A Note of Encouragement and Understanding

A Note of Encouragement and Understanding

A friendly reminder to practice self-compassion and reduce your stress and expectations on yourself

We all wear many hats.

For me: Mom/Banker/Partner/Daughter/Sister/Friend/Caretaker/Bill Payer/Meal Planner/Grocery Shopper/House Cleaner/Cook/Driver/Laundry Doer… and on and on it goes.

I’m mediocre at many of these roles.

Stellar at others

interchangeable depending on the day

But you guys, this Covid-Stuff is no joke on metal health.

For ourselves, our children, our loved ones.

I have just been feeling so tapped-out in my energy, and super protective on where I give it because my day ends on fumes.

My previous standards for myself are vastly different from the standards I have today within how I conduct my life.

I need to work.

I need to pay my bills for the home my kids and I live in to feel safe and secure.

I need to feed my kids and myself. Shop frugally, batch cook so we don’t order out and actually eat some vitamins and nutrients for health.

I need to sleep 8 hours.

I need to wash the clothes we wear, and dole out the jobs where I can in my household.

I need to stay connected to my partner and our extended Brady Bunch family.

I need to communicate to my friends and family I love them, and hope they don’t take my lack of interaction as anything other than the position I’m (we are all) in. My fear is they will think I’m overdramatic because we all have our own issues and balance is illusive to most.

I feel like I’m successful and failing all at the same time. I provide stellar customer service to the best of my abilities, my kids are taken care of, I sleep like a rock most nights…immediately as soon as my head hits the pillow. I do not gym anymore, my pants are tight. I have not had a hair cut since January. I drink too much wine. I rarely socialize. I have lost touch with my friends. I can’t financially afford to do much more than skip the dishes once in a while; and project a free movie onto an at-home theatre. And go camping. Because free with fresh air and family. Couple of Dickie-birds and one stone.

I finally shared how I was feeling with a co-worker. I looked down while I talked because I thought I would cry if I met her eyes. When I finally did look her in the eye, she had this beautiful expression of understanding and care. She said a sentence I will always hold to my heart.

She said this with so much care and empathy…

“We have to wear masks all day at work; and yet we wear another mask. Thank you for sharing how you are feeling, because I thought I was the only one”

I forgot how simple a gift sharing openly with another truly is. How it immediately drops the shoulders and connects one another. How it bonds and frees all at once.

I’ve  played her words over and over in my mind since, because I don’t want to wear a mask on how I’m feeling. I want to share openly when I’m able, and give myself permission to do what is necessary for my immediate little family.  My energy needs to go there. I will practice self-compassion for the rest.

My worth is not dependant on doing all the things perfectly. To be a certain size. To always wear a smile. To pretend I’m not struggling. To give when my spirit is unable.

I will give all I have to the work I do; but when I leave I will feel all the feels.  I will breath so deeply when I finally take off my required bylaw mask. I will blare my music I love most all the way home. I will write. I will read. I will be quiet because I need that for my soul. I will not weed anymore. I will be gentle with my heart as I process missing my son.

I will always love those who are in my circle; I send out nothing but love and positivity whenever you trace the vines of memories in my brain.

That’s all I know today. I hope my co-workers words also give you permission to evaluate what’s necessary, what is for another time, and to share how you’re feeling with those you feel safe and connected to.

Be gentle with you, this is a season that will pass. Do what you have to do today to get through it.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The 3 Sentences my Kids Need to Hear

The first time I wrote a blog post, there was a generic heading “Hello World!”  A coming out of trepidatious opinion within a kismet of understanding of another’s blog world.

You are not alone.

I feel much the same feelings as I write this post.

“Hello World. It’s me Christine. Writing something that is incredibly hard to articulate, yet I’m pretty sure others can relate. I’m raw with layers of regret and shame interwoven into the complicated fabric that is Mothering.”

