More than a cup full of love.

I'm sure you've heard the quote, "You can't pour from an empty cup" or maybe "You can't love anyone until you love yourself"? Either way, as cheesy as it sounds the concept is important to reaching wellness goals, quite frankly, any goals. Self-care, self-love, pampering, listening to your body, whatever you want to call it, taking care of yourself is the only way that your life as a whole will make sense and make you happy. 

I have talked about this concept many times but its because its where I keep having to return to and is what really makes a difference in my everyday life. When I fall off my healthy habits pathway, in mind, body, or spirit, its always when I've neglected to check in with myself and make choices based on what I need, not what I want. This happens when I choose to push through and ignore feelings of frustration, stress, tiredness. When I choose to procrastinate and then cram to finish something before a deadline. When I stay up late, not getting the 7 hours of sleep that I know I need. These things happen all the time, however since I've made myself aware of them, they are happening less frequently. Now I choose to take a relaxing bubble bath when I am stressed or need to relax. I meditate and use deep breathing to bring my stress level down a notch, even if just one little notch. I no longer open a book, my phone or my laptop if its getting close to my "lights out" time at night. Individually these things are not miracle workers, but collectively and done on the regular they keep me from exploding from a days/weeks/months/years of pent up frustrations. 

I liken this to watching a pot of water on the stove. As the heat rises and stress increases, the water starts to boil. If you ignore it it will eventually boil over. If you can begin to notice what happens in your body before this boiling over point you can take a moment to use something from your Stress Less Tool Kit to help bring you back into a more balanced state. This tool kit is not a product Im selling (although... mental note), it is a kit you are going to start making for yourself. It should be filled with things you enjoy both big and small, that also bring you wellness and rejuvenation, not just calories and chemicals. 

Your kit will be different but here is what mine currently looks like:

  • Multiple Herbal Tea Bags - Twinnings Peppermint & Yogi Kava Stress Relief.
  • Essential Oils with relaxing and calming benefits - Chill Pill, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, Rosemary (Rosemary is my favorite).
  • Lemon Balm Liquid Extract - I put a dropper full in water or tea to help calm the nervous system.
  • Reflexology Ball - Right now I just use it under the ball of my foot to promote stress relief.
  • An inspiring or funny book - Currently, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg & Born Standing Up by Steve Martin 

I keep these physical items in a pretty zipper pouch and now even seeing the bag starts to relax me :)

Non-physical items in my tool kit are specific meditations and breathing exercises, taking a walk, going to water, reading outside, taking my shoes off and walking in grass, listening to podcasts or YouTube interviews, listening to my favorite music, cooking healthy meals, journaling, doing yoga, taking a nap, taking photos, writing, playing with my pups. The list continues to grow the more I look for healthy stress relievers. The only way to find these is to experiment by swapping the normal "unhealthy" stress reliever with something new. If you like it, add it to your tool kit. Very slowly you will start to crave these rejuvenation habits when you are feeling stressed out. Go ahead and get crazy. Instead of filling my cup full of self love, I am stocking up enough self love to fill up a well, a wellness well if you will ;)


My Gratifying Morning Routine

Hey! If you've read any of my previous posts about creating a morning routine, you will know that this has been high on my list of priorities. While this routine still doesn't happen every day or as early as I would like, it is definitely my favorite part of the day when it does happen. 

This isn't really a follow along video, it is simply a demonstration of how I go from sleepy and stiff to feeling loosey-goosey and energized in a manner of minutes. Yes, music and coffee are involved. 

In the time it takes to listen to two songs, I was able to stretch my spine, foam roll my troubled hip areas, squeeze in some core work and get my heart rate up a little with some good old fashion dance/hula hooping. Followed with lots of water and a healthy (protein and fiber filled) breakfast, and I'm ready to tackle my day.

If you dread moving each morning try adding some of your favorite things to make it as enjoyable as possible.

Nutrition Baby Steps - Get Rid of Fast Food

While writing my post explaining my Nutrition Baby Steps, I really wanted to elaborate on each each but knew that my post would become way to long to digest. So I thought I would take some time with each step. 

The first step in my Nutrition Baby Steps is to ditch the fast food. As stated previously, there will be occasions in which you need food and the only option is to eat at a fast food establishment, however this is not what I am referring to. What I am referring to is the habit of regularly eating fast food for your breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I know that there are some healthier options these days but most of these meals still have a large amount of calories and fat, with very little fiber. High in fat and not so high in fiber usually results in the food moving through you rather quickly, causing an upset stomach and not providing you with much nutritional value. Additionally, sometimes these "healthier" options really aren't that much healthier. For example, most of the salads from McDonalds have just as many calories, if not more, than a double cheeseburger. 

Furthermore, because fast food establishments have to serve food in such large quantities, for such a low price, you can pretty much guarantee that the quality of the the food is not that great. Cheap ingredients, filled with who knows what, does not make for a healthy staple in anyones diet. 

