Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What to Say When People Pressure You with Food

Everyone who's been personally victimized by Regina George, er, Food-Pushers, say "aye." 

You may have been on both sides of the game in this one, and if that's the case, then please leave your comments below. Nonetheless, striving to better yourself in health and wellness has its challenges when it comes to corporate eating. We've all felt the pressure to join in the break room cookies or the baby shower cake, even if we really wanted to pass. All to conclude with a giant side of guilt after splurging. Please know I'm not shaming the act of intuitively eating something less than 100 percent healthy every now and then, but there's something to be said if you feel totally out of control when eating around others. If that resonates with you, remember these four responses.

Image from

"Who brought this vegetable tray? I love tomatoes!"
1. Express Your Gratitude.

Most of the time, people are looking to serve or show hospitality. "Can I get you a piece of cake?" or "How 'bout this brownie I just made?" (That one's a frequent phrase from my Grandma ...). Proactively express how delicious the salad was, and ask who made it. Describe how grateful you are for all the food available to you and how happy you are with your options. By the way, the more gratitude you have in your heart in general, the easier it will be to shake off the pressure to indulge in unhealthy food and drinks.

"Thanks for thinking of me, but I'll pass. I'm trying to get stronger and healthier today."
2. Remember Your Reasons.

Respond with values, not your outcomes. Respond in unexpected ways that turn the conversation into something centered around bettering yourself and holding yourself accountable. If someone's really pushy, like, "Come on, one more won't kill you," respond with "But I might not stop at just one, and I'm trying to establish self-discipline," or "I'm trying to practice a little intuitive eating and will power."

"Not today, sir. My body's craving something light and fresh."
3. Blame it on your body.

As you become more of an intuitive eater, your body runs better on whole foods, free of toxins, sugar and processed crap. Although you may not be exactly an intuitive eater just yet, practicing the discipline of listening to your body and training it to run on lean protein, unprocessed fats and fibrous fruits and vegetables is essential. When people hear you're listening to your body and eating what you want, rather than restricting yourself, they're less likely to ask you again and again. Some people prey on weakness, and when they see drool coming from your mouth when food's served, they might jump on it. If they know you're doing what you want, then they might not be as inclined to exploit your self-discipline.

"I've had my share of sweets this week, so no thanks. If you want one, it won't bother me!"
4. Empathize with the Food-Pusher.

Remember that change comes to everyone, and it's often something we don't come to easily. Your bettering yourself may cause someone else to look inward and ask why they're not bettering themselves. I've found my actions to instill self-discipline have sometimes brought out the worst of other people's insecurities. Try hard to not cast any judging eyes. Hold back any defensive comments (I'm still working on this). Instead, choose a response that speaks a sense of humility. Often, the food and drink-pushers are the ones who are feeling the most pressure, so if you can remember that, to see them like bugs (they're more scared of you than you're scared of them), then it will be easier to simply say, "No thank you."

For a complete guide to wellness, register for one of my 3 new Team A.M.Fit programs, each being a guide to creating lifelong habits of nutrition, exercise and positive self-image. 

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

New Team A.M.Fit Programs Available!

One idea you must learn to live with is that your body is like no one else's. This means that one program may work for you and another may work better for your friend. Obviously, the best way to determine a plan of action to help you meet your health and wellness goals would be to start a custom program or custom coaching plan.

For those of you who are familiar with the discipline of exercise but struggle with food, you may find one of the programs below helpful. These programs might also be wise choices before starting a customized plan for financial reasons. Like all of my coaching techniques, I'd like to steer you away from the diet mentality and encourage you to see every wellness endeavor as an opportunity to reflect on yourself physically, mentally and spiritually — for one without the other will only get you so far. 

Any guidelines or structure involved in the programs is meant to be adjusted depending on your intuitive needs. The structure of the program is extremely helpful in the beginning stages as long as you pair it with the reflection challenges. You must learn how to answer the "why" question in order to explore your eating habits, tendencies, restrictions, attitudes, and any other behaviors related to nutrition and exercise. In all things, I never want you to feel restricted, but instead, my hope is to introduce a freedom for you to know your body better than anyone else. 

I'm excited to introduce three of my latest programs. Please read about them below:

21 Days to a Healthy Home
This program is designed to unite families around the table, forming habits of healthy and intuitive eating. Combining simple yet delicious meals with quick and effective workouts for all ages, 21 Days to a Healthy Home is the best way to get all your family members on board to making wellness a priority. Complete the inquiry below to register for this program. A $100 registration fee is required to receive the program. Payment must be received via PayPal before the full program will be sent.

Register for 21 Days to a Healthy Home >>

14-Day Fresh Start
This program is designed to help those who know the basics of healthy and intuitive eating and who work out consistently three or more times a week but feel they may have plateaued in their progress. Combining simple yet effective tips to shed excess fat quickly before an event or to jumpstart a lifestyle of wellness, this program has the essentials. Team A.M.Fit’s 14-Day Fresh Start includes a 3-day detox, a series of fat-blasting workouts and a series of meal recommendations. This is the best program to get fit in a flurry. A $75 registration fee is required to receive the program. Payment must be received via PayPal before the full program will be sent.

