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    Royan Bartley

October 5, 2023

A New Way to Thrive

Honesty is a virtue that often gets praised when it’s directed outwardly – when we tell the truth to others, keep our promises, and act with integrity in our interactions. However, one aspect of honesty that is equally, if not more, important is being honest with oneself. Self-honesty is the cornerstone of personal growth, self-awareness, and a fulfilling life.

Being honest with yourself begins with self-reflection. It means taking the time to examine your thoughts, feelings, and actions without judgment or denial. Self-reflection allows you to understand your motivations, desires, and fears more deeply. It can be uncomfortable to confront your weaknesses or mistakes, but this self-awareness is essential for personal growth.

When you’re honest with yourself, you embrace your true self. You acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, your dreams and aspirations, and your values and beliefs. This authenticity allows you to live in alignment with who you are rather than trying to fit into societal or external expectations. When you’re true to yourself, you can lead a more fulfilling and genuine life.

Problem Solving
Self-honesty is a valuable tool for problem-solving. When you’re willing to admit your mistakes and acknowledge things that need to change or areas where you can improve, you open the door to finding solutions and making positive changes in your life. Instead of deflecting blame or making excuses, you take responsibility for your actions and work towards making things better.

Building Trust
Trust is not only important in your relationships with others but also in your relationship with yourself. When you consistently tell yourself the truth and follow through on your commitments, you build self-trust. This self-trust is the foundation for confidence and self-esteem. It allows you to rely on yourself and your decisions, knowing that you are acting in your own best interest.

Emotional Well-being
Being honest with yourself can lead to improved emotional well-being. When you suppress your emotions or deny your true feelings, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and even physical health issues. However, when you allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your emotions, you can process them in a healthy way and work through challenges more effectively.

In a world where external pressures and societal expectations often cloud our judgment, being honest with yourself is a radical act of self-love and self-empowerment. It’s not always easy to confront your own truths, but the benefits are profound. Self-honesty leads to self-awareness, authenticity, better problem-solving, trust in yourself, and improved emotional well-being which ripples throughout your life and to those around you. It’s a journey that requires effort and self-compassion, but it’s a journey worth taking.

September 12, 2023

Conquering the Gym Door: Overcoming Fitness Anxiety

Walking through that gym door & asking for help can be scary and downright intimidating. For me, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I felt like the only one that couldn’t figure my health out on my own. In hindsight, five years later, I now know many people feel this way. I wasn’t alone at all!

Embarking on a fitness journey is often seen as a solitary pursuit, with images of determined individuals sweating it out in the gym or pounding the pavement alone. However, the reality is that seeking help and support can be a game-changer on your path to a healthier, fitter you. Despite this, asking for assistance can be a daunting step for many. In this article, we’ll explore why seeking help is crucial and how to overcome the common barriers that may hold you back.

Breaking the Stigma
Asking for help with your fitness journey is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and self-awareness. Acknowledging that you have goals and challenges and that you’re willing to seek guidance is a commendable decision. Let’s delve into why asking for help is essential:

1. Expertise and Guidance
Fitness professionals, such as personal trainers and nutritionists, possess a wealth of knowledge and expertise. They can design customized workout plans and nutrition strategies tailored to your specific goals and needs. Their guidance ensures that you are making the most efficient and effective progress toward your fitness goals.

2. Accountability and Motivation
Having someone to be accountable to can significantly boost your motivation. When you know that someone is invested in your success, you’re more likely to stay committed to your fitness routine and make healthier choices.

3. Avoiding Injury
Proper form and technique are critical in any fitness regimen. Fitness professionals can teach you how to perform exercises correctly, reducing the risk of injury. They can also help you adapt your program to accommodate any physical limitations or injuries.

4. Personalized Approach
No two individuals are alike, and what works for one person may not work for another. Seeking help allows you to receive a personalized approach to your fitness journey, taking into account your unique body, goals, and preferences.

5. Overcoming Plateaus
If you’ve hit a fitness plateau and aren’t seeing progress, a fitness expert can provide the necessary adjustments to your routine to break through stagnation and keep you moving forward.

6. Emotional Support
Fitness journeys can be emotionally challenging, especially when progress is slow or setbacks occur. Having someone to lean on for emotional support and encouragement can make all the difference in your motivation and mental well-being.

Overcoming Common Barriers
While seeking help is undoubtedly beneficial, it’s not always easy. Here are some common barriers and tips for overcoming them:

1. Fear of Judgment
It’s common to worry about being judged when asking for help. Remember that fitness professionals are there to support you, not to judge you. They’ve seen all levels of fitness and are genuinely interested in helping you succeed. It feels like all eyes are on you, but, in reality, every single person had their first class too and know exactly what you are going through.

2. Cost Concerns
Budget can be a concern when considering fitness professionals. However, think of it as an investment in your health and well-being with the long-term benefits far outweighing the cost.  Even with good insurance, doctor visits are expensive and time-consuming.

3. Self-Reliance
Many individuals pride themselves on self-reliance and may feel hesitant to admit they need assistance. Remember that even the greatest athletes have coaches and trainers. Our coaches have coaches! Seeking help is a sign of commitment to your goals, not a sign of weakness.

