The One Book You Need to Read ~ “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod

Three months ago, I started my Personal Training/Motivational Coach position at Your Body Your Weigh Fitness. There aren’t words quite adequate to describe how much I love my career and working with all the amazing, strong, dedicated clients there. It’s my job (I need a new word, because “job” isn’t right…I love this area) to motivate and inspire them to push themselves to their full potential; but honestly…they do the same for me. It’s been a true gift to my soul.

At my 3 month meeting with my boss Karla, she asked me what my personal and professional goals are.  Huh, I’ve been so focussed on everyone else’s goals that I hadn’t put a lot of thought into my own! She challenged me to put tangible timelines/action onto my goals. One of my goals is to commit to lifelong learning. But what does that mean really…how often will I commit to that? I decided daily.

A few days later she gave me a book to read “The Morning Miracle ~ The not-so obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life before 8 AM” by Hal Elrod.  If you haven’t read this book, please stop what you are doing right now and download it or go buy it. I highly recommend it, thank you Karla! It’s a quick powerful read that will transform your life if you put the practices to action.

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The book challenges you to be the best version of yourself in all facets of life (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual) by working on your own personal development each and every morning. I have always committed to life-long learning; however, I never framed it within my mind that I actually settle for mediocrity daily. Could I be doing more? Of course, and why am I complacent within average? Oh no my dear…I am not average or mediocre. And you aren’t either.

One thing I’m blessed with daily is time, if I just make it. Yes life is busy, but that’s no excuse…I have the ability to get up a little earlier. Aaaand, I can also convince myself that I want to get up an hour earlier because I’m driven to do so by my purpose. That’s the key right there my friends, to figure out your purpose in life and use that emotional response within your purpose to drive you to action.

So I woke up an hour earlier the last two days excited to get started on action which I know will be life changing for me.

Yesterday I went for a run in the sun and discovered more peace, energy & clarity than I have in many months. I cleared my mind of anything negative that was rooted in my past, and focussed on not only the right now, but the future. I took a different route than usual and as I rounded the corner, this fitting landmark came into view.

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You see, we all have these big goals and dreams for our life. A visual idea within the mind of what our ideal life looks like. Great! But are we truly working daily on our dreams? A dream is just a dream without action. Are we maximizing our full potential to be the best version of ourselves?

One of the quotes I read within the book really resonated with me in a different way. Now…I’ve read this quote before, but today I understand it on a deeper level.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  Marianne Williamson

I encourage you today to put time into thinking about Your Purpose in life. Who are you? Who do you want to be? Are you settling for daily mediocrity…one foot in front of the other. If so, why? We have one life! What is that one (or more) thing(s) that gets you out of bed in the morning with passion and direction?  When you are driven by purpose, there’s no stopping you.

Have a great purpose-inspiring day, and read this book so we can talk about it. 🙂

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.

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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

 

Looking at the World with New Eyeballs

Many years ago when I started my photography business, I believed I was technically awesome. I knew my shit. I just loved taking photos and I was proud of what I captured. I was one kick-ass photographer.

Fast forward to many years later, I was building a portfolio for my website. I went through all of my old “awesome” work, and guess what? It was shit technically…a humbling and eye-opening realization. ha! How did I not know? How did I use to look at these photos and not see the areas I needed to improve? It wasn’t until I shoved my annoying ego to the side and invested in learning that I gained a new set of eyeballs. 😉 These new eyeballs are quite the opposite, I see areas needing of improvement with every shoot…which in the end will allow me to grow within my work.

That same principle has been proven within many areas of my life. My faith and spirit has evolved as I’ve invested in growing and learning.  Life is an evolving journey of continual growth, wisdom and knowledge. The stagnant areas settle within ego…believing there is nothing else to learn or understand about a certain area.

One of the main reasons why I held onto the extra weight for so many years lies within the theory of low self-efficacy. Psychologist Albert Bandura (fellow Albertan!) has defined self-efficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations. I truly didn’t believe I could do it. I constructed a difficult labyrinth within my mind that prevented even the slightest bit of progress. I quit before I even started. Those old eyeballs saw nothing but obstacles. I had resigned myself to living within a frame that I had difficulty moving physically.

I try to think back to the moment when I gained new eyeballs in this area…I really can’t pinpoint it. Just as I can’t pinpoint when I realized I was lacking technical knowledge within photography. I do know I dropped my ego and committed to learning. Research. Reading. Asking questions from others who had undergone a similar journey. And I used a healthy dose of imagination…I visualized reaching my goals. I shifted focus from the labyrinth of difficulty to seeing a new me. A better version of me who believed in herself.

