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Chemical-free Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Aging Gracefully

I remember other women talking about how things change once you turn 40 years old. As someone passionate about health and fitness, I falsely assumed that nothing would change when I turned 40. I mean, for women, our metabolism starts to decrease around age 25 (for men, it’s age 30), but you can push that back with diet and exercise…which I successfully have. So, I assumed it would be the same with my hormones.

I was in for a rude awakening. When I turned 40, it was like a timer went off in my body that told it to go crazy. My mood swings took a dark turn, my headaches increased, and the bloating was insane. I knew that I needed to find a natural solution to managing my hormones. Here are some different options where I have found success:

Add magnesium to your diet. When I first mentioned the crazy hormones to my OB-GYN, she knew that I prefer the natural route, so recommended that I increase my magnesium. I started eating more foods with magnesium (raw cacao, almonds, etc.) and taking this supplement.

Try seed cycling. After I turned 40, I realized that I should probably get a physical (it had been 10+ years since my last one). I wanted a more holistic doctor…so I saw the nurse practitioner at my children’s doctor’s office (the practice is a more holistic/homeopathic). I explained my hormone woes and she mentioned seed cycling. So, what is seed-cycling?

Seed cycling has you eating 1-2 tablespoons of Pumpkin seeds and Flax seeds daily for the first 14 days of your cycle (day 1 = first day of period) and then switching to Sunflower seeds and Sesame seeds for the last 14 days.

Pumpkin seeds and Flax seeds help balance estrogen during the follicular phase when estrogen levels are high. They are a good source of fiber, zinc, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (reduces inflammation). The fiber aids in digestion and helps to remove excess estrogen from the body.

Sunflower seeds and Sesame seed are taken during the luteal phase as progesterone levels start to rise. Sesame seeds help avoid PMS symptoms by binding excess estrogen and sunflower seeds have selenium that supports liver and hormone function.

You can add the seeds to smoothies, put in oatmeal, layer on avocado toast, or create these energy balls.

Add ashwagandha to help with stress relief. In the fall of 2020, USANA introduced their mood and relaxation line which included Stress Relief. It’s made with ashwagandha – known to help ease anxiety and support a healthy mood.

Try Moon Balance by Your Super. I loved doing seed-cycling and saw amazing results, however, I was getting tired of creating the energy balls and remembering to take them all with me when I traveled. In October 2020, I came across an add for Moon Balance by Your Super to balance my hormones naturally and decided to give it a try…wow! It works great! It comes in powdered form and is a blend of baobab, maca, hibiscus, amla, beetroot, and shatavari. You can mix it with water (warning: it tastes disgusting) or blend it in a smoothie. I put it in my smoothie every day and never miss taking it!

If you are nearing 40 (or past it) try incorporating one or more of these products into your life…and give it about 3 months to see the effects. It’s easy, it’s natural, and it’ll be sure to help you age gracefully.

Categories
Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Forced Stop

Sometimes I find ways to slow things down, other times God has to force me to stop.

Last year, when the pandemic started and our world stopped, it forced us all to take a break and re-evaluate. I realized two things: 1. my current job caused me to miss time with my children and 2. our schedules were filled with too many things.

Last summer, God provided me with a new job that allows me to work at my kids’ school and no longer miss their activities and afterschool conversations. My husband and I have also been more intentional about what we sign our kids up for — we want our kids to be active, but to also enjoy just being kids.

Well, it’s a year later and, once again, God has forced me to stop.

A couple of months ago I joined an incredible Women’s Entrepreneurs group that values support, encouragement, and authentic relationships. In my typical fashion, I made the most of things and dove right in, filling my calendar with lunch meetings, Zoom meetings, and networking. A couple of weeks ago, I felt it starting to catch up with me…that I had let my excitement cause my calendar to be filled with back-to-back activities. Every space that wasn’t put aside for my kids and teaching was filled with lunches and meetings. I was afraid I was going to burn out…and that’s when God stepped in.

