Why I Check In With Myself Every Week

One question that I get a lot is: “How have you been able to remain consistent?” I think this is a great question because it was a long journey to figure out the secret to consistency.

I want to share a strategy that I started implementing that has helped me stay consistent in my fitness journey over the last couple years. Not only has this strategy helped with my physique, but it’s helped me make sure that I am monitoring my mental health as well.

A couple years ago, I went through a really rough time in my life. I fell into a depression & ultimately I felt like everything was crumbling around me. I wanted to pick myself back up & keep moving forward, but I felt stuck, lost and confused. I was constantly beating myself up for not not being able to get myself back “on track”. (If you want more info on how I got through this particular time, you can read more about My 8 Step Process to Overcoming Depression).

What I noticed was that I was having trouble being consistent & it became more & more frustrating. Every time I thought I was gaining positive momentum, I would fall off track again. It was incredibly frustrating & discouraging. I was constantly getting frustrated with myself for thinking that I wasn’t making progress, not understanding what I needed to do to keep moving forward. 

What I eventually realized is that I needed to understand where my baseline was mentally & physically.  I needed clarity and understanding about what I needed to do to keep moving forward. 

I think that a lot of people trying to find balance in their lives and trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle struggle with consistency. I’ve been able to maintain consistency in my healthy lifestyle for a while now and I’ve had a handful of people reach out to me asking what I’ve done to maintain this lifestyle. 

So… what is this secret strategy that I started implementing?

Weekly mental, emotional, physical check in with myself.

I started doing this weekly check in to keep myself accountable & do an evaluation of where I am in my life mentally, emotionally & physically. 

The idea for this came from my fitness journey when I would take progress pictures to track my physical progress. While this is important, I also think that it’s incredibly important to track your mental & emotional well-being as well. 

So, I created a weekly evaluation for myself that I call the Mind + Body Inventory & what I believe is the first step to a better mindset.  

Here’s what it looks like:

Every Monday morning I,

  • take a series of progress pictures (front, side, back)
  • do measurements of my waist, hips, butt, bust, arm & leg
  • upload them into a google drive and write answers to series of questions evaluating where I am mentally & emotionally. 

Here’s what I have noticed as a result of checking in with myself every week:

It keeps me accountable

It is really easy to tell ourselves that we “don’t have time”. Self-care practices are very important, but are often the first things that we neglect due to the inevitable (not to mention, unhelpful) “I don’t have time”. But, our mental & physical health determines how we show up in our lives. 

Making it a necessity to check in with myself weekly, to see where I am and evaluate what’s going on in my life has helped significantly. I keep track of what’s going on and to be able to understand and determine what I need to do to keep moving forward. 

If I find myself coming up with an excuse to not do this, I tell myself that this needs to be done. It’s a necessity. I have goals and I am ready to take ACTION on them. It is a reminder that I need to do this in order to make sure that I don’t fall into a hole of burnout again.

I talk more about this in my
Better Mindset Course!

I celebrate how far I have come 

Doing this evaluation also helps me to be able to track my progress, so I can see the progress I’ve made, when I didn’t think I’ve made any.

I’m really big on celebrating wins/accomplishments throughout a journey, because it helps keep me motivated (I even wrote a post on this in The Importance of Celebrating Accomplishments). It’s really discouraging when you think that you haven’t accomplished very much when you’ve been working really hard.

This weekly check in helps me be able to really look at everything from a different perspective & really be able to pinpoint what I’ve been able to accomplish. The journey is so much more enjoyable & encouraging when you are able to see & celebrate everything you’ve been able to accomplish.

I have proof & documentation of my progress

In doing a weekly check in with myself, I am able to keep track of where I am mentally, emotionally & physically. What I noticed in the past was that I was getting overwhelmed and ultimately feeling frustrated when I didn’t think all of my hard work was working.

In this exercise, I take pictures, measurements & do an evaluation of where I am mentally, emotionally & any stressors that are present. In keeping tabs on where I am in these categories, I have been able to keep up with my mental, emotional & physical state, thus helping me in being able to stay on track with my goals.

I can pinpoint the mind, body connection

In doing this, I can usually see a correlation between what I see in the pictures and my answers to the questions. If I notice I am a little more bloated than the week before, I have likely been stressed and might have been stress eating or something. 

Being able to pinpoint and understand where things are coming from and why they are happening, I am better able to come up with an action plan. It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like you don’t know what you should be doing in order to keep moving forward.

I’ve talked about this before, but I tend to get stressed out easily. The best thing for me to do is to try to prevent stress & overwhelm, because it’s really hard to get myself back together. So, in being able to keep tabs on everything going on, it helps me in being able to take necessary action.

I come up with a plan

In being able to pinpoint and understand where I am mentally, emotionally and physically, I am better able to make the necessary adjustments.

For example, if I find that I am feeling overwhelmed in my business, I need to spend time journaling about what’s on my mind.

Sometimes, the things that are bothering us are stuck in our subconscious and we need to bring them to the surface so we can deal with them. That’s what doing this check in with myself helps me do. It helps me to be able to make sure that everything is in line. If there’s something off, it keeps me cognizant of whatever is going on around me.


This weekly check in is something that I know a lot of people will say that they don’t have time for. It’s something that can be seen as a “I will do it if I have time, which I probably don’t so I’m going to make every excuse not to do it” kind of thing.

Trust me, I totally get being busy and making the choice to remove seemingly unnecessary tasks. However, I now see this exercise as a non-negotiable for me because it’s ultimately helped me be better able to show up in every area of life.

  • I’ve been able to stick to my goals.
  • I’ve been able to show up better in my business.
  • I’ve kept my stress & overwhelm under control so that I am more productive and can better serve my clients and women in my Facebook group.

So, these tasks that we tend to put off due to thinking that they are unimportant just might be detrimental to how you are showing up in your life right now. I just want to make sure that you are taking care of yourself here. I preach about The Importance of Self-Care all the time and I do so because I truly believe that it is essential in creating a foundation for your life.

