Monday, February 28, 2011

You are Significant

I hope everyone had a great weekend and found ways to encourage themselves and others... and that everyone's Monday is off to a great start!

I know the words, "great," and, "Monday," don't often go in the same sentence... but yes, even Monday can be a great day!

Chad tells me every time I let stress get to me that all I need to do is change my mindset. It sounds simple-- and it honestly doesn't seem like a mindset can change anything-- but the truth is, it changes everything! If you are down, focus on the positives. If you are down, turn your struggles over to God and trust him to get you through the storm.

"The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you."

I am sure all of us have heard that saying at one point or another-- but how many of us have actually taken the time to think about and then believe it? It does not say that life will be easy or that we will always understand what God's will is-- but it does say that we will never be where the grace of God will not protect us. We probably have a hard time understanding that because not many of us truly understand, "Grace." It goes against human nature and goes against our naturally selfish will. Grace says that you will love, forgive and protect IN SPITE of the circumstances... human nature says that you will do things for others based on what they do for you. Changing your mindset to one based on God's will and God's grace instead of the standards of the world will make even the most impossible tasks more manageable-- because you are acknowledging that you cannot do everything by yourself and that you do need help. You have to be strong to ask for help-- even though the world tells us that asking for help makes us weak.

Nutrition Challenge:
For those of you have started your daily nutrition log-- congratulations! You have something to look back on and see where you need to make changes. Up until this point, we have been adding things to our diet... today, I am going to ask you to give something up. You do not have to give it up, "cold turkey," or even completely eliminate it at all-- but pick something that you know is holding you back from being a healthier you-- and cut it out! If you drink multiple sodas or coffees a day, try to only have one. If you eat a candy bar everyday, try to only eat one a couple of days this week. Small changes make all the difference! Continue to drink more water and to add in your healthy item before meals-- track your progress in your nutrition log-- as the changes happen, your sense of satisfaction will grow!

Fitness Challenge:
We have started out very slowly... and I hope everyone is feeling better now that they have some activity in their life! I hope you remembered to check out gyms or parks in your area-- because that will make todays challenge a lot easier!
Did you know that 1-minute of all out, as hard as you can go, cardio work will boost your metabolism? And that if you repeat the 1-minute of all out, as hard as you can go, cardio 6 to 8 times you can boost your metabolism for 24 hours?
So-- the challenge today-- go the the gym or park that you found... or a track in your area... and do some interval training! Meaning, warm up at a walk or comfortable jog (depending on your fitness level) and then go as hard as you can for 1 minute. After that, cool down at a walk or comfortable jog for 2 minutes... and then repeat. This is called interval training and it is the most effective way for your body to burn fat! As your fitness level increases, the cool down time should reduce in time.

Out of Your Comfort Zone:
If you are like me-- or at least like I have been for most of my life-- you probably sleep until the very last minute and then press the, "Snooze Button," as many times as you can in the morning. Tomorrow, we are changing that! I challenge you to set your alarm for 10 minutes early AND actually get up. This will set the pace for your day-- During the 10 minutes, think about your day and what you want to accomplish. Turn to your Bible or another motivational book for inspiration to start your day. Enjoy breakfast or a morning coffee-- whatever you need to do to start your day off positively.
I know, everyone likes to sleep in... but, this will help! For the past month, I have been giving myself time in the morning (and I am NOT a morning person, at all) and it really does make all the difference in the world. I have been reading, "The Purpose Driven Life," and, "Hero." Both are amazing books-- and both turn you to Bible verses to get your day started with inspiration and positive thinking.

Change Your Thinking:
YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE. You matter. What you put out into the world IS noticed and DOES have an impact on others. Nobody's life is insignificant.

I had a long conversation with my Daddy this morning and it really brought that point home. He told me that he was proud of me and that he was glad his, "Da-Da's Doll," was back. (Da-Da's Doll is what I would tell people my name was when I was a very young girl... and it is still what my Daddy calls me).
My parents worry about me-- they know my personality and they can tell when I am stressed or sad or not myself-- even when I tell them everything is okay.
My Daddy told me today that he could tell that I was happy-- and that his driven, hard working daughter that he never had to worry about was back. Even though I always tell him things are okay, he could tell that I had gotten off track and had tried to handle too many things by myself instead of turning to God and to prayer... and now that I am more focused on being a positive example and living how I know I should, he can tell that difference, too.

