Wednesday Words – Wake Up!

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I’ve slacked off in my free printable posts lately! I do apologize. You know what? It seems like for me if I slack off in one area of my life, it creates a ripple effect where other things end up suffering as well. I have been a little off the last week or so, just more tired than usual. As a result, I’ve had a harder time waking up early. Since I haven’t been having that good, quiet, “me” time in the mornings, I’ve been worse about getting my workouts in every day. I’ve allowed myself to cheat a bit here and there nutritionally. Overall, it is just so clear to me that when I’m prioritizing and making time and effort to do the things I need to do to care for myself, I am so much more likely to thrive in all areas of life! So this is a call to myself to WAKE UP! I need to make time for what is most important and allow the rest of my time and effort to flow from there!

I hope you’ll print this guy out and be encouraged by it! AwakeOSleeper

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Comfort Zones

You know what? One of the biggest changes I’ve seen over the past few months (I know, there have been a lot of changes… I feel like I’m constantly blogging about this!) has been my willingness to get outside my comfort zone!

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To be honest, my comfort zone is rather small, so it doesn’t take too much to force myself out of it. I like my routine, I like my family, I like my house – I’m introverted and a homebody and a teeny bit shy, so yeah, small comfort zone 😉 But since becoming a coach and changing my life and health, I have found myself more and more willing to get outside that small comfort zone and get out into the world a bit more!

Why? I think because I’ve developed a passion that I want to share with others! Even though it’s been scary at times to put myself out there, I’ve found that this experience that I’ve had is too great to keep to myself, and if I can change my life through making my health a priority, other people can too!

It started simply with me saying “yes” to becoming a coach. But I really began seeing this newfound bravery blossom when I went to Summit in Nashville, without anyone I knew, by myself, and had the best time! I was there with other like-minded people, passionate about helping others change their lives through health and fitness. I was learning from people who knew a lot more than I did, and I was sitting there thinking, “I can do this!” It felt amazing, and I was so glad that I pushed myself to go even though it was scary.

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I’ve continued to push myself since then and the latest big picture of going outside my comfort zone was this past weekend. I went to a local gym where I was trained by a Beachbody Live Master Trainer to teach CIZE Live! I fell in love with CIZE the second it came out (and when I got to CIZE it up with ShaunT himself at Summit!) Now I am able to share this program with other people. I can teach them how to dance, to move their bodies, to put themselves first for 50 minutes and just let go! I can’t wait to teach this program, but I am also terrified! Because it is scary, I know it will be worth it!

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Me with master trainer Mama G after a long day of dancing!

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A Year of Change

I’ve been so enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having lately! Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year – the cool weather, the colors, the anticipation of the holiday season, the return of routine following summer (yes, I enjoy routine and predictability!) – it really is, in my opinion, the best season 😉 The fact that both my anniversary and my daughter’s birthday fall in September make it even better, and have caused me more than ever to pause and reflect on all the changes that have happened in my life since this time last year.

Last September, I was a new mommy of 2 with big transition ahead. We had decided at that point to leave young life staff with no plans for where to go from there. I was tired, lonely, incredibly in love with my family but terrified of the uncertainty of what was ahead for us. I was also angry at the scale because week after week after having Neely, the numbers weren’t dropping as quickly as I would have liked, and I didn’t really know how to change that.

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I was feeling uncertain about myself (and had been for a long time, even without realizing it) and was wondering where I belonged, what was my place, what role did I fit perfectly into? You know, the familiar “What is my purpose? Why am I here?” question that I think we all ask at some time or another. For the first time, the road ahead was unclear, and it was scary. All we knew was where we had been and that it felt right to move forward… wherever that would lead.

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Fast forward to January and things were starting to fall into place. We had moved into a new house, Bryan had started his new job, and we were getting to know Neely a bit better. One thing that still wasn’t changing was my body, and as much as I had accepted the fact that I was still dealing with a postpartum body, it was frustrating to me to stand at my closet and try on clothes that had fit me at one point in my life, but no longer zipped or buttoned. I think for any woman, to feel like you don’t recognize your own body is a scary place to be in. But to combine that with the new surroundings and new life we were beginning, I didn’t really recognize much of anything anymore! I needed help, and thank goodness, a friend reached out to me about joining her health and fitness challenge group. I had no idea what that even was, but because I loved my friend and I needed something to do, I said yes.

Within days I was changing, both inside and out. As I fueled my body with the proper nutrition, I felt strong and healthy in a way I had never experienced before. I struggled through the workouts every day, but hey, I was working out every day and that felt amazing. I was committed to 30 days, which terrified me, because what if I failed? What if I didn’t see any results? What if I couldn’t finish? But the community that surrounded me in that group helped me see that I would NOT fail. Even if I messed up this day or that day, that wasn’t the end. I could, and would, keep going.