4. Lack of Confidence
If you feel you’re not fit enough or don’t know enough to ask for help, remember that everyone starts somewhere. Fitness professionals are trained to work with individuals of all fitness levels and will meet you where you are.

In conclusion, asking for help on your fitness journey is a courageous and wise decision and you should pat yourself on the back for doing it! It can accelerate your progress, provide essential support, and make the journey more enjoyable.

Acknowledge those barriers that are holding you back, seek out qualified professionals, and embrace the power of guidance and support on your path to a healthier, fitter you. Always remember, you’re not alone!

August 18, 2023

Ink, Steps, and Salads: My Summer Shred Odyssey

Summer Shred Chronicles: Unveiling Triumphs, Revelations, and Veggie Victories

Greetings fellow seekers of health and vitality,

As the sun sets on my Summer Shred journey, I stand before you with tales of transformation and unexpected insights. What was meant to be a six-week endeavor took an unexpected twist, as the call of vacation interrupted my pursuit. But fear not, for in these pages, you’ll find a tapestry woven from my revelations and discoveries, and perhaps a dash of inspiration for your own odyssey.

Defying Conventions: A Manual Revolution

In the realm of nutrition, I have wandered through the digital landscape of apps, but it was the tactile dance of pen and paper that truly illuminated my path. Five weeks of manual calculations trumped months of tapping away on screens. If you find solace in the embrace of an app, rejoice! Yet, if your journey lacks luster, a guide to transcend tracking challenges awaits at [ltracking blog post].

A Countdown Cut Short: Vacation Beckons

The siren song of vacation called me away a week early, a decision tinged with both excitement and a hint of regret. In those final moments before departure, I penned words that spoke of goals unfinished. But little did I know that this unplanned pause would lead to profound revelations.

Numbers, Nutrients, and a Dash of Adventure

As the curtain fell on this chapter, the ledger of my efforts revealed some astonishing truths:

  1. Counting in Grams: The Magic of Simplicity In the mosaic of dietary choices, counting grams emerged as my guiding star. This simple method illuminated a path toward culinary balance, allowing indulgence without veering off course.
  2. Portion Liberation: Beyond Serving Size Shackles Armed with newfound knowledge, I breached the confines of packaged portions. The universe of calories bent at my will, granting permission to savor more while staying within bounds.
  3. Numbers and the Nurtured Self: A Reckoning In the end, my journey was measured not just by pounds shed but by the reclamation of self-discipline. 3.9lbs and 1.1% body fat are mere tokens of an enriched spirit.
  4. Ego’s Retreat: Consistency and Caloric Quests With humility as my compass, I navigated daily caloric waters, some days making a triumphant splash, others a gentle ripple. A journey fueled not by ego but by intention.

A New Challenge Ignites: Steps and Veggie Expeditions

The end of one voyage heralded the dawn of another, where steps and vegetables took center stage:

  1. Wanderlust and Steps: A Kinship Discovered Amidst vacation’s embrace, the pursuit of 10,000 steps wove seamlessly into my explorations. Museums, cities, and landscapes unfurled beneath my feet, whispering tales of discovery.
  2. Vegetable Sojourns: A Culinary Expedition Amidst gastronomic adventures, vegetables unveiled their splendor. A Spiedie’s Salad from central New York state stole my heart, proving that health and delight can coexist.
  3. Collective Wisdom: Caloric Unity As a group, we embarked on the art of sharing, slicing through old habits with unity. Our alliance not only preserved calories but also forged bonds of camaraderie.

Vacation’s Aftermath: Triumphs Amidst Exploration

Upon the return from my vacation reverie, the scale sang a different tune, but setbacks were merely stepping stones:

  1. Weight’s Fluctuations: A Return and Recompense A six-pound whisper greeted my initial return, yet within a week, five pounds surrendered to the will of intention. Guided by mindful choices, the path to equilibrium lay clear.
  2. Vegetable Revelations: A Symphony of Nourishment In the embrace of verdant nourishment, my body resonated with vitality. Unearthed wisdom whispered that it’s not just about sustenance but also a symphony of well-being.
  3. Step by Step Resilience: Lessons in Motion Amidst the challenge of 10,000 steps, I uncovered the art of desk-bound movement. Knees, once prisoners of pain, embraced the rhythm, birthing a dance of resilience.

Challenges as Catalysts: The Journey Continues

In the aftermath of these trials, my notebook is filled with wisdom:

  1. Vegetable Epiphany: A Garden of Delights Veggies ignited not just my palate but also a wellspring of vitality. As I listened to my body, the symphony of well-being reached crescendo.
  2. Stride by Stride: Footfalls of Empowerment Steps, once a numerical conquest, became a dance of empowerment. With allies at my side, the finish line stood not as a challenge but as an invitation to greatness.
  3. Workstation Revelations: A Desk’s Dual Purpose The hum of the desk transformed into a rhythm of motion. Strides replaced stillness, weaving a story of metamorphosis.
  4. A Symphony of Graceful Movement: Lessons in Kinetics Mobility emerged as the key to a pain-free stride. Each step became an act of grace, painting the canvas of days with hues of vitality.
  5. Challenges: A Kaleidoscope of Growth In the crucible of challenges, I discovered not just hurdles but landscapes of growth. Each conquest whispered encouragement, painting the journey in hues of joy.

