You are getting very sleepy… but not from my review of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD

Let me first say that YOU NEED THIS BOOK. Here’s a link to it. You’re welcome.

I loved this book despite its meaty depth, the points hit home and pushed me to write my first book review since, well, probably my last 5th grade book report?

Why We Sleep is a book by Matthew Walker, PhD, that addresses research and important discoveries about not only why we sleep but why we should be making sleep a priority for our health, happiness, safety and sanity. This book delves into the scientific understanding of why humans (and animals) need sleep to live and need optimal sleep cycles to function efficiently, effectively and evolve.

Humans are complex beings who require sleep to live (yes, you will die if you don’t sleep for years consistently, he discusses this in the book).

This book entertains as much as it educates about diseases and their relation to sleep. He dives deep regarding memory and hormonal functions linked to sleep. He describes experiments that prove definitively why sleep is necessary for memory and cognitive growth, emotional stability, hormonal stabilization and cell turnover (including weight maintenance, our immune functions, and fertility) and what happens when we decrease sleep to the levels commonly found in our modern society.

A reduction of sleep by only 1-2 hours per night (he cites an average of 5-6 hours versus the recommended 7-9 hours) causes multiple deleterious effects including more rapid aging, insulin resistance, memory and recall deficits, learning deficiencies, and even behavioral issues.

There are multiple studies detailing safety issues regarding driving while sleepy (I became familiar with this statistic as a medicine resident who routinely worked 30 hour shifts then drove the 4 miles home to my apartment). Sleep deprivation causes more delayed reactions and more accidents than driving impaired by drugs or alcohol. Think about the people you know who don’t sleep well and a frightening picture emerges of our sleep deprived majority operating heavy machinery and making life-altering decisions on a daily basis.

Another sad statistic in this book is that we can’t “recover” sleep. A lot of us lack quality and quantity of sleep on the week days and then try to make it up on the weekends. I’ve been guilty of this for years. Apparently this doesn’t physiologically work, which made me profoundly sad. This book has opened my eyes in many ways and also reinforced what I already have been teaching in my Stop Being Stuck program – that sleep is imperative to multiple body functions – including weight loss and overall health. I was not aware of the severity of the impact on insulin resistance, increased appetite (via imbalance of ghrelin and leptin), and the links to decreased immune system function, increased infection risks, dementia, and cancer.

Dr. Walker also discusses the implications of over the counter as well as prescription “sleep” medications and how they sedate, rather than restore quality sleep and alter sleep cycle functions. He brilliantly details what NREM and REM sleep are and why we need both and how either or both can be decreased or missed with late sleeping and early awakening.

He concludes the book with an analysis of the cost to our world that lack of sleep is causing. He discusses from a societal perspective how we could all individually, in companies, and as a whole improve our knowledge, profits, productivity, and creativity by no longer lauding those who sleep less to work more, but sleep more to work more efficiently and intelligently as well as increasing the retention and intelligence of our kids by allowing them to sleep more and in better quality conditions as their brains grow and mature.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It did take me several weeks to read, mostly in the evenings. And yes, several times it did make me sleepy while reading, which, as he states in the book, he takes as the ultimate compliment.

So, in conclusion – go read this book! If you are wondering now how you can sleep better tonight – you can download my free sleep PDF here.

When you’re ready to lose your excess weight, drop your mind drama around food and optimize your health, come join our community and Stop Being Stuck here.

Let’s stay in touch.

The Future You

Let’s talk today about acting as if you’ve already changed.

I do my best thinking while hiking

Picture your future self.

Does he/she remind you of someone you already know and may admire?

Your future self is successful in whenever habit or lifestyle change you’re trying to make currently.

Maybe it’s eating less junk food, moving more purposefully, drinking less soda or hitting the gym a certain number of times a week….

When you picture yourself already at your goal, what thoughts are you thinking?

Is it hard to move through your day to day choices and activities or is it easy?

Which changes would need to be made to move from you now to you then?

What thoughts are you thinking now that are not serving you?

