Gut Health Matters. Poop better, live happier & feel your MF best.

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I was super into the arts and humanitarians in high school.

English. History. Psych. It was my jam.

But science? Anything math related? It was just NOT my jam. Except for Biology.

I was so fascinated by the ways our bodies worked and I related to it because it felt applicable to me — ya know, ‘cause I have a body.


So when I started learning more about nutrition in my journey to becoming a health coach, I became FASCINATED by the gut.

Gut health has become a super trendy topic as of late — you know, all those fancy yogurts and kombucha supporting that gut health all the wayyyy. Right?

But supporting our gut health is SO MUCH MORE than having a kombucha every day…(which for the record, I don’t recommend). And having a healthy gut is KEY to having a healthy body…and here’s why…

The gut is largely responsible for putting our body into working order.

As our food gets broken down, the microbiome (aka the bacteria in our gut) absorb the nutrients from the food which, in turn, supports things like hormone balance, mental health, healthy waste elimination (aka GOOD POOPS) & even skin health.


The craziest thing that totally blew my mind?

The gut and the brain are directly connected.

Which, in turn, means the food you’re ingesting and being absorbed by the gut impact your mental health/anxiety in profound ways.


How do you know if your gut needs some extra love? Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing…

  • Anxiety - Around 80% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that impacts mood, sleep, social behavior etc is produced in the gut. So when the gut isn’t healthy, you’re getting less serotonin, which can negatively impact your mood.

  • IBS/ bowel movement issues — these have been directly linked to an imbalance of the microbiome

  • Exhaustion/Brain fog - this is also linked to lack of seratonin, as having lower levels of it can cause insomnia or trouble sleeping

  • Acne or skin issues — the main cause for acne/rashes is an imbalance in the gut

  • Cravings — if there’s an overgrowth of yeast in the system, you can crave more sugar


If you’re like AHHHHH I HAVE ALL OF THESE or even SOME of these, then GIRLFRIEND, you can do something about it right fucking now.


The microbiome in our gut can be reset in as little as 3 days. Isn’t that incredible? Which means with some mindful practices, we can take agency over our health, mind body and soul.


BEST WAYS TO SUPPORT GUT HEALTH


QUICK RESET & GUT OVERHAUL

I’m not a proponent for quick fixes in life. Especially when it comes to our health. But sometimes, our body needs a reset to be able to give us a healthy base to launch into new shifts.

And that’s why I love the 3 day refresh. A 3 day plant based gut detox which focuses on eating real foods & supporting your gut health through supplements.

I’ve rocked this particular program three times now (about once per year) and every time I do it, I’m astounded by my results. And this time was no exception.

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I weighed myself out of sheer curiosity and I’m down 7.6 lbs (my husband who also rocked it alongside with me this time was down 7 lbs) and we both have maintained that loss a week later.

I’m feeling SO energized and refreshed in a way I haven’t felt in months — YASS GUT HEALTH.

WINS?

  • bloating GONE

  • slept better than I have in months 

  • feeling so lean 

  • brain alert and focused 

  • poops are on point

  • eczema cleared up

SPEEDBUMPS

  • felt a little hungry the last night of the 3 days but tea helped 

  • my energy was lower overall through the 3 days but it’s back tenfold  

I am so glad I dove into this even when I felt like I didn’t “have the time” for it. And I’m so proud of my LYFYL wellness community for rocking it out too, especially my 2 gals who did it while traveling for work. MF ROCKSTARS and proof that you CAN put yourself first no matter what season of life you’re in. And if you’re looking for a quick way to shift your body’s composition, this is 100% what I would recommend.


EAT MORE VEGETABLES

Big ol’ duh, I know. But seriously, gut check yourself (ha, see what I did there?) and check in with how many vegetables a day you’re actually getting in. They are the best way to add more healthy nutrients in your day to support gut health.

EAT HIGH FIBER FOODS

Fiber doesn’t get digested in the body until it gets to the gut (which stimulates bacteria growth!) so it’s the healthiest thing you can ingest. Some of my favorite high fiber foods include: raspberries, broccoli, chickpeas, artichokes, lentils.

TAKE A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

This can be a bit tricky because many probiotics on the market are actually not beneficial to your gut health at all because the casing they’re encapsulated in aren’t made to withstand the acidity in the stomach and break down before they even make it to the intestines (which is where they are needed to do their job!). I take my probiotic in form of powder in my daily smoothie because I know it has the correct casing (shoot me a message if you want more info!) so whatever you do, just be sure to do your research on which ones you can snag that will actually do the job intended!

And there you have it! GUT HEALTH FOR THE WIN.

Do you have any symptoms listed above? What has been your biggest struggle with gut health?

Let me know in the comments!

Xo Amanda

Living with Anxiety? Yeah, me too.

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Anxiety.

The word alone gives me anxiety — and honestly, I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a long ass time but something has kept holding me back…until today.


Why now?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love to pop into my Insta stories on the regular and talk to you guys — pep talks, rants, goofy moments, adorable pup time with Toby and silly dance parties are what you normally can expect, but last week, I was having one of those days (maybe you know the kind) and I brought it up on my stories, asking for help on how to navigate it all.

And I’ve never had SO MUCH response to something I posted in my life. 92% of my followers said they struggled with anxiety too. I knew I wasn’t alone but the amount of “me too” responses I got absolutely blew me away and I knew I couldn’t stay silent about it anymore.


My Story

I've lived with anxiety for the past 5 years. The summer of 2013, an event in my life triggered what I now know to be called a panic attack. At the time, I thought I was literally dying. I was hyperventilating and crying so much that I almost passed out and for the life of me, I couldn’t make it stop.

This was my first experience with anxiety, or at least what I can remember.

And honestly, my first experience with mental health struggles.

My anxiety took a really intense hold over my life for the years following — panic attacks would happen when I least expected, conversations about the simplest things could spur it and I would find myself waking up with a heavy chest that just couldn’t go away, no matter what I did.

I’ve spent the past 5 years navigating my anxiety and building up tools in my tool box that have helped immensely — and what used to be a super common feeling has turned into something that rears its head every one and a while.

Anxiety looks different on everyone. I know women who navigate it from all ends of the spectrum — from women who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) who are on medication for their anxiety to women who occasionally get anxious about specific circumstances in their lives.

One thing I do know? Most women don’t talk about it.

Which makes us all feel a hell of a lot more alone in all of it, don’t ya think?

It’s my mission to help contribute to the mission to normalize anxiety — ‘cause you are not less than because you experience it, in any capacity. Ya hear me?


What you can do?

I was blown away by the incredible thoughtful response some of my amazing followers on Instagram shared with me, and I wanted to share their thoughts alongside mine. Here they are…

“Breathing mantras and writing!”

“Puppy snuggles” — you laugh but there is scientific proof that petting pups actually lowers your cortisol (aka stress) levels!

“Journaling out my feelings”

“Evening out my breath. So making my inhales 5ish secs and my exhales 5ish secs.”

“Yoga, meditation and journaling is what works for me.”

“Getting enough sleep”

“Painting/being creative in any way.”

“Reading.”

“Big hugs”

“Writing down things I can see, feel. and hear helps ground me.”

“Reminding myself of things that are true.”

“Running and coloring”


How thoughtful are these responses? So many incredible things to sift through and find what works for you.


Here are some of my personal go-tos that have been a total godsend to quiet or rid myself of anxiety:


EXERCISE PAIRED WITH SUPPORT

The minute I feel anxiety creeping up, I know that the best thing I can do is to sweat it out. It works absolute WONDERS, and having a community of women encouraging me and supporting me along the way has been KEY in my journey. We all need spaces that allow us to come exactly as we are and that’s what these groups have been for me.


THROW MYSELF A DANCE PARTY

There is nothing like putting on some of my favorite tunes (lately I’ve been taking it back to some TLC and it’s been pretty fucking incredible) and throwing myself a major dance party.

I know it can feel counter-intuitive in the moment but thrusting your body into something active and physical and unexpected can help jolt you out of your state of anxiety.


GO FOR A WALK

Sometimes something as simple as a shift in environment and getting outside can make all the difference. I actually try to pre-emptively plan for these with my daily mid day walk with my pup — it forces me to get out of the house! If you work a traditional full time gig, take your lunch outside or take the second half of it by going for a walk. Better yet, start your day with a quick walk around the block to wake you up!

REMEMBER — if you are struggling and need someone to talk to, I’m always just a message away my love. I’m no expert on anxiety but I’m always, always here.

Xo Amanda

p.s. I’m hosting an End Overeating & Anxiety for good webinar with my good friend and therapist Rachel Wright later this month and would love to see you there — be sure to hop on my email list and in our Live Your F*ck Yes Life Facebook community to get the deets first!

Why I don't believe in "falling off the wagon" and why health isn't all about getting banging ass results

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I failed.

Or at least by all standards of the fitness industry, I failed.

The past 7 weeks, I've been rocking my latest fitness adventure -- a strength training and HIIT program. I've been working out 4 days a week, rocking my rest days like nobody's business and continuing to adopt my food freedom program principles.

You'd THINK that I would have seen these INSANE results -- AB CHECK HERE, am I right? 

We're all programmed to believe that we will dive into a fitness program and that by the end of it, we're going to be RIPPED. That we're going to shed the weight, get that six pack we've always dreamed of and we'll finally be able to zip up those jeans from high school we've been holding in the back of our closet for 10 years...

I know I used to believe that with every fibre of my being. 

And when I didn't see results right away, I sabotaged myself and deep dove into my binge eating spiral and would put on 10-20 lbs in a month.

That cycle plagued me for YEARS, until I changed up my fitness regime. Started rocking programs that actually worked and gave me long lasting results.

And all of a sudden, I actually FELT HAPPY. Not just because I lost a few dress sizes, but because I FELT STRONG. I felt active and alive and energized in a way I hadn't in years.

And for the past 3 years, I've continued to feel that way. Trying out new programs, feeling like a MF athlete and badass...until this program.

'Cause you see...I've been rocking this strength training program and as I head into my final week of it, I've seen no weight loss or physical external shifts. In fact, the physical shifts I have seen have been me feeling fluffy and bloated.

And you know I'm always going to keep it REAL AF with you babes, and my truth right now is that I've spent the last couple of weeks feeling like a total and utter FAILURE. Because your girl is as health coach, right? So if I can't walk the walk, how am I supposed to inspire and empower my clients and future clients to do so as well...right?

WRONG.

While you may not see any badass results from this, what you also don't see is everything else I've been navigating this summer. 

The past couple of months, I’ve been dealing with some intense shifts hormonally that have caused my body to feel out of whack.

2 months ago, I transitioned off of birth control pills to the copper IUD. I originally did so in April but my body literally rejected the IUD and I had to get it removed and a new one inserted (which, let me tell ya, is NO FUN). Luckily, the IUD stuck this time around, but my body has responded SUPER differently to this one. The first time around in April, I had no bleeding and no seemingly different experiences beyond my shifts in mood depending on where I was at in my cycle.

But this time, my bleeding has been incredibly different — I bled right after the initial insertion more than I ever have in my entire life. And since early July, I’ve had continued intermittent spotting and periods every other week.  

And the past few weeks, my body has been intermittently bloated AF in ways I’ve never experienced before (for all you gals who have dealt with this for years I FINALLY UNDERSTAND) and it’s been super uncomfortable.

I look in the mirror and that voice in the back of my head that tells me I'm not good enough, and I should just eat an entire box of donuts has been getting louder and louder...all because my BODY doesn't look the way I EXPECTED it to or the way SOCIETY TELLS ME IT SHOULD after finishing a workout program? 

I call bullshit.

I mean, I am ALL about celebrating different shapes and sizes and finding STRENGTH from the inside out, not about looking a certain way — and this gal? THIS IS ME TODAY.

The bright, energetic, sensitive, silly, playful, dedicated, focused, harry potter obsessed dog mama multi-passionate entrepreneur goofball who also happens to be bloated right now.

And she is JUST as worthy bloated as she is when she’s not. 

She's just as worthy when she's kicking ass with her workout program or moving slower and working out less.

She's just as worthy when she's eating a delicious pot of zoodles than when she's eating a MF cookie.

Our health and fitness journeys ARE FAR FROM LINEAR. Nor should they be.

