Tag: Losing Weight

Tinker Bell Half Marathon: 2016 to 2017

Last year in May, I did the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland for the first time! It was something I had seen on a show, I think it was Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, and thought… “Wow, that would be fun to do!” I love Tinker Bell, she’s my favorite Disney character, so that was one of the reasons I was so drawn to the race, but also the fact that I had recently started my own healthy living journey and was very interested in doing races.

Triumphant right after finishing the half marathon in 2016!

I didn’t think that I would be interested in running a half marathon at that time though. Then one of my friends on SparkPeople ran the Tinker Bell Half in 2015 and I was so motivated and inspired by her story, that I decided that I could totally do the race too. I had a lot of help from friends encouraging me and helping me make this happen, and I am so thankful for all they did for me because the half marathon there at Disneyland was one of the very best experiences in my life so far.

So, in May 2016 I did the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the first time and it was a big struggle. I had trained but not as well as I would have liked. Still, the training I did do allowed me to finish. If you don’t know about runDisney races, they will pull you out if you are too slow and fall too far behind. They require you to keep up a pace of 16 minutes per mile. I had a hard time with this the first half of the race, kept up with the pacers for a little bit, and then slowly started falling behind. I didn’t get pulled out though and was able to finish the race in 3 hours 43 minutes. I was so ecstatic and triumphant for being able to finish the race! It was an amazing feeling. I even didn’t have as much soreness or pain following the race and recovery went really smooth for me!

A picture from my longest training session before the race- 10 miles!

I finished the race feeling ready to tackle another half marathon in November, in my hometown here in California, but due to our moving across the country so close to the race, I wasn’t able to train at all for it. Over the summer though, when they opened registration for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for 2017, I signed up right away! I was so excited to be able to do the half marathon again!

With the half marathon in May, I needed to start training right around the New Year, but I didn’t. Then only a few weeks into the New Year, I got a puppy… totally unplanned, literally showed up at my door. She was pretty calm and allowed me to work and my parents could handle her when I needed them to take care of her. Just four days after she entered our lives, she was taken away by her previous owners who had said we could keep her and then changed their mind, telling our apartment managers that we wouldn’t give her back. A few hours after that whole debacle, they sent Jasper, my puppy to us as an apology.

Look how tiny Jasper was! My heart is melting!

Jasper was younger and they weren’t attached to him, plus I had some insurance against them making a claim against us like they had before. He was meant to be mine, but he is high energy and high maintenance, and I didn’t want to leave this little ball of energy in his cage too often to go training. I already had to put him in there a bit while I worked on writing and later health coaching. I thought things would improve, he would calm down a bit. He did, but not enough and by then I was hustling to make enough income to support him and both of us. Therefore my training kept being pushed back and eventually there was just no time to train. Not only that, but we experienced some car troubles and other financial hardships that left me without a way to pay for the traveling and hotel I would need.

Wearing my “I DID IT!” shirt after the 2016 race.

I was super disappointed that I wasn’t able to go do the Tinker Bell Half Marathon this year. It was heartbreaking to me, seeing the emails from runDisney hitting my inbox, knowing I wasn’t going to be able to go in the final month before the race. Then they sent me a “thank you for participating” and “congratulations on your amazing accomplishment” email a couple days after the race. In my head I was thinking, “Oh how I wish I had done this amazing accomplishment again this year.” It made my heart sink. However, something that took the sting out of it was Jasper having his neuter surgery two days before the race, on May 12th. Taking care of him and all that entailed really kept my mind off of the fact that I was missing this race I had been looking forward to ever since I had done the first one.

There is next year though, and this time I will be training properly and finishing the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the second time. The first time was such an amazing experience and a huge accomplishment for me, there is no way I’m going to miss the 2018 race!

 

 

~Bonnie~

A Day in the Life of a Health Coach

I’m often up late at night working, writing, connecting, answering messages, and much more, so I do not get up at a “traditional” hour. Besides that, there are some days I sleep in even longer due to simply needing more sleep.

As I am a writer and health coach, my day encompasses both roles. Just like everyone else, I have family things going on each day as well and that doesn’t stop just because I work from home. What I love most is being able to have a flexible schedule, take care of my puppy, and just do what I’m passionate about! This was yesterday’s day:

11:15am- Time to wake up, take my parents’ dog (Daisy) and my own pup (Jasper) out for their morning potty trip, and finally coffee + healthy breakfast! My usual go-to is whole grain toast with peanut butter and sliced banana on top. Yum!

