A Weekend Full of Events

Ever since I was a little kid, I said I wanted to write a book. My grammar is fuzzy at best.  <using the correct there, their, they’re, and except, accept, or your, you’re has always baffled me. Don’t even get me started on the oxford comma>   I received average grades in English class during my younger years and dreaded any kind of essay writing.  So I thought writing a book would never happen for me even though I wanted it more than anything.  It was one of those silly dreams that I remember putting in the back of my noggin.  I mean who could write a book if they didn’t even like English class (I think now it is called language arts.)

So  Instead, I wrote poetry, kids songs, and rhymes.  All of which, I kept private for as long as I can remember.

bird reading

Eventually my own child came along, and I was able to sing my silly songs and rhymes to bring a smile to his face.  (of course now he says… WILL YOU STOP THAT SINGING)…. Ha… but I digress, they still sit in a notebook.  Well then the internet became popular around the same time and I quickly became an unapologetic horrible grammar blogger.  I took to social media when it launched, using it as my creative writing outlet.  At some point, I began writing articles for other sites, books, etc.  (With good editors, it is amazing what can look decent.)

Finally, I decided, if I could write content for other people’s books than surely I could put my own out there.  As a wellness educator, I knew this was the next step. Even if it were to be simple and short, I would get it out there to help others.  It would also give me the knowledge and ability to do more with each version to share my mission with more people.  Turns out, people like simple and short when it comes to self-help books, so Fall in Happy with YOU was born. Which brought me to Barnes and Noble over the weekend as part of a local author event, signing books, and almost selling out.

Just signing books

Just signing books at Barnes and Noble

I was also able to see several people from past workshops, visit with friends, and other authors.  It was an absolutely incredible day. As a self-published author, it is very hard to get your books on a book store shelf.  In fact, I’ve had many companies say that with out an agent, don’t bother or without a publisher, don’t bother.  However, I’m not usually one to take “don’t bother” as an answer that I will accept. (or except..)

The good news is,  FIH made it all over the internet within almost every online distributor, but getting them on shelves was definitely more challenging.  After last weekend however, mine actually made it on the shelf for REALS.  The coolest shelf ever!   The one labeled: “Inspiring yourself and others.  As if my book and that shelf were the perfect merger!

The Shelf at Barnes & Noble

My favorite shelf at Barnes & Noble

As silly as it sounds, that moment was pretty much my childhood dream come true!

But even better was the person who needed the book because of something challenging in their life, and the person who wanted more copies because their family members were struggling, and and and…. Fact is, that little book is going out in to the world and making a difference.  Which was my intention all along. Regardless of what shelf it resides on, people are using it.  And the more shelves it appears on, the more people will get to see it.  Even the BamPow crew from Batman day in the kid’s section of the store. (we were having a little too much fun)

BamPow Happy

BamPow Happy

As if all of that wasn’t exciting enough; the next day, I had a booth at our local Veg Tasting Fair, and met some of the most wonderful people.  Many shared their stories, or grabbed book copies, while kids played with the fun lunch creation kit on my table.

All set up

All set up and full of smiles

I’m still bouncing on cloud nine from all of the excitement and all of the people I was able to meet.  It was also incredible to encourage others to write their own books.  If I can do this, ANYONE CAN!

In Summary:  If you have a book, dream, passion, or thing that burns inside of you to share with the world, don’t let anyone or anything tell you it isn’t possible.  Take the steps to get you there, and start today.  It may not happen overnight.  People may doubt you, and fear may take over; but the decision to create your reality starts WITHIN YOU!

I was a People of BYL

I’m so thankful to Benefit your Life for hosting a book signing and conducting this wonderful interview (below) in their newsletter as part of their “People of BYL” series.

For those that don’t know, Benefit your Life is a dedicated gluten free bakery and market in Knoxville that provides wonderful goodies to our community.  They also provide hope, promise, and joy to people who are diagnosed with conditions that leave them feeling food-defeated.  And the best part is, they provide education to empower those same people to take back their food-life through workshops and seminars.

To say I was extremely proud to be featured in their newsletter is an understatement.  But sharing FIH with their community and staff was a pure joy.   If you would like to receive their newsletter for delicious recipes, events, and more, just sign up here!  You don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy the treats they offer.

BYL_Booksigning

Had so much fun visiting with readers at BYL

Hopefully this interview will explain a little more about my own story and how Falling in Happy came to be!

 

People of BYL (from the July 10th, 2016 Benefit your Life Newsletter)

Meet Nita! Nita just joined us at the bakery for her book signing on June 30. If you missed her book signing, we are excited to feature Nita in our People of BYL this week. Nita Pettibone is the founder and lead wellness educator of Falling in Happy LLC, a health coaching company that has empowered thousands of individuals to find happiness, wellness, and balance in their lives. She is a mom and wife who happens to be gluten free, plant based, and friend of all things kale.  Nita learned through her own wellness journey and is now teaching others; that when you fall in happy with yourself, anything is possible.

What’s your health story? Are you celiac?

My wellness story started about 18 years ago when I was overweight and my body was full of painful inflammation, blood numbers were horrible, and my energy was completely depleted. The warning signs like bruising, cysts, skin ailments, allergies, digestive issues and so much more left me feeling defeated instead of empowered.  I woke up one day and realized that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  That was the day I became plant based and there has been no looking back.   I’d later figure out that gluten was the missing link to finding my perfect food/health balance.  While I’m not celiac, removing gluten has played an incredible roll in healing my gut and is now part of my empowering lifestyle.

By creating that connection between what we eat and how we feel, I was able to use food and lifestyle shifts to bring wellness within myself, removed all medications, and now thrive in a life I enjoy living.  But even better, we alleviated my son’s abdominal migraines the same way. Seeing the dramatic changes in our own family made me want to shout from the roof tops what was possible.  I’ve been shouting ever since and eventually made wellness education my career. 

How did you find BYL?

Oh goodness, I don’t remember how I found BYL.  I think it may have been a sign near the road that got me hooked.  It was more of a store then and I was looking for GF and dairy free alternatives for my kitchen. Upon walking in, we discovered all of the treats that still call out to us when we drive by.  

Why did you write your book Fall in Happy with You?

With so much going on in our world today and women becoming so busy that they can’t remember if they put on matching shoes let alone ate breakfast, I wanted to show that there is a different way.  If we change our thoughts, we can change our world; and the world could certainly use more happy.  The book is my way of helping others find the simplicity in their otherwise challenging lives. It is meant to spread happy, one quick thought at a time. 

You have devoted your career to helping others get healthy. What is one of the most important lifestyle changes people can adopt to feel better?

The biggest change a person can make is to Fall in Happy with him or herself!  When you begin to change your thoughts about yourself, everything else will begin to change. It is hard for people take the leap into food and lifestyle shifts if they are coming from a place of defeat, despair, or lack of self worth.  They have to put themselves on the to-do list and realize they ARE worth it. There is such a deep connection between our thoughts, food, lifestyle and health, that you can’t fix any one piece without the other. 

If you would like to learn more about the FIH way of living contact nita@fallinginhappy.com , join the conversation on Facebook, or fill out this contact form and someone will respond as soon as possible.

Organizing My Organizers

Let me start by saying, I am a to-do list kind of gal.

As in my to-do lists have to-do lists.   In my corporate job I had post-its stuck EVERYWHERE….They were filled with everything I needed to discuss in the next meeting, or things I should say on the next phone call.  Heck I even had post-its hidden that would remind me not to slouch or to sip more water every time I saw them.  I had lists on my computer for projects and every tedious detail it would take to complete them.  We also had project management software… yay, more lists!  There were lists on my phone and in my calendar so that I didn’t forget appointments.   At home, I had grocery lists, things that needed to be done lists, travel packing lists, school stuff lists… .Ahhhhhh……  Hello, my name is Nita, and I’m addicted to lists.

But even more so, I’m addicted to the feeling of CROSSING THINGS OFF the list!   We as humans need that instant gratification of feeling like something has been accomplished to help us move forward to the next thing.  What better way to watch things being accomplished than to scratch them off a list; one-by-one-by-one.

At one point, I was creating to-done lists.  Just so I could scratch off everything I did that day that wasn’t on a prior list.  This was actually therapeutic and I would realize later in my coaching world how wonderful that task could be.

You see, if our lists are so big that they never get achieved, than we lose that satisfaction or mojo to keep going.  We become overwhelmed and only focus on all the things we haven’t done instead of looking at all the things we have accomplished.  Suddenly the to-do list can go from friend to enemy because our focus turns negative.   We start to feel worry, fear, anger, frustration, all because this list has so much to be done and no time to do it.   Instead of feeling positive, accomplished, excited and motivated at everything we have already completed.  

Do you see how perception of the same events can turn just by one little check box?  It is crazy how our minds work!  Are you a list person too?  If so, than read on!


