Weight Loss is a Byproduct of Self-Love

I had an epiphany this morning as I was journalling.

Taking good care of myself, and in turn others, is the highest form of self-love.  Long-term weight loss has been possible for me, not because I have attempted to fit into a certain size clothing nor because I was striving to achieve societal standards of what a woman “should” look like. It truly is a byproduct of Love…simplifying the way I am intended to live.

~Within Love~

This is how we are designed right from the moment we were but one single cell.

To ignite the fire of change within your lifestyle, all it takes is a shift of your perspective away from the pressure of aesthetics and instead onto love. 

I’m going to attempt to explain my thought pattern here; however, it’s tricky to articulate a feeling.

I show respect for my body by eating foods high in nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, nutrients) so I have the most energy for my life and my kids as possible. I understand there are certain foods that trigger emotional eating for me, so I create a no-fail environment. If I’m tempted to eat my trigger food, I actually put myself in the emotional state that I feel after I eat them. Sluggish, self-deprecation, loss of control.  Those are not the thoughts I want to live within, so no thank you 🙂

I have the ability to pick my fuel, and so why would I pick low-quality fuel such as simple carbohydrates which quickly convert into sugar and have me on a roller coaster of temporary energy only to crash moments later? My goal is to feel my best physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So I will choose foods that come from the earth and have an expiration date. 🙂

I am thankful for my health and the ability to move freely.  Think about the times when you are sick with the flu and bed-ridden, how grateful are you when you feel better? You have this new lease on life, and you breathe deeply with gratitude. Those feelings can fade quickly however, and we fall back into complacency and forget that our health is a gift.

I will always be reminded of this as my sister is confined to a wheel chair because of MS. She would give ANYTHING to get up and run again.  To take that for granted would not only be selfish of me; but a huge disrespect and disservice to my sister. I know exactly how she would be living today if MS had not robbed her physical health. She would run circles around me with her characteristic Janice laugh. So I will run because I’m able. And I’m so very grateful for the ability to run, jump, move, and grow in strength.

The human body is a miraculous machine, the more you challenge it with new movements within your abilities, the stronger and more agile you become. How amazing is that?!

I will drink lots of water as we are made of water. Common sense tells me it’s essential for optimal health. And truly, what an easy way to maintain health. Just march right up to your tap and pour yourself a glass. Further to that, I am blessed that I have running water and a fridge stocked with food. Many are not afforded that luxury.  I remind myself of that often when the most ridiculous excuses creep into my mind and out of my mouth “I don’t have time to eat right and I don’t like the taste of water.”  I can’t imagine saying that to someone who does not have access to clean water nor a grocery store down the street (and money to buy a weeks worth of groceries).

And finally, I will strive everyday to live a life of purpose, gratitude, pride and love. Invest in my spirit so that I can love others wholeheartedly. Give of my time and abilities to those who need it most; just as I have needed it so many times in my life when I was unsure about my future and overwhelmed with sadness.

Listen more, talk less. Connection with others lies within meaningful communication which is a two-way street. How many conversations have I had that are ego based, formulating my response without listening to the words of another? Be aware.

This is a my journey to love myself because I need my kids to love themselves too.

This is a call to be the best version of myself because I have this one precious life, and time is valuable. Use it wisely.

What kind of life do I want to live? Even during times when I’m not exactly where I would hope to be at certain stages, I still had the luxury of time and the ability to turn another’s day around with a little uplifting and kindness. Giving is so good for the heart and soul.  It connects us to one another.

Spread a little positivity.

Laugh freely.

Smile for no other reason than the fact I have my health today when another maybe living in a hospital bed. My happiness does not come from others; but rather from within and a higher power.

Run or go for a walk today because you are able.

Eat healthy foods today because you have the ability to make a choice in the fuel you put into your body.

Living in gratitude and love is a choice. Today (and everyday) I choose a life of wholehearted living. How ridiculously amazing is that my friends?!!? ha!

I hope this post made sense, I had quite the morning of thinking. I wish for you a life full of pride, joy, and purpose.

From my grateful heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

The Importance of Framing your Day

I have written about “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod a few times on this blog.  The reason this book resonated with me so much, is because the practice of getting up an hour earlier to frame my day the right way has become an integral part of my life. I used to roll out of bed, jump right into the shower and get swept up by the rush of my morning. My mind was overtaken with to-do lists, and all the tasks I had in front of me.  That became overwhelming most days.

Fast forward to this stage of my life, I start my day off with reading/writing/dreaming/thinking/positivity. I focus on gratitude. On the good. On the I CAN’s and I WILL’s. On pride and acceptance.  I dream with a thankful heart. I set my goals. Along with the cascading rays of the rising sun that seep into my living room, positivity floods my mornings and that Zen Joy lives in my heart. How amazing is that?!

