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Defining Health

In order to get healthy, I had to change my definition of health.

For those of you that don’t know me well, I’ve spent the last fews years on a health and wellness journey that kicked off somewhere in 2015.

It began in the form of exercise, yoga, long walks, and learning meditation to cope with financial and emotional stress. Today, I employ roughly all of these practices in my daily routine – with the addition of being conscious of eating good foods and seeking joy throughout my day.

So am I healthy?

The World Health Organization defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Under this definition I might be healthy? “Complete” seems like a scary target to hit and it leaves a lot of gray area to be defined.

I realized recently that somewhere along my health journey I had redefined ‘health’ to empower me to keep going.

My definition is as follows: “striving to take care of oneself by eating good foods; moving the body in a way that aligns with personal fitness capabilities and goals; meditating to address emotional processes and bring peace to the mind; and practicing self care through seeking joy and joyful activities.”

Under this definition, am I healthy?

Yes. Hell yes.

Why is the term Healthy loaded with pressure?

We are all differently abled. We come from different backgrounds, have different home lives, have different opportunities presented to us. We learned to model different behavior and we have different ideas on what it means to be healthy.

I want to preface this because I think in the last few years, the term “healthy” has become synonymous with shaming others for not meeting certain criteria.

“Oh that’s not healthy

“She doesn’t look healthy

“I would eat that but I’m trying to be healthy

We’ve all heard the sayings or maybe even muttered them ourselves.

For some, the term healthy can be loaded with connotations of a certain body image, weight requirement, spiritual practice, and state of mental health. I’ve even seen the current wellness movement shy away from even using the term, and replacing it with terms like alignment and wellness.

While I don’t disagree with the use of these new terms – in fact, I think alignment is really beautiful – I think the underlying problem is still there. Somewhere along the lines the term healthy became a stack of goals impossible for the average person to meet. (Or at least to felt impossible for me.) And in order to be healthy, you have to place yourself on this self-righteous pedestal of pride steeped in matcha, green smoothies and going for a run you hate.

Ok maybe I’m taking it a little far. But this is what it felt like for me when I first started this journey. I’d look at people that went running and think, “I can never be healthy because I am not built to be a runner (hello unwanted knee pain)”. I’d look at the green smoothie drinkers and think, “I can’t be healthy because I loath green smoothies.” I’d see a super skinny woman meditating with perfect posture and think, “I have a hard time with mediation, and sitting up like that to do it is hard.”

What all these excuses have in common is the fallacy that health is an all or nothing approach.

But Hillary, the WHO says….

Forget that definition of “complete wellness”. You will find much better results in the version that says, “seeking wellness.”

Health is a beautiful thing to strive for. And for me, it doesn’t matter if I hit the target. What truly matters is I’m trying to hit the target.

Changing this definition has made all of the difference for me. It’s allowed me to afford grace to my efforts, rethink solutions and reprogram my many limiting mindsets.

For me, health is:

  • Making peace with the body you are in and celebrating its unique abilities. Perhaps you are an all-star runner, perhaps you hate running like me, perhaps you don’t have the ability to run. We can all be celebrated for who we are.
  • Moving your body in the way that you can. I’m not talking rigorous exercise as a catch all for any of my abled or my differently abled friends. I’m talking about being intentional and connected with your body – and seeking that connection everyday. Enjoy lifting? Connect with your body through that. Want to push yourself to be your definition of fit? Find the exercise that will bring you joy and compliment that goal.
  • Enjoying foods that nourish your body and soul. “Diet” was a super hard concept for me to wrap my brain around. So instead of adopting a traditional, “rigorous health-conscious meal guideline” I co-opted a system known as intuitive eating. I seek a balanced approach to enjoying foods that will bless my body and bless my soul.
  • Practicing self care. I do this with a combination of things that bring me joy. Some of my favorites include yoga, meditation, cooking an awesome meal, listening to music, writing, playing music, crafting jewelry, taking a nap, enjoying a show, gardening, playing with my dogs. If it brings me joy, I call it self care and seek time doing it.

All the things I think health is not:

  • Meeting rigorous exercise requirements that do not bring you joy in the process. Been there, tried that, and all it did was bring me shame. I quit more times than I care to admit using this boot-camp-steeped-in-fat-shaming-myself approach.
  • Shaming yourself and others when goals aren’t met. Did I mention that I used to shame my own efforts? All it did was sabotage me from my goals and convince me I wasn’t cut out for fitness.
  • Eating a strict diet fueled by shame and disconnected body image. Shame was a theme in my life. Not. Any. More. I celebrate my body for all of the amazing things it can do and for the amazing things it has done.
  • Brushing off emotions and telling yourself the narrative to “toughen up”. My favorite coping mechanism used to be to ignore my emotions and then drink when they showed up. It. Doesn’t. Work.

