Embrace the Silence

Sometimes life moves by so quickly, and we get so involved and busy with things, we don’t take a moment just to live in the moment, or even just sit in silence. Being present for quiet moments is extremely important to our overall well-being especially if your lifestyle and schedule is very active or hectic. Sometimes we think we are tired when we are just overstimulated. Taking a few moments to just let the mind be still, to just enjoy doing, or thinking about, absolutely nothing, is an incredibly healthy thing to do.

This was not a part of my life, ever, until very recently. My childhood was chaotic and loud, my twenties were a blur of work, school, and navigating adulthood, and my thirties and forties were packed with raising four children, homeschooling, community involvement, and a lot of work. As my children grew to young adulthood and started to go into their own journeys, I filled my life with throwing parties and events, returning to school, and lots of time in my gym. I found that I stayed as busy as ever, and because that had always been the norm, I just went with it. I was used to the house full of kids and friends, the dogs barking, the constant chatter, the packed calendar, and the endless conversations about the things my family was passionate about, and I made sure to fill my life with equal “noise” as I approached my fifties.  Silence was not a factor in my life, in fact, it was the exact opposite of my life. Silence made me uncomfortable and anxious, often made my brain go to less than happy places, and pretty much drove me mad. My brain was used to being overstimulated constantly, and I didn’t know what to do with silence.

I sat outside on my deck Sunday, on a way too dark and way too chilly for me October evening, and just sat. Alone. Quiet. I could hear the ocean waves crashing on the shore 4 blocks away, and nothing else. I looked at the stars, and realized, this is what “peace” feels like. I didn’t stop myself from enjoying it, didn’t immediately decide that I had better things to occupy my mind and remove myself, and didn’t feel anxious or uncomfortable. I didn’t reach for my phone or come inside to make myself dinner. I just SAT. In silence. And did nothing. And after a bit-a long bit-I went back into my life and realized-I am so REFRESHED.

When we decided to buy a place at the beach in 2019, I envisioned a place with constant family and friends visiting. There would be drinks on the patio and cornhole in the driveway. We set up guestrooms and bought tons of towels and sheets to host a huge crew and made sure everything was set up for relaxing and great times. I was ready for my calendar to be full and lots of beach fun and activity. But…2020 had different plans for us, and I soon found myself in isolation, alone in our vacation home, for “6 weeks”. I kept myself busy, painting the walls, then canvases, I journaled, I talked on the phone to old friends, I meditated, I started doing more yoga. I stayed REALLY busy. 6 weeks turned into several months, and while family carefully joined me from time to time, I was usually alone with just my dog. Projects were completed, courses were finished, and I started to spend more time just relaxing in the quiet on one of my decks. At first, the silence was too much. It made my mind wander to unpleasant thoughts from the past, thoughts I had neatly tucked away without emotion because I was, of course, just keeping too busy. As I began to study meditation, I learned how to sit with those thoughts, recognize them, and let them go. The silence became easier, it became my welcomed friend.

Sitting in silence is different than meditation. While meditation focuses on intention or focusing on breathing, sitting in silence is just as it is.

Sitting. In. Silence.

I sat today, also in silence, but deep in thought as to how these silent moments can benefit our life and bring a wholeness to our overall wellness.

Sitting with stillness gives you a moment to remove yourself from everything, and just view the world as it exists around you. It opens your mind to things we normally may not observe, or notice. It makes you feel that the vast greatness of the earth and connects you to a sense of being just you.

Being in silence rests your brain and your body. It will refresh you and bring clarity to your life. Our minds can get jumbled with the overstimulation from our daily lives; Silence allows for those thoughts to clear, and our mind starts fresh and anew.

Practicing moments of silence can help you tap into your wisdom. Thoughts, feelings, and ideas that don’t have time to develop in the constant busyness of our daily lives have time to make themselves known, and by recognizing these new ideas, we expand our minds.

For me, sitting in silence is a way to connect with my own self. To listen to my mind and body, and ONLY my mind and body. It is the ultimate in practicing self-care and self-love. In silence, we put ourselves first, completely and unselfishly. We honor our own silence, our own peace, and our own journey. In doing this, we inevitably are more able to honor everything around us with a clear, fresh mind.

I hope you will take a small amount of time to sit in silence this week. Sit under the stars, or cuddle in a blanket in front of a firepit, sit in nature, or simply turn off the tv, put down the phone, shut the door, and embrace a few minutes of silence. If you’re curious about more ways to find total wellness in your life, please check out my 24 page guide to wellness, 7 Days to Wellness. It’s completely free and packed with info and tips, trackers and guidance, to get you started on a wellness journey. If you’ve discovered that you truly want to focus on your total health and wellness goals, drop me a message and let’s chat about setting up the perfect personalized plan for you.

Take a Bite into Great Health with Apples!

For many of us, it’s fall, which means apple season! As I packed my pantry bag this week to travel to Monday Night Football in Baltimore (GO RAVENS!) I was sure to throw in a few apples. Apples are truly one of the healthiest and easiest foods to keep on hand-no matter where you are or what you are doing! We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and there is some real science behind the saying!

No matter what type of apple you eat (there are over 7500 varieties, 2500 different types of apples are found in the US alone!!) you will get some excellent nutritional benefits along with a sweet, juicy, crunchy, treat. There are SO many different types of apples you could eat one a day for 20 years and never eat the same kind twice! Because they are so portable, and don’t require refrigeration or preparation, they are perfect for traveling and busy lifestyles.

As I did a little research on this popular fall fruit, I learned some interesting facts. Did you know????

~The apple is a member of the rose family

~it takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple

~apples range in size from as small as a cherry to the size of a grapefruit

~the largest apple ever produced was over 3 pounds

~in Chinese culture the word for apple is “ping” which also stands for peace.

~the average apple has 10 seeds

~top producers of apples are China, US, Turkey, Poland, and Italy.

~Apples were planted by Pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

~apple juice is one of the most popular juices in the US

Apples are truly a nutritional marvel, with so many benefits for the body. Here’s just a few facts to get you thinking about grabbing an apple as you go about your awesome busy life!

Packed with nutrition!

The average apple is about 100 calories, and is full of great vitamins like C, K, A, E B1, B2, and B6. Eaten with the skin on, the apple gives us a great amount of fiber as well. Because apples are small, fresh, and portable, this makes it the perfect healthy snack!

Good for elimination and bowel health

One apple with its skin contains 4 to 5 grams of fiber – the most important nutrient in keeping your bowels working like clockwork. Fiber helps with constipation, and an ingredient found in apples called pectin has a congealing effect to also help with diarrhea. Pectin is considered a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are a healthy gut food.

Keep your body young.

Apples contain polyphenois, which has an antioxidant effect on the body. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. When scientists compared a 1,500-milligram vitamin C supplement to one small apple, the results were astounding – the antioxidant values were equal. That means a fresh apple has more than 15 times the antioxidant power of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Apples also contain magnesium and potassium that help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it’s the flavonoid quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Apples are also linked to better brain health and mental clarity.

Excellent For Weight Loss Efforts

Because apples are high in both fiber and water content, they are very filling. In studies, people that snacked on apple slices before meals ate fewer calories and felt fuller for longer periods of time!

Protects your Bones and Joints.

Eating fruit is a great way to maintain bone density and decrease the risk of arthritis. The high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in apples promote bone health, and the trace mineral boron found in apples aids in joint health.

