Saturday, March 29, 2014

What is Your Say?

WOW, I'm almost speechless right now, which is interesting considering how much talking i've done this week.

Some of you may not know but this last week I was asked to come and speak for wellness week at the Ministry of Finance, not once but twice. I used to work for the Ministry of Finance prior to moving to Federal Government in 2010 so I knew that I would be speaking in front of some people that I knew already. It's interesting because talking in front of strangers is somehow easier than talking in front of people I know. I would say that there is less of a threat to my identity in talking to a stranger than there is when talking to people I know. I also know that it just wouldn't be a demonstration of who I am now to say no to this opportunity though, so I jumped in.

Last time I spoke in front of any kind of large group about my health was for Sole Sisters. I remember the hours leading up to it having body sensations of shaking, tears, anxiety, and at the same time being able to so powerfully put that all to the side and do what I was there to do - make a difference. What was different this time was a few things, first I was talking for an entire hour, not just 20 minutes, second I didn't write anything!! Usually, my sense of wanting to be prepared takes over and I write everything out, this time all I had was an outline of a few topics and a point of view that I created for myself that said "who I am is unwavering and a difference maker". I went into these two talks with one piece of paper, my heart and my promise that everyone in that room would be left with a new access to taking on their health. What was interesting is I spoke two days in a row with the same outline and what I shared was totally different from one day to the next. The feedback I have got from people has been unbelievable, one person even said he thought I could be a professional speaker. My experience of myself this week has been that I am powerful and connected to why I am on this journey. I was again re-connected to the why of this journey, to have my experience help someone else.

If you have been following my blog for some time you will know something about me, I take on things that scare me. Something that you might not know about me is that even though I take on things that scare me I still am confronted by those conversations in my head every day, I still was shaking minutes before I got up and spoke, I still had thoughts like I was going to fail or disappoint and I still wanted to run away. The only difference is that I allow those conversations to not own my life now, I get to say how my life goes - not my past or those past based conversations. So how do I say life will go for me? I say that I am enlivened, lit up and that me and the people around me win every day - now THAT is what my life is about, if what i'm doing doesn't fulfill on that then i'm a no. I've stopped saying yes to things that don't line up with what I say my life is about anymore.

My invitation to you is to look at what you say you want your life to be about and then ask yourself, is what you are doing in life fulfilling on what really matters to you? If you aren't a yes then what are you going to do to take the say back? If what is important to you is losing weight or transforming your health it isn't just about that, look at your whole life because this journey is not just weight, this journey is your life and it is never ending so go have fun and create life!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Own the Podium

HAPPY SUNDAY! Gold medal morning and the completion of a week of confront, breakthroughs and being back on track. Last Sunday was my first blog post in over 2 months, that a long time, and to be honest I thought that no one was going to read it or maybe forgot about me, i'd been hiding out you know. But apparently I can't hide in my life, nearly 200 people read that post - reminds me that I can make the difference I am out to make by starting with me. Put your mask on before anyone else!

This morning's check in was a follow up on last week's check in or maybe reality check in. For me I took on this week looking at my number from 1 to 10 on how "in the game" I am, last week I said 5 and there's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it is incredibly powerful to get related to what is so or the reality of the now, that is why we weigh in each week, that is why we write in our books, not to feel bad, but to get related to what is so right now and what is missing that we can put in to have the results we want. So what I took on this week was creating a whole new view on my fitness such that I move that number from a 5 all the way back up to 10. The view I created this week was being an athlete of integrity, wowsa - now that's a view to take on. The funny thing is, the moment you create that view of life, everything that shows up is all the places that doesn't exist. So who I am is an athlete of integrity and there I am in bed at 5:30AM fighting in my head about waking up to go run in the cold. Now, the view of "i have to workout" probably would have had me stay in bed, but the view of "im an athlete of integrity" had me up for 5 workouts this week. In reality, my experience of my health and fitness this week completely altered, there was a pretty big impact on my life in not being excited or engaged in my fitness anymore. What's important to me is that I make a difference for other people in their health and I was robbing myself of the opportunity to do that because I wasn't doing it for myself. Even though I still had people tell me how they were inspired by my story, on the inside I felt like a total fraud - this week in taking this new view on I completely altered that for myself and started making a difference with people all over the place. In some cases even constant texting to remind them to go drink water, and its not like I couldn't do that before, but I didn't relate to myself like it would make a difference because the difference wasn't being made with me.

The invitation and the opportunity for everyone is to create something as a view that totally inspires you, and you don't need to know how to do it, but what is amazing is every time something shows up that is outside of that view you have this new access to being incredibly powerful in the face of it. It's simply enlivening to know that I fulfilled on getting up for 5 workouts this week, despite the conversation of wanting to stay in the warm bed, so what will you create? what will you do this week to bring your game up to a 10? YOU and only YOU can make this difference in your life, you can join programs and talk about things and wish and hope, but at the end of the day the only thing that will ever make a difference is taking an action in the face of "i'd rather be doing X" with a view that simply wakes you up or reality checks you, life for me "being an athlete of integrity".

