Friday, January 31, 2014

Feature Fridays: Amber Boyd

Happy Friday!  Today's feature Friday comes from Amber Boyd, she has a story that hits close to home with me and is the other side of the weight loss journey, battling an eating disorder.  Through her story you will find what a fighter Amber is and how you can make the decision to become healthy no matter where you are in your life.  We are all going though our own journey and our own struggles, but we are never alone.

Amber shares her story with us:
     88 pounds, this was me at my lowest point in the disease that almost took away everything...even my life.  In anorexia, we know our weight.  Some people who are looking to lose weight for other reasons often know a general number, but we know ours down to our last ounce.  There is no magic number we're looking for.  There might be at first.  Then it just becomes an obsession to become the smallest and to see the scale decrease every day (sometimes more than once a day).  Trying to keep up with that obsession became so tiring mentally that I had no time for anything else, but food.  Forget that I had a family (3 children, one recently born and a fiance), it was all about me and the desire to be so thin so that you could see through to my bones.
     I was also in the midst of an emotionally abusive relationship.  Hearing the words, "you're helpless, hopeless, worthless, stupid, weird" on a daily basis, I began to believe it.  Sinking into depression and choosing 'Ana' over everyone and everything became my scapegoat.  'Ana' listened to me. She knew how to make it all go away.  I had mastered the skill at losing weight because it was my only goal, the only thing to live for.
     Once a fitness professional, mother, daughter, sister and friend, I cut out all that were close to me, even my children.  I quit my job as a personal trainer because I was told that I didn't look the part.  I became selfish and compulsive in that I had to walk at least 8 miles if not more daily and in the dead heat of Arizona so that I could sweat as as many calories off as possible.  I would come home drenched and covered in salt crystals because I was losing nutrients.
     Nothing sacred me about being at such a low weight.  Even having to go to the emergency room numerous times...nothing was shaking me.  The moment of realization as to what had been happening in my life for the last 2 years in 'Ana' (almost a dreamlike state), came suddenly.  It's hard for me to describe what exactly happened, but I WOKE UP.  I had missed my newborns' firsts (sitting up, crawling, walking, etc.), even though my body was there physically, I wasn't there mentally.  My fiance at the time was looking to move.  I was going to be taken away from my family and everything that I had built for myself in Arizona.  I know that if I let this happen, I would fall deeper into depression, continue to lose weight and essentially...die.  That wasn't the goal.  Dying was not part of the plan-although it seemed to be the oly way out.  I had to take massive action and quickly!
     I gathered what was left of me and made a plan to escape from the abusive relationship.  It took everything I had, but it had to be done.  I placed an order of protection against the man that once loved me so much and I had loved back.  He was removed from our home, and that's when the true test came into play.  I had to rebuild everything on my own.  The strength to just end it all was the most challenging.  Ending an eating disorder, ending a relationship and ending the fight to begin another battle; survival.
     Though I never received professional help, I made it on my own.  Today, weighing in at around 105 pounds, I still struggle.  'Ana' is a mental disease and it will always be there in the back of my mind.  Although the battle is won, it is far from over.  BUT, now I am dying to live, instead of living to die.
     If you, or suspect someone else, is going through this silent killer, please seek help!  You are not alone and you can overcome the obstacles that play within your mind.

Amber has been in the fitness industry for 8 years and is certified through NASM as a Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, Sports Nutrition Specialist and Master Trainer.  She is also a certified speed specialist and published author for National Association of Speed and Explosion (NASE).  Amber is an ambassador for YMX by Yellowman, FitMark Bags and Sweat Pink.  She is the founder and CEO of Physiqu-ED, and she focuses on more than just personal training she also strives to educate.  She has an extreme passion for fitness and helping to save people's lives.  She is a success story and an inspiration to many.
For more info about Amber or her work here are her links:
Facebook- Business
Facebook- Personal

I want to thank Amber for sharing her very personal and inspiring story.  She is a survivor and a fighter! 

