Dear Motivation, You suck!

Dear motivation,
Once again, we were having so much fun before you decided to leave me once again. We had this great thing going. I was happy to get up every morning to workout and plan my healthy meals; then you bail like you have done in the past, slipping quietly out the back door.

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Why did you have to leave me again?! You always do this to me. Right when I think I finally found something that works and am filled with energy, you always manage to slowly disappear, get lost, and vanish.

And to make matters worse, you leave at the worst moments: when it’s cold outside, when I’m feeling stressed, when I have a bad night’s sleep, when the kids are sick, when I go on business trips, when I leave for a relaxing vacation… Don’t you understand that THAT’s when I NEED you the most!!!!!

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Why can’t you be more like Discipline, I can count on her. She whips my ass out of bed (no matter how grumpy I am), gets me up when I don’t want to and pushes me into action. Sure, sometimes I push her aside but then she always wins because I know she’s right. I know that my workouts make me feel better, I know that eating regularly keeps Mrs Hangry pants at bay; why don’t you get that and stick around. Damn you motivation!

How do you expect me to get anything done if you’re not around? I look for you everywhere. It’s not like I don’t want to workout or lose the weight or tone up or stop eating that extra piece of chocolate, you’re just not there when I need you. Screw you! And willpower too while I’m at it!

And then once and a while you come back and were soo happy again and you make me feel like this time it’s forever, a new start, I can take on the world but then two weeks later you sneak back out again. I don’t have to take this.

From now on, we can have an open relationship. You can come and go as you please but if you’re looking for me, I’ll be with my new crew: Discipline, Patience and Consistency.  They may not be as sexy as you but those chicks, I can count on to get the job done EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

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See ya around mothafucka.

EMBRACING DEFEAT

Last week my 5 year old daughter had a “race day” at her school. Every grade participated and there were three medals (gold, silver and bronze) distributed per grade for the winners of the race. Just to give you a little context, my daughter is a mini alex when it comes to sports. She is very talented in different areas but her natural abilities are not really in sports. So when I came back home from work that day, I found my little girl curled up in a ball on the couch, under a cozy fuzzy blanket, quietly whimpering away. When I asked her what was wrong, she flung into my arms and sobbed: I didn’t win the medal.

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I felt my heart crack and held her tight and brought her into the kitchen to discuss her feelings about what happened that day. Although, to most, it might just seem like a mini event in the grand scheme of things in the life of a 5 year old, but I believe the way we react to defeat has been taught to us from a very young age. For most of us, it goes something like this: We fail at something. We cry. We get angry. A while later, most don’t try but some of us try again. We fail again. We tell ourselves that it is no surprise since we failed before. A few of us try yet again. We fail again. We tell ourselves we aren’t good. We give up. For good this time and hesitate the next time opportunity knocks.

Some of you might be like: yeah, and… your point is….?

What do electricity, Mickey Mouse and Vera Wang have in common?

Guess What?…Everyone has failed at some point. The people we consider the brightest have all failed, over and over and over again. But they NEVER quit! Here are just a few examples:

Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

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Oprah Winfrey was publicly fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.”

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Vera Wang failed to make the 1968 US Olympic figure-skating team. Then she became an editor at Vogue, but was passed over for the editor-in-chief position.

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Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”

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Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.

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My message to my daughter that day (and all of us too!):

 

 

You have the world in front of you. So many great things to look forward to if you open your eyes.

You have so many precious gifts to share with this world. So stand tall and don’t be afraid to show them.

Never let anything stand in your way to succeeding. Live life as though it is a fantastic adventure not a competition. Be happy for those who win. Just because they win before you doesn’t mean your chance won’t come one day.

Believe in yourself. Be true to yourself and never ever quit on yourself.

Let Anxiety In…

Given all my years of experience with anxiety (hello, childhood friend who gave me stomach aches and the shakes the night before a presentation!), I have actually built a solid repertoire of tools to help me deal with anxious thoughts.

