How Do I Stay Motivated?

Eating healthy & exercise?!? That sounds terribly difficult right? I’m not here to tell you that it’s easy, it’s going to take some dedication on your part. BUT once you get started and get into a routine, I promise it gets easier to stay on track. I often get asked how I stay motivated or have people tell me they wish they had my kind of motivation. Honestly, I’m just as weak and unmotivated as each of you, the key is I’ve set myself up to succeed with multiple fail safes.

What has been most effective on this journey?

Honestly there hasn’t been just one thing. There has been a lot of trial and error.

✨Failure is often the key to success. ~Ariana Huffington✨

We tend to not give ourselves the credit we deserve. Yes there are experts out there, people who are super fit and have 5% body fat, are masters at the pull up or have run a marathon in less time than it takes me to get ready for the day, but they aren’t you. I could give you my steps to success and tell you that’s what will work BUT that’s not true because we are all different. Just like I went through, you need to go through too, the trial and error. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from people who are successful, it just means that you have to try things, figure out what works for you. We have to trust our mind and body to tell us what is or isn’t working. We have to trust that we are an expert when it comes to us! Trust I!

Don’t skip this step!

Time to evaluate. What have you done in the past and failed at?!?

What was it about that exercise or diet that didn’t work for you? Did you go all in with a commitment to 6 days at the gym and salads only? Did you decide to run on the treadmill and get bored? Did you try a dance class and realize you have two left feet? I give those examples because those are things I tried, and I had a REALLY hard time following through with. Take a minute and write down what you’ve done in the past and try to pinpoint what didn’t work but also what did work, start there. For instance, the treadmill for me used to be brutal. I learned that if I watched my favorite show while I ran the time seemed to fly by, I also learned that reading has been great for that too. While I still am not a big fan of the treadmill, I’ve figured out how to make it tolerable so that I can get that time in without a huge feeling of dread.

Below you will find some of the things that have helped me to be successful and to find the motivation to do what’s needed even when I just want to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket. Feel free to experiment with them, find your own way to tweak them and make it a working fit for you! Remember you are the only one who can decide what is going to work, you are in control of your destiny!

My Motivating Factors:

Belief In Self!

Confidence was an area I was super lacking when I first started, and I still struggle with it sometimes. I was nervous to use the machines at the gym because I was scared I was using them wrong. I was embarrassed to run on the treadmill because other people were way faster than I was. Remember every person in the gym started as a beginner too, not everyone there is an expert, even if they say they are! If you aren’t confident in yourself, I want to encourage you to dive into personal development. Read some books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, whatever you can make time for. (I recommend the podcast Operation Self Reset because he always has great tips on how to become a better version of you!) Continuing on with no belief in your ability can be detrimental.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.~Henry Ford✨

Invest in your mindset ♥

Be Realistic

If it took 20 years for you to put on 50 lbs, be realistic in knowing that one week of exercise will not likely result in instant weight loss.* If you haven’t exercised for a year, take it slow and baby step your way up to longer workout routines. Failure happens, sick days happen, sometimes you have to stop, reevaluate and be okay with taking a little longer than you expect. Be flexible but not so flexible that you lose sight of the initial goal. Getting healthy is a journey and there will be ups and downs, don’t beat yourself up, learn from them.

*One small(it’s actually kinda big) thought, if you are seeing absolutely no change in a week, don’t beat yourself up. Our bodies are complex, they will retain water or swell because of a change in routine. Sore muscles can mean inflammation. It can take weeks for your body to adapt and not fight the new changes you are making in your lifestyle. If you are sure something isn’t right, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me for help.

Talk About It

It’s a lot easier to give up on something if you’re the only one who knows you’re wanting to change. If you’ve decided to commit to following a program or have a specific meal plan, tell a friend. I say to share with a friend, someone you trust, because the world is full of criticism and not everyone you talk to is going to believe in what you are trying to change, not everyone is supportive. If you need someone to cheer you along with some positive inspiration, send me an e-mail! Just knowing I’ve committed to a program and told people about it helps me out, I don’t want to be called out for not completing it, I’m all about avoiding those awkward moments.

Accountability

Choose to surround yourself with like minded or goal oriented people and they will likely help you stay motivated. Get a workout buddy, it’s hard to say no when your partner in crime is committed too! Also, something about spending the money to sign up for a class makes it hard to skip it. I’ve been in an accountability group for the last two years and seen friends, acquaintances and friends of friends busting out and reaching for their goals. That’s inspiring!

Make a Schedule

Life happens, that makes it easy to make excuses. I don’t have time is probably the biggest bologna excuse for not being able to exercise or eat healthy that I hear almost every day. How much time do you spend scrolling on Facebook? Instagram? Watching TV? I’d like to encourage you to track your time for a week and see how you can best utilize your time to work for you.

If you look at your day and see that you could wake up a half hour earlier to workout, figure that into your schedule. If you tend to eat out schedule in time to prep your lunches for the week. If you are like me and have a fairly flexible schedule and don’t have to work out at a specific time, maybe create yourself a workout calendar or follow the calendar for a program. There is something super gratifying about being able to check off boxes and be able to count down the days till you move on to something new!

Log it

It’s easy to have a piece of candy that’s in a bowl at your work. It’s easy to eat the brownie bite that was a cook mess up in the restaurant. It’s easy to grab a snack from the vending machine because you’re hungry and its going to take longer to get home than you realized. Those little things add up. I encourage you to log your food, it’s easy to say you eat healthy and miss those little things that can put you over the amount of calories your body actually needs. For instance, I started following a portion control meal plan last year and realized how out of balance my diet was because I started tracking it. I never thought of myself as having an issue with my carb intake, and boy was I wrong. It turns out I love me some carbs. I always associated carbs as bread and pasta, I wasn’t thinking about my oatmeal and rice.

There are plenty of online calorie calculators but I recommend the portion control meal plan that comes with the 21 Day Fix. It breaks foods into categories instead of counting calories. A typical day for me consists of 3 veggies, 2 fruits, 3 proteins, 2 carbs, etc. all in a portioned amount, that’s simple for me to follow. I’m all about simple!

Reward Yourself

Last but not least!