Register for 14-Day Fresh Start >>
6-Week Strength Starter
This program is designed to help both men and women implement resistance training to build more muscle and get stronger in the gym. Team A.M.Fit's 6-Week Strength Starter will give you four in-gym workouts, four cardio routines and a glossary of exercises. These workouts will vary week to week. You will need free weights and several machines, but alternatives are given for those without sufficient equipment. The program also includes a list of supplements and how to implement them into a healthy nutrition routine, along with some suggestions on eating to build muscle. The idea is that you gain strength every week and are able to maintain the same routines for longer than the suggested 6-week period, having gained the momentum and understanding of your body over the first month and a half. A $150 registration fee is required to receive the program. Payment must be received via PayPal before the full program will be sent.

Register for 6-Week Strength Starter >>

How to Handle Holiday Stress

Does the thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas bundled together make your heart warm and fuzzy — or are you one who wants to warm up to the thought of the holidays, but really, thinking about it makes you feel overwhelmed? Unfortunately, our already-packed to-do lists multiply this time of year. Meals to make; gifts to buy; cards to send; lights to hang; trees to cut; parties to plan .... Learn how to prevent post-holiday depression and stop the seasonal stress in its tracks.

1. Get More Sleep.

Sleep is vital for your body to recover, especially in the midst of a stressful season, whether that's during the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping or something as simple as a change in your schedule. The value of rest baffled me, as I used to think the longer I was awake, the more calories I burned and therefore, the more active I was, which was always better. Wrong! If driven too hard, your body produces hormones to store fat and survive on as little energy as possible (be thankful for this). The only way to ensure you don't send your body into overdrive is to make sure it has time to reset and recover.

I recommend trying to get at least six hours of sleep. If you can get eight, even better. Don't underestimate the value of a power nap, either. Stop drinking caffeine past 3 p.m. Start drinking magnesium powder before bed. Stop watching TV or any screens at least 30 minutes before bed. Start reading or listening to soft music to lull you to sleep. Start paying attention to what makes you feel at peace and what makes you feel alert.

2. Plan to Prepare Healthy Dishes.

I used to get so anxious about going to family dinners or parties, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'd lose my joy about being there because nobody understood how to eat healthy like me (get off your high road, Amber ... I know). Now, I look at it as an opportunity to let my intuitive eater out to play. I always bring at least one dish that I know I want to eat, a food or meal that not only tastes good but will make my body feel good. Sometimes, that's a hot chili, a big tossed salad, a roasted vegetable or GoPro Balls. The ideas are endless. Use your healthy dish as a talking piece for declaring your goals to live healthy and maybe encourage someone else. Try not to be offended if someone doesn't understand. They may be fighting an insecurity themselves. Instead of restricting yourself from enjoying the rest of the food there, allow yourself permission to eat what you want, knowing that your own dish is there if you find you're not satisfied by the other options.

3. Supplement with Extra Energy-Boosters.

There's a reason people get sick this time of year. Aside from the weather and allergies, people are just too dadgum busy. If you can't slow down, at least supplement up (I'm preaching to myself here). Start taking Zinc, Echinacea and Vitamin C. A liver detox or aid can help your liver process the extra stress hormones you may be producing. A probiotic promotes a healthy gut, which is often affected when stressed. Be sure to get enough green superfoods like kale, spinach, spirulina, and kelp. My favorite greens blend is the chocolate silk kind by Barlean's. Again, the magnesium powder is a natural tranquility supplement to help you sleep better because it ensures your body has enough magnesium to make muscular contraction and relaxation more efficient. And another thing is to add some essential oils (good all year round). Lavender and peppermint oil are two that can help alleviate throat/sinus soreness caused by colds or allergies. If you don't catch it in time, and you get sick, Singer's Saving Grace will really save your grace (for throat), and this natural cough syrup with wild cherry bark. And I can't talk about saving energy without mentioning you eat whole foods (one ingredient) as much as possible, and drinking tons of water with lemon.

4. Keep a Record of Right's.

You've heard about not keeping a record of wrongs, which is just as important as keeping a record of right's. Try to find the good in people before you criticize their flaws. One thing I'm trying lately is to compliment every person I see. It could be something as simple as, "Hey, how are you? Oh, I like those shoes." Again, being this nice doesn't usually come naturally. We were wired for selfishness, so you have to work to be gracious and humble. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with you; it just means you have to be intentional about it.

Another way to record your right's is to write them down. The idea of keeping a gratitude journal is not far-fetched; that's for sure. Then I have to ask, why do so few people actually do it? I started journaling my prayers about six months ago, and I cannot tell you how my heart has softened since. My spirit is sensitive to every time my mouth complains, every little blessing I experience, and I'm acting in more compassion (thanks to God) than ever before. I'll tell you, it puts life in perspective if you carve out enough time (think 5 mins) to thank God for a few things.

5. Dismiss the Fear of Missing Out.

Here's another fear-based feeling I used to act in without knowing it. I call it FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Do you often find yourself at a crossroad? Not knowing which decision to make? Indecisiveness is a huge indicator you may suffer from FOMO too. The good news is that you can be cured! Don't get caught up in how the world says to celebrate the holidays. So, you don't get around to putting up the indoor Christmas decorations ... Does that mean you can't enjoy Christmas? No. So, you waited to late to send cards, and now they're going to arrive to your friends and family three days after Christmas. Big deal! It just means Christmas is going to last a little longer.

