Fear

I think I have briefly touched on this subject before while quoting Elanor Roosevelt, but I don’t think I have yet to approach it in this manner.
eleanor-roosevelt_imageLately, I have been taking a lot of steps towards positive change in my life, however for the past little while it seemed spread out you know with time for everything to sink in. Now all of a sudden I am feeling like all of these small steps have come to a front and “it” is all happening now. This isn’t a bad thing, it is just a thing and if anything it is good. However, like most people although I can verbalize that I am excited for positive change, when it starts to happen it can be overwhelming, intimidating and frightening.

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Sometimes when I start to feel intimidated like this I look for inspirational or motivational words on the internet.  During this search I have found multiple motivational images about missed opportunities and fear and I always seem to have the same reaction and unfortunately it isn’t “hell ya I have this covered”.  I then look to my support system hoping that they will say something that takes away my fear, and I am then surrounded with such positivity and encouragement that I end up stopping dead in my tracks and thinking  “what the hell is your problem?

And here we are now, stuck on this question of “what the hell is your problem?” This is generally where I start blaming fear because blaming my lack of confidence on fear is, dare I say it, easier. After this wonderful cycle of blame I still end up in the same place I started, with a big bucket of fear and wondering what to do with it. So I have been thinking, writing it out, weighing it out and thinking some more. How do I get back on track? How do I stop being so freaked out by potential failure or success? (yes both are equally terrifying to me for some reason). At the end of all this thinking and writing things out I have landed on the conclusion that I really have no idea what to do but I developed some guidelines that I am hoping will help me to find my answer.

Guidelines to get myself over this fear hump:

1. Stop telling myself to “suck it up” – starting an internal dialogue with something that self-threatening doesn’t solve anything, other than to give air to the fire.  It only serves to stir up more negative emotions, and doesn’t help to hop you over the fence to a more positive stream of thought.

2. Explore the fear but don’t let it guide my actions – It is healthy to explore what is scaring you, why it is and what are some triggers.   Knowing these things can help you understand why you react the way you do and my hope is that from knowing this I will be able to move forward and better address these fears in the future.

3. Take Action – I believe I have mentioned this before, but when I feel overwhelmed my first instinct is to do nothing, dig in, hide out, and just get cozy on the couch, normally followed by a hefty serving of over eating. So I figure doing the opposite will help me to get out of “ruts” and overcome or manage fears.  This guideline will take a lot of work, and a lot of willpower but in the end I know it will be beneficial.

4. Be positive – Writing this one down makes me roll my eyes a bit only because it seems so obvious.  But when you are stressing out or stuck in your fear looking for the positive and believing the positive often feels next to impossible.

a6aaa6612fcad8dc00787ad84672cc2aI am hoping that these four guidelines will help me get out of this “you just turned 30, went back to school and are trying to start a new career” freakout funk and allow me to start putting my energy into a more productive place like school work, nutrition, relationships, physical activities, continuing my education, and being productive.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you do when you are feeling particularly overwhelmed by small or huge life style changes?

Happy Thursday…wow totally thought it was Wednesday!

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Fallin’ off the Wagon

For the most part I do my best to live by the 80/20 rule, where I do my best to eat clean and have my meals planned and prepped 80% of the time and then I let myself relax a bit and partake in indulgences about 20% of the time. This strategy works fairly well for me there are times where it feels like I have gone off the deep end into a never ending free fall through a junk food tunnel, much like Alice when she falls down the rabbit hole.

This past weekend (probably more like week) has been one of those free falls through junk food city. Normally my reaction would be to dwell on how awful my food choices have been, how much I have let myself down, and how all this candy and junk food binge eating has been a bunch of self sabotage, but learning to move myself away from negative self talk like this has been something I have been working on since starting my health and fitness journey. It isn’t always something I am able to avoid, but when I do get into a negative spiral because maybe I shouldn’t have had a family sized bag of chips and a chocolate bar I have started to do something other than putting myself down.

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I have been teaching myself to recognize this negative self talk. As silly as that sounds recognizing that I am being hurtful towards myself did not come easy. If you are used to putting yourself down for your food choices or your lack of exercise or whatever else it may be this negative self talk becomes a habit and can become a habit that begins to holding you back from progressing.