Epilogue: The Odyssey Continues

As this chapter folds, the story is far from over. The echoes of my journey linger in every step and every leafy embrace. The challenges, revelations, and triumphs become stepping stones towards a brighter horizon. And so, fellow travelers, let us embrace this uncharted terrain with open hearts and eager strides.

In health and adventure, Royan

July 21, 2023

Overcoming Food Tracking Challenges: A Roadmap to Successful Results

Tracking Food… insert eye roll here – hopefully I haven’t lost you already – at least skim through to my current results,  hopefully something will help you along the way!
I’ve tracked food before.  Maybe you have tried it too.  I realized this time that I was making it way harder than it needed to be & it’s just going to get easier.
Let me explain a few things that I’ve encountered in the past….
  • Eyeballing it – that looks to be about a cup →  well, who really knows what a cup looks like and my guesses varied greatly so my calories varied greatly too


  • Using a measuring cup, ½ cup, teaspoon, etc.  → even when I leveled off whatever I was measuring, it varied how much was actually in the measuring cup


  • All or nothing thinking – I know I’ll go out to eat & I won’t know exactly the calorie count so why start at all or why track anything today?


  • Perfectionism – I can’t stand going on any app and finding MANY options for the same exact brand/food.  I want this perfect if I’m going to do it – please don’t show me 5 different nutrition ‘facts’ for the same exact item.


  • We love to cook and we don’t repeat many recipes – ugh, I have to enter every thing in new.


  • Mom loves to cook and share food with us – what do I do with that?


  • With prior calorie deficit attempts, I used a food scale – weighed everything in ounces but then had to convert ounces to pounds…  grrrr (I gave my food scale to a friend & when she no longer needed it, she & the universe gave it back to me)

This time, I realized my food scale also has grams – maybe that would be easier?  BINGO!  It is easier!  Why?  Because almost all labels have in parenthesis the serving size in grams.  Now, instead of ½ cup of grape nuts, I know the serving size is 58g.  Grams is something that I can truly measure repeatedly and consistently and know what I am getting.  I don’t have to think about 16 ounces in a pound.  It’s all in grams and it is so much easier!

  • Ah, that leads me to serving sizes.  This is a bit embarrassing but, in the past, I thought if I was going to eat something while tracking food, for example grape nuts, I’d look at the box, it says serving size ½ cup (58g) so that is what I should eat.  I’d eat it and before my next meal I’d be starving and angry that I wanted to eat more but couldn’t.

NEWS FLASH!  Knowing the serving size is data BUT YOU CAN EAT MORE THAN WHAT THE SERVING SIZE IS!  The important part is knowing that 58g of grapenuts is 200 calories, 7g of fiber, and 6g of protein so if I eat twice the serving size (116g), that would be 400 calories, 14g fiber, and 12g protein and THAT’S OK as long as it fits in with my calorie range for the day.

  • It still seems like some math, and it can be.  Luckily, our phones have easy-to-access calculators!  If you use a food tracking app, once you get the food entered, then you can change the serving size and the calories, fiber, and protein will automatically change accordingly.  That may be enough for you and that’s great.  If so, track it there, have fun, and move on!  If that hasn’t worked for you, read on…


  • Unfortunately, in regards to food tracking apps, many find them helpful but I wasn’t actually learning much with them.  I entered the food.  The numbers were what they were.  I didn’t really get the big picture.  Yes, I learned to quickly enter the food.  Yes, it was way better than not tracking, simply because it was more of a pain to eat when I had to track it.  Yes, I had a total calorie count and could sum it for the week, compare it to my weight change, and know if I was in a calorie deficit or not.  But when I wasn’t, other than eat less, I really had no clue what exactly to eat less of.
For me, I wasn’t learning what I wanted to learn.  Don’t get me wrong, I will be looking for flexible food apps.  However, for the first three weeks, I learned more by actually writing my food in a notebook.


  • When I wrote it in the notebook, I knew exactly what was going into the numbers as the day progressed. I knew the total from breakfast and what went into it. I knew if I went big on a snack how that would decrease my dinner size.  I could see it happening on paper!


  • I could see when I chose to have a sandwich with two slices of bread at 120 calories each that I was adding 240 calories to my meal.  Nothing ‘wrong’ with the bread, knowledge is power and I could then decide if I had 240 calories in my budget or if I would make the same sandwich with one slice of bread to cut the calories in half.  I could decide if I wanted the 240 calories with the bread or if that day I wanted it elsewhere.
  • I could also easily see and compare one day to the next and compare one food to another.  I just couldn’t figure that out in the food tracking apps that I had previously tried.
  • For example, kielbasa versus tuna steak.  Both protein – fantastic, eat those!  However, there’s a big difference in your bang for the buck with kielbasa versus tuna steak.  180 calories of kielbasa weighs approximately 56g and has about 7g protein.  184 calories of tuna steak weighs approximately 142g and has 41g protein.  I can eat a much bigger piece of tuna steak (more than 2x as big) for the same calories and get more than 6x the protein!  That means more energy, more satisfaction, and more protein to build up those muscles.
Yes, I could learn this through a food tracking app but I didn’t.  I had to do some good old fashioned math with paper and pen to really get this to settle in for me.  Can I move to an app now?  Absolutely!  (reminder:  all or nothing thinking isn’t helpful & we can move to different tools as we need them!)


