Fashion · Lifestyle · Plant Based · Reflection · Vegan

I’m Back…

You guys!!!

 

I had NO idea I had been gone so long. Has it really been almost 9 months since my last blog?? A lot has happened during that amount of time. Time really does fly when you get older, and I don’t think I’m a fan! Recently, God has placed a call on my heart to begin blogging in my business again, so it looks like I’m back to stay 🙂

 

Let me catch you up on a few things…

 

August 2017: We began building our forever home! This has been one of the toughest and most exhausting processes I’ve ever been through, but it has been so worth it. We are very fortunate and very blessed to be building such a beautiful home out in the country on family land. We are almost to the closing date – in fact, we should be able to start moving in within the week!

 

September 2017: We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary in Disney World! We had a phenomenal time in the most magical place on earth – we are such kids at heart!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 2017: November was both happy and sad. I lost my dear Pawpaw at the age of 90, but I know that he is in a better place and I wouldn’t bring him back even if I could! November was also the month that my husband’s family traveled to Starkville for the weekend for my father-in-law’s 60th birthday. We had a great time watching the Alabama vs Mississippi State game – even if i was the only one happy with the outcome! 😉

This is also the month that we decided that a plant-based diet was the best decision for us. We had both been feeling super sore and stiff every morning, and we were also always tired and sluggish. We had heard great things about the benefits from some close friends of ours, so we decided to try it for a few weeks and see if it was something we wanted to stick to long term.

 

December 2017: December was filled with our usual – lots of Hallmark movies, Christmas lights, hot chocolate, cozy fires, gingerbread houses, but this year we also got something even more special…a trip to the mountains with my family! We had such a good time – even if the cabin we stayed in had no running water for two days, ha! I’ll always cherish family time, and we had some of the best that trip for sure!

  

 

January 2018: January was another sad month for our family. This was the month that we lost Jordan’s Pawpaw King. Again, we know that he is in a better place and that he will never hurt again. We are simply selfish and wish they were here with us. We are truly thankful for the many years we got to spend with both of our grandparents, and we are eternally grateful for the values and morals instilled in us by them!

January was also the both that we decided to go strictly plant-based. Up until this point, we had been eating a mostly plant-based diet, but we never truly made the decision that this lifestyle was definitely what we were going to stick with until the beginning of the new year. My husband’s acid reflux is all but gone, and we are both feeling better than we have in months. He has currently lost 12 lbs, and I have just over 5 lbs – an added bonus!

February 2018: February brought about a new extension to my Fashionably Fit business! I decided to partner with a jewelry company, and I could not be more excited about how it is going.

 

March 2018: March was special because we got to meet our newest nephew, Brennan! He is a little doll! Our house was also getting extremely close to getting finished, so we got to do a few fun things like buy new furniture! (even though Jordan wasn’t particular happy about that one!)

 

Now we are in April, and I cannot wait to see what this month will hold! We have already gotten to celebrate Easter (my favorite holiday!), and we should be closing on our new house any day now. My jewelry company is releasing the Spring Catalog next week, and I know that business is about to get crazy! (Seriously, this stuff is SO pretty!!)

My goal for this blog is to continue to bring you articles that pertain to your own Fashionably Fit lives, so I’ll be talking about lots of fashion (including makeup, outfits of the day, and jewelry), as well as workouts and my new way of plant-based eatings (and recipes that go along with it!). This year is going to be the best one yet.

 

So, until next time…

 

Xoxo,

Rachel

Blessing · Faith · Gratitude · Happiness · Thankful

Whatever Happened to Gratitude?

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

 

I’ve come to realize just how rare this quality is these days.

 

Just in the past week, I’ve witnesses more selfishness, hatefulness, and ungratefulness than I have seen in a very long time. In our society, it seems that no good deed goes unpunished. People try to take advantage of you. You try and do something nice for others, and all they seem to do is complain about what you DIDN’T do with no “thank you” for what you DID do. 

Also, now more than ever, our society lives in an “all about me” mentality. It’s all about “what can you do for me?” or “what can I get out of this?” and “how long can I MOOCH off of this?”

 

Whatever happened to gratitude? Being thankful for acts of kindness? When did we enter such a selfish mindset? Or maybe it’s actually a lazy mindset where we think the world owes us a favor?

