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4 Tips to Break the “Too Busy Cycle” and Get Your Priorities Straight Once and For All!

A very common struggle among women today is a lack of time. I bet you can relate.

When subscribers sign up for my newsletter, I ask them in the very first email what their #1 struggle is. One of the top 2-3 answers I receive from subscribers is, not surprisingly, “lack of time” to workout.

That’s not shocking, right? We all suffer from the busy-ness bug!

I totally understand! I’m a mom, wife, teacher, coach, business owner, church member, friend, daughter, sister, and the list goes on……

Consider a this for a second:

And here’s a (very kindly spoken) tough love alert…

We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

I know, I know- we are certainly all in differing circumstances in our life. We don’t all have nannies, maids, and other hired help. But, even within our own circumstances- no matter what they are- we get to choose HOW we spend our time outside of work hours.

Being “busy” is an epidemic in our rushed society. How often do we hear from a friend that she can’t (fill in the blank) because she is “too busy.” You may even find yourself saying that. I do!

It has sadly become the norm for “I’m too busy” to fly out of our mouths in response to any request or invitation. What does “I’m too busy” really say? To me it says, “That is not a priority” or “I don’t find that important to do.” (Just being honest here, and I’m GUILTY as charged!) We can all agree that we each have the same 24 hours in our day. We choose to use those hours differently based on what we determine is important to us!priorities

It’s time to think about designing your life in a way that you are in the driver’s seat of your time. Don’t sit back and let life happen to you. When you sit back and let things happen TO you, you are giving up full control and just move from one frantic “thing to do” to the next. It becomes a vicious cycle of busyness that seems to be unbreakable. In the meantime, no one is really enjoying all the busyness!

4 Tips to Break the “Too Busy Cycle”

1) Schedule your top priorities FIRST. To find out what a person deems important, take a look at their calendar! Does your calendar match what you SAY are your priorities? I’ve come to realize that I’m not “too busy” for the things I find to be important. I make time for my top priorities each day. We all do! But sometimes we haven’t thought about it deeply enough, so we end up just living moment to moment, getting through each day.

Suggestion: Carve out 10-20 minutes each week to re-prioritize your life. Write down all the things that you need to make sure happen each day of the week – the things you will do no matter what. Place your most important priorities on your calendar or in your planner FIRST. Pick a night of the week to do this, and make “scheduling” a tradition. How much better do we all feel when organized?!? Or is it just me?? 🙂

Write down a typical day or 2 and look for time slots that you could use differently or more efficiently. This could be the first step to leveraging her time better. Once you find those time slots, use them wisely. If health and fitness are important to you, schedule in 20-30 minutes a day a few times a week for working out. Schedule in a couple of hours on the weekend for food planning and prep for the week. Writing it down is the first step to GETTING IT DONE!

Also, limit your time on email, facebook, twitter, or wherever you find a time sucking black hole in your schedule. Turn off notifications on your phone so you aren’t bombarded ALL.DAY.LONG with beeps and rings that let you know there is email to be read or facebook posts to be “liked”. Set aside 30 or so minutes a day to catch up on emails or social media. This ONE thing alone has increased my productivity by leaps and bounds!

2) Get rid of the “victim mindset” when it comes to your schedule or your circumstances. I used to be the QUEEN of this! As a new mom, 10 years ago, I would often have a pity party about how I didn’t have any time for myself because I now had a baby that required my 24/7 attention. Of course I loved my son dearly and wouldn’t have traded caring for him for anything else in the world, but I now realize that my attitude and thoughts around my new situation were causing me to feel miserable. Looking back, I see that I was getting something out of playing the role of a martyr. I enjoyed how others would feel sorry for me when I told them how my time was no longer mine and I was “too busy” to even take a shower. They would pat me on the back and tell me what a great job I was doing. I was getting affirmation out of playing a “victim” of my circumstances. Now I realize that when I’m in the victim mindset, I’m hindering myself from taking ACTION on what I really desire.

For me, I now choose TAKING ACTION over BEING A VICTIM. 🙂

How many times do you say or hear it be said, “I’m too overwhelmed to add anything to my day. I’m just too busy.” What that is saying is that whatever the activity is that is in question isn’t currently a priority. That’s ok! Just be truthful with yourself. There’s no judgment. It just is what it is – not important at the moment.

Consider this: How many of us will JUMP when called upon to send a snack for our kid’s preschool class or sports team. It doesn’t matter if you get the call at 10 pm, you are ON IT! React the same way to the things you say are important to you! If you say it’s important to exercise, for example, you will find a way just like you found a way to make those cookies for your child’s class or team (even though you were tired, it was late at night, or you were feeling overwhelmed).

3) Don’t take on new obligations that are unnecessary. (i.e. Learn to say “NO” sometimes!)

Self-imposed busyness is a way we sabotage our own goals. It’s how we justify not eating right (don’t have time to plan or cook meals) and not exercising (who has time for that?!). An authentic “no” is much more appreciated than a resentful “yes.” Agree? Would you want someone to do something for you that they didn’t want to do? I believe we’d all agree that the answer is no.

