Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dreaming Big In 2016

Dreamer Or Doer? Which Are You? 

Dreamer or doer? Which are you? 
Dreamers are the ones who talk about all the wonderful things they want to do someday or accomplish but struggle with the follow thru. They lack the action, motivation and the persistence that is required to conquer big dreams. 
Doers are the ones who stop at nothing to make things happen. They believe in their own dreams often before others do. They refuse to stop. They set goals that scare them they are so big and they put a date on when they will achieve them. This year I want to encourage you all to be doers. To set goals for yourself that focus on many areas of your life not just a specific weight loss goal like so many often set at the start of a New Year. 
I call this making a "DREAM BOARD." It is something that is a visionary piece for myself and my husband so that we can see what goals we are working towards accomplishing in the coming year. 
This will be my second year to make a dream board. It's actually really fun. We have ours hung up in our bedroom so we can see it each day. It's a suttle reminder to keep my life on track with where I want to be doing. The goals are shared goals of things that truly matter to us in our life. They are a combination of family, relationship, vacation, financial, business and life goals. We worked to set them together and then each month we take deliberate action to get ourselves one step closer to the big goals on the board. We won't accomplish all of them and that's actually okay. It just means we are many steps closer than we were before. 

They say when you are doing goal setting you should set SMART goals. If you are unfamiliar with goal setting activities this might be new to you. Here is what the acronym means. 
S - Specific 
M- Measurable 
A - Attainable 
R - Realistic 
T - Time bound 
This means that you are not just setting "pie in the sky" goals for yourself. Your mapping out the how and the when of your goal. Which makes accomplishing it much easier. 

Make your dream boards something worth looking at. Include fun colors, pictures, your favorite quotes that motivate you and get crafty. This should be relaxing and motivating not stressful. 

They say that the most successful people in life are the ones with a plan and big dreams. So my advice to you is that you mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger darling! 

This is what we hang our differnt goals on. It's a frame I got from Pier One a few years ago.  It matches our room which is gray and yellow. It fits perfectally with the decor. 
Happy 2016 - May it be healthy, happy and fun!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Clean Eating Book Picks

I wanted to share with all of my followers some of my favorite books I have read that have helped me to learn more about clean eating and nutrition. I also am including one of my favorite books that I read in regards to natural living. By no means am I a nutritionist but I am teacher and that means I am good at doing my homework. When I began my journey to being healthier, I felt overwhelmed by how much I needed to change and wasn't sure where to start. Books became my teacher. It's one thing to know you shouldn't eat something, but when you start to educate yourself on the scientific reasons why you should avoid certain things it makes your new commitment a lot easier to stick to. I love the quote that say's "when you know better, you do better." It's so true. I really didn't know better before, but now that I do I find it easier to stay on track. My hope is that if you are trying to change your habits the same things will become true for you too.

One of my favorites for overall learning more about your body is ironically called "The Body Book." By Cameron Diaz. The book is broken down by really funny topics with just the right amount of science and humor. It is written for women.  Nutrition, Fitness and Mindset are the different subsections of the readings. Most chapters are short and you can pick and choose which ones you want to read. There is some really great informational charts in this one but no meal plans are recipes really. I have found myself going back to this one to re-read it several times. 

The Eat Clean Diet Stripped by Tosca Reno is AMAZING!!! She is such a guru when it comes to clean eating. I pray I look as good as she does someday. Super fit and healthy in her elder years. The picture of health. She has several clean eating books out there, but I only have this one. Each page is colorful and includes lots of pictures and is packed with clean eating knowledge for every topic under the sun. Most topics are only a page so it really was a great resource for learning LOTS of tips. Aside from clean eating topics, she does include different exercises to try. ( I didn't try any of them since I already have my pre-planned workouts for each day.) The second half of the book is filled with recipes and sample meal plans. Tried a few of the recipes and loved them. I have done a challenge group a few times this past year and used a lot of resources from this book as curriculum for my challengers. The results they got were great when they combined it with the programs they were doing with me.

