Live to Eat Well, Exercise, Be Well in Mind and Body

6 Ways to Improve Your Health and Finances at the Same Time

Having too little money and too many extra pounds – few things in life are rife with so much shame and fear. While it is typical to feel alone in your shame, the truth is that few people escape money and/or weight problems. Three quarters of Americans say they have money worries, and about that many Americans, children included, are overweight or obese.

According to the Financial Health Institute, 3 out of every 4 Americans report finances are the main contributor to their stress. That stress often results in negative coping behaviors like excessive drinking, overeating, smoking, escapism (television and movies). Those stress-induced coping mechanisms then manifest themselves in nasty ways – depression, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and more. Medical bills then stack up, creating ongoing stress, and the cycle continues. A strong argument can be made that financial and physical health and fitness cannot be tackled separately, but must be a package deal.

Instant Gratification

Inherent in the discussion of health and finances, is that greatest of American traditions – instant gratification. Sure, eating half a box of Oreos or buying that new pair of shoes feels good in the moment, but the dark side of instant gratification is the loss of impulse control, leaving us slaves to consumption, debt, extra weight, stress, and ill health. Culturally, we are not taught to pause and weigh the costs before we eat and shop. Just do it. Just eat it. Just buy it. Charge it now; pay later. That is the American way of life.

This is why financial and physical fitness have to be addressed simultaneously. If we would intentionally sit down and calculate how much money we are consuming by satiating our physical appetite for food, caffeine, and alcohol, we would be shocked. When the desire to lose weight and gain health and vitality is coupled with the desire to lose debt and gain financial freedom, it can be a one-two punch that reinforces our commitment to tackling negative consumption habits.

But no one can be shamed into being a wealthier, healthier human being. Hate and shame don’t serve as motivators; they only serve to create an oppressive weight of judgement that few people can crawl out from under. If losing weight or losing debt were easy, everyone would do it. It requires sacrifice and hard work; it is difficult and overwhelming, and there is no quick and easy solution. And it’s hard to know where to start.

So start here. Here are 6 tips and tricks to improve your health and your finances at the same time.

1. Weigh the Cost

Eating out, coffee to-go, field trips to the bakery, drinks after work, hobby-induced grocery shopping – it all costs more than you think. By signing up for Mint, a free and online financial manager that links into bank account, you can take a hard and honest look at how much money you are physically consuming and literally flushing down the toilet.

2. Create a Budget

No doubt that last foray into expense tracking has you crying into your beer. Now dry your tears, put on your big girl or big boy pants, and create a budget using Mint, that magical financial manger. After your bills are paid, your first priority is to build an emergency savings account, followed by an aggressive elimination of credit card or student loan debt. Take a look at your leftovers, and assign yourself a modest allowance for restaurants, coffee shops, and booze. Download Mint on your smartphone to stay on track.

3. Use Food As a Currency

A helpful psychological tactic in rationing daily and weekly servings and splurges is to think of food as currency, a weekly allowance, or a per deim expense account. A weight loss program like Weight Watchers utilizes points instead of calories as a helpful and playful way to monitor and budget food intake. Dave Ramsey, author of Financial Peace University, actually used the Weight Watchers model as the basis for his debt elimination program.

4. Get Cookin’

Making food in your own kitchen is only a fraction of the cost compared to eating out. And you are in complete control of the ingredients and serving sizes. Have some fun and experiment with different grains, legumes, vegetables, and spices to kick up the nutritional value. Make a big batch, and you’ll have leftovers to enjoy for lunch at work. This is good news for both your wallet and your waistline. Visit websites like Eating Well for free nutritious and delicious recipes.

5. Find Your Muse

There is a reason creative types are often referred to as “starving artists”. Looking at your forlorn budget for food and entertainment, you could get depressed, or you could get creative. This is your chance to write that book you’ve been talking about for ten years, pick up the guitar gathering dust in the corner, learn to knit, break open the sketch book, grow a small garden, and make your own natural body products. By switching from a consumption mentality to a creative mentality, you open yourself up to a world of wonder and possibilities.

