I implore you

I am a bit of a fitness/overall health nut…most days.

I too, like everyone else, am human and have days where the rules or guidelines I happily adhere to normally, go out the window. Whether it is work, my social circle, my fur babies, my man, my real(ish) babies or my super busy family, I am a pretty on the go person. Sometimes this means slipping up due to lack of carved out time to prepare what’s required.

I really do have a hard time sitting still though, so as a coping mechanism, it is my own damn fault that I am so busy. I try to have something planned for my day the night before – even if that is a ‘me day’ where I barely do anything with anyone else and soak up my own time with a hike or some other adventure.

Everyone knows deep down that staying active and eating nutrition-filled foods, in well balanced portions, is one of the hardest yet most rewarding ways of staying healthy. And when you start doing it consistently it becomes second nature and your body actually rejects the crappy, processed stuff and sitting still for too long and you suffer side effects like headaches and tummy troubles when you do indulge.

If you’ve ever been turned-on about something, I hope you understand that I speak from a place of passion and genuine love for this lifestyle I’ve pursued. I just want others to realize what I have come to understand about the body’s natural capabilities – no matter how limited that still may be for me in comparison to what is truly possible. Like I said, I suffer off days and harder days and days where the fastest thing is the first thing I eat because I am stressed, or have gone too long without eating, or have an insatiable craving that I just need to itch…the point is I am human too and far, far, far from perfect. So, so far.

I have a few favourite motivators for why I work out and am conscious about what I ingest – maybe they’ll kick your butt into gear, or maybe they’ll remind you why you get up and do what you do every day to stay healthy and motivated to workout/stay active. Either way, the intent is to inspire just one person to make a small change for the better and I will be the happiest girl in the entire world if that is accomplished.

1. It kinda kicks butt to be able to kick butt: I really do get a giddy high when I accomplish something regarding my health. It could be getting a handle on wheel, crow or a headstand in yoga, or running the side hills of McLennan Park in Kitchener at a faster pace each time.

Had writers block while writing this blog...so this happened for a change in perspective

Had writers block while writing this blog…so this happened for a change in perspective

Running a half-marathon or hiking steeper hills without struggle. Or, it could be the realization that I can mentally control certain parts of my brain when pushing myself through a challenging kilometer or workout set – this ability filters into everyday situations too. I feel more confident in my body’s physical abilities now more than I ever have in my life – and I can’t even imagine how that will feel when I’m 40, 50 and beyond. I love the look on Michael’s face when I clamp my legs around him on the couch a-la-monkey cling and he winces because I’m strong. Or when he trusts me to load our canoe with him because he knows I won’t drop it awkwardly resulting in injury of person or the vehicle. It really kicks butt to be a fit-chick.

2. Having a shit-ton of energy also kicks butt: Really – being up for anything because I have the energy is a huge plus for me. Needing to explore and create and exert energy physically is part of keeping me sane. Normally this might be hard on top of working 50-60 hours per week while balancing every other responsibility. Lucky for me, the circle of exertion and creation of energy is an amazing natural phenomena. PLUS, energy keeps you HAPPY and that’s good for every one, especially Michael – just ask Elle Woods.

Seriously though, if I am free and not ill and you ask me to go for a run, workout, grab a yoga class, hit up a concert after a long day of work, meet you for a beer, catch sunrise on a Saturday morning, play cards, grab dinner/lunch/breakfast/any food, any time, I am usually down.

That leads me to my next point:

3. FOOD: The majority of people really don’t know how FOOD is supposed to taste. I mean veggies – both raw and cooked, fruit, nuts, legumes, lean meat and seafood (if it’s your flavour – there is a huge movement that part of me wants to explore of vegan-ism…but I’ll save that post for another day), real fresh, filtered spring-fed water. Real, from the earth food. We live in a society that desires convenience over effort and with that comes the easy out – the microwave this, the packaged/prepared that, the greasy processed burger…you get the point. Yum, right? No. Not even close to what your food could and is supposed to taste like. On top of the DELICIOUSNESS of the whole foods, add in the perks of moving your buns and you get my most favourite reason for working out EVER – eating. I love food. Like a lot. Like there are only a handful of things that I enjoy more than eating – none of which are SFW enough to mention here. I eat to nourish my body so I enjoy the simplicity that it’s become, however this also means that I get hungry a lot and get to eat A LOT to fuel me and that’s pretty kick-ass.

4. Gettin’ down: I won’t elaborate as I know some of our readers blush easy (not to mention my mom is an avid reader…hi mom), but the increase in stamina, interest and desire when it comes to intimate things – working out and eating right do incredible things for your sex life! The added confidence when you feel good about your body and have the energy…need I say more? Seriously, try it out and thank me later.

