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Finish Strong

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You can’t go back and change the beginning.  But, you can start where you are and change the ending” -C.S. Lewis
“The person who starts the race is not the same as the person who finishes the race.”
-Unknown

I’ve been there so many times.  I have started something with glee.  I started a new workout plan, diet, or project. I am so excited at the onset.  I think to myse;f “I am goint to CRUSH this.”  For example, I recently signed up for a 10K charity run.  I was excited to start training and adding in more cardio.  I was confident that this would be a piece of cake. I ran a 10k before.   Heck, I ran a half marathon before! This would be a proverbial “walk in the park.”  I had a positive mindset and nothing was going to stop me from reaching my goal.

Or, was it? 3 weeks before the race, I started to train outside.  I quickly realized that I was not in the kind of shape I used to be.  I would get tired and pained quickly during my runs.  How was I supposed to run 6 miles?? My confidence and belief wavered.  You see, the deeper you go and continue to work, obstacles will almost always rear their ugly head.  Maybe you get tired. You get injured.  You get tempted and give in.  Is that the end?  Some would say so.  You failed. You “fell off track”.  It’s al l over once you hit a rut.

Or, is it?  You see, struggles and obstacles are part of the process.  They test your behaviors, discipline, and will to go on.  They make you want to turn back.  You feel like throwing in the towel.  But, These obstacles are just speed bumps. The glory lies in continuing on.   Working through and past obstacles.  Your spirit and will are stronger than the small obstacles in your way.  In the end, I did run that race.  I worked through the discomfort the whole way.  I committed to the process and took one step after another.  It was tough.  But, I knew there was an end to it.  As I reached the finish line, adrenaline kicked in.  I sprinted the last few hundred yards after an hour plus of running.

When you feel you are struggling, do not take the easy route.  Do not turn back or stop trying.  No, no, no.  Straighten yourself up. Proclaim that you will not be deterred.  These measly obstacles will not thwart you from reaching your goals.  Keep trying and pressing through your struggles.  You will come out stronger and smarter than ever before.  I promise.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 
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Start Slow

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“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”. -St. Francis of Assisi
“Start where you are. Use what you have.” Do what you can.-Adam Ashe


A few months back, I signed up for a charity race.  My company was sponsoring the event.  I had to work the vendor table before the race.  Naturally, I decided to run the race as well.  The problem was that I signed up for the 10K without a training plan!  Not the best strategy I assure you.  Even so, I began working toward running 6 miles.  At first, I ran on the treadmill for 10- 15 minutes.  After doing so for a week, I bumped up the time.  I ran for 20 minutes, 25 minutes, and so forth.  I worked up to 45 minutes comfortably on the treadmill after a few weeks.


Then, the weather finally improved enough for me to run outside.  I was stoked!  It had been close to a year since I have ran outside.  I was so confident I could pick it up quickly.  To my dismay, I STRUGGLED on that first run.  I had to stop at 3 minutes!  I eventually did a loop that took me 45 minutes while jogging and walking.  It was tough!  That run made me realize how different a jogging on treadmill and outside really are.

With 3 weeks before the race, I knew I was in trouble.  I was not prepared.  My endurance and weight was not where it should be to run 6 miles!  But, I did not want to turn back.  I did not want to shy away from the challenge.  So, I ran anyway.  Sufficed to say, I ran the race and finished.  I didn’t break any records to say the least.  Some lessons did come from this experience:
  1. Start any new goal/ venture/ change slowly
  2. Pace yourself and your progress
  3. Train with he same activity as your end goal/ event
  4. Work p to a goal
  5. Do not overwhelm yourself with a huge goal!!

Overall, the race was a great experience and I am glad I stuck to my guns and ran.  Next time, I plan to train more appropriately and seriously.  Have you ever set a goal and worked up to it?  Comment below! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Labels- Do’s and Don’ts (part 2)

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The nutrition facts label.  It’s like another language isn’t it?  So many words, numbers, and terms.  It can make your head spin!  Most of the time, people ignore this important tool.  They buy the food they like without even looking at this label.  They choose foods because of price, taste. or convenience.  Sometimes, they do not even realize what they are putting into their mouths!  Put simply, the nutrition facts label can be a helpful tool in your decision making.  It gives you valuable information on that food product.  You can make more informed and good decisions when reading these labels.  Here are some simple tips to make it easy deciding from a food label:
Don’t                                                                  
Blindly chose foods without reading their label
Think a package is 1 serving
Add salt or butter to salty or buttery foods
Choose foods high in sugar Choose foods high in fiber
Eat foods with long ingredient lists
Do
Choose foods lower in calories from fat
Eat the serving size on the package
Choose low salt and fat options
Choose foods high in fiber
Choose foods with short lists
The nutrition facts label can be a helpful tool when making healthy decisions.  It can be intimidating.  Start slow.  Practice with foods at home.  Decide if the food is helping or hurting you from the information included on the label.  You will catch on quickly.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 
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Labels- Do’s and Don’ts

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Labels- we seen them everywhere.  We label people.  We label products.  We label foods.  Depending on the label we give something, it will change the meaning and the perspective we take.

For example, we label people.  We generalize.  We label rich people as “greedy,” “grimy,” or “despicable”.  We label overweight individuals as “lazy”, “losers”, or “undisciplined”.  These labels we use create how we interact within the world.  If you see the people I outlined above in this way, would you interact with them?  Probably not.

What if we turned this concept inward to ourselves.  If we see ourselves as “lazy”, “uncommitted”, “no good”, or “weak”, how do you think we would act?  Like losers, I’m sure.  So, why give yourself labels like that?  Consider changing the way you see things. Change the way you see others and yourself.  Choose constructive thoughts, words, and actions when viewing other people, yourself, and products.  Choose products and people that will benefit you in your mental, physical, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual health.  For example, call yourself “loved”, “worthy”, “enthusiastic”, or “strong”.

Don’t
Allow others to determine your identity
Choose friends who do not want the best for you
Listen to negative messages
Dwell on negative thinking
Beat yourself up

Do
Choose a strong personal identity
Choose people who raise you up
Listen to positive messages
Cultivate positive thinking
Love yourself unconditionally

Choose people who support positive labels about you.  Choose people in your live who call you “smart”, “great”, “helpful”, “compassionate”, etc. They will support you both when you are on top or rock bottom. You will notice how you feel about your confidence, self-esteem, and decision-making.  Do this over time.  You will not only take on behaviors of positive labels. But, you will become more of those qualities!  As Always, Eat, Move and Improve!
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“P”atterns

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The direction of our lives depend on the patterns we create each day.  This means our behaviors, habits, thoughts, words, and actions form who we are and where we go. They are subtle but they drive our actions and interactions with the world.  If we are not careful, our minds will choose the patterns that are most accessible. Mostly, negative messages and tones from around us! I let that happen to me before.  Not a road you want to go down.  Trust me.  Want positive changes in your life?  Choose positive “P”atterns throughout your day.  During the day, I will speak these words to myself to repeat these patterns so they become second nature. Below, I outline some “P”atterns I use.  Find the words that speak to you and focus on adding them to your daily routine!

Peace: In this day and age, it is so difficult to find a mindful calmness.  We have distractions, loud music, annoying people, and electronics that keep us busy.  Finding peace and quiet almost means locking yourself in an empty room with nothing to do.  Or, does it?  The secret to outward peace is inward peace. Our minds create peace or chaos depending on what we feed it. If we feed busy distractions and fill our lives with commotion, our body will feel the business.  If we fill our minds with peace, quiet, kindness, and compassion, we will feel such.  Give yourself some quiet time and your body and mind will thank you.


Positivity: Our world throws so many messages at us.  Negative news, rude people, tough situations.  It’s sometimes easy to dwell on the negatives in this life.  It is so critical to develop a positive mindset.  Practice gratitude, looking at the bright side, interacting with positive media, and smiling.  You will see how your perspective will change for the better.


