Inspired Creativity – A Rekindled Passion For Photography

I remember getting up in time for sunrises on the river, or taking impromptu road trips and just stopping anywhere along the way to snap a photograph, it seems like a lifetime ago. When I went to college, my days were spent hiking trails to find the perfect lighting, hours upon hours in dark rooms or the studio, and waiting to see what I captured on film. My, how times and technology have changed. 

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It’s All About Connection – With Yourself!

It’s All About Connection – With Yourself!

For the past month I have been battling against my anxiety attacks, getting out and attending networking events and workshops, introducing myself and my blog to businesses and simply stepping a HUGE leap outside my comfort zone. This weekend will be the symbolic icing on the cake for me.

Do you wake up every morning looking forward to the day?

I think we can all agree that the answer will vary daily on this question. But overall, do you feel good about where you are, or feel bogged down and lost? Maybe you believe you are not reaching your true potential?

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40 Something and Looking For Friends

There, I said it...I am over 40, feeling alone at times and needing to make some real connections and lasting friendships.

Sound desperate? I might have thought that a few years ago, but the truth is, as a woman and a mom, my focus for over a decade has been on my kids and family.

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My #80lbJourney – Reflections…Back to the gym and moving forward

The promise I made when I started this series last summer, was that I would share the ups and downs.

Well, the past few months have been tough. I knew the holidays would be nearly impossible to stay on track food wise, and in retrospect, I managed okay. Maintaining weight was my goal and it was achieved.

Over the past month I was beating myself up about what I have not been doing or how I was not following the steps I knew worked for me all Fall.

This week I stopped looking back and made a very conscious decision to move on...move forward....looking at what I am doing right and trying to add more positive changes to keep moving forward. 

Joining the gym was a barrier that was overcome this week. Even when the day started off with a flooded storage room and getting my monthly cramps knocking me down, I considered using them as excuses, but didn't.  I showed up. I showed up!

Michelle met me at the gym and set me up with a 3 day strength training workout. We did chest and back exercises and she showed me the other machines to complete the reminder of the exercises on other days.

While we were there, I cringed at my full length reflection in the mirror. Right away Michelle encouraged me to always look at myself and even if I do not like what I see, remember that I love myself, which 99% of the time i do. She also added that I am there, at the gym, doing something about the reflection I cringed at.

In general I am happy with me, but as every person in the world, I have my moments of doubt. It is not always what looks back in my reflection, sometimes it is unexplained anxiety, other times it is feeling like a failure as a parent or wife, we all have those moments. The key to moving past these feelings is doing something about it and realizing that my expectations are sometimes unrealistic. One step in the right direction is worth so much more than dwelling on the past or beating myself up about why I should know better.

Today I was supposed to go back to the gym, but Clayton was with me all day and will be at the sitter tomorrow, as tomorrow I am off to a blogger's networking and learning day in Halifax. I knew I would not get there tonight as we had running kids around on the agenda. So this morning I hauled out my 10lb dumbells and did my arm exercises and a few ab exercises thrown in for good measure. 

So, I am feeling more positive and energized this week. In addition to exercise, I am now following a custom program for clean eating from Sculpt Health and Wellness Riverview. It is based on my likes and exercise level, to help me stick to itand see results.

Moving forward i will be posting each week, not only to share with you, but also to keep me accountable. I trulybelieve in being honest in this journey, and it is not all losing pounds and happy days. It is hard work, and breaking bad habits is never easy. 

Are you struggling with weight, physical limitations, or anxieties that keep dragging you back to those bad habits?

Check out my Facebook group for motivation and support, or feel free to share here in the comments.

 

tgiF- Who Are You, Really?

think. grow. inspire Friday -Who are you, really?

When I was working in the Human Services field, there is a term in use “Social Role Valorization”. Basically it means that society tends to identify certain groups of people as “different” and therefore of lesser value. For example, the difference in our perception of people asking for money. If we see a homeless person doing it, we call it begging, if it is a sports team, we call it fundraising. Our “social roles” are how we identify ourselves and others. So who are we really?

When I was born, I was an only child. That changed when my brother was born 3 years later. I became a big sister, and the only girl in the family. That changed when my sister was born when I was 5. Now I was the oldest of three, the responsible one, the helper.

At this time, I started kindergarten at the school where my father was the Principal. I’m sure I was treated differently by some of the teachers because of this. I know that I got a lot of attention from older students. When I started grade 2, we moved to St. John’s from the small community where we lived, and I became “the new girl”. Through my elementary and junior high years, I was the day dreamer, the bookish one, and the one who just didn’t do well in gym. I was nerdy, and an outsider, even in the group of kids in the neighbourhood.

