How Exercise Makes You More Productive (plus a bonus)

So how does not working on a project actually help you get the project done - and done better? When you invest that time away from it on … exercise.

In this video I share both the research and science about how exercise increases your productivity AND simple ways to incorporate the research into your lifestyle.

Here’s a bonus tip not in the video … when you have an important meeting or project in which you need your brain to be creative and engaged, carve out 10 minutes before the meeting to move briskly. Walk the stairs. Walk outside. Punch the air like a speed-bag (somewhere in private, unless you want strange looks). When you watch the video you’ll understand the science behind it.


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Simple and Unique Summer Workout Challenge

Want more time with your family and friends … plus a way to increase your motivation, strength, energy, metabolism? Oh, and have things to do in the summer when you (or family) are bored?

Take this summer workout challenge for the next 4 weeks.

I’m taking it with you and going to post on my Instagram and Facebook pages what I’m doing. Check it out — and share what you are doing too!

Let’s rock this summer fun!

7 Pro Tips for shopping the Farmer's Market

Have you ever wandered around a Farmer’s Market, curious but not really sure how the whole thing works? Or, worse, not even gone because it felt too intimidating.

Here’s 7 tips to get you shopping at the outdoor markets like a pro!

  1. Don’t buy the first things you see. Unless it is the last 15 minutes of a market, there is plenty to choose from. Walk around and see how has the best looking and variety of produce. Sometimes I initially bought a lot of squash from one vendor, then found out 4 stalls down someone had perfect green beans - but I didn’t buy them because I didn’t want to go to the trouble of freezing the squash. (And it is not cool to try to “return” food …)

  2. Bring bags. The vendors usually have bags, but bringing your own makes it nicer for you. Some vendors charge for bags, too.

  3. Bring a little cash. Most vendors take credit cards, especially higher ticket items like meat. But some are cash only.


4. Always ask vendors for advice. They love to share. (If they don’t, move on. The next one will.) Recipes, when a piece of fruit will be ripe, and how food is grown are perfect questions. Many vendors are not certified organic because of the cost involved, but they grow organically.

5. If you are going to be out for over an hour in the hot sun, bring an ice chest for frozen meats and fish.


6. Wear comfortable shoes. Ladies, if you are going after work and are in heels, bring out that pair of walking shoes you keep in the car. (You do keep a pair of walking shoes in the car for impromptu walks, right?)


7. Last, if you can plan a few minutes to enjoy the music or watch kids play games, most markets have some type of outdoor entertainment.

Shopping outside can be such a pleasure and when you know what you are doing, it is easy.

Do It Scared

Have you wanted to start something new … join a gym, go to a natural-food market, try a Pilates class … but you were scared of doing something wrong and looking out of place?


I get it. This past week I tried something different to build relationships with some new people. I thought I had prepared, but when I got to talking with them, within about 60 seconds I knew I was going to look foolish.

I felt uncomfortable and nervous. My face was blushed for the first 30 minutes. I also knew if I cut it short and left I would not build the relationships — and I would damage my confidence for the future.

I asked myself …

What’s the worst that can happen? I blush and look silly for a bit, they aren’t gracious, I learn something and life moves on.

What’s the best that can happen? I blush and look silly for a bit, we form a relationship, I get more comfortable and we have a great time.

When you are thinking of trying something new in your life — whether trying out a new class or ordering a healthy dish at a restaurant — do it even if you are scared.

Ask yourself: What’s the worst that can happen? If you can handle whatever that is (and I’ll bet you can), then do it. There’s a 99% chance (not a real statistic) it won’t be the worst. It will likely be closer to the best.

What finally happened for me? One person I really connected with by the end of an hour. Another person I never felt comfortable with and that’s ok.

You can fulfill your potential. Sometimes that means doing life scared.

Recipe Experiment with new spices and herbs

Sometimes I experiment in the kitchen … the ones that turn out great, I share with you. This stew uses a lot of spices great for digestion, plus some unusual ingredients from the garden. (Yes, I include some dandelion that was growing by the mint and it turned out tasty.)

Calming Ways to Use Chamomile

Chamomile is widely known and used for mild insomnia. But did you know you don’t have to drink it? If you feel restless or anxious before bedtime, you can also use chamomile in a bath or footbath to enjoy the calming effect.