 

Either way, I still choose gratitude.

I still choose to show appreciation when someone offers me a meal. I still choose to be thankful when someone offers a place to stay. I still choose to show my gratitude by offering help in return for acts of kindness. I still choose to send cards in the mail to offer encouragement to those who are struggling. I still choose to send little gifts to team members to show how much I appreciate their hard work. I still choose to work hard to chase my dreams because I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so, and I know this world doesn’t owe me a dime.

I still choose to be grateful when things don’t go my way because God has a greater plan in mind.

 

Gratitude is not only a virtue, but a mindset. Choosing to be grateful should not be something our grandparents did – it should be something we choose to do each and every day. We do not deserve any of the blessings we have on this earth. We do not deserve any of the gifts given to us. We do not deserve grace. We do not deserve salvation. But I am so grateful for it.

 

That’s how we should be in all things. So, so grateful.

Blessing · Community · Faith · Happiness · Journey · Kingdom · Ministry · potential · Witness

Who are you when you think Jesus isn’t looking?

Today on my lunch break, I decided to make a quick stop into the local CVS for a few necessities (shaving cream and something to battle these terrible summer allergies!). I usually make at least one stop into the store each week because I get great customer service and the employees are always so friendly.

As I was standing in the checkout line, the man behind the counter begins to tell me how he sees me in the store quite often and asks if I work in the area. I tell him yes and we begin to chat about the city, community, church, local activities, etc. We discovered that we had an “acquaintance” in common, and the man goes on to praise this acquaintance as such a wonderful person that he held in high regard. I stood there shocked and almost speechless because my thoughts about the common acquaintance were…let’s just say, definitely less admirable. So what caused the stark difference in opinion? This man went to church with the common acquaintance, and I knew who the person was out in the world – beyond the church doors. I smiled and nodded, thanked the man for his help, and went on my way.

 

I left the store with a mix of emotions. How could our opinions be such complete polar opposites? Do people view ME that differently outside of God’s house? Am I truly the same person – with the same integrity, same values, same morals, same smile, same heartfelt concern for others, same positive attitude – that I am on Sunday? Would people who know me outside of God’s house say the same things about me as the ones that see me in church each week? I sure hope so. And if not, today is a great day to get my attitude in check and be intentional in living out the person that I strive to be EACH and EVERY day. I don’t want to be the person that puts on her “church face” on Sunday.

My prayer today is that each of us live out our Christian lives on a day-to-day basis so that others may see Jesus in us and through us. We are to be a witness to everyone – the sinners and the saints. Sometimes we forget that people are watching us. Who are you when no one is looking? I want to live out my days like God would have me to live them – for Him and for His glory. I want my friends to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know Jesus. I want them to come to me when they need to be lifted up in prayer. I want strangers to know that I am authentically, genuinely concerned for them and their salvation just by my actions. I want my life to be a walking Bible for the world to see. I want to treat people as Jesus would treat them.

 

So who are you? Are you the person people know on Sunday? Who are you when you think Jesus isn’t looking?

Uncategorized

We Never Minded the Mess

Sometimes I get tired.

 

I get tired of trying to work a full time job while also working my own side business, grocery shop, cook nutritious meals, make time for workouts, keep a clean house, get the laundry done, etc.

 

So sometimes it doesn’t get done.

 

I used to think that I had to do it all. I had to keep a spotless house while getting up at 4:00 am to work out while eating nothing but “clean” food. I had to come home in the evenings and spend countless hours “hustling” on a side business to make my family more income so we could have nice things.

But then I realized my priorities were way out of order. I was failing to make time for my family because I had work to do. I was failing to keep God first because I didn’t “have time” to do my daily Bible study. All of my free time was spent listening to business podcasts and getting caught up on countless errands because there just weren’t enough hours a day to get everything done. I was sacrificing sleep: staying up late to finish projects and rising before the sun to try and get ahead of the day. I was always tired, always stressed, and always (no matter how hard I tried) still lacking to accomplish everything that needed to be done.

 

So I stopped.

 

I realized I couldn’t do it all. I couldn’t even come close. I began to look back at my childhood and how my parents did things. Sometimes the house was messy. Sometimes we had pizza for dinner. And sometimes (actually, a lot of times) we slept late on the weekends.

