As most of you know, “Be Your Own Miracle” is what I end every blog with and what defines our mission. The words are self explanatory and has individual meaning to all of the people who choose miraculous over lifelong behaviors. Darla is a prime example of how one person’s health journey becomes a miraculous celebration of a strong and high functioning life. Darla was told to walk only short distances and to “take it easy” with exercise due to knee, back, and shoulder issues. She decided to take a different approach and to see how exercise could benefit her and not hurt her. She sought to lose weight, get stronger, and reduce pain. She struggled at first due to her age, metabolism, and being new to resistance training. And even though she ate perfectly, she did not lose one single pound for three months. Darla became her own miracle when she decided to NEVER give up on her goal of strength and great health. She kept fighting and slowly began to lose weight. She remained consistent and gained physical strength she had not experienced in years. Darla eventually lost about 70 lbs and is feeling much less pain than she has in years. She walks daily and still works as a teacher, helping adults new to this country read and write. And she did all of this after age 65. What does it mean to be your own miracle? Darla defines it and you can too. Please take care of your health and stay as strong as you can. There are many like Darla out there. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


Our health is so complicated yet so simple. Years of research have shown that our health is more than just the food we eat and the exercise we get. The way we were conditioned to believe as children, income, education level, genetics, coping skills and even traumatic experiences in our youth all play a role in our health choices as adults. There are many other factors that affect our health as well. Current home and work environments, friendships, and even what we put into our mind with television and social media will greatly impact our long term health, according to research. So given all of this, how does a person that struggles with making the healthiest choice live in a healthier way? Here are some tips that I have found to work through research and experience.

  1. Become intentional with your health choices. Plan your exercise, how you will cope with daily stress, and meals for the day. Manage your life and your health instead of letting it manage you. Stick to the daily plan and start over each day.
  2. Have people in your life that are supportive and hold you accountable. It is so necessary for our own personal development and health to have people in our lives that can help us grow. This does not mean “haters” but instead have our best interests in mind. I love my circle who is there for me in an honest way and I would not have went back to college or have a business now without their guidance. I had to put hypersensitivity on the shelf and learn. Do what you need to do.
  3. Bring things into your mind that helps you to stay focused and motivated. Use social media, books, videos, and everything possible to plant seeds in your mind that cultivate you reaching your goal of good health and healthy life management. You can learn from people who have reached your goal, videos on resilience, and podcast that teach you how to work through life events differently. It is easy to lose focus if you have had long term struggles to make the healthiest choice. Stay in the game mentally by feeding your mind with good.
  4. Learn to believe in yourself. Many of us have perfected the art of not following through with things. Much of this is due to a lack of belief in yourself, especially when times get tough or challenges occur. You do have the skills to work through anything in a healthy way. Understand that life will occur and things will happen that will challenge us. Learn to work through the tough times and give full energy to how you can be successful in your goals.

If you have struggled at all to make the healthiest choice please know it is never too late. Whether you are 19 or 92, what you do from this day forward will matter to your other days. Do your best and learn from each day. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


I work with many different types of people. Some are athletic and have a history of exercise while others are just beginning. Some eat healthy most of the time and others struggle to manage food and drink with boundaries. There is no question that exercise and what we eat are important to our health but that is just part of being an overall healthy person. There are so many factors that impact our health in a positive or negative way and we do not include these factors enough when addressing our health. And these factors do not matter if you have exercised your whole life or have always eaten in a healthy manner. Here are just a couple of things that deeply impact our health.


It is so important to manage emotional reaction to stress and the thought processes you have when placed in a stressful situation. You notice I did not say that we should manage stress differently. I read a lot where we should manage stress differently but I like to be more direct and specific. The stress will never go away. From my experience and what I observe of others, there will always be stress no matter who we are. The way we manage our response to stress impacts our overall health in either a positive or negative way. For years I would get upset when stressful situations would arise, trying to control the situation instead of my response to the situation. It did not work well. Learn to manage your stress response for your health. Each healthy practice that we engage in will help to manage our stress response but it begins with intentional mindfulness and self-awareness that the way we are reacting to stress could be healthier.


