Author: bonnie

Hey guys! Well, I’m breaking my internet silence and absence of a few days to share because I simply enjoy connecting with you in this space. Isn’t that neat? It’s a community – a small one, an online one, and one that serves me well as a place to process, share and explore ideas – but a community nonetheless!  Today I wanted to share some tips and tricks (no, not a “hack” – I’m done “hacking” my way through life!) that are contributing to my health and invite you in to the conversation to share ways that you are living well. I am slowly realizing that I enjoy writing about life in a broader sense because I’m so interested in pursuing balance and coaching others to live in such a way that facilitates, simply put, fuller life! I think I’m moving away from sharing my meals (which I never did much of and wasn’t very original with) and workouts (which will always be a part of this space) and stepping into how to live well. I want this to be a place of encouragement, motivation and growth for us and not just a place to share content that others are sharing in more complete ways.

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Bear with me as I explore the root of this shift… Perhaps it all stems from my favorite verse, John 10:10, “I [Jesus] came that you may have life and have it to the full!” I’ve always been about “full life” ever since I started blogging about our cancer journey 8 years ago and it continues to fascinate and inspire me as I see so many others, with so much success, wealth, opportunity and connections living such dull, meaningless or negative lives. What about full life? Isn’t there something more? I thought about this the other morning while driving to work. We live near the Alpha House, a half-way house of sorts that is a place for people to come down off their high, and we often see people passed out or stumbling along in our neighborhood. It’s hard to see and hard to know how to help; the food I’ve often offered is passed over in favor of beer or money so sometimes I feel like my hands are tied in terms of helping in a tangible way.

So…back to the story. As I was driving, I saw a man sitting on the sidewalk with his legs crossed, and as I got closer I realized that in his hands was the face of another man, seated facing him. It was such a striking image to me of (likely) addiction, homelessness and pain and yet also of deep love, care and community. These men understand the importance of community, of walking through life with one another, of loving others in a profound way because they rely on each other daily. That picture stuck with me all day and brought me back to a recent sermon I listened to by Tim Keller called “Blessed Are the Poor.” The rich – or the middle class, comfortable folk like me – hear the gospel (literally, the “good news”) and aren’t always excited by it; why do we need a Savior? What am I really being saved from? But the poor…The poor hear the good news and they GET IT. They are given hope, given love, given acceptance and redemption which they so desperately need – the same things we need and are offered while simultaneously not seeing our need for them.

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Mikey and Misha – community in action at our recent Wellspring skating event!

Those guys sitting there at 6 am, one face resting in another’s hands, eyes locked and still, get this need for community. I wonder how much we get that, or sense our need for it? How often do we spend lost on the internet in communities that may provide some connection but don’t necessarily fill us up, check in with us or care for us deeply?

These are some of things I’ve been pondering after taking a break from being online.

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Emails and texting with clients, yes, but no social media including Facebook (my biggest time waster), tweeting, blog reading and Instagram (my favorite). I’ve found myself wanting to pop online for no real reason at all or thinking, “I should snap a photo!” and then realizing I simply didn’t need to and found other things to do. I can honestly say I’ve wasted less time and haven’t felt disconnected from people. I am breaking this technology fast early because I feel like my reset button has already been set, and it feels great. I’ll be keeping Facebook (and possibly Instagram?) off my phone and eliminating that opportunity to go online just for the sake of using up time. I’ve read my Bible more, connected with people for coffee, gone on more walks and even started a new book (for a non-reader, this is a big one for me!), and it feels great. I do use Facebook to connect with people for my business (both fitness-wise and with Wellspring as the young adult team lead for cancer programs), so I’ll hop back on for those purposes mainly and because it IS a good way to stay connected, but I will have more parameters on how long I allow myself to browse online, and that focus feels good!

So now that I’ll be limiting my online time, here are a few other ways I’m cultivating health in my daily life:

Relaxing about food. You’ll remember from my last blog post that I’m practicing If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) right now (Kindal has an awesome blog post about this if you want more info on what IIFYM is and how it works!) and I’m relaxing how good real foods make me feel! I’ve also been reminded that I truly enjoy that once-a-week licorice snack I have Fridays or a glass of wine and piece of dark chocolate throughout the week. I’m not practicing IIFYM to lose weight (although I do want to reduce some bloat and feel stronger in the gym!) and am not practicing it as much as I am understanding my protein needs, not going overboard on fat and enjoying good carbohydrates. It’s more of an awareness thing and it’s working for me – and that, coupled with intermittent fasting (refer to last post), is allowing me to relax about my intake, enjoy life and be fueled primarily by healthy, voluminous foods! I like that. :)

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Supplementing my diet. While a solid foundation is the main part of eating well (with real, whole foods), I also take a few supplements that do just that – supplement my diet. This includes a greens powder (right now it’s Amazing Grass’ gogi and acai berry flavor) for the day that I’m running around or don’t have vegetables in the fridge:

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Vitamin D (I DO live north in Canada, after all – all of us northerners should be taking it!) and a fish oil (because I don’t get those Omega 3’s from fish 2x/week – it’s just not my favorite thing to eat or prepare!):

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And occasionally an additional supplement like SierraSil, which supports healthy cartilage, pulls heavy metals out of the body, and helps fight inflammation. I was sent this via my partnership with Social Nature, and it’s been great to incorporate into my routine.

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SierraSil promises results in 14 days or your money back, so while you can’t tell taking it once or twice, you do feel a change over time with aches, pains and stiffness! This is especially great if you have joint pain, are training hard, and even for pets with problems!

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I’ve noticed quicker recovery in between workouts and a general sense of feeling good going from the gym to the backcountry for long ski days to the running trails. If this sounds like something you’d benefit from and want to give SierraSil a go, click here for 20% off on this product! And thanks to Social Nature, if you’re interested in looking at more products to help you #trynatural, check out this link for many other free sampling opportunities.

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Walking more. I’ve read (and told people!) for so long about the benefits of walking. It’s the not-so-secret for weight loss (low intensity, do-anywhere, burns fat not muscle, good for your mind and emotions) but I’m often found home at night without having moved too much that day besides a short workout. Simply because it’s good for me, there’s so much research about it, and it’s relaxing, I’ve been getting out and waking more. To work, to the store for a few groceries, in between clients even if it’s for 20 minutes. I’ve had some amazing moments of worship and prayer times, watched the sunrise and sunset, chosen to walk rather than even do a weight workout for that day (many days lately, actually!) and been listening to some great podcasts. A few I’m enjoying these days:

Girls Gone Wod

Harder to Kill Radio

The Paleo Women Podcast

Timothy Keller

The Model Health Show

Serial 

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Seen on a recent walk; I took some time to kneel and pray and then look out over our city and enjoy the view and quiet.

Are you walking much? It offers reductions in diabetes and heart disease, decreases in high blood pressure, increases in bone density, is good for cognitive function, helps alleviate symptoms of depression, improves fitness and physical function (source).  It’s not a waste of time, is great to do with other people, is great alone time, and can be used for leisure or fitness. …go walk! 😉

Not fighting myself. I’ve realized that I’m not a reader or book person as much as I desire to be. So, instead of fighting that and getting disappointed in myself, I listen to audio books, read on my phone (NOT Facebook any longer!), and listen to fun and educational podcasts (I like a mix of both). So now I go with it! Might as well make life easier for myself and set myself up for success!

