What to Eat??

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One of the questions my clients ask me the most is, "What exactly do I eat??" The answer to this is complex, so I thought I'd tackle it with a blog post. First, we need to recognize that every BODY is different. And that's not just hearsay, it's the truth. We have to remember that ALWAYS when discussing nutrition and fitness habits. Comparing can be dangerous. Everyone comes into the game with different injuries, genetics, past experience with dieting and fitness, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. So my first tip is to make your own way and stop comparing yourself to others. I know, it's easier said than done. But that is a great practice for life, so we might as well start working on it now.

Okay, now that THAT'S out of the way, let's get into the meat of this post. I think there should be an order to how you make changes to your diet, so that you can establish a baseline of success before moving on to the next thing. Upper level strategies are great, but it's better to have a solid foundation first. So let's go through the steps, in the order in which I think they should be applied:

Clean Eating:

This is where it has to begin. You can't worry about carb cycling and intermittent fasting and paleo, etc. if you are eating tons of chemicals, additives, sugar, and crap. Eating clean means minimally processed, very few ingredients, no alcohol, no sugar, no white flour. And the goal would be to eat clean 80% of the time. This is a strategy that I cover in depth in my 4-Week Slim Down Program.

There are so many resources on clean eating, and our society is making this a a much easier solution for people. Restaurants and grocery stores are cognizant of our desire for chemical free foods. Pinterest and Google are LOADED with pictures of delicious food that is clean. I even have a new cookbook called "Sugar and Spice" that's full of clean recipes for busy families! So this type of eating is really accessible for everyone and makes for a great place to start when you're dialing in your nutrition.

This is where I started. And this has gotten me a long way, guys. JUST THIS. No fancy eating plans, no portion control, no tracking. Just this. For at least two years my body gave me results from eating this way. And then I was ready for more :) On to the next strategy...

Tracking:

This is a great strategy for beginners, but I think to really benefit from tracking your food, you should mostly be eating CLEAN foods. Not all calories are created equally. A Snickers bar and a sweet potato with butter have roughly the same amount of calories, but which is more beneficial in your body?? So while counting calories will produce results, if you want to get healthy, not just skinny, you have to eat clean first. That's why I listed it before tracking.

There are lots of ways to track your food. One of the most widely used is My Fitness Pal. It's super user-friendly and can be used for looking at macros, keeping track of your water, setting fitness goals, and so much more. If you want to know specifics about the foods you are eating, give MFP a try.

Another way to track your food is by keeping a food journal. For some reason, I find this to be my favorite way, but I track portions, which I'll get into below. In a little notebook I keep on my counter I write down everything I eat each day (and note their portions). It's super fast and super simple. But the act of writing it down causes me to think about what I'm eating instead of just mindlessly grabbing food all day.

I also PLAN my meals in advance, which I would consider another type of tracking. In my calendar, I write out the meals for our family so that I am prepared for the week. Being prepared is key to achieving health and fitness goals!

Portion Control:

If you have gotten the eating clean part down, but you feel your portions may be off, finding a good portion control program might be a good next step. If you have more than 10 pounds to lose, I would recommend the 21 Day Fix to establish some good parameters with your portion control.  The guidelines I learned from completing that program are still with me today, nearly two years later. I have better understanding on how to fill my plate, how many servings of each food group I need to lose or maintain my weight, and what a correct portion size is. When I track my food, I track it using the food groups I learned about during the 21 Day Fix. My journal looks like this:

Yellow (carbs): X X

Green (veggies): X X X X

Purple (fruits): X X X

Blue (healthy fats): X X

Red (protein): X X X X

Orange (oils and seeds): X X

Each time I eat, I circle an X in the food group it's from. These are approved foods only, so I try to keep it clean (not circling a yellow for tater tots, for example). The colors stand for the containers the foods go in. I have long since abandoned those containers, but I still refer to my foods in those terms! I have added more fats and oils and seeds to my goals than I originally had in my 21 Day Fix plan because the research I have done shows how beneficial those are to our diets. So I tweaked it a bit for my needs and goals. BUT, the rest of it is about the same. I try not to go crazy with carbs, and work super hard each day to get my veggies in. If I didn't track, I could go days and days with one serving of veggies each day, and that just isn't enough.

This system is simple and it works for me. But perhaps you need more structure and guidance. If so, than using MFP or the 21 Day Fix program would be a good solution for you.

Intermittent Fasting:

Intermittent fasting is not new to me, but the term is. For a few years now, I have tried to stop eating after dinner, which is usually around 6 pm. And then I don't eat again until breakfast the next day. Occasionally I will have a snack if I'm really hungry, but for the most part I'm finished eating for the day. This strategy has helped me stay lean and wake up with a flat midsection because my body was able to go into fat burning mode while I slept. You see, it takes our body quite a while to digest a meal, and then enter into fat burning mode, so if we never give our bodies downtime from eating, it's a bit harder to get to our fat stores. Enter intermittent fasting.

This is a great strategy to use if you have already tried the strategies listed above and you want an extra PUSH in achieving your fitness goals.

*Note: It is my personal opinion that if you don't have much weight to lose, and if your metabolism is good (meaning, you haven't yo-yo dieted for years) then this strategy will only work for you short-term. Try it and play with it to see what about it works best for you. It's fun to experiment and determine what your body needs. And once you get to this strategy, you are likely in a pretty good place with your fitness, so you'll really be able to see how it works for you!

