Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A letter to you.

Hi Friends,

I like to think that this blog is a pretty positive space... for me it is just a way of collecting and documenting what I love about health, fitness and taking care of myself. And I want to start by saying that working out, and moving my body is a part of who I am... I am always the best version of myself after a run, or a class, or yoga, or a bike ride etc etc etc... but I am also human and sometimes that voice yapping in my head is a real nightmare... she tells me all sorts of awful things about myself and repeats them so many times in a day that it's hard to not believe her. Which is why when I read the below post on the Radical Self Love Project I was totally spurred to write this.

Because I know I am not the only one who looks in the mirror some days and judges the shit out of myself and thinks that eating a cookie makes me a bad person. We all know this is ridiculous... but wow, it's just hard to muzzle that voice, that judgement.
Do I want to be remembered as the girl with the best abs, or the outgoing, fun, carefree spirit that I know I am? Yeah, definitely option B... eat the cookie if you want it already!

I think that for most of my 20's I have just thought that it's normal to have these really negative and self-loathing thoughts... but you know, self reflection is amazing. And when you start to analyze how you think, and what you do, and why you do it... well, the only result is transformation.

One year ago I would never have written this post, but honestly I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Otherwise the "inspiration" boards on Pinterest wouldn't be nearly as popular and overflowing with self-affirming mantras.
We are human. We all feel sad, bad, guilty, ugly, unfit... we are not alone and we need encouragement.
So step back and silence that voice...

1. Recognize that fat isn’t a feeling.
There are always underlying emotions that we attach to feeling fat. When the “I feel fat” thoughts start up, try to identify what you’re feeling underneath the body dissatisfaction. Are you feeling lonely? Anxious? Invisible? Scared? Ashamed? Inadequate? Whatever the feelings are recognize that they are separate from your body. 
2. Treat yourself as you would a friend.
Because it’s difficult to be kind to ourselves in the moment when the body hating thoughts take over, try responding to your thoughts as if you were supporting a friend. What would you say to someone you loved who was battling your same struggle with body image?
You wouldn’t tell them to not eat for the day in order to compensate for what they ate the previous night. You wouldn’t tell them to punish themselves for their body size through over-exercise, self-harm, or abusive eating habits. You wouldn’t tell them they were worthless or unloveable because of their weight. So why do you tell yourself these things? Break the cycle and start treating yourself like a friend—you deserve that kindness and love from everyone, especially yourself.
3. Recognize that you are so much more than the size of your body. 
You are your strengths and talents and insight. You are the things you’re passionate about and the people you love. You are your favorite songs and books and films. You are your hopes and dreams. You are your laughter and your smile. You are unique and wonderful, and you have so much more to offer than the way you look.
Your appearance may feel important, but it’s such a small part of who you are — and not even an important one. It doesn’t define you or discount your worth, because your value as a human being isn’t contingent upon how much you weigh. Your worth is inherent. You exist and therefore, you matter. No number on the scale can ever take that away. 
4. Shift your focus from the external to the internal.
Make a list of all the people you look up to and are inspired by—not because of their weight or appearance, but because of who they are, how they treat others, and how they spend their time. Write out all the qualities they have that make you appreciate and value them.
Use the list as a reminder that it’s the internal things—our dreams and our passions, our character and our attitude, our morals and our values—that truly define who we are and draw people to us; not how we look or how much we weigh. You are not an exception.
Try making your own list of things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with appearance or body size. If you have a difficult time creating one, ask some friends and family you trust to help you. 
5. Think about what you want to be remembered for after you die.
I don’t want people to remember me for what I looked like, what size clothing I wore, or what I weighed. I want to be remembered for the person I was and what I contributed to the world. I want to be remembered as someone who positively affected peoples’ lives. I want to be remembered as loving friend, partner, and family member. I want to be remembered for my passion and my creativity and my strength. I want to be remembered as someone who helped people and made a difference. What do you want your legacy to be? Chances are, it doesn’t have to do with weight.
6. Instead of focusing on the size of your body, start focusing on what your body allows you to do. 
The human body is such an incredible force. When we get caught up in the number on the scale and the size of our clothes however, we forget just how lucky we are to have a  vehicle to engage in life with. So stop fixating on your appearance, and start acknowledging and appreciating your body for all that it allows you to do.
Make a list of all the things your body helps you to accomplish. If you would like to get more specific, make a list of all the body parts you struggle to accept and beneath each, list all of the ways those individual parts allow you to participate in life. Because regardless of their size, our bodies do so much for us. They deserve our gratitude, not our judgement. 
7. Challenge your negative thoughts.
You may not be able to change the way you feel about your body today, tomorrow, or a month from now, but you can begin the process by challenging the negative thoughts you have in the moment. Write out a dialogue between your negative voice and a self-loving and accepting one. If you have a hard time coming up with positive counters for the negative thoughts, pretend that you’re talking back to the self-deprecating voice of a friend or loved one.
Even if you don’t believe the things you say to counter the negative thoughts, it’s still so important to challenge them, because each time you do, you’re taking away some of their power and reclaiming your own. And the more you challenge those thoughts, the less you will believe them. The more you argue back, the easier fighting the voice will become. So even if it feels silly and useless in the moment, keep arguing back. Don’t allow your negative body thoughts to go unchallenged.
8. Allow yourself to feel your feelings.
There is a lot of built up energy and emotion underlying the way we feel about our bodies. Holding in how we feel or engaging in behaviors to numb out may make us feel better in the moment, but in the long run, it doesn’t remedy the pain we feel or bring us any closer to peace and self-acceptance. All it does is perpetuate how awful we feel and keep us stuck.
In order to release that pain, we have to allow ourselves to feel our feelings. Whether that means throwing a tantrum on the floor, journaling about how you feel, venting to a friend on the phone, punching a pillow, screaming in your car, or crying in bed, you need to allow yourself to feel. Let go of the judgement you have about what you “should" or “shouldn’t" be feeling, and give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you feel. These emotions underlying your body image are important and in order to heal, you have to feel them.
9. Do self care.
When you’re struggling with body image, distract yourself with healthy coping mechanisms. Take a bubble bath, get a massage, ask for a back scratch, cuddle with a pet, make plans with a supportive friend, color in a coloring book, watch your favorite movie, get a manicure, listen to calming music, do deep breathing—whatever it is, make sure it’s something self-soothing that helps you get out of your head.
10. Be kind with yourself.
You may not be able to control the way you feel about your body, but you can control what you do in response to how you feel.
Instead of beating yourself up, you can choose to treat yourself with compassion. Instead of engaging in unhealthy and abusive behaviors, you can choose to do self-care. Instead of treating your body as an enemy, you can choose to treat it as a friend. Instead of isolating yourself, you can choose to reach out for support and surround yourself with positive people who make you feel loved and accepted. Instead of agreeing with the negative thoughts, you can choose to challenge them.
***You have more power than you thinkdon’t let the way you feel about your body keep you from living.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fondo by Number

