PANDAS AWARENESS: HUH, LIKE THE BEAR?

Yesterday PANS/PANDAS awareness day and if you’d asked me a few years ago what on earth that was, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I had never heard of the disease.

And ironically, in our small city, tonight there is a huge fundraiser event for PANS/PANDAS and I’m unable to go because our ‘panda’ is in what I call a flare, or an episode.

I’ve learned a lot, more than I would have liked, about the chronic illness we have been dealing with for our son for nearly 4 years would. I would learn it was in fact PANDAS or pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus.

So in easier to understand words, it’s an autoimmune disease that flares up when the child contracts strep. The immune system incorrectly begins attacking a part of the brain causing all kinds of symptoms that look different in each and every child. Symptoms including OCD, anxiety, tics, ADHD-like behavior, and more. PANS is a similar autoimmune syndrome but reacting to an infection other than strep…a virus, lyme disease, mycoplasma…or really anything that can inflame and activate the immune system.

Our son’s story with PANDAS is really not my story to tell. It’s his story to tell. One day, when he understands it more deeply. One day, when he can wrap his head around it all. And then he can choose how and when and with whom he shares it. 

MY story with PANDAS however is about stepping head first into the role of advocate for my child. It’s about awareness and understanding and even availability. It was trusting my gut instincts, spending hours researching on WebMd and google, and spending time and money on the wild ride of a medical roller coaster.

Advocacy started as a part time job for me when we found ourselves in this situation. It was about asking questions, digging deeper and never giving up.

And after the past 4 years, I can say without a doubt there’s nothing more important I could’ve done with my time!

Although sometimes exhausting and frustrating beyond belief, there is nothing I’d take back or second guess when it came to this pursuit and my advocacy.

See PANDAS isn’t always considered a “real” diagnosis in the medical field, even though it has been around for 30 years and advocated for by numerous pioneering professionals. But it’s one of these confusing, hard-to-define, no-two-people-look-the-same kind of diagnoses. If you’ve met one child with PANDAS, well, you’ve seen one manifestation of the disease. And you’ve gotten one days’ worth of knowledge about it. 

PANDAS can look like an anxious child unwilling to leave the house or go to school…ever.

It can look like vocal or motor tics that never, ever stop. Ever. Or come and go …

Shoulder shrugging, eyes blinking, humming, throat-clearing, staring off.

It can look like sleep disturbances, fits of rage, outbursts of emotions, bedwetting, hair-pulling, skin-biting, and memory loss.

It can be hyperactivity and literal exhaustion.

It can be obsessions that disrupt life.

Or it can be only a few of those things. Or all of them.

It can be mild or it can be severe.

It can be drastic changes in handwriting, or huge regressions in mathematics. So much so that it’s almost like two different people are completing the work.

But then again, it really is like having two different children inside one body.

Because some days, these symptoms are completely absent. And other days, they’re raging. 

As a PANDAS mom, I can’t stress enough how important it is to continue to advocate and try to find a PANDAS aware doctor…one who believes you. And who will listen and ask all of the questions. And secondly, I can’t stress the importance that you know just how many people are living this nightmare with you and to find those communities and lean into them.

I found our son’s doctor and this avenue because of other parents sharing their stories. And then I found answers and support in the online spaces where I could connect with others who were going through this rollercoaster themselves.

Because PANDAS (and PANS) like so many illnesses, is often suffered in silence.

It’s confusing. It’s doctors’ scratching their heads and referring you to specialists. And then therapists. It’s misdiagnoses. It’s questions about your parenting style. It’s feeling misunderstood. It’s feeling alone and isolated. It’s wondering if maybe it’s all in your head. It’s an up-and-down roller coaster with good days that make you forget about the bad ones.  And bad days that make you question if there were ever good ones in the first place. 

For years, PANDAS kept us confused. It weighed heavily on our family and especially our little boy. It masked his personality and quieted his spirit. We wondered and worried and questioned. And then one day, after years of searching, we got some answers and a direction to head in. And while healing with PANDAS is possible, it’s like climbing through mountains. It’s peaks and valleys and a lot of uphill work just to feel like you have to climb back down and do it all over again.

But you do not have to go this alone. Because one day, you will break your head through the clouds and have the capacity to share your story with a friend or even the world.

And that friend will know someone else who has a kid with this same disease that she only remembered because of the funny name. And then you’ll find that mom on social media, and you’ll have a mutual out-of-state friend, whocxxd

Accurately diagnosing and treating this disease while working with a practioner who is PANDAS aware, can alter the course of a child’s life and an entire family’s existence.

There is hope. The road will be hard. There will be tears and celebrations. Big and small wins. You’ll see glimpses of the child you know his there under the disease. The one who continues to steal your heart like he did the first time you laid eyes on him. PANDAS will not define his life. And you will look back and say “it was all worth it.”

For more info/support check out https://www.pandaspansontario.org/

Stress, Hormones & Belly Fat

Anyone else ever wonder if someone saw the analytics of your Google searches what they’d think of you, the human behind them ?!? 😂😂

Me to Google : “how to love your curly hair ” or me: “how to not be a crappy mom” 😜 or even me: “how much Disney is too much Disney?” lol <– this doesn’t even take into account any crazy searches I do for medical ailments or when the kids are sick.

Things I’ve learned too much about thanks to Google :

Autoimmune diseases, Disney vacation planning, curly hair and how to live with it, how to get my 💩 together in the morning, parenting and how to stay sane; and my latest obsession: hormones and weight loss !!

Hormones are such a crazy, wild subject but as I hit that mid 30s mark they seem to be EVERYWHERE and affecting EVERYTHING 😳👌

I’ve learned A LOT in a short time!