4) Prioritize LEISURE time in your own schedule as well as your KIDS’ schedules.

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing” –Lao Tzu

Our kids are scheduled down to the minute these days instead of outside running, playing, building forts, making mud pies, etc. Sports and other extra-curricular activities are important, but they don’t ALL have to be done at once. Set limits. Don’t be addicted to “BUSY.”

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And for all you ladies, make sure that at least 5-10 minutes a day you can relax and enjoy a hot bath, a good book, a leisure walk with the family, or chat with a good friend. This is important to our own psyche and our stress level. It’s not selfish to prioritize meeting your own needs from time to time. I would argue that having your needs met makes you a better mom, wife, daughter, friend, and neighbor. 🙂

What does this have to do with health and fitness?

A lot.

When you don’t prioritize your health and fitness and the health of your family, no one benefits. Don’t be “too busy” to take care of your own physical needs! If you are healthy, active, and feeling alive, you are able to help your friends and family in an even better way – without resentment or being bitter about it.

If you need help, hire a coach to help you. Ain’t no shame in that! I’ve personally had several coaches in my life that have helped me better myself. 🙂

Health and fitness aren’t at the top everyone’s priority list. I get that! For me, it wasn’t for many years. I encourage you, however, to use these same principles in your life to make sure that “busyness” isn’t getting in the way of your TOP priorities whatever they may be.

I’ll leave you with a few quotes that I love about busyness…

“Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.” ~ Lin Yutang, The Importance Of Living

 

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

 

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves” ~Jack Kornfield

 

“The really idle man gets nowhere. The perpetually busy man does not get much further.” ~Sir Heneage Ogilvie

xo -Jill


Here is information about a top-level coaching service that I recommend and have used! FASTer Way to Fat Loss is a 6 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting – a HIGHLY effective program!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

 

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Getting CLEAR About Clutter {+ Giveaway}

By Jill Jacobs

“Your environment is a reflection of your life.” -Annick Magac

Maybe you find it a little curious or strange that I would blog about clutter on a site that is primarily focused on health, nutrition, and fitness topics. Well, surprisingly, clutter impacts your health and success WAY more than you may realize.

Author, health coach, and design expert, Annick Magac, explains in her book Clear: How to Simplify Your Life & Live More Fearlessly how your habitats (home, office, car, etc.) may help or hinder your personal or professional successes and even your success at body change. She further teaches you *how* to transform your habitat to make living a life of freedom and success possible!

“Like life, just because you find yourself in a particular situation, thought pattern, job, health, fitness, or relationship that isn’t serving you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t change it at any point. The first thing is to recognize that there can be something to change. The second part is to know you have the strength and power to make the changes necessary to create the life you want and envision. The third part is to take the steps to make those changes. Like anything new, the hardest part is getting started, but once you’re on a roll it gets easier and easier. Clear will help you with all these steps.” – Chapter 1 p.24

When your physical environment is cluttered, often your mind will be as well. This makes it difficult to wind down, de-stress, and sleep well which are all so important for optimal health. When we develop healthy surroundings, full of beauty and peace, living the life we desire becomes more natural and effortless.

My Story

No change is an island. In other words, multiple things tend to influence a lasting change in our lives.  So let’s go back in time before I read Clear: How to Simplify Your Life & Live More Fearlessly.

I’ve always kept a tidy home. However, I am known to have many “Jill-piles” as my husband lovingly (ha!) calls them. I also let things like filing papers and new recipe finds accumulate to the point that I’m too overwhelmed to deal with them. This got a bit worse a couple of years back….

After not working (besides at home of course!) since 2002, I decided that I wanted to work as an online coach on top of homeschooling my boys. This was an added commitment on my plate but one I felt passionate about pursuing. At first glance, running an online business may seem easy, but I can tell ya, it’s way more time consuming than most people would believe- especially in the beginning.

I had a friend once tell me how nice it must be that my job is to simply hop on the computer for a while each day and check in with clients (as if that’s the only thing I do in her mind). What my friend didn’t realize is that in order to have any clients at all, there are some minimums when it comes to running an online business. These include having a website for clients to find me, having a social media presence, creating my one on one client programs, creating my group programs, having a streamlined way for clients to check in regularly, creating documents that my one on one clients complete, creating coaching emails, blogging, marketing, relationship building, trying out new fat-loss friendly recipes, and much, much more! She didn’t know what she didn’t know, and that’s cool! It certainly didn’t offend me, rather it made me chuckle!

With all this added responsibility, some things around the house began to be left undone. Oops! Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who picked up some of the home responsibilities like laundry (yes, he’s a keeper!!), but we still decided that we need to revamp some things so that we could have the life we desire.

The first thing we did was to hire a house cleaner. Personally, I hate cleaning! Setting aside hours each weekend to clean became less of a priority for me. Not because I didn’t want a clean, sparkling house but because I had so many other things I was spending my time doing. This decision has been the best gift to myself!