Tracking your Macros:

Once you are comfortable with the above strategies, but you want to see more results, more muscle and a lower body fat percentage (who doesn't, really?) you might look into macros. The world of macros is complex and varies widely depending on your specific goals. My advice would be to read up on macros before starting to track them closely so that you know where to set your targets. It's a super effective way to lose body fat, but definitely requires more effort and attention than the previous strategies. This is one I haven't gotten the nerve up to tackle yet, but it's on my to-do list! I want to become proficient at it myself so that I can share results and methodology with you!

I hope that you find this overview of strategies helpful, and that you can see how they build on each other. As with all advice I share with you, I truly want you to be successful in achieving your health and fitness goals. So start where you're at-maybe that's at the beginning of my list. Or maybe it's in the middle. But you will be more successful if you build on these strategies, rather than adopting them all at once, or jumping straight to tracking your macros.

Let me know if you have questions for me!

XO,

Katie

Hi! Allow me to introduce myself...

My name is Katie and I'm the author of these emails, blogs, and owner of Harlan Coaching. I have quite a few new subscribers, so I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself to you.

I send emails throughout the week that are meant to inspire, motivate, and educate you in your health and fitness journey. If you ever have feedback, questions, or comments about anything in the newsletters, please feel free to write me back!

Okay, let me tell you a bit about myself… I am a mom to three young children and a wife to my very best friend and partner in this crazy life, Chris. I am an online health and fitness coach and a digital marketer, and I also teach group fitness classes on the side. I love helping people find their best selves through health and fitness. I also love sunsets, coffee, beaches, sweatpants, and pedicures. I am a positive person with a lot of energy, and I like to keep it REAL. I hope we can be friends!

My fitness journey started after I had my youngest daughter 4 years ago. I was tired of being tired and really ready to focus on me for a minute (3 kids under 3 was exhausting!). I knew nothing about nutrition, very little about efficient and effective exercises, and had no idea where I would find the time for anything other than managing my gaggle of children.

I found an online fitness coach (who continues to inspire me today!) and slowly but surely, she helped me figure out my nutrition, my exercise, how to fit it in, and how to quit giving so many excuses. And after working with her for 30 days, I had lost 7 pounds, 12 inches, and I had found more energy than I'd ever had--even with a new baby!!

My renewed confidence propelled me to continue on my fitness journey, and the results and changes kept coming. I found my pre-pregnancy weight. I wore a bikini post-babies with confidence. My clothes became too big. I became a fitness instructor. I found MUSCLE definition. I became an online health and fitness coach.

Over the past 4 years, I have not only found my best health and confidence, but I've shared what I've learned with hundreds (thousands?) of people and helped them transform their lives as well. It is the BEST job ever!!

As I discover new products and strategies, I will continue to share them with you! It is my goal to keep fitness and nutrition solutions SIMPLE so that we can sustain them long-term. In January, I put together all of my favorite information for gaining better health and bringing your family along with you (a key to sustainability) and created my very own program. It's called the 4-Week Slim Down. I've had 17 women go through the program and they are loving the simple check-in system, the meal plans, and the workouts I designed. The next round of this program will begin prep-week on February 20th and I'd love to invite you to join us. If you invest in yourself, it will pay you back in dividends. Check out the info here!

Stretch with Me?

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Stretching. Ugh. NOT one of my strong points. Unless I'm teaching a Body Flow class or participating in some sort of yoga, doing light stretching on my own isn't something I remember to do regularly. But I recently developed tendinitis in my hip and it's just not going to get better without regular stretching sessions. I've been seeing a physical therapist for a few months to help me work through my hip injury. She is WONDERFUL and has taught me so much about the importance of stretching, how to stretch, and other pieces of information related to body movement. I want to share some of that information with you!

  • The hip tendinitis on my right side caused my body to favor my left side, which in turn weakened my right side! Working out in front of a mirror could have helped me with this long before I discovered my issue, because I would have been able to see my imbalance in the mirror. I was teaching a lot at the time (NOT in front of a mirror) and didn't see that my form was compromised. Learn from me: use a mirror to check form! I know it can be uncomfortable to stare at yourself in a mirror while exercising, but good form is SO important. It's worth a little discomfort to your ego to make sure that your form is on pointe and you prevent injuries.
  • Small injuries can turn into big injuries without attention. This was another thing I didn't do correctly. I had a nagging soreness in my right hip and assumed it would go away on its own. Well, during that "wait time" I was compensating, thus making the injury worse in the meantime. So listen to your body. If it doesn't feel right after a few days, IB Profin, ice, heat, stretching, etc. you should probably make an appointment to see someone who knows what they're talking about. In the town I live in, sports medicine is free with insurance so you can pop on over anytime you need to check something out :)
  • Ice can do wonders. This is so crazy to me, but honestly guys, 10 minutes of ice a day on an injured muscle can make a huge difference. I am such a baby when it comes to ice (remember how I feel about being cold?!), but the ice really causes any swelling to go down which leads to comfort and full range of motion.
  • When you are injured, it's really important to pull back a bit. This one might SEEM obvious, but it's really something that is quite challenging for the majority of people. We are STUBBORN and when we're used to being active, pulling back is TOUGH. But remember that it's only temporary. And if you don't pull back, your restrictions might become permanent. Think of it as a fun challenge: find exercises you can do without affecting the hurt area of your body. For me, fast-tempo squats (like the ones I do in classes) are no bueno. They just move too quickly for me to sit back and down and hold proper form. Figure out what move or moves are hurting you and omit them from your routine for awhile. Remember, it's likely not a permanent restriction.

Injuries are no fun. But I do feel like my latest injury is serving as a wake-up call for me to be a little more gentle on my body and give it some solid stretching before and after my workouts. My PT is recommending 10 minutes prior and 10 minutes after. This is a lot for someone who typically only stretches in a choreographed stretching class! But I want this body to last me a LONG time, so I'm going to listen to my PT and listen to my body, and give it some love. I hope you do the same!!

