The Gift of Health

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What if you could ask Santa for something this Christmas that would change the way you went about your daily activities, gave your more energy, more confidence, and a better attitude?

We’ll spend a lot of time this month picking out the perfect gifts for those we love, but what about you? Don’t put yourself on the bottom of your list! You can give yourself something that will not only have a lasting effect on your life, but will keep getting better with time: the gift of health!

I will always remember about 2 years ago going on a hike with my husbands family. My mother-in-law took a picture of all of us walking off. I saw that picture a couple weeks later and it was pretty life changing for me! I looked at that picture and made a DECISION to change and was COMMITTED to making it happen!! I looked at that picture and saw how big and unhealthy I had gotten… I saw a person who was panting just going on a hike and didn’t enjoy it. I saw a person who was so low on energy. I saw a person who was very unhappy on the inside. I saw a person who lacked confidence. I hated who I was!! I hated that I couldn’t have children… I hated that I was always low on energy and frequently depressed.

I threw that picture away… I remember telling myself “From today on out- I am no longer that person!!”

I had spent so many years using the excuses that “I don’t have money to change” or “I will never lose weight– tried many times– its not going to happen” or “I am way too busy, I just don’t have time”, etc.

The thing is, the right time will never come!! If you are not fully committed, you will quit. The excuses are nothing but that… EXCUSES!!!

I am so glad that I finally made that decision to go all in and focus on the things that I could change in order to be healthier and happier!! I got set up with the 21 day fix and shakeology. I did a challenge group with some friends and it completely changed my mindset and results! I was exactly right that day that I decided to change! I am no longer that person… I am happy! I love going on hikes and what exercise does for me! I have all the energy I need to run my own business, exercise every day, and chase my two toddlers around. I am finally more confident and happier than ever before!! I no longer look at a picture of myself and hate what I see. I am comfortable in my own skin and happy with who I am- flaws and all!

My life has completely changed!! This is why I now coach! I want to help other women/men who struggle the way I did!! I want to help you to feel comfortable in your own skin! I want you to feel good in a swimsuit! I want you to be healthy and fit and be active in your family’s life!

Don’t neglect yourself or your needs, and as a woman with many responsibilities, it’s easy to do, but as we take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually we can become the best version of ourselves and offer that version to our families and to the world!  The gift of health is something you’ll treasure and it will change your life!

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It’s not a number on the scale

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It is a new month… so I have decided to weigh myself and then lock my scale up in the shop for 30 days.

Here is the thing…. I have been telling my challengers/clients for the last 2 years not to pay attention to the number on the scale. But rather to focus on their non-scale victories!

But I haven’t been doing this myself! I have been fixated on the number on this scale for my entire pregnancy worrying about not gaining enough or gaining too much weight… instead of just focusing on what I can control (eating healthy and exercising every day).

Today I decided it was time to break the habit of focusing on that number. That is not what is important! I want to be healthy and fit for my children. I want to have energy and not feel irritable and a lot of anxiety so I can be fun and present in the moment for my children. I want to feel good about who I am and feel like I have self control and can do anything. I want to live a healthy lifestyle so I can be active in my older years and involved in my grandchildren’s lives. The number on the scale is not one of my goals… it doesn’t drive us… it discourages us!

In a recent online poll, people shared their reason for being fit and healthy, and guess what? NONE of the answers had anything to do with the number on the scale. And all of them are pretty incredible:

Fitness has everything to do with body and mind. The endorphins and hormones that exercise produces does amazing things for sleep, mood, weight loss, sex life, and overall happiness. —Emily Steele, via Facebook

It’s being capable of doing whatever I set my mind to through patience, hard work, and determination. —Kelsey Arcocha, via Facebook

Having the ability to unleash your inner power at any given moment. Inner power is not just physical fitness, but mental fitness. Fitness abilities, physical and mental, make up the incredible individual that you are. —torin496b6c8d4

To me, fitness means discovering things I can do with my body that I’ve never been able to do before. —Calli Celine Allen, via Facebook

It means being able to physically do whatever I want to do. I’m 52 years old… and I’ve run almost 50 marathons and ultramarathons in the last 10 years, I still snowboard with my kids, I mountain bike, rock climb, do flips off the diving board, whatever I want. And I have no intention of slowing down. —Thom Patterson, via Facebook