You must take care of yourself in order to show up better in every aspect of your life. Saying that you don’t have time is simply just an excuse.

So, are you going to start making it a priority to show up for yourself? Are you going to make it a goal to make it a habit to check in with your mental, emotional & mental well-being?

I truly hope so!

xx

-Jess

Staying on track while stuck at home during quarantine

We have all been forced into a new normal and adjusting to these changes can be incredibly difficult. Due to the amount of stress, overwhelm and other negative emotions, it can be really hard to continue to stay on track. 

We have been forced to stay at home and this new normal has made it difficult for all of us to adjust to a completely different normal. 

I have also found myself struggling to continue to stay on track because I have relied on the same routine for so long now, that I never even thought about having to come up with an alternative. 

There are a few tips that I am implementing to make sure that I am continuing to show up and take care of myself, rather than letting the stress completely take over and knock me off of my game.

It is incredibly important to continue to remind ourselves that we are still in CONTROL of how we show up for ourselves. Yes, these are very difficult times and I am in no way trying to sugar coat it and ignore the magnitude of this time. But, we have to continue showing up for ourselves and continue to do what we can to adjust & make the necessary changes to continue moving forward. 

It may not be the same as what you are used to- I know that this isn’t for me. However, I did want to share with you what I have been working on to make sure that I am continuing to show up and take care of myself & continue working towards my goals. 

I hope you find these tips to be helpful for you! ❤


Drink LOTS of water.

For me, I am used to getting in my workout first thing in the morning and starting off my day with about 40oz of water by 6am. Getting in my workout first thing in the morning has really helped in making sure that I start the day off right & I have been relying on that to make sure that I am making healthy choices. You can read more about my early morning workout strategy in How/ Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM, 3 Tips for Early Morning Workouts & My Fitness Journey | Choosing Yourself First!

With that being taken away for the time being, I have struggled with making sure that I am continuing to make those healthy choices. However, if you want to continue working on your progress & want to continue making healthy habits, getting in your water is VERY important! It’s always important and necessary for sticking to your goals and staying healthy, but this will help you significantly in making sure that you stick to your goals!

Right when I get up in the morning, I start drinking 24oz of cold water before I start drinking coffee and eat breakfast. Always, always, ALWAYS drink water right when you get up to jump start your system so you don’t start the day dehydrated. 

Then, make it a goal to continue drinking water throughout the day. Maybe you put a notification in your phone to chug water every hour or whatever it takes to remind yourself that you need to get in your water!

Pay attention to snacking when bored.

What I immediately noticed when all of these changes happened was that I was finding myself reaching for snacks more often throughout the day. Not only was I snacking more, but I was craving sugary & salty foods.

This is a stress response & it’s really important to stay cognizant about this because it will catch up to you very quickly. It’s important to create an awareness so you are able to understand when your body is under a stress response. It is very typical for us to immediately start reaching for those unhealthy snacks as a stress response.

While I let myself snack on unhealthy foods sometimes, I try to create an awareness around not making it a habit. Once made a habit, it can be really hard to break! Trust me, I completely understand that this is difficult to do, but this will be really important in making sure that you are not making this a habit.

When I notice unhealthy snacking becoming a habit, I try to instead reach for a bowl of fresh veggies instead.

Or, I will make a nice platter if I notice that I am really starting to crave unhealthy snacking!

Track food intake.

If you don’t have the MyFitnessPal app, I would definitely go download it and get in the habit of tracking your food throughout the day. Tracking your food will help keep you accountable and you will be more likely to stick to your goals because you are able to see everything you are putting into your body. 

I am personally not the biggest fan of tracking, but especially during this time, I am trying to make it a habit again. I keep mentioning this, but it is SO important to continue paying attention to what you can still control!

Try not to increase alcohol intake.

In addition to reaching for the sugary & salty foods during stressful times like these, reaching for the alcohol is another habit we typically get into. While I am really into reaching for a couple glasses of wine, it is important to make sure that you are monitoring this intake. 

I was getting into the habit of drinking 1-2 glasses of wine each night the first week we were in quarantine and I am making it a point to try not to do that during the week. 

Continue working out at home & getting creative.

Yes!!! Continue working out! I noticed that my energy & drive to workout started decreasing when I started feeling the stress & overwhelm. All I wanted to do was lay down and be lazy, but this only made me feel more stressed & on edge.

For me, my energy towards working out has completely changed. I am so used to going to the gym first thing in the morning and now I am working out at home at 3pm in the afternoon. 

My workouts at home are not nearly as long & intense as they normally are, but continuing to stay in the habit is very important! I’m starting to get into workouts that I wouldn’t do normally & it’s actually been interesting to test out the different things.

I started running stairs in the parking garage at my apartment & turning different furniture around the apartment as workout equipment. This takes some creativity for getting in workouts, but there are definitely options out there!

Practice Self Care.

I talk about this a lot & I think it is incredibly important to continue practicing self care, especially during these stressful times. When we get stressed, our self care can often be neglected, which leads us to struggling with mental health & sticking to our goals. 

I wrote a post on Self Care During Quarantine & also put together a guide if you would be interested in those resources. Practicing self care will ultimately help you with being able to prioritize yourself, helping you remain on track with your goals during this time. If you want any more self care ideas, I did also write a blog on The Importance of Self Care.

Practice gratitude.

Your mindset & what you choose to focus on everyday will play a major factor in how you get through a stressful time like this. When we are constantly focusing on everything that is going wrong & what we can’t control, it can create a heavy weight that is hard to handle. 

If you don’t practice gratitude yet, I would definitely consider starting a habit now, during this time of stress & uncertainty. If you already have created a habit, make sure that you are continuing to do so. 

I personally LOVE the Five Minute Journal.

I love this journal because it’s quick & gets right to the point. I’ve been using this journal for a couple years now and it’s really good for getting you in the habit of expressing gratitude.

Practicing gratitude will help you with your mindset & what you are focusing on everyday. Focusing what you do have and what you are still in control of. When you focus on what you still have & what you are still in control of, you are more likely to make healthier choices & be better able to show up for yourself!