Enjoy your Valentine's Day tomorrow!!!

XO,

Katie

Straight Talk

Friends, I look forward to sending you these messages every week. And this week I felt called to share a message with the clients in my 4-Week Slim Down and you, my community of subscribers. Losing weight won't make you happier.

What? Did she just say that?? Isn't that one of the goals of her business--to help women lose weight??

Yes. And no. Hear me out.

Weight loss is a side effect of changing some fundamental habits in your life. When you begin a new fitness program or embark on a journey to improved health, your ultimate goal should be to have a better quality of life. That might mean having more energy, being in a better mood, exuding confidence, and feeling really comfortable in your own skin. But if your ultimate goal is to "be skinny" then you will be disappointed if you achieve that goal. Because there's nothing larger tied to it. Do you see the difference?

So how do you appropriately goal set so you can achieve success in your health and fitness endeavors?

When writing down your goals prior to starting a new program (you HAVE to do this, guys!) focus on goals that describe how you will FEEL, rather than how you will LOOK. That keeps the focus on wins that will enrich your life, which will indeed make you happier. Also, as you're working through your program, use these "feeling goals" to measure your progress.

I've noticed that for many of my clients, they notice the changes within themselves first. It's kind of like how a microwave works. First, they notice changes in their taste buds and preferences, then they notice that they feel less foggy during the day. Then they begin to see some differences on the outside, like more muscle tone and a more defined waistline.  We spend a lot of time discussing how they are feeling, and I think that discussion empowers my clients to notice these changes on a regular basis.

Bottom line: anchor your health and fitness goals with something that goes beyond appearances, and you will be more likely to achieve them and sustain them long term.


If you are interested in applying for the next round of my 4-Week Slim Down, click this link.  We will begin our week of prep on February 20th!  In this program I will teach you everything that has worked for ME and hundreds of clients to find a healthy life balanced that centers around feeling your best!!

XO, Katie

Confidence

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Confidence. "The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do." (unknown) I am always shocked when people comment on my confidence. Recently, I've had interactions with friends and family where my confidence was referenced, and quite honestly, it puzzles me. Yes, in some areas of my life I feel fairly confident. I know I am an awesome wife, caring mother, good friend, and pretty comfortable in the kitchen. But when it comes to my business ventures, trying new things, and my personal style, my confidence waxes and wanes with the moon!! It's such a roller-coaster!

Speaking specifically about business, some days I feel that I am exactly where I need to be and I love the future that I imagine before me, and other days I question if I will ever be "successful." I spend a lot of time thinking about my 90 year old self and wonder if, while I'm in my rocking chair, if I will be glad that I spent so much time and energy on my current endeavors. If they will have MATTERED.

Being an entrepreneur is a TRIP, you guys!! One of my favorite resources is the "Entrepreneur Roller-coaster" by Darren Hardy. I love listening to him read it on Audible. He discusses how entrepreneurship is just that: a roller coaster and boy oh boy do I agree. The ups and downs, sideways flips, exhilaration, feeling that you might throw up...and that's just one ride!!

So for those of you who share my thoughts and feelings on feeling unknown about the current path you're on, let me share some strategies I use to work through it:

  1. Personal Development.

This has to be the #1 way I pull myself out of self-doubt. I personally love listening to books or podcasts on Audible because it's so easy to listen while I'm driving or doing housework. I have to be careful which kind of pd I choose, though. If I am feeling doubtful, listening to a podcast about business strategies I should be using will only make my anxiety worse. But over and over again, personal development has been one of the most important things for keeping my spirits up when I get down on myself. When you're an entrepreneur, YOU are the boss. YOU have to give yourself pats on the back and encouragement, because it's not going to come from your boss :) Put good in, get good out.

2. Fake it until you make it.

I must use this one a lot, and I think this must be what my friends are referring to when they tell me that I appear super confident. When that self-doubt begins to rear its ugly head, I stand a little taller and pretend that I have it all together. Many times that is enough to get me over the hump of doubt and then I can work through the problem/material/etc. with real confidence that isn't manufactured. But until that time comes, I fake it.

3. Take a step back.

If you are an entrepreneur, you know that sometimes you just need to pull back a bit. Unlike a 9-5 job, your job as an entrepreneur follows you everywhere. There is always something that needs tended to and you can easily become overwhelmed from being "in it" 24/7. When you're the boss/owner/operator/etc. it is difficult to shut work "off" for the day-ESPECIALLY for us online entrepreneurs. I have found that building mandatory off-hours into my schedule helps immensely with burn out. For example, I typically only work for about 30 minutes total on Saturdays. I do the bare minimum on that day so I can unplug and spend the time with my family. And at least one Friday a month I take completely off!

4. Talk it out.

Without having my husband around to talk through my insecurities, problems, questions, etc. I would be even more of a hot mess than I already am! He is my barometer. He keeps me grounded. And he helps me work things out. Sometimes I find that just vocalizing my problems (rather than keeping them in my head) is immensely helpful. So find someone with a willing ear and don't be afraid to talk it out. BUT, make sure you repay the favor when he or she needs someone to listen to them. Chris, if you're reading this, thank you. You are vital to any success I have. XO

To my fellow entrepreneurs, exude confidence in your abilities, in your business, and in your services. Be brave, stand tall, and fake it until you make it :)

If you are interested in a FREE 20 minute consult with me to see if my Entrepreneur Academy would be a good fit for you, please schedule your consult by clicking here. The Academy will have 20 lessons with deliverables, two live training events, 2 private consults, and personal mentorship to help you achieve your business goals!  Our beta test group will begin on March 20th!

