Posts in Category: Personal Development
The 1st year we lived in this sweet town close to the water, I had a newborn and a toddler with a husband who toured a lot as a musician, 6 weeks of which were spent in Norway during the dead of said winter. THAT was fun. I thought to myself many a time as I bulldozed my way through the drifts, no way, never again. The next year we hooked up snow removal and the winter was light. So we said to each other, not next year!
But….isn’t it romantic? Isn’t it lovely? All of this snow? Had you pronounced such open-ended questions a year ago, I would have given you the side eye. Living in the north is not for the faint of heart during the winter. With snow that accumulates hip deep you best invest in a snowblower, snow removal service or reaaaalllly enjoy shovelling snow. Or, have teenagers. Or amazing neighbours. People who you let in and share your story with, the good and the bad.
The beginning of winter last year met us with sickness and injury. I had fallen and cracked a couple of my ribs, seriously messing up my arm and hip. My husband had just been diagnosed with chronic gout, was on a cane and had to keep his foot elevated a majority of the time. And because we are neighbourly, and because I share in our stories, our neighbours knew what we were going through. Time and time again, our driveway would be ploughed by the kind souls on our street. I can remember one early morning in particular, when I was aiming to get the kids to school on time and there was no backing out of our garage. Stupidly, I attempted it and got stuck. I began digging my way out …ribs throbbing, mind beginning to melt with frustration. Life just felt like a series of slams and I could not keep up.
I got out of that driveway and my husband and I focused on the hard work at hand. Complete health and wellness overhaul. Lots of relationship ho-downs and show-downs. In the end, our love prevailed and we met each seemingly insurmountable mountain and series of tasks, determined more than ever to get better, get fit and get ahead.
How are we today? Well, for starters, I’m romanticizing over the snow even though my hip is throbbing from falling on an ice chunk tobogganing with my kids (being clumsy, apparently, is something I can’t shake). My husband had his first gout flare-up in almost a year over the weekend, forcing us to completely cease-halt on a fitness program we had begun together. A year ago, something like that would have really gotten him down. It would have kept him from riding his bike to the train station, something he truly loves doing. We probably would have started fighting. There must be something to this personal development and self-care that we’ve been focusing on both individually and as a couple, because instead of going to separate rooms to binge out on Netflix, in attempts to blot out the dark, cold grip of winter, we lit some candles and did some PiYO instead. And we got a little sweat on, we laughed and we just ENJOYED ourselves.
I’m no spiritual guru, but I’m pretty sure we’re onto something. And we do it all for our kids just as much as we do it for ourselves.
A friend and client of mine is doing amazing things as a holistic practitioner and in the realm of work that I do as a Heath and Wellness coach, I’m inspired! Have you heard of Access Bars? I myself don’t know nearly enough about it, but I am eager and hungry to learn more. The science behind energy medicine is something I can get behind!
For those of you who are local and just so happen to be divinely feminine, you are cordially invited to a retreat that Amanda Trudeau of ATC Wellness and her Access partner Darlene Bast-Tindall of The West End Yoga and Energy Therapy Centre, are hosting in February at the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre just outside of Espanola, Ontario!
Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt like you were in the flow and all was well with the world? What if you could have more of that? What if you could learn to operate from Choice rather than Circumstance? What if you could experience more Joy, more Ease and more Freedom in life?
Join us for a weekend (that’s right I’ll be there, hopefully in a capacity that I’ll be sharing more about later! Really excited!) of exploration and discover simple yet profound tools to transform your life, relationships, health, body, career, and more.
When was the last time you played, laughed, giggled, tried something new or had a child like sense of amazement? We invite you to move your body, play with colour, get crafty and creative. I’m not going to give away all of the details, but be prepared for fun workshops, speakers, deep learning experiences and delicious food!
It’s amazing how much can happen in a year. How thoughts and patterns and routines can change when an elevated level of self-care, self-love, momentum and drive takes front seat. How dreams can change. How people can change. This past weekend was a biggie. For my both my husband and I in little ways, but mostly for my husband in some big, defining, empowering ways. Trevor and I have spoken about me sharing some of his story with you all today as we’re both firm advocates in Mental Health and Wellness. This doesn’t just encompass nutrition, fitness and personal development. Or career goals. A large part of both our stories, both past present and in what lies ahead in our future, has and always will include a strong focus on mental health. I’ve always been more vocal (publicly) about the mental health part, concerning myself.
Many of you know pieces and layers of my story, and if you don’t, if you’re new (welcome), you can click the link embedded here. We’re here to focus more on Trevor, my husband today. Because he said I could. Not only that, he felt good about it, in letting me share about his long-term battle with clinical depression. He hasn’t always been so open about this part of his life. This year has been a turning point for him, his confidence and in how he excels in the day-to-day, in so many incredible ways. And in following with the generous, thoughtful, surprising way his colleagues and employer recognized him at his holiday work party this weekend, I too, shall follow suit.
