My Personal Reasons To Exercise: What Are Yours?

Over the years, I have tried many different types of exercise ~ running, Zumba, yoga, weight lifting, rollerblading, walking, biking, cardio classes, dance, cross-country skiing, soccer, baseball, plyometrics, home DVDs… the list goes on!

But when it came to why I exercised, I only ever saw it as a means to an end – a way to lose weight. For most of my adult life I have battled my weight and I learned early on that exercise is a key component to any weight loss endeavour.  So throughout all those years, and many different types of exercise, I always had one goal in mind – If I do this, I will lose weight and if I lose weight I will look better.

Sure, sometimes I also told myself that exericse would make me feel better too, but I don’t think I ever truly paid attention to what that meant.

Until recently…

This past winter was the first time in my thirty-six years of life that I ever realized there is far more to exercise than simply being a tool to lose weight (nevermind the fact that there are far more important things to our health than simply losing weight – that’s another blog all on it’s own) This past winter was about the third year in a row where I noticed a marked difference in my mental state.  As late fall/ winter rolled around, along with it came a dark cloud over my head.  I lost my normal ambition and positive mindset, and felt unmotivated, anxious, and very, very exhausted all the time.  I hated how I felt and it dragged on for months – until summer rolled around.

At one point though, it started to become clear to me that just as my mood and mental state could be linked to the poor weather, it could also be linked to my lack of exercise.  Since then I’ve been doing more research and am reminded again and again that there are myriad reasons to exercise – and that some are far more important in our lives than the size of our waistline!

A couple of the people I have learned this from best are my former Beachbody coach Melanie Watson and a wonderful lady I follow on Instagram (Check her out: moms.can.be.fit – she is such an inspiration!) Both of these incredible woman are constantly preaching the real reasons to work out ~ not just to lose weight (although that can certainly be a positive side effect) but to have the right kind of mindset that will get us through life! Plus, so many other reasons that help us to achieve overall vibrant health.

With this, I started to consider my own personal reasons for working out.  Although I still have weight to lose, this alone hasn’t been enough to motivate me to exericse lately (yes, I’d like to lose some weight but at the same time, I’m sort of comfortable with the weight I am now. Also, I’ve been trying really hard not to focus on my “weight” and to focus on my health so this could be why too….).

But what got me started back to exercising this morning, after being off again for a couple of weeks, was the realization that just around the corner is back-to-school/ work!  Whether I like to admit it or not, I am about to enter a season where the lazy days of summer are going to come to an abrupt end and our days will be filled to the max with schedules, work, and responsibilities.  (I’m also preparing myself for a challenging year as I will have thirty sixth-graders which is the most kids I’ve ever had in a class!)

I know that the best way for me to handle the upcoming challenges of back-to-school/work (combined with some other challenges happening in our personal lives), is to get into a regular workout routine. That led me to start thinking about all my personal reasons for working out.  You’ll see that losing weight is on the list but there’s now so much more to it than that.  I hope that when I feel the urge to skip a workout or fall off the wagon next time, I can look to this list to keep myself on track!

My Personal Reasons To Exercise

1. Happy endorphins!

2. Mental clarity and focus!

3. To feel proud of myself!

4. Mental strength!

5. Positive mindset!

6. To gain physical strength and to feel strong!

7. So I don’t feel lazy! (A feeling I loathe)

8. It motivates me to make better food choices!

9. It gives me way more energy ~ I hate the feeling of constant exhaustion!

10. To lose and/or maintain weight

11. To overcome challenges (see: mental focus!)

12. To prove to myself that I can do what I couldn’t do before ( physically and/or mentally)

13. To make some things in life easier (ie. climbing stairs, walking long distances on hot/humid days)

14. To be overall healthy, vibrant, and positive!

15. To have confidence!

16.  To look good in cute clothes!

17. To like what I see in the mirror!

18. To feel accomplished!

19. To be an inspiration to others!

20. To be an inspiration to myself!

Are there other reasons you would add to this list?  I’d love to hear them! 