Noon- Fed Jasper and catch up on Facebook notifications + touch bases with friends and clients, answer emails, and whatever else needs to be done while my brain is “waking up.”

1:30pm- Jasper needed to be taken out again for a potty run and to have some playtime. We tossed around his toys, played keep away and tug-of-war, and generally did whatever got him running around and getting some energy out.

2:15pm- Poor little Jasper had to be crated so mommy could get a workout in… I did YOUv2 our new workout that was just released last week! It is dancing to 80’s and 90’s music with a fun and charismatic trainer named Leandro Carvalho. I love love love the workout and am excited and pumped to do it each time.

3pm- Made a run out to the car to carry a package of water in that my mom went out to get. She can’t carry it in herself, so I needed to do it. Next I took Jasper out for a potty run again, and finally Daisy.

3:30pm- Drank my Shakeology shake. Today I started “drinking” it with a spoon that I had been using to stir it up, but found myself eating the rest of it with the spoon. It was super satisfying that way!

4pm- Time to get back to work messaging my own coach and touching bases with friends, catching up with my clients, and whatever else I need to catch up on for the afternoon. I also checked in on my Facebook groups and pages at this time. Yesterday I created an event for a live webinar in the group for Wednesday, my first ever FB live webinar.

5:30pm- I took Jasper out again and then did some dishes while he hung out in the bathroom. Only two safe places for him are the bathroom or his crate because otherwise he gets into mischief! He did really well in there and didn’t whine until I was almost done.

6pm- Played with Jasper in the room, throwing toys, playing tug-of-war, and getting him to run around like a lunatic!

6:30pm- Cooked dinner. Tonight we had tacos. I usually do tacos in a bowl, or have a taco salad. However, I indulged this evening with two tacos. Fully tracked and accounted for.

7pm- Caught up again on Facebook with friends and clients, while the pup slept in his crate. He was a crack up though, sleeping upside down, his little back legs resting on the back of the crate and he looked so peaceful that it made me smile!

7:45pm- I let the rascal out of his cage, got my running shoes on, put his harness on him, and made sure we were all set for a walk.

8pm- We left for our walk and we decided to walk on the main road today, which was fun for Jasper as someone had dropped a piece of cake on the sidewalk and he managed to snatch a bite while we walked. On our way back home, we ran into a puppy that’s a little older than him and they played for a couple minutes.

8:30pm- Took Daisy out and then got to work in my room on a blog post and my newsletter, so that I could schedule for later!

10pm- Made the finishing touches for the blog post and then scouted for freelance writing jobs online and sent a few applications and emails for jobs.

11:30pm- Another potty trip for Jasper. Finished up the newsletter content to schedule! If you’re not already signed up to receive it, be sure to sign up here: Inspire the Best You Weekly Newsletter.

12:30am- Downtime for a bit to catch up on the website SparkPeople, another place for weight loss and healthy living support.

1:30/2am- Time to brush teeth and go to bed!

What does your daily schedule look like? Do you work from home or out of the house?

 

~Bonnie~

10 Acts of Self-Love to Set You Up for Success

If you haven’t noticed already, I am very passionate about self-love. It has so much to do with our all around health, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Why…? Because how we show ourselves love has a huge impact on how we take care of our bodies and minds, how we deal with our emotions, and how worthy we feel to receive help and guidance from God.

I want you to take a moment and ask yourself how you treat yourself and your body on a daily basis.

Now ask yourself if you can improve on the way you treat yourself and your body.

 

Here’s a not so big secret… everyone can stand to improve on how they treat themselves and their bodies. None of us are perfect and we all have certain struggles. So, I wanted to compile a short list of self-love acts that can set you up for success in your healthy living journey:

1. Read your favorite book, or even one you have been putting off for a while.

I am a bookworm, but even as a bookworm, I often don’t have the time or patience to read. So, when I need some chill time, I try to pick up a book and read… even if it’s only a few pages. Reading is often relaxing and is also very beneficial to your mental wellbeing.

2. Get up and dance!

Dancing is so freeing and fun, so this one is a big act of self-love that all of us should take part in more often! Put on your favorite music, or any music that makes you feel like dancing, and dance! Bonus points for singing along with the song while you dance.

