Today I Set a Goal

Two years, 3 months and 1 day ago (but who’s counting?) I broke up with job with which I had developed a toxic relationship. There’s no shade towards my former employer or any of the people that I worked with there. In fact, I feel quite the opposite and I don’t think I will ever find another group of people so amazing to work with. That said, I was introduced to them at an extremely vulnerable time in my life and became overly attached and co-dependent on that job. It became an escape and an excuse to neglect myself. In a weird way that would take much longer than a single blog post to explain, I used my career to punish myself for not living up to my own expectations in other areas of my life. Leaving that job was a life changing decision, again, not because there was anything wrong with that job or the people I worked with, but because it created an interruption in my patterns and habits that changed my life forever.

In starting a new job, I was faced with the space to focus my energy inwards and the confrontation was unavoidable. Despite some resistance in the beginning, I finally gave into myself and the achievements and advances in my life became unavoidable. I lost weight, got control of my finances and achieved a professional designation among other things; however, it wasn’t long before I got distracted by the day to day and I didn’t quite finish the weight loss goal. Today, I decided I was going to finish that goal, and  have a little over 7 months to do it.

My goal is to lose 25 lbs before my birthday in September. When I achieve this, I will have lost over 50 lbs. More than just the weight loss, achieving this goal is about being the healthiest version of myself inside and out. It’s about showing up for myself so I can show up for the people I love in my life as my best self. And mostly, it’s about keeping a promise I made to myself when I decided that I mattered and I was worthy of my own love.

As part of the goal to lose 25 lbs before my birthday, I am also deciding to document the process, something I wish I had done when I lost the first 30 lbs. So right now, I’m feel hopeful and excited to share this journey, but most of all I’m feel determined to finish what I started two years ago.

Stress Detoxing

On Monday I wrote the biggest and most important exam I have ever taken. I passed the exam and earned a professional designation. Obviously, I’m insanely happy to have accomplished this but since Monday, I have been feeling really off. By “off” I mean the following:

  • Trouble sleeping despite being exhausted when I go to bed
  • Trouble controlling my appetite
  • As a consequence of not having good appetite control, I feel bloated
  • An underlying anxiety that I can’t quite put my finger on
  • A sense that things are out of control

All of these symptoms are the result of being stressed for a long period of time. The 6 weeks or so leading up to my exam were mentally exhausting and as the exam date got closer, my stress level increased. Mentally and physically, I just did what I had to do to achieve this goal and the price for that is stress.

So how do you combat this? How do you get back to feeling in control?

  1. Acknowledge all of your feelings. Do a brain dump of all the things that are bothering you and write them all down. Sometimes, even just acknowledging the things that are bothering you can make you feel better.
  2. If your eating is feeling out of control, reduce the number of carbs you are eating and extend the amount of time between your meals. This will help balance your hunger hormones. The thing not to do is eat tiny meals. Eat large, satisfying meals that are low carb…just space them out at least 6 hours in between. For some people, this may mean only eating two meals in a day.
  3. If you have some tasks that need completing, make a list of those and tackle the one that is bothering you the most first. This is an interpretation of Pareto’s Law: 80% of the effects come from 20% of the issues. Usually, once you accomplish the main thing that is bothering you, you will start to feel better.
  4. Do some restorative exercise. Go for a walk or a hike with beautiful scenery or take a yoga class. You want to get your blood circulating in your body without stressing it out even more.
  5. Connect with friends and family. If you’ve been feeling a little isolated, reach out to someone and say hi.
  6. Be patient. Your body needs time to recover. Focus on nurturing yourself and getting back to good health. Getting angry with yourself and trying to strong arm yourself into “being good” will only add to your elevated stress level.

Those are all my tips for getting back on track and recovering from a stress event. Have you ever tried any of these?

Motivation Ranting

Motivation is a funny thing. When you have it, it feels effortless. When you don’t have it, it feels impossible to achieve the same effortless goal you were working towards when you were motivated. The good news is that motivation is simply a mindset and we have the power to instantly shift from one mindset to another on a whim. The key is to build enough momentum to stay in that mindset and that’s the hard part.

