Category Archives for Lifestyle

Establishing a Morning Routine…It Works

How did your day begin today?  Was it calm and relaxed?  Or, did you get up on the third snooze, jump in the shower, grab your coffee, and head to work?

Sadly, most Americans start their day rushed, tired, undernourished, and already flustered before they even walk out the door.  What if there was a better way?  Establishing a morning routine can help calm the chaos of your day so that you can stroll out the door and into work in a calm state, ready to tackle the day.

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8 Tips to Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

Staying healthy through the holidays can be a little tricky.  Parties, food, activities, excitement, to-do lists, and shopping trips can easily pull the focus off taking care of yourself as you move into survival mode.  It doesn't have to be this way.  You can, with a little effort, keep your sanity, and stay healthy this holiday season.

We've got 8 easy tips that will send you sailing through December, ahead of where you are right now, and ready to tackle 2019.  I want to challenge you to change the script this year.  No longer will it be "after the holidays."  Nope, this year, you are taking control.

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Health and Fitness Gift Ideas: 2018

Thanksgiving has come and gone and many of us are now ready to embrace the Christmas season.  It’s the time of year that many of us are doing our best to come up with the perfect gift for each person on our list.  If you are looking for health and fitness gift ideas, look no further.

I am personally a huge fan of giving experiences over gifts, but there are still a few gifts that I purchase and that I would really love to receive.  In my opinion, someone that is into health and fitness is a fun person to buy for.  The key is to buy something that they will actually use.   

If you aren’t sure what to buy that fitness enthusiast in your life, we’ve gathered some of our favorite gifts to give you some ideas this year.  We’ve included a variety of price ranges from stocking stuffers to that big gift for your special someone.  We hope this list helps to make your shopping a little easier this year.

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Avoiding Halloween Candy: Tips To Help You Succeed

Halloween candy.  For many people, myself included, Halloween candy is a temptation that can be tough to resist.  It's everywhere.  Between the candy bowl at the office, treats at home, and the post Halloween candy collection, it can be tough to stay away.

Don't fret.  We've got some tips to help you stay clear of the Halloween candy.  So, before you go buying up the candy aisle at Target, read on, and get ready to conquer that candy temptation.

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5 Family Friendly Activities For Fall

It’s finally fall!  With cooler weather in the forecast, fall is the perfect time to take your family outside.  We all have a basic need to be outside, and when the weather is cool and crisp, there’s no excuse to lay on the couch and binge on the latest Netflix series.

We have two kids, so we are always looking for a few inexpensive outdoor activities for fall.  Here are five family friendly fall activities for you to enjoy.

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Time – Do You Really Need More?

Time.  Let’s be honest.  It can be a constant struggle.  Time is the one commodity that you cannot make more of.  Time is fixed.  Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.  Can you get more time?  Well, the answer is yes and no.

In a recent study, people reported that in order to get everything done that they felt they should get done within one day, they would need a day to be 40 hours long.  40 hours!  Reality is, each and every single person on this planet gets the same 24 hours in a day.  That’s it.  24 hours.  Within that 24 hours, research shows that most of us are actually only productive for about 3 hours.  

How you use your 24 hours each day is what makes all the difference.  So, while you can’t physically make more time and get a 40 hour day, you can prioritize your life and your time so that you spend your time doing what matters most to you.  You can make sure that in those few productive hours, you are getting things done that you value and consider important.

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Health Coaching: How You Will Benefit

So…what the heck is this whole health coaching thing?  Maybe you feel like you have it all together.  Maybe you think definitely don’t need someone to help you.  Or, maybe your life feels like it’s constantly spinning out of control.  We are all different.  We are all at a different place in our journey.  Today, I want to open up about my experience with the FOF Health Coaching Program. Warning...this is a raw, uncomfortable, and extremely vulnerable post for me, so bear with me.

You might have 100 lbs to lose.  You might just need to get back into a regular exercise routine.  Or, you might be eating really well, exercising regularly, but you still feel like you just can’t keep up with the pace of life.  Everything might be lining up for you right now, but you would like to learn more about how the body processes foods and strategies to manage tough circumstances when they come.

I get it.  I feel like I have most aspects of health and wellness under control.  It is my job after all to work with people day in and day out, to teach people about food and fitness, and to know how to manage stress.  Even though I study this stuff regularly, my husband is a health coach, I practice what I preach, and I have been through the health coaching program several times now, I learn something new and receive a new benefit each and every single time I listen to a webinar, sit down with a reflection form, or just participate in the program again.  This is why I know, without a doubt, that no matter what point you are at in your journey, you will benefit from this program.  Here are just a few ways I’ve benefitted.

