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Volunteer services program co-ordinator at Winnipeg Harvest

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Watson grew up in Thompson and spent plenty of time outdoors as a child with cycling as transportation and recreation.

Watson is an extraordinary volunteer. She served three tours of duty as a civilian in Afghanistan with the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA). Its motto is Serving Those Who Serve as the volunteers carry out work to support CF personnel stationed there. Watson spent six months at a time for three straight years -- 2009, 2010 and 2011 -- on Canadian Forces bases in Afghanistan. She worked seven days per week in various stores on base and in a Tim Hortons. It was while in Afghanistan that she returned to a more fit lifestyle, spending any downtime she had in the CFB gym as "a way to meet people, to mentally clear yourself and be active."

As she was leaving at the end of her first tour headed from the base to the airfield, the helicopter in which she was travelling came under rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack. The helicopter was nicked; she saw the RPGs passing outside the window, but it landed safely.

"It (serving the Canadian military) really changed my outlook on the choices that I make and that I see other people make," she said. "I've always said I'm not brave enough to be in the Armed Forces but I will do everything in my power to support those who choose to do that, for us."

Watson said when she came back from Afghanistan, she decided to serve people in the non-profit sector and loves her work at Winnipeg Harvest.

"We have anywhere from 100 to 200 volunteers on a daily basis and they are the heart of Harvest; we couldn't run without them," Watson said.

1. Favourite workout?

Biking and walking. Though I enjoy circuit training in a gym (but can no longer afford it). I used to hate workouts that focus on core but now enjoy and see the importance. I like to make a monthly calendar and try to stick to it. I have learned that you do not need a gym to put fitness into your life.

2. Favourite workout song?

I have two -- Who Says You Can't Go Home by Bon Jovi and My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas.


3. Fitness tip?

You are never too old, too young, too heavy, too small, etc. to start living life in a healthier way. Do not do gimmick fads; they don't teach to live properly. You need to believe in yourself and love yourself for you. Do not give up if you feel like you let yourself down one day, just keep going the next day. Think of it as you had a bad moment, choose to not make it a bad day. I personally believe in trying to change your lifestyle, only make one to two changes at a time. For example, Week 1, add more water to your day, Week 2, make your coffee/tea black, Week 3, add pushups to your 1/2-hour walk. Too many changes at once can easily discourage people.

4.What's in your fridge?

Greek yogurt. I also always have cut-up vegetables handy and I use Kraft fruit/veg dressing to cover the sweetness I want. I like to make a big meal every so often like vegetable lasagna and then freeze a bunch to take out when I do not have time to make a meal. This stops me from purchasing processed freezer meals.

5.What's your guilty pleasure?

Anything with coconut: coconut bread, coconut buns, coconut bars.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2014 D17

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