80 Day Obsession Phase 2 Results!

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I cannot say enough how much I am LOVING this program!

I was so intimidated and scared to death before it started, but the longer we get into the process, the more I am loving it.  The workouts are tough, sure, but I am DOING THEM!  I am feeling stronger literally week by week, and sometimes day by day.  I am pushing myself more than I ever have before, and I’m being successful, which I honestly didn’t believe could happen.  I am sticking to the nutrition plan better and longer than I have EVER stuck to a plan before–I’m on day 57 of the nutrition and going strong!

For some reason that I really can’t explain, this program has been the easiest for me to stick to, even though it’s longer and more intense than anything I’ve ever done before.  It’s not EASY to stick to at all–I have cravings, and I have days where I really don’t want to work out.  But it has been easIER than past programs I’ve done.  I’ve been trying to figure out why that is, but haven’t been able to come up with a clear answer.  Maybe it’s the fact that I committed to a test group, meaning I committed to my company that I would follow the program exactly, instead of just doing it on my own.  Maybe it’s because I’m using the preworkout, so once I drink that, it’s accountability to actually do the workout–I’m not wasting that good stuff!  Maybe it’s because the nutrition plan is so structured and spelled out for me–it takes a lot of guesswork out for me and makes it simpler for me to make my meal plan for the week.  Maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve consistently meal planned for more than 3 weeks in a row.  Maybe it’s because I’m actually doing meal prep on Sundays instead of trying to fix every meal every day.  Maybe it was because I was in the right place mentally to make a change.  I honestly don’t know, but whatever it is, this program brought it out in me and I love it!

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This second phase of the program was a “build” phase, so it’s not really designed to give big results as far as weight loss and fat loss.  These workouts were designed to build lean muscle and burn fat, but with more of an emphasis on building the lean muscle.  I still lost weight and inches, and am wearing a smaller size of jeans now, so I still got some awesome results, but definitely not as big of a drop as Phase 1.  Phase 3 is designed to be the shred phase, really focusing on fat loss, so I’m pretty pumped to see my results at the end!

The nutrition for Phase 2 was pretty identical to Phase 1, but added something totally new to my nutrition routine called Refeed Days.  Basically, Refeed Day is a day where I eat more fruit and more carbs than normal, and my carbs are refined flours to up my sugar levels to help my muscles recover better and faster.  I’m still eating my lean protein and veggies and I’m still following my plan, so it’s definitely NOT a free-for-all cheat day that I am normally accustomed to.  And that is fine with me!  I got to eat white flour waffles, some amazing cookies, and a whole banana in my shake–it was the best day.

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I was actually kind of scared of Refeed Day–because my past experience is with cheat days where I stuff my face, I was afraid of having cravings and having the Refeed Day turn into a Refeed Week, and derail me and my progress.  But that didn’t happen!!!  Know why?  BECAUSE I FOLLOWED THE PLAN.  I ate the approved Refeed foods and nothing else, and I went back to the regular meal plan the next day.  It’s pretty simple, y’all.  If you have a good plan and you actually follow it, it’s amazing what can happen!

I did get a little tired by the end of Refeed because of the extra sugar, but overall I felt GREAT.  I didn’t feel sick to my stomach, I didn’t have acid reflux like I was afraid of, and I felt great the next day too!  It really did up my energy and help me push more in my workout the next day, which was the whole point.  I get a Refeed Day every other week until the end of the program now, which is very exciting!  It’s nice to have a little bit of a mental break from focusing on eating what will fuel my body, to feel like I’m cheating just a little, but to still know that I’m 100% on track!

Overall, I am thrilled with Phase 2.  Not just with my Phase 2 results, but with my energy, my confidence, and the boost this entire program has given to my mindset.  I had completely lost that mindset that healthy living is a LIFESTYLE and had fallen into that trap of doing short-term plans, seeing some good results, and then going right back to my old habits.  It was a constant struggle and I struggled a lot with feeling like a failure.  NO MORE.  No freaking more!  I’m done with starting over–I’ve done it more than once, and I’m not planning on doing it again.  This program has done that for me and I’m so grateful–and it’s not even over yet!

I just started my newest accountability group–are you ready to make your transformation a reality?  Comment here or click “contact me” at the top of the page to get details on how to join the community!

Self-Care for Busy Moms

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One of my favorite parts of the new fitness program I’m doing is the focus on self-care.  As a mom–no matter how many kids you have, what kind of job you work, or your life situation–taking care of YOU falls to the very bottom of the to-do list.  We take care of everyone and everything else before ourselves–and then we are so exhausted that we just don’t think about it.

