Archive for February, 2013


Today was a provincial holiday, which meant that my husband and I were lucky enough to be home all day together. It was great! We spent a wee bit of time watching useless daytime talk shows, mostly to laugh and to mock – but little did I know, this would also provide me an opportunity to be outraged in a mere three minutes of televised chatter.

During a very short segment of a talk show, five women were talking to each other. All of these women are fairly well-known in today’s pop-culture environment. They were talking about ageing and one woman was asked “What advice would you give to an ageing woman who is embarrassed to be naked in front of her partner?” The woman’s answer: “Get laser hair removal”.

Umm. WHAT?!

I could not believe my ears! Did she really just say that?! And was it honestly, actually labelled as self-confidence advice?

Good grief.

And we WONDER why today’s young women have self-image issues. And we WONDER why society incorrectly portrays beauty in terms of fashion magazines, make-up, and weight loss.

It is because of women like this! Women who are supposed to be strong role models for younger women, who open their mouths and suggest that removing unwanted hair is the path to self-confidence and positive body image.

To me, even granting this moment on television time on my blog is perpetuating the outrage and continuing the madness. However, given the absolutely atrocious advice this woman offered, I feel compelled to offer a bit of my own advice:

  • Remember the love you have for your partner and the love they have for you. That is all the self confidence you need.
  • Be proud of who you are. Know that you are one of a kind and that makes you beautiful.
  • Remember that beauty is so much deeper than hair and skin. Know that the respect your partner has for you makes you beautiful in their eyes, and that beauty will transfer to your own eyes through their kindness and compassion towards you.

Oh. And… don’t watch useless daytime television.

That is my best piece of self-esteem boosting, confidence-inducing advice.


Read Full Post »

A Balanced Review

It occurs to me that while I provided rave reviews about January and my Harper-ness Project, it wasn’t entirely accurate. Every day wasn’t roses; every day wasn’t a pound lost and a killer workout.

I’m going to try and provide a more balanced review in this post. But in keeping with my life adjustment for February’s Harperness Project goal, and as a part of my attitude adjustment for February, I’ll not only outline the problem but also describe my solution.

Old Habits Die Hard. It can be hard to change habits, and as we all know, old habits die hard. I’m no exception to this rule. One of my biggest (and ongoing) challenges is snacks. I often find myself in front of my computer either teaching or working and I want to ‘munch’. Chips, chocolates – it doesn’t matter what it is. So I’ve taken snacking by the horns and created a Trick or Treat bowl in our pantry. We only buy healthy versions of chips and the odd treat like chocolate almonds. And instead of leaving the bag open to free-for-alls in the pantry, as soon as we get home from the grocery store we portion out 100 calorie snack-bags and put them in the Trick or Treat bowl and hide away the rest of the bag. Then, when I want to snack, I grab a treat and satisfy my craving, while still working to stay on-board with my daily calorie intake.

Emotional Eating. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Doritos. And anyone who knows me knows that my answer to a bad day is a bowl of chocolate chips. This does not fit in with healthy eating and living. So I’m working to substitute that bad habit for a good one. Instead of reaching for a bag of Doritos when it’s been a rough day, I try to reach for my runners and have a workout or make myself a tea and hug my cat for a few minutes until the cravings pass.

I am inherently lazy. This one actually works for me in some instances (like not bothering to climb up to the top shelf in order to get a second helping) but against me in most instances (for example, given the choice, I’d rather watch TV or read a book than work out). Getting off the couch is a daily challenge. But that’s just it. It is a daily challenge! I am working hard to challenge myself, every day, to get up. To just do it. Don’t do nothing.

Eyes bigger than my stomach. I’ve learned that portions are very important. Like most people, we have huge dinner plates (that’s what the stores sell these days!) and we fill ’em up before chowin’ down. So, I started measuring portions. Literally. My measuring cups have become my trusted eating companions. Odd? Maybe. A tiresome additional step? Often. But effective? Always. My eyes, which are attached to my hungry (or emotional) stomach, will lie about how much a cup of noodles really is, or a portion of protein. My measuring cups will not.