Chamomile likes to grow in full sun

Chamomile likes to grow in full sun

Chamomile is also an anti-inflammatory, due to its essential oil, azulene. This may also help to lower fever. To use a gargle for sore throat, make a double-strength tea.

A cup of chamomile tea is also a digestive aid, both through calming and the bitter compounds in it.

For some individuals, chamomile has an immediate calming effect. (That would not be me.) For others, chamomile needs to be used a few times a day over several days to help. (My hand is raised on that one.)

Fresh from the garden

Fresh from the garden

Chamomile is considered safe for children.

How much? 1 tsp dried herb to one cup water for tea.

Prepping chamomile to dry in the dehydrator

Prepping chamomile to dry in the dehydrator

My experience with chamomile out of our garden: Dried and fresh taste very different. Fresh has almost no taste. Dried chamomile has a mild sweet taste.

Resources: Medicinal Herbs - Rosemary Gladstar. The Simple Book of Herbs - Lisa Bedner, R.N., Herbs for Stress and Anxiety - Rosemary Gladstar.

Ten (Side) Benefits of Small Space Gardening

When we started gardening it was because I said “If I’m going to have to tend to landscaping, I want to eat it.”

So our initial benefit was some of our grocery store was out our back door.

But I’ve experienced surprises along the way …

  • Time with Doug - planning, planting, harvesting.

  • Get to know neighbors better - they are always curious about what’s growing.

  • Fun sharing herbs and volunteer plants with friends

  • Beautiful setting for morning Bible Study

  • Lovely place for lunch

  • Getting to learn about bugs and bees

  • Learning about plants and various ways to use them. (Who knew radish greens were delicious?)

  • Weeding is a great time to let your mind wander and relax

  • Lots of life lessons are hidden in the garden — beyond just “sowing and reaping”

  • Chance for teens to earn missions-trip money, when we get tired of weeding.

If you have considered the idea of putting in a raised bed or small garden - do it.

It is worth it.


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How to Believe You can Reach Your Goals

You have some goals you want to reach.

  • Complete a 5K?

  • Feel more confident when you walk into that meeting?

  • Be able to lift your kids (without hurting your back)?

  • Be around for your kids when they have your grandkids?

  • Lose 20 pounds?

To reach those goals you have to change your habits.

And to change your habits you have to believe you can, right?

This past week I learned a powerful technique to changing your beliefs and I want to share it with you:


Belief Stacking!

Whatever habit you are wanting to upgrade, write what you need to believe concerning it.

For example -

GOAL: Complete a 5K

HABIT: Run/walk 4 days each week according to training plan

BELIEF: Exercise is important to my life and I am able to stick with the training plan

BELIEF STACK: Write out 50 reasons that belief is true. Yes. 50.

The first 10 or so will be easy to write out…

  1. “I have followed a walking program before.”

  2. “My kids want to walk with me a couple of nights/week.”

  3. “I like how I sleep better when I exercise.”


But the power comes when you have to dig deep to get all the way to 50 reasons. And sometimes you have to turn an excuse into a reason.

“My work is so busy that I don’t have time” becomes “I come up with creative solutions while I run, so I actually work faster.”

What goal and habit are you working on? Try Belief Stacking and let me know your results!

How to Create a Culture of Wellness - Part Two

How do you create a culture of wellness when you are the only employee or have just a few people working for you?

Anytime you are working on “you” and not on your business, do you fear you are getting behind? “Yes” is a common answer, but the truth is different.

When you work on you — including your health — you will grow your business. This is not pleasant to think about, but you are not your most effective working from a hospital bed that you could have avoided.

The flip of that? In this video I share how I helped a business owner move from scared he wouldn’t have enough money on a monthly basis — to stable and growing because he changed ONE thing: how he took care of his health.

You can do it, too!

Tale of Two Companies - Part One

Does your workplace have a healthy breakroom and wellness culture?

It’s Employee Health and Fitness Month. Let’s create some fun and fitness in your workplace. This week the focus is on creating a culture of wellness in companies.

Do "Get Help"

For any other “Marvel Universe” watchers out there, you may recognize the phrase I used in the title. In one of the movies, two characters - Thor and Loki - discuss whether or not to do “get help” to overcome an unsuspecting enemy.

In essence it went something like this:

Thor: Let’s do “Get Help.”