Secondly, during 2014 I wanted to change up our main living space. I hired an interior designer, Kristen Haynes of Reimagine at Home, to help me make my living room and kitchen bright and enjoyable to live in. We switched from earth tones (my default that I totally have to fight against – lol!) to lighter colors, less drab, and lot of brightness. You can see some of the color choices we used in the image below. We went with orange, several shades of blue, a lot of white, super fun fabrics, and lightened up the furniture. My husband created us a sweet piece for over our sofa as well (see image below)! We are really loving the space so much more than before. 😀

getting clear about clutter

After Christmas, while packing up all the decor and putting my home back in order, I was inspired to clean up a couple of areas that have been bugging me. About the same time, I began reading Clear.

I don’t think that those two things coinciding was an accident at all! Although my process of de-cluttering and beautifying my home had already begun, following the exercises in the book supercharged my motivation and efforts. Since reading the book and I’ve been on a MISSION!

Annick makes it clear (pun intended 😉 ) in her book that your physical environment affects your health and well being. You know the terrible feeling when you’re house has piles of clutter and needs a good cleaning, right? When my house is like that I feel down, depressed, and frozen. I don’t even know where to start. The solution is to just start with one spot! Just do something! Action will beget action!

Once the house is cleaned, smelling great, and full of sparkle, isn’t that the BEST feeling in the world!? For me it is, and it motivates me to do more for my home and myself. When my home to-do list is short and manageable, I’m able to tackle other things that often are put on the back burner like self-care.

I still have areas in my home to work on like my going through my clothes, shoes, and recipes, but I’m feeling really great about my progress since starting this process on January 1st. 🙂

“We only accept our circumstances when we believe there is no other way.” -Chapter 2 p.26

But there IS another way! Below are some way you can take action today to clear your clutter!

Your Action Steps to Clear Your Clutter:

1. Start small. It’s easy to allow clutter to overwhelm you and cause you to freeze and take no action at all. I suggest setting a timer for 15 minutes and tackle one pile of clutter. That’s it! Anyone can set aside 15 minutes and get a small job done. You can start with a drawer, the top of your desk, your shoes, your make up, or a cabinet space that’s messy.

2. Donate items on the regular. Have a system in place (a box in the garage will do!) to place unwanted items or clothes that are too small for a monthly trip to a donation center.

3. Sell valuable items that you no longer need. If you have valuable items that need a new home, have a yard sale, post them on Craig’s List, or list them on eBay. I’ve personally found that this isn’t worth my time unless it’s something is worth over $75. We typically donate, but if you’re just beginning this process, it may be worth selling some of the more valuable items. Use the money to reinvest in your home environment!

4. Be willing to throw away things you don’t need that you can’t give away or sell. This is tough for so many. It’s hard to let go of that item we *might* use some day or *might* wear again. If you haven’t used it in the last year, it’s likely you won’t use it ever again.

5. Refurbish items and make them delightful again so they serve to beautify your home rather than clutter it.

Consider this piece by Kristen from Reimagine At Home. She took this old dresser and repurposed it into a television stand. It is fresh, light, and fun not to mention the drawer space that will help with the clutter in the room. These drawers can hold remote controls, dvd cases, books, games, and other items you use in the living space.

Reimagine.collage

6. Establish systems for items that typically clutter the home. This includes clothing, shoes, mail, bills, book bags, and school work.

My husband is a pro at this when it comes to mail! He has a rule to only touch a piece of mail once. It gets trashed or put in its’ home (bills go to the bill basket, invites are written on the calendar and placed on the refrigerator *if* we need to keep them, and junk mail goes to recycling).

When you have systems in place, you’ll never have to worry about your house looking like “what my mom sees” below!

The Challenge and Signed Book Giveaway!

(This giveaway is CLOSED. Thanks to all who participated! xo)

Follow these steps to participate in the #ClearBookGiveaway and enter the drawing for a FREE, SIGNED copy of Annick’s book:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post or on this facebook post telling me why you would want to win this book.

2. For a bonus entry, post a before picture of the space that you desire to de-clutter (it can be your car, a drawer, your bathroom cabinet, a desk, anything as small or large you would like to tackle with Annick’s guidance). Post the photo on facebook and/or Instagram. It needs to be a public post so that I can see it. Use the hashtag #ClearBookGiveaway. Each post I can see will give you an entry. 🙂 Tag me if you post on Instagram!

3. For a second bonus entry, publicly share this blog post with your friends and family using the hashtag #ClearBookGiveaway. If it’s not public, I will not be able to see the post or give you credit for the entry.

I will draw a name from the entries on Tuesday night, 1/27/2015 at 9 p.m. EST to announce the winner of the book!

clutter.before.after

What do you feel when you look at the before picture? What about the after picture? To me, it’s stress vs. peace.

 

Annick Magac is an author, entrepreneur, health coach and design expert. She knows first-hand that an often overlooked aspect of our lives may contribute to our inability to succeed. In Clear, Magac explains how the physical environment is a reflection of your inner self. This environment can cause you to become stagnant or propel you toward living a fearless life surrounded by beauty. Using Magac’s tried and true techniques, you will also learn how to rehab your environment so it reflects and releases your true inner self. And when your true inner self is free you will find that anything is possible.

