Happy September! It is a busy time in a lot of our lives with school and fall activities starting up, not to mention the stress of navigating it all in a pandemic. But, what better time to start living our best, healthiest lives, so we can be at our best for all of it?? I even have a freebie offer at the end that can help jumpstart your health! Let’s dive in!
Our focus this month is: Falling in Love with a Healthy Lifestyle.
Our health hack is: Hacking the Habit Loop
And yes, I’ve included the goodies for you at the end:
- cliff notes for my scrollers in a hurry or for those who want condensed notes to refer back to easily
- September’s meal plan (many from Beachbody’s Fixate program for my BOD users)
- a challenge sheet for you to fill in throughout the month
- our health hack concept that dives into the psychology behind our habits!
Why are we FALLing in love with a healthy lifestyle? Because we’re not here just to lose weight fast and put it back on again. We’re not here to do a crash diet. We’re not here to feel good for a month or two. We’re here because we all realize that health isn’t a destination… It is a journey! We don’t reach a goal and stop! We adopt a healthy lifestyle that will last a LIFETIME!
How do we do it? “I am not loving those veggies you’re making me eat, Jess.” Well, this month, you’re about to. Ready?!
So, our challenge last month was to up our veggies by 1 cup per day. How’s that going? Are you grabbing plain celery sticks and munching them out of necessity? Are you eating a salad like blah, blah, blah (that’s how my dog eats vegetables when he gets one by mistake, chews it, and they fall out of his mouth in disgust mid-chew)… Well, why are you doing that? Is there honestly not one vegetable dish you’ve enjoyed in your life? Do you really not like hummus, guac, or any other healthy dip for raw veggies? Do you think salads are the only way to incorporate veggies? Have you roasted them with olive oil and spices? Sautéed them? Made your own sweet potato or kale chips? Eaten them in a bowl with grains and protein? Or, God forbid, sprinkled some cheese on them and devoured them?!
I may sound like Sam I Am from Green Eggs and Ham, but I’ll refrain from rhyming… Have you tried them as a bun for burgers (portabella mushrooms, egg plant, jicama)? Lettuce wraps vs tortillas? Stuffed peppers? That portabella mushroom pizza recipe I gave you last month? Frozen spinach in shakes/smoothies (if you drink it fast enough, you won’t even taste it!)? Zucchini, sweet potato, or squash veggie noodles in place of pasta? Microwavable frozen veggies w/ spices?
Variety. In how we cook them. How we dress them. How we compliment them. And in which we eat them. I had never eaten a beet before in my life 2 years ago. Hated them at first. Love them now! Jicama? Weird. Love it now. Different veggies exist! They are at the grocery store. You are allowed to buy them. Get creative! Look up recipes! Have fun with it!
There are a ton of options out there to try, and of course you don’t want to try them all at once or only find one that you like and eat it all of the time, but remember last month’s concept? Small steps. That still rings true. That’s why the challenge this month is: finding 2 NEW veggie recipes that you LOVE. (PS you still need to maintain that extra serving of veggies you starting eating! I get it that it is hard- sometimes veggies just don’t sound good, but that’s why VARIETY is so key!)
And who knows? If you find a certain way of preparing, spicing, or eating those two dishes, maybe it will give you ideas for other recipes. The two ideas of “small steps” and “falling in love” both are leading us, gradually, into a healthy lifestyle.
Last month, we focused on one good feeling we had after exercise. That feeling was what we used to motivate us for our following exercise session. Did it work? Maybe, maybe not. But, this month, we’re going to take it a step further and actually start liking, no LOVING, exercise AS we do it.
What? But, I’m breathing hard and hot and… Yes! Therein lies the beauty. Your body is capable of moving. Moving so efficiently that you can work your muscles, your heart, and your lungs. And that is something God gave us to be worked and used! In fact, he intended it to move regularly… how do I know? Because if we stop moving it, it stops working correctly!
Celebrate the fact that your body can move. Celebrate the fact that you have your health. Celebrate the tiny improvements you see from one exercise session to the next.
