Quinoa Jambalaya

Happy Friday, friends!

Summer is flying by, and I'm just trying to keep up :) This weekend Ben and I are driving down to central Illinois for a big race and to visit my family and I'm really excited but trying to wrap up all the loose ends before we hit the road.

Lately we've been eating lots of fast and easy recipes for dinner, and this one was delicious! A healthy spin on jambalaya or dirty rice, inspired by an old issue of Cooking Light.

It whips up in about 20 minutes and makes plenty for leftovers! Adjust the spiciness to your taste :)

Quinoa Jambalaya

Inspired by Cooking Light
Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c uncooked quinoa
  • 1 package medium cooked shrimp
  • 2 chicken sausages
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or a dash of cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Rinse your quinoa to remove the bitter coating, then cook in 2 c boiling water for 10-12 minutes, until done.

While quinoa is cooking, heat a large wok or skillet coated with cooking spray or 1-2 tsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery and cook 5-8 minutes, until veggies are soft. Stir in the seasonings.

Add the frozen shrimp and cook until the shrimp is warmed through. Add the chicken sausage and heat for 1-2 more minutes. Finally, add the cooked quinoa (be sure you're using a super large skillet!!) and stir to combine.

Voila, enjoy!

How to bounce back from a summer weekend

It’s June! Summer has officially arrived, including the whirlwind of weddings, parties, vacations, trips, and nights drinking wine on the patio.

So much to love!

Let's face the facts: it’s incredibly hard to stick to a routine this time of year when our schedules are all over the place.

As someone who thrives on routine, this can throw me off and stress me out, but this summer I’m making it my goal to find a balance between disciplined structure, and go with the flow spontaneous living.

 My husband Ben is a teacher and had this week off before he starts summer school, so we decided to take a little getaway to Galena, IL, an adorable historic town that we’d never visited before. We both love experiencing a new place through exploring its local restaurant scene and so we basically at and drank our way through Galena for 2 days and it was glorious.

In the past, I’d get back from a trip and completely freak out about falling off the wagon. I would probably feel pressured to dive into some really rigid and structured “slim down” to counteract all the indulgences and ward off weight loss, and I would freak out about feeling bloated or heavy and beat myself up for eating unhealthy food and letting myself go.

Luckily I’ve realized that’s not how I want to live! I love food and I love my body, and I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive anymore. Having the perfect body but feeling deprived is not happiness. At the same time, I do want to treat my body with respect and fuel it with healthy food! Is there a way to find a healthy AND happy balance? I think yes.

But there’s no secret formula or program to follow. Balance can only be defined by YOU, based on a combination of how you want to feel, and what foods make your body feel the best.

That being said, here is my general Healthy and Happy Sanity Plan for bouncing back after an indulgent weekend, vacation, or trip!

4 easy ways to bounce back after a summer weekend

  1. Get right back at it!
    I go right back into my “regularly programmed routine” without being too strict. I’ll wake up early to move my body, eat a balanced breakfast, make sure to get my Shakeology (superfoods) in, have an enormous salad for lunch, and a healthy dinner. I’ll make an extra effort to drink as much water as possible, shooting for a gallon. Sometimes I’ll add lemon or cucumber to make my water more fancy and fun to drink.

  2. Avoid the scale.
    I don’t keep a scale anymore, but if you are prone to weighing yourself, AVOID THE SCALE for at least 3 days. I’ve found it takes my body a little while to de-bloat and feel like normal again, especially as I get older. If you are using the scale as a tool to track your health and wellness journey, I recommend weighing yourself on Fridays!

  3. Give yourself space to mentally detox.
    Mondays after a big weekend or trip are rough, and it's easy to get sucked right back into the to-do list and fast pace of life without giving yourself time to breathe, which leads to lots of stress and overwhelm! I try to wake up early to give myself some quiet space to chill, relax, and re-ground myself, because as an introvert, a big and busy weekend or vacation isn’t necessarily rejuvenating for me, and I need time to process the experience and get mentally back on track for the week. Just like my body, it takes my brain 2-3 days to feel like I’m “back on track” when it comes to feeling confident and in my groove with my daily routine and work so I don’t stress if I’m feeling super overwhelmed the first day home.

  4. Practice patience, empathy, and self compassion.
    Release the “all or nothing” mindset around being healthy. This is a big one that my clients and I all struggle with but it's worth practicing! I think it’s human nature to feel like we have to be ALL IN or all out. We’re either bingeing or dieting. But you don’t have to live that way! Practice moderation -- next time you’re on a trip or at an event, choose a glass of water instead of the third glass of wine. Take two seconds to tune into your body before you eat. Do you really want that dessert or extra bite of bread? It’s all about baby steps and awareness. Do you catch yourself scheduling an extra workout to burn off the calories? Do a 30 minute HIIT routine or take a lunch time walk and call it good.

Summer Detox Salad

This is my go-to recipe for the times your body is just craaaaaving some veggies and fresh food! Eat this for lunch the week after an indulgent trip. It's like a juice cleanse ... except you get to actually eat real food.

  • 2-3 cups mixed greens
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 2 T red onion
  • ¼ c cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ c shredded carrot
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 T pumpkin seeds
  • 2 T fresh mint, chopped
  • Cider vinaigrette

Cider Vinaigrette

  • ⅓ c olive oil
  • 1/3  c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper

Reminders for when you start feeling hard on yourself:

You can’t “undo” progress, go back to square one, or fall off the wagon. The wagon is your life! Your body will remember all the workouts, healthy food, and positive decisions you made for yourself, even if you spend two weeks eating your way through Europe or gain back weight you’ve lost in the past. Keep moving forward, and keep tuning into what feels good. If you start focusing on adding more things that feel good into your life (healthy food, exercise, any mental or emotional rituals like meditation, journaling, therapy), the stuff that makes you feel yucky will get crowded out without any extra effort. 

Focus on ADDING more positive decisions and experiences into your life, instead of trying to remove negatives. If you eat a giant salad, you will be too full for junk food. It’s as simple as that. No need to make a big drama out of will-powering your way through life.

As women, our bodies are constantly retaining water, fluids, and also digesting food. We can't trust the scale. Our weight is constantly going to fluctuate 5-10 pounds over the course of the week. So if you're using the scale to measure your progress (or sense of self worth), proceed with caution and give yourself a "goal range" not just a goal weight.

Since I'm at a healthy happy weight, I decided to trash my scale 2 years ago and it has given me a lot of emotional and mental freedom, but I still don't like it when my pants are tight and I feel bloated.

But I've learned that our bodies are designed to detox and cleanse themselves. We don't have to deprive, punish, or buy into complicated "quick fix" slim down plans.

