How to Beat the Winter Blahs

Yes, I’m aware it’s not even winter yet, but it has been getting colder this month for many of us. Some areas of the country (and world) are colder than others, but temperatures have been dropping all over the place.

When it gets cold, sometimes our first instinct is to stay inside and curl up in bed. Sometimes it is so pronounced that we actually get the “winter blahs.” Seeing gloomy, cloudy, and windy weather makes me personally want to curl up under some blankets and cuddle with my cat… or sit and read nonstop while sipping my coffee. I don’t want to do anything!

I know I’m not alone in this. What is it that causes so many of us to have such a drastic reaction to cold weather? Maybe some kind of survival mechanism or our bodies instinctual reaction to cold… who knows? I’m sure there is some kind of scientific theory for this, but I don’t care to find it because either way, my purpose here is to share some tips with you all about how to beat these winter blahs.

Plan some active projects for yourself. Start cleaning and organizing the house. Shovel snow, if necessary. Prepare your yard/garden for winter: put things in your shed or indoors, cover what you can’t put away, transfer plants indoors, etc. Motivate yourself to get out for walks or runs before it gets too cold to be enjoyable. Anything active that gives you purpose.

Listen to upbeat music. This is sometimes my favorite way to get motivated to workout, and works really well when it’s cold. Nothing gets you excited like your favorite, upbeat music. It makes you want to dance or simply move! So turn it up and dance for your workout or just use it to get you inspired to do another workout!

Read some books about weight loss such as health, nutrition, or fitness topics. These types of books will help you learn more about weight loss while also getting you pumped to do what you need to do in order to lose weight and improve your health. Valuable information + inspiration, you can’t beat that!

On the book topic, read a book about characters that are active in some form. This could mean fighting an apocalypse type scenario, a sporty character, crime fighting, etc. Believe it or not, I found reading the Divergent series motivational with all the physical training the characters went through, as well as the fighting for their lives part. Those kinds of books aren’t for everyone but it was interesting while I read it.

Any books about a character pursuing their dreams. You want to pursue your dream of weight loss and improved health, which means a book about someone pursuing their dreams (especially against all odds) may inspire you to chase your own dream.

Read some weight loss related magazines or blogs. There are some really inspiring and motivational magazines, as well as blogs, out there. Peruse them when you’re in a slump or just in the mood to read. They will inspire you to do what you need to do to lose weight and improve your health. They might also give you some ideas and information you didn’t have before!

Simply get moving. Walk around your house and clean things up a bit. Look for lost items. Do anything remotely active that gets the blood and mental juices flowing in the right direction.

Remind yourself that moving helps you get and stay warm. It’s true, moving around helps you get and stay warm, with all the blood pumping through your veins while you’re being active. It helps a ton!

Use the time to write. Journal, blog, just write. It’s not only therapeutic, but writing out your thoughts and feelings can actually motivate you to act! It helps you process everything and convince yourself to get moving!

Bundle up. If all else fails, bundle up and force yourself out the door… into the cold! Once you get moving and are out there for a little while, you will warm up and you may even have fun getting your fitness in. Not to mention the sheer feeling of triumph once you’ve completed a workout you didn’t feel like doing in the first place!

What is your game plan for cold weather or winter? Do you have one? Planning ahead really helps because then you know what you need to do in each situation. Sometimes the I don’t want to do anything in the cold feeling will win, but if you have a plan then YOU will win more often than not!


If you find it difficult to make and pursue your goals, or you get discouraged easily, then my Goals to Become the Best You $30 e-course is for you! You can find it here: goals e-course or purchase the goals workbook + guide for $15 by itself here: workbook + guide. Both will allow you to work at your own pace with the workbook + guide, a step-by-step process to make and pursue your goals in a way that works for you! The e-course has an added bonus of a Community where you can ask for individual help as needed. The workbook + guide is an independent product.

If you need personalized help to keep you motivated through the winter months, I also offer Personalized Coaching. You can learn more about it and get started with a free email coaching consultation after reading my blog post about it here: Now Open for Personalized Coaching. It is like having a coach to motivate you and an accountability partner all rolled into one, someone who has been there and done that and can help you find a way to make it all work for you!

~Bonnie~

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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~

10 Things I Like (about Healthy Living)

10 things I like (about healthy living):

  1. Exercise brings structure to my day, and I love planning my day around my exercise to make it a priority.
  2. Healthier skin and nails.
  3. Feeling more hydrated which in turn flows into other areas of health as well!
  4. Enjoying life more because my mind is clearer and I can truly appreciate the beauty surrounding me!
  5. While learning how to live a healthier life, I’ve learned so much about myself and life in general.
  6. Succeeding at healthy living (and weight loss) has seriously boosted my confidence in myself and my abilities.
  7. Doing something this hard proves to me that I am capable of anything I set my mind to!
  8. Better sleep… most of the time.
  9. Satisfaction and fulfillment, that my life is on the right track with a healthier basis!
  10. Weight loss, of course. That’s what I started this for but have learned to view it more as a healthy lifestyle!

