As if

First, a flashback (skip to 1:08ish for the title reference, please!):

Second, here goes…

This week’s been filled with fun and plenty of things to keep me busy, but I’ve been having a hella time sleeping. Last night, after lying in bed for about an hour, I said to hell with tossing and turning and got up and wrapped up the Christmas presents under my new tree. Is it strange to wrap gifts at 2am? In November?

While I wrapped, I listened to a podcast where Geneen Roth was talking about one of her books—“Women, Food, and God”—which really changed the way I looked at my eating issues back when I was first introduced to her work. Geneen writes in a way that takes the words out of my mouth but also has a knack for getting at something deeper. I’d go so far as to say she awakens consciousness to things I might never have considered on my own or perhaps just puts down on paper the things that many of us are awesome at avoiding.

At any rate, I’m feeling absolutely inspired by her and the book, which I paged through today for old time’s sake. One of the dog-eared pages I came to talked about the concept of living “as if” and I really think, given my posts yesterday, that it applies. Though her reference to “The Voice” might not make full sense, think of it as the beliefs and chatter in your mind about yourself (your inner critic) and reflect on this:

“I tell those who haven’t experienced themselves without The Voice that they need to live as if. Live as if they are worth their own time. Live as if they deserve to take care of their bodies. Live as if the possibilities they long for actually exist. Living as if creates a bridge to a new way of living. It allows you to see that something else is possible. That you really can walk, talk, and eat as if you deserve to be here.”

I think what she suggests here is extremely powerful.

If you’re like me, that’s a refreshing idea. If you’re convinced that you’re overweight and the itty bitty shitty committee that sometimes shows up in your thoughts drives your actions, you’re in a tough spot.

If you’re like me, you realize that that belief is absolutely misguided. Maybe you even know where the voice came from—for me, I can remember a painful time when someone who I love called me “fat and lazy”—and you’re actively trying to flip the switch to a more positive frequency.

But maybe like me, that’s tough. Seeing yourself in new light—as awesome at your core and inherently healthy—can take time. I know that in some areas of my life, I’ve certainly been able to flip that switch. Take, for instance, relationships. It’s easy for me to recognize that I deserve to be surrounded by amazing people who make me feel good and to spend less time with people who bring me down. Done and done. It’s not so easy to convince myself that, in the case of my body, my default is fit.

While it’s tough, it’s not impossible. And it’s happening, albeit slowly. I can catch myself heading into a negative headspace. I can recognize my thoughts for what they are. And while building self-esteem takes effort, the work is rewarding in and of itself. Who wouldn’t want to feel healthier and happier?  I’d suppose that if you’re reading a blog called Happy is the New Healthy, you’d be all over that!

So how about we do a little reflecting on hypothetical situation: What if you were always going to have this body—at this weight, with those thighs, and that jean size?

  • How would you eat?
  • How would you talk to yourself?
  • How would you exercise?
  • What would you stop doing?
  • What would you start doing?
  • What would you do more of?
  • Less of?
  • What would you wear?
  • What would shopping be like?
  • What would your pantry look like?
  • Where would you spend your money?

My guess is that, particularly if you’ve been dieting or “holding yourself back” you might start with an answer like “I’d eat cake all the time!” Sure, permission to eat freely might sound like permission to binge. But at the end of the day, weight or no weight, bingeing sucks. You’d start to eat the things that genuinely move your body towards health—knowing that food either makes you healthier or makes you sicker. Perhaps the talk of thunder thighs or pudge would change into appreciation of your curves or muscular build or at least into acceptance. Maybe you’d hop off the elliptical and lace up your hiking boots to move your body in a way that you’d love. Maybe you’d stop bingeing, restricting, talking about dieting with your friends, or comparing yourself to other people. Maybe you’d start taking care of your body (check-ups, adjustments, hygiene, etc.), getting more sleep, or going on dates. Perhaps you’d wear clothes that fit you and that flatter you—not baggy duds to hide yourself or things that are too tight and make you a cranky sausage. Would you dread shopping or would you find stores that sell things that you could swear were made just for you? Maybe you’d keep foods you’re certain you could never have around for fear of demolishing them in your kitchen. Maybe you’d stop buying magazines offering how to lose the last 10lbs, diet supplements that promise to be the missing answer in your weight issues.

Maybe you’d start to live a whole different life.

If those questions shook you up, I encourage you to start doing some of the things that I listed (or if you thought of something that you’d do if your weight didn’t matter)—maybe not the cake one. The things that you’d do for the sake of being healthy and happy—the stuff I listed as the answers—are the things that I absolutely must do if I want to be healthy and happy. Anything else is trivial. What would happen if you asked yourself the first question as it applies to the things you do daily?

At the end of the day, whether you’re 20lbs overweight, underweight, or exactly where you think you belong, you’re not healthy if you don’t take care of yourself. Regardless of what your body looks like or weighs, you’re wonderful. You deserve everything good and lovely in the world. Using food to make yourself miserable—fat, skinny, obsessive, etc.—distorts that. It gives you a problem, something you can wave in your face as proof that you’re not so amazing.

But you are amazing.

Whether or not you have weight to lose or gain, giving up the idea that that weight is a problem is a big deal. It offers you the chance to make a radical shift to how you approach yourself and your day to day actions. It takes you from a living against—problem-focused—approach and creates the space for you to instead live for.

Rather than an excuse to be fat and lazy and all things people like to assume not being attached to your weight mean, letting go puts the focus back on our actions. It gives you the right to do what’s healthy for healthy’s sake. Sometimes our weight can distort things. Consider the skinny fat person who eats like crap and never moves. With weight as a distorting lens to judge whether or not they’re healthy, they’re winning. Without it, they’re shit out of luck.