 

 

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Lesson Learned: Listen to your Gut

I have a confession:  I have not been taking care of myself lately and now I am paying the ultimate price. As I sit here and write this, I am in a lot of discomfort and some pain that could probably have been avoided.  Here’s why:

Several months ago, I visited my naturopathic doctor who gave me a nutrition plan to help heal my ulcerative colitis.  The plan is very Paleo-like and was developed after I had food sensitivity and blood work done.  Basically, according to her instructions, I am supposed to eliminate all eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, peanuts, corn, white potatoes, legumes, and sugar from my diet.  This, along with some supplements she’s prescribed, are supposed to help repair the damage done to my intestinal wall, decrease the amount of bad bacteria in my gut while increasing the amount of good bacteria, and get rid of the inflammation that causes the terrible symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

I followed the plan for a few weeks (with a few minor cheats and treats here and there).  But over the course of the last month, I’ve pretty much gone completely off my nutrition plan.  I’ve been eating whatever I want and if you know me, that’s nothing healthy.  There’s been ice cream (and lots of it), bread (and lots of it), fast food, chips, crackers, diet pop…. the list goes on.  And because, up until this point, it didn’t seem to be having too much negative effect on me, I kept it up.

Over the last couple of days in particular, I have eaten very poorly.  We got some upsetting news the other day and I’ve been using that as my excuse to eat junk.  And now I am paying for it…

Last night when I went to bed, I felt the old familiar pains of indigestion (a tight, painful squeezing feeling in my upper abdomen) and was also a tad bit nauseous.  I prayed that these pains would not send me into a full-out stomach attack like they’ve done in the past, where I am crying on the floor in cold sweats and excruciating pain caused by severe indigestion.  Fortunately, I was able to fall asleep and slept pretty well throughout the night.

This morning when I woke up though, I could still feel tiny hints of the indigestion although it wasn’t nearly as bad as last night.  I went about getting my day started.  Then all of a sudden, I got terrible stomach pains and a bit of nausea and had to hurry to the bathroom.  Without going into too many gruesome details, let’s just say it was not a fun experience.  It was very painful and when finished, the toilet bowl was full of blood (sorry).  This has not happened in a quite some time and I was devastated. Now the bottom end of my digestive tract is very sore and irritated, not a pleasant feeling.

As much as I hate to admit this, I had this coming.  I was foolish and had myself convinced that since I wasn’t really experiencing any of my typical UC symptoms, I could eat whatever I wanted.  Having a “treat” here and there led to a full-out free-for-all.  And now, my UC symptoms seems to be back (at least for now) in full vegeance and I am paying the price.

I am writing this for a couple of reasons.  First, I want to be able to look back on it to give myself that much-needed reminder about why it is so important for me to stick to a healthy eating plan.  I know I will get too comfortable again, but hopefully by coming back to this, I can more clearly remember the awful physical pain that it puts my body through and prevent myself from going too far off track.  It is so important for me to track my foods (something I have stopped doing recently) and to pay better attention to the physical and mental reactions to the foods I eat.  This isn’t just about trying to lose weight to look good anymore, this is my health, and I don’t know why I keep playing with fire….

Secondly, I want to spread the message to others that what we put in our bodies really does affect us in so many ways!  Sometimes, we may not see or feel the physical results of feeding our body unhealthy foods, but they are there!  Don’t be like me and wait until your body is unhealthy and you are in pain to make the change.  We need to start getting people everywhere to nourish their bodies.  Too many of us (myself very much included) eat for pleasure or to comfort ourselves.  We only choose our foods based on how they taste and not on how they are going to affect our body and our overall health.

