It is amazing to witness all of the miraculous people who continue to live healthier and happier because of the health choices they are making!

  • Juan is down nearly 30 lbs. total and is moving better, feeling better, and is more confident than he was a year ago.
  • Juan’s wife Alyssa is down to a size she has not been in in over 10 years, is able to move better despite severe back issues, and is significantly stronger.
  • Mollie is down over 10 lbs., regularly competes in Spartan events and is running the Ragnar Relay next weekend. She is so much stronger!
  • Alex has lost 25 lbs. total and has developed consistent exercise habits and healthy boundaries with food.
  • Marie has lost over 30 lbs. and feels better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Jeremy runs and does resistance training 4-5 times a week despite years of not exercising after a serious auto accident. He also has been cigarette free for over a year!
  • Anne is down to a size that she has not been in since high school (she’s over 50 now), has less knee pain, and looks great.
  • Chris has put on 20 lbs. of quality muscle and has doubled his strength in many areas.
  • Kay has lost 30 lbs. after age 65, is stronger than she was 4 months ago, and moves easier every day.
  • Sonni has doubled her strength levels and feels less stress related shoulder pain.
  • Jacqui has lost 30 lbs. and has not missed a workout since mid-December after hating exercise her whole life.
  • Joyce is maintaining a 30 lbs. weight loss and has increased strength levels in all areas.
  • Justin has gained several pounds of quality muscle after slow or no muscle gains for years.

And the list could go on and on! Everyone listed above has so many barriers and “reasons” each could use to choose to not live healthier. But each one has learned how to manage these barriers differently and in a healthier way. All have incredible resiliency and insight and continue to recognize how they can improve. And they are no different from you. You can be healthier and happier. You can learn how to overcome barriers and live life fulfilled. You can impact yourself and those who love you in a positive way. But PLEASE begin as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


It is so amazing to witness people change their lives for the healthier despite large barriers and obstacles. One of those people is Anne, a woman in her fifties who works at a physical job, has painful knees and shoulders, and has struggled with weight issues her whole life. That is just the tip of the iceberg of barriers for Anne and for many it would be enough to defeat the desire to be healthier. Anne has also experienced the worst experience a mother can, the loss of a child. And not just one child, two children on two separate occasions. Now as a grandmother she is raising grandchildren too. Anne has learned because of personal work and growth the importance of taking care of herself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Despite the barriers she faces daily, Anne for the last 18 months has committed to at least four exercise sessions per week, has coped in different ways other than with food, and has continued to seek growth in all areas of her life. She is strong despite the shoulder and knees. She is down to a size she has not been since she was a teenager. She is more confident, happier, and healthier overall. And she has lot’s of barriers. Please take care of your health today. I know it can be hard sometimes but it is so important to try your best for yourself and those who love you. Commit to a safe exercise program and seek to control your growth, nothing else. Begin as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE.

Your Mood Is What You Eat

I struggled for years with Major Depressive Disorder, constant mood swings, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and lack of focus (ADHD). My outlook and relationships suffered, my self-esteem was very low, and life was miserable in ALL areas. I ate fast food on a daily basis, processed sugars and carbohydrates on a “several times daily” basis, and by the time I was in my early thirties I was over 300 pounds and in both physical and emotional pain. The weight I had gained from my food choices helped to create knee and back pain, the confidence of a “scaredy cat” and a dim outlook in life. I also had failed or dropped out of college six times due to my inability to learn and focus. And none if this was caused by what happened as a child or any other exterior source of blame. It was simply what I fed my body and mind.

New Research Shows That Food Affects Brain Function and Mood

“New” research out of Denmark is showing how the food I was consuming played a central role in my mood, physical pain, and the yo-yo I could never seem to unleash myself from. Certain foods, specifically processed sugars and carbohydrates create a response in our gut microbiota and brain that ultimately affect mood and behavior. The research is showing that when we consume foods that are high in processed sugars and unhealthy fats our bodies produce lower amounts of the things we naturally need to stay happy. Our bodies begin to rely on the unhealthy food to produce the “happy stuff” within our bodies, leading to a reliance on food and other sources for comfort and elevated mood. And because it is only a temporary “happy pill” we need to consume more and will still ultimately experience the depressive states that we are trying to avoid. The Denmark research study also shows that the unhealthy food choices lead to inflammation in the body which slows down the production of healthy neurons as we age and LARGELY impacts memory and our ability to learn. ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder, Alzheimer’s and other mental diseases are all affected by the food we eat. NOW WONDER I COULDN’T LEARN, WAS DEPRESSED ALL OF THE TIME, AND COULD NOT CONTROL MY IRRITABILITY AND IMPULSIVENESS!

