My Newfound Love – The ActivMotion Bar!

Ok, y’all….when I got my 6 lb bar as part of a partnership between Fit Approach and ActivMotion Bar, I expected a few things…

I expected it to be challenging. After all, it was one of the workouts during the circuit at IdeaWorld that really stuck out with me as being really hard.

I expected it to be a change. I didn’t do much workout with any form of a bar and have been mostly sticking to Pound workouts since getting certified.

What I didn’t expect? Just how much I would love it! Not only is it challenging and different from many other workouts I’ve tried, but it’s FUN! There are just so many options for the type of workout you can do with it – slower, balance based movements all the way to powerful dynamic ones. And while my favorite workouts so far have been mostly dynamic, I’m pretty sure that is just because my balance sucks! Thankfully, that is something that will hopefully improve as I use it more.

Another thing I’m really enjoying about working out with the bar is that while I can do a long, intense workout, there are plenty of ways to get a really good quick workout in too! I’ve found myself pulling it out at home to do a 15-min workout on days where I can’t make it to the gym! I don’t honestly like doing at-home workouts much anymore, so the fact that I really enjoy it when I’m using my ActivMotion Bar says a lot! (I still prefer gym workouts though…then I just take my bar with me!)

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All in all, I can’t get over just how much I am in love with mine. I even ended up buying two more during their holiday sale! And if you want to try one for yourself, you can! Just go to ActivMotion Bar and use the code ‘fitapproach25’ at checkout to get 25% off your purchase, good through Jan 7!

I was given my bar from ActivMotion Bar through a partnership with FitApproach for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Y’all, I know I’ve been a bit absent this year. Some things didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, like blogging on here more regularly. But I’ve got some big changes coming soon! And to say “thank you” for sticking with me though my long absence, I’m doing a big giveaway!

I’m sharing a bunch of my favorite fitness and wellness brands with you so you can fall in love with them too! Now, because blogging has still been sporadic for me….this giveaway actually started yesterday (sorry!) But you can still enter for Day 1 until 11:59 pm tonight!!

Each day has a different awesome item (some with 2 winners!), culminating in the big finale – This bag full of goodies! So jump over to Instagram and join in the fun!

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Changes are coming!

Wow….It’s been a long time y’all! I didn’t really intend to drop the ball on here as much as I did this year. But things with the business got a bit crazy and well, something had to give.

But that’s about to come to an end! From the very beginning I’ve hoped to have more time to set to the blog – early next year that will be a reality. I will be cutting down my hours at my ‘pay-the-bills’ job!! That will let me go more full time with both my business and here. I’ve had so many things I’ve wanted to share with you, so I can’t wait!

Until then, I am going to be trying to write a little more on here – I’ve missed sharing things with y’all so much! Here are a few things I have in mind for the coming year.

  • Regular newsletter with workout tips, new recipes and more!
  • Weekly meal prep posts again!! (YAY!!)
  • Meal prep videos (a bit scary, but I’m excited!)
  • More workout tips and routines
  • Possibly Patreon? (still looking into things on that end)
  • For locals, more events!

One of the really exciting things that has happened since I last wrote on here – I am now certified as a personal trainer! I can’t wait to start being able to use that to start sharing even more helpful things with you!

What would you like to see in the coming year? What topics would you like to see me cover? Let me know!

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BlogFest 2018: The Experience (And a Giveaway!)

Now that I’ve shared my deeper mental shift from this year’s BlogFest, it’s time to share all the fun things I got to do and try!!

Outside of our amazing community and all the friends I’ve made over the last year, the thing I really love about BlogFest is how many new things I’m exposed to while I’m there. Being from Iowa, we can be a bit behind the times…at least when it comes to new companies, workouts and products.

Last year, my biggest discovery by far was PoundFit! It has impacted my life so much over the past 6 months…And before BlogFest last year I hadn’t even heard of it! Other than that, my Takeya water bottle from last year is never far from reach!

