Tag: health and wellness

Healthy Living Becomes a Struggle When Your World is Unstable

When your world is unstable, compared to your normal, it can be hard to focus, to remember what is important, and to simply take care of yourself. I know because I experienced this myself on many occasions, but most recently in my journey when it started again in May of last year. That’s when my whole life got tilted on its axis.

Our big cross-country move was in the works for a few months before then, but that is when the true craziness began. We had to find a place to live in another state, pack up all our belongings, clear out my grandparents’ house, ups and downs with my brother and little nephews getting another place to live, clearing out our own house which was a huge to do with lots of issues, and so much more last summer. Let’s just say, having all of this on my plate led to me putting my health on the back burner.

After that huge ordeal that lasted a few month with nonstop work, worry, and figuring things out, I struggled really badly to get back on track. Each time I did work on it, I would do okay for a while and then slip back down into the blackhole of eating what I wanted and not getting enough exercise. I had thought that healthy living was such a part of me before this, but I was proven wrong in one of the worst ways. As some of you may know, I ended up gaining back half of the weight I had lost in the previous two years of my journey, in this past year.

However, I have never given up. I knew I would get back on track at some point and I was not going to stop trying! I am so thankful to have had the opportunity and to also have made the decision to work with Beachbody a couple months ago. I’m finally working on my health in a more consistent way and while it is not some magic pill to help me lose weight, it is helping me rebuild those habits that I let go… and that is the biggest part of this! Truth be told, I haven’t lost any weight yet because I’ve been working on building the habits again instead of actual weight loss, but it will follow. It is all thanks to the great workouts, the support system, the nutritious shakes, and the Portion Fix container system. They all add up and are helping me learn how to do things in a way that works for me again.

When your world is unstable…

It makes it hard to focus

You have to figure out what your priorities are and you may not always pick the most important ones. When you have too much going on, your health is usually one of the first things to fall by the wayside, at least it was for me. Your focus is split between so many things and it becomes overwhelming to keep a hold on everything that you need to hold onto.

It makes things feel as if they are too much work

For me, even though healthy living was such a part of my life that it really shouldn’t have been so hard to keep it up even in the craziness, it just wasn’t. Everything felt like too much work because we had so much to accomplish in such a short period of time and things seemed like they kept being added to our plate.

It makes you feel guilty for not being “perfect,” even in moments of weakness

As humans, we often have this ideal that we need to be everything to everyone, in essence… to be perfect! And this feeling doesn’t just go away because we’re busy or our world is unstable, it may even intensify. I felt like I had to get absolutely everything done and stay on top of it all, but it was impossible, which made me feel guilty! That guilt does not help us get anything done.

Have you ever experienced a time in your life where you struggled to keep up with your healthy lifestyle due to your world being so unstable? If so, what did you do about 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~

What I Love About Beachbody

A little over a month ago, I signed up to be a Beachbody coach, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It wasn’t one I took lightly and it had to come at just the right time. You see, I had been approached by a Beachbody coach over a year ago, who wanted me to be a part of her team. However, I did not feel connected to her or what she was offering at the time. It was tempting, I wanted to be able to make an income working from home and doing something as awesome as inspiring others to live a healthy life, but it didn’t feel like the right decision for me.

I still believe that, firmly. She was not the coach I needed to sign up with and it was not the right time for me! Plus I wanted to go it on my own and do things my way, and I was just beginning to learn about blogging and making it work for me. That had been a dream of mine for a long time because I’ve always loved to write. Towards the end of last year, I refocused my blog (and here you are!) and was still working on making health coaching work on my own.

Well, what do you know…? I started connecting with a few Beachbody coaches in various capacities. One of them in particular I felt like we were on similar pages and I knew I could trust her, because I already felt comfortable talking to her and resonated with some of her story. I still didn’t want to be a Beachbody coach when I first met her, but I was fascinated by how much she helped other people and the quality she provided. Like I said, I started making friends with other Beachbody coaches and saw how much they were benefiting from their Shakeology and the awesome workouts they were doing, and I just kept feeling pulled into this new world. Being an independent health coach, all on my own, was not going very well.

