Tag: healthy

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~

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

5 Things That Dogs Can Teach You About Emotions

I am very honored to have Luna Lupus from www.luna-lupus.com here to share her excellent expertise on what dogs can teach us about emotions! Since taking in my new puppy a month ago, I’ve become a lot more passionate about how much our dogs (and other furbabies) can give us in return for the care and love we give them. They offer us so much and they really can teach us a lot. I know my puppy has taught me a bit more about perspective as he constantly reminds me of what is most important! I hope you enjoy Luna’s post, it is very enlightening!

Dog owners like say that dogs are our biggest teachers. They teach us things about dog training, patience, communication and the power of unconditional love. But often times, if we only give them a chance, they can teach us more than that; they can teach us so much about ourselves. Dogs, like humans, are sentient beings with a wide spectrum of emotions. Just like us, they can be happy, angry, afraid and even depressed. Their emotions are not to be underestimated. As somebody who has been surrounded by dogs all my life and have done a fair share of work on my mental health, I started to notice the parallels between the way dogs and humans process trauma and emotions. Truth be told, we are not that different. However, our furry best friends can teach us some very important things.

 

Here are 5 things that your dog can teach you about emotions!

1. Feel your emotions

As humans, we like to repress certain emotions that make us (or those around us) feel uncomfortable; most common ones tend to be anger, sadness and fear. It’s a coping mechanism that we pick up at the earliest stages of our life. Dogs, however, are different. They feel the emotions in all of their entirety, they don’t worry whether or not they should be afraid or angry, they simply let their emotions be. I have been surrounded by rescue dogs for the last couple of years non-stop and even though they have been through some really rough things, they never cease to impress me with their ability to let emotions run through them freely.

2. Express your emotions

Closely correlating to the first point, expressing your emotions is the next step from feeling them. With dogs, this is usually the same thing – as they feel it, they express it. People, on the other hand, like to overthink things. When we feel angry with someone we love, we wonder if we should tell them or just keep quiet. When we feel sad, we wonder if we can show it on the outside or rather pretend to be happy. Allow dogs to teach you that expressing your emotions is liberating. Think of your dog when you come home from work. What does he do? Chances are, he goes nuts for you! Jumps up and down, runs around the house, barks in excitement because you just came home and that makes him the happiest. Dogs are not afraid of being too much. Every time you question whether expressing your emotions will make you seem “too needy” or “too sensitive” or “too out there” … think about your dog when he is angry, scared or happy. He is liberated and emotional at the same time. He is liberated because he is emotional! Expressing your emotions is not only healthy, it is also a freeing experience. Give it a chance.

3. There’s no such thing as bad emotions

Before you ask “But what if I want to express a negative emotion?” let’s tackle it straight away! Dogs understand that there are no bad emotions – humans don’t. Every single emotion has its purpose. When you encounter abused dogs you really start to understand that. Let’s take an example of a dog who is afraid of other dogs. When he is faced with another dog he will clearly express his emotions of fear; his tail will go between his legs, he will lower his head and turn it to the side, he might even begin licking his lips. He is visibly afraid. This is good. Why? Because he is clearly communicating with the other dog, saying “I am not a threat to you.” Every dog owner who is familiar with basic canine body language can tell the signs that I have just described (lowered tail, lip licking, head lowered and turned to the side) are calming signals. He is trying to get the other dog to back off. Can you trace this back to your own life?

When you are afraid, it’s your body’s way of trying to protect you. When you are angry, it’s your body’s way of giving you power to set boundaries. When you are sad, it’s your body’s way of demanding rest and emotional introspection. All of these emotions are positive and important. Just like a dog communicating with another dog, your emotions can help you recognize your needs and help you communicate them to other people.

