Where did I (and my motivation) go??

Where did I (and my motivation) go??

First off, HI EVERYONE!! It has been a while and I sure have missed you! I hope you all are doing well and life is good! So where did I go and why am I back now you ask? Well, the long and short of it is, I got super uninspired, felt like I was not contributing anything worthwhile to you all, gave up on myself, and stopped writing. That is the most honest way I can say it.

Why am I back? Well because I am not a quitter!!

My site turned 5 years old last week and I got that nice little email from WordPress congratulating me on my anniversary. When I saw that email come in, I took it as a sign. I had been thinking about starting to write again over the last couple of weeks anyway, so I figured the universe was trying to tell me to just do it and as I am a big believer in listening to the universe, here I am again!

In thinking about what I wanted to write about for my first post back, I decided I should explore what happened to make me stop writing in the first place. As I was reminiscing about the last year or so of my life the one thing that really stuck out to me was how unmotivated I had become. This lack of motivation was not specific to writing unfortunately but extended to just about every part of my life including my workouts, my mountain biking, my job, schooling, relationships, etc. You name it, I haven’t been giving it my all in any area. Not even close.

So what happened to make my motivation wane exactly? To be honest, I am not exactly sure. I don’t think it was one thing or event that happened but more of a feeling that built up over months that I just wasn’t getting anywhere despite my best efforts. In essence, I began feeling like I was spinning my wheels and not making any forward progress. I started to doubt myself. Doubt my decisions. Doubt the value I was bringing to the people in my world including you all.

So what has changed recently to make me want to jump back into life? I really just decided that I didn’t want to be the kind of person who quit when things got hard. I have never been someone who doubted my own abilities or worth. I know I am capable. I know I am a hard worker. I know I can accomplish just about anything I set my mind to so basically, it was time to get off my butt and be that person again!

People become unmotivated for a variety of reasons. Like me, sometimes you just get uninspired. Other times maybe a lack of self-esteem plays a role. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety can absolutely also cause us to become unmotivated. Whatever the reason behind it, there are a few ways I think we can combat it and get back on whatever path we may have stepped off. First and maybe most importantly:

Remember why you started!

I started this blog because I wanted to help people. I wanted to make getting healthier and happier something everyone and anyone could do no matter what their current situation. I wanted to share the pitfalls of my own health and wellness journey so that I might be able to spare someone out there the same trial and error I went through so they could get to the good stuff quicker. I never stopped wanting all those things out of this space, I just started feeling like I wasn’t really accomplishing it with the posts I was offering. I felt like I wasn’t telling you all anything you probably didn’t already know despite all of your kind comments and words of encouragement that I would receive every single time I posted a new blog article. This would be a great time to stop and say thank you, thank you thank you by the way for all of those kind words! They meant and still mean the world to me and they are a big reason I wanted to start writing here again!

So in thinking about starting to write again, other than wanting to reconnect with all of you, my motivation reignited when I realized that no two stories are the same. No one is me and if telling you all about my specific journey as it continues to unfold helps just one person out there feel like they are not alone or helps them to keep going when they may want to quit, then it is all worth it. This same logic can be applied if you start feeling blah about your workouts. Remember why you started. Remember your desire to live a healthier life. Remember the passion you had when you did that first workout after making the decision to do something to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. Hold on to that feeling. Keep it present in your thoughts and carry it with you, especially on those days when you have absolutely no desire to get off the couch and get that workout in. Remember your “why”, no matter what the situation, and hold yourself accountable to the person you were when you made that promise to yourself to go out and get it!

Stop being your own worst enemy!

Chances are you are wayyyyy harder on yourself than anyone else is. I know this is the case for me big time. My motivation waned greatly when I started doubting myself and second-guessing a lot of the decisions I had been making. I began feeling like I was making decisions that were not moving me forward in life but instead of forging ahead and continuing at least to try to make more positive changes, I basically froze and stopped doing anything at all. Recently I started realizing that making no decisions and continuing to stay where I was in life was making me feel worse than at least trying to do something to improve my situation. I started thinking about how I could learn from my mistakes instead of letting them paralyze me.

I also started talking to myself in a more positive and affirming tone instead of beating myself up for feeling like I wasn’t doing enough or the right things. The danger in always talking to yourself critically is oftentimes you translate that talk into behavior. If you start to believe you aren’t good enough or capable enough you may stop even trying. You might miss opportunities that present themselves either because you aren’t out there looking for them or you don’t pursue them when they do arise because you think you won’t be successful. Listen guys, you miss 100% of the chances you don’t take so why not put yourself out there and at least see what happens? I bet more often than not, you are successful and you may even surprise yourself with what you are able to accomplish. My main takeaway here is to go easy on yourself. Life is not always easy. Give yourself some credit, be your own bff and biggest cheerleader, and watch as you start to not only survive but really thrive!

Set some ATTAINABLE goals.

Start off slow when you are getting back into the swing of things. Sit down and really think about where you want to put your energy and how you are going to go about getting to where you want to be. Then write down some goals that have realistic timeframes attached based on what you decided you want to pursue. Keep that list where you can see it on a daily basis and use it to keep yourself on track and focused as you get back into whatever it was you had let fall by the wayside. For me, I have set a goal to write for a least 30 minutes every single day to start off with. I also decided to re-do the very first workout program that got me hooked on lifting weights in the first place, LIIFT 4. I am actually on the final week of the program, Week 6, and that spark that had dwindled a bit about weight training is definitely back! I not only feel stronger but can see my muscles coming back which has reignited that desire to keep lifting on a regular basis and getting those gains.

Goals help us stay focused and give us something to shoot for. They can also build back our confidence and help improve our self-esteem if we find ourselves, like I did, doubting our abilities. I also find that if I consciously decide I am going to do something and then write it down I am much more likely to follow through and complete the task. As silly as it may sound, I absolutely love the feeling of being able to cross something off my to-do/goal list at the end of the day. And like I said, start small. If all you were able to do today was get up and make your bed then celebrate that win for the day and tomorrow maybe try to do one more thing that makes you feel accomplished. The most important thing is you have a plan that is specific and attainable and that you work that plan to its conclusion. Then you can make a bigger and better plan and so on and so forth. Before you know it you are back in the saddle and once again able to conquer the world!

Allow yourself to take a break!

