Posts tagged "Heidi Thomas"

Clear the Clutter!

How crazy is the world in which we live? Every time you log onto Facebook or check your news outlets, something in this dynamic world is changing.  As you begin to mature and identify with who you truly are, it is important you don’t allow irrelevance to deter you and create imbalance in your life. The things we see and hear on television or the radio or at the mall can become a part of us—even when we are not trying to absorb the energy. Think about it. Have you ever been in a great mood and then get around your girlfriend, who is having boyfriend issues, and instantly feel the negative energy she’s emitting? Before you know it, your day has taken a turn for the worst and you just broke up with your boyfriend who doesn’t even exist. This is a prime example of unsolicited, negative energy being transferred from one party to another. I never knew the importance of maintaining a healthy energy and a life balance until I experienced some of life’s hardships. It’s unfortunate that I had to deal with negative energy in order to acknowledge the importance of good energy; but I am thankful that once I started to evolve into my purpose I realized that in order for my purpose to be fulfilled, I have to have a healthy spirit and maintain a life balance.

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What can you accomplish in a room full of clutter, horrible smells, and loud noise—absolutely nothing. There are too many distractions for you to seriously concentrate. This is exactly how your spirit and life work. When you fill your life with junk like (NOT) reality TV shows and Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page, you begin to distract yourself from things that are actually here to help you to become a better person and redeem increases in your life. Yes, it is fun to check in on Hollywood and get the latest fashion or gossip feed, but these things are not your life. If you allow gossip blogs to have control over you, and you find yourself caring more about people you don’t know than what is going on in your community, it is time for you to open yourself to the endless possibilities of being conscious. It is time for you to gain balance and control of your life.

When I am looking for a sense of calm and direction:  I meditate, I pray, and I recently started to engage in yoga. When people try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, they typically forget the spirit is a muscle that must be conditioned as well. When your spirit or inner being is strong and resilient, nonsense will grow irrelevant. It is easier for you to decipher what is important (to you) and what has been placed in your life as a distraction. Engage daily with your inner being through meditation, journaling, yoga, running—any activity that allows you to be alone with yourself and escape your daily routine. Find what works best for you and stick to it.

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Sometimes the world is so extremely loud and obnoxious, we couldn’t hear our inner-selves if we wanted to. But being able to mute the intolerable and listen to your inner-self will provide you with the calm and balance your life needs. So find the time to condition your spirit and give yourself a sense of peace nothing else can provide. It will be the beginning to a well balanced, healthy life.

Here’s to health and beauty and everything inside of you. It is the inside that counts!

 

-Heidi Thomas

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AH-CHOO!

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Health/Beauty, Latest | by — February 25, 2014

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It seems like every time I talk to a friend, no matter which part of the country she lives, she is suffering from either serious sinus drainage or a nasty cold. Unfortunately, it is that time of the year when the seasons are changing and our bodies are trying to adapt- we sneeze, cough, our eyes water, all in an attempt to fend from the dust and weather changes. As you prepare for the sinus/allergy season and try to keep your body healthy, it is important you feed your body plenty of vitamins and nutrients to build and support a healthy immune system.

Two things you should never live without are: water and an apple. As you know, water is the best way to hydrate the Heidi-300x300body and its organs; and it also flushes the body of toxins and pollutants. Water is pure and clean with no sugars, carbonations, or caffeine. When you are feeling under the weather is it advised you keep yourself hydrated. While sports drinks are effective in hydrating your body, they are also filled with sugars and syrups which can be harmful to the body. When you are sick and seeking a speedy recovery, it is important to keep your diet as clean as possible by avoiding foods and drinks with added sugars and fats that have been over-processed.

An apple is a perfect example of a food that requires little to no prep and is jam packed with nutrients and vitamins. Apples are a great immune booster providing almost 15% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. I like to munch on apples when I am not feeling well because most of the time when I am sick, I don’t have an appetite. Apples are light, sweet, and satisfying and take very little effort to eat. When your energy levels are low, simplicity is best.

