3 things we do that prevent us from finding our joy and 3 ways you can change it today.

29 Aug

You're ALLOWED. To Make Mistakes.To change your mind. To Start Over. To identify your joy and do it everyday.

If you are not happy, chances are, you know it.

It’s that low grade ‘my-life-sucks’ syndrome.

It could be a clear internal message, like – “I’m not living my truth” or “this isn’t what I wanted” – or an underlying dissatisfied vibe that prickles your skin.

We ‘make due’ with the way things are.
And suffer silently.
Choose martyrdom.
Or be the victim.
We accept less than we deserve.
Or accept what we believe we deserve.

We fight against the truth of what we have accepted and created in our life.
And we wake up one morning knowing bone-deep we can’t do it a minute longer.
Or we stumble along, sick from a life of wretchedness – wretched bitterness, wretched boredom, wretched misery.

We make our whole life about our partner’s dreams
and our kid’s schedules.

We stuff our anger and bury our sadness and put off our happiness because
it’s the right thing to do
and because no one wants to hear about it
and being mad isn’t appropriate
and because we made our bed, so we must lie in it.

Here are 3 common things that we do that prevent us from finding Joy in our life, followed by 3 ways you can change – starting today.

1. Make Excuses

This sounds like …
          I don’t have time.
          There’s no extra money for me.
          I have to work.
          It’ll be my turn when the kids are bigger.

Why do we make excuses? 

Excuses are the reasons we give.
Fear. (Change is scary.)
Lack of clarity. (What do I want?) 
Lack of energy. (I’m already tapped out.)
Overwhelm. (Where do I begin?)
           Procrastination. (I should start … okay… tomorrow.)
          Blame. (It’s easier to blame someone else than to accept responsiblity.)

2. Choose Gratification over Joy

Doing soul-crushing things that masquerade as Joy…
          Drinking every night or every weekend – with friends. Or alone.
          Shopping for pretty new stuff. Creating debt. Acquiring mass things.
          Sex that compromises self-worth, safety and personal values.
          Endless hours of games, Pinteresting or  Facebook. 

Instant gratification habits, vices and dangerous behaviours that sabotage our dreams and plans often provide a temporary high. It can feel good to buy something new, drink a few bottles of wine with friends and have a laugh or feel sexy, desireable and wanted by someone.

We justify the ‘things’ that make us happy.
We deserve something pretty.
We’ve earned a night out.
We’re young and beautiful and in control … and lonely.
Work hard, play hard.

But, when those behaviours set you up for undesirable consquences (short term or long term) – debt, hangover, health concerns or time wasted – joy is going to be hard to find.

3. Live Someone Else’s Dream

Spending your days supporting someone else to live a life they love (or worse, a life they don’t love…) while ignoring your own dreams. 

Mother always said I should …
My partner doesn’t want me to…

          Self-sacrifice means I’m a good wife/mother/employee…
My kids expect me to be…

autonomu.jpg

One of the most outdated, useless, old-fashioned beliefs about being a ‘good woman’ (or wife or man or husband or mom or dad) is: being a GOOD anything requires selflessness, sacrifice and a refusal of autonomy.

You will be the best mother, daughter, spouse, employee you can be when you are
content,
satisfied,
fulfilled,
honest about what you want,
make time to look after your own needs and desires.

Did it ever occur to you that you can do both (support others’ dreams and live your life your way) and do both well? 

Whomever taught us that to have one, we must forfeit the other?

What if by taking care of you first, you became more energized, happy and passionate ? 

How would a happy, passionate and energized you feel offering support to those you love?

Can you find your joy?

Here’s something really cool.

My joy is not separate from my family. I love my family. I adore my husband. And think my kids are smart and cute and full of potential.

My joy is in the gym a few days a week sweating out my shit.
My joy is going out for lunch with smart girl friends.
My joy is on the trails with my dogs.
My joy is bubblebaths and good books.
And is under the covers snuggling with my man and #RickGrimes.

My joy is doing more of what makes my heart feel good and less of what drains me. For example: volunteer hours – I needed to take a break from giving time away. It was somebody else’s turn to help out for a while. And I gave up television – news, sitcoms and drama suck the life out of me.

My joy is saying NO to all the things that aren’t in alignment with my heart. This goes for people, events, causes, and jobs.

My joy comes when I ask for help from the rest of the people who live in my house.
I’m not a slave or a servant or a sucker.