We entered into the weekend feeling rather frisky. Perhaps overscheduled with events and parties, we’re also blessed with great friends who kept our kids overnight so that we might partake in the hotel room that was included with Trev’s company party soiree. For those of you who don’t know, Trev has been a long-time web developer. He’s the senior dude at the firm he works for and when I say we were feeling frisky, it began with aspects a little more shallow than what they evolved into over the course of the night. We felt damn good dressed in our sexiest and finest. Deservedly so. We’ve worked hard in shedding some pounds together. Usually, I would have a lot of anxiety leading up to such an event and agonized over what to wear. Silly to some, perhaps – but it’s the truth. I wasn’t comfortable in my body and I felt like crap. My panic attacks in social settings were debilitating and painful. I never knew when one was going to happen. This past weekend was the first time (in a very long time), where none of that happened. Does it all revolve around my weight-loss? Nope. But it sure hasn’t contributed to me feeling MORE crappy.
You see, we’ve BOTH been working hard on our nutrition and fitness over this past year, not just me. But I’m the coach, so I share in my journey. I don’t talk about Trev’s much. But the man deserves some kudos! He’s lost over 40 pounds and the REAL cause for celebration is that he’s been off of his meds for going on a year and a half now. The major contributing factors to this combined transformation has been the tone that I’ve set in what we eat at home sure, but the brunt of the work has been all him. He wakes every day before dawn rises, blends his vegan chocolate shakeology, and hops on his bike to the train station. Every dang day, he rides to and from that station. Every dang day he blends up his superfoods. Not only that, he’s really cut down on his meat intake with the diagnoses of gout that he received last December. And beer … as opposed the nightly event that it was, it is now something he only treats himself to a couple times a month. (Beer – alcohol in general – and meat are the biggest triggers to a painful gout attack.)
He is far from strict with his diet. He likes his snack foods at work, (which became glaringly apparent as he was presented with a ‘quilt’ made out of the snyder snack things he crushes while coding. Yea, his colleagues collected them in secret). When I first became a Beachbody coach he was skeptical. About all of it. About it being an MLM company, the cost of shakeology (he used to be a meat and potatoes dude who would scoff at the word ‘superfood’ or ‘supplement’.) As a few months passed and he watched how I was transforming in all of these intricate ways, (weight-loss, increased confidence, rocking time management, diving into personal development, building community and helping others, building income and mentoring other women), his interest became more than piqued. He, like no other – knew how I struggled. He knew that what was happening for me was LEGIT. Soon enough, he was crushing his own daily shake upon the approval of our Naturopath who had prescribed him to a generic protein powder shake anyways when he had to go completely vegetarian, (back in the beginning of 2015 for a few months).
***AGAIN: I do not tout that shakeology is a meal-replacement or a miracle product. It’s simply a quick way to get dense hit of nutrition for those we see and reap the benefits of having as such in their lives. Increased energy, more time to think about food and snacks (TRUTH), hauling one’s ass out of bed, etc. Trevor is a prime example. Much like me, the man loves his food. But what’s changed for us in the past year is that we are eating much more regularly and healthfully. As in 6-7 times a day. So no, we aren’t only eating 3 big meals a day and replacing one of those with shakeology. He’s not big in the kitchen as I am, and mornings are rushed. His morning shake gives him the natural boost of energy and nourishment his body needs to get out the door. Whole foods are embraced and consumed but a mere couple of hours later.
You guys, in all of the (many) years that Trev and I have been together, never have I seen him with such drive and determination. Not just in how he manages his career, but in his own health. The common thread that ties all of this together is that which we’ve weaved in partnership. US. We’re doing it, we’re making these changes, we’re creating new habits and routines TOGETHER. We lift up and support one another and even I myself am surprised with where these changes have been taking us. Our relationship is stronger, of course. This is just a natural side-effect, yet perhaps the most important one.
Listen, we’re far from perfect, we still have our struggles. Depression still rears its ugly head for Trevor now and then, but nothing like it used to. We firmly believe that it’a combination of all of the changes and attention to personal self-care he/we have implemented into our lives that contribute to more joy trickling into our lives on the regular; rather than struggle, stress, and strife. I don’t have to go into great detail explaining that exercise is commonly used to combat depression, as are natural supplements, attention to nutrition and eating specific combinations of food to keep serotonin levels in check.
Oh, and not to make it a side-note or anything, but Trev received more than a ‘Snyder-Snack-Quilt’ on Saturday. He was presented with a generous bonus to compliment being chosen as, ‘Rockstar Employee of the Year.’ A first for the company, something inspired right from the very depth of creativity and unique badassery that is Trevor. Once upon a time ago, he was musician who toured extensively as the bassist for an amazing band, and held down his own web development business. A couple of years ago he decided to take the great offer he received from ITS Dispatch, (the company he currently works for), for financial reasons and because it was just too much juggling. And he missed his family. He was away a lot. Anyways, the company knew this, and thus, the ‘rockstar’ addition to the company’s employee of the year award. This is SUCH a huge change. When he was touring, he did contract work for a company that constantly devalued the importance of family and pushed him way too far over holidays, and had the nerve to consistently drop subtle (and not so), subtle hints about him cutting his hair and shaving his beard, such things that they considered ‘unprofessional looking.’ Uhm, he worked FROM HOME then. I digress. But I just thought it was important to put that out there, because yet again, there goes Mister Trevor Mills, squashing stereotypes about what a person with clinical depression can and can’t be successful at, and how a man should look in order to be considered professional and successful. BOOYAKA.
My whole point with that little tangent is that this company is so damn cool for recognizing Trev’s unique way of functioning, that they granted him permission him to bring in his bass to jam out on when wading through difficult code, and a PIANO to tinker on as well. I mean, C’MON. Something tells me I’m not the only one who thinks he’s incredibly inspiring. I thought you all might too.
