Not Just A Pretty Face

I am more than what you see. This is something that I know for a fact, yet at times I need to be reminded of.

This post is about to get real, and I hope you can bare with me as I try to express myself.

I am human, I am not perfect. I lead an imperfect life filled with my own goliaths, as I know you do too. Some are bigger than others and sometimes the most I can do is acknowledge them and say to myself, “hey, I see you… not sure what I’m going to do about you BUT I see you.”

Sometimes we are battling things on our own privately and the idea of sharing our battles with anyone else seems out of the question. However, I encourage you to find a safe haven, whether that be a family member, a friend or a counsellor.

I am so grateful to be back in the swing of things with a counsellor. I was matched up with a great lady named Gail in the town I am now residing. So far we seem to jive pretty well and she’s been able to shed some insight with what I’ve been struggling with. Yes, I still talk to my husband and family about it BUT I find my counsellor gives me a different perspective that allows me to express myself more eloquently.

Lately (that’s used loosely), I’ve been struggling with my self confidence. It’s ironic, the more I feel like I’m looking better outwardly the more reassurance that I need. Feeling beautiful on my own isn’t enough for some reason. It’s as though I don’t believe it’s possible so I need others to reassure me (believe me, I know how messed up that sounds).

Yesterday in my appointment I realized so much of my self worth is dependent on how I look and believe me when I say that standard applies only to myself. I DO NOT MEASURE PEOPLE’S WORTH BY THEIR APPEARANCE. I firmly believe its deeper than skin – I just wish I could extend the same kindness to myself.

I’ve struggled with my weight and skin for years and my confidence has been shattered. For years I was fixated on how disappointing I must have been to my family to look the way I did. I did not love myself truly even though I was doing the best I could. And don’t get me wrong, I was still happy, but at the same time I was sad because of the way I looked.

I was saying to my husband I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with my life coinciding with my looks in a very long time – if ever. Either I was happy with my appearance and sad with my life or sad in life and sad with my appearance or happy with life and sad with my appearance. And I know it may sound weird, but I’m happy in my life right now (SO HAPPY) and I’m growing more and more happier with my appearance AND I don’t know how to handle it. I just don’t know how to truly believe or accept I’m beautiful on my own without needing validation or reassuring from my family and at time friends.

How unbelievably shallow. I know. Pity party for feeling pretty. Wah. Wah. Wah. But I’m serious, so much of how I view myself revolves around looks. I haven’t looked like the person I’ve wanted to look like for yearsssss and now that I am starting to I’m happy BUT I don’t know how to accept it for myself. It’s messed up and I’m being honest even though I’m not even sure it makes sense.

Everyone’s struggles are different. Right now I’m learning how to love and accept myself at any shape or size even if it’s the one I want to be! And just because I’m reaching that size it doesn’t mean everything is just magically going to be better. There is a lot of extra psychological weight with the weight I’m shedding and I’m trying to work through it so I can sincerely accept myself (and be happy).

On a different note, my counsellor gave me some worksheets to do regarding my values BECAUSE shocking news to you and myself – I’m not shallow. My fixation on my appearance may elude to it but I do have strong values, beliefs and a heart and mind. She gave me excercises to stimulate my vocabulary and give me more words to describe my values.

Sometimes we just need a push in the right direction to take away the bull seeing only red. And lately, I think with all this spare time on my hands from not working everyday 9-5 I have a little too much time to think and dwell on myself. The gym is great and is helping me reach my goals BUT that is one part of a ginormous puzzle of who I am as Stephanie.

I think I’ll share some of the values I have and rediscover in next weeks post, perhaps the values will hit a chord and you will have them in common with me or they will make you think of new ones entirely.

I’m not just a pretty face and I sure as heck don’t want to die with that being what people think of me. I want to be so much more. I really want to have it all – and dang nabbit I will. If I work on myself physically, mentally and spiritually. If I can learn to love myself – as myself at every stage, that is what will be truly beautiful.

You are beautiful, I don’t have to see you to know it. You are priceless with infinite worth, I believe that without a shadow of a doubt. Be kind to others BUT please, please, please be kind to yourself, that’s something I’m trying to apply into my own life.

