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. 😉

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 “partially hydrogenated” 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. 🙂 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

12 Years at Goal

Today is the 12 year anniversary of reaching my goal weight. Every year, I write a blog post of what I’ve learned through another year of maintaining. I don’t think there’s enough time to articulate all the lessons I’ve learned this year, but if I could sum it up, it would be the year of Law of Attraction.

You attract what you think about. Thoughts become things.

Further to just “thinking” about the elements you wish to attract into your life, you have to put in the work. The action. So I think it’s more accurate to say my thoughts turned into actions this year and I stopped simply dreaming and starting putting those dreams to work.

I have a better understanding of who I am as a Mom, sister, daughter, friend, trainer. I focussed less on what I knew well…my escape and comfort zone of photography, and more time on the act of being purposefully uncomfortable. Nothing grows within your comfort zone. I have spent every morning for over a year focussing my thoughts during my Miracle Morning. It has transcended into every facet of my life in a way I could have never imagined.

It has definitely not been easy to focus on my thoughts on the positive… every. single. day.  Nor has it been easy to turn my thoughts back to Love when negative emotions creep into my day. We are rooted within two emotions. Love and Fear. What am I choosing in my day? That has been my soul seeking quest for months, to not only find answers; but to always bring the answer back to Love.

Among the most important life lessons of this past year is Happiness is a Choice. When I take the time to get up early and set my mind up in a positive, goal-dreaming/action orientated way… my day (most often than not) has aligned itself magically right along with whatever I have focussed on. 😉

I still seek balance…

There’s always an hour in the week to MAKE time for a glass of red with a friend. The kind of friends who support and uplift you and want the best for you. They celebrate your successes, and support you through the hard times. Pick wisely the energy you are around. It’s contagious.

The 80/20 rule still works for me. I’m on point with my nutrition 80% of the time, and the other 20% I relax and just eat mindful (even if it’s a nice meal out).

If I have nothing to laugh about in my life, or if my life isn’t that “fun”…. I can create fun. Live a little and laugh at yourself. Seek out positive, uplifting people who share the same mind-set as you. Just be yourself, and like-minded people will be drawn to you. Authenticity attracts authenticity. Let your weird flag fly.

If you are over 30, start lifting weights. As we age we naturally lose muscle mass, and the only way to get it back is to build it. You will not get bulky, but rather think of it like you are building a home on a foundation of bricks. You walk taller with better posture, and you won’t hurt yourself doing mundane tasks….because of the bricks thingy. Don’t know how to lift with proper form? Go hire a personal trainer. 😉 Oh and your metabolism will thank you too.

I have definitely become more humble this year. I have been knocked down a peg or two, and I’m so grateful for that.I’m more outgoing in some ways, and more protective in others. I have laughed a lot, and worked through a lot too. I am more grateful, compassionate and empathetic. I love deeper and I’m more open; however, I learned the important lesson of putting up boundaries to honour what I need at this stage in my life. It’s an act of self-love. You can’t give so much to everyone and not take care of yourself. You will pay the consequences if you do, in your body/mind/spirit. And those who truly love you will understand and respect those boundaries.

Most importantly, I go into another year uplifted, hopeful, and thankful. Being at my healthy weight still feels new to me, even 12 years later. There’s no going back, only forward living with pride and a gratitude.

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

Weight Loss is a Byproduct of Self-Love

I had an epiphany this morning as I was journalling.

Taking good care of myself, and in turn others, is the highest form of self-love.  Long-term weight loss has been possible for me, not because I have attempted to fit into a certain size clothing nor because I was striving to achieve societal standards of what a woman “should” look like. It truly is a byproduct of Love…simplifying the way I am intended to live.

~Within Love~

This is how we are designed right from the moment we were but one single cell.

To ignite the fire of change within your lifestyle, all it takes is a shift of your perspective away from the pressure of aesthetics and instead onto love. 

I’m going to attempt to explain my thought pattern here; however, it’s tricky to articulate a feeling.

