Let’s Get Real

There comes a point in time where you sit with yourself and just think what the fuck (excuse my language)

What am I doing? Why am I doing this? And how can I make myself proud of me? I have been struggling internally and heck externally for that matter. I keep telling myself that finding some type of balance between nutrition, work, school, yoga, the gym, family, and a social life that it is okay to let go here and relax there. That I should be easy on myself and just learn to be where I am at and to practice a bit more self love instead of getting upset with myself over the small stuff. However just now it dawned on me,  pushing myself to achieve what I once thought possible and loving myself are not mutually exclusive, they both come for the same very loving place.

photo (6)I am allowed to push myself to make healthy choices, to say yes to the gym when I don’t want to go and to make time for my yoga practice when I would rather not move a muscle, to make time for family that doesn’t involve plopping my bottom on the couch and watching a movie.

It also means that maybe sometimes my body and soul needs my mind to be a bit of a cheerleader for myself, my health and my own body image. No one else is going to do it for me and no one else is going to be disappointed when I don’t achieve the level of success I feel I am capable of achieving.
owning your storyIt is time to start walking away from excuses, stop falling into old habits that have made me so miserable in the past and start dedicating time to me. It is by dedicating this time to me and my own well being (body, mind and spirit) that I can practice self love. It is not about punishing my body it is about loving my body with challenging activities and fuelling myself with healthy nutritious food while reminding myself that treats are called treats for a reason and that it is my responsibility to find that balance for myself (because this will be different for everyone).

Big ridiculous changes aren’t needed but it is time to realize and respect that if I am doing this for Me it is my responsibility to cause change be that positive or negative.  Allowing myself the flexibility and understanding to flounder and loving myself enough to know that I am strong enough to keep going.
loveIt is time to find that strength and kindness again especially now during these stressful, busy, mentally and physically exhausting times. I am reminded that it is in these moment of doubt and despair that it is most important to reflect and remember why the heck I started this life shift in the first place. It wasn’t to wear a bikini (however admittedly a great perk) it was to feel better, be happier and to rediscover my self worth. It is time to stop short changing myself and to start focusing on my small, minuscule and maybe almost no existent successes and rewarding myself with self love and kindness instead of physical treats and presents (although they are definitely allowed sometimes).

So today I choose to love myself and throw away some of the shit I have been feeding myself mentally and physically and I know that this doesn’t mean that I won’t have to take out some of the same garbage tomorrow, but I am okay with that.

Happy Sunday everyone. Stay motivated, stay focused and above all else learn to listen to and love yourself. 

Happy Halloween

With it being Halloween and a Friday I think most of us can agree that today is pretty spectacular. Personally, I will be teaching some yoga with spooky Halloween inspired music and then heading home to hand out treats to kids.  Being in school for holistic nutrition I definitely thought of finding something a little less sugar/high fructose corn syrup filled for the kiddies, then I thought “naw I don’t want my house to be egged”.

halloween 2This holiday brings to mind the struggles of finding your healthy eating groove and that balance between maintaining healthy living with indulgence.  To help get me back on track (the last probably 2 months have been somewhat of a train wreck for me) I bought the trick or treaters candies that don’t appeal to me, that way it can be in the house and I can walk past it without wanting to stuff my cheeks like a chipmunk preparing for winter.

chocolate factoryI have also been sure to have multiple healthy snacks ready at hand in case I get an extreme case of munchies. I figure if I have something healthy from the savory and sweet categories I have little to no excuse not to pick something healthy instead of going and buying a bag of chips. This often helps but sometimes my cravings get the best of me.

Seeing how my cravings have been getting the best of me lately I have been working on letting go of the feeling of guilt.  Guilt for failing myself, my students and my clients and instead just realizing and honoring that I am human, like my students and clients and we all have good days and bad days.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that encouraging positive self talk is something I have been working on for some time now, and unfortunately for me it doesn’t come easy.  However, like will power and other muscles in our bodies the more we exercise something the stronger it becomes.   It is becoming easier and easier to catch myself in these downward spirals of negativity and hurtful and doubtful self-talk which is making it easier for me to take the few seconds I need to address my negative thought and move on.

