a yoga class, a realization, and coming back to what matters

continue

The theme for today.

Today I took a study break to have lunch with two of my friends (who I miss and wish I saw on a more regular basis, FTR). We got to gossiping and when I mentioned an admittedly petty frustration I’m having with a blog I would probably be better off avoiding reading follow—the blogger sometimes says one thing and then does another.

My friend (lovingly) pointed out something about which I am sure there’s a cliché out there about, but I’ll just spit it out: I think I am so irked by this blogger because I can be guilty of the same thing. The things that bother us or that we judge in other people being the things that we are in some way self conscious of about or in ourselves and as dedicated as I am to loving my body, getting off the diet train, and redefining and owning what healthy and happy mean to me, I still slip up.

For a number of reasons (a list I’ll keep to myself), this month feels extra stressful. Old habits die hard and I’m finding myself looking for ways to feel like I’m in control of my world and comfort in the old ways I used to “take care” of myself using food. At yoga tonight, I found myself looking in the mirror and thinking about how much I wished my “belly” wasn’t there.

Maybe it was the instructor’s emphasis on focusing on our core (I sometimes joke that I was born without abs because my core feels non-existant), but at any rate, I found myself fixating on my abs (or lack thereof). Shame on that and shame on what happened next, but I couldn’t get my mind off of that thought for the majority of class. That being said, there’s something powerful about being stuck in a room half naked when all you want to do is get out (or being “stuck” in any situation, really), and by the end of it all I’d sorted out my thoughts.

My (condensed) thought process looked like this: It’s not fair that I spend so much time exercising and/or thinking about training and/or what I’m going to eat or not eat but I still look like this. à I could stop working out so much. à I don’t think that’s the answer…I like the workouts I do now. à I could give up ____________ (coffee, peanut butter, the occasional grain (oatmeal, rice cakes) I’ve been eating again lately. à For every restriction, there’s an equal and opposite binge. And I’m sick of yo-yoing. à Then what is the answer? à Losing weight? à You’ve been there and done that. à What’s really wrong here?

Hmmph.

Needless to say, this isn’t an internal dialogue I feel like having anymore

So what is the answer?

It’s cheesy (but that’s kind of my style), but the yoga instructor said something midclass that sparked some new thoughts in my mind. After a particularly challenging series of postures, she asked us to replace thoughts of “that was hard” with an appreciation for the fact that every time we challenge our bodies and feel the sensations that go along with that, we’re getting stronger.

Well, I’d certainly call overcoming my dose of body shame a challenge—and shifting the focus to look at it as an opportunity to get stronger relieved some of the negativity I was feeling about “still” struggling with it.

I (re)realized a few things. There’s nothing wrong with my body. If I lose 20lbs, my life will be essentially the same. I will still be stressed about my assignments. I will still get lonely and miss my family. I will still question whether or not I am on the right track or if I should have went to journalism school. I will still have bills that I wonder how I’ll ever pay without my parents’ help. I will still feel self conscious when I’m naked. I will still argue with my mother over the same old things. People I know will still get sick and die before they should.

In short, regardless of what my body looks like or how much I weigh, life will still have its ups and downs. Downs and ups. All that can happen if I take the emphasis off of the shape of my body and keep on the path towards focusing on acceptance is finding more space to love the ups. It’s tough to appreciate all that’s awesome if you’re caught up on what’s bringing you down: I have assignments that challenge me. I have a family to miss. I always know that I can get into journalism school if I need to. I have my parents’ support while I figure out how to pay my own bills. I have a healthy body that carries me through life. My mother and I are close enough that we can argue about things. I am blessed to have a big circle of friends filled with people who have impacted me.

I’ve realized this and I’ve said it before, but what needs to change isn’t the size of my body—it’s my beliefs and my attitude about the size of my body. It’s the actions that I’m taking that aren’t really serving me, regardless of their bearing on my weight (using dieting as a coping mechanism, emotionally eating/distracting myself from my feelings, taking on too much at once, wearing stress like a badge of honour, etc. come to mind). These things might not be as easy to change as what I eat or how much I exercise, but they are the real issues. Losing weight for the sake of losing weight would be like grabbing a bandaid; making lasting change with these things it’s taken me so long to own up to (and maybe losing weight as a side effect of sorting them out–or not) gets at the real issues.

cheesy

Yoga is often like a touchstone for me and today, it really brought me back to what’s important. I found compassion for myself and my struggles and an appreciation for the ongoing process I’m working on. I found a way to get back to appreciating what’s good in my life and a bit more acceptance for where I’m at right now. l gave up some of the self judgment (and noticed some of the judgment I feel towards that other blogger slipping away) and took my focus onto what really matters to me. Rather than hating myself for being in that thought process, I realized that I’m loving (in the love-hate sense of the word) the opportunity to get stronger in what I stand for: finding the sweet spot where happy and healthy are at the max.

pretty!

