Tips To Battle The Winter Blues

Tips To Battle The Winter Blues

Who suffers from the winter blues? Do you feel down, have less energy, sad, moody, depressed, just completely out of it and not yourself? I totally GET it. I am impacted by the change in season BIG time. Being stuck in the house with less sunshine, less light and colder weather can really take a toll on your mind, body and soul.


Here is a little funny for those of you who know all about the snow on your vehicle

It sometimes seems to never end!


Now that is a bit better! =)

We try our BEST to stay positive through the holidays (the hustle and bustle helps a bit to distract us) and then January hits.  Some make New Years Resolutions to eat better, get more sleep, become more active or start that project you may have been putting off.  Come February maybe time has gotten away from you and all those wants and wishes you made in January have now come and gone, yet you still have many days to fight through until you see some sunshine and warmer temperatures.

If you are like me you experience lots of snow, negative temps and random sunshine which only blinds you as you drive from the reflection off the mass amounts of snow.  Even if you do not live in the frozen tundra, the shorter days, less sunlight, cooler temps and less activity can take a big toll on your mind, body and emotions.

Through personal experience (being a depression survivor), trying so many things (tanning, pills, products) and feeling “stuck” in the never ending gloom that winter brings (never leaving the house) I have found some ways to do my best to battle those winter blues.


Dreaming of brighter days while dealing with the snow and cold that winter brings

Just a few things I do that help (hey any little thing matters):

  1. Take daily Vitamin D – I questioned this for a long time until I actually added it into my routine.  Just by taking 1 tablet of Vitamin D3 (1000 IU) each morning I have seen a drastic change in my mood, feelings and depressing thoughts.
  2. Be active - no matter what your current routine is right now you can add some activity in.  I follow a set at home workout plan (5-6 days a week) that helps get my blood pumping, endorphins kicked up and is an immediate mood booster (best natural stress reliever). You do not have to do anything intense, but just some stretching, brisk walking (head to the mall/big place indoors) and other activity really can help so much.  Be sure to listen to your body and not push past any restrictions that you might have.  I find it helps even more the earlier I get it done.
  3. Get out of the house – even if you are just going to check the mail, bundle up and take in any sunshine you can find.  The movement and change in environments can help a ton.
  4. Let the light in – when I am unable to leave the house I make sure that I open any drapes, curtains or blinds to let any bit (no matter how small) of sunshine in.  Sure sometimes I do not want to see the snow piles and leafless trees, but looking at a different view really does help.
  5. Fuel your body – ensuring that you are feeding your body with the proper nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants is so vital to your health.  Mental, emotional and physical well being all starts with nutrition.  The better (clean eating – less processed) food you consume, the less your body will feel deprived, depressed and demotivated.  I personally do my best to eat all organic, non-gmo (chemical free) products and drink Shakeology (my multi-vitamin and more) daily.  With those items I can make sure that even if I am not doing the other tips listed above I am at least feeding my body the best I can.
  6. Find encouragement – whether you dive into a good book, watch an inspiring movie or connect with a motivating friend, be sure you are adding something of value to your life daily.  I highly recommend reading anything personal development related and always keeping the positive friends and family closest to you as much as you can.
  7. Find warmth – we cannot all take vacations or live in the tropics during these cold winter months, but you can do your best to bring it into your home.  Take lots of hot (I love adding epsom salt) baths, drink hot chocolate/apple cider (be sure to check ingredients), hang bright pictures in your home, post up a calendar filled with beaches (I currently have one hanging right in front of me), check out #4 again.
  8. Put your thoughts down – get a journal where you can write in every morning and throughout the day.  It is very important to get your feelings and thoughts out on paper to visualize what is really going on inside of your mind.
  9. Embrace the season – sure some of us do not want to bundle up (hats, gloves, coat, scarf, boots and so on), but making the most of what you have to “deal” with can help. Take up a winter sport: snowboarding, ice skating, skiing, hockey and sledding.  Get out there and make the most of it.  =)
  10. Treat yourself – get a massage, go for a pedi/mani, head to the mall (set a budget) for a new outfit, something fun!

Everyone has their own routine and the key is to finding what works best for you.  Doing something IS always better than nothing.  Share with us —> what things do YOU do to get out of that FUNK?

Stay warm, be blessed and keep smiling….Jen :)

21 Day Fix Extreme – Day 2 Review

Boy did I wake up HUNGRY this morning!  Not sure why —> maybe from leg day yesterday?!  I did great at getting in ALL of my containers and has some delicious food.  I love to eat so anytime I get to have a wide variety of things and fuel my body properly I am a happy camper.



