Old Dogma. New Tricks.

Change either happens out of desperation or inspiration. The great thing is that during times of change, no matter why it is happening, the growth is going to make you stronger, better, more evolved then you were before.

Life can bring some shit. Shit you have no control of. But the way you react and how you behave in response to it is 100% your responsibility. You can let it bring you down, you can complain, you can bitch and moan and groan and eat cake or drink booze, or be mean to others… or you can accept it, take responsibility for it and move on. Surrender to the pain. Surrender to the things out of your control and take responsibility for your own actions.

If you want to be healthy, eat well and exercise. If you want to be financial stable, don’t spend money on useless things. If you want to be in control of your life, then take control. Don’t blame circumstances or others for your own life.

I consider myself a positive person, but when certain triggers arise I can fold upon myself into a fetal position and go to that dark place. In that dark place I forget all my goals, my dreams and I go to a place of fear, gloom and complete and utter desperation. The funny thing is my life has not changed, but something changes in my perception of things and I fold.

As I think about my blog I see a pattern. As I work through my life I see that as much as I’ve grown, my central dogma for how I live my life has lead me to the same path over and over and over again. Some of the triggers change but I know that I need to learn new tricks for the triggers that turn my life into the pit of darkness.

Shame. Fear. Failure. Conflict.

The only way to get over them is through them. Face my fears. Face my adversaries. Look them in the eye, with a smile and say. I surrender myself to you with love.

I am not my fear. I am not my shame. I am not my past. And most importantly, failure is not the opposite of success. It is a building block to success.

But I know I need to change my dogma. I’ve gone about it all wrong this whole time. Don’t get me wrong. The puzzle pieces are there and some are in place… but for the whole puzzle to come together something BIG has to change. My perception of myself and what I will bring to the world.

I am love. I want to help people. I want to be the strongest version of me to raise my boys to be strong independent and caring members of society. But something has changed. It’s all about me. I am not selfish in thinking I need to put my needs first. Before I help you I need to help myself.

I am love. I am life. I am grateful for this opportunity to make real changes. It feels like Christmas inside. The process won’t be easy but it will be worth it.

I accept everything in my life. I am here. Now. I surrender to my fears and I will succeed. On my terms. No matter what life brings.

I might bring you along on the journey. That is still undecided.

P.S. I re read my post and realized that I talked about the negatives that may come with life. However, there are also great joys and moments that come that most of us our too busy with our lives to take time to notice. Life is beautiful. Life is a miracle and you only have one to live.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
— ALBERT EINSTEIN

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One year later. 15 lbs heavier

Two weeks ago I did a photo shoot to prove a point.

I wanted to prove that the scale is not a good way to track progress.

Since starting Crossfit in March of 2013 I have gained 15 lbs. I have also gained the following:

Decreased my 5 km running time by 3 minutes.
Increased both my clean and jerk and snatch by more then 100% (when I started crossfit I couldn’t snatch 75 lbs)
Relearned and performed gymnastics exercises that I could not do since I was a teenager.
Started wearing short shorts and being comfortable with my “big” legs.
Got a muscle up.
Went to Regionals.
Started coaching.
Started a kids program.
Learned to accept my body for what it is.
Stopped weighing myself and basing my self esteem on a stupid number.
Started eating for health and performance and not for weight loss.

DESA7552 DESA7291DESA7238 DESA7459

The proof is in. I have risen above the numbers on the scale and turned it into something different. Something tangible.

Never give up. You might not be there yet but your scale is not your friend. Write down your goals and make them tangible and attainable. Then write out a plan and never give up.  There are some good days and bad days. Days you want to quit. Remember your goals and keep going.

Its worth it.

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Saying goodbye to a friend

Some people in your life bring you up. They support you. They are there when you need them. A warm hug, a good cry, and sometimes even some “get real” with you to help you when you need to hear it most. Those friends and family are important for your moral and emotional support. There are other “friends” in your life who bring you down. They make you make the wrong decisions. They are bad influences when it comes to your life and as “supportive” as they feel at the time, they are masking their bad influence on you as “support”. They really are not your friend. O.K. Fine. Sometimes they make you the life of the party and make you feel on top of the world. They help you with your confidence and self-esteem. They are always there to help you get through a rough day when no one else is around or no one cares. But really THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. These are the type of people you need to be weary of. They are hard to get rid of because they are ALWAYS AROUND. Always there when you are weak and they make you believe you need them.