What I mean by this is that by getting down on yourself for eating that bag of chips isn’t going to change the fact that you ate them, it isn’t going to magically zap away the processed junk and excessive amounts of fat and calories. So by contributing to negative self talk you aren’t helping yourself to progress and move forward instead you are encouraging yourself to stay in the past and dwell on actions that have already occurred.

So what do I do? It has taken myself, personally, some time to teach myself to recognize that I am doing this, my trick to to stop and ask myself “Would I ever say anything like this to a friend?” and “If a friend was saying something like this to him/her self what would I tell them?”. These questions help me to stop for a second so I can put my objective hat on. Once I am able to slow down and start looking at the situation a bit more objectively I reach for a pen and paper or anything that I can write something up on. Once I am ready I do my best to address the following:

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  1. How I am feeling? This question gives me the chance to see what is bothering me. I can then objectively look at what I feel I have done wrong. I feel that writing it out helps me to pull it out of my head, so instead of the negative though snowballing into a huge issue, I am able to see what it is on paper for what it is.
  2. I write out why. Why had I eaten the chips? Why do I feel I went over board? Why am I so upset about it?
  3. What was I feeling at the time? Was it mindless eating? Had I been upset? Am I bored? What triggered me to munch on junk?
  4. Leave it on the page. Once it is written out it is time to move on. Setbacks are one of the best way to learn about yourself, you can’t get better if there is nothing to build on and improve, so I do my best to remind myself that I may have fallen off the wagon but I have the choice to get back on and strive for better.
  5. Make new goals. Focus on something else other than the negative by finding a new positive. Figure out some new goals to work towards. They don’t necessarily need to be food based, but they should push you and motivate you in a positive way. Maybe your goal is to have more vegetables, eat less bread, do a headstand, run faster, run longer, whatever the goal is make it positive.
  6. Sharing is caring! Share your goals with one person. That person can be your significant other, your workout partner, your personal trainer, a family member. Just share your new goals with one of the people that is in your support network, letting someone know about your goals will help you motivate you because once someone knows it really becomes “real”.

This may all sound like a lot of work, but like anything else the more you do it the easier it becomes, so next time you are going over to the dark side give these steps a chance and see if they work for you.

One of the goals I have set for myself is to gain confidence in doing inversions and get myself into an unassisted headstand before going away to my yoga teacher training. So hopefully in the future I will have an upside down picture of myself to share with all of you.

If you want to share some of your goals please go ahead post them in the comments below, you never know you might help to inspire someone else to set a similar goal!

Anniversary Weekend Round Up

This past weekend marked the one year anniversary of myself and my husband. The time really flew by. I know  a lot of people say that but quite honestly a year had come and gone before either of us even knew what was going on.  It has been a great year for both of us, and we were both very excited to celebrate.  Our anniversary falling on a Sunday we decided to make it a whole weekend of fun and crossed our fingers that the weather would more or less hold out for us.

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Our fun started by heading over to Le Nordik Spa in Old Chelsea Quebec.  The Spa has what they call The Baths.  I had been before with girlfriends but it was a first for my husband and I think he really enjoyed it.  The baths are a series of hot, cold and relaxation “stations” and you go from one to the other.  You stay in each station from anywhere from 8-35 minutes and it is just all about relaxing.  After spending several hours hoping from hot to cold we realized it had been several hours since we had eaten so we decided to head home and get ready for the rest of our day.

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We then headed out for some snacks at one of our favorite restaurants where we arrived just in time to beat the down pour.  We shared two appetizers and then eventually headed our way to our final destination.   For our wedding last year some good friends gave us a gift certificate to one of our favorite restaurants in the city.  The restaurant is called Play and it is a small plates and wine bar, and we have yet to not be in love with the wine or the food we have been presented with.  The staff was incredibly sweet when they found out it was our anniversary. It was a delicious fun way to end the evening.
Play CollageSunday was a bit more laid back as I likely had a bit too much wine the night before.  But as always my Sunday started off with heading over to the farmers market to do some groceries for the week, and now being well into June we were almost able to do all of our groceries at the market. I can’t wait until I no longer have to go to the grocery store afterwards.  It is always such a good feeling buying everything my husband and I are going to eat for the week from local farmers themselves.

After the farmer’s market we decided that nerding out with some Harry Potter and just spending some time together would be a perfect ending to our anniversary weekend. It was a great weekend to celebrate a great year and I am so happy and excited to start another one with my husband.

Happy Monday everyone. Hope you are all having a great start to your week.

