Category: Food


Hello, blog world! I know in the past few months I wasn’t as consistent in posting… I think my readership has dropped off because of it but if anyone’s still kicking around, I want to wish you a happy Canada Day and happy Fourth of July!
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It’s been another full week of training, enjoying s’mores with the neighbors (since school’s out for summer, baby!), and prepping for that time again – adventure time! Summer is here, and that means more Survive & Thrive Expeditions – for the 8th summer in a row. It’s hard to believe Mikey and I have been running trips for this long, and we are so thrilled for the connections, community and fresh experiences with a new group to come in the next few months. Saturday we leave for the Owyhee River, one of our absolute favorite trips, and go from that kayaking trip to the Yampa River in Colorado for a second inflatable kayak trip, this one with friends from university. It’s going to be a fun-filled few weeks.

As I prepare to leave, there are several main considerations on my mind:

My heart: On our trips we have a unique opportunity to love others in a real way – to listen authentically to those being vulnerable enough to share their stories and give them space to process their lives. This requires me to lean heavily into Jesus! Because I cannot love and listen and live well on my own strength. My mom sent me The 30 Day Praise Challenge book that I’m loving by Becky Harling and the simple act of praising, not just asking God for things (like strength or for the trip to go well or for my focus to be on others, but simply praising God) turns the focus from myself to God, and it’s been such a good way to prepare not only for our trips but for every day!

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My body: I’ve really been enjoying following a training plan (that I am doing with Mikey; John Romaniello’s Omega Body Blueprint) and eating according to my Eat to Perform macros. I’ve been feeling stronger and fitter than ever, maintaining my physique while eating carbs and drinking wine (although that’s only about 1-2 glasses a week) and also learning to eat just enough and keep myself in check more than I was a few weeks ago.

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(Having good gear helps you push hard in the gym, don’t you agree?! Pictured above: Adidas Stella McCartney Capri Trainers and my new favorite, lightweight Under Armour Run Streaker Women’s Tank).

I’m grateful for the focus I’ve had that has been simultaneously deliberate and yet seamless in terms of programming into my life, but now I’m entering 2, almost 3 weeks of no My Fitness Pal, no food programming, no official workouts, and eating at the whim of the guiding companies with whom we’re adventuring… So, am I stressed? Anxious? Nope! Here’s why:

My life is more than my body, my muscles, my progress, or my LOSS of muscle, progress and structured eating! Life happens, and I wouldn’t trade these weeks on the river for anything! I know I will likely lose muscle and perhaps gain a bit of fat, but I’m also moving all day in a less intense way but for more hours, and that kind of evens itself out. Plus, I’m doing it with people who will soon become good friends and the focus is no longer just myself. When I’m in my routine, it’s great to focus on fueling properly and training hard because I love it, but when I’m not in my routine I can enjoy those hard-won muscles and use them; I can get after life OUTSIDE the gym! Isn’t that what it’s all about anyways? I #SweatBetter IN the gym so I can go live life to the fullest outside of it!

And my only other concern? Whether or not my nails are going to keep their fun color over the weeks on the river. 😉

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And with that, we’re off on a few adventures! I look forward to reconnecting when I’m back, but it’s going to enjoy being disconnected for a while. Live well & be well, and enjoy your celebrating this weekend!

Bonnie

 

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Hey you guys! It’s been a bit since I updated you on life after sharing about our new house, which is still amazing! I’ve done another load of laundry and need to cut the grass again with my push mower, we still don’t have furniture, but nothing else new besides that thus far. 😉

I have had a change since I last wrote though – I had a birthday! I turned 31 on Monday and felt extra loved all day with text messages, phone calls, Facebook posts, some cards and just a light, joyful spirit that God gave me that day. Mikey and I had a great workout together; here’s a snippet of the ending:

And I made us take a selfie afterwards and Mikey didn’t even fight it, because, #birthday. 

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And I enjoyed training my clients, who always work hard and are generally just pretty awesome. 😉 The in between clients I’d planned to get a pedicure, but one of my clients beat me to the salon and pre-paid for my pedicure! Can you believe that? It was such a gift and I felt so pretty afterward!

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After work we had our final business networking group meeting before we break for summer and went out to BLANCO Cantina on 17th Ave in Calgary and I enjoyed two margaritas, a half order of the chicken burrito, some guac (a must at Mexican!) and some salad – it was delicious after I hadn’t had much food that day!

