The Secret of Success: Celebrate Your Victories

Back in my Celebrate Your Victories blog post a few weeks ago, I made a point that we should really take the time to celebrate all of our victories whether they are big or small. If you are trying to lose weight, you may think “Well, I’ll reward myself when I lose X pounds.” Yeah, do that! However, you should also celebrate the non-weight related goals… and maybe put even more emphasis on these!

Did you eat 5 fruits and vegetables today? Celebrate that! It’s a huge accomplishment and takes amazing willpower. I for one don’t accomplish that as often as I would like to so I admire anyone who does it even for one day!

Did you make it through a hard workout without quitting? Workouts are hard, period. An intense one is even tougher to make it through because there may be multiple moments where you would absolutely love to quit! If you pushed through a hard workout without quitting, give yourself a big pat on the back!

Have you eaten within your calorie range for the first time, or have you eaten within your calorie range for a certain amount of days in a row? This is another feat! Go crazy, do a little dance for your accomplishment!

Are you starting a new exercise routine? Starting a new exercise routine is sometimes a hard thing to get motivated for, it’s new and it’s scary. Reward yourself for motivating yourself to start a new one and change things up!

Have you tried a new healthy food recently? Another new and scary experience is trying a new healthy food. What if you don’t like it? You’re spending money on something you don’t even know if you like. But how will you know if you don’t take a risk? Whether you end up liking this new food or not, give yourself a figurative high-five for putting your taste buds out there!

Did you push through and do your workout even if you weren’t “feeling it?” Good for you. Celebrate! Your a rockstar for pushing through and just doing it!

Did you push harder during a workout you’ve been doing for a while and just cruising along with? Another good reason to celebrate because that is not easy, to raise yourself up a level and give your workout your all!

One day you notice you feel stronger and healthier… Woohoo! Yeah, that is a great result! Celebrate it and tell the world or have a mini party! Those are the kinds of results you are working so hard to achieve.

Really, the list of non-weight related accomplishments are endless. You decide what you feel is a victory in your journey. It’s you who is living it and you who you need to keep motivated!


Your next question might be… How should I celebrate?

Here are a few ways that I have used or seen others use:

  • Let loose and just dance! Turn Some upbeat music on and dance your heart away.
  • Get your hair or nails done, pamper yourself!
  • Window shop for a bigger goal reward.
  • Spend some extra time alone or putting yourself first, and don’t let yourself feel guilty about it.
  • Buy something you have been eyeing for a while.
  • Watch your favorite TV show and just relax.
  • Go check a book out from the library that you’ve been meaning to read, and make time to read it. You deserve it!
  • Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. This is so good for the soul!
  • Go for a drive with some new scenery if possible.
  • Dress up and go out, even if it’s not somewhere fancy.

Again, the list for rewards and ways to celebrate is endless. What do you like to do that you rarely make time for? Make time for it now to reward yourself or simply celebrate a job well done. You deserve to pamper yourself in some way, big or small, for your hard work.

What are some of your recent non-weight related accomplishments? And what do you like to do to celebrate those accomplishments?

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~

Leslie Sansone’s Thanksgiving Walk Challenge

Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home workout videos have been a favorite of mine since I discovered them in 2009. They have been a great tool in helping me lose weight this time around as well since they are low impact and allow me to exercise indoors when I need to. I started using her DVDs by checking them out from my local library and alternating them every two weeks until I was finally able to buy my own. At that point I bought two of her DVDs and also ended up finding the one of hers that I had originally used (it’s funny how that works out huh?).

I just love her workouts because she is like a cheerleader, but not annoying about it. I love her encouraging words while doing the workouts in my living room and often will find myself answering or responding to her while I’m exercising! I just love her energy and enthusiasm! It’s clear she loves what she’s doing and she loves helping whoever is using her videos. I also really like how she involves the women she has in her videos and chats with them as they’re exercising. It makes me feel like it’s all some big group and we’re all working together.

Well, recently I saw someone posting about her walk challenge on another website and it got me curious. Why hadn’t I thought to like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter before? So I did just that and am inspired that she is still very actively involved with her fans and following! This challenge is a great example of that and you can walk outside, indoors, wherever to get your walking in!

Here is one of her Tweets from today regarding the challenge:

Leslie is truly inspiring in more ways than one. She has made fitness and healthy living a way of life for herself and is spreading this love to others! If you’ve never checked out one of her videos, I encourage you to check out a video on YouTube if you can find one. Some of them get deleted quite often, but if you try it and like it you can always buy a DVD on Amazon or eBay for a low price!

If you would also like to follow Leslie Sansone on her pages, here is her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeslieSansone and here is her Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeslieWalks. Also just to be thorough, if you want to check out her actual website, you can find that here: http://www.walkathome.com/.

I hope you like her workouts (and her) as much as I do. I truly don’t know where I would be without her workout videos helping me get started and continue on my weight loss journey. For comparison, I have tried other walking videos and also regularly use the On Demand walking videos from XFINITY but I still prefer Leslie’s over all else and so do many other people!

~Bonnie~

Be the Best You Fitness Challenge

Be the Best You Fitness Challenge #BTBYfitnesschallenge
Be the Best You Fitness Challenge
#BTBYfitnesschallenge
Hey everyone, I’m starting a challenge with you all… Use the tag: #BTBYfitnesschallenge if you want to participate. You can tag on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The challenge is pretty simple:

  1. For the rest of the month we will challenge ourselves to meet our exercise goals. We all have different ones so I’m going to challenge you to create one you can stick with!
  2. Set an exercise goal for yourself (public or private) for how many minutes each day, or whatever your goal is for your exercise.
  3. Use the hashtag above to post to social media.
  4. Tell us whether you met your goal or not, in any shape or form you feel like! You can say exactly what you did such as how many minutes and/or what type of exercise you did. You can also simply say that your goal was met.
  5. You can also post pictures or screenshots of your exercise! Sometimes that makes it more fun! (For example, I might personally do screenshots of my Fitbit stats).

I will also be posting for my own goals as well as checking in on yours on a regular basis to see how everyone’s doing. Have fun with it. Challenge yourself and push to meet your goals.

Feel free to tag my page in your posts as well, but only if you want to. As long as you’re using the hashtag above, we can all see how each other is doing!

Remember that you are strong and powerful, and you can conquer your goals!
My goals: 7500 steps and 30 min exercise minimum each day except for rest days.

~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~

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~