What to do instead:

  • Gas Station Breakfast - Cliff Bar and a banana or Yogurt w/ almonds and a banana.
  • Gas Station Coffee Drink - Instead of a sugary coffee drink mix equal parts Muscle Milk with plain black coffee. This provides your caffeine with some flavor and loads of protein.
  • Grocery Store Lunch - 1/2 lb high quality lean lunch meat (turkey or chicken) to make lunch meat roll ups and carrots with hummus. Or stop at a store that has an awesome deli counter or salad bar. Just be careful of creamy dressings and stay away from heavy foods (think mac n cheese and fried foods).
  • Quick and Easy Dinner - Instead of pulling in for a burger and fries, make yourself some scrambled eggs and chicken or turkey sausage. Breakfast for dinner :) Another option is a rotisserie chicken and quick steamed veggies OR a part of a thin crust frozen pizza loaded with veggies and a salad. 
Here is an example of lunch that I grabbed from a grocery store on the way to the beach. Works the same for a work week lunch too, just leave out the beer :)

Here is an example of lunch that I grabbed from a grocery store on the way to the beach. Works the same for a work week lunch too, just leave out the beer :)

If you must eat fast food:

  • Take a look at the restaurants nutrition information and choose wisely. Look for meals high in protein, low in fat and preferably with some fiber. If a salad and a burger have similar nutrition then pick which ever one you would like at the moment. Just remember that heavy foods make you feel heavy and lethargic, so keep that in mind.
  • Places like Subway and Chic-fil-a tend to have more healthier options, but that doesn't mean everything is healthy. Again, look at the nutrition information. 
  • Use your Lose It App. There is a place to look up nutrition info from this app which make these decisions a little easier. 

Nutrition Baby Steps

Cleaning up your diet is not as easy as cleaning out your fridge. Making healthy changes is a learning process and takes time. Slowly incorporate these baby steps and get clean and lean in no time.


1. Get rid of fast food. I understand that in some emergency situations fast food is the best option, but if you are trying to clean up your diet fast food must go. If you forgot to bring your lunch and are in dire need of a meal or a snack, you're better off stoping at a grocery store, health food store or even a gas station to find a better option. 

2. Stop drinking your calories. Put aside the fact that water is fantastic for your entire body and calculate all of the calories that you are drinking throughout the day. Caffeine fix each morning (flavored coffee drink or soda, cringe), sweet tea or more soda with lunch, another caffeine fix in the afternoon, a sports drink during your workout, and a cocktail (or 2) after work or with dinner. This can total an extra 500-700 calories per day, which unaccounted for can lead to a one pound gain each week!!!!!!

3. Have breakfast every morning. Yea, yea, yea... most important meal of the day. While some may argue that the timing of your meals does not matter, starting your day with a balanced meal provides energy and allows you to focus on tackling your to do list. It gets your metabolism started and prevents random binge eating on bagels and donuts at the office. Focus on protein, whole grains, and fiber!

4. Start reading food labels. Becoming a label snob has never really been my style (except for really wanting Jenko's and Doc Martens in high school), but checking out the label on your food needs to become second nature. Blindly eating what ever you grab will keep you far from a healthy and happy body. Even if you don't know what you're looking at, start with the ingredients list. If it is filled with a ton of random complex and scientific looking ingredients, see if you can find one with more real ingredients that you recognize.

5. Eat real food throughout the day. Again, there are some in the fitness world that believe timing your meals is not as important as ensuring that you are consuming that proper amount of macronutrients (grams of carbs, protein, fat, and fiber). No matter what school of thought you have about meal timing, managing your hunger levels will help you stick to your plan. If you are "starving" you will be more likely to ditch your healthy plan and eat the next thing that comes your way. Try and mix in "real" food, food in its most natural and unprocessed form.

6. Learn how to curb your cravings. As you begin to focus on making healthier food choices, you will start to recognize your specific cravings. No matter what they are, salty, sweet, creamy, or crunchy, you will need to find replacements for your cravings. Greek yogurt with honey instead of ice cream. Pistachios instead of potato chips. Dark chocolate squares for sweet. Sometimes you can even use activities to distract you from "boredom" cravings, like painting your nails or reading a book. A good place to start is with a big glass of water!

7. Keep a Food Journal. Keeping a food journal is just like balancing your check book and just like balancing your check book there are now tools that make food journaling a lot easier. Not knowing how many calories you are regularly consuming can make reaching your goals rather difficult. This does not have to be a 24/7 habit but until you have a handle on what your typical portions should look like, food journaling is important. My clients and I love the Lose It app!

8. Make healthy meals ahead of time. As you travel along your healthy food journey you will start to recognize that preparing healthy meals does take time. You will also recognize how easy you can make your life by taking a little time each week to prepare some meals or snacks ahead of time. My top priorities are breakfast and dinner. Check out the Mint Condition Pinterest page for ideas.