How to redirect your career path today, without risking it all

So, how’s your career going? Be honest. Are you doing something you’ve always dreamt of doing? If so, NICE. That’s not easy.

OR – Are you someone who’s working in a position that makes you feel like crap every day? Perhaps your waking up with that flattening feeling of being stuck doing something that pays the bills, but doesn’t in any way speak to YOU as a person. It doesn’t align with your passions, your skills or even your ideas.

If you’re more like the latter, then maybe it’s time to re-evaulate your career. Just because you are doing what everyone else expects, or even working a job that pays pretty well, you still might not feel good about it. I’m not talking about a bad boss or annoying co-workers, I’m talking about a job that you know deep down is sucking the life out of you.

Maybe it’s time for a change. You might not know it yet, but you have the ability to wiggle your way into a career that you can truly feel good about each day, without losing your work ethic or even your pride. Keep reading.

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If you feel like a negative cliché for wanting to be an influencer, or a freelance photographer, or have the time to work from anywhere in the world, you’re not alone. Millennials nowadays are often being deemed reckless with their careers, in articles like the ones below:

The 5 Biggest Career Mistakes Made by Millennials | Inc.com

What Are Millennials Willing to Give Up for Their Careers? (Infographic)

5 things millennials are doing wrong when it comes to their careers …

What’s the problem with millennials in the workplace? – The Telegraph

This generation is either brave or stupid, but rarely anything in between. So why is that? Why is it that our career standards are either praised or insulted? Why are we called creative but lazy? If you think about it carefully, the difference between how our generation feels about a career path compared to how our parent’s felt, is simply the growth of technology and a loss of financial confidence.

In the 80s, sites like Upwork.com and Weworkremotely.com, didn’t exist. Our parents didn’t have the luxury of being choosey with their careers. Unless they stuck with what their 18-year-old selves decided, they were SOL. But to them, sticking to your commitments, pushing through the difficulty, and holding your ground for that retirement account was more important than feeling good about your job.

I’m not saying that retirement isn’t important. If you know me at all, you know I’m obsessed with setting my older self and family-to-be up for success. But what I’ve quickly learned, is that we millennials do not value working hard less than previous generations, we simply value the dollar a bit differently. What used to matter, now doesn’t seem attainable. Take buying a home. For most of us, it seems impossible at this stage. For instance, in 1980, the baby boomer generation paid a average of $76,400 for a home in the U.S. Today, the average cost for a home in the U.S. is $363,300, according to cencus.gov. So if buying a home not going to be affordable until we’re 60, why would we bother wanting it now?

Not only do we think we’ll never own a home, but we’re kicking off our career deep in debt. We imagine our poor grandkids will probably have to inherit our student loan debt because we sure as hell aren’t going to be able to pay it off. Student’s today are expected to pay an average of $37,000 each, and thats on the low end. Some students have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay back… an beginning this year, some loans will include an average 5.05% interest rate. It’s no wonder that many of us throw our hands in the air and say, “f*** it.”

If you’re reading this going, “yep, that’s me” you’re in the right place. Many of us are living with this subtle doom, that no matter what, we’ll always be digging ourselves out. So what do we do about it? We make the best salary we can and try to live it up while we’re younger because God knows we’d rather live in the moment than continue treading water just to reduce the debt.

I’m definitely that person. Someone who’s spent their career fighting for a job I can feel proud of, and one that will allow me to do what I love most: travel. I knew exactly what I wanted, so I did my research, learned how to create a nice resume, and applied to the best TV network I knew: Discovery Channel. After somehow getting an internship in tv development, I got hired six months later. And of course, before I knew it my boss was leaving the company and I had to scramble for the next best gig.

So after going from network to network, I finally landed a traveling job with Yoga Journal. Dream job: check.

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But what happened when it ended? It was only a six month job, so what was I to do afterward? Was I to go work in a cubicle? Try to mash my creative skills into some predetermined job description and hope I don’t hate my job? In that moment, I hit a turning point. I had to decide to either risk being miserable at some desk job or work my ass off to get a freelance job that fit what I valued most. I think you can guess what happened next.

