A Left Shoe on the Right Foot and Fancy Pants

I used to be afraid of change. I like things to stay the same. Because it’s what I’m used to. I become comfortable even within discomfort. Like when kids puts their shoes on the wrong feet so many times, they start thinking it’s the way it’s supposed to be.

I wore a left shoe on the right foot…which was the wrong foot for a very long time in my early stages of adulting.

You see life isn’t supposed to stay the same. Seasons change. People grow apart, and some grow closer.

It’s all part of life and keeping balanced. Of learning and growing stronger in Mind/Body/Spirit.

When I started stepping out of my comfort zone, amazing shifts started transpiring within my life.

Last summer I spent a few weeks doing something uncomfortable daily. It was scary for me, but I learned a lot. I met many people who shared a different point of view on life. I ran further than ever before. I stripped off my makeup and learned to love my true reflection. Appreciated the laugh lines for the joy they showed.  I let go of relationships that were not equal. I learned to back up a trailer, and hauled it all over camping. Water-skied again. Ate weird foods. Drove the long way home. Hiked new paths. I dove into reading subject areas where I had little knowledge of. I took rest days when my body needed them (which was uncomfortable for my mind).

Within the discomfort came an awakening of my spirit. To challenge my thought processes. Listen more, talk with intention. Be myself. Imperfect and Authentic.

As I am going into this New Year, I am again in a place of making changes. I look at change more so as course correction now. Aligning my children’s needs, my needs, with actions that are within my control. I have one life. It’s my job to design the best life possible for my family.

I am starting a new job next week within customer service at a bank. I love customer service; so I’m excited! I need to shop for fancy pants…all my pants are of the yoga variety. ūüėČ

I will have more time to rebuild my life with my kids in the way they need me to be here. They school, and I’ll work while they learn. Home together for supper around the table.

I’m very grateful for the past two years of life experience as I trained. I’m¬†amazed by each tenacious, hard-working, motivated person who crossed my path. Thank you to all who positively affected my journey along the way. You have no idea of the impact you made on my life.

It was a ¬†gift to my soul within perfect timing and I will miss seeing those I trained often. More importantly, I will miss supporting them every week. But I know I will always have those bonds we’ve built and I’m grateful for that. Always here for you my friends with love and support. You can always find me here (and plus most of you have my digits ha!) I’ll just support you in a new and different way.

When I first made the decision to make a job change, it felt very selfish…however, I’ve learned that self-love and taking the time to rebuild is not selfish. It’s imperative for a joy-filled, authentic, happy life full of purpose and pride. I’m doing my best to raise my kids to be amazing adults. ¬†I have learned to listen to my instincts and course correct as my situation changes and evolves.

So here’s to change. Growth. Learning. New!

If you have fear over making a change in your life, focus on just doing your best. Go into each day observing the thoughts of fear that may come up, and literally push them out. Those fear drenched thoughts are much like a child having a tantrum. There is no place in your life for fear. Fear is future based. And you are living RIGHT NOW in this present moment.

If you feel guilt or regret, that is your past talking. Again, take solace in the beauty of today. ¬†You don’t live in your past anymore. Waste no time on worry or doubt…they are senseless emotions that will only serve to keep you stuck and complacent.

You are strong, resilient, and you have the power over your perceptions.

Simply do your best. That’s all you can do. But truly dig deeper and challenge yourself to in fact do your best.

I often have to check myself when I have moments of free-time. I sometimes waste that free time feeling guilty about what I “should” be doing…the virtual to-do list within my mind. Why not take that time to enjoy whatever it is that will refresh my soul, and then go back to work. Enjoy a sunset. Take a nap. Visit with a friend without interruptions of technology. Read a good book. Go for walk. Laugh! Shoulder dance in my kitchen. ha!

One part Chill, One part Driven. Yin/Yang

This year was a great one! I am happy. My kids are doing great and they are happy too. ¬†We have open good communication. I met so many amazing people, and had some cool opportunities come my way. ¬†If you are strolling by the magazine stands, I’m in Optimyz magazine’s December/January issue.

Change is good.

One life.

Take risks.

Trust in yourself…you got this!

Happy New Year from my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

On Authenticity

I was raised to be polite. Give more than I take. Be grateful at every turn.

While these traits are important within the balance of a purpose-filled life, I did so at the cost of my authenticity.

Authenticity: “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
is sincere and¬†authentic¬†with no pretensions”

The key word in the definition above for me is Spirit. When I honour the core of who I am…my spirit…I am being authentic.

I came back to a book I read a couple of years ago: “The Four Agreements” by¬†Don Miguel Ruiz¬† ¬†The last of the 4 agreements is “Always do your best”. ¬†My best will change from day-to-day based on the energy I have and the reality of what’s going on in my life.

Some days I’m top shelf, other days I’m proud to just show up.

I realized today that my best is to be authentically me. ¬†My best is not what others want of and from me. There will always be a level of expectation within relationships, and obviously careers; however…

I have ignored my gut at times in order to be “polite”.

I have given of my energy to the wrong people who didn’t treat me with respect.

I have been grateful for terrible events that have come up in my life when I should have felt whatever feelings came about as a result. I pacified the anger or grief with positivity and gratitude.

