Weighing me down

Something’s been weighing me down.

Not too long ago, I sat down and wrote out my big 5 goals for the rest of 2013.

On that list were two that I’m thinking about this week. I mentioned in my last post that I crossed part of my CrossFit/training goals off my list when I Rx’d Fran the other day.

Also on that list was a weight loss goal (15lbs, specifically).

Forgive me for forgetting if I blogged about this or not, but a month or so ago I went to the doctors and was weighed.

And I lost my shit.

The number was higher than it has been in years, and when my doctor busted out his BMI app and promptly informed me that I was overweight, I lost shit I didn’t even know I had.

I cried.

My doctor tried assuring me that while I was a little overweight now, the fact that I’d gotten my period back somewhere during the last 20 of the 50lbs I’d gained suggested that I might be close to my “ideal” weight. He figured out that if I lost 15lbs, I’d be back in the “healthy range” but might still be at a level that would support menstruation.

I took this to mean that I needed to lose 15lbs.

I took it to mean that I had taken things too far.

I took it to mean that I was too fat.

So I cried more.

And more.

For about a week.

I doubted the things I was doing—strength training, cutting back on chronic cardio, resting more, healing.

And then I bought a scale.

I talked about what I thought weighing myself would do with a lot of the important people in my life, and I took on the perspective that by not weighing myself, I was blanking out. I told myself that knowing where my weight was at was empowering and that I needed to get real and stop blanking out on what was going on with my body.

Thank god a woman’s prerogative is to change her mind, because I couldn’t be more certain that that idea was wrong.

Scales are for fish.

Blanking out isn’t not knowing how much my body weighs.

Blanking out is thinking that just because the scale is going down, I’m “okay” or I’m “getting away with things.”

Consciousness isn’t knowing how much I weigh, it’s having the integrity to look at what I’m doing and to judge myself based on whether or not I’m taking good care of myself—regardless of what that does to my weight or appearance.

The reality is, it’s tougher to look at our actions and to own up to whether or not we’re really living in line with what we know is healthy than it is to justify our “bad” behaviours based on the fact that we have a body that fits some picture of “healthy” or “fit” that we’ve created (or that’s been created for us, but that’s a whole different can of worms). It’s tougher to admit that your body, at its healthiest, might not look like one from a crossfit girls photo.

crossfit girl

The gem here is that our actions are what matters, not what our bodies look like or how they measure up.

To be healthy, do healthy things.

I know what I’ve been doing is working (making me healthy), not “working” (making me look “healthy”) because I’ve been under regular chiropractic care for almost a year and it’s pretty cool to see the progress I’ve made there. I had three periods in a row for the first time in over five years—I’m a girl again! My hormones are not perfect, but they’re coming back to normal. I am the strongest I’ve ever been. I realize that exercise is about building up my body, not punishing myself or burning off food or proving my self worth. I eat more real food than ever before and can actually feel my hunger cues, identify foods that don’t agree with my body, and know that eating is about meeting nutrient requirements, plain and simple.

Ideal is as ideal does. My ideal isn’t some arbitrary number that puts me in a “healthy” range on a chart. I know I’m healthy when I’m doing healthy things. My weight/BMI and even my body composition are side effects. The only thing that focusing on these does is serve to drive me batshit crazy.

It looks like I’m crossing two goals off my list this week.

I feel lighter already.

 

Advertisements

A roundup and a realization

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a TGIF type roundup of things I’m loving.

Today I went on a bit of a safari through the interwebs after I clicked on a link that a friend posted on facebook and I think it’s worth sharing some of my favs lately.

The first link was to “What happens when the pursuits of “skinny” and “strong” collide?” which I thought was pretty awesome. Fav…

“We don’t need a new “skinny.” We don’t need a new beauty standard, nor do we need yet another physical ideal hanging over our every thought and move like a little black cloud of doom. What we need to do is change the paradigm so that we value our bodies for all of the amazing things they let us do. We need to expand our standards of beauty to recognize that beauty shows up in all kinds of bodies. And we need to get over this idea that the most important purpose we serve on is to be beautiful for other people. We have a right to have healthy bodies, to take up space, to have appetites, to cultivate our strengths in whatever form that may take. Our time on this planet is precious and we will never, ever get it back, so let’s stop squandering it in pursuit of meaningless ideals we will most likely never attain anyway. We deserve so much better than that.”

