Weight Loss May be Hard

Weight loss is hard. I think we can all agree that on some level, or at some point, weight loss is quite difficult. Not only does it take a lot of hard work and determination, but it can also be trying at times. So trying that we may feel like giving up many times in our journeys.

So let me tell you a secret… a secret that this quote states so eloquently:

Your dream of weight loss and a healthier life does not become a reality by magic, or a wish. It takes hard work and discipline, sweat (and sometimes even tears), as well as determination to make it happen.

Don’t let that stop you though, because you have all of those things within you. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find them but they are there. Remember that you are strong and powerful! Your dreams are within your reach if you only put in the work to achieve them! Weight loss may be hard but it’s not impossible and you will always hold the power to make it happen.

You are worth the hard work it takes. You are worth living a life that is healthier and higher quality. Just think of all the things you can do in the future that you aren’t able to now. The opportunities are endless. All you have to do is make healthier living a priority and never give up!

One way to do this is to simply believe in yourself. Believing in yourself is not to be underestimated in your weight loss journey. Believe the power is within you, believe that you will achieve your goals, believe that it’s possible! It will power you forward more than you can possibly understand until you are actually doing it!

If for some reason all of this isn’t within you, or you can’t tap into it at any given moment, a good support system can help boost you up. Whether it be family, friends, a group of some sort, or even online… they can support you through hard times. Your support system can act as a bridge to get you over the hurdles and keep you strong when you’re feeling weak. We all have times of weakness so lean on them when you need to, but also realize that you have what you need within yourself as well.

What do you feel is the hardest part of weight loss? For me personally it has always been the food. I love food. I love exercise and staying active once I start but food will always be my weakness. So that has been the toughest part for me and sometimes continues to be, but I push to overcome it every day and I will not quit. Some of it becomes more habit and natural over time and that is so rewarding!

~Bonnie~

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15 Simple Ways to Set Aside Time for Yourself

This time of year is rife with stress, so we need to take the time to treat ourselves right. It helps us be our best the rest of the time, as well as to enjoy the holidays and time with loved ones!

Simple Ways to Set Aside Time for Yourself

  1. Whenever possible, take your time in the shower. Hot showers are especially relaxing and soothing. It may be one of life’s necessities but the shower itself can give you time to think through things that are bothering you, hopefully without interruption.
  2. Take a walk. If you can, take a walk by yourself to just think and revel in the beauty around you. If you take a walk with a friend, talking can be therapeutic too. Sometimes we need or want to take the children in our lives on a walk too. It’s still a good way to set aside time for yourself. Take advantage of the quiet moments while also striking a balance with teaching them. I find it relaxing to just point out things and talk to my nephews while walking. Sometimes it’s not relaxing when they ask the same question five times in a row but it’s still usually fun.
  3. Workout. Just in general, spend time getting your workout. Put yourself first for the time being and get that workout in. You can release frustrations, uncertainties, and even celebrate life’s victories. Plus you get the added benefit of knowing you’re doing something wonderful for your body which gives you some peace of mind.
  4. Write in a journal or notebook. Take the time to write out how you feel, discuss your day, figure things out, or even make plans. I find writing out my day and discussing how I feel is so beneficial!
  5. Cuddle with your favorite person/pet. The time spent cuddling your children or other loved ones, or simply cuddling with or petting your dog or cat can be good for your mental wellbeing.
  6. Sit and breathe. Quiet your mind, maybe even close your eyes. If you believe in God, talk to Him. Either way, take time to reflect on your day and all of your blessings, all of the positives in your life. It truly sets the tone for the rest of the day. I’ve been trying to do this more often myself and know I feel better about life just relying on God and reflecting on any good things in my life.
  7. Do something for someone else. You may ask, how is doing something for someone else setting aside time for me? I’ll tell you… doing something for someone else makes them feel good, which in turn makes you feel good to help them. I love helping others and do so not to get something in return, but it still makes me feel good to do so!
  8. Go shopping for something fun! This is hard for some of us, as money is tight or we may face temptation to spend to much… but if you can, a little retail therapy can go a long way. Even stopping in the Dollar Tree or somewhere else that has low price items and browsing the aisles to pick out a few things can boost your sense of wellbeing.
  9. Read (books, magazines, articles, etc.). Read something that you enjoy! Getting lost in a story or something pleasant can be such a nice way to put yourself first because it’s FUN!
  10. Self-care: Hair, skin, nails, etc. Spend some time on self-care. It makes you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world when you have certain self-care things in order! Take a manicure or a pedicure (or both), having nice nails is so rewarding!
  11. Haircut/coloring. Going to get your hair cut or get a color can be a mostly relaxing experience. My last haircut, I got a quiet beautician and I just let myself go, zoning out and just being. It was so enjoyable. I never experienced something like that. You could also find joy in having a conversation with the beautician as well! Either way is nice!
  12. Organizing or cleaning. Such a weird, but therapeutic thing to do once you get into it. Organizing is fun because you’re getting things in order, cleaning is fun because after you’re done, something is clean! Sure it’s a pain to do sometimes but the results are refreshing!
  13. Writing out cards or notes/letters to loved ones. Writing out your thoughts and making loved ones feel cherished and valued is time well spent! You will feel better when it’s done because a lot of us go through our days without much opportunity to say how we feel some of the time. So setting aside some time to do that will lighten your heart!
  14. Art. If you like to draw or paint, that is another way to set aside time for yourself. Lose yourself in your work and make something beautiful.
  15. Sit down to enjoy a sweet treat you really want. Life is too short not to enjoy something you really want once in a while. Treat yourself. Just make sure you enjoy it so it’s worth it!

