Screw it! 6 Days till Mexico

In my last post on Feb. 26, things were going well. My hubby and I started our Healthy Liquids After 5 plan…to trim down a bit before Mexico. A short-term, pre-vacation plan.

The rest of that week went well, and we stuck to our plan. It was awesome! I had energy and felt great.

Then Friday of that week hit me….with a chest cold. Damn! I was sick all through the weekend and for most of that following week. Can you sense what’s coming?

That’s right…I went OFF my healthy eating. When I’m sick like that (and still have my appetite), all I want is comfort food. I just give in to the easy convenient foods like restaurants and takeout.  Or I buy the ingredients to make crappy comfort food like macaroni and cheese. And…I don’t even do a great job at it! I haven’t sunk into the depths of junk food like chips etc., thank goodness.

So, I didn’t really veer off course; I did a 180 degree turn.

A few days ago, I started to feel normal, and then on a Friday, again, I was hit with another issue…massive headache and an overall lethargic level of energy all through the weekend. My husband’s cold has now taken different twists and turns and he’s back in bed today, sick, as well.

It’s frustrating because I allow being sick to be an excuse to put my goals on hold.

While I’m eating unhealthy food and lying on the couch coughing etc., I know what I’m doing, and I don’t care. What the heck is that anyway? Where’s my enthusiasm, my commitment, my pride in myself? How can I be so NOT like me? I guess I just don’t have the oomph I need to kick myself in the butt.

I think what I do is just give myself permission to stop thinking so much about what I’m doing and how I’m doing. I give myself permission to just say “F*&# it”. And it feels good because I think A LOT.

Until it doesn’t feel good.

I’ve been feeling low for most of the weekend. So, I guess I truly didn’t give myself permission, like I thought, or I wouldn’t be feeling guilty. I’m responsible for my own actions and for my own thinking. I deeply believe this.

I KNOW how powerful my mind is and how I can turn my thinking around. I just haven’t been able to do it today or yesterday.

I think the struggle continues to be: It’s OK to not be perfect. Somehow, I still beat myself up now and again even though my mind knows I’m human and it’s ok to screw up.

I’ve decided to just ride it out.

There is one thing I KNOW to be TRUE…every time I get low or when it seems I can’t get out of a mental slump.

I T    A L W A Y S    P A S S E S !

What a relief and how awesome is that? I’m feeling better already!

I’m proud to say that my husband and I have still stuck to our no alcohol at home plan, since mid-January. Woo hoo! It feels good to stick to a commitment.

We leave for Mexico this coming Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to the warm weather. Hopefully we can kick aside the germs that have been hovering around us. Hopefully, I can focus on the present and enjoy the time with my husband, my daughter and the friends we’ll be staying with.

Living life is about sharing life with others.

I WILL get back in the saddle wholeheartedly when I return. I WILL continue to blaze a trail on my health journey because I have that power…so cool.

Wishing you health and success on your journey,



Monthly Progress Report (Month #1)

It’s been just over a month since I decided to transform my life. Let’s see how I’m doing.

No Alcohol at Home

Since mid-January of this year, my husband and I decided to not drink at home. We normally drank about 5 nights a week…that’s a lot! We would have wine usually, or an occasional martini. In our past attempts to reduce our alcohol intake, we decided not to drink from Monday to Thursday. Then Tuesday would hit, and it was usually me who would say, “Honey, let’s pick up a bottle of wine tonight”. So, that wasn’t working.

In January, I just decided we had to do something more radical. We would never achieve our health goals unless we changed our lifestyle. We put all our bottles of booze away, out of sight. We made a decision that we would drink only when we were out for dinner or at other social events. No drinking at home.

Well, guess what? We did it! We have, NOT EVEN ONCE, had any alcohol at home! I am so proud of us. We’ve learned that drinking at home really was just a habit. Only time will tell how long this new habit will last.

Healthy Food

We’ve been eating healthy food most of the time. We focus on potatoes, grains, veggies, beans and fruit. Most breakfasts are oatmeal with fruit, nuts and plant-based milk. My lunches (I am fed at work-I know…spoiled me!) are usually a green salad with veggies, hummus and or beans and a little balsamic/oil dressing, followed by some kind of soup (sometimes with cream) or pasta and tomato sauce or a veggie burger patty.  Sometimes I veer off course and overeat at lunch, or I eat something I know is not good for me (a few perogies with sour cream or a piece of non-whole grain bread with hummus or a faux peanut butter).

On the weekends, we’ve been going out to eat in restaurants…some weekends a bit too often. I’ve had pizza, salads with goat cheese, spinach/artichoke cheese dips etc. I am still not choosing meat (I am having shrimp at times), but I lean towards having dairy when we dine out. I think it’s sort of an excuse to “cheat”, but you know what? I’m OK with it. If I need to veer off course a bit on the weekends until I can sustain a healthy diet on a more long-term basis? So be it! Instead of being hard on myself, I am celebrating my successes!