I do believe we all do our very best given the tools we have. And I have been grappling with the loss of time with my son who graduated this year within Covid-learning-from-home and left my nest for another nest. He left so gradually I didn’t even realize he left; which brought me to a whole new level of sadness.

This is the hard part to share, because it’s intensely personal to my family and my heart. Through my grief I traced it back to the root, and I’m sharing because I know Mom shame is all so destructive and common.

You see, when my son was 4; he had a seizure on the driveway while I was carrying in groceries. I missed it.

While I was packing groceries away in my fridge, my neighbour’s son witnessed it, who alerted his Mom, who alerted me. We had (continue to have) this nice little protective U-shaped community of mothering one another’s most valuable treasures.

I’ve never come to terms with missing that moment. I feel like maybe I would have understood better if the fall he took off his bike caused the seizure, OR he fell because of a seizure. I didn’t witness it; so I don’t know. And when the doctor asks you questions, and you relay back to him the account of your sweet neighbour 5 year old’s eyes…Well, that’s just heart-breaking and too much pressure for young kids to detail.

As a Mom; it’s within those moments you seek clarity and compassion from your circle of friends who support you over coffee as the brow furrows, and the shoulders rise. You serve the shame, and they ease the pain with a “Oh hun, how could you have known that would happen?” The easing of Mom hearts melded with guilt yet paved with compassion.

Fast forward to further seizures in the year that followed, he and I would travel for tests at the U of A. A spider web of wires over spiked adolescent hair weaved with medical goop to gather results. The tests were extensive and thorough with a diagnosis of Epilepsy which also affected his sleeping patterns and learning. I switched modes from Mom to advocator in his school as his teacher often asked “are you ensure he is getting enough sleep as he’s often tired.” With the help of the principal, we contacted the Epilepsy Association who brought in a puppet show to the school to educate those around him. This furthered labelled him. I realize that now.

And so began our journey of son wanting to explore, and Mom needing to implore protection. The various vehicles of play: Water, biking, unsupervised playground visits were all now dangerous. Even a bath was out of the question.

You see it just wasn’t fair to him…he wore a light in his eyes, a natural problem-solver, a seeker of exploration fuelled by a wild imagination.

I wish epilepsy was never his childhood reality of 4 pills a day and a Mom always at bay. I literally stalked him for much of his childhood.

When he was a teen, on the direction of his doctors,  we weaned him off the medications as it can be something children outgrow. After an intense monitoring year, he was still seizure free. Thank the Lord.

You see, I thought that would be our hurdle to overcome. I thought that would allow us to breathe and relax into a different dynamic between me and my amazing son.

Yet, those early years created a dynamic that I am now trying to repair. Today, he’s a young adult. Graduated. He’s spreading his wings, and leaving my nest. The sadness I feel is within grieving moments I wish I had given him as a child, carefree and without such stringent monitoring through my fear.

While I could not have changed his reality; I could have changed my approach to it. I’m really sorry for that.

I had a conversation with my trusted friend and confidant around the campfire the other night. I told him all I was feeling. I poured out all the shame and pain, and within the complex layers of mother guilt; he could relate as a parent and shared his own shame. Huh, apparently shame is not boxed into one gender or generation…Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, *insert pivotal role in a child’s life here. Yes, we can all relate.

As a society, it’s hard to talk about shame, but it’s actually the freedom from it. We need to talk, share within commonality, express compassion to one another, and create an atmosphere safe for the parent-confessions.  As Dr. Jody Carrington says “Drop your Shoulders”.

And it dawned on me so clearly at that moment by the fire; I never related how I was feeling to my own childhood and further to that…my parent’s childhood. The common thread of parenting. I am not going to blame my own childhood for any of my parenting choices, but what I feel convicted to do is own my role and shift the cycle.

Stay with me here…

As much as I can sit and lament about my son leaving my nest and choosing his father’s home, I realized my Mom felt the same way with me. She can relate to that gross feeling of abandonment (it even feels gross to type it). You sit and wonder within the missing. Will my child see the love, effort, pain, and sacrifice? Will they forget me because I’m quite possibly a huge pain in their ass (quite probably)?