What’s on the horizon for this crazy couple come 2016? We’re going to begin doing Beachbody’s newest program together, The Masters Hammer and Chisel (beginning in January!) to see how far we really can take this whole bonding through elevated self-care and personal development thang! You can totally join us if you want, but I can’t promise we’ll behave. (And if Hammer and Chisel isn’t quite your jam, I have a bunch of other workouts I can offer you or we can build you a custom hybrid schedule!) Click down there to get plugged in for January immediately, or email us: wellnesswarriorsteam@gmail
All photos courtesy Laura Rossi Photography!
Now, these tips would be well-suited for any busy, millennial woman who is trying to incorporate daily exercise and healthier eating habits into their day any time of year, but I thought they would be especially helpful over the holidays when everything we’ve committed to seems insurmountable and keeping up with our own self-care quickly falls off the list.
This is my first time, ever …. as a girl, a woman, a mom, a work-at-home coach … anything … that I’ve stuck to a regimen involving elevated self-care and reigned in nutrition for myself over the holidays. So if you and I have a few things in common (as you’ll quickly ascertain as you read through this list of tips), then you’re welcome.
1. All the BB girls say HEY-O!
Particularly when digging into a workout sequence involving plyometrics (which means HELLA jumping), you’re gonna wanna double up on the workout bras. I don’t care how good your brand totes its support strappin’ capabilities. Double up on that shit. Lest you don’t mind the boob-face-slaps. That full-on happens. There are days I tuck into this particular one, the PLYO extreme (included in the 21 Day Fix Extreme which I’m now tackling), that I forget to double up on the full-support workout bras. Crazy things happen and I just go with it because changing once you’re into it just ain’t gonna happen. At least not for me. Next Monday, I swear, I’ll remember.
2. Celebrate Your Milestones
Since we’re talking about burpees, it should be mentioned that there once was a time that I could not rock a single burpee without being extremely shaky and unable to get past a couple unless I wanted to do a face plant. It’s taken me NINE MONTHS (yep, that’s right) do be able to do 2 full reps (30 seconds each, or 1, 60-second rep) of burpees without modifying that action. I persevered by modifying the heck out of those burpees while I slowly built up my stamina and capability. No shame, only PRIDE. I say this to all of you who are afraid (like I was) to begin and stick to a solid/challenging workout program. Today? Burpee tuck jumps were my favourite move of the day! Not because I necessarily love them like I love a dry Grey Goose martini, but because it feels AMAZING to unlock this level of fitness badassery.
3. Use Dry Shampoo Like a BOSS
I get asked all the time if I wash my hair every day with all this sweating I do. NOPE, I do not. For a couple reasons. Ain’t no one got time for that, being front and centre. Secondly, my hair is thick, coarse and prone to being dry and frequent washing would not be my friend. So I embrace the many virtues of dry shampoo. It does exactly what it’s supposed to. It sucks up all that sweat and my trick to not having any residue is to take a few extra minutes to really work it through with a brush, massaging my scalp with the brush after spraying in. I spray my roots before hopping in the shower to let it do its absorbing thang, and then brush my hair, tossing my head upside down. I give it a good go with the blow dryer, concentrating at the roots and my hair comes out so fresh. So clean. Sort of. No shame here either.
4. Recovery Food is KEY
As many of you know, I’m an avid shakeology fan. It’s simple really. Where else can I get 70 superfoods and consume the equivalent to 6 bowls of greens no matter what other craziness I’m up to in a day? It’s a guaranteed way to ensure that my body is getting the fuel that it needs especially when I’m pushing it to extremes with my workouts.
5. Eat Smaller Portions, More Frequently
Over the course of a busy day – I used to skip breakfast more often than not and ended up starving by lunchtime. This resulted in poor lunch choices and depending on my stress or to-do list that day, it could go all downhill from there. I’m not a big weekly meal-planner, but I do keep my fridge and pantry stocked with simple foods that I can grab on the go or make quickly for lunch and snacks. Many of my clients who don’t work from home embrace the food prep action on Sundays so they are well-set up throughout the week. SO IMPORTANT.
6. Don’t Ignore Your Core
I had an ‘AHA’ moment a couple months into this whole life-changing business and that was how essential my core was/is to the whole process in a workout. Most people know that, but in case you haven’t gleaned … fitness guru I am not. I was not maximizing the benefits of my workouts until I engaged my core with EVERY. SINGLE. MOVE.
7. Personal Development Is Essential
DO IT. Not the cheesy stuff – the stuff that resonates with you. There are several authors/speakers/coaches whose particular style and experiences, prose and personal storytelling that speaks to me and I gravitate towards them. There really is something and someone out there for everyone – maybe this list will help! Thinking you have no time for that? Podcasts are all the rage and you can listen to them from anywhere. I like downloading or streaming them from my iPhone when driving in the car. Done, done and INSPIRED.
8. Just Do It
Today I had 50 minutes to press play, get my sweat on, shower and slap on some make-up. Instead of humming and hawing about how I didn’t have time, I just rocked it, did my dry shampoo thing, hopped in the shower, tossed on some clean clothes and boogied through on my 5-minute ‘natural’ make-up routine. And I don’t wear make-up every day, I’m just not that woman. But now and then – I like a little extra joozh.
So. The Elementary School Milk Program (AHEM: Chocolate Milk MARKETING CAMPAIGN, because their sales go way down without the inclusion of said chocolate milk), is getting rather brazen and authoritative this year.