Another way I do this is by buying pre-chopped foods like broccoli slaw or cauliflower heads. Little things like this go a long way in me being successful in the kitchen, so again, it’s about making life a little easier and setting myself up to do well. I make my coffee the night before, I do what can be done in 1 minute right then rather than procrastinate and keep the house tidy. Not necessarily clean, but tidy! 😉 I think better and live better in that space, and a few minutes here and there sure goes a long way.

Make time for people. From quick text messages to friends to let them know I’m praying for them to in-person coffee dates; from sitting and talking with Mikey at night BEFORE we watch a show to staying at the end of the day to talk with clients about what’s going on their lives, making time for people is something that contributes to my health and a better way of life for me. I know Tina just sent some “stay well” packages (such a neat idea!) to family and you can invite someone over for dinner. Being involved in a weekly group, like our small group (you know us as “Fat Tuesday!”) from church, is something that keeps us connected and, while often a struggle to get there weekly after full, busy days, is ALWAYS such a positive commitment in our lives because of the community. What’s one thing you can do to stay intentionally engaged with others in life?

Prioritize sleep. Man, is this ever important. There are resources aplenty about the value of sleep (Shawn Stevenson’s new book Sleep Smarter is one of them!) and all I can say is, don’t keep running on all cylinders. Your relationships will suffer, your brain won’t function as well, your energy will eventually run out, you might lose your sex drive, and your fat loss AND strength gaining goals will stall out.

At this moment, these are the things that come to mind in terms of living a healthier lifestyle. It starts with community, branches out to managing technology well, hits my food and movement (not even necessarily “working out”) and lands on sleep. There’s more to the list, sure (value of living a more-than-one-dimensional life, stepping out of your comfort zone, staying accountable to friends or a professional of some sort for your goals or life direction, not ignoring your spiritual life, etc), but this is a start!

What’s one thing you’ve done in the last while that’s made a difference in your health in some way? I’d love to hear what you would add to the list and please feel free to leave any links and discuss more in the comments below! And remember, if you’re looking to try some new products, join the Social Nature community and #trynatural for FREE! 😀

Live well & be well friends!

Bonnie

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Hey guys! Well, it’s a Monday AND a new month – that’s a nice feeling. Although I’m not a huge proponent of “starting over Mondays,” it’s always great to have that feeling of clean, fresh slate on a new week and month to boot! If you follow my blog, you know that I Instagram a lot more frequently than I blog these days; I want to write but I’ve not really had anything that felt of much consequence to say! I don’t want to blog for the sake of blogging and just add more noise to your life, yet I miss the act of writing. So I thought I’d share a few of the things I’m processing these days to kick off my writing this week – hope you find it interesting and helpful in some way (and if there’s anything you’d LIKE me to blog about, perhaps it’s time I ask you, the readers!). Today I’m talking about living in a way that’s “good enough.” Maybe you can relate.

Life is such a journey, and while that may sound cliche, it’s so true. We learn as we go and hopefully adjust our course thanks to experience, the wisdom of others, and direction from God in terms of open doors or closed ones. And I really don’t think our fitness and nutrition journey is any different from our life journey – it evolves and changes as we learn and grow. I sure HOPE I don’t believe all the same things about God when I first became a Christian as a young girl as I do today after life experience, time in His Word, and people encouraging me along. Similarly, I don’t hold to the same thoughts as a trainer when I first started 8 years ago as I do today, and that’s because growth and change (and research! ha) have contributed to me evolving as (hopefully) a better trainer.

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(Hi! It’s me – in my new Qalo hat!)

In short, I really feel like these days I am living in a state that is “good enough” as I move forward in my own journey. Brad Pilon’s recent post explains it perfectly (you can read his article that resonates with me so much right here!), but in short, I’m eating and working out and being social and being alone in what seems to me to be just the right amount that is, simply put, good enough. It’s nothing extreme, but it works for me! And that’s why it’s sustainable.

Before I share how I’m practicing being good enough, take a look at what Brad Pilon has to say in terms of extremes and his advice for being good enough from his article:

Could I do more for my health? Green smoothies every day, no alcohol, only raw organic local produce? sure. But I’m OK with where I am.

Bottom line – there are lots of experts who can help you with the extremes. So if extreme is what you want, there are lots of options.  I’m a master of ‘good enough’. If looking good and being healthy is important to you, but not at the expense of consuming your life, than I have some pretty simple, time tested advice.

  1. Fast once or twice a week – it doesn’t have to be 24 hours, it could be 16, or 20, must make sure you’re taking a break from eating occasionally.
  2. Stress less. Do your best to only stress about the things that are actually worth stressing about.
  3. Lift. As little as twice a week can do wonders. Three to four times per week is great, just be careful as you’ll start to see diminishing returns after a while.
  4. Move. Do something that makes you breath a little harder each and every day. I like climbing, but do something that you find fun.
  5. Eat. PLEASE EAT. But eat responsibly. You don’t have to be a saint with your food, but you can’t eat like every day is thanksgiving either.
  6. Sleep – Get a good nights sleep. If you’re doing the first five things properly, this should be a little bit easier.

Solid, solid advice. I am grateful to have found what works for me (key words here!) and am happily practicing being good enough:

  • Intermittent fasting (IF)
  • Moderation 365
  • Move for strength and happiness
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Enjoy a mix of play and rest physically and socially

Intermittent Fasting: I basically practice a flexible, intermittent fasting daily routine, and it works for me! My mornings are full with clients and I simply am not hungry in the mornings, so while I used to coach people to always eat breakfast, even those who never naturally wanted it, my tune has changed! While some people need to eat something first thing, and women often do better with food in their system as compared to men, not everyone needs it to function well! There is research on both sides of the coin, but I used to not talk about IF because I didn’t want people to try something too unconventional or think I was trying to simply skip meals (not the same). If it works for me, it might for you, too! Do your research but don’t be afraid to use your body as an experiment within reason; stick to something for at least a month to give it a good shot before making up your mind. Please remember that I am not a doctor! But try something different if what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked for you in the past with your goals. Browse Brad Pilon’s site for lots of information on IF – perhaps some of the myths (yes, myths) about keeping your metabolism revved and eating every 3 hours don’t apply to you, but you don’t know until you try a new method. The awesome thing is you can always go back to small meals – there’s no right or wrong, and I’m learning to coach people on what works for their bodies and not just on what we hear preached from the fitness industry.

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(a very typical meal for me: greens, veggies, meat and some kid of fat like goat cheese or avocado)

So where’s the “good enough” part to my fasting practice? I don’t worry about the details or follow it to a “T.” Once a week, sometimes twice, I do a 24 hour (or close to it) fast and fast most mornings, but some days I go out to breakfast with friends or I eat if my hunger strikes early at 10 am. I don’t worry about the specifics but incorporate some fasting principles but it’s “good enough” for me. Either way, I fast enough to allow my body a break from digestion and mind a break from planning life around food. 😉

Moderation 365: This concept comes from Jill Coleman, and I’ve blogged about it before, but I’m happy to be eating in a moderate way. In other words, if I really want a donut, I’ll get one, but it’s not a regular or consistent occurrence. At the same time, it’s also not a big deal if I do choose to have a donut! I enjoy a glass of wine on a weeknight and sometimes never on a weekend – nothing changes simply because it’s Tuesday or Saturday. In fact, some days I won’t have more than a piece of fruit in terms of sugar and then I will have liquorice for dinner – it’s moderate, it works for me, it keeps me feeling satisfied and also healthy and is “good enough!”

