My Fitness Journey: Finding Purpose in the Process

As the weather warms up and the days last longer, I have felt the call to get back to more consistent exercise and healthier eating. For me, this also means diving a little deeper into some of my favourite podcasts, blogs, and social media accounts for inspiration + motivation.

One of my favourite health + wellness podcasts is from Balance 365 – Balance 365 Life Radio. This podcast was first introduced to me by a friend last summer and I have learned SO much from it. Last week, while out for a walk + pod (a walk while listening to a podcast), Jen from Balance 365 started talking about how we need to know who we want to be. We need to take on the habits of the person we want to become.

Ana from @bluebirdkisses on Instagram is another huge source of health + fitness inspiration for me and she talks about something similar. We need to choose the habits of the person we want to become.

I’ve been giving this some thought and journalling about it over the last week and feel like I have hit on a really big reason WHY exercise + nutrition are so important to me.

I started to think about my values and the kind of person I want to be. I realized the kind of person I want to be is athletic. I want to be strong (physically + mentally). I want to be muscular and fit and health. Upon deeper reflection, I started to think about how I feel when I do things that align with this person. I feel proud, strong, excited, and my true self when I do something athletic – whether it’s lifting weights, going for a long walk, doing a HIIT workout, or even playing a sport/game.

Ana @bluebirdkisses has a great account for fitness and health information!

I realized most of the women I admire are strong, fit, and athletic. I don’t admire them because of their thinness but because of their strength, their commitment, and their athleticism. Whether they are runners, lifters, figure skaters, or professional athletes, I feel a sense of deep admiration and wanting to be like that.

Several summers ago, my son participated in a hockey camp at a sports training facility for athletes. I vividly remember feeling so inspired inside that building, watching all these athletes train for their sport. It made me want to do it too. They had a purpose and a reason to train. They were committed, working hard, and building strength. I was so inspired by their athleticism.

Tessa Virtue – professional figure skater is an athlete I admire for her beauty, strength, grace, and athleticism.

I realized I admire the training process behind the development of athletes. I’m always interested in the behind the scenes of athletic performances. Whether it’s my favourite baseball players, figure skaters, or long-distance runners, I wonder what do their workouts look like? What is their training program? More than that, I deeply admire and respect their commitment, their dedication, and their work ethic.

Training for a sport (or other similar goal) gives a purpose to the workout. You’re building a stronger body and mind so you can perform better.

That’s when I realized… I want to train my body and my mind, so I can perform better at LIFE!

Annie Brees – from Balance 365 – inspires me always because of her commitment to exercise, her strength, and her athleticism.

By training (staying consistent with exercise, nourishing my body with balanced nutrition, ensuring proper sleep, and developing healthy habits), I gift myself better outcomes in life. I don’t want to be the kind of person who lays around feeling unmotivated, unenergetic, heavy, drained, and uncomfortable. I don’t like the tightness of my clothes or having difficulty getting up and down off the floor.

I want my long-term outcomes to be strength, flexibility, energy, endurance, and mental clarity. I want to develop habits and skills that will serve me as I age, rather than stop me from living. I want to at least feel like an athlete.

I feel so motivated by this personal value that I have just recently discovered. Athleticism, strength, and training is admirable and inspirational in others, so it’s time for me to develop the habits and skills that will allow me to see those things in myself.

Julie Ledbetter has an amazingly informative podcast called Embrace Your Real about health + wellness. I also follow her for fitness inspiration on Instagram.

Now I want to know…

What do YOU value?

What kind of person do YOU want to be?

What skills + habits will YOU need to get you there?

Let’s cheer each other on!

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!

30-Day Plan: Day 28

Sorry for the delayed post but I was quite busy last evening so didn’t get a chance to get on here and write.  I am happy to report that I got right back on track yesterday.  Here’s how the day went:

Breakfast: 3 slices turkey bacon, 1 fried egg, coffee with French-Vanilla cream, and water.


After breakfast, I was feeling really tired from the weekend’s adventures so I took things easy and watched TV while scrolling through social media.

Lunch: I returned to my tried-and-true low-points lunch and had a turkey burger, sautéed vegetables, and a sprinkle of feta cheese.  It was delicious but I was craving something cold (it has been so hot here lately!) so I also had a 1/2 cup of Chapman’s Dutch Chocolate frozen yogurt.


After lunch, I caught up on some laundry from our vacation, swept the floors, read a little and caught up with one of my friends online.

