Alpha Female Friday – Alison Smith

Every Friday I am going to feature a woman that I adore. They exude all the qualities of an Alpha Female and I want to dig into their lives to get some nuggets of knowledge to help us all live happier, healthier lives balancing life & work.

Definition of an Alpha Female

An Alpha Female is a powerful and assertive woman. Her confidence is due to being an intelligent and intellectual problem-solver. Being an Alpha Female is a State of Mind based on choosing ambition and being proud of it. She strives for a happy and healthy work/life harmony.

Type A Alpha Females often come across as strong willed and selfish. When we stay true to our authentic selves and stay true to our mission we shine. A true Alpha Female puts the needs of herself first without sacrificing her principles or dignity. She fills up her cup or gas tank first so that she has enough energy for her friends, family, and coworkers. A true Alpha Female strives for synergy with the world around her. She wants a perfect work/life balance but knows that it requires being true to your priorities and what makes you happy. She is never complacent about striving for better and nurtures relationships with the people in her life.

Meet Alison Smith! 

Alison Smith Headshot

Alison Smith is a neuroscientist and health coach who teaches women how to discover a way to empower their health through sugar-free & gluten-free living. Schooled by her own health journey, following an 8-year battle with Lyme Disease, Alison is the creator of Sweet Liberation, 30-Days to Kick Sugar to the Curb: a one-on-one coaching program that teaches women how to live a sweet sugar-free life without feeling deprived. Alison also coaches women on how to create an award winning blog & business. Alison lives and breathes by the motto: Live healthy. Live happy. Live now. Learn more about Alison on her website or follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

How are you an Alpha Female?

I’m intrigued by the fact that I was brought up to be an alpha female, by a beautiful woman and generous man — my parents — who were not alpha’s, themselves. We are typically guided by parents who wish their children to be a reflection of themselves, but that’s not what happened in my case. I wasn’t packaged in bubble-wrap; I wasn’t shielded from making major mistakes; I wasn’t babied. Instead, I was free to voice my opinion, and live my life according to my own goals without ever being questioned by my mom or dad. And for that I’m truly grateful.

I credit my alpha female heart to my parents because despite sweating hands and a rapidly beating heart, my mom taught me how to use the city transit system, alone, at the age of 12. I wanted to do things — big things, and she didn’t want to hold me back. I became a model in Toronto by the age of 16, and my parents gave my high school principal a universal note excusing me from classes at any time that I needed to work. They didn’t bat an eyelash; they let me tackle any ambition I had.

Through my high school years, teachers and guidance counselors told me never to attempt university because I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Neither of my parents or I agreed. I did end up going to university, and I finished a PhD in neuroscience. It turned out that university was my jam.

I’ve lived in various countries, alone. And, I have never questioned or backed down from completing any goal. I’m an alpha female because I was brought up knowing that if I wanted something, I could have it; my failures were my own and no others; and, it’s important to treat people with kindness and respect. Success is contagious, and I love witnessing greatness in others, and my parents loved witnessing greatness in their daughter.

Does work/life balance exist?

A work/life balance is absolutely doable, as long as you define what it means for you. What activities or hobbies make you happy? Who are the important people in your life? It’s so easy to sink into a 12-14 hour work day that is void of any personal joy. It’s up to us to stand up for what we need, and to kindly demand the freedom to indulge in our passions and to enjoy the people who we love.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about knowledge and education. I love meeting people who can teach me something new. I was recently in my local pet shop, and discovered that the guy working there was in the midst of becoming a certified financial analyst (CPA). I ended up staying there, chatting for over an hour, about the stock market. I love those eye-opening moments that come out of nowhere.

What are your daily health habits that keep your immune system boosted?

Last month, I celebrated 1500 days living sugar-free; I haven’t had any added sugar of any kind in over 4-years. It was the best thing I did for my body as I worked my way through Lyme Disease recovery (a 9-year ordeal). Sugar is an immune system suppressant — and it’s not welcome in my temple. I also live chemical and alcohol-free. At home, we eat lots of organic produce, and love concentrating on superfoods like raw cacao, bee pollen, fresh juice, and chlorophyll.

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What is your weekly fitness routine like?

