Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 2016

It has been a while since I have left you with an update.  I actually sat down at the beginning of August to start a post, but I only got a few sentences in before I got called away to other tasks.  I'd like to say that I am far too busy to blog about my progress right now, but that is only partly true.  The other reason is that I just haven't been "feeling it".  I have been completely off of my game on nutrition, and a little lax in my exercise.  I am not seeing ANY results since the beginning of the summer.

I am not really sure where to begin.  Summertime, and the lack of a consistent schedule, left me unmotivated to stay on track.  I was still exercising 3-5 days a week, but my nutrition goals went out the window!  I have been indulging in far too many treats....and yes, they DO add up.  School started back up a month ago, and got me back on a schedule.  I home school my kids, and this year it proving to be a challenge with our schedule and fitting in time with each of my kids for school work.  I think though we have finally found a rhythm that works for us.  Fortunately for me, my daughter is taking a PE course this semester, and is required to do regular exercise (hello motivation).  So, over the past month, I have been on a pretty strict exercise schedule of about 60 minutes a day 6-7 days a week.  That has been a tremendous help in getting my fitness on a good schedule again.  Although 60 minutes a day is more that I am used to, it is working out well.  My daughter and I often do a 30 minute workout video during the day, and then take a 30 minute walk/run in the evening (an excellent activity for you mental health too).  We aren't following a program because her class requires more variety than any one program can provide.  It has been a hodge podge of  workouts, but we are having fun.  We have been enjoying Body Beast (much to her surprise, my daughter loves lifting), Country Heat (the newest Beachbody program...lots of dancing fun), T25, Brazil Butt Lift, Hammer and Chisel, 22 Minute Hard Corps, 3 Week Yoga Retreat (a Beachbody on Demand EXCLUSIVE), Slim in 6, and 21 Day Fix.  I am happy to report some increased muscle definition again, and my endurance is back!

On the nutrition side.... As I have mentioned in previous posts, when I don't stick with a clean eating plan, my body knows!  I get very bloated from intestinal inflammation and swelling, and my digestion is noticeably slower.  I get cramps, and I am gassy, and constipated.  Yup, I know TMI, but it is what it is.  All of the inflammation is caused by foods that kick my autoimmune disease into high gear.  Things that are high in fat, sugar, and even lots of gluten and dairy are problems.  Other foods, like corn and potatoes have negative affects on my digestive system too....however, when I have my eating under control, my body can sometimes tolerate these foods in some forms.  My body attacks my trigger foods as if they are an illness.  You might equate the bloating from a food intolerance to a fever, when you have the flu.  It's the body's natural response to an intruder.  I know all this, and yet I have still been off my game.  I finally made the decision to get strict this week.  I am following the 21 Day Fix meal plan, and in just 3 days, I am seeing FAR LESS bloat!!!  That is HUGE.  It is motivation to keep going.

Something else that I want to touch upon that has been affecting my progress and motivation, is anxiety and depression.  Everyone has struggles with both on occasion, especially when stress levels are high.  For others, it is a more serious problem.  My issues with anxiety and depression ebb and flow.  Most of the time it is very much under control, and simply maintaining a regular exercise routine helps keep everything in check.  However, sometimes, my stress levels kick up and my anxiety and depression (they always seem to come at the same time for me, never just one or the other).  I have been lucky enough to know that changing up my diet, and adding in a special regimen of supplements will help me to get back to normal.  I wanted to bring this up because it is important to recognize that mental health can have a huge affect on one's physical health.  If you are struggling with anxiety and depression, try adding in some regular exercise.  It WILL help.  If you still feel like you are not "getting back to normal", please talk to your doctor!!  Anxiety and depression happen to all of us at one time or another, and it is OK to admit that you need help when it gets out of hand.  It is NOT a sign of weakness, but instead a recognition that your brain chemistry is off.  If you felt your heart rate was off, or if your breathing is off, you would likely get that checked out.  Don't let your brain be any different!!  I would be happy to share what has worked for me, but everyone is different, and your doctor is the best place to start for a plan of action.

So what will the rest of 2016 bring for me?  Well, my goal is to drop 15 pounds by the end of the year...yup, even over the holidays.  I want my clothes to feel comfortable all winter long.  Now that I FINALLY have my energy levels under control (thank you vitamin D), I just need to get my mind focused back on keeping the rest of me healthy.          

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spiritual Journey

I haven't posted in awhile, and I thought I should update.  I have not fallen off my journey, and I am not taking a break from coaching, but I feel like I have been "quieter" than usual.  Something I have been trying really hard to to this year is to stay focused on myself.  I am learning to cut out all the noise, and find my own center of peace.  I am going to touch upon a topic that I never really discuss on social media because it is very personal.  But I feel it is an important part of my journey, and that I should share, so you can better understand my journey.

