What Lies Beyond Your Comfort Zone?

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I’ve had an absolutely spectacular day. Today I taugh my first mom and baby fitness class, and I submitted a chapter for a book. Both of these things are amazing experiences becuase to achieve them I had to push through challenges within myself. Being out of my comfort zone was a growth experience, and it came with a lot of fear. The result of pushing through is worth all the discomfort and tears.

What do you have fear around?  What do you thing would happen if you were able to push through the fear and take action?

Maybe you’d be like me and have a bit of a cry, or maybe you’d find you can sail through the fear and do the things you really want to do.

If you’ve pushed through I’d love to hear your success and challenges, what did you come up against and how did you push forward and through the fear.  Leave a comment below to share your stories and experience.

To being bigger and our fear.

Hugs,

Allison

 

 

 

 

Starting Over & the Stress it Brings

stress-and-change-veggiesHave you ever started over? We all have opportunities in life to start over, and while they are often scary, they are also so exciting. Maybe you’re launching a new business or starting a new career? Maybe you’re changing up your lifestyle? In my case, my new start has come in the form of relocating to a new country and having to adapt to an entirely new culture.

Just over a week ago my kids and I departed Lebanon (after living there for over 7 years) and boarded a plane for Canada. Talk about a fresh start!

As exciting as the start of a new journey can be, they entail big changes. And with big changes come big stresses.

Managing stress is a huge factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping our energy up. But when big changes come along and bring even higher levels of stress, we really need to put in that extra effort to keep it in check. I’ve learned first hand that stress left unchecked has some nasty negative consequences. Some come in the physical form of insomnia, tight muscles and headaches. Others creep up on us emotionally and mentally, such as agitation, difficulty focusing and a quicker than usual temper. Others yet we don’t notice at all until we find ourselves in a diseased state and seeking medical attention for things like elevated insulin levels, elevated blood pressure and vascular damage.

So, if you’re about to start over in some way, I highly recommend the following 5 tips to keep your stress at a distance, your body and mind healthy and your energy up!

      1. Exercise. Even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing, it’s amazing how much clearer your thoughts will be after stepping away and getting your body moving. Something as simple as a 30-minute walk is enough to help clear your head, get you breathing and improve your circulation. In preparation for the stress my new start will bring, I’ve prioritized attending a 1-hour body pump class three times a week….even it if means getting up at 5:45am for a 6am class.
      2. Eat your vegetables…and lots of them. It’s not always easy to grab a healthy meal when on the run, but with a little planning you can enjoy some nutrient loaded vegetables that will keep your energy up. Stock up on greens beans, snap peas, broccoli and peppers (red, yellow and orange). I recommend to wash fruit and veggies in a vinegar and water solution (10/90 ratio). This will wash off a large portion of the pesticides. Then store them in easy to access bags or containers in the fridge. When life gets hectic, it’s as easy as cut and eat. With peppers, you can even eat them as a piece of fruit!
      3. Get to bed at a reasonable hour. My reasonable bedtime is somewhere between 9-10pm. Aim for 8 solid hours of sleep. If you wake in the middle of the night, factor that in and get to bed at a time that allows for a wakeful period. When stress is at its max, I’ve been known to say nighty-night as early as 8pm!
      4. Express yourself. Find someone who you can talk to about what’s happening in your life and with whom you feel safe and secure so that you can express your true feelings. Journaling is another great way to express yourself. Write it all out – no judgments, just a safe place to record your feelings. You can write about the good, the bad and the ugly. There is only one rule. It’s my rule, but I think you should adopt it. Write without any judgment of yourself. Your journal is for your eyes only, so don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel how you think you should feel. It’s ok. How you’re feeling at any moment is perfectly acceptable, and these feelings will change over time.
      5. Indulge yourself. Take time for a bath, a massage, a visit to the chiropractor or some meditation. Whatever your form of indulgence, now is the time to invest the time (and possibly some money) in your relaxation and stress management.

