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  • Kids Used To Hate Me

    Hi, Friend. Kids like me. "So what, Kate?", you might be thinking. "Kids like lots of people". "Kids also like fart jokes, and putting mashed potatoes into their hair." I need to give you a bit more context, so we can marvel together on what a HUGE deal this is, mmkay? Kids like me NOW. Kids did NOT like me before. I was one of “those people”. There’d be a kid in front of me, and I would attempt communication, and it never went well. Kids didn’t like me, didn’t trust me, didn’t feel comfortable around me. They’d get scared, and had that whole quivering lip thing going on as soon as I addressed them. I felt stiff around them, and didn’t know how to talk to them. THAT WAS THEN. This shot was taken this spring, and I swear I am actually encouraging this kid. HONEST! But you gotta admit, that's NOT what this look like. lol...... AND THIS IS NOW... NOW I can make a baby giggle. I can read a book to a four year old, and do the voices. I can play a SOLID game of peekaboo. What’s different? Well, I could say that I have been enlightened ever since having children. I am a better human now, blah blah blah, and I have stepped into my feminine energy. Except that’s not it. It’s just… the reps. Time under tension. Deliberate practice. The most mindblowing aspect of this whole “hanging out with children” skill has been just that - realizing it’s a SKILL. It’s a set of responses, reactions, actions and behaviors that can be PRACTICED and LEARNED. Wintering well is like that too. We go around thinking it’s just that winter doesn’t like US, and WE don’t like winter, and it’s this hopeless mutual dislike. Except… wintering is also a skill. Managing one’s mood and energy throughout the winter is a skill. It’s also a set of responses, reactions, actions and behaviors that can be PRACTICED and LEARNED. Imagine: – hearing Christmas carols in October, and not wanting to smash something– seeing egg nog at the grocery store and smiling, instead of feeling your stomach drop – looking forward to winter running– being excited about the snow All of this ^^^ possible because of a … SKILL? Yep. Hugs,

  • The Hardest Part Is Not What You Think It Is

    Hi, Friend. I could not hear what he was saying because of my own sobbing.Finally, I slow down my breath to make it out: “Ok, ok. Stop crying. You are ok. Where are you?”. “At the gymmm!”, I wail quietly, trying not to attract too much attention. “Ok, that’s good, so you are not driving. ”I dragged my sorry ass out of my chair, drove for thirty minutes in the grey nastiness that has the audacity to call itself winter in Ontario, and now I am sitting on a random bench inside LA Fitness. Even the name of the gym chain is infuriating. Freaking LA! “I don’t feel like doing anythiiiiiiing………..”. “Where in the gym are you?” He talks me though it, slowly. The conversation probably sounds ridiculous to an outsider. Heck, it sounds ridiculous to me. “The change room.” I stare at the rows of lockers, and wonder if I can fit inside one of them and close the door. “All right. Are you changed?” “Sort of”, I whimper. “I am still wearing the outside shoes, and a sweater”. “ Good. Do you have gym shoes with you? So, let’s put those on now. Ok? Put the phone down for a minute”. I put down the phone beside me, and start fumbling with shoes, feeling like a two year old.But with a cell phone. And a bad case of winter blues. “Ok. Shoes are on”. “Good!” He sounds so proud of me, I want to throw up a little. “Now, the sweater! Do you want to keep it on?” “Yes. I am cold”, I whine. “Keep it on then. What will you do at the gym today?”. “I don’t know”. “How about the warm-up? What would you usually do for warm-up?” “Um. A five minute run on a treadmill, maybe”, I offer weakly. “And then, I would do some mobility exercises”. I perk up ever so slightly. “See? You already have a plan. Go do that, and then call me after if you need to. Deal?” “Deal”. I almost never call back. The hardest part is to start. Actually, no. The hardest part is to reach out for help. To decide that I will pick up the phone and admit to someone that I am struggling and could use some hand holding, instead of deciding (as I have so many times before) that I really SHOULD be able to figure this out on my own, and then… trying to do just that, failing and driving straight home. Or.. never making it out of the house in the first place. But, wait… that might not be THE hardest part either. The hardest part comes right before reaching out for help. It’s the part where we DECIDE that we are ready for help. That we are READY to get some assistance, some space holding, some support. If winter tends to SUCK for you, and you would love for it to SUCK LESS this year, then you might indeed be in that HARDEST moment. Having to decide. If you are one of my winter-loving friends - hang tight. Hugs,

  • Can You Get Out Of Bed In The Morning? Fantastic. You Are Fine!

