A New Day

Things have been rough mentally lately. Thought I was shaking it off, but no, the devil is still out to get me.

For those unaware, hubby is getting out of the military in less than a month. We’re becoming civilians. During the course of the last couple of months, he has been taking a class that will in the long run get him certifications and job experience in his fields of interest. It’s really such a blessing that he got in this class, especially when he did.

But the thing is, he doesn’t have a job yet. This class gets done only days before the day he is officially out. So we are left with uncertainty of what’s next. Where we’ll be. What we’ll do. The next adventure that lies before us.

There’s a key word there. Adventure. Adventure is a journey without seeing what is ahead. That is when we turn our eyes to God. Trust that He will take care of us in the here and now. As well as in our future. Faith is trusting in our adventure. It is believing in something we cannot see. And something we don’t always understand 100%.

In looking at it this way, it gives me some hope and excitement. It helps give me a peace. Kind of an odd peace haha. But a peace nonetheless. And there is nothing like peace from God.

I can tell that I must be doing things right in some way. With the state of our circumstances, my anxiety and depression are really trying to take me over. My house is becoming a disaster again. Business is suffering. My relationships suffer. And everything suffers because I suffer inside. So when I suffer, I realize, I must be doing something right for the devil to attack me this way. So all I have to do is continue to try and do my best. And the biggest thing I can do for any aspect of my life is work on personal development. Work on changing myself. I’m going to need work the rest of my life anyways, so why not keep trucking? Working on myself, especially during my suffering times, is only going to make me stronger and stronger. I will only be prepared for extra joy in the good times and for maintaining a joy in bad times.

One thing that I think will help me is getting back into my blog. I love sharing my experiences and insights with others because I’d like to think I might reach someone else out there who might feel like they are alone. Plus, it is a way of me reaching out and reminding people that I am not perfect in any way, shape, or form. It is a way to keep myself from hiding when I feel pressure to be perfect.

So here I am :). Trying still to make my come back.

You might say I have officially started my YouTube channel. You can click here to see my introduction. It’s the only video I have on there at this moment in time lol. The whole video thing is super new to me, and I avoided it so long because I wanted to perfect it. But I think the only way to do that is to just jump right in and learn as I go. So you have me in raw form lol. Don’t expect perfection. I very much welcome feedback and opinions as I do this. I want to learn and hope all of you can learn alongside me.

Videos I will be trying to tie in mostly with this blog. I plan to do videos on Herbalife products along with some nutrition and fitness tips, short videos of encouragement and inspiration and just sharing some thoughts, and even some videos of my singing and worship. These are my passions. God called me to share my gifts. So I’m going to stop being afraid to get out there and share my joys with you :). Again, it’s all new, esp doing the music lol so dude, bear with me. I am only human. And I can be a ditsy one at that. So, anyways, here is to a new start and a new day!!

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Challenging the Mind

The past few months have been a period of lots of growth and change for me. It’s been quite the roller coaster ride, too. Ups and downs in business, mental health, life…so much that went through my mind that I wanted to write about but was too overwhelmed with the intensity of it all.

The end of this chapter, however, as always, brought nothing but good things and good lessons learned. All aspects of my life are stronger. My marriage, my family, my business, my faith, my hope, and just…me.

I struggled for a while with my self image. I felt pressure to look perfect. As a result, my nutrition suffered some as I focused TOO much on fitness. My depression worsened as did my anxiety and my stress. But I regained focus as God brought to light my true struggle. I realized I didn’t need to be ashamed of my struggles and my imperfections. What kind of Herbalife health coach would I be without them?

Since then, I have been working on my mind. My mind is my biggest challenge. I’m focusing on Philippians 4:8, which basically tells us to focus on positive things. As I’ve been working on this, I came up with a new challenge for myself. In terms of my nutrition, my biggest struggle has always been stress and comfort eating. I had been giving in to that again. So I came up with a challenge based off of our #21dayshakechallenge.

It takes 21 days to form a habit. In the shake challenge, we keep up with drinking our shakes for a straight 21 days. The accountability comes from posting pics of our shakes every day. Well, my challenge I am calling the “21dayMINDchallenge.” For a straight 21 days, I committed to no cheating.

The point of this was not to create a habit of not cheating, but of controlling my mind. To avoid cheating, I have to push out the thought “one time won’t hurt” or “just one little bite.” In doing this, I hoped to train my mind into some good self discipline.