Incorporate one or all of these 5 little tips to help you ride the wave of change, manage stress, feel more focused and keep your energy levels up. With your stress under control, you’re free to immerse yourself in your new journey!

If you have other stress-busters, I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment to share your favorite way to manage stress when life gets tough and change is inevitable.

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Thanks a zillion.

Up Your Energy!

It’s Your Life. Your Choice.

The Trouble With Bright Girls

valen reading_8 dec 2012I recently came across an article called The Trouble With Bright Girls by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. I was immediately drawn in by the comparison of young boys and girls and their confidence in trying new and challenging things.

What it came down to was that while the boys were much more willing to keep plugging away until they got it right, the girls were quick to throw in the towel. Why? Were the girls aware that they would be scrutinized more than the boys? Were they worried about judgment should they not be able to complete the tasks….making it more appealing to just not make the attempt?

(The article shares some very interesting research and ideas as to why this happens. Take a look if you’re interested!)

This got me thinking about women and the internal pressure we put on ourselves. Pressure to measure up to those around us. Pressure to be good enough – heck – to be perfect!

As if society doesn’t already add to this pressure (you must be thin, beautiful, successful, desirable, etc.), we add a lot to the mix all on our own. And the scary thing is, many of these ideas are either subtly or obviously put before us at a very young age.

So how do we ensure that our growing girls grow into confident women who don’t shy away from a challenge? How do we speak to them about these things? How might we encourage them to stick with the difficult tasks and not worry about perception? It might seem a bit trivial now, but the way we handle this when they are young could have a significant impact on their future feelings of worthiness, their health and their happiness.

I certainly don’t have all the answers (who does, right?), but I know that I want to strive every day to do the best that I can for my children. Boys or girls, we want them to grow into confident and happy adults.

What are your thoughts on this topic? What experiences from your youth do you think have impacted who you are today in relation to confidence and how you tackle challenges?

As I seek my own answers and insight, I’d love to hear about yours!

Before you go, join my newsletter to receive tips, recipes and advice to help you achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Also, kindly click like on your favorite social media network.

Thanks a zillion.

Up Your Energy!

It’s Your Life. Your Choice.

How Your Core Values Shape Your Life

core-valuesIt’s hot and time to shed a layer. But I’m not talking about your clothes. I’m referring to the invisible cloak you sometimes pull around your shoulders when you’re afraid, scared or flat out confused. The cloak that often holds you back from soaring, pushing the limits of your comfort zone and living the life of your dreams.

And what is the life of your dreams? Who are you in this life? Are you a photographer, a stay at home mom, a property owner, someone who is in excellent shape? Maybe you’re a blogger or entrepreneur?

Discover Yourself
Do you know who you are, what you want and what you like? Finding out is a unique and valuable journey. My own journey wasn’t easy, but so worth the trip!

The cloak I mention above? I’m very familiar with it as it has often been my companion. But thankfully, we don’t see each other as often as we used to. Two years ago, I became aware that my life was based on others’ expectations. I was confused, exhausted and unmotivated.

From this uncertain place, I searched for a different way, a better way to live life….and I found one.

Remember the movie Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts changed her egg preference with every guy she was engaged to? I’ve never been that bad, but – I admit – I do like to be liked. And as any professional people pleaser (active or retired) will tell you, it’s a tough occupation. I worked on this and did my very best to craft a life that is true to me while remaining respectful to others.

My progress was sometimes slow, and I still work on this to this day. Some days I move forward, others back….but in my heart of hearts, I know who I am and what I want which makes it easier to get back on track.

As a result, I’m in such a better, happier and healthier place.

Want to join me?

Be a Sculptor
Mental energy is required to craft a life you want. You have to ask yourself a lot of questions. What are my values? Who do I want to spend time with? What kind of work do I find meaningful? How do I want to feel in my body? What would I like to have/own in my life? What type of health do I want? How old am I when I retire?

Questions like these help you to sculpt your life. But to make progress, you must answer them. When you do the work, you start to form a mental picture of the life you want to live, a life that’s in alignment with your vision. Even better, you start to transform and mold life to that which you see in your mind’s eye.