Workout:  Since it was Tuesday, I hit my regular gentle yoga class at my gym.  It turned out I was the only one who showed up so it ended up being a private class!  The instructor still pretty much carried through her regular series of stretches and poses but we did do some stretches on the wall that we don’t normall do that felt really good.  Either way, I always leave this class feeling relaxed and rejuvenated!  Also, this class earns me about 3 activity points.

Dinner: After yoga, I grabbed a roasted chicken at the deli and flew home to have a quick dinner before my Weight Watchers meeting.  I whipped together my taco salad (lettuce, green onions, red/yellow/green peppers, shredded cheese, tortilla salad topper, and low-cal Italian dressing) and ate a chunk of the chicken breast with it.

(I forgot my phone in the car so didn’t get a picture of dinner.)

After dinner, I attended my Weight Watchers meeting and weigh-in.  I wasn’t surprised to see that I was up 1lb.  In fact, after all the indulgences over the weekend, I had kind of expected it to be a lot worse!  Plus, I had a significant loss last week so being up 1lb was really no big deal.  Not only that, but I know the number on the scale isn’t everything – there are so many factors that play into one’s weight. So although I wish the scale had gone down, I am really not letting the minor gain upset me. I know this is a slow and steady progress full of ups and downs and I am confident in my efforts lately and that’s all that really matters!

Workout 2: After Weight Watchers, I had a softball game which usually lasts just over an hour.  By this time it was pretty cloudy but the humidity was still unreal.  Man, did I ever sweat while we were playing!  I earned about 6 activity points.

By the time I got home from softball, I wanted something cold again so I had another 1/2 cup of chocolate frozen yogurt.  After, I was really tempted to have another serving but instead distracted myself with social media and was able to forget about having any more.


28 days down, 2 to go!

Hockey Wives: Why we shouldn’t be too quick to judge

The 8-episode docuseries airs on the W Network.

The 8-episode docuseries airs on the W Network.

A friend once warned me to refrain from reading the “comments” section on social media sites like Facebook, but despite this very wise advice, I often can’t resist this terrible temptation.   Sure enough, as I scroll through many of the comments, shaking my head (and sometimes actually worrying about the future of humanity) I am frequently irritated, annoyed, and sometimes even outraged at what people have to say.

A similar experience happened to me recently.  Now I know my choice of television programming is not always of the “intelligent” variety (just ask my husband!)  I’ll take a Keeping up with the Kardashians re-run any day, and was obsessed with Jon and Kate Plus 8 when it first aired.  But what some people are saying about my new favourite, Hockey Wives, is really starting to irk me.

Former NHLer George Parros, wife Tiffany, and Noureen Dewulf (wife of Vancouver Canucks' Ryan Miller) and chat with Lola (one of the Parros' twins)

Former NHLer George Parros, wife Tiffany, and Noureen Dewulf (wife of Vancouver Canucks’ Ryan Miller) chat with Lola (one of the Parros’ twins)

If you are not familiar with the show, it’s an 8-episode docu-series (aka “reality tv show”) that airs on the W Network and follows several wives/girlfriends of NHL hockey players.  Now, let’s get real for a moment.  I am Canadian.  I grew up watching hockey.  My stepson dreams of making it to the NHL.  My friends’ kids play hockey.  My husband watches hockey.  Hockey, hockey, hockey – some will say it’s what makes us Canadian.   Because of this, I feel it’s only natural for some people (like me!) to be curious about what the lives of the real big guys are like behind closed doors.  I believe it’s a natural human instinct to want to have a sneak-peak into the lives of others – especially when those others happen to have “celebrity status”.  (And when you’re Canadian, NHL players have celebrity status).

Now, I get it.  Some of the women featured on Hockey Wives don’t always represent themselves as best as they probably could (I won’t mention any names) but it takes all kinds to make our little word go round and whether it’s on Hockey Wives or out your very own front door, there are always going to be people we encounter who we don’t necessarily like.  And let’s not forget that many TV shows are edited and altered to give the public a specific perception of its characters for a lack of a better reason than to make good television and increase revenue. (example: crying on the steps of a beautiful home saying you’d rather live in your car).

Montreal Canadiens' Brandon Purst and girlfriend & TV-personality Maripier Morin.

Montreal Canadiens’ Brandon Purst and girlfriend & TV-personality Maripier Morin.

That being said, the thing about the social media comments that irritate me the most, is how quickly people are to judge these women because of how much money their husbands make.  Many of the commentators seem to give the impression that if someone is rich, they have no right to “whine” about their so-called “problems”.

