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Daughter Strong x2

A lot has been swirling in my brain these past few months, so today is the day to share it. Here it goes….

Twenty-three years ago, I had just lost my Mom to cancer.

That Fall, I was just entering my senior year of college. Most kids were excited about the last year; some had jobs or grad school line up. Most were out whooping it up on the weekends at house parties or the local watering holes. However, my senior year had a different view. My world had just been completely turned upside down. I was sad, mad, lonely, and felt very lost. Nobody could relate to me– most hadn’t experienced loss or watched a loved one suffer from a life-ending disease. Instead of going out, I spent time at the library or in my room crying myself to sleep.

It was my Mom’s last dying wish to see me graduate, so the fact that stage four Ovarian Cancer took her before that had left me feeling all the emotions, as you can imagine. I didn’t know how to cope, deal or move on in my senior year (or even my post college years for that matter).

In her four year battle, she had four kids and two grandkids as a reminder to keep pushing through the chemo, the sick days, the hair loss, the colostomy bag and many surgeries and relapses. She had an amazing job that she worked so hard at. She was a nurse her entire career until she moved into medical device sales when I was in 8th grade. My Mom was a fighter through and through, everyone knew that because it was in her bones and DNA. She was healthy, a runner actually. She touched so many lives in her nursing and sales career and everyone loved her smile, energy and personality. She had SO many people rooting for her, but she protected those super close to her by taking on cancer by herself initially. I remember her telling me she had to go in for just a little surgery, sparing me the fact that it was stage four Ovarian Cancer. I know she wanted to protect me, and save me from worry being that I was only 17. But as a worry-wart by nature, even if I didn’t know the whole story I was always worrying. I was her “Pina-Colada” as she called me, the youngest of the four kids by seven years. I know she didn’t want to tell me how bad it was, because she was determined to beat it. But we all know now, that Ovarian Cancer is a silent one– often undetected until it’s too late (and yes I get extra screenings each year now). She was sick off and on for four years. She even beat cancer a few times and went into remission; but that final year it reared it’s ugly head with more force and audacity.

During the summer she passed away, I was home from college. It was so hard to watch her be sick and slowly fade away. I watched with one eye if that makes sense. I couldn’t even imagine life without her, so I didn’t even go there. This was my Mom, I needed her. I was young, and she was my rock. I didn’t talk about the “what if” scenarios. When it really got bad at the end I know she couldn’t even look at me without tears in her eyes or her heart breaking because she was so worried about me. Who would take care of me, would I be ok, what did my future hold?

But as a young 21 year old, I was in denial that I was losing her. I stayed so busy that final summer- with a nanny job, softball games, and spending time with the boyfriend or friends. We had family members rotating shifts at our house so I wasn’t alone in caring for her- she was hooked up to IVs for food, and she had a colostomy bag. I think I probably knew what was coming, but I shoved it out of my mind and just stayed busy- being with her when I was home and helping her. She moved to the hospital the last few weeks of her life. It was at the U of M Cancer Center, so it was a bit of a drive from Stillwater. I went to visit, but of course still tried to stay busy nannying and playing softball. When the end was near, a sibling had to tell me to quit my nanny job, and to also get to the hospital STAT because the end was getting near. It was hard to go, my heart was breaking. But we took shifts that last week of being with her around the clock and on her final day, I did tell her all the things I wanted to tell her. I gave her permission to go, if she needed to and that I would be OK eventually. I felt like she was hanging on as she was worried about me. All of us would take this hard, but the others had homes, jobs and significant others. It was after I left the hospital that she decided it was her time to go to Heaven. I believe she chose to wait until I was gone, because if I had been there there’s no way I would have been able to deal with it. Getting the call at home a few hours later, and going back to the hospital to officially say good-bye is forever etched in my mind and brain. I fell to the floor, I couldn’t breathe and I had a panic attack. Typing that out makes my hair stand up and brings tears to my eyes still.

I didn’t come to terms with my emotions or recognize them after she was gone. I never talked to anyone besides maybe two close people I confided in. I didn’t take care of me, and I went into a downward spiral the years after her death. Emotional eating, anxiety and some self-destructive behaviors crept in during my early 20s. I gained 40 pounds over time. I felt lost, frustrated and stuck. Most of my friends loved their jobs, or were getting married- and here I was going through the motions with a job I didn’t love, and not really knowing who I was, what I wanted or where I was going. And as for dating? I wasn’t close to being ready to settle down in my 20s with really needed to work on ME, love ME, before I could love someone else.