Be sure to buy apples that are unbruised, firm, and have good color. Take them out of their plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator – loose in the produce bin or in a paper bag is best. And since they will absorb odors, keep them away from strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions. If you have an opportunity to visit an orchard and go apple picking, I highly recommend doing so-there is nothing like the taste of an apple pulled directly from the tree!

For a special treat, try baking apples for a healthy and incredible smelling dessert or snack. Just core your apples and place them in a greased baking dish. Add a bit of apple cider or juice to the dish, and sprinkle the apples with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, or apple pie spice. You can also fill the hole of the apples with oats, nuts, or raisins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, checking with a fork for softness. Top with a dash of yogurt or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

If you are looking for more easy superfood recipes, be sure to check out my 5 Ingredient Superfood Cookbook! It contains power food recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. Get yours free here!

I’d love to help you with your health and wellness journey! If you are interested in a 30 minute conversation about your goals, please reach out!

10 Ways to Sneak Fruits and Veggies into Your Family’s Diet

I think that just about everyone knows that we should be eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day-I’ve even heard small children remind their parents while ordering in restaurants. But having the knowledge, and actually following through are very different things! Many times, fruits and veggies are not easily available or convenient, sometimes they are more expensive than junk food, and often, we are just tempted to grab a less healthy food to snack on or add to our meals.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has SO many benefits! These foods are chock full of vitamins and minerals, and many also offer fiber and protein. Antioxidants provided by many fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation in the body that can cause arthritis, joint pain, brain fog, headaches, and muscle stiffness, just to name a few. Fruits and veggies fill us up and keep us full while providing power packed nutrients without a lot of calories and have no fat. Fruits and veggies offer us nutrients that are good for literally every part of the body-our skin, hair, nails, muscles, bones, and brain. These are absolute super foods!

When my family was young, nutrition was a huge focus in my parenting. Meals were planned in advance, and we often needed to eat while running with a busy schedule. Two of my four children were picky eaters; One of them wanted to exist on chicken tenders and peanut butter for the first 12 years of his life! While getting fruit into my family’s diet was never an issue, getting vegetables in was always a challenge, so I had to get super creative. Fortunately, as the years went on, my family developed a taste for most vegetables, and I’m always impressed when they make sure to fill their plates as young adults. If you are struggling to get fruits and veggies into your diet, or your family’s diet, I’d like to offer some creative tips!

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. Simply throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. To round out a perfect meal in a cup, add a scoop of protein powder. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast. If you’d like to get super creative and mega nutritious, throw in a handful of spinach and a few ounces of carrot juice-it will add a powerful amount of nutrients while adding a bit of sweetness. Frozen fruits, like superfood blueberries, work fantastic in smoothies, and removes the need for ice. This is not only tasty and healthy, but portable and ready for an on the go lifestyle.

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your lunch boxes, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning, or mix it with nuts, or into yogurts as an added treat. Dried fruit is a great item to keep in the car for long trips, or in a backpack for hikes or long walks.

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey or chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, spinach….You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some favorite dressing and cheeses. Try over ripe banana on toast or switch up iceberg lettuce with spinach or kale to add more nutrition to your sandwiches.

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. This is always a fun way to get those veggies in! Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce or other greens and let everybody create their own perfect salad. Add some fruit choices as well, and they will surely fill their plates.

5. Find creative ways to sneak veggies to your family meals by adding veggies to sauces pasta dishes, and broths. Blended veggies add a thickness to pasta sauces, soup broths, and even gravies. Try adding colorful veggies to homemade pizza-when my kids were small, broccoli was considered a pizza topping, and no one ever complained! Add several veggies like zucchini or sweet peppers to lasagnas, or even try replacing your pasta and rice with veggies versions like cauliflower rice or spinach based spaghetti.

6. Tip for a super yummy dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit. This is not only a winner, but super tasty and refreshing on a hot day. Seasonal fruits make this a real treat!

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. And don’t forget “ants on a log”. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. These can be great comfort food especially as the weather gets cooler.

10. Start “Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before. This gives everyone a chance to try something new, without the pressures involved in usual mealtime “eat what is on your plate”.

Getting, and keeping, these super foods into your regular diet can be a game changer for both you and your loved ones. Keep in mind-tastes change-so even if you didn’t like a certain fruit or veggie when you were younger does not mean you won’t like it now. I did NOT like the taste of anything green as a child, but now love broccoli and kale. I also did not eat tomatoes until I was 20, and now they are one of my favorite foods! Keep trying new fruits and veggies, and new ways to prepare them, and soon you will be enjoying all the benefits to these amazing fresh foods!

If you’re looking for more info on cleaning up your diet, be sure to check out my newest freebie ebook, Learn How to Eat Clean and Feel Your BEST! Grab it here!

If your curious about what Health and Wellness coaches DO, and how it can change your life for the BEST, check out this article, or even better-shoot me an email! I’d love to chat about your health and wellness goals and get a plan started with you!

Traveling with Health and Wellness in Mind

Trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle when traveling can present many challenges. Hours spent sitting in the car, or on a plane, crazy schedules, staying in hotels, and finding lots of local treats when arriving at your destination can wreak havoc on every aspect of your wellness plan. It doesn’t have to be difficult though! Some careful planning and scheduling can remove most of these issues rather easily, and make your travels healthy, and even more enjoyable. 

In the spring of 2018, to celebrate the homeschool graduation of my youngest child, and a huge farewell to 22 years of the home education of four children, I planned what I called “The Ultimate Fieldtrip”. This trip involved a road trip through 9 southern states, with stays in 9 cities, over a period of 16 days, with my youngest son. My other young adult children each picked a city and were flown in to join us to add to the fun. It was long, it was exhausting, but it was AMAZING.

At the time, I was battling serious food intolerances that I later discovered were due to an unhealthy gut (you can read about that total health journey here). Most foods that I ingested led to fatigue, serious hives, rashes, and joint pain, so planning out my food for this massive trip was crucial. I was also accustomed to getting 12-15 thousand steps a day, and doing strength training and Pilates as well. My son, an athlete, was not used to sitting or missing workouts either, so the idea of sitting in the car for up to 10 hours at certain points of our trip was daunting. This led to an incredible amount of research, planning, and time scheduling in order to make this trip fun and healthy for everyone involved.

The most important part of staying focused on a healthy lifestyle and balanced wellness plan when traveling is PLANNING. I spent a little over 2 months planning for this awesome adventure, researching hotels, restaurants, activities, and even rest stops, in order to pull off a trip that was not only fun and active, but healthy and restful as well. So, I’d like to share some great tips for traveling while keeping your health and wellness goals in check, along with a few fun anecdotes from our fabulous field trip. 

Check Your Accommodations

Our travels had us staying in many hotels, so we decided to stick with one chain, become members on the app, and gather “points” for free nights as we went. The chain we chose offered a gym at every location. I thought we would get great use of this accommodation, but in the end, I think we only used one gym. Perfect weather welcomed us through the first 7stays, and all our activity was outdoors until that point. When we arrived in Nashville on day 13, the rain finally caught up to us, and I took advantage of the gym and treadmill to hit my steps, while my son used some free weights just to get some movement in after 5-hour drive from Memphis, (listening to Elvis the entire way.) Although most of our activity was easily done outdoors during our trip, it was nice to know that we had a plan B for getting our movement in.

Most hotels, and even motels, now offer some sort of gym area to their guests, even if it’s just a treadmill or two, and some free weights. One of our hotels offered an entrance to an outdoor fitness trail that was really nice. If your hotel does not offer a fitness area, check with their front desk about possible local gyms that offer nonmembers a travel pass. Or consider keeping a set of light weights or a yoga mat in your car for quick and easy workouts in your room. Yoga is a great way to stretch, release, and relax while traveling.

