Month: January 2017

5 doTERRA Essential Oils for Health and Wellbeing

I am so excited to share with you this post by Brie Bradshaw from My Organic Adventure! She is sharing with us about how essential oils can help with various aspects of our health and wellbeing. It is certainly an enlightening piece and I hope you all learn a lot from it!

I remember the first time I was introduced to essential oils. 3 and a half years ago. I thought that they were a hoax and a fad that would pass as fast as they came. Oh how wrong I was! Peppermint was the first oil to come into my life and I have not looked back since. Essential oils have completely transformed my life and I am so honored that Bonnie is giving me the opportunity to share the amazing benefits of dōTERRA’s essential oils with you!

“There’s an oil for that”, is a famous saying amongst essential oil users! This post would never end if I went into the numerous uses that all of dōTERRA essential oils can help benefit and support. This is why I have chosen my favorite five to highlight for you!

  1. Peppermint– Since peppermint was my first love, it only makes sense to talk about it first! 🙂 1 drop of dōTERRA peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26 cups of peppermint tea. So yes, these essential oils are very potent and strong! A little bit goes a long way! Peppermint is really good to use when you are having tummy troubles. It provides a burst of cool relief. It also takes away that annoying head pain that seems to come all the time at the worst possible times! Peppermint is part of the infamous LLP trio (lemon, lavender, & peppermint) that helps get through those annoying season changes!
  2. Lavender– Lavender is known as the number one essential oil that is the most adulterated. You can find “lavender” in almost anything and everything. Think about all of those baby products that are lavender scented. Unfortunately, that lavender is a synthetic chemical made in a lab! This is why dōTERRAs lavender is the real deal, 100% certified pure therapeutic grade essential oil. I love to put drops of lavender on my pillow every night to help wind me down before bed. It is also good to put on your kids cuts and scrapes that they always seem to get! Lavender is also known as the swiss army knife of oils, meaning if there is something going on and you do not know what oil to use, grab your lavender and it will most likely help!
  3. On-Guard– This is the oil you most definitely need in the winter time to keep your immune system strong! I use this oil as a preventative to keep the sickness at bay. The University of Manchester did an aromatherapy study with On-Guard and it was found to kill the deadly MRSA bacteria. Vanderbilt Hospital in Tennessee also uses On-Guard to boost productivity and health of patients and their staff year round. Because of the amazing benefits of On-Guard, dōTERRA has made many other products that are formulated around the On-Guard protective blend. These products include On-Guard whitening toothpaste, On-Guard cleaner concentrate, foaming hand wash, laundry detergent, and throat drops to name a few. On-Guard, like the name states, is a must have in your home!
  4. Frankincense– I am sure many of you have heard of Frankincense before. Remember in the Bible when the three wise men brought baby Jesus gifts of gold, FRANKINCENSE, and myrrh? Frankincense is known as a holy oil. Get this, it was valued more back then than the gift of gold. I not only love Frankincense for the rich history that it encompasses , but also for the healing properties it possesses. Cancer patients desiring to fight cancer with naturopathy typically have used Frank and have been pleased. And to all my fellow ladies, this oil is amazing at making your aging skin look younger. 🙂 Frankincense is a must have in your arsenal!
  5. Melaleuca– Melaleuca has been a recent found love for me! It is best known for its purifying properties. Like lavender, it is another oil that it is so versatile. It helps support your immune system, skin and nail complexion, and is really good at helping get rid of ear and sinus issues that you may deal with during winter months.

 

The amazing part of dōTERRA essential oils is that you can use them topically, aromatically, and internally! Since not all essential oils are created equally, it is important to know how the company distills and handles their product. Since dōTERRA takes immense pride in their indigenous sourcing, they promise us that we are getting the best, most pure, essential oils in the world! Because of this, I am completely confident in using their products for myself and my loved ones. Life truly is better with essential oils!

