The Great Balancing Act

Thank you sosososo much for the supportive comments on my last post! Sometimes I wish I could be this wonderful role model. A fun blogger who has their shit together, eats well all the time, has a perfectly fit bod, etc, etc. Well, I’m not. No one is. In fact, I would say my shit has officially hit the fan :P

But! I’m pulling myself back together. I’ve been very vague about how much I struggled this past fall. It got to the point where I dreaded getting out of bed everyday and broke down crying regularly. My mother suggested I go to counselling, instead, I quit my job. My life has been cah-razy ever since. Piecing myself back together has proved to be a very long process. One of self-discovery, that’s for sure.

So yes, during this period of time, I gained weight. To be honest, I didn’t have the strength in me not to. Yes, I’ve lost the “balance” I named my blog after. But that’s why I chose to theme my blog around balance in the first place. It’s something I, and many other people, struggle with. I stumbled, I lost my balance, and it’s time to get back on both my feet again.

It’s not all about losing weight and looking like a personal trainer. It’s about taking steps that make me feel like me again. Setting fitness goals (one of my fave things to do!!), eating foods that make me feel good, and finding that lust for life I once possessed.

When I quit my job as a radio reporter in November, I was broke and worn out. My life looked like nothing but a “coulda-woulda-shoulda.” In three short months I’ve stumbled into my current job which I love. Made the decision to pursue my passion for fitness and work in the field. Realized I’m a writer at heart. Opened my mind to possibilities outside of the borders I created. And took the leap to focus on my dreams and go after them. By myself. With the influence of no one.

So once again, I completely spill my guts on my “healthy living” blog. Damn. I suck at not being honest!

I must say though, despite all this, my Monday got off to a fabulous start :D

Was up and at ‘em for the 6am RPM spin class. Yes, the same one I’ve failed to go to for the past three weeks. I finally forced myself to bed early on a Sunday night and made it. SO WORTH IT!!! Next Sunday night, I’m coming back to read this post. I must always remind myself that every Monday should start with a few brutal hill climbs ;)

Since I was away this weekend, I didn’t do my usual Sunday food prep. So this beast of a bar was breakfast:


Peanut Butter Clif Builder’s bar. Eaten at my desk.

And a granny smith.


I didn’t care for the builder’s bar that much. Albeit, it was half frozen from sitting in my car. Oddly, I didn’t like it because it tasted too much like a candy bar. Which is fine for a snack, but not for a meal.

It was at least filling. I didn’t dig in to my morning snack till later…


Applesauce + coconut chia granola + raisins + kashi blackberry cereal bar. Granola in applesauce is good!!

My plastic lunch…


Tuna pita and baby carrots. Looks like a boring lunch but it was soooo good. I’m always super quiet at our lunch get-togethers at work because I’m always stuffing my face ;)



Mango + cottage cheese. So weird to eat mangoes in the dead of winter, but they were on sale!

Dinner was a spicy concoction featuring my first ever run-in with chipotle!


Yes, I’ve never cooked with chipotle before. I added it to yves Mexican ground round, black beans, onions, green pepper, jalepeno, hot sauce and a dash of chili powder. All cooked up in a pan together to create one mega-spicy blend.


Usually sour cream would be used to soften the blow, but I didn’t have any. And Greek yogurt doesn’t exist in Canada. So I dug around and decided cottage cheese would make for a decent dairy topper. It was delicious!!! It added a creamy cheesiness that was to die for. Now I want to try cottage cheese tacos :)

Oh, and there may have been dessert

A cherry hershey’s kiss. I didn’t know they made these!! I love chocolate covered cherries, so this definitely caught my eye.

It’s no cherry blossom, but for 20 calories a pop, I’ll take it ;)

Well, I think I’ve rambled enough for one evening. Tonight was my only full night off this week (I’m working late every other night this week). Instead of being productive, I laid in bed and caught up on my MTV watching. I dunno about you, but I think that’s balance right there ;)


Question of the Day: What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do but been to scared to? I’ve always wanted to spend a year in Scotland. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was in high school but am still frightened by the idea. My mom’s family is from there, so I grew up hearing about it. Someday I’ll get the courage and do it. If anything, I promised Ellie I would!! :P

Posted on January 25, 2010, in Lessons Learned, Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. Run a marathon.

    …I’m working on it. ;)

  2. i didnt really love that bar either!! it was kina disappointing!

  3. Do a triathlon…one day!

  4. Do you follow Angela’s blog She has gone through what you are going through now. She quit her job a year ago and now has an online bakery, a dream come true.
    I see your beauty!

