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Healthy Living

In the Company of Women

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I started off this post a few weeks ago ready to rail against the machine.

Awhile back, someone I hardly know took the time to share with me a thread that discussed me, my business and my friend in ways that were just well… shitty.

The nasty and ugly that purveys itself as the social norm irritates me to no end, especially when you see  people you once respected had fallen down that rabbit hole of negativity.

When did it become so socially acceptable to cut people apart?

I didn’t give a shit what they had to say about me or even my business but they were tearing down a friend. Someone who jumped in when she knew I was drowning and helped me in a big big way. Someone I really respect and admire. Someone who didn’t deserve any of that.

I was ready to provide a sweet piece about my friend and how kick ass smart she is but then I realized, she doesn’t need that. Her friends know how generous she is with her time, the creativity that flows through her, and how big of a heart she has. She is one of the good eggs. Nuff said.

My daughter always points out Haters Gonna Hate. Let them. It’s a waste of energy & breath to care.

I would rather use this space to talk about the value of friendship & of the company of women I keep.

Two of my besties
Two of my besties

Over the past few weeks, I have had the good fortune of spending quality time with some really amazing friends. Adventures; Hi-jinx; Laughs abound- what they all had in common was that no matter what, I had a ton of fun and I know they all have my back.

Monster Laughs setting up for Bliss ROAM
Monster Laughs setting up for Bliss ROAM

Everyone needs a company of women. They aren’t just there when it’s sunny. They are there in the tough. They got you covered. Times of begging for a shoulder, an ear, a high-five, a cry, a giggle, a story, a Boo-ya or whatever your heart craves are sheltered by the power of these women in your world.

The strength of women together can be a most beautiful thing when the time is spent raising each other up vs tearing each other down.

The whole team
The whole team

And it was everything I needed.

I’m realized I am done with collecting friendships and instead want to take the time to deepen the friendships I have.

For those of you I was lucky enough to spend time with, thank you for feeding my soul.

You truly are my Company of Women.

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Healthy Living

Hot Yoga – Addict or Hate it?

Hand Of  Woman Meditating In A Yoga Pose On Beach

I have a personal goal of feeling more grounded this year so Hot Yoga was a great first #TryANewYou challenge. At first I wasn’t so much a fan. The heat was surprising & my capabilities were not as good as I had hoped. As we near the end of the month, I am a changed woman. If you are considering trying something new, here are a few key benefits (there are so many more) that I have discovered on my journey through this challenge.

Benefits of HOT YOGA

Creating space in your body

I am surprised how open & energized I feel.  Life is so easy to live hunched, crunched and compacted. Learning new ways to stretch, improve poses and pushing myself to the edge has provided a strength and expansion in my body that is helping me feel light and happy.

A healthy constitution

With so many twists & turns, yoga is a fantastic way to make sure you stay on regular scheduled programming if you know what I mean.

Defining muscles in a different way. 

I learned a lot about strength this past year but this is a whole new kind of muscle development. No excuses.  YOU are the only resistance your body needs to create muscle. My body is evolving and I see a whole new kind of definition in my arms, legs, shoulders and stomach.

Mental Balance

I asked for abundance this year. My focus for more family time, more laughs, more things that feed my soul, more gratitude to what has come our way.  In seeing an abundance of opportunity, I have been pushing myself hard in the work department. The good is that it’s satisfying my need for creativity. The bad is that with opportunity, comes being overwhelmed and with that comes those awful anxiety attacks. Meditating 3-4 times a week is most definitely helping stave those off & provides a more peaceful existence at home.

Breathe

My skin looks A-MAZING

Imagine having a steam facial every single time you go practice. Hot Yoga is VERY good at making you sweat. The room is hot and the steam/sweat combo has made my face blemish free and beaming.

Sex is great

Your core gets a serious workout in Moksha yoga. A tighter tummy means less pouce (anyone who has had a baby has a special word for that extra skin you carry around post child) and less of that means feeling happier with your body which in turn ALWAYS makes for better sex with your spouse.

I have to say I am turning into an Addict. The hate initially might have been because it can be hard but I have learned you just have to decide what journey you are on that day. Pushing yourself feels good and this challenge has been awesome.