I know my writing has been sparse and for this I apologize but I have taken on a lot for the next little while and unfortunately something had to give (I am coming to the realization that I am no kind of superhero).   So I will continue to post, and when I have food delicious enough to share I will share it, but please bare with me and maybe for the month of November join me on a little challenge.

mjfoxI am challenging myself for the next month to work on acceptance.  This means working on my need to control most things (okay everything), understanding and respecting that everyone has a different way of doing things (even if that means not hollering at the bad drivers on the highway), respecting my limitations and being grateful for my strengths as well as my weaknesses.

So I hope you join me on this challenge.  Perhaps acceptance isn’t something you need to work on but there is another aspect of your life or thoughts that you would prefer to work on.  Either way make November about self-acceptance, self-love and self-care.

Happy Friday Everyone! and Happy Halloween!

Earn it! Own it!

Learning to own your success is something that maybe not everyone struggles with but it is definitely something I need to stop and take a minute on at least once a day.

I am not talking about walking around the office, classroom, bus, mall or any other populated area like a peacock, rustling my feathers in everyone’s face. What I am talking about is owning my success much like how I readily own my failures. Instead of boosting about how I messed up my clean eating maybe I should pat myself on the back for the solid 70 days I did before the crazies really started to set in.  Or being excited that I got out running three days in a week when really I should have done four.

I’m sure/ I hope I am not the only one that is somehow more readily able to admit a fault/failure than my potential successes. I mean I know I work and study my butt off but if I were to vocalize that to someone I would some how feel like I was bragging or rubbing it in or whatever. Where as talking about my faults forget about it I could list those off for days, especially if it was going to make someone else feel better about their precieved short comings.

What I am realizing the more I blog, the more I share through Facebook, twitter and instagram and the more I take the time to journal for my own personal stuff is that others seem to be more interested in hearing about how I succeeded at something rather than how I may have failed miserably.  Sure I think it is good to have a balance of what I share and I think it is important to admit fault because it shows that I am human, it also hopefully demonstrates my growth in this health journey of mine.  But I am still learning/struggling with patting myself on the back and allowing myself to feel pride to the fullest of its extent.

So here are some steps I have been taking for the past, oh I don’t know forever now that might help you if you are like me and have a difficult time finding all the wonderful in yourself.

bekind.jpg1. Enough with the negative self talk already!  It isn’t getting you anywhere and it is probably making you feel worse than you did when you started off.   Take a second to analyze (I strongly recommend journaling for this) what you are saying, what sparked that thought, if it something you say to yourself often, and then answer this “how has repeatedly saying those negative things actually helped you to progress in your goals?” Chances are once you get through this process you will realize that all of those thoughts have done nothing but hold you back, calling yourself “fat” or telling yourself that you aren’t dedicated enough to your workout routine, your healthy eating regiment, studying, relationships, etc. likely hasn’t gotten you very far in being a happier healthier person.

goalgetter.jpg2. Stop, would you talk like that to a friend? I LOVE this tactic because I actually have to make myself stop and assess what is going on.  I have to make myself think “Would I ever actually sit here and list off all the failures of someone else to friend?”  or better “Would I ever list a friend’s failures?” Although I share my setbacks with all of you on my blog, I share them as learning tools and to let you know what I have learnt from the experience.  Although I think it is healthy to understand when you haven’t quite made the “cut” I also think it is important to understand everything that went into that outcome, including all of the effort that was put into working towards a goal so that you can learn from it and build, not tear yourself to bits.

3. I tell myself nice things. Oh goodness *eye roll*.  Yeah it sounds super cheesy but based on my experience if you are waiting/relying on others to tell you nice things you could be waiting a REAL long time.  So start taking a moment (once again in a journal) to write down the amazing things that you are, you do and you will become.  You become what you say and believe. If you believe you can’t run a 10k race then well you can’t, the first step in any process is to believe that you can do it.  So tell yourself some nice things and believe those nice things.

