Tidying Up Could Help You Lose Weight [Fitbit]

It seems your diet isn’t the only thing in your life you should consider cleaning if your goal is to drop a few pounds. Research suggests tidying up around the house can have a big impact on your success. “Often your environment determines whether or not you will make a healthy choice,” says Steven Ledbetter, an expert on behavior change and co-founder of Habitry. “My most successful clients are the ones who take the steps to make their surroundings support positive habits.”

So not only do you need to set a health goal, you need to set up your physical space for success, too. Ready to clear the clutter and nail your weight loss goal? Here are the key places around the house (and in your life) to focus.

Make Room in Your Closet

Getting rid of your loose jeans and starting-to-look-droopy sweaters sends a major message to your brain that there’s no going back. “Keeping the ‘fat’ clothes means that one day you will wear them again and they will fit you perfectly,” writes Marylin Stompler in Fat No More, Release the Subconscious Blocks that Prevent Your Weight Loss. She continues, “Throwing away your ‘fat’ clothes helps you let go of the fat energy that was tied to you for years.” A former yo-yo dieter herself, Stompler admits saving her clothes was a trap for her, and she wasn’t able to fully think of herself as a healthy person until she cleared out her drawers. “When you release the old, you make space for the new,” she writes.

Sweep Out the Pantry

Having a healthy relationship with food doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treat every so often, but reducing your access to easy-to-grab items can set you up to stay on track. Give your refrigerator, pantry, and cupboard shelves a once over, tossing out anything (snack cakes, ice cream, chips, and so on) that might be too tempting to pass up in a moment of weakness. “You can’t eat it, if you don’t have it hanging around,” says Fitbit nutrition expert Tracy Morris. Then, stock up on nutritious snacks, like fresh fruit, cut-up veggies, plain popcorn, and dill pickles, to satisfy cravings for sweet, savory, and crunch.

Tackle the Dishes in the Sink

You’d think stacks of dirty pans and piles of sticky plates would turn someone off food, but it seems kitchen chaos actually encourages extra snacking. In a study published in the Environmental & Behavior Journal, researchers put snackers who had been thinking about being out of control in a clean kitchen and noticed they consumed fewer cookies than those with a similar mindset who were placed in a messy environment. “Having a clean kitchen or home makes you feel more in control and primes you to stay in control,” says Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and coauthor of the study.

To prevent the cluttered counters from wrecking your weight loss efforts, clean up as you go when prepping dinner, be mindful at mealtime—focussing on everything that’s going well in your life, and load the dishwasher ASAP when you’re done.

Toss Your Old Pillows

There’s a lot of research linking lack of sleep to weight gain. And one study in particular shows sleep-deprived people are not only more likely to give in to junk food cravings, but to justify poor food choices as well. For optimal health, experts recommend adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night—but time in bed doesn’t always lead to quality Zzz’s.

If you have a hard time getting comfortable, or tend to toss and turn, unsupportive bedding could be coming between you and restorative sleep. In fact, 98% percent of respondents polled by the National Sleep Foundation agree a comfortable pillow is necessary for a restful night. Think yours might be past its prime? A general replacement guideline for pillows is every three years, and every 10 years for mattresses.

Clean Up Your Calendar

You’ve probably heard the tip: “put your workouts on your calendar.” It’s an oldie, but goodie because it works for those who need a dedicated time to sweat. (You don’t want to miss that spin class!) Still, Outlook pop-ups aren’t a cure all. If squeezing fitness into an already cluttered calendar isn’t helping you reach your goals, it’s time to try something different. Instead, slip fitness breaks in throughout the day, especially during your most sedentary periods, and consider blocking off one day each week to make movement (not work, not errands, not a DVR marathon) the main event. Go for a hike, walk to the farmers’ market, take your bike on a neighborhood tour, or meet friends in the park for frisbee golf—all calorie-burning activities count!

Originally published by Fitbit.

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Overwhelmed This Holiday Season? Read This! [Fitbit]

For all the joy the holidays bring, they can pack on a lot of guilt, self-doubt, and stress, too. Why? “The holidays present a firm deadline, and, despite our best efforts, many of us can’t seem to get everything done,” says B. Janet Hibbs, Ph.D., a family psychologist and author of Try To See It My Way. “In addition, we attach unrealistic expectations to single-handedly maintain traditions and find the perfect gifts for everyone, all to give others that perfect holiday experience,” she says.

