Stepping stones to a happy soul

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Bust a move!

It can be discouraging to start a consistent workout routine. Perhaps a gym full of regulars is intimidating, or you simply don’t know where to start. It does not matter if you begin moving by taking twenty minutes out of your day to power walk around the neighborhood or if you go headstrong into the gym or begin a workout program. As long as you get up and get moving, that’s the most important thing.

Motivational post on Pinterest.

A popular saying in the fitness world (from StudentFitBits on Tumblr).

If you are more comfortable exercising in the comfort of your living room or garage, that’s also a great place to start. Have fun and create your own personal gym with colorful weights and a jump rope for cardio. There’s no need to invest in big machines. Tune into Pandora or Spotify and find your favorite upbeat tracks to fuel that energy!

This would also be a good starting point to develop knowledge about different beginner exercises and practicing proper form, which is extremely important to be aware of so you don’t strain or injure yourself.

Are you too busy in a day to fit in a work out? Not to worry, because there’s an app for that! There are many of them, such as the 7 Minute Workout, that give quick, heart-pumping, calorie burning interval training exercises. The great thing about this, and many other apps, is that there are a variety of exercises and you can do them anywhere. If you prefer a tutorial you can watch on your computer, Blogilates (mentioned in my previous post) also creates fun and upbeat workouts while her bubbly personality motivates you to push harder.

There’s no excuse for busy bodies. Everyone can, and should, get up and bust a move. I promise you will feel tired, but fantastic afterwards.


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Eat well and often.

Starving your body is not the way to go for weight-loss or kickstarting a healthy lifestyle. By restricting calories and food, you are putting your body into starvation mode and your body will have nothing to run on. It’s like a car; it needs fuel to run properly. No carbs means no energy, so you’ll feel sluggish, tired, and drained. Even worse, your metabolism will slow down because your mind and body is preparing itself for starvation by storing fat. This is the complete opposite of your weight-loss goal, right?

When I began my health journey, I planned out five small meals per day and they were mostly prepared at home. By cooking at home, I know exactly what is going into my body and I am able to practice portion control. It sounds a bit crazy or obsessive, but for me, portion control is important, especially when I want to eat foods I enjoy.

Recipes can be quick, simple, and inexpensive.

Cassey Ho from Blogilates promotes these types of meals and shares many delicious recipes that have helped me plan out what food I ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Cassey caters to a wide range of tastes, from food inspired from around the world, to paleo and vegan diets. Here’s a video on how to make a delicious yet healthy quesadilla:

Bottom line, food is your friend, not your enemy! Eating several small meals a day will help keep you full, curb your cravings, and keep your metabolism up.

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One who inspires me.

I just wanted to share this video because, in sum, this woman speaks the truth. Well, at least in my opinion. Her name is Jarmaine and she is one of the people I follow for inspiration and motivation to keep a healthy lifestyle.

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I relate to her because she has a body type similar to mine, and she reassures me that being healthy and fit does NOT have to equal a Victoria’s Secret or a bikini competitor’s body. She is all about keeping that balance of being able to enjoy food she loves, yet still having self-control and staying motivated to work out and eat healthy. This is something I personally still have to improve on, but as she mentions in a recent video, Skinny Obsession, it took her several years of her fitness journey so that the lifestyle is actually a part of her. I’ve learned that it’s a long and tedious journey, but as long as you don’t give up, there will be improvement, no matter how small.

As a bonus, she also loves makeup (like myself) and is hilarious in her videos so she’s never a bore! I hope this helps some of you, because it knocked some sense back into me! As I mentioned in my first post, I believe that it is so important to have a friend or someone you look up to for inspiration to keep yourself motivated in a positive way. You won’t have to go through your journey alone.

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Carbs: the good, the bad, the yummy.

Good-standing relationships (friends, significant other, family) are healthy and should help you excel and become a better, successful, and happier person. This same concept applies to food. You know the saying, “You are what you eat?” It’s true. Eating bad food will make you feel as such, whether it’s guilty, sluggish, or overly full. Eating food that is good for you will leave you feeling energized and satisfied.

Carbs are a major part of our diet. Despite what many people say, not all carbs are bad for you.

A simple carb breakdown from

In my opinion, because carbs are a main part of our diet, it is also what needs to be altered the most. All it takes is a simple switch. I personally love bread, especially in pastry form. But I knew I had to cut out treats like that out of my diet, even if it was homemade or freshly baked at a bakery. When I started making changes in the way I ate, I still kept eating bread, but I looked for healthier alternatives. I looked for whole wheat or whole grain bread, usually with oats, flax, or chia seeds baked right in. They are higher in fiber and nutrients. Yes, they are a bit more expensive and a bit dry on its own. But that’s where you can get creative with your meals. Here are a few quick and simple recipe options that I love:

Breakfast or pre-workout snack: Crunchy peanut butter on whole wheat toast. I always go for the unsalted option and I spread on no more than 1 TBSP. You also gain protein and energy from the peanut butter, which is perfect in the morning before you start your day.

