Saturday, 26 March 2016

Motivation...and Other Fairy Tales

It's been awhile!  Like most people I go through phases in my everyday life where my get up and go gets up and leaves.  Sometimes life just gets in the way of my best laid plans.  Or sometimes I even procrastinate the days away...or at least I used to.

I can't believe I'm telling you this.  I think we've been sold a big fat lie.  There, I said it.  A. Big. Fat. Lie.  That lie is summed up for me in one word..motivation.  Hello, let me re-introduce myself.  My name is Kathi and I am a wife, mom, business person, personal trainer, instructor and coach.  I am also a HUGE procrastinator by nature.

Back to motivation.  The word itself even bothers me now that I have thought about it.  What is it?  By definition it is the "general desire or willingness of someone to do something".  Ok, what does that really mean in real life terms.  I'll sum it up for you in phrases I have heard over and over again in my work as a coach or trainer.

  • I'm really motivated to change 
  • I wanted to go to the gym but I wasn't really motivated
  • I just need some motivation
My list could go on for days but I think you get the idea.  Motivation is the desire to do something or to change something that doesn't appear to be working.  Great, so what's the problem?  Think about it for a minute.  In real life almost every motivational statement is followed by one word...wait for it...BUT.  Take all of those statements written above and add the word BUT to the end of it. BUT changes everything!

I recently gave a talk to a group of people that had recently had trauma in their lives and were working through the process of trying to get back to their every day life and perhaps even back to work.  Since I had some life experience with trauma, obesity, depression and making life changes I was asked to share my successes and my struggles with the group.   We were discussing motivation and our "get up and go".  We were discussing how we go from wanting to doing.  Part of the discussion went something like this...

We have been sold a lie.  Advertisers, mediations, speakers and shiny memes have shown us that all we need is to be motivated and things will happen.  All we have to do is wish for it and POOF it will come true.  It's all a lie!  My example was clear.  I had rushed from my previous class to make it to the group on time.  I had wanted to stop and get some tea but traffic was heavy.  I wanted tea.  One of the fellows in the group had a travel mug full of tea and he was sitting across the room from me.  I was MOTIVATED to get his tea...However unless I took ACTION and got off my butt to walk across the room to GET the tea, nothing was going to change.  I wasn't getting any tea by sitting on my ass thinking about how motivated I was to get it.  Think about this for a minute and let it sink in.  

All those times you said you wanted to do something and you were motivated, did you take ACTION?  Did you take any of the steps necessary to make the changes you wanted?  Nope, me neither.  Don't get me wrong, it is so much easier to blame the results we didn't get on "not being motivated" than to see the reality that is right in front of us.  I just didn't take the ACTIONS needed to get the results I wanted.  We can blame anything we want - but what's the point?  The only thing accomplished by trying to place blame is to delay looking at the real reason we didn't get the result.  We didn't put in the effort.  That's much harder to face, isn't it?

It's so much easier to blame the outcome on something outside ourselves.  The good news is that you have the power to change that dialog!  You!  Take the opportunity.  Take the action.  Say YES to your life and just see what can happen.  

Until next time.....

Friday, 11 July 2014

Invisible ... just invisible

I can't believe I'm telling you this.  I think I am invisible.  No, really.  Invisible.  And silent/stealth too.

Have any of you ever felt like this?  I wonder if I am the only one.  The symptoms are pretty standard I would think.  If they happen once or twice it just might be a coincidence, but if consistent you might just be invisible too.

  • In a room full of people in a conversation you speak three words only to be interrupted by another, louder person who didn't even know you spoke.  This can happen with friends, family or just random strangers.
  • Someone cuts in front of you in a line up and didn't even notice you were there.
  • Walking down the are always the person who moves out of the way to avoid getting hit or knocked over.
  • In the gym people set up their benches within arm's reach of your "in progress" workout and don't even notice you are there.
I had a conversation about this actual syndrome with someone just a few nights ago. We were walking down the street and a fully grown man was standing and looking around as we were strolling by.  He took a few steps and would have walked right into me while staring right through me if I hadn't taken evasive steps.  He was completely oblivious to my presence in his "now" personal space.  

The conversation went something like this:
Look out (as husband pulls me to the side)
Holy shit he didn't even see me can that be?  I'm not exactly tiny, I'm 5foot 8 for crying out loud!
The man walks away totally oblivious...  AND SCENE.

That moment along with a few others in recent times have led me to the invisible diagnosis.  I suppose it could come in handy.  I could be a fly on the wall during a party where everyone is having fun and letting loose.  As an introvert (no, really) this can be awesome when feeling socially awkward.  If only there was a cloak or a switch I knew how to operate to turn the invisibility on and off.  

I must work on this...