Weight is just an outcome—and as the skinny fat example suggests, it’s just a part of the picture. It’d take a certain kind of person to suggest that appearance trumps everything else and I’d like to punch that kind of person squarely between the eyes.

Lose the lens. Take some responsibility for taking care of yourself and be proud of the fact that you’re doing it.

All of this is asking you to take a step. To start to live for being healthy and happy and fit and strong rather than to live against being fat, sad, out of shape, or weak. Instead of avoiding the things that you think will bring you down, go after the things that will lift you up. Instead of avoiding whatever it is you’re scared of in life, create what you want.

Are you ready to live “as if?”

Finally, some more cheese…

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Fuzzy targets

Two things I love: goals, quotes, and nut butter.

Okay, that was three.

But seriously.

…jokes.

The common theme here is cheesy easy: define your goals.

For a long time, my goals as it pertained to my body were: weigh x number of pounds. That number changed depending on the season of my life, but I thought I was setting a SMART specific goal by picking some number on a scale. I thought when I got there, I’d be happy.

By focusing on the outcome (at all costs), I missed the point. Sure, I lost weight (over and over again, gaining it in between and hanging out in a shitty cycle), but the kicker is this: when I got to that “goal weight” not much had changed. I’d restricted, or I’d overexercised, etc. I hadn’t changed the way I looked at myself, the way I acted around food, or the way I thought about my body. In short, I was all about the end goal and not about the actions to get there.

Oh, how times change.

Now, my jeans don’t fit. I think I’ve made it clear that I don’t care about the number on the scale or about my jeans not fitting, but what the number on the scale and jeans not fitting do mean matters. If I was just going about my daily CrossFitting, healthy eating, taking care of myself biz-nass, the increasing size of my butt would be a great outcome (hullo, squats).

But I see photos of myself and instead of thinking I look strong, I think I look like a house.

I go to put on my biggest jeans–the ones I bought baggy to give myself the room and space to let my body do its thing–and it feels like shit.

The problem isn’t the jeans or the weight.

As Geneen Roth would say, it’s not about the food but it’s not not about the food.

“Weight (too much or too little) is a by-product. Weight is what happens when you flatten your life with food.”

I’m using food as a coping mechanism…again. These issues go way way back. I remember body issues from when I was in 1st grade. I remember bingeing when I was 13. 11 years of using food as my go-to are going to die hard.

Side note: deciding to eat “Paleo” was NOT an attempt to lose weight. In fact, the thought of giving up fat free foods and the ingrained way of eating was a bit scary. When it comes to using food for things besides nourishment, it’s not about which food you’re using–almond butter vs. peanut butter, dark chocolate vs. mini eggs, bacon vs. cereal…overeating, “Paleo” or not, is overeating.

I posted earlier about the stages of change.

I’m between 2 and 3. I’ve realized that you absolutely can’t get to a new place if you don’t know where that place is. You can hate yourself and you can be frustrated with yourself, but until you define what it is that you want to be instead, you’re shit out of luck.

Like I said earlier, ___lbs is not a good answer.

What is a good answer, in my books, is this (something I’ve journaled my face off trying to come to):

I am full of energy. I have a closetful of clothes that fit and feel good. I have regular periods, a balanced thyroid, and clear skin because my hormones are in balance. I move my body every day. I am mobile and strong and when I work out, I find fierce. I can legitimately perform CrossFit workouts Rx’d. I eat when I am hungry and choose foods that move me towards health. Rather than warming up with bites, licks, and tastes while I prep my food, I sit down to eat–mindful eating a la Geneen Roth’s guidelines:

  • Eat when you are hungry.
  • Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  • Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
  • Eat what your body wants.
  • Eat until you are satisfied.
  • Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
  • Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

At night, I shut things–including my nighttime nibbling–down and read for half an hour before bed. I eat dessert whenever I want it–fruit, dark chocolate, or a treat–but without distraction. When I find myself turning to food for comfort or distraction, I stop in my tracks and interrupt myself by leaving the kitchen for a few minutes before proceeding. 

This is what a competent person would look like. After hanging out in stage 2–conscious incompetence (the epitome of shitty)–for a really long time, I’m stepping into stage 3. I know that it looks like and I’m ready to start doing this. It’s time for conscious competence. I can do this because I have an idea of what competence looks like.

Another little life coaching tidbit I’ve picked up is to ask yourself questions:

  • What’s standing in your way?
  • What are you willing to do in the next 30 days to get there?

Standing in my way is the fact that I’m in a big transition, the holidays are coming, and that using food as a coping mechanism is something that I’ve been doing for most of my life. Like I’ve mentioned before, even positive stress can drive me to overeat or to use food as a distraction. Gaining weight gives me a problemo to focus on instead of just accepting the positive things in my life (but luckily I’m belief busting and more and more trusting that “I deserve all the good in the world”). The holidays are filled with food–but they’re also about way more than gumdrops and sugar cookies. And even though old habits die hard, knowing what I want to replace the old habits with (taking care of myself in positive ways) makes a world of difference.

