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Can a (Fitness) Community Impact Your Results?

Do you ever find it difficult to stay motivated with your workout goals? Scrolling through Pinterest, you come across a number of different workout ideas and plans you can do yourself at home or at the gym. The only problem is two days in and you've lost your motivation, are bored, and find yourself not enjoying the plan you were once so excited about. We've all been there. It isn't that you don't love working out, it's that there's little encouragement around you, and no one to guide you to push yourself to do your best. I myself make it a goal to workout five to six days out of the week. It doesn't always happen, but I try my best. I like to mix it up to keep things fresh and fun. I enjoy running, power walking, pilates, lifting, yoga, and of course Pure Barre. As a Pure Barre instructor and student, I've noticed the impact a community can have on one's fitness journey, including my own. 

Our Pure Barre team recently hosted a class on the rooftop of Hensville in downtown Toledo. We couldn't have asked for a better evening. It was a balmy 80 degrees, the sun was shining, and the roof was filled with new and current clients. As the awesome ladies and gents (yes, guys take class too) began filing in, I looked around and saw something unique. It's something I haven't found in my gym, working out by myself, or the mindset I seem to have before kicking off an hour long (amazing but challenging) workout. Everyone was smiling, friends were catching up, and people showed excitement for the workout they were getting ready to tackle. I thought to myself, this is what a community can do for your health and fitness goals. You bring current friends, make new friends, hold each other accountable, and sweat it out together! It becomes an enviroment that takes you away from the stresses of the day, makes you smile, and leaves you feeling accomplish and fufilled. 

As if having your Pure Barre friends by your side wasn't enough, joining a community like Pure Barre gives you the ability to let someone lead and encourage you throughout your workout. You don't have to think or plan what you're doing, and being as busy as you are, it's a relief! You walk in, join your friends, and let the instructor take you away! Just as you get to the most challenging work and you want to stop, the instructor is there encouraging you on and your friends' energy  is right next to you, helping you push through! It's a sweat sesh that comes with a whole lotta' love! 

A community means to have a group of people who share a similar interest. Finding a fitness community can make a huge impact in the way you look and feel, because you're all working towards a common goal. So, maybe you're stuck in your fitness journey. You don't feel motivated to get up early, go after work, or maybe you just aren't sure of where to begin. This is where I encourage you to join a create a community of your own. A positive environment with a group of people all working toward a healthier and fit lifestyle. So, how do you find a fitness community? 

A community can make a powerful impact on your fitness goals. It could be the missing link toward reaching the results you've been searching for! For more information on Pure Barre head to http://purebarre.com/oh-toledo/. A very special thank you to Andrew Weber Photography for providing the photos for this post. Please check out his work at http://andrewjweber.com/blog/.

10 Ways to Make Morning Workouts (somewhat) Enjoyable

That dreaded alarm clock goes off and the only thing you want to do is crawl back into bed. The daunting tasks, to-do list, and busy day ahead don't make the early wakeup call any more appealing. Between the house chores, work, and kiddos, there isn't much time to fit in that sweat sesh. You want to get it done before the busy day begins, but the motivation just isn't there. I teach a few early morning classes at Pure Barre, so I know what that early alarm clock feels like. The sun isn't up, but day is calling your name. While I can't change your busy schedule, I can help that early morning routine with a little more ease. Here are a few of my favorite ways to boost the morning motivation, to get up and moving! 

1. PLAN YOUR WORKOUT. When the alarm clock goes off at 5:00 in the morning, the last thing you want to do is think about what workout you're going to do. Set some time beforehand to map out your morning workout. If putting together a workout isn't your thing, head over to our workout section here at www.JennaLento.com for some inspiration. You can also join a fitness class and sign up ahead of time. 

2. WORKOUT WITH A FRIEND. Buddy up with one of your gals pals for your workout plan. If you have someone to hold you accountable, you may be less likely to cancel. The encouragement you and your friend can offer one another is priceless! 

3. AMP UP YOUR FASHION AND PLAN YOUR OUTFIT. Recently, fashion blogger Stacy Weber stopped by to show us how fashion can motivate your workout. It's so true! Have you ever heard the saying, "when you look good, you play good?" Be confident in your workout with a new tank or leggings that make you feel confident! Don't forget to lay that trendy fitness apparel out the night before, so you don't have to spend time or energy doing it in the morning. 