It should be reward enough knowing that you are loosing weight and treating your body like a temple… Lets be real though, it really isn’t when you are sweating and sore and missing out on your favorite chocolaty treats! Give yourself something to fun fight for. When I decided I needed to complete my nemesis program, I told myself I would earn a fancy new pair of running shoes with custom inserts to sweeten the deal. Your reward doesn’t have to be big but it should be something you want, something you would deny yourself on a regular day. Rewards can be as simple as a kid free night out with your other half, a piece of your favorite German chocolate cake, a new workout outfit, a Fitbit tracker, you have to decide what will work for you. I suggest rewards because if you put in the work, you’ve earned a reason to treat yourself!

You should be proud of your commitment. I suggest starting small, commit to 1 week of no sugar and reward yourself with a treat day, have dessert with your healthy meal on day 7. (Or don’t and change the reward, maybe after 7 days of no sugar you’ll realize how much better you feel!) The key is to celebrate all of the small victories.

 

Moving Forward

Like I said before all of these tips are what have helped me to get on track with being healthier. Maybe you’ve found some tips that help you. I’d love to be able to try them or even share them so they can help someone else. Also, if you’ve tried any of my tips above I’d love to hear how they helped you!

 

 

Core De Force Time

#FIGHTFORIT

Laughter is the best medicine! And this morning I was laughing, A LOT!

I chose to do this program for two reasons. #1 It’s only 30 days and #2 it’s not something I’m comfortable doing as a workout. I can do anything for 30 days even if it’s really awkward.

I’ve tried a couple different MMA style workouts and my coordination is terrible, definitely not my cup of tea… I don’t have weight to loose, actually I’m happy with my body right now but that doesn’t mean I should stop here. A friend once told me that perfection was impossible, not so much with fitness but with character and she told me she felt bad if I felt I had to live that way. I took that as a challenge, I mean, who doesn’t want to be the best they can be? The work may be hard but it feels good to master something. There will always be things I will try to grow, stamina, strength, flexibility, balance and coordination are things that will help me as I continue to age. That means I need to keep pushing, keep striving for a healthier me and trying new things.

Day 1 Core De Force

Day 1

Today’s workout was MMA Speed, there was a 7 minute video to help teach you the moves before you get started. I’m grateful for that because I needed all the help I could get.

The workout was broken down into a warm up, 6 rounds of kicking booty and then a short cool down. I really liked how each round consisted of the cross, hook or knee movement and then had a speed type drill which varied from fast jabs, jumping, burpees and a couple other movements that I could do with out feeling like I needed to be on pace with the crew. You did each set twice before moving onto the next round. Oh almost forgot you get a small break between rounds too!

I have a feeling this month is going to go by quickly because Joel and Jericho are a fun pair to listen to. Between the sound effects and the whity banter, I’m feeling right at home!

#sweatieselfie No picture means it didn’t happen!

Mind Over Matter

Every month this year I have been focused on reading a book to grow my mindset. Last month was all about pushing my intensity and not making excuses, the pain of the workout is temporary. This month I am reading The Motivation Manifesto, from what I can tell so far, it’s about conquering fears, staying motivated and enjoying the freedom that comes with it. I think this is going to be a good one because posting videos of myself trying to be a ninja master, is proving to be scary!

If you are interested in the book, let me know, I have a link that you can order it for free and all you have to pay for is shipping. Plus you get a 12 week online course to follow too.

Looking For Some Extra Accountability?

Even if you feel like you’re going to be the left footed kid in the room, I promise, we all are a little left footed! Every month we run a support group, logging our workouts and sharing about our struggles and victories, nothing but positive support from us.

Try Core De Force this month with a 30 day supply of Shakeology, and then finish out the next 11 months trying all of the other amazing workout programs Beachbody has to offer. It’s a steal of a deal at $160, the special pricing is only for a limited time. Click the link below to get started!

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Insanity: Month 2

It took 10 weeks and a day, but it is finished!

This was a HARD month. Not just because the workouts were hard but because I took a couple rough emotional hits, along with getting sick for a week. I was a little bummed out at first because I worked really hard with my workouts but didn’t put my all into nutrition until the last couple of weeks. After month 1, the game plan was to fight to eat healthy and see amazing results. All in all though, I have to remember I FINISHED! It has been at least 4 years, if not 5 since I purchased and failed this program time and again. So I am proud that even though I wasn’t perfect, part of the journey is learning where your weaknesses lie and continuing to fight for growth. #onedayatatime #celebratesmallvictories

I’m writing this month out a little differently because it was a different kind of month. I want you to understand the struggles I had, I want to show you why I might not have gotten the results I anticipated. Bare with me.

February 4, 2017:

Today I lost one of my grandpa’s to cancer. Today put in perspective how important taking care of my health now is for better health later. Today made me realize how important my Coaching job is because not only do I get to help one person get healthier, I get the chance at the compounding effect of helping their family get healthier and even possibly preventing a disease that will keep their loved ones around even longer and with a better quality of life too. Tomorrow, I will push play because I know that for my mind, I need that release, I need to know that I am doing my best for my family. I am putting my best self or best effort forward because I want to be the change.

Feb 6, 2017 – M2 D1:

I AM TOAST! Fit test and Max Interval Circuit, in one day! The fit test took about 30 minutes and the next took about 60 minutes. What on earth did I get myself into?!?m2d1.jpg

Month 2 day 1

M2 W2:

Emotional stress and the stress of new routines got me down, so I surrendered. I haven’t been really sick in such a long time, I forgot how crummy it is! This crud took me down for a whole week. I am not the lounge around and do nothing type, instead of skipping all activity I made sure to take some light walks, do some relaxing yoga from the 3 Week Yoga Retreat and it was the right choice for me. That is a victory because I tend to run 15 miles when my body is only ready for 3 of them. I  tend to let my wants lead my workouts without listening to my body. Jumping around just was not an option because my cough makes me sound like there’s a donkey in the house, seriously… Being behind schedule is not my favorite thing, but I know my body needs it. So Week 2 started a week late.

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February 21, 2017:

My other grandpa, Papa, had a debilitating stroke today. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and also dementia and before I was able to get out to visit, the stroke put him into a coma. He’s being made comfortable till it’s time for him to go. This is especially hard.

