Holiday Season

You may or may not have wondered where I had ventured off to since I have been MIA for a few weeks. Life just got to me and I had to take a step back from the blog and my business. Too much has been going on lately in my life, add to that the holidays and everything else, I’m still not back to normal but I am slowly getting there.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed their time with family and/or friends! Personally I had the best Christmas I had had in a long, long time. It wasn’t anything spectacular by any means but it was special to me and I really lived it up and enjoyed it as much as I could.

This post is short, and hopefully sweet, because I just wanted to get back out there and post something. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. I promise you that I will be making more of an effort to get awesome posts published these coming weeks, particularly with the New Year coming up. We will make 2016 our best year yet. Here are some posts to help you make it until my next ones, a three part series about how to survive winter while focusing on your health (just click on the links in the captions of the images to view the blog posts):

winter fitness tips
Winter Fitness Tips
Winter healthy comfort tips
Winter Healthy Comfort Tips
Winter Motivation Tips
Winter Motivation Tips

 

How was your Christmas? Did you get any gifts that you’re particularly happy for? Or did you realize that all the gifts you really need are in your life already such as your family, friends, pets, etc.?

~Bonnie~

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Winter Motivation Tips

This is Part 3 in a series about Winter Health and Fitness. You can find Part 1 here: Winter Fitness Tips and Part 2 here: Winter Healthy Comfort Tips.

Today I am discussing ways to keep your motivation strong throughout winter. Here are some tips that have helped me presently as well as last year:

  1. Keep your eyes on the goal: keep focused on your WHY:
    Why you want to lose weight, but also why doing your best throughout the winter to lose weight and improve your health is so important to you personally. What are you most looking forward to this coming spring or summer? Would you like to be healthier and be able to enjoy it even more?
  2. Think about each event coming up and focus on each one at a time:
    Holidays, seasons themselves, events, vacations, etc. Any kind of special occasion you’re looking forward to or have a party for. Use it to your advantage to keep you focused and on track.
  3. Stay focused on your goals:
    Think about your short-term goals. Make weekly and/or monthly goals that will help you stay focused on the here and now. If you have a long-term goal, breaking it into smaller and more manageable goals that you can focus on weekly will help immensely. That way you have something to look forward to but aren’t overwhelming yourself.
  4. Find supportive support:
    Having support is pretty important, but having the right support is even more important. Make sure you are choosing people that will support you and have your back no matter what. If you don’t have those kinds of people in your life already, try online support such as SparkPeople. You can find all kinds of support there: chat forum (even on the mobile app), friends, blogging feedback. Of course take everything with a grain of salt because where there are people, there are going to be negative nellies or just downright troublemakers.
  5. Create a motivation board just for winter:
    Have you ever heard of a “vision board?” Well, I prefer to call mine a motivation board because that’s how I see it. I fully plan on making a winter motivation board for short-term visualization purposes and have even started collecting pictures for it. So I encourage you to include all the things that motivate you: pictures, certain words/phrases, or other items that symbolize your WHY.
  6. Create and/or work on your Weight Loss Journal:
    There are so many ways to go about this and you can include anything at all that you want to. You should include the things that motivate and inspire you, as well as including some of your accomplishments. You can also include your progress pictures here, letters to yourself, descriptions of your healthy living goals and dreams or experiences themselves, pictures of things you like that represent healthy living. Starting my own weight loss journal saved me last winter. It helped keep me motivated and was very therapeutic to work on.

 

Some general life tips for getting through winter as well:

  • Do things you enjoy doing: read a good book, go to an indoor game place such as an arcade or bowling alley, go ice skating… just do anything fun that makes you excited and happy!
  • Keep warm: If you have a fireplace, sit in front of it or roast some marshmallows. Pretend you’re camping in your own living room. Remember what it was like to be a kid! Drink hot beverages (caloric ones in moderation), snuggle up with the pets/loved ones, get moving to get the blood flowing, etc.
  • Get out once in a while. If you’re like me, you might spend too much time indoors. So if you need to get out, get out. If the weather is bad, go somewhere indoors: the library, a mall, bowling alley/pool hall/arcade or something else, or simply make an enjoyable outing of your trip to the grocery store.
  • Sit and breathe. Focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and let your thoughts take you wherever they want… but guide them with positive vibes/thoughts. I guess you could call this meditating in a sense. I’m not sure about “meditating” myself but definitely enjoy a quiet moment just being.
  • Keep your hands and mind busy: Board games, puzzles, word searches/crossword puzzles/Sudoku, online games especially ones you need to play with actual people, active video games, and much much more!