So I’m just doing Me. In all of life’s messy and life’s beauty. ¬†Both are the reality of everyone’s life.

My spirit is giving, kind, harmonious and loving. But it’s also stubborn, tenacious, sassy, justice seeking, and fiercely protective of my rights and freedom.

My goal is to create a truly authentic, joy filled life with genuine relationships. ¬†Ambiguity be gone. ¬†I and YOU deserve a circle of influence full of strength, support, acceptance, and love. And we can be that for others. In fact, Positive OUT comes before Positive IN. But to be a positive person does not mean I need to pacify my feelings. ¬†I learned that this year as I’ve worked on my character.

I will navigate the rough and gentle waters within my life with grace and dignity, and sometimes with lack of grace and dignity ;)…which is ridiculously authentic. I’m both put together, and wildly disheveled. ¬†There’s always a dark and a light side. I will strive to find the light, but the dark is nothing to fear.

Through figuring out who I am as a woman even more this year, I’ve learned when you have the courage to stand in the truth of your spirit, you will attract the same kinda vibe within the people who walk into your world.

I’m doing my best.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

What does a Personal Trainer LOOK like?

I thought I would share my journal entry from my Miracle Morning… Which, by the way, I have a copy of the book of if you want to borrow it. Just message me (even if you live far away, I’ll mail it)

I often romanticized things, so when I got my personal training certification, I was excited to share with others how fitness, eating for fuel, learning to look at food in a positive way, getting off the couch, moving with freedom…can change your entire world/relationships/self-worth/happiness. ¬†I only know this because I was lucky enough to stumble upon it when I was fighting my own demons.

A customary question that arises when you meet new people is “So what do you do?”

I would answer: “I’m a Photographer and a Personal Trainer”

What I’ve found over the years, almost always everyone gets the “photographer” part; but the personal training element often comes with some interesting questions all based around aesthetics.

How much weight can you squat?

How often do you work out?

What do you weigh?

It can be reduced to reps and sets and which “diet” is best.

That line of questioning has always been an uncomfortable place for me, not because of the judgments or labels (it’s easy to want to put people in tidy little boxes/categories to understand); but rather because it’s not what this is about for me. It’s intensely personal in many regards, but it has little to do with aesthetics.

It’s about self-worth.

Happiness

Love.

It’s more than going back to biology roots of how our bodies are designed to move and fuel. It’s the heart of what makes us human: compassion, pride, joy, self-love. Not just existing but rather LIVING with a fire in our soul, and passion within our spirit.

I certainly do not have all the answers; I’m still figuring it out as life moves along. But I do know who I am as a woman: my goals/aspirations/dreams and what drives me within finding purpose in life.

We all need purpose. It’s what fulfills and connects us. Pushes us to grow and evolve.

There is wisdom within purpose.

And I thought about it a different way this morning, if learning to finally take care of myself in love created a purpose¬†within me to share that with others; then I am one lucky person. I’m grateful.

I see beauty within everyone I meet. We all have strength within us that can (if fed) create an urging to burst out of whatever self-imposed cage we are living within.

I laugh at some of my “excuses” when I fall into complacency. They are just lies I tell myself to make it acceptable to do “less than” I am able. I would not wish that for my children, or for those I love most in life.

I guess that has become an accurate measurement of where I’m at in regards to self-love/self-worth. Do I want as much happiness, zest for life, fulfillment for myself as I do for my children?

There is no pride found within bingeing on anything. It’s a tool to numb. To not feel.

Are we not meant to feel? Even the horrible stuff. It’s part of what makes us human. We can however choose the elements in which we navigate those troubled waters making it a little less painful.

I did not find it within food, or alcohol, or sitting in that stupid chair in isolation beside a TV.

I renewed my spirit (and continue to) within….

~Sharing openly (with healthy boundaries)

~Fitness and challenging my body to grow in strength

~Surrounding myself with people who love me and want the best for my life (and I them)

I found myself within…

~Trails of sun-kissed leaves and the healing currents of water

~Sweat and tears and laughter despite my fears

~The urging of my legs to keep on moving because there are some not so fortunate and would give anything to do so (love you Janice)

~Foods that provide energy, nutrients, and vitamins

~Writing, reading, and growing to be a better version of myself to love others authentically

~Honest communication between like-minded people with similar struggles in which my empathetic heart connects with theirs through shared experiences

This is why I’m a personal trainer. I’m not sure I fit into the “mould” of what a personal trainer looks like, but I’m living my truth.

But that’s a pretty long-winded answer and congrats if you got to the end of this post. ¬†ūüėČ

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

It’s none of your business (and none of mine either)

As my life travels along, there’s always a life lesson theme that pops up when I need it most. Maybe it was always there, and I just wasn’t ready to not only hear it; but to apply it to my life.

I was talking to my dear friend Linda Lou yesterday morning (we have the BEST life talks), and we were discussing this concept: What others think about us is none of our business.¬†Now for a people pleaser like myself, that’s crazy talk. lol

Further to letting go of what others think about me, it goes beyond that into relying on my instincts, trusting in myself to make the best choices for me and my kids, and actually LIVING out loud.