Honestly, I was struggling with my own healthy living journey because of a bunch of changes in my life since the summer and a lot of upheaval that left my world very unstable. Now that my world had gotten more stable, I was still struggling for various reasons. Healthy living has been an important part of my life for almost three years now, as I will be celebrating my three year anniversary in May, and I had not given up on it, but was having a lot of trouble getting back on track. Before all these changes in my life, I was so strong and motivated in my journey. Then all those changes occurred, and I let things go because it was just too overwhelming to juggle it all at once. These experiences and my struggle is what finally led me to make this wonderful choice to become a Beachbody coach.

Becoming a Beachbody coach was a decision that was made for a number of reasons.

  1. It provided me with the ability to help others with their healthy living goals. As I mentioned above, inspiring others to live a healthy life is something that I find truly amazing and it is one of my biggest passions.
  2. There is this huge supply of workout resources and nutritional supplements that provide a much needed boost! Take for example, the Shakeology shakes are really helping me. As I deal with autoimmune disease, joint problems, and other chronic issues that make me tired and fatigued throughout the day, drinking Shakeology is really making a difference. It is helping me get through my days with less napping and more overall energy!
  3. To help me with my own journey, and get me back on track. It has still been slow progress in the past month with getting my eating back on track especially and learning how to be consistent with my workouts again, but I am finally making the progress that I need… and I know that the container system that came with the 21-day fix package is something that I can use long-term, and is more practical for me than counting calories, which is what I used to do. Now it is about portions, getting in healthier foods instead of just focusing on how many calories the food has, and eating more whole foods.
  4. Being able to continue working from home, doing what I love while helping other people. I already was working from home as a freelance writer, but healthy living is such a huge part of my life and has been for a few years, that it really needed to be a part of my career as well.

Do you feel you have something to offer other people striving to live a healthy life?

 

~Bonnie~

How My Faith Has Helped With Stress and Anxiety

While I grew up in the Church of Christ, I never had a strong faith. I knew all the stories, I listened and absorbed what was said in services most of the time, but unfortunately I did not believe much of it. However, just under two years ago I got an unspoken prayer answered by God. From that moment, things fell into place. I traveled to my hometown and went to a women’s Bible class with a family friend, and I learned something there that hadn’t clicked into place before: God does not expect us to be perfect. We need to do our best, and always strive to serve Him and follow His Word. That class was the final piece to the puzzle that I really needed. After I returned home, I set up a Bible study with the preacher of my parents’ church, one I had attended for a few years as a kid. I was baptized at that Bible study and the congregation there gave me such a warm and inviting welcome.

One of the biggest focuses that I have had since I was baptized was to put my trust in God. I felt driven and motivated to keep working on it, even in the times that it seemed bleak or hopeless. God always has a plan and learning to trust in Him has spilled over into more areas in my life than I could have ever imagined. It has really helped my mental wellbeing, especially with dealing with everyday stress and anxiety.

Some of the things that I have learned to give to God, to be a more centered person:

  • Cares and worries: All of those things that I used to let fester in my mind, I can leave to Him. Imagining them visually floating away from me and sending them up to Him has really helped me to find that peace that I so desperately need. Whenever something pops into my mind that causes me to worry, I remind myself: pray about it! God will take care of it. This especially helps for those times where I find myself worrying about friends and family, or simply people I pass by on the road, in the store, or wherever else. There are a lot of things in this world that can cause me to worry because I care so much about people. So, each time that kind of thing passes through my mind, I pray for those people and that helps me let go of it instead of letting it fester in my mind. What good does that do? Praying and helping in ways that I can are ways that I can take a more active role.
  • Nervousness and anxiety: I have always been a nervous, anxious ball of energy. Life has been overwhelming for me on various levels. Now that I know that God is there for me, I have learned to let things go and know that He will take care of me. That doesn’t make the nerves and anxiety disappear, but it helps immensely, and I continuously remind myself of this fact. I breathe and remember that He is right by my side, there to guide me and to be there for me no matter what happens in my life.
  • Life’s stresses: Life can be stressful in general, so like I mentioned about nerves and anxiety, knowing that God is right by my side and always there for me is a very important part of my mental wellbeing. Each time I start to get stressed, I remind myself or see evidence that God is working on something for my life. He has a plan to help me help others, reach more people, and make a difference.

How has your faith made a difference with your health, whether it be physical, mental, or emotional? I would love to hear from you!