What no cheating means for me is sticking to my goals on MyFitnessPal  (my screen name is picklepuddles if you’d like to add me). It means sticking to Ezekiel bread, quinoa, brown rice, whole grains, and oatmeal as my grains. Lean proteins. Low added sugars. Low saturated fats and no trans fats. No being a garbage disposal for my kids. No little bites of something as I prepare it. And, of course, no cheat meals or treats.

I did this challenge by myself from March 14 thru April 3. I was planning to take pics of all my food and blog regularly about it. However, time got away from me, and I couldn’t keep up with taking all the pics and everything. So I decided to share my overall experience.

I started out the first week prepping almost everything.

This consisted of snacks, some stuff for dinners, and, of course, my shakes.

It made things pretty stinking easy throughout the week except for the fact that some of the stuff with produce in it didn’t last the whole week. Started looking gross lol. So I gotta work on my prepping skills. I didn’t do much prepping after that, just mainly my meal and snack planning.

So the way I would plan was with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. For those who don’t know how it works, I took some screen shots of what it looks like. Usually the night before, I would go in and log what I planned to eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner (you can search for it or scan the bar code). After my workout each day, I would log the basics of what I did to get an estimation of how much I burned and needed to make up for.

Often what I did is that when I wasn’t yet close to my calorie goal, I would go to the “Nutrition” tab in the menu to look at what I still needed more of. I also would look at this throughout my planning to spread out when I was getting different nutrients like protein, carbs, and fats. Since I was only looking to lose a few pounds this time, I didn’t want to lose it too fast. So I tried to keep close to my calorie goal. There was tweaking done here and there each day in my diary, but the logging stuff ahead of time kept me more on track instead of standing there thinking, “hmm, what should I eat for a snack?” while I have my kids’ Goldfish crackers or pretzels in my view.

I pretty much always went way over my protein goal because it’s hard to get too much protein when you’re eating lean proteins.

Ok, so what did I eat you ask? Well, while I didn’t keep up with pictures of every single meal, I did take pictures of most of the different things I ate. I’ll give a look at my typical days.

My morning routine consists of devotions and prayer time and a workout. I usually got up 4:45-5 (shocker, I know) and was done by 7. So after this was my typical “breakfast.” It was my Herbalife Formula One (2 scoops) and my delicious Rebuild Strength. I liked having Dutch Chocolate with the Rebuild for a chocolate punch in the mouth. SOOOOOOOO GOOD. Definitely was a reward for working out. My breakfast I always also took my Herbalife tabs. They consisted of the multivitamin, Cell Activator, Cell-U-Loss, Aminogen, and Total Control.

Gotta do my faces ;).

Then there was my morning “snack.” This was usually around 9 or 9:30. This was more what you would call a breakfast, though, because I typically had breakfast food if I was home. It pretty much always consisted of two egg whites and one whole egg (usually over easy), a banana, and a piece of toast (Ezekiel bread) with natural peanut butter and a touch of agave nectar. We go through bananas like crazy in our house, though, so sometimes I would replace a banana with an apple or pear if we were out. I would also take a Snack Defense to try to help with any munchies that might try to creep in.

I seriously never get tired of this combination haha. I’m too much of a breakfast food lover :).

Around 12 was when I would have my lunch shake. I had the Orange Cream Formula One on hand during this challenge, so usually I had two scoops of that with one scoop of the vanilla Protein Drink Mix. I mixed this with 1/4 cup of almonds in my single serve blender. I don’t really like the Orange Cream by itself, but adding the almonds makes it quite tasty! One last thing I added to my lunch shake was the Prolessa Duo. I did this because it helps give more of a feeling of fullness. I usually tend to struggle the most in the afternoon with my cravings and getting hungry. Then I would take the same set of tablets from what I had with my morning shake.

Shakes somehow taste even better with a big fat straw.

Afternoon snack (usually around 2:30) varied based on what I was in the mood for. My first week I had prepped some avocado, spinach, and egg salad. I also had prepped some cucumber and tomato sandwiches with cream cheese. I did not continue these because these did not last the whole week haha. As far as prepping them anyways. By Thursday or Friday they were kinda gross. But this Avocado Egg Salad I found on Pinterest is delicious! I just added pureed spinach to it for the extra health kick. It is because of this recipe that I use lemon juice for flavoring so much now.

Anywho, most of the time I would have at least 12 grams of protein, a veggie, etc. Some examples here in the slideshow below are my avocado egg salad with the cucmber sandwiches (the smiley face one lol), avocado with tuna and grape tomatoes (and some salt, pepper, and lemon juice), v8 vegetable juice, and Herbalife’s delicious protein bars. I WOULD DIE WITHOUT THESE PROTEIN BARS!!! They are seriously like a candy bar. The Chocolate Peanut tastes like a Snickers. In one picture, you’ll see I had some Peach Tea with some lemon Niteworks. Niteworks has a lot of amazing detail behind it, which sometime I will share info on, but to briefly explain, it provides Nitric Oxide that is crucial to heart health. For any age. And, of course, I would again take the Snack Defense.