– Steph

Make it Happen

In reference to the quote, can I get an AMEN to the fact that Canada has brutally cold winters!

I have to say this week was a success. And for all intents and purposes that is exactly how I’m going to approach my physical wellness goals.

Week-by-week. Step-by- step.

In terms of how I felt, I’d say I felt motivated and committed. And not surprisingly, I felt better about myself with each workout accomplished. I know that the motivation will wane at times BUT I’m hoping to stay consistent despite this.

It’s amazing what difference a workout/accountability partner makes! I have been going with one of my sisters to the gym and I feel more inclined to go AND to push harder when I’m there. If you are feeling stuck and unmotivated, I highly recommend having a gym buddy. You will be doing each other a favor while becoming better for it. That sounds like a definite win to me.

That being said, think outside the box, I will list my weekly activity down below BUT one of my activities the past week was a pilates class that I did via an app AND I did it with a different sister who lives in another city! We decided what class we wanted to do and called each other on skype and did the workout together, laughing as we struggled together.

It was so fun! And I feel incredibly grateful to be able to share this fitness journey with another sister who is also wanting to better herself physically.

** Small note in regards to the app, this is not a paid or sponsored post BUT I want to let you know what app I used and will be using moving forward with my oldest sister. The app is called Fiton, it is pretty much like a having a virtual fitness instructor. They have live classes that you can join and leave in real time and you are able to schedule a reminder to participate in these classes or you can watch pre-recorded classes and repeat them at your leisure.

All in all, I was incredibly impressed. My sister and I did a pilates class and it was so fun! Challenging, but engaging and it was free!!!! It was literally the same quality as going to a paid pilates class but rather than being in a studio we were in our living rooms AND rather than doing it alone we planned on doing the live class together (like going to a studio) and skyped – so we were literally together. Like I said, be creative!

So my week, what did I do??

Monday: 2 hrs at the gym; I worked out shoulders, biceps and chest. (I always love starting my week off with shoulder day because its my absolute favourite… that’s a tip: start the week off with what you love to do at the gym, it helps to get you there in a good mood and starts the week off right)

Within the two hours I did a cardio warm-up followed with some calisthenics to get the joints warmed up and ready to work and then weight training followed by some HITT cardio and lastly core.

Tuesday: Nada, unfortunately I had a wayyyy late dinner and felt like if I worked out it would not have ended well.

Wednesday: 1 hr and 45 mins at the gym; I worked out triceps and back. Again, I did a cardio warm-up, followed by some calisthenics and then weight training, and core (we had a shorter workout so passed on the HITT cardio)

Thursday: 45 mins of Aquafit (the instructor was a little prickly and singled me out, which I didn’t like BUT the class was overall good)

Friday: 20 mins of pilates using the Fiton app (I think this was around 1 pm) then I went to the gym in the evening for 2 hrs and worked out glutes and legs. Again, warming up with some light cardio and calisthenics and then moving into weights and core. No HITT cardio again, as my sister was not feeling the best and I didn’t want us to push our luck.

Saturday: 30 mins of cardio and 15 mins of calisthenics.

Sunday: Rest day.

So my week was a little all over the place, but at the same time it was scheduled. To put it in a nice little package moving forward the plan is: Monday, Wednesday & Friday are weights & core with some HITT cardio and Thursday is aquafit. Saturday is a free for all if I do decide to go. (This Saturday my husband and I were sitting at home doing nothing so I was like, “want to go so some cardio?”, it wasn’t planned but it just happened.)

I do want to try a yoga class on Tuesday, but I’ll be attending that alone if I go. Additionally, my older sister asked if I’d like to do the fiton classes with her (accountability partner for the win) and we are going to try next week Monday-Friday for 20-30 mins. We will solely be doing pilates, yoga and core. I’m trying to stretch more this year.

What I am not trying to do is kill myself and burn out. I know it may sound like a lot BUT I feel like a morning yoga or pilates session will be a nice waker-upper for me. And then weights and cardio 3x a week is reasonable as well… yes, yes, yes we go for 2 hrs BUT a fair amount of time is going over the excercises and proper form for my sister as she is new to weight training. I anticipate that we will get down to 1 hr 30 mins or 1 hr and 45 mins when she is more comfortable and familiar with the moves.

