When life takes you out at the knees

Have you ever had those weeks/months where you look at the world and life and ask yourself what the hell is going on?

Life has a way of happening all at once. In the last month it has been a whirlwind of highs and lows.

With all of the environmental catastrophes, while we’re lucky to have not have impacted us directly, the amount of people that have been affected gives me all the worries. Particularly the fires in Southern Alberta, while luckily no human lives were harmed during this event, Waterton is my second home and it pains me to see it effected so.

As well, sadly, Last week we also lost a family friend, my sister’s best friend that she knew since childhood lost her battle with cancer at the age of 34. We are all thankful to have known her and will continue to bring her along in our adventures, but miss her dearly. My heart hurts not only for the loss of her incredibly beautiful spirit, but also for her family who now have to learn a different life.

This week was also a week where so many more lives were changed. Edmonton, experienced what they are calling a terrorist attack. Luckily no one was critically injured but it shook our city to the very core. And then monday morning the world woke up to the realization that so many lives were changed forever when a shooter opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, ending 59 lives, including 4 Canadians and wounding countless others. To top it off, the same Monday the world lost Tom Petty, one of my favourite artists of all time.

Amongst all of this, the happy news is that I became an Auntie, with the welcoming of my niece, born on September 11th in Singapore. I have not had the opportunity to meet her yet, but happily receive all of the pictures that are sent.

To add more stresses to the experience, after months of going back and forth, and weeks of serious deliberation, I decided to leave my job at a company that I love and have been with for almost 7 years. While I love the company, I have decided that I needed another challenge, something different, new goals. I have accepted a position at a different company in a whole different industry, where I will have the opportunity to learn a whole bunch of new things, and put myself outside of my comfort zone.

All of this has happened in a few short weeks. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. Mentally, Physically, Emotionally.

So why am I telling you all of these things? For a few reasons. As an excuse to say why I’ve been so MIA over the last few months. Exhaustion has taken over my life. But also to show you that life happens. So many things aren’t in our control, but there are some things that still are. Taking care of yourself is one of those things.

Taking care of yourself can be encompassed in a few different ways. The decision to make this change has ripped me out of a depression. I am sad for so many reasons, but I’m no longer in a state of despair. I feel like there is something to work towards, something to learn, something to challenge myself. None of that has to do with the company that I am soon to be leaving, but just the state that I was in. Sometimes you need to make a dramatic change and see where it takes you.

Taking care of yourself is also about eating well, fueling your body with foods that make you feel good both inside and out and not depriving yourself. If you force yourself to be in a state of deprivation you will only stress yourself out further. On the flipside, If you feed your body nothing but crap, your body will respond in the same manner.

Taking care of yourself is about moving your body. The thing that has saved me over the last few weeks is being able to work out. I have scheduled a workout in 4-5 days a week, plus walking the dog. I did my first unassisted pull up which a very coordinated (…not so much) happy dance followed. Without that outlet, I don’t know where my mind would be. Move your body. It may be the last thing that you want to do, but it is one of the most important pieces to keeping a healthy body and mind.

Taking care of yourself is spending time with people (or animals) that you love. Lean on your people. You don’t need to force yourself to be happy but just be with them, or talk to them if you can’t physically be with them. Those people will light up your life and help you sort out all of the bullsh*t going on in that mind.

Taking care of yourself is getting sleep. I almost always prioritize my sleep. Almost at annoyance to others – I’m that person that goes to sleep early, even when others are ready to party. Being well rested can reset your clock, helps you digest your food better, helps you think better, helps you exercise better, helps you make better decisions.

Life happens, sometimes all at once. But that doesn’t mean that you need to stop.

All the love my friends. To you, to your families, to your friends and to this earth we are lucky enough to spend our days on. Take care of yourself. And those around you.

My Journey: the roots

Unfortunately, most of us these days seem to find ourselves at some point in a situation where we want to change our bodies. Gain weight, lose weight, gain muscle, lose fat, get more toned, grow our booty , shrink our booty. Anyone else been there?

From about the age of 10, I found things about myself that I wanted to change. Both physically and mentally. Once puberty hit, so did my baby fat. While it’s completely natural,I felt like there was something wrong with it. Granted, I also loved my chips, pop and candy and didn’t understand what it meant to eat healthy – which didn’t help that situation. I wish I had been given formal education in school about it. I wish I didn’t have to wait until my mid/late 20s to figure it out for myself. I wish I didn’t have to wait until I had an unhealthy relationship with food.

I have never been obese, I haven’t had a dramatic switch in my physique. I don’t have a crazy story of  losing hundreds of pounds. But I have been unhealthy, and unhappy. I have stretch marks. I have gone through fluctuations and spent periods of time of restricting calories.