As painful as it was, I think this is the wakeup call I needed this morning.  Unfortunately, I need to remember this feeling so that I can have a constant reminder of how important it is to follow the food plan that is going to help heal my body.  I need to be patient enough and to trust that when I make these changes, I will feel a positive effect (more energy, clearer skin, healthy bowel movements, slimmer waistline, etc.) It’s hard to be patient when you’re making these changes, but if we don’t do it, we end up back where we started, which in my case, is painful and unhealthy.

Consistency is Key: Perfection is Impossible

I am feeling very upset with myself tonight.  Frustrated and angry would more accurately describe it.  I just got back from another failed run.  I picked running back up earlier this summer and while some days of my new training program have been awesome, some have been really, really hard.  Today happened to be one of the hard ones. I was supposed to do a combined total of 34 minutes of running and about 18 minutes of walking (including warm-up and cool-down) but I didn’t even make it through half of the run before my body just couldn’t do it.

And while I know that this is just the way training goes (some days are good, some days are not), I’m also feeling frustrated because I know this is mostly my fault.  It’s no surprise that my body could not perform optimally tonight (as badly as I wanted it to), when I haven’t been taking care of it nutritionally.

Several months ago, I was put on a fairly restrictive nutrition plan by my naturopath.  The initial reasons for doing so were to heal my ulcerative colitis, overcome the extreme fatigue I’d been having, and to lose weight in a healthy way.  After doing food sensitivity and blood testing, my naturopath eliminated the following from my diet: wheat/gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, peanuts, chickpeas, and cane sugar.  It was discovered that I have a high amount of yeast in my gut (causing too much bad bacteria which causes my inflammation and ulcers) so she also put me on a yeast therapy treatment and gave me strict instructions to drastically cut back on sugar (which feeds the growth of yeast).  I was also put on a hemoglobin supplement (my low hemoglobin would be one cause of my extreme fatigue and probiotics  which would help boost healthy bacteria in the gut.

For a good while, I stuck pretty faithfully to this plan (with only a few minor cheats here and there) and took my supplements and treatments regularly. I saw almost immediate results – my boating and gas went down drastically, energy levels went up slightly, even my skin got clearer.

 

But, over the last few weeks I have lost my way.  It started when we went on vacation and I told myself I could have more “treats”,  but since coming home over a week ago, I just can not seem to get back on my nutrition plan.  In fact, I shamefully admit I have gone completely off of it.  I’ve been eating everything that hurts my body (white bread, bagels, crackers, peanut butter, tons of sugar, ice cream, cheese, fast food….) The hard thing is, I don’t know why I do this because nearly every time I do, I become consumed with guilt.  I tell myself I shouldn’t have it but I do anyway, and then I feel badly.  I tell myself I will eat healthier at the next meal, and then I don’t.  I buy healthy foods when I go grocery shopping, but then they go back on my counter while I eat junk instead.  And since my UC symptoms haven’t been drastic lately, it’s been easier for me to say “f*&$ it” and consumer whatever junk I want.

So it shouldn’t have came as a surprise that when I set out for my run tonight, I was battling some indigestion and my stomach was bloated.  And when I started the running intervals, I felt like I was carrying a load of bricks around my middle.  I felt heavy and sluggish.  On top of that, since the weather was overcast, I had way underestimated the humidity and was sweating within minutes. Guys, I loathe being hot.  Yes, I know you’re supposed to sweat when working out, but humidity just kills me!

Needless to say, about halfway through my run, I gave up and walked the rest of the way.  I instantly felt hot tears of frustration welling in my eyes.  The negative self-talk started up as I blamed myself for eating poorly and for not being able to fulfill the run I had hoped to do.

Maybe I am just not cut out for running, I thought. I’ve been dreading all my runs lately anyway.  Maybe I am better off just being fat and out of shape. This is your fault, you should have known better…. Maybe I need to get a modified program, this one is too hard. All you did was eat carbs and sugar all day and you thought you could get away with it!  You know better!  What were you thinking?!  You should have known this would catch up to you eventually!

