Category: Motivation & Mindset

Post-Thanksgiving Update

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving! It might be my favorite holiday…I love the homey, relaxed coziness of it all.


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here….filled with treats such as this:


My daughter loves to bake, and she is really good at it! She found the recipe online and did almost all the work herself. I helped with the frosting. “Pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.” Oh, my…

which is why I am getting ready for this again:


Yes, I overindulged. I enjoyed it, I didn’t fret about it, I don’t really regret it (well, maybe that last cupcake was a bad idea). But sometimes when I indulge like that it leaves me wanting more. So, I started a 21 day stretch of tightening things up (hopefully literally as well as figuratively) and will help kick those cravings with a 3-Day Refresh starting Sunday. I really can’t wait…I felt so good after the last one!

I did start my Thanksgiving off with a 5-mile Turkey Trot! That was a lot of fun, and I am very proud of how well I did- for me. I am a s-l-o-w r-u-n-n-e-r…but my finish time was my best ever! It goes to show how much all my other workouts carry over into overall fitness. I run faster now than I did when all I did was run!


I’m also really excited to share the release of Hammer & Chisel! It’s a brand new Beachbody program featuring 2 trainers- Autumn from 21 Day Fix and Sagi from Body Beast. I have never done Body Beast (not yet anyway) but I have heard amazing things about it; it seems like the people who do it love it. Hammer & Chisel was just released December 1st. I will be starting that program in January to kick off 2016, and I am really looking forward to that, while enjoying the rest of this year.

I have one more week left of Les Mills Pump. I can’t believe it! I am going to miss it…it’s funny how you get attached to these programs. I have definitely seen some changes with Pump and I love, love, love the weights. It’s a program I’ll come back to, and probably sneak in some of the workouts here and there in the meantime.

That’s where I’m at now…and looking to recommit to my blog! Sometimes I shy away because I feel like I don’t have anything important or meaningful enough to post, but this is my life and my “journey” (I feel really sappy using that word, but that’s what it is) and maybe even the boring parts will help someone 🙂

I am grateful each day that I have discovered all the joy there is in getting fit…

My Review of the 3 Day Refresh

I just tried the 3 Day Refresh for the first time in September. Before I began, I googled it to get an idea of what I was in for…and I was terrified by what I saw. Well, maybe terrified is a slight exaggeration. But I was nervous- it seemed terrible!


I LOVE the 3 Day Refresh!!! It was difficult, yes, but not terribly difficult. I never felt woozy or light-headed or sick. I didn’t cramp up or have trouble sleeping. And when it was over…I felt AMAZING! I was elated, full of energy, and had zero cravings for anything other than healthy food. The feelings lasted a while, too.

I did not lose a ton of weight. I had seen stories of people losing 8 or 9 pounds, or at least 5 or 6. I lost about 3 pounds, but I’m not a drop-weight kind of person. I am pretty near my goal weight (if I had to pick a number- I know it’s not all about that number, but I do have one in my head). I was happy though. It did nudge me past a number I’ve been stuck at for a while. And while I felt a little deflated on the third morning when I looked at the scale, the way I felt the next day more than compensated for it- I felt so good.

So I’ll give you a run-through of what the 3 days look like…each day is pretty much the same. I kept my foods pretty much the same too, but you are given some choices in the guide book.

My box arrived and everything is very clearly spelled out for you…



Basically, you have Shakeology for breakfast, along with a serving of fruit. So I had strawberry Shakeology blended with ice and water, and half a banana each day for breakfast. Mid-morning I had a cup of green tea. Coffee is allowed, but this was my first time doing it and I wanted to do it by the book to get the best results. In the late morning you drink a fiber drink. It was not tasty, but it was not awful either. I just chugged it down. It reminded me of Metamucil.

For lunch, you have a shake, a fruit option, a veggie option, and a healthy fat. I loved lunch! So I would have the shake (I did not like the shake- I ended up chugging the shake down, too) and half a grapefruit, and celery with sun butter. It felt so satisfying.

You can also have an afternoon snack, and I loved this too. I had celery and almond butter every afternoon. I had never had almond butter before because of nut allergies in the house. But I was very careful and cleaned up well after eating it…and it was soooo good! Very satisfying snack.


Dinner consists of a shake and an option from a list of recipes. I had the same thing each day- a big old salad. It seemed like the most food to me! And it was tasty- a little olive oil and sunflower seeds. Yum!

The 3-Day Refresh guide offers you a list of options for the fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and dinners you get each day. You can also have vegetable broth with dinner. I had it the first two nights, but not the third. There is no animal protein included in the three days, which is why I chose the package where the vegan Shakeology is included. Plant protein is easier to digest.

