Are you searching for "perfect"?

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I just returned from a beautiful trip to Palm Springs, California. In the middle of an Illinois spring, it was a welcome weather change! My husband and I were on a work trip (conference for him, writing time for me), but we still managed to spend some really lovely time relaxing together. While lounging at the pool, I got to check out the latest in swimwear. Want to know what it is? Butt cheeks. Butt cheeks EVERYWHERE. 75% of the swimsuit bottoms I saw were in the thong or cheeky style. You guys, this is SO not my style. But I admired the confidence that it took these women to wear them. I thought, "I could NEVER pull that off." But quite frankly, they couldn't really either. And they STILL looked beautiful and sexy because they were confident in their own skin.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I find myself obsessing about insignificant issues with my body: that mole is ugly, I can see cellulite when I turn this way, I have gray hairs peeking out, my arm hair is hairy, my feet are ugly, I'm scrawny. Etc. Etc.

And I consider myself a confident woman! The thing is, most women struggle with their flaws, as well. But what I am realizing as I get older and wiser is there IS no such thing as perfect. Truly. When you're scrolling social media and you see someone who looks "perfect" remember that the picture you're seeing has been carefully chosen and edited to share. And of COURSE the magazines are not even close to being real portrayals of how women really look. Hours are taken to remove every wrinkle, bump, mole, and hair. I get so worked up when I think about how many of our beauty ideals are rooted in falsehoods and myth. 

So ladies, let's stop obsessing about those small things that 1) we can't change, and 2) don't matter anyway. Focus on controlling what you can control and being a good person. And your beauty will shine through!

Does this sound like you?

I got a really special text yesterday and I want to share it because I think it will resonate with a lot of people, especially moms. "I just have to tell you that every year I pray and ask God for a word to focus on throughout my year. This year I got the word 'balance'. Then I signed up for coaching with you and keep hearing you say the word. Coincidence?! I'm accepting it as serendipitous and I'm excited for how much balance I've found in my life just in the past week! Excited for more! And thanks for your help in getting me to a more balanced place in my life in regards to health, nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness!"

Wow! Messages like this are simply the best.

I strive to live a balanced life, and it's a fundamental part of my coaching as well. I want my clients to be able to rock a swimsuit, feel their absolute best, look forward to healthy foods and exercise, and also be able to enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party. Because life was meant to be LIVED and ENJOYED, and if you get super fit and healthy but cannot enjoy a piece of birthday cake once in awhile, well, that seems sad. And if cake isn't your thing, how about ice cream? My point is that balance trumps perfection, and that's what I teach my clients as well.

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If you are looking for more balance in your life, I can help you, too! Click this link for more information about my Family Wellness Program, where I teach you how to get fit and how to bring your family along. I am also offering private coaching, as well. To discuss private coaching, email me  so we can set some goals for you!

XO,

Katie

New Year's Resolutions: A Guide

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Every year at this time there is A LOT of discussion about New Year's Resolutions, so I thought I'd add my two cents on the subject.

I am a BIG FAN of New Year's resolutions, but not because it's a new year. Because it provides an opportunity to hope and dream and improve ourselves and our lives. I think any chance to do that is...well...AWESOME!  And you may not know this about me, but goal setting is sort of my thing.  I LOVE doing it and have found a few things that make the process and the results more successful. Here are a few tips:

  1. Set the mood. Take yourself on a date to a coffee shop with a new journal or calendar, play some music, and enjoy time with yourself. Or, have an at-home date with your partner to goal set together in front of the fire. Or, well, you get the idea. Just plan some time where you can enjoy your goal setting--make it a "thing."
  2. Break your goals into categories. These are the ones I use: Health, Relationships, Finances, Faith, and Business/Career. Of course you can add or subtract if needed.
  3. For each category, write 2-4 statements in the positive. For example: "I will earn $5,000 per month." Or, "I will spend more one-on-one time with each of my children." Then, next to each of these statements, write some action items that would get you to that goal. These are your metrics. Your metrics are action items that YOU control.
  4. Hang up your goals where you see them regularly. Writing them down is the first way that they become REAL, the second is by seeing them frequently!
  5. Revisit your goals monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and at the end of the year. Make adjustments as needed.
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If one of your New Year's goals is to improve your health and fitness, I'd love to help! Check out my BRAND NEW Family Wellness Program.  This program will help you lose weight, create beautiful muscle tone and definition, and create life-long health habits. We begin on January 9th!  Read more about it here.

