She Loves Control

Two things I’ve never been good at are time management, and saying no. These constantly impact my day to day life.

For example, I super hate my body right now. I’ve gained some of the weight back since I moved to YEG and to lose it, I need to go to the gym more often. But my staff often delays their breaks until my shift is over. So, instead of working out, I stay late. But then I go home feeling like crap. Most recently, I signed up for the Festivus Games, but it’s the same day as the trade show I organized a booth for at work. So, I’m out money and even more frustrated because it’s all my fault. I didn’t check the dates.

I schedule my driver’s education classes with my few days off, but when you have two deadlines and are picking up extra shifts to earn money so your kids can go visit their dad because he isn’t contributing to his children, you get a window of 10 minutes between the lesson and the bus for class and it doesn’t work. So, I’m left so burned out that even my evening yoga doesn’t help.

But I find I’m constantly fighting for time to do what I want, to improve my life, but I never seem to do it because I am stretched so bloody thin, and yet not thin the way I want to be. I’m taking on writing assignments to supplement my income, as I’m still not receiving child support, and likely never will. I’m working full time and don’t want to upset my team, so I won’t just say “Take your break earlier, because I am leaving when my shift is over.” I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m also acting as mother and father to three children. I’m making sure that I have learned how to drive properly so that I can buy a car and improve my family’s day to day life. I’m doing as much as I can to make sure we are clothed and fed and that I’m not inconveniencing anyone that I find myself sitting in my tub hating how I look and wanting one damn hour to myself once a day to go to the God damn gym.

I need to make myself a priority.

I never have, and I never do. I’m always trying to be nice or be liked that I can’t just say no or take time for me. Obviously, the kids come first, but I can’t be a good mom if I’m burned out. I can’t be a good employee or manager if I’m constantly tiptoeing around everyone to be nice to everyone so that everyone will like me. I can’t please everyone and I’m the boss; I will never make my team happy all of the time and do my job well. I can’t meet someone if I hate how I look because that’s how you settle. I wouldn’t impulsively overbook myself if I felt like I could take time for me. But, in the end, the only person who can control these things is me. Why don’t I see myself as an investment? Instead, I allow myself to put me to the back burner so I can handle all of my responsibilities, but I feel like there’s too many and I’m about to freak out.

Actual footage of me and my responsibilities

I can get mad about why insert thing or person here doesn’t see me as valuable or worth putting time into, but I don’t see myself as worth putting time into anymore, or I’d just fucking do it. I invest more time into my store and my cats than I do myself. Then I get mad because nothing is going the way that I want. Maybe it would if I actually invested in myself.

I used to believe I was worth it, back in London, when I started Crossfit and had a core group of supportive friends. I have an amazing gym & great friends, but I always put myself last, because I don’t think I’m important anymore. I’m just there. Something happened to me in Alberta that I stopped feeling like I mattered. When I am willing to take care of my own needs, I eat better, I sleep better, I feel better. When I don’t, I eat nachos & drink mojitos.

I need to start reminding myself that my time matters. I deserve to be at the gym, I pay for it, I enjoy it, and it’s important to me. I deserve to take a day off to hang with the kids and play Pokémon Go and watch Season two of a Series of Unfortunate Events. I deserve to do things for me and not feel badly.

I’ll probably never perfect time management, but I’m certainly going to try, because my kids deserve a mom to look up to, and not a frazzled, stressed out mess that just wants one hour to go to the damn gym and maybe not have to budget my paycheques from the bathtub because that’s the only alone time I have…before a kid walks in.

I think sometimes we as moms try so hard to be indestructible that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. Sometimes you have to say no to the extra shift, or let driving wait one more week, and just go to the gym. Or take a bubble bath. Or whatever works for you.

Mic Drop

What an exhausting few days it’s been.

I attended the Alberta Magazine Awards gala and while I didn’t go home an award winner, I did get a chance to network with some amazing journalists & colleagues. Not to mention my brilliant editor took home an award for his piece, which was so deserving of this honour. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a link, but you can find more brilliant writing like this in the Magazine of the year; Eighteen Bridges. My 2018 writing goal is to have something published in this amazing journal.

But, I got to dress up nicely and go on a super fun road trip with one of my best friends. We ate donuts and had a blast. I’m so grateful to call her friend. But at the gala, I spent all night insecure about how I looked in my dress. I felt kind of big and insecure. Everyone said I looked great, but it just validated why I need to clean up my diet. I didn’t think I looked good. So I had to make changes so next time I wear that dress, for my friend Brie’s wedding, I will.