6. Make Exercise a Hobby

Unless you’re enrolled at a seriously expensive boutique gym, exercise is an affordable activity. A modest gym membership runs from $10-$50 a month – many of which offer classes in kickboxing, barre, bootcamp, yoga, and more. Instead of meeting your friends at the pub or at the greasy spoon, make some new friends at the gym and get moving. And when the weather is nice, enjoy a long walk, hike, or run outside. Those exercise-induced endorphins and Vitamin D from the sun will provide you plenty of feel-good motivators to keep you on track, both financially and physically.

To conclude, it bears repeating that neither your wallet or your waistline can afford to gorge itself on whatever it wants, whenever it wants. But take heart. Remember that we’re all in this together. Few people escape the worry of money and/or weight. So, let us lose the contempt – for both ourselves and others – and encourage and build one another up instead. Follow the aforementioned tips and tricks and chances are high that you will drop the weight and gain financial freedom at the same time.

 

 

 

Turkey Wrapped Asparagus

turkeywrappedasparagusTurkey Wrapped Asparagus with Laughing Cow Cheese is a great addition to any summer picnic basket. This simple recipe for a healthy and delectable finger food doesn’t even require cooking, just assembly! The fiberful asparagus is coupled perfectly with lean, protein-heavy turkey and low-fat cheese. As an extra boost to your health, invest in organic turkey slices without all the added preservatives and sodium.

Turkey Wrapped Asparagus
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Asparagus
  • Turkey Slices
  • Laughing Cow Cheese - Any Preferred Flavor
Instructions
  1. Trim asparagus stocks and boil them in a large skillet. While the asparagus is boiling, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Boil the asparagus until tender but still crunchy. Drain and transfer the asparagus into the bowl of ice water. (This blanches the asparagus, halting the cooking, and helps the vegetable retain its crunch and vibrant green color.)
  2. Spread half a triangle of Laughing Cow Cheese onto a slice of turkey lunch meat. Place three asparagus stocks on top of the meat and cheese and roll. No toothpick is necessary as the cheese acts a natural glue.
  3. Buen Provecho!

 

 

The Perfect Diet: The Finale

FAdDiet-BAd-DietAfter writing The Perfect Diet: Part 1 and The Perfect Diet: Part 2, I had no answer to my own question. How now shall I eat? So, I set out of an adventure, left the Shire behind, and……. Here’s what I’ve come to learn along my journey – a journey long and hard. This is the wisdom I gathered along the way and I would like to share it with you before I pass from this day to the next.

Diets Don’t Work!

There is no perfect diet. “Diets” don’t work. They make people fat and miserable and sick and they keep people fat and miserable and sick. The original definition of diet is: “food and drink regularly provided and consumed.” This definition makes no value judgments, has no moral underpinnings. But diets as we’ve come to know them (restricting, weighing, measuring, counting, allocating, planning, following, cheating, obsessing) are the farthest things from perfect. They are poison for the body and soul.

Yes, there is healthy, nutritious food that comes in glorious variety. Yes, there is unhealthy food. (Is there really anything redemptive about food laced with trans fats, MSG, or high fructose corn syrup?) I’d even say there’s a neutral category of food. Chocolate truffles and waffles and pizza might not be super foods, might not even be “healthy”, but they’re delicious and, when eaten in moderation, they most likely won’t give you cancer, Alzheimer’s, or forty extra pounds. That’s all the redemption necessary to rescue these delicacies from being categorized as “bad” foods.

Food Science

Yes, overly processed foods – even delicious ones – are more science experiments than real food. Food scientists are hired by food corporations to find out what’ll hook a consumer and keep him coming back for more and more and more and more. We call these hyperpalatable foods – the perfect combination of packaged salt, sugar, fat, additives, and texture to get you hooked and possibly addicted. A healthy way of eating limits processed food experiments that require translation services in order to read the nutrition label. And let’s get something else straight; just because it’s a so-called “diet” food doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It’s usually just a science experiment. Will artificial sweeteners please stand up? Fat-free foods? Um, can I please have an extra cup of sugar with that?

And let’s not forget that one man’s food, even healthy food, is another man’s poison. For example, I know a girl who is deathly allergic to pineapple. No she does not like pina coladas; yes, she does like getting caught in the rain. Another friend of mine has terrible reactions to nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. And I’m sure we all know someone who has Celiac Disease and can’t eat gluten or someone who is lactose intolerant and can’t handle the diary products. Some people have adverse reactions to animal products; others to grains and flours.