 I am not a religious person.  Although I grew up in a home and with a family that are Christian, I do not consider myself a follower.  It isn't that I haven't "found God", or that I am a lost soul.  Honestly, I disagree with many of the mixed messages that religion teaches.  Yes, I celebrate Christmas, but I view is at a focus on family, friends, and to celebrate and appreciate those that are important in your life.  It is a chance to be thankful for what you have, and an opportunity to give to others and be selfless.  To me is is a way to make the world better.  I won't get into Easter, but I have a really hard time celebrating that as a holiday because it does not have the same significance as Christmas does to me.  Anyway, I  and not sharing this to start controversy, or to discuss my reasons for my beliefs, but because often times when folks find themselves on the sort of journey I have been following over the past year, they tend to find their inner spirit.  Many of my fellow coaching friends have turned toward their religion to help them reignite their passion and beliefs.  It helps them find a sense of purpose and calmness within their lives. For me, my spiritual journey is more of an internal journey.  I find that focusing inward on myself and my family gives me a sense of purpose.  I find my peace through meditation, reflection, and education.  THAT is what helps me to find my inner spirit.  I feel most calm when I am at one with nature - when I can breathe in fresh air and nourish my body with naturally healthy foods, and when I exercise to make my body feel good, and when I modify those exercise moves that I feel stress my body in the wrong way.  I am learning to listen to my body and to recognize what works well FOR ME.  I am making extra effort to really make quality time with my family, and to make them my priority above all else.  I am embracing my journey to seek out a true balance in my life that leaves me completely fulfilled and happy.  It is funny, it wasn't until this year, when I started to REALLY focus on myself, that I have come so close to finding myself feeling truly at peace with my life.  I truly love this peacefulness. 

I am trying to take you along on my journey as I find the best, and most healthy lifestyle for myself.  However, I am also finding that social media really adds stress to my life.  It seems to be even more difficult this year because it is a presidential election year.  I know what principles I believe in, and what issues are important to me.  I know the candidate that best represents me, and I know who will be getting my vote.  I believe in your right to your opinion, and your right to express your opinion.  However, posting your political opinions all over Facebook, is NOT going to change my beliefs.  It is NOT going to make a point that will override my opinion.  It just makes a statement about who you are and what you believe...and your desire to share it with the world.  You are entitled to do that.  Isn't it great that we live in a country where you can do that?  I'll be honest, I utilize that little "hide" option on Facebook ALL THE TIME!!  Just because your view is different than mine, does not mean you are a bad person.  It just means that different things help us find our own inner peace.  Personally, I don't want to be angry with the world, with our country, with our government, or with people in general.  I don't want to look to blame others for what is wrong in my own life.  I am an adult.  All of the problems I face were cause by decisions that I made, and not because of something that "happened" to me.  Yes, others have made my decisions, or outcomes of my decisions more difficult or complicated, but I MADE THE DECISION to begin with.  On the same note, all of the good things in my life are also a result of a decision that I made.  Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I get it wrong.  Either way, I am glad to be able to guide my own future.  

One of the biggest decisions that I have made this year is to try to spend less time on Facebook.  I don't like scrolling through my news feed and reading so many opinions of things that people have no control over.  You have every right to form an opinion.  I have every right to ignore your opinion.  However, it is hard to scroll past things you see on Facebook...and I can't "unread" things.  Even though I use that wonderful little "hide" option, I still get tired of all of the drama.  My journey is telling me that I need to avoid that drama in order to find my inner peace.  I am not leaving behind social media.  I am just making sure that it is not working against my goals.  I am committed to helping others to reach their fitness goals, and I do most of my work through Facebook.  However, you may find that connection with me through social media might be a little less frequent (except in my Facebook support groups).  

Thank you to everyone that takes the time to follow my journey.  I hope that in some small way, my journey is helping you to find your own path to health and happiness.  ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

It is what it is

If you are just starting to follow my journey, you may be wondering why I am going about my nutrition and exercise so meticulously.  I really don't want to be, but the truth is that I have been on quite a journey over the past 2 years, and I am finally starting to find progress again...and I just don't want to lose that.  Here's a little background.....

In 2012 was going through a very stressful time in my life, and in my marriage.  My husband, Jeff,  had jumped into his own business venture, and he was busy ALL THE TIME.  It put a real strain on our marriage and our family.  I started focusing on my health and fitness.  For 2 years, I worked hard to get fit.  In May of 2014 I was in the best shape of my adult life.  I lost 60+ pounds.  I slimmed and toned my body.  For the first time since I was in high school, I felt confident in who I was, and was not self conscious about my weight and my appearance.  I was also coaching others on their journey.  Fast forward to the fall of 2014....I started gaining weight, despite the fact that I was still eating right and exercising.  It didn't seem to matter what I did, I could not lose the weight again.  My efforts seemed to pause the weight gain, but would not reverse it.  I was also VERY tired, and never seemed to have enough energy.  I became more frustrated and self conscious.  In spring of 2015, I finally made my way to the doctor.  I was certain I was having thyroid issues.  Hypothyroidism runs in my family, and I thought for sure it was finally hitting me.  After a handful of blood tests, it turns out I have Epstein-Barr Virus...and my numbers were HIGH.  I decided to slow down and try not to stress my body anymore that necessary.  I did for awhile, but when you are into regular exercise, it can be REALLY HARD to stop.  I was continuing to exercise, and still not seeing progress...nothing on the scale, no inches lost, no change in progress pics.  This created more stress.  I was doing the things I needed to do for my EBV, and trying to keep my numbers down.  The energy was increasing, but I was jumping full speed into intense workouts, and spending all of that energy as quickly as I could create it.  The fall of 2015 was tough.  I kept exercising, and not seeing much progress.  I was still holding steady.  However, whenever I took a break, I gained weight...weight that I could not lose back.  Finally by January of 2016, I found myself 30 pounds heavier...even though I was trying to eat right, and I was exercising regularly.  Jeff and I started into the Master's Hammer and Chisel program (which I love).  We completed the full 2 months of the program.  I did not expect to lose weight with the program because it is about building muscle and toning the body.  However, I did not lose many inches wither.  My arms and shoulders looked amazing, but my midsection just was not changing at all.  I was ready to jump into the 22 Minute Hard Corps program, in March.  Unfortunately, we had a spell of really warm weather, and my allergies (asthma) hit me hard.  I had to stop working out.  It was a total wake up call for me.   I started to research and focus on my nutrition.  I have been learning a lot about organic food, and GMO's and how they affect the body.  I stopped stepping on the scale, and instead trying to focus on my health and how I was feeling.  My energy was low again, and I was having some issues with my Mirena birth control.  After I had it removed, my hormones were WAY out of whack.  I spent all of March and April, NOT exercising, and just focusing on my nutrition in order to reset my hormones.  I was feeling a little better, but I couldn't seem to shake the fatigue.  I called up my doctor again and made another appointment.  THIS TIME, I insisted on the full panel of thyroid tests.  Well, those all came out perfectly normal.  I can officially rule out my thyroid.  It turns out my vitamin D was low, and my EVB was flaring up a bit.  A week before my doctor's appointment, I made the decision to purchase the Ultimate Reset program (it was on sale).  I had done the reset before and had excellent results.  However, it was a tough program, and I was intimidated about doing it again.   However, the timing was perfect.  I KNEW it was a sign that I needed this program RIGHT NOW, to help reset my body.  So I took the leap.  You can scroll back my last few posts to see my reset journey.  What is important from that program is that I FEEL BETTER.  My energy is up, and I feel like I can move back into working out again.  Also, for the first time in 2 years, the scale is working in my favor.  Slowly but surely, I am seeing progress.

