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. 

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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!

Clean Eating V.2.0 – Ups and Downs

So the clean eating challenge has been going strong and you are almost done, just a day shy of two weeks away from Day 50.  I hope you are all feeling great, renewed, and energized.

The past couple of weeks my clean eating challenge with myself hasn’t been the greatest, so I figured I would take a minute to address it.   Seeing how I use this blog to keep myself accountable and honest with what I am telling myself in my head I am going to use this post as a bit of a check and balance in regards to my indulging.

Now I may have set this up for most of you to think I have fallen off the deep end and I have completely binged out on junk food, soda pop and a river of alcohol but that is not the case (thank goodness!).  I have just been pretty lazy when it comes to meal planning and preparation.  I mean this week I nailed it but last week was a bit of a disaster, a lot of meals were just thrown together, not enough protein, not enough vegetables, too many carbohydrates that type of deal. So far during Clean Eating V.2.0 I have definitely gone over my 3 treat days/meals but I guess that was part of my process this time around.

successWhen I entered Challenge V.2.0 I had the mind set that I would use this challenge to “keep my eyes on the prize” for the lack of a better expression.  I wanted to keep up the momentum I had built in the summer and transfer it to the fall months.  I struggle with naturally picking the “healthier” option the once the temperatures start to drop, I naturally gravitate to carbohydrate rich foods with a ridiculous salt content.  Although I haven’t been sticking to the letter of the “law” (so to speak) the challenge has definitely been a success when it comes to encouraging me to make more positive healthy choices, they just haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked.

With 15 days left of the challenge the countdown is on and I have given myself an extra push to recommit myself to my goal.  I have two more treats (Thanksgiving and a trip to Montreal) coming up that I am definitely allowing myself to eat what I would like because when it comes down to it restricting myself on those occasions would be more negative than positive.  The point of this challenge is to encourage you (and me) to make healthy positive choices and to think about why we make the food choices we do, it is not to make you feel crazy, deprived, depressed or starved.

I hope that you are all doing much better at this challenge than I am, but if you are having a bit of a struggle with consistency or other aspects just know that all of those bumps are a part of your journey.  You are meant to learn something from each of the struggles you encounter, not only in this challenge but in life.  Don’t beat yourself up about intead look for your lesson and apply what you have learnt to your process and keep moving forward.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

50 Day Clean Eating Challenge

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So I am a sucker for challenges and weird goal setting type deals. It makes me compete with myself to do something I know I should already be striving for by making it a challenge it just feels more exciting and fun to be doing it. Being motivated by competition is funny to me because back in the day I would have qualified myself as a non-competitive. It wasn’t until I really got back into running, and started lifting weights that I found out I was extremely competitive with myself.  I mean when it comes to a board game (if you could get me to play it) I don’t really care who wins, but if I tell myself I have to finish that 5k in 25 minutes you best believe I will be pushing myself to make sure it happens.

Anyways, back to The Challenge. It isn’t anything new, people are doing it every day on healthy eating blogs, instagram, and various other social media sites. I actually really enjoy following their journeys and I get a lot of meal ideas from them, clean eating is also something that try to do most of the time. I am normally pretty good with my eating but that doesn’t mean birthday cake and pizza don’t sneak into my diet every now and again, it’s all about moderation and balance.  The point of this challenge is to motivate me (and hopefully some of you) to refocus on my nutrition like I have with my fitness.
can't outrunWhen it comes to living a healthy life nutrition is the other side of the coin, it is actually probably more like 3/4 of the coin, but you get my drift.  Nutrition directly impacts your progress, energy levels, sleep patterns, mood and general body functioning. So it is only fair that I pay it as much attention as I have been to improving my fitness levels.
Protein CollageSo, what is The Challenge? The Challenge will be starting May 1st and ending June 19th. The point of the challenge is to eliminate refined over processed foods from our diets, and stick to fresh, organic, healthy grains, fruits and vegetables. I am also hoping that The Challenge will bring us all together in an effort to clean up our insides. Sometimes when taking on something like this it is really helpful to know that there are others facing the same dilemmas, obstacles and changes that you are and it is really helpful to have people to share recipes with.

I will create some specific guidelines or rules which I will post at the launch of the 50 Day Challenge so that we all have something to help guide us on the journey. Seeing how it is a community affair I will be encouraging posting photos of your snacks, meals, smoothies and recipes on Twitter and Facebook so that we can help each other succeed.

So as I hammer out the details of the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge or The Challenge I hope you are all getting excited to take this journey with me!

Part Three – Living my Life

Here is the last part of the 3 part series (part one and part two) on my journey in health and fitness. These posts have been a bit more emotional and sappy than I had originally planned (and nope sorry this one is no different) but I am hoping that from opening up and sharing with everyone I can in some small way help to motivate,support or encourage someone out there to do something awesome for themselves.

Much of my young life was spent clouded by a negative image of myself and it wasn’t until my early 20’s that I started to realize that in order to grow I had to want to grow.  This is the realization that lead me to seeking out the help I needed in order to find that growth, and well here we are today. I am now getting ready to leave my glorious 20’s in just a little over a year and I am now finally starting to feel settled in my skin. When I say “settled in my skin” I by no means mean that I am at a point where I feel that I look perfect, act perfect, know everything and never need to look inwards again. What I mean is I have realized that I am not perfect, I cannot fix everything on my own, and not everything needs to be fixed, and I am happy and comfortable knowing this.

