5 Things to Give Up to Live Your Best Life.

Sunny days in Portland, OR.

Hey all! Long time no Blog. Adjusting to my new life in Portland, OR has been wonderful but also taken some time and energy to feel more fully adjusted to living in the United States more permanently again (after spending the past few years living back and forth between Europe -Spain, then Germany- and the US). I’ll admit, I have had both ups and downs as I’ve adjusted; to a new home, a new city, new career and being more independent again. But with each day I’m feeling more and more at home in this city, all while meeting new people, branching out into new communities, trying new things and trying to establish myself as a Personal Trainer in this active and amazing place.

This new experience, and all my previous experiences of moving and living abroad, have each taught me something new, about myself and what I am capable of. But I will admit, I am an Overthinker and tend to question myself and my abilities, and often care TOO MUCH about what others think of me and what I am doing, which has lead to negative self talk. This is something I am Always actively trying to work past. And though not every day is easy, I am getting better about TRULY Believing in and Loving Myself, and letting go of trying to please everyone.

I have kept this simple, yet profound list as my screen saver on my phone and written out posted on my wall, to remind myself Each & Every Day of these things and help myself live A Better Life. 

5 Things to Give Up:

1.Overthinking. Of all the things on this list, this is perhaps (in my opinion) the most important thing to give up. So may of us tend to question what we are doing and saying, and how those around us are responding. We need to let it go and stop overthinking!

2. Fearing Change. We tend to get comfortable in certain things, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But don’t let that stop you from trying something new! Or branching out to chat with people from different backgrounds, and potentially meet new friends.

3. Living in the Past. We can learn from past experiences or we can let them consume us with “what if’s”, what if I had done that differently? What if I had done this? Done that? But EACH of those experiences brought us here today, helped teach us and shape us into who we are, or maybe taught us what we don’t want to become. I try to view every past experience as some type of learning experience, no matter how painful it may be, and let it all fuel me forward into becoming a better person and leading a better life.

4. Negative Self-Talk. YOU, above everyone else deserves your love and affection and kindness. If we cannot love and talk kindly to ourselves, how do we expect to be able to fully do that for others . My journey has involved a long road to self love and acceptance, and pushing past any type of negative self-talk, whether it was towards myself mentally or my physical appearance.  I’m still working on it everyday, but each day I get a little better at pushing away those negative thoughts and replacing them with loving, positive, empowering words towards myself.

5. Trying to Please Everyone. WHY, why do we even want to please everyone!? Or have their approval? Shouldn’t we be happy that we are unique individuals being who we want to be and not worry? I understand it is easier said than done. During my time in the Social Media Fitness & Health World, I’ve constantly had to remind myself to BE MYSELF. I’ve had to take many breaks to re-evaulate my message, my journey and the way I share things to make sure I am doing so from a place of honesty and truth, NOT just to please and appease everyone. I’ve had to remind myself almost daily to “Be Happy. Be who you want to be. If others don’t like it, then let them be. Happiness is a choice. Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.” and with each day it gets a little easier to do so.

This is just a small list but I encourage you to GIVE THESE THINGS UP, work on Loving and Accepting Yourself, and day by day learn to believe in yourself and your truth a little more.

What is YOUR number one thing to give up to live your best life!?

Much love, Alena ❤

 

 

The Whole 30 reset program, what it is and why is isn’t for me.. Right now.

Well, I made the big announcement on social media that I would be doing the Whole 30, and planned to share my experience throughout the 30 days. But, not even a week into it and I quit, for now. Though I have my reasons! First, I will say that although I am no longer following the Whole 30 program, I do think it is an amazing set of guidelines for those looking to truly restore their health and mental balance with food, and I plan to fully commit to doing it in the future. Even while writing this blog post I had new inspiration to just start it again now, but I know that at the moment I do not have the right mentality. So, I will wait to try it again until I’m feeling more balanced in that way. My partner, Tim, is still primarily following the guidelines, with just a couple minor tweaks to better fit our lifestyle. (his review is below)image

Why we decided to give it a go..

