My husband and I are two months in to goal-getting! Here’s an update on how we’re doing:

Becki

Goal #1: Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight

  • Use my daily food group checklist to stay within recommendations and get enough food from each food group each day.

How I’m doing: As you may have read in this post, I put on about 3 lbs throughout this month and I have since lost them again. So overall, this month has been basically a wash as far as weight and I’m still about 1.8 lbs above my previous normal. I’m thinking a couple things: 1) I may switch temporarily to a more detailed form of tracking intakes (like My Fitness Pal), just to make sure I’m not missing my goals without realizing it. 2) My body may be happy at this new weight. I won’t try to force it, and my weight is in a healthy range and not negatively affecting my health. If it doesn’t want to go down any more, that’s okay with me!

Goals #2-3: Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges and increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”

  • Complete 40-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (heart rate 115-155 bpm) 5 days per week

How I’m doing: Pretty well overall. I haven’t been missing days, but I’ve had a couple of days of workouts that have been cut short by a tighter time schedule. I recently had my blood pressure checked and it was normal! Yippee! I can definitely tell that my cardiovascular fitness is improving because I’m having to increase the intensity of my workouts to hit my heart rate goals. Plus, I made it up and down “the stairs” 10 times the other day! I had hoped to do that by the end of the three months, but I hit that over a month early! I’m so happy with the IMG_0990improvements in my cardiovascular fitness.

A few months ago, it snowed here and my family and I went out to have a snowball fight. I had only run around for a few minutes and my chest was tight and I was pooped. Three weeks ago it snowed again, and this time, I snowball fought with the best of them (my family is just a tad competitive) for 20-30 minutes with no trouble at all! That was very rewarding and a sign that I’m heading towards my “end game” of never having my fitness (or lack thereof) hold me back from anything I want to do.

 

Goal #4: Improve posture by stretching chest and hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles

  • Complete tailored yoga practice 5 days per week and strength training program 2 days per week

How I’m doing: I’ve been consistent with my yoga and I’ve been also completing some yoga challenges on Instagram that have been a fun addition to my normal practice. I love yoga!

My before-and-after pictures were really fun this month! I noticed primarily a HUGE difference in the position of my shoulders between February and March. Look how much less rounded they are! I’m so pleased with that. You can also see that each month my back is slightly less arched and my pelvis is slightly less tilted forward. It’s so crazy how you don’t notice the differences in your posture until you line the pictures up side by side.

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Charlie

Goal #1: Lose 20 lbs/Button wedding pants without “sucking it in”
     • Track intakes with My Fitness Pal, aiming for goal of 2000 kcal per day.

How he’s doing: Charlie continues to track every day. He finds it gets easier as time goes on to stick with using the app to track. It became a habit for him and he never forgets. Occasionally he intentionally decides to eat more than his caloric goal, but it is not very often and he still tracks it for awareness, accountability, and consistency. Tracking is definitely not right for everyone, but it’s working for him. He lost another 4 pounds this month for a grand total of 14 pounds. He hasn’t tried the pants yet – he’s saving those for the end of the goal-getter package!

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Can you tell he had just woken up in the last photo? Haha!

Goal #2: Increase cardiovascular fitness from “Excellent” to “Superior”
     • Follow the P90X workout program to do 60 minutes of exercise daily.

How he’s doing: He is doing well and staying consistent, but definitely ready for the P90X program to be over. He is finding the P90X videos to be very time-consuming and don’t leave enough extra time for other activities like weight lifting.

Goal #3: Improve flexibility from “Good” to “Excellent”
     • Do some yoga each day.

How he’s doing: Charlie has compromised to doing yoga three times weekly, and says his flexibility is WAY better than it used to be, which makes him feel better all the time and improves his workouts, posture, and the feel of his joints.

We’ve got one more month of our goal-getter package before we run all of the fitness and body composition testing again to see how far we’ve come! Check back to see how we did!

