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Setting Boundaries, Not Barriers!

Setting Boundaries, Not‘Another weekend bites the dust, time to get ready for a new week and soon, a new month! Lately, I find myself butting heads with the notion of intentions versus barriers and knowing the difference between the two. Too often, we default to creating barriers to own success or growth out of fear or insecurity; deceiving ourselves into thinking (and accepting) it was the former rather than the later.

It’s never easy when you find you have to call yourself out on your own B.S., but there you go! Better to call it out at the onset than to find yourself stagnating in the quagmire of your own crap having missed on opportunities and life. So what’s the big deal? First, let’s get the dictionary definition of “boundary” and “barrier” to get some clarity. According to the online edition of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, “a boundary is something that shows where an area ends and another area begins; a point or limit that indicates where two things become different.”

One the other hand, a barrier is defined as “something that prevents or blocks movement from one place to another; a law, rule, problem, etc., that makes something difficult or impossible.” Some might ask, why the exercise in definitions that seem relatively self-explanatory? I say, there’s a lot to be learned here; namely, your mindset plays a huge role in how you relate to other people, things, and ultimately, your lifestyle. I say this because our mindset often determines whether or not we see an opportunity before us or an obstacle or barrier.

In the context of health and wellness, the notion of self-care is seen as either an opportunity for personal renewal and growth or an obstacle to one’s achieving the completion of a set of tasks, to-do lists, etc. In this setting, your health will ALWAYS be the looser when it’s stacked against that venerable to-do list which always seems to take priority over everything else in our lives; a list I might add, that we often hide behind out of fear, uncertainty, doubt or inadequacy (at least in our own minds). This is where the shift in mindset needs to come into play!

When you realize and accept that those “tasks, to-do’s”, etc, will always be there (yes people, that’s the cycle of life; nothing ever really stops until it ceases to exist so get used to it) then you can release yourself from that false sense of control that you’ve allowed yourself to be imprisoned by. The truth is, your health and fitness are central to manifesting your vision for your life because without them (a.k.a mind-body-spirit in balance) there is little hope of seeing that through to fruition.

Balance is one of the central features of a fit and healthy lifestyle and that’s why I never stop stressing the centrality of this phenomena to my clients. If you want true and sustainable health (i.e. mind-body-spirit) bringing all aspects of yourself needs to be brought into alignment. If you’re already at the point of tapping out and saying “enough is enough and time to get off the hamster wheel going nowhere” then, welcome to the beginning of your journey to self-discovery, fitness, and health! Too many times we say we’re too “busy” to “indulge” in self-care but that’s merely a choice (yes, you always have a choice) to continue down a path that has no good end or resolution.

When you say you’re “busy” it actually means that you don’t have “time” to take care of yourself and the things that really matter (i.e. living a full and healthy life, etc). The truth is that you are merely existing and not living! When you are out of alignment on all levels (mind, body, spirit), that manifests as a breakdown in both your physical and mental health; illness and disease begin to impact the whole.

This is at the crux of what it means to set boundaries vs. barriers; making space for self-care and nourishing your mind and body and separating those destructive elements or forces that will take you and your health out of alignment. Realizing that this is not “selfish” but a necessity and indicates a level of growth few are willing to work at achieving (but that’s another topic for discussion). As women, we are constantly pushed and pulled in several directions as we strive to live up to the  ideas of other people and society; the freedom and growth comes when we release ourselves from this when we get “comfortable with being uncomfortable” as we address those internal issues and wounds that we have allowed to fester.

Growth and healing are not always comfortable or easy; in fact, they often require a level of exposure and examination that make uncomfortable seem like a cake walk but it’s necessary if you want to achieve your authentic self. The other alternative? Continue to merely exist and remain a slave to your fears and perceptions of the outside world. What a choice huh?

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The Real Valentines Day: In Review

Every year, millions of women look forward to Valentine’s Day (at least in their heads) as a time to be appreciated, pampered and just fabulous! We start some new diet (usually accompanied by some unrealistic expectations, etc), renew our New Year’s resolutions, and sit back with bated breath as we wait to see what the universe will deliver on! As the days roll by, reality begins to creep in and the fake glitter of Valentine’s Day marketing fades away.

Fast forward to the middle of the month, and I’m wondering if we’re going to stick to our vision and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. January 2017 is long gone, February is long gone (with March a recent memory) and we are midway through April, but some of the same problems of 2016 are still at the forefront of our minds. While getting fit and healthy is the ultimate objective, too often we forget that this is a process, and with all of that comes a whole new set challenge. First of all, how do you stay motivated? Next, how do you stay focused (i.e. multitasking for work, family, etc) and find the time to get all of this done?

