In-CourageBlog

It takes courage to make lifestyle changes and faith to overcome our obstacles. My hope is that by sharing my personal and professional experiences with you, we can both be courageous in our journeys of faith and fitness!

That’s an Insult

You are valuable.
I watched it finally.  The Fault in our Stars. Good thing I was interrupted a few times otherwise, I would’ve been sucked in farther and taken to a place of uncontrollable, slobbery, snotty crying. Being interrupted allowed for silent tears instead.

I love a good romantic movie, but there was something else that really stood out to me. Well, there were several things that stood out to me, but one thing in particular that I can’t get out of my head. Maybe it’s because there’s some truth in it for me. Ok, if I’m honest, there’s a LOT of truth in it for me. I also think it’s because I’ve had enough conversations lately with other women that prompted me to write about it.

I’ve asked this question often partly because of the nature of my work, but also because it always fascinates me to hear the answers. “What are your dreams? What would you want more than anything in this life? At the end of life, what would you want people to say about you and your life?” You know what surprises me? My kids’ answers to these questions are more fun than most adults. I am always surprised by the lack of dreaming that adults do. It almost hurts to think that somewhere in their life, dreaming stopped and fear, doubt and unbelief took over. Maybe it’s cynicism or maybe it’s lack of confidence in themselves or both. I think it has to do with what our beliefs are about purpose in life, success in life and our value. The world has fed us some “truths” that are far from the truth about these things and I think we believe it!

When we say “I don’t really have dreams” or “I’m just a mom” or “I don’t really know my purpose”, that’s an insult. To who? Well, first to the One who made us ON purpose and WITH purpose. Our life was not an afterthought and there’s something we’re here for that ONLY we can do. But, it’s also an insult to the one, two, three or 10 people that have crossed our paths and we made a difference in their life. There is someone in your life that can’t imagine their life without you in it.

In the movie, we fall in love with the character named Augustus. Funny, light-hearted, compassionate, loving, courageous and inspirational…this kid’s perspective on life (even while battling cancer) is beautiful and touching. When he faces death in the end, his human nature settles in. He professes that he wanted to live an extraordinary life, one where it was worth writing about and one where he was remembered. He felt that because he was losing his battle to cancer, that he was disappointed that his dream of the kind of life he wanted didn’t come true. The love of his life says this to him:

You are valuable.

He had made a difference in her life and she would never be the same because of him. Why do we measure our value by the size of the splash we make? What if the size of the splash doesn’t matter as much as the ripple effect it makes?

Maybe you and I need to be more open to dreaming again and thinking on what we’re wired to be and do. Maybe you and I should stop measuring our value to what the world around us values. If you look in the news at all or follow celebrities, I don’t think we really want our world to define our value do we? Maybe you and I should start to look at the pond in front of us and make the best splash we know how to make and stop comparing our splash to someone else’s.

There is someone in our life that can’t imagine their life without us. That makes us special and extraordinary. That splash has a ripple effect that will indirectly touch lives even after we’re gone. Stop saying you’re nothing or you’re “just a…”. That’s an insult.

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Is Fast, Cheap and Easy Better than Long, Expensive and Hard?

Is Fast, Cheap and Easy Better than Long, Expensive and Hard?

As a trainer, I have always had an unsaid rule that I don’t offer unsolicited advice, especially to friends and family. I won’t give you my opinion unless you ask and I won’t judge you if you eat fast food or dessert, ever. So sometimes, I bite holes in my tongue. Or I write. Ha!

I have this friend. I love her, I support her and I want success for her more than she wants it for herself sometimes. She’s done the Weight Watchers program at least 5 times and has paid for it each time. The cost used to be something like $40/month or $10/meeting. She is drawn to go back to it because it’s easy for her now because she knows the rules. It has a points system and she knows how to keep track of points and over the years, has figured out lower point options for some of her favorite things. She has lost significant amount of weight with it in the past so why not do it again? She’d say, “I know what to do. I just don’t do it.” And if Dr. Phil inhabited my body, I/he’d say, “And how’s that working for ya?” (Yes, I use to watch Dr. Phil and that slightly sarcastic line is something I would say in my head as I bit holes in my tongue.)

