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!

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Weekend Round Up – A day late

This weekend/ Monday really just got away from me. Last week I had the opportunity to sub in some other teacher’s yoga classes, as well as teach my two classes per week. It was really great to have such and opportunity and it also kind of three my regular weekend schedule of meal prep, studying and maxin’ and relaxin’ out the window.

This weekend I kind of resembled the Flash. Zooming from one place to the next.

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Besides my zooming back and forth and not actually sitting down until Sunday evening I had a pretty great weekend. Lots of yoga (teaching and for myself), lots of reading, and starting to get ready for a deep and dirty spring clean!

Oh my goodness I know this is super weird and maybe a little sad but I just can’t wait to do a huge spring clean through the house. Open the windows amp up the air purifiers and wash EVERYTHING.

20140407-214042.jpgIt is just something about cleaning away the winter that makes me feel so happy, light, relaxed and peaceful. Also seeing how for the past month I have been cleaning up my insides and digestion it only feel fitting for my home to follow the same process.

Am I the only one that goes bananas for spring cleaning? Is anyone else excited to give their home a good scrub down?

Happy Tuesday!

Let’s Get Stable

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Well folks the challenge is almost over. I for one cannot believe how fast it has gone by and really how simple and easy it has been to stick to. I mean I wasn’t expecting it to be the hardest thing on the planet but no drinks on sunny patios can feel a little daunting at first especially right as the weather is starting to turn gorgeous out.

One unexpected thing that I discovered  from the challenge was that I seemed to have more time on my hands. Perhaps it is because I spent more time preparing meals or putting more thought into what was going to be eaten from day to day but it seriously took the edge off the age old question of “what’s for dinner?” Having an answer to this question freed up time for me to do some ready every day after work, to practice yoga a bit more and to go out running on a regular basis again. These are definitely some added perks I am looking forward to continuing once the challenge has come to an end.

The other thing it has allowed me to do is to get back to work at creating quick home workouts to share with all of you. Something I have enjoyed doing in the past but have been pretty sporadic about because I just never felt like I had the time to do it properly. I am hoping that my streak  of being super productive continues after the 50 day challenge ends and that I am able to continue using my time wisely so I can get back to making challenging home workouts regularly.

This week I have made a little gem to share with you inspired by my weak ankles.  With the help of my trainer I have opened my eyes up to the wonder of single leg exercises.  I have learnt that the single legged workouts are where it is at when it comes to building some stability. Of course the bosu ball is an awesome tool to throw into the workout, but doing exercises on one leg is definitely more challenging than you think it may be.

So I have taken some of my rehab moves, some strength moves and a dash of cardio to make a great 35 minute workout.  Taking just a 30 second break in between each grouping and a 1 minute break (if needed) between each repeat.  When doing the single leg exercises don’t hold onto a wall, instead rely on your core and glute strength to keep you balanced. Also looking at a single point will help you stay balanced and upright.

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Tip: when doing the deadlifts challenge yourself a bit more by adding 8-10 lbs dumbbells.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy it.  Let me know what you think. 

Happy Tuesday everyone!! 

Weekend Round Up

Hello Monday! Does anyone else feel like this weekend was eaten up so quickly, it was like the blink of an eye! But here we are Monday again and back in our cubes for another week (hopefully not all of you work in cubes). Anyways…this weekend probably went by so quickly because it was a pretty great one.

My husband had his maniversary (basically just a boys weekend at a cottage) so some girlfriends and I had made plans and I had a couple of house projects I wanted to try and finish.

The one project at the top of my list was to finish making my home yoga space. Sometimes it can be challenging to find a class that fits into my schedule so I will do something at home. The only thing is when I have to move half a room around in order to feel comfortable to practice I find that I end up losing a lot of my motivation to actually get on my mat. So this weekend was perfect for me to finally make our spare room into a dual space and turn it into a little oasis at home. I am so excited with the way it turned out, and so shocked at how just a couple of little cheap things could change the space so drastically.

Seeing how this isn’t a design blog and I am in no way shape or form a decorating guru I am just going to do a quick before and after, mostly because I am so happy about how nicely it turned out.
Before SpareAfter Spare CollageI am so excited to practice, mediate, read, learn my banjo or just anything in this room. With the addition of 6 new plants and mellow colours and patterns it is just so serene, definitely a happy place.

Besides doing some stuff around the house, it was also Vélo Festival this weekend. Only little hiccup in that plan was the torrential downpour that occurred Saturday evening. After picking up our tags and bike lights, as well as ridiculous amounts of glow sticks to decorate our bikes the rain ended up being a huge deterrent. We ended up deciding to dry off and not to attempt the 20km bike ride in the rain at night.
Spare Room 004However as it turned out the rain ended up clearing up for the bike ride and I heard back that it was actually a pretty decent ride, besides dodging some puddles here and there. I guess we’ll just have to plan our own 20km night ride to make up for bailing on the ride.

