The Other Side of Skinny

If I were to tell you that someone I know has often faced weight discrimination, would you think this person is over-weight? Magazine covers are often graced with waif-like models. Ribs, bikini bridges and thigh gaps are desired body features. Well, today I would like to introduce you to *Nicole. An acquaintance of mine who is underweight, not by choice, but because of her genetics. Nicole has all of the above, a thigh gap and a bikini bridge, but that doesn’t mean she is free from social ridicule.  From her story, you will see that life can be hard the for thin, and people can be just as cruel. Life isn’t always rosier on the skinny side.

*Nicole’s Story:

Last month I was in Shopper’s Drug Mart with my daughter. We were buying her feminine products for her first menstrual cycle. It was an emotional time for both of us. My baby was growing up, and she was anxiety-ridden about the whole life change. We were nearing the checkout counter when I noticed two middle-aged women in same aisles. As I passed, I heard one mutter quietly, but not quiet enough, “someone get that girl a sandwich.” They both started to giggle, upon which, the other said, “do women that size even get periods?” I was with my daughter, so I took the high road and just ignored them. When I was in bed later that night I was overcome with emotion and I began to cry. I was just thinking such negative thoughts, questioning my ability to be a good single-parent, thinking about those cruel comments I overheard in the drugstore.  I also started to feel insecure about my body again.

Years ago, I had gone out night clubbing with some friends. We were pretty drunk, and as we ran across the street in the rain to catch a cab, I tripped over a sewer (one of those sewers with the bars.) A so-called “friend” yelled out, “hurry Nicole! Don’t slip through that sewer. You could probably fit!”  It was just so natural for her to tease me. We were also with a heavier girl that same night. Never did she mention her size. Around this same time, I became pregnant with my daughter. My body changed a little and my breasts and thighs became fuller.  My ex (my daughter’s father) often made comments that he liked my new booty, and bigger chest. After giving birth, my body returned back to skinny. I think I lost even more weight from eating less to care for a baby. When my boyfriend began to cheat on me, I turned a blind eye. I was at home, cleaning, cooking, changing diapers and feeling horrible about myself and he was out picking up girls. Don’t get me wrong, my child is my life and I couldn’t imagine life without her, but those few months after her birth were tough. I was often sad and lonely.  This was around the time J-Lo became famous and everyone was talking about how beautiful her curves are. I often spent the time looking at my body in the mirror and hating how I looked, wishing for fuller hips, and thighs. Just as a big girl may wish for skinny legs or a flat stomach, I was wishing to be bigger.  Maybe if I had a bigger booty, he would love me again.

It wasn’t always like this. In high school I was envied by many girls. They would all tell me how lucky I was to be skinny. I got a lot of compliments for my boyish frame. Some were jealous that I could eat anything I wanted and never get fat. It was true. I loved Big Macs with extra fires. I loved jumbo Oh-Henrys and bags of chips and I wouldn’t gain a pound. Everyone would ask me my secret to being so thin and not gaining weight. Did I purge in private? Did I take diet pills by the bottle? Did I do non-stop aerobics? Nope. I did none of those things. As a matter of fact, I hated exercise. I never exercised. I was just a natural string bean.

Presently, I’m still pretty skinny, but I have changed my thinking and lifestyle. I cannot eat whatever I want now, because any size I gain goes right to my stomach. Not just for me, but for my daughter. I have to be an example to her, so I love and accept who I am. My daughter is very curvy (sure didn’t get it from me!) Never do I want her to wish to be smaller or different. I tell her God made us who we are and we have to be thankful. I cook healthy foods for us and rarely do we go to fast food places, and I quit smoking.  Before I moved up North, I went to Zumba with Char (Tigress) and our mutual friend Desiree a few times. I loved it because I love to dance. Now me and my daughter go to Zumba two times per week at the local community centre in my new city. She loves it too and I want her to be active. Not a couch potato like me at her age. As for my love life. I’m single and skinny. Any man who is with me will love me for me, and that’s non-negotiable. I love myself and I love life.