Trying and failing is a part of life. But, if we don’t use the failure as an opportunity to learn, we’ve wasted the experience and we’ll likely face another opportunity (or failure) to learn it all over again (oh I hate that). There’s something fascinating about human motivation. We are often willing to try and fail at the easier, cheaper, and quicker ways at doing things leaving us defeated and discouraged time and time again than to have the courage or the willingness to try something different and do the hard things, the hard changes, the right thing the right way for long term, lifelong success.

“This short term response to long-term desires is alive and well in the corporate world also.  A management consultant friend of mine was hired by a billion-dollar company to help it fulfill its goals and aspirations.  The problem was, she explained, no matter what the issue, the company’s managers were always drawn to the quicker, cheaper option over the better long-term solution.  Just like the habitual dieter, “they never have the time or money to do it right the first time,” she said of her client, “but they always have the time and money to do it again.”‘
excerpt from Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Working in the health and wellness industry for over 16 years has allowed me to come across thousands of people who have long-term desires, but are addressing it with the quicker, cheaper option over and over and over again. People are drawn to things like appetite suppressors, HIIT workouts and diets because they think it will give them faster results with less pain, less time, less effort and/or less cost. On the other hand, I watch people pay for gym memberships and not use them, but it’s too expensive to buy organic food. I watch people eat out 2-5x/week spending $20-250 or more a week on their “fix”, but hiring a trainer is too expensive. I know. I’ve been there. I work right in the thick of it and have said those things myself!!! Why in the world would I say that? Money is not the issue. Beliefs are the issue.

Beliefs come from knowledge which turn into understanding which turn into action which give us experience. If our knowledge never turns into understanding then our action won’t be fueled. If actions are not taken, we’ll never have the experience that solidifies our beliefs.

Take away:
1. What’s your long-term health desire?
2. Why do you really want it? How much do you value it? How high of a priority is it for you?
3. What have you done to get it?
4. What doesn’t work for you?
5. What’s keeping you from learning and understanding more about a different way to address it?
6. Is money the issue or are your beliefs the issue?

Back to my friend…I hate that she gets discouraged and down about gaining weight back. I hate that there are other looming health issues that she faces and is likely to face if she doesn’t find long-term lifestyle health for her and her family. She’s said that money is an issue, but it’s not. They eat out, they buy new fun toys, she gets her hair done… It’s her beliefs…about herself, about nutrition, about what’s the best way to become her healthiest.

Fast, cheap and easy turn into long, expensive, hard and DISCOURAGING when you have to do them over and over and over again never getting your desire or aspiration. Maybe it’s worth choosing the harder things now that lead to long-term results forever.

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Take Out the Trash: 4 Ways to Reduce Toxicity in your Body and your Soul

This is a guest post by a very special friend.  She and I met through Facebook almost 2 years ago and if there’s an almost perfect match for someone who feels passionate about the things that I feel passionate about, it’s Janet.  I love her heart, her wisdom, her wittiness.  If you follow her page, Fit4HisGlory, on Facebook, she spends her days lifting up and cheering up hearts.  Love her!  I’ve noticed that in the last year, she’s been learning a lot…we’ve been on a similar journey, but just a different path.  I asked if she’d share some of what she’s been learning with you all.  I think you’ll really be challenged by what she has to say.

janet and logo

How to reduce the toxicity in your food:

You really are what you eat. Whether it’s hormones in your meat and dairy, chemical sweeteners in your beverages, highly processed ingredients in your protein powder, cereals and snack bars, your body is constantly in fight or flight mode. Although your body has an incredible immune system designed to adapt to your environment, there is no need to constantly put it to the test by placing toxic, foreign and man-made ingredients in your system. A raw, whole foods diet is by far the best approach to your overall health, wellness and beauty. Would you like to know why? Because you can control the list of ingredients. How many ingredients are in an apple and almonds versus the packaged so-called healthy snack bar on the shelves? More than half of your hunger pangs you experience are from malnourishment. You have constant cravings because your body does not have the nutrients it needs.

