Category: Losing Weight

6 Things My Daily Shake Has Done for Me

As of Monday, I have officially been drinking Shakeology for a month… and what a month of benefits it has been! At first, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of how a shake could help me more than just providing protein and being something tasty to drink. I wasn’t sure these Shakeology shakes would actually make that big of an impact on my health and daily life. However, since they tasted so good and were a good snack replacement as I added them into my daily routine, I kept up with them. Within five days, I started to notice that I had slightly more energy and that has slowly increased with time. Then within three weeks, I started to notice that besides simply building muscle with my workouts, I was realizing that Shakeology was making a difference with muscle soreness the day after an intense workout.

By a week into drinking these shakes, I was a big believer! And here’s why:

  1. Shakeology has superfood ingredients- From protein to vitamins and minerals, and many other wonderful ingredients. Some of the others are antioxidants, pre- and probiotics, and digestive enzymes. All of these lovely ingredients are what makes it so beneficial to our health. These things pack a punch to give me the energy, full feeling, and reduce soreness in my muscles the day after an intense workout.
  2. It tastes great, especially with some awesome recipes- There are so many things you can do with Shakeology to create a delicious tasting shake, such as adding fruit, veggies, cinnamon, and many more delicious and healthy additions that combine to make it an even more delectable treat or meal!
  3. Shakeology helps reduce hunger and sweets cravings- I have noticed that these shakes help me feel less hungry, and help squash those sweet tooth cravings. Let me tell you, I have always had a huge sweet tooth. It’s not that I have wanted to sit and eat nothing but sugary foods, but I have always looked forward to having them and wanted them on a daily basis. The Shakeology shakes, especially the chocolate ones, have really helped me with my cravings. They are a treat, in and of themselves, yet healthy at the same time!
  4. They help with muscle soreness- Like I mentioned earlier, they really have been helping with my muscle soreness. I can do a more intense workout, such as TurboFire, and the next day, I don’t feel quite as sore… because I am getting stronger and have also been drinking these shakes! With the protein punch, and other valuable ingredients such as those listed above, help my muscles recover faster and I don’t have such a long period of extremely sore muscles!
  5. It has increased my energy levels- Shakeology gives me the energy boost I need to get through my days with less napping or resting. I used to need a daily nap. While I still need one some days, it’s more like half of the time rather than every day. If I drink my shake an hour before starting a workout, I have found that it also gives me an energy boost in my workout as well, and that is such an awesome feeling. I hadn’t done it on purpose the first time, but I was pleasantly surprised when I felt even stronger and more energized for the workout. So I have been working on timing my lunchtime shake for right before my workout!
  6. Shakeology is actually filling- I have to say that this one was the most surprising benefit of drinking the shakes that I have experienced so far! I wasn’t expecting it to be filling at all, as I had never experienced that with any other protein shake. However, Shakeology is not just any protein shake. It has so much more inside of it that makes it filling. Some of the things that help it be more filling are the flax, quinoa, super-fruits, and super-greens.

These are just a few of the most amazing things that I have experienced in just one month of drinking Shakeology. I can’t wait to see what continued results and benefits I see as I keep drinking it!

Have you tried Shakeology? If so, what is your favorite flavor? And if not, what keeps you from trying it?

 

~Bonnie~

How to Establish a Lifestyle Change

You’ve heard it before, likely too many times to count, that in order for your weight loss to stick you need to establish a lifestyle change. I’m here to tell you that this is absolutely true. Weight loss will not magically make it to where you can eat whatever you want or chuck exercising once you reach your goal weight. You will need to continue with these new habits you’ve created for yourself for the rest of your life. That’s not to say that you will have to exercise at the rate and intensity or restrict your calories as much as you have been to lose weight, but you will still need to keep your habits going.

“Lifestyle change” sounds so cliché to most of us by now. We see and hear it everywhere as we immerse ourselves in our weight loss efforts. I know it sounds cliché to me even though I wholeheartedly believe in it and even though my lifestyle change has become just a way of life for me. This phrase sums up all of our focus on building a healthy life for ourselves. That is our goal, to be healthy individuals and to live a fuller and higher-quality life.

