Healthy Living in the North

Challenge #4 winner!

Week 4 winner

Congrats to Neil Walton, who submitted this photo of his wife Regeena in the Week 4 September Healthy Living Challenge! Regeena caught this fish, her first freshwater fish, at Tacheeda Lake.

With the arrival of October, we’re sad to see our September Healthy Living Challenge come to an end. But we’ve had a ton of fantastic posts go live (and you can find them all here under the ‘healthy living challenge’ tag), and we’ve seen such a variety of great challenge entries come to us, from folks from all across the region who really care about their health. Thanks to everyone who followed the posts all month and took on the challenges – we hope you’ve gotten some good ideas on how to work towards living a healthier life!

Now, what you’ve been waiting for… the random winner for our fourth and final challenge (and the grand prize of a mini freezer) is Neil Walton, from Prince George, BC! In answer to the question of “how do you source your local food,” Neil said that he and his wife hunt, fish, visit the farmers’ market and shop at local stores. They have certainly caught a nice looking fish in the photo! Congratulations Neil!

We received so many great entries this week that I had a really hard time choosing a variety of honourable mentions, so here’s more than usual for you to enjoy:

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care. (NH Blog Admin)

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Facing the silent attack of second-hand smoke

Avoiding the trap of second-hand smoke. (Illustration by Andrew Burton)

I recently visited Ireland and Scotland, and I can tell you that every street bench and every corner and every doorway on Argyll Street in Glasgow or Grafton Street in Dublin felt like a Venus fly trap to me, luring me near and attempting to entrap the ex-smoker in me. On the streets, I could hold my breath for 10 seconds max, just long enough to walk from one doorway to another, cough again, inhale, hold my breath and repeat the procedure. I would walk to the nearest bench, breathing relief, and then after a second, there it would be again – a mobile Venus fly trap as someone would sit beside me and light up their cigarette.

The Northern Health guidelines (position paper) on tobacco reduction state that there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. This, for me, is rather personal. My greatest fear is breathing in tobacco smoke. Not just for health reasons, but for that aromatic erotic hit on the senses that says “more!” Yes, dangerous, I know

I am filled with remorse; as a health care professional, shouldn’t I be standing up on a soap box and shouting, “Cigarettes, your end is near, careful you don’t burn your fingers!’? The truth is, there are hundreds of smokers on these streets and their smoke is a real health threat to me. Then I remember the feeling of desperation and anxiety that I used to experience in the absence of a cigarette. I understand this for what it is. It’s the addiction, it’s chronic and it’s relapsing; I fear it – one puff and there is no going back.

This is my job and these people, standing on the streets smoking, are my target audience. I could roll up into the foetal position or stand on the soap box, but neither of these solutions is valuable today. My real job is winning souls, one at a time if necessary, and in helping others to understand the desperate plight of the addict. I can make a difference by quiet perseverance. We now know that the soap box approach doesn’t work. Addicts don’t respond to fear tactics. We are very immune to it, but in the quiet of our hearts, a man walking past us wearing his oxygen, fills us with a feeling which we understand only too well. In addition to this and with the greatest respect to all those who suffer the terrible addiction to tobacco, perhaps it’s time to take it off the streets as well.

For more information on tobacco reduction, both for smokers and those wanting to avoid second-hand smoke, visit the NH tobacco reduction website.

How do you avoid second-hand smoke?

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to enter the Healthy Living Week 4 Challenge and tell us about how you source local food for your chance to win a great mini freezer!]

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.

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Learning to love my bike

Andrew and his bike

Andrew learned to cherish the opportunity to ride his bike to work every day! Do you use active transportation to get to where you’re going?

For several years, my body and I did not get along. I had osteoarthritis in my hips that caused considerable pain and seriously limited my mobility. For years, I had gotten my daily exercise by walking, but as the pain in my hips worsened, the walking faded away. I became more and more sedentary and packed on a lot of weight.

In 2006, I had my right hip resurfaced and in 2010, I had the left one done. The pain was gone but I discovered that the surgery changed the angle of the joint and that, combined with years of avoiding pain-causing exercise, meant that I couldn’t just go back to my old exercise routine.