After that, it was time for me to tackle 18.3. When I read it, I knew I was screwed. I can’t do a pull-up unless it’s a jumping pull-up. I would not come close to finishing. But God damn it, I was gonna try and get one. One little pull up. Yes. This would happen.

For those of you new to the party, I attempted a pull-up once. I also fractured my tailbone. But I almost finished 17.1 afterwards so yay me! I cried through it and I was in more pain than I’ve been in for a long time, but I did it.

So, today, I made the attempt to do that damn pull-up. I fought for it. I tried so hard. I tried Kipping. Tried dead hang. Tried wide grip. Close grip. Tried everything. I did not do the pull-up. I said “fuck it!” And did some ring rows. My score was 220. I did the best damn single unders i have ever done. But I did not do the pull up. I didn’t come close to doing the pull-up. But, I tried really hard and did the best that I could & that’s all I can do. I also got the joy of watching my 11 year old (who is regularly bullied about her height) feel empowered watching one of my coaches do muscle ups because she is maybe five feet of fury & “was stronger than boys!” I love when my girls find empowerment in other women. She saw someone with her personal insecurity killing it and then decided that you can do anything in the world, even if you’re small. I was so excited to see my teammates kicking ass and taking names. I have the best team.

I also did some of my drivers ed training so guys, I can drive a car now. Big fuck you to everyone who said I couldn’t. Fuck. You.

As I hobbled home on my burning calves, I realized that if I wanted to do the damn pull-up next year, I needed to focus on the things that helped me get in better shape in the first place; better eating, working out, accountability. Mealife is AMAZING. Healthy, real food on the go. I’m so excited that this exists. And at home, it’s easier to eat better. Drink the water. Do the yoga. It’s all important. My best friend & I set goals for when I visit this summer. She’s my go to fitness guru (GO FOLLOW MY FRIEND ON INSTAGRAM. OKAY). My personal goal was wear shorts.

I haven’t worn shorts since my oldest was a baby. I’ve been so insecure about my legs. But I’m gonna do it. Just like I learned to drive, and moved across the country, and started Crossfit, I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone this summer and do the damn thing.

I decided if I’m going to do it, I’d have to stay the course. Cheat day once a month. Healthy food the rest of the time. More importantly, I wanted my first super cute pair of shorts to be shorts I was excited to wear…& also gym shorts because I only go to work or the gym. I have no life. Only work, kids, Crossfit. So, I grabbed the credit card and snagged me some BirdieBee!

BirdieBee is a clothing line dedicated to female empowerment. It’s run by my fitness idols, the Bella Twins! I’ve been wanting to buy some pieces from the line, but I haven’t felt confident. But the whole point of BirdieBee is to EMPOWER women, not make women feel badly about themselves. Anyone can wear BirdieBee. Just because my body won’t look like Brie or Nikki Bella, doesn’t mean I won’t look awesome in my own way. I love that all BirdieBee photos are untouched. No photoshop. These women show all of their own insecurities in their photos. If these women, who’s appearance is a major part of their brand, can embrace their flaws, much like how my daughter was inspired by seeing my coach slay a muscle up, I was inspired to embrace my insecurities, and this summer, I’ll show off my tree trunk, super strong legs in a pair of gym shorts…but only gym shorts because I have no life and only go to the gym.

The only way to get over your insecurities is to push through them. I used to be afraid to drive, but I do that now. I used to be afraid to hang on the bar at the gym, and today I tried to kip into a pull up. I used to be afraid to assert myself at work, but now I put myself out there by volunteering for projects (also the other Captains are adorbs and so much fun to be around). This is just one more time I need to put on my big girl pants and do the damn thing.

Are We All We Are

Just like most women, I struggle with body image.

I used to be so good at exercising six days a week. Now it’s two days, sometimes three. I’m aiming for four, but it’s all dependent on my schedule. I’ve been working on meal planning better as well. One of my fave IG superstars (& my former employee, go follow him, he’s adorbs) posted some bomb recipes that I’m going to try for post gym meals. I’ve also signed up for Mealife, which delivers portion controlled meals to your door! Amazing, right? I want to make positive meal choices, so I’m not ruining my workout with garbage. I’ll still have cheat days, but abs are built in the kitchen as well as the gym.

I’m also participating in the Crossfit Open. I’m currently the 28073 fittest woman on Earth. I mean, that’s kind of cool, right?