 

~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

What Depression and Anxiety Mean to Me

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

Depression and anxiety are things that I have dealt with as long as I can remember, although I wasn’t able to put labels on these experiences until I was a teenager and young adult. There are so many of us that suffer from these issues that I feel it’s important for us to share our stories in hopes of helping others in some way. My own story starts when I was a teenager, possibly even earlier. When I was about seventeen years old, a very close friend of mine pointed out that I was depressed. That news hit me like a ton of bricks and I talked to my mom about it. She had also dealt with it throughout her life as well and knew where I was coming from. Still, knowing that depression was the label for what I was experiencing was only one step in my journey of depression.

In the next few years, I got my depression under control to a certain degree, at least as far as I could on my own. I learned the triggers and the warning signs, and did my best to deal with them as they came. It worked for the time being. However, I now realize that it was a hindrance to my living life more fully. I constantly felt like I should stay in my own bubble and not expanding my world. Then in 2012, my living situation changed drastically. There were a lot of our family members living in a small house, and other stressors that were going on at the time as well. I believe that is what caused things to escalate with my depression and anxiety. Although, this escalation may have been just what I needed to push me to seek further treatment, even though it didn’t happen for a few more years.

As far as my anxiety goes, I started to notice what it meant to me in my early 20’s, when I was in college. One day I went to the school to talk to the admissions office, and realized even after I left that I was feeling really anxious and wound up. At this point, I thought it was only social anxiety and it took me a few years after that to figure out that it was much more than just social anxiety, or even having to just do with being in the spotlight. Due to the tough living situation at the time, I figured out that I had a lot of anxiety about getting things done, expectations or simply perceived expectations of others, having time to think or be alone, and much more. It was an everyday thing, whether I dealt with people outside of my circle of friends and family or not.

My story to really dealing with my depression and anxiety didn’t really start until I started my healthy living journey in 2014. As I worked on getting healthier, I became more aware to how my mind also reacted to stressors and triggers, thus causing me to feel either depressed or anxious. I was beginning to feel better overall but these issues were still very much present in my life, and in the summer of 2015, I was finally able to seek the help I needed. I wanted to approach my treatment from both sides, so I chose to use a therapy and medication combination approach. Therapy was vital either way, and medication was necessary at the time and still is now. Mostly therapy allowed me to talk things out and get some guidance I needed to deal with everyday life in the way that helped me thrive. The medication I started with to treat my depression worked at first, but then it started working less and less, and soon I realized that my depression was also linked to other factors and needed a change in medication in order for me to continue seeing progress. When I approached my psychiatrist about changing my meds, she pretty much acted like I was crazy for proposing a change and wouldn’t prescribe anything else for me to take. Since I had gotten some guidance on the subject from my primary doctor, I turned to her for help after getting this reaction from the psychiatrist. I needed someone who would listen to me, and that is also very vital to treating either of these issues. My primary doctor helped me switch to a different, and much more effective, medication. While this new medication didn’t make the depression disappear, because that wouldn’t be very realistic anyway, it did reduce the symptoms enough that I can live a more normal life.

Dealing with depression and anxiety is not fun, but there are so many options to treating or improving them. Some might include therapy, medications, natural remedies, and much more. Whichever approach that you take is up to you. Most of all, I want you to remember that you are not alone, there are many of us fighting this fight against depression and anxiety.

You might even considering to take a comprehensive, and helpful, online course to help guide you through. One I have found useful in my own life recently, called The Undepression Project!

If your question is what does a course have to offer me that I couldn’t figure out on my own…? I’ll tell you that it has the personal touch of someone who has dealt with depression and has made immense progress in their own journey, and wants to pass along these helpful tips to you! Check it out and see more of what there is in the modules, such as: how self-care and compassion play into how you feel, what social support can do to help you feel better and more stable, how to stay motivated in your journey to improving your depression, and many more topics that will shed light on your depression. Not only that, but you will learn more about depression itself and how it manifests itself in your everyday life. There are so many variables with depression, that we may not be able to identify or understand them all. This course will help you identify and understand more of what depression means to you!

 

What is your story? If you feel like sharing, I would love to hear how you have dealt with your own depression or anxiety.

 

~Bonnie~