And to expect our lives to constantly be moving that direction is unrealistic. Shit happens. We travel. We go into a crazy busy period at work. A loved one dies. We plan weddings. We enter new relationships that turn our worlds upside down. 

We accept that these things are part of life and that it's OK, but we have such a tough time acknowledging that it's also okay to have a fluctuating body?

LET'S GIVE OURSELVES SOME MOTHER FUCKING GRACE ALREADY and RID OURSELVES OF THE "FALLING OFF THE WAGON" BS WE'VE BEEN SPEWING TO OURSELVES FOR YEARS.

You are worthy just as you are right now my love.

And no matter where that is, all you can do is show up with grace, kindness and do the shit that makes you FEEL ALIVE and ENERGIZED AF.

Xo Your no BS soul sistah,

Amanda 

3 Reasons why Finding your Community is Key to a Happy & Healthy Life

Hi-ya, Live Your FYEs Lifers!

I've been laying low on the blogging end because I've been pouring so much heart and content into the pod (which if you haven't listened to yet, be sure to subscribe to Live Your F*ck Yes Life on Itunes or your favorite podcast app!) but I wanted to pop into your corner of the universe to share something that's been on my heart // and share some more personal updates that a lot of you have been asking questions about! 

(Which for the record, I love hearing from you guys! So never hesitate to reach out either on Instagram @amandakatherineloy or you can email me here!

I just got back from an incredible leadership retreat in Florida with 6 other coaches on my health & fitness coaching team and it was SO freaking good for the soul. We sweat together, we ate all the tacos and drank all the kombucha-ritas (like a margarita with a kombucha twist!), laughed our asses off, dug deep into our visions for our lives and businesses and had the most epic quality time 4 day sleepover extravaganza.

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And the craziest thing about it all?

I met all of these women on the INTERNET. Yup #blindfrienddating at its finest.

I've been going on trips and a part of this community ever since I decided to take the leap and become a coach myself in November 2015 and every time I go to a live event with these women, I'm so in awe at how they instantly become like FAMILY.

Truth? I always had a crazy hard time making female friendships growing up. I was bullied a lot when I was younger because I was the "chubby kid" and the girls I thought were my friends were AWFUL to me all through school. I made friends here and there (a few of which have stuck around for the long haul) but even through college, most of the female friendships I made ended up being insanely toxic. 

Can you relate?

I talk to so many women who ask me how I've found such strong female friendships and, outside of the few gems that I made in my schooling years, my answer always is COACHING. 

I started health coaching because I knew something in my life needed to change.

My health was in the shitter (I was knee deep in my orthorexia and binge eating days) and I was working 7 part time jobs just to get by and I just couldn't freaking do it anymore. So I grabbed onto one last ditch effort that I was HELLA skeptical of, but I figured that I would hopefully turn my health around at the very least. 

So I dove in. I expected the financial return. I expected to transform my health.

But I never expected the COMMUNITY that I would immediately be welcomed into with open arms -- a community of women that instantly felt like long lost soul sisters.

Women who are like me, but different.

Who teach me so much every single day.

Who accept me for who I am in every aspect.

And who have been there for me ten fold this year while I've been navigating one of the toughest and most overwhelming seasons of my life.

We come from all walks of life (teachers, actors, social workers, nurses, business women, dog mamas, etc) brought together by our dedication to self care via health & fitness and our desire to help others and make an impact in this world. 

And when you get a group of people together who are all showing up for a common goal, and who all bring SO many beautiful and different things to the table, it's pure MAGIC.

If you're feeling lost, chances are it's because you haven't found or created your community yet. One where you feel like you truly belong. And if there's anything I can recommend, FIND YOUR SUPPORT SQUAD. It'll transform your life in ways you never imagined.

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SO WHY IS HAVING A COMMUNITY SO IMPORTANT?

  1. ACCOUNTABILITY -- Have you ever tried going after a goal but lost motivation and never ended up accomplishing it? We live in a society that has taught us to become independent women, and while I'm ALL about throwin' my hands up at them independent women (*cough name that musical reference*) and consider myself quite independent, I spent SO much of my time trying to figure everything out on my own and I felt like I was endlessly hitting my head up against a wall. With my team, we share our goals with one another and hold each other accountable. There's no way I would be where I am today if it weren't for them endlessly empowering me to show up for my dreams. 
  2. SUPPORT -- This one is SO huge. I'm hella blessed to have an incredible support system. Between my husband, my parents and my best friends, I consider myself a pretty lucky girl. But there's something SO magical about going through the shit of it and having women who I've never actually met in person reach out with supportive words, care packages, the works. It's SO incredible and something I am endlessly grateful for every single day. 
  3. IT KEEPS YOU HEALTHY -- Literally. Having a community of people you're plugged into and surrounded by on the daily is SO beneficial to your health. My particular group ups the anti up 'cause we literally are all working on our health & fitness together but any community is HUGE from a mental health perspective. When we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, studies have shown that anxiety, depression and risk of death by heart attacks are significantly reduced. If that's not powerful, I don't know what is. 

And there you have it -- moral of the story? Community is freaking NECESSARY for the soul. Like chicken soup (did ya read those growing up too? haha)

And if you're a goofy go-getter who loves health & fitness, Harry Potter, dogs and laughing so hard you pee a little, then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!? The Live Your FYES Life community is home, lady love and we'd LOVE to have you join us. Let's chat!!! 


LIFE UPDATES // 

HEALTH & FITNESS

I completed round 1 of 80 Day Obsession in April and loved it so freaking much that I decided to do it again. I love Beachbody programs so much because they always teach me something new about myself and what I'm capable of.

I've tried SO many fitness programs in the past (Tone It Up, BBG, etc) and I got SO bored and found my results never stuck -- whereas Beachbody programs always leave me feeling re-energized and engaged. And holy hell are these some of the best results of my entire life -- not just physically (because I feel stronger than I ever have), but mentally.

These workouts? They were my therapy. I found out 3 weeks into the program that I was BRCA 1 positive and these workouts got me through the tough days were all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry. I'm SO grateful to this program for literally being my light at the end of the tunnel.

And I'm SO proud of myself and all of my clients who rocked the program alongside of me for COMPLETING THE PROGRAM. If you would have told me a year ago I would have showed up every single day, 6 days a week for 80 days, I would have said you were crazy. But I freaking did it. Was it "perfect"? Well, considering I don't believe in that word, I guess my answer would be NO. But I showed up every single day, rocked the timed nutrition (which my body LOVED) and have never felt more like an athlete in my life. Which coming from a gal who used to be picked last for gym every damn time as a kid, is something that brings tears to my eyes just thinking about.

The lesson? You are capable of ANYTHING you set your mind to. Really and truly.

And if you love structure and are looking to get hella amazing results and feel like a badass athlete, let's chat about you rocking this program alongside our Live Your F*ck Yes Life Wellness Squad!

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MY HORMONE LEVELS

It's been a month and a half since going off the birth control pill and transitioning to the copper IUD and so far, my feelings have more or less stayed that I'm happy with my decision.

My menstrual cycle hasn't come back like it had before, but I am having some kind of menstruation happening -- it's just very different than anything I've experienced before. (Much lighter and longer lasting and a different consistency -- which makes sense as my body is actually going through the process of ovulation now.) Other than that, not much else has shifted other than the shifts in energy throughout the month // let's just say, I get the whole concept of PMS-ing now haha. 

The only downside is that when I went to my one month follow up appointment with my doctor,  I found out that my IUD appears to have moved. Because it's a copper IUD, if it moves any more, I'm going to have to have it re-inserted (which for all of you who have had an IUD inserted you know is NOT a fun process), so that's unfortunate but what's going on!

 

And there you have it! I've got some things to share in the next coming weeks once I've worked through it all and it's official so stay tuned, but that's what the last month of my life has looked like!!

 

What's been going on in YOUR world, lady love?

I wanna hear! Let me know in the comments below.

 

Xo Amanda 

 

Why I decided to go off the birth control pill after 12 years

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I know this is gonna ruffle a million and one feathers but you know your girl is gonna give it to you straight and this has been a huge part of my wellness journey 

This time last year, I remember sitting in a coffee shop with my friend Jen talking all about the birth control pill. She had decided to go off of it 6 months prior and was sharing her experience with me and it got me thinking ... "why have I been on the pill for so goddamn long?"

I mean OBVIOUSLY to not have a baby.

But the reason I went on the pill in the first place? I was 15 years old and my doctor misdiagnosed me with PCOS and said "here, just take the pill. It'll help your symptoms."

And she was right, it did. And I didn't question it (and hadn't questioned it until recently).


But that conversation got me thinking about how I've been putting synthetic hormones into my body for 12 years of my life without question ('cause ya know, everyone is on the pill, right?) and that I hadn't even thought to question it. 

And the past year, I've been going back and forth about it and out of fear of what would come of change, I never decided to make any shifts...until now. After all of the medical stuff going on with me and the incredible conversation I had with Claire Baker on episode 7 of the podcast and speaking with my doctor, I decided to officially go off of the pill. 

Now I want to preface this by saying this is in NO WAY a "you need to go off the pill" post. YOU are the only person that can make choices for YOUR body (and girlfriend, you 100% know what's best for YOU and where you're at in life), but I've been getting a billion questions about why I made this decision and what I'm doing now for preventative measures. 

So here is MY story based off of my personal findings, speaking with my trusted hormone experts, my doctor and MY BODY.


WHY I DECIDED TO GO OFF THE PILL

1. I'm hella health conscious (obviously). And after getting hella into nutrition, the body and how everything works, I realized how VITAL the health of a woman's' endocrine system (aka the collection of glands and organs that produce hormones) is for overall health. And I have been working so hard on implementing habits in my nutrition and day to day life to support this, but not my birth control method? My girl Jess over at Wholly Healed shares ALL about the negative side effects of going on the pill, so if you wanna learn more definitely check her out. 

2. When I found out I was BRCA 1 positive earlier this year, I was hell bent on doing everything in my power to arm myself with everything I could to prevent myself from getting breast or ovarian cancer. And I knew that certain pills have been associated with raising risks of getting breast cancer and I was NOT fucking around with that.

*what I didn't know? Being on certain BC pills like the one I was on (ortho trinessa or ortho tricyclen low) for upwards of 5 years can actually REDUCE your likelihood of developing ovarian cancer so that was a major WIN for me and my doctor. 

3. My gynaecologist recommended I make the switch. While I was pretty convinced through my own personal readings and speaking with hormone health experts, I also wanted to hear the input from my doctor and she gave me the green light immediately. 

 

OK SO I WANNA GO OFF THE PILL, BUT I DON'T WANT BABIES!! HALP!!!

I hear ya. Kev and I are NOT ready for babies anytime soon, so when we were looking for another option, we knew we still needed to have a form of birth control going .

Here are other some options other than the pill to consider:

Paraguard IUD  - this is the option I opted with for a few reasons.  

  • It's over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, making it one of the most effective forms of birth control available. This is hugely important to us because if and when we do decide to have kids, we have committed to going through the IVF process so we can screen the embryos for the BRCA gene. 
  • It is hormone FREE. So your body goes through the ovulation process as it naturally would but the Copper IUD disrupts sperm motility and damages sperm so they can't join with an egg. Fun fact that I didn't know? Copper actually acts as a spermicide within the uterus, increasing levels of copper ions, prostaglandins, and white blood cells within the uterine and tubal fluids. Fun science facts for ya! 
  • It is good for up to 10 years and can be removed at any time.

Condoms - also a great option! 

Withdrawl...not so fun but if you're in a relationship or sex isn't on the table, there ya go! 

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) -- if you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend the book Taking Control of Your Fertility 

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW ABOUT YOUR DECISION?

So far, I am OVER THE MOON about it.

I stopped taking the pill and transitioned to the Paraguard 2 weeks ago, so I've yet to experience a full cycle (and have yet to see if my period is going to return right away -- I know quite a few women who waited a year for their period to return) so I will definitely do a follow up post in a few months but so far, it's been great.

The process of inserting the IUD? It sucked. Majorly. And I experienced pretty awful cramping the rest of the day. The heating pad, aleve, netflix and my pup Toby were my best friends that day -- so DEFINITELY do not go into work after you get it inserted. SERIOUSLY. 

But less than 24 hours later later and after a nights sleep, I felt good as new.