It Starts With Food was very factual and at some times boring but helpful in giving me different approaches to some foods that I would typically consume. The authors are the founders of the Whole 30 plan. While I am not planning on doing Whole 30 since most of what I already eat is pretty similar to the suggested foods. I liked this book as a factual guide for my challengers. They had very interesting points of view. It focused a lot on how foods you eat can help eliminate disease and aliments that you might be suffering from. A common theme in this reading was encouragement for readers to eliminate dairy and grains. The appendix had helpful meal prep tips and shopping suggestions.
Superlife - The 5 forces that will make you health, fit and eternally awesome was an eye opener for me and really made me critical of foods and the chemicals in them. It certainly gave me the "scare factor" that stuck with me for a few month prior to reading it. Helped a lot with getting me to stick with foods in their most natural state. I also loved this book because it was written by Darin Olien the creator of Shakeology. He did an awesome job of describing where the superfoods come from and the benefits of them. Made me proud to say that I drink it daily. In addition he did a great job touching on detoxing your body as well as how to incorporate supplements in your daily diet. 

The Honest Life - Living Naturally and True To You was really one of my favorite reads from 2015. One of my goals for the year was to remove chemicals from our lifestyle and learn to slowly change our habits and products that we were currently using. With my thyroid condition, it was strongly encouraged that I take proactive measures to eliminate this as much as possible because there are many endocrine inhibitors that can effect your thyroid in many of the daily products I was using. The book is awesome for moms, especially NEW MOMS!!!! I wish I read this BEFORE I had my son but am at least glad I have read it now. Fun topics with beautiful pictures. The book is broke down into the following sections:
Decorating Inspirations For Your Home 

It also included recipes and lots of DIY ideas for your home. After reading it I did become an active subscriber of the Honest monthly bundles. I loved them so much I also send my mom one each month. Great stuff! I did a blog post about it which you can find here. if you are looking for more info about the bundles. 

Fixate Cookbook is my go to cookbook in our house. It was created by Autumn Calabrese the creator of the 21 day fix. I have yet to find a recipe that I don't like yet and I love how affordable it is. The Chicken Noodle Soup is our favorite one. I encourage all of my challengers to snag this one and I always get the same response. I LOVE THIS COOKBOOK!!! They especially love it because it breaks down all of the meals by the containers used in the program for portion control and helps with meal planning when doing the programs. Check out my blog to learn more about this one. 

Hope this was helpful! Take it upon yourself to learn as much as you can! While I have used all of these books I don't recommend just one, I suggest to keep growing your knowledge base. Read, read, read! Knowledge is power my friends! Stop using the excuse that you don't know where to start. If you would like to consider being one of my challengers in my online support group, please feel free to fill out the application below. I would be glad to include you. I have found my challengers have the most success in these groups because of the accountability and the fact that they are getting to be supported not just by me, but also by my other challengers in the group going thru the same struggle. 

Only you can change your lifestyle. It isn't easy. I won't come quickly but I do promise it will be worth it! 

Happy New Year!!!

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup 

21 day fix approved dinner, healthy soup recipes, greek meal ideas, 30 minute meals, winter soup recipes,

I was skeptical about this recipe when I put this one together. I was not so sure how great lemon would taste in a chicken noodle kind of soup. I love all things greek though, so I figured I better give it a try. The results were mind blowing. I LOVED IT! The best part- so did my little man and my hubby. It was a tiny bit spicy for the little one but he didn't really complain. That's one thing about my parenting style that I am really proud of, he eats whatever we eat for dinner. He hates mac and cheese and never gets any "special kid meal" made for him. It's a great feeling watching him eat so many healthy things. His diet has lots of variety in it.

The prep for this meal was pretty simple too. I even made this one on a weeknight after a long day of work. Take a look below at the recipe and gather the ingredients. Let me know if you end up trying this one!

  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 large lemon zested 
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup israeli (pearl) couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1/3 cup chopped chive
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Place the olive oil in a large 6-8 quart sauce pot over medium-low heat. Peel the onion. Then quarter it and slice into thin strips. Once the oil is hot, saute the onion and minced garlic for 3-4 minutes to soften.
  1. Add the chicken stock, chicken breasts, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper to the pot. Raise the heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  1. Stir in the couscous, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Simmer another 5 minutes. Then turn the heat off.
  1. Using tongs, remove the two chicken breasts from the pot. Use a fork and the tongs to shred the chicken. Then place it back in the pot. Stir in the crumbled feta cheese and chopped chive. Taste and salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.
It takes about 30 minutes from start to finish to make and will produce 6 - 8 one cup servings. ENJOY! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Coming Down From Too Much Holiday Eating

5 Easy Detox Tips

holiday detox, binge eating, nutrition tips, green tea, new years resolution,

Let me guess, now that the holiday's are coming to a close your feeling bloated and stuffed. The good news is your not alone and there is an easy way to get back on track to feeling more energized. Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips for getting you back on track.