I have learned a lot through my journey. My biggest lesson is that you have to REALLY learn to listen to your body.  Working harder and being more strict with your eating is NOT ALWAYS THE WAY TO SEE PROGRESS.  Sometimes, doing those things can make things worse!!  If you are working hard and not seeing results, then try taking a step back.  Allow your body to HEAL.  Don't end up in my situation where I was working so hard to see progress that I was over stressing my body, and hindering my ability to have results.    

If you are struggling, and need some help, please reach out to me.  I have BEEN THERE!  I know how frustrating and stressful it is, and how that stress can really work against your progress.  If you can trust the process, I can help you reverse it.  It won't happen over night, but it WILL happen.          


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ultimate Reset - Week 3...and results

I am sorry for the delay in sharing my Ultimate Reset week 3 experience, and final results.  As many of you know, it is nearing the end of the school year, and things are CRAZY in our house!!  Nevertheless, I am here now, sharing with you :).

OK, so week 3 was a little harder that weeks 1 and 2.  During week 3, in addition to the vegan eating plan, I removed grains from my diet.  My daily breakfast consisted of a plate of fresh fruit...I didn't take daily pics of my breakfast.  Lunch was usually a salad, sometimes accompanied with soup.  Dinner varied from roasted veggies, to soup, to stir fried veggies.  This last week was the ONLY week, I really found myself having cravings.  They were not big cravings (I wasn't feeling deprived), but just missing some foods.  I REALLY started to miss my coffee.  Victories for the week - I took my son and his friends out to dinner at Steak 'N Shake and a movie, to celebrate his birthday...and I DID NOT EAT A THING!  I had my Shakeology before we went to dinner, and had all of my dinner food prepped and ready to go for when I got back home.  Then on my LAST day, we were invited to a friend's house for dinner.  I brought my own food with me!  My friends are super understanding about my commitment to my health and completing the reset.  They were not at offended.

Ultimate Reset RESULTS:  I am down a total of 10.4 pounds, 3.5 inches off my waist, 2 inches off my hips, 2 inches off my chest, and 3 inches off each of my thighs!  My before and after pics do not show a huge change to me, because my brain focuses on my problem areas, and I don't SEE a lot of change there.  HOWEVER, you can definitely see the difference in my face.  I feel great.  I have lots of energy, and I am sleeping well, and waking very well rested.  

What I have learned after completing the reset....  

  • I can do ANYTHING for 3 weeks.
  • There are more ways to eat vegetables than steaming them and having as a side dish
  • I don't NEED meat (although I do enjoy it, and have no plans to give it up)
  • I am not eating enough healthy fats in my diet
  • My food digests better when I do not drink water (or any other beverage) within 15 minutes BEFORE and 30 minutes AFTER eating.  Seriously, this was a HUGE thing.  When you drink during a meal, it dilutes the stomach acids, which hinders your body's ability to digest food properly.  Give it a try, and you will notice a big difference.
  • I need more meditation and calmness in my life.  I really have this need to just be one with nature. 
  • I have a true appreciation of how my environment affects my health.
  • I LOVE baked sweet potatoes.  
  • I LOVE beets.
  • coffee is an important part of my life.
  • I miss my workouts.  I am ready to start lifting again.  
  • My family needs to eat more of these veggie dishes
What now?   So coming out of the reset, I am taking my time.  I do not want to undo all of my hard work.  I also want to avoid the inflammation of unfamiliar foods in my diet (specifically with foods that I typically eat, but have taken out of my diet for the past 3 weeks).  I am slowly reintroducing foods back into my diet.  This week, my goal is to increase my calories, and add grains and legumes back into my plan.  Next week, I will be adding in meat.  I am going to continue to avoid dairy, and processed carbs, and I plan to keep the sweets and treat low.  I will also continue drinking my Shakeology.  Once I am back up to eating enough calories to sustain my workouts, I am going to do another round of Hammer and Chisel.  Now that my body is prepped and ready to go,  I am ready to build muscle and sculpt my body. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ultimate Reset - Week 2 DONE!

