May 11, 2015

I’m on a mission to “create space” in my head.  That was part of my homework when I had my nutritional consult with Karen, and I’ve been searching for it ever since.

Meditation is the obvious choice for opening the mind, but meditation, it should be said, is like stabbing myself in the eye with a fork is not really my thing.  I can’t picture myself sitting cross-legged doing nothing but contemplating for any length of time.  Actually, thinking about it now makes me laugh – my three year-old, Molly, would be like, “Cool! Mum’s a jungle gym!” in about five seconds.  Plus my mind wanders incessantly, and my inner monologue would no doubt have a field day: Why are you doing this? This is boring.  This is stupid. You have an itchy leg. What’s that noise outside? I wonder if that laundry’s done.  What is Molly up to? Is she colouring on the wall again… and so on.

So no meditation.  But space is still the objective.  Running helps, but I need something more.

A few weeks ago, our family joined a local dojo.  Husband Jamie has studied martial arts since he was six years old, and his old Sensei practices nearby.  He thought it would be a good experience for all of us to join together.  So off we went.

karatemolly

I was nervous at first.  Even with all of my fitness experience, I have never delved into the world of martial arts.  It was an entirely unexplored arena for me; a thought that both terrified and excited me.

My first few classes, I followed along tentatively as we punched, kicked, and learned the white-belt katas.  My choreography skills and spatial perception are crap, let’s just get that out of the way. It’s a wonder I can tie my shoes in the morning. Thank goodness I don’t operate heavy machinery for a living.

Sweat, eyebrows scrunched up in concentration, more sweat, repeat this move, repeat that move. And again. And again.

Soon, I realize, I’m starting to get it.  I’m moving in the right direction! I can high block and low block and even kick a bit without falling over.  It isn’t pretty yet… but I’m realizing that it won’t be unless I repeat those movements thousands of times over.

I watch Sensei Jamie in his black-belted magnificence, doing the same movements as I am, yet with an assured confidence, and an air of absolute mastery around him.  He has practiced these moves for thirty years. I’ve been practicing them for thirty minutes.

Still, I see what is possible, watching him.  The katas are beautiful, thirteen ways to artfully kick your opponent to the curb.  When I practice, I see each movement as it comes, and I struggle to remember how to execute the next one.  When Sensei Jamie practices, I see no struggle behind his eyes: just a space in his mind that is both peaceful and full of warriorship.

I want to get to that place.

And so I go to class. I practice at home. I’m dreaming about karate, and my body is learning and adapting to new movements and mindsets.  I never would have dreamed I would love it so much in such a short time, but I do.

As the journey continues, I for once am not focussed on the end result. I don’t really care to get a higher belt, or more recognition, or really ever lay a hand on an enemy for real.  I’m focussed on getting to that place of serenity that repetition brings; that bubble of nothingness that I’m on the edge of grasping.  I’m almost there.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

May 4, 2015

I’m standing naked in front of my full-length mirror. This is my exercise in exiting my comfort zone today, and boy, is it ever working.

Having grown up in a rather liberated household, I’ve always been comfortable disrobing in front of others in a change-room, or around family. Disrobing in front of myself for the purpose of affirmation, however, seems terrifying by comparison.

During yoga training this weekend, we spoke a lot about our comfort zone, our ego, and the things we tell ourselves. Here’s the gist:

If I go about looking at my body from a place of hate, disgust, or shame, I propel those feelings into the future and am guaranteed to live them. I know this. We all know this. But it’s easier said than done to love yourself all the time and look at your body from a place of love, acceptance, and pride.

I wrote a blog recently about how everyone’s body is perfect, and I really meant it. I meant it about myself, too. But living that “perfect imperfection” daily is about meaning it when I’d actually rather cut myself down. Hence the nakedness in front of the mirror.

I deserve to be happy in my own skin, though, so I try and change my mind and look at myself from a place of love. I choose not to think this a hard task. My inner monologue goes like this:

I don’t look like I used to look. I’m softer. My first thought is to hate it, but I’m not going to hate the softness today. Today, being softer is ok. Women are curvaceous and beautiful. I am curvaceous and beautiful! I look strong, still, and even though there’s cellulite there and more fat than I’d like, I look good. Husband Jamie hasn’t kicked me out of bed yet 🙂 

I smile at this, laughing at my thoughts. My smile is nice. I have wrinkles beginning, but they’re from laughing, not frowning. Hey, this is easier than I thought. I have nice hair. My shoulders are muscular. My tattoos are all so me, I love them.

