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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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