Have you gone through a process of learning to love/accept your body? Were there ups and downs?
Do you find yoga helps you come back to your intentions? How do you centre yourself?
Do you think losing weight improves your life in grandiose ways? 

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on choosing happy

The Outward Bound trip I went on this summer was one of the most enjoyable—but difficult—things I have ever done. From rockclimbing to backpacking, there were all kinds of fun activities. Besides not having a shower or toilet for two weeks, there were also challenges I didn’t anticipate when I signed up.

fun fun

We’re on top of the world!

Near the end of our trip, we found ourselves starting on our day’s expedition at nearly 7:00pm (a cushy departure time is normally something like 9:00 or 10:00am). That day, there’d been a flooded stream raging river that separated our group holding up our start. Without going into the details, we were getting a very late start on a six mile hike—and the skies were threatening another storm.

Everything in me screamed “I want to go home.” I’m a scaredy cat by nature and while I love thunderstorms when enjoyed from the comfort of my apartment or some other safe indoor location, one of the last things I felt like doing was hiking in my yellow Helly Hansen rainsuit while worrying about being struck by lightning. As much as I was worried and thought that I should plop my butt down in lightning drill (AKA perch myself on top of my backpack on my rubber mat to keep myself safe), I was praying the storm would stay far enough away that we wouldn’t get even more held up along the way.

I was grateful for the downpour for at least one reason—it hid my tears. The rest of the night is largely a blur: we got lost, thought we got lost, argued about whether or not we were really lost, and used our headlamps to refer to the maps we carried in our bags for what felt like hundreds of times; we stopped for dinner—a spread of chex mix along with tortillas that most of us filled with salsa and cheese, afraid of the gastrointestinal ramifications of consuming questionably rehydrated black beans; we paused for a while when one of our cheeriest gals fell and hurt her leg and we had to dig out the first aid kit to patch her up; our hearts raced when our leader saw wildlife and alerted us, “Animal! Animal!” But also, eventually, in the midst of what I could definitely describe as “miserable” or “scary” and definitely “soggy” (it didn’t stop raining the whole time we were hiking), we found a rhythm. At some point, I realized that crying wasn’t helping the situation and that if I sat down nobody would carry me or come to save me I really had no option but to keep going. At that point, dwelling on all the things that sucked about the situation became pointless.  I ended up having some of the best conversations of the whole trip that night and when we strolled (ha!) into the puddle where we were supposed to find a spot to pitch our tents our campsite well past midnight, we’d experienced what became the highlight of my trip and we’d earned bragging rights to take home along with our suntans and bug bites.

Why am I telling this story now?

Because as cheesy as it is, I think there’s a lesson here: oftentimes, the things that are the most difficult are the ones that end up benefitting us the most. The most uncomfortable experiences we go through are what turn out giving us the best lessons, memories, and triumphs.

I can’t think of a time where I’ve ever felt as “legit” as I did that night in the stormy woods and like I said, I count the experience as one of the highlights of my trip.

Right now, there are a few situations in my life where the “I wish this was over!” sentiment I felt at the beginning of that soggy evening is coming up for me. I know I’m not alone—from fellow students who just want their degree already to people who want to give up yoyo dieting and find their happy weight…yesterday, it’s easy to despise where we are and just want to be done with it—whatever “it” is. It’s not fun to feel like you’re 15lbs overweight or to be in a program that’s hard (I’m speaking purely from experience here).

But what I’d offer (and what I’m trying to take from my Outward Bound fun) is that this experience—as much as it might be uncomfortable—doesn’t have to suck. What if while you’re slaving away for that degree, you find all the ways to have fun along the way instead of focusing on all the reasons it sucks? Rather than killing myself to try to get the best marks, what if I focus my energy on learning as much as possible, meeting as many people as I can to network, and building the skills I see myself using beyond academia along the way? And what if the process of giving up emotional eating and getting to your happy weight becomes a kind of adventure and opportunity instead of a struggle? Rather than beating myself up for still working on this, what if I recognize how powerful it is that I’ve put in the work and am not slapping a quick fix band-aid on the problem yet again?

positive thinking

I’m a firm believer in feeling your feelings and honouring your emotions, but I also believe that we can choose our attitude and our beliefs about our situations. Unfortunately, I lost one of my cycling friends on Thanksgiving weekend. Last weekend, there was a celebration of life for her. On the cards from the service was a quote that Kelly lived by: “Happiness is a choice.”

