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seven tips for change

so i have been thinking the past few weeks about health and fitness a LOT.
i have loved the 21 Day FIX.
the only thing that i didn’t love was my own will power over peanut butter m&ms.
and that is not 21 Day’s fault.

my plan… is to keep on the 21 day schedule with meal planning & workouts through may.
then also adding back in some running with my friends when the weather warms up.
the 21 plan is easy to maintain and i like not having to think too much about what i am going to do each day.
i just do the workout on the schedule and follow my meal plan i made.
i know Marta will be facilitating more groups.
i recommend them for everyone!  they are SO informative and encouraging!
(i think you need to pre-order now if you want to specifically do the 21DayFix because it sold out quickly..but ask marta)

i made a list of some helpful tips if you are having a hard time trying to fit in a workout and/or trying to change your eating habits.
because let’s face it… it is not easy.   we are ALL busy.  we are ALL tired.
these are some things that are helping me out right now!


1.  set out your work out gear the night before.

when everything is out and ready you are one step closer to not talking yourself out of your workout.
i put mine in the hall in case my husband is still sleeping when i get up.

2.  workout first thing in the morning… before anything else.
you are practically still sleeping so you won’t notice until about 10 minutes in.  HA!
i know you morning people know this secret already.  (it only took me 38 years to figure it out…)
but if you get up and workout early, before your kids get up even, your day will go SO MUCH BETTER!
you have energy!  you are awake for your kids at breakfast!
you get a whole bunch of stuff done that would take so much longer had you slept later and been more tired.
TRUST ME… i understand the sleeping in.
i am the queen of sleeping in!
every morning i think “NO.  UGH.  I HATE THIS.  I WANT TO SLEEP.”
every. single. morning.
halfway through the workout i am bursting with endorphins that did not exist before!
i am pumped!
it has been so good for the whole family.
because this mama loves to sleep…. like reallllllllly loves it.
but a smiley, happy, sweaty mama is so much nicer at 7 AM than the crabby, please-be-quiet-and-don’t-talk-to-me mama who can’t open her puffy eyes.
even the dogs will be happier.


3.  take your food with you.
i have a cute little cooler bag that i drag all over the place.
and these kind of containers make it great for portion control and two different kinds of snacks.
if you are already stocking your kitchen with loads of healthy options this should take you hardly any time at all.
if you aren’t… you should start.
buy twice as much fruit and veggies and half as much processed food the next time you shop.
give it a try.


my drink of choice is water.
we all need LOTS of it everyday… possibly much more than you normally drink.
i love coffee and drink that all the time too.
but when i am out and about i always have my water cup but i was running out all the time.
then i would be thirsty and annoyed… because even if you went through a drive through and ordered a water… it tastes like grease!
and if you drink soda i am sure as soon as your water would be gone you would be dying for a soda at a drive through.
so this is my solution in my car.
bestdayever(do not look at my dirty console… just UN-see that ok?)
i refill them almost everyday.  then i always have more water on hand.  and i have a healthy drink when my kids say “I’m thirsty!”

no more missing out on drinking my water when i want it.
and no excuses.


5.  get rid of that junk food in your house that temps you.
just throw it away.
(and pour stuff on top of it so you don’t take it back out of the trash…)(not that i have ever done that….)
it is bad for you.  (peanut butter m&ms… i am talking to you!!!)
it’s better off in the trash than in your body.

and don’t get fast food anymore.
just don’t.
it’s gross…. i mean… it really is!
the only “fast food” place i can still handle occasionally is Chipotle.
that is certainly not perfect either but its a much healthier choice than Wendys or McDonalds.
all that other greasy food?
you know it’s bad… you know it.
so we have to just say enough is enough.
and stop the madness.

i am sure i will eat fast food on a rare occasion but not weekly and not even monthly.
it would be out of pure necessity (“no place to eat for the next 3 hours on a road trip” kind of necessity)


6. find some accountability.
it is such a great motivator to know someone else is cheering you on.
there are lots of ways to have accountability… i personally really like the groups marta is leading.

and meeting with my girlfriends for running (or walks when i have too much to talk about  😉
we keep each other motivated.  we build each other up.  we encourage.  we sympathize.
we give grace.  we support!
as a busy mom i need to hear from someone who can really understand what that means.
it is constant… right?
as moms and women we are all go-go-go.  we don’t get time off.  we are all day and all night.
so i need to hear i am not alone and that i am doing ok.
accountability for me needs to be understanding and encouraging… no guilt or shame or teasing.
so be sure to choose your accountability wisely.
PicMonkey Collage
and if you don’t have girlfriends to do that with… MARTA will be your friend!
she will be those things for you!  having a coach is pretty great.