Want help meeting your own goals? Visit www.impowerednf.com for more information about meeting with me to set up your wellness plan!


NationalNutritionMonth2017

In honor of National Nutrition Month, I thought I’d give you a few thoughts on how to put your best fork forward this month (and every month)!

  • Try a new recipe – some of my favorite recipe websites are from the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association. Trying out something new can add variety and keep eating from being boring!
  • Work on enjoying natural flavors – Make a goal to decrease “extra flavors” like sugar, salt, and artificial flavors in order to really enjoy the full flavors of the foods, herbs, and spices you’re eating. Check out this post for more tips on flavor!
  • Explore fresh new cuisines – most of us are familiar with Chinese, Italian, and Mexican foods, but how about Salvadoran, Ethiopian, Indian, or Vietnamese? There are over 190 countries in the world, each with amazing, flavorful, and unique dishes. Plus, different countries’ diets have different health benefits. You might discover a new favorite and expand the variety of foods you love! Bonus tip: make a quick Google search about the type of cuisine you’re trying before you go to a restaurant. That way, you can have some ideas of any unique customs (did you know that at most Ethiopian restaurants, patrons eat with their hands?) and what to order in case you can’t read the menu!
  • Get rid of the “good” and the “bad” labels – We have a tendency to label foods as though they are good or bad, as if food and nourishment were totally black and white! All foods can belong in a healthful diet, and bodies are so, so individual! What may make one person feel terrible may be a great choice for someone else, and it is fairly rare that there is a reason to completely cut anything out entirely. Research has shown that this kind of labeling is detrimental to healthful diets and healthy relationships with food.1 Learn to love and moderate all kinds of foods, and avoid villifying anything.

As a special bonus for National Nutrition Month, I’m offering 10% off an initial appointment! If you’ve been thinking about getting started with an empowered, healthful lifestyle, this is a great month to start! Click here to schedule an appointment!

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779532/

I hear this from clients all the time: “It doesn’t matter what I do! My weight goes up and down and up and down. I’ll lose a few pounds and then I’ll gain two back and I just want to give up.”

Photo from www.offfindingsparks.com

Ahhh the scale…a mean mistress. It’s a rare person who has not noticed that, whether trying to lose weight or not, his or her number on the scale tends to fluctuate. This is true for just about everyone for a variety of reasons.

If you’ve been tracking my goal-getting journey, you know that one of my goals was to get back to my normal body weight by losing 7 lbs. If you haven’t been following along, well…now you know. So the first 4-5 came off in the first month or so. After that, things slowed to a screeching halt and began climbing…1 pound, 2 pounds, 3 pounds. I was sticking with my nutrition and workout goals for the most part, but it was still climbing.

How could this be, you ask? It’s actually very common. Read on and I’ll run you through a few reasons that your weight is not the “end all, be all”…or even necessarily a good way to measure your overall progress. It’s part of the equation, and it is certainly linked to health outcomes, but it does not warrant or deserve the intense focus we tend to put on it. Here are 7 reasons your weight may fluctuate that have nothing to do with eating too much or not exercising enough:

  1. Time of the day – Believe it or not our weight changes, sometimes pretty significantly, throughout the day. During the day we retain some of the water we consume, so we tend to weigh the most at the end of the day and the least first thing in the morning after we’ve used the bathroom. I have a pretty small frame and depending on the day I’ve clocked as high as a 4-5 pound difference from morning to evening.
  2. Hydration – Along the same lines as #1, the amount of water we drink during the day can affect our weights. On a day where we are sweating heavily or not drinking enough fluids, we will weigh less than a day where we are adequately hydrated.
  3. Bathroom/food status – Gross but true. If you haven’t had a bowel movement in 1-2 days, your bowels may contain at least a couple of pounds (sometimes more!) of fecal material. Your bladder can hold anywhere from .5 to 1.5 lbs of urine as well.
  4. Menstruation – Sorry ladies, but it can’t be helped. Most women retain at least an extra pound or two of fluid during menstruation.
  5. Fluid retention/swelling – This can be caused by many different things, but in healthy people it is most commonly due to high sodium intakes. Have you ever noticed that your pants don’t fit quite right or your fingers look like sausages the day after the Superbowl party? Sodium and water are friends, so when we eat a lot of sodium, our body hangs on to extra water for a day or two.
  6. Stress – In general, stress tends to make our bodies want to gain fat. Stress management is a very key component of overall health.
  7. Muscle/fat – Most of us have heard the adage, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” It’s true, and it’s also true that if you start a new exercise program you will be gaining some muscle as you lose fat so progress can be tricky to track. Be careful with this one though, because you usually won’t be gaining enough muscle to really affect your weight for the first month or two of a new exercise program.