Truthfully, even healthy food in excess is unhealthy. You could eat little other than broccoli and lettuce and apples, all very healthy foods, and still have a very unhealthy, unbalanced diet that results in sickness. Same could be said for people over-consuming organic meats, eggs, and dairy (highly acidic, and neglecting to consume adequate amounts of whole grains or fruit (very alkaline). Then again, you could nosh daily and moderately on your favorite banana bread and chocolate chip cookies made with white flour and sugar (*gasp*) like one spunky 93 year old woman I know, and live a very healthy, long life. (Granted, there are great recipes out there that can significantly enhance the nutritional punch of a cookie or piece of banana bread without sacrificing taste.)

The amount of food needed and recommended portion sizes also varies from person to person, depending on their gender, height, bone and muscular structure, activity level, and time of the month. So no, there is no perfect, one-size fits all diet, which is one of the reasons why diets fail more often than not. Bodies are different. Taste preferences are different. Cultures are different. Access to food is different. But as long as people continue to believe that diets work, we will continue to spend needless amounts of time, energy, and money on soul-sucking weight loss efforts that make us fat, keep us fat, and destroy and undermine the relationship we have with food and the relationship we have with our bodies.

Introducing…..Intuitive Eating

So ditch the diet and learn why and how to eat like a normal person – like the individual you are. Become an Intuitive Eater! More coming soon…..

Turkey Apricot Salad on Ezekiel Bread

Turkey Apricot Salad

Day 14: I’m Thankful for Turkey and Turkish Apricots

I heart turkey. For me, no other meat competes. I especially love my turkey roasted. Mmmmm. Most people only eat roasted turkey during the holidays, but I like to work roasted turkey into my diet all year round! Turkey is low in fat and high in protein and can be eaten in soups, salads, casseroles, sandwiches, and snacks….The list could go on and on.

As for a healthy slice of wholegrain bread, I’m a big fan of Ezekiel Bread. It’s made with sprouted grains and seeds and has no processed flour. Yes, it has gluten. And yes, it still has more calories than a celery stick. But fear not! Ezekiel Bread is delicious, wholesome, and filling. And if you make your sandwich an open-faced sandwich like I do, you can save yourself 80 calories. You won’t find Ezekiel Bread in the processed bread aisle. It’s kept in a freezer to keep the sprouted grains fresh. Most if not all health food stores, as well as many normal grocery stores will keep it on stock.

Now for the recipe. After some head scratching and scrumaging through the fridge and the pantry one afternoon, I came up with the following recipe for lunch and hit the healthy food-lover’s jackpot. I make Turkey Apricot Salad on Ezekiel Bread all the time now; it’s a current favorite.

Turkey Apricot Salad on Ezekiel Bread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs (24 oz) of turkey. (I prefer to use white meat.)
  • 5 oz dried turkish apricots
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp Lite Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise
  • Dash of Salt
  • Ezekiel Bread
Instructions
  1. Chop up turkey into bite size chunks.
  2. Dice celery and apricots; add to chopped turkey and mix together.
  3. Mix in mayo and a dash of salt.
  4. Toast a piece of Ezekiel bread and top with turkey salad.

The Perfect Pair

For the perfect food pairing, serve this open-faced sandwich with my recipe for Cranberry Kale Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, to be posted Friday, November 15. Buen Provecho!

Turkey Apricot Salad with Cranberry Kale SaladPhotos by Erick Nelson

 

Why The Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect: Part 2

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What is the perfect diet?

We love preaching to the choir and talking diet and nutrition with other people who agree with us. But leave our safe circle of like-mindedness and ask the question, “What is the perfect diet?”, and we’ll get a gazillion different answers. Even professional dieticians and researchers can’t come to a consensus. Every camp of opinion has a different study, statistic, example, or story that “proves” dairy, or meat, or table sugar, or whole grains, or tropical fruit, or soy, or gluten, or margarine, or butter, or oil, or alcohol, or GMOs, or eggs, or saturated fat, or fast food are detrimental or destructive to our health and longevity.

