Fitness Finds: The Mills at Jersey Gardens

I am the first to admit that I loathe shopping for clothes. I love jeans and t-shirts, but shopping for them makes me stabby. Dresses and shoes…um….no thank you. Make-up?! Bwahahahahaaa….no way!

So when the opportunity to team up with The Mills at Jersey Gardens presented itself I was hesitant, because as I said, I don’t like clothes shopping and I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. I know nothing about style trends, make-up and the hot color of the season. Why would I do this?!

Well…I do love shopping for new running shoes and workout clothes. This made me think and my hesitation went away as soon as I saw how many athletic stores they had. I then realized that the New Year was almost here and people would be gearing up to get healthy. That’s when excitement set in! I could actually shop and share fitness apparel finds for those who are planning to get started with a health & fitness routine in 2016!

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I thought about getting fancy for this shopping trip and then I realized it just wasn’t me, so I tossed on my jeans, a sweatshirt and a pair of Chucks and headed out to shop with my husband Mike, who happened to be off that day.

You can take a personal trainer out of workout clothes, but don’t mess with her jeans and Chucks!

In all honesty, I had a ton of fun shopping and I ended up shopping for more than just fitness attire. Don’t worry, I don’t see myself becoming a fashionista anytime soon, but I do see myself returning to The Mills at Jersey Gardens again for some holiday shopping!

Want to see some of my recommendations for fitness attire to get your New Year’s Resolutions started off right? Be sure to follow along on Instagram as I take over @MillsAtJersey!

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Holiday Survival: Essential Oils Edition

Essential Oils 2I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have all heard of essential oils or know someone who uses them or is a distributor of them. Being the skeptic that I normally am, I didn’t buy into this hype at first, but I finally caved after ending up in the hospital with terrible headaches last year.

A friend of mine sent me some Young Living essential oils samples, I gave them a try and they worked!

(Note: If you receive samples, be very careful when opening the tiny packets. I was not and spilled Lavender oil EVERYWHERE. It resulted in the entire family having the best night of sleep they’ve every had, so I guess it wasn’t the worst experience ever.)

As we head into the holiday season and the winter, I thought this would be a good topic to cover, so I spoke with some friends who swear by their love of oils and put together a short list of how essential oils can help you to relax, destress and just flat out survive the holidays!

Plus they apparently make good stocking stuffers too!

essential oils stocking stuffers

Lavender: Can be diffused for a calming and comforting scent. You can add a few drops to Epsom salts for a relaxing nighttime bath. They can also be added to lotions or use with a carrier oil to apply to skin to soothe and help promote relaxation before sleep. You can add a few drops to distilled water in a spray bottle and spray on pillows and sheets as a linen spray to promote sleep.

Frankincense: Can be diffused or inhaled directly to increase spirituality and inner strength, lift mood and help balance emotions. I have also heard that when inhaled, it has been shown to reduce heart rate and high blood pressure. It has anti-anxiety and depression reducing abilities, but unlike prescription medications it does not have negative side effects and does not cause unwanted drowsiness. (This is not proven…just personal accounts from people I have spoken to.)

Peppermint: Peppermint has many uses that can come in handy for the holidays. It can be added to herbal tea to help soothe upset stomach. Some people also use with a carrier oil to rub topically on the stomach for stomach issues or use it topically to help with muscle stiffness and pain caused by shopping marathons again.

While I am not tied to Young Living Essential oils, I know that they can be used in recipes requiring peppermint extract. Substitute 1/8 tsp of Young Living peppermint oil per teaspoon of extract. After that a drop at a time can be added until desired taste. (Note: Check the labels before using other brands of oil for ingestion. Many oils are compromised with synthetic materials and I would not recommend ingesting that.)

Thieves oil:  A proprietary blend developed by Young Living but it has been duplicated and I have seen it elsewhere. Thieves essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the victims of the plague. Amazingly they did not fall ill. Therefore Thieves oil supports healthy immune function.

