Memory Of A Landscape

A few years ago, my entire family went on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  We had a fabulous time and made memories I will cherish for the rest of my days.

Processed with Moldiv

The ship was luxurious, but it paled in comparison to the majestic landscape. Alaska was the best diet I ever went on… who could eat when your jaw spent most of the time on the floor, agape with wonder at the breathtaking surroundings!

I wanted to make the most of my experience, so I booked several excursions, like whale watching, a train ride to the White Pass Summit, and one to Mendenhall Glacier.

Processed with Moldiv

Shortly after my trip, a friend who knew I became fascinated with icebergs shared a video clip called Chasing Ice, which depicts the largest glacier calving captured on film.  It left me speechless – from the creaking and groaning sounds before it ripped apart, to the velocity of the mammoth ice blocks shooting to the sky and then tumbling into the sea with such force and power.  It was both spectacular and terrifying. The filmmakers wanted to document a “memory of a landscape” which continues to be transformed due to climate change.   A calving is a breaking off, or detaching caused by a rift, and I believe I am on the verge of one myself.

It seems that a microscopic fissure developed within me around the same time I decided to embark on my search for my after, and with every step it subtly widened.  I didn’t notice at first, but eventually I began to hear faint sighs and moans, and when I realized these sounds were not from my aging knees, I began to investigate.

What I’ve been able to ascertain so far is that they’re not coming from the stubborn fat clinging to my hips, butt, and thighs – however, my body is being positively affected by this shift. They’re also not coming from my ritualistic OCD patterns and habits – but they too, seem to be favourably impacted.   They seem to be coming from a locked compartment in my mind.

Initially, I only thought my expedition was taking me into the world of testing diets in the hope of finding the right one for me, but now I realize it was also a mission to test myself. The thoughts and beliefs I’ve held onto as my personal truths are being challenged, causing disruption and rumblings at my core. My mind is like that glacier, and the moment I surrender to the mental and emotional climate change happening within me, the inevitable calving will take place ultimately changing my landscape, both inside and out.

Today I stand on the precipice of a deep crevasse that wasn’t there nearly a year ago, and with one more month to go in the experiment, I sense the final plan will set everything in motion. I’m both excited about where it will take me, and I petrified I can’t stop it. Regardless of the outcome, this blog will serve as a memory of a landscape that was once me.

To view my Week 47 food journal, click here.

May The Life Force Be With You!

If it weren’t for my lab partner in high school I would have flunked grade 10 science, and I wouldn’t have eyebrows right now. To say that I’m not “sciencey” is an understatement, which makes it rip-roaringly hilarious that I support clinical scientists for a living. They are the Sheldons to my Penny. The Newtons to my fig. The Nutty Professors to my PB&J.

I get the basics (what goes up must come down; inhaling helium makes you sound like a chipmunk; you can’t have a party without frozen H2O), but reading the heady scientific research in all the plans I’ve tested so far during my 12 in 12 experiment has been challenging to get through.

In this month’s plan, Jon Gabriel includes his fair share, but he also introduces theories that go beyond the lab, such as ‘life force’, which he describes as “a subtle energy that surrounds, permeates, and animates all living things.” Jon goes on to explain that stress, toxins, low-energy thinking, and negative emotions block the flow of this vital energy, and are the root cause for all illnesses and physical ailments.  When we are devitalized, we must identify the stressors and address them in order to unblock the pathways.

We can also replenish this energy by eating vibrant foods… you won’t find this miracle ingredient in anything boxed, canned, or processed!  Cooking also destroys this energy. It’s no coincidence that obesity has been on the rise ever since refined, manufactured food products made their way into the marketplace.

So, what should we be eating? Natural (preferably organic), in season, locally grown fruits and veggies! These foods contain chlorophyll, a substance in plants that converts sunlight into energy.

“Some researchers have concluded that the higher the level of light energy a cell emits from the food we eat, the greater the value. This light energy comes from the sun, and the more sunlight that can be stored at a cellular level, the greater the potential for the transfer of that energy to the individual who consumes it.”

– Jon Gabriel, The Gabriel Method

In addition to incorporating more sun-kissed foods into our diet, we can also increase this vital energy by going out into nature and soaking up a few minutes of sunshine every day. Sunlight is the best and only natural source of vitamin D.  It’s no wonder rainy days and Mondays get us down – they deplete us of this essential vitamin which helps boost our mood, absorb calcium, and improve immune function.  Researchers even suggest there is a link between obesity and being deficient in vitamin D.