  • If you are thinking this may be you, give it a try!  I did it for three weeks – you can try it for a day, three days, a week, or whatever feels good to you.  I’ll put down below a few things to help you if you decide to go the pen & paper route.
Before I get to that math and scare you off, how about some results so far.  Again, this is private stuff but I’ll put it out here anyway.


  • This challenge is all about consistency.  Yes, weight loss is a goal but really, this is about taking consistent steps everyday that point me towards that bigger goal of eating healthy.  I frequently hear from the coaches that you don’t have to be perfect every week and that’s good, because I’m far from it!
  • For my weekly calorie, fiber, and protein goals:
Week 1 – 4 out of 21 days were within my daily ranges
Week 2 – 8 out of 21
Week 3 – 6 out of 21


  • Not even 10 out of 21?  That doesn’t sound all that good.  But, guess what?  My inbody measurement tells a different story.
Weight down 3.4 lbs, Muscle up .2 lbs, and % body fat down 1.4%.  All things I wanted with my big goal.


  • That means, even though I am nowhere near perfect, I am in a calorie deficit and I am seeing results.  My weight is decreasing at a healthy pace.  I continue to go out to eat and have ice cream with friends.  I have not been hungry or angry and I’ve had the energy to push myself even harder in the gym, blowing my previous PRs out of the water!  I’ve had more energy than I’ve had for years.  I am now under both of the pesky 200lb AND 50% body fat mental/physical lines in the sand and it feels fantastic!
How much weight is good for 3 weeks?  It depends, but my coaches give the .5lbs to 1.5lbs range as a good, healthy, sustainable rate.


  • 3.4 pounds doesn’t sound like much and I agree!  Coach Beth recently reminded me though what 3.4 lbs can look like.  That’s more than a 3lb bag of onions!  That 13.6 sticks of butter!  Think about how annoying it would be to have to carry around a 3lb bag of onions ALL day long, how much strain it would put on my knees and joints and how good it would feel to put it down!  This month alone, in 3 weeks, hitting only 4 to 8 out of 21 of my targets, I put those onions down and no longer have to carry them!  I put down 13.6 STICKS of butter!  It’s no wonder I feel fantastic!
OK, if you are still with me and want a bit of help with weighing grams and your own recipes and what I wrote in my notebook, here are a few tips…


  • For everything at home, I put a bowl on the scale, turn it on, it should read 0g with the bowl on it.  (If not, learn how to clear the scale to 0g.)  Make sure you are in grams, not ounces.
  • I then pour whatever it is into that bowl.  The g on the scale is how many grams of that food you are about to eat.  You can either pour in how many grams you want (based on how many calories, fiber, protein you want) OR you can pour in what you want by sight & then see how many grams that is and calculate from there.  I do both depending on what food it is I’m pouring in.  If you eat the same things each day, this gets easy quickly.  Unfortunately, I don’t, but it works anyway.  Write the # of grams from the scale in your notebook.
  • Check the label.  In parenthesis, for almost everything, you’ll find serving size in grams.


  • For example, grape nuts: serving size ½ cup (58 g) = 200 calories, 7g fiber, 6g protein
  • Calculate how much you are eating.  For example, 100g of grape nuts.  That’s 100g divided by a serving size of 58g (100/58 = 1.7x the amount of a serving size).  I always know I’m dividing in the right direction if it makes sense.  100g is going to be bigger than 58g so the amount will be greater than 1.  For comparison, if I had 25 g of grape nuts, 25/58 = .4x, less than one, that makes sense, I had just under half a serving.  (one would be a full serving)
  • Once you know the serving size that you had, you just multiply that by the # of calories, fiber, and protein per serving size on the label.  So, with 100g of grape nuts, that’s 1.7x a serving size.  That’s 1.7 x 200 calories = 340 calories; 1.7 x 7g fiber = 11.9g fiber, 1.7 x 6g protein = 10.2g protein.
Grapenuts 100g:  340calories, 11.9fiber, 10.2protein – that’s what I put in my notebook for that item.


