February Focus…Show Yourself Some Love

Happy February, Friends! It’s a new month, one which places a pretty heavy emphasis on LOVE! It can be so easy to love others far more than we love ourselves.

Well, I’m ready for a new focus; how about you? I chose to work on something I haven’t always been very good at…self-love! Or, in other words, self-care.

In the years leading up to my weight loss, I didn’t often put much thought or effort into my own preventative health or wellbeing, and a direct result was misery.

Fast forward to today…I am so stinking happy these days! Know why? I feel fantastic because I take great care of my body. It feels incredible to be healthy! How’s that for transformation?

Friends, let’s spend February examining what our bodies need. What check-ups or exams are you due (or overdue) for? Let’s take the next 28 days to get things scheduled and happening! Of course, while we’re at it, if you are responsible for loved ones, get them up-to-date too!

Have you gotten your flu shot yet this year? Yes, it’s late in the season, but if you have not done this yet, what are you waiting for? The flu is a SCARY BEAST this year and getting vaccinated not only protects you, but many others as well!

I’ll admit, I’ve been the biggest procrastinator when it comes to my vision appointments, but I came to a simple no-brainer this year when my eyes gave me some issues…eyes are a gift! And just like anything else, without proper care, I could lose that gift…in, well, the blink of an eye! I got myself there this week so I can mark that off my list too!

I don’t have a fun picture to share regarding teeth, but when’s the last time you’ve seen your dentist? Teeth are another one of those gifts, and I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to chew my food for the rest of my life! That’s why I get in for a visit every six months. That, and my biannual visits with my dental hygienist are some of the best therapy sessions of the year! See you in July, Wendy!

And let’s not forget annual physicals. Are you proactive about yearly exams? Or are you one that waits until you have symptoms to be seen? And if you are regularly seen, do you actually follow your doctor’s advice? To fully benefit from these exams, arrive with a list of questions/concerns. Be honest and open with your physician…tell him/her what’s going on. Don’t be embarrassed, be frank about anything you are dealing with.

In the past, I put off routine mammograms and that came back to bite me far worse than that machine ever could. Procrastination can lead down a scary path I’m not willing to hike again, believe me! Ladies, I can’t say this enough…if you are 40 or older and don’t already, get that mammogram appointment on your calendars!

If money is a factor holding you back from preventative care, look into community resources that are in place to help. Many areas have free or a sliding fee scale to help make health care affordable. So get in there for these important appointments…no excuses. YOU are WORTH IT!!!

These above are merely some basic, mindful ways to embrace health. Dive deeper if you find relief through therapy, health coaching, massage, acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic treatment, etc. And NEVER underestimate the benefits of proper nutrition and physical activity!

Yesterday, I took time to do something I’ve found paramount in the past for optimal performance. I visited Joan, my phycial therapist for a current foot/shoe assessment. Many places will do this consult FREE, just call and ask! A properly fitting/performing shoe can make a world of difference! How’s that for taking a step in the right direction?!?

Let’s spend some time this month thinking about what preventative ways we can care for ourselves. Make those appointments, Friends. Show yourselves the LOVE! It’s one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!


10 Ways to Win Your Week

Friends, I spent some time looking at the week before me…it’s a busy one. But I’m looking ahead for very good reason; I’m setting an intention, right now (as always), to be mindful of my time in order to win my week. Because when I do, I feel like this…

See, if I don’t gaze forward in awareness of upcoming events and possible triggers, the week will likely have its way with me, leaving unwanted consequences in its trail. By taking a peek at my upcoming week and making a plan of attack, I’ve already decided to win my week. Here are 10 ways I plan to do just that…

1. Set yourself up for success in the kitchen. If that means running to the store today, do it! Ensure that you have plentiful healthy food options that are ready for those on-the-go times throughout the week when you’d ordinarily make less than stellar choices. Keep some snacks handy throughout your day so you don’t even have to think…just refuel. If you want to take it a step further, purge all the junk that’s lurking in your cupboards!