3. Color in an adult coloring book, or even a kids’ coloring book.

Coloring is relaxing, and meditative. If you don’t have a coloring book in the house, go pick one or two up at the store, along with your favorite coloring tools. I personally like to use skinny markers for coloring and I really enjoy the adult coloring books with plants, flowers, and words. Once you get started, you will likely find that you get so deep into the coloring that you forget all else!

4. Go to the park!

Parks and playgrounds can really be a good, positive place to be, especially when the weather is nice. Take advantage of the sunshine, take a walk at the park, admire the trees and animals, and just recharge. Sometimes even playing on the playground like you are a kid again can be really fun and rejuvenating!

5. Take a break, get in a nap when you need it.

Always take a break when you need a break. Go outside or get away from whatever situation is stressing or overwhelming you, and take a breather. If you are tired and need a quick nap to get through the rest of your day, do it if you can! I’m a huge fan of naps myself, and they really help me feel better so that I can accomplish more.

6. Play with your pets.

Playing or cuddling with your pets is another great way to show yourself love. They give you unconditional love, some giggles, and can be a distraction from stressful situations. Plus, they need that interaction as much as you do!

7. Cook yourself your favorite meal.

Even if your favorite meal isn’t necessarily a healthy one, cooking yourself your favorite meal once in a while can be a great boost and is exciting too. Treating yourself occasionally is not a bad thing and you should be able to enjoy your favorite foods on special occasions. What better special occasion than pampering yourself?

8. Write in a journal.

Writing in your journal is therapeutic, and it helps you work through anything that is bothering you. I know I don’t write in mine quite as often as I would like, but when I do, it is super helpful!

9. Watch funny videos or a funny show.

When you watch funny videos online or a sitcom, you may just find yourself laughing uncontrollably… and laughing is good for the soul! I have experienced this on multiple occasions, where I laugh my head off and then I feel better afterwards because it helps me release those negative feelings.

10. Binge watch Netflix!

Yeah, sitting around for hours on end, watching shows on Netflix isn’t necessarily healthy. However, one day, once in a while, can really be awesome and fun. Make up your favorite healthy snacks to chomp on while you watch your favorite shows or movies, and spend the time recharging, either on your own or with loved ones.

Self-love is so important to practice on a daily basis, to show your body and mind that you find them important and will continue to take care of them. I am starting a FREE program on Facebook on May 6th, called the 7-Day Self-Love for Summer in my group Inspire Your Best Life! Be sure to join the group before Sunday, I would love to have you!

How do you show yourself love each day? Is it something you make time for every day, or just when you feel you need it?

 

~Bonnie~

Sweet Tooth Sweet Attack Cravings Busters

Anyone who has any touch of a sweet tooth understands that from time to time, we all crave something sweet! How to handle such a situation when you’re working on your health and trying to lose weight? Calories are precious commodities in our plans, as is the fat and carbs we try to limit to some degree in order to meet our goals!

So here are some of the things I’ve used for under 200 calories:

  • Apple sliced up with cinnamon on it.
  • Apple sliced up with a tablespoon of peanut butter to dip.
  • Banana with peanut butter to dip (obviously the banana’s slippery lol, so you might need a spoon or fork!)
  • Peaches, nectarines, plums, grapes, strawberries, basically any fruit that has a satisfying sweet taste is great!
  • Fruit with low calorie whip cream on top!
  • Canned fruit mixed with applesauce, yum! Low calorie too with lite syrup or water based canned fruit and unsweetened applesauce, around 100-120 calories. Even diced fresh strawberries in applesauce is delicious!
  • Unsweetened applesauce with a little bit of cinnamon mixed in.
  • Yogurt (regular/Greek) either with fruit or other dessert flavor or with fresh fruit added in.
  • Greek yogurt with peanut butter and/or bananas mixed in.
  • Low calorie pudding with fresh fruit mixed in, I prefer vanilla with diced banana.
  • Fiber One brownies occasionally since they are only 90 calories and really hit the spot for me.
  • Skinny Cow ice creams, which come in a variety of flavors and kinds with low calories.
  • Ice cream cone from McDonald’s is only 170 calories, less if you get the kiddie cone! This is great for those rare treats or when you go out with your kids and want a small treat to enjoy with them.
  • And my recent cravings buster of chocolate Shakeology, which is 160 calories and packed full of nutrients such as protein and fiber.

