Tag Archives: health

How To Stay Healthy On Vacation

Summer is the vacation season. Whether you are traveling to the beach, the mountains, to visit friends and family, or abroad, the summertime is the time when most people pack up their bags and head for adventure. I love traveling and experiencing new places and cultures. While traveling and vacationing are very fun activities to break up the year and get us out of our normal routine rut, it can also pose challenges when it comes to maintaining our health and wellness. 

Vacation brings with it delicious food, alcoholic drinks, fancy desserts, snacks galore, and lots of R&R, none of which are BAD things. In fact, all of these things can be very good and fun and enjoyable….but within reason of course. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that vacation where we overdid it and came home several pounds heavier and feeling a little sluggish. And then we feel discouraged and beat ourselves up because we worked SO hard to lose the weight, or make the strength gains, or increase our fitness, or cut out that irritating food and now it seems we’ve just undid all of that work on a week long vacay. 

So, how do we maintain our healthy choices and lifestyle while still enjoying our vacation? Here are 3 tips to help you enjoy all the fun that vacation brings AND return home feeling healthy and like you didn’t sabotage all of your goals and hard work.

*Plan A Little- All it takes is a little bit of forethought to help you maintain your health goals when you are away. Perhaps before going out to dinner you take a look at the menu online and decide what you will order ahead of time. This will help you make an informed decision versus being swayed by the atmosphere or what others are ordering at the restaurant. You are more likely to stick to your goals when you know your game plan ahead of time. Likewise, think about your daily meals and activities. If you know you are going out to dinner and will want to have a glass of wine and dessert, then try to eat lighter and healthier earlier in the day. Or perhaps you decide you will have a few drinks poolside but then forfeit dessert that night. Your plan could also include deciding before you leave for vacation what some parameters will look like (i.e. only drinking 1 drink a day, eating a salad at one meal a day, doing 25 burpees a day or going on a walk, etc.). Make a plan and you’ll be way more likely to stick to it! 

*Keep 1-3 Habits/Routines– Try to keep one to three of your normal routines going while you are away. It can be as simple as drinking 16 oz of water first thing in the morning before your coffee. Or remembering to take your supplements. Perhaps you carve out 20-30 minutes to exercise if you decide you’d like to maintain that on vacation so you can more freely eat and drink. Decide what routines/habits mean the most to you and are the most reasonable to sustain during vacation. Setting ourselves up for success on vacation means having clear expectations and setting realistic goals that are attainable. 

*Be Mindful– This is key! You don’t have to be a slave to your health and wellness goals because that is no fun and also not healthy long-term. But simply being more mindful goes a long way. Having a plan, thinking through your day and what you plan to eat/drink, asking yourself if you are really hungry for that snack or perhaps just thirsty…all of these little mindset shifts impact our decision making process. Take a moment before mindlessly eating the snacks everyone else is eating and exercise a moment of mindfulness and ask yourself if you really want that and if it is worth it. And if it is to you in that moment, that is fine, but at least give yourself a few moments to think before mindlessly eating or drinking. It’s so easy to get swept away in the sea of vacation mode that we lose all sense of control because we simply aren’t being mindful and thinking through the little things and little decisions. 

Maybe instead of sitting on the beach all afternoon you talk a walk along the water to get in some movement. Or you do ten pushups first thing in the morning to get the blood flowing and to inspire you to make healthy decisions the rest of the day. You don’t have to do it perfectly on vacation but practicing mindfulness will have a huge impact on the decisions you make and whether or not you come home from vacation feeling like you enjoyed yourself but didn’t sabotage or feeling crummy because you gained several pounds and went backwards on your goals. 

