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.

Friday, October 4, 2013

BW Success Story: Shannon McCartney

Last week we finished another amazing session of Biggest Winners with even more jaw dropping results this time. The lovely Shannon McCartney was our Biggest Winner losing an incredible 33 pounds in 12 weeks. Shannon is the shining example of commitment! I remember being in class and she said "I changed my entire work schedule so I could be at every single workout" - she was committed, now 12 weeks later and down 33 pounds Shannon looks amazing. She graciously agreed to be interviewed, I'll let her tell her story.

What was your starting weight?
254 pounds

What is your current weight?
221 pounds

What is your goal weight?
180 pounds

What had you join BWs?
One night I saw the BDHQ advertisement pop up on facebook and I ignored it, but found myself creeping back to it a couple of times. I was able to access the website where I came across a blog and read about peoples different weight loss journeys. I remember wanting to join but feared it at the same time... did I mention the program started the next day? I began playing the mind games where I was disappointed in myself for being scared and not following through. I emailed the gym really late that night... a nervous wreck... hoping and praying that my request was received too late to start this enrollment... but at least I tried, hence not being disappointing in myself. Did I mention mind games? Well, I received an email early the next morning inviting me down to the gym, and as I said a few choice words my new reality began. It was time. Time to gain back control of my life, time to invite fun back into my life, and time to choose it for the right reason... me!

How long have you struggled with weight?
You know, I've always hated this question. Being overweight doesn't always imply a negativity such as sadness or depression, in fact I have always been quite a positive upbeat person who lived quite happily at any size. What I have struggled with is Society's view on obesity. I was born into this world with hypopituitaryism, long story short (pardon the pun), I was injected with growth hormone- an anabolic steroid- 3 times a week from the age of 18mos old through until about 16yrs old. Following that was daily estrogen/ progesterone pills which I finally stopped (against medical advice) about 2 years ago. I had enough of people telling me how my body should look. I have always been a huge advocate for self love regardless of your size.

Why was this time the right time for you to take on your health?
A couple of years ago I had a routine doctor's appt and learned that my blood pressure was high. I was given the speech "next visit in 6 months, if it remains high we will have to look at medication to control it" It took me 2 years to return. Mortified that I would be back on any medications, let alone blood pressure medication... at 38yrs old!! During those 2 years I made some lifestyle adjustments, none which included exercise. The truth was I was petrified of having a heart attack. I honestly thought that it was a highly likely possibility.
I had that follow up appt., and to my surprise my blood pressure was fine. It was the rush of emotions that followed; relief, shame, and fear... because now there is really no excuse. When did it become okay to give up on my health? When I joined BDHQ I remember saying "If I am going to die of a heart attack I would rather it be during a workout than laying on my couch watching tv.

What would the YOU today tell the YOU 12 weeks ago before this program about deciding to be in it or not?
As I would say to anybody in that situation, when the time is right it will happen. I would also say, yes it's fun, yes it's safe, yes you will love it, and yes you can!

Apart from the weight/inches what is the biggest change you have noticed?
I have my upbeat, cheerful energy back... plus I have never slept better!!

What do you do to maintain your schedule, life, health and have it all balance?
First off let me just say I do not have children to worry about- kudos to all of the parents out there balancing their own health with their families. It isn't easy, you really have to know what you want and prioritize in order to get there. You also have to make sacrifices. I had to switch over 20 shifts at work in order to attend all of the workouts. It wasn't easy but I wanted and needed it so badly. I missed my 21st high school reunion in order to attend a weekly weigh in and workout. Again, not an easy decision but I really wanted and needed to be focused on this program. I missed opportunities to get off the island and visit family. I was able to fit in some desperately needed girl time but had to sacrifice the late nights in order to get in the early morning workouts. It's a balancing act for sure, but I find if I keep my goals at the forefront then the sacrifices are tolerable.

What was your biggest accomplishment over the last 12 weeks?
The small victories: attending a party and not snacking on the chips and cheezies, getting through a day at work without eating goodies delivered by patient's families, getting out of the grocery store with only the items on my list. Feeling proud of myself for succeeding each and every day.

What did you have to do to make this program work for your life? what changes?
I had to face it head on. Life I mean. I had to look at my current situation and admit that I wasn't happy. That was one of the hardest truths I have ever had to tell myself. From that point it was all forward motion, one step at a time.

What is next for you? goals?
I have just resigned with the Biggest Winner program for another year-yay! My goal is to find joy in everything I do. I want to say yes to every invitation, I want to ski down those slopes, hike up those mountains, lay on those beaches... and look and feel good doing it. I also want to retire from my nursing career with a healthy pain free body.

WOW Shannon, I acknowledge you for being brave, courageous and authentic and taking this program on FULL FORCE! You are a shining star and will accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Put Your Mask ON!