I’ve been moving my body more…yay! For the first month, I did a walk/run combination on Saturdays. Each week, I walked/ran at an indoor track. I kept a record of the laps I ran, and increased the number each week.  6 laps = 1 mile.

Week 1: 6 laps    Week 2: 15 laps    Week 3: 16 laps    Week 4: 18 laps    Week 5: 21 laps

It is so awesome to see my progress. Is it huge? No. Is it awesome…yes! For the last two weeks, I’ve also added in 1-2 treadmill walk/runs in my basement as well as some wall push-ups and planks. It is not much, but I am DOING it!

Weight Loss

I’m down about 5-6 pounds. Yay!


I was feeling low, like I wasn’t having much success. I lost the 5 pounds in the first 2-3 weeks, and then I plateaued (probably the restaurants). I wanted the weight loss to be faster, so I didn’t think I was doing a good enough job. Then I realized how hard I was being on myself. I was looking at the negative only. I turned my thinking around and told myself…Wow! Look at the success I’ve had (see above). Look at the things I’ve stuck with. I can’t give up now! I am making progress!

My journey has taught me to keep trying and to keep checking my attitude. Remember to recognize all the awesome things you do. We can be our own worst enemy, or we can be our own best friend.


What’s Next?

A trip to Mexico in about three weeks. Yay! Escape for ten days from winter in Canada!

To give me a little boost, I’m going to do the following for as many days as I can until we leave for Mexico.

Healthy Liquids After 5

  1. Eat breakfast, lunch and snacks through the day as I normally would.
  2. After work (I’m usually home between 5 and 6 p.m.), I will drink only water, juice (juiced at home from mainly veggies/greens with some fruit), broth or tea. If I feel ravenous, I will have only raw veggies and fruit.
  3. Weekends: Stick to the above if I feel like it.

I started my Healthy Liquids After 5 yesterday and feel great! It’s amazing how light you feel when you don’t eat dinner and/or snack in the evening. I’ll report on my progress; I’m not sure how many days I will follow this plan. I am hoping to do it for at least 10 of the next 18 days.

Note: I do not believe in quick diets to lose weight, as a general rule. I believe in eating healthy and establishing patterns that lead to long-term health. However, I see nothing wrong with doing short spurts of limiting food intake (juice fast, raw foods until 4, etc.) to give ourselves a boost. The reason I’m doing this is for a short-term solution to drop some extra pounds quickly before I put on a bikini in Mexico. I recognize that as soon as I start eating in Mexico…most of the weight will be back by the time I get home. I can live with that; I will then get back to the healthy habits I am developing and work on my long-term weight loss and health.

Wishing you health and success on your journey,


Inspired to Become the REAL ME!

A week ago, on Jan. 14, I decided to become the real me. I’m really excited to let the real me blossom and to get to know her again. Nice to meet you: healthy, active and vibrant Ali!

I’ve been trying since Jan. 1, 2010 to become the person I want to be. If you look in the archives of this blog, you’ll see I’ve been on and off again at writing about my health journey since the summer of August, 2013.

Before I go on, I must tell you that starting this blog was thanks to a good friend of mine, Susan Kuz (you can find out more about her and how amazing she is at teaching/coaching people and organizations at beingpukka). She encouraged me to share my ideas about eating healthy foods, even though I didn’t think I was “good enough” to do so because I hadn’t yet achieved my own health goals. Well, I wasn’t perfect, and I realized that was ok. Thanks, Susan!

So, feel free to join me on my imperfect journey.

I’ve learned over years how each of us is on a journey to health, our own customized journey.  Even if you’re at your perfect weight and feel your health is ideal, you continue on your journey each day, month and year that passes. Health isn’t achieved, and then, “Ta da!” we check off that box on our To Do list. Being healthy today doesn’t mean you’ll be healthy tomorrow unless your journey of seeking health continues.

Ok. Back to the future real me. I have a vision of that person; it isn’t about weight and size, but more about lifestyle. By living a lifestyle I see as healthy and most beneficial for me physically and mentally, I will feel good, and as a by-product, naturally lose the extra 40-50 pounds weighing me down. I’ll have energy in my body and my mind.

I am 52 years old, and 5’ 6”. I’m not sure what my ideal weight is, but I feel confident I’ll know it when I get there based on how I feel. I look forward to the discovery.

What led to my decision to find the real me? A few things:

  • I am close to my highest weight.
  • I veered off course the last few months, eating unhealthy food on a regular basis.
  • I feel slow, unhealthy and fat.
  • My clothes are tight.
  • I feel uncomfortable in my own body.
  • I felt inspired after listening to a Rich Roll podcast where he interviewed Charlie Jabaley, who lost a whole bunch of weight and turned his life around.

