The Power of Accountability and Friendship

A few of us ladies, all on our own unique path of health and wellness, have decided to combine the power of accountability along with camaraderie.

We are friends who sweat together; yet separately on our own time. lol Like active introverts.

What started out as a way to motivate some of my clients to get their cardio in when they are not in the studio training; has trickled its way right into my heart (and kicked my butt in the process).

The deal was, they were going to text me a photo of their sweaty faces after their workout. With each beautiful sweaty faced text I received, I felt this urging in my spirit to run. I have been very focussed on strength training and less on running my 5K’s which are as important to my soul as it is to my heart. Heart healthy in all the ways.

Run…

Away the daily stresses.

To feel alive.

To feel the sunshine on my face and the wind in my hair.

To feel thankful that I have the ability to run, walk, sprint; when others do not have that luxury (love you Janice).

To remember the strength of the human body and spirit.

To feel that rush of endorphins; even through the uncomfortable.

To live outside my comfort zone. Nothing grows in comfort.

So I ran.

And then I ran again.

With each text I received, I made the time to run. Because I’m just so proud of them it makes my eyeballs leak.

I am so thankful for the genuine connections I have made because of fitness.

These relationships are forged on authenticity, vulnerability, positivity, laughter, and pride in one another’s tenacity to never give up.

To keep pushing through the hard days.

To challenge not only ourselves; but one another.

To fight the urge of complacency because there’s a better way to live. There’s no going back.

Live actively, wholeheartedly, and with determination.

Run on my soul sisters. ❤

From my heart to yours,

Christine

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 Road of Discomfort

In my last post, I talked about my quest to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

This week has carried with it a whole lot of uncomfortable. From long runs along golden fields of canola to finding my voice when I normally keep silent. I tackled tasks I have put off because of the pain involved within remembering a life that was. I opted to sit in the pain and work through it.

The day after I decided to embrace uncomfortable, I set out on a run. I have focussed on strength training lately and not cardio, so I decided this week I would focus on cardio (which I find to be very uncomfortable). Given my long break from steady state cardio and an old IT Band injury, as I laced up my runners I thought to myself: “I bet I can’t run 10K anymore”.  Immediately I was annoyed with myself as I knew I had to do it.

Now, the only way to ensure you will run 10K, is to run 5K away. You have no choice but to run back. 😉  I decided to take an unfamiliar route and seek solace within the childhood memories of gravel roads, fields of gold, and the quiet of the country.

So I set out on the road of discomfort with motivational speeches setting my pace. Click here if you are interested in some motivation for your day.

The first 5K was no big thing but a chicken wing. It was on kilometre 7 when the familiar IT Band ache set in. It was +30 and I could see round balls of bugs hovering in the heat wave of dust over the road. But still, there was no turning back, either way I had to get home. I decided to just slow down to a walk when I needed to and to take that time to think about my goals. What are the facets of my life that are holding me back from reaching them?

In those last 3 KM’s I found more clarity than in recent memory. I was (and am) the only thing that will prevent me from reaching my goals. Change is required within the mind before it translates to action.

It’s time to go to work.

Leave the past behind with the respect it deserves, and focus on rebuilding my authentic life.

I will use this precious gift of time wisely and to my advantage.

I will focus on the good, the positive, the uplifting.  Faith.

The only thing within my control is my attitude and perceptions. My perception is in fact my reality.

I choose to look at my bad days as a chance to build character and live within grace and gratitude.

I choose to move forward down this road of discomfort with courage, perseverance, and unyielding tenacity.

I will use my God-given abilities for good with the respect of my purpose on this beautiful earth.

I will let go of control where there is none.

It’s funny how uncomfortable can manifest beautiful certainty. I will remember that run for all of my days. It may have been slow going, but I did it!

I learned more about the strength of my spirit in that one hour than I have in months. What a gift, and one that I wouldn’t have experienced had I not taken the road of discomfort.

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When you find yourself at a cross-road, I urge you to take the more challenging route. You never know what you’ll discover.