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For me it’s all three, but this is funny

5. Life in your years, years in your life: The two go hand-in-hand perfectly when you are in control of your nutrition and exercise regime. If you add in an all around lifestyle geared to being health-conscious, the chances you’ll have a better life and longer one, increase tremendously. I truly believe with the right lifestyle, nutrition, meditation/prayer life and diet, an insane amount of the diseases that we are plagued with can be cured. Our lifestyles and diets are killing us – it’s a fact, not just my opinion. Google ‘Lifestyle Disease’ and see the numerous medical publications regarding the study. The more educated you become, the easier the choices become too.

I would not say I am afraid of not being healthy, but I definitely do not take my abilities or my health for granted – I know first hand those things can change at the blink of an eye, and if you don’t take advantage while you can I feel like you might be wasting a bit of your life. It is a definite motivating factor for me and probably an all around driver for the lifestyle changes I am slowly making.

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What are your main motivators for keeping active and eating right? I’m always looking for motivation and my inspiration comes from you too.

I’d like to leave you with this: if you’re considering working on you, stumbling through or are well on your way, I implore you – keep working on you. I promise you won’t regret it.

~ Toni

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Where have all the sisters gone?

I consider myself exceptionally lucky to be a part of this sisterhood.

These sisters of mine are my cheerleaders when I am down, my voice of reason when I am ridiculous, my sounding board when I need to vent, my support system when I struggle, my teachers, my inspiration, my mirrors, my reminder where we came from and where we are going – the ultimate touchstone. I am so lucky in fact, it makes me sad for anyone that has a stressed or estranged relationship with their sister(s), or anyone that wasn’t blessed with a double-X chromosome-carrying sibling.

My biological sisterhood

My biological sisterhood

While the sisters I speak of are blood, I am also exceptionally lucky to have found myself surrounded by a group of women that I consider a part of my sisterhood – my beautiful, supportive, uplifting and inspiring girlfriends. Personally, I am selective of who I let in, and even more selective of who I let stay in my life and for good reason – sadly, women can be each other’s worst enemy, biggest critics and more often than we would like to admit, the first to freely pass judgement on each other.

That being said, lately I have noticed a newer trend among women that I could do without – a constant stream of stories of women ganging up on each other, using their social media soapboxes to bash, bully and verbally maim other women.

While I am all for women having a voice, I often wonder – where did the focus of our universal sisterhood go? As women, should we not be lifting each other up, praising and promoting our strengths? When did it become okay for us to attack one another and so publicly? While I am not suggesting that we need to always agree with each other, or even see things from another’s side, I am suggesting that this catty, degrading behaviour is outright appalling and needs to stop.

Thanks to our technologically-driven, addicted-to-social-media society, you don’t have to go far to find a woman with a voice, some worth hearing, some not so much. I may not always agree with the message, post, tweet, status, opinion, article, or even the chosen delivery of the message, but I am not about to allow it to turn me into the very kind of woman that I disassociate myself with on purpose. Call it self-preservation, selective socializing, whatever you like – I cannot stand when women attack other women because they disagree with them. What happened to the art of disagreeing with grace? Were you not raised with the rule, “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all”? Have we really become so desensitized to the effect that our words can have that we cannot remove the catty from our reactions?

It is my strong belief that deep down, the women who bandwagon to negatively dismantle another sister are severely struggling with their own insecurities and need help coming to terms with them.

What makes the woman who flaunts her hard work on her physique and asks a blunt and honest question a “fat-shaming bully” a la Maria Kang? Shouldn’t we be applauding her for reaching her goals, working hard and calling out those that want to be more fit, more healthy and more active to diminish their own excuses?

'No excuse fit-mom' Maria Kang's Facebook that caused a HUGE uproar among women

‘No excuse fit-mom’ Maria Kang’s Facebook photo caused a HUGE uproar among women

What makes the opinionated female journalist a ‘bitch’ for having a different viewpoint of an issue that you might not have considered before she shed some light on it? Why is the attractive woman, with curves dripping in sex appeal, so threatening that she is labeled a ‘slut’ by other women? What makes the career-driven, successful female CEO who chose her career over raising a family a cold, heartless, selfish, shell of a woman? In turn, what makes the woman who gives up her own dreams or goals to selflessly raise a family an anti-feminist?

All of these negative reactions stem from personal insecurities and they need to stop dictating how we deal with one another. We look RIDICULOUS. Is this really what the feminists who pioneered and fought for equality envisioned when they gave us a voice? I think not.

So, the next time you open your mouth, or fly to your keyboard to craft a hostile or rude response to something a fellow sister has bravely let out into the world, please stop to think of the damage you may be doing to our universal sisterhood with your hasty actions and consider this:

Girls tear each other down. Women build each other up.

~Toni