The 2nd phase of the Ultimate Reset is called Release.  The idea is that in this week, is that you release all of those toxins from your body.  During this week, many folks may experience fatigue, body aches, even acne.  It is all because the toxins that have been hiding deep in the body are trying to make their way out.  Fortunately, I only had a bit of fatigue (not as bad as last week).  I did however, suffer from some bloating and constipation.  I know TMI.  But, I have to be REAL, and let's face it, going to the bathroom is part of healthy digestion.  OK, so , this week, all dairy and meat were eliminated from my diet.  I was still able to enjoy plenty of veggies, healthy fats, and some whole grains (rice, quinoa, millet).  In addition, a detox (high fiber) drink was added to my supplements before each meal.  One would think that such a drink would cause more"release" rather than constipation, but this particular detox drink is designed to slow things down just a bit, so the intestines are better able to absorb the nutrients from the food I am eating.  So, now all of my cells are getting some high quality nutrients from REAL food, and those nutrients are helping to create new, healthy cells in my body (because you truly are what you eat), that will work hard to help my entire body function better.  My gut is healing from the stress of working so hard to digest foods that were not pure nutrition.  I just can't express to you how much better I FEEL.

There is something about doing something extraordinarily HEALTHY for your body, that just makes you FEEL amazing.  I think a lot of that can be attributed to the body's ability to function better.  Imagine that you are a person that wears glasses.  Now imagine that junk food and processed foods are like trying to look at the world without your glasses on.  You can kind of see things, but stuff isn't very clear, and the details may be too hard to make out.  Now, when you put your glasses on, everything is much clearer.  You can make out the details, and probably see things that you didn't notice before.  Putting those glasses on, is similar to how the body responds to healthy REAL food.  What do I mean by REAL food?  I mean the stuff that nature made.  When you go to the store and buy a box of something that is labeled healthy, that is not REAL food.  REAL foods are your fruits, veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, even lean meats.  It is the stuff that people ate BEFORE the invention of factories.  It is the stuff that you buy fresh, and will not keep as long in your refrigerator.

I embarked on this program as part of my journey because my body NEEDED to be reminded that food is a means to fuel my body and help it function as efficiently as possible.  Although I enjoy the taste of sweets and treats, this REAL food can also be made to taste AMAZING.  I had forgotten that some of the meals in this program are so delicious...and not at all difficult to incorporate into my daily eating.  My biggest struggle is that I don't like to cook.  I know how to cook, and I can make amazing dishes, but I just don't enjoy taking the time to do it.  The beauty of a program like this is that you have to take time to prepare your food.  For someone like me, it gets me into the habit of prepping ahead of time.  That is something I am not very good at.  However, it is something I need to practice more.      

I know you are waiting to hear my week 2 results.....

This week, I lost 2.5 inches in my waist, and I am down ANOTHER 4 pounds!!!  Wow!!  That is 8 pounds total in 2 weeks.  I never really expected to be dropping the pounds this quickly.  There are folks posting in my support groups that have lost 10 pounds in a week.  My body has never really worked like that.  Typically, I lose VERY slowly, and only about every other week.  FYI - I DO NOT weigh myself daily.  I have only been stepping on the scale once a week for my Reset.

The food continues to be delicious.  I am getting a little tired of salads, but at least the plan is mixing them up a bit.  I didn't take as many food pic this week because, many of the meals are similar to last week, but I will still share.  My FAVORITE meal of the reset is the Mediterranean roasted beets.  They are good hot or cold, by themselves, or topping a salad!  YUM!!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ultimate Reset - Week 1 DONE

This is not my first time doing the Ultimate Reset.  I did it in February of 2014.  While I really loved the recipes, and the experience, I did feel that it was extremely rigid.  I had great results, and learned a lot, but all of that strictness with the timing of supplements, and food just had me stressed out.  I am sure that is what has prevented me from repeating this program again.  This time around, the experience is VERY different.  Over the past few months, I have been trying to do something similar with my eating all on my own.  It just wasn't working out for me.  I needed to be on a plan that would keep me focused and really steer me away from cheating.  I am so glad I decided to do the reset!  This is EXACTLY what I needed, EXACTLY when I needed it.