It means being able to chase an evil toddler when you ask her to come here and she clearly decides “here” is in the opposite direction… it means being able to carry all 40 pounds of her like a Gronk heading for the end zone when she’s gone full shenanigans in public. —Holly Haddad, via Facebook

Fitness to me means being mentally and physically happy. I suffered from really bad anxiety but once I began running/working out I felt like it all melted away. —Tara Roy, via Facebook

Well, for me, it’s just being able to be emotionally stable. I don’t care to get my six-pack back. I just wanna be happy again. —Rebekah Marie Byrd, via Facebook

 It’s a sign that I am bettering myself from where I used to be, also it’s opening doors that I didn’t even know about in life. —Aaron Lassen, via Facebook

Being fit is eating healthy, exercising regularly, and being hygienic. But most important of all, no matter your weight or gender or appearance or habits or ability, being happy and comfortable with yourself. —ABCDBadwolf, via Facebook

So now my question for YOU is: What’s your reason for getting healthy and fit?

Fall Into Fitness

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Don’t let the changing weather make you give up on your health and fitness goals. And if you’re just starting your health and fitness journey, Fall is a great time to begin!

“Fall … is a great time to start a fitness program because you’re going to create good habits for the holiday season and the upcoming winter months,” says Justin Price, owner of Biomechanics, a personal training and wellness coaching facility in San Diego, Calif.

Here four tips to help you maintain your healthy habits through the changing seasons:

1. Get Outside:  Without cooling temperatures, taking your fitness outside has never been better! Go for a hike and explore the beautiful fall scenery. Take a family bike ride, a jog, or walk in the park with a friend. Or just take some of your regular exercise moves and do them outside. You’ll be so glad you did this once the winter weather hits!

2. Make a Schedule: With kids back in school and on a regular schedule, make fitness and meal planning part of your routine. Set aside specific time to get your fitness in and prep your healthy meals. Fall is also a great time to explore different workout options and try something new!

3. Chores Can Be a Workout Too: Raking leaves or gardening burns about 150 calories every 30 minutes, so if you find that you don’t have time for exercise, grab a rake or a hoe, and turn seasonal tasks into a fat-burning workout.

4. Drink Your Water: It may not be as hot outside, but drinking your water is always important! Stay hydrated, help your body soak in those nutrients and flush toxins, and always drink before you snack (sometimes feeling hungry is a sign you’re actually thirsty).

How Complaining Rewires Your Brain

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I read this article recently and thought it was SO INTERESTING!

Here’s the gist behind how excessive complaining rewires your brain:

“There’s something called “experience-dependent neuroplasticity,” which is the continuing creation and grouping of neuron connections in our brains that take place as a result of our life experiences.

Neuroscience teaches us that neurons that fire together, wire together. Donald Hebb, a Canadian neuropsychologist, coined that phrase back in 1949. What this means is that whenever we think a thought or have a feeling or physical sensation, thousands of neurons are triggered and they all get together to form a neural network.

With repetitive thinking, the brain learns to trigger the same neurons each time.

So, if you keep your mind looping on self-criticism, worries, and how nothing is working out for you, your mind will more easily find that part of your brain and will quickly assist you in thinking those same thoughts again.”

Crazy, right? So if we’ve gotten into the habit of dwelling on negative experiences/feelings then the next time something doesn’t go our way (like someone cuts you off in traffic, let’s say) our brain’s kneejerk reaction is not to let the incident slide, but for us to be negative and complain about it.

So what can we do to stop this negative cycle?

  1. Catch Yourself: When you notice yourself complaining, STOP IT and change the subject.
  2. Be Grateful: How can you complain and be grateful at the same time? You can’t! No matter the situation, find something to be grateful for. Someone cuts you off in traffic, be grateful you were alert while driving. Be grateful your favorite song just came on the radio.
  3. Put your energy elsewhere: Complaining is emotionally draining (it is to the people who have to hear it too), change that negative energy into something positive! Give compliments, say thank you, serve others, and laugh more!
  4. Breathe and meditate: There’s no doubt things will happen that annoy us, but take deep breaths while you’re in the situation and practice tips #2 and 3.

Once my friend was in a long line at the store. She was getting impatient and her initial reaction was to be grouchy with the clerk when it was her turn. Instead, she took a deep breath and noticed that the clerk was all alone in the store trying to assist many customers. She smiled and told the clerk she was doing a great job instead. The clerk perked right up and my friend felt better too!

At home, meditate  or do yoga to relieve stress. Writing in a gratitude journal is also helpful.