But fortunately, my only saving grace tonight was that I’ve been working really hard on overcoming negative thoughts with positive ones.  Sure, that harsh, judgemental, “you’re-not-good-enough-and-never-will-be” voice immediately piped up in my head, but then moments later so did the inner voice I like to think of as “my friend”.

Today is just not your day but not every day will be perfect. Forgive yourself. Yes you haven’t been making the best food choices but you can change that.  It’s okay. You win some and you lose some, next time will be better.  You are going to keep trying.  Consistency will get you where you want to be.  You can do it, don’t give up on yourself.  Make one or two small changes every day and you will get there. Don’t give up.

And thankfully this positive, encouraging inner voice took over (and just so you know, I have to make a real effort for the positive voice to over-power the negative one, it’s not easy) because now I have had some time to reflect and to see that perfection is impossible but consistency is key and it’s never too late to get back on track.

What I have learned is that I need to remind myself why I started this nutrition plan in the first place.  It wasn’t primarily to lose weight as I’ve been thinking of it lately (and somehow I had foolishly convinced myself that I can “cheat” with my food as long as I am working out and won’t gain weight… even though I know that’s not the truth!)  The real reason I started this plan was to optimize my health.  Even though, I am not currently experiencing the severe symptoms of ulcerative colitis, I am definitely starting to notice some of the warning signs since I have been eating poorly again.  I’ve had far more gas and bloating lately, and am even starting to get bouts of indigestion again (something that I used to get so badly that I was taken to the hospital in the ambulance a few times because I thought I was having a gall bladder attack!)  And while my energy levels have been better lately, I know that is primarily because it’s summer (which means I’m off work and it’s sunny alot!) If I were working and eating this way, I’d be feeling sluggish, tired, or even depressed.  I know that if I clean up my diet, I will start to feel better.  My bloating will go down (one step closer to a flat stomach!) and the digestive pain and discomfort I have will go away.  My skin will clear, my energy levels will continue to increase, and it will get easier and easier to maintain the positive attitude that is so important to a journey of good health.

So although I may be feeling frustrated and angry with myself, I am grateful tonight that I know not to beat myself up (for too long anyway, haha!) and to take this as a learning experience.  It’s time to put my health (in particular my gut health) at the forefront again and to know that some days just aren’t my day, but that there’s always tomorrow and that I WLL NOT GIVE UP on my goals!

xo

 

Lazy Days of Summer

Guys, summer is finally here and I am so, so excited!  Where I live in Northern Ontario, Canada summers don’t last very long so we have to soak up every minute that we can.  Plus, being a teacher means I’m on holidays all summer long and I am definitely not mad about that!

Today, was our first extremely hot day of the summer and while I’m not usually a fan of the extreme heat, I am not going to complain (yet!) In fact, the heat and humidity has been a really good reminder to slow down and enjoy the lazy days that summer offers.

That got me to thinking about some of the ways, I feel more relaxed and easygoing in the summer.  For example, my house has needed cleaning all week and right now, I just don’t care – haha! Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually really not that bad, there’s just a lot of things lying around and I’m usually the type that likes everything in it’s spot.  But I find it so much easier in the summer to look at a pile of dishes and think “Nah, those can be done later” or to ignore the pile of laundry gathering on the laundry room floor.  Having no schedule in the summer is a luxury I’m so grateful to have because it takes off the pressure to do those household chores that normally have to get done in a limited amount of time during busy work weeks.

Another thing I have noticed is that my style is a lot more casual in the summer.  This summer, for instance, I’m totally loving the athleisure look – lots of leggings, sporty capris, tanks, and sports bras.  Not only is this comfy and easy to wear but since I’m a lot more active in the summer, it’s pretty convenient too!  And again, not having to go to work means my summer wardrobe can be as relaxed as I want it to be! You’ll also see me in a baseball cap a lot more in the summer than during the winter months.

Messy hair, don’t care all summer long!

