How To Achieve LASTING Weight Loss
LASTING weight loss for me, was NOT the result of simply eating and training. Of course these are two critical elements of achieving weight loss but in my experience of ups and downs, there is one thing that has made all of the difference and no, it was not a book, certain meal program or diet or was it coaching or guidance from an outside source.
What has led to my lasting balance with my weight and physique is:
LOVING MYSELF ENOUGH TO LISTEN TO MY BODY
No matter what diet I followed, no matter how much external guidance I received or how hard I trained, being disconnected to my body and ignoring its signals made me dependant on external techniques to get my body to a point of balance.
This was fleeting because the moment that I could no longer follow the diet plan I had been working with because I was going away or when the program ended or I stopped training that way, the weight would all come right back and for those of you who have experienced this, you understand how frustrating and disappointing this can be.
Don’t get me wrong, learning how to eat clean and train have metamorphosized my life but what has caused these habits to become a way of life took a deep excavation of all of my feelings of worthlessness and fear of failure, perfectionism and self-judgement and replace them with compassion, forgiveness, understanding and love.
As I did this, my intuitive voice began to speak louder and louder to me and I started to listen.
From deep within, messages came to me about what foods to choose and what exercise would benefit me most that day. Living like this, with this level of freedom and watching as my body has become leaner, stronger and more flexible as a result of it is what I believe in our society we have moved so far from.
So how did I learn to do this? Well, a regular meditation practice helped a lot. What it did was it quieted my mind so that I could actually hear what my body was trying to tell me. The messages, many times, conflicted with what my head said which spoke to me in the way of calories, fat grams what I should and shouldn’t be doing based on so-called ‘weight loss rules.’
Well the rules worked but they were never lasting and I decided to choose myself over them and guess what?
Sure it was scary as f*&^ to let go of what I had learned and believed to work, but it has changed my life and has given me the gift of lasting balance in my body.
We are used to looking outside of ourselves for the solution. My prayer is that you realize that this behaviour is conditioned and that your body is so much wiser than anything outside of you, provided you trust it enough to let it guide you.
Excited to share some behind the scenes images from my shoot this weekend!
This production is a part of a very special project that centers on my work as a coach, where I share the tools that I use in my life to keep myself healthy and balanced as well as some of the philosophies that I use in working with my yoga students and clients to help them achieve their goals of looking and feeling fabulous!
The project will be launching this summer…more details to come soon…
New Week, New Plan:
SWITCH OFF YOUR HEAD
SO YOU CAN HEAR
WHAT YOUR BODY’S
TRYING TO TELL YOU
It’s Monday (thought I’d state the obvious for those of us still clinging to the weekend) and with that, comes all of the new expectations, obligations and pressures.
As the mind races to catch up after it has just had an opportunity to wind down, we jump on the head train headed wherever it wants to take us…through the I should be tunnel straight into the salads all week for the rest of the week station because perhaps we may have let go a little too much this weekend.
Want to jump off? Not just yet, let’s try this first.
*Let’s go up to the roof of the train (or anywhere you feel comfortable in your space), find a seat to ground yourself and take a few, long, inhales and exhales. While we do this, let’s focus our energy on our heart chakra and envision the colour green as it gets brighter and richer. Let all thoughts still and just listen.
* What is the first feeling that comes into your heart?
* Can you decode this and if so, what is your body saying?
Perhaps it is asking for something specific like a certain type of food. All cravings stem from a lack of nutrients in the body. For example, if you have a chocolate craving, chances are you are low on magnesium.
Perhaps it is asking for more rest or a day off from training. It may be asking for some fresh air or longing for some connection, in which case you can plan to do a long walk close to nature or reach out to a friend.
* Once you figure out what your BODY is telling you rather than what your HEAD thinks you should do, you can truly open to the gift of the present moment. From here, you have the POWER to choose differently ie. you can choose from a place of love rather than of fear.
* This does not mean that you throw your hands up in the air and forget about your responsibilities, rather, you let go of the guilt, drama and pressure associated with them and through your connection to yourself, you find increased productivity, diligence and success because your heart will guide as to how to direct your energy.