I show respect for my body by eating foods high in nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, nutrients) so I have the most energy for my life and my kids as possible. I understand there are certain foods that trigger emotional eating for me, so I create a no-fail environment. If I’m tempted to eat my trigger food, I actually put myself in the emotional state that I feel after I eat them. Sluggish, self-deprecation, loss of control.  Those are not the thoughts I want to live within, so no thank you 🙂

I have the ability to pick my fuel, and so why would I pick low-quality fuel such as simple carbohydrates which quickly convert into sugar and have me on a roller coaster of temporary energy only to crash moments later? My goal is to feel my best physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So I will choose foods that come from the earth and have an expiration date. 🙂

I am thankful for my health and the ability to move freely.  Think about the times when you are sick with the flu and bed-ridden, how grateful are you when you feel better? You have this new lease on life, and you breathe deeply with gratitude. Those feelings can fade quickly however, and we fall back into complacency and forget that our health is a gift.

I will always be reminded of this as my sister is confined to a wheel chair because of MS. She would give ANYTHING to get up and run again.  To take that for granted would not only be selfish of me; but a huge disrespect and disservice to my sister. I know exactly how she would be living today if MS had not robbed her physical health. She would run circles around me with her characteristic Janice laugh. So I will run because I’m able. And I’m so very grateful for the ability to run, jump, move, and grow in strength.

The human body is a miraculous machine, the more you challenge it with new movements within your abilities, the stronger and more agile you become. How amazing is that?!

I will drink lots of water as we are made of water. Common sense tells me it’s essential for optimal health. And truly, what an easy way to maintain health. Just march right up to your tap and pour yourself a glass. Further to that, I am blessed that I have running water and a fridge stocked with food. Many are not afforded that luxury.  I remind myself of that often when the most ridiculous excuses creep into my mind and out of my mouth “I don’t have time to eat right and I don’t like the taste of water.”  I can’t imagine saying that to someone who does not have access to clean water nor a grocery store down the street (and money to buy a weeks worth of groceries).

And finally, I will strive everyday to live a life of purpose, gratitude, pride and love. Invest in my spirit so that I can love others wholeheartedly. Give of my time and abilities to those who need it most; just as I have needed it so many times in my life when I was unsure about my future and overwhelmed with sadness.

Listen more, talk less. Connection with others lies within meaningful communication which is a two-way street. How many conversations have I had that are ego based, formulating my response without listening to the words of another? Be aware.

This is a my journey to love myself because I need my kids to love themselves too.

This is a call to be the best version of myself because I have this one precious life, and time is valuable. Use it wisely.

What kind of life do I want to live? Even during times when I’m not exactly where I would hope to be at certain stages, I still had the luxury of time and the ability to turn another’s day around with a little uplifting and kindness. Giving is so good for the heart and soul.  It connects us to one another.

Spread a little positivity.

Laugh freely.

Smile for no other reason than the fact I have my health today when another maybe living in a hospital bed. My happiness does not come from others; but rather from within and a higher power.

Run or go for a walk today because you are able.

Eat healthy foods today because you have the ability to make a choice in the fuel you put into your body.

Living in gratitude and love is a choice. Today (and everyday) I choose a life of wholehearted living. How ridiculously amazing is that my friends?!!? ha!

I hope this post made sense, I had quite the morning of thinking. I wish for you a life full of pride, joy, and purpose.

From my grateful heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

The Disconnect within Connection

We all crave connection. It’s a fundamental human need. That’s why there’s so much time spent online. Facebook, twitter, instagram. It’s a virtual world of human connection. We spend more time on our phone virtually talking to others than we do actually connecting with another person face-to-face. What’s ironic is by searching for connection in this way, it creates a disconnect in life.

I hear this a lot and I’ve also convinced myself of this from time to time. I’m too busy to workout and eat right. It’s not that we don’t have time, it’s that we don’t use our time wisely.

I used to think that I used food as a tool to numb. I think it’s more accurate to say that I used food to feed a feeling of emptiness. One that could have been fed by healthy elements.

I took some time to truly think about the ways I feel full and content within mind and spirit.

Connection

How often have you tried to have a real conversation with someone who is looking down at their phone while you talk? It’s impossible. It makes the other person feel undervalued. Through that disconnect, it sends a message that their time is more precious than yours.

Put down the phone, you will not find true connection there. One thing I’ve learned through getting to know others at the gym, is that if I take the time to listen to others within authentic conversation, there’s no end to the life lessons that can be learned. I love going to the gym at the time when older people are there, because through every conversation I’ve had with them, I’ve learned something. They could be falling into the trap of sedentary life if they choose, but they don’t. They show up, work hard, and slow the hands of the aging clock with heart-healthy activity. They are not distracted by the binging of notifications from their phones. When they talk to me, they look me in the eye. They listen. They understand that time is fleeting and precious and they use that time to their advantage. They understand what it is to be connected to another person through being truly present within conversation.