Are you ready to get Clear?

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Follow along as many are starting to get their hands on this book and clear their clutter! The hashtag for this book is #ClearBook, so check that out on Instagram and facebook.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your pricing does not go up, but if you purchase through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!
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My 8 Week Progress Report for #OperationRefocus

I just finished week #8 of working with my coach, Roman. Below is my current progress check in!

  • My Plan general overview from coach Roman: My November plan is still in play until further notice. I switched from the “insulin reset” phase to a “feast and fast” phase 3 weeks ago (more details below). My macros changed up a bit (higher carbs, slightly less fat than the first phase, and protein has increased).

The newest change brought a feasting period for 1 day each week. What that means is I can eat anything I want (preferably higher carbohydrates) beginning at lunch time, but I’m supposed to stop before I feel stuffed. I posted what I ate in the “my successes” section.

On the flip side of the “feasting period” is a FULL fasting day. :/

For the first 2 weeks of this plan, I feasted on Saturday and fasted beginning Saturday night until Monday morning at breakfast. The third week I adjusted my feasting period to coincide with Thanksgiving of course! 🙂

I’m working out a total of 6 days – 3 strength, 1 bodyweight circuit, and 2 cardio/HIIT style workouts. The style of workout changed from traditional strength training to escalating density training. This increases work volume and testosterone. All of this is great for muscle building and for fat loss!

  • My Successes: I’m very consistent with my workouts. As a matter of fact, I’ve only missed 1 workout in the entire 8 weeks. There have been a few times that I shortened a couple of circuits or substituted exercises at a hotel gym, but my consistency had been ON POINT. I continue to increase my weights in the strength workouts. My goals of getting stronger overall and stronger with my pull ups are definitely coming along!

I fully succeeded with my feast days. It wasn’t hard to do at all. Ha! You may wonder what I ate?!?

Well- The first week I had a normal breakfast for me, fajita chicken salad with chips and salsa, 3 slices of pizza for dinner followed by a donut and a package of Justin’s organic peanut butter cups. Yum! I had no GI issues from this. CELEBRATE!

The 2nd week I had IHOP for lunch (1/2 pancakes and 1/2 French toast with syrup plus eggs and bacon) then a normal dinner of grilled chicken and vegetables. For dessert I had 2 mini candy bars from my boys’ Halloween candy and a slice of creamy peanut butter pie from my favorite place. The IHOP meal gave me a tummy ache. 🙁

Then the 3rd week was Thanksgiving, so I just enjoyed all the plentiful food my family had available! It was so delicious, but I did get a slight tummy ache from the feast. BOO!

  • My Struggles: My biggest struggle over the last few weeks has definitely been the fasting period. With that said, I’ve made it all three times and ultimately felt fine. It’s gotten easier each week which is encouraging. During my fast, I’m allowed to have water, black coffee, and green tea. Once, I broke down and had a diet limeade to give my belly something to do besides talk to me. 😉 Basically, I feel physical hunger only a few times (under 5) during the fast. I ride the “hunger wave” and then it subsides. Of course the growling stomach hits on Sunday right in the middle of Bible class just in time to embarrass me! Lol. The good news is that I’ve woken up each day after my fast and been full of energy to crush my workout before breaking my fast. That part amazes me! I totally thought I’d struggle through, but no (to my pleasant surprise!).

 

  • My Outcomes so far:

Mentally, I’m stronger, more confident, balanced yet focused. Physically, I’m stronger too!

As for my overall numbers – I’ve lost…

  •  in bodyweight – 3 pounds
  •  in body fat – just over 1%
  •  in inches – 1″ from below my belly button, 3/4″ from my waist, and about 1/4-1/2 of an inch from both my thigh and upper arm, no inches lost in the other areas I measured (rib cage, hips)

The numbers haven’t changed from week 5, but I can see a difference in my photos. Let’s be honest though, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving to the fullest, so remaining steady is a great thing! I’m a day or 2 away from “shark week” so honestly, it’s not the best time to weigh and measure. 😉

Anyway, numberwise, my body is being a bit stubborn on me. I’m excited to get my next phase any day now and see the tweaks made to deal with this stubbornness. If my weight was staying the same and my body fat was decreasing, there would be no issue. That would actually be a great sign of body recomposition! For now, I’m holding steady which I’m ok with. I’m realizing that where I am right now is exactly where my body is perfectly HAPPY. To get beyond this point in the past, it took drastic measures that I’m not willing to do this go around. If coach Roman has a way to move me beyond this point without my losing hair, losing my period, and becoming an emotional wreck, then I welcome it. If not, I’m just fine where I’m at continue my pursuit of strength and meeting goals!

That’s it for now… I will post again in few weeks and letcha know what changes I’m implementing!