I want you to imagine your goal. Say it out loud. What does it look like? What does it feel like? Can you touch, taste, smell what it will be like? Then once you are really living and imagining achieving that goal, picture it shooting up into the air like a jack in the box. You’re left on the ground and that goal of yours is hundreds of feet in the sky. It feels impossible to get to so you wander around on the ground miserable because all of your hopes and dreams are out of reach. Sound familiar? It should because this is how most people live their lives every day. Scary right?

Well, good thing this is just your imagination and now imagine an elevator that will take you up to your goal. The only difference between this elevator and a regular one is that instead of pressing a button and being effortlessly lifted up to your goal, you have to actually work for it. There’s a crank on the wall and if you turn the crank, the elevator will start to rise. If you stop, it will start to fall. At first, the cranks are really hard. You have to use all of your strength and energy to make one turn and even then the elevator barely moves, but as you build up momentum, the turns get easier and the elevator begins to rise more quickly. Eventually, the crank is flying around and you are barely doing anything. You have built up enough momentum to keep the crank turning on its own without you having to put much energy towards it all. Before you know it, you’ve reached your goal at the top.

This of course, is all just a weird metaphor for what it is really like to achieve goals in real life and not just in your imagination. When we set a goal, often we don’t know how we will get there and it feels miles away and impossible. But if we just start turning the crank. If we can just pick one action a day that pushes you closer to that goal rather than further away, and use all our energy and strength to complete that action each and every day, it gets easier and easier until you have the energy to add an additional action that gets you closer to the goal and so on. Eventually you will have built up enough momentum to reach your goal and you won’t believe how easy it was once you got there.

This is where I am now. My weight loss goal has lost momentum and I’ve gained some weight back. Now, I can wander around helplessly feeling sorry for myself, or I can start turning that crank again. I acknowledge that it is going to take a lot of focus and effort to get back on track but I know it is possible. To be fair, this is the result of achieving another major life goal. We can’t be perfect in every area of life 100% of the time. So now, I reset my course and try to get back on track. Tomorrow: how I plan to do this.

 

A Simple Thought for International Women’s Day

In honour of this special day, I’d like to talk about something that I think holds a lot of women back. It’s not just women. It happens to men too, but I think it’s more prevalent in the woman’s psyche than the man’s. I’m talking about the desire to put other’s needs before her own. Women are, in general, inherently nurturing. Whether this is a behaviour that is genetically predispositioned or learned from social cues growing up (or both!) is another debate but I think we can all agree that it is a typical characteristic of women to care for others.

I know for myself, if my boyfriend is having a rough day for example, my very first response is usually, “what can I do to help you?”

Unfortunately, it often happens where women neglect their own needs for the sake of others. What I want you to consider is the following: consider that increasing your own worth makes what you invest in others more valuable.

Let’s use money as an example. If you have $100 Canadian dollars and you want to invest that money in a US stock, making that investment when the Canadian dollar is strong will yield greater returns than making that investment when the dollar is weak. The same is true of your own personal currency. Increasing your worth and investing in yourself will allow you to show up for others in a more valuable way. In other words, you’ll get more bang for your buck when it comes to relationships.

So that’s it! Next time you find yourself putting too much energy into others and not yourself, remember that you should always put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others!

Comment below on what this means to you!

Wake Up Wednesday – Part 2

Here we are for part two of Wake Up Wednesday: Weight Loss Resistance where I summarize the two part podcast that made me sit up straight and say, “something isn’t right here!”. This was the catalyst that spurred me to make changes in my life. Last week, I summarized the first episode in this post, and today I will summarize the second of the two podcasts. To listen to the podcasts yourself, and please please do because I can only summarize so much, go here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Just to catch you up, we left off learning that the prevalence of Round Up, or glycophosphate if you want to sound super smart to your friends, is having a tremendous negative impact on not only the nutrients in our food but also the bacteria in our gut. This compound is not only making the food we eat less nutritious but it is also making it more difficult for us to absorb the nutrients left in the food.