I am 1 full week in (and a few days), and I am surprisingly down 4.6 pounds.  It is sorta funny because I have hardly lost any inches...in fact, I have gained a little in the inch department.  THAT NEVER HAPPENS to me when I start a program.  It's all good though.  It is all part of the process.  The first week, Phase 1:Reclaim, is sort of a prep week.  During this week, you are starting to change your eating over to a vegan diet.  You phase out meat and dairy, and by the end of the week, you will be eating all vegan.  This is also the phase where folks will experience some detox side effects,  caffeine withdrawal (if you are a regular coffee or soda drinker) ...YUP, I experienced that one!  Going strong with NO COFFEE for 9 days now! Along with the headache, I had some crazy nausea.  As with any detox, your body will go through changes. The purpose of the Ultimate Reset is to do just that, "Reset" your body.  Part of that process involves getting all of the toxins out of the way, so your body can run more efficiently.  It isn't just a physical detox either.  Often times individuals will feel an emotional detox too.  For me, I am just feeling very zen about the whole program.  I don't know that zen is the right term, but I just feel a sense of calm.  I am embracing this program and seeking that change in my body and my mind.  I think with all that I have learned about food and what my body really needs to run smoothly (and get me healthy), that I just needed this program to set the tone.  I don't see having to cook two meals (one for myself, and one for my family) as a hassle or an inconvenience.  Typically, I would, but I am really enjoying my meals, and I am actually enjoying cooking for my family too (don't tell them that).  as strange as it sounds, I am NOT feeling at all deprived.  Although the food that I am eating is fairly low in calories (between 1200-1400 calories per day), it is super nutritious.  Besides a salad that starts with 3 cups of lettuce, is no small salad!  One of the best parts of this program that I truly enjoy (and also enjoyed when I completed it a few years ago), is the quality of my sleep.  I truly sleep like a baby.  I feel so relaxed, and wake up feeling like I truly got a good nights rest.  Even with the great sleep, I have been plagued by fatigue during this week.  It's not the 'I'm sleepy' sort of fatigue, but the 'my body is so tired that I can't seem to make it move across the room' sort of fatigue - on a side note, I went to my Doc last week, and she is testing me to see if my Epstein-Barr is having a flare up, among a bunch of other blood tests.  The fatigue is much better this week.

OK, So I know you are wondering what kind of food is on this plan.  Well, no need to worry...I took pictures!  This plan is set up with 3 meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and an optional snack.  Shakeology is allowed on this program, but is recommended that you only have it a few times a week.  Since I committed to 366 days of Shakeology at the beginning of this year, I am making the program work for me, so I don't lose sight of my commitment and goals. Sometimes I have my Shakeology for Breakfast or an afternoon snack, using the special recipes provided for the program.  Other days, I have my Shakeology for an evening snack, using only 1/2 a serving and mixing with only water. That is not part of the plan, but one thing I have learned throughout my journey is that plans have to be adaptable to your specific situation.  Every plan will be different for every person that tries it.  Just because you follow it to a T, does not mean you will get the same results as your best friend that did the program with you.  Our bodies are super complex, and respond to things differently.  So, you have to be flexible when it comes to your plan.

With no further adieu, here are some food pics :)

This certainly was not ALL of my meals for 7 days, but it gives you a great idea of what delicious things are in this plan.  Best part...no guess work.  The Ultimate Reset comes with shopping lists, and the recipes for how to make each meal!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Ready, Set, RESET

I FINALLY did it.  Have you noticed that I have mentioned several times on this blog that I did the Ultimate Reset in 2014, and I have never felt better in my life?  You were probably also wondering, with all I am going through, why I was making excuses about why I was not jumping into another reset again.  Seriously, this program is a no nonsense detox.  It tells you exactly WHAT to eat, HOW to prepare your food, and WHEN you need to be eating.  Shopping lists and recipes are provided.  The truth?  I didn't want to pay the price for the Reset, and because it is an intense eating plan, I wan't ready to commit to 3 weeks of super healthy eating.  I know, it is exactly what I need, but I just wasn't ready, mentally.

2 days ago, I saw this VIDEO POST on Facebook, and had one of those "get off your ass and make a REAL change" moments.  I sat down and ordered my Ultimate Reset  RIGHT THEN.  I wish I could share the actual video on here, but I couldn't find it anywhere except Facebook.  Anyway, after watching this video, I KNEW it was time.  I think the fact that the program is on sale through the end of April (discount on shipping too) made all the difference.  I am ready.

I was planning on starting my program on May 1, but I have already changed my mind and decided that if my kit arrives sooner, I am going to start sooner.  I NEED this focused detox.  I NEED to really get my head in the game,  I NEED to make sure that I get control of my health.

Overall, I have been feeling pretty good lately.  My energy levels are staying up, and my digestion seems to be functioning pretty well.  I am confident that the liver detoxing is working.  I have been abstaining from intense exercise...I REALLY miss my regular workouts, but I am determined to HEAL my body, and right now it needs rest.  I am trying to do my detox stretches daily - wow, do they really help me FEEL good.  I am consciously making sure that I stay active and get in my Fitbit step goal daily.  My eating has been decent.  I am focusing on organic, and minimal ingredient foods....BUT, I am not gonna lie, I have been eating more than I should, and allowing myself some extra treats.

You know getting out of your own way is half the battle when it comes to fitness and/or weight loss.  Sometimes, it can be a real challenge.  In my years of experience as a coach, I know that I can't make people do something that they don't want to do.  I know that unless you are mentally ready to make a change, that you WILL NOT be able to make that change.  I think I have been stuck mentally, for the past few months.  This time of year is always tough for our homeschooling (we get spring fever too, and still have requirements we need to finish), and with birthdays and events, and with Jeff's travel schedule picking up.  My focus has just been elsewhere.  I need to start focusing on myself again.  I would love to have some friends to do this with.  If you think you are mentally ready to get in the game, and want to get some extra support, CLICK HERE and fill out my survey, or send me a message (here on the contact me section of my blog, or via facebook,).  I will set up a special Challenge Group where we can share and support each other along this journey.  Facebook will not be required, but you mys have a smartphone or tablet, so you can download a the FREE app where I will host the group.  THERE IS NOTHING TO BUY, I promise.  It will just be accountability, support and motivation.  The only thing I ask is that you check into the group daily.    If you are interested in the Ultimate Reset, you can join me and we can do it together!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Do you Facebook?