I felt pretty good the 3 days. I was definitely hungry, but like I said earlier, it was not terrible. I exercised the first and third days (a short workout) and went for a walk with my husband and children on the second day. So I wasn’t languishing on a coach somewhere. I did have a slight, dull headache the whole three days. I’m guessing that was from no coffee!

I’ve always had mixed feelings about cleanses…I believe our bodies are pretty efficient at doing what they need to do, so we don’t really need cleanses. But then I feel like our bodies are up against so much- so many toxins come into them from the food we eat and the air we breathe. They work hard all the time, maybe a cleanse is a good way to help the body out. A cleanse is a good way to reset the body and help you get your eating on the right track. I also think cleanses can be useful when you’re feeling stuck. Sometimes you can break through a barrier with a cleanse and your body is revved up for better weight loss.

The 3-Day Refresh definitely helped me with my cravings. When I finished, all I craved was good, healthy, natural food. I felt fantastic. My energy was also through the roof. I felt truly elated- happy, strong, positive, refreshed. It was wonderful! And I will definitely do it again and again, periodically to give my body a break, or after a vacation or holiday, to get back into good habits. And (ugh- my first time sharing pictures like this anywhere!) I was happy with my results!! Excuse the mess behind me 🙂


My tips for the 3-Day Refresh:

  • Plan Ahead. Definitely make sure you have everything you need for each day ahead of time. You don’t want to get caught hungry!
  • Time it Right. Don’t plan to do it when you have a special occasion or a big event. The added stress won’t help! Try to do it when you don’t have much going on. I also found the first day the hardest, so maybe plan around a weekend.
  • Drink your Water. Drink, drink, drink. It will help you to feel more full.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by my experience. Yes, I’m a Beachbody coach, but I truly loved the way I felt when it was all over. And I did not gain the weight back on day 4. In fact, I’ve since lost a few more pounds! It helped me break through a plateau. That’s a big success for me.

Have you ever tried the 3-Day Refresh?


My Beachbody Story

In June of 2012 I went to a friend’s house for coffee. I had just had my fourth baby, a boy, in May. I love this friend, and I don’t see her very regularly, but when we get together we have a ton of stuff to talk about. That day she told me about a program she saw an infomercial about on TV called Insanity. I had never heard of it…


I went home that day and watched the informercial on my phone while I nursed my son. It looked pretty crazy. When I spoke to my friend again, I said, “That looks amazing. I just don’t think I could ever do it.” And I believed that. I had never done a pushup outside of a physical fitness test. I may not have even known what a burpee was at the time. I went on with my summer.

It was a fun summer, I’m sure. But there was a growing uneasiness inside me. I had gotten “almost fit” before my fourth with a brief stint of running. But I was feeling very heavy, very uncomfortable in my own skin. My husband has a quote I love: “It’s hard to get out of bed when your pants don’t fit.” And that is so true! All vanity aside, this is the body we live in and spend the day in and we have to clothe it and when we can’t do that comfortably it just sucks. I felt out of control, weak, helpless, unhealthy.

That September, my birth month, I just did it- I ordered Insanity. It was somewhat impulsive, but I feel like it had been floating around in my head since June. It was a lot of money for us; money is tight with me staying at home and I probably had no business spending $120 on a fitness program. But I did it. And I tracked the shipping every single day.

When it arrived I took the fit test. I almost threw up. That would happen again a few times that week. And throughout the program. I also cried a few times. But I stuck with it and I somehow loved it. I loved the craziness of it. I loved what I was doing with my body. I loved pushing myself to the point of tears. I loved the challenge and the sense of accomplishment that came after. And I saw results. Pretty quickly. I saw improvements in what I was doing, and I saw changes in my body. That was very satisfying. When I saw friends at Thanksgiving that I hadn’t seen since Labor Day, it was an almost jaw-dropping reaction. All of this was good for my self-esteem, my confidence. I also started to thrive on the joy you get from exercise- the endorphins, the good feelings it generates, the improvement in your mood. I became a better mother- I was happier, more fun. I had more energy and more patience because I was becoming more at peace with myself. I felt better, so my mood was better, so I treated those around me better.

I also loved the example I was setting for my kids. They watched me a lot in those days; we only have one TV in our house. They watched me sweat and struggle and push through and finish and feel proud. I think those were good lessons for physical challenges and any other challenge. I was proud of myself.


