How to leverage accountability to reach your fitness goals

How to leverage accountability to reach your fitness goals

There are some days I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. Some days I feel completely submerged by mom life, wife life, and work life.

I used to think balance was a magical destination. I imagined one day like my son’s lego block, it would just click, and I’d be there like all the other unicorn mommies on social media.

The reality is, balance is a constant struggle between all the important things in our lives. You don’t ever completely arrive. Balance is something you will always have to be intentional about.

Back in the day, one of the first things I would give up would be my gym time. I’d settle on eating whatever was quick and easy even if it didn’t align with my goals.

I lived with an all or nothing mentality. Either I could be an excellent mom or career woman, but not both. I could be fit and healthy or a good mom, but not at the same time. There was a time I believed accelerating in one area meant I had to sacrifice in the others.

You will have to make decisions and you will have to exercise self-control. You won’t have to choose between those things, you can learn to manage them.

Make time for relationships

If you weren’t my husband, my client, or my three year old I’d likely not be spending too much time with you.

I’m sure you’re not surprised to know after going on like that for too long I became a total momster (monster + mom). I felt less like the woman I was created to be, and a bit more like an empty shell shuffling through the motions.

I felt alone and isolated. Like I was the only woman who was having a hard time finding balance.  

I’ve been the mom and the woman who has just put her head down to work and have seen how lonely that can be. Not to mention how hard it is when you feel like you’re failing.

I’ve also been the woman who has let herself be totally into motherhood- she forgot her dreams. Forgot who she was. Who wasn’t filling anyone else’s cups too well because she wasn’t filling her own cup.

You’re made for community

I’m an extrovert. And I’m committed to doing the work I was put on earth to do well. There are times my intensity towards my goals or my passion gets in the way of me having the close relationships I crave as a working mom and wife.

I’ve realized in life if I’m not intentional about creating the space for those other important relationships they won’t happen. I didn’t realize in that season of small children how much I needed that connection to other women hustling for their dream life too.

You may not be extroverted like me, but you still need community. Your idea of community might look a little different from mine, and this is totally fine. Find what works, and do more of it. Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice relationships because life is easier that way.

Find women who share your values

The closer you are in your values and priorities, the easier it will be to let yourself be vulnerable without fear of judgment. The more vulnerable you can be together, the deeper the connection and commitment to one another. This is true of any relationship really. Learn to open up, and see what begins to happen in your key relationships.

Find other like minded women to use as an accountability system. When you connect with other women who you can relate with you’ll be more likely to reach your fitness goals and have fun. Life is about community, it’s about cheering each other on and fixing other women’s crowns when they slip.

Other women are not your competition

We are seriously not in competition with any other woman.

The only person you should concern yourself with being better than, is the person you were yesterday.

Unfortunately society likes to pit us against one another. There is no need to be catty. You don’t have to put someone else down so you feel better. And you definitely don’t need to put yourself down or let other women put you down either.

Stand together instead of letting your insecurities create division. Society seems set on creating competition between women. it’s more important than ever to choose unity and community.

Often there is a clear line between ‘us’ and ‘them’. We might be judging ourselves or other women based on how they look compared to us. What their life looks like on social media. Or how well they are performing in their roles as wives, moms, and women.

Getting sucked into the competition mindset, only ever leaves me feeling worse about myself. I think honestly this was why I avoided places like the gym for so long.

I felt like a fish out of water. It seemed like every other woman there knew what she was doing. I thought I was the only one not in my dream body. However, the closer I got to my dream body, the more I realized all my insecurities still existed. It was in that moment I knew they were probably more like me than I thought.

Choose women who will push you to grow.

I don’t believe you should just choose anyone to hold you accountable. Find women you click with, and make sure they will push you to grow and get better daily.

Finding your tribe will be inspirational, motivational, and at times a life line. On the days you feel like you can’t continue, want to give up, or like you’re a complete failure, they will be there to pick you up.

Life already brings enough challenges. We might as well make the most of them and our fitness journey by linking arms with other ladies on the same struggle bus.

Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body before you reach your goals!