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I really liked getting creative with how I took my pics lol.

So next came dinner. Usually around 5 or 5:30. Soooooo many different things. The key here was getting in a good portion of lean protein, some colorful veggies, and a grain limited to quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain and Ezekiel bread. We also had a Bible study we went to once a week that we do a potluck for. One of the pictures represents the options I chose. Oh my gosh, so much good food at these Bible studies!! It was especially hard to say no to the desserts haha. But I did it.

These pictures in the slideshow below only represent some of my dinners, and I didn’t always remember to take pictures of some of my veggies haha. But a lot of these dinners had veggies mixed in them. I have captions with each photo describing them.

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I had many a yummy dinner despite my restrictions!

Something else I did on occasion was make Herbalife pancakes. With having the Orange Cream flavor, I did two scoops of that with one scoop vanilla PDM, an egg, and water to the desired consistency. The Orange Cream tasted good with some almonds and natural peanut butter on top. Oh and some honey. NOM.

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Is your mouth watering yet?

Ok, my workouts? Pretty simple. Pictured below is my gym. In my garage lol. So I alternated days working lower body and upper body with the stuff you see here, as well as some body weight exercises. I incorporated cardio in every day as well. Usually started and ended with it. I also would do my favorite DVD by Angie Gorr on occasion, too. I usually did something from it at least once a week. I share this with a lot of women because it is great for any woman at any stage. They have Angie plus three other ladies showing you the different levels you can do at your own pace. Plus, you can divide it up and do anywhere from just 5 minutes to the whole DVD. The weight exercises are awesome, too!

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Excuse the mess.

So here’s the big part. My results. The only picture I have unfortunately is just from after doing it for a week. Let’s face it, at the end of the challenge I started my period and felt too bloaty and gross to take a pic (ladies, you understand lol. And sorry, guys.) BUT after just one week, I was already toning up and feeling so much better!

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I know some might not really see much difference at all. But let me tell you, the difference was mostly inside. I was feeling more confident and even better than ever before.

In the end, I did end up losing those pounds I gained over the holidays. My cravings were mostly gone again. I didn’t feel a need to eat my feelings. I had gone a straight 21 days fighting MANY temptations of eating a piece of candy or eating the food my kids didn’t finish. I fought cakes, cookies, extra munchies, etc. Most of all, I fought my mind. And I won the battles.

Here is the biggest thing I learned through all of it. My whole concept on cheating has changed. I used to say, “Oh, I’m all about cheating on occasion!” While it’s still true that I believe that it is ok to cheat, my approach on this is different now. First, we do not need to go out of our way to cheat. I usually set a standard of cheating no more than once a week. You’ve done well all week, go ahead and have that slice of pizza (even though you might regret it lol). BUT this doesn’t mean that you think, “Oh, hey, I ate healthy all week. That means I can cheat today. Let’s order a pizza!!” If the opportunity to cheat brings itself to you, like you’re going out to eat, or you’re going to a party, whatever it may be, go for it! Cheat. However, this brings me to my next point.

Second, cheating does not mean we should overindulge ourselves. I learned this specifically after the challenge. That week that it ended was breakfast night at our Bible study. Breakfast food is my favorite and my weakness. I went CRAZY. I ate so much. It was all delicious! But the problem was that it was TOO much. I enjoyed it while I ate it. But I ended up feeling like crap into the next day, almost like I negated all the work I’d put into that challenge. I didn’t lol. But I felt like it, and I hated myself. That was where my big lesson was.

So to all my clients reading this, I’m sorry, but I’m no longer “all about” that cheat day lol. I am all about getting to the point wherecheating consists of just one piece of cake or one slice of pizza. Maybe 2.

Peeps, I have struggled with depression and anxiety all my life. And recently I was told I have a generalized mood disorder. For 21 days, I fought with my own mind and won. I won. I lost a battle I didn’t know I was fighting after and learned a huge lesson. The point is, if someone as “crazy” as me can do it, anyone can. YOU can survive without cheating at least for a while. I mean, I’m thinking about doing another challenge for even longer sometime. Crazy, huh? lol Anyways, we are always more capable of things than our head tells us. With God’s help especially. Never say “I don’t think I can.” The worst I will take is “Yeah I can totally do that, but just don’t want to right now.” lol I don’t want to hear I can’t. Because you can. If it’s worth enough to you for your own health and how you affect those around you and how the rest of your life plays out, you can do it. And you can find a way.