I saw Upper Fix Extreme on the workout schedule and immediately started to get those negative thoughts in my head.  I am not good at pushups, this is going to hurt my neck, I won’t be able to keep up with them, etc.  Then I remembered yesterday!!  I did Plyo (normally a super hard workout for me) and ROCKED it!!  I started Day 1 out with a bang so why was I going to let Day 2 let me done before I even started!

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Smiling after Upper Fix Extreme – really paid attention to my form on this one!

See full review of Day 2 Workout here:

Since I loved all the food I consumed today – here are 5 out of the 7 meals I enjoyed:


My new favorite PRE workout snack – almond butter and banana – LOVE!

Breakdown: 1 purple, 1 tsp


Egg and spinach scramble (page 39 in Fix Extreme eating guide) with an orange – after workout meal!

Breakdown: 1 red, 1 purple, 1/2 green


Greenberry Shakeology (my favorite flavor) with frozen strawberries and 10 ounces of water

Breakdown: 1 red, 1 purple


Found this gem at Trader Joe’s – 2 thumbs up!

Breakdown: 1 yellow, 1/2 green

chil sal

Turkey Chili (page 50 in Extreme eating plan guide) and salad with red wine vinegar for dressing

Turkey Chili recipe here:

Breakdown: 1/2 green, 1 red, 1 yellow (chili) 2 greens, free (salad and dressing)

I should mention also that I am gluten free (see my story here: and it is NOT hard to follow this eating style as it encourages whole, fresh foods.  When you are gluten free the key is to eating your best and saving the GF “processed” items for treats here and there.

Overall a GREAT day eating and an amazing feeling of accomplishment workout wise! :)

Upper Body Fix Extreme

Woke up this morning feeling GOOD – just a tad sore in my hips, butt and thighs, but I know that comes with leg day.  Any upper body workout that I have ever done really brings muscle exhaustion.  I had an idea this would be the same!

upper fix rev

Autumn really works your chest, back, shoulders and arms with a wide variety of moves.  You will do drop sets (heavier and lighter weights), pushups, tri work and most likely your arms will be complete jello at the end.  Each move is 1 minute long with most alternating between heavy weights for 30 seconds and then lighter weights for the rest of the time.  Just when you think you cannot push one more rep out – she switches to the lighter weight option. Of course you control how much you will use, but you can stick with the light weights for the entire 1 minute rounds if you prefer.  Listening to your body is key.

fix upper

The resistance bands are used for some moves in this upper body workout.

Please do not discount these —> they are tougher than they seem.

My immediate thought after finishing this workout was – how am I supposed to record my daily video AND more importantly how the heck am I supposed to track my containers for the day.  My arms were shot!!

See more of my thoughts here – heads up the video may be shaky (read reason above):

Plyo Fix Extreme

If you follow me you know that anytime I add weights into my workout routine my pain comes back. With the regular 21 Day Fix workouts some of the moves bothered me and some I was okay with. When a new program comes out I have a mindset that I must at least give it a try. I want to know what it is about so I can share with others to help them on their own journey.  If I never try —> I will never know!

And I am SO glad that I did NOT say NO and gave the Extreme workouts a try!


Day 1 Plyo Fix EXTREME – smiling, hair a mess and feeling proud!  I did it!

I have done many plyo workouts in the past and the first thing I think of is —> LEGS!  Your legs will be on fire and like jello after you are done.  I have had to modify many past Plyo workouts, but on Day 1 am happy to say that I only modified  TWO moves – one being the crazy bonus workout she throws in at you at the end before cool down.  I was able to go at my own pace, watching my form, keeping my spine in line and really did great with the moves.  I was super focused on doing my best and not letting my excuses or restrictions limit my ability before I even tried.

Plyo is an explosive lower-body workout that uses jumping and resistance to torch calories and sculpt muscles.  It definitely lives up to its name!

Video on my Day 1 – Plyo Fix EXTREME thoughts:

Day 1 – 21 Day Fix EXTREME – How Did It Go?!?!

day 1 21 day fix review

Last night I took some time to browse through the eating plan book again to get all my ducks in a row. I did not have to tweak much as I did not have many “treats” on the regular 21 Day Fix nutrition plan to begin with.  Just here and there when I wanted them.  The two things that are not on the NEW Extreme plan that I ate often is deli meat (turkey or ham) and bacon.  Bacon was an immediate sad face, but I quickly got over it.