Often my challengers will ask me how do you know if you should do a detox or cleanse? I ask them how their sleeping habits have been. What their energy levels look like. What they are craving. If they feel or look bloated. If they ever have "brain fog"  and what their current nutrition looks like. Typically they have many of these symptoms and often confess that their nutrition ins't so hot. Sometimes I will encourage them to do an actual cleanse or detox like the 3 day refresh. I recommend this to someone who is at a weight loss plateau or to someone looking to kick start their new eating habits. but sometimes I simply suggest they start with these easy action steps and see where that gets them.

holiday detox, binge eating, nutrition tips, green tea, new years resolution,
These are some before and after pictures of my husband and I after we did a 3 day cleanse. We don't do them often but when we do we are always happy with the results.
1. I am a huge fan of doing the gallon challenge. Normally I suggest that my clients drink half of their weight in water each day but when you are coming down from an eating binge, I actually suggest they up their intake and strive to drink an entire gallon of water. When I am trying to eliminate bloat I go for distilled water but I don't drink distilled water all of the time. It can actually be hard on your body to process.

holiday detox, binge eating, nutrition tips, green tea, new years resolution,

If your not a fan of plain water just add in fruits and other herbs or spices to give it some extra flavor. 
2. Gotta sweat out those toxins. If your looking to lose the bloat, I would encourage you to kick it up a notch for a week and do some sort of cardio workout on  Monday, Wednesday and Friday and do some strength training on Tuesday and Thursday. I would only go for a 30 minute session. Consistency will be key compared to spending hours in the gym. 

holiday detox, binge eating, nutrition tips, green tea, new years resolution,

3. Nutrition wise, I would encourage you to up the number of proteins you are consuming and decrease the number of carbs and fruit. I make an intentional effort to cut out all junk food and sugar. In a typical day my nutrition would look something like this below. The second image shows what it looks like when I am upping my protein and decreasing my carb intake. Keep in mind this calculation is for my body type. Depending on your height and weight the formula for what you are eating may look different. The cravings you may be having for sweets and salty things will go away after a few short days.
Normal Meal Plan Day 
Higher protein, less carb kind of day
4. If you do start to notice you are having some cravings, use green tea to curb your appetite. Not only will it help, but it is also a natural antioxidant. When I am trying to get rid of bloat, I typically will have three hot green teas in a day and not have any coffee. On a normal day I would only have green tea once in the evening to help with my night time snack cravings.
holiday detox, binge eating, nutrition tips, green tea, new years resolution,

5. My last tip would be to be mindful of what you are doing and the things you are craving. The more aware you are of the things you are putting into your body, the more likely you will be to stay on course. I encourage you to use a food journal or use an app on your cell phone to keep track.  My fitness pal and Loose It are great apps for this.

If you are interested in getting your nutrition back on track and would like some help from a coach please fill out the application below and I will be in touch.

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Happy Holidays

Thanks For Being Part Of The Journey 

As the craziness of December begins to wind down and we approach one of the most magical weeks of the year, I wanted to pause for a moment and wish all of my followers a very Happy Holiday. I hope you are taking time this year to unwind and enjoy the moments that you have ahead of you. Take time to be present with those you love. Being present means being there whole heartedly. Not being there scrolling your cell phone admiring how others are spending the holiday. Put your phone in your pocket and just be. Before you blink the tree will be down, the holiday foods will be gone and the loved ones who have traveled to see you will be home again. Time passes by too quickly and life seems to move way too fast. Try your hardest to just take it all in.

Our family could not be more excited for our Christmas festivities this year. We have went above and beyond this year to create lots of anticipation leading up to Christmas for our son. The month has been just as magical for us as it has been for him. This will be the first year we are home in our house for Christmas morning. In years past we always traveled but as our son get's older, it's time to let him enjoy Christmas in his own home. We are looking forward to our new tradition we are starting. I can only imagine what time our little love will have us up this year for presents on Christmas morning. He is counting down the minutes.