Happy New Year, Friends!

XO, Katie

Check out this beautiful story!

I love Marcie's story because I think it will resonate with a lot of moms who look in the mirror one day and think,"How did I get to this place?" We spend so much time and effort taking care of everyone else that our own health and fitness can take a back seat. Marcie is a hard working wife and mother of 4 great kids. Read how she lost (and then found) herself below: "I knew I had let my health go when I saw the photos from our July vacation in Florida.  I was ashamed and angry that I had let myself get to this point.

So, July 2016 – I knew I was going to be in contact with Katie to see what steps to take to commit to a healthier life style….not only for me, but for my children to grow up knowing it is important to take care of yourself.  I had known Katie prior to her Coaching days, so I will admit she has always had a smile that could light up a room and compassion you could feel wrap around you like a warm blanket.  For Katie to become a health/fitness coach was a “no brainer” to me.

I will admit, I was skeptical at first.  My mind felt that no matter how I change my eating habits and exercise, I was not going to see a response from my body.  It was in my head that “this” was just the way I was built.  I made excuses for myself on every pound I gained and every clothing size I went up.

My first accountability group with Katie went amazing!  After sharing with Katie some of the minor health issues I have to work around in life, she didn’t let me use them as an excuse.  She explained to me how we would work around them and make a few minor customizations in my program.  I groaned at the measurements I had to take and write down – looking at them with a taste of pure hatred for myself.  Then the photos, I had to wipe the tears away about six times before I could actually push the button to take the shots.  Katie didn’t lie.  She said this would be difficult, but would pay off in the end.  I trusted her, so I continued to follow everything she did to guide me.  Plus, I will admit…. Iwanted a little taste of the energy she rushes with every time I see her on a Facebook video! I still look at those initial picture I took and love the energy that Katie has reinfused in me.

When I hit my first day that I did not do as well as I had wanted in the program, Katie taught me the 80/20 rule.  She is realistic in the fact that we will not all make the perfect choices 100% of the time.  But, then she continued to drive home the importance of healthy eating habits and need to strengthen our bodies with exercise.  On occasion, (rarely) she would post her day of a donut or glass of wine that she was willing to consume because she is human.  She usually showed a major hard core work out she did that day as well – helping those of us who could potentially “forget” to push a little harder after a treat that week.

Katie has NEVER made me feel better.  Because of her encouragement, I know that I am able to make achievements in my figure, health and energy levels.  I know I am in control of the response my body has from a good work out vs. a sweet treat or a beer after work. I know that I am able to set achievable goals and meet them.  I have lost about 20 pounds since July of this year and want to continue on this journey with Katie of creating a healthier lifestyle.  This is not a diet for me….it is a way of life.  Did I enjoy some finer indulgements at Christmas time?  You bet, I did.  But, I am more eager than ever to jump back on 100% to not indulging and continue focused exercise.

For those of us who are moms, my oldest “baby” turned 18 last week.  He was looking at old photos and came across one of those horrifying photos from our vacation this summer.  He was speechless at first.  Then, he told me how awesome I had done.  As if that was not enough, he turned the table on me and looked me directly in the eyes and stated, “Mom, I am so proud of you”.  This was the most victorious moment in my time working with Katie!  I thank Katie for showing me I can do this and I can make my children PROUD of me!

I fully believe that I could not have transitioned to this mindset without Katie Harlan backing me all the way.  She has a true flair for teaching you to love yourself again and want to take better care of yourself.  Her excitement about bettering yourself is absolutely contagious. It is a privilege to work with Katie and I truly feel that Katie feels it is a privilege to work with all of her clients.   Thank you from my heart Katie!!!!"

