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Today is National Stress Awareness Day and April is Stress Awareness Month. So let’s talk stress. First off Stress is normal and a part of everyday life. Stress can motivate us in many ways for example it pushes me to go that extra 10 min during my workout, or do a super speed house cleaning, or  to be better at my job.  However, if you don’t handle your stress it can have some long term effects both mentally and physically. More than half of us fight with the ones we are closest to because of stress, and more than 70% of Americans say they experience real physical and emotional symptoms from it. Wow more than 70%!?!? So we all experience stress…but what are some ways we can reduce it?

The Huffington Post posted an article last year that I’ve kept bookmarked! 23 Scientifically-Backed Ways to reduce stress:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/17/reduce-stress-research_n_2884876.html

  1. Try Progressive Relaxation All the way from fingers to toes— tense and then release each muscle group in the body (lower arm, upper arm, chest, back and abdominal, etc.). Once the body is relaxed, the mind will be soon to follow!
  2. Try Some Light Yoga The combination of deep breathing techniques and poses makes this activity work to reduce stress, too.
  3. Meditate The “mental silence” that goes along with meditation may have positive effects on stress (especially work-related stress).
  4. Breathe Deep Taking a deep breath has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Studies suggest deep breathing can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure.
  5. Spark Some Scents Studies suggest aromatherapy can be a good way to relieve stress. Certain aromas (like lavender) have been consistently shown to reduce stress levels.
  6. Listen To Music Research points to multiple ways in which music can help relieve stress, from triggering biochemical stress reducers to assisting in treating stress associated with medical procedures.
  7. Laugh It Off Laughter can reduce the physical effects of stress (like fatigue) on the body.
  8. Drink Tea One study found that drinking black tea leads to lower post-stress cortisol levels and greater feelings of relaxation.
  9. Exercise That post-exercise endorphin rush is one way to sharply cut stress.
  10. Try Guided Visualization Visualizing a calm or peaceful scene may help reduce stress and ease anxiety.
  11. Join A Religious Community Surveys have shown a major underlying reason people practice religion is for stress relief. One study even found that college students who practiced a religion were less stressed than their non-religious counterparts. And other research suggests religious people are less likely to experience stress-related mental illness.
  12. Chew Gum Studies suggest the act of chewing gum can reduce cortisol levels, helping to alleviate stress.
  13. Get A Massage Getting a good ol’ rub down may do more than alleviate physical pain. Studies suggest massage may also be beneficial for fighting stress. It may also help improve body image.
  14. Try Self-Hypnosis Research suggests hypnosis can help reduce anxiety. Plus, it’s a great self-mediated technique for stress-relief.
  15. Talk About Sex, Baby Studies have shown sex can actually decrease the physical symptoms of stress, like lowering blood pressure.
  16. Take A Nap Napping has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which aids in stress relief.
  17. Hug It Out. Hugging may actually reduce blood pressure and stress levels in adults.
  18. Hang With Your Pet Or, as we’ve put it before, just get a dog. Dog owners have been shown to be less stressed out — most likely thanks to having a buddy to cuddle.
  19. Do An Art Project Art therapy can potentially reduce stress-related behavior and symptoms.
  20. Write It Out Keeping a journal may be one way to effectively relieve stress-related symptoms due to its meditative and reflective effects. A gratitude journal can really help us put things in perspective, so pick a time every day to write down a few things that make you happy.
  21. Take A Walk A quiet, meditative stroll can do wonders for stress relief, especially when we step outdoors. Try not to rush, and take whatever pace feels most natural.
  22. Kiss Someone! Research suggests kissing releases chemicals that ease hormones associated with stress, like cortisol. Forming positive relationships is also a key way to help reduce stress and anxiety.

You have to find what works for you. I found getting on the elliptical is an amazing stress reliever, My mom is always reminding me to take a step back and deep breaths when I’m stressed, playing with my kitty Bella Boo always helps, and I really love #17 Hug it out and #22 KISSING! Don’t let stress control you…you control it. Hope it helps =) 

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Last week I wanted to give up. I gained 3 lbs, inches, and fat percentage and been working so hard. I had a meltdown…i wanted to thow in the towel. Then I remembered how many people I’m inspiring, that I want to do this for myself, that University Dermatology Center of Muncie is sponsoring me to get healthy at the Onion Factory in Anderson…that so many people are behind me I can’t just throw in the towel on one bad day. I brushed myself off thanks to my awesome support system and decided that this too shall pass and I’ll work even harder. Unfortunately with the bi-polar weather I was taken down by a nasty sinus infection AGAIN! I knew from my trainer my eating/nutrition was off so I focused on that. Yesterday she spot checked me and I lost a few lbs but still not fat so I’m working even harder this week and she told me I need more protein…I feel like that’s all I do is eat, drink protein shakes, eat egg whites, and repeat but hopefully this helps.Tomorrow we’ll see as I have my weekly weigh-in. EEEK!

