Toronto (Canada) Support Group

  • I’m starting my BfL challenge on Monday, 1 October 2012.  It’s been 4-years since I last worked out effectively, so the pounds have accumulated and I hit rock bottom with respect to how I feel physically and emotionally.  

    I’m ready for all the hard work ahead required to obtain to my goals:  getting my endorphins running, eating clean, clearing my mind, and changing my life.  I’m planning my meals and workouts this week.  My freezer has been cleaned out, ready to be stuffed with uber healthy & well portioned meals.  

    If you’re willing to help someone succeed in changing her life, please get in touch.  It’s always so much better working out with a partner who can push you and offer positive reinforcement.  I’m currently a Wynn member.  

    Cheer to everyone on their Body-for-Life Challenge!

  • I'm up for supporting! I am from Winnipeg so that's what made me open your post.  I started on Sept. 10th and so on day 14, but have been sick as a dog for the past 3 days, I ended up having 2 free days on the weekend and have missed 2 workouts.  I am not giving up, and shouldn't have had that second free day, but will not beat myself up about it, b/c I want to keep going.  I feel like restarting from day 1, just b/c I have been sick, but I don't really plan to stop this sort of lifestyle when the challenge is over, so just one day at a time.

    Way to go on cleaning out your freezer and getting so set up ahead of time.  I don't keep any sweets in the house- this is my weakness.  I have 6 bags of unopened chips leftover from a party and they don't ever tempt me, but chocolate is a completely different story, so none of that around : )

    I find planing the meals and workout the day before has really helped, as well as this forum (this is my second challenge).

    I am in decent shape, but want to look like a fitness model (who doesn't) - I am 5"4" roughly 130lbs (I don't weigh myself), have a lean upper body but carry excess in the lower half.  I was a size 10 pants the first challenge, fitting into 6s at the end.  I am now a fitted 6 or loose 8 but hope to be a 4 by the end of this challenge.  My first challenge certainly helped to firm up my legs and lessen any cellulite. I used to run but then b/c of an injury, have been unable to for 2 years.  When I ran I was small, but skinny fat, and my legs were never firm.  Now I am firmer and I only do 20min cardio 3x/week.  Love it!  

    Anyways, I babble - but LOVE talking about this sort of lifestyle.  I feel SO good on it and noticed it is the clean eating more than anything that makes me feel so good, calm and happy.  When I wasn't eating clean but working out consistently, I was still more antsy and stressed, so I pin all the goodness on the clean eating, and of course the muscles are from the workouts.  It all goes hand in hand, so best of luck to you and I hope to check in soon.


  • It can be quite the downer to sick when you're on a path to success.  Kodos to you you for keeping upbeat and keeping sight of your goal!  Absolutely keep going from where you are at, and don't start over.  Learn from your "mistakes" and keep getting better along the way.  It's the only way you'll get stronger and better.

    Unfortunately, I do have sweets in the house.  I moved back with my parents to help pay down debt and save money, and their European cooking and baking can sometimes get to be too much:  to many sweets, and an enormous amount of food!  Chocolate is my weakness as well.  Actually, anything sweet is!

    I've planned my meals for this week:  I've cooked ahead and portioned a lot in the freezer.

    I'm 5'-9", and (rounded up) 185lbs.  I have a nice figure, but I carry my weight in the middle.  The smallest size I ever fit into (and we're talking high school) is a size 8.  But sized have changed in how they fit, so who really knows what size I was.  My goal is get down to 145lbs.

    Like you, this is my second time at the challenge.  The first time - 5-years ago - I did it on my own before I knew about this site.  Lasted about 6-weeks, then got scared at all the attention I was suddenly getting and allowed myself to be intimidated by all the 20-somethings (skinny-fats) in the gym.  Not there anymore, thankfully.

    I had never liked running before, mainly because I was forced into it.  But once I had started the challenge the first time, eventually I found I wanted to burst out in a run.  It was a really good feeling.

    No, you don't babble.  Thank you for writing back.