Then there was another move, this time to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Where the new girl in school started over again. I was also a Newfie on the mainland, who spoke just a bit differently than everyone else. I made friends with a girl who lived close by and who was involved in the school band, so I tagged along with her to all of the band functions. Now I was a teenager, and socially awkward, and trying so hard to be one of the crowd.

Three years later, and another move. This time to Moncton, the summer before I started grade 12. The new girl again, but now in a school where everyone had grown up with each other, and were preparing to graduate from high school. I became Ray’s girlfriend.

Five years after that, I became Ray’s wife.

In the years that followed, I became a stay at home mom and a working mom. I am a Black Belt, a body builder and a Bikini competitor.  I am a business woman, a writer, a friend and supporter to my friends.

So when I look at all the roles I fill in my life. I sometimes (often) wonder if I am doing the right thing at the right time. So many times I am “being” one person, and feeling guilty that I am not “being” another. Trying to be all things to all people is a sure recipe for disaster. I am learning to be in the “now moment”, and it’s not always easy. So many things vie for our attention, and it is hard to shut them off and focus on the project at hand. And to get back to my original paragraph, it is how we value ourselves in each of these roles that impacts us the most.

So, my challenge for you all this week, is to identify your different roles and to recognize the value you have in each one of them, and if one takes over a bit more time than the others, then give yourself permission to be that person.

Thank you for reading today!  tgiF!

~Michelle

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Other columns by Michelle: CLICK HERE

 

My #80lbJourney – 8 Week Challenge in review!

My #80lbJourney - 8 Week Challenge in review!

My #80lbJourney: 8 week challenge in review

Okay, I really need to get back to weekly blogging about my journey. Not only does it keep me accountable, I hope it also helps keep others inspired and on track.

It has been over a month since the last post, and I am truly sorry it has been this long. Many things have happened and I will recap for you with results, accomplishments and barriers. As you all know, this is a long term journey for me. There is no quick fix or magic solution. It is a learning experience and lifestyle change. If you have been following along, you will know that I joined an 8 week challenge with Deb of Journey to Wellness. During the 8 weeks, I received all the tools I needed to start fueling my body instead of just eating, exercising challenges to keep me motivated to stay active, and a support system that included Deb and a private Facebook group of other women to share with and support. My results in pounds and inches are noticeable, I lost 18 lbs and 22 inches, but what I found the most rewarding about this program was the way I felt during the entire process and the knowledge I carry with me now about how to listen to my body and work FOR it, instead of against it. Trust me, there were ups and downs, and when any of us had downs, the Facebook group was amazing. By sharing our experiences, goals and achievements, we were able to support and encourage each other on the rough days, the days we fell off the high of achievement, and felt defeated. We celebrated every little hurdle, and I truly enjoyed meeting all these ladies virtually. Deb checked in personally each week and provided feedback based on what I sent her. My meals and my thoughts for the week. She is a wealth of knowledge and understands first hand what it takes to be happy and healthy while also running a household with children. THANK YOU Deb for being an inspiration to us, and for sharing your training and knowledge with us, so we can continue to be healthy in the future. My only wish with this program was that I was in the Halifax area and would have been able to join in some of the classes Deb offers in Fall River. If you are looking for a fitness program, check out her page here. Here's what Paula had to say in our Facebook group, about how she felt after 8 week challenge we completed: "Deborah Hann,  Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, from the bottom of my heart thank-you for taking me under your wing.  For teaching me how to nourish myself,  for teaching me the difference between eating and nourishing,  for showing me that, even with my beat up old body, I CAN EXERCISE!!!  For making me believe and understand that I am beautiful, for helping me understand my value.  Thank you for helping me realize the mental strength that healthy living gives me.  Yes I lost lbs and inches!!!  I'm so happy for that, but I am so very happy and grateful for all of the things I have gained from this wonderful, life changing program. Deborah, you are an amazing teacher and a wonderful loving person.  I am so thankful for having you in my life.  All that I have learned from you will continue to be my everyday way of living.  (Yay!!!  No more binge eating!!!) To all of you wonderful, bootilicious, powerhouse women; Keep on keeping on!!!  I love you all so much, you have enriched my life and made this past 10 weeks, inspiring, funny, encouraging......xoxoxoxo"  

FOLLOW UP: What's happened since the 8 week challenge?