Another luxury I’ve been loving lately is that I’ve basically hung up my blow dryer and flat iron for the summer!  With all the humidity, my hair gets a nice enough wave in it that it looks suitable enough to go out into public. Sure, it doesn’t look as great as when I spend twenty minutes straightening it, but “messy hair, don’t care” is definitely my motto for summer! Plus, when things get bad enough, there’s always that ball cap I mentionned above!

For me though, the best part about summer has got to be the wide-open schedules.  Normally my life, like many others, is super busy and over-scheduled.  Between my job as a teacher, being a wife and a stepmom, extracurricular activities, and so on, life gets so, so busy during the school year.  Sometimes I even get anxiety on the weekends because I feel like the time frame I have to get everything “done” that I didn’t do during the week is so tight.  I wake up with a running to-do list in my mind and the next thing I know it’s Sunday night and the whole thing is starting over again!

But I am so blessed to work in a profession where I have the summer off and that, for the most part, means absolutely no schedule!  Now that my kids are older, even less so.  I don’t have to wake up to an alarm which is the most amazing feel ever. Plus, when I do wake up I have the entire day to accomplish anything I want to get done, whether it be errands, a workout, or a little project around the house. I can watch daytime television, read as long as I want, or enjoy a wonderful afternoon nap. If a friend calls and wants to get together, it’s easy to step out and meet up for a drink or go for a walk.

Enjoying every moment of summer (This is actually a photo from last summer – I miss my darker hair)

With all the free time, I also notice that I tend to get more reflective during the summer.  I have more time to delve a bit deeper into things that have piqued my interest but I wouldn’t normally have time for.  I have fun searching for inspiration on Pinterest and of course, writing on my blog!  (Something that easily gets pushed to the side during the school year).

Of course, most of all though, I love spending time with my family and getting out of town during the summer!  My hometown (where my parents and much of my extended family still live) is just a couple hours away, and there’s nothing like a trip home during the summer to bring back wonderful memories of summers spent at the local pool and playing outdoors.  We’ll be headed there in a couple of weeks to celebrate my Mom’s birthday and I already can’t wait!

Stay tuned for more of our summer adventures!

Summer Memories ~ 2017

It’s only been three days since school let out for the year but what a start to the summer of 2017!  Lots has been happening at our end ~ so much fun and happy memory-building that I thought I’d write this post to share all the exciting details!  Here’s a little look at what’s been happening around here lately.

First, as I mentionned, school ended this past week which means SUMMER VACATION is finally here! This will only be my second summer not working since I was a kid so naturally I am thrilled.  Last summer was the first I ever took off from work and it was absolutely wonderful!  I am looking forward to having wide open-schedules, lots of time to catch up on little projects around the house, reading lots of books, and spending as much time as possible outdoors.  This year at school was a great one!  I had a pretty challenging group of Grade 5 students but overall it was a great year together.  It’s a good thing too, because I found out that I will be teaching Grade 6 next year which means I’ll have all the same students again!  I also had to move my classroom done the hall but thankfully, had enough time this past week to get started on setting it up which means a lot less to do come the last weeks of summer!

My little family. I can’t believe Mariah has already graduated!

On top of my school year ending, my stepdaughter Mariah graduated high school this past week!  I can’t believe that time has already come! As always, she looked absolutely stunning at her graduation and we all beamed with pride as she crossed the stage to receive her diploma. My parents were in town so they were even able to join us which was nice. After, we took a thousand pictures and enjoyed the graduation dinner with some friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. Overall, it was a great night!

Then on Friday, just four days after her graduation, our little girl moved out!  She’s gone to Ottawa to live with her aunt for the summer before moving into residence and attending college in the fall.  My husband packed her up the other day, we all shed a lot of tears, and then we saw her off.  So far, it just kind of feels like she’s gone on a summer vacation but I am sure the reality of her being gone will sink in soon.