One of the biggest lessons I'm learning is that it's not about making the right decision. It's about surrendering whichever decision you make to God, knowing that if you seek Him and trust Him, praying for His will instead of your own, He will bless that decision and make it the right one. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Make a list of things that are the most important to you this time of year. Prepare your mind to not get all uptight and upset if everything doesn't get done. Instead, set your mind up to be happy even if none of those things actually happen. Choose to embrace the spontaneity of each moment. Choose generosity. The best medicine for a wounded heart is to help bless someone else.

Want some ideas for gifts (for a friend or for yourself)? Read some of my top picks for a health-conscious holiday gift guide.

For a complete guide to wellness for the family, register for 21 Days to a Healthy Home, your guide to creating lifelong habits of nutrition, exercise and positive self-image. 

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

12 Ways to Sneak Attack Your Kids with Wellness

In many ways, our world today works faster, better and stronger than any other era in history; however, in many ways, our world also suffers from a busy-minded lifestyle, usually affecting the youngest generation the most. Although I don't yet have children of my own, I have about 10 years experience coaching kids ages 5-16 for sports conditioning and cheerleading. Plus, I've been a kid, and I feel like that gives me some credibility to relate to them (maybe I still feel like a kid sometimes ...). That being said, I don't want to ever come across as critical or demanding, especially to you parents (I have the utmost respect and adoration for you). My hope is that the following set of tips help you approach your kids creatively to instill principles of healthy habits.

"But I say walk and live habitually in the Holy Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh [of human nature without God]." — Galatians 5:16 Amplified Version

The Word urges us to deny our flesh, instill discipline and create healthy habits, but this verse also reminds us that we must be guided by God to live that way each and every day. We are not strong enough to do it on our own, and this principle, above all, is the most important one to pass on to your kids. For more on learning discipline for a healthy spirit, soul and body, read The Daily Decision to Be Healthy.

1. Make food flexible.
Forget the "clean your plate" rule. Embrace flexible eating and allow your kids to listen to their bodies. I'd recommend giving your kids options at first (all healthy, of course), but let them choose which foods they want to eat and how much. Make sure to offer them a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein.
Yup. I've always had big hair. I told you I've been a kid!

2. Breakfast builds the body.
Do not, I repeat, do not forget about breakfast. And toaster strudels don't count. Cereal doesn't even count (unless it's low in sugar and high in fiber). Protect your kids from the horrible marketing tools big companies are using and educate yourself enough to know what's healthy and what's not. Make it a big enough priority to make time in the morning to start your kids' days off right. Eating a healthy breakfast and ideally, getting a good conversation (maybe a prayer, some scripture, etc), even if it's only 10 minutes-worth can make a world of a difference in the overall mood of the day. For some healthy breakfast ideas, read 16 Ways to Spice Up Your Oatmeal.

3. Variety is the spice of life.
Don't hate me for saying this, but try taking your kids to the grocery store. You may need to have a pep talk with them before you do, making sure they know the purpose of the trip to the store, but designate a day when you and your kids get to choose different foods they want to try. You may even want to search the Internet for a healthy recipe. Have your kids choose which kinds of meals they want to try, and splurge on new ingredients (mostly whole foods) like turnips, squash, sweet potatoes, fish, a new herb like chives, or maybe a new cultural food like sushi. Try to keep your kids (and your hubby) involved in the kitchen creations. Be flexible, expecting the mess to be bigger and the noise to be louder, but enjoy it. Laugh at each other and have fun creating the meal, so that when you share it, it means something. Be sure to try new foods yourself, and experience new things alongside your kids.

4. Add veggies to staple recipes.
I'll never forget the time when my mom sneaked yellow squash in my maccaroni. It wasn't until the last bite that she told us. "No way!" we said. Other ideas include bulking up soups with beans, tomatoes, onions, turnips, mushrooms and green beans. Or adding tofu to chicken dishes. Or adding cauliflower to rice or mashed potatoes. Or adding butternut squash to potato salad. Or adding apple sauce (no sugar added) to muffins. Or adding black beans to brownies (what? Yes.).

5. Play before work.
It's important that you teach your kids the value of play time, when "play time" includes exercise or active things. For example, I value my exercise. It's a priority high enough in my life that I make sure to get this done before I sit and work on my computer, and definitely before I rest and watch Netflix. If you teach your kids that exercise is play, and allow them to do it before they do their homework, then they will value it more. They will probably be more focused when they sit down for homework too, because they've had the rest of mind and the revitalization of their active bodies.

6. Compliment them. 
This may sound like a no-brainer, but I imagine you parents are so busy trying to get from point A to point B, and just keeping your kids alive (that's how it was for me and my three brothers), that it may slip your mind every now and then how fragile your kids' body images are. It's in the years between 5-15 that a person's body image is truly defined. Encourage your kids to build a positive self-image by pointing out their strengths. Be intentional to compliment their physical attributes as well as teach them the value of good ethics, a good attitude and love for his or herself, others and of course, for God.

7. Grow your own groceries.
So, you don't have to grow a full-blown garden, but keeping a couple herbs in the kitchen window can spark a curiosity in your kids to learn about sustainability, cooking and maybe even helping out at mealtime. Like having a pet, maintaining a garden or a plant teaches you how to care for something other than yourself, helping kids learn responsibility. It also can help kids learn to try new flavors and new foods.

