Fall in Love With Your Life Everyday

#Fallinlovewithyourlifeevery day was a hashtag I saw written in hot pink chalk on the wall  of one of the restaurants we went to in Nice, France. It intrigued me enough to consider the phrase and how I could possibly carry this statement with me beyond
my vacation.

It’s so easy at times to feel inspired and like you can live “in the moment”, enjoying life and falling in love with your surroundings when traveling and on vacation. We’re relaxed, removed from the d If I focus on the “others” my mind is distant, I am disconnected, and as that verse states, I am NOT living the way in which I am designed to thrive.ay to day demands and responsibilities, yet it wasn’t enough for me to stay there. I want to live like this every day, regardless of the “grind” and routine.

I set out on a journey to come back from that vacation with a commitment to find the joys and beauty in my every day life.

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In my reflections a verse came to mind from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 stating:

“Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus. Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages.  Put all things to the test: keep what is good  and avoid every kind of evil.”

 

When I think about the way in which I’m called to live, that statement “Be joyful ALWAYS and be thankful in all circumstance” hits me like a ton of bricks. How often in my life have I found myself complaining in my thoughts about the routine, getting “bored” or looking over the fence for “something more”. What I find is that in this state of mind, I am being robbed of the good life. I am being fooled into focusing on things that I don’t have and failing to recognize and make connections with the current, the present, the place I am.

When I can connect, I become alive, aware and available.

So, I’m making a commitment. To live presently. To find little joys like the smile of my co-worker and her sharing a story of her family, my dogs smelly breath, my husbands funny quirks, the sunshine through the window, palm trees, the ocean view on my drive to work…all of these things are only a fraction of the current everyday circumstances and opportunities I have to give thanks.

Perhaps this is already in your perspective, or maybe you’re like me and got into a routine of the “ho hum, what’s on the other side” spectrum. Fear not. Today is a new day. Today, I choose joy. Will you?

I encourage us all to take this approach. What are the little everyday things you can be thankful for? What ways can you set this intention and engage in your current circumstances?

Please share your thoughts!

Summer Sizzle: Mango Salsa Recipe

Summer sizzle & flavor is my upcoming healthy eats & summer treats wellness group in July! How this works is through an online private Facebook group we will be sharing 5 days of yummy Summer recipes and flavorful tips to share. It’s FREE and a fun way to interact and share during the Summer season.

Here’s a little sample of one of my FAVE recipes, Mango Salsa!

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Mango Salsa Recipe:
*2-3 ripe mangos
*1/2 red onion
*1/2 red, yellow or orange pepper
*1/4 cup cilantro
*2-3 Tblsp. Lime juice
*Pinch of salt & pepper for flavor
*1/3 jalapeño pepper chopped (optional)

Chop onion, peppers & mango then combine with lime juice, salt & pepper for flavor. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving and enjoy.

If you’re interested in joining us drop a comment below 👇🏻 or shoot me an email to ClearlyDefinedFitness@gmail.com to connect!

All Things Can Be Used For Good!

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If you would’ve looked at my life 10 years ago I don’t think anyone could predict where I am now.

I knew I wanted to do something greater with my life but I was still stuck under so many of my own limitations and fears. I have a background of trauma as a child and from that led to A LOT of insecurities.

Afraid to rock the boat and speak up or that I wasn’t able to be accepted and loved for being myself.

I found validation in my appearance and would restrict myself from eating until I got my 2 hour workout in that later developed into a fear of food.

When something painful or hard would happen, emotionally I would cope with over eating, numb the pain out with the comfort of consumption….only later to feel the guilt and discomfort in my body for not treating myself well.

Both vicious cycles and symptoms of a deeper issue…acceptance of myself and my story.

How could I be secure or confident and expect to share with others who I am if I didn’t accept myself?

I thank God for the grace and awareness I had to take a step back and recognize that this girl trapped in fear was not the confident woman I wanted to become.

It took time and still does.

I’m here to say recovery is a fight, and it’s POSSIBLE!

Through a lot of personal and spiritual growth in my journey I am so happy to say that I am not who I was back then.

I accept that part of my journey but I didn’t have to stay there.

Part of what gives me the confidence to say that I feel free and comfortable in my skin, comfortable and free with food and exercise is the community and opportunity I said yes to with becoming a heath coach on Team viva vida and building my own team Clearly Defined.