Post in the comments (or in the linked facebook post) to let me know what goals you are working on! I’d love to hear from you and cheer you on!!!

xo ~Jill

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How to Get Your Priorities Straight Once and For All

Meet my friend, Maryalice. 🙂

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Maryalice Goldsmith, Founder of InsideOut Wellness

Maryalice, over the past couple of years, has become a great friend of mine. We me in Winston-Salem, NC at a photo shoot for fitness professionals that was hosted by our mutual business coach, Jill Coleman.  I was immediately drawn to Maryalice’s lively personality and energetic presence. Plus, she’s hilarious and makes me laugh out loud constantly when we are together-  and who doesn’t love laughter?!? It’s healing for the soul! We had a fun weekend getting to know each other and have been friends ever since!

 

Maryalice is a leader when it comes to working with clients to lower stress, set priorities in order, and pursue a fulfilled life! This is a journey she knows very well herself (as you will read below), so she’s the perfect person to offer her perspective on how to go about pursuing your own purpose. Maryalice a person who sets out to help others every single day!

 

I was chatting with Maryalice recently, and she mentioned that she had a “Finding Your Purpose” program she’d been using with her own clients. This was an exciting revelation since I’m often asked by busy women about how to stay motivated and how to keep health and fitness a priority.   I asked Maryalice if she’d make an appearance on my blog to share some ideas about how she navigated this journey and offer you some tips on getting started with setting priorities in line with your goals and purpose!

 

Enjoy this journey with Maryalice… 🙂

Hey everyone, I am thrilled to be here on Jill’s blog and even more excited to share a bit about my journey. So thank you for being here!

A few years ago I had one of those revelations, you know the kind that people talk about that changes their whole life…puts things into perspective – that kind. But, unlike many people who have those ‘A-HA’ moments, mine was more of an ‘A-HA’ journey.

I think many of you can relate to those times in your life when you are driving along and you think ‘There must be something more ~ this can’t be it!’ I have to tell you while having these thoughts there was no way I wanted to share it with anyone. I actually felt a bit guilty as I had a pretty awesome life. I was married to my high school sweetheart for 16-years, we had 3-awesome boys, and at the time a beautiful fur-baby (our Yellow-Lab – Abby, now we have 2!). Life was good and there was no way I should be feeling sorry for myself and looking for more. But, in all honestly, I was.

I had this ‘Ho-Hum’ feeling. Every day seemed the same and in one word I was bored. It sounds ridiculous now, but at that time it was what it was. I was a stay-at-home mom, a dream of my husband and mine and I loved being a mom for my boys, there is no greater blessing. I think that is why I was even more dumbfounded. Here I had anything I could have ever wanted and still wasn’t satisfied, I wasn’t 100% happy. This was a struggle because I was ashamed.

Then the journey began…

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One day a friend of mine introduced me to this book called the Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly. I hadn’t read a book in I don’t know how long so I was excited to have a book that came highly recommended. I began to read this book and I was having those ‘A-HA’ moments non-stop! There was so much he was speaking about that was resonating.

  • Lacking focus
  • Feeling bored with life
  • Lacking energy – depression and frustration
  • The yearning for something more.

He spoke about how many of us struggle with lack of direction and focus…(Hello – I can so relate!) how we allow ourselves to get caught up in the chaos of life without taking the time to touch base with our soul. We let stress, anxiety, and frustration to build up and we block ourselves from true happiness.

I decided that I was not going to take these ‘A-HA’ moments and do nothing with them – I was going to start my process ~ my journey inward. I began to meditate every morning – I would wake before the entire house and I would sit in complete stillness. This was REALLY hard to get used to, but once I did, it became a highlight of my day. I would then journal and express what was on my heart and mind.

4-Key elements we all need to focus on…

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There were 4-key elements I would address at the end of my journal entry – how was I going to address my spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical needs of that day? I would dedicate part of my day to address these 4-area’s because in that I was honoring my soul. When we honor our soul ~ when we give our soul a voice we are then able to be the very best version of ourselves, we are able to thrive.

This journey was an amazing experience. It made me realize that I wasn’t lacking in anything except the connection to myself. I had lost myself. I was undefined – lacking focus, energy, and my purpose. I had entrenched myself in my role of a wife and a mother, which is a great thing, but as the kids got older and needed me less I became more and more lost.

It takes more than an ‘A-HA’ moment to reveal your true purpose!

Self-discovery of any kind takes time and commitment. The more I practiced stillness the better I got at it. The more I addressed my physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual needs the more I discovered who I was, what I loved, who inspired me, and who I inspired. I began to live my life with purpose and everything changed – Everything!

I remember waiting for my youngest son to come home after school one day, he was 8-years old at the time. I saw the bus come through the neighborhood, so I jumped up to meet him outside. He came running up the hill to our house and I said: “Hey buddy, how was your day!?” He looked up at me with a quizzical stare and simply said: “Why are you so happy!?

Now someone might have taken offense to this, but for me, it was so affirming. I was not happy the way I was living. I wasn’t miserable either but there is a difference between a person who is grateful and aware and one who is always in search of something more. When you look at someone who is lost and confused versus someone who is confidently clear about his or her life – there is a HUGE difference. This was a profound moment for me. I knew I had revealed my purpose through my practice and the work I had put in. Even more importantly, I knew just how important it was to live with purpose and how it can have a profound impact on one’s life and the people in it.