How to reduce the toxicity in your home:

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and things placed on your skin’s surface take less than a minute to enter your bloodstream. Check out your toothpaste label and see if it tells you not to ingest it. What? I put it in my mouth yet it’s harmful if I swallow it or my two year old decides to have it as a snack? Do not put anything on your body that you would not put in your mouth. This means you have to seriously consider EVERY single item in your household from toothpaste to deodorant to countertop spray to laundry detergent. The pores in your feet are the largest on your body. Mopping with Pine Sol and walking around on it with bare feet is just like drinking it. Did you know that if a product has fragrance in its list of ingredients that fragrance is allowed to have over 200 chemicals in it of which formaldehyde is the most common? Yes, your Glade Plug-in is pumping the most common form of carcinogen into the air in your home. You may find this task completely overwhelming but as you do a cleaning supply closet overhaul, you will find that you will feel better, have more energy and reduce illness because your immune system does not have to fight off so many foreign substances.

How to reduce the toxicity in your mind:

Your soul/mind is made up of two parts: Your will and your emotions. If your emotions make most of your decisions rather than your will, you are going to be very unhappy and continue to run to food (or many other things) for comfort or when you are stressed. It is commonly referred to as being weak-willed.  Eph 4:22 tells us, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”There is a direct correlation with what goes in our ear and eye gates and our thought life. It’s as simple as the law of harvest. You reap what you sow. If we are constantly feeding our minds far-from-ever-being-reality TV, celebrity magazines, R-rated movies and trashy music, we are polluting ourselves and guess what comes out when we are under duress, attack, or stress of any sort? Foul language, anger, violence, jealousy, envy, pride, lust, depression, discontentment, entitlement, unforgiveness, and the list goes on. We must renew our minds so our will wins the battle over our emotions. We make decisions based on what we know is right and just, not because it is what feels good or tastes good or is the path of least resistance.

How to reduce the toxicity in your heart:

Comparison is a JOY thief. You may want her body or her hair or her skin or her husband or her kids or her money but I promise, you don’t want her problems or struggles. We are fearfully and wonderfully made which means God took His time when He created each of us. We are all different but a part of the body of Christ each with our own distinct purpose. When we compare our lives or our beauty to others, we are basically telling God that He messed up. God doesn’t make junk! There is harsh truth here in Matthew but Jesus is talking to those of us that spend countless hours in the gym or in the mirror and countless dollars on the hottest clothes, purse or shoes but yet, we are sad, lonely and or empty on the inside.  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside, are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matt 23:25-28. There was a time in my life when I would say on the outside, I looked my healthiest but on the inside, I was completely toxic, malnourished in mind, body, and spirit and searching for significance and love in all the wrong places. Once you make the commitment to work on your inward beauty, your outward beauty will just naturally begin to show.

Thanks for sharing, Janet.  I am certainly challenged.  There was a time not too long ago, when these kinds of words struck a cord of fear in me, placed a large load of “overwhelming” on my shoulders and poked an “annoyance” nerve in me.  I didn’t want to hear that I was inundating myself or my family with “TOXINS.”  That just sounded so dramatic and extreme.  What I’ve come to realize is that it’s true, we are surrounded by “junk” or “foreign invaders” and it’s a whole lot for our bodies (and minds) to deal with. We can’t eliminate toxins, but we can limit them and give our body a head start doing what it’s meant to do naturally…detox.  I made a “baby steps” checklist to give myself and others a place to start.  You don’t have to tackle the checklist all today.  Find the ones you all ready do and check them off!  That will give you a sense of satisfaction!  Then, find ones that are EASY to do.  Implement those first and you’ll feel like you’re really making headway.  Become AWARE of the others on the list and learn as you go.  You won’t die tomorrow if you drink a glass of non-organic milk, but maybe by having the checklist handy, you’ll think twice about it, learn more about it and eventually make a change.  One step at a time.  Baby steps.  Every step counts.  A journey is thousands of steps taken one at a time.  I love hearing tips from others and success stories.  So please, share.  Making these changes has drastically improved the health of my family…I know it can in yours too.

If you’d like more help, please let me know.  I’d be happy to lead you in the right direction for you to learn more and get more out of your life.

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Download the “Baby Steps” Checklist here.