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetBrie Bradshaw is a blogger, 3 years running avid essential oil user and advocate, wife, follower of Jesus, and coffee barista. She enjoys adventures and encouraging others  to step out of the ordinary to make life a world sized escapade. Find Brie’s blog at www.myorganicadventure.com or contact her at myorganicadventure@outlook.com

10 Ways to Keep a Positive Attitude in the Winter

The wintertime is notorious for making our moods tank. It happens and that’s okay, but there’s no reason we should wallow in it and give up on feeling good during the coldest months of they year. Some of the things that have helped me along the way:

  1. Think positive: Keep your thoughts as positive and uplifting as you can. It may not be as simple as just thinking positive, but it can be done and is very beneficial all around. How you go about this is up to you, but some ideas are to write down a list of things you’re grateful for each day, reflect on any good that happened in a blog post or journal, or look for positive posts on social media. It can also be good to surround yourself with positive words and people.
  2. Take care of yourself: Self-care is very important to our overall wellbeing. If you don’t take care of yourself, then who will? Also, who will help your loved ones if you are not first taking care of yourself so that you can help them? So rest you need to rest, take time to recharge such as reading or taking a walk, and eat healthy to fuel your body to perform its best!
  3. Have a family night:  Spend quality time with your family. Whether you hold a movie night, game night, or simply a family meal together once a week, it is good for the whole family’s wellbeing. It boosts your mood to have bonding experiences where everyone benefits in some way. Not to say that it’s all a puppies and rainbows, as we all know there are difficulties getting along sometimes, but it helps in the long run!
  4. Go play in the snow! If you live where it snows, go out and play in the snow on occasion. Even adults can have fun building snowmen, forts, and hills to climb or slide down. It’s also freeing and exciting to go sledding and make snow angels! So definitely try it sometime!
  5. Snuggle with your pets: A good snuggle with your pets can be therapeutic and lift up your mood by simply having that closeness with them. It makes you feel happier and more positive overall to experience the contact and express your love and care for them. Go love on those furbabies!
  6. Take advantage of sunny or warmer days! Whenever it is sunny or warmer, take advantage of it and get outside! Soak up the sun’s rays for the wonderful, and very necessary, Vitamin D! We lack that vitamin in the winter, especially in a snowy or gloomy climate. So those days when it is sunny or warmer are very important to take advantage of!
  7. Exercise consistently: I know that our motivation to exercise often goes out the window in the colder months, but do whatever you can to keep your motivation high: search Facebook or Pinterest for inspiration, listen to your favorite music that helps pump you up, or remember why it’s important for you to continue exercising even now. Then stick with it!
  8. Cuddle with your kiddos: Just like it’s good for your health to snuggle with your pets, it’s just as beneficial to hug and love on your kids. Plus, it’s good for them too! These little cuddle sessions help remind you both that you’re not alone and that you are loved, and that is a good thing anytime of the year.
  9. Focus on the good: Similar to thinking positive, focusing on the good each day will teach your mind to hone in on those moments, which in turn helps lift your mood. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it and the easier it will to keep a positive attitude!
  10. Keep moving forward: No matter what else you do, keep moving forward with your goals and interests. It will all add up as time goes by. While it’s sometimes hard to see, you are making progress. It will become visible with time, trust me!

Winter doesn’t have to be a time of low mood and low energy, it can be a time of thriving and positivity. Practice some or all of these tips for the rest of the winter and see how it can change your life and your attitude!

What are your favorite ways to keep a positive attitude in the winter? How often do you take part in them?

 

~Bonnie~

5 Healthy Living Goals for the Year

This year I have a few healthy living goals. The last half of 2016 didn’t quite go according to plan, and I feel like I have some catching up to do this year in order to gain back some of the momentum I lost. Therefore, most of my healthy living goals this year are similar or the same as they were last year, and I’m perfectly okay with that! Here they are:

#1: Completing the Inspire the Best You Virtual 5K Run/Walk this Saturday, January 28th.

This race can be done from anywhere, anytime on that date. Even though I haven’t been able to train properly for the 5K due to being sick, working a lot, and then it being rainy here for the past month, I am so excited to do this 5K! I will be mapping out my route in the next couple of days, measuring it online so I know I’m going far enough without overlapping too much. It may not be a big 5K race with a finish line, but I have been planning for this for a couple months now and it’s finally almost here!

#2: Stick with a strength training routine for at least three months at a time.

In the entire two and a half years I have been on my healthy living journey, I have not been able to stick with a strength training routine longer than maybe a month at once. So I am making this three months goal for this year. Even if it takes me the whole year to achieve this three months in a row, I am determined to make it happen! I have a strength training routine that I like that has good moves for runners, which I need to get back to as well, and I plan on starting that one again.

