4 Tips to Get You Started on Meal Prep

Are you overwhelmed by the term "meal prep"?

If meal prepping stirs up feelings of emotional anxiety for you then you are not alone. Many people try meal prepping but get overwhelmed by all the tips & tricks available out in cyber space or feel burdened by the time involved in getting it done.

Below are 4 different ways I meal prep. I don’t do all of these every week & I don’t always do them consistently, but when I do, it makes eating all week so smooth & hassle free.

Find which system that works best for you & get started on a path to stress free meal prepping!

  1. Wash & Prep all veggies when you come home from the grocery store - this is so helpful because when it comes time to cook & eat the veggies you don't have to take that extra step of getting them ready. For instance, if I bring home zucchini, cauliflower & lettuce, I will go ahead & wash each one, then chop them how I want them for cooking. Make sure veggies are completely dry when storing in the fridge.

  2. Pre-package spices & sauces for upcoming recipes - take a look at what you plan to make for the following week. Go ahead & mix up all the spices you need & store in small jars or baggies. If your recipe calls for a sauce, mix it into a glass jar & store in the fridge. These 2 steps make cooking a meal go so much quicker!

  3. Prep lunches for the week - make lunch prep easy by making 3 sheet pans of food to create an entire meal. The first sheet pan will be a baked protein, like chicken or fish, the second one will be a vegetable & the third one will be a root vegetable. This way you get a well-rounded meal that is full of great whole food nutrients.

  4. Use a couple of hours on Sunday to make several proteins & several veggies to use throughout the week - this makes all meals simple during weekdays. Simply pick a protein & a vegetable to reheat & it makes meals so easy. This means no excuses of being too busy during the week to eat healthily.

Start Transforming Your Body Today

If I asked you to go to the grocery store & fill your cart with healthy items, you could probably do it.  You likely have a general idea of what’s “good for you”. 

 If that’s true, then why is it that as a culture we struggle to implement what we know? Why do we carry around extra, unhealthy weight?

Maybe we are truly confused with all the methods, instructions & diet rules we’ve heard all of our lives, or maybe it’s because of the way we actually think.

Research has shown that most of our decisions are based on habits & lifestyle patterns instead of actually thinking through what we are doing.

Changing thinking requires changing the habits & patterns that lead up to the actions. 

Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

Often times when we start something new, we make it so difficult that we quickly resort back to whatever is easier.  There’s no need to “white knuckle” your way through changing your thought patterns when simply changing your environment will probably make as big of an impact & it won’t be torture!

Here are some small ways you can change what’s around you, to make a change to what’s in you (in your brain that is):

Go make a plan on Sunday of what you will eat each & every day of the week.  Take a look at your calendar in advance & check those days or nights that will keep you from cooking a fresh meal & make double the day before or buy pre-made whole food meals from a meal prep company. 

 Spending a little time planning ahead will leave your brain available for all the other things you have going on in life.

Go ahead & wash all your fruits & veggies when you come home from the store.  Either pre-make or prepare proteins for the week.

If spending a couple of hours on the weekend prepping food doesn’t appeal to you, then just go ahead & prep all the spices & ingredients for each meal you will make during the week.  This makes the actual cooking of the meal go so much faster & prepping spices & ingredients usually only takes minutes per recipe.

If it is harder & more inconvenient to get to that food you can’t resist, you are less likely to binge eat it. 

In other words, the “lazy” side of you is highly unlikely to drive to the grocery store or local fast food place to get ice cream at 9PM at night.  You’re more likely to eat those dried fruits in your pantry instead.  And while eating carbs like that late at night aren’t the ideal situation, it’s much better to eat a handful of raisins than it is to eat a bowl of rocky road.

For those times when you seriously just don’t have time for a meal (this shouldn’t happen often), then have a good protein powder on hand to mix with some coconut or almond milk.  This one is my favorite flavored one & this one is my favorite unflavored because you can mix it into absolutely anything including bone broth or a baked potato. 

Don’t let food be your enemy.  A little planning & prepping will make all the difference in the world in your mind, body & soul!

How to handle PMS cravings

There’s a dragon inside your brain that is demanding food.  Chocolate, chips, ice cream, or maybe all of it combined.  You don’t understand why every month it’s the same.  You eat really well most of the time, but when the plague of PMS strikes, you cave. 

You can’t seem to maintain any willpower or rational thinking.

The good news is, you are not crazy.  There is real scientific evidence for what you are facing.  The other good thing is, you are not alone.  Many women experience extra hunger, cravings & out of control actions during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle. 

