Personal Confessions: Music

A week ago I joined a gym. The first time I went, I was terrified. Sure, I’ve worked out before, but it’s been so long that the thought of getting back in the gym was scary. But I went. And I’ve continued to go. To make things easier while I’m there, I made a playlist to help block everything out and help me focus. Here are some of my favorites from that list:

“Explosive” — Bond

Four women form the string quartet Bond, and they absolutely ROCK. Seriously, they’re amazing. This song in particular makes me think I’m a spy in training for a big mission. I allow my mind to wander and imagine I’m somewhere deep undercover dodging bullets and scaling walls to save the president, all while keeping perfect make-up and never sweating.

“What Makes You Beautiful” — One Direction

No shame with this one. Who wouldn’t want five (Now four, *sniffs* bye, Zayn) cute guys singing about how beautiful you are while you are sweating like a pig and feeling like you’re dying? If that doesn’t say motivation I don’t know what does.

“Sexy and I Know It”– LMFAO

Note: This music video is a bit NSFW (not safe for work, AKA a bit inappropriate. Contains men in thongs/speedos dancing and shimmying. You have been warned.)

I think it may actually be against the law not to have this song on a workout playlist. It’s so fun and impossible not to bop your head along. Even when the rest of your body feels like it can’t move any longer, your head will find the strength to bop.

“Zero to Hero”– Hercules

On the other end of the music spectrum, we have Disney. The entire soundtrack to Hercules is amazing (“I Can Go the Distance” is also on my workout playlist), but if you need a song to pump you up, this is it. You, too, can go from being a “zero” to “hero!” Now if only you could have muses follow you around and sing contemporary (Ancient Greek?) gospel music all the time…

“Girl on Fire”– Alicia Keys

Oh man. Alicia Keys SLAYS this song. Just listening to this song as I type this makes me want to go out and run a marathon. I’ve been listening to this song when I hit that metaphorical “wall” and instantly I feel like I can keep going. Yes, Ms. Keys, I AM on fire. I’ve got the perspiration to prove it.

“Roar”– Katy Perry

If Katy Perry can survive in the jungle with tigers, elephants, and monkeys, while (again) keeping perfect hair and makeup, then I can make it through this workout. This song just screams “Go Girl Go!” and I feel invincible. Is there any song filled with more girl power?

“Spice Up Your Life”– Spice Girls

Answer: Yes, yes there is. Spice Girls were are the embodiment of the “Girl Power” movement of the mid-late nineties and as a child of that decade, I would be amiss not to include their anthem on my playlist. Baby, Posh, Sporty, Scary and Ginger Spice will forever be my girls. I will never NOT sing and dance along to their songs.

“Crazy In Love”– Beyonce

Not gonna lie, I have like six song from Queen Bey on my workout playlist. Trying to narrow it down to one song to write about was way harder than I anticipated. If you don’t want to strut on the treadmill while listening to this song then you’re lying. And word of advice, don’t try to shake your booty while walking/running. It doesn’t work well. Not that I’ve done that or anything…

“I Will Survive”– Gloria Gaynor

Yes, I WILL survive. I will make it through this workout. I can do it (I think).

And finally…

“I’ll Make a Man Out of You”– Mulan

This song is GOLD. Seriously, if it doesn’t make you want to cut your hair, steal your dad’s armor, run off to war, learn karate, fight, and save China, then something is seriously wrong with you. YOU GO MULAN. CLIMB THAT POLE. PROVE THE MISOGYNIST MEN WRONG.

So that’s just a sampling of what I have. I regret nothing. No shame.

What do you have on your workout playlists? I’m always interested in new songs to keep me going!

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Product Spotlight: Vitamin D

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are today, but it is BEAUTIFUL here in Chicago. Warm, sunny, with a light breeze that makes you instantly want to curl up in a hammock and take a nap. I’m currently sitting out on my deck right now soaking up the sunshine as I type this. 

 

My view. IT’S SO GREEN
 
I love this kind of weather. As someone who struggles with depression, there is nothing better than warm, sunny days. Because I live in Chicago, the majority or fall, winter, and spring are cloudy and cool. While I do my best to keep the depression at bay, when the weather is icky, I start to feel icky. 

So what can I do to help keep myself from going down the dark path? My meds help, along with trying to get fresh air and a good diet. Also: Vitamin D.

  
Vitamin D is absorbed through sunlight, as well as fish and seafood. I already mentioned I live in a place that is cloudy the majority of the year, and I am vegetarian, so no fish for me. This makes me incredibly prone to being vitamin D deficient. 

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include osteoporosis, depression, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and higher risk of catching the flu and lower immune system. 

Many people are vitamin D deficient, and unless you live on the equator, have very light skin, and your diet is almost entirely seafood, you probably have at least some level of deficiency. Side effects include sleepiness, crankiness, decreased endurance, high blood pressure, and low pain sensitivity.