It’s ok to step away for a while if you need to. Sometimes you need that time away to reflect, to recharge, to realign yourself with your goals and aspirations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hitting the pause button. Just be careful that you don’t pause for too long. That is when a break becomes quitting. I was dangerously close to the quilting side of things before I pulled myself back and realized I had worked too hard on both this blog and my health to let anything or anyone permanently derail me. That being said, having taken the time away only reaffirmed for me that I was investing my time in places that were worth it and made me happy. I love writing. I always have. I love interacting with all of you. I love working out. I love lifting weights. I love riding my bike. I just needed to hit the pause button for a short time I guess to realize all of this.

Taking breaks, whether we are taking short breaks during the day, or longer periods of time away from something, helps us destress, refocus, and can even increase our energy and ultimately our productivity. I know another problem I have is going a million miles an hour for as long as I can and then suddenly burning out. I definitely had a case of burnout with some parts of my life over the last year so another important lesson I have learned is that I don’t need to accomplish everything all at once. I can go at a more steady, even pace, take breaks when I need to, and ultimately finish things that I have started in a more timely manner with my mental and physical health still intact. Everything doesn’t need to happen all at once, overnight. Allow yourself grace periods to reset every once and a while and chances are you will return and be even more productive than you were when you stepped away.

Ok ok enough about me! What have you guys been up to over the last couple of months?? Drop some comments below and let’s catch up! Also, if there is anything in particular you would like to see more of on this site I always appreciate your feedback!

xoxoxo – Beth

Stop being afraid to fail!

Stop being afraid to fail!

We all fail. Sometimes we fail big, something we fail small but inevitably we all fail at something at some point in our lives. Off the top of my head, right now, I can think of several things I have failed at over the years. Relationships, friendships, exams, even jobs, just to name a few….

The older I have gotten, though, the more I realize that while the word “failure” tends to have a negative connotation, I have learned so much from each of my own failures that that maybe failing isn’t so bad after all. While usually, at least initially, it kinda well sucks to fail at something, if you really stop to think about your own failures, haven’t you learned something pretty significant from each of those experiences? 

Maybe you just learn not to do that same thing again. Maybe you learn it is worth another shot but maybe not in the same manner you tried before. Maybe you learn what to look for and/or what to avoid the next time a particular situation comes around. Maybe you just learn that something isn’t right for you.  

Whatever it may be, I am hard-pressed to think of a time that I failed at something that I didn’t become a least a little bit wiser and more in tune with myself because of it. So, what else can failure teach us? For starters:

Failure Can Clarify Our Path

I wholeheartedly agree with the old saying, “When one door closes another one opens”. Failing at one thing can signal to us that maybe that thing we thought we wanted so badly wasn’t actually meant for us but perhaps there is something better waiting right around the corner. Sometimes you can put everything single thing you have into something or someone and in the end, it still doesn’t work out like you had hoped it would. Is it a tough pill to swallow? ABSOLUTELY! Do you sometimes feel dejected and even bewildered by the way the situation turned out? OF COURSE! Can you still learn a lot from enduring this kind of failure? SO MUCH!

This is a case where I believe life is telling you to reassess where you are putting your energy. It is saying, “hey great effort over there but look over here now!” Take all that glorious drive, ambition, and desire, and let’s put it somewhere that is better suited for you. This is also a great lesson on how to pivot instead of throwing in the towel. Just because one thing didn’t work out for, you doesn’t mean the next thing won’t. Don’t let one failure stop you from getting out there and finding what truly deserves your time and energy.  

Failure Can Reveal Our Strength

When we fail at something in life and then must deal with the repercussions of that failure, we are often forced to call upon that inner strength we all possess just to sometimes make it through and live to fight another day. But we do just that, don’t we? We fight. And in that fight, if we really stop to think about it, our true strength can sometimes be revealed. Even if we don’t know we are fighting and evolving and getting stronger, that is exactly what is happening behind the scenes.  

That realization very often is the exact thing we need to punch forward and either try, try again, or as I mentioned above, pivot and try something that might be better suited for us. And in those moments when the failure is fresh and the feelings of disappointment are raw, remember one thing, you have survived every single thing life has thrown at you up until this point, including all the really hard, sad, and trying things. You are strong. Probably so much stronger than you even realize so just get back up and continue to fight the good fight no matter how long it takes.

Failure Can Force Us Out of Comfort Zone…

If you really stop to think about it, what is so great about being in your comfort zone? Nothing grows there. Nothing new happens there. And while yes, it is comfortable, would you rather find yourself in the same place, day after day, month after month, year after year, or at least try, maybe fail, but try again to reach for your goals? For me staying stagnant is much worse than facing my fear of failure and at least being able to tell myself I made an attempt to better my situation.  

Real, true growth, can only honestly happen when we get uncomfortable after all. Even just practicing taking a few steps out of your comfort zone can teach you amazingly useful lessons on how to adapt, and deal with change, which is of course inevitable in life. If we fail trying something new, great, there are probably a million other ways to approach that problem or situation. Keep trying until you find the one that works.  

If you keep failing at something because you are doing it the same way over and over again, take a step back, realize what you have been doing isn’t working and force yourself out of that comfort zone and into a new way of thinking. I guarantee that getting out of that rut you might be in will spark new creativity, maybe reenergize your fight, ignite a possibly stalled motivation and maybe even see you accomplishing that goal or achieving that next step in life that you have been striving for.

Failure Makes Us Tough

Let’s face it….life can be hard. While there are so many wonderful and beautiful things all around us that we will experience in a lifetime, we also all go through periods that aren’t all sunshine and roses. One of the most important tools that failure can arm us with is toughness. Mental toughness, emotional toughness, and even physical toughness can all be gained by trying and failing and picking ourselves back up when it really counts. Failure can force us to pick ourselves up from the lowest point, dust ourselves off and get back on that proverbial horse after being bucked off one too many times. It can teach us that while success may not be immediate it will come if you just keep on trying different ways of getting there.  

It can also make us take an honest look at ourselves, take stock of the decisions we have been making, and recognize if we are the ones holding ourselves back. Being brutally honest with ourselves is seldom easy but failing enough times unavoidably leads to having to have those tough conversations where you admit to yourself that what you have been doing isn’t working. Taking responsibility for our own actions and failures isn’t easy but it builds character, resilience and in the end a much more transparent and sincere awareness of who we are and what we are capable of.  

