It’s Always Better When We’re Together

Everything is better with a buddy! When your significant other joins you on your health and wellness journey, it provides a positive support system, and makes the journey along the way more fun. I cherish the hikes and walks my husband and I take together, and I love to be with someone who appreciates the delicious flavors of fresh, whole foods. What’s more, he is one fabulous sous chef! My husband and I are each other’s motivation to live a healthier lifestyle because we know how important it is to take care of ourselves. The more we nourish our bodies and minds, the more quality time we will have to spend together in the future.

A supportive significant other will love you, believe in you, push you, help you grow, and motivate you to be your best self. You will cheer each other on during your good days and lift each other up during your bad days. You will hold each other accountable as you reach your goals together. And of course, you will have fun as you progress towards your transformation!

In the spirit of American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, try some of these activities together with your loved one to add more health and wellness into your life.

Cook dinner together - Make a healthy, wholesome dinner together and share the tasks. While one of you preps the food, the other can start the cooking process. Assign certain dishes to each other based on what you enjoy. Even if one of you is not savvy in the kitchen, no worries! Simply slicing vegetables is a huge help and is great teamwork. Share a glass of red wine and turn up the music. Set the table and light candles. Cherish each other’s company while you slowly chew and savor the homemade meal you cooked together.

Take a cooking class - Want to get out of your kitchen and have a fun, interactive date night? Spice it up and take a cooking class! Look for a cuisine you both enjoy, or be adventurous and try something completely new. Enjoy a delicious cooked meal with fresh, quality ingredients that you created, and best of all, you don’t have to worry about the dishes! :)

Try a new fruit or vegetable - Experiment with new fruits and vegetables. Taste a new berry, melon, or apple variety. Try a new leafy green or cook a unique seasonal squash. Eat them raw or use different cooking methods. See what each of you enjoys most about these new whole foods you introduced into your life.

Try a new healthy dish on the menu - Change it up. Rather than order “the usual” at your favorite restaurants, try a new grilled fish, salad, or side vegetable medley. Start out with a warm, hearty soup instead of fried calamari. Instead of getting French fries or spaghetti with your entree, how about a side of roasted sweet potatoes? Each order something different and share your dishes. You will add more nutrients to your diet, add variety to your life, and expand your palate.

Run or walk outdoors - Get outside together. Breathe in the crisp, fresh air and clear your head. Go for a long distance run, take a brisk, fast- paced walk, or slowly stroll outside while you enjoy the scenery around you. Discuss life or move in silence and appreciate each other’s company as you take in the sounds of nature.  

Be a gym buddy - Let’s face it, there may be days when one or both of you may not feel like going to the gym. If you are each other’s gym buddies, you will motivate one another to get off the couch. Having a gym buddy will hold you accountable and push you to get there more often. Run next to each other on the treadmill, count reps while doing weights, or take an exercise class. Even if you prefer different activities at the gym, at least you are there together.

Do a couple’s sport - Play a friendly, fun interactive sport! Try out your tennis or pickle ball rackets, play a game of one-on-one basketball, or even get other couples to join you. Join a kickball or softball team. Whatever you love, as long as you’re both moving!

Go for a bike ride - Dust off those bicycles that have been sitting in your garage and test out the wheels. Go for a leisurely bike ride by the water or get down and dirty on your favorite path in the woods.  Take an hour ride or make it a day trip and pack a healthy picnic lunch.

Do yoga together - Clear your minds, breathe, and focus while you do yoga together. Join a class or do a yoga session at home. It is a great physical workout, and a beneficial mental workout. You will both feel more relaxed, grounded, and peaceful.

Get a couple’s massage - Treat each other to a rejuvenating day at the spa and sign up for a couple’s massage. Take advantage of the hot sauna, hot tubs, and detox. You both deserve it!

As Jack Johnson says, “It’s always better when we’re together.” There are so many fun activities you and your loved one can do to add health and wellness into your life. Experiment and see what you both enjoy the most. Cherish the time together as you transform your bodies and your lives.


Every Step Counts Towards Your Progressive Transformation!

A friend recently said to me, “It is not about what you can’t do, but rather what you CAN do.” This applies to every aspect of life and is so important to remember when you’re trying to make lasting changes for your health: physically, mentally, and spiritually.