Wanna know some of the best foods to help with hormone balance :

avocado 🥑
Flaxseed
Broccoli 🥦
Pomegranate
Salmon 🐟
Leafy greens 🥬
Nuts 🥜
Turmeric
Quinoa

Wanna know the best way to drop weight, especially in the midsection once you’re in your mid 30s and on?

Weight/ resistance training 🏋🏻‍♀️

Wanna know one of the worst ways to try to lose weight at this stage ?

High intensity cardio for long periods of time 🏃‍♀️

(I share this one because I love anything that reinforces that I don’t have to run 😉)

But seriously… as we get older our hormones take a shift and the stress hormones get in the drivers seat — as a result, anything that adds stress can also negatively impact weight loss and cause you to actually HOLD ONTO weight. Especially in the belly area ! Gee, thanks, hormones!

This brings me to the next surprising piece of the puzzle that can really mess up our weight loss : STRESS… like it’s not bad enough on its own to feel stressed out…

I have clients come to me often and talk about hitting plateaus or even gaining weight and after some investigation we can usually get to the bottom of things. A lot of the time stress is present.

Why does that even matter? Well think about it: eating well and sleep are essential to weight loss, if you’re stressed out often your sleep is affected. And when it comes to food, again, if you’re feeling the effects of stress and crappy sleep, you’re probably not making the best decisions when it comes to your nutrition ( and it’s understandable).

I get this struggle and understand it so well…

Stress and worry have been a part of my personality for as far back as I can remember so learning about this caused me to take a major step back and look at how I can better handle this.

I’m a natural worrier.

I can actually figure out 4,356 ways something can potentially go wrong before that something has even happened …

I can actually worry myself to the point of not doing something in the first place …

As a child I would lay in bed and worry. About big things : death, illness, fear
About little things : what was that sound? What if I slept in and missed the bus ?
.
You name it. I could worry about it !

As I watched my own son face some of the same struggles with anxiety that I had most of my life, it was an alarm bell going off that this was an area I needed to work on to try to improve… if not for my own sanity and health, to be better able to help him.

So over the last few years I have worked HARD on this. Really hard.

I started to read and watch and listen to personal development books, podcasts even Ted Talks about confidence, courage and inner strength ( The Five Second Rule and Grace Not Perfection are two of my favourites).

I started to focus on living in the moment because I wanted to stop letting my anxiety rule me ( I love the calm app for guided meditations that are quick and I love my Five Minute Journal to write in first thing in the morning and right before bed).

I started to combat my worrying with a daily workout and sweat out some of my stress and anxiety — shutting my mind off for 30 minutes to focus on being stronger and healthier ( I love doing this this from home so it’s available any time I need it)!

I started to practice yoga ❤️

And then one day I read the following line : do one thing EVERY DAY that scares you …

And that’s when I started to do things way out of my introverted comfort zone :

Big things:
-I started to share my fitness journey with the world
-I went on conferences away from my family, on an airplane (which I found terrifying), to join women I only really knew from the online fitness world

And little things :
– I jumped on a paddle board this summer (if you haven’t seen how that went, I encourage you to become friends with me on facebook JUST so you can watch the video and laugh and laugh)
– I got professional photos done
-I stopped feeling too insecure to wear a bathing suit in public

I learned to try to find daily ways to be a WARRIOR instead of a worrier and although I still battle with it, I’m proud of the strides I have made.

We know we can’t eliminate stress from our lives completely ( life is gonna happen) and we know sometimes our hormones have a mind of their own, but imagine even with just a bit of mindfulness, intention and the proper tools in this area, how much better things can be?!

I was resigned to thinking my 30s were just when everything kinda started to fall apart… but I know that now to be untrue. We get to choose and we get to have a say, it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s right for our mind and our bodies and then putting it all into action!

If you need some help navigating some of these areas ( I know there is a TON of info out there), please shoot me a message or email me : lindsay.fortney@gmail.com

We’ve got this ! x

xo Lindsay

Happily Married After…What Now?!

The older I get the more I’m in awe (and disbelief) that Kristofer and I met and got married fresh out of university, just 22 and 24, and really with zero clue how much WORK marriage actually was 😬😂😂😂

When I think back to the marriage prep course our church had us do, I laugh now with understanding.

One day, all of these couples that had been married for MANY years sat down and talked with us and gave us advice and answered our questions about what we thought marriage would be like …

All of them kept saying honestly “marriage is a lot of work” … and “you have to be willing to put in the work” …

🤷🏻‍♀️😏sure …we thought …

To us “work” meant obscure concepts like scheduling date nights, having different parenting styles and making the budget balance …

We had no idea that the same person you could love so deeply that you wanted to spend eternity with, could also be the same person to drive you to the edge of sanity and reason … and that on occasion you’d have to repeat to yourself as you watched him sleep that no, it wasn’t ok to put a pillow over his face (TOTALLY JOKING) 😂😂😂

Or that you could have beautiful stolen moments like dancing in the kitchen to your favourite song years down the road, that could take you back to memories of when you dated 💕and then in the same night watch as he plays a video game on his phone oblivious while you run around trying to make dinner, help the kids with homework, answer the phone and let the dog out in between shooting murderous glances in his direction 😂

TRUST ME, I know these feelings have been mutual at points … #imnoangel😇😈

The truth is, though, those couples who spoke to us, knew what they were talking about.

Marriage is a 💩 LOAD of work.

You have to work to get along.
You have to learn to be a team.
You have taxes and bills and responsibilities and careers and a home to take care of while learning about each other and trying to coexist!

