Motivation by way of Goals

“Goals.There’s not telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” 
Jim Rohn

The times in my life when I have felt the most alive and inspired have been when I set an attainable goal and focussed my energy on reaching it.

Setting goals inspires motivation. Without clear goals set, there is no direction. I had forgotten this simple truth! I had been going through my workouts last month dragging my heels. Now that I’m at my goal weight, the motivation to continue on this path is a struggle sometimes, because my goal was to reach a certain weight.

This is a lifestyle, and in order to continue working out and eating healthy I need to set goals along the way…benchmarks to work towards.  It took me awhile to reach the goal of running 5K several times a week, but now that I’m here…it’s not a challenge anymore.  I needed a new challenge. Recently I set a goal to run a 5K in under 30 minutes. For me, this was a tough-to-reach goal as my comfort zone lies within a slow jog at this point.  Seriously people, at the running track  it is not uncommon to get passed by a power walker.

After setting the goal of running 5K in under 30, I woke up every morning excited to work out. Would today be the day I would reach the goal?  When I wanted to stop or slow down, I knew I had to press on because I wouldn’t allow myself to have a slower result than the day before.  I shared my goal with others so I was accountable. When I reached my goal, I was so happy! 5K in 29:31.  Within a few minutes after reaching it, I thought: Huh, now what…time to set a new goal.

My new goal is to run a 9 minute mile, and then to sustain it for 5 K.  I’ve also started strength training again using Jari Love’s “Get Ripped” DVDs three times a week so I can build some muscle in my un-muscley arms and legs. Good-bye Grover arms (except my grover arms come with an under-arm waddle).

Do you have a goal you are working towards?  If you don’t, I want to encourage you to set one today and enjoy the process of working towards reaching it.  If your goal is a big one, split it up into small goals and enjoy the pride when you reach each small goal along the way. Small changes & small steps, add up and produce huge results in the long run.

From my heart to yours,


The Road from Envy to Acceptance

When I was at my heaviest, I had a hard time being happy for other’s accomplishments because it reminded me of all the things I wanted to do, but didn’t do. Selfish and Insecure? You bet ya! I tried my best to hide it. If my friend lost a bunch of weight, outwardly I would congratulate, but inwardly…I was green with envy.

I was green with envy on so many levels. There was this beautiful girl who I worked with back when I was at my heaviest. She was tall, blonde, athletic, confident, had perfect teeth, and liked to eat grapes at break time.  I remember looking at her as she delicately popped a grape in her mouth and I thought, “Oh healthy grape girl, how do you get a body like that…by eating grapes?!”  I was frustrated because I just didn’t get what a healthy lifestyle was all about.  I judged her, envied her and convinced myself that she was just naturally born that way. I got the short end of the stick and had a bad metabolism.  I wasn’t taking responsibility for the areas of my life that required change in order to be the woman I wanted to be. It was easier to believe that it was out of my control. I wore blinders for years.

You see, I’m an all or nothing type of person.  If set a goal for myself, I get tunnel vision and there is nothing that will stand in my way of that goal when I put my mind to it. However, it’s all or nothing and if I can’t do it the way I want to…I often won’t do it at all.  Unfortunately, I have come to realize that’s not healthy because I need a life of balance.  That’s why the saying “Progress, Not Perfection” is something I think about often.

Fast forward to my losing the weight days…exercise, research, eating healthy, getting off the couch and going outside, stepping out of my comfort zone, figuring out who I was…the good and the bad. I realized that as I made positive changes in my life and as my self-confidence grew I became genuinely happy for other’s accomplishments rather than envious.

I am not proud of the fact I was so envious of others when I lacked self-confidence. I wanted to change that with every fibre of my being, but I didn’t understand that I needed to figure out who I was, rather than focussing on the accomplishments of others.  I believe that when you figure out your own path, you can then truly accept, respect, and feel happy for another’s path, even if it differs from your own.  Sincere acceptance of others is a true blessing!

Just because something works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you.  That’s true in all areas of life. There are many roads that one can take to arrive at the same destination.

I hold onto these personal truths:

If I want to be happy, I need to find those things in life that bring me the most happiness and let go of those things that do the opposite.

Different is interesting.

Authenticity is refreshing.

Giving is so good for the soul, especially when you want nothing in return.

Acceptance and Respect goes a long way. When you give it, you get it in return maybe not from everyone, but that’s OK.  Just let that be OK. I can choose who I trust and allow into my life.

I can’t change others. I can only change ME and that’s an amazing fact of life.

A thankful heart often comes down to perception.