One thing I’ve learned over the past almost-3 years of focusing on my health and fitness is that when I prioritize taking care of myself, I do a better job taking care of my family, my responsibilities, and just dealing with the stress of life in general.  I don’t feel guilty for taking some time for me anymore–it has been tough to deal with that “mom guilt”, but I know the benefit my family gets when I take care of myself, and I don’t feel bad about taking the time I need to be able to benefit them.

So mommas, take a few minutes to take care of YOU.  I know, I know–you’re busy, the kids constantly need you, maybe your husband isn’t supportive of time for yourself (which is a whole other conversation!)–but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take care of yourself and fill your cup.

A lot of times we think of self-care as something really expensive or time consuming, like an hour massage, a spa day, or that kind of thing.  It doesn’t have to be that complicated, you guys.  Here are some of my favorite, cheap, and simple ways to engage in self-care for myself, categorized by the amount of time it takes for your convenience.  No matter how busy you are, you can choose something–just ONE thing!–on this list to take care of you.  You are worth it, mommas!!!  Don’t pour into everyone else from an empty cup.

Self-Care Options for Busy Moms

0-5 minutes

  • 5 deep breaths to clear your mind and de-stress/lessen anxiety
  • 3 minute guided meditation from an app like Headspace
  • Changing into your favorite sweats or pjs
  • Laying in the quiet with your eyes closed for 5 minutes (or sitting in the bathroom–been there, done that)
  • Listening to your favorite song
  • Scrolling through social media to empty your head and de-stress
  • Doing one minute of jumping jacks
  • Doing some stretches
  • Turning off your alarm and waking up with your kids or just whenever your body wakes you up!

 

5-10 minutes

  • Using a face mask
  • Putting scented lotion on your hands and feet
  • A longer guided meditation from an app like Headspace
  • Making a list of 5 things you are grateful for in your life
  • Calling someone to tell them you love them
  • Coloring a picture–either from your kid’s coloring books or an adult coloring book (I swear, this is so relaxing and I don’t know why!)

 

10-20 Minutes

  • Watching an episode of The Office/New Girl/anything that makes you laugh on Netflix
  • Painting your nails
  • Reading a favorite magazine
  • Reading a chapter of a book you love
  • A hot shower and a deep conditioner
  • Doing some light yoga and/or foam rolling to help sore muscles
  • Going for a walk around your neighborhood in the sunshine

 

20-30 Minutes

  • A warm bath (with epsom salt for soreness!)
  • Walking around Target or whatever store you like by yourself
  • Driving out to get your favorite coffee or tea (preferably alone)
  • Listening to some of your favorite podcast
  • Taking a power nap
  • Getting a great workout in (you really can do this in 20-30 minutes if you work out at home!  Ask me how 😉  )

 

60+ Minutes

  • Getting your nails done at the salon
  • Getting your hair cut and styled
  • A massage
  • An afternoon alone!
  • Watching a movie
  • Taking a long nap
  • Girl’s night out/girl’s dinner
  • Date night with your partner!

 

When you’re new to engaging in self-care, it can feel weird, overwhelming, or even selfish at first.  Start with something simple and quick, and work your way up to the longer ones.  I do one of the quick options every single day, and do longer options far less frequently–but we all have to start somewhere, so just START!

What are your favorite ways to fill your cup back up?  Share your favorite self-care tips in the comments!

My Favorite Personal Development Books

Personal development was not something I was familiar with before I started my business.  It kind of sounded hokey to me at first–I’ve always been very wary of anything that sounds like “self-help”.  When I found out that personal development was one of the vital behaviors that my company encourages for being successful, I knew I had to at least give it a try.  And I’m so glad I did!

Personal development has helped me in so many ways; it’s helped me better live out the Scripture that talks about only thinking on those things that are lovely and true (aka positive and worthy), it’s helped me with my confidence, it’s helped me with my discipline, and it’s helped me shift my perspective from depressed and negative to more positive and optimistic.  All of those changes within me have positively affected every other area of my life, especially my relationships with my husband and son!  I’ve learned that by working on ME, I become better in every area of life and EVERYONE around me benefits from that!

I’ve read a lot of books over the past few years dedicated to working on ME, so I wanted to share some of my favorite ones and categorize them–that way, you just look for a category that fits the area of improvement you want to focus on for yourself, and there is at least one suggestion to get you started.