And then to make things EXTRA FUN 👍 you toss tiny humans, hormones, sleepless nights, and poopy diapers into the mix to see if your marriage can go through it’s own version of Survivor and come out victorious ☠️😹

We have most certainly had some MASSIVE ups and downs in this marriage. 💍

Peaks and valleys🏔 like any great romance… but I think the secret for us 12 Years later is that IN SPITE of every one of those setbacks, trials and obstacles, we STILL choose each other to fall in love with, over and over again, every single day 💕

A couple years ago I wrote an “open letter” to Kristofer on our 10th anniversary… here we are, a couple years later so I thought I’d do it again with a few tweaks 💜
.

Dear Kristofer :
In some ways our wedding 12 years ago seems like a million lifetimes ago, and in other ways I remember parts of it in perfect detail like it was yesterday…

At 22 and 24, we thought we were adults but we know now we were just oversized kids who thought we knew it all …

The night before our wedding my bridesmaids stayed over with me at my parents’ place … they were all asleep by 10:30 as I sat awake, staring at the ceiling, too nervous to sleep … letting my brain run wild with all the white noise that surrounds weddings … I have no idea when I finally drifted off to sleep, but it was long after everyone else….

The next morning started out rainy and foggy and I thought my worst nightmare of a rainy wedding day was going to come true…

But by the time the girls and I left the hair salon the sun was shining bright and the skies had cleared … and the weather was perfect …

I ate lunch with my mom and bridesmaids that day; my favourite 22 year old meal : chicken fingers and pub fries 🤦🏻‍♀️

Maybe it was the greasy food, maybe it was nerves, maybe reality sunk in… but once I put my dress on and it zipped up (squeezing like gowns always do), I needed all the pepto bismol and stomach meds😂🤢

We hopped in the limo for the short drive to the church and I got to watch the last of the guests filing into the church while my baby (not babies anymore) cousins, handed out programs for the ceremony …

As I walked up to the church I heard the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard singing and I realized it was the first time I had actually heard your cousin Emily sing 🎶… it was heavenly …and a good distraction …

Because as I walked in the side door I was told I had to “hide” in the tiny little room at the back of the church as my bridesmaids walked up the aisle one by one … (having been a bridesmaid many times now, I know how awful that feels lol. Sorry ladies)

So all that was left was me and my dad.

Dressed up in what he called his “James Bond” suit … a dad and his little girl …

And I’m not gonna lie … he asked me if I wanted to run when he saw the nervousness on my face … “the limo’s right there” he said …

But I looked at him and said, “nah, come on, let’s do this…”

The walk down the aisle is a blur …
The ceremony’s a blur (minus a slip up of yours where you said “infidelity” 🤦🏻‍♀️– my friends still remind me of this lol) and a nice surprise of my cousin traveling from across Canada to surprise me by being there

We had the limo stop on our way to the reception at the farm I grew up on and I got my picture taken with “Silver” the old maple tree in the front of our farm that I lovingly named and played around, waited by for the bus and dreamed beside as a kid …

Then we saw everyone.
We divided and conquered — taking on opposite sides of the room of 220+ people to make sure we said hello and that everyone had lots of wine, beer and cocktails 🍷

You made a beautiful speech to me that I wish I could rewatch but our volunteer cinematographer forgot to press record 🤦🏻‍♀️😂

I had a meltdown in the bathroom with my best friend as the stress of a very emotional, exhausting and overwhelming day caught up to me. But she hugged me. Held my giant gown and veil for me like a rockstar and calmed me down.

I barely remember the drive back to the hotel later that night but I remember it being the first time we had silence in so many hours and the first time we could really talk and soak up the fact that we were now MARRIED 💍😱

Holy crap.

I’ll condense the part where we came home the next day to our new home to find our “friends” had lovingly trashed it by putting shredded paper EVERYWHERE… putting our living room furniture in our dining room, canned goods in random spots, etc … 🤣
Sheesh.

But that was our beginning…

The beginning of learning what it’s like to live together.
Learning each other’s habits (good AND annoying 😂)…
Learning how to fight fairly and get over the s$&@ that really doesn’t matter …

Over 12 years we’ve gone through a lot.

Amazing stuff like two babies, moving into our dream home, adding furry members to our family, taking vacations and making beautiful memories …

And the not so amazing stuff like switching jobs, losing family members & furry friends, going through our own emergency pregnancy loss, having a chronically ill kiddo and the regular stress of trying to live up to an ideal of two parents working (me now from home Hurray!), being the perfect couple and the perfect parents.

We’ve learned a lot.
We’ve struggled a lot.

And here we are.

It’s not easy. It’s not always happy. It’s certainly not always pretty.
But boy am I glad we’re both as stubborn as we are to get through some of the stuff we have ❤️❤️

Happy 12th anniversary to the best 🕺 dancer, and the guy who is perfect (for me)!

Even on the days we drive each other crazy, I wouldn’t want to be on this ride with anyone else.

Xox
Your wife

Hope you enjoyed a little piece of our story (the good and the ugly lol)! If you’re married and working through the rollercoaster ups and downs of every day, I tip my hat to you. It’s not easy…but really, is anything worth having in life easy?

How I’m Beating the Back to School Blues

I don’t know if it’s the hustle and bustle and general chaos of back to school, the changing of the seasons, the shorter days or the loss of some super flexible routines and sleep in days (umm and no lunch packing needed)… But every year with the back to school grind I find myself struggling for a couple of weeks feeling downright blue…and in a huge funk…

I used to keep it to myself… I actually thought it was some anomaly that only I felt. And it seemed kind of selfish to talk about it when I saw my friends who are teachers heading back to work after the summer off while I still got to work from home and have some flexibility in my day.