Ppppp

I finished 18.1 and for the first time in a long ass time, I felt accomplished af. I beat the goal I set for myself. I pushed myself. I was feeling awesome. One of my coaches mentioned she took pics and I was on the fence, but I contemplated taking them to show my progress, that anyone could push their boundaries if they wanted to. But then, I got a text from a friend back home teasing me about my shirt. After that I decided not to post them. I went from feeling accomplished to feeling like a giant, fat lemon. Only fit, bad ass people get to post their competition photos. Not me. I am still overweight. I still scale everything. I do not belong in the cool kids fit club.

No one at my gym would make me feel that way. They’re a welcoming bunch. During the workout, the coaches were cheering me on, as were the kiddos, who like to come with. It was a trusted friend that made me feel like a big, fat, lemon in my yellow shirt. Even though he commended my progress and made it a point to watch the competition on our gym’s Instagram story, I didn’t feel encouraged. I felt like a fat yellow lemon trying to fit in with people that are infinitely fitter than me. I stuck out even more than my shirt. That wasn’t his intention, but it’s what happened. Why? Because I still struggle with body image.

Even though I weigh a lot less than I used to and I work really hard at the gym and I’m training to lose that last 40 lbs, I don’t see myself as a work in progress. I still see fat MH, with the dark hair and the big butt and the low self esteem. That seeped into poor relationship choices, poor diet, behaviours that continued my low self esteem. I’m still likely to eat a bag of chips when I’m stressed at work. But that’s up to me to work on. If I want to be healthy & happier, I need to do the work. If I don’t want to feel like I stick out, I need to do the work to get to the level of RX WOD’s and super bad assery. But it’s all up to me.

Words can hurt, even if they were well intended. But too many people point fingers and blame and act like victims to derail progress. In the end, it all comes down to you & what you want to accomplish. If garbage eating is holding you back, then take control of your diet. The Zesty cheese Doritos aren’t making you eat them (even if they are amazing). No one can take away the effort you put in. Most importantly, no one can make you feel like a fat yellow lemon. I chose to interpret it that way. In the end, goals only work if you do & the only way to stop feeling badly about yourself is accept yourself or change it. I may never be a size two, but I know I’ll never be truly comfortable in my own skin when I’m overweight. So, I work on changing it so my girls will see a mom who loves herself completely.

Most of the time, the idea that you’re not good enough is all in your head. We are all capable and strong enough to accomplish anything we put our minds to. I let my self doubt get in the way of being proud of what I did, and I shouldn’t have. So, next time, I’m going to focus on what I did, not what I didn’t…yet.

Gorgeous

Oh, Hello. Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed the festive holiday break! I worked like a dog through it! But, it wasn’t all for naught. I love my jobs, even if journalism had to take a backseat for the month due to the craziness of the season. Fortunately, I’m working on an article that I’m super excited about, with some pitches out there. Things are quieter at the day job. 2018 is already amazing & I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me.

My professional life is already off to a rocking start. As many of you know, last year I was asked to step down from my position and work as an assistant manager. It was demoralizing as fuck, but I wasn’t ready for the job. I had so much to learn and I actually saw it as an opportunity to learn how to be a good manager. I wanted to learn from my mistakes and become better. So I did. Thanks to a lot of guidance from my District Team Leader (whom I call my Jedi Master), I was recently transferred to a new location as acting sales manager! I’m pretty excited about my new role within my company. My staff is amazing and I’m so proud to have them as my team. Don’t worry though, I held onto that old nametag because I was pretty sure I’d use it again.

Meanwhile, my personal life is going pretty okay. I have the best friends who are with me through of the best and worst times. 2018 brings visits with them, including my friend’s wedding to her soul mate. Her joy makes me smile. I’ve been adopted into the best gym community. There’s no one else I’d rather hate my life during a WOD with. My kids are amazing and they’re super pumped for our trip to see Taylor Swift this summer. Breaking Benjamin has a new album coming out this year and my friend/favourite former co-worker are going to see them live in February, so that’s pretty awesome too. 2018 is gonna be rad yo.

My love life will always be ridiculous. I’ve been casually dating a guy we’ll call the teacher for about a month. He’s nice, attractive, we have a ton of things in common, and I should be head over heels…except I’m not.