You will likely lose the few pounds and get back on track but it will be harder. So, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to you to have a week-long vacation that’s a ‘free for all’ or exercise some semblance of self-control and be able to easily fall back into your routines when you return home.  You don’t have to say to heck with all of your progress, hard work, and routines when on vacation. By using these 3 tips you can maintain your health and wellness goals, enjoy yourself, and come home feeling GOOD- inside and out! Don’t sabotage months worth of work for a few days of indulgence. You’ve worked too hard. It is possible to exercise balance and self-control on vacation while still FULLY enjoying yourself.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

TWSM Fitness Tips For Beginners

Fitness Tips For Beginners

It’s a new day and you’ve decided it’s time to take back your life starting with your health. You are determined to exercise and get back into shape. You signed up for that online fitness program that you heard about on Instagram, got yourself a new pair of sneakers dropped off at your door from Prime, and you’re ready and raring to go! You’re super motivated day 1, 2, and even day 3 but then you begin to lose momentum and your body is tired! What do you do? How do you maintain the momentum and motivation to stick with your fitness and health goals? Here are 5 fitness tips for beginners to help you stay motivated. The goal is to keep you in the game for not just the first few days, but for the long haul. Because it’s about creating a lifestyle after all, right?!

Tip 1: Plan ahead! When we are beginning to implement new habits and routines whether fitness related or not, it’s important to minimise the excuses that could arise and derail us from our well intentioned goals. When it comes to exercise, I’ve found the best success for myself and my clients is to plan it. Literally schedule your workout. Put it on your calendar at work, your personal planner, whatever you need to do but SCHEDULE and PLAN it or else it won’t happen. And speaking of planning ahead- go ahead and set out your workout clothes the night before or pack your gym bag and put it in your car so you are ready to go and the excuse of not having your things together isn’t even an option.

Tip 2: Set realistic goals and start slow. Slow and steady wins the race. And this is precisely the approach and attitude you should have when it comes to your fitness regiment. There is nothing wrong with easing into your program and taking it slow or taking rest breaks as needed. Here’s the thing- if you go all out in your workouts and aren’t realistic about where your fitness level is at, you are setting yourself up to potentially burn out or injure yourself, setting you further back. Pushing too hard too fast isn’t going to get you to your goals faster, in fact it could actually do more harm than good. Remember- slow, steady, and CONSISTENCY is key! Set a goal that you can gradually work towards and track your progress such as running a 5K in a certain amount of time or doing a certain number of push-ups on your toes. Start with small, attainable goals and once you achieve those and feel stronger and more confident, you can add on to those goals.

Tip 3: Listen to your body. If you are new to working out or jumping back in after several months off, be mindful of your limitations. Experiencing some level of soreness is to be expected but don’t overdo it so much that you cannot walk the next day. Harder and faster is not necessarily better and won’t get you to your goals faster as mentioned in tip #2 above. Be sure to stay hydrated, cool down, stretch, and have an active recovery day to keep your muscles from getting too sore and fatigued. You have to be feeling good in order to stay consistent so listen to your body and take care so you can continue your program.

Tip 4: Find a buddy. Accountability is HUGE when it comes to maintaining consistency and motivation and truly making fitness and health a lifestyle. There is nothing like going through the suck with someone else right by your side. Find a group exercise class to attend or ask a co-worker or friend if they want to exercise together and be your workout buddy.

Tip 5: Know your ‘why’. Knowing why you are doing what you are doing is quite possibly THE most important component to making sustainable, lasting change. Take some time to sit down and write out or think about why you want to incorporate fitness into your life? Ask yourself these questions before embarking on your fitness and health journey.

  • Why is my health important to me?
  • Why do I want to be healthy and how do I want to feel?
  • How will my life be different with fitness and health incorporated?
  • How will I maintain this lifestyle and why do I want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Once you’ve thought through those questions, it will be so much easier to re-ignite yourself and get back on track if you fall off. Knowing our greater WHY and our purpose is key to maintaining and sustaining healthy lifestyle goals.

With these 5 tips in your back pocket along with your new sneakers and online program, you are primed for success- long-term success! Now, like the popular Nike motto says, ‘Just Do It’!

Meghan Meredith

HomeBodySoul, Founder

Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us @homebodysoul

The Talk

In a month my daughter turns thirteen. She is my sun, my moon, and my stars.

I have mentioned before I love and am in awe of how much of her own person she is.

How comfortable in her own skin she is. At least I thought she was.

Until we started chatting recently. She seemed a bit down. So I asked is it because we are stuck at home and you are missing everyone?

Somehow in the midst of that discussion we landed on what she thinks about how she looks.

She told me she didn’t like her stomach and how it looked.