4. Your emotions can be misplaced and that’s okay

Can emotions be misplaced? Of course they can. Both humans and dogs can find ourselves facing strong emotions in situations where they don’t necessarily serve us. To continue with the example I have described above, if the dog is suddenly acting fearful around every single dog he encounters, even when he is in no danger whatsoever, that fear would be misplaced and a result of a trigger. This is a very common symptom of anxiety and PTSD. It’s about experiencing great fear in completely neutral situations. However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon everything we’ve discussed so far! You should absolutely:

  • recognize your fear (or other emotion)
  • express it
  • see how it can serve you

Let me give another example, a human one this time. If you keep getting angry at your partner and you can’t understand why, instead of beating yourself up about it, take a close look at that anger. In which situations does it occur? How long does it last? What does it remind you of? Every time I open the doors of my home to another rescue dog I pay close attention to their emotional responses and try to see if there are any underlying patterns that need to be resolved. Once I recognize their misplaced emotions, we can start working together towards a better mindset. Emotions are like a compass; they show you where you need to look, what you need to pay attention to and give you a great opportunity for personal growth.

5. Don’t allow your emotions to hold you hostage

At the end of the day, you are more than your emotions. When dogs are faced with a situation where they are angry or sad, they don’t contemplate it for the rest of the day. They are present in the moment and they let it go once it passes. They don’t dwell on their emotional responses. I know that accepting your emotions won’t happen overnight, but if you do nothing else today, at least give yourself a promise that you won’t allow your emotions to hold you hostage anymore. Don’t feel guilty for feeling a certain way, don’t worry about it all day long; look to your dog if you need to be inspired by somebody who is a master at living in the moment, no matter which emotion was running through him five minutes ago. From angrily barking at a squirrel to show her who’s boss, to lying on your couch in a relaxed manner, all within minutes. Dogs just get it: life is too short to live in the past.

I hope the next time you look at your dog, you don’t just see your fur baby and fellow adventurer; I hope you see a teacher, a guru. I hope you give him a chance to teach you even more about yourself. And above all, I hope you accept yourself with all of your emotions – just like your dog does, every single day.

 

Luna C. Lupus is a freelance blogger and a mom to her rescue dogs. She specializes in positive pet training, responsible dog ownership and helping people with challenging dogs. You can find out more about her work at www.luna-lupus.com

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~

Interview with Self Love Beauty Blogger Lisa Thompson

I would love to announce that I have had the pleasure to become acquainted with the wonderful lady who blogs at Self Love Beauty, Lisa Thompson! She is a runner who loves to help others see the true beauty within themselves, and I firmly believe that you should hop on over and check out her posts there on her website!

You can find Lisa on social media here: Facebook | Twitter | InstagramPinterest

What is your website about?

Self Love Beauty mission is to ensure women have self-love through feeling confident in their own beauty and feeling empowered one story at a time knowing they are not alone on their journey to reach their full potential.

Why do you feel self-love is so important?

Self-love is so important because until you love yourself you cannot be happy with other pieces of your life. It is amazing the women I know with self-love and how they give more, love more and give themselves more respect. It is extremely important. I think since I have given myself more love, I am a stronger person.

What do you think are the best ways to show self-love?

Great question! I truly think it is taking care of yourself, eating properly, being surrounded with positive people, saying no to things you don’t want to do, giving yourself respect, being kind, confident and following your dreams. You get to choice each day how to feel so why not choose love for yourself!

How can we make the world a better place simply by treating ourselves and others better?

Just think about how when someone is kind to you how it changes your day and then use that act of kindness to do the same for someone else. It is truly amazing how if you do simple things for people how it can change their day and then they turn around and do it for someone else too.

What are your biggest accomplishments as far as self-love or health go? 

My biggest accomplish is learning what works for my body. Everyone is different and therefore you have to choose what healthy means to you, what foods you want to eat and what exercises you want to do. I have finally found what exercise and food works for my body. There are multiple ads out there telling you what to try but our bodies are all different so it is important you do what you want for yourself. I have made sure to not deprive myself from going out but I also learned moderation. Not only is it important with food and exercise but truly who you surround yourself with, what positive you have in your life and being sure to always be laughing.

How important do you think living a healthy life is?

Healthy living is so important. It fuels your energy, mind and body. Health living can be handled in many ways but it is self care and self love. I am so much happier with myself since I took the turn to finally embrace my body, embrace who I am and take care of myself.

Do you have any advice to other women based on what you’ve learned or done?

It would be to find what works for yourself regarding health and all other aspects of your life it would be to know your worth. It is extremely important that you know how beautiful you are. Self love, self care and self respect are three essentials.

Don’t forget to check out Lisa’s social media pages and follow her if you like what she posts! Facebook | Twitter | InstagramPinterest

 

~Bonnie~