Today marked the completion of our Biggest Winner sessions, always an inspiring day to see people who have committed 12 weeks of their life - blood, sweat and tears - to transforming their body. There were some incredible results with interviews to come (stay tuned), for me I walked in this morning knowing that I had not done everything I could do in these last 12 weeks to take care of myself.

Something I got present to this week is that I have simply not been responsible for ensuring my well being is taken care of and also that I have not been willing to say so. I often get confronted by this conversation of "im not allowed to slip up, im not allowed to struggle" and what it has me do is just not be responsible. So i'm fessing up, I have NOT been responsible. Sure I've got my workouts in, and my food has been good (when I eat) but I have had trouble sleeping, have had a lot of pain in my back and even though my food has been "good" it hasn't been excellent. EXCELLENT & IMPECCABLE is what is called for in my game of health, and let me clarify, impeccable doesn't mean i'm not able to have balance, it means being impeccable with the reason behind why i'm eating. I have not been responsible in being conscious of the emotion behind the food, I have been eating mindlessly or just not eating at all and that DOES NOT WORK. This doesn't work for my body, for my well being, for the people that i'm here to support, it simply doesn't work at all. It's just like the flight attendant says, "put your own mask on before helping". My mask has been dangling there waiting for me to put it on. Today it is on, I am responsible and playing the game of being excellent and impeccable. No beating myself up, simply putting actions in place to be present this week.

My question to you, what have you not been responsible for in your own health? Maybe something small, , maybe something really really big, and if you say nothing - I assert there is something so take a look. What are you going to take responsibility for and cause a change in RIGHT NOW?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Living Big Doesn't Mean Being Liked

Today has been quite the day! I want to talk about what it takes to really hold yourself to a game of living a life of integrity, and when I say integrity I don't mean anything moral or doing what you say you're going to do, I mean really honoring yourself. For the last seven months in the leadership program i've been taking we took on the game of having 100% integrity in our lives, in our communication, in our responsibilities, in all areas. That's a BIG game and it takes someone who is willing to get uncomfortable to play it. I had a lot of conversations in these last seven months to restore integrity, and what i've really gotten out of all of it is a sense of power like I can't even describe. I know myself to be someone who can have the conversations I've always wanted to have but didn't know how, I know myself to be worthy.

Part of this game of 100% integrity includes an agreement to not gossip, to not say anything about anyone else or ourselves that diminishes them/us in other peoples eyes, this is a hard one. So often we hear the gossip, at work, in our personal lives, in our internal dialogue...and how to avoid it? Well, I can't control what other people say or do but what I can control is my reactions and my response, what this looks like now is recreating people for the contribution they are to this world instead of the complaint people may have about them, I also don't participate in conversations where diminishing is occuring. When the diminishing thoughts come into my head I remind myself they aren't true, and those thoughts are not in line with my commitment to who I am which is a big person up to a big game.

This is all a work in progress, it's practice, and I can't say i've avoided all conversations of this nature in the last seven months but I can say that for the most part I have. What that has left me access to is giving up any hurt that has been there around what people say because I know myself to be the type of person who does not diminish another human being. I really got today that in order to live my life, make a difference, and be a big person I have to be willing to not be liked by everyone. This used to upset me, and that is still a conversation that comes up with me "no one will like me" but inside of taking action after action to further my life and the lives of people around me I am completely present to the fact that I have to be willing to put up with people not wanting to be my friend in order to take a stand for something much bigger.

There are many changes coming my way, and a lot of unknown in terms of what my life will look like right now. To be honest i'm terrified and more confronted than i've ever been, but the difference is that I have complete power and ownership of this fear. Who knows what tomorrow holds, all I have is access to who I am today and what choices I make this very moment. So my question for you, where in your life does gossip occur? Maybe its about yourself, maybe its around your friends or your family, take a took and are you willing to give up that complaint? The only person we have total control over is ourselves, be the one who is a stand for your own life!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Put Yourself on the Line

I just arrived home this morning from another trip to San Francisco, this time it was the first weekend of a new leadership program with Landmark Worldwide. This time I am coaching the program, I am responsible for 10 people really getting who they are in this world. SOOOO Exciting!! What I really got out of this weekend for myself was how I can know myself to be a person of integrity and enrollment, to come from a place of enrolling others in what i'm up to, what is possible in this world and really what I am out to create for myself and others. I was given access to this on a whole new level. Lots of people think of enrollment as something to do to a person, like he is either enrolled in what I am saying or not, in fact enrollment is more a place to speak from. For me, enrollment is the willingness to put yourself on the line for what matters to you and really this isn't always comfortable, actually its generally not comfortable at all.

