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We All Can Lose our Motivation

Posted by larends on May 30, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

fruit_vegetables2Sorry, I dropped off the grid for a while.  I stopped exercising, stopped writing my blog and started eating too many snacks.  I’m not sure what happened.  I couldn’t get motivated.  I would try exercising and would do good for a couple days.  Then I would be lazy again.

I tried to convince myself that I was too busy.  I was busy, but I could have found some time to exercise at least a little bit each day.  I just couldn’t find the motivation.  I started craving more and more snacks and unhealthy foods.  I know that I have a lot going on and I’ve taken on more things than I have time for.  As a result, I’m not getting as much sleep, so that could be affecting my motivation.  I also find that when I have a lot to do, I have a hard time choosing what to focus on and end up not getting anything done.

I recently started exercising again and after a week and a half of exercising I could see the difference in how I felt and how my clothes fit.  You would think that seeing results would help motivate me to continue to exercise.  Sometimes that doesn’t seem to be enough.

I just took a quiz recently that said I am a carboholic.  I have been eating and craving a lot of carbs lately, especially unhealthy carbs.  This could explain my low energy.  There are healthy carbs and unhealthy carbs.

Healthy carbs include: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, Swiss chard and salad greens.

Unhealthy carbs include:  breads, cereal, pasta, potatoes, crackers, rice, and sweets.

Unhealthy carbs don’t fill you up, so you tend to eat more.  The recommendation for my metabolic type (carboholic) is to replace some of the unhealthy carbs with healthy carbs.  This is supposed to make me less tired and crave fewer carbs.

Another metabolic quiz that I took said that I have a mixed metabolic type (I crave both sweet and salty foods), which means I should eat equal parts of protein, fats and good carbs.  I haven’t been eating as much protein lately, so this also makes sense that I have been low on energy.

A third quiz that I took said that I burn protein and fats better than carbs and 50%  of my meals should be protein, 30% carbs and only 20% good carbs.

Well, the main thing I learned from these quizzes is that I need to increase my protein intake and replace the unhealthy carbs with healthier carbs.   This shows that what you are eating can affect your energy, motivation, and activity level.

It’s time to get back on track.  Many people make a New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and get back in shape.  Did you know May is National Recommitment Month in the U.S.?  Let’s make a new commitment to get in shape.  We may get off track and even give up sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start again.

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Setbacks May Help Motivate Us

Posted by larends on March 31, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

leah headshotIt’s frustrating when you have been doing well eating healthy, exercising, and losing weight and you suddenly realize you are no longer on track.  How did this happen?  It’s like you are going down the road and you took a wrong turn.  You don’t remember turning off the road you were on, but suddenly you are lost.  This same thing can happen when you are exercising on a regular basis and you realize you have missed several days in a row.  Many things can cause this.  You get really busy in your life and don’t have time to exercise or you get bored with your routine or maybe you get sick or injured and have to take time to recover.  Next thing you know it’s been 1 week, 2 weeks, or a month without exercise.

This happened to me recently.  After we got back from vacation I had so much to catch up on and I was really busy at work.  I went three weeks in a row without exercising and it showed.  I gained a couple of pounds.  I felt out of shape, tired and short of breath after doing moderate activities.  Then, I knew I needed to get back to exercising, but it was hard to get motivated.  When you haven’t been exercising, it’s hard to find energy to start again.

Sometimes setbacks help us learn and grow and help us improve.  When we get off track it can be a wakeup call and may motivate us to work harder.  Failure also makes us stronger.  Michael Jordan was one of the best basketball players in the NBA and the reason he did so well is because he made many mistakes and it made him work harder to be the best.  The following quote by Michael Jordan says it all: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

The important thing is to keep trying and learn from your mistakes.  Never give up.

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”  Vince Lombardi

No matter how many times you get off track and stop exercising, you can get back on track.  Commit to doing just 10 minutes of exercise per day.  Even if it’s just a 10 minute walk.  Everyone can fit in 10 minutes and once you start on a regular basis it will become a habit.  You will start to have more energy and soon you’ll start exercising for longer periods of time.  You will work your way up to 30 minutes per day and you’ll start feeling better.