I nag.

I probe.

I ask too many questions.

I worry incessantly.

But I love feircly.

If you are a parent, you have made mistakes.

We are all children of parent(s) who made mistakes.

Our parent’s parents made mistakes.

While we can look at it as the cycle of blame-the-parent or the ex-partner who you share parenting roles, there is one element I am embracing and changing for myself.

I clearly need to seek self-compassion for the shame I feel within my mothering; but also within my own childhood choices of spreading my wings as I left the nest. Sometimes I showed one parent more compassion than the other which was a purely selfish need of a teen choosing the path of least resistance and seeking approval of whichever parent dolled it out more effortlessly.

But here’s my fireside revelation…the note I wrote in my phone. The thing I need to say most to my son (and all of my children)…

I’m sorry.

I love you.

I’m here for you.

It really is that simply, and a straight-from-my-heart-starting-point to drop our shoulders. Spoken in love and understanding.

Ok, I’m learning my friends. While I understand my choices, reactions and circumstances at the time of my children’s experiences through out their childhood (and my young parenting life), it does not negate the fact they did not deserve to shoulder that. I’m so sorry you had to deal with feelings that are hard to process, but I’m here for you! Never forget that. 

Remember the day you realize your parents are flawed individuals and are just trying to do their best? For me, that day swiftly arrived when my own experiences mirrored that of their parents. Ahhhh, I get it now.

Through my shame (which can be oh so devastating depending how I work through it)  I am seeking responsibility for my part. I made mistakes within my parenting. I will not blame that on the situation I was dealing with at the time. While I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time, hindsight and wisdom through experience has allowed me vision through new eyes. It does not denounce the pain my kids went through. So “I’m sorry” is something  that I am learning carries with it a lot of power and freedom from the shame and blame. And I truly mean it.

I’m sharing this today because I believe we do not talk about this enough, parent to parent. Let’s talk about our sadness, fears, looking back through the years now that we’ve gained wisdom and clarity. Pass on the lessons.

I need to share this with my son as well when the time is right. And I will. He’s been very open with his trials, and we have had times of awkward laughter when we don’t know how to communicate (yet an unspoken commonality of feeling). Perhaps frustrated, yet with a whole lot of love and care for one another’s heart. I understand his need of space and time to find his way, to connect with all sides of his family without guilt that he’s “choosing”  (I needed the same).

I love my children to the ends of this earth, even within the shame…we have that common thread.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

15 Years at Goal-Hindsight is 2020

Today is Year 15 of Reclaiming Life

It seems very contrite to write a blog post about being at a “goal weight” given the landscape of life we are all currently navigating. The “Covid gain” is pretty insignificant and natural as we change our everyday lifestyle habits.

What I’ve found necessary to stay healthy and mentally sane, is to focus on all 3 elements: Body/Mind/Spirit, which is a prevalent theme in my writing.

Last week I shared about creating a Contingency Plan; It’s been a go-to-sanity-saver and has provided much needed structure and stability during a time of change and uncertainty.

So, in keeping with yearly tradition on this anniversary date, here’s what I’ve learned in Year 15

~I can live on much less than I thought; I’ve streamlined my finances and really examined what’s necessity and what’s a luxury.  I have cancelled services, unsubscribed, decluttered, shopped less, sold some things curb side pickup, and simplified.  I channel that feeling I get when it’s completed…before I even start, because otherwise it’s overwhelming. One baby step at a time. You know you’ll feel amazing when you tackle that junk drawer, filing taxes, cleaning out the garage; feel the feels like it’s done already and then don’t hesitate to just start. The momentum takes over 🙂

~When I was a little girl, we had 3 huge gardens. And I helped my Mom and sisters garden all through my childhood. I vowed to never garden again; although I attempted to a few years running when my kids were young.  The whole process just didn’t feel gratifying nor therapeutic and weeding was a chore I decided was best left to the Farmers and the green thumb-ers. I am shocked to tell you that I have found so much peace and purpose in tending to growing things.  Like who even am I now?!