Sometimes the sniffles call for you to wrap up and relax. Try to keep your body warm. Cover your feet with a thick pair of socks, put on some sweats, a long-sleeve shirt, and try to keep your body temperature high. The increase in body temperature will help kill whatever virus is lurking in your system and encourage a speedy recovery. Another way to increase your body temperature is to drink hot tea or enjoy some hot soup. If you are looking to break up congestion and icky mucous, take a medium size pot and bring about 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Remove the boiling water from the stove. Take a dry towel and place the towel over your head, slowly put your face close enough to the pot to be able to inhale the steam, but far enough away so you do not burn yourself. Breathe deep for about 20 minutes. The hot steam loosens the congestion and helps dissolve the nasty mucous. Another similar remedy would be to sit in a steam room or sauna for approximately 30 minutes. The excessive heat from the steam room and sauna too will allow the congestion and mucous to break up and increase your body temperature. If you are looking for a more natural healing process, natural heats and steam are definitely the way to go.

While it is important to take good care of yourself while you are sick, it is just as important to implement preventative measures from getting sick. Multi-vitamins are a young girl’s best friend. The nutrients and vitamins found in multi-vitamins help keep your immune system healthy, build strong muscles and bones, healthier hair and nails, and help keep your body flushed of the toxins and pollutants that can actually induce illnesses. Multi-vitamins are meant to be taken on a daily basis. It is very important you take them as directed because by not doing so you decrease the effectiveness of the vitamin. Take for example birth control- birth control is 99.95% effective as a contraceptive, however, if you miss a day or two you decrease the effectiveness of the pill by almost 20%. Vitamins are like most things in life, in order to see the benefits and results you must remain consistent.

I know we are all ready for Spring weather, short shorts, tank tops, and sandals; but we must make sure we are healthy enough to enjoy the light breezes and warm sunshine. Take good care of your body and fend off any sickness which might come your way. Try to remain as active as possible and sweat whenever you can. Avoid the processed foods and sugary drinks because none of these foods support a healthy immune system. Drink plenty of water and orange juice. The water will keep your body hydrated and the orange juice will help build your immune system. If you haven’t invested in a multi-vitamin, I highly recommend you do so. Different body types and personalities respond better to certain types of vitamins. Vitamin stores such as GNC or Vitamin Shoppe have personnel who will be able to tell you which vitamin will work best for your lifestyle. Do not over work yourself. Be conscious of your commitments and the time you have allowed yourself to relax. Your body responds best when it is well rested and refueled.

Here’s to a new season! Goodbye sub zero temperatures, ice, and snow! Hello Spring and Summer!Get those shorts ready for some play time and box those boots up for a while. Life is so much more fun when lived in the sun.

Until next time ladies, peace, love, new seasons, health and beauty.

-Heidi Thomas

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Home Sweet Home!

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Health/Beauty, Latest | by — February 11, 2014

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When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, a little goes a long way. You don’t have to be the person who lives in the gym 25/8. As a matter of fact, it is advised you find a healthy balance in your workout routine and allow your body ample amounts of rest and relaxation. Working out nonstop, machine on machine off, isn’t a good idea; and contrary to popular belief, you do not have to live your life inside of a gym to achieve your fitness goals. Fortunately, with the right equipment and enough determination you can transform your body without setting foot inside of a gym.

For anyone who can’t afford a gym or doesn’t have time to travel to and fro, there is a plethora home workouts that can fit any budget and work around any time Heidiconstraints. If you enjoy being outdoors and observing nature, I highly recommend lacing your sneakers and finding a nice natural trail. If you allow yourself 30 minutes of mildly vigorous walking/jogging/running on a nature trail you’ve burned approximately 300 calories FOR FREE; and because the natural trail never closes, you can work up a sweat whenever it is convenient for your schedule. Now please don’t be a crazy and try to catch a midnight run, visit nature trails and parks during safe, well lit times of day. Err to the side of caution and always be prepared to defend yourself from a predator. I always run with mace pepper spray or a small key lodged between my pointer and middle fingers (usually my house key). While my community is advertised as safe and I like to believe the safety notes publicized, I know I live in a dangerously wild world and crazy lives in every neighborhood. So, I stay protected and it’s recommended you do the same. If you aren’t a fan of the nature trails, find a jump rump and exhaust yourself for about 30 minutes. Jump ropes are exciting because they can travel with you anywhere.