Do you already read personal development?  I’d love to hear your recommendations, too!  Share them with me in the comments!

Fear of Failure/Fear of Getting Started

Start by Jon Acuff

Go for No by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

Make It Happen by Lara Casey

Failing Forward by John C Maxwell

General Discipline

Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

The Miracle Morning for Network Marketers by Hal Elrod

The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Emotional Eating

Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst

Confidence

Get Over Your Damn Self by Romi Neustadt

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Start by Jon Acuff

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C Maxwell

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C Maxwell

Overall Wellness

Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

The Me-Tox by Beth Behrs

Superlife by Darin Olien (my ultimate favorite choice!)

Nutrition

Superlife by Darin Olien

Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso

It Starts With Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig

Fear of Rejection

Go For No! by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

Being overwhelmed

Start by Jon Acuff

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy

Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

The Go Getter by Peter B. Kyne

Business/Network Marketing

10x Rule by Grant Cardone

Go Pro by Eric Worre

Get Over Your Damn Self by Romi Neustadt

Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

 

Moving Into 2018 By Getting Obsessed

Happy February, friends!

We are well into 2018 and I have big goals for this year–for myself, my family, and my business!  2017 was a little bit of a dumpster fire for me at times, but the end of the year brought me some really great improvements from #mySADexperiment and it’s been great to keep that going!

By focusing very intentionally on my nutrition and my fitness (plus continuing the medication my doctor prescribed me last spring, of course), I have been able to manage my depression and anxiety SO MUCH BETTER than last winter.  I have been feeling more confident and more even-keeled, and not dealing with some of my usual issues like bloating, indigestion, and poor sleep.

I knew I wanted to keep up my progress with this going into 2018, so I committed to something I have NEVER done before–and honestly it kind of freaked me out.  A brand new fitness program launched in January, and at first I really wasn’t sure if I wanted in or not.  First of all, it’s longer than any other program I’ve done before: 90 days total with 80 workouts.  That’s a lot!!!  Second, the workouts themselves are longer than I’m used to, ranging between 35 min and 60 min, where I usually stick to 30 minutes.  I was pretty content to let this program go by without getting involved; it was way out of my comfort zone and I honestly didn’t think I could do it.  I didn’t believe in myself or my ability to do hard things.

As soon as I saw the before and after pictures from the test group, however, I was in.  Like, got super excited and ready for a challenge, ALL IN.  I committed not only to doing the program, but doing it full out, exactly as written.  That means following the meal plan for the entire time, doing all of the workouts, not skipping a day, not talking myself into a sweet tea during week 2, not having some birthday cake for my kiddo’s birthday.  ALL IN.

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I mean, come on!!! Who doesn’t want results like these????

Plus, this program was created by my absolute favorite trainer, Autumn, so that made it easier to say yes to it.  My biggest motivation for doing this, besides continuing my progress from #mySADexperiment, is the trip to Mexico I’m taking in April with my hubby.  I earned an invitation to this trip, and will be there with other health and fitness coaches–and I’m really excited!!  But I also know that I don’t want to spend my time there around a bunch of other really fit women and compare myself–all that will do is make me feel bad about myself, and that’s goofy.  Doing this program, regardless of my outcome, will help me build confidence and feel awesome, and I know that will help my confidence on the beach in April, too.

I’ll be sharing my progress after I finish Phase 1 (out of three) next week, and I’ll also give some more info about the nutrition plan for this program–because it’s different than what I’ve done in the past and I am loving it!

Here are my starting pictures.  I don’t have specific goals as far as weight or inches lost by the end, because I really want to focus on just doing the process as written and see what happens.  I’m excited for the journey!  If you need some badass results in your life, too, contact me!  Let’s chat and get you in to my next group!

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Take the Stairs!

Self-discipline is hard.  Whether you’re talking about food choices, fitness, getting up with my alarm, having more patience with my three year old, or whatever else I’ve got going on in my life, being disciplined is a constant battle.  I’m always looking for an easier way out, or just reacting to situations instead of thinking through the best choice–I’m sure you can relate.  It’s hard to be a disciplined person, and I fall short pretty much every day.

It’s been a few years since I started focusing on being more disciplined, and it’s pretty amazing how far I’ve come in so many areas of my life–but there is always more room to grow!  I’ve been reading (for a second time, actually) an amazing book and just wanted to recommend it to you.

Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden is exactly what I need to read right now–he is all about learning to be disciplined in every area of life, and that has been a great lesson for me over the last few years.  I can choose a specific area of my life to grow in my discipline–focusing solely on workouts, or just on my patience, for example–but to truly grow in discipline, it needs to be something that pervades all areas of my life.  I need to learn to become a disciplined WOMAN in general, not just a disciplined eater or a disciplined exerciser.  I love that idea, and it’s exactly the type of person I want to become.  If this is something you struggle with, too, please do yourself a favor and add this book to your Christmas list.

Also, a bit of encouragement: one of the most difficult aspects of learning to be disciplined (for me, anyway) was feeling like I had to muster up the strength to be more disciplined.  It was overwhelming and exhausting for me to think about trying my hardest every day to be more disciplined!  It made me not even want to try, because who can do that all day every day?  Not me, for sure.  But then I came across this verse that comforted me and made me feel really empowered:

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

If you are a Christian, you already have a Spirit of self-discipline within you–you just have to ask God to help you live that out and choose to submit to that Spirit in your day to day choices.  So be encouraged by that!

What books have you read that have helped you with this idea of self-discipline?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Christmas Advent 2017

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year!  Now that my little man is getting older, it’s getting more and more fun.  For the past few years, I’ve done an Advent calendar for us as a family to serve together, have intentional time together, and to help teach my little man what Christmas is really all about!

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Here are some of the activities we’ll be doing this Advent season–what are some of the traditions you and your family have?  I’d love to hear about them!

Watch a Christmas movie

Breakfast with Santa

Swim party (when we’ll be in a hotel out of town)

Make a leaf wreath

Make Christmas cards and mail them to our cousins

Make treats and deliver them to our neighbors

Choose some toys to donate

Deliver food to a food bank ministry

Have cookies and cocoa at our church’s Christmas service

Have breakfast for dinner

Sing Christmas carols to our grandparents (if he’ll cooperate!)

Drive around and look at Christmas lights

Read the Christmas story together

Do a Christmas puzzle

Color a Christmas coloring page

 

This isn’t the full list, but it’s a great start!  What are your Advent activity plans?

Super Simple DIY Fruit Cups

My kid is picky.  It is one of the great annoyances of motherhood for me to have a toddler who is SO PICKY about food.  My hubby was a picky child, and I am a really adventurous eater, so one of my goals as a mom is to raise an adventurous eater like me.  I’ll pause here so fellow parents can laugh at that goal.

I know that I can’t control my kid’s pickiness, but I CAN control how much or how little I give in to it.  So, I’m constantly on a quest to figure out how to transition my child off of junky processed foods and onto healthier options and more variety.  Sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I want to do a better job being consistent in my efforts and in sharing them.

This switch is so simple that I hesitated to even share it with you.  My kid LOVES fruit and would eat it all day every day if he had the choice.  But, I hate buying fruit cups for him.  I don’t like all the sugar that comes in the syrup, even the “no sugar added” kinds.   Even if the fruit is in fruit juice instead of syrup, there is so much sugar in there that he just doesn’t need.  So, one day I finally realized, “Hey!  I can just make these myself!”  Duh.

His favorite fruit cups are mandarin oranges and peaches.  So I bought a bag of clementines on sale and a couple of bags of frozen sliced peaches (no sugar added, of course).  Then all I had to do was peel and cut up the clementines, and let the peaches thaw before I chopped them up.  Easy peasy.  Plus, using frozen peaches saves me a step in prepping, so I’m winning all the way around.

If your kiddos like fruit cups, try making your own fruit cups–you can even buy pre-cut fruit in the produce section to make it easy on yourself.  It’s definitely not easy to switch your kids from processed to whole foods, but it is worth it to help instill those healthy habits early on!

Banana Oat Pancakes (make-ahead and toddler approved!)

I love breakfast, ya’ll.  It’s funny because I normally just have my super shake for my breakfast every day, but I love all things breakfast.  If it’s filling, yummy, healthy, and quick, even better!

These pancakes are so good, really easy to make, and they keep well in the freezer so I can make a big batch over the weekend and eat on them all week long.  You can easily add blueberries or chocolate chips, or just eat them plain with a drizzle of maple syrup.  My son loves these, too!  Win for everyone!

Banana Oat Pancakes (from Fixate)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 large eggs
1 large ripe banana
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 dash sea salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed and smooth.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with 1/2 tsp coconut oil.  Measure out 1/4 cup pancake batter and pour onto skillet, cooking for 3-4 minutes or until the top of the pancake starts to bubble.  Flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes until cooked through and golden brown.  Repeat with all remaining batter.