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In fact, this tool actually was brought to me during my second pregnancy when I went to my prenatal yoga class. I saw a sheet of paper pinned to a bulletin board, and on it was printed the following poem.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi

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After reading the poem, I chose to put it into practice. My yoga teacher once told the class that emotions, just like labor pain, come and go like a wave. The premise is to treat anxious thoughts like a guest.

Invite the emotion in, welcome it instead of pushing it away. Observe it with curiosity instead of trying to avoid it. And let it go as opposed to fearing anxiety and desperately trying to rid yourself of feeling anxious (which actually makes it worse because then you spiral into those ruminating thoughts that start spinning in your head and where you feel you have lost control. See, told you, I knew what I was talking about :D)

In fact, in moments of anxiety, I would actually envision a scene, where anxiety takes a human form (like a decrepit, weak, trembling, scared old man) knocking on my door and I picture myself inviting him in a cozy, warm living room with a fireplace.

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I proceed to ask him to take a seat and stay for tea and we sit for a while. It might sound cuckoo, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It may take some practice and your own twist to it but the more you get comfortable with your uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, sadness, anger, etc. the more you have a handle on them and then they stop controlling you.

You are always in control of the way you feel. Anxiety can happen to everyone at some point. Slow down when it happens. Slow down your thoughts. Don’t fear it. Acknowledge it. And always breathe and keep breathing… inevitably, the guest will decide to leave you be.

How do you keep your anxious thoughts in check?

TOP 5 REASONS WHY A GRATEFUL HEART IS A HEALTHY HEART

With Thanksgiving weekend here (well, at least in Canada, that is) I figured it would be fun to remind everyone of how truly beneficial it is to have a grateful heart.

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Here are my top 5 reasons why gratefulness should be a priority for all:

  1. IT MAKES YOU HEALTHIER: Keeping a gratitude journal and writing in it a few minutes each day can actually make you healthier. A study conducted in 2003 by Emmons and McCullough demonstrated that participants who partook in a habit of being grateful benefited from far more health benefits than those who did not. The grateful participants spent 19% more time exercising, they had a 25% increase in sleep quality, and they reported 10% fewer physical symptoms over the study time period.woman-standing
  2. IT MAKES YOU MORE LIKEABLE: Multiple studies have shown that grateful attitude brings about pro-social behavior. Ask yourself: Would you rather hang out with a cheerful person who is grateful for what they have or a person complaining about what they don’t have in this lifetime!? Keeping a gratitude journal is enough to make you more likely to help others with their problems and makes you more likely to offer them emotional support. Let’s just say it puts your “empathy-motor” into overdrive 😀

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  1. IT MAKES YOU LOOK GOOD: Ingratitude is universally looked upon with contempt. Gratitude, on the other hand, is considered a virtue in all major religions and most modern cultures. It takes a strong person to acknowledge that they didn’t get to where they are all on their own – that without others they may never have made it. People like being acknowledged. We all do and we tend to like those who acknowledge us and see them in a more positive, attractive light. Mae West
  2. IT HELPS YOU CRUSH GOALS: In one study, participants were asked to write down those goals which they wished to accomplish over the next two months. Those who were instructed to keep a gratitude journal reported more progress on achieving their goals at the end of the study. In fact, how gratitude works is that you become more aware of how, when things don’t go your way, you can still find a way to learn from the experience or not be discouraged by it and move past it faster.80s-fitness-fashion-girls-8
  3. IT MAKES YOU HAPPIER: Ultimately, if you sleep better, look better (as a benefit of exercising more), have more people like you (given your friendlier nature), you will be happier. Imagine, how a small change, done consistently over time, like entering a few lines of some of the things that you are grateful for can lead you to your happier better life!

Why not start now, and write down below what you are grateful for?

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OLD ME VS NEW ME: SEEING BOTH SIDES

Believe it or not, for those who didn’t know me before my 40’s revolution, I wasn’t always into fitness. In fact, I actually shunned exercise and didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

I mean, I knew it was good for you in a general sense but always imagined you had to be a professional athlete or someone who worked out for hours on end to reap the full benefits. Until last year, I didn’t realize that exercise not only helps you feel more energetic and stronger but it has tremendous impact on your perception of the world. Those endorphins hold a powerful punch!