Cardio helps burn calories and fat, but you also need to tone certain parts of your body. By toning your body you accentuate your natural curves. In my opinion, a woman’s most important and most attractive curves are her legs, hips, thighs, and glutes.  Squats, lunges, and stairs will pop those glutes and thighs like none other; and each exercise can be done without touching your homecoming fund or your weekly gas stipend. If you have a set of stairs at your school (football field is perfect) or near your home, run the stairs as hard as you can for 10-15 minutes. Once you’ve finished with the stairs, move directly into four (4) sets of 25 squats and 25 lunges (right leg lunge + left leg lunge = 1 lunge). In roughly 30 minutes, you’ve burned 300 calories and worked the largest muscle group in your body. The fun thing about working your legs is that because the muscle group is so big, you will continue to burn fat and calories throughout the day. If you feel like having a cheat meal, have it on leg day.

As a woman, I think I can speak for all women and say our most hated body part is our mid-section. We will starve ourselves for days on end, just to obtain a flat stomach. Now in your teenage years this shouldn’t be as big of a problem; but just in case, I want to leave you ladies with a solid core workout. Listed below is the Ab Ripper X workout from the P90x workout routine. The workout takes a little over 17 minutes to complete and targets nearly every muscle in your mid-section. This is one of my favorite ab/core workouts because it’s absolutely free, and can be done within the confinements of your own home.

 

Whether it is the complicated gym equipment or the excessive membership fee, don’t let these simple anxieties deprive you of a healthy, fit lifestyle. Research which types of workouts suit your personality and find ways to implement those workout styles in your home.  Part of loving and accepting yourself is loving and accepting your body and every(body) can stand for improvement. Hone in on you and do a little “at home”self-improvement. Spring and summer are right around the corner, show them both what you are made of!

Until next time ladies, peace, love, at home workouts, health and beauty!

-Heidi Thomas

 

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Nobody Needs Nobody

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Health/Beauty, Latest | by — January 14, 2014

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Often times we go through life and think being healthy is all about eating the right things and having enough exercise. However, there is so much more to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The things, people, and relationships we allow in our lives affect our health and overall well being. Sometimes your parents might complain about your friends and how they really wish you wouldn’t hang out with this person or the other; and that is because they realize how the company you keep affects your life.

When I was just a baby, I was introduced to my cousins and told they would be some of my best friends. Twenty-six years later, we are all still going strong. Every one of us is managing our own life and maintaining positive vibes and lifestyles. While I love my cousins, there came a time(s) in my life when I was forced find other friends and make judgment calls as to whether or not those (new) friends were positive influences.Heidi

As a rebellious, know-it-all teenager I made friends based on social status and popularity. I did not care if these friendships were detrimental to my well-being, what concerned me the most was if my new friends smoked cigarettes, could weasel up some liquor, or knew anyone who could put us in contact with the weed man. My priorities were not focused on whether or not my new friends would encourage me to be a better person or offer a shoulder to lean on during difficult times. As a younger woman, I didn’t know that social status and access to drugs and alcohol should/did not define a friendship. As a matter of fact, if there is someone in your life and their only connection to you is parties and/or moments of intoxication, it is very likely this person is not your friend and does not generate a healthy relationship for your life.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Birds of a feather flock together.”? Well, it is so true. You can’t expect your life to be headed down a path of prosperity and joy when you surround yourself with ill accomplished, disconnected people. Part of the reason my life has generated success for me and I have been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle is because I surround myself with people and relationships that are successful and healthy. No not all of my friends have careers making six figures or run eight miles every day, but they each have a strong faith and value the importance of their own well being and success. Their positive outlooks on life trickle down into our friendships and eventually my own life. When you surround yourself with people who do not care what college they attend or if they get arrested for shoplifting, it is likely that same energy will be transferred into your life. You will then find yourself unconcerned with life’s outcomes and your brightest dreams will soon become lackluster.