 

Once I started my own businesses, the list of to-dos were overwhelming to say the least.  But more so, they were HUGE tasks that never seemed to get scratched off.  I knew I was working hard every day, but surely I wasn’t just spinning my wheels.  I knew I had accomplished so many things but they didn’t complete a bigger item and therefore it wasn’t scratched off.  If I took a peak at my to-do list, it could have been completely defeating.  Eventually I was coaching at several places, and had even more to keep up with, including projects, programming, workshops, events, etc.   There would also be consulting, several book projects, guest blog appearances, webinars, and of course wonderful FIH clients.   But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what goes on behind the scenes for this one man band.  Everything from web design, to printing, business management, & bookkeeping.

But don’t forget, I’m a married Mom which means technically I have two children along with a dog, a house, and a life.  I’m pretty much like most busy women out there in the world with a lot to do and only 24hrs in a day.  

One day I said:  “ENOUGH with all of these crazy lists, I need a system”….  And this is what happened!

I merged everything in two note books….

notebooks

One of them is smaller so it is easily portable and is divided in to 5 color coded tabs:

  • To-Do List is in the front
  • Personal
  • Falling in Happy business items
  • Gym 1
  • Gym 2

The to-do list is an evolving doc that gets used through out the days and replaced with clean sheets when needed.  It ONLY has short term tasks broken in to small items.   For example, filling dishwasher and putting dishes away would be two tasks instead of just saying “Dishes”.   This way, even if I have to leave the house before the dishes are done, I at least filled the dishwasher and get to scratch something off.   Or if I plan to meet with a client, this is divided in to three tasks such as:

  1. Get materials ready for meeting
  2. Meet with client
  3. Follow-up with email.

So I’m constantly scratching things off throughout the day.  Then constantly adding things as I think of them that need to be done in the near future.  This way, I never forget a thought and don’t find myself trying to remember what it was I wanted to do.

Now, all of those other tabs are used for taking notes or jotting down details related to each subject.  At any point, if I see on my to-do list that I need to do something for a specific gym, I can reference their tab and read the notes quickly.  Same is true for the notes from a client meeting or, or , or….anything really!   Everything is in one, easy to manage notebook.  (I like the Arc system from Staples for this as I can constantly move pages around, and stack them by priority)

AND, I always have extra pages handy in my “personal” tab in case I just want to journal or doodle during down time or a high stressor.

Now, I mentioned having two books…. So let me explain the bigger one that I keep at home on my desk.  This book is divided in to larger categories related to my business.  Everything from meeting notes, training notes, to article ideas.  I have a section dedicated only to business cards that I receive at networking events and another with a list of web/app resources for hosting an online business (like FIH).

However, as related to the To-Do’s… This book has only long term or big projects listed on the front page.  These are the things I don’t want to forget to get done at some point, but they will take time.  Some require assistance and are dependent upon another person. Some may be huge projects that I’ll chip away at via my daily tasks.  But if these were on my daily list, I would see them never getting scratched off.   Some items on that list are just basic house things like “get tires” or “do taxes”… I know I can’t do the taxes until all our documents arrive in the mail and I don’t need tires just yet, but will in the near future.   The big task of doing the taxes is something I don’t want to forget BUT, until I get all the documents, I can’t attach it to my task list.  Or else I’ll be staring at something every day that won’t ever get scratched off.

Using the tax example:

When all of the documents arrive, I’ll put on my daily tasks to call the accountant and make an appt.  Before the appt. I’ll put on my task list to gather documents and finish spreadsheets.  Then on the day of the appt. , I’ll note on my task list to Drop off the tax documents.   Through out this process, I will have been able to scratch off four items and see myself moving forward in the project of: “Doing taxes”!    When the taxes are complete and sent away, THEN, I will scratch off from the big book that taxes are complete.

Now the big project is removed from that list showing me that it was completed and not forgotten.  But all the little parts that got me to the finish line were also achieved.

Doing things in this way makes my to-done list much bigger than my to-do list on a daily basis allowing me less overwhelm and a way to organize all the little bits and pieces that make up my life.   You won’t find post-its anywhere in my house or office anymore, and you won’t find lists upon lists, getting lost and things forgotten.

All I have is two books:

  1. One for daily tasks and notes while I’m on the go.
  2. And the other for long term projects and ideas.

So there you have my big secrets for organizing my organizers.   *smile*

For any list people out there that need more to-dones than to-dos to feel positive at the end of the day, give this method a try.

It can take time to get in the habit of having a running list and to start writing down the little things that you wouldn’t write before.  But there is just something awesome of seeing how much you’ve checked off as the day moves forward and knowing that anything not checked off rolls to the next day which is Okay!  It is a great motivational tool if nothing else.  But even better is that you really never forget to do anything.

For those of you that are not list people, can’t get organized, or don’t know where to start; Grab a notebook and a pen.  List out the next three things you are planning to do in that day, then keep adding and scratching off as those items are done.   See how it feels for a couple of days.

Email nita(at)fallinginhappy(dot)com with questions, feedback, or comments on this post.  Or submit this form, to see how an FIH coaching program can help you get more organized towards a happier life.

Of course if you found the contents above helpful, please share with your friends and join the conversation over at facebook.com/fallinginhappy

~Live Happily (and organized)

 Ps. I was not paid to mention Staples or their Arc System in this post, I just genuinely love this product and had to share.  In fact I give out the small books with accessories to every VIP client so we can organize their coaching materials and recipes! 

Choose Living over Fighting

I originally posted this as a contributing author on the Nourished Community Blog after my Mom took her ride on the angel train.  However it has come to my attention that the site is no longer active as of this re-posting.  Since this story is still very close to my heart and there is no longer an active link, I’m posting here for anyone that needs to see it. 


When my Mom was first diagnosed with Lung Cancer, everyone would tell her to “Fight.” You must fight and beat this thing. Honestly, I can’t stand that word when it comes to disease. Here is why:

By telling someone to fight than there is a win or lose that comes with it. To say someone lost their “battle” with cancer is to say they didn’t fight hard enough. To say someone won their fight or battle means they were stronger or more determined than those that didn’t.

Neither case is true. There is living, not living, thriving and then there is PREVENTION!

Of course some diseases can’t be prevented and are truly genetic, part of another ailment, or something a child is born with. But those people too either continue to thrive or not. Instead of fighting against disease (which will always be a losing battle) what if we work toward living well within our abilities to do so. If we are going to fight at all, let’s fight FOR awareness and prevention. That is a win/win!

sassy

Feeling Sassy with the tubes out for a minute

 

Less than a year ago when I found out my mom had cancer, and people told her to “fight,” my heart sank for her. She didn’t know how to fight, her stress level was through the roof. Her anxiety and breathing uncontrollable. She didn’t know who to call or what to do. You see my mom was not a fighter, she was a lover. She sighed with relief the first time I told her she didn’t have to fight. ALL SHE HAD TO DO WAS LIVE! I would tell her that she was thriving with cancer and that she would live until it was gone (one way or another) she should focus on living.

She stopped smoking, attempted to get herself organized, went out with friends, imagined her life without with the oxygen tubes. She put on a little makeup, tried exercising her legs by walking the stairs as much as possible and refusing wheel chairs when she could. Her favorite foods became a kale salad and green smoothie popsicles. She lost weight, slept a lot, loved beyond measure. She didn’t have to fight, she just had to feel good while she was living. Every time we talked on the phone, we would talk about her “good moments.” When someone is thriving with a disease like this, there are a lot of bad moments. But there are so many good ones too, and that is what we would focus on.

neenee

She said this was the best moment of her life, because she felt free. It is all about perspective when you start living for the right reasons.

 

The chemo, radiation, scans, surgeries and experimental drugs that she opted for took a huge toll. Soon all the lifestyle changes she tried to make couldn’t match the poison that was being sent through her body nor the force of the type of cancer she had. But no matter how much physical pain she was put through in all those months, that woman while in the process of dying still thought she was living. Fourteen hours before she took her last breath, and sitting in her hospital bed, she was prepared to go out to lunch with her friends. She never, even up to the very end felt like she was dying and would NOT discuss that one single bit.

My Mom was one of the strongest women I knew. She put up with a whole lot in her life, but she also held in a whole lot. She couldn’t put down that cigarette or demand her husband take his habit outside until it was too late. Holding on to some hurt from her life’s past was her way of controlling it but we also know that is its own type of cancer. Much like that person who is strong in their career, or the matriarch of their family but can’t put down that box of donuts when they are facing type 2 diabetes.

 

Prevention for the lady that inspired me to live would have been to quit smoking sooner, eat better and not wait until she had cancer to start exercising. Prevention would have been making kale salads (or kale chips) her favorite food long before a year ago. Prevention would have been to let go of the hurt eating up her insides. Had she fought FOR living well, long before she was faced with a decision to fight cancer, there would have been no need for that decision.

One month ago, my mom didn’t lose her battle with cancer. She simply stopped living as we know it. Now she lives on in her kids and grandkids and will continue to always be a part of our lives.

She didn’t lose a fight or not fight hard enough, she lived with a disease and eventually died due to complications from that disease.

