Covid-19 continues to impact our daily lives. Its going on 8 months that we have been dealing with this pandemic and its ramifications. It was announced last week that events in our communities were being postponed again, due to Covid-19 restrictions. Unfortunately, the fitness competition I had been prepping for the past 13 weeks was cancelled as well. I had mixed feelings about the cancellation of the event. Initially, I felt sad about the announcement. Then I felt a sense of relief, and then rapid anxiety. Suddenly, the goals that I set for myself were unattainable. Once again, I was faced with another obstacle of challenges. I have realized that I am a creature of habit. I live my best life when I am focused and I have set clear goals for myself and my future. I have been faced with many setbacks over the past few years. But now I realize that each of those setbacks have been learning experiences to prepare me for bigger things to come. I feel like I have a clearer understanding of my life`s purpose when I learn from the challenges that I am faced with daily. I continue to make mistakes and struggle but I am growing in ways I never thought possible. I think recognizing my changes in behaviour and cultivating a solid action plan when things become difficult. Has given me the strength to endure many challenges. Loss, grief and addiction has impacted my life tremendously. But, I refuse to give up. Because, “All We Have Is Now.”
The Impact of Covid-19
It has been several months since I have wrote my last blog. 2020 has certainly been a bizarre year. The Covid-19 pandemic hit the world hard in the spring. Lockdowns forced us indoors away from family and friends. We were faced with a very grim reality and many of us did not handle our new circumstances very well. Many people lost their jobs and businesses were forced to close. Life as we knew if was about to change drastically. During the initial lockdown I was fortunate to have my daughter stay with me. Having someone to go through this ordeal with was necessary and cherished. But, the lockdown took its toll on me both mentally and emotionally. With no routine, goals or end insight, I managed to relapse into old habits. I began drinking daily and made poor choices. My dependancy on alcohol was once again evident. I noticed mood swings, irritability and overall rebellious behaviour. I had gained 15 lbs since my transformation less than one year ago. I felt defeated and miserable. Which just fuelled my addiction in excess. In late August, I realized I had to make some life changes. It was time to start making my health and wellness a priority again. So I sat down and began to set some achievable goals for myself in 2020. I hired a fitness coach and committed to both a photo shoot and fitness competition. I am currently in week 12 of my 16 week fitness competition prep. I have lost 15 lbs and cultivated the strength and confidence I lost during my relapse. I completed the photo shoot and I am excited to share the photos. The bikini competition is 4 weeks from today. I am excited for that day to arrive. It is my intention to bring my best self to the stage. I am confident that the lessons I have learned during this process far out way the final outcome of the competition. The prominent lesson I have learned is that, the only person you can truly depend on when times get tough, is yourself. “Only you, can save you, from you.” The path I am on, is not the path I had planned. But, it is impacting my life, and those around me in a more positive manner. And I am ready to embrace it. I don’t doubt I will be faced with more obstacles and challenges during my life journey. I promise myself to stay positive, stay strong and tackle each hurdle with sovereignty. The second wave of Covid-19 is underway and restrictions are starting to be implemented once again. I am optimistic that I will strive to do better and be better when and if this next crisis hits. Stay tuned…..Stay safe.
No Bad Days
Today I choose to smile. When I feel like crying.
Today I choose to be strong. When I feel weak.
Today I choose to stay calm. When I feel anxious.
Today I choose happiness. When I feel sad.
I have learned a lot these past 3 years…I have learned that things don’t always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think they should. And I have learned that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I have learned that some broken things stay broken. And that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones as long as you have people who love you. You can’t control everything, sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things with work out. Let go a little and let life happen. Because the only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.
RIP My Love<3 Love always and forever T.
International Women`s Day
International women`s day is celebrated on March 8th. The day was organized to honour and support women worldwide for their success and achievements. The focus is to eliminate discrimination against women and advocate equality.
Today, I received a message from a fellow fitness enthusiast. She had read my story on my blog. She communicated to me that my story was inspiring and she loved to follow motivational strong women. Her kind words got me thinking. What makes a strong women? Is it her physical, emotional or her mental strength? I believe a strong women is someone who is kind, loving, passionate and fearless. Someone who speaks the truth, is supportive and listens to others. An individual who is aware of other people`s feelings and advocates inclusion for all. A strong women knows her self-worth. She will not allow someone else`s opinion to affect her self-confidence. Strong women admire and support other women. A strong women recognizes the significance of developing healthy habits, emotional wellness and an overall positive attitude to reach her greatest potential.
