Transformation Thursday: Jessica Clemmons Story

Hello all!
I have had the GREAT pleasure of knowing Jessica Clemmons for a decade now. She was introduced to me when I first began my story in fitness and even knew me when I was a massage therapist!
She has struggled not only with weight, but with the feeling of being all alone in the fight. I am the lucky nutritionist who got her started on my program almost a year ago. Here is her story:

My journey:
At the age of 9 my mother put me on my first diet. Seeing the way kids were treating me and that I had terrible self esteem for a 9 year old, she knew this was the best way to help. From that point on I had been on a steady stream of fad diets as well as weight watchers and everything else to try and overcome this battle. In my late teens, early 20s I was the largest I had ever been. I was in a US size 22 (UK 24) and felt like a prisoner in my own body. That’s a feeling I had become very familiar with. Even as a child I always felt like I was in the wrong body, I wasn’t supposed to be overweight but no matter how hard I tried, genetics were always going to be against me. At times I gave up and continued to get bigger. At the age of 19 I started working out with a personal trainer and trying to make better choices but the smallest I could ever get was a size 18 (UK 20). Years later I felt it was time for drastic measures, I did the only thing I thought I could do and got a gastric band, also known as a Lapband. This was the start of a new journey for me that eventually ended in another painful surgery and heartache. I struggled for 3 years to still lose the weight. The band forced me to never eat and when I could eat it wasn’t remotely healthy. I struggled to keep any food down. I ended up getting to a US size 14/16 (UK 16/18) but only out of forced starvation due to the Lapband. In 2009 I had it removed and the struggle began again. I finally learned that I had Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormone disorder that hinders weight loss.

When things started to change:
Through the diets, surgeries and medical discoveries I continued my 5 day a week workout routine as well beginning a new journey with my nutritionist, Michelle Carlson. One of the biggest changes in my life is how I view food. Since working with Michelle I’ve learned that I’ve spent my entire life putting far to much pressure and stress on myself when it came to eating. I became terrified to eat and if I ate something “bad” I beat myself up about it for days. I learned the effects that was having on my body. I now no longer stress out about food. I know what’s good for me and I work every day to make healthy choices. Do I always do it? Nope, but I move on and make a healthier choice for my next meal. I’ve had so many different nutritionists who just gave me a meal plan and told me to eat it. There wasn’t education behind it and usually it was a one size fits all approach. Michelle knows that we are all individuals so what worked for some of her clients may not work for me. She takes the time to get to know you and learn what your body needs to become healthy in the most effective way. It’s not all about counting calories. There is a science behind it. Weight loss is 90% mental if you ask me. If you can get educated on the reasons why we do things or should do things, the success rate will increase. That is why I’m so thankful that Michelle is a part of my journey. She is unlike anyone I’ve ever worked with. There is an honesty and sincerity to the way Michelle works and I believe it’s because she’s one of the few who have actually walked in my shoes. Now at a size 12 I know I still have a long way to go but in conjunction with my workout routine and supplements, I’ll be able to reach my goal thanks to the tools and knowledge that Michelle has provided me with!

The first photo (red shirt) was when I started Boot Camp with Michelle in January 2013. Second photo is when I started nutrition counseling I believe in April 2013. Both “after” photos are current.

jess 1Jess 2

Isn’t she GORGEOUS! And she has a Texas sized heart too.

I am beyond honored to be helping Jess through her story. I truly LOVE what I am able to see everyday :)

Think her story can never happen to you? Think again! I have helped others overcome emotional eating, ditch diets for good and attain results that really last. Find out more HERE.

Follow JESS!

Twitter: @Jessicaclemmons

Facebook

 

All I Want for Christmas is ABS

Bikini body abs should be a year round thing. Why? Because strong abs indicate killer dedication to your sport and if you work out regularly, guess what? You totally have a sport!

So, how do you GET killer abs and how do you maintain them?

Abs have always been my problem spot. I hold water and fat there like I’m in the middle of a plague. When I eat a few too many treat cals, they tend to party on top of my abs. If I miss workouts, the abs tell me. Now, perhaps they are my problem spot because I have always been most self-conscious about them, but we’ll move on none the less…

Since the holidays are upon us, it would be nice to have a helping hand in the ab department right? Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a clearly cut 6 pack over Christmas. What I am proposing is a holiday without bloating and crying over jeans that OBVIOUSLY shrunk in the dryer…duh. How does that sound? Pretty good right? I mean, how awesome would it feel to wear the same jeans you wore in July on Christmas day? Rock on.