Thanks for listening to my story.

Thanks to you Nicole for sharing your story. Skinny, large, short or tall, it’s never acceptable to comment negatively on the appearance of others, because you never know who will be crying tears on their pillow that night from another person’s words. Compassion and respect go along way.


Tigress on the Prowl

This tigress is hunting, and she wants YOU!


Before there is any confusion, I have some explaining to do. I am currently seeking guests for upcoming posts for my Stories of Inspiration category. When I first started this blog, I wanted to feature at least one inspirational story per month. I think it is important to encourage, uplift and motivate those who are on the path to change. So, if you have met a goal, passed a daunting obstacle, achieved something you have been working hard for and want to celebrate your victory by being a feature on a post, why not do it here? It does not have to be a fitness goal. It could also be a life change that made a positive impact in your life in other ways as well.

I hope to contact other bloggers and ask you if you would like to be feature on a post. There are a few I will be emailing or contacting through your comment section this week. Many of you have inspired me, so I want to spread your message of determination and positivity.

These are some past posts where people have featured their stories of success: strength mind that matters from across the miles thinking 101 than a beachbody

Please contact me at if you are interested in sharing your story of inspiration. I would love to hear from you. Together we can prove that it is possible.

Artwork of tiger by Stella Mays. For further inquires visit

10 Ways How YOU Can Help Gaza


Please read and share.

Originally posted on Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork:


It was Martin Luther King who said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Let’s light our hearts up and send love to those in need. There’s nothing more we can do from behind our laptops.

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Boulder Shoulders

A couple of months ago LeBron James was front and centre in the news. His announcement that he is returning to Cleveland had residents cheering and celebrating in the streets. Andy is a huge basketball fan, and of course he was watching all the coverage on the sport networks. He especially followed The Heat, being a former Miami local. I am not much into basketball, but when I watched with Andy last season and The Heat was in the finals, what I did always notice was the size of LeBron’s shoulders. Wowza! Make that a double wowza! Those things are like boulders. I said to Andy, Colorado should add another basketball franchise to their state called the Colorado Boulders, and LeBron should sign with them because of those massive things. Their Jersey would just have a graphic of Lebron’s shoulders. I might be on to something here. Now, this segues beautifully into what this post is all about. Shoulders.

Would you look at the size of those things? They're almost as big as the basketball.

Would you look at the size of those things? They’re almost as big as the basketball.  (photo source)

As a natural t-rex, I am constantly searching for shoulder workouts to apply to or change my routine once in a while. I love working my shoulders and seeing any progress because they are so darn hard to add any mass or growth to. While researching shoulder workouts, I came across this killer move. A three-part drop set, which includes, Arnold Presses, palms facing in presses and palms facing out presses.

Here is the demonstration:

I do this for about 2 or 3 super-sets (resting between each set.) Can I tell you, my shoulders are on fire by the second set. They begin to get sore and fatigued during the sets, not afterwards. Of course I always ensure to do a good shoulder stretch after completing the super sets.

I was actually going to do the demonstration above and just link to the resource, but my “it’s burning face” ain’t camera-friendly. Trust me, you’re much better off seeing the lovely Elaine Morales execute the movements with ease and grace and without my clenched teeth or excessive grunting. Try it out and be prepared to feel the burn.

*I do not advise executing this or any exercise program without first consulting your doctor or certified fitness professional, especially if just starting. Limitations, injuries and safety must always be considered first and foremost. *


Facing my Goliath

I was feeling frustrated with my stalled pull-up progress. Many people I spoke with at my gym (well the three ladies who can do unassisted pull-ups) all said it took them about a year or less to do unassisted pull-ups with consistent training. That was my first mistake. Comparing my progress to others.