XO,

Katie

Navigating Gatherings without Undoing Progress

Gatherings with friends and family are some of life's greatest blessings! They are a time to enjoy great company, great conversation, and most of the time, great food. But can we still enjoy parties and

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get-togethers and STILL stay on track with our health and fitness goals?

Yes, absolutely we can, and we MUST

. Because life is just too short to spend much time worrying about getting off-track while you're with friends and family at special events. I have some ways to set yourself up for success when going to a socialevent, while still staying on par with your fitness and health goals. Let's dive in!

  1. When you have an event planned (a birthday party, the Superbowl, a day of shopping and wine drinking with friends, etc.), be SURE to get your workout in ahead of time. Many events serve alcohol and if you have a drink, you will find exercising later nearly impossible! It's just too hard to get motivated after being super relaxed. So plan for success and get that workout done BEFORE your event. This goes for vacations, too. Get your workout in early so that you don't have to think about it for the rest of the day! That calorie burn will work for you all day long, even when you're having a cocktail by the pool, or a cupcake at a birthday party.
  2. If you're going to a gathering where everyone is asked to bring food, this is your chance to bring a healthy dish to share!  I think of this as my time to shine and show my friends and family that healthy can be delicious 😃 I make sure to bring a tried and true favorite clean recipe, like my Shakeology cookies, clean Buffalo Chicken Dip, or my Fiesta Dip. Not only does this encourage my loved ones to eat a bit healthier, but it helps ME because I know that there is going to be at least one dish that I can enjoy guilt-free at the party.

Fiesta Dip:

16 oz Greek yogurt

packet of Fiesta ranch seasoning

small can diced black olives

small can diced chiles

1/2 cup colby jack shredded cheese

Mix together and serve with blue tortilla chips and veggies

  1. Bring your own water and drink up before the event. I find that if I don't bring my own water to events, I sometimes find myself not being able to easily get water and then I end up drinking something I wouldn't normally choose. When I come with a water bottle in hand then I know I have a great option throughout the event. And don't forget to stay hydrated leading up to your gathering. Being hydrated helps keep you feeling full so you won't overeat, AND if you end up having a few drinks, it can help you avoid a nasty hangover later. Plus, I always find that if I'm holding a water, I have fewer hands to hold a huge plate of food!
  2. Your mental game is super important for navigating social events when it comes to food. Think of the event/gathering/party as one spot in your day. When it's over, it's over. There is no need to get off track BEFORE the event, and there is no need to go crazy AFTER the event. It's one part of your day. You might have some treats while you're there, but it does not needto leak into the rest of your day. The same goes for vacation. Pick a meal when you will allow yourself some fun treats, but then isolate them to that meal. One treat meal won't cause you to lose progress with your goals, but a whole week of treats will!
  3. Know your triggers and avoid them like the plague! Ha! For example, if I have a pop at a party I crave fast food. And the sugar in pop makes me crave more sugar. And before you know it, that stupid pop just cost me 800 calories in foods that provide no nutritional value. Oops! My husband's trigger is ice cream. Once he starts eating it, it's hard for him to stop. So he avoids ice cream as much as possible. Being aware of your triggers gives you the power to avoid them and make better choices.

Guys, I want you to enjoy family gatherings without stressing over the choices you'll need to make. With a little preparation and practice, you will be able to find that social events don't have to ruin your progress, and can actually fit into your healthy lifestyle easily 😃

One of my FAVORITE recipes! You will love it!

Guys, you're going to LOVE this!!

 FAVORITE recipe!

FAVORITE recipe!

I have a delicious recipe for you! It's my mom's FAMOUS BBQ, with a clean(er) spin. You can call it a sloppy joe or BBQ on a bun, but either way it's delicious. I dislike reading long blog posts about how recipes came to be, so I won't do that to you. Let's get to the good stuff!

Makes 4-6 servings
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 lb ground turkey or 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup ketchup, reduced sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS mustard
  • 2 TBS agave or honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • Mini whole wheat rolls

Brown ground turkey and drain. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook for 40 min or until juice is boiled down. Serve on mini whole wheat rolls. 2-3 rolls per serving.

If you are looking for more balance in your life, I can help you, too! Click this link for more information about my 4-Week Slim Down 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, respond to this email so we can set some goals for you!

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Tips for Talking to your Kids about Food

Dear Mommas, As a former elementary educator with an advanced degree in reading and language, I am super aware of the influence our words have on our kiddos.  What we say, how we say it, how often we say it...all of that is important.  Now, I'm not suggesting that we walk on eggshells around our kids so we don't say the wrong thing.  But for those areas or topics that are really important to you, considering your speech and energy is important.

For me, instilling a positive body image and relationship with food are one of those super important things.  I want my kids to LOVE food, not fear it, and LOVE their bodies for all the good things it can do! Here are a few things we do at home to help with these areas:

  1. Never talk about calories in food or food causing weight gain.  Instead, we talk about how food makes us FEEL.  So if they want to enjoy a second donut for example, I might say, "How will your belly feel if you eat another?" Or, "Then you will feel really tired!"  Those associations are not only more powerful, but they take the focus off of physical appearance and move it to how our bodies work.
  2. We use the terms Go, Slow, and Woah to categorize food. This has been SUPER helpful with our children. "Go" foods are those healthy choices like fruits and vegetables that I allow my children to eat anytime. "Slow" foods are those things like cereals, granola bars, breads, pretzels, etc. that are fine in moderation. And then "Woah" foods are pop, cookies, candy, ice cream, etc. that should only be eaten sparingly. I often ask my kids what category certain foods are when we are shopping or preparing the meals. This common language has been very effective for teaching about healthy foods.
  3. I never comment about how my body, their bodies, other people's bodies LOOK around my children. "I look fat in this," "She has great legs," or "Your belly is pudgy!" never come out of my mouth when they are near.  I want my children to find their self-worth from within, and not from hearing opinions of their own or others' appearances.
  4. When we exercise, we talk about how it makes us FEEL (noticing a trend?). "When you exercise, your brain releases a happy feeling into your body!" or "I exercise when I'm grumpy or tired to feel better" or "Let's reset with some jumping jacks." Notice that I'm not saying, "I need to lose weight" or anything about my physical appearance.