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Since last year, I had a lot of people come to me and tell me those same things I used to say to myself and how I used to perceive exercise and those who partook in such a “crazy” thing. Here’s a sneak peak interview into the workings of my old-self brain and the changes to my new self…

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OLD ME: Why do you post your workout on social media? People who post their workouts on social media are so full of themselves. Oh wow! You sweat, look at you all getting healthy. What are you trying to prove? Give me a break, eat a hamburger!

NEW ME: Although I can see how annoying it may seem, I do it because after years of rolling my eyes at an old colleague who used to post her fitness workouts online, I finally reached out to her to see what she was doing ‘cause she looked so darn good and happy. And her “annoying” posts actually got me to do something and start moving. So although I felt uncomfortable posting at first, and still feel a little self conscious from time to time, I tell myself, if I can motivate ONE single person to do something good for their health and themselves, then it’s all worth it! And imma gonna keep postin’ that sh*t! 😀

OLD ME: Oh no, have you been brainwashed by a pyramid scheme company and now want to sell me a bunch of health stuff I don’t need?

NEW ME: Nah. I got my hands full with a full-time job and two small kids at home. Ain’t got time to stalk you into scam. To tell you the truth, I became a Beachbody coach to stay accountable and by setting an example for others, I can’t just skip workouts or eat crap all the time. And now, it’s become a hobby. I love running challenge groups and seeing people motivated to workout and change their bad eating habits. Heck, whether you do a Beachbody workout or another type of workout, the important thing for me is to see people make some positive changes to their lives. I just picked Beachbody because everything is organized for you: your workout calendar, meal plans and your own coach. This works for me and for many but if this ain’t the right fit for you, I encourage you to find something that works. You will be happy you did.

OLD ME: I can’t do what you do, I have a full-time job, kids, bad knees, bad back, etc.?

NEW ME: Hellooooooo, so do I. I have realized that it’s really about finding a formula that works for you. I work full-time so I make sure to get my workout in first thing in the morning, before work, even if that means waking up at 5am before the kids. My right wrist is weak so I do my pushups on my knees, then again, my knees are weak too, so some moves I step them out instead of jumping. I go at my pace and listen to my body. As they say, if you really want something you find a way, or else you find excuses!

OLD ME: Those fitness programs don’t work, I tried them for a couple of weeks and I didn’t lose any weight and maybe even gained weight!

NEW ME: Beachbody programs, unlike other diet programs, aren’t quick fixes. Quick fixes DON’T WORK on the long term anyway. These programs are meant to fit into your lifestyle. You need to find your groove and see how you can fit 30 minutes of working out and cutting out crap from your diet and eat within your calorie range… it’s simple… not easy but simple. I lost 4 measly pounds the first month. Then 2 the month after that, then didn’t lose any weight for another 2 months, etc… but kept going and lost in my sixth month in. Weight loss is not consistent and life happens, we sometimes get sidetracked and that is fine but you stay consistent and you stick to it and that’s when you start seeing results on all levels.

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So if you see yourself in the old me, give me a shout, I’d love to see if I can help you out to reach a new You! What’s your excuse not to?

SHUSHING YOUR INNER MEAN GIRL

Last week I started running again.

After my short-lived running career back in March of this year, running fell by the wayside. But sometimes running away from something always manages to bite you in the a** until you deal with it once and for all. And I must admit that in the past few months, there have been one too many signs signaling me that this was the right time to start again and this is what I needed to do. For years, I wanted to run a 5k and when I suddenly got a text last week from a lovely friend asking me to join her in the Rock n’ Roll Run on September 23rd; I “5-second-ruled-it” and said, without hesitation, YESSS! That’s not true, I hesitated for a split second but answered YES anyways 😀

I knew I was starting and I would need to train if I wanted to run a 5K without injury (physically and ego-wise; nothing worse than a bruised ego :P). I felt ready. What I wasn’t ready for was all the mean girl talk that occurred once I actually got started!