3 Ways You Can Change Starting Today

1. Get Clear. You can’t fix it if you can’t figure out what’s broken. Get a note book and start writing. Labelling the biggest 2 problems you have will go a long way to coming up with a plan for change.

I’m resentful.
I’m bored.
I’m depressed.
I’m out of shape and feel terrible.

Give it a name. 

2. Decide.

That you won’t sacrifice your own health any longer.
That it’s not okay anymore. 
That you will find a new job to move on to. 
That you are ready to do it all differently.
That your kids need to step up and help out more at home.

Making a decision is a clear cut signal to the Universe that you are ready for the next step. Deciding slams the door on what was and opens a new door to solutions and possibilities and opportuntities.

Be willing to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.

3. Choose You.

We’ve been programmed to believe filling our own cup is selfish. Taking exceptional care of ourself is judged as shallow or narcicistic or arrogant. No wonder we sacrifice ourselves for others – no one wants to be seen as selfish and self-centred.

Choosing you doesn’t mean you ignore everyone else. 

It’s strapping your oxygen mask on first.
It’s filling your own cup, so you can continue to overflow to others.
It’s taking care of your body, so that you are well enough to care for others.
It’s leading by example – for your children, your friends, your mother, your partner.

What if choosing you meant living as an example?
What if choosing you meant teaching your children how to live with autonomy?

If you are not happy chances are you know it.

It’s that low grade ‘my-life-sucks’ syndrome.

What if choosing you meant you could be a more joyful, fulfilled version of yourself which meant you were in a better position to truly and effectively serve others?

5 Things that Exercise will do for You that have Nothing to do with Abs or Ass

23 Aug

BRIGHTEN YOUR OUTLOOK 

Reduce or lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression: 

You’ve heard me preach about this before – the way I manage my own anxiety, energy levels and feelings of well-being is by doing heart-pounding cardio, lifting heavy things and cutting out as much crap food as I can.

The studies are in. Physicians are prescribing exercise like they’re prescribing Ativan. Well, the good ones are, anyways. Physical exercise commands your body to respond with a flood of all kinds of feel-good hormones and chemicals which can help to change the way you see the world.

Before you hate me forever: No two ways about it, it is practially impossible to find the energy to exercise when you’re so depressed you can’t get out of bed. Those cases DO exist and medical intervention and pharmaceutical support is often what provides the most support. Every case is individual. Work with a physician.

My personal experience with dramatic, persistant, lifelong anxiety is that exercise is a TOTAL SAVIOUR.

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/09/20/exercise-health-benefits.aspx
https://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

http://grow.ie/blog/6-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise/

BETTER ZZZzzzzz’s

Improve sleep quality: 

Remember when you were a little kid and Gramma would make you go outside and play instead of watching TV? It’s because she knew that the combination of fresh air and exercise was going to make sure you were ready for bed and she could enjoy a quiet evening.

Again, it’s all about energy expenditure. Fatiguing your muscles, depleting your reserves, fresh air and sunshine – all of those factors combined mean that your body has earned it’s time for deep, restorative sleep. Lying around on the couch all day – while draining emotionally and physically, does not a good sleep make.

Special note: sometimes too much exercise – especially in the few hours before bedtime can make you too jazzed to calm down.

Preach (again)!

Make a zen bedtime routine: healthy carbs with supper (not too many) helps to facilitate sleep quality, cut back on screen time (1 hour before lights out) and sleep in a PITCH BLACK ROOM.

For me: my whole life is doable with 7-8 quality sleep hours each night. Be willing to work at it.

https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/how-does-exercise-help-those-chronic-insomnia
http://www.sleeplikethedead.com/exercise-sleep.html

PUMP AND FLOW

Fortify your cardiorespiratory system:

Making your heart work hard – and calling on your lungs to supply oxygen to your body is arguably the most important benefit of exercise. Your heart and lungs are among the crucial life sustaining and life enhancing physiological systems that run your body.

The harder your heart works during exercise – the less hard it has to work at rest; the harder it pounds during a workout – the easier job it has moving blood through your body when you sit at work for eight hours or have to fly 10 hours overnight.

Circulation to limbs and digits, better cognitive functioning, healthier vision, oxygen to muscles – even better erections (see Bend, Flex, Bang and Burn) … it’s ALL about BLOOD FLOW. 

http://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(13)00225-5/abstract
http://www.medicaldaily.com/goodbye-erectile-dysfunction-exercise-helps-restore-sexual-function-health-326826

KEEP THE DOCTOR AWAY

Boost your immune system:

Just too damn complicated to simplify into a paragraph that will convince you of anything. Read the Harvard study.