I wanted to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for following and supporting me on this journey I have been on as a coach. It touches me to see so many who invite me into their lives as they join my team as coaches or when they reach out and ask for my help on their own weight loss transformation. I realize my way of life sometimes seems like an unconventional way to make a living, but truly this opportunity has changed our families world. It is not always easy being so public with our life, but I know it is worth it because someone out there needs me.  I was called to do this for a reason, I am sure of it. Because of Beachbody life will never look the same. This blessing has allowed me to find my passion while creating a life of financial freedom for my family. I truly have found a blessing and love paying it forward to others. In my heart of hearts I believe I have a gift that was put in my life for a reason. I love when others reach out their hands and ask for me to share my blessing with them. There is no better reward than being able to help a new coach begin to duplicate the success I have had in my own business or when I can help someone accomplish a weight loss goal they may have waited their entire life to accomplish.

2016 is going to be a big year for our family. God willing there are lots of surprises and changes to come! Stay tuned!

Happy Holidays to all of you! Looking forward to working with so many of you in the coming months as you set out to accomplish your own New Year's Resolutions. Please feel free to reach out if you would like to be a part on of New Year - New You accountability group.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Masters Hammer & Chisel Week 2 In Review

Struggling But Getting By 

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Working out isn't so bad when you get to have this guy along side you. 
I saw this coming this week. I knew I was going to struggle. Our calendar was packed with activities almost every single evening this week and several of the occasions involved food. I planned ahead knowing that I may get off track. It wasn't a train wreck of a week but I will say a few days I went over on my portions. One of the days I was almost too busy with work to even eat anything at all during the day. My snooze button was my friend this week too. Most of my morning workouts turned into evening workouts but at least they did get done. 

Monday night I traded out my workout for a PIYO live class at the YMCA. I went with one of the other coaches on my team to support our friend Kristi. She was teaching her first live class so we had to join her. It was so much fun and a great workout. After an hour of it, I came home needing to sleep so I put Monday's workout on the back burner and actually did two on Tuesday night. Talk about sore that evening. I used my Recover drink that night because I knew I was going to feeling it in the morning if I didn't.
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Thursday night was my worst night in regards to my nutrition. I had a holiday party for work and I did have a cocktail, a plate of pasta from the Olive Garden and a piece of orange cranberry cake. I wish I could say I regretted it but I really didn't. The holiday's only come around once a year so you might as well enjoy it once in awhile right??

How adorable are these cookies? I had to have ONE! Couldn't resist. 
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My shirt sums up this week! The struggle has been so real with the holidays! Staying on track with my nutrition and workouts takes some serious willpower and focus! 
My partner in crime is still kicking butt with me. We both are starting to notice a transformation. My stomach is getting flatter and my pants are already starting to be a little less snug. My goal for this program is abs and arms so I am happy that the transformation is beginning. 

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Below is this weeks meal plan. I realize that this coming week will be even more difficult to stay on track because of Christmas eve, Christmas day and traveling for the holiday. While I am not after perfection, I am hoping to stick to the plan for the most part. Looking forward to the coming days with family and the memory making that's to come. If I can keep up with my workouts and stay on track with my nutrition during this week I can do anything ;)

Happy Holidays to all of you!!

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Week 3 - Meal Plan Done 

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

What To Buy Your Fit Friends For Christmas

Merry Fitmas!

Christmas is almost a week away and you may still need to get some shopping done. I wanted to give you a few ideas incase you still have to go shopping and have someone who is into fitness on your list. Thought I would give you my top 10 favorite fitness items and gadgets. 

1. If your fit friend likes to take a lot of workout pictures of themselves you may want to grab them a selfie stick or a Lumee. A Lumee is case for your cell phone that works as a light box. It helps to get the lighting just right for all the selfies they may be taking. It may seem silly, but if they are posting pictures all the time they will love this. It is one of the top items on my Christmas list this year. They actually made the list for Oprah's Favorites things. This will cost you about $55.00. 