I actually just started tracking my macros (carbs, proteins and fats) to see where I’m at and aim to be within a certain range, and some days I hit my numbers while other days I don’t (sometimes I track everything and other days it’s loose!). It doesn’t define or control me but does provide some structure – it’s good enough for my nutrition and goals right now!

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(currently enjoying as I type – and yep, I tracked all 4 servings of this!)

Brad Pilon says in another post, “Deprivation kills consistency, and consistency is where your results come from.” So for me, liquorice and the occasional glass of red wine are mandatory (yep!) to help keep me from going overboard on good food like peanut or almond butter or from diving headfirst into a bag of cookies when someone opens them.

Move for strength & happiness: There are times when I’ve followed a program (either something like a push/pull program, a follow-along with my online BFF Kindal, or a kettle bell program with a specific goal. But more or less, I try to move often and enough to keep my fitness level up (always be able to do 5 pull ups any time, run a 5 km easy, hike without getting too breathless and keep up with the boys in the backcountry) and do what makes me happy. This is a mix of movement and sustains my goals while keeping me content and consistent in and outside the gym!

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Prioritize sleep: The more I learn about sleep, the more I’m shocked by how valuable it is and how much it impacts my life. I think this is one area where we all “know” how important sleep is but still celebrate doing more and resting less. Our culture continues to pride itself on being busy, “only sleeping 4 hours last night because I had so much to do,” and it’s one area that can truly help with stress, relationships, food choices, will power, brain function, sex drive, workouts, recovery, fat loss… The list goes on! I try to be in bed between 10-10:30 pm most nights, make it a practice to not use my phone in bed (which is tough!), and start dimming the lights before I go to bed to get ready for that process. It’s just not worth it for me to stay up late and be groggy at work or over the weekend when I want to be up and out and enjoying life! I don’t beat myself up if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep but I also have some boundaries to help facilitate better rest – all in all, it’s good enough even if it’s not perfect!

Enjoy a mix of play and rest physically and socially. Speaking of weekends, sometimes they’re booked up, sometimes they aren’t, and I vacillate between busy and unscheduled, active and rest. The other weekend was booked from Friday night on and included meeting with friends over dinner, training clients on a Saturday morning, connecting over coffee with some cancer survivors who had non-profit questions, and taking new friends out to back country ski all day Sunday.

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It was all great but I was beat by the time Monday rolled around; this last weekend, while social, was much more of a rest with no work Saturday, church Sunday, leisure time by myself at home and connected with friends throughout the weekend. A better balance, but some weekends are heavy on the activity and others on the relaxation – it’s never perfect! – and that rounds out to make it good enough for me.

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(grainy but fun – Nicole and I out to dinner at the Boxwood Cafe in Calgary after a movie; we enjoyed EVERY bite and sip of wine we had!)

I’m in a good spot right now, enjoying life, work, movement; food and my community; church and rest time; the mountains and the gym. While I’m always looking ahead (What’s next? How is my balance in all these things? Am I honoring God in how I’m spending my time?), it’s a good place to be. Good enough for now, until my goals or focus, job or life circumstances, tastes or preferences change again!

How are you living “good enough” right now? Do you struggle to be perfect (or close to it) in any one area? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Have a great rest of your start to February and I will connect with you guys soon! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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Happy Friday, friends! I hope you’ve had a great week! Since it’s Friday, I thought it would be fun to do a day in the life – and this one is from yesterday. So…let’s get right to it!

5:30 am: Alarm goes off. I hop out of bed easily simply because I try to get out of the room quickly without waking Mikey. He’s used to it and a good sleeper, so I slip on my slippers (guess that’s why they’re called slippers!) 😉 and my robe and slide out to kitchen. First thing’s first: I always put the hot water on the stove before going to the bathroom. Our stove is old so it takes a while to get going. Wash my face, drink some water, check to make sure no clients cancelled over night via text or email (I sleep with my phone on airplane mode so that I don’t get startled by anything and also have no radiation!).

5:35 am: Assemble lemon water! I juice half a lemon, add some apple cider vinegar, some cayenne pepper (digestion!), cinnamon (good-for-your-metabolism-spice, taste) and some room temperature water and top it off with the hot water from the almost-screaming kettle. This is how I wake my body up daily, and now it’s so automatic and comes together so quickly that it’s not even something I think about! Around this time I hit the brew button on the coffee pot, because soon I’ll be ready for my favorite first sip in the world! In the meantime, I pop my vitamin D and fish oil (the only vitamins I take for whatever reason – another post for another day!), drink my lemon water and start sipping water from my water bottle as I’m getting ready.

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5:45 am: Start gathering goods, most of which I’ve laid out the night before, for my day. If the weather’s nice I have running shoes and clothes suited for an outdoor winter run ready or a change of clothes for my workout (usually the same shirt and/or pants all week! Makes it brainless and I don’t sweat much) and always an extra pair of socks because I hate working out, showering and then training clients in the same pair of damp socks! 😉 I make sure I’ve got my Yerba mate tea, water bottle, and make-up since I throw mascara and blush on in the car most days.

In my remaining minutes I might browse a few blogs but lately I try not to turn my computer on – it only makes me late. Instead I sit and sip, sometimes read my Bible, or look at Instagram. Trying to make it more of the former than the latter!

6:00 – 6:15 am: Depending on when I have clients (either 6:15 or 6:30 am daily) I hit the road, never allowing the car to warm up as much as it should. 😉

6:30 am: Training begins!

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I warm up my coffee in between clients once or twice and then I’m done with it and move on to tea to keep warm!

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(Sorry for the grainy self-timer photo! But this is a typical morning at CityFit after the early rush of clients.)

Depending on my schedule, I train from 6:30 – 12 pm most days with maybe a 1 or 2 hour total (split up) break between clients.

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(This is Keith, who rocks every workout and is always ready to go early in the morning!)

Yesterday I used each break to do some work and then get a workout in – both pretty typical uses of my breaks!

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And here’s what I did!

24 min workout

One of my favorite workout times is in the afternoon, like 2 pm, but if I have a break earlier I squeeze a run or workout in according to my schedule. I’m blessed to be able to always find a time, even if it’s a half hour, to go move or at least do some handstands on the turf. 😉

12 pm – 2 pm: Depending on the day, I may or may not have a break and may or may not go home for lunch. I typically don’t eat until later, having tea, water and listening to my body’s hunger cues. Intermittent fasting has been working for me, and I’m so busy in the mornings through most afternoons that it works with my schedule! Lunch is usually leftovers on a bed of greens with goat cheese – every, single day, and I LOVE it…Although I typically start with a little tasty delight:

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4:30 pm – 7:30 pm: Evening clients in one-on-one and partner sessions. Finishing off the day strong!

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(Erin and I…this girl is making strides in her strength!)

7:30 pm – 8:30 pm: Home and cook some dinner, which includes some kind of meat, stir fried or roasted veggies, and white rice and/or potatoes – white or sweet! Tonight was a quick meal on the way out to small group:

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I had a delicious Costco spinach & feta chicken sausage fried up with broccoli slaw, an egg and some hot sauce! …plus a piece of ice cream cake too. 😉

9:00 pm: When I try to shut it down – screens off is my goal, but often it’s closer to 10 pm. Mikey and I might watch a show or read if we’ve got books on the go, and then hit the hay! Speaking of which, it’s time! 😉

Have a great weekend, you guys! And tell me – what do you do most days at 2 pm in the afternoon?!