The mind is our most powerful tool.

If you are reading this thinking about the areas you wish you can change, stop wishing and start doing. You absolutely can accomplish your goals, but do you believe you can? Before you know it, you just may look at life, circumstances, your past, relationships, and your goals with a brand new set of eyeballs. 😉

Here’s a great article about improving your self-efficacy: http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/self_efficacy.htm

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From my heart to yours,

Christine

7 Ways to take Intimidation out of the Gym

For years, the only place I felt comfortable working out was in the comfort and safety of my home. Now that I’ve taken my workouts to the gym, I look back and wonder why I thought the gym was so intimidating. I’ve given this a lot of thought so I could pass on some encouragement to others who also struggle with Gym intimidation.

So here are the reasons why I know I have every right to workout in the gym along with everyone else. Just as you do.

7 ways to take intimidation out of the gym

1. I pay the same membership fees as everyone else. Why is their money more worthy of gym space? The gym is just a place to go to sweat. It’s not a place for fit people to meet and admire the fitness that is apparent within their chiselled physique. lol! You pay, I pay, we all pay. It’s all the same moneys. Sweat freely my friends.

2. No one cares how sweaty you are. Seriously, no one cares. In fact, if I see a person drenched in sweat, red-faced, out-of-breath it makes me work harder and all I feel is mad respect for their perseverance. In fact, I make a point of encouraging them because who doesn’t like to be encouraged and respected? Yesterday, I watched an older gentleman crack out chin ups like gravity was no big thang, and as I walked by I said to him “Wow, Impressive!” ha! I seriously was so impressed I couldn’t keep the thought from escaping my mouth-hole. Then his wife did the same! Wowzers.

3. Plug into your iPod. Before I get to the gym, I go onto http://8tracks.com and find a playlist for my workout. It depends on my mood, and if I’m doing cardio, weight training, or both. I turn up my music and zone out. I occasionally break out into subtle awkward swaying dance. It’s as subtle as it is awkward. Most everyone else is in their own little music zone too. Even if they are looking around between sets, it’s because they are formulating their next exercise.

4. There’s no set demographic at the gym. If you regularly go to the gym and pay attention, you will see every shape, size, age, and ability. There are no classes there. No rank of importance. We are all the same, that’s what I love most about it. It’s my safe zone where I feel accepted no matter what level of fitness I’m at. Because really, go back to #2. No one cares about your workout, they only care about their own.

5. You will work harder at the gym. You will. At home, I’m distracted by my kids, my dog who is always under-foot (I swear one day he’ll be my demise on a set of stairs), phone calls, door bells, laundry piles. When I hold a plank, I see dust bunnies under couches and then my head starts to wander into to-do lists. There are so many distractions there, home is where my responsibilities live. At the gym, once I scan my card, that’s my time. Since I made the effort to pack up my gym bag, throw on some runners, drive or bike there…I have no excuse but to get to work and make the most of my time.

6. Sweat with style and variety…Where else can you go, that has a variety of high-end equipment at your finger tips? Sure, you can fill up your home-gym with a few pieces of equipment, but to stock it with variety would be expensive. For the price of a membership or a drop-in fee, you can try different types of cardio, strength training, classes, TRX, free-weights, machines…it’s all right there. Don’t know how to use the machines? Most gyms will give you a free information session and go through each machine. Better yet, hire a trainer. Seriously it was the best investment I ever made. We invest money into our clothing, nights-out, gifts for others, starbucks..but when it comes to our health suddenly the price is too high. Try a 5-10 session package and learn the basics of correct form. You’ll not only gain knowledge, but confidence. Invest in your health.

7. You may just meet some inspiriting people there. If you go to the gym and feel like a fish out of water, just do what I do. Smile. Hold your head high. Be friendly. Before you know it, you have yourself a little gym gang that just happen to go the same time as you. It’s a community of support and respect that I’ve never encountered before. We don’t bother one another during our workout, but we nod or say hi. Wave. The odd chit-chat. An acknowledgement of respect and camaraderie. For an introvert like me, it’s muchly appreciated.

So what are you waiting for? Please don’t feel intimidated by the gym, if you want to go. Just go. You have every right to be there just as I do. And if you see me there, say hi! Wave. Awkwardly sway subtly as music fills your ear holes. Sweat freely lol!