I've been following the My Flo app to track my cycle and so far it's been pretty on track! No spotting, weird cramping or anything like that.

And just knowing that I've taken action about this has taken a huge weight off of my chest.

 

So there ya have it!

As always, you know I'm an open book so if you have any questions, pop 'em in the comments below! 

And I'm curious -- what form of birth control do you use? 

Xo Cheers to living our f*ck yes lives,

Amanda

What IS BRCA and how do I know if I should get tested for it?

Earlier this year, I found out that I am BRCA 1 +.

If you haven't been following my journey (blog/podcast) then you are probably like DA FUCK is BRCA? Or at least, that's how I was when I first heard of it.

In the past month, I've had so many of you reach out. I've heard stories of those of you who are BRCA + too, those of you who are battling breast cancer or are survivors, and a hell of a lot of messages from those of you who didn't even know it was possible to get genetically tested for something like this.

So I figured I'd put together some facts & figures for you guys based on my own personal research and what my doctors have shared with me. So please do your due diligence on your own and speak to your doctors to discuss if this is the right path for YOU.

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THE FACTS 

SO, WHAT IS BRCA?

BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins. When either of these genes is mutated, cells in the body are more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that can lead to cancer.

Inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increases the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers (although they have also been associated with several additional types of cancer). People who have inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 tend to develop breast and ovarian cancers at younger ages than people who do not have these mutations.

HOW DO YOU INHERIT BRCA?

A BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation can be inherited from someone's mother or father. Each child of a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes has a 50% chance (or 1 chance in 2) of inheriting the mutation. 

When I was in college, my dad got tested and found out that he had the BRCA 1 gene. Most women my age that I've spoken to who know about the gene were urged to get tested after their moms or close female relatives were diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. I've only met one other woman (shoutout to my gal Ashley who just bravely went through a preventative double mastectomy) who has a similar story to mine. So if you have any history of breast or ovarian cancer on either side of your family, you may want to consider getting tested.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS INHERITED WITH BRCA? 

This varies depending on whether you have BRCA 1 or 2.

For BRCA 1:

  • 60-80% risk of developing breast cancer over lifetime compared to the 12% general population risk.
  • 34-44% risk of developing ovarian cancer over lifetime compared to the 1-2% general population risk.
  • 2-3 % risk of developing pancreatic cancer over lifetime compared to the 0.9% general population risk.
  • Increased risk in male breast and prostate cancer

For BRCA 2:

  • 50-70% risk of developing breast cancer over lifetime compared to the 12% general population risk.
  • 12-20% risk of developing ovarian cancer over lifetime compared to the 1-2% general population risk.
  • 20-30% risk of developing prostate cancer over lifetime compared to the 16% general population 
  • 7% risk of developing male breast cancer over lifetime compared to the 1.10% general population 
  • 3-5 % risk of developing pancreatic cancer over lifetime compared to the 0.9% general population risk.
  • 3-5 % risk of developing melanoma over lifetime compared to the 1-2% general population risk.

*stats pulled from the National Society of Genetic Counselors

WHEN TO CONSIDER GENETIC TESTING

  • You have a relative with a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation
  • Family history of breast cancer diagnosis at an early age (aka before 50 years of age)
  • Family history of ovarian cancer
  • Multiple generations with breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • Family member has had multiple primary cancers 
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (this one took me by surprise! I have Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry on both sides of my family)

FAVORITE RESOURCES AND SUPPORT

The Bright Pink Foundation -- A FANTASTIC resource to help you assess your risk and find a local group in your area for support. They also have a beautiful program called the Pink Pal where you get paired up with someone to help you navigate the process once you've found out you are BRCA + 

The Breasties -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting young women affected by breast and ovarian cancer through community and friendship. They host events, meetups and retreats and I've had the pleasure of getting to know Paige, the founder, and could not be more on board with what she's doing and the community she's building. #breastie love! 

Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) -- education resource for more information and studies. Great resource!

 

So there you have it! 

Remember just because you KNOW this information doesn't mean you have to get tested. I waited 5 years and while in some ways I wish I had known sooner, I'm also grateful I waited because even a couple of years ago, I wasn't mentally ready to handle everything.

And if you ever need support, love or encouragement along your journey, know that I am always just a message away and I would LOVE to connect with you!

 

Xo Amanda 

Quinoa Buddha Bowl

BUDDHA BUDDHA BUDDHA BUDDHA ROCKING EVERYWHERE.

Literally freaking obsessed with buddha bowls lately & getting ALL da veggies in in sneaky ways and this one takes the cake. 

It's been a while since I've shared a recipe ('cause you know yo girl is pretty much always eating the same shit -- what can I say, when I find something I love, I eat it until I get sick of it! haha) Ya feel me?

Happy eating, my loves! 

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QUINOA BUDDHA BOWL

4 servings 

 

INGREDIENTS

Quinoa, 1 cup 

Brussel sprouts, 2 cups 

Sweet potato, 1 cup

Chicken breasts, 2 

Avocado

Romaine lettuce

Red onion, chopped

Avocado oil

Sea salt

 

Vinaigrette

Olive oil

Dijon Mustard

Apple cider vinegar 

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Pre bake brussels, sweet potatoes and chicken at 375 F. (I like to sautee the brussels and sweet pots in avocado oil and sea salt and roast brussels for 12-15 mins and sweet pots for 20-25 mins. As for the chicken, marinade with

2. Also pre cook quinoa on stove. Put 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa in a pot on high. Once water is boiling, reduce to low and cover until cooked (approx 7-10 mins)

3. Once all your ingredients are ready to rock, you can throw your buddha bowl together STAT! 

4. Toss in 1/4 cup of quinoa, chopped romaine lettuce, 1/4 cup sweet potato, 1/2 chicken breast, chopped red onion, 1/4 avocado, 1/2 cup brussel sprouts. 

5. Add in vinaigrette (4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard

 

ENJOY MA BABES!!!

Xo Amanda 

20 things you should start doing so you won't regret your twenties

My twenties so far have been anything but seamless, and I'm betting you can relate.

And for so many years, I just chalked it up to what everyone and their mother said: 

"your twenties are your crazy years, everything changes at thirty."

And so for the first 5 years of my twenties, you better believe I lived up to that ('cause I was given hella permission to do so) -- you know the pattern...get up, go to work for jobs that suck the life out of you, say yes to all the parties/events because you're afraid you'll be missing out if you don't, spend so much time trying to look like some magazine's definition of what an "ideal woman" should look like, which of course leds us to years of binging and over exercising until our inevitable quarter life crisis break down ensues...

Or at least, that was my story.

Can you relate?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all about spending your twenties to figure out who you are and what you want (and along the way, you can bet it's gonna be messy AF), but why do we have to hit rock bottom for us to wake the fuck up and make a change?

What if we could equip ourselves with tools that allowed us to do the inner work, the REAL work, so that come our thirties, we had already started to put into place some intentional habits that were in line with how we wanted to feel & show up in the world. 

Habits that are deeply rooted in our VALUES. 

My hope is that by sharing what I wish I had known, you can avoid having your own burnout broken quarter life crisis that takes years of work to undo. 

Here we go.

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20 THINGS YOU SHOULD START DOING SO YOU WON'T REGRET YOUR TWENTIES

1. Wake up early. If this gal can become a morning person, so can you. 

2. Get into a regular exercise routine. You don't need to go crazy at the gym or kill yourself at a spin class on the regular, but 30 minutes of moving your body a day is so important for your health. 

3. Cut out processed foods (FO REAL YO) and focus on simple REAL foods. Check out my FREE BUSY BABES GUIDE TO HEALTHY LIVING e-book to learn how to get started!

4. Have the courage to say YES to the things that excite you.

5. Have the courage to say NO to the things that aren’t aligned with your values.

6. Explore and discover what your true values ARE (don't know where to start? Check out this post

7. Say buh bye to the friendships that don’t serve you — you know who they are. 

8. Read books — here’s a great place to get started!

9. Take yourself on soul dates.

10. Tell the truth and expect it in return.

11. Break free from the typical “adulting” day to day life and add more freaking PLAY into your day. 

12. Create a budget and start putting a little money aside into a savings fund NOW. 

13. Trade in blackout party nights for a glass of wine or kombucha with a gal pal and inspiring and goofy conversations 

14. Create self care rituals that you do on a daily or weekly basis. Some of my faves? Check 'em out here. 

15. TRAVEL more -- it doesn't have to be to faraway exotic cultures (although those are awesome too), but even a simple road trip 2 hours away for a weekend in the woods can do your soul some GOOD. 

16. Do something that scares you every single day. Apply to that dream job. Ask the guy out. Try that move in yoga. It won't only get you one step closer to the life you want, but your confidence will grow in the process too -- double win!

17. Get in touch with your body and your womanhood. For more information, listen to episode 7 of the podcast with Claire Baker.  

18. Start administering self breast exams. But FOR REAL. 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer over their life time. 1 out of 8! This is clearly on the front of mind for me right now but I was always told by my doctors to rock out self exams on my own and never did because I always thought "that won't happen to me".   

19. Start journaling. Whether it's through journal prompts or using the "brain dump" method and just spewing your thoughts on paper, it can be such a powerful way to actually get to know yourself, your emotions and your dreams.

20. Practice self compassion. You are learning. You are growing. And while it may feel like you so often don't get it "right", or that you haven't "arrived", remember that this journey is a beautiful rollercoaster (and so often one we cannot control), but what we can control is the way we speak to ourselves and treat ourselves along the way. 

 

You've got this, babe.

Let's push the habits that aren't serving us to the curb and start implementing one or even two of these practices in our lives.

 

Which one are YOU going to start with first? 

 

Xo Amanda

 

Facing Fear Head On: A 20 somethings journey of being BRCA positive

FEAR.

For so much of my life, I let fear steer the wheel. 

 

I quit ballet after my first class because 3 girls made fun of me and I was scared nobody would be my friend.

I didn't ask the boy out because I was terrified he'd reject me and not think I was pretty enough.

I dieted and dieted in fear that I wouldn't be cast in shows because I wouldn't be "skinny enough".

Can you relate? 

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The past 2 years of my life, I've been on an intense journey of self discovery and a huge part of that was facing fear head on.

 

I faced it head on when I broke the diet cycle once and for all, and healed my relationship with food and fitness.

I faced it head on when I decided to pay everything I've learned forward and become a health coach and join a tribe of incredible women changing the freaking world

I faced it head on when I took a good hard look at my debt, made a plan and in less than a year, paid off all my credit card debt. 

I faced it head on when I went shirtless on stage for the first time in my life and faced all the body love demons that had been a part of my life for so damn long. 

 

And heading into this year, I knew that it was time to face a fear I've been living with for a very long time. 

 

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MY STORY 

When my dad was 18, his mum died of breast cancer at the age of 44. 

And growing up, I've seen how that loss took such a toll on him. I mean, losing a parent at all let alone at 18 years old is awful -- and something that I'm so grateful to say I've not had to go through myself. Because goddamn, my parents are my best friends and that's something even just thinking about breaks my fucking heart.

And all my life, I've had this little fear living at the back of my mind that I would have the same fate as my grandma. Call it intuition, call it gut, call it fear, it was super present in my world since I was old enough to understand it.

And that fear came to an all time high during my Sophomore year of college when my Dad got tested for the BRCA gene mutations (more info on all of this and real time reactions on episode 6 of the Live Your F*ck Yes Life Podcast) and found out that he was a carrier of the gene (and the only one of his siblings who is).

At the time, I didn't fully understand what that meant,  beyond the fact that I had a 50/50 chance of getting it, and honestly fear took over every ounce of me that I didn't want to know. I was 20 and the way I felt at the time was that knowing would just make it harder.

So I decided not to find out...until this year.

And you know what? Looking back, I'm grateful I waited.

Grateful because at the time, I was going through SO much internally that I think the information I knew deep down was true -- the fact that I also am BRCA 1 positive -- would have broken me in half.

Now, I'm 27, and while I'm still so young, I've lived a lot of life.

Hell, in the last 4 years alone, I've dealt with a binge eating disorder, orthorexia, planned a wedding, dealt with sudden onset anxiety, bought our first house, started my business, moved out of said home and lived in hotels for 6 months because of water damage, navigated job shifts and health issues with my hubby, started a podcast and beyond. 