These are some of my favorite ways to set aside time for myself. Those things really give me a sense of peace, or accomplishment, or both. Sometimes it’s hard to get started on the organizing and cleaning one, but once I do it is such a rewarding experience. I also am not a big on drawing or painting anymore but from time to time it is fun!

I hope you all liked my list. What are your favorite ways to set aside time for yourself? It could be simple like most of these or it could be something more elaborate. I’d love to hear what you do! We could all use ways to improve our sense of wellbeing!

~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~

Mindfulness and Reflection

In our weight loss journeys, we often times put the main focus on our bodies. We really shouldn’t abandon our minds in this quest. Weight loss is truly about aligning our minds with our bodies. Many of us probably have experience with our minds giving up before our bodies do.

woman in woods
Sometimes weight loss may seem overwhelming and our first instinct is to shy away and maybe even give up. Stand strong and take baby steps!

Here I will tell you why being mindful and taking the time to reflect is important:

Practicing mindfulness allows us to be more aware of ourselves, our surroundings, and our actions. That in turn allows us to adjust as we need to. It is very powerful to be able to tell when our bodies or our minds have had enough, so that we can take a break before we reach a breaking point. When we are able to take a step back and just breathe, we can accomplish so much more. It allows us to think and might even bring some enlightenment. As long as you keep your goals fresh in your mind and your resolve strong, a break can be just what you need.

Reflection is an amazing tool, at regular intervals or even whenever we feel stuck or unsure. Stopping to take the time to reflect on what you have been doing, all you have accomplished, what isn’t working, and what you want to do going forward. This is especially helpful when you have a very specific goal in mind and need to make sure you’re on the right path. That specific goal could be weight loss in general or it could be a race coming up, a certain exercise goal you want to reach, or something to do with your nutrition. Set aside time to reflect at different intervals so that you can adjust if needed or reaffirm that what you’re doing is working for you.

How about you, do you find being mindful and taking time to reflect helps you with your weight loss or other goals?

~Bonnie~

Going Back to Basics

You know when you’re going along and things are smooth sailing, but then you hit a big bump in the road and everything goes haywire? Yeah, we all know how that goes!

Going back to basics

Sometimes it is completely necessary to take a step back and view the big picture again. We continuously need to reevaluate our goals in order to move forward. Sometimes it is also necessary to go back to the beginning, or another time when we were more successful before we hit a bump. Those times are when you try to pick up where you left off and move forward at the same rate but your body and mind fight you every step of the way. You’re not going to be successful if your mind is standing in your way or if you go too hard, too fast.

This is why we take a step back, start over, or simply go back to basics by employing the strategies and habits that helped us in the beginning. When were you the most successful with your weight loss, fitness, or healthy eating? What were you doing then? Take what you were doing and start doing it again now. You may have way more knowledge and abilities now, but if you take a step back it can help tremendously!