I hit my steps every single day of our trip, and even hit triple several times just from all the local walking and sightseeing we did. Because our weather was so fantastic (the deep south in March-a wonderful time of year!) we chose to walk everywhere and averaged easily 9-10 miles a day.

Plan Ahead for Restaurants

Planning for meals was an absolute necessity for me. As I stated, I was experiencing serious reactions to food intolerances at this point of my life, and my reactions left me feeling horrible. I needed to do everything I could to avoid having a reaction that might leave me with brain fog, joint pain, hives, or exhaustion in order to make this trip a success. I use an app called Roadtrippers and added my researched restaurant choices into my notes. I spent hours looking at popular restaurants in each city we planned to travel, and making notes about what would be safe, and well as healthy and tasty, for me to order. Having a game plan with several choices made deciding our meals so much easier. Even after I found the cure and solution to my food intolerances, I still travel with my researched restaurants in a notepad, and healthy meals picked out in advance. It takes so much stress out of our travels and ensures that we eat balanced and delicious meals no matter where we travel. If you’d like more great tips on dining out, check this article out!

Stick to Regular Meal Schedule

I have found that many people go completely off schedule when they vacation or travel, and they end up paying for it either ON their trip, or soon after.

It’s important to stay as close to your regular schedule as possible when traveling. Try to keep your mealtimes as normal as possible to avoid becoming famished, or, on the opposite end, indulging too much. Sticking with small balanced meals throughout the day will keep your energy up, and your hunger down.  If you are unable to stick to a normal schedule of meals, be sure to keep healthy snacks on hand for a quick nutrient boost and to keep your stomach feeling comfortable.

Our snack stash travelled in a mesh grocery store box from hotel to hotel and kept us feeling great on the super long stretches of driving between cities. We kept protein bars, fresh fruit, nuts, and nut butter and crackers stocked, and always had a cooler full of ice and waters ready in our back seat.

Stick to Regular Sleep Schedules

It’s also important to try to stick with your regular sleep schedule when traveling as well. Try to go to bed at your regular bedtime, and wake as you normally do to stay on a healthy schedule and avoid feeling tired, or even exhausted. This will help keep your energy level up and keep the rest of your schedule in check.

This was one of the hardest things for us to do on our travels. We found ourselves driving late into the night on several occasions and sleeping in to make up for it too often. After celebrating my birthday in New Orleans and staying up WAY too late several nights in a row, I was absolutely exhausted on our ride into Texas, and ended up sleeping for half a day in Austin. It’s important to have all the fun and enjoy all that your trip has to offer but try to be mindful of not overdoing it and finding yourself too tired to enjoy parts of your travels.

Look for Parks and Recreational Activities

It’s always great to take a break from traditional sightseeing or visitor areas and visit a park or recreation area. Seeing alligators in their natural habitat while outside of Mobile and wandering the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico after a long morning drive was a wonderful break from driving, hotels, and being in crowds of tourists. Check the areas around the towns on your itinerary to see what might be available for a change of pace, or even a new adventure. Hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and zip lining are offered across the US, and can add both exercise and fun to your trip.

Crazy enough, our trip, which started out as a journey to meet friends we had known online forever, turned into a quest to see as many stadiums as possible. Each city we visited dropped an extra 15000 steps a day on my Fitbit just because we ventured out to find the local NFL and college stadiums. (My son’s IG was full of “peeks” into stadiums from under fences and up on walls!) 

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated on long trips is so important for overall health. Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, constipation, dizziness, and more. Travel brings about a bit of a challenge when it comes to staying hydrated-especially if you are traveling long distances in a vehicle. While my cooler of iced waters easily kept me well hydrated, the constant bathroom breaks became a bit crazy. Early on in our trip, my son looked at me and asked if I was “OK”, after I told him we needed to stop AGAIN.

I soon realized that I was actually drinking way more than I needed to, considering we were sitting in the car for entire stretches of the day, so I cut back a bit. We did, however, decide that our best plan of action on those “long haul” driving days was to plan stops every 2 or so hours based on the availability. (If you’ve ever driven a stretch like Atlanta to Mobile, or across the entire state of Arkansas, you might understand how hard regular stops can be!) This gave us a chance to jog out some steps, do some stretching, drop some Instagram, and use the facilities.

It’s not hard to get the recommended amount of water in while traveling if you just plan it out. A glass of water upon rising, a glass with each meal, a glass about an hour before bed, and 2 glasses during the day-perhaps before and after a brisk walk or some other planned exercise will do it.  

Stock the Hotel with Healthy Snacks or Meals and Use a Cooler in the Car

Whether your trip is long and involved, or short and sweet, it never hurts to keep your hotel room and car stocked with some healthy choices for meals and snacks. For the first part of our trip, I actually had homecooked meals prepped and ready in a cooler in the car. Small containers of steamed veggies, baked chicken, and homemade soup found their way to the first 3-4 hotels that we stayed in and made easy and healthy snacks and meals when heated up in our room microwave. These small, prepped meals along with fresh fruit, instant oatmeal packets, and bags of sliced veggies, made eating healthy super easy on the road. Other ideas for healthy travel snacks are individually wrapped cheeses, small packs of nuts, grapes, berries, yogurts, rice cakes, crackers, pretzels, kale chips, dried fruit, jerky, and trail mix.

Taking healthy foods along for the ride not only keeps you from fast food temptation but can save you a lot of money otherwise spent on less healthy choices from hotel pantries, vending machines, and convenience stores.

While traveling, be sure to check out local markets or bodegas for local foods and treats to restock your stash and give you a chance to try local favorites.

Evaluate and Plan for Indulging in Alcohol

For many, traveling and vacationing often includes indulging in fun spirits; local brews, regional wines, and frozen specialties can be fun and tasty, but, if overdone, can result in a whole set of negative issues-including not feeling well. I learned this twice on my excursion; once in New Orleans, and again during 3 days of rain in Nashville when a friendly bartender introduced me to a super yummy lemonade flavored vodka that did not taste like alcohol. (UGH! Hard lesson!)

If you plan to indulge, be sure to plan accordingly. Make sure you eat before drinking and match each drink with a glass of water. Too much alcohol will leave you feeling drained and tired, and unable to enjoy all the activities and fun you plan. And of course, never drink and drive. 

Focus on the 80/20 Rule, Try Local Treats in Moderation

Traveling gives us the wonderful opportunity for trying different foods and treats from all over. Because “everything in moderation” is a key belief to this wellness coach, I encourage you to try as many new things as possible, while not over-indulging. Try following the 80/20 plan for a maximum taste experience while still sticking to a healthy plan of eating. To do this, plan to eat 80 percent healthy, and 20 percent “local yum”.

For me, traveling the south, this was a whole lot about BBQ! Every section of the south has a completely different version of BBQ, and it was my quest to try them all and find the best. BBQ is usually served with all kinds of decadent sides and sauces that can increase your intake of calories, fat and sugar quickly, so I had to be mindful. I soon realized that the key was to order healthy sides with my meal, and then just grab “tastes” of my son’s sides. A small bite of cornbread, a forkful of baked beans from his tray, and then focus on my cucumber salads and coleslaw to top off my many, many styles of BBQ. I also took half of my BBQ to go when able, and my son later ate it as a snack.

We tried the local favorites in each city and town, but usually, it was me simply having a “taste”, which worked out really well. I managed to stick to my healthy eating, while indulging in small, incredible, local favorites.

