Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And then this happened yesterday...

Victoria's Suzie Spitfyre sheds more than 100 pounds in health challenge plus

Sandra McCulloch / Times Colonist
August 13, 2013

Suzie Spitfyre, who has lost 100 lbs, poses at her home  Photograph by: ADRIAN LAM, Times Colonist.

As Suzie Spitfyre sits down at her dining room table of her Vic West condo to talk about life since she completed the Times Colonist Health Challenge earlier this year, a couple of things are immediately apparent. Spitfyre, at 38, is much smaller, and much happier, than she used to be.

The challenge offered six participants 12 sessions with a personal trainer as well as advice from nutritionists, mental coaches and financial advisers.

Losing more than 100 pounds has profoundly improved her life, she said.

“I feel like I’m the same person but I have to say, I’m way happier and less judgmental of everything,” she said. “I think it’s because I’m more comfortable in my skin and I’m doing something that I’m really proud of.”

She lost 52 pounds during the 12-week Times Colonist Health Challenge that ended in April, and has lost another 50 since.

At five feet, two inches tall, she has become something of a local celebrity. Even now, more than three months after the challenge concluded, Spitfyre is recognized on the street by Times Colonist readers who praise her efforts to get in shape and get healthy.

The idea that she’s become an inspiration to people means a lot, she said.

She had a friend visit from Montreal and as they walked down the street, Spitfyre was greeted by three different strangers.

“It’s a small town!” Spitfyre offered as explanation to her friend.

She can do so many things that she couldn’t do before — such as hike up Mount Douglas, go kayaking with her parents and go cycling on the Galloping Goose Trail.

After summiting Mount Doug, Spitfyre thought she might take on Mount Fuji next spring, which at 12,000 feet is the highest mountain in Japan.

“But then I thought, maybe that’s too easy.”

On Jan. 15, Spitfyre weighed in at 292 pounds. On Aug. 7, she tipped the scales at 190. Her waist has shrunk to 38 inches from 54, and her hips to 46 inches from 59.

Her goal is to be healthy and fit, and to be at a weight she can maintain.

She’s lost the weight by focusing on “clean” eating of whole foods — whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean meats.

Her exercise regime is intense and includes brisk walking, spinning, kick-boxing, circuit training, spinning, cycling and hiking. She walks everywhere in town, including to and from her personal-training sessions at Crystal Pool — a round trip of six kilometres.

She’s added yoga to her routine, and says it has given her a new sense of calmness.

Her trainer says Spitfyre can reach 140 pounds, a number that she can’t quite wrap her mind around.

“It’s totally mental, like 99 per cent mental,” Spitfyre said. “It doesn’t kill me to eat healthy food. It’s ridiculous how excited I get about breakfast.”

A high-fibre cereal is just the start, she said. She adds skim milk and maybe a banana, “and maybe some strawberries and possibly a handful of blueberries, so it looks like fruit with a glaze on it.”

“It’s so rewarding that I can eat this nutritious meal and it makes me feel good, and I don’t get heartburn at all,” she said.

She fills up on fruit or vegetables, and only limits her intake of fat, protein and complex carbohydrates.

She laughs that she “sacrificed junk food and it made me feel awesome.”

What used to challenge her in workouts has now become much easier.

“The weight has lifted in so many ways,” she said. “Now I don’t think, ‘Oh, hopefully I can do that.’ It’s ‘Why can’t I do that?’ The confidence definitely is there.”

Her parents are thrilled to see their daughter lose the weight. They pay for the personal training sessions and join her on fun outings like kayaking.

Her husband Stéphane has lost 40 pounds and is enjoying a new outlook on life as well.

“We keep each other on track, and it’s quite hilarious,” she said.

“We go out and we don’t go to a restaurant; we go out on our bicycles and find ourselves in Langford.”

Right now, she just wants to stay the course and keep losing weight. But a goal for the not-too-distant future is to have a baby. By then, Spitfyre will have worked out how to keep her health as the top priority as she juggles both family and fitness.
Applications for the next Times Colonist Health Challenge will be accepted starting in December. Watch the Times Colonist for details.
• Progress is progress — whether it’s a one-pound loss or 100 pounds, it’s something of which to be proud.
• Exercise in the morning, before your brain figures out what you’re doing.
• I may not be the strongest, I may not be the fastest, but I’ll be damned if I'm not trying my hardest.
• You aren’t going to get the butt you want by sitting on the one you have.
• You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.
• Strength: A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but its persistence.
• Go do something that makes you sweat.
• Set a reachable goal, such as losing 20 pounds, and once you reach it, set another one.
• Fill your diet with healthy foods — fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
• Journal everything.
• Get a personal trainer to help keep you focused.
• Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. Nobody is perfect, so move on.
• Get friends and family behind you — you’ll need their support.
• Believe in yourself!

Suzie’s blog is at

© Copyright 2013


  1. Hi Suzie,
    I have been reading your blog and following your success since you started your journey. I have enjoyed every single post - your commitment and hard work are inspiring. I also love how you write with such humour and empathy. Much love from a big fan and an old friend, Erin

    1. Yay! Erin, thanks for writing in comments keep me going. :-) It seems like a million years ago that we reconnected at MAC before date night! Haha..and even longer that we did pony camp together. Maybe I'll get back on a horse at some point, now that would be exciting!