~If you have a desk job, you are over 40, and you’re not moving as much…your body will freeze up like the tin man by the end of the day. Chair yoga actually helps; especially, “Chair Pigeon Pose”. If you google it, a plethora of resources for seniors comes up. Legit cool for anyone who sits in a chair all day.

~Co-Parenting and blended family time during a Pandemic is tough. It just is. There’s a whole lot more to think about when you involve more than one family in cross-over time. I’ve talked to many in the same boat, or different boats, but all feeling the same way.  Whether you’re working full-time, laid off, working part-time gigs to make ends meet, staying at home all day caring for kids while in insolation, insert situation here…

Oh but wait there’s more!

Now let’s add schooling from home to that equation. Yet, as much as it’s a challenge for us parents (because let’s face it kids are already more scholarly than most of us); the kids are the ones who deserve all the kudos. For kids/tweenies/teens, their school life/friends/social activities are their whole world.

Oh but wait there’s more!

Then you add to their shoulders going back and forth between 2 families (or more cross over for blended families) and you have this grey area of “what’s right”.  You are forced to have very uncomfortable discussions with no real road map to follow. I have no advice here other than, if you understand this part, I’m sorry and I get it.

~I thought I was an introvert. I am an extrovert professionally, but I truly thought I enjoyed an intense amount of introversion recharging. That is until I couldn’t go see my family and friends like I used to. I think we are all realizing maybe “who were thought we were socially”, may not be our truth. It took a pandemic to realize it; and to sort out the importance of human connection. Now, if you are someone who has embraced their introversion, that’s cool too. If anything; I’ve found it interesting we are all figuring out what’s important to us. Won’t it be sweet to remember and act on all we’ve learned when life progressively gets more social?

~I don’t need a gym to workout; but I do need a plan Stan! For a while, I didn’t move as much as I did in the past, and that truly paid a toll on my mental well-being.  A reminder that moving even a little lends big results to my sense of health, well-being, and pride.

To finish this off:  Here’s a couple home workout plans you may find useful.

My at-home workout (3X week strength)

Download “Interval Timer-HIIT workouts” from your app store (there are other apps that work equally well). The ad. version is free and you can customize your intervals. I edited the Intermediate HIIT workout to include 16 sets with a 5 minute warmup/cool down.


The first “round” I choose 3 full body movements, all strength focussed. Side note: if you don’t have weights, use your own body weight, or soup cans/household items with a little weight to them works.

This will be my low interval of 1 minute. Three movements done in sequence; repeated for a total of 3 sets.

For Example:

  1. Squat to press
  2. Reciprocating chest press
  3. Reciprocating row with Tricep kick back

In between each 1 minute strength, your interval timer will beep a 30 second “high interval”. This is where I do my burst of cardio. Choose whatever is your jam! My choice is kickboxing; but since I’m at home alone, I will often dance it out.

Once you’ve completed your 3 sets of 3 strength along with your cardio high interval, there’s enough time for another superset. I choose 2 strength movements as my 1 minute low interval and for my 30 second high interval, I focus on core.
For Example:

  1. Alternating Lunge with bicep curl
  2. Alternating front raise (I kneel on a bosu for extra core for this)

For the 30 second high interval: Plank, knee up (variation of plank/mountain climber)

Do your strength movements for 3 rounds.

I have one minute left over for a plank before my 5 minutes of stretching.

I find this interval session so adaptable and easy to increase in difficulty or make easier for low energy days. You can make it muscle group specific or do a total body routine. I do this 3 times/week.

For a detailed exercise data base grouped by muscle group, check out American Council of Exercise: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/

Free Youtube workouts (follow their channels for more):

YouTube Mr. and Mrs. Muscle: Most of the free workouts are bodyweight and all have modifications.