When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, allowing yourself to participate in healthy friendships/relationships is just as important as daily physical activity and a healthy diet. An unhealthy relationship of any sort (friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc) will have negative effects on you and your life. You can’t expect to grow and increase if all you’ve surrounded yourself with are stagnant people. You can’t think that you’ll never become addicted to drugs if all you hang around are drug dealers and dope smokers. You can’t expect to be at the top of your class if every single one of your friends is at the bottom. Know your goals and where you want to be in life. Examine the relationships in your life with a microscope and determine which relationships are healthy and support the dreams and aspirations you have for yourself.

We, as human beings, are supposed to be connected to each other.  Knowing that we need people in our lives is easily understood, but things become most difficult when it is time for us to determine to whom we should be connected. It is only natural for you to want to follow the crowd and hang out with the “cool” kids. No one wants to feel like an outsider, especially during your teenage years. But sometimes what we fail to realize is that what is cool is not always healthy or beneficial for us. Middle and High schools are only a fragment of your life. Do not stress yourself about maintaining a relationship with the captain of the cheerleading squad because she throws the best parties- it is irrelevant. But do stress yourself about maintaining those relationships which encourage you to put your best foot forward and focus on the things that will generate positivity in your life. When your parents tell you they don’t like this person or the next it is not because they want to hurt you or make your life miserable, it is because they know that person and that relationship are not going to be of benefit to you. Listen to your mentors and parents as they try to guide you to healthy relationships. Your connections with the right people will eventually become your connections to your own success.

Start to evaluate your circle. If your friends are unreliable or don’t support you in everything you do, then those friends are not what you need. In life we outgrow people. The thought makes some nervous, but to outgrow someone is great. This means you’re making progress in your life and you are not the same person you once were. So, as you take control of your life and your relationships, seek people who are going to generate positively healthy relationships. Keep your goals and aspirations in the forefront and those who need to be in your life will come and stay.

Find an invaluable relationship, fine tune it, and hold on tight. Do not get caught up in relationships that don’t matter. Until next time ladies, stay humble, focused and always remember to generate peace, love, health and beauty!

-Heidi Thomas

 

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Enjoy & Renew!

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Health/Beauty, Latest | by — December 16, 2013

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This time of the year everyone is focused on the holiday cheer. Some people are shopping while others  are cooking, but everyone is doing something to prepare for the season. It’s a jubilant time filled with lots of love. Of the holiday season, Thanksgiving and the New Year are my personal favorites. It isn’t about the gifts or the parties (well, kind of); it is about the thankfulness and thought of new beginnings that flows from one heart to another.

As I look over the last year of my life, I cannot help but give thanks for my health. The seeds I’ve sewn for a healthy lifestyle have turned into a bountiful harvest and created some of the best new beginnings I’ve ever experienced. Because I have devoted so much of myself and my life to a healthier me, I’ve achieved a number of self improvements. I have more energy, I am more confident, and I can think more clearly. I no longer rely on substances or food to make me appreciate life. I rely on self. I encourage myself to love me. If there is something about me or my life I am dissatisfied with, it’s my responsibility to make the necessary changes. Knowing that I have been able to better my health in such great magnitude gives me the strength and confidence to tackle other challenges I experience in life.

I advocate a healthy life because I know firsthand the benefits you receive from giving yourself a little tender love and care. We all have health issues we can a dress. Whether it is making sure we wear our glasses or minimizing our stress levels, we must take the time to make ourselves a bit healthier in 2014. If you make one small change a week or a month before you know it a year has passed and you are a completely different (better) person. Don’t be afraid to make changes, but be thankful you are able to make those changes and take control of your life. Know that in the end your harvest will be bountiful blessed.