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

 

Shifting Perspective: Food is Fuel

It took a whole lot of repeated behaviour to realize that I can exercise all I want, but if I’m not in control of my diet, I won’t see the results of my efforts. I used to look at food very differently, and it wasn’t until I changed my perspective on food that I gained control of that area of my life.

Today I view food as fuel. It’s been a very rewarding healthy shift of focus. It’s not about deprivation or restriction. I simply eat to fuel my life. It’s really that simple.

  • Lean protein to build muscle.
  • Nutrient dense carbohydrates (also containing fiber, vitamins, protein and minerals) necessary to support muscle glycogen storage which fuels workouts.
  • Healthy fats which are essential for physical, mental and emotional health.

Before exercising, I make sure I fuel my body so I have the energy to get the best from my workout.  I eat often so I don’t go into any meal overly hungry. Most importantly, I have found balance. I eat chocolate daily. 😉

I actually used to fear my relationship with food. I didn’t feel in control of it. Taking back that control is so freeing!

It’s amazing how you can change your entire lifestyle simply by shifting your perspective. When you change the way you think, your actions follow suit.

I hope you have a great day! Be good to you 🙂

From my heart to yours,

Christine

A Note of Encouragement

Recently, my friend Paula tagged me on Facebook to a post on a page called “The Weigh We Were“, created by Kat Carney, who shared my story. Thank you Kat! I was very touched reading everyone’s comments; others just like me who are in various stages of their own journey to reclaim their life.

If you stumbled across my blog and are new here, welcome!

This is me…then. and now.

Chrissy 10 years

It was on my heart this morning to write a post to those who are just starting out on their own health journey, or maybe you are struggling within it. I clearly remember the confusion and frustration that surrounded the first few months into this lifestyle. What should I eat, how much should I exercise, is this even working, why does the scale hate me?

As cliché as this sounds, there is no truer statement: If I can do it, anyone can.

A little over a decade ago, when I made the decision to tackle my health issues, I was as sedentary as I could possibly be. I would have picked things up with one of those little robot arms if I had one. I would scooter places if I in fact owned a scooter. I would have jumped on the back of anyone climbing stairs if it was socially acceptable. You see..I don’t know how I got there, I somehow lost myself within raising kids, working, and juggling responsibilities as my hubby worked away for weeks at a time. I buried it all within food, never in front of anyone. I shut people out. I was in my own self-created world of self-loathing. I lived within a frame that I didn’t feel was my own. I felt trapped and alone. I didn’t see then that I had a “get out of jail free” card right at my finger tips. I didn’t know the strength of my spirit.

I can remember every single feeling from that old life, and that’s why I’m so passionate about uplifting, encouraging, and motivating others who just might relate. So if you can relate, here are a few words of encouragement from my heart to yours…

~You can absolutely do this! If your goal is a big one, please don’t get discouraged. Break it up into small manageable goals and give yourself permission to feel pride. True pride that you earned. Small step or not, it’s a step forward. Any step forward is a positive one.

~Positive Out, Positive In.  When you put out the positive it just can’t help but come back to you. Rather than looking for positive, it’s completely within your control to create it. Just be. And then watch how positivity comes flooding back multiplied. It’s crazy how that works, but it does.

~No more making excuses for destructive behaviour. This was a big one for me. I always had an excuse why it wasn’t the right time or I would blame others for my choices. I’m too busy. My kids need me. I have no energy. Others bring junk food into my house. And on and on the wheel of excuses rolled. When I made no room for excuses, I had no other choice but to just do it. Get off the couch and move. Stop eating my issues way. Because the truth was, and continues to be, my kids need me to be healthy. They need me to have energy (which I now realize I created the no-energy state I used to live in). And most importantly they need me to be a role model. The idea that my kids would one day grow up and not truly experience the beauty of life within love, energy, and vibrance is a devastating thought. Why was I settling for that as my reality? What was I scared of?