7.  LAST tip… have to take care of YOU.

YOU are an important, beautiful, amazing creation made by an Almighty God.

it is true!
and YOU are in charge of it.
what you eat is up to you.
what you do with your body is up to you.
as grown women… no one else is going to take of us anymore.

that means YOU have to schedule your time to exercise.
that means YOU have make healthy choices one day at a time.
that means YOU have to be the one to schedule a massage for yourself.
or a hair appointment.
or a date night!
or a girls night!
or just a stinkin nap.

you need rest and recharge and good foods and exercise.

and you have to do it for YOU.

i listened to a sermon last week & the line that stuck with me was
“no one plans to ruin their life… they just don’t plan not to”
i think that is true for our health and self care too!
none of us say out loud  “i am just going to eat everything when i am stressed or sad and not get off this couch”
or  “i am just going to take care of everyone else all day every day & make sure there is no time left for me to recharge.”
but we don’t do things to prevent it and we end up doing just that.

don’t forget about you.
your body is worth 30 minutes of exercise.
your body deserves healthy foods over junky stuff.
your mind craves time to rest and relax.

God made you awesome…. so BE awesome!

what are your thoughts?
i would love to hear them.
even if your thoughts are “geez meg you are losing your mind”
let’s hear it.
what are you doing?  what do you want?  how are you getting there?  what motivates you?





Jen@thecottagenest - Such great tips Meg! Thank you for posting them!

Congratulations on your new home. I can’t wait to see what you do to it. So fun (and stressful) to have a new project!!

Christin - Thank you so much for this encouragement! I am 31 with 3 young boys and it can feel like the days just slip by and now I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and I’m sick of it! Thanks for the tips to get started!

Traci - I so need to get back into working out first thing in the morning. I like the gym better late at night when not a lot of people are there (mine is 24 hours!), but exercising in the morning sets up the best days.

Valerie @ Chateau a la mode - Hi Meg,
Wow, look at you go! So proud of you. I like your idea if getting things out the night before for a workout. I have actually gotten frustrated because I cant’t find anything ti wear and din’t work out. It’s just a dumb excuse, but it has happened to me. Good luck on your new program and keep us posted.

Alicia @ La Famille - Meg, this is so good. Its all stuff I know, but just needed to be reminded. Getting up and getting your workout in before the kids are up is KEY!!! Such good stuff.

And CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! on your new house and all the kids’ successes! So much good stuff going on with you guys!


Lesley - Meg – you’re the bomb, for real! You are sooooo inspiring, honest and authentic! You make great points here and I agree with every one of them. I especially love the doing it for YOU message. When I feel like I’m hauling myself to work out, I remind myself that this is me looking after me – if I don’t do it for myself, who else will!? Can’t wait to get my hands on my 21 day fix too! xox

Stacie Bowers - Thanks so much for your never ending inspiration! I can’t wait until our paths cross again. xo

Andrea - I’m there…..I’m trying….not perfect, but sure trying. I love your big water cup….I have had two cooler cup thingy’s and both were awful……. where did you find your cute water cup??????

Keep on inspiring us all, please…..

Sarah D. - I *need* to know where you found that snack container that you have your apples and pb in! I just looked on-line and think it must be Rubbermaid brand, but it isn’t for sale via the Rubbermaid website and I can’t find it for sale on any other website either. Please help!!! 🙂

Laura H - Thank you for this very positive post Meg! There are many things I have learned with age, and one of them is to take care of your body! I am a VEGAN, and I can tell you from personal experience it has the BEST effect on your mental and physical well being! I feel light and joyous all of the time! People always ask me what I eat, and I tell them….REAL FOOD!
I also find it easier to run in the morning. You feel so great afterward! It sets the tone for the entire day! I always look forward to your posts, and this one by far is the best!! xo

amy jupin - you inspire me!
and you look so healthy and STRONG!
likin that big time.
i think you deserve a hug.
in person this time!

Cassandra - Way to go, keep up the good work!! And you are absolutely right we deserve time to recharge & take care of ourselves. Thanks for reminding me 🙂

Lindsey - This is great stuff here! Thanks so much for spelling it out for me today!

cyndiloohoo - I love the line about not planning to ruin your life…. That is so true. I didn’t plan on gaining extra weight when I was in my 30’s, it just happened. I have lost it, gained back 10 pounds and am now trying to lose it again. I also love to sleep and that is my struggle, wanting to sleep any chance I get a little extra time. I know I need to exercise more but it is so hard.