8. Put the 'cool' back in the lunch bag.
Take your kids shopping for a new lunch kit, and let them pick it out. While shopping, talk to them about the kinds of foods that would be best to put in it every day and why that food is healthy for them. Often, kids like to know the "why" of things. For girls, tell them this lunch bag is like a cute purse. Tell them they need to take care of it and bring it every day. When you get home, teach them how to make a healthy lunch and make sure they help you make it before school each day.

9. Shake up their water bottle.
Micah played all kinds of sports as a kid.
While shopping for that cool lunch pack, pick out a sweet water bottle to go along with it. Tell them the only way they get a legit water bottle/cantene/etc is if they promise to use it every day. Kids need to drink at least 1 oz. of water per pound of body weight every day. For example, a 55-pound kiddo needs to drink at least 55-65 oz. of water every day just to fight dehydration. Teach them how to measure this out, and reward them if they meet the challenge each week.

10. Make exercise fun.
If I had to run on the treadmill for half an hour each day, every day, I'd hate exercise too. Some kids may hate to run laps in P.E. Some may have a negative perception of exercise, in general, especially if they've heard you or other adults complain about working out. Exercise can include games like playing tag, hide and go seek, jumping on the trampoline, playing at the playground, or games like DDR (Dance Dance Revolution - yes!). Outdoor activities like rollerblading, bicycles (not scooters), hopscotch, and jump rope are still cool; not to mention sports like basketball, tennis, soccer, football, lacrosse, baseball, gymnastics, etc. This isn't rocket science, but we have to encourage our kids to choose what they like and show them to how to prioritize this kind of "play time," before we can expect them to want to do it themselves.

11. Reward them with anti-foods. 
Don't let your love be expressed through food. Rewarding kids with food or treats not only mimics how you reward your dogs (guilty), but it also instills a coping mechanism in kids that makes them go to food for emotional support. Instead, reward them with play time or special you-and-them time, like a trip to the mall, arcade or park. Invest your time instead of your dollars on junk food. As you do this, you can also teach them better ways to cope with stress.

12. Show 'em how it's done.
Be a role model of wellness to them by living your own life in the same manner. I can hear the echo of my parents saying "Do as I say, not as I do," and as an adult now, I can relate, but I still don't think that's a good mantra. Don't let your age be an excuse to not begin a healthy lifestyle yourself. It's not enough to teach your kids wellness; you have to live it to leave a true legacy.

For a complete guide to wellness for the family, register for 21 Days to a Healthy Home, your guide to creating lifelong habits of nutrition, exercise and positive self-image. 

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

5 Signs You're Still on a Diet (and Not Living a Healthy Lifestyle)

Diets got you down? It's safe to say I've had my experiences with diets, and I confess I'm still working on abandoning that mentality and embracing intuitive eating. Knowing that it's a progressive journey to let go of the restrictions a diet life entails, I'd like to share some signs that you may not be living life healthy and free as much as you think.

1. You still eat more than you burn.

We've all seen the machines that count the amount of calories you're burning as you go, helping you feel totally accomplished, seeing you burned like 600 calories in 30 minutes! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you probably didn't burn that much on the elliptical while reading a magazine .... Everyone is different. You can't trust the amount of calories that machines, gyms or even higher-end boutiques promise you will burn. The only way to truly know how many calories you conquered would be to wear a heart rate monitor set up with your personal information. If you walk around thinking you have an extra 500 calories to eat since you worked out, but you really only burned 300, then you actually may be gaining weight. Now, I'm not an advocate for counting calories or measuring weight, but it's important to be educated on the science behind calories in/calories out. Physiologically, it depends on your goals. If you're looking to gain muscle, then it's not a problem to eat more, and especially if you're eating healthy. But, if your main goal is weight loss, then you might consider investing in a fitness tracker or logging your meals on a mobile app. For help on tracking your macronutrients (or explaining what that even means) read this article

2. You forget about the liquid sugar.

Despite your discipline to show the cold shoulder to frappuccinos and sodas, you may be falling prey to more subtly disguised "healthy" beverages. A wholesome cup of OJ at breakfast has around 110 calories, and a quarter cup of milk adds 20 - 40 calories to each cup of coffee you drink. You can't even pick up a natural "green juice" without consuming a significant number of calories — with the majority of those calories coming from sugar. I prefer to eat my fruit instead of drinking it. It's way more satisfying! As for coffee, it's best to drink it with stevia and some unsweetened almond milk. If you need the cream, opt for a tad of the sugar-free kinds. And we can't forget the most defiant of the liquids to try to slide in without being noticed: alcohol. I've found life is much better without it at all, but if you don't want to give it up, stay hydrated in between drinks and keep your cocktails simple.

3. You binge on diet food.

Ever picked up an item that promises to taste exactly like something like a donut, peanut butter or chocolate, but promises 0 calories, 0 sugar, 0 fat and actually has 0 nutritional value? Yep, we've all been personally victimized by diet food. Let me drop a truth bomb right on your noggin'. According to the FDA, if a product has less than five calories per serving (which could be much smaller than the amount you're having), the label can claim it has 0 calories. Think about products like nonstick spray, sweetener packets, and spray butter, which each require multiple servings; those stats really add up. Unfortunately, the FDA allows the numbers on nutritional labels to be inaccurate by up to 20 percent. If the nutritional stats seem too good to be true, they probably are. has more on this subject and you can read up by clicking here and here.