Kelly embodied "positive thinking" and left quite the impact on the people she met. <3

Kelly embodied “positive thinking” and left quite the impact on the people she met. ❤

At a time where I could easily start feeling sorry for myself (school is hard and I got a bad-ish mark last week, my jeans won’t zipper, whahh whahh whahh), I was reminded of the power of a positive attitude. As cheesy as it might be, there’s a reason I keep the “We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” quote kicking around my “About” page. Life is way too short to get down on ourselves or to get sucked into thinking about giving up. Just like my hiking “fun” and the realization that I couldn’t give up–if I sat down in the middle of the trail I’d only piss off my fellow hikers and there was no helicopter that was going to come and rescue me any time soon–recognizing that being frustrated or uncomfortable isn’t a reason to give up, but actually an opportunity to find a way to take something away from this experience–is powerful. With that perspective, I have a choice between being miserable or finding a way to forge on and to find a way to be happy, even if I’m feeling soggy (or fat, frustrated, whatever).

I’ll choose happy.

we either

What is a challenging situation that’s made for a lesson, a fond memory, or something else positive in your life?
Where are you choosing an attitude that isn’t serving you? What would it be like to choose happiness instead?

weekend wrap: pumpkins and peppers and more

It’s the weekend, which means it’s time to get grateful! 

Like I said last week, I want to start a gratitude practice. Here’s what I’m thankful for this week:

  • fall…It’s September, which means a lot of my favourite things are fair game…sweaters, boots, scarves, pumpkin spice at Starbucks. Did I mention this is my favourite time of the year?

psl

  • migraines…I have come to realize that my migraines are actually a sort of a “Slow the f*ck down” pause message from my body. This week, when my foot started to feel a bit better (yay!), I dove into workouts and running errands full force. By Thursday, I woke up with a migraine and a reason to take a morning off to chill and relax.
  • possibility…I keep coming back to this inspirational cheese about the gift of uncertainty. Grad school orientation week left me feeling disoriented (what classes am I taking? how am I ever going to get to the point where I could write a thesis? what am I doing with my life?) but rather than continue to stressing hard about it, I’m reminding myself that if I had all the answers, things would be boring. If a masters wasn’t challenging and new and thus confusing, I wouldn’t be doing it. nothing
  • peppers…A friend of mine at the gym is always posting updates about her garden bounty and has pretty impressive abilities in the kitchen. She’s been kind enough to invite me and another gal from the gym over to make salsa with her this weekend. I am really excited–a major reason I want a house is so that I can have a walk in closet garden where I can grow my own food, but in the meantime, generous friends are giving my inner martha yet another outlet!

salsa making

That’s it for this week…

World, thank you!

gratitude

on the right foot: if only…

a life lesson, a coaching gem, a question to get you thinking–what better day than monday for a positive post?

A six pack.
A boyfriend.
An expensive car.
No more debt.

What am I talking about?

These are all ways to finish the “I’ll be happy when…” thought I know we all think sometimes.

Last week, I was on a lovely vacation with my family in the mountains of BC.

photo-12

We were pretty busy but not busy enough to stop me from getting into my head one too many times and catching myself thinking those kinds of “if only…” thoughts.

These family vacations are annual occurrences and they always involve beautiful places, lots of good food, quality time, and me getting spoiled. Two years ago, I was on one and can remember thinking how even though it was pretty darn good, it would be better if only I had company of the male persuasion.

This time around, I’ve got the company of the best boyfriend a girl could ask for, but the if only thoughts still crept in, this time around if only I could run or hike (I’m dealing with a foot injury that’s slowing me way down) and if only I had a “better” body.

happy

But this time around, I’m calling bullshit.

If you’re in the habit of finding and focusing on what’s missing, you’re missing out on what’s really here. Getting into the trap of if only thinking is a sure way to feel like things aren’t, like you’re not, like your life isn’t…good enough.

And that’s a crappy place to be.

When we tell ourselves we’re not/things aren’t good enough—like we do when we start the if only tape in our heads—of course we’re going to feel bad.

Need an example?

Lucky for you, I’ve got the real life situation that inspired this post for just that.

