Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marley... I mean Milo and Me!

Today I ventured out on my trusty electric scooter/bike.

I thought, well yes it's cold out, about minus 10 degrees Celsius, but if those ' Ski-Doo' owners can whip around the back roads of Ontario in similar weather, I should be able to too!! So I dressed as you would on a Ski-Doo, and Milo too, in her pink hoodie... only I found out I really need long underwear and better Ski-Doo gloves, as my fingers turned into 10 popsicles !!

oh.. well.. we made it home, and now I'm enjoying a nice cup of hot herbal tea to help me defrost. I wish it could be Hot Chocolate, but no such luck.. not good for the diet.

I saw the film ' Marley and Me' today... 2 Toonie Tuesdays at the local theatre.. I liked it, but didn't like the end part.. sniff sniff.. a real tear jerker!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Non-Fat Hobbies

Working out at the gym on a daily basis is not a hobby yet, it's still a huge task and a great effort to do this. Hopefully it will become one , one day soon...

For now a new/old love/ hobby.. I bought myself a Christmas gift of a new Canon EOS Rebel XS is a great hobby!
I have been having fun this holiday season with taking long walks with my dog, and taking some shot in and around Toronto. My dad was a great amateur photographer, as well as 2 of my nieces. So it kind of runs in the family. I missed my Canon SLR camera, where I had to use real film.. way to expensive, so the opportunity came up with a great door crashing boxing day sale from a local large electronics chain store, and I nabbed the chance to finally get a digital SLR camera.

( I received these tulips from my sister at Christmas, to see this picture in full view, click on it, also you can download it and it makes a great ' desktop' picture!)

This morning I jumped out of bed, looked at my BIGGEST LOSER 2009 new wall calendar, and one of the tips for the day was... Set up your equipment in order to do a proper workout. So I changed up my treadmill so that now when I'm on it, I can watch TV! that really helps with making the time seem to go faster. So I worked out for 1 hour this morning before taking a shower and getting dressed ( no one can see me, so I worked out in socks, runners, underwear and a bra.. nothing else!! he. he.... he.. that was fun, and very cool) I took the dog for a 1 hour walk after that, with camera in hand.. and took some winter shots...

tonight back to my 2 hour regime at the gym...

yes.. by the way.. I do have this week off.. no work.. so I do have time to get myself back on track, and back to my workout regime!! and my BIG PLAN !

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Arrrggg... I've gained!

Well Christmas is over.. and the biggest gift it has given me is 5 pounds of extra unwanted weight gain!! Well I guess it's not to bad, considering I really didn't hold myself back! I had everything over these holiday from Turkey, to Ham to Chocolate and Candy Cane flavored Egg Nog...

I don't feel guilty, I feel good actually!... I got all the cravings out of my system, enjoyed some great times with my family. And just enjoyed what Christmas means to us all... sharing memories, and making new ones.

Last year I weighed 365 pounds at Christmas and this year I weighed 245 pounds, ( well actually today I weigh 250, but this extra will be gone by next week)  120 pounds lighter!! and to break it down, in 12 months, because I've been on this diet now for a year, in 12 months I have lost an average of 10 pounds a month. That was my original goal I set for myself last Christmas, and so far I have achieved it!

So now on to the next 12 months of my continued quest!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Create Fake Magazine Covers with your own picture at MagMyPic.com

Today is a day of Joy and Peace, and sharing memories and making new memories with your loved ones.

( my goals and dreams for next Christmas 2009 will be: weighing 150 pounds, and being more financially stable)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Christmas Card to You !!! Best Wishes

Getting into the Christmas Mood...

This past weekend I have been very busy getting into the Christmas mood! Well … lets rephrase that… because of all the Christmas music I performed, I was transformed on a Sleigh to the North Pole !

I performed with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, and was a part of their Yuletide Pops Program. Here’s the program I performed:

Veni, Veni Emmanuel
Here Comes Santa Clause
Pearsall, in Dulce Jubilo
Sleigh Ride
ROBERT SHAW: Many Moods of Christmas Suite No. 3
Sing-alongs: O Come all Ye Faithfull, Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Nutcracker Excerpts
Twas the Night before Christmas
A musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas
Cantique de Noel
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

As you can read… really all the top ten Christmas hits!!

Crazy when you think of it...We perform, sing, listen to this same Christmas music every year, and enjoy it every year too !... funny how we really don’t get sick of it! At least I don’t.. I love it!! I’m always sad when it’s January 2nd, all the festivities are over and I have to take down my tree… then get ready for 3 cold, dark months of Canadian Winter hell!!

Back to nice thoughts…

On Sunday I was invited to a best friends house for an afternoon of more carol singing… I brought my horn to play, but also found some bells to play during the singing of Jingle Bells!

Now Toronto has been blanketed with 50 cm ( 20 inches ) of snow…

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas will not be hard at all!!

**Click on this YouYube video below, to listen to my favorite peice that I performed ( this exact same orchestral arrangement ) this last weekend with the KWS with a childrens choir: "Somewhere In My Memory" by John Williams from the film Home Alone.. lots of great soaring magical HORN solos.. great fun to play!! it gives my goosebumps everytime I listen to it!

Snacking on Something!

Staying at home at night remains a huge challenge for me. I have this incredible erg to snack something! Therefore I have this bowl on my dinning room table filled to the brim with gum; all flavors, to suit or help some of my cravings. I chew on 1 or 2 pieces for about 30 minutes, then spit it out, and start chewing on another flavor. It may be a bit wasteful, but certainly better than snacking on chips or popcorn or chocolate as I have always done in the past. Even on the BL show, Bob gives advice to do the same. When you really need something sweet just have some Extra gum! … it really does help to keep me busy… and what ever works to make sure I don’t eat 500 calories of junk.. I’m going to go ahead and chew on all the gum I so desire!!

Today I discovered my collar bone! Felt weird to stroke it… It feels very exposed and without any protection…next big bone discovery will be I’m sure my hips…but I guess that will be a while still, as it’s so weird and frustrating that fat loss also happens by gravity. Starting with the bone at the top of your torso protruding first, and lastly your lower body, hips and thighs…

My boobs are starting to look like tennis socks with oranges in the ends…

Oops.. to much information I guess… sorry… strike that last sentence..

Monday, December 22, 2008

OPRAH- The Blame Game

In the January issue of O magazine, out this week, Oprah Winfrey says she weighs 200 pounds and has fallen off the wagon when it comes to healthy living. "I'm mad at myself," Winfrey writes in an article provided early to the Associated Press. "I'm embarrassed. I can't believe that after all these years, all the things I know how to do, I'm still talking about my weight. I look at my thinner self and think, 'How did I let this happen again?' "

Okay.. now everyone has been writing and complaining about this, with comments like:

“oh dam!!.. she has so much money, she has her own chef, she has her own trainer…”
“…she has all the tools and money to lose weight, and with those, should be able to keep it off !…”
“…if she can’t do it, how are we peasants suppose to do it !”

Come’on people… give me a break!!… If I had as much money as her I would be in the same boat too !!…

.. why you ask??

Because the amount of money you make is reflective of how hard you work!!

If you make a shit load of money, you probably work 10-12 hours a day, every day!! To which I’m sure Oprah has pulled several hundred 14 - 16 hour days!

Oprah, is a very busy, busy lady, between having to edit a magazine every month, she has to produce a show every day, plus keep up with all her charity work, plus plus, plus…

I don’t work for Oprah, I’m not her publicist or any thing.. but I do watch her shows, and one has to admit that she has been a great help to thousands of women and men over the years… and taking time for herself is probably the last thing on her daily list of things to do…

I think she has done an amazing job … and we whiney women should lay off the blame game… !!!
If you need to lose weight.. Do it !!

Don’t blame others for your own lack of motivation and discipline!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting Closer To Your Goals

After a weekend of playing my horn, eating some things that were not really on my Diet chart.. but playing some wicked Ping Pong matches with my Brother-in-law, I was rewarded with at least a 1 pound loss...

I even had 2 slices of Hawiaan pizza! the first Pizza I have had in 12 months!!!