This led me to another post that got me a-thinkin’, “Why Fit is the New Thin (and What We Can Do About It)”. I liked the way this post was written and this sentiment especially:

“Because bottom line: Fitspiration is thinspiration, even when it’s dissing skinny girls. It’s not about health — it’s about using “health” and “fit” as code words for beauty standards. And I support your right to chase that fitspiring beauty dragon through a Zumba class if “fit” is one of the beauty standards that really sets your heart on fire. Just know that your beauty standard isn’t any more morally righteous than the woman who chases the plastic surgery dragon or me with all of my shoes.”

Amen to the idea that if we want to be healthy, we should do things that promote health—not things that make our bodies appear a certain (healthy or otherwise) way or another.

I’ve blogged before on my thoughts about “Strong is the New Skinny” and if you’ve ever had a conversation with me about it you’ll know where I stand. I think fitspo is annoying in large part because of the way women are photographed—headless, not actually doing anything athletic, half naked, etc.—but also because I’m pretty sure that boxing our bodies into one ideal is no better—or healthier—than boxing them into another. Whether or not we need to be strong, we don’t need a “new skinny.” We need to do what we love, do what is good for us, and let our bodies do what they will.

I feel like since my blog is on again off again and then on again I have a little ‘splainin to do!

These are the ideas that get me fired up. This is the kind of thing that I want to study when I get going on my masters. These kinds of discussions—not posts of what I ate for breakfast—are the ones that make me feel like I’m blogging about something worthwhile (side note—I am NOT bashing people who take photos of their meals, share their workouts, etc.). This idea—that health actually comes from doing healthy things, that we are all entitled to health and happiness, and that our bodies aren’t something we’re supposed to battle or control—is what keeps me going.

20130522-163512.jpg

This is what my story has led me to, as rocky as the path might have been, and this is what my message to the (and purpose in the) world is, so this is why my blogs are fewer and farther in between but hopefully are a bit more thought-provoking or insightful. I’m not saying there aren’t things I’m jazzed up for in my life–I’ve got green smoothies in mason jars on instagram down to a T and RX’ing Fran felt like a million bucks even if my hands did not today–that I don’t want to share along the way, but I do think this new direction for my blog is a good one and realizing that what I write about here is important and has value and can influence people makes me smile. If I know what my message to the world is, it’s easy to decide if something is “worth” posting or writing about.

20130522-163422.jpg

20130522-163438.jpg

And I think bringing up this “Strong is the New Skinny” topic is certainly in line with changing the way we view our bodies..

What do you think?

Are you a fan of fitspiration?

Do you think strong is a better goal than skinny?

Do you feel motivated when you look at these photos? 

different

I’m going to see Jillian Michaels tonight, and I am absolutely bummed.

Or was absolutely bummed, I should say.

This morning started off with me in a bad mood over a pair of rhinestone jeans. A few months ago when I was in a particularly bad body image phase, I hung said jeans up on my dresser and promised myself that by the time Jillian rolled around, I’d be wearing them.

In my bad mood, I realized that I didn’t want to start the weekend off on a cranky foot. So I sat myself down (with a coffee) and started journalling, and I realized something.

I’m pretty good at asking powerful questions as a life coach (to my clients, I mean). I’m okay at asking them to myself, and today’s powerful question was: What would be different if I was wearing those pants?

What would really be different about my life if I was 15lbs lighter (o however many it would have taken to have them zipped up and simultaneously being able to breathe)?

I thought about it…

  • I’d go to the beach
  • I’d wear my new bikini
  • I’d jump in the lake first out of all my friends
  • I’d dress up
  • I’d be able to go in my closet and wear anything
  • I’d eat ice cream without worrying about whether or not I’d “earned it” or without skipping a meal to “make up or it”
  • I’d sit on a patio on a nice day without feeling like I “should” be on my bike or running OR I’d go for run on a nice day because I feel like it, not because I feel compelled to
  • I’d spend more time at CrossFit getting stupid strong even if it meant needing to buy bigger clothes to accommodate said strong muscles
  • I’d be friendlier and less down on myself/cranky when I am around girls who are prettier/stronger/smarter/etc.-er than me
  • I’d be more confident
  • I’d go on vacation
  • I’d go out for dinner and eat meals with people instead of worrying about it so damn much
  • I’d eat three meals a day instead of attempting to skip one or replace it with snacks or smoothies or a treat
  • I’d sleep in more and not feel bad about it
  • I’d have lazy Sunday mornings without having to remind myself that it’s okay to not do a long run, long bike ride, or race every single weekend
  • I’d go to yoga more

Wow.