Last week I shared about how I had taken on stopping the dis-empowering conversation of diminishing myself and who I am. I really have taken this on, this includes having really vulnerable and scary conversations and speaking my heart. It included getting honest in some relationships where I haven't been willing to say what's been confronting for me, to protect the privacy of those I shared with I won't mention the details but let me just say I was really raw, real and spoke my heart. What that was like for me was one of the scariest things I've ever done, I don't want to hurt people, I don't want people to not like me, and in the process what has happened is I have been suppressed and diminished. Having these conversations were like experience my own courage at a whole other level, I got to be someone I haven't known myself to be. Now I know this is all general and broad and hard to grasp onto when i'm not giving specifics, but what I want you to know is that what I really really got is that in life when our heart speaks and our logical, mechanical, brain stops it the most empowering thing ever is to speak your own truth. What I got was that regardless of what the other people said in response to me speaking my heart, I got to know myself as someone who is truly vulnerable, brave and courageous. The difference that has made for me is that now I have access to so much more freedom in my conversations, not that there is zero fear in being straight with people, but that I know what's on the other side of being straight is so much more. What's on the other side of being straight is knowing myself to be someone who can ask for what matters to them.

What matters to you? What have you been afraid to ask for because it might put you at risk? Take a look, one conversation could alter your whole relationship to yourself.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Done Diminishing

This entire summer has felt like a blur, but a good blur. I was in San Francisco for my final Landmark weekend, spent time with incredible people and got filled up with so much love. This course is almost over and I am so grateful for the connections I have formed, but more importantly grateful for the person I have created out of being willing to be brave and bold. I have some exciting projects on the go, including finishing up my book which I have been avoiding. I have been avoiding writing in general, it started occurring like a chore instead of a contribution. So by the end of this year I will have completed a book, I will be on my way to creating a speaking tour across Canada and will continue to be out there in the world making the difference I want to make.

Something I really got this summer was how much I tend to diminish my own self, I think alot of us do that, and I realize I do it all the time actually. I don't want to be seen, I gained weight to not be seen, I lost weight and didn't want to be seen, I started being out there with people and still didn't want to be seen. Secretly I wanted to hide and be alone because that is safer, my judgments are safe - the rest of the world would just be disappointed in me. I saw for the first time these last few months how my ongoing concern, that of wanting people to like me, has cause me to hold back and diminish who I get to be in the world. Now not to say that "story" will just disappear, but I can see it so clearly now, I can see how every time I stop myself in taking an action this voice in my head comes back "they won't like you if you say that" or "they will think you are stupid", and when I hear the voice I can now have choice to say it anyway or do it anyway. I am done diminishing who I am and who I am for other people, I know I am someone who makes a difference and that isn't being snobby, I do. And I want to use that ability to make a difference to really have those people who are scared see that it is possible for them, not only in weight loss, in anything they are struggling with.

I don't talk about my past much because there has been alot of shame there, alot of "you wont like me if you know", I just diminish it like it doesn't even matter. What I want YOU to know is that I have a past just like each of you, I have a past of pain, secrecy, shame and loneliness. I have a past of sitting alone on Friday nights with a box of pizza and a dozen donuts because they were more my friend that anyone else. And, when I get confronted, when something comes up that is scary for me like "they won't like me" then I can feel the pull to order the pizza or eat the empty foods that do nothing for me. The difference now is that I can actually recognize it, acknowledge it for what it is, and not hide it. What's happened over the last few months for me has been me hiding, going back to "they wont like me", and avoiding being someone who makes the difference. What I commit to is being freed up around saying what needs to be said, being straight with people instead of stepping over what others may have stepped over in the past. Weight loss and health all comes down to YOUR commitment to taking the actions, regardless of the circumstances, that is what will make you successful. So if you are ready to have power back in your life my invitation to you is to take an action, just one action, then another, then another, and every time you take an action CELEBRATE IT!! Doesn't matter if you post it on facebook or call your best friend, but acknowledge your actions even if they are small. Today I acknowledge myself for stepping away from the food at work and being present to what matters to me, my health. Today I acknowledge myself for being brave, vulnerable and for not giving up even when the circumstances dictate otherwise.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting Straight

After last weekends inquiry into failure and performance I have really been in action this week to break down some barriers. Starting with getting straight with where I had been in relation to my health. I had really been making excuses for myself that eating "ok" was acceptable to me, really it's not! It's not when i'm living a life where my word is that I will be healthy and an example. I got that I had made it ok, I had been justifying it to myself, and owned up to that. What else hasn't been ok has been the excuses for not making my workouts, really what works is being up for 6AM and getting the workout in. I know this is what works, and that is what is in the schedule now. Swimming is back on the table, running is out, and winning the game of being healthy and an example is what I am playing each day.

Sometimes this voice of reason creeps into my head that says "why do you have to be an example for everyone else, just do what you want and relax" and then I realize that sure I could do that, absolutely I could choose to have that be my life, but what I said my life was about is having my journey transform other peoples health, that is what is important to me so the reasons and the justifications don't matter.