Now the biggest challenge.. .Christmas!!

hold on Wendy !... you can do it!!

....only 95 pounds to my goal weight, which the deadline is fast approching of 7 months away!

If Michelle on the BL can lose 110 pounds in 7 months... so can I !! Dam-it !!

check out this video... some really SMART tips!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Toronto's Biggest Loser!

After watching tonight's Biggest Loser Finale... I am once again doubly modivated to continue to reach my goal of losing 200 pounds.
I've already lost 119 pounds so far, with another 81 to go! but my real goal is to lose 215 pounds, and therefor reaching my goal of weighing 150 pounds by my 50th birthday on July 23, 2009.

Tonight once again I was working hard at the gym with my personal trainer.

I thought it would be fun to finally post some pictures of the typical workout I do every day 5 days a week, for 2 hours.

BTW... way to go Michelle.. I'm so proud you won this season's Biggest Loser! as you can see I am a proud black team supporter!

First I start with my personal training my 1 hour complex circuit weight/body training...

after the 1 hour workout with my personal trainer, I then end my 2 hour workout with 1 hour of cardio...

My personal trainer Sylvie, and the rest of the 'Dream Team' trainers at my gym...

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Week of Ups and Downs!

Boy am I glad this week is over! Wow.. What a roller coaster ride. Some good, but mostly bad turn of events. Starting with Monday; after a heavy weekend, with 2 major events that I had to organize, I ended up eating a whole bunch of really wrong fatty foods. I suffered the whole week because of it! Cursing at the scale on Monday morning, I had gained 4 pounds over the weekend. This was going to be a week from hell! All the while, I had been waiting to hear on some news about a new job I applied for, and still had not heard the results.

Tuesday was my day with my private trainer. I ended up eating my dinner way to fast, and had a terrible stomach ach going to the gym, which resulted only being able to train 10 minutes with my trainer, when she looked at me and said we better re-schedule, your stomach has to settle down, you should eat your dinner 2 hours before we work out, not 10 minutes!! Tuesday night I had to attend an office Christmas party, ( see blog entry Today's Facebook status says it all! ) so with a stomach full of very fatty food once again , I of course couldn’t sleep, not to mention the intense guilt I was feeling about my lack of self discipline! So early Wednesday morning, I was completely frustrated and couldn’t sleep. So at 4:30am Wednesday morning I got up, got dressed and drove to my gym, to be the first one there beside the staff at 5:00am! I worked hard for 2 hours! Then later at 7:00pm I went again, and worked out another 2 hours. Craziness, working out for 4 hours in one day! My bodybugg readings said I had burned 4000 calories that day!!

Thursday I got the double whammy of bad news! I did not get the job I applied for, and I may have to vacate my office space, because of financial troubles! God… what next!? My mom always said, bad news comes in three! So now it’s Friday, today I had given a horn lesson to a new student. That finally grounded me ! I was brought back to my real life! The horn! Thank god for the horn! I escaped to the gym, trying to get rid of all this stress from this week, but simply playing my horn, and sharing all my years of training and knowledge with a willing open soul, did a great job of cleansing my soul. Although tonight I had another training session with my trainer, I was enjoying it much more, with less stress and looking forward to this weekend of more music making. I’m going to great concert Saturday night, and Sunday and Monday I have a gig, and I have to go play with a regional orchestra again.

Playing a musical instrument is very soothing for your soul!

But cautiously as I am still waiting for the 3rd bad thing to happen….

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Today's Facebook status says it all!

Today's " My Status" post on my Facebook page:

Wendy is ashamed.. I ate way to much at tonight's office christmas party.. dam those christmas parties.!! 10:32pm

Leslie Magowan at 11:39pm December 10
Shame isn't productive, Wendy. You've done amazingly, and tonight was just a roadblock. These parties are not healthy-eating-friendly places, but the season only lasts for a few weeks. Get back on the horse. Or exercise bike. Or whatever....

Roger Smith at 12:20am December 11
you fall (for me-butter tarts last night...) and then you say tomorrow I'm on track...so many are with you on this journey, we appreciate the reality...I got a new GoodLife T-shirt today cuz mine were wore out..I like that.

Wendy Limbertie at 3:26am December 11
Baaa hum bug... Christmas !!! .. how can anyone say NO to a whole tray of Nanaimo bars??? why oh why.. am I not strong enough??

Wendy Limbertie at 3:41am December 11
Yeeks.. I shouldn't have, but looked up the calories in 1 Namaimo bar.. . and they are 300 calories per square!! god help me! I'm not even going to look up what else I ate tonight... sigh!! :-( ...and now it's 3:45am.. I can't sleep cause my tummy and guts are all upset from all this fatty food.. I am looking forward to tomorrow.. I am going to RUN to the gym as fast as I can!!

" December remains a huge Challenge !!! OMG... give me strength!!"

Monday, December 08, 2008

December the Diet Nightmare!

This weekend has been somewhat a disaster as far as staying on track is concerned.. Wow.. This is hard.. And is bloody not fair! I gained 4 pounds this weekend, with not really eating overboard. But still enjoying some Christmas treats at the several events I was participating in. Dam! Such a pity! 4 pounds equals 2 weeks work! 2 weeks of sweat and tears at the gym. All for what! Let me tell you what I had I shouldn’t have, but did.

Friday I ate sushi for dinner, not to bad, right? Saturday I had to produce a multicultural Christmas Festival at City Hall. Now that was hard, comforted by all these delicious treats from around the world. I had some chocolate, some Serbian sausage ( 2, the size of the little breakfast sausages) and then later on at night I had a ginger bread cookie, after I decorated it myself, and a Dutch Croquette. All quite rich in fat and calories, but does that extra fatty food warrant an extra 4 pounds.

I thought you had to burn 3500 calories to lose 1 pound, but does that mean you gain a pound if you ate and extra 3500 calories as well? The extra treats I had consumed this weekend certainly did not add up to 3500 calories 4X3500 which is 14,000 calories .. is WAY Off.. I did not, certainly did not consume 14,000 extra calories!! … that’s not fair !!! and not right… it should be the same, you burn 3500 lose a pound, the visa versa.. life is sometimes just not fair!!

Man I have to work hard at the gym this week.. and Christmas isn’t even here yet!! December is a Diet nightmare!!

No wonder Gym membership sales are the highest in January!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dieting and Technological Gadgets

Today I am using for the first time my newest gadget to help me in my diet process. It’s call the “ bodybugg” . I learned about it on the Biggest Loser TV show. All the participants are using this device to help them keep on track. You wear it all day on your upper arm, and at the end of the day hot sync it with your computer through connect the device to your computer through a hard wire usb cable. The bodybugg then sends the data to the pre-loaded software program, and shows you how many calories you have burned during your daily activities. It also shows a chart of you peaks and lows of when you burn the most calories. Of course in my case, it’s when I was at the gym last night.

You then enter your daily food intake, breakfast, snacks, lunch etc…. this then shows another breakdown graph of how many calories you have taken in. Then it calculates how much you need to work out at the gym in order to lose 1 pound.

Basically when you initially set it up, it does a whole sort of body weight breakdown, with your present weight and goals.

So after wearing the whole day, at night you take it off, and sync it with your computer, add in your food intake, and then you can see when you are eating to many calories, or have as they call it calorie deficit of calorie surplus.

I am really excited with this new helpful gadget - The bodybugg, and hopefully will help me with learning to eat MORE! Yes, I actually don’t eat enough on this diet. Food is the gas of the car's engine! If you want to lose weight you need to make sure you eat enough. And with this calories burning device, I can now finally see, and understand that I need to eat more!! But of course eating more of the right foods!! ( the picture above is a ' screen shot' from my computer of my actual stats from yesterday)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Clothes...

