Me and My BLTs…



Are you like me and like to have a bunch of BLT’s during the day? Yup…BLT…Bites, licks and tastes (get your mind out of the gutter).

I know a lot of moms – and probably some dads – who, while clearing off the dinner table, take a few bites of their kids’ food that they left on their plates. Why waste it, right? We may pick at whatever is on the office kitchen table – but not eat the entire thing – just a taste of course. We may grab a few pieces of whatever snack we are putting in the kids lunches (those Nacho flavor goldfish crackers are super tasty -and very small – so very easy to pop a couple in your mouth!), and we may take a lick at the ice cream cone that our husbands are eating with our kids…oh wait, is that only my husband? 😉

What people don’t realize…and what I often forget …is that all of these little tastes ACTUALLY add up in calories! So if you are grazing 6 times a day and each time is 100 calories or more…you have, in reality, eaten 600+ calories on food you didn’t even really enjoy because it was not enough to enjoy!

I know that starting a healthy diet – or re-starting one, is sometimes overwhelming. In your head you hear “must drink lots of water, fill up on veggies, eat protein at every meal, don’t eat after dinner…” but I bet stopping the amount of BLTs you take during a day would show a result in itself. Actually I am sure of it as that has helped me in the past.

I’d rather savour my food and take into account WHAT I am actually eating. A bite here and there is definitely not satisfying so why even do it? I’m not asking you…I’m asking ME! Ugh!

So if you are following a healthy diet and still reaching for those BLTs and not seeing results – that may be the reason why. I have a feeling it’s a big part of my reason why.

Well, my kids will be happy that I won’t be asking them for one bite…just one bite…and actually I think my husband will be happy too!

The funny thing about BLTs is that I don’t think I have ever eaten a real BLT. LOL

See you at the Squat Rack ~


Unicorns & Other Fantasy Attractions



I’m laughing at this meme about the Unicorn drink created by Starbucks. Everyone is going nuts about it. Some are going nuts to try it and some are going nuts in shock about how much sugar is actually in one of these.

I like this particular post because I felt the same way when I read about people going on and on about how much crap was in this. Firstly, it’s pink. How do you think they get it pink? It’s not strawberries lol. And if you thought it was – I am sorry for laughing.

Secondly, ALL their Frappuccino’s are loaded with sugar – whether it is regular white sugar or sugar free syrup, which is full of chemicals. So no real big surprise that this cotton candy coloured – with glitter – drink is loaded with 62 grams of sugar in only 16oz.

I also like this picture.


I can’t believe how many people are still drinking pop…and as well, diet pop. I have said this a million times…I was a Diet Coke fanatic; I get the addiction. The amount of sugar and chemicals in pop is just completely gross. Admittedly, I do drink a diet coke a few times a year (usually when I am eating pizza- not that I only eat pizza a few times a year lol). But, even then, you will never see me finish a can. You can get over your pop obsession! I promise!

We all have our vices. And if you are going to have one of the above drinks with full knowledge of what you are putting in your bodies, that’s your choice. And if it is one of your chosen treats, I get it. Personally I don’t like to drink my calories – I’d rather splurge on a really good piece of cheesecake! Luckily for me, that is not as convenient as going into Starbucks.

Sugar is a hard thing for most people – including myself – to stay away from or say no to – but if you care about how much sugar you are consuming, pay attention to labels. If it is pink, creamy and is pictured with whip cream, don’t be surprised with what’s in it.

See you at the Squat Rack ~


Time Flies! 50 Blog Posts Done!


A year ago I was vacationing in the Mayan Riviera with my family and our friends. It was a much-needed and glorious holiday despite my youngest son’s consistent puking throughout our travel home. Nothing brings you back to reality than pulling your child out of the “boarding now” line in front of the airline workers so he can fill up yet another plastic bag.