For these reasons, I try to encourage (and beg and plead) clients to focus on their overall health and fitness, their habits, and how they feel, as well as assessments like weight, circumference, or body fat to assess their overall progress. Given the things listed above, going up a pound or a few every so often is normal and should be expected. Don’t let it stress you out or discourage you! If you feel like you’re likely to quit on improving your health if the scale goes up, I have a strong recommendation for you – don’t get on the scale!


Wellness is about so much more than nutrition and fitness. Wellness includes your mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness on top of your physical well-being. That’s why today, I’m going to feature a book that helped me find direction, make some major life changes, and thoroughly enjoy the life I’m living!

I came across this book while listening to a podcast and read it for a 2016 reading challenge. It inspired me to examine my life and think about how my current lifestyle was affecting all aspects of my wellness. It prompted me to consider how I could be more intentional about building a life that supports my goals, rather than letting life take me wherever it may while my goals lay well-intentioned and sadly, unmet.

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy offers exactly what the title implies. The book helps you to identify your priorities, make clear and specific goals, and be proactive in creating a life that supports those goals. In fact, their premise helped me realize that spending my time working for someone else was draining me mentally and emotionally, and inspired me to open i’mPowered Nutrition & Fitness. Now I get to spend my day achieving my goals and helping others support the lives they want with a foundation of proper nutrition and wellness.

Living Forward begins with taking you through the interesting exercise of writing your own eulogy. Sounds strange, I know, but it was actually very eye-opening. By starting at “the end,” you get to determine what will really matter in your life after you’ve gone and what you want others to remember about you. Starting from there, you work backwards to build a life that perpetuates those desires. First, you create a list of “Life Accounts” for each priority in your life. For example, mine include God, health, husband, kids, family/friends, career, generosity, financial, home, and self-development. You assess the current status of each account, write a detailed description of your desired outcome for each, and set specific quarterly goals to gradually move the current status toward the end goal.

Finally, you take these goals and create your “ideal week” schedule. This helped take me from goals – which I have often made in the past and found no time to achieve – to actual implementation of my strategies to get there. You start with a blank calendar. You review your goals for your most important life account, and schedule whatever time you need to complete those. You move on to your next important life account, and do the same. So on and so forth until you have created a schedule that is reflective of what matters most to you. It reminds me of one of my new favorite quotes:

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

– Stephen Covey

Going through the life planning process helped me realize that spending 40 hours per week in an office working for someone else was keeping me away from what was more important to me and ultimately came in higher on my list than my career – God, my health, and my family and friends. That realization led me to the decision to change my career path so that it worked around these priorities instead of against them. Now I have plenty of time to achieve my goals in my most important life accounts, and that has been a huge boost for my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellness. Who couldn’t use one of those?

The realizations you make might not be so drastic (or maybe they will be more!) but regardless, they will help move you towards the life you want. Go for it!

Have you read this book? Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of this product. As an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for any purchases of this product through the link on this post; however, I never feature or support products that I have not tried myself or that I do not believe to be useful, ethical, and worthy of recommendation.




Can you believe we have been goal-getting for a month already? It’s crazy! Here’s how we’re doing:

Becki

Goal #1: Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight
     • Use my daily food group checklist to stay within recommendations and get enough food from each food group each day.