Failing is never fun. In fact, sometimes it is downright painful. Did you ever try to climb a really tall tree when you were a kid and then took an unfortunate tumble when the top branches weren’t as sturdy as you might have thought? Yeah, OW! Have you ever trusted the wrong person and then ended up with a severely bruised if not broken heart? Yeah, that one really hurts! But in both those scenarios hopefully, you learned something which helped you in the future stay a little safer toughened you up for the next go of it. Failing teaches all kinds of really important and useful life lessons if we really stop to think about it. So let’s try to change the narrative a little bit on how we view it. Embrace the suck of it just a bit, keep your head held high, and learn the lesson that life is trying to teach you. I bet you will come out the other side a little happier, more self-aware, and even more bad a$$ than you went in!



Why am I not seeing results??

Why am I not seeing results??

One of the most frustrating parts of any fitness journey is when you feel like you have been busting your butt for a solid length of time but are not seeing the expected results. 

Sometimes this happens a few weeks into a brand-new fitness journey, sometimes it happens a few months or even a few years into it. For the purposes of this post, however, I am going to focus on when this happens soon after you have started or -restarted a new fitness routine.

On average, if you are consistently working out each week, you should start to see meaningful changes happening within 6-8 weeks. Considerable changes, we are talking about an overhaul of your body and fitness levels, take about 3-6 months. There are a couple of main reasons that you may be either slow to see results or are feeling like you aren’t seeing them at all aside from just not having been at it long enough. These reasons can include:

You Haven’t Fixed Your Diet 

The old saying, “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet” is so true and in my opinion probably one of the leading reasons you aren’t seeing results from the hard work you are putting in with your workouts. One of the most beneficial things you can do to start getting your nutrition in line is to cut out processed, packaged foods that are often loaded with extra sugar and salt and focus on eating whole foods as much as possible.  

A piece of advice when it comes to finding and incorporating whole foods into your meal planning is to shop on the outside isles of the grocery store and then cook as many meals as possible at home with those whole, fresh ingredients. Meal prepping for days that you are going to be on the go and need something already made and ready to eat to keep you from reaching for that bag of chips or candy bar is also key!  

Finally, I cannot overstate how important it is to get enough protein when we are talking about meeting and maintaining your fitness goals. Protein is highly important for not only repairing and rebuilding muscles after a workout, but the essential amino acids that protein sources like meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy provide help to build new muscle tissue and at the same time burn stubborn fat. On top of all that, eating protein with every meal helps you feel fuller for longer than just filling up on carbs and fat alone.  

If your nutrition is already in line, keep reading for a few more possibilities that may be holding you back…

Strength Training Isn’t A Priority 

This issue was a huge one for me at the beginning of my own health and fitness journey. I was hitting the gym at least 5-6 days a week, spending the majority of my time on cardio machines like the treadmill and elliptical and wandering into the weight room only when it was empty enough for me not to feel embarrassed for being in there in the first place.

Guess what? That approach did not work at all. While cardio is an important piece of any fitness routine, it shouldn’t be your only focus if you are looking to slim down.  

If you have been around my blog for a little while, you may remember I dedicated a whole post (#MBF) to this very subject….how building muscle through strength training is a great way to burn fat. Basically, the more muscle you are able to build, the more fat you burn, even while at rest! Who doesn’t want to burn fat even while you binging your current Netflix obsession?? Take a look at my #MBF post for more details on exactly how this works, but in the meantime, if you haven’t been hitting the weights or at least doing bodyweight exercises up until this point, start incorporating them into your routine now. If you are a little unsure about how to go about this, I have a few suggestions on this one also!

What ended up working for me was beginning to follow a weight training program I could do from home with just a few selections of dumbbells. I wanted to learn how to lift weights properly, with the correct form, and in an order which would be the most effective use of my time, so I did a little research and ended up diving into the program, LIIFT4 (click here for a FREE sample workout of this awesome program!). I am not exaggerating when I say that one decision changed my life. I fell in love with strength training and by the end of the program, I saw muscles I didn’t even know I had…I was hooked!

Another suggestion is if you are more a gym person, but still unsure how to go about lifting weights properly, just ask someone there for some guidance. I would be willing to bet that person who looks like they know what they are doing in the weight room would be happy to share some knowledge with you to help you get started. After all, they were once a beginner too!

You Aren’t Prioritizing Rest

As counterintuitive as this one might sound, rest is a key component in a successful fitness regime. This is one that became a real issue for me about a year into my own journey because I got to the point where I had found programs that I genuinely enjoyed doing so much and that I was seeing such great results from, that I never wanted to take a day off. 

Really, I am being serious! I wanted to workout 7 days a week because I was having so much fun doing it and oh yeah, those endorphins can be addicting! 

Pushing your body 7 days a week with no rest days, however, is a big no-no and can actually be setting you back on your quest to get fit. So, take my advice and build rest days into your own routine!

Nowadays, I typically build two rest days into my own weekly routine, depending on what program I am following and how much I am doing other workouts like riding my mountain bike and running. One rest day for me is typically a full rest day where I really give my body a break and let everything heal and repair itself and the other is usually an active rest day where I do something like go for a long walk, do some Pilates, or yoga or take my pups for a hike.  

A few good signs your body is in need of a rest day or two are if you waking up feeling sore, you are more tired or moody than normal, or you feel a bit under the weather. You may also feel dehydrated despite drinking enough water or you might even notice that your heart rate is a bit elevated. These are all clear indications you have pushed your body hard enough for the week and it is time to let it rest. Build these down days into your workout routine and I bet it will help jump-start your progress again if it has stalled.  

You Need to Mix Things Up

While I totally understand that most of us find comfort in routine, being comfortable while working out is not going to get you the results you are looking for. If you find yourself doing the same workouts, in the same order, with the same weight selection for an extended period of time this might be a contributing factor to the plateau you will inevitably find yourself in. While I do applaud the fact that you might still be consistently showing up if you don’t also switch things up once in a while your body will get used to the routine and your progress with cease.

It is only really when your body is challenged and forced to adapt to a new move or a higher weight selection or an entirely new workout altogether that meaningful progress can be made. For me, switching things up Is not only really great for my body and progress but also for my dedication to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The more variety I can incorporate into my workouts the more likely I am to continue to want to do them.

I do everything from weight training, to HIIT workouts, to running, Pilates, Yoga, and of course mountain biking, just to name a few. Not only do the different workouts keep things interesting for me but the unique aspects of each of them target different muscles and focus on different but equally important components of a complete fitness routine such as strength, mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Most importantly, just continue to challenge yourself. If you feel like you are stuck in a rut or are just coasting through workouts it is probably time for a change.  

