Nutrition Consultant Profile: Sherli-Ann

When you first meet Sherli-Ann, it doesn't take long to recognize in her the heart of a healer. Her gentle, mindful approach to life has led her to pursue a myriad of opportunities that allow her to share passion, love and kindness with others.  After many years of struggling with aggressive, harmful diets that harmed both her body and her minds, Sherli-Ann knew she had to turn away from strategies that were rooted in trying to achieve an unachievable standard of perfection. Instead, she turned her attention towards self-compassion and self-kindness and has learned to love herself just as she is, "perfectly imperfect". 

We could not be more grateful to have her as one of our nutrition consultants. This is her powerful story, in her own words. 

****

I have been, up until about two to three years ago buying into the belief that in order to be beautiful and "perfect" I had to conform to societies beliefs on what that looked like. I was hustling for my worthiness based on an ideal that had been fed to me since childhood. I hurt my one and only vessel that I had been given in so many ways and stopped listening to its intrinsic voice that told me that I was perfectly imperfect just as I am. 

Sherli-Ann believes in approaching health from a wholistic, mind-body connection. 

Sherli-Ann believes in approaching health from a wholistic, mind-body connection. 

I underfed it, then I overfed it, then I purged the over abundance of food that I had eaten. All in the name of perfection and control or lack there of depending on the time of day. ;) I suffered from anxiety and at times just wanted off of the roller coaster. I did not want to die, but I did not want to keep going on the path that I was on, I just wanted it to stop. The funny thing is, is that most of those around me had no idea of the war that was going on inside my head every single day. I was pretty good at putting on my mask, as one would put on make-up and venture out into the world. On days that I was not feeling up to the challenge and still had to go out, I would  become more quiet and still not share my pain or struggle. It felt like a sign of weakness, proof that I was not as "perfect" as I ought to be. It felt like everyone else could get there sh*t together, except me.  I am fortunate to have an amazing husband and a few close friends, to help me on this journey of self love and discovery. I was also surrounded by people who were on similar trajectories that fed into the same belief story of not good enough. 

I believe that when you ask the universe or God (by whatever name you associate)....the people and books and Facebook posts will land right in your lap that you need to see and hear.  If at first you ignore the little nudges and the pats on the head...they will keep coming until you no longer can. I fell in love with Brene Brown and all of her teachings on worthiness, shame and vulnerability. I am now obsessed with self love and healing books and own quite the library! I started meditating instead of medicating with food. I found my inner guide that has been with me all along and started listening. 

This is my new path, and on it I hope to be the lighthouse to those that are struggling with worthiness. I hope to be the little bee in their ear that tells them that your weight does not determine your worth. If I can help just one person on this journey believe that they are worth it, just as they are...that would be amazing.

So when you ask "Why NME, Why now?", this is my story. I want to help others with the emotional side of eating and this program allows for that. I hope to up my game and soon be one of the workshops where we can discuss the stress response and find a new tool to overcome it. My relationship with food now is so much better, and if we can help all of our challengers get to this place! What an achievement! 

*****

Some fun facts about Sherli-Ann:

Her favorite low cal snack is dairy free white cheddar flavored Skinny Pop.

She meditates daily and have taken training to become a certified meditation instructor

In her spare time, you will find her hanging with her family(husband and three beautiful children) in the organized chaos we call life.

Her entire family is comprised of Disney Freaks...they have have gone almost every year to either Disney World or Disneyland, and- no- they do not get sick of it!

She loves all of the classes at NME,  and looks forward to the day that her knee gets strong enough for her so to check out more of the Cardio based classes. She says: "I love, love , love to dance!! Marsha has said to me that I make everything I do in TRX look like I am dancing ;)!!"

And her guilty pleasure is still chocolate...but now it is more costly since she has had to go dairy free.

Thank you, Sherli-Ann, for your beautiful spirit, your authenticity, your vulnerability and your powerful story! We are so fortunate to have you as a part of our nutrition program.

Nutrition Consultant: Zita

A true jack of all trades when it comes to health and fitness, Zita is known in our community for being a bit of a science geek. Zita's philosophy on health is simple: "Don't do it because you are supposed to. Do it because it feels wonderful to give your body what it needs, and you deserve to feel wonderful."  Here's Zita's story. 


Zita doesn't believe in "diets", and she'll be the first one to tell you that.

What she does believe in is the human capacity for growth, change, and betterment. And she believes, firmly, in the power of self-care, self-compassion and self-love.

"We can learn to change the things about ourselves that we don't like. Every single day, we are given opportunities to become greater versions of who we are. We can evolve. It's in our DNA."

