Saturday, April 8, 2017

Women you are enough.

Okay women-

You are enough.

Sometimes the "beauty" part of the fitness industry gets under my skin. After talking with a friend I am going to stand on a soap box and write a post that some might need to hear.

Yes you know you you are. Those of you struggling a bit right now. Open your heart precious one! Because this is for you!
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I dislike the messages that tell women that they are not enough unless they look like a fitness model.

That unless they have a 6 pack or look like an hour glass they are not enough.

That unless that have a home like Martha Stewart they are not enough.

That unless they eat vegan, raw, cage free, gluten free, paleo, sugar free, fat free...lets see what else is there... anything... they are not enough

When are we going to be enough?

We measure our standards according to measurements set by industries that want us to not be that they can sell to us more.

They want to sell us ideas, equipment, plans...and the cost is us.

The truth is you are enough!

May I make a recommendation!

If your fitness goals are to try to be enough then stop!...because you are there already.

You are taking up space in this world for a reason! You are worth more than you know. You are meant to be here. Don't let someone sell you the idea that you need to be better than what you were given when you were born. 

I'm am not saying to not workout. 

I am not saying to not take care of this great precious gift we call a body, I am saying the opposite: Care for it. 
Maximize its strengths. 
Manage its weaknesses. 
Increase its ability to contribute to humanity and expand its opportunities to live, create, contribute and love.

That is what fitness does. It increases our ability to be us, not someone else. 

We are worth more than being looked at. Than being someone else.

...The truth is you are enough!

May I make another recommendation.

If your fitness goals are to try to be enough then head in a different direction! Because if you are trying to be enough for someone else they will always move the bar just as you get there. They will always keep it out of reach.

You are already enough for who you were meant to be. You are already there.

Your only goal now is to maximize, expand and use what you have! 

Go on a journey of discovery to find out what you are capable of. You will be amazed at who you find!

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Find your Hedgehog Meals

This is a technique that, if done right, can lead to life long success!!!

Let me explain.

A hedgehog is only good at one thing. 

Rolling up in a ball.

It isn't good at defending itself, or running away. It isn't that appealing as an animal or cute, at least not to me. 

Again it can only roll up in a ball and that is okay. 

That is all it needs to survive. That is all it needs to do to keep it alive long enough until its predators get distracted and move on. It works for it.

A hedgehog meal isn't much different.

It is a meal that is only really good at one thing. It has roughly your right amount of target nutrients and you can eat it almost every day.

Hedgehog meals don't have to be fancy, they don't have to meet any other needs besides the idea that you don't hate them and they have the right amount of carbs, proteins and fats.

These meals are valuable. Not every meal will be a hedgehog meal. I can't eat the same lunch and dinner everyday but there are certain things that I can eat everyday and they are my "go to" meals and they are tried and true. My post workout meal for example. I have that same stinking shake every day and I am okay with it. And my pre-bed shake. I eat that everyday. And I am okay with it. I also know people who eat oatmeal and eggs every day for breakfast and never change it up, something that I can't do but that works for them.

This sounds like a silly concept, comparing meals to hedgehogs but when we think of food as fuel and simplifying it in this way by finding meals that you can tolerate frequently than you only have to vary some of your meals.

It gets difficult when you are trying to meal plan for 6 meals a day, 7 days a week. That is over 40 meals to plan for and even more if you throw in other family members needs. 

Hedgehog meals will cut down cost, planning, calculation, preparation and stress. 

So when you get overwhelmed then give this simplifying hedgehog concept a try.

Find a meal that you can stand to eat most days, make sure it is within your target goals of protein, carbs and fats. Work it into your plan as much as you can and focus on making your other meals spectacular if you would like with enough variety to still get the other vitamins and minerals that you might need.

This will give you time to focus on other things like the little people in your life or organizing your weight room!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An Open letter to the mom of twins at the grocery store (or any mom for that fact)

To the mom with baby twins at the store:

I see you in the store. Tired. Fighting hard to get a cart with a double seat because you know it is your only chance to shop if you get it. Most people don't think about those double seats.

I know what you are thinking.

You see the mom with one child and you think how easy it looks. She smiles. She has time to laugh, play with her munchkin, enjoy shopping and even price match.

You feel like you are in a constant tangle with little hands and you do it on half empty, with your head slightly buzzed from lack of sleep.

I see you.