Then I was reminded of something I shared a few weeks ago on my facebook page.

beach fave

Yoohoo Cheryl….you can do the things on that list right this very second. Your jeans might not zipper, but besides not wearing those jeans, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing the other things you think require you to be x number of pounds lighter.

There is absolutely nothing stopping me from stepping into that relationship with exercise where I do what I want to do without worrying about what it will do to my body or making it mean something about my worthiness or lack thereof.

I am entirely free to throw away the clothes that don’t fit me and to replace them with ones that do (thank God for Visa).

I don’t have to play out the old story about not deserving treats or meals out or needing to earn them.

All it takes to be confident and friendly is to decide to be.

When we tell ourselves that we will have that shiny, awesome life only once we have the body we think we should, we send ourselves a subconscious message that we don’t really deserve those things. A person who doesn’t feel deserving—especially from themselves—isn’t going to take very good care of themselves, which for me spells a recipe to keep on emotionally using food and exercise to meet my needs in a misguided way. When we don’t belong to ourselves and don’t have our own unconditional love, we lose.

I think of what I’ve lost to the idea that I need to fix my body before I can start to live the way I really want to live. I think of the time I’ve spent working out, stressing over meals, reading about diets and nutrition and fat loss. I think of the money I’ve spent on diet books, on programs, on food. I think of the energy I’ve lost and the power I’ve given away. I think of the experiences I’ve missed out on or held back during and I get really worked up. What I’ve come to realize has been worth it, however, because it’s pretty transformative stuff…

What my life looks like isn’t dependent upon what my body looks like. The size of my goals, dreams, and aspirations doesn’t have to be dictated by the size of my butt. The only thing the scale can tell me is something about gravity and mass that I’ve never quite understood anyways.

While stepping into this new place of worthiness isn’t easy (I can’t lie and say I dove in with both feet), staying comfortable hating myself is not an option I want to continue to choose.

When it comes down to it, I do not need to lose any weight.

Truth be told, I am healthy. I’ve had my third period in a row for the first time in a bajillion years. I’m doing something right, and as much as I might think that my belly looks chubby or dislike that my thighs rub together when I run, I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long time. Stronger too. Happier as well. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

That being said, we live in a society that tells us that we need to control our bodies and that smaller is better. That’s what I believed for a very long time, but beliefs can change–and this one is.

It might be radical to say that you like your body the way it is—and to live like you do instead of waiting for your cover model body to get here—but it’s also rad.

Instead of thinking about how you’d live differently if you had a six pack, why not think about how you’d live differently if you didn’t think you needed to change the way your body looked? What kind of food would you eat? What if your weight was like your height and you couldn’t change it–what would you eat then? How would you exercise? Who would you be?

…and then do that.

One step at a time.

For me, that means making exercising fun (this afternoon I played volleyball after CrossFit instead of going for a run),  wearing a pair of jeans that feels good (thank god for jeggings) to Jillian tonight, and telling myself that I’m going to be the first one in the water when I get to the beach this weekend. For just this weekend, my intention is to act “as if” on this front and to work my way down that list of things I’d like to be different.

My thought is that the more that I treat myself as though I am deserving (because I am operating from the assumption that losing weight is an attempt to get my own love, approval, and acceptance), the less the weight will matter. And that would be a far better feeling than slipping into a pair of rhinestone jeans.

Thoughts? What would you do differently if your weight was set in stone?
What are you putting off until you’ve lost weight or perfected your body?
Have you had a similar realization? 

believe it

I’m not sure how many people who read my blog are in their 20s, but I’d guess that at least someone who is stumbling onto this post is facing a quarter-life crisis–and this is for you.