The support is unreal, we all have struggles but we support each other up towards the positive and healthy road along the way.

I’ve gained confidence in helping others and found a way I can make a difference. I want the same for you. Can you relate to my story?

I’m here to invite you along the journey, whether you need support in developing a healthy sense of self, relationship with food and your body or are looking for a community and opportunity to make a difference in other’s lives while committing to the health of yours…I’ve got a place for you!

Have you ever struggled with pain, insecurity or a healthy balance and relationship to food and exercise or just loving and feeling confident in your own skin???

I want to expand my team with others who want to conquer their journeys and mark the trail for good, ready to get started? Let’s go!

Your Reflection: Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe!

You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep weighing you down. ~ Unknown

When you look at yourself in the mirror, who do you see? What do you believe about yourself?

Do you take the time to recognize the people you surround yourself with? Do you find yourself acting differently depending on who, how and what you’re spending your time with?

Are you who you want you want to be?

At times I’ll admit that I used to think who I was with didn’t affect me, that everyone and anybody are good to be around and it really wouldn’t matter who I spent my time with. I learned otherwise…

We reflect who we’re surrounded with, both positive and negatively.12802733_775265082574427_2643371959816579655_n.jpg

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Hanging around others who aren’t growing, I loved the people I was hanging with, but felt stagnant or even as though I was moving backwards. I would compromise some of the values I had to “fit” in, and my lifestyle was not matching what deep down I wanted it to be.

It took time, awareness and prayer, yet I realized that I wanted to grow more, do something more with my life and grow more into the woman I felt called to be.

I came across Team Viva Vida through a mutual friend’s online post and met my now mentor and fellow coach Jaclyn Hughes.

I always had a passion to support others in their health, especially those who may have struggled with body image, eating issues, depression and anxiety like I did in college.

Jaclyn was someone I could relate to being a nurse and health coach herself who has overcome an eating disorder, and had a passion to help others live a life of adventure and worth as well.

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She introduced me to the opportunity of coaching and immediately I was all in. I loved the focus of our community, the passion to eat well, live well through a healthy relationship with exercise, food and adventures like traveling together as a team.

Prior to coaching I was working as a personal trainer through grad school getting my masters in Clinical psychology. I always had a passion to help others as well as myself, but I was stuck in a pattern of yo-yo dieting, still working out of my own disordered eating and yet still trying to find my way to support others with a healthy lifestyle as well. Sure, I was active and ate healthy but I found that the community was key to helping me stay consistent and let go of the perfectionism and obsessions I had with emotional eating and food.

Fast forward a few years, after graduating and becoming an MFTi (marriage and family therapy intern) I was led to a company  and recently became a therapist working with women who struggle with eating disorders! Is it not crazy how things can come full circle?

While having had my own journey and at times it was one of the toughest experiences I’ve had, I thank God every day for the struggles I’ve had because it’s developed a deep sense of compassion and empathy.

I recognize that while the therapy, treatment and healing is so crucial, community is also just as much a part of it. While it’s been a challenge in my life to let some people go, I have found that letting go has strengthened my ability to trust and develop my own voice as well as made room for others who I can lean on and grow with, like my wellness coaching team mates and friends.

If you’re looking for a supportive place to grow, if you’re wanting to invest in your health and wellness and if you have a passion for helping others and living an adventurous life, our team may be the place for you too!

We’re always looking to grow, shoot me an email at ClearlyDefinedFitness@gmail.com and let’s connect!

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Superfood “No Bake” Protein Cookies

Would you believe me if I told you I can give you a recipe that tastes like brownies but provides you dense nutrition, without preservatives and is low in sugar??

Even better, it takes less than 10 minutes to make ;).

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Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Chocolate Vegan or Regular Chocolate Shakeology

1/2 Cup whole rolled oats

1/2 Cup all natural Almond Butter (can be peanut or whatever your fave nut butter is too)

3 Tblsp of Honey or Agave Nectar

2 tsb Chia seeds (optional)

2 Tblsp of water for mixing

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First step is:

Mix the Shakeology, Almond butter and oats until it forms a doughy/crumbly texture

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Next Step:

Add in Honey, Chia seeds and Water. Use water as needed until it forms a solid dough you can break into smaller balls.