I’ll leave you a whole lot of motivation thanks to the ever inspiring and wise Eric Thomas.

Have a great day! From my heart to yours,

Christine

On Fear, Dreaming, and Balance

My last post was May, can that be true?! It’s been a busy 6 months. I haven’t fallen off the healthy wagon; I’ve written so many posts in my head that it was a little overwhelming so I wrote nothing.

Over the spring and summer I worked towards my Personal Training Specialist certification through CanfitPro. I’m happy to say I’m now certified! I wanted to pursue certification for many years and it feels great to finally take action rather than thinking on a dream. I plan to mix some pretty powerful motivators through training: the positive mind and Photography. I’m so excited, can’t wait!

This May 2015 marks 10 years at my healthy weight. I used to call it my goal weight, but through these past 10 years I have learned it’s just a number. Healthy is my goal, not specific digits on a scale. I love learning new things about fitness and I’m a foodie at heart. Through the years I’ve noticed many trends come and go when it comes to the diet/fitness industry. Low fat, low carb, paleo, cleanses, high protein. Intense cardio, step, aerobics, heavy lifting, high-reps/low weight, spinning, TRX, crossfit, barre. None of which are necessarily a bad thing; however, I see an issue for me personally when the fad is introduced as the newest greatest solution to all my eating/fitness issues. Obsession takes over and that’s never been a healthy element for me.

But what about balance?

My quest for balance, happiness and health has always encompassed more than just a diet/fitness plan. It’s easy to get caught up in the diet/fitness industry’s promise of happiness within a meal plan or a workout. I can promise you from my experience, you can lose 100 pounds and still feel unfulfilled and deal with low self-esteem.

I learned the strength of my inner spirit is just as important as the health of my body. I had to heal from within. I had to learn to recognize my weaknesses and celebrate my strengths. Cardio/lifting sessions were (and continue to be) a time of self-reflection and an opportunity to challenge tired beliefs I have about my strength and ability. I had to identify the areas where I had an unhealthy relationship with certain foods and then replace those with healthy satisfying options. It has never been about restriction, but rather stability and control over an area I felt wildly out of control within.

I had to practice compassion, forgiveness, letting go, and perseverance for myself, but more importantly for others…until it became part of who I am as a person. We all struggle. We all have our insecurities. We all deserve forgiveness and love. I will always look for the good within others and foster that within authentic relationships. The other day I realized that it’s because I spent so many years in the dark that I appreciate this brilliant light of clarity and focus.

I’m so thankful for the years I spent…

~wandering through confusion because I learned to trust myself as a result.

~dreaming of a different body because I transformed a dream that was focussed on an aesthetic into lifelong action towards a healthy mind/body/spirit.

~unhappy because I learned a big part of happiness within life is simply a choice.

~trapped in jealousy and envy because I learned those gross emotions will fade away when you become confident within yourself.

~selfishly focussing on inner turmoil that clouded my life for it taught me to be more selfless and to move on.

When I started this journey I foolishly believed it was about fitting my ever-expanding body into a pair of skinny jeans. I had no idea I would learn to love others more because I found peace, forgiveness, and love within myself.

It’s all about balance. If you are struggling in this area, dig deeper. Figure out your weaknesses and strengths. Don’t lie to yourself. Focus on your inner strength, push away the doubt for that doubtful voice is just fear. Forgive yourself for your mistakes because you have learned so much from those. Adversity makes us stronger. You are human and we are all fantastically flawed. Let go of your past. You have a future full of promise if you just view it that way. Never give up on your goals, you are stronger than you even realize.

Life is a series of seasons, ever changing and evolving. Don’t fear change keep on growing and learning from both your mistakes and your successes. Turn those dreams into actions. I hope all this for you and more.

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I’ll leave you with a little video of inspiration for your day…

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

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

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

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9 Years at Goal Weight

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

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

Here’s what I want you to know.

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

1.~You are more powerful than you even realize

2.~You are beautiful. Perfectly Imperfect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

 

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

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

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

One day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

The Issue with Food Issues

I had a conversation with a woman recently about her diet. She eats very differently than I do (now that I’m in the maintaining world). I’m always fascinated with the way others eat. I’m not sure why. No judgements, just interested. The newest fad diets, no carbs, carb cycling, high protein/little carbs, lots of carbs/little protein, Paleo…all of it is interesting to me.  I want knowledge for curiosity sake given I’ve found what’s worked for me year 9 of maintaining my healthy weight. Everyone is different in what works for them, and that’s what’s so interesting.