Health and longevity are merely smokescreen words, red herrings for the two things we worship and pursue with unending zeal – youth and beauty. It’s no wonder that the publication of diet books will never end; turns out nobody has yet discovered the fountain of youth and cured either age or death.  Not that we’ll every stop trying. Just this September, Google unveiled its new company Calico, whose mission and hope is to stop aging and cure death. Good luck. No doubt Calico will produce a new diet book that will sell millions of copies.

Two Extremes

On one hand, we can try to follow the “perfect” diet and squander our existence on fear, worry, self-righteousness, self-absorption, self-punishment, social awkwardness and the joyless pursuit of those fleeting and fickle gods of youth and beauty, eking out an extra day, year, or decade of life or beauty for the sake of ego. On the other hand, we can feed our bodies like trash heaps, growing needlessly sick and old and frail, surviving each day with chronic pain and illness or succumbing to an early death and leaving our loved ones to survive on their own and mourn our absence. These are two extremes, neither which sound perfect to us.

Two Extremes

We’ve tried to follow the “perfect” diet. While doing so, we started to look really great, tight and toned; you know, the way we’re supposed to look. But after a week or two, our desperate binges on “bad” food made us feel like “bad” people and would send us spiraling into internal misery, over and over again. Maybe we’re just weak? Or maybe we’re just human, with a fundamental need to indulge and feast? For us, a world without tres leches cake and sugar cookies with almond frosting sounds like a sad place. We get a twinkle in our eye and a skip in our step even thinking about them. Is that bad? Should we be ashamed of such a confession? Should we train our bodies long and hard enough to not want or enjoy these things?

Or should we embrace our love of these decadent desserts and eat as many of them as often as we desire? For those of us who spent our entire adolescence and most of our adulthood significantly overweight, our natural inclination is to eat whatever we want to, whenever we want to, as much as we want to. And, again, we are miserable; we hate ourselves for being weak and fat. At least we know we are not alone in this tug-of-war.

So we seek answers to cure our miseries in the latest fad diet or celebrity trainer. Most fad diets on the market design super restrictive eating plans for super fast weight loss or super human powers, where we only get one day or one meal to “cheat.” And the authors of these diets lead us to believe that this should be enough to satisfy our cravings for diet-prohibited foods and keep us on track for the rest of the week, not to mention the rest of our lives. Bullshit! We’re frustrated and fed up with fad diets and we’re hitting the bullshit button! Let’s give that button another whack! Bullshit!

Bullshit Button

The In-Between Place

Somewhere between these two extremes has to exist a normal, sane, and pleasant solution to achieving and maintaining good health and satisfactory, though maybe not “perfect,” body composition while also satisfying our deep human need to indulge in the sensory pleasure of food and drink without guilt or gluttony. Somewhere in that in-between place exists a good and balanced diet.

 Continued in Why the Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect: The Finale…….

If you haven’t already, read Part 1 of Why the Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect.

Turkey Bratwurst Served Over Wilted Spinach Salad

Turkey Braut and Spinach Salad

Turkey brats are great alternatives to their fatty, caloric contemporaries, beef and pork brats. Each Jennie-O Bratwurst has only 170 calories and is full of that delicious turkey flavor. Instead of serving these bratwursts on buns and slathered with condiments, increase the nutrition and decrease the caloric intake by serving it over a bed of fresh wilted spinach and walnuts – power foods!

Turkey Bratwurst Served Over Wilted Spinach Salad
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 Turkey Bratwursts
  • 2 Bundles of Fresh Spinach
  • 2 Tsp Chopped Garlic
  • ¼ Cup of Chopped Walnuts
Instructions
  1. Trim, wash, and dry two bundles of fresh spinach.
  2. Line a large sauté pan with olive oil spray. When heated, add two teaspoons of chopped garlic. Gradually add the two bundles of spinach to the pan; it’s an incredible shrinking vegetable. (Two bundles may seem like a lot, but it won’t be once wilted.) Cook just long enough; you don’t want to cook out all the nutrients.
  3. Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Top with a turkey bratwurst (grilled or sautéed) and serve.

 

For the perfect fall feast, pair this bratwurst with my recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Soup! Buen Provecho!