I don’t have a TV, which means that Ted Talks and weird YouTube videos are my go to when I want to watch something. This week, I’m loving Meg Jay’s “Why 30 is not the new 20” talk.

I’m loving it because it goes along with a perspective shift I’ve made. People spend a lot of time talking about our limiting beliefs and we all know that our beliefs are what shapes our world, but it can be tricky to see how the heck we can go about changing them. I know I’ve struggled with a few–mostly to do with my body–so taking the time and recognizing that it is possible to change your beliefs is empowering.

When I started my life coaching certification–or even the process of wanting to become a life coach–I had a pretty loud itty bitty shitty committee screaming various forms of the same crappy belief–“you’re too young”–at me.

Over and over again.

“Who would hire a 24 year old life coach?”

“You don’t even have a car, a house, a husband yet–who would take your advice?”

“What do you know?”

“You haven’t lived enough to be a life coach.”

Ew.

Those, my friends, are incarnations of a limiting belief. These beliefs hold us back. They maintain the status quo. They crush dreams. They suck–but they can shift!

Working with my coach, I started to realize that this belief that I had about my ability to be a life coach at the age of 24 was not necessarily true. While it is true that I’m 24 (that’s a circumstance and a fact and we could argue over it), it’s not true that I’m young (to a 17 year old, I’m old). We can argue over beliefs and thoughts, which means we can change them.

Hope!

To build up the balls to register for my coaching course, it took a lot of reflecting on what would make a qualified life coach. Think life experience, ED-ass kicking ability, a desire to change the world, an insatiable curiosity, a love of connection, etc. It also took finding examples of other “young” coaches who were killing it.

When I signed up, I’d like to say that I had a grandiose belief about my ability to change the world, but the honest truth is that I signed up with the confidence that I would at least have gained some skills by the end of it even if I never used them as a life coach or waited ’til I was more experienced in life to start actually coaching people. I’d say my belief had gone from “I’m too young to be a life coach.” to “I could use some life coaching skills in whatever I do.”

From there, being at the course helped me step further into the belief that “The fact that I’m a young coach is a gift.” The number of people who came up to me and applauded me for being self-aware and motivated enough to sign up for the course helped. So did the “I wish I’d taken this when I was your age–I think of the things I could have done!” comments. And meeting my coach, who is a young’n herself.

At my last coaching weekend, we talked about perspectives. A perspective is the arguable stance we take on a topic/circumstance. Applied to my age and related coaching abilities, I realized that just as easily as I could adopt the “my age is a limiting factor” perspective, I could aim for the “my age is a gift”–and I explored what might open up for me if I really lived from a place of being proud of my age and confident that it belonged on my “pros” list.

Linking it back to the video, you can see why I’m loving the idea that our 20s aren’t about dicking time away–and why I know what I’m doing as a 24 year old life coach is important, powerful, and exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Changing a belief means looking at the beliefs that you already have, coming up with new beliefs that feel reasonable (you probably can’t go from one extreme right to the other so leaning into new beliefs is important), and finding ways to prove to yourself that the new belief is true ’til it becomes the go-to thought. I wanted to include a few ways I’ve helped step into and solidify new beliefs in my own life, because I think they’re cute and they come in handy:

  • mantras
  • journalling –> making lists of the ways in which you’re already living out the new belief
  • ways to act “as if” (these form the evidence for your new belief)*
  • reminders on your calendar
  • email reminders, text message reminders
  • post-its on your mirror
  • desktop backgrounds

*I highlight the acting “as if” step because while slapping an inspirational quote on your screensaver might make you feel warm and bubbly, when push comes to shove, we have to actually do something if we want to prove to ourselves that a new belief is true. Making a list of ways to actually live the new belief–for me, taking on practice clients before I felt “ready”, charging for my services, offering my services on my blog, and signing up for a coach to help me start my business, etc.–and then actually doing them and giving yourself props for having the courage to do so, is where the magic happens.

“I’m a young life coach with all kinds of potential” feels good these days! Why wouldn’t being young be a good thing?

I also want to add a note about something that pisses me off a little: this shit’s not easy.