What actions and thoughts can you focus on to help you shift you thinking to help make the action of acting “as if” you have achieved her goal a little bit easier each day?

Asking yourself these questions can help you formulate the plan to move yourself forward through your discomfort while you execute changes in your life.

This life hack of accessing your future success thoughts and feelings can assist you in stepping into who you want to become.

If this sounds like something that interests you, let me know – I’d love to help you get there faster so you can start being that person sooner than you think you can right now.

Have a lovely day my friends!

Making Changes

We all have a comfort zone.

Things that we like to do, ways we like to do things. However then do we ever change?

We step outside of our comfort zone.

I’ve noticed that when my desire to do something outweighs my comfort level, I tend to push myself forward no matter what.

When I’m contemplating a change but still uncertain if I truly believe I can achieve it, I tend to hold back, debate, feel uncertain, confused or overwhelmed.

These are my mind’s protective feelings. I’ve learned to recognize them.

I’ve learned to be aware of them.

And being aware of them and recognizing when they occur has helped me push through the comfort boundaries that I had previously set for myself.

With my weight loss, I’d find myself bargaining or rewarding myself in my head when I weighed myself. “Congrats, you lost xxx, so now you can eat that cookie… well, if we eat salad for the next 2 days, we’ll be sure to hit taht next weight goal then we can go back to where we feel comfortable”. Sound familiar?

I had a whole dialogue going on in my mind (that I wasn’t even necessarily consciously aware of)! Dang it gets crowded up there!

Then I learned about being aware of thoughts and how to use them to my advantage. How to guide the party in my head and use it to my advantage to change and grow.

Are you aware of what’s holding you back from achieving the body you love and the life you are enthusiastic to get up every day and enjoy?

Next time you’re feeling doubtful, uncertain, confused or overwhelmed, take a second to check in mentally. Are you feeling that way to protect yourself from discomfort? Are you actually holding yourself back unintentionally?

Get started making that change today – learn how to manage your thoughts to make those changes and live outside of your comfort zone to achieve the life you’re dreaming about currently!

If I can do it, you definitely can too!

And let me tell you, it’s freaking awesome!!

Have a productive and amazing day today.



We all have them.

Sometimes for food or specific foods (hello, ice cream my old friend, I’ve come to meet you with again).

Other times we have urges for sleep or comfort or alone time.

My urges are usually for something sweet.

I have learned to manage cravings when I bake too.

Something to soothe me.

I used to reach for sugar or a baked good.

It filled me up temporarily but then I felt guilty or empty afterwards.

Maybe you can relate?

Do you feel the urge to do something or eat something on a regular basis? If so, what do you do about it? Do you give in? 

I have recognized that my urges usually have to do with not wanting to feel something or to attempt to fill a void that doesn’t usually “need” whatever I’m craving (example when I’m tired I want to eat… which doesn’t solve my need for sleep).

I have learned to allow my urges. Do they still occur? Yes, but with less intensity and I can allow them and not react to them. If you’re overeating due to cravings or urges, this awareness can help. We talk more about it in my coaching program.

It was simple to learn to allow urges. It also wasn’t always easy.

But the secret is, if you allow the urges without responding to them, they weaken and then resolve.

Pretty neat, huh?

If you’re interested in learning how to overcome your urges – email me at info@thrivearena.com.

Have a fantastic day! 


I am reading a book about mindset right now, which has given me a lot of new information to consider.

It’s called “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck, PhD.

The book navigates through the fixed versus growth mindset and the difference between the two and how both can live inside us in specific circumstances and how we usually lean toward one versus the other.

The most fascinating part of the book (other than geeking out on the research and real life examples) is the concept that mindset can be changed.

This is right in line with what I teach in regards to thoughts, feelings, actions, and results and how we improve our habits and our lives.

Our mindset can be adjusted, improved and altered. We’re not stuck. We can choose to consciously change from a fixed to a growth mindset. This expands our world and allow us to release the limitations that a fixed mindset can impose on us.