Focus on the basics!

  • WATER.
  • SLEEP.
  • LIGHT/MODERATE EXERCISE.
  • LOTS OF VEGGIES.

And you'll bounce right back.

Please remember this sanity plan as we head into summer because let's face it -- tis the season for cookouts, cocktails, travel, and living life to the fullest.

xo Anna

how to squash your negative self talk

Last week I heard a voice inside my head that I haven’t heard in months and months.

“You’re fat.”

And the crazy part is that I listened to it.

I believed it.

It’s easy to let our thoughts spiral out of control if we’re not careful.

“I feel fat” turns into “I am fat” >> “I am gross” >> “I am a failure” >> “I am unlovable” >> see what I mean? It doesn't matter whether or not we actually ARE fat. Body shaming is a purely emotional thing.

So instead of living my life and enjoying the gorgeous weather over the weekend, I allowed myself to get trapped in my own head, obsessed about the way my jeans were cutting into my belly, second guessed my decisions to eat the delicious pita bread and froyo on our date night (two of my favorite foods!!), and my overall confidence and self esteem were completely shot. Which of course rolled over into other areas of my life as well, and I started to go down the spiral of self doubt about my business, life choices, and existence in general.

I thought I had healed my body image insecurities.

I’m a 30 year old grown woman! I’ve been a health and wellness coach for 3 years, practicing what I preach about self acceptance, balance, health and happiness at any size.

I guess this flare-up was just a sign that no matter how far we come, how much weight we lose, how much personal development we do, how many life coaching or therapy sessions we have, we’re always going to have days where that inner mean girl in the back of our head tries to take the driver's seat again. Life is an evolution, not a straight line.

Just because we’ve healed old destructive thoughts or behaviors doesn’t mean they’ll never resurface, but we don't have to let them control us anymore.

Luckily I’ve come far enough in my journey to send up a giant RED FLAG whenever I start to get self critical or body shaming thoughts like this so I can stop my inner critic before she runs away.

It's easy to put a surface level band-aid on your feelings and think you just need to workout more, eat healthier (or less), or punish your body into thinness, but those aren't solutions because this is actually not a surface level problem at all.

The secret to ending body shaming and self-criticism is AWARENESS.

Yup, it's so simple, but hard because you have to actually face your feelings and dig deeper. 

Whenever you catch yourself having a body image moment or obsessing about feeling “fat,” check in with yourself: what's really going on?

By bringing awareness to my "fat talk" I started to investigate my thoughts and feelings instead of dwelling in them, and what I discovered was really interesting.

I'm still trying to figure out my relationship with food and how to trust my body.

You know that a few weeks ago I finished the Ultimate Reset. It was amazing, I learned a lot, and although I tried to tell myself I was doing the program for the inner results and to heal my gut and let go of habits that don't serve me, I can't deny that I loved feeling super lean and skinny afterwards.

BUT IT IS NOT A SUSTAINABLE PROGRAM! I can't subsist on veggies and distilled water for my entire life. I was hoping to be able to maintain my results, but it's been really hard trying to find a new balance and go from a super structured and regimented eating plan back to intuitive eating.

It’s hard to remember that I can trust my body and trust that I don’t have to follow a strict diet to feel healthy and happy in my own skin.

I want a lifestyle that includes froyo, pizza, wine, and family dinner nights.

I don't want to constantly be obsessing about my body image.

I WANT to master intuitive eating so I can spend 100% of my life not worrying about food and my body. Right now I feel confident and free in my relationship with my body and food about 80% of the time. I'm going to have to give myself more time and practice!

Body shaming, food "issues," and self critical thoughts are always a symptom of something deeper.

Right now -- lots of stuff is happening for me, and I haven't been giving myself enough space to process it all. I'm asking myself to expand in multiple areas of life, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone and creates space for all my insecurities and fears to bubble to the surface.

I'm growing into a new level of leadership with my coaching team, Inspire Joy. I'm expanding my 1:1 life coaching business, putting myself out there in a bigger way even if some days I'd rather just hide and stay small. I'm making some really huge (to me) personal and career pivots! I'm also thinking about how I just turned 30 and life is really good but I really kinda want to have a baby soon, which is scary. Things are so good, deep down I'm afraid something bad is going to happen because do I actually deserve to be happy?? Also time is flying by so fast, I'm afraid I'm letting life pass before my eyes. And watching my grandma and parents get older is making me realize that life is so short.

See what I mean?

Whenever I start to feel a little stressed or overwhelmed with life, my anxiety goes straight to either my business (I'm not growing fast enough or making enough money etc etc), or my body (I am fat, blah, ugly, etc etc).

What I'm doing this week to squash my negative self talk

  • Journaling daily
  • Prioritizing yoga 2-3 times/week
  • Giving myself more downtime (even if I feel like I'm too "busy" to chill)
  • Drinking lots of water and eliminating late night sugar
  • If I feel anxious or overwhelmed, I am sewing or going for a walk instead of mindlessly snacking
  • Reaching out to a couple of trusted girlfriends to share what's going on and get their support

Next time your inner mean girl starts bashing your body:

Give yourself some space to dig deeper and get to the root of your fears so you can remind yourself that YOU ARE SAFE. You are ok. Nothing bad is happening right now. Everything that's uncertain is going to turn out even better than you could ever imagine.

You can't expect to go from feeling insecure 100% of the time to feeling confident 100% of the time. There are a million shades of gray in between because transformation is a spectrum, a spiral, a squiggly line. It's messy. It takes a lot of grit and courage and self compassion and patience, especially on the days you're convinced your'e moving backwards.

(You're never moving backwards)

xo Anna 

p.s. here are a couple of great articles on how to stop negative body talk and how to spot body shaming!

p.p.s. want a safe and supportive community to share your journey and connect with other women who value health, fitness, and living with joy and intention? Join our Fit For Life Facebook tribe!
 

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

 

It's rare that we have over=ripe bananas in our household, since my husband eats one almost daily with his Honey Nut Cheerios (old habits die hard with that one) and I love throwing them in the freezer for my daily smoothie, but over my Ultimate Reset I swapped bananas out for lower sugar fruits like berries so last week I found a surplus of dangerously ripe bananas in our fruit basket! You know when they're so soft the stem breaks off and disintegrates into mush when you try to pick them up? Ooops!

My first thought: YAY BANANA BREAD!

I love love love baked goods, and I'm always looking for an opportunity to recreate my favorite treats into healthier versions I can eat for breakfast, snack, or dessert.

I found this original recipe for double chocolate banana bread on Two Peas and Their Pod and knew I had to try it.

The original version is not UNhealthy, but I'm trying to cut back on sugar and processed flour, so I made a couple swaps and my experiment turned out surprisingly delicious!

