The Trap of Self-Deprecation

I was outside weeding my yard the other day, and I stopped to chat with a neighbour. She told me she was going to a woman friendly gym now. She expressed that she wasn’t comfortable working out in the “muscle head” zone and was happy to find a place to sweat with just women.

And it got me thinking that I was very thankful that I found my comfort in the gym I go to; where both men and women sweat freely.  But it also made me think about the fact so many find the gym atmosphere intimidating; and I was one of those once.  I tried to remember how that view evolved for me. Because it was a slow evolution into confidence.

Again, it comes down to a shift in my perception away from athstetics to training for my health and vitality. Learning to love my body for what it can do vs. how I “look”. These legs can run, these arms can embrace, this core keeps me stable, this back allows me to bend down and pick things up. Functionality to enjoy life better.

With that in mind, I went to my gym. I saw a regular there, and we paused to chat briefly.

She explained to me her challenges within her training, specifically around the body parts she wasn’t happy with. “bat wings” and if she dieted to lose more weight, it would affect how her ass looked. It made me uncomfortable to reduce her body to outward appearance, but more so I was uncomfortable because that’s the trap I have fallen into personally…the self-deprecating trap.

I’m writing about the woman’s point of view; because I am one. 😉 I’m sure men deal with this in a different manner. There was a moment within our exchange where I  could have validated the self-deprecation by adding in my own insecurities about my body. But at that moment, I made a conscious decision not to.

I said in reply “I think you look amazing. You see yourself differently than I do. And I am happy with my body”.

Because I have learned to be. Happy with who I am at whatever weight or level of fitness I happen to be at. Fitness is my outlet to pour whatever I happen to be going through…stress, anxiety, determination, the urge to push myself and see what I’m capable of, internal conflict…and spin it back to good vibes. I don’t care how I look while I’m doing it.

I have learned my worth is not determined by my frame; or the way my butt looks in a pair of jeans. But that sure is the marketing specifically targeting women “10 tips to get a lifted butt” —-> I’d probably get more traffic to this post if I labelled it that.

OK, let’s get real for a moment here, will the quality of my life be any more fulfilled if in fact my butt was lifted? ha!

And as women, wouldn’t it be better to skip the self-deprecating bullshit we impose, and just love ourselves in all the levels body/mind/soul?

How are we supposed to teach our daughters self-respect and worth if we are picking apart our own bodies in the mirror every day?

So I make a conscious effort to give myself a nod in the mirror. To look at my body in a way of love, and respect for the vehicle it is. A vehicle to take me places, love others deeply, and explore this world.  Going to the gym allows me to build a strong foundation to move more effectively and efficiently in everyday life tasks.

I hope to be able to explore life further when I actually have money saved to do so, and I recognize that’s in my later years.

If you don’t use it you will lose it.

I want to be Betty White old. Full of vitality!

Lift to build muscle. Eat quality to fuel your daily activity. Run/move to feel alive and because I’m able. Read this for further perceptive: https://reclaiminglifeblog.com/2015/03/25/the-face-of-ms/

But I refuse to stand in a gym and talk about all the things I don’t like about my body. It’s a disrespect to myself and devalues the totality of the woman I am, which has little to do with my bat wings or my not-so-lifted-tush.

That’s all I have to say about that!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

13 Years at Goal

I missed my 13 year anniversary of reaching my goal weight as I went away to the lake to visit family.  Last year was the year of Law of Attraction (thankful that has continued) and this was the year of Course Correction.

Keeping with tradition, here’s a few lessons I learned in year 13. I’m going to write this just as I would in my morning journal. Like a little wisdom letter from present me to past me (and hope for future me).

Course Correction

Time is a gift. Use it wisely. If something within my life isn’t working, correct my course. Even if it’s a small correction…it has the power to eventually change my entire trajectory. Align my actions with my values. I already know what those are.

Develop and Trust My Instincts

Listen to that inner voice within that guides me. Make good choices. Choices that matter! In order to truly listen and tune into that inner voice, I have to build it. I have learned that meditation, prayer and quiet time can strengthen instinct. Ask questions, be still and listen. Tune out distractions. Observe and pay attention.

Carve Out “Me Time”

Stop being addicted to busy. Busy is the new buzz word. “I’m soooo busy”. Ok, so is everyone else. But there’s always time for what’s important. And it is also important to take time for myself. Even if that means getting up earlier. Learn to centre myself so that no matter where I am, I can bring back that sense of peace and calm. Create my own little zen zone. Within my home and within my mind.