Marcie gives me a lot of credit, which is very humbling, but no one can do the work for you. She got these results because of her hard work and dedication to making a change. Having a good coach and supporter is an important step in reaching your health and fitness goals, but YOU have to want to make a change.

If you would like to work with me in the New Year to reach your health and fitness goals, respond to this email, or check out my latest program here.

XO, Katie

Client Spotlight on Katy!

"I never would have signed up for health and fitness coaching if I hadn't met Katie.  I was sort of working out on my own to lose weight and be healthier, but I wasn't very dedicated about it. I became pregnant with my second child around the time my son started preschool last year.
That's how I met Katie-through our kids. I learned she was a fitness coach and then we became friends on social media. Katie's posts about food, nutrition, and health, just really struck a chord with me. Katie was enthusiastic and positive...and REAL. she shared the ups and downs of her own life, wasn't afraid to express her frustrations or just be a little silly.  She is one of the most joyful people I have ever met.

When she invited me to join a group about clean eating, I did. You can tell Katie was a teacher because her explanations and presentations are all aimed at breaking the information down in easy to understand ways you can apply to your own life. She gives you work out tips, recipes, and points you in the direction of healthy food brands and products. I especially love when she invites us into her kitchen to see how clean eating works in real life.

All throughout my pregnancy, I kept tabs on everything Katie was doing, thinking to myself, 'After this baby is born, I want in on this.' So in September, about 6 weeks after my baby was born, I started my first group with her. And it was hard! We were still adjusting to life as a family of four and there seemed like there wasn't time for anything else. I thought to myself about quitting and would ask myself 'Is this REALLY the best time to be trying to work out and change my eating habits?!' I sort of felt like I was making a mistake but I stuck with it (it was only 3 weeks after all!), and Katie was there to cheer me on, to offer advice, and to remind me it was possible to reach my goals.

I am just about to finish up my third group with Katie as my coach. I have made a lot of progress since September. Katie has shown me how to make exercise a part of my life that feels sustainable, not just something you do sometimes. It is her living example through social media posts and videos, and her responses to my own posts and questions that have led me to this point. I feel good every day. I feel strong every day. I feel supported every day because I know Katie is keeping tabs on me.

Katie inspires me every day to live positively and healthily. I think she'll inspire anyone else too."

Tips for the Busy Mom to Get Her Workout in

Busy mom are you struggling to find time to get your workout in? Everyone is busy so it is important to plan when you can squeeze your daily sweat session in your day. Watch the video for tips to build your willpower muscle. Don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!

Have you ever said these things?

Have you ever said these things?I'm going to challenge 4 common complaints about making a lifestyle change. Oh, and my kids throw a fit in the middle! Connect with me on Facebook!

 

How I Make it Work

Using a workout calendar is what motivates and is the difference in me finishing any program! Want to learn more about how I can help you take your fitness up a notch, contact me on Facebook.

Yoga Program Results

Here are my results from this amazing on-demand 3-week yoga program. All I needed to complete this program was a yoga meat. How amazing is that? Want to learn more about this program? Contact me on  Facebook.

 

Time Management

Yes, we all struggle with this. It doesn't matter if you are a stay at home mom, a working mom, a fitness coach, or a teacher, we all struggle with managing our time. Here are my time management to be successful!

Don't forget to connect with me on Facebook.

Sometimes It Can Be Scary

I am putting myself out there in just a couple weeks at this huge event (over 700 people) and hear how I am ramping myself up to be successful and using my vision to help me get rid of the nerves. Don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson- A Must Read

My favorite personal development book, The Slight Edge. This book resonates with me more than  most of the others I have read. It is all about finding right balance and making small, progressive changes that will lead to big results in the end. Find out more about this book by watching the video below, and don't forget to find me on Facebook!