    Hi, friend. "Do you cut yourself?" That's what the slightly annoyed woman on the other end of the phone line wanted to know. I was calling up an eating disorder clinic to ask them about the outpatient program they had, hoping to get on the list. First of all, holy moly, no warm-up? Second of all... cut myself?? I... didn't. I immediately felt bad. Like an underachiever. Like I didn't struggle enough. “I am thinking of joining Operation Tigger, but I don’t think I’m struggling with winter ENOUGH” is the concern I find in my inbox every single year. “Yes, my energy drops, and my mood drops, and I am more irritable than usual, and my workouts sort of drag, but … like… I’m fine, you know?”. Oh, I know. I’m the queen of fine. A friend told me once: “You know… you may come off as too strong for your own good. You exude and radiate an aura of got-my-shit-together-edness like few people I know. Most who know you wouldn’t think you’d need help”. Also... the unfortunate fact is that there IS often a struggle threshold. Like… we have to struggle a certain amount before being eligible for help. You gotta pass the struggle test. The woman on the phone had more questions. "Do you abuse alcohol or drugs?" Umm... The two bottles of craft beer have been in my fridge for weeks. As for drugs - not since smoking weed in India. But, that's India - it's actually harder to get beer in India. Does coffee count? "How often do you think of hurting yourself", continues the woman. I finally snap. "Listen, I am not suicidal! I have an eating disorder. Which is why I called YOU, and not a suicide prevention hot line". "Oh". The woman sounds disappointed. "Well, if there is no immediate risk of self-harm, we do not put your name on the list". There was no other list. Which, perhaps, is the crux of the problem for anyone in the "high-functioning" camp - anxiety, depression, burnout, alcoholism, seasonal affective disorder. Take your pick. "Look at you! You are vertical, AND you don't have a gun barrel in your mouth. Congrats!". You don’t struggle enough. You are just fine enough. It's hard to find a place where you go if you are just a regular person who is fucking tired, but more so than usual, and occasionally sort of depressed, but still manages to get their laundry done. I found that place with few people. And I try to build that place for others. I don’t care what the annoyed woman on the phone told you - in my book, if you are considering getting support for whatever struggle - you struggle just the right amount. There is no official struggle threshold here. YOU decide. And I will welcome you with open arms. If your struggle is something else, I hope you find a place that doesn’t make you RANK your struggle on a scale of 1 to 10, before you can get help. Have questions - you can find me here: Hugs,

  • Here, Honey, Try This (Said In My Mom Voice)

    Hey, Friend. I think of all humans as solar-powered. Solar panels harness the energy of the sun to produce power. When it’s dark and gloomy, they will operate at reduced efficiency. Heck, even if you ADOOOOORE winter, and skiing, and all winter-things, you are often DONE with winter by the time the end of February rolls around. You are ready for some sunshine! And if you are anything like me, that solar battery is starting to run out of juice by .. oh I don’t know… November? lol This is where the “happy lamps” come in. A happy light is the endearing short form for light therapy lamp, which is a specifically designed lamp that mimics natural sunlight. It's used to combat symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other conditions (some sleep disorders, non-seasonal depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder) where lack of sunlight affects one's mood and energy. Unlike regular lamps, a happy light delivers a brighter and broader spectrum of light, typically around 10,000 lux, which is close to the intensity of sunlight on a clear day. If you struggle with energy drop and mood drop in the darker months, and have never tried using one, this is me begging you to do it THIS winter in my best “mom voice”. I’ll even call you “honey”, if you want. Light therapy lamps are well-researched, have very few downsides and MANY upsides, and are the first-line solution for seasonal droopiness (that’s the technical term). But, the choice is overwhelming (as with everything these days), and these lamps are NOT all made equal. Size matters. [No, really.] Brand matters. Here’s a quick 7-minute video with a few tips on choosing your lamp and using your lamp: Here are the two brands I mentioned in the video: Hugs,

  • Again?