But regardless like I said, it was a great vacation! It was in the Mayan that I started to think about how I could incorporate my passion for fitness and health and wellness in my life in a bigger way. The friends we were vacationing with had recently begun their own company and were very happy in their new venture. It got me thinking how I could do this too (without quitting my job). I wish I would have had this passion younger in life – maybe I would have done somethings differently.  I thought about what I could do part time or even less than part time to start.  Here I was poolside in gorgeous weather lying beside my gorgeous husband when the thought of writing a blog came to me. I love to write – at one time my career path was journalism – and I do have people ask me a lot about workouts, meal plans etc.  and I figured this was one way to “do something” with my passion that covered all of this. Although I do teach boot camp at my gym I wanted to do something different.

Back home, after a few weeks, my blog, UpandLifting came to life!

There’s a lot more I want to do with UpandLifting but I am taking my time. I have abandoned my personal Instagram for my UpandLifting one where I primarily show pictures of my meals or post my workouts or food/fitness memes. I am learning how incorporating hashtags help spread your message.

I have had friends and family help me with my website although the majority of my followers are through Facebook. It’s amazing how social media works!

The biggest and most common compliment I receive is how women relate to what I am writing. And in truth, that’s all I ever wanted! I know I am not the only woman going through the things I write about. I often look for blog ideas so please send me what you are looking for – chances are it’s on my list to write about and/or other women are asking for it as well!

To date, one year later, I have more than 250 people following my blog on Facebook and more than 350 people following my UpandLifting Recipe Exchange page. It’s a start!

But more importantly I am enjoying this new venture. And I don’t know where it may lead…maybe nothing more than this, maybe something greater than this. All I know is that I have come a long way since that beach talk with my hubby…and now I feel like it’s been a long time since I was pool side…

Happy 1 Year Anniversary to UpandLifting!

Thanks for reading! Hope you stay with me on this journey!

See you at the Squat Rack `


7 Things Weight Training Has Taught Me… About Me!


  1. Here’s the basic thing. I am stronger than I thought. And I want to get stronger. When I grab heavier weights than I did last week and I don’t have to drop them right away, it’s such a great feeling of strength -accomplishment. I am proud to say that I am strong.
  2. That I like to be challenged. I like to push myself. I pick up those dumbbells or barbells and immediately I want to challenge myself. Even if I am dying through a set and thinking “that’s it, I am done after this one,” I usually change my mind as I catch my breath and go for another. I like to carry this through other parts of my life too…I am typically not a risk taker in life, but a good challenge can also fire up the soul, test the mind!
  3. That I am dedicated to progress. Progressing with lifting weights doesn’t happen quickly. And sometimes there are setbacks…like getting pregnant and stopping the consistency with workouts, like getting injured and scaling back on what you can do. But staying consistent and dedicated means progression will follow.
  4. That I like to try new things. Being at the gym, for me, has me watching others as they work out. I see people doing exercises that I have never done before and therefore, motivates me to try them. From lifting weights at the gym, I got the bug to try CrossFit, which if it wasn’t so expensive, I would do! But it also got me started on kettle bell workouts, interval training and really, just trying new machines and exercises with the equipment.
  5. Lifting weights is such a stress reliever for me. Some people meditate; some go for long runs or walks and some read quietly. My stress relief comes from push presses, squats and lunges! Once you figure out what helps you deal with your stress, it becomes easier to manage.
  6. Although I don’t like to get dirty, I do like to sweat. Those who say you need to do tons of cardio to get a good sweat on never completed a good weightlifting session! Heart rate elevates, sweat pours, and breaths are fast and furious, plus lifting weights burns more calories in a shorter period of time. I swear you could kill me with cardio.
  7.  To believe in myself and my potential. I am so often looking at others for inspiration, motivation, but to understand that to some people, I am their motivation. I get them to my class, I kick their butt and they keep coming back. I constantly need to remind myself that my progress is for them too.

Weightlifting is not for everyone. I know that. But if you are hesitant because you are afraid of bulking – which if you haven’t already heard a million times already – that is the biggest myth out there – then give it a try. It’s so great for strengthening your core, so important for your bone strength, flexibility, muscle building and more! Here’s an article that details some great benefits –

And it may even teach you something about yourself that you never knew about.