~Change the way you view your goals. It’s importantly to have tangible and attainable goals, but what exactly are they? If it’s a certain size or number on the scale, that leaves you vulnerable to failure. What if you changed your goals to healthy/fitness goals? Even if your end goal is a number on the scale, if you incorporate health and fitness goals as well and put significance on them, you are setting yourself up for success. These goals might be: run for 1 minute straight…which turns into 2 minutes, to 5 minutes, to 10 minutes, etc. Or I will drink 8 glasses of water daily. Or I will walk 12,000 steps daily. Or I will eat 5-7 servings of veggies daily. Or I will cut out pop and creamer in my coffee…pick your healthy goal. You can literally be successful several times a day, and before you know it these goals just become a way of life. A lifestyle that feeds your energy and spirit and you can’t handle the thought of going back to your old lifestyle. It’s simply not an option.

Real change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing ~ Tony Robbins

~You are enough. You are worthy. You are beautiful, vibrant, intelligent. Start looking at yourself through the eyes of those you love most. Start talking to yourself just as you talk to your kids, your partner, your friends and family. Negative self-talk can crush the spirit. Anytime a negative thought pops into your head, replace it with positivity. Remember you are in control of this aspect. Take back that power. You want a different lifestyle…then go after it. No waiting. No excuses. Create the life you desire.

Have a great day! Drop me a line if you need support or have questions.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

12 Tips from a Chick on her 9 year Anniversary at Goal Weight

Today marks 9 years at my goal weight. Every year I learn a little  more about the elements needed for balance, peace, and positive body image. It’s not always easy, even 9 years later, to find that delicate balance.

9 Yrs Goal Weight Hopaluk

9 Years at Goal Weight

This year has brought with it many personal challenges and I continue to struggle with positive body image. I wrote about those challenges HERE. My motivation has wavered from time to time as life has continued on with its usual ebbs and flows.

I’m writing this post for anyone who also struggles with their body image and finds it challenging to stay active and eat healthy.

Here’s what I want you to know.

12 Tips from a Chick on her 9 Year Anniversary at Goal Weight

1.~You are more powerful than you even realize

2.~You are beautiful. Perfectly Imperfect.

3.~If you want to make changes to the outside, it all starts on the inside. Start with one singular yet powerful belief that you can do it. You can be the person you want to be.

4.~Silence the negative. Weed it out. If that means you have to put up boundaries to an outside source of negativity, then do it. A positive mindset is critical. Positive out, Positive in.

5.~Feed your spirit with whatever it is that makes you feel alive. Maybe it’s music, the outdoors, coffee with a friend, praying, meditating, a long walk down a quiet trail. Your spiritual health is an important part of balance.

6.~The hardest part of any workout is lacing up those shoes. Just get out there and do it! Your body, heart, and mind will thank you. I often tell myself “suck it up buttercup” when I don’t feel motivated to get active. There’s not a single workout that I’ve ever regretted. 😉

7.~Nature provides clues to healthy sources of nutrients via colour. Fill up your cart will colourful foods from the produce department. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where fresh lives. The middle section could sit dormant for years and it wouldn’t spoil.

8.~Really think about the hurdles you put up that keep you from reaching your goals. We all self-sabotage in some ways. Once you figure them out, write them down. Find strategies to avoid those hurdles or triggers. Once you get good at avoiding your triggers, your strength grows daily, and a new healthy normal takes over.

9.~Never underestimate the power of empathy and vulnerability. It’s OK to admit your struggles to a trusted friend. Sometimes just saying things out loud takes the power away from issues. And if someone finds safety within confiding in you, let them know they aren’t alone.  I used to really struggle with being vulnerable and admitting faults/struggles. I’ve found the cure for that…a blog 😉

10.~You are going to have bad days, a bad week, hell maybe even a bad month. Momentum goes both ways. If you find yourself in a negative downward spiral (boy have I been there), you can change it. Remember you have the power to create your destiny. Just correct your course, and keep on swimming. You got this.

11.~If you are going to make changes to your lifestyle, think of these changes as long-term. Life (your very own life, the way you want it) and Style (you get to style it, the way you actually live this beautiful life). There are so many “quick fix” programs out there with promises of fast results; however, can that quick fix be maintained? I think that’s the biggest down fall to fast weight loss, what happens when you reach your goal? How are you going to maintain it? Personally, slow and steady worked for me. Good old-fashioned hard work and eating right. That’s the way our bodies are designed to function properly.