2. Schedule your workouts. Look at your planner and place your workouts within. You will be far more likely to follow through if you’ve already made a plan of action. I promise!

3.  Invite company to the fun. If you’ve decided to try a new class, take a break or lunchtime walk, attempt a new hike or adventure, or are just doing the same-old same-old take a friend along. It will feel less like a chore and more like a party with a family member, co-worker or bestie. Better yet, this person may turn out to be the best darn accountability buddy you’ve ever had.

4. Hydrate! Even though it’s winter and you may feel like you need it less…drink that water! Shoot for the recommended 64 ounces per day.

5. Make sleep a priority. Sometimes we have to get protective of our time to accomplish this, but you are worth it! Sleep goes way beyond just feeling rested…there are all kinds of important benefits/restoration a good night’s sleep provides your body. And did you know, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18-64 years of age get 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Work on it!

6. Do what you love! Carve out a bit of time each day doing something you love. Whether that’s reading, crafting, gardening, playing a game, catching the latest episode of your inspiring podcast or simply meditating…do it!

7. Plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s setting a goal, registering for an event or planning a datenight, getaway or trip, put something on the calendar and make it happen. Without something to work toward, train for or eagerly await, we can feel stuck simply going through life’s daily motions.

8. Defend your time. Are you one of those people that says yes to all those extra commitments, only to find yourself feeling bogged down, trapped and overwhelmed? The magic word here is NO! Use it, mean it and don’t forget saying no to other people means saying yes to your wellbeing.

9. Don’t forget self care! This is also known as me-time. It is not selfish to do something kind for yourself, it’s necessary. Take time for a calming massage, soothing bath, facial, pedicure or nap. Take care of you! I challenge you to take it a step further and put ME-DAY on your calendar for an entire day each month and treat yo self. You will be amazed at how this enhances the rest of your month!

10. Look at the bright side. It’s there, within every situation, so look for and find the bright side in everything rather than dwelling on the negative. It might be tough at first, but you will find that silver lining if you take the opportunity to look. This is a most meaningful step toward a lifetime rich in gratitude.

This may seem like a lot to juggle, but the good news is it’s not rocket science. Start small in embracing these 10 practices; soon they will become second nature. Friends, have a great week and reach for the WIN!

52 Fridays…Get The Weight Off Your Shoulders

Happy Friday, Friends! It’s that time once again…

Grab your journal, pen, calming beverage, (maybe fuzzy socks?!?) and ease into that comfy chair.

Today I’m exploring all that stuff I still carry around. That baggage that weighs us down. Do you know what it is for you? It makes not only climbing, but mere moving a difficult chore. Is this any way to go through life?

Put a name to each of these weights. Take a deep breath in as you read one at a time. And with each exhale, one by one, LET. THEM. GO!

It may be far easier said than done; I know, I’d been carrying the weight of the world on my tired shoulders for years, but the sooner we release that heaviness, the quicker we can begin a pretty phenomenal ascent up toward a lighter, happier life.

Spend some time with this today, tomorrow, this weekend. Find those things you can breathe into, to see if you can let something go.

Our 52 Fridays quote really says it all…

Let’s all find a way to just climb.

52 Fridays…Time Flies!

Happy Friday, Friends! It’s that time of week again already. If you haven’t joined us yet for 52 Fridays, today is the perfect time to begin!

Grab your journal, a favorite pen, a calming beverage…find a few quiet moments and ease into a comfy place.

I have such a hard time believing we are three Fridays into 2018 already…how is that possible? Where in the world is the pause button? The concept of time is something I struggle with again and again, so I thought I’d look deeper today.

I cracked open my planner and the proof was right there…in the day-to-day busyness. I am continually reminded if I don’t make a conscious effort to schedule time for ME, it doesn’t happen. I’m digging into this with my journal today…

So there’s our quote for the week.

Let this idea soak in, turn it over in your mind. Close your eyes and breathe. What does it mean for you? How will you let this idea shape the rest of today? Or the weekend? The rest of this month? How will you navigate the remainder of 2018?