This Weeks Favorite Things

This week's favorite things include, pen pals with my daughter to cold brew pumpkin coffee, these are a few of my favorite things. Now tell me some of yours!

 

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Happy fall! This is my favorite time of year because of the colors, the cooler temps, and SWEATSHIRTS!! I live in comfy, casual clothes, and fall just gives me an excuse to do it more often ;) Fall is also a great time to dig into your health and fitness goals. The kids are back in school and the regular routine follows. I read recently that fall is the new New Year for setting goals, and I loved that idea!!

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Here are some tips for setting (and achieving!) goals for yourself:

1. Write them down!! The simple act of physically writing them on paper makes them REAL, instead of just a wish.

2. Discuss your goals with your partner, family, friends, etc. Let someone else know what you are planning to do for an extra step in accountability.

3. Schedule workouts on the calendar (time and place) and write down your meals. I know it's time-consuming, but the extra time spent PLANNING your week will save you SO MUCH TIME going backwards from your goal.

If you would like some extra help reaching your goals, I'd love to chat with you! Send me a message on FB or respond to this email! Let's make this season one of growth, discipline, and achievement!

XO,

Katie

You Got this, Busy Mom!

Dear Busy Mom, I know that it feels like adding one more thing, even the smallest thing such as cooking a nice meal, or writing a letter, or finding time to change light bulbs is just beyond your capacity. There just isn't enough time in the day!!!! I remember feeling like this SO CLEARLY.

Actually, 3 years ago, I joined an online accountability group and I had 3 kids under 3 and felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. But, I joined because something was pushing me to do so. I think I knew that I had to make some S P A C E for myself in a world that often felt devoid of ME! Kids, husband, house, pets, repeat :) So I joined this group and I remember having a conversation with my mom one day when we went out to lunch, "What exactly am I supposed to eat??" I complained. "I can't eat flour, sugar, boxed anything, frozen meals. Am I supposed to exist only on fresh fruits and veggies alone?? How in the world will I find time to do THAT??!"

So I complained, but I stuck with it. I wanted to see what kind of results I would have if I committed to change. And I'm glad I did because I lost 7 pounds and 12 inches in that group :) And well, the rest is history.

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So here's the thing, moms. You need to think of this lifestyle change not as one more thing you have to do, but as an armor to be the Super Mom you are!! How can one person carry all of those responsibilities without taking care of herself?? Do you know that exercising produces feel-good endorphins that mimic morphine!! What?? More of that!!! We need to have a good attitude when dealing with tiny, adorable, frustrating, nonsensical attitudes all day, right?? And did you know that sugar and flour and gluten can cause depression, anxiety, and a million other nasty side effects?? How are we supposed to do our jobs effectively with THAT on our backs??

So this is not something you have to add, no way. Exercise and diet is something you NEED to get you through your crazy schedule and the demands that are placed upon you. It will be hard at first, but after 3 weeks, you will notice that it's getting easier. And you will FEEL happier and you will ENJOY taking care of yourself.

No one believes in you more than I do, momma. Because I WAS you!!!

XO, Katie

Why get up at 5 am?

5:00 am is EARRRRRRLY.  It's so dark out.  The bed is so warm.  And it seems that anything I can accomplish that early can surely be done at some point during the day, right?
Yes.  And no.
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I have always preferred the mornings to late nights, but being productive at that hour is rather new to me.  But I am falling in love with it, and I want to share why!  First, though, let me share with you exactly what my morning looks like:

5 am: alarm goes off.  I aim to get up NOW or only allow myself to hit snooze one time.  I put my phone across the room from me so that I actually have to get out of bed to shut it off.

I make my way to the bathroom where my workout clothes are already laid out for me (from the night before).  I use the bathroom, put in my contacts, and get dressed.  Then, I head downstairs and make my Energize.

The time is now 5:15 or so, which gives me 30 minutes to drink Energize (PERFECT) and get a little work done.  I check my inbox, post in my accountability and training groups, and create my day's game plan, if I didn't the previous night.