And that's not counting all the odd jobs, shows, teaching gigs, travels, mentoring and everything else in my life. 

And while so much of it has been incredibly fulfilling and invigorating, a lot of my life has been filled with obstacle after obstacle -- as I'm sure yours has been too, because hey, that's what being a freaking human being is all about, right?

And while, at the time, those obstacles have felt INSURMOUNTABLE, here I am (and here you are) on the other side of it all, STRONGER for it and more self aware than ever. 

And I sit here, grateful for it all, because it gave me the courage to stop waiting.

To show up as a warrior in my life and put the worries to rest.

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So yes, I am a woman living with the BRCA 1 gene.

I don't have cancer, yet. But the chance of me getting breast or ovarian cancer is high AF.

And while that in and of itself scares the SHIT out of me, I've never felt more empowered. Because I get to do something about it.

I don't know what that is yet, but you know I'll be sharing it all along the way, mess and all, 'cause that's how I freaking roll. 

And I'm so goddamn grateful to have you along for the ride.

Xo Amanda 

 

p.s. if you aren't in our Live Your F*ck Yes Life Community, come on over and join the convo. We're all in this together babe.

My 80 Day Obsession Journey: The Halfway Mark // An Honest Review

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ABS, ASS & ARMS?!? That should be the real name of the program. 

You know I'm always gonna keep it real with you guys so here goes...when I first heard about this program, I immediately thought it was NOT gonna be for me.

80 days? Jesus. No freaking way. And workouts longer than 30 minutes? (I've been SPOILED AF the last 2 years of doing workouts that last no longer than 30 minutes a day sooooo I was NOT excited about the prospect of mixing that up.)

But the more I looked into the program and saw how DIFFERENT it was than anything I'd tackled before, I decided to face my fears and dive in head first.


EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT 80 DAY OBSESSION

If you've been reading my blog and following my journey for a while now, you know I'm all about ditching the diet train and making fitness fun, which is why I'm crazy excited about this program because it focuses on transforming yourself in every aspect -- ESPECIALLY internal shifts. 

My favorite thing about being a coach isn't watching my clients have massive physical transformations that stick. Don't get me wrong, it's freaking AMAZING to watch the women I work with transform before my very eyes, but it's the internal shifts that they go through that really change their lives. And getting to offer that mental and emotional support to my gals is freaking EVERYTHING to me. 

When you challenge yourself, you discover how strong and resilient you really are from the inside out. And I've found that once you start to focus on taking care of your physical health, all of the other areas of your life fall into place. Your mental health. Your relationships. You start to live more on purpose and filled with freaking JOY.

And that's exactly how I've been feeling along this journey. I'm officially at the halfway mark -- day 40/80 BABY! And I'm SO excited about how freaking AMAZING I feel doing this program that I'm already gearing up for ROUND 2 (snag your spot and join me here if you wanna feel the magic too!!)

HERE ARE MY RESULTS SO FAR...

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Physically?

I stopped weighing myself a long time ago because for me, this journey isn't about a number on a scale. I still do measurements, because I'm FASCINATED by how my body changes during various exercises & I've lost 4.5 inches around my waist/legs/arms and GAINED 2 in my booty! Yup, I the booty is ROCKING right now and I'm freaking LOVING it.

And most importantly, I feel STRONGER and more connected to my body than I have in my entire life. Which is KEY for me right now because I'm dealing with some personal things that would leave me a complete mess, and this program is a huge part of what's keeping me grounded and feeling STRONG in my own body. 

Mentally and Spiritually?

I have never felt SO much body love in my freaking life. I'm feeling CONFIDENT, SEXY, embracing my curves and never felt more alive in my own skin.

I also feel 100% capable of completing 80 days (hell, I'm planning to go straight into round 2 I'm loving it so much!) so that's a HUGE mindset shift from when I started.


HERE IS MY REAL AND HONEST REVIEW OF MY JOURNEY SO FAR:

THINGS THAT SURPRISED ME ALONG THE WAY:

  •  I know for sure for sure that I feel MY BEST when I’m following a workout & meal plan. As a recovering binge eater( I say recovering ‘cause while I haven’t had a binge in a year and a half, I don’t think we ever fully recover from disordered eating), I tried the whole “intuitive eating” approach, and I intuitively ATE MY FEELINGS.  t’s TOUGH to get to a place with our bodies where we can actually trust that the signals it’s giving us are true signals from our bodies, and not just false paths from the preservatives/sugar/whatever the fuck in our foods. And while I truly do feel that I’ve gotten there, for me, structure & planning is what helps FUEL me best & keeps me feeling STRONG. 

  • There are a few days within the 80 day experience called Refeed days (which is essentially where you give your body simple carbs to Back in my obsessed days, I used to equate carbs to BAD or EVIL foods. And I legit stopped eating carbs for 2 years.  Reason # 1939474 why I love this program? It’s SO scientifically based & incorporates refeed days because when you’re working your muscles that much, they need the extra energy. Specifically, it needs GLYCOGEN to help rebuild yo muscles (I get a bit nerdy about this shiz you guys). I usually stick to more complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice & quinoa or chickpeas because my skin and body operates at its peak without gluten & simple carbs can often cause inflammation BUT every freaking once and a while, it’s so key for your body. 
  • To that same vain, I'm SO surprised how far I've come in the past 2 years of my health & fitness journey. Eating white carbs used to send me into a major binge spiral or I'd be guilt tripping myself for weeks and eat less food / over exercise to "make up for it". And NONE of that BS has been standing in my way. I feel more liberated than ever and THAT is a total game changer. 
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THINGS I LOVE:

  • How flexible the nutrition plan is -- it's really more of a guideline which I LOVE, because it gives that structure but you can always navigate within that according to the foods that YOU love and that genuinely make you HAPPY.
  • The length of the workouts. YUP, I freaking said it. The longer workouts are my favorite // the pace just feels SO right. WHO WOULD OF THUNK?!
  • The workouts themselves. I have muscles working I never knew existed haha.

THINGS I DON'T LOVE:

  • This program is not the most ideal for traveling. The sliders & bands are super portable but unless you have constant access to weights, it's not ideal. I DID make it work while in California & Hawaii (sometimes in weird ass ways...I used dishwashing detergent as my weights one day haha), but for big chunks of it I had access to a gym so that helped.
  • How SORE this program has made me haha. Epsom salts baths & foam rolling are KEY to a successful 80 days for sure! 
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WHO IS THIS PROGRAM FOR?

I’ve been getting a bunch of questions on what this program is all about so here are some commonly asked questions I’ve gotten...

Q: How long are the workouts?

A: There are 80 unique workouts in three phases, and each workout has a particular focus — Booty, Total Body Core, AAA, Legs, Cardio Core, and Cardio Flow. The moves may repeat in a phase, but Autumn changes the sets and rep patterns week by week so you keep making progress. And in each new phase the workouts are totally different, with brand-new moves to challenge you all over again. And since the workouts are filmed live, it’s never the same experience twice — it’s like having Autumn as your personal trainer every day!

The 80 Day Obsession workouts are 30–60 minutes in length, with most averaging 45–60 minutes. You’ll work out 6 days a week, with one rest day (Sunday). Because of this schedule, the 80 workouts are spread over 13 weeks. Rest days are not counted as part of the 80 days.

Q: I’ve been really out of the loop on a fitness plan for a long time. Is this program crazy advanced or beginner friendly?

A: 80 Day Obsession is best for intermediate to advanced fitness levels. It’s not a beginner workout, so you should already have a base of fitness before attempting this program. If you’re not sure whether you’re ready for this challenge, don’t worry! You can start with several rounds of A Little Obsessed, Autumn’s 5-day introductory program. A Little Obsessed has shorter, 30-minute workouts featuring some of the moves and equipment from 80 Day Obsession. You can also begin with Autumn’s other beginner-level programs, like 21 Day Fix or Country Heat, and work your way up to 80 Day Obsession // grab your free 14 day trial here to test the waters! 

Q: What's the nutrition plan like?

The 80 Day Obsession eating plans are based on the concept of timed-nutrition. Timed-nutrition is simply eating the right foods (especially incorporating protein and carbs) at the right times to help you fuel your workouts, build muscle, and recover from workouts while keeping your metabolism and energy levels high. Over the course of the day, our bodies fluctuate between breaking down muscle and building it back up. Timing your nutrition can help ensure your muscles have the protein they need during those building-up phases. YAY SCIENCE!!

 

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT  

Light/med/heavy weights, resistance loops & sliders (those come in your package!)


And there you have it! Can't wait to share where I'm at the end of this amazing test group experience. It's amazing what happens when you choose to BELIEVE in yourself (and watch in-fucking-credible women in your fit fam do the same FOR 80 DAYS.) 

Something shifts inside of you & that consistency factor you were never able to attain? That habit of putting your health & happiness first every single day?

It goes from a DREAM to your REALITY.

And if you're ready to feel the magic, snag your early bird spot for our next round kicking off April 23rd. 

Imagine how much your life could change in 80 days if you decided to fully invest in YOU.

How many shifts you could see take place within you.

The woman you would emerge in JULY being.

I see it, do you?

Xo Amanda 

 

 

 

27 Lessons from 27 Years of Life

Anyone else feel like birthdays 'cause you to do some serious reflection?

The week of my 27th birthday, I spent a few hours paging through my journal from 2017. I reacquainted myself with all of my most intimate thoughts, fears, beliefs, takeaways and lessons & it was so incredible to see how much I gained just by re-reading it all.

It's so easy to allow life to pass us by.

To write things down that we want to remember. Goals. Dreams. Realizations. Aha moments. 

But so often, we just leave them on the page. And a year goes by and nothing has changed.

I'm a dreamer, but more than that, I'm an action taker. And I know that by revisiting my dreams every single day, and by sharing the lessons I've learned along the way, I will have the courage to take inspired action. 

And I hope this inspires you to do the same. 

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27 lessons from 27 years

 

1. SHARING YOUR STORY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO

Why is this my first big takeaway? Because this was arguably the greatest lesson I've had this year. 

The first time I shared a tiny slice of my story, I was terrified. I was sharing something SO vulnerable, and I was scared that I would be judged. That people wouldn't understand.

But what I found on the other side was the complete opposite -- I found relief. I found community. I found common ground. I found gratitude. 

By having the courage to share my heart, I gave space for others to do the same. To say "me too". And to realize that they are not alone in the journey.

My journey to believing I'm enough? To embracing my body the way it is? To breaking free of my binge eating and orthorexia? It's because another woman had the courage to share her story. 

So share your story. Share the mess. The fears. The doubts. The insecurities. (and check out this podcast episode for more on this!) 

You never know who's life you could change. 

 

2. EMBRACE YOUR GOOF

Something I was really struggling.

But uh...newsflash Amanda. Just because you aren't a kid anymore doesn't mean you can't have PLAY in your life.

It's so funny the stories we tell ourselves -- and 2017 was the year of me breaking free of that story and embracing the quirky, goofy, playful aspects of who I am.

Dance parties, weird AF noises, bear hugs & baby grandma nights with cuddle and tickle fights with the hubs are officially happening on the daily now, and it makes me so dang happy. 

 

3. WHAT YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS

Are you always complaining, frustrated about this that and the other and overall a negative nancy? Or do you do your best to show up every single day with positivity?

I'm all for acknowledging that sometimes, life sucks. But I for one don't want to live in a world that sucks all the freaking time. So I focus on the things that light me up. And I encourage you to do the same. It's a way better way to live.

 

4. MESSY AND DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT

I stood in my own way for so long because I was so worried about something being perfect. I would overthink it and end up not getting anywhere ... My instagram captions. My accountability groups. My podcast. My blog posts for god's sake! 

But when I adopted the fail forward approach, I realized there was so much beauty in the mess. In figuring it out as you go. And just freaking getting started already.

Don't let your dreams pass you by because you're worried you won't be perfect at something right away. Guess what? You won't be. And that's OK. You'll learn. You'll grow. And you'll take action on your dreams in the process.

 

5. SO MANY THINGS THAT FEEL WRONG IN YOUR BODY ARE LARGELY LINKED TO THE FOODS YOU'RE EATING

I've known this for years -- processed foods and sugar? Acne, IBS and lethargy inducing. But I had a major aha moment this past year that I never expected.

