Self Care Sunday - Month End Reflection

Welcome back to another Sunday. I hope your week has gone well and you were able to take some time to yourself. 

Since we are only a couple of days away from a new month starting, this Self Care Sunday is about reflection and intention. 

In the yoga room we talk about noticing what happens in postures, be it what we physically feel in our bodies or what starts to happen in our minds as we move (or slow down).We may not be able to change these things when we first notice them, but as soon as we are aware then we can start the work. If we never take the time to reflect, how are to to become aware and start the work of change?

So let's sit down this week, or next few days before the new month starts and think about how it went. Reflecting on what has made us proud and what needs work. Setting intentions for what we wish for ourselves. 

Some suggestions to help you with this reflection:

  • Turn off your phone (starting to see my theme for these self care Sundays?)
  • Find a space you can be alone in the quiet. See my Self Care Sunday A Simple Bath for tips on finding this time and place alone. 
  • Bring a pen and paper.
  • Bring along music, candles or a glass of wine. Whatever helps you relax a little into the space.

Then we start to ask ourselves these questions

  1. What am I grateful for this month?
  2. What am I proud of?
  3. What is something I would do differently?
  4. What do I want to let go of?
  5. What do I want to add into my life?

This of course seems more simple then it really is. Trying to not get caught up on things that didn't go so well or planning to much on how our next month will go. As we ask these questions starting to pay attention to how we feel physically, mentally and emotionally about each question.  

For example, what am I proud of? Maybe you are proud you have started Self Care Sunday practices. You may feel pride, a sense of calm, the body relaxed and chest puffed out and open. 

Moving through these questions again without lingering too long on the sensations to dwell. If it help you can even set a time for 2 or 5 minutes once you ask yourself a question to come back to the next one. 

After we've spent some time reflecting, moving on to our intentions for the month. This isn't our goal planning. This is our intentions for how we want to be. "I want to move through my days with ease and peace", "I wish to find the positive in situations.". From there later on (another day) you can set goals to achieve these intentions, but for now we are just putting out there what we truly desire from life. 

Once we have sorted through our thoughts a little, taking a few moments to write down any thoughts or feelings. Journaling if that's something you do. This writing is whatever you feel you need to write down. Whether it is some goals or just how you feel. 

I highly recommend ending this with a yoga practice (youtubing is a wonder!) or a bath or anything else that makes you feel relaxes and at ease. 

I'd love to hear what some of your intentions are for the month. Share below or on the Facebook Page .

 

Love, 

Jen

Fitness Goal Setting

Goal setting. Seems simple enough right? "I want to loose weight"," I want to build muscles" or "I want to run a half marathon." Seem simple that think about something we want and boom it's a goal. 

But is it? Not to pull out all the cheesey fitness quotes but as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said "A goal without a plan is just a wish." 

So how do we set fitness goals? How do we make it a goal and not a wish, a real live attainable thing? Let's take it back to elementary school with how to solve a problem. Figure out the 5 W's and the H.

  • What? What is your goal? Do you have an event you want to race in, a weight/size you are looking to achieve? This I think is the easy part of goal setting of course. What do you want?
  • When? When do you want to achieve this goal by? Thinking something reasonable, maybe planning to run a marathon in 3 weeks and you've never run a day in your life is a bit too much too fast. But set some timelines of the things you wish to obtain.
  • Who? Who do you need to support you in your goal? Tell these people your plans. They can hold you accountable and/or help you with your goals. You might be surprised to find the people rooting you on and/or you inspire to do the same! Do you need a personal trainer or coach? Do you need workout buddies?
  • Where? Seems like an odd question, but in reality, where do you need to be in order to obtain this goal? Do you need a gym membership since home workouts and self motivation you know are a hurdle for you? Do you need to be able to run outside, do you have a place to do this?
  • Why? Ah, this is the tricky one. Think good and hard about why you want to obtain this goal. If you heart isn't really there, the love and joy of obtaining your goal likely won't. I wrote a bit about loving your personal fitness journey and it helping in this post Love Your Fitness . Take some time to sit and actually think about why you want to do something, because if it comes from this place of self hate or self loathing, you'll likely hate every minute. Taking an honest look at your feelings will help you use them constructively, instead of burying them inside a workout. 
  • How? Sit down and write out how. I'm a pen and paper gal, where if I write something down its official. Maybe you like spreadsheets of how often you plan to workout or what your nutrition will look like. Write it out, type it, print and put it somewhere you see often. A reference to look back on to see if you are on track, or a place to write what did or didn't work. Remembering sometimes our journeys take us different routes then we thought.