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Asheville, Brevard, and Bryson City, NC – FOF Travels

So, we recently had the amazing opportunity to spend a few days outside of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina.  The trip wasn’t incredibly smooth.  You can read about the adventure that happened on our way here.  To add to our previous adventure, our CC got stolen, and the radiator in my car completely exploded.  Needless to say, this trip quickly became known as our "silver lining trip."  But, those things aside, we had a really awesome trip.

The mountains are a majestic, calming place for me.  I love the beach with all my heart, but being in the forest, surrounded by nature is pretty incredible.  Looking for a trip for yourself, you and your spouse, or the whole family?  Here’s what we did, where we stayed, and of course…what we ate :).

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Journaling – Tips to Help you Get Started

I wrote a post earlier this week about the benefits of journaling.  If you haven’t read it yet, check it out now.  We know that the benefits are great, but how in the world do you get started?  Today, I want to share a few things that helped me to get started and make journaling a part of my daily routine.

My Journals

#1 - Be Consistent with Journaling

Like I said in my last post, I have started and stopped so many journals.  What I found worked best for me as I began 2018 was to commit to being consistent with my journal.  I started with just a 7 day commitment.  I wasn’t specific on how much time I would dedicate or how many pages I would write, but I did commit to writing something for just 7 days IN A ROW.

What I found was that by day 5 or 6, I was already more comfortable writing.  I wasn’t dreading it, it no longer felt like a chore, and I was enjoying getting my thoughts on paper.  Just a few days into my commitment to be consistent, and I was already feeling less foggy and less stressed.

Commit to being consistent for at least a week.  Try not to stress out about writing five pages a day, but just commit to the act of opening your journal and writing something.

#2 - Just Write

In the past, I tried put so much focus on making my journal perfect.  I used proper grammar, neat handwriting, and tried to make everything flow.  Well, let me just tell you that this did not work for me.  It became a chore.  I was more concerned with writing in complete sentences and making each page look good than I was with just dumping the contents of my brain onto the paper.  Let’s be real…you are the only person that is going to be reading your journal.  So what if it doesn’t look beautiful.  A pretty journal is not the point…the point of the journal is to get your thoughts on paper.

Grab your pen, open a page, and start filling the page with your thoughts.  Be crazy and write in print and cursive if you want.  Don’t be afraid to write sentence fragments.  If your thoughts jump from one topic to another, it’s okay.  

Just write.

#3 - Be Flexible

It is so easy to set out to do something, have you journaling time perfectly marked in your calendar for 8:30 pm, and then your kid fights you to go to sleep.  Life happens.  It’s okay to be flexible.  As you are starting your commitment to consistent journaling, I do encourage you to pencil in a time to sit down and write.  However, if that time doesn’t work perfectly, or you end up with an extra 30 minutes in the morning, use the time that you have.

For me, I do always shoot to journal the mornings.  I get up 30 minutes earlier than I have to (which means the alarm goes off at 4:15 am) so that I have time to clear my head before the day begins.  Let me just be honest and tell you that Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday are a different story for me.  Even if I am not up at 4:15 am on Wednesday, I do still try to get my quiet time done first thing so that I don’t risk something coming up (I am completely unproductive past 8:00 pm) and taking over my quiet time.  

The key is to be flexible.  Shoot for a time that you think will work, and be consistent with that time as much as possible.  However, if you oversleep or have a weird day, be open to bringing your journal to lunch or to sit in the car a few extra minutes to write before you pick the kids up from daycare.

#4 - Find a Method

If you run a search on journaling, you will find hundreds of methods out there.  What works for me might not work for you.  It’s actually a little overwhelming, and don’t get me started on how perfect some of these journals are on Pinterest.  Let’s start by acknowledging the fact that journaling is for YOU and only YOU.  Please, please, please do not compare your scribbled journal to someone’s journal you saw online.  If you are super creative and love to doodle and draw, go for it.  But, if your drawing ability stops at stick figures, please don’t stress with a lettering journal.

Gratitude Journal

I have found that incorporating some type of gratitude into my journaling is very beneficial.  It helps me to focus on good things that are happening, and it helps to set the tone for my day to be one of thankfulness.  I personally write down three things everyday that I am thankful for.  Instead of being generic, I put an effort to be as specific and detailed as possible.  I also list one positive experience that has occurred in the last 24 hours.  This could be something very simple, but again, I am very specific.  I try to go back to the moment or experience and go through it again in my head.