Also, I’m trying to ensure we warm-up because it is really beneficial for the overall workout. And cardio, is a necessary evil. So all in all because we are only going to the gym 3x a week it all gets lumped together.

You may ask why not spread it out? The answer is we are working around my sister’s schedule and to make it work we have 3 gym days allotted and then a bonus Thursday with aquafit. We go in the evenings after her husband gets home from work. So this week we generally went to the gym at 7:30pm and left at 9:30-9:45pm. When you want to make something happen, you make it happen.

Again, I had so much fun this past week with my sisters. They are real troopers who try hard and motivate me to give my best and go!

So, now the fun part – stats.

I decided pictures will be once a month, I will do my current weight each week and if it fluctuates… so be it. My weight is temperamental as is. I will do my measurements weekly (bonus measurements will only be done once a month as well) and we will go from there. So without further ado:

Highest Weight: 198lbs
Goal Weight: 155lbs

Monday, January 13th
Current Weight: 173.2

Bust: 40″
Waist: 32″
Hips: 42.5″

It’s not about the numbers as I said before, they are just a way to stay accountable. I am trying to break my number complex and I think by posting it, I’m facing it. What I do want to focus on is how I feel.

That was week 1 of my 2020 fitness journey accounted for. Let’s go for week 2!


– Steph

It’s a New Chapter

I love New Years, it’s such an exciting time of year as we prepare to begin another journey filled with new chapters of life and opportunities.

2019 has been an incredible year, I am so grateful for all that I’ve experienced as it has allowed me to grow and be that much more of the person I want to be.

Life is a journey as I’m sure you’ve heard countless times before. Life is lesson upon lesson – everything we do or don’t do is for our betterment if we allow it to be. It can be exciting and a giant relief if you look at life this way; you don’t have to have it all figured out all the time. You can take it day by day, hour by hour; learning and living as you go.

I don’t have my life figured out, but throughout the life I have lived thus far I’ve been refined and I do know who I don’t want to be and if you know that much, it leaves you with a more direct path to walk and develop into the person you do want to be.

I will probably be developing into the person I want to be my entire life, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure, it means I’m constantly growing and changing which I believe this life is all about. If we arent changing, we are stagnant and that gets us nowhere – literally.

I have some serious goals for 2020, mostly pertaining to my health – mentally of course BUT some serious goals about my physical health which you will be introduced to on an upcoming post next Monday, so be prepared to look out for it. I don’t want to seem like a cliche with this particular new years resolution, it just works out that it’s new years and I’ve moved and settled and am ready to start tackling this goal.

There is never a wrong time to start working on your health, if you want to make it this new years resolution don’t feel silly for it. Health is always a noble resolution, and new years is a time of reflection to develop or refocus on those goals.

Apart from my mental health, physical health, and my goal to be more intentional from my birthday I want to develop some new characteristics this year and ditch some old ones. A few for example are as follows:

Ditch:
1. Talking negatively about people, even when I’m beyond irritated (I need to learn to curb my tongue when it literally does not benefit anyone)
2. My controlling nature, if things arent done a certain way I can get pretty distraught and short with people (everyone has a right to do things their way, just because it’s not my way doesn’t make it wrong)
3. Lack of comittment to goals that I set (I can easily get distracted and start a new goal mid completing a former goal and then not complete or take a million times longer to complete a goal)

Develop:
1. Hunger for knowledge (I feel like I’ve been coasting with respects to my development, I’m not in school anymore and there has been a lack of formal reading and learning)
2. Flexibility. I need to develop more flexibility with how things are done (going back to if they are done differently than I would have done them)
3. Cooking more. I want to be a pro in the kitchen so my husband and I can eat a more diverse menu that is healthy and budget friendly (let’s just say I’m not interested in only eating chicken and veggies this year)

Those are just some of my resolutions that I was able to think about as I thought about what changes I want to see in 2020. I am excited for the positive changes ahead. A goal not written down is only a dream. I encourage you to write your resolutions and goals down for 2020, and write them in a place you will be able to see them throughout the year.