What is wrong with me, I wondered? Is it taking me this long to do one unassisted pull-up because I’m that weak? I am at the stage where I really want it and want it now. On Friday, I was also on the verge of giving up. Thinking this was all pointless, maybe I should devote my time to another gym goal.  A more feasible goal that is within reach. Then I thought, but I really want this. A pull-up to me would be a true testament of strength. I thought back to when I was in junior high. I had to do a speech in front of my entire class for speech arts. This was mandatory. I am terribly shy when it comes to public speaking and the thought of speaking in front of an entire class with all eyes on me was terrifying. The fear was so crippling that I wanted to play hooky from school and just fail the project.  My mom showed me a verse in Samuel chapter 17 in the Old Testament that evening as I practiced my speech. It was about David facing his opponent the giant Goliath and defeating him in battle. I still read this passage today when faced with an intimidating situation. Whether you believe in Biblical stories or not, David’s hubris and bravery cannot be denied.  It makes any obstacle seem possible to face. My mom assured me that if young and small David faced and defeated a giant, I certainly had nothing to fear and to remember this before my speech. To make matters worse, the speech was about wolverines. I mean why? We could research and speak on any topic. Why I chose wolverines I don’t know. The speech had a few bumps in the road, and I’m pretty sure Peter Alexovski in the front row of desks was falling asleep during the hunting habits of the wolverines. (Funny, he kind of perked up when I got to the mating habits part).  I completed the speech and got a B- for my efforts. After all was said and done, it wasn’t as terrifying as I expected.



Today I had another Goliath to contend with. The pull-up bar. Standing beneath the bar it looked cold and unwelcoming. I felt as tiny as David looking up at the bar, like my symbolic steel giant.  Time to face my Goliath. I pushed a secure bench under the bar and stood on the bench. Placing my hands on the steel about shoulder width apart, I gripped firmly overhand. With a deep breath, I pulled myself up…..about an inch. Yes, that’s it. I inched myself up and dangled there for about 10 seconds before releasing and stepping down on the bench.

A success? Um no, but the bar doesn’t seem so scary anymore since actually making contact with it.  Now is not the time for a defeatist attitude. This is all about baby steps because one inch today might be two inches tomorrow. Let’s face it, I have one helluva obstacle to face.


My nemesis. The unassisted pull-up bar.

What “Goliath” are you facing in your goals if any?

Artwork of David and Goliath by Von Glitschka


Not all Wining and Dining

I realized that my last few posts were all about food, festivals and wine. It hasn’t all been wining and dining this summer (not nearly as much as I’d like you to believe ;) It seems as though I have not been near the gym, but rest assured, I have been working hard in and out of the gym.

I have been jogging at the local high school track:

IMG_2005I don’t have a fancy, shmancy Garmin or any kind of gadget, so I enjoy track jogging. It helps me keep track of mileage through counting laps.

I have been planking up a storm:

IMG_1997I have been hanging around a lot with this big fella:

IMG_1861We used to be sworn enemies. Now we are quite close and I’ve been back rowing the big kahuna for about 5 repetitions and I’m feeling very proud of myself. This has been a long time goal of mine. Take note folks, don’t give up. What seems daunting now, will be soon be attainable.

I have been stair running at the train station after the morning rush has finished:

img_00561 Great for the glutes I might add.

I have been meal prepping:

IMG_1811I have been squatting my heart out:

IMG_2004 I continue to work diligently on my pull ups. Still all assisted, but I continue to work at it. So it hasn’t been all festivals, fun and wine. It’s been festivals, fun, food, wine and fitness. Always fitness.
















Wine Country Ontatio

Since touring the vineyards of Tuscany is not in the foreseeable future, I decided to stop “whining” about it. We have bountiful and beautiful vineyards right here in Ontario. Wine country Ontario, in Niagara-on-the-Lake is under two hours away from where I live, so it was very foreseeable.  My sister Camille, her partner Glenn, Andy and I went on a tasting tour of four vineyards yesterday and it was wonderful. Grey clouds were threatening, but the day turned out to be just beautiful and sunny. As it should be when walking through vineyards and sipping on the sweet grapes of the vine.