See you at the Squat Rack ~



A Baby Story

There’s some thread trending on Facebook about a photographer refusing to take birth photos for a client after hearing her birth would not be a vaginal birth but rather the baby was being delivered by Caesarean section.

And of course, women everywhere are in an uproar about this. The photographer was rude in how she turned this woman’s request down – on what she said about what giving birth means. (To be honest, this thread may even be a hoax as you never know with social media, but it did get me thinking of my deliveries).

My first born, Julian, was born by C-section. Here he is, surprisingly, sleeping.


Like many women, I always dreamed about what it would be like to be pregnant, even go through labour, and give birth to this perfect baby that they would place immediately on your chest for that instant bonding between mama and child.

I went off work about 2 months before I was due to give birth. During those two months, I watched the TLC show The Baby Story every day. Every. Day. I cried at every episode as the doctor excitedly said “it’s a boy!” or “it’s a girl”! I watched the mother hold her newborn – baby looking up at her and boom! LOVE!

I couldn’t wait for all of this.

My due date came. My due date went. This kid was quite comfy I soon learned. After a week, a doctor’s check up revealed that I was hardly dilated. I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday August 20th. After two stints that day at the hospital, I went into labour (back labour – that’s another story, dear God!) and I labored at home until I thought I was going to die. Or until Johnny thought he was going to die lol.  We arrived at the hospital around 10pm and I labored through the evening and although a nurse told me I was almost there early in the morning and although we called our parents thinking we would be pushing soon, nothing happened.

 I stayed at 9cm…and stayed…and stayed…then around 1pm, after every nurse, resident, student…hell probably even the janitor, checked on me, I was told I would need a C-section. There was no progress.

I cried. My husband asked why I was crying. I told him this didn’t happen in The Baby Story. My baby wasn’t going to be placed on top of me to hold when it was born. Honestly, I was heartbroken but also tired and wanted this baby out.

With great luck, I happened to have a wonderful anesthesiologist, who gave Johnny and I step-by-step or play-by-play on what was happening as Julian was being delivered. And he took some wicked pictures.

Although I didn’t get a chance to hold Julian right away, they brought him over to me to see his little puffy eyed face. And although I envied all the vaginal birth mothers on my floor as I walked preciously and painfully down the hall for that week and they beautifully flowed around their rooms, I only cared that my Julian was finally here. And Julian’s birth story speaks volumes of who he is. Although he is NEVER late, (which surprises me that he was past his due date) he likes things on HIS terms and WHEN he is ready.

And when I had Jacob, I told my doctor; I didn’t want to have another C-section. Some women prefer it. Some women can only have babies that way, but I was told that I didn’t have to have another section by force. So I wanted to try to push. I think I willed it so much that Jacob was born only 1 day passed his due date, in half the time of his brother and out after only 8 minutes of pushing.

But guess what?

After Jacob was born I was so happy that I pushed him out that I didn’t even realize until a few days after his birth that he wasn’t put on my chest upon delivery. He was cleaned up, weighed and measured and THEN came to me. And I obviously didn’t miss it. (But don’t tell me how wonderful that was for you or my ovaries may cry!)

Here’s Jacob, so little – before he met his big brother!


Both my sons’ births were were amazing – empowering – beautiful. I gave birth to both. And their individual births tell the story of who they are.

No episode of The Baby Story could have ever given me that.

See you at the Squat Rack ~



Take Precaution…


This morning I added some dairy to my breakfast. I really try to stay away from dairy like foods – cheese, milk, yogurt -etc. But this morning I added some ricotta cheese to some sliced banana and almond butter. Let’s see if I feel any effects from this concoction.

Do you have a food or foods that you eat with precaution? Something you know will probably bother your tummy, cause a headache or make you run for the bathroom? Or something that affects your energy, focus? Sometimes, it’s worth the pain – I know! Would love to hear what food or foods you eat with precaution!

See you at the Squat Rack ~



My Whole 30 Update


Soooo….this blog was supposed to be dedicated to my successful Whole 30 journey that I started on March 1st.

I want you to know I started off strong. I really did.