Most of these packaged foods are only occasional as I don’t keep many of them in the house on a regular basis, but they are good on the occasion that we do have them. I especially like the Fiber One brownies because I can keep them in my own space (away from grabby hands) and eat one as needed or throw them in my purse for when I’m on the go. I have by no means cut out processed foods entirely, and still turn to them pretty often, but it is something I am working on as I continue my journey. It is a process and sometimes I do better than others!

Some of these could even serve as dessert with your dinner, or as an evening snack as most are really low calorie and/or healthy on some level.

So when you’re having a sweet attack, try something from this list and see if it works for you!

What are your go-to sweet treats that are low calorie and/or healthy? Do you have anything to add to this list? I know I didn’t list everything, because there are still so many options, so feel free to share with us! Passing along what you use to healthily bust those sweets cravings can really help others in their own journeys!

 

~Bonnie~

How to Beat the Motivational Slump

Everyone deals with that motivation slump from time to time. I know I personally deal with it at least once a week. It’s those days where nothing sounds appealing and you just can’t get motivated. It is especially tough when your bed is more appealing than going about your day. This type of day can be frustrating beyond words as you know that you have many things to do, and some of them are even desirable, but you can’t get yourself started with any of it.

Here are some ways I have found to beat that all compelling motivation slump:

  • Take a moment to drink coffee: Use your morning coffee as a chance to wake up and get motivated. Drink it a little slower to enjoy the moment and revive your mind after a night’s slumber. Read something you find motivational while you drink, such as a magazine, part of a book, uplifting news stories or articles, etc.
  • Fake it till you make it: Have you heard of this saying? Sometimes simply going through the motions of the day helps you find motivation to move forward again. Eventually something clicks and you feel better again, rejuvenated even!
  • Do something simple that brings you joy: A way to baby step your way into your day… find something simple and easy to do that also helps you move toward your goals. You can’t find the motivation to workout? Go on Pinterest and look at all the healthy living pins or read some blogs on the specific topic. You can’t find the motivation to work? Make a list of something related to your work that makes you happy.
  • Blog/Journal: Sometimes blogging or journaling helps as well, just working through your thoughts and emotions can help you process whatever has put up a “motivational roadblock” in your mind. Other times it brings to light a spark of interest in doing something you need to do because you thought of something completely new!
  • Listen to upbeat music: Listening to upbeat music, or simply your favorite music, is uplifting and inspirational! Try it sometime when your motivation is down the drain.
  • Go for a walk or exercise: Take a walk outside. The fresh air and sunshine will do you tons of good. All other types of exercise as well can help revitalize your body and mind at the same time.
  • Let loose: Act like a kid again, or simply let yourself be carefree. The release is amazing and can remind you why it’s worthwhile to just take action and live life!
  • Post on social media: The moment you post on social media that you don’t feel like doing something, you either get feedback that helps motivate you… or you feel motivated because you feel relieved, taking the pressure off. Sometimes even finding something positive to post on social media can help ignite a fire within you.

What do you personally do to get yourself motivated on a day where nothing seems appealing? I’m sure we could all use a whole arsenal of ideas to spur us to action on those days!

 

~Bonnie~

How to Spend Less Money on Clothes When Losing Weight

These aren’t mind-boggling tips that I’m about to share with you, but if you’re losing weight clothing can get really expensive and I want to share some tips that I’ve personally found helpful!

How to spend less than $100 per wardrobe while losing weight:

Number 1: Thrift Stores

Sometimes even thrift stores can be out of our price limits with $5 clothing pieces. That’s a whole lot cheaper than a brand new piece of clothing in most places, but my trick is using the sales days at thrift stores to hit the jackpot. My personal favorite is the 50% off day at Goodwill, but there isn’t one of those everywhere and I’m not sure if they have that sale at all of their locations either. However, nearly all thrift stores have a day where clothing is 20-50% off at least once a month to get people coming in. So my suggestion is to do your homework and go on those days, get as many quality pieces of clothing as you can. You might even find a brand new piece of clothing with a tag still on it for a lot cheaper than the store. I know I’ve found at least a few such pieces in the past year.