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Photo by Lex from www.flecksoflex.com

While I think this year the biggest impact is going to be my mental shift, I found some awesome products that I can’t wait to incorporate into my life!

From the Sponsors

Trigger Point

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Now, I had tried rolling before. Repeatedly. After all, it’s supposed to help, right?! But it seemed like it never really did much for me. That is, until Trigger Point. They offered a guided workout with Natalie Jill, using their Grid Roller to warm up and cool down. It was awkward and kinda painful….but when I got up, I was amazed at how much better I felt!

I loved it so much that I went down to the Expo and bought one of their bright pink grid rollers! I love it and have been using it as a part of my workout routine since I got home!

(Not sure how to foam roll? I’ve been using Gixo’s new classes to guide me through my rolling session! Use this link to give it a try for yourself!)

Great Lakes Gelatin

Great Lakes was a sponsor last year as well, but I’m super excited this year. I visited their booth and they were wonderful enough to give me a canister of their Collagen Endurance to try out! I’ve been using it for about a week now and I’m loving it! I can’t wait to see what sort of effect long term use has on my damaged nails, but I’m even just enjoying the boost in my energy.

Haiku Bags

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Haiku Bags gave us the cutest wallets as part of BlogFest and I love mine! It now lives in my gym bag haha. As an added bonus, I won a giveaway after BlogFest and got a backpack from them! The giveaway wasn’t related to BlogFest, but I never would have entered without them being a sponsor!

California Almonds

Last year, I was so disappointed when I got home and realized I had lost the cute serving-size tins that California Almonds gave us. So I was thrilled this year when we got another one! I actually went down to their booth and got a second one, just in case!

I love almonds as a snack and not needing to measure out a serving makes grabbing that snack on the go even easier! I just fill the tin, toss it in my bag, and go!

Being Better Matters

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My favorite find in terms of food, I LOVE Be Better bars! They are delicious and the perfect snack for my post-work, pre-workout hunger! And because they are awesome and I love them, they have partnered with me to give away a box of my favorite flavor of protein squares! (Check out the end of the post for the giveaway details)

From the Expo

Supercharged

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By far my favorite find from the expo was a new workout! Supercharged was so much fun to try out! I would actually love to get certified in it someday. I love the message and mindset that the creator, Kwanza Jones, is trying to foster. She is a pretty awesome lady and I got to chat with her for quite a while!

TechnoGym

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I’m not a huge fan of treadmills, but I got to try a pretty nifty one from TechnoGym! It was a lot of fun and super challenging. I wish there was one available at my gym!

Other Discoveries

My People

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Ok, so I knew that the #SweatPink community is amazing. But this year’s experience was so different from last year’s for me. Last year, I was nervous, didn’t know anyone and was more than a little insecure about being there. This year? Different story entirely!

While I’m still a bit nervous and insecure sometimes, I had spent the last year getting to know a lot of these awesome people through their blogs and social media. We may have only met once before that, but these were my friends! My people! So when I got to BlogFest this year, I told myself that I wasn’t going to let that insecurity stop me. I was going to get excited and hang out with my community in person! I let myself be myself and jumped in way more than I did last year.

As a result, I got to feel what having that community around you really feels like. To look around and know that these are “your people” and that they get you in a way few others do.

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And by my jumping in and being more outgoing, that experience hasn’t stopped since BlogFest. I’m reaching out more and connecting more with my community. (Though this is an area I still need to work on) I’m developing closer friendships and a wonderful support network. While it may not be in person right now, I still have my people around me!

I can’t wait to see what this year holds and what exciting discoveries next year’s BlogFest will bring! I’m already counting down the days!

The Giveaway!

protein-snack-blogfest-giveawayI’m partnering with Being Better Matters to give you a carton of Honey Oats Protein Squares! Head on over to Instagram to enter!

Want an extra entry? Comment on this post with what in your life inspires you to be better!

