Welcome page

Welcome!

 

Welcome to marianamcdougall.com, where parents of young children can find out how to break free of ordinary lives to live extraordinary ones.  The place to turn your dreams into goals, and achieve them – because a dream is only “just a dream” until you make it into a goal.  After that, it’s only a matter of time and planning before it becomes a reality.

Join me and my young family as we reach the best health of our lives, embrace our dreams, break free from a life of conformity, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

Sign up for the mailing list to get some awesome freebies, and to be amongst the first to hear about our big adventure announcement, coming in 2016. We’ll also let you know when there are new posts on the blog, and as an e-mail subscriber, you’ll get lots of freebies not available to other visitors.

Questions? Don’t be a stranger; give me a shout at mcdougallmariana@gmail.com.

FREE Beginner Bodyweight Workout #3

FREE Beginner Exercise Programs

How are you doing on your quest to become more active? As I always say, mindful eating is superior to any restrictive diet, and you should concentrate on the amazing things your body can do, rather than on what it looks like.

If the thought of going to a gym turns your stomach, or if you feel like you just don’t have the time or money to add yet another thing to your day, these beginner bodyweight workouts may help you to become a bit more active. They can be easily done in about 20 minutes, and you’ll become stronger as you work through them.

This workout has one exercise using a stability ball; however,if you do not have access to a stability ball, simply replace this exercise with the non-stability ball version (found in workout #1) and you’ll be just fine.

Please keep in mind that these workouts are meant to be progressive, so if you haven’t yet tried Workout #1 and Workout #2, try those first, and progress to the one on this page.

Here’s Workout #3!

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Dear Facebook, it’s not you; it’s me.

Dear Facebook

In my journey to achieve the best health of my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to stop caring so much about what other people think. If I’m serious about challenging the status quo and living life on my terms, it’s time to stop feeling the need to justify my actions. I’m doing what’s right for me and for my family, and their opinion is really the only opinion that matters. Certain social networks make it a little too easy to feel the need to justify everything.

I am a little obsessed with Facebook. It’s awesome to be able to keep in touch with all my friends and family who life halfway across the world. But a little while ago, I came to the realization that I was using Facebook to justify my actions and choices to the world. And that’s neither healthy  nor productive. So, I decided to break up with Facebook. But we can still be friends. Here’s what I had to say to Facebook about why I was ending our too-close-for-comfort relationship.

Dear Facebook,

I’m breaking up with you.  But we can still be friends.

It’s not you, it’s me.

See, you’r e really wonderful.  You hear me out anytime I want to complain.  You make my “friends” “like” me.  And you make me look good, both inside and out, most of the time.

But here’s the thing.  I don’t want to spend my life being dependent on an outside (human? Robotic?) source to feel good about myself.

Facebook, you have been good to me in many ways.  You have helped me find long lost friends who I thought I’d never “see” again.  You’ve helped me connect with my extended family, who, I’m afraid to say, I don’t know if/when I’ll get to see again.  And sometimes, you’ve helped me not feel so lonely.

But… these long lost friends that I’d never see again… well… I still haven’t really “seen” most of them.  The way you’ve helped me not feel so lonely…  it’s completely artificial.  I’m still lonely as hell.  ‘Cause you know what,  having 300+ friends on Facebook means that I simply have come into contact with 300+ people.  But really, who among these 300+ friends is really what I would call a FRIEND rather than an acquaintance?  I can count my true, close friends – the ones who I’ll share everything with, the ones who really know me and who I am, what I believe – in less than the fingers of one hand.

See, you’ve created this artificial world that I have been using as a crutch for way too long.  It’s time to go out and find some real friends.  Or not.  Perhaps this is my problem.  I’m trying to “find” friends.  And perhaps, just like romantic love, rare are the instances where an arranged relationship is highly successful and mutual.

But I digress.  There’s another reason it’s time for me to let you go, Facebook.  I wish I could say you make me a better person.  But you don’t.  You just create another vehicle for me to feel like I have to prove myself to the world, to justify my choices and my life.  And really, I don’t.  Those who are my real friends and love me for who I am need no explanation, and those who need an explanation don’t deserve one.  Furthermore, those who really want to be my true friends will take the time to make a phone call, send a personal e-mail, or plan a visit (this last one is key).  Facebook, you’ve created an “easy way for people to stay in touch,” and this is precisely the problem – we now have passive “friendships,” we just wait for people to share their thoughts and struggles instead of taking a true, human interest in what they’re up to.  And I, for one, am sick of it.  I want friends who think I’m worth five minutes of their time for a one-to-one interaction instead of waiting around to see what I’ll say to the rest of the world.  It’s time for a change.

So, dear Facebook, I can’t shoo you away from my life completely.  We have too many friends in common, and this would make things very awkward for them.  So, I’ll allow you into my life, but only as an acquaintance (like those 300+ friends).  Let’s see each other once a week to begin, and only check things out when absolutely necessary.  Then let’s move it to once a month… until we kind of forget about each other all together, perhaps.  I’ll still hang out at some of our common groups.  But I no longer feel the need to use you to prove myself.

I have also come to the realization that I’ve been saying something for so long, and then, via Facebook, I’m going against my own conviction: that those who have not asked for your opinion don’t want to hear it.  I’m so good at biding this in conversation, yet here I come to Facebook speaking my mind and giving my opinions to people I barely know, and for what?  If they haven’t asked my opinion, they’re not interested in it.