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Last step:

Once dough is formable, using a spoon, scoop and form the dough into little balls. Refrigerate for an hour then ENJOY!

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Yum!

Calories: 130 Total Fat: 8 grams Total Carbs: 20 grams Sugars: 3g Protein: 5g

Great for a post workout snack or nice energy treat anytime!

Just “Breathe”

Do you ever stop breathing?  Just stop?!

This may be a silly question to ask and you may be thinking, “okay, what’s your point?” Well, it took me some time to address that I was running around in my life off the fumes of constant anxiety.

It took a therapist to tell me to pause and “breathe.” I didn’t realize that when I was downloading my thoughts and the constant ideas racing in my mind, that I wasn’t stopping to just breathe.

Obviously I’m still here and must be breathing to still be here hehe, but what I realized was that I was thriving off of anxiety and hardly taking any time to pause and just take a breath.

I imagine I’m not alone in this, do you find your mind to be constantly racing? Do you feel the pressure to have to just “go, go, go…” or perform, achieve, strive, excel, make up for the things that weren’t right, achieve to compensate or run from the pain, doubt, hurt, anger, bitterness…

You’re not  alone.

Let me ask you, do you take enough time for yourself to pause and recognize all that really is going on?

In my experience, the only way to bring awareness to your thoughts and recognize where the anxiety or striving is coming from is to pause and breathe.

I work with women who struggle with eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, guilt and shame. They are uncomfortable in their own skin and the thoughts they are overwhelmed with are devastating when spoken out loud. My goal is to support them to a healthier connection and acceptance of themselves…even when these thoughts are so painful, sometimes it takes pausing and accepting what has happened to begin the  process of healing.

I lead a relaxation group with them and the idea of laying down and practicing “stillness” with deep breaths is what some of them define as torture. However, when I guide them to face the thoughts and support the power within to redirect focus even just simply to the breath rather than thought…beautiful things can happen.

It may be small, but just a step of release in one’s own body, or just a simple recognition that the brain can be redirected by choice and focusing on something else. These steps can begin the process of addressing and unpacking some of the hurt, and giving yourself the time and breath to relax and feel safe within the anxiety. Not make it go away, but rather practice managing one’s self amidst the chaos. This is what stillness is.

Whether you find yourself struggling to the degree of turmoil or even just find yourself anxious at times for no identifiable reason, rather than try and determine the source or figure it all out, I want to invite you first to be still and breathe.

You can find some helpful tips and steps into a time of guided relaxation below. Please share your thoughts and findings as your journey continues and amidst it all don’t forget to just breathe.

Guided Relaxation & Tips: 

Find a place that is quiet and where you feel safe, relaxed or at least as close to at  peace as you can. i.e. – your bedroom, backyard, comfy couch in the living room…

Bring a yoga mat if possible and have it laid out. Start in a sitting position and roll your shoulders and neck back and forth to stretch out any tension in the upper body. Notice where you do hold tension in your body and keep that in mind for the exercise.

Now, write out at least 2 strong thoughts or statements that you believe you need to hear. It may not mean you necessarily believe it at this time and if it helps think of thoughts you would tell someone you love very much what they need to hear. A few examples are:

You are loved.

You are okay just as you are.

You’re right where you’re meant to be.

You are capable.

You are worthy.

You are chosen and accepted.

Once you have these written down and memorized in your mind, allow yourself to lay flat on the mat. Without doing anything to adjust or prompt into the moment, time yourself and be still for exactly one minute.

Following this minute what did you notice? Where you able to relax? Was your mind racing? Did you find yourself accepting the relaxation or rejecting it? Did you notice tension in your body or thoughts? Jot down any observations you may have noticed.

Now, set the timer for 5-10 minutes (whatever you feel comfortable with)

Lay down and practice a cycle of 5 deep, full breaths. In through the nose counting to 5, then hold at the top for 2 seconds when the lungs are full and fully exhale through the mouth.

Now allow yourself to fall completely into the stillness of the moment. When your mind wanders (and it will) bring it back to the breath. Focus your mind on the breath.

For the last 2 minutes take your breath and use it to recite and meditate on the statements you wrote at the beginning. Inhale a thought such as “I am loved” and exhale another thought (exhale) “I am capable.” Do this for at least 2 minutes or 10 rounds.