Live well & be well,

Bonnie

 

 

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Hey guys!

Checking in during the middle of the week to see how everyone’s doing! How’s life? How’s training? How’s your heart these days? I know there are many walking through trials right now and others enjoying a great start to the New Year; just wanted to note how much I appreciate your stories and lives and am grateful for being able to share my story, with all it’s ups and downs, with you on this blog.

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On that note, and because it is a new year, after all, I thought I’d turn my attention to talk of habit change… The longer I train and the more I see people in all phases of their health journeys, the more I’m interested in the value of looking at your habits and living in a way that’s sustainable. Thankfully, I think people are slowly moving away from crash diets and fitness fads, but I think sometimes we still have this idea in the back of our minds that we need to lose a few pounds (or at least “we should…”) and I wonder how many of are still striving for fat loss rather than strength or health. A client of mine wants to lose about 15 lbs and is tall and 150 lbs…We chatted recently about how that’s actually a healthy weight! And if we want to pursue goals like getting stronger together we sure can; aesthetic goals are certainly not wrong but as long as she’s not attached to a scale number and she knows she is in a healthy range.

So what happens when, like my client, you want to simply look better? What if you want a more lean, chiseled appearance? That’s great! But keep in mind you need to be willing to do what it takes to get there. There’s a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. What are you goals?
  2. How motivated are you right now?
  3. How mentally tough are you?

When it comes to deciding what foods you want to eat or pass on, when it comes to whether or not you want to sleep in or get up to go to the gym, it’s important to be honest with yourself and ask the three questions above. I stumbled on these thanks to a video by Jeff Cavalier of Athlean-X about Cheat Meals (it’s so worth watching!). I love this guy! He’s honest, says it like it is, and is inspiring because he walks the talk!

One thing he says in the video struck me:

“It isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. If it was easy, everyone would be walking around feeling like they want to feel.”

…isn’t that profound but true?! We *know* this but we so often don’t really believe it. If this is your time to really make a change, take some responsibility and do what it takes to make it happen – it WON’T be easy!

Personally, I’m in a place where I’m not focusing on restriction or fat loss – just getting smaller all the time doesn’t interest me, and I’m grateful to focus on being strong and mobile and being able to keep up with the guys in the backcountry! But at the same time, it’s easy for me to think about how certain workouts will help me “burn off those extra Oreos” because it’s been a pattern of thought for too long. Breaking that habit takes time, and while my focus continues to be on my overall health in a much broader sense of the word, it’s still an effort to cultivate habits that move me in this moderate, more realistic and sustainable direction for my fitness and life.

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(at the hockey game where we enjoyed chicken wings and Mikey had a beer and I even had a diet Coke – very rare for me!)
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(taken yesterday post-workout)

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(what part of my diet includes weekly – my favorite Red & Black bites nearly every Friday)!

My focus right now is on nourishing my body with real food and enjoying bits of the fake stuff too, because that’s what I want in my life right now! Am I able to hike strong in the backcountry on my skis? What about complete 5 pull ups at any time? Run a half marathon just because it sounds good? Fit into that one pair of jeans that easily can get a liiiittttle too tight? These are my goals, and I’m not willing to make more restricted ones at this time (thinking back to the three questions Jeff asks above), and that’s okay! But I know that I can’t complain about my body or movement or food if I’m not willing to put the time in and make some changes.

…but it all starts with our minds and how we speak to and view ourselves!

Negative internal dialogue what might be what is holding you back as you look down another year:

“I can’t stick to a diet.”

“I can’t build muscle.”

“I’ll never lose weight.”

These thoughts impact us and create inaction in our lives! So let’s start with an awareness of what’s going on in our minds and how that’s powerfully affecting our actions and acknowledge it. Then, ask yourself why you’re saying those things.

WHY?

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Why CAN’T you stick to healthy foods? Why CAN’T you build muscle? Why CAN’T you lose weight?

Don’t let these thoughts creep into your head and start to change the course of your one-time motivated 2016. This doesn’t mean you can do or be anything you want to be or accomplish (my short, more muscular body will simply never look long and lean like Gwyneth Paltrow no matter how much I believe it!) But what if you started saying, “Why can’t I do it?” Or, as Jen Sinkler and her husband David ask, “Can I do that?” Big, big difference between those questions and the doubts above.

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Also of interest might be these articles:

An interesting one discouraging diets and detoxes entitled, “How to Relearn the Art of Eating” – there’s some great stuff in here!

How to create your own total body workouts; check it out here! (and thanks to my mom for sending this my way!)

I would love to hear your thoughts on your goals, your level of intensity and motivation right now (not what you want it to be, but right now!), your expectations of yourself, and how you’re feeling on a total body/mind/spirit level as 2016 is underway!

Stay connected via Instagram (where I’m sharing lots of short, effective workouts via video these days!) and Facebook and find me over at CityFit these days if you’re ever in Calgary. Live well & be well, friends,

Bonnie

 

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Hey guys! WOW…Long time no blog! It’s been since November, and lots sure has happened since then, but I never thought anything was exactly blog-worthy in terms of new fitness content, life updates or quality content, so I simply haven’t been blogging! But it’s been long enough that I wanted to check back in, partly because my blog is back on my fitness site, BonnieLangFitness.com! So, it’s a new year and a new blog, in a way! While I do a lot of work with young adult cancer survivors with our non-profit, Survive & Thrive Cancer Programs, and with Wellspring Calgary and their young adult program, my blog isn’t exactly cancer-specific, but more fitness, wellness and life-focused, so back we are!

So, officially, Happy New Year!

(Running on a frozen river near Jasper in my IceBug shoes – incredible!)

Since we last chatted, lots has happened! We went down to California for an unconventional Thanksgiving in California with my family in the desert. We rented two yurts and had a blast playing in the beautiful landscape near Joshua Tree National Park; I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

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It was just so good to all be together for Thanksgiving, and I think it will become a new tradition for me to head down at this time of year – Thanksgiving is just so special for Americans and it’s more nostalgic for me than Christmas! Great conversations, lots of sunsets and sunrises watched together, lots of games of catch and, as happens with my family, lots (and lots!) of coffee. 😉

I’m super thankful that my business continued cranking through December, so from the end of November through the end of the year I was back at CityFit crushing workouts with clients! In between Thanksgiving and Christmas break, there were icy runs, good workouts, lots of training clients, Star Wars (so good!) and routine days around Calgary. Before Christmas, Mikey and I took off for our annual backcountry ski trip together, which was…epic.

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We overuse that word easily, but it really was epic in all senses of the word! You have to watch the video for this one – it’s hard to describe hiking 30 km in one day to a hut (starting and ending in the dark) and the video captures me crying better than me writing about it. 😉

Yep! It was one hell of a trip. 8 years together and we tested our limits physically, mentally and emotionally – and came out pretty happy on the other end!

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Another great hut trip (this time to the Fryatt Hut near Jasper, Alberta) and some wonderful, unrushed, quiet and disconnected time in the backcountry.

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Then it was back to work! …and then back to break. We had a great time back country skiing with Mikey’s sister and her husband and had some fun skating, playing hockey, and enjoying time with Mikey’s parents too back up near Jasper in a hostel.