Choose an atmosphere that you enjoy- nature- as the sun rises, the wind blows, the leaves rustle; a well-lit room; at least a space with a few motivating quotes around you…
If that’s not possible, create a playlist of songs you enjoy listening to while you move, if you’re on a cardio machine, choose a show to watch that you like, listen to or watch the big game as you walk or stretch…
Do it with a friend, text a friend when you’re finished and hold each other accountable, start following fitness experts on social media and learn more about moving your body, join my Beachbody community where we post after every workout…
Buy workout clothes that you like, are comfortable, and make you feel good… do whatever it is that strikes your unique interest waves and bind it to exercise (making something more attractive is scientifically proven to help us form new habits!).
There are so many ways that we can make the actual process of working out more enjoyable! It doesn’t have to be a chore! If you don’t enjoy the movement itself, create an environment around the movement that you look forward to!
Challenge of the month: Finding 2 things you LOVE about exercising or 2 things you already love and can combine with exercise! (or one of each if you want!)
Last month, we all chose an area in our home that could use a little sprucing. Whether it was a new system for mail, a way to get your family on board with putting their things away, a new shoe rack, or a new coat of paint, it was a small change but helped remove a little anxiety we may have experienced with that area.
This month, we are going to focus on a new area, and this time, we’re going to make it more fun! Instead of organizing and nagging our lovely family, we’re going to decorate or rejuvenate an area in our home or work space. It might be an outdoor corner that needs cleaning out, a spare bedroom that we’ve been wanting to turn into something else, a new feel to our desk (quote plaque, calendar, etc), or just something small like adding a few Bible verses on sticky notes to different areas in our home. Whatever it is, make it something you LOVE about your space.
Why does this help us? Because every time we see this area, it gives our mood a little boost. It also encourages us to do this in a new area or to create more, little improvements in our environment that lift us up!
Challenge: Pick one area to improve in décor, rejuvenation, or something transformative!
How are we doing on those weekly (or whatever time period you chose) check-ins? It’s not the easiest habit to get into, especially since it isn’t a regular thing… But, setting small goals for the week and/or just checking in with yourself periodically to see if your actions are aligned with the person you want to be can be powerful!
In fact, as a health coach, I preach and preach about the importance of goal setting, writing things down, periodical checks, etc, but I have been lacking on doing it in my own life! I just sat down and wrote a 5 year vision, yearly goals, things I wanted to accomplish before Christmas, and things I wanted to accomplish before the end of September. Then, I broke it into weekly/daily tasks I can accomplish to achieve those goals. I review the week’s goals every morning, and it is such a help! I did the same with my husband, and I have never felt like we have been more on the same page!
Now for the check-ins…
It’s fun to write out goals, but keeping in alignment with them only happens when we revisit them often! No time? Forget? Set a reminder on your phone. Make it a whole experience! Light a candle, play your favorite instrumental music, do it with a cup of coffee or tea (or wine) in your favorite chair, get a new notebook to write in- just create an atmosphere around the check-ins that you look forward to! It doesn’t have to be a daily ritual, but when you do it, make it a time you fall in love with and look forward to!
I just set my reminder on my Google calendar for Sunday nights- do yours right now too!
Challenge: Revive your alignment check-ins by planning them with reminders like a meeting you have to attend and make the ambiance awesome, so you fall in love with that time!
How has giving back been going? Last month, the goal was to give back to our communities in some small way- donating, volunteering, paying random people’s bills or coffee tab, giving a worker an extra large tip, etc. Was it fun? Ready to do it again?
If it’s something simple like a direct deposit to a charity, awesome! You are doing something so amazing! But, this month, let’s talk more about the feel around our charity. Is it one more thing to do in an already busy schedule? Or did you actually notice that what you were doing was good and felt good about it?
This month, we’re going to pick a task that we actually are thinking about, feeling good about, and falling in love with! It’s been fun for me to pick new ways to give because I have not been as purposeful about giving, especially periodically. But, there are opportunities all over! Just keep an eye out for them… When we enjoy doing it, we’re more likely to continue doing it and the good feelings will just keep rolling for everyone involved!
Challenge: Pick another way to give back (or the same as last month) and recognize how good it makes you feel- pick something that you can fall in love with doing!