Exercise

run

I realized one day on my run that I have never felt more alive than within that uncomfortable moment. My lungs were screaming for air, my legs felt like they had weights attached to them, the cold air whipped at my face making my eyes water. Yet within the physical discomfort, I was never more aware of my strengths and abilities of my body. I’m certainly not aware of that as my body sinks into the indentations of a couch. 😉

Our bodies are designed to move, run, jump, lift. If we challenge our muscles they will grow. If we exercise our heart, it will beat more efficiently with strength and determination. What’s more alive than that? There is nothing “alive” about losing muscle mass as we age, and clogging our arteries with fried foods. We are betraying our bodies if we give into complacency. Get moving. Feel alive!

Eat foods that transform into energy. Isn’t that amazing: that you can fuel your body to perform at its peak. It’s within our power to choose our fuel. It takes just as much time to eat crappy food void of nutrients and vitamins as it does to choose vibrantly coloured food full of life.

The Uplifting

You know what feels amazing? To uplift another person through genuine appreciation. To truly recognize the light within another’s spirit. To ignite a fire within their soul through recognition. To see their worth and celebrate it. To give more than you take. To make others laugh and feel amazing about who they are as people. THAT is gold. You want to feel uplifted? It starts in giving. Not receiving.

Positive Out, Positive In

I say that phrase an annoying amount, because I believe in it with my whole heart.  Negativity is exhausting. It’s soul crushing. Nothing grows within a negative environment. It’s an energy sucker.  Maybe you are searching for positivity right now. Well let me be a little source of positivity within your day and tell you that to attract positive you have to put it out. Every time a seed of negativity tries to implant within your mind, cover it with positive. It takes practice especially during times of adversity; but there is always something to be grateful for in life. Something good to see through wounded eyes. A little ray of sunshine within darkness. If you focus there, on the good…it will grow and spread.  Whatever positive you put into this beautiful world, it will come back ten fold.

Spirituality

I have found my worth within God’s grace. There is no one I need to seek validation from, because He’s the only one I need to seek. I have turned my back from my faith from time to time, but I have found so much peace and joy through the power of prayer. His grace is sufficient for me.

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Authenticity

One good thing that has come from my life falling apart, is that I have gained a sense of confidence and clarity of purpose within rebuilding my life. I wore a mask for a long time, and as it crumbled away, I had no choice but to stand within vulnerability and own my life. Yup, here I am… scars and all. Perfectly imperfect. I no longer care what others think about me. I can’t begin to describe the freedom I have felt as I leaned broken but wholeheartedly right into authenticity. I know exactly who I am. I will not judge you. I will stand beside you with empathy, understanding, and compassion. If you judge me, that’s on you. It doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. Not one bit. Peace 🙂

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This year, one of my goals was to experience true joy again. Now it’s a tough goal to pinpoint when I’ve actually reached it. I can confidently say that I’m well on my way. I have realized that joy can be found within life’s ordinary moments if I become present in the right now.

Joy lives…

Within my children’s laughter.

Within the trails of amber on a fall day as I run to clear my mind.

Within embarrassing awkward moments that naturally fall into my lap as I am in fact awkward (which I’ve learned to own).

Within the pride I see in another’s eyes as they persevere through a tough workout.

Joy is present and abundant within a conversation over coffee with a good and pure friend.

Joy in the little things. Joy in the everyday. Joy in the anticipation of a tomorrow full of promise.

I smile a little more freely each and every day. Laughter comes right out of nowhere. And that’s ridiculously amazing my friends.

I hope today you find some time to truly connect with another person and feel alive in all you do.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

Your Daily Uplifter!

Good morning!  I know many of you found your way here from the Global News Interview I did last week. If you haven’t seen it, click HERE.

So welcome to my blog! I have journaled here for over 8 years as I’ve lived in the maintaining world.  There’s been many ups and downs, and writing has always been a very grounding and clarifying medium for me.