Yesterday I went to the local Wal-Mart and found out they sell + size clothes as well. I didn’t’ know this?? Well of course I didn’t, (a.) I usually don’t shop at Wal-Mart and (b.) + sizes usually meant only going up to 24 or 26 and I used to be a whopping size 38 ! So for years I shopped at Mr. Big & Tall because all the other large size women’s clothing stores only went up to size 28 max. (((SIGH))).. but now I can go to Wal-Mart . I bought some size 22 jeans, didn’t try them on, I just thought , wow these are cheap, only $ 24.95, and I will surely fit into them say by January or something. So when I got home last night, I just thought, lets try them on for fun to see how tight they are… and oh my god.. they fit.. and they were not tight either! ( I do have to have them shortened though.. dam these designers that always produce pants for mega tall women!! )

I’ve found that now I am starting to have to buy clothes at cheaper stores like Wal-Mart because, this is getting expensive. Last night I had a performance with Toronto Sinfonietta, and I was wearing my size 26 black pants, that now look like clown pants because they are way to big now! So now I have to either have them taken in, or buy new black pants… I just bought the pants like 2 months ago!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Toronto looks like a Winter Wonderland!!

Not to much to report on today, other than did the same ol same ol… Except for our first blast of winter, and got a dumping of snow !!
I went to the gym last night, got my Thursday night TV fix at the gym. I watched all my favorite shows while working on my cardio.

I find my heart is getting stronger and stronger now on a weekly basis. When I first started walking on a tread mill, I would hit my target heart rate in about 1 minute. My target heart rate to burn fat, at my age, is 111.

Back in January I would walk on the treadmill at a speed of 2.0 with no incline, and would easily hit the target heart rate, I would be a huffing and a puffin too! Now, 11 months later, on the treadmill, I have to walk at a speed of 2.8 and an incline of 2.0 in order to reach my target heart rate. And what’s also cool, is that when I do walk at my target heart rate, that I’m not out of breath.. or as apposed, back in January I was wheezing and coughing all over the place when I worked out..
Man I am sooooo much healthier now !!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bombarded in TV shows on Obesity

Once again the TV can be a great source of information and education in weigh-loss tips. Yesterday I was watching Dr. Phil, which I normally do not watch, but this show was interesting so I stuck to watching it. It was about obese young children. The story was about how and why 3 young children under the age of 8 where more than 100 pounds overweight. Again the fingers were pointed to the adults in this situation. These children got this way because of the adults in their lives caving in to their temper tantrums, and nagging for this bad food. It’s all about choices! If you don’t’ want your child to grow up fat and overweight, YOU have to set the example your-self!


As doctor Phil put it… “why do you even buy this junk food!”

 “You should NOT even have it in your house!”

 “You ! The parent have to set the example and be the good role model.”

 Parents have the most influence on children when they are young.  They watch our motions and listen to our voices. We are their role models. As such, it is our obligation to set forth the best example we possibly can for them. Even from a very young age our children begin to pattern themselves after their parents.

 In this case, I agree with Dr. Phil. My house is empty of all junk food, and bad high carb foods. I don’t have it in the house, so I can’t eat it when I’m weak and feeling vulnerable.

 Please to all those parents that are bringing up children, set an example your- self. YOU eat Fruits and Veggies every day with your Children. Do not buy junk food. And eat with your children a home cooked meal at least 6 days a week!

No more eating out every night! Home cooked meals are what every European  family still does today, that’s why they are NOT obese and North Americans are! And believe me, their jobs and lifestyles are just a busy as ours, so that’s not an excuse to not cook!  We have just gotten lazy over the years!

 Then go for a bike ride and or walk with your kids… physical activities a must! But do it together.. otherwise they will not do it! Really !!  the couch is so much easier!

 Believe me I have learned the hard way! Now paying for all these years of body abuse and having to work for hours at the gym to burn enough calories to burn off these years of built up fat!!     

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Positive Direction

Moving from Morbidly Obese to just Obese is still serious but certainly less worrying. In scientific terms, a Morbidly Obese person is someone who weighs more than 100 pounds over their ideal weight. My ideal weight is 150 pounds, so at my present weight I am exactly 99 pounds over it.

Late last night I was watching TV in bed, and channel surfed, by all the exercise machines and excersise videos to the TV channel TLC that had a program airing about the Gastric bypass surgery for the super morbidly obese -over 600 lbs. The show called “ Half Ton Man “ at 1,022 lbs, Kenneth Brumley is the biggest patient Renaissance Hospital in Houston has ever seen. Kenneth is desperate to save his own life and undergoes a series of major, life-threatening surgeries. Texas has the largest epidemic of obese, morbidly obese and the super morbidly obese people in the world! It’s a very sad situation. So many people are suffering in that state from this condition. It’s really turned into a epidemic.

I did some research on the internet and compiled a list of what other people have written as to why there is an obese epidemic in North America: ( to which I agree with as well...)


“Convenience. No one cooks at home anymore. Microwave meals, fast food, quick fixes like cookies and chips. It's so convenient that most people don't even give it a second thought.”

“Fast food. Kids CAN'T safely play outside in the neighborhood anymore.Kids don't walk or ride bikes to school any more.Video games, except those that provide physical activity.Computers and computer games. (NO physical activity). Cell Phones instead of visiting friends (not safe to walk or ride bike to friends'). More and more TV channels catering to all sorts of lifestyles.Too many cities don't have mass transit for commuters and we park as close as we can to work. Insidious marketing of sugared and fatty foods.Cutbacks at school where gym and sports go first.”

“Have you seen the movie, "Super Size Me" ??? ... it explains it very well.Too many people consume more calories than they burn, plain and simple”.

“If you travel to Europe, people are much smaller there. People walk everywhere and the food in restaurants is actually cooked there (not frozen food, heated up) The shops close so people can go home and eat normally, so it must be our lifestyle and all the artificial stuff in our food supply. It is not really nourishing, so people eat more empty calories to fill up.”

“Because people can go out and eat at any fast food restaurant and not work off the calories!!!”

“Our lifestyles have changed. In the 1960's and 70's, kids walked of biked to school, now they are driven.We now have more convenience foods, and many of us are too scared to go outside for one reason or another.”

“Fast food has replaced healthy food. And physical activity has diminished.”


After watching this program, I am once again stimulated and once again driven to succeed on my path to a healthier lifestyle. Veggies and fruit are my friends..

Fast Food is should be re-named Fast Death Food!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas is Around the Corner!

With Christmas only a month away, a new and really difficult challenge for me lays ahead! Christmas parties, dinners and just all around festive celebrations are all centered around food! And lots of it! Yeeks!! This will be the true test of my strength, stamina and self discipline.

Later on today is Toronto’s 103rd Santa Claus Parade. A huge parade will pass by thousands of awaiting children, fulfilling their Christmas dreams. I have great memories of my family Christmas celebrations and although the presents were great, the celebration of food played a central role.

The Dutch December tradition includes 2 huge celebrations: Sinterklaas and Christmas. Sinterklaas is on December 5th and then Christmas on the 25th. Both of these celebrations have wonderful foods associated with them. And here in Canada, by the time Christmas comes around, my mom would place the foods from both celebrations out on the same table. Our Christmas celebration went as follows: ( and still mostly true today in our family) First thing in the morning we were able to sneak out and get our stocking and take them back to our beds to unpack them; full of sweets and little mini toys. Next we had to all get dressed and get ready for breakfast. The tradition was we were aloud to open presents only after we’ve had breakfast, all the dishes were cleaned up, kitchen clean, and mom had decorated the * after breakfast coffee/tea sweets table*. This table was the crazy table! It was full of sweets and cookies that would make any one scream hip hip hooray! *The picture above is an example of the treats that would be on this table! We had to open the presents one by one, making sure to say out loud, ooohh. & aaaahhh and netto! All the while getting up and going back to table to fill our little snack plates of wonderful Dutch Christmas/Sinterklaas treats. My dad always said the same thing every year when my mom finished decorating the treat table.. “ oh oh oh.. you over-did it again! It’s TOO much!! Leid!!” no wonder I grew up with a sweet tooth, and by the time I was 12 years old, every molar in my mouth had a cavity as well as fat and overweight!