I encourage you to find your passion and your purpose. Share your life experiences with others. Together women can inspire, motivate and educate one another to be our authentic self, fearless of judgement and bias. Too often we let resentment and self doubt interfere with ensuring we are the best version of ourselves. Take action, I encourage you to set realistic goals to achieve your dreams. One step at a time.
I challenge you to reach out to a strong women and tell her why she inspires you.
Alone we are strong…together we are stronger. Walter Payton
An Afternoon of Reflexion on the River
It`s approaching 3 years since I experienced the tragic loss of my husband of 25 years. I am still struggling to find my passion and my purpose. Having a career, being a mom and a wife was very fulfilling. But trying to fill that void is more challenging than one might think. I devoted so much of my time to my job and my family. There was no time to identify what I really wanted out of life, outside of my job and family. When my world came crashing down all I could think of was, what do I do now? I was so afraid of my future. I have learned over the past few years I don’t need to be afraid anymore. What I need to do is shift my thinking. I have to refocus my mindset to recognize the endless opportunities that lie ahead. I literally can do what I want, when I want to do it. With nothing, and no one standing in my way. What a liberating feeling. When your future is planned and then it is taken away in an instant. It is sometimes difficult to come to terms with your new reality. I have experienced so many things in the past 3 years, that I would not have had the opportunity to participate in given my prior relationship circumstances. I am grateful for my new found freedom. My life would be very different if tragedy did not strike my family that fateful day. But, looking back now I can’t say it would be better for me as an individual. Although, this has been a long journey I feel I am getting stronger everyday. I am learning that it is crucial to believe in yourself. If you are struggling with situations, circumstances or others. You have the power to change the outcome. Everyday is a new day to wake up and participate in your life and all it has to offer. I am embracing my new life. And I am optimistic about my future. There will be some days that are harder than others. But, if you stand tall, smile and be your authentic self. You will find the strength within you to overcome any situation life throws at you.
Always remember you are the champion of your own story. Don’t let anyone else rewrite the ending.
This past year has taught me many valuable lessons. I have learned that I may not have control over situations, people or circumstances. But, I do have control over how I react to all of the above. There is strength within each and every one of us. I realize now that our mindset is a powerful tool. What we think of ourselves shapes how we communicate with others. The choices we make can create opportunities and positively impact others. Or our choices can demolish any camaraderie. To make a change we must be willing to let go of the life we planned. So that we can embrace the life waiting for us.
As I reflect on the past year, I feel I am moving into 2020 with a positive mindset and a clear action plan. 2019 was a year of growth and transformation. As I transition into the new year I realize there are many things I want to experience. My transformation has just begun and I want to be optimistic about my future. I refuse to let myself be controlled by fear and the judgment of others. My journey is mine and mine alone to explore. In 2020, I am choosing to be the best version of me. I am looking forward to new experiences and adventures. I want to wish you all peace, love and good health in the coming year. Cheers to 2020!
What is True Happiness?
The search for true happiness is often challenging. But the fact is, the path to true happiness is quite simple. I believe, happiness is a choice. Happiness happens when you put effort into your life. True happiness starts with genuine inner peace and love for oneself. How does one find true happiness? Happiness begins, when you are more in tune with your authentic self. Happiness begins, the moment you accept the things you cannot change. Happiness begins, the moment you forgive yourself and others. Happiness begins, when you stay healthy in your mind, body and heart. Be present. Be thankful. Be generous. Be strong. Happiness begins, when you recognize you are worthy of good things. I believe, true happiness is a never ending process of accepting you have the ability to create a life you love and deserve.
” You are the champion of your own story.” Unknown
The Struggle is Real
It`s two weeks post competition. The reality is I am struggling to find balance between structure and the disarray of everyday life. My diet and exercise is not as on point as it was, leading up to the competition. My body is changing, my mood is changing. And I feel a bit out of control.The one constant in my life is my daily workouts. Some sessions are better than others, but I am consistent. So, how do you navigate through the negative stuff in your head and plan for your future achievements? When you are preparing for a special event you are focused and devoted to the process. Upon completion of the task your position is transposed. So the question is, how do you calibrate your mind set to refocus on a new endeavour?
