Alpha Female Friday – Karen Gallagher

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 finding harmony between work and life. 

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. An 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 Karen Gallagher!

Karen Gallagher

A former competitive figure skater and athlete most of her life, Karen is a fitness expert, women’s transformation coach, health & emotional eating coach, nutritionist, culinary nutrition expert, business owner and author. After struggling with body and weight issues for many years, Karen realized that losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle had nothing to do with a diet and exercise program but rather her life balance, and happiness. Once she learned how to take care of herself emotionally, spiritually and physically her body naturally came into its ideal shape and she felt fit, healthy, sexy and in love with her life!

Karen offers women of all backgrounds the opportunity to better their lives through guided fitness, nutrition and health coaching. She has helped thousands of women to experience profound life transformations during her career and continues to look for opportunities to work with women who are on the journey to changing their lives for the better no matter where they are in life. Karen’s strength and passion is to empower, educate and to transform women’s lives and bodies without having to diet again through her program Feel Healthy, Fit & Fabulous!

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How are you an Alpha Female?

I love this definition and feel that I’m an Alpha female in so many different ways especially when describing a powerful and assertive woman who is also intelligent and genuine all while striving to be happier and to maintain work/life balance. I will be honest, it has taken me some time to get to where I am today and the experiences and knowledge that I have gained over the years has cultivated me into a strong, independent and passionate woman.  The struggles we encounter in our past are lessons we learn for today.  This allows for growth and to creating a fulfilling life. I truly believe that the challenges I have experienced throughout my life have given me the opportunity to learn to become mentally strong, independent, intelligent, and passionate woman that I am today.

Being independent in all areas of my life has really taught me to not be afraid and to be my authentic self. To not worry about what others think and to trust myself that I’m taking the right pathway for me at that moment.

What does work/life harmony look like for you?

Work/Life harmony can mean different things to different people. Creating a healthy balance between work and life is so important for your well being, body and soul.  I try to listen to my body as to what it is trying to tell me.  When she says that I need to take a moment to breathe I simply listen.  What truly balances me and brings me back to my authentic self is spending time in nature.  I love being by the water, at my cottage or practicing yoga or meditation in the fresh air.  There is something about nature that keeps me grounded and in tune with myself.

I’m so passionate about what I do and feel that my work is not really a “chore” for me.  I love to educate myself and thrive on helping others as much as possible to live a healthier and more fulfilling life – it’s my passion! I’m grateful for this because what I do and teach everyday reminds me to ensure this balance everyday in my life. It is so important to check in with myself and be aware of all areas of my life that needs nourishing such as; body, career, relationships, joy and spirituality.  I simply practice what I preach.

What are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about educating and inspiring women to live healthier, happier lives and how to take incredible care of themselves – emotionally, spiritually and physically. I want women to ditch perfection and to learn how to listen to what their body needs, to spend more time focussing on how to take care of themselves and to be deeply connected to their purpose. It is my strength and passion to teach, motivate and empower women to succeed at creating a healthier life from the inside out and learning to love themselves!

As well, I want to connect with amazing and caring people who inspire and encourage me to become a better person.  I honestly believe that life is too short for pretentiousness and people who are not genuinely interested in supporting and loving others.

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

Sleep is my number one daily health habit.  I know that when I feel run down and my body’s immune system is compromised it is because I have not been getting the rest that I need.  I’m not the best person when I’m sick as I feel it is more of annoyance than anything.  So typically if my engine is not running efficiently it is because my time sleeping has been depleted.  Sometimes a little siesta is all that I need!

My second daily health habit is fuelling my body with natural whole foods.  I crave vegetables and fruits and know if I’m lacking in these foods I don’t feel my best.  I become lethargic, irritable and simply cannot focus. I really don’t crave bad foods and when I do I typically reach for the best quality chocolate, wine or sushi. Choosing the best quality will satisfy those moments of cravings without over indulging.   I have learned to listen to my body and go by how I FEEL rather than what a number on the scale is dictating.  When you eat to feel good then there is no emotional attachment to food and the physical results will follow.