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4 Ways healthy accountability will help you reach your fitness goals

4 Ways healthy accountability will help you reach your fitness goals

One of the first experiences I ever had with weight loss came from Weight Watchers. At the time that program seemed like a God-send, and in many ways it was an absolute blessing.

After years of trying and failing what seems like hundreds of diets and quick fixes I was defeated. Finding something that actually helped me lose weight seemed too good to be true.

As time went on though, I started to see a couple of glaring flaws with this model.

Why Weight Watchers stopped working for me..

1) The public weigh ins. Sure they served as a system of accountability, and a bit like a scare tactic. For me, the weigh ins were driven by fear. I monitored every thing I ate, and meticulously tracked my points. Everything I ate during the week hinged on that one moment when I’d have to hop on the scale in front of every other woman at my meeting.

2) It didn’t actually teach me how to eat. I became more aware of what I was eating throughout my short stint with Weight Watchers. Slowly I started to make healthier choices, because I wanted to be able to eat as much food as possible, and the healthier food choices were less points. I essentially learned how to barter and negotiate with my food. This behavior only ended up furthering the disordered eating habits I’d already formed.

You could essentially eat whatever you wanted as long as you didn’t go over your points. If you opted to go with the WW Core plan, you could eat as much as you wanted as long as it was on the list of approved foods. I didn’t learn to listen to my body’s hunger cues. Weight Watchers didn’t teach me to eat slowly, or that sometimes it’s ok to eat for pleasure.

Years later I can see these problems. In the moment I was just thrilled I had found some sort of method to help me lose weight. I was desperate. And in all honesty, I would have done anything to lose weight. I thought my value came from the body I was in.

What did the weigh ins teach me?

Accountability isn’t a bad thing.

It’s simply taking responsibility and ownership for your goals, dreams, and your actions.

That’s scary, I know. Most of the time when we hear some of those words we cringe. Negative emotions might even begin to well up inside your chest. Lean into that, and give yourself some time to explore what’s going on.

Accountability isn’t intended to be a punishment reserved for the times we mess up. At it’s core I believe it’s about teaching us the power of self-control and discipline.

Being held accountable (whether by yourself or another) is actually a blessing in disguise. All of our actions have consequences–another word that might trigger icky feelings. Some consequences are negative and some consequences we view more as a reward. Some we try to avoid and others we try to get more of.

Accountability isn’t weakness 

You don’t need accountability because you need punishment. You’re not a screw up, and you need someone to tell you that or make you ‘pay’ for some sin against your fitness regiment.

Mainstream health and fitness accountability often looks a lot like punishment. Followed by feelings of guilt or shame because you ate something you weren’t ‘supposed to’ or you skipped a workout.

Sometimes we punish ourselves, and sometimes we let others do it for us through social media or in our closest relationships.

Remember, you aren’t seeking accountability because you’re weak. You’re doing it because you know it will help you reach your fitness goals faster and with more ease.

Healthy accountability will help you reach your goals faster.

Healthy accountability will make you want to rise to meet the standards you’ve set for yourself. You will have a desire to show up and do the work, because you know you can’t fail and you can’t mess up.

If your coach is a good one, they will provide the kind of support and environment that inspires you to keep pushing forward. Regardless of how much you feel like quitting you won’t because you know you’ve got someone in your corner. Your coach can’t stop you from quitting on yourself, but they can help you get through the times you feel like you want to.

Negative accountability is the opposite. It does feel like punishment, and it’s heavy. I don’t blame you for avoiding accountability if you feel like you’ll be condemned for not following the plan perfectly.

Negative accountability evokes shame, guilt, or other negative emotions. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If you’re in a situation where you feel guilt, shame, or like you’ve got to lie about your actions, you need to find a new accountability partner.

Avoid your own blind spots

You may not always see what is tripping you up on your own. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of what we are doing, and we just roll through life on auto-pilot.

Having your tribe behind you can really help you see the pot holes in your fitness journey.

As women especially we seek community, and deep down, we long for those tight friendships we had as girls. Sometimes it can be hard to find that tribe because we feel insecure, jealous, or too busy to let others in to see our hot mess. Don’t let those things stop you. We are all hot messes from time to time.