I don’t believe that you can switch beliefs from one extreme to the other just like that. It doesn’t work like a light switch. Just like this belief took time and work to transition, so do all of our beliefs. The in-between, where we’re stretching ourselves and stepping into a new perspective, is admittedly uncomfortable. But the decision becomes: would you rather be uncomfortable en route to awesome or stay trapped in the spot you are right now indefinitely?

I know my answer!

This is why I love coaching. This is why I know that I’m doing the right thing. This is where the magic happens!

The moral of the story is: Changing our beliefs isn’t easy, but it is entirely possible.

Don’t underestimate the power of your beliefs–or your ability to change them.

believe

What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself?
Where have you been able to switch a belief?
What belief are you ready to tackle?

good enough to go for it

Happy Monday, strangers!

This post was going to start out with a recap of a weekend filled with fun—yoga, rock climbing, soccer, friends and family—but as I was putting it together, I realized that there’s more to it than some fun pictures and a “well, that was fun” sentiment.

On Saturday, I got a migraine and couldn’t go to my normal CrossFit classes to start the day off. By “couldn’t” I mean that I made the judgment call that my head exploding wasn’t worth it—but it took some debating in my head because I didn’t have any other “training sessions” planned for the weekend.

What I did have planned was a trip to try bouldering (rock climbing without the harness, basically) and my first soccer game of the season (come snow, sleet, or hail).

rock climbing 1

What a fun way to get my exercise for the weekend, right?

For me, “fun” was a non-factor in exercise for a really long time. Being a compulsive exercise will do that to you. When I was younger, I played sports—tennis, rugby, soccer, volleyball, wrestling, etc.—but I slowly lost it as I got older. So yesterday, I found myself wondering if I should head to the gym and needing to remind myself that I was being perfectly active already with a soccer game and a yoga class.

I didn’t say explicitly five years ago that I was quitting soccer so I could exercise more. But I had bought a bike and was heavy into a “if it’s not more than an hour at this % of my heart rate so I burn this many calories” mindset. So I slowly stopped going to my soccer games one season in favour of working out instead. I didn’t sign up for any more house leagues from there on out. Working out became almost entirely about controlling and affecting my body and I didn’t think about moving as an opportunity to use my body.

I see lots of girls who get into this habit of placing working out as the ultimate form of moving their bodies: classes, hours on the elliptical, running themselves into the ground. Even in high school, I can remember watching over my guy friends playing pickup basketball from my overlooking elliptical. #ew

There were certainly bright spots along my journey. Triathlon offered me some relief, eventually, when I started to see it as a sport and something to train for instead of solely as a way to lose weight/control my body. Ditto for CrossFit—the emphasis on training for something with CrossFit vs. training to burn calories, avoid getting fat, etc. has helped shift my mindset more and more.

It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that we need to work out to shape our bodies. I’ve been terrified of the question: what would happen to my body if I didn’t control it with diet and exercise? I don’t think I’m alone when I admit that for a long time my fear was that I’d balloon if I wasn’t vigilant about dieting and working out. I also think giving up the reins—and moving into a place where I trust that my body actually wants to be healthy and weigh what it’s supposed to weigh—was scary because I associated letting go with giving up and with the ultimate form of icky in my world, laziness.

But it’s not lazy to trust your body.

It’s not lazy to move your body in ways that you enjoy.

Back to my weekend: not a “workout” in sight, but plenty of exercise. Yoga, soccer, rock climbing…ways of moving that I enjoy!

My new question: what’s the point in being stupid fit if you’re never going to use that fitness to do the things that you honestly enjoy?

Please don’t get me wrong. I like spin classes and I like CrossFit, so it’s not like every time I go in the gym is torturous. But I also know that not “working out” for a weekend in favour of running around playing and having fun should be a non-issue, which brings me to something that’s been on my mind.

For a long time I’ve wanted to go on an Outward Bound trip—backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, whatever—but I was too scared to do it because it would mean weeks without “training” and without a gym in sight. A friend of mine brought up a similar concern about going on vacation. How many of us are worried about this same issue? And why?

I want to shout it from the rooftops (or just at the itty bitty shitty committee in my head): We’re not put on this earth to perfect our bodies. What’s the point in having a “perfect” body if you are so busy perfecting it that you never use it for what it’s good for? How can you not go on a vacation or an adventure because you’re worried about what will happen to your body?