I didn’t give up. I emailed about 132 companies in the Seattle area and told them exactly what they could do differently on their social media pages to get a better ROI and cultivate stronger quality leads. This was the most tedious thing I think I’d ever done. But I was so hell bent on never working in a cubicle, that I didn’t care how long it took, the odds of getting a response were better and better with every email I sent.

After about 20 emails saying “no thanks” and the rest were utter silence, I finally got a job as a social media manager for a travel company. What was better? I could work remotely and be creative and strategic. Well, when your client doesn’t believe in paid media, things get tough. There are too many eyeballs online to expect growth organically, no matter how good your content is.

After my three month contract ended, I changed my approach and began traditionally applying to jobs in the Seattle area. I reached out to everyone I knew and hoped someone had something that sounded good. Truth be told, it didn’t work.

So again, I had to change my approach. You must be noticing a pattern here. I changed my approach so many times, applied to different jobs in different ways, emailed companies directly, edited my resume, did video applications, you name it, I tried it. I tried so many approaches until I landed a position that allowed me to travel, to hold myself responsible for my own work and to produce national television commercials… from my home town. Boom.

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But what does this all have to do with you? It’s an outline of the steps you can take to change your situation and feel proud of the direction your going.3 steps to

 

How to begin:

  1. Get clear on what exactly you want (most people have no idea and never figure it out)
  2. Take massive action (MASSIVE, not passive)
  3. Change your approach (1,000 times if you have to)

The biggest difficulty here is getting clear on what you want. If you don’t know what you really want, if you can’t see it clear as day in your head, then you’ll be puttering around grabbing at nothing. This is VITAL for success. You shouldn’t say, “I guess I’m good at X” or “I like Y, that might work.” NO NO NO. That’s not a decision that’s called settling and being indecisive. Write SOMETHING down until you have a strict and stable decision made. Don’t forget: what you want in life can change, but be VERY clear on how and what is changing and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Remember, switching to a freelance job or finding a new career is WAY easier when you already have a job paying the bills. It doesn’t have to be some high status job, you could bus tables, just keep yourself floating while you take the time to figure out what it is that you really want. You might have to spend nights working long after you get off work to accomplish this, but it’s truly worth it. (Just grab a glass of wine and make it fun.) Use websites like Upwork.com and send 100 proposals until you get a response. Find out what you’re good at and market it properly. Eventually, (probably sooner than you think) you’ll get a request for an interview and you’re off to the races.

My final advice: take your time. If you hop into a job that you didn’t truly take ample nights to consider, but one that sounded good from a distance, you’ll be right back where you were before. Don’t be afraid to take a lower salary (or hourly rate) initially. Get another job to balance out your finances for the time being. Also, don’t be too proud to hustle. I have worked a total of 13 jobs in the past 6 months, all while having an (highly demanding) full time job.

>> NOW GET STARTED. Here’s a link to help you begin researching YOU, to further help you learn what you want: Click Me

T.

 

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12 steps to finding out what you really want

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Below are Tony Robbins steps finding out what you really want, as illustrated in his book: Unlimited Power.

How do you figure out what your dreams and goals are? What if you’ve never truly thought about what you want? Tony Robbins breaks down exactly how to begin your personal research for ultimate results.

All goals should follow these five rules:

  1. State your outcome in positive terms: say what you want to happen not the other way around.
  2. Be as specific as possible: How does your outcome look, sound, feel, smell? Sensory thoughts empower your brain to create desire.
  3. Have an evidence procedure: Know how you will look, feel, see and hear when you’ve achieved your goal.
  4. Be in control: the positive outcome must be independent from other people’s behavior.
  5. Verify that your outcome is ecologically sound and desirable: your outcomes must benefit you and other people.