Perhaps the oddest recommendation Jon makes in his book is ‘Eating the Sun’, a five-thousand-year-old Chinese Taoist Chi Kung technique, which literally has you ingesting energy directly from the source. I thought he was making it up, but I Googled it, and sure enough, there are people in China still practicing it today!

Processed with Moldiv

What do you say friends, fancy dining on some delicious, calorie-free rays with me? All you need is an open mind and a healthy appetite for sunshine. Eyebrows are optional.


To view my Week 46 food journal, click here.

Giving Thanks For Total Recall

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I spent a lovely holiday weekend with family and friends eating, drinking, and being merry. This was the first gobble-gobble fest that I did not binge, or have a single dessert.

Processed with Moldiv

You’re probably wondering how I managed that when there were sweets a plenty tempting me everywhere I turned, like these lovely homemade pies my daughter baked.

Processed with Moldiv

Easy… I created a new game called, “Total Recall”, which I’ve been playing since I removed refined sugar from my diet in last month’s plan.

Since I don’t want to open the floodgates of my food addiction hell, my shoulder angel coaches me through the sugary temptation my shoulder devil (now bound and gagged), would have otherwise enticed me with. My angelic coach starts by asking if I remember what the treat du jour tastes like. I always do, and then bring to mind the multitude of times I’ve gorged on it in the past. I meditate on that for a moment, and then take a phantom bite in my mind, vividly recalling every detail – the texture, the flavour, and even the high I would get. The beauty of this exercise is that I don’t ingest a single calorie, and there isn’t a trace of the guilt aftertaste that always followed a binge.

I’m pleased to report my sugar-free Thanksgiving wasn’t any less enjoyable – actually, I left the festivities proud of myself knowing I fed my promise to nourish my mind, body, and spirit, and not my addiction, and for that, I am truly thankful.


For my Week 45 food journal, click here.

Food For Thought

When I was 16, I snuck out of the house to meet an older boy at the movie theatre. I was a smitten teen who knew nothing of the world, let alone dating. Thankfully, Teen Beat taught me everything I needed to know, so off I went rocking my poufy perm and skin-tight Jordache jeans.

He bought us a large popcorn, but I was too self-conscious to eat in front of him. It didn’t matter if we were sitting in the dark, I didn’t want him to see, or hear me chew. But he insisted, so I took ONE kernel, put it on my tongue and let it sit there like a communion wafer for the entire movie.

Fast-forward 35 years. Whenever I go to the movies these days I can down an entire bag of popcorn before the movie even starts! Unfortunately, my mindless eating doesn’t stop at the theatre. I’ve finished many a meal without realizing it. This typically happens when I’m distracted, like when I eat at my desk, or when watching TV, or like right now as I type this…. I just ate a lovely dinner that I have no recollection of. By the remnants on the plate, I think it was trout, wild rice, and a salad.

Mindless eating is so pervasive in our fast-paced society; we’ve forgotten how to savour not only our food, but life and experiences as well.  I mentioned this to a friend the other day and she sent me a link to an online discussion on eating mindfully. The facilitator was interviewing Dr. Susan Albers, a clinical psychologist and an authority on the subject. She’s penned several books on the topic, and I even happen to have one of them in my 12 in 12 library, which ironically, I haven’t had the time to read… yet!

image image

Dr. Albers guided us through an exercise that seemed ridiculous, and in all honesty, I wouldn’t have tried it if I wasn’t alone. The exercise is usually done with a raisin, however, she used a piece of chocolate.  Since I don’t keep any in the house anymore, I followed along using a blackberry.

Dr. Albers asked us to:

  • Pick up our piece of food, close our eyes, and feel the weight of it.
  • She instructed us to open our eyes and asked what was going through our minds as we examined it – I was thinking this is silly, but heck, I’m on a quest to find my after and who knows, it might be somewhere in the blackberry bush.
  • She asked us to bring it to our nose and take a deep breath. She asked what the smell invoked.
  • She instructed us to place it against our lips and asked what it felt like.
  • Next, she said to put it in our mouth and let it rest on our tongue.
  • After a few moments, she told us to roll it around in our mouth. She asked what it felt like…. I never realized how rubbery blackberries are… like bumpy, rubbery tonsils.
  • Then she said we could take ONE bite. She asked us what flavours were released… hmmm, earthy, slightly sweet with a hint of tartness.
  • Finally, she instructed us to take a few more slow bites until it was time to swallow.


Who’da thunk it would take three whole minutes to eat a single blackberry? If I do this with my movie popcorn, I could watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and only get halfway through the bag!