Get outside when you can.

Fresh air can be incredibly helpful & therapeutic!

When stuck inside all day, it can be easy to slip into a mental funk. Try to make it a habit to spend at least 30 minutes a day outside breathing in some fresh air. Even going for a walk, run, bike ride, etc when you can! 

I always notice a difference when I take some time to get outside, especially since the weather is getting nice. There’s just so many benefits to spending some time outside!

Get into a routine.

While things have probably changed in your daily life, it is still very important to continue to get into a routine. Plan everything out & map out a routine that you can follow right now, while everything seems to be off centered. 

Getting into a routine will help with maintaining a sense of control & help you with making sure that you are prioritizing yourself & your health. I talk more about this in my post about Tips For Working From Home, if you need some more tips for planning your day!

Plan & prepare.

At the end of the day, it is incredibly important to make sure that you are continuing to plan your days to make sure that you are staying on track. Plan your workouts, plan when you are going to get outside, plan your meals, etc. 

The more you plan & prepare, the more likely you will be to continue tackling those goals! If you need anymore tips, I did write a post about My 10 Tips For Beating Bloat & Getting Back On Track that you might find helpful. ❤

give yourself some grace.

At the end of the day, we are all human. I’ve had many slip ups myself and I have to continue reminding myself that it’s okay at this time. I’ve drank a lot of wine, when I told myself that I wouldn’t. I’ve had many bowls of ice cream & other sweets. I neglected tracking my intake when I told myself that I wanted to make it a habit.

We are all learning & it’s incredibly important to make sure that you don’t beat yourself up when you don’t follow through with these daily goals. Tell yourself it’s okay. We are all human and we are all learning and trying to get through a difficult time!


I hope you found that list helpful! I know how difficult it is to have to completely changed your routine & what you know. Even if things have changed for you, there is definitely still some things that you can do to stay on track.

This time has forced us to have to think outside-the-box and get creative with our “new normal”. Sometimes, it can actually be a good thing to mix things up and try out some new things. Being forced out of what we know to start thinking & approaching things differently might actually be a good thing in some ways. Maybe you will be able to try out some new things that you wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.

So, get out there and start really reaching for those goals of yours! ❤ What tips and strategies are you going to start implementing into your routine now?!

xx

-Jess

My 10 Tips For Beating Bloat & Getting Back On Track

Have you ever come out of a weekend or a vacation after indulging in sweets, salty food, and even alcohol and feel gross? Or have just felt like you’ve been in a slump recently and need to get back on track? Yep, me too. Very often actually. 

Now, I’m not an expert (or trained) in digestive health, whatsoever, but over the years I have been able to learn a couple tips and tricks that have helped me when I am feeling bloated after indulging a little too much.

The tips that I’m sharing in this post are exactly what I did to lose the bloat around my body in just a couple of weeks.

Trust me, I know that I don’t necessarily think that I looked “bad“, but I knew that there were some areas that could use some adjustments in my lifestyle. You might also not be able to see a noticeable difference between the two pictures. But, I’ve actually been able to lose 6+ inches around my body in just 2 months. I even lost about 3 inches around my body in one week by implementing the tips I’m sharing in this post.

This post is absolutely perfect for you if you are like me & constantly find yourself going downhill after you indulge and can’t seem to get yourself back on track, for good. Trust me, we’ve all been there and it’s an incredibly frustrating path to be on. 

After years of trial & error and struggling to figure out what will help me, I’ve finally discovered some really helpful tips and secrets that have ultimately helped me stop the seemingly never ending cycle.

Let me let you in on some of those secrets that have helped me! 

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

I talk about this a lot, but only because I think it’s really important. I have a long track record of getting really mad at myself for having slip ups and indulging “too much”. 

But, let me ask you, has beating yourself up actually helped you get back on track? Or did it put you even further downhill?

For me, beating myself up always pushes me further away from my goal. Inner dialogue is so so SOOO important! Did I mention it’s REALLY important??? What you tell yourself becomes your reality. 

So, if you slip up over the weekend, if you eat too many sweet treats around the holidays, or if you just indulged because you just felt like it, give yourself some grace here. Life is about enjoying yourself and your time on earth. There’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence. 

Tell yourself that you deserved the indulgence and you are ready to get back to your goals! Trust me, nothing productive comes from beating yourself up.

In the pictures I shared above, I had spent the last couple months indulging in Halloween candy and Christmas cookies. Honestly, it made me happy in the moment and I thoroughly enjoyed everything that I indulged in. I let myself enjoy it & when it was all over, I was ready to get back on track.

The simple shift in my mindset and how I approached the situation has been the key to making sure I stay on track. The slip ups in the past have been due mainly to me beating myself up and getting mad for indulging and just enjoying life. Letting the past be in the past and continuing to move forward has been a major key to being able to stay consistent in this lifestyle.

Drink LOTS of water

I hired a wellness & fitness coach a couple years ago and I still remember to this day how much she preaches: DO NOT fall for the “cleanse tea” scam. There is no secret (& not to mention- expen$ive) cleanses. The companies that talk about how they have the secret cleanse to help you lose all this weight, is absolutely f a l s e .

Seriously, good to know!

The best cleanse there is? Our good ole pal H2O. Drinking lots of water is incredibly important as it is, but increasing your water intake when you are feeling bloated will help flush everything out! I try to get in around 100 oz- 1 gallon of water per day. Have you ever tracked how many ounces of water you are drinking per day? When I first started tracking this, I realized that I was only getting around 40 ounces of water per day.

Simply just increasing your water intake will show some major benefits- just be prepared to head to the bathroom A LOT. When I first started increasing my water intake, I was in the bathroom like every half an hour, but let me tell you, it is so worth it!

I now make sure that I drink 16oz-24oz of water right when I get up because when you think about it, your body is in deprivation for how many hours you were asleep. So, you need to make sure that you are getting in water right away!