 

Now you may want to know that if this is so vital to being successful, how to achieve it, so here are some tips:

  • Start small and remember each step in the right direction is progress. Make small changes and simply focus on making one good choice at a time. This way it is much more manageable.
  • Remember that slow and steady wins the race. It might sound enticing to go full force from the very beginning and keep going at that pace, but you will hit a burn out wall. So take things slow and focus on your progress. Sometimes you may feel like you’re not making any progress at all and that’s okay, as long as you keep moving forward and keep trying you will see progress soon enough.
  • Make sustainable changes- start eating and exercise habits that you can stick with long-term. Find exercise you enjoy doing and healthy foods you enjoy eating. You can change things up and try new things but don’t exercise too much or restrict your calories too much too fast.
  • Arm yourself with information. Research healthy habits, recipes that sound good, and find things that work for you. There are so many possibilities out there!
  • Keep yourself motivated- surround yourself with people who have similar goals, read blogs or articles about people who have lost weight or are losing weight currently, join weight loss websites/apps where there is no shortage of support (such as Spark People where I found just this), and keep searching for things that interest you in your new lifestyle.

That’s the simplified version. Obviously there is more to it, but some of it we all have to figure out for ourselves because we are all different. We need to find what works for us in particular. So please, don’t be discouraged if what works for someone else or what you feel should work for you doesn’t, because there is so much more out there than just that! Make your lifestyle change work for you and it will be so much easier to stick with because you will learn to enjoy it.

What have you been doing to establish your lifestyle change?

 

~Bonnie~

My Story of Weight Gain and Weight Loss

My friend Tish MacWebber invited me to write my weight gain and weight loss story for her amazing blog series called Trust Your Gut, and I of course snatched up the opportunity! I have enjoyed reading her blog and thought it was such a fitting, and lovely idea to write my story out for the series… So, if you would like to hear more about my story and what brought me to be so passionate about healthy living, please hop on over there and read the post!

Some of the highlights of my story…

  • How my battle with my weight started when I was a young kid.
  • What I learned about weight loss in my teens and young adulthood that helped build a stronger foundation.
  • What brought me to help others dealing with weight issues themselves.
  • How my current weight loss journey has been going so far.
  • Where I am at in my weight loss journey right now.

I would love it if you would read it, you might just learn something about me that you didn’t know! Check it out here, along with other articles in the series: Trust Your Gut: Bonnie’s Story.

 

~Bonnie~

Interview with Exercise and Nutrition Coach Esther Avant

Today I am sharing an interview I had the honor of holding with Esther Avant, an exercise and nutrition coach at estheravant.com. She has a lovely website, and I highly recommend you checking it out and seeing what she has to offer there and reading some of her blogs! I really enjoyed our conversation the other day and learning more about what brought her to do this line of work. We all have our own unique stories and yet we still have a lot in common!

I would love for you to check out her social media pages here: Facebook | Instagram

Inspire the Best You: What is your job as an exercise and nutrition coach?

Esther: I work with women to help them lose weight, revamp their lifestyle and overall live happier and healthier lives. I use a client-centered approach where we prioritize making one change at a time and expanding upon it once it starts to feel like a habit.

ITBY: What do you find most rewarding in your work?

Esther: The most rewarding thing in my work is when a client tells me I’ve made an impact in her life. When someone sends me a text or email, or call me, to let me know that they’ve had a mental breakthrough or that they had more confidence to do this because of me. Their progress is the most rewarding thing as a coach.

ITBY: Why did you decide to become a coach?

Esther: I majored in exercise science in college and part of my college curriculum was becoming certified as a personal trainer. I got my first full-time personal training position right out of college and while working there, I realized that exercise wasn’t the issue for most people but how little they knew about good nutrition, so I expanded into that arena, as well.

ITBY: How do you help your clients with their goals and healthy living? I realize you already touched on this question earlier, but I would love to hear more!

Esther: We take a habit-based approach, and I like to help them simplify their efforts. There is just so much information out there that we become paralyzed by it and end up doing nothing. There really is no best way to go about it. My primary focus is to simplify and take action, to assess where they’re starting and prioritize what steps to take. Do you know what foods contain protein, why it’s important, and are you getting enough protein? Are you eating enough vegetables? Then we expand on those steps as they get the hang of it.

ITBY: What do you feel is your biggest struggle in your own healthy living journey?

