Letting go of Perfection

Have you been waiting for the perfect moment to ‘start’ your life? Are you waiting for your ideal situation before you start chasing your dreams? I’ve learned that the perfect time never comes, life is now. We are human and we are not meant to be perfect. I believe that we are here to learn, to grow and to live life fully and joyfully. This means letting go of the idea of perfection.

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Perfection is an illusion. I still get stuck in this illusion from time to time. I have big dreams and goals and sometimes I get stuck in the game of waiting until everything is perfect. This actually causes me to be stagnant and does not push me forward at all. I’m currently writing content for my new website that will be launched in the new year. I love to write but I have found myself struggling to articulate my thoughts. In the past, I had made my own website and it wasn’t difficult to write the content. This time, I’ve hired a professional website designer and so I want it to be “perfect”. Putting this added pressure on myself has only lead me to procrastinate on writing. When I let go of the need to be perfect, the ideas and creativity are able to flow.

To me, perfectionism is another way in which we choose fear over love. Life is not going to be perfect all the time. We all have ups and downs. If we did not have difficult times, how would we appreciate the great ones? If there were no challenges in life, how would we grow?  There is beauty in making mistakes. When we are willing to become vulnerable and expose ourselves to the world as we really are, we are relatable to others. Have you noticed that when you break your silence about your struggles, there is usually someone who says that they have been there too?

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Each of us has been put on this earth for a reason, each of us has a purpose.I believe that it’s my purpose to help others. Whether that is through fitness, spirituality, coaching or sharing my message, I believe that I will be guided when I take the steps. And no first step was taken from a place of perfection. It’s been messy, it’s been scary and sometimes it’s downright ugly, but it’s also beautiful. It’s about progress, and learning to enjoy that journey in the here and now because the learning never stops, we are never done, we never arrive. The joy that is always available to us is right now in this imperfect moment. Keep showing up for yourself!

 

Sending you love & light

Julie

 

 

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The Power of Gratitude 

Gratitude has helped me grow in leaps and bounds. I never really knew the power of gratitude until I made it a daily practice in my life. It is truly an action word.

I believe that we attract what we put out into the universe. When we are grateful, we end up with more to be grateful for. For many years, I didn’t think I had much to be grateful for because I was too busy feeling sorry for myself and blaming my misery on everything external. Since then I’ve learned that happiness is an inside job. It’s a process that is constantly unfolding but it’s never done. I am never “there” because I will constantly be learning and growing for the rest of my life. I have many tools that help me to move forward into my highest self and living in gratitude has a massive impact on the quality of my life every single day. 


Slowing down and taking a pause to notice a beautiful sunset or the sound of my children laughing-to realize that life is what happens when we are busy running from here to there-staying in that moment is where the joy of life happens. I feel grateful when I stop to appreciate the little things. Life is now, I am present in this moment and see the beauty in it.

It’s  easier to be grateful when things are going well-pay it forward and spread your joy into another persons life.  It’s difficult to be grateful when life is not going the way we planned. But often it’s those times where we are being guided to something greater. It’s during the dark times where I have to become more conscious in my gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal has helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life. There is truly always something to be thankful for. From the big things such as my children, my health, the roof over my head to the little things like the smell of clean laundry or my morning coffee, oh how I love that first cup of coffee! Acknowledging the simple things can turn my day around. Today, I am grateful for all of my struggles because they have shaped me into the person that I am today. I am grateful for the lessons learned.


Today my prayer is simply, thank-you. 

Sending love and light

Julie

Confessions of an Emotional Eater

Most people who know me or who have trained with me know that I do not believe in diets. They may work in the short-term but most people will gain the weight back (and then some!) within 5 years. In my own experience I have been all over the scale. I have starved myself, I have also eaten to the point of discomfort. A few years ago, I finally decided to break the binge-starve cycle. What I have learned is to love myself first and  I’ve also learned to listen to my body.

I was an emotional eater (and still can be at times). Even today, when I feel tired or stressed, I always crave sweets! Maybe for you it’s chips or salty snacks but for me it’s the sugar. Sugar was a quick fix, a way to escape my feelings, instant gratification. I was always looking for ways to runaway from myself. Years ago, I was able to numb myself with alcohol, then it became food. When it comes to alcohol, I just don’t drink. With food it was more difficult because obviously, we have to eat. I have learned some tools to help me with emotional eating, hopefully they will help you too!