Zita's personal program plan is designed to help her gain lean muscle mass while reducing her body fat. 

Zita's personal program plan is designed to help her gain lean muscle mass while reducing her body fat. 

And if anyone can truly attest to the human ability to change, it's her. Over the past four and half years she has completely transformed her life by embarking on what her friends' described as a "radical journey of self-celebration."  And while the change in her body size is probably the most obvious (it's hard to miss a ~100 lbs weight loss), the most significant changes happened in her mind.

She explains: "If you had told me four years ago that I would be here, now, a fitness and health professional, public speaker and health advocate, I probably wouldn't have laughed. I think I would have cried. I wouldn't have believed you- because I didn't know how to believe in myself. I wouldn't have believed myself capable of any of it."  

All that changed when Zita's son Samuel's physical needs demanded that she change her way of life significantly to help him manage his neurodevelopmental difference. (Read more about that story here). Out of necessity, physical activity became a way of life for Zita and her family, and they've never looked back.  Soon, these changes began to permeate every aspect of their lives. 

"What's amazing is that, when you are working so hard at being healthy in one area of your life, you find yourself wanting to make better choices in other areas as well. As I learned to fall in love with my body, I also learned that I wanted to give it the very best I could.  I wanted to eat a healthier diet. I wanted better sleep. I wanted to address problems that I had been ignoring for a really long time. I wanted to feel "good" from in the inside out."  

"When I look at old pictures, I'm reminded of just how different my life has become in such a short time. That's when I know that I can do anything I set my mind to."

"When I look at old pictures, I'm reminded of just how different my life has become in such a short time. That's when I know that I can do anything I set my mind to."

Being a lover of science and of learning, Zita embarked on a journey to truly understand the human body, including how it fuels itself and stores energy. She also took a keen interest in behaviour change management, pursuing additional education in order to better support her clients.  In doing so, she discovered what she believes to be the missing link in virtually every diet, and the absolute 'secret' to her success: 

"Sustainable behaviour change can not come from a place of self-loathing. It must come from a place of love, acceptance and desire for growth. No one invests time, energy, and resources into projects that they don't feel are worthy. The first change that has to happen is the recognition that you are worth it. And that, for most people, is the greatest feat of all." 

Now, Zita uses both her education and personal experience to help others work their way through different life changes. For those in the Weight Loss Program, those changes involve gaining a better understanding of food, of the relationship between energy intake and expenditure, and bringing awareness to their patterns and choices. For Zita, "this isn't a "diet"- it's simply the long term application of basic food science. And it's a system that can be used to accomplish any number of goals, because understanding how food works is essential to making empowered choices about your nutrition." 

But she has found that often this is actually just the tip of the iceberg.  She says "my favourite thing about this program is when the participants are so eager to tell me everything they have learned about themselves through the process. That's when they realize that this experience is about so much more than changing their food habits. It's the beginning of a love story- theirs, with themselves."

Zita's passion is endurance training, and she is proud to have completed two 70.3 mile triathlons. She is now training for her first 140.6 mile event slated for 2019.

Zita's passion is endurance training, and she is proud to have completed two 70.3 mile triathlons. She is now training for her first 140.6 mile event slated for 2019.

When asked what her greatest piece of advice was to those just starting out, Zita suggested focusing on the 'why' more than the 'what'. 

"There are going to be days where the 'what'- be it exercise, or tracking, or meal planning- seems insurmountable. And when it does, you need to go back to your 'why'. You need to remind yourself that this is one step in a long journey towards better self-understanding, and that it isn't a linear path.  Be forgiving and compassionate with yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes, to make choices that may not reflect all of your goals. Allow yourself the pleasure, the pain, the grief, the frustration and the joy that are essential parts of the growth experience." 

When not supporting clients or teaching classes, Zita can almost always be found eating, thinking about eating, or whining about how she hasn't eaten in over an hour. She laughs, saying "I use the program myself to make sure that I am actually taking in enough calories! I move a lot and require an awful lot of food to keep myself going. I'd even say that food tracking is all the more essential for athletes- we are putting our bodies through the ringer, and if we under eat or eat the wrong proportions of foods, we are opening ourselves up to major health risks."

When asked her final thoughts, Zita responded: "I never want to live in a world where I can't eat nachos. And on this program, no one has to. Maybe that's the best part."