Esther: When I started college, I was in the best shape of my life. I was very active and thin and able to eat whatever and whenever I wanted. However, during freshman year in college, I was thrown way off course; I had this super challenging curriculum and I felt like I was studying nonstop. The result was that I wasn’t making time to workout and wasn’t eating well, and ended up gaining a lot of weight without realizing it. When I got home that summer, I kind of realized what had happened. I felt hypocritical since I was majoring in exercise science, so I spent that first summer eating in a way that made me feel good and finding the time for exercise. I had to figure out how to prioritize it and make it work when I went back to school. It was a transitionary period where I realize that it was important to prioritize my health and having gone through that allows me to empathize with my clients more now.

ITBY: What is the biggest piece of advice you can pass along to those reading this?

Esther: It’s never too late to make a change. You deserve to make time for yourselves. Start with one small thing at a time.

 

Don’t forget to check her out on her social media sites: Facebook | Instagram

How Our Furry Workout Partners Can Inspire Us

Our furbabies are more than just companions and family members, they can actually make wonderful workout partners too! Just a few days ago, I was doing Cize and my puppy, Jasper was bouncing around and wanting to play because I was dancing and laughing. It made such a big difference to me because I felt a bit silly at first. I don’t dance often, and I’ve never been a good dancer, and exercise videos in general can sometimes feel a bit silly when I first start them. However, when he was looking at me, cocking his head, it made me laugh and when I laughed, he started bouncing around like he wanted to join in. That made the workout so much easier to get into and just feel it, not feel so silly!

This experience as well as knowing that my Jasper will be a great walking and running partner once he has all of his vaccines, got me to thinking about how our furry workout partners are very beneficial in our pursuit of a healthy lifestyle!

Walking and running buddies

While it depends on many factors, our dogs can make amazing walking and running buddies. In fact, they encourage us to get up and go in the first place. They need the exercise as much as we do and if we don’t take them for a walk or a run, we may pay the price in the form of a hyper dog. When you go for a walk or a run, having your dog with you helps you feel safer and more energized too!

Workout video companion

Whether your dog or cat simply hangs out in the room with you while you exercise, giving you someone to vent to when your workout is tough, or actually tries to join in, our furry workout partners are great at keeping us company while we exercise! I know back when I only had my cat and I needed to wake up at dawn to get a workout in, she would keep me company by perching on the back of the couch or one of the chairs. Knowing she was there with me brought me comfort and silent encouragement.

Hiking buddy

Similar to having a walking or running, having a buddy to go on a hike with can help you feel more motivated, energized, and safe while you’re hiking. One of the things that has concerned me about hiking is doing it alone. I don’t really have any friends close by or family members that would enjoy going hiking, but now that I have an active and energetic dog, he will make the perfect hiking buddy. He will make me feel safer and more confident on my hikes.

Yoga or stretching

Our pets might enjoy being near us or helping us when we stretch. Their idea of helping may not be conducive to a good workout, but they will likely brighten up your session. Sometimes they may think that you are a playground that they should play on while you’re stretching. It can either be annoying, or entertaining, or maybe even both!

Our pets benefit as much as we do for us to get exercise in with them by our sides. They get exercise themselves or companionship, and we get the same in return!

 

~Bonnie~

How to Finally Stick with Your Weight Loss Goals (and Feel Great Doing it!)

I’m pleased to share with you a guest piece by Winston Henderson at 5 Years 2 Mastery, where he shares with us some tips on how to stick with our weight loss goals! These are really actionable tips that anyone can take to stick with their goals!

Raise your hand if you know this to be true.

You set a weight loss goal at the beginning of the year, promising than this time you’re definitely going to stick with it. You’re excited for the first few days, until you remember the taste of that delectable dessert that you’re probably craving now as we speak.

It’s difficult to stick with your goals isn’t it? Especially when there are so many things around to distract you from really going after it and being consistent with your activity to make it happen.

I know the feelings it creates. Feelings of disappointment, of discouragement. Beating yourself up because you just couldn’t get it done yet another time you tried. Feelings that you aren’t good enough, not worthy enough. It lowers your self-esteem and destroys your self-confidence. I know because I’ve been there.

Though I’ve never struggled with being overweight, I do know how it feels to feel like a failure because you couldn’t stick with another goal you set for yourself. My greatest hope is that I can help you to finally stick with your weight loss goal this year (even if you’ve already given up on them).