There are so many health benefits to an optimistic view of life. Pessimists tend to have more depression, physical ailments and disabilities, and struggle to work through life’s problems in a healthy manner. There is a direct correlation between depression and many diseases of the body including heart disease and many cancers. The ability to respond in a healthy way to difficult events in life such as a health scare will also be impacted by your outlook. Your overall quality of life and functioning improve with optimism.

“In a study on a population of elderly subjects of both sexes, aged between 65-85 years, Giltay et al. noted that dispositional optimism predicted less probability of mortality in general and of cardiovascular mortality in particular. These data have been confirmed in a subsequent longitudinal study on a population of males aged between 64 – 84 years in which an inverse correlation was reported between dispositional optimism and the risk of cardiovascular death.”

“It has been demonstrated that in the presence of severe pathological conditions, optimistic patients adapt better to stressful situations compared to pessimists, with positive repercussions on their quality of life. For example, in a sample of patients who underwent an aortic-coronary bypass, optimism was significantly and positively associated with quality of life in the six months following the operation [39]. The optimistic patients in fact presented a more rapid clinical improvement during the period of hospitalization and a quicker return to daily routine after discharge from hospital.”

Optimism is not what people traditionally consider positive thinking but rather a true belief system where the individual trusts that there will be a good outcome from events in life. Optimism has even been the key to people living healthy in horrible conditions such as concentration camps or as a prisoner of war. Believe that you have the skills to work through life’s curves and remember that you have worked through things in the past that were difficult.

It is so important to take care of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. I was told once that our lives are like a table, with those four areas the legs that hold us up. When one of those legs are out of balance, the whole table (our body and mind) is out of balance. Please exercise and stay as strong as you can. Manage your emotional responses to life events by being present with yourself and by management from the inside out. Improve your mental health with the first two, through study of self and by being honest with what you struggle with. Be careful with what you give energy and focus to and check yourself often to make sure you are giving energy to love, success, service, and learning. If you struggle get help like I did. Do it as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


More and more research is coming out about the importance of exercise especially if you struggle with things like weight, smoking, and other unhealthy habits.                   Exercise Benefits to Those Who Smoke                                                                                      In smokers, exercise in numerous studies has shown to reduce the risks of lung disease, heart disease, and mental decline. Research also shows that if you exercise regularly, quitting smoking becomes easier. In addition, you can actually begin to reverse the damage done to your body by smoking within just a few days of quitting.

Exercise Benefits to Those Who Battle Weight Issues                                                                                                   

It is no secret that obesity is unhealthy and leads to chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mental decline, high blood pressure, many cancers, joint problems, and depression. Many people struggle with weight and approximately 30% of our population is classified as obese. Personally this is a lifelong struggle for me as well. If you struggle with managing your weight, exercise is vital to maintaining your health in the long term. Exercise will:

  • Reduce your risk for chronic disease. Exercise reduces high blood pressure, increases healthy cholesterol and decreases unhealthy cholesterol. The combination helps reduce plaque on artery walls and gives us a healthier heart.
  • Reduces impact and risk of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance goes down when you exercise, and your cells can use the glucose more effectively. Exercise can also reduce complications from diabetes like heart disease.
  • Improve mood. If you struggle with an unhealthy depressive mood, exercise will help if done correctly. You can actually exercise in a way that treats the depression and reduces depressive episodes. Exercise can also improve self-esteem and give you a sense of accomplishment. The key is to not overdo exercise and to approach each exercise session with self-talk that will lead to success.
  • Help you sleep. Poor sleep is associated with multiple health conditions including obesity. Exercise helps you fall asleep faster and deeper which will also improve concentration and your ability to make healthy decisions.
  • Keep you physically strong. Many of us battle things like binge eating and addictions. Being physically strong is so important to combat the damage done by the unhealthy habits. Keep battling what you struggle with but exercise.

Our health choices impact us and those who love us in so many ways. If you struggle with habits that are unhealthy, please exercise while you do battle against them. Your loved ones, your happiness, and your body will thank you for it. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

Crazy Health Facts

I got this from and thought it would be cool to share.

