Gut Health is Wealth

I first learned what the term “clean eating” was on my 39th Birthday. At that time, I was a Mom of two toddlers, eating for convenience (think flavored Oatmeal packets, my kids’ goldfish and leftover Chicken Nuggets, crackers and cheese and to-go Salads topped with Ranch and all the fixings). If you told me it was fat-free I would eat it. After all, that’s what we were told by the media – fat makes you fat. Little did I know, that fat-free meant it was filled with chemicals and processed foods. I was never a label reader, sure I ate fruit and some veggies but processed foods and refined sugars made up 80% of my weekly food intake.

I was at the point where my clothes were so snug, and my belly had a tremendous amount of bloat and extra weight around it. I knew I had muscle tone underneath but it was covered by a good layer of bloat and pounds. I was doing cardio galore, so I had no idea what I was doing wrong. Well sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. I was a Fitness Instructor, shouldn’t I have this all figured out? The answer was no, and I wanted so badly to feel better but didn’t know HOW.

So I started a clean eating routine. I actually ordered a Pilates/Yoga/Barre type of workout to do at-home and that came with a clean eating meal plan, and some plant-based superfoods as a bonus! I figured if my running and gym workouts weren’t cutting it, why not try something new. I had a goal– to be FIT by 40 and I had one year. I knew it wasn’t going to be overnight, so I dug in. I announced to my family and friends that I was going to eat clean for the month of August, and they laughed.

Well it didn’t take me long, maybe a few weeks, to see and feel a difference. Inches fell off first, and then weight. My skin was better, my mood, and my energy. There was no 3pm crash, or cravings for pop and candy. I ditched the soda habit actually and traded it for sparkling water. I replaced the flavored oatmeal packets for whole oats topped with Greek Yogurt, berries and peanut butter. It was like dessert for breakfast. I started feeling SO good that August went by, and I kept going.

I am 7.5 years strong, and over the holidays I let some habits slip back into my routine. The treats in the cupboard were calling my name more often than normal. I was saying yes to the glass of wine more frequently. Instead of taking a few minutes to cut up the veggies, I was grabbing snacks from a bag. I began to see some old habits creep back in after YEARS of saying good-bye to them. Two years of stress and grief will do that to you. I was tired, stressed and taking the easy route because I didn’t feel up to going the extra step on habits that were already there.

So I am 12 days into re-committing to ME! Eating clean, doing low-impact workouts to give my body a break just like I did 7.5 years ago. I am hydrating like a fool. I haven’t had a sip of wine for 12 days. I feel more energetic, happy, and my muscles aren’t so tight. I have dropped inches and pounds, but more importantly feel ME again.

So this is a reminder that we only feel as good as we fuel our bodies! Food is thy medicine and medicine is thy food. Many of our health woes can be cured with whole, real fresh foods! I know it sounds cliché but our health is our wealth. If we don’t have good health, our quality of life is taken away. Our gut has more impact on our health than we realize — so here’s some tips to get your health back on track if you are moody, bloated, lacking energy, finding it hard to sleep, have digestion issues, have skin issues, are dealing with anxiety or depression.

  1. Eat fiberous foods- berries, apples, oats, beans and legumes, sweet potatoes
  2. Read labels- don’t eat it if you don’t recognize what it is
  3. Make healthy food easy- wash and cut veggies, make some proteins and grains in advance so you can grab and go!
  4. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day
  5. Move your body five days a week – low-impact is great to start.
  6. Make changes slowly, when you try to do it all at once it may be overwhelming (ditch the soda habit, then eat more veggies, then focus on protein, then water, then exercise.) Set yourself up for success and sometimes that’s easing into it!
  7. Keep going with your changes and don’t look back. If you slip, remind yourself how much better you feel when you eat clean! Yes you can still have your favorite things in moderation but whole, real fresh foods are what FUEL us for life. Processed foods and refined sugars slow us down and that’s when all the ailments creep in!

If you are looking for some help in your clean eating journey, I am starting a GUT HEALTh is WEALTH group on March 28th, just click this link to fill out my interest form and I’ll be in touch!

In Good Health,



Taking a LEAP!

