What I’ve learned about myself after 22 weeks of BBG exercise

If you’ve been paying attention to any of my social media in the last 5 months, you’ll know that I have been regularly exercising using the BBG program (not the Shakeology thing). You’ll also probably know that I love it. I can go on and on about how great it is, but let me just say these three things about it:

  1. you can do it at home (or in the gym) in 30 minutes
  2.  you can go at your own pace
  3. it’s super affordable if you buy the PDFs bc you can just do the 12 weeks over and over again and make a few modifications as your strength increases (increase weights, add ankle weights etc) 
  4. You learn a lot about body weight exercising and resistance training by doing it and can know zilch before you start. 

What have I learned

I feel like I’m a new person. In some ways, I am! In other ways (fast food!) I am not. My body is changing shape, I am forced to fuel my body differently to accommodate the increase in exercise, and my happiness level has increased. 

Who am I? I used to be athletic before I hit puberty. I enjoyed running, gymnastics, skiing etc, but when I hit puberty cardio just sucked. It was basically overnight. I couldn’t run anymore. This convinced me that I just wasn’t the “athletic type.” I was the girl who hated gym class, especially in high school. That was less about the athletics, and more about resenting the competitive girls who were mean and just wanted to win. I still hate overcompetitiveness. 

So it was easy to form the lazy-girl-fast-food-loving identity. If you’ve been following my journey on my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to change that, knowing that it’s critical for my health to get out of that comfort zone. I’m so grateful BBG fell into my lap because it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for (read the 4 points above). While my lazy identity hasn’t changed entirely, I can feel things shifting in me. 

. I enjoy how I feel doing BBG. I enjoy the REGULAR sense of accomplishment and pride in my personal achievements. Not everyone is motivated the same way I am, but for me I LOVE getting to see results and progress. This is especially true when I’m on maternity leave and everything I do is slow and or endless (raising kids, dishes, etc). 

. I don’t know how I even did motherhood before working out. The other day I carried 2 giant Costco bags from my van from our street parking spot and I didn’t die. I then carried Teddy who is already 20lbs, and it was all no big deal. I can lug both boys on both hips UP👏🏻 THE👏🏻 STAIRS👏🏻 and it’s ok. It’s amazing! 

Inner strength
. I think my character feels as developed as my (hiding) abs. It’s not always easy to fit in a workout with the needs of kids and family life. I’ve managed to not procrastinate away and unnecessarily skip workouts. This is incredible! I do actually have major muscles forming. I can see the difference in my personal progress photos. But I’m actually more proud of who I am becoming and what I’m achieving than what my body looks like. 


I’m going to be starting BBG 1.0 over again in a few weeks and you should join me. Let’s get strong, together!


I am still alive, I promise.

Amidst being a mom to 16 month old, working a few days a week, managing my household and having fun, I do think about blogging. Mostly, I think about what the heck to write about!

Sometimes, I feel like I’ve abandoned my goal of keeping this blog. I have thoughts that resemble, “What kind of goal-writer are you that you have no current goals and you don’t write!?” Then I remember that I always knew I would hit this stage.

sidetableWhen I see my chalk board list of my Bucket List goals (which has fallen down behind this coffee table, like a metaphor for my life), it’s very clear that these all can’t happen quickly. One of my goals is to have kids. After I had Jack, people said “yay! you can cross that off!” but Willy insists that there’s an S at the end of the word “kids” and we can’t cross it off until we’ve had #2. Sure, whatever! The point is that having kids is extremely life-altering and some would say dream-crushing! Willy and I joke about a Louis CK (comedian) bit where he talks about girls not becoming women until they’ve “had a couple of kids and their life is in the toilet. Or when you push people out of your lady parts and they step on your dreams. If you’re still standing after that, you are a woman!” ***

I laugh because sometimes it seems like it’s true. With young kids, it can feel like none of your dreams can ever happen, that your life is trying to change the dirty bum of a kid who is trying to run away to tear apart the house you just tidied and then throw a tantrum when you say no. Or the idea of just trying to get out of the house for a run seems so overwhelming that you eat a cinnamon bun instead to make yourself feel better. Goals can seem foolish and irresponsible. Maybe at some points of this life stage it is foolish to try to attempt anything but keeping your marriage from being flushed down the toilet by your toddler along with your AppleTV remote.