    Hey, Friend. Exactly a year ago I sent out an email, talking about the things I could control and the things I could not. Could: my writing, my coaching work, bringing you Operation Tigger Could not: news, headlines, scary things happening all over the world I wasn’t really expecting that email to be relevant again - ALL. OVER. AGAIN. - exactly a year later. There are three countries in the world where I have family: Canada Russia Israel So here you go. That same email. A year later. I finally called grandma this week. Everyone is scared. Meanwhile, I am here in Canada, reciting the Serenity prayer yet again with my very-atheist-lips, trying to focus on the things I can control and accept the things I cannot. One thing I can control is my own behavior. I almost typed “my own mental health”, but that’s not entirely within my control, obvs. Buuutttt, the behaviors, the things I do, the words I type with this very keyboard - those are within my control. Supporting others - in my personal life, in my coaching work - that’s also within my control. Supporting others is within my control. THIS I can do. THIS I know how to do. I can help you to have a winter that does NOT suck. I know that managing winter when you really struggle in the winter goes wayyy beyond “dressing for the weather” and “positive mindset”. [Tell me who the last person was who told you to have a positive mindset, so I can punch them for you.] I have been managing seasonal affective disorder for the last ten years. I have been running this group coaching program for the last three, (scratch that) FOUR years. This year I will support a group of folks like myself, as we winterize the shit out of our behaviors, habits, days, diets and workout regimes. Is this you this month? This year? If it’s not you or FOR you, I’ll be here for you in a different way, continuing to write you letters about braiding my children’s hair, and “not-reading-the-news”. Either way, I will see you IN here. In your inbox. Sending hugs. Hugs,

  • I Was Horrified (And I Don't Want YOU To Be) - A Special Playlist For You!

    Hey, Friend. HORRIFIED. That's the only word for it - I was truly horrified by what I discovered. Last year I took the time to listen to every single interview and podcast episode there was on seasonality, winter, managing winter, managing seasonal affective disorder, and all the other adjacent topics. I have already read every single book on the topic, and dove into the research, but I also knew that most people do not have TIME to do that, and will probably resort to information that is easy to find and easy to consume. Right now, that's podcasts. Let me save you hours of your life with a brief report on what's out there. The audio content I sifted through falls into three categories: 1. fellow sufferers bitching about winter Imagine an hour or two of people talking about how much winter sucks. Relatable, but not helpful. 2. clinicians discussing their research Awesome, and helpful, BUT after hearing "circadian rhythms" AND "glucocorticoid signalling" in ONE sentence, my eyes were glazing over - and it was July! No way anyone struggling with winter is going to find the energy to get through this IN the winter. 3. the woo-woo abyss I had to take breaks to get through some of these. But you know I am dedicated to the cause, so... I marched on, fueled by coffee and hate. One medical medium(whatever the HELL that is) suggested that you just have to detox your liver to stop struggling with winter, because.... wait for it.... the antibiotics you took thirty years ago are killing you. <--- I so wish this particular point was an exaggeration for comic effect, but it is not. I was "thrilled" to hear that the only thing we need to do here is to take zinc (because who doesn't take random supplements based on a random podcast episode, amirite?), and... WAIT FOR IT ONCE AGAIN.... not only you have to take zinc, it has to be this very special zinc, the one that this person conveniently sells on their website, because other zinc supplements have preservatives and additives, and if you were taking THOSE supplements, you might as well be taking poison. I know.. I know.. I'm crying from the predictability of this particular fucking cliche too. Isn't it amazing? This fall I decided to make sure to dilute the bullshit on Spotify at least somewhat, and appear on a handful of podcasts with trusted colleagues. May I present "Winterizing 101"- a Spotify playlist with five interviews(and more coming) where I discuss seasonality, managing winter, adjusting movement and nutrition to the seasons, self-compassion, changing appetite and cravings, and more. Listen to "Winterizing 101" instead. For the love of all things evidence-based. Hugs,

