t have to be big adventures, all that matters is that you get away from the television, video games, electronics and get moving and writing. I am a firm believer of always pushing yourself to learn more (I am a forever student always taking another course!) and I want my children to learn the importance of writing, reading and hands on education.

My Gnome on the Roam gives your family the ability to take charge to their own adventures, learn more about each others creativity and personalities and learn new things. Bonus – it keeps everyone busy and interested with new activities throughout the whole summer. While a special activity for your child – it is an activity that the whole family can come together with.

Take an Adventure This Summer with My Gnome on the Roam

You can connect with Gnome on the Roam on their website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can purchase your own Gnome on Amazon.

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

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