Meatless Monday Recipe: Reduced Fat Asparagus Quiche

Hey there! Hope all of you had a very Happy Thanksgiving and got plenty to eat!!! 🙂

The transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas prep seemed WAY TOO QUICK this year, didn’t it?  Yesterday, I spent a few hours taking down all the fall decor & pulling out the boxes of Christmas stuff. My husband decked the house out with lights, and tonight we’re putting up the tree after we eat a light dinner.

And what ARE we having for dinner, you ask? A little Asparagus Quiche with a goat cheese salad for tonight’s Meatless Monday dinner!

If you tried my Broccoli and Parmesan Quiche recipe, you’ll want to give this one a try too! Super easy to make, and I used mostly 2% milk with just a very small amount of heavy cream to keep the fat & calories to a minimum (you do need a little fat for pull off a decent quiche, though, so I didn’t do without the cream completely)

Here is what you will need to make one 9-inch Asparagus Quiche (approximately 6 servings)

Asparagus Quiche Recipe

Equipment:

small skillet
9-inch pie plate
medium mixing bowl
fork or whisk
aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Ingredients:

1 pre-made pie crust (for a 9-inch pie)
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cup 2% milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg
8 spears of asparagus, blanched & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of grated Gruyere/Swiss cheese blend from Trader Joe’s

Directions:

  1. Let your pre-made pie crust come to room temperature (about 20 minutes) and roll out into a pie plate that can accommodate a 9-inch pie crust. Lightly beat an egg yolk, and then brush the edges of the crust with it to prevent burning.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Don’t let it burn. Pour the garlic right into the pie crust.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together 3 large eggs, add the cream & milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Beat together until mixed.
  4. Add the cut asparagus and cheese blend to the pie crust. Pour the egg mixture right on top.
  5. Bake until the filling is browned & set (about 40 minutes). Check to make sure that the outer edges of the crust isn’t burning. You may need to place aluminum foil around the edges if it starts to get overdone.

Enjoy!  I’ll share the Goat Cheese Salad recipe with you next week!

Question: Do you have a favorite Quiche recipe to share? Please add you links below!

15-Minute Fat Blaster Workout

It may be getting cold outside, but that is no reason to ditch exercise completely. Daily exercise helps you stay strong and keeps stress and depression at bay.

This 15-minute workout is fast, and you don’t even have to leave the house to do it.  Queue your favorite playlist, and let’s get this party started!

In this workout, we are going to do three 5-minute circuits of the same exercises.  Each will start with a 30 second cardio burst.

bicycle-crunches

  1. For your cardio, you can run in place, jump rope, or even do jumping jacks. Choose one of these and give it your all for 30 seconds.
  2. Step-Up Backward Lunges (lower-body targeting) for 1.5 minutes.  Grab a bench or stand in front of stairs. Step forward into a lunge with your left leg, then step up onto your bench or stair with the right leg. Bring your left knee up and hold. Lower your left foot off the stair, then step back without your right leg into a lunge. Do a total of 10 reps on each leg (should take you about 90 seconds)  You can see a demo of the move here.
  3. Bicycle (core targeting). Grab a mat or a towel and lie face-up with your hands behind your head and legs at a 45 degree angle.  Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, taking care not to pull on your neck. Bend your left knee in and reach across to touch with your right elbow.  Switch sides for one rep. Do this for 90 seconds. Check out a demo of the move here.
  4. Triceps Pushups (upper body targeting). Get down on your hands and knees on your mat or towel. Keeping your arms close to your sides, lower yourself down into a push-up with your elbows bending behind you. Do this for 90 seconds (feel free to take a break if you need to). You can see a demo of the move here.
  5. Repeat for two more circuits, starting with the 30 second cardio burst.
  6. Don’t forget to do a little stretching when you are done!

 

 

 

Fitness Friday: Leg Sculptor Workout

Leg Sculptor Workout

 

Happy #FitnessFriday! Today I am sharing another 15-minute Get Focused workout designed by the Nike Fitness Club trainers. Today we are doing the Leg Sculptor Workout with a total of six moves that you will repeat three times, recovering for 30 seconds in between each set.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download the Nike Fitness Club app FREE of charge. This is one of the many at-home workouts & stretch routines available to you.

You do not need equipment to do this workout, however, if you choose to use weights you will need a pair of dumbbells and a medicine ball.