Create Your Vision Around Your Values
This is an important step, one I didn’t acknowledge until Amber Ludwig, a friend and business coach, asked me what my core values are. I’d always assumed my actions were in line with my core values. Yet, when asked directly about this, I was stumped. I sat scratching my head for quite a while wondering what the hell core values are and which are mine? Do you know what your core values are?

Core Values
Core values are simply your values. They help you answer the questions “Who am I?” and “What makes me tick?” Values might change slightly as you go through life, and that’s ok, as long as you decide how, why and when they change.

When younger, I had more clarity around my values. Then, putting food on the table, keeping a roof over our heads, the kid’s education, holidays and retirement planning were no longer front and center in my mind. Somewhere during the transition from adulthood to motherhood and career woman, I got so wrapped up with what I should do, ought to do or had to do that I lost sight of my values. Heck, I’d forgotten what they were! Icks!

As I answered the question “Who am I,” I found that I’d temporarily adopted others’ values (colleagues, friends, spouse, parents). Crazy, right? I actually lost a part of me to the insanity of expectation. This really motivated me to dig deep, to explore the differences between how I lived compared to the life that fit with my values.

What are your core values? Are you living life in alignment with them?

I’d love to hear your opinions, so please leave a comment below.

Before you go, join my newsletter to receive tips, recipes and advice to help you achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Also, kindly click like on your favorite social media network.

Thanks a zillion.

Up Your Energy!

It’s Your Life. Your Choice.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How I Reframed My Thoughts to Improve My Health

Gluten- bread and lemon pieThe ability to reframe a thought, to take a negative and turn it into a positive, is an incredible life skill. Just one reframed thought could make the difference between a poor or a great day.

As a newly diagnosed celiac (for more information, please see my article), I’ve been more than bummed out about the loss of my favorite indulgence foods (that, of course, contain wheat, barley and rye). A pastrami sandwich just isn’t the same on a rice cake :(. This really struck home for me when I met a friend in a Beirut mall. The escalator ascended and my senses were assaulted by bright pink whoopee cookies, the patisserie showcased lemon tarts that screamed my name and the sandwich assortment made my mouth water. Delicious foods, among some of my favorites were now forbidden fruits in this land of celiac disease and gluten free eating.

gluten- pink cookies

The sight of these delicious cakes, cookies, pastries and breads had my saliva glands on overdrive and my poor-me factor was off the charts. I mean, my bottom lip was way out there. Then a light bulb when off. I thought, what the hell, try a reframe!

It was simple. I took all of the poor-me thoughts and flipped them on their head. Those Poor Me thoughts became the reframed thoughts.  Below are a few examples of how I reframed my thoughts:

Poor Me Reframed
Why me? My aneurysm won’t grow.
Life sucks. My hands won’t hurt.
I miss this stuff. I sleep better.
I can’t eat anything. I’m eating better/healthier.
I’m broken It’s genetics.
My skin will shine.
My bones will be stronger.
My indulgence foods are highly processed and full of fat.

This was a great exercise. My list of positives (reframes) outweighed the negatives (poor me’s), and I realized that without a doubt, I do love these foods. Such delectable delights can tempt me on my strongest day. However, such temptations occur in my healthy lifestyle only occasionally and, while tempting, there are plenty of great reasons to enjoy a gluten free diet. Once I understood this, my spirits returned and I was again excited about having lunch with a friend.

My lunch with my friend didn’t suffer. We had a great time, and I enjoyed a great meal without suffering any long-term side effects. I admit it was hard to reframe my thinking at first. But now, with a little thought, I am able to find a better way of looking at being a celiac….and I had an awesome day!

Do you have a reframe example you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it, leave a comment or click here to share it privately.

Before you go, join my newsletter to receive tips, recipes and advice to help you achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Also, kindly click like on your favorite social media network.

Thanks a zillion.

Up Your Energy!

It’s Your Life. Your Choice.