Jess - Thank you so much for this, Meg! I am a runner who is trying to get back into it after a very rough winter in Chicagoland. I’m always so happy to be out there running and I never regret it when I go, but sometimes finding the motivation can be hard! These are great tips for fitness motivation AND healthy eating, which is something my husband and I are definitely working on 🙂 I really enjoy reading your blog and enjoy seeing where the journey takes you. Cheers!

Stephanie - Thank you so much for this great encouragement. It came at just the right time for me. It’s nice to hear it from a real woman, a real mom, just like me. I have bookmarked this post!!!

Heather - Meg I just finished the 21 day fix with Marta is was awesome! But….dang….you should be a coach!!! You rock!!!!

Janna - You are so RIGHT ON!!! I too am on this same kick and I know some ppl think I am losing my mind but you know what…I just. don’t. care. I am taking charge of my life and my health and it feels awesome! I lost 65 lbs last yr from Apr. to Dec. and I have kept it off and life is so SO much better!!! Feels amazing to be even 10 lbs lighter than I was when I got married 14 yrs ago. We have cut almost every processed food out of our house and buy as much organic as we can afford (I have major health issues like autoimmune of the thyroid etc and I just pray none of my kids have to get as sick as I did). One of my 4 kids has tested positive for gluten and dairy allergy along with me:( I still have to get the others tested. It’s a long hard road, but it is our responsibility to keep our family healthy. So keep it up you and good luck on your health journey!!!

dixie - meg,

love your fitness posts! i’m thinking hard about doing the “marta plan.” i’ve emailed back & forth w/ her a few times… my 2 biggest questions which she didn’t answer directly….. 1. how can i incorporate eating out with this plan?? and 2. the workouts? do i have to have a treadmill or any equipment? can i do this in my basement??

would love some more direction!!!


Erin - My neighbor and I started T25 7 weeks ago and for the first time ever I have finally stuck with a workout program for more than 2 weeks. I love junk food and am always in the car and going non stop like you. I gained weight this winter and normally this time of year I give up all carbs, lose the weight and then by about 4th of July start putting it back on. About 3 weeks ago I decided that I didn’t really care so much about the weight ( well I would love 10lbs off) but about my health. Once I started exercising I cared more about food as fuel and how it was going to make me feel later if I ate junk. Anyway, like you I find that I have to pack a cooler when i hit the road. I actually love it! I love having something fresh to eat and not something from a drive thru! I also never leave my house without water (I used to drink diet coke all day). Have a workout buddy. Someone who wont let you quit. And my last tip is buy cute work out clothes. I swear it makes a difference.

Marla - As a mom of a 7 month old…working out has taken a major back seat until recently. All that middle of the night waking and nursing boobs don’t really make for a good early morning workout. but I have made my little guy’s first nap my “first thing in the morning”. Put him down and work out immediately. (and yes my clothes are laid out) 😉

Liz - Love this, Meg! After a year of Crossfitting with a recent 3 month break, I am feeling ICK. I started a 21 day sugar detox today and signed up for a new gym membership, so this post came at a great time. The signs are everywhere! It’s so difficult sometimes to remember #7 when we are busy being wives, employees, mothers, friends… It’s so vital, though. THANKS FOR SHARING!

LeighAnn - I’m doing a challenge as well. Saw a link for your blog and I loved your tips. Where did you get your huge water bottle?? I love it. And what a great idea to keep spare water bottles in the car.

Leann - LOVE your blog Meg. Love how encouraging & real you are! As women, it’s nice to see everyone support one another! 🙂

Alice H – I’m in about the same boat as you! Except I have only 1 kid, he’s a year and a half. I get up at 3:30, I can’t imagine getting up any earlier either! I work 7:30-4 but I have an hour and a half commute one way in the morning & an hour back home! By the time I get home, it’s dinner time, play, bath & bed. My little one is in bed by 7:30 & I work out for at least a half an hour then. I know it’s not “good” to workout that late some say, but it’s better than sitting on my couch. At least that’s what I keep telling myself 🙂 I’m a newbie to the workout zone, I started eating better about a month ago, cutting out processed foods and white starches. No sweets, occasional dark chocolate, no soda, just water and a coffee in the AM. A week & a half ago, I started to work out. I can definately already see a little bit of change going on.

You can do it! It definately isn’t easy, but It’s worth it 🙂

April R - This post is going to be such a blessing 🙂
Fun, concise, REAL, and inspiring – thank you!

“Un-see that” XD

Kimberly - Thank you.
I SO needed this today (easter egg in mouth)
I will be shopping for little containers and lotsa good groceries this afternoon.
And I might even hit the treadmill. Stranger things have happened!

