Sunday, 22 March 2015

Been Awhile's been awhile since I last blogged, February was quite a challenging month.

    I was given news that a project I had been working on and dreaming about for 4 years had been shut down.
My boyfriend was let go from his job that he dedicated 100% of his energy and time too.
We felt like the wind was taken out of our sails. We both had to regroup, refocus and also be there to support each other.
In life,  things are never for sure and being able to trust that everything has a purpose is sometimes really difficult, especially when it is not going the way you wanted. However, when I look back at the times I did not get what I had anticipated, it was in those moments that followed that led to even better situations.
The good news is Scott received 5 job opportunities the days following his release. He is incredible at what he does and other companies were watching and pounced when they had the chance. By the following Monday he hired to a better position with more ability to grow and learn in his field.
I also know that not having my plans follow through mean better ones are in store for me and they have began to happen. 
So just remember when you experience "Set Backs" we need to look at them as "Step Forwards"...

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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Do I Matter?

As Oprah has stated numerous times over the years one of our fundamental human needs is to feel validated :

We all want to be heard and acknowledged. Even if the other person does not agree with us, the act of listening will usually satisfy the speaker. This rings true in relationships of all kinds: mother/daughter, friendships, with colleagues, and with lovers/partners.

I’ll be honest; this is an area I know I really need to work on. I often get so bogged down and carried away with my day-to-day priorities, that when a loved one calls to talk, I tend to do a million things at once while trying to listen. I acknowledge I am not present in that moment. I do not stop and give that person the respect they deserve when they are sharing something extremely important with me.

I then try and justify the lack of focus by running through my regular excuses of work responsibilities, child, relationship, training, chores at home, etc. but ‘I’m just so busy’ gets old after awhile. It’s as if I’m trying to convince myself that my reasons justify the lack of attention I’m giving – but they don’t.

My ‘ah ha moment’ occurred recently when my neglect jeopardized a relationship I hold very dear to me. I was forced to step back and reevaluate my actions .  This person had been expressing to me  that their needs were not being met. I had brushed it off as them being overly sensitive. However,  when the thought of not having them in my life became possiblity I had to stop and look at my actions: 
How had my behaviour affected the other person? What could I have done better? What changes did I need to make? What kind of friend, partner, mother, and daughter do I want to be?

If I want to live an extraordinary life, a huge part of that is having extraordinary relationships. This means I need to treat the amazing people in my life with respect, as they are precious and important.

One of those ways is the simple act of taking the time to stop what I am doing, hold off on the multi-tasking and give my undivided attention to the person sharing with me. One day they might be gone and I never want to regret taking them for granted.


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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

"Everything is Awesome" on Social Media

I recently decided to join the world of Instagram. Although I had seen pictures from Instagram before, I had never felt motivated to set one up for myself… mostly due to the fact I have to have a Blackberry for work, which wasn’t compatible with Instagram.

In my first month as an “Instagrammer” I have noticed how incredible people’s lives seem to be. Not only just incredible, but extraordinary enough to make me re-evaluate my whole life….LOL.

What got me to the point of re-evaluation? The selfies of six-pack abs, round, firm butts, perfect flawless makeup, outfits that look like they were styled by Vogue, glamorous shoes, and hair that falls perfectly into place, could have something to do with it. It also could have been the expensive cars, wonderful homes that look like they belong in Architectural Digest, and vacations to exotic destinations…

It seems we have become a culture of “everything is awesome” on social media. We all want to portray that we live a fabulous life, with a six-pack abs, a big house, the perfect relationship, cute babies that don’t cry, and driving a luxury vehicle, all while wearing our designer clothes that belong on Pinterest.

I’ll admit, I have also played into the ‘my life is awesome’ photo posting to a certain degree, but my real truth is: my life is messy.

I work out and try to eat healthy (80/20 rule), yet I still do NOT have a six-pack. My hair is usually in a bun or ponytail, and fashion for me is usually a sweat shirt and yoga pants or jeans. I do love my little home but my family sometimes feels like we are on top of each other for a lack of space. I work really hard to pay my bills and sometimes I still don’t have enough. I often feel ‘Mommy guilt’ for not spending enough time with my midget, I have arguments in my relationship, and I am in a constant game of catch-up in everything!