Then I got an email about Bike to Work Week, and a real change started for me. Making a commitment to ride to work for a week seemed doable, so I tried it. After the week was over, it seemed like something I could keep on doing. In a short time, biking to work evolved into a routine that now works for me.

I start work at 8 a.m. every morning but my day starts at 6 a.m. I have a light breakfast and head for the aquatic centre. Twenty lengths of the pool and ten minutes in the steam room, followed by a shower, take about forty five minutes, giving me enough time to ride my bicycle to work. Swimming and bicycle riding both take a lot of strain off of the hip joints allowing the muscle to build and the joint to get used to mobility again.

At first, getting up early to swim and riding my bike every day seemed like a chore, and I had the “five more minutes” argument with my pillow every morning. After a while though, I began to notice some changes: I realized that I felt better all day, I have more energy, and my clothes started to fit better. What seemed like a long ride a few months ago now seems like a short hop, and I find myself looking forward to my daily routine.

When the weather closes in, I feel anxious about possibly not being able to ride my bike. I have taken to going for a ride in the evenings as well, and on Saturday mornings, my partner and I ride our bikes to the Farmers’ Market or to our favorite coffee shop. When I began this routine, a friend said it would cost a lot to go swimming every day, but funny thing about it is that it doesn’t. I save more in gas by not taking my van to work every day than it costs for a monthly swim pass. What was a chore a few months ago has become a cherished part of my life. With the arrival of Fall, I know I’ll need to find something to take the place of the bicycle when the snow flies. I did see an exercise bike at a garage sale last weekend. Guess I’ll clear some space in the rec room…!

Getting to your daily destination using active transportation (like riding a bike) is a great option for many reasons! How do you actively travel around your community?

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to enter the Healthy Living Week 4 Challenge and tell us about how you source local food for your chance to win a great mini freezer!]

Andrew Burton

About Andrew Burton

Andrew is a Community Integration Systems Navigator for Northern Health’s HIV and Hepatitis C Care team and works to support healthy living practices in communities across northern B.C. Andrew is developing positive activity and diet practices for two reasons: to deal with his own health concerns, and to “walk the talk” of promoting healthy living. Building on his training and experience in creative arts therapy, Andrew founded and runs the Street Spirits Theatre program promoting social responsibility among young people. This work has been recognized nationally and internationally as a leading method of social change.

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The making of a flash mob

Flash mob 1You know we want people to live healthier – what better way to get the idea that every move counts in your head than to show you?!

Last month, a group of us at Northern Health decided to create the September Healthy Living Challenge to get northern B.C. residents thinking about ways to live a healthier lifestyle. We wanted to show you examples and offer practical advice around eating healthier, getting more activity and bringing the balance of health into your day-to-day life – all following the guidelines set out in NH’s position work.

In order to wrap up this month with a bang, we started organizing Northern Health’s first ever flash mob, with the very enthusiastic and talented choreographer Lisa Cassidy from Be Unique Fitness. I’ll admit that at first, I wasn’t entirely sure how this idea might be received by NH staff and administration, but I’m very proud to report that everyone embraced the idea with excitement!

Flash Mob 2With every rehearsal, more and more participants showed up, eager to be a part of this event and dedicated to learning the steps. Lisa was a fantastic help – she created videos to help us practice at home and attended several rehearsals to walk us through the steps personally. By the big day, we had over 30 people ready to move and groove in the University of Northern BC atrium!

The crowd was bigger than we expected, but nerves did not get the better of us. The music started, and as we counted our beats, I heard someone from above suddenly yell, “Flash mob!!” and with that, we were off. Everyone did a fantastic job with their parts – the dancing mob and the staff that held up signs with some of our healthy living messages, tips like “Sit less, move more” and “Cook a meal together!”

Thank you so much to everyone who practiced, practiced, practiced – and to those that came out to watch and cheer us on! A huge thanks also to Lisa for her hours of time; to Nicole and Ben Gibson from Yellow Ribbon Photography for taking these fantastic photos (more of which can be seen on our Facebook page); and to Paul Alberts from Ardor Media for taking the video.