Be Quiet

This is still tricky for me! I adore good conversation. The kind that makes me think and re-evaluate my position. Question my past thought patterns. I respect those who make me think (and if you make me laugh, that’s double adore). But sometimes, I get so caught up in formulating a response, I miss the point. I also enjoy those who check me when I’m not listening. Thank you. So Listen to understand. Be quiet. Someone once told me that because they were so shy and reserved, they found out so much information about others because most people are uncomfortable with silence. They will fill it with truth talk. Be. Quiet.

Love is Not Attachment

Oooh this one almost needs it’s own dedicated post. But it’s all about knowing my worth and loving others purely without conditions.  Giving others freedom to walk away if they wish, and because I value myself, my worth is not dependant on another. When others walk….is there sadness? Will I miss them?  Sure.  But that doesn’t mean I feel bad about myself in any way. Everyone deserves love without conditions or expectations placed, and if I’m truly authentic…I’ll attract my tribe. And I will KNOW what is right for me and what is not. I can create a cool little circle of trust and connection. But it’s not attachment. Love is freedom.

Give without Expectation

Give with a thankful heart. If it’s rooted in guilt or to appease another…it’s not pure giving. Giving is a wonderful thing! It’s a way to give back to another I care about. So if I’m going to do it, make sure it’s pure unconditional giving with no strings attached. It’s one of life’s happy little gifts that costs nothing, and the rewards are always great.

Do What You Love

I have a shirt I bought years ago that says “Do what you Love”

Farm girls make a wood pile. May Long 2018

That phrase didn’t mean a lot to me until I became very intentional with my time and energy. I shifted careers in search of balance with my children. I work, they school, and together we meet after the day is done. It’s been an amazing shift for my kids and I. I truly do love what I do. I literally get paid to visit and help people. No matter where I am, if it’s in service of others, I’m all about it.  I find fulfillment within giving.  I’ve learned a lot about serving others at my job. I still come home with energy and that’s a wonderful thing!

Find the Ways My Body Enjoys Movement

The best form of exercise is the one you enjoy. Run. Jog. Walk. Kayak. Go for a bike ride. Lift heavy  things. Play a sport. Just play. Enjoy the freedom of challenging the body. That feeling of being alive within movement….oh it’s so good! Because if you don’t use it, you will lose it. That’s the truth.

Sit in Grief and Then Build the Good Stuff

No more running from the tricky stuff. Do I have the courage to sit within loss? Grieve. Let go. Actually feel the feelings, no more numbing anything.  Become comfortable within discomfort. And then focus on creating positive memories. Intentionally bring conscious awareness to the good stuff by bringing all the senses into an amazing moment. You see, that’s where a memory is built. Drink it in. Mindful and with intention.

Be Ever Mindful of My Energy

Energy is infectious. If it’s off, take time to get it right agin. And then spread the happy, uplifting, positive. You never know how that may impact another. I do know how uplifting energy has impacted my life. I am so grateful for the energy-givers in my world.

Find My Voice

I think I say this every year, but finding my voice has been a very long road. Sometimes the voice I use is not authentic; and I feel it in my soul when I don’t speak my truth. When I would rather appease than speak up. When I stay silent rather than standing up for what’s right for my heart. Check myself.  Words + Actions = Integrity.

Thank you to all who continue to uplift, support, and encourage me. I hope I do the same for you. I will keep on trying to do my best in that area.

I found a whole lot of happy and fulfillment this year, and I’m excited to keep on learning and growing. I don’t even fear the tricky stuff anymore. I do not fear loss or discomfort within the new. I’ve intentionally sought ways to be uncomfortable and challenge myself this year, and surrounded myself with others who do the same.

The challenge within transition builds a strength of character. You not only find out who you are in your spirit, but also who stands tall beside you.

And whatever you do…

Stand tall and proud.

One precious joy fill life.

Live it well my friends.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

How to Tweak your Program as Life Changes

I am figuring out a new schedule in the pursuit of balance. I am finding my way! I was honestly worried how I was going to balance it all, and keep on top of my health and wellness as I started a new job (which lacks movement).

It comes back to the tools…

I recognized early on in my losing phase, that I have these 3 core tools at my disposal. Ideally, they all work together for balance. But if I can’t focus as much on one side of the triangle, there are two others I can use and some weeks, just one (as I’ve come to understand).

When I had more time in my week (and at times my energy levels), I could eat well, get my cardio and strength training in and my healthy weight always stabilized.