    My only challenge is how I will work out on Mondays and Tuesdays:  I work until 3:30pm, the nearest gym is 8km away, but traffic is horrendous and takes 20-minutes to get there, so I can't start until 4:00 to 4:10pm.  I tend to do a 5-min prep of dynamic stretching before my workouts, so it's 4:15pm by the time I start my workout.  I also go to night school, and it takes 45-min to drive to downtown, which I have to be at by 6:00pm.  So that only leaves me with an hour maybe an hour-&-a-half to workout.  I might be able to do cardio, but not weights.  SO!  Do I do 2-days cardio, then 2-days weights, or 2-days cardio, and follow the rest of the routine as normal?  Sundays are family days; hence, "cheat" days.

    Have a great day, Shelley!


  • Hi D - I can relate to the European style of food. This is how I grew up.  My parents entertain all the time and my mom is a wonderful cook, and their dinners consist of course after course of delectable food, my dad is into wine, so lots of that too, and then an ASSORTMENT of desserts - not just one.  My mom thinks that "what if someone doesn't lie this, then they have another option, or another 2 options" -Anyways, a little rant that has left me a little bitter.  After moving out of the house, it took me over 7 years to get out of the habit of having dessert after every dinner, lunch sometimes too! And when I do go home, I find it SOO very difficult to resist.  So good for you being able to do this surrounded by all that food!   That being said, I find it does help to not be hungry, and so the clean eating program helps with that.

    I went to Costco and although they sucker you into a lot of buys, I bought a huge pack of cooked chicken breast strips.  I packaged them into smaller portions and froze some of them to pull out as needed.  I also cooked a pork tenderloin, a batch of oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and some roast sweet potato wedges (with sesame oil and black sesame seeds - yum).  Plus stocked up the veggies.  Normally I don't do too much prep, as my husband and I are both chefs and I can come up with meals pretty quickly when I am at home.  I am part time at home still, studying at home and doing part of my business from home too, but then on the days I am away from the home I take all my meals with me.  So I have the luxury of being close to my kitchen most of the week, and so can imagine the challenges others face not having this luxury.

    I sometimes cannot get to the gym with the kids around - I have a treadmill at home but since I can't run or walk uphill, that is useless to me.  I have weights here and so I can do my lower or upper body wkouts at home, but some exercises I could use a little heavier weights.  We are opposite with what we can do at home....I am sure it won't be detrimental if you do back-to back cardio sessions, and if you did, I would do an upper and lower body workout the next days at the gym.

    If you don't have any weights at home, I might suggest investing in a few.  Look on kijiji to see if anyone is giving them away for less.  I would say 5, 10, 15 and 20lb dumbells, maybe 25lbs as you get there (I could be way off and you could be finding these weights too light ???? - but feel its a good range).  

    For UBWO at home, I would do pushups for chest (and since I don't increase the weight I just decrease the pace - mkes it so much harder) and chest flyes on the floor, bent over rows or bent over flyes for the back, and lateral raises for shoulders.  Triceps I can really kill with close hand push ups (experiment with these to see how they work your triceps).

    For LBWO at home, I do lunges and reverse lunges, squats, deadlifts, single leg calf raises and some sort of ab exercise.  I cannot seem to use too much weight on the lower body so I don't need too much weight here.  If I want to kill my legs, I might increase the reps if I don't have enough weight - IF I can't get to the gym, but when at the gym, I follow the plan.

    For cardio, I used to skip in place or just dance around and increase the intensity to reach level 9 and 10.  10 was sometimes high knee lifts as fast as I could.  But this still hurts my pf so for me, cardio has to be done at the gym and if I can't get there 2 days in a row, I would do weights at home and then 2 cardio sessions, so my body has time to recover from the weights....

    Anyways, I can go on and on : )    Have a super day!!!

  • Hi Shelley; I was suppose to start last Monday, but we got work my grandfather was on his death bed, and the following morning he passed away.  It's been a rough week.  Never-the-less, it may be a week late, but I'm still starting.  In another day!  I've frozen my couscous-couscous, quinoa, BBQ'd Chicken Kabobs with veggies, plain grilled chicken, and home-made salsa.  I also have The Eat-Clean Diet cookbook by Tosca Reno, and it has a lot of really good recipes that suit this life change.