I am trying to saying goodbye to them. Trying to get them out of my life. For now. Or for always. It’s hard to push away a friend that has been there for you your whole adult life and another who has been there for you since you were a child. Alone in the school yard with the comfort of this “friend”.

We all have friends like these. They come in different forms. Sugar, Alcohol, Tobacco.

Alcohol is the friend who makes you feel confident and social. Sugar is the one who is there when you are sad, tired and frustrated. Tobacco is the abusive partner who beats you up but then tells you he’s sorry and that he loves you and wants you back. And you usually take him back in your weakest moments. When you are vulnerable.

I have been friends with all three in my life.

I said goodbye to the abusive boyfriend a while back and it was the best decision I have ever made in my life. Once in a while when I am super stressed he still comes back to try and hook me back but I now know better. I am free. I have not gone back.

But the other two have been harder to let go of. It is a work in progress. Changing habits. New friends. New life. But for me it is worth it. Because the “real” friends in my life really bring me up.

So if you have a friend like that think about all they have done for you. Why you feel you “need” them. What have they done for you? Are they worth it?

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Grateful for the inspiration

This weekend I coached at my CrossFit box (yes BOX not gym.. go ahead rip me apart). I decided to make it a “festive” workout and we did a Thankgiving themed “Turkey Murph”. This workout consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 pushups and 300 air squats, and then ends with a 1 mile run. This type of workout is called a Hero WOD, in memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan. It isn’t for the faint at heart and is usually done with a 20 lb weighted vest.

I made it “easy” for the members and told them they could do the workout in partners or teams of 2 or 4. I put a spin on it and members had to guess how long it would take them to do it and try to get as close as their estimated time. So the “winners” where not the fastest, they were the ones who could guess their times best.

Stay with me I have a point.

During the 10:30 class there was a flurry of activity as people were trying to find partners, good team names. “Team Asian Sandwich” was my personal favorite as was “Just Carl” which I made up myself when a member decided to do the workout on his own. ANYWAYS, during the flurry I asked one of the members what her team name was and she was contemplating doing it on her own as she didn’t want to slow anyone down. Just then another member turned around and said (and I wish I remembered her exact words) but it was something like “Come on our team, I’m going through chemo, we aren’t going to win it here” (she said it better but that’s how I remember it). And just like that they made a team. And yes your team gets an honourable mention for having the best “turkey gobble”.

Why did I feel the need to tell this story? frankl

Because it reminds me that no matter what your situation is, you have to keep living. This is the time you have. Surround yourself with the people you love, do the things you love, and enjoy every minute of it. No one knows how much time we have on this planet. Every day is precious.

Thank you to my friend who reminds me every day to live my life to the fullest. I would mention you by name but I don’t want you to sue me.

Pay it forward. Live life to the fullest. Don’t let little things get you down. Be grateful for what you have and stop worrying about what you don’t have.

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

– Viktor E. Frankl

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happiness is Progress

Or is it the other way around? Progress is happiness? I heard this on a podcast the other day and it made me think. I used to think that my goal in life was to be happy. If I was happy I could enjoy my life. But is happiness really a goal? I’ve been struggling with the state of the world we are living in. Celebrity culture and the instalife. The bombardment of advertising telling people they are not healthy enough, happy enough, and that their lives would be so much better if they were. In the end, how do you want to be remembered?

“Wow she had GREAT abs!”

As I look back at my life and as I close in to my 40s I have come to realize what makes me happy. I feel the path of my life going in a direction for me. My path may not be the one that you would choose but it is the right one for me. I may make some mistakes, lots of them but I will learn from them and that will be part of my journey.

I will not push my path on others. What makes me happy might not make you happy. There is a lot of talk about longevity. For some, that is a goal. For me it is meaningless. I lost my mom when she was 56. She did nothing to shorten her life. She was active and healthy and strong. She just got dealt the wrong cards in the end.

