Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hello 20, nice to meet you.

So...I thought I had posted this when I wrote it, but apparently not.

For my 20th birthday, after enjoying a great day with my mom and sister, I treated myself to a trail run. Someone wonderful in my life had given me a pair of Vibram Fivefinger KSO Trek's. They had to be tested. I had gotten myself my very first pair of Lulu Lemon shorts. I hit the peaceful Quinte Conservation trail (an easy run, but very beautiful) with my best running buddy and found myself thinking about my upcoming year.

My Vibe's.

I'm not a big believer in New Year resolutions. I see them as a fairly negative
thing. You pick something you don't like about yourself, and then vow to change it. My thoughts weren't really resolutions I wanted to make. They were more things I wished to achieve; experiences I want to feel; goals I want to meet.

1. Make weights part of my life.
I know I enjoy being in the gym. I know weight training is good for me in many different ways. All I have to do is make it a habit. How can I do this? ORGANIZE! PLAN! Find a buddy...anything to make gym time impossible to forego.

2. Keep my diet clean.
This is a goal that I have been working on for the past 9 months or so. Eating clean is an important part of my entire life. It keeps me emotionally stable; it will help me achieve a body composition I love; it will keep my skin free from eczema. Not to mention, eating clean saves money!

With my second year of university only a week away, the cafeteria and it's money sucking powers await. If I am armed with my cooler of clean eats, I will have no need for the other garbage!

Eating clean will help me get to every other achievement I want. It will save me money, keep my mind alert, keep my body fueled, and keep my emotions stable.

3. Go to Tanzania
Traveling for my education and career is a dream I have always had. Through the Work the World program, I will learn so much about life and nursing. To make this happen I need to thoughtfully save my money!!! I must explore all options carefully, and determine if my time spent there will be able to count towards my education.

My trail run let me explore these wants very closely. On a fitness level, I noticed a huge change from my first trail run of the summer. The gentle thud of my feet against the earth provided comfort. There was no strain in continuing, and any recovery periods I took were short. My legs were eager to continue the former pace. Heist was in heaven being free to set his own off-leash pace.

My first 20 years have set a wonderful foundation for the rest of my life. I need to do my best to take each day as a gift, but plan ahead to experience everything I want to.

What "today" goals can you set? What do you want to make happen right now? Tomorrow? 5 years? Don't wait for a new year, because everyday is a new beginning.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Great Expectations

Seven pounds. Seven pounds of energy slept between my feet, all of my hopes of feeling centred again rested on this tiny puppy. The irony of his heritage was that he was half Border Collie and half Bearded Collie; like me, split to have a strong tendency to be obsessive and compulsive, yet possess an exuberance for life that none can ignore. Heist was supposed to make me happy again.

I couldn't have been more wrong. As I ended grade 11, pressures about my future pushed in on me, expectations of others consumed my life. All I wanted to do was enjoy my new puppy- who turned out to be the most monstrous thing I have ever encountered. Potty training took place over two weeks of straight rain. Early mornings with a screaming puppy and late nights of studying for finals was not the dream I had envisioned. I had moments when I thought I would just let him out the front door. Someone else could deal with him.

But he was mine. I finally had what I thought I had always wanted. A bright, boundry-pushing dog. He would be my partner in dog sports. We would take on the world. Again, Heist had another lesson to teach me. I am someone who enjoys control, organization, routine. Heist was anything but. He crashed though life, stepping on, running through, or destroying most things in his path. Yet, I knew he was telling me "I am here for you. You got me for a reason. Now figure out what I am teaching you." That is the incredible this about him, he doesn't give up.

It was because of Heist I first pursued athletic training. It was because of this athleticism and speed that I was pushed to become faster and leaner. Agility, our dog sport of choice, would be nothing if I were not an adequate partner. This small step introduced me to clean eating. It taught me about weight training and interval training. It brought me to my current challenge of training to run a 5K race. Heist's personality and breed lines require not only extreme mental stimulation, but also exhaustive physical exercise. I learned from him that a happy, healthy being needs both. Without Heist, I would have never had laced up my shoes and ran, or biked, or hiked. He has given me the gift of learning to love the outdoors.

He isn't perfect. He eats food off the counter. He barks at the vacuum. He tests the backdoor to go on his own adventures. His recall ... well, let's just say I've let it slip. To me, those are tiny things that I happily deal with because of all of the other joys he gives me. Yes, one day, I will become fed up and properly deal with them. But until then, I will remain open to everything he has to teach me.

Thank you Kim and Peter for breeding such an amazing dog. Thank you to Mom and Dad for letting him come into our lives (and yes, after my first million, the floors will be refinished). Thank you to Sandra and Linda and Chris for all of your patience during training, I know you will never again meet a dog like him.

Take the time to open your eyes to the gifts and lessons given to you everyday. The frustrating moments are often the ones with the most to offer. Or the simple pleasures.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Crushin' on Mandela

Each person we meet, we meet for a reason. Everyone is sent to us to teach some sort of lesson. I believe in that very deeply, and do my best to sort out the lessons often packaged in heartache, frustration, and more importantly joy.