My final health habit is to get outside and be active everyday. I learned this as a little girl growing up on the farm.  Fresh air and exercise is the key to longevity – my Grandfather lived to 102 years and this was his secret along with laughing everyday. Our bodies are meant to be in motion and crave the fresh air. Daily outdoor activity boosts immunity and refreshes our spirits!

What is your weekly fitness routine like?

Coming from a competitive world of figure skating and fitness it has been a challenge for me to take a step back after 30 years and learn to listen to my body and to provide it with what it is craving at the time.  It took me a good three years after competing to find my balance in fitness and to listen to what my body needed in terms of movement and rest.  I went from years of doing over two hours of training seven days a week to now doing what I love and what makes me FEEL my best!  Exercise should be thought of as a way to make you feel better, to give you more energy and not as an obsessive weight loss tool.  It should be enjoyable.  At this point in my life my body thrives on three weight workouts a week, cardio daily, yoga weekly and daily meditation.  As well, I sneak in a few rounds of golf, hiking and gardening. This is where I feel my best in this moment of my life.  Keeping in mind, I do come from years as a competitive athlete in skating and fitness so my energy expenditure is different than most.  I love to move and my body feels its best when in motion.

How do you challenge yourself fitness wise?

I used to be much harder on myself as a competitive athlete however over the past few years as I get older I have learned to be more patient with my body.  Fitness has a different purpose for me now, I think of fitness as a way to enhance my health and longevity and not so much now as a “challenge” or  “career” that I need to maintain. My relationship with fitness has evolved into a way of loving my body and listening to what it needs.  I still challenge my body daily by changing my routines of weight lifting and running, mainly to keep my body guessing and mind refreshed. As well, when I practice yoga I focus on improving each day – I always try to strive to be better then the day before.  I feel that I can always improve my yoga practice.

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

I eat rather simply and stick to whole, natural foods.  What God made I eat, what man has created I avoid.  I feel my best when I eat this way.  I used obsess about eating a certain way, certain amounts, and specific times but have thrown all the rules and emotional attachments to food out the window. Without all the rules I feel that best I have ever felt in my life, I don’t feel as crazy around food anymore. My favourite foods are salads. I LOVE making BAS’s…meaning Big A$$ Salads! I get so creative with them and put everything from kale, spinach, roasted vegetables, chopped veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocado, chicken and Kim Chi in the bowl.  I actually crave salads.  I also enjoy seafood, sushi, Isagenix shakes for convenience and almond butter.

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

My evenings are my favourite time! I love my winding down ritual and feel that if it is missing from my day I get out of balance. After finishing work, I typically take an Epsom bath and apply a facemask – these few moments of solitude provide so much vitality to my life. I then light candles and take time to cook my dinner.  I really enjoy cooking and find that it is meditative for me.  Some nights I cuddle up with my two cats Willy and Murphy and watch sports or a comedy on TV but many nights I chat with my Mom by phone and write in my journal.  I like to reflect on the day and to be grateful for all that I have and accomplished.

What are some pain points of being an Alpha Female that you have to problem solve for? 

I have a tendency of piling too much on my plate and setting my standards of achievement high. This eventually leads to feeling overwhelmed and then I need to take a step back and reassess.  I’m all or nothing and find it hard at times to be patient with the process. Especially being self-employed, I pressure myself in to thinking that I need to do everything – I’m learning to delegate now and to be more patient. As long as each day I take steps towards my goals and passions in life I will arrive there, it just may not be at lighting speed!

I’m also a perfectionist and I really take pride in doing things to the best of my ability that I can, and preferably without mistakes – this can weight on me mentally by putting too much pressure on myself.

What is your definition of happiness?

The definition of happiness is unique to each and every one of us.  To me, love is what is most important in achieving happiness. This can mean love in your career, spirituality, health and relationships.  If we have no love for what we do daily and the people we spend the most time with then how can there be happiness? I have been through a period in my life where I felt that materialistic things brought happiness when in fact it did not. I had to experience life-changing struggles to see and learn this.  Happiness is a state of being and to me that is feeling healthy, to love others and to be loved.

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