But you don’t want to continue to live like this month after month.  Not only do your hormones wreak havoc on your emotions, but spikes in your blood sugar levels from over eating do to.  This all translates into mood swings which make you (and everyone around you) miserable. 

There is a way to help these symptoms by what you do leading up to those days.

The 5-7 days leading up to your period are probably the most demanding on your body.  Even though it doesn’t seem to take any physical work on your part, the inside of your body is actually doing a lot.  It’s amazing how much energy your body utilizes to keep basic functions going that are simply the foundation for you actually being able to get up & be mobile. 

Keeping a calendar of your cycle & noting the days leading up to your period, is crucial to know when the following suggestions will work best for the onset of PMS symptoms

Here are some things that are crucial to not only overall health, but mental & physical health, especially during the most vulnerable days of your cycle. 

  1. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep.  The hormones produced in your body while you sleep are imperative for the body to restore itself form the work it does to keep you alive.  God specifically created these certain hormones, the ones that control brain function, hunger & reproductive cycles, to be released when we are fully asleep.  There is nothing that can replace what your body does while it is sleeping.

  2. Add in some extra fat & carbs in the days leading up to your period.  This is not a candy bar loaded with processed ingredients but instead is more like an apple with nut butter, a boiled egg with berries or some carrot sticks with guacamole.

  3. Don’t skip your time with God.  This isn’t a cliché bible thumping suggestion.  This is based on science that says quiet meditation time improves mood & will-power.  As believers, we know that the power of the Spirit {Galatians 5:22-23} can give us what we need.  So ask God to help you with cravings & mood swings.  Also, ask Him to give you the ability to shut down the world & go to bed a little earlier to get enough sleep during this time.

How to Get the Body You want by Ditching Your Diet Plan

Why is food so confusing & overwhelming?

It’s because everywhere you turn, someone is telling you what you should eat, when you should eat it, how you should eat it & why you should meal prep it. 

Never mind the pictures on social media that make you believe everyone else is eating a plateful of glitter dusted chicken & broccoli.

But you hate broccoli.  You eat it anyway because the diet you were on 3 diets ago, told you that the fiber in broccoli would flush everything out of your system & you would lose weight.  It hasn’t worked yet, but you keep holding on to hope that you’ll find the perfect combination of broccoli & some other food which will immediately give you a cover model body.

Maybe you’ve held on to bits & pieces of all the diets you’ve been on all your life & now you are on a new one & you are totally confused.  Worse yet, your body is confused.  It didn’t know what to do with the pre-packaged food you gave it on the last diet & now since you started following Dr. X’s low carb, low fat, vegan diet, you are so drastically restricting your calories, your body is once again confused.  

Ok, now seriously, it might not be this bad but then again, maybe it is.

I was once foolish enough to buy a book that promised me I could eat anything I wanted & still gain a flat belly by blowing up a dozen balloons every night! 

We have all fallen for outrageous claims in our search for the perfect diet.

Why do we fall for these diet traps so easily? 

Partly it’s because we don’t really know we have a choice.  We think in order to achieve “health” we need to follow some sort of guideline.  And if that guideline comes in the form of a book written by a doctor then we assume the advice must be golden.

We also think that failure of our previous diets is our own fault.  The diet must be good or other people wouldn’t follow it.  Would they?   We think the fact that our will power ultimately plays out on us is our own fault. 

We will never be able to obtain self-control unless we are doing it in the parameters of the Holy Spirit as our Helper.  Galatians 5:22-25 tells us that self-control is specifically a fruit of the Spirit.  Without the Spirit we simply cannot have self-control on our own.  We might be able to fake it for a while but ultimately the ability to have self-control in our own flesh will wear out & succumb to the thing we are fighting against.

Living in self-control can only be driven by a force called grace.  Grace wants you to live free within boundaries, but not be motivated by rules that keep you performing for acceptance (aka diet cycles).

So the only way to ditch your current diet plan is to answer a question.  Why are you on a diet?

Is it because someone made you believe you should be a certain size?  Is it because you want to achieve a certain look or maintain control over your appearance?  Maybe it’s because you actually are truly medically overweight & need to shed a few pounds for the sake of your health.  Do you want to have better abilities at the gym & feel better over all in day-to-day activities?

Whatever your reason, it’s got to be filtered through your values & who you believe you are in Christ. 

