Radiant Skin 101 - Strategies for Maintaining Youthful Glow

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Wherever you look, there’s another miracle product, and we keep hoping that this one will finally do the work of at least ten other we’ve diligently used for the past several years. But it’s never that simple – we expose our skin to all forms of irritation every day, from water, air and soil pollution to sun’s harmful radiation, making it’s natural regenerating processes an even more challenging endeavor. But all is not lost, ladies, as you truly can apply several essential strategies that have stood the test of time and that can minimize and delay signs of ageing. Let’s tackle them right away and see how you can incorporate them into your life to safeguard your radiant complexion!

Youthful with Yoga

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Just like this ancient practice has many incredible benefits for your entire body and your soul, there are several useful exercises that are designed to help your skin regenerate better, improve your micro-circulation and keep your facial muscles toned and elastic – all for the purpose of smooth, healthy skin.

Instead of Botox, surgical lifts and other invasive alternatives, facial yoga exercises give you a natural solution to various issues. From saggy lids, under-chin issues, crow’s feet and smile wrinkles, these simple but effective movements can help you restore natural tightness.

Natural Scrubs

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Perhaps the store-bought products have an alluring fragrance, but you’ll be surprised to find the all-natural, home-made solutions to be even more effective, and more skin-friendly. We all know that exfoliation is the only way to cleanse out your pores, but without it, you also cannot expect your anti-aging creams, serums and other strategies to work, if your skin cannot absorb them properly.

So, before you take out your arsenal of anti-wrinkle lotions, take the time to purify your pores with a mixture of fine sugar and honey, but other options include oatmeal, coffee and salt as well. Find the one that best suits your skin type and stay consistent every week to see best results and improve your skin’s ability to use those nutrients you’ve been slathering generously every day.

Rejuvenate with Moisturizers

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If your pores are ready and buildup-free, then you can finally take out your favorite moisturizer that will give your skin all the nourishment you need to prevent early signs of ageing and reduce existing fine lines and wrinkles.

This is where science steps in to save the day – high-quality cosmeceutical skin care is the marriage between medical research and best practices from dermatology. It brings us moisturizers made of the finest, medically-approved ingredients that aim to fend off signs of ageing. Think: vitamin E, vitamin C, and other potent antioxidants, skin-nourishing oils, and gentle acids all working towards giving you a stronger, smoother complexion.

Massage the Wrinkles Away

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Think of it as another beautifying practice borrowed from yoga, and you can combine it with the aforementioned exercises that aim to give you a lift instead of surgery. Using various essential oils with healing properties and practicing specific hand motions to boost your skin’s micro-circulation and collagen production, you can rejuvenate with the help of a soothing self-massage.

Learn how to stroke your face around your eyes to reduce puffiness and eyebags, move your fingers over your forehead to reduce wrinkles, and tone your cheekbones as well. All of these movements combined with the richness of facial oils will do wonders for your skin health and youthful radiance.

Switch Processed with Wholesome

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All of the above techniques will do you no good if you still base your diet and lifestyle on highly processed and junk food, without paying attention to proper water intake and exercise. In fact, a healthy lifestyle is the only true fountain of youth, and when you switch to a whole-food diet, ample hydration and physical activity, your skin will naturally start to improve in health and beauty.

Every imperfection and blemish you try to battle only on the outside can only be reduced temporarily, but with the right lifestyle changes, you can be well in your forties and beyond, with supple, smooth skin free of irritations. Do your beauty a favor and lead a wholesome life, and your skin will become a reflection of your healthy choices!

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Foods that Impact Body-Mind Wellbeing

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Have you ever wondered why you crave a certain food, such as chocolate or strawberry ice-cream when you feel overwhelmed by the winter blues, or you simply lack energy? Whatever may be your go-to snack to elevate your mood and give you an energy boost, everything you eat has a profound impact on your body, mindset and your spirit, especially over a long period of time. Food is our body’s and our mind’s fuel, and as such, it has the potential to either be a constant burden or serve its true purpose.

When something in your nutrition is out of balance, you might feel it as a temporary, subtle slump in your mood, a drop in your immunity, or the quality of your sleep. And in order to prevent those, or more severe, chronic issues such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, it’s essential to pick your bites carefully and safeguard your overall wellbeing through a wholesome, healthy lifestyle.

Our Eating Manners Matter

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Before we skip to the content of your plate and how it affects your health, the way in which you eat, and when you choose to do so also play crucial roles in maintaining your body-mind health balance. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Rhode Island concluded that fast eaters consume significantly more calories than slow eaters – because the signal “I’m full” takes time to reach your brain, so take your time and chew your meals thoroughly, it’s also very good for your digestion. Timing is also important, as skipping breakfast can lead to eating more food throughout the day. In order to avoid overeating, binge eating and similar poor habits, it’s best to create and stick to a healthy schedule every day that will promote healthy digestion and give your body the nutrients it needs to operate optimally.