When one person attempts to do it all, a feeling of falling short looms. Add in family and social pressure to be merry, no matter the situation, and you’ve got a recipe for internal struggles. But it’s possible to alleviate some of the pressure and shift a stressful mood. Here’s how to find peace amid all the shopping, baking, carolling, and mingling.

Be Choosey with To-Dos

“Being responsible for maintaining every tradition can be overwhelming—especially when you think others are counting on you to do it,” says Hibbs. Instead of taking on all the seasonal trappings, pick the rituals and traditions that are most important to you and give yourself an out for the rest. Maybe that means you’ll spend your evenings after work addressing and stamping holiday cards, but you won’t participate in the cookie swap this year. Your loved ones will still appreciate your efforts.

Take a Walk Outside

It might be cold out there, but being active in nature is good for your body and your mind. Research shows people who visit green spaces have lower levels of stress hormones after spending time outside than those who haven’t been outdoors recently. And a walk in nature can help quiet the negative thoughts swirling in your head, too. So when you’re ruminating about the guy who stole your parking spot at the mall or you’re worried you didn’t find the perfect gift for your sister, put on your scarf and gloves and head to the nearest park or hiking trail to get your steps going!

Remember to Breathe

Even if the only alone time you can manage happens in the bathroom, you can still take advantage of your body’s natural de-stress mechanism: breathing. “Deep breathing helps to rid your body of toxins and quiet anxiety,” explains yoga expert, Linda Bhreathnach. “It’s easy, natural, and free—and the more you do it, the more you will realize the benefits,” she says. A technique to try: Sit upright with good posture and place one hand on your belly, and the other hand on your chest. Breathe in through your nose for four counts, hold for one count, and then slowly release the air through pursed lips for four counts; repeat for 10 full breaths. When you’re doing it right, your belly will move more than your chest, says Bhreathnach.

Make a Gratitude List

Carve out 2 to 5 minutes each day to write down what you’re thankful for, and be sure to include yourself on that list. “It’s great that many of us remember what others do for us, but we forget what we get done and what we do for ourselves,” says Lorraine Miller, a gratitude coach and author of the award-winning journal, From Gratitude to Bliss: A Journey in Health and Happiness. “Maybe you had a busy week, but you still managed to make it to the gym once—put that on your list. Focus on your accomplishments instead of what you haven’t crossed off your to-do list for a change,” she says.

Stretch Away the Stress

While experts believe stretching won’t improve (and in some case can impede) your athletic performance, research still shows doing gentle movements that elongate your muscles, such as those found in yoga, helps to reduce physical signs of stress and can improve your mental outlook. Can’t fit a full stretch session or yoga class into a jam-packed holiday party schedule? Take a minute to simply stretch out your limbs before you head out the door. Lift your foot up and back towards your bottom to get your quads; place your heel on a chair and bend forward to hit your hamstrings; raise your hands over head, grab a wrist and gently lean to the opposite side for a nice rib cage opener. Even just loosening a few muscles can help you free up mental space for optimism and fun.

Originally published by Fitbit.

Trick Yourself Into Never Wanting Treats Again [Fitbit]

There’s a reason why candy, cookies, chips and fast-food tastes oh. so. delicious. Many food items are engineered by scientists to deliver an irresistible “bliss point”—a term that describes the optimization of a tasty ingredient like sugar, salt, or fat that drives you to reach for more.

But just because food scientists have worked really hard to make treats too delicious to pass up, doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the pull of your tastebuds. It’s totally possible to outsmart those cravings for bite-size candy bars and drive-thru fries. All you need to do is adjust your habits and retrain your palate. Don’t worry, it’s easier to do than it sounds.

Disrupt Your Routine

If you typically grab a piece of candy when you walk by your co-worker’s desk on your way to the restroom, consider going a different way next time—one that doesn’t take you past those tantalizing treats. “Often your environment determines whether or not you will make a healthy choice,” says Steven Ledbetter, an expert on behavior change and co-founder of Habitry. “Change your environment, change your routine, and you eliminate the temptation,” he says.

Distract Your Cravings

Most cravings are just that, cravings. They don’t always signal an immediate need for sustenance. With that in mind, it’s possible to overcome a craving by thinking about something else. The next time you’re jonesing for that chocolate bar in the breakroom vending machine or those drive-thru donuts, remind yourself you had a filling, healthy lunch and then get busy. Focus on the email that’s been sitting in your inbox for three days, the GPS directions to your kid’s soccer game, anything but food.