My heart sunk.

I have struggled with my self image and weight my whole life so because of that I thought I’ve been doing a pretty good job of not ever making that a part of our conversation.

I started mentally indexing conversations we had. Had I said something? Oh no! Was it because I said wearing jeans was like torture now?

I broke and asked her. She said when she was in elementary school someone had called her a name. I pointed out to her that it was two years ago. Why now? She said I don’t know. Then I checked myself. I am 48 and I still remember being teased by people from grade school. Why should it be different for her? It shouldn’t. Sadly.

I reminded her of what I always tell her… it’s about being healthy.

I reminded her as silly as it sounds it really is about what’s inside. Truly. But we all have our days. But as humans we’ve earned our wrinkles and freckles and scars. We’ve earned the way our body changes. It means we have lived a life.

I told her you may look in the mirror right now and look one way and by the end of the summer look completely different.

Changing is life and it means living.

It’s not always perfect or what we think it should be. But it means things are happening.

I told her I earned my tummy- it grew a person. I grew her! She laughed. I told her she really liked Mountain Dew Code Red and Butter Burgers with the works. Laughter.

I still am doing the mental catalog even as I type this. Is it because I get up every morning and always have to shower and rarely not wear makeup?

Does she feel this way because of that?

I have never been the Mom to make her wear certain types of clothes. I just ask that they be weather appropriate and clean. She hates jeans. So I got her lots of leggings and athletic pants.

She, like me, loves t-shirts. And her hoodie collection- pretty great.

I keep on her about the normal stuff – showers, brushing her teeth… So where?

I don’t know. All I know is I hope she knows what an incredible human she is.

How much I love her.

What a crazy Mama Bear I will turn into the first time someone hurts her. Ok… I’ll try to keep that at the below the surface level.

But this was our first of many( I’m sure) talks like this.

I am scared.

I don’t know if I’m ready.

And man, I hope I’m doing it right. Just a bit would be great.

Thanks for letting me share and if any of you have any words of wisdom….

I’d love it.

Much love Mommas

Be safe

<3 Caprise

TWSM Protein Egg and Quinoa Salad Review

Protein Egg and Quinoa Salad Review

Let’s be real here. Since March our lives have been dumped upside down. “Normal” is no longer school and work and soccer games and spring weekend festivals and church services. “Normal” is isolation and anxiety and homeschooling (or not) and masks and hoping to goodness that for one day – just one – something new won’t happen. My anxiety bubbles just below the surface threatening to erupt at any given moment. My friend Schroeder and I check in with each other via text every day to see where we are on the anxiety scale, one being calm. Ten being a talk-me-off-the-ledge full-blown anxiety attack. The goal is to keep us both simmering at no more than a three.

Two months ago I wrote my review for SkinnyTaste’s Protein Egg and Quinoa Salad regaling you with “pack your lunch, sit in a quiet park on a sunny day on your lunch break” ideas. “It’s finally spring!” I declared. “Treat yourself, and get out of the office on a nice day!” I’m sure many of us would love nothing more than to be with our colleagues again, even the ones who make the Wicked Witch of the West theme run through your head. I know I would.

Yet, here I sit looking out my home office window at the warm spring day beyond, desperate to see something other than the same four walls of my home and the parking lot of my local grocery store when I pick up my curbside grocery order. So here’s the deal… It is finally spring. Treat yourself. Get out of your house and on to your yard, patio, deck, whatever small bit of outside space you have. Make your kids whatever their favorite sandwich is. Prepare this fresh protein rich salad for yourself, and have a picnic. Seriously.

SkinnyTaste’s Protein Egg and Quinoa Salad is delicious and can be adapted in so many ways. No lentils? Use black beans like I did. Add spinach instead of arugula. (I used both). Cut up two dyed Easter eggs. Use bottled dressing instead of making the lemon dressing suggested. No one will judge you for it. As you can see from my pictures, a jar isn’t necessary. In fact I preferred the rectangular food container shown so I could eat it straight from that. After your picnic when the kids have eaten most of their sandwiches, there are potato chip crumbs in your shoes, and everyone’s hair is wild, break into the bougie chocolate you know you’re saving “for a special occasion.” This is your special occasion. You all deserve a piece.