What I’m willing to do in the next 30 days is where the fun begins–but where I’m going to be entirely realistic and focus on specific concrete things. Firstly, those B L Ts. What I eat on a meal to meal basis is awesome. I don’t need to focus on macronutrient breakdowns or even on the foods that I choose–I know that’s not what my “issue” is. What drives me batty is the warm-up foods I eat before I sit down to a meal. A spoonful of nut butter here, a handful of grapes there, a slab of a roast from my crock pot here. And the cool-down bites too–dried fruit here, more nut butter there, extra meat cuz it’s there. From a weight perspective, this stuff adds up–but who cares? From a sanity perspective, I care a shit ton. This lingering habit pisses me off and doesn’t fit with my ideal. Every time I do it, I’m going to step out of the kitchen. If I’m hungry and I want a meal, won’t it suck having to wait 5 minutes to eat? Yes. So maybe the next time, I won’t snarf something before I sit down. Just to reiterate, this is a constant thing for me. I live alone so I don’t have to sneak, but I do. When I get home, I go to the kitchen and eat something (even if I come home from a 3 course dinner). When I stay up creeping on facebook should go to bed, I nibble. When I’m getting meals ready, I eat. When I’m cleaning up, I eat. What if I just ate when I ate?

I’m also willing to look at the bigger driving pictures. I’m willing to be honest with my life coach about how I’m doing on the belief front. I’m willing to turn off my computer at 10pm and go to bed. I’m willing to consider that perhaps I’m stuffing too much into my days and to schedule time for myself to relax at least once a week–no cell phone, no computer, no requirements.

And I’m willing to blog about it. 🙂

Even writing it out sounds stupid. But stage 3 is stupid annoying. It takes effort and at first it can seem like it’s too hard. I know it’s not too hard.

Focusing on where I want to be–in vivid terms (I see that girl in her shorts and socks, going to work, rocking it out)–is far more motivating than cursing my thighs or beating myself up for “still having issues with food”. It’s new, refreshing, and a positive way to think about change. I suggest you try it!

Where are you stuck and needing a picture of what to move towards?
How could you make a fuzzy target more clear (i.e. “I eat healthy!” but what does your healthy eater look like–breakfast, lunch and dinner, etc.)?

Change

Insomnia’s a bitch.

I had a wonderful night last night–with a motivated group of girls in bootcamp, a sweaty workout at CrossFit (power snatches, pull-ups, dips, WOD: rowing for 2k (8:26.3)), and fun helping out with the free class at the gym afterwards. I ate another delicious crockpot dinner and I went to bed after some chats and inspiration from friends.

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Apparently I’m looking for a reason to drink eggnog flavoured coffee…cuz here I am, bright and early!

Instead of worrying about it, I’m going to share something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately–it has to do with change.

I’ll start with cliches:

Now I’ll get into it:

I’m not going to go first year psych on you and talk about the stages of change we could only remember because we wrote them on our hand before the exam. But I am going to talk about a process that describes any kind of transformation I’ve gone through because I get quite a few questions about what it personally was like for me to go from a point of having an eating disorder to being recovered. Bam.

My life coach talks about this process as it applied to her own recovery—hearing this story was actually my introduction to Jennifer. I stumbled onto an article that uses the same 4 stages to describe transformative change the other day when I was procrastinating getting fired up about starting my life coaching cert come February.

The gist of it is this: to get from one side of the coin to the other, you have to pass through periods of :

1) Unconscious incompetence: I didn’t know I was a compulsive exerciser. I thought doing two a days every day was dedication and that more was more. Ignorance is bliss/you don’t know what you don’t know that you don’t know.

2) Conscious incompetence: I knew that I was addicted to exercise. Friends had started expressing concern. I was tired, injured, and miserable all the time and the fact that I hadn’t had my period in years suddenly became red flags that I was not in a great place. I read some great books, blogs, and articles about eating disorders and compulsive exercise. I knew I had a problem. This is perhaps the worst time because you know that you have a problem but you do not know HOW to fix it or if you do, you aren’t able to actually do anything about it.

3) Conscious competence: I promised myself to take a rest day every single week. I scheduled myself silly on that day so I wouldn’t be tempted to sneak in a little cardio session on the helliptical. I journalled my brains out, I ended up bingeing a lot on these days, and I hated every second of it. But I didn’t exercise that one day every week. Eventually I took a weekend off to go away. All the while I had to tell myself that even though it felt uncomfortable and scary, I needed to take these days off. I had a lot of support here from friends, dietitians, therapists, etc. I force myself to do the right thing—and it sucks. This is where there will be resistance. This is where you’ll really want to quit.

4) Unconscious competence: Not too long ago, I think I had a week where I worked out three times. I ran once, did CrossFit once, and maybe went to yoga (if I remember right). The point here is that I’m not thinking about it. I don’t have to schedule in those rest days any more because they just happen. I’m unconsciously doing it—when I’m tired, I rest. When I’m too busy to sleep, I recognize that exercise is actually (albeit a positive) stress on my body. I don’t even have to think about it.

The beauty of seeing the process of change written out like this is that I’ve recognized that the same thing is happening when it comes to other aspects of my life. I want to stick to a budget. A year ago, I didn’t realize I was rampantly spending money on magazines, food that I was throwing away, or schtuff I don’t need (or want crowding my vibes). That was stage one. At the prospect of being done school and realizing that I’d like to not have to ask my parents for money because I’m a shopaholic, I stepped into stage two: how the hell do I give up my habit of buying 5 magazines a month, killing time (and my Visa) at Winners, or throwing away my bank statements every month? I’d say I’m in the third stage—the shitty, hard one—where I have to consciously check out my banking every week, where I make it up to the cash register with 4 magazines in my hand but leave three of them behind.

The same thing would apply to healthy eating or to getting active. Take, for instance, deciding to dive into the world of primal/paleo/by design eating. How many people do you think have the sentiment, “I had no idea!” when they first hear the why behind leaving grains and legumes out of the picture. I know I’ve heard a fair share of people say it—and with good reason! The general advice to eat plenty of whole grains, the assumption that a vegetarian diet is healthy, the thought that dietary fat will make you fat, etc. are all widespread and ingrained (pun intended).