 

What is your favorite way to combat the winter blues? Would you like to share any tips on keeping motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the colder and darker months?

~Bonnie~

Winter Healthy Comfort Tips

This is Part 2 in my series of Winter Health and Fitness Tips!

(Here is Part 1: “Winter Fitness Tips” if you want to check it out!)

Here are some warm comfort foods that are healthy, or at least lower calorie:

  • Hot cocoa, add in some mini marshmallows which are low calorie and you’ve got yourself a treat!
  • Coffee, just be sure what you’re adding to it is low in calories and not high sugar/fat. Some ideas are nut milks, cinnamon, and honey.
  • Hot tea (same goes for what you add as above).
  • Warm milk
  • Oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • Toast or English muffin: as long as you don’t put a ton of butter or something else on your them, whole grain/wheat toast is a healthy warm food. English muffins are also somewhat lower in calories than some other breakfast foods and if you toast them can also make a nice comforting, warm food.
  • Soups (make sure to check the nutrition label for sodium though!)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches with whole grain/wheat bread and minimal butter.
  • Chili: ground turkey chili, chicken chili, meatless chili.
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Healthy lasagna (the opportunities are endless with this, look for some recipes).
  • Meatloaf made healthily, again there are many recipes for this online.
  • Crockpot meals: there are so many recipes out there for this as well.
  • Popcorn (yes, popcorn is a healthier snack choice than some snacks, just be careful of all the additives such as butter or salt).

It’s good to spend some time just chilling too: curling up with a good book and a hot cup of your choice beverage. That is an ultimate comfort for a lot of us. So cozy! Time spent putting your own wellbeing first is time well spent, and very healthy. You can also cuddle with pets, your kids, or other loved ones. I love snuggling with my nephews on a cold morning, it helps warm me warm up faster and also keeps them warm which is true of pets and other loved ones as well. It’s a mutually beneficial activity!

The more you move, the warmer you’ll feel. Of course this is only temporary, but at least you’re killing two birds with one stone: getting warmer and burning calories! Plus you also get things done as well, which means you’re multitasking, such as cleaning or other housework or even getting your exercise in!

Imagine popping in a good movie to watch, with a bowl of popcorn (portioned out so you know how much you’re eating)… maybe even some hot tea or coffee to drink… curled up with loved ones or even by yourself. So comfortable and cozy!

What is your favorite way to stay warm and feel cozy during the winter? Mine is curling up with a book and just letting the story take me away. It helps me to not think of the freezing weather outside!

 

~Bonnie~

P.S. If you want to make 2016 your best year yet, check out my New Year’s product: Best Year for the Best You 2016 Package. It’s up for pre-order right now for a limited time price of $259! It will be going up to full price once it’s released on December 17th, but if you order it now, you’re saving sixty dollars and you will receive the full package on the release date! If you purchase from this link, your card won’t be charged until the day it’s released!

6 Tips for Thanksgiving Exercise

Holidays + Exercise = nightmare!

Do you find it hard enough to get exercise when there isn’t a holiday or some other big thing going on? So how does one handle healthy living on a holiday?

A couple days ago I shared tips with you regarding stress and eating tips: 8 Tips to Manage Thanksgiving Stress. So check that out if you would like tips on those topics.

Here are some tips for your holiday exercise plan this week:

  • If it works for you, plan your rest day for Thanksgiving instead of your usual day, and then just try to make the day as active as you can.
  • Plan your day ahead of time: making a rough schedule to fit your exercise in around cooking or interaction with others. We all know holidays can be so hectic that we lose track of time or forget to take care of ourselves as well as everyone else.
  • Fit your exercise in early in the day so that you aren’t totally exhausted when you try to do it later. You might prefer to get your exercise in before everyone else wakes up if you have company or small children, otherwise just get it done before all the cooking and festivities start.
  • Walk or dance in place while you cook… just be careful not to scald yourself!
  • Make exercise a family/group activity. Play sports or games outdoors if you can, or break out active games or videos to do indoors. Go for a walk with one or more family/friends. Basically anything that gets your family or group moving instead of sitting and lounging the whole time is a good idea!
  • If you need a breather from the holiday festivities, take your dog for a walk… or take your host’s dog for a walk if you don’t have one and your host does. It is a legitimate excuse to get away and fit some exercise in, while also allowing you a breather from everything else going on.

Most of all, just do your best to fit in your fitness and don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t for some reason. Eat moderately, indulge a little bit (after all it’s Thanksgiving!) and realize that it’s just one day. In the grand scheme of things this one day where you will likely go over your calorie allotment is okay.