Robbins’ path to learn what you truly want and to take MASSIVE action:

  1. Start by making an inventory of your dreams, the things you want to have, do, be and share.
  2. Go over the list you made, estimating when you expect to reach those outcomes.
  3. Pick out the four most important goals for you for this year.
  4. Now that you have a list of your key goals, review them against the five rules for formulating outcomes.
  5. Next, make a list of the important resources you already have at your disposal.
  6. When you’ve done that, focus in on times you used some of those resources most skillfully.
  7. After you’ve done all that, describe the kind of person you would have to be to attain your goals.
  8. Next, in a few paragraphs, write down what prevents you from having the things you desire right now.
  9. Take the time now to take each of your four key goals and create your first draft of a step-by-step plan on how to achieve them.
  10. Come up with some models. (They can be people from your own life or famous people who you’ve admired for their success.)
  11. Now create your ideal day. (Describe the day from waking-up in the morning to climbing into bed at the end of the best possible day).
  12. Finally, design your perfect environment. (Describe the perfect conditions, place, people, support etc. without any limitations).

Use these steps as a resource to finding what it is that you truly want. GO!

T.

The equation of expectation

“Whenever you are happy with something in your life, it is because right now, the conditions of your life match your blueprint, or your belief about how life should be in that particular area.” – Tony Robbins

 

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Me: living my best life during the time I had my dream job (which I thought would last forever.)

In our culture, we are taught that we are not good enough unless we do something mind-blowing and unique. It’s pounded into our brains every day, with social media and even our own self-inflicted pressure to be the best, do the most and do it perfectly. (My assumption was that I’d land my dream job at about 28 and be set for life. Well I landed my dream job way earlier than expected and then my dream job contract ended.)

As you might know by now, Tony Robbins IS MY GUY. His optimism cuts the strings of doubt that I can feel tied down by.

This week, I’ve been focusing on one specific concept:

“Growing and giving are the basis of human happiness.”

Truthfully, this seems way too simple. For longest time, I added about 10-15 different items in that sentence.

“Growing, giving, health, great relationships, phat career, ample creativity, positive environment, traveling often, loving my family…. are the basis of my happiness.”

That’s just the BASE of my overall happiness. The additions kept growing and before I knew it, it was almost impossible to stay happy. I mean look at that list?! How was I to keep 8+ items in a good and flourishing place at ALL TIMES? I had expectations for each of those categories… huge expectations. Those expectations kept me propelling forward at 100 mph with little patience, a feeling of being flooded with disappointment when I didn’t accomplish something, angry with my significant other all the time, hard on myself when I’d miss a workout and comparing myself to everyone else in my lane.

What I’ve come to understand, is that we have a particular blueprint we’ve developed for our lives. This is the image we’ve had in our heads of where we’d be at every stage, in every different category of life: career, relationships, income, lifestyle, health.

What I’ve quickly learned, is that misery is born when we veer off the path of this imagined blueprint, or when we don’t live up to the expectation of our life. If you’re not in the job you imagined you’d be in, if your body doesn’t look or feel the way you thought it would, or if you’re not dating the type of person you always thought you’d be dating, all those expectations are shattered and you feel like sh**.

What is at the root of all this? OUR EXPECTATIONS.

Think about when we intentionally have zero expectations. We go into some situations with the awareness,

“No, I’m not having expectations for this movie because I don’t want to be disappointed.”

HELLO… we know this is something we deal with but for some reason we can step back and apply it to our day to day life. So, because I’m a math nerd I’ve put this in an equation to help further simplify it.

Growing (in any capacity/direction) + giving (caring for others, working toward your bigger purpose) – Expectations = Lasting happiness 

Here’s a question for you. Think of the happiest times in your life. Did you know they were going to happen? Doubtful. The truth is, you never know what will end up making you happy until it subtly creeps on you. Relax and let it happen!

What are you expecting for your life? Have you fulfilled those expectations? Where are they rooted? Great. Now remove them. Release them into the air. Let go of the 300-pound pile of expectation that you’ve been living with and watch your world transform.

In case you’re in need of some more inspiration, a book that has changed the way I see success in this crazy world is The Originals by Adam Grant. This book will keep you growing.

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Comment below with your thoughts. I love hearing just how we all relate to one another, or not!

T.

