HEALTH WITH JESSICA

Well…it’s 2016! What are you making room for this year?

I’m not a resolution girl.  I find that I am continually creating new goals throughout the year.  However, I think reflecting is something we all do at the New Year, even if we don’t do so purposely.  It just happens.  It’s natural, as we close one chapter, to sort of evaluate as we enter into a fresh year.  That’s how it feels to me, anyway!

Do you ever step back, though, and realize you’ve been
stuck on the same goal, perhaps not just this past year, but year after year after year?

Something that kind of smacked me in the face the other day (in a good way) was the idea that I have fallen in love with certain habits in my life and they aren’t hard anymore.  I love them so much they have become second nature.  I love identifying myself as a fit healthy person and I LOVE how I feel when I pursue things in my life that are in line with those ideals.  IMG_5139

I know this stuff doesn’t happen overnight…trust me!  What we can do right now though, is shift our perspectives.  Rather than dreading letting go of something or dreading the work we know it will take…let’s focus on what we are gaining, what we are making room for in our lives.

Letting go of crappy food in my life makes room for the energizing, health promoting food that will make me feel GOOD.  Letting go of laziness and putting forth even 30 minutes of my time every day to move my body will make room for feeling strong and vibrant.  Letting go of time wasters in my life will make room for more purposeful things that will bring me closer to my goals, my dreams… letting go of a relationship that is going in the wrong direction or steering me away from what I value in my life might be hard…but as I pry my little fingers off things like this, I will actually have room for something good, that is in line with where I really want my life to go.

See where I’m going with this?  It applies to everything; work, worrying, sleep, comfort zones, etc…

I challenge you, as we start #1 of 365 days in 2016, to get in touch with the feeling you are chasing when you make a goal.  Hold onto that feeling and run towards it!  Don’t think about the cozy things you leave behind (that aren’t helping you move forward anyway….be real about that), or the pain of any effort you might have to put forth…think about how dang AMAZING you will feel as you get closer to embracing that goal and of all the little amazing things that will happen along the way because you are moving in the right direction!

Happy New Year, my friends! I pray God’s abundant love around you every single second of every single day as you step out in faith this year and go for your dreams!

xoxo,
Jess

 

The faith conundrum

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Well.  How to start a post like this… My faith is huge to me…HUGE.  It drives my health and fitness.  Running or hiking are two of my favorite ways to connect with God.  By myself, sometimes with music, sometimes not.  Out in the elements, whether that’s heat, snow, rain, wind…I LOVE those times.  I crave those times.  That’s when my head and heart get clear.

There’s more, though.

One of the biggest messages I “get” from the Christian perspective is that people think focusing on themselves is selfish.  I say “get” because it’s something I observe more than something people say out loud.  I think focusing on your fitness and nutrition is categorized as vanity.  Selfisness.

What’s the truth here?  Sure, I agree 110% that one can easily go to an extreme and become shallow and motivated by purely appearance and attention, etc.  What I see more often, however, is faith being used as an excuse NOT to seek a healthy lifestyle.  We don’t want to be perceived as being focused on worldly things.  We fear what people will say about us.  Really, what I think we really fear is work!  Honestly…this excuse to not be caught up in ourselves is something to hide behind.

Now, take a minute to think of what we are doing when we are ignoring our health.  Food can be a very intense drug for some.  It can be worse than drugs or alcohol in terms of the grip it can have on our hearts and spirits.  We worship it.  We love it so much we dream about it, obsess about it, can’t say no to it.  It is the centerpiece to most of our gatherings and times of fellowship.  We are “fellowshipping”  ourselves into an early grave.

Food tends to help us numb out.  It becomes a buffer between us and people and us and God.  If you don’t see this, try getting together with people and NOT eating.  Try fasting and spending some time praying.  Give up your evening ice cream and spend some quiet time instead.  Woah.  That’s boring.  What’s the point?  The point is…food is a huge distraction.

What I suggest is balance.  Balance can be pretty hard to figure out when you’re used to….well…not having balance.  Having normal portions and exercising regularly…you would be surprised how much serenity that brings to your life.  Having just enough and allowing your soul to breathe…it’s kind of nice.  NOT hiding behind desserts, but really connecting with people.  Amazing.  Feeling strong and healthy and better able to be there for others.  Wow.  Why would any of this not be a good thing?

I really challenge you to think deeply about your excuses for not taking the steps to create strong and good habits in your health and fitness.  Be real about who you want to be, who you think God wants you to be and what that means in terms of your health and fitness.  I would LOVE to hear from you and know what it is you came up with….even if you disagree with me!

Remember…YOU are entirely up to YOU!

Love and blessings…
Jess

They’re heeeeeere!

“What, pray tell, is here?” you might be asking yourself.  And just then your eyes catch the pumpkin spice latte sitting at your desk or you smell the pumpkin seeds baking…maybe you have a bowl of candy you are tryyyyyyying with all your might to ignore!

Yup….they are upon us my friends….the holidays!

holiday food

Just what kind of emotions does this reality conjure up for you?  Delight?  Stress?  Fear?  The cozy feeling of pumpkin EVERYTHING and sweaters, and fires in the fireplace and hot cocoa and watching the movie Elf 203 times in a row?!?!