~Laura

The Love Is Powerful

The love is powerful…..

Just last week, I was spending the day with my family. This is a usual occurrence, and I am always so happy when the day comes around. My relatives all seem to feel the same way as they often mention how much joy this time brings them.

During this particular gathering, my grandmother made a comment about how she’s positive that these family events are one of the things that keep them going. It is no secret that negative human emotions can cause serious health problems. Illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity can all be results of anxiety and stress. My question was if positive human emotions that one feels when surrounding themselves with people they love, could have positive impacts on the human body and on human life spans.

I did some research, and I was able to find some scientific facts that could indeed prove that theory. For starters, relationships of love release a certain hormone known as Oxytocin in our bodies. This “love hormone” has been proven to bring us feelings of extreme happiness. That Oxytocin also has the ability to lower hormones such as Cortisol that weaken our immune system. Therefore, these loving relationships can directly lower the rate of sickness. Another proven fact is that people with older age experience less physical pain when they have close family relationships. The more emotional pain they feel, the more physical pain they feel. Along with that, people of older age that are in loving relationships tend to have sharper minds since those relationships have the ability to slow down mental decline over time. All in all, the quality of the close relationships in your life have the power to drastically change your physical and emotional well being.

By surrounding yourself with the people you love, you are proven to be healthier and more importantly, happier.
-Dani <3

Why I Wear Pink

There is a reason why I wear pink in October…

“It’s cancer, but I’m going to be okay”, she said as she moved around the kitchen making dinner.  My brother and I stood there speechless.  In typical fashion, my brother went on about his business of the night, while I, being the emotional basket case I am, immediately burst into tears.  My mom came over, wiped my tears, hugged me tight, and like a true mom does; comforted her daughter when in fact she was probably the one in that moment, who needed comforting.

My mom was 46 years old when she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  The original course of treatment was for her to have a lumpectomy followed by radiation treatments.  After the lumpectomy, the doctors realized that the margin zones were too wide of an area so plans then had to change.  My mom then had to undergo a mastectomy and opted to have tram flap reconstructive surgery, where they took tissue from her abdomen to reconstruct her breast.

During her surgeries, treatments, and hospital stays, my mom was the epitome of strength.  I don’t recall ever seeing her cry, complain, or ask anyone for anything.  Throughout it all, she continued being…well, our mom.  The questions kept coming.  How were my classes going in college?  How were things going with my new boyfriend?  Was my brother doing his homework or going to his job?  Had someone, anyone, washed the towels or done a dish?  In true mom fashion, she was still more concerned about us than herself.  Friends and family came to visit and she would ask about their days or their lives; never focusing on the fact that she was sick.

Some people get a diagnosis like breast cancer, accept that they are sick, mope, or get angry at the world.   Not my mom.  She worked hard and did what she had to in order to become strong and healthy.  She researched natural healing, dietary changes, and exercised even more regularly.

I don’t know where she drew her strength from. Maybe from watching her own mother, my grandmother, be diagnosed and beat the same disease just a few years before.  Wherever it came from, she was an inspiration.

My mom has been blessed enough to have remained cancer free for 13 years now.  After her diagnosis, she became an active volunteer in the breast cancer community, and has spent even more time working with these organizations since she retired a few years ago.  She works with the American Cancer Society working at events like Bark for Life or the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk.  She donates her time to work with two local cancer organizations in our area, Hope Club and CRAAB; whether its performing administrative work, helping a cancer patient choose and get fitted for a wig, or just sitting with someone while they receive chemotherapy to provide comfort and moral support.

Almost four years ago, the cancer returned and yet again she fought like a warrior to beat this nasty disease and triumphed. My mom accepted her diagnosis both times and fought her illness with grace, dignity, positivity, strength, and determination.  During it all she continued babysitting her two small grandchildren and helping me, her single mother daughter, deal with my own breast cancer scare. Knee replacement and a broken femur followed later that year and again, not once did she complain or whine. She fought, worked hard and did whatever was necessary to get better as soon as possible all while taking care of her family and putting all of us and our needs first.