I was determined to follow this through. I made some great recipes and filled my plates with lots of delicious vegetables, meats and fats. Loved the dump ranch that I could eat and I loved the variety. I stayed strong during 2 birthday outings and when my husband and boys ordered pizza. I felt great that I didn’t falter and I wasn’t resentful.

I was definitely less bloated and didn’t have any stomach pains whatsoever. I actually stared at my skin because I liked what I saw!

Then 15.5 days into my program, I cheated.

I ate some bread. Now, on Whole 30 if you cheat…even a little bit, you have to start back at Day 1. I decided to just keep going instead. But I didn’t get far. PMS came in like the lion it usually is with sugar cravings. I gave in. Now, I have not indulged completely…I have not binged on anything but my sugar cravings for breads, chocolate, cereal are screaming loud and clear. And when your husband makes Belgium waffles from scratch on a Saturday night…how can you NOT try them??? I won’t tell you all the terrible things he put on them which just tempted me more!

I am disappointed that I didn’t go through the entire 30 days to see what would have been my final result. I am disappointed that apparently around day 15 is when you can feel the most at giving in and I didn’t read enough about the program to know that this was normal and to just keep going.  As well, I found that sticking to the meal plan template for a 3pm meal was hard. I couldn’t just grab an apple and almonds – that’s not the template. It has to be protein, veggies and fat. And even though I brought a can of tuna everyday…it was so hard to open that up to eat when I didn’t want it. So I didn’t.

How do I feel now that I have eaten some non- compliant foods? Horrible. Not psychologically -physically. Back is the bloating feeling. Back are the cravings. Now, who knows that if after the 30 days I wouldn’t get all those cravings back or if I would have weaned myself off from wanting that stuff. Typically I don’t agree on removing something from your diet entirely – moderation has always been my key. But I do believe if something doesn’t sit well with you – either in your gut or with foggy brain, energy etc. that it should be eaten in low moderation. There’s no way I am never having Thug Kitchen’s bean burritos again…or goat cheese…or oatmeal…or a fresh bun stuffed with – anything!

But, what I did learn from this is that I do enjoy a paleo type of food plan. I really didn’t miss bread or sugar – what I missed was that I couldn’t just grab something quick.

I’m usually the one that says failing to plan is planning to fail. This time this is about me. I didn’t plan my Whole 30 round correctly with research and a clear strategy. Lesson learned!

So, on the weekend I bought this book and I am going to read it front to back! And hopefully this will help me to plan my next Whole 30 journey much better.


Whole 30 is very strict. But I think for 30 days is doable. I have read about so many people who have successfully completed this program and had major improvements with eczema, arthritis, energy, gut issues and more. It’s quite interesting. Until my next Whole 30 attempt, which I am planning for end of April, I am going to eat paleo as much as I can.

Even though I didn’t do a whole 30 days,  I did have some really nice food porn like Instagram pics for those 2 weeks – even if they didn’t consist of chocolate or peanut butter or ice cream.

See you at the Squat Rack ~


My 10 Favourite Healthy Daily Tips!


Good Health Freeway Sign

Just like many of you, I am still trying to figure this journey of being healthier. Like I have said many times before, I was a nonfat queen thinking I was eating healthy because I took fat out of my diet. I have done a lot of stupid things thinking I was on the right track. I was so wrong about food. Here are 10 things that I do almost every day to keep me on track with eating better for my body…not to get skinny…to get healthy.

10 – Read, read, read. Lately I have been looking at so many different fitness and nutritionist sites to learn more about food, fitness as it pertains to my lifestyle and my likes. Knowledge is power.

9 – I surround myself with other people who are interested in the same thing. Not all my friends are freaks like me that care about every morsel of food. And that’s ok because I need them when I want to eat a whole piece of cheesecake and not be embarrassed. Ha ha. But I also have a good group of friends that I can count on to keep me accountable and to ask questions to, vent to, share with. This group has helped me tremendously with their support and encouragement.