You know why?

Because they had their priorities in order. We always went to church on Sunday, and my Daddy always said grace before we ate. We had family meals together. We played outside and spent QUALITY time together. I knew what football and baseball were by the time I was 5 because my Daddy taught them to me. My mama let us sleep in because she knew we were only going to be little once. She taught me how to do my hair and makeup. She always made everything we did so much fun, no matter what it was. She was the best concert buddy in the car ;-).

Both of them have always been my biggest supporters and believed I could do anything I set my mind to do. And I know they were never able to do it all when my sister and I were growing up – but they did the things that mattered MOST – and we never minded the mess 🙂  

 

We may have had a messy house at times. There may have been dirty dishes. But we made memories – and for that, I will be forever grateful.

 

So…I am going to give myself some grace and stop trying to be super woman. Sometimes my house will a wreck. Sometimes I will be too tired after a long day’s work and opt for a drive-thru pizza instead of a home cooked meal of baked chicken and veggies. But I will make time for what matters most. I will make time for Jesus. I will make time for my husband. I will make time for family. My future children will have memories like I have. And they will know what truly matters most.

Artificial Free · Clean Eating · Fitness · Gluten Free · Goals · Gut Health · Heath · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Nutrition · Uncategorized

Until I Saw It With My Own Eyes…

I am a certified nutrition coach, so OF COURSE I know that dangers of artificial sweetener. I have studied about all of the negative side effects they bring, the downsides to using them, the long-term effects…but I guess deep-down that I never really believed all of the hype.

 

Not until I saw it with my own eyes.

 

Years ago, I was a chronic Splenda user. I used three packs of it in a single cup of coffee. Yes, THREE. Slowly, I weaned myself down to two packs. Then I started mixing Stevia in with the Splenda until I had finally transitioned to using Stevia alone. It has been years since I have bought Splenda or used it in my house.

 

This past weekend, I traveled to Tulsa for a business conference. I had to fly, so I was very limited on what I could bring with me. I remembered to pack a water bottle, meal replacement shake packets, protein bars…but I forgot the stevia. For five days, I had to resort to using Splenda again. No big deal, right?

 

WRONG.

 

Almost instantly, I had severe bloating and just felt “off.” This is no surprise since Splenda reduces the healthy bacteria in your gut by up to 50%. It also increases the amount of pH in your intestines.

I was also hungry all the time. Now, granted everyone that knows me knows that I love to eat (and I can honestly out-eat almost all my friends!), but I was HUNGRY. I was also hungry for unhealthy foods that I wouldn’t normally eat, such as sweets. This is also a side effect of the artificial sweetener. Splenda can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings (hello, cheesecake!), and stimulate fat storage and weight gain.

Lastly, my eyes were swollen and watered the entire time I was there, which was extremely frustrating since I wear contact lenses. I had to resort my pulling out my glasses in the afternoons because I just couldn’t handle the itchy, watery, uncomfortable feeling any longer.  Now that I’m home, it has almost completely stopped.

 

Artificial sweeteners certainly do live up to the bad rap they have been given. If you have no natural sweetener alternatives, I would highly recommend resorting to sugar before ingesting artificial sweeteners. This pertains to diet sodas as well; if you must have a soda, reach for one that isn’t diet (although I strongly suggest giving them up altogether).

I know that there are others out there that have read the articles, learned the facts, and have done the research, but you also have to “see it to believe it” like I did. I hope that my experience with this will open your eyes and show that it just isn’t worth it to cut corners with your health.

Clean Eating · confidence · Fitness · Goals · Gut Health · Heath · Journey · Macronutrients · Metabolism · Nutrition · Self Care · Transformation

Exercise Will Get You Nowhere

Exercise will get you nowhere…without the proper nutrition. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, if you are spending an hour a day in the gym up to five days a week, or you run five miles every single day, you should be able to see at least some change without having to give up the fried food diet…don’t you think?

 

Not so much.

 

Various studies have shown that changing an individual’s training or exercise session without altering their diet plan at all did almost nothing to change their body composition. Also, there was less than a 2% fat loss overall total.

 

Think about how much it costs to hire a personal trainer. Even if you aren’t willing to fork out the money for a trainer, a gym membership can get pricey as well. If you aren’t utilizing the proper nutrition techniques to accompany your exercise routine, basically you are shelling out money AND time for something that will leave you disappointed, angry, frustrated, and mad at your trainer.