Here we are. A brand new year awaits us, let’s make the most of it and grow a little more into the person we want to be over the course of the next 366 days (it’s a leap year I’m told)

Happy New Years.

– Steph

Just an Update

My husband and I started unpacking our apartment on Sunday and I was feeling slightly overwhelmed, he was a good sport and super supportive as always. However, we moved from a 2 bedroom with a shed to a one bedroom with a den. Shall we say a wee bit tight BUT it’s still massive in it’s own way (don’t ask me how).

Anyways I went over Monday with my mom and she helped me put up our pictures, so simple yet so helpful. I felt like so much was accomplished when in reality it was only a few boxes.

For now I am trying to enjoy my time off work, am I a bit stressed about not having a real job as we speak? Yes (although I did obtain a causal position at a seniors lodge) The whole situation is actually ideal to be honest, it gives me time to unpack and for my husband and I to settle, which is exactly what I did with my previous move, so why in the world am I tripping now???! Don’t ask me, because I know it’s not even rational stress.

If I was working I would be a basket case knowing I have boxes to unpack and furniture to set up in our apartment – so I’m trying to appreciate the time off. It’s been a while since I had a long holiday – so again why am I crying over this break that so many people would love to take! When the right opportunity comes along it will come along, just like it did before. So for now I need to chill!

I was thinking about the course of my past year and if I accomplished the things I set out to do. Yes, to a degree, I started lessons for classical guitar and stuck with it. I enrolled in the fashions course I talked about on my blog BUT it was cancelled due to not enough numbers in the class (not my fault), I was fairly active with the gym and swimming (definite room for improvement), I added a few more creative activities into my life such as therapeutic Mandela colouring and reading (and blogging again!), I started spanish lessons BUT I had to take a breather as I was doing a bit to much all at one time (you can refer to my older post to see what I’m talking about) and I did boxing up until my foot and shoulder exploded from pain and I had to taper down. Not too shabby overall, there were some bumps along the way BUT I did experience nearly everything I set out to do.

Now that I’m back, I want to resume guitar lessons FOR SURE. I think I’m going to ask my mom to re-teach me how to sew and work on projects at her house rather than find a course in the city, she is an amazing seamstress and I might as well take advantage of her wealth of knowledge and skill. No more boxing at a club for me, I’ll just use focus mitts at home with my husband so that I can go at my own pace with my shoulder and foot. I do what I can and I’ve learned not to push myself through pain just for the sake of it – not worth the prolonged injury! Believe me!

Aside from my birthday goal to be more intentional with my time, relationships, activities and aesthetics, I am cooking up some goals for the new year that I am excited to share shortly. As I mentioned there will be a new series on my blog and it has to do with some serious goal digging.

I know my posts have been more updates with my life rather than a post that hopefully gets you thinking about the way you are thinking and giving you some new perspective, I’ve just been a wee bit busy the past few weeks and wanted to make sure I posted as I’ve been on a roleeeeee and might as well let you know what’s going on in the mean time.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.

– Steph

A Cure

Alright. Where to begin.

Over the past while I have been plagued by some memories of my past – in particular a relationship. This relationship extended over years, a brief history to understand the extent of this connection is the fact that I first met this individual in Jr. High School and in later years after keeping in contact we began a relationship (enough said).

The fact that this individual and the memories surrounding him crossed my mind was a constant discomfort to me. I felt guilty. I felt terrible. I felt like I was betraying my relationship, my husband – my marriage. It was something I talked to my doctors about and it was the same old solution – let the memories come – let them go – and do not judge yourself. Yah. No. Not working.

That advice was easier said than done. However, in one session with a random therapist in the new city I am in, something was said and it triggered a series of thoughts that I will get to in a little bit. What this psychologist said was “perhaps the memories are not the problem BUT it is the credit we give them, the power we give them as we try to rationalize them and make sense of why they are happening”. Okay – now I can definitely appreciate that new insight. It was something I had never thought about in LITERALLY countless hours of thinking.

I was adding fuel to the fire as I tried to determine what each and every individual memory meant and quite frankly as was to be determined THEY MEANT NOTHING.