I would go on to do Insanity again, and then I tried other Beachbody programs. I joined a Facebook accountability group (grudgingly) and was surprised by how much I liked the sharing and the support. I have loved every program I have done- Insanity, T25, Insanity: The Asylum, P90X3, PiYo, Chalene Extreme, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, Insanity Max 30. They are all motivating and they give you results. The variety is great, but you know you’re gonna see progress. My body is completely different than it ever was; I used to wonder if you could change your body and I have learned that you can!

I have learned a ton about nutrition and clean eating with the programs. And I continue to grow…I have a lot of fitness goals yet to meet. I need to work on some issues. I want to do a pull-up, unassisted. Pushups drive me crazy; I want to be able to bang out 20 pushups no problem. I still have a sweet tooth that pops up unexpectedly and won’t go away. But my pants fit. It is much easier to get out of bed when your pants fit, when you don’t feel like you’re expanding like a balloon.

There is a particular moment that sticks out in my mind from years ago…I was on a canoe trip. It was one of the funnest days ever. I had a great time. But I remember being in the water, with clothes on and a life vest, and having to climb back into the canoe. I couldn’t do it. I felt like a beached whale (I wasn’t particularly heavy at the time- just totally out of shape) and I couldn’t do it. I shrugged it off and somehow got back in and had fun the rest of the day. But I was struck by that feeling of not being able to haul my fat self back into the canoe.

I think part of the success I’ve had the last three years has been because of a shift in goals…yes, I would like to be thin and to wear clothes that fit nice and look good. But I mostly want to be strong, to be fit, to be healthy. I want to set goals for myself and meet them; I want to do things I thought I could never do.


I have become passionate about health and fitness and nutrition and it was three years of loving Beachbody that finally got me to become a coach. I wanted to add Shakeology to my life, too, and knew the discount would help out there. So I signed up…and I love the added motivation and accountability that being a coach brings. I love seeing it change other peoples’ lives that way it has changed mine. I get downright mushy about it, because it has genuinely changed every part of my life. And all for the good.

The end of summer….

I have had the greatest summer…


It started out at a place I love in upstate New York. My husband’s family is part of a bungalow colony in the Catskills and it is a very special place. You know everyone there and your kids have a ton of freedom. You get to spend a ton of time with your best friends and lots of people you love. There’s also a lot of family time- extended family time. My husband is one of eight children, so there are lots of cousins and my wonderful father-in-law. Grandpa makes his home feel like our own and we love having the time with him.

After a few days up there, we hopped in the minivan and headed off to Disney for the first time! My oldest is ten and has been asking to go for years. So this was the trip of a lifetime. My amazing family would be meeting us there to celebrate some milestone birthdays…80, 50, 40, and 10! On the way we stopped off in a little Florida beach town and headed to Orlando in the morning. So even the long ride felt like an adventure.


Disney World was so great. I am not a planner and I was worried about feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, but…it really is a magical place. And to have the chance to experience it with my parents, all of my siblings, and all of my nieces and nephews made it that much better. It was one of the happiest weeks of my life.

The ride home was fun too, including a visit to Nashville! My sister was attending the Beachbody Summit there, and I thought it would be a good excuse to check out Nashville. I’m very jealous I didn’t get to stay for the summit, but maybe next year…


We also took a scenic ride on the Skyline Drive on the ride home and checked out Shenandoah National Park. I love how tired I look in this picture! I feel kind of like that right now, too, as a matter of fact 🙂

Most of the rest of the summer was spent upstate, with one wonderful week in the middle spent at the New Jersey shore. Lots of quality family time there, too, with just us and with my parents and cousins and aunts and uncles.

I am at the end of the summer and feeling very thankful and very blessed. We are surrounded by so many really good people. I am sad another summer is ending, but there is always a sense of renewal in September.

I am also a little relieved to be home more regularly; living out of bags gets tiring. I also look forward to getting back to food prep and meal planning and a sense of normalcy. As much as I think I’ll feel lonely with the kids and my husband back at school, and not surrounded by a bunch of friends all the time, I think I’m ready to nest a bit and take better care of my body!

I have gotten really derailed with my nutrition this summer and while I’ve been pretty consistent with exercise, I look forward to getting back to a program. I’ve been kind of jumping around, doing whatever workout suited me that day. It’s nice to change it up like that, but I’ll be happy to be back on a schedule.

I think a lot of people feel the same bittersweet feeling this time of year…the fun of summer will be missed, but I just couldn’t keep going like that for too much longer! I’ve also missed keeping up with my little blog; I’m feeling very negligent. Looking forward to fall and getting back into my passion for nutrition and exercise, trying out new foods and recipes, and sharing my progress here.