Right after the interview aired, I left for a week’s vacation. It turned out to be perfectly timed as it gave me time to sort through the feelings that sharing my story brought forward. I didn’t expect to feel all that I did. You see, as much as I’m quite open in talking about all that I’ve learned through shedding the weight, there’s also a thin veil of shame I feel within that too. I’m not exactly sure why as I’m so grateful for the connections made when two strangers find they have something in common which is deeply personal. So much of that is lost in this digital era; and it’s also not lost to me that I’m sharing this on a digital platform 😉

When Global contacted me to do the television interview, after sharing an online interview version the week before…

…My first feeling was “No! I can’t talk on camera. I can’t share something so personal to me with strangers.” I actually felt panicked at the thought.

And then I was hit with this one truth that I have strived to incorporate into my life for a decade. If you fear something deeply that you know will bring about positive change for another; you have to do it.

My dear friend Darina once told me you can actually convince yourself that fear is a form of excitement. So I decided I was excited to share, and of course I would share openly without walls.

I’m very thankful for the messages and connections made as a result. Simply hearing from one person who benefited from my truth as I lived within my self-inflicted prison makes it all worth it. This is about You, not me.

In the spirit of understanding that this maybe the very first post you read on this blog, Here’s what I want you to know this morning.

You are worthy of creating your perfect dream life; and that has nothing to do with the amount of money in your bank account. It’s within your power! Just think about that for a second…feel the freedom that comes as a result of understanding YOU are in control.  So who do you want to be? Who do you want to surround yourself within in this one precious life you’ve been gifted? Go and be it! Seek out connections; those people who uplift, support, inspire and motivate you.  Be that for them too.

You are stronger than you even realize! We can live an entire lifetime and never understand the true power and strength of the human body and spirit if we choose that. How sad would that be to never understand our true potential.  A waste really.  Would you want that for your children, or those you love most?  Treat yourself just as you treat those you love. And just watch how your life unfolds beautifully when you pour positivity and love into your heart.

Positive OUT, comes before Positive IN. It’s that law of attraction thingy…whatever you present and focus on, is exactly what will come back to you.  Find yourself surrounded by negativity? Be positive. Be the person you wish to see in others. Yup, you can control that too!  Energy is infectious.  You have the ability to change a person’s day just by uplifting them (which in turn uplifts you too). How ridiculously amazing is that?!

Don’t know where to start? Start small. Get up and go for a walk. Even if it’s around the block. Your body is designed to move. One tiny step in a positive direction will incite more tiny steps. Add one more positive change to your life every week…or every month even! Changing everything at once is not only overwhelming; but a prescription for failure because we need to give ourselves the respect of time to blend these changes which will translate into lifelong habits. Remember this is a lifestyle: an amazing style in which you will live for all of your fabulous life. Be gentle with yourself.

Never give up

Order this book…

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Order it HERE from Amazon, it will change your life (It’s not available in book stores). No other book has made more of a positive impact on my life. I have a Miracle Morning every day and I couldn’t imagine starting my day any other way now.

Reach out to others for support, create your supportive loving village.  I will support you! Add a comment, or send me a message.

I hope you have a ridiculously amazing day! I promise to blog more frequently.  I would love nothing more than to uplift your spirits in this small way.

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

 

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

A Decade of Maintaining Goal

Ten years ago today I stepped on the scale after a year and a half of working hard towards my goal of shedding 90 pounds. That magical number popped up on the scale…my goal weight. It was the end of one journey and the start of another.  I left the euphoric world of losing and started into the unknown…how would I maintain this for the rest of my life? If you look at the long-term weight loss stats, it’s a little daunting…maintaining is tricky bidness. You see fat cells…they don’t fade away into the night, they shrink…but they remain.

Chrissy 10 years

After a decade of the maintaining world, here’s what I want you to know!

These past 10 years have been such a gift, I struggle to find the words to articulate just how amazing it is to find that zest for life that I had once lost.

The novelty still hasn’t worn off to be able to walk into a store and buy clothes off the rack.

I hold my head high because I’ve embraced confidence. I’ve let go of perfection and accepted vulnerability. I wish I had known that feeling when I was at my heaviest. I wish the old me loved herself.

You see confidence does not come within a size of clothing, it arrives subtly as I treat my body with the respect and the care it deserves (just as I treat those I love).

I find that self-respect within staying active, running in the sun, lifting heavy and then a little heavier the next week, within vibrant coloured foods packed full of nutrients and vitamins. The kind of food that give me energy.