I have recently discovered this great little tool over on Facebook that allows me to do LIVE videos.  I have found that it a great way to share information.  Essentially, I can use it as a video blog :).  You might find that I am on Facebook MUCH MORE that I am here, blogging.  I wanted to share my Facebook Page link with you, so that you can follow me, and maybe catch some of my videos and tips :).

I hope to see you over there!!  Please feel free to send me your suggestions on topics for my  videos!!

If you are NOT on Facebook, I will still be posting here.  You can also follow me on Twitter @Blairmama - I share all of my Facebook posts to twitter (my videos won't share...I wish they did).

Friday, April 1, 2016

Being patient is HARD

No JOKE, right?!?!?  So, I mentioned in my last post that I am following an eating plan that focuses on detoxing the liver.  Did you know that when you are following a plan to HEAL your body from the inside out, that you need to take the time to focus on the healing?  It's true.  Because of that, I have been going at a much slower pace than I prefer with my fitness.  I miss my heart pumping and heavy lifting workouts.  I was actually supposed to start following the 22 Minute Hardcore program on Monday.  That is going to have to wait.  My body NEEDS this time to rest and reset.  This particular blog is only a little over a year old, but if you have been following me through my other blog, or via Facebook (or Twitter), you know that 2 years ago, I did an amazing program called the Ultimate Reset.  I have NEVER felt so good in all my life as I did at the end of that reset.  You can read my results blog post HERE.  During the Ultimate Reset, I was not supposed to exercise AT ALL.  For someone that really enjoys the routine of daily exercise, it was really difficult to slow down and let my body reset.  The human body is such a complex and wonderful machine.  But just as any other machine needs regular maintenance, so does the body.  Your muscles, your organs, and your mind all need to be relieved of the constant stressors that we put on them. Stressors from the food we eat (chemicals in our foods), the air we breathe (pollutants), and the physical strain we put on our entire body through exercise.  Don't get me wrong, exercise is a GREAT thing.  However, every so often, you need to give your body a chance to recover.  Allowing that recovery time will let your body perform BETTER,

So why not the Ultimate Reset now?  While it was a fabulous program, and one that I would definitely like to repeat again, the Ultimate Reset is an extremely rigid program.  The program is so precise that you know exactly WHAT to eat, HOW to prepare it, and WHEN to eat it.  There is NO GUESS WORK AT ALL.  Seriously, if you need something that will provide a lot of discipline, then the Ultimate Reset is perfect for you.  It is only a 3 week program, but I promise you will lose weight, sleep better, have more energy, and just feel amazing.  I chose not to do the program (right now) because I need the flexibility of being able to make food choices.


I made a decision earlier this year to try and transition our household to the world of organic (and eventually non-GMO) eating, and non-toxic, earth friendly household chemicals and personal products.  It really is a process to transition from being that family that would buy the most INEXPENSIVE foods, just to save money, to a family that is being conscious of our health and environment.  We have BAD habits that are going to take awhile to break.  Since we are doing this as a family, I need to make sure that we choose a plan that works for all of us.  The Ultimate Reset is NOT for kids.  for now, as we run out of items in our house, we are replacing with healthier options.  I am still choosing the most inexpensive ORGANIC brands.  I know there are BETTER options, but we are just getting started, and I still have research to do the be fully educated in the art of going organic and chemical free.  The way I see it, is that EVERY step to a healthier family is a POSITIVE step!  I have also started ordering things from The Honest Company.  They are extremely cost effective, if you sign up for one of the monthly subscription plans.  I am buying organic make-up too.  I am learning that going organic is not just about what you put IN your body, but what you put ON your body too.  I am learning SO MUCH.

My eating plan is focusing on Organic food choices, as much as possible.  We are still working through all of the food that we ALREADY have in our kitchen.  I have incorporated making and consuming organic, homemade bone broth.  OMG, I am learning so much about bone broth, and it's health benefits.  I'll be sharing more as I continue through this process, but seriously, start looking into bone broth!!  Of course, I am still drinking my Shakeology DAILY.  I have done my research on Shakeology, and I KNOW that it is already full of the whole food nutrition that I am transitioning to in my eating plan.  

For my fitness plan, I am following a Muscle Meridian Method (part of Chinese Meridian Theory ) of stretching, specifically designed to create an energy pathway to a specific organ.  In my case, it is the liver.  I am amazed at how well this targeted stretching works, and how much better I am starting to feel.  I am still fitting in PiYo and some 21 Day Fix Yoga, several time during the week.  I would LOVE to be following a program calendar, so that I can get results faster, but I KNOW my body needs to heal.  If I don't give my body the time to heal, it will just have to work harder to get the results I want, and that will lead to more stress on my organs....just not a good plan for me.  So, I am *trying* to be patient, and REALLY listen to my body and what it needs.  Patience is a virtue, right?