Now go and take action!!!! You have planned and prepared, go crush those goals!

Love, 

Jen

The Red Dress

In four months I will celebrate my 30th birthday. Not turning 29 for a second time, but fully embrace 30. Guns a blazing. Bicep guns that is.

Match 1st I started cutting calories for a 4 month process of shedding the "extra" I added this winter to see the muscles I've built underneath. Yep summer is less then 4 months away people! Let's get moving and shaking on those short shorts legs and sleeveless shirts.

I'm a very goal oriented person. If I have a goal, I will achieve it. So I set the goal of this beautiful red dress for my 30th birthday. I happened to be in a store looking for new boots and came to pass this dress. I stopped and just had to try it on. It fits, sort of. I can zip it up and all, but it just doesn't sit quite right and shows everything. I think I've ever only owned one of two red dresses in my life and I hardly wore them. Likely because red dresses scream "look at me" and I've always been sort of self body conscious. Lifelong body issues; certainly a post for another day. Red dress fits perfectly for this situation since my birthday is on Canada Day. Be color themed :)

 

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So, I have a motivational dress now. A goal to obtain. And a date to obtain it by. Sounds like most of us at any given moment? A bikini filled vacation booked, a wedding, a reunion and so on.

Going back to school days where we learned goal planning, let's see where I sit.

  • Goal - Smoke show for 30th birthday. Ha ha. I have a weight number, but I don't want to share it. Not because I care what anyone knows I weigh, but because MY bodies 100, 120, 140, 160 will look different then yours, his, hers or anyone else's. So make your own approachable and REALISTIC goal. If I can make a suggestion 0.5 - 1 lbs a week is a realistic goal. Expecting to loose 10 pounds in 2 weeks is not healthy for your body or your mind. Sustainable and steady is the way to go. Remember the tortoise and the hare?
  • End Date - July 1st 2015. My 30th birthday. Pick a date, for whatever reason/event.
  • Motivation and Commitment - The Red Dress. Trying on the dress monthly and taking pictures to see my progress. Keep imagining the red dress on the day I don't feel like the stairmill. Pick a motivational dress, outfit or whatever. A physical thing to look at is something I prefer.
  • Reminder to stay on track - Trying on the dress is a good one, but I like my Project people will be taking weight and pictures bi weekly, measurements monthly.
  • Plan - I have a plan for my caloric deficit (better term for "diet") and when I start adding cardio to my current workout schedule. I know this is where a lot of people struggle. They get lost in the "who, what, when and where" of fitness and nutrition. But even if you plan to workout so many days a week and commitment to one or two specific things nutrition wise, now you have a plan. One that you can measure your commitment.
  • Review and assessment - Reviewing my progress regularly (see weight, pictures and measurements) and assessing where I am in relation to my goal. This one can be hard to do for yourself. It may be hard to see progress because we see ourselves every day, and we judge ourselves on our failures a lot, especially when it comes to weight loss. So maybe your spouse or best friend wants in with you? Check in on each other and review progress. Keep each other motivated. (Tip: Can also be your support person at events and functions when people ask have that extra piece of cake or drink etc). Over the course of 4 months, things will need to change on how I reach my goal. As my body changes, I will need to keep reassessing how to stay on course. I still love that quote "Be stubborn about your goals, flexible about how you reach them"

Now my real "secret" to weight loss. I also bought a dress that I feel good in now. One that flatters my current body and I feel amazing in. With no event in the future exactly, but hey, who doesn't need a fun little black dress? But wait, why buy a dress that you likely might not fit soon? Because you need to love your body now. As cheesy as it sounds some of those fitness clichés are good tips. "I work out because I love my body, not because I hate it". Yep. If we view ourselves in a negative light now, do we think loosing a few pounds will be easier? If we have a little bit of self love and view the process as improving on something that's already great, do you think it might be a more enjoyable process? Be a little self centered and point out the good.

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Let me know your favorite tip for staying on track with your goals below!

Jen

The Project

I haven't come up with some clever name for this so "the project" it is. As I've finished my yoga teacher training, been working on my sports nutrition and competed in the fall I've gotten to have a good understanding of a lot of things related to the body and fitness. Above that I've also done a lot of research online and in numerous books.

So I've decided to take some test subjects and apply my knowledge and blog about their results/experiences and the process. I first did a call out on my Facebook for a volunteer, thinking nobody would want to let me blog about it. The response I got was flattering and amazing, so I picked three.

Vanessa

 

Vanessa

Vanessa is a fun social girl. 28 years old, was a competitive cheerleader in jr high, high school and leagues after high school for 3 years and also used to coach. She stopped cheering approx 4 years ago. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is currently working on her Masters of Counselling via distance with Athabasca University. Currently works out about 3 days a week mostly cardio and some strength training. AS she refers to it though she's been "lazy" with it and not pushing herself.