  • Where Do You Get Your Haircuts, And The Tangible Evidence Of Our Work

    Hi, Friend. I’m waiting for my coffee at a local bakery - they are known for their butter tarts, and their coffee is just ok, but it’s that time of day when I don’t care. “Hey, Kate! I meant to ask you…” “Yes?” “Where do you get your haircuts?” The barista wants to know, before handing me my coffee. She is the third person to ask me that question in the last few months. I know why she’s asking. She has short hair herself. My hair is short, and well cut, and well shaped, AND funky. It LOOKS expensive. I shake my head ruefully. “Nowhere close to here”. The truth is… my hair is a project every time it’s cut, precisely because I love my hairstylist so much. I drive an hour to Toronto, and an hour or more back, depending on traffic. It’s worth it. The commute and the cost were both factors in me going back to dark hair - I couldn’t justify spending an entire Saturday at a hair salon, AND paying two weeks’ worth of groceries for the outcome - even though the outcome WAS bangin’. Fellow mom on the soccer field, as we are watching our precious darlings roll around on the field with toddler-sized soccer balls. “Where do you get your hair done?”. “Toronto”, I sigh. She sighs back. “Yeah, I figured it wasn’t anywhere in town.” I walk out of the store, as the car pulls up and an older gentleman rolls down his window. “That’s a cool haircut!”, he calls out. “Looks great on you!” All of this very-welcome-attention leaves me with two thoughts: 1. I should leave my stylist a bigger tip next time, and… 2. What is the coaching equivalent of this? My hairstylist’s work is visible and tangible. I wear her work on my head every day. If you see me, you see her work. It’s that visible. Landscapers can claim the same thing. “Wow, your garden is beautiful. Who did it? Can I get their number?” Some strength coaches and personal trainers go as far as lean into that as a marketing angle. “Body by Minnie”, or “Butt by Brian”, or whatever. A little self-aggrandizing, if you ask me, but ok. What about MY work? The results of my work are rarely commented on by the outside eye. How do you take before and after pictures of “thank you so much for helping me reframe this super unhelpful narrative”? Your neighbor is probably not going to say: “My goodness, you seem especially well regulated lately. Have you been working with a coach?” And often, that’s a good thing. I don’t really care if my work is VISIBLE. I care that my work is FELT. And with some things… no difference at all is the biggest progress you can ask for. Imagine being JUST AS strong as ten years ago. Imagine sleeping JUST AS well as you were before you had children. This winter, what if you didn’t notice ANY difference (for once)? In how you feel, in how you act, in how you ARE? If you are not that impacted by the seasons, this is unimpressive (and unnecessary). But if you, like me, turn into a pathetic couch puddle once October arrives, then this IS the incredible transformation you are after. You just want to continue being YOU, not shift into mere existence until the snow melts. STAY you, instead of turning into couch Gollum clutching onto cookies. Stay active, keep eating the way that makes you feel your best, keep seeing people, and doing things. I don't do anything half way, y'all. ;) Hugs,