Did You Know?
“Chocolate milk has no more sugar than ‘100% Fruit Juice!” This is the whole ‘Milk in Schools’ slogan slapped across pamphlets that went home with most public, elementary aged school kids this week. I’m just gonna tweak that nifty little tag-line a bit for a minute here. Amuse me. Come along for the ride. “Chocolate milk has the same (if not more) amount of sugar as ‘100% Fruit Juice!” There. Much better. Let’s break this whole juice is healthy concept down first. It’s not just soda that is full of sugar. Juice can be just as high in sugar as soda. Even the ‘100% fruit juice’ labelled ones, with no extra sugar added. Fruit juice contains no fibre, and the small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in even the 100 % pure fruit juices do not make up for the large amount of natural sugar content. Read that article linked within. It’s a gooder. I tried to find the chocolate milk pamphlet online to link to, no dice. All I could find was the more generalized (perhaps LESS CONTROVERSIAL, ahem) milk in schools brochure. But as you can see from my picture above – they are blatantly promoting chocolate milk all on its own.
The Truth About Marketing
Unfortunately, food and beverage manufacturers aren’t always honest about what is in their products, keep in mind. The fact is, the fruit juice you find at the supermarket may not be what you think it is… even if it’s labelled as “100% pure” and “not from concentrate. There are 30 grams of sugar in flavoured milk (chocolate, strawberry). Flavoured milk also has other ingredients you won’t find in the plain stuff such as colours, flavours, artificial sweeteners, which definitely don’t make it more nutritious. Yes, chocolate milk is damn tasty and I prefer to give it to my kids occasionally as a treat. It’s not being given to them every single day as a healthy food choice.
About 1 in 3 North American children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the first generation of kids who are expected to live a shorter life than their parents. By 2050, 1out of every 3 North Americans will have diabetes at the rate we’re going. This is a fundamental problem that no one is talking about. I’m paying attention and not listening to everything being marketed to me as touted being healthy for my kids and we’re teaching our kids about food brands and labels and how what they see on all of the food being marketed towards THEM aren’t honest. With this pamphlet coming home from school, we had to have another talk about chocolate milk being a TREAT, not an everyday healthy drink to consume like the advertising and slogan on the pamphlet would have their sponge-like little minds believe.
So I don’t mind having these talks with my kids. I believe that kids are being told some of the biggest lies they will ever hear in their lives by government and the food industry. It kind of boggles my mind though that we’re the ones who get strange looks at the grocery store say for example, when one on my kids pipes up asking, “look, mama, these gummies say they have vitamins and 100% fruit juice in them! That’s MARKETING right mama?! Is that true?” We’ve taught them to question marketing and to know that they are being sold lies. If we did not teach them this, they would believe what they’re seeing and reading. Kids are so trusting and innocent in this way. Just as we teach them about ‘stranger danger’, we teach them about sneaky marketing. You can think we’re zealots or go overboard with the whole healthy food consumption thing, all that you want. The stats don’t lie. MARKETING DOES. Especially advertising geared towards children. Take for example the chart that I’m looking at right now on my dining room table. It compares the nutrients of white milk and chocolate milk VS. “100 % apple and orange juice.” They list them all, calcium, vitamins D, A and C, including protein, fat and carb content. They don’t say that most of those ‘nutrients’ are injected into the milk and are synthetic. They very conveniently leave out the Bovine growth hormone content that is given to cows in the U.S. to make them mature faster and produce more milk, or the inhumane treatment that happens to cows on non-grass fed dairy farms everywhere.
Canada … Ontario, Get With The Times!
The biggest thing they’ve left out of that pretty little chart? THE SUGAR CONTENT in flavoured milk or 100% fruit juices. How convenient. Kind of sneaky in fact. We as a society are ready to analyze and question what we’re being sold in other areas of our consumption (clothes, cars, houses, etc.) We doubt, we question, we can see when we’re trying to be bamboozled. We do the research to make sure the product we’re buying is legit. Why on EARTH wouldn’t we do that when it comes to the FOOD THAT WE EAT?!
Look, I get it. Milk in schools is an easy, accessible way to help children get trough their day. So let us leave it at that, with plain old milk leaving the flavoured ones out. If the excuse is that kids are more inclined to drink chocolate milk over the plain, well yea! Of course they are. When we give them that choice. When we give them that power over their own nutrition. It’s up to us as parents to begin at home with these teachings.
Advocates like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his Food Foundation movement, have stood by his Flavoured Milk campaign. His message is clear: the more sugar we consume, the more we tend to want. If even milk has added sugar, what doesn’t? Part of getting everyone to better eating is getting everyone familiar with more wholesome, less-processed foods. Milk closer to nature is a better choice than milk with added sugar and colourings and flavourings. Every eating occasion is an opportunity to promote health or oppose it. If schools take a lead role in promoting health, there will still be much work to do outside of schools, but school then becomes an important part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.
And I agree. Adding flavourings and sugar to milk offers no nutritional benefit. The harm of the sweetened dairy products, besides the added calories, is that the palate changes so that the drive for sweetness increases. No matter what Oliver’s critics might say. Speaking of which, his flavoured milk campaign is SO 2011. He’s since moved on to lunches that are served in schools and food education for kids, parents and teachers alike.