I'm curious...Who else would be interested in learning why it is important and how to start transitioning to organic eating?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Mind, BODY, and soul

If you have been following me for awhile, you may have noticed that I have not been as frequent with my posting....especially on my Facebook page www.FB.com/journeymelissablair.  I am really trying to focus on ME.  Sometimes, you just have to shut out the rest of the world and focus on healing your body and your mind.  This past year has taken a toll on me, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.  In my line of work, I am always positive, and encouraging to others.  I KNOW that half the battle of reaching your goals is all in your mindset.  I have been struggling with my mindset, and therefore, I struggle to find the motivation to help others find their mindset.   Recently, social media in general has me burnt out.  I think a lot of it has to do with this election year.  I am not going to get into politics on here, but seriously, reading other's posts (especially when you disagree with their point of view) can be mentally exhausting.  I have used that 'Hide' button in my Facebook news feed, much more than I care to count.  While I am totally on board with everyone having their own opinion, and being able to express it, I am just not equipped right now to handle the negativity that it is bringing to my life.  So, I have been staying off social media.

What AM I doing?

I have been focusing on detoxing my liver and re-balancing my hormones.  I have been doing A LOT of reading on how food affects our bodies.  We don't often think about it, but there are MANY chemicals that are used in and around our foods, and in our environment, and those things can often affect us negatively, and we don't even realize it.  I'll be honest, I have never really completely bought into the whole all organic, and non GMO eating.  I LOVE the idea that going organic and GMO free because it really is so much healthier.  On the other hand, I have a family of 6, and it can be EXTREMELY costly to eat all organic and non GMO.  This year, I have made an effort to try and purchase more organic fruits and veggies, and cut out chemicals in our foods and other places in our house (cleaners, lotions, etc.).  It is a slow process.  However, after all of the reading I have been doing, I really think it is necessary to move toward better choices for my family.  

I am currently studying how the liver functions in the body.  One thing that is sticking out to me is that with all of the added chemicals in our food (even the pesticides used during the growing of fresh produce), are not digestible by our body.  The liver serves as filter for the whole body.  It filters out all of the toxins.  With all of the chemicals we ingest in our foods, put on our bodies (make-up, lotion, soap, shampoo), or breathe in from our environment, the liver is working overtime.  I am 38 years old.  My liver has been trying to process all of these hidden chemicals for so long that it is getting "stuck".  Just like when you need a vacation to break away from reality, and relax and regroup, your liver needs a break from all those chemicals.  Did you know that a "dirty" liver can be a huge reason that a person is not able to lose weight?  Since the body can't filter out the toxins properly, those toxins make their way into the rest of the digestive system, and into the bloodstream, and "pollute" the rest of your body...which affects the ability for your other organs to function as efficiently.   Think of it like taking care of your car.  Imagine your body is like a Rolls Royce.  You want to keep this VERY expensive, luxury car running smoothly, and in tip top condition.  You are going to make sure you buy premium gasoline, get the oil changed regularly, and tune ups on time.   You are also going to make sure you drive it regularly, because that will keep all the parts running smoothly.  Many of us don't have a Rolls Royce, but we still make sure our car gets a regular tune up, an oil changes, we will probably use regular gasoline, and we drive it regularly.   Imagine premium vs. regular gasoline is like organic vs. non-organic food.  Regular oil changes are like getting in the right amounts of nutrients.  Driving your car is like getting regular exercise.  Your car will still run with regular gasoline, less frequent oil changes, and even when you don't drive it often.  You might have a bit of trouble getting the engine to start, and it might sound rough when it drives, but it will still get you from point A to point B.  However, your car is going to run MUCH better, if you get the higher quality gasoline, oil changes at exactly 3 months or 3000 miles, and continue driving it on a daily basis.  Your body works the same way.  If you fuel it with premium fuel, and take really good care of it, you are going to FEEL the best, and your body will last longer.  Now, even if you can't manage (or afford) to eat the "premium" fuel for your body all the time, try to do it for few weeks, every once in awhile.  This will give your liver a "vacation", so that it can get back to better function, which will lead to better function throughout your body.

I am a firm believer in natural healing.  Don't get me wrong, I think modern medicine is fantastic!  However, I don't think it is always the answer.  I think healing starts from within the body...not from a pill or by treating symptoms.  While I am the first person to pop an Ibuprofen at the sign of a sinus headache, I also believe that there are things I can do to prevent that headache from occurring to begin with. I use a neti pot on a regular basis.  I avoid dairy (which can lead to more nasal congestion, causing more pressure).  If I had more patience, there are probably other ways that I could get rid of a sinus headache after it hits, but sinus headaches are my weakness.  I can't function when my head throbs.   I take my allergy meds regularly, during allergy season.  I know, I said I prefer natural methods to combating illness, but my seasonal allergies are really bad.  I used to have to take allergy meds year round.  Now I drink apple cider vinegar regularly and I use LOCAL, raw honey (local because it contains local pollen, which cause my allergies) to combat my allergies in the "off season", but I still need the modern medicine during my peak season. I think there is a fine line between finding things that work with in harmony with the body to make it function better, and adding in additional chemicals that will alter the natural function of your body in order to lessen symptoms.  Each individual is different.  I always try the natural/alternative methods FIRST - unless is is something serious.  You can't stop a heart attack on your own.  Taking an aspirin might slow the process, but you will still need to get yourself to a hospital ASAP to clear the blockages that caused the attack to begin with.  Personally, I don't like to let things get that far.  I want to PREVENT illness in my body.  That is why dealing with my health issues this past year has been so frustrating.  I could go to the doctor to get meds that will help me feel better for a time, but in this case, it is just treating symptoms.  It doesn't solve the issues.  I don't want that.  I want to get to the root of the problem, which will cause all those symptoms to go away.  That is my struggle with modern medicine.  It is hard to find doctors that will help you dig deep enough to find the root of a medical problem.  I think many medical professionals are not educated enough in natural healing.  I don't think they are misguided, they just are not aware that drugs and excessive testing are not always the answer.