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ME (Day 1): Ok, let’s do this!

After one minute… this is cool, I love being outside! It feels good to start again. The fresh air, morning breeze, …

Three minutes later… Ok, why am I tired? I need to walk. My legs are feeling heavy. I workout almost everyday why do I suck at this? I was never good at running, what makes me think I will be good now. In high school I came last for the 1.5km, that was so embarrassing! I don’t know if I can do this. Ok, shush, let’s start running again…

After 5 minutes: Man, running is hard! I hope I don’t hurt myself. What if I have to walk to whole way? Why am I so slow? I suck at this. I can’t back out now, I gave my word. People will think I’m a fake, posting all those workout selfies and I can’t even run a 5k. Anyone can run a 5k!… except me.

Minute 8: Ok, I’m resting, I need a time out. Why am I so hard on myself? Stop being hard on yourself. So what if they laugh at me? Oh no, my husband and my kids will be there. They’ll want me to go faster. But I’ll be tired and achy. I don’t want them to see me like that. Arghhhhhhhh!

Minute 10: Ok I’m running a bit more and then I’m done. I have no clue how I’m going to get better. I just don’t see it.

Minute 14: ok. I’m done.

After that, I got back home, and feeling disappointed in my run. Duhhhhhhhh!

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But as all experiences are lessons in disguise, I chose to look back at my run that morning. Hey, I figured it would make a great blog post! And also see what I could change for my next practice run.

I write and talk about positive mindset and here I was getting sucked into the same inner mean talk we often give ourselves when we attempt something new. However, once you become mindful of that, you can change it. It probably won’t happen overnight and that mean girl might still be lurking in a dark corner of the coils of that brain of yours and pop out when you least expect her, but you CAN change your thoughts over time.

As I was writing down what I was thinking during my run, I was surprised. It suddenly dawned on me that I would never say those things to someone I cared about who wanted to take up running! …then why do I say them to myself?

Next run, I will focus on the fact that I got the discipline to get out there and run, no matter how slow I go. I showed up! Nothing happens overnight, I will get better, it is inevitable. And if all else fails, well, it takes slow runners to make fast runners look good. So you’re welcome! 😀

36894c78be9edba1d3f8b57d722817f1--running-motivation-fitness-motivationAs for all of us, next time, you start a new job, sport, hobby, whatever it is… remember that the negative self-talk is probably our egos trying to protect us in a way to make us quit and return to our comfort zone. But it is by moving out of your comfort zone that growth occurs and you get to experience what life is all about.

Be kind to yourself. Be brave. AND shush that inner mean girl with your positive vibes! You’ll always come out a winner, in the end.

How do you deal with negative self-talk?

Dear Fat Mommy In The Swimsuit

When I first read this post on Chryssy Joski’s blog called Well Rounded Mom, it struck a cord because at some point, all of us moms have felt some form of discomfort with our bodies. This is a harsh reminder of how hard we are towards ourselves instead of celebrating the body that has created such an incredible thing: LIFE! Thanks Chryssy for letting me share this post on my blog.

A Letter To Myself At The Beach Today

Dear Fat Mommy in the Swimsuit,

You know you’re overweight, right?  You don’t have toned abs, or even the slightly flabby abs of a skinny girl who had a couple kids.  You haven’t had a toned tummy since high school.  When you got rid of your eating disorder, you got rid of those abs, too.  Your weight has gone up and down more than your bank account.  Except that the bank account stayed low and your weight, well, didn’t.

And did you know your arms are flabby, too?  Good ol’ bingo wings there.  You probably shouldn’t wear tank tops, muchless a swimsuit.  People don’t want to see those arms flapping around as you wave to your baby on the beach.  Gross.

Don’t even get me started on those thighs.  Cellulite, dimples of fat ripple from hip to knee.  It’s even worse when you sit on the sand.  Those tree trunks squish out, oozing like the wet sand you’re sitting on.