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Are You Afraid to Show Your True Self?

Posted by larends on March 22, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

Do you ever feel like you are acting a certain way or saying certain things because you are trying to get others to like you?  I came across an interesting blog post at http://thinksimplenow.com/happiness/authentic-self/ that gave tips on being your true self.  This article really caught my attention, because there are times when I don’t feel like I’m showing my true self.  I start to question whether things I do or say are really how I feel or if I’m just trying to please others.  I think I tend to be a people pleaser.  I want others to like me and may often keep my opinions to myself rather than say something that others will disagree with.

When I got married and had a baby, I wanted to prove to everyone that I was responsible and could handle it, so I went from being a rowdy college student to a serious, responsible adult.  I’ve also played this role in every job I’ve worked since and my coworkers are often surprised when I do something fun or crazy because they don’t expect that from me.  I also don’t like to drink very often in front of my kids because I want to set a good example for them.  I feel it’s important to be a good role model for them.

So, I ask myself, is this the real me or have I been playing a role for most of my adult life?  I’m not sure if I know the answer to that.  I have been told by someone that what they like about me is that I don’t care what others think.  The funny thing is that I do care.  However, I have been judged by others when I choose not to drink or don’t drink as much as they do.  There have even been many times that we are not invited to a night out because “we aren’t into that kind of thing.”  I used to be offended by it, but I finally realized that I’d rather spend time with real friends that don’t judge me.  I guess the fact that I stand my ground and don’t change who I am no matter how others treat me should tell me that I am being true to myself.

Being true to yourself is also important when you are trying to lose weight.  If you are committed to losing weight, you need to stick to what you believe in.  Others will try to influence you or tempt you, but if you are true to yourself, you will not let them knock you off track.  Always put yourself first and don’t worry about what others think.  Just remember, you are valuable just as you are.  You are the only person just like you, so don’t be afraid to show your true self and be who you are.  The more you believe in yourself, the more confidence you will have and the more your true friends will believe in you and support you.

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Can You Resist the Temptation?

Posted by larends on March 8, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

doughnutWhat did you eat on Fat Tuesday?  Fat Tuesday is the day before Lent begins.  Many people give up something or fast during Lent as a sacrifice.  Fat Tuesday is a day that many people feast before Lent begins.  One food that has become popular to eat on Fat Tuesday is paczki, a fried doughnut usually filled with a fruit filling.   A paczki can have between 400 to 1200 calories.

Someone brought paczki in to where I work on Fat Tuesday.  It was tempting to eat one, especially when everyone else was eating one, but I resisted.  Fortunately, I had done an intense workout of squats and lunges 2 days before and was still feeling the muscle pain, so I didn’t want to waste that hard work by eating something so unhealthy.  That’s one advantage of working out.  It often helps you make better choices with your eating, because you’ve worked so hard to burn the calories that you don’t want to undo that hard work.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way.  Sometimes when people work out, they feel justified to eat more snacks, treats, or just eat more calories.  Too often people eat more calories than they burned when working out and they wonder why they don’t lose weight.  This is a common problem.

Your weight is affected by 80% of what you eat and 20% of the exercise that you do.  It’s more important to eat healthy than to exercise.

We just returned from a vacation at Disney World.  We did a lot of walking and my legs felt great from the exercise!  However, we were somewhat limited to what we could eat, because we had to choose whatever they served at the resort and Disney parks.  Fortunately, they did offer great tasting fruit.  Eating out is always a challenge and I did my best to choose healthy options.  I ended up maintaining my weight.  I didn’t lose any, but I didn’t gain any.  I consider that a success.

Be sure to celebrate each little success.  Each little success can add up to a big success.  If you can’t resist some temptations, don’t beat yourself up.  Just get back on track and celebrate those times that you do.  Sometimes resisting temptations is the biggest success, so give yourself a pat on the back.