  • Because of today’s alarming obesity rates, this generation of children will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents. Scary!
  • 1/3 of all cancers are preventable.
  • Smokers can lose 1/3 of their everyday memory.
  • 33% of those who drink four or more caffeinated beverages, such as soda or coffee, daily are put at a higher risk for sleep apnea
  • Stress causes or complicates 90% of all diseases.
  • There is an iPhone app that can actually fix back pain
  • Just adding movement into your daily routine can increase your level of fitness. Being sedentary is dangerous!
  • On average, right-handed people live 9 years longer than left-handed people.
  • The adult human heart weighs about 10 oz.
  • Out of the 206 bones in the human adult’s body, 106 are in the hands and feet.
  • The amount of teenage cosmetic surgeries has nearly doubled in the USA between the years 1996 and 1998.
  • During a sneeze, all of your bodily functions momentarily stop, even your heart.
  • Over 40 million Americans have “chronic halitosis,” which is a condition causing bad breath that never goes away.
  • There are 5 million scent receptors located within a human beings nose.
  • Very high amounts of stress can actually stunt a person’s growth.
  • Reading in dim light will not damage your eyes.
  • Eating a meal with strong aromas will cause you to get fuller faster.
  • The body’s largest tissue is skeletal muscle, which accounts for approximately 45% of body weight in men and 36% in women.
  • Every single muscle fiber is thinner than a human hair strand, and can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight.
  • There are at least six universal facial expressions. They are: happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, anger and surprise.
  • The brain operates on about the same amount of power needed to light a 10-watt light bulb
  • Every 36 hours the lining of a humans stomach is replaced.
  • The approximate length of a human esophagus is 25 centimeters.
  • A person that blushes easily is known as a erythrophobe.




Many of us feel all alone in this world and with nowhere to turn. As an entrepreneur with my own vision, a step-dad, and follower of  Christ I often feel alone in many environments. Recent research is showing that loneliness is as hard on the body as smoking. Loneliness is a cause of depression which we know is not healthy if we struggle a lot with it. While I value my alone time, when it becomes loneliness it becomes depressing and unhealthy. So what does one do when they are lonely, depressed and want to feel better? Here are a few things that I have found through both research and experience that I hope helps you.

  1. Create a life flow. There is rarely anyone who can have someone around them 24 hours a day. During those times of day when you know you will be alone, INTENTIONALLY plan an activity that you enjoy and brings fulfillment. I know people who do artistic projects, collect coins, write, or build things. Being creative is both good for your health and happiness.  Find yours.
  2. Serve others who may be suffering.  Helping others who are struggling with something is one of the best ways to get out of our own heads. It could be volunteering at a senior citizen facility, animal rescue, residential treatment center for addiction, or shelter for abuse victims. There are limitless opportunities to help others. Find your way to do so.
  3. Exercise. Movement is vital to our brain function, overall well-being, and happiness. If you can find a gym, exercise group, or running/walking friends, that is best. 90% of the people in a gym are friendly and great to be around. I have made some amazing friends belonging to a gym. If you cannot join a gym or do not have others to exercise with, exercise anyway. Put on some happy music and move for about 30 minutes. Give energy only to exercise and you will feel better afterwards. It works every time.
  4. Value time with others. On those occasions when you do have time to spend with others, enjoy every minute of it. Listen to the other person to listen, not to respond. Be fully engaged and turn off electronics. Express to them how much you valued the time with them and look forward to it again.

The key to all of this is self awareness and the knowledge that you struggle with depression when alone at times. The need to manage the depression with healthier options cannot be overstated and is vital to your health. Get professional help as well and talk to someone if necessary. Be alone no more and lonely. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


One of the biggest barriers that I have witnessed to achieve the great health and lean body many desire is poor time management. I hear on a regular basis, “I don’t have time because I work 50 hours a week and have a family. But there are others that can achieve the health goals and lean body you desire with the same barriers. What is the difference? They have made their health and fitness a priority in their lives and manage the time they have free accordingly. Many gyms have daycares, you can exercise with the family, teach them good health and nutrition practices etc. Watching television, playing on social network sites for hours and other “time wasting” activities will not get you to the healthy and lean body that is your goal. And even more important, your family will have a healthier, stronger, and happier person to love. Please manage your time to include exercise and good nutrition. Your life and family will be better for it.