I wanted to like him, but instead, Meh. The first red flag was that he goes dutch on every date, which is fucking rude. Before you get all “But MHC, you’re a feminist, what about equality?! I can’t believe that this bothers you! Think of equality!” Well, Captain jerkface, let me tell you something; except on very rare occasions; my platonic friends and I don’t even go Dutch on nights out. The person who invites pays. Why? Because it’s called having manners, asshole. Tonight I went out with my friend Carissa & I paid because I invited her. The guy asked me out every time. But every time, we split the bill. This to me screams lack of effort. If you can’t treat your guest, and make them pay for half the plate of nachos and a mojito, what effort will you put into a relationship? Not to mention it sends a mixed signal. Are we on a date? Are we dudebros? Life is too short for games in the early stages of dating. But more importantly, everything has a negative twist. EVERYTHING. Working late, not having plans on Friday, the Far Side. Everything had this dark attached to it. I look at the bright side of everything so the sigh and pessimistic side to everything was kind of meh. But we kept talking. I kept agreeing to go out again. I kept the conversation going. It was constantly me putting in the work & it bugged me. Unless he’s having a bad day, I don’t hear from him. Why do I bother? I guess I thought that you can’t ask for everything to be what you want. So what if he’s cheap, and kind of emo, and says things like “it’s too people-y out?” He’s interested and nice I guess?

Sure, I didn’t get butterflies, or kind of excited when he texted me. Just meh. But I’ll grow into romantic attraction, right? When was the last time the butterflies led me in the right direction anyway (if you need a friendly reminder of my horrible dating choices, click HERE)? Obviously it’ll be the right choice, I’ll just keep telling myself that.

Then I ran into the hot guy from my gym while I was out and about one day. I tried to talk to him once before. I tripped over my own barbell and contemplated dying there. Everything else can be summed up by my lord and saviour Jesus Swift by clicking here.

But we had a nice chat and said we’d see each other in class. Told my best friend; she may be planning the wedding because she was so excited that I’m so attracted to a human being. I’ve literally spent a year telling her about why the hot guy from my gym is so hot. This random interaction gave me an epiphany (& no, it’s not what one of my fellow managers thinks and that Jesus was showing me that I should make a move. Hot guys at the gym always have girlfriends, because they’re hot. And cool. And I’m a potato that sucks at burpees). I realized that I was wasting my time with the teacher.

I keep settling because I feel like I should date, or want to date someone, even though I don’t really care. Then I hate them after like a month because I realize they’re assholes. I choose guys (to shut people up) that I think are more “my league.” You know, losers, not “quality mans”. I always think maybe if I was in better shape, or wasn’t awkward and weird, I could land a great guy who would make me happy like in the movies. But I am, so I should choose guys more my level. You know, the guy who doesn’t pay for dinner and turns everything into an emo sigh.

Between well meaning friends and family who want me to meet someone, and my own feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my life, I keep settling for guys so I can be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. It’s not some item I want to check off of a bucket list, like the triathlon I want to participate in, or going to Vegas, or finally trying a donair. It should be because I genuinely want to spend time with someone. I’m tired of selling myself short in relationships. So, I likely won’t see the teacher again. I keep replying to be nice, but I can’t see accepting another date. Maybe we can be friends, or acquaintances? But a relationship is definitely out of the question. So is hot guy from the gym, because that would require actually talking to him, and I literally cannot do that.

For me, 2018 is about elevation. Elevating my team, empowering other women, including my daughters, building people up and watching them thrive. It’s obvious that I need to start with myself! Get to the gym more and have some work life balance. Attend the events we hold at the gym! Spend time with my friends, and make loving myself a priority. The more I love myself, the more I will see men like hot guy at the gym as “my league.” After all, I’m pretty dope. Four out of five Wireless sales managers would agree that I’m kind of cool. And I’m pretty when I make an effort. I’ll keep losing weight and build up my confidence and kick some ass at life & stop lowering my standards just to say I have a date. I deserve better, and I’ll need to remember that.

Maybe I need to look in the mirror and see a “quality womans,” and then I’ll stop wearing my “I attract losers” sign when I go out. Or learn how to talk to guys without looking like an idiot. Or both. Whatever.

Bad Mood

When my beloved Target closed, I bought a pair of white jeans, size 8.

I figured I’d wear them by the end of summer for my birthday in London with my friends. Instead, I moved to Edmonton on a whim one day because I make amazing life choices. Then I got frustrated with my old gym, and allowed all of the old insecurities to creep back in and I ended up gaining 25lbs back instead of continuing to lose weight. Those white jeans have never been worn. Tonight I was folding my laundry and I saw the white pants. I also noticed a black knit dress I bought to wear to a Holiday Party (which I didn’t end up going to anyway). I saw the black vegan leather shorts I bought to wear as the first pair of shorts I’ve worn since 2002. And the black and white dress I bought one spring at Target because my friend Brie said it looked cute on me (I have now decided that I will wear it to her wedding). I own lots of clothing that just hangs in the closet, never worn, because I’ve put weight back on, or I never go out.