Vineyards Visited on Tour:



Reif Estate Wineries

The Culinary and Sommelier Institute (where a full lesson was given from vineyard temperatures to fermentation.)

Now, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Keira, our guide at the Education Centre.

Keira, our guide at the Education Centre.


Trying organic wine at the eco-friendly Stonebrook estates

Trying organic wine at the eco-friendly Stonebrook estates

IMG_2381IMG_2396IMG_2393Over all it was a fantastic experience. I really enjoyed learning about the origins of the drink I so enjoy. In vino veritas!


From left, me, Andy, Glenn and Cam


It’s All Greek to me

Opa! Take a listen to this. Sorry you can’t smell the delicious aroma of the baklava, spanakopita, souvlaki or lamb. (you don’t eat no meat? Okay, I cook you lamb.) Just a little My Big Fat Greek Wedding humor, folks. I was not on the island of Santorini. I was on The Danforth with my sisters for a girls day out. Every year on the second weekend of August,  in the east end of the city named Danforth Avenue ( AKA little Greektown), the city blocks off traffic on a large stretch of the avenue and restaurants offer samples from their menu for the annual Taste of the Danforth street festival. There is also music, dance and art showcased with food, food and more food.


Anytime I visit The Danforth, I get a sense of nostalgia. I grew up in this area so it’s always nice to come back home. Back then, The Danforth was predominantly Greek in population, where simple, family owned Greek diners lined the streets. Yia yias (Greek grannies) would sit on their porches wearing black from head to toe, knitting or talking of stories from the old country. Although the surroundings were simple in the diners, with booths and red vinyl seats and no AC in the summer heat but just the flicker of a rickety ceiling fan, the authentic food was always tasty. Usually these diners were run by a dad named Nick, with his son Nick and nephew Nick working in the kitchen. (I kid you not.)

My childhood home off Danforth Avenue:


Enough reminiscing. I’m starting to sound like one of those yia yias. Now, back to the festival. Dining at Astoria Shish Kabob House:

From left, me, my sister Francine, my sister Camille and my sister Karen.

From left, me, my sister Francine, my sister Camille and my sister Karen.


Fran and me

Me and Fran

Karen and Camille

Karen and Camille

My Big Fat Greek dinner. We resisted the urge to break plates:


The crowded streets. People always love a good festival:

IMG_1957Nowadays, the Danforth is a trendy place for shopping and dining, with wine bars, cafés, boutiques and eateries lining the avenue. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was filmed right on the same block as Astoria’s where we ate. There are also an array of Yoga studios and doggie grooming salons to choose from. Young professionals are dipping into the real estate market in the area, but it will always be my beloved Greektown with those simple family diners, Yia yias in black and my memories.

A Night Out. 20’s vs. 40 plus

I was getting ready for an evening out to meet a friend downtown for dinner. I made sure to check for all my necessities before leaving, purse, keys, phone, lastly a coat of lipstick then out the door. Oops, wait, there’s one more thing. Did I remember to pluck my chin hair? Welcome to the delightful world of getting ready in your 40 plus years. In my twenties, it was just chose outfit, grab keys, cash, lipstick and done. As you reach a more mature stage in your life, your routine changes somewhat. So, in good humour, I posted this on my FB wall:

Getting ready for a night out in your 20’s:

How’s my lipstick?

Getting ready for a night out in your 40’s:

How’s my chin hair?

This status update created a whole slew of comments from 40 plus ladies chiming in with how things have changed since reaching a certain age. I would like to share them with you because they gave me a good laugh. So without further delay.

Getting Ready for a Night out in your 20’s:

Is this dress tight enough?

Getting Ready for a Night out at 40 plus:

Do I need my spanx under this dress?-  Anita

In your 20’s:

How’s my hair? Does it look frizzy?

