Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Two things.

I have been wanting to write this post for a while now. Something would always stop me. I didn't have the energy, the kids kept me busy, dinner was burning, dinner wasn't on the table yet, my car needed gas, I didn't have the words, my hair wasn't right... I had a lot of excuses. There are a million reasons why I would ignore talking about my experiences with mental health. But mostly because if I didn't talk about it, it could still be that unreal thing that I ignore. That thing that no one wants to talk about or hear about. I'm not sure what it is about mental illness, but we are not ready to have those conversations.  
Last week was mental health awareness week here in Canada. In the states they get the whole month. Its been four months today since being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Some would say the longest four months of my life. I have learned a lot about myself, and I am lucky enough to have lithium work for me and not make all my hair fall out. I have been feeling the most "normal" I have every felt in my life. Two things I have learned. One is, no one is comfortable talking about bipolar. Two, I need to find people who do. And more than that, they need to understand. This illness is fucked and I don't think anyone can really get it unless they live it.
 Here are some fun facts that might get the conversation going.
  • 1 in 5 suffer from a mental illness.
  • 60 million people suffer from bipolar.
  • Bipolar is a miscommunication in parts of the brain. I was born with it.
  • More than two-thirds of those with bipolar have one close relative with the illness.
  • 25% of people with bipolar disorder will end their own life. That number jumps to 64% for those who go untreated.
  • There is a 15% chance that one or both of my children are bipolar.
  • Most patients face up to ten years of coping with symptoms before getting an accurate diagnosis. It was nearly twenty years for me.
These are kind of unsettling stats. I try not to think about it. Today was a good day, but I still feel so lost in the world. I try to focus on what I can control, like the slow sip of coffee in the morning. One moment at a time some days.
                                                          As always, thanks for listening.  

Sunday, 11 February 2018

My bi-polar diagnosis.

     The day was Monday, January 15th 2018. The alarm was a punch in the gut after a long night of tossing and turning. I struggled to get my eyes open as I reached for the phone. My husband was already gone for work and I could hear the kids rummaging about. Austin's heavy cough broke the dull pattern of movement. He had been sick since Christmas. This was a new one though, since Saturday. But I knew he couldn't stay home today.

     One foot in front of the other, I slowly walked to the bathroom to pee. I didn't bother looking in the mirror and I didn't bother combing my hair. It had been three days since I had done that, why start now? I threw on my baggy jeans, a t-shirt that went to my knees and the sweater that's three sizes too big. Levi knew something was up, he was being extra helpful. Austin was just sick and spent the morning begging to stay home. It killed me. I made two lunches and in an autopiloted haze, I drove the kids to school and walked them to their class. Austin begged again to be home with me. But between the teacher and I, we convinced him that he would miss out on so much fun if he left. He gave me one last hug and walked away. I took a breath, turned around and walked what felt like six blocks to my car. I feel like such an asshole for leaving him at school. But I had to do this. Another deep breath. Turn key. Shift gear. Go. "Today is the day you check yourself in."

     I don't remember many of the details on the drive... or any. My advice, get someone to drive you if you suspect you might be crazy. I was so terrified. "Are they going to keep me?" Or "What if you ARE crazy?". What if its nothing but a panic attack and I am sent home with the realization that this is the way my brain works... its just life baby! This was my biggest fear. Anxiety has tricked me and ruin my day thousands of times, was this just a repeat? I walked in and sat down. I cried before I could even open my mouth. And I chocked out the words. "Can I see someone in mental health, please?" Words I never thought I would say. I never thought my mental health would ever get this bad. The first thing I said to the nurse, was "I cant stop the chatter." I was living my life three days before this. I was dancing, I was happy, I was excited. Then one day, I wasn't. It was like someone had died. And that voice that's always been there, it was getting louder. I cried for three days. Sobbing. Not only can I not stop crying, that voice is yelling at me to do shit. Not like kill my family shit, but shit none the less. I couldn't turn off the noise. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had never been able to.