Here’s my newest read, I highly recommend it. It’s a badass book, and I’m having a hard time putting it down. When I do put it down, I think about it. I’m addicted to reading it. Go ORDER it.

My Mom can attest to this fact: I am not a morning person. I will reframe that statement now, I have LEARNED to become a morning person. I can’t believe all these years I held the power to change that about myself. I lived with many self-imposed labels. Overweight. Negative. Fearful. Procrastinator. Comfortable. Complacent.

Why did I do that to myself? I was living within destructive limiting beliefs. I type-casted myself and resigned to a false sense of self-image created within my mind.

Well now, that is just unacceptable.

So now, each day I ask myself some pretty important questions.

~Who do I want to be?  Go be that.

~What do I want to achieve in life?  Go do it. It’s so much more than dreaming; I have to put in the work. Believe in my abilities and tenacious spirit. Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Revisit each goal as I make progress. Set new goals. Be proud of my progress. Get excited about future work. Repeat. 🙂 Think about someone you are envious of in regards to the way they live their fabulous life. You can live your life that way too if you want. Exciting fact!

~What am I thankful for today?  No matter what is happening in my life…there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.  I have a warm home, food in my fridge, amazing kids/friends/family/clients. I have my health, the ability to lace up my shoes and go for a run in the sun. I have freedom to make choices, to learn, to live out-loud.

I was talking to my friend Joe at the gym today, and I asked him how he was doing. He replied with the most emphatic enthusiastic “GREAT!” Ooooh really….that’s amazing, what is so great about your life now?! I asked.  He then explained that he just ran into a long-time friend who was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, and had his prostate removed. This friend is younger than he is, and here they were both working out along side one another at the gym, with thankful hearts and positive spirits. He told me that he was so grateful for his health and he had absolutely nothing to complain about.

His words touched my heart and I became overcome with gratitude that I too had my health. I worked harder than I usually do. I even did burpees, and I detest burpees; however, Joe does them all the time. Because he uplifted me today, I sucked it up and did them too. And then I came home and did a bunch of meal prep with all the nutritious foods in my fridge so I can fuel my body with quality.

I hope you all have an amazing day, and maybe tomorrow you will set your clock and get up an hour earlier to frame your day YOUR way. If you do, drop me a line and let me know. Positive momentum is in fact infectious.

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

The Zen Joy Project

Many years ago, I was sitting in an airport waiting room along with other travelling-waiters. I noticed this woman sitting across from me, and I was struck by her peaceful nature. Her young kids flanked either side of her. Her one son laid his head on her lap, and she slowly stroked his hair. Her other son, laid his head on her shoulder. All around her the impatient energy was palpable in the air. No one wanted to be waiting in this holding cell of anxious travellers. Yet, it appeared there was no other place she would rather be. Her energy was one of joy, peace and gratitude. ZEN JOY. It was one of those life moments you carry with you in your memory bank.

I inwardly vowed that one day…I too would find that Zen Joy. Not from any external sources, but truly from within.

Now, I should tell you, at that point of my life, I was struggling with so many inward battles. None of which were known to many who loved me. I was neither zen, nor was I happy. But I pretended to be.

Airport Mom was the first person who introduced me to the possibility of true inner happiness. It’s not to say that she didn’t have trials and adversity in her life, I also understood that she most likely dealt with the same tricky balancing act all of us Moms face.

After that I was acutely aware of that energy when I saw it.

And then I met another Zen Joy girl in Jamaica. Amanda…

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This time I was more determined to figure out how she carried such zen joy, so I had a long conversation with her. She was very thankful and grateful for her job. She traveled two hours there by bus, worked her shift at a 5 star resort for very little money by Canadian standards, and traveled two hours home. Repeat. Yet, she was so ecstatic for this amazing opportunity to work and she did so with joy. She was surrounded by privileged travellers complaining about room service options and wait times for dinner reservations. I will always remember her and her infectious smile. What a beautiful soul.

Through out the years, I have encountered more Zen Joy people.

I met a girl at the gym named Michele, who incidentally is now a good friend of mine; she attacked each workout at the gym with so much energy and joy. It always stood out to me. And now in getting to know her, I understand that she has overcome a lot in her life, and she truly appreciates the blessings in her world. She strives everyday to work on herself and raise her kids to be stellar people. She exudes authenticity, positivity, and gratitude. She lives passionately and vivaciously. She’s also brutally honest with herself and with others. A character trait I have come to appreciate and need in my life.