But as it was eating away at me day after day, I decided to mention it to my good friend Gillian (who ironically is a high school English teacher) and she told me she felt the same flood of emotions and struggles. She felt like she was barely keeping her head above water!

And then I mentioned it to the ladies in the virtual fit club I run and I was shocked to see one after the other comment on what a hard time they were also having with the transition period. Some of them back to the class room and understandably stressed, but others who were stay at home moms, nurses, and even other work from home moms.

Everyone seemed to be feeling in a funk of some sorts.

It seems I wasn’t alone.

And talking about it helped…A LOT…

Taking a minute to say, “man, am I struggling. Some days, even to just get out of bed.” And hearing other busy women say the same gave me some encouragement and then motivated me to do a little research and see what I could do to help end the funk faster than normal …Because let’s face it, the weather (at least in Canada) isn’t going to get any easier and the days getting shorter and more grey aren’t going to help either.

So I picked up a few of personal development books and started listening to podcasts any chance I got to get to the bottom of this.I started with one of my long time favourites ” The Five Second Rule” by Mel Robbins.

If you find it hard to squeeze in book time even just listening to her Ted Talk could do the trick. I’ll link it here for anyone who hasn’t listened before.

Basically this is a process of how to get moving in action and how to get out of our heads and start DOING again.

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned when I’m feeling stuck, or anxious, or even overwhelmed is that doing SOMETHING is the first step to getting ‘unstuck’, and it really doesn’t even matter where you start or what you start with or how you do it.

So my first action step was to get myself out of bed earlier and stop pressing snooze on that alarm I set each night with hopes that the next day would magically be the day I woke up feeling like myself again. I knew that if I could get back into a morning routine and squeeze in a little ‘me’ time I would be better for it.

The first day was tough. I used Mel’s 5-4-3-2-1 technique and then I had to repeat it because my body didn’t get the message the first time lol but I managed to roll out of my comfy bed and make my way down the hall to my office.

I grabbed my Five Minute Journal and used the prompts to help me write out some things I was grateful for before the day even started (that’s another tip if you’re feeling in a funk start with gratitude). It’s really hard to feel a lot of negative emotions when you’re concentrating on even the smallest things you have to feel grateful for !I then read a list of affirmations I created for myself (and if you’re thinking this sounds hokey, I totally did too, but now I swear by them) because our mind believes what we tell it and it’s up to us to tell it the things it NEEDS to hear.After that I sat down with the book I had chosen to read that month, Emily Ley’s

Grace not Perfection” and I read 10 pages of it (which is shockingly easy to do if you love what you’re reading and there’s no kids around peppering you with questions ).Just as I was finishing up, our youngest, who is an extreme early bird, woke up and came in to crawl on my lap and start sharing stories about Minecraft and Pokemon.I set him up with his breakfast, guzzled down the all natural preworkout I so lovingly call “mommy go go juice” and got in a quick 27 minute workout in my basement. Back upstairs in time to hear more stories about Minecraft and get lunches packed and all the other pre school activities done.

I grabbed my Five Minute Journal and used the prompts to help me write out some things I was grateful for before the day even started (that’s another tip if you’re feeling in a funk start with gratitude). It’s really hard to feel a lot of negative emotions when you’re concentrating on even the smallest things you have to feel grateful for !

I then read a list of affirmations I created for myself (and if you’re thinking this sounds hokey, I totally did too, but now I swear by them) because our mind believes what we tell it and it’s up to us to tell it the things it NEEDS to hear.

After that I sat down with the book I had chosen to read that month, Emily Ley’s “Grace not Perfection” and I read 10 pages of it (which is shockingly easy to do if you love what you’re reading and there’s no kids around peppering you with questions ).Just as I was finishing up, our youngest, who is an extreme early bird, woke up and came in to crawl on my lap and start sharing stories about Minecraft and Pokemon.I set him up with his breakfast, guzzled down the all natural preworkout I so lovingly call “mommy go go juice” and got in a quick 27 minute workout in my basement. Back upstairs in time to hear more stories about Minecraft and get lunches packed and all the other pre school activities done.

40 minutes.

That’s how long what I did took, including my workout. It was my miracle morning.

For one, it was a miracle I had finally got out of bed and didn’t feel so blue and lost; and two, it’s actually based on the routine Hal Elrod came up with in his book “ The Miracle Morning” <– another amazing book, by the way that I highly recommend if you are struggling with mornings and starting your day off on the right foot (especially those of us who just aren’t morning people)!

I felt like 40 minutes had unlocked my day.

So I did again the next day.

Did I fly out of bed a brand new woman?

Well no, I dragged myself out of bed still, but with a lot more hope and a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish and where I wanted to go. And dare I say, a bit of excitement instead of dread?

I don’t expect each morning to go perfect or as seamlessly as the first, but at least now I have a blueprint for how I want to run my day and I can stop letting my day run ME into the ground.

What do you think?

Could a change to your morning routine make a difference in your day? Do you think in a time of transition having some guidelines for how you start off your day can help break you out of a funk?

The only way you’ll find out is by giving it a try… let me know if you do how it goes… because ‘ain’t nobody got time for mama to be in a funk all Fall, am I right?’!

xo Lindsay

Stress Eaters Unite

I grew up in the type of family where food was the center of a lot of things.

Food was an integral part of celebrations, conversations, happiness, sadness, entertainment and so on

On my mom’s side, my grandpa S loved to cook the most savory things like perogies, and fall off the bone ribs and fried pickerel. My grandma T on my dad’s side loved to bake (she made the most amazing banana cream pies and cookies and carrot cake). We were always surrounded by good food.

And it wasn’t the food’s fault …

Feeling sad: have a cookie. 

You did great on your report card: let’s go out for ice cream! 