 

But it isn’t their fault at all.

Please don’t get me wrong. Exercise is still absolutely critical when it comes to feeling better, looking better, and performing to your best ability. It helps your energy levels so that you feel like going on trips with your spouse or so that you can keep up and play with your children. Exercise IS important.

 

My point is that exercise ALONE will get you nowhere. You need to implement not only a solid exercise routine, but also a sound nutritional program. Research has shown that participants that combined effective nutritional strategies with the same training plans mentioned above had almost a 10-fold increase in effectiveness than training with no nutritional program in place.

 

The results don’t lie. You cannot cheat the system. You cannot make shortcuts. NOTHING is as effective as solid nutrition and proper exercise.

 

One last note: If your trainer is not encouraging you to seek out nutritional advice, that is a problem. It is almost as if they are giving you a brand new car without the keys. You will continue to stay in the same place because you do not have all of the pieces to move forward.

 

Clean Eating · Fiber · Fitness · Macronutrients · Meal Planning · Meal Prepping · Metabolism · Nutrition · Self Care · working professionals

The “F” Word

Yes, FIBER. The dreaded “F” word that none of us are entirely fond of, are we?

 

BUT, fiber is something that many of us know we need, but yet we really have no idea how much (or how little) we are consuming on a daily basis. Eating a high-fiber diet has many health benefits including lowered blood pressure, controlled blood sugar levels, constipation prevention, and improved cholesterol levels. It also plays a huge role in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

 

So what is the daily recommended amount of fiber?

That depends on several factors, but for the most part, it is recommended that men over the age of 19 should strive for 38 grams per day, while women over the same age should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day.

 

So how can you add more fiber to your diet?

Fiber is already in many of the foods we eat, such as fruits, peas, beans, and whole grains. Some of my favorite fibrous foods are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, almonds, brown rice, black beans, and chickpeas! Fiber is a form of carbohydrates, so it can be easily located on a nutrition label under the “Dietary Fiber” section. It is just as important to track fiber as it is to track protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your food log, especially if you are engaging in carb cycling and/or intermittent fasting (as we do in the Rapid Results Fat Burner Program!).

Adding too much fiber too quickly can cause pain and discomfort in the stomach, so if you are used to a diet that is relatively low in fiber, just be sure to increase the amount of fiber in small amounts daily so that your stomach can adjust accordingly.

 

While high-fiber diets help aid in digestion, it is also important to note that our bodies need enough fluid to properly process the fiber. Be sure to drink an adequate amount of water daily (minimum half your body weight in ounces each day) in conjunction with high-fiber foods.

 

What are some of your favorites high-fiber foods? Even better, what recipes do you make that can be incorporated into a high-fiber diet?

Bridal · Faith · Happiness · Journey · Life · Marriage · Self Care · Success · Uncategorized · Wedding

Worth the Wait

I can’t believe it’s been a year. It seriously seems like just yesterday! Almost one year ago, on February 6, 2016, on a hiking trip by a waterfall in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Jordan asked me to be his wife. I honestly don’t remember everything he said that day because I was too busy smiling and nodding and happy-crying.

I had waited a long time for him. I had honestly reached a point in my life that I had given up on finding a husband. I had finally given everything over to God and told Him that I was content and at peace with it, but if He had other plans, then I would gladly follow. Only a few short weeks passed by, and then I met Jordan.

I had been on some terrible dates before I met him. I had also been on dates where everything “should” be right. You know, where the guy has a great job, nice house, goes to church, treats you well…but you just aren’t feeling it. I would get so discouraged when my family or friends would ask how my dates had gone because I never had good news. I felt like something was wrong with me. Eventually, though, I realized (after lots and lots of prayer), that you just can’t force those things. If a relationship doesn’t come from God and God is not in it, OF COURSE it won’t feel right. God is trying to tell you something when a date (or relationship!) doesn’t go as well as you hoped – He isn’t in it, and that man is not the one for you. I truly learned patience through this process. I learned to trust God and I learned to trust HIS timing.

I feel that so many young ladies settle. They settle for the one they “should” be with according to material matters. They never wait and find the one that was MEANT for them. The one that God made especially for them.

