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.

Eyes Wide Open: Discovering My Personal Passion

Recently at a professional book club meeting, the topic of passion came up. One of the questions was what are you passionate about personally?  The question kind of took me by surprise because I had always related passion to work.  When you are growing up and planning your future, you always hear the advice “Find something you are passionate about and then figure out how to make a job out of it.”  For me, teaching is definitely one of my passions.  And just recently I’ve recognized some things that have driven my level of passion with teaching sky-high (another blog post on that coming soon!) But when I was asked “What are you passionate about in your personal life?” I was really taken aback – what am I passionate about?

Of course, the most natural of answers came to me right away – I’m passionate about my family, about spending time with loved ones, and making sure they are taken care of.  But is that really a passion?  Sure, I care immensely about my family, but what interests do I have that excite me, inspire me, light a fire within me on a daily basis?

My colleague suggested my love for the Toronto Blue Jays.  I am definitely a huge fan.  I watch games religiously on television, attend as many games as I can throughout the summer, and proudly wear my Jays gear whenever given the opportunity.  I can name all the players, know what position they play, and know the basic stats.  But I don’t live for the Toronto Blue Jays.  It’s an interest but it doesn’t create a burning desire inside of me.  Watching the Jays doesn’t inspire me, it’s more just like a really enjoyable passtime.

So what is my passion?  I started to think about things I am good at and enjoy doing.  I know, I thought, my passion is writing!  It’s true I’ve had many fantasies about making a living as a writer – spending my days in a quiet room, alone, sipping flavoured coffee, and lighting my keyboard on fire as thoughts and ideas come flowing out of me and onto the screen.  I do feel I express myself best in writing. I do get great satisfaction from writing blog posts and putting my ideas into words.  But is it my passion?

I started thinking of a passion as that one thing you can’t stop thinking about.  It permeates your life every single day.  It makes you feel excited, inspired, thoughtful… but sometimes overwhelmed, confused, and scared.  Then it hit me!   I think I know what my passion is…..

Health and Wellness!

For years, I have been interested in health and wellness.  For the most part, I have been interested in health as it relates to weight-loss.  The story of my adult life is that I am consistently trying to lose weight or maintain a weight loss.  I am constantly seeking out the right plan to follow that will help me to look and feel great.  But more recently, the idea of health and wellness has evolves into something different.  Yes, I still want (and need) to lose weight.  But more importantly, I have recently become more interested in simply making myself healthy.

This has stemmed predominantly from my diagnosis a few years ago with ulcerative colitis.  I consider myself lucky in the fact that my colitis is fairly mild compared to some others.  Most of my symptoms include bloating, a lot of foul-smelling gas, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation.  At it’s worst, I’ve also experience severe abdominal pain that has landed me in the emergency room.  I’ve also experienced severe urgency that has disrupted my workdays and interfered with social activities.

What I didn’t realize until recently though, was that some of the other symptoms I’ve been having could be directly related to the inflammation in my gut.  I’ve had excema, skin problems, achy joints, headaches, extreme fatigue, and mood swings.  These things are all symptoms of inflammation (mind blown!)

My most latest motivation to get back on the “healthy eating/exercise bandwagon” has been not only to lose weight, but to heal my gut and to feel better overall.  I am tired of being tired.  I am fed up with the mood swings (irritability, crankiness, anger, sadness).  I want to feel energized, positive, and happy – every day, all of the time!

This has inspired me to start a kind of “new” health journey.  In order not to overwhelm myself (which can happen so easily), I have decided to focus on nutrition and making better food choices, not only for weight loss, but also as a means to heal my body from the inside out.  I am slowly starting to learn about whole foods, natural ingredients, eliminating sugar, processed foods, wheat, and dairy, eating more plant-based foods, and feeding my body so that I can feel energetic, vibrant, and strong rather than bloated, tired, and irritable!

I have chosen nutrition because there are SO many areas of health and wellness that if I jump into too much of it, I will totally overwhelm myself and may give up altogether.  But that’s not to say I am not dabbling and looking into other areas of health and wellness (mindfulness, meditation, exercise, to name a few).  I am so enthusiastic about this topic that it’s actually kind of hard to rein myself in but I do have to remember that it’s a HUGE learning process.  Lord knows, I have a LOT to learn.  But the most important part is, I am not only open and willing to educating myself, I am so excited to do it!  I have this strong natural urge, this passion burning inside of me that wants to know all I can about how to live the best life I can!