You had a bad day: let’s have some chocolate and talk about it. 

Even though food has always been an emotional thing for me, I never made the connection that I was an “emotional eater” or a “stress eater” or whatever you may want to label it.

But it became glaringly obvious to me once I got the tools and knowledge to make healthy choices in my life, that there was something deeper tugging at me and sabotaging a lot of my efforts. Especially in the kitchen.

Food was my answer.

It didn’t matter the question.

And let’s face it, if I had a bad day, I wasn’t craving salads and raw veggies. I wanted ALL the comfort food.

This led to deeper discussions with myself as to why I felt like I COULDN’T stop eating crap ! Why I could make promises to myself to do better tomorrow. Or the next time …but why I couldn’t stick with that…

Was I addicted to sugar ? (Who isn’t)

Were hormones making it worse ? (Maybe sometimes)

But there was more …

When I gained 50lbs it didn’t happen overnight.

There were constant little things happening all the time. Choices (whether they were conscious or subconscious) that got me to the point I was before I started to workout from home and learn how to eat by tracking macros and portions !

As I took it day by day, workout by workout, meal by meal, progress happened. I started to build faith in myself. I started to learn how it felt to feel GOOD!

Not tired, or sluggish or on edge all of the time. Not bloated and uncomfortable… I FELT HEALTHY. And wow, that s$&@ felt good 😂

And you’d think that would be enough. Knowing how good healthy feels.

But let’s get serious, this is REAL LIFE.

Curveballs happen in life. Emotional stuff. Partners. Kids. Holidays. Work stress.

Things out of your control.

Usually I would stumble. But I’d get right back up again thanks to the little online community I had built with my coaching journey.

We’d use the stumbles as reflections. And things we could relate about. And we’d work through it. Together…

But I noticed myself slipping back into old habits before Christmas this past year.

I noticed myself more tired.

I noticed that when I was feeling sad or anxious my first instinct was to reach for food. Comfort food. Chocolate was my weapon of choice lol

I realized I was pushing further and further into the same darkness I was in before I found my fit family. Before I found home workouts for my anxiety. Before I learned what good foods did for my body…

I wasn’t talking about it.

I didn’t want to acknowledge my flaws.

I didn’t want to let the other women who believed in me and looked at me as a leader to be let down.

Disappointed…

Withdrawing was the worst thing I could’ve done.

It didn’t change anything. I felt alone.

As the emotional eating took hold of me again I realized this was something I was going to be dealing with for my whole life.

I realized certain things triggered my eating.

I realized I wasn’t showing myself the same self love I told my clients and coaches to show themselves.

Whether it was an argument with my husband, or the stress of the holidays, or the overwhelming sense of not knowing what was wrong with our chronically ill son, it didn’t matter.

Food was what I was turning to.

And food wasn’t truly filling that void.

I’ve been working REALLY hard at this part of my life for the past few months.

I’ve started to talk about it more. I’ve started to write about it more — because a) it’s therapeutic and (b) the more I talk about it the more I realize I’m certainly not alone in this struggle.

I don’t think I’m the only mom to collapse on the couch at night and try to make a bad day disappear with a bag of chips.

Or the only woman who has been talked down to at work or had the whole work/ home life balance collapse in front of them feeling like the only way to cope is to eat chocolate until the pain is numbed.

Or even the only woman who has been in a dressing room, tried on ten outfits with no luck, feeling completely unhappy with her body, only to stop for a cheeseburger and ice cream on her way home (face palm)

I’ve been that woman. And more.

When my son became ill 4 years ago I kept thinking it was a big mystery we were just working at to solve. But as time went on. And there were more questions than answers, a lot of things changed.

Last year as he was referred to a chronic pain team I started to realize there may never be answers. That this was our new reality. So how were we going to take the steps to parent and support a child with a chronic illness?

 

Some days it overwhelms me. So much out of our control. So much out of his. And some days it’s my biggest trigger for emotional eating. 

 

Again, it was also something I was very quiet and private about. Another thing I tried to take on, and handle, all by myself. 

 

I’m learning to talk about it more. 

I’m learning to ask for help more and I’m learning to find outlets other than food for stress relief : working out, yoga (both coming from my amazing on demand app), meditation (love my Calm app) and writing (this blog).

 

Sigh. We are so much. To so many people.

But at what point do we start showing that much love and attention to ourselves?!

 

I refer to this as the next step of my journey.

The learning never ends.

I know I will always be an emotional eater : but how can I continue to work on being a healthier me in the process?! IN SPITE of it? THAT is the real question.

 

I’m going to share that as I go. And hopefully I can learn some lessons along the way, and share some mistakes to help others avoid them lol. 

 

I’m curious to know in the meantime : does this sound like something you struggle with? Can you relate ? Drop me a message below if it spoke to you so I know the need is out there for me to share more!

 

Thanks for stopping by 

 

Xo Lindsay 

The Sidehustle That Brought Me Back to Life

I can look back at the day I turned 30 and remember thinking, this can’t be as good as it gets.

 

And let me tell you, it is REALLY hard to look at yourself, living a happy life that turned out EXACTLY how you’d hoped and dreamed, and feel like something just wasn’t quite right. But that was the reality I was facing just a few short years ago.

We lived in our dream house, in our dream neighbourhood, I had built a well established real estate career, and we had two adorable little boys. There was no reason to feel unsatisfied, or lost, if you looked at things from the outside. But from the INSIDE, there was plenty of other stuff going on.

The real estate career I had worked hard to build had spiked my anxiety to levels I’d never lived with long term before, one of our sons became chronically ill and a non-stop parade of doctors’ appointments and stress ensued.