     The first doctor I was nice and all, but simply suggested an Ativan and I'll be me on my way. Thankfully the mental health nurse was there and able to talk to me. She asked me a pile of questions. When she asked me if anyone in my family had ever been diagnosed with bi-polar, it confirmed my own suspicions. I had only recently thought it might be bi-polar, but not actually. I never thought I believed it. Less than fifteen minutes after speaking with the second nurse, I got to see a second doctor. It didn't take long. "The bad news is, its bi-polar disorder. The good news is, its treatable." I cant even describe this feeling. Relief maybe. It was surreal. To me, bi-polar was right up there with the real kind of crazy that no one talks about. (And this is the main reason I feel like I need to talk about it and normalize it. I am sure I'm not the only one who went, "Whoa, she is actually a crazy person." when they found out about my diagnosis.) He gave me a prescription for lithium and set me up with an appointment to see a professional.
     Bi-polar disorder for me means not being able to regulate my mood. It doesn't matter how much I eat right, exercise, be vegan, be awesome, be fearless, do more, take naps, do less, meditate, go to yoga... I can do everything right and still feel like I want to kill myself. It got to the point where I was wishing to get cancer to that I could just not have to deal with my brain anymore. Its too much. Its too hard.
     And then there were days where I feel ignited! I can do anything! I can choreography two songs, sew a ball gown, clean the kitchen, cook dinner, dance, workout, and stay up late to sew corsets. I feel electric and I believe that nothing will get in my way because whatever it is, I am destined to do it. Its magic and exhausting. I feel like a superhero and its become part of me.   
     Now that I am happily medicated, I can "live a normal life". I don't feel as much as I used to and I will have to work at keeping my meds regulated for the rest of my life. If I do a workout twice in one day, my meds are thrown off and I will spend the night crying. I need to drink a ton of water, which means I pee a ton. My creativity, while still there, has been moved to another part of my brain, like the basement. Its harder to access and that sucks. But I am mostly ok with it. Is there a possibility of me falling off the wagon and start believing the purple elephants are coming for me? Sure. But really that's possible for most of you reading this.
     I am sharing this for two reasons. One, is that if you think you might have a mental health problem, are too depressed to shake it off, or whatever the issue may be, go in and get it looked at. Get help. Its not that scary. Now that I have a diagnosis and medication, I feel like a normal person and I no longer picture myself drowning in a rushing waterfall. Reason number two, bi-polar is not that scary. Its hard. It will always be with me not many people understand what its like. So lets just keep talking about and seriously, ask me anything.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Self Love.

      I am going to be honest with you for a few minutes. I have been struggling to see my self worth. And I preach that almost every day! I preach self love and finding your value and purpose. I encourage people to jump in blindly with both feet. I encourage people to be confident in who they are! Yet for some reason I struggle with that. I don't feel good enough some days. I grew up in a house where every time I expressed myself, I was laughed at. As an adult, I am often scared to express myself. I worry what my closest allies will think. I never feel good enough. It is an automatic, programmed response.
      So here I am, waiting for someone to tell me that I am loved or that I am worth it. And that's where I realized I was wrong. No amount of hearing it will make me feel it. I need to find that in myself. Self care and self love are inside jobs. Now I took some time in the past for self care and self love, so that never occurred to me that it might be the problem. I am sure its like everything else in life. You get what you work for. You would never work out for a week and expect to be healthy for the rest of your life. That's ridiculous. Self care and self love must be practiced and cherished. 
      I want to challenge you, as I challenge myself. Imagine for a moment that you knew 100% of the time, that you were an amazing rock star who could accomplish anything. Imagine that you could achieve all of your dreams and you would have no fear. What does that look like for you? Write it down, focus on it. What does self care and self love look like for you? For me it's working out, walking in the forest, having a bath, going to bed early and leaving the kitchen a mess. (Yup, that's a fact.) The most important thing I will challenge myself to do it a mantra.
                     *I am a rock star
                              *I am strong
                                       *I am unstoppable
      Believe it. Say it every time you leave the house, say it when you walk into work, say it when you enter your house, when you get gas, when you have a workout, when you need to pee, when your are picking up Chinese takeout for dinner...you get the idea. Imagine what a crazy world we would live in if everyone thought this way.  For now until the end of February, I challenge you. Share with me how you are going to practice self love and what makes you a badass! #bcgbadass  Tag it in posts and pictures and share with your friends! I will pick one winner to receive a one month workout plan, 6 hours of personal training, and a full fitness assessment.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Throw out your damn scale!!