My parents live 4 and a half hours from me and can tell that much about my life during phone calls and text messages-- Imagine the IMPACT YOU have on those you are around daily.

Whatever your job, goals, or any other current position in life is/are... please know that YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE to those around you.

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." (Anne Frank)

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Friday, February 25, 2011

You are Uniquely You!

Today's Nutrition and Fitness Challenges are going to set us up for future success! Please continue instilling the habits of the last 2 days into your daily routines... Small steps make huge changes overtime!

"Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything is different." (Bill Watterson, American Author)

Nutrition Challenge:
As with the other challenges so far, this is to be ongoing. No, you do not have to do it everyday for the rest of your life, but I would recommend at the very minimum to keep it going for a month. But, as we continue to make small changes, I feel you will want to continue it for much longer than that.
Get a notebook, a word document, a scrap sheet of paper-- anything you want to write on-- and start a log of everything you consume today. Make sure you put the time, the item consumed and the amount consumed. Be honest with yourself-- it is for your eyes and will greatly help you put a visual on things that we can change in the future. It is NOT to make you feel bad about what you eat-- simply to let you see, written out, what some areas of improvement might be.
If you would like, and if you have questions about your personal nutrition journal (or anything else), please always feel free to email me at:
Whatever method is best for you, please start a nutrition log. You can use notebooks, computer software, smart phone apps or anything else... as long as you have a visual!

Fitness Challenge:
Walk and stretch again today... Increase your walking time and/or distance.
In addition to that, I want you to look up gyms in your area... if you have no interest in going to a gym, that's fine... look up parks and walking trails. It is going to be important to be able to do a variety of activities... and a lot of times, having a change of scenery will help! After we get into a routine of basic physical activity, we will start to switch things up!
As with the nutrition heading, if you have any questions specific to you, please feel free to email me at:

Out of Your Comfort Zone:
Okay, I LOVE music... all kinds of music. And I am the old-fashioned one who prefers the radio over the iPod in the car (iPods are great at the gym, but I enjoy the variety on the radio-- and if a station plays a song too much, you can always switch to another station). In my preset of radio stations you will find: 1 Christian Station, 2 Country Stations, 1 Classic Station (mainly because they play MJ all the time), 1 Rap/Hip-Hop Station and 1 Top 40 Station. As you can see, I enjoy a huge variety of music!
For the past few weeks, with the exception of a brief MJ jam session (Man in the Mirror), I have kept my radio tuned into the Christian station at all times. At first, there were only a few songs that I knew the lyrics to; but now, they are the songs that play in my head all day. The reason I am calling this, "Out of Your Comfort Zone," is because it is always challenging to do something unfamiliar-- even if it is simply changing the radio station.
It is AMAZING how much a day can improve when you have uplifting words circulating in your head... No disrespect to any musician or genre of music-- but inspiring lyrics really do improve your day!
So, today, the challenge is to find an inspiring station and listen to it every time you are in your car. If you are in the Charlotte area, I listen to, "His Radio," at 96.5. At the office, we keep the radio on, "New Life 91.9." Out of the Charlotte area, I apologize, I do not have any suggestions. If you can't find anything, pull out that smartphone and listen to a live stream! There are always options! Google is a great website to find anything you are looking for-- so search for a Christian station in your area!

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer; if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change." (Michael Jackson-- Man in the Mirror)

Change Your Thinking:
Okay, I will let music be the theme today.
If you know me personally, you probably know that I would love to be a famous musician. Setback, I have possibly the most unpleasing singing voice of all time. Solution, I have my own personal concerts in my car when I am alone (or when I am with one of the lucky ones who have to suffer through my voice-- Chad, Mom, Dad, Lindsey, Steffi, Keshia, Kelly... thanks for dealing with me).
The point is, I will never be on stage singing for fans-- but I can still do something that I enjoy, which is singing! But, for a more practical challenge...
We are all given different abilities and different ways to have an impact-- find what yours is and embrace it! I am good at motivating people and I care about making a difference in someone's life-- so God blessed me with an outgoing personality and communications skills. EVERYONE has SOMETHING they are good at; and it is their special gift and contribution to the world... find yours and embrace it!
And, for the things you aren't especially good at--if you still enjoy it, do it for yourself!

"Each one of us should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

A Personal Reflection of Yesterday's Challenges

Good Morning Everyone!! I hope everyone is waking up refreshed and ready to begin another wonderful day of change and improvement! I know I am.