·      If you want to make big changes, try starting small.

·      Change doesn’t happen overnight.

·      A little progress each day will lead to big results.

·      The smallest steps can have the largest impact on your life.

Gradual daily modifications are the key to long-term sustainable change that will guide you towards your life transformation.

Ditch the “quick fixes” and fad diets. These “quick fixes” take you from 0-100 at a rapid rate, and there is no time for true growth. They may work at first, but the restriction and deprivation will lead to frustration; eventually you may rebound. Rather than restricting yourself completely, take one step at a time to create new habits you will actually keep for the long haul!

Forget the all-or-nothing attitude, and get rid of the perfectionist mindset. If you are unable to do something in the exact way you’d prefer to do it, or if you can’t give 100%, don’t decide to do nothing instead. Small changes are better than making no change. The important thing is to just start somewhere. Don’t nix physical fitness just because you can’t make it to the gym.  Begin by adding some activity, and look for activities you love. If you gradually add delicious, fresh, whole foods, you will slowly crowd out the sugar and processed foods.

Switch the phrase “I don’t have time” with “I will to the best of my ability make the time.” At the beginning of each week and for each day, plan ahead to see how you can incorporate healthy choices to fit your schedule. Select the days and times you will exercise. Make time for a lunch break each day, and choose which evenings you will cook. Write it down or put it in your phone to provide more accountability. Remember, it’s okay if you have to adjust the times, but at least you have taken that first step to plan for it.

True change takes time, and it is a gradual process.  Set long-term goals for modifications, and subdivide these goals into short-term, realistic changes you can make along the way. Be patient with yourself. Congratulate yourself as you take each step towards achieving these goals. Create a positive support system to cheer you on as you continue your health and wellness journey. You will move forward each day, each week, and each month. You will start to notice that these new habits will become part of your daily life.