Some argue time in the gym means increased exposure to germs.

Some say “if you’re destined for cancer, there’s nothing you can do about it” OR “I come from a line of big women, there’s nothing I can do about it.” (see gene expression)

We will always find an excuse for that which doesn’t suit us. But, you can’t argue with physiology and science.

Exercise – simply put – means better overall health and less trips to the doctor.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
http://paleoleap.com/exercise-immunity/
http://www.americanscientist.org/libraries/documents/2005217135249_306.pdf

BEND, FLEX, BANG and BURN

A smorgasbord of rewards for time spent ‘moving with effort’:

Limber joints.
Stronger muscles.

IMG_6542

52. FIFTY-TWO YEARS OLD. Doesn’t he look amazing? And what’s more – PAIN. FREE. #workoutmore

Less back pain. (In 5 months, my husband, at age 52, has quit going to the chiropractor and is off daily pain relief to manage chronic muscle and joint soreness.)
Better energy levels.
Fired up metabolism (a muscle building body burns more than a body at rest).
Hotter sex life.
Renewed confidence.
Happier hormones.
Energetic exchange.
Less visceral body fat (the kind that packs in around your internal organs).
Role model for others.
Extended social circle. (Birds of a feather, flock together.)

There are too many tangible, valid benefits to regular effort in exercise. To argue against exercise or to come up with reasons that you cannot, is to simply admit it just isn’t important to you.

https://selfchec.org/prevention/exercise/
http://gethealthyu.com/brain-benefits-exercise/

 

It’s not rocket science.
There is no miracle with it.
It’s energy expenditure and motion and physiology.
Fact and science.

But, none of it works if we don’t actually DO something.

What is it in us that chooses the default of illness (it’s a statistic) and immobility over movement and wellness?

Do we really need our lives to be as easy and as comfortable as possible?

Is it really harder to move a little bit (break a sweat) than it is to carry an extra 60 pounds around our internal organs or have our bodies deteriorate in their softness?

What if movement and incorporating an 80/20 whole food rule was the way we transformed our body, our future and our over-burdened health care systems?

As you can see, I do believe exercise is almost the cure for everything.

** But I still love you, even if you think it’s too hard and don’t want to. **

When your desires and your values aren’t in sync the Law of Attraction can’t work.

19 Aug

The Law of Attraction is often perceived as this magical, mystical ‘if-I-just-want-it-bad-enough-and-think-about-it-all-the-time-it-will-just-show-up-for-me’ concept. We believe it about love and health and money and stuff and opportunities.

It is believed that the Law of Attraction works in this way:

I am clear about what I want.
We believe we can obtain what we want.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
We remove barriers to receiving what we want
(limiting beliefs, etc.) and allow. 

perceptionFor me, the Law of Attraction is as simple as WHAT YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS. 

Positive or negative;
Gratitude or fear;
Worry or peace;
Happiness or anger.
Where you place your energy and attention is what you will experience as your reality.

But the Law of Attraction can’t work when there is massive disconnect between what we say we want and what our personal value system dictates. 

For example: “I’d like to earn more money at work.”

I can think about it and wish for it and hope for it and meditate on how much better I might feel earning more money at work, but my personal value system will prevent that from happening for me because what I say I want and what I truly value are two completely different things.

In order to earn more money, I’d need to increase the level of responsibility I have in the office, which would likely see an increase in time that I must spend at work.

But, that ‘want‘ runs against my personal value system.

I value time and freedom more than I value money. I say I want more money but what I really desire is flexibility – to walk my dog, be outside, get to the gym and be there for my kids.

choiseHere’s another example: “I want to have more date nights and specifically, attend local concerts and events with my husband.”

I say that I want to get out and enjoy music with him (maybe a steak and glass of wine) but the reality is that I value a good night’s sleep and an early bedtime more – at this point in my life – than I value a night out. What I really desire is to have him spoon me under the weight of warm blankets while watching The Walking Dead before drifting into black, deep, restorative sleep.

I profess to want cultural entertainment and fun and date night – but my values lead me to sabotage date night in exchange for snuggles and snores.

These might seem like silly, trivial examples – afterall the Law of Attraction is always sold to us as finding our One True Love or manifesting a Million Dollars.