Passion: Passion is tough to define.  A dictionary definition seems cheesy here.  To me, “passion” means a burning desire to spend time with something or someone you love. Life seems dull without it.  Passion makes life exciting and meaningful.  Find your passion and you will find your direction and reason in life.


Power:  The world makes us feel powerless sometimes.  We get beat down.  We fail.  We get criticized or discriminated.  DO NOT allow the world to make you feel powerless.  YOU are powerful!  You have the power to make decisions and determine your outcome. Personal power comes from owning who you are and your choices.  If you do this, no one can make you feel any less about yourself.  Own who you are and step into your personal power!


Presence: Our culture and thinking has a way of turning us away from the present moment. Technology, distractions, the news, situations all have a way of taking us away from a mindful moment in the here and now.  We dwell on the past on past mistakes.  Or,we overthink and overanalyze in the future.  Past and future thinking robs us of the peace in the present moment. Find strategies that put you in the present moment.  You will feel more at peace and powerful to make great decisions.

Patterns make us who we are- good and bad.  Choose patterns and behaviors you can be proud of and see your life change.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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How to Eat Well When Traveling

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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

“Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”  -Thomas Edison

If you’re like most people, you travel every now and again.  That’s great!  It is important to explore this world and see all of it’s wonders.  In fact, I have seen stats that suggest traveling lowers depression.

When you are looking to make a lifestyle or behavior change, sticking to your plan can become difficult on your trip.  Food is quite available when we are traveling.  But, the food available usually does not fit into your plan.  We pass gas stations, sit down restaurants, dessert places, and fast food joins as we make our way around our new surroundings.  It is critical to stick to your plan despite being in a different zip code.  You do not to lose all the progress and momentum you have built up before the trip.  Here are some ideas on how to eat well when traveling:

-pack a lunch or snack on the road before you leave
-Choose healthy snacks when you make stops on your trip
-When arriving, locate a grocery store nearby.  Stock your fridge and cabinets with foods that fit into your plan
-Choose salads, light entrees, or vegetable dishes when eating out
-Drink alcohol in moderation.  Only 1-2 at a time
-Choose an appetizer or dessert.  Not both.
Remember, you are trying to make lasting changes in your life.  Do not allow the temporary time away ruin your permanent behavior change.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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The Brighter the Better

 

 

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.”- Allen Klein


“People in this world shun people for being great, for being a bright color, for standing out. But the time is now, to be OK with being the greatest you”.-Kanye West


“Revolution begins in putting on bright colors”.-Tennessee Williams

The other day, I walked past a woman in a parking lost.  She wasn’t hard to miss.  She was dressed in pink from head to toe!  A pink hoodie, pink sweatpants, and pink shoes.  Another man commented “that’s a good color on you”.  Without a beat, the woman responded “the brighter the better!”  That made me think.  Made me think back on some well known athletes who dress brightly- Tiger Woods on Sundays, Connor Mcgreggor at press conferences, Serena Williams on the tennis court, Rey Mystery Jr. in the wrestling ring.  They stand out.  They make a statement.  You cannot miss them.

More so, these athletes have a confidence about them.  They are enthusiastic and passionate individuals.  They give off positivity and swagger when they compete.  This made me think deeper.  Dressing in bright colors can help us as individuals.  We want to become our best selves in life and in the gym.  We want to be noticed.  We want to show off.  We want to feel confident and have that swagger in life. I am not sure what comes first- the bright colors or the attitudes of belief, confidence, swagger.  But, it doesn’t really matter.  They are both intertwined.  Next time you want to feel better about yourself and get noticed, dress in bright colors: bright shorts, shirts, socks, shoes, bandanas, you name it.  Put on your bright look and kill your workouts!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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#Despite

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“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”-Elon Musk


“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” —Conrad Hilton


“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor.”—Marianne Williamson


I have been having a tough time lately.  Whatever I do, it seems things have not been working out.  To add to this, I had a few challenges all at once in a single week.  I’m ok with one or two challenges at a time,  But three to four?  Give me a break!  I felt like I couldn’t catch a break!  I felt stuck.  I was anxious and overwhelmed.


But, something interesting happened.  I spoke with my friends and share with them what was happening.  They reassured me and gave me some perspective.  They made me realize that these circumstances were only temporary.  On top of that, they weren’t as big as I made them out to be!

These events made me rethink difficult times.  They reminded me that we all have challenging times.  They reminded me that I am not alone in my journey.  They made me realize that i can overcome difficulties despite obstacles.  I can survive DESPITE hard times.  They are only temporary!

If you are going through a difficult time, know this:  it is not here to stay!  Things will get better.  You will get better because of it!  You will persist DESPITE your circumstances.  Use these strategies to get through your tough times:

-call a trusted friend and share your struggles
-journal your thoughts and experiences
-reframe your expectations or perspectives on the event
-take care of your body- eat well, sleep, and stay active.
-do what you can at the moment.  Your strength and spirit to confront the big stuff will return.
-LAUGH!  Do something you enjoy that puts a smile on your face

In the moments you feel down and challenged, remember that challenges are temporary.  They are actually good for us because they make us stronger and more resilient.  Next time that you are in a challenging time, decide to persist DESPITE the challenge!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 
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Too Much Information

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“Information is not Knowledge” -Albert Einstein
“Where there is shouting, there is no true Knowledge” -Leonardo Da Vinci
“Wise Men speak because they have something to say.  Fools speak because they have to say something” -Plato

Recently, there has been a shift in the ability of information.  Before the internet became prominent, most information was accurate and true.  Most sources were truthful and trustworthy.  If you looked up a fact or spoke with someone, you were confident that what you found was true.

With the dawn of the internet, information flooded the public domain.  Information, facts, and sources became wildly available.  The worst part?  Lies and untruths became available.  Inaccurate websites and information came into the internet and flooded our minds.

For example, many sites can share information that may seem true, but is completely inaccurate.  It is important to pay attention to what resources you are consuming.  Consider these tips to identify if the information is accurate and true:
-it comes from a credible person or professional
-It has a dmain name as .org,.gov, or.edu
-it references accurate and credible outside organizations
-it comes from a credible organization or company

It something seems off or too good to be true, it probably is.  Use your head and question if the information you are accessing is true.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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“V”alues

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Value:  something (such as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable (Meriam Webster dictionary)

“In order to lead a meaningful life, you need to cherish others, pay attention to human values and try to cultivate inner peace.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

“It’s silly to have as one’s sole object in life just making money, accumulating wealth. I work because I enjoy what I’m doing, and the fact that I make money at it – big money – is a fine-and-dandy side fact. Money gives me just one big thing that’s really important, and that’s the freedom of not having to worry about money. I’m concerned about values – moral, ethical, human values – my own, other people’s, the country’s, the world’s values. Having money now gives me the freedom to worry about the things that really matter.”
-Johnny Carson

“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”— Roy Disney


The other day, I spoke with my grandfather on the phone. We had a wonderful conversation and it was the highlight of my day.   If you don’t already do, I encourage you to do the same.  Our grandparents are full of wisdom and knowledge from life experiences and will only be around a little longer.  It’s a shame to think that some people do not appreciate their grandparents.  We got on the topic of attitudes and values.  My grandpa shared one of his lessons with me on how he has continued to stay positive and energetic despite his age.  He named 5 “V”alues that allow us to become our best selves.  Below is a summary of our discussion:


All Definitions from Meriem Webster Dictionary 
-Vim: Robust energy and enthusiasm.
In order to achieve anything in this world, it is critical to attack it with Vim.  Genuine, authentic energy will take you to places you never expected.  Energy and enthusiasm move the world forward. Strive to live each day with a sense of robust energy and enthusiasm.