In her case, cancer was just the catalyst that ended her life on earth. We all have a choice to truly live while we are alive We have a choice to eat, sleep, drink and think well. We have a choice to stop habits that aren’t benefiting us. We have a choice to live and love in everything we do. We have a choice to spread awareness and prevention. If I were to sign up for a battle it would be one for wellness.

What will you choose?

strong

November 2014

 

What Does Healthy Mean to You?

I originally posted this on March 28th, 2013 as a contributing author on the Nourished Community Blog.  However that site seems to have been taken down in the years that followed.  I’m reposting here and editing as necessary as this question is still one that applies to almost all of my conversations with clients. 


I always ask my clients at our first session “What does healthy mean to you?” because by the last session, this is a great benchmark in their progress.  99.9% of the time, their thoughts of that word change between day one and day ninety.

Recently I started asking random people this question as my curiosity has grown around how people feel about this word.

Some people share with me the type of food they consume as being the definition of that word.  Others claim it is what happens to our bodies after we eat the food that determines the value of being healthy.  I’ve asked some people who feel not having a cold or flu at that moment means they are healthy.

One lovely lady said to me that she has never been in the hospital and therefore she is healthy.  Another shared that getting out of the hospital meant she was now healthy.  A gentleman once told me that not having to unbuckle his belt after dinner was a healthy meal. 

Here in the FIH community, the word healthy talks about mind and body.  There is no right or wrong answer to this question and yet the responses are so varied.  From one extreme to the next with every person that I speak to.

A study of the most interesting magnitude.  You see I work with people every day to support them in their getting healthy journey.  Whether that is eating more whole foods, drinking their greens, teaching them how to shop or just getting out for a walk. The journey is as different for each person as the answers to that question.

As for my own answer to that question, it has changed much through the years.  When I started this journey 14yrs ago, healthy to me meant getting my blood work in to normal range and not passing out or getting dizzy every time I stood up.  When I became pregnant, my thought of a healthy pregnancy was having a healthy baby with little to no complications.  But at this point in my life, if someone were to ask me “What does healthy mean to you?” I would have to say the following:

Eating foods that nourish my mind, body and soul.  Waking up with a clear head, going to bed with satisfaction of the day behind me and hope for the day ahead.  Avoiding illness and stress through prevention and a diet full of life and color.  Healthy to me is a holistic wonder within.  It is knowing that you are doing everything possible to take care of yourself and the environment around you while laughing out-loud (the real kind, not the LOL kind) just because you can.

Now it is your turn, what is your definition of the word healthy?

The Menopausal Athlete

When I first started health coaching, I never expected to work with athletes, let alone menopausal ones.  In fact back then, I would have never considered myself an athlete.  When launching FIH, I expected my niche to be busy moms and families.

But what I’ve learned along the way, is that athletes can be moms (or not) but they are still women going through different stages of their lives that need support too.  That is when I started Foodfitlife.com…  for the everyday athlete!

Menopause was still not my specialty.  But the similarities of new motherhood and menopause on the body are pretty close.  Hormone changes, unexplained weight gain, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, all can happen with both of these life stages.   After several years of coaching, working at multiple gyms and redefining what FIH can provide, I’ve discovered that the menopausal athlete is a pretty amazing woman.  She just doesn’t know it!

I’ll preface this next part with saying that I’m not a nutritionist, doctor, or dietician.  As a health coach and wellness educator I help busy people feel empowered to take back their wellness.  There is no quick fix, wonder pill or magic potion.  It is about learning to understand how your body works, gaining tools to work through stressors optimally, fueling yourself properly for your lifestyle and creating habits that maintain a life of vibrancy.  I’m not preaching from a scientific journal, just sharing what makes sense in my head and what has worked for my clients. Do your own research, find what works for you, talk to your medical practitioners when needed but know that you can control how you feel.

When a woman reaches menopause, they should congratulate themselves.  Have a party even.   The purpose of this “fun” event in our lives is to shut down the baby making factory.  Historically, many women didn’t make it to this stage of life and for those that did, it was a time for celebration.  Inside us ladies, there is a LOT going on every single day.  Sometimes it helps to understand the why of it all so the rest can fall in to place.  When Menopause hits, the body’s conversation is kind of like this:

“Well we don’t need those hormones anymore, let’s get rid of them.  Yeah, I know it will mess you up, but it could also make you more awesome.  We don’t need all that extra energy to grow a baby, so let’s slow down our metabolism.  We don’t need those boobs to provide milk anymore, so we’ll just let those sag and put them over here.  Oh and our hips???  Eh, let them store more fat and become more brittle because they no longer need to spread or make room for that baby to come out.  Heck, while we are at it, let’s just add some extra pounds to our midline, mess up our sleep habits, and create a furnace in our body, since our life’s purpose of making babies has come to an end, lets just change everything”

So when women say:  “I never experienced this until menopause”, they are absolutely right.  But does that mean it is really the end of their lives?  OH HECK NO!   Can you make this next stage of life your best ever?  ABSOLUTELY!   Is it normal to feel bad, gain weight, and have mood fluctuations?  OF COURSE!   Can you do something about it?  ABSOLUTELY!

The key to longevity in a body you love is to stay active, eat well, and smile often.   I realize that is simplifying it, but I’ll explain more below..

<INSERT THE FEMALE ATHLETE>

They work hard in spite of their body’s changing yet see different results than expected. They know exactly what worked for them yesterday and suddenly it doesn’t.  They’ll count calories, macros, and every bite they take is planned, but gain weight anyway.  “Worked” is the key word here.  They know what worked while their body was in a different place and suddenly find it no longer working.  They need to change but get stuck in knowing how.  It is normal… If you are reading this and can relate, you are not crazy!

When our hormones shift, we can suddenly become allergic or sensitive to things that make us swell.  We may start getting hives, itchy dry skin, gut issues or even anaphylactic responses to food.   My mom for example, became deathly allergic to fish after her little “change”…  In fact I became allergic to eggs after having a baby.  Our immune response shifts as hormones do, and that is one thing to think about when adjusting your fuel.  Over time our adrenals also get a little sleepy and we need to wake them up. 

Remember, prior to the “change” our girlie system worked for the purpose of creating and growing a baby.  Even if you never in your life had a baby.   With that said, our response to inflammation changes as our hormones do, which is one reason why things that used to work, no longer do. 

So here are a few common sticky points that I see regularly in my clients dealing with this stage of life. The goal here isn’t to provide answers, but to help you think differently if you find yourself struggling:

  • Eating too few calories for maintaining current activity level and lifestyle
  • Eat too many calories for current body (remember, metabolism has slowed down on purpose, we have to adjust)
  • Eat too much of the wrong foods or artificial foods that promote fat storage
  • Eating too much sugar instead of resolving cravings in other ways
  • Not eating enough real whole foods
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Drinking more coffee, alcohol or sodas to accommodate new lack of energy and mood shifts
  • Thinking they have the same protein requirements as they did prior
  • Supplementing their diet too much while trying to meet a protein number that they may no longer need
  • Not supporting the adrenals
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Sticking to lifelong habits that no longer work
  • Thinking a specific number on the scale is the target to meet
  • Feeling like they don’t have a choice to change it, so they settle.

If any of those points apply to you, then you have complete control to change how you feel.  Sometimes that means taking a good honest look at what you are consuming and how you are living.  So many women say:  “I’ve always struggled with weight, but…..”, well then menopause isn’t the cause. You either never found what truly worked for you, or you never found joy in yourself, just the way you are.  Both of which can change NOW!  

Many other women were in a perfect place mentally and physically until their body changed. For them, it isn’t about meeting that perfect number on the scale, it needs to be about finding a perfect balance of what works for their body in its current place and not looking back.

I often talk about interval training, but when we want to boost our metabolism and change the way our body works with food, I like to refer to “interval eating.”

This means eating the right kinds of food through out the day based on your activity and goals. Also adding in things that are metabolism boosting but inflammation crushing.  

Speaking of goals; that needs to change to!

When I work with people, we create small manageable, achievable and measurable goals that are then documented to watch progress.  Try and do the same for yourself.  Create an environment of success.  Not a diet, that is short term but lifestyle habits that last.  

As an athlete, we will push our limits, go the extra mile, get one more pull-up or kick one more goal.  We get out of that comfort zone.  Yet when it comes to food, we’ll stay right in our little bubble.

 If we can push in every other aspect of our lives, we can certainly fuel our body in a way that makes us feel amazing.  We can change our moods, energy, and even cool down the furnace.  Fill yourself with foods, fluids, thoughts, and fitness that shout to your body… “This is the best time of my life and I am AMAZING!!!!

Celebrate YOU, don’t settle!   

If you would like to learn more about FIH coaching or just want to comment on this article or say hello, simply fill out the contact form and I’ll be in touch.

~Live Happily,

Nita (aka Coach)

KickStarter Campaign Is Live

**Update:  This project wasn’t funded although received so many pledges which I’m very thankful for.  The book will still be published in print soon and this audience will hear all about it when that happens!**

**Update 2:  FIH is officially available in Print and digital versions from all of your favorite online retailers.  Here is the Barnes and Noble link to purchase your copy.  As promised in the Kickstarter campaign, I’ve been able to donate copies as books are purchased to make sure they reach people that could use the happy message.   

