Current Faves

For snacks: These pre-sliced organic apples from Costco are everything. Like most things from Costco they come in a ridiculously large quantity for an obscenely low price, rendering you useless in the battle of “but will I eat them all?” But they’re good for you and individually packaged (sorry Mother Earth) and they complete me.

apples

For #momlife: Oh Jessica Alba, as if we didn’t already love you enough, you’ve gone and made the most lovely toxin-free home and beauty products and this spray makes toddler bath time just a delight. Because Lila totally needs a haircut but I will slay you if you try to trim those sweet baby curls. Until then, this will get us by just fine.

detangler

For the fitness: Hammer & Chisel is the newest program from Beachbody, and while I was flat-out convinced I’d never like anything as much as the 21 Day Fix, I’m kind of obsessed with this one. I’m such a brat about giving new programs a chance when I have one I like, but this one’s been awesome. Very much my style of fast-paced lifting and strength training, with unique moves and tons of different approaches.

hammer-and-chisel

For spontaneous dance parties: I’m sorry, have you not heard this jammy? I dare you to listen to it and not get at least a little head bob going, but my money’s on you really getting into it. I am straight GANGSTER when this comes on, you know, in my 2007 Volvo sedan, driving to my corporate job.

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For germ blasting: This is the oil that got me interested in oils in the first place, because it is the most amazing immune system booster ever. EVER. I diffuse it in the air, use it topically on me and Lila, and when I feel a cold coming on I drink a tea made with a drop of it. I cannot get through winter/cold season without it. My friend Jennelle is the oil guru who introduced me to this. If you want it, find her.

Thieves

For drinking: I’ve developed a slight infatuation with chai lattes, for two reasons. One being that they are delicious, and I can make them in our Keurig, and two being that I finally have something to order at Starbucks which, for years, has been a cause of great angst. I don’t drink coffee, and I like tea but don’t, like, need it. So every time I go to coffee I have this paranoia of having to order something I can’t figure out in a foreign coffee-talk language. Thank you chai latte for sounding fancy and tasting wonderful. PS Dunkin Donuts (my special place) will make them with almond milk.

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For the fact that it is awesome: We just got new carpet in our bedrooms, and the padding it made from recycled Nike shoes (it’s a material called Nike Grind). As you can imagine this is wonderful because it it super cushiony and good for the environment, but also, when I work out in my bedroom now it really ups the home-gym vibe. My floors are Nike, friends.

carpet

 

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Whatcha doing Monday Night?

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you likely know that last year when Lila started daycare and I went back to work fulltime, she got sick. And then sicker. Holy germs, batman.

She had five ear infections in four months, plus RSV, Roseola and too many colds to count. Oh, and the boogers…

I was exhausted, and kind of looking around wondering, is this really going to be my new normal? I was taking care of my own health with Beachbody products and Shakeology, but I didn’t know how to help my family. I was in a low place and couldn’t really see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Fortunately I have this friend, this caring thoughtful and generous friend Jennelle. She gets me, and loves me even when I’m a mess. She saw me hurting and lost with my sick kiddo and drove 40 minutes across town to quietly drop off a care package of essential oils, specially blended for each person in my family, plus some other Young Living products and a diffuser to help my family get back on track.

I was touched, of course. But also hugely skeptical. Hugely. You all know I’m a health freak, but I thought oils were for hippies. So, I ignored them.

But a few weeks later, randomly I just decided what the heck, I’m desperate, so I picked them up and started using the oils slowly. I got comfortable and started loving them. And HOLY COW, Lila was HEALTHY.

Flash forward another six months and I now use oils daily for all kinds of things for our entire family. For Lila’s health, for my anxiety, for Jim’s congestion, to clear odors from home projects and to soothe sore muscles. I’m amazed at how much oils help me in my fitness and health. I mix oils into my sacred Shakeology and even use them to help muscle soreness.

Jennelle and I are both passionate about the health products we use, and have teamed up to put together a kickass event for this Monday night to share our passions for these products.