When I asked her why she wanted to be a part of the project here is what she had to say:

I want to do this project because I need that extra push to get me into shape. I am usually pretty good at eating healthy and using my will power, but it is easy to veer off track. I also like having someone who is knowledgeable plan meals so that I know I am eating properly. I have been working out for a long time. I used to do crossfit, but they no longer have that at my gym. Therefore since switching gyms, I have been a bit "lazy" and not feeling up to making myself work hard, therefore, this will give me that push and make me fulfill this project! I am also all about challenging myself, and I know this will be a huge challenge.

Vanessa's goals are to loose 12 lbs and look great for a trip in March. She uses her goal weight number based off the last time she felt really good.

Jenn

 

Jenn is one hard working super mama. She has a full time job, two young kids and a busy life. She has lost 35 lbs on her own since the spring. She is training for a half marathon this spring, a half iron man, long bike ride and 4 triathalons!!

When I asked her why she wanted to be a part of the project here is what she said:

I've been thinking about getting a trainer but cost is sometimes an issue. So I opted instead this year to get a triathlon coach as I thought that would be good start. But to have a fitness trainer that can help me focus on strength and nutrition will be a huge asset.

Jenn's goals are to loose another 35 lbs and to be in a size 8 or less pant. She says she wants to be lean and strong.

Dylan

 

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Dylan is a pretty physical guy used to play lots of hockey and still plays baseball. He is in the construction industry so his job can be physically demanding most of the time. Dylan usually works out at the gym 4-6 times a week, weights for an hour and cardio for 45min to an hour.

When I asked him why he wanted to be part of the project here is what he said:

Well i have been thinking about talking to a dietitian for awhile now and then it just so happened you needed a guinea pig. (Ah men, so few words. ha ha)

Dylan's goals are to loose 25-30 lbs and be down a pant size. This goal weight number is when he felt really good.

I had each of them take their weight, pictures and measurements, gave them a meal plan based of the calories/macros they need. I calculated these numbers based off of their weight, goals and activity levels.

I sent them all this first letter with some additional instruction on what to drink, supplements to take etc.

So the plan is that you will follow the diet plan for two weeks. I know it might be boring eating the same thing for two weeks, but its the easiest way for me to make sure the macro numbers I gave you are correct, and get a good reading of how the meal timing etc works for you.

After the two weeks, we will be starting to swap meals out for similar macros. So when you are preparing your food, please weigh on a food scale if at all possible (this applies to things that you will see with grams next to it) and log it into my fitness pal, for a few days at least to get the idea of how logging works. When you pull up an item you will be looking at the three main macronutrient components. Fat, Carbs and Protein.

Eventually we will have you swap out foods and meals for similar macros. So say you have chicken, salad and bread on your plan, you find out that the local Tim Hortons chicken sandwich has roughly the same macro makeup (carb,fat and protein amounts) you can have that instead. You all have a small treat at the end of your day. This treat fits the macronutrient profile you need, but because of the other foods you've eaten throughout the day your fiber and micronutrient profiles are fullfilled.

Ever heard of the quote everything in moderation? Well this is exactly it. Your little treat is in moderation. It may be hard at first to have a bag of Oreos or whatever your treat is, in the house. You may normally never buy these, because when you do you sit and eat a whole row or whole bag. Then, what normally happens is some sort of guilt associated with eating these foods. This project is more then just loosing weight or whatever your goal is. It's to help develop a better relationship with food and those foods we think are so evil. Everything in moderation also applies to healthy whole foods. Many of us get on the healthy eating train and a few days later eat a food we think is not considered healthy or "clean" and fall off our plans. Eating whole healthy foods is certainly best, but for mental health and to satisfy our taste buds we can also have treats.

Sometimes we get off track on things and eat things we arent suppose to, or some even under eat. Both are not great habits. Both are also very hard to break. So we may have slip ups and that's okay. We forgive ourselves and move on, staying on track the next meal. Please just let me know when this happens. Macronutrient counting is sort of a specific science so if you over eat or dont eat enough I need to know how its reflecting your weightloss or inches numbers. I promise you wont upset me or dissapoint or anything like that! That said of course, please stick to the plans as much as possible, this only makes your results that much better and faster.

Don't be frustrated by numbers on the scale. This is only one measurement we use. Generally most of us are more concerned with inches. But again, the scale is another hard habit to break.

Please enjoy the journey reading! Let me know in the comments what your goal is and why!