Time For a New Strategy For Holistic/Integrative Health

            I am certainly not trying to be offensive to my friends in the medical community when I say that it is time for some changes in the way we treat mental health disorders. I understand that medication is necessary in some cases but not most. The people that I work with that suffer from depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health diseases do not seem to get better with medication. They may not get worse and now are able to “manage” the disorders with meds but I have seen few that actually become happy, calm, and fully present in daily life. It did not work for me either. What did work for me and many that I work with was changing the food that was put into our bodies, adding exercise, working on outlook and automatic negative world views, and having nonjudgmental but challenging support through the process. Supplementing with b-complex, fish oils, and vitamin d3 also helped as did meditation and daily SINCERE gratitude for life. It is not a pill and takes some work but ultimately will help with much of the suffering we deal with in our mental health because we are producing the “happy stuff” within our bodies ourselves and not relying on exterior, short term, and quick fix sources.

Start Today

The beginning of each day is a chance to start over with a fresh slate. “Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift and why we call it the present.” Today is your chance to start over with the way you treat your physical and mental health. You can choose to feed yourself healthy foods, exercise, and the way you respond to the events in the day. You can choose to learn and grow, inspire, support, love, and compliment. You can choose to read materials that help you grow, to serve others who struggle, and to become the healthiest you mentally and physically. Beginning today you can choose to BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

Not a gym rat but know that you need to exercise and want to do it in a safe manner? Miracles of Phoenix Fitness teaches only safe, healthy exercise in a welcoming environment. Our lifestyle modification program is extensive and helps participants achieve permanent lifestyle change. We have safe exercise programs for people with pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions, osteopenia, osteoporosis, arthritis, lower back, and other joint soreness. We offer gym, in your home, and online training programs and all have high success rates for permanent lifestyle change and improvement. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!


Lately I have been ruminating about people who I love that continue to struggle with addictions, depression, anxiety, and resentment. I have lost sleep, really struggled to manage food with boundaries, and have exercised minimally. Because of my lack of self-care for the past couple of days I have been depressed, anxious, impulsively angry, and resentful. I began to go into my autopilot response of “life isn’t fair to me” and crave a binge, lifelong practices when I have not been proactive with my well-being. But the difference now is I have the tools to work through and recognize that it is my response to the cards that are dealt to me, not the way the dealer handed me the cards. I recognize the HUGE impact that sleep has on my ability to manage food, think clearly, and stay present with my thoughts and emotions. I also recognize that if I do not stay resilient with my self-care, I will stay depressed, anxious, and angry;  I hate being there. So I got back on today. I made sure I went to sleep early and when the ruminating thoughts of sadness for others crept in, I put them to sleep with a focus on all that is good. I slept well and ran with my wiener dog this morning, something that brings me joy (running and my dog). I planned my meals and planned how I will be successful throughout my day, including when events of the day are challenging. Please take care of your health and overall well-being today. Know how you and the  way you treat yourself GREATLY affects those who love you and the way you treat them. Be healthy, be well. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE! HAVE A GREAT AND HEALTHY WEEKEND!

How Did I Recover?



I’ve been sitting, staring at this blank page for about 2 hours now.

Granted, I’ve taken a few breaks to peruse Buzzfeed, watch a Korean makeup video, and get ready for bed, but let’s face it. I’ve got writer’s block.


Which royally stinks.

So I’m going to go back to my roots here tonight. Return to why I started this blog in the first place.

Sometimes, when I think back to when I was in the throes of anorexia, it catches my breath. Thinking about all the ways I was ruled by this menacing dictator in my head: ED. Days were calculated to the minute. Choices and moments were heightened, inducing high stakes anxiety attacks. I was in the most extreme vortex of panic, all the time. About food. Exercise. Movement. Calories. Body image. Fear. Stress. Routines. Schedules. Secrecy.

I was trapped. A prisoner in my own disordered mind.