Vigor: intensity of action or effect : force

Vigor can be another term for passion.  We know that passion is essential in our day to day.  But, why?  Passion drives us forward despite obstacles.  This intensity helps us become a light that shines on others.  People take notice.  They realize you mean business.  You aren’t messing around.


Vitality:  lively and animated character/ the power of enduring

Without vitality, we would be boring.  The people with a lively personality make friends easier and can change more effectively.  They are fully alive in themselves and show it.  Also, vitality brings a sense of perseverance.  This kind of person can endure the toughest circumstances all with a smile on their face.

Vertical:  perpendicular to the plane of the horizon or to a primary axis : upright

Every day above ground is a good day.  Sometimes, it is easy to get bogged down in this world.  Disasters and tragedies occur almost daily.  There is an overwhelming sense of negativity.  Sometimes, reminding ourselves that we can stand and work can change our whole attitude about our day and lives overall.  Focus on being grateful for being alive and vertical.

Virtuous: morally excellent : righteous
It is critical to be ethical.  To live by a code of conduct that aligns with a system of values.  If each individual did not have a set of virtues, society would not exist and this life wold be a nightmare.  Choose your virtues wisely as they will define your behaviors and actions

There you have it.  5 “V”alues that can create a vibrant, exciting, productive, and long lasting life.  Do you have other “V”alues that you live by??  Comment below! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Get Dirty

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“I can say the willingness to get dirty has always defined us as an nation, and it’s a hallmark of hard work and a hallmark of fun, and dirt is not the enemy.” -Mike Rowe
“Opportunity is missed by most people because its dressed in overalls and looks like work” -Thomas Edison
“Learn young about hard work and manners-and you’ll be through the dirty mess and dead again before you know it” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m noticing, almost daily, how there is a lack of work ethic amongst people.  While I am not perfect, I value and understand hard work.  I have been a part of the work force for 10 years.  I have worked in several industries and varying capacities.  One practice I have had all the way through is to do my very best.  I make a point to do everything I can- prepare, serve others, problem solve, get rejected, learn and study more- to complete my work.  Again, my work isn’t always on point or close to perfect.  But, I put my best foot forward each time.

We are afraid to get dirty.  We are afraid to look bad or make a mistake.  This is a viral issue.  It pops up wherever hard work is required to have progress- a diet, a workout program, the workplace, relationships.  We are insecure about putting in the effort without having all the answers.  We want a sure outcome before going in.  We don’t feel ready so we wouldn’t try.  But you know what?  Life is messy.  It’s not clean and efficient all the time.  Sometimes, to get what we desire, we need to get dirty to some degree.  Yes, I am talking about sweat, pain, and effort in the gym.  But, it goes deeper than that.  In order to progress, we need to be willing dive into the “gunk of life”- scary emotions, scary situations, tough decisions, taking risks.  Life becomes more meaningful when we accomplish things through effort and sweat.

What examples do you have of getting dirty??  Comment below!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Shine Bright

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world.-Timo Cruz, Coach Carter
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King
“I Wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being” -Hafiz

Grade school and high school can be difficult times for some people.  These are critical times for young people in who we become as adults. As adolescents, we are developing our identity and beliefs about others and forming relationships.  These times can also be detrimental to young people.

I was bullied in my younger years.  Not physically, but bullied verbally.  People made me feel like an outcast.  I was the butt of their jokes and disrespected.  At the time, I didn’t know better.  I just thought that’s the way it was.  I was meant to be bullied.  I was nobody. I wasn’t special or good in my own way.

Now, I see how wrong I was.  I was wrong to believe them.  I was wrong to go along with what others and society said about me.  It took me awhile to find that out. I finally realized I have a light inside me.  I can shine bright and not care what people think. Remember, you are SPECIAL.  You have a PURPOSE.  You are GOOD.  Do not let anyone else tell you something different. Aim to believe in yourself.  Love what makes you different.  Celebrate your uniqueness.  Once you do, people will notice.  They will change their minds.  They will not make you feel bad anymore.  Shine your light and you will rise higher!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Gear Up

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“Organize, don’t agonize.”  ― Nancy Pelosi
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Be willing to take the first step, no matter how small it is. Concentrate on the fact that you are willing to learn. Absolute miracles will happen.” -Louise Hay

To me, getting ready is an odd concept.  It’s an essential part of our lives.  We get ready for work, get ready for school, get ready for a party, and so on.  Each person has their own definition and routine of “getting ready”. Here, I will focus on getting ready to make a health/ lifestyle change.  But, you can apply this to anything in your life.

Getting ready occurs once we acknowledge something needs to be done.  We realize that our mood has been off, we could lose a few pounds, or ate too much dessert recently.  There is something about our health we want to change.  The first step of any change is “preparing.”  Once you take the first steps, change becomes easier!  Therefore, we need to consider how to get the ball rolling in order to make these changes stick!  Consider these questions when looking to make a change:

-What resources will I need?
-Do I have said resources?
-How much time will I commit to this change?
-Who can I count on for support?
-What are my goals?
-How will I keep motivated during this change?
-What happens if I hit obstacles?

Take, for example, that you want to start running more often.  You realize you need running shoes and workout clothes.  You decide you will commit 1 month to making it a new habit.  You want to run for 30 minutes straight after that month.  You will count on your trainer friend to encourage you and help you with any unseen troubles along your way.
Obviously, this is one hypothetical situation to illustrate how to being making a lasting change.  What other questions would you ask yourself as you “gear up” for a change? Comment below!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Why I Workout

“I’ve always believed fitness is an entry point to help you build that happier, healthier life. When your health is strong, you’re capable of taking risks. You’ll feel more confident to ask for the promotion. You’ll have more energy to be a better mom. You’ll feel more deserving of love” -Jillian Michaels
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” -John F. Kennedy

I am by no means in my top physical form currently.  I’ve never been a top athlete or have the sexist body.  It’s important to know that your body does not have to be perfect.  You do not have to be a perfect 10 or be featured in a fitness mag to reap the benefits of exercise.

Currently, people will come up with LOADS of reasons why not to do something.  It’s easy.  We can dismiss the activity or person with one tiny excuse.  We stay in our comfort zone and keep going on our merry way.  If it’s inconvenient, it’s not going to happen. Thats what occurs often in society now.  Some typical excuses include: “I don’t have the time”, “It’s too inconvenient”,” it’s too difficult”, or my personal favorite- “why would I get sweaty on purpose?”

We’ve all been there.  We know it’s important. We know we should be doing it.  But, we comfort ourselves by rationalizing why it wouldn’t work.  We don’t want to disappoint ourselves or others.  But, life is not supposed to be 100% comfortable.  It’s CRITICAL to do something you would not normally do to get the results you want.

Instead of making reasons why not to workout, think of some reasons why it IS a good idea.
-It feels good to get moving
-You think more clear after working out
-You get a sense of accomplishment by doing something difficult
-You have a better mood from working out
Of course, your body, mind, and emotions will become more healthy!
Are there other reasons you exercise?  Share below!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Dear Ice Cream

Dear Ice Cream,

 I honestly love you. You taste so good and relax me after a long day. What’s not to like? You come in so many forms and flavors: slow churned chocolate, low fat cookies and cream, creamy vanilla, chunky rocky road. You’re always there for me in the freezer. I don’t need to explain myself. You always understand when we spend time together.

But, I realize you are not good for me. You are high in calories from sugar and fat. You really don’t do too much for me nutritionally. I gain weight and regret after eating you too much. From now on, I have decided to spend less time with you. For me to feel and look better, we need to separate. It’s yu really, not me. Please don’t be upset. See you around!