Remember, you’re in the pilot’s seat!

Carla’s Favorite Things…Gonesh

I know, I know, it’s getting down to the wire for holiday shopping, Friends! I wanted to share with you some products that showed up in my mailbox a short while ago in case they might be that perfect something you are looking for!

I would’ve told you about these sooner, but as with any products I show-and-tell, I take the opportunity to get to know them well first. I recently began using some Gonesh products thanks to their company generously providing me with a couple of essential oils, a multitude of incense, and an incense holder. I LOVE using incense and essential oils as part of my mindfulness/meditation/wellness practice, so imagine my excitement level when I opened the box to find these…

I didn’t know which one to begin with because I was intrigued by ALL of it! I was instantly struck with how large the packages were, the actual sticks are much longer than standard ones I’ve used in the past and there were 20 to a pack unlike most brands with 10. I was also impressed reading how Genieco’s incense has the highest charcoal content of any brand currently on the market to deliver the purest, cleanest burn and clear fragrances.

I had a busy day of crafting for my etsy shop ahead. The hustle and bustle of the season were keeping me very occupied. I needed my workspace to remain positive so I decided to venture into the Inner Source line of incense first. This line of sticks was created to help turn negative energy into postive synergy…who doesn’t need that? I lit up a PEACE stick, quickly blew out the flame and placed it into the beautiful Hamsa hand holder they provided. I LOVE that holder, as it reminds me I’m always protected.

The scent of the stick instantly transformed my room into a peaceful sanctuary for my crafting and packaging. The stick lasted a really long time as it slowly burned down. The entirety of the ash was neatly collected by the hand, and when the stick went out, the beautiful scent remained for hours! I knew right then, this collection is going to last me a very long time…I’m so excited!

I’ve continued to work my way through the various scents of the Inner Source collection. Each scent has its own rich and vibrant personality and seems to deliver the mood each promises…Beauty, Harmony, Love, Sharing, Spirit and Peace. I love them all! And I especially appreciate that a portion of the Inner Source purchase proceeds will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. LOVE!

Gonesh also sent me several packs of their Extra Rich collection of aromatherapy incense including yummy Lavendar, Sandlewood, Jasmine and Nag Champa. They are all fabulous too, but I have to say the Nag Champa has a hold on me like no other; what a beautiful way to unwind and clear a space!

As if that weren’t a wonderful enough experience, I still had some essential oils to enjoy. I purposely requested the Patchouli and Frankincense since I’d been eyeing them recently at stores. I placed a drop of Patchouli on my wrist pressure point and rubbed it in with my other wrist and enjoyed the lingering fragrance for the whole day. I don’t have many oils that stick with me that long, but I’m so glad this one does!

As I began preparing my living room for the holidays, I placed a few drops of both oils in my diffuser and enjoyed the Patchouli/Frankincense treat all afternoon. What a soothing, sensory-pleasing way to work! One thing that really surprised me with Gonesh’s Via Nature essential oils is the generous size of the products. Most of my oils are a tiny .17 to .33 of an ounce. These oils are a huge full ounce each and the price is about the same (or even less in some cases) as the smaller bottles of other brands! That got me excited about where I will be purchasing replacements in the future!

Friends, my encounter with Gonesh products was a beautiful experience. I highly recommend them both for your own personal use and for your gift-giving needs. It’s not too late to get these in time for Christmas, but they are also available for any occasion. If you’ve been considering adding incense or essential oils to your meditation/mindfulness/wellness practice, stop by the Gonesh website for a great look around


Another Month, Another Challenge

Happy October, Friends! I’m not sure how it’s here already, but September is clearly gone. I spent last month returning to the basics to realign my focus, but I had some pretty heavy stuff to deal with following a family member’s health issues. Its time consuming nature really tempted to hijack my success. Although I’d love to tell you I made great strides of progress, I was lucky to escape September holding on by my fingernails. The good news is I didn’t backslide.