This wonderful table tradition continued to appear right up to the year before my mother died in December 2005. My mom died at Christmas time! On Christmas Day, December 25th, 2005, I was holding my mothers hand in Intensive Care and watching her helplessly slip away in front of my eyes, not being able to do a thing about it! She finally was out of her misery and passed away the morning of the 28th. Now Christmas is a very, very emotional time for me and all my sisters. My younger sister has been leaving for Jamaica in December for 2 weeks, ever since this day, to avoid the sad feeling that now comes up with Christmas.

Time does heal though!

Thank god I have wonderful sisters, and we do now continue with the celebrations every though both my parent are gone!

Why did I write this blog entry??.. Well I just found out! ... To remember, and remind myself why my mom died!

She really died because of an element called ‘Fatty Liver Disease’ with this your Liver and then Kidneys shuts down. This you contract from over-eating to many fatty high sugar foods all your life !!. Like the ones at Christmas! So now I have once again found my reason to not freak out at Christmas, and just enjoy my family.. And not the fatty foods, as I do not want to die the same death as my mom!

I just love writing in my blog.. It’s a great therapist!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bad Habits Die Hard!

Last night I was home…Didn’t go to the gym and ended up watching a movie! Whoops... wrong choice... that old bad habit crept back into my brain.. My God, it really is almost some sort of disease!

I had the erg to eat all bad stuff, like I used to do. I went out in the rain with my dog, ended up at the 24 hour convenience, and bought Smart Food popcorn and some chocolate. Mind you I did end up buying the small bag of popcorn, and a small chocolate bar (popcorn about 300 calories, and the chocolate bar about 300) .. but they could have been as big as my living room … because the guilt I felt last night, and this morning was almost crushing!!

Wow… I really have a bad habit that really needs to be addressed. I haven’t done this in 10 months.. But being home last night, really is a wake up call that my eating disorder is still there, and can be awoken just like that. I’m not off track! Don’t worry.. Won’t do that again! Any time soon.. But I do have to psychologically analyze myself, and try to avoid this situation next time… I want to one day be able to stay home at night, and just sit down on my couch and watch a movie, WITHOUT wanting and needing to eat crap and binge lots of food full of sugar and salt! For now, and tonight.. I have a concert, Sunday I’m going to the new Art Gallery of Ontario around dinner time, and next week back to the gym at night. You may call it escaping from the problems, but for now that seems to be the only solution.

I compare binge eating, a true disorder. Like being an alcoholic. Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic, once they are dry they can never touch it ever again, unfortunately, I am starting to think the same goes for these types of food for me. Well, not all food, but the chocolate, chips and popcorn stuff.. I can’t eat it, I just want more! So I have to just stay away from it…


Thursday, November 13, 2008

My new strong body… a big surprise!

My new strong body… a big surprise!

My exercises with my personal trainer are getting more and more daring every week. More importantly I am totally surprised every week with the new things that I am able to accomplish with this new smaller stronger body. Tuesdays are my personal training sessions. This week, I arrived at the gym early to first join in on a new cardio Salsa class; I only lasted 15 minutes, it was really hard and fast paced ,I was quite sore in my hip, so I stopped and just sat around at the gym for an hour before my private training session was to begin.

I was not of high spirits, starting my lesson because of the failure to keep up with the Salsa dancing. My trainer had said, ‘Wendy we are going to try something new today’.. gulp.. I thought, okay bring it on! Today we are going to do a Chest press on a Stability ball. (see picture ) oh.. yeeks.. me.. sitting, laying on the ball like that! .. okay.. well hold on, don’t let me fall over!… so there I went, laid on my back and slowly walked my legs out, so as to be in the position, holding my hips up with my stomach muscles, then my trainer handed me the barbells, to add even more a challenge to keeping my balance on the ball! Well.. I did it! Yaaa ! I was so surprised with myself! I am so much more flexible and stronger than 10 months ago! And being able to do this exercise really showed me my progress, and that all this money spent on private strength training is really paying off!

Last night I went to gym again, as I do 5 nights a week, and then tried the exercise alone without my trainer spotting me. And again, I did it! Got down on the ball, even while holding the weights ( 10 lbs each) I ever was able to walk slowly back, pushing my back up the ball to get back into a sitting position on the ball, and not just flop onto the floor.. YES!

So every night I do 1 hour of circuit training and 1 hour of cardio. Last night 4 sets were: 15 reps of Chest press on a Stability ball, 15 reps of squats on the stability ball while lifting a 15 pound medicine ball above my head, holding a ‘ Plank’ for 60 seconds ( see picture) then walking 6 times up and down the room holding 45 pound round weight discs in each hand ( I call it the fireman’s walk, weights, not buckets of water) pressing 20 pound barbells in a hunched over position, getting up and sitting down on a exercise bench with holding a 35 pound weight disc, and finally walking around the gym twice in a fast pace while punching in the air with 8 pound barbells. Pheew.. That’s only 1 set too! I had to do 4 of them, equally 1 hour in time.

After the circuit training I then do 1 hour of cardio. 15 elliptical, 15 treadmill, 15 bike, 15 elliptical. Then I go home.. and enjoy my well earned protein smoothie that I make myself, with 1 cup of milk, 4 frozen strawberries, a little 35 calorie container of yogurt, and protein powder.

I’m pooped by the time I sit on the couch and watch 1 hour of one of my PVR recorded shows, then go to bed at about 11:30pm.

I’ve been doing this every night of the week for 10 months now…


I am !!

(The above pictures come from a site I found that has pictures and clear explanations on how to do all these exercises. It's called : HowStuffWorks. The pictures.... ME !! Hopefully in one year.. !! )

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weekly Weigh-in- NOW only 100 to GO !!!

Another 2 pounds off this week!!


the numbers:

Started Diet January 1, 2008
Starting Weight: 365
42 weeks on the Diet= 11 months
Weight lost so far 115 pounds
Current Weight 250
Goal Weight 150 by July 1, 2009

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"grown up digital"

Grown up Digital

(view the YouTube info ad on this book by clicking on the link above)

Sorry it’s been a while since writing in my blog…

I’ve been very busy reacquainting myself with my instrument and my deep love and passion of music making. I have been asked to join in and perform with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony all week. It was a combination week of performing school concerts, with introducing classical music to young people between the age of 7 and 13. We, the KWS, performed 3 programs for about 3000 kids! Wow.. great fun! Later on in the week we performed 2 pops concerts with the involvement of more kids, this time on the stage. The Kitchener Waterloo Youth Orchestra, and a  youth stage band that was on tour to Canada from Chile.

This whole week ties in with an very interesting Book Launch I attended on Monday at the University of Toronto, Business school . Don Tapscott has written his newest book “ grown up digital” He presented it on Monday at his book launch. An interesting book about a 4 million dollar study that he and his company initiated in order to study and interview 10,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 31. In this positive outlook on this new “ Net Generation” he quotes that this generation is not the dumbest generation but that they are smartest generation of all time! Now that’s a very relieving statement for me, as I’m the Aunt of 5 teenage nieces and nephews. Although my brother-in-law seems to disagree with this statement, or better said twists it into his own portrayal and calls this generation the slowest and laziest generation ever. He says: “They may be good at all the tech stuff, but they are the slowest and laziest generation ever!  and not willing to do any hard physical labor!”

Now how this all ties in with the book, is that I was very impressed or better said, blown away at the high playing level of these kids that performed with us. Sitting beside me in the orchestra was a 15 year old boy playing his French horn. He sounded great! And much better than me at 15 years old too! I was totally impressed by his high level of playing. Plus these kids that played in the stage band from Chile. They played at a very high level as well!

Now all these kids are exposed to cell phones, text messaging, the internet, TV, video games, ipods, facebook, youtube, myspace etc.. plus hang with their friends and do homework from school ! I tend to agree with Mr. Tapscott, because for all of these kids that performed with us, they not only found time to do all of the above but also found time to practice their musical instruments and rehearse with their bands or Orchestra! I think these kids are the most talented multi-taskers ever! Talk about incredible efficient time management and task development. These kids will no doubt be hugely successful in all their adult lives and careers.

Me as I type this entry into my blog today, I tried turning on the radio for background stimulant or mindless entertainment, and after 5 minutes I had to turn the radio off because I couldn’t concentrate on this task of writing this entry.