Overcoming Challenge

silver-lining-tough-timesWe all deal with challenges as we progress through life. Some are mere bumps in the road that slow us down for only a minute. Others completely derail us and test our ability to persevere. Some people think that the way we handle ourselves while facing challenges is a reflection of our truest selves. Do we face our fears head on? Do we live in denial land for as long as we could? Do we reach out to others for help, or insist on going it alone?

There’s no right or wrong way to do it. We’re unique individuals with our own ways of dealing with life and all it throws at us.

When I suffered the heartbreaking loss of a child, I was tested like never before. I was running a real estate business at that time and loved my career. My love for family was – and always will be – my top priority. However, the emotional devastation forced me to evaluate every aspect of my life and figure out how to get through it, how to prioritize and how to eventually find my passion again.

I recently pushed past my fear again in order to enjoy the amazing opportunity to be interviewed for workingmotherhood.com – a fantastic website offering incredible inspiration and insight. During my podcast, I share some practical tips that we can all apply to living a more fulfilling life.

I encourage you to take a listen and hope that something in the interview resonates with you!

Please share with those you feel might enjoy or benefit from listening. And, as always, I welcome your comments and questions in the comments section below!

Before you go, join my newsletter to receive tips, recipes and advice to help you achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Also, kindly click like on your favorite social media network.

Thanks a zillion.

Up Your Energy!

It’s Your Life. Your Choice.

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

face-your-fearWhen my friend, Chris Allen, asked me if he could interview me for Gloss magazine, I was so excited. I really didn’t know what to expect or where the questions would take us, but I was open to the opportunity and willing to face my fear. The fears ranged from fear of the unknown, fear of who would want to read about my experience, what if no one read the article, what if Chris didn’t like my responses, what if I was boring, what if the article didn’t get picked up….. fears and questions. Irrational? Possibly. But, nonetheless, my fear factor was firing at full speed, and I felt it everywhere in my body. My guts were churning, my head was spinning, I had trouble sleeping….you get the picture.

When we push through fear, what lies on the other side is an incredible feeling of I did it. It’s not about how great you did….although that’s nice too. It’s about how GREAT it is that you did it. That you stood face to face with your number one adversary, your inner fear monger, and you won the battle. It’s not that your fear leaves you, it’s that you bench it while you play center field. When we’re able to stop measuring ourselves and the ridiculous expectations we sometimes have for things to be perfect, we do things we never thought were possible.

In the process, there are mixed feelings. But the final feeling – the one that is worth everything – is that feeling of I did it, translated to I’m so proud of myself. Wow, what powerful words! I’m proud of me, and man does that feel good in my body and in my mind! Feeling good is part of a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Is there something you’ve been putting off because you’re not sure how it will turn out? Because your fears are getting the best of you? I hope this will motivate you to bench those fears and just get it done.

Go for the accomplishment of doing it, and don’t worry about the rest. Just do it!

Before you go, join my newsletter to receive tips, recipes and advice to help you achieve a healthy and happy lifestyle.  Also, kindly click like on your favorite social media network.

Thanks a zillion.

Up Your Energy!

It’s Your Life. Your Choice.

How Our Dreams Affect Our Energy

what-do-you-dreamHave you ever been exhausted at work? Zapped, with no energy to do anything other than watch the clock, waiting for the hours and minutes to tick by, wondering how time could go so slowly?

Maybe not, but I’d wager you’ve experienced this once or twice… or possibly daily.  I get it, In the past I’d experienced this agonizing time crawl all too frequently.

The question is why?  The answer – because something isn’t aligned.  For me, work zapped my energy because it morphed into something I’d never imagined it could become.  Drudgery!

It didn’t match my mental picture of what I wanted it to be. Enjoyable!

Equation for Feeling Zapped

Your reality and dreams are on opposite sides of the stadium.

In this post, I’m talking about your working situation, but the Zapped Equation applies to all areas of your life – food, physical appearance, financial, social, spiritual to name a few.