7 Tips for controlling your diet: beginner’s edition

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If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of time searching for ways to gain control of what you eat. If you’re trying to lose weight, get stronger, think more clearly or simply prove to yourself that you’ve got what it takes, then maybe it’s time to set yourself up for success!

Here are 7 ways to boost your appetite control and give yourself the necessary tools for a careful diet!

1. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry, EVER.

I mean it! If you go to the grocery store when you’re ravenous, you’re going to want whatever you see in sight. Grocery stores carefully place their food items in locations where customers will FIND the most visually stimulating foods. Take for instance the vegetables, meats and dairy. You have to walk ALL the way around the store to get to them! The unhealthy, snacky foods like sugary cereal, chips and soda are right smack in the middle aisle, across from the entrance of the store, which is where you’ll probably walk first. If you eat before you go to the store, you won’t throw whatever you see into your cart. You’ll spend time looking at ingredients, paying attention to prices and most of all, picking healthier foods.

2. Take your vitamins

This one seems obvious but you’d be surprised what people crave when they are nutrient deficient. That’s right. You eat random (often unhealthy) foods when you’re missing key nutrients. See below for samples of certain cravings and what could be causing them:

  • Sugar: dehydration, Magnesium or Chromium deficiency
  • Cheese: Essential Fatty Acid or Calcium deficiency
  • Red meat: Iron deficiency
  • Soda: Calcium deficiency
  • Alcohol: Calcium or Potassium deficiency

So pay attention to your cravings. See where they lead you and practice balance by taking your vitamins every day. If you need a great, reliable brand to start with, go with the doTERRA Lifelong Vitality Pack:

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To buy from me directly, comment below!

3. Bring snacks with you EVERYWHERE

I’m not kidding when I say that I eat ALL DAY LONG. I do! No matter what, I keep a bunch of different snacks with me. Salty cashews from Trader Joe’s+ RXBARs are a current favorite. These foods last me no matter where I am or what I’m doing. If you let yourself go hungry and build up that diet frustration, you’re going to end up stopping at Taco Bell or something to grab a Crunch Wrap Supreme. Not worth it! So whatever your healthy snack is, just throw it in your purse or gym bag.

4. When in doubt, chug water 

Okay so you think water is boring, I’m sure. It’s hard to drink it all day long. But truthfully, if you never leave the house without your HUGE (large Smartwater size) bottle, you’re going to mindlessly drink it all day. Leave it in the cupholder of your car and take a swig whenever you hit a stop sign or stop light.

You’ll quickly feel happier (because water actually lifts your mood, instantly), and you won’t crave nearly as much!

5. Give yourself a break 

Chocolate chip cookies and milk served on a wood table

This is one of the biggest tips I can give you. Completely ditching particular foods for an unnamed length of time will lead to eventual failure. Don’t just stop cold turkey and expect it to last. Sometimes, you need to let yourself eat 3 cookies that your sister made when you went to visit her. (Yes that happened.) I basically inhaled 3 huge chocolate chip cookies because I KNEW that I stay on track every other day. It was a trust I developed with myself. It had been a long time since I had one chocolate chip cookie, let alone three, and here I was dipping them all in unsweetened almond milk and chowing down. Guilt didn’t overwhelm me because when I got back home, there weren’t any desserts in my house. I have established a solid habit of eating well and because of this, I can eat whatever I want sometimes. It’s called BALANCE.

6.  Substitute dirty foods for clean foods (of the same flavor value)

Substitutions are a great way to balance your diet. I am going to give you some of the best substitutions I use to combat unhealthy fatty foods, carbo-loading and those desperate late night needs for sugar.

Rather than eating a bucket of ice cream eat this:  (or any of Hail Merry‘s other delicious desserts.)

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Rather than drinking sugary milks, drink this:

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Rather than eating a regular greasy pizza, add your favorite toppings to this:

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Rather than buying a Starbucks Lemon Loaf or pastry, drink this:

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And finally, rather than eating ANY other power or protein bar packed with sugar and artificial crap, eat this:

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7. Embrace small victories

It’s very important to congratulate yourself for conquering a sugar or unhealthy food craving. When you win, genuinely acknowledge how great you are and how difficult it is to smash these habits. After all, our “needs” are BIOLOGICAL after all! Take baby steps when creating a better diet routine. Don’t expect to have the same results as someone else, just take your fitness and health journey step-by-step until it’s manageable 100% of the time. Every time you go to the store and leave the chocolate cookies or caramel ice cream on the shelf, you win. YOU’VE GOT THIS.