I’m one of the “ X-Generation” and as Mr. Tapscott also explains in his book, that we the X-gen, grew up watching TV. In a vegetative state, sitting on the couch and not doing anything else but tv watching. We did not grow up as multi-tasked individuals like the kids today are stars in multi-tasking. So in comparison, kids today can watch TV, listen to their ipod, text their friends, update there facebook status and do their homework all at the same time!!

Now I really understand what TV for the X-Generation really meant:

…. The Boob Tube! …boob as in  - stupid!! 

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Letting your Creative side sing out loud and clear!...

Letting your Creative side sing out loud and clear!...

Halloween has come and gone for another year. On my bucket list now includes to really, I mean REALLY !, go all out with a crazy and fantastic Halloween Costume next year !! That is a promise to myself. I am by pure nature an attention seeker. I love to be in the lime light, an extravert . I love to be the one that would make turns heads in a GOOD way, and not the way those heads have been turning for the last 20 years because of the double take in my Ginormous size! Arrgh!

I am surrounded in such amazing creative people. From the amazing friends and musicians that play with Amici or the Toronto Symphony, to all the other creative visual artists friends that I am also in admiration of. Living in the ‘ Village’ in Toronto, I am also surrounded in very creative artists. Last night’s Halloween party on Church street was one of the best ones I‘ve seen yet.

Halloween in the Gay community is also sometimes refered to as the ‘ Gay Christmas’; giving the community full licence to be as extreme and or creative as possible! I was awestruck when I saw this re-creation of a self portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. This artist, painted himself using the impressionist painting technique that was a true to life copy of the original painting. He then toted a full frame with lighting, to complete the whole 3 dimensional effect of the self portrait.

Hopefully next Halloween I will be the one that will have all the heads turn and someone writes about it in their blog!

Friday, October 31, 2008

110 pound barbell… or 110 pounds of fat?

110 pound barbell… or 110 pounds of fat?

So for those that actually follow my blog, and wondering the results of our last episode… meaning did I fit into the opera house chairs or not… well... YES I DID and with room to spare too! I was so pleased, after climbing to the very top of the opera house, as I bought tickets that were in the very LAST row. I dropped off my coat in coat check, so as not to obstruct any space I may need to settle my butt into the little chair. Well, I sat down very carefully and slowly.. and volá .. I fit !. A small explosion went off in my head of joy! I really enjoyed the performance for the first time, as I was not in any uncomfortable pain for jabbing chairs. The only one inconvenience I had.. and have been having a lot of, is the fact that by being on the diet, you do tend to pee way more .. I mean WAY MORE… !! I get up at night at least 3 times to pee.. if you are trying to lose weight, you should be having to take a pee at least once every 2 hours. So here I was sitting in the hall, and about 1 ½ hour mark, I had the urge! Oh man! Not now, the break is not for another 30 minutes. So the last 30 minutes were concentrated on not peeing my pants and certainly not opera singing. Dam! Any way.. I did make it.. with a lot of will power, flew down the stairs in no time at the break, and was pretty well the first one in the line at the ladies room. Pheew… made it!!

Tonight I was back working out hard at my gym for my regular 2 hour workout. I thought it would be fun to take a picture of myself at my gym, holding a barbell that equals the amount of weight I have lost so far. I rustled up a strong bystander, in case I drop the weight, to actually take the picture. I was quite surprised that I could pick up the barbell, but totally shocked that I actually used to weigh that much more just 10 months ago…
Oh my god.. what an idiot I was!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

BEEP !.. BEEP.. ! . .. look out !

Looking at myself in the Mirror...

Today I was confronted by my reflection in the window, as I walked past my office. I still see the same old me! Why is it that the image of yourself takes the longest to change. Let me explain: lately I have been comparing myself to other overweight women that happen to walk by me during my daily activities. “ …am I as big as her, or smaller?” the hardest thing to let go of is your own self image. Of course in the case of anorexics they have a genuine sickness, and only see fat on there body when they look at themselves in the mirror. For me, as I look every morning in the mirror after my shower, I still see the same body shape as I was 10 months ago. It’s weird how when one losses weight, your body shrinks and this is because indeed you loose from the inside not the outside. So kind of like an imploding balloon, the shape doesn’t really change. It just shrinks. So looking at myself, I still see the 2 large tires on my stomach, and my large butt and wide hips and thighs. Not to mention my double chin. ( although THAT I can see is getting smaller… ) my clothes are getting loser everyday. I have gone from a size 32 to a size 24 ! but still I feel huge!

I am going the opera tonight. I going to see; Prokofiev’s masterpiece, War and Peace. The last time I went, Toronto’s new opera house , The Four Season Centre for the Performing Arts, had just opened. I was confronted with the fact that I DIDN’T fit in the seat! How embarrassing. No matter how hard I tried to jam my fat hips into the chair, between the arm rests, it wouldn’t budge! I had to watch the whole 3 hour opera from sitting on the staircase
( to which technically wasn’t aloud because of the fire code..) I will be able to properly judge my weight-loss from how I fit into the seat tonight! I am excited, that I could possible actually enjoy a theatre performance without feeling that my hips are cracking under the pure pressure of the armrest that are jamming into my sides. Not to mention taking up the back space of the persons sits to either side of me. Squish!

**Tip for the day: Sitting down and getting up of the couch or chair without using your hands is a great exercise. Grab a heavy item, like that heavy hardback copy of the Book War & Peace, hold with your between your two hands, above your head, and stand up and sit down on the couch during every commercial break of your 1 hour TV series tonight. If you do this during every commercial, for the duration of the 1 hour TV show, you will have burned about 200 calories, plus it’s a great strengthening exercise for your back and abs.. the core muscles!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Life in a Bus...

My Life in a Bus…

Living in Holland for 18 years of my life feels like a dream when I look back at it now. The experiences were so rich and full of memorable moments. I worked in a touring opera company for that period. If I never step into a bus ever again, it would just suit me fine! I despise buses now!

You see from 1983 - 2001 I toured all over Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland by bus! A normal day went as follows. I would usually wake up at about noon. Have some lunch, go out and do my daily shopping (as in Holland you grocery shopped every day, not like here in North America as you do once a week) and pick up at the store what I was planning to eat for dinner in the bus! Yes for 18 years I ate my dinner in the bus. We, the company traveled an average of 1500 kilometers per week. Our bus would pick us up from the southern part of Amsterdam, and off onto the highway we would go. I always sat next to, but not right beside, my best friend who was concertmaster of the orchestra. We both had 2 seats to ourselves…the perks of being concertmaster, and for me, I was so fat, no one else would be comfortable sitting beside me, as you would be squished like a sardine. We both cared our instruments, and our large ‘Bus Bag’ onto the bus, and sat in the exact same seat for every trip. As a matter of fact, everyone in the company sat in the exact same seats everyday. It was always great fun to see the reactions of people when they got into the bus and someone (usually an unknowing ‘ gig-ger’ for the orchestra ) was sitting in their seats. The bus was shared by the orchestra members, choir members, some soloists, and costume caretakers. The reactions mostly from choir members, went from, “ah excuse me! but that is my seat! Please get out of it!” to: “Ooh” ... and then they would grumble something under there breath and sit in another seat, complaining to other colleagues that a stranger was sitting in there seat. Just thinking about it makes my skin curdle. The antics of my colleagues were sometimes so childish, and stupid, that the bus rides could cause huge fights, and fits among them. The heating in the bus was another huge issue. It was either to hot or too cold, and again colleagues would yell up the bus driver to either turn it off or turn it up. I think the bus drivers over the years must have been driven to the bottle, after driving our complaining opera company around Europe.