Remember, health can be fun – even if you’re dancing around to your own beat! Just get moving!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care. (NH Blog Admin)

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Sharing the local harvest (and September Healthy Living Challenge #4)

Julie and her Good Food Box

Julie with her latest Good Food Box local veggie haul.

In a country where grocery store shelves are always well stocked with a variety of foods that travel thousands of kilometers from all around the world, it’s easy to lose track of where our food comes from and what it’s made of. We tend to fall into routine shopping and forget to scan the produce section for foods that are locally gown, in season and perhaps a different kind that we’ve never eaten before. For the last several years, I’ve participated in our local Good Food Box program, in order to expand my family’s food horizons and support our local food producers. On the third Wednesday of every month, for $15 paid in advance, I pick up two grocery bags filled with produce. Whenever possible, the produce is sourced from local farmers and food producers and consists of what is currently in season (although into the winter, as northern root cellars run low, the contents start to come from farther afield). It’s often organic and is always fresh and tasty.

Our Good Food Box program coordinator in Prince George, Jovanka Djordjevich, always includes a newsletter with a thought-provoking editorial piece about local food system sustainability and healthy food choices, a list of the products included in the order and where they were sourced, and recipes to help us use the less familiar items in the order (you’d be amazed at the variety of things that can be done with kale and cabbage!).

Good Food Box days are a monthly highlight in our house -and in my parents’ home too – as we share responsibility for pick-up and swap items based on our household needs and preferences.  I make soups and borscht to share, so all the cabbage comes to me; my mother operates a family daycare, so she may use extra carrots and apples as snacks for the children. Opening the bags is a bit like Christmas, because you don’t know what you’re getting in advance.

Planning meals to incorporate unexpected dill, bok choy, local mushrooms or fresh Okanagan grapes gives us a chance to stretch our cooking skills and be creative. I have added recipes into my repertoire that I never would have started cooking if not for the Good Food Box…and my children have a much broader and more adventurous palate for produce than I ever did growing up.

Most importantly, I feel like I’m a part of our local food system, supporting local farmers and helping our community to be more food secure. My $15 per month, wisely used by a team of cheerful and hard working volunteers, benefits my health and that of my family, but it also makes a contribution to the vitality, economic strength and sustainability of the wider community.

Eating fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy lifestyle. Northern Health’s position on Healthy Eating includes evidence to show how initiatives like Good Food Box programs, community gardens and farmers markets contribute to the health of individuals, families and communities. That’s why Northern Health supports these kinds of programs through IMAGINE Grants and in-kind contributions. To learn more, visit our healthy communities web pages.

Now for your Week 4 Challenge! We want to know how you source your local, fresh food. This could mean a lot of things, so be creative! Do you grow it yourself and harvest in the late summer/fall? Do you visit the Farmer’s Markets every week to get your local veggies? Are you a flyfisher who cans fish to eat during the winter? There’s a myriad of ways to source your local food and we want to know how you do it and of course, we want to see a photo of this food! This is the fourth and final challenge for the grand prize – an excellent mini freezer – perfect for storing all your locally sourced food throughout the winter!

Good luck!

Julie Kerr

About Julie Kerr

Until October 2012, Julie Kerr was the director of population health at Northern Health. During her time with us, she was proud to support local healthy eating initiatives in her program area. Julie is now the VP, community, rural and mental health for Alberta Health Services. (Julie no longer works with Northern Health, we wish her all the best.)

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Challenge #3 winner!

Congrats to Kim Menounos, the winner of our Week 3 Healthy Lunch Challenge!

Thank you to everyone who entered their healthy lunch photos and tips in the September Healthy Living Week 3 Challenge! We received quite the variety of lunch ideas and it’s fantastic to see people really thinking about the food they eat and serve to others, and then creating lunches that fit into our healthy guidelines!