2. I am willing to bet that your fit friend drinks a lot of water. I try my best to slug down at least half of my weight in ounces of water each day. I got away from drinking all of this water out of a plastic bottle and have switched to only glass water bottles. It's better for me and for the environment. There are plenty of them out there on the market that you can find. I use the Ello brand and I got mine from Target. The price isn't all that bad either. It will only cost you about $15.00 

3. My social media followers know that I am a headband girl when it comes to the workouts. I literally cannot do one without my headbands. Trust me when I say I have tried a lot. You don't even want to see what my drawer looks like where I keep them all. I have one for every outfit in every color of the rainbow. My favorite has to be the Under Armor braids. They stay on the best and are thick enough to hold all of my hair back. My second favorite is the Nike Pro ones. You can find these at Dick's Sporting Goods but if you have a TJ Max near you I would check there first. Sometimes you can find them for half the price. The only thing is they tend to be last seasons colors but who really cares about then when it comes to workout clothes. 

4. Swirly - do's - Let me guess, you have never heard of them before. I hadn't either until my mom brought me a pack home from Hawaii. They really are not all that cute but if you have thick hair this is a must. I can do hard core cardio with lots of moving and jumping around and my bun never looks any different than when I started. Holds it up like a champ. No falling out. Which if you workout, you know is a huge pain in the butt. A bad ponytail holder has the potential to ruin a workout. ;) 

5. Motivational fun workout tanks are all the rage lately. You can find cute ones everywhere. Target and Kohl's have them for pretty cheap or you can check out Etsy or one of the many online websites. I have bought a few that I liked from Ruffles with Love and also Fitpiration Couture. I am hoping to get the one pictured below for Christmas this year. It's so me. 

6. If your fit friend is a lady she needs a good sports bra. While the Victoria Secret sport ones are cute looking I actually hate them. To many hooks and wires to be comfortable for a workout. I love the Nike Pro ones with the light padding in them. Comfy with enough support for cardio days. I live in mine when I am not at work! You can find them in most all stores that carry workout clothes, but I tend to get mine at Dick's Sporting Goods. These cost around $40.00. 

7. A good pre-workout drink is a must when your working out hard. I never used to use one until I started to do my Beachbody programs. I swear by Energize from Beachbody's Performance Line now each day before I start my workouts I have a glass. My hubby swears by it too now. 4:30 am hurts but this helps me to have some get up and go and gives me the energy to push a little harder in the workout which helps me to get better results. Tastes just like lemon Crystal Light! 

8. Shoes are always a girls best friend. If you could see my shoe collection of stilettos you would blush. I have SO many pairs but my shoe fetish isn't just with stilettos it's also with tennis shoes. When I started working out more often, I was trying to wear running shoes when I should have been wearing cross trainers. The wrong pair of shoes can make working out a lot less fun. Be sure you are wearing the right pair for the type of workout you are doing. The tread on the bottom of a cross trainer looks different than a running shoe. It allows for more agility as you move. I am a fan of the Nike Free TR shoes

9. Even though I never have time to sit down and relax, I still look forward to a magazine in the mail each month. I love clean eating magazines and also fitness magazines. This year Women's Health magazine was running a promo that you could get a one year subscription to Women's Health and Men's health for only $15.00. Really a great deal compared to buying them outright. 

10. My last item on the fit friend holiday list is the program that got me started with my own fitness journey. That is the 21 day fix challenge pack. It's the best gift you could give to someone who loves fitness or who needs to begin their own weight loss journey. It's the real deal and truly works. It teaches portion control and clean eating and the workouts are only 30 minutes a day for just 21 days. I have been coaching for almost two years now and hands down this the best program we have for someone who wants to see results and wants to see them in a shorter period of time. I can't say enough great things about this one. It is absolutely a gift of health that so many really could benefit from. 

Happy shopping and Happy Holidays! Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions for a great fitness gift that I might enjoy giving or getting! Always love trying new products!! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Transformation Tuesday - Meet The New Stephanie

Believe You Can & You Will

Today I get to highlight one of my coaches and her transformation story. I am an awe of her accomplishments and how far she how come along in her own journey. It excites me to see where is is going with this business. I have asked her to share her story and what the road to becoming the "new Stephanie" has looked like. So glad to have her on my team. I should also add that she is my first challenger/ coach from Canada. Love watching the team grow like it has. Congratulations to you Steph. Excited to see what is in store for you next!