Socioeconomic and Demographic Accessibility
The hardcore truth of the matter is that some kids go to school without being fed breakfast. Or, if they have been fed breakfast, it was a bunch of sugary crap. Every single day. (Again, I’m talking about consistency here, not the occasional treat). And much the same continues throughout their day when they pull out snacks and lunch. Very little whole-food based food with REAL (not synthetic) vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and protein value. So milk is a simple, accessible (cost effective) choice for many families to jump on board with to supply their kids with at least SOME nutritional food value to keep going throughout their day. I personally know that most of the vitamins touted to be in milk are not naturally sourced. As in they’re synthetic forms of those vitamins and ADDED into milk to make it more marketable. A one stop shop to get a whole fleet of vitamins, minerals and food supplements: vitamin’s A, B6, D, B12, calcium, protein, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous zinc. Healthy carbs and fats. (Questionable, i.e.: skim vs. regular, whole milk vs. 2%, organic vs. regular, etc.)
I realise that our family comes from a place of privilege wherein we (by working our butts off to be able to afford whole foods) can provide our kids a nutrient dense diet every day. There are several reasons that we view this as a high priority in our budget, which stem from cultural beliefs surrounding food and water being sacred, being medicine; core values and health issues that my husband and I have. The truth is that there are a plethora of other ways for even low-income families to feed their kids simple, whole-food based meals and snacks that provide all of the nutrients that milk and flavoured milk are advertised as having. But knowing and understanding this takes LEARNING and education for parents too. Which is why some North American schools have stopped including flavoured milks in the milk programs and have workshops and book informative public speakers to come in and provide hands-on learning tools about how to feed their families on a budget, exposing truths about sugar and industry marketing.
My reasons for writing this post aren’t just to rant and rave. I’m hoping to generate online discourse and proposing that parents who are interested in tackling this issue, DO SO. It is much easier to turn a blind eye to the horrifying statistics on childhood obesity and diabetes and continue on as we were. Buying the hype. At what cost? We need to rally together, support one another, regardless of socio-economic and demographic barriers. Start up a movement in your school. Research speakers and workshop options. Put together your own presentation and make a call-to-action with your school’s principal to present at your next School Council meeting. Share your knowledge with other parents and students in an approachable, helpful way. Make suggested alternatives to flavoured milk easy, price friendly and accessible. Be the motivation. Igniting community awareness and interest in a convenient manner is key. We can’t just TELL parents they’re doing something wrong. How pompous, right? In essence, they aren’t. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. With what we’ve been
When industry partners up with the government (the Elementary School Program for example, or say – the Canadian Food Guide, which is a whole other bucket of worms, but take a comparitive look at our food guide compared to the Brazilian Food Guide ), the thought of challenging that strong-hold of power is overwhelming. I get it. Writing this post took me nearly two hours and I have many more (hours) ahead of me if I hope to get chocolate milk sales banned from my kids’ school and help other parents and kids understand why this is a GOOD THING. No, I don’t have lots of time on my hands. I work full-time too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have our own daily intricacies, problems and issues to deal with.
Don’t Just Take My Word For It …
Sugar, in and of itself has become a widespread, controversial subject. Please watch the documentary “Fed Up”. It’s a highly (scientific and evidence based) researched (albeit disturbing) look at sugar as the INDUSTRY it really is. Placing private profit ahead of public health. Watch the trailer below.
Learn more, know more.
What You Can Do
➵ Be friendly. DON’T BE PREACHY. Make it fun. Perhaps start off with signing up to have your school celebrate Food Revolution Day 2016 and use The Flavoured Milk campaign a springboard for small steps.
➵ Print and share the easy to read PDFs from Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, Toolkits for Change under “Flavoured Milk.’ There are 3 sections (The Facts, Find Support and Create a Campaign.) Email my post to begin, if you want, to your school council members and principal. Post it on FB and tag your neighbours, your friends, etc. Find your allies at the school and join together.
➵ Contact your school council chair, your principal, your ministry of education (where the campaign comes from). This might be considered causing a ruckus depending on where you’re at demographically. I guess you need to be comfortable with that. Or be okay with being uncomfortable. I’m going to be communicating with my kids’ school council that I’m already a part of and the principal to make my own presentation.
➵ If you can get your school’s principal and council members on board, call an info night session for all parents to attend and hand out the resources linked above, put them on a overhead and use them as talking points to all parents in attendance. Better yet, make a mini, easy to digest power point presentation using these resources to accompany it. Send the printables home with the kids too, just like that chocolate milk pamphlet was. They may not be printed in colour on fancy heavy weight gloss paper, and that’s okay.
➵ Contact ME to use and modify my power point presentation (coming soon!). Sign up for my newsletter to find out when. Or simply use Jamie Oliver’s resources to create your own, that’s what I will be doing, he makes it easy.
This may be one small thing that you do – in eliminating flavoured milk being sold at your kids’ school. With the power to invoke long-term change; in how parents and kids know about and understand nutrition, how neighbourhoods and school districts to come together as a village, recognizing the importance of food education and diet-related diseases that we are facing with this generation.
It was mid-summer, 2012. Spirits were high as Trev (my husband for any new readers) and I were at Dundas Square for a performance he was about to get down in (as the bassist for the band Digging Roots at the time) for Aboriginal Day festivities at Dundas Square in Toronto. About an hour before he was to hit the stage we received a phone call informing us that his/our dear friend, Steve Dennis had been kidnapped. Steve is a humanitarian aid worker, and since 2002 he has been assisting to provide aid in some of the world’s most devastated areas.