I want to live my life and learn from yesterday. Progress is happiness. I will not stop myself from doing something I want to do because it might take years off my life. What is life if it isn’t lived? I’ll take the chance.

It’s about the way you interact with the world. Like cells in the human body. They are connected and work together to make the human body function properly. You get a cut, the platelets come on over to help out. The white blood cells fight off bacteria. Every cell in the human body is important. And it only take ONE cell to make everything go wrong.

I honestly don’t know where I am going with this. I guess what I am trying to say is this: Be at peace with who you are, what you look like and your past. You can always improve but just enjoy being you. Flawed and all. Who says you need to be more? And remember that you are part of something much bigger. Like the cells in the human body we all have purpose and meaning on this earth. One bad cell can make it all go horribly wrong.

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Open your heart and open your mind. That last line is the one that gets me every time.

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Can people really change?

When I was a kid I had the same thing written in my report card under the comments, “Mia gets easily distracted”. I’m pretty sure every year this was the only comment that I got… other then my grade 4 year with Mrs. Robyn. Remember her? The flaming red lips, dark hair and dark evil looks? I just got shivers. Off topic.

When I was a kid I was also the one to get my allowance and spend it. Immediately. No saving. No waiting. Right away. Not only that I would spend it on junk food. I still remember the bike rides to the Provisoir. Ringolos, gummy worms, Crunchie bar and juice in a bag. The worse part about this was that I would bike to the school yard afterwards and eat in all in secret. Partially cause I knew my mom wouldn’t approve of me spending my money immediately and also because it was all junk food.

I would sit on the swings and guiltily (I don’t know if thats a word but I’m trying to prove a point) eat ALL the food that I spent ALL my money on. Then go home and blatently LIE about it. Sometimes I would bring my little sister as an accomplice but most time this was something I did on my own that I felt really guilty about. I also used to steal my dad’s stash of sweets and FLINESTONE VITAMINS by the handful.

I was a competitive gymnast and a super active kid. Never had a weight problem… just a bingeing problem. And maybe a sugar addiction. But as I’ve lived through my life I realize that it is more then that. It is a problem with impulse control.

Just call me good times Charlie.

Impulse control problems in combination with a desperate need to people please makes for a super fun/toxic combo. As I have grown older and my priorities have changed I have desperately tried to change this. Eating well, training hard and being an example to my kids. But when the going gets tough, I regress back to my default mode.

Luckily I have a good head on my shoulders, and people in my life who have taught me how to make the right choices. It is SUPER important to me to eat well, to not go overboard with drinking and to lead a healthy lifestyle. And to live within a budget and even save money for the future. But it is never easy. I work HARD to live this life.

Working on your weaknesses

I always tell my students at the gym that they need to work on their weaknesses as well as their strengths. We LOVE to do what we love, but have a hard time working on our weaknesses. But what we have to remember is that sometimes our weaknesses are masking our power. If you ignore your weaknesses you will never uncover your true potential.

Some things that come naturally to me, will not to you and vice versa (all you runners out there).

But you need to know what your goals are and keep on trying. Working on yourself, your strengths as well as your weaknesses. This applies to all aspects of life.

So to answer my own question, can people change?

For sure.

But some things need more work then others. And if you truly believe that you can and truly believe that it is worth it then you will. Well, you can never transform into a unicorn, nor can you turn your weaknesses into your strengths. I believe that with consistant work and a belief in yourself you can minimize your weaknesses. As you push through you will become stronger and they will slowly be less and less of an issue.

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them” – Albert Einstein

I know what I want for myself. I do not want to be the kid feeling guilty sitting alone on the swings eating candy. I don’t want to be distracted. I have come a long way from those days in the school yard but I know that there is consistant work to be done to improve. The first step is accepting yourself for who you are and not make excuses for your behavior. If you identify a weakness that needs help then never give up on making those changes in your life. Eventually it will get easier (or at least believe it will).

We are only limited by our own beliefs. Some things we can’t control but for the things we can the sky is the limit. Live your best life…

Don’t try to be perfect. Do your best and be perfectly imperfect. be better

 

 

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Believe

I trust myself and my future.

This is my sankalpa. This is what i say to myself when things get tough. When I lose my way, when I start to doubt.  I have struggled my whole life with self-doubt. I have always needed someone to validate my every move. As I “grow up” I have realized that my insticts were right all along. That I should have believed and listened to my gut.