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BLANCO was great; I’d always wanted to go so while it was technically for our last meeting (which is always more of a celebration than a typical meeting), I felt very loved with birthday greetings and the chance to hang out with some awesome people whom I look up to as entrepreneurs and good friends!

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(thanks for the pic, Amber!)

We had a great time catching up and lingered for a while, which was nice (I’m always thinking about my early mornings with clients but I just relaxed and enjoyed the bright sky and long nights we’re having as summer is here) and around 9 pm we parted ways. But what was missing on my birthday? Some ice cream! So Mikey and I hit up another local favorite spot, Village Ice Cream, for a tasty night cap:

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Later on, Mikey gave me a gift card for eyelash extensions (I mentioned them a few weeks ago for our summer trips – thought it would be fun since I’m always make-up free on them) and I can’t wait to get them! Any tips for me if you’ve had them before? We are also going on a mini-adventure this Friday (where we go out after work, hike up a mountain, sleep there, and then come down back to the city before lunch time Saturday!) and he has planned out a fun location that is top secret. A great way to celebrate!

In other news, I’m re-certified as a CPR provider (although I sure hope I never have to use it!) and had a pretty relaxing weekend besides my course and some housework.

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I also went to church on Sunday while Mikey was working (he taught a digital story-telling workshop for two days) and I was so encouraged by the message. As I turn another year older, too, I’m a bit more reflective, so join me in thinking a bit about who we are – our identity. Our pastor began a new series called “Perspectives” based on Jesus’ Beatitudes, and in the first week of this series he referenced where Jesus speaks about two groups of people: those who have NOTHING and those who have EVERYTHING. Well-versed in the Bible or not, you are probably somewhat familiar with the passage of Scripture from Luke 6:20-26:

Then he [Jesus] looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you[a] on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

Jesus does it again – being so counter-cultural and saying that it’s not those who have food and are well-fed (think: comfortable in life), are wealthy (think: secure) and are laughing (think: sneering at others as per the translation), but those who are the exact opposite of that! Jesus attaches blessings and woes to both sets of people, which is interesting because our culture loves to look for success stories – the “started from the bottom now we here” kind of story.

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We love stories about people rising from the ashes, coming from nothing, or overcoming a challenged or rough upbringing and then succeeding. The wealthy, the comfortable, the winners – those who are powerful and accepted – those are the ones we look up to! But Jesus flips this idea on it’s head and says it’s really the other way around. Why? Because those who have nothing depend on Jesus, look to him for their source of security, for their value, for their identity, not their lifestyle around them. In other words, when Jesus is all you have, Jesus is all you need. I don’t need to be worried about disaster striking, cancer coming back into our life, Donald Trump becoming president, or something happening to my family or to my business – because my hope does not lie in those things.

Now…don’t think that because you have a nice car or a retirement plan that you’re “out,” or that if you’re a college kid living on top ramen with $20 in the bank that you’re “in!” What matters is where your identity lies – do the external things of your life make you feel secure or is it in Jesus? It’s a hard question to ask, and a tough one to truly be honest about – we can say we’re not identifying with the things around us, but what about when they are taken away?

“Your identity establishes your lifestyle” – that’s one of the things that Pastor James said on Sunday and is worth dwelling on, especially as I turn another year older. I’m reminded that when comfort, satisfaction, and STUFF become what we live for, they define us, and ultimately disappoint us. With recently moving and de-cluttering, living with less but simultaneously being entrusted with more, and desiring to set my heart upon Jesus more and more with each passing year, I am reminded that I need to continually lay down the trappings of my identity daily before God. If he chooses to take everything away, what is left of me? If grief comes and I am no longer laughing but mourning; if I am hurt and can no longer work as a personal trainer to others or train my own body and my health fails; if poverty strikes and we are down to one income or must forfeit what we own; if my trust and identity are in Jesus I will be fine because HE defines me and not these things. What a great reminder on my birthday! And I hope it is a good reminder for you, too, wherever this word of conviction, curiosity or encouragement finds you.

So… Three questions for you:

  1. Have you experienced a timely reminder lately in your life?
  2. Have you ever struggled with or thought about your own identity in the way that I am above?
  3. …and if you could eat anything on your birthday, what would it be?! (Mexican and ice cream of some sort for me – which is what I had!)