I know you don't see me. You are afraid to make eye contact. You don't want to be judged. Or you may not want to hear one more person say "It looks like you got your hands full." or "Are they identical?" That would slow your shopping trip and your children will only last a moment before one poops, one cries, one screams or all of the above or even all of the above times two.

To you I look like just another gawker. Someone adoring your sweet, little, messy faced twins. But I am only remembering my own. I won't stop you, I won't talk to you, I am just thinking...

Good job mom.

Imaginary fist bump from one twin mom to another.

You did it today.

They are breathing, you are breathing. Good job

You were never meant to be perfect. In fact, it is just the opposite. We are meant to be flawed, but to show them how to be flawed and still function and move forward day after day.

Good job mom. You are a champion. It is hard, and the only other people who understand how hard are other twin moms who have fought the same battle.

It does get easier I promise. It is hard to see now. You feel like you should be grateful for these days but they are so tiring that you can't even enjoy them most of the time and you feel guilty about that too. Its okay.

They do become friends. You get to sit outside their door at night and listen to them talk when they don't know you are listening. You see them defend each other on the playground. You'll see them hurt inside when the other one is hurt, its sad but also strangely magical.

Right now you feel guilty because you can't give either one of them "all of you". You feel like they are getting cheated out of having all-the-attention of their mom when as babies that should be their right, but they have to share you.

That is true.

But there is also something else- They get something precious instead.

Even when you are gone they will have each other. The relationship that bonds them in infancy is unique, lasting and protective. It expands and continues into something incredible. It's their relationship as a twin. Their love for each other will last even past you.

Their little battles that they face every day, the fighting over the same toys, for example. It is tiring, but the truth is they learn negotiation and relationship skills as infant twins that most people don't learn in an entire life time. It takes most of us several years of marriage to learn skills that a twin masters while they are young.

Their relationship-crash-course is intense. It is hard on the mom and sometimes hard on them but the rewards are incredible, real and long lasting. They learn to love, to share, and to be apart of a unit instead of just existing from the very beginning. As humans we thrive when we are apart of something bigger then ourselves. Twins are that from the day they are born. More than just themselves.

Good job mom.

You are making it.

One foot in front of the other. You can do it!

One day you to will be pushing an empty cart, in a grocery store while watching a mom of twins. Your double seats will be empty while not fighting what seems like a sea of hands that grab unwanted items or provide endless distraction.

You won't be judgmental, because somehow twin motherhood seems to drag all that out of you, you will instead watch with wonder.

You will think...

 "Wow! Did I really do that? How in the world did I make it?"

"That mom. She is doing awesome. Good job mom. You're making it!"

"Imaginary fist bump. From one twin mom to another."

-Susan Chapman

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

4 Simple yet Impactful New Years Resolutions for Fit Family Eating

Recently new dietary guidelines were published urging Americans to make small shifts towards healthier eating patterns. Since it is January, the month of New Years resolutions, I want to write a post about 4 simple yet impactful family shifts or changes that can lead families to better eating.

Display a fruit bowl
Make a goal to purchase and display a fruit bowl for your family in a high traffic location. It is what we call "mommy advertising". Businesses spend billions of dollars a year on advertising. They know that even if a consumer does not stop and think about an advertisement consciously they will still subconsciously absorb the message and are more likely to buy a product or service in the future.

As parents we can take a lesson from the big guys and apply this to our family as well. A delicious fruit bowl displayed in the middle of a counter or table is a type of advertising for healthy eating and alters our family environment for the better. Family members will eventually give into the healthy fruits that call to them from the fruit bowl. Remember to think small for small mouths and appealing not appalling. Buy fruits that scream delicious and will tempt even the unhealthiest eaters.

Drink more water
Yes, yes we all know we can be better at this. However, drinking more water is a shift that is very impactful since it not only can replace bad habits but will immediately improve our health within only a few hours of implementing it. Carrying a water bottle will help satisfy cravings and offer a physical substitute for people that always feel like they need to be bending their elbows as they do with constant snacking.

Get more sleep
Did you know that sleep affects your hunger hormones? Studies show that lack of sleep will increase grehlin (your hunger hormone) and decrease Leptin (you full hormone). So in other words if you lack sleep not only will you be hungrier but it will take you longer to get full which the perfect formula for overeating! So get 7-10 hours of sleep as an adult and you will feel the difference in your waist line.