An enthusiastic woman named Patti came into my world at life’s perfect timing. She’s an amazing Zen Joy person. Every. Single. Day. she works on her character, heart, body, and soul. She gives freely. Loves deeply. Is so empathetic to other’s emotions. One day as we had unexpected time together, she presented me with a hand-knitted infinity scarf. What she said to me will always live in my heart. “I thought of you with love within ever inch I knitted of this infinity scarf”. When I wear that scarf I feel loved! ha! How amazing is that, and what a gift to my soul. Thank you.

And then there’s Linda Lou, another Zen Joy woman who gracefully traveled into my heart at perfect timing. Oh my, if you have the privilege to be around her energy, you WILL smile and feel joy. It’s impossible not to. She uses her time to uplift others. In fact, we will be working together; and she will drop everything to march up to another just to tell them something she genuinely appreciates about them. ha! It’s fascinating to watch honestly. And then she marches back to me and continues to work with every ounce of energy she has.

There was one more instance of a Zen Joy person that stands out within my mind. I was going to Farmer’s market one day, and this guy rode by on his bicycle. He was so happy, ear to ear smile! He walked around the market, talking to people, and I immediately saw his Zen Joy in how he treated others. He took the time to visit, laughed effortlessly, and looked people in the eye as they talked. I often give people nick names if I don’t know them, I called him Beautiful Jesus. He kinda looked like Jesus and his energy truly was beautiful. ha!  I don’t know how Beautiful Jesus is so zen and full of joy; but in talking with other Zen Joy people, I have noticed a common theme.

Their lives are not without adversity and tails, quite the opposite. They have grown in grace and beauty because of the problems in their lives. They perceive it differently, grateful for lessons learned as they navigate the storms in their lives (which they understand will pass).

They live with sincere gratitude.  A thankful heart. They know that nothing is guaranteed in life, so enjoy the good times. And if good times are few and far between, create it.

They see each day as an opportunity to live passionately and with joy. A gift.

They understand this life needs to be lived out-loud, using their voice wisely to uplift and encourage and not complain and discourage.

They CHOOSE joy. They laugh freely. Give more than they take.

They are at peace with who they are as people. Authenticity rains within their spirit.

I waited a long time to blog about these Zen Joy people, because I was only going to do so when I felt like I too was becoming a Zen Joy chick myself. I’m so grateful to say, that while I may not encompass that every single day…I can feel that zen hugging at my spirit often now. And Joy is something I feel often. My smile is one of gratitude for every shred of happiness I encounter in my day.

When you spend some time in darkness, the light is so sweet. Oh man is it sweet.

I wish for you Zen Joy, and if you are at a place you don’t feel that…I hope you will open your eyes and heart to the possibility of it. It does not come from “things”; nor does it come from others. It’s all you my friends. And within your control to feel it. Perception is your reality.

From my Zen Joyful heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

More Beautiful for Being Broken

I haven’t posted in a while, but I sure have learned a lot in the one hour of quiet time I’ve etched out for myself within my day.

I have journalled and read a lot, it’s been a cathartic process.

This last week, I have felt a shift within myself; I’m not sure how it will translate into tangible changes within my life, but I do know I’m changing. After years of being stagnant within different facets of my life; I’m so thankful that change is happening in several areas. So I’ll leave you with this morning’s journal entry:

January 26, 2017

It occurred to me today that after going through this year, I have no other choice than to drop the mask I’ve worn for years and stand in my truth. I am drawn to other mask-smashers/truth-standers. The ones who admit their faults, are brave enough to live out loud, vulnerable to admit they are struggling and don’t have the answers, and humble enough to seek help. Divine intervention…I understand that term in my way now.

These special people carry a certain energy within how they relate to others and how much they give and receive. I have learned they come in all ages. Some figure it out at an early age, and others like myself, take more time. But it is undeniable when I meet one. We can quickly connect and relate to one another’s struggles even if they differ. They no longer seek validation from the outside world. They are not afraid to sit within their pain, understanding the necessity for it.

Not to say it’s easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. No more numbing it or masking it with anything.

I’ve become defiant within my right to feel whatever feeling comes my way through this process. I was once afraid to feel anger, loneliness, weakness. You have to feel that to rebuild an authentic strength. I own my pain. I welcome it in and nurture it like my child. It is mine to learn from and grow within it. And I know God loves me just as I am, in whatever stage of broken humbleness I am. Come as you are.

I read about a process called “Kintsugi“:

Kintsugi (金継ぎ?, きんつぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い?, きんつくろい, “golden repair”),[1] is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered goldsilver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique.[2][3][4] As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

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ORIGINAL IMAGE FOUND AT LOVEUMENTARY.COM/THE-ART-OF-BEING-BROKEN

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paigebradley.com/sculpture/metamorphosis/expansion/

This process of transforming broken into beautiful really resonated with my heart. Pride has often gotten in my way, but I’m learning a new version of pride. The one that arrives softly and humbly as I understand the process of letting go and starting over from the bare foundation.