What hobbies have you been up to? Was this the last on the list in August? Last month, we chose a hobby we enjoyed and gave ourselves a little project that we’d enjoy doing (playing piano a couple times a day, completing a picture book, starting small walks and then going on a hike, finishing a book, etc)
This month, we are going to focus on the feeling surrounding that hobby. If you did it, did you stress about it? Did you sit there with a photo album in front of you stressing about making prints and getting it done and getting mad because you are so far behind in creating family albums? Because if that was the atmosphere of your “hobby”, then it’s not a hobby, it’s a to-do list item!
This month, we are going to choose a hobby that we actually enjoy doing! One where we FEEL differently. One where we escape. Like playing piano and swaying to the music and losing track of time. Or reading and not being able to put your book down. Hiking in the mountains and marveling at God’s creation. Researching new recipes and digging into nutrition and looking up how different ingredients affect our bodies!
Again, let’s give ourselves some sort of project or weekly time goal so we actually do it, but let’s not stress about it! Think of it as protected time where you get to escape!
Challenge: Fall in love with a hobby and complete a project/regular, protected time to enjoy!
What did you change about the messages you’re consuming? Last month, our challenge was to consume at least 5 minutes of positive messages a day. Whether it was an online sermon, podcast, uplifting book, devotional book, personal growth book, hanging out with positive friends, etc, it was simply putting our minds in a positive environment at least once a day!
This month? We’re not going to put a time limit on it, but we are going to bookend our day with positivity. Right away in the morning and one of the last things we do at night. This might be in addition to your 5 daily minutes or you can move those 5 minutes (or even split them between!) morning or night.
The idea is to get your head right before the day in the morning (did you know that the thoughts and mood we’re in the first 8 minutes of the day can set the tone for the whole day?!). And then, to regain perspective again each night.
This could look like- journaling, reviewing our weekly goals, listing 3 things we’re grateful for or proud that we accomplished that day, 3 affirmations, a Bible verse, a longer prayer/devotion/podcast/, chat with a positive loved one, a review of our goals, or a quote or mantra that we use to get our headspace right. When we “bookend” every day, it keeps us from drawing the issues of the previous day into the next. It also prevents us from losing perspective throughout a busy week!
Don’t think you’ll remember? Get out that Google calendar again and set that reminder! I’ve been doing it regularly the last couple months and it makes such a difference. On the days I miss, I can absolutely tell the difference.
Challenge: Bookend your day with positivity each morning and night!
Health Hack: Hacking into the Habit Loop!
Need a little assistance forming these new habits? No problem. Our health hack is going to help us out!
Last month, we learned about “habit stacking”, where we add a new habit onto an already existing one to help us create the habit faster and help it last! Ex: listing 3 things we’re grateful for when we brush our teeth each morning and evening.
This month, we’re going to look more at why it’s so hard to create habits (or break bad ones!). Charles Duhigg has created a model called the “Habit Loop”. This loop generalizes how all habits work. We have a “Cue”, a “Routine”, and a “Reward”. An example might be we have a “Cue” of stress. We respond with a “Routine” such as stress eating. And then we achieve our “Reward” of stress release or a burst of endorphins/happiness from eating.
We can’t change the “Cue” or our desire for the “Reward”, but we can hack the habit loop by hacking into our “Routine” or our response. Using the example above, we can take the “Routine” of stress eating and replace it with chewing gum or drinking coffee, kombucha, tea, eating carrot sticks, etc. By replacing the routine with something similar to our normal routine, we can gradually break this bad habit and create a new, healthier habit. The closer we can get to our learned “Routine”, the more effective it will be!
Need some help with ideas for hacking a habit loop in your life? Let me know!
The combination of sausage, bacon, and the creaminess of the coconut base make this soup rich and hearty- perfect for a cold fall day! Make extra so you can freeze it for another cold fall or winter day later!
4 slices Whole30-compliant bacon cut into about 1/2″ pieces (I did regular bacon and Italian sausage)
1 pound Italian sausage
½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
4 medium yellow potatoes about 1 pound 3 ounces, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 medium white or yellow onion diced
2 tablespoons garlic minced, about 4 cloves
4 cups chicken stock
½ bunch kale stems removed and leaves chopped, 4 cups
1 can coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
If making Italian sausage: combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Alternately, combine all ingredients in the saucepan and stir well when browning.