12.~Enjoy your journey! Tackling a big goal can be overwhelming. So break it up into smaller manageable goals and celebrate each and every milestone on your way to your end goal. Maybe your goal is to be more positive, happier, healthier, stronger, or all the above. All of those goals can be broken down further. Write it all down, and post it where you can see it.  You’ll love the feeling of putting a check mark beside those smaller goals. It provides great motivation as you work towards your ultimate goal. Set rewards for yourself for each goal. Reap those rewards and soak up that pride. You are amazing.

I’ll leave you with a ‘lil Beyonce… “Strip away the masquerade. It’s the Soul that needs a surgery.”

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

 

Add 10 years to your life

I couldn’t sleep last night, so as a result, I turned on Netflix and found this Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal. By watching this Ted Talk, you will earn 7 minutes of extra lifespan, and in turn you will learn how to add 10 years to your life.

I love Ted Talks, but of all the talks I’ve ever watched, this one will stick with me for all of my life. Scientific proof that your actions and thoughts do in fact add more minutes/days/years to your life. Transversely, how much of my life do I waste on negative energy and thoughts? How does this wasted negativity translate into my quality of life and those around me.  It’s changed the way I view time and consequentially my behaviour.  Thoughts become actions.  We have the power to evoke positive emotions over negative emotions.

So when you have 20 minutes, please watch her amazing Ted Talk and enjoy your bonus 10 years of life.

Thoughts become actions Christine Hopaluk web

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The Last 10 Pounds

I’ve maintained my goal weight for 8 years; however, I have lost and gained the same “last 10 pounds” many times. I weighed in the 140’s once for about a month. I went a little coo-coo for co-co puffs trying to maintain that weight. I quickly realized weighing in the 140s was not ideal for my lifestyle (which includes movie popcorn, chocolate and wine from time to time). 😉

I’ve learned so much losing the big chunk of weight, but I’ve learned more maintaining my goal weight. When I was losing the weight, weekly weigh-ins were a welcome accountability tool.  I needed to see progress and it was measured in pounds lost.

Now as I continue into year 8 of maintaining, the scale has (at times) become an obsession.  I know myself well enough to know that weighing weekly, sometimes daily, takes my mind into a place that’s not healthy.  It puts a number on healthy living and I don’t want to live that way.  Now that I think about it, the term “healthy living” sounds so  boring.  Very House on the Prairie running through a garden with a petty coat on.  Maybe I should think about it as “vibrant living”, because that’s how this lifestyle makes me feel.

Here’s the thing, I’ve found a lifestyle that is more addicting than the potato chips I used to eat by the bag. There is no better feeling than the adrenaline and endorphins exercise gives you. If I read what I just wrote 10 years ago, I would be rolling my sleepy eyeballs from my very comfy couch.  I’m so thankful that I stuck with it one little change at a time to actually change a whole lifestyle. Eating whole foods feeds my body energy in the same way processed foods sucks the energy away.  You want to feel alive? Go for a run in the sun and feel the wind in your hair, feel the trails beneath your feet, feel the pride of accomplishment when you are done and drink a gallon of water to cool down.

Think about those who are struggling with their health, without the ability to run or walk, and how they would perceive a healthy person complaining about exercising. I look back to my days wasted with little movement and I want to scream from the roof tops how thankful I am for this new lease on life.

Back when I weighed 242 pounds, I didn’t understand what healthy “felt” like because I had lived a sedentary processed lifestyle for many years; which had become my new normal.  I use to focus on photos of a former “skinny” self;  and I foolishly focussed on what skinny “looked” like.  I focussed on an external physical ideal that if I could only get back to, it would solve all these issues that had plagued my heart while living life in an obese frame.

I believed that once I hit this perfect goal weight number, my issues would melt away along with my fat.  My issues hitched a ride on the back of the treadmill, and once I saw that magic goal weight number on the scale, those issues and insecurities were (and are) still here to deal with. Now I have to find ways to deal with them that doesn’t involve food. Tricky tricky.