  • Bitch, Please: Meal Planning For Lazy Rebels Who Hate Structure

    Hi, Friend. Let's talk about meal planning. And how it's stupid. Lolz. I am kidding. Sort of. A colleague at work told me once about this woman who planned out her meals a year in advance. A. Year. In. Advance. There was a spreadsheet and everything. All that made me want to do is to poke my eye out with a carrot stick. Most folks who DO meal plan and meal prep do not go to such lengths, of course. But even planning a week in advance seems like more commitment I am prepared for - you feel me? I am never going to find myself having pre-planned Cajun grilled shrimp skewers with roasted potatoes and asparagus puree for lunch on a random Wednesday in July. I am a lazy rebel who hates structure. A more likely scenario for me is some version of: “Oh shit, it’s 1pm, and I have a meeting in 15 minutes, and I’m hungry, and I am going to be in back to back meetings for the next three hours”. Resulting lunch is one banana, fourteen crackers and three pieces of ham. Not exactly the meal of champions. But also… there are now four live actual food-eating humans in my household, who frustratingly need to be fed multiple times a day, and so SOME semblance of planning is a must. Thankfully the whole nutrition coaching expertise thing helps to know that meal planning does not have to look like dozens of identical plastic containers neatly stacked that you see on Pinterest. Not just jar salads for the wee, but also handmade jar LABELS. With lace backdrop and lavender glitter. Bitch, please. That is literally NEVER going to happen. *Side note - if you are lazy in general, stay away from Pinterest - you are bound to walk away feeling sad and inadequate, as that place is crawling with people who like to work hard. I propose that there should be Pinterest for lazy people, where one is not allowed to use any more than three things in any craft project, and the most advanced technique you’d need to be familiar with would be gluing something onto a piece of paper. Generally, we, meal-planning haters, have three objections to the whole endeavor: We hate cooking. We hate prepping. We hate structure. I know, I know… When I put it like that, it seems hopeless. Crackers and cheese for life. Except, clarity allows for problem solving. Once we identify the main barriers / objections, we can plan for and around each one. “I hate cooking” = Minimize cooking. This means → precooked protein, boxed and bagged salads, strategic take-out. Roast chicken from the grocery store reigns supreme. Pre-cooked meat strips that you can throw on a salad? Those too. “I hate prepping” = Minimize amount of time spent prepping. This means → precut vegetables, fruit and berries; frozen vegetables, fruit and berries. Canned beans - regardless of what the internet says about pre…SOAKING THE BEANS? Fuck that noise. Feeling like you have to pre-soak the beans is up there with making your own nut milk - a great way to ensure that you are never eating beans. Or nut milk. “I hate structure” = Minimize repetition, and routine. This means → relying on a menu of options, rather than a schedule. A Taco Tuesday is probably never going to be appealing, just due to its cliche predictability. Instead, having taco ingredients on hand will be helpful. Same goes for having pizza ingredients. It’s an option, but… who’s to say WHEN we are going to exercise that option? All the freedom. ;) This email is about meal planning, but also… it’s more than that. Here are three takeaways that I want to leave you with: 1. Know who you are, and what your preferences are. Go with yourself, not against yourself. 2. Clarity allows for solutions. Identify objections one by one - then don’t argue with the objections, but troubleshoot around them. 3. Stay away from Pinterest. Hugs,

  • She Was Allergic To French Fries (Gimme A Break)

    Hey, Friend. Before I delve into our topic today, I want to share one of my favorite interviews I have ever given on a podcast. Those are some strong words, and I am not afraid to use them. When Ren Jones and I get together, there are fireworks, kittens and a Mariachi band. That's the vibe. In the latest episode, we discuss diet culture, change-neutral coaching and periodization when it comes to nutrition and training. Listen to it HERE. Onto this week's letter: I had a client once who indicated on the intake form that she was allergic to French fries and ice cream. Note: NOT potatoes, and dairy, but: French fries and ice cream. My first thought was… “Hmmm, there’s an allergy I have not heard about. I’m looking forward to learning more”. No. I am totally lying. THAT was not my first thought. My first thought was: “OH, PLEASE…”. Coaches that I work with often feel bad for having thoughts like these. “I don’t want to judge my clients!” While that’s a fair desire, it might not be a realistic one. Our FIRST knee-jerk reaction thoughts are rarely OURS. They are often the reflection of years of cultural conditioning, media bullshit, untrue narratives and all that fun stuff. Our SECOND thoughts are thoughts that we can mindfully choose. The thoughts that more accurately reflect not just who we are as people, but who we CHOOSE to be as people → identity as a daily choice. Humans are hardwired to perceive and evaluate information based on their previous experiences. That means - we WILL judge others. One of my personal red flags is when someone says “I never judge others”. “Ok there, Gemma. Are you deluding yourself? Or are you lying? Which one is it???” What IS a reasonable and recommended goal is that our judgments do not impact our work, and do not impact our clients. What IS a reasonable goal is that we are aware of which thoughts reflect who we are and who we want to be, and which thoughts do not. So, while my FIRST thought was: “OH, PLEASE…” (hello, there, eye rolling teenage self); my SECOND thought was “I’m looking forward to learning more”. Or, in other words: “Hmmm, that’s interesting. I wonder what they could mean by this.” When I spoke to this client, and asked her to elaborate, she said that she was convinced she had an allergy to those foods, because every time she ate them, she felt sick after. It also turned out that: 1. She did not eat those foods very often, because she viewed them as “bad” or “forbidden”, and 2. When she did eat those foods, she ate large quantities and quickly. Not a huge mystery, right? Also, probably, not an allergy. However, our conversation did not center around me, the “expert”, educating the client about the differences between “allergy” and good ol’ overeating. Instead, we talked about 1. How she felt about consuming these foods, 2. Whether she would like to include those foods into her life more regularly (and therefore, making them no longer forbidden), and 3. The situations and circumstances around eating those foods - did she always feel sick after eating them, or only sometimes? Were they any times that she could recall that she ate those foods, and truly enjoyed them? She walked away with a concrete plan of action. More importantly, she walked away feeling empowered - like she could do something about this problem that she was having. That’s a win. So, yay. But, make no mistake, this is hard. A shift from “expert” to “coach” can be a hard one to make - after all, we are passionate about what we know, and spend a good chunk of our waking hours learning more. Realizing that what we KNOW often does not matter much is a hard pill to swallow. What about you? Does hearing someone say something that you KNOW is wrong and NOT correcting them makes your head explode? :) How do you handle it? Hugs,