Over the short years that have been my life I have always wanted to be perfect or better yet be someone else. It wasn’t until the introduction of some solid and supportive friends, positive role models, inner reflection and learning how to ask for help, that I realized I just am who I am and that is okay. This realization began when I found my Naturopath; she was caring, understanding, and an amazing listener. She encouraged me to take a minute for myself and taught me how to start asking for help without feeling shame. My monthly visits with her were something I looked forward to, it was exciting learning new things, catching up and having her check in with how I was doing (I was on a cleanse at the time,  I was completely crazy), but she was there to help me get through it, monitor my progress and encourage me.

It was during this time with the Naturopath that an amazing friend of mine and I decided to start dabbling in yoga, starting up one day a week, two, three, and then it somehow turned into an almost daily ritual with us. Going to yoga wasn’t only about moving my body and burning calories, it was about self time and it eventually started to feel like a small community. Seeing the same faces from week to week, instructors getting to know my aches and pains and encouraging me try the next level. It was this type of gentle encouragement which started me back on a path of loving my body and respecting all the amazing things it was capable of doing without comparing it to others. I began to learn how to appreciate my body for what it was/is, instead of hating it for all it was/is not. Slowly all of this positive momentum built and I started experimenting with cooking again, started looking after myself (my knees in particular) and making healthier and happier choices.

I think I should point out that despite this love of sweating and learning to cook/bake new healthy things for myself I still wasn’t in peak physical form I was just happy. Which I have found makes a huge difference no matter where you are physically in your life.

I understand this is all sounding very soft and fuzzy, so happy, so positive and it definitely was, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a couple if not several bumps and hiccups along the way.  In my experience there is no such thing as a never ending winning streak, it is just a matter of learning how to deal with the loses or bumps that matters. For me the struggle is learning how to deal with self dissatisfaction and disappointment, and turning it into lessons and motivation as opposed to roadblocks.

At this point I had been seeing what I was capable of on my own or with a friend, but I had always toyed with the idea of personal training, but always felt too self conscious to really examine it seriously, until the fated day I told to enter my name in a raffle while attending the opening of a new gym and was lucky enough to win 3 free personal training sessions. I pretty much instantly feel in love with the gym, the workouts and the trainer. Working with Alannah has been as encouraging to me as my first days with my Naturopath, my first full week of yoga, or my first 10k race.  I am so happy I won those sessions and have been lucky enough to keep training with her, it has been and continues to be amazing discovering how much I am capable of, the ceiling just keeps getting higher.

Now welcome to the present day of my journey. I’m sure it would have been nice to start off where I am today but then I think “would I have learnt all the things I know now?” “would I have respect for all the little things I had to work so hard for?” Maybe, but having put in the amount of effort I have over the years to; build up to that 130lbs deadlift, do a full side plank in my yoga classes, run 5km in under 30 minutes or  choosing steamed broccoli over poutine as a side dish makes me beam with pride, and that I would never want to lose.

I have maybe taken the long route to get to where I am but this route has helped me to realize what potential is and can be.  It has taught me that potential is what matters, not perfection and that potential isn’t a place to arrive at but rather an idea to keep you motivated for change and growth.

What small decisions do you make every day that make you proud of yourself?  Have you ever struggled with self-satisfaction?

Happy Heavy Tuesday Folks! 

Spring Cleaning

With all the wonderful weather we have been having and the impending visits my fiance and I are expecting this weekend the past week has been a busy one. Between workouts, work, cleaning and planning, I am definitely looking forward to hopefully a bit more of a laid back weekend to give my brain a bit of a break.
Spring-CleaningAlthough this week has been pretty busy it has also been so productive I don’t so much mind the constant go mode I have been in. I love the feeling after a long winter of being able to throw out loads of junk that has accumulated, and get ride of that caged in winter smell that happens when it is so cold outside you can’t open your windows/you would be crazy to open them. Now our house smells of fresh outdoor air and cleaning products.

I have also been looking forward to my friend’s baby shower! It should be loads of fun and definitely delicious considering who is taking care of the goodies for the day. Last night myself and my friend got together to plan some of the finishing touches and put together everything we would need to for the event.

Once we had finished running around for the evening, we made ourselves a delicious summery salad for supper. It was so delicious I just have to share it with all of you. I have made the photo extra large to drive home how delicious it was.

BBQ shrimp asparagus and grapefruit salad

Shrimp Asparagus and Grapefruit Salad
Servings: 2 HUGE servings or 3 regular servings

Salad:
2-3 big handfuls of baby romaine lettuce
12 medium shrimp raw
1/4 red onion
15 spears of asparagus chopped
1 large red grapefruit
1 tsp oil
2 tsp Braggs “soy sauce”*

Dressing:
Juice from grapefruit
2 tsp oil
Pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. Wash the lettuce and set aside.
  2. Heat BBQ medium heat.
  3. While BBQ is heating, in a medium bowl combine raw shrimp, chopped asparagus, red onion, Braggs and oil. mix until everything is coated, and add in salt and pepper to taste. Note: you do not need a lot of salt, as the Braggs is pretty salty, you could actually just put pepper in.
  4. Toss shrimp and veggie mix onto the BBQ, cooking for about 5minutes before flipping the shrimp, cook for another 5minutes – these times may vary depending on your BBQ. Asparagus will still be pretty crunchy, but onions should be pretty cooked. Remove and let cool for about 2 minutes.
  5. While the shrimp mixture is cooling prepare the dressing. Here is some direction on how you should cut up the grapefruit so you get pieces of grapefruit and juices for the dressing. Squeeze left over core of grapefruit to get juices.
  6. Place grapefruit juice, oil and cayenne pepper in a container with a lid that you can shake around. Seal and shake until everything is mixed together.
  7. Plate, dress, and eat!

*gluten free and fermentation free, made of non-GMO products.