Starting A Fitness Routine: Advice and Motivation

First progress picture after losing 30 lbs compared to most recent after 90 lbs lost. If I can do it, anyone can do it!

Have you been in a place where you want to begin exercising regularly, but you don’t know where to start? I can relate and have also been there. The solution may seem easy—just start! However, often -times the issues preventing us from trying something new is our mentality and insecurity. Its hard to walk into a gym, or even go for a jog around the block without feeling awkward when you’re just starting out. The main thing is to just ignore those doubts and try it. Nobody should feel they don’t have the body type to exercise because everybody starts somewhere. Nobody has ever reached health and fitness goals by continuously putting off actually doing the exercise.

With that being said, let me share a little bit of my own experience. I first began my most recent fitness journey over three years ago and sometimes I am amazed at where I am now. “Three years ago me” would have never imagined I would be who I am today from choosing to walk into Fitness 19. I remember being scared and not feeling like I belonged in a gym, but those doubts quickly shifted to motivation as I started to see and feel the difference in my body, mood, strength and energy level. Also, I was enjoying the classes I was taking and I was regularly receiving support from the women and instructors I encountered. It was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I ever made.

Additionally, one factor that kept me from getting a gym membership, was the thought that it would be too expensive. Until one day I found a flyer in my mailbox from Fitness 19 that was offering memberships in my ideal price range, so I figured I would check it out. I went in and got a free week trial and started out with Zumba. I also tried yoga and pilates because I had a lot of experience doing those already and I began to really enjoy not only the people and instructors, but also the relaxed vibe of Fitness 19.  It has become a place I look forward to visiting and the friends I have made there keep me motivated and excited about staying on top of exercising. Fitness 19 is inexpensive with great deals, has a great community and offers a variety of group classes with excellent instructors. I highly recommend this gym!

Now, I get it if the gym isn’t your thing, but clearly, you can still exercise. After my second child was born I started exercising without a gym membership by doing yoga at home on youtube and walking. We used to live on a street that was in a hilly area so I made time to get really good walks in on the weekends. Also, I was using Youtube to do yoga most days of the week. I did this along with using the Weight Watchers app to track my nutrition and it worked for weight loss as well as building a foundation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long term.

Eventually, I also got a $10 a month subscription to an app called The Daily Burn. If you love the idea of taking classes, they have all kinds from yoga to kick boxing and even recovery videos for active rest days. If you either want to build up some confidence in your fitness abilities, or you aren’t interested in the gym, I can vouch for these other options.

The important thing is it so get your body moving! Combine an activity you like while maintaining proper nutrition and you’ll be on the way to achieving fitness goals in no time. I suggest to try and find something you are interested in doing, not something you dread, other wise you’ll never stick with it. Also, if you end up not liking your work out of choice, try something different until it sticks.

An instructor once said in a class “get comfortable being uncomfortable” and this idea has been on my mind for several weeks now. New experiences can be uncomfortable, and in this case it’s a good thing. That just means you are on a path to bettering yourself and positive changes are in your future. Just try and remind yourself the discomfort is leading you where you want to be.

So, get together with a friend to work out, or make a really good play list and get moving!

Seriously Good Motivation: Happiness

For many of us, the main goal in life is to find happiness. Here’s my thoughts on a documentary pertaining to this topic.
Facts in this article were supplied from Happy– a documentary available on Netflix!

Have you ever done everything in your power to achieve happiness, and still find yourself feeling unfulfilled? Like when you get the job you wanted with salary you wanted, but you still felt like you deserved more money, or the workplace was not what you expected. Maybe you eat healthy and exercise, but you still don’t feel better, or simply remain unhappy with your appearance? Perhaps you finally purchase your dream home, but you feel more isolated, lonely, and stressed than before being a homeowner? Sometimes it feels like nothing we want, or work to get is ever enough, it never provides the long-term satisfaction we hoped for. Sometimes the things we strive to own, or dreams we work to achieve just aren’t enough to make us “happy”. As it turns out, scientists who have studied “happiness” have found that there’s more to a state of overall contentment than attaining goals, buying things, or lifestyle choices.

For one, it was found genetics play a role. By studying groups of twins, it was discovered that 50% of our happiness levels are pre-determined by our genes— what the scientists defined as our “genetic set point”. Additionally, only 10% of happiness comes from our individual circumstances- job, health, financial state, lifestyle and so forth.  This leaves the additional 40% unaccounted for. Ultimately, this was measured as our intentional behavior, such as, our hobbies, relationships with family, friends and romantic ones, as well. So, if we think about these findings, perhaps we should consider that we shouldn’t solely rely on our work and attaining financial success to make us “happy”. The idea that, “once I get that job, house, car, or take that vacation, I will finally have it all” can potentially deter a path to reaching overall satisfaction in life. According to these findings, it seems that it’s not necessarily what we do, but how we do it. Our job, health and financial standing only account for a small percentage of what makes us happy meaning it’s not necessarily the circumstances in our life. We most certainly have control over the choices we make and how we choose to live our life.