Since the challenge ended I have struggled with keeping on track. I gained and lost a couple pounds here and there, but still linger around the same weight. I have not remained consistent with exercise, and that is where I need to focus these days. This month I have set a goal to eat as best I can with parties, visiting, and some family meals planned. I know it is possible to stay on track, and my realistic goal for December is to maintain my weight.

Moving forward...

In January I will be getting back on track and working with a friend locally to stay on my journey to better choices and healthier ways. I look forward to sharing what I am doing and encourage you to share what you are doing as well. In January, I will also be launching a Facebook group for those who want to follow along and join me in the journey. I continue to receive positive feedback from my readers through emails expressing how I am inspiring them to make changes. It is an amazing feeling knowing that just by putting my journey out there, it might help just one other person decide to make positive changes. So keep going, no matter how many times you take backward steps, you can always keep moving ahead. One step at a time, one bite at a time, one push up, or carrot....whatever it is that challenges you, keep pushing forward!

Check out my other #80lbJourney Posts here:

Giving Back – C103’s Community Santa & an awesome lady with a plan!

givingbacktitle C103's Community Santa recipient, Jackie, reached out to the Moncton Coupon Lady...here's what happened: givingback01 C103 fm Moncton, a local radio station is running an awesome contest this holiday season! They are giving callers $100 to give back in the community. If you are the lucky caller each day, you will be challenged to use that $100 to the best of your ability to help out someone in the community. You can be creative and you have 24 hours to spend it. On the weekend I received a message on the Moncton Coupon Lady facebook page asking for help. Jackie had $100 to spend and wanted to make a donation to The Humanity Project. Shortly thereafter she told me she had two other businesses (Fero Waste and Recycling Inc. & Riverview Superstore) who matched her $100, so now she had $300 to spend. I spent some time figuring out what she would be able to get the best deals on with and without coupons. Then, knowing my good friend and fellow couponer Judy works closely with The Humanity Project, I asked for her help. She knew exactly what they needed the most and we worked collecting coupons from other local couponers (Alicia, Betty, Kerri, Heather and Tina) and were able to plan a pretty great shop! On Saturday, Jackie went to the Superstore in Riverview, who gave her $100 to spend, and she spent $140 on Eggs, Canned veggies, Pasta, Tomato Sauce, Juice an more. Then on Sunday morning, Jackie, Judy, and I, along with our little helper Cohen, went shopping. This is what we were able to do with coupons!
  • 60 Boxes of Aunt Jamima Pancake Mix $2.50 (reg), Price Matched $2 - $1 coupons = $1 / box
  • 22 Bags of Green Giant Frozen Veggies with Pasta $2.50 - $1 wyb2 (booklet/print)= $2 each
  • 20 Black Diamond Cheese Slice Pks $2.97 (reg), Price Matched $2.47 - $0.75 (booklet) = $1.72 each
  • 19 Quaker Brand Cereal $4 & $4.98 (reg), Price Matched $1.97 - $1 (tear pad) = $0.97 each
15401398_1365131183498389_2122064958_n There will be a couponing seminar open to the public coming up mid January at the Humanity Project location (this will be a fundraiser for them, 60% ticket sales going back to them) We will plan another big shop with the money raised. Tickets will be the same as always, $10 per person, 2 hours of learning and handouts with all the info to get you saving! You will save that $10 and so much more in no time!! **************** This is the kick off of a new section on Everything Unscripted, showcasing "Giving Back" in your community. Do you or someone you know gives back to your community in a unique way? Perhaps you know someone who is doing great things in your area, but very few people know what is being done. I want to hear about what unseen projects are being done, or unique fundraising, or community support efforts are happening around the Maritimes. Contact me at ruthann@everytingunscripted.com if you have something to share!  