Ready for Lean Legs?  Let’s go!!

The first move in the Leg Sculptor is the Side Lunge. In this exercise, weights are optional. If you plan to use weights, grab a pair of 3 or 5-lb dumbbells and let’s get started!
1)  Stand with your feet close together with your arms by your sides and palms facing towards you.
2)  Take a big step to the right and lunge to the side. Your right leg (the stepping leg) should be bent, while your left leg (standing leg) remains straight. Your chest should be up, and your butt is back. You should feel this in your quads and your glutes.
3)  Step back to starting position, and repeat on the left side.
4)  Repeat, switching from right to left leg for one minute.

Check out this YouTube clip to see this move performed. Note: You don’t have to move as quickly as the person in the video. Form is most important!

The second move in this workout is Squats.
1)  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides and palms facing towards you body (holding dumbbells if you are using them).
2)  Squat down so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your weight over your heels, with your chest up and your back flat!
3)  Squeeze your glutes as you come back to standing position.
4)  Lower back into your squat and repeat for one minute.

The third move is Squat Jumps.
1)  Put down the dumbbells for this exercise.
2)  Stand in a squat position with your feel shoulder-width apart.
3)  Jump up a few inches, raising your hands to just above chest level.
4)  Land gently in the squat position and repeat for 30 seconds.
To watch a demo of Squat Jumps, click here.

The fourth move is Ski Jumps.
1)  Grab that medicine ball if you are using weights. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms out in front of you.
2)  Drop low in the hips, raising your right foot and bring it back behind your left leg while moving the medicine ball towards the left (standing leg). 3)  Take a wide jump to the right, landing with your right leg in the front and your left leg crossed behind (moving the medicine ball to the opposite side as your do this)
4)  Repeat, jumping back and forth from right to left for 30 seconds.
This is a demo of the Ski Jump to Crossback Lunge which is a similar exercise and will allow you to visualize a proper Ski Jump. In this video, the trainer is only focusing on one side and going into a deeper lunge than you will be doing in your Ski Jumps.

The fifth move is the Around the World Lunge. You do not need dumbbells for this exercise.
1)  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2)  Step the right foot forward into a lunge dropping your hips and driving your weight down through the front heel.
3)  Bring your right foot back to starting position, then step out to the side while keeping your left leg straight. Bend right knee and lower into a side lunge.
4) Bring your right foot back to starting position, then step behind you into a lunge (dropping the hips down again). Return to start position and repeat on the other side. Continue for one minute. Keep abs in tight the whole time!

To watch a demo of the Around the World Lunge, click here.

The sixth and final move are Split Jumps.
1)  Put down the dumbbells for this exercise.
2)  Stand with one foot in front of the other in a lunge position.
3)  Jump up as high as your can, raising your hands above your head and switch legs.
4)  Land gently in the opposite lunge position and on the other side. Repeat, switching legs for 30 seconds.
To watch a demo of Split Jumps, click here.

Take a well-deserved 30 second recovery, breathing in and out. Repeat each move 2 more times (including the 30 second recovery), for a total of three sets.

Fitness Friday: Amazing Arm Definer Workout

Happy Friday! I’ve been posting on Mondays and Thursdays for quite some time, but for the next several weeks I am promoting #FitnessFriday and will be sharing a fitness-related post with you on Fridays. I hope this gets your weekend off to a GREAT start &  motivates you to include some movement during the weekend. Don’t forget to schedule some time for FUN too!  Remember, it’s all about balance 🙂

This is a 15-minute Arm Definer Workout designed by the Nike Fitness Club trainers with only five moves that you will repeat three times. If you have an iPhone, you can download the Nike Fitness Club app FREE of charge. This is one of the many at-home workouts & stretch routines available to you.

 

Arm Definer Workout

 

You do not need equipment to do this workout, however, if you choose to use weights you will need a pair of dumbbells and a medicine ball.

The first move in the Arm Definer Workout is Single Leg Arm Curls. In this exercise, weights are optional. If you plan to use weights, grab a pair of 3 or 5-lb dumbbells and let’s get started!
1)  Stand with your arms by your sides, palms facing towards you. Your knees should have a very slight bend.
2)  Lift one leg, bent at the knee and balance on the standing leg.
3)  Hinge from the elbows and bring dumbbells up to your shoulders.
4)  Lower and repeat, switching legs after 30 seconds.
Check out this YouTube clip to see this move performed.