That is why USANA’s Vitamin D is one of the best supplements you can take. One pill daily can reduce your risk of cancer, depression, heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, obesity, and hair loss. It is also a great guard against catching the flu (and bonus: no shots required!) When I first started USANA, vitamin D was the first supplement I began to take, and within a couple days I could tell a difference in my overall mood and health. Even my therapists and doctors noticed a difference. 

I am by no means saying vitamin D is the cure all for every disease; proper nutrition and exercise are imperative to health. And if your doctor has prescribed medication for any sort of ailment, you should take it. But what I am saying is vitamin D can help fill in the gaps where diet, exercise, and medication fall through. 

If you are interested in purchasing vitamin D, or have questions on USANA’s other products, email me at blweathers.usana@gmail.com, or leave a comment below. 

Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

As much as I love Nutrimeal shakes, sometimes I want to, you know, chew something. I wanted to make something that would be quick and easy, and that I could take along with me as I’m out and about. I bring you: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.

photo 4
Ooh. Ahh.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

–2 cups plain quick oats

–1/4 cup chocolate chips

–1/4 cup chopped or sliced almonds

–3 scoops Nutrimeal: French Vanilla

–3 Tbl peanut butter (I like Trader Joe’s creamy natural unsalted, but any type will work)

–2 Tbl honey

–1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, until everything sticks together (note: you may need to add a little more water if it’s looking too dry). Press mixture in an 8×8 greased baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Makes 12 bars.

Nutrition:

Calories: 175

Protein: 6g

Fat: 9g

Carbs: 20g

These are so good, I think I’ve eaten 4 since I made them last night (actually eating one now as I write this). Unlike so many granola bars out there, these have all natural ingredients without additives and preservatives. When you love your body and give it good food, it will in turn love you back 🙂

If you are interested in purchasing Nutrimeal, or have questions on any of the other products USANA has to offer, email me at blweathers.usana@gmail.com or leave a comment below!

Personal Confessions: Support

This past week I returned to my alma mater, University of Missouri, to visit old friends.

MIZ!
MIZ!

Some of these friends I had not seen in over a year, but as soon as we met up, it was like no time was lost. So easily I slipped back into college mode; late nights and difficult mornings, with plenty of laughs and procrastination. Hearts and burdens were shared and love overflowed for one another. I could be transparent and share just how hard this journey has been for me. Any anxious feelings were dissolved when instead of walls and distance, I was embraced and reminded of how strong I am.

Driving back to Chicago on Sunday was so difficult. Having an amazing week with amazing people begins to make you feel amazing too. Would this positivity continue when I wasn’t around them? Slowly the anxiety started seeping back in.

Now that I have had a couple days to readjust to being home, I’ve come to realize how blessed I was to have last week. I needed to be reminded that I am special and this journey is worth it because I am worth fighting for. It also reminded me that support is the key to my success.

It doesn’t matter how many USANA vitamins I take or how many Nutrimeal shakes I drink or how many hours I spend at the gym or how healthy my food is, if I don’t have people around me who are rooting for me and encouraging me, I will fail. It is so easy for me to lose sight of why I am doing this. I tend to focus on the negatives and forget the positives.  I need people in my life who will subtly remind me (or in some cases, knock me over the head) and steer me back to the right path.

That being said, I would like to thank all of my friends for loving me and taking care of me when I couldn’t take care of myself. Support has poured in from near and far, and I honestly don’t think I could have made it through all this without you. I am so blessed to have all you in my life, and I really don’t know what I possibly could have done to deserve such wonderful friends as you. Whether you are in Chicago, Missouri, Texas, Colorado, or the ends of the earth, I am so glad you are in my life. Your words of encouragement and loving bluntness has kept me going and helped shape me into the woman I am starting to become. For you, I am thankful.

Recipe: Thin Mint Nutrimeal Shake

With Girl Scout Cookie season in full swing, it’s hard to see those sweet little girls in their adorable little vests standing outside your local grocery store and not want to buy the whole lot. I mean just look at this precious girl selling cookies to THE most amazing Blackhawks player:

Um, what was I writing about? Right, Girl Scout cookies. While the serving size for most of the cookies are two each, rarely have I met anyone who can *actually* stick to the serving size.

All of us everywhere, every spring.
All of us everywhere, every spring.

So, I wondered, how could I enjoy the minty goodness that is the crack known as Thin Mints while still maintaining some resemblance of a healthy diet? After tinkering around my kitchen, I came up with a shake that is packed with vitamins and nutrients your body needs while still giving you the sweet treat reminiscent of those Girl Scout goodies. I bring you: The Thin Mint Nutrimeal Shake.

Ingredients:

-3 Scoops Dutch Chocolate Nutrimeal

-12 ounces unsweetened almond milk

-1-2 drops peppermint extract

-1 Oreo, crushed

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serves one.

Nutrition:

Calories: 340

Fat: 12g

Carbs: 45.5g

Protein: 16.5g

That’s it! Now whip that up and enjoy! If you would like to order Nutrimeal, or have questions about other products USANA offers, email me at blweathers.usana@gmail.com or comment below.

Personal Confessions: Worry

Thanks, Pinterest.
Thanks, Pinterest.