It’s online. You can join us from your living room, your treadmill, your dinner table – wherever you want to be. You can wear sweatpants, yoga pants, work pants, NO PANTS!…completely up to you!

What will this event be? Basically a low pressure way to learn about neat products that mioght help you achieve your resolutions (because I kind of assume most of us resolve every year to be healthier, and last about 8 days…). 

I love fitness. Jennelle loves oils. And there are some amazing ways to use these products together. Come hang with us online and find out how Beachbody, Shakeology and Young Living Essential Oils can help support your health, wellness and fitness in 2016 (and the rest of your life). You will not regret this choice. It is 90 minutes and it will change you. No purchases required, obligation or homework, just shoot me an email if you’d like to join us (jesstaylorfitness@gmail.com).

“New Year, New Me Bullsh*t”

I cracked up when a friend sent me this meme. People love to hate on resolutions, don’t they? I’m the opposite though, I obsess over them and in a sick way I love being held accountable to specific goals.

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When I was a teenager, I got super emo about the new year. Once, when I was 16, my best friend and I drove up this crazy mountain road, early in the morning, where we parked and stared into the sunrise, huddled under blankets, rehashing all the things that seemed SO important over the past year. Author’s note: I cannot remember a single thing we discussed – not one – but I guarantee 98% of it related to boys we liked who did not like us back.

I have no idea why I put so much pressure on this day and my resolutions, but I’ll chalk it up to being an old soul.

Nowadays, New Year’s feels a little different. It’s a time to reflect, sure, but my focus is more forward-facing. Partially because #momlife is exhausting and there’s way less time to sit around just thinking about things (what a luxury that would be!), but also because I’ve learned that you don’t need the symbolism of a special day to make a change in your life. It doesn’t have to be a holiday or a new month or even a Monday, it just has to be your time. Maybe Groundhog Day resolutions are more your thing.

This past year I made a decision to take control of my health. It wasn’t a quest to be skinny or wear a size 2. It wasn’t following a special diet or training for a marathon. It was just a series of small changes and choices that I hoped would help me as a new mom. I was exhausted from sleeping in 3-hour intervals, constantly sick from daycare germs, stressed at a fulltime job and surviving on whatever sugary treat or caffeinated beverage I could find. When I made the choice to change, it was out of legit desperation.

Begrudgingly, I purchased Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix.

Begrudgingly, I started the half-hour workouts.

Begrudgingly, I began following the guidance for clean eating and balanced portions.

And then euphorically I saw the most amazing changes in how I felt. I had energy (without coffee!), my post-partum hair started to regrow. My immune system was back on track. I had new muscles.

ALL THE THINGS happened, my friends. No chemicals, no gimmicks.

If New Year’s resolutions are your thing, then go forth. Ain’t nothing wrong with any road toward positive change.

But if you’d rather skip the pressure and fanfare and just get some amazing results, I’d love to connect you to these products. They’re on sale all during January, they’re simple, and they work. Promise.

It takes a village (to lose your ego, raise a baby, get healthy, etc.)

The older I get, the more I recognize the absurdity of trying to power through things on my own (which I still stubbornly do) for the sake of pride or ego. 

You know that old saying, “If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far, go together?” So. painfully. true.

I learned this lesson forcefully when I became a mom last year, starting with the moment I went into labor. My exact thoughts before giving birth were along the placid lines of, “I’ll breathe through it,” “Everyone does it,” and “Whatever, it’ll be fine.”

Oh, Jessica. You sweet, naive little rosebud.

I’d received plenty of offers of birth plans, classes, coaches, etc. and naively poo-pooed it all. “I’ve got this,” I told myself, and I guess I did – in a way – but golly, if I’d been less obstinate and let my guard down to take some of that advice and support, things would’ve been a lot less overwhelming.

Same thing during those first few months of parenting. Even with an outpouring of offers of help, even in the throes of post partum depression and anxiety, I still declined help because I wanted to do it myself. 

This was dumb. 