Focus on Mental Health

Traveling can be exhausting. Long drives, different hotel beds, waiting for flights, dealing with weather, crowds, traffic, and time zones can all be a bit daunting. Sticking to a wellness plan is very do-able and can leave you feeling healthy and even rested and recharged at the end of your trip. When planning for your travels, be sure to focus on your mental health. Getting quality nutrition, regular exercise, and sleep are key, but be sure to put some thought into your mental well-being as well. Find time for rest and relaxation, perhaps a little pampering, and check in with your stress and energy levels each day. If you find yourself getting a bit out of balance, consider a little meditation to calm your nerves and clear your mind.

I hope that the coming months give you an opportunity to do a little traveling and exploring, all while keeping your wellness goals in check. If you’d like to discuss your health and wellness goals and find a plan of action that works with your life, drop me an Email-I’d LOVE to chat with you!

Find Endless Energy in Your Life!

This year(s) have been pretty exhausting. I hear it daily-people are so tired, and everyone seems to be looking for a boost of energy that doesn’t involve MORE coffee or energy drinks. Because of this, I decided to spend some time putting together a little guide on Canva (love Canva!) with all of my best tips and information on increasing energy levels while also changing the mindset for an all around boost of positive energy.

Included in this free to download ebook: wellness tips for all around health and happiness, food and supplements for more energy, tips on organizing your routine for optimal health, and daily trackers with affirmations to get you started on the right path.

If you’ve been dragging a bit, reaching for too much caffeine, or just not feeling like you have enough energy to do ALL of the fabulous things you want to do, this guide can help get you on track and feeling ready to create, enjoy, and live the life you deserve and desire-and you DO deserve it!!!

You can find the guide here (this is my main business website). I hope you enjoy it-and maybe take some time to look around while you are there-there’s lots of other freebies to find!

Bee Well,

Sami Bee

What’s Your Why??

One thing I’ve noticed when talking to people about their health goals is that their goals are usually based on an experience. Either something happened that made them realize they need to make a change, or something IS going to happen that makes them think about change. These are two completely different experiences, one often comes out of fear or discomfort, and the other comes from anticipation and sometimes excitement. Both require lifestyle change, motivation, and a plan, but more importantly, they require a WHY that is often a part of a much bigger picture. My first goal when speaking to them is finding that WHY.

The first experience, the one that comes from discomfort or fear, can come from things as trivial as not fitting into clothes, seeing numbers on a scale, or realizing that stress is keeping them awake at night. These are all things that cause a sense of discomfort in our lives.  The “fear” based experience often comes from a health scare; bad medical results, illness, or having a medical professional tell you that changes need to be made often set off fear to make changes. These changes need to be permanent and lifelong.

The second experience is one of anticipation and usually excitement. This experience is about something that will be happening in our future-a wedding, a vacation, a reunion. We want to look and feel our best for this occasion, and we use that to spark our motivation and inspiration. Usually, this type of change is short term and short lived.

No matter what your health and wellness goals might be, it’s important to go beyond the fear, discomfort, or anticipation, and find the deepest reasons of WHY. These reasons will be the foundation to finding lasting success!

In my early years of working within the weight loss industry, I had many clients that came from both sides of the “ experience motivated” spectrum. High blood pressure, or borderline diabetic clients would come to me at their doctors orders and begrudgingly follow my food and exercise plans until their numbers improved, but often, when they impressed their doctor, they never came back to continue the focus on their health-until they were told to, which happened a lot.

On the other side of that, was the many bride to be’s, the “high school reunion is coming up”, and the “going on vacation and want to wear…” crowd. These people had a specific date in mind that they felt they could stay focused on, and they were usually really successful. But, most of this was short term as well. The claims of “I love working out now”, and “I can’t believe I feel this good!” seemed to vanish after the event they looked forward to, and their old lifestyle became new lifestyle quickly.

I once had a bride hide from me in a mall. She had dropped 60 pounds in 4 months for her wedding, had made the gym the center of her day, and constantly prided herself on her completely surprising lifestyle change that would definitely be everlasting.  After she invited me to her beautiful wedding, I never heard from her again, until she spotted me and ran from me at the local mall. I let it go, of course, but before I left the mall that day, she approached me, spoke of “letting it all go”, and promised to set up an appointment to get back on track soon. “I never felt or looked so good in my entire life…” were the last words she said to me. Her WHY was about her wedding day, and it didn’t carry her beyond that day.

We are all just mere humans, and change is hard. Change requires plans, motivation, support, inspiration, and very deep-rooted WHY’s.  These WHY’s are bigger than a positive health report, positive feedback from our doctor, a number on a scale, or a size on an outfit we want to wear for a special occasion. Those factors can motivate us short term, but the FOUNDATION of deep WHY’s keeps us moving forward, keeps our focus sharper, and keeps us inspired for the absolute duration of life.

So, you ask, what are these WHY’s, and how do I get them into my life so that I can make the permanent lifestyle changes I desire???

These deep WHY’s are based on our life and surrounding as we live it, day-to-day, year-to-year. I find that for many, it’s their family that inspires their ultimate WHY. Realizing that they want to be able to be “there” for the people they love, to be present and active in the lives of everyone around them. To have the energy to run and play with children or grandchildren, to spend family time having adventures or being very active, instead of being a spectator. For some, it’s the sudden concern of illness or poor health taking them from the family that needs them, that becomes the focus. For others, it’s about reaching and keeping peak performance for the activities that they enjoy in life, even as they get older. Some find that their why is in the reflection of the lives of older family member that suffered illness, and a desire to change that pattern. WHY’s vary, and are deeply personal, but they give a solid, lasting, foundation to hold us up even on our least inspired days, week after week, year after year.

For me, currently, I find my WHY being about being at my healthiest so that I can enjoy all of the activities and adventures that await me on my island. After decades of raising a family and always putting their activities and lives first, I want to be sure that I am healthy and strong to be able to focus on MY activities and life: kayaking, hiking, yoga, and lots of time spent with family and friends.

When thinking about your WHY, consider a few questions:

When you look into your future, how do you want to be living your life? What do you see being the most important aspects of that life? Who will be sharing that life with you? And, how do you want to be present in that life? Seeing yourself happy, healthy and vibrant in the future will lead you to your WHY. That is where you will find the ultimate foundation to motivate you to your goals.

Setting goals for your health and wellness involves many aspects of life. When planning your goals, be sure to consider ALL of those aspects, because they all interact and work together holistically. Here is a list of the 8 factors in the wheel of wellness, some with links to blog posts for a more in depth look.

Nutrition

Movement

Emotional

Hobbies

Intellectual

Relationships

Spiritual

Sleep

As always, if you’d like guidance, knowledge, and motivation in putting together and implementing your personal health and wellness plan and goals, I’d love to talk to you! Feel free to contact me! If you’re curious as to what, exactly, a health and wellness coach DOES, read here!

visit my business site Beewell.com

So, What Exactly is Health Coaching Anyway?

From my site BeeWell.com

This is a popular question that I hear all the time! Health Coaching is a relatively new field that many people have no knowledge of. It’s an amazing concept, and it fits right in to our current pandemic world because it can be done virtually in the safe comfort of your home. A health coach can be so helpful, in so many ways, and can literally change your life with some guidance, support, knowledge, and motivation.

Over the last few years, I’ve worked with many people that contacted me asking for advice, knowing that I had a degree in nutrition, and had taking many classes in wellness and mindfulness practices. After helping those people find the guidance and motivation they needed, they always encouraged me to take my knowledge and passion to the next level, and start my own business, which is exactly what I did-I became certified in my field, and absolutely love what I do! Helping people find the tools to help themselves is a blessing. 