Anywhoooo, after she told me about her diet, I filled her in a bit about my journey of shedding 90 odd pounds, she replied “This way of eating probably wouldn’t work for you because you have food issues.”

Huh.  Food issues. I often admit to others I have food issues, but hearing it out of someone else’s mouth had an interesting effect on me as I’m not a fan of labels.

Oh my, I’m one of those weird food issue people. ha! I really thought about it though, and I’m going to own that label.

I have food issues people.

In thinking about it, doesn’t our society promote food issues wildly?! Everywhere you look there’s fat-free, low carb, non-saturated fat, natural, lean, (etc.) labels on all our foods. When you go out to eat, the portions are double what any human would need to get full. My children get fast food at School for hot lunch once a week (don’t get me wrong, I love hot lunch day because I run out of things to put in their lunch…it’s like a day off).  I think our whole culture has food issues. How many people do you know that are on a diet right now ladies? How many women do you know that are completely comfortable with their weight? Forgive me for speaking broadly, but we are chasing this elusive goal to be a little thinner, and we want fast fixes. It’s no wonder there’s so many food related advertising. We are never satisfied. Most of the people at the gym are downing protein shakes after their workouts, myself included. That’s not exactly “the way nature would have intended” to ingest our protein. Food advertising is all around us and it’s screwing with our minds.

I often have to take a step back and remember that my goal is to be healthy, balanced, strong, and happy. Restriction does not make me happy. I will turn into a raging beyatch if you take away my occasional indulgence of a good meal out at The Keg, a beautiful glass of red wine, and a square of dark chocolate.  I might stab you with a fork if you tell me how many calories are in any of those items. I don’t give a bouncing kangaroo. This maybe an indication I have food issues. I will own that.

If the truth be told, I work out to eat. I’m a foodie. I adore the care and love that is poured into the preparation of a kick-ass meal. I love to cook too. For that fact, I shape my activity around that, and follow the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, 20% sorta healthy (although I will always maintain that a good steak, glass of red, or dark chocolate will make anyone happier).

What is my point?! I have food issues, you may have food issues, our advertising/talk shows/magazine covers definitely promote food issues. It’s OK to have food issues. I felt all shamey in the moment when that woman said that to me, but there’s no shame in it. I’m not alone, I know that.

So I’m going to stick to what I know, and just keep eating foods that come from nature. Foods that are not processed. Foods that are brightly coloured and my protein used to run away from hunters. I love meat. My beef-farmer-father raised me on it. That’s cool. The way you eat is cool too. It’s none of my business.

The issue I have with food issues, is the idea that I’m alone in my food issues. So here’s me screaming from the roof tops about it (or to 10 people who will read this post…hi Roxy)

This maybe the most pointless, round and round post I’ve ever written.

From my heart to yours,

Christine with the food issue

Empowering Strangers

I’ve thought of ways to empower my daughter to build up her confidence. Which led me to the realization that my confidence level is not what I would hope for my daughter. Which led me to thinking how I can build up my confidence to be an example to my daughter. Which led to the realization that I feel most empowered and confident when I uplift other women. My friends, family, and strangers too.

So how does one empower other women?

You know when you think a positive thought about another woman when you see them? You might admire the way they parent, the way they light up a room by their positive energy, the way they go after their dreams without fear, the way they volunteer their time, the way they work their ass off. Insert positive thought here.

Tell them. Even if you don’t know them. I promise you, a positive affirmation (even from a stranger) will lift up their spirit. They will remember it.

I was at the gym the other day, and I was admiring how hard this one woman was working. She’s there often, and she has definition is her arms that takes a whole lot of sweat and dedication to obtain. And I wondered to myself, does she know that her hard work is paying off? So I silenced the voice in my head that said “don’t compliment a stranger, that’s weird.”  I walked over to her and said “I really admire how hard you work, do you know that you have crazy definition in your arms? Your arms are my goal” She just stared at me for a minute, sort of stunned. And my head thought “oh my, she thinks I’m a wack-a-doodle”  Finally, she replied with a smile “Thank you so much, I’ve worked at it for years.” Years people! That’s dedication right there. And that was that. We walked our separate ways and continued our workouts. A couple of days later, she was walking in as I was walking out. She stopped me and introduced herself with a big smile and asked me my name. Which officially makes us no longer strangers. ha!