  1. Pause. Stop and allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Become curious about where that feeling is coming from. Where do you feel it in your body? My first reaction to any feeling of discomfort has always been to run away from it as fast as I can(in food, in alcohol, etc..)  but now I try to sit with that feeling and allow it to just be, knowing that it is okay to feel that way and that it will pass.
  2. What can you do right now instead of bingeing on that food that you know is going to make you feel even worse in the end? I have a few tools that I go to when I feel like escaping myself. Journaling has been a very useful tool in working through whatever it is that I am going through. I just put pen to paper and get it all out. I also love meditation because it centres me and keeps me in the here and now. Going for a walk, doing a yoga class or a workout also help me a lot because I am doing something positive for my body and mind.
  3. Connect with others. Pick up the phone and call a friend or someone that you know is going to be uplifting. Isolating myself has always made things worse. Sometimes it feels like that phone weighs 20 lbs but sometimes doing the very thing that we do not feel like doing is the best thing to do!
  4. Slow down!! We live in a very fast-paced society where we want more and we want it yesterday! I no longer eat on the run or in my car. I try to make my meals from whole foods and as close to nature as possible as well as colourful and appealing. When I sit down to eat, I eat slowly and make sure I am chewing well. Take the time to enjoy your meals!
  5. Know when you’re full. I believe we are born with an innate ability to know when we are full. Children will usually refuse to eat when they are full because they listen to their bodies. Maybe you were raised to ‘clean your plate’ This where slowing down with eating helps as well. It has taken practice for me to become in tune with my body. I stop and ask myself- Am I really hungry or is this an emotional response?
  6. Choose healthy foods but don’t deprive yourself. I am striving for balance instead of extremes nowadays. If I really want a treat, I have it!! I take the time to savor and enjoy it instead of eating as much as possible in a short amount of time.

If you do end up emotionally eating the MOST important thing is to FORGIVE yourself! It took me a long time to be able to forgive myself and because of that I ended up on the binge-starve cycle. Be your own best friend. If it does happen, it’s important to be kind and loving towards yourself. I used to beat myself up and then try to starve myself to make up for the emotional eating. Once I learned to be forgiving and love myself I found it a whole lot easier to take care of my body by drinking lots of water, eating healthy meals and getting active.

I no longer count calories, weigh my food or obsess over what I can and can’t have. Being overly restrictive, in my experience, has set me up for failure. When I learned to love myself and love my body, I started to be good to my body. When you change your mind, the body will follow. Health happens from the inside first and not the other way around. Don’t wait for the results in order to love yourself. Love yourself first.

 

 

My Fitness Story

This is my very first blog post. Thank you for reading it. I have been thinking about writing it for about 2 years now but it’s been fear that has held me back. I’m currently taking a spiritual course and I feel compelled to write. When I look back at my successes, all of them have happened when I have done the things that I was fearful to do. It’s easier to stay in my comfort zone, but there is never any growth there. Most people know me as a personal trainer, so I’m going to tell my story as it relates to fitness.

My interest in fitness really began after I had my second daughter. Like a lot of moms I wanted to lose the baby weight. In 2008 I joined a soccer team with my friend and also started running a lot. Unfortunately, I was also drinking a lot. My world came crashing down in 2009 and all of the anger, hurt, resentments and fears could not be numbed anymore. This was a rock bottom and I got sober that year. That was the beginning of my spiritual journey!  So now that I wasn’t sweating vodka out of my pores, I started to love my workouts even more. I joined a boot camp, which I did in the mornings and I was running with a group at night. It was extreme. Almost everything I did was extreme, but I have learned to lose that all or nothing mentality. It came to a point where I went for a physical and my doctor told me that I needed to gain weight. At the time I thought I looked great but I can now see how unhealthy I was both physically and mentally. Let me just say at this point that my love for fitness has always been genuine and continues to be today, but my mindset about it has changed drastically.