4. You eat quick, skip meals and possibly binge at times.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm still fighting to become an intuitive eater and gain the freedom necessary to eat what I want, when I want and how I want. However, what I'm learning is that there's value in slowing down to eat meals, contemplating on what my body's telling me (which foods I'm craving and why and what my body needs based on my activities and time of day). When I was following a strict meal plan (aka diet), I ate according to my plan without this self-reflection, and I found myself wanting the foods that were not off-limits. Usually, we all have a tad of rebelliousness in us, and if someone tells us we can't do something, that's exactly what we want to do. If all food is acceptable, and we're coached to learn how to train our body and listen to our body, then we can learn to have balance and satisfaction at the same time.

5. You feel guilty after eating.

The worst thing about diets is that they instill the idea that certain foods are good and certain foods are bad. It creates rules for nutrition, judging dietary actions as right and wrong. If you have the tendency to feel guilty after eating certain foods, you're most likely suffering from a diet mentality. It's important that you learn how to eat a balanced variety of foods and when you eat something less than healthy, be quick to move on with your healthy lifestyle, making the next choice based on what you're body needs. Often, having the flexibility of eating intuitively takes the urge to binge on "bad" foods away, and people eat until they're satisfied instead of indulging.

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Daily Decision to Be Healthy

Discipline is an idea in fitness I've known for a long time, but recently, I'm learning how it applies in other areas of my life. While the motivation to hit the weights and get my cardio in comes fairly easy to me (comparatively-speaking), the discipline needed to guard my heart is a work-in-progress. Much like a learned fitness schedule and new workout, disciplining the soul can cause soreness. Getting out of my comfort zone is expected during a workout, but I'm learning how to replicate that idea in the rest of my life, like just being a good person, being a vessel for God's light.

Paul said to buffet your body like a boxer (1 Corinthians 9:27). Some scholars might say Paul was simply speaking about disciplining his mind, will and emotions, but I believe Paul was also referring to his physical being. I'm thinking that traveling back in those days was tiring in the least. I'm thinking that to make the week-long trips by foot or maybe donkey, in order to get to the next city to preach the Gospel, he had to be in pretty good health. I'm thinking physical fitness was important to him. After all, he knew our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, from which the health of that body determines how effective we are at shining His light.

So my thoughts about this discipline thing are these .... 

1. Discipline takes effort of the soul (mind, will and emotions). 
Do you ever have days you don't feel like working out? Or maybe you feel like eating pizza? OR you feel like ignoring the person trying to talk to you in the gym while you're rocking out to your new workout remix? Ya, it takes discipline to not be completely and utterly selfish. It's easy to do what we want in the moment. It's tough to do what we need to do in the moment. So, in short, yes, discipline takes a little will power, but will power won't make discipline. 

2. Discipline takes your willingness to submit to God.
What I've learned in many tests (that I've had to retake over and over again) is that no matter how strong-willed I may be, I'm not strong enough to do any good thing on my own. It is only by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life that I'm blessed. I'm sorry, but I can't stand it when #FitFam peeps and other members of the fitness industry boast about how hard they've worked to get where they are, and post supposedly "inspirational" memes subjecting others to thinking that they themselves must not be working hard enough.

Let's get this straight. Working hard gets the job done, but it does not promise joy. Unless you accept Jesus as the only way to true peace and happiness, you will find yourself criticizing either yourself or someone else in hopes to feel better. And then we're back to the whole disciplining your soul again, your feelings. If you make decisions throughout life based on feelings, you're sure to get off track. I've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

In Romans 8 (Amplified Version), Paul encourages us to die to our flesh and to come alive in spirit by accepting Jesus Christ. He says we have to choose daily to deny our flesh and discipline our soul. I'm learning it doesn't matter how good I was yesterday, I've got to choose to be good today. And the earlier in the day I can make that choice, the better. 

We have to habitually choose to deny flesh (vs 13). When we live by our flesh, we are slaves to sin; we're impulsive, fearful, selfish, envious and bitter. When we lived renewed in the spirit, we have a peace that passes all understanding, and although we face trials, we are redeemed by the joy of God. He not only redeems our spirit, so that we go to Heaven, but He give us a chance to enjoy our life, free of insecurities, jealousy, sickness and lack of energy. 

3. Discipline your soul as you discipline your body. 
One of the main things I tell my clients and others I coach at Orangetheory and ZYN22 is that anyone can give you a workout. There are free nutrition resources, recipes and workouts all over the Internet. The thing that sets me apart, or at least I try to uniquely encumber this, is that I see coaching as a way to draw out the light God's placed in each of us. Another thing I tell my clients is that they can perform an awesome workout and follow their meal plan 100 percent and still not switch to a healthy lifestyle. In order to remain truly healthy and fit from the inside out, you must dig deep to discover the calling on your life and the value in embracing your weaknesses. If you reflect on this daily, you will learn how to embrace moments of pain with perseverance and over time, gain strength.

Working out is like breaking off our flesh, and embracing a new identify, like one found in Christ. We must share his suffering (Jesus) if we are to share his glory (vs 17). The glory of God is found in the daily chiseling of our body, the building up of our temple (physical/spiritual), shredding layers of flesh (physical/spiritual). It's both by nature and by intention, Gods intention, for us to feel frustrated with life without choosing the grace and freedom only He can provide (vs 20-21). So on days you feel discouraged, remember that God allows you to feel that way in hopes you will choose to seek him earnestly and become dependent on Him for strength, endurance and power.