What are your exercise plans for the holidays? Since I’m not doing anything the day of and my family doesn’t seem to be holding an actual Thanksgiving meal, I will likely just go about exercise as normal. Not to mention the fact that I will be babysitting my nephews all day that day anyway.

I hope you all have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING tomorrow! Be as healthy as possible, but also be flexible and enjoy the day!

Don’t forget to keep your eye out for a post on Thursday afternoon/evening for the 48-hour sale codes on my Be the Best You products!

~Bonnie~

How to Set Effective Goals

Goal setting can be one of the best tools at your disposal, but also one of the hardest to accomplish:

Where do you start? How do you know you’re making goals that are right for you? How can you follow through and keep moving forward when the going gets tough?

My first tip: Think about what is realistic for you!

What someone else is doing won’t necessarily work for you. Your goal has to be something you want and something you can realistically do if you push yourself just past your comfort zone. So first, think about what you CAN do and what you can accomplish and then raise the bar just ever so slightly.

My second tip: Make a plan and stick to it as best you can.

Will you be perfect? No. However, setting a plan that will enable you to reach your goal is essential. If you stray or lose motivation, you can use the plan as a reference point to get back on track. Realize that you are just doing your best and you won’t be completely on your game all the time. It also helps in making things seem doable instead of overwhelming. So break down what you need to do in smaller timeframes, such as by weeks or days.

My third tip: Focus on WHY you want to accomplish this goal.

Never lose sight of the reason why you want to pursue this goal, why you are trying so hard to achieve it. If you remind yourself each day of the why, you will find it a lot easier to feel motivated when things get hard.

My fourth tip: Believe in your ability to reach (or even surpass) your goal.

You sow what you reap, as the saying goes. So a simple belief in yourself to make this happen will actually help you make it happen! Sounds pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Whenever you feel doubt sinking in, say to yourself, “I am strong, I am capable, and I CAN do this!” Trust me, it really does help!

My fifth and final tip: Don’t give up.

While you may need to adjust your goals here and there if you begin to realize they are unrealistic for you right now, you must not give up. Adjust the goal and proceed. Change it entirely if you must, but keep moving forward no matter what! Always having a goal to move forward will help give you structure.

This obviously isn’t the whole picture but will definitely help you get off to a good start with your goals. These are some of the ones I have found to be the most important in setting goals myself.

If you would like more help setting goals that work for you, check out my Goals to Become the Best You $30 e-course here: https://coursecraft.net/courses/z9Qbd. You will get a workbook + guide to lead you through a step-by-step formula for setting and pursuing your goals, and also a community forum for individualized help and guidance from me personally. You will work through it at your own pace, completing it as you go along. If you have a hard time sticking to your goals or get discouraged easily, this is the course for you! For a limited time, there is a 30% off sale by using the code BESTYOU30. This code is only valid until Sunday so grab the e-course at this discounted price before it ends!

Or you could also checkout the workbook + guide by itself here: https://my.digitalgoodsstore.com/product/fcvu8. If you use the same code mentioned above (BESTYOU30), you will receive 30% off of the $15 original price of the workbook + guide!

~Bonnie~

Now Open for Personalized Coaching

Officially announcing that I am open for Personalized Coaching!

Do you find it hard going it alone? Do you want personalized help from someone who’s been there, done that and is still moving forward with their own weight loss and healthy living goals?

I have been there, done that with a lot of things in my year and a half of healthier living. I don’t know all the answers and I am not afraid to admit that but I can help you achieve your goals and live a healthier life. Providing consistent support, encouragement, advice and tips, as well as feedback are my passions!


What can you expect?

What you can expect from me: I will be there to cheer you on, provide personalized advice and tips, give much needed support and encouragement, and even be there as a listening ear. Whatever you need!

It’s like having a coach and an accountability partner rolled into one! While we will have “live meetings,” you will also have the ability to contact me via email or text message any other time as well. So if you have one scheduled meeting with me per week you could use it to ask me for specific tips or tell me about your week ahead so I can help you find ways to prepare and/or cope with upcoming events. You can also tell me about the week leading up to the meeting, to report your food, exercise, or water intake to me as well to help you stay on track or anything you want.

Then the rest of the week you could send me an email or text message here and there, as needed to help you stay accountable or to ask for help in the moment. Knowing someone is there to answer questions or give advice as needed can be invaluable to you. I had someone in my house that I could do that with most of the time, or call my sister. However, sometimes our family and friends aren’t the most supportive of our goals even if they are well meaning or they are supportive but give in to your whims because they love you. It can be a great tool to have someone who is objective to help you along the way.