Aw.  I LOVE this time of year.  I do know, however, that people brace themselves for the food situation when the month of October rolls around and we all know its food food food for the next three months!!

There are two basic camps that it seems people are in:

1) Camp “I-might-as-well-forget-all-goals-and-enjoy-the-stuffing-my-face-fest-that-is-about-to-occur”

OR

2) Camp “I-am-going-to-torture-myself-for-the-next-several-months-by-sticking-hard-to-celery-and-carrots-and-then-binging-on-halloween-candy-mashed-potatoes-and-pumpkin-pie-and-then-feel-so-guilty-I-put-myself-on-the-naughty-list-and-then-start-fresh-with-nothing-but-celery-and-carrots-and-then-binge…” you get the point.

Why oh why do we do these things to ourselves?  Either camp sucks if you ask me.  Either you embrace the gluttony full speed ahead and dig a deeper grave than you might already have going…or you hate yourself for not being “good” during an impossible time of year.  Not good…either of them.

Might I suggest something more sane?!  Is it possible that we might be able to indulge a bit AND reach some goals??  Are you gasping at the idiocy of such a suggestion?

For reals my friends….I believe this is possible.  I can say it because I do it!  AND…I didn’t always do it…believe YOU ME.  (Why do people say that?? “believe you me!”???  I don’t get it…but I kinda liked it right here, so I’m gonna go with it.)  One day soon I will tell you my “story”…but lets just say I used to have pretty much no self control and went from one side of the pendulum to the next for quite a lot of years.  NOW, though…I have found balance.  And, my balance includes not only having a slice of pecan pie (do you say PEcan or pe-CON?…question of the day)…but I insist that it be a part of the holiday festivities as it is my FAVORITE!  That’s right!  It is said to be the WORST holiday pie for you!  Most fat and sugar I am sure of it.   I LOVE my PEcan pie and I am NOT ASHAMED!!  However, do I have half the pie for dessert?  Nope.  Do I eat it when I am stuffed to the brim, overflowing and unbuttoned my jeans already?  Nope.  I never actually get to that point because I hate being overstuffed way more than I love my pecan pie!  NO JOKE.

We all have a very real decision to make here.  Are ya sitting down…TV off…phone on silent…distractions taken care of?

I want you to stop and just visualize a holiday season in which you have BALANCE.  You eat healthy MOST of the time, you exercise and you enjoy some really amazing treats here and there with NO GUILT.  Do you see how we usually have it backwards?  We typically eat MOSTLY treats and overeat EVERYTHING and hardly exercise, or maybe not at all…and then wonder why we let this happen AGAIN this year!!

It really is possible to do this whole balance thing.  I am here to tell you, also, that it feels PRETTY DARN GOOD!!!  Do you feel like I’m yelling at you with the CAPS??  Well I AM!!!  I’m yelling at you to DECIDE WHO YOU WANT TO BE!!  You are up to YOU!  If you want to have a holiday season that you can look back on and say, WOW…that felt PRETTY DARN GOOD…and I didn’t gain 8 pounds!  In fact, I feel healthier than I have in some time!  …then DO IT!

It is a decision my friends.  That’s the biggest part of this whole thing.  I can’t do it for you.  You’re hubby or wife can’t do it for you.  Oprah can’t do it for you…YOU have to do it.  You have to decide what you really want for you and then you need to figure out how you want to do it.  That’s the part I can help with!  If you need a plan and some accountability…I’m your girl 😉  Just say the word.  However…the whole things starts with YOU.

Happy almost Trick-or-Treating time…and in the words of Elf, “What’s a Christmas gram?? I want one!”

Love & Blessings
Jess

Am I Ready?

Whenever we set out to change a behavior of any sort a decision has to be made. “I am going to do this.” “I am committed.”  “I am ‘all in’.” The thing is…you have to be really, really REAL about this.   Are you truly “all in”?  Are you willing and ready to dig deep and do the hard stuff?  If you want to change something…you have to…well…change some stuff.  Make sense?  Really people.  I realize that we live in this instant gratification, materialistic, all about me, I want it now type of society…but let’s not allow the excuses to call the shots.  Think seriously about what it will look like and feel like to take specific steps to make a change and be honest.  Are you ready?

This is the turning point we have to face in order to have success.  It is really very exhilarating and empowering when you let yourself get there! You really can pick from so many diet and exercise plans out there that will really work.  The key factor…the MOST important part…is YOU.  If you don’t follow a plan, guess what?  It won’t work.  Before you jump in and think you’re committing to something that will help you reach goals…really evaluate whether or not you are serious about it and willing to do what it takes.  If you’re not…the next step is to talk about getting to ready, if you are interested in that.

The bottom line is that I can own every diet and fitness book out there and have shelves filled with exercise dvds and belong to every gym in town….but if I don’t stick to a plan, day by day, step by step…if I still sit on the couch at night and shovel food into my mouth for hours and don’t actually every go to the gym…I’m gonna guess that nothing will actually happen in terms of reaching my goals.  Can’t exactly blame the program if I’m the one not doing it!

Remember…YOU ARE ENTIRELY UP TO YOU!!

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