Why not start the week differently this week? Why not let your heart guide the way?
If I’ve learned anything in my journey to balance and health its that my body is far wiser than my head could ever be. Listen.
‘Your soul did not choose her to be your best friend, your soul chose her to be your mother’ - ZSJ
No matter what the circumstances are…whether your mom is the center of your world or if she is a stranger, whether she has supported you or projected her own pain upon you, whether she is of the living or of the eternal, whether she is physically with you in time and space or in a far away land, whether she exists inside your imagination or has shapeshifted into another form in this life (perhaps an aunt, a role model, a guru) who serves the same purpose, know that your soul is much wiser than your head.
Today, no matter what your circumstance, I invite you to look at your life and realize why you chose her, realize that what she has brought up in you is a reflection of you and it is beautiful. Celebrate that.
Learning to Let Go of Toxic Behaviour
It’s been awhile since I have set my alarm clock for 3:45am. Once upon a time, it would be a daily occurrence and I would do a meditation from 4am until 6:30am that included mantras, a basic kryia (series of breath and movement), chakra balancing and then still, silent meditation.
I practiced this, daily for the most part, for 3 years.
I stepped away from this practice well after I felt that it was no longer serving me. What kept me holding on, was knowing that if I could do it, I probably should do it. That some how, it made me a ‘better person’ if I did it. Talk about missing the point entirely, right?
It wasn’t until I moved in with my partner years ago when I realized that its not about the specifics of WHAT you do but HOW you do it and what your INTENTION is behind it.
It’s not to say that my practice wasn’t real, it definitely was for that time and place in my life but as we all know, our lives change…we change and so we require different things to serve us and help us heal and awaken during different times in our lives. This includes people and relationships.
The difficulty lies in when we hold onto something out of fear, control or feelings of inadequacy because it is then that the ‘something’ becomes toxic and harmful.
At present, and be honest here, are you holding onto something that is no longer serving you?
Ask yourself why?
Can you take a step forward, today, to choose differently? I mean to really CHOOSE love over fear in this particular case?
Over the years, my meditation practice has adapted to a one hour practice from 6-7am (most days, some days earlier and some days not at all) and it is imperfect, some days painful, some days a blessing and I TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS.
On the days it sucks, I ask myself what I am resisting and why.
Over the next few weeks, I am studying with a Master Teacher who has sparked my desire for satvic (most peaceful time) 4am meditation so I am revisiting this place of peace that I once found a lot of joy in and it feels incredible now knowing that I recognize the voice of my inner guide and have the balls to actually listen to her now.
How was it for me today? Pretty amazing. I am so excited to wake up, literally, with Mother Nature.
#BlissedOut big time.
I spent my day on set, shooting for a very special upcoming project that I am working on…more details to come soon!
It was a long and exhausting day but I felt fuelled by my passion and of course by my humungous cooler that I had stashed in my car. When it comes to long days that I know are going to require a ton of energy, I am so grateful to have the knowledge and understanding of how to truly care for my body through proper hydration, nutrition and grounding wherever necessary.
This was not always the case. I have spent years as a performer in my life and I never really understood how to take proper care of myself. I would go for hours without food and put my needs second to the task at hand. Overtime, I would become moody, inflexible and frankly, I’d turn into Super Bitch. This reflected in my work and eventually led to fatigue to the point where performing itself became an arduous task because it was associated with feeling depleted rather than nourished and fulfilled.
I cannot stress how important it is for you to learn to understand your own rhythm and listen to the needs of your body so that you can prepare accordingly.
Take a moment to think about what you do in your daily life with work or school and see if there is one simple change that you can make to better support yourself in a healthier way.
Perhaps it may be packing an extra snack or leaving 15 minutes early so that you are not frantically rushing to get somewhere. Changing one simple habit may not seem like much but over time, it can make a HUGE difference in your life.
Make Exercise YOUR Secret Weapon!
Exercise resistance. I have it. You have it. We all have it. But what if I told you that it is actually possible not to have that resistance at all. Would you believe me?
