HEALTH WITH JESSICA

The Sweet Spot

When I was younger…in my 20’s (I swear that was just yesterday), I was so obsessive about my fitness that I would be a bear if I didn’t get my minimum number of workouts in per week and it had to be for a minimum amount of time as well. It’s as though I thought my body would puff up in one day if I missed a workout. I struggled hard with body image and weight in childhood & adolescence. It’s amazing how wide that pendulum swing can be. It took several years to settle. Thank you, God, that it did.The journey has been interesting and eye opening, however.

A few years ago I went to see a holistic doctor after struggling with my energy level and being confused by it. After all, health and fitness is my thing…I thought I was doing everything right. My diet was spot on, my exercise was spot on…what the heck? To my surprise, the doctor sat down in the office and started asking me about my life starting back in childhood. I was very impressed by this, given that I was in the midst of earning my masters degree in Health Psychology and really learning how tangled the web is that connects our physical, mental/emotional and spiritual selves. What a concept that a doctor would ask me about my mental/emotional health from childhood on. I had never had a doctor spend time fully listening to me about surface level issues let alone asking me all this stuff. This is when I first learned about Adrenal Fatigue.

Truly the man scared me. He talked about what chronic stress can do to a body and there I was thinking I was not part of that population. I have never smoked, drinking has amounted to one or two glasses of wine a few times a week (hello antioxidants). I never eat fast food. I exercise 5+ days a week. I have awesome friends and a solid network and my faith is integral to me. What’s the problem? What stress? If there’s any there I know how to deal with it…or did I? I was a single mom, working and earning my masters degree at the same time. Sleep was something I did not do much of.

So really, what does all of this mean? Since that appointment I have done a lot of research on Adrenal Fatigue and it has made a lot of sense looking back. I realize this has been something I’ve struggled with for years. Now, I know when I am dipping back into it. In fact, this past year has been the worst ever (you’d think a girl would learn, right?). I had so much transition in my life, a lot of it actually good, but change nonetheless, that my body just decided it had had enough. My energy levels plummeted, my immune system took a nose dive, my sleep suffered horribly…

What do you do when you hit bottom?

You breathe. You pray. You rest. You take care of your body by not overworking it.

This stuff is NOT easy for me! Thankfully I found PiYo a few years back and started teaching. It has been such a Godsend for my body. The strength and balance I get without the hard impact has been amazing. However, I stopped teaching classes at night for now. That was a huge step for me toward simplifying my life. I didn’t like leaving a dinner time and coming back when it was pretty much bedtime 3 times a week. Plus it made it hard for my body to settle down at night. I gave up running for several months to let my body heal as well. Running is such a love of mine, but it can also be so hard on the body. I’m back at it and thankfully it feels good again!

I have been practicing the art of saying “no” as well. Seriously not easy for me! And I say “practicing” because I have a ways to go yet. But, it’s amazing how freeing it feels to protect your little world by saying that. When I say no to something that doesn’t fit my own schedule or goals or that of my family, I am saying yes to the direction I am really trying to go in and I am saying yes to my family. That part feels amazing.

So now, I am enjoying exercise on my own terms rather than having it dictate me and how I feel about myself. I am being more purposeful in decisions I make and making sure they line up with what I want life to look like for my family and myself. I am embracing “no” as something that can can be such a gift. It’s always an adventure, life is. I love that I am operating less on caffeine and autopilot and more from intention. It’s kind of nice.

If you are caught up in the constant going, always busy, saying yes to everything cycle….I encourage you to sit back and breathe. Then pick something today to say no too and say yes to something better.

Lots of love…
Jess

The Astonishing Power of Habit & How To Make it Work in Your Favor

First of all, wouldn’t you agree that when you hear the word “habit”, you instantly think of bad habits? I mean, most of the time when the word even comes up, it’s due to the fact that we want to get rid of a bad habit. This is part of the mindset that I think gets us off on the wrong foot with this whole thing. 

When you give it even a little bit of thought, it is clear that everything we do is based on habit. That’s what allows us to go about our day and not think through every little thing. I don’t argue with myself over whether or not I am going to brush my teeth, I just do it. I don’t ponder the idea of using my turn signal or not, I just do it (bad example? Don’t be that guy!  Use your freakin’ turn signals #petpeeve). I don’t have to think about bringing my phone with me when I leave the house, it’s an automatic thing. I don’t have to think about doing something with my hair and makeup before I leave the house (you’re welcome) : I just do it.