If you are interested in trying this challenge yourself, let me know. I don’t require a fee for it at this point as it is something brand new I came up with. However, I do want to add that I can help you the best if you are on a plan using the Herbalife products. Apart from the strength that God gave me through prayer, those products got me through and made it so much easier.

If you’re not ready for that, we have our next Facebook challenge starting May 2nd! You can at least commit to starting a healthier life with this 6 week challenge :). These challenges have been incredible! I’ve loved them simply for the resources and support they provide from coaches and participants alike. Get with me to get more info!

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So now my next goal? Personal development. Bettering myself so I might be a better coach, a better wife, a better mother, and just overall have a better life.

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As far as physical goals, I’m working hard to get rid of these love handles! My weight is great, and I feel healthy again. Getting some guns, too!! haha. But yeah. The love handles gotta go. They’re annoying me.

Now that I FINALLY have this blog post done (been working on it for a while), I’m also shooting to blog more regularly on my progress and life. Including videos. SHOOTING to lol. This is going to involve every aspect in my life as far as mental health, physical health, and even my music. Stay tuned, my loves! I see great things ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

I am who I am. That’s all I can be.

Let’s start fresh. I haven’t been very regular on here for a while, and things have changed a lot these past few months and then some. You can get to know me more as I get to know myself better day by day.

So let’s start with who I am and what I can tell you about myself.

I am a wife.

 I have been married to my husband for 8+ years, known him for 10 years. I was 20 when we got married. We’ve had plenty of days of stupidity, but we have also had plenty of days of harmony. We go through OH SO MANY ups and downs, but he remains my best friend. My life partner. Some days I want to punch him in the face. Other days I just don’t want to leave his side. All in all, my love remains strong for him.

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I am a mom.

Many would say I’ve only been a mom for 3 1/2 years, but that isn’t accurate. I’ve been a mom since the day I conceived my first baby spring of 2009. I had four babies born into heaven from 2009-2011. Finally, in May of 2012, I had a baby girl born into my arms. Almost exactly 2 years later, I had a baby boy born into my arms. Then, earlier in 2015, I had one more baby born into heaven. So when you think about it, all together I have 7 children (crazy thought haha), but I’ve only had the pleasure of actually raising 2. God decided to raise the other 5 for me <3, along with the help of my 2 grandmas I like to think. But there has been no greater experience than raising my girl and boy. They are my treasure, and I hope they grow up knowing that. They are two incredibly wonderful, unique, and goofy individuals.

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I am a MILITARY wife/mom. 

Bam. That makes me special, right? lol No. I’m no greater or more qualified in life than any other woman. We all have individual struggles that others may not understand. But let me tell you what some of those are when you are affiliated with the military, at least in my personal experience.

Finances are still a struggle for us, too. We are not rolling in dough. Far from it. Especially when you deal with a system that makes it hard to promote.

Babysitters? Pretty much non existent unless you are rolling in dough or live close to family by some miracle. I find myself most of the time exchange babysitting or paying a friend for the occasional date night or appointment.

Speaking of date nights- marriage. It’s probably made 10 times harder than it was before, and at the same time, about 10 times stronger. The deployments, the long hours, the weekend and 24 hour shifts…it’s hard to not have hubby/daddy/wifey/mommy around no matter how long of a time he/she’s gone. It can put a strain on things from stress and being overworked. At the same time, the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is so very true. Sadly, we don’t always know what we have until it’s gone. You learn to appreciate even just their presence.

Traveling, moving, seeing the world, blah blah blah- This can be a curse and a blessing. I HATE packing to move. I HATE having to meet new people and build new support and community. I HATE it. But at the same time, I love seeing the places we’ve seen. Experiencing the environments we’ve been in. And as far as meeting new people, I hate that I have to, but you really REALLY have to if you want to survive in the military world. I have met so many incredible people throughout our military life that I will NEVER forget. Sometimes we might lose touch because of moving, getting out, or just plain being busy, etc., but every single person has remained in my heart.

The kids? It’s hard to say with how young my kids are how they are affected. But when daddy has been gone, even at their age, there has been a difference in their behavior. I believe it’s because they sense everything we feel. So it is a struggle to keep a stable home when a parent is gone. When routines have to be rearranged.

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I am a Bible follower.

