I've suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder for as long as I remember, which stems from my perfectionist roots. On the surface, it looks like we have it all together, but deep down lies a fear of not being good enough—in our bodies, relationships, careers and every other facet of life. This constant self-judgement, shame and pursuit to be "perfect" often leads to heightened stress, control, exhaustion, psychological pain and destructive behaviors (eating disorders in my case).
Between personal development, western medicine, nutritional healing and holistic supplementation, I am now at peace with my anxiety (PRAISE THE LORD). And you can be, too.
Before I dive in and tell you two secrets that have helped alleviate a lot of my symptoms, I want to be very clear about something:
If you suffer from ANXIETY or DEPRESSION (they often go hand-in-hand), I want you to know that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you. Anxiety and depression are signals from your body, mind and/or spirit that tell you something in your life is out of alignment and recalibration is in order. When you start to explore the triggers, voids or mismatches in your environment or lifestyle, while also taking small daily measures to manage the symptoms in the process, you'll start to alleviate the detrimental impact these experiences can have on your life.
Now, let's talk about the two new miracle-workers I've added to my daily routine! Although there are MANY reasons to take these two supplements, I personally chose them for their well-known ability to help with:
OK, so what are they?
These days, if we're miserable with our current circumstances, gurus tell us to "find our passion" and we'll never work a day in our lives. So, we set out to discover what that is. We list out our talents, discuss the pros and cons of each opportunity, waste money on classes and certifications and compare ourselves to others on social media wondering how in the heck they live with such purpose and ease.
It's exhausting and can make us feel downright worthless—like we have nothing to offer the world and will forever be lost and unhappy.
Let me tell you, I've been actively searching for YEARS and had gotten to the state above more than I can count on one hand. I'm sure you have to some degree, too.
BUT. What if I told you we've been going at it ALL WRONG.
About 8 years ago, I read in a magazine that some celebrity chiseled her arms with two moves. I didn't believe it. But, her arms were bangin'. So I kept reading.
Her secret: A pyramid of various styles of push ups and tricep dips. That's it.
At that point in my life, I hardly had time to eat and sleep let alone workout. So I said, "what the hell?" I told myself for 30 days straight that if I did only one thing per day, it would be this arm series.
Disclaimer: I had a job in which forced me to walk constantly, so I was in a constant state of LISS. LISS is known as your fat burning state, so that would help burn the fat around my arms and reveal more chiseled upper body muscles. Just doing this arm series is not going to uncover Michele Obama biceps. There are a lot of variables, including nutrition and other cardio routines.
But, coupling this arm variation with the right regimens will help you create a more lean, chiseled upper body look FAST.
Try it for 30 days and let me know what you think 😉
We all know diets don't work. To lose fat and keep it off takes the right trifecta of clean eating, proper training and customized supplementation.
One supplement I added to my regimen over a year ago is a pre-workout and my results have been UNDENIABLE. I've lost roughly 30 pounds, have leaned out and toned up, and have put on a fair amount of muscle, mainly in the bootayyyy area (BOOM 👊). As of late, I've gotten a ton of questions about why I religiously use a pre-workout and which ones do the trick. So, I'm sharing my secrets with you!
Before I dive in, I want to remind you all that there's no magic pill. But, a pre-workout added to a healthy routine can help kick your results into high gear.
Why use a pre workout?
Pre-workouts are designed to help you increase training volume and intensity so that you can get more out of your workouts.
For a long time, pre-workouts had the reputation for being only for the advanced gym goer whose sole focus was to pack on muscle. But the reality is, pre-workouts can help just about anyone who wants to improve his or her fitness levels–from the beginner all the way to the hardcore gym buff.
In a nutshell, pre-workouts can benefit you if:
Self care has been my biggest struggle as of late. To say it's almost impossible to keep a balance while trying to date AND get a business off the ground would be an understatement. Us ladies (or should I say, us "perfectionist" chicks?) want to be everything to everyone, but in reality, YOU CAN'T BE. And if you try, your mental and physical well-being will suffer BIG TIME.