Nov. 7 Post

Photos By Erick Nelson

 

 

 

Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

It’s November and two food stars shine particularly bright this month – pumpkin and turkey! They could be the very reason I love November. (Expect to see these two ingredients in future recipe posts.) November is also perfect running weather in Austin, TX. Yay! The same could not be said for my hometown of Gillette, WY.  Burrrrrrrrr……

My recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Soup is AMAZING, if I do say so myself! So savory, so flavorful, with the perfect amount of spice! Give it a try – you’ll love it! Nom, nom, nom……

Spiced Pumpkin Soup
 
Author:
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Cups of Fresh Pureed Pumpkin (depends on how thick you like your soup)
  • 2 Peeled Carrots
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Bulbs of Garlic
  • Thumbnail Size of Fresh Ginger (if you have normal size thumbs)
  • Half of Large Onion
  • 32 oz Chicken Stock
  • 2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • Water
  • Allspice
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Chopped Basil
Instructions
  1. Bake and puree your baking pumpkin.
  2. Chop carrots, celery, and onion into medium pieces. Peel two garlic bulbs and a thumbnail size of ginger. Add chopped vegetables, garlic bulbs, and ginger to a large stock pot with chicken stock and chicken bouillon cubes. Add water until in just covers the vegetables. Bring to a slight boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. While still warm (not piping hot), blend the stock with the pumpkin puree in a food processor or blender. This might take 2 or 3 rounds. More puree, less liquid makes for a thicker soup. Combine blended soup into a large bowl or pot. Stir in ½ tsp of allspice and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt and some chopped fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!

 

For the perfect fall feast, pair this soup with my recipe for Turkey Bratwurst Served Over Wilted Spinach Salad. Buen Provecho!

Nov. 7 Post

Photos By Erick Nelson

 

Why The Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect: Part 1

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The following story is fictional satire, though based on actual events. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

It’s never a good sign when you don’t have time to make coffee in the morning; it’s a suspicious start to the day, perhaps even a bad omen. But if you can’t make it yourself, there’s always a willing barista at the local java shop who can hook you up. So, I made sure to leave the house with enough time to grab coffee and still make it to my 11 am appointment at the gym.

I stopped by my favorite beverage dealer and with my morning fix ordered and in hand, I headed for the exit. Oh, there was the group exercise yoga instructor. “Morning Wendy!” I greeted. She was looking extra skinny this morning, which was difficult to fathom. Was this what I was supposed to look like? Though I had eaten a hearty, healthy breakfast only two hours before, just looking at her made me want to find a snack.

“Morning!” Wendy greeted in reply, motioning for me to join her at a table for two. We exchanged chit chat for a minute before I naturally turned the conversation to one of my favorite topics – coffee.

“Oh, I don’t drink coffee anymore,” Wendy explained to me. “I don’t like the idea of being addicted to anything.”

Turns out she converted into an herbal tea drinker. I quickly tried to hide the small tear drop forming in the corner of my eye.

“In fact,” Wendy declared, “I’ve recently made the commitment to really clean up my diet and adhere to gluten-free veganism. It’s been almost two months and so far I feel really cleansed. And for the first time, I really have a body I can be proud of.”

Wendy said “really” a lot. I looked down at my Americano and felt like an addict and a fatty. I sweetly and quickly bid her adieu.

Fortunately, my 11 am appointment went well at the gym and I was feeling encouraged. That is until I saw my friend and fellow trainer looking lost and dejected, staring off into space. His face had the look of a sad boy, but his body was “perfect”; it was muscular and strong with very little body fat.

“Everything okay Ryan?” I asked. “You look concerned about something.”

Ryan sighed. “I don’t want to eat,” he said, followed by a short pause. I just looked at him, giving him time to explain. “It’s not that I don’t like eating,” Ryan declared, “but I’m so bored. I’m not sure I can stomach another sweet potato.”

Confessions from one personal trainer to another. Ryan’s diet required that he eat every three to four hours – healthy and delicious food like sweet potatoes, lean meats, eggs, nuts, lots of vegetables, protein shakes, oatmeal, some fruit, maybe a little nonfat dairy, occasionally some glutenful wholegrain bread. Over and over and over and over again. I didn’t have much solace to offer Ryan. As my diet was much like his, I too was bored. I gave Ryan a tap on the back, told him to “hang in there” and made my way to the staff lounge.