Gingersneezes Eats Clean Update. I used a cheat. I went into the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge with the mind set that I would not be using a single cheat, I would get through the 50 days without any type of break. After much thought it occurred to me that I have a tendency to do things in an “all or nothing” approach to things. I mean for the most part this approach helps me out, gets me motivated and allows me to stay focused. But it can also make it more challenging for me to apply the healthy habits I am cultivating to real life once the challenge is over.

After some thought I decided it would actually be more challenging for me to use a cheat (I had some drinks with girlfriends) and then to go back to my healthy eating. This is challenging for me because on weekends when I do go out for some drinks with friends or with my husband I have a challenging time the next morning not wanting to go out and have poutine for breakfast or not stuffing my face with super high fat, high carb, high grease filled foods for the next 24 hours.

So I figured allowing a booze cheat would give me the opportunity to reinforce in my mind that just because I drank the night before does not mean that my eating goals go out the window for the next 24-48 hours. So Saturday evening I had some drinks with girlfriends and Sunday morning I could not have felt more wretched. I think the feeling awful actually motivated me to make sure my eating was super clean the next day, also I wasn’t craving things like poutine, chips, or a greasy breakfast so it was definitely encouraging.

All in all I had a pretty fabulous weekend, I am happy I gave myself the opportunity to find out I am stronger than a hangover when it comes to getting back on track and making healthy life choices again. And I am so excited to start spending more time in my yoga room. I hope you have all had wonderful weekends and to everyone doing the 50 day Challenge we are in our home stretch there are only 16 more days!

Happy Monday everyone!

How did you spend your weekend? How is your challenge going?

We All Have Bad Days

This past month I set a pretty aggressive goal for myself, full out believing I would be able to achieve it.  Unfortunately the second I set a number on my goal (it was 8lbs) I immediately started to psyche myself out.   Then when it came down to it, well I didn’t achieve what I had hoped for.
psycheAfter my weigh-in last night I immediately began to chastise myself for not putting in enough of an effort, not watching what I ate close enough, or not being dedicated enough to my goal.  This cycle of self doubt is in no way helpful or useful to my progression, it doesn’t encourage me to try harder, and it doesn’t make me feel about missing my mark.  The problem is that it takes me a minute or two to realize that I am talking to myself like this and for me to correct it to let myself know that I have been putting in a great effort, I train like a beast, and I eat clean probably 90% of the time, and then the hardest part is to remind myself that everyone has bad days.

I want to be clear that I am not complaining, I am so very happy with all of my achievements to date and I am shocked that I have come as far as I have come, I just believe that in a situation like this we become our own worst enemy, and honestly we are all allowed to have momentary lapses from reality aren’t we?

Now similar things have happened before (bad weigh-ins that is) I just think I had placed this one so far up on a pedestal that when I didn’t hit my mark. It was my last official weigh-in before I start training on a more solo basis and I was just wanting to have much larger gains in order to feel like I had some wiggle room, you know like a financial nest egg of weight loss, which of course sounds a little silly I really thought it would help me to feel more comfortable about, well, leaving my comfort zone of personal training.

After a bit of a display of emotion in the consultation room at the gym my trainer (Alannah) helped get me to see that this journey wasn’t about 6 months of personal training and that the training was just the starting my starting point. This isn’t a journey you start for a couple months and then cross your fingers that you will effortlessly remain this way for the rest of your life. It is a lifelong journey and where you are meant to create and encourage lifelong healthy habits, not temporary fixes for immediate weight loss, it is a process and sometimes processes take some time.

This journey is for LIFE so why am I getting myself all worked up about one weigh-in, in this light it all sounds a little silly because in life journeys are about both successes and failures and setbacks.  What this journey has taught me so far (and I had a wonderful teacher) is that you have to learn to be proud of your accomplishments no matter how small, you have to learn how to deal with disappointment in a healthy and productive manner, the journey is about small changes that turn into positive habits and all of this will translate into a happier healthier person.

So yes of course I was disappointed (I am pretty hard on myself sometimes) but I am also very proud of myself for everything I have accomplished to date and I know those last 8lbs will be gone in no time as long as I keep moving in a forward motion on this journey.

How have you dealt with setbacks on your journey for health and fitness?

Do you have a similar story?

Learning

During this mission/journey of discovering more about myself and make myself a healthy, happy and balance human I have learnt that any time I think I have figured something out I really haven’t figured it out at all.