After too many cheeseburgers and chips, too much ice cream and beer, I also feel like I’ve set myself up for quite a challenge this fall! I have some work to do! I’m hoping the challenge of it gets me going…

Happy September, everyone! What are your goals for the fall ahead?


Finding Motivation

I have said before that I’m not sure why Insanity was the workout that got me hooked on exercise and it’s true.  But I do have some ideas about things that have been helpful in keeping me on the right track…

  • Finding the right fit.  Maybe sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the exercise that’s right for you.  Of course there are factors to consider like your current level of fitness, cost, scheduling, etc.  But sometimes it just might be a matter of finding what you like.
  • Giving things a chance.  I hated running in the beginning, and I hear people say they hate running all the time.  But, you know what?  I kept at it for a while and eventually I liked it, then loved it.  If you’re not an exercise person (yet!) you might hate all exercise in the beginning.  Give it some time.
  • Be patient.  Kinda related to the last point- getting fit takes time.  Don’t get frustrated.  I have been exercising consistently for just over two years now, and I still have a way to go with my fitness goals.  But I’ve come a long way too.  Take pride in your progress and be kind to yourself.  Also, be patient with yourself and the exercise itself.  I could not do the Insanity workouts perfectly, start to finish, and I still can’t.  But I can do a whole lot more now than I could then!  Even within the program I noticed changes week to week in what I could do.
  • Schedule it.  I believe there’s a lot to be said for a workout calendar.  Insanity came with a calendar, and I followed it, never missing a workout.  You don’t have to do it at the same time each day (though that might be a good idea, too) but you should have a plan to stick to…don’t leave your workouts to chance.  Know what you’re going to do each day and commit to doing it.
  • Make it a priority.  My husband used to say this so much it became a joke between us.  “You gotta make it a priority.”  And it’s so true.  I fought this one for a long time, thinking “but my children are the priority!”  And of course they are.  But exercise is, too.  It’s for your health, physical as well as mental and emotional.  Get it done.  Put it first.
  • Find the time.  In the beginning, my time was at night.  The morning was out of the question then, at least I though so, as there was usually a child (or two or three or four) in my bed by the time morning came.  I also felt like once I was up, the whole house would wake up.  Now I’ve gotten to a point where I get up before the kids and exercise; now I can’t imagine doing Insanity at night!  I love getting it done and getting showered and ready for the day before the day is under way.  There are days things don’t go as planned, and I have to find a way to get it done later.  But for the most part, mornings are my time.  Find what works for you, and know that if it’s not ideal now things change and you can adjust as you move along.
  • Be accountable.  Find a buddy or an online group and share what you’re doing.  I joined a Facebook group after I had been exercising for a while.  We were all doing different Beachbody programs at the time, but we would post our workout each day.  Sometimes some of us will choose a program to do together and pick a start date.  That’s fun because we can share what we like and don’t like, vent on a bad day or ask questions.  It’s also motivating because you don’t want to be the one that doesn’t post that day.  There have been many days I know I might have missed a workout if I didn’t feel like I was letting my partners down or being a wimp!
  • Immerse yourself.  Let fitness go beyond your workout.  Let it seep into other areas of your life.  If you’re a reader, get a book about clean eating or exercise.  Read a fitness magazine.  Go on Pinterest and search the health and fitness category.  Look at health websites.  Listen to podcasts about nutrition and working out.  If you like to cook, look for ways to make your favorite recipes healthier.  If you like to shop, buy yourself a nice outfit for working out or pick out a goal outfit to buy when you finish your first month.
  • Set goals.  One of the things I love about Beachbody programs is that finishing a whole program is a big deal; it’s a great goal.  I am so proud of myself for finishing Insanity!  A lot of people don’t finish these programs, but I did.  And it was so hard.  The accomplishment of finishing a program start-to-finish is very motivating for me.  Races are great, too.  If you’ll be running, or walking and running to start, sign up for a 5K.  It’s a wonderful feeling to finish a race.
  • Write down those goals.  This is something I need to work on.  I have heard it before and now, doing Chalean Extreme, Chalene Johnson emphasizes it…write down your goals!  She says if you don’t write down your goals, they’re just dreams, or something to that effect.  I have been setting goals for myself, but I have not been writing them down.  I’ll start tonight:)

These are just some of my thoughts on getting motivated.  It can be so hard, I know.  Find what works for you- it’s out there!  And if you’re having trouble getting started, pick one thing to do- write down a goal or get a book out of the library or meal plan for the week or cut out soda or take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Do a new healthy thing each day.  And be patient with yourself, and kind to yourself.  Be open to it, too; don’t have a bad attitude about exercise or eating clean because it’s something you haven’t done before.  There’s a whole world out there to discover.