10 things I have learned from 2013

2013 has been a tough year for me, but there were many exciting things that happened too. I graduated my undergrad in Women Studies at UVIC, ran tough mudder with one of my best friends, my fiance and my brother, got married, and much more. I have learned a lot of lessons and I definitely don’t feel bad that I had some rough patches. Here are my top 10 lessons I learned this year:

1. Learning why I love fitness

I now realize how crucial it is for me to enjoy what I am doing. Sounds so obvious right? But when working towards that goal of competing I realized I enjoy variety. Running is my number one love and having to stop was heartbreaking for me. But I missed being able to do my Beachbody programs, lift weights when I wanted, run OUTSIDE, and do yoga when I felt like it. I felt restricted which caused my binging to become a problem again and I was misrable. I enjoy fitness because it is how I deal with lifes celebrations, stresses, ups and downs. I enjoy fitness because it is fun and makes me feel like ME. I don’t part take in fitness to look good and I really realized that this year. Sure I started my weight loss journey to look better, but it definitely transformed to “I just wanna feel healthy and happy.”  I am motivated by how I feel rather than how I look.

2. Running is my passion


Running the Reykjavik, Iceland marathon (my 6th full) with Team Diabetes in 2012

I really noticed this when at a friends wedding in September and I got to talking to one of the grooms relatives who was also a runner. Both our eyes and hearts were lit up and just so excited to talk about running and the various races we had done. There is something special when meeting a stranger that is also a runner and just gets it. I really realized that stopping running distance last spring had a big impact on me and I truly missed it. I do appreciate the year off from the marathon distance. It has helped me mentally and physically prepare and repair. But my heart and soul is truly ready for marathon number 8 (and possibly 9 in the fall 2014).

3. Learning to be good to my body and accept it


I have come a heck of a long way. It sounds so silly but it is easy to forget. Learning to be good to myself and accept my body is so key and it is still something I struggle with. I have my good and bad days but I am learning to be good to myself. One indulgence isn’t going to kill me or make me gain ridiculous amounts of weight. I have learned to scrap the scale again and pay attention to my body and love every curve it has. I have finally learned to let go of the constant thinking about what and when I would eat, when and what I would workout, and how will those things change the number on the scale. These thoughts literally never left my mind from morning until night and it had a large hold on my life negatively. I finally feel FREE and nothing feels better than this.

4. I can be a group fitness instructor

The only kind of fitness instructor I ever thought I would be is for bootcamps and instructing run clubs. I love basic bootcamps that really push peoples limits using their own body weight and minimal equipment. But then I discovered TurboKick. NEVER did I ever think I would be getting certified to instruct a class that is so high energy, dancy, and kick boxing inspired. NEVER. I was that shy girl growing up so I never expected to turn into this bubbly instructor yelling out encouragement with a big ol’ grin on my face while jab, punch and upper cutting!

5. It isn’t just me anymore…

When Matt proposed at the finish of my 7th marathon in October 2012

When Matt proposed at the finish of my 7th marathon in October 2012

This one is a very personal point. After going through a down time after stopping work with a bad coach, gaining weight, and waking up day after day with a cloud over my head I realized something had changed. I didn’t want to work out. I didn’t want to eat the healthy foods I once loved. I didn’t want to work. I couldn’t sleep until at least 4 am every night. I would wake up at 1pm. This wasn’t me. I have always struggled with talking about emotions and things I am going through. I am stubborn and want to be able to handle things on my own. But then I realized. I married the man of my dreams who is more supportive than anyone I could have dreamt up. He needed to know what I was going through, especially with the deployment coming up. He is equally affected by what I am going through as I am. Things have gotten MUCH better since that darker time, and I feel much more balanced. But I will say, that has been one of the bigger lessons I learned this year. My husband is part of me just in a different body and I need to communicate these things to him.

6. I can be a coach AND a trainer at the same time


Sounds odd but I have struggled with this balance. At first, I had so many people be so negative towards the coaching thing that it was hard for me to see how I can do both and it made me second guess what I was doing. I then realized that people are usually negative towards my coaching business because they just don’t know, don’t understand or don’t have the open mind to accept. I have known people who get upset or say mean things just because I look at things from a more positive standpoint. (I have had runners get mad if I say “hey we are almost at the finish!” when we had less than 3 miles left on a half or full marathon..no joke). I still have family members and friends who think the coaching thing is silly and the products aren’t worth while. But really, if you have a closed mind about anything? It just won’t work. What matters is I believe in the products and in what I do. I LOVE what I do. I inspire and motivate people regardless of if they want to buy any of the products Beachbody offers. I show people my good and bad days on social media and in the various challenge groups I offer on Facebook. Not everyday is going to be perfect and “on point” and that is okay. The main reason I became a personal trainer was to show people that fitness isn’t something to be feared and each day WON’T be perfect. I can can show people that with my coaching business and as a trainer at the same time. I absolutely love it.