#3: Tinker Bell Half Marathon in May!

Yippee! This is another thing I am super excited about. It will be my second year doing the race and I know I will be so much more prepared and properly trained this time, so I’m looking forward to it even more. I’m sure the nerves will set in closer to the race, but for now I’m just excited. I hope to be able to visit Disneyland while I’m down there this time as I didn’t have enough funds to do it last year. This time I am much closer and travel costs will be way down since I don’t have to use a charter bus, flight, and shuttle service all in one trip. I will only have one mode of transportation and that takes a ton of the anxiety out of it too.

#4: Two Cities Full Marathon in November.

When they had the 2016 race, I was really out of shape. We had just finished our big cross-country move and I hadn’t been able to stay on track with exercise or much of anything else because it was such an extensive and long-lasting process. I was hoping I would have at least been able to do one of the half marathon options, but I wasn’t able to do any of it at all. This coming year, I will do the whole marathon. I’m really looking forward to it, to fulfilling such an amazing accomplishment and proving how far my body can go. I know it can handle a full marathon if I train well enough, and I will!

#5: Lose the weight I gained over the summer last year.

With all the packing, clearing out of two houses, the month in hotels in the midst of our cross country move, and much more, my weight loss efforts went out the window. I gained quite a bit of weight back. Not all of it, not even half of the weight I had lost total, but it was still too much! I am still in the process of getting that weight off. It’s been a bit of a struggle as we’ve settled in and other various issues have popped up along the way, but I’m continuing to move forward and make progress, and that’s what matters.

So there you have it, my five healthy living goals of 2017. Goals that make me excited and will be fun to accomplish! I will achieve every one, or at least give it my all to achieve them. I just know that this year will be an amazing one full of growth and progress in all aspects!

What are your healthy living goals for 2017? How are they going so far? Just because we’re nearly a month into the New Year, doesn’t mean you have to let go of your goals if they’re not going according to plan. Recommit and adjust as needed and then keep moving forward!

 

~Bonnie~

How I Find Healing In Food (Plus My Top 3 Recipes!)

I am so excited to share with you this post by Alexa Federico from Girl in Healing! She is sharing her story of how she changed her eating habits to treat her Crohn’s disease and how much it has helped her!

Eating for Crohn’s Disease

Food. We need it to survive, to sustain us. It gives us energy and nutrients. But, the wrong foods can also hurt us. They can cause inflammation, pain, and fatigue.

When I learned that drastically changing my lifestyle was the only way to begin healing my Crohn’s disease, I was devastated. I was only thirteen years old and one year before I was given my diagnosis. I had been following the diet that my gastroenterologists advised me to eat, which was comprised of white bread, bagels, crackers, plain meats, and little to no fiber. But, I had no progress to show for it. I couldn’t control my flare-ups. My parents knew there had to be some missing puzzle piece we weren’t getting. Even though they persistently asked the doctors if food could be the culprit, they denied that what I was eating was resulting in my symptoms.

When another doctor tested me for food sensitivities, my world turned upside down. It was the best thing that has happened to me since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

When I am strict, I am in my best health. In my day-to-day meals I don’t include gluten, most cow dairy, refined sugar, corn, soy, peanuts, tomato, and most nuts in my diet. When I am feeling good and I can deem one of those foods a valid “cheat,” I will indulge. Some foods bother me more than others, but creating a balanced system where I treat myself once in a while works best for me. It sounds very limited at first, and people often gawk when I tell them what I cannot eat. But in reality, there is so much I can eat.

My diet is comprised of high quality meats, eggs, most fruits and vegetables, some gluten free grains such as millet and white rice, and brown rice pasta. I use olive, coconut, and avocado oils and grass-fed butter and spices to flavor my food. If I need a sweetener, I use raw organic honey, real maple syrup, or coconut sugar. I also buy organic foods as much as possible. I feel that my body has to work extra hard already, so eating conventionally grown foods with pesticides will only add extra stress to my system.

Self Care

Although a nourishing, anti-inflammatory diet is a huge part of staying well, I have learned that taking time for myself is just as important.

Resting is crucial for people with autoimmune diseases because we can tire easily. Sometimes I need to say “no” to certain tasks or activities. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it’s definitely the right thing for my body. Listening to my body is key.

