IMG_4024I’m Lorraine Powell, I live in a suburb of Toronto, Canada with my hubby of 30 years and 2 delicious rescue dogs.  Our gorgeous 25 year old daughter has recently left the nest. I’m a Certified Chef, culinary instructor and recipe developer.

Like many people I find it very hard to write about myself.  I’ve been at this for the better part of 2 weeks, writing, editing, erasing and starting again.  If we were at a table together having a cup of tea I’d be able to tell you anything and everything you wanted to know and probably many things you DON’T want to know about me, that would be easy.  Putting it all out there in writing is an entirely different story.  And then…there’s so much to tell you I won’t know where to stop!

My story is a common one. I was a pudgy kid, became trim & fit in my early twenties, got married and well…life changes and shifts dramatically.  No longer looking after only myself, I lost track of time, fitness, diet and if I’m completely honest – my self-worth.  But I really should go back to the beginning to give you a brief history of how I got to where I am today.

My story is a lengthy detailed affair that starts in childhood (but of course, where else would it begin?), I won’t bore or inundate you with all the info just now;  I will post subsequent blogs outlining some of the hurdles (health issues) I’ve had to overcome to get to a healthier place in my life.  But for now, suffice it to say I’ve had QUITE a few.  The over-use of Cortisone treatments for a series of ailments  has left me with serious Arthritis & cartilage problems, cataract and a severely impaired immune system and crappy metabolism.

I was diagnosed in my early 20’s with a disease called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome commonly called P.C.O.S.   The details of this medical conundrum I will lay out in another post for those that may be interested in understanding how it works (or doesn’t work) and how it’s helped to contribute to my 30+ years of constant weight gain, insulin resistance and a pre-disposition to many other medical conditions.

All of this history brings me to where I was on September 1st, 2014 standing on the top of a gorgeous hilltop in Ireland overlooking Loch Tay and thinking…”I want to enjoy many more of these adventures with Steve (my husband) how will I ever do that if everything hurts and I can’t keep up”?  That is a day etched in my memory like a tattoo on someone’s arm.  I came home and made my plans.

The plan; start October 1, 2014.  Goal, lose 100lbs. after all that seemed quite achievable right?! I could lose (approximately) 8.3lbs. per month….HA as they say “the best laid plans of mice and men”….

So let’s start with the stats…shocking as they are I’m willing to disclose the numbers.  I was 53 (in Oct. ’14) 5’2” tall, weighing in at a whopping 240lbs. with a shocking BMI of 56.5%.  My average clothing size was a North American 24.

All of this was achieved by following what I was told was a “healthy lifestyle”.  Don’t eat anything “white” you know the routine, rice, potatoes, pasta etc.  Eat low-fat this and that, plenty of yogurt, granola, oatmeal, in other words have a lovely “low-fat, high-fiber diet”.  Now, don’t get me wrong I did NOT JUST follow this regime…NO!  I’ve literally “followed them all”.  I could be a chartered member of Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Dr. Atkins, Low carb, Eat for your blood type, Wheat Belly, and that’s just to name a few.  Hell…in 2006 I even had Lap-Band surgery…and continuously gained weight and suffered from mal-nutrition with that one!  But that story…another blog for another time.

So who am I?  I’m just a girl that wants to look good, who wants TO FEEL GOOD, who knows how to cook, who loves to read and research, who decided to heal herself through food!

And so my journey of health and wellness started.  On October 1, 2014 I started an elimination diet, literally removing everything and anything I could possibly think of that might be making me fat, lethargic, swollen, give me IBS, rashes and just an overall feeling of malaise.

I knew I needed to start moving too.  Being a chef and running a cooking school often had me up on my feet for 12-14 hour days, I thought I was in such great shape!…Believe me when I tell you standing on concrete floors for a length of time has nothing at all to do with physical fitness.  It’s more about strength and stamina.  It was simply what I was used to pushing myself to do.

Today, is a few days short of my one year “anniversary”.  I’ve met many milestones, but haven’t gotten to the 100lb. mark.  Am I upset?  HELL NO!  I’ve done so much, so much more than I thought was possible and WAY more than several “Professionals” in the medical community predicted I could achieve.  I was told by countless Doctors, Dieticians and Nutritionists that because of my medical conditions I’d be lucky to lose 10% of my weight and they’d be happy with that!  Well, they may have been happy to see me lose 24lbs. but I sure wouldn’t have been happy!

I sit here today with some astounding results and numbers.  I am now 54 years old – still 5’2” tall.  I weigh 185lbs. and have a BMI of 31%.  My average North American size is now a 16.

I no longer suffer with debilitating IBS, I don’t have the symptoms of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, I don’t have horrific joint pain, I no longer get skin rashes.  I engage at some form of physical activity 7 days a week.  I can walk for miles and miles a day, I’ve even hiked a “Munro” – a peak in Scotland that must be catalogued a minimum of 4000ft. high to be called a “Munro”.  AND I’VE ONLY STARTED MY JOURNEY.

So that’s my long story in a nutshell.  Perhaps you’d like to stick around and check out some more detailed information, some recipes or feel free to drop me a line and let’s have a conversation :0)

I look forward to sharing my story with you perhaps hearing from you.  I hope your life is the best it can be!

Warmly, Chef Lorraine