Nutrition Consultant Profile: Angela

Anyone who has spent any time with Angela can tell you that she is the perfect mixture of sugar and spice! Kind, caring and deeply compassionate of everyone around her, Angela couples her warm-heartedness with a healthy dose of sarcasm and an awful lot of humour! Angela's matter of fact approach to health and fitness makes her an ideal nutrition consultant.


At 50 lbs lost, Angela transformed both her diet and her fitness levels in less than a year!

At 50 lbs lost, Angela transformed both her diet and her fitness levels in less than a year!

Angela first joined the NO MORE EXCUSES INC. community as a group fitness participant back when it was based in Millwoods.  While she had lapsed from taking classes, she continued to stay connected through the newsletter. Following a wonderful family vacation with her girls, Angela realized that she was struggling with loving her reflection the pictures that had captured her memories. She knew that it was time for her to reinvest in herself and to make her health and fitness a priority again.  

Through participating in group fitness classes every week, and through immersing herself in the Weight Loss Program, Angela was able to discover in herself strengths, abilities and skills that she didn't know she possessed. Beyond that, she discovered an amazing community of people who have motivated and inspired her through their stories and their shared experiences.  

It didn't take long before Angela was identified as leader in the program. When Marsha and Cheryl decided it was time to expand, they knew Angela had to be at the top of their list for potential consultants. But the decision wasn't an easy one for her! Her faith and belief in the program was so deep that she had to really make sure that she had the "right stuff" to be a leader within it. After much reflection, it was her own personal experience with the people and the program that won her over. She knew that she could give back to others in the same way that they had given to her. So, she agreed to give it a try and considers it to be "one of the best decisions ever!' She says “the positivity it brings to my life on a daily basis is unmatched by anything before!”

Today, Angela knows that this experience is about so much more than 'weight loss'. It is transformation of how you feel about yourself, from the inside out!

Today, Angela knows that this experience is about so much more than 'weight loss'. It is transformation of how you feel about yourself, from the inside out!

Angela believes that the key to her personal success was in learning to be self-aware and to approach herself with honesty and integrity when it came to her health and fitness choices. She explains: “I used to lie to myself all the time!I believe honesty is important to having good character and there I was lying to the most important person in my life – me!  I would say I didn’t eat that badly, or that I played a game of soccer for an hour so I “deserved” the nachos and beer. When I stopped lying, I started honouring myself and it seeped into every area of my life and created huge changes.”

Her advice to new challenges is: SURRENDER! “Forget everything you think you know about dieting and do what you are supposed to do. Trust the math!”

When not supporting the community as a consultant, Angela can be found sweating up a storm with her 9:30am crew. Her favourite class is TRX, but she’ll give anything a try! She can also be found curled up, reading a murder mystery novel, watching a tear jerker movie or dreaming about her next big life adventure: to travel the world! Thank you, Angela, for everything you do to support our community!

Nutrition Consultant Profile: Karissa

At NO MORE EXCUSES, we pride ourselves on having the most amazing and dedicated team of fitness and health professionals that we have ever seen. When we introduced our Nutrition Consultants to the Weight Loss Program last challenge, we hand picked women who encompassed both the values and the philosophy of our studio, who shared in our vision of a safe, evidence based, judgement and shame free health approach and- most importantly- had experienced their own journeys of physical, mental and emotional growth and healing. 

We are extremely proud to showcase these consultants and share their story with you!
First up, is our lovely Karissa. 


IMG_7037.JPG

Known to most our studio members, Karissa's big heart, empathetic smile and gentle approach leave an impression with everyone she meets.  She joined both the gym and the challenge in 2016 when she reached the realization that she was no longer in a healthy enough place to full parent her children and enjoy a full quality of life.  She knew it was time to really rethink her wellness when, on a bike ride with her family, she found herself unable to complete the full distance and returned back to their trailer in tears. This summer, she proudly conquered that same course and now realizes that, with hard work and determination, she is capable of true feats of strength and power. 

IMG_6903.JPG

A big part of Karissa's success came from the learning she made during her first Weight Loss Challenge- so much so that she continues to actively participate in the challenge as she works towards reaching even more goals and milestones. She loved the simplicity the challenge offered, as well as the no nonsense approach to food and energy intake. But mostly, the support she found in the Facebook and studio community were the difference makers in her journey, providing her the accountability, friendship and encouragement she needed to move forward. 

Her biggest learning was that it is okay to put her needs first; this does not make her selfish. It makes her better equipped to be the kind of parent, wife and human being she wants to be. Her advice to others in the program is simple:  Trust the math and TRACK TRACK TRACK! ;)

Karissa Tidbits:

Favourite Health Food:  Greek yogurt with honey, laughing cow cheese and apples, apple and PB2, popcorn

Favourite Pleasure Food: Cheesy dill popcorn at kernels, chips and salsa  

Favourite NME Class: Tabata boot camp Monday night  and Tabata trek on Saturday morning. I can do anything for 20 seconds and both classes push me to things I never thought I would be able to accomplish.