Here are some helpful tips to gradually add health and wellness into your life so that you may achieve your long-term goals.
  • Swap Water for Soda and Sugary Beverages – Instead of completely cutting sugary drinks out of your life, start by cutting back from 4 sodas a day to 2 sodas a day. Swap it out for 2 cups of water. Gradually continue to add in more water and reduce the soda intake. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go so it’s always available. If you want extra flavor add lemon, lime, or berries. As you progress you will eventually crave more water, and you will no longer reach for the soda.
  • Eat Slower and Have Smaller Portions – In our fast paced life, eating has become a rushed event. You often gobble down food, and your mind doesn’t have time to register when you are full. If you chew more slowly, you will notice that you won’t need as much food to feel sated. Fill your plate once, and wait 20 minutes to see how you feel after the meal. You will be surprised to discover that you won’t need that second helping.
  • Add Vegetables to Your Meal – Rather than eliminating the processed foods and sugar from your diet completely, slowly add more vegetables to your meals. Continue to have the burger or pizza, but add a salad. Ask for a side of veggies with your steak and potatoes. The more vegetables you add to your diet, the more you will crave them; and you will slowly crowd out the processed foods.
  • Have a Fruit for Dessert – Instead of skipping dessert, swap out that cookie or cake for a piece of fruit. There are so many delicious fruits that can satisfy your sweet tooth. Try some berries, melon, kiwi, a crisp apple, or sliced pear. Don’t immediately eliminate the cookie; start by switching to fruit every other day. Then each week add more fruit, which will slowly replace the processed, sugary desserts.
  • Keep Recipes Simple – We don’t all have hours to spend on cooking each evening, and while Sunday food prep is very helpful, not everyone wants to spend their entire afternoon in the kitchen. Instead of going out to eat and giving up on cooking completely—which can lead to unhealthy decisions—keep it simple. Choose recipes that take 30 minutes to make and have 5-6 ingredients or less. Set aside a few minutes on the weekend to plan your meals for the week, so you don’t have to think about it in the evenings.
  • Work Towards 3 Meals a Day – Many struggle with eating 3 meals a day due to lack of time.  When you skip meals, your blood sugar level falls.  This often leads to snacking, poor choices, and binging by the time dinner arrives. Rather than committing to 3 full meals a day immediately, start small. Have a banana with nut butter in the morning. For lunch, begin with nutritious snacks that are easy to take with you on-the-go. Some great options are sliced vegetables, nuts, hummus, or a hard-boiled egg. Once this becomes a habit, work towards having larger balanced meals that include vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. As you notice the energy you gain from having consistent meals throughout the day, you will start to crave nutritious, complete, balanced meals. You are also less likely to attack the refrigerator when you get home for dinner.
  • Go for a Walk – If physical fitness isn’t currently a part of your life or you just haven’t been able to find the time to fit it in, slowly add it into your weekly routine. Don’t worry about hitting the gym or running a 5K. Start with 20 minute walks around the block a few days a week. Walk with a buddy—it’s more fun, and you have accountability. Increase the distance or time every week, and you will notice that you feel more energetic. You will start to feel more comfortable and want to add more variety of exercises to your life.
  • Change It Up and Do What You Love! – If physical fitness is already a part of your life but you’re looking to take it to the next level, switch it up. When you do the same exercise all the time, it is very easy to get bored and give up completely. Rather than sticking with the same workout every day, mix it up and try something new. Take a boot camp, kickboxing, cycling, Pilates, yoga, or Zumba class. Experiment with styles of workouts. If you love to swim, find an all-year- round pool. If you prefer videos, do those. If you like team sports such as basketball, get a group of people together to join you. See what workout setting and style you prefer, and do what you love!
  • Just Keep Moving - Every bit of movement counts. Rather than parking in that spot in front of the store, choose a spot further down the lane. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator, take the stairs. Get up from your desk every 30 minutes, and walk around the office; use the time to refill your bottle of water. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air—an activity that benefits your body and helps clear the mind.
  • Schedule “You Time” for 10 Minutes a Day–Most likely you don’t have time to get a massage on a daily basis, and an hour yoga class may not fit into your schedule each day. Set 10 minutes a day for “you time” even if it means drinking a cup of tea in the morning and listening to your thoughts. Be in the moment, and meditate for a few minutes. If you’re not comfortable with meditation, just the act of being present and breathing will ease stress and help you relax.
  • Reduce Social Media Time to Twice a Day - Social media and screen time have grown tremendously over the past years and have lessened and diluted our interpersonal interactions. Rather than cut social media cold turkey, commit to such activity twice a day—perhaps once in the morning and once in the early evening. Take the newly found free time to enjoy quality time with your family and friends. You’d be amazed at how much more present you will be during your conversations. Once you see how much more meaningful your relationships can become, you may consider putting away your phone during meal times and and other social interactions.
  • Go to Bed Earlier – Sleep is a crucial component for a rejuvenated body. Rather than making a commitment to go to bed an hour earlier each night, begin with smaller steps. Commit to 20 minutes earlier at first, and go from there. As that first commitment becomes a consistent achievement, try 30 minutes earlier. As you notice the energy you gain from earlier bedtimes, you will make it a priority to incorporate a good night sleep into your daily life.
Try some of these tips and slowly incorporate health and wellness into your life. You will feel happier, more energetic, and empowered by your progress towards your health and wellness transformation. Remember, it all begins with that first step. As Confucius said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”


Put Yourself First In 2017!

Do you always take care of others, but forget to take care of yourself? Do you find that you put yourself last on your to-do list? Does your “me” time get postponed each day due to other “more important things” in your life?

I completely understand that life is busy. You have your families, your career, errands to accomplish, meetings and social gatherings to attend, and daily tasks to achieve. Life can become stressful and so overwhelming, and it is easy to make excuses to put your body’s needs last on the totem pole.

How are you expected to take care of everyone and everything in your life if you are unable to care for yourself? Stop making excuses! Start telling yourself that YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT! You deserve to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Make the commitment to your precious body today and allow yourself to be selfish once in a while. Start small. Do just one thing a day that makes you happy. Work within your schedule to make the time for you. Even if it means waking up 10 minutes earlier to sip a cup of tea, breathe, and think about what you are most grateful for in your life. Find out what fulfills you the most, and make self-care the top of your to-do list. Your mind and body will appreciate it, and so will those around you!