Not only have I noticed a difference in reducing my bloating, but I have less headaches & more energy as a result.

Get to sippin’!

Get sweaty

OK- so I’m not saying spend 2 hours a day at the gym on the treadmill. But, getting yourself to the gym and increasing cardio really helps! I actually continued to go to the gym, but it’s very important to make sure that you are continuing to keep going, rather than making excuses to fall off.

This also goes back to what I mentioned about not beating yourself up- make sure you are doing this out of self-love and not self-hate. Put in your headphones, put on an upbeat song, work off anything that is bothering you & continue to remind yourself how much your love yourself & your body.

PLEASE do not do this out of self-hate! Don’t spend hours on the treadmill trying to punish yourself for making unhealthy decisions!

I talk more about my fitness journey in these posts:
How/ Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM
3 Tips for Early Morning Workouts
My Fitness Journey | Choosing Yourself First

Eat lots of fresh veggies

In general, adding fresh veggies to your diet is always a good practice. I’ve noticed that just by replacing a snack that I usually have with carrots & celery really helps when I’m feeling bloated. Instead of reaching for some trail mix or chips & salsa, I try to gather some veggies in a bowl & snack on that instead.

I also really like to cook with veggies! I try to add in some bell peppers, onion, spinach, even celery when I’m cooking. I’m not saying to only snack on fresh veggies, but it’s always good practice to add them into your day when you can! Some simple adjustments can go a long way.

Reduce amount of refined carbs

I’m not saying removed carbs from your diet- AT ALL. Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient that we all need.

I just know that when I overindulged, it’s usually in spaghetti, pizza, ice cream, etc. So, I try to pack my diet with lots of lean meats & veggies, rather than those foods high in refined carbs.

Especially when I came out of the holidays feeling all bloated, I tried not to make pasta or pizza for dinner. Especially since I have a gluten intolerance, I wanted to make sure that I let my body reset and get back to normal.

I didn’t completely cut it out, but I was definitely cognizant about making sure that I gave my body a break from these refined carbs.

Reduce sugar

Suga, suga. I love sugar.

Sweets are definitely my downfall. If there’s candy around, especially Kit Kats, I can’t help myself. During Halloween, I always have a hard time staying away from allllll of the candy. 

Also, ice cream. I freaking LOVE ice cream. 

Of course, these foods are PACKED full of sugar. Once all of the candy and Christmas cookies were gone, I made it an effort to make sure that those sweets were not in my apartment. I admit, I love having those red & green M&Ms in a cute container on my kitchen counter around the holidays, but it’s so hard not to resist a handful whenever I walk by it.

So, once they were all gone, I made sure not to have candies in my apartment after the holidays. Simply just not having them around makes it so much easier because they are simply not around. I don’t even want to know how much sugar I had October-December, but not having those sweets around definitely helped in making sure that I am keeping my sugar intake under control.

Don’t try to go into a food deprivation

While it’s a good idea to eat lots of veggies, reduce carbs & sugar intake, don’t try to force yourself into a food deprivation. Trust me, it doesn’t work. I’ve tried. Many, many times before. 

“I’m only going to eat healthy food!”

Deprivation doesn’t work because your body needs that food. When you crave something, it’s your brain telling your body that it needs what that food has. So, when you deprive yourself of something, your brain will CRAVE that particular food and you are more likely to overindulge. Thus, making the frustrating cycle repeat.

I remember one time I tried to make myself eat only healthy food and after a couple days, I proceeded to down an entire bag of sun chips in one sitting. 

Don’t deprive yourself! It just simply doesn’t work.

Moderation is absolutely key here. I wanted to let you know that in the last couple weeks that I lost 6 inches, I was still eating a bowl of ice cream some nights. I’ve been making sure not to scoop half a gallon into a bowl, but a couple scoops has been good enough for me. In letting myself indulge in moderation, it has helped curb my cravings SIGNIFICANTLY. There was even one night when my boyfriend and I were craving Wendy’s frosties, so we went to Wendy’s and got a small frosty.

Deprivation is not the answer, moderation is.

Take a break from alcohol

Don’t get me wrong, ya girl loves her glass(es) of Pinot Grigio. But, reducing alcohol saves lots of unnecessary calories from your diet. Also, I really don’t like waking up the next day feeling hung over & gross. Plus, when you drink, you tend to snack in unhealthy food. It’s a double whammy.

But, not just binge drinking, but even just having a glass in the evening with dinner. I got in the habit of this, especially around the holidays when wine is everywhereeee.

Now, I try to limit myself to just drinking alcohol on the weekend and limiting myself to just a couple of glasses, or none at all. You have no idea how much better you feel when you don’t drink excessively. So, reducing alcohol intake also has so many incredible benefits.

Take a shot of apple cider vinegar

I’m going to be honest here, apple cider vinegar is absolutely disgusting. But, there are so many digestive benefits to it. I mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a little bit of water and lemon and take it like a shot. I call this my “health shot”.

I would test out what works best for you with apple cider vinegar. I tried to make it a daily habit to take a shot of apple cider vinegar, but it actually made my stomach really upset after doing it every day for a full week.

Maybe do a little research and see what your options are. I know some people mix it in their hot tea and other things.  But, this is definitely a good thing to try when you are trying to get yourself back on track.

Get right back into your routine

In the past, I’ve found myself so frustrated with myself for indulging, that I’ve found myself neglecting the gym & healthy habits altogether. When I think about this now, that mindset is just simply not productive. This goes back to my first tip- don’t beat yourself up. Like I’ve mentioned many times, truly believe that it all starts with your mindset.

I’ve had people ask me how I’ve been able to stick with my fitness goals for so long & this is exactly it. I started just getting right back into my routine without even thinking about it. I don’t beat myself up anymore. I let myself indulge when I want to, wake up the next morning and get right back into it. The simple adjustment in how I perceive the situation has completely shifted how I’ve been able to stick with my goals.

Have I fallen off a couple time? Yes! Of course, I’m human. We’re all human here. I technically “fell off” around the holidays, but I was able to get myself back on track so easily because of this mindset.