Mindful, peaceful, grounded
Mindful, peaceful, grounded

Dad says: Ok, did not expect to invite you, the lucky readers, into the boudoir.  Don’t get too excited people, unfortunately the sordid details will remain hidden, but for an overall perspective Jenn is right, a sense of positive body image will transfer into increased sensuality. That will have to be enough said until sweeps week…

The mental part of yoga should certainly not be overlooked.  I am pretty sure if you read the husband handbook it will scream in chapter one not to comment on your spouse’s mental state.  That said, never read the book.  Jenn was getting pretty wound up about the day to day, and anything could send her over to an extreme display, either anger or laughter or an onrush of tears.  This has pretty much dropped off the charts.  It could be coincidence, but I don’t believe in that, so here is to life change.

I have now seen first hand the power of change that can come through yoga, and although I don’t practice it enough myself I will swear to the positive effect it can have. Congrats to my friend Dale and Jenn, who are both a walking testament to its healing power.

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Healthy Living

A case of the Mondays

Live, Laugh, Love

Mom Says:

The kids looked on. Maybe more than a bit perplexed. Hands covering their ears as I topped out the speakers to play some music. Music that I needed to reverberate through my body. Music that took me back to university, parties at my first house, deep base, heavy chords, ones I couldn’t help but dance to. Not in a pretty Travis Wall kind of way, more like Flea hopping around the stage at a Chili Peppers concert.

Yes. That was me today.

I don’t remember the last time I let a day get to me so much but today was definitely a case of the Mondays. I had been dealt a series of surprise expenses, challenges at work, let’s call it uncooperative people, it just kept adding up and then I hit my breaking point.

But something was different today.

Normally it would be right about this point in time that I would be a bawling mess. Snotty, running nose, bawling mess. Instead, I changed it up. I am not sure if its the Hot Yoga and I’m feeling more grounded or my give-a-shit switch is a little more tuned in today. But I tried something new.

Here are a few ideas that worked well in switching it up a day that dealt you as I call it- The Shit Sandwich

Get out an exercise

Rather than staying inside and letting all the worry overwhelm me, I went for a run. The freezing cold was harsh but it was what I needed to shake it off initially. It gave me a chance to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. It helped. A TON.

Play some music

I am such a music lover and often feel driven by the music playing. Today I initially needed hard core, harsher options. Cake, Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Black Keys. 

Then I needed some happy. Sweet Home Alabama, Bennie & The Jets, Superstition, Angel is a Centrefold. Songs in my forever playlist and ones that always make me smile.

Drink Water

Normally a derailing day like today would instantly have me pouring a glass of wine or a cocktail (those dear friends who know me well already suggested Gin). Instead I drank more than my share of water. The act of drinking something was more what I needed to chill out than what I was drinking.

Mmmmm...I DO loves me some Gin
Mmmmm…I DO loves me some Gin

Keep Perspective

I am not a brain surgeon. This isn’t life or death. This is the school of “lessons learned” and I learned one for sure today. Taking a deep breath and remembering that this is all parts of being an entrepreneur helped my relax a bit. Failures & challenges will be ever present. It’s how you deal with them that makes the difference.

NOW THIS also completely fixed my day.

Dad says:

Well, someone get a pen and mark this one down.  Either I am finally cracking the Jenny code, or she may actually be actively listening to said husband.  I have been shouting from on high for too long about perspective, the big picture, what does it all mean in the big scheme.  For some reason, it seems that this often falls on deaf ears.  Not just Jenn; it seems like the world likes to take itself quite seriously, and that can be bad. Really bad, if religion is involved, but I will wax over that for now.

I have found a few tricks that work, but they are eerily similar to Jenn’s list above:

Music: I have a soundtrack, and it is awesome!  When I have a job to do, music gets me there. Top of a mountain? Yup! I was the guy with headphones muttering Jack Johnson and The Doors.  Working out? AC/DC, the Sweet, Bob Seger.  You get the pic.  Whatever drives you, embrace it and move to the groove.

Exercise: Yeah, well, begrudgingly.  I have a friend at work who drags me to the gym at lunch time, daily.  Can’t even convince her to go for a drink instead, because she doesn’t.  Really. Those people exist.  Whatever, I have yet to come out of living the Good life without a boost in energy and mental health levels.

Doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do something
Doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you DO something

Hydrate: Big difference here.  My way is WAY more fun than Jenn’s, as it does involve booze.  Whatever you like, do it, but embrace it.  Taste every last drop of that Pinot.  Listen to the ice crack in your cocktail, watch the cascade in your Guinness.  Makes everything easier to digest, whatever life has put on your plate.