It doesn’t take a miracle, just respecting your process…

There is no miracle here, by any means. Like I said, there was no one ‘A-HA’ moment that changed my life forever, there is a process and a journey that led me back to me. This process has given me clarity, direction, inspiration, and passion for living my best life yet. If it weren’t for this process I wouldn’t be typing this right now. It allowed me to take risks to design the life of my dreams from the inside out!

I am a believer that when you discover or learn something it is our obligation to share it with as many people as we possibly can. In fact, I have discovered that one of my main reasons I am on this earth is to help others – to bring people to a better understanding of themselves. Doesn’t necessarily matter how I do that, but I know that when I am doing it, I get fired up in a really good way! I am living with purpose. Are you living with purpose?

Pursuing Purpose (1)

 

There is no need to rush your process. This is your journey and should be respected as such.

People who live with purpose are more focused, grateful, happy, and successful. Their success comes from, not so much in what they are doing but more from the fact that no matter what it is they do, they do it well. They are fulfilled and they embrace life 100%. Their priorities are in order and they go to great lengths to address them daily. They know themselves to the core and they live their life based on their values and morals. They are ‘doers’, risk takers, and they live a passionate life. We all deserve that!

If you have any questions you can reach me here: info@insideout-wellness.net

In Health & Fitness,
Maryalice

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5 Week Progress Report for #OperationRefocus

By Jill Jacobs

I just finished week #5 of working with my new coach, Roman. Below is my 5 week progress check in!

  •  My Plan general overview from coach Roman: My November plan came recently, and my jaw dropped! I’m switching from the “insulin reset” phase to a “feast and fast” phase (more details below). My macros changed up a bit (a little higher carbs, slightly less fat, and protein is increased slightly). The newest change though is a feasting period for 1/2 day. What that means is I can eat anything I want, preferably higher carbohydrates, but I’m supposed to stop before I feel stuffed. The kicker is that I follow the “feasting period” with a fasting day- Yikes! My plan is to “feast” on Saturday afternoon until bed and then fast on Sunday. I’ll break the fast on Monday at breakfast. I admit, this is going to be hard, so wish me luck! My initial reaction to this plan was the same as October’s – “What have I gotten myself into???” Haha!

I’m working out a total of 6 days – 3 strength, 1 bodyweight circuit, and 2 cardio/HIIT style workouts. This is similar to last month, but the style of workout changed from traditional strength training to density training. This will increase work volume and testosterone. All this is great for muscle building and for fat loss!

  • My Successes: I’m very consistent with my workouts. The sheer volume of what I’m doing has probably doubled from what I was doing before hiring Roman. I’m eating more to keep up with my body’s needs. The workouts are challenging, but I’ve gone up in weight on so many things!
  • My Struggles: Besides the struggle to eat so much food, my biggest struggle since my last update has been Halloween candy. 😉 I didn’t go overboard, but I ate, over time, more than I’d like to have eaten. I only ate my favorite things. I didn’t make “mindless” choices, so that’s a win! On the nutrition front, Roman has me tracking my macros to make sure I’m getting the correct amount of everything. That pretty much stinks and is time consuming. I haven’t been on top of that during November, but I’m good at eyeballing portions and knowing the macros. I’ve re-dedicated to tracking to spot check myself.
  • My Outcomes so far:

I’ve lost…

  •  in bodyweight – 3 pounds
  •  in body fat – just over 1%
  •  in inches – 1″ from below my belly button, 3/4″ from my waist, and about 1/4-1/2 of an inch from both my thigh and upper arm, no inches lost in the other areas I measured (rib cage, hips)

PLUS….

  • I’m feeling stronger and more confident!
  • I’m feeling very focused! I’ve not been this focused on me and my personal goals in over a year, so it’s nice! 😀

That’s it for now…I plan to post every few weeks and fill you in on what’s going on!

Head over to the post below over on facebook and share some of your progress as of late! I’d love to hear from you and cheer you on!!!

xo ~Jill

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5 Reasons Kettlebells are Great for Women {Bonus: New Workout}

Everyone who knows me either online or in real life KNOWS my love affair with kettlebells!

 

This affair started back in early 2010. Once I was introduced to kettlebells and all the many benefits of utilizing them, there was no turning back! I practiced and practiced at the gym, and I studied everything I could get my hands on. I watched countless Youtube videos on how to use kettlebells with proper form.

 

During one of my internet study sessions, I happened upon Neghar Fonooni’s Youtube channel and literally watched every video she had on there. I saw a strong woman with lots of kettlebell skills. I saw a woman that I’d like to learn from and emulate. She was the REAL DEAL! Needless to say, I’ve continued to learn from Neghar through all these years in various ways (thank you internet!) including her latest 12-week kettlebell program appropriately titled “Lean and Lovely.”