Your Circle of Friends Directly Influences Your Health

Posted by larends on February 16, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

circle%20of%20friendsYour family and friends are the biggest influence to you being successful at losing weight.  The people you spend the most time with determine your perspective and how you view things.  If your family and friends eat a lot of junk food, you may think you eat pretty healthy because you don’t eat a lot of snacks.  If your friends think apple pie is healthy just because it has fruit in it, it can affect your view of what is healthy and what is not.

If the people you spend time with don’t eat healthy, you may not realize how unhealthy you are eating.  You may be in denial.  We tend to eat what those around us eat.  There are many foods that have fruits or vegetables in it, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy.

  • Let’s take the example of apple pie.  There may be apples in it, but the sugar and fat make this an unhealthy choice if you are trying to lose weight.
  • Muffins are another example of something that we may think are a healthy alternative, but they could have a lot of sugar and calories.
  • Fruit juice also may contain a lot of sugar and calories, so even if it has vitamins from the fruit it could deter your weight loss goals.
  • Protein bars are another example of a food that is thought to be healthy, but other than providing protein has no real benefit and could have many calories.
  • Fat free foods are not calorie free, so they can be deceiving.
  • There is a common misperception that organic foods or vegan foods are healthier.  Don’t be fooled by this marketing ploy.
  • Soup seems like a safe, healthy option, but many soups are loaded with sodium.  Low sodium, broth based soups are a better option than cream or chowder soups.
  • Granola and cereal may have a lot of sugar and fat, so check the ingredients.
  • Fish is a healthy food, but if it’s fried it has a lot of fat and becomes not so healthy.

These are just a few types of foods that may seem healthy, but are not.  If you are discouraged to learn that many things you thought were healthy are really not healthy after all, there’s still hope.  The key is to stick to whole foods with just one ingredient, such as, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, beans, nuts and milk.  Once you start adding other ingredients, they can become unhealthy.

Many people don’t realize how unhealthy some foods are.  Your friends and family may not be aware that they are eating unhealthy.  You can help them learn what’s healthy.  What do you do if they don’t want to eat healthy?  You can set an example and eat healthy yourself, but you can’t make someone else want to be healthy.

Being around people that are unhealthy can make it a challenge if you are trying to lose weight.  If those around you don’t want to make healthy choices, you need to find a group of people that do.

We all have a need to belong, so when our friends, family or co-workers offer us food, even if it is unhealthy, we feel the need to accept it.  We feel the need to share things with them and often that involves food.

So, if you are trying to lose weight and your circle of friends are unhealthy, don’t be discouraged.  You just need to find others who want to be healthy and encourage each other to eat right and exercise.

“Like” my health and fitness Facebook page below and you will receive more helpful tips to getting healthy.



Mindful or Mindless Eating

Posted by larends on January 31, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

healthy plateHave you ever started eating something and before you know it, it’s gone?  A whole bag of chips, a whole bag of cookies, a pint of ice cream.  When you eat something and you aren’t thinking about it, you tend to eat more.  This is mindless eating.  This can happen so easily when you aren’t paying attention.  People are busy these days, so they try to multitask and eat while they do other things.  A lot of people eat while they work, while watching TV, while working on the computer, when they are at a sporting event, or even when they are driving.  When they eat while doing other things, they may not thoroughly enjoy the food and they don’t realize how much they are eating.  They may even forget how much they’ve eaten.  There’s proven research that shows people eat more when they are not concentrating on eating.

On the other hand, when you concentrate on what you are eating, you not only enjoy your food, but your mind and stomach register that you have eaten and you feel satisfied.  It’s important to be a mindful eater and pay attention to what you are eating.  You should eat your food slowly and enjoy each bite. When families sit down to eat together at the dinner table, they tend to eat better and eat less.

When you are in a hurry and grab food on the run, you are more likely to grab unhealthy foods.  Then when you are gone, you get hungry because your appetite was not satisfied and the fastest options to grab are more unhealthy foods.  This is a great reason to keep healthy snacks available in your car or at work, so you don’t choose the unhealthy options.