Here is the story of an author, a book and the desire to help others find their happy.

My entire life, I’ve talked about writing a book.  This is nothing new.  So when I finally launched “Fall in Happy with YOU” in to the Kindle store, it was an awesome moment but a little bitter sweet.

After writing for others, appearing in books, on websites, and in the newspaper; FIH was finally something I could call my own.  I wrote it for the sole purpose of helping others find their happy at the encouragement of my Mother.  I was thrilled to hit that publish button.  In fact, it was one of the highlights of my career.  But I waited too long and my Mom wouldn’t see it from this side of the clouds.  Yes, it was a hard pill to swallow.  I stalled, got busy doing other things and put it on the back burner.  Then she left her body and I decided there would be no more waiting.

The book got published in the Kindle version and people kept asking when they could get it in print.  The feedback was phenomenal, Amazon reviews were full of kind words, and I knew I had to get my book published in print.  I had friends saying they needed it for their family, some requesting it for hospital waiting rooms, others wanting it for book clubs, clients wanting signed copies, and complete strangers asking when they could purchase the print edition.

My answer was always “Someday”….

Sigh, there was that “someday” again.   Then I remembered there should be no more somedays… That isn’t even a real day.  So I rallied my brain troops and got to editing.   With the cover and copy complete, all I had to do was get this thing published.

Ha!  Easier said than done.   Without a large enough audience, the big publishing companies won’t look at you.  I tried self publishing via free channels and the quality of the book was horrible.  Finally I found a way that I could get the book published correctly, with on-demand printing and distribution channels.  (which means it could get to more people)   The cost however for a publishing service like this was pretty high and would require funds that I don’t currently have.

Several people I spoke with, mentioned launching a Kickstarter campaign.  I thought that was just the craziest thing.  Who would want to help me pay for my book to get published?  But then someone reminded me that if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.  And maybe people would want to preorder the book.  Hmmm, So I launched the campaign.   In just a few days, I already had seven backers.  SEVEN!

Now there are nine days left of the campaign and I’m too excited not to post here.   This isn’t about me.  It is about the people that could read this book and change their lives.  It is about the free books that I’ll be able to send to women’s centers, teachers, nurses and those having a hard time that could use some happy in their lives.  It is about that daughter in the family room of the hospice wing waiting to say her final goodbye.  It is about that Mom who is so overwhelmed with life that she can’t enjoy her own kids.  It is about that high stress executive that remembers to slow down for just a moment and live.

“Fall in Happy with You, 101 thoughts to create happiness from within” is a book that will make a difference in people’s lives and for THAT reason alone, I will get it published.

If you would like to learn how you can be a part of this project and snag some pretty awesome rewards, click the “K” on the video below, or go to the Fall in Happy with You Kickstarter page.  Let’s spread more happy together!

~Live Happily

 

Why I Started Taking Selfies

My friend and I have this thing:  “If we don’t have a picture of an event, it didn’t happen.”

Well, we have been friends for over 25 yrs and cameras have changed quite a bit.  So have we.

Most of the time, I was the one with the camera and there aren’t that many pictures of me.  You also had to wait until they were developed to see if a picture was any good and I would just throw away the ones that weren’t.  We wouldn’t take too many selfies because that would waste film.  But every once in a while we’d get a perfect shot!

(Do you remember film?)

the 90s called

Hello, the 90’s are calling!

Then scrapbooking became a thing, and I could cut myself out of pictures if I wanted.  I’d keep the ones that I deemed “good enough.” Eventually I became a parent, cameras went digital and I could take a kabillion pictures of every  milestone and event.

babyandspunk

Awwww, those were the days!

Since I wasn’t so good at the patience thing, digital cameras made me very happy.  But even happier that there was always a delete button.

Through the years, I have a few really good pictures of me and a few not so good.  Mostly, my albums are full of memories of other people though.  Sure, I was a part of those memories but not always in the picture.  While working for a media company, I’d hide from the camera.  In fact I’d practically pay the cameraman (not really) to keep me out of pictures and videos.  Yup, I successfully maneuvered out of almost every office shot for the better part of 13 years.

As a blogger, I would take pictures of things and plan my blog posts around them.  But I’d make sure that my own face was never in those pictures either.

When selfies became popular and everyone was sharing theirs, I just didn’t get it.  Why would anyone want to take a picture of themselves?  That is the silliest thing ever!

It wasn’t until I started Falling in Happy (the company), that I really wanted to be in front of the camera.  Not just for memorable photos but to  reach out to my online audience.  Taking fun pictures and videos was my way to put myself out there and build relationships, create a brand, and build trust.

However a bigger part of putting myself out there was to push through my fears.  As if to say:  “Yes world, this is who I am, and I’m happy with that, no matter what you think”…. Big nose, sunken chin, freckles, wrinkles and all.  Funny enough, it wasn’t the world that I had to tell this too.  The only person dreading the camera was ME.  But I knew other women had to feel the same way.   By posting my own journey, it was a way to share that you don’t have to be flawless or an expert at photoshop to be photo-worthy.  That you are perfect, just being YOU!

During that time, I made a lot of changes within myself  via my own wellness journey.   Taking pictures became a way to track my progress as well as inspire others.

12 Month Progress

At it for 12 months, down 6 pant sizes, powered by plants and CrossFit Knoxville.

The first Falling in Happy moment on record was the one that changed my life.  In fact it gave birth to Falling in Happy, LLC and the rest is history.

So how did I go from thinking selfies were selfish, arrogant, annoying, and completely unnecessary to thinking they were cool?

Well, I couldn’t build my brand, trust, inspire others and create relationships for an online business without people seeing me.  But I didn’t have anyone to take the pictures for me.  Suddenly, I was ready to be in front of the camera, yet no one was there to click the button.

<Insert the iPhone>

Green Smoothies

Double stack of green goodness

Not only could I connect with my audience and show that I was a real person, but I could do it quickly and efficiently with simple photos and videos.  I’d also have to push through those fears by putting myself out there (flaws and all) in a very uncomfortable way.  If I could do so via the camera, than I knew I could stand in front of an audience too.

Gyms:  Clean eating for performance and recovery

One fun audience of many

Yes, I used to think that taking a picture of myself was being arrogant and self-centered.  For the longest time, I wouldn’t post them.  I kept my fitness progress pics on my computer.  Until one day, I remembered that if I didn’t share my progress, than what was I saying?  If I didn’t show that I was practicing what I preach, than how would people find me for the help they were seeking?  If I didn’t share the pictures of what falling in happy with oneself could do, then why would anyone else try it?  Soon, I was posting pictures of myself in different locations.  Sharing what happens in the life of a health coach while also  documenting my own transformations.

Dress

My first Adult Dress for an event

I received amazing feedback that really surprised me.  It turned out that by putting myself out there and leaving my comfort zone in such a bold way, other woman were willing to do the same.  The message that feeling confident and happy with yourself doesn’t have to mean being a model, wearing a pound of make-up, or spending a million dollars.  You don’t have to be perfect with flawless skin to create a memory.

While we don’t truly NEED a picture to prove an event happened, I’ve discovered that selfies aren’t necessarily arrogant, selfish and annoying after all.  Sometimes they can serve a purpose.

In fact a few days ago, I posted a picture of me going for a run at the park as a way to relieve stress.  (this is something I NEVER would have done a few years ago) It showed wrinkles, dirt, sweat, exhaustion, big nose, crooked teeth and all.  But a couple of days after that, someone came up to me and said:

“I saw that picture of you at the park, how about we go together today, I’d like to run too”  We ended up having the best time!

Going for a run

How I relieve stress

So, can selfies be annoying?  Sure!   Will everyone use them for a genuine purpose?  Probably not.   Will people take your name out of their news feeds?  Maybe!

But there are those that can be inspired by you just being you!  And THAT is what matters!

THAT is why I started taking selfies.

So what do you think?  Do you take them?  Will you try one now?

Join the conversation over at www.facebook.com/fallinginhappy

 

 

 

 

What is a Health Coach?

Many people ask me what a Health Coach is.  So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share this little explanation plus testimonial.

When I coach people through a food shift, I don’t just look at what is on their plates but the entire person. Most don’t realize what they have been doing to their bodies until they create change and start to see the transformation. Being overweight and/or dealing with disease isn’t as simple as calories in calories out. There was a reason you got there in the first place and without changing the thought process or underlying cause, it is a place you can stay in or go back to very easily. The mentality behind losing weight and keeping it off takes way more than a magic shake, potion, surgery, or pill. Quick fixes may seem enticing because, well… They are quick!! But long term results require, education, mental shifts, lifestyle changes, dedication, simple goals, commitment, support, and YES exercise!

People often ask me for a tip or two that can help them lose weight, and while there are some basic things that everyone should try, it isn’t as easy as offering a tip or two. First we have to understand what caused the excess weight in the first place and then create a simple plan around short term, achievable, and measurable goals which can help set you up for long term success!

