Category: Losing Weight

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
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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
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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
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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~

How to Have a Winter of Healthy Living

Winter can be a hard season to get through when focusing on a healthy living journey. I know, because I spent the first two winters of my journey in a snowy and very cold (to me) area in Indiana. Even when you live in a warmer winter climate, the short days, abundant illnesses sweeping through, and other factors can eat at your motivation and resolve to live a healthy life. Based on my experiences the past few winters, I’ve put together a list of tips on how to focus on healthy living and maintain a more upbeat mindset through the colder months.

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First of all, find alternatives that are appealing for your plan:

  • Exercise- if you’re unable to get outside for exercise, plan some energizing indoor workouts such as videos, yoga, walking in place, and dancing! If it’s snowy but you can get out, go play in the snow. Build a snowman, go sledding, make a snow angel, or build a snow fort. Other ideas might include going to an indoor family gym or a fitness center that allows you to join for a few months at a time.
  • Eating and nutrition- Most of us crave warm comfort foods during this time of the year. There are ways to do this while still practicing healthy habits, like making homemade soups or having low-sodium premade soups. Here are a couple articles about healthier soups: Healthy Soup Recipes from Eating Well and Healthiest Canned Soups from Livestrong for some ideas! Making healthier versions of other dishes like veggie noodles for pasta dishes and grilled cheese sandwiches with whole wheat bread and less butter. As far as hot drinks goes, there are quite a few we can enjoy this time of year as well: hot coco, coffee with minimal flavorings, and tea.

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
Edith Sitwell

Second, focus on your goals.

Just because the weather changed, doesn’t mean that your goals have disappeared. It’s still important to pursue your goals throughout the colder months. My suggestion is to make weekly goals that will help you reach your long-term goals in a smaller, more manageable, manner.  Then you should review them and your progress at the end of each week to see how you’re doing and where you need to go from there. It’s a method that keeps you more focused because you’re able to create a smaller vision with smaller steps to get you where you need to go.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.
-John Steinbeck

Thirdly, do your best to stay motivated through these months.

I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago about motivation, called How to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight, and a lot of the tips in there can help you in regards to winter as well. Another tactic is to picture spring and summer, and how you want things to be then as far as your accomplishments and progress go. You can also look ahead to upcoming events, holidays, outings, and anything else you are looking forward to that will help you stay on track and looking to the future!

Not only that, but staying positive can help your motivation and mindset immensely. Think about the things in your day that are pleasant or bring you joy. Even in the darker, colder months, there is always something to be positive about! Celebrate those moments to make the days much more enjoyable and the winter seem less dreary.

When things seem dark and gray… Remember that you must keep pushing forward… focus on the small, little things in your day that can bring you joy!
-Heather Stillufsen

Lastly, be creative and make some visual incentives and encouragement for yourself.

  • A motivation board- A collection of graphics, quotes, pictures, and whatever else that represents your goals and your reason for moving forward each day. Some ideas for a winter-specific motivation board are:
    • What you’re looking forward to in the summer.
    • The goals you’re working on in the next 3-4 months.
    • What you would like to have accomplished by summer.
    • Any other ideas that will keep you motivated and inspired throughout the cold months.
  • Weight loss journal- Start or continue a weight loss journal in notebook or binder form. You can use it to track your progress throughout your journey. It’s never too late to put one together either! Some things I have included in mine:
    • Inspirational quotes.
    • Progress pictures.
    • A list of non-scale victories.
    • Accomplishments.
    • Races or other fitness events.
    • Essays and blog posts from my personal blog that I was particularly proud of or showed how far I had come.
    • A list of rewards I wanted or planned to get.
    • Fitness and nutrition pictures that were motivating.
    • A letter to myself about why I started my journey and what I wanted to achieve.

You can make these however you choose to make them. They are yours to create to work for you. Use them to keep you motivated. I know whenever I worked on either of these, I felt more motivated than I did in other moments because it was fun, exciting, and got the creative juices flowing!

What are your favorite ways or simply methods of staying motivated and on track through the winter months?

~Bonnie~

(Shared on the Welcome Home Wednesdays and Bloggy Brunch link ups, hop on over their pages and check out some of the other wonderful blogs!)

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Giveaway: Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you all enjoy the festivities and time with your families!


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I’m hosting a giveaway that runs until December 30th at midnight PST, for my Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package. There is more information about the package in the post: New Year’s Weight Loss Coaching.

All you have to do to enter is visit my posts about the giveaway on my social media pages and leave a comment on the picture of the post with your number one reason you want or need to lose weight.

I will be drawing a random winner from all who have entered, when the entries end, and announcing via private message on New Year’s Eve!