Foods That Nourish And Protect

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We live in a fast-paced world, so it’s only natural that we tend to choose fast food as the most convenient option that saves time and effort. However, in the long run, consuming overly processed foods packed with additives, sugar, synthetic dyes and flavor-enhancers can only shave years off your life and decrease your quality of living. Hence the need to switch to a diet that’s based on whole foods, rich in vegetables and designed to prevent diseases. Spinach, lettuce, cabbage, peppers, carrots, garlic and onions, broccoli, and kale are just some among a slew of fresh items that feed your gut with healthy prebiotics, and are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. Fruits, especially berries, are antioxidant-rich, and as such, they are incredibly healthy for strengthening your immune system. Mother Nature has provided us with ample plant-based choices, it’s up to us to create a diverse menu.

Bites That Boost Your Energy

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When you feel that sugar craving rise, reach for a handful of almonds, peanuts or walnuts – these incredible snacks are loaded with healthy fats such as Omega-3, minerals such as magnesium and B vitamins, all of which are responsible for elevating your mood without causing a sugar spike in your blood. However, when we’re exposed to too much chronic stress, sometimes our diet may need an added boost from supplements such as Ethical Nutrients which are based on all-natural ingredients that help ward off the dangers of stress. One of the main ingredients, ginseng is a known herbal remedy mentioned even in the Vedas from India dating back up to 5,000 years, and it’s believed to protect and increase your cognitive capacity, alertness and reduce inflammation.

The Ingredients Of Happiness

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A healthy, happy spirit can only reside in a healthy body, and the more you hand-pick your groceries, the greater your chances to fight off negative emotions and become more resilient to stress. Certain foods, when eaten in moderation, are known to help increase your happy hormones, such as serotonin, endorphin and dopamine.

Dark chocolate is packed with magnesium and a perfect way to elevate your mood with a bite or two, apricots are a delicious way to increase your vitamin B intake and simultaneously improve your mood, while probiotic-infused kefir and kimchi are an ideal method to calm your “gut feeling” and your brain into a comfortable Zen.

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How to Enhance Natural Beauty with Ayurvedic Rituals

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Beauty is something we all dream about. The images of plush skin, glossy hair, delicately soft hands, and velvety smoothness of unblemished skin are in every woman’s mind when she thinks about that natural allure, that radiance that seems to come within. In India, Ayurvedic medicine seems to claim just that – that all health, and all our magnificent beauty, comes from the inside. Over 5000 years old, Ayurveda doesn’t focus just on finding a cure – at its heart, ever since it came to be, the key was prevention itself. To restore the natural balance, to align our body, mind, and spirit before disease even comes knocking on our door.

When an Ayurvedic practitioner does prescribe a cure for something, it’s always a very personal experience. After all, we are all very different – our habits, our constitution, our approach to life are unique, and as such, they must be taken into consideration when a body is ailing and in need of help.

Are you wondering how can you incorporate Ayurvedic practices into your everyday routine? Well, that’s why we’re here.

Wakefulness and morning nourishment

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Ayurveda is being about at peace with yourself, and about listening to the nature and all that it has to offer. Sleep is a very important part of this, and going to bed late every night and frantically jumping up when the alarm clock rings is not the best approach. A restful night is a good night, and instead of panic and stress that usually follow the waking, try taking a few moments to breathe deeply and centre yourself. Think about the things you are grateful for, and what’s the best way you can use this day to its full potential.

Next comes the breakfast, and you should take your time with it. Chew slowly, enjoy the actual taste of food instead of just gulping it down in a rush. Prepare nutritious meals that will help you feel energized.

Self-massage

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Also known as abhyanga, this is an easy part to incorporate into your beauty ritual. In the evening, take a nourishing oil (like almond or coconut) and massage it into your arms and legs, your back and your neck. Use slow, circular motions with your palms. This massage stimulates circulation, and it’s particularly good for achy joints or muscle pain (not to mention that it leaves your skin so wonderfully soft and glowy).

Adjust your skincare

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Ayurveda recognizes three basic skin types: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha which are based on three doshas. How you take care of your skin depends on its type, your lifestyle, and the general skin problems you experience.

Vata skin, for example, will need to avoid harsh cleansers and soaps because it often has trouble retaining moisture, and it can easily dry out. Skin oils, serums, and rich moisturizers are the key. Pitta skin is sensitive, and sunscreen is the most important thing to bear in mind, as well as avoiding alcohol-based products, or anything that has “perfume” or “fragrance” among the list of ingredients. Kapha skin will need deep cleaning, but you don’t need harsh chemicals. Instead, rely on oil cleansing methods paired with gentle syndets and cleansers.