If you truly want to tap into the power of having a tribe, you’ve got to be willing to let your guard down. Learn how to handle your feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, and insecurity in a healthy way.

Accountability challenges you to show up when you don’t feel like it

I did it alone in the beginning and it was hard. Until you’ve created healthy habits it’s too easy to give up if you don’t have accountability. My son would eat cake for breakfast everyday if we let him.

There were many days I felt isolated , and like I was the only woman out there that wasn’t getting results and didn’t know why. When I linked arms with a running buddy that I felt a new level of commitment towards my fitness goals.

When you know someone is expecting you to show up, you just do. And you do it differently than you would if it were just you showing up for yourself.

I guess I’ve always sort of felt like a lone wolf. However ,that statement in itself is ironic. Wolves don’t travel alone. They travel in a pack. Because even they know there’s  power in numbers. The saying, “It takes a village to raise a kid” is also true when it comes to reaching your fitness goals–or any other goal for that matter. You need a village if you want to survive long term.

Allows you to tap into your inner strength, learn + grow

Look, at the end of the day no one is coming to save you from your circumstances. No one is going to persevere and rally for your dreams as much as you.

You’ve got to be the one who decides to own them. You’ve got to be the one who decides they’re worth fighting for. That you’re worth fighting for. Whether you decide to hold yourself accountable, or you enlist the help of a lifestyle coach, having to report on how you’ve been doing will allow you to tap into strength you never even knew you had. Take the time to reflect on and own up to your actions. Reflection is a great opportunity for you to grow as a person. It also gives you great feedback on your habits and thought patterns.

Why is this important? Because then you can actually do something about it. Becoming self-aware of your behaviors (both the things that are working for you and that aren’t) will help you change what’s not working, and do more of what is.

Find your tribe

Showing up is hard work. Often times it can feel icky, especially when we have felt for so long that we just keep messing up. The truth is there is power in numbers. Having your own squad will not only help you reach your fitness goals faster, but it will also be a whole lot more fun too.

If you’re tired of feeling alone on this journey, and want to join our amazing tribe of women fill out the form below. We’re committed to crushing our goals and living our best life. Are you?

Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with your body before you ever reach your goals.



How to create a healthy lifestyle you actually like living

How to create a healthy lifestyle you actually like living

Motivation doesn’t come easy when we are trying something new. It’s scary and can be intimidating. For years I would sign up for gym memberships thinking *that* time would somehow magically be different.

I’d finally be well on my way to the perfect and happy life I thought weight loss would bring. And time after time, I’d cancel my membership just a few short months after signing up. No where closer to where I wanted to be than when I signed up in January.

I had no clue where to start or what to do. Everyone at the gym seemed like they belonged there, everyone except me. Day after day, I’d quietly put myself on a cardio machine in the corner praying no one would notice me. Eventually I did get up the courage to go ‘play’ with some weights. But I was still clueless.

Fitness can help you see what is possible for yourself but physique goals should be secondary to what creating healthy habits and investing in yourself does for you and in the world around you.

 Fitness was a floodgate for me. Once I finally figured out how to create healthier habits I started to see what else was possible in my life. Up to that point truthfully, I didn’t have much faith in myself. I had quit dreaming for myself, and was sucked into the daily grind. Though I had much of what I wanted–an amazing husband and two healthy kids, there was still something missing. 

As I became more confident in my ability to show up for myself and started making progress on my fitness goals, I began to  feel motivated, equipped, and ready to finally start tackling the other goals I had put on the shelf.

Fitness can become the same floodgate for you…once you figure it out that is. I want you to see what is possible for yourself if you learn how to create a healthy lifestyle you actually like living.  Abandon all the diet information; cookie cutter workout programs; and healthy meal plans. Focus that energy instead on creating a plan that was made just for you. 

I’m going to share with you four tips I wish someone would have given me when I was first starting my fitness journey.

Face your fears-What is the real reason you  are not taking action towards taking care of yourself?

Maybe it’s not knowing what to do. Maybe it’s because you struggle to see you deserve what’s on the other side of your fear.

Failure creates so much fear for people–especially women. You’ve got to let go of the idea of perfect and be willing to take massive imperfect action. Don’t see failure as a bad thing. Each time you fail, you’ve simply found one thing that won’t work.