It’s my own damn fault. I spent eight months off & some nights I don’t work out; I eat poutine and watch Total Bellas.

I don’t work out at home on days I can’t get to the gym. I’m letting my self confidence take a hit and all of my adorable clothes sit in the closet and never get to be worn. I spent money on these things. I was so excited to wear them. But now, they’re just put away in the closet, with some sad acceptance that I’ll never wear them.

Until today.

Much like I hide at home because I’m afraid that everyone on Earth subconsciously thinks I’m an idiot, I’m doing myself a disservice by not wearing my cute clothing. By sighing and saying “you’ll never fit into those white jeans, so eat the brownie,” I’m just allowing myself to have low self esteem. My best friend Melissa is kind of feeling the same way that I do. We’ve been planning a ladies only trip to Montreal for spring 2018, so I think it’s time to get us out of that self defeating attitude and start getting into that “we are so very bad ass” attitude instead.

Today is October 1/17. I’ve decided to make it my personal goal to wear all of the things in my closet that I bought as motivation to lose weight/was too self conscious to go anywhere within the next 365 days. It may seem really stupid to an outsider, but to me, it’s a goal to work towards to help me stay focused. I’m an emotional eater, so a stressful day at work will have me reaching for the chips. So, I hung the white jeans beside my bed. Every morning when I wake up, I’ll look at those jeans. That will remind me at the start of the day that binge eating isn’t worth it. I’ll focus on this;

And less on this:

Of course, Melissa isn’t one to be motivated by “reward clothing,” but she is a personal trainer that works for a fashionable clothing company, so she knows what she wants her body to look like so she can wear what she wants. Because our goals are the same, we can help keep each other accountable. I’ll also check with my girl Johanna and her fitness Facebook group to help me feel like I’m holding myself accountable by checking in every day.

I’m always at my best when I’m driven to reach a goal and right now, that goal is to wear those white pants. Maybe it seems stupid to an outsider, but I’m sure you have something, whether it’s a fitness goal, a professional goal, or a personal goal. You have your own white pants and it’s up to you to come up with a plan to achieve that goal. Set a timeline, and then make it happen. My goal is to wear all six items in my closet my October 1/18. But those white pants? They’ll be worn by spring. Every time I think about grabbing a bag of chips, or skipping a workout (if I can’t make it to Crossfit, pull out Stratusphere Sculpt or Stratusphere yoga), I’m going to ask myself if it’s worth not fitting into those pants.

I’ll be adding this to the pile of projects I have on the go (more about those HERE). Maybe I can drive my new car to my new house, wearing my white pants, if I just stay focused and work hard.

…Ready For It?

Welp, another spin around the sun for me, as yesterday I celebrated another birthday!

Still not mature

I celebrated my thirty something-th birthday with the coolest bunch of coworkers ever, cheesecake made by my littles, and this weekend, I’ll be a true Albertan, heading to an Oilers game, and some friends & I will be hosting a girls night get together the next night! Yup, being alive is pretty rad.

However, I’ve been using this time in my life to make some change. My place, which was a great “starter” place here in YEG, isn’t right for my family anymore. With the teen attending school in a different part of the city, we need to look at living closer to her school. So, I put myself on a waiting list to move to a condo closer to her high school. Come spring, we’ll be living in a newer, nicer place. While I’ll miss my lakes for running, I’m sure I can find running in a residential area just as fulfilling (narrator: she will not), but the needs of the family need to come first. I’m also finishing up driver’s education, so come spring, I will be buying my VERY FIRST CAR. That’s right bitches, I will be buying an automobile. I’ve got some great suggestions (thanks to every one on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for their vehicle suggestions! The best part of being a slightly well known blogger is the awesome product suggestions from readers). I’ll be test driving all of your suggestions, as well as my first choice, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 (big thanks to my good friend Paul at TD Insurance, for letting me know which cars body shop techs and rental agencies recommend. When it comes time to insure my new baby, I’ll be talking to you for sure!) & should have narrowed it down by spring! This is kind of a big deal. I’ve always been afraid to drive full time and buy a car. But I’m really excited to be a car owner. It’ll make getting to the gym easier, and easier for the girls and I to go places without having to wait for a bus. I don’t plan on wasting gas; I’ll still walk short distances when need be. But it’s another major step for the famjam.