It’s all about priorities and recognizing that your health (i.e. mind, body, soul) is central to your life. The bottom line is this: if YOU are not healthy it is very little you can do (from a standpoint of sustainability) in terms of meeting the needs of both yourself and your family. We live in an age where high stress, insufficient sleep, and poor diet are becoming the new normal, while at the same time, chronic illness, obesity, etc continue to rise. Add to that the issue of our unsustainable and corporatized healthcare system, and you have the makings of a perfect storm of everything that can go wrong!

My goal here is not to scare the crap out of anyone; it is simply to encourage us all to make our health the main priority, and recognize that health and balance are central to life. At the most basic level, balance is key to any sustainable system (our bodies included) and requires work and commitment in order to continue. In simple terms, you should not be living to work (i.e. job, career, etc) but working to live! In other words, your job or career should not overtake all other aspects of your life in the same way that your personal life should not overshadow your professional or public arena.

So how do you STILL fit in a healthy eating and fitness plan, restore balance to your life, etc? Well, you simply stick to the P.L.A.N. and remain focused on your goals (i.e. living a balanced and healthy lifestyle, etc). I’m not saying there are no challenges in maintaining your health and fitness goals, but it is more than possible to be aware of what you’re eating, finding and using your “me” time to work out (it’s also an excellent way to deal with stress), and staying balanced in all (or most) areas of your life. Experience has taught me that the best way to do this, is by taking a step back and finding joy in the little things; a crisp sunny Fall day, an invigorating walk along the trails, or simply enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee on the front porch (backyard, on the veranda, in front of your balcony, etc).

For the everyday woman whose life is at the crossroads and who feels like she needs not just her health and fitness in balance, but life in general, I say, WELCOME! I have found that every woman is unique in terms of her story and her needs, especially at the “crossroads”.

Why? The answer is relatively simple. The needs of a woman who is already stressed, out of balance both physically and mentally (i.e. overweight, frustrated, overwhelmed) are different from one who has her career, obligations, and family on track etc, but just needs “some” help losing a few pounds and learning how to eat healthily!

The sad truth is that most of us women (especially if you haven’t seen 30 in a long while) struggle with a chaotic and unhealthy life, but rather than valuing ourselves enough to change it, we choose for one reason or another, to stay on that hamster wheel going nowhere!

We need to admit and own our truth when it comes to our relationship with food and by extension, how we relate and perceive ourselves as well as others. we seem to be ignorant of the fact that FOOD plays an important role in our lives and an important aspect of culture. I guess like so many other things in this high-tech age, this is just one more thing that has become lost in the matrix of” sameness” perpetuated by a media that serves itself rather than the welfare of society at large.

I’m not saying we bear no responsibility for our own health, but I AM saying is that the media bears some responsibility in terms of pushing “unhealthy” images and ideas of what constitutes beauty, a “healthy weight”, “healthy” foods (i.e. so-called fat-free, zero calories) etc. Our current mainstream media has in large part become the mouthpiece of big Agri-business and corporations more interested in their bottomless than the wellbeing of society.

This is why I do what I do! I decided to get active and advocate for women’s health and to empower other women to fight back and reclaim their health, fitness. My goal is for women in my zone of influence to become knowledgeable about their food sources and equip them with the necessary tools to gain control of their health and nutrition. I’ll always remember these wise words of my mom, “knowledge is power” and “the gates of the school-house are still open”!

If You are tired of unhealthy crap being packaged and marketed to you as healthy, “low” in fat, etc, then get involved and educated about who controls your food- you are what you eat folks! The hard truth is that, if after all that hard work of getting fit and adopting a healthy lifestyle you’re still depending on big Agri-business and the fast food / packaged food industrial machine to give you good (derived from sustainably grown, mostly pesticide-free or organic) quality food, dream on. An educated public is an empowered one, and too often that empowerment is in conflict with the bottom line of these corporations.

So what do I do to cut out the crazy and NOT break the bank? I keep it simple. Stick to mostly seasonal produce, buy my produce from local farms, buy organic where necessary (avoid the “dirty dozen”) and get involved in a local or community farm if at all possible. At the end of the day, you and your family are worth the time and effort, believe me!

Check out my FREE PANTRY DETOX GUIDE to help you finally get your butt in gear because before you know it, summer will be here and then what!? SAME OLD same old!? NOT!

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