The second move is the Alternating Medicine Ball Pushup.
1)  Start in push-up position with the medicine ball under one hand.
2)  Lower down as far as you can go, then push back up into starting position.
3)  Roll the ball to the other hand, and repeat push up on the opposite side.
4)  Continue to do this move, switching from one side to another for one minute. To see this move performed, click here.

The third move is the Modified Tricep Pushups.
1)  Kneel with your hands out in front of you. Bring hips forward and shift your weight so it is positioned over your shoulders.
2)  Lower your upper body towards the floor, keeping your abs pulled in tight & your butt down.
3)  Push up and repeat for one minute.
To watch a clip of the Modified Tricep Pushup, click here.

The fourth move is the Sumo Squat with Press.
1)  Grab your dumbbells again if using weights.
2)  Stand with your feet wide, toes turned out, elbows bent with hands up by your shoulders, palms facing one another.
3)  Squat down bringing hips towards the floor, with knees over toes.
4)  Squeeze your butt & legs as you come back up, pressing your hands up over your head (palms still facing each other). Repeat for thirty seconds.
To watch a clip of the Sumo Squat with Press, click here.

The fifth & final move is the Plank Row.
1)  With dumbbells in hand, bring yourself into the plant position. Start with your weight over your shoulders and your feet in a wide base.
2)  Perform a row, bringing your elbow up past your back so there is a slight twist in the torso. Keep elbows close to your sides and abs in tight!
3)  Repeat on the other arm.  Keep switching sides and repeat for one minute. To watch a clip of the Plank Row, click here.

Take a well-deserved 30 second recovery, breathing in and out. Repeat each move 2 more times (including the 30 second recovery), for a total of three sets.

 

Arm Workout

 

Question: Do you work out your arms at least a couple of times a week? What is your favorite arm move?

Meatless Monday Recipe: Sweet Corn Salsa with Mango and Ginger

Happy Meatless Monday! As per the use, today we’re featuring another delicious meatless dish in honor of the Meatless Monday movement.

Photo courtesy of meatlessmonday.com

Photo courtesy of meatlessmonday.com

I promised today I would start to chronicle my countdown to the BIG 4-0 as well. T minus 46 days and counting! As I continue my strength training, I’m even more aware that ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN!  That’s right folks — 70% of that svelte middle you crave is about having a good diet with loads of veggies and healthy protein. The other 30% is what you do in the gym.

Sweet Corn and Mango Salsa

Today’s recipe is sweet & spicy, with no need for any added sugar. The ginger gives it a little extra kick. It is adapted from a recipe originally posted by the lovely Miss Averie Sunshine at Averie Cooks from back in 2010. I removed an item or two from the “laminated list” and amped up the ginger (we go cray cray for the fresh ginger at this house) This salsa is great for lunch with fresh avocado slices or Roasted Vegetables over Quinoa.  For dinner, try some with my Meatless Ground “Beef” Enchiladas or any of your favorite dishes. Here’s what you need!

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce canned corn (low sodium)
  • 1/3 cup mango, diced
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Freshly-squeezed lime juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized serving dish.  Stir well and serve immediately.  If you don’t finish off the whole dish, the leftovers can be stored for a couple of days in the refrigerator.  Ours didn’t make it 🙂 [widgets_on_pages]

Other recipes you might like:

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms | The Wellness Scientist

Savory Quinoa Cakes | The Wellness Scientist

Also linked today at Make-It-Yourself Monday

Meatless Monday Recipe: Savory Quinoa Cakes

Happy Monday!  Are you tired of eating the same ol’ same ol’?  I sure am!  I’ve been in the kitchen this afternoon trying to whip up something different, and I came up with these Savory Quinoa Cakes that I’m sure you are going to love.  I know I did!

Savory Quinoa Cakes

I wish you could smell them too 🙂

These are a great Meatless Monday recipe idea for lunch or a light dinner.  Have you ever wondered what to do with leftover quinoa?  I had some leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge, which was perfect for this recipe.  If you don’t have any quinoa leftovers, then first you’ll need to make some and let it cool to room temp.  Once that’s done, you are ready to go!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
  • 4 liquid egg whites (I use 3/4 cup of Cage Free 100% liquid egg whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic power
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (for cooking)

 

Preparation

Combine the quinoa, egg whites, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Put the garlic and carrot in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add to the bowl with quinoa and other ingredients.  Stir in the cilantro and parmesan cheese.