I found myself doing some mindless eating after Christmas.  There were so many snacks, candy, and cookies leftover from the holidays that I found myself munching on them every time I walked in the kitchen.  I’d even snack on junk while I was making dinner.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it half the time.  This is another reason you should make sure there are not unhealthy foods sitting out.  It’s too easy to eat a little here and a little there.  Keep healthy snacks readily available to eat when you are making meals, so you aren’t tempted by the snacks.

Take the time when you are eating something to really taste the food.  Chew it completely and focus on the taste and the texture.  Really enjoy it.  Use a smaller plate and fill it when you sit down to eat with ¼ healthy protein, ¼ whole grains, and the other half of the plate should be 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 fruits.  If you see a full plate, your brain registers all that food and as you eat slowly, your stomach receives the message that you are satisfied.  Eating slowly gives your body time to digest the food so you feel full.

Make a commitment to eat all meals and snacks at the table and really focus on the food.  Don’t eat snacks in front of the television.  If you only eat in the kitchen, you will cut down on the mindless eating.  You’ll be amazed at what a difference this makes.

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Find Your Inspiration

Posted by larends on January 10, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

I recently interviewed a friend that had lost weight the old fashioned way and looks great!
Her name is Cara and she made a commitment and stuck with it.  I wanted people to hear from someone that was successful in losing weight and to hear how she did it.  She used a
lot of the same suggestions that I have posted on my blog.  Below is my interview with Cara.

  • I understand you lost weight recently. To what do you attribute your success?
    I attribute my success to pure will and determination. Losing weight is extremely difficult, but if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it.
  • What inspired you to lose weight?
    I saw pictures of myself at a wedding and I was unhappy with the way I looked and I was almost 200lbs on the scale, that was a real motivator.
  • What kept you motivated to continue to lose weight?
    Each week when I would see a 2-3lb loss and even when it was a small amount the number on the scale was a huge motivator and my Weight Watcher’s leader was a big motivator as well.
  • Did anyone encourage you?
    I attend Weight Watchers weekly so the support you get from your peers and leader is great. My family and friends also encouraged me.
  • How much weight did you lose?
    So far I’ve lost 40 lbs give or take depending on the week :-)
  • How do you feel about your accomplishment?
    It feels great to be down about 40 lbs.  You don’t realize how much that is until it’s gone. I never felt like I was overweight but obviously I was and it was very eye opening.
  • What things did you find worked best for you?
    Weight Watchers has a simple start plan that worked great for me. I don’t like to count points or calories. I just want to eat good food and as MUCH as possible and you can do that when you’re eating healthy fruits, veggies and lean meats and SPICES.  It’s got to taste good so I learned to jazz up my food with herbs and spices.
  • What is your exercise regiment or routine?
    I do not like exercise in the least little bit so I would take things like cleaning and turn that into a workout or play outside with my kids (baseball, football).  I like to ride a bike and I would go for walks occasionally with friends so it’s more of a social hour than a “workout”.
  • What do you eat in a typical day?
    I do not miss breakfast that’s a major change I made.  I never used to eat breakfast, but now I eat something like a Special K breakfast sandwich or oatmeal (which I hate but it is filling and good for you). The rest of the day I just try to make good healthy choices but I also allow myself indulgences otherwise I would not make it and end up binging on junk food.  I try not to eat late, that was a BIG problem before, but if I am hungry I’ll reach for veggies and a low fat dip vs. high fat processed snacks.
  • Did you have a weight loss goal?
    I did.  My goal was to reach 150 lbs.  I keep waffling between 5-10 lbs of that goal, but if I never hit it, I’m still happy with the results I’ve attained at this point.
  • Did you have trouble sticking to your weight loss goal?
    Yes.  It was very hard in the beginning, but after about a month and the first few weeks of weigh-ins that showed pretty good losses I was hooked and that made it easier to stick with.
  • How long did it take you to lose the weight?
    It’s taken me about 10 months to get to this point.
  • What was the hardest thing you dealt with while losing weight?
    Cravings and changing my habits,  I never ate breakfast so making sure I did that daily was hard and then not eating bad things late at night but I just switched out high fat snacks for healthy things like veggies and fat free dip or fruit and that helped.