My body, as much as I might want to change things about it, is perfectly good enough for so many of the things (like the Outward Bound trip) that I want to do but put off. What’s the point in being alive if I don’t feel good enough to do what I want to do while I’m here?

My body is good enough to go for it. Yours is too, whatever “it” might be. A vacation. A relationship. A job. You name it, you’re good enough.

But what’s it mean to have a body that’s good enough? To actually own that our bodies are worthy of getting out there and living exactly as they are right now, not once we fit back into our skinny jeans?

I think most of us realize that our bodies are in fact good enough, but it takes courage to say so when the messages around us tell us that we need to constantly control—buy this, do that, use this—in order to be “good” by cultural standards.

But we have bodies that are indeed good enough. They breathe. They jump. They eat. They run, climb, dance, laugh, cry. They are perfectly extraordinary bodies that let us live whatever amazing lives we want. The sooner we stop worrying about what they look like and wasting our energy there, the more time we’ll have to live.

When you get to the end of things, you’re not going to regret going on a surfing trip with cellulite on your thighs, but you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll regret not going because you didn’t think you had the body for it.

The sooner we realize that our bodies are just tools we have for doing what we want to do–and that it’s what we want to do that’s important, not the bodies–the quicker we’ll get to living extraordinary lives.

have a soul

My summary/advice…

Dream about the life you’ll live, not about the body you’ll have.  

(Plan the way you’ll change the world, not the way you’ll change your thighs. List the places you want to go, not the things you want to fix in yourself. Talk about the things you love, not about the ways you hate yourself. Focus on what you want to create in your world, not on what you need to perfect on your body. Etc. Etc. Etc.)

What are you putting off until you have a “better” body?
What’s your favourite way to exercise?

Challenge

I’ve been MIA—and that’s okay. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, a lot of coaching (on myself and others), and a lot of journaling, but I’m back!

…did you miss me?

Anyways. Thoughts. Go…

So next week is the start of the next 30 Day Life By Design Challenge. If you’re not familiar with what that means, this is the time where the whole LBD community steps things up in terms of following all four of the steps involved in LBD—making sure your brain/body connection is taken care of, moving by design, eating by design, and thinking by design.

A lot of the journaling I’ve been up to has been to get clear on where I’m at and what’s working and what’s not—and it hasn’t been easy. If my last blog posts are any indication, I was feeling a lot little bitter towards squats and bacon and anything that I thought might be behind me needing bigger jeans and feeling slower on my bicycle.

But I’m done playing the blame game.

I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday while I was in Toronto with the gang from GFC. We were there for an epic meal and to hear Dr. Yaron Brook talk at U of T. He spoke about capitalism but something that he said about self-esteem during the q&a that followed his talk struck a cord with me. It pointed back to an idea I like: overcoming challenges is a route to building self esteem.

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 4.31.37 PM

gfc and brook

Rising to a challenge is a way to build self esteem, huh?

And there’s a 30 Day Challenge just around the corner?

Dr. Rachelle posted an awesome video this week about recommitting to yourself and your health via the challenge…

Maybe she read my mind, or maybe the timing is just lucky.

When I said I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday, it came in two parts, the second being: I was deleting 2000 of the 3000 photos I had on my phone en route home and shit got real. I realized that what I’d done was surely along the lines of eating by design, but not exactly the lines of healthy. It’s possible to “go paleo” and to end up missing the mark–and I think that the endless photos of starbucks cups and chocolate bark and nut butter were a little off. Toss in some meat and a few random vegetables and I suddenly had a sense of why “it” didn’t work for me the way I’d hoped.

I let myself feel like a failure for about five minutes before I realized how much I’ve learned and how far I’ve come. I started to think instead of the ways that it didn’t work for me to the ways that this paleo/crossfit stuff has worked. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I appreciate real food more than ever before.  I’ve realized what foods legitimately make me feel like crap (bread topping this list but also random things like sausage and coconut oil in excess)—which makes not eating them logical and not about whether they’re “good” or “bad”.