There are so many oils that I couldn’t possibly cover them all, so I found a neat little chart for you instead!

How to use oils: Apply directly on the desired area according to dilution instructions. Always use a carrier oil, which is a non-essential oil used to dilute the essential oils. This also makes your oils last longer. Some examples of a carrier oil are: coconut oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and olive oil.

-Research has shown that Essential oils quickly penetrate the skin. because of this ability, essential oils can affect the cells of the human body within minutes. Suggested areas for application: feet, behind the ears, wrists on the front of neck, and base of the skull.

Aromatic use: Diffuse oils with an ultrasonic diffuser. Putting a drop in your cupped hand and inhale slowly for 1 minute. Smell it directly from the bottle. Put a couple drops on cotton balls near air vents at home or in the car. Essential Oils containing sesquiterpines have the ability to pass the blood brain barrier making them an effective alternative in enhancing mental clarity and memory, while also promoting calmness and peace of mind.

 So, as you can see, essential oils can allow you to take control of your own health and wellness while keeping your environment free of toxic chemicals. They can help to reduce some stress and take the edge off of the holidays season without turning to nighttime cocktails while wrapping presents or driving from store to store.
 
For more information, contact your local Young Living or other independent essential oils rep and see how they can help you!
 
Already using oils in your daily life? Share your favorite oil and how you use it in the comments below!
 
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**Disclamer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products ideas and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This is not a sponsored post. I did not receive any compensation to write this. They are just my thoughts and opinions.

So Long Comfort Zone: Periscoping With Purpose

Hey everyone! Thank you for stopping by blog and for checking out my latest Periscope: So Long Comfort Zone: Periscoping With Purpose. I’m just guessing that there is where you came from since I just finished Scoping about this. While I’m at it, thanks for the heart love…cause you give show me heart love, right?!

As I mentioned in my scope, video is not my thing.

I avoid it like the plague, even though I know that it is a key component to my business and I could help more people by having an active YouTube channel. Typing that out actually just made me feel kinda selfish, because my goal is to help people with their health and fitness goals, but I let my issues with video stand in the way from doing that. Whoa. Sometimes being human totally sucks!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the jail I’ve locked myself in to with all of my fears. It’s not a cool place to hang out at all. Fear keeps me from doing things I would like to do. It keeps me from trying new things and reaching goals that I have set for myself. Now more than ever, I want to break free of fear and see what’s on the other side of my comfort zone. Is this a scary thing, hell yeah! However it is necessary and I know that now.

If you believe in higher powers or the Universe guiding you through life, then we could totally hang out. I’m not a religious person at all, but I do believe that people come into your life and things happen for a reason.

Recently, I had someone come into my life who introduced me to “Ooola Life” via a post on Facebook. Upon some conversation, she told me about their website and I was in love as soon as I checked it out. I even ordered their book and devoured it in about 48 hours. (I’m currently on the worksheet section and feeling more inspired than I have in a long time!)

I began following them on Periscope and something they spoke about struck a cord with me. They spoke about fear and how it’s just a feeling that you need push through. How you need to take a deep breath, process the feeling for 20 seconds and just push forward. This Periscope got me thinking about my fear of video and made me realize that I need to get over it. I began thinking that Periscope was the perfect place to start, despite being a live broadcast with no second chance. The reason why this was appealing to me? It’s not permanent. It’s not up forever for people to see. It’s there for 24 hours and then it’s gone! I like that. I’m not 100% sure why just yet…but I do and I’m going with it.

Fast forward a few hours and I was scrolling around Pinterest when this graphic caught my eye:

Periscope With Purpose

I immediately clicked on it and read what it was all about. Right then, right there, the Universe was guiding me toward what I needed most. A guide to conquer my fear of video. I no longer had the excuse of “I don’t know what to Periscope about”….it was all right in front of me.