     Ok ladies, (and gents!) we are going to get real for a few minutes here. This topic has been coming up in many areas of my life right now and I need to talk about it! Who here struggles with their weight? Who here steps on the scale and feels defeated, ashamed and disappointed? Who here has this goal: I want to lose weight. Who here is too afraid to admit their real weight? If your hand when up for any of these, you need to listen to what I am about to tell you. Weight doesn't mean anything.  Throw out your stupid scale!! The only time you should care about how much you weigh, is when you are entering a serious fitness competition and your weight depends on whether or not you compete. Are we clear about that? Here is how I know.
      For one thing, many factors will see your scale go up or down and they can change throughout the day! Did you drink enough water? Is it that time of the month? Did you enjoy a meal with friends last night? Do you need to poop? All of these factors come into play.
     Second, one pound of muscle and one pound of fat do not take up the same amount of space! If you are lifting weights, you may in fact be gaining weight but losing inches. A number of years ago I was on a war path to lose weight. I lifted weights three days a week and I was running 10km on the weekends. I was eating right and focused. My starting weight was 200lbs. Over one year later I went from a size 16 down to a size 10. I did NOT lose one single pound! At a size TEN I was still 200lbs! I was also very strong! (Kind of badass, kind of awesome)
     Third and MOST IMPORTANTLY, what you weight does not hold any value to who you are as a person and cannot limit you to what you can do! So why even bother counting? Weight does not prove that you are thin, it does not prove that you are talented. It does not make you better or worse. It does not make you strong and it does not make you healthy. Someone recently said to me that now that I am a personal trainer, I should consider losing weight. You know, "To show that you are a fit person who is qualified to be a personal trainer." I really want to obliterate the idea that I need to be thin to be fit. I will kick your ass just as good as any other trainer. Maybe even better.
     I am one month away from dancing in my underwear in front of 200+ people. I am getting close to the heaviest I have every been. I am not going to let a number stop me from doing something so amazingly awesome. I will never let a number decide who I am. I will never let a number decide how I am going to feel. I will never let a number dictate where I can take my place in this world!
For the record, I do not own a scale! But I was at the doctors the other day and found out my current weight. 204lbs ladies. So here you have it, 204 pounds of pure awesomeness and glitter. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


     I am not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions and here is why: First of all, it gives people the idea that they need to change. Like for some reason the super cool version of themselves is not good enough. Second, they tend you make you feel like shit when you fail. 85% of people usually quit within two months. (fact)
     I am not here to encourage you to make those New Years resolutions. I am talking about a New Years REVOLUTION! Let's throw out the idea that we need to be someone we are not and start being the best YOU that you can be. Don't do it to be thin like the pretty girls on tv, and don't do it because you think you have to. Start your own revolution to find out how strong you can be.
     I believe in body positive fitness. Its probably nothing like you have every experienced. Kind of awesome even. Here is how the Booty Camp Girls are different:
1) I will never weigh you. You are not cattle and the number on the scale means absolutely nothing to you or me.
2) I will help you reach your goals in and out of the gym.
3) I will help you to see how awesome and beautiful your body is, right now. You will learn to love your body, because every body is beautiful.
4) I won't measure success in pounds.
5) I believe that everyone should have access to body loving fitness, so if you can't afford it, lets work something out.
6) I will never encourage you to diet.
    Some of this may seem strange to you, but I promise you that I will make you stronger than ever. Give it a try for free. One by one, lets change the world.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Body positive!