You can call me Christian, a believer, whatever. The point is, I follow Christ. I follow the Bible. It is the rock on which I stand. It is what defines all that I am describing to you about myself. It is the reason I live and the reason I AM alive. I would be literally nothing. Dust. Ashes. Nothing…without my faith. Jesus died for my sins that I might have a chance to spend life after death in heaven with him and our Father. He placed me here to share that with others so that they might know about the same chance.

No, I don’t go to church EVERY Sunday. I don’t stick to my devotions and prayer time like I should. Why? Because I’m human. I struggle. I sin. But I know that as long as I confess and hold tight to Him, He’ll keep welcoming me back into His arms when I fall. Over and over again.

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I am a musician. 

How many of you knew that one of my greatest passions is music? Most of all, singing and writing songs. I’ve been focusing on my singing since I was 11 years old. I even started as a voice major in college. Originally I wanted to be a famous pop star lol (what little girl doesn’t?). My dreams have changed over the years as God has made my calling more clear, but I do know that somehow the stage is still part of that calling. Whether it’s simply helping with praise and worship at a church or performing and entire concert of my own, my heart and my passion comes out when I am on stage. God speaks through me there.

I am a complete weirdo. 

And I’m proud of it. I have a wide ranged sense of humor. I have sarcasm, I’m beyond a goof, and I love making incredibly stupid faces. I’m really good at it. My laugh is obnoxious. Back in my school days and at past jobs, I was known for my laugh lol. My humor is part of what defines me as an individual. Some might see it as immature. Some might see it as complete psychotic behavior. But those who know me love me for it.

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I am a sufferer of chronic anxiety and depression.

Whoa, speaking of complete weirdo, right? Wrong. Oooooo, ouch. It is NOT uncommon. At all. Sadly, it’s more common than any of us realize. Mental health is no joke. Yet it is so misunderstood and looked down on, even by those who go through it. I have dealt with it my ENTIRE LIFE. It runs in my family. We’re a bunch of crazies (and you know you love us) ;). Seriously, though. It is nothing to mess around with or to ignore. It is not something that you just fluff off and not ask for help.

The anxiety? That’s the worst part for me. EVERYTHING POSSIBLE is an easy worry for me. What people think about me. What deadly illness I might have. The worst possible thing that could kill me 5 minutes from now. The worst possible thing that could happen to someone I love 2 seconds from now. What I’m going to wear to that event on Saturday (really is something I’m thinking about right now lol). Who I have to interact with in the next 24 hours. BLAH BLAH BLAH. You name it, I’ve probably freaked out and stressed about it. And if it gets bad enough, I get a random anxiety or panic attack where my heart races and it’s difficult to breathe. Fortunately I’ve dealt with attacks enough that I for the most part know the techniques to get them under control. But the thoughts are still there. My mind races with every possible thought every second of every day.

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The depression is a result of my anxiety. Hard to explain why. It’s a long story. But it’s real. The depression is something else. It can come out of nowhere even if I was feeling super happy earlier that day. Just suddenly BAM. The world is ending and should be ending. All you want to do is curl up in a ball in a dark corner where no one can see you and just cry away that pit in your stomach. What do you do instead, especially if you’re me? You feed your kids the milk and cereal they’re whining for. You wipe poopy butts. You go grocery shopping. You go to work. You clean the house. You put a happy face on because sulking around showing the world how you REALLY feel is just going to have an effect on the whole world. Sometimes, like I have in the past, we never let ourselves go. We bottle it up. Act like it’s all ok. Until we break down in front of everyone because it’s out of control. With true depression, sometimes that break down comes from nowhere. You’ll be going about your life chatting with the people you come across throughout the day when suddenly, you get in your car and lose it. Sometimes a social life can be exhausting for us.

On that note, I am an introverted extrovert.

 I am not a snob. But I’m also not really shy. I’ve realized that some might see me as hard to approach. Hard to read. I don’t really pay attention to what my facial expression might actually say haha (need to work on that). My whole life I have tended to be reserved and shy. This is in relation to low self esteem, which is in relation to my anxiety. Afraid I’m just going to look like I’m an idiot. At the same time, though, I’m not afraid to talk to complete strangers. I will randomly strike up a conversation with somebody I’m standing in line with at the grocery store. Sometimes they act kind of reserved themselves, so then I just back off lol. But let me tell you, don’t be afraid to approach me and talk to me unless you’re not ready to talk deep. You start talking to me, and I will chat away typically. Let’s talk about life and something inspirational and deep. I could talk forever with people. It’s small talk that I’m a little awkward with lol. And on the topic of social life being exhausting, I also have many times when I would rather not be around people. Just me and peace and quiet. Maybe a book, a movie, a computer to type on, etc.