Healthy digestion

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Healthy digestion means less stomach-related issues, but it also means smooth, blemish-free skin. To aid your liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system, try detox tea and sip it every day, or at least drink simple lemon water with a few drops of aloe vera in it. To protect your intestine lining and stomach from harm, you want to focus on the prevention part of the Ayurvedic philosophy. You will need to consume plenty of antioxidants, which are generally the best way to prevent free radical damage and inflammation, and you can get this through food like acai berries, dark chocolate, kidney beans, artichoke, blueberries, nuts, green veggies, and others.

The healing power of Ayurveda isn’t a quick fix. It demands that you put your health first and treat your mind and body with gentle care. While this may be a huge step to take, especially in this busy world that leaves us with little time for self-care, the benefits are immense.

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The Answer to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution? Intention

Photo by Nadine Shaabana 

Photo by Nadine Shaabana 

This is it! This is the year that you’re going to use that gym membership, go through your old clothes taking up space in your closet, get rid of those hurtful relationships, start that savings account, learn Spanish, play an instrument and cook that delectable meal that seems too impossible to tackle. Yes, this is it, and you’re going to do it all (or even just one of these) with intention. That’s the key to being mindful and following through no matter the situation. Seem impossible? Well, with intention, you probably would not have arrived at the place you’re at today. There’s a level of conscious deliberation and desire that helps us move forward in our life (go to college, get that job, save money for a house, plan a vacation), where we arrive somewhere on our journey. If you plan on getting to a particular place, then you have to keep your eye on the ball.

With all the distractions that we continually encounter – the alerts on our phones, the kids needing your immediate attention, that sale at Nordstrom – we are often diverted from our original goals that seems so attainable just moments, weeks or months earlier. Why do we let this happen? The simple answer is that you’ve developed a habit of allowing distractions to pull you away from your intention. A habit is an automatic reaction to a stimulus. Whether is to assuage anxiety, avoid a call from your mother in law or procrastinate to avoid a short term discomfort, we all are susceptible to losing focus, even though we really, really want to reach those goals.

Photo by Tim Goedhart 

Photo by Tim Goedhart 

When you set a goal or an intention, there’s a lot of planning. Part of the plan has to include what to do when you get distracted or off track. And, I don’t mean beat yourself up for losing focus! It’s likely that something in life will ultimately challenge you to lose your focus, but getting back on track requires another type of plan. One that includes self-compassion and empathy. And, a way to get right back on that horse. In order to do that, you have to develop a new habit. One that redirects your attention to the original goal. But, finding your focus in that moment will also require practicing the art of focusing. You can do that with meditation.

Now, don’t go rolling your eyes at that word. If you’ve heard it but haven’t yet tried it, it’s pretty basic. Sit with your eyes closed, in a comfortable position, and notice your mind… you may find that your mind is racing, that you can’t stop the streams of thought. That’s exactly what you want to notice. Try to pay attention to the activity without joining the story line. And, notice when it starts to quiet down, even for just a few seconds. Now that you are noticing your mind’s activity, find an anchor – something to focus on – it can be your breath, or sounds. Your breath is always with you, so notice the cool air in your nostrils and your lungs expanding. Notice how your back moves when you take a deep breath. Notice how your abdomen moves up and down. These are all aspects of noticing your breath. If your anchor is sound, pay attention to the volume, the tone or the silence. Your mind will wander away from these things, but your intention is to bring your focus back, again and again and again.

With deliberate practice on focusing your attention while meditating, your life will soon take on an intention and deliberate focus when a simple distraction takes you away from your goals. You’ll be able to say, “hold on, I’ll be right with you,” or, “Sorry, can’t do that today, I’ve got other plans.” Try it for a day or a week. Notice what keeps you away from what you really want, and refocus your attention on your goals.

About the author

Laurie Goldey, MFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and holds a master’s in psychology and counseling from California State University, Northridge. Goldey has been a student and practitioner of mindfulness in her own life, and she regularly shares her mindfulness practices with her husband and teenage son. She currently resides in Agoura Hills, Calif. To learn more, please visit www.sittingprettyguide.com.

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3 Things To Do As Soon As You THINK You Are Getting Sick

Photo by Hush Naidoo 

Photo by Hush Naidoo 

As an educator and a single mom I look forward to any break I can get. So, with Thanksgiving break being a full week this year I was super excited to spend some much needed time with my threenager Peyton and just exist without boundaries. My plans all came to a halting stop when the Friday before the break started. My mini me woke me up with a pouty face and a temperature of 104 degrees. Of course, I go into panic mom mode, until I realize that a temperature is just the body’s way of fighting back on viruses that are attacking the immune system and that as long as I monitored her, it was going to be okay. But then my mind starts to wander into ways to avoid getting myself sick in the process of caring for her? I didn’t want to spend the entire break alternating germs so I put a plan into action and guess what? It worked because we had an amazing break together. What did I do?