From Zapped To Energized- My Experience and Yours

My working life had narrowed from working directly with vulnerable women and children,to the point where I had no direct contact with the community that I was helping.  I operated behind the scenes and because of that I lost sight of how my work was helping others.  It’s not that it didn’t,  it’s that I wasn’t seeing the positive effects first hand.  That didn’t sit well with me and work slowly became less and less enjoyable and more about a paycheck.

Life is like a twister. It spirals along, and every now and again a tornado touches down, rips apart everything in its path and then vanishes. When you’re work life is in the path of the twister it’s hard to find your feet. I realized in my twister moments that when we’re inspired by something larger than ourselves, it breaths life and hope into our world.

For me – My twister was identifying I’m a helper and I like to see and interact with real people and help them transform their lives.

What is your twister and what did you learn?

How to reverse the Zapped Equation

One step at a time.  Yes that’s what I found.  Dig in and explore what you’re not happy with and what you want, enjoy and what would make you happy.  Don’t think about anything other than the positives.

Dreams are what we make when we stop thinking about all the things that will get in our way and instead let our minds explore what might be possible if time, money, location and situation weren’t an issue.

Draw a mental picture

Now that you have a dream,  paint a picture in our mind of how your live will be.

For me – I drew a picture of helping others to increase their energy levels, feel better and be more comfortable in their bodies and be free from lifestyle disease.

What’s your mental picture?  What breathes energy into you?

Take Action

With you mental picture in my mind, strive towards your dreams, do what you need to do to get there.

For me – I saved money. I refreshed my nutrition education. I surrounded myself with people who supported my dream, and I distanced myself from those who were negative and zapped my energy.

What actions do you need to take to move you forward?

Be Prepared to Work Hard

Life, contrary to popular belief, is not meant to be hard, but we do have to work hard and put in considerable effort to succeed. Working hard doesn’t mean life has to suck us dry.

We can choose expansion towards the dream or staying where we are. As long as where we are is good and positive and allowing us to live a healthy balanced lifestyle that leaves us happy and energized, then it’s a good thing. But when we stay in our current reality out of fear of what is beyond, the balance tips towards zapping our energy.

When we draw a mental picture, we are more apt to go after it.  Without this mental picture, what do we do? Not much! We can be unhappy, unproductive and find our self less than happy. But with it, we strive forward towards our goals and dreams. The pursuit of which propels us and makes us happier and more energized.

My dreams inspired me to work hard, save money, study and upgrade my nutrition knowledge so that I could start a business that helps people transform their lives. What are your dreams, and why do you want them?

What inspires you? What goals do you have?

For me -I’m inspired by people who can write well, who help others, who are good with their money, who have strong family values and who are able to juggle multiple things. Is this envy or inspiration? Maybe a bit of both, but I’m inspired by them and I aspire to have bring those traits into my daily  professional and personal life.

I’m here to support you on your journey to achieving a healthy and happy lifestyle. A lifestyle where you love your life, job and your body, where your energy levels are high and consistent, where you’re working toward your dreams and goals.  Sounds amazing doesn’t it.

Join me  for a FREE 1-on-1 Up Your Energy session. This session is a 50-minute call, where we’ll explore how your current  lifestyle (including your diet!) is impacting your energy levels. We’ll delve into your goals and the limitations to reaching them and we’ll talk about strategies to shift your lifestyle and to Up Your Energy. I look forward to speaking to you and helping you make your dreams a reality.  I’m here to guide, support and encourage you!

Up Your Energy!

It’s Your Life.  Your Choice.

 

Kat’s 5 Year Memorial

Kat-5-year-memorialOn this beautiful day, I sit outside enjoying the smell of lilac and the quiet stillness. The dog sits at my feet and the birds chirp. It calls to mind the beauty of sitting quietly. Something a few years ago, I was not able to do.

5 years ago today, my beautiful daughter left our loving arms to be carried in our hearts. The pain was excruciating, and I never dreamed that I would be able to sit quietly or feel happy again. The saying that time heals all wounds is only partially true.