If you are still waiting on your meant-to-be, I encourage you to keep waiting. He’s out there. God has a plan for both of your lives, so the decisions you may make trying to force something that isn’t right will affect not only you, but the man God made for you. I’ll share with you the verse that I clung tightly to during my waiting period.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4.

Cling to Jesus during this time. Wrap yourself with His love, stay in His Word, and surround yourself with His people. Your time will come soon enough. Right now, delight yourself in Him, and He will hold true to His promise to you. Your meant-to-be will come and you will KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is from the Lord. I did. And I am so glad I waited.

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Uncategorized

Overcoming the Struggle of Control

15170818_10153941461946587_8593302576359086811_nThe Christmas season is finally upon us! This is my absolute favorite time of year. I love everything about it: the lights, the movies, the decorations, the music, the meaning,  and the joyous time spent with family and friends. Tis the season of holiday parties, Christmas cookies, honey hams, apple pies, sausage balls, homemade fudge and many other tasty treats. Christmas food has always been such a special part of our family holiday traditions.

A few years ago, however, I stayed away from holiday parties as much as possible. I made excuses not to attend, even though I had no other plans. And it wasn’t just at Christmastime. I avoided social gatherings altogether where food was involved. I had lost about 40 pounds and I was terrified of gaining it back. I had developed an unhealthy relationship with food, but it wasn’t that I was over OR under eating. I was simply scared to be put in situations where I did not have control because I was terrified of putting the weight back on. I felt when I could not meal prep or portion out my food, or if I knew that no healthy options would be available,  I simply could not attend. It really ended up making me miserable and feeling like a hermit. I felt like a socially outcast, except I had made MYSELF the outcast. I was letting food control my life.

I know that in this time of year, as well as the upcoming New Year, the focus is mostly on those that are trying to lose the holiday weight, but there is a fine line between wanting to become strong and healthy and letting an unhealthy relationship with food and body image take over and consume you.

 

It is not necessarily easy to overcome the struggle with control, but it can be done!

  1. Focus on the people – not on the food

It took me a long time to realize that when I missed an event due to my food paranoia, I was also missing the relationships with the people invovled. During the holidays especially, we see several friends and family members that we do not have the privilege of seeing throughout the year. The focus of the event should be loving on the people – not avoiding the food in fear of gaining a pound. Enjoy the time spent together (and enjoy a small slice of pie!) because time is precious and life is short!

2. Learn to eat a balanced diet instead of being a calorie counter

When you learn to eat a balanced diet containing the right number of  protein, carbohydrates, and fats, it is relatively easy to allow room for “fun-foods” such as a Christmas cookie or two! This is where the popular method of IIFYM, or If It Fits Your Macros, comes into play. When you track your meals and know the exact number of each macronutrient you are consuming each day, you can tweak your foods on the days you have an event or party to allow for discretionary calories. Of course, it is still important to eat a diet made up of clean, whole foods, but this method allows you to enjoy special occasions without feeling guilty or anxious.

3. Reach out for support and accountability 

There is nothing wrong in asking for help, whether it be in the form of a friend to support you along your journey or by working with a nutrition coach. In fact, it wasn’t until I hired a coach before my September wedding that I truly learned the fundamentals in living a lifestyle that did not revolve around food. Now, food is incorporated into my lifestyle, not vice versa. Working with someone that can help you to develop a plan you can actually stick to that doesn’t involve crazy crash diets or ultra-restrictive methods is  a key part of the process. In fact, it may be the most important one of all. You are not alone!

 

Uncategorized

Healthy Halloween Deliciously Dark Apples

Did you know that when you pair apples with dark chocolate you create a heart-healthy snack that is rich in antioxidants? Here is a tasty twist on the traditional version of candied and caramel apples that is actually heart (and tooth!) friendly!

Materials Needed:
4 apples
Sticks
1 cup dark-chocolate baking discs or chips
Parchment paper

Directions:
Remove the apple stems and insert the sticks into the top of the apples. Melt the dark chocolate baking discs or chips in a double boiler (or just insert metal bowl into a pot of boiling water). When the chocolate has melted, slowly rotate each apple until all sides are covered in chocolate. Place on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper and set in the refrigerator to cool.
*Once cool, serve and enjoy!