How I’m doing: I have been using my food group checklists (and loving them – they are so quick and easy!) and I’ve lost 5 lbs so far. Only two to go! The checklists make way more sense for my lifestyle right now than using a food tracker like I have in the past. They give me plenty of flexibility while still keeping me accountable. I think being home a lot makes it easier because I usually have access to something from all five food groups.

Goals #2-3: Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges and increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”
     • Complete 40-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (heart rate 115-155 bpm) 5 days per week

How I’m doing: I’ve probably averaged 4 1/2 days per week but I’m hitting my heart rate goals and I’m enjoying the cardio options I have selected. Most often, I’m doing Youtube cardio dance videos because they are convenient and so much fun, but it’s been beneficial to have alternatives for the days when I’m just not feeling the dancing.

Consequentially, my resting heart rate is normal! I haven’t had my husband check my blood pressure or re-tested my cardio yet, but I’ll do that at the end of the plan. The lower resting heart rate is a good indicator that my cardiovascular fitness has improved – plus the workouts are getting easier!

Goal #4: Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles
     • Complete tailored yoga practice 5 days per week and strength training program 2 days per week

How I’m doing: Again – I’m probably more often hitting 4 1/2 days on the yoga than five, but I’ve done pretty well. The strength training is pretty quick and simple so I’ve been incorporating that more than 2 days per week. I took a comparison picture – not expecting too much difference only one month in – and I was really impressed with the improvements!

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My head is higher and not so far forward, my spine is in better alignment, and my hips are further back. My pelvis tilts less (still have a ways to go) and shoulders still roll forward but not quite as much!

Charlie

Goal #1: Lose 20 lbs/Button wedding pants without “sucking it in”
     • Track intakes with My Fitness Pal, aiming for goal of 2000 kcal per day.

How he’s doing: Charlie has been faithful with his tracking and though I don’t think he loves the discipline of doing it, he does love the accountability it gives him. He tracks as he goes and makes decisions for the rest of the day based on where he’s at. So far, he’s lost 11 lbs!

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I swear I did not intentionally make the “before” photo have poor lighting!

Goal #2: Increase cardiovascular fitness from “Excellent” to “Superior”
     • Follow the P90X workout program to do 60 minutes of exercise daily.

How he’s doing: He’s working out like a boss! Charlie has been doing P90X daily and if he feels like one of the videos was too easy, he tosses in a second cardio video and does two-a-days! He’s insane, but it works for him and he’s enjoying it. He’s definitely noticed that the videos are getting easier as he goes along.

Goal #3: Improve flexibility from “Good” to “Excellent”
     • Do some yoga each day.

How he’s doing: Charlie has compromised to doing yoga three times weekly, and has definitely noticed a difference in his flexibility. He can put his hands flat on the floor in a forward fold now!

We’re excited about getting our goals! If you’ve got some goals you’d like some help getting, check out www.impowerednf.com for more information about meeting with me to set up your wellness plan!



We are about three weeks into our goal-getting and we’re cruising along pretty well by now! Though I have to admit that the first week was rough. Holy moley.

Improving your fitness is tricky, in a way, because your body is trained for exactly what you have asked it to train for. If that is running 3 flat miles regularly, you’ll be trained for that and it won’t be tough. But add in an unexpected hill or try to push to 4 or 5 miles and that will be tough. Your muscles and cardiovascular system are simply not prepared for it. If what you’re trained for is couch surfing, you’ll be trained for that and it won’t be tough. Anything more though – climbing stairs, lifting boxes, or going dancing with your sweetheart – might be pretty tough.

So when you set a goal to improve your fitness, whether it’s cardiovascular or muscular, you can bet you’re going to be dealing with some discomfort.

Exhibit A: Becki and “The Stairs”

It was a cold, January morning. I had a “brilliant” idea.

“Charlie,” I said, “do you know of any long flights of stairs locally?”IMG_1171

“Sure,” he replied. “The 2nd Ave stairs. Why?”