Here are links to the social media posts where you can leave your comment to enter:

Please share this post wherever you care to do so, so that more people can enter the giveaway!

 

~Bonnie~

New Year, New You 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, many of us are thinking about the New Year and what it will bring. We usually want it to be much better than the previous years, especially if the past year was particularly rotten. So we wish for the year to be over and start planning for the New Year.

A lot of people choose to make New Year’s resolutions. That phrase has such a negative connotation to it. I know that I, for one, shy away from making any resolutions. Sure, it sounds like a great idea and we start out with such high expectations and we are so motivated at first. However, we know that it’s almost always temporary, because who has actually made it a whole 365 days of a year of being focused on the resolutions they made at the beginning of it? I would hope the number wouldn’t be zero, but I also know that it is a sad percentage of the people that have made resolutions.

So for the past few years, and maybe even longer than that, I have avoided making New Year’s resolutions. Since the end of 2014, I have made goals instead and that has worked out so much better for me! These last few years have mostly been centered around making healthy living or self-improvement related goals.

Check out my Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package, a six-week bundle of support and coaching sessions for the New Year!

Here are some examples of how my New Year’s goals have gone the past few years:

My goals for 2015:

1. Walk 1200 miles, indoor with videos or outdoors
2. Try at least 3 new workouts/exercises
3. Complete at least one 5K run
4. Start looking for a half marathon to do in 2016
5. Lose 75-80lbs

How I did:

1 & 3. Due to a foot issue that popped up in the middle of the year, I was not able to achieve the 1200 miles or the 5K run. However, I did sign up for a 5K run and did the 2-mile walk they were holding instead of backing out entirely.
2. For the new workouts, there was running and using a stationary bike. I obviously didn’t get to the third new exercise.
4. I found a half marathon and signed up for it for May 2016, thanks to the inspiration of a friend who did the race that year!
5. I lost 53lbs, so not quite the goal but this one I was least focused on the actual number. It was just nice to have something to shoot for.

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My goals for 2016:

1. Complete the Tinker Bell Half Marathon
2. Lose the last 45-50lbs
3. Start making a livable income from my business
4. Write and publish my first book
5. Work on a more steady and consistent strength training routine
6. Develop a closer relationship with God

How I did:

1. I completed the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. It was, by far, my biggest fitness accomplishment so far! It was so hard, but so amazing at the same time.
2. Gained weight back instead of losing it. It’s all a part of my journey though and I will still continue moving forward. I will get the weight gained back off and then some!
3. I made income from my business, just not “livable.”
4. I wrote, and am nearly finished writing, my first book. It should be released this spring!
5. I put together a strength training routine which I managed to stick with for a couple months and was the most conducive one for me.
6. I developed a closer relationship with God and with reading His Word.

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The end of 2015 was rough, considering that we lost my uncle and I ended up getting sick with a nasty infection. Then 2016 was full of chaos with a cross country move and what felt like a million other things going in all kinds of directions. So I may not have achieved all of my goals for either year, but I did achieve more than I would have if I hadn’t made the goals in the first place. They gave me something to aim for and thus provided me with more direction than just winging it.

My goals for 2017:

1. Lose 50-60lbs, which is 4-5lbs/mo and totally doable!
2. Complete the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the second time this May, as well as a full marathon in November.
3. Start making a livable income off of my business- $1500 per month or more, ideally, by the end of the year.
4. Publish my current book that’s nearly finished and another book, whether it be a short eBook or a whole novel.

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My suggestion to you is to focus on actual goals, instead of resolutions that you will probably give up on within a few weeks. Specific and measurable goals are always best because they allow you to track your progress and see where you’re going. Another piece of advice is to create a motivation/vision board for your goals to place somewhere where you will be consistently reminded of your goals. Here is an article about making one from the Huffington Post: The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make One.

Check out my list of 25 Top Gifts for Healthy Living for some ideas on what might be handy for reaching your weight loss and healthy living goals in the New Year. They don’t even have to be a Christmas gift, you could just get them for yourself!

You can also make a FREE 30-minute weight loss coaching session with me between December 26-31 about how you can make this coming year the best year yet with your healthy living goals. Check out my calendar and make an appointment here: Inspire the Best You Calendar. Be sure to set up your session before the slots are all booked up!

I also have a deal going on with my coaching package: Inspire the Best You in 2017 Coaching Package. It’s on pre-order for $99 right now, which means you won’t be charged until the package is released on January 1st. The package will be going up to full price after the New Year!

So tell me, what are YOUR goals for 2017? Are they healthy living related, career or education related, or just for life in general? I’d love to know what you’re aiming for in the New Year!

~Bonnie~