What else happened this week? Well I went to a fabulous party that my friend Sonya put on, and how that would normally go for me would look something like me in the background, listening intently to other's conversations and "pretending" to have fun but really just wanting to be at home alone where it is safe. That is NOT how this went. Going into this party I decided I was going to be fun and courageous. I had some great conversations with people I didn't know, and for me that is a shift in who I see myself to be, and it was FUN!

One step at a time I transform who I am for other people, it really amazes me sometimes that being open can be so scary - yet liberating at the same time. I have this ongoing conversation in my head that looks like "don't share don't speak don't be present, no one cares" it runs and runs and runs, and I put it aside and speak anyway - that's what's liberating and freeing. I wonder what new, interesting thing is coming next.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A New Take on Failure

Wow, what an incredible weekend of learning in Seattle. I just got back last night (well early this morning around 2AM) from my third weekend for the leadership program I have been taking with Landmark. A big conversation over the weekend was that of failure. The question being where do you hold yourself as a failure? Not like "i'm a failure at putting away the dishes" more like "i'm a failure as a wife" or something of that nature. I'm asserting that we all have this conversation in our head, about where we are failures and it is so dis-empowering!

My "failure list" consisted of the following:
-I am a failure at marriage
-I am a failure at pregnancy
-I am a failure at weight loss
-I am a failure at business
-I am a failure in my career
-I am a failure at finances
-I am a failure in conversations
-I am a failure at integrity
-I am a failure as an ambassador
-I am a failure as a daughter

I'm sure if I sat down and thought for longer than a few minutes I could have concocted a whole bunch more but this was my starting point. So looking at this list had me feel pretty crappy with myself, look at all these things I have failed at! Then something happened in this conversation on failure....We were asked to read our list out loud, then we were asked to read the list again but just read the words, not the "I am a failure at" part. What I got was that these are all things I am committed to, these are all areas of my life where I am committed and dedicated to elevating my performance and effectiveness. What I also got was when you hold yourself as a failure in these areas you get to not be responsible AT ALL. When I say "I am a failure at weight loss" because I haven't been losing weight what i'm really doing is not holding myself accountable for my actions. By being a failure it means I am no longer responsible for the outcome. In reality I am not a failure, I have simply failed at taking certain actions - there is a difference.

What I got present to this weekend is that failure actually has nothing to do with who I am, it is totally disconnected in fact from who I am. I failed at taking actions, but the powerful Bri is not a failure. So what am I committed to now? Re-tacking my health, being responsible and not a failure! What is now available for me to do is re-introduce more intense exercise again, trust my knee to last and eat 100% clean - no excuses. Ask yourself, where have you held yourself as a failure...then ask yourself am I avoiding being responsible for the outcome of this area of life? If the answer is yes, then take on empowering yourself to be responsible in that area, you will be amazed at what comes from that.

"I failed my way to success". Thomas Edison

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Presencing Your WHY

Tonight I got really present to how blessed I am to be given the opportunity to contribute to peoples lives. I led a session I created called Presencing Your WHY for Biggest Winners at BDHQ. First, being creative is something that has previously occurred very difficult for me. I had it like i'm not creative, I can only follow structure, and that people who don't follow structures are unprepared. Tonight I decided I was simply going to BE creative and go where my heart and my mind led me. I asked questions, got to the heart of the matter, and made a difference. Knowing that people walk away looking at things in a new way haves me left feeling like a true contribution.

I realize its been several weeks since I've posted any update on my life and where i'm at and for the people who read my blog consistently I apologize for my absence. I could give a whole bunch of reasons and excuses as to why I stopped writing, but they don't matter. Really, I just haven't made the time, I haven't made it a priority and in the process I have not been living the life I designed which is empowering people in their health. I want you to know that I am back, back to being vulnerable, back to sharing, and up to some big things in my life.

What really happened was I got up in front of 200 people and shared my story and it was terrifying and exciting at the same time, and then it was freeing. Then what happened was at the same time of being totally free from the anxiety this new fear crept in, this voice that said "don't get too big Bri, people aren't really interested" and slowly I started to withdraw, stopped sharing, hoped that people wouldn't notice my absence...the funny thing is they did....the even funnier thing is I was surprised at that!! So what did I learn about all of that? Well, when i'm willing to be a BIG person meaning sharing myself authentically and making a difference that I actually DO make a difference for people. Thank you to everyone who continues to support me on this journey of learning and creating the new Bri, I am the blessed one.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Kaukinen 100

Time for another success story!! I am so excited to share an amazing couple's transformation which is still happening day by day. My friends and fellow Biggest Winner participants Jon and Rebecca Kaukinen inspire me with their dedication to their family, their marriage and their health. I'm sure you will all be blown away by their results.