I used oats instead of regular flour, replaced the sugar with a little bit of maple syrup (the bananas keep this bread pretty sweet!), and eliminated the butter since I'd rather put butter on top of my bread so I can actually taste it. Yum.

Next time you have some extra ripe bananas to liberate, give this recipe a try!

Healthy Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Makes 6 servings (or 12 muffins)

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c oat flour (blitz 1c dry oats in a food processor)
  • ½ c cocoa powder
  • 1 t. Baking soda
  • ½ t. Salt

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • ¼ c melted coconut oil or olive oil
  • ¼ c plain yogurt
  • ¼ c maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ c chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350* F. Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Blend all wet ingredients in your food processor (or mash together in a separate bowl). Gently fold wet into dry ingredients. Don’t overmix. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan or muffin tin. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350* F for 60 minutes.

Let the bread cool at least 15 minutes, then gently slice into 6 large pieces and enjoy!

Store leftovers in the freezer and reheat in the microwave or toaster oven.

MUFFIN VARIATION

The recipe would also make great muffins if you’re like me and can’t be trusted with an entire pan of something. Just reduce baking time to 20-25 mins. Oh hey, chocolate fix even faster!

21 Day Fix Containers: 1 yellow, ½ purple, 2 tsp per serving

How to meal plan your entire week in 30 minutes or less

Back in the day when I was living alone as a busy grad student, I knew that planning out my meals and snacks ahead of time wasn’t just a good way for me to make sure I was eating healthy. It was a survival tool so I didn’t starve when my schedule was packed to the brim!

And yet I struggled with meal planning for years. I have a type-A personality but I’m actually not a naturally organized person at all, so anything that involves planning ahead and following through is a challenge for me.

One day I found myself making a grocery list for the entire week, and realized I’d fell into a meal planning system without even noticing! Isn’t that how life works? As soon as we stop trying to force ourselves to change or adopt a new habit, it all works out on its own.

Now, meal planning is an automatic part of my weekly routine and the main secret to how I’ve been able to maintain my 20 lb weight loss for 8 years, avoid emotional eating or boredom munchies, and make "healthy" a lifestyle instead of a temporary diet. Plus I save lots of moolah by not getting takeout!

I've discovered that one of the main struggles my amazing and busy clients face when it comes to staying motivated and on track is lack of organization and planning.

I know we've all been there ... you come home from a draining and long day at work (where you successfully will-powered your way through avoiding all the candy and donuts at the office!) only to find an empty fridge and no energy left to make good decisions, so you order takeout or pizza and then feel like crap and give up on yourself once again.

If you’re ready to save time and money, squash emotional eating or that annoying takeout habit, and best of all nourish and fuel your body with delicious healthy foods all week long, read on my friend!

I've been polishing my system for literally 7 years now, and I have it down to a science. It only takes me 15-30 minutes to set our house up for an entire week of healthy meals and now I'm SUPER EXCITED to share it with you!

How to Meal Plan Your Week in 30 Minutes or Less

1. Block out 30-40 minutes (the process might take longer if it's your first couple of weeks! Give yourself time to get the hang of it).

*Saturday is a great day to meal plan and grocery shop so you can spend Sunday relaxing!

2. Take inventory + clear your fridge. What food/ingredients do you have in the house? What staples do you need to re-stock? Pitch old leftovers, expired food, and junk from your pantry that doesn't serve your goals.

3. Print out a fresh copy of the weekly Meal Planner worksheet and spreadsheet (found in my Meal Planning Magic e-book)

4. Sit down with your favorite recipe resources, but don't overwhelm yourself (e.g. choose 1 cookbook, 1 food magazine, OR 1 food blog for inspiration each week, or use your personal list of family faves!)

5. Choose 3-4 dinners for the week. Plan to double the recipes to make leftovers for busy nights or lunches!

6. Choose 2 lunch ideas. I recommend eating leftovers or a giant "fridge dump" salad - both are easy to pack for work.

7. Choose 1-2 breakfast ideas.

**Limiting your options will save your sanity! If you're afraid of getting bored, remember you get to mix things up again next week :)

8. Choose AM and PM snacks, preferably the same thing every day so your brain gets in a habit and you avoid mindless snacking or emotional eating.

9. Based on your inventory + meal plan, make a grocery list! Organize your list by category so you can breeze through the store like a boss.

Tips for Success

  • Be realistic and don't try to completely overhaul all of your eating habits all at once if you're trying to be healthier. Be prepared, be realistic with where you're at, and set yourself up for success instead of leaving your meals to chance and being forced into scary show-downs with the Hangry Monster.
  • Remember: the whole point is not about eliminating bad habits, but about REPLACING THEM with good habits so you feel satisfied, not deprived! For example, if you know you have a sweet tooth at night and drinking tea isn't gonna cut it, plan to have a healthy dessert/evening snack option to fall back on.
  • If you know you love unwinding with a glass of wine at night, save the wine for the weekends and replace with kombucha or sparkling water mocktail.
  • If you know you're going to be wiped on Friday night and order pizza, pick up a healthier frozen pizza at the grocery store to have on hand.
  • One baby step at a time!

Pantry and Freezer Staples

It helps to have emergency food stashes in the freezer or pantry for those times when you're out of food, just getting back from a trip, or didn't have a chance to meal plan on the weekend (life happens!).

  • Healthy frozen pizza (Whole wheat or thin crust, ingredients you can pronounce)
  • Frozen stir fry veggies
  • Individually packaged frozen chicken breasts or protein of choice - buy in bulk and freeze in Ziploc baggies
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Pasta sauce
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Salsa (dump in the crockpot with chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours)
  • Cans of beans
  • Canned tuna
  • Eggs (breakfast for dinner?)
     

Weekend Meal Prep Ideas

  • Roast sweet potatoes to toss into salads or egg scrambles
  • Wash and chop veggies for snacks or to throw together a quick stir fry.
  • Cook a large batch of chicken or hard boiled eggs.
  • Make a large batch of quinoa, brown rice, or your fave whole grain.
  • Bake a large batch of chicken breasts at the beginning of the week, chop them up, and keep in the fridge for salads and dinners. (Place chicken in a baking dish sprayed with Pam, squeeze the juice of one lemon over it, generously season with garlic powder, paprika, oregano, Mrs. Dash, etc, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350*)
  • Pack your lunch and all meals for the day the night before!!!! I really struggle with this but it makes the mornings so much smoother!
  • Instead of sugary flavored yogurt, buy a large container of PLAIN Greek yogurt, and portion it out into Tupperware with some stevia or honey and frozen fruit. Keep it in the fridge and as the fruit thaws it will create a yummy sauce! I also love mixing in some oats.
  • Stock up on frozen veggies and fruit. It’s really easy to add some frozen veggies to pretty much anything you cook! Get the fun stir-fry blends.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you give my meal planning system a try.