Now let me be clear, this isn’t a puff piece, nor is it an article on motivation. This isn’t me telling you that you need to quit whining and get up, put the plate down, and get your butt in the gym. Nor am I going to self-pity you in the hopes that it will get you going. My goal with this article is to give you actionable techniques that I have personally used to remain consistent with my own workout routine. Techniques that you can take, implement into your life right away, and start to see small progress in your life. The beauty with this technique is it will work for you whether you are just starting your weight loss journey, or whether you’ve fallen off track and want to get back into it, this technique will work just the same.

Before getting into the technique let’s shed some light on your situation.

 

Why You Struggle to stick with your weight loss goal

Awareness is the most important of any goal. I have found that often times it’s not that we don’t know what to do to achieve our goals, but we aren’t aware of the things that stops us or hinders us.

In working with others to help them stick with their goals (not just weight loss), I’ve realized there are 3 main reasons why you may not have stuck with your goals:

  1. You haven’t set the standard and expectation for yourself. What I mean by this is you haven’t set a standard of what you are unwilling to compromise when it comes to your weight loss goals. Also, what you’re unwilling to settle for, and what you expect from yourself when it comes to achieving your goal. In other words you haven’t made a conscious and verbal commitment that you intend to stick with this goal no matter what happens. Not just saying it in words, but actually committing to it through action. For the moment it may just be something that you think is nice to achieve, but not something that is of the highest priority for you.
  2. You haven’t identified why it’s a MUST for you. In other words what’s the main reason why this goal is so important to you? Why are you going to put yourself through the daily pain and process of losing this weight? Whatever your reason is, it has to be something that is so emotionally compelling to you, it will drive you to take action even on the days you don’t feel like doing it. Noticed I used the word ‘MUST’ which means something that is non-negotiable, something that you won’t give up on no matter what. Make this reason your motivation, instead of the goal of achieving a set weight loss number
  3. The consequence for not following through isn’t severe enough. Many people think that fear is a bad thing, and it can be if you allow it. However, if you know how to use fear to your advantage, as a driving force to get you into action and remain consistent, then you will find it easier to stick with your weight loss goals. Think about what you stand to lose, and what pain you will experience as a result of not sticking with your weight loss goal. Is it a feeling of unworthiness? Is it a health condition that you may be affected by and so will your family? Will it take away from living a life of fulfilment in some way? Whatever the reason is ensure it is something that is painful enough (the more the better). This pain or the fear of what will happen if you don’t stick with your weight loss goals will trigger you to get into action, and stay in action.

There are other subsets of these 3 why most people don’t stick with their goals, but this should be enough to get you moving.

 

The Technique to Finally Help You Stick With Your Goals

The technique I am referring to is one I’ve personally developed through my own experience of struggling with inconsistency and lacking commitment for over 31 years. I call it The S.T.A.R.S. TechniqueTM.

Let’s break it down.

Standard & Expectation

The first thing you want to do is set the Standard and Expectation of what you are unwilling to compromise and what you expect from yourself. As mentioned above you want to verbally express this to yourself.

The phrase I used when I was working on sticking with my workout routine was “I am someone who never misses a day working out”. I would repeat that in the morning hours before I was even ready to exercise. It helped to condition my mind to make it happen when the time came, and set the tone as to what I am to expect from myself.

 

Trigger

The Trigger is what is used to let your brain know it’s time to perform the action. The action in this case doesn’t have to be exercising. It could be something as simple as drinking a glass of water, or eating a salad plate or fruit.

Think of the Trigger as a message notification on your phone. When you receive a new message or email typically your phone will flash a light, vibrate, or make a ping sound to let you know that you received a new message. The action that follows would then be you checking your phone. So in the case of your weight loss goal the Trigger would be whatever you put in place to let you know to take a particular action.

 

Action

The next step is the actual action. Now when starting out or getting back into your routine, it’s very important not to try to do too much too soon. The reason being is it will make you overwhelmed easily, and soon burnout, get discouraged, then you’ll eventually quit on your goal.

What you want to do is start small and simple. Make the action step so easy that it would be ridiculous for you not to stick with your weight loss goal. Consistent, small steps, lead to big results.