It feels good to let go and just be ridiculous, silly, and carefree. Not everyone has to “get” me, but I’m so thankful for those in my life that do. You are food for my soul!

It’s OK to show weakness. It’s part of the human condition and it gives others permission to show their insecurities and faults to me.  And imperfect is refreshing in my eyes.

There is beauty in flaws.

The hard times become defining times and I’m thankful for them because they force me to grow and bring clarity to my life.  There is beauty in the break down.

A smile and laugh is contagious.

Appreciation doesn’t mean a whole lot unless it’s sincere.

Get Real.

Find and continue to search for those things that make me feel full of life within. I had a moment during my workout last week when I realized the reason I love to work out is because I feel so much during the work out and feel even more when I’m done.  It’s not always good feelings! Sometimes it’s full of physical pain, but make no mistake about it, I feel alive inside when I work out.

Dancing like an idiot is fun. It just is.

I will leave you with a song that my friend T. share with me that made me break out into awkward spontaneous dance. Most music videos are now restricted from playback here, so you will have to click to “Watch on YouTube”.  Go ahead…dance like an idiot. It’s good for the soul. 🙂

From my heart to yours,


Love Lives within the Memories

The night before my father’s surgery, I could tell there was so  much on his mind that he couldn’t put into words.  It was late, we were all tired, and he stood up and announced he had to go to bed.  As we made our way down to the kitchen, he looked at my sister, my mom, and me and said: “I need you to help me write a will.”

We sat down together at the kitchen table, and my sister wrote as he expressed his wishes.  We understood that this was something that he needed to do as he was about to go into surgery and there are always risks with any surgery.  He wondered aloud just how detailed he should get.

But it brought forward some important reminders as I watched him struggle with what to include in his last will and testament.  I stood up and walked to the kitchen and pulled off a small little bear that sits by my windowsill.  I showed him the bear and told him this was my memory of  Grandma Perkins.

It’s not the bear itself that holds value, but rather the memory of my Grandma within it.  When I look at it, I can remember where it sat in her kitchen and the entire picture of her kitchen floods my mind…building detail the longer I hold onto that memory. It’s where she spent most of her time: cooking Sunday dinners of Roast Beef, potatoes, peas, the best brown gravy, and a Cherry or an Apple Pie for dessert.  I can remember her washing dishes with this little bear hanging off to the side of the sink. I can remember playing card games with her at the kitchen table. I can remember the progression of her smile when she looked at us Grandkids, a small glint of joy that transformed into an all out grin that held so much love and pride.

The bear is  meaningful to me, because my Grandmother created that memory for me.  She told me it was special, and would let me hold it once and awhile, but it always had to be returned to its home above the sink.  Now the bear lives above my sink and I tell my kids the same thing.

I was reminded of how important it is to create unique memories for my kids. I need to slow down. I need to focus on relationships.

What I value and hold dear about my father lives within summer holidays where we sit around a fire. It’s within the hour before the sun sets when we raid his raspberry patch.  It’s within the conversations we have while doing rounds in the combine at Harvest. It lives within his laughter when he gets a kick out of something.

Sometimes I lose track of what is truly important in life.  A big part of Reclaiming my life means finding balance within the mind, body, and soul so I can be the very best Mom I can be.  When you love yourself, it is then that you can truly love others and you can give without expectations of anything in return.  Life is about giving, loving, dreaming, growing, sharing, and moving forward.

It’s true that the important things in life aren’t things at all.

This was something that was on my heart this morning, so I thought I would share it with you.  Life is good.  My focus for this year will be on those I love, and I pray that I always remember to give more than I take.

From my heart to yours,


That Feeling

A dear friend of mine whom I’ve known and loved for years, asked me how I got to the point of where I am today of keeping the weight off.  I’ve always described to her that it’s a feeling, a stat-of-being that I can’t put my finger on and it’s difficult to describe through words, but you’ll know it when you get there.  It’s not a formula of exactly what to eat and how much to exercise.  It comes from within.

I’ve watched her transform as well over the past year.  She’s growing and changing and it’s been amazing to witness.  As we talked on the phone yesterday, she described to me how powerful she felt, how she felt self-respect, and self-confidence and didn’t quite know how she arrived there, but she felt it.  Eureka!  She’s there!  It was one of those moments that happen in life that you know you will always remember.  She’s on her own path of self-discovery!

That moment happened for me when I still had quite a lot of weight to lose.  I was still in the 200’s, but I knew with all of my being that I would reach my goal weight and keep it off this time.  I may have been far from my goal, but I already felt like I had arrived.  It was just a matter of time. Over my 20’s I had tried quite a few ways to lose the weight, but none of them felt sustainable and my drive and desire gave way to defeat.  Which, in turn gave way to eating more, moving less, and gaining even more weight than before.