Today, I got to meet Tosca Reno. This woman is UNREAL. She is by far my inspiration for eating clean (her books). After hearing her speak, it made me think of other inspirational people I have known or have come to know their words. It brought me to my Gramma Joan...

My Gramma Joan, who was an unbelievably amazing person, had a crush on Nelson Mandela. She was a peace activist for decades, and I know she loved him for a combination of his determination to create a better world and also for his charisma.

I found it very strange that roughly a year after her death, I was creeping around facebook when I came across a Madela quote. It was dark, but something about it spoke to me. It was two days later, when I discovered this person had taken just the first three lines of a quotation that will stay in my spirit for the rest of my life. I was laying out my mat for my very first hot yoga class, when I turned around to see a wall hanging with the entire quote written on it.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
- Nelson Mandela

Every time I read this, something different stands out. Just as nutrition, exercise, and for me at this point, medication, helps you to become the exact person you are supposed to be, connection to a bigger being is just as important.

Bigger being doesn't always mean God, or the Universe or whatever you choose to call it. Bigger thinkers, bigger risk-takers, bigger lovers, bigger anything. When we choose to make a connection with something BIGGER than our immediate person, it nourishes us to become bigger too.

My Gramma Joan was a big person, in many ways. She always let her light shine, and I am trying my best to do the same.

Is it your own light you fear?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do it up.

Today was a food day. My clean eats were washed, chopped, rinsed, boiled, ground and measured to make sure this coming week is epic. Great food makes for a great week, and who wouldn't want that?

My counter was filled with fresh veggies cut and sliced for convience (3 jobs makes grab and go a MUST), some fresh strawberries for my oatmeal (cooked for a few days in advance!), protein and fibre filled mixed beans measured out in snack sizes, along with some low-fat dairy for more delicious protein options.

I am a creature of habit. I am my mother's daughter. Organize and control are the words that keep me on track, and with Tosca Reno's amazing tips on getting yourself organized for the week ahead, it leaves very little room for slip ups.

I am off for my first bridge run in quite some time. My partner in crime is still not quite in A-form for such an adventure. I cannot wait for him to be back to keeping pace with me. Heist will be getting his very own blog entry soon, because he really is the reason I am on the path I am.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Great Food + Lots of Action = One Happy Person

I had the first meltdown I've had since starting my medication. These overflows of pent up energy just started in this past year, with more strength than I have ever experienced. The energy is physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. The force of its expulsion is something one cannot control. I do not like these meltdowns. The lead up to them also hurts other people. No one deserves to experience me like that.

I think I know why it happened though, and that gives me hope and knowledge. And we all know that knowledge is power.

In the two days prior to the "meltdown" I didn't put a single clean food choice in my mouth. I didn't push myself to get rid of any excess physical energy. I had had some sort of bug upset my stomach fiercely, and left me without the ability to want to eat anything or get outside. And man oh man, did I see what an impact that had on my mood.

The power is now in my hands. The simple equation to keep my balanced is being kind to my body. Eating clean, burning off energy, chanllenging my thinking, and loving others will help keep me being a happy person.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I think he's instant oatmeal...

After a long discussion, I feared he was white bread. The addictive poison that leaves you a wreck after you've given in. Satisfying in the moment of binging, driving your blood sugar higher and higher; only to leave you to crash a short time later. You know exactly the situation you'll have on your hands once you've finished it. Discomfort. Puffiness. Low mood. Nothing good. But some how, the baguette often wins out. I was afraid that that was who he was too. Oh so tempting, but full of nothing that would nourish me into a better person.

But that wasn't it. You truly cannot defend white bread. It's a waste of money buying it, a waste of time preparing it, and a waste of calories eating it. He's got something good...but a far cry from steel cut oats.

Steel cut oats. Among the best ways to fuel your body. Fibre, complex carbs, some protein. Throw in flax, chia, blueberries, and protein, you've got yourself the best damn thing to happen to your day. In the beginning, he was steel cut oats, with all the amazing additives. But who isn't in the beginning, right? He seemed to be just what I needed. Intelligence, humour, goals, and a touch of weirdness. The best damn thing to happen to my day.

But no, he wasn't steel cut oats. No one is ever that perfect. But he wasn't white bread either. There was still that underlying goodness of the oats. The fibre, the complex carbs, protein. But with an added 13 grams of sugar that didn't give you any vitamins or extra fibre that would help you get where you wanted to be in the end. Everyone's favourite Maple and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal. Not TOO bad, but quick, easy, and a little sugar high. It was possible to see the relationship would enter into a safe habit, replacing the steel cut oats because of convenience and the little high the sugar gave me. Instant oats can get you close to your ultimate wants, but never get you there. Right now, he's instant oatmeal.

My challenge to anyone who reads this is find your instant oatmeal person. Find out what you can do to change your relationship with them. It may just make them a bowl of steel cut oats, with all the good stuff, one day.