How she relaxes: I love to curl up with a good book and read at night when the house is all quiet. 

Fun Fact:  I hate winter and cant wait for the summer when I can spend my free time at our trailer at Green Acres at Pine Lake

Nicole and Anna: The Perfect Team

We could not have asked for a better way to launch our blog than with Nicole's story about her journey with her daughter, Anna. Watching these two amazing women grow, both in their relationship with each other and in their own self confidence and strength has been surreal. We hope you enjoy their story of courage, connection, support and love as much as we did! Have your Kleenex nearby!

*****************************************************************************************************************

mother daughter blog.jpg

“So…. I heard about this gym that has a weight-loss program and a plus-size exercise class.  You interested in coming with me?”

I kept my eyes studiously on the road.  The car can be a good place to bring up difficult subjects.  You don’t have to make eye contact.

“Ummmm…” Anna hesitated.  My heart sank.  I was sure that this was going to be the start of a fight.  Or tears.  Or both.  “Yes,” she said.

That was the beginning of our journey just a little over a year ago.  My daughter, twenty years old, had been struggling with her weight for a long time.  As her mother, I didn’t know how to help.  Weight loss is an incredibly personal thing, and you need to come to a decision on your own.  Over the years, I had tried any number of popular weight-loss programs myself, likely setting a tremendously negative example.  I didn’t know what this No More Excuses program would be like, and I was hopeful – but full of trepidation at the same time.  A negative experience for me, I could handle.  But a negative experience for my kid?  Let’s just say I didn’t want to fail her one more time.

Right from the first meeting with Marsha, I knew this was different.  First, there was no judgement – just a matter-of-fact manner – this is where we are starting and this is how to attain your goals.  There was a lot of laughter, even at that first meeting.  We went home, binders in hand, and started planning out our meals.  Calorie counting was a learning curve, but we managed to figure out some creative ways to get our favourites, and discovered some new favourites as well.

More intimidating than the calorie-counting, however, was the notion of exercise.  Exercise was not a part of our regular routine and hadn’t been for a long time.  We weren’t sure what to expect from our first “Yes You Can” class.

What we found, however, was an overwhelming culture of support and acceptance.  Everyone there was so encouraging – and it was fun to try so many different activities.  Each class, we laughed and joked and sweated our way through some really tough activities – exercises I NEVER thought we would do.

Fast forward a year… and things have changed quite a bit.  We have both lost a lot of weight – but we still have more to go.  It wasn’t always easy.  I was set back for nearly two months with shingles and Anna deliberately took time off to travel.  But we have progressed so far, with so many non-scale victories.  At my first Yes You Can class, I couldn’t do a regular jumping jack.  I can do jumping jacks for a really long time, now.  Neither of us could hold a plank a year ago, and now we can do TRX planks like a couple of bad-asses.  I’m not gonna lie – that feels pretty good.

What I know for sure is that all of those victories – on the scale and off – could not have happened without the No More Excuses community.  Our personal weight-loss champions cheered us on through the challenge.  The people we have come to know in our regular classes are accepting and kind and fun.  But Cheryl and Marsha and Zita – those ladies have all my gratitude.  I’m not sure I can express how grateful I am for the encouragement and support (and sometimes the kick in the ass) they have provided over the past year.  It would be one thing if it were just me… but as a mom, it is such a gift to be able to see my daughter’s growth in confidence, in health, and in spirit.

We were a couple of New Year’s Resolutioners last year – those people who crowd the gym with a mixture of hope and fear and desire for change.   If you are one of those people looking to change your life – No More Excuses is the place to get started.

WELCOME TO THE NO MORE EXCUSES Inc. BLOG!

Welcome to, NME: NEWS IN THE NOW!, the NO MORE EXCUSES INC. blog! We are so excited to be launching this space as a tool and resource to our community.  

Blogs provide a way for us to share information- and we have lots to share! From new and exciting classes and events, updates on our work with our community partners, resources and information on health, fitness and nutrition, and highlighting our amazing team and community members, we are looking forward to building an even more connected community!

We hope that you will join us in this space. Comment, share and engage with us by giving us your ideas and continuous feedback. We are always looking for new and improved ways to make this the very best fitness community in the City. 

Happy Reading!
Your NME team