So how can I explain the difference this time around?  The big change for me was that the positives of getting this part of my life under control outweighed the negatives of staying as I was. I was miserable, uncomfortable in my own body, and lacked self-confidence.  The drive and desire came from a place of refusing to no longer live life like I had in the past.

I truly didn’t feel strong enough to tackle what I knew would be a huge undertaking to lose 90 plus pounds, so I didn’t view it that way.  I set out a range of goal weights, the first being under 200, then second being 185, the third being 170, and finally the last goal weight of 165.  My weight just naturally settled at 150 by way of my lifestyle.

There are many ways you can choose to eat and exercise. I LOATHED exercising at one time, because I didn’t feel anything within.  It was just a chunk of time that I sweated my butt off, but I hated every minute of it.  It was that way at the beginning of my journey as well, but this time I forced through it because my mind was clear on my goals and my desire to move forward was strong.  There was no more excuses, no more “I’ll deal with it later”.

Before I knew it (it truly doesn’t take long), I could feel my mind and body getting stronger.  I was more coordinated.  I was more confident.  The negative inner banter fizzled away and was replaced with positive, because didn’t I deserve to be the woman I always wanted to be?

The mind is the most powerful tool, and to me it’s the one factor between success or failure towards a goal of any kind.  There’s no room for “I can’t”, or “maybe tomorrow”.  The time is right now because you say so.  When you change those thought patters, the weight will come off, make no mistake about it.

I’m not sure if I articulated what that feeling is, but I will tell you this…It’s amazing!  It transfers into all areas of life.  It turns the discouraged into the encouraged. But one of the greatest rewards is it turns one into an encourager of others.  Recently a friend told me I had the gift of encouragement (thank you!). I never looked at it that way before, but it truly is important to me to encourage and lift up others as I will always remember what it felt like to be stuck in a place where I didn’t feel that within.

From my heart to yours,


Live and Let Live

I usually run from conflict. I hate it.  Conflict gives me hives. It’s a part of life however, and you can’t always run from it.  Sometimes friends have a difference of opinion that they are both equally passionate about, but that doesn’t mean you love them any less.

I’m struggling how to write this post, because I do respect other’s beliefs and opinions.  I have very concrete beliefs and opinions myself.  But I do hope you all know that this blog is not about forcing my opinions onto others.  This blog is just a collections of insights and life lessons I’ve learned over the past 7 years as I worked to lose the weight and to keep it off.  This blog is not a platform for my faith.  I respect that we all have our own belief systems.

Having said that, I want you to know that I choose to Live and Let Live.

I don’t care who you love, what you look like, or what faith you are.  I accept my friends just the way they are and I won’t attempt to change your beliefs which are as sacred to you as my beliefs are to me.  That’s not to say I don’t have conversations about a difference of beliefs with my friends, but it usually evolves organically with a mutual respect for where the other is coming from.

This blog is about Reclaiming MY Life.  My intention with sharing these insights has always been to encourage and uplift others who may have similar struggles as I do.  I have chosen to show  not only the positive side of my life, but also some of the struggles and trials of my life as well.

Now, let me tell you it’s not easy to show vulnerability and sometimes it kinda feels like I forgot to put pants on in the morning and I only realized it while standing in the mirror department of Wal-Mart.  But, the reason I show that side is I don’t want you to think that my life is full of roses and sunshine since I lost the weight.  It’s not.  I’ve also experienced times in my life when I looked at another  woman and thought: what’s wrong with me, how is she so put together and I’m not!?

When I was at my heaviest I used to think “if only I could be thin, THEN I would be happy.”  Guess what, when I lost the weight I learned that although some of my struggles may have changed, I still had (and still have) a lot to deal with.

I realized that I put on the weight not just because I liked food, but also for protection as well.  I liked feeling invisible for many different reasons.  I didn’t voice my opinions, I chose to stay silent and didn’t really get to know others all that well.

I had to relearn what it is to share, to open up, to be vulnerable, to show my weakness, and my insecurities.  I am flawed, but I am not broken.  We are all flawed and imperfect.  That is what it is to be human.

The greatest blessing I have felt since sharing however, is it has given those that know me (and some that don’t know me…which is awesome) permission to do the same, because they know they are safe to do so.

So my opinion is to Live and Let Live.  You may not share the same outlook on life, and that’s absolutely your right.  But, since this is my blog, and I chose what I write about…I will say it once more…

Live and Let Live.

From my heart to yours,


The Most Real Post I’ve Ever Published

My first post of 2011.