And then I try an affirmation, and to my surprise it seems like the next logical thing to say, rather than the awkward, touchy-feely sentence I had originally thought it was:

Really seeing oneself requires courage.

Really seeing oneself requires courage.

I am worthy of receiving love and happiness. I am beautiful and strong. I can, and should, think good things about myself.

The world doesn’t end. No one comes barging into my room to stamp me on the forehead with “You’re such a cliché.” Amazing.

One of the big lessons I took away from yoga training this weekend was that I have to be vulnerable in order to really connect: with others, as well as with myself. If I let myself be vulnerable, there is always the risk that I will have my heart stomped on, but there is also the risk that I will find a place of happiness within myself that I never knew existed.

So today, I stand vulnerable in front of the mirror. Totally exposed and wholly myself. Today, I have succeeded in both exiting my comfort zone and believing that I’m worthy of love and happiness; that’s a big win. Some days I will undoubtedly find this exercise more difficult, but at the end of the day, change is about programming positive thoughts into my head as much as I can.

Because after awhile, thinking: I’m such an idiot. I’m so fat. I’ll never look/act/be the way I want will come true. If I say it enough, I’ll believe it. My body will believe it. My energy will reflect it. Isn’t it more productive to program the good stuff instead?

More of using my body to train my mind. The journey continues.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

March 23, 2015

I’m healing this week, from a bit of a wounded pride.  I have tried and failed to do at least 4 fitness shows.  I did succeeded once, but in hindsight, I feel like I might have only succeeded at the hands of Trainer Jamie, who basically pulled me along and made decisions for me.  This time, with only me at the helm, I failed.

Or did I?

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At the beginning of this fitness journey, I told the world my plans to keep me accountable and on an even keel.  And it worked, to some extent:  It helped to know there were people cheering me on.  But in the end, my decision to stop all of this made me feel both empowered and lost.  Was it the right thing to do?

Right or wrong, this humble-pie eating experience has taught me a few things:

Failing is really, really, normal. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10, 000 ways that won’t work.” My track record is one win for five “losses”, so I suppose I’m doing alright.  The wins in life are remarkable; failure is easy to come by.  If we just press on knowing that failure is inevitable, I feel like success might come faster.

Failing is really, really subjective.  “A failure,” says B.F. Skinner, “is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.  The real mistake is to stop trying.” Ah, there is my perspective: I did the best I could do, and I didn’t make the stage, but that doesn’t mean I failed.  In the eyes of others, I won: I whipped my body into excellent shape. I had dedication. I still want to stay in great shape and have dedication.  True failure here would be to throw in the towel, stop exercising, and eat a vat of ice cream.  Not happening.

Failing serves a higher purpose.  I’m not religious, nor am I superstitious.  But things happen for a reason, and maybe in the depths of our despair we are too short-sighted to see what those reasons are. “The season for failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” – Paramahansa Yogananda.  We can learn a whole lot from a failure.  Once I started to dig myself out of my pity-hole, I saw that I had indeed been on the wrong track.  For me, sowing the seeds of success looks like developing better long-term eating habits and practicing self-love and self-acceptance.  Maybe the universe has bigger plans for me on this path.

So let me see how this sounds: I didn’t fail.  I won.

I have this body that is so awesome.  It works.  My body lifts heavy weights. It massages people.  It made a really amazing little person whom I love to bits.  My body does all of these things for me every day, and what did I do for it? I fed it boring food and berated it for not being perfect enough.

If I soften the light I’ve shone on myself, I might notice that I’m human, just like the rest of the world.  I look fine.  And why, honestly, do I care so much?  Maybe I should focus on the inside stuff more.  Maybe a little external disconnect would do my soul some good.

The journey continues.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

March 16, 2015

This diet thing isn’t working. It’s making me miserable, in fact.  Not in the overt, I’m-so-hungry-shoot-me-now way that it did last time.  This time it’s a slow and subtle road to miserable.  I’m munchy, not hungry, all the time. I don’t feel like my body is crazily burning fuel like before. It sucks.