Studies show that mindless eating leads to over-consumption of needless calories. If you’re like me and you don’t have 47 hours to eat your lunch, no worries… Dr. Albers suggests using your non-dominant hand to eat. Researchers have determined that you can reduce your intake by 30% with this handy little tip!

Now to answer your burning questions… the movie was The Elephant Man, and the guy was my now ex-husband.







Where Your Mind Goes, Your Hips Will Follow

199. I should be happy with this number, but I’m not. I’m not saying I’m not thrilled to be out of the twos, but I’ve seen this number twice before in the last decade. I’ve gotten down to 179, so seeing 178 will be the day I melt in a puddle of my own joyful tears.

I’m not minimizing my efforts, truly I’m not.  I’m pleased that I’m out of the ‘morbidly obese’ range on the BMI chart and now comfortably reside in the plain old ‘obese’ section. I’m pleased that people are starting to notice my efforts and comments have gone from, “Have you done something with your hair?” to “Wow Mare, have you lost weight?” But there is a nagging question in the deepest part of my being that has me worried. It’s the one that whispers, “Can you really get to your goal weight?”  I either don’t trust myself to cross the finish line, because I never have since I started dieting at the age of 14, or I don’t believe it could ever happen to me.

It is said, “Where the mind goes, the body follows,” and most of my life my mind wanted Oreos and my body followed until it ballooned to 259+ lbs.  In the recesses of that same mind, under the cookie crumbs, I believe I am defective and can’t achieve, or maintain a healthy weight of 140 lbs. It keeps telling me it’s possible for other people, but not for me. That the weight I’ve lost so far is a fluke, or it’s nothing new since I’ve been 199 before, and that I will repeat history and regain it. I don’t want my stinking thinking to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so that’s why it’s imperative this month’s plan focuses on the mind.

Jon Gabriel, author of The Gabriel Method, lost over 220 lbs. without dieting or surgery! Pretty incredible – I love transformation stories, and I especially love and respect advice and wisdom that comes from people who have been on the same road I’m on. Yes, doctors and fitness gurus have their place on the bookstore shelves, but if they’ve never carried more than 100 extra pounds on their frame, they can only talk to the science of weight loss, not the blood, sweat, and tears part that resonates with individuals like me.


Jon Gabriel’s journey started when he was supposed to be on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. Fortunately, he missed that flight and didn’t squander his second chance. He quit his job, and began transforming his body, which eventually changed his entire life.

Jon went on a quest to understand why he couldn’t lose weight, and began to listen to his body. He studied biochemistry, nutrition, neurobiology, psychology, meditation, quantum physics, and much more. He was convinced that “the answers lay somewhere between the space that separates the mind from the body.” He also gave up dieting when he realized that our bodies hold on to fat to protect us.

The truth is your body doesn’t want to be fat in order to hurt you or punish you. The only reason it is fat right now is because, for some reason, it thinks it is in your best interest to be fat. But as soon as you identify the problems and you start addressing them, everything changes.” – Jon Gabriel, The Gabriel Method

WOW! What if my body wasn’t the enemy? What if it didn’t hate me? What if it’s been protecting me all along?! That blew my mind! I stared at my lumpy, nude self in a full-length mirror after I read that, and for the first time I didn’t hate my rolls. I started to see my cellulite as fat-filled bubble wrap, insulating me from the inside out.

The Gabriel Method has you address the physical, mental and emotional factors that activate your “FAT Program”, such as mental starvation, fear of scarcity, emotional obesity, and dysfunctional beliefs… all of which struck a nerve with me.

He also offers techniques I’ve never applied on any program – visualization and meditation.  Jon promises that we can remove the beliefs that are causing mental obesity by re-educating our minds, and “the easier you believe it is for you to lose weight, the easier it becomes.”

He recommends we communicate with our brain using pictures, so every night we are to look at an image of our ideal body, and then listen to his nighttime meditation CD, which he offers free on his website, or via the App Store.

I used to post pictures on my fridge of my ideal body to prevent me from raiding it, but it never worked, so I thought I would go one-step further for my visual aid…. I asked my talented friend and co-worker, Catriona, to Photoshop my head on a sexy woman’s body. I think it will help me see my thin self buried under my spongy shield.

Processed with Moldiv

I can’t help but grin when I look at this photo…. It’s helping me believe that I just might look like this one day, and you know what, I can’t wait for her to come off the page and walk into my life.

To learn more about the plan I’ll be following for Month 11, click here.

The Results Are In

To find out how much I lost last month when I tested The 12-Step Food Addiction Plan, click here.