“Without health life is not life; it is only a state of langour and suffering – an image of death.” – Buddha

We all know that obesity in America has been steadily climbing in the past few decades, but have you ever taken the time to really stop and look at what is happening in our nation? HBO put out a series titled “The Weight of The Nation” and I have been watching it as a team building exercise with my fellow Beachbody coaches. This series is so powerful! Obesity is a major problem in the United States and it is spreading worldwide. Obesity leads to major illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, arthritis, cancer, heart disease and so much more! The scariest part is how rapidly these diseases are appearing in children who are overweight. The entire series is available on YouTube, so I highly recommend watching it.
Many people may look at me, a healthy and physically fit young woman, and think, “Yeah. What does she know about obesity? Does she know how hard it is to lose weight?” What many people do not realize is I was obese during my teens. I was overweight as a child and have struggled with my weight for most of my life. I am living proof that it is possible to lose weight and keep it off. You just have to be ready to take that step. My mom tried putting me on diets when I was an adolescent and young teen, but this never really worked because the decision was not mine. I only wound up being angry with her for making me feel inferior, and thus gained even more weight because I turned to food to numb my pain. Shortly before I turned 17 I decided I did not want to be the fat kid anymore. At the time I weighed more than 200 pounds – I don’t know how much I weighed initially because I was terrified to actually step on a scale and find out. But I know it was more than 200 because the last time I had been on a scale I was pushing 190 and I had gained weight since then.
While my eating habits were a huge contributor to my weight, so was my lack of activity. As a kid, even though I was overweight, I remained very active: riding my bike, playing in our large yard, running around at recess, etc… But when I got into middle and high school, exercise just wasn’t part of my routine anymore. I had lots of homework after school so instead of riding bikes or playing outside, I sat in my room. There are no playgrounds when you get into middle and high school, so instead of being active during the lunch break, I sat around. This was a huge contributor to my weight gain. So, when I made the decision to change my life it not only involved changing my eating habits but also adding exercise into my daily life. I began simply by walking a 2 mile loop near my house every morning. As I became more fit, and lost some weight, I made it a 3 mile loop. It was summer time, so I also offered to help my mom out and mow the lawn once a week (We only had a push mower and we had almost two acres so mowing the lawn was a big job!). Over that first summer I lost about 2o pounds.
I commuted 2 hours each way to my high school, but when school began again in the fall I continued to exercise regularly (sometimes waking up at 4:30am to go for a walk or get ready in time to ride my bike part way to school). Shortly after school began, I signed up to take a 3 week kayaking trip with my high school the following June. In the past I would have never even considered doing something like that. In order to go on the trip we all had to run around Green lake (2.8 miles) in 30 minutes or less! I’d never run a mile in my life so I started adding running intervals into my walks so that when the big run arrived in mid April I’d be ready.  I ended up finishing the run in 23minutes and 48seconds. A time that ended in my being recruited to run on the cross country team the next fall.
It took me about a year and half, but I ended up losing about 80 pounds all together. It was not easy. The hardest part really came after losing the weight; it was hard to not see myself as overweight. But, now almost 10 years after losing all that weight, I have kept it off – except for one 2 year period when I had a desk job. Even though I remained active and exercised daily, sitting at a desk all day made it really hard! Some of the physicians featured in “The Weight of the Nation” talk about this issue and how even after people have lost significant amounts of weight it is much harder for a previously overweight person to maintain their new weight than it would be if that person had never been overweight to begin with.
If I can lose 80 pounds and keep it off for nearly 10 years, anyone can get fit and healthy! Helping our country overcome the obesity epidemic is a huge reason I signed up to become a Beachbody coach. I want to help people live the healthiest and happiest lives they can. You can achieve anything if you just believe it is possible!

Check it out!

Just a quick post about my new health and fitness page on Facebook! It’s called “Jazzed Up Health and Fitness.” On the page you’ll find motivational pictures, videos, details about challenge groups and so much more! Please check it out when you get a chance and let me know what you like about the page, keeping in mind it is still being worked on, and what else you would like to see on the page. Just go to http://www.facebook.com/JazzedUpHealthAndFitness

 

Thanks!!!!