I’m not here to say that from this information I suddenly know how to achieve the ultimate happiness, I’m just saying the people who are considered experts and took the time to study came to some interesting conclusions. I still set goals and find that achieving them are crucial to not only happiness, but fulfillment in my life. I do think, however, if we take these findings into consideration it can help us in those times of self-doubt. Sometimes our happiness, or contentment maybe has nothing to do with what we have done, or failed to do, but may be pre-determined by genetics. In this case, its possible self-love and acceptance can keep us motivated to finding what it is that makes us, and keeps us happy. Also, by keeping this in mind, we can better understand, support and accept others for who they are.

Not to say we should use the “genetic set-point” theory as an excuse and brush off being shitty towards people because it’s just “who we are”. We should still take responsibility for our choices and how those choices impact those around us. More than anything, I look at these findings as an opportunity for empowerment. We can take steps, or make choices to manage our behavior and better understand our own emotions. Maybe, trying new things and keeping life exciting, or meeting new people and breaking out of the routine makes you happy. Or maybe stability and alone time is good for you. Personally, I need a little bit of both. I’m an extroverted introvert of sorts.

Additionally, the Spice Girls seemed to have it right when they sang “people of the world spice up your life, every boy and every girl, spice up your life”. (Yes, I quoted the Spice Girls and for good reason.) Some studies suggest that dopamine, a chemical in our brains that is tied to pleasure and happiness begins to slowly decrease from our teenage years and on. So it’s important to seek out experiences that release dopamine, such as exercise. Additionally, it’s even better if we change up our routine. So maybe if you’re a runner, try running on a different path every so often. OR take a run like Pheobe Buffay in one of my favorite Friend’s moments. If you don’t know that episode, lucky for you I attached the clip below for your inspiration! Based on this, expressing the childlike desires within us, like playfulness and excitement will release dopamine.  So really you don’t have to abuse substances to set the chemicals in your brain off. Just get a natural high on life and find joy in trying something new. The best part is, you can be creative and not have to spend a dime! Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Realistically, happiness is a complicated emotion that seems so simple, but life isn’t like that. As we grow and circumstances change, especially those beyond our control, it’s just not possible to be happy all the time, every moment of every day. Obviously, not everyone’s circumstances will make feeling happy as easy as it may sound. However, if we understand that we have the power to take control, even if that means asking for help, we can turn our failures into successes and our self-doubt into confidence. We’re alive. We’re breathing. That’s a lot to be happy about.

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

You want pancakes, but you want to stay healthy, this healthy homemade recipe is for you. Simple, wholesome ingredients you have in your kitchen, gluten free and no added artificial sugars.

Homemade banana oatmeal pancakes
Have you ever woken up on a Sunday morning with a craving for pancakes, but you didn’t have any flour? Maybe you’re just on a gluten free diet, or just trying to eat healthier, so you’re avoiding flour. Perhaps your bananas have turned brown and you need an idea to use them rather than throw them out. If you can relate to any of these, this banana oatmeal pancake recipe may be for you.

Although this recipe is gluten free, its not vegan, or dairy free. I’m sure you can make adjustments by using non dairy ingredients though. However, there are eggs and I’m not sure how you can really change that aspect. So, sorry vegan friends! 😢

Although this may not necessarily be the healthiest creation, in some ways it’s a healthier-ish alternative. I mean, there’s no flour and there are bananas in the batter, so that must count for something!

Regardless, these pancakes will keep you satisfied and also have your tastebuds jumping for joy! Also, you’ll have great energy for your day!

* This recipe was enough for two adults and three kids with some leftover. So you may want to cut measurements in half if you don’t want a bunch left over.


2 cups rolled oats

4 small bananas

4 eggs

2 tablespoons honey

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups milk (your choice- I used almond milk)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt


Mash bananas. Add milk, eggs, yogurt, honey and mix.

Add oats to food processor and blend into a flour. Mix in the cinnamon and baking powder.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and bam! You have your batter.

Heat the pan or skillet using butter, non stick spray, or ghee if you wish. Pour batter onto pan once it’s completely coated.

The Pancakes are ready to flip when the edges look cooked, and there are bubbles on the top. If you don’t see bubbles, just make sure the bottom is cooked well before turning over. If they are flipped over too soon they could fall apart.

That’s it.

Hopefully you don’t have trouble flipping them. It isn’t easy so just take your time, flip them slowly and believe in yourself.

Serve with some berries and honey on top, or syrup. Although this doesn’t replace the traditional pancake, it definitely holds its own!