Have a great week and stay updated on Instagram and Snapchat (username: buff bon) to follow my #SweatBetter tips and adventures with SportChek!

See you around the inter webs this week… 😉 Live well & be well,

Bonnie

 

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We all know that in order to be healthy – truly fit and able – we need keep the long game in sight, keeping your life in perspective. But when we’re working on something specific, like a goal that’s focused with an end date or a goal that’s aesthetic like growing your biceps or losing a dress size, it can be hard to keep a bigger perspective in mind. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Last week I went to workout after a rest day. It was Friday and I was excited to workout before the weekend, but when I changed into my workout clothes and started warming up, I simply had no energy. I was disappointed because I had rested the day before and didn’t want to throw in the towel for my workout, so I gave myself a few minutes and, eventually, felt able enough to continue, just at a scaled pace. When I finished, I thought, “Better than nothing!” and didn’t sweat it. Later that dad I chatted with another trainer who mentioned his workout wasn’t the greatest that day and we bonded over our joint half-assed workouts. 😉 He said he gave himself a set or two, noticed the fire wasn’t there, and packed up and left! Geoff mentioned that it’s totally fine to listen to your body because fitness isa game of decades, not minutes – we’ve got to keep the long-term perspective of health in mind.

The game of fitness isn't a game of minutes. It's a game of decades and a marathon, not a sprint,

But the reverse is also true, we agreed: know when to call it day and allow your body to rest, but also know that when your body is ready to go, hit it hard and get after it! Both sides of the coin are true, and we certainly need to keep moving and pushing ourselves even when we don’t feel like it, choosing healthier foods when more convenient but less healthy ones are available, etc. I love that there’s a place for intensity and a place for rest, and that’s because it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Sometimes when we’re working towards our ideal body, we lose sight of that bigger picture. I totally believe that aesthetic goals are fine – they have there place, they motivate us, and who doesn’t want to look and feel better? – and that there’s nothing wrong with wanting abs (right, Paige and Kindal?), but I encourage you to keep the bigger picture in mind. You’ve heard it before but maybe you need to be reminded of it again: one day of a missed workout (or heck – even two weeks!) or day of poor eating won’t significantly alter your physique just like one week of solid workouts and salads won’t give you the perfect body.

That being said, are you really working towards what you want? Sometimes we need a bit of encouragement to push a little harder. This quote says it best!

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Hmmm… Is that convicting to anyone? We can’t gripe about the body we don’t have (or, in that bigger picture, the health we don’t have, the fitness to keep up with our kids or the sleep to function at our best) if we aren’t working towards it, eating better, making sleep a priority. You get where I’m going with this. 😉 We all need sometime to kick our butts into gear from time to time!

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Lately I’ve been thinking about the long game and grateful that I’m able to move in a way that bring me joy, challenges me, and also gives aesthetic results! I’ve been eating more (especially carbs and especially on workout days!) and feeling like my muscles are happy about it!

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(sorry for the blur – both are post-workout and I was shaky from lifting!)

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I occasionally eat donuts, as pictured above, and licorice, but most often eat lean meats, a ton of greens and veggies, a daily banana (one of my favorites!) and try to only eat what I really want (i.e.: no mindless snacking if it’s not serving me). I am tracking my calories and macros in My Fitness Pal (you can follow me here!) for accountability and enjoying the process – it hasn’t lead to me restricting (quite the contrary, as you can see above!) but that with my studying Precision Nutrition has lead to a greater awareness of the bigger picture while simultaneously seeing changes in my physique.

I recently saw a menu of a weight loss retreat centre that only had about 1,250 calories on it, and for a place that’s meant to be one where you work hard and sweat all day, I was shocked! Your body needs more fuel! So another part of this idea of the long haul is saying no to gimmicky diets or anything that restricts so badly that you inevitably bounce back (and sadly, often gain more weight than before). Fuel your body well not just for better results right now (don’t believe me? ask my clients! eating more and feeling and looking better!) AND for the future – we want sustainability in your change, friends! Not something that is ultimately short-lived.

Challenges from friends like Kindal (I linked to her abs challenge above – and need to send her my accountability pics!) help me stay on track when it could be easy to just be so-so in my efforts. It’s an interesting balance between going hard and also pulling back for that bigger picture, especially because as a Christian my body is secondary to my heart and soul! It’s just a piece of the puzzle, but it’s fun to play with and continue to tweak.