The truth is – the Law of Attraction is at work in all ways in all capacities in all lives all the time. 

The way it works best is when clarity exposes desire and when those desire match your personal code of ethics.

You can’t earn a million dollars –
no matter how bad you want it
if your core values proclaim that
people with money are arrogant
or ‘you can’t have it all.’
‘Money or happiness, not both.

Personal awareness, that is knowing yourself inside and out is the best way to align your desires and your values.

What you SAY you want, and what you VALUE most deeply MUST be in soul alignment…or what you SAY you want – even IF it shows up – will NEVER make you happy.

lawofattraction

#lawofattraction
#beliefsandvalues
#clarity #desire #happiness

When the going gets tough I remember I CHOSE THIS path. #owningit

18 Aug

Exhausted summed up my WHOLE LIFE until this morning.

I got about 7.5-8 hours of sleep AND caught my first workout in a full week… NOW I feel like I can keep going.

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AMAZING FOOD and drink.

Summer “holidays” and rest time – for me – are a total farce. PLUS, I just came home from a whirlwind long weekend with girlfriends – late nights, too much food, too much wine, just enough sun – all the love. I don’t know about you – but holidays ARE NOT restful. Travel is exhausting. Three hour time change. Poor sleeps in strange beds. You know…

I’m trying to work 35 hours a week learning in my new position (human services and foster care/training and staff development) I just signed off on incorporation and bought in as partner of a rising star business and I’ve got about 3 weeks left on my fitness certification to become coach and trainer at the gym I am passionate about.

IMG_5971 (1)

Our new rescue, Sheba. She is happy. So are we.

I’ve also got TWO large dogs, two teenage daughters that keep me on my toes, a husband and marriage that I make a priority to nourish and sustain and my own health and fitness routine, which has TOTALLY taken a back seat in my busy-ness.

When the going gets tough – when I’m emotionally and physically exhausted – when I wonder what in the actual eff I am doing with my life – when I can’t keep up with laundry, housework and shaving my legs – I am called to remember:

I CHOOSE IT ALL.

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20 year friendship celebrations.

I choose growth.
I choose meaning.
I choose activity.
I choose people.
I choose to work.
I choose focus.
I choose purpose.
I choose empowerment.
I choose mobility.
I choose who I spend time with.
I choose how I respond.
I choose this schedule.
I choose movement.
I choose what I do each day.
I choose my words.
I choose again when it isn’t working for me.

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Hard work, pays off. But only when you do it.

NO ONE carved this pace out for me. I did.
NO ONE said ‘Do a hundred things at rocket speed’.
NO ONE said ‘Take on 3 big jobs at once and try to do them all well’.
NO ONE said ‘Stay up late, eat that crappy food, drink too much wine and screw your workouts’.
No one but me. I own it.

Often, when life feels busy and burdonsome and heavy and we get worn down and wore out – it becomes easy to forget that WE HOLD THE POWER.

I CHOOSE every step I’m making. 

My role now is to buckle down and commit to seeing those choices through or to CHOOSE AGAIN to modify my actions to reflect the way I want to spend my time.

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Sun. Sand. Summer.

My job now is to stay in touch with how my body feels, with how I’m coping mentally and emotionally – my job is to eat to fuel and sleep to restore. My job is to ensure that I am in the best possible state and frame of mind to accomplish what I’ve CHOSEN to do with this one great and wild life.

It’s EASY when we’re burning out to blame others for our state – or to feel like life has imposed this unreasonable pace on us – or that someone has a proverbial gun to our head and has us in this painful holding position.

BUT WE ALWAYS HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE AGAIN. 

There are no excuses, Kim. When your life isn’t working for you, chart a new coursechoose new. When you’ve chosen the direction – and you’re satisfied with your choice – your work is to stay rested, fuelled, loved and clear. Stay the course. You’re doing great.

Thanks for listening.

#clarity
#accountability
#choosenew

 

A Mid-Summer Dream: Let Your Body Do Nothing – and then Get Back to It

29 Jul

 

I’d like to say we’re having a lazy, slow summer, but we are, and we’re not.

I’m currently 3 weeks into my internship at the gym (Coaching, LOVE it.), the study that accompanies that internship (fitness certification), squeezing in holidays, celebrations, camp and kids – plus my ‘real’ job.

I’m busy – but I am CHOOSING it all, so I’m perfectly happy. 