I was eating my feelings thanks to a lack of routine and being on the road for showings and appointments. When I WAS home, I couldn’t focus for all of the dings of notifications of texts and emails with clients wanting and needing my attention right then and there for the latest property that had come on the market.

I couldn’t get through bedtime, or bath time without an interruption, I scrambled for child care constantly, and I felt an immense sense of guilt when I got called away, especially when the boys were sick.

On a rare day that I had no showings or appointments scheduled I still felt anxious as I waited to be called away last minute and have the cycle of panic to find a sitter, get to where I needed to be, coordinate times between agents and my clients and be prepared to draw up paperwork again.

I couldn’t really focus no matter where I was, and I had zero energy to even play with my boys thanks to the extra 50lbs I had packed on from stress. Sadly, I had gotten used to just feeling like garbage. I felt like I wasn’t my best self in ANY aspect of my life. And it pained me.

Somewhere along the way I decided enough was enough in the weight gain department. I knew it wasn’t ok to feel terrible all of the time, and want to nap every day, and to constantly be hitting the drive through, but I had no clue where to start. Or how to correct the habits that had been years in the making!

And then one day I saw another busy mom, who also worked full time, post online about working out from home.

The idea of exercise alone terrified me. I didn’t want to beat my body up, or restrict myself like crazy to lose weight. I was in terrible shape and I couldn’t imagine how long it would take me to actually see progress.  A small part of me also couldn’t help thinking: is this just another gimmick?!

Desperate for change though, and just plain ready to create a better, healthier, happier me, I reached out to that mom who had posted and she told me about a 3 week home workout program I could try that I could still have chocolate and wine on, but that would reset a lot of the unhealthy habits  I had built over the previous 5 or so years.

I made the decision to invest in my health for the first time in my life. And I got to work.

I ended up finding the program much simpler than I had ever imagined. And I found myself much more capable than I had ever thought! In just 3 weeks I built a foundation for the new version of me.

(right) my real estate head shots before I started my fitness journey

 

I noticed changes in my patience, and my confidence. My gut health felt better thanks to the chocolate smoothies I was drinking, my energy went through the roof, I made new friendships with coaches and my fellow challengers, and I felt so. much. better.

I wanted to shout it to the rooftops…and at the same time I couldn’t believe EVERYONE didn’t know about this. How simple it was. How well it worked with a busy lifestyle. How quickly things started to shift. How EMPOWERING this tribe of women supporting women truly was!

Now that I was out of the fog of every day life, I looked around and saw dozens of other moms who also seemed tired, overwhelmed, lacking confidence, and I knew at that moment it had become my responsibility to share this incredible experience with them.

I decided to take on the #sidehustle of being a fitness coach: with no fitness or nutrition background, still needing to lose quite a bit of weight, and in the busiest season of my life thanks to my career, my husband’s shift work and our small kids.

I was mortified to share my before photos and even talk about my life on social media ( I was such a private person, a huge introvert), the idea of promoting myself or sharing my story went against every fiber in my being, and yet SOMETHING pulled me to do it anyways. To step outside of that comfort zone. To share the gift of better health, support and accountability and this tribe mentality that went along with it. I wanted EVERYONE to feel AMAZING again !! We deserved it!!

I had no lofty goals when I started fitness coaching. I told myself if I could help even one burnt out, over stressed woman make a change in her life the way I had, then I’d consider it a success. If I made a little extra money on the side, that was a bonus, but the truth was, I loved it so much I would’ve done it for free!

My coaching business started out small, but I built my own little community of incredible women, growing larger, month by month, motivating me to continue on my own journey long after I would’ve probably stuck to it on my own!

Friendships grew, starting online, and then evolving in person in some cases thanks to events and conferences! Suddenly this disconnect and isolation I had thought was just part of being a career woman, and a mom was bridged by new friendships, daily support and love from women all around the world who were a part of my ‘ fit family’!

Transformations from some of the women I’ve coached

Some of the hardest years of my marriage and parenting have happened while I’ve been a coach, but it feels like the opposite. It feels like it didn’t matter, because I could get through it with this strong tribe of women I had met, all because of online fitness and putting my story out there!

Through sharing my story day to day on social media I also fell back in love with writing and photography and my creative side! I started to document my life instead of dreading it. I found gratitude and peace in the smallest, simplest parts of my day and I began reading and listening to powerful, inspiring men and women speak about things that made me want to be an even better person on the inside.

My relationship with my husband improved, I became more active and involved with my kids, I was better able to manage my anxiety and work stress, and I could be strong for my son and our family as we navigated through his health issues.

All of THIS, just because I fell in love with home fitness and had to share that newfound passion with the world!

As I stayed dedicated to my own health journey and leaned on my beautiful tribe of amazing women, I began to grow a team of other leaders who wanted to share this passion and my business grew even more.  It became very clear that helping people this way made my heart so happy.

Some of the beautiful souls in my extended fit family

After one particularly stressful trip away to Disney World (our favourite place on earth and what should’ve been the most MAGICAL experience ever with two young kids) I came to a crossroads.

I was getting phone calls from other realtors and clients while we were trying to enjoy the Magic Kingdom with our kids, I spent the last day of our trip typing up offers to send back home and 1/2 of my vacation was spent with me on the phone and on email dealing with little real estate crises. And I was doing this in between pain and fever episodes our son was having.

This was once again, not the life I had imagined for our family.

So as we made the road trip home that year I said tentatively to my husband, ” what do you think about me leaving real estate and focusing on our family and coaching?”

His response: “it’s about time !”

Right that moment I made a goal to give myself one year to close up shop on real estate, get my current clients settled and shift my focus to my little family and the coaching business I loved so much.

And that’s what I did.