And on that appreciative note, I can’t speak highly enough of what the other steps of living LBD has done for me.  TMI warning: I’ve had two consecutive periods for the first time since I was in high school–even if my thyroid is still a little off, my hormones overall are doing the right things more often. I haven’t gotten sick as often as I used to. I don’t think it’s possible to sum up the power of hanging around a group of supremely motivated people who hold consciously defined values and live to them. I’m grateful for the coaching I’ve had along the way from my other endeavours that have helped me define my own values and to land on my own life purpose statement, but these are all elements of Think By Design and it’s cool to be able to talk to the people I see on a regular basis about living on purpose and in integrity without getting whacked out looks.

I’m glad I hit a low point–and that’s sort of where I was during my blogging break–and took an honest look at what is working for me and what isn’t. Awareness is a beautiful thing–albeit a difficult one.

At risk of rambling, I’ll get back to the point here.

I used to worry that doing any kind of challenge was a way to slip into old patterns.  But there’s a difference between challenging yourself—and thereby building self esteem—and beating yourself up. There’s also a difference between accepting yourself and letting yourself go, and it’s possible to simultaneously challenge yourself and accept yourself–and that is my intention for this challenge.

I will be the first to admit that I my relationship with eating and exercising has been complicated in the past. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. But what I’m willing to argue with is that this is how it has to be. Just because it’s been difficult and complex and confusing in the past doesn’t mean it has to be now.

Moving into this 30 Day Challenge, I’m setting the intention of getting real…

food

We could argue over whether or not rice is good or bad, over how many grams of carbs we should eat, over so many aspects of nutrition—but the things that I want to focus on are pretty non-negotiable: fruits and vegetables are good for you; whole and unprocessed foods are undoubtedly a better choice than something from a package with an ingredients list; and just because it’s “paleo” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Also, eating junk food is just that—eating junk food (not good, not bad, not nutrition, just junk food—and likely not about the food!). And my coffee consumption will not be exceeding my water consumption any more (if you’re laughing you don’t know that I’m being serious here!).

exercise

More is not better. Running myself ragged (or biking myself ragged, or whatever) isn’t a sign of dedication or a badge of honour. I want to be fit—strong, powerful, mobile, flexible, fast, etc.—across all boards. I don’t need to win races. I don’t even need to do them, to be frank. Bring on the yoga, soccer, hiking, swimming, CrossFit, bike rides, and trail runs, please—but leave out the shoulds and the judgement, please! If it’s not fun, I’m not in. Also, the number of times I’ve cursed my poor ankle mobility is ridiculous, mostly because it’s astronomically higher than the number of times I’ve actually given my ankles any kind of love. Bring on the basics: sweating once a day, take care of my body, and doing things that feel good and create “fit”.

money
I spend a lot—and I don’t really do so in a way that screams “on purpose”. Realizing that while it’s okay to let my parents help me with finances is one thing but also realizing that I need to grow up at some point is another. I think that point is now.

values
I’ve got ‘em (so do you, FYI) and I’ve even clarified them. The next step is looking at them—so they’ll be posted on my bulletin board ASAP–and consciously looking at whether or not I’m living them out.

media(what I’m watching, listening to, and reading)
I have a list of books to read for the summer that I want to start plugging away at—including some fiction, some textbooks (yes I am that nerdy and that excited about going back to school), and some personal development gems. I’ve got podcasts ready and rearing to go and a queue of youtube videos just begging to be watched.

My get real goal for the next month is about taking responsibility. That’s more powerful than setting a goal to fit into my old shorts or to break a time in a race. This is about living what I know to be true and seeing what that opens up for me instead of giving away my power so that I can blame someone if things don’t go exactly according to plan. This is about moving myself towards the vision I have for my future and being confident enough to own it.

Questions that will be at the top of my list: 

  • Why am I… (doing this workout, reading this blog, eating this food)? 
  • Is this in line with my values/beliefs?

At the end of the challenge, I know I’ll have been successful not if I go gluten-less or PR on all my lifts or see my abs for the first time since ever but if I can say that I was honest with myself and on a daily basis lived in integrity with my values.  Look forward to posts on my struggles and triumphs—and plenty of word vomit, I’m sure. Here’s to focusing on the triumphs…

challenge

I’ve missed you!

Are you doing the 30 day challenge?
How do you feel about challenges?
Where’s somewhere you could improve on in the next 30 days? 

PS:

If you have an hour…