Last week, I had the option of focusing on not being able to run/hike on my vacation, which inevitably upset me and made me cranky, which of course made me bad company and took away from the trip. Alternatively, I had the option of focusing on the quality time I was spending with my family, the other things I could enjoy on the trip (rope swings require very little use of a sore foot, for the record), which was a much cheerier way to look at things.

sisters

rope swing

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get down in the dumps a bit last week (before coming to this conclusion of course) or that switching the perspective was easy or natural. But difficult as it was, it did feel good. Rather than focusing on what’s missing, shifting to gratitude and appreciation for what’s present is a recipe for feeling content and blessed.

I’m going to sum this one up in the words of Oprah (and you know this woman’s got it figured out), “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.”

A reminder to go along with this post is that we can’t find happiness in things. That car, that six pack, that whatever isn’t the route to a good life. Once we get whatever it is we’re after, we will just replace it with another thing to chase. Want off the hamster wheel? The trick is to enjoy and appreciate where we’re at and what we have, even while we move forward in our lives.

happiness

The next time you catch yourself tuning into the if only channel, I challenge you to ask yourself a few questions: What can you appreciate about where you’re at? What would open up for you if things/you were good enough?*

*Accepting that we’re “good enough” can be scary because it can sometimes be wrongly regarded as “giving up.” In truth, acceptance doesn’t mean that we won’t try to improve ourselves or our situations. Instead, it lets us feel good about ourselves while we make those improvements.

The bigger the better

When it comes to certain things, my motto is most definitely “the bigger the better”…

desserts

mountains

coffees

deadlift weight

shoe collection

gifts

When it comes to certain things, I’m less likely to be so excited about all things large and in charge.

For instance, my thighs.

Let me give you the background on this so you know where I’m coming from.

Yesterday at work, I decided to buy myself a lovely pair of wunder under crops.

Cute, no? Reversible, too!

Before I go into why these tights are so awesome (sweat-wicking miracle pants, anyone?), let me stay on track.

A few months ago, I started buying my pants in a size larger than when I was at my smallest–an extra small (who was extra cranky, extra hangry, and extra sick). I’ve come to terms with it and really have had no problems buying myself the equivalent of a small.

Yesterday, I decided to try these bad boys on in that small size just to make sure the length was right. Didn’t I have a surprise when they were see-through. According to the gals I work with, it was fine. But according to me, the girl who tries to be honest with anyone who asks me for an opinion on the size of their pants–shiny, see-through = too small, bunchy/baggy = too big <– it’s simple!–I needed to at least try on the other size.

I grabbed the mediums, albeit a bit dismayed. When I put them on, they felt awesome. They also looked awesome.

I had a moment of “oh man, another size up!” in my head, but I mostly shut it up and decided that my options were to stop squatting (not happening) or to just suck it up, take ’em home, and get on with my life. I chose option B but not after commenting that I’d gone up another size.

The response (and I always feel awkward blogging about what other people say, but this is necessary for me to make my point) was that it was okay to go up a size.

Fair enough.

But, “Just keep going to spin and you’ll get back down.” (or something roughly along those lines)

Ha.

There was a time in my life where I spun every day. I think I was 20lbs heavier than this for part of that period and then 20lbs lighter for another. Spinning has little to no effect on the size of my ass–it’s my mindset that does that.

What struck me about the comment wasn’t that I felt offended–cuz I really don’t every want to be back in those tiny little pants–it was the assumption that I was upset over going up a size that resonated with me.

So now that you know where I’m coming from, here comes the word vomit part of this post:

As someone who is just doing what I know is good for me–working out in a balanced way, eating whole foods that move me towards health, giving myself downtime, etc.–and embracing my body as it comes out, I felt sad when I realized that the thought that going up a size is somehow wrong is totally common. I can’t count the number of times someone at work or elsewhere has complained about, refused to, or been otherwise upset about going up a size OR the number of times I’ve heard people comment how nice it would be to lose a few pounds or to fit into a small or size 2 or 4 or whatever number it is they’ve decided is small enough.

News flash: we’re not all meant to be small. Medium exists for a reason. So do large, extra large, and extra small, for that reason. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and beyond that, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.

You have permission to take up space. Why is small so celebrated? Why is it that when it comes to our bodies, we change our tune from “I want to be big and strong when I grow up” to “I want to lose be a size 2,” “I want to lose weight,” or “My butt is too big.” All of these ideas suggest that we’re somehow wrong but we’re not wrong–our thoughts are. 

The nice thing about thoughts? We can change them!

