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The points have been calculated and the announcements have been made……I did not make it into the top 15.

BUT……and there is always a but! I am not done in the challenge. We have the most amazing opportunity to compete for a wildcard spot in the top 6.

The only thing that changes for me right now is I don’t have a free gym membership anymore.

Right now I am doing meal prep and planning my workouts for the week. On Wednesday I will still be weighed and measured and I will still be apart of the excellent educational opportunities that we receive each week.

Another huge bonus of our weekly meetings is being included in such a warm and supportive group of ladies. I am so happy for each and everyone of them and I wish them much success in the next round.

Created on 2017-02-26 00:56:28

Every aspect of this challenge is designed to do just that!……challenge us in some way. Voting week is no different, I find if incredibly difficult to wake up each day and ask my friends and family to vote again…….and to ask them to share my cause with their friends and family as well.

One of the unexpected outcomes for me is the amazing support I am receiving from them. I have gotten so many messages and kind words sent my way, many from friends I have lost touch with in recent years.

Sometimes life gets in the way of what is important and we need reminding…..this challenge has reminded me of several of those things. We need to make time for what is important to us.

Also……I am having too much fun creating “Vote for Danielle” memes….of I make it to the next round I can make a whole new batch!


Created on 2017-02-22 16:41:18

This will be a long post and a personal one. I don’t know if my words will even do my feelings justice but I feel like I need to at least try!

I have already mentioned that we were participating in the Real Me Seminar this past weekend. I entered the event knowing that I needed to change some things in my life and that something was definitely holding me back in areas of my life. But also that I thought that I had things under control, I had dealt with everything I could possibly think of that could be a barrier for me. So although I was open to whatever happened and I did feel at the very least I would gain some affirmations to help me move forward I was not expecting anything earth shattering or what people refer to as an Ahhhh! Moment.

What I didn’t take into account was that I would, after many hours of contemplation and exercises designed to examine my life, be able to pull something out of my subconscious that has probably shaped every part of my life without me even realizing it.

I should start by saying that I always feel like whatever I do is not good enough, not that it makes me try to do better but more in a sense of “It’s not great but it’s as good as it is going to get so oh well!” and if I really examine things also that I do not ever feel worthy of the good things that happen to me or of any praise or compliments I get. I will say thank you and smile but in never reaches all the way to my heart. There is also a great sense that something is just missing.

We did many interesting and difficult exercises throughout the seminar. Many times we had to contemplate our own deaths, this does sound morbid to many but it happened in such a way that I was really able to contemplate the way I wanted my life to be in the present and the future so that I many have no regrets when my time comes.

In one of these exercises we had to be in groups of 5. Imagine we were on a sinking ship and that there would only be room in the life raft for 2 of us and as a group we had to decide who those 2 people would be. To start we each had 3 minutes to plead the case of why we should be chosen. I was the last to go and for first and strongest instinct was to say that I wouldn’t. Why would my life be more valuable that someone else’s? At the end of this hour long exercise it turns out that by group actually voted for me to be saved (to be honest at the very end the Coast Guard arrived and everyone was saved!!!)

The other “survivor” and I had to talk about how this made us feel. All I could say was that I did not feel worthy of this! Why would they pick me? Why should I live? And she also agreed that she had the same feelings. Around this same time I had a thought pop into my head. Something I think of so rarely but I shared with her that I was a twin and that my twin died very shortly before birth and that maybe that has something to do with these feelings. She looked at me in shock, asking to confirm what I had just told her and then told me that she also had a twin sister that had died shortly before birth!

Now, this cannot be a coincidence that we were here at the same time in the same group and that this particular topic was brought up. ( I almost skipped the whole swminar because it conflicted with my gradpas celebration of life, which further affirms that I was exactly where I needed to be) Also that we were sharing the same feelings of something missing in our lives and of not feeling worthy. This was completely overwhelming and we both had goose bumps, I still do thinking about it.

I have always known about my twin, I have heard my birth story many times over my life. Always that my mom went into labour and it was stopped and then a few weeks later she felt the other baby, my sister, stop moving and that I was born a short time later and that the other baby was in fact already dead.

Things were different back then, she was not able to see or hold this baby girl. There were no photos taken or memento foot prints to keep. There was no funeral and she was not named. When infant loss happens today it is handled so much different than it was then but we can’t go back and change this.