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I am a health and fitness enthusiast. 

Say what? No way. I’m sure no one knew that (sarcasm, if you didn’t catch). This has been a more recently discovered PASSION. Interest? I’ve been highly interested in it for over 5 years. My passion for it came clear more recently. When my life was changed by it. I thought I was healthy before with the way I ate and how I kept a workout routine. I’d lost weight before. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. I was trying, I give myself that. But I was also lying.

When I had my miscarriage earlier this year, something snapped in me. I had been at a stand still weight after having my son for MONTHS. Then I got pregnant again. I was determined to take better care of myself than I had with other pregnancies. Then I lost the baby. I knew what I needed to do. I still needed to take better care of myself. I had made a mental decision to be myself again. I ended up getting better. I got a new me, the me that I was meant to be.

It started with getting reconnected with an old friend who had found out she miscarried the same day I found out I did. She eventually, with her husband, got me going on Herbalife. The shakes tasted so much better than any protein shake I’d ever had. But it was more than that. With their help, I developed a healthy lifestyle. They gave me guidance in what to eat and when to eat along with my Herbalife products. Almost right away, I started noticing a difference just in the way I felt. I had more energy. I felt happy. Feeling the way I did is what kept me going. I eventually got down a little past my goal weight, which was my pre-pregnancy weight. I felt better than I ever did in my life, even more than when I’d lost weight before. Because I was doing it in a healthy way.

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As a result, after trying out direct sales company after direct sales company, I found my fit (no pun intended). I’ve always wanted a way to help others who have felt the way I have. Nutrition and fitness had become my therapy and my God send. I wanted to encourage others into the same kind of life. To push others to extremes they never thought they could go. Because it IS possible when you put your mind to it. So yeah. That is why I now sell Herbalife.

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There’s more to it, though. This path with Herbalife has led me to realize I want a deep understanding of the way this works. So I’m now seriously pursuing becoming a certified personal trainer with a focus on fitness. Just trying to find the right “fit” as far as where I’m getting my education.

This has become another large part of my calling. As I’ve been helping others on this path, it has been so rewarding to me. It touches me just to hear that I have inspired others and that they can see how happy I am. Don’t care about how “good” I might look. I care that I shine a light.

All of this about who I am comes down to the reason I wrote this post. I still struggle. *GASP* Yep. It’s true. I’m not perfect, remember? This time of year is especially hard as we end daylight savings time. I get Seasonal Affective Disorder, also know as SAD. That it’s known as SAD is ironic because it basically is just that either you get depression if you didn’t have it already, or the depression you already deal with just gets multiplied by 10,000. I’ve usually been the latter. And this year, it’s threatening to hit me HARD. But I’m not letting it. I am a new person now. I’ve fought too FREAKING hard to get to where I am now.

So I’m here now to come back to sharing my struggles. My “puddle” of “pickles.” Which also end up leading to my victories. My triumphs.

So come. Join me in my journey :).

Doubting the Drive

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I think this is my biggest struggle. Believing in myself. Believing I have the strength and the will power to make my dreams come true.

In my eyes, though, our passions don’t just come from nowhere. I believe God gives us all our passions and for a reason. So why be so doubtful of success? Why be so doubtful of ourselves? Aren’t we just insulting God by doing so?

I have a passion for music. I have a passion for writing it and performing it, sharing it with others in hopes that God might touch their lives through me. I don’t have a passion for teaching. I don’t have a passion for conducting, directing, or anything behind the scenes. So I perform. At least that is the direction I feel led for now. I have been sure of it all my life, just the way to get there and achieve has changed several times.

I also have a passion for direct sales and having my own business. I’ve been getting myself in and out of it for the past maybe 5 or 6 years. Most of it was just finding the right company. But I always enjoyed doing it. I like building a relationship with my customers. I like placing their orders and also putting them together and delivering them. There has to be a reason I keep doing it, right? I believe I have finally found the perfect company for me, too. It just feels right. Giving up feels wrong in the times I fail. Initial Outfitters holds my values, they function as a whole team, they are personal, and their products (especially jewelry) perfectly fit my style. I have never loved a company more.

All in all, I have a passion for serving people. Helping people. I especially hope to help people who go through the same things as me. Depression, anxiety, miscarriages, parenting, marriage, direct sales, etc. And these are the ways I believe God is leading me to do so.

Point is, I believe in my passions. So why not believe in myself? Why is that so hard?

With that in mind, I can more easily believe in my ability to achieve and succeed. I can fail and learn with confidence to work my way to success.