Till next time,


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

What Was I Thinking AKA It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

I can't believe I'm telling you this!

I did it...  I laced up my shoes and went for a run.  Well, maybe more of a slow jog all the while wondering to myself and maybe out loud a little bit "what the hell were you thinking?"

You know how you can talk yourself into or out of something.  Eating fries, that third tequila, new shoes, going to the gym...etc.  In or out you can sway your body to do what your mind wants or doesn't at that particular moment.  Apparently my crazy ass mind decided it wants to run again.  It has actually wanted to pound the pavement for some time, I've just managed to squash the voices like a bug until today.

So, I got into the car and drove to Beacon Hill Park to run.  I could have gone downtown without the car but as it has been pointed out to me today - it's frickin hot outside today!  And there's lots of people on the sidewalks mid afternoon to get in my way (or trip over, let's be real here it's me we are talking about). So off to the waterfront I drove.

The breeze was awesome, not going to lie!  The sun felt good and the tunes in my ears were just as I remembered.  The problem was my feet....who replaced my feet with lead when I was asleep?  Holy crap!  It was almost like I had forgotten how to walk, let alone run!  So, more self can do this, suck it up and just get moving...the usual.  Slowly, one foot in front of the other, I started moving forward.  Walk/run/walk/run...having my injury history I don't want to move too quickly at first.  Run 1 minute, walk 30 seconds for this week to see how things go.  I didn't die, so I think to my self "so far so good".

I felt sluggish, leaden and really old while I was running today.  Not at all like I had hoped.  It appears I have a bunch of work to do to get my body back to its "I love running" form.  One step at a time I suppose.  Not easy for me - the queen of instant gratitude!  My run schedule is printed out and posted by my computer.  My week is planned and my half marathon entry fee has been paid for October.  No turning back now.

I have to remember that with every step I take I am lapping everyone still on the couch.

Till next time!


Here We Go Again...Running - I Love That Shit

I can't believe I'm telling you this...

I love to run - I think.  I actually believe I have an unhealthy love/hate relationship with running.  As a heavy child and teenager the thought of running was scary.  I was always involved in sports and sports teams as a teenager and lived in fear of being forced to run.  I always felt I never measured up and never quite there.

As a younger adult I never really thought about running as recreation, fitness or therapy.  I actually can't remember ever thinking about running at all.  It wasn't until my weight had crept up really high and my fitness level was in the toilet that I even considered running to be something I might do.

Let me be clear here - I am not a sprinter by any definition of the word.  I am a slow(er) runner.  I think my best 10K finish time is just over an hour.  I am also not what the world would consider a "pretty" runner.  I sweat, turn red, my hair gets messy and generally I look like hell.  Doesn't matter the distance or speed.  I look like shit after a run.  But I always feel great, that is why I think I love running.

Unfortunately for me I have not had the best experience with running.  I have been hurt (knocked down) during a race that resulted in a misdiagnosed injury that still haunts me 5 years later.  The result is a leg shorter than the other. Just a little, but enough that every step is impacted.  Being fit now and feeling invincible I did a half marathon without specific training and ended up being sent to the hospital with a suspected blood clot or compartment syndrome in my leg.  It's no wonder that when I bring up the subject of running, my husband just says no.

But,I love to run.  I love to run alone.  Just me, my music and fresh air.  Love it!  I love the race day anticipation and the feeling of being a part of the day. So I am about to embark on another running adventure.  Round 4 if you will.  I have taken part in 3 half marathons - two were not so the distance...and one disastrous.  My goal is to finish the half in a respectable time (to be determined) and not get hurt, bitten by a dog or embarrassed by a 75 year old.  I think it's a great opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and face a relatively new/old fear and check something else off my list of things to accomplish.  It's also a great opportunity to produce more writing material and a GREAT chance to laugh at myself and maybe make someone else laugh too.

So, here we go.....

I will keep you posted!


Saturday, 10 May 2014

It's Mothers Day Tomorrow

I can't believe I'm telling you this but if my words experience can impact another human in a positive way, I'm all for it.

Mother's day is not my favourite day of the year.  I think every day is Mother's day.  We are so privileged to have the opportunity to have and raise our children.  It's an honour so many people take for granted, I know because I am one of them.  You might not think so, knowing my story but all too often as humans we get caught up in daily life and forget to take a moment, live in the moment and enjoy the little things that life brings.

I am adopted.  I was adopted at 2 weeks old by the most loving parents a girl could ask for.  My parents gave me all the love and support I could ever want and they blessed me with an extended family that means the world to me.  In short - they ROCK.  My dad says when something hurts one of us it hurts us all and we band together like no family I know.  I am forever grateful that God found a way to put me with them.