You: Yes, that’s right. You time.  Again, personalize it.  I walk in the snow, read weird books or magazines I have never heard of, and will occasionally watch some seriously awesome stuff on TV lately. Naked and Afraid anyone?   Look deep into you, decide what you like, give the kids away and shut off your phone and do it. You have my permission.

 

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Healthy Living

Our #TeamPowell Marilyn Denis experience

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All the links below are linked back to the Marilyn Denis Show. They will be taking them down soon so if you want to see our experience, check it out. 

Last year at this time, I was nervously a twitter. It was a less than a couple of weeks before we were about to go on a national television show and I was going to say my weight OUT LOUD. On Marilyn Denis. You know…cause nothing like putting it out there for all of Canada to know.

We knew that we had let ourselves have “Too much fun” and had gone from being a little heavy to officially overweight.

I also hadn’t actually stepped on a scale. When I did I almost crapped my pants.

213.

How on earth did I get to 213 lbs?

I didn’t really eat horribly but I loved having a glass of wine every night when we got home. Between that and the fabulousity of a Gin called Hendricks, I was pretty much done for. I also ate late at night. Didn’t drink hardly any water. I just wasn’t taking care of myself. We weren’t taking care of us.

And we certainly weren’t teaching our kids any kind of good habits.

Our first show was Jan 22nd where Marilyn introduced the Couples Weight Loss Challenge. We each were challenged to lose 40 lbs in 5 months. We were #TeamPowell and we were going to do it together. Our plan was to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to celebrate our anniversary/ my birthday and I had a personal goal of fitting into my wedding dress.

We were so lucky. Marilyn, Sharon (our producer), the camera crew and production team were amazing.  Right from the start we could feel that we were totally supported from the show.

They set us up with Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, our trainer and Miranda Malisani, our nutrition consultant. We cleaned our cupboards and started fresh. We got a weekly routine to workout to and a meal plan to stay connected. We went Gluten free, low salt, low sugar and ate as naturally as we could. Chris teased both of them relentlessly with quips of us going out for poutine and I have to say, the ladies were amazing. They took it in stride and asked how they could keep us on course.

What we had left when Miranda went through our cupboards
What we had left when Miranda went through our cupboards
Everything that wasn't on the "good" list
Everything that wasn’t on the “good” list

We had a check in with the show in March at which point they surprised us by installing a home gym. That gym and being able to exercise at home first thing in the morning has made an absolutely HUGE difference. We talked about how we were doing and discovered a new term for what I am like when I am hungry. I get hangry but we were focused on getting #TeamPowell to the finish line. We had a challenge and a goal and a timeline to get there.

In the timeframe we also went with our family to Scotland. Let me tell you, there is nothing sadder than saying no to Guiness every day when you are in the land of where Black Velvet flows.

By June, we were back on the show with a summary of our experience. It was a roller coaster but we made it and in the short time we had…we got to our goal and showed our REVEAL on the show.

This is important because today, January 7th, you will see us back on Marilyn Denis and showing you the heights we got to climbing Mt. Kili. Yes, we have gained some weight back but we are applying what we learned to just get back on the horse with a new challenge and a new goal. It changed our life.

We live healthier. We choose smarter. Exercise is now always with us. The kids expect us to workout. Its a beautiful thing.

Many many thanks Marilyn. It truly was an experience of a lifetime.

 

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Healthy Living

#TryANewYou- Hot Yoga

Peace of Mind wooden sign with a beach on background

If there is one thing we learned from last year, it was in order to be successful at something, you need to decide what your goal is, set a timeline and make a plan.

My goal this year is to find things that make me smile and feed my soul more. The idea of taking on a challenge and succeeding at it helped me jump out of an airplane, run a half marathon, lose weight, climb a mountain…you get it.

It also helped me realize that absolutely nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Set your intent.

2015 involves being more grounded. Rooting myself in healthy living, strong family ties, a clear mind and pushing myself to continue trying new things.

I am thinking of this kind of like a game. I am going to tackle something new each month to see what I can achieve and how far I can go.  I have labeled it #TryANewYou and would love for you to join me on this adventure this year.

I think I would prefer THIS kind of HOT yoga
I think I would prefer THIS kind of HOT yoga

My first #TryANewYou is Hot Yoga.

Talking to the converted, you would think Bikram or Hot Yoga was like the holy grail of yoga zen. Sweat, stretching and release to the gods of Namiste. For me, the idea of overheating in a hot room for over an hour sounded like my own personal hell.

But I gave it a try this morning at Moksha Yoga. My friend and I went without much knowledge on what to expect. I really enjoy yoga but suck remembering to breathe, something rather important in Hot Yoga.