“I was thinking I should start running stairs to up my cardio, ” said I.

Why? Why did I say that? I should have my head examined.

So off we go, to “The Stairs.” I in my new jewel-toned, patterned leggings thinking I can conquer the world, and Charlie in his excellent cardiovascular shape and 45-lb weight vest. Sickening, isn’t it?

So off I trot up the stairs, jogging all the way. I make it to the top with minimal protests from my quadriceps. Down the stairs I go. Lap one done.

Charlie is wisely pacing himself.

I, however, am feeling so good I immediately (no rest, who needs it?) turn right around and jog back up the stairs. Halfway. Until there is fire all throughout my chest and I think my heart is in imminent danger of fatal explosion.

“Am I dying? Is it all over? I must have some kind of undiagnosed heart condition!”

So this is what it’s like to have “fair” cardiovascular endurance. I gotta tell ya, I’m not a fan.

I slogged (no more trotting) up the rest of the way and managed to go down, and up, and down, and up and down once more before my lungs, heart, and quads could not take it anymore. Meanwhile a 50-something lady in excellent shape has been lunging the stairs two at a time since before we got there, and continued after we left. Impressive.

We walked back to the car and I flopped in the passenger seat, my inner drama queen insisting that I truly was going to die and that I should make sure my husband knew how much I really love and appreciate him.

The fire in my chest lasted for a painful thirty minutes, during which torture I had a succession of three different thoughts:

  1. “Man, I really, really, REALLY need to improve my cardio.”
  2. “I totally get why people quit exercising after the first day or two. This is horrific.”
  3. “I should write a post to help people get through this and get to their goals.”

So I decided to write up a few tips for others who are facing a fizzling New Years’ resolution in the face of a difficult new exercise program:

  1. Remember your finish line. What is your purpose? Why are you doing this? It usually has to be something bigger than the way you look to stick, so think bigger and in detail. Think health – how will your body feel when you are fit? What health issues will you not have to worry about? Think abilities – how will it feel when you can climb any set of stairs or take on any challenge with ease and confidence? Envision it in detail to yourself before you hit the gym (or the road or the stairs, etc) and keep that picture with you when it gets tough.
  2. Difficulty = progress. To an extent, anyway (caveat below). If it’s not at least a little tough, you might not be pushing hard enough to see improvement in your abilities. You don’t have to kill yourself, but when you push past what your body can easily do, that’s when the training comes in. You’re telling your body that the cardiovascular or muscular capabilities it’s currently trained for are not enough to meet the physical demands you’re putting on it. So when it rebuilds, repairs, or builds new cells, it will make them better. They will be more easily oxygenated or stronger or whatever is necessary to be more trained for the activity you’re asking your body to do.
  3. Work up to it. I was probably a tad too ambitious – power mad with the confidence of a new pair of leggings – to go trotting up those stairs like I’d been running them all my life. It didn’t have to be so hard. Some exercise is way better than none, so start slower and gradually increase to prevent some of the (very literal) heartache I experienced. It can be tough to admit that you’ve lost some edge or abilities you once had (oh, how the mighty have fallen!), but it’s better than quitting after 1-2 days and giving up on achieving your goals!
  4. Be patient. The first 4-6 weeks of a new exercise program (one you’ve never done before) produces mostly neural and cellular changes. That means that you’re building new nerve pathways. That also means that you may or may not feel a difference, and you also may not see any difference. That does not mean that you are not training your body. Does anyone have a guess as to the length of time the average person sticks with a new exercise program before quitting? 4-6 weeks. People are quitting because they aren’t noticing results, but that’s because their bodies are building the foundations for the results they are looking for! Hang in there – don’t give up!

It took me about three stair days and three days of other cardio before it wasn’t really miserable to climb those stairs anymore. All in all, remember that when you start any new exercise program, your body is totally unprepared for it – take it easy, push gently beyond what is comfortable, and be patient. You’ll get there!