Personalized Coaching can be anything you need: video support, messaging by text or through an app, or email chatting. It could be a mixture or just one of those options. We can figure out what will work best for you after your initial consultation.

Please sign up for a free personalized coaching email consultation if you’re interested. You have nothing to lose as it’s FREE and there is no commitment until you’re ready. Click this link: Be the Best You Scheduling to set up your free consultation. You can set up a time frame that works for you for the consultation but I recommend at least 30 minutes to get the full benefit of the consultation.

Note: Prices on coaching packages vary, we will get into that once I know what you need and want. I will do my best to work with you for what you can afford. My hours can vary as well for live chats (whether it be video, text messaging, or email) but again, I will do my best to work with you to suit your needs. This is about making it work for you.

~Bonnie~

Truly Helpful Weight Loss Websites

Today I am sharing with you a roundup of the websites I have used in my weight loss journey so far:

Where I track my food and water, and exercise before I got a Fitbit:
SparkPeople
(There is also a ton of support to be had here)

Where I track my exercise, through the app:
Fitbit Website

Reliable calorie counts:
(Mostly reliable anyway)
MyFitnessPal
Calorie Counter

Accurate Articles:
SparkPeople Articles
Livestrong Hot Topics (Articles & Blogs)

Health information:
(use at your own discretion)
Mayo Clinic
WebMD

Recipes:
SparkPeople Recipes
Livestrong Recipes


A little about each website:

SparkPeople has a ton of amazing tools other than just food, exercise, and water trackers. There is a whole slew of community boards including a mobile one on their app. Plus you can’t beat the valuable support you can receive there. Like I mentioned above there are also articles and recipes, blog posts, and much more.

Fitbit is one of my favorite tools lately. I’m not super attached to it but I’m attached to it enough. It definitely motivates me to move more. I love seeing how many steps I have throughout the day to see if I’m on track with my daily goal. (If you haven’t already, check out the #BTBYfitnesschallenge on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where I have been posting my Fitbit screenshots to help me keep on track and that motivates me even further! So join in if you’d like!)

MyFitnessPal also has a community and much more on their website. I couldn’t find any recipes but they have an expansive database of foods with mainly reliable nutrition information. When I’m on the go, I sometimes use them to search how many calories are in certain foods.

Calorie Counter same could be said of this one for on the go calorie content viewing. I have found it is more or less reliable with its information as well.

Livestrong has proven to be an accurate and reliable site in my opinion. They have a lot of helpful resources there as well: you can track exercise and food, post to the community, read articles and blogs, search the recipes, etc.

Mayo Clinic is reportedly one of the more accurate websites with health information.

WebMD is good for basic things, although you still might freak out quite a bit if you’re googling symptoms or a specific illness. Either way it’s best to visit your own doctor if possible!

Check out some of these websites if you wish! They can be pretty helpful if you play around and explore a bit! They have been great resources for me at least on occasion.

~Bonnie~

Weight Loss Tips and Advice

weight loss tips and advice

Hello,

Have you ever had a question about weight loss and couldn’t find the answer? It can be hard to navigate forums and websites sometimes to find exactly the right information you’re looking for, even if you used Google (or another search engine) to do so. I’m offering to pass along the wisdom that I’ve accumulated over the course of my own weight loss journey. I am by no means an expert, but I have “been there done that,” in many weight loss related topics.

A little about me: I’m a 27 year old named Bonnie, and I have been focusing on my health and weight loss over the past sixteen months. I have lost 120+ pounds so far, and still have around 40 left to lose. I have babysat my two toddler nephews a minimum of 40-65 hours a week throughout my journey and live with them as well so they’re always around which can make things challenging. I have also attended one semester of school and juggling the whole healthy living, school, and babysitting was tough as well. Now I have just begun my own mainly online business and working hard to get it up and running adds a whole new level of challenge to the healthy living.

My journey has been a long one so far, and it can be trying at times, but I’m never going to stop moving forward. I love my new life too much to do so! Now I want to help others do the same thing, to find the strength and power within themselves to lose weight, improve their health, and find the confidence they need to live life to its fullest. Some things I have gained over the course of my journey is more confidence in myself and what I am capable of, improved overall health, less depression and anxiety issues, and so much more.

Me before I started to now! A work in progress but have come so far already!
Me before I started to now! A work in progress but have come so far already!