Research Well Spent

The time has come. Research review.

If you all remember, I did a survey on direct sales in hopes to better improve my business and everyone’s. So here are the results I got and my research and responses based on them.

Question #1-

What is the first thing you think when you see an invite for a direct sales company party? Please comment with why you chose your answer.

Results-

question 1

Most comments I got said that most of the time they just didn’t have the money for it. This doesn’t surprise me as I often have that problem myself. My response to that is this- You don’t always have to purchase. With events, just participate and have fun! If you can’t buy, you can’t buy! No problem :). We’ve all been there. Another thing- you don’t have to spend $100. Most companies have something you can buy at minimal price. Every little bit helps toward a party especially!

One comment I got said this- “I don’t like getting invites from other direct sales reps unless it is a mystery hostess event. I think DS reps who don’t get hostesses are being lazy. If it is an invite from a friend who is hosting a party, I don’t mind. It just depends on if it is something I’m interested in or not.” At first, my response was “ouch.” I have done a lot of virtual parties without a specific hostess. So this one made me think. My view on this is that we should work harder to find hosts; and when we don’t have hosts, do a mystery host! I mean, that’s incentive right there! Personally, I don’t think I’ve worked hard enough to find hosts. And this was something that spoke to me. You gotta work hard to have success. You can’t expect the work to be done for you. Ya know? So thank-you for that comment whoever gave it!

Question #2-

When you want to see posts by a consultant for direct sales, do you prefer a FB group, page, or their personal timeline?

Results-

2nd question

I’m actually surprised anyone said personal timeline. This has been a constant thing showing that people do NOT want to constantly see sales in their newsfeed. Pages were definitely in the majority, though. So if you do not have a business Facebook page, I recommend you create one.

There is one comment that I think is worth mentioning- “I HATE being added to a group without my permission. HATE it!! Start a biz page and share it with me, give me the choice to like it or not. I don’t mind if people share posts on their personal pages.”

I don’t always mind being added to a group, personally, because you have the option to opt out of notifications. And you can leave it.

HOWEVER, on topic of groups and events, here is my view based on observation- I do NOT think groups should be used as events.

Reason one- groups exist forever. You can’t delete them. Or cancel them. You can only leave them. Once events are over, they might still be there, but you’ll no longer see them without looking for them. Less clutter.

Reason two- if you want to make another event out of it, it’s not as easy to just add people who aren’t in it anymore. You gotta look through to see who isn’t in it. My thinking, too, would be if that person left the group, don’t add them back to it even if it’s completely different.

Reason three- you can track things better on events. You can see who is going or hopes to go. Those rsvp’s will also get the notifications and kept better up to date.

All in all, I’ve decided that I like events better. And I like pages better. They give people more choice. Giving people more choice is a customer service.

If you have a different opinion, I’m completely open to hear it! Just personally, I don’t like  adding people to a group without their permission. I miss when you used to be able to invite people to a group.

Question #3-

How often would you prefer to see posts from consultants? Please comment on why you chose your answer.

Results-

question 3

So this was a big one for me. I was starting to feel like I post too much. Sometimes I even posted more than once a day. This shows that that’s gotta stop. So here you go, fellow direct sales reps. I’d say keep it at 2 to 3 times a week. We don’t want to rely completely on social media anyways, right?

I want to actually share all the comments I received-

“I don’t like advertising taking up my newsfeed.” Not surprising. As I said earlier, this seems like a common Facebook complaint.

“Everyday could seem too pushy and once a week may leave me forgetting, so 2-3 times a week would be awesome.” Sounds extremely reasonable. The forgetting thing sounds like my brain, too lol.

“I’m broke and don’t like to be reminded I can’t buy things.” This made me lol haha. Too true, my friend. Too true.

“Once a week for normal business sales 2-3 if doing a fundraiser.” This is an interesting suggestion. Might actually be a good thing to experiment with.

Question #4-

Explain some things you would like to see less of and things you would like to see more of in relation to direct sales.

This was one with comments only. A few worth quoting-

“Keeping the post to the group only and not on the group, on their separate page, and on their personal page because then it just makes triple of everything.” Very good point. Let’s keep our posts in one place, people. Preferably our groups or pages. I think it’s different, though, if you share your post on an advertising group.

“More fundraisers, more info on products. sometimes it’s hard to see the info in pictures posted or in online catalogs if you can’t make a party. Being pushy and rude or stepping on each other’s toes I would like to see less of.” This is great to point out how misunderstood the product can be if someone can’t make a party. I think next on my agenda will be to research how to give more information on those who can’t see it. This is something I have been trying to figure out. We know our product is great, but we’ve seen and touched it. How do we give the same to our customers without those sensations?