A few weeks ago my partner Tim came home from a ‘Mans Trip’, basically a fun weekend away, just guys, hanging out and drinking on the island of Mallorca (also known as the 17th German state, as it’s pretty much been taken over by German party goers 😉 and out of the blue suggested we try the Whole 30 reset program. Granted he had already been thinking it was time to make some dietary changes, more along the lines of my eating, and cut back on treats that we both love (our weakness is chocolate), but it wasn’t until after this trip that he was really ready to commit to making a change.

I had been previously trying to do a type of body reset through eating on my own, to hopefully help discover some food allergies and intolerances but was having a hard time keeping up with it. I thought this could be a great way to try and solve some health issues, and we would be supporting each other through it all and keep any tempting food items away. So, we went on a massive grocery shopping trip and stocked up with the goods, to start the new week strong.

What it is..

The Whole 30 is an eating program was created by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, with the information and guidelines freely shared on their website. The book, which goes more in depth is titled “The Whole 30. The 30 day guide to TOTAL HEALTH and FOOD FREEDOM”. The primary things that you can eat are: vegetables, fruit, health fats, and protein coming from meat and egg sources. You can have no sugar, no alcohol, no grains, no legumes (beans), no soy, no additives (such as MSG), and no healthy treat recreations (such as banana pancakes). They share a variety of free PDFs on the website, including the Whole 30 Shopping List.

There are many reasons why they suggest people give it a go (you can read more on their website here), but two of the mains reasons are:

  1. To help “reset” your body, clear it from toxins, and replenish it with whole foods. It helps to restore your metabolism, balance the immune system and heal the gut. According to Whole 30 testimonials, it has helped many people find relief from a variety of bad health issues, such as skin conditions, chronic fatigue, arthritis, diabetes and so many more. It has also helped many lose weight and/or change their body composition.
  2. To move past and cut the emotional ties with food, and the unhealthy habits and cravings. To readjust the body and mind to see food for what it is, fuel. To learn and gain a new self awareness of what your body truly needs, not just wants and craves.

My reasoning for wanting to try it out stemmed from both of these, wanting to try and solve some health issues that I believed were food related and gain better control of my emotional ties with food and even my body image. Tim’s primary reason was more so the 1st, to reset the body, and potentially change his body composition and give him a fresh start towards healthier eating.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Salad with cucumber, carrots, cherry tomatoes, olives, celery, hard boiled egg & Avocado balsamic

We started the 1st week strong and made a variety of healthy and delicious meals, using only Whole30 approved ingredients. We made things such as Cauliflower “Rice”, Stirfry, Baked Eggs, salads and tons of fresh fruit, We followed strictly for about 4 days, and during those days we both were a bit more sensitive and emotional than usual (I was at least), and I realised that at least for me, it was too much. It has been a very emotional and difficult past month, for a variety of reasons, and even after just a few days it was putting an even bigger strain on me. Also, as I am allergic to a variety of meats (beef, pork, salmon, tuna) and vegetables (peas, corn and sweet potatoes), this li tied my options and meant my primary protein sources were only chicken and eggs, and let me tell you, there is only so much you can eat. And without the more starchy sweet potato, it was hard to feel satisfied after some of my meals.

So, we decided to set our own new personalized guidelines, that would work for each of us differently, while still adapting many of the Whole 30 guidelines. Tim choose to primarily still follow it as a whole, as he felt it was working great for him and he has plenty to choose from and make (he loves his meat). And I decided to add back in Oatmeal and Quinoa, and at least one serving of dairy a day for a different type of protein and calcium source (from either curd or cottage cheese). We also decide to add in one “treat” meal a week, that may or may not include things on the ‘no’ list, and really do our best to stick to that.

Tim’s thoughts on the Whole 30

“I’ve really been liking it because I still feel I can eat so many delicious things. The main thing I miss is cheese! My main meals are eggs with mushrooms and some type of meat in the morning. I prepare apple slices and hard boiled eggs for snacks, and another veggie and meat dish for lunch, which usually include sweet potatoes to help me stay full longer. Dinner is a variety of yummy meals we make together, such as cauliflower rice and veggies, turkey and veggie chilli (minus the beans), veggie and egg bake, so many options. At first my sleep was a bit disrupted and I was having some mood swings, but after a few days, my body adjusted and I began to have more energy after work and avoided the post work slump. And even though I’m not 100% strict on every single rule 24/7, I can see and feel my body composition changing, and my cravings are not as intense.’