Today I had the opportunity to visit with someone that has made some dramatic lifestyle and food changes during one of my coaching programs. Her original goal was to lose weight but she didn’t realize how much more she was going to gain in the process.

In a short time she was able to watch her skin change, her body shift, her hair become fuller. She has watched the dark allergy shiners go away from her eyes that she has had her entire life. Her joint pain is disappearing and her energy has increased x1000. She is finally sleeping through the night, has been able to drop a couple of meds (and their side effects). She got rid of chronic headaches and recently she mentioned that her mental focus and clarity have improved. Today she felt like she had her 30yr old brain back. Her mental focus, memory, reasoning, quick thought processing that she needs for work are all back. She is smiling, doesn’t feel deprived, is eating more than ever, has pep in her step, and is committed to an exercise routine that she never thought possible.. The best part? She has permanently changed her relationship with food and is on track to creating an environment of wellness in her body for the first time in her life. .

THIS… This…is the difference between going on a diet and changing your lifestyle.. This is the difference between a personal coaching program with someone that looks at you as an individual, is supportive and listens, vs. someone that thinks you fit in a mold or a prescription pad.

I don’t sell supplements, shakes, or diets and I don’t diagnose, treat, or heal.  I coach people to find their own health, wellness and happiness.  I teach the thought process of a lifestyle transformation that start from within.

THAT is what my version of a health coach is!  It doesn’t matter if I’m conducting a session for my own programs, working with members at a gym or a corporate wellness initiative, the premise of health coaching is the same.  I really can’t explain it better than sharing stories of those that have experienced their own Falling in Happy Moments.

When you are ready to look for your own wellness advocate, find someone that listens, supports, and empowers.

If you would like to learn more about the Falling in Happy way;  just contact nita@fallinginhappy.com.

~Live Happily

 

 

 

My Kind of Fruit Cake

I’ve seen these watermelon “cakes” floating around the web for a few years and have always wanted one but wouldn’t make it for myself and the hints left for my hubs went unnoticed each holiday.

So yesterday when my Husband asked what I wanted for my Birthday, I said “Google Watermelon Cakes”…

Well he did… and then made this tonight.  All by himself (as my Mom used to say).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to give him some kudos for not only the creativity and display but he did all the shopping himself AND cleaned up the cutting mess.  While also washing and cutting the remaining fruit for us to munch this weekend.

Needless to say, I was pretty proud and this birthday is off to quite a happy start!

Catching up on Thoughts

It has been a while since I created an article for this site or sent out a newsletter to my Falling in Happy friends, but that isn’t because shop is closed.  In fact it is very much open.  I have continued to post on Facebook and Twitter, wrote for other sites, newsletter snippets for other companies, made guest appearances in books, coached workshops and worked with clients, I’m  just not posting as much here.

Then I began to think, “That is OK”….. Sometimes the seasons change, things happen and life moves on but we don’t have to always blog about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Mother’s Day quickly approaching , it is only appropriate to explain…..  So here it goes….

About one year ago, my silly best friend of a Mom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer.   It was at that moment I realized that everything I had learned about my self, coaching, and assisting others would come in to play in a BIG way!  But never did I realize how much.

My education, the stories I’d heard, and the inspiration I’d seen through my coaching community is what gave me the ability to help her from across the miles.

Thanks to modern technology, we were able to communicate in some form almost every day.  I felt that my role was to be there for her in each phase of her illness and by doing so, I would be there for me.  I knew early on this had to be her journey, her choices, and I would have to support whatever those decisions were.

With my home based business, I was able to travel and see her more often than normal.  Our emails were no longer about trivial material things, but about her wellness, her thriving, what she was feeling.  Our conversations would always end with an “I love you” and they were filled with positivity.  No matter what she was going through, we would look for the good.   We would cry, and that was OK too, we would laugh, but we always tried to make a memory or a positive thought that would last far after that conversation was over.

 

When I couldn’t be with her, we tried to treasure each good day, even if a good day meant she climbed the stairs by herself or didn’t get sick from chemo and celebrated it.   During all of those months, I was parenting my young man through this difficult transition (losing his favorite person in the world), taking care of our home,  growing a business, training for competitions, coaching others and living a life of goodness knowing how short it can be.

We also said goodbye to our sweet pup of 14 years, changed schools after 7 years, had a scare with my dad, and my husband lost his job.

To say that stress could have controlled my life and put a screeching halt to my dreams is an understatement.  I could have curled up in a ball, hid under the bed and ate comfort food until I exploded.  But that wouldn’t help me, or anyone else.  It was more important that I move forward, be an example, share what Falling in Happy was really about.

It doesn’t mean you only be happy with yourself when times are good and drama is far away.  It means you are happy with yourself in the darkest moments and know that you are worth every bit of wellness and good thoughts that you can muster until the clouds lift.

 

I opted to eat well because Comfort food doesn’t provide comfort, it can provide sickness though. (which I didn’t need)  And curling up in a ball hiding under a bed wouldn’t allow me to see my Mom’s contagious smile, my Son’s laughter or the sunshine and trees that are all around.  Yes, I had moments of sadness, but I filled my body with nourishing foods, thoughts and a lot of exercise to get through them.  I had a fire in me to keep moving, keep going, keep loving and keep smiling.  Something that burns inside all of us, when we let it.

 

Soon the end of January 2014 came.  I received an email from my Mom with a different kind of message and next up was a text that she was back in the hospital.   We shared our usual “I Love You’s” and smiles.

But later that night, I would find out via Facebook of all places that they have called in the family and my Mom may not make it till morning.   Well she did make it till morning, and in fact made it a few more days with my brother and I by her side.

I had never watched someone take their last breath before and certainly never had to say goodbye to someone as close to me.  Her husband was also ill and couldn’t be there much at the end, so we stayed by her bed round the clock.

It was exhausting, but every time she opened her eyes she would smile, and I would smile.  There were too many difficult moments in that hospital to share here, but all my tears were hiding, it was the strangest thing.  There was a peace when she left us.  One that told me she was in a better place, without pain and not begging for air to breathe.  A welcome sign that she was now with me always and no more miles would separate us.  She told me to not give up on my dreams or my passion to help others and I will NOT.   But she also told me before she left how much I helped her.

That was the moment I realized what this is all about.  This coaching stuff and everything that lead me to this point in my life.   She said I inspired her, but I think it was the other way around.

The days, weeks, months that followed are where things got tough.   Telling my son that she was gone, the arrangements, going through her things, and the flight back.   Competing, coaching, and finding the energy to go through a lifetime of pictures and memories.

Bringing her dog home to live with us was next on the agenda.

Then just when we were all settled in to this next chapter, my Mom’s husband took his ride on the angel train.  He couldn’t and wouldn’t live with out her.  A few days after that my husband’s aunt had a stroke that ended her life early.

Yet through it all, I had a child to take care of, clients that needed support, a business to run, friends that stood by me, a new relationship with my brother, a coaching community that wouldn’t let me sink and an amazing CrossFit box that pushed me forward to achieve my goals.  It would be a lie to say I didn’t feel sad, or even felt like curling up in a ball once in a while.   I wouldn’t be real if I said that I didn’t feel emotion.  In fact I felt it, and I let it out when I needed to, but then I moved on.

I’m still alive!!   It was their time to go, but I’m still here!!

Regardless of the emotions that hit me when I think of this past year or how much has changed, I also have so much goodness and so much to be thankful for in every breath.

So on the verge of this Mother’s Day, I write this post to say:

Live Happily!   Life is too short not to.   Love, laugh, and don’t forget to take care of yourself!!!

Just as my Mom requested, I’ll keep living my passion of helping people find their own way through health, wellness and happiness until I take my own last breath.

Yeah stress is real, BELIEVE ME, been there… have the Tshirt, but so is life.  And we make a choice every day how we are going to live it.

What is your choice today?

 

 

 

Spot On The Floor

Have you ever had one of those dirty spots on the kitchen floor that you step over all day long, yet every time you look at it you think, “I really need to clean that up”?

That spot, crumb or piece of hair could sit there on an otherwise clean floor for days and drive you absolutely nutty. You could step over that spot, walk around it, watch everyone in your house do the same and yet no one bothers to bend over and clean up that silly spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe you think:

“I’m sick of cleaning stuff up, someone else will get it”

or

“I didn’t make that mess and I’m NOT going to clean it up”

Might as well stick the “On Strike” sign in front of that spot because you aren’t touching it.

or

“I’m too busy, in a hurry and don’t have time for that.  I’ll get it later”

Yeah right, later may be a month from now, or two or three….

And yet all the while you get more aggravated over that dirty spot for however many days when it could take a total of 10 seconds to clean it up.

Maybe it isn’t a dirty spot, maybe it is a dish that got left out, or smudge on the mirror or a web in the corner of the ceiling.

Or maybe it is a piece of yourself, your mind, thoughts, body, weight, mood, behavior, sleep, headaches….  The list goes on.  But what if all those things that are bothering you about yourself were like that dirty spot.  And once you face it, could be all cleaned up.