We spent 2 days at the hospital and while I would love to be able to say I stayed strong through this… I had cookies, I had jelly beans, I snacked on junk food. I missed a workout. I know none of that helped me feel better.  At least my meals were healthy. On the first day at the hospital I made an effort to snack healthy. Alas the emotional eats grabbed hold, and of course I didn’t want to document those failures.

Insanity Foods 2

M2 W3:

I’m starting to get a hold of my emotions again. I have the kind of sweet tooth that if you feed it sugar for a few days, it turns into a nasty monster. It’s a really difficult habit for me to break. For this last week I’d say I ate 85% good foods, this next week I’m aiming to do better. It’s crazy what one week can do to change your body. Please note the tasty foods above, soo good! Why don’t I do prep like this more often?!?  I’m realizing that summer is coming soonish. It’s taking longer than I’d like but I’m happy for extra prep time. I have a week of workouts left and I’m looking forward to a change in routine! Shorter workouts, yes please!

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5 Days Left!!!!

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Almost done!

It has been one heck of a ride, almost enough bumps to make me want to quit. My mind needed to be in a better place and I know that to get there I need to read. I finished the book “Failing Forward” and it was very motivating. I started reading another book but it just wasn’t doing the trick, it was actually bogging me down. Then I found Spartan Up! and if you haven’t read it but have big fitness or life goals even, this is a MUST READ! I read the prologue and didn’t want to get off the treadmill because I felt like I could conquer the world! Mindset is everything! If you are in a rut of plugging along unsatisfied with where you are going, you have to choose to make the change. You have to choose to invest in yourself, because no one else can do the work for you! This book has been a game changer for me this week.#AROOAROOAROO

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FINISHER!!!

Please tell me you see the difference in the Fit Tests?!? I am so stoked! Between Fit Test 2&3 I wasn’t sure I was going to continue seeing any progress because I felt like I was pushing my hardest and unable to go any harder, then the next one came along and I got a little better, and a little better. There’s one part on the Fit Test video where Shaun T asks Chris how he felt during his test now vs how he felt the first time, I can’t remember the exact wording but he said that he felt just like he did the first time. Each time you are pushing yourself to do a higher number of reps, so each time you’re going to feel like you’re dying but you’re likely to keep seeing progress! #strongereveryday

I have to give a shout out to everyone in my Accountability Group this month. When I struggled they were there, seeing them continuing to fight the good fight, made me keep pushing forward. Success comes with a plan and I made sure I was ready from the beginning. Some of the things that helped me succeed:

  • Accountability- I’m just like everyone else, we love positive reinforcement. We love to do good and see good. Surround yourself with like minded or goal oriented people and it’s hard to fail because they aren’t.
  • Following a Schedule- I have had the big workout calendar sitting in my box of Insanity dvd’s since I bought it. I have never written on it because I wasn’t fully committed. I didn’t want to risk half way doing it and then have to look at my uncompleted calendar.
  • Being Realistic- Failure happens, sick days happen, sometimes you have to stop, reevaluate and be okay with taking a little longer than you planned. Be flexible but not so flexible that you lose sight of the initial goal.
  • Talking About It- It’s easy to lie to yourself, not so easy to lie to others. I blasted about Insanity for the last two months. If I would have stopped, people would have known I failed and possibly could have called me out, I’m not about awkward moments.
  • Believing In Myself- *Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right. Henry Ford* I went into this thinking I was ready because I had completed many other programs. Insanity is just another one, and I did it!
  • Rewards- Mama wants a new pair of shoes! Not only am I going to be rocking my well earned Insanity t-shirt, I am going to buy myself a new pair of running shoes because I finished. If you are struggling with the thought of 60 days, choose a shorter program to start, earn a reward every week. It doesn’t have to be big, some people do a new pair of workout pants, a fitbit, a dinner out with the hubs, something you will be excited about earning other than the long term reward of being healthier.

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Progress doesn’t have to be pounds lost, or muscles gained. I saw progress in ability and flexibility also. The first time Shaun T had us do the low lunge stretch, I couldn’t get this low. I was barely lower than a regular side lunge. Now, to continue moving forward with flexibility…

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Measurements & Pics

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I honestly didn’t see those results coming, that’s why it is important to take before and after pictures and measurements. I honestly can’t remember my waist was that small. I’m taking that non scale victory because that’s what counts to me. I was surprised I made it under 139 too, I know I lost a little bit of arm muscle so I’m not going to count that as a victory because I am going to work on building up these guns again.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel-

This was my most challenging program yet. I experienced adversity, and I prevailed! Knowing that I have finished Insanity tells me that I can finish any program I set out to try, if I want it bad enough. This tells me that I can FINISH that half marathon I am planning to run in June, and I can run the whole thing. Confidence is grown by experience, and my confidence is soaring right now.

So what’s next? I’m going to continue on my running program. I’m also going to do 3 weeks of the 21 Day Fix and the 3 Week Yoga Retreat. Strength training and flexibility done in an hour, that’s what I’m talking about! Oh, and yes, I’ve already submitted for my finisher’s shirt and I can’t wait to rock it ❤

Ready for some accountability next month?!?

Fill out the form below and tell me what your goals are, are you ready to commit to changing? Don’t worry, unless you want to, I won’t make you do Insanity. We will find you the perfect program to get started with. I will get back to you within a couple of days.

1 Month of Insanity, DONE!

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#StrongerEveryDay

When I started this round of Insanity I had a complete mental block, I have owned it for more years than I can remember and started without finishing it multiple times. So yes, I was excited to learn that day 1 was the fit test, I had it in my mind that it would be a fit test and a workout. Imagine how excited I was when I thought I only had 4 moves to do… Ended up being eight, oops the card is front and back! I was looking at the clock during move 4 and wondering how this move was going to last an extra 10 minutes. I’ve never claimed to be observant, just sayin.

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This has been one heck of a bumpy adventure but I have learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I do best on a fit test if I’m warmed up, I’ve learned that though I thought I sweat a lot before, I really do sweat more with this program than any other I’ve ever done! I thought my body had adapted to the tomato affect, but apparently I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough… (note: tomato affect in above photo)

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Every day was a struggle to want to press play. Working on my mindset has been crucial for my success so far. I finished the book “Push” by Chalene Johnson, which is about goal setting and planning to make them happen. Now I’m reading “Failing Forward,” which has proved to be my biggest motivator yet. The whole concept of the book is that if you are beat by failure, you missed the point, you missed to opportunity for growth. So many successful people are successful because they try and try again, always changing and growing towards bigger and better things. All of my failures with Insanity pushed me to do different things. I feel like though this adventure is hard, I’ve been able to grow and am ready to beat this!