Find me on Instagram or Facebook for more healthy comfort food recipes!

xo Anna

My full review of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset

Today I can say that I officially completed the Ultimate Reset. The program that used to intimidate me more than any other health or fitness adventure I’ve tried. I’ve been a coach for three years, and for 2.75 years I told everyone that I would NEVER try this thing. Well, the Biebs had one thing right: never say never!

They call this thing the “reset” for a reason! 

These last 3 weeks have reset my entire life. My habits, my energy, my nervous system, my confidence, my body. How I feel, think, act, eat, treat myself. I live for ME now. I'm out of my head and connected to my body and breath. No more anxiety, second guessing, self doubt, and my relationship with food, fitness, and my body is the most positive and loving it’s ever been. This was a beautiful culmination to a giant and rollercoaster chapter of my life!

What the heck is the Ultimate Reset?

It's a 21 day nutrition based program with a commitment to plant based eating, designed to help your body reach an optimal pH balance, heal any gut issues, and absorb and assimilate nutrients. Along the way you lose sugar cravings, lower your stress and cortisol levels (which calms your nervous system), establish a new relationship with food, phase out animal protein, and allow your digestive system and organs to cleanse and detox themselves!

Oh, and you CAN'T WORK OUT! Because all your energy goes to healing your gut, not repairing torn muscle fibers. This was one of the biggest challenges for me, although not gonna lie -- it was pretty awesome to have an excuse to veg on the couch (literally, no pun intended) for a few weeks.

I loved the idea of this program because it seemed like the opposite of juice cleanses or restrictive quick-fix "slim downs" that only lead to disordered habits and binging.

With the Ultimate Reset, you eat all whole foods (TONS OF FOOD!) with different supplements at specific times throughout the day to optimize your body's natural cleansing process.

We put so much emphasis on working our external bodies and muscles, but it's just as important to take care of our insides too! Our digestive systems are designed to detox themselves. Kind of like your vagina. Yup I'm going there. We all know that douching is bad...same thing with your digestive system! It's simply not necessary to drink juice or crazy cayenne pepper to strip "toxins"… you can detox with FOOD! Yumyum.

I also love how this program is plant based, especially since so many popular elimination diets these days are meat-centric even though meat is hard for our bodies to digest and process. This program is very gentle.

We live in a world of constant stress: emotional and mental stress from the demands of a fast paced life, and we don't realize we're putting our bodies through stress by hard workouts, living in an environment full of toxins and eating foods that are hard to process like meat, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. It was nice to take a temporary break!

The Ultimate Reset nutrition plan is definitely a temporary program, not a lifestyle diet like the 21 Day Fix, but it does help you set certain habits to carry on into the rest of your life.

The 21 days are broken into 3 weekly "phases."

In Phase 1, you RECLAIM your body, accessing its inner chemistry and preparing it for change. In Week One, you'll gradually remove foods such as red meat and dairy from your diet, which are known to place stress on the digestive system.

In Phase 2, you begin to RELEASE unwanted compounds that have been holding your system back and start the detoxification process. This phase includes additional supplements, including a gentle colon cleanse and digestive support. In Week Two, you'll now be eating a fully vegan diet.

In Phase 3, you'll help RESTORE your digestive system along with other internal processes to maximum efficiency, putting nutrients, enzymes, and pre- and probiotics back into your body. In Week Three, you'll now be eating mostly fruits and vegetables.

(read more here!)

Why did I decide to pull the trigger and try the Ultimate Reset?

It was a perfect storm of timing and all signs were pointing YASS.

  • I was inspired by a few of the coaches on my team who did the program this winter. Each and every one came down from with rocking bodies and such a spiritual high, it was like they’d just attended an exotic 21 day Zen retreat. What can I say, the FOMO got to me!
  • Additionally, I've spent the past 10 years on a non-stop fitness bender, building so much strength I never knew existed inside of me. But I hadn’t taken more than 2-3 rest days in a row FOR A DECADE. I knew my body could use a break, and I also knew that I wasn’t a fan of the stress eating and night time sugar addiction I’d picked up over the winter.
  • The more my own health and wellness journey evolves, the more I've been researching nutrition and the effects that our diets have on our long term health and wellbeing. I read the book Superlife by the creator of Shakeology and the Ultimate Reset and learned why things like gut health, acid/alkaline balance, hydration, and plants matter.
  • My 30th birthday is April 26th,  and I want to head into this new decade feeling my best from the inside out!
  • Perhaps most importantly, I’ve reached a place in my relationship with food and my body image where I knew this program would be safe for me. I wasn’t doing it to lose weight or look good (although obviously I was looking forward to those side effects!). I wasn’t doing it to control my food or have “perfect” nutrition. I knew that once it was over, I wouldn’t go down a crazy binge-fest and could trust myself to continue to eat healthy and respect my body. I'm proud to say I’ve healed my “all or nothing” mindset around food!

I don’t keep a scale in the house anymore and didn’t take any measurements because this program wasn’t about the physical results or seeing how much I could “lose.”

But a picture is worth a thousand words so here are my results!

 

Three weeks of no workouts and tons of veggies. Abs really are revealed in the kitchen!! I'm never feeling guilty for taking rest days ever again.

I'm blown away by the fact that I didn't lose muscle mass and saw these changes in my body by eating a high carb, high fat, plant based diet with no workouts. And all the sweet potatoes turned me orange! J/K, I went a little cray with the self tanner.


In case you're thinking "she looked great before!" or "you are too skinny, Anna!" I want to emphasize that I was EXTREMELY proud of my body in that before picture. I’d just finished P90X2, am in the best shape of my life, and could honestly say I loved my body although I knew I'd feel my BEST if I was a little leaner, less bloated, not addicted to sugar, and most of all not dependent on using food and snacking to cope with negative emotions like boredom or stress. 

NOW, I feel like me. Like I just took a giant exhale.

The whole thing was a lot easier than I expected, helped in a large part by the fact that I work for myself and have control over my schedule so I could clear the decks and minimize stress, although I did have to navigate a baby shower and Easter to navigate!

Newsflash: there's never going to be a perfect time to embark on a new adventure or life change.

Confession: I splurged on a small glass of prosecco and YOLO homemade Danish meringue cake on Easter but other than that I stuck to the plan 100%. I loved all the recipes, loved giving myself permission to spend 3 weeks on myself, and discovered how much healthy eating has become second nature to me.