Now, I am not saying that everyone on Instagram or social media is presenting this over-the-top idea of ‘perfection’ because there are many are people being authentic and sharing their journeys truthfully… but the reality is, no one’s life is perfect!

I am pledging, going forward, that I any and everything I post on my social media is to be honest, authentic, imperfect and vulnerable.

So get ready for some bad hair days.

“To be authentic, we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect—and vulnerable.” Brene Brown


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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Working Yummy Mommy, SD Athlete, Fitness Chick: 2015 Party Tips

Working Yummy Mommy, SD Athlete, Fitness Chick: 2015 Party Tips: This holiday season, instead of waiting for my New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to start on December 1 st .  Every year with the holiday p...

2015 Party Tips

This holiday season, instead of waiting for my New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to start on December 1st.  Every year with the holiday parties and all the social activities my fitness and health goals can easily get buried in the mantra: “I will just wait  until January 1st”.

I have experienced the dreaded aftermath of abundant holiday eating and drinking that leaves me feeling as far away as possible from my optimal health and fitness by the time January 1st rolls around. This year I really wanted to do something different so I went into the holidays with a plan to keep my health on track.

Here are the top 5 Holiday Tips I practiced:

1: Move everyday!
Every day I moved my body for at least 30 minutes. Whether it was walking, an exercise class, playing with my daughter, or heading to the gym to squeeze a workout in, making exercise a priority was essential.

2: Don’t go hungry
Before going to a holiday party, I made sure I did not go hungry. Otherwise, tearing myself away from the treat table is even harder, and let’s be honest, we have all been there! I’d have some lean protein before I left to fill me up. When I was at the food table I reached for veggies first before allowing myself some treats. 

I believe in the 80/20 rule: I eat healthy 80% of the time and leave 20% for my treat of choice.

3: Drink alcohol in moderation
I am a woman who enjoys a glass of wine. My trick is with every half glass of wine I drink, I consume a full glass of water. This not only helps keep the following morning a lot easier but also allows me to enjoy myself a lot longer. Another tip is to drink vodka/soda in a tall glass with a half shot of vodka instead of the full shot. You will end up consuming way more water, which will keep you hydrated and again lessen the hangover. Vodka is also very low in calories and sugar, and I always bring a Crystal Light to add flavor to my drinks. They have many wonderful flavors to choose from and fit perfectly into a purse.

4: Avoid the nuts
There is usually a nut dish at parties, and although nuts are touted as “healthy”, one serving of nuts is roughly 12-15 nuts - this does NOT including the sugar coated, honey glazed nuts.  If possible, push the nut dish away – it’s easy to lose track of how many handfuls you’ve had.

5: Stock up on the veggies
I often bring a veggie platter filled with many delicious options and a healthy dip. That way, I make sure I’ve got at least one choice that won’t throw my diet completely off track.

I am happy to report that starting my resolutions early this year did work for me. I felt fantastic on New Year’s Eve,  while managing to enjoy myself at all my holiday get-togethers! 

Even though party time is over, social events will continue to pop up at any time! Try using these tips throughout 2015 and don’t let one bad instance throw off your entire regimen.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Big Boned, Nordic Girl....SO WHAT!!!!

Big Boned”….”Bigger Girl”… “Nordic Girl”…”Curvy”… these are all terms that have been used to describe my body type over the years…
 With my father being a bodybuilder and mother a figure skating coach, there was a heavy emphasis on esthetics and athletics in our household growing up.
What and how much I ate was monitored from as early as I can remember. At 12 I was enrolled in weight watchers and it became strikingly clear that I was too much and not enough all at the same time.
 At the age of 14 I discovered bulimia, which I thought was the  ‘winning’ diet ticket. However, that ticket was actually a disease that I’ve continued  battle  even to this day.
 When I was 16 I was told, “If you could just loose 5lbs you would be perfect.” One of the best ones came at 25 from my vocal coach.  She told me my voice was great but “you will never make it because you are too big”. Unfortunately I gave these words power and have let them define and control much of my internal dialogue and sense of worth, for years.