    Yes, my mom is basically the same.  Aside from the 6-course meals and dozen desserts, I find my parents tend to overcook their meat.  They don't understand the concept of medium or medium-rare:  "That's not cooked!  You're going to get salmonella and get sick!"  LOL.  They mean well.  

    OMG!!  Both you and your husband are chefs ... with kids?!!  Well, double kudos to you sister!  Yes, you do have what seems to be luxury of staying at home, but you also have the kids to take care of and your studies, so I'm would think it's challenging for you as well.

    Oh, your suggestion of weight is actually a little on heavy side!  LOL!!!  I think 2lbs would be sufficient for my shoulders, to start off with.  I can't even do a push-up!!  My boobs skim the floor.  It's quite sad, really.  I have no choice to laugh about it, for if I cry, I'd be in dire straights!  I'm a weakling.  I think I will look into the weights after I use the machines to get my posture in good form, and my strength improves.   The gym is my best option for now.

    Breakfast is my hardest meal of the day.  If you have any idea's, I'd love to hear them.  

    What I have so far is:  oatmeal; egg white & turkey or chicken scramble; more oatmeal, egg white breakfast burritos;  Muesli with Yoghurt; even more oatmeal; and as a alternative, an egg white omelette.  The plan to prepare everything the night before so I have no more than a 15-minute prep time.  On the weekends, I planned to reserve healthy pancakes, since they take more time.  All ideas and recipes came from the Eat-Clean cookbook.  I know you're a chef, but if you'd like any of the recipes, I'd be happy to share.

    Thanks for the info, Shelley.  Give yourself a great day!

  • Hi D,

    I am so sorry to hear about your grandfather.  At such a difficult time, it is still very impressive you are forum-ing!  This plan is so great in so many ways - I feel it makes me stronger to be able to handle stressful situations.  I hope you are doing okay.

    I literally laughed out loud when you wrote about the salmonella comment!  : ) hahahaha

    I wasn't sure how new you are to weights - I was lifting weights prior to my discovery of the BFL but had worked my way up to 10lbs, originally starting with 2,3 and 5lbs.  So if that is where you are starting that's fine - just make sure you are hitting your 9s and 10s - if you aren't struggling and making that funny face when you are doing your last few reps, it is too light.  And so if you invest in a few dumbells, you can start with the 3 & 5lbs and then as you need heavier, you can buy them then, saving having to buy all at once....just an idea...But the machines will really help you, as you mentioned, to keep you using the correct form.  When using free weights, form is very important to void injury, so make sure you research proper form or ask someone who knows.  If  weights are only an option at the gym, then I would say just do 2 days in a row of weights and then 2 days in a row of cardio at home - if you are working out every day (well 6 days), how can that be a a bad thing? favorite meal.  I usually wake up quite hungry, and wanting to start the day out right, I usually make pretty healthy choices.  On the weekends I also opt for power pancakes - I use whole grain flour, cinnamonm protein powder, baking powder, almond milk (I am lactose intolerant and so would use milk if I wasn't) and egg whites - yummm.  If your protein powder isn't sweetened, add some stevia or splenda to make them sweet.

    But for regular days, pancakes are too much time.  I do eat egg whites a lot.  I invested in a great nonstick pan, that I leave out all the time, spray with pam and put about 120g egg white into, add salt, pepper & 1) herbs  or 2) salsa (salsa makes it look gross but I love the flavor) or 3) a little feta or goats cheese or 4) ham and low fat cheddar (keeping the cheese to less than 30g even if low fat), or 5) diced potato, salsa, avocado, low fat cheddar, crushed tortilla (this is more of a special one but love it).   These are just some ideas - I usually serve it with oatmeal (that I always have cooked on hand) or with toast - for bread, there is multigrain bread out there but a lot of them are white bread with  a little whole wheat flour and a bunch of grains thrown in, so I buy really dark heavy bread that is 100% natural (read the ingredients) - I find it by the deli meats in my store.  It isn't really like bread, more like a crisp cracker once toasted, but I love that. If I have nothing else on hand, I will use 100% whole wheat bread, that the stores make themselves as opposed to Wonder Bread or brands like that that add so many extras to keep it fresh longer.  If you bread isn't dried out after 3 days, it has too many preservatives....  anyways....

    sometimes if I am on the run, I will still cook egg whites in the pan and then put them in a wrap and wrap that up to eat in the car on my way.