Today as I write this I feel so sad about these events. We are talking about a full term baby that I shared a womb with who was gone just like that. I am suddenly today, after 38 years acknowledging that I do not have 1 sister but indeed 2 sisters. That I was not just born a twin but that I still am a twin even though she is not here. I will acknowledge her presence and then maybe grieve her death and I will try my very best to honor her memory by letting go of any survivor guilt I have so I can begin to feel that I am worthy!

I may always feel that a part of me is missing but now at least I know what that part is and I will be ok with that.

The Real Me Seminar facilitated something for me, so much more than I ever imagined! I am grateful for that. The Total Makeover Challenge really is helping me change from the inside out, I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.

I am a Twinless Twin!


Created on 2017-02-20 20:35:10

I am so grateful for my membership at She’s Fit! How awesome that they stepped up as a sponsor, it is a great gift to all of the challengers!

Unfortunately it doesn’t always fit with my schedule or childcare needs but that does not mean that exercise is off the table completely!

An awesome resource for fitness is YouTube……and this is turning in to a family lifestyle challenge because tonight my daughter chose the genre….


And her choice was yoga…this actually makes me very proud, she took it quite seriously!

For something more upbeat I recommend looking up “Fitness Marshall” so much fun…you may feel like you are in a rap video….nothing wrong with that!


Created on 2017-02-20 06:55:01

Edited on 2017-02-20 06:55:30

“I have been very emotional” and its true I have been! Have you ever noticed that when you say this to someone, their reaction is to ask what is wrong?

I am not really sure why but emotions seem to have a bad reputation… we should always try to suppress them.


I think we should feel them more……every single one! Emotions drive our actions in life…..they can spur us on and even hold us back when it is needed.

My goal is to be so in touch with what I am feeling that I will be able to harness that emotion, regardless of it is a “possitive” or “negative” one, and use it to live a more authentic life.

I don’t want to suppress what I am feeling. It is not healthy for me to hold things in and I really onto want to teach my daughter to do that either!


I would rather her not be my age and trying to unlearn a toxic way of living. Would it not be so much easier to be healthy from the beginning?



Created on 2017-02-20 06:42:43

Fun Post!!!

Today I got to visit Shopper Drug Mart in Willoughby for a skin care and makeup tutorial. Shoppers is one of the major sponsors for the Total Makeover Challenge and they have been so supportive of us all.


My before picture is very typical for me….no makeup at all! I do love wearing makeup but I don’t make the time for it these days. Sadly I rarely even make the time for proper skin care ( my mom pointed out today that I am not getting any younger so I should get with the program….quickly!)





Joelle was really great at helping me to determine my needs, my painfully dry skin needs lots of hydration but I probably do not need age defying/wrinkle reducing creams yet! What a relief lol

After that routine was settled we got to work on the fun stuff! These cosmetics really are all excellent quality and even the packaging is beautiful.


I had brought my favorite makeup from home so that Joelle could get an idea of what I was already working with and what my preferences are. I think it paid off, I could not be more happy with the after photo…..


Soft and natural and pretty! I will try to make more time in my routine for this because it made me feel better on the inside as well!

It was a great time…I highly recommend stopping by the Shoppers Drug Mart beauty boutique for any of your skincare, fragrance or cosmetic needs…..this location also has a brow bar so you can check that off your list while shopping!

One more photo because I can’t resist! My sister Stephanie and my youngest niece came with me and they definitely added to the fun factor! And also this baby is just too cute!




Created on 2017-02-20 06:25:35

This weekend we took part in the Real Me Seminar. It was a really intense look into ourselves in the hopes that we can eliminate barriers in our lives and live to our fullest potential.

I had a huge revelation that I think I will share as soon as I can figure out how I can do it justice.

1487568933223-255023973One uplifting exercise that we did at the end of the day Saturday was to write our own personal mission statement.

I feel really good about my mission statement so far, the potential in it excites me and has ignited a spark inside. It meshes pretty well with most things that I do in my life now….it will be interesting to see where I take it to next!


Created on 2017-02-20 05:41:36

Edited on 2017-02-20 05:59:38

Have Spaghetti Squash, will travel!


Sunday is family dinner night for us most weeks. I was lucky to be invited to my mom’s for dinner this week.

I think all food tastes better when it is made with love by someone other than myself!

My step dad Clayton was making his famous tomato sauce and meat balls…yummy!!!!!

Since I am tracking my carbs I brought along my own spaghetti squash and cooked it as soon as I arrived. I enjoyed an awesome meal with people I love and I don’t even feel like I sacrificed anything.