Offer a pre-cut, afterschool or pre-meal veggie tray
This is the best kept secret of some of the fittest families. Having a tray full of pre-cut vegetables during the times of your family's greatest hunger attacks is a sneaky way to help them eat better. If your family is like mine they swarm and circle the kitchen like sharks as I am either cooking dinner or right after school or church. In these moments I need to buy more time for meal preparation and I don't mind if they spoil their appetite as they are waiting on red peppers, carrots, celery, crisp green beans or other fresh vegetables. Have these pre-cut in advance and bring them out in a moments notice. This practice will help your family steer away from other easy grabs like crackers or slices of bread.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hi All, It's Merri here! It's October and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Last weekend I ran in the Save a Sister Breast Cancer Awareness 5k in St George, Utah. This event benefits the Utah Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. All donations go toward breast cancer programs and research! 

It's a fun tradition my sisters and I started doing back in 2008. Some years there are more of us than others, but we all have a good time no matter our numbers! And how can you not love the fact that you are running for an amazing cause? We've also started to get our daughters involved! I wanted to share a few statistics and an info graphic that might just save a life!  

Breast cancer facts

1 in 8 women worldwide will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

Each year, nearly 227,000 women nationwide will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 40,000 will die from the disease.

Local needsThis year an estimated 1200 Utah women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 250 will die from the disease.

Utah ranks close to last for screening mammography rates in the nation.

According to our recent community needs assessment, the primary reason for this is lack of insurance and/or ability to pay for these services.

How are Komen funds used?75% of net revenue funds local programs for breast health education, screening, and treatment.

Including the $633K recently funded to this year's grantees, Komen Salt Lake City has funded $4.76 million to Utah nonprofits for breast health programming (see details below).

With funds from last year's Race for the Cure, our grantees coordinated and provided assistance to over 900 uninsured and low-income women to receive mammograms through the state's free screening program.

Nearly dollar for dollar, the funds we contribute to research are used right here in the state of Utah.

Komen recently awarded three major research grants totaling $2 million to Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Info graphic provided by Bankers Healthcare Group! This graphic is great and our hope is to bring awareness to early detection of breast cancer.
For more information please visit


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Don't Hate Yourself into Being Fit/Thin/Skinny or Anything!

This post has been floating around in my head for sometime.

In sharing this I am afraid that a few may think that I have confidence issues or insecurities but I am pretty sure that these thoughts occur in almost every human female that I know and that I am in good company.

First of all lets be clear, I've had 5 kids. Also most people don't know this but I gain weight easily so it is a constant battle. No big deal, I just have to watch it and if I ever let my guard down then I pay for it for a while. So in simple terms I have gone through the weight-loss or get-back-in-shape process several times.

It took me a while to realize that part of my process to getting back in shape involved me hating myself into getting in shape or losing weight.

It was a process that went something like this:
  • Looking at myself in the mirror and saying "Yuck, this has got to change."
  • Then examining imperfections more closely and feeling angry at myself.
  • Then using this experience as a way to drive the change and keep me motivated.
I used this process as one of my inner tools and motivators to make the change that I desired. It seemed to work but did not help a bigger underlying issue of self love. For example, the truth is that if you are unhappy with yourself "heavy" you will also be unhappy with yourself "thin". If you are unhappy with yourself out-of-shape you will also be unhappy with yourself in-shape. 

I'm not sure when it happened but I realized this process was beneath me. That I was meant for greater things. Some where, some how I learned my worth and in learning that worth I also learned that hating myself into being something or a certain way was a "tool of change" that I needed to take out of my motivator tool box. 

I have seen other people use this tool. I have also even seen women who go further and unknowingly trick their husbands into telling them that they are "fat" or "need to lose weight" and then feeling betrayed. Then they use that experience as a motivator to lose weight. It is the "Does this dress make me look fat?" scenario. Not only does this hurt them but it may hurt their relationship and cause trust issues in the future on both ends. 

It took me a few years to first realize that I was doing this and second to change my thinking. It wasn't easy and I still slip now and then but for the most part I have focused on loving myself into reaching my goals. 

Now my process is much different.

It is more like this:

  • Looking at myself in the mirror
  • Seeing the things I love the most
  • Understanding the things that I cannot change
  • Laughing at how the world thinks it can brainwash me into trying to conform to its narrow and fleeting standard of beauty
  • Deciding what I can do to try a little harder to be a little better
  • Accepting that my body is one of my oldest, dearest friends and will be with me until the end.
  • Decide what can I do to make "her" life (my oldest friend) the best it can be- the most emotionally rich, active, healthy, and exciting.
  • Very simply, I do my best and forget about the rest.

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