The Holy Spirit strengthens us when we are weak, just like the days we have put in at the gym support you on your off days. You must put in the work to see the results. And when you grow weary and don't see the results you're waiting for, you must rely on the hope and faith essential to walking a disciplined, healthy life, despite how you feel (vs 25, 28).

This is why it's so important for us to be committed to our physical disciplines (nutrition and exercise), and also to implement spiritual disciplines (prayer, scripture and worship) in order to receive the complete gift of life available to us, - and more so, to enjoy life every day.

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Vote for Samantha, the 'Everyday Superwoman'

My dear friend and client Samantha Blair made it to the finals for Lorna Drew's campaign to find the 2016 "Everyday Superwoman." Lorna Drew makes masectomy bras and lingerie, encouraging women of all journeys to feel beautiful. Read Samantha's journey on overcoming cancer, and vote for her (details below).

On April 13, 2013, my world changed; while showering I found a lump in my armpit. A diagnostic mammogram determined I also had a lump in my breast and the next day a breast biopsy determined what the radiologist felt was all but certain, I had breast cancer.

By mid-May I had had a double mastectomy with expanders inserted to begin my reconstruction. What followed were months of chemotherapy and radiation. Reconstruction was finally finished in May of 2014.

Treatment, poor diet and a lack of exercise because of surgery caused me to gain more weight than I wanted to admit. I felt like an old woman, much older than my 46 years. Everything ached, even walking the dog was defeating. Finally I decided beating cancer was more than just removing it from my body, it was totally reclaiming myself from everything cancer had wrought. That meant setting my mind to the task and starting to rebuild my body through exercise and diet. My joints still hurt every day, but I found the more I exercised, the better I was starting to feel. I lost some weight and felt better still. The downward spiral was reversed leading to gains greater than I could have imagined following the double mastectomy.

I chose to have my picture taken in my favorite sports bra because I refuse to let cancer define who I am. In fact, because of cancer, I have become a more healthier, stronger more vibrant me.

Vote for SAMANTHA to win by sending an email to, and add the name SAMANTHA to the subject box. Only 1 vote per email will be counted. You can also share on social media.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bye Bye Bloat

Bloating, heart burn, indigestion, and upset stomach of any other kind can land you on a bad commercial for some Pepto. But a better option is to prevent the bloat with some simple, healthy habits. And if you want to lose belly fat and make the most out of your workouts, especially interval training, because we all know that you have to be a beast to do that stuff, then you better watch what you're doing outside of the gym. Feeling fluffy and puffy is just not fun. Thankfully, I've got some tips to tell the bloat, "bye, bye, bye."

Load Up On This ...

1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Nature's own Beano. ACV has detoxifying and purifying effects in the body. It also helps to regulate your body's pH levels, which reduces indigestion, heart burn and gas. It also helps to strengthen hair and nails and brighten skin. If you can't shoot an ounce of it a day, try jarring vegetables with it or mixing it in your salads.

2. Lemon Water
You see it all the time at restaurants. There's a reason why water's served with a lemon wedge. Lemons help with digestion, offering your body the alkalizing effects of helping to break down foods kind've like the digestive enzymes do that your body creates on its own. I add stevia to mine, and drink it all.the.time. It's also good to stay hydrated in general because water moving in and out of your system consistently flushes toxins and prevents water retention. You don't want your body thinking it may not get enough water; otherwise, it will store whatever water it has in "bloat" mode.

3. Fiber
Contrary to the FiberOne commercial, fiber shouldn't make you sad. Keeping your body in constant flow, fiber helps relieve your intestines, which prevents constipation and bloating. If you're not used to eating fibrous foods, start slow. Begin with berries, avocado, kiwi, pumpkin, oats, and pretty much any other vegetable.

4. Bromelain-Containing Foods like Pineapple
Pineapple not only packs a delicious flavor and water content, but this tropical fruit is high in the enzyme bromelain, which helps break down protein and eases digestion. You can also take bromelain and other digestive enzymes in supplement form to banish the bloat, especially if you've met your sugar/carb macros for the day.

5. Low-Impact Exercise
Doing some low-impact cardiovascular activities like jogging/running (depending on your fitness level), power walking, climbing stairs, cycling, dancing, swimming or pilates can prevent constipation. Vigorous exercise is good for you too, but it actually puts pressure on your gut, so it's important to have balance. A good rule of thumb is to do 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise (HIIT cardio, weight-lifting, etc) and 20-30 minutes of lower-impact exercise every day. Yes, that means you have to sweat for about one hour a day. One out of 24 hours. In the great scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal. If your health is a priority, you will make it happen.

Limit This ...

1. Salt/Sodium
Put this down: Not only is too much sodium bad for your heart, but it will also cause you to retain water — and not just in your belly — so stop yourself the next time you reach for the salt shaker. Extra sprinkles aren't the only way we consume too much sodium. Limit high-sodium foods such as hot dogs, cottage cheese, bacon, soy sauce, and chips.

2. Carbonation
Yep, even Perrier. Carbonated drinks expand in your tummy, so limit your intake of them, especially on days you might sport a swimsuit. Other foods have the same effect: like beans, cabbage, broccoli and even pears. This doesn't make them bad foods, obviously. Just know ahead of time, they will fill your tummy (which could be a good thing).