I will let tears flow freely if they arrive, I will laugh often as I appreciate the sweet irony of this beautiful life, I will embrace change as I understand it is necessary, and I will walk the path of alone because I know I am never truly alone because of my faith and the blessings within relationships I have come to honour and respect deeply.

I have a voice, even if it is unsure and full of self-doubt at times. It will grow in strength if I build upon it, just as I know how to do in the physical body.

I am not failing just because I am not where I “expected” to be at this stage. Maybe I’m exactly where I need to be.

Eyes wide open.

Vulnerable within new experiences.

Humble and hungry for knowledge.

I can see pain within others, especially the ones who aren’t ready to feel it. Who are running from it, numbing it with external factors. Clinging to their masks like life-preservers.

If this is you, I want you to know that you will not drown. Quite the opposite. You will rise up within authenticity. Be brave my friends. You’ll be OK. You are more beautiful for being broken.

For years I never allowed myself to feel hunger, or pain or anger for that matter. I feared and pushed away the very elements where I would find myself again. As I let go of material possessions, relationships, the ability to control my environment…even time. I found my strength and awakened a part of me I lost.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

10 tips on Staying Sane Through a Divorce

Further to my last post (which was pretty heavy, I promise this one is back on track with the uplifting), I was thinking about all the helpful tips and advice I received from others who have traveled this path as well.

So if you are on this road too, here’s some tips that just may help you too.

1: Put on lipstick everyday.  This is just an euphemism for getting up out of that comfy bed, getting dressed in whatever clothes make you feel awesome, and walking out the door with your head held high. There’s a saying to dress for the job you want. It’s kinda like that, but it will make you feel put together. Trust me, it helps. This tip came from a very dear friend courtesy of her divorce attorney. lol

2: Watch this: http://www.littlethings.com/truth-bomb-mom-good-enough/  So good.

3: Listen to amazing music, the kind that lifts your spirit and you can’t sit still. Your shoulders dance on their own. Music is pretty healing to the soul.

4: Surround yourself with uplifting people.  I have the most supportive, uplifting circle of friends and family. And believe me, when you go through this, you won’t have to wonder who your true friends are. It will naturally evolve. The ones who want to walk out of your life will, and let them. Wish them well. Never chase anyone.  Aaaaand you will make new friends…like-minded ones because you are finding yourself and becoming more authentic. I recently had coffee with a new friend who reached out to me, once a stranger, simply because he wanted to surround himself with uplifting people. He told me I carried that positive vibe, and that’s how our friendship started. Though the power of positive. And we only talk about positive uplifting thingies every now and then when we need a pick-me-up. So go find those people who make you feel awesome, and make them feel awesome too.

5: Give Zero Fucks what anyone thinks of you. Seriously, that time has past…there is nothing more humbling than going through a divorce and the stigma that goes along with it. lol Spend time every. single. day. on your goals and aspirations for your future. And then trust your inner instinct. The haters are going to hate. That’s just how it is. This was a fact before you got divorced. So let it go…
toodalooo

6: Give it a year. Oh man, I heard this from so many people, and at the beginning a year sounded like 10 years. It’s so true though! Trust that within one year’s time, you will feel better. You will have a confident handle on your new normal. And you will have fought to etch out your very own life built the way you want it. You may not be there now, but you will be. You will be OK. Better than OK.

7: Give yourself permission to nap. This was a hard one for me, because I felt like I was failing and couldn’t understand why I was so tired all the time. But you have to understand that this process is the most emotional draining process I have ever met. So be gentle with yourself. Rest when you can. Don’t feel guilty about it. And then get up and put on lipstick 😉

8: There’s a time to hermit, and there’s a time to get out and have fun. You’ll know when it’s best to do either one. Trust what you need. But whatever you do, weave some fun into your life. You need to laugh just as much as you need solace. Remember there’s a season for both.

9: Reach out to others, ask for help when needed, and talk about it. Your loved ones want to be there, and if they haven’t reached out in the way you thought, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. Many people don’t know what to say, or what you need. So be blunt about what you need. Talk. Talk. Talk.

