Friday, August 30, 2013

Open your heart <3

Last year was a TOUGH year for me. Through all of the ups and downs, I started to lose faith. I felt lost. I didn't exactly know what I wanted and where to start. 


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I stopped going to church because I didn't know WHAT religion I was, and to be brutally honest, I was angry at God. I was so mad that last year was so difficult, and it forced me to completely lose myself. 

Growing up, I attended a Lutheran Church, but transferred to a Presbyterian Church because of my boyfriend. After we split up, I realized that I was just going through the religious motions, and I severely lacked a relationship with God. I'm not going to bash any religions here, but I just knew in my heart that I hadn't found what religion was right for me. 

I eventually started praying more. I started reading my Bible, and "The Purpose Driven Life". I started exploring the world and experiencing things I had never done before. I traveled. I listened to new music. Read books I would've never read before. I opened my heart and just allowed myself to grow. Although every decision I made during that time was not the best, it still allowed me to grow. Every single day I felt myself getting stronger. Every day I felt more like MYSELF again. This past year I was lead down a winding road of ups and downs, but eventually things started looking up. I was accepted into PA School, I became closer with my family, and a wonderful man named Clinton Tyler entered my life. 


You'll hear me talk a lot about him, but its because he is literally that wonderful of a person. I truly believe that God created his soul to perfectly match mine. I cannot even explain what occurs inside of me when I'm with him, but I know I'm a better person since he's entered my life. I'm eager to learn new things, do more, and love more. 

My life was quickly changing, and I knew it wasn't by chance

With PA School starting, I told myself that in addition to obtaining my education, I needed to focus on God as well. I actually made a list of the important things in my life that I had to learn to balance in order to live a happy life. These included: God, C.T. (Thats short for Clinton Tyler), family, working out/eating healthy, & my AdvoCare business ALL while keeping up on my PA studies. My first semester was NOT easy for me, and the first thing I sacrificed was God. I literally put Him on the back burner. 

When I returned to school for my second semester, a fellow classmate wanted to create a Ladies Bible Study. To be honest with you, I didn't know what to expect. I'm not the type of person to throw religion in ones face, nor am I a person who can handle getting religion thrown in my face. I knew I was desperately lacking something in my life though, and I had nothing to lose by attending.

I wish I could explain the rush of emotions I felt throughout the meeting. A group of 8 classmates joined together- all from different backgrounds, different religions, and different strengths and weaknesses to share experiences. It might sounds cheesy to you, but this was EXACTLY what I needed in my life. That void was filled, and I left the meeting feeling AMAZING! 

Although I'm incredibly confused about religion, and where I belong, I realized that the most important thing is my personal relationship with God. Throughout all of my ups and downs, I made it out stronger and wiser. It wasn't the path I would've chosen for myself initially, but looking back now, I wouldn't have changed a thing. I've learned to just trust. 


(google image) 

Before I go, I just wanted to encourage you to step out of the box, open your heart, and let yourself grow as a person. Try to experience new things. Expand your knowledge. Eat new food. Listen to new music. Just do something different!! Pray or meditate, whichever is right for you. As you grow, you'll see that sometimes people in our lives hold us back. Select the people you associate with yourself wisely. Surround yourself with POSITIVE people. Those people who inspire you to not only be a better person, but be YOURSELF. Those that encourage you to live, love, and learn - even if it means getting lost along the way. Sometimes these people aren't your family members or best friends, and if thats the case, keep pressing forward! Because its a tragedy to live your life to meet someone else's expectations, than to do what makes you happy and be who you truly are. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Health & Fitness 101

If you read yesterdays post, you saw I was super excited about tonights dinner. WELL, it was *drum roll** quesadillas!!  :) They were absolutely delicious!

Anyhow, todays topic - Intro to Health and Fitness. I have a lot of friends who are new to this realm, and have NO idea where to begin. Today I thought I'd write some tips that helped me on this journey. 


1. What workouts should I do? 

When I first started my fitness journey, there was no gym by me. I purchased INSANITY & P90X to do at home. After I started noticing some changes in my body, I decided to give running a try. I used an app on my phone to monitor my progress. Eventually I was getting better and better. I also found this website: that posts free workouts online. They are fast and very effective.

2. I have no time to work out. 


I'm guilty of using this excuse. I later realized that I didn't MAKE the time to work out. A friend challenged me to write my daily activities down for a few days. After the first day, I realized I wasted too much time in front of the TV and my phone. Neither of those benefited my health. I decided to eliminate TV time until I was able to make a solid schedule. I encourage you to make a schedule! Just like I have a class schedule, I also have a block of time each day that is committed to my fitness. I also have Sunday evenings blocked off for meal prep. 

3. Find workout friends! 

I asked a few friends to join me working out. Before I knew it, we were making a pact to participate according to our schedule. If I was too lazy, I expected them to drag me out of my house by my hair. Having friends holds you ACCOUNTABLE. It also makes working out a lot more fun. :) 


Remember: workout buddies can be ANY age, shape, size, color. Get a dog to run with! (or in my case, a nephew. haha) 

Include your whole family and make it fun! When you raise your children in an active house, they realize the importance of exercise early on. It wont be such a chore for them to participate later on in life. 