image

Lettuce wraps with cauliflower rice, veggies & mustard avocado balsamic sauce

Alena’s Whole 30 meal ideas:

As Tim and I eat dinner together every night, I have also been eating Whole 30 meals with him, such as listed above. In general I’ve been making an effort to eat more whole, fresh foods and here are just a few of my current favorite meal and snack ideas which follow the Whole 30 guidelines: large salad topped with sliced carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, hard boiled eggs and a homemade avocado balsamic dressing. Lettuce wraps with cauliflower “rice” and veggies, topped with a homemade avocado mayonnaise. Egg scramble with spinach, avocado, tomato. Sliced banana and apple with almond butter.

As I mentioned above, while rereading the guidelines and the reasons why people do this Whole 30 “reset”, it got me thinking again about the reasons I think it could really help people solve some health issues and restore a balance and healthy relationship with food. And so I do plan to try it again someday, and will share that experience when the time comes.

If you have any questions the Whole 30 website is full of free information. I was also very pleased to see that there is an active and vibrant online community, sharing their love of the #whole30 ,supporting each other and sharing meal ideas, so one would never truly be alone in this journey.

Much love, Alena

Becoming a Personal Trainer, New Routine, New Life.

I’m back!image

   I have been on the move, Literally. Temporarily moving back to the U.S. from Germany for a few months, then back to Germany once again. Needless to say, it has been a busy and transitional period in my life. I’ve had many amazing experiences in the past few months and learned a lot about myself as an ever evolving person. It has been full of many ups and downs, times of both uncertainty and the sureness of my path. But I’ve kept going, kept pushing and believing in myself enough to accomplish some amazing goals and dreams of mine.

image   While in the USA I finished up my ACE Personal Trainer course, and am proud to say I am now a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise. Over the past 2.5 years I have learned so much through my own personal experiences, extensive research and Personal Trainer Studies. Fitness and Nutrition has become a huge passion of mine, and a major aspect of my life. I absolutely LOVE helping others, through sharing my story and experiences, and offering support and advice whenever I can.  I want to help people realize their true potential to make a change in their own lives for the better, that it is possible.

   While in the U.S. I was also working on a Fitness project, a Women’s Lifting Guide “Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide“,  which launched successfully early April 2016. Timagehis was truly a passion project, as both Brittany and I want to help encourage women to get into the weight room and pick up those weights. We have both had a very positive experience in our transition to more weightlifting (which I will share more about in another post).  We want to help women find confidence in the gym, in their lives and in themselves.  The making of this Guide involved extensive research, testing of the program and flying across the USA to meet my dear friend and business partner in crime, Brittany. I am very blessed to have connected with her through Instagram and our passion of fitness and health living. We had a nearly a week together, filming and shooting photos for our guide, editing, eating and having great conversations.

image   I am still in a bit of a transitional period while I continue to get everything organized over here in Germany, but thanks to our Ready To Lift Guide and the amazing community that is growing behind it, I have been keeping up with a fairly normal routine. I think it’s so important to keep pushing yourself in new ways, be it with new exercises, heavier weights, adding int a new challenge, it all leads to growth. I am currently mixing up my routine with the Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide as my base (3 lower body sessions), and adding in roughly 2 Upper body workouts and a small HIIT that include a mixture of body weight exercises, many more Weights -both free weights and some machines. I am loving the challenge of scheduling and creating my own personalized workouts, and I plan to soon have Personalized Training Programs available. I will share more on that topic soon as well.

   I want this space to be one that is helpful, inspiring and educational. So, from this point on, I plan to consistently share a variety of helpful Information, new Recipes, Fitness Challenges, and Fitness and Nutritional tips to help you on your own healthy journey. My domain name may have changed – so that it reflects who I actually am – but it is still dedicated to sharing my Healthy Living Dreams. Excited to be back, and moving forward with you all.

  Much love, Alena Elizabeth

 

Food is fuel; eat right, not less.

image

Bowl full of Nature’s Candy.