I take time to write what I am thankful for in my gratitude journal weekly. I try to include light exercise when my energy is up. Reading, crocheting, and coloring in a coloring book are some of my favorite relaxation activities and are also great if I am not feeling well.

I think that there are many, many, conditions that are affected by the SAD (Standard American Diet), which ironically, is sad! My hope everyday is to reach more people through my blog to encourage everyone to go back to the basics of simple, real food.

 

My Top 3 Most Popular Recipes

Eating natural, clean foods does not have to be complicated or very expensive. I make recipes that are doable for any level home cook or baker. Below are my three most popular recipes on my blog!

1. The Ultimate Golden Milk: Bulletproof Style
ultimate-golden-milk

My Golden Milk recipe rapidly took the lead as my most popular recipe.

Golden Milk is a healing, anti-inflammatory drink. Dairy free milk and ground turmeric are the stars of this recipe, but other spices and healing foods can take it up a notch! Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory spice that is bright orange in color. It has been most widely used in Indian cooking and as a healing remedy for years.

I mimic Bulletproof coffee in my version to enhance it with healthy fats.

Think of it as a healthier hot chocolate. (You could even add in cocoa powder and I won’t tell!).

2. Grain Free Cherry Amaretto Cookies
two-cherry-amaretto-cookies

I’m not surprised that my Grain Free Cherry Amaretto Cookies are my second most popular recipe.

The combination of cherries and amaretto makes them taste and smell like the perfect holiday cookie. These cookies are chewy and light and best of all they do not crumble. My family requested that I make these for Christmas Eve, and of course I had to oblige!

3. Gluten Free, Sugar Free Blueberry Muffins
gluten-free-sugar-free-blueberry-muffin

If someone is looking for an easy to prepare recipe that can be taken on the go, I recommend my blueberry muffins. Sweet breakfast items are something I missed a lot after transitioning to a gluten free/paleo lifestyle. I am so happy with how this recipe turned out. They are sweet enough but they don’t use refined sugar!

When I make a batch, I leave some on my counter and freeze the rest. I will let one defrost over night to have for breakfast the next day or add them to my lunch box!

I hope my story and tips come in handy for you. Let me know if you try any of the recipes!

 

optimized-emilyleisphotography_alexa_04Alexa Federico was born and raised in the Boston area. She is an avid reader and green tea drinker. She blogs at Girl in Healing, where she creates healthy recipes and shares her life experiences living with Crohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which there is currently no cure for. She is a firm believer that “food is medicine.” You can follow Alexa on Facebook and Instagram.

36 Tips for Winter Weight Loss

“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.”
-Ben Aaronovitch

Winter time, when it’s cold and dreary, is a difficult time of the year to stay on track with your healthy living journey. Some of the things that have helped me along the way in various aspects are:

COMFORT FOODS:

  1. Hot cocoa- try with marshmallows or some homemade versions.
  2. Coffee
  3. Hot tea
  4. Hot cereals such as oatmeal or cream of wheat- these are often low fat and low calorie, and healthier than some other breakfast options.
  5. Soups- as long as you’re careful with sodium and focus on low fat soups, you can fill up on it and stay within your goals.
  6. Grilled cheese sandwiches- make with whole grain/wheat bread and minimal butter and you’re good to go.
  7. Chili- try cooking your chili with ground turkey or lean ground beef, beans, and even some veggies mixed in to bulk it up and add fiber.
  8. Baked sweet potatoes- try with cottage cheese and cinnamon for protein and flavor. It tastes way better than it sounds!
  9. Healthy lasagna versions- whole grain or veggie pasta, ground turkey, and other healthier ingredients.
  10. Meatloaf- made healthier with lean ground beef or ground turkey, and whole wheat crumbles.
  11. Crockpot meals- there are so many choices of healthy meals to cook in the crockpot! They are hot and tasty, and perfect for winter time!
  12. Popcorn- as long as you’re careful with the butter, fat, and additives… or make on the stove with fresh kernels.