So when I think, “What am I even doing lately, besides neglecting everything I had worked for before kids?” I remind myself that Kids were part of the Bucket List.

Crushing cheerios underfoot for the bazillionth time is not what I had in mind when I wrote “Have kids” down on my list. But I have to be ok with the fact that I desired and chose (and enjoy!) goals that take over other aspects of my life and that are slow in their maturation process.

Life happens. Sometimes it’s the way we plan, more often it isn’t.

***[I don’t agree that having kids is the thing that makes a woman a woman! I was a woman long before I was married and had a child.]

Toil, worry or boredom

photo credit: Cannon Eye via photopin (license)

photo credit: Cannon Eye via photopin (license)

“Broadly speaking,” Churchill said, “human beings can be divided into three classes: those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death, and those who are bored to death.”


Winston Churchill, a very busy man, was a big fan of hobbies. “To be really happy,” he said, “one ought to have at least two or three hobbies.” (Early to Rise)


Until I read that second quote from Churchill, I wondered if I had too many hobbies. As soon as I had that thought, I realized how great of a problem this was! It wasn’t that many years ago where I was searching for hobbies. I wanted to have something to do with my time, a way to meet new people, and to feel like I was using my down time in a way that was productive.

I had gone through this period in my life where I worked too much and obsessed about it and I had no outlet except TV. I was too tired to read and demotivated. I needed something to do that wasn’t work. I lived with an intensity that never ended and it was hard work!

I needed to learn how to play.

Now… I probably need to learn how to work again! I read, I write (or I used to),  I crochet, colour, sew (sort of), I bake, I play piano…

I’m really proud of myself for the progress I’ve made with crochet. It was something I had wanted to for ages and finally decided to get down to it. Now that more people in my life are having babies, and with these incoming refugees to Canada, I have all kinds of people to make things for! Of course you’ve seen me post about colouring as well. It’s been nice to have a few different creative outlets to choose from because I can go all out with one until I’m sick of it and then switch to the other!

If you don’t have a hobby, you really need to find something that works for you. You don’t need to take up colouring or writing for it to “count.” Hikes, runs, woodworking, gardening, baking, cooking, the list is endless. Think about it. What would you like to do more of that isn’t work or housekeeping related?

Five simple reasons you need a hobby

  1. It helps you avoid burnout.
  2. It gives your brain a break and reduces your likelihood of depression and dementia! 
  3. It’s fun!
  4. It’s stress relief.
  5. You can meet new people.

“But I’m so busy, you don’t understand!” I maybe don’t understand but I also think you’re probably not totally right. You still need a hobby! Your seven kids can terrorize your husband instead for an hour while you go bird watching. Work 78 hours this week instead of 80 so you can finally start learning to breakdance. Just do something!

Let’s look at first Churchill quote again: “Broadly speaking, human beings can be divided into three classes: those who are toiled to death, those who are worried to death, and those who are bored to death.”

Which are you? Let’s be toilers of good things: faith, family, work, and meaningful leisure that fills our tank for more.

My continued adventures in Pie baking

There are two things in the world that make me erupt in explosive rage: people getting rich from oppressing others, and failed pie crusts. I know, they’re not exactly equal in terms of global importance.

Around this time last year I wrote about how bad I am at making pie crusts from scratch and wondering, maybe I should just give up? When do we realize we’re just not cut out for something and give up, and when do we keep going because we just need practice? “Giving up and moving on are two different things,” was the image I had front and center on that post. I didn’t give up, mostly because I’m pretty limited in my (yummy) dessert options with being wheat and sugar free. So I persevered in pie crust making, becoming sensitized to my bad pie crust shame. I tried a few different recipes and was slowly making progress. One indicator of my progress was my lack of cursing under my breath and SERIOUS anger. I thought maybe I was just becoming a more patient person (ha!), but really I was actually just getting better at it, and the changes in recipes actually helped.

About a month ago, I made this pie with this crust. It is by far my favourite and THE BEST gf pie crust I have made to date. I have to admit, there was this crescendo of triumph when I rolled out that dough and then placed it in the pie plate WITHOUT THE THING TEARING. WITHOUT IT CRACKING. I yelled and then called Willy into the room. I will admit, there were tears in my eyes because OH MY GOODNESS, I AM NOT HOPELESS. While my successes and failures at pie crust have not been as important to my husband as they have been to me, I could see on his face that he recognized how important this was to me. I still have far to go to rival my mother-in-law’s gorgeous/effortless pie crusts with the nice crimped sides, but dangit, I’m glad I didn’t give up.