Yesterday, the challenges were a little bit harder, so I am going to use this entry as a reflection on yesterday.

Okay, be honest, how many people followed through with the challenges yesterday? If you added more water throughout the day and a little bit of stretching after your walk, congratulations! If not, it's never too late to start... and remember, we are making lifestyle habits, so keep at it today!

The other challenges were a little harder. I want to start off by saying thank you, to anyone who reads this, for holding me accountable for the, "Out of Your Comfort Zone," challenge. Yesterday, I looked at a blank computer screen for a while-- and then got back to work. I was at the office until 2pm yesterday and at the gym from then until 8pm--and once I got home, I put it off again (I guess I wasn't kidding when I said out of your comfort zone). But, knowing I would ask who completed the challenges, I sat down this morning and sent out a message to an old friend that I haven't spoken to in almost 2 years. I went with the Facebook message option-- I have changed phones since we last spoke and no longer have her phone number, so a call wasn't an option. Email would have been good; but I think Facebook will reach her quicker. If you were like me and put it off, please get around to doing it today. We can always come up with hundreds of excuses to prevent us from doing something, but we will always have a greater impact and get more done if we don't take the time to make excuses for ourselves. If calling is too intimidating for you or you don't have the number anymore, try a different method of communication. An email or letter will let you get your feelings out without opening the argument or other situation up again.

What about the areas of control? Was anyone able to reflect on that and and make a conscious effort to trust God to handle areas of our lives where we don't know what to do? "Let go and let God," is a popular saying for a reason....

Personally, I like thinking I am able to control situations. Acknowledging that things are out of my control; and not feeling weak when I cannot control situations, is something that I am working on. I am very much a work in progress, and I always will be. No matter what improvements I make in my life, there will always be something I can do better... and that is not a weakness. I have learned that sharing the burden or the stresses will soften your personal load-- so, talk to those who are closest to you. Be receptive of their input. And ultimately, pray and willingly leave your sorrows in God's hands.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let it Go!

Be honest, how many of you followed the challenges yesterday? Did you sincerely compliment at least 3 people and did you build yourself up with positive reinforcement instead of tearing yourself down every time you passed a mirror? What about adding something healthy to your diet or adding something to your fitness routine?

I hope you did! If not, let's get started with that today. If yes, let's do it again today! Make a habit out of encouraging others and yourself... make activity and healthy choices a habit! Pretty soon, you won't have to think of those things as challenges anymore; they will be a way of life! The more positivity we can put into the world, the better. Let's stay focused on yesterday's challenges as we move into a new day.

A Couple Benefits to Exercise:
Of course, everyone knows that, "exercise is good for you." But, why? There are a ton of positive outcomes you achieve by exercising. Today, I am going to list a few that you might not typically think about.
-Allergies-- Yes, that's right! With Spring approaching, I know many of us are dreading our allergy issues. But, did you know that exercise is one of the body's most efficient ways to help you control nasal congestion and the discomfort? Another more natural way to handle sinus issues is by a chiropractic adjustment...
-Depression-- Feeling down? Go to the gym or go for a walk! Exercise helps to speed your metabolism as well as allow for more oxygen to be delivered to the brain... the increase in circulation in the brain improves your mood!
-Back Pain-- Exercise helps to strengthen your core muscles; resulting in less back pain! Of course, if you have a back condition it is important to consult a professional as to which exercises will be the most beneficial to you!

Nutrition Challenge:
Water, Water Everywhere!
It is SO IMPORTANT to stay hydrated. I would assume that most of us do not consume anywhere near as much water as we should; and luckily, that's an easy problem to solve! If you normally drink 2 waters a day, drink 3 today... that still isn't enough, but it's a small step in the right direction (and we like small steps that we will stick to, right?). If you normally don't drink any water-- please please please at least drink 1 bottle today.
Did you know that our bodies often confuse thirst for hunger? If you are hungry, drink a serving (at least 8 ounces) of water first. That way, if it was a thirst issue, your body is starting to be satisfied... and if you are still hungry, it will help prevent you from over-indulging.
If you think you already drink enough water... Great! You are a step ahead of the game--- but still, increase it!