With a click of a button and a little bit of typing, I signed up for the challenge and saved the graphic so I would be able to plan out some scopes. Not bad for a first step!

Today is the official kick-off date for the challenge and I’ll be doing a scope shortly, but it’s not my first scope! The other day I couldn’t get the thought of Periscope out of my mind and I had just finished a chapter from the Oola book on fear, so I decided to just hit broadcast and go for it!

It was a terrifying 5 minutes for me, but I am so grateful for the friends who hopped on to the broadcast, showed me some heart love and commented in support of my first scope!

I know this post doesn’t have much to do with health & fitness in the nutrition and exercise sense, but conquering fear is part of mental health and I am ALL for that! As a matter of fact, it’s something I have been really been working on myself and will be posting about more often. But don’t worry, I’ll be sharing lots of recipes, more updates on my journey and other fitness related info soon. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter. It’s the best way to stay in the loop about new groups coming up and other specials!

Are you on Periscope? If so, please let me know what your username is and I’ll stop by to see your most recent scopes! You can find me here.

Not on Periscope yet? Check it out and maybe join me in 31 days of Scoping! I promise you we will not die from talking on video (even though we might feel like we will). I’m sure I will flub, lose my train of thought or totally bomb on a scope or two, but you know what…it’s okay. It shows that I’m a real person. I’m not perfect, I don’t have my shit together, I have fears, I’m a little weird and I sometimes forget what I was doing and as I watch more scopes I’m realizing I’m not alone!

So head on over to Blog Clarity to sign up for daily reminders and tips to go along with this challenge…then comment below to let me know if you’re in!

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Tips For Clean Eating During the Holidays

The holidays are a time of year that are filled with family, dinners, parties, cocktails, cookies, shopping and of course the stress of trying to get it all done. Don’t let the holidays derail you from your fitness goals. It takes a little effort, but you can avoid the weight gain that is oh so commonly associated with this time of year. Check out my tips for clean eating during the holidays and start your new year off ahead of everyone else.

1. Eat Breakfast: Eating a healthy breakfast everyday sets the tone for your day. If you try to skip it and opt for a trip to the local coffee shop for a sugary mega-super-ginormous latte, you’re setting yourself up for overeating later in the day. Having breakfast and eating small, clean meals through out the day is also going to be your key to success on the days you have parties or events to attend. You’ll keep your energy high and your blood sugar stable, which will result in less cravings for caffeine, sugar and fatty foods.

Bonus Tip: If you skip breakfast because you are always short on time in the morning, consider making these Healthy Egg Muffins or adding a nutrient dense smoothie to your morning routine.

2. Be Prepared: On days when you’ll be running around shopping, make sure that you carry healthy snack options with you so you can avoid becoming hangry. A piece of fruit, some homemade trail mix, a nutrition bar or some raw nuts are all great, portable options to keep on hand. Long lines and crowds can be energy draining, so it’s important to have healthy energy boosts on hand. The last thing you want is to be tempted by the candy options while on line to check out. 

Bonus Tip: Slow cookers can be a life saver during this time of year. You can find lots of Clean Eating Slow Cooker Recipes on my Pinterest board.

3. Manage Portion Sizes: When attending cocktail parties or buffets, opt for the smallest plate option available. Doing so will keep your portion sizes in check and it will reduce your chances of  over stuffing yourself. Having a smaller plate will also force you to get up to refill it. This will give you time to truly think if you want more and if you do, you’ll at least get a little bit of activity in the process.

Bonus Tip: Carry sugar-free mints or gum with you to holiday parties. The minty flavor will keep you from picking on foods.

4. Indulge Wisely: Don’t overdue it on foods you can have anytime of year. Save the splurges for foods that you only have access to during the holiday season, like grandma’s pecan pie or the first batch of cookies for the season that your children helped to make. By doing so, you won’t feel cheated or like you can’t enjoy the foods that may be linked to childhood memories. When you head into the holidays knowing that these special foods are okay, you’ll reduce the risk of feeling like a failure which can result in binge eating. Strive for balance, not perfection!