Lay still for a remaining minute and notice if your body, thoughts and response to the relaxation is different. Practice this relaxation and breathing exercise 2-3x per week and see how the changes may play out in your stress, thoughts and breathing throughout the day and…

12047065_10100107238425786_4957046133518668801_nJust breathe.

New Beginnings

Often times I think we save fresh starts and new beginnings for the New Year, Birthdays or a significant life changing event.

However, I think reserving a fresh start of new beginning for a time only when a significant event or declaration of a holiday allots us is limiting.

Every day is an opportunity for a new beginning.

There are times in my life when I have found this philosophy and perspective hard to grasp. For years I was stuck in a rut with my eating habits and self-image. I put a lot of worth and control in the way I looked and the response I would get from others because of my weight or how I looked. I thrived off of the attention I would get for looking “thin” and for the “self-discipline” I had for maintaining a low weight with low caloric intake and high amounts of exercise.

I was so focused on my external appearance and maintaining control for the attention I’d seek, however I gave no attention to what was going on inside of me and what the motivation and drive was coming from.

My internal motivation at this time was coming from a place of shame. A place of insecurity and pain. I had endured trauma and pain yet, my way of coping was expressed through control and seeking validation from other’s attention. Inside, I was crying.

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I was stuck in this cycle for years yet I could only maintain it for so long. My weight fluctuated significantly. While I could work hard and hold this “transpiration” for a time, whenever stress or a painful experience occurred, I would drop into a binge eating and disorder eating pattern to cope with my overwhelming feelings of pain, guilt, hurt, sadness etc….I felt out of control and once I’d cope with the emotion and feel “numb” enough I was back on the treadmill to burn it all off and maintain that image I thrived on. Any way to get external validation and attention from others to feel loved.

By the end of my college career I recognized I felt out of control and didn’t want to live this way for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to let my emotions control me and for me to respond in this endless pattern of stuffing myself to stuff the emotions and then purge it all out with overexercise…I was exhausted yet didn’t know where to start to change things.

I remember praying and it was the first time I recognized that healing begins one day at a time, one choice at a time, one step at a time.

My first step was recognizing there was a problem. I could recognize the symptoms of pain inside, yet I didn’t know how to organize or understand the complexities of it.

My next step was seeking help.

I started working with a therapist to start exploring where all this pain was coming from and why different triggers could influence such a reaction and overwhelming feeling and why I would cope with food and exercise for comfort and control.

I explored my family of origin, childhood trauma, loss, some of the actions I felt ashamed and guilty of…it wasn’t a beautiful process, in fact it was messy and I felt like a mess but the transformation of truth and putting light on these dark areas of my life with the support of a trusted professional truly brought about a transformation that I will never regret.

I also started working with a personal trainer to learn healthier patterns and a balanced routine of exercise and rest. I learned healthier ways to train and exercise my body with care. By caring for my body and taking ownership to treat it kindly and with worth rather than abuse, I began the process of self acceptance. I became less dependent on the approval and attention of others and started to feel at peace within myself by treating my body right.

I then decided I didn’t just want to learn this for myself, but I wanted to share the love with others. I became certified as a personal trainer and studied exercise and nutrition. I studied healthy nutrition, took classes to learn more about food and the  benefits of eating a healthy and whole nutrition.

All along the way I recognized that healing is a process. That it’s not about perfection. There have still been times where I would be susceptible to an unhealthy response to emotions, and yes I’ve had many an “off” day with eating and exercise. However, the greatest lesson and foundational truth I learned through this process is that each day is a new day to begin again.

That holding on to past slip up’s or disappointments was not an efficient way to live, but to accept the failures and let them go to start again with faith that you’re going to be ok. That the journey of progress is many steps forward and some steps back, ups and downs and is not a straight set path.

Holding on to this perspective has daily allowed me the opportunity to give grace to myself. It’s freed me from being controlled by the past and being out of control in my response.

I share this because I not only live it, but I believe it for you. If you struggle with any of these areas like I have, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone and it doesn’t have to be your forever. Taking the first step to acknowledge your need for help and then seeking help out are your first steps.

It’s up to you to embrace courage and vulnerability and take these steps, and you can…are you ready?