Another big highlight of the summer already happened this past week as our little city hosted its first ever Stars and Thunder festival.  It was an eight-day concert series and international fireworks competition that literally brought thousands of visitors to our hometown. This is a big deal for our city since nothing much ever happens here.  Also, when the idea was first brought forth by our mayor there was a lot of backlash. But I’m happy to say, the festival was a huge success and so much fun!  Mom and Dad arrived last Saturday and parked their camper in our driveway for the week (which meant my adult dream of being neighbours with my parents became a reality for a short time! Haha) They attended the entire week of concerts but with my husband out of out town for work, my stepkids and I only joined them for one night.  We saw Hedley – one of my most favourite bands – who I had planned on seeing this summer anyway, even if it meant travelling to do so!  When I heard they were coming to our city, I was so excited and they definitely didn’t disappoint!  There’s just something so amazing about live, outdoor music in the summer especially when one of your top favourite bands is playing!

Me and the kids at Stars and Thunder waiting for Hedley to perform!

Mom and I at Stars and Thunder

But what happened after the show was even more exciting!  Mom, the kids, and I had headed down to the venue early to secure a good spot to watch, but my Dad had decided to wait awhile longer and take the free shuttle downtown to meet up with us.  He caught the shuttle at the hotel across the street from my house and while he was sitting there waiting for it to arrive, who comes out of the hotel, loads up a couple SUVs and heads off?!  Hedley!  So by a complete slight of chance, my Dad found out that the band was staying at the hotel across the street from my house!  With this information on hand, after the show, my Mom, kids and I decided to wander over there to see if we could spot any of the members. Surprisingly, only a few other fans got the memo that that’s where the band was staying so there wasn’t a lot of people. Some of the crew was hanging out outside though, so we got to chat with them for a few minutes. Then, only about twenty minutes after getting there, suddenly a black SUV pulled up and immediately I recognized Jake (lead singer) in the front passenger seat!  Not wanting to miss my golden opportunity, I called out to him the minute he stepped out of the vehicle, and the next thing you know we were taking selfies and photos with one of my favourite artists of all time!

Selfie with Jake!

I ruined this one by talking. I told my husband that I found the kids a new Daddy. HAHA!

Jake took this one with all of us!

Honestly, the rest is kind of blur.  It all passed very quickly (just a few minutes) and I barely remember what I said to Jake (other than that the show had been amazing!)  He also took my phone and took a selfie with all of us and if I can let my inner teenaged girl come out for a second…

“OMG, HE TOUCHED MY PHONE!”  Hahaha.

Needless to say it was a very exciting evening and one that I will definitely remember forever.  The fact that I got to share that moment with my Mom and my kids just makes it all the better!

For the rest of the weekend, I got to babysit my nieces while my parents took in the remaining concerts.  Isabella is five and Aubrey is two, and they are two of the sweetest girls ever and so well-behaved!  Aubrey talks so well for her age and listening to her babble as they play together is one of my favourite things! Between playing at the park, having dinner out, taking walks, colouring, and watching movies, I had a blast with these two.  Of course, it was all topped off with one of the best fireworks displays I’ve seen for Canada Day (which we met up with Mom, Dad, Brad, and Brandon for).

Watching movies with Auntie Kelly

Happy Canada Day!

Playing at the park listening to Keith Urban concert and waiting for fireworks!

Making summer memories – watching fireworks with Uncle Brad.

So that’s been my first week of summer!  Crazy busy, exhausting, exciting, and fulfilling.  I can’t believe we still have a whole summer ahead of us!  But the memories we’ve made this past week will definitely last a lifetime!

Stay tuned for the rest of our summer adventures!