Apple Cider Vinegar To The Rescue

Photo by Alexander Mills

Photo by Alexander Mills

I am unsure if it was in my head or not, but immediately I started to feel some throat pains, and because I got the flu and strep twice last year I just knew that was beginning to take over our household. Daily I consume a shot glass of ACV in the morning as soon as I wake up, but as soon as I start to THINK there is a chance I may get sick I double the dose taking one before bed and another as soon as I wake up. According to Prevention.com, drinking a tablespoon or two of ACV at the first onset of a cold or the flu—or when someone close to you has it — will help prevent the full on bout of sickness. This works because apple cider vinegar, as acidic as it tastes, actually helps to alkalize your body. When your body is more alkaline it may be more effective at fighting off viruses that cause colds and the flu. So adding the vinegar to your routine can help. If drinking ACV straight up is too much for you, dilute it with a bit of warm water, or hot tea, apple slices, and some maple syrup. You can also add it to salad dressings.

Get Some Rest

Photo by David Mao 

Photo by David Mao 

I am naturally an introvert and love being at home more than most people realize but even when indoors I am normally running around like a chicken with my head cut off. You remember when I told you that a fever is your body’s way of communicating that it is working to fight off infection? Well, if you sit your butt down and let your body do its job without interference then you can stop the sickness before it starts by just being STILL.

The OILS are Essential

Photo by Kelly Sikkema 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema 

When you walk into my home or my classroom you are greeted with a hug (if that is your thing, I have recently become a big fan of human contact in the form of hugs) and my favorite essential oil blend. Essential oils are amazing not only because they provide an amazing scent that can brighten up your mood on contact but most importantly depending on your symptoms or need can act as a natural remedy to cure most ailments. As it relates to cold and flu season keeping thieves (Clove, Lemon, Rosemary, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus ) in rotation is always a good move because it provides you with amazing benefits like supporting healthy immune functions. Just putting 10 drops in your diffuser can clean the air around you. I also put a couple of drops in a spray bottle full of water to clean most surfaces after either Peyton or I have symptoms of any type of illness.

The whole goal is preventing sickness at all costs. I am sure that no one wants to spend their day feeling bad and would avoid it if possible. What are some ways that you guys fight germs in your household?

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It's OK To Not Be OK

Image Oscar Lozada Photography

Image Oscar Lozada Photography

There is such a huge stigma that comes with mental illness, especially in the black community. While I do believe that many of our thoughts and the things we project can lend to making your day “good” or “bad”,  sometimes it is bigger that that. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, how hard you pretend, no matter how many inspirational quotes you read, prayers you pray, or smiling selfies you post -  inside things just aren’t matching up.

I, for one, do not think that there is anything wrong with that and I am making it a priority of mine to discuss openly and with all transparency about the symptoms, causes, books, support groups and everything in between when it comes to living with mental illness. There is nothing to be ashamed of and if there is anyone in your life that makes you feel differently then you literally need to tell them to kick rocks, because you do not need that type of energy in your life. What you (read: we) need is people who understand that it is not a choice.  Understand this: NO ONE would chose to wake up each day and deal with the feelings associated with mental illness.

I am hoping that over time people can understand that FitXBrit.com is a safe place. We are all about growing your mind, body, and soul. That goes for everyone, because the people that are living with this shouldn’t have to do so alone, and the people that are closely associated with those people need support and understanding just as much as those affected.

For those of you who think you may be suffering (or if you just aren’t sure what is what), I’ve compiled a list of the types of mental illnesses that frequently plague.  Hopefully, when you know better you can do better within yourself and/or with someone who may just need some understanding.

Types Of Mental Illness

The most common mental illnesses are anxiety and depressive disorders. While everyone experiences strong feelings of tension, anxiety, or sadness at times, a mental illness is present when these feelings become so disturbing and overwhelming that people have great difficulty coping with day-to-day activities, such as work, enjoying leisure time, and maintaining relationships.

Join me monthly as we attack the stigma, address concerns, questions, and create a safe space to learn, grow, and encourage one another.

Affirmation: I am not my circumstances.

What are you speaking over and into your life?

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It's Ok To Start Over

Photo by Ariel Lustre 

Photo by Ariel Lustre 

It seems like with the changing seasons comes an opportunity to start anew. Now, that does not have mean an entire reinvention of yourself but, taking small actions like readjusting your goals, creating a new action plan, realigning the energy in your living space, or just changing your look can be a great way to kick start a new chapter of your life or just find a fresh perspective on things.