In some ways I have more discipline than last time: when there are sweets and treats around, I seldom want any and can avoid them without having Trainer Jamie talk me off the ledge.  In others, I feel like I have so much less: breakfasting with the kids when there are pancakes or sausages or even fruit salad on the table makes me feel achy and empty that I can’t partake.

Part of me processes this information and thinks, Get a grip.  You can still hang out with the kids without eating sausages.  But the other part of me wonders, Well what are you doing this for, anyway?

And that part of me, the questioning side, got my attention this weekend.

What am I doing this show for?  I don’t know.  It started out as a way to push us all forward. Ana needed a driving force. Bailey wanted a new journey. I needed to focus and train hard.  But we are doing all of that. And I realize that the only part of this I’m dreading is the initial goal I set for myself of getting on stage.

Weird how that happens…

Getting on stage and doing a fitness show means that I’m focussed on the end result. I have tried to focus on the steps of the journey, but it’s legitimately stressing me out.  Do I simply not have what it takes anymore?

This weekend I decided to eat “whatever I wanted” within the calorie count that I was given.  I still aimed for the proper proteins, carbs, and fats, but I allowed myself to have yogurt, bread, popcorn with butter, and even a glass of wine.  I made sure I stuck with the right calories, and had tons of veggies and lean proteins and water as well.

And do you know what happened? Nothing.  The world didn’t end. I wasn’t bloated, or hungry, or stressed out, or hating myself. Amazing.

I had a great weekend with the kids and Husband Jamie, and I had no guilty feelings about show prep or anything.  I realized that I really, really like raw oats with yogurt and almonds.  I had forgotten!  I was also able to sit down with the family and eat what they ate; a very liberating and relaxing experience.

Oats, yogurt and fruit. Amazing.

Oats, yogurt and fruit. Amazing.

The tranquility in my mind was the best part, however.  I had given myself permission to eat “whatever,” and it was as if a huge weight was lifted; I realized that I had been really stressed without even knowing it.  Probably part of the reason my diet “wasn’t working”.

The strangest part was that giving myself permission to eat made the foods I shouldn’t eat less appealing, not more.  I didn’t want a huge piece of cake. Or ten sandwiches. Or chocolate. I just wanted to eat what I wanted to eat, and paying attention to my body while eating what I wanted led to eating when hungry, stopping when satisfied, and greater satisfaction overall.

So what now?  I’m not sure.  Without a stage to step on, new goals should be hashed out.  New plans laid.  I don’t operate well without a formula, and I know I need to make sure I keep tracking my food so that I don’t go overboard.

But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my breakfast.  It’s going to be a good day.

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

March 6, 2015

healthy-giftAs a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, And Yoga instructor, I am both fascinated and       flattered that many of my clients will come forward believing I have all the answers.  They       believe within a couple appointments, their lives will be turned around. Learn a few tricks, pop a few supplements, and all their problems will be gone.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Too often people are giving their power away and             expecting to be able to undo years’ worth of poor choices once they invest in a few                 appointments with a healthcare practitioner or trainer.

It’s true, lasting change takes time; it’s hard work.  If it wasn’t, we’d all have done it by now.   It has taken me years to adopt a healthy lifestyle involving whole foods, regular exercise, restorative practices, and to develop intuition to know how to apply each of these and when.  If there was a quicker route, I would have taken it myself.  There are several more factors involved than simply the food we eat or the amount of exercise we do.  When someone wants to make a significant change in their health and well being, there are many things to consider:

Do you have support?
It’s an inspiring thing to witness someone strive to make a difference in their life. They start packing a lunch for work, getting up extra early for that workout, or having the energy to climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, and they start to radiate health. Although new, healthful habits should be commended by others, too often they are criticized.  Being called a “health nut” nowadays almost feels like ridicule.  You are coerced into sharing a pizza, or put down for not wanting to participate in a pub crawl in order to make it to the gym the next day.  Unfortunately, people like to see people fail. But why? Likely, it’s because your health habits make their own unhealthy ones all that more apparent.  As you feel better, they feel worseBe prepared for this!