I’m now on day 8 out of 10 in isolation after testing positive for COVID. I’ve been fortunate to have few symptoms and have felt fine most of the time, but my body is getting much needed rest — mentally and physically. I’m able to use this time to work on my own business without running myself ragged. And I’m going to be more diligent going forward with spreading things out in my calendar so I don’t risk burn out again. (And since my daughter tested positive the same day as me — I’ve gotten some sweet time with her in isolation.)

Thank you, Lord, for knowing me and forcing me to slow down when I struggled to do it for myself. Thank you for this time to refresh, relax, and restore my soul.

Categories
Goals Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Start Your Day Off Well

Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night person, how you start your day often determines the outcome of it. From health to mindset to productivity, here are some tips to start your day off well.

  1. Get up! As soon as that alarm goes off, get out of bed! Don’t hit the snooze alarm. By training yourself to get up with the first alarm, you will actually be more rested and ready to go. You’ll also feel better about yourself and start the day with a positive mindset.
  2. Open the blinds and make your bed! As soon as you are up, let in the morning light! (If it’s winter and still dark out, you can wait — no need to flash your neighbors in the early morning.) Then make your bed. Why make your bed? Multiple reasons:
    • You have already accomplished one thing for the day!
    • This leads to a better self-perception, lowers your stress, and increases a positive mood.
    • It helps you keep the rest of your room tidy…
    • As well as your life — it increases productivity!
    • It will help you fall asleep at night. Getting into a bed that has been made actually helps your to relax better and get to sleep faster.
    • It’ll also keep you from crawling back into bed when you need to be up and going. 😉
  3. Drink a glass of warm lemon water. Squeeze half a lemon into 8oz of warm (not hot) water. Benefits of lemon water in the morning:
    • Boosts your immune system
    • Aids in digestion
    • Helps with weight loss
    • Balances pH
    • Clears skin
    • Freshens breath
    • Relieves respiratory problems
    • Helps you kick the coffee habit
  4. Spend 15 minutes in prayer and/or meditation. You can also spend the time reading an inspirational or motivational book. This allows you to prepare your heart and put your head in the right mindset for the day.
  5. Move your body. Spend 30 minutes doing some sort of movement. It doesn’t have to been an intense workout. A brisk walk is fine. Moving your body helps wake you up and gets the blood flowing to your brain, making you more productive and ready to conquer the day. Moving your body can be fun! Need ideas, let me know. 🙂
  6. Shower. Other than the fact that it’s good hygiene (especially after you workout), with so many people still working remotely, it’s important to mention. Take your shower, do your hair, put on makeup, and put on real clothes. Why? You will both feel better about yourself and be in the mindset that you are working and need to get things done.

Start with one thing above and add it to your morning routine until you are doing all of them! You will see a change in your mindset and outlook for the day. And remember…one bad thing doesn’t set the tone for the day. You can turn a bad day into a good one with a positive mindset!

Categories
Health and Wellness Self-care

Know Your Body

I’m officially old.

This past Monday, while playing kickball with my 5th grade P.E. class, I tweaked my back throwing the ball in from the outfield. The muscles instantly tightened and pain shot through my glute whenever I turned. I sucked it up and moved on, but knew I needed to get help that day. If I let it go for too long, the muscles would continue to tighten and I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed the next morning.

As soon as we got home from school, I called my chiropractor and scheduled an appointment for a hour later. After a painful but needed adjustment, my pain decreased by 50% when I went to bed and 80% the next morning. I’m thankful that I know my body well enough to know when the pain or “tweak” is something that I can manage or is something that needs to be taken care of right away.

This was a learned process. Trust me, I’m often the last person to go to a doctor or take the needed rest for any type of pain. But after a big injury back in the summer of 2019 that had me flat on my back, I learned to listen better to the pain signals, give myself time to heal, and not just “suck it up” or “walk it off.”

Nothing hits the ego or makes you feel old, then tweaking your back simply throwing a ball (another not-so-gentle reminder that I’m 42 and not 22). Even though I exercise, lift weights, eat well, take good supplements, etc., age can still be a factor. As we get older, it is even more important to take care of our bodies and listen to them.

Stay active. Eat well. Take high-quality supplements. Reduce the toxic chemicals. And don’t forget to take time to rest, heal, and listen to your body. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love, but it might be different. You might have to ease into things, stretch even more (if you’re young, be good with your stretching NOW), and give yourself those rest days.