Today I got to thinking about WHY I started a fitness journey over 13 years ago and how it all started by taking a leap.

Flashback to when I was 28 years old….

It was a good year. I ran my first marathon and had just bought my own townhome– two major life milestones all in the same month. I had a corporate job; one that gave me a social life and the comfort of stability over the years. I had a lot of friends, and a lot of fun. However, there was one thing wrong— thirty plus pounds crept on over the years of mourning the loss of my Mom to cancer. My Mom was taken from me when I was 21. I watched her slowly slip away over a four-year timeframe. She was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer my senior year of high school and she lost her battle the August I was about to enter my senior year of college. When my high school friends were looking for colleges, I was learning that my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. When my college roomates were going home in the summer to be waitresses and enjoy time off, I was helping to care for my sick Mom as she threw up all-day and was hooked up to an IV.

Life was not fair or normal at the age of 21! But looking back now, life is not going to be fair!

It was my Mom’s final wish to watch my graduate from college. She didn’t make it to that milestone, but I powered through that last year as a way to honor her. After college, I took up running as a healthy outlet to de-stress and have something for me, probably a coping mechanism, and a good one it was. Running was a way to numb the pain I was feeling in my heart; it was an escape. I could escape reality and just feel the burn of my legs and heart. Yes there are many unhealthier habits I could have taken up (some of those I did like drinking and wracking up credit card debt). So yes, running was a healthy outlet but it was also a way to use the excuse, “I can eat whatever I want.”

Thirty-plus pounds crept on over the course of the years, and at the age of 28 I saw a picture of myself and decided I needed to CHANGE. I was not comfortable in my own skin anymore. I had bought the biggest size of clothing I had ever bought before. I felt the need to finally take action and take care of ME! It was time to CHANGE and fight for me!

I began to learn more about food and how it was causing me to gain weight, even with all the running. I watched my portions and learned to cook healthier. I joined a gym, my local YMCA, where I could be around other people for motivation and support of like- minded people.  Being on a health journey can be isolating, and you need your “people” to keep you strong and help you to say no to habits that were of the past.

I lost 30 pounds in about 9 months and felt amazing. I was a knew “me” as I turned 30 that year. I felt confident in me because I took the time to work on me. I felt more like I knew WHO I was and what I wanted out of life. It was that same year that I met my husband and was open to love for the first time in a long time too.

I began to teach fitness classes as a way to pay it forward and help others on their journey. I wanted to be a part of someone else’s support system. I kept my corporate job and taught a few classes a week, and felt pulled towards a career where I could do what I loved and help people.

Fast forward, after our first baby I decided to stay-at-home and figure out what I wanted to do next. The corporate life wasn’t quite me anymore. I desired something that I was passionate about, where I could leave feeling fulfilled and surrounded by people who are like me. I kept teaching classes while raising two little boys as a way to stay connected to fitness folks, help others, and work on ME while in the “Mom” trenches.

As my boys get older, I add more. Fitness fuels me. Helping people gets me out of bed each day. I became a Beachbody coach because it felt like the next logical step for me. I could help EVEN more people. I could do whatever I wanted to with it. I could schedule my own hours, and work around my family. I could learn more about fitness and nutrition, and be a better version of myself. I could meet MORE like-minded ladies who are uplifting and working on themselves too. I could have something for “me” besides being a Mom, wife, CEO of the household. I could earn trips and finally add income to the family after a few years of putting that aside.

I know what it’s like to be STUCK. Stuck in a fitness rut. Stuck in a job I wasn’t truly passionate about. Stuck as a stay-at-home Mom that felt a bit disconnected to other like-minded women.

I finally feel fulfilled. I have found what motivates me. I wake up with a purpose each day. If it’s a day where I don’t feel like showing up, I know there’s a team of ladies who are doing the same thing and it pushes me to JUST DO. If I hit a bump in my fitness or health journey, there’s always someone to pick me back up.

TAKE A LEAP! Sometimes life gives you bumps to be able to turn down another road. Listen to your signs. Don’t be afraid. It’s never too late to figure out what you want to be or do. I have dabbled in writing in the past, and now I can bring it back to my world now. This is my first official blog post as a health coach and motivator!

Thanks for listening and I’ll be back for more.