Whether it’s articles, videos, books, websites, social media pages, internet sources, or people… if it has to do with health and wellness I am interested!   Here are just some of the topics that have grabbed my attention, that I’ve experimented with, researched, read about, or thought about so you can get the idea of how interested I really am!

Nutrition – gluten-free, elimination diets, anti-dairy, the wheat belly diet, holistic approaches, Weight Watchers, eliminating sugar, processed foods, 21 Day Fix (Beachbody), Shakeology, supplements, anti-inflammatory foods, recipes, plant-based foods, whole foods, Paleo diet…..

Fitness – going to the gym, walking, running, yoga, 21 Day Fix, home workouts, Tai Chi, pilates, weight lifting, heavy lifting, CrossFit, Pure Barre, ballet, dance, hiking, paddling, skiing, baseball, soccer….

Spiritual/Mental Wellness – mental health illnesses/conditions, mindfulness, mindful vs. Mind full, coping with stress, anxiety, depression, yoga, meditation, self-care routines, prayer, journaling, grounding techniques, therapy/counselling…

Wellness – natural self-care products, natural cleaning products, environmental factors, essential oils, sleep, balance, self-care, time spent in nature, self-help books, self improvement, positive thinking, mindset

No matter what it is whenever one of these topics comes up, I find myself wanting to know more.  I ask questions, I think, I reflect, I analyze, I read, I consider… and most of all,  I get so excited and so emotional!  If that doesn’t describe a person passion, I am not sure what does!

 

Just Do It: Doing the Work Even When I Don’t Feel Like It

Ok guys, after months and months of being in a “slump” and feeling like I will never successfully get back on my weight loss journey, I finally feel like I’m about to make a comeback!   It’s all thanks to my Beachbody coach Melanie Watson who reached out to me and introduced me to author/ motivational speaker/ media personality Mel Robbins.  But before I get into that, let me tell the story from the beginning.

Back in early January, like so many others I made the resolution to get back on track with my weight loss journey.  After years of doing Weight Watchers, I decided to shake things up and signed up with Beachbody.  I started using the containers of the 21 Day Fix program and purchased Beachbody On Demand so I could workout whenever I wanted in my basement.  I easily found the Beachbody community online – literally hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other people trying to do the exact same thing I was trying to do.  It was online that I found and “met” my coach Melanie Watson.  Melanie seemed to “get” my struggles right away and had experienced many of them herself!  At the time, I was struggling with the winter blues, mild depression, and a major lack of motivation to do anything.   Despite being a complete stranger, Melanie seemed to know me so well and understood all my goals – plus she had the tools to get me there.   I signed up to her Facebook groups and followed her on Instragram eager to be successful. But after about the first month, things started sliding and I lost my motivation.  The winter blues were overwhelming and nights on the coach won over working out in my basement.  Carb-heavy, comfort food beat out nutritious and heart-healthy meals.  I started to tell myself that all the hard work and sacrifices it took to lose weight weren’t worth it.  Life was too short not to eat sweets. I should just learn to love myself the way I am.  Maybe for the first time in my adult life I could not be on a diet program and actually just learn to accept myself. But something deep inside me, an inner voice (or as Mel Robbins’ would call my inner wisdom) was still there.  No matter how much I tried to convince myself that I could feel satisfied, fulfilled and confident without losing weight, my inner wisdom was telling me differently. But still, nothing changed.  I still consumed calorie-rich foods all day long and snuggled into the couch as soon as humanly possible after work.  Every day I thought about working out but talked myself out of it within seconds.  I knew what I had to do to lose weight (and had all the programs and supports imaginable) but I still wasn’t doing it.

But the inner voice continued to talk.  I considered emailing Melanie.  By this point, I had completely turned my back on the Beachbody program.  I had unfollowed some of the groups online and began to feel resentful towards the cheery messages of success others were sharing in the groups.  I even contemplated unfollowing Melanie’s profile.  I was feeling so overwhelmed by all the messages about what I knew I had to do, but still, did not feel like doing. Then, last week, Melanie reached out to me.  I was shocked but so pleasantly surprised.  Although she had been so good to me previously, I had assumed I was just another “customer” helping to grow her business.  But by reaching out to me after weeks of not hearing from me or seeing my posts in group, Melanie proved that she actually wants me to be successful I immediately responded, openly expressing to her the struggle I had been experiencing.  I wrote about not being in the right “mindset” to get started and how I’d been struggling for months to get there. This is when Melanie gifted me with the invitation to check out Mel Robbins’ work.  As I mentioned earlier, Robbins is a media personality, motivational speaker, and author.  She wrote The Five Second Rule which I am currently devouring and taking copious notes from.  The minute I read Melanie’s email, I started obsessively watching Robbins’ videos on YouTube and spent my two-hour drive yesterday listening to her podcasts. It is like Mel Robbin’s was living inside my head.  So much of what she has to say is exactly what I have been struggling with for months!  And the fact that Melanie knew to suggest her work to me blows my mind even more.  How can a complete stranger know just what I needed?!