Clicking-In

I think to date my favourite part o my health and fitness journey is that starting to really understand all the things I had been telling myself for years. Things like “nutrition is important” “food isn’t the enemy” “you are awesome” and so on. It feels silly sometimes how eye opening it is and how all these little “clicks” seem to come in packages here and there. It seems that they have each waited their turn to present themselves to me in a way that I would finally click-in and understand the words that I had been repeating to myself all these days, months and years. I believe Oprah calls these moments “Aha Moments

The 50 Day Challenge we are currently doing has been one of those things that has helped click-in simple ideas for me. So far the biggest, maybe ridiculous, things have really been are that nutrition is important and forming and breaking habits doesn’t have to feel impossible.

Nutrition is Important:

You are probably thinking “Oh geez didn’t she know about nutrition? The woman is constantly going off about healthy this and that” and well yes. Yes, I was aware that nutrition is important to a healthy and happy lifestyle but sometimes it takes that extra little kick to show you just how important integral something is to the whole process. Also feeding myself healthful and nutritious foods hasn’t always been one of my strong suits. So it may have taken time, it may have taken a lot of trying but I would like to think that I am finally getting there.

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I have been lucky enough to have individuals coming to me with questions about various food items, possible preservatives and healthy alternatives to their favourite foods which gave me the extra push to look into solutions and really finding out what is in my own food. For me helping and learning for others, and inturn learning for myself, has definitely helped to open my eyes about the different nutritional challenges I face but also the various nutritional challenges of others. It has also been somewhat comforting to know that I am not the only one with questions and that we all have learning to do no matter what stage we are at in our journeys.

Forming and breaking habits doesn’t have to feel impossible:

Encouraging healthy habits and curbing less healthy ones isn’t something that needs to be constantly forced. Of course you will have to motivate and encourage yourself towards change, but it doesn’t need to feel like an eternal struggle with yourself. That being said I am not saying this is super easy either, it is still a change and with change there is often a struggle. I guess what I mean here is that we don’t have to make it as hard on ourselves as I think most humans tend to do.

I have found that in forming new habits we first have to acknowledge what and where our old, maybe not so great habits, live and what they are all about. It is only once you understand something that you can change it and then at that point it is about progressively making small changes that fit into your lifestyle and challenge you to progress.

zenI have been working on this one for some time now. It is something I was luckily able to address with some outside help (enter my personal trainer Alannah and my naturopath Ramila). I often like to believe that I can do everything on my own and if you were to poll people who know me they would likely all agree that I have a certain “stick-to-it-ness”.

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Personally I think my stubbornness helps me to stay on course and keep trying no matter how many times I slip up. However it was from outside perspectives that I learnt that when I am struggling more than usual it has been because I was face to face with an old not so great habit and my brain is challenging me on why I want to choose a different path. It is with softness, self-understanding and positive self reinforcement that these faceoffs get less challenging/difficult and eventually you start to feel like they are hills instead of mountains.

I hope that you are working on your list of things you have learnt about yourself on the 50 Day Challenge, along with a list of things you want to keep up once the challenge is over. If you feel like it I would love to hear from you and see your lists! You can please send an email or share them on the Gingersneezes Facebook page!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Weekend Round Up – So Sunny

This weekend was glorious, not only did it mark the end to my week without being allowed to exercise (doctor’s orders), it was also my hand balancing class and the beginning of the farmer’s market and it was the first weekend during the Gingersneezes Clean Eating Challenge! With so much going on I wasn’t quite sure where to start, so I figured the beginning would probably be best.

Friday night started off with me heading on over to the gym to solidify some training plans. After 6 months of regular personal training I am really enjoying continuing my workouts solo, and having a lot of fun pushing myself. However after getting really hooked on strength training/ functional training I decided to keep my progress moving in a forward motion and to get some personal training session to keep me motivated and progressing. I won’t be doing personally training three times a week like I was but instead I will just have a couple of sessions at the beginning of each phase to set me up and keep me on track.

When Saturday rolled around I was up and out of bed before 8am (I suck at sleeping in) and I started my morning off with a spinach and plumb smoothie, followed by renting a cargo van for two purposes:

  1. to get a new futon
  2. to clean out the over cluttered garage (totally blanked on taking pictures of this, we were way too in the groove to stop and snap shots).