Fast forward, I had years to work on ME when I was ready to. I started exercising, eating better, coping with my anxiety and finding what made ME happy. I found passion and energy in life again. I began running. I ran my first marathon at the age of 28 as a way to show her and myself that I was strong and I’d be OK, even if life sucked without her. I lost 40 pounds over the next year after the marathon and fell in love with fitness, so I started to pursue a career in fitness on the side of my corporate job. I then met my husband because I truly loved ME and found the piece of my heart that was missing. When my corporate years came to an end so I could stay at-home and raise kids, I jumped into heath and fitness full force with Personal Training and virtual wellness coaching and being my own boss. Life happened to me early, but it made me dig deep, spend time with myself, have life experiences like travel and meeting people all over and it helped shaped me into the person I am today!

Now at 44, I am going through a similar health experience with my Dad. Stage Two Diabetes has reared its ugly head in his body after 20 years. This summer he had two (partial) foot amputations, many hospital stays and months in transitional care. He went home over Labor Day for three days finally, but came down with an infection so back to the hospital he went. A week stay that time around and some more scary days, we weren’t sure which direction he was headed but he turned a corner thankfully. Back to Transitional Care he goes to get stronger and cared for by professionals. So this journey continues, and once again watching a parent suffer, and go through trauma is extremely difficult. Not knowing what could happen is extremely difficult. Having really rough patches and then good days throws your mind and emotions for loops.

But this time, the view is a little different for me……..

Is it unfair to go through this twice? Yep, I am not in denial this time. I am letting myself feel all the feelings- scared, fear, mad, resentful, etc… I am taking care of myself this time- workouts (for stress-relief and me time) and eating. My daily exercise habits are there, and there’s no way I am letting them go during a time where I need an outlet the most! It’s what makes me feel stronger inside and out, so I can go be a strong daughter. I am pouring my heart and soul into being one of his cheerleaders, motivators and caretakers. I’m the schedule lady, keeping track of all of his appointments and getting all the calls from social workers or clinics. I am there pretty much every other day, checking in on him, advocating for his health, and being one of his rocks (he is lucky to have four kids and a girlfriend to support him, along with lots of friends). This time I am not running away, but I’m right front and center. This time around I am having the hard conversations even with him- and helping him stay strong mentally so he can push past those really hard days. Yes it’s emotionally taxing to help someone fight for life, but it’s worth every second. It’s hard to be “on” in that way and then come home and be “on” as a Mom and Health Motivator in my job. But I can do it. It’s a season of life, and it may be the new normal but I’ll adjust. I was young the first time around, I didn’t know how to balance life and trauma. This time around, I am a Mom, Wife and Health Motivator. Coaching people is what I do. I can be the rock he needs because I work on me, I have worked on me for over 20 years, and I have a gift to offer.

I have a group of ladies that I coach virtually, and they remind me to keep showing up for me each day in my health so I can be STRONG for my Dad and my kids and husband. There are days I don’t feel strong, but after a workout it reminds me that I am. I signed up for a 10-mile race this October because I once again, want a goal to keep me mentally and physically challenged so I can remind myself how strong I am. (It’s just my thing I like to do to give myself a mental push as that spreads into my life in other places if that makes sense).

So yes, I am here again. But the view looks different this time. I am older, stronger and wiser  but the message is the same! Life throws you for loops and it’s unfair at times but you “NEVER GIVE UP.” You don’t give up on you, and you remind others to not give up in their battles too! I remind my Dad everyday of this, and myself. I couldn’t speak those words out loud to my Mom, but she knew. She knew I had to do what I needed to do to cope.

Whatever battle you are going through – don’t give up. Life will try to knock you down, but I am here to remind you that you are strong. You can do hard things, and you can help others do hard things too! It’s going to suck, it’s going to wear on you– but you WILL come out stronger if you persevere and lean into others, shut the white noise out (the things that don’t matter or can’t be paid attention to), don’t get too far ahead, and take care of you (exercise, sleep if possible, eating good 80% of the time, mediation, yoga or mindfulness- whatever helps you).