10: Start saying No. You are in a different season of life, you can’t give to others like you used to. It feels selfish, but think about your energy reserves like a gas tank. You only have so much of it for the day. Use it up on where you NEED to. Your kids, your career, life tasks, the essentials in life. And whatever you have left, make sure you give to yourself too. Staying on track with my fitness was essential in this process. It empowered me. Made me feel alive, even when I was numb.  You will get back to a place where you are able to give again, but give it time. And everyone around you will just have to deal. lol

I wish you much healing, self-love and discovery through your journey! Be kind to you. You got this. 🙂

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The Disconnect within Connection

We all crave connection. It’s a fundamental human need. That’s why there’s so much time spent online. Facebook, twitter, instagram. It’s a virtual world of human connection. We spend more time on our phone virtually talking to others than we do actually connecting with another person face-to-face. What’s ironic is by searching for connection in this way, it creates a disconnect in life.

I hear this a lot and I’ve also convinced myself of this from time to time. I’m too busy to workout and eat right. It’s not that we don’t have time, it’s that we don’t use our time wisely.

I used to think that I used food as a tool to numb. I think it’s more accurate to say that I used food to feed a feeling of emptiness. One that could have been fed by healthy elements.

I took some time to truly think about the ways I feel full and content within mind and spirit.

Connection

How often have you tried to have a real conversation with someone who is looking down at their phone while you talk? It’s impossible. It makes the other person feel undervalued. Through that disconnect, it sends a message that their time is more precious than yours.

Put down the phone, you will not find true connection there. One thing I’ve learned through getting to know others at the gym, is that if I take the time to listen to others within authentic conversation, there’s no end to the life lessons that can be learned. I love going to the gym at the time when older people are there, because through every conversation I’ve had with them, I’ve learned something. They could be falling into the trap of sedentary life if they choose, but they don’t. They show up, work hard, and slow the hands of the aging clock with heart-healthy activity. They are not distracted by the binging of notifications from their phones. When they talk to me, they look me in the eye. They listen. They understand that time is fleeting and precious and they use that time to their advantage. They understand what it is to be connected to another person through being truly present within conversation.

Exercise

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I realized one day on my run that I have never felt more alive than within that uncomfortable moment. My lungs were screaming for air, my legs felt like they had weights attached to them, the cold air whipped at my face making my eyes water. Yet within the physical discomfort, I was never more aware of my strengths and abilities of my body. I’m certainly not aware of that as my body sinks into the indentations of a couch. 😉

Our bodies are designed to move, run, jump, lift. If we challenge our muscles they will grow. If we exercise our heart, it will beat more efficiently with strength and determination. What’s more alive than that? There is nothing “alive” about losing muscle mass as we age, and clogging our arteries with fried foods. We are betraying our bodies if we give into complacency. Get moving. Feel alive!

Eat foods that transform into energy. Isn’t that amazing: that you can fuel your body to perform at its peak. It’s within our power to choose our fuel. It takes just as much time to eat crappy food void of nutrients and vitamins as it does to choose vibrantly coloured food full of life.

The Uplifting

You know what feels amazing? To uplift another person through genuine appreciation. To truly recognize the light within another’s spirit. To ignite a fire within their soul through recognition. To see their worth and celebrate it. To give more than you take. To make others laugh and feel amazing about who they are as people. THAT is gold. You want to feel uplifted? It starts in giving. Not receiving.

Positive Out, Positive In

I say that phrase an annoying amount, because I believe in it with my whole heart.  Negativity is exhausting. It’s soul crushing. Nothing grows within a negative environment. It’s an energy sucker.  Maybe you are searching for positivity right now. Well let me be a little source of positivity within your day and tell you that to attract positive you have to put it out. Every time a seed of negativity tries to implant within your mind, cover it with positive. It takes practice especially during times of adversity; but there is always something to be grateful for in life. Something good to see through wounded eyes. A little ray of sunshine within darkness. If you focus there, on the good…it will grow and spread.  Whatever positive you put into this beautiful world, it will come back ten fold.

Spirituality

I have found my worth within God’s grace. There is no one I need to seek validation from, because He’s the only one I need to seek. I have turned my back from my faith from time to time, but I have found so much peace and joy through the power of prayer. His grace is sufficient for me.

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Authenticity

One good thing that has come from my life falling apart, is that I have gained a sense of confidence and clarity of purpose within rebuilding my life. I wore a mask for a long time, and as it crumbled away, I had no choice but to stand within vulnerability and own my life. Yup, here I am… scars and all. Perfectly imperfect. I no longer care what others think about me. I can’t begin to describe the freedom I have felt as I leaned broken but wholeheartedly right into authenticity. I know exactly who I am. I will not judge you. I will stand beside you with empathy, understanding, and compassion. If you judge me, that’s on you. It doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. Not one bit. Peace 🙂

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This year, one of my goals was to experience true joy again. Now it’s a tough goal to pinpoint when I’ve actually reached it. I can confidently say that I’m well on my way. I have realized that joy can be found within life’s ordinary moments if I become present in the right now.