As soon as I walked through the door, I was hit by the smell of fish. Looked like tilapia and broccoli was on the menu again for Ms. Universe. A fierce and ambitious figure competitor, her diet was “perfect” – by which I mean she ate very little if no sugar, flour, grains, or saturated fats (except for coconut oil). And she was pissed at the world. Turns out the dopamine produced from her arduous workouts weren’t enough to compensate for the lack of serotonin she wasn’t getting from evil things like carbohydrates. Sucks to be her.

After a couple more PT sessions at the gym, I hopped on the Stairmaster to crank out some cardio while I watched a rerun of my favorite reality weight loss show. Celebrity trainer Chris Powell was busy explaining to his client how she could spend her “free day.” He confessed to her that every Saturday he let himself eat a serving of tortilla chips. Ooooo, big spender. I wanted to throw the remote at him. I think she wanted to eat him.   

Later that evening, I returned home from the gym to find the latest issue of my favorite fitness magazine in the mailbox. Yay! I liked flipping to the cover model feature first – to discover her secret to the “perfect” body (apart from professional makeup and Photoshop). A Paleo fanatic, she ate one egg, three egg whites, and berries for breakfast; a non-dairy protein shake for her post-workout meal; chicken breast and asparagus for lunch; a couple slices of turkey and a handful of nuts for an afternoon snack; salmon and a large salad for dinner; and some decaf green tea and more lean meat for a late night snack. She loved eating clean and didn’t experience heavy cravings for forbidden, bad food. But if she wanted to “cheat” she ate all-natural almond butter. Yum.

At this point in the day, I was feeling pretty discouraged. To comfort myself, I made myself a large bowl of ice cream (an extra scoop in honor of Wendy) and curled up on the couch to watch the latest episode of Biggest Loser. “I’m sorry Jillian,” I cried, “Please don’t yell at me!”

Series continued in Why the Perfect Diet Isn’t So Perfect: Part 2 and The Perfect Diet: The Finale.

3-2-1 Launch!

Lift Off

Welcome to Food and Fitness Nook, my small corner of the health, fitness, and blogging world. My name is Amber and I am a personal trainer, wellness coach, health and fitness writer, amateur wannabe chef, nonprofit program manager by day, and dreamer by night.

The purpose of this blog is to inform, entertain, and inspire you with thought-provoking posts, yummy recipes, helpful tips and tricks, effective exercises and workouts, beautiful photos, fun videos, monthly challenges, and friendly dialogue. My hope is that you’ll keep coming back for more and send your friends over too! Readers, “I [do] think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Though food and fitness related, this blog is not an ode to weight-loss or a simple guide to a sexy six pack. Weight and body composition are such fickle, fluctuating phenomenon, and only two components to overall health. I get the weight thing, the body image thing, I really do. After spending my entire adolescence and most of my twenties significantly overweight, I managed to successfully lose 35 pounds off my 5’2” frame and maintain that weight loss by changing my diet and by engaging in consistent exercise and physical activity. (If you’d like to learn more about my story, please visit the About Amber page. And while you’re at it, visit my Food and Fitness pages to learn about my food and fitness philosophies. And just for kicks and giggles, stop by my Personal Training page to learn about my services and rates.)

However, the human experience is far more than physical. Man is a multi-dimensional being with beliefs, attitudes, and habits that influence his approach to physical, spiritual, emotional, social, sexual, occupational, financial, and intellectual behaviors. It’s all interconnected. The pursuit of holistic health requires that we acknowledge the complexity of the human experience and approach it from lots of different angles, not just one. And that is what I will strive to do – on this, my small corner of the big world wide web.

Confession. I haven’t got it all figured out yet. I am no Galadriel. I’m not a picture of perfection in a castle on top of a lofty hill, beckoning the weary soldier forward. No, I consider myself a captain – leading my platoon into one skirmish after another. I’m on the frontlines, sometimes fighting what seems an uphill battle. And I don’t win every battle, but I haven’t given up the fight. I’ve sustained some setbacks and injuries along the way, but I’m not ready to wave the white flag of surrender! If it takes me a lifetime, I will keep pushing forward.

And I welcome you to join me on the journey! My hope and prayer is that this website and blog will serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration to you as you fight the good fight to better your health, increase your confidence, and rediscover your joy. Let’s talk soon.

Your Fellow Sojourner –
Amber Johnson