I'm sure I'm not the only gal out there who struggles to maintain a happy, healthy state while juggling all that life throws at her. So, I'm giving you my 6 "self care' musts that keep my physical, mental and spiritual self thriving. Through 10 years of ups and downs, I've finally found the secret formula to staying on point everyday. It's not a one-size-fits-all, but I have a feeling these mini steps will have you showing up as your best self—whole, grounded, focused and ready for more.
Before diving in, I will say that self care is a practice, just like art or yoga—it needs to be customized to you and practiced religiously. And, these might sound like "obvious" hacks that you've heard time and time again, but I can't stress enough the importance of giving each one the attention it needs. If one starts to lack, the others will suffer, too.
Also remember that life is full of seasons. It's ever evolving and so are you. I can tell you with 100% conviction that once you feel like you've found balance, something right around the bend will throw you off kilter once again. When that happens, give yourself a little grace and adjust as necessary. You're not going to be perfect all of the time, and that's OKAY!
News flash: you are good enough.
...for Mr. Right, your dream career, financial freedom, the white picket fence, all of it.
Whatever it is, the key to unlocking these desires is seeing yourself as deserving. When you make that mental shift, your world will transform to reflect that belief.
Get my drift here? You teach people how to show up for you.
Walk into a room, hunched over, unable to make eye contact and you'll immediately communicate that you're unworthy to look at or engage with.
Walk into a room, smiling, strutting your stuff, and you'll demand the attention of the whole room without saying a word.
Be the latter.
So I'll say again, once you see yourself as beautiful, the world will too. Upgrade you and your outer world will upgrade, too. ✌🏽
After posting this dish to Instagram, so many of you messaged me wanting the recipe! So here it is (if I can remember it).
Funny story: I made it up. I never follow recipes. I usually go on what I have in the frig and mash it up together. Surprisingly enough, this one tasted pretty damn delish! As I've experimented and failed (miserably) over the years, I kind of know which foods work together and which ones don't 😝
The beauty of cooking is making it your own. Don't hesitate to throw in a new herb, bake instead of sauté or use bacon bits to spice it up (confession: my secret to every dish). Experimenting is fun, but what's more important is that it teaches you to trust your intuition (or your taste ;)). Mindful cooking and eating is liberating. It makes food more of an experience to be enjoyed that an obsession to control or track (coming from a disordered eating past).
So while I give you this recipe as fact based on what I did, I encourage you to use it as a loose guideline and give it your own twist!
Week 1 of Madeline Moves' new #TIGHTERTOGETHER program is officially in the books!!! I can hardly walk, but hey, it's DONE!
Since this is a brand new program that just launched, I figured I'd write a review for those of you wondering if it's for you or not.
First off, Madelin Moves is a teach by day and a fitness guru by night. She's the creator of Move Sweat Shred and now Tighter Together. Go give a girl a follow ... she's the cutest, most down-to-earth girl on the planet. Her real-ness, sweetness and passion to connect and make others better sealed the deal for me.
The last time I saw something like this take off like it has was BBG (Bikini Body Guide) with Kayla Itsines. One thousand people joined this challenge in one week. Girls are creating Instagram accounts just to document their #TT journey. I have a feeling this is a start of a beautiful and powerful movement. And I'm so glad to be a part of the beginning.
WHAT IS TIGHTER TOGETHER?
WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL?
Madeline personally calculated each person's macro requirements (carbs, fats and proteins) based on the goal of fat loss, height, weight and age, as well as daily activity (not including the program workouts). Macronutrients are basic components of every food and are grouped by their highest content (chicken=protein; pasta=carb; butter=fat).