I know a little bit about my "birth" family.  My birth mother was a very proud woman with other children.  The circumstances of my birth were difficult for her and her decision was to give me up.  I think of her on Mother's day every year and thank her from the bottom of my heart for doing what she did.  Little does she know that her decision to give me to a loving family would pay itself forward eighteen years later when I did the very same thing.

You see, I gave a baby up for adoption as well.  Right out of high school I made some stupid decisions and found myself pregnant.  Just a little over a month before my 19th birthday I gave birth to a baby girl.  I never really saw her.  I remember seeing dark hair and fat little legs and begging the nurses to get her out of the room before I could see more.  I don't really think there was a dry eye in the room at that moment.  You see this happened in a very small town and those nurses had known me since I was born.  My mom was also in the delivery room with me through the whole thing.  My mom hadn't had children from her body and she had just watched her daughter give birth to a baby she would never  know.  From the bottom of my heart I feel that she never really was my baby.  Carrying her and my feelings for her were so different than those when I carried my sons.  She was someone else's child.  Never mine.

Now some 33 years later I think about her and wonder about her.  Is she happy?  Were her parents good to her?  All those corny questions you see in a Hallmark movie play through my head at random times of the year.  They are most active during April, her birthday month and in May around my birthday and Mother's day.

I get a little moody around Mother's day when I see all the commercials on TV and watch families trying so hard to make mom's day perfect.  It seems that the commercialism of the day is everywhere.  Like any Hallmark holiday it is thrust upon us begging us to spend money to make mom happy.  I find the whole concept quite offensive actually.  There are so many people in situations where they are separated from their parents or children.  They may not be able to afford all that the TV says we need to buy to make mom happy.  So then they feel inadequate or unloved.  Sucky!

Instead of buying into all of the commercialism that is Mother's day, why don't we just do something nice for someone else?  Make dinner, spend some time, phone home, volunteer, make a donation.  Anything but feed the machine that is making some of us quite crazy.  My husband an kids used to ask what I wanted for Mother's day.  I always said I wanted to be left alone.  The pressure was always so great to make everything perfect that invariably someone always ended up eating dinner in the car if we went to a restaurant when the kids were little.  So much pressure on the little ones that they just couldn't behave.  No thanks.

So, Mother's day is tomorrow.  Hug your mom if she is still here.  This is my second Mother's day without my mom and I miss her.  Hug your kids if you are lucky enough to have them in your life.  Say a thankful prayer for all the blessings you do have in your life and say another prayer for those moms that don't.

Let's make this world a better, more compassionate place.

With love, and Happy Mother's Day


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Leaving Your Comfort Zone AKA...OHMYGOD I'm Gonna Throw Up!

It's been a little while, sorry for that.  I can't believe I'm telling you this......

Over the last several years I have spent a lot of time outside of my "personal bubble" or my comfort zone.  It all started in earnest in 2009 although I can remember small incidents of breaking out of the zone throughout my life.  I can say though that 2009 was the start of a prolonged dipping of the toes into the mire of the unknown.  Whew!

As humans we can be drawn into the easy or the comfortable.  We use the fear of the unknown to keep us on the path we currently walk.  Terms like security, risk, unknown, danger and such come up when one expresses to another person an idea that does not fit within the "norm".  How many people do you know personally that stay in a dead end job or relationship or club because they are too stuck in their comfort zone, however destructive, to try to crawl out.

My leap was totally not a leap.  My venture started with weight loss.  A decision to change the way I ate.  That's it.  Nothing more than that.  But then was that really all that it was?  NO!!!  The decision to eat differently was actually a huge, huge leap outside my comfort zone.  My family, co-workers and friends were used to one kind of Kathi - and suddenly, really suddenly, here was a new one.  Their discomfort at my change could have stalled me right there.  Their negative feedback, however misguided and from their own place of fear, disguised as knowing what's best or me, could have derailed everything and I could be that same person today.  I didn't listen however.  From there the steps outside kept coming.  First entering the world of fitness professionals (kicking and screaming - I never meant to become a trainer), to teaching IN FRONT OF PEOPLE..OH MY GOD... to giving seminars and talks about fitness and health, to blogging and putting it all out there...and who knows what is to come.

You all should know this about me....I am really comfortable addressing or speaking to a room full of people...the more the better.  Put me in front of one or two people OR ask me to do something physical in front of someone and I want to lose my cookies.  Heart pounding, sweating, shaking, wanna run for the hills nervous.  But I learned something along the way about myself and very recently a good friend through her network put into words for me exactly how I manage to get through this.  Drumroll please.