Reward

The reward is what you give yourself for taking action. Now the reward I use is not external reward such as being able to watch my favourite television program. My reward is internal, which is celebrating and congratulating myself for taking action. I have found that this approach is more effective in long term habit formation

Self-Affirmation and Reinforcement

Finally you want to reinforce your Standard and Expectation statement. By doing this you are reminding yourself and bringing it into focus that you are developing and becoming someone who will stick with their goals.

So repeat what you said but in second person this time. Say “[insert your name] you truly are someone who never misses a day to work out!” There’s a psychology behind this when it comes to developing your Identity that is powerful!

To learn more about the S.T.A.R.S. TechniqueTM I created a training video on it where I go into greater depth on this technique.

To close let me just briefly share some quick tips that will help you on your weight loss journey.

 

Quick Tips to Help You Stick With It

  1. Choose an environment that will increase the chances you will stick with your weight loss goals, and remove anything from your environment such as foods that will hurt that goal
  2. Associate with other people who are ahead of you in the weight loss journey, it will give you something to inspire towards
  3. If you are working out choose a time based on your temperament. So if you are more a morning person do it then, night person choose that time. It will increase the likelihood of you taking action and sticking with your goal
  4. ALWAYS celebrate and congratulate yourself after taking action, no matter how small the action is

 

To your success my friends!

Author: Winston Henderson is a Break Through and Consistency Mentor at 5 Years 2 Mastery, who helps others to break through and overcome the mental barriers and limiting beliefs holding them back from taking action towards their goals, and helps them remain consistent towards achieving those goals.

God and Food: An Appetite for Everlasting Satisfaction

I am so excited, and honored, to have one of my new friends, Denise Marcello Manning write this guest post for me!

Does food have ungodly control over you?  

It was a question that I already knew the answer to in regards to my own life, as I had personally struggled with an eating disorder for over two decades. While God has delivered me from this addiction, I never fully understood why I gravitated to food in the first place.

And, why at times, I still do.

I still experience those times where I turn to food for comfort.  When the old, addictive behavior resurfaces, I find myself drawn to sugary, fattening foods to make myself feel better on the inside.  There have also been times in my life that I have restricted my food intake to satisfy my inner desire to be thin, or to look and feel better about myself.  

The book, Full – Food, Jesus and the Battle for Satisfaction, by Aseritah Ciuciu, put this struggle into perspective for me with these words:  

“We can’t solve a spiritual problem with a physical solution.” 

As a fitness coach, I can give a client a healthy meal plan, but God helped me to recognize that proper nutrition alone can’t solve the underlying problem – why are we eating the way that we do?

Whether we find ourselves in the throes of food addiction or food fixation, neither can ever bring the satisfaction we truly crave.    Have you ever found yourself completely consumed by food, only to realize that it never solves your problem, but leaves you feeling ashamed, empty and utterly alone?  

In Full – Food, Jesus and the Battle for Satisfaction, the author writes, “When we eat and eat and eat, unaware of what’s going into our mouths, unable to taste, enjoy, or relish the food but just stuffing down one mouthful after another until it makes us sick – that’s being enslaved to our appetites.”  When I read those words, my eyes filled with tears.  This explained my lifelong relationship with food!  2 Peter 2:19 says, “People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”  Unbeknownst to me, I had become enslaved to food.  It may not be what society calls “addictive” (like drugs and alcohol), but I promise you that Satan can use food as a stronghold in our lives.

There is only one way to be truly sated.  Did you know that we are designed to crave God?  God invites us to join Him at the table of eternal satisfaction.  Isaiah 55:1-2 says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”  The bible uses the example of food in this verse to describe the fullness that only God can provide.  How exciting that God offers us the “richest of food and drink” through intimacy with Him, and wants us to come and “eat” until we are fully satisfied!

Instead of picking up a fork or spoon the next time you seek comfort, I pray that you will ask God, through his Living Word (and possibly this book!) to show you the pathway to everlasting satisfaction.  He is our daily bread, and all that we will ever need!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

Author: Denise Marcello Manning
Follower of Christ, Certified in Nutrition and Fitness, Virtual Spiritual & Physical Fitness Coach and actively involved in women’s ministries.  Married with three dogs, loving the outdoors and enjoying log cabin living in upstate New York.  Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.  Motto: Step out in faith!