Navigating Nutritional Facts

If you’re a health conscious person you probably check the nutritional facts of many foods you buy. You check the amount of fat (avoiding those nasty trans fats), sugar, fiber, protein and essential vitamins and minerals like calcium and iron. But how often do you read the list of ingredients? Do you know what is actually in that healthy cereal or energy bar you bought? Chances are, the list of ingredients is probably quite long and you are not sure how to pronounce many of the ingredients. Even if you can pronounce all the ingredients, do you know what they are? Even some of the energy bars that are known for being healthy contain mysterious ingredients and WAY more added sugar than necessary. Take Clif Bars for example, they contain better ingredients than many energy bars, but the very first ingredient is brown rice syrup! That means there is more sugar than anything else in the bar because ingredients are listed in descending order of prevalence per gram (ie whatever there is the most of if listed first). Evaporated cane juice is listed multiple times because it’s in the chocolate or white chocolate chips added to the bars and added to the organic toasted oats! So, if Clif Bars have that much added sugar, can you imagine what some of the other bars have?

How about Balance Bars? Yes, they are relatively low calorie (about 200 per bar) and have 15g of protein, but there is little to no fiber and almost 20 grams of sugar; that’s about 5 teaspoons of sugar in one bar! Then, the list of ingredients is incredibly long. For example, the ingredients in a peanut butter flavored Balance Bar are: Protein blend (soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, partially hydrolyzed milk protein isolate, calcium caseinate, casein), fructose, glucose syrup, partially defatted peanut flour, peanut butter (peanuts), sugar, water, fractionated palm kernel oil, natural flavor. Contains less than 2% of dextrose, sodium caseinate, salt, caramel added for color, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, tocopherols added to protect flavor, soybean oil.

Just think of all the processing needed to make a bar that contains “partially defatted peanut flour” and “partially hydrolyzed milk protein isolate.” I am not saying, “Don’t eat energy bars!” or “All energy bars are bad!” All I am saying is, check the ingredients and ask yourself, “Do I really want to put this in my body?” There are energy bars out there with very few ingredients and no added sugar (only sugar from the fruits in the bar). LARABARs, for example, only contain fruits, nuts, and cocoa if chocolate flavored. But, they can get expensive (typically around $2 per bar). So, a great alternative I have found is making my own energy bars! If I make my own energy bars I know exactly what is in them and don’t have to waste time reading hundreds of labels!!!

Here is a recipe for homemade energy bars. And before you say, “Beans? Those energy bars cannot possibly taste good!” I ask you to try them first! You don’t taste the beans at all!

Chocolatey chip Black Bean Energy Bars

Makes about 8 bars

Ingredients:

3/4 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)

2 TB milled flaxseed mixed with 2 TB water (or substitute with 2 TB of your favorite nut butter)

2 TB agave nectar

1/2 one small banana mashed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 rolled oats

1/4 cup baking cocoa powder + 1/4 cup oat flour (or any flour)

2 TB mini chocolate chips + 2 TB raisins + 2 TB shredded coconut

1/4 cup water

In a food processor, combine first 5 ingredients and blend until smooth. Put mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture consistency seems spreadable, you’re good. If it’s too dry, add a little more water; if too wet add a little more flour (the mixture consistancy should be similar to that of chocolate chip cookie dough)

Grease 8×4 pan (I use a bread pan) with baking spray or rub with 1 tablespoon oil, then spread mixture into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Let cool then cut into bars. Store in airtight container. Best within 7-10 days (bars will last longer if stored in fridge).

Note: You’ll have the most success if you use unsalted, unsweetened versions of the ingredients, and control the sweetness and saltiness through the sweetener and added salt.

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“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis

It’s the middle of June, which means the year is almost half way over, and I have one question for you: how far have you come in achieving the goals you set for yourself this year? Most people start the year off by outlining a list of goals for the year, but by the time June rolls around those lists have been long abandoned. The good news is there’s still time to make great strides in achieving your goals! On June 12th the saying of the day from my “African Wisdom for Life” calendar was a Sudanese proverb stating: “The one who wants to do something finds a way; the one who doesn’t, finds an excuse.” We use excuses for everything in life: skipping workouts, poor eating habits, not returning phone calls/emails, racking up debt on our credit cards, not spending time with loved ones, etc… I know, we all think our excuses are legitimate; I am just as guilty as the next person. However, I have discovered some resources to help combat excessive use of excuses and start making progress on my list of goals.

In March I signed up as an Independent Team Beachbody Coach. One of the first things my sponsor had me do was create a vision board of goals. It was only March and I had already lost sight of many of the goals I had laid out in January, but creating my vision board (and making in the background on my computer desktop) helped me gain momentum and confidence in working towards those goals. All through March and April I stayed very diligent about my goals, then May rolled around and I started to slack off again. I was feeling frustrated because my coaching business wasn’t growing as fast as I had hoped it would. Through personal development reading of The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and support from fellow coaches helped me stay positive about the business aspect, but my determination towards some of my other goals began to dwindle.