My #80lbJourney – On The Road and On Track

My #80lbJourney - On The Road and On Track When life gets busy, it can be so easy to derail oneself while trying to make the right food choices.  Family activities, busy schedules, and traveling can all wreak havoc on your plans to eat healthier. I will be the first to admit, the last few weeks have been a struggle for me when it comes to planning ahead. If I don't take time on Sunday's to plan my meals and my snacks for the week, at least my lunch and snack options, then I get off track very quickly. Today I am in Halifax for the day and I took the time last night to plan my food options in advance. If I hadn't done that, I can honestly tell you, I probably would have stopped for a burger or something worse along the way. Instead I have healthy options in my cooler in my car. Knowing I would be in the car for at least 6 hours out of my day, I decided that the first thing I had to do was to make sure there was water with me. When I drive I need coffee to keep me going, so in order to counteract that coffee my body needs water. Let's not forget, I still have to get my normal water intake for the day (about 3 ltrs). Because I am drinking so much today, some of it is flavoured.  I usually do not drink flavoured water,so it is my treat. The next thing I planned for were my snacks. I packed pre-measured bags of almonds and a couple clementines for my morning snack. In my cooler I have a chicken wrap, cheese, Greek yogurt, apple slices, peanut butter and a boiled egg. Plenty of food to get me home without stopping for muffin or donut! Sure, I am stopping for coffee, but that is it. I am stocked up on healthy prepared options. Everything is easy to grab in the car and leaves me no excuse for cheating. It is not easy, and yes, spending all the prep time on myself seems selfish at times. But I am worth the effort, my good food choices today will continue to lead me on a path to a healthier life. Planning ahead for these type of situations makes a huge difference. I used to think that I made fairly healthy choices when eating meals, but when you're busy,you don't always make the best choices. When planning ahead, you can have healthy options available and easier than ordering a cookie to go with that coffee. Have a great week, and remember...plan, plan and plan some more!

Check out my other #80lbJourney Posts here:

My #80lbJourney – Getting the hang of this…I think

My #80lbJourney - Getting the hang of this...I think

Different tools for sport on black background   The past month has been a learning experience for me when it comes to food, and looking at it in a whole new light. I am not just eating, I am fueling my body, so that I feel better, have more energy, can workout and sleep better. The mornings are where I see the biggest change. No longer craving coffee is weird, really strange for me. In the past I have had coffee first thing when I wake up, then at least 2 more before noon. Now, I still drink a coffee most days, but not always first thing in the morning, and I am not craving it. It is more habit than anything. Last week I posted this video update, have a look/listen (sorry for the poor audio). I was struggling with sticking to my plan. But got through it!

Thanksgiving weekend was looming all week, and I was a little scared how I would make out. You know what! I had turkey, sweet potatoes, apple & pecan coleslaw and a small dish of apple crisp. Everything EXCEPT the dessert fit into my eating routine, I ate at lunch time, so I was okay on starches, and by supper was not hungry, so had a light snack. My 18th wedding anniversary is today,so Saturday night we went on a date night. We went to the movies that night and ate NOTHING! I love theatre popcorn, but I survived without it 🙂 As you already know, on Sept 11th I started my 8 week challenge and today is a big day! Today, in addition to it being Thanksgiving & my anniversary, it is midway weigh in and measure day for my 8 Week Challenge with Journey to Wellness. When I started my journey in July (on my own, no guidance), I started cutting out little things, started working out occasionally at Airtime Fitness, and thought I was making all the right choices. I LOVE my workouts when I get there, and do more at home through their on demand classes, plus Deb provides an exercise routine for the 8 week challenge as well. SSUCv3H4sIAAAAAAAEAJ2QywrDIBBF94X+g7jOwmJoY38ldDFRCVITwUdKCfn3+ojgujvn3Lnj3NmvF4TwBE5x/ER7qmKttA7OW/DKrBGT7uRSKG+sAp1gYkdWsPPgg5MujTgRBy/n2Fvg6a//jKVGVchidEQJ465hLkyZVXR0fzvL41WjwCxX/s0LN0Gs1BJKkLG04vfHS7u00TYlpGlqCEKZJuVmOOhkoM1kHg9qlsYl4oHShjdKGO0frB8GxuidEBJ3Pn4VaI6nmAEAAA== Starting today, I am going to ramp up the workout routine. I am happy with my results, but feel I focused most of my energy learning how to eat properly, which is half the battle, and although I was working out, my intensity could be higher.

So here it is!

  • Sept 11th - 238lbs   //  TODAY - 230lbs  //  Down 8lbs in 1 month
  • Chest - Lost 4"
  • Waist - Lost 4"
  • Hips - Lost 3"
  • Thigh - Lost 2"
  • Calf - Lost 1"
weightlossaug_oct So overall I am happy. Since Day 1, back in July, I am down 20lbs. Starting at 250lbs, I had no clue what I was doing, just going for a walk was tiring, and now I am feeling so much better. My goal is to be down another 20lbs by Nov. 30th.  I feel confident in my food choices now, so now to get moving and moving more often with more intensity!!! I will have to try to get a video of my home workouts, when my son (almost 4) joins me. That kid can do the perfect Burpee! Me, not so much, lol. front1month back1month Goals for this week:
  • Continue on my meal planning, prepping and routine
  • Drink 3L water every day
  • Workout every day, even if it is just a 20 min workout, or half hour on the exercise bike.
  • Continue to de-clutter my office (mental health is important too, and clutter is stressful!)
  • Make plans for a date night again with hubby. We deserve it. He is on his own weight loss journey and doing great as well!
 