I want you to know that the maintaining world isn’t that daunting at all. It’s just life. When you change your lifestyle, it just becomes the style in which you love to live your life. I’m so thankful I found it.

I’ve found…

balance.

peace.

joy.

I have found me.

Here’s to another 10 years.

From my thankful heart to yours,

Christine

 

 

 

 

5 Practical Tips for Long-Term Weight Loss

5 Practical Tips for Long-Term Weight Loss

Over the past few years, I’ve been asked the same questions
1) how I lost the weight
2) how I maintain my healthy weight

I’ve private messaged lots of friends and strangers about this, so I decided to write a blog post. This is just my experiences and knowledge through my journey to shed the weight and maintain my healthy weight. Everyone is different with unique strengths and abilities.

Five healthy lifestyle Q&A

Q: I don’t like vegetables and fruits. How can I change my diet if I don’t want to eat the green stuff?

A: Believe me people, I didn’t like fruits and veggies either. My fridge 10 years ago was full of processed, quick-t0-prepare foods. The crisper might have held a lonely shrivelled carrot or two. lol And often times, if I decided to be “healthy”, I would be purging spoiled produce a week later. But here’s the good news that I learned through trial and error: your tastes change drastically as you introduce new foods, and cut out the crappy foods. I was addicted to sugar and salt. I’m sure my insulin levels were used to their daily roller coaster ride. “Come on Insulin, let’s ride, wooop, wooop!” I never ate breakfast, ate a medium-sized lunch (usually at a restaurant with a friend because I was working full-time), and by supper the hunger pangs would kick in and I would eat and eat and eat. I rarely ate the majority of my daily calories in front of people but after the kids went to bed it was a free-for-all. The next morning, I would wake up with a big cloud of shame over my bed-head and scold the weak me for eating so much. Skip breakfast, and start the cycle all over again.

When I started researching healthy eating, I was overwhelmed by the amount of contrary information. No carbs/high fat, low-fat/more carbs, Protein heavy/low carbs/low-fat. It was all so much to take in. I was sitting on my deck one morning enjoying a cup of coffee while watching squirrels packing food, and birds scouting for worms on our acreage…and I thought: “why do you rarely see overweight animals (unless they are taken care of by humans)?” It dawned on me that we are all born with the knowledge of how much to eat, and the earth provides all the foods in their natural state that we need. We just have to retrain our bodies/minds to think of food as energy and not as a source of pleasure…at least not all the time. Balance.

So I started small. Cutting back on sugary drinks, cream-based anything, white stuff (including white bread and white rice), high-fat protein, highly processed protein and opting for more water, whole-grain carbs, leaner proteins, fruits, and loads of raw/cooked veggies. It was hard at first, nothing tasted “right” to me. I couldn’t believe how bland healthy foods tasted. As the days and weeks progressed eating healthier, I was shocked at how my body responded. My hair and nails were stronger, my complexion cleared up, I had more energy, I got that pesky office-sickness less, and above all else, the veggies started tasting amazing. Believe me, I was shocked. I was so used to artificial sugars and additives, my body didn’t understand what natural sugar was supposed to taste like.

It was also about balance vs. restriction. I love chocolate. If you take it away from me I will cut you. 😉 So rather than a king size chocolate bar, I ate a square of dark chocolate every day. Yup, there’s rarely a day in the last 10 years that I haven’t eaten a square or 2 of dark chocolate. I know that if I live too restricted, it will have the opposite effect than I desire. It will turn into a late-night binge fest after a day of calorie restricting. I prepare for my dinners out now. I will make even healthier choices & go for a run leading up to a night out at the Keg. And then I enjoy my night out without a drop of guilt. I savour those bites and eat consciously. Balance.

Q: I hate exercise, do I really have to exercise to lose weight or can I do it all by diet alone?

A: I was that girl who loathed exercise. I parked as close to the doors as possible. If I had a motorized scooter, I would have scooted the shit out of all the locations. I had brand new running shoes that might have well been used as door stops. I hissed at runners as they passed me. I secretly extended a middle finger to all things active. Hypothetical finger flick to your fit forehead if you had asked me to go for a walk, or heaven forbid a jog. Boooo, Hisssss, exercissssse. Crazy shit right there. Dramatic much?