Exercise: In the space below, please list how many hours per week that you spend with the following activities:            As always, please communicate clearly and honestly.

Activity                                                                                   Time Spent


Preparing for work (shower/hair/makeup etc.)

Commute to work:



Recreation with family:

Recreation with friends:

Watching television:

Eating/meal preparation:




Total Hours Spent:



There are 168 hours per week (24 hours x 7 days). Subtract your total above from 168. How much time per week do you use on the activities you listed? ________   Are there areas that could be used more efficiently to assist you in your goal of a healthier and lean body?


Exercise: In the space below, please list 5 ways you could spend your time more efficiently to assist you in your goal of a healthier and lean body.













Are you engaging in any unhealthy time management practices? Examples could include working too much, spending too much time in the bar, watching too much television etc. Please list them below.










I hope this helps you to manage your time in a way that includes exercise, meal prep, and study. The person who learns to manage their time in a productive manner for their health is the one who will see the most benefit (obviously). There is no more important thing to our lives, overall happiness, and outlook than our health. Spend your time wisely for your own good benefit. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


Research shows very clearly that what we are exposed to early in life could impact us throughout life. For most of us, our family or who we were raised with were the first lessons of exposure in our life. These individuals taught us:

  • How to walk
  • Language
  • Religious practices or not
  • Prejudices in some cases
  • Expectations of success or failure
  • View of being advantaged or disadvantaged
  • How to be violent, sexually dysfunctional, and mentally unhealthy
  • Drug/alcohol/food addiction
  • Importance of love and relationships
  • Health practices
  • Belief in oneself

The list could go on and on and on.

Here are some examples of how some of us could have been conditioned by family and those involved in our childhood upbringing.

  1. I have a close friend that was raised in a VERY strict religious manner. As a child, she was told to dress in a certain way, treat men in a subservient way, and worship God in a certain way. This created feelings of confusion and frustration for her that led to other excessive behaviors in areas of her life, especially the way she ate. She was able to overcome this, develop her own belief system about religion, spirituality, and God. She also uses the strictness of her childhood to be disciplined in her life with nutrition, exercise, thinking patterns, and to educate herself.
  2. I grew up in an area of many different ethnicities, cultural, and economic diversities. There were working poor, wealthy, people of every race. This included a large Native American population due to the small town’s proximity to two large reservations. My Native friends regularly ate fry bread, potatoes, and desserts. Often, meals were a celebration or family gathering. Many ate this way because of economic conditions and not knowing how to eat healthy on a tight budget. As a result, many of my friends developed diabetes and other health related issues due to obesity and other poor health practices. My friend Jeff was one of these people. After being diagnosed with type two diabetes and weighing 275 pounds at age 34, Jeff decided to make some positive changes with his health. He began to study nutrition and exercise moderately. He did not change where he lived or family. Although he had many struggles conquering his addiction to food because of his early life conditioning, he eventually won the battle and dropped 90 pounds. After one year, he had no signs of diabetes and ran his first half marathon. He did not love his culture or family less. In fact, many of his family have joined him in creating a healthy lifestyle and are making major changes themselves. He did not allow others to influence him, HE DID THE INFLUENCING!


Answer the following questions as they pertain to you. It is of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE to handwrite the answers if possible and to communicate as clearly as you possibly can. This cannot be understated. Think and communicate clearly with yourself in your answer.

How has your family or culture impacted your nutritional beliefs?



How has your family or culture impacted your attitude toward exercise?



How has this conditioning impacted your weight and/or health?



If it has impacted you negatively with weight or health issues, are you still continuing the destructive behaviors?



Without blame or judgment, list 5 ways you can develop new and healthier practices and still appreciate the family and culture of your past.