 

Since Neghar is an elite kettlebell instructor, fitness and lifestyle coach, mom, and a mentor of mine, I asked her if she’d do me the honor of sharing with my readers some of the reasons why the kettlebell is a FABULOUS tool for women. She agreed! Take it away, Neghar…. 🙂
Neghar Fonooni Headshot 33 Web

Neghar Fonooni, Creator of Lean & Lovely

A few years ago, I was a single mom, full-time trainer, and full-time student. It was not uncommon to find me training clients as early as 6 am and as late as 8 pm, then coming home to blog, and after my son’s bedtime, studying until 2 am. These were some of the most demanding and character building years of my life, and while I was often challenged, they led me to learn how to find success through struggle. In fact, I often look back on these years with great fondness, as they taught me so much about myself as a mother, trainer, and entrepreneur.

As you can imagine, though, I was physically and mentally exhausted a great deal of the time. Much to my dismay, I spent so much time writing programs for clients and keeping up with my blog, that my own workouts would often suffer. This was problematic, not just because of the physical implications, but because exercise is what keeps me sane. Movement is a significant part of what keeps me balanced—and going even one day without really moving leaves me feeling not-so-much like myself.

Yet somehow, even with all the craziness of these trying times, I was able to regularly get my sweaty, and in turn, keep my sanity and sense of balance. Somehow, amidst the studying, training, writing, and mothering, I was able to stay fit. My secret weapon?

The kettlebells in my living room. 

They may be but oddly shaped hunks of iron, but they saved me during a time of extreme overload. Little by little, my small family of kettlebells grew, until I owned at least one of each size from 12kg-28kg, ensuring a solid home workout no matter how bust things became. Just having a few pieces of equipment at home, simple tools that would help me sweat even if I couldn’t get to the gym, are what kept me consistent despite the constant tug of responsibility.

While I used kettlebells with my clients regularly at the gym (in conjunction with barbells, dumbbells, bands, etc.) I never truly appreciated their versatility and worth until I was often relegated to working out with kettlebells alone. These little hunks of iron have so many benefits, especially for women, which is why I chose to center my Lean & Lovely program completely around them. Now, you can certainly use any equipment for the program, and there’s nothing inherently magical about the kettlebell itself—but its benefits are so extensive, that I recommend every woman get her hands on one.

What makes these ancient tools, once only used my Russian special forces, so fabulous for women? Let’s take a look.

Total Body

Unlike many workouts that have you training one body part at a time, most kettlebell movements engage your entire body at once. Kettlebell movements are dynamic and multi-joint, allowing for total recruitment of the body.

Take the kettlebell swing, for example: With just one move you’re working your glutes, quads, abs, lats, and shoulders, all while burning fat and revving your metabolism. Kettlebell training combines stability, flexibility, strength, and cardio, allowing you to simultaneously build muscle and burn body fat.

What’s especially unique to the kettlebell is its handle, which creates an offset center of gravity. This makes it ideal for dynamic movements like swings and snatches and causes your stabilizing muscles to have to work over time, particularly in exercises like presses and Turkish Get Ups.

Being able to use your entire body with a handful of exercises is a huge benefit, which leads me to the next reason why kettlebells are awesome for women.

Kettlebells Save Time

We all know that exercise is important, right? Yet that doesn’t always prompt us to grab our sneakers and hit the gym. In fact, when I ask women why they don’t currently exercise, the number one reason I hear is that they don’t have time. Trust me, I get that. Human-mom, dog-mom, entrepreneur, coach, wife, writer, chef—these are all hats I wear at intervals on a daily basis. I know what it’s like to be busy and to feel like there’s no possible way I can fit exercise into the rest of my hustle.

However, with just a few minutes of exercise each day, you’ll actually be more capable of completing all of these day-to-day activities. Exercise increases energy and immunity, not to mention the requisite physical strength to tackle daily tasks like hauling groceries, moving furniture, and playing with our kids.

I remember the day I realized my son had outgrown his toddler bed, and it was time to invest in a twin. It was an emotional day to say the least! But, as was necessary, I drove to Ikea, picked out a suitable bed, and loaded it into my crossover. When I got home, I realized that I didn’t have anyone to help me bring it inside: such is the life of a single mom. So, with no other options readily available, I proceeded to hoist and haul the bed on my own—up the stairs, down the stairs, with a few breaks in between, until I finally reached my son’s bedroom. I don’t think I’d ever been so aware of the practical benefits of exercise and weightlifting until that moment.

Bottom line: exercise needs to be a priority. And strength needs to be an even bigger priority at that. Time or no time, we have to make it happen.

Because kettlebells engage the entire body in a unique way, lack of time is no longer a relevant issue. Rather than spending hours at the gym, you can complete a full-body kettlebell workout in as little as 10-20 minutes. Surprisingly, when I tell women that all they need to initially get results is 10 minutes, they don’t seem to want to believe me. And, it’s not hard to understand why.

For years we’ve been told that we need to spend absurd amounts of time in order to see results, and in turn, short workouts just seemed ineffective and too good to be true. I’ve seen training programs that call for 2 hours in the gym, and on the flip side, I’ve seen short workouts that don’t seem very effective at all. The great thing about kettlebells is that you can actually utilize them to get an intense, fat-burning, strength-building workout in very little time. Now, of course, you’ll want to take a little more time on some workouts than others, but isn’t a 10-minute workout better than no workout at all?