Personal Pizza: For this, I use whole wheat Middle-Eastern flatbread, which you can find at Trader Joe’s. It’s a perfect round size for a mini pizza. I usually roll it up or fold it in half, wrap it with foil, and take it for my lunch on the go. I use a 1 TBSP of marinara sauce, a small handful of spinach (optional), and a light layer of low-fat mozzarella cheese. Then pop it into a toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble and brown. If you want some protein, feel free to add grilled chicken, a few slices of pepperoni, or bacon. Yes, it’s okay to eat these and still be healthy! But I always follow a single serving size.

Remember, if you must have bread or rice, find a whole wheat or brown rice option. It’s these small substitutions in your diet that will make a big difference. You’ll feel it and eventually see results on your body.


Get motivated: An intro to inspire.

If you’ve come to a place in your life when you realize that something has to change for the better, you have to have the motivation and willpower to make that change.

That epiphany for me was Spring 2012 when I went to a doctor’s appointment. To my horror, my documented weight at that time was 132 pounds. I froze on the scale and had difficulty processing what I just heard. I felt like I was offended and honestly, I was embarrassed. That was my peak weight. In high school, I was extremely thin. When I started college, I was at my ideal healthy weight of 120 pounds. However, I didn’t do anything to maintain my health because I thought I would always stay the same.

Until that doctor’s appointment snapped me back into reality.

How did I get so unhealthy? Well, I was in my early twenties and my weekends consisted of drinking or clubbing, and late night munchies for California burritos. I thought, “Hey girlfriend, you dance at the club for hours in those heels! That counts as cardio and a leg workout!”

Throughout 2012, I was also going through hardships and changes in my life that still affect my life today. I just wanted to take it out on happy hours with my girlfriends and claiming a very fake “I don’t give a f***” attitude. That mindset was so very wrong.

I was determined to change myself because along with being unhappy with life, I was unhappy with myself and the way I looked and felt. I needed a major attitude adjustment.

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If you’re unhappy and you think you’ve been trying change your habits, you probably aren’t changing the right things. For me, I thought I was balancing unhealthy eating habits with clubbing as a form of exercise. Yes, this may seem to work for those lucky few skinny-minnies with fast metabolisms, but let’s face it, being tiny on the outside does not equal a healthy body inside. Ever heard of “skinny-fat?”

A change for the better has to come from within and be for your well-being. PERMANENTLY. If you are only looking for a quick fix because Vegas or a vacation is coming up this weekend, that isn’t the right path to start. Starving yourself for this temporary satisfaction is not only unhealthy, but will negatively affect your body.

Ultimately, it’s about finding a balance between what you love to eat, what you love to do for fun, but still finding the time stay active and putting some work in.

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The very first step for me was to find ways to stay motivated and keep going. Here’s what I did:

  1. Buy work out clothes that are inspiring or are fun to wear. Make outfits out of these pieces and don’t lazily throw on some old clothes. You’ll feel livelier and make you want to get up and move!
  2. Follow inspiring people on social media. You will always be exposed to positivity. On Instagram and Pinterest, I would like, re-post, or follow people or photos that motivate me to become stronger, better, and to keep pushing through (such as the photo above). 
  3. Find someone to share your journey with. My cousin was in the same negative mindset as me, and we decided to keep each other on track. We shared our meals and workouts through the app, MyFitnessPal. Not only will you find more inspiration, but it creates friendly competition so you can do your best.


Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, professional athlete, or competing body builder, and I am not trying to convey myself as one. I am a normal 20-something that is sharing my personal health and fitness journey and advice. This is what worked for me from the very beginning and what works for me and my lifestyle today. It may not work perfectly for everyone, so please feel free to just take my advice for what it is and adjust according to your needs! Happy living!

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Water is your new accessory.

From now on, keep water with you constantly, like you keep your smartphone, ipod, or wallet. Every time you take a break to check a text or browse through Instagram, take a sip or two!

(from MindBodyGreen)

  • Increases energy and relieves fatigue -it helps you focus and concentrate.
  • Promotes weight loss- it boosts metabolism, is a natural appetite suppressant, and by drinking water before meals, it helps with over eating.
  • Great for skin- it keeps skin moisturized, glowing, and may help with wrinkles.

What’s your excuse to not keep water with you at all times?

1. It’s too expensive to buy bottled water all the time.

Then don’t buy it! There are water filters that you can attach to your faucet, or even a water filter pitcher. Brita has a wide range of faucet or pitcher filters that will fit any budget. Prices for these products range from $12 to $50.

Brita’s Slim water pitcher is “compact, perfect for use at home, work, or in the dorm.”

2. Water is so plain, it’s boring to drink. I want some flavor.

There are many ways to boost plain old water. For added flavor, lemon slices, herbs, or other fruit have been a recent popular trend in boosting water’s health benefits.

3. I don’t want to keep going to the bathroom.

Why not? It may not be the best during long road trips. But by constantly drinking water and going to the bathroom, your body is being cleansed as it flushes out toxins. If you’re going to the bathroom and you see yellow in the toilet, you’re probably dehydrated. Drink more water until you’re in the clear!

Remember, keep water with you as much as you keep your cellphone with you!