In a small bowl, add the almond meal and season with the garlic powder, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Add one third of the seasoned almond meal at a time to the quinoa mixture, mixing well after each addition.

You should have enough mixture that can be formed into twelve 1-inch thick cakes or patties.

Savory Quinoa Cake Prep

If the mixture seems dry, you can add a little water to moisten.  I used almond flour instead of breadcrumbs to make sure this was gluten-free.  You shouldn’t need to add water if you followed the above exactly.

Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 6 of the quinoa cakes.  Cover and cook for 7 – 10 minutes until the bottoms browned, taking care not to burn the bottoms.  Flip the cakes and cook the other side for 7 – 10 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool.  Repeat with the second batch.  Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition information (from Wellness Science): Calories 113.0, Total Fat 6.9 g, Saturated Fat 0.9 g, Cholesterol 1.8 mg, Sodium 168.6 mg, Potassium 51.6 mg, Total Carbohydrate 8.2 g, Dietary Fiber 1.7 g, Sugars 0.6 g, Protein 5.7 g

Savory Quinoa Cakes

These are great alone, with a few slices of fresh avocado, and amazing with a side of my favorite Easy Guacamole.

Let me know how you liked these in the comments below!  They make fun little finger foods that even the kiddos would enjoy.

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Other recipes you might like:

Meatless Monday Spicy Veggie Frittata | The Wellness Scientist

Meatless Monday Spicy Veggie Frittata | The Wellness Scientist

Gluten-Free Tomato Basil Pizza | The Wellness Scientist

Gluten-Free Tomato Basil Pizza | The Wellness Scientist

Meatless Monday Recipe: Jamie Eason’s Chocolate Protein Bars

Happy Meatless Monday!  I’ve been on big baking kick lately, trying out several treats that stick to the Clean Eating rules!

I’m a big fan of grabbing a protein bar on the way out the door to enjoy as a mid-morning snack.  I literally had a standing order with Amazon Prime for my Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna Bars!

Since I’m trying to avoid dairy and eat foods without preservatives as often as possible, I’ve been making batches of protein bars in my kitchen to grab instead.  This week, I’m sharing another Jamie Eason recipe with you that is a clean treat that is also dairy-free.

Jamie Eason's Chocolate Protein Bars

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup Oat Flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour which you can order on Amazon at a great price! Jamie uses this brand in her recipes too!)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • ½ cup Truvia Baking Blend
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 oz berry-flavored baby food
  • 3 tbsp baking cocoa
  • 4 oz water

 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (oat flour, vanilla whey protein, baking soda, salt, baking cocoa, Truvia) together in a large bowl using a wisk.
3. Add wet ingredients (egg whites, baby food, water) on top of the mixed dry ingredients and stir well.
5. Spray an 8 x 8 Pyrex dish with a nonstick cooking spray and pour batter into dish.
6. Bake 30 minutes in oven.

This recipes makes 16 squares.  Serving size = 2 bars.

Clean Eating Brownies

Nutritional info for one serving (2 bars): Calories 96; Fat 1.4 grams; Total Carbs 12 grams; Protein 10 grams

 

 

Health and Fitness Tips for Busy People

 

Got questions about health and fitness?  I’ve got answers!  Here are the most common questions and goals that I’ve received from clients and answers that give the results you want.  Here we go!

Health and Fitness Tips

How can I lose weight?  Burn more calories than you consume.

What can I do to get healthy?  Stop eating junk.  Start eating more natural, unprocessed foods.

I want toned abs & arms.  Eat clean and strength train.

I want to see results.  Have specific goals and track them.  If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how will you know when you get there?

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exuperys

I don’t have time to work out.  Yes, you do! If you can carve out 5-15 minutes during the day, you can do simple effective moves that will give you results! I’ve even designed a workout you can do in your kitchen while you are waiting for water to boil or coffee to drip. Now THAT is using your time wisely 🙂

I can’t seem to get motivated.  Get a workout buddy or coach to help you.  Oh, and read these!

Got more questions for me?  How can I help?  Leave a comment below & I’ll post an answer for you!