Warning!!!  This time goes FAST, so enjoy it :)  At 5:40, I pee once more to reduce how much I pee my pants when I jump (#momlife) and head to the basement for my workout.  I'm currently working through Insanity: Max 30 and am loving/hating it ;)  It's HARD.  But it's so quick!!  30 minutes and I'm DONE!!  Once I finish my workout, I head upstairs and if the family is still sleeping, step outside to cool off and make my morning post.  Then, I'm usually greeted by one, two, or three children and Mom Duty is officially ON!!

Okay, that's my schedule.  Now, here's WHY I do it:

1. I can be alone.  

Totally, completely alone.  But not in a lonely way, because I know my family is upstairs sleeping and they will be happy to see me when they wake up, with big hugs and smiles and maybe even some attitude ;)  This time alone is so incredibly rare so I CRAVE it and SAVOR every minute of it.  Moms, you deserve some alone time more than anyone on this planet.  Trust me when I say that waking up early is totally worth the space to think your own thoughts, not be interrupted, and prepare for your day.

2. I get my head in the game.

Once the kids are up, it's go go go for the next 2 hours until we get the oldest on the bus.  And then it's usually go go go some more, as the littles and I run around town together.  This kind of business requires some time to get set up for success!  I make a game plan for the day if I haven't done this the night before.  I check my inbox, so I'm not doing that once they are awake.  I post in my accountability and coach groups if I'm running them.  I drink my Energize, and prepare to PUSH PLAY.

3. I have more energy all day long.  

It's a funny thing, but starting the day EARLY, and with a workout, really does give you more energy.  It's a bit counter-intuitive, because you think you'll be more tired from starting early.  And you might.  At first.  But then, the magic starts working and you noticed that you are more energetic and therefore more productive during the day.  Which is really awesome if you are one of those people who likes to sit down and do nothing once the kids are in bed.  You totally CAN when you knock out a full day of productivity that starts at5:00 am :)
5. I'm happier.
Not only am I benefiting from the alone time to recharge, but also the endorphins pumping through my body.  Even if I don't get ANYTHING ELSE accomplished during the day, I can feel good about having my workout completed.  It's a confidence boost knowing that you started the day with something hard.  That discipline allows you to know that you can do hard things and that hard work pays off :)

September is the new New Year!  It's a time of change, setting new goals, and getting organized!

How about making some time for YOU a priority this fall?  Need help? Let's chat!!
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Our Trip in a Nutshell

Ahhhh... just thinking about our recent trip to Cancun has me relaxed :)  What  a wonderful vacation!  It was a chance for us to unwind, reconnect, and not have to be grown-ups for a few days.  I wanted to capture some of the highlights of the trip while they were fresh in my mind. Our day of travel was really easy!  We had a short, direct flight to Cancun and then a quick and easy bus ride from the airport to our resort.  When we arrived at our resort, there was quite a line to check into the hotel!  All coaches were taken to the arena to check-in, which was a HUGE building that is reserved for concerts, large events, and our super workouts!  When we entered the arena to wait in line, there was a huge display of healthy snacks for us to munch on.  Veggies and dip, fruits, nuts, homemade granola-type bars, chips and salsa and guacamole.  And fruity beverages, too!  So the line was long, but they sure knew how to distract us.  We finally got to the front of the line to check-in an hour later and received the keys to our room!

And what a room it was!!!  The VIEWS were... well, I'll show you!

room

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Pretty amazing, right??!  So after we got settled in and had our luggage delivered to us, we explored the resort a little, took in the views and kept saying, "Wow!!"  We changed for dinner and enjoyed a Brazilian steak house (our first time trying one!).  The food was delish and in abundance.  I really enjoyed not having any dishes to wash or food to cut up for my three young children :)

That night, I awoke to a stomach bug (RIGHT before we left, our youngest two were vomiting, so it was only a matter of time before we got it).  I got sick about 3 times and felt pretty crummy so we skipped our planned workout in the morning.  We headed to the pool and took it really easy all day long, and while I still didn't have an appetite, I cherished the time alone with my husband.