My favorite takeaway was that I'm now able to actually process and breathe through my emotions instead of numbing them with food or distracting myself when I feet uncomfortable or anxious!

Some of my new go-to NON FOOD self care practices:

  • yoga
  • nature walks with no destination, no phone
  • quiet time // meditation
  • breathing!
  • taking my time to transition… no more rushing
  • cooking delicious food
  • meal planning and prepping
  • journaling
  • time with girlfriends or biz besties

Coming off of this program feels like such a deep emotional and spiritual RELEASE.

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MY ULTIMATE RESET JOURNEY

Read on for the full experience, taken straight from my journal!


WEEK ONE - RECLAIM

Day One: Was a lot easier than expected! I had a very light headache in the afternoon and evening, but since I don't drink caffeine I think I dodged a very huge caffeine withdrawal bullet. Obsessed with all the food. Drank a gallon of water, and herbal tea in the evening. Surprised by how I didn't feel deprived.

Day Two: Harder! Struggled with low energy all day and felt really emotional/on the verge of tears. Did a 30 min easy yoga flow in the morning. Low blood sugar mid-morning so I sipped on some coconut water (about 1/2 cup). I started a cleaning shift at my local yoga studio so I think the mental/physical exertion of meeting new people, learning new tasks, and cleaning wore me out. Felt FREEZING in the afternoon esp after eating salad and my smoothie. Used a full scoop of Shakeo. Hangry and grumpy in the evening. Sleeping about 9 hrs/night. Realizing that I use food as a crutch when I am bored or stressed. Had to stop myself from instinctively taking a sip of Ben's beer, or tasting his Shakeo in the morning. Bites here and there add up!

Day Three: Woke up starving and low energy. Skipped yoga, had 2 pieces of toast w/ coconut oil and spinach eggs for extra energy. Realizing that this DETOX is a chance for me to slow down, tune in, and really reset my entire LIFE from the inside out. Lunch: quinoa salad, veggies and hummus. So many veggies! I could barely finish this and it kept me full. I even had enough energy to go to a hot yoga class, and feel amazing this afternoon! Energy returns, yay! Slowing down was a good idea. Slow my roll. Set lower work expectations. Do what feels good. Spent some time today prepping din's and lunches. PREP IS KEY WITH THIS PROGRAM!!! Saves time and energy. Note to self: prep more of week 2 this weekend.

WEEK ONE RECAP

Feeling amazing and in my groove! I'm a little bloated (I've never eaten this many veggies in my LIFE) and not noticing any drastic physical results yet but MAN so many non scale victories!!!

  • Sugar cravings are gone.
  • Energy/blood sugar crashes gone.
  • I can be hungry without HANGRY.
  • I don't automatically reach for food or sweets when I feel bored/stressed/after dinner.
  • I can go to a party and be present instead of numbing my social anxiety with food and alcohol.
  • I have so much non-anxious energy.
  • I feel CALM!!!!!!! Mentally and physically. My energy has completely shifted and this is the most exciting change for me so far!
  • I can live without sugar and animal products without feeling deprived.

The only thing I really miss is wine 😂

I always teach my clients to measure progress by photos and feelings, not numbers and I FEEL like a completely different person. I went from working out 40-60 mins/day to nothing except walking and yoga. It's true that nutrition is EVERYTHING! I'm learning to use food as nourishment, not something that controls me and it feels amazing and free. I'm so glad I decided to commit to this program and invest in myself.

And I still have 14 days left to go!


WEEK TWO - RELEASE

Day Eight: On to Phase 2...this week is "detox week." AKA allowing my body to detox itself by eating tons of plants, fats, and fiber. A little nervous but here we goooo! This week I transition to a fully vegan diet (had Greek yogurt, eggs, and salmon before) and start taking a detox supplement to gently allow my body to release all the toxins and crap in my digestive system. I think I'm going to end up releasing a lot of mental and emotional baggage too, kind of excited 😊 I'm starting to think of this program as the "Anna diet" because it literally incorporates all of my fave foods. All that's missing is wine... Giant fruit salads are on the menu for breakfast now! I'm getting used to eating 3 big meals instead of constantly snacking all day long, and my energy feels so much more stable.

Day Nine: Not sure if it's the detox kicking in, full moon, retrograde or what but I was an emotional wreck today! Releasing so much. Some days you just have to skip your workout (even if your workout is yoga) and feel the feels. Early to bed!

Day Ten: Officially halfway done with this Reset! You ever feel like the universe gives you an opportunity at just the right time, even if it doesn't make sense at the moment? This program has been like that. Yes I am physically feeling great but most of all it's been a chance to slow down and really focus on prioritizing ME. As a chronic overachiever/oldest child/workaholic I live in a constant state of hustle, trying to fill the gaps where I see myself lacking...which puts me in a chronic feeling of anxiety and inadequacy that has only gotten worse since I've quit my job to be a full time coach. Yup, the entrepreneur rollercoaster is real!! Luckily I love rollercoasters. Over these last couple of weeks I've been able to tune into what I need, open myself up to receive support, and am being challenged to surrender to God's plan and trust that amazing things are coming. My energy has been so calm and steady. I've been processing a lot of emotions and feeling ALL the feels which has not been easy, but I know that challenges make us stronger. Everything that you're going through right now is happening FOR you. Whatever you're struggling with is not a curse you're meant to bear for your entire life--it's just your learning curve right now. It won't last forever. 10 days until wine!!! Not that I'm counting

Day 14 (Easter Sunday): Saying lots of little "no's" or "not right now" so I can give myself a BIGGER yes. Bringing my own food to Easter din. Passing on the bubbly cake and treats at church. It's not easy but I know that my life will include plenty of bubbly and sugar…this isn't the only or last chance. In the meantime I can practice saying no. Explore my inner strength and experience what it's like to have a weekend or a holiday or party where I don't wake up with a sugar or booze hangover and no regrets. Staying connected to my BIGGER WHY. Motivation: pleasure over pain. Not to lose weight. If my motivation was to lose weight I'd have given in. I'm doing this for me. It's ok to be hungry. It's ok to not numb social anxiety with booze We have to be vulnerable and open ourselves to ALL emotions to be happy too…when we numb ourselves we numb the good and the bad. This week I've experienced a full range of emotions!