What will it take from you? Easy. I’ll be doing the leg work. I’m going to be posting my workouts and meals via Twitter and Instagram. Now, since my insta feed goes directly to Twitter, you need only follow one and it’s RIGHT HERE. My workouts will consist of DVD’s I have reviewed on the blog. I’ll be totally honest with you up front: I’m doing a blend of Turbo Fire, Chalene Extreme, and P90X2. My diet is pretty basic with no crazy foods you have to travel across the globe to obtain. Don’t own the workouts? You can grab them HERE…OR you can leave a note in the comments with the DVD’s you do own and I’ll let you know a good rotation.

Why DVD’s? This time of year requires no brainer exercise. DVD’s make it possible for you to hit play, go to town, then finish up and get on with life. You can choose ABS, cardio, strength training, etc. based on the time you have available and the energy level you have (always on high right?). In a word, it’s EASY. That’s the key when sticking to a workout regimen, especially during the holidays. Think of it like a trainer in your living room.

The diet is the biggest factor when it comes to flat abs. Be prepared for the basics as I don’t do fancy stuff when flattening abs. I can tell you what I do though: I avoid dairy, wheat, and alcohol during this time. I know, that sounds crazy around the holidays, but it can be done. Moderation will save your life :)

Need an idea of what to expect?

weight training abs

This was earlier this year when I was on Turbo Fire and P90X2 along with my flat abs eating plan. THIS was taken a mere 14 days apart! We don’t starve as that leads to more bloating. You can expect a food pic every 2-3 hours and chances are you’ll have the food on hand. So, leave a note in the comments if you want to join up! We have one month until Christmas…who wants to get their abs going BEFORE the New Year?

Peace, Love and Lunges,

Michelle

Fit for a King

Good morning!

I hope you find yourself at the tail end of a Happy Easter. Mine was spent with family and my church friends. I found some refreshment amidst a busy week, which is always nice.

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed last week, I came upon a quote from one of my favorite pages, Pray Fit. It simply stated:

Let’s strive to be so healthy spiritually that we’re ready for the mission field. And so healthy physically that we’d want to run there.” – Jimmy Peña

As we strive for our health and fitness goals, we can sometimes be misunderstood as “vain”, “conceited”, or just plain “self obsessed”. I have come up against some of these accusations in the world, but mostly they exist in the plane of my mind. The voices that whisper in my ear and hold me back tend to catch me at just the right time. The encouraging thing is that I serve a King who is always faithful to keep me on my path.

I find it quite odd, and a bit sad, that within the fitness world I have been blessed to meet some people who are beyond bold in their faith and love for Jesus. These are striking athletes who compete in sport, fitness, figure and bikini competitions. They do not credit themselves for their confidence, but they point to a God who has redeemed them and made them whole. Many competitors write blogs giving God the glory not only for their physiques, but for the freedom to do what they do. I have known football players who give back freely (with both time and money) because they believe it is of God, not themselves, that they are able to do what they do. What about this makes me sad? I have met more bold, Christ proclaimers in the fitness competition world than I see in our churches today….

My pastors often encourage us to take off our church masks. In other words, our lives should look no different on Sunday than they do Monday through Saturday. I have struggled with this for years. I kept my “church life” and my “fitness life” as separate as I could…and I was miserable. Leading 2 lives takes a lot of energy! I was willing to give God bits and pieces of my life, but struggled with giving it all up. My fitness, my ability to work out, my understanding of nutrition….this is all a gift from a loving King. It is my profound pleasure to return these gifts to His glory.

You see, a large weight is lifted when we stop worrying about the decision itself (should I compete, should I not compete? Should I go on a mission trip or not? Should I take on clients? Should I become a coach?) and think more about the heart behind the decision. IN the grand scheme of things, it isn’t the choice itself…it’s rather the choice we make. My time in the gym is not spent in a vanity session. My time in the gym is normally a time to come face to face with my creator. It is a time to see my problems for what they really are: a big pile of my own sweat. Most of my issues are self-made. I invite drama into my life when I shut my King out of certain parts of my life and do not make Him a part of my decisions. My physical practice of working out allows me to listen more fully to the voice that I should hear all the time.

