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  When I was in grade 12 I signed up for a class called “English Writer’s Craft”.  All of the extremely “artsy” students took this class.  As I looked around the room I quickly realized I was the odd one out as I sat there in my teal Northern Reflections sweatsuit and french braided hair.  (yes, you are correct in your assumption that I wasn’t exactly part of the “cool” crowd! 🙂 )  As I glanced around I saw lots of dark black eyeliner, facial piercings, vintage clothes and multi colored hair.  This class was definitely filled with the extremely creative artsy types.  On the first day of class, shortly after taking attendance, the teacher (whom had never taught me before) called me out into the hallway for a little “chat”.  I nervously slipped out of my desk and walked towards the door. It felt as though all eyes in the classroom were burning into my back.  As my teacher began to talk, I noticed she had left the door open and I was quite confident the entire classroom was eavesdropping on this “private” conversation.  Miss “T” was nice, but was very blunt and often times a little abrupt. She began explaining all of the expectations for the Writers Craft course. She explained that in order for a student to succeed in this class, the student would have to be creative and imaginative. She wasn’t sure that I possessed the creativity needed to succeed and suggested I drop the class. She assured me that if I dropped the class that day, I could do so without any academic penalty. As I stood there quietly listening and nodding my head, my mind was swirling with questions. “Why didn’t she think I was capable of succeeding in this class? After all, my previous English classes had all been advanced and I had great marks! I was on the Principal’s Honor Roll and was even Student of the Month.” As we returned to the silent classroom it felt as though everyone was staring at me. I could feel my cheeks burning as I quickly slipped into a desk at the back of the room. I sat there wondering if I had a pierced nose, vintage t-shirt and ripped jeans on, if her assumption of my abilities would be the same. As I was walking home from school that afternoon, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Miss “T” had said to me. I would love to say that it didn’t bother me and that my confidence had not been shaken, but the real truth is, her words were hurtful.

By the time I made it home from school that day, I knew what I had to do. I was going back to Miss “T” in the morning to tell her that I had decided to stay in the class. I was going to stick with it, work hard and show her that she had misjudged me. And, that’s exactly what I did! Throughout the year Miss “T” had a box where students could submit poetry and short stories that she would eventually compile into a book for students. I had anonymously submitted many poems during the year to Miss “T”‘s box. At the end of the year Miss “T” was talking about some of the poems that someone had submitted. She thought they were very good and was quite curious to know who the author was. When she showed us the poems, my stomach fluttered- they were mine! I decided not to say anything to Miss “T” that day. It didn’t matter anymore. I had worked hard all year and had proven to myself that I could succeed in that class.

It’s difficult when you don’t get the support and encouragement that you are hoping for. I learned a very valuable lesson that year. When something is important to you, you just have to go for it!! Hopefully people will rally around you and encourage you, but sometimes they won’t! Sometimes it can be your closest friends or even family members who respond to successes you achieve in an unsettling and hurtful way. I’ve learned that EVERYONE is battling something. For some it is addiction, some it is depression or insecurity, jealousy, temptation, lust…and the list goes on. Perhaps the issues that people are facing in their own lives, make it difficult for them to respond in a positive way to you.

It’s often easy to let others’ insecurity, jealousy, or misjudgement keep you from making positive changes in your life. When I first started to change my lifestyle, I was surprised by some of the reactions I received in response to my new approach. I noticed some people withdrew and distanced themselves, while others have become huge supporters. Make a decision to improve your life and then stick with it. Believe in the amazing abilities God has created you with! Know that you can do it-no matter what! Even if you don’t get the encouragement from others that you are hoping for, keep going! Don’t ever give up on yourself! 🙂

never-give-up-frog

Loaded Peach Yogurt

I’m sitting here eating one of my favorite snacks and thought I shouldn’t keep it…

Oatmeal Apple Snack

Core and slice apple Spread almond butter on apple slice Sprinkle with some or all…

Oven Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

  < I’ll confess; cauliflower has never been one of my favorite veggies to eat. …

Tonight after I put the kids to sleep I went out for a quick run.  I usually stay on the quieter back roads because I feel silly running and am a little self conscious.  But, tonight it was starting to get dark and I thought it would be a better idea to stay on the main busy road.  “I’m being ridiculous” I thought.  “I’m sure I don’t look half as awkward as I feel.  It’ll be fine”.  I was nearing the end of the quiet side street I was on and confidently made a turn onto the main road.  I was running for literally 30 seconds when a pickup truck full of college aged boys drove past and yelled “run faster fat-so” out the window. Well that was completely un-necessary” I thought.

As I finished the rest of my run, I started thinking about how hard this past 6 months has been. It’s been different than I thought it would be. I was always looking for a health or diet plan that was “easy” and would “fit into my current life”. Isn’t that so funny, if you really think about it? My current lifestyle choices regarding time, priorities, focus, etc. are what got me into this mess in the first place! Yet, I somehow thought that was the “only way” I would be able to stick with something. But, do you know what?….I’ve (finally) realized that in order to get healthy I need BIG changes. I needed to shake up my current routine and do things totally different. I think that deep down everyone who shares this battle knows that’s what they need to do, but the thought of that can be very overwhelming. When people say to me, (and I hear this a lot) “it’s just too overwhelming. I don’t even know where to start” they are actually talking more about how to change their daily way of living, not necessarily how to stick to a clean eating or improved fitness plan by using this steroids alternative.