Bonus Tip: Make a list of the foods that you only have around the holidays and make sure you balance them out with healthier options. Remember, just because you give yourself permission to have these special foods doesn’t meant it’s okay in gorge yourself on them. 

5. Make It Yourself: If you’re invited to a dinner party, don’t be afraid to call the host or hostess and ask if you could bring a dish. Many times this is very appreciated and it will give you an opportunity to ensure there is a healthy option at the gathering.

Bonus Tip: On days you know you have a special event revolving around food, make sure you get some exercise in. From a 30 minute walk to a short yoga season to help you stay calm and collected. Exercise can help you make wiser food choices.

The holidays don’t have to undo all of the hard work you’ve put into health this year. Just look ahead at your week and make a plan! You may even inspire someone else in the process.

For some more holiday tips, be sure to check out this past post: Here Comes the Holidays

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Goal Crushing Holidays – Don’t Fall Into The Trap

goal crushing holidays

Halloween is the kick off to the holiday season. It is the start the of the goal crushing holidays and the “treat” temptations that will become a everyday struggle from now until New Years Day.

Right now, many of us have homes full of “fun sized” candy and I’m sure we’ve all dipped into it. Those fun size treats then get us feeling down about ourselves and instead of saying “I can turn this around” we end up making more poor choices, this time with our meals or we’ll skip our workouts because we’re having a sugar crash and lack the energy to due them. Where exactly is the fun in this?

Next we begin to use Thanksgiving as an excuse and say “We’ll, I’m not going to re-start now, I’ll be eating and over indulging on Thanksgiving, so the Monday after will be my start date.” Thanksgiving dinner turns into leftovers the next day, followed by hours of shopping and more poor food choices because you’re on the go. (Do you really know how many calories are in the sugary, blended frappe topped with whip?! It’s scary!) By the time Monday rolls around you’re too tired to workout, so you decide “I’ll just start on January 1st.”

The problem with this is that we let “being busy” stand in the way of our goals. (You do have your goal written down where you can see it, right?! If not, you should read yesterday’s post.) From holiday parties, to cookie swaps, to drinks with friends, and crazy nights of shopping & wrapping, we allow each and every one of these events to become more important than our goals…and that shouldn’t be the case.

Every time you allow everything else to be more important than your goals, or you allow a slip up to get the better of you, it gets easier and easier to slip back into old habits. The same old habits that took you months to change can come back in a weekend if you allow them to. (Crazy right?!) Before you know it, all of the progress you’ve made is gone and it’s even tougher to start over.

This holiday season, I don’t want to see that happen to myself or any of you! Don’t be the average and allow those 7-10 holiday pounds to creep onto you. I know the holidays are hectic, but I also know that we can all carve out 30 minutes a day to get our workout done and we can all make smart food choices 80% of the time (I know you all have time to check Facebook and scroll Instagram so decide what’s more important). These small decisions can be a goal saver during the holidays and they still allow you to have your favorite food and treats during the season…just in moderation.

What I am asking of you right now is for complete and total honesty…not with me, but with YOURSELFWhere do you want to be come January 1st? Restarting and losing the weight you had already lost again, or feeling a sense of confidence and pride because this is the first year you didn’t let the holidays bully you into hating the way you look and feel?

I know this is not an easy time of year and I’m not asking you to do this on your own. As a Health & Fitness Accountability Coach, I can help you find a program that will fit your lifestyle & goals and I can also provide you with a private group of like-minded people to help you stay accountable, share you struggles and celebrate your achievements, as we conquer the holidays together!

My next group will be starting on November 17th and I would love to have you join me. For more information, please comment or message me on Facebook.