FITNESS IDEAS:

  1. Exercise videos- DVDs or online videos through a video subscription service, YouTube, or anywhere else.
  2. Dance around the house- this is such a “fun” way to exercise! Dance around on your own or with loved ones, and burn a ton of calories!
  3. Walk in place- walk in place in the house, challenge yourself to walk in place for a certain amount of time, or walk in place during the commercials of your evening show.
  4. Strength training- there are quite a few pieces of strength training equipment that are small and easy to store in any space: dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, and more!
  5. Small cardio equipment- hula hoops, mini trampolines, step-up stools, compact stepper machine, and foot and arm cycles.
  6. Clean and organize- winter is the perfect time of year to do deep cleaning or an organizational overhaul, both of which can torch the calories!
  7. Mall walk- a warm place to walk with plenty of interesting scenery. You can walk around the perimeter of the inside of the mall quite a few times in one go.
  8. Join a gym- only do this if you feel like you can make the commitment to it and can afford the monthly fee, otherwise gym memberships are overrated.
  9. Simply increase your activity throughout the day- get up and get some exercise in once every 1-2 hours, even something as simple as walking in place, stretching, etc.
  10. Workout outdoors- make sure to layer up and be careful of the ice if you do! Even though it’s cold, it’s still possible to get out and take walks, sometimes go for a run, or get in some other form of exercise that’s perfect in the snow.

STAYING MOTIVATED:

  1. Keep your eyes on the prize- remember why you’re doing this and what you’re working towards as you go about your day.
  2. Think about events coming up ahead- whether it be a party, birthday, wedding, or something else entirely, think about those events to stay motivated and pumped up!
  3. Stay focused on your goals- your goals are still important during the winter. So do your best to remind yourself of what they are and why they are so important to you!
  4. Find quality support- being surrounded by people who support you and/or understand what you’re going through, is really beneficial and can help you feel more confident.
  5. Search Pinterest for inspiration- there are so many inspiring and motivating quotes, pictures, or blog posts to read on there. Use them to get pumped up and ready to do what you need to do when your motivation is waning!
  6. Listen to upbeat/motivational music- find your favorite music to listen to that’s upbeat and motivational. It usually has a way of getting you pumped up and excited to workout or live life better!
  7. Watch fun videos or listen to podcasts- anything that is funny, positive, or motivational in whatever way you need it to be, is great to watch or listen to when you’re not feeling motivated!
  8. Make a motivation board- put together quotes, pictures, and words that represents your goals or helps you feel motivated, and use them to decorate a poster board. Pretty it up and put it where you will see it often.
  9. Create or work on your weight loss journal- in a notebook or binder, record your weight loss journey highlights and accomplishments. Add quotes, pictures, words, or anything else that has helped you along the way.

COLD WEATHER SELF-CARE:

  1. Curl up with a good book- reading is an excellent way to de-stress and to take care of yourself.
  2. Cuddle with loved ones- the interaction and contact is good for you all around, leaving you feeling warm and loved.
  3. Watch a fun movie- watching a movie that entertains you in some way, is a wonderful way to rest and relax.
  4. Admire the beauty around you- the cold may not feel good to be in, but there is a certain beauty to winter, no matter where you live.
  5. Stay warm- staying warm makes most of us feel better!

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
-Albert Camus

P.S. Get your free Getting Started Weight Loss Workbook when you sign up for the Inspire the Best You Newsletter!

 

What is your favorite way to work on losing weight or simply being happier in the winter? 

 

~Bonnie~

To Cheat… or Not to Cheat

To cheat… or not to cheat. That is the question.

Cheat days in a healthy living journey is a bit of a controversial topic. Yes, no, maybe… who knows? I think it depends on the person as well as how they use the “cheat” day. I’ve put together some pros and cons of using a cheat day in your plan here…

PROS:

It changes things up. 

Instead of things getting stale in your nutrition plan, or eating the same things all the time, you are able to change things up from time to time. This can be good for your body as well, as there will be less of a chance of hitting a plateau if you’re not eating the same amount of calories every, single, day!

It allows for occasional indulgences.

With a cheat day scheduled occasionally where you are allowing yourself controlled indulgences, can be beneficial by helping you stay on track the rest of the time. We all need to enjoy a treat once in a while and this allows us to do so.

It gives you something to look forward to.

On those especially hard days, when it’s super difficult to stay on track, cheat days give you something to look forward to where you can eat things you want so badly! Then in the moment, you can tell yourself, “I can’t have this right now, but I can have it another day.”

It eliminates the rigidity of “dieting:”

While I don’t view healthy eating as dieting, necessarily, I’m using this term here as a reference. If you use a cheat day, then it can break up the rigidity and monotony of eating only healthier foods nearly all of the time.