We all differ in our habits, the ability to easily create new ones and on which are more important to us. But, we all have habits that are deeply ingrained in us and in our routine.

Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  1. LET GO OF IDEAS THAT MAKE CHANGING HABITS HARDER
    First of all, I beg of you to get the “it takes 21 days to form a habit” crap out of your head. Let it go.  I have never read/heard any scientific evidence that this little idea is anything more than just cute. Truly though, it can make habit forming so much harder. Do this for me: think LIFESTYLE CHANGE. Don’t set your eyes on just 21 days. Likely, that time will come and pass and then it will be a big relief (even subconsciously) to let go of all the progress you’ve made. Because, let’s face it: it’s hard changing habits! Instead, think of the awesomeness that will happen in your life because this new habit will be part of you.
  2. REPLACE THE BAD HABIT
    I cannot emphasize this enough! If you don’t purposely replace the bad habit with         something that serves you better, you’ll unknowingly replace it with something just as  
    bad, if not worse. Think about it: you’re doing it (whatever habit it might be) for a reason!For example: I have the habit of munching at night.  I get very snacky, even if I’ve had dinner and I’m truly not hungry! What I have come to realize about myself, after trying to majorly restrict myself and feeling miserable, is that it’s a form of relaxing for me. It is part of my nightly ritual once my kiddo is in bed and I’m not longer focused on “work” and what all I NEED to be doing, to just take care of me for a bit. Isn’t that why we snack? It gives us happy feelings. It truly does. Food releases all those awesomely wonderful happy chemicals and that’s why we treat it like a drug without even realizing it. So, rather than trying to take the habit away and hope it sticks, I have another plan that works better. I change the habit. I do a few things: I LOVE baths and an epsom salt bath in the evening really makes me feel more calm, relaxed and like I am doing something good for me. I exercise a lot, so it truly is therapeutic. I also still allow myself to snack, but it’s purposeful. I love a glass of wine in the evening and will do something like air popped popcorn (with real butter & sea salt!) with my hubby or a frozen Greek yogurt bar. It’s controlled, rather than mindless! No regrets then.
  3.  

    REWARD YOURSELF
    I am a big proponent of recognizing hard work and celebrating it! Make a chart of what you will do when you’ve reached small steps with your habit. Choose a that will help inspire you to keep going and help make that habit even more a natural part of your life. Obviously a donut would not be the choice to make if you’ve lost 5 pounds from eating better! A health magazine or new workout top would be, though!


  4. GO PUBLIC
    Now, for this one I don’t mean posting on Facebook that you will never be eating sugar again starting NOW. That can backfire and then you feel ashamed when you slip up. Rather, announce that you have accomplished “fill in the blank”. Let’s say it’s been 7 days since your last soda: celebrate!! 2 weeks of smoking half as much as you used to and it continues to go down: tell us! You’ve exercised 5 out of 7 days for 3 weeks in a row: hello!!This is when you let the world know what’s going on, because the encouragement you will get will totally propel you forward!  AND, you will inspire people along the way as well.  Pretty awesome!

  5. BE REALISTIC
    Let’s me real about how hard it really is to change habits. Why oh why would you try to change 7 at once? Really. “I’ve never exercised before and I LOVE fast food, but starting tomorrow I’m exercising 7 days a week, tracking ALL my food, eating no sugar, giving up fast food, drinking 64 oz of water a day, eating 5 cups of veggies AND no more staying up until midnight: bed at 9pm!”

    GOOD LUCK to ya.

    Start with one thing. Focus on that and I am tellin’ you, other habits will change as well without you even realizing it! You might stop drinking so much soda simply because you’re exercising more and just don’t have the same cravings, for example. It’s awesome how this stuff works!

    Also, like my example with nighttime snacking, I am being realistic by recognizing it’s part of my ritual and it doesn’t have to go away: I just have to change how I do it. I’ve learned that trying to totally do away with it is not what I am interested in. If you’re not all in, it just won’t work.

So there you have it. This is all just my opinion and what I have noticed in myself and clients I’ve worked with. I want to hear from YOU! What works for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

Are you currently working on a habit and in need of some accountability? Connect with me! I’d love to offer some support and help you celebrate along the way!

Email: jessica@healthwithjess.com

 

Happy Spring, Friends!

XOXO, 
Jess

 

Tortellini Soup

It was a perfect day for soup today! Lazy Sunday (although I did my taxes & that made my brain hurt), chilly out with snow mixed in the rain a bit…

We LOVE the 21 Day Fix program and this is a recipe I found & modified that is 21 Day Fix approved! The 21 Day Fix is all about clean eating, balanced macros and portion control…all things I teach health coaching clients and guidelines we live by. 