Over the summer every year, I gain back the 10 pounds I lose in the winter due to holiday foods and less activity (sun tanning while watching kids play doesn’t burn as many calories as one would think). Every August I return home and run to the scale. Then I panic when I see the gain and I feel horrible about myself when I realize I can’t fit my jeans. I obsess. Weigh daily. Beat myself up for eating ice cream at the best dairy bar in the entire world at Jumbo Beach. Stress. Eat. Weigh. Attach my self-worth to a reflection in the mirror and a number on a scale.

This year, I’ve decided to do things a little differently. I put away my scale.  Yes, I was excited to get back to my regular lifestyle and I took the time to think about what this lifestyle provides the quality of my life. I need to feel balanced, healthy, and whole.  Because it can’t be about a number on a scale, or a size of jeans, or a physical ideal.  All of those ideals fade away and are not sustainable as a goal.  Instead I need to focus on a fitness and health goal, which has many levels to meet and new goals to reach.

I’ve had to correct my thought process as I begin my run.  My thoughts start out like this…

“pick up your pace, you burn more calories that way. your pants are tight, get more cardio in so you can lose these last 10 pounds.”

Then I check myself.

“I’m not running to burn calories, I’m running because I love the freedom running provides my mind. I love the feeling of euphoria when the run is done. I run because I’m able. I run to clear my mind. I run simply for the love of running”

Same goes for eating. My thoughts go like this…

“cut down your after-holiday calories. you can’t eat that tubby tubberson.”

And then I check myself…

“eat food to fuel your run, you need energy to enjoy it! Eat clean, you know you feel more vibrant and have more energy when you eat that way. Eat to fuel your body to live life the way you want to…with energy and a zest for life. ”

Am I comfortable that I can’t fit my jeans after holidays? Nope. But, I’m not going to stress about it.  Holidays were great, getting back to the routine of daily life is great. That’s life! Chill out. It reminds me why this lifestyle is so important for my health and vitality. Balance is so important!!!

I am not a number on a scale.

My happiness is not derived from a physical ideal.

Living vibrantly is how I feel within when I honour my body by making good choices, challenge my mind, and feed my soul with positivity which allows me to give that to others.

So maybe the energy worrying about what my body “could” look like if the last 10 pounds were not kicking around would be better served enjoying this crazy beautiful life.

A few photos from holidays, family is food for the soul…

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A rare photo of us 6 girls and my Mom and Dad at the lake

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From my heart to yours,

Christine

One Size Does Not Fit All

Loosing weight is hard, maintaining weight loss is tough, and exercise is painful; however, living in a body that doesn’t feel like your own is way more painful.  Back when I was at my heaviest, I will never forget the feeling when I looked in the mirror every morning and wondered to myself “how did I let myself get here?”

I was faced with a dilemma, I wanted to lose the weight, but how?  There are so many methods to lose weight: no carbs, low carbs, no fat, high protein, calorie restriction, intense cardio…all of it made my head spin with confusion.  I knew one thing for certain, if I was going to lose close to 100 pounds, I wanted to find the method that would allow me to keep it off for life. By some estimates, more than 80% of people who have lost weight will gain it back and then some within two years.  That statistic was terrifying to me…all that work, sweat and tears for nothing?

I’m an all or nothing personality, so when I decided I was going to tackle my issue, I went all in. I poured over healthy living websites using my slow dial-up connection, it was an exercise in patience I tell ya!  I quickly realized that what worked for one person didn’t mean it would work for me and I needed to get to the root of why I was overweight.

Simply put: I was addicted to food and I lied to myself on a regular basis about my food issues. I used food to deal with my life struggles rather than dealing with the emotion behind them.

Now when you have a food addiction, it’s unlike other addictions because you can’t quit eating like you quit smoking. You have to find a way to eat that is healthy both emotionally and physically.

Through trial and error I found these tips helpful.

