a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Jan, 2010

My name is Andrea, and I love my guts

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you

It’s a new year, and I’ve decided to approach this whole resolution thing a little differently. So much of what I’m reading in the blogosphere is rooted in self-loathing: “I hate my body and I need to lose 20 lbs!” but I am coming at this from a different angle. LOVE. I am going to spend two weeks reintroducing some healthy habits that I know work for me. (Two weeks! YES, that’s it. Two weeks. BABY STEPS PEOPLE.)

I have decided to focus on my guts because I love them, and if ya ain’t got good guts, you ain’t got much.

And here they are (eek!), well, at least the exterior shot:

(WARNING WARNING, this is dangerously close to being WTMI (Way Too Much Information):

My name is Andrea, and I love my guts

Here’s what you’re looking at:

  • a mere shadow of the abs I used to have last summer
  • a wrinkled 37-year old belly button that was pierced (twice) and sadly stretched out of shape while I was pregnant
  • my father’s old leather belt. When I was misbehaving he’d silently lay it out on the kitchen table for me to ponder. That was my cue to smarten up. But that is besides the point …

I have been embracing my guts for a few days now, but here’s the lowdown (in case you want to embrace your guts as well). It is a two-fold thing.

Primarily, I make sure I am getting enough fibre every day. It may not be exciting (and I know there are better things I can be doing, like cutting out red meat and sugar) but this is something (a) I know I can do and (b) I know will make me feel great. And when I feel great, the rest of the stuff (like going to the gym and finding the energy to grocery shop and make healthy dinners) is easier to manage.

I am taking the lazy gal’s way to a happy colon by eating a serving of Kellogg’s All-Bran Bran Buds every morning. (FYI, Kellogg’s is not involved in this post in any way. Bran Buds are a product I truly love. And I bet some of you might too.)

** Make sure you buy the BRAN BUDS, not the flakes or the stuff that looks like rabbit food or a no-name knockoff. The Bran Buds are GOOD. They’re crunchy and a tiny bit sweet and fill me up. You can stuff them into meatloaf and sprinkle them on salads but I prefer to eat them for breakfast; 1/3 cup in the bottom or my cereal bowl with another cereal sprinkled on top. Sometimes I top the bowl with berries; always with soy milk. Healthy tastes good this way! (It does, really.)

A boost in fibre may be a good fix if you’re feeling bloated and sluggish (either mentally or DOWN THERE). A word of warning, a sudden influx of fibre may cause serious gastrointestinal instability (THAT’S PUTTING IT POLITELY, ISN’T IT?) but I think if you stick to the one serving of cereal and drink water and you’ll be fine.

Secondarily, I am doing daily planks and crunches again. I used to do 50 crunches every night before bed. Our bout with swine flu (as well as the entire month of December) threw me for a loop and I never quite got my mojo back. Crunches are back on the roster.

Tertiarily (is that even a word?), I am taking my vitamin D again as well as drinking a mug of green tea every day.


If I can stay focused on this for two weeks I will probably be able to keep it going for longer… but first I have to get through the two weeks.

If you’d like to do this with me I’d welcome the company. Think of all the fun metaphors we can come up with for, well, you know. POOP!

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24 Responses to "My name is Andrea, and I love my guts"

2 | WannabeMomErin

January 4th, 2010 at 9:12 am


This is quite good timing Andrea. I’m up to the challenge.

Just last night, I turned to Jason and told him that I am sick and tired of giving in to cravings or letting my eyes be bigger than my stomach and winding up with a stomach ache. I tend to be a jealous eater – as in, I see someone enjoying a food that is not on my plate, and I want some too. I also tend to select portions as though I might never see another crumb again for the rest of my life. Not anymore. I am going to try to keep my guts in mind when I choose what – and how much – to eat.

I think that a definite secondary benefit to this plan will be a trimmer figure. I have tried “dieting” with a trimmer figure as my main motivator, but a long term goal with no immediately visible results just doesn’t cut it for me. I ALWAYS fall off the wagon. Eating to avoid a stomach ache has a definite immediate result – don’t eat too much, or foods that make you feel sick (I tend to get an upset stomach from high fat and high sugar foods) and you won’t feel sick, seems simple enough.