Back to the four stages. Stage 1 – you don’t know who the hell Robb Wolf is and you assume soy milk and tofu are tops in terms of nutrition. It’s not your fault. Stage 2 – your eyes are open. You know that quinoa isn’t the food of the gods and that there’s a better blueprint than the food guide, but you’ve been eating cereal for years and your family doesn’t want to give up their sandwiches and pasta. You feel like a failure. Maybe you enter stage 3 when you ask a friend whose kids don’t eat grains to help you figure out your kids’ lunches. Maybe you buy a book (cough cough Practical Paleo, It Starts with Food) that outlines it and takes the intimidation factor out of it. Maybe you go to an Eat by Design seminar (or a presentation at your gym—wherever you are) and clean out your pantry. Then comes that struggle, where it takes conscious effort to pack trail mix instead of a granola bar for your afternoon snack. Where you have to sit down every week and plan out your food for the week because you’re not sure how else you’ll stay away from your go-to Kraft Dinner meal in a hurry. The beautiful part is that while stage 3 is challenging, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Just like with my exercising issues, the more I took rest days, the better I felt and the more I realized I was doing the right thing (even if it felt “wrong” at the beginning), the more you do what you set out to do, the easier it becomes. Eventually, you skip the bread aisle at the grocery store without even thinking about it. You choose restaurants that serve up all kinds of things that jive with your Paleo goals. In short, you become a Paleo Princess and you’re back to that point where a habit is set and you’re not using a whole lot of energy to eat the way you used to think was so radical.

Summary: You can do a 180. You don’t do it in one step. The in-between is the messy part where you’re going to want to quit. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Where does this apply in your life? I have a post up my sleeve about somewhere I’m currently struggling in the stage 2/3 uncomfortable zone. …I’ll keep you in suspense!

 

Paleo porkchop

Well hello there!

As predicted, I am uber sore from this past weekend.

Yesterday probably topped off the “what the heck are you doing to me” sentiments from my body.

After breakfast and some work on an article for Bankrate, I went to the gym. I thought it was going to be a different day than it was, so seeing that the lift was deadlifts and that the WOD was stupid hard  challenging was a slap in the face surprise. 1000m row + 3 rounds of deadlifts at 155lbs/10 burpees for time. It took me 10:24 seconds of holding back “f*ck this” tears. I exaggerate a bit, but it was a toughie!

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I also ran errands and got some groceries before lunch yesterday before spending the afternoon with one of the coaches, Sarah, from the gym. She has an awesome house in Old South (my fav part of London!), the cutest twins ever, and an espresso machine that kind of puts Starbucks to shame. The afternoon went quick–we chatted, took her kiddos for a power walk, and had coffee.

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I popped into Gainsborough to get checked and had an awesome adjustment after our hangout. I came home to a pork roast that was calling my name. I love my crockpot! I had some before I headed to teach spin but I really could have eaten the whole damn thing. I think eating copious quantities of meat before teaching a spin class is a recipe for GI distress. I said “think” but it’s not something I really am interested in testing out. 20121127-150909.jpg

When I got home, I had a plate of pork roast and some veggies and then for dessert, some dried bananas. This shit is bananas. I could have eaten a horse yesterday! 20121127-150915.jpg

I woke up today to more pork. Omnomnom. Again, I have a hollow leg and no apologies and I think my nickname the next time I get a t-shirt with one on it will in fact be paleo porkchop. 20121127-150920.jpg

I had an awesome meeting this morning with Dr. K and Rachelle and we talked about life coaching and Think by Design and their office and the future and all kinds of awesome. I’m certainly fired up and today felt a bit like an early Christmas–or just a cause for celebration!

I popped into the gym today to talk about training with Dr. Joel, who is the go to guy when it comes to elite training and anything gym-related. He gave me lots of good advice, pointed me in the direction of some more good resources on training, and inspired me whether he meant to or not!  20121127-150925.jpg

Since I feel so much like celebrating, I got myself a Christmas tree today. It’s pre-lit, it looks “natural”, and I cannot wait to toss it up. My mom is coming for the day tomorrow so I’m hoping that she’ll help me. Festive! Fun!

Guess what I had for lunch?

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Oink oink.

The water at my apartment isn’t working–which is a terrible thing for someone like me who just loves to do laundry. I’ve been listening to podcasts, working on a post I want to share with you guys ASAP, and catching up on emails this afternoon but all of a sudden it’s almost time to head to bootcamp. The day certainly has flown by–and I’m sure it’s going to be bedtime before I know it. Time does fly when you’re having fun!

How goes the start of your week? 

hOLY weekend

I am pooped in the “holy canoli I had an amazing weekend” kind of way.

After my post on Friday morning, I worked a go go go shift at lululemon. Black Friday is not a thing in Canada traditionally, but it seems to me that it is quickly becoming one! We were busy busy busy on Friday, which made my shift go by quickly.

I stayed with it by snacking.

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After a coffee date and chat with Emily–who I really wish chit chatting happened more often with–I made my way home and had a quick lunch/dinner? before hitting up yoga.

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The yoga class I did was perfection–a sweaty power flow class that left me feeling ridiculously zen!

When I got home, I had a piece of pork (M I A in photos) and some chocolate. Balanced dinner? Your call. Then I listened to Christmas music, packed, and got my apartment together.

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On Saturday, my alarm was set for 4:50am. Yuck! I was up and at em and the fact that I was uber excited to hit the road (but a bit nervous about the snowstorms in the forecast) made the wakeup call less painful.