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Sadly, Mikey lost his phone (we think it fell out of his pocket at a gas station and someone stole it – went back afterwards and it was no where!) and so our footage of our sweet turns are also gone. 😉 But the memories are there! The conversations were great, the weather freezing (but sure makes you feel intense to be outside all day making turns) and the moments were meaningful.

We drove straight from the Beauty Creek Hostel to Invermere, British Columbia, where we were meeting up with friends for New Year’s!

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(Ash fell asleep with his son Sage and is therefore represented on New Year’s by the baby monitor :D)

We don’t always get to enjoy trips with friends because we are gone for our Survive & Thrive trips (which are awesome!) all summer, so having fun over holidays with these guys was such a treat! We had a kids’ house and a non-kids’ house, which was great for sleeping in and eating pancakes in our house. 😉 But hanging out with the kids was so fun! This is a group that we love and appreciate – they truly are our family in my home away from home. Over the few days we hung out, we cooked good food, played hockey, went skiing (Mikey and Ash did – and both got frostbite in the back country!), went skating/Ice Bug running, and played a lot of games!

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I even managed a rather impromptu half-marathon run in my IceBug shoes, clad in 2XU layers…seems to be how I run my half-marathons! I felt awesome and loved the movement after some backcountry ski days – something different always feels good for your body.

I love these people (and their kids!)… What a great few days celebrating New Year’s with a group of people (even a sleeping dad represented by the glowing monitor 😆); so grateful for community in Canada that feels like family.

In between all these trips, Mikey and I were back in Calgary working hard and both feel so grateful for work that we truly enjoy. I’ve had some of the fullest training days of my career and appreciate consistent clients so much! It felt great to work hard knowing we were away for our anniversary and New Year’s, and we came back to work this week feeling ready to get after it. 

I’ve been logging workouts on my Instagram and Facebook pages, so feel free to follow me there for some workout ideas and to stay connected – these days I seem to be most active on IG rather than anything else!

So…fill me in on your holidays! Were they traditional by your family’s standards? Solo? Memorable? Sometimes it’s a tough season and other times it’s filled with joy, but I hope you are finding beauty in your life even in small ways.

I hope you’re having a great start to 2016! Looking forward to blogging adventures and sharing fitness tips and inspiration with you again this year! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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Lately, I think I start every blog post out the same way: “Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve posted!” 😉 And it has been! To be honest, there are many great resources out there for you to learn about fat loss, hear the truth about building muscle, and be inspired with lifestyle change. Not that I want to turn readers away elsewhere, but the truth is I haven’t had much to stay. So I’m popping in today mainly to say hi, catch you up on my life lately, and encourage you with some words around Thanksgiving (for my American friends) and the holidays in general (for all readers). Shall we get to it?

Lately…

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I’ve been catching up on some continuing education credits for my ACSM personal training certification. Feels good to stay current and keep learning, even though I always seem to put it off!

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I’ve been exploring Calgary! This is just part of our group from Wellspring Calgary‘s Young Adult Program – we went out to the Calgary Opera! We saw Lakmé, which is the story of a Hindu Priestess who defies her father’s wishes to be with the handsome British officer with whom she falls in love. It opened in Paris in 1883, a time when the Orient was a place of mystery and intrigue to Western audiences (source), and while I found it a bit slow (how many times can they sing the same line before moving the storyline along?!), the experience was very cool and most people said they’d see an opera again!

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You guys know I’m running again, three days a week, to keep myself outside in the cold as winter starts bearing down on us here in Calgary. I also thought it would be good to keep my cardio up besides shorter, HIIT workouts, and so far it’s been feeling pretty good! But with the change in weather, I’ve been slowing my runs down due to lots of ice on the trails and streets. While this is not uncommon for Calgary, a friend noticed on Facebook that I was making my way through the ice on old (non-running) shoes and hooked me up with a pair of Icebugs! This shoe is AMAZING… Check this video out below:

From their website, this shoe is a “very light winter and trail running shoe for the driven runner. It follows the natural motion of the foot and helps adapting to moving in nature” (source). And you know what? The stability is amazing and I was LOOKING for ice to run on, despite how counter-intuitive it felt, because the shoes are that good!

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Although this is (clearly) a seasonal shoe, I will definitely get use out of this shoe during my winter runs, walks and slippery times in the icy parking lots before we go back country skiing! Here’s a little glimpse of me in action during Saturday’s 8 miler:

I’ve also been thinking a lot about training, body image and health lately. While that’s not new either, I’m always trying to keep my fitness and rest of life in balance as my priorities and body and life continue to shift from day to day, season to season, year to year. I have a post written in my drafts that I keep coming back to regarding my body and vulnerability, but when I sit down to write I’m either very happy and content with my body or thinking that I should alter it somewhat and switch things up – get more focused, disciplined, etc. It’s like a teeter-totter for me! I’m all about accepting your body, but sometimes I fear that in that “acceptance” and body love, I end up indulging in too many treats and becoming comfortable with a more relaxed, fuller, less lean version of myself. And perhaps that’s okay! But when I’m uncomfortable in my clothes and while moving/working out/living in my body, I know it’s not right. I’m not sure if it makes sense to others, which is why it’s a tough post for me to get out of my head and onto paper.

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I’m in this funny in-between state when it comes to my mindset and my body: I don’t want to focus on my body because I’ve been so happy seeing changes focusing on strength and health above all, not worrying so much about the shell that I’m in. I also love the movement in our society from now from focusing on thin women in media and the concept of weight loss and shrinking away as women to the shift of focusing on strong women. But sometimes I feel like this pushes me in the direction of being too relaxed about my body, and at the end of the day, still focusing on the same thing: mine and women’s bodies! It’s just a shift in focus. Joy and Claire of Girls Gone WOD just talked about this on their last podcast episode – definitely worth a listen!

On that note, here are two great posts that I thought you as readers would enjoy:

Ladies Edition: The Fastest Way to Lose Weight (And Keep it Off for Life) There’s a lot of good tough love stuff here and thoughts on staying the course and remembering that success isn’t linear – it takes times, goes up and down, and is about consistency over the long haul. Worth a read as we head into the holidays!

Also worth a read whether you’ve got Thanksgiving coming up or not (because either way, I know we have many Christmas parties already lined up on our upcoming weekends!) is this article from Josh Hills. In this post, he shares three different ways that you can react to weight gain over this season (specifically starting with Thanksgiving!) and what you choose to do will affect the rest of your year weight/fat-wise. Choose whichever option you want, but own it! …lots of good thoughts in: It’s Not Thanksgiving That Makes You Fat, It’s If You Act Like The Sky Is Falling.

There’s also a good body weight workout from Paige you can do before feasting Thursday! I’m NOT about working off calories or extra indulgences (why? because it doesn’t work! and you should be able to eat, celebrate and enjoy without thinking about how many burpees that piece of pie is!), but I don’t give up my workouts either because they keep me on track and help me feel great! Give this one a shot (more details at this link):

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And there you have it! Catching you up to speed on life (basically? Training, enjoying clients, lots of good time with friends and musing over the usual) with a few good links for your reading and applying pleasure.

Any Thanksgiving plans? We are heading to California for Thanksgiving and cannot wait! It’s going to be amazing – and a Joshua Tree yurt-renting adventure unlike any Thanksgiving we’ve had! Going off the grid and can’t wait.