So, what is Health Coaching? It can be many things, because it is uniquely tailored to the needs of each person. Health Coaching is about discovering the personal health goals of each individual, and putting the knowledge and steps into place to reach those goals. Its about personal attention, open conversation, and lot’s of motivation. It’s about discovering the things that often block us from our ultimate goal, and pushing those blocks out of the way. It’s also about dealing with our health from a proactive and holistic starting point to avoid, or reverse, issues that concern us.

Some health coaches specialize in specific fields, while others use their varied education and experience to help with a variety of goals and needs. My passion leads me to many areas of health coaching, and I’d like to share some of the successes I’ve helped people achieve.

“I’m so stressed out, I can’t make a decision, and my nerves are making me crazy!”  A huge life decision had this person unable to think clearly, and the anxiety of the “what ifs” was keeping them up at night and almost on the verge of tears for days. Big life choices are extremely stressful, and stress can make us physically sick, so the first thing we did was focus on some breathing exercises, followed by some guided journaling and mediation which soon led to calm clarity, and the choice soon became obvious. The ultimate choice ended up being the absolute best choice, and all the stress involved dissipated quickly.

“Everything I eat seems to go right through me, I’m unfocused, tired, and not sure what to do.” This is a common complaint that I hear, and more than often, it comes down to a food intolerance. This client, a young athlete, had been working with me to increase his speed and strength through nutrition, but wasn’t seeing results because of embarrassing stomach issues. When we got to the root of the problem, an elimination diet along with some serious nutritional education revealed that dairy was the culprit. 3 weeks later, this client reported a 15 pound drop in weight, razor sharp focus in school, better strength and workout intensity, deeper sleep, clearer skin, and the stomach issues were completely gone. Nutrition is now a focus in his life, and the physical and mental gains have been life changing.

“I had a baby, and I cannot drop the weight…and that baby is now 10!” Losing that baby weight is HARD. I’ve done it 4 times. It’s HARD! As a mom, you are so busy, so tired, and in a constant state of giving yourself to others, the struggle is REAL. I’ve guided many through this life changing part of life and provided the support and tools needed to drop the weight, gain control of daily schedules, and find a bit of time for some self-care and self love. Learning that it’s ok to take care of your self is the quickest way to getting all that chaos of motherhood to fall neatly into place.

“I’m putting the work in at the gym, wearing out my Fibit with steps, but not seeing the results I want.” The famous saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym” is very true! I’ve worked with athletes and gym rats that spent hours sweating in the gym only to see results slow down after a few months. Working with them to balance their macros to fit their goals, whether it is weight loss, muscle gain, speed, energy, or focus, correct nutrition is what helped them reach their goal.

Fifty sucks! My hormones are crazy, I can’t sleep, I crave sugar, I can’t lose weight, I can’t sleep, and I feel like I’m losing my mind!” Oh, those lovely hormone changes that greet us as we enter a new chapter of life..! I’ve been there my friend, and I did, indeed, think I was going to lose my mind. I found the keys though, and in a matter of weeks, I was feeling so much better! In a few months, I had forgotten that it ever happened. For me, it was done without hormone therapy or meds-completely through changes to my nutrition, my exercise, and my habits. This is a common issue, and I’ve shared this with lovely ladies that have managed to regain their sense of youth and feel happy and sane again! This chapter of life CAN be as awesome as you want it to be!

“We are living on fast food! Our schedules are so crazy, we are running nonstop, and we need to eat healthier, but life is so crazy!” This was a popular issue pre-Covid for most of my friends with busy families. Grabbing takeout was the easiest way to get everyone fed, even if it meant eating unhealthy and spending too much money-it got the job done, but in a less than desired manner. The solution was clear-MEAL PREP! I’m a bit of a meal prep queen-it got me through 22 years of homeschooling, working, four kids in soccer, football, basketball, art/dance/guitar/karate/co-op…etc! Meal prepping, when done right, not only provides quick, healthy, nutritious meals on the go, but saves you money, time, and sanity! I’d love to show you how this can be done!

“2020 has been unbearable to me. I’m anxious, angry, agitated, stressed and foggy headed.” It’s been a rough year, and, from the looks of it, it’s not ending anytime soon. I’ve worked with several people this year, giving them the tools to find calm in their lives, to gain perspective on making the best of their situation, and seek out the positives-no matter how small-in order to become more grateful and mindful during this seemingly never ending crisis. Helping them boost their immunity, find creative outlets, and focusing on meditative and mindfulness skills has led to them feeling empowered, less anxious, and even setting out to accomplish goals and hobbies they always dreamed about. I’ve enjoyed watching these special people make a complete 180 with their attitudes and spirits this year!

“My doctor said I can’t have (insert foods) while taking this medication.” Or, “my doctor said I need to change my diet for (reason) and I don’t know where to start.” Or, “My doctor said if I don’t change my lifestyle I could be at risk for (insert illness) Where do I begin?” These are red flag statements telling me that change is not only needed, but crucial. Navigating health and lifestyle changes when faced with possible serious future health issues is scary and daunting. As a health coach, I can work with your doctor’s orders to make them easy for you to understand, and help you make the many, usually small but important, changes to your nutrition and lifestyle that will ultimately make a huge difference.

“I’m dealing with crazy symptoms, but no diagnoses. Eczema, hives, fatigue, brain fog, food insensitivities …I don’t know what to do next.” This is my own story, and it was 4 years of no answers, many meds that made it worse, reactions to many foods with no positive allergy test. I was miserable, covered in burning hives, tired all the time, and doctors were no help-literally Googling my symptoms and having no answers. The problem is a common one, yet very ignored and often misdiagnosed. Other symptoms can include inflammation, bowel discomfort, headaches, joint pain, and weight gain or loss. Finding the solution to this took years of research, elimination diets, and supplements, but ultimately, when the answer was found, the problem completely went away-and stayed away. Nutrition and lifestyle was the absolute key, and my quality of life improved 100%.

So, as you can see, the answer to the question, “What is a Health Coach?” leads to many answers and situations. In short, as a health coach, I provide strategy, accountability and support to achieve goals and objectives to help people solve problems and live better, healthier, lives. I do this with personal attention and care, and with upmost concern for your well being and happiness. I am not a sales person, I do not push potions or products, and my only goal is helping you live your best life. I keep my fees low and manageable, and take great joy in seeing the changes that my clients make on their journey.

I’d love to help you on your journey, and if you are interested in discussing how we can best work together to reach your health goals, please feel free to reach out to me at sami@beewell.com  Let’s DO this!

Healthy Choices When Dining Out

For many, life is beginning to look a bit more “normal” after too many months of 2020, and that may mean more dining out with family and friends. One of the biggest questions I hear from my friends and clients these days is how to navigate a fun meal out without overdoing it or falling completely off of their health goals. As we move into cooler months, with less cookouts and BBQ’s, and more opportunities to dine out, I thought this might be a great topic to address.

Who doesn’t love dining out? Having someone wait on you, cook for you, and the chance to order dishes you might never prepare at home! Being able to relax and just enjoy good food and company without the worry of shopping, cooking, or cleaning up-so much fun! But for many that are trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle, dining out can bring many challenges. Portion sizes are usually massive, ingredients tend to be super rich, and we truly have no way of knowing exactly what, and how much, we are consuming.