Plus, you might discover a new kind of workout that you really enjoy which is always a bonus! Check out my post “I can become a ballerina at 40 right?” for how I fell in love with Barre workouts after prematurely writing them off as something I would never like or benefit from. Challenge your assumptions people! You never really know until you try!

The reasons I listed above are just a few possibilities as to why you might feel like your progress has stalled during your fitness journey. Another really viable alternative is that you actually are still making progress; it just might not be reflected by the number staring back at you on the dreaded scale. A lot of the time that number might not be going down because you are building muscle at the same time you are burning fat. Remember muscle is dense and you could be shedding inches off your waist while getting stronger at the same time. If this is the case, ask yourself, “do my clothes fit better?”, “do I have more energy?”, “is my stamina increasing?”. If yes to one or more of those things, you are making progress, and congrats! The scale is by no means the end all be all, remember that!

If you are neither losing pounds nor gaining muscle AND all the things I listed above are not to blame, check things like portion sizes of the meals you are eating, have an honest conversation with yourself about your stress and anxiety levels which if high can be causing weight gain, and of course it is always a good idea to get in and see your doctor in a case like this. Several medical conditions like a low-functioning thyroid, to out of whack hormones, to an overgrowth of yeast in your body could all be to blame here as well. Most importantly, just don’t give up on yourself! Chances are with some small tweaks you can get back on track and continue to reach for and knock out all those awesome health and fitness goals you had set your mind to!



4 Tips to Crush Those AM Workouts!

4 Tips to Crush Those AM Workouts!

I am not by nature a morning person. Never have been, probably never will be. That being said, I have become a huge fan of crushing my workouts first thing in the morning so I can check it off my list and get on with my day. I have fallen so in love with taking care of myself both physically and mentally that waking up a few extra minutes earlier in the morning is a small price to pay to ensure my workouts get done and dusted before the inevitable chaos of the day starts.  

Fairly early on in my health and wellness journey, I realized working out first thing in the morning was what I wanted and needed to do, but like I mentioned above not being someone who naturally jumps out of bed at the crack of dawn meant that I would need a solid plan to ensure I would be able to get my butt out of bed each day with enough time to get my sweat on. So, I began doing a few things to set myself up for success that fast forward almost 4 years later have become a routine I go through each and every day (aside from rest days) that I now wholeheartedly attribute to the success I have found in achieving and maintaining my health and fitness goals.    

As I was working my way through my morning routine this fine morning, I thought maybe it would be helpful to share with you all a few tips I have picked up along the way that enable me to be successful in this part of my journey even though I still don’t consider myself to be a true morning person:

Tip #1: Prepare the Night Before 

The preparations I make the night before are just as if not more important than the things I do each morning to ensure I successfully get up and get moving. These are really easy, commonsense things I do but they truly make all the difference in the world. To start with, I purchased myself a great little automatic coffee maker that I programmed to start brewing at 5:30 am each morning. Not only does this save me time in getting up having to make the coffee then standing there waiting for it to be ready, but the smell of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the AM is almost enough to get me out of bed in and of itself! I load up my Mr. Coffee maker each night, set the timer to start brewing the next morning, and as soon as I get out of bed I head to the kitchen and get my hot cup of coffee and caffeine/pre-workout fuel I need to get my blood flowing.

Another major thing I do the night before is to ensure I know exactly what workout I will be doing the following day so there is no delay in just jumping in and getting it done. This particular step is made so much easier thanks to the home workouts I have been doing for 3+ years now. They take all the guess workout out of what workouts I should be doing and in what order I should be doing them which is a huge help because let’s face it, my brain is never totally awake that early in the morning even if my body is up and moving! I literally just head straight from the kitchen to my living room, press play, and off I go getting a great workout in usually all in about 30 minutes or so.  

Finally, each and every night I make sure I lay out my workout clothes for the next day in advance so again it is one less thing I have to think about when I wake up in the morning. I quickly found that without things like what I am going to wear planned out ahead of time I was wasting precious minutes in the morning trying to get it all together. 

This would then make me feel rushed and like I had to wake up even earlier the next day creating a vicious cycle that could have very easily derailed me. Having all these things ready to go, speeds up the process and lets me focus on getting the best quality workout I can without having to watch the clock because I am worried about time while I am doing it.  

Tip #2 – Set an Alarm and Don’t Hit Snooze!

I learned the importance of this one the hard way after setting multiple alarms, continually hitting snooze, and far too many times falling back asleep just long enough that I wasn’t able to get my workout in because I snoozed right through the entire allotted time. 

After a few too many failures in this department, I decided to not only quit giving myself the option of hitting snooze at all but to move my alarm clock across the room so I would have to get out of bed to turn it off. Let’s face it, the hardest part of getting going in the morning for me anyway is the actual getting out of bed part. So, forcing myself to have to get up to turn my alarm clock off solved that problem for me!

Another happy side effect I have found after making this switch is I am less likely to be on my phone before bedtime and then again first thing in the morning. By placing my phone, aka my alarm clock, across my room before bed I have decreased my screen time which was getting embarrassingly out of hand, and I think I have even improved my quality of sleep as well. Not only do I now avoid that harmful blue light that radiates from our electronics and wreaks havoc on our sleep patterns, but I also have pledged to use that time to read more instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. I feel so much better about the way I use my time, not to mention I am better rested in the process making it easier to get up and going in the morning!

Tip #3 – Hold Yourself Accountable

I do this in a couple of ways starting with logging my workouts using fun little stickers….yep I love an old fashioned planner that you can write in, draw in, use stickers in, whatever to not only track your workouts but also give yourself a little congrats in the form of a pretty little star each day that you achieve your workout goals. 

I have been doing this since Day 1 along with taking progress pics to keep track of my achievements and remind myself how far I have come and that all the hard work does and is paying off.

I also hold myself accountable by having workout buddies. I have a group of friends who also workout in the mornings and we all text each other to make sure we have gotten up and are crushing our AM goals. This extra layer of accountability outside of myself goes such a long way in the morning when my motivation isn’t super high and the warm comfy bed is harder to get out of. I know I have people out there not only counting on me but rooting for me to succeed so if I don’t always feel like doing it for myself I do it so I don’t let them down. Surrounding yourself with motivated, goal-oriented people chasing after the same things you are in life is a fantastic way to keep going when you may not always feel like it, especially at the crack of dawn!!