My entire life, I've majorly struggled with eczema. There was a point in college where it got so bad that my hands were literally pussing and cracking -- I know, gross. And painful. And I had SO much shame around it. 

It's been an endless battle of dermatologists, creams, eliminating dairy -- ALL THE THINGS and nothing worked until  this summer when I completed a program workout program that had a grain free meal plan and for 2 months. And guess what happened for the first time in my life?

My eczema went away.

And when I went to reintroduce grains (largely gluten) into my diet, it came back in full force.

The past 6 months, I've been playing around with eating grains and completely eliminating gluten from my daily eats and I am SO thrilled to say that it has been gone for 3 months and counting.

It's amazing how food can impact you in so many ways below the surface. 

 

6. I'M MY HEALTHIEST AND HAPPIEST ON A STRUCTURED MEAL PLAN AND EXERCISE PROGRAM

My type A competitive nature loves the structure. The not having to “think” about which workout to rock or what I need to eat when.

As a recovering binge eater (I say recovering ‘cause while I haven’t had a binge in a year and a half, I don’t think we ever fully recover from disordered eating), I tried the whole “intuitive eating” approach, and I intuitively ATE MY FEELINGS.
.
It’s TOUGH to get to a place with our bodies where we can actually trust that the signals it’s giving us are true signals from our bodies, and not just false paths from the preservatives/sugar/whatever the fuck in our foods.

And while I truly do feel that I’ve gotten there, for me, structure & planning is what helps FUEL me best & keeps me feeling STRONG. 

 

7. THE SHINY PENNIES ARE JUST SHINY PENNIES  

I used to be the straight A teachers pet in school. The shiny penny of an A, 1st place trophy at a volleyball meet or positive recognition was was I worked my butt off for because I thought that those things validated my worth.

And while I totally believe in working for your goals, I also know that those shinny pennies? They don't represent your worth. 

Be grateful for the little things, follow your heart & your dreams, do the work and if the shiny pennies come? Embrace them. And when they don't, celebrate the life you ARE leading. 

 

8. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT ALLOW YOU TO RISE UP INTO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL

When you look at the people around you, do they drag you down and bring more negativity to your life? Or do they constantly empower you to raise your vibe? 

You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose wisely, lady love.

 

9. LET IT BE EASY

The beginning of 2017, so many things happened that made me feel like life was hard. My husband unexpectedly quit his job and was unemployed for 6 months. We were dealing with some serious vet bills and my business was plateau-ing.

And I could focus on how hard everything was. And because I was focusing on how hard it was, guess what happened? More hard shit just kept piling up.

But the second I decided enough was enough and adopted the "let it be easy" mantra, the simplest shift of mindset changed everything. Things started falling into place -- my business took off, our credit cards got completely paid off and Kev found a job within a month.

It's amazing what happens when you simply shift where your energy goes. Try it, I dare ya. 

 

10. HAVE A DREAM? IT'S UP TO YOU TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

Stop waiting. Take messy action.

That job you've always wanted but been too scared to pursue? Find someone who's already doing it, talk to them and see if it really does resonate.

That trip you have always wanted to take? Look at your budget and put money aside so you can take it. 

That podcast you wanna start? Stop just putting it on your bucket list and just freaking make it happen. *mission accomplished*

 

11. IT'S OK TO SAY NO

This one was HUGE for me because I am SUCH a people pleaser by nature. But I saw this quote a couple of years ago and it hit me hard: "By saying YES to something, you're saying no to something else."

Make sure the things you're saying yes to are a HELL YES, and that you're holding space for your best self every day. 

 

12. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SPECIAL. YOU JUST HAVE TO SHOW UP AND DO THE WORK. 

I am just a normal girl with big ass dreams. And I used to think those people that had the amazing life? You know, the ones with all the travel adventures who actually LOVED their jobs and had amazing girlfriends/marriages/the works? I never thought I could have a life like that because I just didn't think I was special enough.

Turns out when you make a decision to go for it, show up every damn day and do the work, you can create whatever life you crave. So do the damn thing. And never settle for less than the life you want. 

 

13. JUST FREAKING DO IT

It can be SO easy to claim you wanna do all the things (you know those bucket lists you’ve made a million times and never completed) and then years go by and you still haven’t done them. 

There’s never going to be the “right time” so just freaking do the thing. Complete the workout program. Take the trip. Start that side hustle. Take the class. 

You’ll be so glad you did.

 

14. GUT HEALTH IS QUEEN

If you can do one thing for your health, get your gut health on point. Making sure my microbiome is working at its peak (google that shit, it’s fascinating AF) has been such a game changer for my health.

Pro tip? Any old pro and pre biotic is not gonna cut it (most of them aren’t made to pass through our stomach acid and actually GET to the small intestine to do WERK) and kombucha? Don’t get me wrong, I freaking love that shit but same goes for that (and most kombucha brands are crazy high in sugar). So do your research // and message me if you want my fave go to that’s helped me heal my gut! 

Life is never going to go according to plan

Going into my 26th year, I expected a lot to happen and to be honest? Very few of those things actually did.

And the old me would have viewed that as a total failure, but today, I see it a little differently and I wanna empower you to do the same.

Instead of looking back at all the things you didn’t accomplish, make a list of all of the things you DID.

Here are a few of mine that were not on my radar at the beginning of my 26th birthday:

  • Launch a freaking podcast 
  • A year of absolutely no binges 
  • Support our family on my income alone for 4 months 
  • Hosted my first wellness workshop 

 

15. I'M OFFICIALLY A BABY GRANDMA

It’s real. I would take a night at home snuggling with my pup Toby, drinking a cup of tea, journaling, reading and an Epsom salts bath and being in bed by 9:30 PM any day of the week. 

 

16. RELATIONSHIPS TAKE WORK

This is something I’ve intimately known for a few years now but this year has been really interesting when it comes to my close relationships.

I used to spread myself so thin with the people in my life because I wanted to be the BEST friend I could possibly be (I’m a perma people pleaser by nature) and in the process of doing that all, I stopped taking care of myself.

The past 2 years have been a journey of self discovery and learning what actually putting myself first looks like. You’ve gotta work on YOUR self care (aka your relationship with YO SELF) and then you can pour into a few people in your life with INTENTION (aka WERK into relationships with your soulmate humans).

And that’s what I’ve aimed to do this past year and it’s been a HUGE game changer. And such a beautiful reminder that any relationship (romantic, friendship, with yourself) takes WORK but it’s so freaking worth it if you show up for it. 

I’m FAR from perfect with all of this but it’s something I’m actively working on every dang day.

 

14. I'M MORE OF AN INTROVERT THAN I THOUGHT

According to my Meyers Briggs (ENFJ) I am definitely an extrovert at heart, but I've been finding that my recharge me time has been more and more necessary for my wellbeing. 

 

15. DO THE SHIT THAT SCARES YOU

Take that class. Sing in front of strangers. Speak in public. Swim under a waterfall. Skydive.

Feel the fear and do it anyways. That's how you grow. That's how you LIVE.

 

16. COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING

You know that saying "Find Your Tribe, Love them Hard"? 

Well, there's a reason it's in the universe because it is SO key. Because the second you surround yourself with women who are just like you -- who you don't have to explain yourself to because they get it -- who will dance with you in the aisles of a conference centre because that's just how you do -- who you can spend HOURS laughing with -- gals who RAISE YOU UP and constantly inspire you to be the BEST & BRIGHTEST version of you?

There is nothing better in this world.

 

17. GRATITUDE IS THE BEST SELF CARE TOOL

Obviously I'm a huge self care nut. Just take a peek at this post all about it. But my one go-to tool that can always turn any shitty day around is my gratitude practice.

Whether you wake up and start your day with writing down 3 things you're grateful for or catch yourself having a frustrating moment and shifting your thoughts to something you're grateful for, it can be such a powerful tool and one I use on the reg. 

 

18. YOU DON'T NEED SIX PACK ABS TO BE BEAUTIFUL

I'm never going to be the girl with 6 pack abs, and I'm A OK with that. 👌🏻
I used to think I needed to have a magazine cover Barbie body to be beautiful. That 6 pack abs meant SUCCESS.
But I say EFF THAT.
Those magazine covers? Most of them eat nothing but kale and have hours of time in their day that they dedicate to working out.


The way I see it, as a woman I have 2 choices: 

1. Accept my body as is (STRONG, CAPABLE and FIERCE AF -- rolls, stretch marks and all) and workout and eat well because it makes me into the happiest & healthiest version of me

OR

2. Go on crazy diets and workout for hours every day in order to "fix" a body that isn't broken, just for some ridiculous notion that having six pack abs means being sexy and enough.


I chose the later for too many goddamn years. Don't make the same mistakes I did, babe. You are worth more than that

 

19. EMBRACE THE JOURNEY

If there's one thing I've learned in my journey to healthy living, it's that it's just that, a JOURNEY.


Be gentle with yourself. 
Be CONSISTENT.
Find BALANCE.

Remember that the "all or nothing" way of living doesn't work. 

And that just because you aren't SEEING the results you want today, doesn't mean you aren't on the path to achieving them.

Keep Going.
Keep doing YOU.
And I promise you, JOY will follow

 

20. VULNERABILITY IS BEAUTIFUL. EMBRACE IT. IT'LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

If you're not familiar with Brene Browns work on vulnerability, do yourself a favor and google her ted talk. Familiarizing myself with her work has been such a game changer for me and is a huge part of what helped me build up the courage to share this

Vulnerability is a beautiful thing and it's what makes us HUMAN. Embrace it, don't run from it. 

 

21. MARRIAGE SHOULDN'T CHANGE A THING

I've been married for 4 years now and the first thing people always ask me is "what's different about being married?" and I always say "nothing!"

I knew well before I got married to Kev that our relationships was a forever thing. He's my person. And while I'm so glad I married it, ultimately, the only thing marriage changed was that, legally, we are bound, and our finances are in the same bank account.

Have things changed in our relationship in the last 7 years of being together? Hell yes. WE have changed and grown in the last 7 years, so that's kind of a given. But we endlessly make it a point to grow together & communicate as we go.

 

22. MOTIVATION IS BS

Waiting to feel motivated to do your workout? Learn to cook? Go for that walk? Try that yoga class? It turns out, motivation is BS. 

You are ONE decision away from a 100% different life.

A different job. A different relationship. A different life. A different outlook.

It may not feel that easy, but it IS. You literally have that power because YOU are in control of your life -- and as Mel so poignantly says: “If you change your decisions, you change everything.”

 

23. THE DIET CULTURE IS TOXIC AF

Obviously I'm all about that anti diet life -- I mean, my monthly challenges are called the Ditch the Diet challenge for gods sake -- but for 5 years of my life, I was alllll about that diet life. 

Juice cleanses, food trends, calorie counting, crazy ass workouts that made my body wanna die -- I lived and breathed the dieting life -- and let me tell ya, it was not pretty and it took YEARS of work to undo all the damage I did.

Don't diet. Eat food that fuels you and makes you feel amazing. Do workouts that genuinely light you up (and that CAN mean it pushes you too). And if you don't know where to start, I'm always a message away. 

 

24. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO REALLY GET TO KNOW YOURSELF

Something I neglected to do for so long was taking time every day to get to know myself -- dig deep, ask myself questions that really make me think about what I want out of life. 

A fun place to start? Take your Meyers briggs or Eneagram test. And better yet, read and take action on some of these personal development books

 

25. YOU BECOME THE SUM OF THE 5 PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH

You know that saying choose your friendships wisely? It's so freaking true.

I have had my fair share of failed friendships. As a perma people pleaser and an eternal optimist, all I ever wanted to do was to be there for the people in my life. And for a lot of years, that also meant that I allowed people to walk all over me (and attract friendships into my life that weren't super positive).

The past few years, I've really worked on fostering my friendships only with the people in my life that LIGHT ME UP and it's been a total game changer. I encourage you to do the same.

 

26. CELEBRATE THE LITTLE THINGS

It's so easy in life to celebrate the big wins, but what about the little things?

Every week in my Ditch the diet challenge, we celebrate our little wins and non scale victories, and I make an effort to do the same in my daily life. It's so easy to focus on the bad but when we put our energy and attention onto the good moments throughout the day, it becomes so much easier to see the magic.