Joy lives…

Within my children’s laughter.

Within the trails of amber on a fall day as I run to clear my mind.

Within embarrassing awkward moments that naturally fall into my lap as I am in fact awkward (which I’ve learned to own).

Within the pride I see in another’s eyes as they persevere through a tough workout.

Joy is present and abundant within a conversation over coffee with a good and pure friend.

Joy in the little things. Joy in the everyday. Joy in the anticipation of a tomorrow full of promise.

I smile a little more freely each and every day. Laughter comes right out of nowhere. And that’s ridiculously amazing my friends.

I hope today you find some time to truly connect with another person and feel alive in all you do.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

A Challenge for You ~ Dream a Little Today

Good Morning! I have a challenge for you today. It’s about dreaming and aspiring.

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I want you to write absolutely everything you dream, want and hope for your children. If you don’t have kids, pick someone you love a ridiculous amount. If you could wish for success in every facet of their lives, what would that look like?

Break it down into the core needs of every person. Physical, emotional and spiritual.

What would you want your kids to know as they embark into a life of independence?

What I want for my kids:

Physical: To stay active in body which also filters into the spirit. To take care of themselves out of respect and love for who they are as amazing people. To push outside of their comfort zone a little each day, to the best of their abilities. To never fear the uncomfortable; but rather embrace it so they can get stronger. To run because they have legs that allows them to. To fully experience the strength of the human body if you just challenge it. I hope they enjoy their rest days too, balance is key.

Emotional: I want my kids to truly understand their worth so they will only ever accept respect from others. I know they are raised with a great value system and place importance on how they treat others. So I wish that they not only accept the same in return but expect it (because they lead by example). And further to that, I hope they will put up boundaries where they need to or let go of friendships/relationships that don’t align with who they are as people. You can let go of people and still be respectful. I hope they have high self-efficacy…that core belief in their abilities to reach any goal they set their mind to. I hope their self-esteem is ridiculously high; yet they stay humble and modest. I dream for their happiness. The kind of happiness that they exude in every action and reaction. That they will have an authentic positive energy that is infectious to others.

Spiritual: I hope my kids will always look to God for their strength and understand that they are a very tiny speck in this universe. They have been given one life to live so do so with purpose and direction. I hope they take time to be grateful daily for every blessing in their lives and pay it forward.

So what do you dream for those you love? Write it down now and then before reading further, come back to this post. I’m patient I’ll wait 😉  (insert elevator music here…actually I’ll go find a song)

 


Now here’s your last challenge: After you write it all out, read it again but reframe it within your mind…What if these are also the hopes and dreams for yourself? Have you quit dreaming for yourself too? I hope not.

We put so much of our hearts and souls into those we love; and we lose ourselves within dreaming for others.

It’s not only OK to dream for yourself (it’s not selfish), it’s necessary.

How do we expect our children/loved ones to learn from us if we have checked out of life? One foot in front of the other…day after day. Settling for comfort zones, the uninspired, the average.

If your kids approached you and said “I’m really looking forward to a life of mediocrity where everyday is like ground hogs day. I will live in complacency. I will fear challenge. Maybe I’ll live with you forever because it sure is comfy here and you have a well-stocked fridge.”   Would that be Ok with you? Of course not…so don’t settle for that in YOUR life too.

Read those dreams daily. Take action for not only those you love, but for yourself too. Because you are ridiculously amazing and worthy of an amazing life rich in purpose and happiness.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

11 Years at Goal ~ Finding Purpose within Pain

Today is the 11 year anniversary of the day I reached my goal weight.  Going into year 11, I’ve moved away from placing importance on what the scale says. In fact 3 years ago, I made a conscious decision to put my scale away and take it out once a month. I record the weight in a log, and in looking back at it, I can see my life is pretty predictable when it comes to weight.

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It follows the ebbs and flows of my life. Up at Christmas and summer holidays and down in the spring and fall as I run in the sun. By seeing that pattern and knowing that I will always live an active lifestyle fuelled by nutrient rich foods, it has allowed me not to worry so much about that 10 pound fluctuation.

This year, more than any other year, has brought with it a whole lot of change in my life. I have fulfilled a decade old promise to myself that I would one day be a personal trainer/life coach. I started my Personal Trainer job in February of this year and I absolutely love it. I wake up excited to go to work everyday and that’s ridiculously amazing.  Through my experiences losing the weight and maintaining, I believed I could make a significant impact in the lives of others with similar struggles. I want to motivate others to be the best version of themselves and support them to actualize their full potential. To dig deep to their core drivers (motivators) so they can truly love themselves as they make positive life changes.

