Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

Following a Keto-ish meal plan as a Runner

*Let me preface that I am not a nutritionist. I’m new to educating myself on what I’m putting into my body. My trial with the ketogenic meal plan is a self experiment on my energy levels while training for a marathon. 

About six months ago, I met another American here in France. While I was excited to have drinks with a native English speaker, I was amazed to find out she was a big time leader in the Beachbody world; one that I participated in a couple years ago, but have since decided to step away from. Full disclaimer: I’m still a huge fan of the home programs and still do them for strength and cross training.

Anyway, I became Facebook friends with her and signed up for her blog (Fit With Rachel). If you have a Facebook account you are fully aware that it is the largest platform for all multi-level markets to use, so through it I discovered her previously recorded live videos about following a ketogenic meal plan. I saw her before and after pictures of toned abdominals and decreased leg cellulite (since losing 80lbs post-partum) thanks to workouts and change in diet. Although aesthetically, I was impressed that was not the reason I was intrigued by the meal plan. I did a little bit more googling and reading from other keto minded sites like Ruled.Me and Dr. Hyman and was pretty much convinced to give it a go.

What they were basically telling me was that I could, not only be heart healthy and tone up with foods considered high in fat but also, change my energy sources from sugars to fats by being in a state of ketosis.

What is ketogenic?

The short version, essentially you minimize your carbohydrate intake (usually <60g per day, hardcore <20g per day which I found to be extremely difficult considering fruits and veggies have carbs!). By doing so, you put your body into a state of ketosis in which it chemically changes to get its energy from burning fats instead of sugars (digested carbohydrates turn to sugar). 

If this program sounds familiar to the Atkins diet, you’re not far off except for the fact that the foods are much more heavily monitored. For example, you can’t just start eating all the red meat and cook with all the vegetable oils you want and expect that because it’s high protein and high fat that you’ll automatically start losing weight (although there are probably people who will, but what’s more concerning is that it’s not healthy). Instead, you can eat red meat that has been grass fed and oils that are comprised of saturated fats, like coconut oil. 

Why? The difference is that non-grass fed beef has developed over time with chemicals, producing stressed meat that we ingest which can lead to an inflammatory response in our own bodies. When we eat unsaturated, trans, or hydrogenated fats like vegetable oils such as soy, corn or canola, the fat process has been damaged creating free radicals which again leads to inflammation in our own bodies and can lead to i.e. heart disease and diabetes. 

Seems opposite of what some food industries has been informing us for years by stating we should eat advertised low-fat foods. But, unfortunately, the process in which to reduce FAT (damaging the fat particle, as I mentioned above, by producing free radicals) can ultimately lead us to eating more carbs because they have been advertised as lower in fat!  Seriously, wtf?!

As an endurance runner, it’s been ingrained in me to carb up! In fact a former co-worker of mine, when I ran my first marathon, bought me a headband that read ‘will run for food’. Some large races even incorporate a pasta dinner the night before the run included with the race fee. Honestly, I never educated myself on macros and nutritional values. I used to run so I could eat what I wanted regardless if it improved my performance. But after 10 years and 9 marathons with increasing times, I figured my go to plan of eating what I wanted wasn’t working to help my performance anymore. I know, I’m a late learner.

So hearing about a change in energy sources from a ketogenic meal plan inspired me to try it more so than dropping 5lbs or reducing leg girth.

Four weeks ago I started the plan. The first week was the hardest, you’re ridding your body of processed sugars which act like drugs to your body. Some people even develop something called the ‘keto-flu’. I read recently a study in which they gave a group of mice cocaine laced water bottles and another group sugar laced water bottles, and the sugar mice ended up drinking way more. Science. 

Game Plan

To start the process, your first grocery bill will also be quite expensive. You have to buy typically from an all organic market and get essentials like ghee or grass-fed butter, coconut oil, almond and coconut flour, coconut sugar, protein powder, all natural nut butters, full fat cheeses, grass fed, pasture raised and free range meats and eggs, fish high in omega 3’s like salmon or tuna, avocados, olives and fresh vegetables and fruits that are low starch (think a lot of above ground legumes like spinach and less root vegetables like potatos and carrots and for fruits more berries than bananas or apples) etc. 