We spend so much time getting mad at ourselves for living life & indulging that we don’t even realize that we can simply just let it be and move on. We are all human. We NEED those times to just live our lives and enjoy the simple pleasures. 

You are in control of letting bad habits become bad habits. You ate too many slices of pizza and a bowl of ice cream? Fine. Let it be. You still planned on getting to the gym tomorrow, so get up and go like usual. 

Can you tell that I’m really big into mindset? I am because I truly believe that everything, I mean everything starts with our mindset. Our perception & what we tell ourselves has a direct impact on how we feel and how we show up for ourselves.

It all starts with doing things out of self-love. I have never been able to stick to a plan when I’m doing it out of self-hate.

We must love ourselves & love our bodies! ❤

xx

5 Steps For Getting Back On Track & Shifting Your Mindset

We’ve heard it all before, but I think that it’s something extremely important: progress is never in a straight line. We all want it to be, though. This is true and relevant in just about every aspect of life. We get in a good system, start losing weight, get our social lives together, whatever it may be, then something happens to throw us off track. 

It happens to all of us and it happens in just about every situation in life pretty much. It’s frustrating because you just want to keep moving forward. Things were going so well and you just want to keep going forward. Moving backwards, in any capacity and in any way is frustrating. It feels like you’re taking 2 steps forward and 1 step backwards.

I used to get really hard on myself when this happened. I would be in a good system, a good rhythm, my healthy habits were on point. Then, something would happen to get everything all messed up. I would get frustrated and mad at myself for letting myself get to that point. I would be mad for not being able to handle it and ultimately “letting myself go”. Then, this negative self-talk would spiral into more negative self-talk and I would begin going down a tunnel of neglecting my healthy habits and mental health more and more. 

It seems dramatic, but it’s very true and I know it’s prominent for a lot of people. We continue to let ourselves spiral out of control until we get tired of it and decide we want to make a change, then the cycle repeats. 

I felt inclined to write this post because I recently experienced this and I wanted to take the time to explain how I dealt with the stress. Over the years, I have learned a lot about how to handle these times in our lives and I think that what I have to say is important! It’s going to happen & it’s going to happen a lot, unfortunately. Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s inevitable.

I’ve learned that during these times when it feels like I’m “taking a step back”, it might actually be a good thing. I’ve learned that this might mean that I’m entering an important time for growth and a breakthrough is about to happen. It’s uncomfortable in the moment, but it’s necessary to take the next step forward. 

Life kind of makes you stop, so you can keep moving forward. Now, this might sound counter-intuitive, but stay with me here!

I’ve learned to listen to the universe. To pay attention to these times when I feel like I’m falling off track because, sometimes, it doesn’t really mean that I’m falling “off track”. It’s the universe telling me that I need to slow down. 

To be honest, life would be quite boring if things turned out exactly how we wanted all the time. If things worked out perfectly the first time and things continued in a straight line, there would be no growth, no learning experiences, no breakthroughs to celebrate. Times of reflection wouldn’t result in celebrating all of the hard work that was done and all the growth that happened. It sounds nice on paper, that everything will work out perfectly and all will end exactly how we expect. 

However, these times are frustrating. It’s extremely hard not to just want to throw in the towel and stay frustrated. But, I encourage you to keep an open mind here because shifting your perception can result in a life changing breakthrough.


Here are some important things to remember during these times:

Don’t be hard on yourself

The most important thing to remember is that you must not get hard on yourself during these times. Beating yourself up for “falling off track” will get you nowhere except keep you going even further downhill. 

I’ve noticed this to be especially prevalent in my early to mid-twenties and I think it’s pretty common around this age for most people. It’s the time in our lives when we are set free to really figure out who we are and what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. Every time we think we are getting closer to getting it figured out, something happens to throw us off track a little bit. 

When this started happening to me, I was thinking that I was the only one going through this. I just assumed that everyone else my age was getting things all figured out and they were happily progressing without any problems. When you think you’re the only one going through something, it’s very discouraging. 

Trust me, I know this very well. I spent about 3 years trying to find a job, getting another degree, revising my resume, countless applications & interviews and ended up getting fired from the job I finally got after just 5 weeks. Talk about discouraging! While it was frustrating and discouraging, I’ve come to realize that Getting Fired Was The Best Thing To Happen To Me!

The most important piece of advice that I received in terms of getting through this was to not beat myself up. If you can shift your perception on the situation to the best of your ability, you can see this in a whole new light.

Give yourself some grace here! If you want some extra tips, make sure you check out my blog on The Importance of Self-Care!

TAKE A BREAK

Seriously, take a break. Sometimes these times are meant to tell you that you need to slow down and give your mind & body some TLC. Make sure you listen to your body and rest if/when you need it.

For my most recent experience with falling off track, what helped the most was giving myself 3 full days off, away from work, completely focusing on myself. When I say a break, I mean a REAL break. I was trying to give myself breaks, but I was still constantly thinking about alllll the things I had to be doing or SHOULD be doing, scrolling on Pinterest trying to find some inspiration. I was resting my body, but I wasn’t letting my mind rest, which was making me even more exhausted.

Before you start rolling your eyes and thinking “OK Jessie, not everyone can just take 3 days off!“, hear me out. I know that giving yourself 3 days might seem out of reach or impossible, considering where you are in life. But, we all need to find time in our lives to give ourselves a break. We all need it and it might be just what you need to get on track. Maybe see if anyone can help you out for a day to get some things off your plate so you can rest. Giving yourself just one day completely to yourself could be the best thing you do right now!

journal

I’ve talked about the importance of journaling many times, but I find that it holds so many benefits. Especially if you feel like your progress has stopped, no matter what area, it’s always good practice to get everything out of your head and on to paper.

Sometimes, we have things going on in our subconscious that we don’t even know that’s weighing us down. Which is why I always think that journaling can be super powerful. Just getting all of your thoughts, everything that bothering you out of your head and on to paper might give you some clarity.