My passion for health is even stronger, cancer took my life best friend and Diabetes is trying to take another life best friend. Yep, I’m here again, but the view is different this time. My mind, body, and spirit is stronger from life experiences. My mission is to help others take care of themselves too, because you never know when others may need you to be strong!

I am #daughterstrong x2.

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Daughter Strong x2

A lot has been swirling in my brain these past few months, so today is the day to share it. Here it goes….

Exactly 23 years ago (well in August of 1996 to be exact), I had just lost my Mom to cancer.

That Fall, I was just entering my senior year of college. Most kids were excited about the last year; some had jobs or grad school line up. Most were out whooping it up on the weekends at house parties or the local watering holes. However, my senior year had a different view. My world had just been completely turned upside down. I was sad, mad, lonely, and felt very lost. Nobody could relate to me– most hadn’t experienced loss or watched a loved one suffer from a life-ending disease. Instead of going out, I spent time at the library or in my room crying myself to sleep.

It was my Mom’s last dying wish to see me graduate, so the fact that stage four Ovarian Cancer took her before that had left me feeling all the feels, as you can imagine. I didn’t know how to cope, deal or move on in my senior year (or even my post college years for that matter).

In her four year battle, she had four kids and two grandkids as a reminder to keep pushing through the chemo, the sick days, the hair loss, the colostomy bag and many surgeries and relapses. She had an amazing job that she worked so hard at. She was a nurse her entire career until she moved into medical device sales when I was in 8th grade. My Mom was a fighter through and through, everyone knew that because it was in her bones and DNA. She was healthy, a runner actually. She touched so many lives in her nursing and sales career and everyone loved her smile, energy and personality. She had SO many people rooting for her, but she protected those super close to her by taking on cancer by herself initially. I remember her telling me she had to go in for just a little surgery, sparing me the fact that it was stage four Ovarian Cancer. I know she wanted to protect me, and save me from worry being that I was only 17. But as a worry-wart by nature, even if I didn’t know the whole story I was always worrying. I was her “Pina-Colada” as she called me, the youngest of the four kids by seven years. I know she didn’t want to tell me how bad it was, because she was determined to beat it. But we all know now, that Ovarian Cancer is a silent one– often undetected until it’s too late (and yes I get extra screenings each year now). She was sick off and on for four years. She even beat cancer a few times and went into remission; but that final year it reared it’s ugly head with more force and audacity.

During the summer she passed away, I was home from college. It was so hard to watch her be sick and slowly fade away. I watched with one eye if that makes sense. I couldn’t even imagine life without her, so I didn’t even go there. This was my Mom, I needed her. I was young, and she was my rock. I didn’t talk about the “what if” scenarios. When it really got bad at the end I know she couldn’t even look at me without tears in her eyes or her heart breaking because she was so worried about me. Who would take care of me, would I be ok, what did my future hold?

But as a young 21 year old, I was in denial that I was losing her. I stayed so busy that final summer- with a nanny job, softball games, and spending time with the boyfriend or friends. We had family members rotating shifts at our house so I wasn’t alone in caring for her- she was hooked up to IVs for food, and she had a colostomy bag. I think I probably knew what was coming, but I shoved it out of my mind and just stayed busy- being with her when I was home and helping her. She moved to the hospital the last few weeks of her life. It was at the U of M Cancer Center, so it was a bit of a drive from Stillwater. I went to visit, but of course still tried to stay busy nannying and playing softball. When the end was near, a sibling had to tell me to quit my nanny job, and to also get to the hospital STAT because the end was getting near. It was hard to go, my heart was breaking. But we took shifts that last week of being with her around the clock and on her final day, I did tell her all the things I wanted to tell her. I gave her permission to go, if she needed to and that I would be OK eventually. I felt like she was hanging on as she was worried about me. All of us would take this hard, but the others had homes, jobs and significant others. It was after I left the hospital that she decided it was her time to go to Heaven. I believe she chose to wait until I was gone, because if I had been there there’s no way I would have been able to deal with it. Getting the call at home a few hours later, and going back to the hospital to officially say good-bye is forever etched in my mind and brain. I fell to the floor, I couldn’t breathe and I had a panic attack.

