Monthly Archives

October 2017


Practical tips for really avoiding seemingly inevitable holiday weight gain

I swear, it seems like I gained five pounds just writing this post — thinking about the mouth-watering, traditional dishes of Thanksgiving, holiday parties, my daughter’s birthday and even raiding Halloween candy next week.

Did I ever tell you about the time I joined Weight Watches in October so I could lose (in advance) the 10 pounds I always gain this time of year? It worked, by the way.

Getting a head start on the holidays by having an eating and lifestyle plan is critical. No plan = inevitable weight gain.

holiday-weight-gain-300x210I did some serious digging around on this, because it’s what I do. And here’s the truth. Most people are only gaining an average of 1-2 pounds in the period from October to December. But it takes five months for the holiday weight to be released.

The problem is this: People who are already overweight are gaining the most. So that average is probably representing no weight gain (and even weight loss) for some and significant weight gain for others.

I have always landed in the weight gain group, partly because in addition to the normal hectic schedule in November and December, we have a family birthday and I used to own a portrait photography business. Christmas cards were one of my specialties. I was swamped during the last two months of the year as everyone scrambled to get family photos and cards done by Christmas.

Maybe this time of year is hard for you, too. The good news is there are things we can do. This year, I am not happy with the results of my lifestyle that has already left me starting the holiday season about 5-10 pounds heavier than I want to be. I need to lose about 15-18 pounds. And I’m getting aggressive.

Here are some things I plan to do, and I’d love to have your join me:

No skimping. It’s tempting to put exercise and sleep last when your schedule seems to be bleeding from every corner. Don’t do it! Plenty of research links lack of sleep with weight gain. Also, exercise helps me keep stress in check. And stress is weight gain enemy No. 1 for me. These are my non-negotiable. If I am going to sacrifice sleep, the only reason will be to exercise. I will set my alarm and do it first thing if need be, and I am not a morning person. However, this is priority!

Address stress. The research is stacking up in favor of meditation being the best resource for managing stress. Ten minutes a day or 30 minutes a week or two minutes each morning. Can you find a place in your schedule and work it in? Exercise, fresh air and adaptogens (I’m glad to share with you the ones I use…so amazing for dealing with physical and mental stress!) are all great resources. Yoga is another proven tool for managing stress. I have a workshop on very simple stretches and breathing exercises that help combat stress, in addition to meditation and a yoga practice.  You can learn more HERE.

Levels of “the stress hormone,” cortisol, rise during tension-filled times, according to Web MD. This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.

Race yourself. Sign up for an event to hold yourself accountable to working out. This actually works wonders for me in the fall and early winter. Find a race that will challenge you a little. One year, that was a 10-mile race. It was the longest distance I’d ever run, and I was able to stay on track with the training and my eating because I knew I had the race.

Schedule it. On the subject of signing up and using a training schedule, use your planner to schedule everything this time of year. Track your workouts, your meals, your sleep, your mood and your water intake. Make sure you are taking the time to take care of your physical and emotional needs by actually setting aside the time on your calendar.

Eat before you go. Have something healthy or filling before a holiday party to avoid the temptation of filling up with sweets. Decide before you go what you will give yourself permission to eat. Lack of planning will often lead to impulsivity.

Take a healthy dish to a potluck. Concerned about whether there will be anything healthy to eat? Then bring the dish that you want to eat to stick to your goals. Then you will have no excuse!

Grab a partner. I’m using the Marco Polo app to have a 30-day challenge with two friends. I have another accountability partner, and we are checking in on each other. We also discussed our “why’s” and how we can maximize our motivation. We both agreed that we need to see our before photos, so mine is on my iPhone lock screen and background. After a couple days of this, I must say it’s very motivating! I’d share it, but….it’s so embarrassing to have my photo in my face and at risk of being seen by others. What will drive you to reach your goal? Maximize that tool!

Be gracious. If you love to bake, do it and then gift it. Find a place or person who might appreciate party leftovers and extras. Give away or throw away your temptations!

Use tools. My nutrition system makes it easy and convenient and affordable for me to eat exactly what I need to reach my goals for two of my daily meals. I don’t have to think about it. I also have tools for stress, accountability, mindset and more through my company. Here’s their blog about staying healthy during the holidays. If you’re interested in learning more, we would love to have you join our team! It helps me with other goals, too, such as a balanced (alkaline) gut that helps me digest my food better and avoid inflammation and keep my immune system healthy year-round.