Here’s the thing, if you simply rely on diet alone, it’s very tricky to balance it all. Our heart is a working muscle. It’s actually meant to be worked in order for our body to work the way it’s designed to. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass. It’s a sad fact my friends. The only way to get that muscle back is to build it. Muscle also burns more calories at rest than fat does, so increasing muscle mass and adding cardio will aid in the calorie deficient required to lose weight. It works the same way for maintaining weight. All of that is just information, how exactly do you learn to love exercise?! You figure out what you are good at. You try a bunch of different activities and keep changing it up so you aren’t caught in a dull trap of monotony. You start small, and build up.

I am a very slow runner. I’ve been passed by people with wheeled oxygen carts on the running track before. True story. No matter how slow I run, I’m still lapping my sloth-ass-sitting-on-a-couch. The more exercise you do, the stronger you get, and before you know it what was once a challenge is no big deal the next week. It’s crazy how fast the body adapts and strengthens when you challenge yourself.

Don’t worry about doing it all at once, do a bit more, and then build up. Park further away from the door, take the stairs instead of the elevator, wear a pedometer and up your daily steps, turn up your music at home and dance while no one is watching (or dance while your kids are watching, I’m truly a source of embarrassment for them in that area).

Just. Move. More.

Q: I don’t have time to work out.

A: We are all busy. We make time for what’s important, so it’s really a matter of priorities. I just decided one day that my priority was health because my physically state affected all areas of my life. My relationships, my career, my physical/emotional/spiritual health, even my marriage. I wasn’t happy with myself, and physically I was sick. High blood pressure. Lethargic. If there was a sickness to be caught, I soaked it in like a sickly sponge. Back and knee issues, I was on a first name basis with my back-cracker. Kidney stones, which hurt like a mother-hubbard. Guys if you’ve ever experienced a kidney stone, you have come as close to what labour feels like as you are ever going to. High-five to you and your stone. I was told the reason for my plethora of stones was because I didn’t drink enough water. I ended up losing all function in my right kidney as a result of complications.

I look at it like this: Either I have time to exercise and eat healthy, or I’ll have to make time to be sick.

Since changing my lifestyle to a healthier one, I no longer have high blood pressure (no more pills!), I rarely get sick, I have more energy, I’ve been to a chiropractor once in 10 years, and I’ve yet to get another kidney stone.  I’m an all-around happier person because I stopped putting my physical and emotional needs last.

Q: I want to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks for an event, is that doable?!

A: It really doesn’t matter if that’s doable or not. Say you can lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks, what happens after? If you go to extreme measures, and by that I mean a lifestyle that you couldn’t possibly keep up long-term, are you ready to gain it all back? Because that’s usually what happens. By some estimates, 80% of dieters will regain the weight they lost or even more, within 2 years. That stat was scary for me as I was losing the weight, the thought of gaining it all back after all that work was terrifying. I calmed my fears with the realization that I found a love for nutritious food and activity. I wasn’t about to just stop doing what I loved once I reached my end goal. I knew this was going to be my life. And that fact made me (still makes me) excited for the future.

Q: What do you do to maintain your healthy weight?

A: My lifestyle now is not that much different from when I was losing the weight. There is more time however as I’ve learned to stream line exercise time and found more efficient ways to prep food. More time for balance, less restriction, a little less cardio/more strength training. I understood that once I reached that “finish line” it was more of a check point for a life race.

I hope something here is useful to you in your quest for a healthier you.

And because no post is complete without a picture, here’s one that has nothing to do with this post in anyway. But it’s true.

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From my heart to yours,

Christine

 

10 Things I Would Tell the Old Me

Eight years ago on May 19th, I reached my goal weight.  It took a long time to get the 90+ pounds off, so that day was a pretty special one.

Every year I take a comparison shot because it keeps me motivated and it also allows me to look back into the eyes of the former me who didn’t believe in herself.

10 Things I Would Tell the Old Me (on life and having fun while maintaining goal weight)

I learned a lot this year.  What used to work in the earlier years to maintain my weight wasn’t working anymore.  My body adapted to the same exercise and food choices. I had to change-up my program and I quickly realized I needed help. I hired a kick-ass trainer; my beautiful friend Shannon. She created a strength program for me, and I was able to focus on strength training with her in the gym and cardio at home.  It took weeks to visually see any difference; it’s an exercise in patience I tell ya! However, I did feel results quickly…I was able to lift more weight and do more reps. My cardio improved too, I was able to run my 5K in a faster time once I was focusing on a leg strength day with core work too. Most importantly, I learned I can do a workout anywhere with very little equipment. No excuses.