I didn’t come to terms with my emotions or recognize them after she was gone. I never talked to anyone besides maybe two close people I confided in. I didn’t take care of me, and I went into a downward spiral the years after her death. Emotional eating, anxiety and some self-destructive behaviors crept in during my early 20s. I gained 40 pounds over time. I felt lost, frustrated and stuck. Most of my friends loved their jobs, or were getting married- and here I was going through the motions with a job I didn’t love, and not really knowing who I was, what I wanted or where I was going.

Fast forward, I had years to work on ME when I was ready to. I started exercising, eating better, coping with my anxiety and finding what made ME happy. I found passion and energy in life again. I began running. I ran my first marathon at the age of 28 as a way to show her and myself that I was strong and I’d be OK, even if life sucked without her. I lost 40 pounds over the next year after the marathon and fell in love with fitness, so I started to pursue a career in fitness on the side of my corporate job. When my corporate years came to an end so I could stay at-home and raise kids, I jumped into heath and fitness full force with Personal Training and virtual wellness coaching and being my own boss. Life happened to me early, but it made me dig deep, spend time with myself, have life experiences like travel and meeting people all over and it helped shaped me into the person I am today!

Now at 44, I am going through a similar health experience with my Dad. Stage Two Diabetes has reared its ugly head in his body after 20 years of having it. This summer he had two (partial) foot amputations, many hospital stays and months in transitional care. He went home over Labor Day for three days finally, but came down with an infection so back to the hospital he went. A week stay and some scary days, we weren’t sure which direction he was headed but he turned a corner thankfully. Back to transition care he goes to get stronger and cared for. So this journey continues, and once again watching a parent suffer, and go through trauma is extremely difficult. Not knowing what could happen is extremely difficult. Having really rough patches and then good days throws you for loops.

But this time, it looks a little different for me……..

Is it unfair to go through this twice? Yep, but this time around I am not in denial this time. I am letting myself feel all the feelings- scared, fear, mad, resentful, etc… I am taking care of myself this time- workouts and eating. My daily exercise habits are there, and there’s no way I am letting them go during a time where I need an outlet the most! It’s what makes me feel stronger inside and out, so I can go be a strong daughter. I am pouring my heart and soul into being one of his cheerleaders, motivators and caretakers. I’m the schedule lady, keeping track of all of his appointments. I am there pretty much every other day, checking in on him, advocating for his health, going to appointments and meetings. This time I am not running away, but I’m right front and center. This time around I am having the hard conversations even with him- and helping him stay strong mentally so he can push past those really hard days. Yes it’s emotionally taxing to help someone fight for life, but it’s worth every second. I was young the first time around, I didn’t know how to do that. This time around, I am a Mom, Wife and Health Motivator. Coaching people is what I do. I can be the rock he needs because i work on me, I have worked on me, and I have a gift to offer.

I have a group of ladies that I coach virtually, and they remind me to keep showing up for me each day in my health so I can be STRONG for my Dad and my kids and husband. There are days I don’t feel strong, but after a workout it reminds me that I am. I signed up for a 10-mile race this October because I once again, want a goal to keep me mentally and physically challenged so I can remind myself how strong I am. (It’s just my thing I like to do to give myself a mental push as that spreads into my life in other places if that makes sense).

So yes, I am here again. But the view looks different this time. I am older, stronger and wiser  but the message is the same! Life throws you for loops and it’s unfair at times but you “NEVER GIVE UP.” You don’t give up on you, and you remind others to not give up in their battles too! I remind my Dad everyday of this, and myself. I couldn’t speak those words out loud to my Mom, but she knew. She knew I had to do what I needed to do to cope.

Whatever battle you are going through – don’t give up. Life will try to knock you down, but I am here to remind you that you are strong. You can do hard things, and you can help others do hard things too! It’s going to suck, it’s going to wear on you– but you WILL come out stronger if you persevere and lean into others, shut the white noise out (the things that don’t matter or can’t be paid attention to), don’t get too far ahead, and take care of you (exercise, sleep if possible, eating good 80% of the time, mediation, yoga or mindfulness- whatever helps you!