21 day fix trackers

My bracket stayed the same, but my husbands went up BIG time – hello LAST bracket, so I had to get my handy dandy tracking sheets out again to be sure he was consuming enough.  We eat pretty much eat the same thing so I will have to put my best effort into doubling portions and hiding things in foods where I can.  Some days I know he will not be consuming that much, but we will work on it together.


I love that there are more recipes in this program so we get to try new things.  Love taking a recipe and making my own tweaks that are still within the plan.


PB and Strawberry Oatmeal (page 35) using almond butter and frozen strawberries with GF oats

Recipe here:

After you watch my video below you will know I was more nervous about the workouts than the actual change in nutrition. With suffering from chronic pain, having Fibromyalgia and experiencing neck and back restrictions, adding weights into my routine always scare me.


My hair says it all – I survived Plyo Fix EXTREME and actually kind of enjoyed it!!

See review of my workout here:

Overall the day went pretty well!  Again I do not eat much differently than this regularly so it was more of a “check the book” quickly to be sure I can still have this or that.  I never felt hungry, deprived or cranky.  I was actually pretty focused and motivated – even said “no thank you” to ice cream, french fries and cookies.  We were out and about doing family things so there were definitely temptations all around.

For more details check out my Day 1 Thoughts in this video:


21 Day Fix Countdown To Competition Plan

Looking for MORE?  There IS a next step!!

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Things are about to get serious with Autumn Calabrese’s Countdown To Competition Plan.  This is the same plan that she follows when she has a big competition or photo shoot coming up and she is sharing it with the world!

This plan is meat to lean you our, slim you down and maximize your results.  The nutrition plan is key to get this done!

countdown to competition plan

The Countdown To Competition plan is based on “carb depletion,” which is designed to help you burn through those last stores of body fat while continuing to fuel your workouts and keep you healthy.  It is not meant to do indefinitely, but it is effective when done occasionally in short increments.

Please know this plan is not for everyone.  It IS a serious challenge.  As mentioned above it is meant to be temporary and for a specific event – short timeline.  It is NOT recommended for more than the set 21 days.

21 Day Fix Countdown Comp Plan

Autumn is a professional who trains this way.  If it is too extreme for you, you do have other options.

  1. For the first 2 weeks, use the regular 21 Day Fix EXTREME Eating Plan, then for the final week use the Countdown To Competition plan.
  2. Reverse the days in the Countdown To Competition calendar.  Eat one Countdown To Competition day and two 21 Day Fix Extreme Eating Plan days.  This may feel easier and give you a gauge of how extreme you want to be.

If you do decide to try this plan out, please know you can stop at anytime.  If you are feeling lethargic, have headaches, not feeling right or experience other discomfort, then switch back to the regular 21 Day Fix EXTREME eating plan.

If you DO complete this plan, Autumn recommends following the EXTREME eating plan for a week or two, gradually introducing carbs back into your diet.

Wishing you the BEST of luck if you decide to STEP it UP!  Listening to your body is key – please do not push past the limits!

Jen :)


21 Day Fix EXTREME Meal Prep and Planning

For those stepping their game up with the NEW 21 Day Fix EXTREME you may notice that some of your 21 Day Fix staples that were “okay” are no longer there.  First thing I noticed was —-> NO bacon!!  I was sad for a few minutes, but quickly got over it.  Heck it is only 3 weeks and I have given up harder things than that before.


Me smiling even after learning about the NO bacon thing! :)

extreme 12

As each new week starts my mind is always racing on what the upcoming days hold.  What appointments do we have, who is going where and what in the world are we going to eat.  I found out quickly that the more complicated I made things, the more I stressed.  Instead of getting super fancy with my meals in the kitchen I do my best to simplify things, break everything down and work with what I have.