Tip #4 – Find Workouts that you Enjoy!

Let’s face it, working out is not always easy. In fact, a lot of the time it is downright tough. If it wasn’t hard though, could we really expect it to change us for the better? 

Probably not. That being said, while we can’t always escape the hard, we don’t have to be miserable the entire time we are doing it either! Find workouts that are enjoyable, maybe even fun but at least engaging enough that you are not obsessively looking at the clock as the minute’s tick by until you can stop.  This has been absolutely key for me in my own journey. I spent almost a year floundering around the gym, not really knowing what I was doing, not seeing much progress, and being pretty darn close to throwing in the towel on the whole thing….once again. When I stumbled upon the workout programs I am doing now everything changed for me. I found myself not only looking forward to working out each day, but a lot of the time smiling while I was doing it! 

I know I know…. sounds crazy right? But I swear to you, I really do enjoy the workouts on this platform and there are so many of them to choose from that I never get bored. I also don’t have to put any thought at all into which workout I should do next or if I am doing the moves correctly because it is all explained and demoed each and every time I press play. Find something that works similarly for you. If you really enjoy running, first of all, that is so impressive because it is like torture for me, but if that’s what floats your boat, go for a run each morning. If you enjoy biking, do that, if you enjoy lifting weights do that. Just find something that you look forward to doing each morning and it will make it that much easier to get your butt in motion.

While working out no matter what time of the day it is, is a great thing, for me working out in the morning has been the ticket to not only achieving but also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Kick-starting my day with a solid, effective, and efficient workout gives me the energy and focus I need to tackle everything else that is going to be thrown at me and also the satisfaction of knowing I have already completed one major to-do list item. I am also able to focus solely on the workout at hand without my email dinging, my phone ringing, or a meeting popping up that I just have to attend, all of which have the potential to derail even my best efforts. So, if you are struggling to find time to fit in a sweat session or you find yourself starting one but not able to finish it because of all the other things that demand our attention throughout the day, try getting up just a bit earlier and getting it done and over with first thing. After all, the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the improved health and wellness which I think is something we can all agree is a pretty worthwhile prize!!



Be Scared and Do It Anyway….

Be Scared and Do It Anyway….

“Why am I doing this??” 

That is a literal question I ask myself at least once, if not several times, during each ride I set out on. Mountain biking for me is challenging, like really challenging. It pushes my body and mind to extremes that I haven’t experienced in any other sport or endeavor I have taken on before or since. There are points during each ride that I feel like quitting. The route gets tough. My lungs start screaming for air. My legs begin to feel like they are on fire or I am just faced with terrain that challenges all the skills I thought I had picked up along the way.

In addition to all of that, to say I have a healthy fear of falling and really doing damage to myself might be an understatement. But the flip side is, I have become addicted to not only the adrenaline rush that comes with this type of sport but possibly even more to the feeling of continually looking this particular type of fear in the eye and not backing down from the challenge.     

I got into mountain biking almost two decades ago. Back then I was semi-serious about it, but it was more of a hobby than a sport I was trying to master. I rode for a few years and well then life happened. I moved around a bit, left my bike behind, and never really picked it back up. That is until COVID hit.  

At the start of the pandemic last year I was itching, like a lot of folks, to get outside more. A good friend of mine who happened to have held onto my bike for me all these years asked if I wanted to go for a ride on one, particularly beautiful spring day. I immediately jumped at the chance thinking it would just be nice to go on a casual ride and get out of the house for a bit.  

I pulled all my old biking gear out of a storage box that had been long since covered up with a ton of other things I no longer used but of course, couldn’t bear to part with and suited up. We started off just hitting some paved trails right by my house but pretty soon stumbled upon some paths that led off into the woods with much more rugged and challenging terrain and jumped at the chance to really let the bikes loose.

Almost immediately I had a huge smile plastered on my face and was attacking those roots and rocks with a kind of reckless abandon I really only get when I am in the middle of the woods speeding down a steep incline with countless numbers of obstacles trying to buck me off my bike. I had so much fun being “back in the saddle” that day that I knew this was not going to be a one-time thing. I was hooked. I was hooked more than I think I ever was the first time I tried the sport and from that day forward have been borderline obsessed about getting on my bike every chance I get.  See below for some pics from a mountain biking trip we took over the weekend…

So, what is about mountain biking that has me so completely determined to do everything I can to get better and better at the sport? Well for starters, my friend is an absolutely amazing rider. He has been riding for about 30 years and is faster and more agile on his bike than I will probably ever be on mine. That being said, riding with him gives me so much motivation to keep improving my skills because I see how far there is to go. And by the way, I use the phrase “riding with him” loosely because he absolutely smokes me most of the time and it is everything I can do to just keep him somewhat in my sights.  

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, mountain biking is hard for me. It hasn’t been something I have picked up and excelled at right from the start. It is challenging physically of course but probably even more so mentally and even emotionally. During each ride I truly at times think to myself this is crazy, it is too hard, why am I doing this to myself, and usually there is an omg I might die thrown in there as well. Inevitably though, as soon as the ride is over, and I get off my bike I am already looking forward to doing it all again! In really thinking about why all those things go through my mind each time I ride, it dawned on me how many lessons mountain biking can teach me about life in general. Namely,

Patience is a Virtue 

I have a hard time not immediately being good at something. A really hard time. I want right from the start to be the best at everything I try no matter how difficult, complex, or challenging the task ahead of me is. It makes no logical sense that I would pick up my bike after years and years of not riding and be able to attack double black diamond trails with the ease of a seasoned professional, yet to me, that is what I expect of myself. A year into being back on my bike and while I know I have gotten stronger and made a lot of progress in certain areas I am very far from where I still want to be. I need to learn to balance, however, being motivated to keep improving and realizing it won’t happen overnight. Focusing too much on what I have not accomplished yet instead of being proud of myself for being out there, trying and not giving up robs me of fully enjoying everything I love about the sport, to begin with.   

“Comparison is the thief of joy”.