Everyone carry a bottle (I am by no means suggesting you be the guy we have all seen at the gym carrying a gallon of water... any size bottle will do!) around with you today and make a conscious effort to drink water throughout the day. If you must drink a soda, drink a water right after. You will eliminate empty calories once you start replacing other beverages with water... You will be hydrated... It is great for your skin... Just drink it! :-)

Fitness Challenge:
Beginners-- Yesterday we walked, either outdoors or around the house. How did you feel after that? I know, you might feel silly walking around the house while you are doing it... but didn't you feel a since of accomplishment when you were done? Starting a fitness routine--no matter what it is--is a great step in the right direction! I sincerely wish I could sit down and come up with a personalized routine for everyone who reads this-- but hopefully, the general challenges give you the jump-start you need!
Today, I want you to repeat the walk you did yesterday. We are going to start slow and be careful not to over-exert ourselves. After your walk, I want you to stretch. It can be as basic as you want it to be, but just make sure you get yourself in the habit of stretching AFTER your exercise. Stretching can improve your flexibility and reduce muscle soreness (which will be especially important when the challenges gradually increase in intensity), but be sure to stretch either after your complete workout or at least wait until after your muscles are warmed up. Stretching a muscle that has not been warmed up increases the chance of injury; and that is obviously something we want to avoid!

For the more advanced exercise crowd, you know your routine and you know what you are comfortable with. Today, I want you to help someone who appears to be confused in the gym. Plus, if it has been a while since you have truly felt you had an effective workout-- Switch it up!!

Out of Your Comfort Zone:
I have thought long and hard about this one-- and honestly, I have tried to talk myself out of using this one for today. If I extend the challenge to you, I also have to follow the challenge myself-- and this one is going to be hard for me. How many of you have an old friend, or maybe even family member, that you haven't spoken to in a while? Maybe it was a fight or a disagreement... Maybe it was a misunderstanding... Maybe it was their fault or maybe it was yours. Today, I want you to let it go! And, I want you to take it a step further and contact them about it... tell them you want to move on and put it behind you and that you value the friendship you had before conflict came in the way. Maybe they will be receptive; maybe they won't. But, you will feel a sense of relief knowing that you have let go of a grudge that has been holding you back. And, whether they let you know they appreciate it or not, they will.

Changing Your Thinking:
Today, I want you to reflect on aspects of your life where you try to have too much control. This is going to take serious thought--and commitment--on your part. Then, I want you to take the areas you are trying to control and I want you to trust God and trust in His plan for your life. Pray about it and leave the control in His hands.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Be an Encourager-- And Make Small Changes!

How many times have you watched TV or opened a magazine to find a new, "fad diet," or even to hear advertisements saying that you are insignificant or that there is only one body type that is acceptable?

I have a problem with that. As a 24 year old who studied Media Communications, I can recognize the techniques as an advertising method-- or as a way to sell a product-- but daily being inundated with the same information, people (especially younger/teenage generations) start to believe it.

Psalms 139:14 says, "I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful. I know that full well."

Think about that-- You are made in God's image! Fearfully and WONDERFULLY made. Isn't that more important than what the world or media tell us?

Of course, if you are over-weight and want to change your body-image for better health or a higher quality of life... that is also great! But, do it for the right reasons and do it for yourself-- not to comply to what society says you should be. How great would it be if the media and others in the world encouraged us instead of constantly filling us with feelings of inadequacies?

Today, I challenge you to make a couple of changes... Small changes that will better your life!

-If you consume an unhealthy diet, add something to it. Yes, add. Before you sit down for a meal, eat an apple or another fruit. That way, you aren't immediately setting yourself up for failure by doing a complete diet overhaul... You are simply starting a good (and good for you) habit that will eventually make it easier to make other small changes! Doesn't that sound better than the traditional, "all or nothing," fad-diet mentality??

-No matter your current fitness level, today I want you to add another component. Do not over-train... especially if a fitness routine is new to you.
---For beginners, take a walk. If it is pretty out where you live, take the time to enjoy the weather! If it's cold, rainy or anything else that keeps you inside-- Walk up and down the stairs in your house for 5 to 10 minutes. If you don't have stairs in your house, walk laps around the living room or kitchen. Make a habit of getting some sort of activity in your schedule. Exercise has SO many benefits (we will discuss some of those benefits in later posts).
---Intermediate or Advanced, you know your fitness level and probably already have a routine that you like to stick to. If you typically do a set time and a set pace of cardio, add some intervals! Meaning, warm up at your usually speed and then kick it up a little faster or to a higher incline/resistance for a minute... then go back to your usually speed. Repeat as many times as your fitness level will allow. Again, please be careful to not over-train or push yourself past your limits!