It will be a challenge to stick to the plan to reach your goals when you don’t have supportive company.  It may take a tough conversation on your part to communicate how their comments are affecting your progress or even separation from those who cannot be happy for your success.

peer-pressure

” Honestly guys! I’m really okay with this broccoli instead”


Are you willing to say no?

Life will consistently test you as you try to walk a different path.  Temptation will arise without question.  Cake at an office party, buttered popcorn at the movies, cocktails at a friend’s gathering.  Can you say no?  Does saying no leave you feeling deprived or empowered?  Can you continue to say no?  For change to occur, consistency is key.  Turning down one treat only to say yes to the next one does not serve you, either.  Saying “no thanks” often enough slowly lets people know these indulgences aren’t for you.  Acceptance will come.  It’s like offering a vegetarian a steak every time you see them.  They are never going to accept, so after a while, people stop asking.  Say no, to be able to say yes to yourself.

Do you really want it?

Why do you want to make a change?  Is your health at risk?  Are your jeans too tight?  Do you feel uncomfortable in your skin?  Do you have digestion issues? Whatever your reason, are you willing to give it 100% effort to reach your goal? To feel better, are you willing to say no? Are you prepared for the reactions, both positive and negative from others?  Will you stick to it no matter what life throws at you? If you answer no to any of these, ask yourself if you truly want it.

Change is tough, it takes hard work and dedication.  Is it worth it?  Without a doubt! You will have to reorganize your schedule, make the time to follow through with the plan and stick it out no matter what.  You may miss out on a few social activities once in a while.  You may not get to taste the 3 layer chocolate cake at your friend’s birthday or miss out on a few beers and chicken wings at the football game but it’s worth it!  Being called a rabbit for having salad with protein as opposed to pasta with cream sauce?  Worth it!  All of this will be worth it when you feel the best you ever have.  When your confidence is through the roof and your health is impeccable.  When your skin is glowing, people will ask, “How did you do it?”  Your answer, as you sip on your green smoothie will be, “Hard work. Plain and simple.” So be ready for the challenge, otherwise question if you truly want it.  There is no other way.

Karen Yaworsky is a registered holistic nutritionist with Whole Therapy in addition to being a certified personal trainer and yogi.  Karen believes that the wholeheartedly that taking care of your body through diet and exercise is the key to a happy, successful and rewarding life.  More about Karen here

Karen2

March 2, 2015

“I hate my jeans.”  Ever said that?

I have big legs.  Always have.  “Solid”, or “strong” if you’re trying to be tactful, but big nonetheless.  Stocky is how I have always been built – I can see my chubby little legs powering me around in pictures of my childhood.  I stopped growing at 5’0”, around the time I turned 12.  My legs have never been long, graceful, or slim.

As such, buying jeans and pants has always been an ordeal; one that I came to resent. Over time I slowly amassed a collection that fit kinda-sorta-ok-but-not-perfect, and throughout my twenties I was able to get by without buying too many more.

And then I had a baby, and my whole body changed.  Ugh.

After I lost the baby weight (an ordeal unto itself, believe me), I was looking forward to being “me” again and wearing the clothes that I had packed away for a year.  I pulled on my favourite pair of jeans, ones that I had worn in to fit semi-roomily around my thighs and butt, and… they didn’t fit.

Wait, what?

Panic, momentarily: I thought I was back to normal. Are these the right jeans? Yes, they have that small rip near the right heel… these are the ones! But they’re not fitting! Did I throw them in the dryer by mistake? Holy crap, what’s going on?

I tried another pair: tight in the thighs, tighter than usual.  And another: loose around the middle, tight in the bum.  Another: overall just… not right.

What the heck is going on?

I stared at myself in the mirror for awhile, sans jeans.  I didn’t hate what I saw: I’m strong. I lift heavy weights and I run; I have muscles in my quads and calves, and only minimal cellulite.  I’m (relatively) proportionate from top to bottom, and I have pretty nice skin.  But I guess I’m different now, in structure.  Maybe my hips are a little wider.  Maybe my fat distribution has changed because of hormone shifting, and pregnancy, and age.

I stared for awhile longer, and then I realized the right answer: Jeans are just evil.  I needed a new perspective.