A “diet plan” might not actually be bad if it gives you guidelines that you release to God in order to follow them.  But if those guidelines lead you to shame & guilt or feeling like a failure, then that plan is not for you. 

If a particular plan is also asking you to eat extremely restricted calories, pre-packaged foods or specifically at certain times of the day, then you might question if this is a way you can live the rest of your life.

You can find freedom with food & remove yourself from a cycle of a diet culture.  Here are 3 steps to put in place to guard yourself against falling into the trap of yo-yo dieting:

START WITH A FOUNDATION – it’s super important to have an understanding of whole foods, intuitive eating & proper nutrition before embarking on any kind of diet plan that requires following certain guidelines. 

For example, following a Paleo type diet is not bad but if you don’t understand the why of it, how to know when to eat by cues from your body & how it makes you feel, and then you’ll ultimately give up on it. 

Go back to the basics.  Consider a nutrition coach to guide you through this.

UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR BODY NEEDS DIFFERENT THINGS ON DIFFERENT DAYS - the problem with most diet guidelines is they only let you eat a certain amount of food each day.  But the day you mow the yard, your body’s nutritional needs are vastly different from the day you sit on the couch binging on Netflix all day. 

Honoring your body’s need for whole food will help you know how & when to fuel it.  This goes back to knowing how to eat intuitively & understanding basic foundational nutrition.

GET RID OF THE ALL OR NOTHING MENTALITY – Life is meant to be enjoyed.  That doesn’t always mean you have to indulge in food to enjoy it but frankly, sometimes food will be part of that enjoyment. 

Skipping the cake at your child’s birthday party because of your diet rules is hogwash.  Eat cake!  Celebrate!  Then get back to your whole foods lifestyle & be thankful that God gave you the ability to enjoy certain foods within boundaries.

If you eat the cake & then go home & decide you’ve already ruined the whole day & eat more cake, plus probably some chips for dinner & a bowl of ice cream for dessert, then you’ve fallen into the trap of “all or nothing thinking”.  This is exactly what Satan wants for your life.  He wants you to feel like a complete failure.

God wants you to enjoy the good things He’s given you & live in abundance.  Abundance does not mean over-indulgence.  When was the last time over-indulgence felt like abundant living to you?  You can’t remember because all you remember from those crazy binge-eating sessions is the guilt & shame you were left with.

 Ditch your current “diet” & choose grace.  Check out more devotionals on healing your physical health in Christ.


How Eating Intuitively is the Beginning of Eating for Life

When you & I were born, we ate when we were hungry.  We stopped when we were full.  This pattern continued through our toddler years because no one has to tell a baby or toddler when he or she is hungry or full.  It’s intuitive.   

Somewhere along the way however, we lost this instinctual nature.  The one that listens to the voice inside our own body to eat when we are hungry & stop when we are full.  Somewhere along the way, other voices became so loud in our head, we forgot what it feels like to satisfy hunger with food without reaching the point of feeling over-stuffed or stopping ourselves while our stomach is still growling.

Those voices that drowned out the intuitiveness of our food consumption are the creators of the diets which have overtaken your ability to determine how much & how often you get to eat. 

But there is hope.  Even if you have forgotten what it feels like to choose to eat whole foods when you feel hungry or stop eating when you feel full {not stuffed like Thanksgiving Day}, I’m here to help you. 

If you are tired of all the rules, the charts, the scale & every other measuring tool the diet world wants you to use, then this is the place for you to start.

Let me be clear, there is a place for guidelines, scales, numbers, calorie & macro counting in the world of food, but it might not be for you.  Too many people want to go from 0 to 100 overnight.  People think if they are off track in their eating patterns, then the first step must be to “obey” the rules for calories & portion control. 

Different health goals require different levels of eating discipline.  Someone who is overweight, with out of control eating habits whose goal is to achieve more lean muscle mass & great eating habits, must start with foundations of understanding what intuitive eating feels like.  By starting with a calorie plan or too many guidelines & measurements, people often become overwhelmed with the process. 

Being overwhelmed in the process generally leads to falling back into old habits.

But if we start at the ground level, the basics of intuitive eating & then begin to work our way forward, the foundation will be set so you can progress to other goals.

A wise man built his house on the rock: the rain descended & the floods came &   the winds blew & beat on that house & it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  But the foolish man built his house on the sand:  the rain descended, the floods came & the winds blew & beat on that house & it fell.  {Matthew 7:24-27}

The first step to relearning the skill of intuitive eating is to keep a journal of feelings.   