CONS:

It can possibly lead to self-sabotage.

Sometimes allowing ourselves enough wiggle room to have a cheat day can cause us to be in a mental place where we think it’s okay to continue doing it. There’s also the chance that it will spill over into the next day, which can often lead to multiple days in a row of being off track.

You can end up eating way too much.

Even in just one day, you can end up eating way too much. Allowing yourself to eat what you want for a whole day can give you the attitude that you can eat anything and everything you want, without limits.

One day of “cheating” may lead to many of overeating.

This goes hand-in-hand with the self-sabotage point above. Giving yourself the freedom to eat more or simply other kinds of foods that you don’t normally have, even for one day, can lead to it lasting into tomorrow and many days to come.

It messes with healthy eating streaks.

If you’ve been on track or eating according to your plan for many days in a row, a cheat day can interrupt that streak. You will need to start over with that particular streak.

MY PERSONAL VIEW:

I think that cheat meals are better than a whole cheat day. For example, I have used a cheat dinner once a week in the past, and that worked well for me. A cheat meal limits the indulgences to one meal and then results in less calories being consumed over your normal plan. Plus it narrows your focus and excitement to one meal, sort of like a really amazing event, that you are anticipation for. Then when that meal is done, it’s done, and you get back on track.

Another option, and one I more recently put into practice, is to allow myself to indulge one or two days a week. In this instance, I allow myself to go over my calorie range by 300-500 calories total throughout that day. I plan ahead for the day and indulge carefully. This might work best to keep more control over our indulgences.

In the end, I believe that this is a personal choice that only you can make. No matter what you decide, remember to always do your best!

What is your view on cheat meals or days? Do you use them in your own healthy living journey and how does that work out for you?

 

~Bonnie~

FREE Getting Started Weight Loss Workbook

Are you struggling to get started in your weight loss journey? This Getting Started Weight Loss Workbook is a great tool to help you figure out where you are going and what you can do to get there!

Some highlights of the workbook:

*Tips

*Resources

*Making goals

*Exploring your why

*Progress charting

*Journaling with journal prompts

The workbook has helped quite a few people already. Sign up for my newsletter and you will be directed to this 20-page workbook when you confirm your subscription!

Here’s the link to the newsletter: Inspire the Best You weekly newsletter.

 

~Bonnie~

10 Small Changes that Add Up to Big Results

You may think that losing weight and getting healthy is this big, elusive, undertaking and super difficult to do… but it doesn’t have to be! You can make small changes that add up to big results! Check out and try some of these ideas:

  1. Challenge yourself to drink 8oz of water before eating dinner each evening: Not only does this help you get some water in and your hydration up, it also helps you feel full faster! Eight ounces really isn’t much to drink at once, yet has such a great impact.
  2. Eat one fruit or veggie at each big meal- breakfast, lunch, and dinner: Just take it one meal, one small choice, at a time! So at each meal, make sure you have a serving of fruit or vegetables. This makes it manageable and one serving isn’t as big of a deal. You’re adding in three servings of fruit and veggies per day, just by this small change and that’s amazing!
  3. Get just 10 minutes of exercise each day to start with: Starting with a goal of ten minutes is small enough to not be daunting. Then you can add more if you feel up to it and eventually work your way up as you progress.’
  4. Park further away from the store entrances to get more activity and use the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator. It won’t take you much more time to take the stairs whenever you have the opportunity, or to park further away from the store entrance. The activity and benefits of doing these things add up big time!
  5. Grab a piece of fruit when you have a sweets craving: Instead of picking up a cookie or whatever other sugary treat, simply grab an apple or another fruit to eat. You will save a bunch of calories and there are wonderful health benefits to fruits!
  6. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef when you cook: Using ground turkey does taste different, I won’t lie. However, it isn’t that big of a difference. You can alternatively use lean ground beef too. This simple swap makes a huge difference in calories and fat content, which is so much healthier!
  7. Walk in place during commercials of your favorite evening show: When you watch your favorite evening show, get up and walk in place during the commercials. There is a good 15-20 minutes of commercials per one hour of TV. If you walk in place during each commercial, which lasts a few minutes each, it adds up to a lot of activity!
  8. Don’t always “clean your plate:” If you’re full or done for whatever reason, then stop eating, whether your plate is empty or not. Which is a bigger waste: eating extra calories your body doesn’t need, or throwing food away to prevent those extra calories from turning into extra weight on your body?
  9. Track your food: Take a few minutes to track your food after each meal or once a day- write the foods down in a notebook, track online through SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal, or simply whatever works best for you!
  10. Walk to do errands if they’re close to your house: If your errands are only a mile or so away, walk to get them done. You’re getting exercise in and running your errands at the same time!