A tasty breakfast helped (side note: I love macadamia nuts!).

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I drove down to Toronto with Sarah and her boyfriend Alex. I didn’t like driving through snow but with them to keep me company it was far less nervewracking than if I’d been on my own. I’d even say the drive was fun!

The Oly-Wod cert was at Crossfit Reebok Liberty Village.

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The facility was really a nice place to spend the weekend. There were tons of lifting platforms. There were windows so I didn’t feel like I was in a cave all weekend. 20121125-213345.jpg

The cert was awesome. I learned nine million and one things that will help me as an athlete and tons of coaching tips that make me feel like using my Crossfit Level 1 certificate sooner rather than later. 🙂

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Like I said, I learned a lot this weekend. I don’t think I’ve mastered things yet–but when I look at the pictures above I can actually see what’s wrong and I know what I need to work on and focus on most while I’m training now. I got to hear a few REALLY passionate coaches talk about how they coach and then I was coached by them. I also got to coach other athletes in the moment–which is probably the best way to learn and to build confidence as a trainer/coach.

We also had “competitions” at the end of each day. After a day of learning the snatch, we went for a PR. Mine was 70lbs, which is by no means amazing but the technique that I learned and the stuff I picked up on was amazing. After learning all about the clean and jerk today, we did a team challenge. I put 100lbs up which surprised myself.

I’ve decided that I need to work especially on a couple of things: mobility, confidence/aggressiveness, and extending my hips. For someone who isn’t shy, lifting weights makes me second guess myself. You can’t actually second guess yourself and be a great oly lifter–you have to be in charge of the bar. Mobility is simple to fix but it takes persistence and dedication. I’m on it.

This is a very random recap that doesn’t do the fact that I was in the company of some pretty amazing people and instructors this weekend. One of my fellow trainees was an Olympic wrestler. That’s pretty freaking cool. I saw a lot of strong women who had no problem snatching near body weight. Bomb. I definitely needed to remind myself that I’m a newbie in this field and that I’m just learning–and to give myself props for learning right. Why dive into something and learn how to do it wrong when I have the resources to learn right from the get go? Especially if I’m going to attempt to teach others how to do something that is admittedly tricky, I better learn how to do it right!

I also got very excited to meet a lot of people who are into/experienced with competitive CrossFit. The talk of the competitions from the other folks at my Level 1 Cert of course got me interested but being able to ask questions and to eavesdrop on chit chats about competing fired me up even more. My plan? Watch a competition or two and then dive in. 🙂 I’d say “dip my toes in” but if I learned one thing this weekend it’s that you can’t half ass this stuff!

In keeping with the randomness, here are few photos of the eats from this weekend but I can summarize it as this: I ate a lot–nuts, LARA bars, chocolate, and fruit. I’m looking forward to getting some groceries and getting back to meals this week.

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Right now what I’m most looking forward to is a shower and bed. When I got home this evening, I had just enough time for my dinner before heading to the gym for a staff meeting. We learned about tabata intervals–and did some. Yummy is an understatement…after a weekend of using muscles I didn’t know how to use before, I’m anticipating I’m going to be pretty freaking sore.

I’m hoping to get together with some friends and my mom this weekend, to put a dent in the article I’m writing for Bankrate for next week, and to recover gracefully and get back into the gym with a vengeance this week. 🙂

Happy Sunday!

Friday fun

Good way too freaking early top o’ the morning to ya.

Today I wanted to give myself an excuse to post random stuff bring back an old TGIF tradition.

Yesterday was a long (but good) day that started with a shift at lululemon. I also taught bootcamp, went to Crossfit (and got my butt kicked with 19:16 minutes of 5 rounds of 20 burpees, 10 ring rows, and 400m runs), and went to The Works for dinner.

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It was certainly a full day. I also had chocolate. And bacon. And beer. Talk about balance. Maybe the beer/chocolate-induced coma was a good thing cuz I don’t remember laying down–“out like a light” or perhaps “lightweight” come to mind!

Now that I’ve been up for a bit (I know, the only other people up this early are crazed shoppers), I’ve had breakie, started the caffeination process, and am trying get fired up for my shift at lululemon. Today’s other goals? Nap. Yoga. Pack for Toronto.

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Enjoy…

5 quotes that stuck with me

5. “Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you love to do, in order to have what you want.” – Margaret Young

4. “You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.” – Geneen Roth

3. “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control the things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” – Elizabeth Gilbert 

2. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

1. “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller

things I loved this week  

4. The latest episode of Robb Wolf’s podcast. He talked to Tim Ferriss about “The 4-Hour Chef”. An easy listen–and interesting!

3. This Hipster Thanksgiving video. Ha.

2. This article about getting off the hamster wheel from Huffington Post. A few of the tips:

“-Do an inventory and get clear on what’s most important to you.
-Develop a morning practice of some kind that helps you connect to what’s most important to you. It can be just a few minutes. Do the same each evening before bed.  —c–Accept that everything is never going to be done. Tasks are infinite. So be mindful of where you choose to put your attention — put it on what’s important rather than just what’s in front of you.”

1. Andrea Owen’s post about the things we don’t really want to admit-or really don’t want to admit! Short, sweet, and inspirational.