So that's the invitation to you - OWN THE PODIUM in your game of life!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Life Update

Wow a Sunday evening all to myself, this has been lovely! I caught up on conference paperwork, emails, and now even an opportunity to write a blog post. I've been away from writing since mid-December, alot of it has to do with not knowing what to say, some of it time, but really all excuses. Life has been great and I haven't really focused on my own health or fitness, my weight has been sedentary and I gained some weight over the holidays. Over the last month i've continued to tell myself that im back in the game and then something happens, and i'm really not - I take myself out so easily. It's not like it hasn't been important to me, but I've allowed other things to be more important - sound familiar to anyone?

This morning I dragged myself to Biggest Winners and about 95% of me wanted to stay in bed, about 4% of me wanted to quit the program and a small 1% of me said GET UP AND JUST SHOW UP! Well i'm lucky the 1% won this morning. After a workout that only an evil trainer could think up Michele had a really straight conversation with all of us. To sum it up, WHY ARE YOU HERE? if you arent going to put the work in, why are you here? She started by asking us to rate our potential, the level we are currently participating at, in this current session, I wrote down 5 - for what I am up to in this program I can see that is insufficient to reach my promises to myself. For me a 5 is like "I show up and go through the motions, but not really into it". I do show up, I go to my workouts, but I acknowledge my food has not been 100% every single day for a long time, it's been "satisfactory" but not where it needs to be to forward my progress. So what is there for me to do, I thought of a few things:

1) show up to every workout, even the ones I didn't tell anyone I was going to
2) no eating after 8PM,
3) 2 litres of water consumed before finishing work each day and a subsiquent litre before 8PM
4) no more lattes or special coffees
5) limit eating out to 2x per week (once on Sunday morning and one other time)
6) take time for ME every week, unscheduled, relax, unwind, no phone
7) no more sneaking a treat at work
8) bring fun, excitement and aliveness to my workouts - not a sense of "when will this be over"

So that gives me a few places to start to bring my number from a current 5 up to a 10 by the end of this current session, no more messing around - time to get this done!

It was interesting though, we also talked about how to celebrate our successes without food. It is so culturally ingrained in us to celebrate by going out for a drink, or for dinner, but what if we celebrated without food and even without money - what would that look like? When I think about celebrating my milestones what comes to mind is a few things:

1) Allowing myself quite time at home where I have no expectation of anything, I can read or write or do whatever
2) Creating a fun social night with no food involved, could be crafting or board games or maybe even a clothing exchange
3) Share with just one person you don't even know what your accomplishment was - their reaction can be one of the best gifts ever - take it in!
4) Love yourself up, bath/hot shower, do your nails at home, give yourself a facial - maybe even invite some girlfriends over
5) Take the day off work for no reason but to just do whatever you want!

And for those of you with some cash to spare

6) Go get your nails done or facial (Yes, even boys)
7) Treat yourself to a movie out
8) Put $ away for each milestone you reach so that when you reach your goal weight you can treat yourself to a big trip or reward
9) Buy a new outfit
10) Buy a new book and read it

I'm sure I could think of several more things, but I actually realized that I stopped celebrating anything to do with weight loss/maintenance, it's been all wrapped up in shame of re-gaining some weight. And stopping to think about it now I know that I still had a huge accomplishment, nothing takes that away, AND what there is to do is put the work in - have fun at the same time - and continue on the journey which never ends.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

You Better Belize IT

Helllooooo :) I am bouncing off walls right now - well in my head. I have been away and just got back from an incredible 3 week holiday. I was in beautiful Belize for 2 weeks and then San Francisco for a few days. I've got so much for myself in these last few weeks I don't even know where to begin, so let me give you a few tid bits.

First, I was incredibly excited to go on this trip after committing and figuring out my time off/money etc. we were off on a long travel day. I traveled with Sarah and Paul from Victoria all the way to Houston where we met up with Ainsley and carried onto Belize. And you would expect that I would have been excited at that point getting to Belize but I was pretty much ready to come home. Have you ever had an experience where you are nearly teleported back to a place in your past and it is like "wow I've been here before, I know exactly what's going to happen?"? Well that basically sums up my experience in meeting Ainsley. It was right in front of me, so real, a conversation for "you are now going to be the third wheel AGAIN and really they don't like you, they pity you". Now, I have lots of training and development in how these conversations go and how to be powerful in the face of them but my experience in that moment was like I was teleported back to being a teenager again and I was prepared to lose my friendships for good. It was kind of like watching myself in slow motion, I knew what I was doing and I didn't stop myself, I completely took myself out of any conversation and choose to live in struggle. Now, that's not FUN given I was travelling and going to spend the next 2 weeks with these people, so of course a conversation was in order. And all there was for me to do, which I knew, was to say what I was afraid to say and get how unreal it is. I did that, I shared my conversation with both Sarah and Ainsley and then it was as if it never happened, yes we all lived happily ever after ;) but for real, we had an incredible trip and I connected with not only Sarah, Ainsley and Paul but many other people on a level I have never really connected with people on.