  • 100-Mile Experiment - What I Learned From Eating Only Local Foods For 30 Days

    HEY, Friend. This week I’m sharing some takeaways from my 100-mile experiment - all the things I learned from eating only local foods for thirty days. But first: I am appearing in a handful of podcast interviews this month to talk about seasonality, and seasonal approach to nutrition, movement and running your business. Given how impacted by fluctuations in light and temperature humans are, expecting ourselves to eat the same way, move the same way and make money the same way year round makes absolutely no sense. Our mood will fluctuate, our energy will fluctuate - heck… the availability of ingredients for your salad will fluctuate. Soooo, if you have a podcast, and think this will be a good fit, holler at me. Now, back to the 100-mile experiment! This remains the most drastic food-related experiment I have undertaken to this day, and I have shared the specific rules that I laid out for myself, as well as the foods I gave up in the last week’s email. If you missed it, you can catch up HERE. Given the extensive list of rules and restrictions, I knew this was not going to happen willy-nilly, so the night before the first Monday included an extensive grocery shopping trip, as well as the fridge clean out. The first morning arrived, and I got out of bed, instead of lounging around as usual. I knew that my regular coffee was not coming. Instead, I headed to the fridge to start making breakfast. As I opened the fridge door, I marveled at how uncluttered the shelves were - every single item was fresh. And, of course, local. Breakfast consisted of eggs, bacon and greens from the garden. Later for lunch - another salad with chicken and tomatoes (again from the garden). Not bad! How hard could this be? I had this 100-mile thing in the bag. The reality check hit on the second day, when I was hit with a raging caffeine-withdrawal headache. Boo! That did put a bit of a damper on the next couple of days, however, headaches subsided; meanwhile, every meal continued to taste amazing - delicious home cooked meals - everything made from scratch - from chili to soup to stews. I could eat like this forever! If only I could have coffee back. And peanut butter. A week into the experiment, I found a “100-mile store”, and made a pilgrimage downtown Toronto, both curious and hopeful. The thing I realized about both farmer’s markets and grocery stores, specializing in local food is that you still have to read the labels. It is not uncommon to find bananas sold at an Ontario farmer’s market alongside apples and carrots. Now Niagara region is known for warmer climate, but I am pretty sure they ain’t growing bananas. The farmers may choose to sell some nonlocal items simply to meet the demands of the shoppers - if a busy parent is shopping for apples and bananas, and they cannot find both at a farmer’s market, they will head to a grocery store instead. With that in mind, I cautiously approached the fully stocked shelves of the store, ignoring the tall bottles of flavoured olive oil. Olives and Canada do not mix, that much I knew. Same went for bags of brown rice. The grains section had me interested. If I could find local flour, we’d be golden. Flour means bread, buns, wraps, sandwiches, pasta and whatever else my partner’s creative mind comes up with. Local sources of fat were limited to bacon grease and butter (oh how I missed nuts and avocado!), so we needed the carbohydrates to balance out the meals. And I have had my fill of white potatoes and butternut squash. When it comes to local foods, there is a difference between locally produced (grown, created) and locally manufactured (roasted, milled, packaged). You may find locally roasted coffee beans - and that’s probably the way to go, as they will be fresher - however, the beans are still traveling from Costa Rica or Ethiopia. Long way to go. Way more than 100 miles. Finally, I spotted a bag of flour - wheat milled and grown in Ontario! Score! We would have bread! I could hardly contain my excitement. A man in his 50s, who was restocking the shelves, saw me reading the labels with a determined expression on my face, and came over to offer help. He turned out to be a wealth of information (note to self - ask for help more!). I told him about the 100-mile experiment and my coffee and peanut butter woes. “Well, you are out of luck with coffee”, he said. “But I think I can help you with the other thing”. He pulled a jar off the shelf. It was… peanut butter. Actual real peanut butter made from Ontario peanuts. I squealed, as I clutched the jar. And then hugged the man. He seemed pleased - I imagine it wasn’t too often that the customers would get this excited over some ground up peanuts. Not to bury the lede, but… we did make it the entire month. Anything surprising to you in that list? Let me know. :) Stay tuned for the last part of this blog later this week, where I answer the questions YOU sent in, and share a few specific things YOU can do in terms of incorporating some local foods into your diet without going all 100-mile diet. :) Hugs,