When we think about actually creating change in our lives, sometimes it can seem overwhelming and as if it is a distant dream. Sometimes, we think that it may be ‘too late” to do things differently but, guess what? Whether you are looking to boost your career, finances, fitness routine, image, or overall outlook on life; it is NEVER too late!

Instead of limiting yourself to the same old routine, it is time that you realize that you CAN change your life in ways that can make you happier and more productive, starting now. It is up to you! You can reinvent your life - yup, I said it. The only thing stopping you is YOU.

Resisting change will only hurt us and interrupt the flow of abundance into our personal space. We have to be open to allowing new energies and influences to create shifts in our lives so that we can continue to evolve and grow.

Here are my 3 go-to ways to redirect yourself and embrace the new season and start fresh!

Reconnect With Your Vision and Set New Goals

Photo by Estée Janssens 

Photo by Estée Janssens 

What are things that you truly value? What is your purpose in life? When you look at your future what do you see? Using your internal compass to help redirect your steps is essential to the growth you desire. Once you have equipped yourself with this new level of “self” knowledge it would probably be the perfect time to write down your goals. This is the most exciting part because once you put your vision to paper, it gives it purpose, it makes it real, and it is now a tangible goal that you have no choice but to crush like the boss you are. You want to know what the best part is? You now have some extra ammunition because you are fully equipped with the wisdom and lessons from your past experiences. You know what they say, “there is a blessing in every lesson,” and I for one really believe it!

Enhance Your Look

Image Aquatic Ambiance

Image Aquatic Ambiance

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT throw away all of your clothes when you are in an emotional tizzy. Only to wake up and realize you still have the same job you did the day before with no pay raise in the near future (this actually happened to me). Instead take inventory of your clothes and invest in 5-10 staple pieces that can easily mix and match with other pieces and can enhance your look. Sometimes a new look creates a confidence boost - you know what I mean? Have you checked out Prana’s new fall collection? I recently received their Jenna Pant and these black pants have been EVERYTHING. I can dress them up or down and they kinda got your girl’s booty lookin’ pretty nice, if I do say so myself.

Use code "FABG15" until 11/22/17for 15% off

Accept Responsibility For Your Own Failure

Photo by Nik Shuliahin 

Photo by Nik Shuliahin 

When it relates to failing, our egos are our own worst enemies and really limit us if not nipped in the bud. If you've made a mistake, admit it and grow from it. But, do not - and I mean this - do not allow it to take over your life. None of us are perfect, we all have faults, we are all trying to get better and as long as you are being intentional with your actions, that’s all we can really ask. Welcome to the human race! Don't blame others or circumstances.


We can sit around and have a pity party or we can dominate this thing called life. It really is up to you.

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Two Types of Forgiveness

Photo by Toa Heftiba 

Photo by Toa Heftiba 

For decades, counselors, therapists, ministers and more have been telling us about the importance and the power of forgiveness.

It doesn't matter if someone hurt you 2 months or over 20 years ago, forgiving them is a gift that you give yourself… More than one you give to them.

But forgiveness isn't easy. You just don't turn the other cheek; we all wish it were that easy.

True forgiveness begins by working with a counselor, therapist, or minister and going into your anger, rage, resentments at the hurt that was bestowed upon you by someone you wanted to trust. But what many people don't understand is that there are actually two forms of forgiveness.

As a #1 best-selling author, counselor I’ve been educating clients for 27 years now on the importance of understanding these two totally different types of forgiveness.

In the past we are told to forgive someone because it's the right thing to do, and welcome them back into your life. But that can be the absolute worst thing someone could ever do. In my number one best-selling books on positive thinking, I recall the story of a married couple that I worked with where an affair had just happened.

Over 12 months of working together I had to bring them into the existence of forgiving each other, and then making a decision to either stay together or walk away.

I made it quite clear that forgiveness was crucial for their own mind, body and spirit, but that if they needed to separate and end the relationship, that they could actually use a fairly uncommon form of forgiveness called forgiveness and release.

Photo by Ben White 

Photo by Ben White 

What this simply means is, you forgive the person for hurting you, and you let them go, without the need or desire to communicate with them ever again. This couple decided to forgive and stay together, but just the fact that they knew they had an option of forgiving and letting that person go, gave them a sense of inner peace.

The pressure that many people feel is that we are supposed to forgive someone who hurt us… And keep them in our lives. That is not the best option for many.

I have worked with other clients where the exact opposite has happened. A mother who abused her daughter from the age of 6 to 18, needed to be forgiven, but through the exercises that I gave to the now adult daughter. The daughter decided to take her mom out of her life, never to communicate with her again.