Here’s the summary of the second part of this eye opening podcast.

  • 2 billion kilograms of gylcophosphate are being dumped on Earth per year
  • If you compare instances of cancer in the US to glycophosphate use, there is a perfect correlation between the two
  • A healthy gut biome should contain 30 – 40 thousand species of bacteria (not individual bacteria). Our gut should contain 1.5 – 2 quadrillion bacteria!
  • The current average gut contains only about 1000 different species. That’s it!
  • So I bet you’re thinking, I’m covered. I take a probiotic. Welp, each probiotic contains only 3-24 species which isn’t going to lead to the 30,000 species that you need. Further, most of these probiotics are farmed from cows. Regular, feedlot, GMO, grain-fed cows….gross!
  • Recall that the bacteria in our guts break down macronutrients, which in turn feed the mitochondria in our cells, and the mitochondria turn these nutrients into energy (ATP).
  • When the mitochondria don’t receive what they need, which they won’t because our gut bacteria is so diminished, they signal our hormones that something is wrong. This causes hormonal imbalances and ultimately weight loss resistance.
  • If you transplant the bacteria from an obese human to a mouse, the mouse becomes obese almost immediately and vice versa. If you transplant the bacteria from a slim human to an obese mouse, you cannot overfeed that mouse and cause it to be obese.
  • Fecal transplants are a thing. Research has yielded impressive results.
  • It’s not all bad news. There are things you can do to improve your gut bacteria which include:
    • Stop living in a sterile environment…go outside and breath the air. Go to as many different eco-systems as possible and be outside.
    • Get dirty! Weed your garden!
    • Hug each other. Share your biome with as many people as possible and breath in the biome of others!
    • Get a pet! They have an eco-system too. Research is showing that having a pet increases our gut biome health!

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And there you have it! The shocking facts that made me sit up straight in my chair and realize that my weight gain, and difficulty losing said weight was simultaneously, not my fault because I didn’t know better and 100% my fault for being ignorant. It put me on a course to improve my gut health and learning as much as possible about how to improve my health and longevity. Focusing on this and this alone allowed me to lose 30 lbs and counting in about a year. It was a slow go at first as I learned what worked for me and what didn’t but slowly over time I figured it out.

 

Leave a comment below and tell me what the most shocking thing in these posts were to you. Have any questions? Let me know. Just want to tell me that I’m crazy? That’s ok too!

What I Eat In a Day – Prep Week

Copy of Wake up Wednesday.

During this week, there are no real restrictions to what I’m eating except for the obvious: eliminate the big offenders. These include foods you know are inflammatory: sugar, processed foods, and anything you know doesn’t work for you. For some people that’s dairy and gluten but through my first round of One3one, I learned that I can tolerate these things just fine.

First up is my favorite homemade breakfast sandwich. A toasted whole wheat english muffin (dry), one strip of nitrate free, hormone free bacon, one free-range, organic egg cooked in the bacon fat, and a handful of organic spinach. Could there be a better way to start the day?

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Next up is my biggest vice. It’s my morning ritual and I don’t really want to give it up. I used to have two pumps of vanilla syrup added but broke that habit in round one…baby steps with this one.

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I’m usually really good about preparing my lunch the day before and not eating out but in order for me to maximize my after-work time, I had to run errands at lunch today. This BLT salad is my go to when I need to grab something quickly and the jalapeno ranch dressing was a nice treat (I normally make my own oil and vinegar vinaigrette).

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After work, there was enough daylight for an outdoor workout. These evenings feed my soul.

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Finally, it was dinner time but I felt very uninspired for dinner tonight (not like me at all). I had all the ingredients to make breakfast for dinner! NOTE: I ate a lot more potatoes not pictured.

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So there you have it! No crazy recipes. Just good quality whole foods!

When you feel uninspired for dinner, what is your go-to meal?