Just like your brain can get wired for negativity, we can rewire it to be more positive! I feel like in this world we live in, we definitely need more of that! I also want to be an example to my kids on being positive. Society tell us that it’s all about “ME” and if something doesn’t go my way, I have the right to complain and shout my frustrations. I want to make a different choice. I CHOOSE HAPPINESS and FINDING JOY IN THE JOURNEY EACH AND EVERY DAY!!

Reward Yourself without Buying/Eating Anything!

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Whether your victory is large or small, we all need to celebrate and treat ourselves sometimes. While buying a new outfit to fit your slimmer frame or an occasional cheat meal has its place, if you struggle with emotional eating or emotional shopping–then finding a healthy alternative to rewarding yourself is the way to go!

First, I want to share this thought about emotional eating:

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Being healthy and exercising should be something you look forward to, not a punishment for overeating. And it’s too easy to fall back into bad habits, so don’t use food as a reward for exercise…otherwise you’ll end up like a hamster on a wheel: going round and round and never getting anywhere.

Okay, now on to the list!

Reward Yourself Without Buying or Eating Anything!

  1. Take a Nap/Sleep In
  2. Take a bubble bath
  3. Pamper yourself at home: give yourself a manicure/pedicure, use the lotion you hardly ever get around to putting on, search pinterest for a DIY facemask recipe to try
  4. Put your feet up and read a book/magazine or head to the library and discover something new there!
  5. Look at all those articles, tutorials and videos you saved to “look at later”, but never have.
  6. Shout it from the rooftops! Post about your success on social media and enjoy your friends celebrating with you.
  7. Have your spouse/significant other give you a back/hand/foot massage
  8. Get a day to yourself: use it to work on something you really want like scrapbooking, photography, sewing, that project around the house you’ve really wanted to get to, or whatever your hobby is!
  9. Binge watch something on Netflix or watch your favorite movies
  10. Go for a drive: this might cost you some gas money, but there’s just something relaxing and rejuvenating about driving around listening to your favorite music.
  11. Go window shopping: leave your purse at home (or least locked in the car) and just look. It’s okay to dream up ideas.

Your turn! What are your favorite ways to treat yourself without buying or eating anything?

8 Habits of Healthy Families

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Here’s a disclaimer: Healthy Families are NOT Perfect Families. They may grab a pizza for dinner or let their kids watch too much TV one day. Their kids throw temper tantrums and insist they must wear the same shirt 3 days in a row. And guess what? It’s OK! The biggest thing is that we’re trying. I was inspired to write this post after this article on extraordinarily healthy families. I thought some of the tips were really great, and wanted to add some of my own advice and experiences to it.

Some of these tips you may already do and there might be some new ideas for your family to try. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to make all these a habit with your family in one day or even one week. Remember: it’s our small, daily efforts that add up to big results!

1.Get Outside And Play

With the weather cooling down,  the temperature is perfect for afternoon and early evening playtime. Cold winter months means lots of time indoors, so take advantage of the nice weather and play outside as much as possible!

“Ideally that means, for children, some kind of physical activity every day, and for adults, a minimum of four days a week,” clinical psychologist Steve Orma says

Kick a soccer ball in the grass, play catch, draw silly pictures with chalk, visit the park, or ride bikes and scooters. Use this time to develop healthy habits, but also to bond as a family.

2. Have a NO PHONE zone

With younger kids, this can mean a NO SCREEN TIME zone. I typically power off my devices for an hour or two each day so I can focus on my children and spend quality time with them. When my phone is powered off I’m not tempted to sneak a peek at my messages. For some families, the no phone zone is during homework time or dinner time. Other families have a drawer or other charging station where phones go at bedtime so no one can use them after a certain time. Do what works best for you family.

3. Make Meal Prep a Family Activity

Why should mom do all the work when it comes to meal prep? Mealtime is a great opportunity to teach children healthy eating habits and cooking skills they’ll use later in life. You can talk to your family about why what you’re eating is healthy and good for your body. If you cook certain things like chicken ahead of time to use throughout the week, have kids help you scoop up the portions of chicken and transfer it into a freezer bag or Tupperware. Most young kids are eager to help in the kitchen, it’s usually the adult who shoos them away.

“Take them to the grocery store and help them learn to read labels. Choose a recipe together and then say, ‘Let’s get your ingredients.’”