Second, Yes I was incredibly excited to go on this vacation and I also had this looming thought in the back of my head that went something like "you'll never measure up", we all have a version of that I think. I knew that I would be wearing a bathing suit, and for the most part I have no problem being in a bathing suite, I go swimming all the time, but this was different. I was going on vacation with one of my best friends who is a fitness trainer and a new friend who is a yoga instructor, and then there was me....What I created before going on this trip was the possibility of being radiant, glowing and alive and I really really took that on as who I was. That conversation of comparison reared its ugly head at least daily, sometimes hourly, and every single time it came up I had a choice to make. The choice was either have the conversation take me out of the game of life, or have who I say I am win. I want you all to know that who I said I was on this trip won gold medal! I have never ever related to myself as someone who people (ie. strangers - not people who know me intimately) want to know, or spend time with, how I have generally related to myself is like the third wheel or actually - I'm going to be really straight - how I've related to myself is like a waste of space. This trip, my relationship to who I am completely altered, I got - not just on a logical level, but on a physical level - that I am someone who is confident, alive, beautiful, present and contributes when I get out of my own way and play the game of life! I can't explain it any other way than that I feel for the first time connected to my own self worth.

Third, I faced a huge fear of mine - swimming in open waters. I am a good swimmer, and not concerned with drowning, I am however paralyzed with fear when it comes to swimming and not being able to see what`s around me. This trip, we were on an island which takes no longer than 5 minutes to walk from end to end and the closest piece of mainland is over 30 miles away, so you can imagine not facing open water really wasn`t an option for me. On this trip I jumped off a boat into the middle of the ocean, I went scuba diving and survived what felt like the last boat ride I'd ever be on. There were tears and lots of deep breaths, possibly some extremely fast heart beats, but in true ME style I don't let that stop me. I know without a doubt that what is on the other side of tears, fear, anger and shaking hands is massive breakthroughs in who I know myself to be. And who I continue to know myself to be is someone who takes on fear after fear and doesn't stop.

Fourth, I had FUN and did not care what I looked like for one minute - actually I was kind of a forced not caring what I looked like given there was no mirror to look into :) but for real, I just had fun - let go and let life happen. I will never forget this trip and the memories I created. Thank you Lifehouse Retreats.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Taking my Own Advice

It became very apparent to me this week that I need practice at taking my own advice. My last post was all about taking care of yourself first before helping others and that was the last thing I wanted to do. Friday morning I got up and went to class, even went to work and then realized I couldn't focus, still felt lethargic and faint and my voice was going. I left work and came home and slept pretty much all day. I continued to fight with myself that I was okay and better and I could get through it but really wasn't. Yesterday I spent the entire day on the couch and took care of myself even though all I wanted to do was go out and join the fun. Today I am on the mend, energy is coming back, voice is resting. I am LISTENING body, I got the message, rest! And even though what I really want to do is go out and enjoy life today, be outside, workout, what I AM doing is listening to my body and resting. My lovely friend Susie is even stopping by with some home made soup - THANK YOU.

Check in with yourself today, what are some messages your body has been sending you that you have been ignoring? Maybe you haven't been getting enough sleep? or enough water? what is it you really need to take care of your well being - only you can say.

On a side note, save the date - Saturday November 9th from 1PM to 3:30PM I will be at an incredible event called Balanced Mentality which is being hosted by Studio4 Athletics. I will be sharing my own journey which includes my own personal diagnosis of depression and how exercise, healthy eating and participating in BDHQ's Biggest Winners has transformed my experience of myself.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Creating Your Self-Care List

This past weekend many of us celebrated Thanksgiving, a time to be surrounded by family, friends and those that matter the most to us in our life. This year there is so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for my community, each and every one of you, who has contributed to my life this year in one way or another. The people in my life, my community, are my WHY - the reason I continue on this journey of health and contribution. In class on Sunday, Michele was talking about self-care, taking care of ourselves so we can take care of the people in our lives. This seems so simple, just like putting on the mask on the airplane before helping someone else, but something we often forget. I have written about it before but it bares repeating, you will never make the difference you want to make if you are not willing to prioritize YOU. This doesn't mean you forget about everyone else, this means taking care of you, putting the time aside for your workouts and actually doing them. When the alarm goes off at 5:30AM and you think "for me i'm just going to sleep in", the choice of getting up and rocking your workout, sleepy eyed and all, will have you so invigorated that your day will fall into place. So what does taking care of yourself look like? Well it will be different for everyone, for me my self-care list looks like this:

1. Scheduling time every single week for my workouts, for me they happen to be in the morning and I know that my experience of myself when I wake up and accomplish a hard workout is that of pride.
2. Having one evening a month (minimum) where I have absolutely no plans, no workouts, no socializing, just taking time to regenerate and recharge my brain. Usually this looks like enjoying a glass of wine and a movie with my husband or reading a book.
3. Spending time every weekend to prepare my food for the week so I am not confronted by the busyness of the week.
4. Scheduling my breaks at work to connect with people who are important to me, this fills me up and keeps me engaged in the rest of my day.

Everyone's self-care list will look different, but what I know is that if you do not know what you need to do to take care of yourself then you will never take the actions to do it. What you may experience is burn out, you may even be successful for awhile at transforming your health BUT I can pretty much guarantee you there will come a point where you will hit a wall. The wall of "I give up" or perhaps "What's the point?" and if you are not present to what you need to do to recharge yourself, to take care of yourself and to make yourself a priority I guarantee the results will be the undoing of all your hard work. So ask yourself the question, "what do I need to do every day, every week, every month to make sure that I am taken care of?"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What I GOT in the ILP

On Friday I completed a 7 month journey of self, better known as the Introduction Leaders Program (ILP) with Landmark Worldwide. Looking back at these last seven months I have done a lot of growing. In reflecting on that before class I was having a hard time seeing the results. It's kind of like weight loss, you see yourself every day it is so hard to see the results until you look at a picture from 3 months ago. In this program though I had huge results for my life.

1. At the very beginning of the program I was asked to share my story in a local running group. When I was first asked I figured it would be like 15 to 20 people so I said yes, later I found out I would be speaking in front of approximately 200 people. Imagine my face as I sat at my desk on the other side of a telephone call being told it would be 200 people, it kind of looked like this....

ok or maybe more like this....

or imagine something in between those two reactions, I think my response was something along the line of silence as Mena said "oh is that okay that it's 200 people.....are you still there?" And I said "ummm...yes that's no problem". Immediately after I hung up the phone I was dreading this and in this program dreading is not a place we want to be. After some self talk and a phone call with my coach I was clear I was no longer dreading it, I was excited that I was about to make a difference for 200 people. I just watched the video again today, I hadn't seen it in several months, and was reminded of those body sensations I felt as I stood there. What else it reminded me of is how far i've come in just these few months that now if someone asked me to do that I would have no problem saying yes to it. Here's the video for those that missed it.

2. Throughout my weight loss journey, and my life in fact, I have had this context for who I am like "i'm not worthy", "i'm not important", "what I think doesn't matter". I've written and shared about this multiple times and throughout the last few years I have had glimpses of finding "self worth" and then it fades. When I entered this program how I was relating to myself was the same, I was uncomfortable with my biggness, I didn't want ot be acknowledged or looked at. It's like this...

I can truly say that I have changed the way I look at myself. What I got in this program is that who I am for the people in my life is someone who makes a difference. I make a difference even when I dont know i'm making a difference just because that is who I have created myself to be. Being a contribution is my self expression. I'm clear that I was put on this earth to go through this journey in order to empower other people in their lives and i'm even more clear now that I fulfill on that every day when I am willing to acknowledge who I am, I got that in this program.

3. Also in this program I truly got how still afraid of connection I was. I was intimidated by people who were really self expressed or out there and I had it like I was the odd person out. What got created out of this program was a community of people all out to have each other win in whatever we were all up to. I started to play games with myself to have connection become fun. For example, last week I played a game with myself called "authentic connection" and the game was I would make a comment or talk to every single person I met that day, wether it be standing in an elevator, at a cross walk or in the line up at the coffee shop. I got that in the past I would never do that, I had it like what is the point of even talking to the stranger in the coffee line up? They will never remember me. But what this did was open up a whole new world of connection with people all inside of simply saying "Hey, I love your outfit, you look fabulous". Now I get that my connection with people is all my creation, moment by moment I can choose to have connection or not and those moments that I choose not there is nothing wrong but I can look if there is something stopping me from wanting to be out there in the world and living.

So to sum up what I really GOT in the ILP, I got that I am whoever I say I am at any moment under any circumstances I have the choice to be unstoppable, unmessable and a contribution or I have the choice to give in to my internal dialogue of "i'm not good enough". What an incredible thing to get for myself in only seven months! Thank you to all the participants, coaches and leaders in this program who always listed to me as someone more capable than I ever saw myself to be.