  • The Most Extreme Food Experiment I Have Ever Undertaken

    Hey, Friend. Today I want to tell you about the most extreme food experiment I have ever undertaken. This was a number of years ago, and the lessons from that one month persist to this day. I am notorious for self-experimentation. I love, love, LOVE experiments. I love trying new things. New sports. New activities. Different ways of eating. The latter is especially fun for me, as I work with a variety of clients who have all kinds of food allergies, intolerances and limitations. I first learned about the 100-mile diet a few years ago, and the seed of the idea has been in my mind ever since. The original experiment is described in the book “The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating”, written by a couple from Vancouver in the early 2000s. I never understood why people made such a big deal out of local food. “I can have strawberries in February, even though I live in Canada”, I thought to myself. “Who cares where they come from?”. That all changed on a beautiful spring day a few years ago. I walked into a local grocery store to pick up a couple of staples, and was stopped in my tracks at the entrance. “What was that smell?”, I wondered. It wasn’t a smell, but rather scent, aroma, an intense hug of deliciousness that entered my nose. My senses demanded to know where it was coming from. Whatever this was, I wanted it. And then I found the source of that sensational overload. Strawberries. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Or nose, rather. Could this be? I’ve been eating strawberries all year, but this… These strawberries were something else. The month was June. I just came across the first batch of local Ontario strawberries, picked a day before at a local farm. And just like that I understood why people made a big deal out of local food. My mind was blown. Ok, but eating 100% local? That sounded really hard. I wanted to do it! I wanted to learn more about where my food came from. I wanted to choose fruit and vegetables that were grown close to home - both for environmental impact and taste. I wanted to see whether eating locally is plausible - logistically and financially. While undertaking a diet like this for a year seemed drastic, I was confident that I could eat this way for a month. I can do anything for a month. Being based in Ontario, the month of September was the best month to do it with abundant produce and all the bounty of the farmer’s markets. The best part? My husband got on board!!! Perfect. We were going ALL IN! Those of you who know me well are gasping at the list above, because it contains two of my favorite things in the world: coffee and peanut butter. But then if you know me well, you also know that I will sometimes do very very uncomfortable things for the sake of curiosity (and then an opportunity to share what I learned with others). I was determined. Planning ahead was going to be key here. This was NOT an experiment we could wing without preparation. Curious how the experiment went? Did we finish it? What were some of the surprises? How expensive was it? Hugs,

  • The Secret Ingredient In Clients’ Success, And That Time The Cyclist Hated Her Workouts

