I Thought I Was Going to Die

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This is the story of life or death. Mine. If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to read it because I think there is something you can learn from my mistakes.

Please also be sure to download my FREE Holiday Survival Plan to help you stay healthy this holiday season.

Christmas 2011

Significant because it was my oldest son’s first Christmas yes, but also significant because it was the Christmas that gave me the biggest scare of my life.

And taught me a lesson that I want to now pass on to you.

Some of you may actually remember me going through quite an ordeal leading up to that Christmas. As usual for me in December, I caught a cold. But what happened next, knocked me on my butt more than anything else ever had,.
Pneumonia. And in true Deborah fashion, I didn’t let it slow me down (at first). I kept trying to teach classes. In fact, one class I could barely breathe and I had to sit on the floor and continue to teach.I survived the holidays (barely) by medicating with Tylenol and Advil to keep down the fever. I HAD to keep going. Of course as I look back now, I have no idea why I thought that way.

I was so afraid of disappointing people…my clients, class participants, friends, family.

How often do you put yourself last while trying to take care of everyone else? And Moms, you know we are the worst offenders! One evening just before the New Year, my fever was so high I had delirium. How in the world could I take care of anyone this way?!?

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Here is my Facebook status from that year….

December 30, 2011
I’ve learned if you ever want to sit by yourself, just put on a surgical face mask. LOL. People take one look at you and will sit ANYWHERE else!

Funny yes because you should have seen people back away from me but a pneumonia that continued to get worse despite two rounds of antibiotics became no laughing matter. I spent New Year’s Day, just five days after my 38th birthday listening to a doctor tell me he was extremely concerned because he couldn’t understand why someone as young and ‘healthy’ as me was continuing to get worse.

I remember crying and thinking, for the first time ever, I was going to die and leave behind two beautiful children. How did I let this happen?!?

But it had become a theme for me in December. Getting sick just before or during the holidays became the ‘norm’ for me. I wore myself out so much that I would have been surprised if I didn’t get sick. To give you a little perspective, here are more December Facebook posts from previous years and yes, I do realize perhaps I was a little too whiny on FB. 🙂

December 7, 2010
I felt bad (sorta) that I couldn’t do more than bark instructions at tonight’s Boot Camp. I’m now super annoyed and frustrated that I can’t get rid of this cold. Let’s see if I can breathe enough tonight to get a good night’s sleep!

December 1, 2009
Still nursing both myself and a little girl back to health. Hope this clears up soon!
December 13, 2008
Catching up on two weeks worth of work …. yep, the flu knocked me out but I’m starting to feel better!!
December 3, 2008
is very sick …. may have to cancel Boot Camp tonight guys!!! Will keep you posted!
December 13, 2007
Annoyed with this newly developed head cold. Training a client this morning and thought my head was going to explode!

And you thought I was kidding.

Moms, we wear ourselves out worrying about family photos, gifts, advent calendars, decorating a Pinterest worthy house (and posting it to social media of course), gifts, Christmas concerts, piano recitals, gifts, Sunday School pageants, pics with Santa, letters to Santa, tracking Santa online, get togethers with family and friends, work functions, traveling or hosting. And don’t forget about the normal everyday stuff that still needs to be done. And we wonder why we get sick!

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Even worse, December is a time when most of us let exercise and healthy eating slide and we start cutting back on our sleep in our attempt to find more hours in a day. “I’ll start fresh in the New Year” becomes a common phrase and we start putting all our other ‘priorities’ ahead of our own health.

And our health is indeed what suffers the most.

Deb & Kids.jpg
The three most important reasons I MAKE the time to take care of myself!

Now I’m not going to say I have now found some sort of perfect balance and I never get sick anymore. I still struggle with everything on my to-do list (because some things will never change) and my kiddies still bring home sniffles and coughs that as a Mom is hard to avoid. But, I have found that I am able to recover quicker and by taking some necessary steps to eating, exercise and stress management, I’m happy to report that 2011 was the last time I had any holiday sickness to report!

So this year I want to encourage you to remember my story.

By feeding your body what it needs to function at it’s very best and by exercising and sleeping more regularly to stay strong and manage stress, you are making YOU a priority. And no, this is NOT selfish because taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for those around you. When you take care of yourself you put yourself in a MUCH better position to take care of those you love.

Please keep this in mind this year and for further support, I invite you to download your Holiday Survival Plan below.

Wishing you all a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

Warm Wishes
~ Deborah

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I’m super excited about the opportunity I have to share what I love but also help a great cause!