You know what else was dumb? When I wanted to start working out again after baby, when my whole world was upside down and new, and I thought I could do that on my own, too. I didn’t realize that with the right support, the process would be easier, more effective and FUN. I was fortunate to find this community in the least likely of places (online!) but thank goodness I did.

There’s a beauty in the support we find in the right tribe and community. It creates an environment where we become stronger by showing our weaknesses. We can be ourselves and learn to be brave. That process – the softening of walls we build around ourselves – is vulnerability, and it’s the most amazing thing. 

Today, after all the challenges and wonder inspired this past year, I’m thankful to have the opportunity to guide other women through the process of finding their strength. As a health and fitness coach, I get the awesome privilege of seeing firsthand the magic that happens when we let our egos take a hike and rely on each other. What we can achieve when we come together. That’s when changes happens that we can’t always make on our own. Not because we’re weak, but because we are stronger together.

Every month I lead free, private, online groups full of help, support, accountability and humor. If you want to buy products, I’ll connect you, but no purchase is ever required – that’s not why I do this. 

If you’re wondering if change is possible, let me tell you it is, for all of us.

 I’d love to talk and share more; please reach out if you are interested in joining a group or have any questions. It’s never to late to find your village: jesstaylorfitness@gmail.com 

 

Scales are stupid, and other musings

Eight months ago I began leading groups of women on their journeys toward better health, and for the past 20ish years — until very recently when that venture began — I’ve worried that I was fat.

I’ve been so unkind to my body for so many years, all as a slave to the almighty scale. And I’m kind of done.

I remember in first grade, looking at a girl next to me in class as we sat reading, feeling self-conscious that my legs were bigger than hers. I was six.

I remember in 8th grade, we had to get our height and weight measured twice a year, and I would FREAK OUT inside my head as the day approached. What if someone in line behind me overheard our gym teacher as she told me mine? If I knew what day it was coming I would fake sick to miss it. I was 13.

In high school, as I saw what made certain girls popular, I considered if I should try to starve myself. I was 16.

In college, when friends in my dorm made late-night pizza orders, I vowed that I would only ever eat the crust, so I could avoid the fat and oil in the cheese. I was 18.

These are actual thoughts — nothing I’m fabricating — that a straight-A student with engaged parents and a strong support system had. I think to some extent many of us share similar memories: we’ve all felt the excessive pressure to look a certain way, and so much of that is centered around our weight.

I’ve always loved exercising and paid attention to what I put in my body, but I admit now that for many years it was for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t to help my body run efficiently or to feel strong, it was always to lose weight. As if losing 5 pounds would magically change my entire world. I had no problem spending an entire Saturday at the gym in a desperate attempt to ‘burn off’ what I had eaten the previous day. Makes me cringe to think about this now.

So, what changed? 3 things:

  1. Pregnancy. Creating a life takes your body out of your control in a forcefully magical way, and the experience teaches you how amazing your body is and all it is capable of. After having Lila, sure part of me wanted to lose the ‘baby weight’ and feel good about my appearance, but I hated the pressure to completely and immediately revert to my ‘old body.’ It somehow dishonored the amazing shit my body had just done for a year by having to eradicate every trace of it.
  2. Raising a daughter. I’ve become so much more aware of the words I choose to speak about myself and my activities with a tiny little gal in our world. While she’s only just starting to form words, I know how much Lila can perceive through my words, actions and energy. I want to be a role model for her and not just another source of pressure. I do not have to work out, I get to workout. I do not work out to be skinny, I workout to be healthy and strong. This is as much an exercise for myself as it’s an example for her.
  3. Being introduced to Beachbody programs and Shakeology. These are things that are still funny for me to admit because I always scoffed at them, but using the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology changed my life. I finally realized, in my 30s, that being strong and healthy is what matters – not a number on a scale. I can look and feel my best without being chained to my weight. The way these products have influenced my life is truly profound, and as a coach, connecting other women to them is a privilege. You see, it’s not me selling a quick fix or promoting a certain physical ideal — it’s simply helping others find the tools and accountability to feel better.

But back to why I hate scales.