Out of Your Comfort Zone:
-Okay, remember how we were talking about how it would be nice if we were encouraged by the media or by the people around us? We can't control the media-- but we can control how we treat those around us! This might be uncomfortable for some of us-- but I challenge to to sincerely compliment at least 3 people today. The key there is to be sincere... If you are out and receive great service, acknowledge it. If someone has an outfit or accessory that you like, tell them. If someone surprises you with a kind gesture, let them know you appreciate it. Whatever it is, compliment at least 3 people. You never know the impact that can have on someone's day... and it will be rewarding to you at the same time!

Changing Your Thinking:
-Today, every time you pass a mirror, instead of picking yourself apart and looking for imperfections (yes ladies, even when you take your make-up off tonight), make it a point to notice something you like about yourself! No, we do not want to be conceited.. But confidence is a wonderful thing!
Do not compare yourself to other people-- Do no make yourself feel better by discouraging others.
Be an encourager to YOURSELF and to OTHERS.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Brief Introduction

My name is Erin and I am 24 years old. I grew up in a small town in north Georgia and went to school at Kennesaw State University where I studied Media Studies Communications.

I was blessed enough to grow up in a Christian home with parents, grandparents and friends who have always and still always support me. But, as a lot of teens and young-adults do, I thought I knew more than my parents and thought I could do things my own way (yes, I can be stubborn and hard-headed at times). Yes mom and daddy, y'all have always been right (you told me I would admit that one day).

After college, I followed Chad (my boyfriend) to Fort Mill, South Carolina. The first thing that attracted me to this place (other than the fact that he was here) was the emphasis on family and community involvement. Parks, churches, recreation centers, trails, etc are everywhere you turn in this small town. But naturally, I let life get in the way of my initial vision. Work, finances, stresses and everything else took precedent over getting involved in the community, finding a church to call home and simply enjoying the things Fort Mill has to offer... as well as enjoying the great man I have found in Chad. 

Chad is a chiropractor and the kindest, most giving person I have ever met... His passion for helping people inspired me to take a look at what I was doing with my life and make a change. Yes, I spent years in college studying communications (and I loved it), but there are also other things that I have found important to me. My daddy is a fireman...but has also managed gyms and been a trainer for most of his life. The combination of Chad and my daddy supporting me, and my time spent reflecting on what I want to accomplish in life, led me to the conclusion that I should become a Personal Trainer and do my part to make my community healthier.

I started my personal training course in November 2010 and since then my passion for it has continued to grow.

I came up here on May 5, 2010 and we closed on our house on June 1, 2010. Even with all the positive steps I had made-- and Chad and I had made together-- something was missing.

On February 7, 2011 I completely allowed stress to catch up to and get the best of me. Life in a new place, starting a new office, buying a house, starting a new career path and everything else all added up and I seriously hit rock-bottom. If you know me personally, I am sure you are amazed that I wrote that sentence... I generally do not allow myself to be vulnerable in front of others (and that is another quality I am working on). I called my mom and my sister, talked to my daddy and talked to Chad and after all of that I was still stuck in a pit of self-pity. The next day, I picked up my phone and searched, "Transformation Church." I have seen the signs for the church multiple times; and I cannot logically explain why it was February 8, 2011 that I finally decided to see what it was all about. The website was awesome and even had clips to past sermons-- so I listened to one. Afterwards, I prayed like my life depended on it.... Then, I got out of bed and came to the office with an improved outlook on life. Since then, I have started reading, "The Purpose Driven Life," (a few years after most people read it...) and have gotten back to turning to prayer and my Bible when life throws me a curve ball.

Chad has been completely supportive (as always) through the changes God is making in my life. We have attended Transformation Church for two services now (both Sundays since I looked it up online) and we have both started making it a point to take time out for God and for each other.

I am in no way an expert on the Word of God.... and I will constantly be a student and will daily learn more. The same with training--- no matter what I know now, I will always continue to expand my knowledge.

If you choose to follow this blog, I hope my story and my journey to become a better me can also inspire you to become a better you.

I will include fitness tips, wellness tips, nutrition tips as well as Bible verses, knowledge I gain in my readings and experiences... and then end the entry with a challenge or a point to reflect on.

Again, I am not an expert... Simply a girl finding a higher purpose.