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Mr. Picky Likes It!

All of my boys have something in common, their flaring nostrils. They don’t flare unless they are eating something they don’t like which used to happen at almost every single dinner I’d make. We have rules about being grateful and not saying “ew” and “yuck” and they are always required to try a bite. But, I would also go out of my way and make each dinner according to what each kids preferred. Not any more. What am I teaching by doing that? What do I WANT to teach?

When we decided it was time to make nutritional changes for our whole family (read this post), that meant that there was no longer going to be “mom’s healthy food” and the kids’ food. That meant that one bite of veggies wasn’t enough. That also meant that the time I was taking making 3 different dinners would now be spent on making more things homemade and healthy and finding new ways to disguise or prepare otherwise known as “nostril flaring foods.”

It’s taken time. It’s taken patience. It’s taken some research and resourcefulness. I have tried all kinds of new things and it’s been a process of one small step after another. Some steps have failed and I try again. Others, we are still working on and tackling. I was overwhelmed at first and didn’t know where to begin. That’s why I was so thrilled to find Isagenix, solutions to the problems I was trying to address with Noah (depleted of nutrients and toxicity). I could give him nutrition now and work on his palate and bad food habits a little at a time.

We have not been perfect. I don’t buy absolutely everything organic. We’ve still eaten out (but at restaurants that are local and I know what goes into the food) and we’ve still had treats (mostly made at home, but yummy!) The kids still get to have treats at birthday parties and I’m not going to flip out if the neighbor offers them a bright blue popsicle. I am convinced of two things concerning nutrition: 1) It does not have to be hard and 2) It does not have to be depriving and painful.

I wanted to show you the difference we’ve made in our kids’ diets in just 5 months.
We the kids used to eat and what they're eating now.  Changing things one step at a time!

Noah wouldn’t touch vegetables and he didn’t like any kind of meat unless it was chicken nuggets. He was hooked on milk and juice and it was hard for me to get him to drink water. I wanted to share this with you for a couple of reasons. I know it is overwhelming to make change. I was overwhelmed! I know it seems impossible, but it’s NOT! You have to be ok with changing things a little at a time. Start with something that would be easiest to change. For example, instead of cutting out waffles all together, I experimented with easy, but healthy homemade waffle recipes. I experimented using almond milk and coconut milk in the recipes, eliminating white sugar and using whole wheat flour. Now, I don’t make waffles usually. I make them protein pancakes using oats, organic cottage cheese and organic eggs. Or, pancakes with banana, egg, and almond butter. They LOVE them both and say “yes!” when I tell them that’s what we’re eating. I didn’t start there though!

Another reason I wanted to share this is that while I am working on making changes, Isagenix has helped me to provide excellent nutrition to my kids and to my husband and I in ways our food cannot. It has taken the pressure off of me, given me solutions to the problems we were trying to solve and as a result, the nutrition has given us optimal health (which includes Noah not having seizures for almost 8 weeks now!) I don’t think most people give food enough credit for either helping them or hurting them. It’s easy to ignore if you don’t have a life-threatening issue like seizures. But what if you could lose weight EASILY and keep it off EASILY?  Wouldn’t that be amazing? What if those pesky headaches are caused by dehydration and a lack of nutrients? Wouldn’t life be totally different if you weren’t affected by those headaches all of the time? I know how I am when I have a headache…GRUMPY! My grumpiness affects everyone who crosses my path! There might be things you’re not even thinking of that are caused by nutrition (or lack of it!)  Your energy level, your creaky joints, your swollen hands, your foggy brain, your depression, your anxiety, your mood swings, your acne, your dry and brittle nails… all of these things can be caused by lack of nutrients. AND, it’s proven that heart disease, cancers, diabetes and many other diseases are caused by foods or things IN our foods.

I am not telling you this to scare you. I’m telling you this because there’s hope for a better life for you. I’m telling you this because it doesn’t have to be hard or overwhelming or expensive. I’m telling you this because I know you’ve tried to find solutions to your health problems whether it’s weight loss, depression, skin rashes or whatever. This is a solution. I dare you to make the changes. Your life is worth it. Your kids deserve it. You won’t be disappointed.

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