It kind of goes along with that saying, “Never forget where you came from.” We have to remember where we started when we’re losing weight and improving our health. Sometimes we just get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget. The struggle is so all-consuming that we have tunnel vision, or we’re so wrapped up in the results that we forget that we need to focus on the other important stuff as well.


Now I’m going to share with you a bit about my life lately, because I have come to the point where I need to heed this advice. It is a little disappointing but exciting at the same time because I know it worked for me in the past.

October was a bad month for me. Sure, it got off to a great start with my 27th birthday and an absolutely wonderful one at that, but it went downhill fast from there.

The night before my birthday I started feeling sick, like sneezy and congested sick. Still my birthday itself was awesome, I spoiled myself and let myself eat basically what I wanted, and I was also spoiled by others. I received quite a few gifts, more than I had on my birthday in a long time!

However, letting myself basically eat what I wanted on my birthday and being sick at the same time resulted in me having bad cravings for carbs in the following days. It took me quite a while to get back to normal. Then I kind of took a lax approach with my eating the week after that because I was still sick and stressed out, and I didn’t want worrying about my eating to add to my stress.

The following week, just when I was getting back on track and had 3 good days under my belt, my uncle died unexpectedly and that hit me really hard. I wasn’t super close but he had always been such a positive role model in my life and it hurt so bad that he was gone. I let myself eat more again because I still didn’t want to add to my stress. It took a good week as well as a visit with my therapist to return to some sort of normalcy, emotions wise.

Now it’s been about five days since I started feeling more positive again. I have had two days where I went over my calories, but not by much. I have had three days where I was within range. I’m doing my best to stay on track and refocus. I also need to baby step back into working out and building muscle consistently again… because due a whole month of no strength training, and not much cardio during that time either, I have lost a majority of the muscle I worked so hard to gain.

So my goals for November:

  • Go back to what worked for me in the beginning with my eating: When I first started out, I made it a goal to be in my calorie range 5 days a week minimum, with two days a week where I could go over my calories by 300-500. This time I will keep it to 300 or less over my calories on those two days but the principle is the same… if I have those days to look forward to, eating within my range the other five will be easier and less overwhelming. It worked well for me before so I know it will help me now.
  • Baby steps to exercise and build muscle again: My plan is to take it easy on the elliptical at the gym, start slow with my half marathon training plan that I set up for myself, and to continue walking or doing walking videos but taking it easy with those too.
  • Exercise sessions/time:
    • Strength training will be 2 times a week, with two rounds of each exercise. I am going back to 3lb dumbbells, which makes me feel like a wimp because I had been using 5lbs and doing well with those, but today’s strength training session made me sore even with the smallest dumbbells available at the gym so it’s definitely necessary!
    • Elliptical will be 20 minutes to start with and 3 times a week, focusing on changing the resistance levels and not pushing too hard because that has caused me bone/joint pain when I try. I will step back up to 30 minutes on the elliptical when I know my body is ready.
    • Half marathon training will be 2 times a week to start: 15 seconds maximum jogging at a time, walking to warm up a minimum of 1 mile before doing the first jogging interval because I feel that’s what my muscles and feet need to ease into this.
    • Walking/walking videos will be 2-3 times a week with a goal of 30-45 minutes outside maximum, or 30 minutes maximum indoors with videos.

So there you have it, I still need to go back to basics sometimes. This isn’t necessarily all “basics” for me but you get the idea!

What are your goals for November? It will be a busy month for a lot of us but we are strong and powerful, and we can stick to our goals!

~Bonnie~

Happy Halloween!

I’m just stopping by to wish you all a happy and healthy Halloween!

8326272491_fa527cf0b6_z

If you have kids, how do you plan on staying away from their candy loot? It’s so tempting, they will never notice a missing piece… or is that the lie we tell ourselves?

I think my own plan is to focus on healthier “treats” I can have, such as fruit, yogurt, and applesauce. Plus focusing on water helps me too. If I crave something, I usually can squelch the craving by telling myself to drink a certain amount of water and/or do a certain activity before I can have a small amount of whatever it is.

~Bonnie~

Best Way to Cook Chicken

Okay so it’s not the best way to cook chicken per se, but it is my favorite way to cook it in a healthy way, which is simply to bake it in the oven. This way is so healthy, easy, and tasty at the same time!