Hope you find something useful from this post today and thanks for checking in! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

 

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Hey guys! How was your weekend? There are so many amazing, exciting things going on in life and also a lot of hard things I’m seeing in friend’s lives right now… So many ups and downs which is so hard, but I trust that God is right in the middle of all of it, caring for us though we may or may not see or feel Him. On that heavier note (life is heavy!), I thought I’d share some of the more fun highlights of my weekend, broken down day by day. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday: The Burpee Mile

I actually had a full day of clients on Friday, working until 6:30 pm (which, on a Friday, is late for me!) and had fun in the gym with people early in the morning and later all afternoon. But I had a big break in the morning and wanted to do something more epic for my workout. So…I decided to try my hand at a burpee mile again! I had done it before (see previous link) and had a great time (as great as it can be!) but that was a few years ago…I was ready to try it again, simply to see if I could do it. And…I did!

It was pretty tough. For some reason, on lap #2, I took my shoes off (hence the socks you see in the video above), which felt fine despite getting my feet a bit wet, but later I discovered a blood blister on my big left toe. Whoops! With each lap I did more burpees – my jumps were getting shorter and shorter as I fatigued! – so the numbers started racking up. Here’s what the breakdown was:

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Lap 1: 128 burpees

Lap 2: 133 burpees

Lap 3: 147 burpees

Lap 4: 137 burpees (got back in the groove a bit on the last lap!)

It was killer but I’m so glad I did it! The first time my shins and calves were sore; this time my upper body (chest AND back) but mainly quads were toast. Oh – and I beat my last time by 3 minutes! BOOM!

When’s the last time you did something that took serious dedication that you weren’t sure you could accomplish?

Saturday: Connecting

In the morning I trained a small group and two individual clients, hobbling around because of my sore body but happy to take a rest day. 😉 I even got to hang out with a little cutie while training her fit mom:

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(both mom and baby in action – too bad I didn’t capture both of their beautiful faces!)

It was a great morning and by the afternoon I was excited to be social in a different way with friends for the 3rd Annual Slater Ping Pong Tournament – it’s a pretty big deal. 😀

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Here we see Craig (this year’s winner!) playing with a handicap, “Fat Fingers,” Mandi his creative wife keeping score, and Jon ripping the ping pong ball back “Chinese Style.” Intense, I tell ya! Each person who plays brings a unique six pack of beer (only high quality allowed!) and then after each round you trade beers with your opponent:

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Pictured above: Mark (last year’s champ) and Mikey exchanging beers in a very “Good game, sir” kind of manner. We laughed hard at the random disadvantages each person had to play with and had a good time catching up with friends we haven’t seen in a while. It was a fun evening!

Sunday: A Day of Community

From an incredible message from International Justice Ministry to a great second service volunteering and meeting new people from different walks of life, Mikey and I were really encouraged Sunday morning at church. We then headed to Mikey’s parents’ place for lunch with his Uncle Brent and had a great time reconnecting and sharing life over a delicious chicken meal (thanks, Muriel!). The night ended with dinner at our friends’ house and we spent a few hours eating, laughing, connecting, and enjoying community.

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– – – – – – – – – –

It was a wonderful weekend. But in the midst of it, there’s been a lot of bad news in other communities we are a part of; a friend in the FitFluential community lost her 13 year old daughter this weekend; another good friend in the cancer community was diagnosed with another cancer and faces a major upcoming surgery; family members are walking through some tough things right now; a friend lost her just-born daughter and yet another friend’s husband is in the hospital. Right and left there are hard things going on, and it’s tough in these times to know why and to trust that God is good in the process. But He is, and the words of Chris Tomlin’s song, “Good, Good Father” encourage my heart right now and remind me that God IS good and that I AM loved by Him:

What a great reminder of truth. I am praying for those hurting and want to find more ways to be intentional to love others in my arm’s reach who are going through hard times.

Well, the snow has arrived and with it, the desire to be cozy at home but also to embrace the outdoors – I love this odd dichotomy! What my morning looked like when I woke up (Calgary tower peering around the corner of the building):

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What I did with my morning in between clients:

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It’s time for Heather‘s Virtual Run Club! Can’t wait to get out there and continue on my plan; intervals went well on this day 1 of my 8 week plan.

– – – – – – – – – –

I’d love to hear some snapshots about your weekend in the comments below! Love interacting with you guys and hope to hear more from you quiet readers. 😉 Also…would you ever complete a burpee mile? Sure, it’s killer, but it’s an incredible accomplishment that leaves you feeling empowered!

Live well & be well, friends,

Bonnie

 

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Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! I am trying to get this blog post up and then go to bed – it’s already past my time to shut my screens down and be getting ready for bed, and I have a full week coming up so I’m ready to wind down! But I wanted to check in and share not only a bit about my weekend, but some thoughts surrounding the habits we’re cultivating day in and day out. Stick around and dialogue a bit with me!

I recently stumbled upon Georgie Fear, a nutrition and habit change coach, through a random podcast. I loved her interview and searched for her, devouring what she had to say about habit change. I’ve realized that if I was to ever go back to school, it would be in the field of health psychology; I’m fascinated by what shapes our habits and how we can change those habits and what’s going on in our minds rather than just the outward changes we make (exercise and nutrition) when trying to get fit. She’s pretty great, and another Canadian (in Vancouver), so chances of connecting at health/fitness conferences and the like are more possible than many nutrition/fitness experts in the US. I’ve been reading a lot about her and love her blog and new book, “Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss,” both for myself but also for coaching clients (I haven’t purchased it yet, just been reading lots about the book).

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(source)

 

This idea of habits and habit change has been on my mind a lot lately, and I’ve been trying to practice better habits all week. No, I’m not overweight or on an upward trend in my weight, and I don’t binge or have terrible eating habits. But we all have those days in which our emotions take over, we get lazy in the kitchen, or we indulge too much and don’t feel great the next day, and I want to be stronger than those emotions and those days. Yes, those moments will always happen (in fact I make room for them with mindful indulgences!), but I’m forever wanting to practice healthy habits.

I’m working on one of Georgie’s 4 core habits right now: eating 3 meals a day. Sounds simple, right? But this means getting hungry enough to want that next full meal (ie: allowing yourself to feel some hunger) and then eating until you are satisfied. No snacks, no mindless munching while you’re making dinner or coming home in between clients and just want to grab a small bite to eat. This has been valuable because it’s revealed to me how much I really do snack when I’m NOT hungry – I might be bored or be tired when I *think* food is what I need but it might actually be a quick nap or more water. So that’s been fun to work on!

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(Lately: lots of spaghetti squash, some kind of meat, loads of broccoli slaw, and hot sauce!)

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A new-to-me vegan protein; I’ve bought the whey version of this brand but am happy to bring some plant-based sources into my diet as I have a protein shake maybe every other day.

It’s got me thinking about habits. Some people, after years of cultivating the habit of regular weight lifting, have muscles that just seem to stick around, regardless of their activity level (I’m lookin’ at you, mom!); others have committed many verses in the Bible to memory and are well-equipped to think of encouraging verses in their own lives or for others when they need it. Some people always drink water regularly or have practiced healthy habits and boundaries around alcohol, and never need to imbibe too much! It takes work, active work, but we can change our habits that are so ingrained in us one step at a time.

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(Tired 1 am – or maybe 2? – pizza in New York earlier this year after our first loooong day of walking all around the city until we were super hungry and exhausted; pizza never tasted so good and I didn’t regret this late-night choice in the slightest!) 