Have a healthy and fit day, 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fear...and Overcoming it to be Successful

Fear...this is a topic that I have written about before when I first started On Fire Fitness and just started blogging.  It is something that comes up a decent amount, that fear, mostly fear of failure.  Last night watching Biggest Loser, Jillian was talking to Bobby about fear.  She said that the biggest trick in life is to face your fears and work at moving past them (I'm paraphrasing here).  She is so right, we all have fears in life.  My fear...failure.  I think that is why every time I get close to my goal weight, I fall off track.  I also have a huge fear of failing with my blog.  It was hard at first to put my thoughts on "paper" and then share then with the internet.  Whether people were reading or not it was still scary to put myself out there.  However, I am overcoming that fear.  I truly enjoy blogging about healthy living and fitness.  It truly is my passion and my only hope is that I can inspire someone to start taking the steps to live healthier or get moving.  The benefit of anything that you work at is so much more rewarding than the fear is paralyzing.  We have to face our fears head on and then smash right through them.  I am working on my goal of ripped arms and a six pack, and if I fear that I will fail at it then I might as well not try.  This time around I am committed, to myself and to my goal.  I will get there, no matter how long it takes, I will do it.  What would you try if you knew you could not fail?

I have one other goal that I am working on for February, mastering the crow pose.  I have come up with a challenge that I will be launching in the beginning of February and I decided to challenge my readers to work on it with me.  Onzie yoga apparel will be sponsoring the challenge and are even giving away one item from their line.  I know I keep teasing you with small details, but I will announce it all very soon!  Stay tuned for a picture of me in crow (hopefully my hubby can capture a pic before I fall on my face, yes that has happened).  I am really excited for this February challenge and I hope you will be too!

Leaving you with that I am off to do my back and shoulders workout.  I will do some core work and a few crow poses too!  I also have a fridge full of healthy food so I am prepared for a full day of clean eating!  What are you doing to get active today?  Do you have your healthy meals ready?

Have a healthy and fit day, 


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Interview for My Fit Family...Mom-spiration + A Little Challenge and Giveaway Teaser

Happy Tuesday!  I wanted to share that I was recently interviewed by Nicole, a fellow Sweat Pink Sister, for her Mom-spiration segment on My Fit Family.  Please stop by her blog and read the interview, I hope that I can provide a little inspiration for you guys, and I love being a fit mom.  Also, don't forget to check out My Fit Family on Facebook.

A little teaser for a Crow Pose Challenge and Giveaway sponsored by Onzie that I will launch in February.  Stay tuned for more details! 

 Have a healthy, happy and fit day, 


Monday, January 27, 2014

My Power Oats + I was Published at Health Your Way Online

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day hands down.  I always feel the the most creative when I am making oatmeal.  This morning I made something inspired by my aunt.  She has this little device that helps get the pomegranate seeds out very easily, so the last time I was over I got a ton of seeds to use.  She mentioned that she uses them in her oatmeal!  Genius!  They are so sweet that you don't need to add any sweetener.  My power oats as I call them, have whole cooked oats, pomegranate seeds, blueberries, and roasted chopped almonds.  It was amazing!  I also had some eggs for added protein and I am still full! 

Are you a breakfast eater? It is such an important meal!  It sets you up for success for the rest of the day.  I have always been a breakfast eater, so for me it is easy to get up and eat.  You should eat within an hour of waking, after drinking a large glass of ice water, this gets your metabolism started for the day.  Your breakfast should always include protein, a complex carb (i.e. oatmeal) and some fruit or veggies (toss them in your omelet).  You are the most insulin sensitive in the morning so in order to stave off your insulin response (fat storing) you need to have protein.  If you are grabbing a bagel and coffee loaded with sugar you are turning off your fat burning response and turning on your fat storing response, continued for a long period of time results in serious health problems and fat gain, not exactly what you want.  It really is the most important meal.  What is your favorite healthy breakfast?

Health Your Way Online
 I want to share some exciting news...I have two articles published in Health Your Way Online.  If you haven't yet head on over and check them out! 
Here are the links:
Get Your Fitness Back on Track
Healthy Weight Loss Tips
Health Your Way Online is a great online resource for healthy living and workout articles.  Make sure to check it out.  You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.  They even host healthy living chats on Twitter on Monday nights 8pm EST.

Have an amazing Healthy and Fit Day!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Heart Yoga + Lentil Veggie Soup Recipe

Good Sunday Afternoon!  It is another snowy and cold day here and I am counting down the days till our Miami trip to visit a friend (16 days!!).  I am so ready for some sun and warmth.  We are going to spend the day hanging out and prepping for a week of clean eating, and hopefully we will venture out to take Ariana out to a play place.  I am going to get a short walk on the treadmill in to loosen up my tight legs from my killer leg workout on Friday, and maybe a little shoulders and abs!  What are you doing this Sunday to prep for a healthy week?