My passion for health is even stronger, cancer took my life best friend and Diabetes is trying to take another life best friend. Yep, I’m here again, but the view is different this time- my mind, body, and spirit is stronger from life experiences. My mission is to help others take care of themselves too, because you never know when others may need you to be strong!

I am #daughterstrong x2.

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What’s your Why?

When you start a health journey, or business– there will be days where you don’t feel like showing up. Maybe your bed is more cozy than getting up to change into workout clothes. Maybe sipping coffee slowly and watching a replay of The Real Housewives after the kids go off to school sounds better than plugging into your online business.

Well in either cases, you need a WHY to help you do the hard things, to help you show up day after day even when you may not feel like it.

My reason for living a healthy lifestyle is twofold. My first reason is I lost my Mom early in life. She was 53 and I was 21. It rocked my world. I gained 40 pounds and a bunch of anxiety. When I finally started to work on me with exercise and eating better, I had re-gained that spark of who I was before I had lost her. I found confidence and happiness within again. I felt so good that I wanted to pay that forward to help others. So now health and fitness is my career. But everyday the reason why I get up out of bed to workout, and why I choose to eat whole foods in my day is because I know what it felt like to NOT feel good. There’s NO way I am going back. There’s also a lot of disease that runs in my family, so I need to combat anything that I am dispositioned to if I can have a say in it!

My reason for showing up for my online business each day is twofold too. Gosh, I can’t just have an EASY one-line answer huh? My first reason is my Mom. She was a successful business woman who taught me to go after my dreams, goals, not be afraid of change and make big leaps when she left her nursing job after 25+ years to go into medical sales. I know she would be proud of me today for starting my own business and following my dreams and heart. My other reason is of course my family of three- my boys. I have two young boys and an older boy (my husband LOL). He’s four years younger than me, so he’s not old– I AM! But I want to spend time with them and not be in a corporate job 8-5 with a commute. I want to be able to take them on trips and create new memories and experiences with them. I want them to see how hard work pays off by creating a life that has more freedoms than an office job or a job at the gym. I am currently creating that right now and they have seen some doses of it and keep asking me when I get to this point, can we go do x, y, and z. For me, being able to work from home and be flexible to get my kids to school, to volunteer on their fieldtrips, to be at home when they return for the day and to shuffle them off to sports is a HUGE reason to do the hard things during the day. Nothing worth having comes easy, so that’s why my business is important to me and I take it seriously.

So dig deep, find that WHY. Put a picture up to remind you of it every.single.day! And once it becomes a routine you won’t question showing up or not, it will become WHO you are and you will keep crushing those goals and dreams because we all know consistency pays off!

My family in the Bahamas March 2019.
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Mind OVER Matter

Having a strong mindset is SO powerful in everything you do– especially your health journey.  Fifteen years ago, when I first began my health journey it all started with a choice– choosing that I wanted CHANGE more than I wanted to stay the same.  I was forty pounds up. I was anxious. I was stressed. I also had insomnia. The world felt lonely and at times heavy, post losing my Mom to cancer. I wasn’t taking care of ME but I was letting the things that were out of my control take over me.  So I started my journey- one day at a time. I began to exercise and use it as a stress-relief and a way to practice self-love. I had to love myself FIRST to become happy on the inside, and the rest would happen. I learned to be more mindful of my food choices, and to slow down on the extra desserts, servings and drinks that added up. Forty pounds later I found my passion for life again, my stress and anxiety decreased. My insomnia went away. I found ME again, and that self-love that I knew was inside.

It all started with my mind– that had to be FIRST. Now, as a Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Online Fitness Influencer I work with women all over the world on practicing self- love. But I teach them to start with their MIND. Our minds can play games on us– tell us are are not worth, we are not strong enough to do a 20-minute hard workout, that we can’t do a push-up on our toes ever, that we can’t lose weight, be strong, run a mile or be better. But our mind is LYING to us. We can’t listen to those negative voices. We have to say “I CAN” and “I WILL”. There is NO perfect in my book- it’s progress. We fail as we go- if we try one push-up on our toes and we fall on our face, we tried. Then we modify and do it on our knees until we can do ONE on our toes. We keep trying. Then it becomes two and three with consistency and practice. We get stronger and we say “I CAN” do it.