For me, time has lessened the daily pain. I’ve learned to live, to dance, to be happy and to find joy again in the moment, in the faces of others and, more importantly, in myself. Loss is awful. There are no words to describe the pain. I remember my daughter some days with great sorrow, mourning what could have been, what she would be today. But I have found a way to cry, let it out and to remember that life isn’t about the past or what might have been. It is about today, in this moment, in the joy and beauty of the small things.

Today is also my brother’s birthday. I will never be happy that Kateryna isn’t here, but I am eternally grateful that tonight I have my health and that I can go dancing and have a laugh with my brother. I’m grateful that I’ve learned the balance that joy and sorrow can coexist, and that I don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. It took me awhile to puzzle that one out.

Life is for living. I remember this, and I choose happiness. Today, I’ll make new memories. But for now, I sit quietly, thankfully basking in sun, taking in the smells and the sounds that unfold before me.

Sometimes a healthy lifestyle isn’t about what we eat, drink or even our social connection. It’s about sitting with ourselves quietly, just being there in the moment and taking a breath.

So as I sit in the peaceful stillness, I allow myself to feel my emotions – the happiness and the sadness – but choose to live in the happiness and accept where I am at this very moment in my life.

Together we grow happier, healthier, stronger and more resilient.

Much love, Allison

What are the Solutions?

healthy-questionsHave you ever noticed when you are focusing on the problems in life you have less energy than when you focus on the solutions to the problems? I tend to get so wrapped up in the problem that I completely forget to look at how to resolve it.

When less focused on the problem (feeling like crap, that colleague who drives you nuts, the constant migraine, etc.), it’s easier to look for solutions.

Asking Questions
When we ask empowering questions of ourselves, we change the way our brains look at the problem and we move towards finding solutions that will help us feel better. Here are a few example questions that will empower you to get in touch with what you need and, as a result, will help you feel better.

What could I do to feel better?
What does my body need?
What do I really want?

Being open and honest with ourselves is the first step to solving any challenge we face. In solving them, we increase our energy and feel better.

I recently travelled to Canada to renovate a rental property that I know my dad prefers me to sell. I love my father, and have a great deal of respect for his opinion and advice, but on this matter…. we aren’t seeing eye to eye.

His opinion that the market is high and it’s a good time to get the money out was valid. However, selling the property wasn’t in alignment with my vision for my financial future. So, I was in conflict with dad’s opinion, and that threatened to create conflict in the discussion and the relationship.

Or did it? Previously, I would have experienced a great deal of angst about going against dad. I would have run the whole “what if I’m wrong” scenario in my mind, and this would have tipped me to following dad’s his advice.

However, I’ve learned to explore my own feelings and to live from that place where my decisions sit well in my core, aka my gut. So what happened next? I lovingly acknowledged his thoughts and perspective and explained what I wanted to happen and why. In doing this, the tension dissipated. When we ask “what do I really want” in these situations, we define life on our terms. This removes stress and – in this case – my internal fear of his disapproval.

Does dad care about the property, sure, but more importantly…. he cares about me. When I looked at it from this perspective, I could see that he proposed what in his opinion was best for me. But only I can know what sits well in my gut.

This is a perfect example of how asking ourselves those empowering questions can allow us to gain some power and perspective in our lives. Because I was able to direct my energy to finding a solution by taking an honest look at what I wanted and needed (while still considering my dad’s advice and perspective), I was able to reach the desired outcome, explain to my dad why I made this decision and then move on.

Dad and I are having a great holiday, and now that this decision is behind us, I can enjoy our time together without stressing and stewing internally about the problem.

How we choose to direct our energy has a huge impact on our lives. Remember, ask those empowering questions and use your energy for focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on problems. You’ll reduce your stress, resolve issues and appreciate the power of choice.

How do you typically handle these issues? What are some of your empowering questions? Please share in the comments section!

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Thanks a zillion.
Together we grow happier, healthier, stronger and more resilient to lifestyle disease.

Much love, Allison

 

Photo Credit: Erich Ferdinand