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Week in Review: July 23-29

Y’all I seriously feel like a weight has been lifted. After my post earlier this week I finally feel like I can get back to blogging regularly! It’s still probably not going to be as often as I would like until the market season is over, but I have so much I want to share with you!

But for now, my week in review!

Meal Prep

I’m doing a bit of freezer clean-out right now, so our meal prep was super basic. Hard boiled eggs and protein balls for snacks; Turkey and Bean Burritos (based on this recipe) for Draz!

Workouts

pound-pro-group-exercise-classI didn’t get in as many workouts as I would have liked this week due to some of my work schedule. But I taught 3 Pound classes and had a few days with a pretty high step count! I’m planning on upping this a bit in the coming week if I can!

What I’m Loving this Week

Our new cat and listening to the Sisterhood of Sweat podcast!

Struggles

While I did have some stress related food cravings this week, I managed to keep them mostly in check. I did indulge a bit of the craving…but I also controlled portion size! Since this is a serious difficulty for me when I’m really stressed, I’m pretty proud of myself for the self-control.

I also haven’t been getting as much sleep lately as I need. Some of it was work related and not an issue anymore, but the rest…not so much. I am trying a new planning routine that I hope will help with productivity, letting me feel like I can get to bed earlier.

For Locals: Upcoming Events

July 31 – Rock the Library Pound Class! Ericson Library, Boone, IA 6:30 – 7 pm

August 12 – Pound and Pour at Jasper Winery, Des Moines, IA 1-2 pm

 

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Be Unabashedly You and Other Lessons from BlogFest ’18

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of weeks on how to write this. BlogFest ended more than 3 weeks ago (how has it been that long?!?) and the lessons I learned there have taken a while to process.

 

The biggest one? To be unabashedly, unapologetically me! Yet even as I write that, I cringe a little.

Does that sound egotistical? Too focused on me, not enough on my readers? Is it rambling too much? Maybe I should make the post less serious….more serious? Are they going to get meaning out of reading this?

These are all things that go through my head, pretty much every time I write. And that is why the main message at BlogFest this year hit me so hard.

You see, I have a tendency to hide parts of myself, to smooth them over. To not dig too deep or show too much. And that isn’t what I want, not really.

I want for you to move forward on your journey with me to be there to support you.

Does that sound egotistical?

Possibly. But it’s also true. And I’ve struggled with the best way to do that. Because I was scared. I was scared to show you my faults, my struggles….Even my successes. When something wouldn’t go well I would try to gloss it over. When something went really well I would downplay it.

Blogfest-2018The first speaker at BlogFest was Petra Kolber. And while all of the speakers really helped me and gave me a lot of insights, Petra’s really hit me hard. Here are a few things that she shared and what they brought home to me.

Others connect with your faults, not your perfection. What they want to know is how you deal with those faults.

By glossing over my struggles, I help no one. I just make it harder to connect, harder for them to see how I traveled along my own journey.

Focus on passion, not perfection.

This is a constant struggle for me. Is this a good enough photo to share? What if I can’t write this post well enough? Maybe I just shouldn’t share it until I can do it better. But this means that it never gets shared. I am passionate about what I am sharing with you all. I need to allow that to be enough. To allow me to be enough.

Don’t wait for perfect.

That one really says it all. And while I still am hesitating with those same questions, I’m striving now to not wait for perfect.

Two other ladies that spoke and really impacted me – Sadie Nardini and Natalie Jill. While their entire presentations were pretty awesome, there was a key statement in each that really spoke to me.

“You can’t help the world if you don’t step forward.” – Sadie Nardini

“What is your driving core motivator? Things don’t just happen, you make them happen.” – Natalie Jill

Both of these made me admit something to myself. Something I don’t think I had ever said in a serious, non-self-depricating way.

What I want more than just about anything is to make a positive impact on others. To use my journey to help them along their own. To motivate, inspire, educate and cheer-lead my way into their lives so that they are better for having known me.

I want to make a difference to people. I want to make an impact on many people’s lives. On their health, their happiness…their entire well-being. 