It’s really important to me to continue to check off boxes and grow and evolve. As I continue to be happier in my life, it’s only better for the girls, right? I need to teach them the importance of self growth, self love, never settling, and hard work. So, over the next few months, I’m going to do just that; grow, evolve, love myself a little more every day.

So, thanks everyone for your birthday well wishes. I super appreciate them all. I’m pretty much the luckiest person ever to have so many cool people in my life. This year is going to be even better than last year and I can’t wait to share those experiences with my girls, my crew, and even you, random person taking the time to read my blog.

Tell Me You Love Me

Let me tell you the story of MH’s terrible, no good, very bad day.

It actually started off pretty awesome. I had a good visit with my boss, with lots of great feedback. My most favourite member of the management team was filling in across the hall so I got to have a good catch up with him. I got some interviews ready for my latest YEG Fitness piece. Not a bad day at all.

Then a customer called in to discuss his experience yesterday. During this call, he mentioned that he had spoken to me, but he referred to me as “the pregnant lady.” “She’s very pregnant. Huge. Ready to burst.” As I am the only woman on staff, HE WAS VERY OBVIOUSLY TALKING ABOUT ME.

FIRST OF ALL, LET US GET ONE THING STRAIGHT;

THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE PREGNANT

THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE LAST WEEK

After ranting and complaining to my coworkers, I thought about doing what I always do when my ego is bruised: eat. I eat a ton of shitty food. When I first moved out here, and when my last serious relationship ended, the pizza dudes knew me by name. Some people drink; I eat garbage food. I started flipping through Skip the Dishes, trying to decide what fattening foods I should enjoy, when I closed the app and opened Instagram. I decided to post a progress pic, falling into the social media trap that if it’s on IG, it’s real. Maybe if I could convince the outside world that I was proud of my body, that maybe I could convince myself. I got feedback that ranged from hilarious to empowering. My favourite was from my gym, who made me tear up a little.

For once, social media used its powers for good, not evil! But while all of the rad encouragement was happening, I also didn’t order any junk food. Instead, 2/3 of the crew & I watched the Mae Young Classic (& decided that Candice LeRae is cute as a button) & then went for my Friday night run. By the end of the night, I was kind of kicking myself. I mean, don’t I always tell the girls that words only have power if you allow it? Don’t I have a thicker skin? Does it really matter what a customer thinks (of my appearance)? The only person who should care about how I look is me.

I guess even the toughest humans can end up with bruised egos. When you’re putting a lot of work into something, and someone knocks the wind out of your sails, it’s gonna sting. But you’ve got to handle it in a positive and constructive way. Don’t binge eat nachos; find a way to remind yourself that people who sometimes people just say stupid shit. There’s no ill intentions, they just don’t think before they speak (Dude, I am soooooo guilty of that!). But you can control your reaction. It’s okay to feel hurt, or offended, but don’t let it ruin your progress, whether it’s your health, your job, or your self esteem.

Anyone Else

I get asked a lot why I love crossfit. Let me tell you a story. 

Thursday, I went to the gym. The workout was tough. I had to scale some of the movements & weights. I was huffing and puffing through the WOD, envious of those who can get there every day, and were executing handstand push-ups flawlessly. Halfway through, I questioned why I was even there. But as they finished, they were rooting for me and congratulating me for making it through. That kind of teamwork, along with the results I see at Crossfit is why I continue to go. We celebrate each other’ successes and support each other. It’s such an amazing thing, to see people coming together to help everyone succeed.  That success helps me in my day to day life. The next day, I went to work and had a great shift. Then I really pushed myself and managed to run 0.4KM more than my Tuesday run. When I feel good mentally, it helps me push myself physically. It’s a cycle of wellness.  

But crossfit has also helped me embrace my body. I’m never gonna be a size six again. My thighs are always gonna be big. I’m gonna have a booty from squats. That teeny waist and dress size isn’t a realistic goal for me. But part of loving yourself is loving your body. I may never be thin, but I will be strong. My fellow crossfit ladies are strong, sexy, beautiful women. They have powerful bodies that are healthy and ideal for their body type. My goal is to get to their level, but with my body. I can’t worry about a scale number, or the size on a clothing tag. Just my own health. I will teach my girls that being healthy is more important that a body type. As their mom, it’s important for me to be the role model. I can’t have low self esteem & teach them to love themselves. I have to embrace my curves, my thick thighs. It’s been a hard road, but I’m getting there. 