Other posts you should read:

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

How To Be Your Best Self

This post on Oprah.com by the great author Jeffrey Eugenides is amazingly motivating! How to Believe in Yourself—Even If You Sometimes Don’t

 

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

 

Trouble losing weight or keeping it off?  Make sure you aren’t making one of these common dieting mistakes.

Are You Making These 5 Dieting Mistakes?

Setting Goals That Aren’t Realistic

Setting an unrealistic goal will almost guarantee failure.  Instead, set S.M.A.R.T. goals when it comes to weight loss.  Donald Hensrud, M.D., weight loss expert from the Mayo Clinic recommends 1-2 pounds per week.  If you lose weight at this pace, you are more likely to keep it off.

Choosing the Wrong Kind of Diet

A diet that doesn’t include any of the foods you like to eat may work in the very short term, but it is unlikely that you’ll achieve you longer-term weight loss goals.  Several studies have found that following a low-fat diet doesn’t make it any easier to lose weight or to keep weight off.   Study participants who followed moderate- or high-fat diets lost just as much weight as those who follow low-fat diets.  Successful weight loss depends largely on one thing — burn more calories than you consume.

Not Planning Ahead

If you don’t plan ahead, you’ll be reaching for the first thing you can get your hands on at lunch or dinner time to satisfy your hunger.  Take the time (maybe on a Sunday morning to plan for the coming week) to make a list of your favorite nutritious meals.  Shop for all of the ingredients and plan your meals for the week at one time.  Bring low-calorie snacks like an apple or a small Greek yogurt to the office to make hitting the vending machines less tempting.

Drink More Water

Drinking water aids weight loss and flushes out toxins from the body.  According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, obese participants in a six-month clinical trial both lost weight and reduced waist circumference by drinking water compared to participants who drank caloric beverages.

Skipping Meals

Meal skipping is not a successful way to lose weight.  Frequent meal skipping actually reduces your metabolic rate, making weight loss more challenging.  Eating regular meals keeps you energized throughout the day and makes it less likely that you’ll overeat at night to compensate.

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Other posts you might like:

5 Sneaky Ways to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

5 Things You Can Do To Feel Better Instantly

How To Be Your Best Self

 

How To Be Your Best Self

That particular week seemed more difficult than others.  I felt angrier and my patience was pretty much nonexistent.  I remember sitting in a team meeting and, for no reason, tears started to well up and I discreetly left the room so that no one would notice.

I was leading a very big project at work, and things were running as smoothly as one would expect, but I was literally on 24/7.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a day off.  A year or two maybe, with the exception of Christmas day.  For about two years, I had dreamed of going to a destination spa I’d discovered online.  I could practically feel the tranquility through the photos on the website.  In a minute of desperation, I called the spa & was told they had availability for the next week.

meditation-lake

1) TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

The spa was usually booked weeks in advance, so I took their availability as a sign, booked the trip, and committed to taking the next week off.

The timing wasn’t great from a work perspective…in two week’s time, I was going to be hosting a conference with over 100 guests flying in from around the world.

But some crisis or extremely urgent work matter was always on the horizon…there was never a good time to take a day off, much less an entire week.

Sound familiar?

My colleague swore that she’d get in touch with me if there was any out-of-control emergency that should couldn’t handle herself.  I let out a big exhale, and a few days later I was off!  And you know what?  The office didn’t fall apart, the conference was a huge success, and I did a better job hosting because I was able to relax and recharge.  Anxiety gone.

Take time for yourself.  You deserve it.  Jobs come and go.  Bosses you admire move on to other jobs.  You are with yourself for the long haul … so give yourself the down time you need.

2) NURTURE YOURSELF

We’re all grown-ups with jobs, relationships, and maybe kids of our own, but there is an inner child in all of us that needs nurturing.  Instead of nurturing that inner child, we busy ourselves and/or pick up bad habits to avoid feeling alone, sad, or inadequate.

I used to be the queen of negative self-talk.  My diet was awful, I didn’t exercise, I drank coffee or soda all day, and I didn’t get enough sleep.  I was even going to therapy, but I wasn’t doing the work I needed to do outside of that hour/week, so it took a really long time to get where I needed to be.  That was my path.  I made it, but I wish I hadn’t suffered as long as I did for no good reason.