For a while now I have been working on making big changes. I have found inner peace and know how to shut my inner bully up. The problem is that old habits are hard to break. Making real change takes a lot of time and effort… and mindless distractions are everywhere these days. You would know if you were my friend on facebook… Oy!

I know how I want to live my life. I have written out both personal and family mission statements to guide me and to keep me on track. But there is still a gap between who I am and who I want to be. Old habits die hard. Life gets busy. Stress happens. Family vacations… and I revert back to my old ways.

Funny thing is that when I am sublimely happy, which I have been most days… I also revert back to my old ways. Let the good times roll!!!!

I trust myself and my future.

Whether happy or sad, busy or bored, I need to keep telling myself that and working towards my goals. It will take discipline and effort on my part but I know that it will be worth it in the end. Didn’t someone once say “Discipline brings you closer to the things you love”?

I know that my bad habits make me sick. My training suffers. I need to clean up my act and remember how good I feel when I live a clean life. And live as an example for my children who are watching my every move.

I have a lot of work to do. Things to do, goals to accomplish. Life has just begun.

Bring it on.

 

 

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Finding Peace

 

find-peace

As I wrote that title I got a little teary. I never thought I would say those words.

I have found peace.

The goal of this blog was to find balance with food and exercise in my life. In the last few years I have found much more, the most important being inner peace. The reason it makes me teary to write those words is because I never thought I could find that. Have I found balance? Hell no… But finding peace was what I was looking for. Sometimes you find something you didn’t know you were looking for. In my quest to becoming a butterfly I realized that I was a butterfly all along… just didn’t have the wings to see it.

What does finding peace mean to me?

I no longer beat myself up for what I eat. I eat what I want. I don’t count calories. I make the right choices most of the time because I want to feel good in my skin. There are no “illegal” foods. There are no rules. I know the trigger foods that make me feel yucky in the tummy. Sometimes I indulge and eat them. I don’t feel bad, or guilty. I enjoy every minute of it. Sometimes I eat for the wrong reasons. Last night I inhaled some dried mango because my kid was screaming and I was tired. I’m working on that. Sometimes I have regret but I don’t beat myself up about it. My body usually will do that for me.

I am at peace with my body. I love myself how I am and I am proud of my accomplishments. I don’t weigh myself. I know some of you who are struggling with weight are saying “Easy to say when you look the way you do”. What people need to understand is that body image issues and food issues don’t disappear once you get “skinny”. They stay with you haunting you… Nothing is ever good enough… Until you find peace.

I am a work in progress.

We all are. But we all have one life to live and I am tired of living a life where I am constantly beating myself up. I ditched my inner bully. And even though she knocks at my door once in a while, I am learning that she does nothing good for me.

Balance doesn’t mean perfection

We are all imperfectly perfect. Embrace who you are and all your “imperfections”. Be happy with who you are. Make mistakes. All my mistakes have brought me to a place that I never believed I could achieve. Don’t be a bully. We have the media and advertising to do that for us. Find peace. Love yourself no matter what you put in your mouth. There are SO many bigger things to worry about then what you eat and the size of your clothes.

Trust yourself and your future and enjoy life in the moment. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

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Connection, Community and Self Esteem

I just got back from an amazing weekend at tconnectionhe Canada East Crossfit Regionals. All my fears and my doubts were squashed and my only regret was all the time I worried about my performance. Oh well… onward and upward.

Lesson Learned.

I learned a lot this weekend and I realized that there were three distinct things that make my life complete. Through the years I may have been missing one or another… but as I get older I realize that when I have all three I am sublimely happy. I am going to attempt to explain them all one post…

I believe that connection to people and community and a strong sense of self are really important to my happiness. Let me explain.

Connection

We as humans are born to connect. From birth until death we are made to connect with others. Some of my darkest moments and times in life were times when I felt alone. After I had my first kid and no one else had kids… I didn’t know what to do, my family was far away and I was living in Farhaven i.e. suburban hell when all my friends were still downtown. Once I started attending mom/baby groups, going to the park and meeting other people like me the fog began to lift and I was not alone.