Common fears some of my clients have expressed in the past:

 Doesn’t want to have to give up everything she loves to eat- You don’t have to. Sure you may need to make some changes to how you’re currently eating especially if your current diet is cardboard or manufactured in a plant. Moderation is key. And there are always ways to make your favorite foods slightly *better*. Nothing is off limits. No food is bad. 

I am too busy to figure it out– just start. Start where you are, with what you do know. Often times walking is underrated. But it is one of the oldest and most effective ways to move your body. And just about anyone can do it. 

I can’t afford a trainer– you don’t need one. But if you do feel like you’d benefit from having someone to guide you then check into some more affordable options. You can get into a small group training session, hire a coach (often for much less than a trainer’s hourly rate) you pay monthly. 

I’m not even sure what I like doing or that I want to go to the gym. That’s totally ok. Tap into your inner kid and think about things you enjoyed doing as a kid, try a new class, invest in some equipment to have at your house, or try a boutique fitness studio instead of bigger gyms. 

I’ve seen some of my friends get too obsessed with healthy living, weight loss, or fat loss. Me too. In fact, I was that friend at one point. Let go of perfectionism. Let go of someone else’s idea of what ‘healthy’ looks like. Set goals for yourself that aren’t necessarily physique related. 

Equip yourself with knowledge

>> Diets don’t work. Sure they may work temporarily, but diets are not a permanent solution. In fact 95% of diets fail.

>> Despite all of the info that pops up when you Google weight loss, fat loss, or diets–you don’t need  to calorie count, count macros, points, or portions. 

>> You don’t have to work out for hours/ day 6-7 days a week.

>> You don’t have to follow one certain workout program.

You get to decide what goals you have and how you want to reach them. It’s easy when you’re first starting out with healthier lifestyle changes to get sucked into all of the information on the internet. So much of it seems like good advice, “Eat healthier, exercise more, create a caloric deficit”. For most people (about 95% of them) that doesn’t least not long-term. 

These ‘healthier lifestyles’ are just more diets packaged a different way. There are ways to create the change you want in your health or your body without dieting or resigning yourself to exercising in a way you hate.

The best workout program or ‘diet’ is one you can do literally forever. This is why one of the biggest issues I have with mainstream health and fitness is the emphasis on perfection and the unrealistic means to get there. When we are trying to follow rules instead of creating habits, we only set ourselves up to fail. When diet culture does include habits–it’s usually just build a habit of following the rules. 

Keep in mind it’s not about what you’re missing out on or taking away, but what you will be gaining by implementing healthier habits into your day-to-day routine. Since practically nobody likes living in deprivation focus on healthy habits over following rules. Focusing on what you don’t have (link to other blog post about mindset) or what you’re not is unmotivating. Instead focus on what you will be gaining by creating healthy habits = more motivating.

Dream big for yourself

I didn’t realize all the times I kept giving up on myself at the gym I was playing small. Every time I quit, I was feeding the self-limiting beliefs I had about myself. The gym isn’t where everyone will find the courage to be who they were created to be. In fact, it wasn’t until I started running (which I hated for most of my life) that I started to see what was possible for me. Then over time I had the confidence to give the gym another try, which ended up being much more successful.

Ask yourself what you would be able to accomplish by creating healthier habits and ditching some of your less healthy ones. What would you do if you felt more confident, had higher self-esteem? What are some things you have missed out on by NOT being happy in your current body?

NOTE: Weight loss/ fat loss is not a magic pill or bullet. It absolutely WILL not fix your problems, and in some cases might even make things worse. Broaden your focus beyond the numbers and beyond trying to create someone else’s idea of a perfect body. 

 Start implementing healthy habits- movement, nutrition, mindset. 

>> change your environment to mirror the changes you want to make–make movement easier and healthier options more available while decreasing the unhealthier ones.

>> keep it simple to start and practice consistency over perfection and complicated strategies. 

>> focus on eating more veggies and adding in more variety.

>> Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk if you sit all day and aim to go for a walk on your break, grab a co-worker and get outside.

>> Set a reminder or alarm to go off every couple of hours to remind you to get up and move.