As I encourage you to take on the challenge of creating a healthier you, I also encourage you to enjoy your life. I recently discovered that no matter how healthy one might be physically or nutritionally, if you’ve neglected yourself the right to enjoy life, you are just as unhealthy as someone who eats cheeseburgerHeidis and french fries on a daily- okay, maybe not that unhealthy, but you get the point. I used to be so incredibly hard on myself when it came to enjoying a warm bowl of peach cobbler or a serving of macaroni and cheese. I allowed my healthy lifestyle to prevent me from enjoying life; and this should never be the case. The objective of being healthy is to put yourself in a position where you can better enjoy living, not to be held back from simple pleasures. I constantly remind myself that balance and moderation too are a part of a healthy lifestyle. So guess what, I will have my macaroni and cheese and  some kind of fabulous dessert at Christmas dinner. Why? Because both of those things make me happy and a person who is happy is light years healthier than a person who is not. Will my stomach bloat for a couple of days; will I have to work out a little harder for my own psyche? Yes, but it is all worth it knowing I didn’t have to ignore the things that make me happy and contribute to my overall healthiness.

As you embark on a new year, embark on a new you! Make a promise to yourself to be a healthier
person in 2014. If healthier means less gossip hold yourself accountable when someone asks for your
unnecessary opinion about your ex’s new boo. If healthier means less stressed incorporate a stress
relieving routine to help keep your mind focused and your heart rate low. If healthier means losing
15 pounds and finally being within your weight range adopt a diet plan that suits your lifestyle and up
your physical activity. One thing to remember is no one’s healthy is the same. As a matter of fact, my
healthy for 2014 is completely different than my healthy for 2013. As with all things in life, once you
reach your desired goals your health will begin to evolve and there will be new challenges and obstacles
to overcome. Welcome everything with grace and poise and know that in the end it is all for the benefit
and beautification of you.

As you enjoy your holiday season and close out 2013 please, please welcome a healthier you in the year
to come. Accept and embrace the challenge of your development and brace yourself for a self imposed
increase.

Until next time beautiful ladies, happy holidays, decadent desserts, and renewed health and beauty!

-Heidi Thomas

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Beauty or Beast!

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Health/Beauty, Latest | by — September 30, 2013

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In this day and age, when you analyze a young woman’s profile picture you will notice her eyebrows are contoured with precision, her bone structure is flawlessly highlighted, and her lips are doused with something vibrant.  Too much? Not enough? How is a girl to know when she has gone too far with makeup?  If you are unfamiliar with makeup application knowing what works best for you and what does not can be difficult. We’ve all witnessed the downfalls of improper makeup application. And let’s be honest, if applied incorrectly a young lady can quickly turn from beauty to beast.

Where do you start? You start with your foundation; and a good foundation for anyone’s face consists of a regular cleansing and moisturizing regimen.Heidi Wash your face with a facial cleanser which suits your skin type. Some people benefit from facial scrubs while others need cream cleansers. It might take some time to determine which type of cleanser works best. However, once you do, you will notice a positive change in the overall appearance of your skin. The right cleanser can minimize or even alleviate acne and breakouts. In my opinion, the best way to know which facial cleanser works best on your skin is to sample different products. Another great way to better understand your skin type and its needs is to visit a dermatologist and have your skin tested. The dermatologist will be able to tell you if your skin is sensitive to certain products or if you’ve developed any skin allergies. Because our bodies change over time, a product that previously generated positive results might become ineffective as you grow older.   Be open to change and know that finding a suitable product is trial and error.

While your facial cleanser is extremely important, it is equally important to invest in a good facial moisturizer. Most facial cleansers are paired with a moisturizer. Don’t skip this product!  A good facial moisturizer is very beneficial. When researching different products, you will notice most moisturizers come equipped with ingredients like vitamin E, aloe vera, and/or a degree of sunscreen. The moisturizer will replace the oils and minerals the cleanser has removed. Understand the face is extremely sensitive and needs restoration. The moisturizer will restore your skin’s natural glow and act as a protectant against our air’s most awful pollutants, excess germs, and any makeup you decide to apply.