     I am in the middle of writing my final exam for my personal training certification. The exam that will certify my bad-assery. After four years of teaching bootcamp for women, I will soon be official.  I have been thinking a lot about how I want my gym to be, how I want to train, and how I can inspire real change. I don't want you to come to me because you think you are too fat and need to be thinner. I want you to come to me to get stronger, faster, braver. I want you to be fearless! I feel this in my bones. There are too many women who don't believe they are great. Too many women who believe they have to change to be awesome. Too many women who hate their bodies or think there is something wrong with them. Or somehow think stretch marks mean something significant.
     I have been to many gyms in my lifetime. There were many different workout programs, there were many body fat tests and weigh ins, there were so many measurements of skin. I was given "do's & don't" lists for what to eat and I was told that I have a lot of work ahead of me, but "You'll get there!" Not once was I told that there was nothing wrong with me. Not once was I told that my body was great or beautiful. Not once was I every accepted with my current weight and size. I was continuously fed this lie that I wasn't good enough. And that is what is wrong with the fitness industry. For once I want to walk into a gym and be accepted for me. I don't want people excited for me to finally get rid of that baby weight! Cant I just walk into a gym and work out to be strong? Does it have to be about weight or size? I needs to be about acceptance, body positivity and self love.
     An interesting thing happened yesterday. I was doing a fitness test on three women and myself, as part of my final exam. (!!!!) I tested our one rep maximum, our strength endurance, our flexibility and our cardiovascular health. We are all completely different shapes and sizes. We are tall and thin, short and heavy, muscular and in between. Just by looking at us, you would assume that some are more fit than others. But my fitness test proved that its just not true. Aside from the flexibility, an area where I need serious work, we were all at the same fitness level. 
     My body isn't perfect, but its damn awesome! I have wrinkles, cellulite, thunder thighs, I have grown and given birth to two tiny humans, and I have one boob that hangs way lower than the other....I carry extra weight and I may not look healthy or fit,  but I will kick your ass. And that is why I want you to come see me. Because you want to kick some ass! Don't train with me because you hate your body and want to change it. Do it because you love your body and want to be strong. Do it because you want to run. Do it because you want to be awesome.  I will be officially accepting clients in February. Get ready to find your inner badass.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Who the real enemy is.

     I have heard so many sides to almost all of the stories. There are thousands of people, images, and industries telling you that you are FAT and imperfect. Every day. And not only do they tell you that you are fat, you are also ugly, obese, chunky, chubby and so on. But guess what!? We have a solution to all of your problems! If you only take this pill, run this marathon, workout, get of your ass, juice, eat clean, don't eat that-eat this,  buy my supplements, buy my cookbook, buy boobs, get a tan, loose the muffin top, tattoo your stretch marks skin colour so you cant see them. Yep, that's a real thing.
     There are two major things wrong with this. First, they make food the enemy. They tell you that everything you eat has too much sugar or fat. Too many calories, not enough kale! These industries who tell us we're fat have made it so confusing and overwhelming that we don't know what to eat anymore. We become a slave to scales and nutrition labels and calorie counting that we stop enjoying food. We spend half our life stressing over what we eat, and for what? Just eat real food. If It came from a lab, don't eat it. Simple as that.
     Second, and more importantly, they tell you and convince you that you, as you are right now, cannot be accepted for who you are. You must improve. They make you feel like YOU are the enemy! You must be not working hard enough. You must not be eating right. You must not be taking care of yourself...So not only do they tell you that you are not accepted because you are fifteen pounds overweight, they are also making the whole world believe that if you don't look fit, you aren't fit. I so desperately want to change this in the world. 
     I am forty pounds overweight and all my life I have been told that my body wasn't good enough. I have worked out tirelessly on twenty different fitness plans, I have tried countless diets, I have compared my body and its thousand imperfections to thousands of magazine images of health and "happiness". Never quite feeling good enough. Even at my most fit, I never felt like I had arrived. One thing I did learn along the way though, was that I AM fit. I work out three or four times a week, I have the thighs of a Russian mud wrestler, I can run 5km and not die, I can swim in the ocean, ride my bike and play with my kids. I eat well too. I take care of my body by eating real food. I don't waste time calorie counting, and no I don't care. I drink enough water and no I will not shove that disgusting smoothie down my throat every morning. I wont drink kombucha,and yes I still eat chocolate!  
     The problem with this crazy world we live in, is that so many women don't believe they are fit, healthy, beautiful, sexy, smart, or talented. The real enemy here is anyone or anything that makes you think you not are perfect just the way you are. So join me. Be the example. Love your body, love you for everything you are, right now. Become a Booty Camp Girls Body Image Ambassador and be proud of who you are! Stop letting someone else tell you what fit, sexy, healthy and beautiful look like and decide it for yourself!
Love, Dallas Glittertush