Forgiveness. A lot of days, all of my ideas work very well. Some days, I get to see a bit of success on the scale or feel a bit of success in my pant size. But some days, things go the other way. The scale doesn’t move, I lose my battle to get off the couch, and I have a big bowl of ice cream. On these days, my reminder to myself is that it’s okay. Every day that I succeed I give myself a pat on the back and allow myself to celebrate. But more importantly, on the days that I fail, I forgive myself with a promise that I will try again tomorrow.

So what’s the bottom line? 

The bottom line is that healthy living is a daily choice. It is a daily decision to make the right choices and do what I know is good for me. It reminds me a bit of some people I know who have quit smoking. Some people say that it’s a daily decision not to light up.

So for me, it’s a daily decision not to fall back into my old habits of eating junk food and sitting on the couch. It’s a daily decision to get up; to measure my portions; to eat healthy food; and to move my body.

Every day is a new day. The decision is renewed and the days move forward. And so do I.

Read Full Post »

I have no idea where January went. However, in spite of my complete loss of time, I’m continuing on with my Harper-ness project. And I’m pleased to say that it’s going quite well! 

For those of you that remember, January was HEALTH month (mental, physical, emotional). I’m very happy with how the month went. Here are a few of my successes:

  • Mental: I made efforts not to dwell when things weren’t going the way I wanted and to look towards positive thoughts and solutions instead of negative emotions and energies.
  • Physical: My husband and I spent all of January eating healthily and exercising regularly. We feel great! We are both down almost 15 pounds each and our physical fitness has really improved. I find that this has also contributed very positively to my positive mental outlook.
  • Emotional: I focused on the reasons why I’m happy, grateful, and satisfied in my own skin, and I worked hard to circumvent my blue moments (and my mean red moments as Audrey Hepburn would have said). But I also allowed myself to feel. Sometimes, that meant feeling sad. So instead of fighting it or drowning in it, I allowed it to come, I recognized it and found out it’s source, and then I allowed it to pass. Peacefully.

Overall, I think January went really well. So I’ve pinned up my January placard in a safe place where I can still see it everyday and continue to work on all of those things, and I’ve moved into February. 




February’s focus  is: ATTITUDE.


Here’s my focus:


1. Gratitude
2. Mindfulness
3. Blessings
4. Forgiveness



1. Gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is harder than it seems. Today’s society makes us think we need to be skinnier, richer, work harder and faster, be more successful, etc. Our culture of instant gratification has conditioned us to never be satisfied where we are, with what we have. This is an exhausting predicament! This month, I plan to focus my grateful thoughts around who I am, what I have,and all the blessings (more about that in #3) in my life.

2. Mindfulness. This goes along with gratitude and being aware of my surroundings and taking a moment to stop and smell the roses and remind myself how lucky I am to be me. More than that, I want to work on being in the present moment. I often find myself multi-tasking – studies have shown this is not productive and can in fact be unhealthy! I think by being more present in all of my moments, I think I will get a great deal of satisfaction and contentment.

3. Blessings. I have so many. But like so many around me, I whip through my days and nights and I often forget to count them. In February, I will try to be more aware of where I am, how I got here, who helped me to be who and where I am, and how grateful I am for all of it.

4. Forgiveness. This one can be hard, especially if you have ever carried a grudge. It got me to thinking: who is hurting from my grudge or my lack of forgiveness? And the answer, almost 100% of the time, is me. It is not the person who wronged me. Well, there is enough hurt around me in this world that I should stop hurting my own self. So in February, I’ll focus on forgiveness. I’ll be wary, though – and I’ll keep in mind that this is not the same as forgetfulness (fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me). But there is no need for me to carry around the excess baggage that comes with the hurtfulness of past events, situations, or people. This month, I will choose to forgive.


Ok, February. Bring it on!

Read Full Post »