4. PREP YOUR BREAKFAST AHEAD OF TIME. For those of us who have to eat a little something before the sweat, have everything prepped the night before. I like to have my lemon water sitting in the mug, so I can drink it right away. Also, have the coffee ground an ready ready to go. Then all you have to do is press a button and enjoy the fresh smell of joe lingering throughout the kitchen. Lastly, if your breakfast can be prepped ahead, do so to save on time. Did I mention having all of these goodies ready to go, makes waking up a little more appealing?

5. GO TO BED EARLY. We all know getting seven to nine hours of shut eye is crucial. It helps with mental clarity, energy, and can even prevent weight gain. We need rest to recover, restore, and heal our bodies. Try hitting the pillow the same time every night, getting into a routine, and getting the proper amount of sleep needed to feel your best the next day. 

6. TREAT YOURSELF AFTER YOUR WORKOUT. If you follow me on social media or even Snapchat, you will notice I'm always snacking on somehthing healthy after I workout. Sometimes, it's a delicious egg white and veggie sandwich on gluten free bread. If I'm in a pinch or won't be home for awhile, I grab one of my favorite clean protein bars. I always look forward to that post workout treat (I love Perfect Bars). It actually pushes me through that workout and gives me something to look forward to! 

7. TALK YOURSELF THROUGH IT. While the early morning wake up call may not seem appealing, remind yourself how good you'll feeel post workout. You may experience more energy, confidence, and sense of accomplishment! I often find working out in the morning helps me to make healthier choices throughout the day. 

Working out in the morning definitely offers your body and mind some healthy benefits! If you're struggling with your morning workout, or squeezing in a workout with your schedule, try incorporating some of these suggestions. Don't forget to let us know how it goes. I love hearing from you! 

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ONE SIZE FITS ALL? I DON'T THINK SO!
smoothie

Clients often act surprised when I say there’s no such thing as a one size fits all health plan. We all have different body types, needs, and therefore need to create our own unique system to get the best results. You might be thinking, this whole “healthy gig” is way too time consuming. The minute I try one diet, new research comes out saying it isn’t the right way.

I get it. It’s overwhelming digging through the plethora of health and fitness knowledge out there. Everyone argues that their way is right. You must eat protein at every meal, you must cut all carbs, you must drink your nutrients everyday with raw green juices. While there may be great points and effective habits with many of these different styles of eating, it may not be the best for you. It all boils down to trial and error. Find a food system that fuels you physically and mentally. The foundation should consist of whole foods, grown from the Earth, with minimal processing at all cost. When you’re eating right for your body, the results show up. You maintain a healthy weight, have high energy, balanced mood, free of disease, and you feel your best in whatever you have on (or don’t have on). Bottom line, those shirts at the mall may read “one size fits all,” but the healthy lifestyle you live surely doesn’t have to.

 

jenna

smoothie


WHERE DO I START?

Start by slowly eliminating the processed and packaged products you’re consuming. It doesn’t have to be a clean sweep all at once. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and one week at a time. With each step, try to integrate a healthy choice that tastes good. For example, remove the bag of chips from the pantry, and try cutting a sweet potato into thin chip-like pieces. You’re still getting the sensation of a tasty snack, without the unhealthy oils, and empty calories. It’s that whole foods approach that we discussed earlier. Another idea would be to cut back on pop, adding in a sparkling water instead.

HOW DO I KNOW IF IT FITS ME?

A style of eating fits you when you start getting results. As you integrate the healthy food choices, and crowd out the processed food items, you will notice the body will naturally start to change. That is motivation in itself! You will drop down to a healthier weight, fit better in your clothes, lose a few inches, notice clearer skin, increase in energy, and the best yet is confidence. You can have the most expensive and trendy attire on, but if you don’t feel good under all that pricey fabric, then you need to make a change! You want to put on that little black dress, skinny jeans, or yoga pants and feel your best. Confidence carries us in all situations in life. Being healthy, looking your best, and being confident is important for your personal and professional life.

plank


SHOULD I WEIGH MYSELF DAILY?