The random winner of this third challenge is Kim Menounos, from Prince George! Here are the tips she included in her entry:

I try to do a few things:
1. Make sure there’s plenty of protein so that no one feels hungry through the day.
2. My 6-year-old packs his own lunch from the options that I put out. I think he’s more likely to eat foods that he chose himself, and with less waste.
3. Someone usually gets leftovers. Sometimes, we have to flip a coin to see who gets them! Lunches packed from leftover dinners is such a great way to use up small portions of leftover meals, avoiding food waste and filling hungry bellies at lunch time.

Make sure you check out the blog, or visit us on Facebook, tomorrow when we will announce the fourth and final Healthy Living Challenge! It’s the grand prize, so don’t miss it!

Here’s a random selection of some of the other entries we received this week. Thank you to all for entering and we hope you’ll participate in the next challenge!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care. (NH Blog Admin)

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The dying art of canning

Dionne with her canned foods.

Dionne, with her vast selection of canned foods.

Whether you want to prepare for the zombie apocalypse or deal with your overflowing garden, and make sure you have delicious local veggies on hand throughout the long winters, canning can help you achieve this! I had the opportunity to learn to can in May, and I was surprised at how easy it really is! I started to look forward to the growing season and dreamed of all the great things I could stock my cupboards with!

One of my favorite foods is pickles and in August, my neighbour, my husband and I embarked on four fun-filled evenings of canning. The end result was 61 jars of pickles, closer friendships and a hunger to want to can more!

After that, I took a trip to the Okanagan to visit family and friends, and on the way back home, my vehicle was filled with 131 pounds of fresh produce. Let the canning marathon begin!

Over the next seven days of straight canning, I thought a lot about why I wanted to learn to can so badly. There were many reasons that came to mind:

  • It gives me a connection to my grandmothers who canned.
  • It costs me less to buy in bulk when the food is plentiful.
  • It’ll be convenient to go to my cupboard and have a meal ready to go or good wholesome products to put into the meal I’m making.
  • If I, or my family, have health considerations, I can ensure that those concerns are met; for example, by using sugar-free pectin or adding less salt.
  • I’m supporting local farmers and building relationships with my community through food.
  • The quality, flavour and nutrient content of the food will be better because it was picked at its peak ripeness.

Of all these great reasons to can food, there were two in particular that struck me most.

Firstly, I love how tastes and smells can teleport you back in time. I made an Italian tomato sauce which I thought was rather tasty when I tried it, but when I gave it to my husband to try, his eyes opened wide and he instantly thought of his Nanny. With one taste of that sauce he was teleported back to her apartment and the memories he had there. That’s powerful stuff!! The opportunity to produce something that took him back to a fond memory with someone he loved gave me the drive to turn around and make another two batches of that same sauce. Although I knew it would be an investment of time and energy on my part, it was worth every minute to give that gift to him.

Secondly, I realized that in my house, I have control over the types of food that are consumed. I shop for groceries, I grow a garden in the summer and I cook about 90% of the meals in the house. So the choices that I make about eating aren’t only for me, but for my loved ones as well – and this means I had better be making the best choices. When we eat the canned foods I made, I know exactly what’s in it, so I feel more in control of what we’re eating and I don’t have to worry about what preservatives may be there.

The time, energy, love and patience that I poured into each of the 147 jars of food I now have is something that I’m very proud of and it has been empowering. When I asked my grandmother what she thought about all the canning I’ve been doing, she said, “I think it’s wonderful. It’s a dying art and it’s nice to see that it will carry on.”

For all of you that want to dive into the world of canning, please ensure that you use recipes that have been previously tested and if you have any questions regarding safe canning practices, you can contact an environmental health officer at your local health unit. Don’t be afraid of canning, embrace it! And please remember to respect it!

Have you ever tried canning?

Dionne Sanderson

About Dionne Sanderson

Dionne is a public health planner with Northern Health’s public health protection team. She enjoys pushing her boundaries by trying new things and is ready to embrace the winter activities the Peace region has to offer this year! To stay healthy and active, Dionne enjoys working in her garden and taking long walks with her German Shepherd. (Dionne no longer works with Northern Health, we wish her all the best.)

