A Healthy Morning Routine in 3 Simple Steps

healthy morning routine A Healthy Morning Routine in 3 Simple Steps

If you’re following my series on How to Live a Prioritized Life in 2014, then you know I promised you some insights for how to minimize your routine for maximum results.

The key is to keep things simple and consistent.

I’ve honed in on 3 simple steps to my healthy morning routine that I’ve found I can accomplish each morning when I get up, regardless of how little time I have. These three things help keep me physically, emotionally & spiritually healthy.

Is it a guarantee against sickness and bad fortune?

Of course not!
But I know that by starting my day with the three steps below, I’m setting myself up for success.

A Healthy Morning Routine in 3 Simple Steps

1. Drink a glass of water…

…but not just pain water: drink at least 8-16oz of water at one time with juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon. If possible, I also add a Tablespoon of Aloe Vera juice, but it can be hard to find aloe vera that doesn’t have a bad aftertaste. (George’s Aloe Vera is the best I’ve tried).

This not only helps with your internal pH balance, but by drinking it all at once serves to flush out and cleanse your digestive system (if you know what I mean icon wink A Healthy Morning Routine in 3 Simple Steps

2. Perform 3 Yoga Positions

Each morning after my devotions, I get out of bed and perform the following three different yoga poses (consisting of 3 breaths on each side):
-Sun Stretch
-Tree Pose
-Warrior Pose
I suffered a lower back injury that ended my tennis career back in 1999 and I credit these poses with keeping my back spasms at bay!

3. Read My Utmost for His Highest

My mentor, Jackie Kendall, turned my on to “Ozzie” back when I first became a Christian over 10 years ago. My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers has become one of the most well-respected and popular devotions for it’s straight-talk and hard-hitting Biblical truths that still ring true in its daily application, even decades after its original publication.

(If you follow me on Twitter, I always share what jumps out at me most from each day’s readings at 6:35am)

There you have it! Perhaps not revolutionary, but essential for my daily well being. Of course, there are other things I add-in if I have time, like journaling, Bible reading and even more exercise, but they don’t necessarily happen at the same time each day.

What about you: how do you start your morning each day?

Disclosure: I am not a doctor and this post is solely a personal testimony meant to inform. There are also affiliate links in the products I’ve shared that I love and believe in.
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My First Koko Fit Club Experience; does the workout fit me?

Have you heard of Koko Fit Club yet? I’ve noticed the clubs popping up around Nashville in the last couple years, so when I was approached to give their unique workout experience a try, I was immediately intrigued as to whether or not their program would be a ‘fit’ for me.

UPDATE: Want your first Koko Fit Club Experience to be at a bargain? Check out the Koko Fit Club Groupon going on right now to get your first month for only $39!!!

However, I was also hesitant to jump in with two feet right away. Here’s a peak into why:

The past two months have been rough for me and I honestly didn’t know if I had the bandwith to commit to a 90 day program.

But at the same time I knew something had to change in my life and my current fitness regime, so I was willing to at least find out more.

I went in simply looking for a few answers and within minutes I found myself signing up and buying in 100% to this custom program!

The bottom line is this: it’s just smart.

Koko Fit Club has taken all the guesswork out of your workout! From the customized strength tests to measuring range of motion, this method seems to be a great fit for people of any fitness level, regardless of whether you’ve never gotten off the couch to if you want to truly amp up your workouts!

Here’s a simple look at the progression of my time there.

First thing’s first: before every workout, you take your Koko Fit test to log your progress:

koko fit club analysis 768x1024 My First Koko Fit Club Experience; does the workout fit me?

After my strength workout, I started a 15 minute cardio session:

koko fit club cardio 768x1024 My First Koko Fit Club Experience; does the workout fit me?

The Koko FitClub screen tells you exactly what level and resistance to be on minute by minute while you listen to your trainer in your earbuds doing the workout with you the entire time. After completing your workout, it logs your time, calories burned and Koko points earned (another fun feature if you’re competitive like me!):

koko fitclub cardio screen 1024x768 My First Koko Fit Club Experience; does the workout fit me?