 

While in northern Saskatchewan, a stray dog ended up on our cabin doorstep, and promptly determined she would not be leaving us. Her lovely temperament, dutiful obedience and desire to please us made her easy to love. So, we welcomed a second rescue into our home. Don’t judge me by the dog hair. OY.

I knew this about my body, but had it affirmed post-holidays. Remember the challenge – and my “lack” of weight loss. Well, I came home from a week of NO workouts, fast food meals, ice cream, Texas cooking, homemade pizza, garbage junk food and more alcohol ingested than I would drink in a year – and finally saw my weight sink.

What’s that about? Remember at the end of my 8 week challenge? I’d lost a number of inches, but really no weight (1.7 pounds). A good example of a body rebuilding itself at a cellular level – re-structuring. And yet, to come home after a week of indulgence – no, OVER-indulgence – and see a 3-4 pound weight loss in a WEEK, is a bit mind boggling.

Intense exercise (that is hard core training 4-6x a week) can be interpreted as a form of stress in your  body. Here we go – Paleo talk. In a body’s perfect ancient wisdom, during times of stress, it would hang onto as much body fat as possible (anticipating famine likely or hard times ahead) – it’s survival mode.

What happens on holidays? You relax. Move less. Zen more. Overfeed. In this relaxed state, your amygdala (that ancient lizard brain) interprets safety and abundance. In this state, your body does it’s best work – burning, healing, resting and restoring.

We weren’t designed for GO GO GO all the time. We weren’t designed to be responding to traffic and dinging alarms and wifi signals and blue light at night.

Our bodies in their perfect ancient wisdom long for silence and stillness and black nights for deep sleep and YES – even recovery.

Here’s where most people get it wrong. Your body was also designed to move. Walk long distances. Haul rocks and logs if needed. Fish and hunt and lug and lift. We were never designed to SIT for HOURS upon HOURS at a desk.

Nor were we designed for INTENSE exercise regimens day after day. 5-6 days a week of HIIT will eventually prove too much for most bodies. Primal Blueprint author and founder Mark Sisson insists that 2-3x a week of primal movement (HEAVY lifts, sprinting and lots of walking during a week) is all a body needs to retain maximum fitness capacity.

I was back in the gym this week 3 times. I focused strictly on strength and good form with one metabolic workout. My main focus has been on cleaning up and normalizing my diet. Lots of protein, LOTS of veggies. LOTS of blueberries. (OH, I LOVE BERRY SEASON.)

My first Kettlebell Coach, Tim Day talked about the importance of SCHEDULING rest for his body – a week or two weeks of DOING NOTHING – and how it was so important. He was the first one to teach me that my body would require that time for deep rest.

Every time I’ve taken a week or ten days of deep rest, my body has rebounded in a way that surprised me.

Every great gain I’ve made in strength or capacity or endurance; every time my body has let go of a bit more fat or gained a bit more muscle – has been after I’ve blessed it with joyful rest and good food.

This isn’t a pass to let all my hard work and commitments go to shit.

Holidays are over and I’m back to training. I feel strong and lean and joyful and grateful for so much learning, love, abundance and yes, even dog hair.

xoK

 

Have You Forgotten What it Feels Like to Be Healthy and Powerful?

14 Jul

IMG_5753In the last 5 days, I’ve had less than 3 hours of “FREE” time. 

I have however, driven almost 1,700km, coached 7 gym sessions, worked 7 hours a day, commuted 1 hour a day, worked out for 3 hours, walked the dog several times, done numerous loads of laundry, made authentic Italian dinner including roasted peaches with vanilla bourbon gelato for Hillary’s birthday, had 1 volunteer luncheon, 1 girlfriend lunchdate and 1 after work business meeting – – – and tried to keep up with a respectable sleep schedule ((6.5-7.5 hours a night)). 

IMG_5754

Whirlwind trip to Saskatchewan. Home.🙂

Free time is unscheduled time. I use it to bathe, cook dinner and eat; do laundry or read one of the 3 books I have on the go for my certification. Free time is not commute time, or walk the dog time – that is all scheduled time. My free time last night ((between 6:30pm – 8:30pm)) was spent eating chicken, feeding the dog, having a bath and shaving my legs and reading “Enter the Kettlebell” by Pavel Tsatsouline.