Instead of thinking you’re somehow wrong by being the size you are, you can think that you are perfect in every way. You can decide that you are here to take up space in this world and move into owning that physical space. I could run away with the idea that when you give yourself full permission to take up physical space you also give yourself permission to take up space in other ways (emotionally, mentally, etc. in your relationships, in your work, in the world at large) but I’ll save that for another day!

If you’re stuck on small, consider this:

For the smalls out there–who are really meant to be small–this isn’t an attack on skinny gals. If you’re skinny and you’re doing the things you need to to be healthy, ROCK that size 4. But if you’re struggling to stay there at the cost of your happiness, healthiness, or sanity…give it up! We are not all meant to be smalls. We are not all meant to be mediums, larges, or any other size we come up with and make “wrong”. We are all meant to be whatever happens when we do the right things. I firmly believe that.

I’d go further to say that while we struggle to buy a bigger size, it’s not really about being medium, large, extra large…whatever. The problem isn’t with our bodies or the size of them, it’s with what we think of them. The sooner we can learn to stop making the size or shape of ourselves wrong, the better off we’ll be.

Please do me a favour: STOP basing your goals on what your body will look like or how much you’ll weigh. Do things that you know are healthy because they’re healthy. For example: if you end up gaining weight from the muscle you’ve put on in your efforts to get strong lifting weights, awesome. If you lose weight because you’ve started walking to work instead of driving every day, bonus. The good things are that you’re stronger and moving more, not that your body composition improved in a certain direction (whichever one you think is “right”).

Reminder: You are supposed to take up space. You are supposed to be healthy. You are supposed to have the body that results from doing healthy things that make you happy.

You can spend the rest of your life thinking that you’re supposed to be smaller, or you can accept your body as it is and do the things you know are good for your mind, body, and soul (eating well, exercising, finding your passions and going after them, and having some chocolate along the way?).

You can spend the rest of your life thinking that you should optimize your body composition, or you can optimize your choices instead and let whatever is supposed to happen happen.

You can buy into the idea that we should be as small as possible and you can pass this idea along to your kids, reinforce it to the people you come into contact with, and leave the world no better, or you can challenge it by accepting yourself and owning the decision to embrace your body at it’s natural, healthy, ideal size.

This is one of those posts that I think needs to be shared. I think a lot of people are probably on the same page as me–and a lot of people are wondering if it’s OK to be on this page. You’re not alone. The more people that talk about this and the more people who start living this self-acceptance and challenging fat talk and the notion that we should always be after weight loss, the bigger the impact we can have.

And just like ice cream sundaes, when it comes to trying to change the world, “the bigger the better” most certainly applies.

Scattered

Back at it.

I’ve missed blogging. A lot. And without it, I feel a bit…scattered.

So hi…

Today is off to a great start. After an admittedly all over the place, somewhat emotional weekend, I’m glad to have a busy week with my new job and my crossfit cert at the end of it to just ooze awesome today. Add to it that it’s a crisp fall day and I’m getting back to my happy level again.

Workout

This morning I rolled out of bed after seriously considering crawling back under the covers (I had a hard time getting to sleep last night) and headed to Crossfit for a 7am class. We started with mobility (surprise surprise ;)!) and then did some squats and presses. I’m impatient so working on my ankle mobility, which is not something that will change overnight, is an exercise in patience. I used 95lbs for our three sets of five today but made sure I got full depth with the plates under my heels. The only way to get to where you wanna be is to start where you are…or something like that! We also did overhead presses (I used 55lbs for three sets of five) and a 7 minute WOD that was AMRAP of 5 pullups (ring rows for me), 10 pushups, and 15 air squats.

AM

This morning I officially started back at lululemon! And this morning was awesome. I had a short 3 hour shift where I signed my contract, reviewed some important stuff, and hung out/flexed my working skills for a bit. To be honest I didn’t really want to come home—and it’s not just because there was laundry here waiting for me—since the people (old faces, new faces) are so positive.

Today there was a lot of talk about goals. Did I mention I love working at lulu? I’m hoping to print my recently updated goals out – there’s a lot more emphasis on personal goals and a broader range of fitness/health goals this time around – later this week. One thing that I do have to admit is that when I hear other people talk about their goals, I kind of want to copy them. You cna look at this two ways — one, it’s inspiring vs. two, it’s insecurity (they’re doing it, I should do it too). While it’s awesome to let people rub off on you, if someone wants to run a marathon and you want to find a balance between yoga, crossfit, teaching spin and bootcamp, trail running, and doing exercise that feels good to you, adding a marathon training plan to your agenda is probably one of those things you’re doing for the wrong reasons…if I sign up for a marathon, puh-leeeeeze schmack me!