I stumbled on this awesome lil space friendly workout the other day by Cambira Joy (love her energy)

My current read (Thank you Darrell for recommending more than once I read it, it’s a nugget of perfection): The Five People You Meet in Heaven
By: Mitch Albom
Have you read it?

Every year on this date, I post a photo of then and now to remember the path. This year, my amazing son is graduating. I’m so sad for him that he does not get that right of passage grad celebration this week-end. I’m really proud of him for how he’s handling it all with smile on his face. And as always, there’s playstation to keep him connected 😉 Happy graduation son. Love you!

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

My Contingency Plan to Cultivate Purpose, Peace and Joy

At work, when a major event happens, there are clear processes to follow. A fluid contingency plan is implemented and updated as situations evolve. I find comfort in processes that gift direction during times of chaos.

I had this light bulb moment the other day, why don’t I implement my own contingency plan for my personal life? Body/Mind/Spirt.

Protect my peace.

It sparked my creative mind thinking about ways to bring peace, purpose and joy into my day. I know exactly what feeds my body/mind/spirit. Interestingly, I’ve figured that out during times of hardship. I’ve taken the time to bring all the senses into that which feeds each element and then recorded it…in my mind’s eye or pen to paper. 

My Contingency Plan to Cultivate Purpose, Peace and Joy

Body

Go for a walk in the sun with my dog
Stretch at my desk when I feel my shoulder’s tighten and my leg’s stiffen
Lift weights. Make a plan, schedule my lift days. And lace up the shoes when I wake up (that’s the hardest part…the just doing)
Interval training
Kickboxing
Just move…Some days a little and some days a lot.
Go for a run
Ride my bike
Yoga
Work in my yard
Play basketball with the kids
Kayak (also spirit side)

Mind

Read a book
Learn something new. Daily
Meditate (a work in progress on that one)
Visualize at the start of each day and set intentions
Write
Teach
Play crib
Blog (this is also Spirit for me)
 

Spirit

Cook for my family, and dance while I cook. Cuban music is my jam lately.
Give to another: a kind word, a gift on a door step, a handwritten note. 
Add to my gratitude journal in the morning. 
Connect with my friends & family: phone, text, FaceTime, Zoom.
Write and support others through understanding.
Watch whatever makes me laugh.
Share the tricky parts of life. There is comfort within understanding we are not alone in our struggles. 
Garden: This is new for me, and huge! With the help of my family, we got our greenhouse functional again, and I planted veggies & herbs for the first time in years. 
 
 
Your list can be added to whenever you find an activity that taps into your senses, and makes you feel alive, centred, vibrant, peaceful, contemplative, happy, interested, etc. 
 
The hardest part for me is the motivation to actually do the Body/Mind/Spirit activities when I’m struggling. The last thing I want to do when I’m down is the very thing that will bring me back up.
That’s where trust comes in. I have to trust the proven results I’ve experienced before, and then take baby steps. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just do one thing; which creates the momentum for the next. 
 
It’s been necessary in this pandemic to be acutely self-aware of my metal state and emotions…
Feeling bored…mindless tasks getting to me? See Mind section.
Feeling lack of purpose? See Mind/Spirit.
Feeling lethargic and low energy? See Body Section
Feeling fearful? See Spirit
Feeling depressed and anxious? See Body/Mind/Spirit
Feeling overwhelmed with having to self-regulate through a stressful day? See Spirit
 
They key is to know YOU. What brings about equanimity to your world? What calms your spirit? What gives you purpose? What makes you laugh? What is that task you get lost in and lose all track of time? What can you give to others to fulfill your own sense of accomplishment?
Fear is an all encompassing force that grows and breeds more…if left unattended. It seeps in every so slowly when you are faced with daily unknowns and grows like a flame.
 
So my friends….  
 

Please Protect your Peace.