Small changes add up and if you do them often enough they become second nature!



Created on 2017-02-20 02:17:54

Edited on 2017-02-20 06:45:07

I gained weight at our weigh in this week and I am ok with that! Weight-loss does not happen in a smooth downward slide.

20170216_140538 This is the graph of my losses in the last year… is a pretty bumpy slide.

Sometimes we plateau and sometimes we gain… body doesn’t know that I am in this challenge and it doesn’t know that I weigh myself on Wednesday nights…..

We had the opportunity this week to participate in the first segment of The Real Me Seminar, we will be fully immersed in the rest of it this weekend. I am so looking forward to this……I often feel inadequate and that I am far from reaching my full potential. The chance to figure out what events from my life are possibly blocking my path seems to good to be true!

I really can’t say that I have had a bad life, some challenges, that I have always viewed as blessings because they have shaped me into the person I am right now. There have been plenty of sad, traumatic and even tragic events that have happened to people I love and I have had a front for seat for many of them. The idea that these events have been and currently are effecting my subconscious mind is a really interesting idea to me. I will remember to pack some tissue on Friday, I am promised that there will be tears.

Voting starts on Friday! I am so nervous about this……lots of “what ifs” floating through my head. We were asked last night “Do you believe that you are worthy of getting votes?” I am doing my best to reply YES!

Created on 2017-02-17 16:34:16

I have had a really challenging week! I do believe that in the last year I have completely reshaped my relationship with food…….BUT this week I actually wanted to eat ALL the food!!! ( I will blame it on the pesky hormones).

Regardless of this I did have a couple of awesome NSV (Non Scale Victory) Moments…..

1) I was able to go into Costco and buy a pair of pants and take them home…..and they fit! Anyone who has ever had trouble dressing their body in some way ( so almost everyone) can relate to this I am sure. For years I have only been able to purchase clothing that is specifically labeled “plus size”. I can see a whole world of fashion choices opening up before me now.

2) Since it was Family Day on Monday we decided to take the kids to see a movie. I love going to movies and I love eating the popcorn….but this time was different…..I brought my own healthy snacks and a huge bottle of water. Even more amazing since I wanted to eat ALL the food this week lol…. It did help that movie popcorn costs like a million dollars and I was trying to save money but I will still take that as a win!

Created on 2017-02-16 16:18:08

It’s so easy to think of weight-loss as being a purely physical experience….after all there are many physical aspects too it! Working out is physical, the food we choose to eat is also physically tangable and then hopefully with the combination of those things we are changing our physical appearance.

I think that it important to remember that it is also and act of mental strength and endurance! Maybe it is not this way for everyone but for me, someone who has been overweight their whole life it certainly is. I have to fight everyday to keep my head in the right space. Not just for the Total Makeover Challenge but for my life….

It is because I am shaping my thoughts this way each and every day that I have had success this time around. But I have to say it is exhausting.  When I heard today that our meeting for the week was cancelled (due to weather) my first thought was “What can I eat now that there is no weigh in this week” I am not proud of this, in fact it makes me feel ashamed… I should have conquered those thoughts by now. As much support and love as I have around me this still seems to be a very isolating and lonely journey that I am on. None of my friends or family seem to have to fight for this the same way as I am. Some days it seems like it would be alot easier to say screw it…..and join in with everyone else and eat that junk food and drink those sugary drinks.

In fact it would be a lot easier, of course it is an easy path to decide to stay the same and not make any real changes in your life.

I am happy to report that I overcame those thoughts tonight. On to a new day and new challenges but I only have to make one decision at a time. And that is how I will continue to move forward.

Created on 2017-02-09 19:23:29

Edited on 2017-02-09 19:24:07




Yup! This totally sums it up! It seems like there is no end on sight for this huge dump of snow……

It has totally derailed my plans for the gym today and we will have to see about tomorrow.

On the plus side, what a great time to enjoy my family.  Snow Days make kids sooooo happy and shoveling, walking and playing in the snow are all great forms of exercise.

I’m bundled up and ready for whatever comes next!

BTW…..I really miss watching Oprah on days like this!!!!

Created on 2017-02-07 01:03:00

       One of the first things that usually gets an overhaul when you start on a new health and wellness journey is FOOD, the fuel we use to power our days! Some will say they are on a diet others will religiously refer to it as a lifestyle change, regardless we are all talking about the same thing.  Some people use little containers to portion their food, some count calories or macros, some eliminate whole food groups for a specific health reason of maybe just because it seems like the thing to do! And most who are successful in reaching their goals will keep track of these choices in some way. 

