Therapy Doesn't Have to Be a Taboo #BellLetsTalk

Two weeks ago, I opened up on my Facebook about going to therapy. The response that I received what phenomenal and I was overwhelmed by the incredible support, love, reassurance and conversation that ensued. Given that today is Bell Let's Talk day, it seemed fitting to keep the conversation going. 

I want to talk about a subject that can be really taboo in our society:


I've been seeing a therapist over the last few months as I worked through challenges in my relationship and now in the aftermath of our break-up. I have an appointment tonight and I'm so thankful to have someone outside of my normal life to talk through the way I'm feeling right now.

Before this, I hadn't had a very positive experience with going to therapy or working with a therapist. I tried once when I was in college and another time in my 20s. I didn't jive with the therapists and was basically told I was "fine".

As someone with a lot of feelings, I had an instinct that seeing a therapist would be a beneficial thing, but both of those experiences kind of rubbed me the wrong way and made me pessimistic about the potential of seeing someone else. I also felt like I had a good support network and that I was pretty good at handling things on my own.

That changed when things started to get hard in my relationship. We were working through some difficult things and I was trying to navigate through a lot of unfamiliar, vulnerable and scary feelings.

A friend recommended my current therapist and she ended up being a great fit. For the first time, my needs felt heard and I jived with her approach.

Asking for help can be really scary, but it's so important.

Going to a therapist doesn't make you weak.
It doesn't make you a bad person.
It doesn't mean you're "too emotional".
Or that you are incapable of handling your shit.

Asking for help and learning more about your feelings actually makes you really, really REALLY brave.

And if you're like me and didn't necessarily have a good experience the first or second go round, take your time and try to connect with someone else - who follows a different modality or comes with a recommendation from someone you know/trust.

If finances are a concern for you, there are programs you can access to find someone to talk to for a lower cost. It may take a bit more digging, but they're out there.

If you're not ready to take that step or it doesn't feel like the right approach for you, don't be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member.

You are loved.
You are worth it.
You are not alone.

There doesn't need to be a negative stigma around therapy or mental health or mental illness -- we're all just trying to do the best we can.

And you don't have to do that on your own.

2016 Year in Review

At the end of last year's year in review, I concluded by saying that I wanted to blog more, but that is actually what I did the very least of. There have been so many times where blog post has been written in my planner on my to-do list, but it's always fallen to the very end. So I'll start by saying that in 2017, I am going to write more. Let's start there.

Oh, 2016.

I know that I'm not alone when I say that 2016 was a tough year. For me personally, it was a doozy and while there were lots of really great things that happened, I'm really looking forward to a fresh start tomorrow.

When I look back on everything individually, I'm happy to report that there were definitely some good things that it's been nice to reflect on as I've sat down to write this post.

Over the course of the year, I got to travel to Nashville and NYC again, and also experienced my very first cruise. All 3 trips were amazing for all different reasons.

The cruise was awesome to take a break, see my Beachbody friends and experience something entirely different. It was so much fun to explore, partake in all sorts of activities, workout at dawn with my favourite trainers, have awesome nights out and of course, meet Stan the dolphin.

Being in Nashville again was just as much fun as the first time around. The energy at Summit is always infectious and I continue to cherish time with my Beachbody family. I loved exploring new parts of the city, getting re-energized about this biz and generally nerding out over all things Beachbody related. I also stayed in the sweetest airbnb on my last night with the most lovely host! It was a really really wonderful trip.

And NYC was exactly what I needed. This second half of the year has been rough, and I decided that a trip on my own would be good for my soul. I saw 5 shows in 3 days, ate all sorts of delicious food, visited with friends and relished the energy of my favourite city. A full recap of that trip is coming in the new year.

I continued my fitness journey, completing a variety of programs that were all very different! With all of the challenges I was facing, I found myself in a place where I wasn't feeling great about my body in this last half. I recently completed my first round of an MMA style program that re-ignited my excitement and gave me some incredible results in 30 days. I'm kicking 2017 off with round two and I'm pretty stoked to jump back in!

My work life has been awesome, but hectic. At MT, we said goodbye to a cherished team member, welcomed two amazing additions to the team, launched a charity cookbook, ran the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and oh-so-much more. I was recently promoted to Operations Director and I am really looking forward to the things we're going to do in 2017.

Additionally, I've continued to grow my biz as a health and fitness coach and I still absolutely love it. Our groups continue to grow each month and I am looking forward to diving into 2017 with our January group. I'm looking forward to continuing to grow our team, developing myself as a leader and helping even more people feel like their very best selves in the new year.

I also got to celebrate the marriage of my best friend (& adopted little sister) Jessie over the summer. It was a beautiful wedding and I felt so blessed to be a part of her special day.