For older kids, try teaching them a simple meal to make, doing it once together. Then, the next time you make it, have them do most of it on their own. I know families who have their older children in charge of a dinner each week.

4. Organize Your Schedules Around Good Health

“To keep your family on the track toward healthy living, try getting a calendar and putting it in a place where everyone in the family can see. Then use it: Schedule the night the kids are in charge of making dinner. Add the once-a-month family bike ride to the park or the weekly driveway basketball game.”

Don’t do something once and then never do it again. Writing it on a calendar and part of your normal routine will help make these ideas into healthy habits that are just part of your normal family life.

5. Rethink Snacktime

The easiest way to tackle this is to get the junk out of the house and fill it with healthy options (for tips, see my post on cleaning out the junk). Make healthy foods accessible to your family (keep them in a bowl on the counter or on a low shelf in the fridge), and if you haven’t already, make sure each member of your family has their own reusable water bottle.

6. Communicate

I heard a great family tip the other week: another mom shared with me that the first Sunday of each month is a time when the parents have a one on one council with each child. They keep it informal and just ask about how things are going and if the child has any problems or concerns they want to talk about. I love this idea and can see how it would be especially beneficial if you have school aged children!

“Mental health, sleep, experiences at school and how they’re interacting with others are so closely linked, and if something is bothering or troubling a child, it will affect their overall well-being.”

Of course dinnertime, rides to school, and when your playing outside together are all other great times to talk openly as a family. Make communicating a fun part of your day where all members of your family take turns talking and listening to others. 

7. Wind Down Together

Try to establish a strong bedtime routine and make it a family affair (even if your kids go to bed earlier than you). Get things ready for the next day such as lunches, homework and outfits. Read books together, tell each other what you were thankful for that day, and start to relax and unwind. Experts suggest to give yourself at least 1 hour to unwind before bed…so if you want your kids in bed by 8, start your routine at 7.

I know a mom who tells her kids she will read books to them until 8pm. So that means if they can get in PJs with brushed teeth and go potty quickly, they have more time to read. But some nights they drag their feet and complain and only have 10 minutes to read. I thought this was a clever idea.

8. Keep Exercise Fun

Staying healthy and active is a life-long habit. What is your attitude when it comes to working out? Do your kids hear you grumbling and complaining? You are their example for healthy living…a lot of times your attitude becomes their attitude. Don’t be afraid to try new activities or to ask your children what they would like to do.

We went paddle boarding on our recent family vacation for the first time with our little buddies. They sat really good and just chilled while we were on the lake. It was fun, relaxing, and a workout all at the same time!  For more tips on keeping exercise fun, see my post on incorporating kids into your fitness routine.

Staying Fit @ Family Functions

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Labor Day weekend is coming up and for many of you that means one last HURRAH of summer. Families celebrate with BBQs, camping, or family trips over the long weekend. It’s a weekend meant to be relaxing and a time to take a break from the normal routine, but don’t let all your fun plans derail your health and fitness goals. Here a few tips to make sure you stay on track:

1. Prep Before You Go: Whether it’s a road trip or just a day at the park, bring your own healthy snacks and a reusable water bottle so you’re not tempted to stop  for junk food when you get hungry or thirsty. Almonds, apples, cheese sticks,  and boxes of raisins are all small enough to fit in a purse or day pack.

2. Fit in your fitness: When choosing a destination for your trip, see if your hotel offers a fitness room or pool to exercise in–then make sure to schedule a time to use it! Hiking with your family or walking around to explore the town or in the mountains are other great options for fitting in your exercise while on vacation.

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3. Eat with Caution: When you’re eating out on vacation, look at portion sizes on the plates of the people around you. Are they huge?  If so, think about splitting an entree with someone or put half of it in a to-go box as soon as it comes so you don’t overeat. Many restaurants even have a “light” menu with entrees with fewer calories and made with cleaner ingredients. If you don’t see one, don’t be afraid to ask your server for some healthy suggestions.

4. Be The Example: At your next barbecue or camping trip be the one who brings the healthy side dish (remember, healthy doesn’t mean yucky) or the one to start up a game of kickball or volleyball with the group!  We can’t control what other people bring to the party, but you can eat a hamburger with all the veggies but without the white bun or mayo. Just do the best you can with the food options there are. When you’re hanging out together with friends or family, offer to grab someone else a water while you get yours or offer refill the veggies on their plates. For some healthy recipe ideas to take to your next family party or camping trip, browse through my RECIPE INDEX