Last night I was thrilled that in 30 min not only did I burn 400 calories but also went over 2 miles on the Elliptical. WHEWWW that’s a new record for me. I watch TV but also listen to music when I’m working out…I was struggling a bit when two of my group members walked in and jumped up on the elliptical’s next to me. When you have someone to talk to time flies by…we even were being to loud for the workout class going on. =) So grab a friend or make new ones and have an exercise buddy….you’ll be glad you did! Time flies by when you have someone to do it with.

Last night’s group meeting/workout was Gym Night. I was a bit intimidated because I hated gym as a girl…but this was fun. I actually jumped rope! I didn’t think I’d be able to since it’s been 20 years but I DID IT! The ladies joked about video-taping me doing it and I quickly shot down that idea. We did hula hoops and I still can’t get that thing going. We did jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups etc. It was a good time but wore me out. Then of course we lifted! Weights are fun the first time but by the second set my arms are burning and usually I have to drop down to a smaller size…I hate when that happens. But it hurts because you are breaking down that muscle so it can re-build.

I’ve been struggling with seeing any changes. People around me have noticed things like my face being thinner, or my clothes bagging a bit, or say YOU LOOK GREAT  but I just don’t see it….until a picture. I was over at my parents house looking through photos one was from May of last year and the other one from a few weeks ago. The change in my face was dramatic…so I can only imagine how 6 months or a year from now I will feel/look. Remember being healthy, changing your lifestyle, losing weight, getting fit, it’s physical but it’s also mental.

Get up and move my friends! IF I CAN DO IT YOU CAN! <3

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Today is a dreary Monday but I’m smiling because I can’t believe 42 days ago I started on my healthy lifestyle journey thanks to University Dermatology Center of Muncie sponsoring me to get fit at The Onion Factory in Anderson. It’s not been an easy journey but one I know that will be worth it in the end. I had a rough week last week mentally when I saw I gained fat, pounds, and inches but the support I have around me held me up and made me realize I’m going to have weak moments when I want to give up but I can’t let those thoughts take over or make me…I’ve come to far to stop. Today marks the start of Week 7 which means I’ve been on this journey and lifestyle change for 42 days! 

I’ve not touched these things in 42 days: 

Caffeine. 

Diet Coke…and I was a Diet Coke Junkie. 

Alcohol. 

Bread.  I LOVE BREAD…I miss that the most.

Beef or really any meat. I only eat Ground Turkey or Turkey Sausage.

Chocolate.Oh maybe I miss this the most ;) 

Orange, Banana, Watermelon. Fruit I LOVE but it’s very high in sugar so skip that. 

Candy 

Chips

Orange Juice 

Bacon….oh how I miss Bacon. 

You get the point that yes I’ve given alot of things up but I’m gaining so much more in return. I’m getting healthy and gaining so much knowledge and confidence. GET UP AND MOVE! It can change your life…and IF I can do it…YOU CAN! <3 

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peoplemag:

Nothing better than a Cat in a Phat. You know you love it.

peoplemag:

Nothing better than a Cat in a Phat. You know you love it.

Source: peoplemag
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The day after Leg Day is miserable…and today is that day. If you can walk you really aren’t doing it correctly. It hurts to walk, to get up, to sit down, it just hurts. No Pain No Gain…right?

Last night was the closest I was to quitting….as our trainer said if I had done this to you guys the first week you would have left and I said No I would have ran. Mixing leg workouts with weights, squats, lunges, hula hoops etc is killer. My face has never been so red, I’ve never been so out of breath, and I’ve never just fell to the floor  as soon as the workout was over. WOOOO! I told Lisa,  I really think you’re trying to kill me and she said No, I’m saving you. Touche’. Honestly. I’m not looking forward to our one on one tomorrow where we will do the same leg/cardio routine but I know that the more I do it the easier it will get. GET UP AND MOVE!

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First off I am blown away: I got this message on my blog: “After reading about your journey with the onion factory, I decided to go the seminar. Now I’m an onion!…  You inspired me”

WHOO HOO! I get messages all the time that I’m inspiring others to get fit or get healthy and it is powerful to know you are helping make a difference but getting this message was even more moving because she is going on the same journey as I am and it’s not an easy one. Welcome aboard girl!!!!