Here are my ‘after’ thoughts:

You see, Koko FitClub takes all the excuses out of getting fit by creating a custom exercise and nutrition plan for each of its members.

From the minute I walked in, not only was I made to feel like ‘part of the team’, but every subsequent member who came in was greeted by name with a smile. Even a member getting ready with me in the locker room started asking me questions about how I liked Koko Fit Club because she’s LOVED it for the past year.

It’s easy to understand where the love comes from – for one reasonable, monthly price, you get unlimited training sessions customized to your body and fitness level, plus a private web page that tracks your progress and delivers your individualized nutrition plan.

The other thing I love: not only do you have a personalized trainer in your ear and on the screen during your workouts, but you can get individualized training attention during the club’s staffed hours, or choose to go workout on your own from 5a-11p with the member key you’re given!

I know, I know; you want to know my numbers, right? Koko FitClub isn’t as concerned about weight as they are about helping you build your strength and overall fitness level. While I did choose the “Burn” track because I do want to lose weight, we’ll be tracking my BMI and lean muscle mass specifically.

As of right now, here are my stats:
eBMI: 30.1
Lean Muscle Level: 118.4 lbs
Koko Q Score: 52

I’m hoping to see some major improvements over the next 90 days and just as I plan on sticking with this program, I hope you too will stick with me. Koko FitClub currently has 3 Nashville locations (and I can visit any of those that I choose on any given day) and they’re also located throughout the country.

If you decide to check out Koko FitClub where you live, make sure to stop back and let me know; I’m hosting a VERY special giveaway at the end of my 90 days and you’ll get extra entries if you leave a comment here letting me know that you’ve visited a Koko FitClub to find out more (If you visit a Nashville location, make sure to tell them Sami sent you!).

Have you ever tried a training program like this before?

 

Koko FitClub has invited me to train with them for 90 days at no cost to myself in exchange for my honest feedback about the program, which I will be sharing with you over the next 3 months.  As always, all opinions expressed, pictures presented and results given are completely my own.
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5 Simple Steps to a Healthier You this Year!

0 93887 634946409169567595 5 Simple Steps to a Healthier You this Year!

Regardless of whether or not you broke your New Year’s resolutions at 12:01am, you don’t have to chalk this entire year up to a health failure.

To the contrary!

I have 5 simple steps that will lead you (and your family!) to a healthier year.

What I believe is important to remember is to focus on those principles that have stood the test of time. Fad diets will come and go, but there are certain steps each of us can take that will lead to healthy habits and a happier you!

1. Drink a glass of water with lemon first thing upon waking up
This is the first thing I do after getting out of bed in the morning. It literally gets your system going and when you drink it quickly, you’ve already logged 1 of your 8 glasses you need to drink for the day! If possible, try to squeeze the juice of half of a fresh lemon into the water: it has a TON of benefits for your digestive system.

2. Take 3 deep breaths
Believe it or not, studies have shown that people don’t breathe enough throughout the day. Of course we all breathe, but we don’t stop to fill our lungs with those truly deep breaths our bodies need. After drinking your water, take 3 deep breaths, raising your arms above your head as you inhale, and releasing them as you exhale. If you have extra time, you may want to add in a few more yoga breaths to your morning regimen.

3. Have 15 minutes of quiet time
Mental health plays a key component in your overall health. Whether you read, meditate, pray or simply sit on your deck with a cup of green tea, take 15 minutes to reflect on the day ahead and fill yourself with positive reinforcement before heading out into that big bad world icon wink 5 Simple Steps to a Healthier You this Year!

4. Pack your healthy snacks for the day
If you aren’t prepared with healthy snacks that are handy, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And if you’re on the go a lot like me, having veggies and some whole grain snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated are a MUST.