So do NOT doubt yourself for one minute on a goal you want to accomplish. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to work on you with all you have to give others you probably pour into them. You can pour into others BETTER and MORE if you are happy inside and out– taking care of YOU!

So Mind over matter– you’ve got this. Every goal, every journey begins with just getting that mind in the right place and believing in yourself! Then start and don’t look back, learning and failing forward as you go to a stronger and better YOU. The sky is the limit, nothing holds you back but yourself!

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Mind over Matter

MINDSET.

It can truly make the difference— build us to be #ToughAsNails or stressed and resentful.

I look back to my days where my mindset was different- I loathed my corporate america days and dreaded going, resented being stuck in a living paycheck-to-paycheck (with accruing debt) place, being stressed with all the things I had on my plate- the pressure of deadlines or living up to certain expectations of people in the 8-5 grind. After my Mom passed away, I spent years being angry. I was jealous at other Moms/daughters. As a Mom myself later with babies, I often started out days stressed with a toddler and a colicky newborn who cried all day and didn’t sleep at night. I didn’t know how to see life as not-stressful until I changed my MINDSET.

In my 40s, I have learned to change my MIND and take my power back!

Now my life is actually ten-times busier as a Mom, business lady, landlord, Personal Trainer, volunteer at school and CEO of the house. But I wake up each morning with GRATITUDE. The weather doesn’t bother me (can’t change that). Yes when my kids and I have a bad day together, I am able to shake it off and give myself grace and be thankful that I have kiddos and love in my life. Those things used to set the tone for my day and bring me down. I no longer hold onto any negative comments from others, and can tunnel my energy away from the things that don’t serve me and appreciate the good…even on days where life feels heavy.

So choose thankful over resentful. Choose happy over stress. It truly is about mindset. I wake up and choose exercise six days a week as the first thing I do when I get out of bed because I CAN. Not everyone can actually move their body. I chose to love the house that’s filled with little boy giggles (and sometimes fights). The house that keeps me warm and safe- and not pick on the things I don’t enjoy (yep the walls need painting and things need updating but oh well maybe someday). The mess means there’s people in it, my house isn’t lonely (like it was in the past as a single gal in the 20s). I am able to see the good in each day. Yep it was snowy and cold today– but that makes me appreciate a warm coat, a fireplace and hot coffee. It’s up to ME to make the best of my life, and if there’s things I don’t like I can work to change them.

This took me time, I haven’t always been able to do this– but  I am here to remind you that you can protect yourself by working on a strong mind each day. That will help you be strong as a rock, will get you to see the good and will truly make all the difference in perspective.

Life can be hard, but let’s not make it HARDER. Let’s work on protecting our own minds and hearts– because the things that we cannot control (b.s that happens, the weather, the life events that are tough to get through) will happen regardless. But we can control our minds and if we are #toughasnails we will be able to get through them so much better.

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My Mess Became My Message

This is a story about a girl who lost her Mom when she was 21. This girl is me.
My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer when I was 18.

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I didn’t really know what stage 4  meant- it didn’t sound good, but she also downplayed it as something they would just remove and then take care of with chemo. So I listened. I was applying for colleges and picking out what school I would go to, I tried to stay occupied.
Over four years, I watched her beat cancer three times. In the end, it came back fast and furious.
No child should have to go through being a caretaker, helping her change a colostomy bag, seeing her on an IV (we called it lurch) because she couldn’t keep food down, seeing her doubled over in pain daily, having an ambulance come because a lung collapsed.

Every day I was WORRIED SICK about her. In her final month, she went to the hospital and never made it home. I had a hard time going that last month because I couldn’t face reality. So I carried a lot of guilt for not seeing her as much as I should have. On her last day, I had the morning shift with at the hospital, and a few hours after I left she passed away. I knew she couldn’t go with me there, there is no way I could handle that. In her last month, she could barely look at me because she was worried about me. Being the baby of the family by 7 years, the one who still lived at home (in the summer), the one who didn’t have a job, or have a house— would I be ok with a year of college left and an unknown future? But that day, I told her she was the Best Mom, that I would figure life out, and that she could go if she needed to. A few hours later she did.