While my kids are not grown yet and I can't say for sure if these tactics will make an impact in their body images as adults, I can say that I am very pleased with their eating habits and their love of movement as children. They value activity, fruits and vegetables, and know that taking care of their bodies is important!

If you are looking to change your health habits in 2017 and bring your children with you, you might be interested in my BRAND NEW Family Wellness Program!  We begin on January 9th!  Read more about it here.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!  May your weekend be full of laughter, love, and some great gifts 😉

XO,

Katie

Body Beast may sound scary, but it's not!

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Week 2 of Body Beast just ended and I am feeling so many things, so it’s time to get my thoughts on paper (or, on the computer screen ;) ).

First, finishing two weeks of home workouts is sort of a big deal for me, which may seem silly since I represent a company that creates and sells home fitness programs. I am a lover of group fitness, and am also a group fitness instructor, so I’ve previously done the majority of my workouts live. I’ve done plenty of workouts from home, but only to fill in the gaps of my group fitness schedule. I’ve never completed an entire program at home from start to finish.

I decided that it wasn’t really fair or reasonable for me to expect my clients to do home fitness programs if I wasn’t doing the same thing! Also, I want to be able to truly understand what it feels like to be committed to a program from beginning to end. I’ve had my eyes on Body Beast for a while, and since I love weight lifting, this was a good place to start.

It’s been a little more than two weeks now, and my husband and I haven’t missed a workout!! This is a really big deal for us! On teaching days, I don’t skip my Beast workout. Instead, I teach and then get my workout in at another time. So that might mean that my “rest day” from Beast ends up being a teaching day. But I have made it work by lowering my weights a bit in my teaching classes, or switching around where my rest days fall so that I truly get a rest day, or don’t work shoulders twice in one day, for example. I used to think my body wouldn’t be able to handle double workouts, but that was so silly. It totally can. It’s our minds that tell us we can’t, not our bodies.

I don’t think I can adequately express how proud I am of my husband! He has been 100% in the game since we started, and his commitment to this program is helping me stay focused! He is feeling stronger and more energetic, and even mentioned that his golf swing is much improved since starting! As for me, I also have more energy and am starting to see some payoffs in the mirror, too! I can’t wait to take some pics in another few weeks to compare!

The thing that I’ve enjoyed more than the physical benefits, and even more than the added energy, is the mental “I can do this” that comes from achieving a goal. It’s certainly not done yet, but I have come further with it already than I ever thought I could do. I used to loathe the basement, especially for workouts. There are no windows, it’s smelly and messy, and it just isn’t a motivating space for me to workout. But you know what? While I would still prefer a gym floor and fewer toys, I really don’t dread staying home to get the workout in anymore. It’s just part of it. Plus, I’m really enjoying this time with my husband.

I really like the versatility of the program, too; you can follow the DVDs and do the workouts at home, print the workouts and take them to the gym to complete, or use BB On Demand to watch the workouts from any location with internet! These options help keep it interesting for me. Plus, I like to vary what time I workout so it’s not always the same. Some days I get it done in the morning, some days I do it with Chris in the evenings, and some days I do it during the day while the kids are playing.

Two things I should mention if you are thinking of starting Body Beast:

  1. You will gain weight. Ugh, I know! It’s hard to watch the scale go up, but it’s a fact when you are adding muscle. This muscle will allow your body to burn more calories while resting and will contribute to that lean but super toned look for which you are going. In the third phase of the program, you cut your calories slightly and that will drop your weight down a bit. But just remember that pictures tell the story and not the scale, so do what we did and just put it away!
  2. You will be hungry!! You will need to increase your calories to properly feed your muscles and fuel your body. If not, your body won’t allow the muscles to develop. There is a formula for determining your caloric range in the Beast guidebook, along with a very comprehensive eating plan.

I want to invite you to try this program with me. I will be your guide and we can do it together! I’d like to start a Body Beast group in mid-October. Please message me if you are interested in trying it! That gives you plenty of time to make some serious gains before the holidays!!

Wouldn't Change a Thing?

This is a therapy post.  Meaning, I need to get this off my chest.  It might not resonate with every person, but I've been thinking about something for awhile and couldn't quite articulate my feelings until now. I am a mom of three young children and life is hectic and crazy, and I wouldn't change a thing. :)  Well, I mean, I would change that one hour fit the 2-year-old threw today if I could.  And actually, I would change my 6-year-old's fear of thunder to be maybe fear of tigers or something less common around Central Illinois.  And I probably would also change my son's lack of aim in the bathroom so I don't have to clean up his pee every time he uses the bathroom.

When did it become bad to want to change something?  If we never wanted to change anything about our lives, wouldn't we be in heaven? And honestly, it's not our kids we want to change, exactly, but the rest of our crazy hectic lives that make us too tired and worn down to appropriately and adequately deal with their tough behaviors.  Perhaps people feel the need to say things like, "My baby cried all day and my Kindergartener threw up everywhere and I am exhausted, but I wouldn't change a thing!" because they think that phrase means, "I would rather not have kids than deal with this nightmare."  Of course it doesn't mean that!!!  That should be a mutual understanding amongst all parents; we wouldn't trade our kids for clean floors, eight hours of sleep, and more nights on the town.  No one would do that.  But I can't stand feeling like I need to clarify a statement like, "This was a loooooonnnnnggggg day with my kids" with "but I wouldn't change a thing," because, duh.  We know that I wouldn't rather trade my kids for not having a long day.