Reach for Something Else

But what if you didn’t have a healthy lunch? What if you missed it completely? Be ready with a plan B. “When you decide to take on a new habit like eating better, it’s always a good idea to have a plan for those times when it will be hard to choose vegetables over fast food,” says Ledbetter. Keeping healthy snack options in your desk and in your car is a great plan B. No, carrot sticks and sunflower seeds don’t taste anything like nougat or potato chips, but when your cravings really are driven by hunger healthy snacks will be just as satisfying.

Originally published by Fitbit.

Gratitude is a Health Booster—Start Practicing Today! [Fitbit]

Headlines touting the health benefits of gratitude are abundant these days—and for good reason! Research shows a daily gratitude practice can reduce heart attack riskstrengthen the immune systemimprove sleep quality, and boost productivity at work.

Want to jump on the good-health, gratitude train? Like other health and fitness goals, developing a more grateful attitude is all about repetition. “If you’re consistent with your gratitude practice, it becomes automatic for your mind to shift into positive thinking when life gets tough,” says Lorraine Miller, a gratitude coach and author of the award-winning journal From Gratitude to Bliss: A Journey in Health and Happiness. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours honing your gratitude muscle. “If your practice takes a lot of time, you’re less likely to do it everyday,” says Miller. “Aim to devote just five minutes of your day to thinking about what you’re grateful for, and if you miss a day—not a big deal, you can pick it up again tomorrow.”

5 Simple Ways to Spend 5 Minutes Getting Grateful Today

1. Keep a Journal

“Keeping a gratitude journal is powerful, because it creates consistency and becomes a dedicated space for your practice,” says Miller. Spend five minutes filling up a few lines in a notebook everyday. When you’re not sure what to write about, or if you’re having a rough day, you can flip back a few pages for a reminder on why life is so great.

2. Make It a Dinner Conversation

“Finding a way to weave your gratitude practice into an existing routine will help you stay on track,” says Miller. One great way to do just that: make room for gratitude at the dinner table. Go around and have each family member name one thing they’re grateful for today.

3. Take a Walk

Turn your next fitness activity into a gratitude session. “I love doing this when I’m walking with my son in the stroller,” says Miller. “I’ll dedicate the first five minutes to practicing gratitude,” she says. Want to pick up the pace? Identify something to be grateful for at each mile marker of your next run. Or use the timer on the cardio machine at the gym to your advantage—challenge yourself to flex your gratitude muscle each time the number 5 flashes on the screen.

4. Change Your Mirror Talk

Instead of noticing jiggly thighs, take a look at your powerful legs in the mirror and thank them for all the steps they’ve helped you take. “People struggle so much with exercise and body image,” says Miller, “and often it’s because we forget to thank our body for the incredible things it does for us everyday,” she says. Shift your mindset, and you might notice it becomes easier for you to nail your goals. “I’ve met many people who have dramatically improved their health, and the common denominator is gratitude,” says Miller.

5. Write (& Send!) a Thank-You

Whether you pull out a pen and paper or draft an email, taking five minutes to thank someone can have a powerful impact on you and the recipient. “Gratitude does wonders for improving your relationships at home and at work,” says Miller. Try this with a coworker who might be getting on your nerves: “Seek out something authentic to thank them for—a job well done, for instance, and send them a note. You’ll notice your gratitude motivates others to be grateful, and negative feelings will begin to lift.”

Originally published by Fitbit.

Keep Your Summer Momentum Going into Fall [Fitbit]

For many, the start of the new school year signals the end of summer. But just because the sunny season is winding down, doesn’t mean it’s time to give up the health and fitness goals you’ve been working on. It’s entirely possible to continue to make progress—even when you’d rather be spending the dwindling daylight doing something else, says Steven Ledbetter, an expert on behavior change and co-founder of Habitry.

Here’s how to #SeizeSummer and keep your momentum going into fall.

Failure Re-Framed: The Upside of Finishing Last [Fitbit]

I love running, but I wouldn’t say I’m great at it, or a natural by any means. I’m “middle of the pack” when it comes to speed, and I’ve worked hard to get there. As a teenager running high school cross country, I was consistently the last female across the finish line at races and invitationals. It sucked. I wanted to quit. My dad wouldn’t let me.