This isn’t really something I ever said seriously. I mean, who am I to hope to have that type of impact?

Well, that is something I’m still working on answering. But this year’s BlogFest and all of my amazing #SweatPink community has really pushed me forward on figuring it out!

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(There will be a more lighthearted recap of all awesomeness that was BlogFest and IdeaWorld in a few days! But this year had a big emotional impact on me and I wanted to share that part first and foremost.)

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Week in Review: May 14-20

Hey y’all! If you read my post last week, you know I was having a bit of a rough time of it. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling much better this week, if a bit overwhelmed by stuff I meant to get done last week haha. But that is how things go, right?!

One thing that helped a lot – This week’s meal prep! It was pretty quick to put together and delicious. Both of which were super important, since I had a lot to get done before the fine arts festival the following weekend (where I’m at RIGHT NOW!!)

Anyways, onward to meal prep and this week’s workouts!!

Meal Prep

healthy-meal-prep3 main meals this week, plus some protein balls and cinnamon bread for the freezer! The next couple of weeks, I’m going to be really short on time, so the freezer being well stocked is essential.

  • Healthy Kung Pao Chicken – Easily one of Draz’s favorite dishes, this one is pretty quick to make too! The most time consuming part of it is trimming the green beans. Which is well worth it, because fresh green beans are delicious!
  • Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes and Green Beans – I love this recipe for a quick filling and delicious meal. I almost always pair it with the Kung Pao Chicken for my preps, since they both use fresh green beans.
    • note – The recipe calls for fresh lemon juice. Now, yes, it does taste a bit better with it fresh. That said, I always use bottled anymore….much quicker and Draz and I still think the dish turns out wonderful!
  • Chicken Vindaloo – This one is definitely more my dish than Draz’s. I usually eat mine with steamed cauliflower rice!
  • Cinnamon Bread – We weren’t out from the last time that I made this, but this recipe freezes great! I didn’t want to worry about running out over the next few weeks, so we now have 3 loaves in the freezer haha.
  • Protein Balls – As always, a great go-to snack for Draz and myself. These have been a staple in our house for over 2 years now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon!

Workouts

This week I had some pretty awesome workouts! And make sure to check out the announcements at the bottom of this post – I have some exciting things coming up for workouts, starting tomorrow!poundfit-ymca-group-exercise

  • Monday – nearly an hour and a half of POUND practice! I’m working on some new songs right now, so this was even more fun and challenging than normal!
  • Tuesday – more POUND, sticking mostly to new songs this time. Tuesdays are my 15-hr work days (between the two jobs), so I didn’t workout for as long – ended up practicing for about 45 minutes
  • Wednesday – More POUND – Are you surprised? Haha I practiced before class and then taught an awesome class!
  • Friday – 16 mile bike ride with Draz for our 4 year anniversary!
  • Saturday – Does set-up for my art festival this weekend count? The unload and set-up process was definitely a workout, so I think I’m counting it!

Struggles

I did okay for most of the week, but I haven’t quite gotten back into “market mindset” yet when it comes to planning my preps. I’ve been doing great at stocking the freezer for those weekends I won’t have as much time to cook, but I didn’t plan ANYTHING to take with me to eat during the weekend art festival. I will need to plan better for future markets. Expect to see more burrito bowls in the future!

Reminders

Locals – POUND events at Jasper start soon! Join my Facebook group to stay up to date on that and so much more!

 

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Week in Review: May 6-13

How is everyone doing this week?! I was pretty busy this week and super thankful for my meal prep! It really helped keep things less stressful. That said, it wasn’t an easy week and I’m sharing some about that on here towards the end of today’s post. but first couple quick announcements!

Announcements

Gixo-on-demandIf you’ve followed my journey for little while, you’ve seen how much I love the Gixo app! It’s one of my favorite ways to workout and it’s getting better all the time! They are constantly improving it and adding new classes. And you can try it for free for 30 days! And if you use my link to do it, I get a little something extra if you decide you love it as much as I do and sign-up! Check it out here!