In the process of highlighting the strengths of women around you, you will start to distinguish your own strengths. It opens up the mind to positive. It’s the very reason I love photography so much. To me, photography is looking for beauty in everything. We see objects around us so much that it becomes “ordinary”. We no longer see. Canadians: how ordinary and everyday is snow to us? We live in a sea of white for 6 months of the year. Have you looked at snow with different eyes lately? A snowflake is the most delicate, intricate, beautiful of our “ordinary objects”. Watch the excitement in someone’s eyes who has never seen snow before!

Open your eyes to the beautiful, it’s all around us and it lives within everyone. A face transforms with a smile. There is nothing more beautiful than a smile. It exudes warmth, kindness, connection. Expand your vision of what beauty is, and think about what you find beautiful about your Mom. Your sister. Your daughter. Your friends. When you think about them, it’s not about their outer. It’s who they are as people that make them beautiful…their spirit.

Beauty1

I have very vivid memories of the women who took the time to uplift my spirit. I specifically remember the women whom I didn’t even know. Why would a stranger spread positivity to me? She doesn’t even know me, so there’s nothing in it for her! I guess that’s why it stuck with me.

So today, find something beautiful within the women who cross your path, and then tell them.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

P.S. You are ridiculously beautiful

I Am Beautiful (and you are too)

Yesterday in a big gross cloud of anger, I posted this status:

My daughter came home from school in tears because a few girls called her fat in her swim suit. She loves swimming, and now she has anxiety over it. We talked about all the amazing things her body can do…run, swim, walk, get her to anywhere in the world she wants to go someday. More importantly, all the wonderful traits that make her who she is. Her wit, creative mind, kind sensitive soul, tender heart who loves others, her brilliant problem-solving brain. I’m still so angry about it, yet my anger isn’t at those girls. I’m angry that our society is so shallow. Girls are “more” if they dress a certain way into a single digit sized clothing. Exercise and eating healthy isn’t actually about health at all, it’s the newest fad diet to fit into those skinny jeans. There’s nothing healthy about that mind-set. It’s the unhealthy pursuit of an external ideal that will never be obtained. I’m angry that because a girl’s body type isn’t the standard of what society deems as “perfect”, that a girl feels shame. As she stood there with tears streaming down her face, I had a flashback to my own childhood in the locker room of the swimming pool. A difference of 30 years, yet the very same tears. So I laid awake last night wondering what I personally can do to break this cycle. All I came up with is to raise my daughter to love others. To love her body for all it can do. And I will remind her every damn day that she is a collection of amazing strengths that has nothing to do with her clothing size. I will be conscious of how my thoughts and actions will positively or negatively impact her self-esteem. And I will be so very proactive to build her up and build up those around me. “All we need is love”….well maybe that’s a bit naive, but what we DO need more of in this world along with love is empathy, understanding, and a lot more depth.

On behalf of my daughter, I received many messages of love, support, and relatable stories as a result. This issue is one we can all relate to, either because we have dealt with it as a parent or because we’ve been shamed by another who ridiculed some aspect of who we are.

When my daughter came home from school, I met her at the door with this little poster and then the kids and I went to jump on trampolines at the indoor trampoline park because nothing is more fun than bouncing into a big pit of foamy things.

Tessa is beautiful

After much (too much) thought, I realized something. I’ve repeated the “You are beautiful” mantra to my daughter yet I have an extremely hard time looking into the mirror and thinking that I am beautiful too.

Let me explain…I’ve been thinking about my beauty in an aesthetic sense. I’ve focussed on my outward appearance and I pick apart all the flaws I see on my body. Yet when I think about the beauty of my children, all I see is who they are as a whole. All of them. Their mind, soul, body, every little fibre of their being. I love it all to bits. I think every molecule of their being is beautiful.

Yet I’ve looked at my reflection with shallow eyes. Who I am has nothing to do with the shape of my body.

So today, and in the days ahead, I will look within and open my eyes to see beyond my outer.

How can I expect my daughter to believe she is beautiful if I secretly don’t believe that I am beautiful? I would never say that out loud, but I think it at times. We are what we think. Self-love is as important for us Moms as it is for our children.

I am beautiful. Perfectly imperfect.

Repeat.

And I hope when you look in the mirror today, you see someone who is ridiculously beautiful.

From my heart to yours,

Christine