Month 1 was actually 5 weeks because Shaun T was so nice as to include a “recovery week” between the first and second month. I’m not really big on recovery time because it seems like anytime someone does recovery it’s lots of looooong holds. I don’t like them Sam I Am. I prefer to bust out and get it done, but I realize that is something I am weak in and need to work on. Personally, I think if I were to do this program again, I would probably skip that week and just jump right into month two. I say that because they bump up from 35-40 minute routines to 50+ minutes each day. I’m proud of the progress I’ve seen already but would like to see a little more fat loss at the end of month 2.

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Month 1 Measurements & Progress

1/2 Marathon Training

In the midst of Insanity, I came up with the ingenious idea that I needed to throw in training for my half marathon too. It hasn’t been very consistent training but I’ve been managing to get at least 2 days of running in each week. The first week was rough because I added in waiting tables too and my feet had a fit. My run days are now days that I don’t work because running miles, Insanity and walking at work is too much for my little tootsies. I will do better next month, 3 days running is non-negotiable.

While my mind and lungs are good with running 3 miles at a time, I am going to be following a 10k interval training program. It starts with a 5 minute walking warm up and then does a bit of running, a bit of walking off and on for the time allowed and then another 5 minutes walking to cool down. The running times increase the further into the training program you get. I’m hoping that will give me the edge needed to minimize injury.

Changes for next month?

One thing I lagged on this month was nutrition. Abs are made in the kitchen. I didn’t do terrible but I definitely could have done better. I am a sugar addict, this sweet tooth will let me eat almost a whole cake without satisfaction. Once I get of track it’s hard to get back on. I am returning to the Saturday cheat day because I know that allowing myself a day to have goodies gives me something to look forward to and I’m a lot less likely to cheat during the week.

I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for Month 2, bring it Shaun T!

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My Journey FINISHING Insanity

So I haven’t finished yet. I actually just started but this goal setting stuff I’ve been doing lately has got me pumped on positives! Say it’s happening and it will. Leave no wiggle room! 

Let me give you a little back story as to why I’m FINISHING Insanity. I bought this program years ago. I was going to use it to get wedding ready. But, I quit and honestly didn’t feel as amazing in my dress as I do in it now. I’ve started this program a few times and never finished it. I am determined this round, I WANT THAT T-SHIRT! I feel like I’ve reached a point in my life where I can do this. I have conquered Insanity Max:30, which is comparably difficult. I have also conquered multiple Spartan Races

Yet, I still have an immense fear of this program. I’m tired of making excuses because I know that they don’t get me anywhere. I know that hiding behind fear in the past has made me miss out on all sorts of fun things. A few summers ago we went out on our friend’s boat. Troy is awesome at wake boarding and I was invited to try multiple times but I couldn’t muster up the courage to try. The following summer  we went out again and I decided to quit being fussy and just do it! I HAD SO MUCH FUN! I could have learned a year earlier and had more chances to play if I hadn’t been so full of fear. That and many more instances are what drives me to finish Insanity this time. I WILL BE beaming with pride come the end of February! #unstoppable 

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Insanity and Insanity Max:30 are all about pushing yourself for growth. It’s not about looking at the other guy, it’s looking in the mirror and fighting to strengthen that person! I still remember the first time I did the fit test… Everyone starts somewhere right? 

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One day down, 59 to go. I’ve got this! 

Be sure to check back and call me out if I’m slacking on giving you updates. 😘

Peanut Butter Puppy Treats

Not only is my health important but so is the health of my family. My pups are included in that. I actually had to put my girls on doggie diet food because they were putting on too much weight. (Yes, I know we need to go on walks more often.) Since I’ve become a stay at home mom, they are exposed to more food droppings in the kitchen. (I’m a messy cook!) I’ve since discovered that they love broccoli as much as I do. 😍

But the whole point to this is that my girls have become a little spoiled with the boys and I being home all the time. We are going to be working on some behavior issues. They are food motivated dogs, so it shouldn’t be hard to break these bad habits. Although, keeping them out of the kitchen might mean I have to sweep more often.

I used to buy treats at the store and cut them up into small pieces for training. I don’t like buying the store bought dog treats anymore because I learned that they have a lot of unnecessary filler and stuff that isn’t necessarily good for dogs. A friend of mine gave me a recipe for treats a while back and I decided to tweak it for a couple of reasons. Reason number one, wheat doesn’t agree with my girls, it tends to make them gassy. And number two, since my diet is vegan, not saying my dogs are vegan, I just don’t keep cow milk in my fridge. So tweaking was done and my pups seem to approve. Dogs love coconut so I figured why not use coconut flour and coconut milk to give them an extra dose of love?!?

Ingredients:

  • 2 C coconut flour (you could use wheat)
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1 C unsweetened coconut milk (you could use cow milk)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

First step: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Mix all ingredients. Add a little more milk if mixture is too dry. Next time I’ll probably add a little more milk.


Cut into little treats for training purposes or big ones just for puppy lovins, or you could roll them into small balls and smoosh with a fork. They don’t spread out much when the baked so you can space them pretty closely together on the cookie sheet.


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and let cool. Store excess treats in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use. Otherwise keep in an airtight jar in a cool place for easy access. All good girls deserve treats!

Happy Tails!

I think the best part about these treats is there are only 4 ingredients and super fast and easy to make. The amount of treats I got out of this batch should last for a couple of months without having to make more. Plus my girls seem to like them. After they ate their man cookies they were licking the floor for every crumb they could find! Hope your pups like them as much as mine do. ❤

Why did I decide to go Vegan, again?