 

 

 

 

 

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Second announcement is mostly for Iowa locals – I’ve created a Facebook group and page for my POUND classes and events! Right now it just shows my YMCA classes, but there are more events in the works! Plus I have some fun ideas for the group that I can’t wait to put in motion. So I would love it if you join me on there! Check out the group here and the page here!

 

 

 

Meal Prep

This week I tried to keep things super simple since I had a weekend market to handle along with meal prep. Everything turned out delicious!

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  • Healthy Baked Italian Sausage and Peppers – Some of this was packaged with brown rice, the rest I ate with steamed cauliflower rice. This was probably my favorite meal this week!
  • Low- Carb Deconstructed Pizza Casserole – Always a favorite of Draz’s, I love how quickly this casserole comes together! And it’s super tasty too! One of my favorite dishes with mushrooms
  • Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken – A go-to for quick, easy and healthy in our house, this one was an easy choice for this week!
  • Protein Balls – Draz has a couple of these each day at work and I usually grab them between jobs. They are the perfect snack when I’m on the go, which is most of the time!

Workouts

road-bikeThis week I only got in 3 days of workouts. I was hoping for more, but at least the workouts I got in were pretty great! 2 days of POUND class and practice and one day of bike riding with Draz! We went on a nearly 20-mile ride and it was wonderful!

 

 

 

 

Struggles

Now for the part I’ve been struggling with (pardon the pun)….My goal is to always be honest on here and not make it seem like things are better than they are. But how honest? So, I’m just going to lay it out here. Maybe it will strike a cord with you.

In many ways, this was a good week. First market of the season went well, some exciting things are happening. I got in some workouts, didn’t get sick, etc….But depression doesn’t care if you SHOULD be having a good week. Most of the week I felt creatively and emotionally drained, more than a little down and just de-motivated. During this time, I made a couple really bad eating choices, but I’m trying not to feel too bad about them. A couple of days of bad eating don’t mean I’m failing, just that I stumbled a bit.

Thankfully, this was not a serious bout of depression. In some ways, I struggle to even name it depression, because I’ve suffered much worse and much longer bouts in years past. But that is really the only thing I can call it. I seem to be coming out of it now and my energy is coming back a bit. I’m still struggling with motivation and focus, but I think I’m past the worst of it for now.

A bit about Depression

I went back and forth with whether I should share this one here, but I think it’s important to acknowledge. Sometimes we just feel bad. There doesn’t have to be a reason that we can point to, some event that MADE us feel that way. Everything could be going wonderfully and we still feel horrible. Sometimes, like this bout, these feelings don’t last for long. Other times, they may. You may even need help in dealing with them, either through therapy or medication.

I’ve used both in the past and I’m pretty sure they saved my life.

The point of me sharing this on here? I want to encourage all of you to give yourself some understanding and compassion if you need it. And, even more importantly, if you need help in dealing with your depression (or something else), please get it. There is no shame in getting help, no shame in taking medication.

To find somewhere in your area to get help, you can go to this website.

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Week in Review: April 29-May 5

Oh my gosh, y’all….These past couple of weeks have been crazy and amazing! Sadly, I missed posting last week, but I was super focused on getting ready for my store launch for my jewelry (It went great and I can’t wait to see where this goes from here)! But I’m back this week and I have a DELICIOUS meal prep to share. Plus some exciting upcoming stuff for any of you readers who are local 🙂

Last Week

bike-ride-high-trestle-trailOk, since I missed the post last week, here is a super-quick overview. Workouts were better than the previous couple of weeks. I even went on a group bike ride with my Women on Adventures group!! It was so much fun! I got to see some friends and make some new ones. Plus, I may have snagged Draz’s new fat bike for the ride….I’m kind of in love with it and I really want one for myself!

Have you ridden one before? What did you think?