The days pretty much went like this: wake up, workout (except for that first day), have a leisurely breakfast, get ready for the pool, lounge at the pool, eat lunch, lounge at the pool some more or head to the beach, go back to the room for a much needed nap (haha!) and then get ready (slowly! without children rushing me!) for dinner!  It. Was. Heavenly.

A little more about the workouts...Each day, Autumn Calabrese (creator of the 21 Day Fix), Shaun T. (creator of Insanity, Hip Hop Abs, Max:30, and T25), and Tony Horton (creator of P90X) were available to lead workouts.  So you could choose which trainer you want to work out with, or you could work out with all of them!  On one day, we did the lower fix with Autumn--my glutes are STILL sore, no lie!  And the other day, we did Max: 30 Friday Fire with Shaun T.  It was awesome!!!!!  Shaun walked into the crowd and even gave my hubby a high-five!

I'm still in disbelief that this trip was free, minus airfare.  We didn't get our wallets out once and truly felt spoiled.  What an amazing company to be associated with!!

So are you wondering how I was able to earn this trip for free?  I will tell you :)  Each month as a coach, I work with people to help them reach their health and fitness goals.  I run online accountability groups where a small, focused, group of men and women work together to reach their goals.  I help them choose a fitness program based on their goals and their needs, and I help them choose a supplement (oftentimes this is Shakeology) to boost their results and help eliminate cravings and increase their energy.  And by helping just 3 people with this each month, I qualify for trips like this--and I can earn them for FREE!!!  I've already earned over 1/2 of next year's Success Club trip: a cruise to Jamaica!  And not only will I earn it completely free, but I will also earn cash to use onboard, as well!  It's a pretty sweet deal, and really is just icing on the cake because it would be a dream job even without the free swag!!

If you are interested in becoming a coach, or just talking to me more about the details, please email me at katie.harlan1@gmail.com.  I would love to share with you the ways in which this opportunity is changing my life and how it can change YOURS!

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Post Vacation Report

I recently returned from a blissful mini-vacation with my husband where the temps were in the 80’s, we had no children, no responsibilities, and dessert with every meal ☺  This was a super short cruise, thank God, or I would have done some real damage to the progress I made in December.  But it was glorious.  And vacation is a place where I don’t think we need to worry about what we’re eating.  Probably don’t need dessert with every meal, but we should be able to relax while on vacation and just enjoy some pastries! So this article isn’t about tips for staying healthy on vacation, because I certainly didn’t do that on this one!  Instead, I want to share with you some fascinating observations I made about myself and my body while traveling.  And that’s one of the perks to eating clean 80% of the time: I am a well-oiled machine and I can easily tell what might be affecting my mood, energy, or general feeling of well-being.  It wasn’t so easy to know when I ate whatever I wanted a few years ago.

The first thing I noticed while on vacation was how tired I was each day.  And this is not because I was really getting any less sleep than I do at home.  But several times during the day I would YAWN a lot and just feel SO TIRED!  That is not something I’m used to in my everyday life.  I really don’t get a midday slump, and if I do, it’s very short lived.

Another thing I noticed was that my stomach hurt!!  And my stomach NEVER hurts anymore, unless I eat junk.  Just the body’s way of saying, “Why are you eating that??”

And the third thing was the most startling for me and that was a very real sadness or depression the day before we headed home.  It sounds so ridiculous to feel that way while on vacation, and I still had a really great day, but I just couldn’t shake this dark feeling of not wanting to go back to the super cold Illinois temps!  And my responsibilities!  And I’m sure some of that is normal, but I KNOW that most of that is because I didn’t get my usual dose of almost daily endorphins from exercise.  I’m just not the same without them.  We worked out once on the ship but it wasn’t the same intensity as the workouts I’m used to.

So it was a really amazing trip and I loved the break from reality, including eating well and exercising regularly.  But man.  What a great reminder that I do those things to FEEL good!!