I was inspired by the podcast, but it wasn’t the first time I felt determined to seek health. Each time I’m excited by a book, article, video, podcast or conversation, it kick-starts my energy, desires and motivation about things that are important to me.

Who is the Real Me?

  • Physically healthy and vibrant
  • Mentally strong and energetic
  • At an ideal/comfortable weight for my body

That’s it. Sounds like something most of us want, but at the same time, it seems impossible to achieve. Of course it’s not impossible, but it’s challenging. For many of us, life gets in the way. But that’s not really true. We allow life to get in the way.

Ok. Here’s my plan, ‘cause I’ve got to have a plan.

I need to remind myself every single day about who I want to be. About the person I want to become. I can see her:

  • She rises in the morning with energy
  • She eats food for fuel and doesn’t obsess about food
  • She eats real, whole food that is as close to its natural form as possible, most of the time
  • She eats a plant-based diet, most of the time
  • She consumes alcohol infrequently (once a week or so)
  • She exercises for joy, fitness and energy at least 3-5 times a week (walking, running and whatever else feels good)

Ok…so now I know what I want and I know what I want to be doing. What next? This is the wall that many of us run into. HOW CAN I DO THIS?

Let’s get back to that inspiration I was talking about for a minute. I’m not saying I feel a little inspiration to eat better and get healthy. I am inspired to make my own personal transformation.  

It’s beyond making changes. I’ve tried that. A complete lifestyle overhaul is in order.

Uh oh…there’s that fear creeping into the conversation. Did you feel it?

  • Fear that it will be difficult
  • Fear that I don’t really want to live without the unhealthy foods
  • Fear that I will fail again
  • Fear that I will start something but not finish it all the way through and be consistent
  • Fear that I can’t do it myself

Wait a minute. Did I just say “can’t?

I deeply believe people can accomplish anything they want.  I really do, to my core. Within reason. Can I lose 20 pounds in 5 days without cutting off some limbs? Not realistic.

So, if I believe other people can accomplish almost anything they really want, and if that is one of my core beliefs, then of course I can do it. There is no can’t. My life is up to me.

How empowering! Let me just soak that in for a minute. I CAN do it. I have the POWER to be the real me! WOW!!

Having true power also means if I don’t transform myself, it’s because I choose not to. When I’m faced with obstacles, will I choose to push forward to find the real me, or will I give in to the easy, familiar route?

The funny thing is that there are people who don’t know what to do to successfully lose weight, get healthy and live an active lifestyle. But I DO know what to do. I know exactly what to do, and it works!

So why don’t I do it, consistently? I’ve tried many times to make a change. I’ve had some successes.

I think it’s the lifestyle. My husband and I spend a lot of our free time together, and we have the same interests. Our energies are focused on “relaxing”, whether we do it at home or in a restaurant. It involves food, often wine or martinis and if we’re at home, Netflix. Well, that doesn’t sound like the healthy energy-filled lifestyle I want, does it?

My husband and I do a lot of talking. We make a lot of “we should” plans. We start and then we fall back into our familiar routine and fizzle out. We lose weight together. We gain weight together.

For true success, I need to decide what I want. I need to want it so bad that even when I’m stressed, or angry or feeling low or when temptations and influences pop up, I still commit to finding the real me.

Like I said, I’ve had successes before. I lost 14 lbs in two weeks eating real plants without any added crap (sugar, oil, processed food, animal products). With no exercise! I didn’t starve myself either. I was eating mashed potatoes almost every day with a yummy plant-based, very low-fat mushroom gravy. The food tasted great! It really worked while I was committed.

In 2017 I was consistently plant-based for 7.5 months. I was very proud of myself during those months, and I thought I had it mastered.

In the summer of 2017 my husband and I did a 15-day water fast. It was difficult, but I learned a lot about my body and about what I want in life. Sure, I dropped over 20 lbs, but that’s not a realistic weight loss. My body cleaned out a lot of crap, but I didn’t continue afterwards with a healthy diet. I went back to my old ways when I allowed stress to be my master.

A couple of years ago, I ate only raw foods for four weeks. I felt terrific, and I think doing such a cleanse can really help you clean out. It can also be a good kick-start to weight loss, but it’s not sustainable.

I’ve had other successes too; they just didn’t stick.  Eventually, I fell back into my old ways because I didn’t fully commit to transforming myself. I was still hanging on to the lifestyle.

I KNOW WHAT to do. I KNOW I can do it.

It’s been a week since I started my personal transformation.

I’m doing well so far! Down a few pounds and I feel terrific. I am sleeping better and already have more energy each day. I feel happier too. Happier because I feel good and because I’m excited about the future.