                                              Here I am with my Brothers at 14 years old

 Why am I still that little 10 year old trying to prove that I am enough? Why have I put so much energy and time trying to control my weight and food? Has this brought me happiness, peace and health?
 What if I just embraced my “Big Boned, Curvy, Nordic, Self”? More importantly what is even wrong with those definitions?
 How many hours have I spent not loving the amazing body I have been given simply because of someone else’s words?
 I want my daughter to see me as a woman who loves and respects herself – and especially her body. I would be devastated if she spent wasted years not loving her precious little body because of my influence.
I do watch my language when speaking about our bodies- and we never critique anyone’s physical stature.  I never monitor what or how much she eats as she gets lots of healthy foods and enjoys the occasional treat too – it’s all about balance.
 I want a life of health, vibrancy and happiness. In order to achieve that, I understand it requires a commitment to physical activity and nutritious foods. If that means I have some curves - then so be it!
 I challenge you to STOP letting negative words and harsh criticism of others define you. Cherish the amazing body you have been given, and don’t let anyone’s past definitions determine your self-worth.

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Monday, 10 November 2014

Balance; 10 Tips That Work for Me...

What an amazing weekend I had at the West Coast Women's Show.  I was given the opportunity to speak on the Health and Wellness stage. After some debate I chose the topic of Finding Balance.  As this is an issue I have really struggled with in all aspects of my life.
 I have a series of 10 tips that I have began to follow that I find help me maintain a certain sense of balance with being a working full time mom and an athlete.
   Over the years I found that this is a common theme with other women.  Family, work, love life, household duties, fitness, friends, and the desire to be good enough and is a challenge to say the least.
When I was a trainer/coach my clients would work so hard to achieve their fitness goals. Once these were achieved and their sessions ended,  9 times out of 10 clients would return in a month or so back to their original weight or lifestyle. 
So the question I began to ask was "Why?" "Why can't we reach our goals in Fitness and maintain them?" "Why do our physical goals tend to fade away"?  
Even for myself I would reach a fitness goal but had difficulty maintaining it. 
   What I realized is balance was missing in our goals.  We had not created this as our lifestyle but rather our "wedding diet", "mexico diet", reunion diet and once we were finished we...well returned back to what we knew.
So the question is "How do we reach our goals and then maintain a lifestyle that is balanced"?

 Now to some my life does not seem balanced,  so how could I speak on such a topic when I train pretty much every day, eat very healthy, live a fairly regimented life and tend to seem "extreme".  However, I am not advocating following what works for me, what I am encouraging people/women is to find is their own balance...Mine is not yours and vis vera....
My fitness goals are Health, Vitality, Strength,  Feeling Sexy and Great in a pair of Jeans, not spending hours in the gym and enjoying my life in the process. 
I am willing to do the work, but I want the results. So I tailored my plan to achieve and maintain theses goals. This is not saying that I am 100% balanced all the time but these 10 tips it makes it much easier.

I am hoping that in applying them to your lifestyle they also work for you..

1: Put Yourself First
     With everything women do on a day to day basis, we seldom put ourselves first on the list. I am not advocating abandoning your children but rather take that 30 min for yourself. I often felt guilty when I put Mekaella in child minding at the gym after she had just spent the day at daycare. My Mommy guilt was high. However, what I found is I am a better mother and more present when I give that time to myself.

2: Gratitude
   Be grateful for where you are. You will not get to your goal overnight (no matter what those late night infomercials tell you). Be thankful for every part of yourself exactly where you are, spending extra energy hating your body or situation is a waste and gets you nowhere. Start working towards your goals by taking baby steps. This was paramount for me when I started on my weight loss journey. I had to love all 200lbs of myself, if I wanted to move towards 150lbs and was really hard but I kept being thankful for every imperfection...after all they are mine...

3: Goals
   Creating goals in every aspect of your life,  not only gives you a direction in which you are heading,  but also keeps you focused on those days when it seems as things are not shifting. I have an end vision of what I want to create and I have to put the work in each and everyday to get there.  Once I reach that goal I need to redirect my goals and create new ones.