Loki: No, let’s don’t. It’s embarrassing.

Thor: No, it is fun.

Next scene:

Loki is leaning on Thor as they walk off an elevator acting as though Loki is wounded.

Thor: (yelling) Please! Someone “Get Help” my brother is hurt!

Then as everyone is distracted, he picks up Loki and hurls him like a flying bowling ball, knocking over the surprised enemy like bowling pins.


We all have situations in life where we actually do need to Get Help and we aren’t bluffing. Making new habits is one of those situations.

In my book Go Forward: 28 Days to Eat, Move, and Enjoy Life God’s Way, I share the story of a friend who lost both of his legs in a freak accident. He was determined to stay healthy and to do so had to Get Help for uncommonly creative exercise routines.

Where do you need to Get Help to make new health habits? Who can help you? Do you need a personal trainer or health coach? Do you need to visit your doctor about something?

Whomever it is, contact them in the next week and Get the Help you deserve.

Five Lessons to Make a Habit

It’s done! My tooth implant journey that started about 6 months ago is finished and, wow, there are some “how to make a habit” lessons you need to know from this.

Last fall I posted videos about the parallels between getting the implant and how to make a habit.

  1. When something is no longer serving you, it is time to replace it. (For example, my baby tooth had been loose for years and I was having to eat around it.)

  2. Fake it. When you are making a new habit it will feel unnatural and uncomfortable to you at first. (As the metal implant adhered to the bone, I had to wear a fake-tooth “contraption” in my mouth. Not comfortable.)

The day of the final procedure (getting the permanent tooth attached) I had two more ah-ha’s. One I share in this video. The other one came immediately after the procedure - and is probably the biggest lesson - and the hardest one. Which means, personally, I’ll apply it most going forward when I am making a new habit.

What is it?

Do Not Wait.

I kept putting off getting the implant for years. Various reasons. (A.K.A. Various excuses.)

But once it was done, I thought “Why did I wait?” I can eat without being “extra careful to not hit the baby tooth.” I can take kickboxing lessons without worrying about the loose tooth.

Suddenly the reasons and excuses sounded silly.

What habit are you wanting to make? What major transformation or tiny shift do you desire? Take a second and think about that. Then think about your excuses.

A few months from now you can look back and say “Well, if I’d started I would be here by now.” Or you can say “Wow! I did it!” (Worst case? “Wow! I’m come so far!”)

Either way the months will pass. Those excuses for not making your new habit will seem silly once you make the habit.

Do Not Wait.

Get the people and resources you need (which was another habit-making lesson) - and then go make it happen.

Screen your screen time to stay healthy

As I get final preparations completed for Connect More: A Screen-Free Week kickoff, I did some research on the impact of screens on health.

The usual came up: increased obesity, decreased physical activity, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

But I was surprised by a story out of the Fiji islands, that I share in this video. Also, Brian Adair of The Retreat at Center Hill Lake, who is co-hosting the event with me, shares some of the ways he and his family incorporate screen time in a healthy way.

How do you want to use your screens to improve your health — not derail your efforts?

My Screen-Zombie-Zone Story

I’m partnering with a local retreat center to host a Screen Free Week Kickoff Event. As we have been getting ready for this, we decided to ask each other some questions.

It brought up some “Well, this is embarrassing” moments … as well as remembering some times I’ve managed my screen-time well and motivated me to get back to it.

If you live in the middle Tennessee area, I’d love to have you join me on April 28, Sunday afternoon, to learn how to do your unique Screen Free week - plus walk, hike, and have a lot of fun together. (If you don’t live around middle TN, check out the Screen Free week website for events in your area.)

Here’s my “oops” story … (and a link to register for our Connect More: Screen-Free Kick off Event) -

5 Challenges to Eating Healthy ... Solved

I asked my community in Facebook “What are your challenges to healthy eating?” — 5 clear responses came back.

  • Chocolate (well, not being able to stop eating chocolate)

  • Eating in moderation

  • Food/Diet Rules

  • Mindless Stress Eating

  • Eating late at night when you are hungry

You asked … I answered.


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A new twist on Mindful Eating

When you hear Mindful Eating what do you picture? A group of monks contemplating the grains of rice in front of them? Of course, it is not the other extreme of driving, yelling (in love) at your kids in the back seat to quit fighting, while eating the burger you picked up in the drive-thru.