160 Number of kilometers from Penticton to Summerland, Osoyoos and back in the 3rd Annual Valley First Gran Fondo

  1326 Number of riders taking part in the “big ride” this year

904 My rank among those 1326

60 The KM mark where I burned my legs to the ground by riding hard on Jon Bula’s wheel...

50 The speed in KM/hour we were going when I probably should have been ‘pacing’ myself

9 Number of ladies from GWA who crushed this ride… a first for many! (Christa, Shayne, Jody, Laura, Pam, Kate R, Jess, Kim, Me)

6  Number of water bottles and/or Gatorade I consumed over the course of my day. Which led to…

5 The number of port-o-potties I was forced to enter.

2500 Calories In

4000+ Calories Out 

1 Number of times Jon Bula literally pushed me up the hill. I’m talking physically pushed me…. Also the number of times I veered off the road and almost crashed #scary

200+ Number of “hashtags” I muttered to myself during the day

6 Hours it took me to finish

"Thank yous" to my riding girls in Vancouver, Pam Bula for sticking out the day with me, and Jon, the best Domestique ever.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Canada Day Climb

The Canada Day long weekend included lots of wine, food, sun and outdoor activity!

Troy and I climbed Seymour on Monday which was about an hour and 15 minutes of pure.... climbing. 
Seymour is no joke, but I actually don't mind hills. My go-to strategy is to stay in the lowest gear with a high cadence as I find that this saves my legs from being overworked.  I stand only when I really need a break from sitting and want to slow down my legs for 20 seconds or so.
I also stand in the last 200 meters of the hill in order to beat Troy to the top #naturally 

Anyway, we followed the climb up with some paddle boarding and a swim in Deep Cove which was beautiful and relaxing and felt incredible after the heat of our ride.  

Troy just killing it in that outfit #fit 
It's hard to look athletic on a bike while climbing... 

11km down. 1 to go.