Get out of my head, and start living.

What a concept!

I can truly relate almost any life dilemma back to reclaiming my life when I lost the weight, and this is no exception. ¬†If I had listened to every opinion out there on the best way to lose weight, oh my…how overwhelming that would have been.

When I’m asked my opinion about a food plan, I try my best to just ask questions: Does it work for YOU and your lifestyle? Is this sustainable for your whole life? Is it excessive leading to frustration? Are you showing self-care by fuelling your body this way (which naturally eliminates most restrictive food plans)? It’s really about creating a healthy relationship with that one thing we need to keep us alive: food. Turn it from a negative view into a positive. I’m in control of my choices. How great is that?

Back to caring what others think: here’s what I learned going though my divorce…

It’s no one’s business.

I certainly don’t owe an explanation to anyone except within my core family unit. It’s no different if I was to go up to someone and say “Why are you still married? Did you think about this?” ¬†haha! ¬†It’s ridiculous and entitled to think my opinion should have any barring on another’s life choices.

So I worry about me, and my house.

You do you, I do me.

That’s not selfish. It’s trusting in myself and understanding I am doing the best I can with the tools I have. If I keep investing in my personal growth, I will have more tools to be a better version of myself.

Other’s opinions of me are fuelled by their own values, experiences, inner conflicts, curiosity, whatever; but it’s none of my business what other’s think about me. And that’s so freeing.

I’m ready to start living out loud, on my terms. And I am! ūüôā I’m a great Mom. My kids tell me way more than they should ūüėČ lol ¬†They feel safe to share. They have a voice in my home. I’m so proud of them. It’s taken me a long time to be proud of myself as a Mom. I wanted to be perfect, and that’s exhausting. ¬†No one relates to perfectionism. It’s actually a barrier to human connection.

I have lived within my head for a long time, and action was halted because of doubt. I want certainty. I enjoy my little comfort zone.

But guess what…nothing grows within comfort. Nothing is certain in life (except death and taxes as that clich√© goes). ¬†I will never reach my goals if I don’t act on those dreams.

My instincts were a whisper before; now they are a roar I can’t ignore. I now understand it’s because I trust myself again to make the best choices possible for my home. I answer to 3 people (and one God), and those 3 people are a little fierce army I carried around in my body for a bit; but always in my heart.

I would encourage you to listen to your own inner voice. Pay attention to what drives your soul. Understand your core values, and align your life to them (that includes your circle of influence). Spend your valuable time with those who believe, uplift, support you. Those who make you laugh and take your mind to a happy place (those are my favourite kind of people).

You have one life. Be happy, grateful, proud.

But please start living out loud even if your voice shakes…then again that’s my opinion and you certainly don’t have to listen to it. ūüėČ Touch√© ¬†ha!

In the mean time, I will keep on living, laughing, and trudging on. No one said this life would be easy, and I’m thankful for that. I would never appreciate the light the same way without the darkness. I am standing within my light; and ohhhh my it’s beautiful within it’s imperfection. I have all that I need and I am so grateful.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

Bringing it back to Love

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

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

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

Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You always have a choice”.¬†

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

Every day I choose to bring it back to LOVE.

Love for myself.

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

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

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

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

How to Lose Belly Fat

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

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

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

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

Pyramid of Tools:

Nutrition and Water

Resistance Training: Strength 

Aerobic Activity: Cardio

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

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

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

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

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

Choose foods high in soluble fibre.

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

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

Choose lean protein sources.

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

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

Cut out refined sugars.

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

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

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

Avoid drinking your calories.

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

Avoid foods that contain “Trans Fats”.

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

Drink Water

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

Track your nutrition with a free online app.

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

Use Cardio as a tool.

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

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

Build Muscle

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

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

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

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

Reduce stress and get your sleep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

Life Advice from a Stranger ~ Peter

After my workout this morning, I stopped at the Leduc Farmer’s Market to pick up some fresh produce. I was walking by a pot pie booth (who doesn’t love pot pie) and this enthusiastic man told me to come over and try the samples. ¬†I’m also a fan of free samples of anything. lol Now at first, because of his enthusiasm, I thought he was employed to sell pot pies, buuuuuut it turns out he just really loves pot pies and conversing with strangers. ūüėČ

We got to talking, and immediately I knew he was a Zen Joy person. ¬†I have met only a few of those types of those sunshiney people in my life, so I just had to know about his story. One thing I’ve learned about all the Zen Joy people I’ve met, is that they have gone through hardship and have transformed their spirit through adversity. ¬†Through the ashes of tribulation comes beauty, deep gratitude for life, inspiration, authenticity and joy.

After we talked awhile, I asked if I could tape him, so I will always remember. I was so excited when he agreed, that I didn’t press record. So he did this twice for me (at the end he says “I hope it works this time” ha!) He told me I could share this on my blog.

So this is Peter who works driving truck in Texas. Lover of Harley’s. And perhaps one of the most generous and happy people I will ever have the pleasure of meeting in this beautiful life. I hope you take away as much positivity and inspiration from him as I did.

Thank you Peter.

From my heart to yours,

Christine