Everyone has an opinion on this. When I work with clients, I give them the choice. While it may be a great way to track your progress, it can also become obsessive. Every pound lost or gained can feel like the entire world is on your shoulders. Feel free to have check in moments throughout the month, but I personally don’t encourage my clients to step on the scale daily. One pound can be lost or gained from a bowel movement or even high water intake. Step back from the scale, and let the other result factors mentioned also be a way that you “check in” with yourself.

DOES A SIZE 2 MAKE ME HEALTHY?

Um, NO. You can be an extremely thin human being, but be terribly unhealthy on the inside. What do I mean by that? You may look fit and trim, but that doesn’t mean you’re nutritionally fueled throughout your temple. Nutrition is the most important factor when it comes to health. We need the proper caloric intake, healthy fats, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. This comes from eating those healthy whole foods. This helps us to thrive throughout each day, all while fighting disease. It’s crucial to know that the number on those trendy jeans don’t determine how healthy you’re on the inside. Focus on feeling good, looking good, and that confidence!

lemon

HOW CAN I EAT TO LOOK MY BEST?

You have an event to attend later tonight, and you’re worried that the food you eat will sabotage the way you fit into that little cocktail dress. Yes, I’ve been there done that. However, you end up borderline starving yourself that day, and find yourself binging at the shrimp table, because you’re beyond famished. This then leads to the stomach bloating and you hanging out in the ladies room the rest of the night. Not the way to do it. Stick with a light and balanced food plan throughout the day. You should always start with warm lemon water (and consistently drink water throughout the day as it keeps the skin fresh and glowing), stick with gluten free options, plenty of veggies, at least one serving of fruit, and lean protein. Refrain from foods high in sodium, gluten, and most importantly sugar. You want to feel lean, energized to mingle, and glowing throughout the night.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Health should be simple, effective, enjoyable, and most importantly fitting to you! Don’t worry about the latest diet that everyone is raving about. Stick with the whole foods approach, be observant of the foods that make you feel good, and let your body do the talking (by talking we mean results). At the end of the day we all want to look and feel our best. It is one of the many gifts a healthy lifestyle can give to you!

Athletic Wear to Motivate Your Workout, With Guest Blogger, Stacy Weber

Have you ever noticed how many women and men you see in a shopping mall, grocery store, or coffee shop wearing workout tanks, shorts, or yoga pants?  Do you ever wonder if they’re just wearing these articles of clothing because it defines their style or if they just went to a gym? It seems there is even more to it than that. A 2012 study coined the term “enclothed cognition”, best described as the clothing a person wears can dictate their attitude or performance. 

WHEN YOU LOOK GOOD, YOU FEEL GOOD.

Even without a study, society tells us that the way we look dictates how we feel. If you’re wearing flattering, comfortable, fashionable clothes your confidence will increase. If you’re dressed in an oversized t-shirt and sweatpants, your confident might not be so high in your performance. And we know, when you feel good, you’re more inclined to workout.  

A NEW OUTFIT CAN MEAN A NEW ROUTINE. 

Have you ever went outside your comfort zone and purchased a new athletic item you loved because of the style, and then changed your workout routine because of it? I know I have. For years I used to wear shorts for running, and slowly starting investing in leggings or yoga pants that took me to the mat. 

NEW GEAR CAN AMPLIFY YOUR SOCIAL LIFE.

Instead of going to brunch on the weekends, many of us are doing our new athletic wear and heading to an exercise class with our girlfriends. Weekends no longer revolve around food or cheat meals, but getting together with friends to get our workout in. I know I’m not the only one. Every Saturday/Sunday I see the same ladies at pure barre or kickboxing getting fit with their friends. 

FASHIONABLE DOES NOT MEAN EXPENSIVE.

To be fashionable and trendy you do not need the most expensive clothing in the stores. Take my looks for example. They each have a different price point, and are drastically different from each other. I paired a blue Lululemon Circadian tank with Lululemon Wunder Under pants for a yoga or pure barre class. These are both at the high end of pricing, but are also trendy and comfortable. 