I also just downloaded MyFitnessPal and have been using it for five days. I love it! I am not a big calorie counter, but lately my eating has been out of control. I simply need to count calories to get back on track. It’s also teaching me more about food, and helping me keep my micronutrient goals, exercise and water consumption on track. I am also using the IsaBody journaling once a week for 16 weeks to keep me motivated. The first entry was humbling and telling. I have some work to do on myself, and why not start now before I tumble into the holidays unarmed?19b55bd5507a6e87b40f2d094ebf33f1--macro-nutrition-nutrition-tips

Perhaps a pound or two is not a big deal to you. It’s not that major to me, except that I don’t want to buy the next size up! But feeling good about myself is the most important thing to help me function well as a wife and mother. This list helps me do that. And my company’s 16-week transformation challenge is another HUGE help. I just signed up this week. I am using their measurements, their resources, their recipes, their journal and I’m joining up with others who are doing the same.

Want to join us? Contact me right away! Our 30-day system comes with a money-back guarantee. You can try it all 30 days, and if you hate it for any reason, you will get your investment refunded. What do you have to lose…except that 1-2 or 10 pounds you normally gain this time of year?

Wellness, Yoga

Is it really possible to stress less?

On Monday of this week, I had an already busy day. My husband helped by taking the toddler to a babysitter. I was out of town for an intense weekend-long conference, which made me already behind on everything! I’m sure you know the feeling well if you’ve ever left town for even a couple days.

I had to mop up a little teen drama from over the weekend, which essentially took another 90 minutes from my day and then what would be an hour-long evening meeting to mend some festering wounds.

In between, I had to rush to pick up a teen, run to Walgreens for hair supplies, drop her off somewhere and get to my yoga class, which I teach but had barely given a thought to! All day long, I had this fluttery feeling in my chest and my brain was on the verge of spinning.

It was such an uncomfortable — but familiar — feeling. This used to be my everyday. But I had cashed it in five years ago for a simpler life as a work-at-home mom.

Stress is not inescapable altogether. It’s a fact of life, but we need not surrender to its accumulating effects.

As a whole, Americans report their top stressors are money, work and the economy (61 percent, 58 percent and 50 percent, respectively), according to a 2016 American Psychological Association study. Adding to that in the last decade are terrorism, mass shootings and gun violence. We also worry about politics and police violence toward minorities. (You can view the study in its entirely HERE.)

There’s no lack of things to worry about. And according to the APA’s statistics, about half of us are not getting enough emotional support to manage our stress. 21151397_10154659773961035_7801521331880681448_n

This past year, I was “forced” to dabble heavily in meditation. It was a requirement of my Holy Yoga certification. Though I had enjoyed a few mindfulness guided imagery exercises and my own scripture medication on occasion, this weekly habit was an incredible source of relaxation, inspiration and motivation.

In fact, would you believe it’s the No. 1 factor to living a healthy life, moreso than what we eat, at least according to some emerging data?

In a study of 26 adults at Massachusetts General Hospital using relaxation techniques that included mindfulness, meditation and mantra (the repetition of Hindu sounds) had their blood work tested immediately before and after using 20-minutes of self-directed techniques. An incredible 22,000 gene sequences were studied and measured for changes.

Get this: Every single one of the study participants’ DNA demonstrated significant, measurable changes in genes that relate to metabolism, aging, insulin response and relaxation, among many others. Related to the fascinating but somewhat emerging science of telomeres, the bottom line is that the techniques can alter and repair DNA — real transformation in physical bodies at a cellular level. (You can read an article about this study HERE.)

It’s no wonder I felt incredible — like a heavy weight was lifted — as I went through this training. When I started, I was a depressed mess!

I would love to share this tender gift of relaxation with you at my Stress Less Workshop on Nov. 4 from 9-11 a.m. In addition to meditation on scripture, I will show easy movements and breathing techniques for issues like panic, anxiety, feeling frozen, isolation, disconnected, detached, feeling off balance, emotionally overwhelmed, feeling unprotected, helplessness and more. We will finish up with a Holy Yoga flow that is gentle and can even be done from a chair if you prefer.

Questions? Just call or text me at 217-801-7464.

Want to sign up? The cost is $25, and children coming with a paying adult are free. (One parent can bring all their children. Recommended age is 10-12 and up, but you can decide if your child would benefit!)

Ideally, the tools you learn will be gifts that will help you in your own self-directed practice for days, weeks and years to come! You can register by clicking HERE.


Don’t just look, observe.
Don’t just swallow, taste.
Don’t just sleep, dream.
Don’t just think, feel.
Don’t just exist, live.
“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him” Psalm 34:8~The Message.


Wellness, Yoga

Foot Exercises You Can Do on Your Own

I held a foot workshop a couple weeks ago and promised the participants that I would find a “home” for the handout on my blog. You missed out on some awesome extras at our live workshop, but these are a great collection of exercises you can do to prevent and ease the pain of common foot issues. If you want a PDF you can print, click here:

Foot Exercises

Microsoft Word - Foot Exercises.docx


Microsoft Word - Foot Exercises.docx