Really?!  And here all along I was under the impression that money doesn’t solve problems.  In fact, sometimes having money can actually cause more problems (haven’t these people ever seen Lottery Changed My Life?)

Now please don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to say that people living below the poverty line, or even those living pay cheque to pay cheque, don’t have their own fair share of problems.  It’s neither one, nor the other. I  am simply saying that just because people have money, doesn’t mean they aren’t human and don’t experience life challenges just like the rest of us.

Anaheim Ducks' goalie Jason LaBarbera with his wife Kodette, and sons Easton and Ryder

Anaheim Ducks’ goalie Jason LaBarbera with his wife Kodette, and sons Easton and Ryder

Yes, I am sure it is lovely to live in a mansion with a pool and a maid, to get your nails and hair professionally done on a regular basis, and to have a walk-in closet jam-packed with Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and the like (if that’s what it’s actually like to be the wife of an NHL player – somehow I don’t think it’s necessarily that glamorous!)  But it still sucks to be separated from your spouse for months at a time, raise children single-handily, and never know where you are going to live next or what will happen to your spouse’s career from day-to-day (trades, injury, etc.)

And that’s what the wives of hockey players do.  They are married to men who are away from home for a significant part of the year (including many holidays and special occasions).  Yes, there are many other situations where a spouse may work away from his/her family.  But whether it’s to barely make ends meet, or to pursue a dream that just happens to pay millions, is not really the issue.  The issue is that with this separation comes feelings of loneliness, isolation, and despair.

LA Kings' captain Dustin Brown, with wife Nicole, and two of their four children.

LA Kings’ captain Dustin Brown, with wife Nicole, and two of their four children.

So imagine those feelings of isolation and now throw kids in the mix.  Many of the players have to watch their children meet milestones or celebrate holidays from afar – not such an easy thing to do if you’ve every had to do it. And what about the Moms who are left behind with children to care for all on their own?  And what about if one of your child has significant special needs and requires specialized therapy (which is the case for one of the Hockey Wives)?  It’s no joke that parenting is hard.  Extremely hard at times.  And you likely know someone who is a single parent and just how much harder that is.  My own husband works away from home every second week, and while the time he is away is short, some of the days where it’s just me and the kids feel long and frustrating.  Very, very long and very, very frustrating.  And when the kids are misbehaving and I feel like ripping my hair out, my husband can’t be there.  Just like, the NHL players who can be away from home (and their families) for weeks at a time. When the wives are dealing with the tantrums, the carpooling, the endless tasks that make up the life of a stay-at-home mom, their husbands can’t be there. And what’s more is that when your husband is a professional athlete his focus and loyalty to the sport is intense so you aren’t going to call him for support when you feel like you just can’t take another day as a single parent.

With that being said, in addition to tackling things like first pregnancies, new babies, and raising kids alone, some of the women featured on Hockey Wives have made the choice to put their own careers on the back burner in order to support their husband.  While some may argue that they made that choice, I still say we need to recognize how difficult that is to do – to put our aspirations on hold in order to emotionally and mentally support our loved ones in the pursuit of their dream.  Surely, while it certainly is a choice, it can not be an easy one.  And maybe we can actually decide to respect those people that have made the selfless choice to fully, 100% support their spouse.

Martine Forget, fiancée to Toronto Maple Leaf's goalie Jonathan Bernier, and their newborn son, Tyler.

Martine Forget, fiancée to Toronto Maple Leaf’s goalie Jonathan Bernier, and their newborn son, Tyler.

And let’s not forget the women who are still charging ahead full-time with their own career while living with the uncertainty of where their husband’s career might take him season-to-season.  At least a couple of the Hockey Wives have very busy careers (one whom has returned to work as a model mere months after giving birth) that take a lot of dedication, hard work, and commitment. Building this type of career, while married to a man who may need to relocate just months down the road, can not be easy and surely takes a lot of sacrifice.

So next time you want to write a judgemental comment about someone who you only know through TV, I ask you to pause and reconsider.  Think about the editing that goes into these shows in order to make “exciting ” TV.  Think about how that woman you are judging is someone’s dedicated wife, loving mother, or faithful friend.  And most of all, let’s not be so quick to assume that just because someone has a higher-than-most income, they don’t face the same everyday life challenges, feel the same emotions, or have similar “problems” to the rest of us. Please remember, “money can’t buy happiness”.