That wise statement attributed to Theodore Roosevelt rings especially true for me when it comes to mountain biking. Riding with someone who is so much better than me in just about every way, while motivational and educational tends to also be frustrating at times. I like to win. I like to come in first place. As bad as this sounds, I like to beat the rest of the pack. When I can’t and I am not the best at something, I am very hard on myself. Always riding with people who are so much better than I am is a truly humbling experience and one that is a bit hard for my ego to take at times. My friend always tells me to stop comparing myself to him or anyone else, be proud of the progress I am making and just enjoy being out on the bike. While of course, he is right, the stubborn, perfectionist part of me has trouble accepting my second-place position. Focusing so much on what someone else is doing whether on a bike or just in life, robs you of energy you could be putting into improving yourself.  Just for the record, this is one is still very hard for me. I am working on it though, I promise!

Progress doesn’t happen in your comfort zone.

A large part of mountain biking, or at least getting better at mountain biking is continually pushing yourself to go bigger. If I never tried harder features or let up off the brakes more going down a steep embankment or forced myself to keep pedaling up a gnarly hill when my legs were screaming for me to quit, I would never get any better. And I so badly want to be better, faster and stronger and honestly less afraid. The only way to accomplish all those things is to face the fear, get uncomfortable and do it all anyway. Whether it is mountain biking, or taking a chance on a new job, or getting the courage to leave a relationship that no longer is working for you, real meaningful change only happens when you get uncomfortable. We are all going to be faced with hills in life, with choices that involve staying where we are or pushing ourselves more than we thought possible because something better might be on the other side of the climb. In my experience, you will only be disappointed if you choose not to tackle that mountain in front of you. The fear will diminish, the pain will subside and what you will be left with is a stronger more confident version of yourself which for me is worth all the struggles.  

Fall 7 times, get back up 8!  

One of the motto’s that mountain bikers say a lot is “if you aren’t falling, you aren’t trying”. Well at the beginning of last year I must have been trying a whole heck of a lot because I took a few good spills right in a row and let me tell you even with pads on it hurts quite a bit! After about my third good fall, I found my confidence to be shaken. I could sense myself pulling back on the trails, taking fewer chances and in turn plateauing because I was afraid of taking another tumble. Pretty soon though, the disappointment of not making any real strides became worse for me than accepting the reality and honestly the fear that I might come off my bike a time or two again. Falling is part of life y’all. Not just in mountain biking but in all aspects of life. What really matters is not how many falls you take or how often you try something that doesn’t work but that you never stop trying. Never stop dedicating yourself to getting better at whatever it is you have set your mind to. Fall, fall, and then fall once more. Just don’t give up on yourself…ever!

Learn from each and every mistake.  

Every time I have fallen off my bike it was because I did something wrong. I either didn’t hit a feature with enough speed or I got a little scared and grabbed too much brake, or my position on the bike was wrong going into a particular section of the trail. Each time I found myself picking my bike up and dusting myself off, I immediately thought ok, why did that happen and how can I avoid it happening in the future because ouch! What mountain biking, in particular, has taught me more than probably any other sport I have ever participated in, is that there is no shame at all in falling down, and in fact, each fall is an opportunity to improve. Mistakes are inevitable in all aspects of life. We will make countless mistakes throughout a lifetime, some over and over again, but framing those mistakes as a learning opportunity is truly how we grow, get better and continue to make progress. While they can be frustrating and sometimes even downright painful, take the opportunity to reflect on the mistakes we all are bound to make and do just a little better the next time!

In mountain biking, I have truly found a worthy opponent. While it sometimes feels like it is me against the mountain, in reality, it is me against me. Like so many other scenarios in life, the only thing that will dictate how much I am able to improve, and progress is how motivated I am to continue to get uncomfortable, face my fears and meet each new challenge head-on. I want nothing more than to prove to myself that even in the face of something so challenging I am able to ignore that inner voice inside my head telling me it is too hard, and I should quit, and accomplish what I have set my mind to doing. After all, what better feeling is there than being able to look in the mirror and be proud of the person staring back at you?!? So my challenge for you today guys, is to go out and do one thing that scares you! And of course, report back and let me know what it was and how you did!!



Building Muscle. Burning Fat.

Building Muscle. Burning Fat.

I have only done this one other time on this platform, but I am in the middle of a workout program that is totally kicking my butt in the best possible way and I decided I wanted to dedicate a post to it, more specifically the philosophy behind it! The program, which is actually a two-part program, called Muscle Burns Fat and Muscle Burns Fat Advanced, operates on the premise that the more muscle you build the more calories you will burn, even while you are at rest! For more details on the program itself and to see my results so far, check out my page MBF/MBFA under my Workouts tab, but today I want to mainly talk about this idea of how building muscle and strengthening your body is such an effective way to shed some pounds, lean out and of course get healthy.

Up until a few years ago, you would not have caught me doing this or any other workout that involved weight training. I had no desire to build any real muscle or get any stronger. My goal for a really long time was just to fit into a size 0 jean, and it honestly it didn’t really matter how I got there. I didn’t want to be healthy; I didn’t want to be fit; apparently, I didn’t want to be happy; I just wanted to be thin. Strike that, skinny! I have mentioned in previous posts how all I used to do was endless amounts of cardio, mistakenly thinking that was the only way to shed pounds and get the lean body type I was after. I completely avoided picking up any weights at all, exclusively sticking to the treadmill, bike, and occasionally when I was feeling adventurous, the Stairmaster.  

Sure, I was skinny for a while. Too skinny. But looking back I attribute that more to the fact that I probably only took in about 500 calories a day in the form of coffee and crackers. I cringe looking back on that time in my life because I was so misguided and honestly downright unhealthy. Three years ago, when I set out to lose the extra pounds I had put on, I started down that same ridiculous road. Not knowing any better, I jumped right back into doing nothing but cardio, hating every minute of it, and what comes as no surprise to me now, not seeing barely any results.

Long story short, I was on the verge of throwing in the towel due to sheer frustration and honestly boredom. Thankfully, I was committed enough this time around that quitting wasn’t an option. I knew I needed to find a better way of working out and I also knew enough to know I didn’t know enough. So, I researched. I watched videos. I followed “influencers” on Instagram. I tried to replicate what I saw them doing and I gained enough information to learn that I needed to incorporate strength training into my routine. But how?

I tried doing it on my own. I tried coming up with routines to follow and while I did see some preliminary results start to happen, I quickly plateaued and even ended up injuring myself. Enter a friend of mine who referred me to BOD and the programs that were changing her life and I finally broke down and gave it a try, thinking I really had nothing to lose and everything to gain!