At the time of his kidnap, he was deployed with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) to the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. Steve and four of his colleagues were attacked by armed men, shot and taken with force as hostages. One of them did not survive. None of us can begin to fathom what this might have been to go through. I just know on the other side, in receiving this horrible news … that time stood still. We had no control. There was nothing we could do to help Steve. We didn’t know if he would survive. Thankfully, he did. But thousands of other aid workers in similar, tragic events, have not. And yet thousands more who have survived physically, require care and rehabilitation that they are just not receiving.
As anyone could image, the repercussions of this tragedy have had ongoing effects on him that you or I could not imagine. He brought his concerns to the NRC and received next to NO ongoing support. In the years since Steve has made discoveries concerning the NRC’s level of accountability and level of duty of care to it workers as an organization in general. Not just regarding what happened to he and his colleagues. So he hired a lawyer in “pursuit of answers about organizational accountability and support for my injuries” as Steve states in the essay of his Fund Razr campaign. Why is he seeking to raise funds? Steve hopes to help re-shape aid policy and procedures to the level that reducing the risk of violence requires! And to take proper care of those and their familes who are suffering. As one might envision, in knowing what a huge organization that the NRC is … the bevy of high rolling lawyers they have at their disposal. Steve is but one man in his plight for fair and [much needed] call-to-action for change in aid and thus far has used his own resources and time to cover legal fees.
There is so much more to the story and I urge you to read what Steve has to say and watch his video on his Fund Razr page. The change he is trying to manifest will benefit the future of ALL aid workers. He is asking us to share his message … like that of so many other aid workers, and to discuss what duty of care means to you, and make a small donation any way we that we can.
This has been difficult to write as I want to share ALL of the details with you, but I also beseech you to visit his funding page. Get the full scope of how crucial the shift towards safety and accountability for aid workers that Steve is petitioning for. Share his story on your social networks (use the hashtag #ReShapeAid) and get involved in the discussion.
Words From Trevor
When Steve first told me of his decision to start working with Médecins Sans Frontières, I saw immediately what a great fit it was. Steve is a level-headed, fair and pragmatic engineer who brought a talent for making things out of nothing to places that needed them most. His good heart and wisdom was recognized by ex-pats and nationals alike and he earned respect unanimously. He has always had a mind fit for figuring out processes and logistics and MSF, and later the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), saw that and put it to very good use for a long time. There was always knowledge that working on these front lines brought risk, but there were plans in place to provide a working environment that was as safe as possible. Steve was forthcoming with his thoughts on where he saw weaknesses in security procedures and other safety concerns. Indeed on some assignments, he was the man on point to enforce best practices to ensure the safety of the staff, ex-pat and national, on the project. He had the experience and the ability to disseminate his knowledge to the organizations he was working for. And he did.
In 2012, his camp was stormed by armed men, resulting in the death of his friend and driver, Abdi Ali, and the kidnapping of him and 3 others. The camp was being run by the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC), and they were absolutely negligent in their responsibilities towards the safety of their staff. There were a slew of security measures that had been well discussed and thought out, yet were simply ignored or dropped. And after the kidnapping, the NRC did nothing to take responsibility for their actions nor make reparations in the field for their mistakes.
The kidnapping was a turning point for Steve. I know that he has struggled with PTSD and has not been, and may never be, ready to return to the field. But, Steve is a man who sees justice as a responsibility and he is standing up against the NRC to make them accountable for their failing response to the kidnapping incident. His voice echoes the unheard voices of thousands of aid workers who ask only that true efforts be made towards keeping them safe while they do important and harrowing work in the field.
Steve is one of my oldest and dearest friends. I am grateful that he is and will be around to watch my children grow. And I am proud of him, and absolutely support him, for taking this stand. His actions must have a positive effect and will, in all likelihood, save lives.
You know how Facebook reminds you of your posts from 1 year ago, 2 years ago, 3 years ago, etc? Well, today I was reminded of how 9 years ago I was living the life of a Nomad, fresh out of some heavy detoxing. Embarking on a new life, not knowing where I was going, but committed to living a life free of self-medicating, crippling doubt and self-loathing.
It’s been almost a decade since then that I’ve carved out space in my time in my heart for so much more than I could have imagined for a girl like me, with a past like mine. I’m a mother now and a wife. Back then, I thought I wanted to be a social worker. I knew I wanted to be in a helping profession, but I forgot about my creative side. It’s taken all of those years, out of the haze – to figure out I need to find a way to merge my creative side with my nurturing one. I would never have imagined that a career existed wherein I could also build a stable business, to become financially free too. Everyone I knew in those industries toiled with all of their heart and soul, never truly monetarily matching their worth. Eventually becoming burnt out and maxed out in multiple ways.
After half a year of being a Beachbody coach, I’ve been shown how to (and am currently experiencing,) what it’s like to settle into my skin and feel excited about my future. More importantly, the future I am helping to provide for my family and my community in 3 rather remarkable (to me) ways:
1. I’ve been taught how to motivate myself and others to tackle their innermost demons and crutches that weigh us down, especially the stragglers (which for me, was food) and STICK with a solid health and fitness routine. This alone, has redefined me to my very core.