Alice H - I have a hard time waking up any earlier than I do. I work full-time from 7:30-4:30 (a 30 minute commute) and I already wake up at 5:30 to shower, get ready, get my kids ready, etc. Then when I get home, it is dinner time, play time, homework time, cleaning time, bed time. And I am exhausted by then also!! What would some tips be for me to get some exercise in? I walk around my work building in the morning and afternoon for my “smoke break” (I do NOT smoke, we just call it that. LOL!). I eat decently, we have been cutting out a lot of processed foods at our home. But I have a really hard time getting in a good exercise. Besides playing with my kids, bike riding (when weather permits), etc. Thanks for any tips or feedback!

Adriana - I love all of your tips! I’m currently trying to make this fitness thing happen in my life and I reaaaaaally need some motivation, I’m not a morning person… But you’re so inspiring! Thanks!

Jenni Horne - This is a great post!! It’s nice to see “real” people working out and making healthy food changes. Kinda more of a motivator for me than let’s say that skinny chick on the video. Sounds whack, but knowing someone that is busy, has a family to nurture and a business to keep up with is making time for these healthy changes makes me want to try too. I kinda like being awesome. 🙂

Karen Gerstenberger - Dear Meg,
Thank you for sharing your fitness routine, healthy eating and encouragement with all of us. I just returned from a week at a wellness retreat with my 81-year old mom (1st time in my life, and I am 54) – it was life-changing! We practiced loving self-care, were able to eat healthy food and really see it as FUEL for this precious, only body which God gave to each one of us. I tried new forms of fitness, and things I haven’t done in years (walked the labyrinth, took gentle hikes, and tried yoga). Now I’m in love with yoga, and have started a practice at a studio near my home. It’s the right combo of spiritual, mental and physical for me – gentle, yet challenging – and it is a great balance for my regular fitness-walking. There is something out there for everyone, and we will find it, if we are gentle and kind to ourselves. It’s hard to love our own body in this culture, but our bodies are gifts and we need to take care of them from the inside out. I’m thankful that you are modeling this for yourself, your family and blog readers. If you want to read about the retreat we took, I wrote about it on my blog (

Tere - Thanks for sharing Meg. You are doing awesome. I needed to hear these 7 tips this morning. It’s so easy for me to get “off” this life change, your motivation is appreciated. Question: how are your kids/household handling #5 — are they adjusting to no junk in the house, or maybe they aren’t junk eaters like their mama. xoxo

Wendy - I need this! I have been searching everywhere for that external motivation to stick to the working out routine. Mornings are so tough especially when it is so cold. I hope this warmer weather helps me some. How do you stay away from the delicious treats at Craft weekend? I find myself making great cookies and cakes for my kids and husband and then can’t resist. That is why I need to work out so I can indulge without the guilt!

I loved the first commenter. So true. I am always inspired by your posts but not to be you to be me.



Jen - First, I am so proud of your for doing this for you. I think that’s great! Not only are you becoming healthier, you are also setting a very positive example for your family. You go, mama!

Me? I am a group exercise instructor (for the past 18 years) and have had the whole exercise, no soda, no fast food thing down for a LONG time. I am however 37 years old, have had two babies, am aware that my metabolism will start slowing down if I don’t fight it, and am trying to do a few things to better my health. I want to be able to run around when I’m a grandma!

I am trying to eat healthier and move more. I stand as much as possible – paying bills, waiting at the doctor’s office, on the laptop at home, etc., I am planking whenever I can (don’t tell my co-workers, but I do this in the nice big single-seater bathroom at work and then wash my hands REALLY well!), I am trying to consume more fresh fruits and veggies, and have been keeping a food journal since August.

I saw something on Pinterest that I keep thinking: Move more, eat right. The weight will take care of itself.

Kimberlee - #7—the most important.
I see you doing this, and encouraging others is the best.
God made you to do this.
I love you more than pb m&m’s.
Now that’s love!

molly - love your tips. so simple. and they are all so true. i especially like the tip to buy more fresh food. you just have to keep the good stuff on hand!! and the water. i drink a ton of water. i always carry my water cup (my favorite cup just broke this weekend….sad day!) what i notice is my girls rely on my water cup for them to drink too. so we are all drinking more water.

and taking care of you. so important. to be our best we have to take time for ourselves. we have to be a good example for our kids. oh there will be days where the workout gets skipped and we eat a cheeseburger from sonic but that is ok too. we need to be a good example of good health and you need to take care of you.