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4. You probably aren’t a failure.   This one might seem weird, but a lot of the time when we start something, let’s take weight loss as an example, and after a month of sticking to a plan if we haven’t dropped 20 pounds and developed a six pack we jump to this idea of being a failure.  Maybe we think we are failures because we are doing the same plan as someone else and well they have a six pack, so you must have failed right? NOPE! not the case, we are all made different which means we will all take different paths to our optimal health.  It also means none of us will ever look the same.  So instead of labeling yourself a failure and giving up on your goals, focus in on the things you have achieved and remember as long as you keep trying failure isn’t even in the cards for you.

5.  Allow yourself to celebrate.  Once you achieve something celebrate it, don’t sweep it under the rug, focus in on the things you could have done differently to get their faster or shrug it off in favour of lifting someone else up.  You have worked hard and you deserve to be proud of yourself and to celebrate all of your successes.  That celebration can be anything, a new pair of running shorts, heading to the movies, or sharing your success and excitement with a friend, just do it! You deserve to be excited and to share your accomplishments with others.  Chances are if you choose to share your success you are going to motivate someone else to stick to their goals and to keep moving forward too.

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I have found these little steps super helpful in allowing myself to be proud and excited about my own personal successes and I hope you find them successful for you too.  Even if you don’t have a hard time owning your success give this a try it might help you find a bit more light and positivity in your life.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I hope you are having a great day!

How Yoga Recused me from my Perception of Self

I came up with the idea of this post this morning while I was getting ready for my day checking myself out in the mirror.  Now I am not sure if I am like most women, girls, humans out there, but I like to think I am not alone in my self-doubt and self-criticism.   I know in the past I have spoken about my journey (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3) to health and fitness, and my struggles with self and success in the past, but I really feel that this topic is something that should be discussed.  I think discussing these topics helps to deconstruct the myth of the straight line to success, success is often ends up looking more like a ball of knotted yarn than an arrow.  20131130-081702.jpgOften times we brush off our hard work and automatically think “well it could be this” or worse “it should be this”.  Instead of being happy and grateful for all that we have done and how far we have come, we stand in front of the mirror and criticize the pocket of fat here and the lack of muscle definition there.  It seems that we (maybe I should just say I) are too willing to criticize over praising or celebrating and it isn’t until very recently that I actually realized this.

I would often tell myself that my inner criticism was what made me better, it helped to motivate me and kept me focused.  Unfortunately for me this wasn’t really how this negative inner dialogue actually panned out.  I am not saying that it isn’t important to strive to be your best you, I am just saying I have realized that it can be done in a much more loving way and that that best you has absolutely nothing to do with your thigh gap, number on a scale or flatness of your stomach.

But how did yoga rescue me from this negative internal dialogue? Great question!  As many of you know, if you have been reading this blog for some time, I have practiced yoga for years and am now a certified Yoga instructor.  Yoga has long been a part of my life, first being about fitness, rehabilitation and stretching.  Then turning into a moment of relaxation for myself, and eventually morphing into one of the happy places I would escape to after particularly grueling days in the office.

Through my own experience in practicing yoga I have found that yoga means something very different to every single person that practices.  It could be about exercise for you, or stretching, or part of your physical or emotional rehabilitation. This is one of the great thing about yoga, it is what you need it to be when you need it to be “that”.   It is the fluidity of yoga that opened my mind up the opportunity of self-exploration.

20131128-101345.jpgOver the past year I have worked and I have worked hard to slim down, get healthy, get strong, get flexible and to really like and appreciate myself.  What I found was that although I had become stronger and had given away all of my larger sized clothing my perception of self didn’t make the same strides. I mean I knew I was stronger and was proud of that and I knew I had slimmed down, but it was as though my brain hadn’t really caught up with my body.

This was most apparently when I went shopping.  I still gravitated towards baggier clothing (despite the urging from my trainer to just buy myself a tight fitting shirt, thank you Alannah I finally came around.) I would try pants on for hours and come out with one pair MAYBE and I am going to be really honest here I have yet to replace even a quarter of the clothing I gave away back in April.  I keep saying it is because I am trying to save money, but it is really because I was having a hard time not seeing my old body while attempting to put on these new “tight” fitting clothing.

before and after.Yoga helped me to slow down and discover myself.  Oh my goodness that sounds so cheesy, but yes that is exactly what happened.  Yoga gave me the opportunity to allow my brain to check in with my body and to 1) realize there has been significant change; and     2) be grateful, appreciative and loving towards all the work that my body and mind have done not only in the past but also on a regular basis.