I am personally a pretty big proponent of pushing your limits, encouraging yourself to the next level and breathing through discomfort, so learning to listen to my body has been a challenging lesson for me to learn.  It has taken a considerable amount of self-encouragement to learn that because I am listening to my body does not mean that I am being weak or giving up.  And to be honest I am really still struggling with fully believing that,  but it is slowly starting to sink in that just because I choose to hold back a bit and give my body a bit of a rest does not mean that I am throwing in the towel.

Yoga has probably been my best teacher in learning this lesson. Time and time again the instructor will tell you to go to your limits but to be sure you are listening to your body because your  “limits” they change every day.  What you were capable of doing yesterday is not necessarily going to be what you are capable of accomplishing today.  Just because I can go into full wheel does not mean that every time I practice the pose I should go into the full position.  Because it is something that is practiced in yoga regularly it has become less of a challenge for me to listen to my body and hear what it is saying.

However, when it comes to running (for example) what my body is telling me is much more difficult for me to hear. I think most runners out there can relate. There is something about running  that just makes you want to get in that extra mile, shave down those extra few seconds and to continue pushing yourself until you unlace your shoes.  But I am learning to respect my aches and pains and to respect them instead of ignoring them.

Time to start taking my own advice.

Besides the physical aspect of learning to listen to your body’s queues, it can be just as difficult if not more to pay attention to mental ones. I am learning that sometimes your physical body needs to take a break in order for your mental body to catch up.  It might not seem stressful but dealing with stress, lack of sleep, planning, organizing, couple with numerous other activies can wear anyone out.  I believe this is why the spa was invented.

So if you take away one thing from this it is learn to listen.  We so often pay so much more attention to others in our lives and remind them to take care of themselves that we miss out on taking care of ourselves.

Happy Wednesday Everyone. 

Let me know in the comments below how you relax?

ps. please note I have updated  “Workin’ It” and “Run Club” check them out. 

Don’t Sweat Vacation

Not to bombard everyone with tails from my glorious and warm vacation as I am sure you are all getting a little tired of hearing about it, but on vacation I learnt some stuff and I just wanted to share these, lets call them, lessons with all of you.

During my vacation while sweating up a storm in the hardly air conditioned room it dawned on me that although my blog is dedicated to healthful pursuits and balance I really haven’t touched on balance all that much, perhaps hoping it would make its own appearance. During my vacation I learnt that balance doesn’t “work itself out”, it is truly up to the individual to find balance and teach yourself how to stay there, much like anything else you are trying to be successful at you have to work at balance.

Originally when I had sat down and thought about a game plan for vacation I very honestly aimed low.  I didn’t want to create an intense schedule where I would then be disappointed in myself if I didn’t achieve all I had set out.   I discussed this plan with Alannah and she agreed that it was pretty reasonable considering I would be on vacation. I had decided that I would attend one hotel offered yoga class, do one HIIT circuit (NTC or Pinterest print-offs) and go for one run on the beach, anything extra was simply a bonus.

The first thing I tackled was an NTC 45min cardio session which pretty much destroyed me, in the best way. I figured the next day I would go for a walk on the beach to check out the sand conditions, unfortunately they weren’t optimal for running so I figured I would do a speed burst treadmill workout, followed by 20 minutes of weights for my butt, legs and abs.

By this point I was pretty stoke, motivated and happy that I had actually stayed on track for my vacation workout goals, so I decided the next thing to try out would be yoga, because at this point a nice stretch was just what I needed. The yoga was, well it wasn’t great, but it was the most hilariously awkward classes I had ever been too and having some knowledge of yoga allowed me to get a good stretch in.
Once I had finished yoga I had 100% accomplished my workout goals for the vacation but I wasn’t feeling the need to call it quits, actually this is where balance kind of came into play.  Firstly, I was having fun with my workouts I hadn’t done NTC in a while so it was something knew to keep me guessing, also my eating wasn’t the greatest.  I know that no amount of exercise can offset a truly awful diet*, but at the same time I figured it was better than moping around over the nut filled vegetables.

So I used this as motivation to add in a couple extra workouts into my vacation and to find a balance between not so great food and health and fitness. It perhaps wasn’t the most “ideal” solution but I felt like on vacation it was a pretty great way to overcome an obstacle while still having a great time, relaxing and treating myself kindly. In achieving balance during my vacation I was able to remain on track with my training, stay happy and satisfied with my goals and self and probably most importantly allow myself the time to relax.

Have you ever been faced with a similar dilemma?  How did you find balance for yourself?

Happy Thursday everyone, and Happy Love Day so tell someone you love them 🙂

*by diet I mean what you eat on a daily basis, not some crash diet, week long cleanse or what have you. I mean your day in day out daily intake of food.