  • For our recipes, I get a grand total of everything I put in, for instance, everything that goes into the crockpot.  For example, our famous meat goo with all the ingredients totals 4280g, 6873 calories, 23g fiber, and 410g protein.  I know that because I added up all of the nutritional ingredients from the packages as I entered them into the pot.  This does take time but once I know it, I have this data all week as we eat this meal.  I also don’t have to put it into individual packages in the fridge and hope my husband doesn’t eat the measured ones!  When I serve out to myself, I measure it.  402g in a bowl I can calculate to be about .1 of the total crockpot (402g divided by 4280g) so I am eating .1x the total calories, fiber, and protein and that’s what I log.  (total calories 6873 multiplied by .1 = 687.3 calories, 23g fiber x .1 = 2.3g fiber, and 410g protein x .1 = 41g protein).  I can also easily decide that this meal should be smaller and serve out fewer grams.
  • When Mom sends over something to eat, it is also a guess.  I google whatever it is and, like with restaurants, just pick one and go with it.  Most likely, it is wrong, but I write it down, total it up, and move on.
  • When I go out, I can’t weigh anything.  I’m being mindful of what I’m ordering, mindful of what I’ve already eaten that day, mindful of how hungry I am (that’s a new one!), and order accordingly.  I then google ‘nutrition facts xyz’ for whatever I ordered and write it down in my notebook.  It’s wrong, I’m sure of it, but it’s close enough (and I know that because I’m seeing results.)  So, I log it and move on.
I do know that these calculations and writing in my notebook is not sustainable long term.  I am surprised though how much I learned by actually tracking it in a notebook.  I look forward to what I shall be learning over the next two weeks as I finish out this challenge!
July 1, 2023

Shedding the weight of self-doubt

The first week of my 6 week Summer Shred Challenge is in the books!

Let me back up, I work for Hybrid and we’re running a six week consistency challenge. As we designed the challenge, we thought it would be best if the Hybrid employees participated in the challenge too. You know, practice what we preach!

My personality wants to be quiet about weight loss and doesn’t want to share. However, I bump into people often that love reading what I write and find it encouraging. I am taking a courageous step out on a limb here.  I am going to tell you how the first day of my challenge started. I’ll give you a hint – it wasn’t pretty!

I had a big meltdown! It was Monday morning with all the regular Monday morning stresses, responsibilities, to-do’s PLUS I didn’t know what I needed to do for the challenge, didn’t know what I should have for breakfast, didn’t know what to write down, didn’t know if I could do this.

I’ve begrudgingly logged my food before, pissed off finding varying ingredient numbers for the same product listed within the same fitness app. What’s the point of tracking if you don’t really know?

My negative thoughts kicked in. I thought I don’t want to disappoint my team, my co-workers. I don’t want to be the token fat kid on the team. I’ve got 4th of July and restaurants and ice cream out and vacation coming up.  I cannot possibly weigh every single thing I eat for the next six weeks.

I was freaking out. I wanted to do it perfectly. I was over thinking it. I was falling for all the diet hype that this is harder being a woman, being near menopause, are hormones playing a role?

I don’t have fitness or nutrition degrees but I have learned a ton working with Coach Hunter and the coaches as they work with our members. I feel like I have literally heard every reason in the book and I can probably even tell you the coaches response to it. That wasn’t helping! I felt like I couldn’t complain to anybody on my team because I know they’ve heard it all before! I couldn’t complain to my husband because he wonders why I’m doing this challenge anyway. I couldn’t complain to my best friends because they have each lost 100+ lbs. Oh man, this is frustrating!

Let me back up again. I truly believe that we can change. The older I get, the more of a growth mindset I live by. I enjoy reading self-help books every morning. I’m the geek that, even though I’m excited to read it all & get through it, I slow down and do every recommended exercise before reading on. I read the book that feels appropriate at the moment. If I start it and it’s a struggle, I drop it and start another one that flows better with where I currently am with my life.

Monday morning, I started pulling in some tools that I’ve learned from my fantastic coaches and the books I’ve read.

In regards to doing it perfectly, from Coach Beth, Imperfect Action – that’s how I start. Who cares if I screw something up! What does that even mean anyway?

From my current reading ‘Claim Your Purpose’, I am humble in many ways in my life. But, when I honestly thought about humility in regards to weight loss, I thought I was special. I thought I’ve tried this all before, it didn’t work, why am I doing this again? What if I get to the end and it hasn’t worked? I can tell you what the coaches will tell you to do but it won’t work for me. ummmm, that’s not humble – there’s something I can work on.

This challenge offers everyone tools and coaching, so I’ll use it! As I progress along, I’ll ask questions, I’ll participate! I can do this!

Then I chatted with Coach Dusty for our regular Monday meeting and had my meltdown. Weight loss is so much more than the physical number on the scale. He didn’t ask me but I had been working through why did I put on the weight in the first place? There were things in my past where food or eating or weighing more helped with my survival because I didn’t have other tools or resources to help me at the time.

Coach Dusty did point out that eating and food is part of my identity. Cooking or going out for delicious meals together is part of my relationship with my husband and friends. All of our friends & people that don’t even know us personally, know about our delicious homemade ice cream. We share restaurant recommendations with so many friends. I am possibly taking a step away from that identity which is a scary thing to do. Will my tribe still support me if I say no to ice cream when my foodie friends are having it?

Mondays are meetings day and my next meeting was with Coach Hunter. I’m his assistant so we talk about whatever we need to at the time to keep things running smoothly, so naturally I told him about my meltdown. I’ve known Hunter for 7 years and he knows me pretty well. His recommendation was that this is something that is scary and uncomfortable to me and THAT is my challenge. It’s not how many pounds I lose and % body fat, my challenge is focusing on the inputs, the to-do’s and letting the outcome be as it may. BINGO, that aligns with my growth mindset! That aligns with my purpose of helping and encouraging others on their health journey because if I do this, I can now assist and empathize even more with others. That is something I CAN control.