Amid all of that, I found time to ride Cecily around the city, meet Tony Horton and Shaun T, visit with friends, see incredible shows, share a post on xoJane that sorta went viral, Fringe it up, read some amazing books, create delicious meals and even perform too (videos herehere and here)

And I got another tattoo.

this too shall pass (courtesy of Aaron at Speakeasy Tattoo)

This couldn't have come at a more perfect time and continued to serve as a reminder as the year went on.

Right around the time that I got the tattoo, we went through some scary health stuff with my dad and then 2 months later, my nan suddenly passed away. I kept looking down at my arm and tried to remind myself that things would keep moving forward and that this too would pass.

A hard summer turned into a tough fall and an even more difficult holiday season. Corbin and I went through a hard time this year. After defining what some of the issues were, we went to therapy together and really tried to be a team as we faced our problems. I'm writing this post from my nearly packed up bedroom with empty walls and a handful of hangers still in the closet. We broke up a week before Christmas and I'm getting ready to move into my own place on January 1st.

It's still very raw and very sad. Our relationship was incredibly special and I will have a lot of great memories - many of which have been captured on this blog. I have a lot of love for Corbin and all that we've shared. I've also learned a lot about myself and what I need throughout this process. I didn't think it would end up this way, but I feel confident that we're both going to come out on the other side even stronger as individuals. It's so so hard, but it's the right thing for us at this moment.

So now I'm here on the 31st, feeling very ready to turn the page and begin again.

I'll spend the day finishing up packing and preparing to move into my new place tomorrow. I'm going to be living on my own for the first time and it feels very liberating, whilst also being scary unknown territory for me. I've been spending more time than usual on Pinterest and I'm looking forward to creating a space I can thrive in. Tonight I'll be ringing in the new year with friends and tomorrow I'll start a fresh page in my gratitude journal as we load my belongings onto a truck and into my new apartment.

In the past I've picked a word that would be the theme for the coming year but I'm not exactly sure what that should be for 2017 just yet. I think I need to sit with it before I make a choice (I may have just signed up for this email series to help as well). I haven't set goals or intentions either, though perhaps I need to get clearer on that, especially if I aspire to blog more in 2017. On that topic, writing this post has been cathartic - take note, future Ashley!

I feel very lucky to have had an incredible group of friends to support me through all of this. I know that I wouldn't be standing without their love and support.

While 2016 has not been my favourite year, I hope that in time I can reflect on all of the good and the fun that also happened in a year filled with tragedy, sadness and anxiety. I also now have a permanent reminder of some sage wisdom, and can look down at my arm in case I need a reminder.

Here's to new beginnings. Happy New Year, friends xo

You are Missing From Me

Tu me manques. You are missing from me.

It seems so much more fitting than just “I miss you” as we say in English. And 18 years after my mom’s death it almost feels redundant and insignificant to say that I miss her.

But I do.

I realize her absence when I’m really excited about something – whether it be a new job, a great day, a cute dress, a new friend, an exciting opportunity.

I realize she’s not there when I want to pick up the phone and call her to talk about a tough decision or challenge that I’m facing in my life. Even up to age 13 I always felt that I could talk to her about anything. I watch friends and family members and colleagues and movie characters and complete strangers talk with their mothers, and I am reminded that I can’t do the same. That’s what moms are there for, right?

I miss her every single day and over the 18 years that she’s been gone I’ve noticed the mom-shaped space in my life. It's not empty, but more like a shadow that is always present. 

This year we lost my Nan. It brought up old feelings and more sadness. While our relationship had its challenges, I loved her and she was still a connection to my mother. Hearing that her house had been sold was a blow to my heart – I had so many memories of my mom in that space and visiting there was such a comfort. That’s gone now too.

With each passing year that she’s gone, it reinforces the fact that she’s not coming back. This isn’t some long vacation or holiday or visit to another country.

As the years go by I continue to wonder what my mom would be like - would she be happy to celebrate her birthday? Would she be on Facebook? What would our relationship be like? What kind of music would she enjoy? How often would we connect? How different would my life be with her in it? I don't know.

Today would have been her 55th birthday. I like to think we would have celebrated. But instead she is missing from me and every single poppy reminds me of my loss. I know that they carry a strong significance, but I can’t help but associate Remembrance Day with another birthday that I won’t get to celebrate with my mom. 11/11 feels like an extra painful day.

Every day my mom is missing from me, but today I'm feeling the loss more significantly.

Happy birthday mom. Tu me manques. 

Let's Go - Starting with Core De Force

Today marks day one of my journey with Core De Force, and as I talked about last week I don't think I've been this excited to get started with a program in a long, long time!