  5. You want to write, go travel and write in scotland!

    You could be the next Elizabeth Gilbert, finding a man and tight abs while all along the way sampling whiskey doing the highland lilt.. Just an option, and since you’re Canadian, I think you’ll know what all of that means..

    Were you watching buried life tonight, is that what got you thinking? I too want to take a year and go abroad- anywhere from China to England will tickle my fancy..

  6. I think it is brave to put yourself out there like you do and I love reading about it :)
    You’ll find your balance…it might take longer or shorter than you expect to, but you’ll get it back.

    As for scared- I’ll echo someone’s comment earlier- triathlon. It scares me to be in the water with all those people.

  7. The balance thing? I like to think of life as the way a pilot flies an airplane. Do you know that the plane is off course much of the flight? It’s the pilot that continually makes corrections to reach the planned destination.

    I’ve done some things that scared me over the years. Some were successes and some big time failures! I have learned that you can always go on, no matter what happens. A lot of times things don’t turn out the way they were supposed to, and that is not always a bad thing!

  8. I have always wanted to run a half or full marathon.

  9. You’re amazing as always. Keep your chin up! Balance will happen again in time.

    Greek yogurt- I have a trick for you to try! Buy regular yogurt, toss a paper towel-lined colander into a larger mixing bowl, dump aforementioned yogurt into the colander. Let it sit in the fridge for 4 hours-overnight and it becomes thick like Greek yogurt. I do it weekly and it works marvelously. The paper towels get super-wet but it still works. I’ve heard that coffee filters work too but I never have them. Just make sure the colander is above the bottom of the bowl or you’ll have to dump out liquid every couple hours so it drains effectively.

    • Hi Liz, thank you for the great tip!!! I’ve been meaning to make my own Greek yogurt for a loooong time now. I just, erm, don’t own a colander :\ I know, they’re super cheap too, I should get on that :P

      • LOL… a tip from the girl married to the Greek? One time when we couldn’t get our paws on FAGE, Andy took an old Becel tub (empty and cleaned of course) and pierced it with lots of little holes. Then he lined it with a coffee filter and put plain Balkan yogurt inside to drain. He sat that contraption on top of a little inverted mis-en-place bowl (to keep it lifted above the draining liquid) sitting inside a large bowl (where the draining liquid collected). I know it sounds really confusing and convoluted but it worked!!!

        To answer your question, my dream is to open my own business.

        PS – you rock. You know I’m in awe of all you’ve accomplished and are capable of at such a young age.

  10. The reason why I adore you and your blog is because you’re honest. I have SO been there. When getting up each day was more than I had in me..but give me food and I was good to go.

    It’s a slow, everyday, small step process. Just remember that you are making everyday the best that it can be. You’re doing amazing, taking life by the horns and moving on.

    Go to Scotland.

    One thing I want to do that I’ve never done..stick to a fitness program. But I am starting this week–and I TOTALLY mean it!

    Keep rocking your life lady and I mean that.

  11. Well, Susan, if everything was smooth, then there wouldn’t even be a word called “balance”. I think your blog is exactly about finding a healthy balance amidst all the rockiness in your life. And if you already had that “PERFECT” balance, how boring would it be, right? Hee hee.

    for what’s it worth, I think you are doing a great job juggling all the craziness in your life!

  12. Go to culinary school! It’s my if I won the lottery…… dream.

  13. Oh my, I AM behind. I had no idea you had a ‘big’ post- last I knew you were eating sushi out of a boat and loving beet sprinkle birthday cake!

    You say that you gained weight in this post. Boy, I saw the photo of you at your mom’s and you look amazing. You look slim and healthy. You must have been very very slim prior if THIS is the ‘gain’!

    I don’t think that anyone expects you (or anyone else) to be perfectly balanced in every aspect of life. It’s not possible. I think that it’s smart that you named your blog after something that is so coveted- balance. It is also one of the hardest things to achieve and I believe that many of us will always struggle to find it- as it is elusive.

    You’ll get there- you’re a smart young woman. It takes some time. You’re way smarter and more balanced than I was at your age, I’ll tell you that much! :-)

  14. “It’s not all about losing weight and looking like a personal trainer. It’s about taking steps that make me feel like me again.”–
    AMEN sista!!!!