What if you had been expecting someone else to make you happy and putting yourself on strike until that special someone came along?   Or what if life just got too busy and you said you would take care of it later, until 10 years passed and your still not happy with what you see in the mirror?

It takes 10 seconds to clean up that mess on the floor and it takes less than 10 seconds to say “I am worth it”.

What is the dirty spot in your life?   What could you change to make yourself feel better about you?  

Don’t wait, don’t put it off, now is the time because YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!

 

 

Dehydrator Fun

Speaking of raw foods from my last post, dehydrated foods can be considered raw if created under 115 degrees.

So that is a perfect segway in to this post from my dehydrator experiment.   My family loves the crunch of dehydrated foods.  Some people would say: “Isn’t it faster to just eat an apple?”

Why yes it is!  But dehydrated apple pieces, work great in recipes, granola, hiking packs, school snacks, and on the go travel choices.  Not to mention my son loves them.

In the past, I used a $30 dehydrator version like this one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that worked perfectly fine.   We had to keep it in the basement though because the smell was so strong and the noise would drive us nutty.   I was also limited to the type and quantity of foods I could make which would hold me back from trying better recipes.

Of course I didn’t mind though, and would use that little nesco, as much as possible within the goodness that it would muster.

Then someone let me borrow the Excalibur!!   WOAH!!!!   It is like the king of dehydrators but I had no idea the difference it would make.   Only amazing smells, just a slight hum for sound, and it finishes in half the time.  But what I really liked is that the trays were removable and therefore I could stack thick things like cookies and whole pieces of kale in there.  It also has a fun little thermostat and timer which my other dehydrator didn’t have.

The past few weeks, I’ve had so much fun with this little contraption that I’ll be sad to give it back but am very thankful for the opportunity to borrow it.  Here are just a few samples of dehydrated goodness.  The model we used was a five tray Excalibur but they also have smaller and larger ones if you’re in the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so pleased with how everything turned out.  The fruit with cinnamon sprinkled on top tasted like candy, the kale was so crunchy that my family couldn’t gobble it up fast enough and the cookie biscuits were chewy in the center with an outer crunchy coating.  Everything I’ve made so far has come out perfect.

In fact my son needed to take extra to school because his friends wanted more the second day after sharing some.

Another cool feature, is that NOTHING sticks.  Cleaning is a super easy task which makes me a very happy camper.

So what did I learn from my little experiment??

I really like the Excalibur and hope to have my own some day.   But I always thought a dehydrator was just a dehydrator and now I’m convinced that they aren’t all created equal.  That said, if you have limited space or funds and just want to dabble in the realm of dehydrating, a less expensive brand will work just fine.

But if you’re ready to kick it up a notch and make everything from bread to potpourri, veggies and fruit chips or leathers,  to dried soup mixes and crackers, or just have a garden that will bring you too much bounty than it may be worth this gadget.

Or if you have one hiding from years past, pull it back out, dust it off and give it a try.

No matter which dehydrator you decide to purchase, dehydrating is a great way to get kids involved and make snacks that the whole family will like.  I didn’t notice it getting hot to touch, so I had no problem allowing little fingers  to snag some treats during the process.  I actually found that my family was devouring goodies hours before they were finished which was both good and bad.

Good because they were grabbing healthy snacks.  Bad because there was nothing left when the timer went off.   *smile*

Do you like to dehydrate foods?  What are your favorites?

 

 

Brad’s Raw Book Review

As an author in the Nourished Community, I had the opportunity to take a peak at Brad’s Raw Book before it hit the shelves.   While I’m just now getting a chance to share what I saw, that isn’t because the book is lacking.  In fact it is full of great information.  I can’t wait to personally try the recipes, but below you will find my full review of the book and contents.

I learned about Brad’s Raw Foods a few years ago when coming across their Kale Chips in a Whole Foods Store.  It would be several years later that I became a health coach and even longer before I started Falling in Happy.

But now they are releasing a book, so it was fun to take a peak and soak up all the details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First I should say that  I have read a LOT of wellness books and already know about 100’s of dietary theories.    So I’m not new to the raw food idea and that I personally feel amazing when eating a mostly raw food diet.  I’m also not being paid to review the book and so my opinions here are as honest as it gets.

For those that don’t know, the concept of eating raw means that you eat mostly unprocessed foods and nothing prepared using heat over 115 degrees.  By doing so, the enzymes and nutrients are optimal for digestion and absorption.  But what I liked about this book, is the information is provided in a way that anyone could understand.  You don’t need to be a health coach or practitioner to figure it out.

I’m constantly faced with teaching the importance of veggies in general but someone said to me last week that they didn’t realize how important it was to eat RAW fruits and veggies.  That made me wonder how many others feel the same and why this book is pretty cool as a resource.

As for my own food lifestyle?  In the winter months and since becoming more athletic, my body asks for more cooked foods and I happily oblige while still maintaining a pretty raw diet much of the time.  Once you have tried eating 100% clean and unprocessed foods, your taste buds shift and you’re able to better tune in to what your body needs.   Not to mention just adding new recipes is always fun.  Some people notice sugar cravings depleting, weight shifting, and energy levels increasing as side effects to incorporating more raw foods in to their diets.

My other little disclaimer is that I don’t like diets, never have, never will.  The idea of any diet plan is temporary.  Instead, I like the idea of finding a food lifestyle that works for the long haul.  While this book does offer a 60 day, 3 phase plan that could be considered a diet, it is really a way to define your food lifestyle and that is why I was happy to give it a gander and share with you.

The book starts off talking about Brad Gruno (the author) and founder of Brad’s Raw Foods.  His story is an incredible one regarding his journey to raw food and starting the company but the intro wasn’t my favorite part of this book.  The goodness follows with science and information that explains raw food in detail.

However, it wasn’t presented in a “blah blah blah” medical dictionary kind of way.  It was an easy to read explanation that any person looking for wellness information could benefit from.

The next pages go in to detail about the benefits of changing the way you eat and will change the way you think about food in general.   A real down to earth approach to what you consume and why eating raw foods can be beneficial overall.

When the 60-day, 3-phase plan hops in, you already have an understanding of the why.  The plan helps you with the HOW.   There are recipes, shopping ideas, meal plans, kitchen basics, nutrient guides, explanations of products along with resources, websites and stress relief tips.

Some of the recipes are complicated or use tools that may require a purchase, but just jump to the recipes that you can work with.  Many are so simple and can be made in only a few minutes.

Anything you could possibly think of to make a lifestyle shift successful has been included.  From meditation tips, to walking, de-stressing and sleep ideas.  In theory, by the end of the 60 days, you have learned a WHOLE lot that you can move forward with.   As a wellness educator myself, I think this will be a great tool in my lending library to give people a helping hand on their journey to feeling their best.

Another fun part of the book for me was the short success stories built-in.  I even saw the Eat More Kale guy in there.  I always love reading stories from people who have made changes in their lives to finding what works for them.

So in summary, I would definitely recommend the book as a tool if you are ready to try something new or just want to learn more about living better.  Don’t think of it as a diet though, just a tool to finding your best self.

As with any book that I’ll mention on this blog, pick out the parts that you can relate to and just learn from the rest.

Of course if you ever need help with lifestyle shifts, raw food or otherwise, you know where to find me!  *smile*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Time of Year

Hope you had a Very Merry Christmas!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things here at the Falling in Happy nest were pretty quiet.

In fact I took a hiatus from blogging for a bit.  Even stopped writing other articles so I could focus on my coaching clients and my family.

But winding down the year wouldn’t be complete without some self-care too.  Some good workouts, home-made facial scrubs and masks, creative outlets, extra sleep, journaling, reading, great green foods and time to just reflect on this past year.

Now that the holiday is over and only good things planned for the New Year, I’m ready to get back to writing, so keep an eye out for more posts in the future.

What great new things are you hoping to accomplish in the New year???

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness

Have you ever been in a Starbucks drive thru and had someone buy your drink, or decided to buy groceries for the person behind you that looks like they had a really tough day?   How about received something in the mail when you were feeling down, or given a hug to a stranger.

Random acts of kindness can be big or small, but one thing is for certain, they always make someone smile.

Remember the movie “Pay it forward”?  And how many people started their own way of paying it forward after watching it.

 

There is a Facebook page that calls them “sparks” when you do something to help others in a random way via the One Spark Foundation.

Or this country song that creates a circle of giving among strangers:

 

 

How about the Kid President Socktober campaign.  How awesome was that?:

 

 

What does any of this have to do with Falling in Happy or Wellness Coaching?  Well I came across a pretty depressed person recently that had just received a gift from a stranger.  The receiver of the gift, was shocked that someone would do such a thing for them.  And basically said they had never seen good gestures, that people just don’t do things like that anymore.   I beg to differ!!

They said random acts of kindness don’t happen with the people they know.  Well maybe you need to meet new people??