The other requirement in my house is that the snacks need to be kid friendly, since whatever I’m eating, my kids always steal. We’ve always loved rice cakes in our family (from the time our kids were toddlers!), but now the basic rice cakes in our pantry have evolved! Quaker® Quakes® are now Quaker® PoppedTM – a new name for the snack made with the delicious goodness of whole grain brown rice and corn and a great snacking solution. And with all the great flavors, it’s easy to find something everyone in your family will love.

5. Get more sleep
Our bodies need rest to heal themselves, not to mention stay healthy. I’ve made it a pledge to go to bed by 10:30 every night so that it’s easier for me to wake up in the 5am hour. Even if you’re struggling with your diet & exercise, you can make a similar promise to yourself to get enough sleep each night and you might just surprise yourself with how much better you feel each day!

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I told you these were simple, right?! Whatever you decide for making this year a healthier one, make sure to communicate your plans with your family and then celebrate your success together.

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you’re sure to succeed!

Want to get healthy and wealthy at the same time? Reply below for your chance to win a sample of all 14 flavors of Quaker Popped Rice Snacks and $1,000 gift card to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quaker. I received product in conjunction with this post. The opinions and text are all mine. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  See Official Sweepstakes Rules

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Signs of ADHD in Children: Is this your child?

286892 ofcomm series   collapsed Signs of ADHD in Children: Is this your child?

Photo courtesy of rajsun22

With the fervor of the holidays ever upon us, children’s excitement level is at an all time high…and understandably so. But I’ve also noticed a rise in my friends asking about signs of ADHD in children and wondering, “Does my child have ADHD?”

More and more of my friends, especially with young boys, seem to be receiving diagnoses of ADD and ADHD in their children. To be honest, I’ve always been skeptical of super-quick diagnoses of this disease and an immediate rush to treat with medication.

While I am nowhere near implying that ADHD does not in fact exist, I’ve been wondering a great deal about how to tell the difference between typical ‘boy’ behavior and ADHD, especially since so many of my friends seem to be wondering this exact question…and perhaps more importantly, what to do if your child does receive an ADHD diagnosis.

So I went to Jim Forgan, an expert colleague of mine who is a Licensed School Psychologist and specializes in ADHD resources and Parent Support, and asked him a few questions in hopes of benefitting all of you who may be wondering if in fact your child suffers with ADHD:

1. When should I be concerned that my child’s behavior isn’t simply ‘typical boy behavior’?

I ask parents to consider these five points when trying to decide if the boy’s behavior is typical or if it may be ADHD:
First, how intense is your boy’s behavior?
Boys with ADHD have difficulty with self-regulating their emotions so you boy may become very intense when he gets upset that something does not go his way. You may describe your boy as, “Wearing his emotions on his sleeve.” Your boy may be quick to melt down at home, in the store, at a birthday party, or even at a relative’s house.

Second, how frequent do the behaviors occur?
If your boy has ADHD then his behaviors occur a lot. Your boy’s behaviors may occur so often that they are wearing you out. His behavior may be wearing out his teacher or a caregiver. When a child without ADHD is reprimanded for his behavior he should respond to a warning and a redirection. The boy with ADHD usually has to have then warning and also hear from you three, four, or five times to stop his behavior.

Third, how long has this behavior lasted?
If your boy’s behaviors are related to ADHD they must last over a long period of time. They can’t be behaviors related to a situation such as moving to a new town or a parental divorce. True ADHD behaviors last for more than six months.

Fourth, is there a family history, or suspected family history, of ADHD/ADD?
If there is suspected or documented ADHD/ADD in the family tree, then this is a strong warning sign. In 50% of children ADHD is genetic. Even if it skipped a generation, if it’s in the family tree then that is cause for concern.

Fifth, do the challenging behaviors occur in all areas of the boy’s life?
For a pediatrician or psychologist to diagnose a child with ADHD, they need to make sure the behaviors occur at home, in school, during extracurricular activities, and throughout your boy’s life. ADHD does not pick and choose when to rear its ugly head.

To sum up, for your boy’s behaviors to be classified as ADHD, his behaviors have to occur to a very high degree, have lasted more than six months, have occurred in two or more settings, and have interfered with his social or academic performance. If you read this and are concerned about your boy, get it checked out and then get yourself some resources to help you parent him.