Many of you ask me how I stay focused, how I continue to pick myself up when I need to and start over. Friends, I look forward to the beginning of each new month because it gives me opportunity to look back, readjust and move full speed ahead. I also know I can turn the page every week if I need to…heck, each and every DAY is a fresh new chance to begin again!

So let’s hit RESTART together! Today is a whole new month! I’m still facing some obstacles that keep me from working as hard as I would like, but I won’t let that discourage me. Why? Because I’m grateful for what I can do. When I take time to examine what I’m still capable of, it inspires me to get out and JUST DO IT!

I’m always keeping my eyes open for new motivation, so when my husband’s employee wellness program announced their October and beyond challenge, I jumped aboard. I LOVE their pic and the name…Walktober!

I plan to spend the next 42 days enjoying the fall foilage as I walk to accumulate points. I downloaded the Walktober app and will use my Fitbit to track my steps. I’m excited because my husband is on board too.

And better yet? Here’s where you come in…I’m inviting any of you that live within a reasonable distance to message me on the FIT BFFs Facebook page to schedule a date you’d like to meet up and join me for a stroll through the crispy crunchy leaves…a walk on the trails, a hike in the park…whatever works, because the only thing more fun than working toward my goals? Not having to go it alone!!!

I’m serious, Friends! NOTHING would make me happier than having you reader friends as walking buddies each and every day of this challenge. My schedule is pretty flexible and you can pick the speed and distance, within reason haha!

So PLEASE hit me up to let me know when we can walk or hike…one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Seriously…let’s do this!


Fine Tuning my Hospital Strategy

Friends, I drive past Mayo Clinic’s St. Marys Hospital Campus frequently. I was born here, had a fractured arm reset in second grade, visited the ER more times than I would’ve liked including my auto accident trauma drama. I honestly admit that each time I drive past, I thank the man upstairs every day I’m not there. I also send some positive thoughts upward for those that are.

I feel the heaviness of others when I pass by because I recall gut-wrenching days spent there with pretty heartbreaking outcomes for loved ones.

Unfortunately, yesterday found me there around the clock as my mother-in-law underwent a very delicate surgery. A day like that reminds me how fortunate we are to have world class medical care right here in our own backyard.

Before my weight loss journey, I would treat this day as the enemy…sedentary for hours in the waiting room, emotional binge eating to no end and panic stricken with worry and anxiety. Thinking back to my dad’s lung surgery simply haunts me. Thankfully I’ve learned to approach this kind of day with a more mindful strategy…take for example how I handled my husband’s surgery a couple years ago in case you missed it…

Despite the outcome, that turned out to be a pretty successful day. Recalling that experience, I was able to face yesterday’s uncertainty by putting my needs first, to take great care of myself so I could be stronger for others. Here’s what that looked like…

Once we got my MIL checked in and off to surgery and enjoyed a cup of coffee with her sister, I did something postive to feel helpful in this setting.

Someone will be receiving a pint of high-octane enthusiasm!

Next, I hydrated and fueled on something smarter than a blood donor center cookie…what better snack than an RX bar at a hospital haha?!? After a quick recovery I wandered upstairs…

The chapel was a beautiful place to release my concerns, leaving them to the guy in charge. Feeling peace filled, I returned to the waiting room for an update from my husband and his aunt. I spent some time blogging a great recipe, then it was off to lunch. I advocated for a place across the street, an escape from those four walls where I chose a nourishing lunch to be proud of…salmon salad for the win!

We were already starting to feel some exhausting effects of being up at 4 am, but our day was far from over. Heading back to the waiting room to find surgery was still underway.

I find it so interesting that if the Mayo Clinic calls sitting the next smoking, why in the world are there no treadmills in waiting rooms? Think of the power they could generate to make Mayo greener too?!? I mean, just a thought, Friends.

It was time for me to move more, so I racked up some steps exploring this fine historic piece of Rochester like a tourist.

The courtyard was a great place to breathe deep!

Then back inside for an educational look at St. Marys beginning, like this first operating table designed and constructed by Dr. Charles H. Mayo in 1889! There are some pretty cool relics in that heritage hall.