View original post 544 more words


I have heard continuously from people, including many professionals in the health industry, that overcoming lifelong unhealthy behaviors is “merely a choice.” But if it were merely that, then why aren’t we all successful at overcoming addictions, depression, anxieties, overeating, impulsive anger, and other areas of choice? I watched my father almost die trying to quit drinking. I have watched so many others struggle with other areas of life and wonder why they could not overcome the issues that prevented them from being their best self. All are good people with good hearts. Most are successful financially and with other areas of life but struggle with making the best health choice. I struggled for years with making healthy choices. I weighed over 300 pounds, had multiple addictions, depression, anxieties, and other areas that I could not seem to change. That is because it is more than a choice. There are so many things involved in ‘the choice” that many have to learn how to make it including myself. Here is what we have learned.

Choice 101

  1. They learn how to make the change they are seeking an absolute priority. People that are successful at learning how to make a choice see an area of life that they desire a change in. They make this area an absolute priority. They will begin the day mapping out strategies to be successful in the area of change and eliminate barriers that he or she may have used in the past to slow the progress of change. They are responsible for their life and very prepared.
  2. They know and are willing to go through the discomfort of change. Change is never easy. People who learn how to make a choice know that they may have an automatic pilot response when stress occurs in life. It is the comfortable response to stress. It is the way we are conditioned, learned how to cope, and even have a genetic predisposition to be. Learning how to work your way through the autopilot response is possible if you have a solid plan each day to be successful. As each event occurs in life where you need to work through periods of discomfort to make a healthier choice, you will become better and better at it.
  3. Persevere! One of the biggest lessons we can learn is how to keep fighting after a day of choices that were not for our best health. What you give thought and energy to on a daily basis truly matters. If you have a day where you have “made the choice” to eat poorly, focus on negative events in your past, did not feel like exercising or other areas you are trying to improve, getting back on track quickly is vital. The sooner you change the thought, focus, and energy to being successful the better for you. DO NOT DWELL ON FAILURES! DWELL ON SUCCESSES!



Many of us have been given or chosen food as a reward for good behavior, a job well done, a long day, etc. The media and advertising also helps us with reward conditioning.  “You deserve a break today” was the slogan for a leading fast food chain. The commercial showed a woman with two children, her hair standing up, a frustrated look on her face and obviously overwhelmed. The commercial touched on the emotions of all who watched it but it did not promote healthy outlets—it promoted easy and even worse unhealthy eating practices. What happens with the person that has a rough day and wants to be healthy?  The person who wants to be healthy rewards themselves by treating the body with care and respect. This individual has re-conditioned his or her reward system to include healthy eating, responses to life events and yes—even a tough day. Reward yourself with long term good health and you may also teach the children in your life to respond the same way. You will be healthier, happier, and impact future generations. Way to go!

I Deserve It!

The “I deserve it’ thought process usually stems from two directions. The first example I will use is when we feel as though we have done something good and “deserve” to reward ourselves with “a treat.” Many of us have been conditioned to do this through sports, home or school activities as a youth when we have won a game or worked hard to achieve some level of success. The way that many of our brains work is that we get “locked into” telling ourselves that unhealthy food is a good reward. When we have had a good accomplishment in our day, gone through a tough exercise session, or worked extra hours it is very common for some of us to reward ourselves with unhealthy practices such as food.

The other “I deserve it” is created when we have not had such a great day or feel as though we have not been recognized properly, feel overwhelmed by events of the day, or feel as though we have been “done wrong” in some way in our lives. Having stress, anxiety, and sadness during our day will lead to the “I deserve it” response because of our automatic (brain locked in) way of coping with discomforting situations in our lives. The advertising geniuses at companies that promote unhealthy eating practices play on our emotions to billion dollar profits for them and poor health for many of us.

What You Truly Deserve

Everyone that I know works hard and are generally good people. They devote their lives to career and families and often neglect personal health and self-care. The “I deserve it” that you do actually deserve is a healthy life. You deserve to spend your hard earned money on vacations and things that you can enjoy with long term good health practices. You deserve to play with your grandchildren, to walk normally and without pain, and the happiness that good health brings. Your family and those who love you also deserve someone who cares for their health and does not cause extra work or burden prematurely.  Begin to create the life and health you deserve as soon as possible. Begin to be your own miracle!