There is NO DOUBT in my mind, that I had to take YEARS to heal from this. I struggled with anxiety, I had suicidal thoughts (after another personal loss the following year). I lost a ton of weight and then gained 40. I emotionally ate. I drank. I spent money I didn’t have. I had insomnia. I self medicated with sleep aids, sometimes alcohol and for sure food. A few years later, I then realized it wasn’t me- I didn’t feel good, she wouldn’t want this for me and either did I! I caught the downward spiral before it got worse. But I had a good job, good friends, a home. Life wasn’t bad, I was just lost and struggling a bit.

So I stopped bad habits. I formed new ones. I fell in love with running as a stress reliever. I joined a gym. I didn’t go out as much. I lost weight, I found my passion in fitness and then started to help people. My anxiety got better, I know how to deal with it now. I sleep better. I eat whole foods, I workout 6 days a week now at home. I have one or two glasses of wine a week. I surround myself with people who are positive, I read personal development and do the things that serve me,
Say no to the things I don’t.

I am not perfect. I am just someone who really values health and feeling good. I know what it’s like to not feel good so it’s motivation for me to keep making ME a priority, even as a busy Mom and entrepreneur. If you wonder why the heck does that girl post about her workouts, or talk about health– it’s because it has saved me, it helps me be stronger version of me inside and out and I want to help spread that to others. Me feeling strong on the outside helps me to feel very strong on the inside too!

And for all you cancer warriors out there, everyday I think about you and fight for you. With all the advancements in medicine now and earlier detection, there are so many warriors that beat it and you will too!

So my message for you today is: Push past the past you, your mess becomes your message, you can overcome the hurdles and the pain. You can come out stronger, better. It takes strength, courage and the desire to change. You’ve got this. If I can do it, so can you!

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Perspective

Life is unfair.

Like legit unfair.

Today I attended the wake of a friend.
She has two boys and I met her at the YMCA where I worked for years.
She always told me that I was her (just ten years behind). My boy raising stories were just like hers. Besides raising boys, we both shared a love for fitness. I was drawn to her laugh, smile, energy, positivity, and the way she raved about her family. I also loved that she was passionate as I am a firm believe in living out your passions in life. Nancy sure lived live to the fullest, and one of my greatest memories was meeting up with her at a Green Bay Packers game and doing a toast to her favorite team. Man did she love her Packers (so my hubby and her obviously connected too). 

So as my boys and I attended the wake tonight, which I am still in shock about…..I realized that life’s twists and turns do not have to have a reason or make sense. There is NO reason these boys lost their Mom so soon, that I did at their same ages, or that all of us go through heart-wrenching pain in life at times. But I do know it makes us have perspective. It makes us stronger in time.

So as I took my boys to dinner tonight afterwards, I vowed to continue to love them unconditionally, be their biggest cheerleader and fan, be at all of their events, to help them live their passions, to have energy to be with them everyday fully, to make memories and have fun with them— just like Nancy.
And I hope my guys continue to adore me just as her boys do.

Life is unfair. 💔

So no making sense or finding a reason for the things that simply do not or cannot have one. Things don’t always happen for a reason.

They just give you perspective and make you stronger.IMG_9788.JPG

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Indianapolis– first timer

IMG_9311 This past weekend I was in Indianapolis for a convention. Yes, we took over the city!

It was my first time there, not sure what to expect. I was surprised at the charm, the restaurants, how close everything was to our conference venue and how easy it was to find my way around.

I got to eat at three restaurants that were highly recommended by locals. When I am in a new place, I love to do research and eat where the locals recommend. I had steak, halibut and I tried a Paleo-Influenced hot spot for their amazing lunch.

I even had an hour photoshoot at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in the center of the city. The waterfalls and great architecture were stunning backdrops for photos. I chatted with my shuttle driver about the city. I met a friend for a run down the Canal and ran past the NCAA Hall of Fame. I went to a local and eclectic coffee shop. It rained a little, but I enjoyed the weather as it wasn’t too hot or too stormy.

I’ll be back again next year.

My recommendations for visiting new cities- soak up the sights, chat with the locals, eat where the locals would (stay away from the chains) and enjoy the culture and feeling of a new city!

Indy you treated me well and I was pleasantly surprised by your beauty, hospitality, charm and all that you had to offer!