I always encourage my clients to choose one thing to focus on until they nail that goal; then choose another habit and continue moving on. Overhauling your entire life is too hard – it’s unstable and unsettling and can drive you crazy! But focusing on one healthy habit change before moving onto the next can help bring actual change whose results are sustainable.

One of the habits I need to change (WANT to, as well!)? Time spent listening to Jesus in silence, prayer and by reading the Bible. It’s amazing how many other things I make time for and neglect this one very important relationship in my life. Why is it so hard for me to sit down and be still? To spend time listening instead of asking; seeking Jesus’ face instead of praying for answers to prayer; getting to know Jesus through His Word rather than breezing through a chapter or two of verses I’ve read and glossed over, familiar with since my youth?

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It’s a pursuit, a life-long pursuit, so I know that my habits in any of these realms (fitness, nutrition; spiritual, emotional, relational; etc) will not change overnight, nor would I want them to, really. The fight, the learning that comes from growth through the struggle is worth it to see change. I wouldn’t want to be the same person in my fitness goals or thoughts about nutrition now as 10 years ago, or 20 years from now either! I certainly want to know Jesus more deeply every day, but I need to action on my habits in the meantime, starting with one small move at a time.

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What realm do you need to work on in your habits or helping to create habit change?Physical? Mental? Emotional? Spiritual?  

– – – – – – – – –

Some habits that are dialed in for me? Having fun on the weekends! 😉 I trained a few clients Saturday morning and got my own workout in with Zach at CityFit!

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We saw SUCH a great movie I cannot recommend enough later Saturday: The Intern. We went to a matinee (random and fun for something different!) with a friend who’s in town and I felt like this was a great use of a few hours; such a believable, real story that tugged at me the entire time. I’m an easy cryer, so don’t base anything off me, but wow I sobbed the whole movie. 😉

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Sunday we had a great morning at church (such a solid sermon!) and got the chance to see my in-laws and lots of friends; so grateful for good community! And then we watched a Nat Geo Live show at the Arts Commons building in Calgary – another great use of almost 2 hours! These shows bring fascinating people with amazing experiences to speak and share video clips and it’s a very popular and entertaining speaker series. It’s a chance to meet extraordinary explorers, filmmakers, and photographers who are both documenting and helping to preserve our world’s natural beauty (source), and Sylvia Earle, referred to as “Her Deepness” and a true pioneer of underwater exploration, did not disappoint Sunday. I was surprised to see an old woman, hunch backed and walking slowly onto the stage, when they introduced a woman of great accolades in the science and diving community but was immediately engaged and inspired by this fire cracker of a woman! Wow…it was an incredible experience to hear her speak about her travels and adventures and pursuit of helping restore the ocean, enjoying it herself, and helping others to dream big and dive in (literally)!

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Afterwards we met friends from our Grand Canyon trip for happy hour half priced tacos and margaritas at Anejo on 4th St. and enjoyed some time reconnecting and sharing stories!

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After this fun time, Mikey and I dropped a meal off for friends who just had a beautiful baby girl and got to connect for a bit with them and hear about all the life change (she’s only 8 days old!) and that was a beautiful finish to our weekend.

So fun? No problem there. 😉 More on the discipline side to come, but everything I ate this weekend was intentional and mindful, and I made room for it by saying no to other things. I got a fun workout in but also rest, was busy but also had a bit of downtime. Habit change – little by little. :)

Any highlights to share about your weekend? Lay ’em on me! I want to hear about them!

Live well & be well, friends, and make one healthy habit change today and commit to work on it all week!

Bonnie

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Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! I am trying to get this blog post up and then go to bed – it’s already past my time to shut my screens down and be getting ready for bed, and I have a full week coming up so I’m ready to wind down! But I wanted to check in and share not only a bit about my weekend, but some thoughts surrounding the habits we’re cultivating day in and day out. Stick around and dialogue a bit with me!

I recently stumbled upon Georgie Fear, a nutrition and habit change coach, through a random podcast. I loved her interview and searched for her, devouring what she had to say about habit change. I’ve realized that if I was to ever go back to school, it would be in the field of health psychology; I’m fascinated by what shapes our habits and how we can change those habits and what’s going on in our minds rather than just the outward changes we make (exercise and nutrition) when trying to get fit. She’s pretty great, and another Canadian (in Vancouver), so chances of connecting at health/fitness conferences and the like are more possible than many nutrition/fitness experts in the US. I’ve been reading a lot about her and love her blog and new book, “Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss,” both for myself but also for coaching clients (I haven’t purchased it yet, just been reading lots about the book).

Lean-Habits-Cover-400x600

(source)

This idea of habits and habit change has been on my mind a lot lately, and I’ve been trying to practice better habits all week. No, I’m not overweight or on an upward trend in my weight, and I don’t binge or have terrible eating habits. But we all have those days in which our emotions take over, we get lazy in the kitchen, or we indulge too much and don’t feel great the next day, and I want to be stronger than those emotions and those days. Yes, those moments will always happen (in fact I make room for them with mindful indulgences!), but I’m forever wanting to practice healthy habits.

I’m working on one of Georgie’s 4 core habits right now: eating 3 meals a day. Sounds simple, right? But this means getting hungry enough to want that next full meal (ie: allowing yourself to feel some hunger) and then eating until you are satisfied. No snacks, no mindless munching while you’re making dinner or coming home in between clients and just want to grab a small bite to eat. This has been valuable because it’s revealed to me how much I really do snack when I’m NOT hungry – I might be bored or be tired when I *think* food is what I need but it might actually be a quick nap or more water. So that’s been fun to work on!

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(Lately: lots of spaghetti squash, some kind of meat, loads of broccoli slaw, and hot sauce!)

IMG_8778

A new-to-me vegan protein; I’ve bought the whey version of this brand but am happy to bring some plant-based sources into my diet as I have a protein shake maybe every other day.

It’s got me thinking about habits. Some people, after years of cultivating the habit of regular weight lifting, have muscles that just seem to stick around, regardless of their activity level (I’m lookin’ at you, mom!); others have committed many verses in the Bible to memory and are well-equipped to think of encouraging verses in their own lives or for others when they need it. Some people always drink water regularly or have practiced healthy habits and boundaries around alcohol, and never need to imbibe too much! It takes work, active work, but we can change our habits that are so ingrained in us one step at a time.

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(Tired 1 am – or maybe 2? – pizza in New York earlier this year after our first loooong day of walking all around the city until we were super hungry and exhausted; pizza never tasted so good and I didn’t regret this late-night choice in the slightest!) 

I always encourage my clients to choose one thing to focus on until they nail that goal; then choose another habit and continue moving on. Overhauling your entire life is too hard – it’s unstable and unsettling and can drive you crazy! But focusing on one healthy habit change before moving onto the next can help bring actual change whose results are sustainable.

One of the habits I need to change (WANT to, as well!)? Time spent listening to Jesus in silence, prayer and by reading the Bible. It’s amazing how many other things I make time for and neglect this one very important relationship in my life. Why is it so hard for me to sit down and be still? To spend time listening instead of asking; seeking Jesus’ face instead of praying for answers to prayer; getting to know Jesus through His Word rather than breezing through a chapter or two of verses I’ve read and glossed over, familiar with since my youth?