Sincerely, Letting you go

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A Valentines Day I won’t Forget

As Valentine’s Day 2018 approaches, I have been reflecting on my previous Valentine’s Day.  Considering I haven’t had a real Valentine around this time, this isn’t really my favorite holiday.  It always reminds me of the rejections and relationships that didn’t really pan out.

Last year was worse.  At the time, I was jobless and living at home.  I was job searching without much luck in finding the right position. I had taken a part time position at a bar and grill to stay busy.  My first workday was supposed to be Valentine’s Day.  To make matters worse, I got sick on my first day of work (eww).  I had to call in sick two days in a row!  Talk about making a terrible first impression!  Sufficed to say, I would happily forget that Valentine’s Day.

Fast forward to this year, my life is looking ALOT better.  I am working in a job where I am celebrated and respected by my peers and customers.  I have made progress in my hobbies and life goals.  I am beginning to create my happiness and separate myself from negativity.  I FINALLY moved out of my parents house.  And, I won an award at work recently.  LIFE IS GOOD.

Why do I share this?  Does it sound like a sob story to you?  I am sharing because IT GETS BETTER.  You may feel like your life is in shambles right now.  You may feel down on your luck.  You may want to quit.  But, life has an interesting way of CHANGING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.  It is key to believe that life offers infinite blessings and opportunities.  You have to believe that things will get better and take steps to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Share your “Comeback” stories below.  I would love to hear about them!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

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“P”ower Words

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“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” -Roy E. Disney

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” -Michelle Obama


“Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out”
“Words” by Hawk Nelson

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”-George Orwell, 1984

I have been thinking about values and words lately.  Most people underestimate their power.  They speak words without a second thought.  We act outside of our values.  No wonder people are miserable and not where they want to be.

Values and words are unusual things.  They are constant, but ever changing.  Values are those foundations we have built within us.  They drive our beliefs and behaviors.  However, they can be shaped, formed, changed, and even ignored.  Words and language are very similar.  Words are constant, but can change when combined with other words.  The words we choose can drive our beliefs and behaviors.  They also can be shaped, formed, changed, or ignored.


At the same time, the meanings of values and words remain the same.  They appear in our lives constantly in different times, situations, and quantities.  I encourage you to value certain words in your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.  These “P” Phrases will help you make better decisions and in effect a better outcome in your life.

People: We tend to underestimate how much we need good people and relationships in our lives..  Surround yourself and focus your time and effort on good people.
Persistence:  Nothing amazing was ever accomplished on the first try.  Consistent effort on something will improve your skill set and allow you to do the amazing.
Positivity:  Not many people like negativity.  Positive thinking has the power to improve situations, conversation, your day, and even your outlook on life  Cultivate your positive attitude daily.
Peace: We lead busy, non stop lives.  It an become exhausting. We don’t get many breaks and it never seems to stop.  Strive to find peace in your day and yourself and your life will have much more meaning.
Patience: Great things take time.  We live in a culture that promises instant gratification.  Choose to be patient in the moment while waiting for what you want.
Priorities: We have thousands of things pulling us all the time- work, family, extracurriculars, chores, errands.  Don’t even think about doing everything that falls into your lap.  Focus on the activities that bring the most joy and results.  You will be more focused and attentive to those fewer activities.

Remember, words and values have meanings.  Choose to live by strong values and speak positive, constructive words.  Watch as your interactions and life improve.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 
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Celebrate You

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“This is real
This is me
I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be now
Gonna let the light shine on me
Now I’ve found who I am
There’s no way to hold it in
No more hiding who I wanna be
This is me”
-“This is Me” by Demi Lovato
“I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me”
-“This is Me” by Keala Settle
“Be yourself because an original is worth than a copy” -Unknown
“My life will not be an apology. It will be a statement.” -The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

Society today pressures us in so many ways.  It wants us to conform.  It wants us to stay the same.  It wants us to be a part of a group.  What’s worse, it makes us feel bad if we stand out.
For any of you who are “different”, you know what I mean.  You may be different in one way or another.  Society makes you feel bad about that.  We’re not supposed to celebrate what makes us different, right?  Society would say so.
I recently saw the movie The Greatest Showman with Hugh Jackman.  It is loosely based on the origins of the world famous “Barnum and Bailey Circus.”  The movie uniquely showcases how being special can have such an impact in society.  In fact, the character PT Barnum says at one point “No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”  The story is quite heartwarming as he and his circus make an impact on society’s preconception on “special” or “different”.
I urge you.  Wherever you are in your journey.  Whatever you think.  Consider yourself uniquely amazing.  You are one of a kind.  Love yourself for all you are, good and bad. Celebrate what makes you different and don’t hide it.   You will feel so much better about yourself in your current position in your journey.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Dear Pork

Dear Pork.

Why do they call you the “other white meat?” I mean, I understand how chicken is the main white meat. It’s the most popular after all. But, you’re not the only “White meat” out there. Turkey and fish can be white after all. Why the prejudice towards you?

Pork, it’s not fair. You don’t deserve that kind of name. You’re not an outsider. It’s almost racy.  After all, you can be a great option for most people. Like chicken, you are high in protein and are versatile meat. You can come baked, roasted, barbecued, and even grilled. You can be flavored with spices, dressings, and sauces. Take it from me. You’re great the way you are. Never change. Be loud and proud that you’re a great option!

Sincerely, you need a better nickname

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Make Peace

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“Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.”   Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.” -Marianne Williamson
“Peace begins with a smile..” -Mother Teresa
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” -Jimi Hendrix

Peace.  We all search for it.  We all want everything to be ok.  We all want our problems to go away.  We want that feeling of total bliss and lack of worry.  We think peace as an outcome.  “Once I lose the weight, I will find peace”.  “Once I achieve my gals, I will feel better about myself.  Peace has always been this enigma everyone wants, but only the select few can attain.

I struggle with finding peace a lot!  Throughout my childhood, I developed a sense of low self esteem and mild anxiety.  These feelings of inadequacy and worry put me in defensive mode most of the time. It hurt my confidence and trust in people.  The good news is that I am aware of these gaps now.  I strive each day to find peaceful moments in my day and work to build back up my confidence and trust in people.   I have learned so much about mindset, feelings, and peace lately.  Truthfully, peace is a choice that we can make TODAY.  Peace allows our minds to be at ease even in the hardest circumstances.  It allows us to treat people better and have a positive outlook.  Here are some ways to develop a more peaceful way of life:


-forgive others and yourself
-let go of negative thoughts and habits
-journal
-meditate
-Laugh!
-look for joy in your daily tasks or around you
-listen to peaceful music
-come to terms wth the past
Give these strategies a shot and see how they make you feel.  You may find a new favorite practice that keeps you cool all day long!  Which ways do you find peace?  Let me know below!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Happy Holidays!

 

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Good evening everyone!  I wold like to thank you all for your support and comments this year.  2017 has been a big year for me as I started taking this more seriously.  I would like to personally like to thank each and every one of you readers.  I do it for you!  I want to wish you all a very Happy Holiday season.  I will be taking a break to brainstorm more ideas and enjoy time with my friends and family.  See you in 2018!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

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Common Core

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“Core strength is key to everything. it’s not the way I look, but about stabilizing my body so I can perform better on stage” -Paul Stanley

“But if I keep my core and back strong, the scoliosis does not bother me” -Usain Bolt

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.’ -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Everyone is different. We have unique nutritional needs and wants. Some people function well on low carb, low fat diets. Others function well on low fiber vegetarian diets. Some people have extreme allergies and need to avoid certain foods altogether. Some people need to lose weight while others need to gain weight. You get the picture.