There are 3 core reasons for what made me change my mind about eating animal products. If you’ve known me for a long time, you have seen me go from vegetarian as a teenager, back to meat eater, then to vegetarian/vegan in my mid 20s, then to a farm girl who raised her own cows for slaughter and now back again to full vegan. Each change was drastic and each had it’s own reason. I decided to go vegetarian when I was a teenager because I loved animals, but I decided I missed jerky too much. Peta was a huge influence when I decided to go vegan the first time, their videos get you right in the heart if you have any kind of love for animals. Then I moved back to family property and raised baby chickens, goats and baby cows. I know I change my mind about things like my underwear but I feel this change is permanent because it’s not just a small conviction, it’s multiple large ones that have huge impact in my life.

If you have followed my health journey for the last couple of years, you may have seen how important I have made protein in my life. You may have seen me carb cycling and eating chicken or some sort of protein 6 times a day. Let me tell you, I am glad I’m done with that! But I digress…

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My 3 Reasons:

  1. I want to be healthy and disease free for as long as I possibly can.
  2. I have a HUGE love for animals and our beautiful planet.
  3. I love God and want to follow his rules, I’m pretty sure his rules are meant for my own good.

None of those are in order of importance, they are equally important to me. That is why I feel I will continue with this lifestyle for the rest of my life. Plus, did you see the food above? So many flavors and nothing beats fresh produce ❤ When I was thinking about going vegan, all I could think about was how much I would miss cheese. I slowly started removing it, for instance, I would get a taco salad and opt for no cheese. Eventually it became second nature and I no longer crave it. There are so many food options, or alternatives to cheese that are different but flavorful and delicious too.

#1 For My Health and My Families…

Yes, I promise I am, and they are, getting enough protein. Lets skip that topic right now though. Lets talk about bacon, yes, smoky, tasty bacon and how it is related to smoking cigarettes. The World Health Organization (The WHO) released a report that processed meat has a carcinogenic effect. In case you don’t know carcinogens cause cancer. Processed meats are classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, that is the same group as smoking cigarettes and asbestos exposure. Sure I dabbled and tried cigarettes when I was a teen but seeing my Grandma die because of cancer that started in her lungs, turned me off of that right away. After seeing the WHO’s report I quit processed meats too. Processed meats can be bacon or sausages, smoked, salted or even fermented meats. The WHO isn’t just a small research place, they are who all medical fields look to, in the US and throughout the world. Even the American Cancer Society is taking their claim seriously. They aren’t blasting it because they still want all the money people donate. If cancer goes away they lose their funding. But that’s a topic for another day. Besides most processed meats are loaded with fat, bacon and sausage in point, which is not healthy for you to begin with. By all means though, if just one cigarette here and there is okay, so is bacon on everything right? No, it’s really not…

Digestive wise, I had a friend ask me about my poop. I know, I know, tmi but when I was raising my own beef, I was eating it regularly. I ended up going to the hospital once thinking I had appendix issues, turned out I just needed to go. Haven’t had that problem since changing my diet. My husband used to have IBS(irritable bowel syndrome) and since we have gone to a vegan diet he no longer has issues either. Did you know that it can take up to 8 days to digest meat? It is literally rotting in your guts, gag!


And now the elusive protein. Really it isn’t as elusive as you’d think. If you are eating whole grains and meat and dairy, chances are you are getting too much. Too much protein can cause weight gain and can even be hard on your kidneys. How much do you need? I can tell you that my goal for protein intake is between 45-80 grams a day. The average woman is around 46 a day. Let me break down an average day of meals for you and show you how easy it is for me to meet my low protein goal.

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal(7g) with chia seeds(5g), walnuts(5g) and apples.
  • Lunch: Salad with veggie burger patty(7g), pumpkin seeds(5g)
  • Snack: Vegan Shakeology(16g), 1 c coconut milk(5g)
  • Dinner: Whole grain pasta(7g) with cashew sauce(5g), broccoli(4g)
  • Total = 66g protein
  • Without my Shakeology = 45g protein

I used to love omelettes, 3 eggs(18g), ham (14g) and cheese(14g), plus the toast(10g)… Crazy to think I had already met my protein goal before lunch. No wonder I had extra pounds. No wonder I always used to complain about having an upset stomach.

57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan Check out this website for even more reasons why.

Another interesting read.

#2 My Love of Nature

I have always loved animals. My dream as a youngun was to become a veterinarian, but I didn’t have the drive to commit 8 years to schooling after high school. So that was left in dream land. I have had all sorts of pets, from dogs to ball pythons, to horses and turtles.

It’s kind of funny, in all the time that I spent growing up in Hood River, I don’t think I ever really appreciated the nature that surrounded me until a visit back to my parents house. I never realized how close Mt. Hood was and how big and beautiful it was until driving back up there after living in the Portland area. I got used to seeing it’s view through the city, which is pretty in it’s own way. There is just something about driving down a two lane highway and coming around a bend of fruit trees and the mountain peak taking up the whole skyline. It’s just awesome.

I was given the opportunity to move back to the country and that gave me a new appreciation for nature. Going on the trails via horseback and riding through a field of wild flowers, then finishing it with a beautiful view of 3 of the closest mountain tops is a memory I will always cherish.  You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, really is true. Living in the country gave me a new appreciation for the balance of life. The balance of nature and how the ecosystem of cats hunting mice, coyotes keeping gray digger populations under control and wild turkeys keeping the bugs at bay, all work together.

I feel that all of these experiences have brought me even more insight as to why eating dairy and large farmed animals is wrong. I raised bottle calves, from a dairy farm across the river. As much as I tried to baby my babies, things went wrong, their health was compromised because they were taken away from their mom’s so that they could sell the milk. As hard as I tried, I know that the babes I raised would have been bigger and stronger if they had been with their mom. The ones I lost probably would have made it with their mom’s too. The two farms I would buy from were pretty good about making sure babies got the first of the colostrum. Though the little babies were kept in little areas and were alone except for feeding times. The mamas were pulled from their babes and you always knew that you were close to the farm because of the smell of manure from quite a ways down the road. Dairy isn’t very humane. Dairy isn’t very environmentally friendly either. I sure loved those babies though.

Environmentally speaking, did you know that 1 pound of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water, which includes irrigation of the grains and grasses in feed, plus water for drinking and processing? Americans are projected to eat just under 56 lbs of beef this year. Last year America’s population was 322,762,018, which will be even larger this year, that equals 17,945,568,200.8 lbs of beef to be consumed?!? That means we are using 32,284,077,193,239.2 gallons of water a year just for cows! That’s in the trillions, I can’t even fathom that number. Can you imagine if that water was used for the many people who have no water? The little children in Africa? The people suffering in Syria right now?!? These numbers don’t even take into consideration how much water is used for pork or dairy or poultry… It saddens me to think about us craving a burger more than we consider the life of another human being. And we wonder why California is in a drought.