11 Inspirations to Improve Your Health

We all need inspiration to lose weight, or in this case improve our health, because it can be hard to stay motivated and inspired to do so. There are many reasons to lose weight and get healthier. Sometimes we need to be reminded on a daily basis of all those things that should help us stay inspired. Here are eleven of the biggest inspirations for you to keep in mind:

1. Physical Health

We can improve our physical health by eating more healthy foods, getting physical activity, and drinking more water. It helps increase our strength, endurance, and to fuel our bodies in the way they need to be fueled. What is important to remember is to do what you can with what you have and not take on too much at once. Every little healthy decision that you make adds up to big results over time. It doesn’t need to all be instantaneous. Have patience and do your best!

2. Emotional Health

Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. As you learn to live healthier in your everyday life, some patterns may become apparent with your emotional health. For example, you may start to figure out what triggers you to feel depressed, anxious, or simply irritated or upset. When you figure those things out, you have a better chance of cutting things off before they get worse. That is one of the biggest benefits that I have found with improving my overall health, is to get to know myself well enough to improve how I function each day.

3. Mental Health

This is another one that depends on how well you are getting to know yourself. As you become more aware of your patterns, history, and other factors, the more you can gain control over your life. That doesn’t mean it will be easy by any means, but you can start to control what circumstances and situations you put yourself into a bit more and prepare for the ones you can’t escape from. It will help you gain more stability and contentment within your own life.

4. Play more and keep up with your kids and pets

Let’s face it, our kids and pets often have more energy than us. They are younger and just like to have fun! The healthier you are, the easier it is to keep up with the kids and pets in your life. It is so much fun to actually get involved with their play, actively engaging with them, much more fun than just watching them have all of the fun on their own!

5. Have more adventures

As your health improves, you will be able to go on more adventures. Sometimes it is difficult to get out of the house and that means that we are limited on our chance of adventures. However, there is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Some of the activities that you’ll be able to do more, or better, are to going shopping at the mall, hiking, taking walks around the neighborhood, going to theme parks, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Life is meant to be lived so improve your health and go out there to live it!

6. Gain more energy

Energy is something that a lot of us experience in short supply in our daily lives. The thing about living a healthier life, is that your energy will increase. Mine didn’t increase very fast but at some points, I felt much more energized than I had ever experienced, simply because I was eating healthier, getting more exercise, and drinking plenty of water. I’m confident that you will see some kind of increase in yours as well, as long as you consistently work on improving your health.

7. Live a fuller life with a better future

The better you feel and the healthier you are, the more you will be able to accomplish in your life. I also found that the longer I worked on improving my health and actually started accomplishing what I set out to do, the more I felt I was capable of accomplishing in other areas of my life. It gave me the confidence and the determination to go after many more of my dreams. To say the least, it was invigorating! Not only will you feel like going after more things to create a better life and future for yourself, but you will also have more energy and improved health to do so.

8. Feel better overall

You will feel better all around as you improve your health. This touches on many of the above inspirations, but this one is generalized for a reason. You will feel better overall which will boost you on so many different levels. It will help you do more and be more in your life.

9. Travel easier and more comfortably

When you lose weight and are healthier overall, traveling becomes a bit easier and more comfortable. You can fit in the bus, train, or plane seats better which means you have more room. Those seats are still small, but it does make it a bit more comfortable. Not only that, but you will have more energy to deal with the exhausting effects of traveling and be able to do more exploring on your vacations.

10. Clothes shopping can be a lot of fun

As you lose weight, you will need new clothes. Whether you go the route of thrift stores, clearance racks, or full sale, you can have a lot of fun shopping for new clothes in your new sizes. Then being able to actually wear those clothes instead of the same old ones all the time, it is such a rush! It can even be an experience in and of itself as you discover colorful and amazing clothes that you can wear that you may not have been able to wear before!

11. Boosted confidence, self-esteem, and much more

Losing weight and improving our health does us wonders in other aspects as well. The biggest way this happens is helping us feel better about ourselves all around. We start to see the good within us as we work on improving our overall health, and what we are capable of. We are all strong and capable, and we can see that even more pronounced as we work on improving our health!

Let me know what inspires you the most to improve your health in the comments, I would love to hear them!