2. What can you do if you suspect your boy’s behaviors are related to ADHD?

First, talk to your son’s pediatrician or a child or school psychologist. Most professionals are very thorough when determining if your son has ADHD. They should gather information from multiple sources as well as test, or at minimum, talk with your boy.

In addition to talking to a professional, many parents will also closely monitor their child’s diet to make sure the behaviors are not the result of food allergies such as gluten or red dye. Some parents will begin giving their boy a multivitamin or supplements. In Module Two of my Parent Support System, I discuss the specific type of allergy testing you should ask your doctor to complete.  (I also have a video in the Parent Support System that discusses which types of supplements often help boys with ADHD). Whatever you do, start identifying the people that can help support you and your child.

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I could go on and on with what I learned from Dr. Forgan, but suffice it to say, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question. What I can tell you is that every child is different, so it’s important to study your child well, rule out any other possibilities and then present him to people you trust.

I appreciate that Jim also recognizes the role of diet and supplements in not only diagnosing, but also treating ADHD. If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that we need to do the best job we can in helping our bodies heal themselves; diet and supplements play a crucial role in that, but the quality and combination are key, which is why it’s important to find a qualified nutritionist to guide you down that path.

Regardless of where you live, you can also find professionals specializing in ADHD by searching the professional’s list on the CHADD website. CHADD is the largest organization for helping and advocating for individuals with ADHD. You may have to interview several professionals before finding the right fit but having the right fit is worth the time and financial investment because your make more progress. Dr. Forgan is also available to help parents in person or via Skype.

While we’ve just scratched the surface here, I hope this has shed some light on what so many of you are going through and given some guidance, possible next steps to take and questions to ask on your journey to diagnosing ADHD.

Just curious, for those of you who have ADHD children, what is the best piece of advice you would give to others in the beginning stages of this diagnosis process?

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Week 12 weigh in at Blue Sky MD

It’s hard to believe yesterday marked my week 12 weigh in at Blue Sky MD… well, technically my 12 week weigh-in should have been this past Friday, but I forgot the kids had the day off of school for Spring Break, so I had to postpone it a little bit (family does come first, after all!)

It actually came at an interesting time. Because we’re staying home for Spring Break, we’ve decided to really clean and purge in our house. Monday night my husband and I tackled our closets. To make a long story short, we found PILES of clothes that only a few months ago were WAY too tight on us, but now were so big we had to get rid of. This is just one pile:

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So look and see how the scales treated me today after a not so friendly week 10:

I’m 3 pounds down!

Ricky isn’t around today to help me take pictures, but as soon as he can, we’ll get pictures up of my official before and after.

I did however manage to grab a picture of me in the only pair of shorts that I could wear last year. They are a size 14 and were still very tight when I did wear them. Look at them now:
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The Blue Sky MD program is initially a 12 week weight loss program, but you can continue on with maintenance check-ins, Vitamin B shots, nutritional counseling and more. To be honest, I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep on with the program yet, not because of the efficacy of it, but because of my own personal time constraints.

I feel like I’ve really learned a lot from the doctors, nurses and consultants at Blue Sky MD and have benefited from the weekly accountability, but my travel schedule for the next two months may make it hard for me to keep up with the appointments.

I’ll check in and let you know what I decide soon….

Out of curiosity, did you ever call Blue Sky MD for your own free consultation?

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Week 10 weigh in at Blue Sky MD

My week 10 weigh in at Blue Sky MD didn’t go exactly as I had hoped on Friday…

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I said I would never get back into the 160′s, but:

It’s been a busy month of travel (NYC, Atlanta, Pigeon Forge), so I should be thankful there wasn’t a bigger gain, but I’d like to think I’d keep going down instead of up.

It’s been harder to gauge what I’m eating when I’m not at home, especially when not able to check nutritional information of a local restaurant, but my attitude towards food has definitely changed for the better.