There is NO ROOM for wasted time right now. I just took another position within my organization ((more to learn!)) and I’m just 2 weeks into my 8 week gym internship ((which I am LOVING)). I am home alone this week ((kid at camp, kid with dad at lake)) and while all my mother friends are positively GREEN with independence envy, I have ZERO down time to drink wine, read books and eat bonbons ((which sounds super fun)). Plus, I leave on ‘holidays’ for 1 week Saturday morning… ((to which I say, for a mother, there is no such thing!)).

IMG_5752It is not lost on me that my good health and energy allows me to maintain the lifestyle I currently choose to live.

I can only do all that I do because I am as strong, fit, energetic and healthy as I am. And I am SO DEEPLY GRATEFUL for these blessings.

I do know many people who choose to live relaxed, sedentary lives, who couldn’t care any less about food or movement or their health – – – and I know a small group that wish they could move and exercise and celebrate their bodies, yet are limited in their capacity to do so ((either from physical injury or limitations)). And I know some who long for something they once had – youthful vigor – energy, flexibility, movement, joy, deep, restful sleep and limber bodies.

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I think people have gotten so used to feeling so-so, bloated, exhausted, out-of-breath, shitty, depressed, hopeless and sick and tired that they just don’t believe it is possible to feel better.

Your OPTIMAL health is possible. If you don’t know where to begin – start here.

GOOGLE 100 DAYS OF REAL FOOD.
Google Dr. Loren Cordain.
Google NATURAL MOVEMENT.
Google Dr. Mark Hyman, MD.

Begin to click on the links that those websites recommend.
People will click incessantly on tabloid articles and weird sex stories and freaks of natures… click incessantly on people who are experts in helping you reclaim your health and your life.

NEVER GIVE UP. 
RADIANT HEALTH is YOUR BIRTHRIGHT.

Remember: it is a marathon, not a sprint. There are NO 8 WEEK MIRACLE FIXES – There are NO 8 WEEK MIRACLE PILLS – There are NO 8 WEEK MIRACLE WRAPS – There are NO 8 WEEK MIRACLE SOLUTIONS … the miracle comes with effort and commitment and readiness and work and DEDICATION to YOU.

Choose you. Over and over and over again.
xoK

A Girl Has Got To Try

7 Jul

I interviewed for an internship at the gym I go to and was accepted. They’re looking to cultivate future coaches, I love the gym and the way it makes me feel, it’s win-win.

Over the next 8 weeks, I’ll have to shadow and lead 72 classes (already did three yesterday) and get certified, plus plan workout, know regressions and progressions and obtain my first aid. All good things. There is no guarantee I’ll be given a position at the gym – this period is to see if we’re a fit for each other – culture, competency, knowledge, skill. But, I’m confident and I work hard and I’m passionate – so there’s that.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of my ability to earn by StrongFirst Certification. This is elite fitness – the kind of physical training that military, special ops and uber strong people do. There is a teeny voice in my head that says – you’re just a middle-age housewife from the prairie – – get a grip, woman. But, a girl has got to try.  

I’m grateful that it is written somewhere on my heart – “you are malleable – be willing to re-create yourself as you desire”.

I feel sad when I see people muddling along – believing they are who they are, that their days pre-determined, that they have no choice and that they can never be any different. We can always be different. We can always choose again.

One of the greatest gifts we’ve been given is FREE WILL: the ability to choose how we show up, what we think, what we believe and what we do. 

So, summer looks like: internship (9 hours a week), full time job, training schedule, 1 week at the lake, almost 1 week in NB/NS for girl time, walk the dog, barbecue now and then, and study in all my spare time with a sprinkling of sun tan and beach swims.

Happy to have the desire, freedom, energy and support to choose to live the way I want to.

DEEPLY GRATEFUL. 
In every cell of my body.
Gratitude.

Challenge Ended. Were there results?

29 Jun

FullSizeRender_1All of those fitness updates over 8 weeks and I did not meet a single goal!!

Only up 3 burpees, not 5. (22.5 in a minute… It was almost 4!)
I did not lose 4% body fat. I lost 1.7 pounds.
I did not gain 2% muscle. But I didn’t lose lean muscle, which is good! (I gained .2% muscle.)
I didn’t get my 16kg a snatch test. 73 not 100 in 5.
That said, I lost 10.5″ … I’m still not convinced I was measured right… but oh, well!

The overall #fitlife goals are ENERGY, STRENGTH and MOJO. And I’ve got those things, so it’s all good.