Your journey

Wherever you are on your health journey – I hope that you can find some peace writing your own definition of health. I hope you can begin or continue to love the beautiful body you were given. And I hope you can celebrate your efforts – no matter how small.

Being “healthy” is a journey and a challenge that I will accept for the rest of my life. And I hope you will too.

4 Supplements to Up-Level Your Fitness Routine

Let’s talk supplements.

First off, I’d like to preface this post with a ‘you don’t need it’ attitude. Supplements are personal choices that fit customized fitness plans. I firmly believe in a ‘pick and add what works best for you’ mindset – especially when it comes to supplements or any health-related product.

Believe me when I say – I was the worlds biggest skeptic of workout supplements. I thought they’d be a huge rip-off and have adverse side effects when I stopped using them. (Anyone else watch too many of their friends in high school get jacked on creatine and then shrink when they stopped taking it?!)

Despite my skepticism, I decided to tryyyyy some products from Beachbody to see for myself. “Were they worth the hype or a waste of my money?”

Here is my honest review of 4 of my favorite beachbody products that have completely up-leved my routine. And a bonus review of a 5th that completely missed the mark for me.

I tried them one at a time, so as to really soak in the effects (if any) that they were supposed to have.

1.) Beachbody Recover – (Vegan)

Helps with: Muscle soreness

What is it? 

A protein shake for muscle recovery. Recover has 20 grams of pea protein (including BCAAs, 9 essential amino acids) & Pomegranate Extract

My review:

I was pretty skeptical of Recover when I first tried it. It was hard for me to buy into the idea that a protein shake could really help with soreness. But I was struggling to keep pace with muscle recovery and missing workouts on days I was feeling too sore to move. So I was ready to try anything.

Recover contains BCAAs which are theorized to help with muscle repair and recovery after workouts. It’s recommended to drink within 30 minutes of working out, but the science on this is still developing.

The first time I drank Recover I noticed a difference. Not only did the protein help with long term soreness, but the sugar in it helped with that muscle shakiness that comes right after an intense workout.

Before I’d be sore for 1-3 days after an intense workout. Now, when I drink recover, I’m sore for maybe 0-2 days max.

And as a bonus, it mixes well with water and it tastes AMAZING. Like a light chocolate shake.

Note: Protein can come from many sources – it doesn’t have to be a special protein shake. However, I love how it makes me feel and it’s chocolatey goodness.

2.) Beachbody Hydrate

Helps with: hydration during workout

What is it? 

Hydrate is like an electrolyte sports drink without the gobs of sugar.

My Review:

This product is so underrated I wish I had discovered it sooner!

Hydrate contains electrolytes and a little added sugar to process them. (Which for my hypoglycemia is a perfect combo.)

I was suffering from headaches during longer workouts (anything over 30 minutes) and annoyed that a migraine could develop from this “good” habit (exercise).

While I was drinking plenty of water, I wasn’t getting enough electrolytes to sustain my performance. I’d feel drained after the 30 minute mark and would get a headache anytime I tried to continue.

It didn’t occur to me that I was missing electrolytes until I tried a non-beachbody salt-based hydration drink. I didn’t get the headache and I actually felt energized to get through the workout.

I tried Beachbody’s Hydrate because it fit my budget – and I ended up liking Hydrate better.

Note: While there are a tons of options for sports drinks and hydration – this one fits my budget, my dietary needs (some sugar but not a lot) and helps me stay energized during long workouts.

3.) Beachbars – Vegan (Chocolate Almond Crunch)

Helps with: protein consumption

What is it? 

Beachbars are protein bars with an excellent ratio of protien/carb/fat.

Why I love it:

These are chocolately-good protein bars that use pea protein in lieu of whey. At $2 a bar (coaches price)- I was skeptical to try, but the flavor really won me over. They are a winning balance of protein, carbs and fat – which can get really out of whack fast in other brands (9g, 14g, and 7g in Beachbars respectively).  I’ve found other bars that I love that are either super high in fat or super high in carbs with less protein.

Note: Do you need them? You don’t need anything. Do you want them? Hell yeah you do! Worth a try in my opinion.