The one thing people have been saying they appreciate about what I’m doing with Blue Sky MD is that I’m bringing real weight loss back to real people. What they mean is that in an age of “Biggest Loser” and “Extreme Makeover”, those of us who want to lose 5, 10 or 20 pounds, or simply want to get rid of that extra baby weight for good, have been forgotten about!

There are so many quick fixes to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, but very few programs that can stand tried and true, both for those who have a lot of weight to lose or a little. Blue Sky MD has helped me and many others who not only have a few pounds to lose, but want to learn a healthier relationship with food so they can keep it off in the future!

How much weight are you wanting to lose?

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Blue Sky MD weigh in week 8

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Instead of tell you about my week 8 weigh in at Blue Sky MD, why not just get right to the point:

Yes, it happened. My 5 days in NYC included wedding festivities, hours of walking all over the city, a trip to Ground Zero, and some of my favorite street food…which in turn caused me to bring back an unwanted souvenir: an extra pound icon sad Blue Sky MD weigh in week 8

The good news is that I actually lost fat this week, but I gained a pound of water (what is it with me and holding on to this water weight?!) I did like how Daphne put it at the end of my visit: “Water is just a renter” – it’s not permanent and easy to get rid of icon smile Blue Sky MD weigh in week 8 Good words, my friend!

All in all, considering I was WAY off my normal routine, I guess this week wasn’t all that bad. Yes, I did have half a bagel, split a felafel & gyros with my honey and even found a good Jewish corned beef sandwich on our last night there, but I also found ways to balance those yummy delights throughout the rest of my day.

I will say that I was not at my best when it came to drinking water and snacking throughout the day. I found myself guzzling a bunch of water all at once whenever I could find a bottle and would remember to bring snacks for my kids, but often forgot for myself.

My goal for this week – get back into the 150′s with no looking back!

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Week 7.5 Weigh In: Blue Sky MD

2012 03 01 Britton 6 bday 001 200x300 Week 7.5 Weigh In: Blue Sky MDBecause I had to miss my weigh in because of Blissdom last week, this is technically the 7.5 week weigh in at Blue Sky MD icon smile Week 7.5 Weigh In: Blue Sky MD

I’m not even going to wait to tell you the results…Believe it or not, I lost another pound this week! I can’t believe that even with the crazy month I’ve had, I continue to drop pounds!

Here’s the big reveal:

I wasn’t even able to count calories as closely this week since I was at a hotel and their nutrition information isn’t exactly readily available information. However, after almost two months on the Blue Sky MD program, I know what I should and shouldn’t eat, how often I should eat and most importantly, when I should stop eating!

What’s even more exciting is that I finally fell below the 160 barrier for the first time in years!

If you’re looking for solid education and accountability in your weight loss goals, please give Amanda a call to get your free consultation at Blue Sky MD in the Nashville area at 615-690-6600 or Check out their locations here – be sure to tell them Sami sent you!

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Week 5 Weigh In: Blue Sky MD

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Week 5 Weigh In at Blue Sky MD

It’s time for an update on my life transformation journey again: my week 5 weigh in at Blue Sky MD.

There’s one thing I’m finally realizing: When you’re happy, you’re healthy.

Now I don’t mean that superficial happy of some who think they can do/say/eat whatever they want and still be healthy and happy.

No way.

What I would suggest is something I’ve believed in my head for ages but finally make click in my heart: when you look at getting healthy and losing weight as a lifestyle change instead of a science project it becomes part of your everyday routine and works with you…not against you.

I’ve realized I can’t go into Blue Sky MD each week and apologize for my busy lifestyle…or complain that I was traveling…or use the excuse, “but I was gone all day!” Instead, I’ve accepted that we lead a life on the go and must plan our lives and yes, even our food choices, accordingly.

That means anything and everything from packing yummy & healthy snacks for my day before I leave the house to simply looking up restaurant nutrition information on the web before I go sit down somewhere and look at a menu.

Blue Sky MD provides the tools for my transformation, but only I can be the agent of that change.