First, you give yourself permission to sit back and take a breather. Then, you remind yourself in order to thrive as an individual. One must cultivate a purposeful approach to ones dreams. Growth isn’t uninterrupted. Relapses happen. Recognize that all your previous progress is not erased. Approach each obstacle as a lesson to better equipped yourself with an arsenal of powerful affirmations. Be your own ally. Perseverance is the key to success. What sometimes seems impossible will one day be your warm up. Everyday each experience and every situation gives you a chance to start over. Reevaluate your aspirations and set new goals. Explore the endless opportunities you desire to pursue. Remember, why you started this journey. Live a life you love and cherish completely. At some point, you just have to let go of what you thought should happen. And live in the happening moments. Wake up with passion, purpose and intent to be a better person than you were the day before. Be you. Do you. For you.
” Everyday is a new beginning. Take deep breath, smile and start again.” Unknown
My Story Part 3
After more than 30 years in the fitness industry. On what would have been my husbands 60th birthday I competed in my first fitness bikini competition. I also had the privilege of enjoying this experience with my daughter. It has been a long road to self discovery since I first experienced tragedy a few years ago. But, I am finally living the life that was meant for me.
Throughout my 20 week transformation preparing for this competition.
I have learned….that I am a survivor.
I have learned….that I am capable of achieving any goal that I set out for myself.
I have learned….that my past does not define me.
I have learned….to love myself just as I am.
MY BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES
MAY 31,2019 OCTOBER 26,2019
The girl in my before picture is someone I hardly recognize. That girl was unhappy, afraid, depressed and uncertain about her future. The woman that is in the post competition picture not only lost 30 lbs. But, she is confident, self assured and excited about her future. I have learned….that I am a strong, confident, independent woman who is deserving of love and happiness again. ” Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” J.K. Rowling. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It`s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene.
Side note: Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If this post has inspired you in anyway to achieve your own goals or you just want to chat, I am here with no judgement. Please feel free to contact me through the contact page on this website. And always remember a smile is the best makeup you will ever wear. 🙂
My Story Part 2
In my previous blog, I shared some intimate details about the past 2 1/2years of my life. What I didn’t share was the struggles I overcame to become the person I am today. I experienced many dramatic changes in my life in a short amount of time. And I had no idea how to take control of my new life as a widow and an empty nester. I had no clear focus or direction to give my life meaning and purpose. When you experience such an extreme loss it is difficult to predict exactly how you are going to deal with the future that lies ahead. Struggling to come to terms with my new life I made a lot of poor choices. Which some of you reading this have witnessed firsthand. I chose to mask the pain with alcohol, a lot of alcohol daily. I pretended to be okay. But the truth is, I was very unhappy and afraid of my future.
Looking back, I realize to evolve I had to navigate through the following steps: Shock, Transition and finally Transformation. In the first year of my loss, I believe I was in shock. I was moving through my daily life with no clear direction. Unaware of my true feelings and emotions. The second year I experienced a period of transition. I sold our family home and slowly disconnected with my past life. Searching for my new identity I eliminated any association with days gone by. I am currently in the transformation stage of my life. I am learning that I can be a confident secure individual without a man and an abundance of alcohol to validate my life. Instead of being afraid of my future, I am excited about the endless possibilities. I am not saying that I have quit drinking forever. And that I am going to be holier than now and live a clean and sober lifestyle for the rest of my days. I mean lets face it, I enjoy a glass of fine wine. What I am saying is, that today I choose not to drink alcohol. Today…I choose to nourish my body with healthy foods. Today…I choose to exercise. Today…I choose to be confident with myself, no matter what size I am. Nobody looks good in their darkest hours. But its those hours that make us who we are.
Side note: I wrote this blog during the summer of 2019. I set some big goals for myself. Since I initially wrote this blog. I entered a fitness bikini competition at 50 years old. I introduced myself to the sport of golf. And I met someone very special to me. In part 3 of my story I will be sharing how I am working hard to be the best version of me for 2019. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If this post has inspired you in anyway to achieve your own goals or you just want to chat. I am here to listen with no judgement.
“Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Joshua J. Marine