Positive Self-Talk: How it helps me to go from feeling crazy to feeling calm 💕

Life is messy.  Some days are hard and they’re hard for no particular reason.  Today was one of those days.  For no apparent reason, I let negative thoughts begin to formulate in my mind and for me, once it starts it’s ike a dangerous rollercoaster – one negative thought feeds into the next.  They snowball out of control until I am so overwhelmed by negativity, I lose all sense of myself.  Today, those feelings overtook my mind and my body until I was a hot, snotty, crying mess.  But now that I’m back on even ground, I realize that that’s okay.  (Trust me, in the height of these feelings and thoughts it’s anything but okay). We all have those days.  And I’m okay now.  I have grounded myself.  I have turned off the negative thoughts by thinking every positive thought I could think and then writing it down because that’s how I cope best.

 

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Now I feel so much better.  It’s about embracing it all.  The good, the wonderful, the terrible, the hard, and everything in between.  Here are my positive affirmations that helped turn my mind around today.  Once I got started they weren’t hard to come up with.  It’s when I am feeling the most intense feelings that my fingers fly over the keyboard the fastest. We have to be aware of when we’re filling our own minds with negative thoughts and use every strategy we can to turn them back into positive.  For me, it’s the only way I can go from being a complete emotional wreck, to feeling happy and calm again.  I simply turned on some calming music, shut myself into my room, and started to write to remind myself of all the reasons I should feel good.  What are your coping skills for the days when life just seems so hard?

Positive Self-Talk 💕

 

(While doing this I imagined I was talking to one of my best friends, because after all we should all be our own best friend!)

You have been working so hard at making yourself healthier. You have been educating yourself about nutrition and sugar and making changes to improve your health and weight.  You overcame the fierce addiction to coffee and flavoured cream and other junk food and treats.  You have been able to say No to them.  You have been brave enough to experiment with alternatives.  You sought out answers for yourself.  You have reached out for help and support when you needed it.  You have stood firmly by your own beliefs and stood true to them even when others you respect may disagree.  You have said no to fast food and temptations numerous times.  You are strong.  You have been feeling good about your body and the changes you see in it.  You are proud of yourself because you work so hard.  You have learned so much about school and technology lately and have worked hard to make engaging lessons for your students.  You have worked tirelessly and endlessly to help each and every individual student and to be the best teacher you can be.  You have stayed patient and have not been yelling at the kids when they frustrate you.  You are doing your best.  You are a hardworking, open-minded, dedicated teacher.  You are a positive person.  Be gentle with yourself.  You are YOU.  You are kind.  You want the best for people.  Your husband is amazing and suppportive.  He went to buy you cold medication when you weren’t feeling well.  He let you use the bigger blanket because you weren’t feeling well.  He listens to your irrational tangents and sits with you and continues to speak logically to you and ground you and he does it for as long as he needs to until you are okay.  You laughed with your husband and your son last night and it felt so good.  It felt so good to share a joke with Brandon and to watch him laugh at himself. It felt so good to hang out with Brad in the garage doing something of his choosing but just enjoying each other’s company and laughing together – it felt like we were dating again.  You have amazing family.  When you called your Mom yesterday her voice sounded so happy to hear from you.  Your nieces love you and were so excited to talk to you on video chat.  They are adorable and you love them so much.  You looked at your daughter’s grad photo this morning and thought about how beautiful she is and how proud you are of her.  You have a home that you have worked hard for, that you take good care of, and that you love to be in.  The sun is shining and summer is coming.  Soon you will go on vacation.  You will be near water and read books and go camping with your family.  You will feel invigorated by the city and by the fresh air and just by summer in general.  You have been trying to so hard.  I see your hard work, your endless dedication, it’s enough.  You are good enough.  You are happy and positive and loved and smart and dedicated and hard working and beautiful and special.   Now slow down.  Enjoy life.  Enjoy YOUR life and what truly makes you happy.  You may have to find it again.  It will take time but whatever you find it is good enough.  It will bring you joy and true happiness and peace and serenity.  Don’t listen to the judgements from others.  Most especially don’t judge yourself.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  You are okay.  Things will be okay. Life is hard sometimes.  Really, really hard.  It’s okay to be sad sometimes.  To feel frustrated, overwhelmed, not good enough.  But when those things happen, it’s okay.  It’s all okay.  It is life and you have such a beautiful life.  So many reasons to be happy.  You won’t always understood, have the answers, feel satisfied, but trust the process. One day at a time.  You got this. It’s all okay.  Everything is okay and you are happy, light, happy, and free.  I love you.  I love you so much.