And the proof is in the results:

Another successful week! Here are the numbers:
Weight: 162.4 (that’s almost another 2 pounds down from last week!)
BMI: 26.2

I think the best part is that those 2 pounds were all fat! I’m still holding my water weight (once again dispelling the myth that programs like this just make you lose water weight), so I may need to drink even MORE water than I already am (which doesn’t seem possible…. icon wink Week 5 Weigh In: Blue Sky MD

My goal for this next week is to break the 160 barrier, but I have an event in Atlanta for 4 days, so I’ll just have to face this challenge head on!

Jenny really took a lot of time with me at this week’s weigh in to come up with some more natural, healthy snacks and encouraged me to not only plan out my meals in advance, but also to prepare them so I don’t fall victim to running short on time.

It’s still a work in progress, but I’m encouraged by my progress and grateful for all your support along this life change I’m on!

Blue Sky MD does have quite a few clinics, but they are situated mainly in the Southeast. Check out their locations here and feel free to give them a call to find out more about a free consultation that could lead to your own transformation!

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Ready for my week 5 weigh in at Blue Sky MD

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Week 4 Weigh In: Blue Sky MD

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Week 4 Weigh In at Blue Sky MD

To be honest, I was a little worried about my week 4 weigh in at Blue Sky MD.

I’d only lost .2 pounds over 2 weeks according to their scales, so my spirits were not exactly encouraged. On top of that, my precious husband whisked me away for a surprise Chattanooga weekend, where I ended up living in the moment and indulging in some very sweet treats (a gluten free chocolate raspberry cupcake from Rembrandt’s coffee shop and a frozen yogurt with fresh raspberries & dark chocolate chips from The Ice Cream Show).

In what I thought to be a cheeky response to this little indulgence, I tweeted out a picture of my food journal with “Don’t Ask” written in it.

This didn’t go over well with all of you; it apparently came across as being disrespectful to the process of life change I’m participating in.

Still others seemed to find my honesty refreshing and proof that I am still living my real life while doing the best I can to get healthy with the help of the folks at Blue Sky MD.

The truth is, I think I’d been a little stressed out over the past 2 weeks about doing & eating the right thing, so I was actually holding on to the weight. Once I stopped focusing on the food and relaxed a bit with my husband, I felt SO much better…and it showed on the scale this week, woo hoo!

So here are the numbers:
Weight: 164.2 (that’s almost 4 pounds down from last week!)
BMI: 26.5 (down .6)

Here is my 1 month check-in:
My initial starting weight: 174.8         My current weight: 164.2  (that means I’ve lost 10.6 lbs in one month!)
My initial BMI: 28.2                             My current BMI: 26.5
My initial body fat %: 40.2                  My current body fat %: 37.9
My initial body fat pounds: 70.2        My current body fat pounds: 62.2
I’ve also lost over 4 inches in my hips and waist!

Perhaps the best part of all was when I went shopping for my sister-in-law’s wedding this past weekend. We had initially gone shopping right after Christmas to find me a dress and my husband a suit because we couldn’t fit in anything we had (in a bad way!).

Well…not only did my husband have to take the suit back that he bought and get one 2 sizes smaller (yes, he’s eating better with me too!), but I was able to fit in a size 6 dress! (Did I mention the dress I bought a month ago was a size 14???) The best part was that the dress I found was almost identical to one I’d seen last month that cost almost $200; this one was on clearance for $30 (plus I had a 20% off coupon) – a great size AND a great deal!

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Fitting in a size 6 for the first time in a long time!

Jenny really took a lot of time with me at this week’s weigh in to come up with some more natural, healthy snacks and encouraged me to not only plan out my meals in advance, but also to prepare them so I don’t fall victim to running short on time.

It’s still a work in progress, but I’m encouraged by my progress and grateful for all your support along this life change I’m on!

Blue Sky MD does have quite a few clinics, but they are situated mainly in the Southeast. Check out their locations here and feel free to give them a call to find out more about a free consultation that could lead to your own transformation!

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