Lately, I have been working deeply with how and why this resistance develops and it occurred to me that, like everything else, resistance is a choice that stems from repeated thinking attached to action.
Seems very Pavlovian right? Well it is, kinda (I mean, you can introduce a whistle if you want to ;)
The key lies in reprogramming the brain to create new neuropathways where exercise is concerned.
1. Plan your workout at a time in the day when you feel most energized. Are you a morning person? Do you like to train during the afternoon or at night? Listen to your what your internal bio-rhythms are telling you, YOUR BODY KNOWS BEST.
2. Let go of PERFECTIONISM when it comes to exercise. Yes, its important to follow a structure but that structure must work for you and be created around you and how you feel. Don’t force yourself into a program that doesn’t feel right. So you can’t do 20 push-ups so what? Do 10 and then do 10 more on your knees until you can. Be your own coach and supporter rather than cutting yourself down.
3. You know that amazing post-exercise GLOW that you feel? Visualize and feel that glow whenever you think about exercise at all. By doing this, you will begin to reprogram your brain and create new neuropathways.
4. Make exercise your SECRET WEAPON!!! - Aside from your regular structured training, turn to movement and moderate exercise when you need to take a break from life or during times of stress.Work getting challenging? Schedule a power walk on your break. Having a disagreement with your friend or partner? Why not hit up a yoga or barre classe?
It’s that easy.
We all have them. Hell, I was the queen of them and I still struggle with creating impossible standards to live by to this day.
Sure, I suppose we can blame society and media to some degree for brain washing us since childhood to be the most perfect, the most beautiful, the most accomplished, but the reality is, WE are the ones who are responsible for creating these prisons for ourselves and then force ourselves to live within their confines.
What impossible standards have you forced yourself to live under?
Are you forcing yourself to be a certain weight/size?
Are you trying to be the ‘perfect’ partner, lover, mother, friend?
Are you trying to be ‘perfect’ in general?
Governing your life by these impossible standards that can/will never be achieved will not only cause you to live in a perpetual state of fear, anxiety and stress, it will rob you of your freedom and your precious present moment.
Now ask yourself - although it can be scary - what are you willing to let go of for the sake of self-love?
Can you identify what needs to be healed or loved in your life and can you offer yourself that healing?
You may need to sing it out, pray it out, shout it out, dance it out or sweat it out but by facing the fear of letting these impossible standards go, you will allow yourself true freedom and true growth.
What I have come to learn is that there is no one who knows my needs better than I do. There is no one who can heal me more deeply than I can heal myself, the key is simply to unburden ourselves and accept the true wisdom from our higher selves.
Be your own healer. Be your own medicine. Identify and let go of those awful standards that you have created for yourself. It’s time.
How I Mentally Prepare for a Challenging Workout
We’ve all been there. There are those super challenging days that every one of us who is dedicated to living a fit, healthy lifestyle goes through. We stall. We have another cup of tea…one thing leads to another…oh and then, it’s time for another meal so then we plan to cook, eat and promise to hit the gym strong after that.
Being the dedicated, fierce ones that we are, we put on our power outfit (for me its my Nike Pro tights & neon green sports bra), lace up, grab our water bottles and ipod and - what often feels like dead-man-walking - we get ourselves into the gym door knowing that by getting ourselves there we have scaled half the mountain.
Yep, your dirty little secret is out. All those little rituals and promises that you make to get yourself to the gym…we all have ‘em…so why don’t you take a deep breath and exhale.
Good. Feel better?
So to reiterate, ALL of us, whether you are an Olympic sprinter, a super hot, super fit celebrity with a zillion dollar power trainer or a woman who is working on getting fitter to live a longer life with her children, ALL of us have those moments when we must really push through our mental resistance.
