The Number One Tip Fit Women Follow

I had an entirely different post planned for today.

And then something pulled at my heart so strongly I knew I had to share with you.

Yesterday Krista Gray from Brit + Co published an article titled “15 Rules Fit Women Always Follow.”

Krista interviewed a group of incredibly bright, healthy, and inspirational women (including Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser and Jillian Lorenze, co-founder of The Barre Code). Little ol’ me was lucky enough to have her wellness ideas in the article. Not only was I included, but my tip is listed as number one.

The other tips in the article are great and I encourage you give it a read through (I especially love tip #14 from athlete Michelle Parker). But I believe my tip was top of the list because it looked beyond what we typically think of as fitness.

My tip was to focus on wellness first — not on appearances.

Which either seems super obvious or never crossed your mind.

For years the concept never crossed my mind. I focused on the wrong aspects of health. My goal was to look a certain way or to reach a certain weight. How I felt was inconsequential.

I deprived myself of eating foods I truly loved. I equated sacrifice with success. And deprivation with dutifulness.

I viewed exercise as an unavoidable chore. It was something I had to check off my list before getting to the next task. I would feel ridden with guilt if I missed a session and a little smug when I went to the gym more times than planned.

And despite my greatest efforts to control my diet and exercise consistently, my health wasn’t improving.

My mind and body were stressed out. And whose wouldn’t be, really? I was obsessed with ever-changing goals and at times unrealistic expectations.

And then a gradual shift occurred. My focus turned to self-care and self-love. I stopped wondering what I could do to lose a few pounds or to fit into my skinny jeans. Instead I started asking what could I do to support my body? My goals? My dreams?

I wanted to feel my best so I could be my best. The version of myself that was kind, attentive, energetic, and present. The version of myself that could give to and help others.

So instead of eating processed low-calorie food that left me hungry and without pizzazz, I started eating food that tasted delicious and left me energized and happy on the inside and out. Instead of drinking things I didn’t enjoy, I chose beverages that hydrated and nourished me.

Instead of exercising for the sake of exercising, I moved my body in ways that were challenging, fun, and left me feeling happy and healthy.

I filled my mind and leisure time with influences and activities that would make me feel more like the best version of myself.

And as a result, now I eat better. My food looks better, tastes better, and makes me feel better. I exercise because I want my body to be strong and healthy. My hobbies and work fill my cup instead of emptying it.

The beauty of this is that it’s completely sustainable. Because each decision I make is for my wellness —for my best interest. It’s not a sacrifice to turn down food that makes me feel bloated and cranky. It’s a gift to myself. It’s not a chore to exercise. It’s a way to honor and support my body. It’s not a waste of time to read an uplifting book. It’s enrichment for my mind and spirit.

Is every day perfect? Absolutely not! There are times when I make choices that don’t make me feel the best I can be. But I don’t torture myself about it. I learn from the experience and vow to treat myself better next time.

When your motivation is your personal wellness and overall health, you make better decisions instinctively.

It’s not a diet, or a fast, or an exercise binge. You don’t need to stress or obsess about going out for a meal or traveling.

You just make daily decisions to be and feel your best. And this change is real. Better. It is the true, effective, and sustainable path to lasting wellness.

Maybe you already do this instinctively. I commend you and encourage you to keep it up. But if your wellness is not your priority for fitness, consider a different way. Consider a way that puts the emphasis on feeling healthy and good in your body. Consider a way that encourages you to treat yourself with kindness and grace. Consider a better way.

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A Better Way to Independece Day (Plus My Recipe for Refreshing Limeade)

For all my American readers, Independence Day is just around the corner. This is a special day of historical and emotional importance — the birth of United States independence and freedom. A day marked with American pride and celebration in the form of parades, barbecues, and fireworks.

In the spirit of Independence Day, I offer you the opportunity to consider this:

What do you want independence from?

Is it from feeling chronically stressed? From feeling generally unhealthy? Sluggish? Or perhaps it is something else entirely.

Whatever you want freedom from, I offer you the opportunity to take action starting today.

If you are feeling stressed, consider meditating for 10 minutes today. If you are feeling unhealthy, think of adding a serving of fresh vegetables to your next meal. If feeling sluggish is weighing on you, switch out your sweet coffee drink for an herbal tea or go for a brisk walk or jog.

Decide whatever it is you want independence from and take one action to free you from it. It doesn’t have to be a huge life-transforming action (but if that’s what you want, go for it!). Just one step in the right direction.

Because we are going for progress, not perfection.

And because I want to help you feel the happiest and healthiest possible this Independence Day, I am sharing my recipe for naturally sweetened limeade.

This time of year I find myself craving refreshing and cooling drinks; something more than water, but nothing that sabotages my wellness plan. This recipe is the perfect solution and would be great to share at Independence Day barbecues and gatherings. It contains no sugar or artificial sweeteners. Just freshly squeezed limes, water, and a touch of stevia for sweetness. It’s a summertime staple in my household.

Refreshing Limeade (sf, gf, vegan)

1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 7 limes)
7 cups of water (preferably filtered)
2 tsp of liquid lemon stevia (do not substitute with powdered stevia)
Optional: 1/8 tsp natural salt (I always add this for extra depth of flavor)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir until combined. Chill for several hours or serve over ice.

Notes: If you prefer a stronger limeade, decrease the amount of water to 4 cups. Feel welcome to add more stevia to your desired sweetness.

So there you are! A better way to Independence Day.

What are you claiming independence from? Feel welcome to share in the comments section.

Sending you light until next time.

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Why I Built A Better Way Wellness

Why I Built A Better Way Wellness

From struggle & experience came the solution

As I rounded out my twenties, I knew there was something off.

On the surface things looked shiny. I lived in a fashionable part of town in a snappy condo with my loving husband, worked as a professor at a top 10 school for my discipline, and had a group of genuinely wonderful friends.

But something felt off. My body felt strange to me. Sure, I thought I was eating the “right” things (boy was I wrong) and completing vigorous exercise almost daily and sometime twice daily. But my weight was creeping up, my arms and stomach felt more than a little doughy, my skin was breaking out, my anxiety level was increasing, and my glow and energetic disposition were dulling. Something was wrong.

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