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That just addresses the water issue. That doesn’t address the inhumane treatment of animals going to slaughter, the inhumane treatment of animals before slaughter. If you have time, I encourage you to look into where your animal products come from. I’m willing to bet that you seeing calves dragged away from their mothers as their mother screams and chases after them will sadden you too. Seeing little piglets have their tails clipped off because they are in such small quarters that when they grown they will eventually start eating each other. Even the baby chicks going into the grinder alive because they are boys and won’t produce eggs sickens me. That burger is no longer guilt free to me because I am informed. As much as I don’t wish anyone to have to see animals to suffer, I know that education is the only way people change. Even then, sadly people will watch those videos and not care but will be upset when they see a starved horse or a beaten dog. They are all animals and they all feel. And that is one reason I will not eat meat or drink milk anymore. That’s not to say I am perfect, I struggle and still sneak in a Cinnabon here and there. That just tells me I need to be stronger and get better at controlling my sweet tooth. I also need to learn how to make my own bomb cinnamon rolls at home(and not eat the whole pan.)

#3 The Bible

Last but not least, I believe God has a plan for us. He wants us to be healthy and treat our bodies like temples. I believe that by following a plant based diet, along with exercising and not drinking alcohol, I am working towards the goal of being a temple. ♥16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-7♥  There is no doubt in my mind that you are what you eat and if you are eating unhealthy foods, your body and mind will reflect that.

I believe that the diet he intended for us from the very beginning is the diet we should be sticking to.  ♥And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” Genesis 1:29♥

Yes, I know that since Noah meat was given as food. If you read Leviticus 11 you will see that there are clean and unclean meats. Interesting to see that pigs are an unclean meat, just sayin… The one thing I think is neglected when people see that we can eat meat is that you aren’t supposed to eat the blood. ♥ 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. Genesis 9:2-4♥ (see also Leviticus 17) The Bible gives specific directions on how to cook meat so the blood is not in it anymore but to be honest it seemed like a lot of work and the blood is really what gives the meat its flavor. Plus all of the genetically modified cancer causing feeds are still used. So I’ll stick with my vegan eats.

You can choose to believe what the Bible says or not. Personally when so many things; medical studies, environmental studies, and the reduced lifespan of people from biblical times all point to eating meat as our downfall, I’m going to take that as a sign that change is needed.

Change is Hard

Like I said before, deciding to go vegan brought a lot of mental challenges. I had to battle my mind by making small changes. The very first thing we quit was pork. That was tough in the sense that gelatin is in EVERYTHING. Just last night I found some lotion that had gelatin in it.(Oh and by the way, I have found vegan marshmallows that I think are better than regular ones.) The second to go was beef, then chicken and then dairy. One step at a time is my life motto. And being able to forgive myself for slip ups, and continue to push to do better makes this lifestyle do able. I’ve gotten better at finding vegan options for EVERYTHING too. Cashews are this girls best friend!

If you’re interested in making the change and need favorite substitutes or recipes, I’d be MORE THAN happy to help!

 

 

 

Vancouver Area Skate Parks

Growing up I remember Hood River doing lots of fund raising to have a skate park. I remember all the wooden ramps and boxes and everything being made as cheap as they could but I always thought it was an awesome place to be during my teen years. Now I look at the parks here and think, WOW! They have since upgraded the Hood River park and it’s super nice, I’ll have to take my boys there some time. No I didn’t skateboard, I wasn’t that cool, I loved my roller blades though. I actually still have them in my closet now. Maybe I’ll bust them out and take them to the park with the boys, after I buy knee, elbow and any other pad I can find along with a helmet. Getting hurt sucks but the healing process is worse now that I’m older.

My boys, mostly Damien at the moment is obsessed with riding his scooter at the skate park. So much so that he is now on his third and most expensive one. This summer we decided that we would try out as many different parks as we could and while we only ended up making it to 6 new ones, I think they had a lot of fun exploring the new places. Google didn’t give us a lot of new places. I think only two popped up in our search and one wasn’t even a skate park lol. This is what made me decide to write about our local parks. I know there’s got to be other Moms and Dads who want to take their kids to the parks but want to make sure they are 1) safe and 2) have a bathroom, or maybe that they are big enough their kids won’t get bored in 5 minutes.

Here’s what I found. Hope it helps someone out. Plus I enjoy sharing pictures and videos of my handsome dudes 😉

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La Center

Bathroom: Yes

Water Fountain: Yes

Other Amenities: Yes, playground, picnic tables, splash pad (seasonal), baseball fields, paved walking path.

Our home park, I may be a little partial to this one because it’s so close. All in all it’s got a table top, steps, grinding rails, a gap and a 1/4 pipe. This park isn’t really big, it’s actually more of a strip, sometimes it gets a little crowded. But if you have smaller kids there are other activities to keep the little ones busy with. Since my boys are older I like to take advantage of the walking path and either running or taking my pups on a walk.

Battle Ground

Bathroom: Yes

Water Fountain: Yes

This park is my boy’s favorite! If there’s one they ask to go to it’s this. This park has many ramps, rails, bowls, a dome? looks like a bowl on it’s side (like I said, I’m not the cool kid who knows all the tech stuff,) boxes, stair sets. It’s a good sized park. We’ve only been a few times and it hasn’t been overly crowded. Lots of seating. One thing I’d like to point out is that there isn’t any shade. Which I consider to be a good thing because it’s an open space. Seems like the shaded parks are “shady” and I’m not keen on going to those ones.

Sadly I can’t find the pictures or video I took here. I’ll work on getting some again. Until then, this is a picture that I found on Google maps taken by Nick Williams.

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Woodland

Bathroom: Port-potty

Water Fountain: Not by skate park but near playground.

Other Amenities: Park is located right next to Horseshoe lake, paved walking path, playground within  walking distance, covered picnic areas, plumed toilets at park.