The first thing to remember when dining out is to focus on enjoying your food and company without over-indulging. Pay more attention to your companions and savoring every bite, and you will find yourself more relaxed, and more mindful of what you eat. Dining out should be more about experiencing all of your senses-the different tastes, the aromas, the music, the lighting, and the mood-and less about filling your stomach. Relax, discuss the foods, try bites of different foods, and be fully aware of everything around you.

Plan Ahead

Fortunately, most restaurants offer their menus for online viewing and ordering. Take advantage of this by looking at it the menu ahead of time and coming up with a game plan for how you will order and eat. This can remove the stress of trying to come up with the perfect plan while others are talking or discussing what they might order.  Have a back up plan as well, just in case a menu item has sold out or isn’t available. Plan your meal based on a healthy protein source, veggies or salad, or even a healthy soup to begin your meal. Avoid the breadbasket, and ask to have your soup or salad brought before the entrée.

Don’t Starve Yourself!

Heading into a restaurant with an empty stomach and uncontrollable hunger is NOT a good idea! I’ve known many people that decided to not eat all day so that they could indulge at a dinner out, and it never goes very well. Plan to eat small, balanced meals throughout the day to avoid a situation in which you are hungry, cranky, and not thinking clearly. This can lead to overeating, and even binge eating.

Avoid “Bad” Words!

When deciding on your meal of choice, try to avoid the “bad” words. These words include “deep fried”, “rich”, “buttery”, “creamy”, and “battered”, just to name few. Instead, look for words like “fresh”, “farm grown”, and “lean”. Knowing the proper language can make choosing a meal so much easier.

Balance Your Plate

Be sure that your plate includes many colors, and a variety of nutrients. Base your meal on a healthy protein, and fill the remainder of your plate by ordering fresh veggies and a healthy grain like a rice dish, sweet potato, or baked potato. Ask for toppings, dressings, sauces, and condiments to be on the side so that you can control how much is on your food. *Did you know? Many restaurants use over 3 tablespoons of butter when serving a baked potato???? That’s 300 calories and 36 grams of fat in just a topping!!!!

Consider ½ To Go

This is one of my favorite tips for eating out! I’ve done this many times, and I’ve also had many times that I wished I had done so!

Ask for half of your meal to be placed in a carry out container before it even comes to the table. Portions are SO huge, and most can easily be divided into more than one meal-take half for lunch the next day! This allows you to focus on conversation and company, without the sudden realization that “Oh, NO, I ate ALL of it!” I have found myself in this situation-stuffed uncomfortably, barely realizing I was eating, and not feeling great after-even into the next day. I LOVE having leftovers for lunch the next day-and leaving dinner without feeling stuffed.

Share Treats

Because dining out is an experience that is to be enjoyed, be sure to indulge in small amounts of yumminess! Have a small taste of the appetizers, try a side portion of a new item on the menu, and yes-grab a fork and share the dessert! Everything is allowed in MODERATION!! Taste, enjoy, roll your eyes back in your head and say, “Ohmygosh, that is SO good!” But do it in moderation!!!

Make the Toast

Alcohol is a HUGE conversation with clients these days-absolutely HUGE. Due to that, I have done a great deal of research on the subject, and come up with a list of “healthier” drinks to avoid high calorie and high sugar intake. Sugar content in many alcohol beverages is super high, and I have found that for many that focus on healthy eating, the sugar hangover can be worse than the average alcohol hangover-even in small amounts of indulging. To avoid this, focus on spirits with low sugar content like tequila, vodka, and gin, and be sure your mixer of choice is not full of sugar as well. Avoid simple syrups and pre-made mixers, and focus on fresh juices or sugar free sodas. Keep in mind-alcohol slows your metabolism, and processes in the body AS a sugar.

Most importantly-stay hydrated! For each alcohol-based beverage, have a glass of water. You will thank me in the morning!

Be Mindful and Enjoy

Dining out is a fun activity that should be enjoyed completely and fully. Keep this in mind, plan and order carefully, and relax and enjoy! I truly believe that while our nutritional intake should be a clean as possible much of the time, food can also be an adventure of tastes that should be relished. Keeping the adage “everything in moderation” completely applies here. Be mindful of your meal and your company, embrace all that comes with it, and enjoy without overdoing.

If you’d like more info about finding your perfect, personalized health plan or reaching your goals, I’d love to help you on your journey! Let’s talk!

Also, make sure to download a free copy of my e-book, The BeeWell Guide to Clean Eating to get you started!

Need a Mood Boost?

I started this blog post idea last week, as a “lighter side” kind of approach to our health, while I was busy working on “bigger, more involved” projects and aspects of my business and life. But then-I hit a wall. I’ve spent much of pandemic avoiding straight on news-which means I don’t watch it on TV, but seek out the happenings of the world through newsfeeds when I feel the need to be a bit tuned in to what is going on outside of my little seaside “bubble”. My normally positive social media seemed less positive, and when reaching out to friends to catch up, the conversations were strained and low energy. My positive mood turned gray, there were some tears over the weekend, and, my attempts to do anything-exercise, write, even make a positive graphic for IG, became exhausting feats. So, my “lighter side” approach to this blog post took a pivot, and, well, here we are.

I’d done quite a bit of reading on “pandemic exhaustion” last year, but as things started to open up, and a new normalcy was being discovered, I thought much less about it. Now, it seems we are back to dealing with much of the same stress, disruption, and even isolation, as new variants take over our lives. Where I live, the rates of illness are climbing higher and faster than ever, and even those with the best intentions of staying away from social spots are finding that the heat has sent them running indoors for days at a time. Taking a beach walk, sitting on the porch with a friend, or biking the neighborhood are things I have gravitated to for the last year and a half-but the 108 heat indexes and blazing sun has made that unbearable. Normally, I’d just throw myself into work, or my ongoing classes, but…My focus waned, my energy took a dive, I was tired, but not sleeping well, and my mood was dark. Trying to drag myself out of this funk only made it worse, and so-I decided to be gentle with myself-because self care is always best. Instead of blogging or working on projects or classes, I spent several days binge watching Virgin River and sipping on bone broth to rebalance my gut. (Rebalancing my gut ALWAYS seems to clear my head clouds and lack of energy!)

There are times when you feel low… times when you feel totally unproductive and of no use to anyone. This is normal in the ebb and flow of life, but the last year and a half have made many feel that no matter what they do to try to pull themselves together, they still find that much of what they are experiencing is completely out of their control. That only seems to make it worse. You are not alone-That I can assure you. So, today, I’d like to offer some healthy suggestions on how to care for yourself if you are finding yourself in this state of mind.

SELF CARE IS CRUCIAL

I can’t say this enough! I have several posts about this, that you can find here, and here, to give you some ideas as to how to better care for YOU, and not feel bad for doing so.

If you’re feeling the affects of being exhausted-the very first thing to remember is to take care of yourself! Many, like myself, find this hard to do. There’s always someone, or something that seems to need your attention-but bottom line-unless you care for YOU, all the rest will suffer as well.

Evaluate Your Schedule

When energy and mood are low, it’s often a good time to take a look at your schedule. Being constantly busy is never good for the soul. Our bodies and our minds need downtime to rest! Take a look at your schedule, see what can be moved, cancelled or rescheduled, and give yourself a well-deserved break. Treat “YOU” as though “YOU” are just as important as all the other appointments and needs on your calendar.

Listen to Music

Listening to music works therapeutically for most people. Whatever your particular taste in music is, listen to that. Load up your Spotify or Apple music, or just ask Alexa to play something for you. Listen to your most favorite song; maybe watch the video if you can. This can cheer you up in a huge way! (For me, it’s The Cure, “Just Like Heaven”. Works wonders!)