We come from a hunter and gathering society where the men went out together to hunt while the women of the community helped to gather food and watch the young. Fast forward to our culture now. Families are far from each other, and we are trying to raise our children on our own, without the help of family, and while working full time.  It’s not easy when you are on the go all the time and you have no one to share your experiences with or rant about your stresses etc.

Even people without kids. Connection is so important. People are moving towards social media and we are having less and less human contact. Eye contact. Real laughter and real tears with real people. Hugs are underrated. In my opinion there is no better feeling then a real human connection, a good conversation where you feel like you can stay up all night to talk. Laughter. This is what life is all about.

Community

I do not belong to a set religion. I do not want to start on my opinions of religion but I feel that having a community that you can relate to is a key to a good life.

Like people with the same sets of beliefs as you that you connect with on a deep level. For some its a church, for some it is other groups. For me it is my crossfit family, my gym.

The gym has been my church for many years and finding a community in a gym was a key to my happiness. Our goals of being healthy and active are mirrored in what we do. Some may argue that it is cult-like and extreme but I am ok with that. Finding a community with the same values as me makes it easier to live within those guidelines. Before when I was “on my own” I would lose my love for the gym and go for long periods eating like crap and not exercising. I know now that it won’t happen again. Because I am surrounded by positive people who remind me of my goals and won’t let me “fall off the wagon”.

Self Esteem

I have spend countless days trying to get “there”. Skinny, strong, six pack or whatever… It was never enough. I was striving for perfection. Then something switched. I started to accept myself for who I was at the present moment. Love myself for who I was no matter what size or shape I was. I found peace in my body and how imperfectly perfect it was. I focused on what I could do with my body rather then how it looked. I realized that I would rather have a beer and cake once in a while rather then have a six pack. Funny thing is that once I found peace with myself I stopped beating myself up about food or the size of my jeans. Every time I look in the mirror I see love, not hate. I still have my moments and that is ok. I am a work in progress. As long as I live by my values, and even if I slip, I know that in the long run I am better off loving by body then hating it.

O.K. so this became a bit of a rant.

But my point is that if you love yourself for who you are RIGHT NOW, and surround yourself with people with like values that you connect with, it is amazing how great that feels. A sense of pride, of belonging and deep love… not only for others but also for yourself.

You are not alone. Love is within you and all around.

Love and inner peace to you all.

M

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Just Show Up – The Road to Regionals

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.”

– Brene Brown-

I have always strived for perfection. To be the best. I have never been good at doing things that I am not good at. As I grow and learn I have realized that this has stopped me from doing a lot of things in my life. I have been afraid to walk in the arena because I didn’t want to lose.

Somewhere along the way something changed. I realized that life was too short to let opportunities pass because I was scared to fail, to look bad, to be imperfect. The shame that I had associated with losing or failing could not stop me from trying. From starting to teach fitness classes, to writing this blog, to opening my heart or asking for what I want. I made myself vunerable. I knew that I might not be perfect. And that scared the shit out of me… but I did it anyways.

Funny enough the more I tried…the more I tried. Sometimes I failed but in most cases it opened up a whole world I had wanted for so long but was afraid to touch. When I did fail I learned so much about myself, it did not stop me from trying again. In fact, it made me stronger.

Courage and vunerability go hand in hand.

Time to enter the Arena.

This weekend I am entering an arena. A real one. I am not the best, not even close. Since I wasn’t the first one chosen I never felt “deserving” of my spot. It’s funny because a while back, when I realized I probably wouldn’t make the team I started telling people I didn’t want it. I wasn’t ready. A protective mechanism. 

You can’t fail if you don’t try… you also cannot succeed.

But here I am. One of the chosen ones going to represent my team, my club, my second home, my second family. I have never been more proud and more excited. It doesn’t matter that I am not the best. What matters is that I suck it up, try my best and leave it all out on the arena floor.

My biggest fear is that people will judge me or that I will choke. But that fear is going to put a fire under my ass instead of make me run away. Not this time. I will take the challenge.

I am not ready. I will never be ready. I am not bulletproof nor am I perfect. But I am up for the challenge.

Just walking in the arena is my victory.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Theodore Roosevelt.

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