All that inspiration translated into me adding even more words to my vision board. I think it’s done, but I thought that the other day. If you haven’t made a vision board, do yourself a favour and make one. Then set some goals. Give yourself a vision to aim for, notice the kinds of images you pull out, and don’t be scared to be ambitious. Play some inspirational music in the background and light some candles while you’re at it…

20120924-132844.jpg

Breakfast

This morning’s breakfast was consumed at lightning speed in between Crossfit and lululemon. I wasn’t that hungry—which stressed me out since I feel like I overate all weekend long—but I could feel the hangry approaching so I suffered 😉 through my bacon, eggs, and kale. Toss in some caffeine and I’m set.

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Lunch

After my shift, I was craving something warm. I decided on a piece of chicken, some kale (which I neglected and put back in the fridge afterwards), and a sweet potato with cashew butter and coconut. Om nom nom.

20120924-132849.jpg

Now here I am ready to read some more of my crossfit manual (my cert is in four days which is ridiculous). I just watched a video that inspired me:

I took some notes yesterday when I was reading over the manual and the one thing I can’t get over is how much freaking sense the whole thing makes. I do have some questions—luckily there are plenty of knowledgeable people around to ask—and the one thing I have to look out for is questioning what I’m doing right now just because I’m reading things. The though that maybe I should plan my own workouts came to me…but for now I’m going to commit to easing into this with group workouts at Crossfit plus my own teaching schedule and the occasional trail run or swim here and there. Trusting that I’m not going to get out of shape or lose my fitness takes some reminders every once in a while but the best thing for me is to remind myself that when it comes to workouts, I should actually want to do them. Just ‘cuz I have an afternoon off doesn’t mean I should run, but if I want to, I can. Etc. etc.

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The other thing I’ve noticed is myself wanting to passive aggressively cut and paste parts of the training manual to certain people in my life (or in facebook status with the hopes that they’ll see it)…

“Curls, lateral raises, leg extensions, leg curls, flyes, and other body building movements have no place in a serious strength and conditioning program…A distinctive feature of these relatively worthless movements is that they have no functional analog in every day life…” 

The reminder here is that their business is their business and if that business is bicep curls, I shouldn’t read their blog anyways.

BAM.

I’m ending this with a quote that came to my inbox today just in time to comfort me…

“When we feel stuck, going nowhere — even starting to slip backward — we may actually be backing up to get a running start.” — Dan Millman

Happy Monday!

Do you find yourself copying other people’s goals out of “should”? How do you stop yourself?
What are you looking forward to this week?

 

 

Chocolate, authenticity, and living out loud

So, I just dug into some Reese’s cups. It’s 10 o clock, I already had some dark chocolate after my Pork Palace party earlier, and I can honestly say I’m not hungry.

So what’s up?

There’s a post in me and it’s one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

I think a value that I missed when I made my original list is AUTHENTICITY. Whether it’s in terms of relationships, my message to the world, or whatever, I am all for being real. I interpret the “no filter” as some of my friends put it as part of this and I really think things are easier when we are as real as possible.

I don’t think I’ve been all that real with myself and I’ve been holding back.

My whole point with this blog is this: Happy and healthy go together.

My whole point with this post is this: I don’t feel all that healthy.

I feel like a hypocrite. It’s hard not to be frustrated with yourself when you aren’t living up to what you want to or what you know is right for you.

So here goes.

In short, if a client came to me as their trainer or instructor and asked me if I thought their exercise regime was balanced and they showed me what I’ve been doing, I’d have to be honest: straight up no way. I’m not going to launch into a big definition of fitness here, but it’s not about just being able to run marathons or looking jacked (though those are fine and dandy and come with the territory–maybe). I like linking to other people who have summarized already the things I’m trying to get across so for this one, check out Ben’s post on what fitness is (he refers to Crossfit’s definition)–or just know that it’s holistic and encompasses:

1. Cardiovascular/Cardio Respiratory Endurance

2. Stamina

3. Strength

4. Flexibility

5. Power

6. Speed

7. Coordination

8. Accuracy

9. Agility

10. Balance

…how many of those do I REALLY work on? Yoga helps with balance and flexibility. My spinning, cycling, running, and swimming help with stamina and endurance. But…I am not agile because I don’t ever think about it. I don’t really work on mobility, even though I know I should. Unless someone’s chasing me, there’s not much speed in my life. Accuracy and agility and coordination and all those sports-like aspects only come into play if I’m trying to kick your butt on the tennis court–and that doesn’t happen near enough.