For a second look I paired a pink Nike T-shirt and Nike Running pants with a Nike gym bag. Nike is a major brand that is both versatile and fashionable. Walk into any Nike store and you’re met with an abundance of color and unique designs from any of Nike’s athletic lines. Just being in the store gives you inspiration to workout. 

For my last look I paired brown Old Navy herringbone pants with a white Old Navy tank top. In recent years Old Navy has increased their production of fashionable athletic wear that is extremely affordable. This top for instance was found on the clearance rack for $4, and the pants were just $15 on sale. (They do exactly match Lululemon Wunder Unders in herringbone). 

Athletic wear that is fashion forward will inspire you to hit the gym, or take a class any day of the week! 

Stacy Weber is a lifestyle entrepreneur focusing on fashion and travel. She tells stories online through blogging, social media, and video to share unique trends. Stacy has spent over 10 years in Public Relations for Public Health and Government.  She has spoken at the Centers for Disease Control, University of Michigan, Bowling Green State University, and a variety of national conferences about public relations, emergency management and public health.

How to Stay Motivated to Work Out

Working out isn’t usually something we rush out of the house to do. I mean, maybe once in awhile, but most likely not. I’m in love with the physical results, mood boosting side effects, and increase in energy. However, even knowing how good it feels afterwards, there are still days that i have to talk myself into hitting the gym. I’ve recently realized, that it isn’t necessarily the working out part we dislike, it’s more of what we're are or aren't doing that isn't helping out cause. In other words, we often need a little motivation. Here are my favorite ways to stay motivated to workout and fit!

  • Schedule your workouts. Before the week begins, plan what days you are going to workout, and what you will be doing. Write it in a planner and for heaven's sake, don't cancel on yourself (I mean that would be kind of rude). ;)

  • Mix up your workout plan. You don’t have to do the same thing every single day. Remove boredom by trying something new, changing your workout plan each week, and try to keep things new and different. 

  • Find a class, workout buddy, or trainer to keep you motivated. Sometimes we need a little extra boost of encouragement from those around us.
  • Buy some new workout gear and feel good in it! When I get a new water bottle, tank, or pair of sneaks, I’m much more motivated to try my new gear at the gym. Have fun with it!
  • Infuse your water with fruit and herbs. There’s nothing more refreshing than fresh water filled with flavor and nutrition.
  • Get outside and get some fresh air. Not only is changing up your workout important, but also changing up the scene. Try taking your workout to the great outdoors to cycle in fresh oxygen and a enjoy a new view.
  • Workout first thing in the morning. You know what they say, complete your workout before you can talk yourself out of it.
  • Plan a delicious post workout meal or snack to look forward to. Our bodies need recovery meals, so why not make it delicious? If we have something to look forward to, we’re more likely to get the job done. My favorite is our Post Workout Power Bites or one of our protein packed smoothies (check out the recipes page for recipe ideas).
  • After accomplishing your workout goals, reward yourself. Set a goal to determine how many days you want to workout each week, and at the end of the month (if you’ve met your goal) reward yourself with a new tank, pedicure, or even a massage!
  • Sign up for a 5k or other fun race. This will push you to train for the big day, encourage you to get moving, and have something to look forward to!

Working out doesn’t have to be dreadful. Find ways to stay motivated and encouraged to stay on track. At the end of the day, moving your body should be fun, and at the same time challenging. Set goals, put a plan in place, and don’t forget to reward yourself for the hard work you’ve put in!

Why Your Friend's Diet Doesn't Work for You

Your friend Jane has the best bod around. Like the best. She’s long, lean and everything perfect in-between. She follows the Paleo diet, lifts intensely almost every day, and rarely if ever runs. Unlike Jane’s nearly six foot figure, you’re just a little over five feet, and built, well completely opposite of Jane. You left the days of pilates, yoga, running, and kickboxing behind in hopes of taking on Jane’s workout and body. You too have taken on the Paleo diet and every supplement that Jane is taking. While all seems to be working out for Jane, you’re starting to feel like a stocky bull. Your petite figure is now looking thicker, your energy is off, and your mood is as up and down as the newest roller coaster at Cedar Point. You ask yourself, how is Jane’s style of exercise and eating working so well for her, but having the completely opposite effect on me? This is where the bio-individuality theory comes in. While at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, this was one area we focused on quite often. The idea is that no one body is created alike, and we must treat our temples uniquely, giving it what it specifically needs to thrive. In other words, what works for Jane doesn’t necessarily work for you, and that’s okay! 