Now…I have less time for the cardio/strength part, but I still make time for 3 workouts a week in. I schedule these as an important appointment I will not miss. It’s a choice. I now focus more on the nutrition/water side.

Which means weekly big cooks on Sundays so I always have healthy proteins/good carbohydrates/healthy fats on hand. Create a no fail environment as best I can.

My week-ends are my two big workouts, and I will not put them on hold for anyone. It’s a non-negotiable time because I know how important this element is to my mind/body/soul. I’m no good to anyone if I don’t take care of myself.

After Christmas I was up in weight, as I am every year. No biggie, but I also knew I was about to start a new job which was behind a desk. It’s been years since I did that type of work, so I was nervous.

I’m so happy to see what transpired by shifting focus and creating a new program. I was able to lose my holiday weight and stay on track. I’ve focussed on full body workouts and 4 main strength movements that are compound exercises (meaning more than one muscle group).  I’m working around a shoulder injury as well as healing an Achilles.

Squat

Deadlift

Rows/chinups

Presses/pushups

I start with cardio. 20-30 minutes and move into strength. I’ve added core work within the movements (engage core, add in a bosu, adjust lever length, put myself off-kilter like a single-leg deadlift, etc).

I’m sharing this today, because I had that urge to fall into my own excuses and self-imposed limitations. Ooooh, the urge can be so strong.

“I have no time”

“I have an injury”

There is always time if you make it.  There’s a gift in intentional time…I spend less time on elements that do not impact my life in a positive way.

I can work around my injuries and allow time to heal.  I do not focus on my weakness, but rather my strengths.

I alone am responsible for my health and wellness.

And I’m so thankful for the many tools at my disposal as life shifts and changes. Because it will….  There will always be changes and limitations.

I am the designer of my life (as are you). Quality life. Whole-hearted living. Balanced and joy-filled.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Meal Prep: A Week of Meals in Under Two Hours

Now that I’m on a different time-table, I have decided to do one big cook on Sundays that will last the week (rather than a couple cooks in a week).

As I type this it’s 7:00 p.m., and I started this big cook at 5:00.

I usually make 2 proteins. Some sort of veggies (often added to all the dishes). Healthy grains. And a soup.  I add a variety of veggies: onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, celery, etc. within some of the dishes.

So here are my meals for the week (and I can mix and match)…

Top left to right: Quinoa, Butternut Squash, Korean BBQ Chicken Breast with Mushrooms/Green Peppers

Bottom left to right: Ground Turkey/Veggies/Salsa, Spaghetti Squash, Mexican Taco Soup

I always do a ground turkey or chicken/veg fry which can be a topper for salads, omelettes, spaghetti, soup, or multi-grain wraps.

My sauce/seasonings to almost all proteins is olive oil, or Balsamic vinegar of Modena, or Salsa and whatever seasonings I enjoy: chilli powder, sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, etc. Pick your flava-flave.

The Veggie base to all proteins is usually onions, garlic, peppers, cauliflower rice, celery…whatever I have in my fridge. I tell the kids the specks of colour is flavour. They gobble it right up.

So fry your veg/ground turkey or chicken up using whatever seasonings/veg you like…

You now have a base for a whole bunch of different meals. Yay you!

Then throw some chicken breasts in the oven.  I enjoy a little Korean BBQ sauce and seasonings/veggies on top. I bake that while I’m frying up the ground chicken.

Meanwhile on another burner…I cook up some Quinoa. This can be served on the bottom of your ground turkey fry, with your chicken breasts, or made into a salad. A healthy carb with added benefit of protein. 2:1 water/quinoa.

I baked my butternut squash and spaghetti squash in the same oven. Cut it in half, drizzle with olive oil/a bit of brown sugar/cinnamon/salt/pepper. Roast skin side up at 375/400 for around 45 min. Squash is a tasty carb and full of vitamins/minerals/nutrients (also fairly low GI). It’s great fuel for workouts.

In a big pot I made my soup.  There’s this lovely family at the farmer’s market who sells soup kits. This one is Mexican Taco.  I added water/stock, and fried up the same base as I did the ground turkey (onions, garlic, peppers, cauliflower rice, celery, tomatoes). Then I mixed in the soup mix, and let that all simmer and chill for about a half hour.

That ground turkey or chicken topper? …put it on top of the soup after (so that topper can be used for other meals as well)

All my burners/oven were used. And while everything was cooking, I cut up some veggies to throw into baggies for snacks. Washed up some fruit for snacks too.