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Just Be Yourself

Just Be YourselfSince I’ve started this blog, I’ve ebbed and flowed with what I was doing, where I was going and how I was posting. I allowed the opinions of others, as well as what other bloggers were doing, to influence what I was posting and to be honest, I wasn’t being true to myself. As a result of this, blogging became a chore to me and I would stop doing it for weeks on end. I’ve recently decided to stop the insanity and follow the one good piece of advice I’ve received ” Just Be Yourself “.

Just Be Yourself.

It’s a powerful phrase. Who am I? What do I stand for? What do I like? What don’t I like? It’s food for thought to say the least, and it’s something that has been on my mind for awhile now.

After some reflecting, I can say that I am a mom and wife who always has the best interest of my family in mind. I have struggled with my weight since junior high school and I finally found success through at-home fitness. I am a personal trainer who is not comfortable in a gym setting…at all. I am very shy and often doubt myself. I spend too much time worrying about what other people think of my choices. I struggle with body image and often still see an overweight person in the mirror. I put other peoples needs before my own and often feel burnt out and angry because of that. I am an independent person and have a hard time asking for help…I used to view it as a personal failure. I KNOW that I am meant to do great things and have a purpose in life. For a long time, I lost my personal identity to being a mom/wife and family responsibilities. I only recently began to “find myself” and discover what makes me happy. Coffee makes me happy. I love crisp fall weather and sitting by a fire. Laughter is therapy for my soul. I have a strong desire to get back into running and complete a half marathon. I am a wanna-be traveler and have a list of places I plan on visiting. I LOVE cooking. Buying fresh ingredients and experimenting in the kitchen is my happy place. I am a work in progress.

Self reflection is not an easy thing to do, but it is necessary if you want to be happy.

After making this list, I took some time to review my blog this past weekend. Some of the posts I enjoyed the most were the ones about my personal journey. I started this blog as a journal for myself, so I could look back and see how far I’ve come. As a matter of fact, I never intended for this blog to be public. I’m not an expert, so I don’t think I should be blogging advice, HOWEVER I do know what has worked for me and what hasn’t and by sharing all of that, someone reading this may relate and I may help them. Now THAT is what I set out to do when I decided to make this blog public.

Paying it Forward is something I know I am meant to do.

When I started my weight loss journey, I didn’t have a coach, an accountability group or anyone to guide me. I was on my own and it was a scary thing. I didn’t have a lot of outside support, but thankfully I had the support of my family. I had lots of success when I started and I also had lots of failure. Heck, I still have both to this day! There were days I wanted to give up and just go back to sitting on the couch, shoveling ice-cream into my face. I am thankful everyday that I didn’t do that. I am thankful everyday that I discovered social media and the hashtag for P90X on twitter – it helped me to stay motivated during my first round and kept me moving forward. I am thankful I discovered what coaching was and found an on-line group of like minded people who were doing the same thing as me. I am thankful I shared my blog with someone and they told me I should be sharing this with others. This blog has helped me to find my voice, even if it has also left me feeling lost at times.

Focus on What Matters.

As I move forward with this blog, I will be focusing on what matters. To me, that’s being true to myself, sharing my experiences and helping those who can relate to my story. I will no longer blog about things because I “have to” or because” I should”. I will only blog about things that I truly want to share because I feel passionate about it or because I know someone could benefit from my sharing. What other people think can no longer be a concern of mine – Their happiness is NOT more important than mine! I am making a promise to myself to reclaim this space as my own. To open up, be real and not only share my triumphs, but to share my struggles. There is no such thing as perfect and by trying to portray perfection, we only fool ourselves and rob ourselves of all the amazing things we have achieved, because we become so hung up on all the things we have failed at. 

When you Feel like Quitting, Remember WHY you Started.

This little piece of advice can be applied to EVERYTHING in life. When you know WHY you are doing something, you become unstoppable! 