It’s hard enough being a self-conscious teen, adding a solidly earned “loser” title week after week made it that much tougher. At the time, the sting of losing was almost unbearable. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I thought everyone was judging me for being slow. It was embarrassing.

Today, I’m glad I had to listen to my dad. I learned a valuable lesson about what it means to fail, and why it’s important to keep trying. It’s a theme that continues to come up in life and in goal setting for health and fitness. No matter whether your struggle is to run a 5K or simply walk a mile, failing can actually make you stronger. Here’s how to re-frame your way of thinking and find the upside of falling short.

Runpreneur Tori Sager of Fellow Flowers Shares Her Chicago Marathon Experience

Tori Sager of Fellow Flowers was "red"y to run the 2013 Chicago Marathon!
Tori Sager of Fellow Flowers was “red”y to run the 2013 Chicago Marathon!

Tori Sager and her business partner Maryellen “Mel” Charbonneau are in the inspiration industry. Their company sells hairpins and t-shirts meant to motivate women on the run. Fellow Flowers goes beyond simply hawking accessories and workout apparel, it creates a space for women to find encouragement and share strength when they need it most—a space Tori tapped into on Sunday when she wasn’t sure if finishing the Chicago Marathon was in the cards for her. Even though she still couldn’t walk down stairs without grimacing, Tori graciously took my call shortly after the race to chat about Fellow Flowers, the meaning of commitment, and other awesomeness.

Thanks so much for speaking with me, Tori. How are you feeling post-marathon?  “Of course—I love talking about running! I’m feeling ok, still walking a little funny and taking the stairs sideways. Ha!”

Was this your first time running the Chicago Marathon?  “No, this was my third marathon, and I’ve only run Chicago, so I’ve done it three times now—in 2011, 2012, and now 2013. I wasn’t sure if I’d be running it this year because I’ve been battling an Achilles injury, but when I heard the date—October 13, 2013, I knew I had to do it. Thirteen is a lucky number for me, believe it or not. I was born on a Friday the 13th, and Fellow Flowers got its start when I invited friends to run a half marathon with me to celebrate my birthday one year. Thirteen of my girlfriends trained and ran thirteen miles with me! We put flowers in our hair to celebrate that run and our company was born!”

Wow! Really? How did running with your friends turn into a business?  “The women who had signed up to run with me didn’t know each other—I was their connection to the group. But over the course of training for twelve weeks an email chain started. Initially my friends were simply introducing themselves and talking about their workouts, but over those weeks something really powerful happened. Suddenly, we were sharing our inspirations for running, motivating each other to keep at it, and honoring our commitment to the race and to each other. Those emails became a safe space for us to honor, share, and celebrate our stories. This was something bigger than me, bigger than simply running for my birthday, and when Mel and I talked about it later, after clipping flowers in our hair for the race, we realized we wanted to build a company that would allow every woman to have that experience—to create a united place to honor, share, and celebrate our reasons to run. Fellow Flowers is the embodiment of that space, and each flower offers its own reason and motivation for running.”

"Bloom, baby. Bloom." With a red Fellow Flower in her hair, Tori had the strength to cross the finish line.
“Bloom, baby. Bloom.” A red Fellow Flower in her hair gave Tori the strength to cross the finish line. (And she looked super cute!)

Which flower were you wearing on Sunday?  “I wore a red flower and a red flower t-shirt with the message, ‘It takes strength to do what you love,’ on the back. I really needed that mantra for this marathon. I spent this past winter trying to heal Achilles tendinopathy, and it flared up again over the summer during marathon training, which made me reevaluate my race goal. I wanted to PR this year, and I was on track to do that, but with a recurring injury you sort of have to step back and rethink things. For a while, I wasn’t sure if I would even make it to the start line. My longest run leading up to the marathon was only 14 miles, and I knew I wasn’t going to hit my time goal, so I decided to just get there and do my best to push through and finish. I needed inner strength for that.”

In the end, were you happy with your time?  “Yes, I’m thrilled that I finished and that I felt strong doing it. The first half was great for me—and if it had just been a half marathon I would have gotten a PR. But around mile 15 I started to struggle. I was experiencing some pain and I could feel a blister forming on my toe, so I made the decision to stop. I rehydrated, ate an energy bar, adjusted my sock, and then started running again. There was an aid station at mile 17, so I stopped again to put Vaseline on my foot. From that point on, I kept running, only slowing down to walk through the water stations. Considering all of that, I’m very happy with my time.”