And another thing...all of these videos, posts, images that are everywhere right now with the goal of getting moms to slow down, not wish time away, savor every moment, enjoy every second, blah blah are just another way to make us feel guilty for not doing that.  I do not enjoy every minute of being a mom.  I don't think I actually enjoy every minute of a lot of things, but that doesn't mean they aren't absolutely remarkable, amazing, life changing things.  And while I will look back fondly on these young years with my children, I do not want to feel bad about not laying with them longer every night.  You know why?  Because I have a house to run and a marriage to nurture, and a body to take care of.  And I desperately need that time.  I hope I look back on these years and say, "Well done.  You raised awesome kids, still have a healthy marriage, and are sane.  Don't beat yourself up for being happy when they were sleeping each night, because you deserved that time to unwind."

I totally and completely support personal development and working on ourselves as moms, entrepreneurs, wives, sisters, etc.  And if you feel like you don't take time to acknowledge the goodness around you, then maybe that's something you can invest some time in studying.  Or maybe you're a yell-y mom, and you want to work on that.  Or maybe you are super unorganized and the house is always a mess.  Let's embrace improving ourselves, but can we also just appreciate how much we're doing already without the guilt trips??

Moms Unite!!!!  We are awesome.  And don't change a thing. ;)

Disney To-Dos!

castle I have been going to Walt Disney World since I was a little girl, and continue to travel there as often as I can! I’ve actually lost count, but I think the total number of visits is around 20. I knew my husband was really the one for me when we went to WDW a year after we had been dating and he felt the same magic that I always do. And now he’s more of a Disney expert than I am (except on the princesses - I always win in that category!). Why is it so magical? I think it has to do with Walt Disney, the genius behind it all. The company is run brilliantly because it was started with such a strong "why." It truly is the most magical place…but I digress! I am here to help you plan YOUR trip to Disney. I am speaking from a family point of view, and more specifically, a family with young children. There are so many people who know way more than I do, but these are my tips. Take them or leave them. :)

  1. Don’t overdo it
  • This is my #1 tip for a reason. When you take young children to Disney, it can be very overwhelming, and as parents we often want them to experience everything. Plus, you are thinking, “I spent a lot of money on these tickets, we have to get the most of them.” WARNING WARNING!!! Going all day and all night with young children = MAGIC FAMILY MELTDOWNS (for kids and parents).
  • Go early in the morning when it’s not as hot and plan to do 2-4 activities (rides or shows). Eat lunch and then head back to the hotel to swim or rest or nap, etc. After eating dinner (more on that later), then go back and do some more activities. Everyone will be fresh and much happier for the break.
  • Don’t feel like you need to get to every park your first time to Disney. This year we are going to do Magic Kingdom twice and Animal Kingdom because of the ages of our kids. If your kids are older, try to get to Hollywood Studios. But for the first visit, you certainly don’t need to see them all. Remember, they are kids and really don’t know what they’re missing. They would rather get to experience two parks feeling really good and happy than 4 parks being hot, tired, and miserable; and so would you!

 

  1. Eat dinner at your hotel
  • If you can get a room with a kitchen, the upcharge will totally be worth it in the amount of money you’ll save on eating out. Dining in Disney is expensive!! We are renting a car to buy groceries, and even with the added cost of the car rental, we will save $100’s on our food budget. We plan to eat a good snack or early lunch in the morning and then eat dinner at our room every night. We also buy things for breakfast like yogurt, cereal, eggs, etc. It is healthier and so much more affordable.

 

  1. Stay on Disney property
  • It might seem much more affordable to stay just outside of Disney, but in our experience, it’s just not worth it. The “free shuttles” to the property operate on set times (often two times in the morning and two times at night) and don’t run continually. This is a problem if you stick to my #1 rule about taking a break in the afternoon. The Disney transportation is easy and is part of the experience! Their transportation runs every 20 minutes throughout the day and into the late evening. Plus, many of the Disney resorts will have characters show up, Disney movies playing for free on the TVs, and all sorts of other awesome activities. Plus, the pools and restaurants are excellent.

 

  1. Make the anticipation of the trip part of the trip!
  • Every moment at Disney will not be magical, especially with young children. There will likely be meltdowns, tantrums, illnesses, long lines, etc. So you have to use that time leading up to the trip as part of the magic! We talk about it every day, show the kids videos of different attractions and highlights, and plan.
  • We made a paper chain and remove a link every day. Making the chain was just another way to get excited!
  • Our family is also designing matching t-shirts (nerd alert!) for this trip. Designing the shirts and shopping for them increases anticipation for the adults, too!!
  • We are going to make some super simple autograph and sticker books for our children to take with us. Simple and easy, made with scrapbooking paper and Disney stickers. It’s way more affordable than buying them in Disney, and again the preparation and creation of these is part of the joy!

 

More tips from my mom, who is the Disney Queen!!

Get to the Magic Kingdom early! Catch the bus at 8:00 am for a 9:00 am opening; the buses get crowded. You don’t want to miss the “Good Morning" welcome song and the countdown to opening! It’s part of the excitement to be there when the gates open, and you’ll enjoy much shorter lines early in the day.

We can usually get in 4 attractions before lunch since we beat the crowds. We eat lunch around 11:30 am. We do one or two more rides after lunch and then head back to our room. We come back in the early evening after dinner.