3 songs on repeat

2 recipes on my “to make” list

2. Meaty pumpkin pots from Fast Paleo.

1. Triple meat chili from Paleo dish — okay, any chili will do!

1 Christmas album I refuse to turn off

1. Michael Buble. Get it.

 

And a bonus — additions to the inspiration reel

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Money and what matters

If you’re dying to know what I ate today or maybe how I sweat, know this: I attempted (and failed sort of) chocolate pancakes with bananas and almond butter (coconut flour and eggs and cocoa were in the mix). I had a LARA bar, some chocolate (I made peppermint bark for a big ol’ party at lululemon this Sunday so obvs had to sample some and then the choco-monster was let loose), and kale with ground beef. I trained this morning and had a really hard time lifting 200lbs for 5 deadlifts (lower than before?) but managed to get a few really badass pull-ups and some rope climbing in the mix. I de-stressed with a long overdue trail run this afternoon, have been listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas album on repeat, and had a kickass session with my life coach this afternoon. I also made it into GFC to get all powered up before I sat with my journal and some java at Starbucks this morning.

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coffee with cream — first one this month. #delicious

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There are a lot of things popping up for me and coming up in my mind, so here comes one of those “I really hope this all makes sense in the end” kind of word voms.

I’ve shared this video before. It’s worth watching again.

A bunch of people have been sharing this on my facebook feed lately.

These are not necessarily the same people I see spending a shit ton of money on Christmas gifts, but I do see this on a regular basis. I also have to hold myself back from doing the same thing.

Usually at this time, I’m in the states celebrating Thanksgiving with my grandma in Pennsylvania. We have a tradition of Black Friday shopping. I’m not missing the shopping, but I am missing my grandma. I’m a bit bummed that I am not with my mom, who is still visiting my uncle (if you’re not a devout follower, I lost my grandma last month so this is a sad situation to begin with) since I’m working this week because my vacation request wasn’t approved. That being said, it’s given me a chance to step back and to realize some stuff.

Firstly, I don’t want to spend all my money on stuff that I don’t need.

To that, this quote comes to mind:

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”

Further than that quote, even, I certainly do not want to spend my life working to afford things that I don’t really need. It’s one thing to be productive and to make a living and to be able to afford a good life, but I’m starting to decide what a “good life” really looks like and where to spend my money and I certainly feel like I’ve made progress on this lately.

When my grandma died—and this is a sad thing for me to write about—I got very upset. I thought about what my funeral would be like. I don’t know if that’s normal (I’ve not lost very many people around me), but I know what came to mind…and it just so happened to come up on my news feed this afternoon (scary, perfect coincidence):

All of this stuff goes together. All of it is timely because if you’re like me, you’re listening to Michael Buble’s and/or Justin Bieber’s holiday CDs on repeat getting into the holiday spirit.

A quick reminder–and one that I need to give myself whenever I wanna buy another pair of stretchy pants: you can’t take it with you.

When I started considering that being able to afford things wasn’t the point of working, I started to rethink “work.” When I lost my grandma, I realized that I must be here for a reason besides making money, besides being skinny, besides whatever it is we get caught up in. I must have something to leave behind. I’m figuring out what that looks like.

So far, I know this: I believe that we’re supposed to be happy and healthy. I think, at our core, we’re complete.

And I think my “job” is to say this, to inspire people to believe it, and to share it with as many people as I can.

This kind of word vomit blog post is helping me do that.

Terrific Tuesday

I think my titles for my blog posts have gotten progressively more terrible as time has gone on…but if anything, a vague title suckers you into looking at my photos, drooling, and moving on reading right?

Today was in fact terrific!

I was up early for a full day of work but made time for a big ol’ hearty breakfast. I had eggs, kale, a sausage, and an apple with plenty of the gingerbread coffee I picked up in the states last week–festive!20121120-210025.jpg

Like I said, I spent my day at lululemon today. We were busy–I think now that Santa is in the mall, people have stepped up to their Christmas shopping game. I packed myself a lunch which I half devoured before my shift (apparently hearty wasn’t hearty enough in terms of breakfast) and which I enjoyed thoroughly at lunchtime!20121120-210030.jpg

After work, I hustled to bootcamp. I spiced it up and sweat with the gals today–we did some tabata intervals (sprinting, squatting, doing pushups and situps) and finished with a special treat: a burpee ladder. You’re welcome, girls! My arms hurt.

Somewhere in the mix I also ate myself an apple LARA bar to put my hangry on hold. When I got home from bootcamp I had a shower and found some time to listen to the latest Life By Design podcast, which was all about the reasons why LBD is so awesome. I suggested socks or community in response to the question not too long ago on facebook and both were mentioned in the podcast. 🙂

Speaking of community, tonight was the 101 night with Gainsborough. For the past few months I’ve been enjoying dinner with some awesome people and bringing some of my friends who are interested in what I’m so excited about or who I think would really connect well with LBD along with me.

Tonight was as awesome as ever–perhaps more! I was in extremely good (and good looking!) company and Dr. K nailed the why behind the what of LBD. Who’s coming next month? I also loved my steak fajitas. 🙂

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Just a handful of the pretty gals who were there tonight — MIA are a few other beauts!

I get butterflies when I hear this stuff–every time. I also get excited when I see other people recognizing that there’s something great going on.

The biggest thing that I felt so fired up by, connected to, and inspired by today was talking about finding your purpose and doing it. Dr. K mentioned that it might be hard to do what you want instead of what’s safe or what you think you should and hit the nail on the head for me.

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before, but repeated cheese is still good cheese if the time is right:

…indecision is my middle name.

Two weeks ago I was gung ho to apply to journalism school, but I’m going to share some thinking and some realizations I’ve made:

  • Going to Columbia, to me, represented doing something remarkable. I remember the praise I got when I was accepted last year–with good reason! It’s no small accomplishment to get accepted to a big name school that’s highly competitive…so props to me.
  • I feel more confident, capable, and self-sufficient than ever. I think going to grad school was a way of proving that I am in fact independent and that I could live in the big city and thrive.
  • I know that I deserve to do what I love.