Before I break down this theory, let me start by saying there are A LOT of people in the health and fitness industry who strongly disagree with me. You may have noticed there are hundreds of diets and workout plans that are on the market. EVERYONE thinks their way or belief is right. I’m here to say there is NO ONE way that is perfect for everyone. So, before you healthy like-minded people start sending me emails to argue your point, let me encourage you to save your time. This is my personal opinion, a belief I live by, preach to my clients, and feel my personal best because of it. Consider reading this with an open mind, hey, you never know what you may learn! 

About two years ago, I found this method to be most true. I had decided that I wanted to train to compete in a fitness competition. My friend had also decided to do it as well. I received my training plan which included my six day workout schedule, limited meal plan, and months without anything I really enjoyed. Within the first week of eating on this plan, I noticed my body started to bulk up (which was the point). I felt tired, crabby, and my clothes felt tighter. My friend, who was also on this plan, didn’t experience the same results. She felt fine and continued with the process, while I decided to stick to my own plan, and opt out of the competition. I went back to eating for health, moving my body in a way that made me feel good, and enjoying this lifestyle that I felt sure of. This taught me several things. One, I’m not meant for the competitive fitness world. It’s completely opposite of what I agree with. Second, health should be enjoyable, and to me that plan was restrictive and boring. Third, just because my friend was looking great on the plan, didn’t mean my body would respond the same. As I said, it didn’t. Fourth, every single body responds differently to exercise. The heavy weight lifting and limited cardio, didn't impress this short body. 

So, what do I want you to gather from this? To begin, find a healthy system and lifestyle that works for you. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes trial and error. It’s trying something, looking for the result, and basing it off the outcome. Try cutting out certain foods, incorporating healthy options, different styles of eating, and new ways to workout. There is no right or wrong answer. There are however basic principles you should always stick with. This includes a whole foods diet. No matter what style of eating you want to try, you should always eat a diet based off of whole foods. This includes lean organic protein, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. As for working out, I always say, aim for at least 30 minutes of movement a day. The goal is to get you heart rate up and challenge your body. This not only gives your heart the love and attention it needs, but also gives your body a boost too! 

Everyone has an opinion, solution, and the “right” way. Bottom line, only YOU know what works best you. Have fun trying new styles of healthy eating, working out, and enjoying the process. At the end of the day whatever you choose, it should make you look and feel your best!

What I Eat in a Day: Health Coach Jenna Lento

There are like eight-million different diets on the market, and an additional one million blog posts arguing about which one of these diets work best. Okay, I may have exaggerated a bit on the numbers, but I think you get the point. Every health professional has his or her own opinion, every magazine article features the latest diet that’s the best yet, and everyone thinks their diet works best. Gahhh! It drives me nuts! We are being pushed to eat a certain way, workout a certain way, and live a healthy lifestyle the way others see fit. While attending The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we studied over one-hundred diets. There were the obvious ones; vegan, vegetarian, mediterranean and paleo. Then there were the diets that encouraged no fat, healthy fat, and everything in-between. It quickly made me realize, people who are looking to live a healthy lifestyle could quickly become overwhelmed with the plethora of information, and then just as quickly give up because there are so many different opinions and views. How do we know which one will work best? Today is your lucky day, because I’m here to settle it. There is NO one way or eating or working out that fits everyone. Each of us are uniquely made. So, I present this question, why would we all eat the same? In my opinion, we shouldn’t. I encourage my clients to try different ways of eating, while listening to his or her body, and then responding accordingly. Over the years, I’ve learned certain foods work well for my system, and certain foods that quite frankly don’t. I’ve learned what’s enough, and what’s not enough. The truth is, I’m always learning about my body, and I encourage you to do the same. While there’s no one size fits all diet, here’s what foods I’m learning work for me. 