This may seem illogical at first but what you will find is over time you will notice patterns in your mood that dictate patterns in your behavior.  For instance, if I don’t get enough sleep, my body will tell me I need carbs to keep myself going during the day. 

And truly when I am tired, I do need carbs. 

My initial desire to fill the energy void is to grab an extra large bag of chips & eat the whole thing so that I am left feeling over-stuffed & sick.  But if I have an understanding of what is driving me to physically need carbs, then I can mentally evaluate that I want to stay on the whole food track, so instead I choose to eat an apple with some almond butter & notice that I feel full.

It’s the noticing of the emotions around food that will begin a path of healthy choices.

If I stop to record that craving for carbs & then record how I respond to what my body is telling me, eventually I will know intuitively what to do when that situation occurs.  This method works for any situation, including, emotional eating, binging & becoming “hangry”. 

Check out THIS journal for help in deciphering food cravings.

By eating whole food, our body not only physiologically knows how to process the food, but our brain does too. 

But what exactly does whole food mean?  Think of it this way:  if it walked, grew, swam or flew, it’s a whole food.  Another way to think of it, is if in its original state, it doesn’t come with a nutrition label, then it’s a whole food.

My recommendation to anyone trying to adopt an intuitive eating lifestyle would be to only consume whole foods for at least a 21 day time period.  This amount of time allows your body & brain to reset itself.  It gives your body time to clear out all the chemicals that come along with processed, packaged food. 

It’s a lot easier to recognize when we are hungry if we consider eating a serving of carrot sticks.  If I am hungry, then carrot sticks will fulfill my hunger.  But if I think I am hungry & I only want a stack of cookies, then maybe I’m not actually hungry but instead hooked on eating high carb foods. 

If I eat the carrot sticks, I will stop when I am full.  But if I choose the cookies, I probably won’t stop until I reach the point of feeling over stuffed.

A commitment to only eating whole, unprocessed foods for a time will help you learn your body’s own cues again.

Check out THIS guide for portion control of whole foods

Again, it may seem strange to consider what’s going on around you when you eat, but it plays a huge role in how your brain processes “feeding time”.

Eating slower does several things for us.  First, it gives our body time to process the process.  What I mean by that is that our brain must be fully engaged in eating in order to feel satisfied with food.   

By taking time to eat slowly, our brain realizes that our taste buds are being satisfied.  The most pleasure you get out of any meal comes in the first 3 bites.  After that the endorphins your brain sets off in your body begin to wane. 

So slow down & enjoy every single bite.  Think about the taste, the texture, the pleasure of the food. 

 Slowing down increases our intuitive nature in eating.

Practically, eating intuitively is the first step in a solid foundation of sustainable eating for life.  It’s the only way to get off the diet train & get on the road to complete food freedom without rules & restrictions. 

Creating Healthy Body Image

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5

I spent years thinking my feet were so ugly & so big that I wouldn’t wear sandals or open toed shoes ever!  You might think this is crazy & wonder what in the world it has to do with body image but toes are part of the body too. 

 If I’m honest with you, I am not truly satisfied with every part of my body & I’m not sure I ever will be, but I’m sure trying.  I’ve spent so many years looking at images that tell me I should look a certain way, it makes it hard to get over feelings of inadequacy about my body.

And truth be told, you probably aren’t completely happy with every part of your body either. 

 But why are we so unhappy with our bodies?

We’ve spent years looking at images of perfect bodies & believing we should look like that too.  We tend to spend a lot of time focusing on what is wrong with our bodies.  And any negative comment we’ve ever heard, from anyone, including that boy in middle school, has stuck with us. 

The problem with all those images & all those comments is they leave us covered in thoughts of comparison.  When we compare our body to the body God has given someone else, we begin to believe that the shape & size of their body must dictate their level of happiness & we want that happiness too. 

 We believe if we could have the body we see on someone else then all our problems would disappear.

 But God wants you to see your body as He sees it.

            Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in our image…” {Genesis 1:26}

 We were made in God’s image.  How in the world could we dislike that?

 God not only made us in His own image, but He also created a space within us to carry His living Spirit!  Our bodies are an intricate working of cells, muscles, organs, bones & skin that carry around the ability to live & work in a way which honors & glorifies God Himself.

So does that mean we completely ignore our earthly body?  No, but there is a balance in keeping our body healthy, not hyper focusing on what we perceive as flaws & living in a way that honors the Lord.