The very first program I did on BOD was LIIFT4. This program combines strength training with HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training) and it is where I fell in love with picking up and putting down heavy things. Over the course of six weeks, I saw and probably more importantly felt my body change one muscle group at a time… and I was hooked! I was hooked on how much stronger I was feeling. I was hooked on how much quicker I was leaning out. I was hooked on seeing muscles grow in places I didn’t even know I had muscles. I was finally hooked on working out and was having a blast doing it!

Fast forward a couple of years to today, several rounds of LIIFT4 and a handful of other amazing programs later (you can take a look at all the programs I have completed on my Workout page), and here I am finished with #MBF and midway through #MBFA. I am stronger, happier, healthier, and in better shape than I have ever been in my entire life and I attribute so much of it to the fact that I fell in love with weight training over these past three years.

#MBF and #MBFA have taken my results and are kicking them up even one notch higher…maybe two!! The principle behind #MBF and #MBFA is pretty simple, yet so effective…the more muscle you build the more calories you can burn each day. You guys, you do not need endless hours of cardio and crash-dieting to lean out and lose weight! A much more fun and healthy way to go about it is to build lean muscle. How exactly does building muscle translate into losing fat though? Great question! For starters:

  • The very nature of muscle tissue makes it more active than fat is, metabolically speaking. What does this mean in terms of losing weight? It means the more muscle we build, the more energy we are expending. This is because as you build more muscle, your resting metabolic rate raises which is just a fancy way of saying you burn more calories doing everyday things…think breathing, and blinking, and yes, even when you are at rest and sleeping!
  • Building muscle itself is a calorie-burning exercise! Enter, afterburn! The beauty of strength training is that even after your workout has ended you keep right on burning calories in a process called afterburn. Afterburn, very briefly summed up, is how your body returns itself to its pre-workout state. During this period you are burning more calories than you normally would and it can last as long as 72 hours!  
  • You can’t starve yourself and build muscle at the same time. So no need to crash diet or be crazy restrictive! This was an especially hard one for me to wrap my head around, but in order to build more muscle, even lean muscle, you need to eat. Train more, eat more, healthy, nutritious food of course (the majority of the time) but you need to keep up your calorie intake in order to maintain the muscle you have and continue to gain more if that is your goal.   
  • If you do find yourself losing weight but also losing muscle at the same time, the best way to combat that is to up your protein intake. It isn’t unusual to lose muscle right long with fat if you are trying to shed pounds. The best way to ensure the most amount of muscle sticks around while the fat does not is to make sure you are hitting your protein goals each day.  
  • The number on the scale might not change, but you will look leaner! This was also a hard concept for my former self who was weight and scale obsessed to accept but it is very true. Muscle in fact takes up less space than fat does, so you can appear thinner without the scale moving. Fun fact: I threw my scale away years ago and it was one of the best, most freeing, decisions I have ever made!

Incorporating strength training into my workout routine has been nothing short of life-changing for me, and not only in a physical sense. Weight training has given me a level of confidence I didn’t use to have, it has given me a brand-new appreciation for my body and what it is capable of and it has helped me find a healthy way to meet my goals that don’t include starving or torturing myself with horribly ineffective workouts. It has also, and possibly most importantly, allowed me to find and keep the motivation to workout consistently for what I am positive will be the rest of my life. I don’t dread working out anymore. I now, in fact, love the feeling of picking up those weights, pressing play, and watching myself get stronger, healthier, and happier than I have ever been!  

Ready to give it a try?! Click below for a FREE sample workout….just be prepared to sweat! Go press play then be sure to come back and let me know what you thought!!


xoxoxo- Beth

Every 36 seconds…

Every 36 seconds…

someone in America dies from cardiovascular disease! Every 36 seconds you guys!! I heard that statistic today and I was absolutely floored!  I was floored and then felt immediately compelled to get on here and write about what a serious issue this is for our society and how it is one I think needs to be talked about far more than it is. And what better time to start the conversation than in the month of February which just happens to be Heart Health Month and, on this day, dedicated to all things love and hearts!!

Let’s start first with a few more seriously alarming statistics I came across from the CDC which really opened my eyes and help to illuminate the magnitude of this problem:

I knew Heart Disease was a major issue, but wow, just wow, I had no idea it was this big of a problem.  So, let’s break this down some more so we really get a handle on what we are dealing with here.  The term heart disease itself actually refers to several types of heart conditions, of which, as mentioned above, CAD is the most common.  Below is a brief explanation of CAD along with the other leading forms:

  • CAD or Coronary Artery Disease: occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the heart become lined with plaque (which basically consists of fat and cholesterol) and this plaque buildup (called atherosclerosis) causes the arteries to narrow.  When our arteries narrow, less oxygen can reach the heart muscle and big problems like heart attacks occur.   
  • Arrhythmia: refers to an irregular heartbeat; this can be slow irregular, fast irregular or just an actual irregular or abnormal heartbeat.  Arrhythmia can be caused by CAD as well as conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, changes in the structure of your heart or it can occur as a result of a heart attack itself.
  • Congestive Heart Failure: CHF is a progressive disease of the heart that affects how efficiently the heart muscles can pump oxygen to the rest of the body.  Yet again CAD is often the culprit here along with diabetes and high blood pressure which all leave your heart too weak to pump the necessary amount of oxygen to the rest of our body.
  • Valvular Heart Disease: Just like the name implies, this is a disease that targets one or more of the four valves in the heart.  Valves can sometimes become weak or even start to leak with Valvular Disease which in turn affects the blood flow through the heart and makes an impact on how effectively the heart can pump.

There are a few others as well such as diseases of the heart muscle itself as well as congenital heart disease which causes problems to the heart at birth and happens in around 1 every 100 or so births in the U.S.  So now that we know a little more about what heart disease actually is, let’s get down to the really important part which is how can we prevent or at least lessen the risk of occurrence. 

In order to do that, we must understand what some of the most common risk factors are for developing one or more of the aforementioned diseases.  These will probably come at no shock to you, but risk factors for heart disease include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and excessive use of alcohol, to name a few.