 

By following these 7 methods for diet success, you’ll begin to build the foundation you’ll need to live your entire life from the seat of someone who’s killin’ it at life. That’s you.

Comment below with any questions or successes you might have!

 

T.

The value of HABIT – 5 helpful tips to keep your fitness moving forward

Whenever people ask me about how long it took me to get fit and feel good, I say “25 years.”

And it’s true!

It took a long time – years and years, to establish solid habits, a routine and an expectation for how I want to feel. But don’t worry, you don’t need 25 years to build your OWN healthy lifestyle.

Over these 25 years there have been 5 distinct habits I’ve cultivated that give me the confidence to take a day off, and not worry that I’ll fall off the wagon.

5 tips to keep your fitness moving forward

1. You have your best workout, when you want to go the LEAST.

We all have days when the couch is calling. When we’ve had a long day at work, didn’t sleep very much the night before, or when we start making excuses because we are flat out lazy. Truthfully, all habits are built by actions. The moment you simply put your running shoes on, your mind is already changing. If you take the steps that you’d normally go through when getting ready for the gym or that spin class, your HABIT will start to develop. And watch, you’ll be SO happy you pushed through the lazy.

2. Find a buddy

Working out on your own is fine, but it’s WAY more fun if you can rope in a best friend or significant other to keep you accountable. If you feel lazy, knowing a friend is waiting for you will give you that boost to get off your butt and get out there. Plus, spending quality time with friends is one of the best ways to improve overall happiness.

3. What’ the rush?

Let’s be real, focusing on the “Lose 10 Pounds in a Month!” concept is ridiculous. It’s important to build fitness habits that are sustainable and not rushed. Embrace the moments of weakness, learn from them and document them. This is about building a healthy LIFESTYLE, not about finding a quick trick to shed the excess belly fat. While I’m a supporter of diving in head first, I’m also a supporter of establishing solid patterns. That is the best method for fitness success.

4.  Month on, month off

This past year, I’ve tried a few different ways to get in control of my nutritional habits, and one method taught me far more than the others.

My boyfriend and I decided to take one month to give up something that wasn’t necessarily good for us, and see how we feel/see if we could actually do it! Our first month was alcohol, difficult, but not impossible. Our second month was sugar, eye-opening, yet effective. Our third month was simple carbohydrates –  now I know how much muffins mean to me! So what was the result? The empowering feeling of knowing that we are 100% in control of what we put in our mouths. EPIC.

5. Switch it up

This is the one time I would say to break habit rather than develop it. Working out and exercising is effective until that day that your body gets too familiar with your workout routine. If you always warm up with the bike, jump on the elliptical, play a game of basketball, do something completely different to confuse your body. If you lift the same weights, even in rotation, give your body something NEW to get sore from. If spin class is your go-to, switch it for a jog or a yoga class. Then – watch your body transform.

 

 

Comments or questions? Comment below!

Are you following me on Facebook? Like us for all the best no-bullshit fitness + health tips. – Click ME

T.

How I survived a month without alcohol or sugar (and lost a LOT of body fat)

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I know, you’re thinking: “she’s crazy, right?” Well… I might be, but it worked! Yep, I’ve continued to keep this going past the one month mark and had no intention of doing so. After moving back to Seattle, I realized that coming off of a huge 6-month traveling tour took it’s toll on my gut as well as my mood. I’ve spent hours thinking about how food affects my body and mind and I soon realized that it wasn’t about cutting out cheese and butter. After reading a few books outlining the benefits of a diet with no sugar or simple carbs and an increase in healthy fat, I finally decided to commit to it. Just like that…commitment happened.