My philosophy on exercise is that more isn’t better–BETTER is better. So, spending more time working out is not necessarily better than being more efficient while working out. As you’ll see with the sample workout below, sometimes all you need is one kettlebell and a few basic exercises to complete a total body metabolic resistance workout.

Kettlebell Workouts are Fun

This is really the thing that keeps me exercising. Honestly, if it isn’t fun, why even do it?! As a coach, I recognize this often with my clients. If they aren’t enjoying the workouts, then they fail to be consistent—and why should they be? If they’re not enjoying themselves, then what’s the point?

I didn’t use to have this philosophy. Years ago I would grind away at the gym, often getting frustrated with myself for not performing how I thought I should. I’d beat myself up if I missed a lift or if I had to take it easy for whatever reason. Lifting weights was a means to an end for me, not an experience in and of itself. Then one day, as I watched my son play, I was reminded of a line from the romantic comedy Knocked Up.  Paul Rudd’s character, Pete, is watching his daughters play with bubbles on the playground, running around and laughing in the carefree way that children do. He ponders their play by saying:

“That’s an incredible thing about a child. I mean, what’s so great about bubbles…I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles…they’re smiling faces just point out your inability to enjoy anything.”

All jokes aside, this really hit me. Hard. Why was I grinding away at the gym again? Why wasn’t I actually enjoying this very integral part of my life?

These days I make exercise fun by incorporating yoga, bike rides on the beach, trampoline jumping with my family, stand up paddle boarding, and of course, kettlebell training. Kettlebells are especially fun as there’s just something so gratifying about tossing around a hunk of iron. And because they are so different than what we’re used to, we gain pleasure from the much-needed change of pace. Most women I speak to have a hard time sticking with an exercise routine because it bores them, but once they start using kettlebells, they experience a rush of childish play.

Kettlebells are Versatile and Travel-Friendly

It’s pretty incredible what you can do with just one kettlebell (as you’ll see in the attached beginner workout). All you need is just one moderately sized kettlebell in order to achieve an effective, total body, fat-burning workout. This makes kettlebells especially appealing to busy moms and career women, given that you can transport your kettlebell wherever you need it to go.

I’ve taken kettlebells on road trips, to the beach, to the park, and even to my girlfriend’s homes for buddy workouts (just make sure to buckle them in with seatbelts!). They’re so easy to keep at home and store out of sight when not in use. This kind of versatility makes it more likely that you’ll stay consistent as well, considering that you may not always have access to a gym.

Kettlebells are a Safe Introduction to Weightlifting

Stepping into the weight room can be intimidating at first. I know this from my own experience, and I hear it constantly from readers and clients.

I remember my first trip to the YMCA weight room. I was 17 and had just started working there as an administrative assistant. I was one of the only girls, and I had NO IDEA what I was doing. So, I just started picking up things and putting them down, messing about with no real plan or purpose. It was a little nerve-wracking, and it’s actually quite amazing that I escaped injury-free. These days I have a love affair with lifting weights, but it took years to cultivate.

As a coach, I often meet women who are afraid to either lift weights for fear of injury or are intimidated by the male-dominant weight room. I get that because I’ve been there myself. While I eventually get all of my clients to fall in love with lifting weights, I often start with kettlebells to simplify and safety-proof their workouts. You can deadlift a kettlebell far more easily than you can a barbell, and a swing is certainly more accessible to most than a barbell clean or snatch. Essentially, kettlebells offer a safe gateway to the versatile and varied world of weight lifting.

The age of women being relegated to the cardio machines is quickly coming to a close. More and more, we’re found lifting weights and accomplishing incredible feats of strength. This is an exciting time for women, and as a women’s coach, I couldn’t be more pumped. With the benefits of kettlebells in mind, I invite you to try this simple (but killer) beginner workout. I’m positive you’ll be hooked! ~Neghar

Kettlebell Workout

Ok Ladies!  Neghar’s Lean and Lovely Kettlebell Program is waiting for you to give it a try!

 

Lean & Lovely is a 12-week total transformation system, written by fitness and lifestyle expert Neghar Fonooni. It has amazing workouts, incredible nutrition information, and a tremendous focus on mindset shifting. Truly, kettlebells for women!

 

If you’re tired of living extremes, either on or off a diet or workout plan, Neghar’s Lean and Lovely program is for you! It cultivates and encourages a balanced lifestyle of fitness, fun, palatable foods, adventure, and joyful living. So not only does it utilize kettlebells (you can also do most of the program with other fitness tools like dumbbells!), but it’s completely in line with my message of balance and my core value, “Enjoy the journey!” With #LeanAndLovely, you will have everything you need to transform your body and mind- workouts, nutrition guidance, and mindset insights. If you’ve been considering trying out kettlebells, NOW is the time.

 

Find all the details HERE and grab your copy of Lean and Lovely today!

 

Enjoy the program! xo ~Jill

 

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