3. Dairy 
Cheese and other processed dairy foods can cause you to feel bloated. Aside from most cheeses being highly processed, dairy is acidic, which can cause your body's pH level to rise, especially if you're not eating enough whole foods, fruits and veggies. It affects some people more than others, so if this sounds familiar, hold the milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese, and look for dairy-free alternatives.

4. Eating in a Hurry
More times than not, we are in a hurry. Slow down when you go to chow town. Swallowing too much air when eating can cause you to feel a little bloated – not to mention that you may overeat, rushing past the feeling of fullness. You may be prone to eating too fast if you often get hiccups (guilty). Long story short: slow down and chew more.

5. Alcohol
This just ruined someone's day. I know, I'm the bearer of bad news, but it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that alcohol can bring on the bloat. It lowers your body's ability to absorb water efficiently in the organs, which makes your body retain anything it can get. That's why you might feel good and dry for a while when you drink (or when you're drunky-doodle), but the next day, your'e all, "Ugh, I feel so fat ...." Cheers to the fact that you can still enjoy a drink or two as long as you follow it up with a cup of water to keep you hydrated. Nevertheless, I'm a huge advocate for steering clear of the alcohol. To sum it up, it's just poison for your body.

For more tips and resources, follow me on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Also, check out my Services to find out how I can personally help you get fit from the inside out. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Stop Impulsive Eating with New Food Finds

Have you ever gotten so hungry, you black out? Me neither, but I have gotten so hungry that when I am finally in front of food, I eat like a maniac and don't even recall what I've stuffed in my face ... kind've like a blackout. Oops ....

Ya, well, it's important that you learn how to prepare yourself for those unexpected traffic jams, never-ending corporate meetings, snail-like crawling carpool lines and any other time you find yourself in a bind. If you don't, you could be snacking on one bite-sized snickers too many, OR losing track of the mindless snacks that can keep you from meeting your nutritional goals (and cause you to stop losing fat).

For more help on setting nutritional goals and meeting macronutrient quotas, read this

Below, you'll find some of my recent favorite ways to stay prepared and stocked for any long haul. These new grocery finds are great purse-stuffers or gym bag accomplices.

Starkist Tuna Packets
Tuna fish packets have always been a staple in my nutrition routine. (Yep, I'm the stinky one.) I'd rather be stinky and skinny then fat, though. Get over the fish thing, friends. These packets are so convenient and packed with lean protein.
Find them at your local grocery store.

FlatOut Wraps
Use these wraps for making individual pizzas, sandwich substitutes, tortilla substitutes, or cut it apart and bake it in the oven like chips. Now, you can find these with even more protein if you have a hard time getting in your protein macros.
Find them at your local grocery store.

OhYeah Victory Bars
Quest bars have a new partner in crime. Not really, but these Victory bars are just as scrumptious. My favorite kind is the chocolate chip cookie dough (duh).
Find them online at or at HealthKick in Coppell.

GreatValue Stevia-Sweetened Packets
Walmart made my day with this one. They come in tons of flavors, and you don't have to feel guilty about ingesting artificial sweeteners or chemicals. Dump that powder in your water bottle and stay hydrated all day.
Find them at Walmart.

Sweet Spreads Cashew Butter
This nut butter has me oohing and ahhing every time I eat it. For some reason, I've found that one tablespoon of Sweet Spreads satisfies me. My husband keeps it in his lunch bag and eats it on a rice cake, banana or with an apple almost every day. It's the good kind of fat.
Find them at HealthKick in Coppell or their website online.

Quest Chips
One of the most common complaints from my clients is that they can't squash their craving for something salty like crackers or chips. Quest Chips give you the crunch factor you're looking for with no weird ingredients and 20 g protein. With flavors like Sour Cream & Cheddar, Barbecue and Salt & Vinegar, you can have it all. It's a no brainer!
Find them online at or at HealthKick in Coppell.

Mori-Nu Tofu
Blend this chunk of tofu up with a blender or mash it with a big spoon. Add stevia, sugar-free instant pudding, cocoa powder, greek yogurt, fruit, or basically anything you want to flavor it with. Once you get it to be pudding-like, you can keep it in your fridge (in a mason jar or a recycled salsa jar) for an easy on-the-go snack.
Find them online at or at your nearest grocery store in the refrigerated section.

Dave's Killer Bread
I love that they sell this at Sam's Club. There's nothing worse than finding something really yummy and healthy but you have to sacrifice a tank of gas and pay like $30 to get it. None of that here, my friends. You can find this organic, whole grain-stuffed bread in a two-pack at Sam's. It's not carb-free, but it's a great source of fiber, energy and no weird ingredients.
Find them at Sam's Club.

For more tips on health and wellness, follow me on TwitterInstagramPinterest and Facebook. If you're interested in custom programs, fitness classes or health coaching, check out the Team A.M.Fit services.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

10 Reasons You're Not Seeing Results

One of the most common complaints I get from clients regarding their recent healthy lifestyle change is their frustration with trying to make changes to their daily nutrition and/or exercise routines and not seeing any results. After trying to "go healthy," for a certain time period, some of these people often throw in the towel, claiming they aren't feeling any better than they were before. And, many of these clients are the ones who may shed a couple pounds in the first week or two, but then plateau very quickly.

Below, you'll read my top trending mistakes regarding health and wellness from people who are just trying to live healthy. Do you identify with any of these?

