Good morning lovelies!

How are you doing? I hope you had a great weekend. I got home from California early in the morning on Saturday and spent the rest of the day unpacking, grocery shopping, and getting a few other things done around the house that had been neglected before I left. It was a pretty crazy week in terms of travel and work so I’m happy to be home with my suitcase empty and in the storage room again!

My co-worker and I were only in Long Beach, CA for two days, and for the most part, it was an all-work trip. However, the weather was around 20 degrees C and mostly sunny (yippee!) and we ate like queens! I was in charge of scoping out our dining venues for the trip, and lucky for me, there was a Whole Foods near our hotel. We also found an amazing Thai restaurant across the street called Rocharin Thai Bistro that totally hit the spot on Thursday night. Here are a few foodie snaps (taken with my iPhone) from the trip:

Whole Foods lunch

Whole Foods fruit

Tom yum soup

Steamed veggies

Thai stir fry

Normally at these events, the food isn’t anything to boast about. However on this occasion, the caterers had me in total heaven! The fruit in California tastes SO much better than it does here at home. It felt so weird to be eating heaps of watermelon, honeydew, and strawberries in December but I certainly got my fill to make up for our melon-less winter months here in Ontario. As you can see from my face below, I was a very happy girl!

fruit platter

Moving away from delicious food comas, let’s have a little chat about personal growth today, shall we? I began drafting this post during the 5 hours I had to spare on the plane ride back home on Friday night. There were a lot of things on my mind at the time so I figured I might as well pull out my laptop and start writing about them! A magazine article that I’d read while standing in the airport with a title something along the lines of ‘New Year, New You!’ reminded me, once again, that we’re coming to the end of the year. My thoughts turned to all of the things that have gone on in my life in 2012, and the ways in which I’m a different person from the one I was in January.

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As I thought about this on the plane, the following highlights stood out:

  • I re-connected after 8 years with one of my best friends that I went to school with in the Middle East. She got married back in April and I traveled to Melbourne, Australia to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. We caught up with each other, I broadened my knowledge of a city in Australia I’d never been to before, and I accomplished one of my 2012 goals, which was to go for an amazing long run on the beach there.
  • I’ve (very nearly) completed my Health Coaching course with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and launched my health coaching business this past summer.

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  • I overcame some nasty running injuries including Achilles tendinitis and a sprained SI joint, all while training and running the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon in August. The result I achieved ended up far exceeding what I’d hoped, and throughout the process I developed more mental toughness, and a better connection with my body and the messages it sends me. I also got to catch up with one of my friends whom I’ve known since I was only a few months old, as well as my dad who lives overseas.
  • I started a new job at a new company, which although has similarities to my previous job, is much more high-paced and dynamic. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t mentally draining some days, but I am so incredibly glad that I made the decision to look for a new job because I feel as though I’ve grown leaps and bounds since I started back in September.

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  • I made a few other choices that have helped me to achieve a better balance, including the decision to scale back my blogging schedule to 3 times per week. Not only has this done wonders for reducing my stress levels (and again, I adore blogging but I’m sure other bloggers out there would agree that it can indeed be stressful sometimes!), but I’ve also found a lot more time for doing other things I enjoy like spending time with friends.
  • I challenged myself to new physical endeavours, including rock climbing and anti-gravity yoga.
  • I’ve established a good system of setting aside part of what I earn in an RRSP, and another portion in a tax-free savings account. One of my biggest priorities, among other obvious ones like family, relationships, and health, is to be financially independent and I’m glad that I’ve established a solid saving habit.

As I read the article in the magazine at the airport, I couldn’t help but become a little irked by the suggestions that we totally re-vamp our eating habits and ramp up the intensity of our fitness regimes. While I agree that these sorts of ideas can certainly be motivating, they’re often presented in such a way that involves making big changes come January 1st. If you’ve ever tried to break a bad habit or resolved to do anything major beginning at the start of a new year, chances are you’ve probably fallen off the wagon at least a few times. Big changes are tough to make and even tougher to sustain long-term. In addition to suggesting that we drastically alter our ways, magazine articles like this one I was reading can make us feel like we’re not good enough yet, and totally need to reinvent ourselves in order to be happy.

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So where am I going with this? Today I encourage you to think about the ways in which YOU have grown this year, and how you’ve become a better person. If you’re reading this, chances are you already pay a good amount of attention to your health, fitness, nutrition, and overall lifestyle balance. If that’s the case, there’s no need to go and create a NEW you, because you’re already pretty darn awesome! Sure, I’m all about self-improvement, but today, let’s appreciate ourselves for how great we are today.

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Need a little incentive to get the self-appreciation juices flowing? I’ve got just the thing for you. Remember last week when I announced that one of my December goals is to focus on giving rather than receiving? Well I want to give something to one of you, and my fantastic friends at Sport Chek would like to help. Up for grabs is a $100 Sport Chek gift card for one lucky winner to use however you see fit. If you smashed some crazy awesome fitness goal this year, like running your first marathon or even just running your first 5K, tell me about it and if you win, treat yourself to a pair of new running shoes. Maybe you’ve cleaned up your diet a bit this year and that has translated into a few pounds lost. Tell me your story below and if you win, treat yourself to a new outfit for the gym. Or, maybe you’ve just got some Christmas shopping to finish up and you could use a little extra help. Tell me about something you did this year that you’re proud of, and if you win, use the card to finish off your Christmas shopping…. Just remember to get a little sumthin’ for yourself too!

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Really quickly, here are the details:

  • MANDATORY ENTRY if you want to be eligible to win: Leave a comment below telling me something you’ve done this year that you’re proud of.
  • Additional optional entries:
    • Like Eat Spin Run Repeat and Sport Chek on Facebook (and be sure to comment below telling me you did)
    •  Follow me on Twitter and tweet something like: “I want to win $100 from @SportChek and @eatspinrunrpt http://wp.me/p1Y0xO-4kq #MyBetter

This giveaway will close at midnight on Thursday December  13th, and I’ll announce the winner on the morning of Friday December 14th. Anyone with a Canadian shipping address is eligible, since Sport Chek does not ship internationally.

Good luck!

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