I continue to feel energized and focused. Was planning on taking a week off from the gym post challenge, but it was arm day Monday – and I can’t resist arm day (shoulders!).

hair progressWhat I LOVE about the challenge is the focus and commitment required to just finish it. Truthfully, I don’t consider myself disciplined by nature – that is SERIOUS work for me. But, when I FEEL and SEE the results of my work, I want to work harder and it’s easy to stay on track.  (thus, the progress selfies)

I didn’t start truly caring for my body until I was almost 42. Before that, I lived like a typical, impulsive, negligent teenager. Eat what I want – no concern for nutritional value, no desire to move my body or love it and appreciate it – just live in it with disregard.

But, this last four years of two steps forward, one step back, trial and error, up and down, win and lose has been such a hard, beautiful, challenging and rewarding time. I LOVE LIVING IN THIS BODY and I am SO GRATEFUL for all it provides to me.

In this time period, it’s been fully rebuilt, literally cell by cell, choice by choice – and I can’t believe how happy and strong and healthy it is. I just turned 46 and I have never been stronger, fitter or leaner. I am PROOF it can be done with slow and steady dedication and commitment to a WAY OF BEING. (Don’t get me started on 10 Day Miracle Plans, Skinny green coffee beans and raspberry keytones!!)

My post-challenge body fat analysis taught me something really cool. Here’s an image comparison to highlight what I learned.

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Me: left. Erin Stern: right.

The photo of the torso on the right belongs to the amazing athlete Erin Stern. During off-season (not competing) she probably sits at 12-14% body fat… my body analysis says I am currently 25.6% body fat.

My goal was to lose 4% body fat (I started at 26%) as I’d like to reach 22%. That seems like a reasonable number to me and means I’d have to drop about 5-6 more pounds of body fat.

But, here’s what I need to uncover for myself: DO I REALLY WANT TO WORK HARDER and EAT CLEANER THAN I ALREADY DO in order to achieve that?

This goes back to (repeating myself here) clarifying my WHY? and deciding what I’m willing to do to get there.

Truth is, I don’t know yet.

Part of me wants to push a bit harder. Another part says take it easy, sister. 

For me, the photo comparison underscored the importance of focusing on each person’s UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL RESULTS. There truly is NO POINT in comparing my body or self or progress or strength against anyone but me.

We are all built different.
Our metabolisms are different.
Our muscle structure is different.
Sleep needs are different.
Bowel habits.
Flexibility.
Hormone panels. You name it.

All you need to focus on, Kim, is eating what makes your body happy, and moving in a way that feels good. Get clear on what YOU want to achieve, how YOUR body feels, what makes YOU happy and STAY IN YOUR OWN ZONE. You’re doing just fine where you’re at.

 

 

Day 42 – Week 7 – There is NO such thing as a weight loss miracle.

13 Jun

And if you’re buying into any kind of ‘instant’ anything – you’re a sucker.

I still see advertisements for pills and wraps and shakes and 10 day squat challenges designed to give you a Brazilian booty. It’s all lies.

I’ve been a full time employee of exercise for four years and a lifetime of habits and muscle loss and fat gain and illness is NEVER undone in 10 days. We WANT to believe that it can be done – but buying those lies is part of the reason we hate ‘diets and exercise’.

The photo is before challenge began, April 24.
The photo on the right is 6 weeks in, June 11. That’s a 32″ waist.
I can’t really see progress, but I feel it in my clothes for sure. Things just fit different.

Keep in mind, this is where I started 4 years ago. That’s a 38″ belly button line.

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Could I have experienced more or better results to date?

I think, yes, had I followed the exact menu plan.

I followed it ‘mostly’ but didn’t weigh protein and added in sweet potato or 1/2-3/4 cup rice with many meals, even on supposed zero carb days. So, self-sabotage? maybe… but far more likely I learned that there are some days I just don’t want to work that hard.

There isn’t a destination point where I’m going to give up or go back to the way I was eating before, anyhow. It’s the way I like to live and I’d like to enjoy as much of it as possible.

Weeks 4 and 5 were not my best effort. I’d say 65% effort. A lot of tired days. Many ‘why am I doing this days?’ I ate mostly on meal plan – every 2-1/2 – 3 hours, protein with every meal – too many “cheats” (some real cheats, some just real ‘extra’ food).

Thankfully, we’re on the homestretch starting today and my food prep is tight and I’m committed to finishing. The goal for the next few days – increased water intake and flush. I drink a lot of coffee [my favourite] and need more water.

What have been the big discoveries in the last 6 weeks? 