I FEEL GREAT and can’t wait to see how things turn out.

Wish me luck on my journey, and of course, I wish you health and success on your own journey.


Day 4 and 5 Plant-Eating Challenge

My daughter and I are both still on track with our Plant Eating Challenge, and we feel great.

I had my usual two smoothies, yesterday and today, and I worked out in the am both days. Pat on the back for me!

Lunch was the usual reheated homemade yumminess (stew, soup or stoup, or is stewp better?…a combo). I did have a little bit of pasta with tomato sauce-this is not the ideal food as it is processed, and not made from a whole grain. Also, there was probably oil and sugar in the sauce.

For dinner tonight I made two dishes. My meals are always…”how fast can I make this?” I am usually a wingin’ it kind of cook.

Dish #1: Chunky/Creamy Broccoli Soup


Ingredients (measurements are not exact)

  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets with some of the stem
  • 1.5 cups organic veggie broth
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup homemade rice milk
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Most recipes call for sauteeing this, and blah, blah blahing that…I’m too impatient. I just put all the ingredients into a pot and heat until the broccoli is cooked. Then, into the blender for a few spins. Back into the pot, to simmer while the flavours blend. Then I add 3 cooked potatoes; chop them up, skin and all. Add a bit of salt/pepper or some nutritional yeast, and voila! A hearty soup. This would work really well with cauliflower too…hmmm…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dish #2: Rice with Asian Mushroom Sauce


Ingredients (measurements not exact)

  • Variety of mushrooms (about4- 6 cups chopped)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch blended in 3/4 cup water
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

Instructions: Place 1 cup water into large sautee pan. Turn heat to high. Throw in the mushrooms for about 2 minutes, and then turn heat down to med-high. Let mushrooms cook for several minutes. Add sauces and spices. Add water/cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium heat, continuously for about 2 minues. Add green onions. Throw over a bowl of rice, or eat as a delicious soup on its own.

After dinner, I ejoyed a couple of glasses of red wine. Yum But, I wonder, how will this interfere with my energetic healthy feeling I have been living for the past few days?

Here are some things that are helping me succeed on this Plant Eating Challenge

1. After reading The Monk who Sold his Ferrari, I found the author’s videos on Youtube. Super inspiring. They help me to:

  • have less stress
  • procrastinate less
  • push myself to do more (5 more crunches, mark 3 more papers etc)
  • have more control of my thoughts

…all which result in me feeling better. This helps me to make better choices.

2. Getting up Early 

This can be a tough one, but here is what works for me. Last week, I decided I would get up before 6:30 a.m. each day. This week, I have been up before 6:00 a.m. each day. Now, I moved pretty quickly. Anyone could try this by changing more slowly. For example, if you get up at 7:00 a.m., and you really want to be getting up at 6:00, then start week 1 with a 6:50 a.m. time to rise. The next week, go to 6:40 a.m., and so on. It really works. Next thing you know, you have an extra hour, every day to work out, write, read, research, mediate, take time for you etc.

Hoping your journey is healthy.

Down and Proud

Today, I am 7.2 lbs down, since Aug. 24. Woo hoo! If you’re curious about what I’ve been eating to achieve this, check out the 5 lbs to Success entry on Aug. 29.

I am so proud of myself. Yesterday, I went out to dinner to The Keg (a great steak restaurant, if you are not familiar with it). I knew the menu before I arrived, as I’ve eaten steak, lobster, stuffed mushrooms and other delicious meals there in the past…many times over in the last 30 years or so.

Since I no longer eat most of what they offer, I just created my own meal. I forgot to take a picture of it (wish I had because it was awesome!).

I shared a spinach salad with my husband. With all salads, I ask for the dressing on the side, so I can control how much oil I use. If there is sugar or other things in the dressing that are not ideal, then I am also in control of that. This particular salad came with crumbled blue cheese, which I also asked for on the side. I don’t eat cheese anymore, but I asked for it anyway, so my hubby could enjoy it on his steak. Teamwork!

My main meal was simple, yet tasty. I asked for three side orders: steamed asparagus, sautéed mushrooms (done in oil, not butter) and a plain baked potato with chives and horseradish on the side. I had eaten very little during the day, so I was full before I could even get to the potato. I had it wrapped up and will eat it for lunch today.

For a beverage, I had a soda water (club soda) with lime, my standard drink these days.

It is a wonderful feeling to eat the way I say I want to. Absolutely wonderful!

My tip for dining in restaurants is to look at all the side orders in addition to “sides” that come with certain meals. Create your own meal, and let the server know you have some dietary restrictions. You may find a meal you like that just needs a few substitutions to meet your needs. More often than not, the establishment will be happy to accommodate your request.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. It is your body, and you should decide what you want to put into it.