My Passion Experiment – Week Three Summary

Good Morning,

Today marks three weeks that I undertook to change my outlook and try to inject a spark back into my life. I had to read back on three weeks ago because I’m certainly feeling a lot better than I was then! Some of the main things that I’ve been trying to do are to be more present and to pay myself more respect. Those two things pretty much encompass all the other little things such as eating healthy foods, getting exercise, reducing social media/tech use, reducing spending, eating at the table, etc.

This past Friday I was boldly reminded that while I’m improving at both being present and being respectful, I still have a distance to go and a lot of “past habits” to unravel and remodel. I had initially decided to “scale in” my bike commuting, one day the first week, two days the next week and then either two again or maybe three the following week, depending on how I felt. Instead of respecting my plan and myself, I decided to jump right from one day per week (the first full commute) right into three times last week (and back to back no less). I did so while also battling a hefty dose of allergies and allergy medication. Monday was a good commute, Thursday was a reasonable commute and then on Friday morning before I’d even gotten dressed, I had a very loud voice in my head saying “You should not be riding today, your body is beat!”. And….of course…I ignored it. “Push through”, I told myself. “You’ll have the weekend to recover”, I said. So I hopped on my bike and made it to work where I sat all day knowing I was in for an ass kicking on the way home. But, once here via Pedals, the only way home is to…well….pedal. Long story short, I got halfway up the hill, stopped to take a break where the hill gets steeper and then crashed to the ground still clipped to the bike when I tried to get going again. My body was beat and my legs didn’t have enough left to give to get enough power to get my bicycle going on the steep incline. After (stupidly) declining help from a very kind man who offered to drive me and my bike to the top of the hill, I gave my head a shake and called the hubby’s son to come and get me. I baled halfway home. And instead of feeling bad about not finishing my commute, I felt sad and guilty that I didn’t listen that morning when my Self was hollering at me to leave the bike at home.

This weekend I made it up to my Self though, I went shopping with my mom and sister, made turkey soup with a bone broth base, closed my bedroom door and took a two hour nap (by mid-day on Saturday my body was begging to sleep…..that heavy sleep of recovery), got taken out for dinner by Ray, drank lots of water, took Gracie on a sunny 5km stroll, hit the mall for some tea, had a hot bath, did some foam rolling, ate veggies and eggs and homemade chicken chili. I’ve been craving carbs like absolute crazy since last Thursday and have been trying not to completely ignore it since it must be based in some sort of need, but have been trying to fulfill the urges with acceptable things like yams, mounds of veggies, apples & berries.

So that’s Week Three of My Passion Experiment. I got burned by not listening to a message that was coming through loud and clear. Duly noted and will continue to listen and work on being present and respecting myself.

So what’s up this week?

No biking for the week, my allergies are awful this morning, tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, Wednesday I have an appt after work, Thursday I’m busy after work and Friday we leave right after work on our road trip! I’m actually really alright with missing a week of bicycling, my legs are so stiff and sore! I think I pooched my scale in plan and need to take a breather. I’m going to hit the gym a couple days in the morning and work on rowing and some hill interval training and do some tanning. At the moment it’s not looking good for cycling next week either due to the weather, but I mustn’t forget, it’s still VERY early in the season!

In relating my Friday commute story to my co-workers this morning, my boss said to me “You should quit. You’ve fallen three times and that hill is not going away. Admit you’ve failed and forget about it.” I was stunned, jaw = dropped. I “failed”??? This is all a brand new endeavor for me, I expect some bumps and bruises and a learning curve. “Quit”?? Because it’s hard? Or because sometimes it hurts? Or because it’s not going perfectly? I told him that I would never “quit” something because it was too hard, but that I have revised my plan and will take the longer but slightly less steep route home for the next little while as I increase my biking muscles and my cardiac endurance. He said, “You just don’t know when to throw in the towel.” I have NEVER run across someone who would advise a person to quit when the going gets tough rather than dig deeper or revise the plan or find another way. I was completely shocked and neared tears this morning. Obviously we all have “failure voice” in our heads already that we have to quiet and convince not to sabotage us…..but to have someone actually say “Admit you’ve failed and quit”……completely out of my realm of experience! Especially since it’s only been two weeks!


February In Review

Another month has come to a close.  This month had a few bumps and bruises in it that were entirely unexpected and which did some damage to my momentum but since I can’t change the past, I am just going to keep moving forward.  Although I didn’t come in as successfully as I would have liked to (or as I had expected to), if I ask myself the question “Are you further ahead now than you were on February 1?”, I would have to answer yes.  I feel good and balanced and steady.  I haven’t thrown the map in the garbage just because the car got a flat tire.  The tire is fixed and the map is crisply refolded and I’m going again.