Thanks so much to Cara for allowing me to interview her.  Cara is definitely an inspiration to all of us.  I’m sure a lot of us can relate to the challenges Cara faced and overcame.

“Like” my health and fitness Facebook page below and you will receive more helpful tips to getting healthy.



Find a Fitness Partner

Posted by larends on January 5, 2015
Posted in Health and Fitness 

leah and nicoleMy daughter came home from college for Christmas break.  I love it when she is home, not just because I miss seeing her, but she is a great fitness partner.  Sometimes she helps get me motivated to exercise and sometimes I motivate her.  It’s good to have a fitness partner to keep you on track and keep you accountable.  It’s easy to lose focus when you just rely on yourself to stay motivated.  Many people have an internal drive to help them stay on track, but it doesn’t hurt to have an accountability partner to encourage you and remind you of what’s important.

If you become friends with those that strive to eat healthy and exercise, you will be more likely to do so yourself.  Plus, they will most likely help keep you accountable and encourage you to stay on track.  Many people like to help others and to feel needed.

When you have someone that you work out with on a regular basis, you can encourage each other and remind each other to work out.  You will be more likely to stick to it, so you don’t disappoint them.

My daughter also likes to cook and she makes some good healthy meals.  She made a really good fajita meal in the crock pot that was easy and healthy.  Here is the recipe:

Crock Pot Fajitas

  • 1 each red, green, yellow and orange bell peppers
  • ¼ cup of sliced onions
  • 3 breasts of boneless chicken
  • 1 package taco or fajita seasoning

Place bell peppers on bottom of crock pot.  Then cover with onion.  Place chicken breasts on top and cover with taco or fajita seasoning.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred chicken with a fork.  Mix all together.  Warm up tortillas (use whole grain to be healthier).  Add chicken mixture to tortilla; add shredded cheese and salsa (if desired).  This recipe is delicious!

My daughter has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Wayne State University and is getting her Master’s Degree in Wellness Management at Ball State University.

So go out and find a fitness partner that can help you reach your fitness goals.  If you are having trouble finding someone, join a gym or fitness support group to meet people that will be a good mentor.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are a lot of people out there that want to help you achieve your goals.  Groups like Weight Watchers are successful because they provide support and encouragement to those that want to lose weight.

My next blog post will be an interview that I did with a friend that was successful at losing weight and how she did it.

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Do Your Friends Support You?

Posted by larends on December 26, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

friendsDo you have friends that bring you dessert when you are trying to lose weight?  Maybe they bring you a plate of food, so you don’t have to walk down the stairs.  Your friends and family mean well.  They think they are helping you when they are actually sabotaging all of your hard work.

How do you respond when they do these helpful things?  Do you just say “Thank you”, because they are just trying to be thoughtful?  It’s hard to be angry or upset when someone does something for you and they think they are helping you.  You don’t want to tell them “no thanks”, because that would be rude.  The reality is that we sometimes use their offer to help as an excuse to give in to temptations.  It’s easier to accept the food and justify giving in to unhealthy options.

Do you struggle with temptation and find it impossible to resist when someone places food in front of you?  Maybe your family has always bonded over going out to eat or baking together.  You don’t want to give up these activities because this is a tradition or you enjoy spending this time with them, but you know it’s not helping you lose weight.

Does your spouse, friend, or roommate ask you to go out to eat on a regular basis?  You know that eating out is not as healthy as eating at home.  You bring a healthy lunch to work and coworkers ask you to go out to eat.  It’s difficult because you are trying to be healthy, but you don’t want to be rude and you enjoy their company.

What can you do?