So the contents of my ‘Bus Bag’ consisted of some sort of sandwich and lots of very unhealthy things like, chocolate, chips and candy. Our bus rides started at about 3:00pm and arriving at the theatre at about 7:00pm, if we were traveling to a theatre in Holland. If we drove as far as south Germany or Switzerland, we would leave at about 9:00am, and arrive at 9:00pm, and perform the next day. My best friend and I always compared sandwiches, and even made the comparisons a competition. Like, “ooh.. I have Salmon, cream cheese and dill on my sandwich today, what do you have?” The other contents in the Bag consisted of, of course a Discman and tons of CD’s. To pass the time we sat and listened to hundreds of CD’s over the years. Many times listening together to the same CD with an earphone split plug. When we toured to Germany or Switzerland, we always made a B-line to the local CD store; to purchase some new CD’s to listen to on the bus ride back to Amsterdam. The other contents of the ‘Bus Bag’, magazines, and portable handheld TV (to which my colleagues thought was crazy and very unnecessary, until of course they wanted to watch a prize soccer game that was on!)

And then a cell phone !!. Ha.. I have to laugh when I think about that story! A Cell phone! My colleagues burst out in laughter at me when I walked onto the bus back in 1989 with a cell phone! ( a Motorola DynaTAC 8000X ) They thought I had lost it. “Ooh there’s Limbertie again with all her gadgets!.. How ridiculous, a phone in the bus!” … well only one year later, everyone in that bus had a cell phone. Who got the last laugh now?.., and of course they all deny they ever made fun of me when I got it! Sigh!

So after consuming too much chocolate, listening to new CD’s, or to all those voicemail messages with new gigs on my home phone via my cell phone, we would arrive at the theatre at about 7pm, time to pack up the ‘Bus Bag’, to be continued…. We would unload, go to our respective areas, dressing rooms and orchestra pits, and prepare for the 8pm performance. After the performance was over, we would have to wait around in the Artist Bar for the choir and soloists to de-costume (de-cloak) we climbed back into the bus around 12midnight, and then started on our long trip back to Amsterdam. Only this time the whole bus broke out the wine and Dutch beer, plus chips and other salty drink condiments. We arrive back home at about 3:00am, got in our cars, and drove home. So now you understand why I would be getting up at about 12noon. This was my life for 18 years! We performed between 150 – 200 times a season.

When I moved back to Canada in 2001, the first thing that took me a while to get used to was be able to actually eat a normal hot meal at dinner time every night, and not have to look out from a bus window as I would enter a town at around 6:30pm, at all the typically open curtained windows of hundreds of homes of Dutch families just sitting down together for their evening hot meal.

But at least I got to see Europe!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Extreme Makeover...

Extreme Makeover…

Back in September 1993 is when I purchased my first Apple computer. An Apple Performa 550, 33 MHz , 160 MB Hard Drive and 4 MB of RAM. ( so small! Eeek! ) I can’t believe that’s it only been 15 years that we have been introduced to emailing and the World Wide Web. I can still remember how excited I was, as I unpacked my first computer, in my home in Amsterdam. It was really ‘plug & play’ ... but at a way, way, way!! Slower speed than what we experience today. I had so much more patience back then! Waiting sometimes 10-20 minutes for a web page to load!! Aaarggh.. Couldn’t do it today though! I would throw my computer out the window, smash it, jump up and down on it… or just grab a book!!

I paid close to $3000 for that computer! My god! And on the www of course no high speed at all!, all via phone lines. Sooooo slow! But exciting. This is when I first learned how to design my own personal websites. I used a very user friendly program called ‘Claris Homepage Maker’ … so I published my first homepage back in 1993. Stuff about my life in Amsterdam, pictures, the horn, etc. Mostly to let my family know back home (in Toronto) what I was up too.

So today, I own several computers, both PC and Apple. Webpage design has come along further, and my skills in Adobe Photoshop have been the most useful. Therefore the upgrade, and refreshing look of my blog today, I thought it needed a makeover.

The computer and the connection to the world have played an essential role in my weight-loss results. By using the computer, this blog, and FaceBook , I announce my results of this Diet . If you look at the many movie personalities, like Queen Latifa, and others, that have gone on the Jenny Craig diet, and promote being on it, on TV ads, you see the results. Those movie stars have to show that they are really doing it! It’s in the public eye! The same with posting your results on Blogs or Facebook. By making your progress public, it’s harder to go off your diet. People are expecting to see your results every week. Plus it gives you self incentive to compete with yourself. Making your project as public as possible, helps with the days you feel weak, and may go back to your old ways.

Here are some links to some of the web pages I have designed:

Amici Chamber Ensemble
Community Folk Art Council of Toronto
Café Musique

Network Winds
Joaquin Valdepenas
Kathy Halvorson

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Great Perfect Pastry Treasure Hunt

The Great Perfect Pastry Treasure Hunt

Part of my rich Dutch culinary upbringing was the enjoyment of Dutch pastry. Growing up in a Dutch family, one of the most important celebrations that is celebrated, is the Birthday. Even when it is nobody's birthday, you are still confronted with birthdays every day! Most Dutch people display a birthday calendar in the bathroom, so as not to forget anyone’s birthday. The invitation to a birthday party is usually for 'coffee', from 8pm to 9pm; later on drinks are served. When visiting a Dutch friend at home, it is customary to take a bunch of flowers (quite inexpensive in Holland) or some candy. A bottle of wine is also appreciated. The custom is to bring pastry for colleagues at work to enjoy over coffee. It is customary to congratulate not only the person whose birthday it is, but also their relatives. To say "Congratulations on the birthday of your brother-in-law" would be quite normal. Growing up in family of 6, birthday parties were celebrated on a regular basis. And to accompany these birthday parties, the pastry was a celebration as well.

I was talking to my older sister about some fun or interesting memoirs, and she mentioned a story I didn’t know, simply because I was too young to remember. When my mom finally after many tries, got her Canadian drivers license, and a new car, a white 1966 Pontiac Bonneville station wagon, one of the very first road trips she made, back in 1966, was to Oakville, Ontario. Apparently in Oakville a new bakery just opened by a Dutchman, and he made as well these amazing pastries. Well so of course, my mom had to check them out! Our birthday party cakes when we were young, were a cheaper version of the special rich treats. From the age of 5 to about 12 our birthday cakes were always in a form of a doll, or figure and bought at the local bakery. After 12 we were graduated to the Dutch treat supremacy. The Dutch cake would always consist in one form or another of whipping cream, mocha flavour, nuts, light cake and meringue.

When we visited family in Holland, which we did quite often, with a big bouquet of flowers in hand, we were always treated and greeted to coffee and cake when we would arrive. In our family, we would very often be treated to the most famous pastry cake in Holland. It came from The Hague, and was from a bakery called “Masion Kelder” They made the ultimate meringue , whipping cream, hazelnut cake, or in Dutch the “ Schuim, Hazelnoot, Slaagroom Taart” . When we feasted on these cakes, second helpings were never questioned. My mom’s famous saying, “of course you can have a second piece, it’s all AIR!” (Referring to the meringue)

Again referring back to my previous blog entry on “Cultural Culinary Displacement Syndrome” with the consumption and enjoyment of these Dutch treats, what should have happened when the party or visit was over, was to climb onto your Dutch bike and ride home, burning the calories you just consumed. But no, not me, I climbed back into to mom’s great white whale of a car! With a glove compartment in her car that was always full of candy. She was a nervous driver, and the chewing or sucking on a candy always helps calm her driving nerves. Of course they were shared amongst all the passengers in the car at the time.

Over the years, the pastry selections in Toronto bloomed. With so many immigrants coming from Holland and Belgium, the need to cater to their pasty needs grew. Now in 2008 the pastries from many other European countries are available even in the local supermarkets. But the supreme Dutch method can only still be found in a few stores. There is a great catering company in Toronto that my company deals with on a regular basis, “Daniel et Daniel”, and in their kitchen they have a pastry chef, that makes these incredible pastries, that are as close to the real Dutch thing as you can get.

Even yesterday, my yonger sister mentioned to me that she found this most amazing new pastry shop in Yorkville, that had this meringue pastry to die for….you see even though my mom has passed away 3 years ago, the traditions continue to find the perfect pastry!