Budget friendly? Definitely not a Costco steal. But the combo of macros is spot on for my needs.

4.) Shakeology – Vegan

Helps with: protein consumption, bowel regularity and cravings

What is it? 

Shakeology is a protein powder that comes with all essential amino acids and tons of superfood extras.

Why I love it:

The price of shakeology alone was enough to have me hella skeptical at this one. The claim that it curbs cravings and keeps you regular was almost too go to be true – I had to find out for myself.

I originally tried the whey – which was too much for my allergy to handle. While it kept me regular – I quickly found it was something I couldn’t regularly consume.

Determined to like it, I gave the vegan a try.

The first thing I noticed was it really did and does help with cravings. When I drink a glass of shakeology I feel satisfied. Like ‘I don’t need this extra piece of chocolate’ satisfied. It’s a strange feeling that I was super skeptical I’d feel. But alas, it was real for me.

It also helped with regularity- and I think that’s enough said on that subject.

The other bonus with shakeology is its loaded with superfoods. When you start looking up the ingredient list -it’s insane. Almost every ingredient is some cult-followed superfood that boasts of wellness and healthy effects. While I don’t feel qualified to speak on the magic of superfoods – it makes me feel good knowing that this shake comes loaded with them.

Vanilla Shakeology is also super versatile and I make all kinds of flavored shakes with it to keep me satisfied. It mixes best when its blended (which is easy to do in a Ninja or other single serve blender.$

Note: Protein is protein is protein. At Costco alone you’ll find 3 cheaper competitors. But none of them will taste anywhere close to Shakeology. And none of them will have the same superfoods loaded inside.

Sound amazing? The hardest sell on Shakeology is the price – $99 (coach price) – $129 (customer price) for a 30 serving bag which averages to over $3-4 a shake. But If you can sneak it in your budget – it’s worth every penny. If you try buying all of those superfoods separately- the sticker shock alone makes shakeology a screaming deal.

*5.) Energize

What is it? 

Energize is an energy drink but without the gobs of sugar.

Why it wasn’t for me:

I wanted to love Energize sooo badly. But it has soooo much caffeine – and I couldn’t handle it. I am restricted to about 2 cups of coffee a day. Any more than that I and I am buzzing through the night.

Note: I have read reviews of people who absolutely love Energize (and who are wayy less sensitive to caffeine than me). It has a bit of a cult following – so I figured it was worth mentioning.

Some people even swap out their morning coffee for Energize! Not me though, I think I’d vibrate into another world.


Wanna learn more? Hit me up! I am more than happy to answer as many questions as I can.

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3 Ways to Leverage Beachbody On Demand as Your Online Gym

This post is for those willing and able to workout at home.

Beachbody On Demand (BBOD) is as online workout video platform that is available by subscription. It contains Team Beachbody programs and materials. Think of it as the Netflix of online workout programs.

Whether you join Team Beachbody with a program in mind or are excited to explore their library, here are 3 great ways to do it:

1.) Pick a Program


This is the easiest way to use BBOD. Simply select a program you’d like to try and give it a go! Each program contains workout videos and program materials. The program materials include nutritional guides and workout calendars to follow to complete the workouts in the program as intended.

Some programs contain sample workouts and others start with the first workout listed on the calendar. If you are curious but not ready to commit – I find the sample workouts are the way to go!

Side note: Some programs are “Real Time” meaning they have a different video to watch each day and others (i.e. the older programs) are a variety of workouts intended to be watched in the order as listed on the program calendar.

2.) Try a Hybrid Calendar

Want to combine 2 styles of fitness? Most BBOD programs have hybrid calendars that pair with another program. It is recommended that you complete each program separately before combining them – but you do you!

In addition to being able to find these hybrids in the program materials section – trainers love to share their exclusive hybrid calendars on social media. The easiest way to find them is on instagram: search for the program trainer and dig around on their page for their hybrids. (Shaun T, Elise Joan & Joel Freeman to name a few.)

3.) Build your own workout calendar!

There are 60+ programs and styles to choose from – the combinations are virtually endless!

I think this is a great way to get into fitness without the intimidation of committing to a 60+ day program that may be waaay more of a challenge that you were bargaining for. Beachbody programs are no joke and can be tough if you are new to fitness. Enjoy a blend of classes that fit your level of fitness, time requirements and enjoyment!

Tip: New to fitness? Try building a 5-7 day calendar. Give yourself some rest/recover days and fill in the rest with samples from programs you’d like to try! Build one week at a time until you find a flow that works for you.