 

27. BE YOURSELF UNAPOLOGETICALLY

The best you you can be is 100% yourself, unapologetically. If you're a weirdo dancer on the dancer, dance your face off. If you're a baby grandma and hate going to parties, don't go to the damn party. If your laugh is loud and weird AF, LAUGH YOUR FREAKING ASS OFF WITH CONFIDENCE.

Don't let anyone else dim your life. You are BEAUTIFUL just the way you are. 

 


WHICH LESSON RESONATED WITH YOU THE MOST?

Share in the comments below!

Xo Amanda

Self Love Isn't What You Think It Is

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I used to think self love meant "treat yoself".

You know... have a bad day? Get a cupcake. Rough day at work? Go shopping. Feel like total shit and all you wanna do is curl up in bed? Netflix, chill, and probably a bubble bath thrown in the mix.

Now don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for all of the above, but the past few years I've been on a major journey to self love and I realized how wrong I had it for so many years.

Thank you social media for totally messing this shiz up for everyone -- I mean the hashtags #selflove and #selfcare could be such a powerful tool if we actually applied self love in the way its intended! And maybe, just maybe, more woman would learn to actually love themselves.

So...what is the secret to self love you ask?

From my own personal journey, I've found that it rarely has anything to do with the things that are affecting us from the outside in...it's all about the work that you're doing from the inside out.

Here's a self love checklist I made to show you some examples of what I mean...

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In other words, are you showing up for yourself every single day and doing the WORK to help you combat your insecurities, negativity, frustrations & anxieties?

Or do you find that you gravitate towards the numbing activities that allow your brain to just shut off because you're so damn tired?

If you're like 95% of the world, you probably find yourself answering YES to the latter most days. And I just want you to know that it's 100% NORMAL. I was there too for YEARS (and some days all I wanna do is numb the fuck out on the latest episode of the Bachelor and turn my brain off). And there's nothing WRONG with that. Hell, society tells us those are the right things to do...so how should you know any better?

Well, that's why I'm here.

Because I've lived on both ends of the spectrum.

I spent years numbing myself on treat yo-self actions because I was just so damn tired, anxious and irritable. And yeah, I'd feel better for a few minutes or maybe a few hours. But I was lightyears away from actually loving myself & being proud of the person I was on the inside.

 And after practicing all of those self love actions (some daily, some weekly, some when I feel like it) for the past 2 years, I can honestly say that I actually know what self love is, because I feel it every damn day.

Now, I'll be the first to say this did not happen overnight. Not even close. It took daily inspired action to make these shifts. And a lot of it did not come easily to me, but if you're struggling with loving yourself in any way, I can promise you that if you dedicate yourself to putting some or many of these self love tools into action every single day, you will start to see a shift in you that you never imagined possible.


SELF LOVE TOOLS

1. Positive Self Talk

What are you saying to yourself? Do you use positive words when you're speaking about yourself? Or do you find yourself saying things like: "Man, I look gross today.", "Why can't I be prettier?" or "I'm never going to get that promotion."

It's a tough switch to flip but get curious about what you're actually saying to yourself and when you notice a negative thought, try one of these things to shift your mindset:

  • When you look in the mirror, focus on what you DO love, not what you don't.
  • Do something that makes you feel on freaking fire. Rock a workout. Throw yourself a dance party. Get out of your head and into you body!
  • Quit the comparison game. I know you do it. We all do. If you are following people on social media that trigger you, stop following them. Or better yet, remember that you don't know their story or how they got themselves to look the way they do. Celebrate your own personal victories and remember that we're all on our journeys -- and where you are right now is exactly where you're supposed to be.

2. Moving Your Body At The Pleasure of Your Soul

Believe it or not, this is more of mindset shift than anything but when you're working out, do you do it because you're hell bent on CHANGING your body or because you APPRECIATE your body?

I came from a place of obsession because I hated my body for years, but the second I found programs that actually made me excited to push play & I ditched the scale and focused on how I was feeling, I started actually moving my body every day because it got me one step closer to feeling my most energized and confident self. 

So find a program that lights you up, and find a supportive community to embark on the positive journey with. 

3. Fueling your body with healthy foods

This one is a no brainer. 

Are you putting foods that will help you body work and thrive at its peak? Or are you eating food that makes you feel like shit?

Show your body some major love by employing the "food is fuel" mantra in your life. 

4. Journaling

The first step to loving yourself is knowing yourself. I mean, how can you love a person you hardly know? It might sound crazy that you could be living as yourself and not really know yourself, but I've had SO many clients (myself included) share with me that when they started the process of journaling, they discovered SO many things about themselves.

HOW? Because they asked themselves questions they had never thought to ask. And they answered TRUTHFULLY.

Were all those answers things they liked hearing? Hell no. There are aspects of all of us that we don't like -- but once we really understand what those things are, we can take action on shifting those areas in our lives and adopting the tools to rise up into the best versions of ourselves.

Don't know where to start on the journaling front? This month we're rocking out a book alllll around journaling, so join our community here and dive on in with us! 

5. Personal Development

Yup. I'm talking all things self help. 

Think it's crazy? Read this post all about how my mind TOTALLY shifted on this topic -- and grab one of the books I recommend to get started! 

6. Meditation

Whatever floats your boat in this world (guided meditations, sitting and breathing in silence or hell, even just allowing yourself some quiet time away from any electronics or distractions), creating space in your life for SILENCE allows your body, mind and soul reset.

It gives you SPACE to just be. As you are. Whatever that may look like. 

I use meditation as a daily tool to start my day with a clean slate or even to calm myself during stressful or emotionally taxing situations (which, let's face it, we all have them).

It's not about being perfect, it's about finding a practice that works for you! 

7. Setting boundaries

Do you constantly find yourself saying YES to things that don't light you up? You over-extend yourself on the regular. Always trying to do anything and everything for the people around you but rarely spend any time on yourself?

While having a servants heart is a beautiful thing (and one I resonate with), it can be so taxing to constantly be saying yes to things. Before you know it, you burn out on all the things and have completely thrown your self care out the window because, you guessed it, by saying YES to something, you're saying NO to something else in your life.

So the next time your friend asks you to go out on a Friday night and all you want to do is go to a yoga class, come home, light some candles, take a bath and go to bed early with a good book, this is your official permission slip to say no.

 

SELF LOVE? IT'S ABOUT MAKING YOURSELF A PRIORITY SO YOU CAN FILL YOUR CUP UP AND POUR ALL THE GOODNESS INTO THE CUPS OF THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND YOU.

 

Which self love exercise are you going to start implementing into your life?

Share in the comments!

Xo Amanda 

Top 5 Things My Dog Has Taught Me

The past year and a half of my life have been INFINITELY brighter and it's all because of this little (not so little) guy. 

I always knew I was meant to be a dog mom. But after losing my family dog a few years ago, I didn’t know if I had it in my heart to love a pup that much again.

(And to be honest, a few years ago, I was out of the house more than I was in it & living paycheck to paycheck and getting a dog just wouldn’t have been fair.)

But a year after my leap into coaching, so much changed and all of a sudden the idea of owning a dog wasn't out of the question.

And every single day, when I wake up next to your fluffy goofy self and I get to spend so much of my day snuggling, going for walks & playing, I can’t help but be filled with so much damn gratitude.

It's amazing what dogs can teach us -- if you're a dog mama you know! And I'm forever thankful for the daily reminders. 

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THE TOP 5 THINGS MY DOG HAS TAUGHT ME

 

1. PLAY IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD STRIVE FOR, DAILY.

I don't know about you, but past the age of 22, it seemed like everyone and their mother went from play mode to #adulting up the wazoo. 

Don't get me wrong, I totally had the same thing happen to me. I went into "I have to pay all the bills" mode. I picked up 7 different part time jobs and was running myself ragged, frustrated and irritable as all hell. And the LAST thing I made time for in my life was play.

Getting a dog completely fliped that switch -- it's a daily reminder to not take your life so goddamn seriously. To take moments to BE SILLY. Celebrate your goofy-ness. Run in the rain/snow/whatever!! And Toby is just as goofy as me, so it's been a freaking GOOF PARTY over here since he's come into the picture, and I couldn't imagine it any other way.

2. LOVE, LOVE, ALWAYS LOVE.

The best thing about dogs? They love you unconditionally. 

They don't hold grudges. They see you as your BEST every dang day. And the way I see it, we could all take a page from their unconditional love book.

Holding grudges... Being frustrated with others or things...who is that helping?

Certainly not yourself. And while I am ALL about feeling the feels, holding onto frustration about things that are out of your control (I used to be like this ALL the time about traffic) is only hurting yourself, right?

So let's just choose to LOVE. Forgive, so you can release YOURSELF from the burden you're holding onto. Life is too short to live being frustrated and irritable on the daily. 

Toby teaches me the power of LOVE everyday, and I think we can learn a lesson or two from it!

3. SHIT DOESN'T ALWAYS GO THE WAY YOU PLANNED, AND THAT'S OKAY.

Toby may be the best thing in my entire life, but sometimes he can be a royal pain in the ass.

When we first got him, every time we took him driving in the car he got hella car sick. We learned quickly that we always needed to have cleaner and paper towels in the car at all times. #lessonlearned

All my favorite tupperware? If I leave it out (or even in the sink -- yup he's tall), by the time I get home it has been DESTROYED. Invest in glass tupperware, my friends. It's a game changer. 

And sometimes your dog decides to eat an avocado, and you end up canceling all of your plans and spending 4 hours waiting at pet emergency. *cough* Toby *cough*

Please say Toby isn't the only pup out there making all the weird choices with his life...

My point is, shit doesn't go according to plan with a dog all of the time.

And isn't that the way LIFE goes too? Having a dog has helped me EMBRACE the mess, and remember that there are going to be days when shit hits the fan, and that's OK because that's LIFE.

4. BE PRESENT

It's so easy these days with social media and the news to get wrapped up in everything going on, and forget to slow down and appreciate the little things that are right in front of you. And what I love about Toby is he lives for the little things -- literally. Dude is STOKED for a day of cuddles, naps, eating amazing food, play time & belly rubs.

And if that's not a life lesson in and of itself, I don't know what is. 

Stay present. Appreciate the little things, and what's more -- make TIME for the little things.

Cuddle your favorite person. Eat amazing food. Have tickle fights if that's what floats your boat. 

And turn the electronics OFF. You'll be so grateful for those moments once you do. 

5. PARENTING IS HARD AF, BUT WORTH IT. 

As my hubby Kev always says, Toby has been our furry test child, and he's proven just how challenging parenting can be.

Now I'm not saying having a dog is like having a kid, but this is the first time in my life that I've been entirely responsible for something outside of myself. And I'm not just talking the daily and weekly tasks -- feeding him, walking him, playing with him, bathing him etc. But the TOUGH stuff? That shit you can never prepare for? It's can hit you like a ton of bricks. 

July 2017, I was out of town in NOLA with my coaching tribe when I got a call from my husband that he was taking Toby to the emergency room because the vet found a mass in his stomach. My heart DROPPED. You hear the word mass and you immediately think cancer, right? And let's just say, the anxiety attacks and uncontrollable sobbing were real that night. After some tests, he was cleared from anything life threatening and it ended up being an allergy to gluten (yup, this is real you guys -- I had no idea gluten could impact dogs too), but the sheer panic I experienced when I found out he wasn't doing so well broke my heart.

I never expected to bond so much with a dog. To view him as more than just my dog, but as my freaking kid. I would do anything for him, and that means loving him through the vet visits, the destroyed tupperware and his inability to understand personal space.

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So there ya have it -- I'm officially a crazy obsessed dog mom and I'm never going back.

Are you a fur mom too? What are some of the favorite things your pet has taught you?

Xo Amanda

To The Woman Obsessed with Working Out

A year and a half ago, I wrote this post sharing some of the ins and outs of my rollercoaster of a journey with health & fitness -- and while, at the time, I was sharing all that I had in me to share, there are big chunks of my story that I left out.

Out of fear.

Out of embarrassment.

But the thing is -- it's MY story (and probably your story too in a lot of ways), and if there's anything I've learned in my journey of being a blogger/coach/wellness advocate/woman, it's that sharing your story opens doors for others to say "ME TOO."

Hell, if the me too movement isn't damn proof of that.

And as I was leafing through old journals from my final year at university a few weeks ago and I read something that made my heart sink....