I love Bran Buds (and Kellogg’s isn’t paying me – or giving me free cereal – to say that, either). They are crunchy and tasty. I like them sprinkled on my yogurt. I also sneak some into my hanburger recipe, because Jason is not a huge fan of veggies, and he’s getting older and needs more fibre in his diet too. He says he doesn’t even notice them.

3 | A Crafty Mom

January 4th, 2010 at 9:21 am


Sounds awesome – I love it!! I may have to try the Bran Buds, I’ve actually never eaten them before . . . sounds pretty tasty!

4 | BeachMama

January 4th, 2010 at 4:03 pm


Great plan Andrea. We all seem to have one, it’s getting the kick start that we need to get moving. I love those bran buds, but seem to forget about them so I use natural fibre that I mix in my juice.

5 | Twitted by missfish

January 4th, 2010 at 4:31 pm


[…] This post was Twitted by missfish […]

6 | Chris

January 4th, 2010 at 4:46 pm


Bravo. I’m taking the same approach with just eliminating sugar. Even smaller steps.

7 | Shan

January 4th, 2010 at 5:59 pm


Oh I have suffered through the sudden influx of fibre to my diet and it ain’t pretty. Make sure you’re drinking lots and lots of water if you plan on upping your fibre intake. I’ve never tried the Bran Buds, but I do love the Fibre 1 cereal. I can really tell a difference on the days I don’t eat my usual amount of fibre in the morning. December threw me off to, but I’m trying to get back to the cleaner eating I was trying to do prior to the Christmas rush.

8 | mrsgryphon

January 4th, 2010 at 6:05 pm


I love my guts, too :) My guts got me two beautiful little girls, and while they certainly aren’t all flat and trim, I don’t care. Still going to wear my bikini at the pool party this weekend!

My ‘resolutions’ this year include getting fit (don’t care about the numbers, just want to feel stronger!), watching less TV so that I can make time for crafting and reading more often, and commenting more on the posts that I love… at least I’m accomplishing that one so far!!

9 | coffeewithjulie

January 4th, 2010 at 6:39 pm


Great post! My guts LOOK terrible but I LOVE them too because they are my badges of honour for having carried two big healthy babies into the world! (Yours look damn good to me BTW. I gotta whole lotta stretch marks and I’m not sure my belly button even really shows anymore under all that extra skin!) haha!!

10 | betsy mae

January 4th, 2010 at 8:13 pm


I have already started my own little program that is somewhat similar to yours (was planning to write a post about it whenever I get a chance). It’s not a resolution, just back to doing what I was trying to do for several mnths before Christmas. Green smoothies, more water, earlier to bed, back to walking the dog properly, more fish (less meat), and making some vegan/vegetarian recipes two or three times a week.

btw, it’s not my belly it’s my arms and legs that need some help….oh and my hips/butt too! eek.

11 | betsy mae

January 4th, 2010 at 8:14 pm


forgot to say this..you have a great belly!!! thanks for sharing. lol!

i am shocked SHOCKED that you had your belly button pierced twice?????

12 | Kaitlin

January 4th, 2010 at 8:49 pm


I think your guts are gorgeous! (But, can I be honest and say that I’m intimidated by the idea of planks. I injured my elbow last week and doing anything upper body really hurts still).

13 | Tiana

January 5th, 2010 at 10:21 am


Yeha I’m trying to get back on the wagon again too. I love my chips though!

I’ve always had luck with eating whatever I want (minues refined sugars as they give me problems with the lady parts) and instilling an eating curfew of 8pm. Only water after that.

Brent is really into the Bran Buds. Maybe I’ll try adding those into my b-fast.

14 | andrea

January 5th, 2010 at 10:30 am


Kaitlin: I am terrible at planks. But hopefully getting better!

Betsy Mae: Yes, twice. Once before Emma was borm, and once after. I also cut my hair very short and dyed it dark red. I think I was a little crazy back then. :)

So I printed out a calendar in MS-Word with each of my daily goals written in every day. i.e. Bran, Crunches, Plank etc. and I strike each off as I do it. So far so good. My guts thank me. Those Bran Buds, oh boy.