BUT this is where it gets good… the comment the psychologist made was good food for thought BUT what really made me shake my head with a new found outlook on my life was a conversation with my older sister.

I called my sister in a frenzy during a lunch break, I was feeling sick from the amount of memories crossing my mind. I felt like it was getting worse NOT better and that I had no control over my mind anymore. I felt like I was looking backwards despite the fact that I was trying oh so very hard to appreciate and look forward into my bright future with the man of my dreams.

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?!

Did I still have unresolved feelings? I couldn’t. I knew I didn’t.

The relationship I was reflecting on ended on bad terms and was over almost 5 years ago, sure we kept in touch but, I AM IN LOVE WITH MY HUSBAND, no doubt in my mind or heart that he is my living heart beat.

So why the chaos? Why was my mind creating a problem where there was none?

Simply for that reason. There is no chaos in my life. MIND BLOWN! That was the insight my sister shared that changed my life. Like the therapist said my constant trying to “figure out” the memories was adding fuel to a fire. The fire set being myself.

For the last 9 years as my sister helped describe to me – my life which has been a roller coaster (excluding the most recent year), I was in one terrible relationship after the other. For may of those years I was undiagnosed and living in a hell on earth. I was functioning in chaos. That was my normal. My normal was to be in defence mode, to be fighting with myself and the men that I loved in any relationship I entered, because they were almost always toxic relationships (don’t ask me why). Associating with people in my past relationships was like a drug addiction. My normal was wayyy up high on the chaos wagon, not down low in a mellow peaceful state.

My husband is the polar opposite of chaos (which was one of the reasons I fell in love with him). He is a calm in the storm. He is peaceful, literally the opposite of anything I had ever experienced since the age of 17.

That’s not to say that I have not enjoyed my life and journey over the past 10 years. There have been amazing moments and serious leaps and bounds of self realization. For instance the memories I was thinking back on were good for the most part BUT deep down I wasn’t reminiscing on the memory; what I now know is that my mind was trying to recreate the chaos and panic I was living in during that time of my life, so for convenience it was bringing up that particular time in my life AND because it was about an ex of course that would create drama in my present life, where there would otherwise be none!

CRUEL BUT BRILLIANT. Just thinking about how my mind when thru all that effort to simulate chaos so that my body could feel like it was in a state of normalcy is incredible. The mind is a force to be reckoned with.

But in actuality, what has this epiphany done. It has calmed the storm my friends. I am no longer plagued by memories, a fleeting one may come and go BUT it is no where near as chaotic as it was. I know what is going on and why it is happening. I have the power again. There is no power in the memory.

I can’t emphasize how happy and at peace I feel. I have been sleeping better, I feel happier over all.

I know. I know. I know. I know that I am adjusting to this new “normal”, this new peaceful relationship – life in a new city, with a new job, away from my family and doctors.

I know that my mind was playing with me trying to recreate a sad excuse of a “comfort zone”, because my new zone was too good to be true. It blows my mind to say that I grew comfortable in my chaos, that is what I knew and expected. Is it what I wanted – NOT AT ALL. However, I was conditioned to normalize the experiences in my life because they were my normal – which doesn’t make them healthy.

I am healthy today. I am happy today. I have been chaos free for over a year and my mind has plagued me the entire time, trying to find a problem where there was none. (the memories were the only thing causing mayhem in my personal life)

All of my memories. All the feelings being brought up had absolutely nothing to do with the individual they were about, rather they about the state I was in at that point in my life. He has no power over me. He has no place in my life. He is in the past.

I am free.

I am not sure if this post captured the essence of this discovery, but if you are being plagued by memories give yourself a moment to ask yourself if the plague is actually about the person or rather the state you were in at that time. Your mind might be playing with you like mine did to me. The memories were a façade for a deeper problem.

But like I said a million times over and I will say it to my grave, once you acknowledge the problem and give it a name, once you know what is troubling you, YOU are that much more capable of resolving it.

Hallelujah and amen! I hope that if anyone is experiencing a similar situation this gave you some insight, and if not I hope you enjoyed the read.

-Steph