As for the eating part of the equation, I had to completely change that as well.  Again, I felt out of control in that area so I joined in a Nutritional Challenge through BMS Bootcamps which I’m half way through.  I’m learning so much about food choices, and the true meaning of “eating clean”.  I realized I’m addicted to sugar! I was eating 100 calorie snack bars which were loaded with sugar and eating cereal every morning that was also very high in sugar (and often as a bedtime snack).  Once I cut back on the sugar, I got off the roller coaster of blood sugar crashes I used to have. I added more healthy fats into my diet as well. I have a sustained level of comfortable fullness by eating 5 times a day and enjoying natural foods. I don’t have the cravings for certain foods I used to have. My taste buds changed and I actually enjoy foods that I didn’t like before. Eating clean has been a gift in that I have more energy, my skin has cleared up, and my hair is growing fast too. Huh?! Good stuff. I have enjoyed cheat meals as well! Everything in balance.

The other day on my run I was thinking about that photo of me from 10 years ago. As crazy as this sounds, it’s as though it’s not even a photo of me but rather of a close friend. I feel sadness and empathy for the old version of me. It’s not about the aesthetics, but rather what I see in my eyes and what I know was in my mind. I see pain, frustration, the urge to stay home and not face people, loneliness, fear.  I had given up on myself and I didn’t believe my future was in my control. Feeling out of control everyday is no way to live. I didn’t understand the pride that comes from pushing myself both physically and mentally and how that transfers in a positive way to other areas of life. I was uncomfortably numb. That photo was taken just a few days before I made the decision to take control back and reclaim my life. So if I was to run into the old me in my life today, here’s what I would tell her…

10 things I would tell the old Me

1. You are going to have to do a lot of trial and error to find what works for you.  Not everything will work, you will try many things that don’t work. You will get to know your own body and metabolism, so trust yourself enough to listen to what your body needs and don’t panic when you need to reassess. Chill out chicky!

2. The most important thing you can do as you age is to add weight training into your program. By adding muscle you will burn calories at rest and there is no better exercise medium than strength training to test yourself and feel success quickly.

3. Don’t overcomplicated things.  Use cardio to burn calories, use strength training to build muscle which also burns calories at rest (replace the expanding fat with dense muscle), fuel your body with whole foods…healthy fats, lean proteins, fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains.  Eat often so you are never famished. Sleep 8 hours. Drink at least 12 glasses of water a day. Crank up your music and dance. Repeat.

4. Challenge yourself each and every day in some way. That voice that creeps in and tells you that you can’t is lying.

5. There is power in the vulnerability of sharing. Do not hold back sharing what you’ve learned simply because you are fearful of what other’s think of you. Like-minded people attract one another, and that can only happen when you live out loud.

6. Don’t give up when you don’t see results in the time frame you want. It took years to get to this point, you aren’t going to change over night. One step at a time grasshopper. 😉

7. Listen to your inner voice that knows what is best for you. Pay no attention to what others tell you that you “should” do. They don’t know your inner struggles, only you do. Sure another person can lose the weight while restricting calories, that doesn’t mean you should too. Slow and steady wins the race. Your goal is fitness, the weight will drop off in the process.

8. Start your journey by journaling your food, that way you can’t “pretend” you don’t know what you are eating. Knowledge is power; however, try not to be all-or-nothing which only ends in loss of control. Enjoy a cheat meal once and again. Balance is important. You won’t always have to journal your food, but if you find that you are slipping in your food choices, that trusty journal is a powerful way to get back on track.

9. If you have a bad eating day, recognize it as just that…one bad day with a clean slate the next. Get back on track and don’t beat yourself up about it.

10. This one is important: HAVE FUN!!! Don’t be so serious, this is a lifestyle for the rest of your life…so you better make it fun. Ride your bike, dance-walk, high-five a stranger, shake your ass, takes 10,000 steps a day and put a ‘lil attitude into it, don’t go one day without laughing, get outside with the kids (by the way old version of me, you’re going to have some pretty amazing kids who are going to make all of this totally worth it)

From my heart to yours,

Christine

P.S. If you are on your own weight loss journey and want some pretty cool resources to help you out, check them out HERE