 

“I’ll be happy once I’m skinny. All I have to do is get to a size 2 and I'll finally feel beautiful and enough."

 

I finally feel like I'm in a good place with my body. A place where I genuinely love everything its capable of, and no matter the scars, the cellulite, the stretch marks -- they are a part of me and because of that, I love them and most importantly, I love MYSELF.

But it wasn't always this way -- I spent years believing I wasn't enough and so much of my time was dedicated to trying to "fix" the way I looked...

Let's rewind.

It's my final year at university and I'm in the last week before our senior musical theatre showcase. I'd been working my body to the bone for MONTHS to prepare.

You see, as a performer, I knew that I was about to put not just my talent but myself in front of a room full of people who could change the entire trajectory of my career as an actor. And all I could think about was fitting into that size 2 dress from Anthropology and losing the flab under my arms so I could finally get my big break. 

So I did everything I could.

I woke up every morning and ran 3 miles, rain, cold, snow, shine, even though I hated running more than anything on the planet. If I had a break during my school day, I would go to the gym in the building and do ab circuits/life weights/run on the treadmill REPEAT. And before bed at night, I would find some random tone it up workout on youtube and do that.

All to do it all over again the next day.

I was obsessed.

And my entire life was taken over -- between my workouts, double showers a day, and school, I had no time for anything FUN in my life. 

But that week, I stepped into that dress and you know what? It fit.

But those voices in my head that said I wasn't good enough didn't just magically go away.

And that day. I looked in the mirror and cried because I had finally gotten to where I wanted to be and I still didn't like what I see.

It took hitting rock bottom after rock bottom, binging until I gained all the weight back, to going on one crash diet after the next and rocking that diet cycle of death for a few years before I finally burnt myself to the ground and my body said no more for me to finally show up for me.

To focus on being HEALTHY instead of skinny.

To ditch the scale.

To eat REAL food and lots of it.

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Lady love, life is about SO much more than your workout.

It's about going on adventures, spending time with the people in your life who light you up, saying YES to things that excite you and showing up for yourself every single day.

And if you find yourself struggling with the idea of taking a "day off" from your exercise routine (or if you call a 'rest day' an hour and a half intensive yoga flow), then its time to gut check yourself and make a change. 


So how did I get from that girl crying in the mirror to where I'm at today? Honest? It took a shit ton of hard work, a lot of tears, major realizations and a shit ton of vulnerability. 

First of all -- Acknowledge that you are a human being and that this transition won't happen overnight. The patterns of over-exercising you've built up? They've become habits, and it's as difficult to break as an eating disorder. Give yourself grace, start cutting back on all those classes you're taking and be kind to yourself. This was a game changer for me (albeit fucking HARD because my perfectionist nature did not like it one bit). 

Second of all -- I started working with a health coach, who is still my coach and mentor (and friend) to this day. Having someone else looking out for my health & wellbeing was EVERYTHING. And whats more, she welcomed me into a community of other women that were also struggling with similar things so it gave me a space to communicate freely and openly. This is why I ended up becoming a health coach myself because all I wanted to do was pay it forward to others the way she did to me.

And lastly -- do your research. Over-exercising has long term harmful effects on your body. It can lead to adrenal fatigue (most women in the fitness space severely suffer from this without ever realizing), injury and more.

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In time, you'll get to a place where you no longer use exercise as a form of punishment. Where you move in ways that light you up and workout from a place of LOVE for your body and your mind, not hate. 

And all of a sudden, the world will open its door to so many beautiful things that you never realized you were missing out on this entire time -- I know it did for me.

I found time to foster budding relationships with women that have since become my best friends and business partners.

I learned all about how to use food as fuel and how I'd been putting so many harmful ingredients in my body for years. 

I learned about what true self care is all about, and the beauty of personal development. 

And that burnt out irritable version of myself? She's long gone.

 

I see so many women in the health & fitness space and they remind me of myself back then. My story ends well, but I know so many still struggle.

So if you are one of those women, I hope you can hear me when I say that your worth is not defined by your body. You are enough just as you are right fucking now.

And no matter how long it takes you to get to the other side, know that I am in your corner, cheering you on along this crazy ass thing we called life.

You are so loved.

And you are so enough.

Xo Amanda 

 

Mustard Apple Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Brussels & Sweet pots

HOLY BONKERS what a week it's been so far! 

I started a new health & fitness program alongside my Live Your F*ck YES life community (follow along my Instagram for the behind the scenes!) and it's been SO amazing.

My favorite part of it all?

ALL THE FOOD I GET TO EAT.

So many health and fitness meal plans involve LIMITING your food (ahem diet mentality). Newsflash diet culture? Eating 1200 calories a day is NOT going to get you healthy.

It WILL perpetuate the endless diet-binge cycle you've been on for yeaaaars. So get your booty aligned with a program that encourages ALL THE FOOD (and I can already tell this is going to be the most INCREDIBLE program ever -- my body is FEELING it in the BEST way!)

One of my favorite ways to prep for a new program is keeping my meals during the day SUPER simple and having my favorite go-tos for dinner as a treat!

And this combo is one of my absolute FAVORITES, and it doesn't hurt that it's hella affordable and super simple (although it tastes restaurant quality if I do say so myself!)

Check 'er out and let me know what you think!

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MUSTARD APPLE PORK TENDERLOIN WITH BRUSSELS & SWEET POTS

Serves Four

INGREDIENTS

1 large pork tenderloin (about 15 ounces)

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

2 tsp fennel seeds (optional)

1 large onion, sliced

2 medium Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 1/4 inch thick)

1/2 cup of apple cider 

1 tsp grapeseed oil 

2 cups Brussel sprouts

1 sweet potato 

1 tbsp avocado/liquid coconut oil 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Season pork with a dash of sea salt and pepper. Season quartered brussel sprouts and chopped sweet potatoes with avocado/coconut oil and sea salt and put in oven for 8-10 minutes. 

3. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sear until all sides are brown (about 5 minutes).

4. Transfer pork to plate and cool slightly, spreading combined mustard over top and sides of pork (optional: press fennel seeds into mustard). 54. Add a tbsp of grapeseed oil, onion and apples into pan and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

6. Place pork on top of mixture and transfer skillet to oven until the centre of the pork registers 150 degrees F, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer pork to platter and make a foil tent to prevent moisture from escaping.

7. Meanwhile, pour apple cider over apple-onion mixture in skillet. Stir over high heat for about two minutes, until slightly reduced. 

8. Slice pork and spoon apple-onion mixture overtop of pork for a nice finish!

 

What're some of your favorite go to dinners throughout the week?

Things I'm Afraid To Tell You

I've written and rewritten this blog post upwards of 5 times the past few months...because truth? I'm scared to share this shit.

But I chose my word of 2018 to be UNAPOLOGETIC, and while part of that means letting my freak flag fly (aka not giving AF about what people think about my goofy baby grandma-ness), to me, it means committing to showing up every day with a VULNERABLE and REAL heart.

It means no longer allowing FEAR to rule my day to day -- and choosing to CRASH INTO IT and embrace it for all it will show me on the other side.

So, here are the things I'm afraid to tell you. 

(p.s. thank you to Jess Lively for being the major inspiration for creating a post like this in the first place -- if you don't follow her/listen to her podcast, you're missing out! Thank you for being such an inspiration for me to tell my truth. I hope it inspires you to do the same.)

 

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THINGS I'M AFRAID TO TELL YOU

 

I MIGHT HAVE THE BRCA CANCER GENE

Starting big, Amanda. Ok here we go.

When my dad was 18, his mom died of breast cancer. She was 44, crazy healthy and she still was killed by the horrible disease. 

My dad decided to get tested 5 years ago to see if he had the gene and, it turns out, he does. Now, for my brother and for him, the chance of it impacting them are quite small. But for me? It means I have a 50/50 shot of having the gene -- and if I do have it, a 78.3% chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer in my lifetime. 

And those are odds I don't wanna fuck around with.

This has been a big part of my life for a long time now, but it's becoming even bigger because I've decided, after all these years, to finally get tested. 

Why now? Because I'm tired of letting fear call the shots in my life.

Because while it scares the shit out of me, I would rather KNOW so I can make an informed decision moving forward.

So next week, I'm getting tested and I'll be finding out in the next month. Maybe nothing from my perspective will change. But maybe everything will. Stay tuned.

 

I LOVE BEING A TEAM BEACHBODY COACH

For so long, I hid behind the label attached to coaching -- network marketing, MLM, Beachbody -- call it what you may, it's my JOB and I'm freaking proud of it.

Network marketing companies get a bad rap -- why? Because there are a few shitty ones that put a negative taste in our mouths. You know those companies that encourage their "distributors" to set up parties where you feel pressured into buying some lipstick or face cream you don't want / or suddenly some facebook acquaintance of yours adds you to a facebook group without asking your permission -- yeah, I've had both happen on several occasions and it's not fun.

So when I first found out about Beachbody, I was skeptical AF. 

I didn't know anything about it but I knew it was a network marketing company and there was "no way I'm getting involved with that pyramid scheme BS". 

But I soon got to learn more about the mission of the company, became OBSESSED with the  integrity behind the workout programs and nutrition products & the emphasis on COMMUNITY, building empowering relationships and financial freedom, I soon realized that Team Beachbody does it differently.

WAY differently. 

So yeah, I've been partnered with Team Beachbody for the past 2 years and it was the best decision I've ever made. 

I've found a family in my team.

I've helped hundreds of women change their relationship with food and feel CONFIDENT in their own skin.

And because of this side hustle, I've been able to single handedly pay our mortgage for the last few months. 

You never know what possibilities your life could have if you allow yourself to be open to learning more. More and more women on our team are changing their LIVES because of this opportunity. You could too, if it feels right to you. 

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I GAINED 10 LBS OVER THE HOLIDAYS

This one feels SO stupid as I write it out, but it's true. I've been holding myself back from sharing this because I'm afraid of what this means.

The things my inner shit talker has said it means?

"You're a bad coach. You can't even practice what you preach."

"Yup, look at those thighs and that ass. So fucking gross."

"You are such a hypocrite -- don't you preach not attaching your worth to the scale?"

Yup, nasty shit, am I right?

And yeah, I'm up 10 lbs since I last weighed myself in September. 

I know this because I'm starting a new fitness program for my Live Your F*ck YES life challenge & before we begin each challenge, we take our right now photos and measurements so we can track our progress. Pictures are worth so much to my clients (and honestly, to myself) in this process because it's so amazing to see how far we come in our journey. 

However, I normally don't weigh myself as part of these (the scale caused major anxiety for me for so long in my life that I stopped a long time ago), but a few months back, when I completed Shift Shop, I decided to weigh myself and see my full progress throughout the program. And I decided to do the same for this one -- except this time, I was shocked to see I had put on 10 lbs.

I will admit that I haven't been feeling my best.

I ate a buttload of christmas cookies, have been eating more gluten than normal (which I know is an irritant to my body), and the takeout train has been REAL in my house with all the travel and bumps in the road this past month. 

And my pants certainly aren't fitting the way they used to.

The 10 lbs I gained? That part alone honestly doesn't bother me beyond what others might think (because yes, as much as I work my ASS off not to let those things bother me, they still do -- I'm a freaking human being).

What does bother me is that I'm not feeling my best.

Luckily, I have the tools I need to be able to turn that around and shift how I'm feeling alongside my Live Your F*ck YES Life community -- I'm excited to launch into a new workout program, be intentional with the food I'm putting into my body and feel AMAZING in my clothes again.

 

And there you have it.

Wow, I've gotta say, it feels really good to get all of that off my chest. Ever since I was a little girl, writing has been so therapeutic for me and this post has been uber cathartic to say the least.

I hope me sharing my truth empowers you to share a little bit of yours.

I believe so much in the power of vulnerability -- and that through sharing our stories, we can empower one another to rise up into our authentic selves, and quit hiding behind the bullshit stories we've been telling ourselves. 

Thank you for coming along this journey with me. This community we've built means the world to me and I'm so grateful for each and every single one of you.

 

Come on over to our facebook community and share something you've been afraid to tell us. Be brave, lady love. You can do it.

Love & light,

Amanda 

 

2017: My Year In Review

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My favorite thing to do the first week of any year is reflect back on the year & vision for the upcoming one. 