Thus, we’re only as limited as we choose to be. With a growth mindset, we understand (or can learn) that trying and failing and the process of learning is unending and engaging. With a fixed mindset, we may believe we are only so smart, so talented, so skilled, etc so we get frustrated when we are not achieving what we think we should be (y’all already know how I feel about the word should… if not, click here to review). I found myself feeling defensive during some parts of the book, as I can see where I’ve had a fixed mindset and also where I’ve learned to proceed with more of a growth mindset approach AND the differences between the two.

I’m summarizing what I’ve been reading, of course, and this interpretation is mine (and likely I’m probably not doing it justice).

I’m blessed to have a library at my gym so we can check books out. All of them are educational and inspirational and I am so grateful to my community there and the owner who is always encouraging each of us to grow.

Okay, I digress, back to mindset. How does this apply to improving and transforming our lives?

Our brains are awesome at setting us on autopilot and repeating the same things – over and over and over…. Even to our own detriment (repeating what we know is safe, right? Even if we’ve decided we want to change, that’s still only a thought, it hasn’t translated into action yet).

This can seem impossible to stop or change.

It can seem overwhelming to try to adjust.

The best news I can give you – it’s NOT. It’s all IN YOUR POWER.

Your world exists only in your mind.

Stop and think about it… reality is what we make it. We create our own lives.

Two people can experience the same event (circumstance) and come out of the experience with completely different perspectives and memories of exactly what happened.

How is that possible?

It’s because our thoughts create our world. Whether we have a fixed or growth mindset, we determine our reality and our lives by our thoughts. Have you ever considered that your life and experiences are unique only to you? Even if you share an experience with someone, they’re bringing their history, their past experiences, interpretations, and current reality into that experience and interpreting it based on their thoughts and beliefs.

So, just like learning that a growth mindset can be learned and nurtured, this is also true with our reality. This is the basis of how we begin to change. We first imagine we can, then think we can, then feel that we can, until we take action.

Every action begins with a thought and every choice we make is grounded in our mindset.

I think this is FANTASTIC – because if we’re not happy, we can change. All it takes is that first thought.

Have a wonderful day y’all!!


Results are the outcomes in your life.

They are the result of your actions.

As a reminder, actions are determined by your emotions which are determined by your thoughts about a circumstance. So ultimately, results are the objective outcome of your thoughts about a circumstance that are based on your emotions and actions.

Whether you feel like you’re choosing the results in your life or you aren’t, you are.

Your results are the direct outcome of your thoughts.

You create your thoughts. You create your results.

Your responsibility of what’s occurring in your life is yours. It’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes. Ultimately, our lives are based on our choices. And emotional adulthood is defined by taking responsibility for each of those thoughts, and choices, whether we like them or not.

Simple, but not easy.

With practice, we can learn to create the results we want by changing our thoughts, directing our feelings and accomplishing the actions that bring us to our results.

If we believe we can do something, we can.

If we believe the opposite, we won’t.

I believe I can change and then I do. Awareness of our thoughts is that first step, our outcome is our result.

If you’re not happy with one or more aspects of your life and your weight, you can choose to change.

That choice begins with a thought.

It’s almost magical to have someone by your side guiding you through the process of change.

The secret is that it makes it much easier.

To have support. To have a guide. To have a teacher and a knowledgeable friend at your side.

I know, because it’s worked for me. I have the experience and the knowledge to help in a variety of ways.

I’m not just a physician. Not just a nutritionist. Not just a coach. Not just a wife. Not just a step-mom. I am a person who has taken that journey already.

I had to do the work on my own, but having a coach to teach me, to guide me, to assist me, made it SO MUCH EASIER.

Having an objective friend who will point out when you’re not seeing what your brain wants to hide can be so transformative.

I wish I could teach this to everyone.

What a wonderful world this would be.

The choice, and ultimately the result in your life begins and ends with you.

I’m here whenever you’re ready!

Have a beautiful weekend.


Are you dealing with menopause (or manopause) and the “extra 10lb around the middle”?

I can help!

Ah, hormones. We love them when we’re younger, but as we age, not always so much.

As women move into peri-menopause (which can start up to 10 YEARS prior to actual menopause), progesterone levels start to fluctuate more and estrogen dominance can occur.