Ditto for diet. I’m not sure what the “perfect diet” is — but I believe this: food should be real. Recognizeable ingredients. Something you can picture in nature. You should eat it sitting down, relaxed, and before you’re hangry. Life should include some foods just for the hell of it, but most of the things you put in your body on a daily basis should help you move towards a healthier state.

On top of this, I’m not really valuing sleep.

I don’t think what I’ve just said is revolutionary. Lots of bloggers decide to use their blogs as a way to stay accountable–Tina’s awesome blog started out as a way for her to keep herself on track. I’m thinking of this in the same way. After the presentation on blogging that I went to at the Canfitpro conference, I realized there are as many blogs out there as there are people who could possibly want to read them. And I also realized something: I’m not using this blog to win people, customers, friends, admirers, or readers. I could write all of the things I do here in my diary, but I like to share them because I know that there are other people who can relate. If who those people are changes over time, I have to be okay with that.

I think we often judge ourselves more than we should. I hear voices saying “Cheryl, why are you trying to eat less grains? Isn’t that ED coming back into your head?” When I know for a fact that ED is no longer controlling me and when I know that if I gave up bread for a week and then craved toast, I could and would eat it if I wanted to. I know that I’m the one in charge.

…so what’s the hold up?

Change is scary.

I want to change my exercise approach — and I am but it’s a bit slow. I deserve to not only be healthy in those couple of aspects but in all of them. I want to eat more real food and worry less about the other junk that seems to be filling me up a little more than I’d like. I want to eat by design — at least to see if it makes me healthier, which is the goal now. I want to focus on the great things that I’m doing instead of worrying about the little things — I’m doing a much better job of putting things into perspective and on sticking to the mantra “if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no” but I still catch myself catastrophizing and being a yes woman on occasion.

…since I’ve redefined healthy and happy to be harmonious and one and the same and all that jazz, I know that I can and will do this. There’s no failing when your goal is being your best — if that makes any sense.

Again, change is scary. But scarier still is sabotaging myself. Sure, eating some chocolate isn’t the end of the world. But when it makes me feel like a hypocrite and then drags me down? That sucks. No, if I stay the way I am, I won’t be a bad person. But this nagging feeling that I’m not trying my hardest or giving myself permission to be as awesome as I’m meant to be is bringing me down and I’m sick of it. It’s not really about making the changes on the surface–it’s about the changes inside and the shifts that are necessary for anything to really change:

  • Instead of thinking change is scary — Isn’t it cool how we can always try something new?
  • Instead of worrying that I’m going to fail — Isn’t it awesome that we can learn by doing and take mistakes as lessons?
  • Instead of thinking that I’m going to be judged — Isn’t it great that I can be a leader for a whole new group of people?
  • Instead of thinking of this change as risky — Isn’t it awesome that I have the freedom to do whatever I want?
  • Instead of being ashamed that I’ve been holding myself back — Isn’t it empowering to live out loud and to share this whole journey?

Gosh, I hope this is making sense in some way. I promise that more practical stuff will come out of me some time soon. The 30 day challenge I mentioned before should be a kick in the butt to get organized and regular with that accountability stuff — and it’s coming up quick. Things are going to settle down soon enough after a whirlwind summer (I think I’m craving some routine and stability even though I’ve loved living free for the last little bit). Life is good.

 

 

Off again

To Grandmother’s house I go…but not before a quick post…

Update on the post-Tough Mudder recovery–slow and steady?

After my post last night, I went to Yoga Shack for a sweaty hour of awesome stretching. We did all kinds of hip openers and even the splits — hello hamstrings — so it was pretty much perfection for my body! I got pretty emotional at the end of the class (it happens!) because I realized that it was my last class with Kat before she leaves for her next step in Sudbury. And that makes me sad ‘cuz she definitely helped me get over taking myself and yoga too seriously. Funny enough, I’ve done things in her class that I never could do when I was too busy TRYING to have fun and to explore stuff and risk falling over. That’s a pretty big lesson/reminder: it’s supposed to be fun, too! 🙂 She also introduced me to Trevor Hall, so you know I owe her more props than I can describe…

Anyways, enough rambling.

Last night I had a bedtime snack and then went to bed (exciting?).