I understand that life experiences or situations can make it hard to see the good around us.  But I also believe that some people just don’t want to see the good, and that makes me sad for them.  It is easier to stay secluded than to put themselves out there.  And what a lonely place that is.   I felt sad for the person who received that gift to think that all good deeds are gone.  But I hope with the gift received that they light their own spark and be a part of the change they wish to see.

The  joy in your heart by helping someone is not a feeling that can be replicated by any other gesture.

Yes, there is bad stuff in this world but sometimes people focus so much on that, they forget all the good.

One of my favorite random acts of kindness as a recipient was this toy motorcycle pictured below:

One hour in to a ten hour drive my then younger child and I took a break so he could see a Great Lake.  We were both already tired as it had been a long night with little sleep and our drive was going to be a doozy.  The air was crisp/foggy and the sun coming up over the lake was beautiful as we stretched our legs for a minute.

A stranger began walking up to us and I’ll admit to being a little nervous.  He was tall, strong, bearded and a little gruff.  His clothes showed that he was about to hop on a Harley and yet he was walking toward the pier where we were standing.  Yeah, I was a little nervous.

Next thing I know he hands us that model bike and says “I noticed your license plate and that you had a long ride ahead.  Thought you could use this to help make it more fun”   and off he went….

I just wanted to hug that stranger but he was gone too fast.  We screamed thank you more than once, but he disappeared in to the fog where his house was on the other side of the parking lot.

My kiddo held that motorcycle for the next 10hrs and beyond.   To this day, it sits on a shelf in his room .  We both remember that man and the kindness he gave to us.

Through my years, I can remember so many amazing stories where people gave of their hearts just because.  I try to do the same.  Maybe it is paying it forward or maybe it is just doing what feels right.

Either way, there is good in this world.  A LOT of it, sometimes we have to be willing to see it though.

Have you received a random act of kindness?  Feel free to share in the comments below….

Now go out and do something good *smile*

Like Kid President says “Give the world a reason to dance”

~Live Happily

 

 

 

Smoothie 101

There are people that like smoothies and those that don’t.   But I find, if done right, they are a great way to add a whole lot of nutrients with a short amount of time.

 

Smoothies not only travel well when in a hurry but they can be made in advance, kids tend to like them and even the pickiest adult will be ok with this kind of green food.

 

The trick of a good Green Smoothie is within these 6 steps: 

 

1.  Find your base liquid.  I personally like Coconut water.  Other options are hemp seed or coconut milks.   And of course you can go with plain Water or juice.  After you decide on the liquid, pour a cup in to your blender.

 

2.  Decide if you are going to use Ice or frozen fruit.   I tend to lean toward ice cubes.  For my blender it is about 10 ice cubes for every cup of liquid.  You will adjust for your blender.  If using frozen fruit, you could drop about a cup of your favorite in there and not use the ice cubes

 

3.  I always put a banana in my smoothies because it makes them creamier and adds sweetness without sugar.

 

4.  Decide what flavor you are going for.  If it is fruity, chocolaty or almond butter etc.

 

5.  Choose your greens , there is a rule in our house that you can’t make a smoothie without greens.
Good Green options are any of the following, Kale, Chard, Spinach, Parsley, wheat grass powder, spirulina powder, chlorella powder etc.

 

For beginners, I like frozen organic spinach because it is the least powerful in taste.  But be sure to mix it up, so you’re body isn’t getting too much of any one green.

 

6. Accessorize and have fun, add seeds that are packed with omegas like chia or hemp seeds or throw in some herbs and spices.  If you want something really spicy, drop in some Cayenne pepper flakes.  Want something healing, drop in a tiny bit of ginger, etc.  If you like cilantro, throw that in there to help with inflammation.   Add more veggies like celery, sweet potato or butternut squash.  Or get really creative with dark chocolate!  The possibilities are ENDLESS!

 

And that is it!!!   Pick your base find some favorites, then just have fun with it. 

 

Here are a few simple recipes to help get you on your way to great smoothie making.

Tropical:

Coconut water, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, banana, something green

Almond Butter Cinnamon Smoothie:
Coconut water, 1 banana, 1TBS almond butter, 1 tsp of cinnamon,  frozen spinach, and ice  (you can add wheat grass powder or other greens and seeds if you have them)

 

Nita’s Pina Colada (without the colada)
Coconut water, banana, kale or spinach, frozen pineapple, 1/2 apple, handful of coconut shreds, a Squirt of orange juice, and a little ice

 

The Grey Smoothie:
Non Dairy Milk, Spinach or kale, blueberries, strawberries, banana, hemp seeds, carrot and ice

 

Red white and blue:
Non Dairy Milk, Strawberries, blueberries, banana, spinach or kale, chia seeds and ice

More than just a Dog

I posted something similar on my family page but realized it applies here too.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our old boy!   The little stinker had quite a life, probably 20 lives at that. And has brought so much greatness in to mine.  He has faced the odds head on with a wagging tail and came back stronger every time.

We (neighbor and I) found him in a ditch, as a tiny puppy with no hair, scabbed skin, broken rib, torn spot in his eye, mange, bugs, and burned feet.

The neighbor called animal control but left me with the dog that she named Spunky because of his Spunk for life.  Little did I know how my life would change after that moment.

Animal Control guy showed up and said the feisty little guy would be put to death immediately.  What the what??  Ummm No!.  I didn’t let the man take him as he  was running around our yard with a wagging tail in spite of all his misery.

The hubs said we weren’t going to keep him… Welll… OK!  Sure… I’ll find him a home… (NOT!!)

First Vet said he wouldn’t make it through the night, so he gave him a free shot and said if he survives the week, bring him back for another.  Well he did… We brought him back for weeks and months of care.  The Vet said he would forever have problems, wouldn’t live past the age of two and his growth would be stunted to 20lbs.

Special baths, wearing doggy cloths, hand fed, fixed wounds, loved on him,  started puppy training and knew that he would be ours for as long as that tail was wagging in circles.  He grew to be about 55 pounds.  But a year later all the medication brought about infection.

Allergies set in and a septic infection had taken over his blood stream.  My husband would tell me to get rid of him.  his family would say “I bet you won’t ever do that again” referring to taking care of a sickly pup.   And others would think I was crazy.  While my co-workers would donate to his vet bills and encourage me to keep going.  He won the hearts of many with his circular motion tail and goofy face.

He wasn’t about to let anything get him down.  He would look at me with those eyes, wag that tail and go grab a ball.  As if to say “No really, I’m fine Mom, don’t worry about my bubbly swollen gross skin or infections, I’m good, let’s play”

FIVE vets (yeah, I wanted to find one that cold fix him) later all saying he would die soon and there was nothing more they could do for him, I found out about Holistic remedies (thanks to my Mom’s Michigan Vet).

I studied, researched, learned all I could… This was the beginning of my “natural remedy cabinet”…  Looking back it amazes me how much that cabinet has grown.

I made his own food filled with holistic drops.  I learned about probiotics, and immune boosters.  Within days his skin was clearing up, infections gone,…  Eventually I would find a new dog food that he wasn’t allergic to and watch him thrive without allergies for years, he was amazing.   Little did I know then how important food was to our overall well-being.

Healing him showed me that I could heal myself with food, and my get healthy journey began!!! 

The next Vet said that he wouldn’t live past the age of Seven because of all his ailments early in life.  Oh but he did, and he was a hoot.  The silliest most loving dog I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  He would sit in your lap as if he were 6 pounds.  He cuddled up next to me and wouldn’t let me out of sight EVER… He would rock my son’s swing when he was a baby, and roll the ball to him when he was a toddler.  He protected us from a burglar, saved me from a snake and kept a look out with his little companions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He LOVED to play in the snow and would catch snow balls for hours no matter how cold his little hairless paws got.

2010and2011 039

People would say… OOH, he is dangerous to have with a child…. you MUST get rid of him:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really?  Dangerous????  OK!

But when he didn’t walk one day, I thought for sure that was it.

I took him to a Vet that ran some X-rays.  We found that he had arthritis, hip dysplasia and a ton of bone spurs with broken spots that healed wrong from his abusers (before we found him).  They said we should probably put him down as he would start to get aggressive with all that pain.

Ummm NO!  His tail was still wagging and we had a deal.   I found some joint fix-it natural chewy things, he was walking by the next day and running up and down the stairs like nothing was ever wrong.   (that was 6ish years ago)  He never showed an aggressive anything unless a stranger tried to come in our front door then his bark could deter them.

Some dogs beg for food, my dog would beg for hugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’d run up and down the hallway 40 times in a row for no reason and then stop to chase mystery bugs.  He’d tear up every toy EVER provided and yet would give gentle giant kisses to any human that would allow it.

When our Chelsea Dog moved on to rainbow village I was told that Spunky would move in to “Alpha” and become aggressive….  Yeah, OK!!!  Really?   People told me to get rid of him….  Ummmm NO!