Do you walk this line well, or are you more of an all or nothing person with fitness and nutrition? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic of pursuing aestethics while remembering the bigger picture – do you think they are synonymous or not?

Just some thoughts for you as the week begins – keep the marathon in mind, have fun along the way and wash every bite of donut down with some chicken and veggies. 😉 Have a great week ahead, friends! Live well & be well,

Bonnie

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It’s a new day and another beautiful one here in Calgary – spring has definitely sprung and I’m loving the warmer air in the mornings when I walk out to my car, the evening warmth as the sun goes down (seems to be the warmest part of the day!) and the buds that are slowly showing themselves around the city!

Yesterday in my blog post I reflected on busyness and rest, and today I wanted to share a few thoughts on food.

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Over the years I shared about different programs I’ve done and different plans I’ve tried like the 21 Day Fix, Advocare Challenge, dabbled in juice cleanses (sorry that the photos were lost in the posts when my blog transferred! :(), and recently was asked to do another program. I see quick fixes like this all the time on Instagram, websites, in ads on Facebook, and you know what? I’ve finally decided to swear them off. There’s nothing wrong with participating in a program that focuses on real food, but when there’s an element of restriction (like no dairy, grains or sugar on the Whole 30), even if it’s only for a period of time, it’s really not sustainable. More and more, I’m interested in eating and living in a way that I can sustain for the rest of my life, not just until a set time period is over. Again, those challenges are fine, and most people see change on them, but they mess with my mind, make me want the banished foods more, and I always return to my same weight and body composition once it’s all said and done.

I was also practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF) for quite some time, and while it did work for me (and I love Brad Pilon, linked just above!), I’m starting to think about my body in a bigger health perspective, like looking at my hormone health and my insides, not just my outsides. I think I was using IF as a way to restrict myself so that later I could justify an entire bag of licorice or not worry so much about what I was eating because I had fasted all day. Again, it can definitely work for you, but reading this article made me realize I *could* be headed down a road I didn’t want to travel, so I decided to pull the plug a few months ago.

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(Back to breakfasts and it feels so good!)

What’s funny is I never considered myself to be a dieter – I was always focusing on real foods and not doing anything crazy like just drinking lemon water and cayenne pepper – but the truth is that behind it all I was still wanting to lean out, to lose body weight and appear more cut. I finally decided to stop with the fat loss mentality and focus on my strength. While my workouts still need help to get me in a muscle-building vein of movement (I would like to do more heavy lifting but right now I’m holding steady at about 3-5 total body strength workouts a week), my food is now focused on eating to fuel my body and without obsession!

Enter: Eat to Perform.

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I have followed ETP for a while online with their podcasts and emails and really like the concept of eating to fuel your performance. It’s very different than the “less is more” concept for eating and especially for women. I decided to sign up for a few months, get my macros set for me, and see what others thought in terms of where I should be if I want to build muscle in terms of my macros (carbs, proteins and fats). Here’s a quick snapshot of my starting numbers and where I’m trying to increase to in a few weeks:

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(hopefully you can read that – had to take a small screenshot to get it all in!)

 You can see that I’m eating quite a bit! And you know what? No weight change! I’m eating more, am more mindful of getting enough protein and carbs (yep! you read that right) and don’t feel afraid of any foods. I wasn’t before, but now I’m eating in a way that fuels my workouts and isn’t based on making my body move while I’m fasted. I feel stronger, my muscle definition is great, and while I would still like to lean out a bit (yep, that urge is still there!), I’m excited about how I’m doing in terms of eating well. While I’m tracking I’m not always hitting my numbers exactly (it’s tough for me to stay low on fats, but I feel better when I’m not eating too much, as it’s easy for me to be in the 70+ grams of fat a day phase!), I’m slowly working my way up and feeling good about it! Now to get my training to match so that I’m really putting those calories to use!

I’m not an affiliate but I love the program, the massive (HUGE!) resource guide that is given when you pay, and the online forum – both on Facebook and on a separate app – that offers support and tons of info and access to coaches. There’s also group coaching available but right now I’m soaking up everything and very happy I’ve joined this community. It’s only $29.95 and I would highly recommend it for freedom from food and if you want to change your focus to being, as they say, a more capable human!