Now when I come home after work, it’s all there and ready for warming up.  I have a bunch of variety to pack for lunches too. No excuses not to eat healthy. For two hours of work, I save myself so much time and energy. Preparation is key for me.

I hope this helps! I get asked about meal prep often, so I thought I would devote a post to it. 🙂

Happy cooking!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Bringing it back to Love

I had a conversation the other day with a friend about health and fitness. She said to me: “but it’s easy for you, because you love working out.”

And as customary for me, I over thought that idea. Do I really love working out? Do I love the muscle fatigue when I get to set 3? Do I love the urging my body gives me to just get through a run even though I’d rather be chillin’ on the couch? Do I love visiting the grocery store with sleep nagging at my spirit after an evening shift…knowing if I don’t prepare for my week, I will make horrible nutritional choices?

What it comes down to for me can be surmised into one word…

Love

There was a time when I didn’t love myself and my obese frame was a reflection of my choices. I was stellar at loving everyone around me, but horrible at showing care for myself.

That’s exactly what this journey has been about for me. Unconditional Love, embracing the flaws and all.  The weight loss was a byproduct of finally taking care of myself: Mind, Body, Spirit.

I run because my legs are able and it clears my mind providing clarity.

I lift weights because it mimics life. If you don’t use it you will lose it. I want to be Betty White old…full of vivacious energy and zest of spirit.

All of those fancy weightlifting terms like “Squat, Deadlift, Row, Press”; these are all every day life activities. We all literally squat several times a day, every single time we sit down. We deadlift every time we drop something and pick it up. We row when we pick up our kids. We press when we put dishes away.

I see it as an investment into my children’s future. I want them to visit me at a cottage by the lake when I’m retired, not an old folk’s home.  I want to take care of myself; so no one else has to.

I now look at food as a vehicle to provide me energy, health and vitality.  It’s 100% MY choice. There’s no one else to blame around me for what I put into my body.

I used to play the blame game: if only chips weren’t brought into my house. If only my friend’s didn’t ask me to go for nachos (I will slice a bitch for a plate of nachos…clearly it’s a trigger food for me).

Whatever circumstances that bring you challenges surrounding making positive food choices (whether it’s donuts in the coffee-room, or no time in the morning for breakfast because of your fast paced life), these are your obstacles to overcome. You will either succeed despite these obstacles, or you can continue to blame. It’s all a choice. You have the power of that, and that’s ridiculously freeing when you exercise your right to choose.

I am honestly so thankful for these obstacles when I was not only losing the weight, but also into year 12 of maintaining.  I had/have to create fail-proof strategies to deal with my own issues surrounding food. I choose to turn that into power.

Two years ago, I was shopping in this quaint little store and I stumbled across a necklace that had the following inscribed on it in tiny lettering.

“You always have a choice”. 

I wear it often, it’s a constant reminder that I am the author of my life.

Every day I choose to bring it back to LOVE.

Love for myself.

For my children, family, friends, clients, coworkers.

For strangers I pass on the street. Positive energy is infectious.

I hope you choose LOVE toady in all you do, and if I happen to see you today…I will do my very best to send the most positive vibes your way.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

How to Lose Belly Fat

I used to think that you could target belly fat by doing specific exercises and focussing much time in the gym on Abs.

I look at it like this: there are 3 powerful components at my disposal to not only lose, but also maintain my healthy weight.

I can use these 3 tools in whatever capacity I need to as my lifestyle changes and life naturally follows the ebbs and flows of busy. Sometimes that means more focus on my nutrition and less on activity when my life gets hectic. And when I have more time, I focus on strength training, and less on the other elements (and vice versa with my cardio).

It’s an ever shifting balance but thankfully, the scales of balance have always levelled out for me. I enjoy eating (this girl can throw down at a dinner table), so I love that I have cardio/strength training to supplement that.

Pyramid of Tools:

Nutrition and Water

Resistance Training: Strength 

Aerobic Activity: Cardio

I quickly learned that weight loss is not localized and the most important tool within my control is my diet (that’s why it’s on the top of the pyramid).

Back to that pesky belly fat we all want to shed. Belly fat is visceral fat. You can strengthen the abdominal through exercise, but until you get rid of the visceral fat, you will not be able to see the fruits of your labour.

There is a saying “abs are built in the kitchen”.  Boy have I have learned this truth through the years. You simply can not out run a bad diet. There are certain types of foods you can eat that can help you lose weight, and when paired with exercise (both cardio and strength training), the belly fat decreases. Yay! That’s great news right?!