So I’m attending this boot camp and I’m loving it. The trainer is awesome and I am thinking to myself that I LOVE this! I can DO this! In 2011 I decide to become certified as a personal trainer. To gain experience I was training my friends and then in 2012 I was hired by a company as a boot camp instructor. This was very exciting and scary to me at the same time. I will never forget the first boot camp I ever instructed. We were more than sold out and I remember standing in a school gym in front of 20 women all looking at me for guidance. I was the shy girl in school, always afraid to say boo to anyone for the fear of sounding stupid and I am an introvert by nature, so this moment was both terrifying and life-changing for me. This moment will always stand out in my mind because it’s one of the first times that I saw how far I can go if I take that first step, in spite of fear. Fear may always be there, but the growth always comes in doing the thing that I was afraid to do!

The women in the boot camp were amazing and inspiring and I absolutely LOVED my job! The dark side to this was that I started to become obsessed with fitness. Not because of being a boot camp instructor, but because of underlying body-image issues that I had had since I was a teenager. Deciding that I wanted to take it to the next level, I hired myself a trainer that specialized in training clients for fitness competitions and I was going to compete. I am not against fitness competitions, I realize the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into training for one, but for me it was very detrimental. To prepare for a competition in a way that is healthy both physically, mentally and emotionally is very difficult. I certainly was not healthy in any of those ways at the time. In my mind I thought that having the perfect body would make me happy. I thought that having the perfect body was the key to everything-having the dream fitness job, having the dream guy…I thought that if I had the perfect body only then could I love myself. Now I realize that I had it I ass-backwards all along. I was training 2 hours a day, 6 days a week and the rest of the time I spent preparing my food. But I was on a mission.  I would restrict my food all week and then on the weekend I would binge on anything and everything. It became a form of self-sabotage and self-destruction. I decided not to compete and I felt like a failure, but looking back on it now, I’m glad that I did not go through with it. The training ended but the bingeing did not. I started using food as a way to comfort myself. I would try to get back on the healthy-eating wagon by restricting my food and then I would slip off it and the eff-it mentality would kick in. In the meantime, I’m still training clients, I’m still running my boot camps-preaching about exercise and clean-eating and then going home and downing a bag of cookies or toasting a whole loaf of bread. I felt like a complete fraud! It was just like drinking, numbing my feelings with food instead. Sometimes I would have sugar ‘hangovers’ complete with migraines! I knew that I needed help because this addictive behaviour was familiar to me. With help from a therapist, I began a road to recovery. She recommended for me to read some of Geneen Roth’s books. I picked up a book called ‘Women, Food and God’ and by page 12 I knew that I wanted to go to her retreat.

In May of 2014, I traveled to California to attend the Women, Food and God retreat. It changed my life and the tools that I learned there are with me to this day. It helped me to stay present in the moment and allow myself to feel my feelings. One of the reasons I love yoga is because it helps connect my mind to my body and live in the now. It made me see that I had to work on loving myself, no matter what my body looked like. I was learning that my worth as a human being was in no way connected to my outer appearance. We are all soooooo much more than our  physical bodies and who we are on the inside is what really matters. When I came back from the retreat, I continued to train and run my boot camps for a few more months but I had allowed the fear back in and decided to take the easy route out. That fall, I decided to go back to work in an office. It was a secure job with a great company and I worked with amazing people and……..I was miserable.  Something beautiful came out of that experience; I realized that fitness IS my passion, I just needed to find a way to do it that felt healthy and authentic to me!

Lessons learned. Today I exercise regularly, not for the perfect body but for the way it makes me feel, for those happy endorphins and so that I can play actively with my kids and down the road grandchildren. I am now teaching fitness classes to seniors and they inspire me every day to stay fit for my longevity and health. With clients, I help them with general nutrition but I refer them to a nutritionist for detailed meal plans.I am mindful in the way that I eat. I slow down and enjoy my food. We are born with the intuition to know what our bodies need, sometimes the way we are raised has drowned that intuition, but if we listen, we know what foods make us feel good and what foods make us feel bad. Eating healthy makes me FEEL good, but I do have treats. I don’t beat myself up when I have a bad day. When I am feeling down, I can allow myself to feel that feeling without running away from it in food. Yoga, meditation and prayer help me to stay grounded and in the present moment. Connecting with like-minded people has been huge in all of my recovery.

It’s no longer all or nothing. If I can get in 10 minutes of exercise, then that is better than nothing!  Forgiving myself is much more helpful than beating myself up for having a bad day.

Today I exercise and eat healthy because I love my body, not because I hate it. Self-love comes first and it is an inside job. Thank-you to all of my clients who have inspired me and continue to do so every day. Much love and gratitude! Julie.