Here is an example of my first weeks meal plan…

Example keto meal plan

Example keto meal plan


Results

Luckily for me, I didn’t experience any sort of carb withdrawals that first week. The meals were of course tasty but moving forward into week 2 and 3, there were days when all I wanted was an ice cold beer, bread or pasta with my meal. The hardest times were when I went to eat at a friend or family’s place, in my opinion. But I persevered! And although they recommend not drinking alcohol at all because of its lack of nutritional value, essentially spirits like vodka and wine have virtually no carbs so I was still able to have a few cocktails on the weekends, especially when I was traveling to Portugal and Switzerland the past couple of weekends. 

My goal was to complete 3 full weeks and I can proudly say I went 19 out of 21 full days without having bread, and the full 21 days of not having beer or pasta. And while I should have taken my weight and measurements to find objective changes, I didn’t. But here is a before and after picture.

Before Keto/After Keto

Before Keto/After Keto


As for my energy, I did feel low the first week but now feel less tired on runs or training sessions that are less than an hour. As my Berlin marathon training cycle continues to increase in mileage, I’m going to try to continue being in a state of ketosis but I may experiment with carbs again on pre-day runs greater than 90 minutes, depending how I feel on that first longish run. 

Have you tried a ketogenic diet? What are your thoughts or concerns?

Calling all Luxembourg Foodies!

Being a newbie to the Luxembourg area (reminder to my US followers, Luxembourg is a small country sitting on top of France and between Belgium and Germany), I have to admit I haven’t found that Luxembourg has any famously known cuisine. In fact most restaurants I’ve visited, have been borrowers of surrounding palates (like Italian and French). And on another note, I’ve not found a huge array of options for the health conscious individual.

Bearing in mind, I’m one to try to cook everyday (inside joke with my French friends but I’ll let you know the secret…I was in the middle of, what I thought, was an interesting French conversation that I thought I understood and I thought I was asked about my cooking/eating habits. I answered, “I cook everyday”. And unbeknown to me, the subject, which I can’t even remember, was not about food at all. This probably doesn’t even sound funny…guess you had to be there). But in all honesty, I do try to cook each weekday meal with my goal being that the food is fresh, local, and organic if possible, while trying to cut out processed foods. This is to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, assist in workout performance, and help maintain my weight.

I, from first hand, know how sometimes recipes can get monotonous and buying groceries can get expensive when you are trying to plan ahead or it may even be difficult to find certain ingredients, ex: like what the heck is saithe!? It’s a fish, I had to google it. Where can we find a solution for fresh, local food, to create homemade recipes in less than 45 minutes and for as low as 7.50 euros a meal per person??

Fear no longer, as my peers in Luxembourg has created Avocado.

Avocado.lu is a food box home delivery service for all of Luxembourg. Providing fresh, bio foods and inspiring recipes that cater to your preferences whether it be low-carb, vegetarian or vegan, with the flexibility of frequency of delivery, all your anxieties on meal preparation can be taken care of. What a grand idea!

My readers even get a lucky 30% discount on their first order (new customers) if an order is placed before the 30th of August! Use this promotion code (PR16N-N-30).


Where am I with Beachbody?

Let me start from the beginning.

I became a Beachbody coach March of 2015. Here are a few reasons why

  1. I knew you could make money.
  2. I had been a user of the home workout programs (P90x, Insanity, T25, etc) since 2006 and had great results or at least maintenance.
  3. I would receive discounts on products I was already using or would use in the future.
  4. As a health professional, it would be another avenue I could use to help others obtain health goals.
  5. I wanted to change my cooking and eating habits.

I had been seeing more and more friends on Facebook become involved with Beachbody. I was surprised at how many people were doing the programs. As a user for 9 years, I had only had discussions with a handful of people who had even heard about the late night infomercials to purchase P90X let alone those who actually participated in the programs or ultimately finished the 90 days. In fact throughout the 9 years, I met several patients who were injured because of the program because they were middle aged or weekend warriors trying to pump out 55 pull ups and 100 push ups in the first week without any baseline or correction of form. I thought being a coach and user of the products I could educate on modifications.

