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!

Stress and Motivation

These past few months I have been slowly adapting to my new life style of part time yoga teaching, part time personal training, part time government work and full time school.  Oh goodness when it is all written up like that it seems a little overwhelming, and at times it feels that completely overwhelming. During this change in my life and my routine I have been struggling with finding a balance and finding a way to commit to my workouts and my yoga practices.

20140427-161649.jpgLuckily (sometimes I think not so luckily) two of my jobs are personal training and teaching yoga so making time to get to the gym or get on my mat is not only good for my personal well being it is good for business so to speak.   But when there is such an easy overlap sometimes it can take away from my “me time” that which is normally what my gym/yoga time is.

So all of this being said how do you keep motivated at reaching/ surpassing your personal goals, while lowering or maintaining stress levels? Unfortunately, I don’t have any 100% works all the time fix but the following tips have helped me out more than once, and to be honest are helping me out right now (I have slipped and have been a little less productive with my goals than I would like, but that is part of the journey).

motivateHow to keep Motivated when you are Stressed out:

1. Consider taking a break.   Now I don’t recommend this often, but if your stress levels are through the roof working out and physically stressing your body out can actually put you in a worse off position.  The best way to explain this is that we all have a bucket and this bucket collects “stress”.  It doesn’t care if it is emotional, physical, mental or environmental the bucket just collects it all.   If you are on the brink of having a full bucket have a big project due, are putting over time at work and have a heavy lifting session followed by some cardio it is quite possible that your bucket will overflow.   So maybe instead of hitting the gym as hard as you normally would consider taking a restorative yoga class, reading a book in a nice bubble bath, go on a walk with a friend, get out in nature.   Don’t write the day off do something just listen to your body and take it down a notch if you need to.

2. Focus on what you are putting in your mouth.  This one has been extremely challenging for me lately.  We all have different responses to stress, some of us might want to run miles, stuff food in our faces or maybe sleeping all day long and avoiding the problem is more your jam.   I am a mix between wanting to run for miles and stuffing my face, and unfortunately for my waist line I have been nursing a running injury so face stuffing has been front and centre.  I understand that I am going to trip up every now and then and that is just part of life, I also know that taking the care to put food in your body that has been lovingly grown and prepared will do me better than any bag of chips ever will.  Although I have had a bit of a hiccup it is important to get yourself back on track and move forward.  Cooking with a friend and pre-making your food for the week is a splendid way to remove excuses and fill your fridge with easy, healthy and loving food.

3. Schedule it.  I am sure we have all heard this at some point in our goals building a healthy life style, but it is so important especially in times of stress.   We tend to make room in our lives for our work, our homework, cleaning, friends and family but it is just as important to make time for ourselves and our well-being.  So schedule in your workout, schedule in your yoga practice, bring your runners to work and head out at lunch, encourage your family to come with you, do what you need to so that your health and fitness is just as important (if not more) than all the other items on your to do list.  Also having it scheduled will help to remove the “how am I ever going to fit this in stress” because you have already thought of that and it is planned out all you have to do is get there.

4. Timed Goals.  This might sound like a bad idea but it helps me out every time.  I love running but when I have a reason to run, like a race, I am more likely to lace up when I really don’t want to.  Setting well structured and time limited goals are great motivators to get your revved up and excited to take care of your physical and mental body.   When I am having a particularly rough time I try and set weekly goals so I can feel that satisfaction of accomplishing something no matter how chaotic my life feels at the time.

I hope these tips help you get back on track if you have also taking a bit of a detour. 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

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!

Monday Motivator

Well folks it is Monday once again. I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend and hopefully had some time to get outside sit under the sun and recharge your batteries. Now it is Monday and it is time to refocus (for me at least) get your plan ready and get ready for the week.

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I have recently signed up for a 30 day yoga challenge with my studio and I can’t wait for a the challenge and having the opportunity to be involved in a fun community building activity like this.