If you want to read more information on my transformative experiences with journaling, make sure you check out my recent post on The Power of Journaling!

Come up with an action plan

After you journal and get everything out of your head and on to paper, it can be easier to see what specifically needs to be done to keep moving forward. Think about what’s going on and why this “step back” is happening.

Get specific. Don’t just say “get back on track”. How exactly are you going to do it? Are you going to give yourself a mental health day? Brain dump everything that needs to be done? Drink more water?

Giving yourself realistic actionable goals is important to getting yourself back on track.

find the silver lining

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. We are given certain “bumps” in our paths because we are supposed to go through a certain learning experience to prepare us for what’s to come.

Finding the silver lining in a situation like this, when we feel like we’ve taken a step backwards, is helpful in shifting our mindset. If you can conquer your mindset, you can conquer anything!

If you just rolled your eyes when you read that, try to hear me out because I think this is really important! If we’re constantly beating ourselves up about things and focusing on the negatives all the time, it’s going to be really difficult to get to where we want to be. Just hear me out & try to shift your perspective!

If you are still not convinced, I understand. Shifting your perception is hard and can take some work. But, I do want to share a resource that I’ve mentioned before that helped me shift my mindset.

It’s a book called, Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo!

This book revolves around the phrase, “Everything Is Figureoutable“. Meaning, no matter where you are in life, what situation you are currently in, no matter how sucky or sad, it is figureoutable. Marie Forleo helps you get out of your mental BS to start living your life. To help you get out of that mental funk that you’ve found yourself in and start taking actionable steps to changing your mindset.


I’ve noticed that each time I go through a period where I feel like I taking a step back & I see a regression in progress, I learn more about myself. I’ve been able to learn about what helps & what doesn’t and I’ve been able to make changes to make sure that I continue to keep moving forward.

Taking a step back, in any way, in any situation is frustrating. But, the way you perceive the situation can be a game changer!

xx,
Jess

My Fitness Journey | Choosing Yourself First

“You haven’t been yourself in about 2-3 years” is what my mom said to me a year ago. We were having a conversation about possible depression and seeing my doctor to get on an antidepressant. I didn’t have health insurance at the time, so we were trying to figure out how I was going to pay for the doctor visit, as well as the medication. I was a mess, my mental health was a mess.

I had just started a job that I thought was my “big break” I was looking for to get my career off the ground. I was trying to convince myself that I enjoyed this job, but I really didn’t. I hated it and wasn’t good at it, at all. I would pack a gym bag to go to the gym right after work, but would talk myself out of actually going because I was “too tired”. I really felt like I wasn’t in control of anything. Although, I tried. I would go home after work and try to figure out how to be better at this job. When I was with my boyfriend, I was thinking of this job, I would get to the office early to try to prepare better for the day. I really wanted to make this work and was willing to do anything to make it happen. The stress of my career was literally taking control of everything.

On Friday July 6, 2018, I walked into work and was immediately brought into an office and was fired at 6:45am. I was half relieved because the job was horrible, but half confused because I had no idea what I was going to do next. How was I supposed to expect an employer to hire me when I had 3 jobs in 6 months & fired from the last one after 5 weeks? (Read more about this in Getting Fired Was The Best Thing to Happen to Me).

That same day just happened to be the Annual Memorial Golf Scramble I volunteer at yearly. I looked at the pictures we took and immediately realized that I needed to start taking care of myself better. I really didn’t “look” that bad, but I could tell how unhappy I was and crumbling under my own pressure to pull myself together & failing at every attempt. I was exhausted and putting on a smile to try to convince myself & others that I was completely fine. I wasn’t taking care of myself AT. ALL. I was lost & didn’t know what to do, or which way to go.


On Monday, July 9, 2018, I woke up without a job to go to for the first time in YEARS. It was a feeling that I was unsure to do with because I was exhausted, tired of trying to prove myself & my abilities to Corporate America. I knew I had a lot of potential, but was running out of ideas and options. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go next, but I knew I had to keep going in the only way I knew how- start taking care of myself and my mental health.

So, I went to the gym.

In making the decision to take actionable steps to take care of myself first, I have:
– learned how to love myself again
– worked out on a consistent schedule
– gained a healthy relationship with food
– started my own business
– started waking up with purpose every day
– moved out of my parents house (finally!)
– connected with amazing people
– become, really really happy
*I also no longer felt like I needed to be on an antidepressant.

NOW WHAT?

So, I woke up that day, exactly one year ago, and drug myself to the gym, with a commitment to myself. A commitment to turn this negative thing into a life changing experience, and that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t have a plan for my career, or anything for that matter. But, I knew that if I wanted anything to come together, I had to take control of the one thing I had complete control over: myself.

This moment was the first time since college that the chaos in my mind completely stopped. After everything, I had no desire to look for a job. It sounds weird, I had lost my trust in corporate jobs. I was frustrated at the fact that I had to prove myself to a company, leave a paycheck & benefits, for them to let me go whenever it was convenient for them.

I was lucky enough to still be living with my parents, so I had the security and stability to be able to take the time to figure things out. My dad had an (unpaid) opportunity for me at his startup business. I decided to give it a try, there was nothing I had to lose really. This was the time where I really had to understand that I had to take on every single opportunity that came my way. I really didn’t care what it was, I just had to take advantage of everything.

The crazy thing is, the moment I stopped actively looking for opportunities, is the exact time when opportunities started coming to me. I had gotten myself on a exercise routine, making better food choices, taking care of myself and that’s when things started falling into place. I would not change a single part of my journey because every experience had lead me to where I am today. Those experiences will still continue to evolve, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED

We are taught to work hard and keep working towards your goals, right? That’s exactly what I tried to do and I ended up running myself into the ground. It’s not my fault- I was just doing what I thought I needed to do. I was working hard towards a goal that wasn’t meant for me. I’m not the only one who has done this, right?

But, these moments are meant to happen and are necessary for success and growth. The best thing I did in my time of confusion, was to start taking care of myself. If you have chaos in your mind like I did, things will start coming together when you calm your mind. It sounds cliché, but it’s so true!