    Other ideas, are the bread (as above - don't worry, won't go that into detail again : )) with cottage cheese.  This is my main staple when I am short on time.  I pop a piece of toast in and put my cottage cheese in a bowl and then spoon it on top my crispy toast.. yum.  Sometimes I add pepper, or diced tomato or avocado - also good on it.

    Other times I buy crackers that are not really crackers, ie. Kavita? I think is the name of one. Look at the ingredients - should be no palm oil or too many things, just natural whole grains.  Usually at the end of the cracker aisle and a little more pricy.  But I keep these on hand when I don't have bread.  I eat these with cottage cheese too.  I love cottage cheese and for some reason, it doesn't bother my stomach.

    Other times, provided no one is still sleeping, I make a protein shake.  I usually like to eat something as opposed to drink, but shakes are great if I am going to the gym soon after.  I can't get to the gym before breakfast b/c I have to get the kids to school and if I don't eat, I am too hungry by the time I get to the gym.  A favortie is 1 cup almond milk, 1 scoop protein, 1 banana, big handful of spinach - yum!

    It took me a while to get used to this stuff for breakfast (and I am talking over 3 years).  I grew up eating white bread with tons of butter or cereal - so not clean!  Then I switched to whole wheat with peanut butter which eventually became healthier grainier breads with natural peanut butter.  I could eat this every day!!!! But I realized peanut butter isn't considered a protein but a fat.  Sometimes I will have this, but then add cottage cheese for more protein.  But I don't do it too often, especially b/c now I am on the BFL.

    I hope that helps to give you some ideas???

    Yesterday was our Thanksgiving and I had had wine and dessert the night before so I actually only had turkey (I did have a small taste of mash potato b/c my husband worked so hard and put them on my plate) and veggies, no wine, no dessert.  And then a few hrs later when everyone else was still so stuffed and still drinking, I had another small plate of lean turkey and steamed broccoli, to put a small dent in the leftovers : ).  I am pretty proud of myself!  I woke up feeling great so it was all worth it!!

    Today is lower body but my groin is still feeling like it could easily be pulled - doesn't feel like an injury, just feels very susceptible to injury - maybe hormone related.  Anyways, will do what I can to reach that 10.  All the best to you and your workout.   Thanks for listening : )

  • Happy Thanksgiving to all of our BFL Forum members living in Canada!!!

  • Hi Shelley,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I actually started following bodybuilding in 1980 when Rachelle McLish won Ms. Olympia.  I enjoyed watching the competitions, both male and female, and Corey Everson became my role model.  However, once Lenda Murray won, I started to lose interest because I didn’t like where woman’s bodybuilding was going.  I didn’t like where men’s bodybuilding was going as well.  The competitors were getting far too large and veiny for my liking: hence, steriods.  I also stopped following the Muscle & Fitness magazine, because of the same reasons, and because I felt Joe Weider was a hipocrite.  For someone who stated he wanted to get women’s bodybuilding on the map – which he did – and make women equal to men in the sport, he sure did a good job in downgrading women with the very tacky, s&m-like costumes.  I agree that Joe Weider did a lot for bodybuilding, but I’m not a fan.

    Back then, I had joined Gold’s Gym - the only gym in town.  Unfortunately, I was really intimidated by the “muscle heads” who looked at me as though I didn’t belong.  So I ended up quitting.  I had just felt very odd going to the gym, trying to work-out on my own.  There were so many times that I got the same reaction as with the first Gold’s I joined.  I felt like an outcast.  Eventually, it became just a dream I had.

    I followed the industry through the magazines well into the 2000s, so I believe I know quite a bit about working-out and the importance of proper form.  But there is always something new I can learn.

    At home, I really don’t have the space for working out, so the gym is my resource.  Unfortunately, they don’t have anything less than 5lbs.  I think that should work fine.

    I started my BfL program last night:  cardio – treadmill.  I started at 3.5 and worked my up each level by .2, reaching a light jog at 4.5 for level 10.  I’ll have to increase either the intervals or the starting point for the next time.  I had a good work-out, not a great one.

    Tonight I’m doing my UB, and I have to take pictures when I get home.  Ugh!