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It’s a pursuit, a life-long pursuit, so I know that my habits in any of these realms (fitness, nutrition; spiritual, emotional, relational; etc) will not change overnight, nor would I want them to, really. The fight, the learning that comes from growth through the struggle is worth it to see change. I wouldn’t want to be the same person in my fitness goals or thoughts about nutrition now as 10 years ago, or 20 years from now either! I certainly want to know Jesus more deeply every day, but I need to action on my habits in the meantime, starting with one small move at a time.

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What realm do you need to work on in your habits or helping to create habit change? Physical? Mental? Emotional? Spiritual?  

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Some habits that are dialed in for me? Having fun on the weekends! 😉 I trained a few clients Saturday morning and got my own workout in with Zach at CityFit!

We saw SUCH a great movie I cannot recommend enough later Saturday: The Intern. We went to a matinee (random and fun for something different!) with a friend who’s in town and I felt like this was a great use of a few hours; such a believable, real story that tugged at me the entire time. I’m an easy cryer, so don’t base anything off me, but wow I sobbed the whole movie. 😉

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Sunday we had a great morning at church (such a solid sermon!) and got the chance to see my in-laws and lots of friends; so grateful for good community! And then we watched a Nat Geo Live show at the Arts Commons building in Calgary – another great use of almost 2 hours! These shows bring fascinating people with amazing experiences to speak and share video clips and it’s a very popular and entertaining speaker series. It’s a chance to meet extraordinary explorers, filmmakers, and photographers who are both documenting and helping to preserve our world’s natural beauty (source), and Sylvia Earle, referred to as “Her Deepness” and a true pioneer of underwater exploration, did not disappoint Sunday. I was surprised to see an old woman, hunch backed and walking slowly onto the stage, when they introduced a woman of great accolades in the science and diving community but was immediately engaged and inspired by this fire cracker of a woman! Wow…it was an incredible experience to hear her speak about her travels and adventures and pursuit of helping restore the ocean, enjoying it herself, and helping others to dream big and dive in (literally)!

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Afterwards we met friends from our Grand Canyon trip for happy hour half priced tacos and margaritas at Anejo on 4th St. and enjoyed some time reconnecting and sharing stories!

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After this fun time, Mikey and I dropped a meal off for friends who just had a beautiful baby girl and got to connect for a bit with them and hear about all the life change (she’s only 8 days old!) and that was a beautiful finish to our weekend.

So fun? No problem there. 😉 More on the discipline side to come, but everything I ate this weekend was intentional and mindful, and I made room for it by saying no to other things. I got a fun workout in but also rest, was busy but also had a bit of downtime. Habit change – little by little. :)

Any highlights to share about your weekend? Lay ’em on me! I want to hear about them!

Live well & be well, friends, and make one healthy habit change today and commit to work on it all week!

Bonnie

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Alright you guys, let’s be honest. Some days it’s easier to live a healthy lifestyle. Maybe we’re prepped in the fridge, have good foods ready to go for each meal, are pumped up about a new program, and feeling inspired about our lives. But other times… Well, other times we’re overtired, stressed, pressed for time, and possibly on your period (ladies). You know what? Those are times we might not think as rationally, make the best decisions or act emotionally.

Take Monday, for example. Ohhh Monday.

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Here’s what I posted on my Instagram and Facebook page about the above photo:

“Guys. Keeping it real here. 🙋I actually ate and drank what I quit well over the ‪‎Girls Trip in Palm Springs – even though I planned to splurge! But something was just off today… I still don’t like to classify foods as “good” or “bad,” but the main issue is that I chose sugary foods and ate well beyond my satiety levels today. It’s not bad that I had Oreo, licorice or cookie dough – just that I had a lot of all 3. 😉

I could choose to beat myself up about it or let this go on, but I won’t. Tomorrow’s a new day! I will NOT weigh myself, work extra hard or worry about it; I’ll fuel well, workout as usual and enjoy my day all the same. No biggie.

Side note: this flavour, bought on a real whim and impulse (unusual for me), is REALLY good. 🙌 ”

Okay…So, as it turns out, I got my period (insert light bulb emoticon right here)! Well that makes a lot of sense. [Also, check out Kara Corey’s recent video about how to handle eating on the week of your period.] Because cravings are the real deal, they happen each month to me, and yet they always take me by surprise – go figure. At any rate, I was feeling pretty full of sugar after this eating incident, and while Tuesday and Wednesday were much better, they still had some sugar in there. I could have beat myself up or criticized my body to death, but I’ve been choosing to structure my thoughts about my body in an intentionally positive way instead.

Period or not, this happens to us all – even my early morning clients yesterday said that they ate a lot of junk over the weekend – they “fell off the wagon,” in fact. How many times have you said that you fell off the wagon? I’m willing to bet it’s a lot, and that you also said, in almost the same breath, you would be getting right back on that wagon soon.

But here’s the thing… What is there is no wagon?

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Say what now? “But Bonnie,” you say, “Clearly there are good and bad foods; clearly there are times I’m on or off track and eating/living like I’m supposed to be…” Well, what if food is just food? An Oreo weighed in the same balance as a salad. I know it’s kind of crazy, but just think about that concept for minute.

I’m not saying that an Oreo has the same impact on our body as a salad, but perhaps that we could use some doing away with our connotations around foods as being “bad” or “good” and then how they relate to keeping us “on” or “off” the “wagon.”

It’s an interesting thought, to think of food as just food, and not worry about being on or off any wagon in our health journey. But what does a wagon symbolize to your health journey?

First of all, the idea of a wagon symbolizes that you’re either in or you’re out – there’s really no wiggle room in a little ol’ wagon. It’s like walking a tight-rope – not much space for gray areas there.

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I don’t think eating is that black and white, or that life is, for that matter. I’ve shared the idea ofprogress, not perfection before (check out my blog post here), and it’s something I still strive to focus on. That doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel with my moderation and choosing foods that will leave me feeling unsatisfied and discouraged, but rather that I’m not aiming for the stress that perfectionism can bring, but rather seeing positive growth and change along the way. Plus, if we’re all trying to be on the same wagon, what kind of standard are we trying to hit? No Oreos, ever (yes, not even birthday cake)? Well what if someone practices IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and eats Oreos as part of their meal plan? Are they off the wagon? And where do these standards of “healthy eating” and resulting bodies come from, anyways?

This doesn’t mean you throw your hands up in the air and forget about it. No way – you’ve worked too hard to let things go at this point – at least I have! But one night of eating won’t affect the rest of my week if I can help it, because it’s just part of my life.Now, others might indeed do well with this type of framework, but it’s just too restrictive for me and leads to more restriction, and that never ends well. Monday night wasn’t an example of me being off the wagon, but an example of giving in to cravings and eating too much of a tasty thing. Big deal. Move on. Food is food, and there is no wagon in my life anymore. Being on or off the wagon sounds an awful lot like dieting to me – you’re either on a good diet or off the rails with your eating or exercise habits. This is only one line of thinking about food and habits that isn’t sustainable – otherwise we’d not be jumping on and off so much!

If you’re struggling with your eating or with your discipline in the gym (we all do!), that means that you’re conscious of how you want to change and working on it – aiming for progress, not perfection, and that is a beautiful thing.

So…do you believe in the wagon? Here’s another article I just read about balancing hill sprints and donuts that I loved! Have you ever heard yourself or others reference this wagon? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!

Live well & be well, friends,

Bonnie

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