First of all, I absolutely Love Food!  I love to try new things and experiment in the kitchen, and when I find something I really enjoy, I can eat it for days in a row or even weeks! Over the past few months I have really been getting more serious about fueling my body with the proper nutrients it needs. I have changed my focus from weight loss to fat loss and gaining more lean muscle mass, and have changed my eating habits accordingly. For the majority of my fitness journey, I have eaten intuitively and for the most part this worked out very well for me and my goals. But sometimes our bodies need a change in order to see and feel new progress, and so, as of this month I have been following Kayla Itsines’s H.E.L.P Nutrition Guide. It has already taught me so much more about proper portions and the importance of eating a balanced mixture of all the major Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), as well as the less talked about, but equally as important Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) that are essential for our health.

While there is a minimum amount of food we should be eating, e.g. enough food to keep our metabolism functioning properly and to keep us alive, it’s important to remember that each of us requires a different amount of food to keep our bodies healthy, strong and give us enough energy to get through our respective schedule and day. If you are doing a large amount of strenuous exercise and work, you will need to eat more food than others to keep your body properly energized and functioning, and as your strength and endurance grow, your metabolism will also speed up, meaning you WILL Need More food. As I said, everybody and their lifestyles are different, and ultimately, how much you should eat depends on your body type and your way of living. But whether your goal is to loose or gain weight, tone up or put on muscle, something that is so important to keep in mind is that Food is Fuel and eating less is Not the answer. It’s important to learn to Eat Right for you and your goals, Not less.

image

Sandwich of Carbs, Protein & Healthy Fats.

Everyone has different goals and a different way of living. My goals and my daily routine require something different than the next person. I have tried a variety of different eating styles, Vegan, Paleo, No Carbs, etc. but I have found that what works best for me and my body, is a balanced diet of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, including dairy and some meat. I do not cut out a certain type of food, I only am aware of my daily servings from each group. I have some pretty unfortunate food allergies and so have to be very careful to read the ingredients of products before purchasing them, and in restaurants I am the annoying guest that has to ask if the food has ‘this or that’ in it and having the waiters ask the kitchen staff. It makes it challenging to eat out, but it also forces me to cook more at home, which I have really been loving lately! I have found so many amazing recipes through Instagram and different blogs (and my mama I might add!) and have been experimenting a lot in the kitchen. (Recipe posts coming soon!)

I fuel my body with what it needs, what I need, to get me through the day, my workouts and keep me feeling balanced. Overall I have a very good relationship with food and eating, I put good, nutritious things into my body and my body responds well, giving me good energy, helping with my mood and sleeping patterns. But it hasn’t always been this way. It has taken me a long time to find a balance with food, many months of trial and error, ups and downs, but over the past 6 months or so, I have been very happy with my eating habits. I do still struggle from time to time with guilty thoughts after eating something less than healthy, but it is no where near compared to how I was even just two years ago. I am sharing this with honesty, to help others realize that while we can appear to be very strong on the outside, we are all fighting our own battles and should do our best to be supportive of each other.

Keeping it Real with a Treat Meal.

Keeping it Real with a Treat Meal.

During those moments when I do have guilty thoughts after eating something a little unhealthy, I take a mental note of how I feel in that moment, and remind myself of how I felt the next time I’m about to eat something unhealthy. And each time gets easier. Thankfully, I no longer have these thoughts very often, because I eat a balanced diet that makes me feel good. And if I do eat a treat, I try to view it as just that, a special treat, and I do my best to fully enjoy it in that moment and then move on. However, if I do have these guilty thoughts, I get past it, and do not revert to my old ED habits that brought me down physically and mentally for years. I am thankful to say, I have grown up and away from those bad habits, after having done a lot of research of the consequences and will NEVER put my body though that again! I remind myself everyday that overall I eat very healthy, nourishing foods and that I workout regularly, so the occasional less than healthy meal here or there is not going to kill me or hurt my progress. I remind myself that Food is Fuel, and as with so many things in life, it’s about finding a healthy balance that works for you and your body.

Much Love, Alena

Getting back to it: A personal post.

Hello Everyone!

     This will be a more personal post, as I want to share a bit about my recent experiences and getting back to a good and healthy place. For those that are struggling to get back on track and find motivation, whether you are post vacation or have taken a break from the routine for another reason, check out my post about “Tips for getting back on track” they are my personal tips I use myself and I truly hope they can help you.