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Patience is a virtue

So I am on week eight of really limiting my carbs and sugar to ward off Candida for good! I found out I had it after months of strange symptoms, one being weight gain/belly fat coming on! Everything I read told me to cut out sugar and carbs completely– but insert a girls weekend and Thanksgiving and I couldn’t do it 100% on my own as I would cave.

Insert a test group, a chance to learn how to eat higher-fat with lower-carbs and moderate protein. I knew it would be exactly what I needed to stay the course and get myself better. I said yes, but was a bit scared of the lifestyle to come.

I am happy to report that I feel SO much better. I have lost 8″– and seeing it in my tummy which is my trouble area is HUGE. I am no longer bloated. My sugar cravings are kicked. I feel strong, and lean muscle is appearing all over. I don’t feel deprived, and am really enjoying my foods of eggs, veggies, nuts, homemade salad dressings, seeds, spaghetti squash casserole, bacon, zucchini noodles, grass-fed meatballs, cauliflower rice, lots of different proteins and the list goes on. It has forced me to get rid of some bad habits like grabbing kettle chips, an RX bar in my daily life. Things add up when you don’t pay attention to them. I am limiting my carbs to under 100 a day- but no, this is not Ketosis which would be under 50g a day. For me, personally, I don’t want to limit certain veggies and nutrients that are essential to my health so 100g is a lifestyle to me, not under 50 and having to be deprived of what I need for good health.

The scale hasn’t dropped a significant amount, and I am accepting that. I have released about 4 pounds– but the inches and how I feel are what is teaching me to be patient and keep trusting the process. Some bodies drop weight, some change into muscle and drop inches. I am happy that I feel strong, and leaner— and that was my goal and I’ll keep seeing what I can do!

I am excited to see what happens in the last handful of weeks and I do plan to move forward with this way of eating. It has been fairly easy to follow, and when something fits into your lifestyle AND makes you feel good– it gives you the motivation to keep going forward!

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Healthy Vacation Hacks

I used to go on vacation and come back so bloated, and not happy with the jump in the scale. But in the last three years, I have learned how to really enjoy vacation but not go too crazy and come home the exact same! I work hard, and I really don’t want a vacation to blow my health goals, and I also want to enjoy and not be too strict on vacation either. Here are my top TIPS:

  1. ) Bring a water bottle. I fill it up every chance I get- at the airport, at the hotel. If I am in a third world country I find water bottles and fill it up. You have to stay hydrated and it helps keep your digestion going while traveling too which can get really messed up.
  2. ) Bring healthy snacks. My favorite snacks to pack with me are: almonds, almond butter packets (Justin’s brand sells them in singles), Shakeology (never miss a day), and Rx bars. This will help fill the gaps in the day if you only eat breakfast/dinner when traveling or keep you from starving and then grabbing something bad!
  3. ) Exercise. I always, always exercise. I stream 30-min workouts on my laptop or phone (reach out to me if you want to know how to do this). I bring running shoes as I love to explore new places with a run. I can try out their gym, or see if the resort offers classes. Heck, I even teach my own classes. You can always find exercise options while traveling! It’s important to move your body each day.
  4. ) Fill up on proteins and veggies. At each meal, I fill up on protein and veggies. I stay away from the breads, donuts, carbs and extra sugar….BUT I do save it for a few of my favorite things like wine with dinner and maybe a shared dessert. I don’t go crazy at buffets– keeping my protein and veggie rule. I just don’t feel good when I go crazy, so I am super mindful and then choose my splurges and limit them.
  5. ) I don’t eat or drink late at night. I don’t eat after dinner. I don’t have drinks past 9pm, that’s just me. I can’t sleep at night when I drink late, and then I am super tired the next day. So happy hour and dinner are my wine-o-clock time and after that it’s water.
  6. ) Sleep. I always aim for 7-8 hours of sleep on vacation. I am not the best sleeper in hotels or away, especially the first night but I try my best to get enough rest. It usually means that on vacation I go to bed at 10:30/11 and I am up at 6:30 or 7. I am not a sleep-in late kinda gal so I can’t pull a past midnight bedtime or again, I’ll be super tired and crabby the next day. So know your body and get your allotted sleep!

Hope this helps keep YOU on track when you travel! IMG_4374