Here is the lovely couple before

And here they are now

And this is their story:

How much weight have both of you lost?
Jon has lost 65 pounds and Rebecca has lost 42-45 - over 100 pounds together!

When did you start your weight loss journeys?
Rebecca: I started this most recent (and most successful ever) weight loss journey at the end of June last year.
Jon: I started October 1 last year.

Does it make it easier/harder to do it together as a couple?
Jon: I think easier. I've never done it by myself but seeing how hard it was when Rebecca did it by herself, it must be easier.
Rebecca: I think Jon must be referencing the time he made me hold his Pringles chip container for him while he was driving the truck and trailer - I not only had to hold the chips but smell them! Talk about temptation! Seriously though, it is definitely easier. Jon is willing to eat most of the same food I eat so that simplifies meals. There are fewer temptations in the house (and on road trips!) and that is helpful. Jon is losing weight so fast - he makes it look so much easier than it is for me! Although that can be hard, it is also motivating for me - I have to work hard to keep up! Another challenge is childcare! It is definitely hard to get all our workouts in, but I think we are making it work. After all, we are doing this for our kids - what better motivation is that?

What do you do to prepare for your week as a busy family?
Jon: I watch Rebecca put away all the groceries.
Rebecca: Jon does more than just that - he is in charge of hard-boiling the eggs for the week while I do the rest of the food prep. Hmmmm seeing this in print illustrates the need for change in our division of labour :). Actually, he often makes us fresh salsa too Now it seems balanced, right? :) Jon is actually in charge of breakfast and I make all our snacks, as well as lunch for the kids and myself. I usually make dinner during the week since I'm home first (and I like more variety to our meals than Jon). If I don't, Jon's fallback is tacos (chicken or pork on corn tortillas). We usually schedule our workouts for the week on Sundays. I also meal plan (with input from Jon and the kids), grocery shop and meal prep. I often make soup and freeze it in freezer bags so the main part of my lunch is ready to go.

What do you do when one of you gets stuck or frustrated?
Rebecca: When Jon makes up his mind to do something, there is no changing it. He makes this seem easy. When I get frustrated, I often talk to one of the other BWs - which helps! Just to share what I'm struggling with, and know they have probably been in that same spot before, is very helpful. I also try to remember how far I've come. And I look at what I can change - do I need to change how I'm eating or get more workouts in or drink more water?

What was your Aha! moment that had you to begin this journey?
Jon: I knew it would be easier for Beck if I did BWs with her. Maybe it was also the challenge to see how much weight I could lose and see if I could stick with it.

What is the biggest transformation in your family, non weight related?
Our kids keep telling our secrets at daycare: "Dad is cutting back on chips." "Mom doesn't eat sugar anymore." We are all eating healthier.
Making time for all the workouts means that we have to make choices in how we spend our family time and struggle to balance all the things we want to do.

What is your favorite healthy date and/or family activity?
All our dates are now workout dates! We can't afford a babysitter for workouts AND regular dates too! :)
As a family, Jon loves when we do the Drill together on Saturday at B2 and the kids go to FitKids. We go out for a healthy breakfast after all together. Rebecca loves hiking with the kids and running behind them while they ride their bikes (okay, I don't love running but I'm happy that I can slowly jog behind them! :).
It is exciting to see how much our lives have changed in this last year. Thank you BDHQ and the BWs! We can't wait to see ourselves another year from now!

Jon & Rebecca - KUDOS and CONGRATS on your amazing transformations and continual dedication to having a healthy family. You both inspire me daily with your energy and commitment.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Open to Incredible Contribution

In the middle of a medicine induced coma I am catching up on my writing. What I had planned on writing about was my trip with Nicki last week to see Jillian Michaels but what I want to share is more present for me right now, so JM will need to wait.

Last Wednesday I was driving home, after 10 o'clock at night, exhausted, hadn't slept and hadn't eat and I just sat in my car and sobbed, uncontrollably. Feeling confronted, alone, scared, and like I am unable to do anything. Alot of it had to do the fact that I had not ate, and the rest had to do with the bottom line that I was putting my needs second to everyone else in my life and I was putting them second to needing to prove that I was good enough to do it all. I went to bed, up the next morning for work, and then again off after work for some homework for my program. Facing this homework created the most extreme emotional breakdown I have had in a long time. I am grateful for the people who were there and just listened.