 

~Bonnie~

Interview with Beachbody and Health Coach Elizabeth Gudrais

Today I am sharing with you an interview I held with my Beachbody and Health Coach friend, Elizabeth Gudrais. She is such an inspiration to many, including me, and I know she will help inspire you all too!

Check out her social media pages here: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

What is your job?

I am a fitness and wellness coach affiliated with Beachbody. At the most basic level, I am here to support people in using the company’s fitness and nutrition products: fitness programs such as PiYo, TurboFire, P90X, Insanity, Core de Force, and many others, and nutrition plans like the 21 Day Fix. I am here to help them through these programs and answer any questions they may have about our programs or supplements.

As coaches, each of us builds a unique business and brand; new customers trying a Beachbody program for the first time can choose the coach they want to work with based on the coach’s personality and the focus of his/her business. In my business, Living Vibrantly (www.livingvibrantly.net), I focus on helping women feel their best, claim their power, and discover their potential through exercise and nutrition. If we don’t feel well on a daily basis, it’s hard to find energy for work we are passionate about. It saddens me that many of us don’t even know how good we CAN feel in our bodies if we treat them right.

What do you like most about doing this kind of work?

The people!!!! All my life I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know them… their stories, their perspectives, how they view the world. It is a challenge taking that a step further and figuring out how to motivate people who may not respond to the same things that motivate me. But it’s a challenge I love and it definitely keeps each day interesting! I find it so incredible that with social media I can meet people from all over the world and we can come together and encourage one another in our online groups. The sense of community is so energizing and uplifting.

How did you get started in your personal healthy living journey?

I did not always have the perspective I have now, of loving and accepting my body (or at least working toward that daily). When I was younger, I really struggled with not liking my appearance. I was self-critical every time I looked in the mirror. Since I thought I needed to lose weight, I would skip meals and deprive myself of food. Then I would be starving hungry and I’d binge. I was stuck in a vicious cycle and it was miserable.

Breaking the cycle was not quick or simple. It started with a decision that I didn’t want to keep on living that way. It was so scary for me to eat three meals a day, and snacks in between. To eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full was completely foreign to me, but slowly I learned to make peace with the fear of gaining weight. That was the first step of a long journey. Along the way, therapy and Overeaters Anonymous (12 step meetings for food addiction) were immensely helpful for me.

Around the same time, I discovered yoga, which also helped immensely. Previously I had used exercise as punishment or at least as a way to keep my body under control. Yoga was something different: a type of movement that was more about the internal experience, and the mental and emotional benefits. For several years, the only exercise I did (other than walking) was yoga, and it really transformed my relationship with food and my body. Through all of the time I took for self-care and healing, I came to understand the emotions that were driving me to eat, and I developed better ways to cope (although I’m not perfect and there are still days when my desire to numb out drives me toward the candy dish or my old habit of skipping meals). These past experiences help me guide my clients through their own issues with food and body image.

What has been your biggest struggle in your own journey?

Depression and anxiety. Healthy habits (primarily nutrition, but also exercise, getting adequate sleep, and reducing stress) have helped a lot, but anxiety is still with me on an almost-daily basis (just not as severe as it once was), and depression still strikes sometimes without warning or explanation. At this point it’s a fact of life for me. I learned long ago, during the years when my lows were much lower, to keep going through the motions because it’s way worse if you don’t. (It’s been awhile since I lacked the energy to do even that, but I know it does happen and I’ve experienced it, so I know that even going through the motions sometimes isn’t possible for everyone in the depths of depression.) So I’ll always still get up and show up for work, but depression sometimes causes me to doubt my own abilities and isolate myself from other people, which, as you can imagine, isn’t good for my business, nor does it help me to feel less depressed. I’ve had to work on reaching out to friends to talk instead of isolating when this happens. Still, I believe that having these conditions makes me more sensitive to others who struggle with them.

Is there an event or something that happened to you that has made you more, or less, determined to live a healthier life?