Why don’t you go hide in the water?  Put all of that below the surface.  Let the waves hide all of your rolls and flab.  Just go out as far as you can.  Don’t let anyone see you or — God forbid — take your picture.

So what if that means no walking with your baby boy along the shore?  So what if that means no comforting him when a noisy wave scares him.  So what if that means no building sandcastles with your daughter as she warms up?  So what if that means no standing up to help her swim?  You can kneel on the sand and hope a wave doesn’t knock you both over.  You need to hide.  Hide from people.  Hide from their cameras.

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What?  Your mother-in-law took a picture of you?  Were you hiding under the water?  Ok, fine.  Go ahead and post that one.  Shoulders-up isn’t too bad.  And your adorable kid is blocking most of your body.  She took another picture of you … sitting on the sand?  Are you hiding behind a kid or beach ball or enormous tent?  No?  It’s just your baby snuggling with you for comfort after a noisy wave scared him?  He’s one.  He doesn’t hide anything.  You’d better hope that phone goes in the lake and no one sees that picture ever.

She included that one in the pictures she sent to you?  Post the cute ones of the kids.  The one with your daughter making a sandcastle.  The one just before your son ate a handful of sand.  The one with your husband holding the baby by the water.  If you must, post the picture of you hiding in the water.  But do not share the picture of you sitting on the beach for everyone to see.

You posted that picture?  Why?  WHY?   Sure, it’s a sweet moment.  It’s nice to see a mom comforting their babies.  But why would you share that?  Do you think it’s more important to show that tender maternal moment than to hide your love for your baby?  Are you trying take ownership of your body?  Show people that even though you may not love how you look now, that you’re not going to let it hold you back?  Are you trying to set an example for your kids, that no matter how you look, you can be happy and have fun?  Do you think your kids should learn to feel ashamed of what makes them look different, or do you think they should embrace it — or at least not hide it?

Ok, those are valid reasons for posting that picture.  Kids should learn to accept themselves and love themselves and all of that.  But if you post that picture, be prepared.  The hate is coming.  People will make fun of you.  They’ll call you names.  They’ll say you look like a beached whale or something they think is funny.  They’ll tell you to cover up that fat ass and call you hideous.

Even if people hold their tongues, don’t expect any love.  Don’t expect people to gush over your tender, maternal moment.  Don’t expect people to tell you that you’re a great mom.  And especially don’t any “You go, girl! You work that suit!” comments.  No one will say, “I’m not comfortable with my body, either.  Thanks for being brave!”

There’s no convincing you.  You’re going to share that picture.  And you’re going to put that suit on and take your daughter back to the beach next weekend.  You’re not going to let haters — including yourself — keep you down.  You want to be healthier, but while you work on that, you’re not going to stop living life.  You’re not going to deprive your kids of these fun experiences because you don’t want to be seen in a swimsuit.  You’re going to live your life in whatever body you happen to have at the moment.

So get out there.  Enjoy the water, the sand, the sun.  Enjoy your daughter’s squeals as she runs headlong into the cold water.  Let her try to tackle you into waves.  Sit on the sand and make a killer sandcastle.  Bend over and walk with your baby.  Watch the smile on his face as he squishes his toes in the soft beach sand.  Help your daughter find zebra mussel shells and polished rocks.  All of that — all of that — is more important than what other people might think of you in a swimsuit.

Yours most truly,

Me

BEHIND THE HOCUS POCUS OF VISUALIZATION

This blog post was featured on the WUD (Wake Up Determined) website in May 2017 with the title HOW TO VISUALIZE YOUR GOAL INTO REALITY. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, here it is.

About 14 years ago, I laughed in the face of an acquaintance who told me that if I really wanted something to materialize itself in my life, I should visualize it and send my message out into the universe.

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Now this person had an “artsy-fartsy-hippie-chick-esoteric-I-read-The-Secret-too-many-times” nature, so of course I, the “grounded(haha)- art-major/psychology student”, did not take her seriously and actually thought she was a little cuckoo. Fast forward to today, here I am writing a post on the importance of visualization in order to reach any life goal! Ironic, isn’t it?

