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.  

Stop comparing yourself to others: own your story

It’s hard not to compare yourself to the person next to in our social media world. Everyone telling their stories on how they are surviving is thing we call life.
I’ll be honest, I am guilty of this. I think we all at some point in our lives start to feel overwhelm and insignificant at some point especially in what we have to offer in this world. We all are trying to make it, but there is always going to be someone whose better.
But we all have a purpose given to us. You may not think your story is as heart wrenching as some, but your story can be impactful to someone out in the world. There’s always going to be someone out there who can relate to you, that you will impact through your story.
So stop comparing yourself to others. Your story matters. Your purpose matters.
I’ve been thinking about my story as I had to overcome childhood divorce twice, overcoming childhood trauma and negativity, my best friend being killed in a car accident at the age of 16, overcoming depression and anxiety, almost dying with my first pregnancy all the while fighting for my health to combat becoming a type 2 diabetic. Through all this, I’ve lost my sense of self somewhere along the way. I’ve felt loneliness. I’ve felt pain. But through this I’ve lost my sense of worth and confidence in myself that of course leads to comparison. Because this was all I knew all my life. I’ve had to learn what self love was on my own with a close people that have been there supporting me along my journey. Through these trials, I have learned to come out stronger and be an exceptional wife and mom because of it.  I have learned tenacity and what it takes to take everyday and push myself further out of my comfort zone.
You have two choices when you wake up to live the day or be miserable. You can choose to live your life or go down the rabbit hole of comparison. It is true when they say comparison is the thief of joy.
Your story matters maybe you are reading this and have experienced relatable experiences. Just stop comparing your story!
I always need some reminders throughout the day to remind myself to stop comparing. Here are a few things that I do to remind myself when I start to get into the rabbit whole of comparison

1. Gratitude: being grateful for the life we have. In reality the people we are comparing ourselves to we may want something they have like talent but actually not really want the struggles they are going through. Being grateful for them showing you what your grateful for in your own life.

2. Focus on your strengths: focus on your own strengths and all the things you are capable of. Your strengths were given to YOU. Use them to serve others.

3. Be okay with being imperfect.

4. Have an abundant mindset!  Know there is plenty to go around.  Abundance is not limited to just certain people. You are worth of all life’s greatest blessings!

5. Have grace with yourself.  Know that you matter and that your story and purpose matter.

Remember comparison if the thief of joy. It Leads you down a lonely and dreary path.  Look at all that you are capable and give yourself a high five today for all that you have accomplished and how far you have come!

Be awesome,

Amber

7 Powerful Ways to Learn to Love Your Body

There many times in my life that I look in the mirror and see the person looking back at me and endlessly nick pick everything about that person.I was ashamed of the body I had.  I was embarrassed.  I hated how clothes fit me.  I was always so overwhelmed but didn’t know what to do. I had a problem with accepting myself for I was because I never felt cute or pretty.  I felt subconscious in everything I wore.  I didn’t know how to truly  love myself or my body.  I felt that the reason I never got further in life was because I wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough get there.  I blamed my looks for a lot of things in life.  But now I realize it was not the way I looked at all but the fact I wasn’t truly loving myself.

My journey of self love has taught me so much.  To love myself for who I truly am.  That health and fitness is a tool to become stronger and to love myself for the way I push myself with each workout.  Having love for myself has  taught me to gain real authentic confidence in myself and loving the women looking back at me everyday.  The journey hasn’t been easy and there have been many moments of weakness.  But the way I feel about who I am now is worth the tears and moments that felt like defeat.

Loving your body is a hard thing to do especially in a society that sets so many unrealistic expectations on you.  Yes I believe in the power of moving your body each day because for one I’m predisposed to diabetes, I lived with family that had weight issues and saw the effects it can have on a person, and I love the way I feel.

If you struggle with looking the mirror each day loving the person looking back at you, there is hope in finding that true love for your self. Today, I am sharing with you some ways that have helped me overcome these struggles of loving my body in my life.  Know that you are not alone in the journey of loving yourself.

These are some of the ways that have helped me to love who I am today:

  1. Stop blaming.  Stop blaming your body and others around you.  You are in control of your thoughts and actions.  If you want change then make up your mind now to change and take action.
  2. Don’t live on a comment from elementary school.  Oh my gosh.  I remember when I was literally called fat in school by a boy. I let that one comment stew for years and let it affect how I thought about myself of how fat I was for years.  Just stop letting Bobby’s comment from 6th grade bother you at the age of 34.
  3. Every body is different.  This is hard one to digest but it’s true.  Every body is different.  My body is different than the mom sitting next to me.  If you want to loose weight, then love your body that you have now.  Show it compassion.  Don’t compare it to Suzy.
  4. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how incredible you are because you really are.
  5. Stop thinking you’ll be happy when…. I loose 15 ibs … hold that thought for a hot minute because it’s not going to take over night.  It’s going to take time but it will happen.  Be happy and celebrate your success along the way.
  6. Do things that make you feel exceptional.  Working out, personal growth books, self care, working in my faith all give me all the goods to make me feel alive and in love with myself.
  7. Stop comparing yourself to others and love the  the body God blesses you with!

Remember you are truly a beautiful person and compliment that person looking back at you everyday.  Go through each day with a smile on your face knowing that you are loving yourself for who who are.

Be Awesome,

Amber

If you are interested in knowing more about the tools that I have used that made my healthy mom life style easier, contact me for more information.

Powerful Benefits of Eating Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Today we live in a society that disease is on the rise.  Common diseases include arthritis, heart, diabetes, cancer amongst others.  When I was going through my journey with gestational diabetes, I became familiar with foods that are anti-inflammatory.  Inflammation to the body is the root cause for a lot of known diseases and with the help of anti-inflammatory foods, they can help alleviate or combat the inflammation in our bodies. Learning about inflammation made me realize how I needed to take step back from unhealthy food choices not only for weight, but for my body to function as well.  Incredible what our bodies can do for us and in return we need to be more mindful on how we nourish it.  It’s powerful to know what foods play a role in our bodies.

what is inflammation? Inflammation of the body  is a response that happens when your body is being attacked and it cannot function properly. Well just say that when the body is being attacked by invaders, antioxidant rich foods fight the invaders off.  Sounds like a Star Wars Movie but in the body to me.

Moving away from overly processed foods like fast food, soda, refined sugars, and processed meets, to eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, lean meats, superfoods, and whole grains are healthful to eliminate inflammation in the body. The produce drawer in the fridge is your best friend.  Fill it with green leafy vegetables, celery, Broccoli, beets, fruits like blueberries high in antioxidants, citrus.  Your pantry should be filled with whole grains like quinoa, farro, and nuts and seed like walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.  I drink a daily shake rich in antioxidants and perfect for helping with inflammation of the body.

Here is a list of more foods that can help with inflammation:

  • Tomatoes
  • Salmon
  • Olive Oil
  • Pinapple
  • Tumeric
  • Avocado
  • Eggs
  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Peppers
  • Apples
  • Shakeology

The nutrition plan that I have followed for last five and half years has helped me focus on putting foods rich in antioxidants and are anti inflammatory to the body.  With being high risk for many diseases in the family like diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer , its been a priority for me to really hone in on these types of foods. I eat 4 cups of vegetables and 3 cups or equivalent of fruit daily.  Sounds like a lot but in the big picture, I know that I am giving my body the nourishment it needs daily.

Our bodies deserve the best and from the best of the best of foods.

Happy Eating!

Amber

If you are interested to know more about nutrition and a food plan that is right for you, contact me here

 

 

 

Ways to Become Self Aware to Achieve Your Goals

One thing I have learned through my journey wether it be motherhood, my health and fitness journey or learning to navigate myself through anxiety, the first step that has helped me through is being self aware. Being self aware is the idea that we have self control of our behaviors. We are able to take a look and evaluate ourselves.
So why is it important? Being self aware can help you control your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. I have found that being self aware is essential and can help you have success in motherhood, leadership skills, establishing good healthy lifestyle habits or whatever path you may be on right now in your current season.
Through the process of being self aware it has help me to overcome negative thinking and propel myself forward in the growth process. I’ve been able to come to know myself just a little more and why I am the way I am. It’s helped to understand others.
Ways that have helped me to become more self aware with myself and have helped me to make better habits:

Personality tests- I know this may sound silly but really they help! I have taken the Enneogram test that is really hot right now amongst all the personal growth community. It’s a priest accurate test. It’s divided into types and my top two are type 4 and type 3. Type fours are authentic, expressive and creative individuals but can be can get depressed easily. Type threes are leaders, motivators, and goal oriented but can be total work alcoholics. Knowing my type called me too see my many strengths, but to realize me weaknesses so I can better work at them.

Journaling- journaling is a great way to connect with your thoughts. To get thought out on paper wether they be positive or even negative. It helps you to understand what you are thinking. Writing gratitudes or even writing down our current struggles has been proven to increase our happiness levels.

Daily self reflection- when you look in the mirror what do see? Look in the mirror everyday and compliment yourself on something… doesn’t matter what it is. Tell yourself something positive like your confident or beautiful. It sounds weird and maybe narcissistic to some, but the truth giving yourself that positive affirmation everyday gives your brain a confidence boost!

Ask questions- ask yourself honest questions like “how can I improve today?”, “how can I serve?” These can be great journal prompts to do before you start your day.

Write down your goals and track your progress- tracking yourself will help you see how far you have come.

Becoming self aware is a process but taking consistent action everyday will give you opportunity to really become aware of how you feel even in moments that you feel anxious and overwhelmed.
I challenge you to try these 5 steps this week and see how you feel!
Be Awesome,
Amber

My Experience with Gestational Diabetes

I often talk about having gestation diabetes with my first son, however I never really go into to much detail of the whole experience and how it truly impacted me personally since then. To be honest, I didn’t even know that gestational diabetes was a thing until I was pregnant for the first time in 2013.  I was just told to go take this glucose test, so I did.  I was instructed to not eat before I went in so I didn’t.
I remember clear as day the moment I took that orange drink for the first time.  Moments later I  started feeling nauseous, lightheaded, shaking and sweating.  Something did not feel right. I went outside to take some breaths in the fresh air and after a while it started wearing off.  Was this normal? Is all I can remember asking myself. The next day I received a call from my OB letting me know that my sugar levels were out the roof and they rushed me to get in with a nutritionist and a perenatel  doctor who would be my specialist for the remainder of my pregnancy.  Confused of what was going on, I did what I was told.
I remember going into my nutritionist office days later.  She was very kind, but to the point. She kindly educated me on what was going on that my pancreas wasn’t working properly and not producing enough insulin for both me and the baby.  She continued to tell me that according to my pre pregnancy weight and my height (BMI) I was borderline obese and that if I didn’t take action right away, I would continue to be diabetic even after my pregnancy which would mean pricking myself every single day with needles and putting my body through other health complications.  Most people are told it will go away after the baby was born and don’t worry about it but in my case? It was different I had to make the changes.  I didn’t want to live my life like this is all I could think of. It was incredibly overwhelming to have to make all these changes so fast, but I knew I needed to do it.
My nutritionist set me up with my glucose meter and showed me how it worked. I remember I had to use it for the first time right then and there and it sucked and it hurt.  I cried on my way home but I knew I had to do this for my baby too so I sucked it up.
I had my first appointment with the specialist and the best thing of it all was I got more pictures of Ethan! However, he told me that I had excess fluid because of the diabetes that could cause some problems long term if it wasn’t monitored. All these things were being thrown at me like a ton of bricks…wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying this?  No. This whole pregnancy was about being at risk and told that this or that could go wrong.
At this point it was non stop trips to the doctors and pricking myself in the fingers three times a day to the point you could see holes in my skin, injecting myself nightly in my pregnant belly with insulin and going in twice a week for an hour strapped to a monitor praying that Ethan would move throughout the hour so the test would be normal.  I remember telling my unborn child in the bath tub  we got this. I’d wake up every morning going up and down the stairs a couple times or doing squats after dinner before I pricked myself to check my blood in hopes I could manipulate the numbers a bit to be a normal number since I had to log them in a book every time I pricked myself. Maybe not what I’m supposed to do but I did (with my second pregnancy I learned and went into the bathroom and did a 100 squats to burn through the drink faster…  okay I cheated a little).
Although Ethan was born safely into this world through an unplanned c-section, the complications continued for both of us. I blood so much after surgery,  I ended with a blood transfusion 4 days later… which should have been right away but it wasn’t.  I was laying in a hospital bed weak to the bones incoherent to the world un able to move and not understanding what was going on while my baby was in NICU do to complications that happened after birth. Nurses would tell me I was too weak to see my child so they wouldn’t take me down to see him.
I am not sure if these things happened from the diabetes, but it adds to the whole overwhelm of the pregnancy experience.
Through this experience, I was humbled.  It truly was a blessing in disguise.  It taught me to love my body that much more and to take care of it. When I saw myself at 197 pounds at birth and 160 pounds eight weeks later, it motivated me to take action. From this day even though I am done having kids, I still work on my health every single day because I got a glimpse of what it would be like to live a life with diabetes and I knew I DID NOT want live my life like that again because it scared the pants off me. Some may go through this experience not letting it impact them, but growing up with parents both over weight and seeing the issues they had because of it, I had every single reason in the book to change for me and my family.
I look back and know that there would have been some things I would have changed and some advice I’d give to a new, expecting mom is don’t be afraid to ask questions and educate yourself.  I didn’t think I needed to but I should have!  If I was more aware of the glucose test they they did during pregnancy  , I would have taken more action in the beginning instead of using pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted.  I later learned that diabetes can be genetic with weight issues, do some research before a pregnancy and see if it’s something you should consider.  You should eat healthy anyways but is always a good idea to know your family history.
I took this lesson in my life and learned from it. It was one of the most scariest moments in my life that made me realize that our bodies are precious and can do great things for us when we take care of them.  It made me realize that I wanted to be all there for my kids and be the best mom I can be and not have the health complications that come along with being overweight.
Be awesome,
Amber