It saddens me how many reps are pushy and rude. I’d like to see less and less of that as well. Unfortunately, those type are all out there somewhere and always will be. But it would be great if we could lessen the frequency.

“Actual customer service. Pick up the phone and get off Facebook. Do customer care calls and check in with me to see if I need anything.” Wow. Very to the point. Bam. Something I think we all needed to hear. I miss the “old fashioned” ways myself. This is something I’d like to research as well. Just curious how many people do actually wish we’d call them.

“How the products benefit me and not the seller, yay for everyone that sells nerium but come on people tell me what the product will do for me, not how it will increase your earnings if I join your team.” How true this is. We really need to point out how our products will benefit people, not just about how great they are and how great our company is. People need convinced if they’re gonna throw their money away on something. And as far as adtvertising the opportunity, people still need to be convinced of the product first.

“New items, Sales, and clearance.” Alright companies. The people have spoken. Give us more deals to offer our customers! Direct sales companies do at least offer the party benefits. However, people do still have to buy for someone to get those benefits. In my opinion, sometimes the monthly deals or whatever aren’t always good enough. Again, though, I think that can depend on how well people understand the product that is on special. Details! Convince them as to why they need it.

Question #5-

Overall, what is your opinion of direct sales and why?

Again, this was comments only. There was one that I’d like to share-

“I prefer a personal touch. Sometimes people are overly aggressive and I don’t like that. I think that it makes some people selfish. I prefer the approach where personal attention is given and where the person recognizes that they are providing a Service. Pushy people are a turn off to me. ” This I think is the most important comment of all in the entire survey. We need to make things personal. Make people feel like they are important to us as a customer. You heard it here. I know I sometimes get too much into the drone of sales. Let’s make our businesses unique. I think people see too much of the same ramblings with sales people. Give them something different apart from the product.

That is the gist of what I got from the survey. I didn’t get as much response as I wanted, but I got enough to go off of. I’m glad for what I got and think it was useful.

How about you? I’m curious on everyone else and their opinion on the results. Give me some feedback :).

Overwhelming Dreams

It’s time for me to regenerate and reevaluate. I can only handle so much stress and craziness for a while. Juggling two kids, two direct sales companies, online school, with no family around and an unforseen military life.

I love it. I love being crazy and having a full life.

But it’s time for a break.

I’m starting with school. I’m taking a break from it until April actually. Even for being online school, it takes up a lot of my time.

And for at least a few days, I’m taking a break from working through social networking. Instead, I’m researching and studying some new and better ways to run my business. I needed a break from the social media pressure.

So, yes, that means a little break from my blog. Unless I suddenly become super inspired.

I just want to make sure my research is thorough and my technique is down before I share it on here.

My last post I shared a link to a survey I created. It’s a survey on direct sales. I intend for my next post to be reflecting on that. So if you haven’t filled it out, please do so! I want to hear it all :).

So. Yeah. Peace out for now, y’all! Till next time!

Initial Outfitters consultant- http://www.initialoutfitters.net/MandyLR

Pave Another Road

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This is my new inspiration. I’ve had a revelation that the way I’ve been going about some things just hasn’t been right. I’m not talking just about business either. All aspects of my life.

For example, I have let my last two years of high school define me. I’ve let the past dig away into me. But letting things that happened in high school reflect who I am? Really? I was dumb and learning in high school. We all were. Am I right?

So we’ve all heard it- just “let it go.”

In aspects of my business, I discovered yesterday that I had two people unlike my Facebook page. I took it so personally and almost cried. Kinda sad, really.

What I came to realize, though, is that it wasn’t so much a failure as an opportunity. An opportunity to learn. I need to research and figure out better methods.

This is where my picture above comes in. I need to pave another road to walk on. Put the past in the past and be who I am. Try new things and be confidant in what I’m doing.

God is on and by my side anyways. What have I got to lose?

So the first thing I’m going to try- work hard but not TOO hard. I overdo it sometimes. Time to slow it down a notch. Basically, stress needs to be out of the picture. I need to breathe.

Second thing- confidence. Not be afraid to be me. I don’t need a script or crutches to do what is in my heart. Just an outline and a hand to guide me.

Third thing- take every mistake, every failure, every hard climb as opportunity. Steps toward success. Keys to open the next door.

More strategies to come I’m sure as I pave a clear path!

Initial Outfitters consultant- http://www.initialoutfitters.net/MandyLR