I took it all in – what I’ve been doing on my own, what I’ve learned from the coaches, and I started writing down what I ate. I started my previous habit of walking BEFORE work again. Coach Dusty reminded me to front load the hardest stuff as early as possible. I work from home but I now have a one mile walk to work! I go 1/2 mile out (or about 15 mins) and then circle back to home first thing in the morning.

I have a calorie, protein, and fiber goal set out for me at the beginning of the challenge. I’m really leaning in, trusting the process, and doing what I’m told to do. After all, I have literally seen hundreds of people follow the coaches’ recommendations and see amazing progress, while I stay doing the same things and stay exactly where I am.

Since this is a summary of the first week, you are probably wondering how it went. The week went great. For me, I found actually writing in a book is making much more sense than tracking on an app. Before I didn’t actually see the numbers/calculations. Now I’m doing them myself so I am understanding them better.

For the challenge, I am tracking how many days I hit my calorie, fiber, and protein goals. Monday through Friday, I hit my calorie goal 3 out of 5 days, fiber 0 out of 5, and protein 1 out of 5.

The perfectionist in me thinks this sounds horrible but you know what? I’ve learned a lot already really leaning in and doing this. I finally figured out how to track that makes sense for me for now. I can guarantee I wouldn’t have met my calorie or protain goal if I wasn’t tracking it.

Even though I’m not hitting my goals yet, I’m learning why when I’m not. My protein has increased everyday, which was a struggle for me in the past. My fiber has come close to my goal so I’ll get there.

I love being back to walking every day again. We live in such a beautiful location! I’m slowly shedding that perfectionist in me.

These things take time but I did do an inbody just to see what slight changes may have occurred in 7 days since my starting inbody measurements. I am down 2.1 lbs and .9% body fat after week 1!

I don’t know if that will continue and don’t expect it to at that exact rate. This isn’t a linear process. But I do know that I am not hungry or hangry like I’ve been before when I’ve tried this.

I had bread, butter, and peanut butter yesterday for a snack!

I had delicious homemade mac & cheese for breakfast two mornings because that’s what I wanted to spend my calories on!

And, I went with friends for ice cream and, for the first time ever, declined. It took a lot of social courage (is that a thing?) but I did it and didn’t feel deprived at all because I had just eaten a delicious 10oz steak dinner with mashed potatoes and vegetables and I was not at all hungry. I still socialized and enjoyed time with my friends and I’ve survived to tell about it!  lol

Hopefully something here rings a bell and helps you in some small way.  I don’t know how this challenge will turn out, but I am leaning in and trusting the process and putting all of my focus on what I can do right now.

I’m learning that the only way I can fail at this is if I give up, which isn’t happening!

June 10, 2023

Debunking the Myth: More is Not Always Better for Health

When it comes to health, the belief that “more is always better” is a common misconception. While certain aspects of health, such as exercise and nutrition, are undoubtedly important, it’s crucial to understand the significance of balance and moderation in achieving overall well-being.

Let’s start by examining exercise. Regular physical activity is beneficial for cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and mental well-being. However, excessive exercise without adequate rest and recovery can lead to burnout, overuse injuries, hormonal imbalances, and weakened immune function. Striving for a balanced approach to exercise involves finding a routine that includes a variety of activities, incorporating rest days, and listening to your body’s signals.

Similarly, nutrition is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Consuming a diverse range of nutrient-rich foods is key to providing the body with essential vitamins, minerals, and energy. However, an obsession with strict diets, calorie counting, or rigid food rules can lead to disordered eating patterns, nutrient deficiencies, and a negative relationship with food. Adopting a balanced approach to nutrition involves embracing mindful eating, intuitive choices, and moderation rather than strict deprivation or overindulgence.

Beyond physical health, achieving balance encompasses various aspects of life. Mental and emotional well-being are equally important. Chronic stress, excessive draining work hours, and neglecting self-care can have detrimental effects on mental health and overall life satisfaction. It is crucial to prioritize activities that charge our batteries versus drain our batteries.  Charging activities promote relaxation, stress reduction, and emotional self-care.  These can be mindfulness practices, hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or seeking support when needed.  What charges one person’s battery could be a drain to someone else’s, so try different things to see what feels good for you.  If I feels like an upstream, fighting batter, then it is draining your battery.  If it feels right, comes easy to me, and makes me happy, then it is charging my battery.

Furthermore, relationships play a significant role in our well-being. Fostering meaningful connections, investing time in nurturing relationships, and maintaining healthy boundaries are essential for maintaining balance and happiness. Isolating oneself or spreading too thin across numerous superficial connections can lead to feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction.

Finding balance in life requires self-reflection, setting priorities, and making choices that align with your values and goals. It means recognizing that more is not always better if it comes at the expense of other important areas of your life. It involves setting realistic expectations, being mindful of your limits, and embracing self-compassion.