Since March, I’ve led more than 100 women through the 21 Day Fix, and it never fails that every week or two I’ll get this feedback in a text or an email when I check in with people: “Hi! I feel great and my clothes fit better, but the scale isn’t moving so I’m really frustrated.”

Think about that sentence for a second. You’re essentially saying that you feel better and your body has made positive changes, but because a simple measurement hasn’t shifted, it’s all in vain?

Scales are a single measurement tool, and one that is fairly one-dimensional. Is our performance at work defined by just one metric? “Well Jessica, you’re always on time, have a great attitude and meet your deadlines, but your PowerPoint presentations are pretty disorganized, so no raise for you this year!” Do we love our friends any less if they are always good listeners, generous hosts and babysit our kids on a moment’s notice, but forget a birthday card one year? No! That would be ridiculous, and that’s how I feel about people only focusing on the scale as an indicator of success. I’m not saying we need to disregard the scale completely and go all Office Space-copy-machine on it, but just take your weight with a grain of salt. Incorporate what you weigh no more than once a week, in conjunction with how you feel and how your clothes fit, and instead track how your overall measurements are changing.

Scales don’t factor in body composition changes, like muscle gains (which can make you weigh more while taking up less space). Scales don’t consider things like sodium and hormones and drinking 8 glasses of water a day that can falsely make you weigh more. Scales don’t know how your skinny jeans fit or if your face is thinning out or if you can lift heavier weights than you could last week.

So, my friends. My point here is to be gentle with yourselves. Work hard toward your goals, but know what’s driving them and if your heart is in the right place. The scale will move when it needs to, but what I really hope for you is that your mind feels lighter as you feel healthier.

If you’re ever interested in joining one of my private health accountability groups on Facebook, comment here or send me an email: jesstaylorfitness@gmail.com. Everyone is welcome and no purchase is required, ever. And if you want to know what the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology are all about while they’re on sale this month, here’s a link to the products on my site.

xoxo

softly

Let that be your motivation.

  
This wording really hit close to home tonight. All my whining about trivial stuff lately, when I could look at the same “problems” and be grateful. 

Health is an amazing gift and it’s really a privilege to help others find ways to improve theirs, while finding a bit more happiness and confidence, too. If part of you thinks, “I can’t do it,” “I have injuries,” or “I’m too far gone,” it’s never, ever too late. 

Everyday, people make decisions that are uncomfortable and that require hard work, but those people are never disappointed they decided to try. 

I’d love to help you find your way. 

Shoot me an email jesstaylorfitness@gmail.com.

Real talk for a sec.

In a moment of spontaneous madness I posted this photo and stream of consciousness on social media last night, and decided to share it here, too, since I know some blog friends aren’t Facebook peeps (weirdos) and vice versa.

Friends. Real talk for a sec. Never in a million years did I think Beachbody coaching was for me. I think most of you think it’s as silly as I once did, and that’s ok. I scoffed at this opportunity and figured it was a scam (queen skeptic here). And hello, I have a full-time job, I’m a busy mom, and what business did I have telling others what to do when I’m still on my own fitness journey? It seemed ridiculous, but at the same time, I was lost in mom life and the daily grind, and I needed something to be excited about. What I found was a way to meet new people and become way more accountable in my own health. I knew I needed something for ME. So I took a risk, and jumped in ready to laugh at myself, but geeze. I am THANKFUL every single day I decided to pursue this. In six months I’ve made new friends, been pushed to grow way beyond my comfort zone, learned a ton and while no one likes to make stuff about money, I’ve built a business (in about a half hour a day) to cover our mortgage and then some. Are you kidding me? All by helping people?? I kind of can’t believe this is real, but I also feel like I need to tell everyone how possible it is. This is me – straight up sitting in my car in a parking lot (alone time!) feeling so blessed and inspired that I am typing without proofing (talk about terrifying) to share it. Because if you’re ready for a change from the blah, and for something to do just for YOU, this is your sign. I would love to talk your face off about this and welcome you to my team. It’s so fun and so possible. Shoot me an email: jesstaylorfitness [at] gmail [dot] com.

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