So what happens once you give it all up? What happens once you realize that even the body you inhabit is to be used for His glory? Well, I would hope we all start taking better care of our temples. We have reached a point where our resolve for human comfort and our repulsive lack of embracing discomfort has impacted our health by leaps and bounds. We now house diseases that were unheard of a decade ago, and yet we keep plugging away at what tastes good. By the way, gluttony is a sin and cannot be spun to be good in any way. We must realize that our physical bodies are the house for the Holy Spirit. If we are unable to GO when called….we are sinning against our Saviour. NOT doing what we are called to do is the same as doing that which we have been told not to do. In other words: allowing my body to be physically wrecked to the point of being made useless makes me no better than a murderer. Sin is sin. Period.

Heavy words, I know. And please understand that I am not just speaking of carrying a few extra pounds or needing to lose 100 pounds. I am speaking to us ALL! Those who devote too much time to the gym are no better than those who devote too much time to the couch. They are both idols. I encourage you to break the bonds today! Start by simply making a commitment to ready yourself. Whether we want to believe it or not, a war we cannot see with human eyes is waging. We are called to be ready. We are called to run the race. We are called to be MORE in HIM. Allow this to dig deep into your spirit and guide your steps today.

Ready yourself for your calling….if not you, than who?

Live Louder!

Michelle

Take the first step HERE

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Day 5 Secrets to Weight Loss

Day 3: Secrets to Weight Loss

I’m in SHAPE…the magazine!!!

I just wanted to take a minute and share this with ya’ll :)

I was featured in a SHAPE Magazine article, along with 19 other beautiful ladies, about getting fit without running. If you know me, then you know I’ve struggled with wanting to be a runner, but never quite making it due to past injury. Just because I can’t pound out marathons (and trust me, I have MUCH respect for those who do!) doesn’t mean I can’t get fit and sculpt a functional body to boot. You can check out the entire article HERE: http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/20-super-fit-chicks-who-dont-run?page=2

 

Have a healthy day!
Michelle

Thirsty Thursday!

Welcome to your very first Thirsty Thursday!

Today is a real treat as I am going to post 4 recipes to satisfy cravings, bring more vitality to the body, brighten the skin, strengthen the hair and nails, and just make you feel great all over!

Avocado Smoothie

This smoothie has recently been added to my diet and I am in love with it. It is VERY rich and decadent, not for those seeking a lot of weight loss. If you are trying to drop weight, just use 1/2 the avocado for the benefits of healthy fats, but 1/2 the added fat and calories to your diet.

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado, pitted and halved

1/2 cup organic low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 cup almond milk

3 tablespoons local honey

1 teaspoon milled flax

handful of ice

Throw into blender and puree. The avocado is tasteless but lends a wonderful, lush richness to this smoothie PLUS it helps with hair, skin and nail health :)

Recipe from Sadie Nardini, www.sadienardini.com

Tropical Shakeology Mojito

This is one of my favorite ways to get my motor running on a blah day :)

Ingredients:

4 oz plain coconut water

6 oz water

several mint sprigs (to your taste)

1 frozen banana

1 scoop Tropical strawberry Shakeology

handful of ice

Blend until smooth, garnish with extra mint is desired :)

Super Quick Hydrating Tropical Wonder

I am a HUGE fan of coconut water! It hydrates the body’s cells faster than regular water and more efficiently (without all the toxins left behind) than sports drinks.

Ingredients:

1 Shakeology Shaker Cup (or ANY shaker cup of choice, as you will not be using a blender)

8 oz O.N.E. mango and peach coconut water (they have other flavors, this just happens to be my fave)

1 scoop Tropical Strawberry Shakeology

Put liquid in the Shako. Mix thoroughly until smooth :)

Get up and GLOW Juice

This requires an actual juicer. If you have one, awesome. If you’re thinking of investing in a juicer I really enjoy it and the health benefits are outstanding! I do suggest you do your research and get the best bang for your buck. I drink this to help keep my system in and alkaline state, healthy and strong.

Ingredients:

2 tart apples

1/2 head of romaine lettuce

4 carrots

1 cup swiss chard

1 cup spinach

1 cup kale

1 oz fresh ginger

4 celery stalks

1 cup fresh parsley

few mint sprigs

1 lemon

Rough cut all the ingredients and send them through the juicer. Pour over ice and enjoy! This makes about 28 oz, which you can drink total for breakfast or split into 2 servings. :)

Enjoy the Fit Life today!

Michelle

www.livingbytheblood.com