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Chase Your Dreams

If you never chase your dreams, you'll never catch them

Once again I have been a slacker when it comes to writing here and honestly, I’m okay with that, because I’ve been busy chasing my dreams.

I was feeling a little bit lost in my life and what direction it should take, but I’m feeling much more focused now. I suppose it’s something we all go through at some point in life. When I lost my job a year and a half ago, I knew I wanted to switch my focus towards my passion, which was health & fitness. I spent some time deciding how I wanted to go about doing it and eventually decided to begin studying for my NASM Personal Trainer certification, as I’ve mention here before. I’m proud to say I completed it, however once I did, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I was never comfortable being in a gym and that is where most people start out once they are certified, so I sucked it up and went to meet with someone at a local gym about shadowing and learning the ropes. While I was there, I knew in my gut it wasn’t for me. NOTHING about it felt comfortable and after speaking with the trainer there, I knew in my heart I wasn’t going to be happy following that route. So I went home, cried and questioned everything I had been doing to this point.

That is when clarity took over and I realized that the answer had always been in front of me. I had taken steps down the path toward it in the past, but always got scared, worried about what other people were going to think and talked myself out of it.

You see, back when I completed my first round of P90X 4 years ago, I tried Shakeology for the first time and really liked it, however I really couldn’t afford it. I saw the nutritional value it offered, but I couldn’t get past the price tag. That is when my coach introduced me to Beachbody Coaching (Yes, I said Beachbody Coaching…please don’t run away now) and how I could get a 25% discount on Shakeology. I was very skeptical at first and I asked a million questions to everyone I knew who was doing the program on Twitter and I eventually decided to sign-up. While I was told I was inspiring and motivating by many people I met at that time, I wasn’t comfortable coaching anyone so I just enjoyed the Shakeology discount and if people asked me what I was doing to get in shape I would tell them, share a link and make a little extra money by doing so.

From time to time I would attend a local Beachbody event, because I loved the programs. Coaches I met there would try to talk to me into “working my business” but I refused to “drink the Kool-Aid” so I would just smile a nod. In all honesty I was intrigued by it, but I was also scared of it. I wasn’t a fitness professional and I was still trying to figure out all this fitness stuff on my own. How on earth could I possibly help other people reach their goals when I hadn’t even reached mine?! When I look back on this I was stupid and I was just scared. I was scared of leaving my comfort zone, scared of what other people would think and scared of failing. Now I know that failing at things is the way to grow in life. If we just sit back in our comfort zone, we aren’t living life to it’s fullest, and we certainly aren’t being as happy as we could possibly be.

Over the course of 4 years I have toyed with the idea of actually following this path and coaching others, on and off. I always allowed the fear to stop me but I never quit. I thought about it many times but for some reason I never called and cancelled my coach account and I never fully gave up on the idea of doing it. Why? I’m pretty sure it’s because the Universe wants me to pursue this. I know … I know… the Universe?! Yeah, well… I’m not religious but I do believe in a higher power. I wholeheartedly believe that we have a path we are meant to follow in life, and that people and events come into our lives to lead us to this path. When we ignore the path things will keep happening to redirect us towards it, and that’s what kept happening to me with coaching.

So, as of this month, I am officially applying myself with my coaching! I am chasing my dreams of helping others and paying it forward. I am no longer running from this opportunity to touch other peoples lives and pass along the knowledge that I have gained over the course of my 5 year weight loss journey. I was able to change my life and I know that YOU can too. If you have been scared to start, I want you to know that it is normal and it doesn’t mean that you can never do it!

Now that I have  finally, openly, talked about what it is I do, I hope that if you are ever up late watching TV and an infomercial comes on for P90X, T25, 21 Day Fix, PiYo or any other Beachbdoy program, you will wait to order it and come speak to me first. If you already own one of these programs but have struggled with them or never even got started, I would love the opportunity to coach you,  find out what your goals are and help you to reach them!

It’s time to chase your dreams and make them a reality!

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