Late highschool was probably the first time that I made a big change in my body. We moved to New York, and I wanted to reinvent myself and actually, in many ways I found myself. I eventually walked everywhere, moving my body more than I had in years. It was the first time that I felt in control of my food, and not being dictated by what I ate. I lost a lot of fat, could run miles, and for the first time started to feel confident. I was by no means physically strong though and I may have actually been underweight by the time I Graduated, but I was able to taste the freedom.

Then university hit. I moved out and lived in residence where the food is anything but healthy. And where the lifestyle is anything but healthy. Junk food, late nights, drinking, partying, little sleep. The freshman 15 turned into 50 lbs and constant health issues by the end of my second year of university.

The next few years I was able to get control of it again, but by ways of excessive exercise, and limited calories. I didn’t know the right ways to eat. There was no focus on eating the right foods, no veggies, just restricted calories and disjointed activity – mostly in the form of frequent intense cardio.

Once University ended and I found my first serious job (with the company I’m still with now – although I’m not in the same role). The hours were demanding, the expectations were high, and the promise of success became more important than my activity or my health. Pizza lunches, take out, no food planning. To top it off about a year and a 1/2 later, Evan went back to school and we went down to one income. It became less about quality of food and more about how the next grocery bill was going to be paid and how could I make it as small as possible – quality of food wasn’t even on the radar.

About year after Evan started back in school, I hadn’t communicated enough with him about what I needed and I became depressed, stressed, had gained a lot of fat, lost muscle and found comfort in high calorie foods and alcohol. I remember coming up stairs from our parking garage, which was maybe one flight of stairs and being winded. It was that moment where I realized how far I had slipped back. This was maybe December, so come January, I did the thing that a lot of us do and made a New Years resolution. And worked hard at it. Daily. Hours at the gym focusing on building muscle and improving my cardiovascular strength, saying no to parties and free lunches, meal planning, reading blogs, educating myself, building strength.

That was January of 2013. Since then I have gained back my strength (and then some – I’m probably now at the fittest that I’ve ever been),  I have gained back some of my confidence (that’s still an ongoing process), lost fat, regained energy. And to top it off – I haven’t had the flu or a cold in probably 3 years (other things that are ongoing health things, but no environmental health issues).

The thing about the last 4 1/2 years though is that it hasn’t been easy, it also hasn’t been the same activity, it hasn’t been consistent. My idea and knowledge on eating has changed, adapted, grown. I went as far as getting a nutrition certification. My workout routine has changed, adapted, and grown. I used to think that once I got to ‘x’ weight I could stop working so hard, I could eat whatever I wanted, I didn’t have to go to the gym as often. But I learned that’s not the case. It’s an ongoing commitment. For your entire life.

That sounds rough, but there is an upside to this:

-You start to love healthy food. Honestly. Maybe not all healthy food, but enough of them. You start to crave them. You start to enjoy the way that they make you feel.

-You start to be able to do things that you weren’t able to before. Carry groceries, run, move heavy things by yourself, join teams, climb mountains.

-You learn about your limits, and how to break through them.

-You truly learn the meaning of balance. Just because you make a change doesn’t mean you give it all up. I still love my chips, fried food and candy. I still eat them – just not all the time.

-You start to realize that doing this for the rest of your life is not only doable, but it’s enjoyable. And necessary to do the things you want to do. You have a healthy life ahead of you that you can look forward to.

What is your journey?

 

Now my question to you is this: Are you ready to make that change? You don’t need to go through the same hard process that I did, I wish I had hired a coach to get me through it. You don’t need to do it alone. If your interested in getting some nutrition Coaching please reach out either by filling out your information in the contact page here, or sending me an email at dani@livehappyhealthandwellness.com. I would love to help you find your balance, find your healthy lifestyle and find yourself in a journey that you are proud of.

Change takes hard work.

Change is hard. It takes dedication, commitment to your goals, it takes time.

Can you change in a short period of time? Yes. Change can happen quickly. But when we talk about long term lifestyle goals that you set for yourself, it’s going to take time.

One of the biggest challenges that you will face when it comes to meeting your goals is going to be putting in that hard work. It takes making a commitment every day.

So why not set some things in place where you can set yourself up to succeed?

-First of all, don’t do it alone. Find someone to help – whether that’s a trainer, a gym with an awesome community, a spouse or friend to keep you accountable, or a coach.

