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From Instagram: Appreciating My Body

From Instagram: Appreciating My Body

Because I posted a couple of photos to Instagram with a caption that was a little under 200-words, I thought I'd repurpose it as a blog post that's three times longer and given the Grammarly treatment (ignoring its “sentence fragment” feedback because people speak in segment fragments.)

If it weren't so long, this is what the title of this post would have been:

From Instagram: My Tummy Looks Good & I Both Appreciate It and Don't Care

Here's the truth: I believe that we place too much value in how we look and not enough on how we feel and how healthy we are. Looks aren't everything, and I've always appeared way fitter than I've been.

For example, I had an overweight friend who was way more flexible than me and who cycled long distance. One such trip was 111km/69 miles. If I recall correctly, she did it over two days, but still. I knew someone else who took a cross-country cycling trip on her own, camping along the way. She didn't “look” specifically athletic, but that doesn't mean she wasn't. My reason for mentioning that she did it on her own isn't because she's a woman, but because she had to have the strength and endurance to not only cycle, but complete any necessary repairs and maintenance, plus carrying her gear. Most men couldn't either.

I've heard of obese people running marathons. I do NOT have this sort of endurance. I'm someone who runs for several weeks during the seasons when it's neither too hot, too cold or too wet and then bails when extreme temperatures happen because “I'm not a runner anyway.”

When people comment on my weight or how “skinny” or “thin” I am, I wonder why they said what they did.

“You're so skinny!”

Um, thank you? Is it a compliment? Is it an expression of “I wish I were that skinny”?

It sometimes makes me uncomfortable because our bodies aren't who we are and because if they're saying it out of insecurity, I don't want them to feel insecure, to begin with.

I think that acknowledging someone's “skinny body” isn't any more or less appropriate than regarding a fat one, but in a society where we value “thin”, people don't understand that.

Furthermore, some people are skinny because of illness. I've witnessed those awkward conversations.

“You've lost so much weight!” or “You've lost weight! You didn't even need to!”


And the potential response: “Thanks, having the flu is a great diet.” (Being inflicted with colitis or Crohn's is an even more fun answer.)

I once went a week during which every time I ate I felt nauseated. Nothing else felt off, just that. It went away on its own.

That all said [I used the word “loquacious” here in my Instagram post], I couldn't help but notice the visible difference in my stomach before and after my yoga flow session with Sadie Nardini & wanted to share.

Evidently, my muscles were engaged. I will bloat again, and it's all good.

Also worth noting: I could feel my quads an hour or so after my workout. My muscles were reminding me that I worked out.

I don't focus on my stomach much, but I see it, and I'm not against showing it off on occasion. Seeing myself in the mirror after made me feel good. That's not good or bad, it just is.

Our bodies aren't who we are.

Original (also here if you can't see the embed):

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Honestly, I believe that we place too much value in how we look and not enough on how we feel and how healthy we are. Looks aren't everything and I've always appeared way fitter than I've been. (Examples: I had an overweight friend who was way more flexible than me and who cycled when she could take the train, and I've heard of obese people running marathons, endurance that I lack.) ✌ When people comment on my weight or how "skinny" or "thin" I am, I know that it's often an expression of their feelings about their own bodies. It sometimes makes me uncomfortable because our bodies aren't who we are. 💪 That all said (more loquacious than I intended), I couldn't help but notice the visible difference in my stomach before and after my yoga flow session with @sadienardiniofficial & wanted to share. Clearly, my muscles were engaged. I will bloat again and it's all good. 👍 I don't focus on my stomach much but I see it and I'm not against showing it off on occasion. Seeing this made me feel good. Edit: I turned this into a blog post. See link in profile.

A post shared by Andrea Toole (@findinghealthwellness) on

(Note: Featured/lead image is a stock image by Pexels from Pixabay)

My New Favourite Part of the Day

My New Favourite Part of the Day

I wrote this in my journal at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday night (Sunday morning) with the note, “Blog this”. What's here is a slightly edited version with a context note at the bottom:

I've discovered the joy and beauty of late night dog park visits.

Late at night it's dark. No one is there. It's silent.

Between throws of the ball (for a game of fetch) I stand and listen. I hear people walking past the park at the top of the hill, speaking on their cell phones or to their companions. I hear cars drive past and the occasional dog bark in the distance.*

For now when I look down I see a glossy sheet of ice. In a few days it will all melt. I look up at the sky and see moon and stars.