So what is this Five-Second Rule and why am I so excited about it?  As I mentioned, I just started reading the book to fully understand the concept but I am so excited by it that I felt I had to write a blog post right now.   Here are some of the main principles I’ve taken from Robbins’ work so far including how they relate to my life.

1. You will never feel like doing it, you have to do it anyway. Robbins speaks about the notion that we all know what we should do.  And we know how to do it.  For example, the Weight Watchers program (which I have been a member of for years), or the Beachbody program tell you exactly how to lose weight.  But yet I don’t do it.  Why not?  Because I don’t feel like it.   Robbins’ says that we’ll never feel like it but that we have to just start doing it anyway.  That’s why she says motivation is garbage.  Because we will never truly feel like doing things in the  moment that we should.

2. The Five Second Rule In a nutshell, the five second rule is a theory that you can train your brain to listen to your inner wisdom and do what you know you have to do, rather than hold yourself back from doing it.  It’s kind of like the Nike slogan Just Do It (which Robbins also refers to in the book).  Robbin’s tells of her personal struggles and how she discovered that by simply counting down 5-4-3-2-1 you can distract your brain and refocus on doing what you need to do.

3. Get out of your own head. Robbins says that our inner wisdom is constantly telling us what we should do to lead a healthier, happier, fulfilled, and satisfying life but that we have the habit of talking ourselves out of following through on these ideas.  As soon as we start thinking about the idea too much, we easily and effortlessly talk ourselves out of it.  The magic of the Five Second Rule is that we can change that!

4. Your have to parent yourself. I love where Robbins talks about how no one tells us when we become an adult that now we are going to have to parent ourselves.  When we are kids, our parents are there to tell us no.  They are there to make sure we do the things we are supposed to do.  As adults, there is no one to do that, so we have to do it ourselves.  We have to learn to tell ourselves no and to do the work even when we don’t want to.

All this being said, I want to recognize that I probably just did a terrible job of summarizing some of Robbins’ main ideas.  Also, please take into consideration my other disclaimer – I just started reading the book.  I know I have just scraped the surface of some of this woman’s amazing ideas!  I can’t wait to learn more.

But more importantly, I feel like I have been given a tool that is finally going to get me out of this slump that I’ve been in.  I’ve spent all winter making excuses for myself, talking myself out of doing the work, holding myself back, trying to convince myself that I could be happy without losing weight. Now I see that I need to get out of my own head.  I always overthink everything and I’ve been overthinking my weight loss journey for years.  What I am starting to see now is that I will never truly be ready so why am I still waiting?  Just last week, I wrote to Melanie that I needed to be in the right “mindset” before I could get started!  What I see now is that by just doing it, by just getting started, the actions I need to take will put me in the right mindset! Most importantly, what I see now is that making change is hard work and our brain is pre-wired to protect ourselves from hard work.  Our brain doesn’t want us to be uncomfortable.  Therefore, it will try to talk me out of everything that I need to do in order to lose weight successfully.  Also, I am never going to feel like doing the things I know I should do (eat healthfully, plan meals, go for a run, workout) but I just have to put on my big girl panties and do it anyway.  After all without hard work, there is no reward. So instead of thinking about things, I have to just start doing.  And the best way to do that (according to both Robbins’ and coach Melanie), is to do it one day at a time.  Every time my instinct kicks in to do something healthy, I have to get my ass in gear and do it before my mind takes over and talks me out of it!  I have to parent myself, tell myself no, and just do what needs to be done. The best part of all this is if I do the actions that I need to do, the positive, happy, self-loving mindset that I thought I needed to get started, will develop all on it’s own!  Wow!

One last thing about all this.  I couldn’t help but think of a Weight Watchers leader I had years ago.  At the time, I knew I loved her approach, I just didn’t understand why.  Every week at our regular meeting, she would tell us what we had to do.  “Eat your fruit and vegetables.” “Drink your water”.  “Move every day”.  Now I realize that her no-nonsense approach is what helped me to be so successful.  She didn’t give us a choice. She didn’t give us time to think about things, she simply told us to Just Do It.