    Thanks for all the breakfast tips.  I’ll be sure to try them.  So, you have both eggs and oatmeal?  Hmmm.  I have read that suggestion, but it sounds like a lot of food.   I hear you about the cottage cheese.  I’m a little lactose intolerant.  If I have a glass of milk, I’ll get the runs shortly afterwards.  However, I found I’m ok with the Natrel Fine-filtered milk.  I also drink Silk and Almond.

    I think you mean the Ryvita crackers.  Yes, I have those two, and they are delicious with cottage cheese!

    I too grew up on white bread.  My father had a quadruple by-pass several years ago, and now they always buy and eat margarine … on homemade white bread!  You must know how delicious fresh, homemade bread is:  still steaming in your hands, soft and tasty, with some butter on it!  …  Oh, the evils of being European!  :o)  

    Well, except for the occasional home-made white bread, I stick to natural grained bread.  Have you tried Spelt bread?  Although very healthy, the problem I find with Spelt is that it’s very dense, takes forever to chew, and a couple of pieces with natural peanut butter (Bulk Barn) are so filling, I can’t eat anything else!

    Good for you keeping to your sticking to your plan on Thanksgiving Day!  You should be proud of yourself!

    I froze portions of the Thanksgiving turkey and will be making an Egg White & Turkey Scramble for breakfast tomorrow or Saturday.  The recipe asks for ground turkey, but I think I can find a way to compromise with the left-overs.  This is the recipe:



    8 egg whites

    1 lb (454 g) Lean Ground Turkey

    2 cup (480 ml) Shredded Spinach

    2 Tomatoes, coarsely chopped

    1 Clove Garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press

    Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste


    1. Cook ground turkey or tofu in a medium ski8llet until cooked through and lightly browned.  Drain excess juices form the pan.  Place turkey in a bowl and set aside

    2. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.  Scramble the egg whites until dry.  Add scrambled eggs to cooked turkey.

    3. In a small skillet coated with cooking spray, lightly sauté tomatoes, spinach and garlic.

    4.  In a large skillet, combine all ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.  Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

    Serves:  6 Servings

    Prep:      4-min

    Cook:   10-minutes

    Nutritional Value Per Serving:

    Calories:  114

    Calories from Fat:  8

    Protein:  24g

    Carbs:  2g

    Dietary Fiber:  0.59g

    Sugars:  1g

    Fat:  0.8g

    Sodium:  120mg

    Would you ever give your kids cookies for breakfast?  Of course not!  But what if they were healthy cookies?  Take a look at this recipe and let me know what you think.  Not so bad for a cheat day?



    ½ cup (120 ml) Brown Sugar

    ¼ cup (60 ml) Olivina or Light Oil

    3 Egg Whites

    ¼ cup (60 ml) Finely chopped Dried Figs

    ¼ cup (60 ml) Dried Cranberries

    1 tsp (5 ml) Vanilla

    1 cup (240 ml) All-purpose Flour

    ½ cup (120 ml) Whole-wheat Flour

    ½ cup (120 ml) Bran Flakes

    2 Tbsp (30 ml) Ground Flax Seed

    ½ tsp (2.5 ml) Baking Soda

    ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) Ground Cinnamon

    ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) Ground Allspice

    ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) Slivered Almonds


    1.  Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C).

    2.  Combine sugar, oil, & egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in chopped dried fruits and vanilla.

    3.  Lightly spoon all-purpose flour into measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine whole-wheat flour, bran, baking soda, flax seed and spices.  Stir with a whisk or fork.

    4.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring until just combined.  Fold in almonds.

    5.  Drop by tablespoon full onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat.  Bake for 12 minutes or until almost set.  Cool on pans and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

    Serves:  12 Cookies

    Prep:      45-min

    Cook:     12-minutes

    Nutritional Value Per Cookie:

    Calories:  154

    Calories from Fat:  56

    Protein:  2g

    Carbs:  22g

    Dietary Fiber:  1g

    Sugars:  12g

    Fat:  6g

    Sodium:  26mg

    Thanks for your great ideas!  They absolutely helped!  Take yourself out for a coffee:  on me!  LOL!!!  …  Ok.  Just pretend it’s from me!  :o)

    Oh!  By-the-way.  Since we can no longer get EAS products in Canada, what do you use for your protein powder?