Ultimately when I reached out to decide if being a coach was right for me, the timing was that I knew I would be moving overseas within the year and I wanted to bring in some extra money by participating in something I was already fond of. Then I learned what it meant to be a coach, you pay an up front fee then a monthly business fee and have to be a consumer of the Beachbody shake called Shakeology. Before this moment I had never heard of Shakeology as I had only ever purchased workout programs but honestly didn’t even know they made supplements. After doing a little research on the ingredients and benefits of the shake (which is not marketed as a protein or meal replacement shake but more of a daily dose of the nutrients you should be ingesting. Another way I like to simplify it is to compare it to a fully loaded multi-vitamin along with digestive, cholesterol, and energy improving agents). I was convinced of its super power benefits and trusted the Beachbody name already so it wasn’t a hard sell for me. Then I learned about the price. A non-coach pays $150 for 30 day supply. A coach gets a 30% discount for $115 (but remember there is a $17 month business fee but you still are saving around $30) and I’m a sucker for a good deal. So even though I was trying to save, and in fact, make more money before my move internationally, I was going to at least spend $130 a month to start earning money in my new found self-employed business.


Now the semantics for the business are this. You sign up through a coach who is doing the same as you, who has signed up through a coach doing the same as them and so on. So the people who started their business back in 2006, when I was doing my first round of P90X are in fact millionaires today. God bless them, they got in on the right time and are set for life and sought after speakers at entrepreneur seminars and YouTube videos. The rest of us a little late to the party, definitely have the ability to gain excess income but there is a ranking system of Emerald, Ruby and Diamond and the only way to build your team and business is to sign on new coaches who build there businesses of people who also grow on becoming Emerald, Ruby, and Diamond. And the higher the rank and the more people below you who continue to grow in rank, the higher your commissions become. All of this information can be found on the internet.

I started my business strong and within a month I was ranked an Emerald and making $50-250 a week without feeling too salesy, I just spoke the truth on Facebook and Instagram about what I was doing and why and people became interested. This was covering the cost of Shakeology and I was now making extra money for my move. I was on a roll. I attended last years coach summit in Nashville, TN with 15,000 other Beachbody coaches and got to personally workout with the celebrity trainers I had been watching on my TV for the past 9 years. There were seminars on personal and business growth and the atmosphere rocked. A bunch of healthy people working out, feeling self-empowered and partying the night away. I was all in. I was doing personal development daily, reaching out to friends on Facebook, talking the talk and walking the walk as a user of the product, running social media healthy eating and workout accountability groups with my team, and created The Fitwanderluster Instagram, blog, and weekly free workout group at the Boston Esplanade. I had some haters but I loved what I was doing and it was all coming together.


But then I lost one coach below me, lowering my rank and my commission wasn’t as high anymore. I started to see that my story also didn’t reach many of my groups of friends on Facebook because they couldn’t relate to my story. I feel people who have kids/families or have weight to lose have more success in this business because of the relatabilty compared to my story of a 30+ non-married and childless female who’s always been active and just trying to take in more nutrition by healthy eating. Then I moved and they don’t sell the products internationally, and then Shakeolgy became too expensive as I was having it sent to my dad’s house in the US and he was shipping it to me in France but the shipping alone was $50 making the product more than it’s original price with not being a coach. So just like any small business, I was dealing with some rough times.

In conclusion, I’m still a huge fan of Beachbody and their products and the way they can help others learn about the food they should and shouldn’t be eating and programs that can get you started off in the right foot towards a healthy lifestyle especially when starting with modifications (as I do believe the programs are pretty advanced). I’m still a coach but have suspended my Shakeology for the next couple of months because of purely financial reasons. My priorities shifted with my move and marathon training. There is a way to make money with this business but you have to be willing to work every single day for it as you would being a store owner. If you close down for a week because of vacation or simply get frustrated because you aren’t making money quickly believe that your company will feel the effects. But my circumstances personally makes my Beachbody growth difficult. You can bet though if and when they start to make their way into Europe, I’ll be back to full speed again. But until then I’m just happy focusing on blogging, exercising, and eating well rather than the next coach I can get involved.

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That’s my story. I’m still The Fitwanderluster and love posting my workouts, runs, meals and healthy tips and motivation on Facebook and Instagram, whether I make a dime from it or not ☺️

Although Beachbody is not my top priority, I am always up to discussing coaching, the programs, the meal plans or supplements, as I’m a fan. Feel free to reach out to me one of several ways:

Email: kthib123@gmail.comFacebookWebsite