Since I have had weight loss success I have made these adaptions too. I mainly limit my carbs (nothing too extreme) to 100g or less a day and I track everything I eat with MyFitnessPal. 

But sometimes the most difficult thing is deciding what to eat! I happen to have a very large addiction to cookbooks….if I see one I want to add it too my collection, the problem is I don’t have anywhere to keep this collection. Rivaling my addiction to cookbooks is my addiction to magazines, in particular cooking magazines. It is embarrassing but anybody who knows me well will be able to vouch for this. I love the recipes and the shiny photos of food and I just love flipping the pages. 

But these days I don’t add as many magazines to my collection and even fewer cookbooksmy go to for new ideas is more often than not the internet. One bonus of this is the ability to read other users reviews of recipes, this has often been a deciding factor in which ones I make.I am going to share some of my favorite sites and I hope that you find food inspiration in them as well! 

1) SkinnyTaste has so many healthy ideas and beautiful photos, I dare you not to be inspired! She is on Facebook and Pinterest and has a large following on all platforms. All of the recipes are spins on old favorites that have been remade light on calories but heavy on flavor!  

2) Another one of my favorites is Inspiralized, using a spiralizer has changed my cooking a lot! Even the kids will eat almost all of the veggies I put through this thing……I have the Starfrit spiralizer and I like it, it works great…..but this is the one I really want!!!!! It’s a good thing you can’t see me drooling, my biggest obsession is probably small appliances :) Anyways this website will help you realize that you can use a lot more than a zucchini with this contraption.  

3) One topic that keeps coming up again and again is meal prep and being prepared because if you are prepared you are way more likely to meet your goals. Many years ago I discovered the site OnceAMonthMealsThey have a wide variety of weekly and monthly menus for every type of dietary need. If you haven’t given freezer cooking a try it may be something that you find interesting. 

4) One of my favorites is the The Food Network, whether it is on TV, Magazine, or online they always have great info and resources. This landing page goes straight to the section of their site for family friendly meals. I know that my family can use all the help we can get when trying to get the kids to the dinner table.  

Bon Appetit!

Created on 2017-02-07 00:30:59

It took me forever to get that first post down….because this is simply not a weight loss challenge, it is designed to challenge us in all areas of our lives.

As comfortable as I now am in my weight loss journey there are other areas of my life where I am not comfortable at all. I am not really comfortable talking about myself! I am happy to sit for hours and listen to my friends talk about their lives and to give feedback and advise if asked (and sometimes if I’m not asked!!!) but I always feel like nobody would really want to know what is happening with me, aside from the useless small talk we use to fill the silence.

Also I AM NOT A WRITER!!!!! I have never considered myself to be good at writing anything. One of the challenges we are presented with is to blog about our journeys…..this so  far is one of the biggest challenges for me. 1) I have to write! 2) I have to write about myself!

I have made the commitment to this challenge and to myself and I will see it through no matter how difficult it will be at times, I deserve it and I owe it to myself……and just like that I AM NOT A WRITER :)

Created on 2017-02-05 12:30:44

Finally! I got one word down!

I am so excited to be involved in the Total Makeover Challenge. It is designed to challenge us in all areas of our lives.

I think that the weight loss part was probably appealing to almost everyone, I don’t think I know a single person who is completely happy with their body. Whether it is things that we can control like our weight and fitness level or things we rationally know that we have no control over like our height or the the colour of our skin (BTW I am completely happy with my height and I am in love with my freckles ;) )

The weight I am working on…..I started my journey to better health in March of 2016. After finally finding an outstanding doctor who specializes in helping obese (hate this word but it’s a medical reality) people, I am on the verge of having lost 70 lbs!!!!!! I never thought that this would be possible, still many days I have a hard time believing that it is real but on a good day I now allow myself to imagine that a 100, 120 or 130 lb loss will be my reality.

At the start of this challenge I thought that I had my diet under control but the nutritional coaching we have received so far has been excellent. Did you know that you should drink half your body weight in oz. of water a day, that is 4L a day for me! My eyeballs are swimming people lol… And I have upped my protein intake to 125 g a day! With these 2 changes alone I have lost 5.4 additional lbs in the first couple weeks of the challenge. I am completely happy with this, not as many lbs as some of my co challengers  but I am looking at this as a marathon not a sprint!






Created on 2017-02-05 12:13:57