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My mind and heart were being transformed alongside my body. I began to believe in myself. I began to think much more positively. I got more brave – I wasn’t afraid to share a “sweaty selfie” in our group because when I did, people celebrated with me! I was being lifted up, supported, encouraged. I had people who believed in me, so I believed in myself. What a beautiful thing community is for a lonely, insecure, unsure young mom. I will be forever grateful.

As these transformations continued it brings me to today. I have lost over 25 pounds and gone from a size 10 to a size 4. I am more toned and more in shape than I ever have been, even in high school. But the real victories are in the inner transformations. A goal of mine when I started my weight loss was to feel like myself again. Well, I don’t feel like myself “again,” I feel more like me and more alive than I ever have before in my life! I feel like the BEST version of ME that has ever lived and I believe with my whole heart that this is only the beginning.

If you are in need of a community like the one I described above, I would LOVE for you to join me in my next challenge group where we can love and support YOU as you transform your life inside and out!

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The Secret Behind Before and After Pictures

Have you ever finished a killer workout and, feeling super good about the effort you just put in, run to the mirror and flexed, expecting to see drastic changes suddenly appear? Or am I the only one… ha! I really have honestly done that.

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I think what has happened to me in the past is that I’ve expected instant results. And who can blame me, really? We live in such a world of instant gratification. We come to expect that. We forget that real transformation takes TIME.

So that brings me to the subject of before and after pictures. We see them a good bit, and you’ve seen mine frequently on this blog and my Facebook page. I believe in before and after pictures; I value mine because it is so amazing to see a visual representation of your hard work, sacrifice, and overall transformation. You can usually always see just as much transformation in a person’s face, their eyes, when looking at their before and after pictures. There is transformation happening inside and out.

But here’s the thing!!!!! We see these amazing transformation pictures, and if you’re anything like I used to be, you see these pictures and think, “wow, that’s great for them. Look how much they changed,” and then move on. But what I hadn’t ever thought about (until I had these pictures for myself) was the actual TIME that happened between those two pictures. Not only the time, but the sacrifice, the effort, the drive, the sweat, the tears, the sore muscles, the positive thinking, the negative thinking… an incredible amount of complexity happens between those two pictures and that is really what is worth celebrating. I’ve got some examples here of REAL people who achieved REAL results (and earned some $$$ in the process!) – but it didn’t happen over night!

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It’s all about mindset. It’s about the power of thinking, “I can” instead of “I can’t.” You have to battle those thoughts every single day to experience true transformation. I have found that the only way I’m able to continue on with positive thinking and motivation is by having people alongside me encouraging me every day.

If you want to have your own set of before and after pictures, you CAN! Do you believe me? Do you need that support to get started and to stick with it? I’d love to help you out. 🙂 I’ve got a new 30 day challenge group starting in a few weeks and I would love for you to join me. This could be the beginning of your transformation, all you have to do is believe you can!!!

See more success stories at teambeachbody.com!

Back To School (lunches!)

Well, the time has come. My kids have started preschool and I will be completely honest – I am SOOO excited about that! I just know that it is so good for them to get out of the house twice a week and interact with other children and other loving adults. And it is good for me to have some time for myself for work, errand running, or maybe even… holy moly… some relaxation time!! Ha!

So in the excitement of back to school I’ve been trying to think creatively about packing lunches for the kids! Right now, Neely is the only one who eats lunch at school. James will start in January. So I’m trying to pack her food that can be easily packed, that she can feed mostly herself, and that has a good variety of food groups and is healthy!! So far, here is what I have come up with:

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So, I’m seriously lacking in the protein department. Unfortunately, neither of my kids really love meat, so its hard for me to know what to try. But I need to try something!!

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These muffins were a real winner! I found the recipe on Pinterest a loooong time ago and just finally got around to making them. They aren’t 100% clean and healthy, they do contain sugar, but after a few other failed attempts at super-clean kid snacks, I’m meeting in the middle and am very satisfied with these! They have pumpkin, carrots, bananas, and applesauce, and they really do taste great. They made a TON so next time I will probably half the recipe. Also, I omitted the nutmeg just because I didn’t have it already.

Click here to see the original recipe!

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On The Menu – Thanks for the suggestions!

So a week or 2 ago I asked for a little help on my Facebook page for some good recipes to add to our dinner/lunch rotation. I got lots of really yummy suggestions! Between those suggestions and recipes posted in my challenge group, we tried some really great new recipes last week! Here are just a few:

Grilled Zucchini stuffed with Caprese Orzo (find the original recipe here!)
I am a sucker for ANYTHING that combines tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. I mean, is there anything more fresh and delicious?!?! It is one of my favorite flavor combinations. So when I saw this caprese orzo stuffed into one of my favorite veggies, I knew this would be a winner! And it was! We served it alongside some simple baked chicken that I had marinaded in a balsamic dressing. I also used our little indoor grill/panini press for the zucchini which was easy peasy!