All signs point, from there, towards J school. But…

  • I already am remarkable and getting a fancy degree in something I admittedly am already doing what I want to do with–freelancing, writing on my blog, and pitching stories about what I want to write about–isn’t really serving my end purpose. I’m not saying that I’m a perfect journalist. I know I have more to learn. But I also know that I’ve learned the most by writing and pitching stories and being mentored by my editors and fellow writers. I also know that I’m remarkable in other ways.
  • I don’t have to prove it to anyone that I can take care of myself in an extreme, removed location. Yes, NYC is sexy and appealing, but it can be sexy and appealing for a weekend every now and again…
  • I know not only that I deserve to do what I love but that it doesn’t matter if what I love isn’t necessarily conventional.

So, the applications are off. If you were proud of me for going after my dreams, be proud of me for recognizing that my dreams are changing.

And I have a big scary announcement that I’m really excited about sharing.

I’m going to be a life coach.

Not “I think I want to maybe go to school for a life coach and see what happens.”

I am going to be a life coach.

First step: deciding what I want to do with myself. As I’ve spent more time working on my purpose, delving deep into my journal, and thinking about what really gets me going, it’s become apparent that coaching, mentoring, and leading top the list of the “what” that I want to do. The how will be life coaching, the why and the core purpose is what needs some refining. I think it has something to do with believing that at our core, we’re supposed to be happy, healthy, and whole.

That little idea fits perfectly with a program–The Coaches Training Institute–that keeps popping up in my life:

  • my gal pal and inspiration Alysha is working on her certification right now

  • two profs at Western talk about/use co-active coaching and introduced it to us in our classes–I also ran into these folks on a flight home from Calgary so got a little more personal info on why CTI is the best choice
  • two of my favourite life coaches–Andrea Owen over at Your Kick Ass Life and Christie Inge–actually met through the program

Most importantly though, the idea fits with what I believe. Tidbits:

“Through Co-Active training, CTI is creating a transformative change in the way people relate to and work with each other. The work inspires people to feel engaged in and passionate about their life and work, see the good, get curious, create interactions unlike any other, become visionary, feel more alive, connect deeply to others, give real meaning to their lives, think much bigger, become great leaders and make a difference.”

and

“CTI coaching holds that people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole — completely capable of finding their own answers to whatever challenges they face. The job of a Co-Active Coach is to ask powerful questions, listen and empower to elicit the skills and creativity a client already possesses, rather than instruct or advise.”

So…I’m starting this process in February.

There are obviously fears that have come up–“I’m too young.” “I’m not ready.” “Being self employed is scary.”–but one of my strongest points is being able to look at fear and either reframe it or take it as a signal. So to “I’m too young” I say “HOW COOL IS IT THAT I’M DOING THIS WHEN I’M 23!?” and to “I’m not ready.” I say “Carpe the you know what out of this diem.” or maybe give myself a reminder that holding myself back doesn’t serve me. To the self employment fears, I have to admit that they’re legitimate. But I’m responsible for taking care of myself–and self employment just makes that more urgent. I’m on it. Remember that article I wrote on just that topic? What a good starting point and reminder that I can learn what it all looks like in due time.

The more important things for me to spend my time and energy thinking about are how I’m going to use it, where it is going to take me, and how I can make it happen.

Did I mention today was TERRIFIC?!

And now for some cheese–it only seems fitting!

 

Night!

Cleaning and cleaning

I am not sure how it’s possible that it’s Monday night already. Or November 19, for that matter!

Cliche, yes, but time does fly when you’re having fun.

This weekend was no exception.

Yesterday was particularly awesome.

After Strongman Sunday (fun – especially since my suggestion to toss in a ladder of burpee pullups was like a sweaty cherry on top).

I got to 10 and was using a box.

Afterwards, I stopped in for a (too short) visit with my friends at Life Con ’12. I’m ready to start a countdown to next year’s so I can be there for the whole thing!

I also snagged a delicious lunch–and a box of leftovers. I think there’s a horseshoe up my butt–or I just know some awesome people.

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After a quick shower I rushed to the mall to get on a school bus to go to Toronto for a staff meeting with lululemon–or so I thought!

It turns out we were actually being treated to such a random, awesome, wonderful night of ping pong, socializing, and celebrating pre-Christmas season. Did I mention I have a sweet job!?

We were dropped off at Spin — a ping pong bar — along with the other lululemon stores’ staffs from all around the region. There was a whole lotta good looking people in one place and I met some really cool people from other places.

There were also bacon lollipops…dinner?

 

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drinks…

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competitive spirits awakened…

 

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name tag: “HELLO! I’m going to beat you!”

 

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showdowns…

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…and dancing. 🙂

I slept on the bus on the way home, read a bit on my iPad, and ate my snacks.

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It was a lot of fun but a late night–I think I got home around 2:15am when all was said and done. That’s a late night for me!

Luckily I could sleep in today–so I did!

When I got around to getting up, the day flew by.

I ate lots of pork…for “breakfast” with kale and apricots.

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For lunch with carrots and tahini…

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And for dinner with alfalfa sprouts and a sweet potato squash…20121119-213838.jpg

I also had some fruit and almond butter–I went out of my way to get some because I realized that without it, I’m just “overeating” other things instead. Welcome back into my life. I see my moods improving greatly now that I can grab a spoonful on a regular basis…

 

 

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This afternoon I took some time with Calan, one of the trainers at CrossFit, to go over some of the Olympic lifting stuff I’m going to learn more about this weekend at my workshop in Toronto. I figured it was better to look slightly confused in front of him than at a workshop worth my time–and I think I certainly learned some gems.