  • I can honor my culture and family during celebrations and parties by enjoying some food. The rest of the time I will focus on my health goals and honor my family by staying as healthy as I can.
  • I will recognize when I am being sentimental and eating out of emotion due to my family conditioning. I will respond to this lifelong auto response by having food prepared and sticking to my plan. I will focus on my health and distract myself, call a support person, or go exercise until I work through the cravings or desire to go on a binge.
  • I love my mother and know she was doing her best. From a young age however, she gave me lots of sugary treats and simple carbs. I believe I developed a physical food addiction that still plagues me today. I will meal prep and stick to only whole food and natural sugars through fruits and vegetables.
  • I will recognize when my unhealthy desire for sugars is becoming an obsession. I will eat a piece of fruit, meditate and breathe, and text my support person.

Now It is your turn: Make sure you communicate clearly:











I hope this helps you at least recognize how you may have been conditioned to believe, eat, and live in a way that does not serve your goal of good health. The more self-awareness you have, the more you will develop change. Begin as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

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How did we get to where we are today? For many of us the road has taken many turns but began with what we inherited through genetics and early life conditioning. It is called nature and nurture. Genetics are the traits we are born with. Research shows that some genes can go back centuries and can be passed on to generations from family members we may have never met or known. Our early life conditioning is what we have been taught by others (parents, teachers, coaches, people we admire), learned from observing others, believe deeply, developed from life experience, or have learned from media, among other things. It has helped us to develop our customs, beliefs, and philosophies about life. It is the environment that shaped us. It is the way we have been conditioned by family and culture, neighborhoods, schools and institution, and even ourselves. Socialization and conditioning teaches us how to act within a certain culture and shapes our views of race, the opposite sex, male/female roles, crime, employment, potential for success, and EVERY view of life, including the way we eat and our approach to exercise. These factors include:

  1. Attachment to parents  
  2. Peer Pressure
  3. Abandonment (also single parent)               
  4. Abuse  
  5. Prejudices
  6. Attitudes
  7. Self-esteem
  8. Prejudices
  9. Work Beliefs
  10. Language
  11. Abuse
  12. Religion
  13. Relationships
  14. Institutions (Schools too)
  15. Education Peer 
  16. Success/failure principles
  17. False glorification
  18. Self-esteem
  19. Anger toward authority     
  20. Relationships Prejudice                                                                                                                            

Scientific research has shown that being exposed to things both good and bad early in life is HUGE in our personal development and our belief system (National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Children, 2009). Many of us have been conditioned to eat in a certain way (we must eat everything on our plate), react in a certain way (I am being treated unfairly because of who I am or where I am from), or believe in a certain way about ourselves (I am limited in what I can do in life because of my family, neighborhood, ethnic background, cultural or racial heritage). It is VERY TRUE that some of us may start with a disadvantage in life. In a nutshell, it is no wonder that many of us have become the way we are today. For some, it is all that we know. Fortunately for us there are examples of individuals who have overcome the EXACT problem you are facing and been faced with the same disadvantages as you are encountering.  How were they able to enact change and how can we create the transformation we seek? The answer—the same way we learned it. We just have to learn a different way to believe. We must change our core beliefs and the environment that we place ourselves in and what we place into ourselves. But what does that mean? Continuing to place ourselves in the same environments, relationships, and situations will only slow the change process. No duh right? Then why do we continue to engage in this? Because it is easier for most people to continue to react, behave, think, and continue on the same path that has brought them to where they are today, whether successful or not. It is hard to change the way we react, behave, and think but it will be a crucial component to the change process that you desire. “You are the company you keep” was no fluke.

Today is no different. Whether you are aware of it or not, your belief systems impact every facet of your life, especially the way you treat your health, manage stress, and live day to day. In the coming days, I am going to share with you how you may have been conditioned in your life, genetically and socially, and provide you evidence based tips on how to change or manage your lifelong conditioning. This is so important for many of us to learn to manage. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


Whether we are aware of it or not, we are talking to ourselves (don’t worry it is normal) throughout the day. We tell ourselves it is okay to do certain things, tell ourselves it is not okay to do other things, daydream, make judgments of ourselves and others, and prioritize tasks. We also talk to ourselves when it comes to our coping choices and the way we use unhealthy things to cope with daily life. Many times we will “talk ourselves into” unhealthy choices or “talk ourselves out of” healthy choices. For most of us, this has been a practice we have perfected over many years, probably since childhood. How we have “made it okay” with our self-talk to make unhealthy choices plays a key role in the health status we are in today. Changing the “automatic” words we tell ourselves when we are justifying our choices will play a key role in you achieving the weight and wellness goals that you so strongly desire.