It makes sense then in order to ward of heart disease eating right and getting enough exercise can go a long way in keeping our hearts happy!  But what, more specifically can we do?  Well a good place to start is to:

  • Make sure you know you risk!  Get that baseline annual physical each year to keep an eye specifically on your blood pressure and cholesterol.  If your blood pressure is on the higher side, limit your salt intake and cut back on refined carbs and sugars. If your cholesterol is in the high range, focus on eating whole, not processed foods and limiting red meat for starters (you can check out my post solely dedicated to the topic of cholesterol here). 
  • Make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.  Aim for a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training and don’t forget to incorporate stretching into your routine to keep that blood flowing and your muscles and joints happy.  Getting enough exercise helps in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing other conditions that might put a strain on your heart like diabetes and high blood pressure. 
  • Choose Heart Healthy Foods such as:
    • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.  Adopting a plant-based diet has been shown to go a long way in reducing heart attack risk.
    • Whole Grains…Oats are an especially heart-healthy choice
    • Lean Proteins such as fish, legumes and nuts
    • Green and Black Tea
    • Healthy Fats such as Olive Oil and Avocado
    • Dark Chocolate (this might be my favorite one 😊)
  • Keep stress levels in check as much as possible.  I don’t think people realize just how damaging stress can be to our physical bodies. Being chronically stressed can be especially hard on our hearts due to the fact that it raises our blood pressure and heart rate making our hearts work harder to pump that oh so very necessary oxygen to the rest of our body. 
  • Get your Zzzz’s. Sleep is another area I think people tend to overlook when it comes to maintaining good health, especially heart health.  If you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep every night (on average about 7 hours- check out my post dedicated to the importance of sleep here) your body doesn’t have a chance to recover and repair itself.  Lack of proper sleep also tends to lead to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even depression all of which can in turn lead to a higher risk of heart attack and heart disease. 

Smoking is obviously a big no-no and limiting alcohol consumption as much as possible also goes a long way in warding off heart troubles as well.  While all of the suggestion above seem like really obvious ways of maintaining good heart health as well as good overall health, it seems based on that shocking 36 second statistic we need to do a better job following through with them and/or encouraging our loved ones to do so as well.

I would be willing to bet there are very few of you out there who have not been personally touched or know someone who has been affected by this seemingly out of control disease. I know I have, more than once unfortunately, so let’s start talking more about it, taking it more seriously and in turn maybe we can prevent it from happening to someone else we know and/or care for! 

Lots of love on this day every other one!



Inflammation: The good, the bad, the necessary??

Inflammation: The good, the bad, the necessary??

Over the past three years, I have witnessed my body changing and responding in amazing ways to the consistent exercise and the much healthier diet that I have adopted. I have been able to transform my outward appearance, which was of course the original goal when I started out on this journey, but what I have come to realize is the changes that have occured from the inside out are the ones that have had the greatest impact on my life.

Putting the physical changes aside for the moment, one of the most striking ways my body has responded to this new lifestyle is through the noticeable reduction of inflammation that used to plague me on an all too regular basis. About ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease, that would leave me just about bedridden for weeks at a time. I struggled for a while to get it under control, trying several different medications, and combinations of medications until I finally found one that would successfully send it back into remission.  

The medication, however, didn’t stop the flare-ups, which would happen several times a year, it just treated them when they did occur. I won’t go into the details of what those flare-ups consisted of, but needless to say, they were very unpleasant and would leave me feeling drained, uncomfortable, and sometimes even in pain until I was able to get my hands on the very expensive pills I needed to fight back the inflammation causing all the issues. 

The inflammation associated with my UC and other types of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s Disease is what is considered Chronic Inflammation. The other main type of inflammation is Acute Inflammation. Acute Inflammation is the type you might be more familiar with so let’s start there. Acute Inflammation is actually the way our body fights infection, foreign bodies, and also how it begins to heal itself immediately after an injury. This is the inflammation I was referring to when I mentioned the word “necessary” above.  

Think about what happens when you say, get a splinter? Almost instantly, the area around the splinter turns red, gets warm and the skin around it might even start to swell up. That is your body’s immediate and very normal reaction to such trauma and is a sign that healing has already started to take place. Acute inflammation happens very rapidly and usually only lasts for a max of a couple of days. Chronic inflammation, again like the type that causes my UC, tends to come on more slowly and can last for months and even years.

The cause of chronic inflammation, while not always known, is often a direct result of your immune system mistakenly attacking normal tissue. Other causes are also thought to be obesity, smoking, intaking too much alcohol, long-term exposure to certain toxins and/or irritants, and even chronic stress. No matter what the cause, think of chronic inflammation as a response from your immune system that doesn’t turn off when it should. It is inflammation that hangs around long after an initial injury, infection, or exposure to a toxin is over.  

Chronic inflammation is particularly scary because it can actually alter your DNA and can play a role in the development of pretty serious and sometimes deadly conditions such as:

  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Lung Issues like Asthma and COPD
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s

Pretty serious right?! So now that we know how damaging chronic inflammation can be, what are some ways we can fight it? Well, the reason that I brought up my UC at the beginning of this article is that for the past two years I haven’t had one single flare-up! Time for an obvious disclaimer here…I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV, but I do know my body. And I while I can’t say with 100% certainty that starting to and staying consistent with exercise has been the magic solution, I do believe it has helped immensely.  

Exercise for me is not only really great for my physical health but works wonders as a stress reliever as well. And you guessed it…keeping stress to a minimum is another crucial way to keep inflammation out of our bodies. Meditate, take a long, hot bath, dedicate 30 minutes to getting outside and taking in some fresh air, roll on the floor with your dog, do whatever makes you feel happy, and helps you to unwind. Stress is a killer in so many ways, so limiting it through whatever means works for you should always be a top priority.

The third and probably most impactful way I have been able to get my inflammation under control is by cleaning up my diet. I have cut out red meat, greatly limited how much processed food I eat and have made a huge effort to include more whole fruits and vegetables into my diet. I have also added a daily dose of turmeric, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar to my regimen all of which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Food, you guys, can either be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to inflammation, so choose wisely!  I created this handy-dandy little chart below for more information on what foods can help and hurt in the fight against chronic inflammation:

Keeping my chronic inflammation at bay is probably going to be a lifelong battle for me. For whatever reason, I am prone to it, suffering as I mentioned not only with UC but also with tendonitis, allergies, and even stomach ulcers a few times in my early twenties all of which have roots in an inflammatory process going on in overdrive in my body. The good news, in setting out to lose a few pounds, I ended up creating a lifestyle for myself that fights the good fight for me. This is just yet another example of how adopting healthier habits can have such unexpectedly amazing benefits. Once again you all, the moral of this story is to treat your body with just a little bit extra TLC and sit back and watch how it repays you in spades!!

Be kind, be well and eat your veggies!!