What helped

Honestly, if I had stuck to that same original pie crust, I’m confident I would still be having problems. The key thing that I’ve found is for gluten-free pie crusts, you need to have an egg and you basically need to use half shortening/lard and half butter. I just cannot make a pie crust without crumbling into an evil, cussing wretch unless the there is an egg and half shortening/butter. My takeaway from this (since when can I do anything without taking away a life principle?) is that before quitting something, I need to vary my methods to be sure that the problem is ME and not the methods. This is a lot like the time I was having trouble getting up in the morning and going for runs.

Here’s a of my baby bump for good measure:


Lift, data, food

Three things that have been big for me this year are LiftApp, data, and food. You’ve seen me talk about LiftApp several times. It’s been really helpful in tracking my progress on goals. Recently, when I was feeling bummed about not being great about reading my Bible daily which was one of my goals for the year. I checked out my stats on Lift and realized that I had read it almost 300 days in the year. The Data helped me realize that I had done better over the course of the whole year than in the last few months, which was encouraging. I’ve been trying to be more mindful about real information this year. The facts (like the previous example) help me see where I’m at objectively rather than based on my feelings. This year, I also gained a stack of weight due to my love of food and my lack of discipline in exercise and running.


In the new year, Lift is combining diet and data doing “the largest randomized trial of popular diet.” It has two aims:

#1. Help one million people make a healthy diet change leading to: weight loss, overall health, and/or more energy. We’re providing 10 popular diets with expert advice.

#2. Perform the largest-ever measurement of popular diets. What works? How do popular diets compare? How can we all be more successful? We’re working with UC Berkeley on the science and the analysis.

People have the option of adjusting their diets to follow any of the following 10 diets (including the option of being given a random diet to follow):

  1. Paleo: eat like a caveman, mostly veggies, meats, nuts. Advised byPaleohacks and Nerd Fitness.
  2. Slow-Carb: lean meat, beans, and veggies; abstain from white foods like sugar, pasta, bread, cheese. Based on Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Body.
  3. Vegetarian: vegetables, but no meat. Cheese and eggs are optional. Advised by No Meat Athlete.
  4. Whole foods: eat only recognizable foods and avoid processed ones. Advised by Summer Tomato.
  5. Gluten-free: no wheat, rye, barley or wheat-based foods.
  6. No sweets: a simple diet change that affects your insulin swings.
  7. DASH: USDA’s current recomendation.
  8. Calorie counting: the old standard.
  9. Sleep more: the science says this should work. Advised by: Swan Sleep Solutions.
  10. Mindful eating: learn mindfulness to recognize when you’re full. Advised by ZenHabits and the Center for Mindful Eating.

When I first heard about this a few weeks ago, I was really interested in the idea, just none of the diets. Well, you know I’m already doing #5 and #6, so I thought there was no real way for me to participate in this. Recently I was listening to a Micheal Hyatt podcast (I forget which one!) and he was talking about how helpful it was for him to start tracking his calorie intake in order to understand whether he was exercising enough. I’ve always been wary of counting calories because it can become a type of eating disorder, but I also have to face the fact that I just eat anything and everything whenever I want. I have zero data about what I’m putting in my body versus how I’m spending that energy (watching Bones on Netflix, these days).

So I tried MyFitnessPal for a few days to count my calories and it was eye opening. I was sometimes 1,000 or 1,500 calories over what I should be consuming based on my activity level! I was reminded of the story from The Power of Habit that talked about those who started tracking what they were eating, it became a Keystone Habit in that they suddenly became aware of what was going into their bodies, but then they also became aware of how they were exercising and spending their money. Their whole lives turned around because of being mindful of this one thing. (Random fact: this article on Keystone Habits is the most visited post of mine via Google).

I’ve decided I’m going to participate in the study doing #8: monitoring my calories. I want to invite you to join me on “the largest randomized trial of popular diet.” All you need is to sign up here and download Lift to your phone (or use it on your browser), or read more about The Quantified Diet

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