20 seconds of courage.  That's it.  Where I have stepped outside my comfort zone I have needed 20 seconds of courage.  Some things take 20 seconds...pushing send on an email, saying hello or approaching someone, saying no etc.  Some other things require you to get through the first 20 seconds to realize you are not going to barf, your clothes aren't going to disintegrate and you are not going to fall on your face.  20 seconds....that's it.  My group fitness students will hear me echo in their can do anything for 20 seconds, come on...get going. So that's what I have done!
, by the way, I have only just begun...I am nowhere near finished JUMPING outside my comfort zone.  I'm just getting warmed up.  I am telling you this for one reason and one reason only.  If a small town, insecure, overweight, terrified, SHY girl can find her voice and her can too!  Just take 20 seconds and get over it!


Monday, 10 February 2014

Christmas Goodies....or Maybe I'm a Bad Person

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope Santa wedged his way down your chimney or hauled his butt through your front door to bring you all that you wished to receive this year.  I can't say that I could have wished for any more (realistically anyway) or that I would have been "happier" if the jolly fat man had brought more stuff into my world.

I really do (sometimes) like Christmas.  There are times (like this year) where I wished the earth would swallow me whole and swoop me away to a magical place that was HOLIDAY FREE.  Just a few days, was it really too much to ask?  Apparently the answer is YES.

You see it's not Christmas I dislike per se, it is the commercialism, perceived gluttony, greed and oh-so-many mixed messages that we are bombarded with once the USA's Black Friday has come and gone.

Let me start with the commercials.  The suits on Madison Avenue or wherever the f$*%&$ the advertising mecca is in Canada have turned every stinking product known to man into a possible acceptable Christmas gift for your loved ones.  One of my friends (oh so rightly) noted early in December the happy woman on the front of the Crappy Tire flyer that was getting the pots and pans.  WTF?  If you like sleeping on the couch, by all means, buy her this gift.  And who, really who gets a Lexus, Honda, Toyota or Cadillac for Christmas?  And are you really happy that your spouse cleaned out the bank account or your credit for that gift?  Come on people.

Then there are the commercials that tug at your heart strings.  What, exactly, are they supposed to make you think about?  Are we all supposed to strive for the perfect, snowy, warm glow of the fire, ugly sweater family gathering where everyone is smiling?  OK...what if that's not your particular family?  Everyone is there, Uncle Joe is drunk and is telling everyone how he feels about them, Aunt June is in to corner apologizing, the kids are unhappy because Dad is hogging the video game and nobody is helping mom with the dinner.  So, have we failed because our Christmas Day does not look like the commercials?  I don't think so, but I am only one woman, a cynical one at that.  And, if life is not being particularly kind to you at this "most wonderful time of the year" can you get through the commercials, stories and sickly sweet vignettes without hucking something at the TV?  Really, give me a break.

Then there is all the advice about how to "survive" the holiday parties.  Why the heck are we so focused on deprivation at this time of year?  It doesn't make any sense whatsofrickinever to me.  The magazines, TV news shows and HGTV are all loaded with holiday recipes and ideas and a few pages or few minutes later we are bombarded with how to work off those unwanted holiday pounds.  Better yet we are warned how much we are going to over-indulge at all of those holiday parties and the anchors and "special guests" are all so excited about telling us how to "get through" a holiday party and avoid the before you go, drink water, only eat the vegetables etc etc etc.  The worst part of the whole thing is, if you have partied like this (and let's be clear, we all know someone who has) you have to tell EVERYONE how you got through last night's party only eating a celery stalk and drinking lemon water.  Well weren't you the best guest ever.  Bet you were standing alone, miserable and self righteous.  Life of the party!  Go, have fun and if you are able and something strikes your fancy, try it!  You are not going to spontaneously combust by eating a butter tart.  Eating 20, maybe...but that's another blog.  Balance people, we need balance.

I work in fitness.  So I was really interested in checking out my Facebook news feed this week as Christmas Day came and went.  It seemed like so many people were punishing themselves (or at least telling us about it) for one day of indulgence.  Talking about going to the gym or lifting is one thing.  Saying you are out the door first thing to "work off all the christmas baking" is something else entirely.  Again, balance.  One of the things we talk about a lot in fitness is how it's not what happens the week between Christmas and New Years that's the problem.  It's the other 51 weeks that happened that year.  Think about it for awhile....I'll wait.

Anyway, after a craptastic year Christmas came and went.  We had an amazing time with family ranging in age from 20 to 90.  We ate all day long (grazed really) on food my sister-in-law sacrificed her finger for, drank a little too much and laughed more than a family should.  We ended Christmas Day with a pyjama party that rocked.  Too many people for the house and two dogs that think they are people rounded out the mix.  We also had a visit from young men who are their neighbours that proved to us that disabilities are incorrectly named.  They were inspirational and showed us more about what Christmas is really about.  Family, friends, neighbours and giving.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Did Santa come?  Yes he did.  Did he leave a Lexus or a new house?  Thankfully no.  We received ENOUGH.