>> Sample some classes at local gyms/ facilities to see what you like or sign up for a community class (often cheaper than a gym membership and you might find it less intimidating than walking into a new class or the gym for the first time or in a long time).

>> If you don’t like exercise or have a bad taste when it comes to healthy eating–try thinking about it differently: it’s not a punishment, but rather is something you get to do so that you can do x down the road.

>> Think about your values and your goals, how would taking care of yourself make those things easier?

>> Remember you don’t have to do any specific kind of exercise or follow any one type of diet to create the results you want. You get to choose what works for you and your lifestyle. 

 I’m not a huge advocate for fitting the rest of your life around fitness. Rather making ‘being fit’ fit into what you’re already doing. After seeing so many women try over and over again to follow someone else’s rules, and being one of those women myself; I know it doesn’t work. 

You shouldn’t feel like you’re starting a new job when you embark on the amazing journey of bettering yourself through movement, nutrition, or otherwise. And if it does, that’s probably not the “healthy lifestyle” for you.

Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and loving your body long before you reach your goals!



PS to make sure you’re starting off on the right foot, sign up below to grab your copy of 5 of the sneakiest ways you’re sabotaging yourself.

Slow and sustainable weight loss |Not sexy, but it works.

2019 is right around the corner and if you haven’t already been bombarded with messages about creating a ‘New You in the New Year’  Or any other promise of quick and easy weight/fat loss strategies—hold on, they’re coming. But before they hit your news feed, I wanted to tell you a little story.

I had these two friends. One, was always working out, ‘eating clean’, and tracked all of the food she put in her mouth.

The other ate when she was hungry, stopped before she was full, and focused on nourishing her body with healthy and whole foods first. She allowed herself to enjoy treats and the occasional happy hour.

My first friend was always starting a new diet or constantly had to start over because she’d usually binge on the weekends and around the holidays.

The second friend never seemed to be stressed around food or exercise. She enjoyed the healthy foods and the treats and her weight didn’t seem to fluxuate all that much. In fact, she seemed to relaxed and chill around food.

Spoiler alert:

The friends in those stories above are both me. One was before-when I was heavily stuck in diet culture. Trapped by diet mindsets. And continually restricting what and how much I ate all in the name of a 6 pack. Which I regret to say I never had anyway.

How many diets or lifestlye changes have you tried?

You don’t have to really answer that. But think about it. Most of the weight loss products/ diets ont he market are designed to get you the quickest, most extreme results possible. The lucky few who actually do get results usually cannot hang on to them for long, and the others? They quit before they even finish. Why?

For most people they aren’t making lifestyle changes they can or even want to  maintain. Who really never wants to eat their favorite food again?!  I can’t even tell you how many times I swore off sugar, carbs, or alcohol. Ok, so I guess those are all essentially the same thing..but you get the idea. Restriction aka dieting doesn’t work long term. And it makes you miserable in the process.

Breaking up with your diet (2)

Girl, what you need is a friend…someone who has been there before

Having people in your corner who have been in your shoes can help you see what you don’t. The right friends and coaches see your blindsides and they are committed to helping you overcome them.
Not to mention when you and your friends go in on a fitness adventure together or you and your besties vow to make some lifestyle changes together you get the effect of positive peer pressure. Sheesh, where were those friends back in high school?
Inviting a few trusted friends on your journey gives you the sense of being known.
Which, let’s face it, being known is a big deal. For most of my teen and young adult life I just wanted to be seen. To be known. To be wanted. I am convinced that is why I spent so much of my time chasing the perfect body, trying to catch the attention of the cute guy I was crushing on, and why I negotiated bits and pieces of who I was.
When you blab to you friends about what you’re doing, it puts you on the hook.
It’s easy to let your goals and the big dreams you have for yourself slink off to die a slow, quiet death when you keep them quiet.
A word to the wise: Be choosy with the friends you invite to join you on your health and fitness journey. Find someone (or a group of women) that are excited for you and not threatened by your desire to change.