Sometimes in order to motivate yourself you need to become a part of a community to pull additional support and energy from other like minded individuals. Personally I feel like I really need this type of motivation to stay on track as the weather starts warming up so I am definitely excited to get started on this adventure. So for this week to keep me on track for my personal goals I am going to take this excitement and run with it.

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I wish you all a great Monday and a great week.

How are you getting yourself motivated this Monday?

Dealing with Discouragement

Discouraged, disheartened, exhausted, at a loss, etc. There are so many ways to describe the feeling of being lost, tired and not sure what your next steps should be. Like workout and eating healthy the motivation for getting the life you want can wane over time. It is in these moments that we have to dig deep and remember what we are doing, why we are doing it, and yes re-assess some of our decisions.

It is great to put all of your energy into something, but if you are putting out a lot of energy into something with little to no return it is good to stop, sit down and re-assess your action plan. Much like losing weight, if you kick your butt in the gym but you are still going home to eat a medium pizza afterwards the likelihood of seeing substantial progress is pretty low. Same with school, you can study your heart out but if you are focusing on the wrong material you aren’t going to get the grades you want to receive. So our life gives us these little checks to make us stop and take stock in what is going on.

20140501-055010.jpgSo it was after a recently humbling moment that I had to actively remind myself of a couple of things:

1. Was I actually giving it my all or were there aspects of my effort that weren’t 100%?

2.  If I was giving it my absolute all I had to now let go of the outcome and allow what was meant to happen to happen.

After sitting down and asking myself question #1 I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t giving it 100% I was maybe giving it 70-80% which is only enough to be kind of successful at something and definitely not enough effort to get me what I want. Then I had to remind myself that working myself up about what might or might not happen is not serving me, nor is it serving the outcome.  So it is best to let go of the stress I cause myself for wanting perfection and instant success and instead place my effort and energy into working towards the best possible outcome.

So my new self challenge will be to be sure I am putting all the effort I am able to into my success and to releasing myself from the worry and stress of the outcome and trusting that all the effort I have placed in my projects, life, and work will be compatible with the outcome.

Is this type of stressing something you do?  Does your desire to have a perfect outcome sometimes cloud your assessment of the actual amount of effort you have put into something?  How do you keep your head on straight during all of this?

Happy Thursday!

 

Motivational Monday – weekend workouts

Yup you heard it first I workout on weekends. Traditionally would give myself Sundays off as a rest day but the new training plan I am on has me resting Mondays instead. Because of this change in my regular programming it took a substantial mental push to make sure I put on my gym clothing and got my but in gear Sunday morning.

I went through the internal back and forth of “maybe I will just skip this one Sunday and workout on Monday this time” to the “my belly hurts I couldn’t possibly workout” and the ever famous “I am too busy I don’t have time to spend an hour at the gym”. After trying to talk myself out of it I eventually went on auto pilot and reminded myself that it was only an hour and my reward would be getting to have a full Monday off.

Having Monday off this week was fairly attractive because I was writing an exam for school in the morning and the idea of having to do nothing but some meal prep and watching Charmed until my husband got home from work was pretty appealing.

Also as it turned out hitting up the gym at 8am on a Sunday have me loads of space for my workout, I didn’t have to share equipment and I was out of there before most people started to come in for their own workouts. Also lucky for me the gym is located next to a Starbucks so I had some prime study space available right after working out.
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Basically after trying to talk myself out of the gym I realized that workout on the weekend has now made me less busy for the week, gave me an excuse to study some more (not that I needed one) and I got to finish up some weekend errands on the way home, all before noon.

What I am trying to say here is your motivation for getting yourself to the gym, lacing up your runners or showing up on your yoga mat can be as simple as having a free evening during the week. Also early morning workouts help to kick start your metabolism and your day. You will surprise yourself at just how much you can accomplish and still have time to relax with family.

I hope you took that time to give yourself some time this weekend. Even if it wasn’t a workout, maybe it was time with a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while, a relaxing bubble bath or taking the time to plan and prep your meals for the week. Whatever it was I hope it served you well.

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I hope you all had a great weekend and happy Monday.