Here’s what I do:

  1. First I preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Then I rinse the chicken and cut it up into whatever size piece works, unless I use tenderloins which don’t need to be cut.
  3. Place the pieces on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
  4. Season the pieces with whatever I want to use, usually pepper, garlic, or Italian seasoning or a combination because that’s what we have on hand here.
  5. Throw it in the oven once I’m sure it has adequately preheated.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes, sometimes 20 minutes depending on the size but they are always ready by then!

They always come out juicy and tasty, without using any oil or marinade. This way won’t work for everyone and I don’t have fancy tastes, but it works for moments when things are crazy and we need a healthy home cooked meal!

juicy baked chicken

Now, here’s some of the dishes I love to eat with my chicken:

  • Chicken salad with whatever veggies we have: lettuce, cucumber, and tomato is my favorite. I use light ranch dressing because I prefer it over all else and it’s only 80 calories for two tablespoons.
  • Brown rice + baked chicken + veggies: I love putting cauliflower, broccoli, and/or corn in this dish! You could even stir fry it in a skillet.
  • Noodles + baked chicken + veggies: This I can use any veggie and it tastes good: green beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, etc. Preferably you would use whole grain/wheat noodles if you chose to do this, but sometimes when we don’t have that I’ve been known to cook half a package of Ramen noodles plain, no seasoning. Now I know they aren’t healthy at all but it works in a pinch. This could also be cooked as a stir fry with the right noodles!
  • White chicken chili: I need to find and share this recipe with you all because it is so tasty. You could do a search online and find one too but I will be posting this in a future post!

There are countless other dishes to mix the chicken with as well, like a ton of chicken casseroles or other recipes, but these are my favorites!

~Bonnie~

Upcoming Events: Q+A and Party

Be the Best You has some super exciting upcoming  Facebook events on the schedule:

Up first is the Be the Best You: Office Hours (Q+A) on November from 5-8pm US Central time.

  

You will be able to ask me anything about weight loss and healthy living, and as always I will do my best to answer them!

Click here for this event: Be the Best You: Office Hours Event
Next is Be the Best You: the Party on Wednesday, November 18th from 5-8pm US Central time.

  
The party will be us all helping each other with advice, tips, conversation, and fun! I will be making a special freebie just for the event for all who attend and one lucky winner will win a free Be the Best You product as well!

Click here for this event: Be the Best You: the Party

As it says in the information in each event, feel free to share with or invite others! The more the merrier!

If you can’t attend one or both and are interested, keep in mind I will be setting up more events in the future at different times. Also if you have a time and day of the week you would prefer, leave me a comment and I will do my best to make it happen.

I will likely do a minimum of one of each type of event per month from here on out… Next I will be trying my hand at a Twitter Chat though so if you have a time/day preference for that, comment here!

Be sure to let me know which social media you’re referring to if you want me to do it at a certain time (Facebook/Twitter) or if you have a different social media website altogether that you would like as well. I will do my best to make this easy and fun for all!

~Bonnie~

Celebrate Your Victories

It is so important to continuing our weight loss journeys to celebrate all of our victories.

celebrate your victories

Whether they be the big ones like weight loss milestones of 10 or 20 pounds, or running a whole mile… or the small ones such as eating three fruits or veggies in one day or completing a tough workout.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and spend money every time you experience a victory, but you should definitely give yourself a high-five or a pat on the back for a job well done!

Remember that every step you make in the right direction adds up as you go along. All of it is worth celebrating!

My personal philosophy is to focus mainly on non-scale victories because they are the ones we have most control over. However, it is fun to celebrate when you hit a new weight loss milestone.

Some victories to celebrate that have nothing to do with the scale:

  • Eating a certain amount of healthy foods each day.
  • Finishing a hard workout.
  • Eating within your calorie range for days at a time.
  • Starting a new exercise routine.
  • Pushing harder during a normal workout.
  • Trying a new healthy food.
  • Doing your workout when you don’t feel like it.
  • Drinking enough water for the day.
  • Simply feeling stronger or healthier!

I could go on and on, but you get the idea! Anything that is not related to the scale is a double victory, and the scale itself is a fun way to track trends in your weight and to celebrate when it goes the right way… but to take in stride and use as just a tool. You can only do your best and sometimes the scale may not reflect that, so that’s why it’s vital to depend on the other victories in your journey.

~Bonnie~