So today marks the start of Week 6 in our 8 week camp at The Onion Factory in Anderson…special thanks to UDC of Muncie for sponsoring my journey to get healthy!  I had my personal training session on Saturday and was thrilled to find out one of my group members was joining me. (I despise working out alone). I did yell in the middle of our workout that I felt  Lisa, our trainer, was trying to kill me. Leg workouts were intense because we finally added weights. Arm workouts were intense because our PT won’t let us get off easy with weights…she likes us to push ourselves and if they are to heavy we can always drop down a size. It’s Monday and my arms are still killing me…but that’s how I know it’s working. Whoooooooo!!!! Get ready for tonight’s arm and leg workouts whoop whoop.

I also had my WEEK 5 Weigh-In. I was a nervous wreck as per usual…because I can not fail. I have so much pressure from so many people failure is not an option! I know I’m crazy for doing this with so much pressure and in the public eye…believe me.

I got on the scale and lost 2lbs…man I was bummed. I’ve worked so hard and only 2 lbs you have to be kidding me! She saw my discouragement and since I had a big week last week she said it’s normal to have a good week followed by a not so good week.  We went in to get my fat percentage and measurements and this girl lost 3lbs of fat…and I gained lean mass (muscle). That’s exactly what you want to happen & my mood changed quickly when I saw the excitement of my trainer.  This is why Lisa tells us that the scale does not matter! I quickly became ecstatic  when I realized I lost 3lbs of fat and gained muscle…that’s wonderful. I also lost another 6 inches. Lisa also explained that my body is now in the Anabolic stage…that’s the stage when you body burns fat like fire!

I started this journey just a few weeks ago and here are my results thus far:

Arms:1 inch

Bust: 3 inches

Waist: 4 inches

Abs: 2 inches

Hip: 5 inches

Thighs: 3 inches

Total:18 inches lost.

Pounds:18 lbs lost

Fat Percentage: down 1%. I gained fat % Week 2&3 but finally losing.

Lean Mass (Muscle): I lost 8 total in the past weeks but finally in week 5 gained 2. You want muscle.

Look at this picture! I’d much rather but on muscle then fat!

IF I CAN GET HEALTHY SO CAN YOU!!! =)

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Many people have asked me about my progress on my healthy lifestyle journey I’m doing thanks to University Dermatology Center of Muncie AT the Onion Factory in Anderson so here is a bit of an update with photos =) Little by little…slowly but surely. 

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Monday kicked off Week 5 in The Onion Factory Camp that I’m doing thanks to UDC of Muncie. Today my arms are so sore…I did weights on Monday and again last night. You can’t do them back to back because our muscles need time in between but man oh man I’m hurting today. No Pain No Gain right? Oh and on April Fools Day I did tell people I broke down and had a Diet Coke and donuts but I assure you I’ve yet to break my healthy lifestyle change. I have so much pressure on me from every angle. I remember when I first met Lisa, our personal trainer, owner, and genius at The Onion Factory we talked about me doing this she thought I was crazy and asked why? Why would you ever want to put yourself in this position because failure is not an option.

We have weekly group meetings and she shared a bit of my story with the group because I am doing this publicly. She shared how we got off on a rough start because eating was my biggest challenge. I would eat once maybe twice a day so when I started this program and must eat every 3 hours (and in my opinion alot of food) it was rough. She recalled one day when I came in for my weekly one-on-one and I had forgot my meals and so I improvised and made a poor decision and so she made me eat and it took my near an hour to eat chili and salad…It’s funny looking back on how hard it was to start eating because now my body tells me when it’s time to eat.We both get quite the giggle out of it.

She is very happy with my 16lbs and 16inches lost in 4 weeks. My goal is to lose 100lbs by LABOR DAY and my goal of 140lbs by New Years Eve. It’s honestly not about the pounds to me! YES you read that correctly. I’ve learned that it’s all about fat percentage and the goal is to get to 26% body fat.  

It’s been a journey of ups and downs but I have a determination that most people would kill for. I do get really discouraged at times because I can’t see the changes and I know it’s a LOOOONG road but I can feel the changes: I feel even more happy then usual, I have more energy, better complexion, sleep better, etc.

I didn’t think I could do cardio for 30 minutes let alone 7 days a week. I didn’t think I could eat healthy food…because I’m a picky eater but I have.I didn’t think I could lift weights 3 times a week but I do. I didn’t think I could find the motivation but I’m the most determined I’ve ever been. 

I constantly am surprising myself. I think me doing this publicly was the best thing for me and for others because I’m inspiring so many and that feeling I can’t describe. Saturday is my weekly check in and as usual I’m a nervous wreck. I’ve had a great week but still soooo nervous each time. Get up and move friends…you’ll be glad you did. xoxo

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