Here Are Some of My Favorite Self-Care Tips:
  • Slow Down– Too often we are on the run and miss the little things in life. Take a few moments each day to slow down, notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you, and be in the moment.
  • Breathe – Many of us forget to breathe—really breathe. Set a few times a day to pause, breathe, relax, and appreciate the power of inhaling and exhaling
  • Reflect– Take a few moments each morning to sit on your couch or most comfy chair with a cup of tea or coffee, reflect, and think about the wonderful blessings in your life
  • Cherish Sleep–Sleep is so important for your emotional and physical well-being. Make it a priority to go to bed a little earlier even if it means saving your favorite TV show for the weekend. Find relaxation techniques that will help you fall asleep and maintain a deep peaceful sleep throughout the night
  • Exercise – Find an exercise that you enjoy. It could be taking an exercise class at the gym, going for a run outside, or playing your favorite workout video at home
  • Create a Spiritual Practice – Find a spiritual practice that speaks to you whether it be religion, prayer, yoga, meditation, or embracing nature
  • Enjoy Nature– Take 10 minutes to go for a walk outside or plant a garden, and enjoy the crisp, fresh air. It will reenergize you and provide clarity
  • Pamper Yourself – Get a fabulous massage, manicure, pedicure, or take a hot bath with your favorite essential oils or bubble bath
  • Hot Towel Scrub – Body scrubbing is a great way to relieve stress, reduce muscle tension, reenergize you in the morning, and relax you in the evening to prepare you for a peaceful night sleep
  • Hot Water Bottle – The hot water bottle provides comfortable, soothing heat therapy to any part of your body, relaxes your muscles and calms your mind
  • Cook Your Favorite Meal – Cooking can be very therapeutic, especially, when you take the time to make something you love
  • Journal – Journaling is a great way to process your emotions and write whatever it is that comes to mind. Journal first thing in the morning before you are fully awake or reflect at night before you go to sleep. Count your blessings and acknowledge what you are thankful for in life.
  • Read A Book – Find that book you’re been dying to read and sit on the couch with your coziest blanket
  • Play an Instrument – Has your guitar been sitting in your closet for the past few months? Pick it up again and strum for 15-20 minutes
  • Listen to music –Listen to your favorite artist or band and get lost in the music
  • Challenge Your Mind – Do a fun puzzle, Sudoku, or crossword
  • Paint or Color – Painting a picture or coloring a book are great tools to release your creativity and use your imagination (yes, there are fabulous, fun coloring books out for adults now :))
  • Just Dance – Take a dance class or even turn on the music and dance around your house! Go crazy and have fun!
Make your home a cozy, Zen environment to enjoy your self-care time. A wonderful way to add more peace and relaxation to your life is to have a clean, calming atmosphere in your home. Clutter can cause unnecessary stress. Add some house plants to purify the air, light candles, get some cozy throw blankets and pillows to make your house more comfortable, and relaxing.

These are just a few of my favorite self-care tips. Find out what you enjoy the most, experiment, and make YOU your priority each day! :)

Happy New Year, and I look forward to see the wonderful ways you incorporate self-care into your life in 2017!


Set Yourself Up for a Successful, Deep Night’s Sleep!

Sleep is important for our bodies both physically and mentally. Sleep provides energy, improves our mood, enhances our metabolism, reduces cravings, sharpens memory, improves focus, reduces stress, and provides stronger immunity and overall better health.

Unfortunately, there is so much going on in our lives that many of us have problems with getting a deep, relaxing, peaceful night’s sleep. We may aim to get those 7-8 hours, fall asleep quickly, but then wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning. We toss and turn and struggle with that little voice inside our heads.

Sleep has been an issue with which I have struggled and ultimately realized that the key is to set oneself up for success!