I grew up in a small community and was raised with my mom, grandmother and uncle. I never knew my father because he left when I was very young but I know I was raised in the best hands possible and I would not change it even if I could. I was always the 'goody two shoes' who never wanted to get in trouble largely because I didn't want to be a disappointment to my family. Growing up I thought every happy, sad or celebratory event needed to be based around food – that’s just how my family comes together. In my teenage years, I was very active and had a small interest in trying to eat healthy but it wasn’t very strong. I had a poor body image and was never satisfied by my appearance which I believe many people can relate.

As I started growing up, I wanted to change the world but I didn't know how I could do that. I decided I wanted to go to medical school and find cures for at least one of the diseases that take so many people away from us too soon. My first year university shattered those dreams because I realized I did not like biology so I needed a career change. I chose to obtain a degree in chemistry instead. As I went through my undergrad, I remember calling home on several occasions with various new degrees that I wanted to purse. I was still unsure of my passion and what made me completely happy. Yes, I like chemistry and science and I am always reading up on the latest and greatest but it also isn't the thing that I hold most dearly to my heart. In my first year (actually only 8 months) of undergrad I gained 20 - 30 lbs between eating a lot of frozen quick meals along with some alcohol consumption and a pretty sedentary lifestyle the weight increased rapidly. In my final year of undergrad I managed to take some of that weight off by going to the gym but of course I didn’t stick with it.

After my undergrad, I went on to obtain my masters in Chemistry mainly because I still didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted to do with my life. During that time, I was in an unhealthy relationship. Between the stress of my masters and being in an unhealthy relationship I quickly gained weight again. This time it wasn't only my weight that took a hit but my whole life derailed to the point that one day I woke up not recognizing myself – physically and spiritually. I was 5’1” and 170 lbs. I was also turning to alcohol for a quick release but it was having a negative effect on every area of my life. I knew I needed to do something so I joined a gym and started learning about various healthy/clean/raw eating. I learned how to read the back of a food label and what it all meant. I asked questions to people I knew could help me but they were limited because I didn’t want to ‘bug’ them too much. I had success with it but what really changed everything was the 21 day fix meal plan and workouts. A friend told me about 21 day fix and I was hesitant at first but a few people were on the program and I figured I would give it a shot. The meal plan was so simple to follow and it didn’t leave me feeling hungry (most days ;)). The workouts were really well done and only 30 minutes long (everyone can spare 30 minutes for a workout). BUT what I really loved was the community – the support given by coaches and other clients. It was finally a program where I didn’t feel like I was doing it alone. I found my coach randomly through social media and am so happy I am able to work with her and her incredible team. I finally found a community where I fit in and have common interests and I am able to connect with them via online calls every Sunday night. The accountability/challenge groups allow everyone to feel like it’s a safe place to post good days or bad days and to get support and information from people within the groups, especially coaches. Since I had such success I wanted to share the opportunity with friends/family and other Canadians. On my journey, I always longed for someone to be able to turn to and ask questions and get support but I didn’t have that option...but I want others to have it so they don’t have to feel the way I did! Weigh loss can be a lonely road but it doesn’t have to be.  

I have recently lost 50 lbs and have accomplished many goals such as running a 5 km race, trying various fitness classes (yoga, weight lifting, cycling, swimming, circuit training, etc.), gaining confidence and loving my body. I recently became a Beachbody coach and I am so happy to be able to help others with their goals. I am no longer the person who needs alcohol to drown out reality or the person who was too intimidated to realize she was in an unhealthy relationship. I have learned to (and am continuing to learn to) deal with stress rather than letting it take over. Now, I look after myself because I don’t want to be the ‘old me’ and I want to make as many people feel as good as I do! 

If you are interested in beginning your own fitness journey like Stephanie did, please fill out the application below and I will be in touch within 24 hours. 
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Why I Decided To Be "That Mom" This Year....