Day 15: Oh my gosh where do I even start? Well for one, it does feel pretty amazing to come off a holiday weekend and road trip feeling even lighter than I did before! Week 2 of the Ultimate Reset is focused on detox: letting your body detox itself by giving it lots of veggies, fiber, and digestive enzymes. And because I know you're wondering, NO I did not have any scary poops and no real physical detox symptoms at all except for a couple breakouts. What I DID experience was a massive emotional detox. I cried so much last week you guys! On calls with my biz besties, at yoga, late at night, on walks, and it felt really good to release and let go of all the stress and pressure I put on myself. It's ok to cry! I'm learning how to feel the feels instead of numbing them with food. And learning that when we numb our stress, boredom, anxiety, we are also numbing our happiness and joy because you can't selectively choose your emotions! If you want to feel happier than you've ever felt, you need to prepare to feel the most vulnerable and sad as well. Yin and yang! I'm learning that I LOVE and crave veggies. The only things I miss are wine, decaf coffee, and my sweaty workouts. But I'll get them back! I'm learning that I can commit to myself and do something challenging and rewarding for ME, and see it through no matter how many obstacles or temptations come my way. I'm learning how to celebrate weekends and holidays without alcohol or eating junk food. I'm learning that it's ok to love yourself and want to change all at the same time. One week to go!

WEEK TWO RECAP

Who does a vegan cleanse during a holiday?? 🙋🏼 Questionable life choices, Anna. When I scheduled this Reset I was only concerned with finishing before my birthday (4/26) and I totally forgot about Easter, whoops! But you know what? If we wait until things are "perfect" and life is completely open before trying something new, it's never going to happen. So I made it through a road trip and family holiday weekend!! I brought baked squash and broccoli for dinners in the car. And a DELISH spiced lentil/quinoa pilaf with avocado and cucumber tomato salad for Easter din. Had my giant fruit salad for breakfast and Shakeo for snacks. I honestly didn't even feel deprived to have to pass on the lamb and potatoes. Although I did stray off plan and have a small glass of champagne and piece of meringue cake with fresh whipped cream ... YOLO! No regrets. Did not feel sad passing on the candy and sugar hangover. I'm learning I can celebrate holidays without stuffing my face, it's about so much more than the food. Also did some yoga with my brother and got out for a long walk in the sunshine with my mom 💗 Super excited for this week!


WEEK THREE - RESTORE

Day 16: My body has gotten so used to thriving on veggies and I've been surprised at how NOT hungry I've been! One of my fave things about this Reset-it's so gentle and gradual and eases you into things, letting your body detox itself. "Where is the protein?" The question that all vegans hate 😂. Plants have lots of protein and our bodies recycle protein too. We don't actually need as much as the food industry tells us. Plus I haven't been working out so I've felt just fine! I haven't craved meat at all and the thought kinda turns me off, but I know I'll add back dairy and eggs after this especially when I get back to workouts. It's fun to turn your body into a science experiment!

Day 17: Not gonna lie, today was not easy!! My mental and physical energy went MIA...so I chilled on the couch almost all day with my laptop.

Day 18: This week is FLYING by!! And that's ok with me. Fruit salad, avocado salad, smoothie, supps, and my fave garlic veggie stir fry with sweet potato. I've loved this experience but I'm definitely ready to transition back into normal life ;) I miss my decaf ☕️, wine 🍷, and going out to eat! In the meantime my tummy will be full of plants and probiotics.

Day 19: This week has been challenging! Not in a totally bad way but I have limited energy, miss my workouts, am ready to get back to normal eating, and to top it all off I've caught a cold even though I've been a hermit for the past 3 weeks!! But instead of letting it all get to me I'm using this downtime to do some major journaling, reflecting, and integrating alllll the crazy personal growth I've gained from this cleanse too. It's important to listen to our bodies and REST when we need to rest. Also feeling stoked that there is nothing on our weekend agenda. Can't wait to soak up the April flowers and close out my 20's before my bday week.

Day 21: Last day of my 21 Day Reset!!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🤗🤗🤗 This program has pushed me out of my comfort zone in so many ways, including in the kitchen. I've loved trying new recipes and foods. Like this huge plate of beets with coconut collards and tempeh!

Can't wait to start working out again, fitness is a huge part of my lifestyle now and I don't feel like my best without it, which was cool to discover. Haven't lost any muscle tone though! It's ok to rest.

The more health conscious you are before starting this program, the easier it will be. I didn’t experience a fraction of the physical detox symptoms a lot of other people suffered. No headaches, no digestive upset, no aches or pains. My main side effects were emotional!

Feeling relaxed, lean, and more like myself than I ever have. It's like all my insecurities and mental hang-ups have gone POOF ✨. Calm, strong, and confident going into my 30th birthday this week and that's exactly how I wanted to feel.

Mission accomplished! 

Watch my journey via Instagram Stories:


If you’d like to try the Ultimate Reset or learn more about my accountability groups, I’d love to support you and coach you through your own journey!

Contact me to learn more about working together.

xo Anna

 

As an Independent Team Beachbody Coach, I receive a small commission when you order the UR or a program from me and I stand behind this company and these programs 100%. However I'm not a registered dietician, nutritionist, or medical professional. Be smart and obviously consult your doctor before making changes to your diet or health routine.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Is your "all or nothing" mindset holding you hostage from food freedom?

Is your "all or nothing" mindset sabotaging you from a healthy and happy relationship with food?

In my accountability group this month we've been talking about why it's so hard to make healthy a default LIFESTYLE instead of an all or nothing yo-yo cycle.

I'm super passionate about helping women create a positive and healthy relationship with food and their bodies instead of feeling trapped in an on again/off again cycle of self sabotage, so I knew I needed to write more about this!

This is a topic that's close to my heart because I've always been an all or nothing person. It goes hand in hand with perfectionism! I lived with the false belief that if I didn't go "all in" or achieve instant success with something new, I was a failure. There was no middle ground.

This applied to school, finding a job, and also with my body and eating habits!

In college I gained the typical 15-20 pounds, then lost it by senior year through running and replacing Taco Bell with Lean Cuisines. For the next several years I lived in fear that I'd gain back all the weight if I wasn't perfect with my nutrition or if I missed a workout. I would put myself on very strict exercise and eating plans, feel guilty if I went to my friend's wedding and overindulged. I was addicted to stepping on the scale every time I used the bathroom ... and then I'd use the number to determine how I felt about myself that day even though I only ever fluctuated 5-8 pounds.

I was either ON or OFF when it came to the "healthy wagon," and I'd do short term fitness challenges with Tone It Up or the 21 Day Fix. I'd spend the weekend before I started eating all the foods I wasn't "allowed" to have while on the plan, and then once I finished the challenge I'd go right back to my old ways and undo all my results.

YES this was happening even as I became a health and wellness coach!!

Luckily I realized that living in the grip of extremes and basing my self worth on my weight or eating habits was neither healthy nor something I want to teach my clients, and since then I've been able to find a true balance with my eating and exercise patterns.