     I know I haven’t posted much in the last month or so. I’ve been going through some ups and downs in my life, with both energy and motivation levels. Some days I’ve felt awesome and on top of the world, and others I’ve felt tired, unmotivated and uninspired. I think both my mind and body were burnt out on so many things. Although I do find some joy from my job, it is ultimately not something I am passionate about and that has been taking a toll on me mentally. I was also getting to place where I was starting to put too much pressure on myself both mentally and physically, and getting frustrated with my progress.

     I am sharing this to let you know, we are all human and life is not always a straight and steady road. Life is filled with ups and downs, good and bad days, weeks or months. But learning to get past that – whether it’s from switching up your routine, taking a needed break, or letting go of something that was bringing you down –  it is important. I was extremely lucky to receive a birthday trip from my grandparents, to meet up in Spain and travel with them to England (I am currently living in Germany). Those almost 2 weeks away were much needed and helped me clear my head and reevaluate so much. Since arriving home last week, I have set new goals, and have a new sense of determination and motivation. I have stopped putting so much pressure on myself, with my work, my workouts and social media and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I am eating better, sleeping better, have more energy both mentally and physically and am so excited about all my new projects coming up.

     As of this week I will start regularly blogging again about a variety of healthy living topics, including fitness, nutrition, workout tips, mental balance, motivation and my experience following Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides. My hope is that by continuing to share my personal journey and everything that I have learned and will continue to learn along the way, I can help others on their own healthy journey. If you ever have a specific topic you would like me to write about, don’t hesitate to email me or leave the topic in the comments. I want this to also be a place where I can interact with my subscribers and other bloggers. I will also be starting an online Personal Trainer course in the very near future and am so excited to take this next step in my fitness journey and start training and helping others to become stronger, healthier versions of themselves. I have set up a GoFundMe page if you care to check it out and read more.

     I thank you all for being a part of my journey in any and every way. Blogging and writing about these topics and experiences has been so meaningful to me, and I look forward to doing it much more regularly.

Much Love, Alena ❤

Healthy Living: Change Your Mindset, Change your Life.

image“To Change your Life, you have to Change Yourself.  To Change Yourself, you have to Change your Mindset.”

Above all, I am aiming to live my life in a healthy and balanced way. For me that has meant creating healthy eating, exercise and everyday habits, and saying goodbye to the things that brought me down. It has also meant surrounding myself with like minded and supportive people. And learning to think about things in a different way. But it is all a constant learning experience and each day I learn something new about what it means for me to Live a Balanced Lifestyle.

Starting around the age of 14, I began drinking alcohol and formed some very unhealthy relationships with my body and food. I was young and impressionable, and wanted so badly to fit in. I had no idea that amount of damage I was doing to my body, or that this beginning would lead to almost 10 years of continued unhealthy habits, and in some ways get much worse. Until the age of 24 I suffered on and off from a variety of eating disorders or at least disordered thinking, that caused me to sometimes skip meals, or binge and purge. I also went though a long stage of partying and drinking excessively. All of which were so harmful to my body and I am so happy and grateful to have moved on and away from these habits.

It took me a long time to realize that I not only had to change my Habits, but I had to change my Mindset as well. I had to stop thinking about myself in a negative way, and start loving  and taking care of my body. I had to stop viewing food as a comforter and start viewing it as Fuel. I had to stop viewing Alcohol as a means to escape life’s problems, and a confidence booster blanket when socializing and learn to deal with my problems in a different way, I had to learn to be confident in myself, by myself, without the aid of a substance. And once I finally changed my mindset and the way I thought about things, it changed everything. I was able to move forward with my life, and start working towards a healthier and happier version of myself.