The Great Perfect Pastry Treasure Hunt, to be continued…

Here are some links in this story

Maison Kelder
Daniel et Daniel Catering Company
Picture of 1966 Pontiac Bonneville station wagon

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Yo-Yo Effect

The Yo-Yo Effect

I was showing a picture of myself that was taken back in 1989 to a colleague yesterday at my office. It was a picture that was on my student card when I was a music student at the Amsterdam Conservatory. She said “you look like a movie star!” I was of course embarrassed from her comment, but even sadder, that 20 years later I had let myself go and become this big overweight blob! From 1987 to 1989 I was also on a huge diet. I’d lost 200 pounds back then! And shamed to say, gained it all back. The diet I followed back then wasn’t very smart, and was very unhealthy. But looking back, the one thing that I did incorporate, and that I have now discovered is essential, is the exercise. I can still remember reaching my goal, and feeling so good about it. Lots of new doors opened up for me. I was 29 years old, pretty good looking and all of a sudden the world started noticing me in a different and more positive manor. I don’t really remember the details as clearly now as to why I started the diet, the “light-bulb moment” but I do remember the rituals. And one of them, that really worked ,was that I was to eat half a Granny Smith apple every hour!

Believe me I got sick of the apples. But in the end they really helped with the end result. I had recently read up about this method, and it has been proven to really help the weight loss process. (mainly boosting your metabolism, and the enzymes in granny smiths help burn fat) I remember going to a homeopathic doctor in Holland and he had designed this diet for me; including the apples, but also cutting out things like chocolate. I was to not even eat a gram of chocolate! Nothing, nada ! I was aloud to eat Carob though. (I snacked on some carob I found in the local health store that had nuts and raisins) I really can’t remember the rest of the restrictions from the diet, these two things pop out at me 20 years later.

The results of losing 200 pounds back then, was also a feast for me in clothes. All of a sudden, Me, Wendy, that swore she would never wear a dress, was wearing skirts and dresses with high heels to boot! Another effect was the attention I received from the male gender. I was starting to flirt and go out with ( aaahummm) several men. But with all this positive attention from men, the thing that I was shocked and disappointed the most about was the reaction from my male colleagues at the time. For years, after our opera performance was done, we the orchestra members had to wait around for the rest of the stage crew to strike the set, and or the soloists and choir having to de-costume and de-makeup before we all got in our touring bus and drove back to Amsterdam. I worked for 20 years in Amsterdam in a touring light Opera company; I played principal horn with the orchestra. We toured all over Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Any way, back to my colleagues, so after our performance was done, the brass section would always sit together in the bar, and have a drink while we were waiting. Now that I was skinny and good looking to them, they, all of a sudden were inviting me to join them for a drink and reflect on the night’s performance. In all the 5 years I had been working there, they had never done this! Not until I lost 200 pounds they all of a sudden noticed me, and wanted me to join them. It was this part and fact that really hurt me, and shocked me into gaining the weight back.

Gaining back the weight was a slow but steady road back to my prior fatness. It took 2 years for me to lose 200 pounds and 6 months to gain it back! Very sad, but it happened. What was shocking and hurtful for me, was that I was this invisible and a fat ugly blob to my colleagues for so many years, and they only reached out and became friendly to me when I lost the weight. After gaining back the weight, my colleagues went back to there old ways, and just ignored me after the performance as they used too. Every now and then, they would hurt me more and say.. “ oh my Wendy, what happened, you were so beautiful, and you gained all your weight back, you should start eating those green apples again, such a pity !!” … Ouch!! Your talking to a person, I have feeling you know!

There were of course other troubles and issues around the reason why I gained the weight back. On a practical note, what I didn’t realize then and what I certainly know now, is that diet and exercise is not a temporary state. A diet is to become the form, the recipe for your permanent life style for the rest of your living days. This is the main reason why so many people Yo-Yo back to their original weight. Because when you reach your goal, you go off your diet, and go back to eating the way you used too. WRONG!

When I go to my gym at night, I’m surrounded in beautifully SKINNY women. At first, I thought, why are all these skinny women working out like dogs at the gym? Their not fat! Well now discovering, the reason why they are skinny is because going to the gym is a part of their lifestyle regime. These women have been involved with sports during high school (remember those jocks at school!) and after high school continued there exercising at the gym! While I was a ‘ Band-Aid’ in high school, and just sat and watched the pretty popular girls play volleyball or basketball, I stuffed my face with Cheesies and Orange Crush, as they sweat off their calories!

Going back to the beginning of this story, I was talking about the unhealthy part of my diet. The part I didn’t mention is that I only ate every other day. Yuup I fasted every other day. I didn’t eat at all, so no food at all, not a thing for 3 out of the 7 days a week. That was the bad part! So unhealthy! But for sure of one thing was, man I was strong ! Not to eat a whole day, just drink water, was a sure sigh of will power!

Will power is the key to success!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Weekly Results

My Weekly Results

Tuesday nights is my weigh-in night. I have my weekly training lesson with my personal trainer, and the first thing we do is getting up on the fancy-smancy scale, that not only spews out your weight, but an analysis of what your weight is composed of in fat and muscle.

This weeks Weigh-in:

Present weight: 257.0 lbs
Starting weight: 365 lbs
Week’s loss – 2 pounds
Total loss - 108 pounds

Now to add some other facts and figures:

My body is made up of the following elements of fat and muscle

Total FAT MASS = 123.41lbs
Total Muscle MASS (FFM)= 133.61 lbs
BMI = 44.1
Fat%= 48%

Conclusion:According to my trainer, she is very concerned that I am losing to much weight in muscle mass. I need to build up the muscle. Muscle burns fat! My exercise regime has now been changed to doing MORE resistance training ( weight lifting) and less cardio... its harder to gain muscle mass, then to lose fat mass.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Music Makes You Smarter

Music Makes you Smarter

Deciding to take on this huge weigh-loss adventure was done this time in a very methodical manner. As a trained classical musician I have received decades of professional training from some of the world’s best teachers. Classical music training is by far the most labor intensive activity. Of course the one hour lesson once a week is the highlight of your efforts, but the many hours alone during the week are the most important. Practicing every day, in my younger years from 2 – 5 hours a day, takes total dedication. No one is sitting beside in your practicing studio and telling you to practice. Becoming a profession musician is the best training in the world for self discipline. Not to mention the fact that learning to concentrate is as equally important.

When I started this diet, it goes with out saying that I needed to look for the best teacher possible to train me. A Teacher that knew about my body type, was properly educated themselves, and was able to guide me into properly doing exercises with results. Physical training is not much different than musical training as far as muscle development is concerned. Brass players highly develop there facial muscles as well as there abdominals. Breathing also plays a big role. Physical training, I now discovered, is even more labor intense, as you have so many more muscles to train! The results of proper training, is of course the scale at the end of the week, but more importantly noticing things like, going up the stairs without getting out of breath. A combination of less weight to tote up the stairs, stronger abdominals and legs muscles that are fighting gravity in a more efficient way!

Not to mention the repetition that is entirely comparable to musical training. I have practiced those same orchestral passages for years and years. Playing those same scales for years and years, is not any different then the repetition of the different exercises you do at the gym. But with the repetition, in both cases, music and exercise, the results are, you get better and better ever time you practice it!!

Of course the other end results of music is the pleasure of the concert you get to perform, or the solo you played in front of a audience of hundreds or thousands of classical music lovers. The end result of the practicing at the gym is your own self gratification and a huge boost in self acceptance!

Losing weight, and taking care of you body, is, and can be the most important thing you do with your life. Of course all the scientific data supports diet and exercise and has proven it will lengthen your life by years! Not to mention, you won’t spend the last 15 years of your life in a retirement home, all stiff and non-functional.

There is a women I met 7 years ago, who is the sister of my horn teacher, she is 79 years old and is the most fit and active women I have ever met. She plays tennis 5 days a week and swims a half hour every day! She is my hero and my shinning example of how you can spend your senior years. With her diet and intensive exercise, but fun, exercise, she is still traveling the world, walking up and down the steep hills of Italy or taking long walks in the black forest of Germany or swimming with Dolphins in the Caribbean. With her long standing exercise regime, she has also kept her mind active and clear. She is even still working in her law firm on a part time bases; she reads and understands very complicated legal issues and documents. Just because you’re a senior it doesn’t mean you should stop all your excising and mental activities. She is what I hope to become when hit my senior years! A true mentor and hero in all sense of the words.

