The Importance of Rest

Confession #1: I haven’t worked out in 6 days.

Now for the irregular exerciser, that might not seem like ANYTHING. But for the person who works their way up to 6-7 days a week like I had, it seems like an eternity. Between being sick, traveling, lack of sleep, and a busy work schedule, any spare time I had this past week, I felt compelled to simply go to sleep.

Confession #2: I’m not worried about it. I’m not beating myself up or frustrated that I might lose some “tone” or gain a pound; I’ve had to learn not to idolize my abilities, my productivity, or even the fun that I have while working out. I trust myself enough to know that I will pick it right back up at the end of the week with even more energy and better athletic performance because of my little break.

I do find peace and “rest” in my normal daily workouts because for me, it’s all dedicated to my Creator. However, there are times when your body just needs to REALLY physically REST. This is GOOD, and JUST as important as exercising, as long as it is in right proportion and we are not being slothful. Life will always be busy, so we have to weigh when to push through our excuses, and when to listen to our bodies cry for rest.

My high school mentor used to tell me when faced with a problem, “sometimes the holiest thing you can do is take a nap.”  I used to laugh because originally I thought it was a justification for a nice mid-day sleep. The older I get, the more I realize the deep deep truth in resting in the Lord, not worrying, and knowing He will take care of you, no matter what craziness is going on in your life or what obligations you have pulling you around.

How often do we treat EVEN Sunday as just another day to get things done and wear ourselves out? I was reminded again this past Sunday about keeping the Sabbath day Holy, just as God rested at the end of the creation story. The congregation was encouraged not to do any projects for work or home, but just to be present with family, and enjoy the day we’ve been given to unwind in God’s goodness. So Sunday I napped for nearly two hours!! I admitted I wasn’t a super hero for one day. I know napping isn’t always possible for everyone, but other ways I “rest” include: journaling, reading, snuggling, singing in the car really loud, having a deep conversation with my spouse, praying in silence, not posting on social media or the blog, or just going to bed a little earlier.

God created rest to provide restoration for our souls. Don’t feel guilty when you feel a calling in your heart to step away from the world for a short time and just breathe and trust. There will always be something to get done, but the world won’t end if you don’t do it right away. (unless you’re the President or something, in which case, bad career choice haha)

Sleep is vital for our mood, our metabolism, our immune system, our cardiovascular health, our brain health, our sanity, and so much more! In my opinion, it is one of the most overlooked aspects of healthy living, and the one aspect that takes the most discipline for people because it involves giving up instead of checking off.

We are over worked. Over stimulated. Over burdened. Cast it all on Him because He cares for you.

Go to sleep trusting that when we are asleep, our great God is awake.

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Currently inspiring me today…

This workout shirt I found by ActiveFaith and this tank top from Cross Training Couture. SO cute! If you need workout inspiration, just put these on!

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The kindness of the person who bought me a drink today!

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Guac and Roll from Protein Bar. All about the tofu and avocado. Very filling!

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Nude nail polish that dries SO fast. I’m notorious for messing up my polish so I never paint, but not this kind! and it lasts forever!
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and a new hair cut with fresh layers! a little change from my usual bun/pony tail because it’s just going to get sweaty later anyway…

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Happy Friday Soul Strongers! Do good this weekend: mind, body, and soul. Grace and peace to you.

 “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ….”

Out of Control

Do you guys remember this commercial from the Super Bowl?! Take a look.

“It’s a special occasion.”

“It’s on sale.”

“It’s a social thing.”

“But it tastes so good.”

I SO identified with this commerical when it came on! (I’m not preaching Weight Watchers, but if it works for you, hey! that’s awesome!) The music in the video always creeps me out too! haha

This video is the world in which we live, and the struggles we face everyday with the temptations all around us: online, with friends, in the store, on TV, and even walking down the street.

There are choices everywhere we look.

There are many many instances I can look back on with a vivid memory of gorging on food when I felt at war with myself to stop. To those people who can have “just one”, I applaud you! But for the majority of Americans, it’s not so easy.

Some of this is because we grew up in a “clear your plate” generation and don’t know how to distinguish between situational/emotional eating, and actual hunger. That part is not about food at all.

THEN, there is the food industry that has added chemicals to the food to make it addicting and market it well, so we are fighting a very physical battle in that regard, which is partly not our fault.

I ADMIT: I am a recovering emotional eater. So when I saw this graphic, I knew I needed to share it as a reminder to myself and to you!