I understand it can be hard to change. For years, I always had an excuse in my mind why it was okay to keep living this way,  ‘I’m young, I deserve to live wild and free, my body will recover later.” But there came a point where Enough was Enough. The damage I was doing to my Body was catching up with me, and I could not only feel it physically but mentally as well. I was putting my Body and Mental Well Being in Danger and putting my Family and Loved ones through more than they deserved.image

Until I decided I HAD TO make a Change. It wasn’t a complete 180* in the beginning, but with time I have given up the extreme unhealthy and bad habits. Over the past one and a half years I have worked so hard to get to where I am and I have changed so much, not only physically, but mentally as well. With time, I have given up old unhealthy eating and drinking habits, and learned to find a balance with food and alcohol and taking care of my body and mind. I am in a much better place and more optimistic about the future. But I still have hard days sometimes, days where I am unmotivated, scared about the future and filled with unexplainable sadness. But I now know I can get past those days, and I do not need to turn to food and alcohol for comfort. And nowadays, the good and happy days far outweigh the bad and that is also a huge form of progress for me towards a healthy and balanced life.

While Fitness and proper nutrition have helped me in many ways, changing my outlook on life has truly played a huge part in my healthy journey. I try to start the day with a positive thought, and reflect on the previous day. I try to forgive myself for my mistakes, and set intentions to do better. And when I am feeling down I try to remind myself how truly lucky I am to be alive, with a roof over my head, food to eat and people that love and support me. It puts my “problems” into perspective.

Here is a list of things I try to do each morning before getting out of bed:

  • Express Gratitude.
  • Set my Intentions for the day.
  • Take 5 long deep breaths in and out.
  • Smile for no reason just to flex the muscles.
  • Forgive myself for yesterdays mistakes.

Living this healthy lifestyle and changing my outlook of life and my mindset has helped me in so many ways. I am excited to keep learning and expanding my health and fitness knowledge, helping as many as I can along the way. I am more optimistic about the future, and my place in this world. I am motivated to keep moving forward, progressing towards a better version of myself one day at a time.

To SEE and FEEL Progress, You must be willing to Change something. Your Lifestyle, Your Mindset, Whatever it is that is holding you back, because progress is Impossible without Change. But never give up, because Change is Possible! ❤ Alena

 

Healthy Living: Let Today be the Start of Something New.

imageNew Day, New Month, New Goals. Each day truly is an Opportunity to Change your Life for the Better. So, Let Today be the Start of Something New. 

Each day we have a choice to start something new. You can Start small and decide that Today is the day you will start walking or biking to work instead of taking the car, or the day you start using the stairs instead of the elevator. Today is the day you start adding one spoonful of sugar instead of two, or switching it out all together for a more natural sweetener such as Stevia or Honey. Today is the day you start trading your candy bar for a piece of fruit, your soda or beer for a tea or fruit infused water. Today is the day you will stop skipping breakfast, and start your day right with a fueling and filling meal, firing up your Metabolism. Today is the day you start better organizing your schedule to make sure you have time for your workouts, meal planning/prepping and downtime. Today is the day you Drink More WATER, the Liquid of Life. Today is the day you spend Less time on your cellphone and More time with Loved ones! Check out my Blog Post “Finding a Balance” for more tips on making small changes towards a Healthier Life.

Each day is an Opportunity to Push ourselves and keep working towards our goals. Try a Join a new Fitness class you’ve been thinking about and workout alongside all those other people working towards similar goals, support and push each other. Do some research about healthy meals, and try cooking a new one for yourself, or get more serious about meal planning and prepping (personal goal). Start adding in more Yoga to your normal routine (another personal goal). Venture into the “Guy area” of your Gym and hit the Squat rack! And don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice! Never forget that everyone starts somewhere. Or start the training program you’ve been debating doing! My personal recommendation is Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, which I have been following for the past 8 months and love, as it has truly pushed me to new Limits and helped me grow and improve in so many ways! (if you are interested in trying the Guide click here for a Free week of Workouts and Here for the Full Guides).

Sometimes it can seem intimidating and overwhelming to make a Change, but that is why you can start small and gradually add in more and more. It is the little things we do that truly add up to Big, Staggering results! So don’t be afraid to start, to change, to try something new. Because today is another day to start/keep working towards your goals, and a healthier and happier version of yourself.

Today is the day to Find, Try and Do something that your Future Self will Thank You for!

If you are feeling lost or unsure of where to start or simply looking for some extra support and guidance on your healthy journey check out my Mentoring/Support Page and send me an email at healthylivingdreams25@gmail.com

❤ Much Love, Alena