I’m so glad that we are now celebrating healthy body types of all sizes, and not a “one size fits all” sort of beauty. We’re celebrating healthy, active, strong women. For the longest time, Nikki Bella was my fitness inspiration. She still is. Maybe I won’t have her body, but I can develop her commitment to fitness, her enthusiasm, the way she supports all women & wants everyone to succeed. I think we all need that type of attitude. We need to love our bodies. We need to build up other women. We need to get excited about fitness & health.  I may never be a size four like Nikki, but her journey as an athlete inspires me to continue to work on my own health. 

But lately, I’ve found myself really inspired and motivated by WWE Superstar Nia Jax. Her IG feed is loaded with body positivity. She doesn’t look like the average WWE woman. She’s strong, powerful, and unlike the Bertha Faye’s & Bull Nakano’s, she’s presented as more than just a one note monster character. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, witty, and assertive. Nia Jax is not a personality free monster designed to prey on the beautiful ingenues. She’s a fleshed out character, focused on her goals, which is to be a champion. My own daughters are big fans of Nia (and while they rooted for Bayley & Sasha, were LIVID that Nia didn’t get a special Wrestlemania entrance like her opponents. They said she deserved Tinashe singing her theme, and fireworks like the others). They think she’s beautiful, strong, and funny. When I was a kid, she’d be a mute monster. But my girls get to see a powerful woman portrayed as smart, sexy, as well as dominant. 


But more importantly, she’s not like most girls. She’s strong, athletic. She is in the best shape of her body type. And representation matters. Not every woman looks like Nikki Bella, and that’s totally okay. Some women are built like Nia Jax. Some women work their asses off like I do with the knowledge that size four is never gonna happen. Instead of feeling embarrassed, women should embrace their healthy. That’s why women like Nia Jax are so important. It’s important to see that healthy and fit mean something different to everyone.  

But that’s why I love crossfit. I remember working out at the GoodLife gyms, and hearing the snickers while I was on the treadmill or when I set my machine to a lower weight, as I was a beginner. I heard the giggles in the change room, as if a fat girl had no business there. It kept me out of a gym for four years. I don’t hear that at my gym anymore. It doesn’t matter if I scaled the workout, or finished last. There’s no mockery, just encouragement and acceptance. I’m sure women like Nia hear your mockery too. They see your tweets calling her fat, calling her Nia Snacks, etc. A friend of mine has come back to wrestling fandom after 10 years off and he called her “the fat chick.” His wife (who works in fashion), commented that she looked like a strong, powerful, woman. But those comments are why women like Nia are so important. We need to teach little girls that every woman’s body is different. A dress size or a scale number can’t be your goal (My Fitness Pal said my goal weight should be 118lbs!), but being in the best shape for your individual body should be. 

If you’re a woman who is actively working on her health, celebrate that work. Celebrate your body and what it can do. Celebrate your strength, your movements, your accomplishments. Hell, even celebrate that cheat day where you ate a large pizza with extra cheese. But celebrate your body, not the number on your dress tag or on a scale. 

Bright Lights

I have a confession to make.

Despite my attempts to get in shape, I no longer weigh myself.

I know I’ve gained a little bit of weight since I moved and attempted to adjust to a new time zone and schedule and gym, etc, but I don’t worry about how much. Instead, I focus on making little changes here and there to ensure that I’m staying healthy. Packing lunches, working out, etc.

  
I used to weigh myself every single morning. My day would be made by what that number said. That was the first six months of my weight loss journey. Every morning, that number. But I realized that I was letting that number define me instead of my progress. My pants were smaller, my face was thinner. I had more energy. My back no longer hurt. I don’t get migraines as often anymore. Why did that number mean more than all of those things? So, I stopped weighing myself and focused on building a healthy body in a way that still promoted body positivity for my daughters.

  
I believe in health, not thin, or “fat positive,” as I keep seeing on Tumblr. I think we as women need to buck society’s image of beauty, as it is skewed on both sides. Being morbidly obese or too thin is not good for you. We need to stop focusing on those numbers and focus on the healthiest body type for us. When I started going to crossfit, I wanted to work to be thinner. After a few months, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted; I wanted my aesthetic to be strong. I like the feeling of knowing I was stronger than I ever thought I could be. When I finish something that a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do, I feel very proud and I love that feeling and I like working towards that feeling of accomplishment. But I’ve also learned that strong =/= thin. I had to change my thinking. So, if my thighs are bigger, or my arms not quite lithe, that’s okay. I will never be the fashion industry definition of “thin.” But, I will be healthy and strong and a good role model for my daughters, as I’m not just embracing my body, I’m loving it enough to put good food into it (most of the time) and work on it to keep it running so I’ll be a part of their lives for a long time.