But, we all want the same thing.  We all want that strong and sexy core.  We want that “perfect” body with hard muscles and curves.  We want those formed, rock hard abdominals and obliques.  To get there, each person needs to follow certain “common core” practices to stay healthy, well, and improve their bodies. First, Each and every one of us needs to feed our bodies with certain, necessary nutrients:

-low fat protein for strength and healing

-whole grain carbohydrates for long lasting energy

-fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals

-Dairy for healthy bones

-healthy fats for maintenance

-water or low calorie fluids to stay hydrated


Consider these principles as well when choosing your foods:

-No one food is good or bad. We create our personal beliefs about foods and humanize them from our experiences and thoughts around them.

-Moderation is key. Small & irregular desserts & snacks are OK.

-Choose to eat high quality foods to satisfy hunger and nutritional needs. Do your best to avoid eating out of boredom or emotions.

-High quality foods and calories will almost always create better health than low quality foods and calories.

-Preparing foods at home will be more healthy than eating out most of the time.

-Consistent portion sizes are key. Appropriate portion sizes of foods will help you get to a healthy weight and keep your body working well.

-Exercise will make your body strong and get you to a healthy weight over time.

Of course, this is a short list of core principles toward a balanced, healthy meal plan. Consult a dietitian and personal trainer to find realistic food practices for you. As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

 

 

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The Reality of Ready

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“Don’t wait until they tell you that you are ready. Get in there. I waited a long time out in the world before I gave myself permission to fail.” -Peter Dinklage

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”― Hugh Laurie

“If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives” -Hugh Laurie


Ever say this to yourself, “I’ll do it when I am ready?” You’re not alone. Millions of people say this to themselves each and every day. While waiting to be “ready” is the safe play, it does not bring progress. It keeps us in our comfort zones. When we decide we aren’t “ready”, we do not take action. Nothing changes.


Changing your life is scary. It takes courage. It’s risky and puts you in the spotlight for people to judge. But, the only way to make changes is to ACT. No one is ever ready for big decisions. However, the hard decisions are essential to make a difference in your life. When you begin making a change, you may not be ready. But, you can assess, adapt, and adjust your efforts. Just stay committed to the process. You will notice that you were ready all along. As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

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Play the Game

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“We can either watch life from the sidelines, or actively participate… Either we let self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy prevent us from realizing our potential, or embrace the fact that when we turn our attention away from ourselves, our potential is limitless”. -Christopher Reeves

“Let me tell you something kid, everybody gets one chance to do something great. Most people hardly ever take the chance, either because they’re too scared or because they’re unable to recognize it when it spits on their shoes. This is your big chance, and you should never let it go by…” -Babe Ruth, Sandlot

“Just play, have fun. Enjoy the game!” -Michael Jordan


Culture today has made it so easy to let life pass us by. We have so many avenues to waste our time and never have to leave our house. We have TVs, video games, streaming services, and the internet to name a few. We can spend hours being passive and watching other people live their lives through these means. With food delivery services and workout videos, we don’t even have to leave our homes to survive!

But, life can get pretty boring and lonely in this regard. We are meant to be social and participatory. Our lives don’t work unless we do as well. Many people don’t want to try unless they are positive they will win or become successful. But, the struggle and losses are part of the process. Even the best athletes and CEOs have had their share of losses on their way to the top. They got in there, made efforts to get better, lost and stumbled along the way, and finally made it to the top. Bottom line, in order to gain progress and reach your goals, you need to get out there and try! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

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Get Your Mind Right

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“Get the mind right, the body will follow, you lose some battles in life, but if you always put your heart and passion forward first as your main objective, you will win the war, that’s what gives you the strength to get off the ground… and do it again.” – Greg Plitt

“Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical”. -Yogi Berra

“A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” -Wade Boggs


Life is hard. That’s not news. It’s dirty with problems, challenges, issues, and pressures. Many things fight for our attention- TV, jobs, family, friends, marketing to name a few. We are bombarded with information- some true and some lies. Either way, our minds are full of information and become overwhelmed.


It is difficult to make changes even without this fact. But, these distractions make it near impossible to make positive changes. It’s key to Get Your Mind Right. It’s important to program your mind in a positive way. We have the power to focus on certain information and facts. We can allow or disallow them to effect our beliefs and perspectives in life. How you ask? Try these habits to improve your mindset:

-read motivational quotes

-listen to positive music

-read positive books

-speak positive affirmations

-take up mindfulness or meditation

-make positive relationships

-write positive notes or journal entries

-perform exercise you enjoy


In conclusion, it is critical to design your mind to see the positive in your situation. Find the strategies that help you stay focused and motivated! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

 

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Make a Plan

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“He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.” -Victor Hugo
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
― Yogi Berra
“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.”
― Brian TracyThe Gift of Self-Confidence

My friends make fun of me.  I like to have specific plans.  I like to know where we are going and when.  I need details for me to commit to something fully.  It makes the night go more smoothly.  I am more comfortable that way.

Some people do not take control of their decisions.  They allow others or circumstances to determine their paths and outcomes.  In this way, they do not have to take responsibility if they end up in a bad place.  It’s always someone else’s fault.  This haphazard way of thinking can have detrimental effects.

When you have a goal in mind, you need to have a plan backing it up.  The goal is the outcome; the ending in mind.  Your outcome will be determined by the actions and strategies you put into a plan.  So, start with the end in mind.  Which actions will get you closer to your goal each day?  If you need a structure, consider setting a SMART goal.  A goal that is specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and timely.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 
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Exciting News!

Hi all!  Firstly, I would like to thank you all for faithfully following my posts.  It has been a pleasure sharing my thoughts on this medium.  I am excited that I have collaborated with a designer to create a new logo!  I am revealing it here exclusively to my readers first.  Slowly but surely, I will add this logo to my social media and personal branding.  Thank you for your support!

 

emi logo

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Dear Salt

Dear Salt,
 
What did you do to me?  I am disappointed in you.  You made so many promises to me.  With your savory and satisfying taste, I could’t get enough of you.  You had me hooked.  I found so much pleasure and joy in spending time with you.  On top of that, you were so was to find.  I could find you in processed foods, canned foods, and restaurant foods to name a few.
But, now I know the truth. I know that you are no good for me.  You may taste great, but you do not help me. You take more than you give.  You take my peace of mind away since you cause heart disease.  You raise my blood pressure and make me bloated.  I may need you some, but not as much as I thought.  I want you to know that it’s over.  We’re done.  I am no longer eating foods that contain you or adding you to my meals.  It’s not me, it’s you.
Sincerely, Kicking you to the curb
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Booze or Lose

 

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“It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“No blame: the most liberating and empowering day of my life was the day I freed myself from my own self-destructive nonsense” -Steve Maraboli

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”-Arnold Schwarzenegger

 “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” -Walt Disney


I am not sure what your goals are.  If you’re reading this, I hope you are making attempts to change your lifestyle and ultimately your health status.  If you are looking to lose some weight, this chapter is for you.  Also, if you have a few drinks every so often, this chapter is especially for you.


Our society celebrates by drinking excessively OFTEN.  There is something going on all the time.  The temptation is there to drink to excess constantly.  There are so many drinks to choose from: beer, wine, mixed drinks, shots.  They will satisfy you no matter your taste in adult beverage choices.


However, drinking adult beverages does NOT help with weight loss.  Most drinks are high in carbs or sugar.  They are high in calories and not much else.  Our bodies absorb and breakdown alcohol first.  So, when we eat with alcohol, our bodies do not absorb the vital nutrients our bodies need.  Instead, it absorbs the high calories of the drinks!

Do yourself a favor.  If you are looking to lose weight, drop the drinks.  Choose low calorie alternatives instead:

-tea

-water

-coffee

-flavored water

-seltzer water

If you cut out a few drinks a week, you will be astounded of the results you see in a few weeks.  As Always, Eat, Move, Improve!