I really love doing yoga classes, but it is hard as a stay at home mommy to find the time and sitter to get to a class.  Since I really enjoy doing my Jillian DVD workouts, I figured I'd give yoga DVDs a chance.  I did some research on Amazon and came across these to Shiva Rea DVDs.  I really like the both, and if I get them in while little A is napping then I can dim the lights and really get into my practice.  The daily energy video has a yoga matrix where you can build your own practice with as little or many series as you want or have time for.  This is a great option for me, since I can usually get 20 minutes in 4 times a week.  I have only tried the Fire and Water series thus far, but I really liked them both.  I am excited to try the rest throughout the week.  Yoga is definitely a great compliment to my weight training, it helps stretch my tight mucles and helps me to center and focus my mind.  She asks you to make a dedication for each practice and take it into your life.  I always feel lighter and more centered after a great yoga session.  Do you have any yoga DVDs that you enjoy?

Since it is such a cold day I am going to make a lentil veggie soup.  I always make extra to have for the week since it is a tasty and easy way to get more veggies in.  Here is a recipe my aunt shared with me from Joel Furman's cookbook and I made some modifications too.  If you make it let me know what you think.  I absolutely love it!
Photo credit
Lentil Veggie Soup
2 tablespoons organic canola oil
1 small onion diced
3 stalks celery diced
3 small carrots diced
2 large kale leaves (remove leaves from stalks)
1 head of broccoli
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Braggs mixed herb spices
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup french lentils
7-8 cups chicken or veggie stock (I used a mix of both, use only veggie to make vegan)

In a large pot heat the canola oil on medium heat and saute vegetables until soft.  Add the garlic and tomato paste and continue to saute for a few more minutes, then add herbs and salt and saute until veggies begin to stick to the pan.  De-glaze the pan with 1/4 chicken/veggie stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release the vegetable that may have stuck.  Add the lentils and 7-8 cups of stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are soft.  (During the cooking you may lose some liquid, you can add more at the end to increase broth and simmer to warm.
Store unused portion in the fridge or freeze to use later.

I thought I would leave you this Sunday with a reminder of how amazing it feels to workout (whatever you love to do), and to get up and move that body!  Also, thought I'd share this little cutie doing her "pulls" as she calls them (she likes to copy mommy).  I am happy she gets to see me workout and that I am setting a good example for her.  I can't wait to teach her how to weight train (in like 13 more years).

Happy and Healthy Fit Sunday, 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Feature Fridays: Rachel Miller

I am so excited for the first installment in my Feature Fridays segment.  I reached out and have received an amazing response, I have stories scheduled until the end of March.  I am so excited to read and share each one of these inspirational and motivational stories, especially as since I have my own story.  I have always loved reading others success stories it makes me know that I am not alone!  Today's story comes from Rachel Miller at Undercover Diva: A sitcom.  Read on to hear how she changed her life through exercise and nutrition!

Feature Fridays: Rachel Miller

For most of my young adulthood, I had been overweight.  At the encouragement of my Pilates teacher in the Spring of 2011 semester, I began to track my calories and exercise using My Fitness (they also have a mobile app, both are free).  Let me tell you, counting calories is an eye-opener.  It really introduced portion control, which I think is more important than what you actually eat.  I still eat pizza, ice cream and all those delicious sweets I just allot calories for those treats.  It is also important to understand that you don't need to be perfect in your calorie counting everyday; as long as you have a deficit of 2,500 calories at the end of the week, you will lose 1 pound a week (My Fitness Pal calculates your deficit for you).

Initially I set my goal for 15 pounds that I wanted to lose.  The first 10 pounds or so come off quickly (more if you're heavier) because this is all water weight.  When I got to 15 pounds lost, I loved what I was seeing so I tried for 5 more pounds.  Then I tried for 10 more pounds.  When I did it I was ECSTATIC!  I am now maintaining that weight by running, eating well and strength training twice a week.

I eat a vegetarian diet, and I believe that has helped me maintain my healthy lifestyle and has changed my mindset towards food.  I now truly view food as fuel and try to fuel myself with as many whole foods as possible, although I do enjoy my treats.  Healthy living is an ongoing process and a constant learning experience.  I have seen the health problems associated with not eating or living well, and would like to avoid those if at all possible.

Rachel: Before and after her journey

 A special Thank You! goes out to Rachel for being my first Feature Friday Reader story.  She has a wonderful story to share and great tips too!  Check out her blog Under Cover Diva: A sitcom to see what she is up to in her journey.

I also want to give a shout out to my friend and graphic designer Laura Schmeisl for designing my Feature Fridays logo.  You can check out her work at

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gluten...What Is It and Should You Avoid it?