There’s a famous saying that I always tell parents of potential horn students: “Music makes you Smarter!” - this is totally true for all ! But not all have or can play an instrument or have the opportunity too.

BUT on the other hand, absolutely every one can exercise!

So this saying can be adapted and read: “Physical Training and exercise makes you Smarter!”

** when I hit my goal weight, I hope to start to learn how to play tennis, and play many games with my senior hero! That will be our public performance!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Invisible Me

The Invisible Me

I was going out for dinner to a new Sushi place with my neighbor, and we got to talking about self image issues. I pointed out to him that looking deep down into my soul, my becoming a horn player, and a good one, directly was a result of the pleasure I felt after I performed and as a result of that feeling, that my body image felt invisible.

Let me explain; I started to play the French Horn at the age of 12 in Junior High School. I had the extreme good fortune of receiving a private Horn teacher almost from the first week. The School Board that my school was a part of, had a special deal with one of the horn players from the Toronto Symphony, to give private lessons to horn students in junior and senior high schools. In the beginning years I did not perform in public. My first public perform was later in high school at the age of 15. There was an Art Exhibit in the auditorium of my high school, and a stage/platform was placed in the middle of the auditorium for live performances. I was asked to perform with piano accompaniment given by my vocal coach, the Mozart 3rd horn concerto, second movement. This was a very scary moment for me. Here was this overweight, I think I was about 240 pounds by then, young girl, up on a stage for all to see and hear. I was scared shitless. My knees and lips were shaking from the nerves. But I got through it, and although it wasn’t by far my finest moment, I did receive praise for doing it from some students and teachers that were listening to the performance. That praise really felt good! They actually were giving me compliments! There you have it, the moment my body felt invisible.

With this new power and “ good feeling” endorphin rush, I thought, I like this! I love playing in public! If I become a good player, then people will like me for being a good horn player, and then they wouldn’t notice my hideous obese body. Ah but this good feeling didn’t last…My bubble was blown apart for a few weeks; when I got home and my mother told me that my dad had attended the performance and that he left in disgust! I was shocked and very hurt of course. She explained that he felt totally embarrassed that his fat daughter was up on a platform stage for all to see and hear. So now not only could every one see his obese daughter, she also was making a spectacle of herself by playing her horn in such a terrible manor with cracked notes all over the place. I didn’t talk about the performance at the dinner table the next night. It’s as if again I didn’t exist. I went back to band practice, and back to my own dark world of binge eating late at night after brushing my teeth escaping with my stash of Reece’s’ Peanut Butter Cups under my bed.

In the meantime my mom still took me to my horn lessons once a week, thank god she did support me, and because of her support I did keep practicing, simply because no matter what my dad said or felt, I still liked to play the horn! Over the next 3 years I did not invite my dad to any of my performances fearing he would be once again be embarrassed and hurt me again. When I was about 18, I auditioned and won the audition and got accepted into the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra. I had to approach my dad for money for a trip the Orchestra was taking to Banff, Alberta, to a Canadian Youth Orchestra Festival. I was terrified, so terrified, that I started crying even as I entered the room to ask him. I started the conversation with, ‘Dad I auditioned and was accepted into Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra”, he didn’t’ believe me! Oh man, this is going to be harder I thought! “no really I did!” I said, here’s the letter to prove it! He read the official letter of welcome from the youth orchestra. He sort of grunted and said Oh.. okay, in a non interested way. Now the hard part, “Dad I need your help to pay for the trip the orchestra is taking us on to Banff”… he was not pleased. So here was my moment , here I got into this fine prestigious youth orchestra and on top of that, we where going on tour to Banff, and all my dad’s reaction is, a grunt, and how much will this cost me?

He did in the end pay for my trip. I do think I made a breakthrough to my dad that night. He had to acknowledge that his daughter was perhaps a good horn player after all. From that moment he did start attending my concerts again, and this time did sort of complimented me on the performances, although he always compared our youth orchestra concerts to recordings he heard at home, and thought the recordings were better.. ah.. duh?.. of course they were better, so the criticism part was still a part of his post concert reactions, but at least it wasn’t as much about his disgust of my body. My young years as a horn player were not easy. But I did get through it in some way, performing in public was the greatest “ High” I ever experienced, and playing well even more of a kick! Those happy endorphins were as addictive as my Peanut Butter Cups and I wanted more! As I always told friends, when they ask, “how did you come to start playing the horn and becoming a musician?” my answer to that question was, “ well I didn’t choose the horn and music, the horn and music choose me!”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Growing up in a Dutch Costume

Growing up in a Dutch Costume

Folk dancing was really the only form of exercise that I accomplished in my youth. As my mother was a folklorist, we had to dance Dutch folk dances from the age of 7 to 14. My costume attire varied over the years. I started in a costume that was actually made and sewn by my mother.
The design came Walcheren, from the province of Zeeland in Holland. I remember my mother sitting in our basement, behind her old singer sewing machine, spending many evening and hours making this folk costume. There’s a certain pounding sound and vibration that a sewing machine makes, and for me it certainly acted as a soothing rhythmic sleep enhancer.

My premier dancing career started in 1967. We, my sisters and I drove with my parents, together with the rest of the Netherlands Folkdance group, to Montreal. We were to perform in the opening ceremonies of EXPO ’67 ! I really don’t remember much of the drive, but what I do remember is arriving in Montreal and seeing this wonderful amusement park that seemed to just tower out of the St. Lawrence River. Expo’ 67 was built on a man made island. “Man and his world”.

The performance took place on Friday April 28, 1967. We performed outdoors, for a crowd of thousands! I remember the fascinating modern architecture around me, and hundred of colorful flags from around the world making a slapping noise as they wave in the cool April wind. It was the most historic and most significant moment I’ve ever experienced!. Expo was a huge hit. In a political and cultural context, “Expo 67 was seen as a landmark moment in Canadian history” The audience consisted of dignitaries and politicians from all over the world. Not to mention Canadians from all over Canada! Wow.. such a great experience, only such a pity I was only 7 years old! So my memoires are dependant on my older sister, or information from the internet that jogs some memorable moments.

My Dutch costume changed as I got older, and later in life, in my teens I mostly wore a costume from the province of Volendam. There was a new festival in town. It was called “ Metro International Caravan” My mom was contacted back in 1969, by the now defunct newspaper, the Toronto Telegram. They wanted a young child in costume to use in a photo shoot to advertise this new festival. Of course, it was me! So off we drove with my costume in hand, to a Hungarian Restaurant, somewhere in downtown Toronto.
I was about 9 yrs old at the time. Once I entered the restaurant, I saw this huge table placed in the front window that was covered in hundred of desserts from around the world ! I then got dressed in my costume in a small backroom bathroom, and came back up to meet my mom and photographer for further instruction. Learning then, to my horror, that I was to be sitting up on the table in my costume, right in the middle of the dessert extravaganza! So up I went. As the photographer arranged me and the desserts around my body, I had to also hold a huge tray of what looked like, chocolate cream puffs. He then, the photographer, to add insult to injury, proceeded to smear whipping cream all over my cheeks. The visual image of the shot was that I had to pretend to be taking a big bite of this cream puff and have a smile on my face of total enjoyment.

Well, this is a very embarrassing moment! Here was this chubby, fat young girl, in a Dutch costume stuffing her face with a cream puff for all to see. My eyes blinked, and I started seeing white dots, as the photos were being taken. The next day, in all it’s whipping cream glory, was a picture of me, in full colour spashed on the front page of the Toronto Telegram ! . Guess who got teased at school! …My nickname was "whipping cream girl" for several weeks…

** Some Expo facts: Expo closed on Sunday afternoon, October 29, 1967. More than 50 million (50,306,648) people attended Expo 67. Canada's population in 1967, was only 20 million. There were pavilions’ from almost every country around the world, But surprisingly these countries were not present: Spain, South Africa and The People's Republic of China.