    1. You restrict then rebel. This is the most widespread mentality when it comes to trying to change one's dietary habits. People often want to see things as black or white; right or wrong; good or bad. Food can't be thought of in that fashion. You see, when you tell yourself a certain food is off-limits, all of a sudden that's exactly what you crave. It's the forbidden fruit. You have to learn what your body needs, what tastes you actually like and how certain foods make you feel. It's called becoming an intuitive eater. God created our bodies to run perfectly, and if you teach your body how awesome it will feel if you feed it correctly, you won't need to restrict so much, and then you won't have to rebel by binging on Cheetos. 

    2. You cut calories too low. Many clients see they make progress when they eat around 1,500 calories, so they assume they will make even more progress at 1,000 calories. Unfortunately, your body learns to adapt to whatever you put it through. In turn, it will go into "starvation mode," meaning it's storing every thing you eat as fat most likely. Restricting your calories too low often makes your body plateau and makes you hangry ... not a good feeling.

    3. You perform metabolism-mashing cardio. Steady state cardio like jogging, elliptical-ing, spinning, etc. can be good in moderation. However, you must add strength conditioning or weight lifting to add muscular endurance instead of mere cardiovascular endurance. If you train your heart to endure half an hour of intensity 3-5 times a week in the same way every day, your body will learn how to work less to endure it, thus burning less and less calories. You see, your body is constantly paranoid you're going to die, so it's always looking for ways to survive and store energy. You have to shock it by performing high intensity interval training (HIIT) and incorporate weight-resistance exercises to add muscle mass. Watch this for more exercise ideas.
    "Natural" chips like these aren't always the best choices.

    4. You believe all consumer marketing. Buzz words like "all natural, organic and gluten-free" promise you better health, yet some of these products can't back up their claims. Just because something is labeled with one of these buzz words doesn't mean it's not full of sugar, processed ingredients or fat. It's important to learn how to read the ingredients label and know which chemicals/artificial ingredients can be avoided. Just because something is marketed to be healthy, it doesn't mean it is.

    5. You miss out on protein at breakfast. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. Muscle raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories. A higher metabolic rate means you can eat more and look better. It's a no-brainer. If you don't have protein at breakfast, you're more than likely either eating higher-sugary-carbohydrates or skipping breakfast all together. Either way, you've spiked your insulin/glucose levels and you're teaching your body to crave sugar. Protein helps to stabilize your blood sugar, making you feel full and kickstart your metabolism. Something like whey protein isolate (added to oats or a smoothie), egg whites (3:1 ratio to whole egg), or plain nonfat greek yogurt (mixed with stevia, etc.) is a good choice. Read this for more breakfast ideas.

    6. You aren't burning as many calories as you think. Some days, you feel exhausted. On those days, you may think you worked out really hard and probably burned nearly 500 calories. But, you may have not burned as many as you feel. It's important that you learn how to perceive your exertion (1-10 scale) and know you should feel like you're working around a 5 for about 35 minutes and around a 7 for about 15 minutes and around a 9 for about 5 minutes. That's an intense workout, and intensity is what you're missing. This is especially important for those who work at a desk or in a car. 

    7. You overdose on at night. This mistake often occurs when you've fallen into the restrict/rebel mentality. If you're restricting all day, then you often get tired at night and rebel. If you haven't eaten enough nutritious calorically-appropriate meals during the mass of the day, then you make up for it at night. This causes one to feel bloated, lethargic and probably unable to fall asleep. The lack of sleep causes your stress hormone to release and causes you to plateau or even gain weight. If you scatter your eating throughout the day, you won't be starving at night and can eat an appropriate amount of food without feeling guilty.

    8. You eat too much sugar. Just because you don't have a sweet tooth or sweet treats aren't your thing doesn't mean you're off the hook. Unless you're consciously reading food labels and/or tracking your macros, you're probably eating more sugar than you think. Carbohydrates in general are made of sugars — even vegetables. The more complex the food (think your average cereal; it's been cultivated, processed, refined, enriched, etc), the higher likelihood it is to have hidden sugars. Even something like a salty cracker. It probably has hidden sugars. Juice, fruits (in juice or syrup), processed foods, grains/pastas, cereals, cokes, sports drinks, energy drinks, pre-made coffees or lattes, are all adding to your daily sugars. 

    9. You still drink alcohol. Sorry, friends. This one is a biggie! Even people who are following healthy nutrition to a T won't see results if they make this mistake. One of the best choices you can make is to avoid alcohol 80 percent of the time. Sure, you can still enjoy a drink every now and then, but it's best if you drink at special occasions like once a month. Alcohol has no nutritious purpose in the body whatsoever. In fact, it's an enemy. It kills your body's ability to stay hydrated, burn fat and retain lean muscle mass.

    10. You lose focus when it's inconvenient. One of the best ways to keep fitness/nutrition fun, interesting and relevant is to always be striving towards a certain goal. Those goals must be specific. One of the easiest ways to get off track is to find yourself in a social situation with friends who don't care what they eat and make you feel bad for being different. Being the healthy one may not always be convenient, and actually, you may have to learn to prepare for life a little differently, but you have to ask yourself if your goal is worth it. 

    For more tips on health and wellness, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. If you're interested in custom programs, fitness classes or health coaching, check out the Team A.M.Fit services.
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