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Food: Much more than nutrition

Husking corn

Food prep can be a way to bring people together.

I’ve been following this month’s healthy living blog posts with great interest. I enjoy making efforts to live a healthy and active lifestyle and it makes me feel at home to see how other people are taking strides to do the same thing.

However, I’ve read a million times in a million places the message that “food is fuel” – we need healthy food to fuel our bodies with high-quality energy and nutrients. I’ve also heard the message that if the food is sourced close to home, then it’s a better choice for my community. The message that I feel is missing so far is that food is more than fuel.

Food is pleasurable; it’s a reflection of culture and plays a role in traditions and social settings. It can tantalize our senses with different tastes, smells, and textures. The Northern Health guidelines (position paper) on healthy eating also recognize this. Quoting a 2005 study from the Canadian Journal of Public Health on Aboriginal traditions, the paper notes:

…the consumption of traditional foods is more than just about eating; it is the endpoint of a series of culturally meaningful processes involved in the harvesting, processing, distribution, and preparation of these foods.

My family and I harvest and prepare foods together; in the summer we have a garden and, while it may or may not be fruitful, I enjoy the time that we spend together caring for the plants and watching them grow. Even if we are “harvesting” our food from the grocery store, I enjoy that time together, considering the food we’re buying and how we’re going to prepare it. Preparing and serving the food to family and friends serves as a gathering for conversations and sharing that may not happen otherwise.

Thinking about the pleasure that food can give us, I don’t know if there is a silver bullet solution to finding the balance between food as pleasure and food as fuel. However, I have learned a couple ways to help me find balance:

  • Exercise control (when you have it) – Most days (e.g. routine work days) I make every effort to eat the quality fuel we talk about from Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Savour social settings – Other days we have events or opportunities to savour things we may not get to on a regular basis (e.g. birthday parties or when travelling). In these settings, I take the opportunity to enjoy the pleasurable side of food (with moderation in mind).

This balance between exercising control and savouring the opportunities helps me to enjoy the pleasurable side of food and my physical and emotional well-being. What are some ways that you balance eating for health and eating for pleasure?

Chelan Zirul

About Chelan Zirul

Chelan Zirul is the Regional Manager for Health Promotions and Community Engagement for Northern Health. As a graduate from UNBC, she did her Master's of Arts in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. She explored regional development decision-making and is an advocate for policy that is appropriate for the needs of northerners. This, combined with her personal interest in health and wellness, drew her to work in health communications. Born in northern B.C., she takes advantage of the access to outdoor living. She enjoys hunting and exploring the backcountry with her dog and husband and enjoys finding ways to use local foods.

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Finding your own balance of health

Loraina with her horses

Loraina, shown here with her horses, offers eight points to help find healthy balance in your daily life.

To me, being healthy is a process and a goal to work towards and maintain. It’s about finding a balance that works for me and my family. As a mom of four kids, a wife, a Northern Health employee and a business owner, life is hectic. Today, it seems it’s harder to balance.  I’m always wondering, “How do we fit everything we need to do in a day, a week or a month anyway?”

I have listed eight points below that run through my head in my journey towards a better health balance. Being healthy, making healthy food choices and doing activities I like make it easier for me to make the healthy choice the easy choice!