  • Eat slowly
  • Listen to your body, it knows when it’s full. Stop eating before it gets completely full.
  • Eat foods that take time to chew, such as salads, veggies, fruits.
  • If it swims, flies, or runs, it’s a leaner protein.
  • Learn correct portion sizes, and then eat your meal from a smaller plate so your portion still fills up the entire plate
  • Eat with intention, don’t eat in front of the TV or Computer
  • Don’t be too restrictive. I live by the 80/20 rule, I’m on point with my eating 80% of the time, the other 20% I save for social occasions and to enjoy the odd treat. To me, a life of balance has room for a little dessert.
  • If I want to eat when I’m not actually hungry, make some tea, drink a big glass of water, go for a walk. Get to the root of why I want to stuff my face when my body is full.
  • Stop lying to myself and stop making excuses for bad behaviour that prevents me from reaching my goals.

After I tackled some of my food issues, I felt confident to face the other part of the equation: Exercise. Oh how I loathed exercise. Here’s what I learned though, you can still loath exercise and fall in love with the euphoria that comes as a result of exercise. I needed to push through each workout and stop the internal hamster wheel of complaints. Just get it done. The addicting part of exercise lives within the results, and results come quickly because our bodies are frickin’ AMAZING machines.

Because I struggled with food, it was important to add exercise in so that I didn’t have to be so stringent with my food choices.  Move more, and I got to eat a ‘lil more of those whole foods which I didn’t WANT to binge on, that realization was a welcome surprise! There were certain foods that were triggers for me, meaning I wanted to eat more and more. For the most part, I cut those out. I never wanted to binge on apples, chicken, yogurt, veggies, whole grain rice, etc. Give me a plate of nachos, and I will body check you if you get in my way. So I realized Nachos probably wasn’t the best choice for me. 😉 Hunger drivers, and hunger suppressers…find which ones those are for YOU. One size does not fit all.

It took over a year to get the weight off my body, and the losing world is really no different than the maintaining world.  I’ve been at my goal weight for 8 years. I’ve learned what worked for me 5 years ago, doesn’t necessarily work for me today. It’s a process of changing things up as the body adapts. I find that’s the fun of it though! It’s a new challenge, and weight loss goals transform into fitness goals.

Recently, I went through a hard time in my personal life and to that end I gained 15 pounds. I again poured over healthy living/fitness websites and was overwhelmed with the information regarding cardio/weight training. Do I add more weights and reduce my cardio? Do I up my cardio? Do I stop running my 5K’s and instead add High Intensity Training for a shorter amount of time? I tried different scenarios to the point that the love I had developed for exercise melted away into a chore and I became a slave to the scale. My identity within my mind was attached to the number that popped up on that stupid scale.

It hit me one day that I used to run my 5K with a smile on my face because it was my time to quiet my mind and release my stress. I had given that up because the research I had done suggested steady state cardio wasn’t as effective as interval training.  But what happened to my love of running? It went away!!!

The key for me in this stage has been to stop focussing on the scale number, but instead focus on staying active doing the sports I love. Enjoy whole foods that keep my body satisfied and energized so I’m not thinking about food constantly. Weighing myself weekly is not healthy for my mindset.  It may work for others, but again I learned that one size does not fit all.  I haven’t weighed myself in a few weeks; yet my activity level and my mood has changed for the better as I’ve reincorporated those runs that I love!  I run my 5Ks and ride my bike for the love of it and not for calories burned. Sometimes you have to stop controlling everything and just LIVE to let go of the stress.

THIS is how I have to look at life in order to not only maintain my goals, but to reach new goals:

  • I run for freedom of the soul.

  • I exercise for the love of euphoria and pride.

  • I eat for energy. 

  • I love myself for the woman I have become, who no longer hides behind excuses and isn’t afraid of setting goals.

  • I will always have respect for the woman I was because that’s what keeps me from reverting to past behaviours that were the source of so much pain.

  • And the best part is, none of those elements have a thing to do with a number on a scale.

So yes, perhaps weight watchers, Jenny Craig, using a trainer, weekly weigh-in support groups, etc. may work for you at your stage in your life; but they don’t necessarily work for the stage of my life right now. Even the things that worked in my past, do not work in my present. That’s OK! Everyone’s goals are different and comparison is the thief of joy. Life is always changing, embrace the change and remember that one size does not fit all.

I’ll leave you with my new favourite running song:

From my heart to yours,

Christine