So our very “close relationship,” dear Facebook, has to end.  I’m going to use you to stay in touch with my extended family, spread all over the world, and post some photos so they can at least “see” me in a way, and know how my little family is doing.  But I think this whole “what’s on my mind” and status business has gotta go.  Do we want to know what’s on our friends’ minds?  Really?  Let’s call each other.  Do we want to know our friends’ opinions on something (out of curiosity rather than as an excuse to judge them?)  Let’s deliberately ask for it.  Do we want to call someone out on something they’ve done wrong?  Let’s have the guts to say it to that person’s face.  Do we want to praise someone for something good they’ve done?  Let’s send them a letter.  Oh, it’s expensive?  When’s the last time you spent $20 on an impulse purchase?  $1.15 won’t kill you.

I’m looking to really “speak” to people, not use an electronic means to say random things that maybe some of the people who might one day call me friend might press a button to “like.”  I’ll be looking to speak to real friends when I need a real listening ear from now on.

Good bye, Facebook, and no hard feelings.  We can still be friends.

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I will continue to use Facebook to share my articles and to promote my business. But I will spend less time perusing people’s statuses and sharing things on my personal page. To that end, I’ve installed the Chrome extension “Newsfeed Eradicator for Facebook,” which keeps me more productive and a little less inclined to waste time online. It’s worth checking out – and it’s free.

How do you use Facebook? Do you think you are using it to justify your choices to the world?

Put the fork down – you’ve had enough.

Put the fork down; you've had enough

You’re sitting at the table, looking at the wonderfully delicious piece of chocolate cake you’re about to devour for dessert. It smells and looks just as wonderful as it’ll probably taste. But as you look down, you see the muffin top coming out of your jeans, and you start having second thoughts.

Put the fork down. You’ve had enough.

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Have You Settled for a Less-Than-Ideal Life?

Have you Settled For a Less-than-Ideal Life

I pulled my hood over my head as I looked down into one of nature’s most magnificent creations, and one of my favorite things: a gorgeous waterfall.

We were ten kilometers into our hike at Yosemite National Park in California, and I wasn’t at all tired. I was energized, drinking in every moment, knowing that for the next month and a half, I had even more amazing experiences coming my way.

This was the trip of a lifetime – the trip I had been dreaming about for years, and now it was a reality. My husband and I were on the road for two months, travelling the perimeter of North America – from Ontario out west to Vancouver, from Vancouver to San Francisco, from San Francisco to Florida, from Florida to Newfoundland, and back to Ontario.

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FREE Beginner bodyweight workout #2

FREE Beginner Exercise Programs

If you want to get more active, but are not interested in joining a gym, or money is tight, or you don’t have access to equipment, bodyweight training may be for you. If you’ve tried the first bodyweight training workout suggested here, let me know in the comments. I welcome feedback to make this site better for you.

You can get FREE beginner’s bodyweight workout routines here at www.marianamcdougall.com. Soon, I will be adding photos to go along with the workouts, so say tuned. Video is also coming, so sign up for the mailing list to find out when it’s been added.

Please keep in mind that the workouts I am posting are meant to be progressive, so it’s best to start with the first workout posted and move on from there.

Bodyweight Workout #2

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Goals are not enough: identifying your whys

Goals are not enough-

 

I remembered her sad face as she begged me to stay and snuggle for five more minutes. And I had said no. I said I would set an alarm for 2 minutes, and then I was leaving. I wanted some time to myself and I wanted to exercise. I was losing my patience. I had already sung several songs, I had already snuggled, and I had already given goodnight kisses, even though I was supposed to have left before the bedtime routine got started. But I had stayed to feed the baby, and I figured I might as well sing the older two their songs and kiss them goodnight. But I wanted to do it quick and get to the gym, because I’m pursuing my goal of reaching the best health of my life.

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Race to the Finish: fall in love with a sport

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I’m working on a lifestyle overhaul to achieve the best health of my life. I’m starting with exercise because it’s important, fun, and something I have full control over.

As I said in my last post, life threw a curve-ball at me for the last couple of weeks with the whole family coming down with some sort of nasty virus, and I got a bit backtracked on my timeline (but never on my priorities).

Now that everyone’s on the mend, I can concentrate a bit more intensely on getting ready to take my fitness to the next level. I recently wrote an article about the No 1 way to stay motivated to work out. It explains that for me (and many others), just saying “I want to lose weight” or “I want to look better” doesn’t cut it for actually embracing and maintaining an active lifestyle. For me, falling in love with a sport is what does it.

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The value of a flexible plan

The importance of a flexible plan: be prepared for change

When you’re embarking on a major lifestyle change, it’s important to have a plan. Without one, you run the risk of haphazardly making small changes that certainly help, but don’t take you to your desired results in an efficient manner. Whether you use project management principles to get you there, or whether you just have a piece of paper glued to your fridge stating your next steps, one of the most important things you can do to achieve your goals and dreams is to ensure your plans are well-designed, but also flexible. Because sometimes, life likes to play jokes on you. You need to be prepared for that.

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FREE Beginner Exercise Routines – get off the couch and get active with me!

 

FREE Beginner Exercise Programs

FREE Beginner Exercise routines are coming your way – here’s why.

Last week, I told you about my Lifestyle Overhaul – the 15 steps I’m taking to reach the best health of my life. The reason I’ve decided to embark on a lifestyle overhaul is that at this moment, I’m the unhealthiest I’ve ever been.

Once upon a time, I was a hyperactive personal trainer who had my own fitness business, two children, and ran sprint triathlons.

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