While to some people this might seem harsh, but depending on the damage, and the lack of willingness of one party to apologize for the damage they inflicted, the best move might be just to let them go and never communicate with them again.

The decision may not be an easy one, but working with the right counselor or minister or coach can help the person then decide if they should forgive someone, for their own emotional and physical health and keep them in their lives… Or if they should forgive them, release them, and let them go forever.

Forgiveness is powerful. It's free spirit. It releases anxiety. Resentment. Anger. Guilt. Shame. Forgiveness, as an action step, is the key to being able to live a healthy, productive and passionate life.

ABOUT DAVID ESSEL:

David Essel, M. S., Is a number one best-selling author, counselor, master life coach, and international speaker whose mission is to positively affect 2 million people or more every day, regardless of their current circumstances. David's work is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer, chicken soup for the soul's Mark Victor Hansen, as well as many other celebrities and radio and television networks from around the United States of America. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy says "David Essel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement". 

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I Think I Found What I Have been Searching For: 4 Places I Felt God at MegaFest

MegaFest is home to Manpower, Girl Talk, The International Film Festival and the world-famous Woman Though Art Loosed. There were people at MegaFest that represented over 26 countries across the world. Prior to attending MegaFest I was walking through ending a never-ending relationship. I was looking for value in invaluable places. I was looking for God under my bed. I was searching for clarity of life through social media memes. But when I left MegaFest it was confirmed I found was I had been searching for.

Love and Dating Rebecca Lynn Pope

Image RebeccaLynnPope via Instagram

Image RebeccaLynnPope via Instagram

While searching the MegaFest empowerment schedule I came across a session entitled: Love and Dating by Rebecca Lynn Pope. Perfect. What single women in her thirties does not want to hear someone speak at MegaFest about Love and Dating. While waiting for the session to begin I thought to myself “God, please don’t let this beautiful MARRIED woman tell me to wait on my Boaz”. To my surprise Rebecca Lynn Pope blew my mind. Mrs. Pope was the first speaker I have ever heard that acknowledged the struggle between wanting to live as a Godly woman while dating in the 21th century. Mrs. Pope walked the audience through the 4 stages of dating:

Dating, Courting Exclusively, Engagement and Marriage.
Rebecca reminded us that if you are looking for healing in a man it is in relationships where God will reveal what is wrong with us. “We do not get what we want in life, we get what we are ready to receive”. In this session, we were dared to surrender our desires (blessing blockers) which were typically rooted in fear and to DITCH THE LIST. We were invited to make ourselves available to love through four steps: Surrendering to God. Healing our heart and Mind. Being Authentic. Opening our hearts to receive. Remember 9 out of 10 men are not ready but you only need 1.

Believe it or not I felt God in the conversations about love and dating. Rebecca made a statement that will stay with me forever: “God uses your desire for love to draw you into a closer relationship with him”. I felt God telling me that he has not forgotten my desire to become a wife. I felt God telling me I needed to trust him with my relationships moving forward. Honestly, why wouldn’t I, I have tried it on my own and have failed miserably. I will dare to say many of you reading this have failed as well so why not give our relationship desires to the true match maker, God. Every success requires a sacrifice!

Surrendering is the only shortcut to the life of your dreams.
— Rebecca Lynn Pope

Rebecca Lynn Pope is the founder of the Godly Girls Club and the author of Love and Dating in the 21th century. 

John Gray (Press) Interview

Image TheRealJohnGray via  Instagram

Image TheRealJohnGray via  Instagram

MegaFest allowed the opportunity for journalist to attend interview sessions with the various speakers through the conference. John Gray was the speaker that I was most intrigued to hear. If you are unfamiliar with John Gray you are missing out on a blessing. John Gray is the associate pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, he has a reality show along with his amazing and beautiful wife, Aventer Gray, on OWN The Book of John Gray, he is the author of a book entitled I am number 8. Through television I knew all the things I previously listed about Pastor John Gray but after the interview session I knew for myself he was a life giver who believed in people. When John entered the interview room there was a line of journalist waiting for the opportunity to interview him.

Through my time in the interview session two moments stuck out to me, the first was when a new journalist was having technology issues and the moderator asked her to move to the side so that the next person could begin and how John was adamant about assisting her to rectify her issue so that she would be able to document her interview. I believe in that moment John silently (through his actions) spoke life into that young journalist life, he reaffirmed the value in the work that she did that day and in the future. The second moment with John was when he was asked about his book: I am number 8. John talked about how he is overlooked as a child in school, with friends, with women and most importantly by the lack of relationship with his father. Through his venerability John showed me and continues to show the world that God keeps his promises. John is now a voice for the unseen, an advocate for the lonely and a product of God’s promise coming to pass.