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Dear Potato

Dear Potato,
I am writing you an apology letter.  I am so sorry about the way that you have been treated.  You have become villainized.  You have been misunderstood.  Through negative publicity, your reputation has been injured.  People say you are terrible for them.  They say you make them fat, get high cholesterol, and get sick.
The real truth is that people don’t treat you right.  They fry you, mash you, butter you up, make you cheesy, or cover you with sour cream.  Your real potential is rarely prized.  Many people focus on the negative results they receive from mistreating you.
The truth is that you are a wonderful gift, potato.  You are such a diverse and versatile food!  You can be sweet, red, golden, and even petite.  You give us baked potatoes, hash browns, cubed potatoes, baked chips, and even vodka!  Seriously, all wonderful gifts to our dinner table.  You should come around more often.  As long as you come as your happy, real self high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a healthy dose of complex carbs.  See ya soon potato!
Sincerely, a fan
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Dig Deep

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“Trust yourself…dig deep down and ask yourself who you want to be? Not what, but who?” -Arnold Schwarzzeneggar

“Dig deep and believe in yourself and have the self-confidence you need to forge ahead.”                  -Katie Ciouric

“The rewards of the wild and the rewards of the survivor go to those who can dig deep, and, ultimately, to the guy who can stay alive.” -Bear Grylls


We live in a society that puts such emphasis on superficial things and external motivations. We like items and people for how they look. We only do things for a promised external reward. Days seem like a rat race to get more and more.


This approach can work in the short term. We focus on the outside motivators and get rewarded through our work and in relationships. We find the most attractive partner and the beginning is bliss. However, these outside rewards have an expiration date. They do not have lasting effects and aren’t sustainable in the long term. Beauty fades and toys break. That’s how it works.


I encourage you to look inside. Look for your internal motivators. Search oyur heart, mind, and soul for those factors that push oyu when you have nothing. When you don’t feel like gong, when you don;t have energy, when you hit an obstacle. Find what motivates you to make your way towards your goals without any outside force pushing you. Once you find that, you will win! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

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Eat.Move.Improve. Logo Poll

Hi friends!  I am looking to nail down a more professional logo for my blog.  I am using a platform called DesignCrowd to collect logo designs from visual design professionals.  I was surprised of how many submissions I collected in a few days!  Can you help me decide by taking this poll? I appreciate your feedback!

Thanks, Anthony

https://www.designcrowd.com/vote/eatmoveimprove-logo-poll

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Spice Things Up

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“Spices: the friend of doctors and the pride of cooks” -Charlemagne
“All those spices and herbs in your spice rack can do more than provide calorie-free, natural flavorings to enhance and make food delicious. They’re also an incredible source of antioxidants and help rev up your metabolism and improve your health at the same time.” -Suzanne Somers
“I believe in the magic of preparation.  You can make just about any food taste wonderful by adding herbs and spices.  Experiment with garlic, cilantro, basil, and other fresh herbs vegetables to make them taste great!” -Jorge Cruise

One of the biggest issues in this country is high blood pressure and heart disease.  The “Silent Killer” threatens more people than most know.  High blood pressure is scary for anyone who develops the condition.  High BP is caused by too much salt in the diet.  I used to work with high blood pressure patents regularly.  I would tell them to cut down on the salt.  I would get countless weird looks from every one of them!  How will they get by without salt?  How will they add flavor to their foods?

There is a common misconception that salt is the only flavoring agent out there.  While salt has a strong and distinct taste, it does increase blood pressure and can be addicting.  Instead, focus on herbs and spices.  These natural flavoring pack a large punch in small quantities.  They bring benefits like healthy skin, healthy eyes, health hair, and most importantly a healthy heart.  Consider some of these herbs and spices in your food prep:
-garlic
-basil
-oregano
-rosemary
-thyme
-mint
-black pepper
There are countless herbs and spices.  Try some out and you will find a new favorite!  As Always, Eat, Move and Improve!
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Dear Chicken

Dear Chicken,
Where do I start?  There are so many things I can say to you.  All of it has been said by someone at one point or another.  I want to keep this short and sweet, so I want to thank you today.  I want to thank you because you do so much for me.  You give my life strength, fullness, and variety. First of al, you are so high in protein.  Most people see you as the gold standard for quality protein.  You give my muscles strength to do their daily activities.  Along with strength, your protein provides me with fullness.  After eating you, I feel full and satisfied.  Through you, I feel full and satisfied each and every day.
I think most of all, I want to thank you for the variety you provide chicken.  You do it in so many ways.  All of your many forms provide different tastes and possibilities: eggs, breast, thighs, eggs, ground, wings, white meat, and dark meat.  Again the way we can prepare you is endless: scrambled, grilled, baked, curried, fried, and so many others.  But you do not stop there, do you chicken?  Oh no.  You still go one more level.  You take taste from so many ingredients and sauces.  We all enjoy you spicy, cheesy, garlicky, seasoned, savory, and countless others.
In conclusion, I thank you chicken for providing us with rock solid quality nutrition and listless possibilities.  you are a true chameleon and please everyone around the world.  You have always been a team player and never much as complain.  Keep doing that and people will be tahnkful for you a thousand times over.
Sincerely, a grateful meat eater
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Embrace the Suck

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“Embrace the Suck” -Military saying
“There is no way around it, the hard work.  Embrace it.” -Roger Federer
“Storms make trees take deeper roots” -Dolly Parton


Today, I had to do my laundry.  I HATE doing laundry.  It’s tedious and no fun. It takes forever and I never get a sense of accomplishment from this chore.  To make it worse, our dryer short circuited today.  I didn’t even have a convenient way to clean my clothes!

Instead, I had to lug all my dirty clothes to the local laundromat.  On top of it costing an arm and a leg to wash clothes, this place is sweltering hot, has no internet, and has no place to sit. I literally have to stand in a 90 degree room while my clothes get cleaned. I could very well have hemmed and hawed the whole time going through this.  Any reasonable person would.  I had to sacrifice my entire night going to a strange and uncomfortable place to do a chore I hate.

But, I decided to embrace the suck instead.  I took on the chore without any kind of anger or resentment. I went right onto work in sorting my clothes and filling up the machines.  I spend the extra time finishing a book and writing a bit.  So, after this ordeal, I say to you:  embrace the suck.  Whatever uncomfortable situation you find yourself in, decide to go about it joyfully and with a new perspective.  The situation will appear better than you thought!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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Dear Apple

Dear Apple,
They say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  I couldn’t agree more!  You do so much for me.  Your colorful skin and crunchy bite makes eating you a fun experience. You make me feel good when you come around. You’re so easy to grab and go.  I can eat you at home, in the car, or at the office.  However, that is only the start.
Your crunchy and juicy flesh gives me so much refreshment.  It is so relieving when I spend time with you.  You give me hydration and energy, especially when I need it quickly.  Besides that, you are a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and water!  You definitely pack a nutritious punch!  I want you to know how much I appreciate you.  I am joyful when you come around.  Please promise to continue to be there for me when I need your juicy sweetness!
Sincerely, a big fan
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Inspiration out of Desperation

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“In life you either need inspiration or desperation” -Tony Robbins
“In 1995 I had $7 bucks in my pocket and knew two things: I’m broke as hell and one day I won’t be.” – Dwayne Johnson

“I don’t think human beings learn anything without desperation. Desperation is a necessary ingredient to learning anything or creating anything. Period. If you ain’t desperate at some point, you ain’t interesting.” – Jim Carrey


You and I have been there before.  In fact, we all find ourselves in “hopeless” situations.  You know what I am talking about. We have a goal. We take steps and work toward that goal.  Something, or even several things, happen that move us away from our goal.  We begin to think we will not make it to ur destination.  We get frustrated, angry, or maybe downright depressed the we are putting in the work and not getting what we hope for.