7. Learning to forgive situations and people in the past

As I have said, I am extremely stubborn. May be thanks to being a capricorn, I don’t know. But I am very hard headed. I have learned to take time to think about the people I want in my life that support me and love me the way I am. Just how I support and love them for who they are. I once had someone in my life say “people come into your life for a reason, and sometimes for a season.” It is so true. But because you do not have a relationship with these people who are no longer in your life, doesn’t mean you don’t forgive them. I have forgiven a few of the relationships that are no longer present in my life and I feel much better. Forgiveness takes time, and it is something I am sure all of us need to work on.

I have had many people in the past hurt me when I was overweight. I do feel people treat others poorly based on their body shape whether they are too big or too small by society’s terms. I have even heard people say they cannot respect people who don’t respect their bodies. Isn’t that horrible? Ugh. It makes my skin crawl. NO ONE should be judged this way. You don’t know their situation. When you have these sorts of things said to you, about you or even online to you, it makes you want put up walls and never trust people. It is so disheartning to see humans treat other humans this way. Now that I am 50 lbs lighter, I have those very same people come to me saying “wow you look great, when can I see you again?” It is hard to let go of the past, and unhear those words once muttered to you. However, you do your best to think that they have grown up and realized their wrongs. If not? That isn’t your problem. Forgive and move on. No need to have these people in your life but know they helped you learn a lesson in some way or another. This is the biggest struggled I have and I am working on it.

8. Stand up for what you believe in and have a backbone

Like I said, I was always the shy girl growing up. I used to stand back and let people do and say what they wanted. I have come to the realization that being a bystander is just as bad as being the person saying or doing those things. By not standing up for what we believe in, we enable those in our life or strangers to think that what they do or say is fine. Brushing terrible comments because of the persons age, background, or upbringing doesn’t help. It is 2013 (almost 2014), sexism, racism, homophobia, and just generally treating people wrongly , these things are not acceptable!

I overheard two people I know talking about getting certified to be trainers. They followed up by saying “because I am so good at sales. I could make anyone buy a training package from me.” My jaw dropped and all I could say is “really? Shouldn’t you want to be a trainer to HELP people. To EDUCATE people. To spread your knowledge of fitness and health?” This is just one example and I am happy to call this one out because it happens TOO often in my field of work. People don’t realize how much power a personal trainer/coach has on your health. I have seen bad coaching/training send clients to hospital. So yes. I will call them out on this. Same goes for racism, sexism, homophobic language etc. Regardless if they are close to me or not. Calling people out on these things need to be heard and stated. They can be done so in a way that they get the point loud and clear without being a (total) jerk about it.

Same goes for friendships and other relationships. If you do not like how people address you or talk to you. Say something. I have been used as a doormat MANY times just because I never said anything due to being shy/not having much of a backbone. Unfortunately, not everyone will realize what they do is wrong, but you need to say something. Stand up for your beliefs and your feelings!

9.Learning the cliche “don’t sweat the small stuff” is so true

I have always been one to worry too much about what other people think. This year I came out of the social media closet. Many of my old friends, family and family friends have learned about my online presence with Instagram, this blog, my Facebook like page and Youtube.

In the past I have been ridiculed for sharing my weight loss journey on Youtube so it was hard for me to come out about this. I now realize …SCREW IT. It is something that I enjoy and makes me happy. If people think it is weird I talk to myself in a room to a camera and upload it onto the internet make videos about my life and certain topics is weird then too bad! I have had the chance to create connections with people around the world I never would have had the chance to. I have talked to people who have been through similar situations I have and really created amazing relationships through social media. If they think that is weird? fine. But to me, it is a creative outlet and I have made friends doing it. Sure from time to time I get the odd negative comment, but really I do this for me. Not for people who “follow me” “friend me” or “subscribe” to me. Not everyone will agree with what I say, think or do. That is life!

10. I’ve learned I love being married


Okay. Cheesy. Got it. Since I met Matt, I knew something was special about him. It was nice to meet someone who really shared similar beliefs, morals, values and outlooks on life. Sure we have differences, but I love that we are creating our own story together. For all the weaknesses I have, Matt has strengths in those areas and vise versa. We are an amazing team. We were married July 6 of this year and a lot of people are still surprised I got married this young. This is where point 9 of this blog post had a play in things. I was really worried people thought it was weird of me to get married at 23 and that we had a shorter engagement (apparently! I don’t think 10 months is that short of a time). I had many people expressing their opinions about this and I’ll admit, it took time for my entire family to be on board with things since I am their baby. I knew this was right for me and for us. That is all that mattered.

People always ask if being married is different than when we were just dating. It is and it isn’t. I absolutely love it though. There is something very comforting to me about being together for the rest of our lives and working through all life has to throw at us. Sure you can do that when you are not married but for us being raised Catholic, we knew marriage was very important for us. We are THAT cheesy couple who call each other hubby and wife. I love it.

I challenge you to journal some lessons you learned from 2013. The good and the bad!


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