BREAKFAST

There is not a day that goes by, in which my morning doesn’t begin with a large mug of warm lemon water. It helps to detoxify my system, get everything moving (if you know what I  mean), and maintain a healthy glow throughout the day. It’s also great for balancing pH levels in the system and maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes, I’ll add fresh slices of ginger and one teaspoon of raw organic honey. Delicious! After getting my water in, I like to kick off the day with a nutritional green smoothie. Don’t shy away from the green color, you can’t even taste it! I load my smoothie with fresh fruits, veggies, ice, and coconut milk or water. For an added boost, I toss in ground flax, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. It’s a good feeling when I leave my home, knowing that I’ve put a heaping amount of fresh produce in my system! 

MID-MORNING SNACK || POST WORKOUT 

After teaching a class or two at Pure Barre, and then taking class myself, I refuel my temple with the energy it needs to recover the muscles. At this point I will eat something with a little protein, like my recovery bars (page one under recipes), and a green juice. This helps me to replenish and keep going as I make my way to run errands, meet with clients, or get the rest of my work done for the day. Also, please note, if I’m not teaching or working out, I’ll usually avoid a mid-morning snack and enjoy a decaf coffee or tea. 

LUNCH 

I’m not a big lunch person, rather a grazer, but I do understand that my body calls for this energy come 1:00pm. So lately, I can’t get enough of my healthy egg sandwiches. I feel like eggs are a really good way to get protein, healthy fats, and even more nutrients all in one. I season my eggs really well, place over two pieces of toasted Ezekiel Bread, and top with fresh spinach. It’s quick, easy, and so good for you. If I’m really watching my fats, I may only use one whole eggs and then an egg white. 

AFTERNOON SNACK 

This is the time of day where everyone’s cravings creep up. Our sugar levels dip, energy levels plummet, and the stomach growls begin to kick in. It’s too early for dinner, but you can’t ignore the body asking for something to keep going. This is where i sneak in a green juice (only if I didn’t have one in the morning), or veggies and hummus, or a small handful of nuts and seeds. Always listen to your body and give it what it needs. There’s no reason to starve yourself! 

DINNER

I like to think of the phrase, “lean and green.” We aren’t moving much after dinner, so think about how that food will digest, and how what you’re putting into your body will be used. I stay away from heavy carbs most of the time, as I know I’m most likely not going to be burning it off. Usually, I stick with something like a fresh piece of wild caught salmon and heaping serving of greens. This also helps me from having an upset stomach due to food combinations that don’t work well together. 

SNACK 

This also depends on how much I ate during the day, and if my body is asking for something more. Sometimes, I will stick to a decaf team and small piece of chocolate. Other times I’ll enjoy some homemade popcorn, cooked with coconut oil and seasoned with himalayan sea salt and nutritional yeast.

We all see food differently, because we respond to food differently. While this works for me, it certainly may not work for you. You may need more or less for various reasons. If you’re just beginning, here is where I would encourage you to start. Stick to getting in the proper nutrients each day. Aim for the proper servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. Listen to your body after you eat, and give it what it needs to feel its’ best. Don’t be afraid to try a few different styles of eating, introducing new healthy habits, and crowding out choices that aren’t fitting your body. Lastly, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Focus on giving your body what it needs to feel good, and let your system choose for you! 

JOIN ME FOR AN EVENING OF HEALTH & WELLNESS!

Can Gratitude Make You Healthy?

I’m a self-help book junkie. If you were to scan my book shelf, you'd find everything from books on health, business, success, and faith. I’ve never been one to open a book that took me to a world of fantasy and fairytales. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with enjoying those stories, but I find my attention turning to books that leave me convicted, seeking truth about myself, and looking for ways to better my life. I guess my thought is, there’s always room for improvement, so why settle? Sitting down with a tea, and opening up a hard copy of one of these books makes me feel so accomplished. While there are many books that top the charts, there is one that'll forever stick out to me, as it helped change my perspective on life. The book is “One Thousand Gifts” written by author Ann Voskamp. Voskamp, a Christian woman and mother, teaches the reader how to find light and gratitude in even the most difficult circumstances in life. At first, I thought, no problem I’m grateful. However, I soon realized it was in the act of learning to give thanks, and practicing gratitude in the difficult moments, that things began to change. 