Mindful Eating is not about having candlelight at every meal - but it is about the emotional environment you create.

Let’s go back to your high school biology class.  (I know: moan, groan.)  Remember the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?  Only one of these systems can be dominant at a time.  When you are agitated, excited, upset, in crisis, angry, or stressed the sympathetic nervous system is kicking into gear.  This means that the parasympathetic system is not able to function well.  You may recall that the parasympathetic system controls your digestive system.


Uh, oh.  We have a situation.  The exciting movie you are watching with dinner, the argument you just had with your teenager, the mulling over what your co-worker did, the worrying about whether someone accepts you, or the report that is due at work tomorrow each keep you from digesting your food well. Even just looking at the picture above probably tenses your stomach.

Living in peace and joy is important anytime, but especially at mealtime!  God wants you to be healthy.  He knows that for you to digest your food well, which allows you to absorb the nutrients to “renew your youth,” you need to be joyful and peaceful when you eat.

This also includes allowing God to be the emotional lift that you need.  Many of us (especially those of us who were chronic dieters) have trained ourselves to dull (or distract) negative emotions through eating.  When you are angry or sad or bored, before you open the pantry out of habit, tell God what you are feeling.  Ask Him to show you how to process your emotions.  God will give you strength to tolerate the discomfort until it naturally passes, which it often does.  He will give you wisdom to change the thoughts causing the emotions.  He will show you answers to stressful situations.  God will heal your heartache.

4-in-1 Food Processor Recipes Part Two

Following the last post of questions to ask yourself to save time in the kitchen, here are the recipes I used. All of this created and cleaned up in (drum roll) 47 minutes!


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4-in-1 Food Processor Recipes Part One

A huge deterrent to eating healthy? CLEANING UP! That is definitely a part of cooking I don’t enjoy.

So, I’ve made a couple of videos to help you, using my Kitchen Aid food processor. This video takes you through questions to ask as you are planning your cooking.


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Makeover Your Pantry This Weekend Part Two

Now that you have the staples and spices you need to stock your pantry and you have the boxes/bins to organize them (Part One), it is time to invest part of a weekend cleaning out and organizing.

Why? It is so much easier to cook when you can get to everything you need quickly, without having to reach over other stuff or have things knock over.

So here’s your final step:

  • Clean out everything that is expired or that you know you will never use.

  • Then group items into your bins, leave a little space for new foods you may purchase, and LABEL so everyone knows where to put food.

When my husband saw this transforming, he said two things -

“This makes it look appealing to cook.” (So, I get more help in the kitchen.)

“Now I know where to put something back.” (Which means I don’t have to look for things later.)

Makeover Your Pantry This Weekend Part One

This seems to be the time of year for deep-organizing house projects. It is too cold or rainy to be outside, or even open the windows, so everyone is cleaning out closets and junk drawers. I challenge you to makeover your pantry this weekend - it is one adventure that will help you eat healthier the rest of the year.


To really deep-organize your pantry for healthy meals, I teach a simple six step process. You’ll need parts of two weekends, so I’ll walk you through this in a two-part series.

This weekend focus on Steps One - Five. Next weekend is Step Six.

Step One: Review your menus for a Powerful Plate. Do you have enough combinations of vegetable, protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates? What ingredients do you need to stock up on?

Step Two: Purchase the foods you need for a Powerful Plate and order any specialty items so they will arrive by next weekend.

Step Three: Look through the food in your pantry. Begin to organize it in your mind. What goes with what? For example, “protein powder” for me could go with protein snacks (since I use it as a shake) or with breakfast/oatmeal (since I use protein powder in my oatmeal every morning).

Step Four: Take measurements. Both of the shelf space and of any items that you are going to group and crate together. For example, if you usually keep 20 cans of fruit, vegetables, and tomato sauce in stock, measure how wide a bin you will need to store them.


Step Five: Decide on the supplies you need and then go shop. Shelf liner? Plastic bins? Wood crates? Glass jars? Shelving unit pull-out for a deep pantry?


Step Six - next weekend is clean out and organize.

Eliminating the hassle of expired ingredients - or simply not having healthy options on hand - will make these two weekends worth your effort. Turn on some music, get the family involved … whatever it takes to make it fun and make it happen.