And if you need a sympathetic ear or encouragement, I’ll be over here nursing my back and ego.

Ready for some kickball! — pre-injury 😉
Categories
Faith Health and Wellness

Lemons Into Lemonade

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ll notice a different look to it…and location. Why? Let me tell you a quick story.

A few weeks ago, I looked to make a minor tweak to my website. I paid a designer to create the website about 6 years ago and updated things here and there, but haven’t done a lot with it. Well, I managed to push ONE BUTTON and removed the custom front page my designer had created. I tried to undo, go back, etc. but it was no use. Totally gone and now my home page looked epically stupid.

Now, on other days of the month, I would have been crushed and cried, but instead I shrugged my shoulders and put on my big girl panties. In all honesty, my website needed an update, and this forced me to do it.

Do I know how to do web design? Absolutely not. But I do know how to use Google. So, I used Google, cast aside fear of mistakes (I mean, I already screwed it up, what else could I possibly do?), and started fixing it.

And you know what? I’m so thankful I messed up my website! I learned a lot, built my confidence, and felt empowered. Plus, I realized that a lot of my links and other info were outdated and should have been updated a long time ago. AND, I finally figured out how to move all my blog posts to my website (instead of being links to a different blogging program)!

My website is 10x better than before and offers all the info and connections that I need to help clients and reach more people!

There will be frustrating times in your life when you have to make a choice: To be defeated and see the negative or to trust God and your abilities and make the best of an unfortunate situation.

I’m so glad that I didn’t get discouraged or look to someone else for help, but took those lemons and made an amazing whiskey sour…I mean, lemonade.

Categories
Health and Wellness

What Are You Waiting For?!

Sit and pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. Now close your eyes and picture how you see your life in five years…in one year…next month. What are you doing right now to get you moving toward the life you desire?

We all have dreams and desires but so often we let the excuses and fears crowd in and keep us from taking a step forward. 

A dream of mine for the past 20+ years has been to go skydiving. First my excuse was that no one would go with me (at the time, I felt like I needed to share it with someone else). Then it was that it was so expensive. Then my kids were little. And it just kept getting pushed to the back burner. Here’s the thing…I still really want to go skydiving. 

I’m tired of the excuses. My kids aren’t the excuse — they are my reason. I want to inspire my kids to go for their dreams and live fearlessly. So, I’m going skydiving this Spring (doesn’t really make sense to go in the winter in Chicago — I would freeze and the view would be pretty ugly 😉 ). I’ve told my husband and started planning. I’ve done the research and figured out the price. This year for Mother’s Day, I’m going to celebrate by finally going skydiving! 

We can spend all our time preparing for the perfect moment that will never come. At some point you just have to get started. Make the decision to start and take the first step. Don’t let fear and excuses hold you back.

Want to start getting healthy? Don’t wait until it’s more convenient or you’re less busy or you don’t have a Girls Night planned. Start now. Where you are. Doing what you can at that moment. 

Want to run a marathon (or a 5k)? Start small and take that first short run. Run around the block one day. Then a little bit farther the next. Slow progress is better than no progress.

Want to follow a passion or dream? Don’t wait until the stars magically align. Find a way that you can use your gifts and passions NOW and see where it leads you.

There will always be difficulties and there will always be people and things that want to hold you back. But if you wait for the perfect time, it’ll never happen. So strap on those shoes / grab your guitar / open your computer and start writing / schedule the appointment / contact a Health Coach to get you going. What are you waiting for?

Categories
Goals Health and Wellness

You Don’t Have to Be The Best

I’m a recovering competitor and perfectionist…two things that don’t always go well together. 

I’ve always been an athlete and was above average in most sports growing up. However, because I’m so competitive, all I could see was everyone who was better than me. And because I was a perfectionist, I aligned that with never thinking I was good enough. In my mind, if I wasn’t the best, I clearly wasn’t a good player. At that time, I didn’t realize that was my thinking pattern…I just never really saw my talent. But looking back now, I see how it all connected. 