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One Pan Mexican Quinoa (find the original recipe here!)
I generally eat salads for lunch which I enjoy and I like to get a good serving of leafy green veggies into my body during the middle of the day! But lately I’ve been bored with my usual chicken on top of the salad so I wanted to spruce things up a bit. Enter this delicious Mexican quinoa! It was SO easy to make (thank you, one-pot recipe!) and it made a TON so I’ve had plenty to eat. This was just so full of flavor and definitely filling with the quinoa – a winner for sure! Will be making this one again.

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We’ve also had a few of our old standby’s lately – turkey burgers and oven fajitas. You know those recipes that you love, and you know so well, so when you’re in a bind making the grocery list you just throw them on there as easy options? Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of that lately! But I’m ready to get a little creative again! I’m hoping to try a few more of the suggestions I was given on my page – so stay tuned!

What is a Challenge Group??

I post a lot on social media about challenge groups, inviting friends to join in and experience what could be a life-changing community. But I’m not always able to explain completely what these challenge groups are like! I try to keep my Facebook posts a little shorter because I’m not sure how many people really want to read a novel as they scroll through Facebook 🙂 So I figured the blog would be a better place to explain more thoroughly!

So these challenge groups: they come in various forms and for various lengths of time! We’ve run some 5 day groups and we’ve run 30 day groups. The 5 day groups are usually smaller, obviously shorter, and sometimes are completely free! I love these groups because it really allows for people to get a taste for what the bigger, longer groups are like, without having to make the full 30-day commitment!

30 day groups, though, have truly become a passion of mine. It is where it all began for me and I truly believe that joining that first 30 day challenge was the beginning of a new life for me. A fresh start and an eye-opening experience into what I am capable of! Here are some main points of the 30 day groups:

• Daily exercise
• Focuses nutrition
• Shakeology
• Accountability
• Support
• Tips, ideas, and recipes
• One-on-one coaching

These groups and these programs aren’t designed as a quick-fix diet. They are designed to create healthy habits that you can maintain for the rest of your life! And it is not only designed to impact you physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. That is one part that I was NOT anticipating when I first decided to do a group, but quickly realized that the process would run much deeper than simply losing weight. Here is part of a message that I sent my coach the day before my first challenge started back in January, as I was struggling with whether or not to take my “before” picture:

I’m nervous because I’m afraid that by taking the before picture, I am going to be setting myself up to fail – that I will be anticipating goals that are unreachable, that I will quit as soon as it gets hard; just that in 3 weeks I’ll look back and say, well, that was a nice idea, but I don’t need to take an “after” picture because nothing has changed.

I’ve always struggled with being WAY too hard on myself, with comparing myself to others and feeling like I never measure up. So I think this 3 weeks is going to be so much more to me than just getting in shape and feeling good about my body. I want to prove to myself that I can finish what I start, that I can achieve what I hope for, and that I am not a failure!

Like I said, I never could have imagined the truly life-changing experience this group would be for me! Here is a message I sent my coach on day 2 of my first challenge:

Oh my goodness, this is just so great! I’m telling you, its day TWO and I’m like, this is changing me. It’s totally the nutrition aspect! I’ve always been good at picking up a new workout plan, doing the videos or going to the gym or whatever, and I’ve always felt good about it. But to factor in the food part. Man! My body seriously feels different. It feels good!

These are my actual messages at the time of my first challenge and just reading them gives me chills because I’m seeing how I was feeling while my life was truly being changed! I never would have dreamed that today, over 7 months later, I would not only have kept up with this lifestyle but would be coaching others and helping others to have the same experience I did. I get to pay it forward and watch as other people’s lives are changed! It is incredible!

What makes these groups amazing is the community! When I started my first challenge group, I was coming out of a pretty lonely time in my life. We were moving, we had just had a new baby, there were a lot of “unknowns” happening, and I felt alone. When I joined the challenge group, I suddenly had people who were beside me, rooting for me, cheering me on, supporting me. It made me feel ALIVE!

Does this sound like something you would like to experience for yourself? Do you need the support of a community, or of a personal coach? Do you have weight to lose but aren’t sure how to lose it? Do you need to learn healthy habits that are maintainable in day-to-day life? Do you simply need a confidence boost? I am here for you, and I would love nothing more than for you to join our next 30 day challenge which starts on Monday! Please let me know if you are interested, it could truly change your life!!!!!!! Send me a FB message, comment on this post, or send me an email at elder.meredith@gmail.com!

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My results from my first 30 day challenge – down 12 pounds and up in confidence!