In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed medium pot over medium heat, add Italian sausage and sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over. Use a spoon to break up the pieces. When browned and cooked through, drain and set aside.
Cook the bacon pieces in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the crisp bacon and set aside – don’t get rid of the bacon fat! Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the onions and garlic, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 10-20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk and the cooked sausage; heat through. Add the bacon and the kale into the soup just before serving and cook ’til the kale is bright green and softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
What? I don’t think so… Trust me, it’s more of the toppings that make the nachos than the chips! If kale seems like it wouldn’t work, try plantain chips instead! I love the Terra brand. If you’re up to try it, I promise, you’ll get your nacho fix!
4 cups kale- ribs removed, chopped into 1″ pieces
1 TSBP olive oil
1 dash sea salt
12 oz extra lean ground beef or turkey
Taco seasoning of choice
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped, seeds removed
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup black beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1) Preheat oven to 400
2) Line baking sheet with parchment paper
3) Combine kale, oil, and sea salt
4) Evenly arrange kale in single layer on baking sheet
5) Bake for 15-18 minutes or until dry and crispy, turning halfway through
6) Set aside
For taco meat:
1) Combine meat and seasoning
2) Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat, swirling to coat pan
3) Add ground beef mixture and salt, cook, stirring frequently 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through, drain excess fat
4) Top kale chips with meat, tomato, onion, black beans, and cheese
5) Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until everything is warm and melty
6) Drizzle with lime juice and garnish with cilantro
Enjoy with a fork
Healthy Trail Mix!
Finding a healthy trail mix is hard… Looking at the sugar content alone is enough to make anyone a little wary of buying something that appears healthy at first glance.
So, we’ve been making our own trail mix, and our girls eat it almost every day because we can easily make different variations, but the healthy carbs and fats remain.
When we mix it, we usually put it in a gallon storage bag and then we can take scoops with snack cups from it when we’re in a hurry.
We measure pretty evenly between ingredients as well. About a cup of everything and then we mix it inside the bag!
Usual ingredients for kids:
Occasionally dark chocolate chips or m&ms
Occasionally dark chocolate chips or m&ms
The possibilities of dried fruits, nuts, and even seeds is endless, and it isn’t difficult to mix up a batch! Make it your own!
Enjoy your healthy trail mix!
Italian Sausage and Peppers
This is a Fixate recipe- I had never made my own sausage before, but this one when combined with peppers was great! Simple, one pan, quick cook time, it’s a winner!
1lb lean ground turkey
6 cloves garlic- chopped, divided
1 TBSP paprika
2 tsp cold water
1 ¼ tsp sea salt, divided use
¾ tsp ground pepper, divided use
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups matchstick-sized red bell peppers
1 cup matchstick-sized onions
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP finely chopped basil (optional-garnish)
- Preheat oven to 450
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper
- Combine turkey, 3 cloves chopped garlic, paprika, water, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, fennel, and pepper flakes (if using) in a large bowl. Mix well with clean hands.
- Form sausage into 12 small patties and place on half of prepared baking sheet
- Combine bell peppers, onions, sliced garlic, oil, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Pour pepper mixture evenly onto the other half of the baking sheet, spreading evenly in the space
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until sausage is cooked through and peppers are tender-crisp, stirring pepper mixture halfway through
- Garnish with basil if desired
Enjoy with brown rice, couscous, or quinoa if desired!
If you’re a fan of Thai and/or basil, this is one to try! A little chopping and prep involved, but worth it!
⅓ cup chicken broth
1 TBSP oyster sauce
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp brown sugar
2 TBSP olive oil
1 pound skinless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped (we did turkey burger instead!)
¼ cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP minced thai chillies, serrano, or other hot pepper (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 cups cooked rice
- Whisk broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, white sugar, and brown sugar together in a bowl until well blended
- Heat large skillet over high heat, add oil. Add chicken and stir fry until pink is gone on chicken- 2-3 minutes. Stir in shallots, garlic, and sliced chilies. Continue cooking on high heat until juices begin to carmelize, about 2-3 more minutes. Add a TBSP of sauce to skillet, cook and stir until it begins to carmelize, about 1 minute.