(Who’s doing the fibre thing?)

I’m glad I’m giving my guts a bit of extra attention this week. And you know what, it’s made me aware of a few other things too. I took the stairs two at a time all day yesterday. I spent some time on the Wii fit. And I didn’t eat any sugar all day. Go me!

15 | Nicole

January 6th, 2010 at 1:33 pm


That’s such a fantastic resolution!

The only, kind of, sort of, resolution I’ve created for myself is to make the most of the gym membership that I’m paying for anyways.

My goal is to get there three times a week, even if it’s only for a quick run. Easy to do since I can almost see it from my house and there is one right next to the college.

For me it’s not really a resolution about losing weight and getting into shape it’s about not throwing away money for the year (and I’m in a contract until June anyhow) and about making myself feel as great as I can and a little bit of exercise goes a long way in giving me a mood lift!

16 | Sharon

January 6th, 2010 at 5:21 pm


LOVE IT ANDREA! And Holy heck i would your guts then and now…you do not have my guts…Ièm more of a block than a woman with a shape. Over on my blog my goal this year is to focus on me…just me…and make me happy so the people around me will be happy because…well isn’t happiness infectious?
I would love tone up and loose 20 to 30 lbs and be heart healthy. I started with walking like a SOB across campus and back every time I am there and up stairs as much as possible. That was this week. Next week I am adding crunches and maybe a plank or two. That is quite hard for me. I was also thinking of doing resistance bands when I need a break for working on papers and home work.

OK taking over. GOOD FOR YOU…and I want to hear how you do.

17 | andrea

January 7th, 2010 at 8:13 am


Thanks Sharon! Thanks everyone for your comments.

Today is day seven and I’m still going strong. I’m feeling really good, and really strong. Now if I can only get myself to bed a little earlier … !

18 | caro

January 8th, 2010 at 5:18 pm


If you really want to feel better and love your guts, go on a juice feast. Not a FAST, but a FEAST! After a week of feasting last year, I remember walking into the office and saying ‘It’s Monday morning, and I feel GOOD! Why don’t I do it more often? I think I’m going to start again tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration. (see http://www.juicefeasting.com).

19 | andrea

January 10th, 2010 at 10:04 pm


Observation: is funny how a small focus can become larger, just because that’s where your mind is at.

I’ve been taking the stairs two a time all week. And it’s making a difference.

I know a bunch of you are doing the All-Bran thing. How is it going with you?

20 | Amy @ Muddy Boots

January 14th, 2010 at 11:46 am


I credit Bran Buds for helping me lose the baby weight after baby #1. After extolling the virtues of BB for a few months, my older sister decided to take the plunge. She called me two days later, shrieking, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!?” We still laugh about it.

21 | andrea

January 15th, 2010 at 2:26 pm


Amy: that is hilarious!

Well, my two weeks are officially over. I’ve been eating All Bran every day (that was the easiest part) and drinking green tea (which I just learned contains caffeine!) and done countless crunches and near-daily Wii hula hooping (which is HARD when you’re doing it six minutes at a time). This is also the longest stetch of time that I’ve taken vitamin D. I think I’ll keep going… I am feeling really good, and surprisingly, less sleepy (maybe that was the tea) !

I celebrated my success by buying a two-piece bathing suit. More on that later ;)

Overall I am feeling pretty awesome.

22 | Spinning for good health and good hearts >> a peek inside the fishbowl

February 19th, 2010 at 10:56 am


[…] on February 20 as part of a Heart Month initiative. She assumed (correctly) that a gal who loves her guts as much as I do loves her heart too. […]

23 | The Best Breakfast Things « heartful mouthful

March 19th, 2012 at 5:43 pm


[…] part of why they taste good and make you feel good. They also have a substantial amount of fibre, good for your guts, and filling for […]

24 | Tummy troubles? >> a peek inside the fishbowl

April 9th, 2012 at 9:15 am


[…] gluttony is a fitting time to write something about stomach issues. I am ALL OVER good gut health (remember this post?) and the fact of the matter is that if you don’t have a healthy gut, you ain’t got […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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