I've spent the week test-driving the Core De Force workouts and I'm stoked to officially jump in with the full 30 day calendar today. This has been a tough year and my body is not where it was. To be completely honest, I'm feeling frustrated, sad and a bit embarassed about this. I am such a huge advocate for healthy living and loving your body, but that's something that's been really tough for me of late. I want to write more about this in the future, but I'm feeling optimistic and empowered today to be starting with this brand new program and really giving it 100%.

In anticipation of getting started today I've gotten ready by:

  • taking my measurements
  • snapping before photos
  • making a meal plan
  • doing some grocery shopping
  • prepping some meals
  • I did my meal plan and grocery shopping from Monday - Thursday by hand and then hit the grocery store yesterday!

    The little colour coding system at the bottom of my meal plan refers to my allotted containers for the meal plan each day. This program follows a similar version of the 'Portion Fix' program that is used in 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Cize, and more. I'm in the 'A' category for the meal plan. I kept things fairly simple for the week and I'm also looking forward to sampling a few of the recipes from the Core De Force meal plan guide. 

    I spent some time on Sunday doing a little meal prep (which included protein waffles and chilli) and made a couple of tweaks to my meal plan:

    This is mostly based on the fact that a) the protein waffles didn't really turn out as planned (the first one was a COMPLETE disaster!) and b) I realized I was going to be eating out on Thursday night and needed to move things around a bit. In any case, I'm all set with meals!

    I'll be getting up each morning to get my workouts done. The workouts are 30-47 minutes long, so I'll be up at 6-6:30 each day to get them done! I'm thankful for our November accountability group which is getting started tomorrow because I'll have an awesome group of challengers and coaches to help keep me accountable!!

    You may be wondering why my meal plan only goes Monday-Thursday... well that's because I'll be in New York City Friday-Sunday! I'm thrilled to be spending a weekend in my very favourite city. It's been 2 years since I've been back (check out my last trip here for the food and the fun) and I've been missing it! I'll be drinking my Shakeology, carrying on with my workouts but visiting all sorts of restaurants and having great adventures. I can't wait!

    Okay Core De Force, let's do this! 

    Core de Force launch

    Core de Force is here! (And so am I!)

    This is a brand new mixed martial arts (MMA) style program from trainers Joel Freeman and Jericho McMatthews. I have been excited for this new home workout since it was announced at Summit in July and even more so after trying it out twice in October.

    I fell in love with Joel and Jericho when I was on the cruise. I loved their energy, the intensity of their workouts and found them both to be super motivating. I've had the chance to meet both of them a couple of times now and workout with them live, and not only are they awesome trainers, they are just wonderful people!

    What can you expect from CORE DE FORCE?

    A super fun, results-driven workout that will blast your core and shred your entire body using fight-style combinations and simple, but highly effective conditioning exercises that'll make you feel invincible!

    Joel and Jericho have packed authentic MMA-inspired moves and interval training into a 3-minute round structure. This allows everyone to work at their own pace, learn the combinations, and spike their heart rate all within each round!

    The workouts mix moves from boxing, kickboxing and muy thai with bodyweight training and core conditioning to pack a real punch in 30-45 minute workouts over the course of 30 days. There are 8 workouts that you rotate through over the 30 days including MMA Speed, MMA Shred, MMA Power, MMA Plyo, Power Sculpt, Dynamic Recovery + 2 relief / recovery workouts. There are 3 additional advanced workouts that you can add in as part of the 'deluxe kit' which include Agility Strength, Agility Power and MMA Kick Butt.

    There is a modifier for each exercise and the workouts don't require any equipment! So this workout is awesome for anyone looking to change up their fitness routine, push through a plateau, work specifically on their core or get started with a workout to work towards their health and fitness goals. This program would be amazing for anyone who enjoys MMA or kick-boxing workouts, or previously loved Joel and Jericho in BodyCombat with Les Mills! 

    The meal plan is based on the portion fix, which is all about fuelling your body with delicious foods in healthy portions. If you've ever seen those rainbow-coloured containers or dabbled in the 21 Day Fix you'll be familiar with the eating plan. If it's brand new to you - that's a-ok! It's easy to follow and there are great resources and recipes included with the workout. I'll also be there every step of the way!

    Because you KNOW that I'm jumping into this program too!

    I have been needing some extra motivation of late and really need to get my butt in gear -- so this program is EXTRA exciting to me right now. I would love for you to jump in with me in November!

    I'll be sharing my journey throughout the program and am stoked to have some added accountability from a group of folks doing it with me. What do you think we could accomplish in 30 days?? 

    Fill in the form below or RSVP to our November group. We're getting started on Monday November 7, and this would be an awesome way to make November count as we get ready to head into the holiday season.

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