This new approach to eating began with baby steps. When I started to analyze my habits, I noticed that every time I’d drink wine or any alcohol, the rest of my diet would slightly slip. On nights I omitted the wine, I’d usually eat a delicious salad with hefty vegetables and sugar-free, healthy salad dressing for dinner. But whenever I’d drink even one glass of wine, I’d sit one my couch and start snacking on processed popcorn or ‘healthy’ chips. Then, that jolt of energy would kick-start my cravings for bread, chocolate, parmesan, pasta, pizza and everything else I was trying to avoid. I had never associated the two habits before, but once I paid attention, it made sense.

The first two weeks of cutting out alcohol were easy. My routines continued without issue: working out, lots of decaf tea and plenty of new books. But once social events began to fill the calendar, avoiding alcohol became far more difficult than I thought it would be. My friends and I would go to dinner and everyone would order a glass of something. But rather than sip on a cabernet or merlot, I’d just order boring old water and sip it begrudgingly as the rest of them cheered with wine soaked smiles. To add more to the struggle, I traveled to San Diego on a weekend business trip, which was filled with evening parties, networking events and business dinners. This is where the learning curve made itself even more known. During moments when I’d normally think nothing of a drink or two, I was suddenly glancing around the room like an ugly duckling with no social safety net.

I didn’t drink casually because I necessarily wanted to, but because it is a cultural norm. Conversation flowed more easily, happy buzzed vibes gave me energy and I’d enjoy a night out a whole lot more. When I stopped drinking, there was a constant, uneasy feeling of FOMO, (fear of missing out) on nights where everyone would go out to bars. It just didn’t sound fun to soberly watch drunk people laugh and spill their beers all night. ‘Why don’t we go to the park? How about a picnic? Laser tag anyone?’ I’d think to myself.

Noticing the social expectations of having a drink made me feel somewhat frustrated. I’m not an alcoholic, but it was eye-opening to watch how much of society revolves around drinking alcohol.

Soon though, something interesting and unexpected occurred. Once I set the standard for not drinking, I noticed my friends absorbing my actions. When I’d say, ‘No thanks, I’m not drinking tonight,’ they would say, ‘Oh, yeah I don’t think I want anything either.’ Then, we’d order hot water with lemon instead and guess what… we’d STILL enjoy each other! How incredible!

Kicking alcohol was just the start. The confidence I mustered during those initial thirty days led me into my next challenge: NO SUGAR. Cringe-worthy, right? I didn’t know what shutting out sugar would be like, but I wanted to discover what else I could accomplish.

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Normally, I wouldn’t consider reading food labels because I usually eat whole, unprocessed foods, but once I started paying attention to what contained sugar, my habits again became even more obvious. Initially, I decided to cut all desserts. Yes, this was insanely challenging, but I remained bold and strict. (Even when someone brought Top Pot Doughnuts to work). Now THAT was excruciating. But every time I forced myself to walk away from those sugary foods, it got easier and easier. The first three times I nearly ruined my streak, but soon enough there wasn’t a question of whether I’d eat it or not. I just didn’t.

You’ll find that most items with heavy sugar content also are cakey, starchy, carbo-loaded foods like cookies, coffee cake, pancakes, pasta, etc. So cutting out alcohol led me to cut out sugar, which then naturally became cutting out simple and unhealthy carbs, all by association!

Fast forward to a month and a half later and I feel happier than ever with a clean gut and far less excess body fat. I don’t weigh myself because pounds aren’t important to me, but I still FEEL fifteen pounds lighter, which should be the focus of getting healthier. Throughout this time, I continued my workout plan of exercising five to six times a week, switching off between yoga and weightlifting. Cutting out all this crap has resulted in far more energy, improved mood and lightened spirit, all because I decided to take the plunge and risk being the ugly duckling at a gathering.

In order to give myself some inspiration to continue my alcohol free lifestyle, I tried having a glass of wine while working at a restaurant one night to see how it would make me feel. Immediately, my body spoke loud and clear. One glass of wine after weeks and weeks of a clean liver made me feel foggy, slightly dizzy and again, pushed me to order a cheesy french onion soup that I later regretted.