This can lead to worsening PMS symptoms, fatigue, hair changes, sleep disturbances (hello, hot flash anyone?) and a host of other symptoms.

Due to these fluctuations in our regularly scheduled programming (aka habits), we can see some weight gain, especially in the “stress” or cortisol-related pattern of abdominal area fat gain.

In addition to this, we tend to not always have the best eating habits and exercise routines while we’re going through these changes.

All of this combined can lead to weight gain.

Is weight gain inevitable? NO!

👊 Can this weight be lost (and not found ever again)? YES! 😍

However, realistic expectations and habits need to be followed.

What can you do?

  1. Sleep is key for weight maintenance and is often overlooked. Is stress keeping you awake at night? Practice sleep hygiene and perhaps incorporate meditation into your daily routine
  2. Weight training during this time becomes even more crucial to build muscle and maintain strong, healthy bones and balance (as estrogen falls, bones start to thin over time). Exercise and weight training also have the added benefit of endorphins (mood boosting chemicals) and smaller waistlines.
  3. Incorporate more movement into your day. It doesn’t have to be another Crossfit session or 5k run. Instead take the stairs, park further away, make more movement intentional. Often we THINK we’re moving just as much as we were before, but we may not be.
  4. Even if you get more movement in, incorporate weight training, work on better quality sleep and stress reduction activities, sometimes food portion sizes still need to be adjusted.

Working with a coach who is knowledgeable about peri- and post-menopausal changes in women can be very helpful to get and keep you on track with your individualized goals! 💃

What one thing can you do which will make the biggest difference?

My 6 week coaching course (with coaching support) is now available! Click the link on courses above! I’m super excited to help you get to your goals!

Let’s stay in touch.

Small Steps

Just put one foot in front of the other

This is a line from one of my favorite claymation Christmas movies, actually it’s a whole dang song! It’s about taking that first step. Without the first step, you’ll never get anywhere.

We watched this movie last week while decorating and it got me to thinking…. and here we are with a blog post inspired by a Christmas movie!

It’s great to think and plan and read about things you want to do, places you want to go, and changes you want to make.

However, if you never actually take that first step, you won’t move forward toward that goal.

We can read and plan and research and it feels like we’re doing something, but we’re really not.

We’re thinking about doing something (which is a good thing) but until we actually take a chance, make a change, and try something out, we’re not moving forward in the direction of our goals.

We usually are afraid of failing. Or looking silly. Or being embarrassed.

Can you imagine if babies gave up when trying to walk? They’d never grow their muscles from trying and falling and failing over and over and over… and they’d never learn to walk.

It’s the same with trying a new skill or habit out. You have to take that first step, which can be scary and challenging… but in the long run, oh so rewarding.

Here’s a little secret – if you practice visualizing yourself taking the step and all of the steps to your desired goal, over time, this repetitive thought process will make it easier for you to physically, actually do the thing you’re visualizing.

The brain thinks you’ve already done it before so it takes the road block barriers of fear, doubt and insecurity out of your way to make those first few steps forward easier.

What is something you’ve wanted to change or try that’s new? What are you waiting for?

If you’re ready to make a change in your body composition and want help and coaching – I’d LOVE to chat with you (no pressure to sign anything). I’m scheduling 30 minute free consultations for the next 2 weeks – just email info@thrivearena.com and set up your time slot today! Coaching space is limited, so if you’re considering it, don’t wait – email today!

I’m here for you and I believe in YOU!

Let’s stay in touch.

Eating to Nourish versus Eating to Macros

Weight loss plans that include macro counting can be beneficial to people who are new to nutrition and want to know what proportion of foods they’re eating fall into each category.

It can be eye-opening to think you’re eating a balanced of protein, carbohydrates, or fats and discover that you’re actually not eating very much of a specific macro nutrient and perhaps too much of another.

Learning to balance and read food labels and be aware of your calorie consumption can be very helpful.

For some people, this is enough.

If you’re reading this, you may not fall into this category.