As always, I hope you choose love over fear.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

The Sisterhood of Mothers

I watched an overwhelmed Mom the other day, wrangler her 2 toddlers in the midst of a busy business as they were screaming and fighting down the aisles.  Another Mom near her leaned in to offer some advice “Enjoy them now while they are young, because one day you’ll miss the sound of their little voices”

The overwhelmed Mom’s face fell further as the cloak of guilt surrounded her spirit.

I can relate and recognize both sides of the coin. One where you don’t realize the simplistic beauty of a stage until the next one arrives. And another where the weight of it all is exhausting. You feel up to the very top of your head with frustration and responsibility. You can’t breathe.

Through the years, empathy and understanding have flooded my Mom-heart connecting to my own Mother’s-heart within wisdom of life experiences I’ve shared with her. Separate experience in different decades, hers in her time; and mine in my time. Like traversing the newborn stage while also chasing another toddler to trying to balance a career along with raising teens all while dealing with a loss of a former life and rebuilding.

What I’ve come to understand more than anything; Mom guilt is the root of shame among Mothers. It’s destructive and dark. There’s no growth that comes from shame.

The centre of a Mother is a woman who is doing her best with the tools she has.

She does not have to feel grateful for the temper tantrum simply because one day her hard work will pay off in the form of a well-adjusted former toddler turned beauty adult.

She is not required to appreciate the miracle of life when it’s within a teen who would rather slam a door on her face than say thank you for forcing an education upon them.

What that Mom needs now is the right to be authentic and real. Acknowledged within her fruition and exhaustion. She is not superhuman. She’s merely human and there are days she wants to run from it all. From the expectations to be happy and grateful within the stages of screaming toddler; to the teen who spews anger when held to responsibility.

She does not need an elder Mom to impress the next stage upon her already guilt-ridden spirit; because she’s not there yet! She doesn’t know it until she lives through it. Just as I didn’t understand what my Mom did for me when I was screaming in her face to leave me alone. It’s the cycle of life; life lessons come organically in the form of actually living the life.

And yet, as I type this…I feel the Mom-guilt creep in for all the children without Mothers  and all the Mothers without children. Will this post be met with understanding as I intend it.

I’m writing this within the conviction that us Moms need a sisterhood of women to unite within understanding, compassion, and empathy. To acknowledge that Mothering is not for the faint of heart. It is thankless and crushing at times; and it is beautifully enriching at times. It can be filled with loss and anger one minute and yearning to be better and love deeper the next.

It’s Ok to take a trip away with your girlfriends. To sleep in when you can…nap it out. Take a walk alone or curl up with a good book in a hammock.

It’s not selfish to take care of your own needs along with those of your children.

There is no room for understanding and camaraderie when one Mom camp shames another for mothering in a different way.

This Mother’s Day I want to appreciate, acknowledge and applaud all those Moms who are trying their best. Who collapse at the end of the day on the couch with a glass of wine and some smutty reality TV on their PVR.

Those who stay home with their kids; and those who work full-time.

Those who stand in an aisle flanked by screaming toddlers giving into the chaos for a moment; and those who leave a full cart of groceries behind to carry their screaming toddler out.

Those who slip away for a break; only to realize they don’t really want a break; they just want the right to be their own person as well as a Mom. To have the freedom to feel the wide gamut of emotions that weave the canvas of Motherhood in all it’s successes and defeats.

It’s all OK.

Feel all the feels and then remember that through all the deep love you have for your family; you too are loved and appreciated.

Maybe not today.

Maybe on the day when your own once teen raises their own angry teens.

But certainly on more days than Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s day to all you Moms out there. Especially to my own Mom. I love you.

From my understanding Mom heart to yours,

Christine

 

On being Selfish

I was raised to give, give, give. Give of your best always. If there’s one piece of anything left, give it to your friend. While I am so thankful for this lesson, it has come at a cost as I misinterpreted it; of which I am only now realizing.