Take the time to take care of yourself physically.  Get a physical every year.  Have you blood drawn and check for things like high cholesterol on a regular basis.  Drink water, eat healthy foods, and get the amount of sleep that you need.  No job in the world is worth feeling miserable every single day.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will?  And what about the people you take care of?  If you can’t take care of them, who’s going to do that?

Make self-care a priority. You will never regret it.

3) LET GO OF YOUR CONTROL OBSESSION

When I arrived at the spa, the control freak in me was delighted to find that someone had carefully selected a full day of yoga & exercises classes, short wellness seminars, and body treatments for me based on my “pre-arrival interview,” and I had schedule waiting telling me what I’d be doing the next day.

Desperate for soul-nourishing, I had decided in advance that I was going to become a yoga devotee during my week away.  On my first morning at the spa, I showed up to the first yoga class on the schedule, just before 8 a.m.  I found myself a spot at the front of the class, little overachiever that I was.

Then something happened, instead of the instant bliss-fix that I had planned, all I could feel was the pain and tightness of my hamstrings and my hunched shoulders.  I started to feel defeated, like I had failed before I had started, and I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts spiraling in my mind.

The teacher invited the class to “open our hearts.”  (OK … I’m actually embarrassed to admit the first thought that popped into my mind, but if one person can resonate with this, then it’s worth it!)  The first thought I had when this teacher said “Open Your Heart” was “F-YOU!”  I was actually angered by this complete stranger’s suggestion that I trust her and allow myself to become vulnerable.  Inside I was screaming, “I’m here, aren’t I?  I’m trying!!!  What else do you want from me?”  Somehow I viewed her kindness as an intrusion — a criticism that I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I couldn’t get past it that week.  I wasn’t ready to give up control.  I toughed out that class until the end, but I never went to another yoga class the entire week.

Luckily, there was more than yoga planned to improve my wellness that week.  A couple of days later, I met with Sarah, my assigned personal trainer.  I was in my early thirties at the time, but I felt like I had the body of an 83-year-old!  Like on The Biggest Loser when they tell the contestants “Your body age is actually 79!”  That was what I felt like.

Sarah was nice, but she was there to prove a point.  She challenged me with “heavy” 10-lb hand weights and encouraged me during the interval training she had designed for my session.

That 1:1 experience was what I needed, along with a little positive reinforcement.  I was able to let go and be vulnerable.  I started running outside after that meeting with Sarah, and it was during those runs that I was able to feel a certain freedom.  Once I let go of the need to control any and every situation (which is impossible, by the way), I finally felt like the universe was on my side.

My advice here?  Just let go.  Sounds easier said than done, but it is incredibly powerful.  If you need to talk to a professional or a friend, coach, or mentor to get there, do it!  Once you stop fighting, it gets so much easier.  And you’ll be so much happier.

4) BE GRATEFUL.

One of the most popular items on the schedule that week was a one-hour wellness seminar called “How To Be Happy.”  I think every single person in attendance that week was packed in to the room for that message!

One of the big takeaways from that session was practicing gratitude.  We were asked to keep a gratitude journal for the rest of our stay.  Before bed each night, we were to write down five things that we were grateful for each day.  In doing so, we were creating a scenario where we were looking for positive things that happened during the day.  It could be something big like, “I’m grateful for the amazing personal trainer I met today and the way she encouraged me” or something as small as, “I’m grateful that we had cheesecake for dessert tonight — I love cheesecake!”

Keep a gratitude journal.  You’ll spend the day looking for things you can write about, making it harder to focus on negativity or problems!

5) TRUST YOURSELF

A few years later, I was rummaging through a closet and found the binder of resources I had taken home with me from the spa to continue working on my goals.  I found a little note that read:

“Great job this week! You can tell you feel refreshed.  Keep this feeling going by exercising daily.  You have to make yourself a priority — you deserve it!”

Wise words!  I made a risky decision and started a whole new career and chapter in my life.  Today I make my living writing about health, wellness, and self-care.  I also coach women who are looking to make healthy changes to their lives and improve their level of happiness.  I eat healthier, I get more rest, and I make exercise and my personal relationships a priority.  I’m happy to say that once I was able to silence my inner-critic, I also came to enjoy yoga and its many benefits!! 🙂

Trust yourself.  We deserve much more care and kindness than we tend to give ourselves.  And really, the only validation we need is our own.

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