You do not have to wear mounds of makeup to be considered beautiful or attractive. As a matter of fact, you do not have to wear any makeup at all. But if you choose to enhance your beauty with foundation/powder, mascara, or blush, it is important you know how to apply. Often times, ladies have no idea where to start when it comes to makeup application. Luckily, there are a plethora of YouTube videos that can be used to teach you the unknown. Spend time researching products. Know that every shade is not for every girl. For example, my best friend looks great in peach colored lipstick, while I on the other hand look like a crusty lip clown-not cute! By taking the time to research my skin type and different beauty products I know that nude shades of lipstick don’t compliment my skin tone. If you have extra change (and by change I mean $50) you can visit your nearest MAC counter for a makeover. The cool thing about MAC makeovers is that you can use the $50 makeover fee towards your purchase of whatever products the makeup artist used on your face. Not only can you leave the store looking like fabulous, but you can go home and practice your rendition.

It is not recommended a lady wear makeup for long periods of time or on a day-to-day basis. It is healthiest to take a break from makeup and allow your face “breathing room”. Too much makeup can clog your pores and make for damaged skin. While you want to look great with your make up, you also want to look remarkable without it. But I understand, for some women a day without face decoration is a disaster. So, if you must wear something, choose to keep it light. Apply a little mascara, eyeliner, and lip gloss and stun the world with your natural beauty.

Makeup can be a woman’s best friend or her worst nightmare. It can highlight your beauty or transform you into a beast. You must always remember that makeup should be used to simply enhance the beauty that has already been bestowed upon you. While society has taught us to adorn perfectly manicured beauty, life has taught me to admire simplicity and sincerity. As ridiculous as it may sound, a girl can get lost in a MAC makeover. Don’t be that girl. Stay true to yourself and your natural beauty. Know your look and own it because one can do you better than yourself.  So, when the night calls and you get the urge to highlight your gorgeous attributes, add a touch of blush, a dash of eye shadow, and a bit of bronzer. Top it all off with a little lip tint and have yourself a beautiful time.

Until next time ladies, keep a solid foundation, a tube of lip gloss, and enough self awareness to last a life time. Here’s to health and beauty! Always stay true!

-Heidi Thomas

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Ugh, Gym Class!

Gym class. I mean really, do we have to do all of this physical activity, in the middle of the day, and then go back to class like nothing happened? Something happened! It is written all over my hair. I’m sweaty and I smell like yuck! I need to shower, but the locker room gives me the heebie jeebies. It’s just a bit much… gym class. Ugh!  Who likes gym class?

Let’s be honest, not everyone is an athlete. We do not all wake up craving fitness. For those us who do not, gym class is probably the best option. Yes, it is happens during the most inopportune time of your day, but the physical activity is just what the doctor ordered.  Gym class allows you to be physically active while having fun with your peers. You get to laugh and talk to your classmates as you exercise your muscles and burn a few extra calories. It is recommended that teenage girls engage in at least an hour of physical activity every day. Being active in gym class is a great way to ensure you receive the suggested amounts of exercise.

What is a girl’s biggest fear… a bad hair day? Don’t allow a minute detail to determine whether or not you will participate in Heidigym class.  Come prepared.  Bring a hair bush, comb, ponytail holder, gel, hair spray, bobby pins… whatever you think you will need.  A hairstyle should have very little impact on your decision to participate in gym class and nurture a healthy lifestyle. Find hairstyles that are suitable for exercise. There is the infamous ponytail, two French braids are a hot trend this year, or even a high bun. All three (3) hairstyles are sleek and trendy, but will also see you through a good round of cardio and leave you with absolutely no fuss.

