Blog: Health and Fitness
Life is Beautiful. I love serving the world by capturing beautiful family memories, encouraging others to believe in life’s greatest possibilities, and inspiring others to realize their full potential. Everyone has a story... make it a beautiful one.
My journey started long before motherhood. I grew up around others that struggled with mental and physical health issues. As a matter of fact I remember being told that it runs in the family and I’m susceptible to it. I do believe that there are certain genetics that can cause certain things, but I also believe that there are ways to cope with mental illness so that you can live with it but not let it run your life.
I witnessed how mental illness can lead to health issues by using food as a coping mechanism or not having the energy to do anything at all. I’ve seen how mental and physical health can land people you love in divorce or the hospital with heart failure and almost dying in their hospital bed.
I had issues both mentally and physically growing up. Mentally I felt lonely and suffered from low self esteem and physically I had no boundaries with food.
Years later in my life would be when I’d start to put the pieces together like a puzzle that I needed to change.
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant with my first son that was a true blessing in disguise. I took the steps in the right direction to not only change for my growing baby, but to create a lifestyle beyond birth. I knew I wanted to have another baby and I didn’t want to have to go through the same routine I did with my first so change was necessary. I learned what I needed to do to be healthy. I started working out and running and stayed with my nutritionist until after my second son was born.
After my second son, I felt different. I felt down. I cried a lot. I felt empty. Here I was with a two beautiful boys and I had no feelings to show for it. I was easily offended and I cried. I was irritable and didn’t want to do anything. Months later I found out I was suffering from sever anxiety and depression. That everything from my past had come crushing down on me like a ton of bricks.
I was a mother now with two beautiful boys that deserved something far more than what I had experienced from my past. And that’s when I decided that my family needed me to be all in for them so I made the change to become better for them.
My journey has helped me to lead by example for my kids. To know what it means to be healthy and to make good food choices. They know what it means to be mentally healthy and happy in life and that is all I wanted for them was to have a mom that was there for them to show them that life is worth living.
I have been able to take my past experiences to motivate me to fuel the fire to be one a better version of myself for me and my family. It has been my ultimate goal for a long time and know that if I wasn’t blessed with the challenging health issues with both pregnancies I wouldn’t have probably been motivated to change my ways and who knows where I’d be. Everyday I feel grateful for these challenges because it’s made me a healthier, and far better mom, wife, and person.
My journey with mental and physical health has truly inspired me as a mom to do and be better for my boys and for that I am grateful.
PS If you struggle with your health your not alone and there is opportunity to change! if you would like to know more about the tools that have helped me overcome my mental and physical health challenges my inbox is always open and I’d be happy to chat with you more about it and how we can get you on the right track to success!
I remember driving home after a movie one night just week after it happened. I couldn’t believe that she was gone. I had this feeling come over me and I pulled over. I couldn’t breath and I started shaking and crying. It took me about 30 min. To get over this feeling. Luckily my husband, my boyfriend at the time was driving behind me to comfort me.
My best friend had died in a car accident. We had gotten our licenses a week apart and a week later she was driving to work, overcorrected, and hit a flat bed truck head on. I was one of the first people to find out. We turned on the 11:00 news and saw the photos of the car and there was nothing left.
I haven’t talked about this moment in my life very much. But I bring it up because looking back it was one of the first times I had suffered a panic attack not realizing it what was really happening to me at the time.
Fast forward to 2017 many years later, I had another panic attack but this time I knew what was going on. It’s a moment that you feel so out of control of your body shaking, crying, heavy breathing. You think you are dying or having a heart attack but you are fully aware of whats going on. It wasn’t until this moment I realized that I had suffered panic attacks before after my best friend died.
I have lived with depressed and anxiety for a very long time without realizing it. Events from my childhood I know have contributed to this. Being a child of divorce two times, being around people I know and love that suffered from mental trauma themselves, and life events growing up. I didn’t know how to control it so I acted like nothing was wrong with me and I held it in inside because that is what I thought you were supposed to do. Thats what everyone else around me did.
Going through certain times in my life I knew that there was something wrong mentally, but chose to hold it in and not let it bother me.
When I found out that I had a lump in my breast the day before I was supposed to graduate college, I started a pattern of OCD and every single day for 6 years I would do self checks many times a day. Most days all it was doing was making my boob hurt. But I had no control. My mind just freaked out. Leaving the house I would shut the garage door drive down the street turn back around and go check it to make sure it was closed and this would happen 5 times until I would get the point and drive to my destination.
After having Nate, my second son, it was to the point I felt nothingness. I felt nothing. Here I was supposed to enjoy having a new baby and feeling blessed for my children and all I would do is break down and cry for no reason.
I was easily offended more than I ever was in the past and I’d just broke down crying all the time. I tried to fix it on my own, but I couldn’t.
After 6 months after having Nate, I sought help which was the best decision of my life.
Gaining control of my thoughts and having an understanding of the circumstances that created my mental stress was one of life’s greatest blessings. Learning that life gives us people and circumstances that we can not control but we have control over the thoughts and feelings that we have towards those people and circumstances.
Through this uncomfortable process, I have been able to peel many layers of the onion off. I’ve had to let go of people I love, I have to do mental work every single day , and I have had to feel feelings I have never felt before and sometimes it has sucked. I am the person that has to talk about my thoughts and feelings that I always was taught that people don’t care so don’t burden people with your problems.
Being able to talk about my experiences has truly blessed me to let go and reflect that these circumstances were truly blessings in my life especial with all the platforms we have now to speak out truth and what we stand for. Through my experiences I can shine hope to others to know that there is away out and they don’t have to be alone in this.
Mental illness leads to lack of confidence in one self, that nothing ever good happens in life, sadness, pain, denial, and a sense of not being good enough for any one. You have to seek approval from others all the time. It get to the point that it is tiring.
Keeping a healthy mind is a work in progress and takes effort every day but it can be done. I have been able to do it without any prescription medication which was my main focus and goal.
I do several things everyday that keep my mental health in check.
- Personal development: I read books, listen to podcasts, follow mentors and leaders in the personal development industry. I have a personal mentor who coaches me weekly how to react to circumstances to change my thoughts and and feelings with life situations. I invest in myself because I know that I am worth it and I want to strengthen my mind with positivity.
- Exercise: I exercise or run daily. Through this trauma I have found exercising to be my way to cope with all the mental health issues I have had to overcome. This journey has given me such a new found passion for health and fitness that I love so much. I understand how our bodies are such a gift and they worth the effort to take care of.
- Self care: finding ways to take care of me each day even if it’s just a soak in the bathtub before bed or giving yourself a facial with your favorite skincare products. Find things to do through out the day that puts a smile on your face. Buy fresh cut flowers, eat your favorite fruit, watch your favorite movie. Write down gratitudes every day.
- Let go: learning to become neutral and letting go of people and circumstances in your life that don’t serve you any more. This may even require people you love and are close to but sometimes it just is necessary to say no to toxic people that effect your well being. Understand that life is for you and everything that happens is a blessing and is teaching or leading your to something more.
- Talk about it: I have learned that talking about the things in my life has truly helped me to see new light. That I wasn’t given this trial just because but I was given this blessing to inspire and be an advocate. Maybe you don’t want to talk about it on social and that’s okay! Find someone to talk to. Wether it be a therapist, mentor or coach who is experienced with helping you with life experiences . I have a wonderful coach who has helped me over the last year and I highly recommend her! I’ll share her site with you here.
May is mental health awareness and thought would be a perfect time to share more about my journey. I am huge advocate in taking care of your mind daily wether or not you have experienced trauma or not. Everyone can benefit from a mental bath everyday. Here’s to a happy healthy mind.
PS Want to know more about the tools that have helped along with my health and fitness journey? Id love to share more. If you are interested lets chat! Contact me here.
When I decided to run a marathon, I made the decision to just do it… I didn’t think about it, i just registered. To be honest when I made up my mind I was still training for my first half marathon.
I knew that if I had thought about it, I’d procrastinate on registering and I would figure out a million reasons why running a marathon was such a bad idea. But now that I have made the decision to do it, I think why not run a marathon? I have nothing to loose by doing it and everything to gain from it. For me it’s about focusing on the finishing the race.
Training for my first marathon, I am learning so much from it and thought I’d share with you the top 5 things that have helped me 14 weeks out to prepare myself for race day race day.
- Mindset. This has been my number one priority leading up to race day is having a positive mindset to keep myself going even when I get tired or don’t feel like running. It is easy to tell your mind all the reasons why you can’t run today. I have just trained my body to realize when an excuse comes up to just get my shoes on anyways. Having a positive attitude and giving yourself mental high fives along the way training or running will take you a long way. Another fun thing I do is when I’m out running, when I see another runner, I will give them a high five. It’s really helped give me that extra motivation to know I’m cheering other runners on and gives me a confidence boost too!
- Find a plan that fits your lifestyle. I researched, used apps, and played around with different plans. I have found that you just have find one that fits your lifestyle. As I was figuring out my training schedule 100 days out, I actually received an email from On running with a first timers guide to marathon running that had a schedule with it. It was perfect timing and I loved how it fit into my lifestyle and was simple to follow. You can check it out here.
- Strength Training. Strength training helps you perform and feel better as a runner. It helps strengthen muscles that you don’t use while running and can correct muscle imbalance that can help you run better. If you are going to run and do strength training the same day, run first then lift.
- Run a half marathon first. I am so happy I ran a half marathon first to get my feet wet before a full marathon. I learned from my mistakes with the first race and can implement what I learned in my training for the full marathon.
- Study the course. I have been to the Bay Area many times and that is why I chose San Francisco. I love the city and the sights I’ll be able to run on race day. For me, being able to run long distances with beautiful new sites along the way have helped me to become more excited about racing. I rarely look at local races because I know the area. Being able to race in a different city makes me more motivated to do it. Since I’m not from the area, I have been studying the course and some of the obstacles I might be up against like the notorious San Francisco Hills. This way I am prepared what to work on before race day.
If you have an opportunity to visit the course if your out of area before race day, that can be essential too. I recently was in San Francisco and one of the areas of the course I felt inclined to run while there was the Golden Gate Bridge. I ran the 3.5 mile from one end to the other. It was one of the areas I was most excited about but had a bit of fear of but now I know that I can run it on race day confidently. Another thing I learned was running in such humidity my body is inclined to heat rash so I know to dress in cooler clothing. I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t been prepared before hand.
These are some of the tips I have learned that I hope will help you as you prepare for for marathon. It’s such an exciting, but crazy decision to make. Just know if I can do it, so can you!
PS Want to be apart of race day but can’t be there? Join this epic day by being apart of the BSFM virtual races! Do your race any where even on a treadmill! There’s a race for any level and you get an awesome medal after completing your virtual race! Sign up here and enter code AMBOAMBER for 15% off!
Pet unicorns sound like a fun idea but in actuality they don’t exist. Kind of like having free time in a day sounds awesome but does it really exist?
Are you s busy mom who always has these ideas in mind if things to do like working out but at the end of the day you are just tired from all chaos?
I have two energetic boys who take up a lot of time in the day. I have huge goals for myself and finding time to do all the things plus being their for my boys can get a bit tricky at times.
It happens I know but there are ways you can make your day just a little bit easier to carve out some time for YOU to focus on your goals or just have a moment of free time!
- Say no: we as moms will have times in motherhood where I children will want to do basketball camps or ballet lessons. Focus one the thing your child really wants to do. Say no to other things that aren’t worth the effort and won’t help your family reach individual goals or your own personal goals. Saying no to things that won’t bring you joy just say no. It’s worth the no than over exhausting yourself and your family.
- Making most of your morning: mornings can get a bit stressful trying to get ready for the day. I wake up an hour earlier before anyone else to get some me time in before the chaos of the day starts. I start the day with prayer, scripture study, devotional, journal writing, planning the day, and read a personal growth book. Once the kids get up, I cook breakfast and then I do a little bit of work before it’s time to go to preschool or whatever is planned for the day. Other time saving morning tips can be gave lunches and snacks prepared the night before and having shoes together. Nothing is more obnoxious than trying to find a shoe right as you are leaving out the door.
- Put free time on the calendar: whatever it is you like to do on your free time… put it on the calendar! Want to go to target alone? Put it on the calendar. Want to read a book? Put it in the calendar. I schedule my hour in the morning to read and journal, I schedule my workouts and running so everyone knows when it’s time for me to do me. It’s non negotiable. You just have to learn to carve the time out in between school pick ups, lunch dates with friends, and play dates. “Just like we make the time to go to the grocery store, we also need to make the time to take care of ourselves,” says Amy Cooper Hakim
- Keep track how you spend your time: keeping track of how your time is didn’t daily can help you get a big picture of where your time is being spent and where you can improve. I keep a schedule on my google calendar and keep the appointments I made to myself.
- Batch tasks: you don’t have to answer an email or an Instagram message every time one comes in. Schedule a block of time to do all your messages. Schedule errands all on the same day. If you are able to use a service like instacart to do your grocery shopping… it’s seriously is a time saver rather than hauling two boys around the grocery store for a trip the would be 10 minutes and ends up being 45 minutes. Set a timer o tasks that you know that can easily suck you in like Pinterest or instagram.
- Put yourself first on the calendar then your errands and everything else that can be done throughout the week. Schedule your me time and if your a at home working mom, carve that time to work on your goals.
- Have your kids help: kids can learn to help prep meals, make lunches, clean the bathrooms, and empty the dishwasher. Make it a game have chart with a reward. My boys love to help put their lunches together, emptying the dishwasher, and folding kitchen towels.
- You don’t have to do it all: and resist the idea that you have too! Other parents are just as stressed as you are so help each other out by doing car pools to activities or events. Or if you don’t have school age children ask your significant other to help with the kids as you do something for you.
- Getting healthy together: if you are like me and love to live a healthy lifestyle get your kids involved! I just went on a long run for my marathon training and my husband and kids came picked me up at a destination place. They were all about the high fives and good job mom! Get them involved in working out with you. Go on hikes and family walks. It’s about making them feel like they are involved and in the mean time you are leading by example.
Momhood isn’t easy and I understand how life happens and gets in the way but I also know that as you are mindful, there is time for you to work on your own personal goals whatever they might be. Just don’t get caught up in the mind suck that time us against you because Everyone has the sane 24 hours in a day, it’s just about how you utilize that time to make it more productive.
Most importantly just find time for you to take care of you and to work on your goals. You got this!
PS I often get asked from busy moms how I live the healthy lifestyle that I do. The secret? It’s simple. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to take up hours in a day. If you want to learn more about making a healthy lifestyle change that is simple, contact me here.
I became an avid crossfitter after my first son was born. I thought at home workouts were silly, a waste and didn’t work. Growing up, The Richard Simmons Collection collected dust by our VHS player so of course I grew up thinking at home workouts were a bust (I later realized you have to use them to work ha!) I believed if you wanted to get fit with muscle, you had to go to gym.
After my second son was born, going to the gym became more and more non existent because I was tired and spending more time finding someone to watch the boys than I was at the gym!
It was a tough transition for me because I knew that taking care of my health was important but I was finding more excuses why I couldn’t take care of myself because of the time and energy I was spending just to find a moment to go to the gym.
I had an opportunity come to me during this time trying to figure out my gym dillemma to work out at home… it was a silent blessing that I would realize later.
I decided to give it a try. I look back when I first started how I thought people where making fun of me working out at home. I felt so insecure about it. Three years later, I may have had the nay sayers but now they are all for it because I am in the best shape of my life.
I have learned through my journey of becoming an avid gym goer to an avid working out at home mom that I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a lifestyle I truly am blessed to have.
These are my top reasons why working out at home is better than going to the gym:
- Save time and money. When I was going to the gym, I spent two to two and half hours going to CrossFit class. From dropping kids off, going to an hour gym class, picking up kids, and sitting In traffic going home. I wouldn’t get home until 6:00 just for a 4:00 gym class. Working out at home made me realize how much my time was valuable and 2 hours to go to the gym wasn’t effective.
- Gym schedules. I found over the years that if I’m going to stay accountable, I needed the help and group classes seemed to be the perfect fit. Following the gym schedules though was always a pain since at the time I was working and finding a time that worked for me was always a struggle. Working out at home I am able workout on my schedule. I don’t have to worry about working around other people schedules.
- Germs. I remember having to take a few extra minutes after CrossFit class to wipe down all the equipment I used. I secretly rolled my eyes about it ha! At home germs are in my own terms and I don’t have to worry about smelling others sweat either!
- Recovery fuel just a few steps away. After an intense workout I always had to stop at the gas station right next door to grab a protein bar because I was so hungry and I always forgot to pack an after gym snack in the morning as I was juggling myself and two kids out the door for work (more time. More money!). Now after a workout, I can grab a snack in my own kitchen.
- Make all the weird faces or grunts you want. I always felt weird at the gym. That I was making weird faces or noises and other people could hear me. The beauty of being at home, you don’t have to worry about the the noises you make.
- Leading by example. My kids see me working out everyday. I am teaching them healthy habits. Working out at home allows your family to see the progress you make everyday as you lead them to healthier lifestyles.
- The Environment is your own. Play the music you love. No walking into a the over abundance of sweat smell from other gym goers… the one thing I don’t miss. The use of your own equipment and not having to share it get irritated if someone take your favorite wall ball.
- Focus on your own workout and not having to feel like you need to compare yourself to others progress. After each crossfit class we had to write our daily numbers on the board wether it be reps or times. Some days I wouldn’t write them down because I felt the insecurity that my numbers weren’t good enough. Even though that was my problem, its been such a relief to measure my progress against me and now one else. Less pressure. I can modify if needed without looking like a whimp to others or I don’t have to do box jumps and look like an idiot when I fall.
- You can do workouts you enjoy and that you can have fun with. I remember showing up to the gym rolling my eyes because I couldn’t stand the workout we were doing. Because I have a library of incredible programs at home that fit my lifestyle, I get to choose the workouts I enjoy to do.
Working out at home may not be your thing and thats okay! I just have found it as a great option for me and it works around my crazy mom life schedule. It’s given me more time and less stress.
If you would like to know more of the tools I use, hit me up here and lets chat!