Read Other Posts About My #80lbJourney

7 Tips To Survive Your Period (and get to the gym!)

asana_7tips

Okay boys, this one is for the ladies and I am warning you now, it is about periods.

We are Women, we are Strong, and we have Periods.

Getting through that dreaded week each month can sometimes be hard. I know, because in the past I have been downright ill and in bed, especially when I was younger.

There are many factors that play a role in how you manage your period, and how you feel during that 4 to 7 days each month. Going to the gym and eating well, has helped me deal with my cramps and bloating. I actually felt somewhat normal this past cycle, and part of the reason was my recent lifestyle choices.

Here are a few tips to help get through those crampy, moody and bloated days:

  • Drink LOTS of water. Staying hydrated helps you everyday, but even more when you are not feeling at 100%. Warm teas such as lemon with honey, ginger tea and cumin and fennel tea are all soothing while hydrating.
  • DO NOT drink caffeine or resort to eating junk (salty or sweet foods).
  • Try to eat more fresh food, like fruit and veggies. Bananas are higher in potassium, which will also help.
  • Get moving. I know, who wants to even get out of bed, but I assure you, it will make you feel so much better. Grab your playlist and headphones, and go for a walk. BONUS: Exercise is known to make your period shorter.
  • Use a heating pad or hot water bottle to apply to your belly where your cramps are.
  • Get more rest. Rest does wonders for your body and mind. Make sure you give yourself a little extra during your period.
  • BE POSITIVE: Attitude has so much to do with how we feel both physically and emotionally. Periods are a good thing, they are part of being a woman, we all experience them, and you are not alone!

One of the tips above was to get moving. That is a tough one when you feel under the weather.

This summer I started to attend the gym regularly, after many years of not doing much exercise. It was not until the day my period started that I thought, "I can't do this". I almost stayed home, cramps lurking, a headache brewing, not to mention the fear of leakage during an intense workout in spandex. Even without the cramps and headache, it crossed my mind that I will be bending over, lifting heavy weights, and jumping up and down....oh my! We all know what happens when we are doing this while having our periods.  After a friend telling me she feels better and seems to have lighter flow when exercising each month, I gave myself a pep talk and went to the gym. It felt great, like most workouts and I was glad I went.

Since having my children I have used sanitary napkins and panty liners almost exclusively. I just don't seem to get the proper protection for leaks with tampons any more. Recently I tried Asana products, and they truly are different than any other pads I have used.

From the moment I opened the package, I knew they were different. They are so thin, I had never seen a "regular" pad so thin. Talk about great for stashing in a purse, or even your jeans pocket. The products also absorb moisture so fast that you really do feel dry, no matter what. And get this, they actually dispel odor, reduce comfort and enhance metabolism. ENHANCE METABOLISM, REALLY? I am doing that on my health journey with food and exercise, so now I can even say my metabolism is increasing while I am having my period.

Read more about the science involved and the awesome benefits of these pads.

  • Asana’s Biowave Advantage™ is a complete breakthrough in feminine protection.
  • Two vital components of Asana's advanced technology are tourmaline and silver, which act to reduce menstrual discomfortdispel odorincrease air circulationbalance the body's pH and enhance metabolism.
  • Health Canada has classified the Biowave Advantage™ layer as an antibacterial Medical Device Class 1 (which is a super hard designation to attain).
  • Asana also helps combat yeast infections naturally and is 95% biodegradable. Asana products are one of the thinnest on the market, yet offer the most absorbencyfastest rate of absorbency and best assurance of leak protection
  • No Chloride in the products
  • Their packaging uses Soya ink and is biodegradeable.

Asana is currently in a number of stores across the country and this month they are being stocked at Sobeys, Lawtons and coming to Loblaws layer this month.

Visit their website for more information on Asana and what they have to offer.  

We all want to feel confident during our period, especially when we are at the gym in our tights! 

Young women working out together on rugs

 *This post was brought to you by Asana. All opinions remain my own.