~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~

How to Beat the Motivation Slump

Everyone deals with that motivation slump from time to time. I know I personally deal with it at least once a week. It’s those days where nothing sounds appealing and you just can’t get motivated. It is especially tough when your bed is more appealing than going about your day. This type of day can be frustrating beyond words as you know that you have many things to do, and some of them are even desirable, but you can’t get yourself started with any of it.

motivation slump

Here are some ways I have found to beat that all compelling motivation slump:

  • Take a moment to drink coffee: Use your morning coffee as a chance to wake up and get motivated. Drink it a little slower to enjoy the moment and revive your mind after a night’s slumber. Read something you find motivational while you drink, such as a magazine, part of a book, uplifting news stories or articles, etc.
  • Fake it till you make it: Have you heard of this saying? Sometimes simply going through the motions of the day helps you find motivation to move forward again. Eventually something clicks and you feel better again, rejuvenated even!
  • Do something simple that brings you joy: A way to baby step your way into your day… find something simple and easy to do that also helps you move toward your goals. You can’t find the motivation to workout? Go on Pinterest and look at all the healthy living pins or read some blogs on the specific topic. You can’t find the motivation to work? Make a list of something related to your work that makes you happy.
  • Blog/Journal: Sometimes blogging or journaling helps as well, just working through your thoughts and emotions can help you process whatever has put up a “motivational roadblock” in your mind. Other times it brings to light a spark of interest in doing something you need to do because you thought of something completely new!
  • Listen to upbeat music: Listening to upbeat music, or simply your favorite music, is uplifting and inspirational! Try it sometime when your motivation is down the drain.
  • Go for a walk or exercise: Take a walk outside. The fresh air and sunshine will do you tons of good. All other types of exercise as well can help revitalize your body and mind at the same time.
  • Let loose: Act like a kid again, or simply let yourself be carefree. The release is amazing and can remind you why it’s worthwhile to just take action and live life!
  • Post on social media: The moment you post on social media that you don’t feel like doing something, you either get feedback that helps motivate you… or you feel motivated because you feel relieved, taking the pressure off. Sometimes even finding something positive to post on social media can help ignite a fire within you.

What do you personally do to get yourself motivated on a day where nothing seems appealing? I’m sure we could all use a whole arsenal of ideas to spur us to action on those days!

~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~

Virtual Weight Loss Support Group

virtual weight loss support group

I am taking a survey for a “service” I would like to provide to others on their weight loss journeys. Please leave me a comment or email answering the questions or simply stating if this would be of value to you. The online support group for weight loss would be either in video or chat form. I have to figure out where to host this service but already have two or three ideas, and will be keeping you up-to-date as I figure it out!

I would also provide healthy living tools and/or challenges each week to keep incentive and motivation as high as possible. Ideally I would provide at least two meeting times each week for this support group to meet up online, such as at least one morning and one evening time, but maybe even a weekend meeting.

All information will be used to best serve you! If you use the contact form below or the survey link, the information will also be kept completely confidential.

Here is the survey link: Weight Loss Support Group Survey. I tested it and it just takes a couple minutes with only six questions!

And here is the contact form if you want to email me directly!

Thank you in advance for any feedback! Here is my contact form so you can email me directly if you prefer that over leaving a comment with your answers.

~Bonnie~

Inside Look at the Goals E-Course

It’s time!

I promised you all a sneak peak for the e-course I have coming up for setting effective goals and the time has come. I have decided to share a bit of the outline with you all:

goals e-course 2

goals e-course edited

Ignore the title in my pic, the official course title is: “Goals to Become the Best You.” This e-course will cover goals, starting with how to make fitting goals for yourself, how to deal with disappointment, how to move on and set new goals, and how to empower yourself to follow through with your goals.

One of the best parts about this course… You get access to each lesson a certain amount of time after you personally enroll in the course, so no playing catch up on all the information. The whole course is designed to serve YOU and help you be your “best you.” I will be there every step of the way, answering questions and guiding you as you go along.

Follow my blog or one of my social media pages (by clicking on the icons to the right) to be the first to hear when this course will debut! Stay tuned for more sneak peaks in the coming days!

I can’t wait to give you all the tools that have helped me set and reach goals myself!

This course includes a 15+ page Goals workbook/guide, additional resources, and a BONUS lesson all for the introductory price of $30!

~Bonnie~

UPDATE: Here it is, the goals e-course is live: Goals to Become the Best You. It is a step-by-step guide with my help and assistance to make and pursue goals in a way that works for you! We have all felt discouraged or unmotivated to meet our goals. The trick is knowing how to go about your goals in a manner that can fuel you to move forward! Included is a 16 page workbook + guide, separate resources, and personal help through the community in the course. All this for the low introductory price of $30!