My dad was a constant encouragement to me and would tell me all the time what a great player I was (while also being honest about where I could improve), but it never made a difference. I simply didn’t believe I was as good as he (or the stats) said. And because of it, I gave up on my favorite sport when I was 15 and later wished I could go back and make a different decision.

Perhaps you are a little bit that way as well…especially when it comes to wellness. You see the slim people in magazines and think that you would never be able to look that way, so why try? (As I say all the time, what’s on the outside doesn’t always reflect the health level on the inside…) Or you see people your age running marathons and you feel bad about your two mile walk and just want to give up. 

Here’s the truth in life…you will never be the best at ANYTHING. There will always be someone better than you. You don’t have to BE the best to succeed in life and reach your goals, but you owe it to yourself to always DO your best.

Let the people who are “better” than you inspire you, but don’t let it defeat you. Determine what your dreams and goals are and work toward them — independent of others dreams and successes. You are capable of great things!

I’m thankful that God has worked in my life and my perfectionist ways — that I am able to show myself grace and see the amazing ways that He has made me and all the gifts He has given me. I don’t want to be the best anymore — because then I have no where to grow.

Categories
Family Goals Health and Wellness

How to Vacation Well

Last week, my family and I escaped the artic chill and snow and headed to Florida! It was sunny with temperatures in the 80s all week — a huge difference from the weather back at home. We spent our time as Universal Studios Orlando (both parks) for five days and loved every moment of it. (As I sit here at home writing this blog post, it is 2 degrees outside and I can feel the winter blues descending…)

After a crazy (and oftentimes, disappointing) pandemic year, it was great to finally be able to vacation and spend time as a family. Yes, we had to wear masks the entire time (which is annoying when you are outside in warm weather), but because of the limited capacity, it wasn’t as crowded and the wait times were so much shorter! Woohoo!

For some people, when they go on vacation, they also see it as a vacation from living a healthy lifestyle. Here’s the thing, you can enjoy all the good things AND be healthy while vacationing…it just takes some planning and discipline.

Here are some tips for staying healthy while on vacation:
1. Focus on moving your body, not getting your best workout ever. 😉 For our trip, I got over 20,000 steps each day walking around the parks, so missing workouts wasn’t a big deal to me. 80% is nutrition and only 20% is exercise — so if I do well with my nutrition, than I’m fine. If you are planning a beach vacation, break up your day with some longer walks to keep your body moving.

2. Pack your supplements! The easiest way to keep your energy up and not get sick while on vacation is to TAKE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS! Vacation is not the time to leave them at home. 😉 I figure out what I need for the time I’m away and then put them all in a ziplock bag so I’m not bringing a bunch of bottles with me (you can also create a MyHealthPak which are pillow packs of vitamins — SUPER easy for travel). 

3. Plan out your dining options. I knew that our dinner would be our nice meal each day and when I would be eating good food, so I made a plan for during the day as we walked the park. I packed healthy low-glycemic snack bars and looked for healthy options at the park. Instead of getting a meal with fries, I would get a snack of hummus, carrots, celery, and pita bread (it was really filling and cost half as much as the meal!). I also made sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. When it came time for dinner, I was able to enjoy some amazing food guilt-free. 

4. Take time to breathe, pray, read, etc. I made sure that I was up first each day so that I could have time to breathe and pray before heading out for the day. Some days were better than others, but it’s important to still care for yourself and your mental health.

I hope that this year will give you the opportunity to take a break and get a vacation or two. 🙂 And, hopefully, this tips will help you keep to your health and wellness goals when you go.

But most importantly…

Enjoy the trip and don’t beat yourself up if you eat a lot of junk! Just jump back on that wellness train when the vacation is over. (I’ll be here to help you!)

Categories
Health and Wellness

Why Wellness?

I recently had someone say that “wellness” is just a term that people use to talk about dieting and looking a certain way and that she wants nothing to do with it. I’m sure she has some things from her past that made her view it that way, but I also realized that there might be other people who misinterpret what “wellness” is…and why it is so important.