Let’s take a look at February.


Spending (groceries):  the goal was to come in at $740 for the month of groceries.  We came in over the line at $853 for the month.  Two weeks we came in on target and two weeks we were over.

Spending (personal):   I had a $50 budget for the month.  I came in at $50.14 which included a cup of tea each weekend, a discounted Christmas decoration and face wash.  The face wash I’m not totally convinced should count towards my spending total since it is more of a “need” than a “want”.  If I don’t include it, I came in at $16.59 for the month.  YAY for no spending!  It is amazing to me what a habit “buying” had become.  In January I struggled with “wanting” things….in February, definitely less struggle!  So far I haven’t missed out on anything or kicked myself for not purchasing something.  This is Great!

Spending (eating out):  the goal was to only eat out twice this month, one breakfast and one dinner. I completely succeeded…..Ray mostly succeeded but he is known for a donut or a muffin in our travels.  But as far as meals eaten we were successful.


Eat at Dinner Table:  the goal was at least three dinners each week.  We did not succeed.  I fully admit to being the one who dropped the ball on it and in some cases Ray was starting to get the placemats out and I asked if we could just curl up on the sofa instead.  It was a complete cop out in most cases and was the result of needing mindless time and some physical comfort (after having been hurt and then heading back to work).  For complete success we should have had 12 dinners at the table and we ended up with 8.  Not awful but it definitely could have been better.

Completely exclude dairy, grains, sugar: I will only abide by 100% compliance in order to call this one successful.  I was not.  Chocolate almonds when I was laid up on the sofa.  Deep fried pickle at pub night fundraiser dinner.  A Dark Chocolate Himalayan Salt Caramel yesterday.  Maple syrup on the Oven Pancake.  It’s not HOOOOORRIBLE….but it is a fail.

Limit alcohol to only Friday and/or Saturday:  Success!  Two weekends were completely dry, two weren’t.  One had the “Chardonnay Incident” and the other I had two glasses of decent red wine….which may have actually fueled the fried pickle issue from above.  Meh.


Gym, 3/week:  Complete fail.  I don’t even want to talk about this.  February was a disaster for fitness.

Outdoor jogging, 4 times around Perimeter Trail:  as per above

Do Coquitlam Crunch: again….no. However…on the two weekends that I actually did line up time to do this….the weather was horrid.  Torrential rain or heavy snow.

Bicycle to work:  Nope.  As above…I slotted in time on two different weekends to take care of this and it was miserable both times.

NOTE: I will be planning in a HUGE turnaround in March…February was simply unacceptable.



Sort spice cabinet:  this is quasi sorted and will stay this way for a while. It’s mostly functional and I don’t want to spend money on it right now.

Finish organizing cookbook:  ya…no….this is still an enormous pain in my ass.  All the recipes are in a binder and in page protectors with page numbers on them… sticking point is in developing some sort of index/order.

No handheld technology after 6pm:  I wouldn’t call this a complete success…..but an enormous improvement!

Claim Wednesday nights:  YES!  I look forward to my evening to do whatever.

Get a haircut:  Yep and I love it!


Paint nails once/week:  Err…nope….not even once.  Told myself to get after it a couple of times…but ultimately didn’t even consider doing it.

Maintain both dining room tables free of clutter:  complete success! They both look GREAT!



Three “location” walks:  we did two….and they were fun.  Our third long walk ended up being at our regular park by our house…but it was REALLY snowy so it was like being somewhere different.  The purpose of this one was to get out of our same-old and go somewhere new, hold hands and just be with each other.  Success!

“No TV” Friday evening:  this happened on a Saturday, not a Friday but it happened.

I’ve gone on long enough now , so in summary…..I didn’t do as well in Feburary as I had planned…..but I still had the map and I kept referring to it.  I kept my goals in mind all month and whether I chose to do things that would achieve them or not….I went through the month awake and cognizant of what was happening.  As mentioned, March’s list is pared down significantly to include only spending, eating and exercise goals.  I feel that some of the habits I’ve been trying to form (eating at the table, no tech after 6pm) are fledged enough that I can keep them going without putting them on the list.

We have a weekend away trip booked for the end of March and I want to hit that trip at the end of the month on an upswing, going strong and feeling good.  I can totally achieve that!  I see March as an opportunity and I’m not missing it!


Well. That’s Disappointing.

Let me come right out and say it, “I failed at meeting my Century goal of 100 kilometers by March 1.”.

I missed it by around 20 kilometers.  I say “around 20” because it’s not yet March 1st and I’ll still get one more dog walk in tonight.  But finishing on time is, at this point, unachievable.