I stay present in the moment.

This is mindfulness. 

During the day I prefer to find people there so that both my dog and I can be social. Late at night I like the solitude. Two of my four Core Desired Feelings for 2017 are joy(ful) and peace(ful). This embodies both. It's calming and energizing. It's reaffirming. It's reassuring.  It's so freakin' beautiful that I stand motionless even when I'm freezing in the sub-zero (celcius) temperatures with the windchill of -20°C/-4°F. I don't leave until my body insists that it's time. My mind protests as long as it can. I want to stay in the moment. My dog is happy staying or going. She likes the cold much more than I do and can go for hours.

Night Sky, Toronto park

Taken at my park at 5:30 p.m today, not late night, but it's similar – slightly brighter, on a cloudy evening.

*The park is essentially a bowl or a pit, downhill, with an alley on one side and a school between the park and a major street to the north. My “night time” visits have been between 11 p.m. and midnight. I did it Friday and Saturday and it will become routine as long as I can stay awake but I imagine that as early as 10 p.m. will suffice.


My New Year’s 2017 Post

My New Year’s 2017 Post

The purpose of this post to keep with my tradition of sharing my goals, theme word of the year and Core Desired Feelings for the year.

Last year's links to previous years'.


My 2016 goals:

  1. Learning through training (also from 2015)
  2. New experiences (also from 2015)
  3. Be healthy
  4. Be a better partner

Did I reach them?

1.  Training: I finished up my training in transformational nutrition.

2. New experiences: Yes! I became a trailer park person for the summer. I hiked in new locations. I traveled to new places. I read new books. “New experiences” seems like a throwaway goal in a way because there's always new experiences to be had, but at the same time it's an important one to keep from getting stuck in a rut.

3. Be healthy: 2016 was the year I took care of my mental health, so that's a win. When answering the question “Looking back on 2016, what are you most proud of?” in a Facebook post a couple of days ago, my answer was this:

That I finally started going to therapy, figured out some of my issues and changed my attitude about certain things. I finally started to release what blocks me and to get out of my own way, which has been a goal for years. I got honest with myself in certain areas. For example, I realized that I WANT to be employed full time for the structure and regular income but I also want to work on my business(s) on the side. That's what “freedom” means to me, and all of that is okay! I don't need to subscribe to the idea that “freedom” means working on a beach. It would be lovely, but it's not me.
I want to do work that serves and helps others but I can only do that if I'm feeling healthy and balanced myself.

2017 is going to be so much easier.


Core Desired Feelings 2016

Joy, accomplished, peace, lit up.

To be perfectly honest, I kind of shit the bed on these ones. It was a rough year. That said, there were things I accomplished. Things done and undone. I didn't write the great Canadian novel, but I took steps and 2017 is going to be better. I had joyful moments. Moments when I felt lit up. Moments of peace.

I haven't nailed down any for 2017 yet and I might not. Last year it was the CFDs that came to me intuitively. This year they'll either come to me or I'll go through the exercise.

[Update: My Core Desired Feelings later came to me after doing a couple of exercises in meditation, but I've decided to keep them private.]

Theme word

This year's theme word came to me out of nowhere. Last year it was ACHIEVEMENT, another one I kind of shit the bed on. (2016 was full of good moments, some minor achievements and a lot of shitting the bed.)

For 2017:


That means forgiving myself for what I felt I did wrong or didn't achieve in 2016. Leave it behind and go forward. Push through (welcome in) the hard stuff, because the fear of it is worse than the action itself.

It means being okay with the fact that I start journals and planners in January and abandon them by March. I buy excellent products such as The Desire Map and Leonie Dawson's Shining Year workbooks, and then abandon them, through no fault of their creators. Amazing products, but I can't get the habit to stick! My wishlist is full of planners that I'm afraid to invest in because I might not use them, planners such as the Productivity Planner by Intelligent Change, The Five Minute Journal, also by Intelligent Change, and Passion Planner. I've had the evergreen (dateless) version of The Desire Map planner in an online shopping carts for months. Of course the best planner (the best anything, really) is the one you'll use. It's not right for you if you're not using it. I tried to mitigate the financial risk of journals and planners by creating my own version in Evernote.  I didn't make it through January. So, maybe journals in that format aren't for me and I need to accept it as an imperfection, or maybe I need to delve into why the habit doesn't stick.