4. Meal Prep

This is where a lot of people get into trouble. By the time meals roll around, people are too starving to cook anything healthy. Instead, they choose fast and convenient meals. These meals come at a price though. Most of the time, they are loaded with chemicals, sodium, fat, sugar, and serve no nutritional benefit. I used to be one of these people. I read online (and used Pinterest!) to find out how to meal prep. Now, on Sunday evenings, I chop vegetables, cook lean meats, and prepare whatever I can for the meals during that week. This involves a lot of planning, but its definitely worth it. I actually get together with my friends to meal prep. Makes it a lot more fun. :) 

I try to live by the saying: If I made it, I can eat it. SOMETIMES I cheat and have cookies, ice cream, fast food, etc. But please note that this is rarely. I try to keep my diet as balanced and healthy as possible. 

5. Fuel your body right

After doing a lot of research, I realized I still was lacking nutrition. It was impossible for me to obtain the correct amount of vitamins and nutrients in a days time! Food today is prepared differently than what it was in the past. Its for this reason that I decided to supplement. I know a lot of people have their own opinions on the use of supplementation, but I believe its vital for proper nutrition. When using supplements, make sure that they are safe and effective. 


I've tried a few brands before, but AdvoCare took the prize for being the safest out there. I started with the Performance Elite products, and have now tried just about everything they have to offer! 


6. Track food

In addition to meal prepping and supplementation, TRACK what you consume every day. Most people have no idea the amount of calories they should consume in a days time. There are calculators and apps out there to make this extremely easy. I personally LOVE the Myfitnesspal app. I scan the barcodes on my food to ensure I'm not overeating or under eating. I don't use the app to obsess over the food I consume. Instead, I use it to be AWARE of what I'm consuming. Before using the app, I had no idea about the nutritional value of foods. Initially the app told me to consume 1200 calories. Understanding health/fitness, I realized this number is WAY too low. This would put my body into starvation mode. Because I'm extremely active, I bumped it up to 1700-1800 calories a day. If you're just starting, I can always help you find a correct range for you. 

7. Monitor your progress

First things first, throw the scale out. I HATE THE SCALE! Too many people obsess over the numbers on the scale instead of using other gauges. I go by the way I feel, the way I look, Before/After pictures, body measurements, clothing sizes and % body fat. 


These are comparison pictures from my 10 day cleanse. I weighed the exact same on the right as I did on the left, but I LOOKED and FELT better after. 


When I started, I created realistic goals. When I reached those goals, I treated myself. I started with fitness outfits because I don't know about you, but looking cute while I worked out gave me more motivation. (This was a gift from my darling boyfriend.) 


9. Sign up for a competition/race

My brother convinced me to sign up for the Tough Mudder last year. If you know what this obstacle race is, its 10-12 miles of mud and rough terrain with military obstacles. I had to prepare a LOT for this race, but it was SO worth it. It kept me focused.. and LOOK! We did it!


10. Exercise your mind 

Lastly, make sure you keep your mind in check. I'm a firm believer that happiness is not something that lucky people find, but its something thats CREATED. Do an emotional and spiritual check. Fill your life with things that make you happy and live for a purpose. Be inspired and then inspire someone else. Your life will be much more rewarding. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

My First Blog!

Hello, Hello!! Today was the first day of my second semester of PA School!! So as a treat- heres my "Back to School Picture." =P

Although the class only lasted 10 minutes, I was able to spend my day doing somewhat productive things. I joined my girls (Taylor and Sara) at the gym for an intense leg workout. Afterwards I meal prepped with Sara. With PA School consuming the majority of our time, its much easier to eat fast food than it is to actually prepare a healthy meal. Sara and I made a pact to meal prep together so that we can avoid eating garbage. As future health care professionals, we have to walk the walk if we want to talk the talk. Patients will be more likely to listen to us if we, too, are HEALTHY!! :) 

Todays meals:

Breakfast- AdvoCare Meal Replacement shake (Chocolate - blended with ice, banana, and strawberries) 

Lunch- Salad with romaine lettuce, spinach leaves, carrots, peppers, turkey, avocado, and cucumber 

Dinner- Spaghetti squash and green beans

Snacks (throughout the day)- Grapes, celery and natural PB, spark, post workout recovery shake

Tomorrows meals and workouts are already locked and loaded. SOOOO excited for dinner (and you'll see why.....tomorrow.)

Before I go, I wanted to leave you with something - Today wasn't easy. If it were easy, everyone would be rich, happy, fit, etc. At the gym, I had to literally PUSH myself to keep going. I'd look at Sara and Taylor and think "If they aren't stopping, I'm not stopping. One. More. Rep..." When we got home, I wanted ANYTHING fattening drenched in chocolate. Cookies, donuts, ice cream, brownies.. mmm. Again, I had to convince myself it wasn't worth it. Eating that food actually makes me feel worse! My body just THINKS it wants it. Health and Fitness is MENTAL. Whatever you do, don't give up on yourself. The benefits of living a healthy life are worth it. 

"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity." - John F. Kennedy