My husband and I have been going through fertility treatment in one way or another for the past three years, and in 2014 I had a surgery related to this. It was supposed to be a straightforward procedure but I ended up having major complications and nearly dying. I was in the hospital for three weeks and on dialysis for three months because my kidneys weren’t working. I was incredibly sick and just physically weak. I had to learn to walk again after being bedridden. I lost 25 pounds and I’m only 5’5″! I was relatively young when it happened, so my body bounced back in most ways, but it took a lot of work and a lot of patience. Getting my daily workout in became a matter of fighting for my recovery. Cooking healthy meals became a matter of giving my body what it needed to regain strength. That experience changed the way I understood the purpose of fitness and nutrition. I had already started to care less about appearance and more about the health impact and the way these behaviors made me feel, but the experience of illness and recovery completed that shift. I will also say that the experience made me much more aware of savoring each moment and each day. I stress less and when I indulge, I don’t entertain guilt afterwards!

How do you stay motivated and encouraged each day to continue in your journey?

Honestly, it all comes back to the people. I love my team and I love the Beachbody community. They make it fun to show up each day and share about my workout or share recipes and trade nutrition tips. In addition to that, at this point many elements of healthy living have become habits that I do almost automatically: working out, prepping and packing a healthy lunch and snacks, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep.

There’s always room for improvement, and right now I’m working on getting better at detaching from upsetting news or interpersonal conflict. My goal isn’t to stop caring (I believe we need to stay engaged in our communities just as we do in relationships), but rather to be able to take a break and come back to it with a fresh  perspective and renewed energy.

I think it’s important to always keep growing, evolving, and reflecting. This is part of the path I try to guide my clients on, in addition to supporting them in setting up those basic healthy habits so self-care becomes a given.

What is one thing that’s happened in your journey, or career as a health coach, that has made you a stronger person?

I’m still dealing with the biggest challenge I have faced so far, and that is infertility. It’s been the biggest lesson in recognizing and admitting that some things are beyond my control. After many twists and turns, spurts of hope followed by disappointment, it’s still not clear whether we will be able to bear children or whether our family will be completed through adoption. As we cope with this seemingly boundless uncertainty, I’ve tried to do my best to share openly about our journey and our struggles, knowing that there are many people out there dealing with infertility. The stigma that’s attached to it compounds how difficult it is to go through; not only is it heartbreaking and often medically/physically painful and draining, but then on top of that people feel like they can’t reach out to others for support because it’s a taboo subject to talk about. I have sometimes felt fear that people won’t want to work with me because I haven’t successfully “solved the problem” by becoming pregnant, but through sharing my vulnerability, imperfections, and fears I’ve connected with so many people I never would have met otherwise, because something I posted spoke to them. It’s really remarkable, and it’s been so worth it.

How do you suggest others get started in their own healthy living journeys?

Well, obviously I am hugely partial to working with a coach and plugging into a community! If what you’ve read here has spoken to you, please reach out to me! You can find my contact info on my website. But beyond that, Beachbody has an enormous network of coaches, with just about every possible focus, interest, and style you could imagine—and of course you can look beyond our programs as well, to different types of health coaching. A coach can help you get clear about your goals and get realistic about how to fit them into your life. It’s almost not even about the coach; it’s you that does the work, not the coach. But knowing you’ll be checking in daily or weekly with a coach or a supportive group can be an incredible source of motivation and, from what I’ve seen, can provide that push to nudge people out of inertia.

What is the biggest piece of advice you have for them?

 Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself! Sure, there are lots of free options for healthy living… going for walks, following videos you find on YouTube, looking up recipes on the internet. Those options may work great for you—but if they’re not working for you, get honest with yourself about whether they ever will. Don’t underestimate the power of putting some skin in the game. Many people take something more seriously once they’ve spent money on it. They don’t want to have wasted the money, so they make sure to follow through on the investment.

You could say I have an ulterior motive here because my programs cost money, but I also have an online wellness community where I spend a decent amount of time supporting people without them ever making a purchase. I believe Beachbody has the best workout videos—hands down—as well high-quality supplements and simple, powerful nutrition programs. That’s why I work with this company. But I believe the group support is the magic that pulls it all together and makes it so effective. The bottom line is that, although I’ve heard many people doubt the value of the services coaches provide, I absolutely think group programs and the services of a coach are worth investing in. They were one of the things that made the biggest difference for me, which was what made me want to start this business in the first place.

If you want to follow her on social media, here are her pages again: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for allowing me to interview you and post this here! I hope it reaches many people and helps them feel inspired and motivated to live a healthy life.

~Bonnie~

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