Making Spirits Bright 

If you have been following me on social media this holiday season, it may seem that my husband and I have went ABOVE and beyond this year to make the month magical for our son. His is almost four years old and he is oh so into Christmas this year. The innocence and sweetness is priceless and something we are certain we will someday soon miss. So we decided to go all out this year (you could call me a Pinterest mom if you know what that means.)  Not that we hadn't in years past, but this year I feel like we really have made the effort even more so than years past. This year we have been working to come to terms with our infertility struggle that we have been dealing with for almost three years now. We are working on accepting the fact that sometimes God only gives you one child. The one he gave us is perfect, healthy and the biggest sweetheart you will ever meet so we need to embrace that our family may only ever consist of three rather than the more we once thought we would have.

Tree Hunting Together 

Blessed to be "parenting" with this guy! Truly my best friend 
We are in a different place than we were when we first started dealing with our news of the infertility. We went thru a lot of sadness and somedays anger that it was not happening. We prayed a lot and supported one another on the hard days. Over the summer we started to get closer toward the acceptance phase of the grieving that we were going thru. We started to really stop and smell the roses and try our best to take in every minute of his childhood. We stopped talking about when we have "the next one" and only focused on "this one." I have noticed us really trying to make every moment special for him but also for us knowing that we most likely will not be helping to create childhood memories for a little one ever again. It's sad but also a blessing to be able to see life thru these lenses. Some days it hurts but it also really helps to you live in the moment. A few weeks ago we both took the day off to be home so we could be there for his Christmas program at school and as I stood there watching him tears filled my eyes. My sweet baby is growing up into such a precious young little boy. I can't explain the pride I felt that morning watching him on stage dressed as a camel singing his little heart out. I literally thanked God in that moment that he is our son.

Taking him home early from school after his holiday program. We were so proud of him!
Post holiday concert at his school. Taking off the Camel costume! 
I have to admit that seeing the holidays thru the eyes of a child makes it all so much more magical for yourself as well. My husband and I have really been in the spirit. While it has made for a pretty packed calendar for us this past month, it also has made for a lot of fun.
Elfie's arrival this year - he was air lifted in on Christmas balloons. 
Guess this is what happens when you put Dad on elf duty. 
Our elf on the shelf is probably more extravagant than most but the joy that it brings us watching him find him and laugh about what "Elfie" did today is worth all the work it requires before bed each night. Each morning we often hear squeals coming from down the hall "Mommy, Daddy!! Come quick you've gotta see this." Or "oh my goodness your never going to guess what my elf did" or some mornings just adorable laughter. It's priceless and makes for such a fun start to the day. I have had some question if he is bringing "presents" everyday? To answer that, no some days he's just up to funny mischief other days he does come with things to do to help get Carter into the holiday spirit. A few of the things he has brought was Christmas pajamas, lots of Christmas books, a ginger bread house and the list goes on. But he does not "get something" everyday. We are trying our best to not raise him to be greedy or spoiled and I am happy to report on the days when no "gifts" were involved he hasn't even questioned why. My favorite elf activity we pulled off was the breakfast we planned with the neighbor kids and their elf Jingle Bell. They were so into it and amazed that the elves had planned this for them. I am sure we helped to create a memory that will stick with all of them for life.

Genius mom move... brought the elf along for the long car ride. 
We also had a few other surprises up our sleeves this month. From a trip to West Virginia to ride the Polar Express, to our trip to see the lights and Santa and even tickets to Rudolph the Musical this week. We really have experienced so many joys of the holidays.

About to board the Polar Express train ride 

The only person I would wear Elf pajamas out in public for!
We also have made an effort to help him understand the REAL meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate. Last week I took him to Target to buy gift cards for kids in need so we could pay it forward. I explained to him that not everybody has a life as good as he does. While he really doesn't "get it" yet I am working to be sure that down the road he does realize how good he has it and that Jesus has blessed him very abundantly. I am certain we are on the right track because each night after we say our family prayers he always ends with "thank you for our blessings."

Looking forward to wrapping up the holidays with our family pajama party this weekend, the children's mass on Christmas Eve, the excitement of Christmas morning and time spent with family during the next few weeks.

Elfie brought a gingerbread house - dad assembled it, mom decorated it and Carter at all the candy! 
Life is good and we truly have been blessed. Wishing you all a very happy holiday. Remember if you have children of your own, it is your job to make their childhood magical. The memories you are creating now, will stay with them for life. Make them something worth cherishing.