I felt God when John stopped his interview to help this new journalist fix the glitches in her technology. I felt God saying come to me with what you have and I will fill the gaps, come to me and I am never too busy to help you, to hear, and to support you. I felt God when John Gray gave life instead of taking it from that journalist.

What I learned was that the more you commit to the process and the more you trust God for increase in every area of your life, the more God allows the scales to tip in your favor until one day the momentum is so tremendous that there is no going back to the life you knew.
— John W. Gray III

The Perfect You Dr. Caroline Leaf

Image DrCarolineLeaf via Instagram

Image DrCarolineLeaf via Instagram

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology and a BSc in Logopedics and Audiology, specializing in metacognitive and cognitive neuropsychology. I know, what that means is Dr. Leaf researches and observes the various encounters with the brain. Prior to this session I was semi-familiar with the concept of mindfulness but was not sure how it applied to my life. I was too busy using my mind to remember how hurt and broken I was to be mindful. My mind as a reminder of all the ways my life was invaluable. But, Dr. Leaf challenged me to rethink how I used my brain. Through her session I learned that I am my thoughts and luckily, I was in control of what I think. Through several pictorial diagrams Dr. Leaf showed us how every single one of the 75-100 trillion cells of your brain and body are responding to your thoughts instantaneously. If that was not enough grab our attention she created several connections between what we eat and how it affects our brain—you can find out more about impact of the foods you eat in her book: Think and Eat Yourself Smart. In conclusion, she reminded us that “You cannot control the events and circumstances of your life but you can control your reactions to those events and circumstances.”

In this session, I felt God telling me it is time to unlearn so many things about myself and relearn who I am in God’s eyes. I felt God telling me to surrender my thoughts, desires and ways of thinking and get in his word to hear the truth about his love. I will be honest this session's application has been the most difficult for my life because I am having to retrain my brain though my thoughts. I would invite you to join me on this 21-day detox of the mind through Dr. Leaf’s book Switch your Brain. I would also challenge you to ponder on these questions: Who is in control of your thoughts? What are you telling yourself every day? Are you willing to take the power of your mind back? What will you change today? Remember, If the brain gets worse by constantly focusing on the problem. Then the brain can get better by constantly focusing on the solution.

Don’t react. Learn to respond.
— Dr. Caroline Leaf

Before it’s All Over TD Jakes

image BishopJakes via Instagram

image BishopJakes via Instagram

As MegaFest was drawing to a close it was time for Woman Through Art Loosed! This particular morning drew thousands of women (and hundreds of men as well). Bishop Jakes used the biblical point of reference of Lazarus. Jakes reminded us of how Mary and Marta came to Jesus to let him know that their brother Lazarus was dying and they wanted him to save him. As the story continues Lazarus ended up dying, Mary and Marta were so angry with Jesus for “letting” their brother die. As Bishop Jakes begins his sermon he tells us that Lazarus’s life purpose was to DIE. Lazarus needed to die for a bigger purpose than himself; but what Mary and Marta needed to trust was that with God death does not mean the end. Jesus said to Lazarus I am going to get you out of it and when is over, we’re going to switch places. I just need you to SET IT OFF. If we are going to follow Christ, we must take up our cross and die to ourselves. God is not going to come into a situation until we are willing to let it DIE. God will pick up where we give up (control). You can fast, pray, get hands laid on you but until it is dead nothing will happen.

I felt God reminding me this is just the beginning. What you lost needed to die. I heard him so clearly say that God has been using all my broken moments to be a gap filler. God needed me to be so low that he was my only option for up. I felt God freeing me from the embarrassment of my past, pain from my plans, and promises me that he created me for this moment. Remember until you drop off, God will not pick up. What won’t you let die so that God can handle it? Bishop Jakes reminded us that every relationship that we go through is a test. Are you passing your test? Leaving out of the Kay Baylee Hutchinson auditorium I was a woman that was LOOSED.

You want it but don’t ask how much it cost
— Bishop T.D. Jakes

The thing about MegaFest, like many other conferences is that there are so many opportunities for knowledge and growth that you may not feel the value of the information you have received until the experience is over. I did not know while walking through these 4 very different experiences that I would see God in so many different forms and fashions. MegaFest taught me that I can read as many books as my heart desires, I can tell as many people as will listen about how I have received the short end of the love and life stick and I can fast for 100 hundred days but, to receive the love my heart craves, the peace my soul longs for, and the purpose my mind desires I must find the God in me. The God that is strong when I am weak, the God that forgives no matter how many times I fall short, the God that calms my worries, the God who waits patiently for me. Ester 4:14 says “Perhaps this is the moment in which you were created for” MegaFest was the place where I came alive to the call God has put on my life, the place where I promised God I was starting over for the last time.