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Trials and Triumphs

In a follow-up to the post I wrote yesterday about my new-found passion for health and wellness, I wanted to share with you something I have been experiencing for the last week or so.

Two weeks ago, I decided to fully jump back on the “eating right and exercising” bandwagon (yep, story of my life!) I am kind of following the 21 Day Fix program, although I am not using the coloured containers.  I am using the food lists as guides and trying to reduce the amount of wheat, dairy, sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods I am eating.  I am doing the 21 Day Fix workouts although the program suggests you work out every day, and I have admittedly skipped a day here or there.

The first week was fantastic.  My motivation was high, I was eager to learn, and I jumped in with both feet.  I did meal prep, journalled all my meals, and even tried to make the best choices when I was out of town for a 3-day work conference.  But here we are at the end of Week 2 and wow, it’s been tough.

Like so many others in today’s society, I have a major sugar addiction. If it’s sweet, I love it.  If it’s white and carb-y, I love it.  For months, I subsisted on a diet of pizza, bagels, pasta, and fries.  Yum.  But the entire time I was devouring those delicious foods, I knew that they were not only wreaking havoc on my physical body, but on my health overall.

It’s been brought to my attention lately just how badly unhealthy foods can affect us.  I have started learning and doing some research about holistic nutrition and when I heard that unhealthy foods can also cause mental health problems, mood swings, and skin problems (just a few examples), it was like a light bulb clicked.

For months, I struggled with depression, lack of motivation, extreme fatigue, and just overall feeling terrible.  My colitis has flared up leaving my stomach bloated and gassy and causing frequent trips to the bathroom.  I am so fed up.  Now I am finally starting to understand that my food choices directly affect everything related to my health – whether it be physical health, mental health, emotional health, or spiritual health.

So all the more reason, to get educated and to try to make some serious changes in my life.  As previously mentioned the first week was pretty easy.  I was highly motivated and eager to get started.  But this past week, has been a little bit like a drug addict coming off drugs.

First of all, the cravings I’ve had for carbs and sugar have been mad crazy, especially in the evening.  When the day’s work is done, and I finally sit down to relax, the thought of anything carb-y consumes me – PB & J sandwiches…. big ol’ bag of chips…. pudding cups…. ice cream…. let’s be honest, anything.

On top of that, I have been experiencing crazy mood swing, most of which have made me irritable, resentful, sad, and just downright, miserable.  My brain has been screaming at me, angry with me for not feeding it the junk I normally feed it.  I get mad and ask myself why this has to be so hard?  Maybe I should just give up?  I could go grab a bowl of sugary cereal right now.  Screw it!  I think.  I feel down in the dumps, frustrated, and sad.  A couple of times this weekend I have burst into tears for no apparent reason except that I feel like total and utter crap.  Thank goodness, my sweet and supportive husband has been by my side to talk me through it and to encourage me along.  Because of him, and because of the inkling of determination that still exists inside of me, I am thrilled to say I’ve mostly overcome these tough battles.

The good news is that I am learning.  I know recognize that these physical cravings and mood swings (oh and the raging headache I had last night) are my brain’s way of trying to trick me into feeding it the crap it so desperately wants.  And my logic tells me that if I just keep fighting and pushing past it, eventually I will overcome this hurdle and come out stronger on the other side.

So now I am focussed on one day at a time.  I am going to continue to educate myself about what fuels and energizes my body from the inside out, and what turns it into a sugar-addicted, miserable monster.  I know it won’t be easy, but at least my determination is still high.