You can check out this post for more details, methods, and ideas for gratitude journaling.

Strategy Journal

The strategy journal is pretty new to me.  It creates order to my goals, dreams, and tasks.  I have just started with this method, so I am definitely still learning.  At the beginning of the year, I began incorporating it some throughout my journaling, and I am really enjoying it.  I actually use a completely separate notebook for strategy journaling, and this has seemed to work well for me.  This video from the Modern Health Monk was a great resource as I got started.  

If you are working through a few things or have some big goals, I encourage you to give strategy journaling a try.

Bullet Journal

So, this method has been around for quite a while, but I am still learning about it. Even though it's new to me, I do see where it could be a great tool.  See, I’m definitely a lover of the paper planner and calendar system {I just can’t migrate to the calendar on my iPhone}.  The bullet journal takes the calendar system to a whole new level.  You can check out some basics about bullet journaling here.  I also found this video very helpful.

The bullet journal does look a bit intimidating to start.  Over the next few weeks, I will be incorporating more bullet journaling into my routine to see if I can transition from my planner.  I will report back with how it’s going in a few months.

Electronic Journal

Maybe pen and paper isn’t your thing.  If the traditional journal isn't your jam, it's okay.  You can mind dump on your computer.  Try starting a Word or Pages document, use an online method such as Evernote, or start a private blog.  I’m sure that you can even find an app that you can use to type directly into your phone.  I am personally not a huge tech person, so I stick to a notebook and pen.

If you love technology, embrace that and take your journaling to the keyboard.

My Current Method

For me, this is what is currently working….no method.  Well, it’s not exactly no method.  It’s more of a combination of a lot of methods.  As I said, I journal in the morning.  Much of my journaling is done in conjunction with my Bible reading and prayer time.  I typically find a verse that sticks out to me whether it’s in my daily reading or in my devotional, and I simply write it down.  Seriously, this is where my journaling started.  One verse, and I simply just thought about it - what it means, how it relates to my life right now, how I can apply, etc.  From there, I just start mind dumping.  I reflect on what is going on, what I am struggling with, where I am winning, and what I want to change.  Then, I incorporate gratitude by simply listing three things that I am thankful for and one positive experience.  This simple list refocuses my mind to gratitude and keeps me focusing on the positive.  

Don't get caught up on sticking with just one method.  Your journal might not have a method, or it might be a combination of a few.  Just do what works best for you.

#5 - Stay Positive

Words have power.  I am a 100% believer in the fact that words, whether written or spoken, have a huge impact on us.  While journaling can often be a time where you are focusing on a trial or valley that you are walking through, I think it is important to make sure you put a positive spin on it and not just constantly write down negative things.  Be honest, write down your feelings (positive or negative), but then start working through your feelings and develop solutions.  

We should use journaling to clear our minds and get our thoughts and fears on paper, but I don’t believe that it should be used exclusively for writing down everything bad that is happening.  Maybe you are in a real season of struggle.  You might be dealing with the death of a loved one, financial struggles, the loss of a job, discouragement, a troubled marriage, or a sickness.  Face the feelings that you have by writing them down, and then do your best to put a positive spin on it.  Stop dwelling on the negative, and look for good or purpose in your struggle.  

A great way to make sure you finish your journaling time with a positive focus is to incorporate gratitude at the end of your journaling session.  Remember, your words are powerful.  What we say to ourselves often becomes our story.  What kind of story are you writing?

Final Thoughts

I hope that my experience will help you get started with a journaling practice.  Be consistent, just focus on writing, be flexible, find a method that works for you, and stay positive.  If you incorporate these things, I believe that you will be able to successfully incorporate journaling into your daily routine and begin to see the benefits that you can receive by simply putting pen to paper.

Happy Writing! ~KP

Journaling – Why You Should Give it a Try's a practice that has well known health benefits.  It's relatively easy to do.  It is not expensive.  You can journal in as little as a few minutes.  However, journaling is a practice that is often overlooked.  For some reason, spending a few minutes writing down our thoughts seems like something only really mindful (aka...weird) folks take time to do.

I have started and stopped countless journals.  I would write periodically only to stop and pick back up another entry or two three months later.  This year, I decided to give journaling a legitimate shot.  I committed to following through, writing down at least gratitude, on a regular basis.  I've been journaling consistently for seven months now, and it has become a great addition to my self care routine.  Today, I want to share a few benefits that can be found in the simple act of journaling.

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