8 – No more diet pop for me. When I first got married I used to have a full can of Diet Coke with every dinner. I actually have a wedding photo of me in my dress holding a Diet Coke can to the camera. Now, I will have one once in a blue moon if we are out for pizza or something like that. I’d say maximum 5 times a year…and I think I may be stretching that. If I don’t feel like plain water, I put lemons, oranges, cucumbers in my water for a refreshing taste.

7 – I limit my sugar intake. No sugar in my coffee, natural honey if I have tea and I really, really try to limit any sugar treats to special occasions…which in my family is still a lot – lots of birthdays, Communions, Confirmations etc., etc.…Now…I said I TRY…I’m not perfect but you won’t see me indulging in treats at work or in the middle of the week at home…but don’t tempt me because I may fall…and when I do eat sweets my sugar dragon comes out with a vengeance which turns into a binge which turns into a very sick feeling woman (physically and emotionally).

6 – I pack my lunch 98% of the time. There is the odd time where I truly have nothing in my fridge. So then I usually buy lunch at one of three places – Primal Cravings, Goodness Me or Lettuce Love (all in Burlington where I work). But I see many people who NEVER bring a lunch and go out to eat all the time. First of all, it can get expensive and second of all, it’s so easy to then go through a drive through or eat something fast and unhealthy. Again, if it is once in a while – no harm in that! Bring your lunch, pack your snacks and you will save money, time and your waistline.

5 – I only eat what I like. For many years I would cook things and eat them because they were low fat or healthy but I didn’t enjoy what I was eating. I LOVE to eat so why waste my meals with things that were bland or boring or just not what I like? No more tilapia, no more ground turkey…or at least for a while and no more DRY grilled chicken!! I am loving the new recipes I am making – they are full of healthy ingredients and extremely tasty. I never feel deprived.


4 – Listen to your body when it comes to food. This is part of the reason I tried Whole 30 (which I will write about next week). Just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it sits well with you. Don’t eat something if it causes you pain or bloating or discomfort. I know that if I eat certain healthy foods I will end up with a stomach ache or bloating or gas or even a headache. I may have some of these foods once in a blue moon – because I do love black bean burritos! – but I have had to cut out some foods that I love but that my body definitely doesn’t. Sometimes we have to make some hard cuts.

3 – As I stated before…no more low fat anything! They fill those items up with sugar, sugar, sugar. If I am going to have dairy in my coffee, I don’t ask for it to be skim, if I indulge in yogurt it is never fat free. It’s not worth it in the end.

2 – Pack snacks when you are going out…shopping, kids’ activities, errands etc…that way when you are getting hungry or if you happen to be out and about longer than you thought you would be, you have something to tie you over. Throw some nuts in a bag, half a protein bar, fruit, whole grain crackers…etc…I definitely need to do this MORE! I am not pleasant if I am HANGRY.

1 – My number 1 tip is WATER. Just like snacks, bring a bottle of water everywhere you go. It is true that most of the time when you think you may be hungry, you are actually dehydrated. Buy yourself a nice bottle and start filling it up. When you are on your way out, grab your purse, wallet, sunglasses and WATER. Yes, I pee a million times a day but that’s ok with me…as long as I am not stuck in traffic…enough said.

If you have a tip you want to share please email me at

I’d love to share it!

See you at the Squat Rack ~


Balancing is for the Circus

balance pic

Everyone always says stuff like “work-life balance,” but what does balance really mean to you? What does it mean to anyone, really?

I think what you want balanced changes every day. Sometimes it means getting out of the door on time (sometimes or all the time??), sometimes it means 5 homemade dinners a week and sometimes it means one of those meals means peanut butter on toast.

My balance means that when I am at the office, I am doing my best work while I am there. When I get home, balance means feeding my kids so they don’t starve, making lunches so teachers see I don’t starve my kids and making sure my house is somewhat clean. And, let’s face it, the main floor I try to keep clean in case someone stops by – don’t even try to go upstairs where everything we own and need to put away, is hiding.

You will never have balance on getting laundry done because as soon as you are caught up, another day is here to wear clothes, use towels, etc.

And of course, balance means something different if we have to rush after work to bring the kids to hockey, singing, soccer, swimming, if they have homework or God forbid you need to run your own errand. Balance means something different if I have work or volunteer evening meetings – or say it isn’t so, I go out with some friends during the week!