    Hi, Friend. Today I’ll talk about about clients’ successes and the one thing that I found to be key to those successes again, and again. But first, real quick… I have announced a few weeks ago that I had one coaching spot remaining for the month of September - that spot was gone the same morning, so I never even announced any availability on social media. I am now kicking off a waitlist for 1:1 clients, so if you are interested in potentially working with me in the next 3-6 months, you should totally absolutely hit Reply and let me know. There is never an expectation or a commitment to anything, rather I will just make sure to ping YOU first, if/when I have a spot. Of course, Operation Tigger is also kicking off in the next couple of months, so if you are the winter-hating type, we might just end up working together in that program too. ;) There. All business. *adjusts her shirt and tie. And now back to our regular programming: When it comes to a client-coach relationship, and the client’s SUCCESS, there IS a secret ingredient. Every single client I worked with who has been successful in achieving the goals they set out for themselves had this ONE thing. OMG, KATE, JUST TELL ME ALREADY! THIS IS WORSE THAN LOOKING UP A RECIPE ON THE INTERNET AND THEN BEING FORCED TO READ ABOUT YOUR GRANDMOTHER. No, no… these are “letters”. Snail mail. Hot tea. Sitting by the fire. We are doing it the long way. ;) A while ago I had a conversation with a woman I met at a dinner party. She was asking me if I had a recommendation for a strength coach in town. “Of course”. But first, I wanted to know what she was looking for. What was she doing already? Why did she feel she needed the change? The woman is a competitive cyclist, who has been training with a cycling coach. So far, so good. Going forward, she would like to get stronger. Ok! Still following. Her cycling coach has developed a strength program for her. Awesome. She is working with someone who knows her sport, and knows it well, and who has years of experience helping athletes just like her! She does NOT feel like the workouts are what she needs. Hmmmm… Hold the phone. This is where I need more information. Were the workouts that her cycling coach put together for her hurting her? No. Were they unreasonably long? Gruelling? Unrealistic, given her schedule? No. Did they require equipment that she did not have? No. So… WHAT WAS MISSING? The woman shrugged, and told me that the workouts just did not include the movements that she thought she needed. Now – I am all for taking ownership when it comes to decisions about your body. YOU know what it’s like to BE in your body, to LIVE in your body, and sometimes, things just feel off. Yet it’s hard to imagine a similar scenario taking place with any other industry. “My tooth was hurting, and my dentist told me that I needed a filling, but I didn’t feel like that’s what I needed”. While no one would dispute your expertise as a dentist, things are different when it comes to nutrition, health and exercise. We are ALL experts. Except… we are not. Every single client I worked with who has been successful in achieving the goals they set out for themselves had to TRUST me as their coach, TRUST my expertise, and TRUST the process. One former client who lost 100 pounds and has undergone an incredible inner transformation says: “”Trusting in the process” was my mantra for this year. I must have said that to myself 100s of times. Every time I was unsure about something, frustrated, or impatient, I repeated those words to myself. They were powerful words and made all the difference for me”. Many folks want to know exactly why they are doing what they are doing. Why this exercise, and not that one? Why am I doing this movement in each workout? Why this order? Why this sequence? While I am always happy to provide some information on the why, I also ask the client whether they want to focus on getting the results, or on learning what brings the results. The two are different. They both take time. And, most clients do not have time for both. And, while I would still be happy to recommend a strength coach for this woman, there are few questions that I would ask her to consider first. What am I trying to do here? What is the goal I am trying to achieve? What qualifications am I looking for in my coach? Am I ready, able and willing to trust their expertise? What will it take for me to trust them? How will I know once I achieve my goal? What will be my indicators? Measured outcomes? What have I done already to try and accomplish this goal? What has worked? What has not worked? How do I know? How did I decide that something was working? How did I decide that something was NOT working? [It is not uncommon for me to hear from folks who give a training program a week before declaring that it does not work.] If you are considering hiring a professional in the new year, be it a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a running coach, or a website designer, I suggest you consider these questions as well. It would make your success and their job much easier. :) P.S. The photos? They are most definitely NOT AI generated. :) That's my best friend Aubrie. She is a kickass cyclist. She is NOT the cyclist from the example, but you gotta admit that these pics are fire, so you're welcome. Hugs,

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