I urge everyone out there, young and old, to perform self-exams regularly and get their annual mammogram.  Know your family history and know your body.  Early detection is one of the best ways to fight this disease until we can find a cure.  Breast cancer is a terrible disease.  It doesn’t discriminate.  It can affect us all, young, old, black, white, rich, poor, etc.. It affects mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, friends, etc… But it can be treated and you can fight against it.

My mom accepted her diagnosis and fought her illness with grace, dignity, positivity, strength, and determination.  She is my hero.  She is why I wear pink.  My mom didn’t just beat cancer and get better…She kicked Cancer’s butt!

-Chrissie <3

What I’m Fighting For

What I’m Fighting For…

I’ve heard the worst of the worst in my 40 years of life.

“We found a mass. Quite honestly, I’m concerned.”
“It is malignant.  You have a 10 cm tumor.  There are also 2 spots in your left lung.”
“It’s stage 4.  Our best guess is you have a 10-15% chance of living the next 5 years.”
I’ve now been battling stage 4 colon cancer for 3 years. I’ve had 27 radiation treatments, 22 chemo treatments, more surgeries in the last 3 years than most have in a lifetime. I’ve somehow had such bad Sepsis that I was within hours of death.
Twice.
There is a looming fear that I have about 2 years left. That my 8 and 5 year old children won’t have their mom by their side as they start middle school and grade school. I try not to worry about that. I try to make every day the best I can for them. I want them to remember when I taught them to ride a two wheeler. And that I practiced their spelling words with them every single morning. I want them to think of fun zoo trips and every single Muffins With Mom event at school.  I pray they will remember what I went through for them. But not so much that they remember how sick the chemo made me. I want them to know that as sick as I was, it helped me be with them even one more day.
I’m fighting.  I’m fighting every single day.  I never want my kids to think I gave up on them. On life. As hard as it is, my will to live is for them. As I gear up for another round of 12 treatments, I worry about telling them. But I hope they’re proud. I hope they see what courage and strength there is in fighting Cancer.  I hope they remember that strength and courage when I’m at my weakest. And I hope they remember the light on the other side. When I can tell them, “The chemo worked.  The cancer is gone. No more chemo for a while.”
Because while the bad has been very bad, the good has been SO much better. We appreciate everything more. They don’t know my time is limited. They just know that I do what I do in order to be able to do the fun stuff later.
And while the Cancer fight is hell, it’s sure as hell worth it in order to take one more trip to the zoo next year.
-Kate

Change Is Hard But If There Is A Will There Is A Way

Change is always hard but if there is a will there is always a way.

When I was in class for my real estate license I became extremely sick. Severe bronchitis, and it wasn’t being made better by my 18 year cigarette smoking habit. One exhausting morning of coughing, hacking and not being able to breath I caught myself trying to smoke!  Then a first happened to me, I got angry at my habit/ dependance on cigarettes. I threw my pack away, and swore I would never touch one again.

This is not the first time I have tried to quit. I have attempted and failed many times. I knew I should quit and why I should quit, but there was always something holding me back. I would cling to the idea that it was a stress relief, or that I enjoyed it.  I’ve come to realize that’s all rationalization for what i truly had-an addiction and a pretty bad one, at that. I was smoking up to a  pack and a half to two packs a day and not slowing down.

It has been six months and counting since I have quit cold turkey. I currently live with a smoker and I do not miss it, one bit! I cannot stand the smell and I feel better. All it took was not allowing excuses to give up. Change is hard, especially a change like this but anything worth doing is going to be difficult. No more excuses, if there is a will there is away and I have found my will.

Always be unapologetically yourself,

-Ali

It’s A Win!

It’s a win!

I’ll be totally honest…sometimes doing the right thing to get to your goals can literally suck the life out of you. As someone who’s had Hashimotos Thyroiditis since I was 8 years old I now struggle with more than just my thyroid because I was put on synthroid at such an early age and it has degraded my bones. A lot of people who know me know I’ve been dealing with slipped discs, degenerative disc disease, & arthritis over the past few years. Two years ago I was having to do physical therapy just to function without pain (I am very anti meds which makes a lot of doctors dislike me or see me as a problem). Plus my TSH had creeped up over 7 (higher is actually lower & it should be between a 1.5-3) even on Armor Thyroid & I wondered if I would even be normal again on an even functional level.

