Monday Motivation 04.29.19: When All Hope is Lost


If you are human, you will feel it, the hurt, the pain, the desire to give in.  

If you are human, you will feel it, fear, doubt, defeat, the desire to surrender.

If you are human, you will experience it, the darkness, the despair, the discouragement, the desire to give up.  

But if you are human, you are resilient, you are strong enough to get through it.  

Don’t run from it, face it.  

Feel what you feel.

But don’t give in.  

Hold fast.  


Dig deep.


And yes, fight back.  

Fighting back is a victory in itself.

Fight back, because this is what we humans do.

Hope abides. 


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Energize Your Morning with These Routines, Part 1


This blog contains affiliate links.  For information, see full disclosure here.

What does your morning workout entail?  Ever thought of adding a simple routine that has the potential of building inner and outer strength, flexibility, and suppleness?  What if such a routine also strengthened the mind and helped you manage your stress?  Would you try it?  
In this series, I’m going to share three fairly simple yet very effective routines that I benefit from and use several days a week.  You may have heard of them, but if not, take a look, give them a try, and maybe you’ll find a new way to energize the start of your day!

Energizing Routine 1: Yi Jin Jing


Yi Jin Jing (YJJ) is a Chinese qigong exercise also known as the “muscle-tendon changing classic”. Qigong, very simply defined, is a series of Chinese physical movement exercises that emphasize  breath control, vital energy, movement, and improved health*

This routine is said to strengthen muscles and tendons, changing them and thereby changing and strengthening the body.  One might experience increased strength and range of motion, flexibility, balance, and coordination.  Along with this, various internal organs and systems may also be strengthened. These benefits are not instant, to be sure, but are cultivated slowly through correct and consistent practice.

How to Begin

As with any new exercise program, consult your healthcare provider prior to beginning the program.  While it is best to learn from an experience instructor, in the absence of such a teacher, it is possible to learn YJJ from books and videos.  Once the external movements are learned, it is important to continue research and exploration in order to get the utmost from the routine.

My Experiences

About three years ago, one of my former karate instructors mentioned YJJ during a reunion conversation.  He didn’t go too deep into the practice but what he said sparked my imagination, and after picking his brain via email over the weeks that followed, I purchased the following book (instructional DVD included):

Once I received the book, I wanted a until Christmas vacation before diving into it.  At first glance, the routine appeared rather challenging, but it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought.  I divided it into three sections, learning the first well enough to do it on my own before moving on to the second and then the third.  The DVD was very helpful and within three days of starting, I had the external movements memorized (mostly) and I was ready to begin exploring this amazing exercise on a consistent basis.  

It took about a year-and-a-half before I started to notice the first hints of YJJ’s deeper benefits.  I have to say that I didn’t follow a pure scientific / experimental method or approach with this routine; I didn’t measure my tendon’s thicknesses or my muscle strength, or my various ranges of motion prior to adopting YJJ, so my results could be, and probably are, totally subjective.  Even so, I know how I feel, and I clearly do experience greater suppleness and an expanded range of motion, and I am noticing a different type of strength.  Without a doubt, this is one of the most important exercises that I do.

The Next Step

Click the link above, take a look at the book, or find a good teacher and give it a go.  You and your body will be glad you did!

You can also find other YJJ books and resources on our Yi Jin Jing page.  

Wishing you the good, better, best of what’s possible!


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April 15: Audit Your Grocery Cart Day!


You’ve been working hard to improve yourself, your mind, your body, your life.  You’re exercising on a consistent basis, you’re getting the right amount of sleep, and you’re drinking enough water.  But, you don’t seem to be gaining muscle, or losing weight, or feeling any better.  One of the things that might be hindering your progress is often overlooked or even neglected altogether.  What are you throwing into your grocery cart when nobody is looking?  You know what I’m talking about.  

The bags of savory chips:



Those decadent cakes…

sliced cake on plate


The ice cream?  Yes, the rocky road…


Indulging every now and then can be a good thing, healthy even, but I think we’d all agree that there shouldn’t be more snacks than real foods in your normal weekly grocery shopping cart.  I think we’d all also agree that eating nutrient-rich foods is foundational to living a rich, full, fit and healthy life. If that’s the case, then a regular grocery cart audit is probably necessary.

The Audit

It doesn’t matter if you eat Primal, Paleo or Ketogenic, Vegan or Carnivore, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, High Fat, Low Fat, or Low Carb, etc.  What does matter is that you stick to your chosen dietary plan at least 80% to 90% of the time.  This requires a moderate to high level of consciousness around what we’re actually purchasing when we shop.  Just as tax season makes us more aware of our income and spending habits, an audit of the grocery cart should open our eyes to our buying and eating habits.