    I admire your total (or at least tons of disclosure) honesty! I think you have big kahunas to throw this all out into the b’sphere and the ‘net. I think it’s awesome. Whatever works for you, hey, that’s stellar. Me? No way I could post that if you wanna know what I am scared of? Revealing too much about myself. Not that there’s anything really that “big” to reveal other than what i already post, but I dont know, Im quite impressed with you girlfriend :)


  15. “I wish I could be this wonderful role model. A fun blogger who has their shit together, eats well all the time, has a perfectly fit bod, etc, etc. Well, I’m not. No one is”

    ^ this right here is one of the reasons I LOVE your blog, Susan…life is a journey, as cliche as it sounds. Full of bumps and blips, and that’s what makes it interesting. To be honest, the blogs that are 100% perfect all the time? I find them kind of boring. Because life isn’t like that and I can’t relate. I like it when people face challenges because it means they are stepping out of their comfort zones and being real people, not hiding behind things and pretending to be something they are not.

    One thing I have always wanted to do, aside from my epic trip travelling around the USA, is go to medical school. I don’t think it’s too late, but my priorities have changed and I’m not sure that I want it *enough* to make it happen.

  16. Your dinner looks yummy! I actually had something similar yesterday. I’ve always wanted to go visit Europe all on my own; I think it’d be amazing! I’m too scared to right now though, but maybe one day ;)
    You are very brave for sharing your experience with us! I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose to do and look forward to reading about it.

  17. Ah, Susan! thanks for sharing. It IS hard to balance everything and to find direction in life, but you are doing an excellent job. Especially since you do have your blog t help you keep that goal in mind. i am sending you a big fat hug across the miles.

    And yes, cottage cheese is a wonderful topper! I love it mixed with salsa and veggies, and the best is a sweet potato with cc and pineapple salsa. yum! I would totally be down with cottage cheese tacos! Love ya lady–off to read your next post :) xoxo

  18. I’ve seen Greek yogurt on a few of the other Canadian blogs so maybe you’ll get some soon! I applaud your honesty because it takes a lot to post that. As an outsider looking in, I fully believe that you are well on your way to getting your life back on track. Sure it may take time but it sounds like you’re forming a wonderful plan for yourself that will help you get all of the balance back :)

  19. I love love love the honesty :) And you will get your groove back. No doubt about it! Your meals looked great. I love mango. Never thought to try it besides when its warmer though, so I hear you on that one. Still good, I bet ;)

    And one thing I’ve always wanted to do but been afraid to do is what I posted about most recently on my blog. Getting into the fitness field myself ;)

  20. your first run in with chipotle? really?! I’m glad you’ve discovered it..but be careful, chipotle can be addictive :)

    I admire your will power for only eating ONE cherry hershey kiss. I usually down about 6 in one sitting.

    Now on to your question… I’ve always been scared to take a long vacation by myself. I’d love to go hiking in the mountains somewhere or explore a city I’ve never been to completely alone. I’m not sure I could do it, but thats the fear talking!

  21. Sounds like your body mind and soul are now ready to start the recovery and turnaround process. Everyone takes different roads and timeframes. I still see the balance! :)

    For your question: I’m determined to travel. For some reason I just never seem to have anyone available to travel where and when I want (FH is away toooo much for work so we never seem to get vacay together outside of family visits). I need to suck it up and just travel alone. I want to see Barcelona and one day I’ll get the guts to do it.

  22. Fitness related — the thing I’ve always wanted to do but was scared to is capoeira, a type of martial arts.

    Another thing that I’ve been wanted to do to for the last couple of months is start of a fitness vlog on youtube, or a fitness blog like you have. I don’t know when I will get around to doing that.

    And actually I think you are a good role model! I currently hate the job that I’m in, but I’m afraid to quit it due to bills, etc. I like having money!

  23. That tuna wrap looks packed with goods!!

  24. susan my dear…you are a fabulous example of leading a balanced life! quite frankly, we are going to be up and down our whole lives, but it is how you deal with it that matters. your honesty, positivity and strength are so admirable :)

    i was totally in a similar position before too, which i know i have mentioned. i think in the next year, you are going to find out you are stronger than you ever thought possible. perhaps we spend a year traveling through scotland after banff? just a thought :)

    so much love to you!

    and one thing i have always wanted to do but been too scared…hmmmm…i am pretty adventurous, but i think i have big dreams. sometimes i know i am too afraid to actually go after them, which obvs needs to change. courage is but the absence of fear!!!

  25. erintakescontrol

    Run a marathon. Bungie jump. Both on my to-do list. :-)

  26. I’ve been an internet slacker and forgot to tell you Happy Birthday! I’m so sorry! Glad you had a good day and your cake looked yummy!

    Something I’ve always wanted to do….go to Ireland. Too bad I’m poor! :(

  27. Even though you gained weight, I still think that you are BALANCED and do live the title of your blog. In my opinion, being balanced means that sometimes you will gain some weight bc life gets in the weigh. Balance means its an ebb and flow, give it take, its never static.

    I think you are a GREAT example. Dont beat yourself up.