Speak to a Friend

Most times, if you just share your feelings with someone, you can do well at managing them. Call the one person you trust more than anyone else and talk. They will listen to you. Do not fear reprimand or ridicule. That won’t happen. If they are your true friend, they will hear you out and maybe even make you laugh, or see a situation in another way.

Go Out for a Walk

If you are stressed, sitting inside and brooding is only going to make matters worse. What you need to do is to go out and let it all out. Take a whiff of the air outside and you will find your problems slowly dwindling away. Most importantly, you can give it some thought and put things in a better perspective. A change of scenery, seeing others going about their lives, a pretty walk in nature, can all do wonders for your mood.

Busy Yourself with Something

When you are trying to work out your stress, the one thing you should try to do is to divert your mind. You have to busy yourself with something that you can put your heart and soul to. This could be your work or do something creative that you were long meaning to do. This can divert your mind in a very profound manner, and you will find that you are slowly but steadily coming out of your stress.

It’s important to be mindful of your feelings and emotions each day, especially if you are prone to feeling isolated or depressed. If you feel your mood, attitude, or energy levels are feeling off, take a few minutes and do a self-check. Sit quietly, explore your general feelings: are you physically tired? Do you feel ill? Are you upset? Are you anxious? Naming the feelings you experience can help you figure out how to deal with them. You may need more rest. You may realize you’ve been eating poorly and feeling the effects. You may need to just change your scenery and shake it off, or you may need to speak to a friend or even a professional. It’s important to practice self-care as often as needed, and to ask for help if you need that as well.

For a little info on “Eating stress away” in a healthy manner, check out this article, or, feel free to contact me to put together a healthy living plan for you.

From my business site Beewell.com

The Third Chapter-Time for YOU!

The “third chapter” is something I speak about often in my health and wellness practice, and that is inspired by MY journey into my own new chapter in life. People generally question the phrase, but upon learning the meaning, are often left feeling enlightened and refreshed. So, today, I’m going to explain the “third chapter” in much detail, in effort to get you thinking about where YOUR life is headed!

In my mind, and in my practice, the third chapter is a chapter of life that is focused on YOU. Chapter one was our childhood and formative years of growing and schooling, and starting our path in life. Chapter two, for many, is the years we spend focused on others, whether it be family, marriage, career, relationships, community, or other outside forces that require our time, effort, and focus. Chapter 3…well, Chapter 3 begins that moment we realize that “self” deserves the same amount of time, energy, effort, and focus that we have given to others-it’s time for “ME”.

This can happen at different times for different people, of course. For some, it may be when they become empty nesters, for others, it may be when they shift from being an employee to a business owner, or even retirement. It may happen after a divorce, or when you send you children to full time school or college, or it may simply happen when you have a the deep realization that you have to reclaim “who you are”. Our time is often filled with schedules, calendars, projects, and people that need or demand our full attention, and after years, even decades of this, realizing that YOU deserve and need to give that same attention to YOU, is a changing moment.

For me, it happened in early 2020. While the world around me became quiet in pandemic, I “locked” myself down at our beach vacation home for what I believed would be a few weeks. After a few weeks of binging all the TV I’d missed in the 25 years of raising 4 kids, I turned off the TV and allowed myself to sit in silence. I walked the waterways, sat on my porch and listened to the waves, and realized-I had not had a silent mind in decades. I spent my childhood in chaos and dysfunction, my 20’s healing from the result of that-while pursuing college, work, and adulthood. My 30’s were spent becoming a mom, dealing with a failed marriage, and endless homeschooling, activities, and all that goes with raising children. I entered my 40’s as a single mom, working, educating my soon to be teenagers, literally waking up each day to check off a long list of to do’s before falling into bed, exhausted at 3am. A decade of my life flew by in a flurry of football games, soccer practices, laundry, meal planning, and even completing a degree and remarrying, and then, one by one, I graduated my children from a lifetime of home education.

Friends congratulated me as I posted pictures of each child, in purple cap and gown, smiling in my front yard as I handed them their diploma, and then proclaimed, “This has been your life!! What WILL you do now???”

At first, I was unsure. I traveled the country a bit, calling it the “ultimate fieldtrip” as I invited my now adult children to Dallas, Memphis, New Orleans, and Atlanta. My youngest son and I road tripped to games and stadiums all over, as I visited places and people from my past. I went back to school and became a certified health and wellness coach, I started a business, I helped make the dream of owning a beach house a reality, and I relaxed-or so I thought.

It was in that beach house, in April of 2020, that having a quiet mind for perhaps the first time EVER, led me to realize-this is MY time. The question was, what would I do for MYSELF?

As a certified coach, with a degree in nutrition and wellness, I knew that very first thing I needed to do was make sure I was as healthy as possible-that, after all, is the foundation for a happy and healthy life! I had suffered from terrible symptoms of leaky gut that had left me undiagnosed and ill for several years. I also had spent some time self-medicating myself with crappy food and wine as lockdowns took over the country, and it had me feeling and looking not so great. I set out to get my health in check, clean up my diet (again!), and cure, finally, my gut issues. Within a few weeks, I felt like a new person! My energy was high, my skin was clear, and I’d dropped some extra pounds. I was walking miles and miles each day, began doing yoga and Pilates, and set new Fitbit goals.

As my energy grew, and my head became clearer, I started to think about things I could do to keep myself occupied, on my island, during pandemic, mostly alone. Within a few weeks, I had rediscovered journaling, reading books that were not texts(!), and even filled my house with art supplies-a talent and hobby I had left long forgotten in my youth. My days belonged to ME; my schedule was MINE, for the first time in a very long time. I was finally taking care of ME. I did the things that were important to me, the things that brought me joy, and the things I had abandoned to take care of everyone else. It was a period of incredible growth, and incredible peace. As family started to join me more often at the beach, they found a new person awaited them; A person who was full of energy, completely at peace, very calm, and very active and engaged in life. I was able to focus more on them and be completely in the moment, because I had grounded myself, made myself important, and had so much more focus, energy and clarity. This, THIS, was the beginning of my chapter three!

As I began to talk to friends, clients, and online followers about this “new chapter” theory, I heard so many stories about the things other’s had “lost” or “forgotten” as they navigated the second chapter of their lives. People had stopped reading for fun, they had given up hobbies, dropped sports and activities, even lost connections with friends because they were just SO busy with all of the responsibilities and schedules in their lives. Many asked, “Where do I start?”

To that, I respond-you have to quiet the mind for just a bit, and listen to your self. I often suggest meditating, or even journaling, to those that enjoy writing, or even making lists of things that they use to enjoy, things they loved to do, things they took part in, but had now gathered dust. One friend journaled a bit and realized that she needed to make a huge move in her life. Another journaled and soon decided to switch careers, giving her more time for activities she wanted to do. One client proclaimed loudly in our third session, “You know what????? Talking care of myself is NOT selfish!!! I know that now!” She planned a personal weekend “recharging” getaway for her self to gain clarity on the idea. Some found the answer in a new exercise program. Several contacted me for advice and guidance on cleaning up their diets to gain more energy. All of them found something new (or forgotten) to bringing them almost instant joy.

This third chapter is not selfish, it is not removing yourself from those that need you-it is simply about making YOUR SELF as important. You deserve to give your self the same love and attention that you’ve been giving everyone, and everything, else. And when you do that-you will also find that your calmer mind, and higher energy levels allow you to be there-not only for your self, but for others.