First, let me clarify what wellness isn’t:

  • Wellness isn’t how you look in a bathing suit
  • Wellness isn’t the number on a scale (although that can be a sign that you aren’t well)
  • Wellness isn’t being able to run a marathon
  • Wellness isn’t depriving yourself from all good foods and only eating kale 😉

What is wellness? Wellness is taking care of the body that God gave you — allowing it to function to it’s fullest potential.


God, in his awesome creativity, gave us bodies of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Contrary to what is shown on TV and the internet, one shape and size isn’t better than another. And athletic ability doesn’t determine our worth…or the money we make. We don’t get to choose the body we have, but it is our responsibility to take care of it.


Let’s say you got a brand new luxury car. Are you going to fill the inside with fast food wrappers, use diesel for fuel, and never get the oil-changed? Of course not! You give it the fuel it needs, you protect the floors and leather inside, and you make sure the engine is running it’s best. 


Your body is far more valuable than any car and has WAY more responsibilities that just getting your from place to place. You need to care for you body so that it runs it best — by fueling it with proper nutrients and food, drinking water not sugar loaded beverages, maintaining healthy gut bacteria, etc.


I’m not a fan of diets. God made our bodies to run on carbs, fats, and proteins — there is no need to remove one of them. When we focus simply on weight, we keep our bodies from functioning the way God designed them to run. Does our society need to eat better? YES! Our world is overfed, but undernourished. 

So why focus on wellness? I strive for health and wellness so that I can be around to watch my kids grow up AND can engage with them — that I can go play a game of basketball or wiffle ball with them. I want to thrive so that I always have the energy to help and support my family. I’m 42 years old, but feel better than I did in my 20s. 


How about you? What motivates you? Why do you need to focus on wellness? Maybe it’s so you can focus at work and not fall asleep on the job. Maybe it’s to get rid of Type 2 diabetes. Maybe you just want to get up the stairs without running out of breath or wake up in the morning without everything hurting. Find your “why” and start working toward those wellness goals. Not because the world tells your to look better. But because you value your body and want to feel better.

Categories
Goals Health and Wellness

Setting Your Goals

It’s a new year, which often means new goals and dreams. Most people come up with a resolution or goal, but often give up because it is unattainable or they are looking for quick results. There is nothing wrong with coming up with a list of goals for the new year…as long as you realize that it might take all year to attain them. Most won’t get achieved in one month — which means that you can’t give up after January if you haven’t met your goal AND you can’t wait to get started until November or December. Start right away with the knowledge that anything great worth doing is worth the time and effort.

It’s helpful to have smaller goals as you reach for your big goals (which I like to call my Dreams for the year). Dreams are the big picture, but you need multiple, smaller goals to reach your big goal/dream. So, you may have a big goal of losing 30lbs, but your smaller goals may be to lose 1-2 pounds per week, add one vegetable to your day, etc. You may want to get into an exercise routine again, but you can’t just go run five miles. Your smaller goal may be to do 10 minutes of movement per day for one week, etc. 

Another reason people fail to meet their goals is that they don’t know how to make goals. You need to make SMART goals.

Specific: Goals should be clear and state specifically what you wish to be accomplished.

Measurable: You need to be able to measure your goals so that you can see your progress.

Attainable: Goals should be realistically attainable.

Relevant: Goals need to be relevant to your particular needs, interests, and abilities.

Time-bound: Goals need to have a timeline for completion.

Your smaller goals may only be for a week or month, then once you meet that goal, you create a new one to move you toward ultimately completing your big goal. When I decided I wanted to stop eating chocolate every day and quit sugar 5+ years ago, my original goal was to go just one day without sugar! After I did the one day, my goal was one week. Then it was two weeks, then one month, etc. I started with a super small goal and then built on it.

There is a lot more I could write about how to set goals, but perhaps another time. 😉

2020 was a rough year, but don’t be afraid to dream big and make 2021 amazing! Just be sure to set those smaller SMART goals along the way to help you have success with your dreams.

And if you’re looking for assistance on any health goals, feel free to reach out to me! As a certified Health Coach and Group Fitness Instructor (with an M.A. in Exercise Physiology), if would be my delight and pleasure to work with you!