Before the program, we all received our macro counts for both "Low Carb Days" and "High Carb Days." To make sure you stay within your allotted amounts, it's crucial to weigh and track ALL OF YOUR FOOD! I feared this process as I thought it would be obsessive and bring back my eating-disorder food mentality, but it has actually given me food freedom. If it fits in your macros, then go for it! Hello, glass of wine ... or 2 ;)
But, know that learning to weigh your food and counting your macros is a LEARNING PROCESS (and a definite headache when just starting). You have to be patient with yourself.
Quick story: the first night of prepping my food, it took what felt like hours and I literally threw my hands up, dropped it all and walked out! No joke.
It has gotten better since then (6 days ago, ha). But to be quite honest, I've been relying more on my Fitness Pal to help track my macros. With that said, I do use the food scale when I need to get an accurate measure, like when I cooked sweet potato fries or needed to measure out the right portion of black beans for each tupperware container.
Since this challenge is a shorter version of Madeline's 8 Week Coaching Program, we are expediting the fat loss process while maintaining or building muscle with cycling carbs.
The science behind carb cycling: your body will be depleting it's carb sources over the course of two to three days and then replenished for the purposes of energy during more taxing workouts (leg and glute days) and restoring healthy hormone levels. The process helps your metabolism to stay fueled during a caloric deficit and prevents plateaus as your body isn't able to reach a homeostasis due to the carb manipulation.
The carb cycling coupled with the type of circuit training in this program gives us the most "bang for our buck" in a 30-day span.
To effectively track my macros, I am using a meal-tracking app—Fitness Pal. Each piece of food I put in my mouth also goes in my Fitness Pal! I used to despise food journaling or meal tracking, but it takes the headache out of weighing food and helps you to know where you sit with your macro count. I've even been planning my days ahead and putting my meals into Fitness Pal so I'm sure to meet my macro needs. If I go over or under, I know ahead of time if I need to add certain macros to my daily intake. As obsessive as it sounds, it motivates me and gives me peace of mind that I'm on track.
Who would have thunk that I'd be an advertisement for Fitness Pal?!?! If you know me, I'm more about mindful eating vs. tracking. But, I have to say, for the purpose of this challenge, it's a super helpful tool
After purchasing the #TighterTogether app, you automatically get entered into the BEST Facebook accountability group ever. Little did I know that this community would extend to Instagram and Snapchat, too. Many of the girls created new Instagram accounts to track their #TT journey (much like BBG or TIU girls do) and a good 50 of us have an ongoing Snapchat group chat to share our daily struggles (alcohol, weekends and negative body image), wins, and daily life (our dogs, boys, etc.). It's the most unique fitness community I've ever experienced and I'm so, so grateful for them.
Each week, Madeline gives away prizes based on completion of the program, engagement in the Facebook group and sharing of our experience on other social media platforms. Prizes include $100 Lululemon gift card, other cool fitness products and a $1000 grand prize (I'M COMING FOR YOU .. WATCH OUT GIRLS!)!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED (this program is MINIMAL which is AWESOME!)
WHAT I'M ADDING TO THE PROGRAM:
Pre-workout, my Herbalife supplements and shakes, as well as my typical multivitamin, fish oil, magnesium, calcium and green tea supplements.
I work the shakes into my macros (2 scoops of Herbalife Formula 1 is 11C/1F/9P with 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk mixed in: .3C/.8F/.3P). Pre-workout is my God-send—it gives me maximum energy and fires up fat burning (cha-ching). If you haven't tired a pre-workout to amp up your fitness routine, I HIGHLY suggest you try one. My recommendation is Cardio Cuts by NDS Nutrition (not just for cardio—no one knows why the company titled it that!) or C4 Ripped. The Green Tea and Herbalife Cell-U-Loss supplements increase fat burning and water release throughout the day. My multivitamin and fish oil is a staple for every day—multivitamin ensures I fill all my nutritional voids (vitamins and minerals) and fish oil provides Omega fats which help with fat loss, but also are good for the brain (hello mood & mind booster). Magnesium and calcium I take for muscle recovery, relaxation and better sleep.