That’s awesome! A lot of people would have thrown in the towel, but you didn’t.  “Yeah, I’m really proud of myself for running smart, and for taking care of myself—I don’t think I would have made it to the finish if I hadn’t done that. I really leaned on that red flower statement: “It takes strength to do what you love.” The word “commitment” is also connected to the red flower. It’s a very powerful idea to stay loyal to what you said you were going to do, even when you’re no longer in the mood you were in when you set that goal. I was mentally ready to run a marathon, but I wasn’t physically able in that moment, which really put me in a hard place. But I wanted to be true to that commitment.”

You must have felt so relieved to see the finish line.  “Yes, I felt relieved. But I was also really inspired. The last miles of a marathon are just rough. You get to mile 22 and you’re starting to doubt yourself, and then by mile 25 you’re thinking, “Just one mile to go. I can do this! I can finish this!” In those last few miles I came up on a wheel chair participant who was moving fairly slow. He was obviously the last wheelchair, and he seemed to be struggling, it was taking all he could to move those wheels around, and the crowd was going wild cheering for him. I took out my earphones to listen for a bit. His determination was infectious, and I think it gave me and the other runners out there a little extra oomph. It was probably the most emotional moment of the marathon for me, because I knew he would finish and I realized I could finish, too.”

From injured to inspired, you crossed the finish line! What’s next for you?  “My goal now is to heal up again. And as soon as my body tells me it’s ready, I’m going to focus on shorter distances. Realizing that I could have gotten a PR at the half mark on Sunday has me thinking about getting faster. I’m planning to run some 10Ks and maybe a half marathon in the spring. Getting faster and stronger in shorter distance races is what I’m into now.”

She may not have mentioned it during our phone call, but it’s obvious to me that Tori embodies the black Fellow Flower message, “Why yes, I am a force to be reckoned with.” Check out the Fellow Flowers line up of colors to find the one you connect with—I’m a big fan of the purple, “No excuses!”

With marathon season in full swing, I want to know: What keeps you running when the chips seem down?

 

Healthy Living Summit 2013 Recap: New Blogger Friends!

Just a few of the business cards I collected at Healthy Living Summit 2013
Just a few of the business cards I collected at Healthy Living Summit 2013 #hls13

Last weekend I was in Minneapolis, MN for Healthy Living Summit 2013. It was three days jam-packed with firsts: My first time flying on Frontier airlines (very smooth!), my first time in Minneapolis (what a friendly city!), and my first time at a bloggers summit (so fun!). I learned so much from scheduled seminars and picked up some awesome lessons hanging with fellow healthy living pushers. A few key take-aways:

Healthy living is a come-as-you-are party. Just like runners, healthy living bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, and at HLS13 they covered the spectrum—beginners who’ve recently started to eat better, women who made changes years ago and have shed some serious pounds since, and fitness gurus looking to share their knowledge with the world. That’s good news for anyone hoping to get healthy or healthier—the healthy living train picks you up at YOUR station, wherever your starting point may be.

This photo (taken by a summit sponsor) is a perfect example of the healthy living come-as-you-are party. I’m sporting fitness apparel and Ari and Nicole are decked out in dresses.
This photo (taken by a summit sponsor) is a perfect example of the come-as-you-are party. I’m sporting fitness apparel and Ari and Nicole are decked out in dresses.

Good food doesn’t need to be complicated. In her presentation, “Grow Your Own Food,” Aundra shared her love of gardening and pointed out that anyone can have a green thumb if you start small and plant what you love. And keynote speaker Brenda Langton, an award-winning chef and restaurateur, stressed the importance of using simple recipes to bring out the best in whole foods.

Sunday morning post-run snapshot in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with Brittney. This woman is on her way to becoming the most-asked-for PA—she’s still in school and already has job offers!
Sunday morning post-run snapshot with Brittney. This woman is on her way to becoming the most-asked-for PA—she’s still in school and already has job offers!

Running builds relationships. This one is a no-brainer: Anytime you sweat it out with a friend, you’re bonding on a deeper level. The summit culminated with a 5K fun run/walk to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden that gave us an opportunity to sightsee and chat about the weekend.

Everyone can contribute to the conversation. Healthy living is a broad category, filled with different strategies and tactics for looking and feeling your best. Here’s a sampling of the awesome bloggers who made it to the summit—check them out for recipes, fitness tips, motivation, and more.