You can read more of my story in a couple of my past blogs: here and here, if you would like to know a bit more about me than the condensed version above. I would also like to invite you to download my freebies which are located above in the “Freebies” tab at the top of the page through a link. Right now there are only two, but there will be more to come in the near future.

Do you have any weight loss or healthy living related questions you would like answered? Would you like a listening ear to just discuss things with or a sounding board for ideas? Feel free to post any questions, ask for advice, or help needed in any form about weight loss or how to overcome obstacles. You can post them in the comments below or you can email me directly using the form below. I would like to help you in any way I can. If I don’t know an answer, I will let you know that as well.

~Bonnie~

Tip Tuesday- Tracking Food and Exercise for Weight Loss

picjumbo.com_HNCK5688

A very big piece of advice I would like to pass along to you is to track your food and exercise, in some shape or form. It has a lot of benefits, more than I could ever list. So here are the highlights.

These are just a few methods of tracking:

  • Online or through an app: Spark People and MyFitnessPal are just a couple that I’ve had personal experience with and have found work well. There are likely countless others.
  • Computer: some programs such as Microsoft Works and Microsoft Word have food and exercise logs. You could also create your own custom food/exercise logs with simple tables or other buttons within some of these programs.
  • Paper and pen: go old school and use a notebook to write down what you have eaten and done for exercise or print logs from programs and use them to write them down.

journaling

Now you may want to know what is so important about tracking food and exercise when you are trying to improve your health and lose weight. I’ll tell you why I believe it to be so important:

  1. To see where you stand throughout the day as well as at the end of it, such as eating within your calorie range, getting enough fruits and vegetables, getting enough protein or fiber, not getting too many carbs or too much fat.
  2. To measure physical capabilities and see how much more you can do compared to when you started or even a couple weeks ago. Some ways to see progress would be with time (minutes), distance, speed, repetitions of strength training exercise, increasing the weights for strength training, etc.
  3. To see what works for you as well as what does not. That way you can repeat what does work and cut out what doesn’t. You will be able to look back and see trends to help you decide your course of action going forward. If you weren’t keeping track, how would you know?

As you track your food and exercise in one form or another, you will also find that it gives you accountability to yourself. It provides you with the chance to see what you’re doing each day in relation to your goals and progress. Keeping track of what you eat and what exercises you do, as well as possibly even how you felt about it if you want, will help you to continuously move forward.

Then as you go along, you will know how to change things as needed and find what works for you. A lot of this weight loss thing is finding what works for you personally. Sure, you can get a million and one ideas from the internet, but some things will work for you and others won’t. Some of it won’t interest you and some simply doesn’t work for you or your body, and this is one way to keep track of that as well.

~Bonnie~

Tip Tuesday- How to Deal with Slip-Ups

The inevitable… and discouraging… slip-up.

We all have them and they’re definitely not a new phenomenon. So what do we do when we’re going along, doing our best, and out of nowhere the dreaded slip-up happens?

There’s no one clear-cut approach to this that works for everyone. I’m going to share my philosophy and experiences. Feel free to try this for yourself. If it works for you, great. If not, remember there are other things to try to get yourself back on track.

you haven't quit

When I slip-up I try to do some damage control if at all possible. If  I slip up in the early part of the day, say afternoon or earlier, I do my best to make the rest of my meals and snacks as low in calories as possible without feeling like I’m starving. What this consists of is making it mostly vegetables with small portions of fruit and lean protein on the side, occasionally some whole grains if I can fit them in. Usually this helps me to be in my calorie range, or barely over it. If I slip up in the later part of the day, I apply the same eating method in order to minimize the damage, and I accept that I will still be over calories.

How I deal with the day after a slip-up, whether or not I was able to put that method to use, I might still feel a bit disappointed in myself. One thing I do NOT do is beat myself up about it because it is counterproductive and will only make the problem escalate. I may reflect on what happened and plan how to keep it from happening in the future. The greatest part of a slip-up is the potential to learn and grow from it! It’s valuable knowledge that will help you as you continue your journey.

Healthy eating
Healthy eating

Sometimes we still feel bad after a slip-up, even with damage control or damage minimization. The best and fastest way to make yourself feel better is to make one good healthy or productive choice as soon as possible. Choose a fruit or veggie as a snack, choose to exercise when you might not have otherwise, or do something else active that makes you feel good and raises your spirits. Telling yourself to make just one good choice takes the insane pressure off of you. Trust me, once you make that choice, the pride of your accomplishment makes you feel like you’re going to be okay, and maybe even better than okay.

So learn from it, let it go, and move forward!

~Bonnie~