MY ONLY FEEDBACK
My one struggle with this program is how long the workouts are . With cardio AND 3 circuits, I'm averaging about 2 hours of working out a day. With that said, you can mold the workout plan to work for your schedule. I'm launching a business and am always on the go and it's hard to go from start to finish in one sitting. So, I break it up—usually fasted cardio (LISS or HIIT) in the morning and circuit training in the evening. This way, I can also plan my carbs for the first part of the day so I have enough fuel to sustain the long circuit workouts in the evening (when my energy is usually low and I just want to plop on the couch).
I'm down 2.5 pounds in 6 days and am feeling tighter than ever. Side abs are even popping out. WOO!
HERE'S to the next 3 weeks #TT ladies! Let's do some work!
Thank you, Madeline. xoxo
“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free”. ~Robert Tew.
I’m Kathleen, and I am so excited to share my experience of fitness competing with the Finding My Beautiful readers! I work in two industries that I love: wine and fitness. However, it can definitely be challenging to find balance between the two.
I finally overcame my struggles with weight gain and lack of self-confidence and am now a Fitness Nutrition Specialist, nationally qualified bikini competitor in the Nspire Sports League, and an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. Fitness has always been an important part of my life and has gotten me through many tough times throughout the years.
My decision to compete came after a very difficult time in my life. I was recently divorced and had just moved to a new city. My self-confidence took a big hit and I felt like a failure. During one of our last conversations, my ex said that he “wasn’t attracted to me anymore because I had gained weight.” I knew the words were said to hurt me and weren’t necessarily true. However, they hurt like no other. What disappointed me the most about this is that I lacked the confidence to let these words roll off my back. Why didn’t I have the confidence to only care about what I thought of myself? I knew I needed to do something to build myself back up so that I was in control of my self-esteem and not other people’s opinions.
I decided to get back into teaching group fitness classes since I was new to the city and didn’t know anyone. In doing so, I met my boss, Lauren, who I truly feel was put in my path to help get me through this time. She too had gone through a divorce, and now seemed to be living a really happy life. She gave me hope that I, too, could have a great life after this experience.
I soon discovered that she was a serious figure competitor! I remember being extremely excited. I asked her a million questions and thought this could be something that helps me rediscover my self-confidence. This was an opportunity for me to push myself to achieve something I had always thought about doing, but was always afraid to do. I hired the same coach that Lauren used and decided to go for it!
I had no idea that I was about to go through such a life-changing experience. I decided to compete in the bikini division where you don’t have to put on as much muscle mass. I saw competing as an opportunity to:
Here are my pros and cons to competing:
I've been on a green juice kick, not just for the crazy health benefits, but to shake up my boring, errryday meal routine. Meal planning and food creativity have fallen to the bottom of this busy gal's priority list, so green juice is my BFF right now.
Here's my go-to recipe—even you green juice haters would like this one. 😎
🍐 Spinach (handful / 1 cup)
🍐 Kale (2 stalks)
🍐 Cucumber (1/2 without the skin)
🍐 Strawberries (3—4; frozen or fresh)
🍐 Pineapple (1 slice)
🍐 Banana (just a little to keep sugar down)
🍐 Unsweetened Organic Almond Milk (I never measure this! Just throw a splash in)
🍐 Unflavored Greek Yogurt (1—2 tablespoons)
🍐 Ice (3—4 ice cubes)
🍐 Water (1 cup)
🍐 1 Organic Stevia Packet (if you need a little sweetener)
You'll see I don't give exact measurements for any of the ingredients. It's more trial and error to see what your taste buds enjoy! Little hint: kale may be the most nutritious of all the ingredients, but its sour taste will throw you off. If that happens, up the sweetness of your juice with spinach or fruits.
Enjoy, lovelies! xoxo
Thanks for stopping by! It means a lot to me.