 

 

 

 

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Last week’s meal prep included – More Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice, Shredded Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese (x2 to freeze one, eat one), Cinnamon Bread, Breakfast Burritos, One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet (all of this was frozen as burritos), and Chickpea and Potato Curry 

It was a bigger meal prep this week as I get geared up for market season starting – which was this weekend! Having extra food prepped is the way that I’m able to keep up with everything going on right now, so this helped out a lot!

Meal Prep

Now on to this week’s meal prep!! I had a shop launch last weekend (when this was made) and I’m getting ready for another one in a couple of weeks. So this week’s meal prep was focused on FAST and HEALTHY. I made some more Cinnamon Bread to freeze, which is always good!

Along with that, I made:

  • One Pot Tomato and Basil Tortellini Soup – I added in some spinach and kale to this at the end and it was delicious!
  • One Pot Creamy Garlic and Noodles – I made quite a bit of chicken to go with this, since I wanted the pasta to be more of a side to go along with the chicken. I also used unsweetened plain almond milk instead of milk and added in some sauted onion when I cooked the garlic. At the end, I added in some chopped up broccoli. Overall, I was pretty happy with this recipe, though I will add more garlic next time. We like things pretty  garlic-y here haha
  • Crockpot Sausage and Peppers – As always, I made this with Italian Turkey Sausage. Quick to put together and so tasty!

Workouts

I’m still not getting in quite as many workouts in as I would like, but I did make it 4 times this week! Pretty much all of it was practicing and teaching Pound, but that is a GREAT workout! Along with Pound, I found out that loading/setting-up and tearing down my new jewelry displays for market is quite the workout all on it’s own haha!

And this is where the exciting news for the locals comes in!! I will be doing some Pound events in Des Moines starting in July! It’s super exciting and is going to be so fun, so keep an eye out for more details. I will be releasing more info soon!

Struggles

As always, I had to fight my stress eating impulses a lot this week. Most of the time, I did pretty well at keeping myself from buying junk, but there were was one day after work that included too many donuts! It’s always a struggle, especially when you work at a store that sells food.

So that is me this week! I hope you are enjoying the new post format and getting to see a bit more of what I’m up to on a week-to-week basis!

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Week in Review: April 16 – 22

Y’all, it feels SO good to be back at blogging again! I’m excited to share this week’s meal prep with you, so let’s get to it!

Enjoy!

Meal Prep

weekly-meal-prep-healthyThis week’s meal prep included a couple favorites and a new dish! The new recipe was Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken and it was delicious! The only main change I made was I subbed out the zucchini with celery, since Draz isn’t a fan of it. It was so good y’all! Just absolutely delicious!

The other two dishes I made were:

  1. One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole – Easily our favorite dish of the week, this is some serious comfort food.
  2. Healthy Baked Chicken Sausage and Peppers – I love this recipe, though I think I like it more than Draz does. It also freezes well, which makes it a great option to double and freeze the extra!

This week’s meals were a little heavy on the rice, but that is the downside when you are trying to focus on super budget-friendly. I am going to try to make that a little more balanced this week. I would love to hear some of your favorite budget-friendly recipes that don’t have rice!

Workouts

This week was another of lower volume workouts. I did a POUND practice on Wednesday, followed by teaching POUND a little while later. On Friday, I tried my first Gixo class that was Camera On and I loved it! Getting immediate feedback on my form and corrections when needed was wonderful!

So, not as many workouts as I would have hoped, but still better than nothing! Hopefully next week I can make it to 3-4 instead of 2.

Struggles

This week included a lot more struggles than I really want to admit. I’ve been pretty stressed with some things going on business-wise and it’s led to me making more poor eating decisions than normal. I do well with not buying junk when I’m grocery shopping, but when you work at a grocery store….well, it’s really hard to not make poor decisions on impulse on bad nights sometimes. But it’s something I’m always working on. And getting more workouts in will help with the stress levels as well.

So, that was my week in review! Nothing too terribly exciting, but not a bad week overall.

If you struggle with stress eating, I would love to hear how you deal with it! Please leave a comment with your thoughts below!

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