2. I no longer doubt the power that sharing our stories manifests in this world, and that all it takes is one person to lead a small group of others toward a common goal of greater good. And that greater good starts with oneself. Personal development is something I will no longer scoff at or make snarky remarks about. I don’t want to miss a beat. And when I do? I now have the self-confidence and resilience to pick myself back up again each bright new day, making time for ME. Even as a mother. I can make time for both and it doesn’t mean I’m being selfish. Total guilt-free zone wherein doing so gives me the strength and peace of mind to come back refreshed and pour MORE of me into my mothering, my relationship with my husband and my family as a whole.
3. I’ve become stronger of health AND mind. I’m more organized in co-managing our finances and monthly budget, daily responsibilities in running a household with my husband and general family calendar and to-do lists. I used to abhor talks of finances and would feel overwhelmed with all that was on my plate. I’m not saying everything’s perfect now, but I’ve been given so many practical tools and endless support and resources to really make strides in taking the stress out of ADULTING.
I’m looking for people who have struggled with these 3 things to move forward into hitting the REFRESH button this fall. All it takes is one giant leap of faith in yourself and the courage to believe that YOU are in charge of your future and anything is possible when you have the right community of boss babes to back you up. Email me today to claim your spot. (And let me know if you’re interested in beginning as a client or as BOTH a client and a business builder!) Transformations really are possible when they happen from the inside out. Just as the title of this post says, the sky really is the limit. When you have options, that is.
Ah, at long last … after 5 months of doing the 21 Day Fix (both for myself and in offering this program to my clients as a health and wellness coach), I have some things to say about my experience and have also included some testimonials at the end. So if anything, make sure you scroll to the end of my post. Because you don’t have to take my word for it!
FACT: The 21 Day Fix is an all-inclusive program. It’s a total package that focuses on fitness AND nutrition suitable for a wide range of ages, body-types, lifestyle and food choices. It’s especially adaptable in that those who have dietary restrictions (think paleo, gluten-free, vegan etc.) can really make the nutrition plan work for them.
FICTION: Welcome to making the best decision of your life! In 21 Days, you will transform your bod into steel and after that you can go back to eating brownies, couch surfing and kicking burpees to the curb. NOT. The name (21 Day Fix) alone, does not define the true essence or intent of the program. There is no such thing as a single 21 Day Fix. It is a fierce mantra that is meant to spark a healthy lifestyle change or help those who are already on that path to become stronger and perhaps re-evaluate their relationship with food and their bodies in the long-term. It’s based on the notion that it takes 21 days to break from a bad habit and replace it with a good one. The point is that you don’t just quit after 21 days because you experienced a miracle.
FACT: The nutritional component features 7 colour coded containers, for measuring food portions. Completely taking the guess-work out of calories in and calories out. The word macro-diet doesn’t even come into play. In fact, it’s not a DIET at all. The containers are meant to be a live-action learning tool wherein one hopefully learns to eat more frequently, in smaller portions to nourish their body with the fuel it needs and deserves to live a happier, healthier life in the long-term. And yea, kick some pounds to the curb. Perhaps many pounds. We all have different goals.
FICTION: You have to obey a strict set of rules wherein you never have any treats or eat more than your allotted containers for the day and never stray from the “safe foods” list. PUHLEASE. There is work involved, yes. It will be challenging, yes. I personally don’t promote the “portionology” as a strict set of rules that all of my clients simply must follow. They are a guide, they are there (and meant) to teach you about proper food portioning. If you don’t have an issue with that, then great! This program probably isn’t for you. But are you really being honest with yourself? Do you really consider nutrition 80% of the game when maintaining (or achieving) a healthy weight?
FACT: The second nutritional component of the program is Shakeology. Shakeology is not just a protein shake. It’s a dense hit of daily nutrition that features over 70 superfoods and is the equivalent to eating 6 bowls of veggies. There are NO artificial sweeteners, NO artificial colors, NO soy, NO artificial stimulants, and NO artificial flavors in that mix whatsoever. One of its main sweeteners is Stevia, which is plant-based. My favourite flavour is vegan chocolate, you can find the complete list of ingredients here.
FICTION: Shakeology is a really expensive protein shake touting that it’s a weight loss / meal replacement shake! Just nope. I personally don’t promote it as such and only use it as a meal replacement shake for the occasional breakfast when I’m on the run. (Because it IS filling.) It is meant to be consumed in unison with a healthy, whole-foods based diet. Shakeology is about HEALTH. When you put the RIGHT nutrients in your body that it needs to develop, heal, recover, repair, and thrive, you may ultimately have MORE energy, LESS cravings, and FEEL better therefore you eat less and become more active. With Shakeology, weight loss becomes a BY-PRODUCT of dense nutrition. Shakeology isn’t MAGIC. It’s just clean dense nutrition made SUPER easy for everyone at a very affordable price when you really look at the ingredients VS. what you’re spending at say … the Starbucks drive-through window. Or the grocery store on all of those synthetic vitamins. Or … if things are really off course – the Mc Dee’s drive-through every day. The place where you don’t ask for a list of ingredients on anything, yet you analyze the ingredients of Shakeology out the wazoo.
FACT: The fitness portion of the program is based upon plyometrics interval training. What’s that? Basically, short bursts of 30-minute workouts. Autumn Calabrese (the creator) has formulated a fantastic fitness regimen that rotates between cardio, strength, hybrid, pilates, and yoga. Basically, this program is the BOMBDIGGS for people who don’t have a lot of time, but still want to yield fantastic results. Moms, this program is your friend.