This would be my boy’s second favorite park. Could be because it’s only a 6 minute drive from our house. I see us spending more time here next summer. This park has a large bowl, multiple boxes, a step set, rails and a few ramps. They even have a few benches to sit on instead of sitting in your car, although, you could sit in you car and watch from there because the parking is right next to it, which will be good for colder dry days.

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See, I’m there too!

 

Ridgefield

Address: 108 N 3rd Ave, Ridgefield, Wa 98642

Bathroom: No

Water Fountain: No

Other Amenities: Basketball hoop, gazebo, picnic table and benches.

This is a small park. It’s a fairly blank slate with only a small grinding box, one set of stairs and a few small ramps. There is lots of room for kids to scooter around on the pavement though. Probably not for kids looking to bust out big tricks. One thing I forgot until I watched this video, it’s very loud! Lol.

Vancouver

We visited a few different parks in Vancouver. I figured there would be a park closer to down town Vancouver but I still haven’t found one. Seems like a logical place for one but I guess not.

Address: Swift Skate Park, 2361 E 4th Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98663

Bathroom: Possibly but we didn’t need one.

Water Fountain: No

Other Amenities:  Paved walking paths, picnic tables.

Typical skate park, lots of graffiti and the people were hanging out smoking cigarettes. Wasn’t very clean. Thankfully the day we went there were only a few people there. My boys were the only ones using the park. Has a few stair sets, 2 bowls, table tops and lots of ramps. There was one short rail my son could use, I believe there is a hand rail to use too, but I can’t remember for sure.

swift-park

 

Address: Park at Endeavor Elementary School,

Bathroom: No

Water Fountain: Yes, but it wasn’t working when we were there.

Other Amenities: Small playground, soccer field, paved walking path, picnic tables.

This park was SUPER small! It was nice pit stop before we went to get groceries. There was a small rail, and two boxes with a small ramp to table top in between. Definitely nothing to write home about.

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Love that Damien was showing his brother something. Love when they get along, even if it’s only for a minute or two.

 

Address: Pacific Community Park, 1501 Ne 164th Ave, Vancouver, WA 98684

Bathroom: Yes

Water Fountain: Not sure

Other Amenities: Playground, soccer field, basketball court, covered picnic area, dog park across the parking lot.

The boys really liked this park, they had some really big drop ins but I didn’t like all the language and the kids smoking cigarettes next to me. One little boy, between the boys ages was swearing while talking to me, who does that? We went there during a peak time I think but all in all the park was really neat. Big bowl and a small course with steps, rails and ramps. James jumped his first stair set here. I think next time we come here it will be during school hours, one of the many benefits of homeschooling.

 

That’s all Folks!

If you live in the Vancouver area and know of a park that we haven’t been to yet, get in touch with me here or on Facebook. I’d love for you to share. If you see that there is some equipment I forgot to mention at any of the places I shared, let me know, like I said I’m not a pro. Just a mom excited to see her kiddos conquer new things!

 

Mission: De-clutter & De-stress

I LOVE STUFF!

I LOVE BARGAINS!

I HATE PASSING UP A GOOD DEAL!

I HATE A MESSY HOUSE!

I’ve learned that all of those things don’t coexist well together. My youngest son is 10 years old and he’s the ultimate example of clutter and disorganized chaos. Sad part is I’ve taught him that. I’ve taught him that we need all these clothes and all of these toys and all of this junk that he’s probably played with once since he’s owned it. After going through their room and purging toys and clothing I’ve decided to take a better look at our whole house. The clutter is everywhere. Look at our game closet for crying out loud!

I purged a bunch of games a few months ago. I figured since playing Dora the Explorer Candyland wasn’t cool anymore, we could probably eliminate that one. Yesterday I decided to purge again. There are games that I love that no one else wants to play (Pictionary, I have 3 versions of the game in hopes of getting someone to play with me but no,) and games that others love that I don’t want to play (Monopoly, was fun on Sega, not so much in real life.) So I pulled out even more games. The above picture is the start of reorganizing that closet.

My garage has become the catch all. Everything that I’m going to put in a yard sale, everything that is going to be used later, everything that I really don’t need goes there. I don’t even want to share a picture of that but yikes here goes! How embarrassing! Just in case you’re wondering the table full of things is actually yard sale prep, I’m working on it I promise.

I have multiple totes full of Christmas decoration, Halloween decorations and every other possible holiday that I don’t decorate for anymore because life is too busy to worry about those things. I have boxes of books that I plan to read some day. James has 3 bicycles, why because I haven’t gotten rid of the old ones.Two saddles and no horse, in my defense saddles are expensive and when you find one you like you should hang onto it, but two?  I have hundreds of CDs and DVDs and craft supplies and old t-shirts that are supposed to be a project someday. Why do I keep holding onto these THINGS? Why do I keep filling empty closets and shelves with STUFF that I haven’t used in over a year?

It’s TIME for a CHANGE!

One day at a time, one room at a time, one closet at a time I plan to eliminate the stuff in my life that makes my house feel messy and makes me feel stressed out because I need to clean all of that up.

The Rules

  • If you haven’t used it in OVER 6 months, get rid of it! Of course winter clothes and things of that sort are a give in, who wants to buy new winter gear every year (expensive!)
  • If you have more than one, get rid of it!
  • If it’s broken, get rid of it!
  • If it’s not yours, return it!
  • If you have saved it just in case you might, chances are if you haven’t used it, you can get rid of it!
  • Do you LOVE it or NEED it to make life easier? If not, get rid of it!

Lets get started!

Get 4 boxes ready to throw stuff in as you go through things, or if you’re like me 2 piles and 2 bags. A spot for the things to be put away, a box/bag to be given away or donated, a spot for the things to store and a bag for the stuff that is just garbage.

This round of purging everything that I decide I don’t need is going to be a yard sale item, then donated if it didn’t sell because it’s got to go!

Day 1: Storage Closets- Hallway Closets, the coat closet, the game closet and the towel and linen closets. Why do I need multiple sets of sheets for my bed? I have a washing machine, time to get rid of them. Do I need 15 hand towels? No. How about 5 spare pillows? We rarely have people sleep over, I think I can narrow that down to 2. How many jackets do I really need? Yes the pacific northwest has crazy weather but I think I can narrow it down to a rain coat and a light weight jacket, snow coat doesn’t count (thank you winter clothes.)