I've figured out what fits ME and my body, not what society or a fitness instructor tells me I should do. I love finding new healthy recipes to try, but I also give myself some space to indulge in foods that feed my soul, guilt free. And yes I still run challenges and accountability groups, but now my focus is on teaching women habits that they can take with them into the rest of their life (as well as the mindset changes that need to happen in order to change our habits!), not just how to lose 10 pounds as fast as possible.


Signs that you have an "all or nothing" mindset

From where I see it, there are two broad types of women who deal with this type of limiting belief.

1. The Queen of Extreme

When you try something new or pursue a goal, you want to go all in and completely overhaul our entire life ... but that's a surefire way to burn out!

You decide to cut out sugar, go on a restrictive detox, lose 10 pounds, start loving yourself more, be a better (girlfriend/wife/mother/friend), spring clean your ENTIRE home, and you're full of energy and rocking it for 2, maybe 3 days until "life happens" and you give up or get distracted.

Then you feel like a complete failure, and hold yourself back from taking any sort of positive action in your life because you've burned your sense of self trust and you're afraid you're destined to fail again.

2. The Weekend YOLO-er

You do great during the week, but then on the weekends/work trips/etc it's like your alter-ego takes possession of your body and you lose all connection to your original motivation. You throw all your healthy habits out the window, experience intense regret or guilt come Monday, and it takes you 2-3 days to get "back on track." Rinse and repeat. Then you don't know why the scale never seems to budge and feel frustrated and defeated.

Sound familiar?

It breaks my heart when I hear strong, smart, and talented women saying things like "I know that food is going to be a lifelong struggle for me."

Wait, what??? That's a pretty heavy sentence to place on yourself!

First of all, let's get clear on what we really mean when we use the word STRUGGLE. I'm not a huge fan of this word because it's easy to get comfy in a victim mode.

Here's the truth: YOU get to define your struggle.

And you get to decide whether or not you're going to let something hold you mentally or emotionally captive your entire life.

This kind of struggle around our bodies and relationship to food is entirely emotional. It feels physical because food and eating behaviors are tangible things, but food is not the enemy. When you make food an enemy that needs to be restricted or controlled, that's when eating disorders (or disordered patterns around food) arise.

When you realize that the struggle is actually in how you feel and the stories you're telling yourself about who you are, you can liberate yourself with one split second mindset shift.

  • What if you didn't have to struggle with food, weight, or your body image?
  • What if you didn't have to constantly feel chained to this mysterious "wagon" you keep falling on and off from?
  • What if healthy eating wasn't just a temporary diet or plan, but your lifestyle?
  • What if you could intentionally indulge in your favorite treats for pleasure, without completely freaking out, going down a binge, or feeling guilty?
  • What if you could achieve and maintain your body's natural healthy weight without feeling constantly obsessed about food?

I don't have a magical answer or solution to escaping the all or nothing mindset, but as a recovering perfectionist I can definitely relate and I do have a few thoughts to share based on my personal experience combined with my work as a wellness coach over the past three years.

How to ditch the "all or nothing" struggle around food and healthy living

Make a decision to change

We are not victims. We can change anything we want! If you don't want to struggle with food anymore…then make the decision to stop.

You CAN reach your health and wellness goals without giving up your fave foods, you just might have to change your habits.

Here are some questions to help you pull yourself out of struggle mode and empower you to be a leader in your own life:

+ Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel?

+ What's NOT working?

+ Where will you be in a year if you don't make a change?

+ What's the BEST case scenario?

Get clear on your WHY

What's motivating you? What drives you to get out of bed in the morning? What pisses you off? If you feel like you're struggling with something, it means that it matters to you. Why does being healthy and happy matter? Dig deeper than the superficial reasons.

+ Whose lives will change when you can love and accept yourself for who you are?

+ What will you be able to do when you're full of vibrant energy, and aren't constantly obsessing about your weight or your body image?

Give yourself a destination to move toward!

A lot of times we hold ourselves back even if we really want to change, just because the struggle is COMFY for us! It's what we know.

Just because you've never been able to lose the weight, or stick to a healthy eating plan without falling off the wagon, doesn't mean you can't.

+ How do you want to feel in your body and in your relationship with food?

Re-write the stories you're telling yourself

Our realities are based on the beliefs and stories we're telling ourselves. As long as you keep telling yourself "food and weight will be a lifelong struggle for me" guess what? It will!

But if you start telling yourself things like "I am a woman who uses food as fuel to nourish my body because I love myself," guess what? Even if you don't believe yourself at first, you'll slowly start to shift your behaviors to line up with that new story.

+ What habits or beliefs do you want to release?

+ What habits or beliefs will you have to replace them with?

+ What will you have to change in order to become the person you want to be?

Give yourself an easy win to build your confidence back up

It's important to build confidence in yourself so you can trust that you're a woman of integrity who will follow through on your goals.

+ What can you do TODAY to make yourself feel proud?

It doesn't have to be food or exercise related. When you experience success in one area of life, it will boost your confidence overall. Woohoo!

Pick ONE focus at a time, then build on that!

A lot of times we make things way too complicated. When we try to change everything at once, obviously we're going to feel overwhelmed.

Embrace the baby step.

Embrace being a beginner, even if it's awkward and gives you uncomfy freshman flashbacks.

Embrace the process.

+ What is something you can do TODAY to move forward one step?

HAVE EPIC SELF COMPASSION AND PATIENCE

These kind of deep changes take time!! Just because you aren't where you want to be yet doesn't mean that you're a failure.

Whenever we are going through change, even good change, we are going to bring up a lot of our old insecurities and patterns to the surface b/c deep down we're afraid of change. You are going to swing back and forth and "fall off the wagon" over and over along your journey. 

This is not a sign that you're failing or that you aren't good enough. It's a sign that you are GROWING and changing and evolving.

Next time you're around unhealthy food options that you'd rather not eat because you know they'll make you feel like crap, remind yourself how you want to feel. Remind yourself WHY choosing healthy options matters. Remind yourself that you can TRUST yourself to indulge mindfully, then stop. You just have to build your own self confidence and trust in yourself, one day at a time, and keep course correcting!

Obviously this is all easier said than done.

Which is why we need support! Do you have a friend you can enlist to be your accountability buddy? Do you need a coach? A therapist? A supportive community?

I know you're strong, smart, and capable of anything. Don't isolate yourself or feel like you're struggling alone because I can guarantee almost every single woman I've ever met is dealing (or has dealt with) some sort of food or body image related insecurity.

If you'd like to chat more and get a customized plan of action, click here to book a complimentary consult with me! I've got your back girl, and I want to see you thrive :)

xo Anna

Radical Self Care 101

Radical Self Care

It's 5pm and the days are getting longer, but it still feels like winter outside in Chicago.