In this time where anything is accessible through a click, it’s easy to begin believing everything is easy.  We will not meet obstacles while working toward our goals.  Why would they?  Most of our lives are easy to us.  However, many goals and things we really want tend to be challenging or difficult to gain.  When we become sensitized to easy situations, we expect things to come easy without a fight.  When our expectations are not met, we grow frustrated, angry, or even hopeless at ourselves or the goal itself.  These feelings make it easy to give up and stop working to what we wanted at first.

However, it is crucial to step back and take another look at where you are.  Assess the situation.  Are there other factors that are hindering your progress?  Are there steps you may have missed?  Or, is there an obstacle separating you from your destination?  For whatever reason, choose to HARNESS your feelings, beliefs, or attitudes around your obstacle(s).  Instead of letting them defeat you, allow them to fuel you to change your approach or KEEP GOING!  You got this! As Always, Eat Move, and Improve!
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Dear Licorice

Dear Licorice,
I am writing you today with some bad news.  You’re not going to like it.  For reasons I will explain below, I want to break up with you.  I am sorry that it has to come to this, but starting today, we are done.
Your colorful, playful, and sweet.  We cannot argue that.  I cherish our times together.  You bring me so much glee and comfort when you come around.  At the movies or at home, you’re there for me when I need you.  You don’t change and always bring me so much excitement when we get together.
Unfortunately, the after effects are not as desirable.  You leave me with a bitter taste in my mouth.  I never get enough of you.  You don’t fill me up.  I am always hungry after spending time with you.  My high expectations are never satisfied once you give me what you have to offer.
I am truly sorry for this, but I suggest we don’t see each other as much anymore.  I will gladly say hello every once in awhile if I see you around.  But, I will not actively spend time with you anymore.  I can’t afford for you to leave me empty and unsatisfied anymore.  I am sorry for this, but I wish you all the best!
Sincerely, over you
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Embrace the Dark Side

 

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“There’s a dark side to each and every human soul. We wish we were Obi-Wan Kenobi, and for the most part we are, but there’s a little Darth Vader in all of us. Thing is, this ain’t no either or proposition. We’re talking about dialectics, the good and the bad merging into us. You can run but you can’t hide. My experience? Face the darkness, stare it down. Own it. As brother Nietzsche said, being human is a complicated gig. Give that old dark night of the soul a hug! Howl the eternal yes!” -Stuart Stevens

“Instead of resisting any emotion, the best way to dispel it is to enter it fully, embrace it and see through your resistance.”- Deepak Chopra

“Thank you for life, and all the little ups and downs that make it worth living.” -Travis Barker


We all have bad days.  Sometimes, we just can’t win. They seem to come out of nowhere and linger for awhile.  And for no obvious reason at all. I have had a few days recently where they started rough and didn’t really improve.  For some reason, I slept restlessy through several nightmares.  I woke up tired and anxious.  I felt unmotivated and was not very productive on those days.  I felt guilty for doing only the minimum on those days.  It’s probably the worst I have ever felt.


I am sharing this because it’s important to know- emotions have power.  They can either control you or you control them.  Our inward reality creates how we view the outside world.  Many people allow negative events and experience shape their emotions.  They allow the world to make them angry and uninspired.  They have a negative view of the world because it’s not fair in their eyes.  Oppositely, people who create a positive viewpoint of the world around them tend to be more happy, healthy, and productive.  They see all of the wonders and miracles this world has to offer and choose to focus on those.


It is imperative to learn how to control your emotions.  The first step would be to identify how you feel and react to certain events in your life.  Do you react in a negative or positive way?  What thoughts do you think?  How do you feel physically during those periods?  Next, acknowledge that all emotions are temporary.  The are fleeting reactions to present moments or events.  Once we acknowledge these triggers and reactions, it is important to identify the ones you would like to change.  Once you become aware of negative emotions, decide to do all you can to transfer that energy into something productive.  Use those raw emotions as constructive instead of destructive  Here are some tactics to let go of negative emotions and harness positive ones:


-Allow yourself to fully feel the emotion in a safe setting.  Cry your eyes out, yell your voice hoarse, punch until your knuckles bleed

-Share your emotions and feelings with a trusted loved one

-Practice yoga

-Go work out

–Take up meditation or deep breathing

-Sing in private or public

-Punching an object- a pillow, punching bag, or mattress

-Yell to your hearts content!


It is critical to identify how we react emotionally to life events and change our negative reactions.  Anger, jealousy, anxiety, hate, and others are toxic to the body and soul.  These emotions can be changed to happiness, joy, peace, or gratitude.  It just takes the right mindset.  Above all, Eat, Move, and Improve! 

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Dear Coffee

Dear Coffee,

I am writing you today to thank you. You have made such an impact on me I need to say something.  Your presence in my life has been a positive one.  You give my day flavor, excitement, and energy.  In fact, I don’t know how I ever go a day without you!
Let me explain.  You give me a jumpstart and refreshment in the morning.  You are one of the many things I think about right in the morning.  You give me a positive boost when I try to make my day the best it can be! There is no form of you I don’t like.  You can be dressed up in a paper cup, a glass mug, or a metal thermos.  I like basically every form of you too: iced, black, frozen, or all dressed up with other ingredients.  But, you are always the best to me when you are just yourself.
Coffee, don’t change.  Some people may try to change you.  They may try to mask you under a bunch of other ingredients and odd names.  Be true to yourself.  Stay bold, strong, and hot!  That’s how I like you the most.  Again, thank you for all that you offer.  You make my day so much more brighter!
Sincerely, I need you every day
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Sleep On It

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“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
-Ernest Hemingway
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”Irish Proverb
“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

Anyone who truly knows me as a person knows I love to sleep. I take any opportunity to nap or sleep in when it presents itself.  To me, sleep is the ultimate level of rest.  My body is completely at peace and comfortable. I am safe and at the lowest risk of being hurt.  My bed is a safe place where problems do not exist and I can hide from the reality of life.

 I only tell you this because I know I am not perfect.  I truly understand that our lives change and things happen in the “awake” hours of life.  Sleeping more than needed can be detrimental to your health, stress levels, and time management.  I understand, that to make major changes and get ahead, it is essential to sacrifice hours of sleep at times.  Many successful people see sleep as unproductive time and would rather sacrifice sleep in order to get ahead.  There is great truth to the idea that the person moving and working hard will make it farther than the person who is resting.

However, sleep is essential to the human body.  Sleep allows your body and organs to reset, heal, and recover from the days activities.  Sleep is essential to physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional health.  There are thousands of studies that state how sleep can improve peoples lives.  It can improve someone’s mood, weight, stress levels, and even personality.  Think about it, how do you respond when you haven’t slept enough?  I know that, for me, I get groggy and lose the power of being present to the moment.  I miss opportunities and have a low amount of focus.

I know I am dragging on.  But, what do we do if both arguments make sense?  The answer is to find balance. Find a sleep routine that works for you.  Fins out how much sleep you need to be at your best self.  Create your lifestyle to include a routine that encourages high energy, healthy weight, lack of disease, and at your best.  Some pointers to get the best sleep:

-limit screen time before bed time:  blue light makes your brain active!
-sleep in a cool, dark place
-drink water before bed time
-limit food or snacks before bed time
-limit loud sounds or noises s much as possible
-meditate or journal about your day.  Your brain will have less to sort through

These are only some examples on how to rest well.  Most importantly, find what works best for you.  Create a routine that makes you feel on top of the world every single day.  As Always, Eat, Move, And Improve! 
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10 Ways to Have Fun When Eating Right

IMG_3958“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.”
-Maya Angelou
“I get way too much happiness from good food”. -Elizabeth Olsen

“Learn how to cook- Try new recipes. Learn from your mistakes.  Be fearless.  And, above all, have fun!” -Julia Childs


It’s a common misconception.  When people hear of diet, they think “I am going to be so deprived.” Or, “eating healthy is boring.”  Bet yet, “this is going to suck!”  I have noticed how many people decide not to take action because of their preconceived notions.  They look at a decision or commitment they want to make.  If they even suspect any negative connotation to a decision, they run the opposite way or rationalize why its not worth it.