I’ve also seen macro counting become somewhat obsessive and actually keep people from losing weight or reaching a certain goal because they become over consumed with meeting their macro goals or eating when they’re not hungry because they have macros or calories left on their app or calorie counting device.

On the other hand, I’ve seen people continue to count macros for years to hold themselves accountable.

Whatever works is what works for you.

I truly believe, however, that when you’re 75 years young, you likely won’t want to be still counting macros. It can be time consuming and limiting when you want to go out and LIVE your life.

Recording and monitoring your food intake is realistic for short-term periods and short-term, very specific nutritional and/or fitness-related goals. For months to years, it can actually be detrimental. Especially because even “My Fitness Pal” is up to 30% inaccurate with calorie counting on a day-to-day basis, not to mention, your body absorbs food differently with different conditions (hydration, sleep, other nutrient balances).

Transitioning from macro-based intake to listening to and respecting your body’s needs can be frightening. I know, I’ve done it. It took a little time, but honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my long-term nutrition goals.

Counting macros helped me understand and opened my eyes to what I was consuming on a daily basis. If I didn’t want to track something… it was likely something I already knew wasn’t getting me closer to my goals (see, there’s that intuitive process already there…even when you aren’t conscious of it).

If you want help transitioning – let me know! I believe you can transition to an intuitive style of eating when you’re ready, and I believe in you!

Let’s stay in touch.

Waiting for Hunger

Do you fear feeling hungry? Do you equate hunger with “hangry”? Do you feel like hunger is an emergency and should not be experienced?

I used to.

One day I practiced waiting for hunger.

It took HOURS.

I got worried. Where was my hunger? Why was I not feeling it?

I thought I was in touch with my hunger signals.

Over a few weeks, I realized that I had trained myself to attribute every stomach sensation with hunger!

This thought ruminated for a while before I accepted it. Then I had to really concentrate on what hunger felt like to me.

My brain gets hungry… my face gets hungry (aka I want food…just to want it to have something to do…or to avoid another uncomfortable emotion).

Man, this stuff is so easy to teach other people, but, sometimes, the teacher becomes the student. Mind you, I had been a nutrition coach for about a year when first I figured this all out.

I had been coaching weight loss and nutrition for 3 years before I fully embraced this concept and applied it to myself.

Crazy, right?

So I know if it was challenging for me, it could be a challenge for you too.

This concept and the concept of eating until satisfied are the two key skills that I feel are imperative to permanent weight loss.

Sure the foods you eat and the timing of those foods in addition to good hydration and quality sleep will make weight loss and weight management easier in the long run, but eating when hungry and stopping at satisfied will get the majority of people in the ballpark of their weight goals.

I also know that learning these skills takes a lot of practice and can be easier with guidance and support.

Having an accountability partner or a coach can help you acquire these skills with more precision and less trial and error.

This is where coaching can be a huge benefit!

You don’t have to feel alone. You don’t have to worry if you’re doing something right or setting yourself back.

I coach clients in a supportive, safe, non-judgemental way. Most of my clients become friends because we work together so closely to get them to their goals.

I accept clients who are serious about changing their life and making permanent changes to improve their life, their relationship with food, and themselves.

If you are ready, let me know – I’m ready for you and I believe in you! Even when you have a hard time believing in yourself.

After today, my blogs will still be posted on my website thrivearena.com and my email list. If you’ve been enjoying reading, please share with your friends and anyone you know who you think might also enjoy and benefit from my knowledge. I also highly recommend you subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss any postings.

I’m BEYOND EXCITED to announce that my brand new 6 week online course is now online! Stop Being Stuck with Weight Loss is a self-guided course with worksheets, reflections, and a TON of time tested skills to get you started with your weight loss in a supportive, stress-free environment. Click here for more information and to purchase!

For the cost of less than $10 per week – you can change your life and your habits. This is the ideal way to get started, risk free!

I believe in you, my friend, and I know you can reach your goals and thrive. If you’re tired of fighting yourself around food – now is the time to make that change. It starts with just one step!

Let’s stay in touch.

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