So what does this mean for you? Start small. If you aren’t someone who drinks at all, (good for you), this domino effect system will still work. Starting with something like caffeine, sugar or bread is just as good as alcohol. Test yourself to see what you can truly accomplish. This system especially works when you have a buddy doing it with you. My boyfriend was the one to initially suggest cutting out alcohol to be healthier and his partnership in the adventure helped immensely. In those moments where I was about to give up, I’d think of his dedication and successes, and find the strength to say no. So, to inspire you further, here are three books you MUST read:

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Sugar Crush by Raquel Baldelomar & Dr. Richard Jacoby

Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin

Smart Fat by Jonny Bowden and Steven Masley

 

 

 

Eating well and regaining control of your diet takes small, intentional steps and patience. Upwards of 80% of fat loss can be credited to diet. Not only that, but mood and behavior is directly associated to what you put in your mouth. “Your mood comes from your gut,” my mother used to say. Cutting out something that is making your body sick, blended with activity and exercise will shove you into a new mindset, thus giving you the strength you need to be truly heathy and lose excess body fat.

If you need help getting started or some more information about health and wellness, write in the comments below so we can get connected! For more health tips, follow me on Instagram or Twitter !

T.

 

Top 5 ways to feed your soul (and jump start your metabolism)

Do you ever experience that ridiculously full feeling after a meal? We’ve been told so many things about our diet and how it relates directly to digestion. Drink more water, eat more fiber, eat more of that, eat less of that, bla bla bla. It’s all so confusing and seems to change every five minutes. So rather than changing anything that we eat, here are 5 tips to boost your metabolism and make you feel better after a meal:

1. Eat slowly

This is my #1 rule. Eating slowly is so hard to do sometimes. Unless, you’re one of those people with the magic ability to NOT stuff your face. (That’s not me.) Eating slowly allows you time to enjoy your food. Our bodies digest food slower than we eat it and you’d be shocked how much less you eat when you take the time to put the fork down in between bites. Plus, the meal lasts so much longer, so the bliss continues!

2. Savor your food – feed your soul

One of the hardest parts of being a hard worker is that we tend to eat on the move. While eating in between meetings is alright once in awhile, try to remember to stop, sit and enjoy your meal. Don’t eat food that you don’t thoroughly enjoy, because sometimes you’ll forget how amazing flavor and texture can truly be. Take one bite, chew it slowly and think about what flavors stick out to you. Think about what you love about each ingredient. Maybe next time you’ll realize how good that sandwich was rather than cringe at how full you feel.

3. Invite friends to join you

Most of us eat alone these days. Especially in America, we work ourselves into the ground and end up eating alone on our couch with a glass of wine while watching our favorite show. Eating is a cultural, physiological practice, which is meant to be enjoyed with others. When you eat with a group of friends or your family, you tend to find more joy and comfort from your meal. So next time you’re driving home thinking of ordering Grubhub or Postmates alone, call up your mom or your best friend and invite them over. Have a party!

4. Carry around healthy snacks  – so you don’t go into starvation mode

I know for me, whenever I don’t bring snacks with me to work, I get hangry and rush off to the closest taco stand. Instead of ordering 2 tacos, I order 4 and I eat them as if I’ve never eaten in my entire life. I let myself get far too hungry which simply becomes a stomach ache and instant regret. Yes those tacos were great, but I could barely taste them since it was apparently a race to inhale as much shrimp, salsa and guacamole as humanly possible. So don’t be me at lunch next time. Bring nuts, peanut butter, apples and maybe a raw protein bar to hold you over. We aren’t neanderthals!

5. Cook…all the time.

Cooking is not only one of the most enjoyable pastimes for many, but it is a way to understand what goes in to creating the meals we love so much. Humans began their existence by hunting, gathering, preparing and sharing their food in a slow, drawn out manner. Some cultures understand the social connection we are meant to have with food, but for some reason Americans tend to purchase and stuff, rather than cook every meal. When we cook, we have more control over the calories we consume, we can reduce stress and perhaps build relationships if we cook with friends. So pop open that recipe book!

Special thanks to Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food.