Which healthy living blogs make your favorites list?

Running with the Bride, Adirondack-Style!

A quick selfie with the glowing bride before pounding the pavement.
A quick selfie with the glowing bride before pounding the pavement.

Last week I took a break from my regular California routine to attend a wedding and visit family on the east coast. This wasn’t your typical white-gown-boozy-toasts-rubbery-chicken affair (although, there was quite a bit of booze!). From the pre-ceremony shots of rum and the steel drum player during cocktail hour, to the backyard-style barbecue reception with lawn games (ladder ball, anyone?), my Aunt Kathi and her new husband Will put on the most relaxed shindig Upstate New York has ever seen—and I loved every minute of it!

I’ve been proud of my Aunt Kathi for a long time now, but running with her on Saturday morning before the major festivities got under way filled me with a new appreciation for her tenacious spirit.

After a sad divorce several years ago, Aunt Kathi was faced with a broken heart and an unhealthy lifestyle. But she relied on one of our family mottos to help her pick up the pieces: “Every day is a good day.” With that positive attitude she hit the dating scene and joined a gym. Since then, she’s lost over 180 pounds thanks to healthier eating and fitness habits (she wakes up at 5:00 am most days to sweat it out with her friends at Core in Glens Falls, NY!) and she met the new love of her life, Will. (Aunt Kathi enacted another family motto when she took up residence with him: “Daly’s don’t dust; we move.”)

Who says life doesn't give second chances?
Aunt Kathi and Uncle Will share a moment overlooking Lake George. Who says life doesn’t give second chances?

Aunt Kathi and I tackled three miles on a rolling street in the Adirondacks and chatted the entire time about love, life, and making healthy choices. She apologized for her slow speed, but running faster would have meant missing out on a chance to connect and reflect. (Huffing and puffing at a tougher pace has its place, but this wasn’t it.)

There’s a popular saying, “Life doesn’t give you second chances,” and I think it’s a misleading mantra. We are surrounded by shining examples of people who, like my Aunt Kathi, render the statement untrue every single day.

Every day is a good day. Every day you get to wake up and decide how you are going to live your life. Will you choose a loving, supportive relationship? Will you opt for a plate full of veggies? Will you lace up your sneakers and go for that run? Every day is your second chance. Take it!

Where did you run last weekend? Who inspired you to have a good day?

This Isn’t Your Practice Life. (Stop Eating Like It Is!)

This meal took time to prepare (15 whole minutes), but investing in my life makes me smile.
This meal took time to prepare (15 whole minutes), but investing in my life makes me smile.

This isn’t your practice life. I stole that line from a friend’s Facebook status update. She heard an acquaintance say it. He picked it up from a former coworker. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d seen it or heard it somewhere, too. Good advice, packaged nicely into a single-sentence sound-byte, travels fast. But how many of us are actually living this advice?

I spent my last trail run mulling this over. It’s so easy in our work-a-day world to get bogged down with the daily stress of life, to forget about being passionate, and to simply go through the motions. I see clients do it all the time—and I’ve noticed it’s being fed by their eating habits.

They are bypassing the produce department in the grocery store, filling their carts with 300-calorie boxed meals, and thinking they’re making the healthy choice, one that will make their lives easier (and, therefore, happier). But instead of filling up on bliss, they’re feeding into a dull, drab existence. That box—loaded with sodium, colorants, flavorings, and artificial preservatives—isn’t nourishing a bright, positive life, because the ingredients inside are merely pretending to be food.

Many of us sit around and think the world is happening to us. In reality, we are creating our own existence. If you want joy, if you want passion, you need to nourish your body with the most vibrant foods you can buy (I’m talking about vegetables, people!), and create a happy existence from the inside out.

Despite what all those clever marketers want you to believe, there aren’t nearly as many nutrients in packaged, processed items as there are in fresh, whole foods. And there certainly isn’t any joy in nuking your dinner. Just imagine how depressing Thanksgiving would be if the family simply waited 3 minutes for the turkey dinner and then scurried off to the next conference call.

Whole foods take time to prepare. But I believe what you spend in the kitchen will multiply in your soul. You are sending a message to your body that you deserve to be cared for; you deserve to be well fed. In order to go out and do great things, you need to feel great—and that feeling begins by fueling your body with the most nourishing foods possible. This isn’t a practice life, so why are you eating like it is.

How will you nourish your life today?