I am a strong believer that knowledge can be a huge factor in change because you’re more aware of what needs to change! Just being aware of the signs of emotional eating helps me identify it when it’s happening and stop and PRAY for the courage to say NO. I am not saying “no” to the food. I am saying “no” to the feelings that tell me I am not satisfied and that eating will make me feel better. More often than not, it makes us feel worst.

How many times have you been out to brunch with girlfriends, downed the endless buffett, and afterwards hear the joking words, “I hate myself!” ? Is the TASTE worth the HATE?

Are we eating because we need to? Or to fill some void within us? Check out these signs below to recognize physical vs. emotional hunger:

Physical Hunger vs. Emotional

Don’t get me wrong, my personal philosophy allows for treating yourself every now and again! It’s your birthday–have some cake! You just got a promotion–have a big fancy dinner! It is normal not to be restrictive and to let loose occasionally without beating yourself up. It’s just important to know WHY, and that it is not a habit or downward spiral.

Be mindful. Be prayerful. Be balanced. And be a good steward of the body you’ve been given.

#SneakPeekSaturday: Creating a System

This is a little vision into my morning routine during the week from 6:15am-8:30am aka my recipe for cooking up success on a day to day basis. Daily success is defined as making sure I sweat, making sure my family is healthily fed, spending time with the Lord, and learning something new to develop my side fitness business.

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This saves me time and helps my morning become more efficient, even if the rest of my day doesn’t go as planned.  It’s called BRAINLESS organization! This way it all gets done, but I don’t have to think about anything except what I’m doing IN THAT MOMENT.

Last year this 1. didn’t exist and 2. might have consisted of “Get dressed and run out the door”. I had to figure out how to structure my day differently to FEEL happier and healthier, especially when I sit at work 8 hours a day! I hated that I was rushing around all the time! (disclaimer: I still have those days occasionally haha!)

Ask yourself: “How can I use my time to give myself MORE time to LIVE more? 

Getting these things done in the morning, not only sets the tone for the rest of my day, but also opens my evening time to be involved in church, to personal train, and to be present for my husband. A system allows me to give the best of myself to others and frees up my mind to be thinking and praying for where God is leading me.

One of the biggest barriers to healthy living is TIME. Life is unpredictable, but having a rhythm and organizing your time helps produce a more predictable result. I’m not aiming for perfection, but just the best I can offer to God, and then leave the rest up to Him.

So this is my morning “system”. It’s just whatever works for each person! Some people aren’t morning people, & choose to make the most of their day at night… or if they have fulfilling jobs, they don’t feel lacking! What other parts of your life do you have a system for?

Ephesians 5:15-17

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.



Things that make me feel good today:

1. Finallyyyy getting around to showing my feet attention & painting these bad boys! My feet can finally be ready to stop wearing boots!

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2. Giving a little love to my hair tonight… Haven’t had it cut in 6 months it’s always amazing to have someone else wash my thick hair! 💇

3. Getting up early this morning to make a delicious tofu veggie fried rice for lunch today! Rainy days call for a pick me up celebration during lunch 

4. Knowing I’ve worked hard this week to be consistent in my workouts. Fudged on my nutrition, but treated myself before my next challenge starts next week! I love being a little sore as a reminder of what my body accomplished!

5. Getting a “Thank You” email from a Personal Training client. It’s my WHY. Warms my heart and I never take it for granted.

What about you??  What’s making you feel good today?!

What to do, When What You’re Doing Isn’t Working

This past week several friends have come to me asking, “WHY?!?! I’m eating less, working out more and still not losing any weight.” While this “eat less, move more” philosophy definitely can help with overall health or beginning weight loss, it may not be that simple for everyone. Each body is different! There can be a number of things to keep in mind when you feel like no changes are happening.

What to do? Remember:

  • Stick it out! Don’t lose heart! Changes take TIME. Make a decision to be committed and be relentless toward your goals. It WILL happen, just keep at it. Your body fluctuates several pounds on a daily basis just because of water intake, sodium bloat, constipation, and inflammation, that it’s impossible to get a good measurement if you’re weighing yourself too frequently.
  • Realize the other victories that are happening in your body. The scale may not always reflect it, but the time you spend exercising or being more disciplined with your nutrition is appreciated by your organs and muscles. You may be gaining muscle, more energy, better sleep, or more confidence. No steps taken toward improving your health are wasted.
  • You may not be accurately counting your calories (if you’re paying attention to them at all). Be honest, are you really eating as clean as possible? Are you still treating yourself to extra treats in your coffee? Are you eating after 8pm and not giving your body a chance to digest?? Maybe you’re over doing it even on healthy foods? You don’t need an entire avocado just because it’s a healthy fat for you or several protein shakes a day with tons of peanut butter in it. Some things our brain says we can have plenty of because it’s “healthy” is actually very caloric, and better served in smaller portions.
  • You may need to switch up your workout to high intensity, sprints, interval training, or circuit training with weights. Your body gets used to the same old 30 minute cardio session, adapts and becomes more efficient at using the fuel. You need muscle confusion to challenge yourself enough that your body will react to it and change. Lifting weights increases your metabolism and gives you more effective, long term weight loss. Cardio alone isn’t enough. Try switching it up with a fitness class, a home DVD workout, one of my challenge groups, or find a personal trainer!
  • Check in on your stress levels. Take a look at your lifestyle habits and see if you’re getting enough sleep or paying enough attention to your emotional/spiritual needs. Chronic stress releases a hormone called Cortisol that increases fat storage and the rate at which you store fat. It can also increase your appetite and raise your blood sugar. Excess exercise then may be contributing to the stress in your body, not helping. You may need to take it easy for a time if you’re over exercising, until your body is able to get enough rest and recover. Drink plenty of water to make sure you’re not dehydrating your body either!
  • Your body may already be below it’s set point. We are naturally designed to hold on to our fat, as our ancestors didn’t know the next meal they’d get. Take time to learn if you realistically are at a healthy weight and it is unsafe to lose any more. I know society can push push push on this topic, so just be sure you actually NEED to lose weight. If not, find a new goal: maybe exercise consistency, a measurable endurance or strength goal, or something fun and active to focus on. You may be able to measure your progress by goals, or how your clothes fit, rather than the number going up and down on the scale.


Sneak Peek Saturday: 5 Things on My Bedside Table

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You can learn a lot about someone by what they keep on their bedside table! Here are some things that make Ro Ro go-go each day!

My Phone! I’m not afraid to “de-plug” by any means, and I definitely try to wind down without it an hour before passing out. However, it still has a place closest to my bed because I use it to activate my silent alarm on my FitBit, to log my food for the day, and to do a BIG brain dump of my “to do” list for the next day. If I have a hard time falling asleep, it’s usually because there is something I need to “dump” so I can stop thinking about it until the next day. That’s where my phone comes in handy! Write it down and SLEEP in peace.

That brings us to sleep! my favorite. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m typically very protective of my sleep. You could say I’m some what of a sleep snob and it’s not because I don’t WANT to stay up and spend time with you; it’s because I want to be fresh and energized to accomplish everything I need to the next day with a good mood! (Not to mention all the health benefits of sleep…) So I have a sleep mask. This thing is amazing. Whether my husband has the light on or there is a little street light that comes in our windows, I have no excuse not to get to sleep when I need to!

Water Bottle. Self explanatory. I’m constantly hydrating and take this thing everywhere. Camel Backs have a life-time guarantee and will ship you a free one if anything on it breaks! Not only do I keep it by me in case I get thirsty before falling asleep, but also like to have it to drink right when I first wake up.

Something that’s not ON my table, but IN it, are my workout clothes. It just so happened this way because we ran out of storage space in our one bedroom, and the drawers are the perfect size for my shirts, sports bras, and cropped pants. So other than my water bottle when I wake up, I can immediately change into my gear and move into the living room for T-25 or yoga, or to our apartment gym.

My Bible + Journal + Current Read travels between my bedside and our dining table. After exercise, my goal is to start my day reading, noting certain prayers and thoughts, but sometimes if the morning ends up being hectic, I’ll settle for reading before bed. In the middle of a busy life, work, family, home, it can be hard to find time just to THINK and prepare yourself that day for whatever God has for you. This time is getting more and more precious to me!

Unintentional Bonus item: The candle is there as a permanent decorative item, but I occasionally light it (and several more!) on a lazy Saturday evening to totally decompress. It’s a piece from our wedding reception, and fits perfectly with our “serenity beachy” themed bedroom! Creating a peaceful, happy, and healthy space is really important to the Ferreras’ well-being.

What does your bedside table say about you?

Eating Healthy is Expensive & Exhausting

At times, YES it can be—but it doesn’t have to be! I’m not an expert by any means, but I hope some of these tips might steer you in the right direction or make you think of ideas that can work for you. Between my 9-6pm job, personal training, Soul Strong, church activities, friend time, marriage and home life, the last thing I want to do is spend all night in the kitchen.