-Set small goals. Goals that you know that you can achieve. A lot of us fail at meeting our goals because we take on too much too quickly. So find something that you know that you can do. It can be anything – putting your fork down between meals, putting your running shoes next to your bed (you don’t even have to put them on if that’s too daunting, just next to your bed to start can help), or something like drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning.

-Do one, maybe 2 things at a time. That’s it. Don’t add more on until you’re ready.

-Celebrate the small victories. They all count.

To share one of my own personal goals – I really want to be able to do an unassisted wide-grip pull up. I wanted to be able to do a chin up, and I’ve reached that one (I can now do 3 in a row)! So let’s do the pull up. If you’ve ever trained to do one – part of it is doing hangs on the bar and doing negative pull ups where you hold yourself up on the bar in the ‘up’ position and then slowly lower yourself down as slow and controlled as possible.

So, last night, I was doing some negative holds and decided I would take a picture of it. I was pleasantly surprised at how muscular my back has become. Is it perfect? No. Are there things to work on? Always. And while I can’t do the full pull up yet, I needed to celebrate the small victory.

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I’m curious to know – what are your goals?

 

Do you have any nutrition related goals? If so, maybe looking into a coach is something that can help. If you’re interested in learning about working with a nutrition coach, please let me know! My nutrition coaching is based on building habits to make you as successful as you can be for a long time to come. You don’t have to worry about being a slave to food if you don’t want to be. There is a way to have balance – I promise.

That program that she/he is doing probably isn’t the place to start.

There are a lot of fads and diets and programs out there. ‘She looks so great, she’s been only eating kale and boiled chicken for 2 weeks!’; ‘He looks super lean, I think he’s doing a keto diet.’

I’m not going to lie, the first option there sounds positively horrific. Even if you were able to get all of the nutrients you needed by eating 2 things for each meal, I wouldn’t be able to handle eating the same thing every day. Sometimes if we have too many leftovers I get bored with them! I definitely get food ADD.

Google search ‘best diet for weight loss’ or ‘best diet to get lean’ or ‘best diet to eat healthy’ and overwhelmed with options. You’ll get returns such as Paleo, Low Carb, Keto (which is pretty much just an extreme version of low carb), Whole 30, Sugar free, Intermittent Fasting. While I don’t have any problems with any of these, they aren’t for everyone, and most likely not the best place to start for most people.

That is why it’s so important to figure out what works for you. Each of our bodies are different, and are going to react differently than the person next to you.

So how do you find out what works? First of all, if you are starting out on a new healthy eating platform, I highly encourage you to start slowly. To choose Whole foods – things with one ingredient. Such as: apple, watermelon, carrot, oats, olives, flax seed, kale, salmon, turkey, beef, egg. If you can get as much of that in your diet as possible, you’ll have a head start. Then add in other products with few ingredients, all ingredients that you can read. Then add in a few guilty pleasures, because life is boring if you don’t indulge every so often.

If you are new (or restarting) a healthy lifestyle, jumping in to a super restrictive diet plan that will only allow you to eat certain things- are most likely going to make it hard to follow, and could make you feel like crap initially as your body will be going through a sort-of shock from the drastic change.

Now, if you have your healthy lifestyle down to an art, and want to try something new, that is where I would recommend throwing in some new options. Go slowly, transition into a program gradually so not to shock your system too much. It will also help make your adherence (and results) to a program greater. Also, do your research. Make sure you are actually following the correct program. There is a lot of garbage information out there. Set yourself up to have the best results possible.

After doing these things, if you’re not seeing the results that you want? Its possible that the program isn’t the right one for you. There is no harm in switching it and trying one that works. There is nothing wrong with that. You wouldn’t force a square peg into a round hole, so don’t do that with your nutrition either.

So, like anything you do. You need to go through a period of trial and error. It may work on the first try. But admitting that a program isn’t for you is just fine too. However I encourage you to not give up. Just because one doesn’t work, does not mean that the next one won’t. Play around with it. Find something that you like, something that you can maintain for a long period of time, something that makes you feel great.

 

Coming up with a healthy living lifestyle is simple. And yet very complicated. There are many things to consider. Have you every been confused where to start? How many carbs you should eat? Which produce to chose at the grocery store? How to be able to do all of that and still have a life? One way to help get you on the right path is to find a coach that helps you along the way. That helps you come up with habits to take the overwhelming amount of information and strategies and provide it to you in the correct portions to help make you successful.

Interested in getting a nutrition coach? I am taking a few new clients, starting in July who want to work on some of these goals. If you’re interested in getting some more information on finding a nutrition coach, Please send me a PM on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/danilivehappy/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/live.happy.eat.happy/?hl=en for more details! I’d love to speak with you to see if this is something that will fit for you! I’m excited to hear from you!