Here is hoping I can do the same thing for YOU!  :)


Some of my tips on meal prep and planning (no matter what nutrition program you are following):

  • Get inspired.  Pinterest is a great resource for recipes and doubles as a place to store your collection.
  • Keep it simple.  Too many fancy recipes can be hard to keep track of and gets costly.  Pick one meal per day to be more elaborate and then keep the rest of it easy-peasy. (I usually save more lavish recipes for dinner).
  • Don’t forget to plan your snacks!  Having snacks already prepared and portioned out will ensure you stay on track, especially when you’re on the go.
  • Make a list.  Look at the recipes you have decided to use and make a shopping list of the ingredients.
  • Create a schedule. Plan your grocery trips our meal prepping time.  Put it on your schedule as if it were any other important appointment.
  • Prep food as soon as you get home from the store.  Wash produce, chop veggies, brown meats, and assemble salads.  You will thank your past-self for this later, trust me.
  • Prep meal components.  Instead of cooking full meals, prep foods that can be used in several different meals.
  • Plan for leftovers. Make a little extra during dinner and take it for lunch the next day.
  • Cook extra.  If prepping all of your food at once doesn’t work for you, than cook extra of the things you will need later in the week.  For example, when cooking your chicken breast for dinner, cook a few extra to eat later in the week.
  • Start freezing.  Make double batches of crock pot meals, sauces, soups, etc. and reward yourself for your preparedness in a month.
  • Keep a list of what’s in your fridge.  A visual reminder will help prevent meals and items from being forgotten and spoiled.
  • Stock up on good storage.  Invest in quality storage containers.  Glass containers are best, especially for reheating.  Save the cheap, disposable plastics for items you don’t need to heat in the microwave.
  • Do whatever works best for you.  Just make sure to have some sort of plan set.  Planning and then implementing that plan (prepping) is NECESSARY.  The people who fall off track with the eating plan are those who try to wing it. STAY PREPARED!

I hope some of the above tips help you out a bit.  Like I said —> make it work for you.  If it seems like a chore then you will be less likely to do it.  For extra encouragement on the meal prep and planning topic check out this short video by me:

As I venture through the EXTREME side I will be sharing some of our recipes and meals along the way.  Be sure to check back for NEW ideas and as always SHARE your favorites as well.

Happy planning!

Jen :)


Insanity Max: 30 Results

I did it!!  I freaking did it!  I completed one of the hardest at home fitness programs and am PROUD!!

Okay I may be a little excited, but if you know anything about me you know that I NEVER thought I would be able to do a super intense program again much less anything with the name INSANITY in it.  Lets take it back a bit!

This was my BEFORE post that involved me being super scared, nervous and not sure what the heck I had gotten myself into.  This picture was my Day 1 from the original Insanity back in 2011.  I really thought I would NEVER touch another INSANE program.

insanity before max 30

Since the first time I tried the original Insanity program I have gone through a big transformation and health change.  I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, suffer from chronic pain and deal with consistent neck and back pain.  There was no way I thought I could do this workout, but the modification option intrigued me.  I knew I was modifying other workouts so I figured why not give this one a try to.  I was kind of sick of saying no to everything because of my restrictions.  I cannot do everything BUT I can do something.  So glad I gave this something a try!

day 1 max 30

Here I am day 1 – WHOA is all I will say!

I will say this —> the NEW Insanity stuck with its name for a reason.  It is INSANE, but doable.  I had someone share with me that modifying is NOT a disease.  Some people look down on those that do not go full force, but there is nothing wrong with taking things down a notch. You can still get an amazing workout with modifications and by listening to your body.  There is no reason to PUSH so hard that you injure yourself or make your pain worse.

I did exactly that —> Listened to my body every single second AND gave it my all!

I never finished the original Insanity because I thought it was TOO hard —> IT IS!  What I know now over 3 years later is you CAN do anything you put your mind to.  The key is working with what you have and not discounting yourself before you try.  I am SO glad I tried because I came out of these 2 months not just physically stronger, but MENTALLY.  This program pushes you so much to break the barriers and give your all.

My Day 1 Video (I was nervous as heck)

You can follow my daily video updates from the entire program right over on my youtube channel from the video above.  I shared my thoughts almost every single day.

last day max 30

Last Day – Look at my SMILE!

Here is my LAST day video where I am being on TOP of the WORLD!!!  I tear up every time I watch this!

** And for the final results after 2 months of this program **

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I personally do not see much of a difference in these, but the #’s tell a different story. I lost 9.4 lbs (you know my feelings on the scale, but this is the most really ever since my first round of T25) and 4.5 inches. I feel super fit and way stronger. Just really feeling lean so I know the pics won’t change much. Most importantly I am mentally and emotionally stronger. Nothing can stop me now!

To find out more about this program head over to

Don’t let anything STOP you from what you WANT in LIFE!  Decide TODAY that you will give your ALL!