At the end of the day, I’d rather pay the money up front for a healthy body, than pay the money down the road for the meds and doctor visits. My health is a priority, and therefore, an investment. Not gonna lie, it’s definitely where a huge chunk of our monthly budget comes from, but we try not to break the bank, especially when living a super busy lifestyle and craving convenience. This list is work in progress 🙂

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Save going out to eat for very special occasions. Once or twice a month? Maybe people hate that I do this, but even when I schedule lunch dates, I often ask if we can bring out lunches and meet to eat together in the park, or at a Starbucks. I’d rather make that $$$ go further for our family to eat well on a daily basis.

Eat Frozen: not the TV dinners, but veggies, no sugar added organic berries, or pre-made bulk meals from the weekend. Fresh is typically more expensive, especially if it’s not in season. To save time, use a steamer. This thing has made cooking vegetables so easy. Plus, it keeps more nutrients in the vegetables than boiling, AND takes about 8 minutes. Leave them in there, come back, and it’s ready to dish.

Buy heavy on the sales! When the chicken goes on sale, we easily stock up on 6-8 packs and freeze them, knowing we will consume them at some point in the next month. When the wheat pasta goes on sale, our entire cabinet is filled with it so we don’t need to buy it for many months.

Be realistic. We don’t buy organic chicken at this point, but settled for the natural chicken with no antibiotics or preservatives. It’s awesome if you can do everything organic, but the reality is, it can double your grocery bill. Be picky and decide what you will and won’t give on. We go organic on the Dirty Dozen vegetables and all our fish is Wild Caught, but other than that, we just do the best we can. Our nutrition isn’t perfect, but it works for where we are in this phase of life. Do some research on what’s most important to you to splurge on.

Buy some things canned. You don’t want to live off of a canned diet obviously because of the preservatives, but soup on sale or wild salmon is a wonderful thing to stock up with in the Winter. Another way we save money to eat the foods our bodies really need, is doing soup for a meal once every couple of weeks. This is the lazy man’s go-to. So maybe we don’t feel super stuffed afterwards, but we don’t mind denying ourselves occasionally to eat really well for all other meals.

Plan Ahead. Each Sunday I try to create a meal game plan for the week to make sure we don’t waste any food or let anything go bad. I look at the calendar. If I know we won’t have time the next night to make dinner, I make double the night before. On Sunday, I often take an hour to pre-make big quantities of items I can keep in the fridge, and throw together to heat up during the week in less than 5 minutes. We almost always have extra baked chicken and quinoa in containers in the fridge!

Get the rewards card! The Giant where we shop (we go to Trader Joes for a few cheaper fresh items occasionally), offers gas points for grocery items. I can’t even tell you how much money we have saved on gas!! sometimes knocking 30 cents off each gallon. If you spend a little more on healthy foods, you may be able save in other areas. Take advantage of these deals! I haven’t found time to get into coupon-ing in the “city life”, but maybe that’s something that you could try! SO many websites dedicated to the secrets of coupon-ing.

Cut out the juices–they’re super high in sugar without the fiber– and cut out Milk. The only drinks we buy are almond milk or coconut milk to put in shakes, whichever of those happens to be on sale. Other than that, water is our life-blood. Humans have no nutritional requirement for milk and most Americans have a hard time digesting it anyway. Opt for things like white beans, kale, almonds, or tofu to get your calcium.

Eat the same thing. Variety can be costly. We try to branch out with something “new” biweekly if possible or on a Friday date night at home. But we mostly rotate dinner between the same kinds of foods and just use different seasonings each time. Studies show people that are successful with healthy diets stick to what they know (and they know how much it costs!) Making different recipes is cool…ain’t no body got time for that everyday…

Ie. We choose one from each category:

*Meat: Chicken, 99% Lean Ground Turkey, Fish. (occasional red meat) *Vegetables: Broccoli, Tomatoes, Spinach, Green Beans, Cucumbers, Cauliflower, Spaghetti Squash (super cheap!) *Complex Carb: Quinoa, Brown Rice, Wheat pasta, Sweet Potato (these are EASILY heated quickly in the microwave). We often get fats from cooking with olive oil or coconut oil.