So what changed…

First, I started reading a bunch of self-development books because they do indeed help shape a positive mindset (another topic I balked at for years! Man the past just comes back and bites us in the ass, doesn’t it!). I found one common thread in all of these books: each one asked the reader to visualize, in some way or form, their success. Basically, it was along the lines of: Imagine what you would look like, feel like and say and do when you achieve that end goal. Then gather your resources and take the required actions.

It turns out, visualization is not a novel concept at all! In fact, written over 2,000 years ago, Aristotle summarized visualization this way: “First, have a definite, clear, practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends: wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” The guy was on to something! Now, why aren’t we all diving into this “hocus-pocus”? Same reason we stick with a job we dislike for so long, we put off exercising and stick with chicken when trying out a new restaurant: we are scared of what we don’t know! So to make it easier to understand, let me explain how visualization works…

The anatomy of visualization: What we focus on, we attract!

Remember the movie Inception? If you didn’t see it or forgot, one of the ideas behind it was that planting the seed of a thought (or dream) in someone’s mind was enough to have them re-create their reality that led to a certain fate or sequence of events. Therefore, when we visualize or create an image of a goal in our mind, we are planting a visual, concrete thought in our conscious brain. We then focus on that image and change our state as you see, feel and taste what achieving that goal would be like. You still with me?

As a result, you activate a part of your brain that helps guide your focus; the Reticular Activation System (RAS). The RAS will help you scope out those opportunities and be more attentive to tools and ways to help you achieve your goal.

The whaaaaaat? The R-A-whaaat?

In essence, the RAS is a filter that sifts through the large amount of data that we pick up from our five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell on a daily basis. It’s what keeps us from getting overwhelmed by the massive amount of stimuli passing through our sensory organs every second of the day. Without it, we would simply go mad! The RAS basically determines what we consciously decide to give our attention to at a moment in time, the rest just gets filtered out.

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So are you starting to see the connection? When we set concrete goals or visualize a goal, we are telling our RAS that anything associated with these goals is important to us. As a result, our RAS brings to our attention information and opportunities to help us achieve our goals. Magic isn’t it?!? Makes sense, right?

Here’s a situation that might make this concept a little more concrete: Remember when you wanted to buy a car and was looking for a certain model or brand, and then started seeing that same model and brand pop up everywhere? No, people didn’t start rushing to buy the car you wanted at the moment you wanted to buy one too, it is your brain that started being more attuned to focus your attention on your purchase idea!

NOTE: CONCRETE EXAMPLE AHEAD

Now, a more personal story of how visualization works! Let’s take the example of a close friend of mine (ok, that would be me!), who wanted to finally lose the last 18 post-pregnancy pounds. I never fully committed to exercising in my life and was afraid I would injure myself doing any type of physical activity (true story, true phobia!).

Before even starting the fitness program, my coach asked me to visualize myself 18 pounds lighter. What would that look like to me? I would feel more energetic, I would be able to wear all my cool pre-pregnancy designer clothes, I would feel confident strutting a bikini, I would not cringe when my husband touched my stomach, … So I formed a detailed picture in my mind and would picture it regularly whether it was on my commute to work, while I was cleaning the dishes, before going to bed, etc. But I didn’t stop there. My next step: I started working out. I was more attentive to how the exercise felt and how good I felt afterwards. I started seeing health cues and posts and articles everywhere on social media sites. I started to tune into what was going to help me accomplish my goal. I started joining more fitness Facebook groups and found resources more easily. As people saw my new lifestyle, I started sharing my journey and got support and motivation from others who were going after the same goals. What started with a mental image led to tuning in to resources readily available to me and seeking new tools that I may not have seen if the initial seed (goal) was not planted.

So, NO, you can’t simply wish yourself rich or skinny or getting promoted and think it will happen. Wishing and visualizing the way I described earlier are two distinct concepts. Visualizing without focus and actions is simply being naïve and… well… stupid!