By now I am sure you have heard the word gluten and have seen gluten free sections in your grocery store, but do you know what it is and if you should be avoiding it in your diet?  Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.  It can be found in foods like breads, pastas and even in sauces and soups.    A gluten intolerance is when your body can't process the protein found in these foods.  Everyone experiences different symptoms, but some include bloating, gas, fatigue, joint pain (due to inflammation), and starchy carbs and sugar cravings.  Celiac disease is much worse than an intolerance as it prevents your body from absorbing nutrients. 

In my last post I shared that I am taking gluten out of my diet because I feel like I may have a gluten intolerance.  Since then I have been getting some questions about what it is and what some of the symptoms are.  I can only speak from my experience, some of my symptoms include things like bloating, fatigue, brain fog and then cravings for more carbs and even sugar.  I have taken gluten out of my diet before and felt a major difference in how I felt and even how my stomach looks.  In the past 4 days that I have avoided gluten, I feel better, my bloating has gone down and I am no longer craving starchy carbs and sugar.  If you feel like you may have an intolerance to gluten the easiest thing to do is take it out of your diet and see how you feel.  You can also ask our doctor to be tested if you want to be sure.

It is definitely easier to avoid gluten now that it is well known, however be sure to check everything for gluten or wheat, most food items will tell you if it contains common food allergens with wheat (gluten), being one of them.  If you stick to real whole unprocessed foods and make your own sauces and soups it is easier to avoid.  However if you are going to try gluten free products, just remember that just because they are gluten free does not automatically make them healthy.  There are tons of gluten free products on the market, but they are still processed foods and still contain carbs.   If you want to make your own gluten free foods, I found a great resource at Gluten Free Goddess for baking tips and substitutions. 

If you are thinking of taking gluten out of your diet or have any questions please feel free to contact me.  I am happy to help if I can.

I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of those who have offered their support and kind words about my return to my blog!  It really means a lot to me that you took the time to offer your support.  I am excited to be back at it and to share my love for healthy living with you all!

Check back tomorrow for my first of many, Feature Fridays!  I hope that these stories inspire and motivate you as much as they do for me. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's Okay to Fail and Start Over!

Well, after a few months of being away I am back to blogging.  Why was I away so long you might ask?  There is not really one good answer, more like lots of little excuses.  Mainly, I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself to grow as fast as possible and do as many things as I could to promote my blog and when I started getting rejections to things, I decided to take a break.  Last night I was watching last weeks Biggest Loser (on my DVR), and they were talking about failing and how it is okay to fail as long as you pick your self up, learn something and move on.  Apollo Ono, the Olympic Athlete, was talking to the contestants and said something that hit home, "Everyone has their struggles."  And how very true this is.  There were also 3 women who had been trying to make it to Olympic trials in curling and kept failing to make it year after year, and just when they felt like giving up, they gave it one more try and made it.  So if you quit, you will never know what is out there right around the corner.  I took something that I enjoy doing, writing about health and fitness, and put stress on myself to succeed.  When I started to get rejections to things I was applying for it hurt, and I let it take over that love.  I am getting back to my blog because I truly enjoy writing and I hope that in some way, I help others find motivation, or a love for healthy living.  I hope that you will continue on this journey with me.  This time I will keep moving forward, even when I stumble.  Have you allowed failures or struggles to stop you from doing things in your life?  How have you over come them?

I am starting a new segment called "Feature Fridays".  I am looking for people who have changed their lives through eating healthy and exercise.  I will feature someone every Friday that I receive a submission.  I am going to put the word out there an I hope to start getting submissions soon.  It is helpful to read about others who have changed their lives through the power of healthy living.  If you have a story you would like to share, please send me an email.

In 2014, I am working on cleaning up my eating, as I was not so careful around the holidays and developed quite the sugar habit.  I am trying to take out processed foods and white carbs.  I have also eliminated gluten, due to the fact that I think I have a sensitivity to foods that contain gluten (more on that later.)  I don't really make resolutions for myself, I just take the time to reassess what I need to do to get back to my healthy lifestyle so I can feel my best.  I realized how horrible I was feeling when I was eating too much junk and not enough whole, real, nutrient dense food.  Do you have areas that you are working on improve?

Thanks for stopping in and reading!  I would love to hear from you!  I will be back a few times a week with some great info and topics that I would love to share.  Have a healthy and fit day!
I want to dedicate today's post to my loving hubby and my mom who both support me so much and have been telling me to not give up on my blog.  I love you both so much!