Here’s How I Mentally Prepare
- Ground my energy by sitting on the floor and taking a few deep breaths
- Bring my focus to the present moment without thinking of what lies ahead
- Bring to mind the feeling of completing my training, that victorious, empowering feeling of strength and physical ‘glow’
- Set an intention for my training ahead. This could be as simple as one word or one goal that I wish to achieve in my training session that day
- Pump myself up by jumping or running on the spot to get my blood flowing or throwing on a song I love and bouncing around to that freely before heading out
- Remind myself that what I LOVE training, that I am CHOOSING to live this lifestyle because it FEELS fantastic and that being able to do so is a GIFT (the gratitude part always helps)
- I often dedicated my workout to someone else in my life who I know can benefit from that energy
Be A Warrior
One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned (finally) is to learn to be a Warrior.
What does that mean? Well for me, being a Warrior is someone who lives with honour, courage and makes choices based on what she believes is in the highest truth.
It also means dawning your armour, daily. My armour is taking care of my health through consuming nutrient rich, bioavailable whole foods, training vigourously several times a week to build my physical strength, my meditation practice and prayer to build my spiritual strength, my yoga practice and energy healing to build my energetic strength and surrounding myself with a battalion of people who love me unconditionally and support my cause.
It’s no secret that life is hard. It’s no secret that maintaining a positive attitude and practicing gratitude can be challenging, especially when you are connected and sense all of the chaos, injustice and suffering around you but worrying about it does nothing to serve yourself or to serve the world.
What are the demons you are battling with right now?
Why are you holding on so tightly to them? Do they define you?
What/who is holding you back from living your highest truth?
Zain’s Find Your Warrior Spirit Practice
1. Sit tall, spine erect, eyes closed.
2. As you breathe, experience the fire in the core of your body or solar plexus (3rd chakra). Allow that fire to burn brighter with each inhale as it begins to spread into all of the energetic regions of your body.
3. Bring to mind something you are working to overcome. This could be anything that you are battling against, a fear, a worry, a circumstance. Place this ‘thing’ upon your third eye chakra (in the center of your forehead between your eyebrows) and notice the light all around it. Now breathe the fire up from your core into your third eye space and watch as this fear, worry, circumstance burns. Experience the strength of your heart.
4. You are no longer captive by this. Feel the freedom.
5. Breathe out any remaining residue of ash.
6. Now in your minds eye, take hold of a peaceful weapon. This could be a word, the image of a friend, a symbol, an image of the Divine etc. Place this into your third eye and allow the image to bring a sense of calm into your body.
7. Take a few moments to rest and integrate before opening your eyes.
Classical Yoga Sequence
5 Rounds Sun Salutation A
Warrior I Virabhadrasana I - Stand with your feet 3 ft distance, back toes point in at 45 degrees, front toes straight, right knee bent and over your ankle, spine straight, hands in prayer above your head, gaze up toward your thumbs. Draw energy from the earth and sky, feel the power in your heart as it opens. BREATH 20-25 BREATHS (repeat opposite side)
Warrior II Virabhadrasana II - Stand with your feet 4ft apart, back toes 45 degrees, front toes pont straight, knee bent over ankle, tuck in your tailbone, spine long arms stretched out at a right angle, gaze is over your middle finger of the front hand. Feel the power of your third chakra and core and you drawn energy from the earth. BREATHE 20-25 BREATHS (repeat opposite side)
Warrior III Virabhadrasana III - Stand on one leg bringing the other to 90 degrees so that you are standing in an L shape balancing on one leg. Your back leg (the one floating) and your spine should be level, ensure that your hips are level by placing your hand on your sacrum. Stretch your arms out in prayer in front of your body, gaze toward the earth. Feel the balance deep within your root chakra and the energy building in your sacral chakra as you breath. Draw balancing energy from the earth. BREATH 10-15 BREATHS (repeat on the opposite side)
Take a moment to stand in Mountain Pose and feel the strength and courage in your heart. Feel the truth in your throat and balance in your feet as they root into the earth. You are a Warrior.
Rest in Child’s Pose then take a 5 minute Savasana
Start to cultivate your inner Warrior with these practices. We need to prepare ourselves and develop true strength not fear based strength so that we can truly guide ourselves to a place of health, balance and then share our gifts and purposes to serve others.
I know this is a deep one. Message, tweet, facebook me if you have any questions.