FICTION: The workouts are hard and people are too busy to workout every day. That’s obsessive anyways. Yes, the workouts are hard. That’s the whole point. There’s also one of Autumn’s homies who shows you how to do modified moves and I followed her every step of the way my first month in and then some with a few of those moves. Holy hell. Sometimes I miss a workout. For the most part, I try to squeeze them in. After all, they’re THIRTY MINUTES. Do you know how much time you spent on FB alone today? Thought so. (Me too.)
What Workouts Come With the At Home Program?
➳ Total Body Cardio Fix: Gets your heart rate up and keeps your metabolism revved
➳ Upper Fix: Targeted resistance training to shape your chest, back, shoulders, arms and abs
➳ Lower Fix: Tones your entire lower body while blasting fat and burning calories
➳ Pilates Fix: Develop long, lean muscles while you target your hips, thighs, and core
➳ Cardio Fix: Exactly what it sounds like. Heart pumping cardio in just half an hour.
➳ Yoga Fix: Improve your balance, flexibility and strength (and get a tiny bit of a break)
➳ BONUS: Dirty 30: 4 rounds of fat burning moves in a mix of cardio and strength!
I was miserable before just focusing on losing weight and SPOILER ALERT: everything I tried didn’t work! Until I took a leap of faith in myself and started with this program. You guys, those short burst interval workouts and the portion eating plan changed the way I looked at eating and fitness! I was able to loose 12 pounds in my first month by easily incorporating my preferred way of eating (Paleo).
The science of working out is affecting my BODY CHEMISTRY in ways that have me finally feeling calmer, happier, less stressed and empowered. I was someone who hadn’t stuck to a consistent exercise routine, EVER. Not ever in my life. So the modified moves, being able to do them at home and the short effectiveness of the program made it all so accessible. The “portionology” has taught me to check in with myself about my hunger and address years of using food as a crutch and emo-eating. My goals have nothing to do with attaining a thigh gap and more to do with shedding self-doubt, bad habits (years of emotional eating that didn’t always have to do with savouring taste and nourishing my body) along with some pounds. The slow path to eliminating toxic relationships and the voices of my own inner demons has led me to truly believe in myself and have the strength to help inject others with that too.
There have been ups and downs, gains and losses. Both in my weight and with my business as a leader to other coaches I’ve begun to mentor. I’ve recently launched off a plateau in both areas (my own health journey + my coaching business) and one key element helped me rise from leading with negative emotions of self-doubt: my why … my family. The woman I am today is drastically different than the woman I was 6 months ago and I’m not just talking about improved self-confidence. I’m talking about feeling NOURISHED from the inside out, body, mind + spirit. I’m talking about the shift my health has taken from feeling tired and frazzled with weekly migraines and constant back issues. I’m talking about spiked blood sugar levels moving in the direction of a diagnosis of diabetes if I didn’t spark real change in my life, and FAST. I’m managing my underactive thyroid (not severe, I’m lucky I can manage it on my own) and bouts of depression that come along with it; with diet, exercise, meditation, yoga and personal development.
The best deal going on the 21 Day Fix experience is called a CHALLENGE PACK for $186 CAD. This includes the full 21 Day Fix program and nutrition plan + 1 month of Shakeology (normally $140). So basically you are getting the 21 Day Fix program for just $10. This is what you need to buy to join my monthly challenge groups. The challenge group is the key to long-term success because it connects you with a community, accountability and motivation along with endless resources to guide you on your journey. This is especially important with a program like the 21 Day Fix where you will likely have lots of questions about meal planning and recipes ideas! You get free coaching from me as you go through the program with a group of other people all doing it together. We talk about nutrition and goals and how to create healthy habits. We encourage each other and I strive to create a sacred, safe space. A guilt and shame free zone where the focus is on healing and transformations from the inside out; body mind and soul.
+ Customized assistance with meal planning, grocery lists, recipes + nutrition guides (specializing in working with those with dietary restrictions)
+ Assigned personal development reading (that doesn’t suck!)
+ Daily self-care routines and activities
+ Me checking in with you every single day providing counsel, helping you address demons related to food, emotional road blocks, emotional eating + self-worth
+ Endless support in a guilt and shame free zone
+ Short yet effective workouts that you can do from home
+ Drink daily superfoods
If you’re interested in OWNING your life and taking a leap of faith in yourself, message me email me at: wellnesswarriorsteam@gmail
Fifteen?! Yes FIFTEEN. So bookmark this or PINNIT or whatever. This is a damn good list. Pinky swears. And I scaled back for sequel, so. There could be more, but I didn’t want to be obnoxious about it. Ahem.
So ‘Personal Development.’ The big ‘ole PD. Ugh. Is that what you’re thinking? For the most part, I suppose you could say that’s what I think about that whole world of know-it-all gurus too. It’s a saturated market. But then, aren’t all industries with professionals and would-be professionals? Keep in mind – there are a lot of self-help and PD books out there that DO SUCK. These don’t. You can take it from a converted skeptic who opened up her heart and mind a long time ago, to break free from pain, debilitating self-doubt and self-medication to begin crawling out of a black hole. So many of these book choices may not shout PD, but they’ve impacted my life in REAL and TANGIBLE ways. I’ve savoured all of them, four of which are in my current roster in the midst of being digested.