I also got down to business cleaning my apartment–it’s almost done! It was long overdue and I remember one of the things I realized I could do better on from my workshop with my life coach the other weekend was my physical health–environment included! I know keeping things in order doesn’t mean I have my shit in order but it certainly makes me feel more calm, centred, and on top of things! It’s nice to think that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if someone opened my microwave…

While I worked I listened to a Balanced Bites podcast. I’ve heard the episode before but I certainly enjoyed it again. It was the one where they had Stefani from Paleo for Women with them. These are great resources kiddos–if you’re a woman (or a man, but especially a woman) and you’re struggling with your body image or starting to wonder about an “ideal” body or anything along those lines, all of these gals (Cave Girl Eats is the missing link) have inspired me. Get reading/listening already!

I also popped into GFC and had myself checked–and powered up–tonight. I feel pretty darn good and I got to chat about something that’s been on my mind–did I mention I feel good?

I’m getting tired just writing this and realizing that today was actually a busy day “off” but after all of that, I stopped for some groceries and then came home quickly before heading out to teach spin. No wonder my futon and my butt are a match made in heaven this evening.

Good thing the only thing on my agenda for tonight is a little journalling

Focus

Hey strangers!

It’s been a busy weekend–hence my being MIA in the blog world–but it’s been a good one filled mostly with working and trying to catch up on missed sleep.

I did find some time this busy weekend to grab some new shoes (on sale! plus a mall discount) that I can’t wait to try out. I also had dinner with some amazing people who are in town for Life By Design Life Con–something I hope to be a part of next year–and to help out at one of the movement sessions yesterday morning. That made me realize how badly I’d like to start coaching with my CrossFit Cert, something I’m certainly excited about but not going to rush into. I worked on my pre-requisite course for the Olympic Lifting course I’m going to in Toronto next week. I also did a gross sweaty conditioning WOD yesterday at the gym (50-30-20 wallballs and pull-ups<–banded, ugly) and another session on Friday night.

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I’ve also been nom nom nom-ing, of course.

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What you saw in the midst of all of that healthy goodness was some chocolate–more than once.

It’s the middle of a 30 day challenge and I was committed to eating well, thinking well, taking care of myself, and being awesome. That’s sort of a life “challenge” for me at this point, but anyways. When I went to bed last night after having a bit of dark chocolate, I was certainly not on a happy “focus on what’s strong” kind of wavelength.

In fact, I was thinking kind of shitty things:

  • I’m a phony–it’s the 30 day challenge and I caved and ate chocolate?! I have no self control.
  • My body is gross and it’s all my fault so I better not mention this to anyone.
  • No wonder I’m fat.

This morning I’m putting that bullshit in it’s place.

  • It’s a 30 day challenge–for a lifetime–and I’m eating healthier than ever before.
  • My body is strong and the result of my actions, which I get to control every day.
  • I’m exactly where I need to be and I am not a good judge of how my body looks–I remember thinking I was fat in photos I look back on now and see a girl who looks hungry.

In timely fashion, this status popped up from one of my fav life coaches yesterday:

To focus on what’s strong, I think I need to lighten up with myself.

80/20 applies to everyone–myself included.

I wouldn’t say to a friend who ate a chocolate bar that she was out of control, fat, and a failure, so why should I take it from myself? I’d probably say that in the grand scheme of things, figuring out a way to eat chocolate without making it the subject of a blog post a big deal is a better goal than trying to be perfect, whatever “perfect” is.

I wouldn’t tell anyone who is hating their body the things that I tell myself. I know that other people go through this same thought process. So what has worked for me in the past when I get into this perfectionism, beating myself up pattern is to ask myself if my thoughts are really fair. Would I say this to a client? A friend? A younger version of myself?

I used to think that taking it easy on myself meant letting myself go. The two are not the same–in fact they’re very different. When you take it easy on yourself–or take care of yourself, treat yourself with love, and check in along the way–you are doing something great for yourself. Nobody wants to do things that hurt themselves. Chocolate is just an example–when you make it “okay” to have an offtrack food, you’re not saying that you’re going to pump yourself full of it. Loving your body is another–you won’t be obese because you’re okay with cellulite. I hope this part makes sense because it’s a big deal!

As I said, this 30 day challenge is more about thinking on purpose for me. Here are a few other ways I am really focusing on what’s strong, not on what’s wrong (after some re-framing):

  • Instead of feeling like I’m missing out this weekend, I’m focusing on how I got to help: I had fun at the gym yesterday. I’m a part of this amazing thing already!
  • Instead of worrying that I don’t know exactly what my “why” is, I’m happy that I am actively shaping it. I’m happy that I know as much as I do about my purpose–and if I knew exactly what I was here to do, wouldn’t that make things a little boring less interesting?
  • Instead of thinking that I “should” be working as a CrossFit coach, I’m focusing on how awesome it is that I am working towards that in a big way. I’m not just jumping right into this. I’m getting more education on olympic lifting, I’m reading as much as I can about training, I’m doing my best to learn from the amazing coaches and mentors I know.
  • Instead of feeling like I’m being a flake because I’m so busy, I’m thinking about how many awesome things I have going on right now.

etc. etc.

The list goes on but right now it’s time for me to get a move on–I’m off to Strongman Sunday at the gym and then we’re headed to Toronto for a staff meeting this evening. I’m hoping this week I can find some time to get my apartment cleaned and decorated for Christmas.

I’m going to leave you with some cheese…cuz it’s been a while!