My tricky point in the day is 4-6pm. If I’m going to feel weak and surrender to crap cravings – this is when I’ll do it.

My strongest point for hardcore exercise in the middle of the day – 12noon – 5pm. Before that, my body isn’t really ‘awake’ yet and after that, I’m ready for bed. (Seriously, bedtime 7:30-8pm. It’s embarassing. And heavenly.)  Best strength 3-5pm.

I just want to be strong and have enough energy to workout hard, hike in the trees and do keep up with my life.

I haven’t been on a scale or taken my measurements, at all. But I do think whatever changes have happened inside have been still worthwhile. I find it much easier to lift my body weight in pull ups and chin ups, my box jumps have improved, as have pushups from toes, not knees. It’s easier to workout – when I feel fuelled.

No doubt about it, it’s easier to move with less booty to lift and more muscle to do it. Looking forward to weigh in day and being able to know the inside results.

 

 

Some of the Greatest Feminists I Know Are Men

2 Jun

Men get a bad rap.

[Cue the hate mail!]

Lumping people together as one stereotyped conglomeration of any gender, race, religious affiliation or belief system is a massive mistake.
All women aren’t bitches.
All Christians aren’t right wing.
All gay women aren’t butchy.
And all men aren’t patriarchal and controlling.

Some of the most enthusiastic and encouraging feminists I know are men. 

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Beverly Keeshig-Soonias and her husband Rod (centre couple) flanked by my administration team and the biggest, kindest, most heart centred group of men I’ve ever worked with.       (R-L: Carlin , Justin, Maynard and me)  These men are the human services for children and families heart and soul behind Heritage Family Services Red Deer & Ft. McMurray and Relationship Inspired Learning and Development.

Simple Definition of feminism
: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

So, FIRST – Beverly was recognized at the 2016 Women of Excellence Awards in Red Deer on June 1 for her work in the human services sector. She is an aboriginal woman and member of Chippewas of Nawach First Nation. She is married to Rod Soonias, LLB of Red Pheasant First Nation. She became a lawyer and then a registered psychologist and has devoted her career to the healing of children, youth and families – working extensively with inter-generational trauma, the effects of the 60’s Scoop and Residential Schools experience, addictions and abuse.

Second – the evening is a celebration of community contributions and achievements by women. The awards event was set up to raise funds for programs that serve women and girls in central Alberta. Next year will be the 10th Awards event.

As long as women are marginalized world-wide – these kinds of celebrations [and conversations and advocacy] will be useful and important. Women still face enormous barriers that simply shouldn’t exist anymore. They are still emotionally and physically controlled by government, by corporations and by men. Inequality [salaries, sexuality, education and personal freedom…] still reigns supreme in every corner of the world, to varying degrees of severity.

But, [the lumped together] collective “MEN” generally face a stereotyped demonization as perpetrators that is simply not fair, not enlightened and not true for all. 

Almost every woman who took their place on the stage to say thank you for their WoE award recognition for excellence in their field of expertise (12 categories in all including education, arts, environment, business, community building, lifetime achievement and others) stated boldly that the life she was privileged to live was directly related to the support and encouragement she’d received from her husband, partner, brothers or father.

And for me, as you may know already – the life I enjoy – the things I do – the amount of myself I am able to inject into my family, my career, my writing, my community – I do with the blessing and encouragement and support of my man.

Which brings me to the men I work with … 

These are men who lead an organization that works to serve children and youth and families in times of abandonment, neglect and abuse. These are men who lead women – and other heart-centred, beautiful men – to provide care to and for those who have suffered the worst traumas life can hand out. 

These men are husbands and fathers and foster parents and teachers and leaders and lovers and fighters and believers of the most sincere kind. They are inspirational to watch in their quest to learn and serve and affect positive change in the lives of those they come in contact with.

I am included in the circle – my contributions are appreciated and validated and sought and welcomed. There is no separation of sex with them. And they are NOT the only men out there who see women as people; smart, inspirational, and strong people, capable of influencing great change, increased prosperity and stronger organizations.

The teeny tiny pragmatist in me understand I am just damn lucky that this is my experience. (Keep in mind, I’ve lived the other side of this experience, too!) 

The eternal optimist in me knows beyond a shadow of a doubt through my life experiences and connections and professional networks that we, as humans, continue to wake up to our potential to be inclusive, to invoke healing and fairness and equality and to make the world better for all – even if it is only one person at a time.