Performing the audit is easy; here are some suggested steps for your next shopping trip:

  1. Shop as you normally do.  Don’t try to change a thing, just shop.
  2. Just before going to the checkout counter, take a few photos of your cart.
  3. Next, take photos of the food on the checkout counter.  It’s best to take the photos from the perspective of a person standing in the line behind you, if possible.
  4. Set a reminder to view the photos a few days later, preferably about a day before you create your next grocery list.
  5. When you’re ready to view the photos, get real with yourself and notice and name what should and what shouldn’t be in your cart.  Be as objective as you possibly can, knowing your fitness and your health could depend on it.
  6. Now make your new list.  You might need to research alternate, healthier food ideas to replace any that you’ve deemed unhelpful or that shouldn’t be eaten on a regular basis.

The assistance of an objective friend or family member might prove quite useful, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when performing your audit.

Support Your Base

bowl of vegetable salad and fruits

Good nutrition is a vital part of your base; auditing your grocery cart from time to time will go a long way in helping you keep your base strong.  Remember, support your base and your base will support you. 

Here’s to eating right and thriving daily!


Subscribe below.  Seeking gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, low-chemical alternatives to snacks and foods, skin care products, etc?  Find what you need on our Healthier Choices and High Quality Grass-fed Beef, Poultry, Seafood pages.


Staying Body-Positive While Losing Weight


Ms. Susan Treadway, an addict in recovery, authored the following guest post. She uses a holistic approach to sobriety to stay on a successful path and believes adopting even a few holistic methods can help anyone struggling with addiction.

Susan wants everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hippie to embrace holistic wellness – this concept is simply about focusing on your entire sense of well-being rather than just one part. She hopes her website,, will inspire anyone who has struggled with addiction to incorporate holistic practices into their own self-care routine.

You feel happy and confident in your own skin, but you still want to lose weight. Is that hypocritical or can you still be body positive while trying to change your body? I think you can, and I’ll explain why.

Carrying extra weight is hard on your body. According to Stanford Health Care, obesity contributes to joint, respiratory, and cardiovascular problems, increases your risk for serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and even puts you at risk of developing certain cancers. It can also affect your day-to-day life if it’s hard to get around or you have low energy, which leaves your social and emotional life suffering.

There’s no point in being body-negative when you’re overweight, because it doesn’t get you anywhere. Self-loathing is a poor motivator for self-change. Rather, people change their habits and get healthier when they love their body. Wanting to prevent the serious health problems that obesity can cause isn’t body-negative — in fact, working toward a healthier body is one of the most body-positive things you can do.

So, what does body positivity during weight loss actually look like?

  • Focus on Body-Positive Motivations: It’s easy to get discouraged by numbers on the scale. This is especially true if you’re losing weight and gaining strength at the same time; even though you’re getting leaner, your weight might not change much. Instead of focusing on how many pounds you have to lose, set body-positive goals like running 10 percent further each week or having the energy to go out dancing with friends.
  • Exercise Where You’re Comfortable: If the thought of going to a gym terrifies you, you don’t need to do it. You can achieve a full-body workout at home by building a simple home gym instead. That way, you get comfortable moving your body and using equipment without worrying about who’s watching or rushing to the gym before it closes. And although fitness equipment can be expensive, you can still save money over a gym membership (especially one you don’t use). When you start with basic equipment like a weight bench, dumbbells, gym ball, and stationary bike, you can easily fit your home gym into a guest bedroom, garage, or just the corner of your living room.
  • Don’t Sacrifice Good Sleep: There’s no substitute for a good night’s rest. According to, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re waking up early to exercise but you’re not going to bed earlier, it won’t be long before you crash. Sustaining change means giving yourself the energy to make good choices day after day.
  • Fuel Your Body: A poor diet won’t only sabotage your weight-loss goals, it will also leave you lacking the energy for an effective workout. Proper nutrition is essential for a healthy body and mind, so start making the switch to a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods. If you can’t sustain a complete diet change, that’s ok. If you change your habits gradually, eventually it all adds up to a significant shift in your eating patterns.
  • Address Your Mental Health: If you have negative feelings about your body and self-worth, a fitness regimen won’t change that. The best way to unpack negative self-think is with the guidance of a mental health professional. If you’re holding onto stigma about therapy, this is the time to let go of your misconceptions and see if a therapist can help.

From more energy to face the day with, to reduced risk of serious illnesses, there are a lot of positive reasons to lose weight. However, how you treat yourself during the weight loss journey is just as important as your motivations for it. When you’re kind to yourself in body and mind, you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.

Best to you!



Monday Motivation 04.08.19: Stay Focused


It all comes down to you and what you focus on.  

Whatever your goal or dream, it won’t happen if you are not focused.

Distractions abound.  

The world is full of distractions.  

Don’t fall for them.  

The world is the distraction.

Don’t give in.  

Don’t slack off.  

Dig deeper.

You deserve better, but yes, you must fight for it.

That fight is first won or lost in your mind.

Then that victory or loss is made manifest in your life.  

Bad news is, win or lose, it’s up to you.

Good news is, win or lose, it’s up to you.  

Get focused.  Stay focused.



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