Our body is indispensable.  We need this body to be able to live on earth.  We also need to live on earth to our greatest ability to serve others & serve the Lord.  It doesn’t mean we can’t care about how we look, it means we can’t focus on what we look like.

Body image becomes a problem when it affects our self-worth.  When we start to focus on believing that because a certain part of us doesn’t look a certain way or we aren’t a certain size in clothing, then body image is a problem.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a healthy weight, exercise, dress nicely or any other body care process, but we must filter all of that through our value & worth in Christ. 

 The bible says we are a whole being made up of body, spirit & soul {1 Thessalonians 5:23}.  While we are on this earth we are confined to the body in order to live so we must treat our body with a healthy respect. 

The parts of us {body, spirit & soul} are all interconnected, so being negligent to one part of it is just as bad as paying too much attention to one part of it. 

 We need God to help us find balance in our lives.  How can we do this?  Here are 3 thoughts on overcoming body image issues:

First, value the body God gave you.  Imagine for just a moment you lost the ability to walk, had a chronic illness or suffered in continual pain.  You would be left with a deep yearning for that part or ability back & you wouldn’t be so focused on what it looked like. 

 Second, realize your body gives you the ability to completely live out your life in God’s fullness.  Romans 12:1 tells us that our bodies are a living sacrifice to God & we actually worship Him with them.  If you didn’t have the body God gave you, you couldn’t worship Him fully. 

Lastly, thank God for the body He gave you & discipline yourself to be thankful for it.  Instead of looking in the mirror  & criticizing the part of your body you don’t really like, look in the mirror, directly into your own eyes & proclaim God’s truth about yourself.  Tell yourself you are fully loved, completely forgiven & completely able to complete the task He has called you to. 

The more we focus on our lives in the light of God’s view of us, the more we forget the images the world tries to shape us into.  We may never be fully satisfied with the physical aspect of the way our body looks in certain clothing but we can be fully satisfied with who we are & how much we are valued by the One who created us.

Three Ways to Control Food Cravings

One thing I’ve noticed over the last several years of my food & health is the decrease in my food cravings.

Please note I said, “decrease in my food cravings”, NOT the disappearance of my food cravings. 

The first step in becoming healthy is to understand that you may always crave a certain food & that’s not necessarily bad.  To crave a certain dish at Thanksgiving that you’ve eaten your whole life is more about an emotional comfort than a physical one.  To want to eat that same dessert every time you return to your favorite vacation spot, is about the memories made there, not about a random desire for a high fat, high-carb, hyperpalatable food.

Here we are talking about cravings in every day life.  Like Thursday afternoon, when the stress of the week & your lack of sleep the past 3 nights, is causing an overwhelming, intense longing for a Little Debbie snack cake.

Here are 3 of the most important things you can do consistently to decrease your food cravings:

The very first thing I realized about my cravings is that they decreased drastically when I had gotten enough sleep.  Science backs this up by telling us about 2 little hormones that are only released when we sleep.  Meet your friends Leptin & Ghrelin.

Ghrelin tells your brain that it is hungry.  If you don’t make enough of it during the night, then your brain can’t decipher hunger signals well.

Leptin tells your stomach it is full.  Same as above, if you don’t make enough during sleep, then your stomach doesn’t understand fullness & satisfaction cues of your body.

 As you can imagine, the constant war between Leptin & Ghrelin sensors that are lacking because of poor sleep, means you are reaching for more chips & chocolate.

Though there are many other hormones that are released during sleep, these 2 hormones alone are worth doing whatever it takes to get enough sleep. 

When we eat real food, the neuropathways in our brain begin to relearn what we want. 

 Junk food is addictive & always leaves you unsatisfied. But when your body learns that it will thrive on chemical free, unprocessed, whole food, it will begin to subside its desire for cookies, pizza & chips.

Cravings are not generally for chicken breast & spinach, but if you can choose to eat those more often, even when you have a craving, your brain will learn new habits.

Your choices now, directly affect your cravings later.  The more you choose to fill the majority of your nutrition with protein, veggies, fruit & healthy fats, the less you will have time or room for the junk.

If you truly need to lose weight & have a goal weight in mind for health sake, then it’s a common thought pattern to think you need to cut calories.  While this might be true in some cases, in a lot of cases, you just need to eat the right calories.

If you eat 1,700 calories in one day & that is comprised of your favorite coffee drink for breakfast, a quick drive through lunch & Chinese take out for dinner, your body simply can’t process those calories the same as it could a day of whole food eating for the same amount of calories.