  
Which is why I ditched the scale. That number was hindering my progress. I was letting it define me instead of why I started working out in the first place; to build my self esteem and like myself better. If that number was hindering my progress, and becoming the source of my self worth. I’ve long made it clear that only I determine my self worth, not my friends, my boyfriend, or a number on a scale. Me. So, I decided that I didn’t care. I’d just keep on doing what I wanted to do in order to feel stronger and be healthier and that scale could just gather dust. As long as I’m happy in my own skin, that’s all that I need.

  

Wildest Dreams

I can only describe this week in one word;

Stupid.

Yes, this week was stupid.

Every single thing about my week (professionally) was super stupid. Between hiring and interviewing and being challenged by my editor, I honestly just kind of wanted to punch something in the face. Add in the realization that I’ve gained 10lbs since I moved here because my fitness mojo has been all off and you had a down right bitchy MHC (just ask one of my reps when he told me “I think I know why you’re gaining all of your weight back,” while I was eating a piece of banana bread. He’s still alive, I promise).

Fortunately, my spirits were lifted today with a series of events that made today not stupid, from snuggles with my five year old, and early access Pumpkin Spice Latte and a helpful pep talk with Matty the Bastard, my journalistic BFF. I even got my replacement cell phone boss lady phone, complete with a screen protector, because apparently you break ONE phone with your ass and Sony doesn’t trust you or something.

 

DO NOT put a Sony Z3 in your back pocket. Just DON’T DO IT
 
I guess I didn’t realize how much pressure I was putting on myself to be successful, and that caused me to make rookie mistakes that a nine year journalism veteran like me should know not to make. The hiring process at my store had me on edge. I mean, hiring the right person feels like it should be some kind of precise science and hiring the wrong person could spell disaster. And if I screw up either of these things, then I pretty much uprooted my family for nothing!

(If you’re thinking, Gosh MHC, I feel like you’re being a little bit melodramatic. I’m going to assume you’re new)

This made me pretty much the least tolerable human being for most of this week. I don’t like venting to people about why my life feels stupid. Hell, I don’t even like it when my significant other tries to pay for milk (although it’s very sweet and I need to learn to be more appreciative of his attempts to do nice things for me and not just flip out because I’m independent God damnit), so I’m especially not going to go crying like a little baby because I’m feeling overwhelmed about stuff that is largely made up and actually stupid. I need to handle stupid stuff on my own, without being melodramatic or crying. Why? Because I’m a grown ass woman, or so I’ve been told.

Instead, I decided to focus on finding GOOD in this situation. This involved changing my thinking. If this magazine doesn’t work out, there are others. I wouldn’t be the first writer to realize the first magazine offer I got isn’t the right one for me. I need to think of my editor calling me out as a positive thing. After all, she must see some potential in my writing to challenge me to do better. Otherwise, she would have just cut me loose. Freelancers are easy to come by. I should be grateful that she is trying to get my best out of me, because when she gets it, I’ll be a better writer! It’s okay that I’ve gained a little, this helps me remember why I started going to crossfit in the first place; to get in better shape and be healthier. Maybe I needed that bitchslap from the scale to get some motivation mojo, as I’ve been so bummed that the new gym isn’t as welcoming as my old one. Also, the girls will be in school, so I won’t feel guilty that I missed a month of their lives so I feel like if I go to the gym before work, that makes me a bad mom.If anything, I’ll be teaching them good habits that make me a good mom. I was chosen to be the boss, I need to act like it and start making decisions and standing by them.

But most importantly, I need to stop thinking that everything I do here, good or bad, means this whole thing was for nothing. I did this to better my family and that’s what I’m doing. I’m gaining management experience, which I can use to continue to move up in the world and earn a better living for my daughters. I’m growing as a writer and improving every day. I’ve made some rad new friends and I’m really happy with the current state of my life. I just need to stop worrying that if I don’t become the most successful person that I know, then I’ve somehow ruined my life. My success as a person is not defined by how quickly I became the best writer in Western Canada. My success as a person is defined by my being a good person and role model for my daughters, so that’s what I’ll do.

Success is rad, but success comes when you work for it, not stress over it. So, I’ll put in the work and the effort and the success will come when the work is done and in the interim, I’ll take stupid days and find the positive, even if it seems like there is none to be found.