In summary, the belief that “more is always better” does not hold true in the realm of health and well-being. Striving for balance and moderation is key. Listen to your body, nourish it with a varied and wholesome diet, engage in regular physical activity while allowing for rest and recovery, and pay attention to your mental and emotional needs. Ultimately, a balanced approach to health and life will lead to greater overall well-being and satisfaction.

June 1, 2023

Positivity on Low Battery: Boosting Energy and Optimism When Tired

Being positive when you’re tired can be challenging, but it is possible with a few strategies:

Practice Self-Compassion: Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel tired and give yourself permission to rest and recharge. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, rather than adding self-judgment or negativity to your exhaustion.  You wouldn’t judge your phone for needing to be recharged after a full day’s use, so give yourself some grace too!

Shift Your Focus: Redirect your attention to positive aspects of your life or the tasks at hand. Remind yourself of the progress you’ve made and the goals you’re working towards. Find small moments of joy and gratitude, even in the midst of fatigue.  Anything that makes you smile!

Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness techniques to bring yourself to the present moment. Pay attention to your breath, sensations, and surroundings. Let go of worries about the past or future, and embrace the present with a positive mindset.  Everything is more difficult when you’re tired and that’s ok.

Seek Inspiration: Surround yourself with uplifting content or engage in activities that inspire you. Listen to motivational podcasts, read inspiring books, or watch videos that energize and uplift your spirits. Expose yourself to positive influences that help counteract fatigue.  Listen to your favorite music.

Take Breaks and Recharge: Incorporate short breaks into your routine to rest and rejuvenate. Use these breaks to engage in activities that replenish your energy and bring you joy, such as going for a walk, practicing a hobby, or simply taking a few moments to relax and unwind.  This is a perfect time to hydrate too!

Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that support your well-being, even when tired. This can include getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, and engaging in gentle exercise. Taking care of your physical health can positively impact your mental and emotional state.  So often we put our health aside and, honestly, good health is one of our greatest wealths.

Lean on Support: Reach out to supportive friends, family members, or colleagues when you’re feeling tired. Share your feelings and experiences, and allow them to provide encouragement and understanding. Sometimes, a listening ear or a few kind words can boost your positivity.  Surround yourself with friends that remind you to give yourself grace.

Set Realistic Expectations: Adjust your expectations and be kind to yourself when you’re tired. Recognize that you may not be able to accomplish everything at your usual pace and that it’s okay to prioritize self-care and rest when needed. Set realistic goals and focus on progress rather than perfection.  Break goals into smaller, more manageable bits.

Remember, being positive while tired requires self-awareness and intentional effort. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can maintain a positive mindset even when fatigue sets in, ultimately supporting your overall well-being and resilience.

May 5, 2023

20 states, 5800 miles, time with family – priceless!

Life is all about balance.  From time to time, one of our Hybrid team members takes time away to recharge their batteries.  We’ve enjoyed hearing about Brandon in Egypt and Cathy in Nepal!  Last month, I took a three week drive across half the country to celebrate my Mom’s 80th birthday!  Here are a few highlights of our adventure state by state.

  1. Maine – Fielder’s Choice ice cream before it started snowing & before we left the state for awhile!  Mainers love their ice cream!
  2. New Hampshire – isolated wicked snow storm then Polly’s Pancake Parlor for a delicious breakfast! 
  3. Vermont – temps went from 58 degrees to 70 in less than 5 minutes!  Lots of covered bridges & snacking on yummy aged cheddar cheese!
  4. New York – HOT!  80 degrees, thunder, lightning, heavy rain & winds but the hail missed us!
  5. Pennsylvania – some highway, some back roads & popped out in …
  6. Maryland – found the perfect crab shack with crab soup, crab dip on delicious french fries, huge crab cakes, and soft shell crab sandwiches!
  7. Virginia – Saw my cousin that we haven’t seen since he was just a kid.  It was nice to chat & just pick up where we left off!
  8. North Carolina – Had delicious NC BBQ with my Aunt, then a quick hello to a cousin, her son & their famous dog Leo.  Spent a warm summery day walking the NC Zoo.  Had coffee with a friend from grammar school that we haven’t seen since 1987!  Drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway to our next state…
  9. Tennessee – Spent the day in Chattanooga, went up Lookout Mountain on the funicular and toured The Hunter Museum of American Art!
  10. Popped into Georgia for a few minutes, back to Tennessee, then on to…
  11. Alabama – Stayed in Rocket City, Huntsville.  Saw Eggbeater Jesus & a rocket!
  12. Mississippi – found the birthplace of Elvis and drove the Natchez Trace Parkway for a couple of days.  Unfortunately we saw a bit of tornado damage here from 6 days earlier. Toured the civil war cemetery at Vicksburg and was reminded of another time our country was divided.
  13. Louisiana – Drove through & saw the capitol, Baton Rouge.  On to the gulf.  Had a DELICIOUS meal at a food truck.  It was a restaurant until a hurricane took it out in 2015, they rebuilt, then another hurricane took them out again in 2020.  They are temporarily working out of a food truck, making delicious seafood and making the best of their situation.  Took a ferry over to…
  14. Texas!  Drove down to Galveston, then on down to Corpus Christi & Padre Island for a couple of days.  Up to San Marcos to see a niece and her pups, over to Lockhart (the BBQ capitol) for delicious brisket, Bastrop & Round Rock to see two of Neal’s brothers & our sister-in-law.  Had delicious pecan goodies from Bastrop and lots more wonderful BBQ and brisket.
  15. Popped over to drive through the forests of Oklahoma on our way to
  16. Arkansas – Beautiful wildflowers, green rolling hills – baby calves everywhere!  Back to Tennessee for our third time to hit Memphis & Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.  Unfortunately, more tornado damage from a few days prior was witnessed going through Covington, TN on our way to …
  17. Kentucky – Saw Mom’s sister & another cousin!  Had delicious homemade lasagna & carrot cake with family.  Got Mom a hot brown on our way across the rolling horse and cow farms of Kentucky.
  18. Winded through West Virginia – stopped to finish up our delicious leftovers!  Made our way back to Maryland, then Pennsylvania.
  19. Our 19th state was a stop in Connecticut to see more family and drop in on Neal’s grammar school friend doing a blues gig.  He got the whole bar singing happy birthday to my Mom and she became the night’s celebrity!
  20. Massachusetts was our 20th state to hit.  Neal whipped us off the road at the Johnny Appleseed rest area to see New England’s largest apple!  Back through New Hampshire, then on to Maine.  We finished the trip at my Dad’s favorite restaurant, Billy’s Chowder House in Wells, Maine.  They opened in 1979 and we’ve been going there since the early 80’s.