I think trying to find balance is overrated and it’s full of pressure. I think most of us live on the unbalanced. I also heard a great idea that instead of always trying for balance try instead to work on priorities.


Today my priority was to work from home and get some stuff done while enjoying my kids – filling up their cold- playing- in- the- snow- bodies with hot chocolate and marshmallows, chicken soup and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t shower, I didn’t clean up any messes and I didn’t monitor their PS4 hockey challenge time.

Priorities over balance – I like the sound of that. But you still can’t go upstairs when you visit me.

See you at the Squat Rack ~




It’s Only 30 Days…



It’s Lent. I know that most people give up something unhealthy – candy, chips, pop, and alcohol. I have been wanting to do the Whole 30 program for at least a year now and started experimenting with it in January. I decided that after my gala, which was the last weekend of February, I would start this one month journey. It just happens to also fall into the Lenten season.

I believe that how you succeed in something is all in how you spin it – sell it – even to yourself. So instead of thinking of all the things I am giving up by following this regime, I am telling myself that I am giving myself 30 days of lots of delicious foods that will make my body feel great!

Whole 30 is a 30-day reset…”designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system”. It is the elimination of a lot of hard to digest foods including legumes (no peanut butter!!!), sugar, grains (even quinoa), alcohol (very easy for me) and of course, dairy. It is also important that you read labels for hidden sugars – so I have to be careful which almond milk I drink, balsamic vinegar I use and even pickles I eat!

Today is Day 6. There are a ton of amazing recipes that I have already tried and will make throughout this month. Lots of protein, eggs, bacon, veggies and some fruit…and also additional good fats…so bring on the almond butter, guacamole, nuts and homemade ranch dressing. These additions make all my food so heavenly!

My meals are pretty big and satisfying. I was…and am afraid of weekends. Weekend one – I survived! I survived going out to eat Saturday night – made my dinner before we left and ate it when we came home… Sunday we celebrated the safe return of my niece who travelled to Kenya for two weeks along with my sister in law’s birthday. Again, I brought my own food as they indulged in homemade panzerottis and other deep friend deliciousness. It’s only 30 days, I told myself as I averted my eyes.

Here’s an example of my breakfast…never would have believed I would eat all this!!



I also have my mother’s birthday and March Break. Luckily, I will bring my own food to my mom’s and my family already thinks I am crazy so this won’t be any different. I am off with the kids for two days on the break and I will make sure to prep and bring my food along wherever we go. They also think I am crazy so no one will bat an eyelash here.

Why do this? You must be asking yourself. I want to see how my body feels. I have lived with digestive issues all my life and I know there are foods that trigger my gut. It will be interesting to see how I feel…I am hoping for a less bloated, more energetic body and as well, some trimming around the gut. I’d love to see my skin glow more and as well I’d love to kill some sugar cravings. I also want to do this by eating  real food.

My goal after these 30 days is to eat mostly paleo, which is not as strict as Whole 30. The paleo lifestyle allows for gluten free, grain free oatmeals and cereals, pizza crusts etc. whereas Whole 30 doesn’t want you to have any of that.

Some of the improvements and changes that people who have completed the Whole 30 listed include “high blood pressure • high cholesterol • type 1 diabetes • type 2 diabetes • asthma • allergies • sinus infections • hives • skin conditions • endometriosis • PCOS • infertility • migraines • depression • bipolar disorder • heartburn • GERD • arthritis • joint pain • ADD • thyroid dysfunction • Lyme disease • fibromyalgia • chronic fatigue • lupus • leaky gut syndrome • Crohn’s • IBS • Celiac disease • diverticulitis • ulcerative colitis”

Some of you may think I am nuts and that this is pointless. And that’s ok. I am doing this for me, anyway. I will be – and have been – posting some of my meals and plan on doing that for the 30 days.

The other way I am selling this to myself is that it only 30 days…it’s only 30 days…now only 24 days…24 days… I think my body deserves it.

See you at the Squat Rack ~