Day 2: Kitchen- Get rid of all the appliances you don’t use like the citrus juicer, the funny shaped waffle iron that is difficult to clean and has only been used once. I have 4 glass Pyrex dishes that are exactly the same, I’m getting rid of 2 of those. I have pans that are scratched up that I don’t use. I need to get rid of them so I can make room for new ones. Get rid of the canned for that is probably expired, while you’re at it look at the condiments in your fridge too!

Day 3: Bathrooms- I’ve decided to go minimal with my makeup these days, that’s my personal preference. Do I still need 6 shades of brown eye shadow, six shades of purple, etc? No. Get rid of the perfume your aunt gave you that you don’t use but feel guilty getting rid of it because it was a gift. I tend to collect lotions and then decide I don’t like them but they’re still there. Do you REALLY need it?

Day 4: Bedroom Closets/dressers- I love shoes and dresses. Why do I have so many that I haven’t worn since 2 years ago? I’m a pack rat, guilty as charged. I tell myself I’ll sell it and then it sits there, don’t be a me, get rid of it. Clean out the little knickknacks that you’re storing under your bed because they were your Grandma’s. What good are they if you aren’t using them? They are only things and your kids won’t appreciate them like you do anyway.

Day 5: Living Room- I loved movies, so much so that I bought and bought and bought and only watched one time, maybe two. If you can rent it or watch it on Netflix, it’s time to let it go. Do you have books on the shelf that you’ve read and are hanging on to them? Libraries were invented so you don’t have to buy and store books. Unless you’re using them for reference regularly let them go. Magazines? Let them go.

Day 6: Take a Break and forget about it for today! Everyone needs a break, I get it. I’ll be enjoying my family today because the goal of this challenge is to be able to spend more time with them and less time with my stuff.

Day 7: Outside stuff/garage- Get rid of broken tools, quit using the garage for storage when you could be using it for your car or home gym or workshop to build a fort with your kids. Remember the rules and stick to them here too.

Ready to start your own de-cluttering challenge?

Click the image below to join us August 29th-September 4th.

Clutter Challenge

Be on the look out for an UPDATE!

I’ll be sharing my house and garage transformation September 5th! 🙂

 

 

Get skinny quick? There’s no such thing.

I apologize in advance, I get a little heated and emotional in this posting. I’m not meaning to call anyone out and say anything bad about anyone, just being frank. I truly want to help everyone and I sort of have a thing for tough love sometimes. It’s the Coach in me, what can I say. Thinking about people I care about who have passed away too young because they smoked or just didn’t take care of themselves hurts. I don’t wish that hurt on anyone…

Last week I had the pleasure of handing out books for my church at the fair. I got to talk to all different kinds of people all while spending time with my husband and son.

While I was there I noticed something that really upset me, it seemed like maybe 1 in 10 people weren’t overweight. Carl Daikeler had mentioned something about this when I was in Nashville last month and it didn’t really hit me until I was in public. Apparently I’m such a home body that I’m not very observant when I go to the grocery store, I’m always on a mission to get in and get out.

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I know the picture isn’t very good but it says that  in the United States alone, 70+% of adults over the age of 29 are overweight or obese. That correlates to 220 million people in the US.

I can’t help but feel angry when I hear about miracle weight loss cures or skinny wraps or the get skinny quick diets. (I have tried many of those options by the way.) The one thing I LOVE about this company is that they aren’t selling a quick fix. It’s all about eating right and exercise. Those to me are the bottom line of health. It’s hard work but in the end it’s worth it. Sure those quick fixes might yield results but they won’t last. When you go from eating crap food and lounging on the couch to a skinny pill and then back to the same crap diet and the same activity, what do you expect? Sorry tough love Darci came out right there. I just get so upset because I see so many people suffering with diabetes, suffering with immobility, suffering with anxiety, suffering with depression and SO MANY other sicknesses, most of those things can be managed if not made better by eating healthy and exercise. It’s easy to take a pill to fix those things, but what’s the cost on your body? Did you know that your guts have good bacteria that aid digestion and taking one round of antibiotics can throw that whole ecosystem off? I know it’s hard but it’s got to be a lifestyle change.

Before I get a bunch of hate mail hear me out. I’m not body shaming, I’m not saying you shouldn’t love the skin you’re in. What I am trying to say is that HEALTH is important. For the record, skinny doesn’t mean healthy. Health to me is being able to play with my kids. Health is FEELING good, not having an upset stomach 24/7, not having to the hospital because you think you’re appendix is going to burst when you’re really just plugged up (yeah that happened to me.) Health is treating your body like a temple because that’s how it should be treated.

I’m not saying that you have to workout every day, I’m not saying you only get to eat lettuce. I’m saying get active, go for walks or hikes. Play tag with your kids. Dance it off. Start small and work your way up. Do something active that you enjoy and eat clean. Stay away from the processed stuff, and treat your self on occasion. Treats are meant to be just that, it’s not meant to be a daily part of our diet. PS when I say diet, I don’t mean starve yourself, I mean eating food because that is a diet.

What am I really getting at here? ACCOUNTABILITY! I know how hard it is to commit to exercising. How hard it is to eat healthy when everyone you’re surrounded by is stuffing down bacon cheeseburgers and french fries, and gooey cheese covered nachos. That’s why these groups are such a success. They are FREE to join, yes I said free, and you get to socialize with people who are working towards a goal of getting healthier themselves. You get to share you struggles, share your wins and we have nothing but support for you. This month I will be hosting multiple groups to help get you on track.

Beachbody is even willing to pay you to workout and drink your superfoods starting September 5th!(Beachbody Health Bet) I’m so stoked for that. If that isn’t good enough, they are also giving away $1000 a day to one lucky person that posts a minute long video of themselves with someone else/family doing Country Heat (now thru August 31st.) If there’s a program to get you started, I’m telling you Country Heat is a blast! I am excited to help more people get on track and feeling good about themselves, feeling good as themselves, you know what I mean?

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you need help, sign up, join the bet! Get in touch with me on here or Facebook and I’ll get you added to whatever group will support you the best.

Remember: I love you. You are strong. You are beautiful. And YOU can do anything you set your mind to!