As for my fairytale ending, I did end up losing those stubborn 18 pounds and have been able to keep it off for a year now. I am working out 6 days a week and made healthy changes to my diet. I feel more confident in what I accomplished by putting my mind to achieving a specific goal. I’m rocking all my cool pre-pregnancy and I’m definitely looking forward to struttin’ my stuff in a bikini this Summer!

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Now, tell me, what are you visualizing for yourself right now?

WHAT I LEARNED FROM TRAVELING WITH KIDS

DON’T DO IT!

Just kidding! (or not)

I was already stressed before leaving for my two-week vacation to beautiful Italia. This was the first time we were traveling in an airplane with our kids. I was worried of everything that could go wrong: lost luggage, pukey kids, tantrums, … but sometimes you can never truly prepare yourself for what is to happen until it actually happens.

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Here is the breakdown (no pun intended ;P)…

Before the trip:

-you research and ask friends, family and colleagues for tips and tricks on what helped them travel with kids

-you carefully pack fun activities and toys that will keep them busy for an 8 hour flight

-you are happy to see their excited little faces anxiously waiting to board the plane.

-you are still stressed but feel like everything is under control because you carefully noted everything everyone told you and that you read. You THINK you got everything covered… I mean, what else is there?!?

In the plane:

-you will be the family nobody wants to be seated next to. You may not even want to be seated next to your own kids.

-you realize all those activities and toys you packed to last an 8 hour flight were played with, broken and thrown after the first 15 minutes.

-you also learn that night terrors can start at any time and at any age even if they have never had one before in their lives, while being on the ground

-you learn never to bring crayons with caps in a plane; you will be spending your time picking them up all throughout.

-you will be so embarrassed of your screaming child that you avoid all eye contact with strangers and you make no friends. Even the ones that are nice to you are probably grumbling something at some point under their breath against you and your screaming child; especially on an overnight flight.

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During the trip:

-you wonder if it’s too late to put your kids up for adoption.

-there will be yelling. Loud yelling… and your kids will be yelling as well.

After the trip:

-you will appreciate the little things, like being on the ground.

-you will vow never to step on a plane again with your children!

That being said, there were good things as well. Like being all together with my parents in such a gorgeous country, sharing some family history with your children, see your kids play together and bond.

The lesson learned from this trip is that things will happen, there is good and bad in everything and whether you worry about the bad stuff or not doesn’t matter: LIFE HAPPENS. No matter how well you think you are prepared to handle stuff, something new will throw you off.

My tip to you if you are travelling with toddlers: Trust yourself that you will be able to handle whatever life throws your way. Live in the moment, know that it will pass and keep doing those breathing exercises; they sure come in handy!

zen and relax

Open your eyes: What do you see from your window?

“If you just open your eyes and your mind you will realize that amazing things, events and people surround us Every. Waking. Moment.”

I work in a downtown highrise. I am lucky to have an office with a window. I get to see the sunlight brighten my work space everyday. It isn’t a corner office. It isn’t a big office either, in fact I share my office with another colleague. Yet all this time, I never thought much of this office space. I always compared it to my past offices that were bigger and with better views of downtown Montreal or so i thought…

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel

You see, what i neglected to say was that my office window faces the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth hotel and peers directly into the window where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their bed-in for Peace in 1969. A moment that changed history forever. A time that was marked by change and people who fought for what they believed in. Strong souls that made history and the place where the ever historical and popular song “Give Peace a Chance” was born. A song heard many times over in different parts of the world and cultures, all voicing sounds of optimism for a better world.

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One can say that the view from my office stares at a grey hotel building with a bunch of windows but that’s not the way I see it anymore. My view is one of hope and dreams. One that inspires me to be and give my best everyday as a human being. To live my life to its fullest because people that are no longer among us would trade places with my most dullest day any second.

There are wonders all around us if we choose to see them.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one…

-John Lennon (Imagine)

Now, Imagine that 😉

I would love for you to tell me or post a picture below of your view today!