Another fun fact I learned, fat cells don’t disappear, they just shrink. WTF?! So there is no finish line for me, I have found a lifestyle I’m completely in love with which allows me to maintain my healthy weight, and practice gratitude for this healthy body. It’s an act of love to take care of myself.

So here’s some tips on the nutrition side of the pyramid:

Choose foods high in soluble fibre.

Soluble fibre absorbs water and helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system. Studies show this type of fibre promotes weight loss by helping you feel satiated so you naturally eat less.

Foods high in fibre:  pears, strawberries, avocado, broccoli, apples, raspberries, bananas, carrots, beets, brussels sprouts, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, split peas, quinoa, oats, popcorn, almonds, chia seeds and sweet potatoes.

Choose lean protein sources.

Protein raises your metabolic rate and helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss. A diet with a focus on lean protein, complex carbohydrates (think veggies/whole grains), and healthy fats will also help you to feel full and regulate your insulin.

Lean protein sources: fish, wild game, chicken, turkey, bison, beans/lentils, eggs, soy, cottage cheese, nuts/nut butters, protein powders (whey, soy, veg).

Cut out refined sugars.

There are countless studies linking belly fat with a diet high in refined sugars. Sugar is like a drug. It can feel impossible to control cravings when you ingest large amounts; personally, I try not to eat sugar “in moderation”. It’s a trigger food for me, so cutting it out as much as possible worked best for me. There’s no more roller coaster of energy…which wasn’t even true energy but rather spikes in my blood sugar. When you go up you must come down.

I choose foods that keep me coasting straight and steady. Like top rolled down on a converatable, hair in a scarf, sunshine on my smiley face. lol  I feel in control and have a steady source of energy from my food choices.

Food is fuel. Choose wisely. I can’t even begin to explain the amazingly positive difference in my moods, energy, and all around happiness when I gained control over my sugar addiction. My family is thankful for that change too. 😉

Avoid drinking your calories.

Most fruit juices, pops, cocktails are not only high in sugar, but the body does not process these types of calories the same as food counterparts. There really is no nutritional value to drinking orange juice, versus eating an actual orange and choosing water with lemon instead.  Fruit juices may contain some vitamins, but they also contain as much sugar as a soda pop.

Avoid foods that contain “Trans Fats”.

Trans fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain in studies. I know…yadda, yadda, yadddda. But seriously friends, read your labels. These are often listed as “partially hydrogenated” fats. Not all fats are created equal. Some fats are heart healthy like Omega-3 fats found in Salmon. Omega-3’s are termed essential fatty acids because the body can not produce them on its own and they are essential for health.

Drink Water

This is quite possibly the most important and simple tool at your disposal. I aim for 100 oz a day or 4 of those Costco contego bottles.

Track your nutrition with a free online app.

This not only helps me stay accountable, but it also gives me a valuable snapshot of my day and a look at my macro breakdown (Protein/Carbohydrates/Fats). I can clearly see how much sugar, fibre, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, and fats I am consuming every day. I do not focus on calories, but rather quality of my calories along with the activity I fit into my day. Knowledge is power. We all know to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body needs. I try not to make it overcomplicated.

Use Cardio as a tool.

Cardio is not only vital to heart health, but it’s an essential tool to burn calories. When you combine cardio with strength training to gain muscle, you can change your entire metabolic rate. Read that last sentence again and let it soak in, because it’s so freaking amazing. You can change your entire body composition!

For me, intensity is key. The human body is brilliant; it adapts quickly to whatever you throw at it. To avoid plateaus, I mix things up…always keep my body guessing. Add cardio into my strength circuits, go for different intensity runs through out the week, combine walking/jogging/sprints…just mix it up (plus I won’t get bored). Try new cardio activities: bike, swim, hike, get out with the kids and get active.  If you have the ability to run/move/jump/walk, you are so blessed. Many are not afforded that luxury. Look at it as a gift.

Build Muscle

Muscle is an active tissue, which means you are burning calories while you are chillin’ like a villain long after your workout. We naturally lose muscle as we age, so the only way to get muscle is to build it. If you build it, health will come.

Not sure where to start? Hire a personal trainer so you learn proper form and avoid injury. If you are in my area, send me a message. 🙂 And oh my my, it’s addicting, I just love my one hour of lifting time. I zone out and feel so powerful and full of pride. Results come quickly when it comes to strength training.