20 states, about 5,800, lots of laughs, reconnecting with family & friends, delicious local foods, time with Mom – priceless!

March 14, 2023

I once wondered….

I have the unique position of being a long-time member of Hybrid Fitness as well as a team member of Hybrid Fitness.  I am thinking back to things that I once wondered about.  

Is this right for me?  Choosing to focus on being healthier is always a good choice because what we focus on is what we get more of.  Focusing on good health helps us with more good health!  

Do I have time for this?  Time is one thing we cannot get more of but we can take a look at how we are currently spending our time & make our decisions accordingly.  Is how you are spending your time now in alignment with where you want to be in the future? 

What if I can’t do the exercise?  This was me to a tee.  I got winded quickly, had bad knees, and a slipped disk in my back.  I couldn’t do squats & had to be careful with my back.  Hybrid was perfect for me because of the professionally trained coaches that knew how to tell me to do each exercise correctly or which exercises to do instead.  It snuck up on me, but as I got stronger, I could do squats and other exercises I couldn’t do at the beginning!

Can I afford this?  Hindsight is 20/20 and I realize now that battling cancer is way more expensive (mentally & physically) than Hybrid rates plus it’s a lot more fun, you get coached by caring professionals, the workouts are designed for you, and everyone wants you to succeed.  I walk in & do what I’m told – lol!  

I don’t know anybody.  Will I fit in?  Your gym time is what you focus on, what you want it to be.  It can be solitary, quiet time or it can become a group of friends-fun-time or anywhere in between!  We’ve had more than one instance of members meeting, dating, & getting married!  We’ve had many instances of best-friend relationships formed.  It’s a judgement-free zone & you make it what you want to make it – with a smile, you’ll fit in just fine!

No question, I’m biased!  Hybrid is now deeply entwined in my life.  It’s my family, passion, and career & I couldn’t have imagined any of this when I had all of these questions back in 2018!

February 15, 2023

Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you

Perhaps, we should take a different look at changing our behaviors.  What if we look at it like a designer?  What if we think in design iterations? 

Let’s take the telephone as an example.  The first telephone didn’t look at all like the telephones we carry around today.  You sat at it.  It had a huge drum like thing, a needle & wires.  What if, after that first iteration, designers gave up.  What if they said ‘it’s been a month, that’s the best we’ll get’ or ‘I can’t do any better, this is how the telephone will always be’.   

If that’s too much to imagine, imagine still only having the first generation iphone from 2007.  What if Apple said ‘that’s it, we’ve done enough.  That’s the best it’ll be.  Enjoy your iphone.’  

That would be CRAZY! 

We wouldn’t have wireless phones capable of running businesses, taking pictures, playing music, making phone calls, keeping schedules, assisting with tasks, translating, providing directions, reviews, social contact, ….   The list goes on and on and the capabilities are increasing with every iteration. 

I hope there’s an aha moment here for you….  What if you start thinking of your life and your behavior change as something to be designed?  Something to be worked on, tested, improved upon?  If something doesn’t work, it’s back to the drawing board to make a tweak versus throwing up your hands and completely giving up!  

When you start to think in baby step iterations, guess what?  Your thoughts of failing fade away because it is no longer black and white (success or failure).  Now you’re thinking like a designer…  ‘we want this, what steps can we take to do it?…  ‘we’re here & we want this better.  what can we do to get this better?’   ‘Ah, that didn’t work….  What else can we do to get this better?….’   There are no failures unless we stop trying.  There are just iteration improvements; like going from one iphone version to the next!

I encourage you to start thinking of your health journey like a designer!  Our coaches here at Hybrid are ready with many tools to help you design your way to your health goals!