Saturday, 11 May 2013

In support of women’s mental health

 Mental illness affects us all, whether it is because we are dealing with it personally, or we have family or friends who are experiencing difficulties. I have family and friends who have suffered depression, my grand-mother had Alzheimer’s for years before she passed away, I have members of my family who have schizophrenia and a cousin who killed herself a few years ago as a result of schizophrenia. I see homeless people all the time close to where I work and sometimes I wonder if I one day I could be affected so much by a mental illness that this could become my life. I do know that no one is immune to mental illness, it could affect anybody we know.

I have volunteered for a year in suicide prevention center and I currently work in a suicide research center where we are developing an amazing program for kids to develop coping skills that will help them deal with a variety problems and hopefully will give them more tools to deal with their problems in adult life. One of the motivations for this program is that research has shown that people who commit suicide have a smaller variety of coping skills that they know and use.

I’m saying all of this so that you know why this cause is very dear to my heart and why I ask for your support.  

A dear friend of mine, Amelia, lost her own sister last year. Rebecca had been suffering from schizoaffective disorder for more than 10 years when she passed away last year, one week before Amelia’s wedding. It has touched me deeply. In June, Amelia will be riding her bike in support of the cause to remember her sister and I would like to help her raise a few dollars. So if you want to help me support her, you can make a donation by clicking here:

And thank you!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A recap and a plan

Today I want to share my plan for this summer in terms of events. But before I do that, I also want to do a recap of what I did last year because I haven’t shared the whole thing with everyone and if I look back on it, I think it’s quite impressive (despite the fact that I’ve gained some weight back throughout the summer). So here are the events in which I participated in 2012 with regards to the sports that I practice and the events for which I am registered for in 2013 (a few events might be added to that list).

Events in 2012
·         March 10th: 7th Annual Shamrock run. Tipperary Hill, Syracuse, New York : 4 miles run
·         March 25th : La Printanière, La Salle, Quebec : 10k run
·         April 29th : Scotia Bank half-marathon, Montreal, Quebec: 21k run
·         May 26th : Parcours Bougez Santé, St-Hubert, Quebec : 5k walk
·         June 1st-3rd : triathlon training camp, Lake Placid, New York (with triathlon club ‘Orange’)
·         July 14th : Triathlon Saint-Lambert, Quebec : 300m swim, 12k bike, 2.5k run
·         August 19th : volunteer at ironman Mont-Tremblant
·         September 8th : Esprit triathlon, Montreal : 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
·         September 23rd : Marathon Oasis, Montreal : 10k run
·         December 1st: Santa shuffle race, Mount Royal, Montreal : 5k run

Events in 2013
·         April 21st : Course MEC, Longueuil : 5k run
·         May 31st : tour de nuit, Montreal : 25k bike
·         June 2nd : volunteer at tour de l’Ile de Montreal
·         July 13th : Mitsubishi City Chase, Montreal : 6hr challenge throughout the city
·         August 11th : Cazenovia triathlon, New York : 800m swim, 22.5k bike, 5k run
·         September 8th : Esprit triathlon, Montreal, Quebec : Olympic relay : swim and bike portions : 1.5k swim, 40k bike

Monday, 1 April 2013

Project 30 days

A friend of mind has decided to take a 30 day challenge and is asking people to join her with their own challenge. See her blog for more details: If you decide to do the 30 day challenge, you have to find something that you’ve wanted to do for a while and that you want to commit to for 30 days. It doesn’t have to be something big.

Before the 30 day challenge, I had already taken a commitment to follow a certain plan for a month. I will extend this to the end of April (minimum) to keep with the rules of the 30 day challenge. I will also add two other 30 day challenges. Here’s what my three challenges for April are:

1) Challenge #1 : 30 days without sugar. I have made the commitment that I will not eat or drink anything that has sugar in it for one month. The rationale behind this is that some people say that sugar is like a drug, the more you eat it the more you want it. I’ve experienced this first-hand a few times and more recently when I’ve fallen off the wagon and started eating crap last year after months of eating right and exercising regularly. I started to eat crap and then it just got out of control, I just wanted more and more all the time. And when you’re in a period where there’s a lot of stress, it’s very easy to just give in. I’m not saying that I will never eat sugar again because it tastes really good, but I do feel that doing this now will help me lose some of the weight I’ve gained back.

In case you are wondering, my commitment means that I will have no chocolate, maple syrup, honey, soda, juice, dried fruits, granola bars, cake, brownies and some fruits that have high fructose in them like pineapples, grapes or cherries. Now you might think I’m crazy here, but I will also avoid bread, pasta, potatoes, rice and grains (because they apparently work somewhat like sugar in the body). Now, there are different opinions going around about this and you are entitled to yours, I myself was pretty hard to convince! But I do intend to honor this commitment.

2)  Challenge #2: Cleaning up the dishes before I go to bed. Now, that might seem like a no brainer, but I do tend to wait the day after to clean my dishes. After a long day, I’m tired and I just really don’t feel like doing the dishes a lot of time. The problem with this is that I start the morning with a sink full of dishes and it just adds some stress to my day.

3) Challenge #3: Preparing my snacks and lunches the night before I go to work. Because I waste a lot of valuable time in the morning doing that and because I want to do that before I do the dishes so that my sink is not full of dishes when I leave my home in the morning.

Here we go, those are my challenges. Will you join us with your own challenge?

Friday, 29 March 2013

The process of weight loss

I haven't written in here for a long time. One of the reasons is that I've been struggling a lot with my weight, I've gained some back and I am losing some of it again, albeit very slowly. I felt like this blog should remain hopeful and positive and I wasn't inspired to share anything. Today, I would like to talk about this whole process of weight loss and what it has given me along the way.

A lot of people think that they understand obesity and they judge it. If it were that easy everybody would lose weight. It's not! Weight loss is a process. It's not typically something that you can just decide to do one morning by sheer motivation. It's not black and white, there's a lot of gray in there. That's why we need to keep trying. That's why we need to keep learning.

Through the process of weight loss, I have become more and more introspective. I have spoken to people about my feelings and insecurities. Some people have judged me, thought I was weird and wanted me to think and be more like them. Some of those people are not in my life anymore. Other people listened, some thought I was weird, but embraced that weirdness. Those people are still in  my life today. They are part of the reason that I am beginning to get stronger again. I now choose to surround myself with people who have a positive and open outlook on life whenever possible.

The weight loss process has changed me tremendously over the years. I have learned a lot about myself. In the process, I've lost my self-confidence in a lot of things. I've learned that things which I had always believed to be true might be different than what I thought to begin with. The process of weight loss has made me weaker only to bring me back to a stronger self. I've grown to be less judgmental of other people, as well as more open to differences and new things. This process is bringing me to do things which I never thought I would do. And I keep learning. This process is not over...