My Reason For Going Gluten Free

I get questions often on the reason WHY I decided to remove gluten out of my diet.  I had been thinking about it for a while (a little over a year), but it was not until THIS (see below) happened that I made a final decision.

gluten free belly

Picture taken 1/8/14

About 4 weeks prior to the above pictures I decided to cut gluten out of my diet. I didn’t eat a ton of it and I eat very well BUT I wanted to do a little research. Any gluten I was consuming was from an organic product most of the time. I had read that it can cause inflammation, skin issues, bloating, discomfort and so much more.

I really wanted to try internal/natural ways to clear my skin, reduce my pain (I have Fibromyalgia) and to just overall feel better. Since so many have an intolerance to gluten I figured why not be a little more strict and remove it completely.

I did pretty well with it while on vacation (was away for 2 weeks during the holidays) and the first few days we were home. The food ran low in our house and I was super busy and honestly had no motivation to cook or prepare a meal. I reached for the last Ezekiel cinnamon raisin English muffin as a last minute snack the day before this picture was taken. I had not had one in about 45 days or so. No real issues, bloating or discomfort that night so I figured hmmmm…I am good to go.

When I woke up the next morning (the day this pic was taken) I knew something wasn’t right. My ankles and feet were swollen like I had consumed a ton of sodium and my pain was much increased. I spent most of the day just not feeling well. At about 2pm I noticed my stomach was bloated, but kind of brushed it off. Did my workout after that and had to stop a few minutes early. I just didn’t feel right.

Fast forward to dinner time and I had planned to use up the last of the food in our house so pizza and salad it was. I knew the pizza although organic and non-gmo was not gluten-free, but I figured well I already feel like crap and we are having bad weather and frigid temps so there was no way I was leaving to get something else.  Had 2 small slices of pizza and a salad. Wasn’t hungry or feeling well, but knew my body needed food/nutrients. That was a super bad idea!

When I shared this picture January 8, 2015 on my health page ( my legs were numb, my lips were tingling and my hands were hard to lift and felt like they were 100 pounds each. I deal with these type of symptoms already sometimes because of my chronic pain and Fibromyalgia, but this just felt SO different and just not right.

I looked about 4 or 5 months pregnant. My usual abs were really completely gone.  I knew something was off.  I immediately asked myself – could this all be a reaction from consuming gluten 2 days in a row? Is it that drastic?

I ended up reaching out for help (see here: and after doing a lot of thinking and chatting with a bunch of people I decided WHY NOT TRY!?!

So here I am!  Officially gluten free (I also cut out all dairy except for eggs).

gluten free me

I would love to connect with you and find out what brought YOU here!  If you are looking for extra support, information, recipes and more come join our GLUTEN FREE GANG (  It is a private FREE group where we can all come together on this journey, to find what works for us with the main goal of feeling better overall.  Cannot wait to learn more about YOU!

Jen :)

21 Day Fix EXTREME Workouts

You will get seven EXTREME 30 minute workouts – 1 for each day of the week – so your mind never gets bored and your body never adapts. The workouts feature a unique blend steady-state aerobics, resistance training and explosive power moves that target every muscle in the body – to help you get shredded fast.


7 WORKOUTS (2 Dvd’s)

Plyo Fix Extreme – An explosive lower-body workout that uses jumping and resistance to torch calories and sculpt muscles.

Upper Fix Extreme – By alternating opposing muscle groups, this no-rest upper-body workout will shred the chest, back, shoulders, and arms.

Pilates Fix Extreme – Using a resistance band for every exercise, this intense mat workout works the entire body, placing emphasis on the core.

Lower Fix Extreme – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves will get stronger, leaner, and more defined with 30 minutes of challenging resistance work.

Cardio Fix Extreme – Combining weighted cardio moves with traditional metabolic training intervals keeps the heart rate soaring.

Dirty 30 Extreme – Using only seven compound moves focusing on multiple body parts at a time, this workout will burn extra calories while defining muscles. Get down and dirty, and get it done.

Yoga Fix Extreme – A fast-paced flow yoga class, combining strength, balance, flexibility, and power.

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Power Strength Extreme - Based on functional movement patterns, these nine total-body exercises will change the way the body moves, increasing strength, endurance, and power.

ABC Extreme – A 30-minute workout that targets common problem areas by pushing abs, butt, and cardio to the extreme. It’ll get that competition body ready for the stage.

BONUS WORKOUT (19.95 plus s & h value – FREE when ordering EXTREME program through me or your Team Beachbody Coach)

The Fix Challenge – Keep things interesting and burn off calories with this quick resistance workout!