  28. I’m glad things are starting to fall in place for you! You are a brave girl quiting your job and rebuilding your happiness. I have been at my job for a little over a year and I know it is not my passion but with finances no way I can quit unless I can find someone else immediatly and I just don’t know what that could be at the moment.

  29. I don’t know how you do it! I’ve read your blog religiously for over a year maybe, basically since you started your Trying for a Tri blog. Even so, I had no idea that you were struggling quite so much this past Fall. I respect your need for privacy, but don’t be afriad to share if its rough – we’re here for you girl!

    I just want to say that I don’t have a blog, but I’m always here to talk ( I wish I could provide you the support you’ve provided me just through your blogging. You’re so inspirational and balanced and an AMAZING person. Don’t ever let yourself forget that!!

    Love ya!
    Nicole G

  30. Move to another state…and I’m going to face my fear and do it!!!

  31. I love your honesty in your blog. Too many times it can make you feel worse when everyone but you seems to have it together!

    I really want to become a personal trainer. I’ve started to get the ball rolling and will take my first seminar in two weeks. Life can get away from you if you don’t jump and do something bold!

  32. Susan I love this post! It’s refreshing how brutally honest you are in it – and I mean that in a good way. I can’t believe how far you’ve come in just a mere three months. So amazing. You were so courageous to quit your job, too.
    And you’re right – that’s what balance is. We teeter totter from time to time, but it’s all about bring ourselves back to our center or balance – both falling out of and falling back in.
    I really want to become a personal trainer and became certified, and even began applying. I’m also job shadowing a trainer. I also would love to become a health writer some day.

  33. hahahaha. “my shit has officially hit the fan”~~ i love you. sounds messy! and i appreciate your honesty. you say you aren’t living the balance you named your blog after, but guess what, you ARE! balance is all about the good times AND the bad times! the cereal handfuls and the super clean meals. the days we cant get out of bed and the days we hop out of bed anxious to work out. i think that, considering the trials you’ve had handed to you these past few months, you are balancing your shit quite nicely. and you have the knowledge and maturity to know when said shit has hit said fan, you get things into line and check yourself. you are a smart woman and i am so glad to have you around to look up to! thanks for being honest because we ALL have the same shit hitting fans left and right :)

    i’ve rambled.. but your dinner bowl looks SO YUmMY!

    i love you!

  34. I really wish I could be as honest as you are on your blog, but I don’t have the guts…more because of the people in my ‘real life’ who read it. I know my “blog friends” would get it but I don’t know if everyone else would. That’s kind of crazy right? But it’s why I love being a part of this little community.

    Keep on keeping on! I absolutely love every one of your blog posts…I know you really inspire other people (like me!) with your writing and your journey. Just wanted to let you know :-)

    • I think people in your real life would appreciate it too! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit “publish” worried what my friends and family would think, only to get a phone call or e-mail moments after from them showing 100% support and understanding. If anything, being honest on my blog has strengthened my real life relationships – because honesty in the real world is one thing I suck at.

  35. Just wanted to let you know that I found Chobani and Oikos at Sobeys in Toronto! Not sure if you have a Sobeys there, but I predict we will be seeing Greek yogurt in more Canadian grocery stores very soon.

  36. Hi Susan! I have a theory about blogs, or at least about blogs I like. We get lured in by pretty photos and yummy recipes…but getting to know the person is really the point of staying with a blog. Something about seeing the meals they eat, and the comments that go along with them…you feel like you really get to know a person! So when the occasional “not on food blog theme” comes up, it makes me happy to know more about the person writing. Because….those blogs that just do food every day can get repetitive without a personal story alongside it! So thank you, I love you and your blog!

    You are so inspirational, and I think these most recent hurdles will just add to that amazing story you have.

  37. Its crazy so much of what you’ve written is so similar to what has happened top me over the past 1/2 year, weird! The one thing I’ve always been afraid to do is going to be happening in 3 months time, I’m petrified but sooooooo excited at the same time! x x

  38. I find it so interesting that some people that I started to follow and get to know, like right when I started getting to know you, you were like at your lowest point. It’s amazing to me how well you hold yourself together! Seriously Susan, after reading ahead to your next few posts, there is so much to each blogger we still have yet to learn and I find your “balance” and strength and endurance to life in general truly inspiring. You’ve been through and through and you’ve come out so strong. Personal hero if I do say so myself! Love you!

    I say this because I AM so young and haven’t really been through that much in my life- so when I read you young women with so much life experience (good and bad) and see the victory you’ve had at the end of the tunnel, and the constant day to day struggles it is really awe-inspiring. Soo yeah. :)

  1. Pingback: Making Dates « The Great Balancing Act

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