If you are uncomfortable taking a shower in your locker room, I understand. I advise packing baby wipes, rubbing alcohol, and a face towel in your gym bag.  All three (3) help remove the sweat and smell from your body. Pack extra clothes. Yoga pants are extremely comfortable after a good workout. Also, a good workout will generate a more active metabolism leaving you feeling hungry. Don’t grab that slice of pepperoni pizza! While we all fall victim to cravings from time-to-time, you don’t want to jeopardize the hard work and calories burned.  So, pack a snack and refreshing beverage for post gym class. The snack will keep your metabolism active and burning calories, while the beverage will refresh your body and keep you hydrated.

So what if gym class isn’t for you? No big deal! There are plenty of physical activities that encourage an active, healthy lifestyle and don’t require your enrollment in a gym class. It might take some time and research to find something suitable for yourself, but the time spent finding your niche is an investment is of invaluable return.  The idea is to be encouraged and discover a physical activity most beneficial for your personality.  The more enjoyable the activity, the greater chance you have at staying committed and holding yourself accountable. Daily exercise increases brain function and generates a natural flow of endorphins throughout the body, both of which lead to a very healthy and a very happy you. So, take control of your healthy and your happy by finding a daily dose physical activity. If you can’t decide what your daily dose will be, register for a gym class and stay active.

Until next time ladies, have peace, self-love, health and beauty.

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The Quest!

School has started. And if you are anything like I was in grade school, every outfit has to be perfectly coordinated, you cannot wait for Friday night football games, you are anxious to see who shares  your lunch period, and you’re more focused on your crush than your Algebra assignment.  You’ve got the beauty thing down (so you think), but the last thing on your mind is your health.

As a teenage girl I was a socialite, fashion- fused, busy body. While I was very outgoing and highly involved in student organizations, I struggled with self-esteem issues daily. I was heavier than most of my friends. I wasn’t fat, but I didn’t quite look like anyone else in my circle.  The issue wasn’t that I didn’t have time to focus on my health and natural beauty, but it wasn’t important to me. I ate cheeseburgers every other day, cookies when I wanted, and exercised when cheerleading practice required. Who has time for the “grown up” things, right? You’re just a teenager. You have the rest of your life to worry about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Plus, who else around you is focused on their health and maintaining their natural beauty?Heidi

Sustaining your own identity is important as a teenager; but in reality, it is easier to subcomb to peer pressure. A lot of times you fall victim to peer pressure without even knowing you’ve done so. Looking back on my grade school experience, I kept my hair straight (by way of a pressing comb) and made sure my Express jeans didn’t get any larger than a size 8. At the time, I thought this was for me and my personal satisfaction- it wasn’t. I straightened my naturally kinky hair and attempted to disguise my naturally thick, curvy hips because I didn’t want to be any different than those around me. I wanted to stand out enough to be considered my own person, but not enough to be dissimilar.

Different is good!  Different is especially good when it comes to your health and beauty. You are not your best friend or your cousin or your sister. You are who you are. And you should embrace every aspect of you while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It can be hard as a young lady, but the idea is to simply begin the journey of self love. Once you begin to identify who you are, you realize that it takes different things for different people to maintain their individual health and beauty. Not everyone‘s body is contoured to fit into a size 2 pant. Not everyone’s locks are silky straight, long, and flowing.  YOU are the definition of your own beauty. To me, my beauty is ensuring my body, mind, and spirit are healthy and maintaining a healthy, fit lifestyle. Yes, I workout six (6) times a week and I recently fit into a size zero (0). I wax my eyebrows and mustache and straighten my hair from time-to-time. I meditate and pray and constantly work on increasing my faith. But everything I do, I do for me…. I do because I love me.  If you don’t love yourself, the rest of the world will forget to love you too!

So, with all of the excitement around the latest trends and best dance parties this school year, don’t forget to care for yourself. Remember to stay encouraged, be true, and sprinkle lots and lots of self love.  In the words of ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus, “It takes more than just a good looking body [to maintain a healthy lifestyle]. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it.” Enjoy The Quest ladies! Until next time, peace, blessings, health and beauty!

-Heidi Thomas

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