Maybe this is what people call self-actualization, all I know is that yoga has helped me to slow down and allow myself the time to appreciate what my body gives me every day. It has helped me to take that extra second to stop and say something nice to myself instead of instinctively going to a negative place. I am sure there will always be things in my life that I will want to better and change and progress in, what I am saying is that the desire and motivation to move forward needs to come from a positive place. A place where instead of saying “I should be better” I stop and say “you are doing great lets try it this way next time“.

Basically what I am saying is yoga has helped give me the space to start understanding the body mind connection.  It has also helped me to understand that it is about loving and appreciating your body every step of the way.  Always strive for your goals, and push yourself to be successful but using love and encouragement to get you there will likely generate longer lasting more positive results.

So that is how yoga helped to give me the space to create perspective and helped to rescue me from my own self perception.

Accepting and Respecting Injuries

It feels like for the past couple weeks I have been a walking target for illness and injury, and well that frustrates me to no end. I guess you could categorize me as “type A”. I like to plan for a scenario and then ramp-up until that scenario has come to fruition and I get kind of annoyed and frustrated when there are unexpected obstacles and challenges that I have no real control over. ( I think most people can sympathize with this feeling).

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First it was my heel (plantars fasciitis), then it was a stomach thing, which left me unable to eat properly or exercise and this week I was lucky enough to roll my ankle. The ankle is healing up fine, and this tapping job actually helped considerably, but it is still slowing me down.

Now I understand that life comes with obstacles and I am always game for a good challenge, heck eating can be a challenge with my allergies. I have no issue with obstacles such as it being too hot or raining out because these obstacles, along with my allergies, have tangible work-it-out solutions. It is often as simple as modifying my training schedule, putting on a rain jacket, wearing a hat and a tank top, bringing extra water, and reading the ingredient list for food or just making it myself. Each of these solutions helps to fix a problem/challenge. But when the fix is rest, it seems that my brain has a bit of a struggle with figuring that one out and accepting it as a solution instead of a white flag.

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So what do I do? What a great question. I am learning to start listening to my body and respecting it when I am injured, sick or fatigued. Instead of constantly pushing my body to perform at its maximum I am starting to learn that it too may at times require a bit of a break in order to continue to perform at its full potential.

I am starting to wrap my head around the fact that rest is infact a solution to an obstacle and not throwing in the towel, however much I may not like the solution. Currently it is a pretty large struggle because I will be participating in the Ottawa Race weekend at the end of this month, so I feel the need to train and to avoid resting too much. But I also need my ankles, stomach, knees and feet to start cooperating with my brain and that means listening to what my body is telling me instead of powering through at all times.

So you might now be thinking “how is she listening to her body if she is still training for a race?” and what an excellent question that is indeed. At this point I am kind of just making deals with my body, sort of bribing it to let it know that after it does an awesome job in the Ottawa Race Weekend, I will give it a solid 1-2 weeks off with nothing but foam rolling and yoga. So yes, I am still training but I have drastically cut back on the amounts of and distance of my runs in order to be a bit more gentle with my body. I am also trying to go to gentle and yin style yoga classes so they are more about stretching than they are about strength and power. So although I am still training I am being much easier on myself than I would normally be, so that’s how I am compromising with my body at the moment.

I am still struggling with listening and respecting my body and its injuries on a regular basis I am getting much better at it, and much more accepting of the need to rest and do nothing sometimes. I hope that over time I will get better at this and it will just become second nature to me instead of something I have to force myself to remember.

How do you know if your body needs a break? Do you tend to listen to it or do you push the thought out of your mind and lace up anyways?

*just a little side note. I am writing my intention to “rest” and “relax” after the race here to make sure that I follow through. Sometimes you need an extra push to make sure you slow down.

I hope everyone has a great Thursday and I hope no one has forgotten that it is Mother’s day this weekend!