Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The post about honoring my mother and the best diet you should follow to lose weight

One of my favorite pictures of my mom and me.  Even though I don't like the
way I looked, I loved my dress because my mom made it.  She passed away
nine months after my wedding.

Today is a somber day for me.  It's been ten years since my mother passed away.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  Every detail.  It was the time of SARS and since my mother had Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and it affected her lymph nodes, she had severe respiratory problems at the end of her life.  So because of that, her final hours were spent in the SARS isolation ward at Scarborough General Hospital with me wearing an infectious disease suit (so I was unable to touch her skin to skin) with a full mask.  It chokes me up to write this right now because I just wanted to hold her hand and for her to be able to see the love on my face before she died. Her final moments were spent gasping for breath while someone in a plastic suit held her hand.  I knew she wasn't contagious, but the hospital staff would not let me in with her at all unless I wore the suit.  It still hurts my heart to this day.  At least she wasn't alone and I got to tell her I loved her while she was still conscious.

My slower than normal "tempo" run.  I don't care, I ran for my mom today.

During difficult times, I could turn to food.  I could but I won't.  I can think of no worse way to honor my mother than to eat off plan because I miss her.  Instead, I will honor her today, and always by treating my body with the care and respect that I know she would want me to.  This morning I ran. I ran a 10K steady run. It was supposed to be a tempo (faster than usual pace) run, but I wasn't mindful of my pace, I just ran. I ran and thought of my mom.  During my run this morning I heard Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton and the line, "Would you know my name, if I saw you in Heaven" had me wondering if my mother would recognize me if she saw me today. When I went to my cousin's farm on Saturday I approached another cousin who I hadn't seen in over a year and gave him a hug and started chatting with him.  It didn't dawn on me that he actually didn't know who I was right away. He just thought I was some random woman hugging him.  Then he saw my dad and was like "Oh, you've changed!"  I forget that I look so different.  Although it's been ten years, not a day goes by that I do not think of my mom.  She's still such a strong memory for me and I find that comforting.

My eats from the past two days.

I get asked all the time about diet advice.  I am not a medical professional and I cannot tell you what will and will not work for you.  I can only share my experiences with weight loss and what has worked for me. Everyone is different.  I know Weight Watchers works, because I follow blogs of people who have had tremendous success on WW.  It just didn't work for me.  I know that pre-packaged food plans work because again, I follow blogs of people who have successfully lost a lot of weight following these plans.  I also know that weight loss surgery works because, you guessed it, I follow blogs of people who have successfully lost weight after having weight loss surgery.  Then we get into the Paleo, Primal, Whole 30, whole foods,  high protein/low carb movement and you likely know how I feel about all those plans. That did work for me.

Anyhow, the question I get asked all the time?  Which one is the best.  Is it the one I followed? Not necessarily.  The short answer to that is, the best weight loss plan is the one that works for you.  I don't judge anyone for how they choose to lose weight.  I do not support unhealthy weight loss practices.  But if you want to have surgery, count points, drink shakes, or eat things that are only purple; if it will make you healthier, I'm all for it.  Unless there is a medical reason preventing it, we can all lose weight.  You just need to really be in the game.

Being in the game means you are ready to make changes for life.  It means that you may have to give up some of your favorite foods.  It means that you will have to adopt a lifestyle that may have been foreign to you in the past.  I ended up having to give up a lot of my favorite foods.  Luckily I like lean protein, eggs, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts.  Because that's all I eat right now.  I am sadly not one of those people who can eat anything in moderation.  Although I can eat nuts, they are definitely a food I need to limit because I can go waaaaaaaay over board with them. Just imagine what I would do with a batch of cookies or a bag of chips if I let myself have just one. Trust me, it would be a disaster.

Giving up grains, processed carbs, refined sugar, sweeteners, dairy, and anything that is not a "whole" food was the best thing I have ever done for myself.  I couldn't even imagine a year and a half ago that I would ever be able to run around my block, forget about a half marathon.  And here I am training for my first marathon.  Last summer I was running 32K per week in the month of August with my furthest distance being 9K (as per my Nike+ Running App).  I ran 10K this morning as part of my regular training.  Last week I ran 50K, this week I'll run 53K, and next month I'll be running up to 65K per week.  My pace has improved from 8:30 per kilometer, to 6:40 per kilometer. That's pretty significant progress and it all has to do with what I eat and how hard I train.