All of these little shifts can be made one at a time, or by doing whatever works for you to start and then adding on as you move forward. They are relatively small changes or sacrifices, that add up to big results over time!

What small changes have you made that have added up to big results? Or what small changes can you make to improve your health or lose weight?

 

~Bonnie~

POWERFUL: My Word of the Year

Choosing a word of the year has become more and more popular lately. Last year was my first year to participate in this idea and I chose the word UNSTOPPABLE for 2016. That is where I wanted the new year to lead me as a focus and a reminder to myself.

What unstoppable meant to me at the beginning of 2016 was that I was going to take the world by storm and not let anything get in my way! I was on a roll, feeling strong and confident, and ready to move forward. Now that the year has ended, I feel like the word wasn’t necessarily lived up to as much as it could have been by me. However, there was a lot that was beyond my control, and that’s okay!

did not give up and that is what unstoppable means to me now that the year is over. I may have taken a break in the middle of the year, for a few months, but after things calmed down to a more normal chaos level again, I was back at it! The most important thing is that I ended the year on a strong note- back on track with my eating for a few months, my blog and business moving forward, and looking forward to upcoming races in the year ahead! Therefore the word worked for me and I’m looking forward to my word for this year guiding me as well!

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I put my word up on the wall to constantly remind me: “I will be POWERFUL in 2017!”

There were quite a few words that I considered for this year: warrior, survivor, persistence, relentless, spirited, resilient, and finally… POWERFUL! It was more difficult to choose a word for 2017. Last year, I spent some time thinking about it and the word pretty much came to me. Then this year, I had to actively search out a word! I googled words, I googled “word of the year,” and scouted out what others were picking in hopes that I would find something that fit what I wanted the year to embody, as well as what I had been through.

Powerful

What does “powerful” mean to me for 2017? I want powerful to represent me and my various journeys this year. I have a lot going on and coming up soon, and I will be powerful as I accomplish each one. Here are some things I’ve got in the year ahead:

  • Half marathon for the second time in May.
  • Full marathon in November.
  • Publishing my first book in March, if all goes according to plan.
  • Writing other books and workbooks.
  • Serving others through my weight loss coaching.

I’m going to use my power for pouring my passions, skills, and enthusiasm into each task and activity. I am ready, I am powerful, and I will have a great 2017!

 

So, do you have a word of the year for 2017? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

 

~Bonnie~

(Shared to the Think Tank Thursday & the Welcome Home Wednesdays link ups, hop on over to those posts and check out some of the other wonderful blogs!)

 

Mulling Over My Morning Coffee

A Review of 2016: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

2016 was a year full of ups and downs and while overall it was a bit of a rough year for me, there were still some pretty awesome things that happened as well. Some are healthy living related while others are more about my own self-growth. Here in this post, I am going to share the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. So come along for the ride!

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January Happenings

  • We decided that we were going to move back to our home state of California sometime in the summer… so exciting!
  • Mid-month I fell on the ice at the bottom of our ramp, which resulted in a bruised body from the impact, strained muscles that took a long time to go back to normal, and a bruised tailbone that still flares up from time to time.
  • Just as I started feeling good enough to return to exercise, I got sick.

 

 


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February Happenings

  • I started training for my upcoming half marathon with increasing my steps, walking outside when I could, doing my first interval training sessions of the year, and starting a self-compiled strength training routine for runners.
  • I had a tooth pulled, which was unplanned.

 

 

 


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March Happenings

  • This month I let my Be the Best You (www.journeytohealthyyou.wordpress.com) blog go, not necessarily by conscious choice. However, I didn’t have enough time or energy to keep it going.
  • Mid-month I had a tooth pulled again, this time it was planned ahead. Just when I thought I had the tooth extraction thing figured out, I was thrown for a loop with a long, hard, and more painful recovery.
  • Climbed trees, probably for the first time, with my niece and two young nephews. What a rush! It made me feel like a kid again.