Below are the tips that work wonders for me:
  • Reduce the caffeine. If you are going to drink coffee, stick to one cup in the morning. Have a balanced lunch, and drink water throughout the afternoon to remain energized rather than grabbing that 3 pm cup of coffee.  And beware of the caffeinated teas.
  • Don't eat after 6 pm; and if you do, make it a light meal.
  • If you’re going to have that glass of wine, have it earlier in the evening.  Wine may put you to sleep quickly, but drinking too close to bedtime may have the opposite effect a few hours later.  Many individuals report that their eyes pop open at 1 or 2 in the morning.
  • *Turn off your laptop and put down all electronics several hours before you go to sleep. I feel that this is the most important tip. The light interferes with sleep, and scrolling through articles or social media will keep your mind on full speed when you need to relax and wind down.
  • Have a cup of chamomile tea, but do so a couple of hours before bed to avoid the 1 am bathroom trip.
  • Do yoga, stretches, deep breathing, or meditation--even if only for 10 minutes.  Be in the moment, and listen to the sounds of each inhale and exhale. This helps to ground you and allows all thoughts of the past and future to melt away. 
  • Take a warm bubble bath with lavender or your favorite essential oil.
  • Set the stage. Light candles, turn on dim lamps, and turn off the bedroom lights.
  • Use 2-3 drops of lavender oil to rub onto your wrists, temples, and feet. Lavender reduces anxiety and aids in relaxation for better sleep.
  • Read a good book, and I don’t mean a book you have to read for class. Select a novel by your favorite author--one who captivates you and brings you into their world.
  • As you enjoy the peaceful setting you’ve created, focus on counting your blessings and drift into a peaceful night’s sleep.
These are the tips that have worked well for me. Try them for yourself or find your own personal path to a successful night’s sleep!


Have Fun Cooking & Save Time In The Kitchen!


I love to play in the kitchen! Cooking is my therapy, my creative outlet, and part of my “me time.” I enjoy finding new recipes and adding my own twist. When I make my own meals I also feel great that I know exactly what is going into my body. I feel vibrant and energized!

Some of you may be thinking, “I don’t have the time to cook,” “I have no idea how to cook, or “How can I possibly cook meals to please everyone in the household?” Cooking doesn’t have to be a long, intense process. The key is to keep it simple. Now simple doesn’t mean bland and boring. You can create a delicious, nutritious meal in less than an hour for you and your loved ones to enjoy!

Here are 15 of my favorite tips to have fun cooking & save time in the kitchen!

  • Choose recipes that require 5 ingredients or less and make dishes that take no longer than an hour to prep and cook
  • Set The Setting. Play your favorite music, light a candle. Create an atmosphere you love!
  • Use a Timer, so you can accomplish other tasks while your food is cooking
  • Experiment with varied styles of cooking such as raw, steaming, roasting, baking, boiling, or sautéing
  • Change it up and dress it up! Use a variety of vegetables, fruit, proteins, whole grains, nuts, healthy fats, oils, and seasonings!
  • Cook with others to share the work and make it a bonding experience.  Involve your significant others, children, and friends
  • Exchange recipes with others and learn their favorite dishes!
  • Prepare in Advance. Chop and season your dishes the night prior, so you can just place them in the oven when you are ready to eat!
  • Use a Slow Cooker or a Pressure Cooker – These appliances will become your best time-saving friends, and you can create your whole meal in a pot. And even better, the meal will be ready for you when you come home!
  • Only cook foods you love, but don’t be afraid to try something new!
  • Prepare in large quantities, so you can freeze it or save it for later in the week!
  • Get Creative with leftovers, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with others. Use the whole grain you made for the dinner the night before, add it to your breakfast bowl, toss it in a salad, or use it in your stir fry!
  • Include varied condiments and toppings on the table such as oils, nuts, seeds, sauces, hummus, and sliced avocado to please everyone’s particular taste buds
  • Be Patient and kind to yourself. It's okay to make mistakes in the kitchen; It is all a learning process! Just continue to practice, and cooking will come second nature to you in no time. 
  • Eat with others and connect over your delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal!

The more you cook, the easier it will get, and the more you will enjoy it! Creating a fun, healthy, and simple cooking practice is all part of your progressive transformation. Have fun in the kitchen and put love into your food. Not only will you taste the difference, but you will feel great, and anyone lucky enough to dine with you will appreciate you!


Empower Yourself This Holiday Season!

You have the power to set yourself up for success this holiday season! Go into these next few weeks with positivity and self-love! Welcome the holiday season and embrace it for what it should be about: family, friends, and gratitude for your beautiful life. Yes, it’s important to give to others, but you also deserve to show appreciation for yourself! You can accomplish all of your tasks, celebrate with your loved ones, AND maintain a happy, healthy life. The keys are intention, positivity, preparation, moderation, and balance. Read More