Little did I know when I started my job, that as I was driven to aid others in healing…they actually healed me and continue to do so every single day. I am so inspired by their drive, hard-work, and dedication. My heart is so full witnessing their passion to just be better in every aspect of their lives…physically, emotionally, spiritually. Great stuff!

I’m about to get very real in this post, because as much as I highly enjoy the uplifting…sometimes life just doesn’t always go the way you want it to. So pour a glass of vino or click the little X thingy to close the tab if you aren’t into reading a very real book-post. 😉

This year also happens to be the most painful year of my life as I navigate through the murky waters of divorce. I read once the stress level of a divorce is comparable to a death. I have never lived a more painful truth. Like most things in life, you can’t possibly understand the ramifications of major life events unless you go through it. You can empathize and be compassionate, but unless you walk in those shoes, well….you can’t possibly know what it feels like.

I was worried that I would fall into old destructive patterns as I coped daily with stressful changes, but I’ve found solace and drive within purpose, direction, and focus. The key has been to remind myself daily of my goals, dreams, and aspirations and then attaching tangible action with a timeline which aligns with those goals. I have poured every ounce of the pain within adversity into helping others move forward within their own struggles in a positive way. And I’ve learned to be kind to myself as I struggle with my identity.

I believe there is power through genuine sharing within vulnerability so that another going through similar struggles does not feel alone. It brings about authentic community which we have sadly lost in this digital age. I have learned there can be uplifting positive patches even through the darkest days. There are many facets of my life I can’t change right now, but I can certainly change how I perceive it.

I’ve struggled with my identity this year because for 23 years I lived as a half of an entity.  I can choose to look at it now as a single with a missing piece, an alone…but I choose to see it as a new whole. I focus on the present and future and while I respect the life I can see in my rear view mirror; it is not healthy to focus my identity there.

So, going into year 11…here’s some things I learned this year.

You see we attach our identity to our habits. Some positive, but a whole lot of negative which then places self-induced road blocks to our success.

For example; you may want to run a marathon one day, but you can’t possibly achieve that dream if you place your identity on the belief you are not a runner. You become a runner by habitually running. It’s as simple as that. If you want to change your identity, change your habits. It’s hard at first, because of that identity thingy…but stick with it. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit; give yourself the respect you deserve, because you truly can do anything for 21 days if you believe you can.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know I’m moving forward with purpose. I have never felt such strength in who I am as a person than I do right now.  I let go of caring what others think of me.  I may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean I’m not awesome tea…just not your cup Oh tea. 😉 Letting go of other’s expectations and judgements has truly fuelled me to be very authentic, open, honest, and has allowed me to find strength within vulnerability.

We have one life my friends, we can choose to wallow in our past hurt, or we can focus on the right now and take action everyday to create our best future. We have the power to do that.

Take time every day to be a little kinder. Give without expectation of anything in return. A grateful heart is rooted in generosity of spirit.

Soak up the knowledge freely given by others around you.

Read.

Rest.

Run.

Let go of fear of the unknown and see it as an adventure.

Challenge yourself to be better.

Laugh until your stomach hurts.

Invest time with those who love you.

Every time you make a choice, ask yourself…does this align with my dreams and goals? If not, let it go.

Dream big.

And most importantly, take action.

Dreams are just dreams without action.

Every anniversary year, I usually step from behind my camera and get a photo taken to signify the year. This year I’m using a photo that brings about a whole lot of significant emotions.

My first Christmas as a new me. Christmas 2015: I was on my way to see my family Christmas Day when my car broke down an hour from home. I had never spent a Christmas evening without my kids, and as I sat in my broken-down car waiting for AMA I started laughing rather than crying. I truly couldn’t believe this was my life at that moment, like I was living a bad dream. I needed to deal with this situation on my own…and by my own I mean AMA. But still…totally did it myself. 😉 I texted my sister updates as I sat beside a very tired and hungover tow-truck driver as he sped down the highway mock-chicken with my car on his deck. His speedometer was tapped out all the way to the fast side. lol A trip that ordinarily would have taken over an hour, took 40 minutes.  I was literally shaking when I got to my sisters and she hugged me, gave me a glass of wine, and presented me with a matching onesie. I excused myself to the guest room and cried like a baby, not out of sadness but out of relief that I was going to be OK moving forward on my own because I sure have a great loving support system.

Christine 11 years

Thank you to my friends and family (and once-upon-a-time strangers who are now new friends) for supporting and encouraging me. I am so thankful for you and because of your kindness and compassion, I will remember to always pay it forward.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Unravelling Perfection

I am an all or nothing person. Either I want to do it perfectly, or not at all.  I am learning to let go of the self-imposed pressure to be the sort of woman I believe I “should” be. The ideal I set for myself comes from many factors, many of which are moulded from my childhood, relationships, life experiences, and society.