I understand it now, because I have kids and I spend much time dreaming about their future.

As I was reading/writing this morning, I realized that what I want most for my kids is to Yes, be giving; but not at the cost of their own needs and dreams.

In order to truly give authentically, you have to give to yourself. Which means you treat YOU just as you would those you love most.  Because giving all you have to others, leaves you feeling depleted emotionally and your spirit will suffer.

What does giving to yourself look like? Tangibly…

Take a walk in the sun and take in the beauty around you.

Say no to elements which robs you of your happiness.

Surround yourself with positive like-minded people who truly care about your happiness and goals. And who stand by you even at your lowest.

Eat to nourish your body.

Move to feel alive.

Share, connect, be courageous enough to be vulnerable, listen, be honest and impeccable with your word.

Take time in silence every day. Turn off the TV. Put down your phone.

Read a book in the most comfiest corner of your home and sip your coffee/tea slowly. Remember we are on a lifelong quest to grow in grace, strength, character and knowledge. THAT is what will aid you in giving more to others. The investment in yourself.

Take a day trip to somewhere that makes your soul happy and your eyes thirsty for more.

Smile freely, laugh often, love deeply.

Be selfish with your time as you honour what YOU need in order to move forward in life. And to be clear, it’s not selfish at all, it’s called “self-care”. I often have to sit back and think “Am I doing this because it’s what THEY need, or is it what I need?” And sometimes you need to recharge yourself and take time to think things through. And that’s OK! I know after taking time for me, I’ll come out of it with kick-ass positivity that will transcend into every element of my life. Friendships, parenting, careers, new experiences…all toward the greater good of living my best life, which I am designing by my thoughts and actions.

As important as it is to GIVE, please remember to give to yourself too. Hold yourself in as high-esteem as you do those you love most. And just watch what amazing experiences/people/opportunities unfold in your life as a result.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

For Every Person Who has Ever Stood in Tears in a Change Room

Last week my daughter and I had a shopping date for a swimsuit. As we were going through styles, I could see she was already getting anxious. I tried my best to lighten the mood and make it a fun experience.

We found one I knew would look beautiful on her, and I waited outside the change room. It became evident after a while, she was having a hard time. She finally said I could see and opened the change room doors.

My brilliant, kind-hearted, creative girl looked stunning in her new swimsuit and then I realized she had tears in her eyes. My heart dropped, but this was the time for strength & uplifting. 

When we got to the car after, I asked her why she was sad. She told me she didn’t like how she looked in a swimsuit. I said a prayer in my head to find the right words. We sat together in the parking lot and we talked about body image and to be proud of our bodies for all it can do. It does not define us. It is a miraculous vehicle to enjoy life.

To jump on the trampoline with friends through laughter.

Legs that can run with reckless abandon.

Strong arms to hug those she loves.

But most importantly, I needed my sweet brave girl to know what I appreciate most about her is her kind heart, willful witty spirit, and the most creative brain I’ve ever met.

She is perfect just as she is.

We talked about how health is about loving yourself, not about shame over not fitting into a mould. We sat tall and proud in the car, shoulders back, chin up, proud of who we are as little/big ladies.

Now that I’m sitting here thinking, I need to be responsible for my role in her self-esteem; especially being that I work in the fitness industry. And this is WHY I chose this career. This is a journey of self-love.

Yes, I wish I loved myself more back when I was at my heaviest. I was worthy then, I’m worthy now. It has nothing to do with what a facking scale says.

This is for every person who stood in a change room in tears (I’ve been there), and can collect themselves after and regroup their thoughts away from aesthetics and onto who we are as people.

Choose your words wisely around your kids, but also to yourself.

This has been a call to me to be more loving and intentional with my words.

And to end this, when we got home, she put on her swimsuit and walked across the house with confidence. Her head was up and she walked with sass. ha! love it.

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

 

 

 

A Challenge for You ~ Dream a Little Today

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

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 8.39.38 AM

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

 

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