My husband is participating in Movember again this year, a fundraiser to help support men’s health. This year, instead of just growing the facial hair, the Movember Foundation they have also added a MOVE component. Participants are asked to log in each day to report any activity they completed. I promised Hubby that I would help him in his endeavour and I thought instead of just him, why not help as many people as I could!


So for the month of November, I will be offering FREE daily workouts delivered directly to your Inbox. These are fairly short workouts that can be done in the comfort of your own home.

All you have to do is click the link below to get started! I’m looking forward to hearing how you do this month!

movember sign up button


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A high protein snack when you are needing that “fix”

chocolate coconut balls

This is absolutely one of my favourite healthy eating “treats”. It gives you that chocolate fix when you are needing it but with a good serving of protein, you don’t need to cheat on your plan to do so!  I wish I could tell you how long they last in the fridge but this recipe has never lasted more than five days in my house …. because we eat them all too quickly!!

An important tip would be to not skip the coconut extract (found in the baking aisle). I find them very bland and I can taste the protein powder too much when I left it out.


  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 3 Scoops your favourite Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa
  • Handful of finely chopped Walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 Cup Natural Peanut or Almond Butter
  • Water
  • Artificial coconut flavouring (important)
  • Extra shredded coconut for rolling


  1. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. Rub in and combine the nut butter.
  3. Combine 1/2 tsp coconut flavour with 1/3 cup of water and slowly add water until it forms a slightly sticky dough like consistency.
  4. If too dry to form balls, slowly add more water one drop at a time (gets too sticky fast so be careful).
  5. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and roll in extra shredded coconut. Keep refrigerated.

Makes 36 balls


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Don’t let your summer road trips ruin all your hard work!

Yes, it can be done!

Let me show you how.

Summer is on it’s way (finally) and that means there are more people on the road. Unfortunately “traveling” is the number one excuse I hear when someone falls off the healthy eating wagon.

It doesn’t have to be that way! I’ve got some great ideas to help you stay on track while on the road. And be sure to check out the recipe below for a great high protein snack to take with you!

Here are five ways to make it all work!

1. Coolers or Cooler Bags will become your new best friend.

Cooler Bag

Seriously. Take it EVERYWHERE you go!

My favourite bag was given to me as a gift after I gushed over it. It’s one of my favourite items I own and my whole family has taken advantage of it! Yours doesn’t have to be this fancy. Just find a size that works for what you need and use it! If we are packing the vehicle anyway, one more bag is easy peasy. The most important thing after getting the cooler is filling it with healthy foods.

2. Get to know the foods that travel well. You would be amazed at how many healthy foods are easy to take on a road trip. Here is just a quick list of some easy healthy travel ideas. And don’t forget to check out the recipe at the end of this newsletter for a high protein on-the-road treat!

  • Load up on fresh-cut vegetables and fruit. Easy to carry fruits like apples, pears, bananas, plums, peaches, etc… make it easy to grab something healthy on he road.
  • Water!
  • Plain Greek yogurt mixed with berries and homemade granola.
  • Individually wrapped portions of cheese can be kept in the cooler with the fruit and vegetables.
  • Baked whole grain crackers or pita chips and hummus.
  • You can also pack sandwiches or wraps made with whole grain or Ezekiel bread. Natural butters or lean meats can give you the protein boost you need. Keep these in the cooler, too. If you like veggies on your sandwiches, wrap those separately and add when you are ready to eat to keep the sandwich from getting mushy.
  • Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts are easy to take on a trip.
  • Home made protein bars, granola bars or my yummy Chocolate Coconut Treats are great choices to have on the go.

3. Equip your hotel room. This one should be done as soon as you book your reservation. Many hotels have a fridge and microwave they can place in your room – you just have to ask! If you arrive by vehicle, you are able to bring a lot of your food with you but if not, make sure to get to your nearest supermarket to pick up some healthy food to have in your room, such as…

  • Lemons
  • 3 1-Litre Bottles of Water (that’s for one day remember)
  • Coconut water for smoothies
  • Cucumber, Baby Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes
  • Bananas, apples, pears
  • Be sure to check out the fresh local fruits and vegetables during harvest season
  • Oatmeal
  • Protein powder
  • Raw nuts, trail mix, raisins or other dried fruits
  • Crackers
  • Cheese (such as Babybel) or cottage cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Pre-bagged, pre-washed greens
  • Hardboiled eggs (can usually find them in a little pack of two in the deli section

Extra tip: As soon as you get to the hotel, ask for a spoon, fork, knife, steak knife (sharper) to keep in your hotel room for preparing and eating your own foods. And yes, I have been known to bring my blender!