I worked my butt off that year. Earning more than I had ever earned with real estate, putting extra hours into coaching, working around my husband’s 12 hour shifts, juggling sports and specialist appointments and when I got to the end of 2017 I knew I HAD TO MAKE THE JUMP.

It was terrifying, but I had learned that anything that made me THAT nervous, was EXACTLY what I needed to do to grow and improve. And I haven’t looked back.

I’ve helped hundreds of women get their lives back. Reclaim their health. Feel sexy and confident again. Find joy in their daily lives, and even start a little side hustle of their own. And even though many of them tell me I saved them and helped them find themselves again, it was truly me who benefited.

I got to rediscover that girl inside me who had dreamed and hoped and had so much passion many, many years before, and now that I’ve found her again, I’m never letting her go.

 

Maybe my story spoke to you…maybe you’re looking to build a little side hustle of your own!

If you’re looking to turn your passion into purpose, we need to chat! Email me at lindsay.fortney@gmail.com with the subject line ‘passion and purpose’ so you can check out our free coaching webinar to get all the details! The worst that can happen : you’ll get in amazing shape and inspire others to do the same 😉

Can’t wait to chat

xo Lindsay

How These 2 things Can Help You Lose Weight

So the past couple of weeks have been a MASSIVE learning experience for me when it comes to the scale.

Ever since I can remember as an adult, the scale has NOT been my friend…terms like ‘big boned’, ‘more muscle mass’ etc have always been tossed around. Even though I barely cracked 5 ft 3 inches on the measuring tape ( and hit that at 12 years old lol) I was always MUCH heavier than most BMI or other charts on what my IDEAL weight should be.

As an athlete in my teens and early 20s this didn’t really bug me…I was fit. I was active. I could eat whatever I wanted for the most part. But even at my thinnest I never got below 145lbs…

And then I had kids. Lol. I feel like so many women’s health stories begin with “and then I had kids”… 😉

Because as beautiful as the miracle of pregnancy is, it stretches, shifts and puts our bodies through the ringer. During pregnancy was the first time I had to weigh myself regularly. Every doctor’s appointment, every month, and then every two weeks and then every week… and inevitably the scale went up because I WAS GROWING A HUMAN! lol Really in hindsight, what a terrible time to start developing a relationship with the scale!

The only time I LIKED the scale was right after birth when I lost 16lbs magically overnight (lol)!

But two pregnancies later (and my babies were BIG BOYS) and I actually managed to lose the weight within 7lbs of before I had my first son. And I felt good, even though according to charts and so on, I was ‘overweight’!

 

It was at that point I stopped ‘believing’ in the scale… and I stopped going on it unless I had to. We broke up indefinitely lol

And because I refused to use it as a tool, and I figured it had some sort of personal vendetta against me, it became my enemy. And life took over. And work stress. A sick child. Regular marriage struggles and house moves and on and on and I began to spiral into massive weight gain. I didn’t know how to stop it and I was fearful of what that meant for me and my future health. My anxiety was through the roof. My energy was non-existent 😦

 

And I knew regardless of my relationship with the scale, SOMETHING had to change…and I need to put some effort into being HEALTHIER, even if it meant the scale didn’t go down.

So I learned about portion control. I started to workout from home (which was tremendous for my inner athlete that had been misplaced by motherhood). I felt my anxiety levels go down thanks to the endorphins. And I saw my body reshape. Inches were being lost. So many inches. But the scale…the scale never really wanted to move.

I learned to get over my disappointment with the scale not moving when I saw myself going down from size 16 in a dress to size 8. But secretly I still felt like the scale was a little evil!

Enter the new nutrition workshop I’ve been doing for the past couple of months.

The one that is teaching me how to OVERCOME my emotional eating habits. Teaching me how to FUEL my body, to make sure it’s hydrated, and not hungry, or feeling deprived! And what I think is the secret ingredient : more veggies!

Yep, plants for the win! lol

Veggies are the ONLY food you can eat more and more of and lose more and more weight! They are usually low in calories, high in water, keep you full and help with your digestion! And it turns out, there’s a lot of AMAZING ways to prep them (yes, I said it–a staunch lover of carbs and chocolate, non-fan of salads)

From turnip fries, to overloaded salads, to veggie noodles, to bell pepper nachos to stir fry–I’ve been trying them all. And I have been LOVING IT!

But wait, get this: the SCALE HAS BEEN GOING DOWN!

Yep, 10lbs in two weeks…what used to take me months of intense workouts and some serious dietary restrictions, has been coming off thanks to this new way of eating! Me: the ‘big boned’ girl lol

My body apparently responds really well to vegetables and common sense lol Go figure !

img_5447

So if you’ve been struggling like I was, maybe it’s time to stop living in the mindset of restriction, deprivation and disappointment!

Email me at lindsay.fortney@gmail.com and we can chat about the nutrition workshop I’ve been doing and now mentoring in! Losing weight can FINALLY be done happily and healthily…and best of all : FOR LIFE!

Chat soon xo Lindsay

Change Your MIND, then your body

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • You’d like to lose weight, but you hate to exercise or just don’t have time!
  • You’re with me on the emotional eating struggle, and you’d like to break free
  • You workout really hard but struggle with nutrition so you never really see the results you crave?
  • You love food and love to eat
  • Are sick and tired of trying ALL the diets and not following through
  • Don’t do well cutting out food groups, putting foods off limits, and actually want to eat cake on your birthday and not feel guilty?
  • Can’t be bothered to count calories, macros, containers, etc
  • Cannot exercise due to injury/illness but still want to lose weight
  • Are overwhelmed with knowing what to eat or how to eat or what diet to follow?