I’m disappointed in myself, to be quite honest.  I missed a lot of gym mornings and after work walks that would have certainly propelled me over the finish line with little effort.  But….I didn’t do it.  I slept in when I shouldn’t have, I let Grace go for a walk with someone else instead of insisting on taking her myself (or going alone).  In simple words, I didn’t make my goal a priority and it stalled, faltered and died.  Simple as that.

I was thinking this morning about ultimately having failed and how I should put a positive spin on it and that I got 78km done and that’s better than nothing and I was injured and life happened and I still deserve to feel good about the result, blah blah blah.  But honestly, that’s bullshit.  I set a goal, I could have achieved the goal and I didn’t put my energy into it.  Fail.  So having been realistic about the failure and my feelings about it, now I will be positive (and realistic) about what to do next.

I piddled away February.  I gave a half assed (and sometimes no) effort and I am experiencing the results of that.  I feel crappy, my mood is crappy, my spirit is low.  I hear negative words in my head and I talk myself out of nearly everything without even trying to fight back.

I am so grateful though, that I am awake and aware enough to admit to wasting the month of February and that I can look at what happened, where I got stuck and get moving again.  Yesterday my sister said that she thought that I was tough and that I was a fighter.  Sometimes fighting and being tough takes a shit-tonne of energy though, both mental and physical.  Sometimes that energy just isn’t there….and it wasn’t in February.

In order to help myself be more successful in March, I’m scaling back on the goals list and am going to focus my attention on the things that really bring a lot of added value for me.  Painting my nails would be nice, organizing my cupboards would be great….but what I really need to do is refocus on the “SELF” goals and push away the noisy little stuff that can cloud my vision.

Strangely complimentary to my blog post is the one that my sister wrote today, go check it out:

In the same vein as my post above and the one I just linked to, I am making the choice to choose to let the rest of February go.  I’ve been trying to figure out ways to salvage the month and with three days left to go, it’s not saveable and that effort to keep pumping life into it is just reminding me of everything that I didn’t do. 

Fail Less

It’s Easter Monday today.  A day that is a holiday if you work for our government but not a holiday if you don’t.  If you are at work though, as I am, this is going to (hopefully) be one of those days that you sort of drift through!

Saturday and Sunday were equally as gorgeous as Friday and we spent as much time outside as we possibly could.  We drank wine on the driveway, barbequed steaks, rode our bicycles (Grace went for her first bicycle stroll on Sunday and did awesome!), rode Ray’s motorcycle some more and went for a couple walks.  Thank God for allergy medication though, we both felt awesome all weekend and then this morning, sans-pill, I feel like she-it!  Will be running to the store next door for some allergy meds as soon as my co-worker arrives this morning!

So anyway, earlier in the week my other co-worker was lamenting her own life and weight issues and smoking habit and proceeded to tell me the following:  “You’re so lucky that you lost all your weight and quit smoking, it must be amazing to have that much will power and never fail at anything!”.  I was equal parts amazed and annoyed by the whole thing.  First of all, “luck” had nothing to do with it.  Second, I don’t actually have more than normal will power and third, what in the blue blazes makes her think that it was my first time trying to lose weight and quit cigarettes?! 

Everyone fails, over and over.  The people who succeed are the ones who make the effort to FAIL LESS!  I failed two days last week when I couldn’t get up and go to the gym like I was supposed to.  I failed on Thursday afternoon when, after having commuted and grocery shopped after work for over 3 hours on an empty stomach, I bought a fist full of bulk bridge mixture and ate it all while sitting in my car before going home.  I failed at the gym on Saturday when I didn’t properly fuel and could only run ¾ of the second mile in mile-row-mile. 

I failed three times in one week.  Someone might even consider the bottle and a half of wine I drank or the French fries I had as a failure to healthy eating.  The thing of it is, as far as I’m concerned, we all fail, all the time.  It’s about trying to balance the failure that we all encounter with doing more things that make you successful.  I ate bridge mix on Thursday.  I rocked the gym on Friday morning and ate clean all day.  I failed the mile-row-mile on Saturday but the success was the 1.75 miles and 1000m row that I did do, and I ate well all day.  I failed Saturday when I drank the bulk of a bottle of wine but the success is that we had an awesome sunshiney evening and a great late dinner.  I failed yesterday when I had French fries with my lunch instead of salad but the success was that we had a light salad for dinner instead of what I’d originally planned.

For anyone to think that I don’t fail or have trouble or miss is ridiculous.  Sometimes it’s hard to see if you’re not looking for it but most people who appear to be successful at something are toiling away at it in the dark hours and for the most part no one ever sees that part.  Rarely is success effortless.  Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest because the idea that I just “decided” one day to become healthy and fit and then was “lucky” enough to have it magically happen irks me because I worked my tail off every day to get here and I work even harder to stay here!