The exercise consisted of looking in the mirror and being excited for yourself, telling yourself you are amazing and worth it. Mirror work has been around for a long time, but I had never done it. As I stood there looking in the mirror at myself i'm thinking "there is nothing to be excited for here". I resisted the whole exercise which took over 30 minutes, and hated every single minute of it. More tears, more tears, fast-forward to Saturday and I am having a conversation with one of my coaches about what happened. What I distinguished was that my whole identity was based on me not being good enough and that I had to hold onto that very tight in order to survive from a young age. I really really got that I was being someone who wasn't worth excitement or acknowledgment. I got that I was really good at acknowledging other people. I got that I love to be everyone's cheerleader, but in the process I am not my own cheerleader. I got that by not actually being someone who takes acknowledgment like FOR REAL takes it I do not allow room for people around me to be ok with having them be acknowledged. I was present to all of this, and at the same time overcome with so much emotion. I created a new possibility for my life on Sunday though. The possibility I invented for myself and my life is the possibility of being open to incredible contribution. I had thought at first that I wanted the possibility of being a contribution but I now understand that I am a contribution already, I need to allow other's to contribute to me.

So from Sunday afternoon I have been living through the lense of accepting acknowledgement and I was so honored to get up in front of probably 300 people and take a thank you for what I had done for someone. It is amazing when you open yourself up to seeing things in a different light what can actually be available for you. I'm not saying it's easy for me to accept acknowledgement overnight, it's still a work in progress, but inside of my possibility of being open to incredible contribution each day I am taking a step to move me closer to that simply being the way I am. Being simply open to it, this morning I received a facebook message from my sister-in-law which simply said "This reminds me of you: “I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a "transformer" in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.” - Stephen R. Covey". In the spirit of my new way of being, thank you Mary you made a real difference in my day.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ucluelet Adventure

This is the first time I am sitting down at my home computer to reflect on my last few days. On Sunday I got home from a wonderful weekend away with some amazing women. After talking about having a weekend away, Raeleen mentioned a lovely spot in Ucluelet that she goes to and the planner in me kicked in. Date picked, location booked, spa day planned. The location was absolutely beautiful, the house was right on the beach with a breath taking view. There was even a hot tub on the deck, turned into more of a "warm" tub however.

Bethany, Raeleen, Jaylene and I arrived first and got ourselves some wine and in the tub. A few hours later the rest of our crew (Nicki, Rebecca, Lisa and Elizabeth) joined us after a long after work drive from Victoria. I could go on and on about the laughs, memories and connections over the weekend but I think the pictures do it more justice.

A windy walk on the Wild Pacific Trail

A day at the spa

A run on the beach

Group photo opportunity

Followed by a relaxing drive down island stopping at some for some more photos

I am so incredibly blessed to have these people in my life. I would like to share who they are for me.

Nicki is someone who represents complete confidence, so sure of who she is and what is important to her. Always stood for me stretching myself to my limits.
Bethany is someone who is completely dedicated to her health, so strong!
Raeleen is someone who listens for what is important and can relate to me on a deep level.
Lisa is someone who cares so much that everyone is taken care of.
Elizabeth is someone who is a stand for her family and taking care of the people in her life.
Rebecca is someone who is caring, compassionate and super funny.
Jaylene is someone who is creative and willing to take risks.

My list could go on and on, thank you for the lovely weekend ladies and for your continued friendship and support of my crazy ventures in this world.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Will NEVER be the Same Human

Have you ever had that experience where you do something that terrifies you and you come out on the other side a completely different person? Maybe it is conquering your fear of heights or having a conversation you should have had years ago. The experience of actually knowing you will never be the same human being ever again is something you can't even explain. That experience was what this last Tuesday was for me.

In my last post I talked about being invited to share my story at Sole Sisters and taking on that challenge. On Tuesday I fulfilled on that talk beyond my own expectations. It was an experience I am incredibly proud of, something that I know that I would never have done before, something that proves just how far I have really come. Leading up to Tuesday my stomach was in knots, my head was spinning and I had written absolutely nothing. Me - the planner - NOTHING written! I was planning on just getting up there and sharing, and then the thought of having no idea what I was going to say became too overwhelming that I decided I was going to write in anyway. I wrote the whole thing the day before my speech AND in comparing the written to the spoken they are completely different. On Tuesday I stood up in front of nearly 200 people that I had never met in my life (with the exception of a couple people) and shared my personal experience, I really shared my heart and laid it all out there. I was connected with 200 people, and receiving the acknowledgment was simply incredible. Being told that I brought goosebumps to peoples arms is mind blowing to me. Me changing live? i'm not that "big" of a person, so I thought, but I really am...I REALLY can make a difference in this world and that is what I got on Tuesday. Big thank you to Bethany for coming as my support - you don't even know the difference you made in my life that night so thank you. For those that missed the video, it is of coarse recorded.