Exercise: Choose a time twice per day for 15 minutes where you can be mindful (aware or “in the moment”) of your self-talk. Choosing times on opposite ends of the day such as morning and evening will work well for many. Before and after your hours of employment, during your commute to and from work or errands will provide you with the opportunity to examine your thoughts and self-talk as it relates to the actions you take during that time, whether it is health related or not. The exercise will help you to see how you justify behaviors, judgments of yourself and others, carry out daily tasks and of course make nutrition choices. You should start with about twenty minutes on this exercise. In the space below, list at least five ways you spoke to yourself during the time of this exercise. It could be judgments of yourself or others, work related, reward justifications, talking yourself out of exercise etc. Try to conduct this exercise without stress or pressure. In other words, relax and look at the way you talk to yourself and make things okay or not okay.


  • I told myself the person across from me on the bus was poor because her clothes were worn and her shoes had holes in them.
  • I told myself I did not have time to exercise today because of work and a school appointment with my child’s teacher.
  • I told myself that I am being treated with less respect than others at work because of continued reprimands by my boss.
  • I told myself that I had to eat unhealthy fast food because I did not have time to prepare breakfast.
  • I told myself that I “needed” chocolate and other comfort foods due to the hard day at work.

Now it is your turn:











Based on the answers that you have listed above, how can you change the talk you have with yourself to change the outcome or behavior so that it reflects your goal of improved health, wellness, and a leaner weight?


  • As I see the person across from me on the bus with worn clothes and shoes, I will tell myself that the person is acceptable to me without judgment and allow that person to be themselves and dress in the manner that they may need to for work or economic reasons.
  • As I tell myself that I do not have time to exercise today, I will examine other ways I can get my exercise done either today or when I am faced with other busy days. I will tell myself to learn from the experience and that exercise is a key part of my goal of improved health and wellness. I will make exercise a priority and focus on the benefits of exercise.
  • As I tell myself that I am being disrespected at work because of continued reprimands by my boss, I will change the talk to myself to, “I am responsible for the emotions within myself and not for the actions of others. I can control the extent to which I get upset and look openly at my work performance to see if I can improve and/or address the areas my boss is reprimanding me about.” Or, “I have examined everything my boss is reprimanding me about. I feel as though I am doing the best I can and will talk to my boss about the reprimands and be open to the feedback he or she gives me. I will communicate clearly, honestly and with respect.”
  • As I tell myself that it is okay to eat an unhealthy fast food breakfast because of time, I will remind myself of the work I have done to achieve improved health and wellness and the consequences of poor food choices. If I have to eat at a place that has mostly unhealthy choices, I will order fruit cups, salads, or the healthiest choice possible to stay on track with my health mission. I will plan better for morning meals and give energy and thought to being successful with my health choices. I will know that resilience will be necessary and explore my time management to create time to make a healthy breakfast in the future.
  • As I tell myself that I need the comfort of chocolate or other foods, I will recognize that this may be the way I have automatically coped with stressful, anxious, and/or depressing situations in my life. When I begin to automatically go to the thought of comforting chocolate, I will immediately switch all thoughts and energy to something else. I will remind myself of the benefits of eating healthy and focus on how I can be successful in my health choices that day only. I will dispute the talk that I have with myself and my definition of “need.” I will refocus on my health mission, call my accountability partners, read a story of inspiration, or anything necessary to stay on track. I am worth it.

Now it is your turn:









It is so important to recognize thoughts quickly that do not lead to our best health and overall good. Focusing on negative events that have occurred in the past, ruminating about events that have happened recently, holding onto resentments, having anger toward another person that you feel has wronged you, remaining sad for extended periods over losses, and failing to correct anxiousness are not healthy for the physical body.