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need at restaurants. You are at the hotel restaurant (or any restaurant) and you are not sure what to order? Your safest choice is to always remember the 2Ps: Protein & Produce. The best part about hotel restaurants is that they are in the business of making travelers happy. Some restaurants will actually say, “Our kitchen is your kitchen. Tell us what you want”. So if your usual breakfast is a 4-egg white omelet with peppers and a small bowl oatmeal with berries…you may be able to get it. Seriously, don’t be afraid to ask!

5. Use your surroundings to exercise. You have two feet, go for a walk and see the sights. Do some research before you go, is there a hiking trail close by? Perhaps there is a park that rents bikes (I did that in NYC and toured Central Park – bigger than I thought but a great experience.) If all else fails and you are stuck in your room, always make sure to throw an exercise band in your suitcase or download an interval timer on your phone and get moving. I have plenty of exercises that you can do in a 4×4 sq ft space so if you are stuck for ideas, please let me know!

Keep these few tips in your mind when you plan your next road trip. Avoid the junk food stops and you’ll be healthier because of it! Keep scrolling for my favourite high protein snack recipe!

Wishing you health and happiness.

~ Deborah


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mexicansoupSoup is one of my go-to meals that I can make ahead of time and heat whenever I need something hearty and healthy. My favourite is using a small cup for an afternoon snack. I get bored FAST of the “veggies and hummus” typical snack so I like that a soup can provide me with the vegetable and protein I need and will make me feel like I’ve eaten something with substance. A great way to get me through until dinner time! Here is a soup that was sent to me by a member of my online group. I would eliminate or greatly reduce the rice and corn when trying to limit starches.

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried cumin
  • 1 – 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • **2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • **1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Juice of two limes
  • salt
  • Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, or avocado for garnishing
**Reduce these ingredients if limiting your starches.


  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until soft about 5 minutes.
  3. Add jalapeno, garlic, dried oregano, and cumin. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add diced tomatoes with their juices, worcestershire sauce, and chicken stock.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.
  6. Add lentils, corn, and cooked rice.
  7. Cook for 3-5 minutes just to heat lentil and rice through. Add lime juice and season with salt.
  8. Garnish with cilantro, diced avocado, and a scoop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Makes 10-12 Servings

Help Her Lose Weight … Without Getting Punched in the Face!

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A person you love wants to lose weight and says she needs your help. Eeek!!

Here is how you can help … without getting punched in the face.

Don’t be afraid. You CAN help. In fact, your behaviour has a bigger impact on her reaching her goals than you might think.

This post is directed mainly to the husband but anyone can use the ideas here to help someone you love reach their weight loss goals.

Below are my five top suggestions to help her out. But please remember that every woman is different and so are their needs, which is why the most important this you can do is…

ASK!! Oh my goodness, please ask her what she needs from you! And ask her to get specific because what works for one woman may not work for another. Want proof? On recent goal setting worksheets I received, one woman would like her family to ask her about the program frequently to keep her motivated but another woman specifically said “Don’t ask me how I’m doing on the program”. Confused? Sounds about right. So ask her what she needs from you!

In no particular order, here are the top five things I’ve found help women the most.

1.  Give her the time to exercise…without guilt. If she needs to go the gym, discuss times that work best for your family. If she can exercise at home, give her the space to exercise without interruptions. Kids? Make sure you’re ready to be the awesome fun Dad for an hour. Once the times are set and unless an emergency comes up (“after work drinks” is NOT an emergency), make sure you stick to the plan and be there when she needs you. And please…no guilt because you’ll just be adding extra stress that is counterproductive to weight loss. She doesn’t need to know who had a meltdown or how many diapers you had to change. She doesn’t need her house to look like a tornado blew through while she exercised. She just wants to know she can disappear to take care of herself without her house falling apart. Bonus…exercise is a mood enhancer and she’ll probably be a much nicer person to be around when she is done.

2. Participate with her! I know this isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t need to lose weight yourself but healthy eating and exercise can help everyone! If she asks if you would like to go for a walk, get yourself moving and go whether you want to or not. I promise you’ll be glad you did. BUT, this is one of those “ask her” times though because some women would rather exercise alone and take time to clear her head. Generally though, women who has a friend or spouse exercise with them are more successful is sticking with it. This also means eating healthy with her!! Don’t turn up your nose at every healthy food she tries. You may just find something new you like as well. This also leads to the next tip.

3. Keep junk out of the house. Ok, maybe this is just me but if there are potato chips in my house, I can find those bad boys anywhere! Worse is when they are left out in the open! I can have a chip in my mouth before I even realize what I’m doing! Be thoughtful and don’t leave temptations lying around. If you are seriously craving those candy, go buy it and eat them in your car. It won’t kill you to sacrifice with her for just a little while. It will make her feel less alone and less likely to cave.