  • Use cardio to burn
  • Strength to build a strong foundation (like a house made of bricks)
  • Food to fuel your amazingly beautiful life

It’s as simple as that for me; and my happy weight was a byproduct of that equation (along with a healthy dose of self-love).  Treat YOU just as you treat those you love most in your life.

Reduce stress and get your sleep.

Studies have linked the stress hormone “cortisol” to increased belly fat storage as well as increased appetite.  Do whatever feeds your spirit in a positive way: go for a walk/run, try yoga, go kayaking, go for a hike surrounded by beauty.

I mean come on my friends!!!! Look at this amazing planet we live on….move as the body is designed to and soak up the beauty around you.

Practice gratitude for all the blessings in your life, and start your day off that way (listen to Peter). We may not be able to control the stressors in our daily life, but we can control our perceptions and outlook. It’s in HOW we handle that stress that’s most important.

Move more, eat quality, feed your body/mind/spirit in love, rest, be ever grateful…repeat.

The body is a miraculous machine, it’s always in a state of healing. When I think about the years I abused by body with no activity and highly processed foods, I’m amazed it just kept on urging to move.  Yes, it can feel like it takes a long time getting that weight off, but when you compare it to the years spent abusing it….it’s not even comparable.

What took me almost two decades to put on, my body responded in love within 18 months (and I had my beautiful girl in the middle of it all). How amazing is that?! So very grateful.

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

12 Years at Goal

Today is the 12 year anniversary of reaching my goal weight. Every year, I write a blog post of what I’ve learned through another year of maintaining. I don’t think there’s enough time to articulate all the lessons I’ve learned this year, but if I could sum it up, it would be the year of Law of Attraction.

You attract what you think about. Thoughts become things.

Further to just “thinking” about the elements you wish to attract into your life, you have to put in the work. The action. So I think it’s more accurate to say my thoughts turned into actions this year and I stopped simply dreaming and starting putting those dreams to work.

I have a better understanding of who I am as a Mom, sister, daughter, friend, trainer. I focussed less on what I knew well…my escape and comfort zone of photography, and more time on the act of being purposefully uncomfortable. Nothing grows within your comfort zone. I have spent every morning for over a year focussing my thoughts during my Miracle Morning. It has transcended into every facet of my life in a way I could have never imagined.

It has definitely not been easy to focus on my thoughts on the positive… every. single. day.  Nor has it been easy to turn my thoughts back to Love when negative emotions creep into my day. We are rooted within two emotions. Love and Fear. What am I choosing in my day? That has been my soul seeking quest for months, to not only find answers; but to always bring the answer back to Love.

Among the most important life lessons of this past year is Happiness is a Choice. When I take the time to get up early and set my mind up in a positive, goal-dreaming/action orientated way… my day (most often than not) has aligned itself magically right along with whatever I have focussed on. 😉

I still seek balance…

There’s always an hour in the week to MAKE time for a glass of red with a friend. The kind of friends who support and uplift you and want the best for you. They celebrate your successes, and support you through the hard times. Pick wisely the energy you are around. It’s contagious.

The 80/20 rule still works for me. I’m on point with my nutrition 80% of the time, and the other 20% I relax and just eat mindful (even if it’s a nice meal out).

If I have nothing to laugh about in my life, or if my life isn’t that “fun”…. I can create fun. Live a little and laugh at yourself. Seek out positive, uplifting people who share the same mind-set as you. Just be yourself, and like-minded people will be drawn to you. Authenticity attracts authenticity. Let your weird flag fly.

If you are over 30, start lifting weights. As we age we naturally lose muscle mass, and the only way to get it back is to build it. You will not get bulky, but rather think of it like you are building a home on a foundation of bricks. You walk taller with better posture, and you won’t hurt yourself doing mundane tasks….because of the bricks thingy. Don’t know how to lift with proper form? Go hire a personal trainer. 😉 Oh and your metabolism will thank you too.

I have definitely become more humble this year. I have been knocked down a peg or two, and I’m so grateful for that.I’m more outgoing in some ways, and more protective in others. I have laughed a lot, and worked through a lot too. I am more grateful, compassionate and empathetic. I love deeper and I’m more open; however, I learned the important lesson of putting up boundaries to honour what I need at this stage in my life. It’s an act of self-love. You can’t give so much to everyone and not take care of yourself. You will pay the consequences if you do, in your body/mind/spirit. And those who truly love you will understand and respect those boundaries.

Most importantly, I go into another year uplifted, hopeful, and thankful. Being at my healthy weight still feels new to me, even 12 years later. There’s no going back, only forward living with pride and a gratitude.

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine