Change Your Mindset

Here’s a few short clips from the end of Total Body Chisel. This is part of the Masters Hammer and Chisel program that features both Autumn Calabrese and Sagi Kalev.

I end with a little thought about mindset. What are you telling yourself? What have you conditioned yourself to believe? What could change if you changed your mindset? What do you have to lose by trying?

Paleo and the 21 Day Fix

My last post explained a little about how I’ve been dabbling in the Paleo diet world and really enjoying it. I used to think that eating Paleo was DUMB. I’m not a caveman; and their life expectancy wasn’t so hot. So why should I eliminate my beloved Greek yogurt just because cavemen hadn’t tamed a cow yet?

Fast forward a couple years of testing various eating styles and learning more about nutrition… I’ve realized that you can create your own diet. I don’t have to follow someone else’s list; I can gather the knowledge, test the parameters, and make my own perfect diet. This second time around approaching Paleo, I’ve made some personal choices about my food that aren’t exactly Paleo. I’ve been calling this Paleo-ish. I think the correct term for it might be “primal.” Whatever it is, it works for me, so I do it. I’m not trying to sell you on a set diet, but you might get some ideas for your own personal eating plan…

What is Paleo?

Just in case you’re new to this,  the Paleo diet is based on a theory that our bodies are made to process the foods that our Paleolithic ancestors once hunted and gathered. The Paleolithic period was prior to farming, processing, and certainly manufacturing. Ergo, we are healthier avoiding anything that couldn’t be hunted or gathered. TBH, I’m not sure I buy this completely as I have much better health than Nelda the Neanderthal did. But I can get on board with the unprocessed, real food angle. I’ve heard enough of the science to realize that some “food” isn’t actually food. Without going too much into the weeds, I can recommend the following resources (some free) to begin educating yourself to make your own decisions:

Strict Versus ‘Ish’

This is where the Paleo police attempt to arrest and publicly flog me. Whatevs. You do you, boo.

I like to start with what you CAN eat. Put on your positive pants. In general, Paleo means you are eating a LOT of:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Fruit, especially berries
  • Vegetables, except for nightshades
  • Sweet potatoes, in moderation
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy fats: Animal fats, coconut, olive, avocado, flaxseed, grassfed butter

If you are doing ‘strict’ Paleo, you eliminate the following from your diet:

  • All grains
  • Legumes (beans, soy, peanuts)
  • All dairy, except for grassfed butter
  • Sugar, including honey or maple syrup
  • Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes)
  • Cocoa/chocolate

Don’t freak. I’m NOT telling you chocolate is never going to pass your lips again. I have chocolate daily.

That elimination list above is what you START with, especially if you have gut issues or auto-immune disease symptoms. If you’ve never tested yourself before, you should go strict for at least a couple weeks, maybe even a month if you’ve got health issues. Then, you slowly add things back in, one at a time, to test if you have an allergy or sensitivity to it.

So what does my food list look like? Most days, it resembles…

Paleo-ish Food List (1)

My additions of the fermented dairy, occasional white potatoes, and Shakeology push my Paleo diet into the -ISH realm. My occasional dark chocolate (70%) is also not Paleo. I also eat fresh green beans and baby peas, but Mark’s Daily Apple considers these Paleo/Primal as they are technically seeds when picked and eaten fresh. Regardless, these items are still clean and make it possible for me to actually stick to and enjoy my eating plan. Sanity matters, people.

Adapting the 21 Day Fix to Paleo (ish)

The 21 Day Fix color-coded containers are still an amazing way to ensure you are eating a balanced, healthy diet. It already limits processed food and encourages you to eat lots of good vegetables, fruits, and protein. You can still follow the plan according to your calorie level (which you calculate based on your current weight, activity level, and goals). You simply adjust the approved foods to match your version of Paleo, or Paleo(ish) in my case.

A couple notes about this graphic:

  1. The foods are listed in order of most beneficial/compliant to least beneficial/compliant. For example, in the blue container group, avocado would be preferable over aged cheeses if I’m trying to choose between the two. Let’s be honest though; I usually eat both.
  2. I didn’t include the serving size guidelines here, so you’ll want to investigate that if it’s not something that readily smushes into the container. Example: 1/2 banana = 1 purple container.

Paleo 21 Day Fix

As for the number of containers of each, you either follow the plan, or dabble a bit on your own. My dabbling has led me to eat a little less of the yellow and purple, keep my purple to berries mostly, and have a little more of the blue, orange, and gray (teaspoons). This leads me to a lower carb, higher fat macro ratio, which agrees with me. My container count looks more like…

Paleo HFLC Container Count

Full Disclosure: I’m not measuring out everything I eat. But this is generally what a day would look like if I went back and measured it all out.

I’ve been using the 21 Day Fix containers long enough that I’ve learned what portion sizes need to look like. Can we say NSV (non-scale victory)? That’s a major benefit of learning to eat with the containers. I also naturally think of meals in balanced portions when I make my plate. I’m searching for protein and vegetables, with a little starch on the side if it’s available. I think of snacks as fruit, nuts, and healthy fats. This has truly been a mental shift that has led to a big lifestyle change for the better.

I would LOVE to help you make this same change.

Reach out to me about making a personalized plan for YOU or joining my next challenge group! I also offer free groups occasionally, if you are curious but not quite committed just yet. Let’s talk! 


Paleo (ish)  Sausage and Veggies One Pan Meal

#paleoish is a thing. And it’s MY thing. It means I aim for paleo eating principles, but I tailor it to my personal needs and sanity. I still eat good quality dairy like goats milk yogurt, yummy aged cheeses, and grassfed butter. 

Tonight’s paleoish dinner is an easy favorite and a #onepanmeal . I use #conecuhsausage because it’s a local Alabama delicacy and will blow your freakin’ mind if you’ve never had it before. 

Basically chop whatever veggies you have in the fridge, sprinkle with olive oil and spices of your choice, then cut the sausage and place on top of the veggies on a large pan. I had zucchini, summer squash, an orange bell pepper, purple carrots, asparagus, and a sweet potato. I used Trader Joe’s Everything spice grinder, a little extra garlic powder, and pink salt.  Roast it all at 400F for 25 minutes. Done. The juice and grease from the sausage adds even more flavor to the veggies. If you really want to take this up a notch (from really yummy to mindblowing), add an over-easy egg on top. Whaaaaat!?!? Yep. 

I’ll have a whole post soon about how I’m no longer afraid of fatty sausage grease like this. Fat is my FRIEND. And a delightfully delicious one at that. 

Because the veggie chunks are big, this really only takes 10 minutes to put together. You could even chop all in advance and freeze! This can make as much or as little as you want. Adjust for your needs. I see cooking as an art, not a science. Great for meal prep and leftovers. Guess what I’m having for lunch tomorrow?

Comeback Kid

After a LONG hiatus to get my feet under me at a new job, push a massive community fundraiser to completion, and reflect on my priorities, I’m relaunching my fitness and health coaching business!


Lots of new content and projects coming soon. Lookout for an exciting challenge that I’m currently testing on myself right now! (Hint: There’s butter in my coffee.)

Big Changes and Holiday Chaos

I’ve barely touched my website or my podcast in the past two months. I’ve had some big changes happening. The main one involves me changing jobs, from private defense practice to the corporate management world. It’s a BIG difference but really welcome and interesting. Learning new things and exercising new skills is always good. It’s scary, but this all fell into place in such a way and at such a time that God’s hand was obvious in it. I’m not quite sure what my path ahead holds, but I’m moving forward regardless. 

I left my old law firm for the new company right before the holiday madness really set in. We had weddings, multiple family Christmases, parties, and traveling all through December. I was able to get a few active activities in there though. 

I helped Anytime Fitness in my hometown Alexander City, AL with their #BurnTheTurkey project. I taught a P90X Live class on Thanksgiving morning with a great crowd.

And we went on a looooong walk on the farm after having our big meal later that day. 

I was back in Alex City a couple weeks later for a wedding and ran a little 5k at my church. Look who got 2nd place female! Did I mention is was a small race? 

I came back and taught another couple classes over Christmas, mostly to keep myself on track! I’ve been bulking muscle in anticipation of cutting in January. 

And so I find myself beginning 2017 and starting some new projects. Stay tuned for an entire series on my Ultimate Reset journey! Make sure you are following me on Insta and FB to get the daily updates. 

Podcast Ep. 28 – Day of the Dead

The PODCAST for November 2 is up. Episode 28 coming your way. Either listen here, download to iTunes, or read the transcript below. Or all three! If you do make it over to iTunes, be a dear and leave a review.

Today is November 2, the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos).

I don’t have any Hispanic heritage, or even decent Spanish language skills, but I do really enjoy learning about other cultures. The Day of the Dead also dovetails with my own Catholic religious observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

Continue reading

Upcoming Challenge Groups! 

Want to join my next Challenge or free topical group? Awesome! Just click below and fill out my application.


Upcoming groups…

November 7, 2016: Core De Force Fight for Fit Challenge Group

30 days with the new MMA inspired cardio program)

November 14, 2016: Healthy Holiday Habits (Free Group)

A mini-challenge group to help you identify, create, and implement healthy habits to get you through the holiday season while still enjoying the cookies and eggnog. This group is FREE!

January 2016: New Year’s Ultimate Reset

The Ultimate Reset is Beachbody’s revolutionary 21 day cleansing program. It’s a commitment and isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. You can completely change your relationship with nutrition, detoxify your body, and reset your system. Oh yeah, and you can lose several pounds while you’re at it WITHOUT EXERCISE. Watch this video for a little more info from a medical expert who tried it himself. I will be doing a round of this myself right after New Year’s. JOIN ME!

How accurate are the 21 Day Fix color containers? And how to use the containers for bodybuilding!  

So those little yellow containers are more accurate than you’d think… 

Today, I started bulking (more on that below). As I love my little #21dfx containers, I ate using the #BodyBeast color container counts for adding mass. 

Note: These container counts are not in the original version but have been added to the digital booklets on Beachbody On Demand. This update is a gamechanger for the Body Beast nutrition plan. Awesome! 

It’s very different from my 4 reds, 4 greens, 3 purples, 3 yellows on 21 Day Fix. I’m eating 4 greens, 3 reds, 4 purples, 8 yellows, a blue, an orange, and 5 tsps on my bulking plan. Whaaaaat??? 

Honestly, it was hard to eat all that today. (I can’t believe I just complained about that.) 

This is new, and a total experiment. So I was still researching tonight. I found some #iifym macronutrient calculations for bulking and decided to see how close I was with my food today. I added everything I’ve eaten in My Fitness Pal. Almost dead on! 

I would have hit it exactly on the nose if it weren’t for the cookies I just had for dessert. Oops. Whatevs. Deliciousness.

I’m ecstatic to know the containers are so close. I felt led to track the numbers for more accuracy but was having a hard time planning my food based on the numbers. It’s just easier to think in colors rather than numbers. So, this is perfect. I’ll still use my containers to portion and plan, but I can track the numbers to make sure I’m on target. 

But you’re TRYING to gain weight? Huh?

So WHY am I bulking? Why would I willingly gain weight? I want those GAINS! But seriously…

I’ve stagnated a bit in my fitness journey. I’m fit and comfortable with my body, but I would love to be stronger. I’m curvy and muscular so it’s time to see how curvy muscular I can get. It’s time to step out of the comfort zone and shake it up! 

I’m experimenting with a #bulking phase for the next couple weeks. Lifting HEAVY while eating way more calories and carbs than I’m used to. Yes, I will gain weight. But it will hopefully be a lot of muscle! Then I’m going to cut fat with the new MMA cardio #CoreDeForce program next month on the 7th. (You can join me btw. Just tell me.) 

 It’s a short bulk, and a bit of a test to see how this makes me feel. I love that I’m at a place where I can experiment with my fitness and nutrition, and comfortable enough to gain a few pounds and not freak out. #bodylove

on Instagram:

Commitment is a repetitive choice.

My four year wedding anniversary is today. Four years of marriage, and over eight years of our relationship.

Wikipedia says that the newlywed period can last up to four years (and Wiki knows everything), so it’s officially over with this anniversary. I haven’t considered myself a newlywed in a couple years though, because I’ve had to choose to love my husband several times over.

Commitment isn’t magic. It isn’t being so infatuated with someone that nothing else in the world matters. Because other things do matter. Other people matter. Life outside of your marriage MATTERS. Commitment to my husband is a repetitive choice to return home even when I’m boiling mad at him, to love him when he’s annoying, to respect him when I disagree, to push him when I know he needs it, to support him in everything, and to surprise him by putting my coffee cups in the dishwasher every once in a while.

Commitment is realizing that you’ve made mistakes, sometimes big ones, in how you’ve prioritized your relationship, how you’ve treated him, how you reacted or responded to an issue. Then you learn from that mistake, tighten your ponytail, and make the choice to be committed and present in your marriage.

We struggle with commitment in other places than our human relationships.

A little over 5 years ago, I committed myself to a healthier lifestyle. I started running, and working out, and paying attention to what I ate. Much like a young married person, I may not have known exactly what that meant when I jumped into it. I counted calories, seeing how low I could get, thinking that 100 calorie packs of Cheezits and frozen diet dinners were good food choices. My heart was in the right place, which is what matter with commitment. The important part is that I was committed to learning about health, adjusting as I go, and doing my best to implement the knowledge and experience that I gained along the way.

Food and humans aside, we also struggle with commitment in our relationship with Christ. He is, in every sense, the perfect spouse. He loves us unconditionally while still pushing and challenging us to be the best version of ourselves, the true creations He made us to be. But He knows that we will fail, and is ready to catch us when we fall.

Commitment to any of these, marriage, health, or God, cannot be a commitment to perfection. We can never attain it and will become so discourage that we will quit trying. When we are committed to the things that matter, we have to be committed to the repetitive choice, to constant learning, and to seeking knowledge, wisdom, and discernment in these areas.

In her book, The Best Yes (which I totally recommend), Lysa Terkeurst writes:

“Knowledge is wisdom that comes from acquiring truth. Insight is wisdom that comes from living out the truth we acquire. Discernment is wisdom that comes form the Holy Spirit’s reminders of that knowledge and insight.”

This correlates with MUCH of the first several chapters of Proverbs. In particular, Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”

If you continue to read in Proverbs, you’ll see how the author describes wisdom as a path to follow, as something to be gained over time, and a skill to be learned and practice. Wisdom, and commitment, is not something you can just decide to have and exercise perfectly from day 1. It is the practice of repetitive choice.

We are going to fall off the wagon in any area we commit. We are sinful, imperfect creatures locked in a battle that we are destined to lose on our own. The good news is we are not on our own. God understands that and sends the Holy Spirit to be with us in this battle.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28.

Commitment is a battle. Even the Apostle Paul battled for it…

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” 2 Tim. 4:7

So I fight for my marriage, every day. I choose to love him over and over. I fight for my health. I strive for the balance of a sustainable lifestyle of mostly good choices with enough treats to keep my sanity. I fight for my faith. In a world where so many others want to tell me what my relationship with Christ is supposed to look like, what a ‘good Christian’ does, who a ‘good Christian’ votes for… the struggle is to focus on God, and ONLY God. To listen to His voice, not the clamoring human noise. To see myself as He sees me, and to be what He made me to be.

These are winding paths, full of opportunities for growing in wisdom. I choose to keep walking. And then I choose again, and again, and again, and again…

Real Food for Spiritual Health

This podcast stemmed from a passage from Shauna Niequist’s devotional book ‘Savor.’

She writes about the importance of food, and the rituals and traditions that we have built around real food.

The obvious spiritual tradition is the Euchurist, or Communion. The act of taking bread and wine in remembrance (either via symbolism or transubstantiation) of Christ’s sacrifice for us. The Last Supper is something that even non-Christian’s know. A meal so important that it changed the course of history.

But food has become inconvenient for us. Fast food, quick frozen dinners, packaged and processed snacks to fill our bellies with the least amount of time and thought possible. Modern technology is NOT a bad thing. We are busy and sometimes just need to eat really quickly. But what are we sacrificing by doing so?

We talk and connect over food. There’s a reason we ‘break bread’ with people to make peace. It’s hard to be mad while eating good food. Holiday meals are where memories are made. I love cooking with my family on Christmas eve. It’s not even the food that I love (though it is delicious); it’s joking and laughing over cookie dough and casseroles in the kitchen.

We focus on real food and clean eating so much for our health. It’s a big buzzword. Everyone is ‘eating clean’ or going ‘whole.’ Yes, it’s fantastic for your health and is the cornerstone for a healthy lifestyle. But it’s also an important concept for our spiritual health, recognizing the importance and ritual of real food.