A LOT of these are things I struggled with myself! I used to constantly be on the SEARCH for the perfect diet… the one that would finally get me over the plateau I had hit in my weight loss journey!

Each time I started a new meal plan I always had the best intentions! I’d prep for Monday, I’d be committed and then life would happen. Whether it was stress, or an unexpected outing, or some kind of scheduling curve ball, I’d end up off track, emotionally eating, and feeling a huge amount of guilt as the cycle of sabotage continued.

If you can relate, I have to share this!

I’m so freaking excited that after MONTHS of anticipation I’m FINALLY  able to share what my company has been up to and what I’ve been working away at!

After years of producing top of the line home fitness programs and specialized meal plans, they have partnered with one of the most incredible registered dietitians and as a result, for the very first time ever I’m able to offer NUTRITION exclusive coaching!!

Now this isn’t your typical nutrition plan. There are no diets. No restrictions. No calorie counting.

We’re going to teach you how to eat FOR LIFE instead of teaching you another diet to struggle with.

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it ? I’ll admit I was a skeptic too, but that was before I tried it out for myself

Introducing…2B Mindset, a weight loss program created by Ilana Mulhstein. Not only is Ilana a food and weight loss expert, registered dietitian and nutritionist, but she herself has lost 100lbs and been able to keep it off!

Through her own success and trial and error, and the success she’s had with thousands of clients across the United States, she’ll be teaching us the same principles she used to lose her own weight and show others how to do the same!

This program will completely change your mindset about food, your body, losing weight and the scale. Instead of diets that focus on what you CAN’T eat, this simple and easy approach will have you focused on what you CAN eat so you feel full, satisfied, and in control without ever counting calories or points or measuring food!!

You’ll learn Ilana’s favourite tips, tools and strategies to achieve your weight loss goals, while still living life to the fullest!

My favourite part of this program is that it doesn’t require counting points, calories, macros, or containers and NO food groups are off limits!! Exercise is not required to complete the program. It is ENTIRELY optional, and you can still see amazing results without it !!

How is this program different from other diet plans?

Most diets require deprivation and restrictions, but the 2B Mindset will show you how to get to, and maintain your ideal weight, while eating foods you actually enjoy! You’ll always feel full and satisfied–and HAPPY!

It’s also super simple to follow:

  • No counting calories, no measuring food, and no using food containers
  • No cutting out food groups
  • No deprivation or feeling hungry
  • Ability to follow the program even when you are at a restaurant, a party, or on vacation! We’ll teach you how!
  • Improved results as you learn the program better

What will I learn?

You’ll learn all about nutrition, the purpose of different food groups, and how to enjoy them for maximal weight loss. You’ll also understand the different types of hunger and cravings and coping strategies when each one occurs! Once you master the 2B mindset, it’s yours for life! Losing the weight and keeping it off will become second nature–it will be your new reality–and food will forever remain an enjoyable part of your life!

What will I gain access to?

You’ll get complete access to all of the 2B Mindset videos, along with a tracker, recipe guide, getting started guide, and exclusive water bottle!

In addition, you’ll be invited to join our online success group to go through the program together. You’ll have support throughout the program and be able to ask questions, share struggles, stay motivated, and get guidance in a supportive community environment regardless of where you live!

We’ll also be meeting weekly for a live video call to get all of your questions answered along with additional coaching and support!

If you’d like to reserve your spot please message me ASAP lindsay.fortney@gmail.com with the subject line 2B

How can I join?

You have two different package options to join with, depending on your goals and budget. Both will get you access into our online accountability group, along with me as your personal coach throughout the program!

Nutrition Bundle

  • Streaming access to all of the 2B Mindset videos. 21 short videos that teach the basic principles of the program, including how to understand food groups, what to eat and whenIlana’s proven secrets to a positive mindset, plus real life strategies for managing any eating situation (ie. eating out at restaurants, while on a trip, for vegans, vegetarians, etc).
  • 5 videos that help address the most common challenges to losing weight and establishing a healthier relationship with food. This is the GAME CHANGER!
  • 15 recipe videos where you’ll learn how to make time saving, delicious and satisfying meals
  • the 2B mindset Getting Started Guide
  • the 2B Mindset Go to Guide. This includes grocery lists, food lists and more !
  • Recipe Book with some of Ilana’s favourite quick and easy recipes.
  • 90 Day tracker journal 
  • Exclusive 2B Mindset water bottle with some of Ilana’s favourite sayings on it to remind you of her best tips for success!
  • Starting on June 4th, access to the videos and tracking via the Beachbody Nutrition+app. You’ll be able to view all of the 2B videos and program materials, and will also be able to track your meals and your progress, right on your mobile device (iOS only)
  • 30 day supply of Shakeology a clean ingredient superfoods smoothie base that will help you take the thinking out of 30 of your meals !
  • Shakeology shaker cup for meals on the go

Prices vary based on location (USA, Canada and the UK)

Nutrition and Fitness Bundle

  • Streaming access to all of the 2B Mindset videos
  • 2B mindset Getting Started Guide
  • 2B mindset Go-to Guide
  • Recipe Book with some of Ilana’s favourite recipes
  • 90 day tracker journal
  • The 2B mindset exclusive water bottle
  • Starting June 4th, access to the videos and tracking via the Beachbody Nutrition+App 
  • 30 day supply of the superfoods filled Shakeology
  • Streaming access to Beachbody on Demand, the world’s leading digital fitness library with over 400+ workouts streaming from cardio to yoga, to kickboxing, to dance, to bootcamp and more!

 

ARE YOU IN?! Please send me an EMAIL to lindsay.fortney@gmail.com ASAP to reserve your spot in our group and take advantage of the current promotions!