 Focus on small changes daily rather than big extreme ones that don’t last

My rule of thumb: the more extreme the measure, the less sustainable the result. If you can’t see yourself living life ( as in a healthy, vibrant, and full life) on salads and shakes then it won’t work. If you can’t see yourself committing to the gym 6 days/ week for 2 hours a day until you die, then that’s not the right answer for you. Pick a few small changes to make and start slow. Practice those changes for a few weeks consistently before adding anything else to your plate.

Can you do whatever it is you’re currently doing to get in shape forever??
Right now ask yourself on a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to stick to your current lifestyle?
Anything less than a 9 means you’re not going to stick with it long enough to see change forever.
I want to let you in on my secret…it should almost feel too easy. Like so easy, you don’t see results in a couple of weeks. The changes will be subtle and that will be frustrating no doubt, because we have been conditioned to demand quick results.
Hold on to hope
If you stay consistent, you WILL get the results you’re after. And you’ll be able to keep them forever. Seriously. But you’ve got to be relentless–kind of like my dog when she gets her sights set on a squirrel.
Fight the good fight. Choose foods that nourish your mind, body + soul. Move your body with indulgent joy. And take a moment to evaluate your current game plan going into 2019. Does it look the same as it did last December? If you were less than thrilled with the results, it might be time to do something a little (or a lot) different.
Did this resonate with you? Share this with one person who needs this message and leave me your thoughts below.
Cheers to women creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with their bodies long before they reach their goals!
Alisha Carlson (8)

Break up with your diet and leave diet culture behind | One of the healthiest choices you can make for yourself



We’ve all sworn them off. Well, at least we thought we did. I’m stumped though as to why we still have so many women working their butts off and still not living in a body they are totally in love with.

It’s not you, it’s them..

Diets are pretty sneaky. I mean it is literally the only product that continually fails over and over and over, yet we keep coming back for more.
We usually just chalk a diet not working up to us not trying hard enough, not being disciplined enough, not being focused enough, or dare I say not wanting it bad enough.
For some reason this twisted mindset is widely accepted as being the truth. I know I’m not the only one that beat myself up when I couldn’t stick to my 1200 calorie diet of mostly veggies, almost zero carbs, and chicken.
What if it really isn’t you or me, but it’s the methods we are using to try to lose weight that is the real problem.
Breaking up with your diet

Diets set you up to fail by creating standards that aren’t realistic or even all that healthy 

Have you ever googled ‘fit woman’ or ‘healthy woman’? In less than one second you will see over one billion images all portraying a similar ideal of what a healthy woman ought to look like.
They are all roughly the same size, not too muscular and not too thin. Long hair and about the same age range, eating a salad, and of course smiling (so if you have RBF even if you are the poster child for health in every other way, you might be out of luck on this one..)
There isn’t much wiggle room. What happens to all of the women that don’t fit that ideal?  Are you simply out of luck? Will you never be health and fit? No.

Healthy bodies come in all sizes and shapes

You almost never hear of any fitness program promising to get you to your own healthy, natural weight. Or advertising their programs ability to enhance your body’s natural shape or size.
If you’re defeated and discouraged because no matter how hard you work or what you do, you still can’t seem to reach your goal body–it might be because you’re just chasing someone else’s goal body. Not the one you are meant to live in.

Diets were designed to make you feel crappy about yourself

This is a multi billion dollar business that was created to keep you feeling bad about yourself. IF ‘diets’ aka ‘wellness’ aka ‘healthy lifestyles’ actually worked long term, the fitness and wellness industry would be out of business.
There are ways you can go about creating a healthy lifestyle or pursuing wellness that is not entangled in diet culture or diet – y mindsets. You just have to do a little leg work and a whole lot of self exploration to discover your heart and your motives for any of the actions you’re taking.
For all the women out there done with dieting. Done with feeling crappy about themselves. And done sabotaging themselves with sneaky food behaviors–grab your copy of my FREE guide. This guide walks you through 5 of the sneakiest diet-y behaviors and mindsets you might not even know you are still doing PLUS it gives you practical strategies and tips you can start using today.
Here’s to women creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and making peace with their bodies long before they ever reach their goal body!
Alisha Carlson (8)

Your Holiday Survival Guide to Do Holidays Different this year: save money, avoid unwanted holiday weight gain, and preserve your sanity

Tis the season of holiday parties, extra spending, and perhaps a bit too much eggnog. This time of year used to be so stressful for me. We were charging Christmas on our credit card, I couldn’t stop eating all the Christmas cookies, and I seemed to ramp up my time spent at the gym. The last one was in part to combat the extra pounds I was terrified of gaining and to help me cope with the additional stress this most joyous season tended to bring out.