I had a crazy idea the other day, what if I just stopped the quest for what I “should” be…and just be.  That isn’t to say I don’t want to grow as a person, quite the opposite, but rather to listen to my intuition and authentic voice and not outside influences. We all have an authentic voice we can choose to either honour or ignore.

As I enter 2016 I choose to work on listening and acting on my authentic voice within.

To grow as a person and to support others as they grow too.

To find me again. To allow others to be exactly who they are.

To be kind and accept kindness.

To let go and trust myself.

To be imperfectly perfect.

To embrace failure within my life, and to not only learn from it but to grow within it.

To stop running from painful experiences.

To allow myself to unravel and rebuild who I know I am as a person.

Here’s to rebuilding.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Why I clicked “Unfollow” on fitness accounts while eating chocolate

I often have to check myself on my thoughts about my body. When I think about where I’ve come from: an unhealthy and sad version of the woman I am today, I am proud. I realize that the feeling of pride comes from focussing on the state of my emotions, physical health, and confidence level when I was obese, and not the aesthetic aspect of what 242 “looked” like.

Many of us women tend to focus on what we look like rather than how we feel. When the focus is put on physical labels, those labels transfer to feelings. Animated almost cartoon-like terms are put on the areas we want to change: muffin Top, thunder thighs, chunky monkey, jelly belly, spare tire. And we obsess about those areas and compare our bodies to other women. It becomes a competition. We have a self-deprecating remark on reserve for a compliment thrown our way. One day I will love my arms, my legs, my stomach if I just keep up the cardio, weights, and eat loads of salad (insert method)…oh yes, one day I will be happy with my body.

One day.

How about today? Can we love our bodies and all the things we can physically do today?

I also realized I felt the most alive in those first few weeks of my journey when I found a love for being active, fuelled my body with foods packed with nutrients and vitamins, and finally took care of myself with respect and love. That feeling of euphoria had nothing to do with what I weighed, or what size of clothing I wore. For the first time in my adult life, I found pride within my progress. Progress, not perfection.

And so today, I have to remind myself this lifelong journey to feel alive and vibrant comes from taking care of myself the way the human body was meant to be cared for. With heart healthy activity, vibrant coloured natural foods full of nutrients, and feeding the soul with positivity and love. I can change the way I view my body just by adjusting those factors and focussing on health vs. appearance.

Having lost 90+ pounds, I will always have bigger thighs than if I was never obese. That’s a fact. Having extra skin or fat on my thigh area does not attribute to being unhealthy. These legs travel me wherever I want to go. To not appreciate the gift of health is disrespectful; especially to those who have limited or no mobility.

There is a shame feeling when I type “I love my body as is”. Why? Body shaming is so prevalent in our society that the norm is self-deprecation. There wouldn’t be a market for “get thin quick” diets, or “lose fat in 10 days!” ads if we were content with our body.

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I love learning more about fitness and nutrition. The science of fitness is interesting to me, and so I followed a bunch of fitness-focussed accounts on Instagram. Last night as I was enjoying a full-bodied glass of red wine and a couple of squares of dark chocolate with sea salt, I started browsing my Instagram feed. Images of fit bodies (heads cut off/focus on chiselled body parts), quotes like “real women drop it like a squat”, and low-calorie meals flooded my feed. I instantly felt shameful about my glass of red and my dark chocolate. So I clicked unfollow on every stranger fitness-based account that brought up body-shaming feelings for me (I should add I enjoy seeing my friend’s fitness progress, I love their hearts and I’m invested in their hard work).

After removing the accounts, I had to analyze why seeing all those photos made me feel bad about myself. I asked myself this: Do I want to constrict calories to a level where I’m not happy? No! I don’t want to feel hungry. I crave balance not restriction. Do I aspire to be a size 2/4? No, because that’s not my personal goal.

Hey, it’s none of my business what you eat, your personal goals, and how often you workout or don’t workout. Go for it girl! However, no one will dictate to me what my body should look by their standard of a “real woman”. We are all real women! ha!

There’s just as much “skinny” shaming as there is “fat” shaming. My point is why shame? Why focus on the physical? Why do we even have an opinion about another woman’s body? Seriously, none of my business. I want to get to know another women for her heart, her sense of humour, her personality. I really don’t care how many calories a day she eats or what she weighs.

So love your body for all you are physically capable of doing. Embrace and celebrate your imperfections because that’s what makes you unique. Feel pride from treating yourself with respect and self-love.

Above all else, let’s not just love ourselves, but love others through action: lifting one another up with encouragement and support. No jealousy or envy. There is no room for that in living an authentic life full of positivity.

From my heart to yours,

Christine