For Emilie, Wherever I May Find Her (Selling Fragrances)

I'm going to take a small departure from my wellness posts and point out a new small business that Emilie has started. Scintellescents ("sin-tell-essence") Body & Boutique offers brand-name fragrances for bargain prices. On the surface, this seems simple enough, but I want to provide some insight.

Emilie has not just slapped a name on some "get rich quick scheme"...far from it. She has deeply reflected on what she is passionate about, conducted thorough market analysis, developed a solid business plan, and proceeded with growing her business sensibly, all the while keeping to her ethical outlook. Now that the business has become established and sales are coming in, she has decided to donate funds from the company to charitable organizations to give back to the community!

The first of these is Habitat for Humanity Nova Scotia, a non-profit organization working towards a Nova Scotia where everyone has a safe and decent place to live. To date they have built …

Battle of the Five Bellies

The last of my three part "this is my workout" series, with apologies to Peter Jackson for satirizing the titles of his Hobbit trilogy, it's just come to my attention that each of the last two comprised sets of exactly nine exercises..."Nine Exercises for Mortal Men Doomed to Die [of Exhaustion]"? I go too far. Please check out An Unexpected Stability and The Desolation of Strength if you'd like to read the lead up to this post.

Tiring as it can be, I really enjoy a good brisk walk or hike, in nature, on the sidewalk, or on a treadmill in a gym. There is something about the steady rhythmic beat of footfalls that has always appealed to me. In contrast, mostly because of my weight, I find "jogging" tedious and painful. I'll revisit that again when my weight is down to a more portable figure.

After my core and strength workouts, I love hitting the treadmill for a solid cardio workout for two reasons: one, I get to walk, and two, I get to see the …

The Desolation of Strength

In the second of three posts outlining my workout routine, I'm going to finish with last of the non-cardio exercises. If you haven't read An Unexpected Stability yet, I'd encourage you to start there.

These exercises, while including some core-strengthening movements, act for me primarily as an upper-body strength routine.

1. Upper Body Crunches

This is it: the classic crunch. I lay flat on my back on a workout mat with my knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, I use my stomach muscles to pull me up as far as they can, and return to start. Sometimes I put my hands behind my neck for support or sometimes crossing them on my chest. The important caution here is not to pull on your neck or back of your strains the muscles. Let your abdomen do the work.

I keep increasing these by increments of ten. I'm up to 100 now.

2. Leg Lifts

Lowering my legs from the crunch, I put my arms to the side or leave them behind my head. I lift both legs together up to a vertica…

An Unexpected Stability

Finally, and in response to several requests I've received through social media, I'm sharing my workout routine.

I've promised this blog post for a while. Taking a cue from Peter Jackson, I've decided to split it into three separate posts. This one will focus on my "Swiss Ball" (stability ball) routine, and the next (The Desolation of Strength) will be my strength routine, and the third (Battle of the Five Bellies) will involve my cardio routine on the treadmill (as I've already spoken about walking).

This will be a bit longish, and feature lots of pictures (kind of like a certain movie series...rhymes Getting off track...I'll cut this short).

THE BIG DISCLAIMER: I am not a health, nutritional, or fitness professional. These exercises have been given to me by professionals, whose demonstration, instruction, and advice I have followed. I would encourage you to have an experienced pro go over a routine that works for you. This is sim…

Pain in the Butt

I have a smoking problem.

This might come as a surprise to some of my friends reading this, while others have known for a while. I've smoked on and off (sometimes for months or years) since I was 14 years old. In my twenties, some people identified me in photos as "the guy with a cigarette or cigar hanging out of his mouth". I've even dabbled in the pipe several times.

Here's the thing: I've never been a heavy smoker...a pack of 25 cigarettes would last me two or three days...I have never been a pack-a-day smoker.

As to the addiction itself, I don't have a propensity for addictive behaviour. I have (and can) drink alcohol steadily for days and days, and then not touch a drop for months. I've never been addicted to recreational drugs. I've already spoken at length about emotional eating...I suppose that misplaced reward system would fall into the category of an addiction. Nothing else comes to, reading, gaming...temporary obsessions …

Bodies, Rest & Emotion

Emilie and I took a rest day today. I initially had some feelings of guilt about doing so, but realized not only did my body need a rest (in addition to yesterday's gym session, I also fell down a short flight of icy stairs...a scrape on an elbow and my pride are all that were damaged in the long term, thankfully), but the break also helped my mental state. I was able to get caught up on marking at work, had some student meetings, and met briefly with our Registrar, who also happen to be one of my favourite people.

In speaking to him, I provided a summary of my life over the past few years, to which I received an incredulous look and the supportive comment "after that, I think I need to go lie down". The conversation served to remind me that it has been a tiring time, and taking those breaks...mindful time for crucial to healing the mind as well as the body. I've enjoyed the day with some good (mostly) Paleo food, well under my caloric count, good coffee…

That App is So Mondo, Dude!

I've just completed my third day in a row with Emilie at the gym, and I'm back into a routine with both diet and exercise. It's no nice to have a partner at the gym: we can encourage each other, watch each other (she spotted for me today during a particularly heavy lift, for instance), and to engage in the shared playful complaints of soreness afterwards. Twice I haven't felt like going (always the excuses), but Emilie's gentle encouragement got me there and I felt so much better for having gone, both physically and from an emotional standpoint. Since she will probably read this at some point: publicly - thank you.

Numbers are just that, but I've lost 15 pounds so far (if the ticker on the right of my blog is working, it should indicate the same). This is diet and exercise, and more than a little water weight since I started tracking on February 25th of this year. As I look at the calendar, that's a little shy of two weeks. Not too shabby. More importantly,…