I'm a giant DORKO -- I love this kind of shit. 

And honestly, it feels SO good to actually take a look back and be grateful for all that we accomplish instead of just enter the year without any perspective, am I right?

It's amazing how quickly we can just forget about the good and focus on all the shit, am I right? It was nice to look back and remember some forgotten wins -- and I encourage you to do the same! You might be surprised what you forgot you rocked out :) 

 

MY YEAR IN REVIEW

 

TRAVEL

  • My first getaway was an impromptu cabin adventure with the hubs. The beginning of 2017 was tough for us -- Kev unexpectedly quit his job in February and was unemployed until June so all of the financial burden fell on me. I'm so grateful for coaching and everything it allowed for us financially, and while in the moment I experienced quite a bit of anxiety around it all, it also lit a fire for me to dig deep and level the EFF UP in my coaching business
  • My favorite travel moment was hands down our trip to Ireland to celebrate my dad's 60th. It was the first time all five of us had traveled together, and the first time Kev and I had traveled together overseas! Northern Ireland has a piece of my heart forever.
  • Next up was visiting New Orleans for our annual Coach Summit aka a giant wellness adventure and slumber party with my best friends. Favorite moments include hearing Cara Alwill Leyba (aka blogger at The Champagne Diet) talk at our Women Power event and our keynote speaker Brandon Bouchard, dancing on a New Orleans jazz stage with my best gals & learning SO much from all the workshops (I had 50 + pages of notes!)
  • In August, I spent the long weekend with my best friends at our family cottage in northern Ontario. I have it as a goal to live there a month out of every year and knowing that I'm getting closer to that being a reality made the trip feel even more incredible. 
  • In the fall, we had our leadership retreat for our coaching team in Northern Michigan and holy hell was it freaking PERFECT. Fall leaves, crisp air, photoshoots, blanket snuggles -- it was the best weekend with my best friends. 
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BUSINESS

  • I invested in the Wellpreneur Business Academy and got incredibly clear on my branding, the kind of women I wanna work with & how to access my full potential as a coach. 
  • I hosted my first live workshop with my biz partner in crime & it affirmed how POWERFUL events like these are. I loved it so much & I can't wait to do a shitload more in 2018 (stay tuned)!
  • I had my first professional fitness/business photoshoot 
  • I paid off all my credit card debt!
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LIFE

This was actually the first year in our life with no crazy major traditional milestone (you know, get married, buy a house, get a dog -- check, check, check). BUT it still was filled with some wonderful moments to remember.

  • We got a car! I guess this is a big milestone too? Maybe it just doesn't feel like it since I'm not a big car person.

  • We watched the total eclipse and it was the most magical thing I've ever witnessed. 

  • I got into the best shape of my life and found my SOULMATE program. 

  • I got to be a part of 4 incredible acting productions that have my heart. 

  • My mom got honored as one of Canada's 100 most powerful women and I got to share the day with her and it was pure MAGIC.

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BLOG

I had SO much fun sharing my heart this year with you guys via the blog.

Here's a roundup of some of my favorite shares:

Love Letters to My Former Selves

Why You Should Give A Fuck

Why I Refuse To Do The Whole 30

How To Overcome Emotional Eating

5 Steps to Loving Yourself From The Inside Out

 

And there you have it!

What a year 2017 was.

 

2018 is already looking pretty incredible -- some serious travel plans, opportunities, launches and so much more!

 

CHEERS TO LIVING OUR FUCK YES LIVES EVERY DANG DAY.

TO SAYING YES TO THE THINGS THAT LIGHT US UP.

AND REMEMBERING THAT EVERYTHING WE EXPERIENCE IN LIFE TEACHES US SOMETHING 


What were some of your highlight moments from 2017?

Xo Amanda 

The One Thing You Need To Start Your Year Right

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Are you a big fan on new years resolutions?

I used to make them every single year, and every year I would inevitably break them and my type A perfectionist nature would feel like an utter failure.

"Go to the gym 5x a week." FAILURE.

"Go vegan." Ha, that one lasted a month.

"Practice yoga 3x a week." Nope.

Sound familiar?

And it got me thinking -- why do we start our years out making a resolution that is clearly well intentioned but will inevitably not be able to fully commit to (and often forget about 2 weeks later)?

There has to be a better way to be INTENTIONAL with our upcoming year -- and that's why I started a NEW TRADITION heading into this last year that really stuck with me and helped build POSITIVE momentum.

 

What's this you say, Amanda? 

Hush, hush, I'll tell you.

 

CHOOSE YOUR WORD OF THE YEAR.

 

I went into 2017 with the word GROWTH.

I started my business at the very end of 2015 and the first year of ANY new adventure is a freaking rollercoaster and filled with ALL the kinks. 

I was failing forward like crazy and had definitely started to build a foundation for my business but I had (and have) some seriously HUGE goals and I knew that the only way I would be able to achieve them was with MASSIVE GROWTH.

What I didn't realize was just how much of that growth needed to be INTERNAL instead of EXTERNAL.

I don't know about you but when I hear the word growth, I think numbers and a higher income. And while that certainly did happen this year, the external growth ONLY happened AFTER I had done a shit ton of work on my INNER GROWTH.

What areas did this include?

  • Inner work on my positive self talk
  • Serious work on my money mindset (*cough* scarcity mindset)
  • Belief in myself as a leader
  • Working "as if" I was was already where I wanted to be. 
  • Developing a routine and a work ethic that was IN LINE with my goals. It turns out that big dreams without action are just DREAMS. 
  • Allowing myself to DREAM BIG and crash into the fear instead of allowing it to paralyze me. 

...and so much more. 

2017 was certainly a year of massive growth for me and my team.

And because of all of the self development I did as a PERSON, and all the work I did on building up my MINDSET and BELIEF SYSTEMS, I was able to grow my team into a group of 100+ women who also want to turn their passion for health & fitness into a business or side hustle, help over 200 women BUST THROUGH THEIR EMOTIONAL EATING & ditch the yo yo dieting once and for all within my Live Your F*ck YES Life Challenges and financially, I was able to pay off ALL of our credit card debt, and start to really contribute to our family.


So as we head into 2018, I've been thinking a lot about what I want my word of the year to be. And through the prompts I will share with you shortly, I decided on

UNAPOLOGETIC

So often, we (myself included) apologize for the way we are and the things that light us up.

And I realized this year that I've been doing that way more frequently than I realized -- and enough is enough.

I'm CLAIMING MY TRUTH and officially going BALLS TO THE WALL with who I am, what I believe in and what is important to me and I'm refusing to hold myself back.

If that means I lose a few followers on social media because I'm too much of a crazy goofball baby grandma who swears and talks about poop, so be it.

No more dimming my light because I'm afraid people won't like me.

This gal is officially going to show up every day UNAPOLOGETICALLY HERSELF. So gear up.

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Now, how does one even start figuring out what their word of the year might be?

I'm glad you asked!

 

Here's a combination of exercises to help you discover yours:

1. Grab a journal and allow yourself to free write -- close your eyes and think about your DREAM day. What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel? Got it in your head? Write down everything you're experiencing on a piece of paper.

2. Think about your upcoming year. What do you know for sure will be happening in 2018? What do you want to manifest for your year? What are some things that could happen that would LIGHT YOU UP INSIDE? 

3. Look over the words you wrote in the last 2 steps. Did any feelings resonate throughout? Any particular words get written more than once? Bonus? Check out this list of words (inspired by the lovely Susannah Conway) and see which ones pop out to you most! Circle the 5 ones that really resonate with you.

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4. From the words you circled, I want you to spend some time journaling out what each of them represents to you and WHY feeling that way would make you feel your BEST in 2018. What does it represent to you? Why is that important?

 

You'll likely find yourself gravitating towards one or two words that really hit home for you. 

And from there -- the way to officially choose your word is to answer one simple question: WHICH ONE LIGHTS ME UP THE MOST?

 

That's your word of the year.

 

I would LOVE to hear which word you came up with!

Share in the comments below (or in our Facebook community!) so I can support you heading into the new year!

Xo Amanda 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Overcome Food Guilt

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If you've ever struggled with emotional or binge eating, you know how tough the holidays can be (or really any day for that matter).

You binge your heart out at a holiday party, date night or a night alone on the couch watching Netflix and you wake up the next morning thinking to yourself how can I "fix this". 

So you run to the gym, obsessively workout for 2 hours to "work it off" 

I'm 100% NOT going to tell you to do ANY of those things because I've been there and not only do they not work, but they perpetuate the "I'm not enough" and obsessive cycle. 

Here are my favorite ways to overcome food guilt, the RIGHT way.


1. ADOPT THE MANTRA FOOD IS FUEL

That latest diet trend that's all the rage? Paleo? Whole 30? Juice cleanse? Keto?

It's called a trend for a reason -- and is only going to give you quick fix results that will ultimately perpetuate your emotional eating and trigger your negative eating habits.

Trust me, I spent years rocking the diet trends and thinking they would be the answer to all of my problems when it turns out, the real answer to breaking free of my yo yo dieting cycle of death was to focus on eating REAL FOODS and have a meal plan that included ALL the food groups ('cause this type A gal thrives off of structure and always will) 

Why the structure and not intuitive eating?

Honestly? I tried the whole intuitive eating thing and I intuitively ate an entire box of oreos...

While I'm in a place now where I can be more intuitive with my food choices because my body has self regulated after eating well for so long, I truly believe that the best way to transform your life is by adopting a meal plan that lays out the specifics of WHAT kinds of food will FUEL our bodies and the amount of food we need depending on our body type and goals.

Learn more about my food philosophy here...

2. TOSS YOUR TRIGGER FOODS

If you're an emotional/binge eater, chances are there are specific foods that set you off.

Mine are cookies, reeses cups, pizza, nutella and that monster trail mix from Target. If it's in the house, I WILL eat it. And all of it. 

I used to think this made me weak, especially after being on the path to recovery for a few years and "doing so well" -- but here's the thing about binge/emotional eating, it's not a clear cut path to recovery.

We can take steps forward and find a healthy relationship with food but those pesky trigger foods are REAL. 

Best way to overcome them? TOSS 'EM. Don't keep them around your house.

And if you live with someone, have the conversation with them and ask them if they'd be open to keeping those things out of the house. Your home should be your safe space and that means nothing that could trigger you, period.

3. SHOW YOURSELF SOME COMPASSION

So much about breaking free of the guilt cycle has nothing to do with our actions but everything to do with our MINDSET.

When you find yourself emotionally eating, what are you saying to yourself?

Are you using negative self talk or are you talking to yourself like you're your own best friend? It will feel completely weird at first but speaking to yourself with kindness is SO key in your journey to self love. 

It starts with yourself and you have the power to turn that around in an instant -- so be KIND to yourself. Give yourself grace for not being perfect. Do something for yourself that lights you up -- take a warm bubble bath, read an inspiring book, call your mom.

You are defined by so much more than what you're eating, babe.

 


Still struggling with your relationship with food?

Check out these additional resources:

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

Why I refuse to do the Whole 30

The Power of Superfoods 

 

Cheers to loving ourselves & fueling our bods with amazing food.

Xo Amanda 

Paleo Snickerdoodle Cookies

When Kev and I wanna do something sweet for each other, it often involves food.

A bad day at the office? I cook up a delicious dinner waiting for him when he gets home.

I'm exhausted and wanna sleep in on a Saturday? I wake up to homemade pancakes in bed.

So when he told me he was craving some of my cookies, I decided to create something new for the recipe rolodex and holy shiz, these did not disappoint!

Bonus points? Snickerdoodles are his favorite -- definitely got some major wifey points when he got home last night! 

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PALEO SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES

Prep and cook time: 20 mins

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/8 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp honey

1 egg 

1 tbsp vanilla extract 

FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR TOPPINGS

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon 

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. In mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt. 

  3. In separate bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, honey, egg and vanilla extract and stir until thoroughly combined.

  4. In small bowl, create cinnamon sugar by stirring together the coconut sugar and cinnamon.

  5. Pour in wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold together until fully mixed through.

  6. Using a spoon, roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a bowl. Roll each cookie ball into the cinnamon sugar mix until covered.

  7. Place on baking sheet and flatten with fingers. 

  8. Bake for 8-12 mins until golden brown on edges.

 

What are your favorite holiday cookies?