However, the truth is that there are pros and cons to every decision out there.  For example, unexplainable taste and joy of eating french fries and cheeseburgers is a pro.  But, weight gain, bloating, and drowsiness could be considered cons.


I propose you look at eating right or dieting in a different way.  Focus not on the downside, but on the positives.  You have the power to make nutrition and eating well fun!  Here are some examples:
  1. Experiment with bright colors- orange, red, green, blue, purple, yellow etc.We eat with our eyes and bright colors make people excited!
  2. Switch things up.  For example, switch between, chicken, shrimp, fish, and other lean meats
  3. Mix 2-3 food groups into 1 dish.  Instead of having 3 separate food groups on a plate, mix them up in a salad, pasta dish, soup, or rice bowl for example!
  4. Try different herbs and spices.  Each herb and spice contribute different nutritional benefits.
  5. Mix up your cooking techniques.  Grilling, baking, broiling, barbecuing, and others change the taste and experience of the meal
  6. Change your eating environment.  We tend to get bored by sitting in the same spot-  eat at your table, outside, or at a friend’s house!
  7. Cook with a friend!  Sharing an experience with a loved one will make it more pleasurable.
  8. Try ethnic dishes or flavors you haven’t tried before: sushi, curries, Mediterranean, Asian.
  9. Flavor your water differently. Infuse it with citrus fruits, mint, or even ginger!
  10. Listen to your favorite music!  We tend to be happier and more willing to try something new when we’re jamming to our favorite toons.
Obviously, these are just 10 off the top of my head!  There are plenty of other ways to make eating healthy a fun experience.  Which is your favorite?  Comment below!
As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!
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TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE THE GOLF OUTING


Twas the night before the outing, when all through the course, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The golf carts were parked by the clubhouse with care, in hopes that clear weather soon would be there.

The golfers were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of skins and birdies play in their heads.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long Summer’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen dew Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a mysterious man came near
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be my golf partner.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!” Now Nike! now, Calloway! now, Taylormade and Ping! On, Titelist! On, Slazenger! on, Cleveland and Maxfli!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So up to the fairway- top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of Toys, and My golf partner too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the green. The prancing and pawing of each little swing.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the fairway my partner came with a bound.

He was dressed all in golf attire, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with dirt and soot.

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And tees up his drive, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the cart path he rose!
He sprang to his cart, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight, “Happy outing to all, and to all a good-night!”

 

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Dear Fruit

Dear Fruit,
I want to apologize to you on behalf of countless critics out there.  They have villainized you.  They have hurt your reputation.  Most specifically, they have blamed you for making people gain weight.  In their defense, their logical thinking makes sense.  We know as a fact that calories from sugar make people gain weight.  To their defense, you carry alot of sugar inside you.
But, it’s not your fault.  Their way of thinking is skewed.  They do not understand.  They do not understand that two forms of sugar exist in the world: added and natural.  You contain the latter.  Your sugar comes from the real you, not from a factory.  What people fail to realize that what you lack in ounce you gain in tons.  You provide nutrients, fiber, water, and other heath promoting ingredients.  You bring joy to so many people with your sweetness and refreshing texture.
On behalf of those who do you wrong, I want to apologize to you.  I am saddened to observe how people mistreat you. They place you in a category where you do not belong.  But, it’s not your fault!  I encourage you to never change.  Continue to bring people joy and excitement when they eat you.  People will sort their own beliefs about you soon!
Sincerely, An Apology
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Dear Body

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”  ~Jim Rohn
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~Buddha
“If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Dear Body,
Hello, old friend.  It’s been awhile since I have acknowledged you. Despite having you around all the time, I have been focused on so many distractions and to do’s.  Life got in the way and you have taken the back seat.  I have neglected you more often than not.  It’s not your fault at all.  I just forgot how valuable you are.  It’s about time to say something.

I only have you for one lifetime.  I realize that now.  I haven’t appreciated you enough.  I finally recognize how awesome you are.  You give my life so many possibilities.  Through you, I can see clearly, move independently, speak fluently, breath deeply, and many other things  You work like a machine with so many complex parts.  You are truly amazing.

My actions have hurt you.  I have stuffed myself with tasty food, missed out on exercise, and exposed myself to harmful chemicals.  I didn’t mean to.  I have made rash decisions and forgot who I was affecting.  You don’t deserve that.

I promise, from now on, to treat you well.  I will think of your needs before acting.  I will fuel you with only healthy and natural foods.  I will feed your brain with positive thoughts.  I will move you as much as I can.  I will make you the best you can be!
Sincerely, Me
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I’ll Be Back!

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Hey readers!  Sorry for my prolonged hiatus.  I had started a new job a few months ago.  I needed some extra time to get up to speed and used to working full time again.

I am happy to announce that I am planning on returning to posting again VERY SOON.  You will begin seeing consistent and new posts on my blog in the next few days.  Stay tuned!

In the mean time, I had a new idea for a string of posts.  You may or may not be aware, but we all have attachments to food.  We have feelings, thoughts, and relationships with food.  I had an idea to write “letters” addressed to foods as if they are people.  Would you like to read them?  Comment below!

Photo credit: https://blogcineonline.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/i-ll-be-bk.jpg

The Skinny On Shakes

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You know the trend.  You have seen it.  If not, you probably live under a rock.  Meal replacement shakes are everywhere.  You can buy them at the store, at the gym, or from your friend who sells them.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors.  Some taste great while some not so much.  Some are affordable while others will rob you.  Below are my thoughts around meal replacement shakes:


Shakes for meal replacement and weight loss can be part of a healthy well rounded lifestyle.  These shakes offer calories, protein, and nutrients to keep your body working while cutting down on total calories.  But, be warned.  These drinks are not the end all be all.  Nor are they the magic bullet or should substitute you from eating real foods.

These shakes are exactly what they are named for.  They are meant to replace a meal.  They provide a full meal in a portable and easy to consume drink.  Most of them contain all the nutrients you need for a meal and help you lose some weight.

When looking to use meal replacement shakes, consider these “rules” (for lack of a better term).
-Replace ONLY ONE meal with your shake.  They are not supposed replace chewing.
-Choose shakes with high protein and low sugar
-Choose reputable brands.  If the shake seems to good to be true, it probably is.
-You still need to exercise to lose weight.  These shakes do not give you a free pass.
-Do your research.  Find your nutritional needs and make a plan to incorporate these drinks.

Bottom line, meal replacement shakes can be a fun, easy, and affordable strategy in your eight loss plan.  Do your homework.  Choose the best shake for you.  Drink these knowing they are part of your plan and not the only option.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 

Standing Firm Against Dietary Temptations!

Wonderful thoughts from Ellie! So often I get tempted and justify my behavior. “Just this once” or “It’s not a big deal”. Strengthen your faith, confidence, and belief that you can overcome temptations and make the best choices!

New Creations Ministries

“When tempted, no one is to say, “God is tempting me” For God cannot be tempted with evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”  (James 1:13)

Let’s face it, Satan does NOT want us to succeed. If he sees a Christian or church growing closer to the Lord, he will influence them by throwing roadblocks, half-truths or unholy actions into their midst to disrupt their progress.

In the same way the devil will do anything in his power to steer the health- conscious away from reaching positive goals. He doesn’t want us to honor our earthly temples of the Holy Spirit!

And don’t be fooled, Satan isn’t the ugly red monster with horns and a pitchfork we see in cartoons. Satan is a beautiful, enticing creature – the George Clooney of the angels. He…

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