Take every situation, good or bad, as an opportunity to keep growing and getting better. I had always heard that those “bad” moments are a sign that an incredible breakthrough is about to happen. I wish there was a magic piece of advice that I could give. It’s hard and uncomfortable, but I promise something amazing is about to happen! I had absolutely no idea that getting fired would lead me to starting my own business and working from home. But, I’m so happy that it did. Read more about my experience in The Importance of Self-Care and My 8 Step Process to Overcoming Depression.

The best thing you can do in a time of chaos and confusion is start taking actionable steps towards taking care of yourself. I had no idea that stepping into the gym one year ago would be the start of the most amazing journey. I had no idea all of these amazing possibilities that are waiting for me and I know there’s so much more to come. 💗🙏🏼 I’m truly living my life- not just going through the motions of the day and hating everything & everybody.

3 Tips for Early Morning Workouts

If you are even considering making the decision to switch to early morning workouts, this is definitely the post for you!

IMG_3071I’ve already talked about how much I love going to the gym first thing in the morning, you can read all about in my post How/Why I go the the Gym at 5AM. Even though I’m a morning person, it wasn’t an easy transition. I used to go to the gym in the evenings, but have noticed myself having a hard time staying motivated throughout the day. I have seen a MASSIVE difference since making this adjustment & I want to share all of my secrets with YOU! Considering the fact that most people cringe at the thought of working out first thing in the morning, I thought I would lay out some of my main tips that helped me make this transition!

Here are my top 3 tips:

Adjust Your Mindset.


In order for you to be able to successfully make this transition, you have to adjust your mindset from how horribly early it is, to all the positive things it can do for your life. In order to even think about making the transition to early morning workouts, there has to be a reason for wanting to do it in the first place. If you truly think this is going to make a difference in your routine then this is the very first step. If you keep telling yourself how absolutely horrible & miserably early it is, you are not going to get very far.

Instead of thinking, “But it’s soooo early!”

Try focusing on the positive things:

“I get my workout done and out of the way before my day starts”

“I don’t have to worry about talking myself out of working out throughout the day”

“It frees up my evenings so I can do other things”

“I don’t have to worry about choosing between working out and hanging out with friends”

“I have more time in the evening to spend with my kids/family”

“The gym is emptier earlier in the morning”

I can think of a laundry list of potential benefits that could replace that one negative thing about waking up for an early morning workout. But, maybe working out later truly does benefit your schedule better, & that’s OK! But, in order to even begin a successful transition, you have to shift your mindset!

Ease into it.


OK, so you’ve shifted your mindset into thinking about all the potential positive benefits of an early morning workout. GREAT! But, now we have to think about the realities of our bodies having to adjust to this change. If your body is used to sleeping until 7:00am and working out at 5pm (or not working out at all), you can’t expect you will be able to be used to this change right away. You need to give your body time to adjust!

When I first made this transition, I was so tired on day 3, I felt drunk at work by 4:00pm and didn’t have the energy to workout for the rest of the week. My body wasn’t used to it yet & I was feeling the effects of not allowing myself to ease into this transition. So, here’s what I did to help get my body adjust:

  1. Not working out everyday. My goal was 3 early morning workouts a week at first. I did this for only a couple weeks. You have to remember, it takes 3 weeks to form a habit, so after a couple weeks, I started noticing myself gaining more energy & feeling less and less tired throughout the day.

If your schedule allows some flexibility, you can even try starting out doing a couple morning workouts and a couple evening workouts throughout the week. This is also a good idea to start getting your body adjusted to this change, then start dedicating more days to early morning workouts.

  1. I started out with light workouts. Instead of going right into heavy lifting and intense cardio right away, I started out light (Not that even felt like engaging in a rigorous workout in the beginning). So, I would focus more on stretching, light lifting, elliptical and walking on the treadmill for light cardio. I did that for several weeks until I felt my body get ready to do more challenging workouts. I listened to my body and adjusted as I went along. It’s important to not beat yourself up and get frustrated if you’re not working out as heavily as you’re used to. Give yourself time & your body will catch up! Stressing out about it & forcing your body to engage in activity that it’s not ready for is not going to help, trust me.

Actually get ready for the gym.


When I first started, I would sleep in my workout clothes and set my alarm for 10 minutes before I wanted to leave my house. When I did this, I still felt like a zombie when I got to the gym and didn’t have all that much energy.

Now, I have learned that waking up even earlier and giving my body time to wake up & get ready for the gym has helped SO MUCH. The hardest part is actually getting out of bed. By the time I’m done getting ready for the gym, my body is awake and alert and ready to go. This is what I do:

-Set an alarm on the other side of the room so I HAVE to get out of bed

-Drink 8-16oz of cold water

-Make my bed

-Get dressed

-Wash my face with cold water

-Brush my teeth

-Make myself my favorite preworkout snack

-Out the door

Actually getting your body moving & giving it time to wake up is SO HELPFUL! It makes a huge difference not showing up to the gym feeling like a zombie!


There ya go, my top 3 tips for early morning workouts. The most important thing is to do what works best for you. Experiment with a routine. I do early morning workouts Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. I sleep in on Wednesday’s & go to hot yoga at 7pm. It’s what I have found to work best for me, but that doesn’t mean it will work for anyone else. Like I said, it’s important to make sure you are finding a routine that is best for YOU!

If afternoon/evening workouts make more sense for you, then that’s OK too! Maybe you’re a night owl & would prefer to go to the gym at 10pm, that’s OK too! But, if you truly think early morning workouts would be beneficial to you & your routine, then give my tips a try! This has seriously worked wonders for me and I hope it helps you too!

Please let me know if you found this helpful at all! I would love to hear any and all feedback! 🙂

- Blissfully Jess2

Who do you workout for?

The new year is a time when people make resolutions, usually having to do with enhancing their lives in some way. As known, one of the most common New Year’s Resolution is to go to the gym and get in shape. But, what about a resolution to NOT go to the gym?