Have I become addicted to running? I'd have to say yes.  I think about running the same way I used to think about food.  It monopolizes my thoughts from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep.  I used to wake in the morning and start to plan my days eats in my head.  How many donuts I'd get or if I'd get to go through the drive-thru that day.  If I'd get to stop at the dollar store to buy my stash of jumbo rockets or assortment of chocolate bars.  Seriously, it was a severe addiction I had with the carbs and sugar.  Although I still think about food, it's more along the lines of "what can I eat that will be good fuel for my run tomorrow"? What will settle in my stomach well and give me the energy I need to complete my 6K, ,8K, 10K, 19K, hill repeats, speed work...whatever is on my schedule for the day.

Sure I longingly look at stuff at the grocery store that I shouldn't.  And at least once a day a binge crosses my mind.  But what keeps me in a much better head space is remembering why I did this (my son), and what keeps me doing this (the way I feel and that I actually like the way I look for the first time in my life EVER). And you really can't beat the runner's high.  Seriously, better than anything I ever smoked in high school and much healthier for you.  So my advice to you?  Find a lifestyle you can stick to long term and be true to yourself and respect the change.  And remember, the only people who can be sabotaged during the process are those that want to be. No one can make you do something you really don't want to.  And make sure your head is really in the game.  If it's not, you'll continue to "loop the loop".  (I'm trying to be cleaver there.  It's a yo yo trick:)

Love this.  I've seen other versions, but this is the funniest I've seen so far!


  1. Hi Leigh, I am so sorry to read about your mom, but on the positive note it was nice you were there by her side (Even if it was in a plastic suit)I believe your mom will surely recognize you and be so proud of you because I believe people who leave us still keeping an eye on us and take care of us :)
    Love your food advise, everybody has a different thing that works for them, the one common thing is eating healthy food and giving up bad habits

  2. I can relate to what you said about your mother but not the terrible way she died. I was 8 months pregnant and simply could not be there when she died, I was too chicken. My dad was with her. What a terribly sad memory for you but I'm glad you were with her.

    Food, yes I agree. The biggest problem I have is when someone says that something worked. "Worked" means they lost the weight but didn't keep it off! How can that be working? Every single person I know who did WW has regained all the weight. I know there are others who changed and learnt from it but sadly not many. As you said, something has to change and their are not many in the "everything in moderation" brigade who can actually maintain a loss.

  3. My heart is with you - I can empathize a little, but I lost my mom when I was 10, so it's a slightly different story. I also think about maintaining my health in honor of my parents - I want to make them proud!

  4. Hugs, I love the photo of you and your Mom. So touching.

    So glad you are in the game. It's a great way to be for yourself and to be there and model the eating whole foods for your son. You both win- and your hubby too.

    Glad you can look back and remember your mom in a healthy way. I'm sure she would be so proud of you :)

  5. Wow, I can relate to so much in your post tonight. On Monday it will be 8 years since my mom died. My mom passed away from a brain tumor that came on suddenly and she pretty much went from 'normal' one day to unconscious and pretty much not herself the next. Even though she lived in an altered state for about 2 months, I didn't really get to say everything I wanted to to her because she wasn't really there. I wish we had both had better "goodbyes". I know a chunk of my weight gain resulted in losing her and I too am trying to honor my mom by getting my health back for me and my family.

  6. Seven years for me since I lost my mom. Seventeen since I lost my dad. As hard as it was, I can't imagine not being able to touch her in the end. I'm sure she's watching you now and is so proud of how you've reclaimed your health.

  7. Hi, Leigh, just discovered your blog, what an inspiration! I can understand how you're feeling as I lost my mom (to lung cancer) in 2009. Not a day goes by that I don't miss her.

    While our way of eating may be different (no meat for me), I am right there w/you on the no-processed junk food. I can't say that it's completely out of my life but I'm making huge progress. :) One day at a time, right?

  8. So many of us lose our best friend when we lose our Moms. My Grandmother was also my hero - such unconditional love for her obese grand daughter. Great memories. Aren't we blessed. I have always been THANKFUL that eating was my challenge and not alcohol, gambling, or porn. There are worse things. Let's keep choosing health and wellness. We do sometimes trade one compulsion for another I have read but running is a much better one than eating for sure. Be careful out there today.

  9. I do NOT cry, but just watching that video... well I didn't even read the rest of your post yet. I have said it before, but I will say it again. You are an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. Hi Leigh. I found your blog through Marc and I just wanted to let you now that I think you're amazing and a wonderful inspiration to us all. I cried when I watched your video, but mostly out of happiness for you and how far you've come. :)

  11. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I am prone doing eating when I get down as well but I have to fight it.

  12. I love that you're honoring your mother by taking care of yourself, and I am sure she would be so proud of how your healthy lifestyle is inspiring so many others as well.