They're. Just. Jeans.

They’re. Just. Jeans.

My jeans are not me.  They’re just clothing.  They don’t deserve all of the power I have been giving them all of these years.  I deserve that power, because the body under those jeans is me.  And as a living, breathing person who is pretty awesome, I should have priority.

I need to stop letting my jeans dictate how I feel about myself: If they fit well today, it means I’m a better person.  If they’re too tight, I’m going to feel fat, and gross, and worthless.  False.  What was I thinking?  Saying it out loud puts it all further into perspective.

Jeans. Are. Just. Clothes.

But saying it isn’t enough. I have to do something about it.  So here goes: I am purging my closet of pants.  All of my pants.  Total fresh start. All of those jeans and slacks and cords and dress pants that I’ve amassed over the years.  All of those useless things that hang in my closet and torment me because I’m afraid to try them on lest they don’t fit well and make me feel bad about myself. All of them are going.  I’m going to embark on a new-pants mission.  I’m going to try on jeans and judge them on how they fit, not myself on how my legs are genetically.

I can’t control the way my body is, naturally.  I can continue to be in good shape and treat myself well so that the pants I do have fit the best they can.  And I can, with a little practice, remember that jeans are just jeans.

I’m not wasting any more hate on them.

 

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen

 

February 13, 2015

chewing3The blog Indelicate Flower: A collaborative blog between three fitness gals originally had it’s home here.  It is a blog about fitness and health, and three womens’ journey to the competition stage.  We decided to make IF’s new home here on the Whole Therapy site, where it would reach even more people.  We hope you like it!
~Jen

I just had the most satisfying meal of my life.  I’m aboard the Carnival cruise ship Ecstasy, and it’s not the quality of the food that made the meal amazing, nor was it the service, although both of those surpassed my expectations.  No, it was the simplest thing that led me to be so gratified.

You’re going to laugh:  I chewed my food.

Here’s how this started: The other day, at home, after the little one was asleep, I made my usual egg and mushroom scramble with salsa, and sat down at the kitchen table to eat.  Husband Jamie joined me, and watched with an astonished look on his face as I began to eat.

What? I was a little annoyed.  Did I have food on my shirt or something?

Do you realize what you’re doing? He asked, looking at me incredulously.

Obviously not, I said, very self-conscious now, wondering what the hell I was doing wrong.

He then proceeded to tell me that every single bite of egg I had taken during that meal (and I would estimate there were at least twenty or more bites), I had not chewed more than one or two times before swallowing.  Seriously?

I was about to protest, when I realized he was right.  Holy crap, I thought.  That explains a lot.  I often have stomach aches after eating. I often feel like I could go on eating another whole meal after the first is gone.  I bolt my food, partly because of my busy schedule (my massage clients are 15 minutes apart, often leaving me with 5 minutes to get my food eaten), partly because that’s just the way I’ve always done it.

I felt ashamed.  Here I am, working to do a fitness show, working to set a good example for would-be fit people everywhere, and I can’t even eat properly?  I wondered, does this affect the digestion of my food (or lack thereof)?  Most likely. Does this affect the enjoyment I have of food?  Most definitely.

Right then, I vowed that the next meal I ate would be much more satisfying.  And I got my chance tonight, during the three lazy courses the cruise ship offered.

I buttered my bread and took small bites, putting the roll down in between.

I sliced off small pieces of chicken and ate them with vegetables, savouring the flavours, the texture.

And I took savouring bites of the chocolate dessert I decided on, marveling at the smoothness of the chocolate, the bitterness of the aftertaste, and the hint of sweetness left behind.  Chocolate has always been good, but this?

I’ve entered a whole new world.

I’m fascinated by the possibilities that this discovery has opened for me.  Could I overcome some of my food issues by paying more attention, enjoying each bite more, and putting my fork down between bites?  It seems a very likely possibility, and one I am willing to explore.

I’ll keep you posted.

Chew on, friends.

 

Jen Wright is an RMT and the owner of Whole Therapy. She is an avid gym-goer and loves to lift heavy stuff.  She sees clients of all ages and stages, especially those who are engaged in bettering themselves.  She believes that pain-free is possible.  For more about Jen, click here.

Jen