Take time to refresh your mind, body and spirit.

Venessa Bailey

I was always overweight since the age of 10.  I like to eat my emotions (like a lot of people).

  • I never played sports or was active as a child.  Instead, I always had my face in a book.
  • In 2007, my kids were 2,4 and 6 and I was at my heaviest 270 lbs.  I was 35 years old.
  • Unable to keep up with kids, I struggled with activities without getting winded.  I was afraid to sit on chairs in case I broke them.
  • I realized I had 3 beautiful girls and didn't want them to see that this was normal or ok.
  • We took some family photos and when they arrived I was devastated.  I didn’t realise how unhealthy I had become.
  • I had lost weight before (yo-yo dieting), using a variety of programs, but I always put the weight back on.
  • In 2007 I had had enough.  I didn’t really care about losing the weight as much as I wanted to be healthy and strong.
  • I did a lot of research on nutrition (which I still do) and decided to make healthy choices and start exercising.
  • I started small; cutting out junk and fast food.
  • Late 2007 I started walking.  I committed to 5 km walks 3 x week.  I put my youngest in a stroller and off we went. 
  • By spring 2008 I was looking at starting to run.  I used the "Couch to 5k Running Plan" and made a friend who also wanted to start running.  This was when I learned I am a little bit competitive.
  • I took baby steps at first: Walking 3 minutes then running for 30 seconds, repeat.  By the end of summer I could almost run 5 km.  I signed up for my first 5 km race:  The "Road to Hope" in Hamilton in November 2008.
  • I was very nervous and excited to try my hat a race.  My goal was to run the whole 5 km without walking at all.  I am happy to say I was able to meet this goal!
  • I have since run many races of varying distances and abilities.

Biggest challenges so far:

  • Staying on track with nutrition:  I try to follow the 80/20 rule and eat clean and healthy 80% of the time.
  • Injuries disappoint and sidetrack plans so being flexible and finding other ways to stay fit are important, I incorporate strength training, yoga, boot camp and have a slight addiction to cycling though running is my true love.
  • Finding time:
    • I run to everything I can; kids games and practices.  I run on the track at the Gretzky centre while they get dressed for hockey etc. You can make the time.  Your body will thank you and your family will see you being a positive role model.
    • Find other things that keep you fit.  I love obstacle races, I take my bike out for long country rides, I love boot camp, yoga, TRX, kettlebells.


  • Biggest journey ever.  I ran my first FULL Marathon this Fall – 42.2 km in Dublin, Ireland

2016 goals:

  • Learn to swim, so I can do a Triathalon
  • 2016 – Tough Mudder (hint hint)
  • Orienteering race (run, bike, canoe all with a map and a destination point)