 

Where will you come alive? Join me and FitXBrit next year at MegaFest 2018 and dare to come alive.

My Top 3 Snack Nation Picks

Last month, I told you guys all about how I was making attempts to introduce my students to some healthy alternatives with the help of Snack Nation. Well, this month, I am keeping all the snacks to myself but, I am going to share my top three favorites from this month’s box and I am going to give you guys the chance to try out one free box for yourself! Sound like a plan?

Now, I know we touched on this gem last month and I told you guys that you needed to get a little seaweed in your life but, I have to emphasize how excited I was to see it included in the box again this month! This snack is filling, low in calories, gluten free, and just all around tasty! It’s a change of pace from the traditional Korean seaweed. I found that they sell this particular brand at Whole Foods as well as Target and Peyton has been going through these like candy, which is not a problem for me because seaweed is a great source of iron!

These energy bars are the perfect snack on-the-go and are full of an assortment of nuts, seeds, and fruits. In all honesty, this is the first snack that my mini Peyton is not a fan of but. I am not upset at all because that just means more for me! Healthy and delicious can sometimes be considered an oxymoron but in this case they pair so well together and are the perfect description for the products that I have tried from this brand!

I was a little skeptical at first glance because the packaging was so small but that age old adage is true: don’t let the size fool you. Chocolate-covered cherry anything is already a win in my book but then, I headed to the ingredients and guess what? I could pronounce them all, there was a minimal amount of items that went into creating the bar, and it literally melted in my mouth! I kid you not! With seven other flavors to choose from, I am super excited to give this brand a try!

The reality is, I would have never experienced any of these brands had it not been for Snack Nation ! I love the fact that each month I am introduced to new things that are curated by the team at Snack Nation and that they can be tailored to meet the needs of almost any dietary restrictions or goals that you may have in mind.

Want to try out a FREE box for yourself? Let me know what you think!

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Please Note: The products mentioned in this post were sponsored. All comments about these product are my own and I have and will always remain transparent about my opinions. I will not endorse any products that I would not and do not use in my own household. 

Spring Forward

This time change has been one heck of a roller coaster leaving most of the people I have encountered begging for that hour back. What a difference an hour makes! Despite the fact that we know that it is coming, it doesn’t make it any easier year after year to “lose” that hour in our day. The day seems longer and the nights seem so much shorter but, the reality is that it is all in our heads. We still have the same 24 hours that we had before and, ultimately, it is up to us how we decide to take advantage of them.

Which had me thinking and reflecting (you guys know I am ALWAYS reflecting, so this is nothing new) why not use this shift to do exactly what it indicates. Why not just freaking SPRING FORWARD?! Originally, I was approaching 2017 by setting quarterly goals (that I have been smashing by the way) with reassessment as needed, which is still the approach that I am taking as it relates to my business and my brand. However, as it relates to my mind, body, and soul I am learning to listen to God first and foremost but also being aware of what my body is needing and what my mind is needing to “let go” of. Sometimes, those things can’t be restricted to quarterly checkups. In fact, I have been making it a daily practice to check in with myself and open myself up to new ways of thinking and focusing on self-care,

Part of that included a major detox that was prompted by the time change and when I say major I mean MAJOR. I deep cleaned my entire house, like getting on your hands and knees cleaning baseboards and all that good stuff! I cleansed my aura and my space by smudging sage in every doorway and corner of my space and the hardest thing was going through everything in my closet and literally throwing away everything that I have not worn in the last 365 days and by everything I mean EVERYTHING. This helped me to realize that a majority of my clothes were BP (Before Peyton) and that I really needed a fashion facelift because not only am I no where near the same size I was before or during my pregnancy but, even more so, I am NOT in any way, shape, or form the same person.

Fitness clothes are my norm and last year I got an amazing Elixir Jumpsuit from Prana and basically fell in love with the brand that is known for their amazing yoga gear and accessories. But, their spring line is offering a little bit more and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to try out a couple of items. Since I would describe my look (if I had one) as athleisure or minimalist (mostly because I am not a fan of being all covered up. Lol.) I was super impressed with the Annexi pants and Liana sweater that is debuting in the spring line and is available in so many different colors, which is why I will be purchasing it in all the colors. Not only are the clothes super cute, but they are also really comfortable and they pretty much have something for everyone regardless of your personal style. I definitely think that you guys should check it out and if you find some things you like( which I know you will) you can use code S4P17FXB to get 15% off of all of your purchases through March 28, 2017.

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What do you guys do to “spring forward” when you are feeling like you need a fresh start or perspective? Hopefully everyone doesn’t throw out all of their clothes like me because that can get a little pricey! Lol

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