As we went down to the practice room, we were warned it was a “silent” room in order to create the most positive experience for those involved. I loved the fact that phones had to be checked in upstairs and appreciated that no talking meant you could relax right into meditation as soon as you lied down. It was hot but not unbearable.

As we moved through the exercises, I could start feeling the sweat dripping down my back. It felt good. Breathing deeply and working muscles that hadn’t seen any attention for the whole holidays. The only time I struggled was about an hour in, we started doing flow which meant more active yoga (think downward dog and cobra) and I started feeling REALLY sweaty & a bit lightheaded. They simply say sit in child’s pose for awhile and wait until you feel good again. Don’t leave. Then keep on going.

We survived our first hot yoga class and I feel fantastic. I am loose, relaxed and ready to start the day with a clear head. It was a bit challenging getting used to the heat but not horrible. They say it takes at least 3 classes to get there. So I am signed up for a different kind tomorrow afternoon and raring to go.

On a scale of 1-5, I give Hot Yoga the following:

3 for physical

4 for mental

5 for spiritual.

For my first #TryANewYou, I think it was a smashing success.

Dynamic Retreats in Jamaica.
Dynamic Retreats in Jamaica.

My first MAJOR experience with Yoga was at a Dynamic Retreat in Jamaica last year. I am heading this year to their Yoga & Surf Retreat in Nicaragua and simply can’t wait.

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Healthy Living

What feeds your soul?

Life Balance

Mom Says:

We took on last year with a saying.. “Come Before Winter”. It was borrowed from a story in the bible. One about Paul encouraging his friend Timothy to do his utmost to come before winter to visit him. As you can imagine, in the long run, Timothy is too late. By the time he comes (in Spring) Paul had died. The theme being its important to take action now vs waiting till later. We are not religious but those words have become our everything.

For us, it became our cue that rather than saying someday we will do it, we will do it now.

2015 holds so much promise and I know that if we just go after it all, we can make many more epic things happen. But I also know in pushing myself HARD last year to make everything work, I created a rather unhealthy state of living for myself.

At the beginning of the year, I was getting up at 5am to exercise for our weight-loss challenge, it felt good & I felt strong.  By the end of the year I created a cycle of working till 1-2am and getting up at 5am to keep going. I felt overwhelmed and full of anxious. It caused throat-closing, near panic attacks, a lot of tears & my husband gazing at me in complete bewilderment.

I know…I did it to myself.

I see so much opportunity and know I can make shit happen. I have that skill and I do it well. But last year, the most important thing I learned was the value of relationships. I was concentrating so much on work, I started wondering if I was I was missing the better part of being a parent, a wife and finding time for myself? So here I was panicking about work and panicking about what I wasn’t doing while working. Jesus…how the hell is that effective?

I started stripping down to basics and asking the question – What feeds my soul?

I am still working on that list but I know a big part of what drives me is creativity. I designed a number of events & strategies this year that I am really proud of and started writing more because of a writing challenge. It has awakened something in my mind that has felt too process driven for far too long. It is helping me breathe and makes me happy. It has become the promise I look forward to feeding in ’15.

Looking for that life balance...
Looking for that life balance…

Dad says:

This was not the easiest post to comment on; we decided when doing this not to temper our opinions or edit, and that is all good until your wife writes something like this.  Because it was true, and ugly, and really hard to overcome.

Nobody wants to hear you talk about all your problems: doing that at a cocktail party will get you a seat in the corner next to the ferns, which might be a good listener but short on sharing. This stuff was happening every day, where I would go to bed hearing the click of keys and wake up to the same.  I like the internet as much as anyone, but some times its gotta stop.  A lot of what Jenn was working on was not productive or fulfilling.  It was just stuff, and that can crowd you out as quickly electronically as that national geographic collection can overwhelm your rec room in the real world.  I think you wind up in a perpetual avalanche of thoughts and feelings that slowly suffocate you. I am lucky enough to be what some would call ‘mildly inattentive’, or what Jenn refers to as ignorant of my current surroundings.  I can sleep anywhere, and easily zone out and morph to my situation with little energy.  Not exactly a super power, but it tends to keep me real sane for the majority.  We have resolved to try a bit more of this together, and will keep you posted. Hopefully behind schedule and sporadically, but thats part of the 12 step program.

Now if Jenn will let me plan a party and see if people have fun with pre made foods and canned music vs laborious hand made dips and personalized playlists, we will have conquered this mountain too.

 

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