What should I write.

“The New Year is a time where we take stock of last year’s hurdles, and resolve to move forward” Delete, delete, delete

“2010 was a great year, and I look forward to 2011 having learned…” Delete, delete, delete

Here’s the truth.

2010 was not a good year for me.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over, I’ve never looked forward to a New Year more.

I can’t look back at 2010 without being thankful for everything I learned however.  I reread a few posts from last year, and what struck me most was that I know how I was feeling when I wrote many of those posts, and at times it didn’t match up to what I wrote.  When I wrote to let the happy in, I was struggling to find happiness. Many of the posts felt like pep talks to myself, as I was dealing with struggles, conflicts, and loss (I can’t find the right word).

Having said that, I do wholehearted feel everything I write, but through loss it’s hard to cling to the positive and LIVE it.  Last year I felt loss over many areas of my life…within important relationships and also through the news of my father’s cancer diagnosis.  When I say loss, I mean that I lost a way of life/an outlook that I felt comfortable in.  I have reinvented many areas of my life, but change occurred slowly and on my terms. Life never presented quite so many hurdles as 2010 did.

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but it was a year of high highs and low lows.  I often felt like I was pretending to be happy when in reality there were many points throughout the year where I was far from it. Now, I say “was” because I’m taking big steps towards inner peace and happiness.  I’m making changes and I’m going to stop ignoring those things in life that I need to deal with as they feel intimidating.

One of those areas is my photography.  There is much to do when you are talking photography as a business.  In the past I’ve viewed it as a hobby. I can’t do that anymore.  It has taken me years to call myself a Photographer.  I used to say “I take photos on the side”.  I had a hard time putting value on myself as a photographer, because I was forever comparing my skills to others who have spent years on their craft. I compared my worst to their best.  It strips away the fact that we all grow as we work. We don’t start off great…the greatest things in life are those you work hard at.  It doesn’t come easy, and it’s not supposed to. I need to put value on my time because time is precious…this much I’ve learned over the past year.

I have to also add that 2010 wasn’t all bad.  There was a lot of happiness too and friendships found which grew through acceptance within the year.  And, as a dear friend pointed out to me, there was much laughter which came through the tears.  She also shared with me this quote: “The hardest place I’ve ever stood is the strongest place I’ll ever stand”.

I can’t wear a mask anymore, meaning I am focussed on just being who I am and learning to accept the good with the bad. Positivity doesn’t always come naturally to me, but I need to focus on the positive.  I need to feel pride. There will always be negative in everyone’s life…I know that.  But, last year I admitted to very few that I was struggling and that on many days I lived with a forced smile.  Why did I think I couldn’t be real with those that love me most?  When I finally did share some of my struggles with friends I felt close to, they also shared their struggles with me.  I don’t believe one should share everything with all, but we all have special people in our lives that we can share life’s challenges with.

I’m going to do something completely out of my nature (insert panic attack here).  A few days ago, I published this post. It wasn’t a good day for me, I was dealing with a lot at the time. After I published the post, I accidentally clicked the “photo booth” icon on my Mac (it’s an application that takes your photo from the inner camera on the screen).  Without meaning to, I clicked the red button that takes your photo while I was attempting to close out of the application, and this is what I captured.

It shocked me that I looked so sad but I decided not to delete it as it truly captured how I was feeling at that exact moment…it wasn’t pretty, but it was real.

The whole reason I gained 90 plus pounds over the course of a few years is because I didn’t allow myself to feel that, I used food as comfort.  Now that I no longer use food in that way, I’m forced to feel it, have myself a little pity party and then move on.  I often turn to exercise to get me through the tough times, as there is no better way to deal with pain in a positive way. There is always good that comes out of the bad, but I can’t pretend that life is great all the time, because it’s not.  I will always have choices however, and to get through a year that carried with it a lot of sadness and come out of it with a lot of positive and the desire to live with a zest for life is something that fills me with gratitude.

Make no mistake about it, I will always look for the silver lining. I just need to allow those I love to see my weakness and struggles because that’s how you build authentic relationships.  You let the real in.  There is such freedom when you let go of the control over how other’s may or may not perceive you.  As another dear friend wrote on her status the other day “(she’s) going into this New Year being true to herself. You cannot move forward or build sustainable, worthy relationships of value if you start off on false pretences. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but at least you’ll know what kind of tea you’re getting.” Wonderfully put my friend, and you absolutely are my cup of tea.

Life is good to its core, but you have to fight to move forward sometimes.  You have to make choices towards the bigger picture of living a life of pride and happiness.  That is what this new year means to me, so I welcome it with open arms.

From my heart to yours,