  • Talk to your family and friends and tell them you need their help.
    • Let them know that you need their support and encouragement to avoid temptation.
    • Give them examples of things they can do to help you, like getting you some fresh fruit instead of dessert.
    • Ask them to help you avoid the dessert someone brought to work.
  • Find other activities that you can enjoy with your family instead of baking or eating out.
    • Try working out together
    • Take a walk together
    • Go shopping
    • Take up a new hobby like painting or some type of craft that you can do together.
    • Go to the local fitness center together
    • Take an exercise class together
    • Bond over new places like a museum, an amusement park, a spa, or historical places.
    • Try new activities like cross country skiing, sledding, tennis, mini golf, roller skating, or ice skating.
  • Find healthy options to replace eating out.
    • Find healthy new recipes to make together
    • Do some research of local restaurants and find those that offer healthy options.  Then stick to those restaurants.
    • Make a healthy picnic and eat it at a park or at the beach.
    • Go to a place where you can make meals ahead and freeze them (Often we just don’t feel like cooking).
    • Hire a friend to make healthy meals ahead for you.

The key is to let your friends know you need their help and support and tell them how they can help.  Then they will be more likely to help you.  If your friends or family continue to sabotage your efforts, you need to be honest with them.  They may not realize what they are doing that hinders your weight loss efforts.  If your friends still continue to tempt you, find new friends that will support you.

“Like” my health and fitness Facebook page below and you will receive more helpful tips to getting healthy. Remember your friends and family can be your greatest supporters.  They just need you to tell them how.


Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Believe In Yourself

Posted by larends on December 6, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

077I was watching an NFL pregame news story the other day about a 40 year old mother of 2 that became an NFL cheerleader.  It was an amazing story.  When she was talking to her family and friends about the tryouts and her dream to become a cheerleader, someone made the comment, “Well, that ship has sailed.”  Despite the lack of encouragement, she decided to try out anyway.  She also has an incurable kidney disease, which will eventually cause her to lose her kidney function.

This alone would have discouraged most people not to follow their dream, but she went for it.  She worked out for 6 months before the try outs and she looked incredible.  She made the team and proved the doubters wrong.

Part of the reason I loved this story is that I’m in my 40s and it was great to see someone that age that had a dream and made it happen.  It also inspired me because I remember reading something a few years ago that said that women over 40 shouldn’t wear bikinis.  I’ve been on a mission since then to prove them wrong.

Many of us have people in our lives that are negative and discourage us when we have a dream, want to try new things or even when we want to lose weight.  I’m lucky to have a husband, family and friends that are supportive.  It’s important to surround yourself with people that will support you.  However, when others do try to discourage you, remember that the only opinion that matters is your own.  It’s important to believe in yourself.

Motivation comes from within.  The cheerleader had a dream and that dream was powerful enough to motivate her to work hard and make it a reality.  What motivates you?  What dreams do you have?  Are your dreams worth doing whatever it takes to reach them?  You are worth it!  Believe in yourself!

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”   Thomas A. Edison

I love this quote by Thomas Edison.  He never gave up.  He knew the importance of trying one more time.  Remember, small steps lead to big results.  The following link to prevention magazine’s website gives 15 small changes that will lead to weight loss results.


I also love the simple ideas in the following blog “The Wellness Bucket” written by Mike Goncalves.  Mike is part of a Live Your Legend Creator’s Guild that I joined.  He points out how easy it is to find time in our schedule to exercise.  He gives great advice that’s easy to follow.  He talks about committing to just 5 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch and 5 minutes at night.


I try to do 5 minutes of planks in the morning to work my abs.  I can do this while I’m watching the news.  I’m not saying that I have six pack abs, but it makes me feel better about myself.  When you work your abs you form a good foundation and improve your balance.  Working your abs also helps improve your back muscles.  I’ve found that when I do some exercise in the morning (anything), I’m more likely to do more later.  Starting off your day with exercise also gets your metabolism going and helps you burn fat throughout the day.  If you can do 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night, that will add up too.  Sometimes I tell myself that I will exercise for just 10 minutes and it feels so great, that I end up doing it for longer.  Just make a commitment to start out small.

“Like” my health and fitness Facebook page below and you will receive more helpful tips to getting healthy. Remember to believe in yourself and keep moving forward.