  • Acknowledge – Yes, there is such a thing as work-life balance and procrastination.
  • Assess – I take time to sort out where I’m at with healthy eating and active living goals, thinking broader to physical, social, mental, and spiritual health. How does that compare with other family members?
  • Recognize – Each family member is at very different levels of success with healthy eating versus active living activities, and each of us has our own priorities. What’s key is to celebrate successes at all levels! Small changes can really help begin to balance the scale towards health.
  • Identify strengths – This helps me to focus on what I may need to work on more. If I’m good at one area, it doesn’t mean I’ll be as good in another area. I am amazing at packing healthy lunches for work and my colleagues will testify to that. However, I’m not doing as well at getting to my morning swim or the lunch-hour walk I really want to do. My strength is healthy eating but I need to focus on my physical activity levels and getting more movement every day.
  • Identify barriers – Figuring out what is supportive or what is not is pretty important.  Learning about why you’re not easily able to make the changes you want may help identify some solutions.
  • Try, learn and try again – Understand what motivates you (internally and externally) and don’t give up. Find ways to chuckle when you’re not doing as well as you want but also recognize that the goal is balance, not perfection.
  • Keep track – Moving plans into action and tracking them really helps me with healthy living goals – this is important for long-term behavior change. So I track my actions, challenges and try to celebrate successes. I often use my calendar for this and I find it helps me to check in on how I’m doing. I invite you to do the same and to share your ideas to connect, support and inspire others to understand that their health matters!
  • Take a peek into my world – These new guidelines around healthy living (the NH position papers) are something northerners can be really proud of. I must say, as an NH population health dietitian I have a bit of a bias towards the third one: eating, activity and weight.

How do you find a healthy balance?

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to enter the Week 3 Challenge for your chance to win a selection of cookbooks!]

Loraina Stephen

About Loraina Stephen

Loraina is a population health dietitian working in a regional lead role for external food policy, which supports initiatives to develop healthy eating, community food security and food policy for the north. Loraina was born and raised in the north, and has a busy lifestyle. Having grown up enjoying food grown from family gardens, hunting, and gathering, and enjoying northern outdoor activities, she draws on those experiences to keep traditions strong for her family, in her work and at play. (Loraina no longer works with Northern Health, we wish her all the best.)

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Keep fit and stay healthy with Suzanne & John!

One warm Saturday morning this past August, I was trail running with my husband John. Breathless, I stopped short in my tracks about 30 minutes into the run. No, it wasn’t a big black bear that caused me to pause – I had a revelation! John stopped next to me and looked at me with curiosity. I turned to him and said, “John, it’s Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, and we are up, out, and running on a trail in the middle of the woods in northern British Columbia. Did you ever think that (1) we would even think about doing this, (2) that we are actually doing it, and (3) that we are having fun?

John, being the agreeable guy that he is, of course, agreed! It is fun! Now we do it all the time! We love it, but more than anything, we love that we can do it!

Suzanne snowshoeing

Suzanne, along with her husband, has been taking a gradual approach to fitness and health.

But how did this happen to two mid-fifties types that never really did too much in the way of exercise other than paddle round in a kayak in the Bay of Fundy? And even more curious – WHY?

Age has a funny way of creeping up and with it, the realization that old bodies need to hold out for a while. With that in mind, John and I agreed to begin our journey process back to fitness. Kidding aside, we have always been moderately active so we knew it would be a bit of a climb back, but not the Everest journey we feared. We started with using a personal trainer – knowing that if we made the commitment to each other and to her, we would live up to it and learn to do it right. The key lesson for us was making that commitment. We started slowly and progressed to more rigorous fitness work. Even the first few jaunts up the UNBC hill in Prince George had the power to paralyze us! Soon, we were running and then it was in the middle of winter and we were really running fast just to stay warm!

We continued to challenge ourselves. We grew from depending on that personal trainer to doing this work on our own and broadening our interest to include other activities. We took on some yoga, an occasional intense boot camp, running up the cut banks, and then gradually finding our own stride together doing what works for us – all by using the skills we acquired through our learning and applying it.  Taking those first steps was hard; today, we feel strong, well and look forward to another fifty years!

Check out the video John and I shot to tell you more about it (posted above)!

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to enter the Week 3 Challenge for your chance to win a selection of cookbooks!]

Suzanne Johnston

About Suzanne Johnston

With more than 25 years of leadership experience in health care and government, Suzanne is Northern Health’s vice president of clinical programs and chief nursing officer. Suzanne obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of New Brunswick and completed her doctoral studies at the University of Arizona. Suzanne has a special interest in leadership development and is experienced as a facilitator in this area, and she has volunteered with United Way agencies to help build leadership capacity for non-profit boards. In her spare time, Suzanne loves to spend time outdoors with her husband and her golden retriever, Pirate. (Suzanne no longer works with Northern Health, we wish her all the best.)

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