Back upstairs to the waiting room where it is now well into the afternoon…still in surgery. I take some time to catch up on e-mails, school notifications, scheduling, snack. This place is still filled with nervous people and energy and it isn’t long before I’m back out wandering the halls to avoid them.

A stop in the gift shop for an essential oil boost gave me some energetic support I was hoping for. I continued out onto the grounds to this amazing little place.

What a thoughtful spot for some peaceful meditation. I sort of lost myself there, lost all track of time. I received a text that although surgery was still in progress, we were being moved up to the ICU floor, so I headed that way. And just like that, I was validated for my efforts…

Hit my 10,000 step daily goal…BOOM!

More family joined us and soon I was feasting on a well-balanced, calorie counted hospital cafeteria dinner that was AWESOME. It was time to settle in for some relaxation and zone out on the NFL Kickoff.

We didn’t get word from the surgeon until nearly 9 pm that the day’s efforts had been a success…nearly 12 hours I might have spent worrying, I left the impatiens to the flowers outside lol!

We knew she was in the hands of one of the world’s finest neurosurgeons…so thank goodness I’ve learned that worry changes nothing but my blood pressure and weight!

After some reflection and time spent within those walls, I am fired up, now more than ever, about wellness as a defense against aging/illness. It was an exhausting day for all of us, but I slept well knowing I had taken great care of me…put my Best Foot Forward!

I look forward to driving past that hospital again soon, filled with gratitude for what miracles they work there but thankful every day that I don’t need one!


My September Goal…Back to Basics!

Happy September, fellow FIT BFFs! Parents across the country are breathing a sigh of relief. They’ve survived another action-packed summer and it’s time for the kids to go back to school! It’s time for students to be reunited with friends and return to a predictable schedule.

This becomes the perfect time for parents to return to themselves, so to speak. Back-to-school season is a great time for parents to get motivated, to refocus on their own personal goals…that’s what I’m doing.

Although I’ve lost a significant amount of weight within the past 5 years, I’ve experienced the slow and silent creep of partial regain. Hey, it happens, but I refuse to beat myself up over it. Instead, I’m reminding myself (and anyone else who’s interested) just what it’s going to take. This is what I’m calling my…

Brightly Colored Childrens Toy Magnetic Alphabet Letters on White Background

A is for Attitude, make sure it’s the positive kind.

is for Breathe…take time to quiet your mind and soul.

is for Calories, yeah, they count. Read those labels and stick to a serving size. One.

is for Determination. Some days will be easy but others you’ll need to dig deep. You’ve got this!

is for Every Day…a fresh new opportunity to be successful, so go for it!

is for Food! Remember it’s fuel and your stomach is not a garbage can!

is for Goals. Set them. Reach them. Set more!!!

is for Hard! Heck yeah, it’s hard! If it weren’t, everyone would do it!

is for Inspiration…look for it in others, never stop seeking it out. Soon you’ll be inspiring others too.

is for Journaling. Write down everything you eat…EVERY. SINGLE. THING!!!

K is for Keep Going! Start over as many times as it takes…just keep going!

L is for Lifestyle Changes…lots of little modifications make big differences. Huge.

M is for Mindful Eating. Eat at the table. Don’t rush or distract yourself with TV, computer or phone.

is for Never Give Up. Ever!

is for One Day at a Time. Results take time; be patient! Yesterday is over and tomorrow isn’t here yet, so focus on today.

is for Promise…promise yourself that you will see this through. All the way!

is for Quit, don’t you dare! And, for Pete’s sake, quit saying ” I can’t.”

is for Reward Yourself. You’re working so hard and you deserve it; buy that new pair of (running) shoes!

S is for Sleep! Get it. Lots of it. You need it….enough said.

is for Try New Things. Try it all…new activities, classes, ideas, foods and recipes.

is for Unstoppable. Convince yourself that you are, and you ARE!

V is for Vegetables. Eat them, all kinds of them; they are a weight loss friend!

is for Water…drink it often. Lots of it!

is for eXercise. Often. Do the active things you enjoy frequently.

is for You Are Not Alone. Many are on similar journeys. Find them and support one other.