Breaking up with your diet (1).png

 This year my husband and I vowed to spend less money on stuff and instead invest more money on experiences. 

I’ll admit at first I was a little hesitant. Not really for me, but more for my kids. The thoughts of ruining Christmas for them swirled in my head and I even began to question whether or not I was a bad mom for not wanting to spend a ton of money on my kids. I guess that is just another ugly head of the comparison game.

As a kid at Christmas time it seems like your whole world revolves around getting all the things on your Christmas list.  The thought of not getting my kids the things they long for (even though I know in my heart spoiling my kids by getting them every single thing they want isn’t good for them either ) brings up emotions from my own childhood where  money was always in short supply and quite often I remember NOT getting the things on my list.

The thing of it is…I’m ok. I have not been scarred for life. And while I’ll admit  I do believe my parent’s money habits have  contributed to the way I handle and spend money. I am still working on this.

Stress less by saying no, thank you.

No, on its own IS a complete sentence, but if you’re looking to soften the blow just a bit you can add a smile and a gracious thank you to the end of your no.

The point isn’t really whether you add the ‘thank you’ or you don’t, it’s that you are being choosy about what you are committing yourself to. Especially this time of year. So think about the things you actually want to do and that align with your own personal core values. Then  make sure you do those things first.

Everything else can get deleted. Of course, sometimes you will have to make sacrifices and that is also ok. Just decide what you’re wiling to sacrifice on and what isn’t worth it.

For example if you’re eating a slice of pie just because you don’t want to disappoint someone or hurt their feelings or you don’t want them to feel alone in eating, then a ‘no thank you’ would be ok. You don’t have to cave into someone else’s agenda to show them you love them.

 Give more

While this time of year seems to be especially marked by additional spending and gift giving, there are more ways than one that you can be generous or lavish others in gifts.

Get creative–How can you give more of your time, your talent, or your natural gifts? Instead of focusing on all the time you don’t have or spending money that isn’t really there, think about the joy you’ll be adding and the cheer you’ll be spreading instead when you choose to invest time in other people or causes that are important to you.

 Enjoy the fun foods

Self control always. Restriction never. This year instead of counting all the treats, calories and macros, why not let yourself relax a little bit more? As long as you make your food choices with intention and mindfulness I say have that extra cookie without another thought about it.

Focus on REALLY enjoy the fun, festive foods of this season–savor each bite. Create an experience around that special food. It goes without saying this is a stressful time of year for many, let’s not take it out on Grandma’s homemade goodies. Eat in moderation and in alignment with your goals. Sometimes that is simply having the thing and not stressing over it.

Explore new ways to move your body

It is easy to get into a rut with our fitness. Instead of just doing the same thing over and over why not try a new activity this winter. Snowshoeing anyone? Or maybe there is a class you’ve been wanting to try, but you’ve been too busy hitting the trails on your runs. Whatever you’re used to doing to get your body moving, try something else this winter. Your body will thank you. Your mind will thank you. And you’ll appreciate the new skills and challenges that come with trying something new.

You can always make it better by grabbing a buddy.

Be just a smidge more intentional

This one goes without saying, but I’ll repeat it anyway…whatever you do, do it with intention. This means actively choosing what you’re doing, what you’re eating, how you’re spending your time and your hard-earned cash. Don’t get stuck in the same routines and ruts. For most women we operate on autopilot. We’ve got so many things to do in a day we just get going without ever really stopping to see how what we are doing are either helping us get closer to living our dream life or slowly pushing us further from it.


What is one way you plan to do the holidays a tad different this year? Join the conversation below. And if you ever have any topics you want covered in an upcoming post, shoot your questions over to


Here’s to creating food freedom, finding joy in moving your body, and making peace with your body long before you ever reach your fitness goals.


Alisha Carlson (8)