The nighttime "Illuminations" show at Epcot is our favorite! When it’s over, escape the crowds by using the back exit right next to France. A short walk will take you to Board Walk. A fun way to end the evening! To leave Boardwalk, catch a bus or the boat to connect back to MGM and take your resort bus from there.

We follow the Dave Ramsey plan even on vacation by having a written budget of the amount we will spend in each category. We prepay the things we can, and take cash envelopes for the other categories. When we use cash we are a lot more careful about spending it!

Since we’ve been to Disney so many times, we look for new things that we haven’t done before. Sometimes the most magical experiences are the unexpected. Here are a few ideas away from the crowds:

  • Take transportation to visit other resorts; have ice cream at the Grand Floridian, or enjoy lunch at Animal Kingdom. The glass walls there make you feel like you are eating with the animals. Each resort is an experience, so we like to walk around and see what each has to offer!
  • Fort Wilderness has some fun things to do away from the crowds - horseback riding, bicycling, or checkers on the front porch! This year we’re renting golf carts to drive around the area. They are only $59 for 24 hours. If you stay in Fort Wilderness until evening, you can watch the electric parade of boats from the beach area. It’s magical!
  • We’ve done the behind the scenes tour, but beware…it may spoil some of the magic! We did learn a lot of things we didn’t know.
  • Boardwalk is a fun place to visit and, depending on the time of day, you may catch some entertainment, rent a surrey (bicycle built for 4), or just enjoy some cotton candy or a drink. Be sure to check out the lobby of the Boardwalk hotel. It’s like stepping back in time!

 

Having a Partner on Your Fitness Journey

fitnesspartner I’ve been reflecting lately on my fitness journey, and how different it would be without my husband’s constant support and participation. When you grow (or shrink!!) as a person, it’s much more fun to grow right along with someone else, and that’s what we’ve done.

If you look back about 5 years, our health was not good. I mean, really not good. We ate prepackaged EVERYTHING, fast food all the time, had to buy a case of pop every time we went to the store, and thought fat free was the way to go when changing our diet. Chris even ate a bowl of ice cream every night in bed!! And I enjoyed Taco Bell and McDonalds way more than I care to admit. It worked for us and we were young, so our bodies handled that kind of abuse much better than they do now. But two years ago, I saw an announcement for an “accountability group” on FB. This intrigued me, especially after having 3 children in 3.5 years and being ready to reclaim my body. I invited my husband to try the group with me, and he declined, but he DID say that he would try drinking Shakeology every day (I was totally shocked, by the way!). Having his support is the reason I decided to try Shakeology more than once. The first time, I HATED it and had to choke it down. I saw that he wasn’t having the same experience, and he showed me what he was doing differently. Together, we learned how to make shakes that weren’t too thick and were actually delicious. We dialogued about how much more energy we had and how we noticed our cravings disappearing. And we encouraged each other to give up pop and cut way back on eating out, especially fast food.

The last two years have continued to be a fitness journey for us both, and I have loved how close it has brought us. Making positive changes together FEELS good. And we speak the same language. When I say, “Do you want a shake?” or “No bun on the burger, please” or “Let’s get a 5 today” he knows what I’m talking about. We can share frustrations and accomplishments and really understand those things because we’re in this TOGETHER.

I know that not everyone has support from their spouse when it comes to their fitness journey. That is a challenge for sure. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make changes!! I have a little advice:

1. If your partner is NOT on board, try finding a friend, relative, co-worker, etc. who WILL be your partner. Someone who wants to make healthy changes with you and will support you. Partnerships don’t have to just be at home with your spouse. 2. Share some of the benefits you’re feeling with your partner, but don’t push your new lifestyle on them. Talking about it casually will let them know how you’re doing without forcing changes on them. No one likes to be told what to do ☺ 3. Show your partner how to make small changes. Remember how it was hard for you to cut pop out of your diet cold turkey? Well, don’t expect your partner to be able to do that! Change to whole wheat bread and then start subbing in ground turkey for ground beef. Make a bigger shake than normal and send some off with your spouse when they are leaving for work. Little changes add up to big results! 4. Remember that this is your journey, not theirs. They are on their own journey. So if your partner hasn’t decided to do this with you, it doesn’t mean that they never will; the timing just isn’t right for them. Continue to be a good example of health and fitness and they will join you when they’re ready. 5. Join an accountability group, for goodness sake!! These are magical groups where amazing changes take place because you’re SURROUNDED by other people who are in the same boat as you. I see it every month: people making huge strides in their health and fitness because someone is cheering them on! The next group starts September 8th, right after Labor Day!

My son, the STAR!!

We have a great little tv show here in Central Illinois that airs right before the 5:00 pm news. It's called CI Living. This show has information, stories, and snapshots of all things Central Illinois. I have been on the show a few times now to promote healthy eating and activities, especially for children. My almost 4-year old son joined me yesterday to talk about go, slow, and woah foods. He was pretty entertaining! Let me know your thoughts! #burp

Go, Slow, and Woah Foods with Owen

Summit Top Ten Takeaways

Hi Coaches! I wanted to write a post for you guys about Summit while it is fresh in my brain! I am going to list my top 10 takeaways from Summit. Be sure to listen in tonight (Monday, July 20th) to the Transformers team call about and hear coaches give their a-ha moments from our national conference.