Top with fruit, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and/or pure maple syrup.  If placing in freezer, let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap or put in zipper sandwich baggies, then place in a zipper freezer bag and freeze.

Each serving is 2 pancakes (1 yellow container).

The Simplest Motivation Hack EVER

It happens to all of us–you have something you want to accomplish, you have a plan to make it happen, and then…you snooze a million times.  Or you lay on the couch binge-watching Stranger Things.  Or you scroll through social media and realize an hour has gone by.  And you haven’t gotten anything done!

It’s so easy to fall into that procrastination trap, where anything and everything is more important than the one thing that REALLY is important to us–and we continue to not accomplish our goals.  Now, I don’t really believe in “motivation”–I think sometimes you feel really energized to work towards your goals and sometimes you don’t, but not feeling energized isn’t a reason to not do the necessary work.  But some strategies and techniques are crucial for those times where you’re just not feeling it.

This technique comes from the great Mel Robbins–you can watch an awesome video of her explaining it here–and it’s so simple it almost seems like it wouldn’t work.  But it does!  All you need to do is count backwards from 5–think of it like a countdown to a rocket launch: as the countdown is happening, the rocket is building up energy from its fuel and engine, and then when the countdown ends, it has the energy it needs to take off!  We are the same way; counting down from 5 allows our brain to recognize that a transition is happening, to build up energy to make it happen, and to launch us into whatever activity we need to get done.

That’s it!  You can use this 5-second rule to help you get up with your alarm instead of snoozing, to push play on your workout, to start that conversation that needs to happen but you’re scared to have, or whatever else you are putting off.  And try it with your kids to help them transition from one activity to another without meltdowns!

Whatever it is you need to get done, try this hack to make it happen!  5-4-3-2-1 GO!

#mySADexperiment

If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed me posting about my current health experiment–#mySADexperiement is 11 days in and is going strong!  I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what exactly it is I’m doing, so I wanted to answer some of those questions here.

First of all, SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety, and SAD is something I deal with every single winter.  When the days are shorter and the sun isn’t out as long during the day, we can’t get as much vitamin D, which is so necessary for our bodies and our sanity.  Because of this, a lot of us struggle with our moods, energy, and motivation during the winter months.  The “winter blues” can be mild to severe for different people, and for me it can get pretty intense.  Last year was the toughest winter yet for me, and I’ve been going into this winter with some anxiety.  I want to do whatever I can to alleviate and manage my SAD symptoms and enjoy this season–after all, it’s my favorite time of year!

I’ve done quite a bit of research on nutrition and depression/anxiety, and time and again studies are seeing a connection between what you put in your body and your emotional/mental health.  Now, I’m not saying that changing my diet will prevent or cure anything, but if there is a connection, it can only help, right?

The biggest culprit seems to be sugar.  Studies are showing that sugar is basically the devil–all kinds of negative consequences to our bodies, little to no nutritional benefits.  Too bad this time of year is filled with sugar, sugar EVERYWHERE.  I made chili last night with some Italian pork sausage and found corn syrup (aka sugar) in the ingredients.  WHY???

Which brings me to my experiment: during the 30 days of November, I’m being intentional about fueling my body with what it NEEDS and what will be beneficial for me, not with what I want (you know, all the bread and leftover Halloween candy).  Limiting sugar, staying away from breads and refined grains, and limiting dairy while loading up on fresh veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats.  I’m also committed to working out every single day, since exercise releases endorphins and helps with your mood.  My doctor has told me more than once that the first thing I need to do for my depression is work out, and I’m usually very consistent with my fitness.  During the winter months, however, it gets so easy for me to skip workouts and make excuses–who doesn’t want to stay in bed under the warm covers a little longer when it gets cold outside?

So far, this experiment is going really well!  I’ve gotten a workout in each day, and while I haven’t been perfect with my nutrition, I have been very intentional about what I’m eating and have been great at getting my veggies in–and I’m feeling really great!  I don’t expect to have zero SAD symptoms this winter, but I am determined to avoid the darkness I felt last year.  So far, the difference is night and day between how I’m feeling right now and how I felt in November of last year.

This time of year is notorious for being difficult for people to focus on their health, but I’m determined to be different this year.  I have committed to owning my health this season instead of letting the season own me, and I’m excited about making it happen.  I’ve got the all the tools I need between my streaming workouts and super shake, and putting them to use may not be easy, but it’s definitely simple.

If you want to join me in #mySADexperiment, click here!