4: Food and You..
    One of the biggest challenges I face is mindless know what I'm talking about...a jar of peanut butter...with no real hunger just boredom and a spoon. I still catch myself being unmindful with food. Taking the time to really enjoy what you are eating and not just standing in the kitchen picking because you are stressed or bored.
   A big part of food is to really understand you are what you eat. I wish I could tell you that you can eat cupcakes and look fit, but unless you are an anomaly (and certainly I would NOT be friends with you...LOL) it is most likely not going to happen.
You don't need to be a certain size, or weight,  but to have health, energy, and feel good in your skin, fuelling your body with the proper nutrients is what it takes.
Make sure you are eating protein with each meal. Your body uses protein to create lean muscle which speeds up your metabolism (which means Fat loss…Yippee..).  
Having healthy fats (Nuts, coconut oil, olive oil) will help with heart health, lowering risk of diabetes and weight loss!
Your low glycemic carbs are needed for energy (whole grains, yams, brown rice).  Enjoy these earlier in the day so your body utilizes them and they will not be stored as fat ( i.e.: dinner and last meals of evening try to have more protein and veg).
I follow the 80/20 rule...80% of the time I follow a plan with my food.  I eat 20grms of protein per meal, keep my carbs earlier in the day and have good fats in my diet.  However 20% is my time! When I can and I DO….
I indulge and enjoy my glass of wine and dark chocolate...oh and Aged Cheddar cheese…LOVE CHEESE!
But I do know that in order to find a balance I only have these treats 20% of the time. The rest of the time I fuel my body with healthy and nutritious food..

5: Prepare to Win
    As I pack Mekaella's lunch each day for school,  I also pack my own lunch. This ensures that I have my snacks and meals and that I do not make unhealthy choices, which falls in line with my 80/20 rule. If I end up eating out I always choose salads, or vegetables with a lean protein and dressing on the side. It does not take long to prepare your food and snacks for the day, I tend to eat the same things for simplicity sake.  I challenge you to try to start packing your snacks and meals.  It takes 21 days to form a habit.  See how easy it will become.

6: Water
    I notice a profound difference when I drink my gallon of water per day.  My skin glows,  I feel clear headed, not to mention it helps with weight loss, regular bowel movements, the list goes on and on...I challenge you to drink a Gallon a Day.  Take a before and after pic and send it to me, you will be astounded!

7: Use Your Body
     My playground has always been the gym; I love weights, cardio equipment, classes and the energy.  If you are a person who does not like the gym I suggest you find another activity, think back when you were a kid, what did you like to do?
There are so many wonderful adult activities available such as join a baseball team, go rollerblading, swimming, hiking, walking, playing with your children. The list is endless but the idea is the same...move your body!!
My last Fitness show I decided to use one of my cardio sessions to Rollerblade with my daughter.  Now would I burn more calories than doing sprints? Yes..... but I enjoyed having those moments with my daughter far more then the monotonous stairs and I guarantee my stress levels were lower.

8: Sleep
   We need an average of 7-9hrs a night and with everything in our days I know many a night my head is spinning with “To do Lists” instead of counting sheep.
We all know how we feel when we don't have enough sleep; tired, grumpy, slow, and foggy.  The list goes on and on. But who knew that sleep also helps with weight loss?  
Lack of sleep slows down your metabolism. It lowers your bodies’ ability to release Leptin which is a hormone that says "I'm full". Add to the equation it also increase's production of the hormone Ghrenlin which is what tells your body it is hungry. So you feel hungry, foggy, grumpy and further insult some lovely dark bags under your eyes. The saying "Beauty Sleep" now makes complete sense.

9: Supplements
     Supplements are there to do exactly what they say...Supplement your diet. My daily foundation supplements include OmegaEssentials Fish Oils, HCP 70 Probiotics, Vegegreens and Precision Whey Isolate protein powder.
However, I have Supplements that help at different stages while I work towards my fitness and weight loss goals.
Green Coffee Bean; stabilizes my Blood Sugar Levels, Raspberry Ketones; speeds up my metabolism and Garcinia which taken 30-60 min before you eat creating a sense of fullness so you don’t eat as much.  I use especially at that time of the month when I am constantly hungry.
On special treat nights White Kidney Bean, which block up to 80% of your starchy carbs is my go to!!!
Recently, I added Rhodiola to support my adrenals. This helps with increased energy, improved mood and increased libido!!

10: Your Plan
    In the end this is your life.... every glorious second of I ask  are you being your best? Are you challenging yourself each day to better yourself? What is stopping you?
I wanted to be a positive example to my daughter but more than that,  I wanted to be an example to myself of what I could do and accomplish...
Some days I am good and some days I could be better,  but each day I use these steps to keep me on track toward my goals…
No dream is too big, but it happens at one step at a time…Be patient.  Love yourself.  If you fall off get right back on.  I know you can do it…
And as I tell my daughter each day “Go Be Brilliant”

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