Amanda - Love this Meg! So happy you are feeling your groove getting healthy!! Me too :):) I started with a group of 20 girls on Jan 5th. We read the Daniel Plan, and began an 8 week challenge together to get healthier. The new good habits stuck and at 10 weeks I’m still feeling great!
Grateful for the ability beyond myself!! Glory to Him! He’s given me so much willpower and endurance.
I’m also following a few great weight loss journeys… Diana smith (livylove) and molly brown (mollyrunsforlife). Those ladies are so inspiring.

Elise - I’m really enjoying these posts! Please keep them coming! I’m 9 months pregnant right now (with my first) so a lot of what you are sharing (particularly the exercise part) doesn’t apply too much at the moment but I’m already feeling motivated by you to get back to being diligent in my exercise and eating once the baby is born!

Julie B - I have a 5, 3 and 9 month old. And I work a full time corporate job. And I have 9,476 other reasons not to take care of myself. But I also need to lose baby weight. And I just turned 35 on Friday. And all of these factors added up to me making the same choice you have recently made. Enough is enough. There will never be a convenient time to lose weight and get in shape. But I refuse to give up on myself. 35 is still too young. I have so much i want to do and I’m going to do it…by making time for me to eat healthy foods and exercise. I’m about 4 weeks in and feel like a new person. And I’m so energized to keep going!!

Keep up the good work and keep up the motivating blog posts. We all need community to make lifestyle changes.

Michelle - If you want to try a different salad, my fiance and I have both been obsessed with this lately:

mixed greens, craisins, feta or blue cheese and sunflower seeds.

For a dressing we make a white balsalmic vinegar that we have tweaked from several recipes….usually put it in a mason jar and shake before serving:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP honey
1 TSBP lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

SO good! Hope you try it. 🙂

Stephanie - You are doing a great job, Meg! We have been healthy eaters since the late 90s (no processed food, mostly organic, no fast food, grassfed meats and milk, lotsa veggies, etc), but I so remember that lightbulb coming on for me. Not that I ever thought fast food was healthy, but I never really cared. Exercise has been much harder for me. I am now signed up at 10 minute workouts that I can handle at night when all my kids are in bed. I still have 20 lbs to lose, so exercise is it!
Keep it up, Meg! 🙂

Donna - I am a morning person, so I am not always so popular in my house when I am up and about and everyone else wants peace and quiet. But I have to run before everyone gets up, or I won’t do it later in the day. I can usually sneak out quietly, and it is SUCH a great way to start my day. A time of solitude, quiet, peace, reflection, positive thoughts for the day. In the end, it makes me a better mama 🙂

GB Jost - When in Wichita, stop at QT and buy a cup that is refillable. Fill it with water, KEEP IT, and at any QT (and there are thousands in Wichit and outside of Wichita), you can get free refills of water anytime!

Jen - I am SOOO with you on the morning exercise! I, too, set out my clothes the night before and I get up at 5:30 and get it done. If I don’t, it doesn’t happen. No matter how much I tell myself it will! I get on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes and then it’s done! I have also found that I am MUCH more motivated to get on the treadmill if I have something to look forward to while I’m ON the treadmill! I am not a music gal so I get the ipad set to Netflix and watch something that I only allow myself to watch on the treadmill. I did ALL the seasons of Parks and Rec this way and now I’m working my way through New Girl! I can watch one whole episode while I’m exercising and the time goes much more quickly. I think next I’m gonna go back through old Parenthood shows because you can’t get much better than that!

I MUST be better at preparing food ahead of time. Things go SOOO much better when I do but I am SOOO not good at that. And I don’t love salads either. Ugh!

Thanks Meg! You are inspiring!

Sarah M - Ugh. You are absolutely right. I’ve been thinking about all of this for a while now. My 4th (and last) baby is 19 months old. I’m still carrying weight I gained from my first baby, 8 years ago! Number 7 struck a chord. I keep thinking I have to change everything immediately. Then, of course, I can’t maintain all of the change so I fail and I hear the lie that I just shouldn’t even try.
Thanks for this post. I’m bookmarking it to come back to daily.

Martha - I have the 21 day fix as well. What dressing do you put on your salad?

Gemma - Great post Meg! I just love your honesty. Did you ever like salad before or have you just become used to eating it? Sometimes I love the idea of a salad but once it is in front of me I can barely eat half of it. It just tastes so bland.

Gemma x

Lori - You are so real and authentic and therefore anything you write is interesting and motivational. But especially this post – especially the dirty console. You inspire me every day – not necessarily to be more like you, but to be more like me. And I just wanted to say thank you.

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