I’ve had to make a lot of tough choices everyday and wake up each morning and actually REALLY focus on my goals and how to achieve them. The truth is; it’s just plain HARD! It’s hard to make food from scratch using new recipes and ingredients that I am unfamiliar with. It’s hard to squeeze the money for healthier groceries and gym memberships into my budget. It’s hard to try to coordinate times with my husband or babysitters so that I can go to the gym. It’s hard to motivate myself to go to the gym at the end of an exhausting day! It’s hard to go to parties and BBQ’s and have limited selections of things to eat and hear people poke fun about your new eating habits. It’s hard to say “no” to yourself when faced with your biggest temptations. It’s hard to get out there and work out and have college boys mocking you! 😉 It is just HARD- but ‘HARD’ is not a reason to give up!

It actually takes a lot of INTENTIONAL focus, trying to make one good choice after the next. Don’t you find the most worthwhile things in life are the things you’ve worked the hardest for? I’ve had so many people tell me they just can’t make the switch to living like this because it’s too ‘hard’. I want to assure you, it’s hard for me too- but it’s also sooooo worth it! The best way to start is one little step at a time!

Why not try something like this:
Month 1- cut out all refined sugar (this is a tough one, but is probably the most important)
Month 2- Do 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week
Month 3- Cut out all juices, coffee, pop, etc. and only drink water or herbal tea.
month 4- Try to make all of your meals “clean”

Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed! Make one change at a time! You CAN do it! You REALLY can! 🙂
XO,Pam
www.cleanlifehappywife.com

This is an interesting read about the effects of sugar:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/20/sugar-dangers.aspx
regret quote

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

This cookie recipe is so sweet and delicious your kids will be begging you to…

Spinach and Feta Chicken

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Delicious Thin Crust Pizza

  This is one of my absolute favorite meals! My husband asks me to make…

Black Bean Brownie Betrayal

When I first started “clean eating” I was excited to find many recipes for “clean…

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When I was in grade 5 I remember sitting criss cross applesauce on the cold gym floor for an “exciting” school assembly. We all watched as four teenagers did a skit about the dangers of drug abuse. I remember watching their skit and thinking how un-relatable this was to me. I was a good girl. I would never become addicted to a dangerous substance like this. But, I sat there politely as I glanced around at some of the “other” kids who would likely need to hear this. At the end of their presentation a man in a Lion costume came out into the crowd and handed out stickers to all of the kids that read “Try Hugs not Drugs”. Although I felt WAY too old to be getting a sticker from a man in a lion costume, they got their point across. Do not become addicted to substances that will destroy your life. No drugs. No cigarettes. No alcohol. Got it!

If a friend or family member was addicted to drugs or alcohol and you saw that it was having a continuous negative affect on them, you would most likely feel comfortable taking them aside, addressing it, and then offering them help and support. Reality shows have even been made staging an “Intervention” in a case like that. It is socially acceptable to step in and voice your concern. No one likes to see someone who is a slave to an addiction and who is struggling every single day. It can be heartbreaking!

My addiction was something that was not easily hidden. When you are addicted to sugar or other foods, it is very difficult to hide. First your body, and eventually your physical limitations tell the story of a person who is struggling. Isn’t it interesting though, how much of a social “faux pas” it is to EVER highlight the obvious physical signs of another persons struggle with food addiction?
If you intervene with a friend who is an alcoholic- you are a hero.
If you mention a persons weight- you are a jerk.
Why didn’t the man in the lion costume warn me about the dangers of sugar addiction? Where was my “Try Hugs not Chocolate” sticker? 🙂

A few months ago I joined a program called “The 8 Week Challenge” to learn how to break my sugar addiction, transform my life, and start living clean! I know what you are thinking, “Oh so this IS just another “diet”. The answer to that really depends on you! 🙂 If you are planning on taking the tools and tips you learn and just applying them for a short time and then going right back to your old habits, then yes, this will just be another temporary fix. So instead, let’s consider making one small permanent change at a time in order to work towards living the healthiest lives we can!

If you are looking into clean living and feeling completely overwhelmed, then I HIGHLY recommend joining the “8 Week Challenge”! It will change your life! They have classes in Niagara as well as online so you can be anywhere in the world and participate with this program! When you sign up for the challenge you will get your OWN personal coach who will only be an email away to answer ANY questions you have! They do seminars on the “Clean Eating” Do’s and Don’ts (again, this can be in person or online). They do grocery store tours where they actually take you through your favorite local shopping spot and show you aisle by aisle what to buy and what to avoid (this is also available in person or online). They send you weekly emails encouraging you and giving you tips as well as loads of delicious recipes! And best of all, your coach is accessible every day to help you and answer all of your questions! The “8 Week Challenge” is less about a diet plan and more about providing education about a better way to live. Many of you have been asking me to explain exactly what I am doing to “live clean”, so just check out this website and try the program if you can! They are much better at teaching it and explaining it than I am! I will try to post tips each week on my blog, but the “8 week Challenge” will give you the foundation and weekly support you really need to succeed!

Check out their website for more info!

http://www.8weekchallenge.com/

fitness pic

Sweating In Public, Dodging Fly Balls, And Other Ridiculous Excuses

Along with the beautiful summer weather comes all of the “fun” sporting activities.  I’ve always…

How to Eat the “Clean” Way

This is the article that I read 6 months ago that helped to kick start my new way of life! If you have a chance to read this, I know you will find it interesting and very inspiring!  It gives a great introduction to eating and living clean.  It is a little long so grab yourself an organic tea and give it a read.  It’ll be worth it- I promise!

www.churchoftherock.ca/blog/join-me-at-club-med