Going forward

I will share some of the results of a mediation that I did on December 29, looking forward to the new year.

  • My intuition told me to focus on the qualities of patience, consistency and listening to my intuition, for my highest good.
  • When I asked myself what other areas I should focus on, I got “health” and “friendships”. The latter surprised me, but not entirely.

When I subsequently did some free writing (writing without thinking much about it), I wrote “Write a little. Read a little.” [meaning every day.] and then I wrote the following in my paper journal, in light blue ink with handwriting that is barely legible:


Two days later I noted that 2017 is about renewal. I jotted down some stuff I want to achieve and reiterated “Write a little. Read a little. Every day.” as well as some of what's in the above image in the same words and others. I urged myself to spend less time online and advised that if I'm online I should be productive. “If I'm online and not DOING anything, get offline and read.”*

I finished it off with the following:

So that's 2017 laid out.

*Clearly, the “Read A Book Instead” wallpaper on my phone's lock screen hasn't worked. However, I'm pleased to say that a couple nights this week, instead of watching TV in bed before going to sleep, I finished a book – and fell asleep to a guided meditation, as has become routine.



The Awesome Life Detox Returns!


I love this program, and I adore its facilitator, Meghan Telpner. I own several of her ebooks, both of her published books (physical copies!) and have done several of her programs. I went to some of her live workshops when she still held them. I always feel better after I do her programs and I constantly learn from her. She's an inspiration.

After more than a year, the Awesome Life Detox program is returning as a group challenge.

This isn't your regular green juice chugging detox. The focus of the detox is your health, your happiness and ultimately, how to live the most fulfilling, best (awesome) life possible! It's an overhaul of your life with a holistic approach rather than a simplified program that only deals with diet.

Here is a breakdown of the Awesome Life Detox:


My 2016 Word and Looking Ahead

My 2016 Word and Looking Ahead

Where has the month gone? I've had this post written in my head for weeks now.

Every year in my blog I reflect on the past year and muse upon the next. This one gets vulnerable in the middle, and then talks “woo woo” inner guide/higher power stuff, but not until it gets into 2016 goals.


Oh, 2015, you feel like so long ago

A summary of my 2015 goals that I posted last year in my other blog + results:

Goal #1: Learning through training
Result: I did B-School in the spring and enrolled in The Institute of Transformational Nutrition in the fall.

Goal #2: New experiences. Of this, I said, “New experiences can be small, too. Last week I finally played Cards Against Humanity for the first time.”
Result: I had a bunch of new experiences. Because of restaurant ownership our trip to Sault Ste. Marie was shorter than expected BUT we bought a trailer to carry us and our gear. Trailer ownership is new to me. It's a hybrid toy hauler/camper with a king sized bed at one end and a living room/”toy” area with ramp in the other, a kitchen with bathroom in the middle. The kitchen and the bathroom aren't the same space but the shower hangs over the toilet. For awhile I journaled my goals every day and it was a reminder to do new things. I also didn't take anything “new” for granted, because I wanted to write it down. Even meeting a new person counted. Oh, and we now own our own Cards Against Humanity deck and while I sucked that first time, I won the second time.

Goal #3: Less reading about enlightenment/self-improvement/personal development. I said, “I pick this stuff up and drop it like other habits. I’m self-aware enough to look inside myself and see what I really need without all the noise clouding my intuition. I’d rather free up my time and energy for other pursuits. It’s what I need right now and that’s being true to myself.” and “It’s time to simplify.”
Result: I think I laid off for awhile…

Goal #4: Be charitable. I said, “I want to earmark a small amount every month. It feels good to give and some say when you put that out into the universe you get back.” And for awhile I did.
And I did give to charity.

Goal #5: Less clutter. “Literally. Get rid of it. We have old sheets, pillows, and towels that are ripped that need to be thrown out. My new rule: If it’s damaged and can’t be fixed, throw it out. I have piles of books that can be donated.”
I did a ton of decluttering. I throw a lot of stuff out, and recently we made our living room usable again. Several of my books have migrated to another room, though, closer to the door. The idea is to drop them at Value Village on my way out to the park that we sometimes take the dog to.

Into 2016: Theme Word of the Year

My 2015 “Core Desired Feelings” remain the same but with  one significant change:


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