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April Happenings

  • My first staycation started at the end of the previous month and lasted a couple weeks into this one. Such a nice break and I used as much of it as I could for rest and relaxation.
  • I worked to increase my steps 2-3 days a week and hit a new record for me of 25K steps!
  • I had two long training speedwalks in preparation for the half marathon- one 8 mile and one 10.5 mile, the last of which was in the rain for most of it and I persevered.

 


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May Happenings

  • Tinker Bell Half Marathon at the beginning of the month- I finished and had the time of my life! I even spent the next day with my cousin and her kids, whom I hadn’t seen in a few years and we took a light hike.
  • My parents went out to California to scout for apartments.
  • 2-year anniversary of my healthy living journey was on the 28th!
  • New bigger playground was installed in our community- my nephews and I were thrilled!

 


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June Happenings

  • We started packing things up for our move, which was a huge undertaking with six of us in the household.
  • I spent a good chunk of the month working on and struggling to get back on track with my eating, which had gone haywire during the previous month.
  • Started a new medication for my joint pain, which didn’t end up helping.

 

 


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July Happenings

  • There was lots and lots of packing to be done in preparation for our big move.
  • We had a dud of a community yard sale, which I ran mostly on my own but with help that made it a bit easier.
  • We sent out a rental application for the apartment complex that my parents had chosen as their first choice in California.
  • I had to change anti-depressants since the one I had been on before was not helping as much as I, or my primary doctor, had hoped.

 


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August Happenings

  • My parents’ dog, Daisy had surgery to remove a cyst-type thing. She did well with her recovery and soaked up all the extra attention!
  • My brothers and little nephews moved out on the 17th, we finished cleaning out my grandparents’ mobile home for its sale a few days later, and finally moved out of our own house on the 22nd. There was still a couple days of clearing out the remaining belongings. We learned that we always have more than we think we do!
  • We got stuck in a hotel room near where we lived in Indiana for over a week, and the rest of the month.
  • We said goodbye to my siblings, nephews, and nieces. The two youngest boys, my brother’s, were a huge part of my life and I was like a mother figure to them. It was so hard to leave them and I still miss them like crazy!

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September Happenings

  • We hit the road on the first of the month, for our cross country trek that took ten days. We spent a final twelve days in a hotel in our new city due to issues with our apartment that was supposed to be ready but wasn’t. We also had our dog and cat along for this big ride of hotel living and road tripping.
  • We finally moved into the apartment on the 22nd, after exactly a month in various hotels.
  • Then began the settling-in process. We hadn’t brought much furniture along with us, so getting what we needed after moving in was a focus at first, along with unpacking.

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October Happenings

  • I got back on track with my weight loss efforts a few days before this month started. The craziness of moving was finally over and I was able to refocus more effectively.
  • My birthday was this month as well. I am getting even closer to 30, wow!
  • I traveled to my hometown for a few days- reconnecting and visiting with a lot of friends and really enjoying the visit!

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November Happenings

  • Started my Inspire the Best You blog and business, undertaking a little bit of rebranding and starting over in a sense.
  • I took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this month even though I was writing a memoir. I nearly finished the book too, which was such an amazing feeling!
  • I managed to get two, back-to-back, colds… lasting into December.
  • I went to my hometown again to visit with another cousin and her family, and had a great time there with her!

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December Happenings

  • Made lots of connections and progress with my blog and business, branching out much more than I could have ever imagined.
  • I continued recovering from the last cold I had.
  • We placed membership at a Church of Christ in our new city, finally.

 

 

The theme of the year was change, perseverance, and learning how to be a better aunt and mother-figure to my nephews. I got them outdoors a lot more than I imagined I could handle, and we did a lot of crafts and fun indoor things as well. As you can see, there were also a ton of big changes and other happenings. I learned to persevere, and push through whatever life threw at me! It has made me stronger and I finally feel like I was thriving as the year ended, which is a great feeling!

What were the highlights or big happenings in your year for 2016? What was your overall theme of the year?

 

~Bonnie~

(Shared on the Welcome Home Wednesdays link up, hop on over there and check out some of the other wonderful blogs!)

           

Helene in Between