And at 40 plus:

How’s my hair? Should I have dyed my roots?- Camille

Can’t forget to bring_____in my purse in my 20’s:

My lip gloss

Can’t forget to bring_____in my purse at 40 plus:

My reading glasses. I may need to see the menu.- Lady D

Staying up all night in your 20’s:

Awesome! The club doesn’t close until 3:00am.

Staying up “late” at 40 plus:

It’s 11:30pm already? It’s pass my bedtime.- Meena

At the pub/bar in your 20’s:

I hate that bartender! He carded me!

At pub/bar at 40 plus:

I love that bartender! He carded me!- Julie

With your cell phone on a night out in your 20’s:

Wait. Lemme take a selfie.

With your cell phone on a night out at 40 plus:

These grown-a** children keep texting me to harass me for nonsense. They still can’t figure out how the dryer works.-  Tania     

I wonder if Sandra Bullock, Angela Bassette, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez have these 40 plus problems? I’m sure they do. They’re human just like us, except they have a team of beauticians, personal trainers, wardrobe personnel and dieticians to help them along their mature way.  All I know is right now my tweezers are my BFF.

Before I close this post, I just want to thank all my contributors. Not only do you look young for your age, but you are also young in spirit.  Best of all, you know how to make these 40 plus problems seem a lot better with a bit of humour. Tweezers, spanx, hair dye, texting grown-a** children, reading glasses, early bedtimes and all, may we never lose the gift of laughter.

20-something purse essentials:






40-something purse essentials:


My Accountibility Report Card for this Weekend

I anticipated it was going to be a rough one this weekend in the way of clean eating. The long civic holiday weekend.  Carnival, Island Soul, gatherings and waaaay too much food, drink and general merry-making antics. Glad to report, I was wrong. I did not stray too far from my healthy lifestyle goals and overall I did just fine.

If I were to grade myself, my report card would look something like this:

Healthy food choices: A
Implemented my alcohol limit plan: B
Remained physically active and continued with my workouts: C

I felt that the most difficult part of carnival weekend was staying on course during the parade route, and not breaking down and eating my way through crowds, floats and dancing revelers. I made sure to have a protein smoothie before I left home, and found some pretty good food at the parade. I found vendors that were selling, “authentic Caribbean Cuisine” that was low in sodium and no MSG added. I had BBQ chicken, green salad and red beans and rice. I could taste from the rice that the meal was low in sodium. The food was not salty, but flavorful. I did enjoy a few libations (as I predicted), but again I stuck to my goal of only one or two drinks, which consisted of wine spritzers, shandies and red wine. I did not workout as I hoped to,  but I did a lot city walking. Today, I hit the gym hard and it felt great. My shoulders are still angry with me from working so hard, but they will thank me later.  I will share the “shoulder boulder” workout I found on with you later in the week. For now, back to the Carnival frivolity.

As for the parade it was a lot of fun as usual. Every year on this weekend, Toronto becomes a Caribbean Oasis with food, music and dance. Andy and I were neither feathered, bejeweled or sparkly, so we had to enlist help from our friends:

Andy and Raisha

Andy and Raisha


Kerry-Ann and me.

Kerry-Ann and me.


Here are more scenes from partying in the streets:


Andy does what he loves best

Andy does what he loves best


On Sunday, we went to the Island Soul festival at the Harbourfront. I enjoyed a glass of red while people watching at the dock.



I did break my resolve on Sunday at the Harbourfront when I indulged in one of these babies:











It was rich, decadent and I enjoyed every gooey bite. It’s all good though. I deserved the indulgence. I was very mindful this weekend and my attitude about treating myself has changed immensely. I no longer look at treats as “good” or “bad.” I am no longer an all or nothing type of person. I have adopted the attitude of treating myself from time to time, making sure to remain active, enjoying my indulgences and moving on. Life is all about living and eating an ice-cream sandwich in the summer. Hey, the Caribbean came to the city after all, and we all know how laid back the islands are.