Going to the gym & getting in shape should be done to feel better about yourself, and enhance your overall well-being. Fitness can have so many positive mental & physical impacts, but a recent conversation with a friend completely baffled me & inspired me.

A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation said friend and they (I’m choosing to keep them completely anonymous) said something to me that really got me thinking. This is the gist of how the conversation went:

Friend: “My goal for 2019 is to not go to the gym at all this year”

Me: *confused* …“what?”

Friend: “Yeah, I started to realize that I was going to the gym to look good for others, not to make myself feel better.”

To be honest, I was in a state of shock. But after a while, I started thinking about how powerful and inspiring that is. “I started to realize that I was going to the gym to look good for others, not to make myself feel better.” First and foremost, I am so proud of my friend for acknowledging the fact they were doing something to impress someone else, not for themselves. Making a decision to do something that is completely opposite of the norm because you realized you are doing it for all the wrong reasons is so powerful. Seriously! Going to the gym should be about YOU! It never occurred to me to think about it this way.

After thinking about it for some time, it made me realize that I needed to take a step back and make sure I am doing things for myself, not for others. Actually, I think we all need to take a moment to stop and think about whether we are doing things for no other reason than for ourselves.

*To clarify: I am talking about “things” related to self-care. Like, working out, in this scenario.

Working out is such a great way to improve our overall physical & mental health, but we have to make sure we are doing it for all the right reasons.

 Ask yourself these questions:

Are you working out to impress someone?

Are you working out to look good for someone else?

Are you working out to post a gym selfie on Instagram?

OR

Are you working out to get in shape & feel good about yourself? 

Especially with social media being so powerful, we are always cautious about what others are thinking of us. We want to post the most beautiful images of ourselves & are constantly worried about what others will think. But, at the end of the day, we do need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves, taking a mental break from looking good for others and make sure we are truly taking care of our well-being.

IMG_2847

For me, fitness has completely changed my life in so many ways. I feel so much more confident & happy and I can’t imagine letting go of my workout routine. The last time I did that, I fell into some serious mental health issues. But, for me, I decided to get back into the gym for myself. It’s something I use for self-care & something I identify with!

While I still believe that health & fitness is important, this recent conversation has left we thinking about it in a whole different perspective. It made me really think about making sure I am making these decisions for myself, rather than for the acceptance of others.

While social acceptance is a human necessity, I do think we all as a society could start thinking more about our mental health as well. In my personal experiences, when I start taking care of myself & my mental health, social acceptance follows.

So let me ask you this…

Are you really doing things, like working out, for yourself or for others?

- Blissfully Jess2

How/ Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM

“You go to the gym at 5am?! You’re crazy.”

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Almost every time I tell someone that I go to the gym at 5am during the week, I get a “OMG you’re crazy!!” Every. Single. Time. You know what’s crazier?? I have the flexibility to workout at a later time, I choose to go that early.

In college, I would go to the gym in the afternoon, evening, whenever I had time. I was extremely flexible with when I could go, depending on my schedule. Sometimes I even went around 9pm. My first year after college, I also went in the evenings, typically 5:30pm-7:00pm after work. Eventually, it became a hassle get myself motivated to go to the gym at that time.

The last couple years, I have gone through a lot of changes, like most people. My schedule has changed, I’ve changed. Getting myself to the gym started becoming a hassle and a chore. I kept bringing my gym bag with me to work and end up talking myself out of going. I knew I wanted needed to go, but my desire wasn’t there. By the end of the day, my motivation & energy was almost gone. I just wanted to go home and relax. Even if I did end up going, I did not want to be there would typically end up getting in a very mediocre workout. Plus everyone goes to the gym at 5pm and it’s super crowded. Ugh.

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That is why I decided to make the change.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what works best for me. Contrary to most people, early mornings is when I have the most focus and energy. I know I need to get my most important tasks done first thing in the morning because that’s when I’m at my best. So, I had a crazy thought to try getting in my workout before work. Get it out of the way so I can spend the rest of the day not worrying about it.

I love the peace and quiet of early mornings. There’s something so refreshing about being able to put in my headphones & crush a workout before the sun comes up & everyone else wakes up. You know what’s also crazy? There’s even “crazier” people in the middle of their workout when I get there.

Here’s what I noticed from making the change:

fullsizerender-2

  • I haven’t talked myself out of a workout since making the change
  • My mood is much better- I was waking up in a horrible mood almost every morning
  • I make healthier decisions throughout the day
  • I have more energy
  • I have much better focus
  • I get a quarter of a gallon of water in by 7am
  • My workouts are much more intense
  • My workout is done and out of the way by 6:30am

Granted, it took about 2-3 weeks for my body to get used to this new routine. I remember falling asleep at 4pm on day 3 of it. I started out with less intense workouts & stuck with it until it became a habit for me.

The thing is, you have to know yourself. Early morning workouts are not for everyone. Some people have much more energy in the evening, so that makes more sense. Going to the gym at 9pm sounds crazy to me! I prefer to be deep in REM sleep by 10pm.

You also have to be able to make adjustments throughout the years. Listen to your body and know what makes the most sense for you. 5am workouts may never be feasible for some people & that’s OK. For me, this is what works. If you are interested in learning more about how to make the transition, make sure you check out my 3 Tips for Early Morning Workouts!

Fitness is a very important part of my life. Most people who get into fitness get this feeling because it’s almost like you get to experience life in a whole different way. You feel better about yourself, you have more energy, you’re pleased with what you look like. There are so many benefits. I felt lost & insecure with myself when I was trying to get myself motivated to go back to the gym. I go in more depth about this experience in My Fitness Journey | Choosing Yourself First.

For me, at this point in my life, going to the gym at 5am is what works for me! Maybe… just maybe you will like it too if you give it a chance. 🙂

If you’re interested in learning more about my fitness tips, make sure you check out my post about My 10 Tips For Beating Bloat & Getting Back On Track!

xx

-Jess