For the entire month of November that year, I wrote each thing I was grateful for. It wasn’t always something crazy and moving. In fact, as I look back in that journal, I gave thanks for slow mornings, homemade lattes, paleo pancakes, and the hardships God was pulling me through. As time passed, I began to find gratitude in even the smallest of things, my world became a bit brighter, and things that didn’t seem so glorious became brighter with each day. This idea really got me to thinking. If we all gave thanks, and found joy in the “little” things, would we be living a better life? A life that would be healthier just from having a grateful heart and positive outlook? 

Gratitude is defined as the quality of being grateful or thankful. An article written on WedMD says, “Throughout history, philosophers and religious leaders have extolled gratitude as a virtue integral to health and well-being. Now, through a recent movement called positive psychology, mental health professionals are taking a close look at how virtues such as gratitude can benefit our health. And they're reaping some promising results.” The article also talks about how gratitude can help with stress and even boost the immune system. Other studies show gratitude helps with sleep and even exercise. While I can’t say there are any studies that link gratitude to curing disease, some studies argue it can help keep your body and mind in a better state of health. As a health coach, I completely agree. I find those who sit with a positive mindset can take their healthy journey to a completely different level. In fact, this is often where the changes take place. Clients begin to see they are beautiful where they are in this moment, instead of feeling sorry for themselves, and doing nothing about the things that they are unhappy with. It’s the joy, happiness, and gratitude that can make this journey enjoyable and positive. 

I want to share a few things that I do to stay thankful, even in moments of life where I’m not sure where I’m headed. The truth is, we ALL have something to be grateful for. You may be reading this thinking, she has no idea how hard my life has been, or how can she understand the struggles that I am going through. You’re right, we all have different hardships that can make life “tough,” but if you can find gratitude in the breath you just took, the eyes you have been given to read this, and the freedom to live your life as you please, then you DO have something to be thankful for. It’s a choice that can change your life for the better. To not only offer yourself happiness, but possibly better health, within your mind and body. Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay GRATEFUL.

JOURNAL

Grab a spare journal and log little moments of gratitude and joy that you experience throughout the day. These “nuggets of joy” do not have to be monumental or extreme. These bits of joy can simply be like the things I mentioned above. Maybe it’s a sunrise, a freshly fallen snow, a cup of hot coco, or even a smile from a stranger. These are the gifts, that when we feel like there is nothing left, remind us of all the little and big things that we can be grateful for. 

GRATITUDE JAR

My husband and I have decided to keep a gratitude jar in 2016. We will write out little moments that brought us joy that we are thankful for. On New Year’s Eve, we will sit down and open up the moments of gratitude. It’s these little moments that we tend to lose sight of, and forget that we were ever blessed with. What a gift to open this up at the end of 2016 and reflect on the amazing things that took place, beyond a pay raise! 

PRAYER

By now, you all now I love me some Jesus! I’m not quiet about it, and yet I’m not pushy with it either (at least I hope not). I’m open about my faith with clients, friends, and you because it is one of the most important aspects of my life. It has made every bit of a difference in moments where I have felt lost, unspoken for, and even unsure of my purpose.  Through prayer, questions are answered, and God brings everything full circle. It isn’t always the answer I want, but it eventually leads me exactly where I want to be. Offering thanks to God is one of the most beautiful feelings you can bring to yourself. It’s recognizing that it’s because of HIM that you have been blessed with everything around you. 

GIVE THANKS

Looking someone in the eye and telling them how grateful you are is powerful. Whether it be for a gift, kind gesture, or simply for their support. It can mean the world to someone, who may feel like all that they do goes unnoticed. A smile, a moment to tell a stranger thank you for holding the door, or telling your spouse that you're grateful for all that they do. Showing gratitude and offering thanks can make someone feel loved and valued. Try it! 

So, can these habits of giving thanks and being grateful make you healthier? I think so! I believe a positive mind, leads to a positive body, which leads to a healthier lifestyle and outlook. Take note of this area of your life, ask yourself if you are grateful or filled with complaints. Either way, adding this to your plate is nothing but beneficial. Take it from me, gratitude can often be what’s missing from the positive life that's right in front of you!