Today I decided to check out a health club near my apartment. It is part of the local hospital, and I know they focus more on health rather than fitness. I nervously went up to the front desk and asked for information on membership, bracing myself for the “this offer ends today–yes we have a free week pass we can give you, but why do that when you can sign up for $300 now?” speech. The ladies at the front desk told me to have a seat in the lobby, and someone from the membership department would be up shortly to give me a tour of the facility. The tour guide was also very nice and personable, and took her time showing me all the gym had to offer, emphasizing that in order to be a trainer there you must have gone to a four-year college to specialize in physiology, kenesiology, or physical therapy, and how different this gym was compared to other gyms.

This was a big deal for me. I have tried other gyms in the past, but I never felt like I fit in. They were filled with gym rats, the equipment was intimidating, and the staff unapproachable. For someone like me, who is incredibly shy, has very low confidence in her athletic abilities, and frankly, does not want to go to the gym in the first place, these gyms were always incredibly scary. This gym (sorry, health club) looked like it might actually work for me. I eagerly took the free week pass (no strings attached! I love this gym health club!) and membership information home to see how I could fit it into my budget.

The past few months, my budget has been tighter than usual. At the beginning of March, I took a leap of faith and quit my job. There was a lot of reasons I did so, but the main reason was for my health. If you read my About page, you’d find out that I struggle with depression and anxiety. The beginning of this year was especially hard for me with all that, and my job was one of the biggest triggers for the two illnesses. I had a little bit of money saved up, which was a blessing, and I have been living off that.

As I began to write down my expenses, I quickly saw how fast my monthly allotment was going. Between rent, utilities, various doctors appointments, and everyday things like gas and groceries, I was over my budget in no time. I hadn’t even added the potential gym membership or USANA vitamins I take on a daily basis yet. By the time I was done, I was $300 over budget each month.

My heart sank. Tears filled my eyes as I stared at my excel document. How can this be? I am trying so hard to become healthy, both mentally and physically, and here is yet another obstacle in my way. Every time I feel like I can start to make a positive difference in my life, something else comes up.

A good friend of mine texted me at that moment.

“How are you doing?” she asked me.

“Hanging in there. Things were rough for the past couple weeks but I think it’s getting better. Although I’m trying to budget right now and that’s making me depressed haha,” I replied.

After a moment she texted: “Matthew 6:25-34. Read it girl. Read it right now. Stop budgeting and read it and the restart with budgeting.”

I grabbed my Bible and flipped to the passage. It said:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

I’ve read that passage a thousand times before, but it’s never been more relevant to me than it is today. Everything I am doing is to make myself healthier. And God sees everything I am going through and has provided for me so far. He saw my depression and anxiety getting out of hand and he helped me get the treatment I needed. He saw the unhealthy eating habits I have and set me on the path to a healthy relationship with food.

I forget (or more often times ignore) God working in my life and instead focus on the negatives. And as hard as it is, I need to stop doing that. God has taken care of me so far, why on earth would he stop doing that? I need to stop worrying about everything and put it in God’s hands. Easier said than done, I know.

And maybe I don’t get the membership to the health club. And maybe I only see my nutritionist twice a month instead of every week. And maybe it will take me a while to find a job or get USANA off the ground. But in the end, I have to believe everything will work out to God’s perfect plan.

Product Spotlight: Nutrimeal

nutrimeal

Nutrimeal might be my favorite product USANA offers. It is a nutritional shake, but unlike other shakes out there that are nothing but sugar, these shakes are complete meals, full of vitamins and protein. Each shake has 15 grams of protein, and are high in soluable and insoluable fiber, along with the right balance of carbs and good fats, making them the perfect meal replacement. I personally make one for breakfast at least three times a week. Because of the high protein and low sugar content, they are also a great post-workout snack.

Here’s how Nutrimeal stacks up against other classic breakfast foods:

Now I'm hungry.
Now I’m hungry.

Nutrimeal comes in five flavors: Dutch Chocolate (my favorite), Wild StrawberryFrench Vanilla, Chocolate Whey, and Nutrimeal Free, which is dairy and soy free. All shakes are gluten free.

If you’re anything like me, you wait until the last possible second in the morning to start getting ready (mornings are hard, guys). The problem with that though is that I usually have no time to make breakfast because I’ve run out of time. What’s great about Nutrimeal is that all I have to do is mix the powder with either water or milk (I prefer almond milk, but dairy milk works too), and shake in my handy USANA Blender Bottle (which side note: the process of shaking is a great stress reliever– channel that anger! Get out your frustrations!)

Now I can look like a gym rat without actually going to the gym!
Now I can look like a gym rat without actually going to the gym!

The shakes are great by themselves, or you can use them as a base in your smoothies or milkshakes. I will be posting some of my favorite recipes soon.

If you’re interested in trying Nutrimeal or other USANA products, email me at blweathers.usana@gmail.com or comment below.

***If you purchase a one month supply of Nutrimeal, I will also include a Nutrimeal recipe book!***