OK, so it’s April 1st, the start of a new month!  I read a tweet (I think) of Girl Meets Paleo the other day where she commented that she was going to be eating “squeaky clean” for April.  For some reason the whole “squeaky clean” thing resonated with me and I decided that I’m going to give it my best in April also.  In March, with going to the gym very frequently and eating pretty well I made some decent gains…well…..losses….or both.  I gained some muscle and lost some weight although how much of either is unknown since I don’t weigh myself.  But, with a mild to moderate effort in March being pretty successful I thought I would give an even more concerted effort in April knowing that bikini season is coming!.  My definition of “squeaky clean” is much the same as I eat now….but I’m going to make a real dedicated effort to sticking to whole foods.  And yes, I’m sorry, in my book a nice glass of wine is a whole food!  Haha

Also in April I have 15 gym days lined up in the second month of a partner-gym-pact with my co-worker.  Along with that I have another new goal.  HANDSTAND!  I will try and achieve a handstand that lasts long enough for Ray to snap a picture of it for proof.  By the end of April. (I just googled “How to learn a handstand” and the progression on how you can teach this to yourself is going to take longer than a month….so I renege my “by the end of April” and will do it when I can do it.)  Yesterday’s trial run ended with three tries and the last try with me on the floor killing myself laughing.  Granted there was a significant amount of wine fueling the trial but whatever!  Took the sting out of the rugburn I ended up with!  Given that the title of my post is Fail Less, I realize that I will be unlikely to achieve this for awhile but I will give an update in April (with a video?) showing how far I’ve come…and there is no need for a “before” video or pic, just picture me not doing a handstand and you should have a good impression of where I am now.  LOL!

(yesterday I asked Ray if he thought I could do a handstand and his answer was to start laughing and say “You have next to no balance on your two feet and you want to stand on your hands?!”)


“No Excuses”

“Excuse Yourself”

Same word, “excuse”, but totally different meaning.  I was in a meeting on Friday where any normal person would have defended themselves and their apparant actions.  But I couldn’t do it.  I wanted to, the words were there but all I kept thinking was that it’s just going to sound like I’m making excuses.  That I’m going to sound desperate and pathetic and not believable.

In my previous life as an overweight person, I made excuses all the time.  “I’m busy”, “I’m too tired”, “I’ll start tomorrow”, “I’m happy how I am”, “What’s the point?”.  I would have said anything in order that I convinced myself that I had valid reasons for being the way that I was.  And I would have made it sound believable (I thought) and heartfelt.  Years have since gone by and things have changed but sometimes when I hear other people saying the same things that I said, I can hear it in their words and their voices, that they don’t believe what they’re saying anymore than I once did.  They are making excuses to validate their failure.

That is not the same as excusing yourself.  Remember the day I left my spinning shoes at home and got all the way to the gym before I remembered…..when I explained what happened to Ray and a couple friends, I heard that excuse-making voice coming out of my mouth.  Regardless of the fact that I KNOW that it was a mistake and nothing could be done about it and I more than make up and made up for little errors like that every day, the mere act of giving an excuse for this “failure” was downright unpalatable for me.

And so, sitting in a meeting on Friday where I should have excused myself, DEFENDED myself, I couldn’t do it.  In my head it all sounded like lame, unbelievable excuses said in that whiny, take-no-responsibility voice that I used to use all the time.  I guess it’s a bit of a flaw in my fabric because that means that any time I fall short and would like to explain why that happened, my brain thinks that I’m trying to rationalize poor performance.  In my life I take pride in my performance and I don’t like to accept a poor showing.  Since I set my own goals and make my own plans and schedules, I always want to win whatever I’m doing, not against anyone else’s performance but against my own standards.  There are always people who will be better or faster or stronger or smarter than me.  The only person I can measure myself against is me…………and when I’m setting the bar against myself and I have to excuse myself if I don’t achieve success, I feel like it’s a whiny self-pitying excuse.

I’m very fortunate, however, that I have dear friends and family who remind me that injuries happen, exhaustion happens, overtraining and silly mistakes and unreasonable expectations and sometimes even glaring oversights happen and that these are not excuses, they are REASONS.  It also bears recognition that the percentage of failure vs the percentage of success matters more.  Using exercise as an example even though exercise is not the current cause of my rambling, if I exercise 20 hours/month and miss one scheduled workout in that month, my percentage of failure is 5%…..or more accurately, I was completely successful 95% of the time.  Viewed like that, does it really matter what the reason/cause/excuse was for that one missed class?

Didn’t I create more value than I lost?