    Give yourself a great day, and have fun working out!

    PS:  Is your husband also following the BfL program?

  • Hi D - thanks for the recipes!  The scramble looks like one I want to try tomorrow and the cookies also sound yum!  Sweets are my weakness and even though these are very healthy looking, they still ahve sugar in them and that scares me.  I would still feel guilty eating them, which would mean if I eat one, I might eat more than just one.  Have trouble stopping!!!  I also hate feeding my kids any sugar.  I feel like they act way out of control on sugar and I know it b/c I hardly give them sugar and then when I do, I can see the obvious change.  This might sound a little crazy, but I would rather give them salty potato chips than sugar of any sort.  But I will still attempt to make these in a really small batch with a few ppl to share, so they are all gone before I can get to the end of the cookie jar : ).

    I know that oats and egg whites in one meal, esp. breakfast can be a lot.  This is a really filling meal and I know a lot of ppl are so used to eating so little or nothing for breakfast that it would be too much.  At the beginning it was a little too much for me, but now I wake up starving and if I don't feed myself something filling, I eat the crusts of the kids breakfasts. : p  So now that I am pretty hungry in the am, I can handle that as a breakfast, but if you aren't yet that hungry, try something else or maybe try half a portion of each?  not sure if that is good advice.  If I skimp on carbs earlier in the day, I crave them later but crave sugar, so I know my body and how it reacts now and make myself eat the bfl portions and balance.

    For protein powder i buy a brand from Superstore (Presidents Choice brand).  It is a whey protein or a whey isolate.  I just went into a supplement store and was told that an isolate is better absorbed by the body than whey, and mixes better too.  So I just ran out of the 100% whey (which I loved) and switched to the whey isolate.  I like both.  You can buy them unsweetened or sweetened with sucralose.  Some are sweetened with aspartame which I try to avoid -these ones are a little less expensive, but really don't want to eat the aspartame.  I still don't feel like the sucralose is that clean, but I like sweet shakes, and so opt for this.  I now GNC stores carry a brand of protein powder that is sweetened with Stevia, a natural sweetener, but this one is even more expensive.  I would suggest trying out the single serve packages before you buy a whole big tub, b/c that;s a lot of money to spend if you don't end up using it.

    Good job on freezing the meals- I can never seem to be that organized, but then again I have the time to prepare food every day.  

    How are your workouts going?  Are you making progress?  This is my focus- progress each week, to see how much more I can push myself  or how much I can up my weight.

    My husband is trying to follow the bfl as best he can.  5 years ago he was almost 300lbs (he is 6'1").  He was drinking and eating crap and grew up eating processed junk and chips all the time.  I felt badly for him b/c he didn't know any different - his parents brought him up this way.  Well he has made SO many drastic changes over the years.  I have always been into eating healthy and so got him to give up chips, at least as a regular thing, and he started eating more fruit and yogurt as snacks, and his drinking was cut way back too.  He now weighs roughly 215lbs and takes so much better care of himself.  He runs on the treadmill and just eats better overall.  But now he is trying to follow the bfl with me, to support me.  He is more lenient with the diet and when he works out of town, he doesn't always hit the gym 6 days/week, but I am not too hard on him b/c he has come such a long way.  And he does try really hard to follow the diet with me when we are together.  The first challenge he wasn't as supportive and I told him how much it meant to me, as well as he saw how I was so happy doing this program, that this time around he has changed his attitude.  I am very grateful for that.  

    I had a herniated cervical disc in 2008 and had surgery for it, which put me in bed for almost 2 months.  I am having similar neck pain and am so worried it is the same thing.  The last time I had numbness in my hand/arm which pushed me to get surgery right away, but this time I have had only 1 episode of numbness and so hoping it is not a herniation but a sore neck/upper back muscle????  This is why I have been mia the past few days - I am not as happy b/c I am in pain.  I go for massage tomorrow and have ubwo, but will avoid the back and do what I can, but obviously it won't be a 10 workout.

    Thanks for the support - it is always great to check in.  I hope you have a great week and hope to check in soon.