We have Shakeology for breakfast every morning. Protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, adaptogens, probiotics, pre-biotics, over 70 all natural superfoods in a meal-replacement shake… if we spend the money to get all of those things separately we would easily spend an extra $400 a month. We no longer buy bagels, bars, yogurts and cereal for breakfast, we just stick to our $3.30 (coach rate) dense nutritional breakfast to start our day off right, even if we end up not having the perfect lunch/dinner.  The convenience, extra energy, and digestion improvement is really worth it for us!!

Go Vegetarian one day a week. Consuming 2 boiled eggs and quinoa for your protein is a lot cheaper than a 8oz piece of quality meat. It might take getting used to for those meat-lovers out there (myself included!), but I promise it’s just as nourishing! I usually boil one dozen eggs for lunch snacks and quick salads additions, and keep another dozen fresh on hand for cooking purposes. Beans are another cheap option!

Check the Unit Price. See which is cheaper: buying a bigger box, or buying multiple smaller ones. We tend to buy bigger quantities for things like almonds, brown rice, and chia seeds, that take forever to go bad. Some people love buying fresh groceries every week, but it saves us a lot of time to try to make our food go further.

Research/Trial and Error.  There are several grocery chains near us. Over time, we’ve started to look at our reciepts and compare prices. We have to weigh getting gas points or saving on non-name brand items at Giant with saving money on fresh cheaper vegetables or specialty organic items at Trader Joes. I try not to go to BOTH each shopping trip because time is money, but as we run out of things I see which store caters to what we need most and has the best sale at the time.

I hope this helps!! I would love feedback from YOU as to how you save money and eat healthy.



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How to Survive the Weekend

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I think it’s safe to say that many people have a love/hate relationship with the weekend. There’s something fun and alluring about the “freedom” that comes with those days “off”. But then Monday comes around and many people who are trying to be healthier feel like they completely fallen off the wagon and are on another downward spiral. 

 Weekend calories are around 300 calories higher than what we typically eat on Monday through Thursday. Not surprising! I know I’ve been there!

 Here are some suggestions to stay focused and not undo all the hard work you’re putting in!

  1. Workout first thing in the morning on Saturday, and go harder than you usually do. For many people, this is uninterrupted time to get in an extra long workout that you may not be able to swing during the weekday. You’ll feel better for getting it out of the way.
  2. Limit your “brunching” aka binge eating to ONE day. Either Saturday or Sunday– not both. When you eat with friends you eat 50% MORE calories than you do alone. YIKES!! Try to mostly eat like it’s a weekday so when you do splurge a little, you won’t go off track too much.
  3. Plan activities that don’t involve eating out at a restaurant. Schedule to meet a friend at the mall to walk around, a park for a run, or even a concert; the goal is that the MAIN activity is not surrounding food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.
  4. Limit your drinks 🙂 This is where people start to hate me. At least try to alternate every drink with a glass or TWO of water and then chuck an entire water bottle before the night ends. The last thing you want to do is wake up dehydrated, lethargic, and miss your window to workout. Hydrate! (alcohol messes with your sleep too!)
  5. If you are out to dinner, immediately look on the menu for a lean meat: grilled chicken or steamed fish, then swap the side for your veggie of choice! Even if your meat is prepared with a lot of extra stuff, at least you’re filling up with plenty of veggies instead of fries or bread.
  6. Use Sunday to be productive and MEAL PLAN for the week. Doing your meal prep Sunday will remind you of the healthy life you desire and will take some of the work out of staying healthy during the week. Cook a big batch of brown rice, chicken, different veggies to mix and match for lunches.
  7. Focus on the people. The Conversation. The experience. Less eating, more talking! Be interested in the people you’re with than the food being served. (unless of course the conversation gets super awkward and all there is to do is stuff your face… haha)
  8. Check in with your Challenge Group, support system, or accountability partner and plan for a weigh-in Monday. Knowing you’ll have to touch in with someone about how active you were over the weekend might encourage you to keep your eyes on the prize!
  9. Have fun but don’t skimp on the sleep!! Get to bed early on Sunday to start your week fresh and be ready to conquer. You’re more likely to over eat or give in to temptation when you’re tired. Aim to stay within your sleep routine by an hour or so.
  10. Wear your workout clothes around the house and out for errands. Maybe it’s just me, but wearing my sneakers out grocery shopping makes me feel like power-walking around and jogging from the car into the store. When I get back home, I’m already ready to head straight to the gym and have fewer excuses!

Hopefully, over time, prioritizing your health will become a lifestyle, not a switch that turns off and on with the name of the day! But hey, you deserve a treat every now and then 🙂 

 Have a wonderful weekend! Keep pressing forward!