  1. We have the power to impact 1000's of lives with this business.  One of the presenters was an ex SWAT team member and he said he saved lives doing that job, but with Beachbody he is able to impact THOUSANDS of people who want help. That was a powerful moment for me.
  2. Live events build connection among coaches. Coaches who feel connected are more successful because they are more invested. Therefore, live events like Summit are a MUST if you want to grow a big business. Do you have your tickets for Super Saturday yet??
  3. ANYONE can do this and do it big. I repeat ANYONE. There is no secret to getting to the top. Do the 3 vital behaviors everyday, lead with the intention to help, and stay consistent. That's it. This message was said over and over and I BELIEVE it!
  4. Fear of failure holds a lot of us back. Once you push through that fear you will find success.
  5. You don't need to be savvy at social media to start, but you need to be savvy at social media to go big. The good news is that there are loads of free trainings available to you for this. One of my favorite presentations was from Jeanelle Summers. You can find her presentation in our online office. She presented at general session on day 2.
  6. Leadership happens the minute you sign your first coach. Act like a leader from the beginning.
  7. There are a lot of great products and programs being released!!  CIZE drops today. Shakeology boosts are available tomorrow--these were awesome! We were all big fans of the energize. I'm totally ordering it tomorrow!  Beachbody Performance is a new line of pre and post workout formulas. These are also available in challenge packs instead of Shakeology. Hammer and Chisel is a program that's coming out in December and features Autumn and Sagi working together to build and scupt. I'm pumped for this program!! Check out your online office in the news feed for more details about these new releases!
  8. This opportunity will change your life in every positive way if you believe in yourself and make it happen.
  9. Setting work "hours" is a must for me to create boundaries for myself and my family. I won't be available all day every day anymore :)
  10. Tell your story on social media all the time, but tell short stories first. You have to earn the right to tell long stories. This is called bread crumbing: leaving little pieces of your story all the time so your followers want more.  Then eventually you will tell a longer version. This training will be available in the online office soon!

A Few of my Favorite Things!

  favorites

 

I just got back from the store (Schnucks) and wanted to share a few of my favorite things with you guys! I will start at the back left and sort of work my way across.

  • Cold Starbucks. Enough said.
  • Triscuits-I love the brown rice versions; they have minimal ingredients and come in all sorts of flavors.
  • Peppercorn and sea salt grinders are essential for cooking :)
  • My latest favorite wine-Apothic Red. So good!
  • Blue corn tortilla chips. Check the label but most of these are clean.
  • Garden vegetable hummus. This tastes like veggie cream cheese and is exquisite!
  • Ranch seasoning packets. I especially love the fiesta flavor, and will showcase a yummy dip recipe with this soon!
  • Goat cheese is necessary for my happiness. And this kind has honey! Win!
  • Chobani yogurt Flips are amazing. Such a delicious dessert.
  • Almond butter. Such an indulgence at $11 a jar, but oh my word is it worth it!
  • Individual guacamole packets. Perfect for salads or snacking. Also, smeared on a wrap!
  • Greek yogurt cream cheese. It's a little sweeter than regular cream cheese, but is a wonderful substitute when cooking!
  • Starkist tuna packets. I bought the larger size today, but they are sell single serves, which are great for lunches.
  • Asiago cheese. It doesn't really matter what kind of cheese it is, but I always like to have a good quality, strong cheese on hand for snacking and cooking. It goes a lot further than pre-shredded cheese and you use less because the flavor is stronger.
  • KIND bars. These come in sweet or savory flavors now. My favorite is almond coconut.
  • This orzo salad is SO GOOD and is in the deli section at Schnucks.

What CANCUN Means to Me

Isn't that the most annoying title ever? Haha! It reminds me of a mandatory paper I would have had to write in 7th grade. But that title came to me today as I was scrolling FB and seeing all of my Beachbody coach friends post pictures of this AMAZING all-inclusive resort in Cancun, and the top coaches (who are already there) post pictures of themselves relaxing by the pool.  You see, every year, Beachbody offers a trip that you can earn by helping others with their health and fitness.  Not only can you earn the trip for free, but you can even earn resort credit for the spa, golf, activities, etc.  The trip is always in a tropical destination in the spring, and is a very coveted vacation because 1) it can be free, 2) there are a limited number of people allowed to go due to the size of the resort, and 3) the Beachbody perks, like working out with celebrity trainers and getting exclusive training from the top coaches in our organization. So that is a little background on what this trip is and why there is so much hype about it.  And if you're friends with a coach or two, your newsfeed will probably be full of Cancun pictures.  And guess what?  I'm totally going to post them, too!!  I'm going to post them on the way to the airport, at the airport, when we arrive, when we're by the pool, when we're working out, when we're dressed up, when, well, you get the picture, I'm sure :)  But I want to explain WHY I'm going to post them.  And more specifically, what this trip really means to me.

Going on this trip (for free, minus airfare) is not only a reward for my hard work last year, but a coming-together of people on the same mission of helping others and building their dreams.  It will be a group of DOERS, not excuse-makers.  It will be a group of healthy, happy people who build each other up and celebrate successes.  We will eat (yes, we most certainly EAT!), exercise, relax, learn, and laugh together.

This coaching business is so much more than what the nay-sayers think.  It's more than Shakeology, more than fitness programs, more than accountability groups.  It's about SUPPORT and setting and achieving your goals.  It's about having an impact on others, sometimes more than you ever thought possible.  It's about creating life-long health habits for you and your family.  And it's about BELIEVING in YOURSELF.  And THAT is what Cancun means to me :)

So over the next few days when you are feeling irritated at all of the Cancun selfies and pictures of Mexico, just remember that it's so much more than that.  And if this lifestyle of being surrounded by positivity appeals to you, or if going on vacations for free sounds amazing, I'd like to invite you to a Sneak Peek to Coaching group next week, April 20-24th.  It is all done online and there is no obligation to do anything.  Just soak up the information and think about how this opportunity could change your life!  Contact me to be added to the group!

#whynotyou  #joinme  #dreambuilders