Last week I also took the plunge and signed up for Precision Nutrition! I can’t believe it and am excited to add this amazing program to my credentials to help better understand, listen to and coach clients. When it comes to nutrition, I’ve learned over the years that there’s NOT one-size-fits all and that every body is so different out there – both composition, genetics, habits and preferences – and it’s okay to change the way you eat and view food. I’ve changed! And will continue to change.

So that will do it on my reflections on food today! What style are you eating in right now (or is it not even a “style”)? What’s the best thing you’ve eaten in the last few days? I think my glass of wine last night + breakfast of brussel spouts, greens, eggs, goat cheese and sweet potatoes is top of my list right now. 🙂

Live well & be well, and catch you guys later!

Bonnie

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(me and my banana – one of my favorite post-workout eats – after yesterday’s workout!)

 

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Last weekend our church wrapped up a series called “40 Days in the Word” in which we dug into our Bibles daily and learned different methods of studying Scripture. I wasn’t quite sure how the series would wrap up, but I was so encouraged by the sermon on Sunday that I wanted to share with you guys, especially because, like everything in life, I think it applies to your fitness journey, too!

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Brad Young spoke about how to remain in God’s Word. The question was after committing to reading our Bibles, how do we keep it up moving forward? Brad brought us to Psalm 1; below are the first 3 verses:

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

What’s interesting (and something I’ve never thought of) is that the first thing the author says about how to be blessed is by saying DON’T do these things. So after saying NOT to walk in step with the wicked (make life decisions like them), stand with them (live like them) or sit with them (where we stay most comfortable – our home isn’t ultimately here, it’s in Heaven!), we are given a positive way to live. I love this because negative reinforcement isn’t always a great motivator, is it? We must DELIGHT in God’s law (the Bible) and meditate on it day and night.

Okay. Sounds simple enough. Find delight in the Bible. But HOW do we delight in God’s Word when there are so many other flashy things and distractions and instant interests all around us? The root of finding delight isn’t in being more disciplined in reading or studying but in pursuing the one behind the delight; it’s about falling in love with Jesus and realizing that He delights in US! Here’s an example of what I mean:

When I think about what I really delight in, aside from family, Mikey and movement, I really delight in going to movies. I anticipate what we’ll watch, love when the lights go down, look forward to the previews as I begin to eat my candy and enjoy settling in when the story begins. I go to movies and spend money and time on them because I delight in them – it’s as simple as that! So it makes sense that if you actually delight in God in terms of your relationship, you’ll want to be with him, and want to read His word since that’s how we get to know God! When there is a delight there is a FREEDOM; as Brad shared, delight is the opposite of duty and indicates pleasure.

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Freedom!

Think about it – who do you want to be around most in your life? People who love you! What really struck me about staying in God’s Word from the sermon was this idea that we need to know we are loved and delighted in by God in order for us to delight in Him! 1 John 4:19 says it best: “We love because he first loved us.” Knowing that God truly delights in me fuels me to want to be with Him, and it’s a reminder that as Christians, we don’t live directed by duty but by relationship. This originates with a changed heart and knowing we are loved by God and then bleeds into the rest of our lives in terms of how we live.

I wonder if it’s the same in our fitness journey? You might grind yourself into a pulp in the gym or beat yourself up for eating some cake “off” your meal plan but are’t you just working from a place of negative self-motivation?

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Let’s change that paradigm. What if you worked out and nourished your body with real, nutrient-dense foods because you loved yourself? What if you enjoyed movement and the occasional piece of cake without hating yourself afterwards for how your body jiggles and for enjoying that sugar? There is so much freedom in pursuing a healthier body and lifestyle when you’re doing it from a place of self-love. [And remember, accepting yourself and moving towards health aren’t mutually exclusive; you can do both at the same time!] Saying you embrace who you are doesn’t mean you’ll throw out all your healthy habits and eat a bag of chips; it means you’re not disciplining yourself to workout (or eat well or read your Bible or meditate, etc) but rather moving, eating, growing and living from a place of love.

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Do you know that you are even delighted in and loved? Do you really believe it? And IF you believed it, how would that affect the way you workout, you think, you talk, you interact with others, you LIVE?

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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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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 of progress, 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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