(My vision board)

June brought about the second resource: Dani Johnson (Actually, I was introduced to Dani Johnson’s work in mid May, but I went on vacation to Ireland for two weeks so I didn’t start listening to her audios or reading her books until June). I am currently reading Dani Johnson’s book First Steps to Wealth. The book title suggests that it’s about helping you get rich (ie make a lot of money), and while this is true, the book is also about making you rich in all aspects of your life. One of Dani’s biggest points, in both the book and her audios, is that excuses are just well constructed lies; excuses obstruct our ability to realize and accomplish our goals.

So, again, I am going to ask, how far have you come in achieving the goals you set for yourself this year? What excuses have you come up with that are limiting you from being who you want to be? If you could make one change in your life this year, what would it be? How are you going to make that change?

Note: for more information about creating your own vision board and/or joining the Beachbody coaching team, please contact me at www.beachbodycoach.com/jazpiri

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not. – Mark Twain

While Mr. Twain was an amazing writer, he was mistaken in his notions about health. Yes, in the beginning, when you make the decision to eat healthy, it feels like you’re eating what you don’t want, drinking what you don’t like, etc… But once eating clean, healthy, nutrient dense foods becomes your new lifestyle you body actually craves all the things you thought you didn’t like! When you indugle in empty calories (foods with little to no nutrient value) your body reminds you why you don’t eat them all the time and you actually end up craving the healthy, nutrient dense foods your body has become acustome to. At least, that’s been my experience.

I just returned from a 15 day vacation in Ireland. I typically eat very few processed foods, about 80% of my diet is raw foods, I don’t eat dairy or other animal products, and I rarely drink alcohol. While in Ireland I ate Irish scones, french fries, ice cream, creamy soups, porridge with full fat milk, smoked salmon, and drank beer – all of these foods were things I don’t normally eat, but on vacation I always make exceptions. While all the food tasted good, my body reminded me that it really doesn’t like eating this way. I began craving my big kale salads with tofu or tempeh. I missed my morning Shakeology after my hard workouts. I missed my raw cashews, walnuts, and almonds that I snack on between meals. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy indulging in empty calories, and there are times when we all need to eat food purely for the pleasure it provides, but our bodies want clean, nutrient dense foods. PBS recently ran a program featuring Dr Fuhrman and his insight on nutrient rich foods. He confirms my own experiences with craving clean, nutrient rich foods. Check out these two links for some more information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6u-yLDLANI and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LruyZOzpvnI&feature=related

Would you like to change your eating habits and live a more energized life? My friend, and fellow Beachbody Coach, Jennifer and I are starting a 21 day Ultimate Reset Challenge group on Monday July 9. Contact me for more information or visit www.myultimatereset.com/jazpiri. Summer is the perfect time to make a commitment to yourself to eat healthier because there are so many yummy fruits and vegetables in season! It’s the best, and easiest, time of year to eat healthy!

  

“Be the tortoise” – Darren Hardy

In his book Compound Effect, Darren Hardy talks about the importance of consistency. It’s not about being the best from the very beginning, it’s about establishing good habits and being consistent with them. It’s very difficult to achieve goals if you try and change your life all at once, but if you take it one step at a time, making little changes regularly, then you can achieve anything!

However, there are times when it may help to jump in with both feet and just go for it. As Americans, we have the worst diets in the world. We eat tons of processed foods, very few fruits and vegetables, and way more animal products than is healthy! Have you said many times that you want to eat healthier, make great strides, and then fall back into old habits? Do you wish you had more energy for the activities and people you love? Well, this might be the time to jump in with both feet and take the 21 day Beachbody Ultimate Reset. My friend, and fellow Beachbody Coach, Jennifer and I are starting a reset challenge group on June 4th. If you’re interested comment on this post and/or visit http://www.myultimatereset.com/jazpiri

Beachbody Ultimate Reset will clean your body from the inside-out. Learn more about it in this informational video.
http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/Jazpiri?bctid=1534876093001

Start your day right!

We’ve all heard it, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But to really get your day started right, bypass the doughnuts, muffins, frozen waffles, etc… Go for something that will energize you and keep you full for several hours. Here’s what I ate for breakfast this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw oatmeal with chopped apples, almonds, and flax seed meal.

Nutritional Facts (approx):

Callories: 450

Fat: 14g

Carbs: 75g

Fiber: 12g

Protein: 15g

It’s super easy to make: Put 1/2 cup raw oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal in a bowl. Add water to the dry mixture (about 3/4 cup; just enough so it’s all covered in water). Chop up your favorite apple and 2 tablespoons of your favorite nuts and mix it in with the dry mixture. Add a little bit more water (or 1/4 cup milk – I used almond milk). Mix in cinnamon. Then cover and let it sit overnight in the fridge so the water is absorbed by the oats.



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