For instance, if you ate 1,700 calories of whole foods in one day, it might look like this:  for breakfast, 2 eggs, 1 cup of blackberries, 2 ounces of avocado & 3 slices of turkey bacon.  For lunch, 6 ounces of chicken breast, 3 ounces of sweet potatoes, 1 cup of Brussels sprouts & a kale salad.  For dinner, a tenderloin steak, 3 ounces of butternut squash & 1 ½ cups of asparagus.  And you would still have enough calories left over for a protein shake & some pecans for a snack.

That is a lot of food!  AND your body knows what to do with all of those things you just fed it.  Your body has no problem turning all the protein, carbs & fat you just ate into the perfect amount of energy to help you function well all day long.  If you fed it the same amount of calories from the first example of food above, your body rushes to process the spikes in your blood sugar levels & stores much of those calories as fat.

Everyone has different calorie needs so it’s really important to work with a qualified Nutrition Coach to help you figure out what you need.



Ways to Keep Your Workout Goals a Reality

So you’ve decided to start a workout routine.  This is great.   Research shows working out has a long list of health benefits beyond the physical aspect of it. 

Besides keeping your physical self-healthy, a consistent work out plan can help reduce stress, help you sleep better & help you choose whole, healthy foods more often. 

Here are a few simple ways to keep those workout goals a reality in your day-to-day life:

Chances are if you have your sneakers on you will feel more active.  It’s also a lot easier to get out the front door & go for a walk if you are already ready to go!

Have small workout equipment in a convenient place so when you have a few extra minutes you can do small sets of resistance training with a kettlebell, resistance bands or a pull up bar.

When you left the office late or those errands took longer than you expected, you wont be tempted to just go home or skip stopping by the gym.  Having gym clothes, a shaker bottle & to-go protein in your car already, will keep you from making a counterproductive decision.

Make sure the hotel you are staying in has a workout facility included in your stay or a walking/jogging trail close by.  Keep a set of resistance bands & a list of body weight exercises in your suitcase so you always have them when you travel.  If for some reason you can’t get to the gym (maybe you forgot sneakers), just pull up a yoga or workout video on YouTube & do it right in your hotel room.

You may have every intention of going to a spin class at 8AM every morning but if it’s not on your calendar & you get invited to coffee, I can assure you, the coffee invite will win.  But if your workout is on your calendar, you will more likely ask your friend if she can meet you right after workout!

 Be healthy mentally, physically & spiritually.  If you need help figuring out the best workouts for you, email me.  I’ll help you make a plan.

Tips for Starting a New Workout Routine

Starting a new workout routine or activity can be a fun adventure.  But it can also be a scary one.  If you are trying some sort of athletic activity you have rarely or never done, there can be a lot of emotions surrounding your new lifestyle.

Here are some things to consider when venturing into something new:

You can give yourself a high-five fort this one because showing up is half the battle.  Count this as a positive step in your health & fitness.   

Having a support system helps calm nerves, fears or self-doubt.  If you don’t already have a friend involved in your class, then make a friend.  Be engaged & involved with the people in the fitness community you have chosen to reside in.  Feeling comfortable with someone else in your class will also release those “good feeling” hormones that will cause pathways in your brain to remember that place as a happy one.

Make an effort to arrive 5-10 minutes before class.  This gives you time to interact with coaches & instructors, settle your stuff where it needs to be & prepare mentally for the task ahead.  It also will keep stress levels low.  Even if it was a stressful day or you had a stressful event leading up to arriving at your class, having a few minutes to prepare mentally will help your physical ability as well.

Whether you need to modify at every class or only at certain classes, do it.  You only get one shot with the body you have & the last thing you want is an injury because your pride got in the way of your brain.  If you are not physically capable of doing what is being asked, your instructor will be very happy to help you modify.  No good instructor wants anything more for you than healthy movement.  They don’t really care that you can do the highest-level skill in the world; they care that you can do your highest-level skill.

We’ve all looked at someone else in class & thought how nice it would be to be as flexible, fast or strong as that person.  Everyone starts somewhere & you probably don’t know the full story of where that person started.  Physical activity is part of a heath journey so don’t worry if someone else seems “better” than you. 

Remember that this health journey you are on is for you.  So keep your “why” in mind & keep pushing forward.  Don’t give up on that new activity after one class.  Keep going, keep putting it on your calendar & keep being proud of yourself for doing your best!