So here you go…I hope you try it, it really is delicious!


INGREDIENTS (serves 8)

  • 5 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil finely chopped
  • 2 quarts organic chicken broth
  • 2lbs grass fed ground beef (or turkey)
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 package refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (for the topping)

DIRECTIONS

Brown the meat in a large skillet. Add  onions and garlic in the same skillet and cook until tender. Season with a little italian seasoning, salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients except the tortellini & Parmesan cheese to crock pot Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or all day.

Right before you’re ready to eat, cook the tortellini according to package instructions. Then add to the soup.

Dish soup out and add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to the top. Serve hot 🔥1 cup = 1 serving


21 Day Fix containers: 1 Green 1 Yellow 1/2 Red 1 Blue

ENJOY!! 

XOXO, Jess

If you would like to learn more about the 21 Day Fix please send me an email: jessica@healthwithjessica.com

We’re starting a subscription box biz!!

Okay, so what exactly does this mean, some of you have asked…


Let me back up a minute and give you some behind the scenes perspective. My interest in health and fitness lies in Health Psychology. In fact, that’s what my masters degree is in.

What the heck does that even mean?

It’s essentially putting all the pieces together when it comes to health, rather than trying to understand how this whole thing works by looking at one small part of a person’s life. It’s about preventing chronic disease and health issues through living well in body, mind and spirit. It is about having balance in the every day. It is about treating the problem, rather than symptoms, when they occur.

We weave a pretty tangled web in our every day lives with stress, lack of sleep, distraction, processed foods, toxic environments, lack of activity… and we then wonder why there are so many life threatening diseases and major mental health issues bubbling to the surface.

So there’s that. I could go on and on..but you get the picture.

I like to inspire people to look beneath the surface, understand this crazy tangled web and take control! However, I don’t like to see people struggle by going too far to the extreme and then feeling defeated. I want people to understand how huge it is that health has to be a LIFESTYLE rather than major restrictions or changes that don’t stick.


So that’s where I’m coming from. Now for the box…

I personally love to surround myself with things that inspire me and motivate me. I encourage clients to do the same. It’s a matter of setting ourselves up for success by creating an encouraging environment for ourselves and removing things that will cause us to stray from the direction we really want to be going. In doing this I like to have FUN, enjoy this healthy lifestyle and make it something I LOVE rather than feeling like I’m constantly deprived!

That’s what the box is about. I want to inspire others toward a more vibrant, healthy life.

Each box will contain:

  • Healthy, yummy snacks made from natural ingredients
  • Items that are fitness related and motivate us to move!
  • Inspirational items such as positive quotes, art, small books
  • Bath & body items, with natural ingredients
  • Stress relieving products
  • And just anything that I love and brings me joy!

I am so very excited to share this box not only for everything I just said, but also to shine the spotlight on businesses that are creating these awesome, inspiring things!! And…you will notice that A LOT of the stuff included in the boxes will be from the Pacific Northwest. I am PNW girl all the way! Born in California, raised in Oregon and I’ve lived several years in both Washington and Alaska. Home is now Oregon but I want to bring you things from all up and down the west coast! I feel blessed to live in such an amazing, beautiful place surrounded by mountains. <3

A photo from the property we live on in Oregon

Please visit our page to see what’s in the April box!!  We’re sending it out soon!
www.thehappyparcel.com

XOXO, Jess

PALEO Bacon & Onion Breakfast Casserole


I am the first to admit I really don’t love spending tons of time in the kitchen. I am always on the hunt for easy recipes that don’t take tons of time and that will stretch for more than one meal. If you are an egg casserole or quiche fan…ya gotta try this one!!

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

  • 2 mashed sweet potatoes 
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking soda 

Egg Mixture:

  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 dozen slices bacon, crumbled
  • 2 sliced tomatoes

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cook and mash sweet potatoes, then combine remaining crust ingredients. Mix well. Press into greased 13×9 casserole dish (I greased mine with coconut oil). 

Mix together beaten eggs, chopped onion, seasoning & bacon. Pour mixture on top of prepared crust. Then spread sliced tomatoes on top of egg mixture. 

Bake @ 400F for 25 minutes or until golden brown and eggs are set.

I just made ours and it is half gone. However, it would be great to cut into single portion sizes and freeze for a fast, filling, healthy breakfast option on busy mornings!!

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