My Summer of Nutrition & Exercise (#TeacherLife)

Fair warning: This post is less about teaching and more about #TeacherLife and how I’ve spent my summer looking after my health.

I don’t know about you, but for the last 10 years or so my weight has increased a few IMG_20190725_190436pounds each year. Some years more, some years less. I started to look at photos of myself and not like what I was seeing. I started being self-conscious of my body; what I looked like in my bathing suit, how my stomach looked when sitting in tight jeans. I kept buying slightly looser clothes. And I thought if I keep going like this, another 10 years down the road, I will not be happy at all with where I’ll be. But I’m a busy teacher with not a lot of free time. I jog a few times a week usually, so I deserve to eat whatever I want, right? How can I help myself when our Math office is renowned for having great snacks and treats on the table almost every single day?

And while these thoughts were forming & solidifying in my brain, I was following fellow teacher Marie-Andrée Ouimet on Instagram. I met Marie-Andrée at an EdTech conference in 2015 and was immediately drawn to her because of our shared interest in sketchnoting. Over the last few years her Instagram has shifted to focus more on her fitness and nutrition journey. I watched from afar as she shared about eating better, working out each day and getting fit. Her transformation was incredible!

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Chaque personne a un moment dans sa vie où elle décide que de prendre soin d'elle est maintenant une priorité. . Et il n'y a personne qui est immunisé de ce processus. La différence entre nous tous, c'est que pour certains, ce processus est plus facile. Manger mieux, bouger plus et boire assez d'eau n'est pas difficile pour certaines personnes. Et tant mieux pour elles! . Je ne suis pas cette personne. Tu penses peut-être que je suis cette personne. Mais encore à ce jour, mes mauvaises habitudes et mes mauvais plis peuvent rejaillir dans l'instant d'une seconde. La vérité? J'adore manger, j'adore les bonbons, j'adore toute la malbouffe sur la planète! Ça fait bientôt 2 ans que j'ai arrêté de consommer du fast food et encore aujourd'hui, je passe devant un établissement et juste l'odeur du gras de patates frites me donne le goût de tout abandonner. Vivre mon style de vie est une nécessité. Ce n'est pas optionnel. Appuyer sur «play» pour faire mon entraînement le matin, calculer mes portions de nourriture pendant la journée et boire mon super shake sont des non-négociables dans ma vie. Et ce le sera pour un bon bout. . Ces habitudes font en sorte que je suis la personne que je dois être pour vivre une longue vie, une vie remplie d'aventures et de succès. Mais attention – le début de ce parcours fut difficile! Ce fut difficile pour moi, et ce sera difficile pour toi aussi. Au niveau mental, tu mèneras une guerre interne avec toutes les raisons pour lesquelles tu n'as pas besoin de passer à l'action. Et sache que lorsque cela arrivera, c'est un signe de POURQUOI tu dois passer à l'action. Le changement est difficile, tu seras testée et tu dois comprendre que le progrès quotidien sera toujours plus gagnant que la perfection. . Je n'ai pas des abdos de fer, je ne suis pas toute découpée, mais j'ai progressé et ma vie n'est pas une vie de perfection – c'est plutôt une vie à profiter de chaque instant, à s'amuser et à poursuivre mon parcours, aussi imparfait qu'il puisse être. Je le sais que c'est épeurant de demander de l'aide afin de débuter. Mais je te promets que je ne mors pas! Joins-toi à moi!

A post shared by Coach MAO ✨ -110 lbs (@maouimet) on

This spring Marie-Andrée was offering a “challenge group” for anyone who wanted to get more on top of their nutrition. I’ve often used my few runs per week as an excuse to eat whatever I liked, but with my weight continuing to go up I was facing the fact that I couldn’t out-exercise the food I was eating in order to keep fit. Something had to change. And Mari-Andrée’s group came at the perfect time for me. I didn’t just need to exercise more, I needed to start eating right. And although I thought I ate fairly healthy (I eat vegetables!) clearly I need some help.

I bought into this program and challenge group starting May 20th this spring. I was all in, so dedicated. The nutrition plan, with Marie-Andrée as my coach, taught me about proper portions sizes of different food groups. And how many portions of each I should eat throughout the day in order to lose weight but feel full and satisfied all day. I was so scared I would be hungry, but oh man I get to eat lots of good food every day. The plan got me drinking more water too (hands up if you’re that teacher that drinks a cup of coffee in the morning & then nothing again till you get home in the evening 🙌🏼). No food is off limits but I choose when to treat myself to the really decadent stuff and I budget it into my portions for the day. I’ve reduced how many carbs I eat (and I was eating A LOT of carbs) and increased my protein, vegetable and fruit intake. I was also a big fan of the drive-thru, grabbing McDonald’s breakfasts on the go so I could just get into work and be more productive. But I’ve learned to plan out my portions in advance and meal prep everything but dinner so that each morning I grab my breakfast, lunch and snacks to pack with me to work.


A day of food on my weight loss nutrition plan (including treating myself to movie popcorn that night and dinner out at a Korean restaurant with my husband).

Even before the end of June (1 month later) my colleagues started to notice a change in my weight and shape. They said they could see it in my face! By the 2 month mark in July I had reached my 5K running goal and planned to keep running a few times each week and work towards 10K. But the deer flies were terrible on the country roads around our place this year and I was less motivated to go out and run. So I started investigating some of the online video workouts that came with my nutrition plan. To my surprise I really enjoyed them and started a 3 week, 21 day daily exercise routine following the videos. When I finished that 21 day set, I started a second 21 day program that took things up a another notch. I have some basic equipment at home, stream the workouts and dedicate just 30 minutes each day to a workout I don’t have to leave my house for.


A mix of strength training with weights, cardio, pilates, yoga … Sometimes I even convinced my husband to join me for my workouts.

And let me tell you! I have lost 20 pounds in 3 months. I feel fit and comfortable in my own skin again. My clothes are too big for me now (I hate clothes shopping, but Joe Fresh here I come for some new pants for work!). And I have so much energy. I mean, I know it’s summer break, but I feel so ready to tackle the school year. I’ve switched my nutrition plan to a weight maintenance plan (more portions each day now) and am working to tone up with daily 30 minute workouts.

I wanted to share this on my blog because it’s been a big focus of mine over the summer, and I like to share how teachers spend their time off. I wanted to share because this has been a game changer for me and I’m keen to help others that might want to dial in their nutrition also (and maybe even add exercise, but not necessary). I wanted to share because our health is important – as a teacher I want to be at the top of my game, mentally and physically, so I can give my very best to my students and school.

This was a summer to take care of me. Make sure I am healthy and happy. I’ll be starting a challenge group on September 16th for anyone interested in trying this nutritional plan. Exercise is optional, but the workout series I am doing is included with the nutritional plan. What better time than the start of the new school year for a teacher; a teacher’s new year resolution. If this is something you think might interest you (you do have to be in Canada, US, UK or France) please get in touch via Twitter, Instagram or email. I’m so keen to help other teachers, that are feeling the same way I was, get back on track. If that’s you, then let’s chat!

I love hearing how other teachers have spent their summers recharging & re-energizing. Tell me in the comments below, how have you spent your summer months this year?

– Laura Wheeler (Teacher @ Ridgemont High School, OCDSB; Ottawa, ON)

1 thought on “My Summer of Nutrition & Exercise (#TeacherLife)

  1. Pingback: Social Media; My Social Dilemma #TheSocialDilemma | Wheeler's thoughts on teaching

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