I'm sitting on my couch under a fuzzy blanket, just home and showered from a mid-afternoon hot yoga class, listening to the rain and feeling deliciously calm and chill. 

A few weeks ago I talked about self care, and how it's so hard yet so important for us as women to put ourselves first.

I'm turning 30 at the end of April and I've officially decided to celebrate by making this my year of all things self: care, empowerment, love, discovery, growth.

I've inhabited my body for almost three decades and I still feel like a complete beginner at all this stuff!

What do you think of when you hear "self care?"

Maybe eating right.
Getting enough sleep.
Meditating.
Taking bubble baths with candles and wine.

All those things that you don't have time for because you're too busy out there living your life, right?

I used to tell myself that self care was for women who were lazy, weak, or less ambitious than me. HA.


My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.
— Lewis Carroll

Up until a couple of years ago I lived like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, constantly sprinting just to stay in one place. My husband nicknamed me the stress bunny (hey, at least bunnies are cute)!

Like most of us, I was raised and educated to believe that the only way to get ahead was to work hard, sacrifice, and put other people's wants and needs ahead of my own.

There's an epidemic of BUSY in our society today, at least here in the United States. We glorify ourselves and each other for the amount of obligations and work we can load into our schedules and onto our plates.

And you know what?

I'm sick and tired of it all. Literally.

In late 2015 I reached a level of anxiety and burn out that was stripping my daily life of joy and giving me heart palpitations. I could never relax or calm down, especially on the weekends when I had hours of unstructured space, and I knew that a state of perpetual fear of falling behind wasn't how I wanted to live my life.

I "had it all" on the outside (my own dream job, a gorgeous apartment, an amazing relationship) so I knew that if I wanted to feel happier and more calm, I couldn't blame my environment. I had to change MYSELF!

So I've spent the last 18 months of my life trying to learn how to slow down and prioritize self care instead of putting my inner health on the back burner.

Self care is about taking care of our own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

We live in a world that glorifies physical health, so we're constantly trying to hit our goal weight, feel lean and toned, gain strength or flexibility, eat better, wake up earlier, and live our lives on endorphin fueled turbo speed.

It's easy to tell when we're neglecting our physical health. We feel sluggish, lazy, and blah.

But health and self care isn’t just about having a low BMI, cutting out sugar, or being a workout ninja. It encompasses so much more than that! And even healthy living can turn into an unhealthy obsession.

I love working with women who don’t just want to lose weight, but want to make sustainable lifestyle changes so they can feel good on the inside, look good on the outside, AND be healthy and happy.

One thing I've learned is that there are multiple aspects to ourselves that we have to nurture if we want to feel vibrant, healthy, and happy on a day to day basis, especially to prepare for the times when crazy shit hits the fan and chaos comes to play. And if we do want to lose weight, the pounds will fall off once we STOP obsessing about the number on the scale and regimenting our diet and START doing more stuff that makes us feel good.

I call this "radical self care" because let's face it, it's pretty radical to decide to put ourselves first. We're conditioned to feel selfish and guilty… or make up so many excuses to self sabotage ourselves.

Self care starts with empowering ourselves to TAKE OWNERSHIP of our own health and happiness.

We can't just play victim or live on autopilot, responding to the demands and stress of our day to day lives.

I recently started playing with oracle cards by The Little Sage. They're a fun way to set intentions for your yourself. One of the cards I drew this month was called 4 Bodies, and I loved the description.

Basically, we have four different "bodies" that we need to nurture and take care of.

1. Our PHYSICAL body

This encompasses our nutrition, diet choices, exercise, and rest. It also includes our physical environment. Look around at the people, places, and possessions in your world. Is your environment cluttered and draining, or does it inspire and invigorate you? 

PHYSICAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Regular exercise that fits your level of energy. Instead of following a strict and rigid workout program, why don't you practice tuning into your body every morning and asking it what it needs?
  • Eat nourishing foods. Don't stress about your diet… focus on filling up on the good stuff instead of trying to eliminate the "bad" stuff. Your body is a living science experiment: only YOU can figure out what foods feel best to you. Take guilt out of the equation.
  • Prioritize 7-8 hours of sleep, no matter what.
  • Declutter your work space and home!

2. Our MENTAL body

Having a clear and restful mind, focusing on filling our heads with positive self talk and believing in ourselves.

MENTAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Start paying attention to the voice inside your head. What does it tell you? If it's negative, start intentionally thinking positive thoughts on a regular basis. Positive thoughts are strong and will wipe out that negative chatter!
  • Write positive affirmations on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror or computer. "I am strong" "I deserve to love myself" "I'm becoming the women I'm meant to be"
  • Are you setting yourself up for success in life? Make sure your goals align with your priorities, and that you can achieve (and celebrate) mini wins every single day. This will build your confidence!

3. Our EMOTIONAL body

Releasing old heavy emotions, and allowing ourselves to process ALL emotions as they arise without judgement. Feel the feels and then let them go!

EMOTIONAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Give yourself down time and space to process your feelings every single day, even if they're uncomfortable. Emotions are like clouds -- if we let them pass, they'll drift right through us. If we try to avoid them or numb them with food, alcohol, or destructive patterns, we'll never give ourselves an opportunity to release.
  • Spend time with people you love. Make plans to get together with your girlfriends and hang out with no set agenda.
  • Do a morning "brain dump." Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write stream of consciousness into a journal to siphon off the mental chatter and dig deeper into what's really going on.

4. Our SPIRITUAL body

Our energy, soul, higher self. Connection to spirituality or faith.

SPIRITUAL SELF CARE PRACTICES

  • Journal to your intuition
  • Meditate ... or just give yourself some downtime to chill.
  • Go to church
  • Explore something "woo" that sounds fun and sparks your curiosity, like yoga, astrology, or crystals.
  • Get acupuncture or an energy healing session!

Take a second to close your eyes and tune into your 4 “bodies.”

What are they telling you?

Which one/s need some extra TLC?

What can you do to start healing and taking care of yourself?

Don't worry about the bigger picture. Just focus on what you can do today, and trust the process!

xo Anna


Do you want some support and accountability to detox your mind, body, and spirit this month?

Join our FREE 5-day Spring Reset Challenge!

Each day I'll share a different topic and a small action item that will prompt you to clear the winter blah's out of your physical and emotional system.

We're going to re-connect with how we want to FEEL, clear the crap out of our eating habits and minds, and bring in some wonderful fresh creative energy for the new season.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Daily email and journal prompt
  • Plant-based meal plan
  • Free access to my virtual fitness library and at-home yoga studio
  • A private Facebook group for accountability + daily coaching from Anna