Fast forward two years later. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of the negative people and stressors in my life, gotten a divorce, exercise, & limit my processed food intake. I’ve also lost a lot of weight-maybe not the quick fix way that’s popular these days but it’s been a slow and steady trip and in all honestly I’m still not at my goal weight or energy level. I still struggle with being motivated to get up, get moving, & out the door some mornings I’ll admit I drink a ton of coffee to function and be cheerful on the phone. But I’m working on myself-I’m just not speedy. Hopefully I’ll be there someday.

But….I did hit a huge goal this week….I hit single digit pants sizes. It’s an 8. Progress & I’m a functioning adult taking care of my boys and able to move without pain. Ironically this wasn’t with the huge weight loss I wanted (I weigh myself twice a day) but I noticed my pants (10s & 12s) were literally falling off-so I ran out one kid free night to find some pants. It’s not perfection but I’ll take it.

~Bethany

You can follow Bethany on her blog at https://fake-it-until-you-make-it.com

A Bunny Makes A Great Listener

As I am feeding fluids to my daughter’s new bunny with an eyedropper, I am abruptly reminded of my daughter’s first years where I had roughly the same fight each day. This bunny means so much to us and I tell him this. He needs to stick around.

There is no accurate way to describe the heavy, sick feeling of desperation and terror that accompanies having an infant who cannot breathe, who cannot nurse or easily drink. This bunny forces me to remember just how much I hate that feeling. “I can’t lose this one” should not be a mantra for your life yet it was mine for a very, very long time.

This little bunny reminds me of the painful past we both survived.

This little bunny reminds of all we do as Moms.

How we beat ourselves up, turn ourselves inside out, drag ourselves to work and back, power through a stomping child’s tantrums, emergency room visits and the landfill of toys that is your house.

This bunny reminds me of what I have done.

With complete certainty, I knew my daughter was meant for me. She was my Rory Gilmore. It was going to be rainbows and puppy dogs forever. We would hold hands and skip off into the sunset.

So why can’t we get out of our own way? Why can’t we just enjoy each other each day?

Sucked down in the muck of trudging to work (and school), the sadness of leaving them only to have your hopes dashed at the end of the day when, excited and happy to see your child, you get a possessed Linda Blair instead.

Why can’t I handle her moods better and create a warm-happy-daydream evening for us every day?

I dream of long vacations where there are no time constraints, no looming job over my head, no homework, no chores, no mess. When we do get a vacation every few years, it is bliss and flies by in a blink. So how do I create a vacation kind of bond with my child? How do I feed that tethered link of love and connection every day?

The answer I have is to listen.

Listen with my nose in my phone? Nope. I must listen with my whole being. Listening with all of my heart and my eyes wide open is like directing a beam of light shining down on her that says,
“I care. I give a crap. I want to know what you do, how you think, what you dream about.”

Obvious, right?

My challenge, see how long you can listen to your child without putting away groceries and turning away, without putting away clothes, cleaning up a mess. Just stop. Maybe it is not always feasible but the times you can, do it. Make it a habit. Research suggests it takes 21 days to form a habit so try for 21 days to take moments of the day to stop everything and listen.

I know. I am the only one that keeps us on a schedule too and in the morning I often say,
“You can tell me in the car.” ”You can tell me after we get home.”

Sometimes she just needs me to stop and I feel I have forgotten this.

This little bunny is part of my elaborate plan for everyday is a vacation, when you are doing what you love with the people you want to be with. This means mom-daughter bonding moments in the care and cuddling of bunnies and road trips to rabbit shows. We joined 4H, which means among other things, visits to farms, joining a rabbit club, holding and posing animals. “I recommend 4H for every child. There are limitless opportunities to grow and learn with 4H. Real world opportunities for kids to master their future. And for us, 4H is the vacation in everyday life that we get to repeat every week.

A lot rides on this little bunny. My daughter now has a little furry person of her own to worry about, to care for, love and cuddle. Who will hopefully drink.

Thank you little bunny. Good talk.

Bernae