Between 2006 and 2015, I was very ill with Lyme Disease — a bacterial infection that you contract from the bite of a tick. It took 5 years to get diagnosed and 3 years of treatment to recover. I’m still experiencing improvements to this day. Before Lyme, I was training for the Chicago marathon; I had always been a very active girl. But for 8 solid years, I was totally inactive — I could barely function.

I started to feel better in 2014, and I began hatha yoga. Once that got easy, I moved onto vinyasa yoga. By January 2015, I felt like I could push myself toward more cardio, and I instantly became obsessed with the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program: an at-home DVD system based on muscle sculpting and dance cardio. Since January, I’ve been doing the Glutecentric Metamorphosis classes 4-5 days a week, and now 10-months later, my body is no longer a marshmallow. I love that I can crank the music and dance or workout. Having physical vibrance again is incredible!

Namaste Yoga Channel by Melissa West

How do you challenge yourself fitness wise?

The Tracy Anderson program I do at home has 27 different levels. I’ve been working my way through them, slowly. Since I was so sedentary for 8-years, I had a great deal of muscle atrophy and no cardio ability. Lyme disease really knocked the stuffing out of me. It’s been a pleasurable challenge re-building my body, again. I absolutely love sweating, dancing, and moving. The program I’m doing is really hard, yet so gratifying — mostly because I had to wait so long to be able to do it at all. Rays of gratitude all around.

What are your daily habits for winding down at night and reducing stress?

I have three rituals for relaxation, the first being books, books, and more books. I’m a voracious reader; my second home is my local library across the street. Recently, I started reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and I’m hooked. (If you’re a girl, read this series. You’ll love it.) My second strategy is meditation. I had the pleasure of learning mindfulness based cognitive behavioural therapy (MBCBT) — a practice that helped to support my mental health throughout my chronic illness. It’s based on the work of Jon Kabat Zinn (a neuroscience rockstar in my life) and Zindel Segal et al. (out of The University of Toronto, CAMH). I love the big KZ’s body scan meditation audio track. My last wind-down strategy is podcasts. I listen to a podcast, cozied up in bed, every night. My favorites are Stuff You’ve Missed in History, This American Life, Canadaland, and The History Chicks. My podcast obsession relates back to my passion for knowledge and education.

What are your daily/weekly nutrition habits that keep you well nourished?

At my place, we’ve been members of Plan B Organic Farm for the last 4-years. (It’s located just outside of Toronto). Every week, we pick-up a box of organic fruits and vegetables — and save a lot of money, too. I like to avoid pesticide and herbicide covered produce. As I’ve described above, I’m a sugar-free girl. But, I’m also gluten-free as well. I avoid all foods that I’m allergic to, to avoid internal inflammation. I also love juicing; making my own gluten-free bread; creating sugar-free chocolate bars; and, buying healthy, organically raised meats. I primarily eat like a vegetarian, but I do occasionally like ethically farmed meat.

 What are pain points that Alpha Females are constantly problem solving for?

I guess I can only speak to my personal experiences on this one. Pain points are so individualistic. I find that as I get older, sticking to my definition of a happy, successful, and healthy life has become more of a challenge. As a women, I feel a great deal of pressure to get married and to have children, even though these things are not important to my definition of a successful and happy life. I’ve had to really stay focused on what is important in my life, and to not allow others to influence my experience. I’ve been in a successful and loving relationship for the last 17 years; we may get married one day, but it hasn’t been a priority so far. We are all individuals, and I don’t think we need to do anything just because others are doing it, too. I also think it’s really important for alpha females to connect with other alpha females. I feel very inspired by the success of others. Yes, I still feel jealousy and fear when I read about what other women are doing, but when I witness an alpha female friend, someone who I know personally, succeed… it makes me tear-up with joy, and her success fuels my own fire to keep on going. In my life, I want to be surrounded by as many alpha females as possible because success is contagious.

What is your definition of happiness?

I’ve learned that when something horrible happens, and every piece of your life is stripped away: career, money, material goods, freedom, independence, health, and friends…in the end, happiness is a choice. Staying mindful to what remains in your life helps to cultivate happiness and gratitude.

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