So here's where I am.  I have a hormone imbalance that was caused by the use of years of hormone birth control.  That hormone imbalance is affecting my EBV levels, my thyroid function, my ability for my digestive system to properly absorb nutrients, and my mind to stay in a regular brain fog.  It is causing me to feel fatigued, un-motivated, and to have mood swings.  I don't want to mask the symptoms, I want to FIX the problem.   My body needs a serious detox.  I am starting with a liver detox.  I am focusing on whole food nutrition, that is GMO free.  I am slowly getting myself into this process, because I want to be able to stick with it for longer.  I am not doing any heavy workouts.  I am walking regularly, doing PiYo, and incorporating some simple stretches (designed to specifically bring qi to the liver and help it improve it's function).  I am also learning about the benefits of bone broth and trying to add that into my daily routine.

I'll be honest, it is HARD trying to embrace such a strict eating plan.  Mentally, I am tired of forcing myself to stay positive and try new ideas.  I find it harder to say no to my favorite foods.  My emotions are out of whack because of my hormones.  My confidence is not as prominent.  I find myself questioning my ability to coach others, since I can't seem to "coach" myself.  I struggle to balance my world.  Homeschooling AND coaching used to be easy for me to fit into my daily routine. Now I struggle with BOTH.   I am not doing all of this alone. My husband has also been a huge support in all of this.  Although he doesn't quite understand the complexity of the entire situation (he doesn't research like I do), he knows that I need his support and patience to stay focused and on a path to healing.  Even my kids have been supportive.  They don't understand much of what is going on, but they know that I need to take some time for myself, so that I can improve and be a better mom to them.  I am so thankful for my own coach, Jen.  She has been incredibly encouraging and patient with me.  I have shared my story with her, and she understands that I need time to work all of this through in my own head.  Yet, she still takes the time to reach out to me and check in.

I AM working through this.  If you too feel like you need to make a change, please don't be afraid to read out to me and share your struggles and ask for advice.  You don't have to fight your battle alone.  Honestly, helping others is great therapy (and validation) for me and my coaching.  It encourages me to continue on my own journey, and to know that I AM making a difference.  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Taking a Step Back

There are times in your life where you are so anxious to get started and accomplish something that you can't imagine slowing down for any reason.  Over the past few weeks, I have felt that way.  After the Mirena removal, I finally felt like I might actually start making some progress with my fitness again.  I jumped right into T25 Gamma with my husband.  In the back of my mind, I thought I might start seeing results right away.  That WAS my March plan.  The truth is that my body was on a downward spiral for so long, I think it will take awhile to start seeing some real progress.  I'm still fighting to get my energy back.  On the good side, the scale is holding steady.  I will take it...especially after the unwanted steady increase.  On the bad side, last week, I started having issues catching my breath.  Before you get all concerned that something is terribly wrong, I typically have issues with seasonal asthma in the spring and early summer.  Here in Ohio, we have has some unseasonably warm weather lately, and that brought spring on a little earlier...and it didn't give me a chance to stay in front of the allergy game.   Now that I have a few solid weeks of allergy medicine in my system, the symptoms are subsiding, and the breathing issues are lessening significantly.  Those doctors weren't kidding when they said you should start taking your meds a month before allergens are expected 😉.  Anyway, with this setback, I was struggling to catch my breath during T25 Gamma.  I made the decision to switch over to something much less intense, and started doing PiYo.

I'll be honest, I was really nervous about starting PiYo again.  I did the full program when it first came out in the summer of 2014.  That was also the same time all of health issues started to hit.  I do not think the two are related, but somehow my subconscious planted the idea that PiYo was not going to be effective for me.  My mindset is totally different right now.  I am in a place where I am just striving to FEEL BETTER.  As much as I would like to lose back all of the weight I gained (because I really would), right now I am just trying to focus on doing things that help me get healthy.  PiYo, is what my body needs right now.  I NEED the stretching, flexibility, and low intensity.  I am going to let you in on a little secret too...I am not following the program every day either.  My energy levels have been fluctuating, so if I feel like my body is telling me that today is not a good day for PiYo, then I do not do PiYo.  One thing I have been VERY focused on, is wearing my fitbit, and making sure that I get in my 10k steps a day.  I have noticed over the past year that I have become more sedentary.  I recently realized that after we finished all of the home improvement projects and put our house up for sale last year, that haven't really had anything to "do".  I have not been up and moving around as much.  I have been wearing my fitbit this whole time, and in the past 6 months, I was averaging about 3k steps a day.  Even with my workout regimen, that is just NOT  enough movement throughout the day.  Especially when a good chunk of my day is spent sitting during our home school hours.   I made the decision that I NEED to make an effort to be on my feet more.  I have been trying to get into a house cleaning routine.  That has been a challenge because now that my kids are a little older, they are just less messy.  Nevertheless, I am making sure I still get daily dusting, vacuuming and sweeping done.  In addition, I have been taking walks.  I am not power walking (which I LOVE, and used to do daily ALL THE TIME), but I am just trying to get in the steps.  My 9 year old has been walking with me, and it has been great to spend the one on one time with him.

My current goals are to get my body back in balance, get to a point where my energy is consistent again, and focus on healing my body through food and stretching.  I have a whole post in mind for the eating plan that I am starting to follow.  Stay tuned for more on that!