Instead I let him bob for apples… his favorite Fall toy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later he would get in to some garbage that blocked his intestinal tract but he came back. He came down with Vestibular disease after a kennel stay, and kicked it.  Another time, he ate chocolate and raisins which required charcoal treatment, he had an ear fill up with blood which we healed naturally, and most recently had a spell where we thought he was gone for good.  But NOPE… He jumped up and wagged that tail against all the odds until yesterday.

I came home from a workshop to find his eyes not working.  Something had popped in his noggin and he was totally blind.  His body shaking uncontrollably, and his tail certainly not wagging.  The night before, he was my usual cuddle bug, but yesterday was the day we said goodbye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dwelling on him being gone, doesn’t give credit to his life.

I know some may think he was just a dog, but to me he was so much more.

His life taught me that strength can’t always be seen. That people will doubt what you have inside and you can prove them wrong.  That doctors don’t know everything and modern medicine can’t fix everything.

He taught me what it was like to be a Mom before I became a Mom.  That being stubborn can be a good thing, he showed me how to trust my instincts, disregard people’s words that aren’t positive, not allow anyone to get you down, heal with foods, find holistic paths, and gave me 14+ years of warmth and cuddles.   That canine wasn’t just a dog, he was my little hero.

My memories of him and all he did for me won’t change.

I believe people and animals are brought in to our lives for a reason.  Even when you don’t understand why but at the end of Spunky’s life, I know for certain why he was in mine.

He was my Hero and he taught me how to live!!

Stop With I Can’t

Listening to someone talk the other day regarding their frustration in looking for a job, they shouted with anger:

“I can’t make people hire me!”

In that same week, I heard a parent express their frustration while at their wit’s end with no patience left:

“I can’t force this kid to eat”

“I can’t make them fall asleep”

After much of the same dialogue, I thought to myself “How defeating is that?”  If not careful that mentality could cross over to so many aspects of our lives.

“I can’t make people be nice”

 

“I can’t force people to be my clients”

“I can’t will people to drive in the correct lane when making a turn”

When does it stop?

All of these thoughts have two words in common.  “I CAN’T”.  But more so, they all create a victim attitude.  By falling in to this trap, we take away our own power to do more and be more.  We hand that permission over to others, leaving them to define our happiness.  We make it OK to settle in to the thought of “this is all there is”  or “I don’t have to do any more in my life because I can’t”

It is true that we can’t control what others do, but we can control how we act, respond and live.

We can’t make people hire us.  But we can do more research to find people that want to hire us.  We can make ourselves presentable and learn hirable skills in our field.  We can volunteer, take part time work or join committees and clubs to make a resume look better.  We can be there for others and in return be there for ourselves.  We can DO.

The only thing we can’t do is give up, and make that ok

Sure, we can’t force our kids to go to sleep, but we can give them a peaceful quiet environment, new bedtime routine or change of foods to help them settle.  We can’t force them to eat happily, but we can continue to add variety of foods, change placement and color or times of day to encourage positive eating.

We can’t control that driver next to us or the store clerk having a bad day or the dog barking down the street.  But we can control how we handle, where we go and how we live.

There is no way to stop all stressors from reaching into our lives, but we can get more sleep and eat well so that we are better equipped to handle the stressors and control of our patience threshold.

We can take back the power within us to do great things.  When we do that, great things will happen.  If we stay victims of the I can’t attitude than we give others our power to be more.

We need to cancel that I can’t from our vocabulary and figure  out how we can.

It all starts with I can…   Feel it, Believe it, Be it

 

Live Happily~

CrossFitter Eats a Plant Based Diet

As a lady that does her workouts at a CrossFit box and also happens to not eat meat, there are a lot of questions.

What I love love love about our box is the acceptance and kindness toward my food choices.  At the end of the day it is my body and the performance I see or don’t see is mine to live with.

On my end, I don’t ever ever ever push how I eat on anyone else.  When people have questions, I’m glad to answer.  Which is where this post comes in to play.

Of course the main question I get is “Where do you get your protein?”  Well the answer to that comes back in a question.  “Where DON’T I get my protein?”

Fact is, that protein is found in just about everything, and if you eat a clean, whole foods plant-based diet, there is no “lacking” of the P word.  The other fact is that we don’t all need as much protein as  people think.  And my body is pretty happy with the amount that it gets.

Sure there are Junk Food Vegans just like there are Junk Food Meat Eaters, but there are also millions of people out there eating a very clean and healthy plant-based diet that works for them.

When I tell people that I don’t eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs, wheat, soy or anything artificial, their first response is “What do you eat?”

And let me tell you, I’m not lacking in food choices.  The Veggie palate is plentiful, colorful and bursting with flavor.  Legumes, seeds, sprouts, grains, nuts, sea veggies, land veggies, fruits, oh my!

At no point do I feel lacking or needing something different.  At no point do I “fall off the wagon” because there is no wagon.   At no point do I punish myself with words of disgust for eating something I shouldn’t because my diet is not a diet.  It is a lifestyle.  When I eat something that I wouldn’t normally eat such as a tortilla with veg fajitas, I live, and that is OK?  No need to get in a tizzy (as long as it isn’t an allergic condition)  I know that the next day, I won’t be having a tortilla.  No big deal people!!!

I don’t believe in “Cheat Meals”  By saying you have to cheat means you are doing something wrong, and by doing something wrong it means that you are creating a negative relationship with foods.

Diets are temporary, creating a negative relationship with food is long-lasting.   Any food choice that doesn’t last is a DIET.   If it worked, you would keep doing it.   If you stop doing it, and have to pick back up, then it is a DIET, temporary with temporary results!

Along those same lines is to think of what you ARE eating and IF that isn’t working for you, then change!

The goal in my life and my coaching practice is to help people find what makes them feel good, perform well and achieve their goals LONG TERM.   There is no cheating when you are talking about feeling your best.

Creating a positive relationship with what you are putting in your body; being a direct correlation to how you feel IS permanent!  THAT is where everyone should strive to be.

So what do I eat?  And how often do I eat?  Well that depends on the time of day I CrossFit, and how many workouts in the day I’m doing.

Here is a sample of a week in my life (obviously it varies, this is just a sample):

 

Meal Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Morning Meal Green Smoothie Green Smoothie Green Smoothie Green Smoothie Green Smoothie Green Smoothie Green Smoothie
Snack Chocolate Square Nut mix cucumber avocado salad Nut mix and banana almond butter smoothie
Noon Meal Spaghetti Squash with Macadamia, broccoli tomato sauce Stuffed Acorn Squash and Kale salad Cauliflower Rice and Kale salad Giant Salad Giant salad salad and GF pasta with greens and broccoli Giant Salad and kelp noodles w/coconut milk sauce
Snack apple pecan jicama salad Apple pecan Jicama salad Almond butter smoothie Nut and Coconut flake mix Nuts, coconut flakes and dark choco square almond butter smoothie dark chocolate square
Evening Meal Cauliflower almond pilaf, kale avocado salad Large Salad Giant salad and rice pasta with macadamia sauce Salad and mustard chickpeas Giant Salad Kelp noodles with coconut milk sauce Sprouted Grain/veggie patty w/acv mustard, and avocado.
Snack chia berry pudding coconut shreds Kiwi Dark chocolate square Cucumber and a couple rice chips

 

I go lighter in the afternoon if I’m working out in the evening, and heavier in the afternoon if I worked out in the morning.  I’m definitely a snacker, but I don’t count anything.  If I’m hungry, I eat, if I’m full than I don’t.

Add to that 60-70 ounces of water a day and I’m pretty full by night-time.

As for my CrossFit performance???   Well here is the deal:

I’m nearing the ten month mark.  I’m not the fastest or strongest in the box, but I guarantee if I ate meat I still wouldn’t be.   I’m consistent and get stronger every day.  I PR almost every move when we do strength work, recover fast, and don’t deal with soreness on most days.  I do 4-5 workouts a week, pick up most of the extra challenges, and have been trying Endurance this summer which is helping me increase my speed and running technique.  Even tried the Gymnastics class as I’m getting a little braver.   My head is still my biggest enemy when it comes to CrossFit but the more confidence I gain, the more I’m willing to try.   The people standing by to help, cheer or support  me every step are invaluable.

My strength both mind and body have changed considerably since I first set foot in the BOX, I’m down a whole lot of pant sizes, my hair and nails continue to grow rapidly while my skin stays pretty good most of the time.  This tells me that my nutrient intake is A-OK!

A couple of days out of the month I feel weaker than the rest but even on my weakest day, I’m pulling weight that I never thought possible.

So this is me at 40yrs old, powered by plants and feeling great!! (edited in Dec. 2013 to show progress)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The more I CrossFit, the more my muscle tone will define itself but the more I eat well, the better I feel inside.  This is what works for me!!  11 Months ago I couldn’t even do a push-up, let alone lift more than 15 pounds.  It wasn’t because I couldn’t, it was because I never tried.

Are you feeling your best???  Are you ready to find what works for YOU?

CrossFit isn’t the solution for everyone, this is just my story.  But everyone does have something that works for them, and I’m here to help you figure that out.

Join the conversation over on Facebook or contact me here for more information on how to get started on your own Feel GOOD journey!