Saturday CollageAfter braving Ikea on a Saturday we successfully escaped after selecting a new futon for our smaller spare room. Then it was time to get rid of some trash, which included the old run down futon, and about 5 years of clutter that we had collected in our garage. Now you can actually see the floor! It is pretty fabulous. While my husband headed over to the dump with our van full of trash, I decided to see how difficult building the Ikea futon was going to be, turns out not hard at all. Took me just about an hour to put the whole thing together on my own, and it was quickly approved by Lola.

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I finished building the futon just in time to pack up for the yoga workshop on hand balancing. The workshop was really interesting, not what I was expecting but completely awesome anyways. I am someone that has yet to learn how to feel comfortable upside down, so it was a really interesting course. It was great because the yoga teacher came at it from a bit of a different angle which was refreshing. She spoke of functional training exercises and the need to find a balance between yoga flexibility and muscular strength in order to find a healthy balance in a handstand. There were a lot of exercises that I was totally not expecting, but all in all a great way to spend 2 hours on a Saturday.

Once I finished up my workshop I went home to get ready for a nice date night with my husband. We had some delicious brown rice sushi for supper, followed by some fun movie watching. It was a perfect ending to a bit of a busy (but fun) day.
Sunday CollageAnd then SUNDAY!!! Normally I am not a huge fan of Sundays because well that means the work week is about to start and that is never a fun thing, but this Sunday was the first Farmer’s Market of the season! I was so excited to get out there, buy some locally raised, hormone free meat, and whatever produce were available, luckily we found some AMAZING looking asparagus, I can’t wait to eat it. Before heading over to the farmer’s market, my running buddy Susan and I decided to lace up our shoes and go for a nice long run. This is something we started doing in the fall last year, and it is a welcome addition to my weekend routine that is for sure.

run So Susan and laced up and headed out for a 10.75km run, it was our longest of the season so far and it felt amazing. It was one of those runs where at the end I felt like I could just keep going and going, although I am sure my legs are super happy today that I did stop when I did.

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The rest of the afternoon was spent doing some food prep (clean eating BBQ sauce! so tasty), stretching, some more stretching and then just some hanging out on the patio taking in the sun and the warmth. The weather is starting to get me excited for the summer! I hope the beautiful weather keeps coming!

Last little thing before I end this novel of a post. Congrats to everyone who made it through their first weekend of clean eating! It might have hurt to not have a beer and sit on a sunny patio but I am sure you body is happier for it. I for one am bursting with energy today! After some yoga and running and fueling up with delicious fresh and healthy foods my body and soul couldn’t be happier and hopefully you are starting to feel some really positive benefits from this challenge (less bloated, skin clearing up, more energy, etc.) also.

I hope you all had some wonderful weekends, and those of us going back to work today, I hope it isn’t too rough. Happy Monday!

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. 

Weekend Update

This past weekend was full of excitement!  Now that the cat is out of the bag I can share with everyone.  This past Friday my dear mom had a milestone birthday!  For my mom’s birthday my sister flew in late Wednesday evening to surprise her on Friday  and even though my two other siblings weren’t able to make the long flight out all four of us were able to put our collective minds together and make a birthday video for our mom. Our surprise and video turned out really awesome, and my mom was definitely shocked and surprised in the best way.
photo6Once my mom found out that my sister was in town we brought her out for a lovely lunch and were totally spoiled, followed by a fun Ikea visit.  It was a great little afternoon spent with family.
photo7This is my sister holding one of my mom’s birthday presents…a new puppy. 

Having my sister for a quick visit and for some extra hands during all the last minute running around for my mom’s birthday was definitely helpful and awesome.  Despite the craziness of the weekend I was still able to make it to my training session on Friday and a yoga class Saturday morning. I always fine it super helpful to keeping up with my exercise during a hectic time, it gives me a second to slow down and take a second for myself which I often forget to do when things get crazy.

This weekend was also Remembrance Day which meant that Ottawa put on a beautiful  ceremony downtown and most of the businesses and radio stations observed a moment of silence at 11am.  This also means that today I have the day off, so I was able to put in a nice and early training session followed by an early afternoon run.  Today being a glorious 17 degrees outside so it was hard to pass up lacing up the running shoes and hitting the pavement. It was fun to be running in a tank top on the 12th of November, when just last week I had to take out my outdoor running gear.

It feels great to be back on track and working out and loving it again.  I hope everyone has had a great weekend and has had the chance to enjoy some of this wonderful day!!!

Happy Monday!