The good thing about thrift stores is they have almost every type of clothing right there, usually pretty well organized in sections. You can find shirts, pants, skirts/dresses, jackets, sweatshirts, shoes, etc. The downside, of course, is that they are nearly all used clothing. If you don’t have a problem with that after a good washing at home, then this is a great place to get your clothes. Chances are you have 2-3 different thrift stores (not all chains) in your town with sales on different days where you can hit them all and get even more bang for your buck. Also, don’t forget to go early in the day so that you have even more pieces to choose from!

Number 2: Yard Sales

Obviously, this is another choice where the clothing is used, but sometimes we can’t be choosy if we want to save money on our clothes as we lose weight. The good thing about yard sales is that you can haggle, and get the price per piece of clothing down even lower than they marked the clothes for. How much each piece of clothing is depends on the person holding the yard sale and the brand of clothing. However, you can get clothes for as little as $0.50-1 a piece when they just want to get rid of clothes. Of course, some might be as high as $5 a piece or even more expensive depending on different factors.

The downside of yard sales is it’s harder to find clothes in specific sizes unless they advertise it ahead of time, and it’s also harder finding exactly what you need if you’re looking for something specific. If you have the time and gas though, search newspaper and online ads and see who is posting sizes and/or just go out yard sale hopping!

Number 3: Clearance Racks

Now here is an option even when you don’t want something used… hit all those clearance clothing racks at various stores. Kmart and Walmart might give you more choices for less money, but Target and other stores are great as well. If you know the system they use to mark down their clothing, you could save even more money. These systems are sometimes posted online and on social media by people who used to work at these stores. I know my mom has given me tips for different stores that she’s worked at, but I can’t for the life of me remember any because I don’t go shopping often lol.

Prices vary greatly for clearance clothing as well, but you can get pieces of clothing as low as $3 and up to $15+ depending. I have actually found exercise shorts and shirts for $3 a piece at Walmart. The downside to this is it’s mostly by chance to find exactly what you’re looking for, and you get tempted by other more expensive deals on clothing around the clearance racks… which is probably exactly how they plan it!

Number 4: Store Sales

Keep track of the sales at the stores in your area. Sometimes you can find great sales and coupons in the ads! This saves a lot of money if you’re diligent! I know bigger department stores such as Kohl’s and JC Penney’s sometimes have coupons in their ads, to get a certain amount off if you spend a certain amount or more. This is more expensive as their clothing is more expensive per piece, and some have exclusions like no clearance. A lot of them will allow you to use the coupons on sales items though, so choose wisely!

Obviously with Thanksgiving coming up soon, you could also shop on Black Friday if you’re brave enough and find many deals that way as well. I’ve never done this myself but I’ve heard and seen great deals advertised for that day.

Number 5: Discount Stores

There are more and more of these types of stores popping up places: $5 a piece or less! I know one just opened in my town and before when I lived in California there was one as well. Sometimes the clothing is very cheaply made though, but it could serve it’s purpose while you’re losing weight since you only need it temporarily until the next size. However, if you want quality clothing, take a peek at these stores and try the other tips mentioned as well.

Now I’m sure I haven’t listed everything out there as I’m not a big “bargain hunter,” but these are some of the things I’ve done myself over the past year or my mom has done in her own weight loss journey. I have spent as little as $50 on each size’s wardrobe as I lost weight just by going to Goodwill’s 50% off sale a few times. I usually browse different sizes and grab a few in each size that I will be fitting into soon to be prepared for that size. I have found many cute and beautiful items there which is super motivational! Using all of these tips, you have a great chance of spending a mere $50-100 for a wardrobe that should fit you anywhere from 3 to 6 months as you are steadily losing weight.

Other tips would be to make your current clothing last longer by using a belt to hold up your pants to make it last a couple size reductions. I have also used a scrunchie/hair tie at one point to tie a baggy tee shirt to the side like the style of a long time ago, just to make it look less baggy. You could also save a little each month to do this budgeted clothes shopping or for even more expensive clothing while losing weight. Each little bit will add up and take some of the pressure off when the time comes. I personally like to look as sharp as I can in whatever clothes I am wearing: tee shirts, workout clothes, jeans, skirts, dress pants, etc. so I like having a variety and the tips above have helped me do so!

 

~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

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!