My third chapter is just beginning. After years of lugging snacks to kids sporting events, and cheering them on from the stands, I am now the athlete on the bike trails, on my kayak on the Intracoastal Waterways, and doing yoga on my back deck. Instead of dropping kids at practices and art classes, it’s ME signed up for Pilates class, and the art supplies are mine! (And very organized, I might add!) I have reclaimed my life, and the joy I have found is simply spreading to everyone around me. The calm and peace I have discovered has enveloped my entire family, and expanded to many of my friends. And, I have taken that joy, that clarity, and all of my education and skills, and placed them into a business that, hopefully, will inspire other to do the same.

If you are inspired to explore your “third chapter”, I’d love to talk to you! Whether it’s getting your health in order, cleaning up your diet, reducing the stress, or finding clarity as to “what’s next”, I’m excited to speak with you!

If you are curious about journaling to find out more about yourself: your dreams, finding clarity, rediscovering “you”, and building healthy life changing habits, Please drop me an email to get updated on my new journal program being released soon! As always-I do not use emails for spam-I only send a few each year when something really awesome is happening!

Let’s Fire Up that Metabolism!

Did you know? After age 25, our metabolism-which is the rate at which our bodies change food into energy-begins to slow-in fact, it slows about 5% each decade. As the rate drops, and our metabolism slows, the food that is not converted into energy becomes excess weight, which becomes extra fat in our bodies. This explains those extra stubborn pounds that many gain as the decades march on. 

But it’s not impossible to reverse this decline as you age! If you want to give your metabolic rate a kick, eating the right foods and doing the right exercises is a key. However, you also need to make sure you’re leading a lifestyle that promotes optimal calorie burning. In this article I’m going to be taking a deeper look at this topic and listing the top lifestyle tips for boosting your metabolic rate.

Don’t Overdose On Caffeine

When consumed in moderation, caffeine can actually give your metabolism a boost. However, overdosing on caffeine can interfere with your body’s internal processes and cause you to become dehydrated. This has a negative effect on your metabolism and reduces the amount of calories you burn each day.

To prevent this from happening, limit your consumption to less than five caffeinated drinks per day. This will still allow you to enjoy plenty of black tea, coffee or green tea during the day without adversely affecting the amount of calories you burn.

Look For Opportunities To Stay Active

Every day is full of opportunities to stay active, burn some extra calories and rev up your metabolism. However, most people don’t look for these opportunities and as a result they don’t use up as many calories as they could during the day.

To make the most of these opportunities, be more aware of the options available to you and choose the one that’s best for your metabolism. For example, if you have a choice between taking the elevator and the stairs, take the stairs. If you’re planning to use the car for a short journey, consider jogging or cycling instead. Doing this will significantly increase your metabolism and allow you to burn plenty of extra calories each day.

Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption

Like caffeine, alcoholic drinks are something that can be enjoyed in small quantities but when consumed excessively, they slow down your metabolism. The reason for this is that large amounts of alcohol cause your body to become dehydrated and this inhibits your metabolism and limits the total daily calories you burn. To prevent alcohol having a negative impact on your metabolism, limit your consumption to two alcoholic drinks per night and have at least two alcohol free days per week. Always drink plenty of water when consuming alcohol to avoid this dehydration-one glass of water for each drink consumed is great way to stay hydrated as well as lessen the after effects of the alcohol the next day.

Stay Hydrated

As mentioned above, dehydration slows down your metabolism and reduces the total number of calories you burn each day. Staying hydrated has the opposite effect, helps you maintain an optimal metabolism and maximizes the amount of calories you burn each day.

To ensure that you stay hydrated, consume the equivalent of eight glasses of water per day. There are plenty of different foods and drinks that can help you hit this target, so even if you’re not a huge fan of water, it’s still really easy to stay hydrated. Simply enjoy black tea, coffee, green tea, water rich fruits (such as grapefruit and melon) and water rich vegetables (such as broccoli and spinach) regularly and you’ll easily stay hydrated and burn the maximum amount of calories possible each day.

Get At Least 6 Hours Of Sleep Per Night

Getting six hours or more of high-quality sleep each night boosts your metabolism in numerous ways. First, it stimulates the release of growth hormone – a hormone which burns body fat and builds muscle (muscle cells burn three times more calories than fat cells, so naturally raises your metabolic rate). Second, it ensures that all your vital organs function optimally and prevents your metabolism from slowing down. So if you’re not currently getting at least six hours of quality sleep on a nightly basis, make the effort to improve your sleep patterns from today.

Eat When It Suits You Best

One of the biggest metabolism myths out there is that you need to eat five or six mini-meals at even intervals during the day. However, this is actually nothing more than a successful rumor created by supplement companies in order to sell more products. The truth is that as long as your total daily calories are consistent and in line with your basal metabolic rate (click here to calculate your BMR), the timing and number of meals you consume isn’t important.

So instead of struggling to fit five or six mini-meals into your day, create a meal plan that suits your lifestyle. By doing this, you’ll not only enjoy your meals more but you’ll be much more motivated as you’re not forcing yourself to eat when you’d rather not.

Utilize Spices

Spices are a great way to add a kick to your meals and they also boost your metabolism in the process. When you consume spices, they temporarily stimulate your body’s fat burning processes and this can result in you burning more body fat after you eat them. In addition to this, eating spices raises your body’s temperature and your body then uses up more calories as it regulates this temperature increase.

If you don’t currently utilize many spices in your cooking, start making some changes today. There are plenty of different spices available with different intensities and flavors, so you can easily find one that you like. Spices are also incredibly versatile and can be used to season fish, meat, nuts, vegetables and seeds.

Base Each Meal Around Protein

By basing every meal you eat around protein, you give your metabolism a huge natural boost. Unlike carbohydrates and fats (which burn very few calories during digestion), studies that when you consume protein, your body uses up 25% of the calories it contains during digestion.

If most of your meals are rich in processed carbohydrates (such as white pasta or white rice), base them around a protein source instead (such as fish or meat) and then top up the meal with vegetables. By doing this you’ll still get some nutrient packed carbohydrates in your meal but you’ll cut out the excess carbohydrate calories and enjoy the calorie burning effects of protein.

Get Plenty Of Fiber

Like protein rich foods, foods that contain high levels of fiber require more energy to digest so naturally enhance your metabolism when you eat them. Fiber rich foods also increase the amount of nutrients you can absorb from your foods, protect against bowel disease and much more. Most plant based foods contain high levels of fiber. Therefore, to get plenty of fiber in your diet, simply fill up on whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Avoid Processed Carbs

As mentioned above, if your diet contains a high concentration of processed carbs and you want to maximize your metabolism, then you need to be replacing your carbohydrate rich meals with protein rich meals.

Processed carbs require very few calories to digest, so the more processed carbs you eat, the fewer total calories your digestive system burns off. In addition to this, processed carbs contain very few vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These nutrients support numerous processes within your body (including metabolism) and by failing to get enough of them in your diet, you can slow down your metabolism and reduce the total amount of calories you burn each day.

To keep your nutrient levels topped up, increase the amount of calories you burn during digestion and maintain an optimal metabolism, cut back on processed carbs and instead fill up on fiber rich, nutrient packed, natural carbs such as fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Eating as clean as possible, making a few lifestyle changes, and finding an exercise program that works for you is the key to all good health, and when combined with a diet that’s rich in metabolism boosting foods and drinks, with consistency, you can get your metabolism fired up in a few short weeks. For even more focus on revving up the metabolism, I’d suggest a good protocol of detoxifying the system, adding probiotics, or even adding intermittent fasting to your life. This are things that I specialize in, and offer programs that are designed just for YOU. Please reach out to me if you are interested in learning how this might work in your wellness journey!