- Pour in the rest of the sauce. Cook and stir until sauce has deglazed the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until sauce glazes meat, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir in basil. Cook and stir until basil wilts- about 20 seconds.
- Serve over rice.
I know it’s not officially fall yet, but it wouldn’t be me not to get excited for my favorite season! I’m adding my favorite fall muffin recipe below that has been cooked and tweaked time and again, so hopefully you enjoy! Stay tuned for all things fall next month!
Apple, Raisin, Bran, Nut Muffins (Loaded Muffins)
These beauties have been perfected after multiple batches last fall. You can add the ingredients you’d like, but, with nuts, raisins, bran, and apples, it’s bursting with flavor and nutrients! Tip- enjoy with coffee!
4 cups any apples like McIntosh, Granny Smith, Fuji, cored and diced
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup bran soaked with
1/4 cup almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 seconds.
Add applesauce, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt and whisk until well combined.
Add spelt or whole wheat flour and stir gently just enough to combine. Be careful not to over mix.
Add apples, raisins, soaked bran, and walnuts and give a few more gentle stirs to combine.
Pour batter into lined muffin tin.
Bake for 18-20 minutes our until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool off almost completely.
Store: Store covered in a cool dry place for up to 2 days. Refrigerate covered for 3 more days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Flour has to be wheat and whole grain like whole wheat or spelt flour.
Sweetener in a liquid form like agave, brown rice syrup, date syrup etc. is acceptable… I cut it in half and it was still great!
That’s all for the recipes this month, but be sure to check out the announcements… I have some big things I’m offering this month as well as some freebies!! And don’t forget your meal plan and notes at the end! Read on…
Coming in October…
Be sure to catch next month’s health mail! All fall recipes, and we discuss: “When Falling in Love Falls Apart”.
Wholee Healthy News:
I am starting a new program with my Beachbody clients, however, I am still taking on one new 1:1 client before the new year. Email me at this address or check out: wholeehealthy.com for more information! The basic program:
- After an in-depth survey, we form goals for you in each dimension of health (mental, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and environmental)
- We break these goals into manageable, bite-sized, weekly tasks and priorities 2-3 above the rest
- We have brief weekly check-ins and monthly one-on-one deep dive chats where we change things up or progress goals as needed
- I’m here for you for troubleshooting, support, and tools whenever you need!
(I am a Beachbody coach and would love to work with you on your nutrition and exercise goals if you think Beachbody is right for you- it has been a game changer for me, as it’s taking the guesswork out of eating and workout programs completely! Trained personal trainers and nutritionists form every program!)
I am leveling up this month! Since I’m not able to take on as many 1:1 clients I’d like in this season of life, I am going to be offering a few extra goodies for my Beachbody clients this month!
- An initial 1:1 goals call
- Weekly check-in forms
- Daily posts in our group (BEstYOU for Life) for accountability, community, & motivation including monthly challenges w/ prizes!
- Saturday morning health chats
- Morning virtual workouts
- A new referral program, where clients receive a free sample pack & gift card of their choosing for referring a friend!
If you are thinking about it but not quite sure, I am running a free group the week of September 13th that will provide free sample workouts to give you an idea of the variety of workouts available. Plus, it will give you an idea of what the atmosphere is like in our groups! There are people of every age, shape, gender, size, and fitness level… ALL ARE WELCOME! All you need is a Facebook account. If you don’t have one, ask me for how to still check out workouts for free! Click here to join!
Want to team up and coach with me? I am now searching for motivated, health-loving individuals who want to help others on their health journey to co-coach with me! The journey has been SO successful for me- the accountability & programming is exactly what I needed- maybe it’s right for you too!
Interested? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org !
More Beachbody news:
- You can now be a Preferred Customer and receive 25% off almost every product!
- Myx bikes teamed up with Beachbody and will be available the 21st
- Live classes will be available starting the 21st!
- Let’s Get Up (dance program)- now available to all clients in Beachbody on Demand library
- Pumpkin Spice Shakeology is coming soon!
- New Shakeology flavor- Cookies & Cream!
- Beachbar sale- Sep 10th-16th
Be sure to hit “subscribe” if you want don’t want to miss out on future emails!
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Have a great month, and stay healthy!
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”Mahatma Gandhi