Z is for Zero Regret….what you will have when you give it all you’ve got!!!

Although this may seem a vague goal, I’ll be reminding myself of these ABCs daily to move forward in the month of September, mind, body and spirit. I’d love to hear from you…what’s your plan this month?

The Close of a Very Good Chapter

While raising two teenage boys, I often wondered what it would be like to have some girl time. Several years ago I’d seen a booth at a community event promoting a local mentorship program and knew it was speaking directly to my heart. The idea simply refused to leave me alone, so a year ago I acted on it.

Meeting up for a couple hours a week, we’ve had an unforgettable year. Running and bicycling are major components of this program and I love both, but Kiara was less of a fan; so the goal we set was to sample as many experiences as we could squeeze into that year, like Zumba on the Plaza…

Some orienteering and hiking…


And more hiking…


We worked on some tennis skills…


Headed to the pool…

Did some impressive cardio and strength training…


We did manage to hop on a bike a few times on open trails and studio cycling class.


We even climbed the walls!


We took some cooking classes and tried new foods like parfaits and pancakes and hummus, oh my!

We just kept showing up for one another, laughing all the way!


Playing hard was our job and we rocked it!


We met some great people like former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer.

And hometown legend Darrell Thompson…we’ll forgive him for playing for the Green Bay Packers haha, because he’s the outstanding president of Bolder Options!

Motivational speaker, Inky Johnson inspired us to keep moving forward no matter what!

And that was valuable advice because throughout the disappointment and unpredictability associated with an injury and a halt to my beloved running, Kiara was the constant that kept me focused and determined. We just got creative and kept going…like to the library!

And her first yoga class, namaste!

One of my favorites was taking her on her first snowshoe trek. Yeah, she really blazed the trail!


This mentorship never felt like work because we played our way through the year!


What a treat to throw animals into the mix!


We did sneak in some volunteer “work” but that was fun too!


And went right back to play, although sometimes it was one heck of a workout. So proud of Kiara for squatting, lunging and drumming her way through BarreAmped and Pound Fusion. I don’t think we ever sweated more!


Where did time go? This week after countless adventures together, we graduated from Bolder Options stronger and more confident than ever. But I don’t think this is the end for us…it’s merely the close of a very good chapter.

Have You Met TED?

I was getting a few things done around the house yesterday, not really feeling in the zone, when all of a sudden, sheer awesomeness came straight at me! This is not at all out of the ordinary as, thankfully, it happens quite often. I LOVE that!

I got my hands on tickets to last night’s TEDxZumbroRiver in my hometown of Rochester, MN. I knew my attitude was about to make a u-turn. I know this because I know TED!

Have you met TED? Trust me, you would know if you did! TED is not a guy, it’s an amazing idea…rather an enormous collection of ideas worth spreading. TED started back in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design were united. TED is a contagious nonprofit spreading thoughts and ideas all over the world.

I became acquainted with TED talks on a Delta flight, where I found I couldn’t get enough! I watched each talk available on the plane’s entertainment system. These short, yet powerful talks inspired me to think and dream right there on that plane! Hungry for more at the end of the flight, I got on TED’s website and was simply blown away by its abundance…over 2400 talks in more than 100 languages, just waiting to inspire its captivated viewers. I was hooked!

I’ve often thought about how cool it would be to attend a live TED event; and just like that, I found myself at TEDxZumbroRiver!

TEDx events are independently organized community experiences offered all over the world. Last evening’s TEDx program consisted of some fascinating speakers from Southeastern Minnesota and beyond, each sharing insightful messages aimed toward the theme of what’s possible.

Mind blown.

Friends, next time you’re not really feeling in the zone, take the opportunity to explore TED talks. You may lose all track of time, but the inspiration available will be worth every minute you spend there. Fellow FIT BFFs, check out a plethora of health and wellness topics sure to motivate.

Simply stated, you’ll be glad you met TED!