So what is next is the big question? Whatever the world holds!! Right now I am working on a project to create the next Journey to Balance event which is scheduled for May 26th (afternoon) at Esquimalt Rec - save the date! Big things to come for this girl.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yes Woman


That word has propelled me through this journey, it has put me on some amazing paths where I had to trust and learn to be with me. Now I say yes ALOT, actually I make it a point to say yes whenever possible because I know what can open up for me when I take risks. So in this space a couple weeks ago I went for my chiropractor appointment. My chiro has been trying to get me to come share my experience at a run club she is part of called Sole Sisters. In my epic wisdom this time I said "sure i'm willing to take this on"...I'm thinking I talk to 30 Biggest Winners at a time what's the difference? A couple days later I receive a call from the leader of the Sole Sisters to confirm the details of the speech. 20 minutes later, all the details worked out, I ask a question to confirm how many people she was expecting. The answer TWO HUNDRED!!! I think I must have sounded slightly scared in my response given she said "ummm is that ok?". As I was gathering my response I reminded myself of my stand, that everyone I touch is empowered to take on their life. Inside of that, my response was "YES, no problem, I can take that on"

Instantly after hanging up the phone though my gut started churning, I was thinking what have I agreed to do? Me, 200 people?? i'm not that "big" i'm not important enough to do that. That conversation hasn't gone away, and in spite of it, I am putting the conversation and the thoughts to the side and doing it anyway. In spite of a conversation going on in my head I am seeing past that to what is bigger than me, the people I can impact.

So what did I learn? Well, perhaps sometimes I should ask more questions before I agree to things....AND say yes anyway, in spite of what you think is logical, in the face of being afraid do it anyway. I've done a LOT of scary things these last twelve months, what is 200 people in the grand scheme of things?? My intention, speak from my heart, share my experiences and stand for every person who is listening to see themselves in something I say.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Standing For Transformation

Seriously I think I just blinked an an entire month went by!! Since I last posted I am proud to say that I delivered two successful workshops. My first workshop with Freedom Within Coaching was mid-February. Sarah and I co-led a workshop on what stops people from having what they want. Our new business, Freedom Within Coaching, is designed to coach people who struggle with significant weight to lose. I am a stand in this world and in my life that everyone I touch is personally empowered in some way to make positive and healthy changes in their lives. We had five people at our workshop and the feedback we received was simply amazing. I had to really put aside my stories of "not good enough" and allow myself to be present to the power that words can have, the power that I can have. What I got really present to in that workshop was how much I still doubted my ability to do it, and what I got even more was that was all a story in my own head. This was the first workshop I was involved in where people were paying me money to be there, that's kind of scary - ok let's be real it's really scary. What I realized though was I had delivered several workshops for BDHQ and didn't have this value piece attached, because I did it for free, but then I got that the people who were attending those workshops still expected a value for their time - regardless if they were paying me or not. Basically what i'm saying is that I had to give up an expectation that I was to be perfect and just be me. The result was amazing feedback and personal empowerment for me leading into the next BDHQ workshop.

The second workshop I just led was for Biggest Winners at BDHQ called "What Makes You Beautiful". I went into the workshop with a different mind set than before, I knew that I was the only one putting expectations of perfection on myself and I let that go. I was authentically and honestly me, shared what was important and empowered the participants to do the same. Thank you to the people who were there, you all made a difference in my life as you do every day. I still have the worksheet on the wall and read it every day.

So what's next? What does March hold? We'll im off to Seattle on Friday for my first weekend for the The Introduction Leaders Program with Landmark Education (update to come); a planning meeting for the upcoming Journey to Balance event happening May 26th (mark your calendars) in which I just agreed to moderate the panel *gulp; another amazing Body Love workshop put on by my friend Tara of Big Life Coaching, happening March 16th (spots still available). I'm sure there's more, that's all I can think of right now, I may need to add in some ME time in there somewhere.

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe."
- Anatole France

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Loving Yourself

In Biggest Winners, February has been named the month of Self-Love. For me I have been on a journey of self-love for the last year, creating what my life is for and reminding myself daily that I am worth the effort. That's really what self-love is about to me, putting yourself first, taking care of what matters so that you can be there for others. So often in this society we get caught up on what other people need or what other people think and that impacts how we live our lives. What if right now you chose to let that go? What if from this moment on you chose to follow your own heart and let go of what other people think of you or what your choices are? What would be possible for you? To be honest I didn't really see this before, I didn't see how letting that go could do anything for me. But in practicing this, practicing not letting other's opinions negatively impact me, I have come to a place where I can honestly say I let it go. Sure I still see the opinions and hear them, people are going to talk about you - it's inevitable, especially when you are going against the norm. But who does that really impact? Who does that reflect on? Not you, not if you are really living your life the way that matters to you and taking care of yourself.