4. Don’t harass her that “just one treat” is ok. This one still relates to food and is one that really ticks me off. And this goes to everyone in her life…spouse, parents, friends, co-workers. If you know that someone is trying to lose weight and you pull out a bag of cookies, bring a fatty dip to a social function, or celebrate a birthday at work with a cake, don’t make a big deal if they aren’t eating it! There is absolutely no need for you to insist she have “just a little”. You have no idea how many people may have said the same thing to her that week. A bunch of small “harmless” treats throughout the week can add up and sabotage her efforts. And seriously, why is it so important to you that she eat it? Will it make you feel better about your own unhealthy habits? Perhaps. She doesn’t need the pressure so if you are one of these people, STOP IT!

5. Tell her she looks beautiful! But please don’t say if you don’t truly mean it because she will see through you. But if you genuinely see her losing inches, if her clothes are fitting better, if she is wearing something you haven’t seen in a long time, tell her how great she looks! She is probably thrilled that she is able to wear it again and whether she admits it or not, it makes her feel good when someone notices her hard work paying off.

Just remember, ask ask ask her want she wants from you!! You will both be happier because of it!

As a public service announcement, here are 5 Things That WILL get you punched in the face:

  1. Send her any info on weight loss if she doesn’t initiate the search.
  2. Tell her anything she is wearing is too small.
  3. Roll your eyes, look annoyed or sulk when she tells you she is going to work out.
  4. Ask “is that on your meal plan” every time she eats anything.
  5. Ask her how much she weights. Ever! (but DO make a big deal when she tells you how much she’s lost!).

Now enjoy the benefits of having a healthy and fit wife in your house. Everyone will be happier because of it!

For more information on the services I offer including personal training, small group, fitness classes and online weight loss, please visit www.journey2wellness.ca or email me at info@journey2wellness.ca. I look forward to hearing from you!

How can Small Group Training help you?

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FitnessI’ve seen quite the growing trend over the last few years for Small Group Training. While classes are still popular and many people still love the personal attention of one-on-one personal training session, I’ve had an increasing number of requests for small group training.

What is Small Group Training? This is generally when 2-8 people (I like no more than 5) exercise together with a trainer or fitness instructor. Members usually get similar workouts and meal plans, with some tweaking necessary based on physical abilities, medical history and exercise experience. **Side Note: Please make sure you find a trainer/instructor who will do this! I don’t agree with you having to do the exact same exercise as everyone else if it causes you discomfort or pain. Good instructors walk around, can read your cues (or will ask you how you are feeling) and provide modifications as necessary.

Here are some reasons why Small Group Training can work for you.

Show Me The Money! – One-one-one Personal Training does indeed provide the most personal attention and greatest opportunity to succeed. But, some people find that Small Group Training, because the cost is split among the members, keeps the price down while still giving them the attention they need.

Attention – While fitness classes does offer many benefits, the instructors are not always able to see and correct each individual class member as closely as only working with four or five people. There is less room to hide!

Mom & BabyExercise Loves Company – Plain and simple, sharing the workout enhances the experience for participants. I notice this even more when families exercise together.

Special Treatment – Many times if you have a group of like-minded people or those in similar situations, the  program can be tailored to your specific needs (ie) weight loss, Pre-natal Fitness, Mom & Baby or Stroller Fit!

Motivation (aka Competition) – Having someone exercising right beside you can push you a little harder than you might do on your own, especially if you both have a competitive spirit.PreNatal

Support – Both the Trainer and other participants are there to help you get through the challenges of the workout and the obstacles in life.

Accountability – Unlike many classes, if you miss your schedule workout, your Trainer WILL notice and will ask you why! Although I have been known to do this to my class participants. 🙂

Variety – By working with a knowledgeable fitness professional, your workouts will change/evolve as you progress, preventing hitting a plateau and boredom.

Stroller FitFun – Ah, yes. What I believe to be one of the most important components of an exercise session. The right exercise program done with friends can definitely be fun. A good trainer will allow fun while still keeping everyone on track.

Commitment – When you are involved in program where you know others are counting on your participation, you are more likely stick with it, even on days when you aren’t in the mood to exercise.

Results – When you stick with a well constructed program that you enjoy, you will get the results.

There you have it. If you are trying to find that happy medium between the attention of One-On-One Personal Training but the savings and camaraderie of Fitness Classes, Small Group Training may be just what you need!

**Deborah currently has TWO remaining Small Group Training timeslots available in Fall River, NS on Saturdays and TWO timeslots in Dartmouth/Cole Harbour, NS on Sundays. Please visit my website at www.journey2wellness.ca/programs.html for more details.