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greek yogurt, honey, flaxseed

I also had some more chocolate. And when I laid down I decided on something: I’m going to bring back my food journal, cuz I think I’m off again in more ways than one. I know that since I’ve been embracing a more paleo-like kind of eating I’ve started eating different things. I know that I’ve also not totally embraced it. I know that when I’m nervous I still eat chocolate and dried fruit or whatever candy I can get my hands on and almond butter by the spoonful. I also know that this is FINE but that it’s not necessarily THE BEST. And that awareness comes first. Don’t worry, I’m not beating myself up, I’m just curious and I feel like I’m at a good point to hold myself a little bit more accountable. I don’t think getting a significant amount of my calories from chocolate and almond butter and coffee cream is all that healthy…and I think that’s what is going on. I don’t want to be at a healthy weight, I want to be HEALTHY — and there’s a difference there.

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cute, simple, small food journal

breakfast = yogurt, almond butter, raisins, banana, flax seeds

I snapped a photo of my legs last night. Bruises keep popping up but it’s okay. It’s chilly and feels like fall (and I love it!) so I busted out some winter-y socks just cuz I can.

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Bruises and scraped, consider yourself covered. Gosh I love socks–I think I have a problem. But of all things to have a problem buying, I guess socks are a small thing to worry about…

I’m hoping that we get a little bit of shopping in this week at my grandma’s too. There’s bound to be some good back to school stuff and even if I’m not going back to school I’d argue that it IS the season, after all!

I read a funny post over at The Great Fitness Experiment today about health regrets. I can totally relate (the cardio, the health food, etc.) but I also think that all those “regrets” taught me things–and that since I’m always trying to get better (if you’re not TRYING to get better, what are you trying to do?), I really can’t look back and wish I’d done anything differently. Still, I love Charlotte’s posts and I laughed when I read the post! 🙂

Have a terrific Tuesday!

What do you find yourself eating a lot of lately?
Do you have health (or other) regrets?
What’s a random thing you love to buy? 
socks for me!

 

Make it yourself

Hey guys — I am a big advocate for making food yourself, whenever possible. If time was unlimited, I think I’d bake my own bread, make my own cheese, and probably spend more time in the kitchen…

For now, I’ll settle for making things from scratch every now and again to realize something: it doesn’t really take that much time so I don’t really like settling for the “I don’t have enough time” excuse.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

I am aware they were talking about bigger things than making your own granola bars, but that’s kind of where I think people need to realize something: you are going to eat every day for the rest of your life. If you want to feel good, take the time to eat well. If you want to be ignorant and eat whatever you want, don’t complain about it. Don’t use lack of time or energy or money really as an excuse to be an idiot. Yes, that’s harsh, but I really think you can control the things you choose to eat and that you should.

Example, I’ve wanted to make this rant for a while…I am still going to carry my leather purse despite the fact that I think eating beef is a pretty big strain on the environment/doesn’t agree with me right now because of where that meat would come from … not carrying my purse every day vs. not eating that steak or burger on a regular basis — which one is going to have a bigger impact? People might attack vegetarians for not being 100% veg or something stupid like that–but eating is a personal choice and attacking someone personally is wrong, in my mind. Educate them instead, if you have something worth saying. Eating should never be all or nothing.

Enough of my opinion, onto the recipe you’ve been waiting for…which was inspired by Kath’s Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars.

Homemade/I Don’t Wanna Look At Another Clif Bar Oat Bars 

Ingredients:
Dry:
1 1/2 c oats
2 tbsp cocoa powder
sprinkle of salt
1/3 c shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/4 c flaxseeds
1/4 c almonds

Wet:
1 egg
1 c milk or milk substitute*
1/2 c water
1 tsp vanilla

Toppings:
mini chocolate chips
2 tbsp shredded coconut (unsweetened)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine wet ingredients in large bowl.
Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add dry to wet, stirring ’til moist.
Place mixture into a 9×9 baking pan lined with parchment paper (or sprayed), pressing down and into corners.
Sprinkle toppings on top.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or til set and browned.
Remove, cool, and slice into 9 squares (a pizza cutter works well, as Kath suggested).
Store in fridge or freezer, or ENJOY!

*I used vanilla soy milk

I literally made these while most of my classmates were probably hitting snooze. I mixed them up after breakfast in about 5 minutes, threw them in the oven, and by the time I was done getting dressed/ready for the day, they were coming out of the oven!

So simple.

So tasty!

Have you ever made something from scratch just to prove you could?
Do you feel like you have time (make time) to cook?
What’s your fav clif bar flavour?