So I challenge you, just for one day, notice when those thoughts come into your head that are stopping you from doing what you want. Is that thought stopping you because you are worried about external opinions? If so, the challenge is to do it anyway! Maybe this means sharing your opinion on something that could be outside of what the conversation is, or maybe just speaking up for yourself and what you need. Some people may confuse this with being selfish, but it's not, this is about ensuring you are being the best version of you that you can be. So if what you need today is to take a bath or read a book but your kids are screeming at you and your spouse needsyour attention what do you do? I'm not saying walk away and take a bath, talk to your kids talk to your spouse work out what's going on and say "What I need is to make time today for a bath, I'm going to do this at X time today". All you're doing is scheduling in your YOU time, nothing wrong with that. Your spouse and your kids need you in that moment, that's fine, and in that moment you also need to say what you are commiting to later in the day. Everyone gets what they want. Really whatever this looks like in your life this is the challenge, take on making yourself a priority. Whose in? What are you going to do today to love yourself?

"Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't." Margaret Thatcher

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Giving It Up

Over the last couple weeks I've been working on giving up. Yes you read that right, giving up, that is giving up on my story in my head. The story goes like this "You can't do this, who do you think you are, you aren't important enough". That story has stopped me dead in my tracks so many times I can't even list them all. That story stopped me from losing weight for many years because I honestly believed I couldn't do it. Well I crushed that story, it no longer exists for me in the world of weight loss; however, it does still exist for me in other areas of my life. Specifically in the area of leadership. This story has come up daily for me over the last few weeks, specifically because I am living a life where I have created areas for me to be a leader.

My first paid workshop with Freedom Within Coaching is coming up on February 17th and we already have several people signed up. I am committed that each person takes something away from this workshop. In that commitment my story of "I can't do this" keeps coming up and I keep repeating "I can do this, I am empowering". One thought, one action, one feeling at a time I am crushing this story. If I allow that story to take over, then I won't fulfill on my commitment that everyone takes something away.

I recognize it's all about me putting aside my story to live a life where I can fulfill on what I want to bring to this world. Setting fear aside and doing it in spite of fear, feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I also recognize that this story may not ever go away, and that's ok, but it's all about recognizing it and not allowing it to run my life. I am NOT my story.

What's the story that's been running your life? What are you committed to giving up? What will this make possible for you?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Where did January go?

Wow, for the first time in awhile i'm alone with time to think and write. This is weird, for the last month I have been incredibly immersed in living through my possibility of being an empowering leader. So much has shown up for me when I let it. I think the easiest way for me to share these accomplishments with all of you is to just tell you, bare with me the list is long :)

-spoke my mind in more than one instance where I would not have in the past
-led two amazing workshops for Biggest Winners
-started a coaching business with my good friend Sarah, Freedom Within Coaching
-attended Body Love in Vancouver
-started preparing for my first "paid" workshop on February 17th
-applied for the introductory leader program with Landmark Education and was accepted
-offered a change in workload and took it on
-started focusing on my running again
-was voted one of the top 9 success stories for Tosca Reno's The Eat Clean Diet
-said no when I meant no, instead of yes when I meant no
-completed a 1KM swim in 23 minutes, my best time yet

These are all things i'm incredibly proud of. 2012 for me was about finding out who I was, cleaning up those areas of my life that weren't working and deciding who I wanted to be for this world. 2013 is about living into that purpose and I think I've started off with a bang. I'm excited to see what February will bring for me, not sure what can top all of this.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year New Session New Focus

Today was day one of another Biggest Winners Session. I do love a fresh session, there's just something about a brand new book. First day of school you get those fresh unmarked pages, and then about 2 weeks later they look - well you know...the writing got worse every day :). It's funny how it's like a fresh start with a new book and a new session, but really we get that fresh start every single day.

We talked about the spiral that happens with healthy living, an upwards or downwards spiral depending on the circumstance. One thing leads to another leads to another, 5 minutes later you've eaten half the peanut butter jar, 5 hours later the wine comes out and the next day more sugar. Before you know it it's been three day's and you're completely derailed, or perhaps in my case an entire month. The same can work in reverse with creating an upwards spiral. What about the possibility that you have an amazing, on track, day followed by another and another. We all KNOW that we feel amazing when we workout and eat clean. We all KNOW we feel crappy when we skip our workouts and go off track with eating. So since we all KNOW this why do we keep going off track? The unanswered question, the answer will be different for everyone. For me I know the sabotage comes from an internal struggle between wanting to get to my goal weight (that magic number) and wanting to not focus on the number at all (just be normal).

My commitments for this week are as follows:
1. 100% on track with nutritional guidelines including writing down everything that enters my mouth, no excuses
2. No eating after 8PM
3. 4L of water
4. 6 workouts (Sunday - BW, Monday - BW, Tuesday - Swim, Wednesday - Burnout, Thursday - Cardio Burnout, Saturday - Run)
5. Physio exercises every day

I spent two hours and prepped all my veggies (cut & packaged) and proteins for the week. I made a quinoa salad with some lovely infused olive oil from Olive the Senses, had it for dinner - so lovely, I will defiantly have to go back and check out their other flavors.

I feel in control of my week by just spending those extra two hours and am getting it done this week. What are your intentions this week? What will you do to move closer to your goals?