Health Planning

Meal Planning on Sunday

Sunday is the time to prepare for a busy week. One of the biggest favors you can do yourself is to plan what food you & your family are going to eat ahead of time so you don’t have to use those scarce and valuable brain calories during the week.

But what does that look like? Well, it surely doesn’t have to be complicated. Grab a pen, a piece of paper or use our free printable and let’s go!

1. Plan

First, let’s plan your week of dinners. Go ahead and look at your schedule. Note the days you might not be home, the days you’ll have more or less time to prepare food and so forth. Plug in those easy meals or meals that you’re eating elsewhere first. Next, figure out all your dinners. Plan to cook extra in order to meal prep lunches.

Next up, figure out your lunches. Lunches can often come straight from dinner or meal prep that happens alongside Sunday dinner.

Finally, you’ll figure out your breakfast and snacks.


  1. If you’re trying to lose weight, plan your carbs and heavier meals earlier in the day. If at all possible, let’s only put protein & veggies down the gullet for dinner.
  2. Be realistic when planning. Don’t overdo it. Don’t try to be a hero. Stick to what you & your family are used to and what’s easy and stretch yourself just a little. That might mean taming a few recipes to be a little more healthy or it might mean trying one new recipe a week.

2. Purchase

When you’ve got all your meals and snacks planned, figure out what ingredients you need to shop for to make that happen. You can do this as you go or you can do it once you’ve brain dumped all the ideas.


  1. As you get better at this, you should be able to have a staple shopping list that you always purchase (weekly or monthly) that makes the quick trips easier and more efficient.
  2. Try pick up or delivery as an option when shopping. It saves you time and usually money by avoiding extra spending. You’re also forced to plan if you do pick up!

3. Prep

Okay, now that you’ve got a plan and you’ve got your shopping list, you’ll figure out what you can prep ahead of time to make your food life easier during the week.

This part can seem overwhelming so let’s chunk it down. You can choose to meal prep just one or two types of things for the week. You might also choose to only meal prep lunch and cook dinner. You’ll find your family’s sweet spot to meal prepping. Just know it does not have to mean you meal prep 100% of your meals and spend eight hours in the kitchen on Sunday!


  1. Consider stacking your meal prep time with your grocery time. You’re already spending time putting stuff away, so it saves time now to prepare it in such a way that it’s ready for the week. That may mean rinsing and chopping fruits and veggies, it might mean boiling or grilling proteins and it might mean cooking rice or quinoa.
  2. Consider buffet style meal prep if prepping meals stresses you out. Yes, your fridge can offer you a buffet of healthy ingredients, ready to mixed and mingled into healthy meals. Ideas for buffet style:
    1. Salad bar.
      • Chop: lettuce, spinach, kale, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, cabbage, peppers
      • Cook: hard boiled eggs, protein
      • Purchase: olives, artichokes, avocados, dressing, nuts, seeds
    2. Proteins.
      • Chicken
      • Turkey meatballs or ground turkey
      • Eggs
      • Etc
    3. Carbs.
      • Sweet potatoes
      • Quinoa
      • Brown Rice
      • Rolled / Steel cut oats

Remember, planning in this way is a form of self-care. Yes, you’re taking care of yourself by deciding ahead of time and relieving yourself of needing to do so during the busy week. The special human ability to plan is a gift, so let’s use it.


Hey, if you need help with this, you’re in luck. We have an EASY PEASY lunch meal planning worksheet just for you. It’s not fancy, it’s not complicated. It’s REALLY simple and easy and fast and amazing. Download it now!

PS: If any of this resonated with you, we’d love to work with you 1-on-1. We teach our clients how to build a body they love and change habits slowly to match their goals. In a world with fake quick fixes, we help them adapt a lifestyle that they’ll want to keep. If that resonates with you, please get in touch with the form below!

Ideal Balance is The Life Coaching Facility in Navarre, Florida that focuses on Fitness, Family & Finance. We help our clients create the discipline & habits they need to strip off what’s holding them back from living the life God created them to live. We work with clients in 1-on-1 sessions in person and virtually as well as in Small Groups in Personal Training sessions, workshops and other events. We’re on a mission to inject hope and empower our community one client at a time. Contact us if you’d like to find out more.


Protected: Kickstart Your Life Workshop

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Everything you need to know about an Emergency Fund

Today we want to chat about your emergency fund! First thing’s first, an emergency fund is a separate savings account for emergencies. We advise clients when they are first beginning on their journey to start with $1,000 in the Emergency Fund. It’s not your savings for your vacation, it’s not your investments, it’s set aside specifically to plan for the things you can’t plan for: emergencies!

One of the reasons emergency funds are so important is because when an emergency happens, you are already stressed. We do not want you adding to that stress by having to come up with money for a plane ticket or ER visit.

In fact, when one of my children had to go to the ER FOUR times in 2020, you better believe not having to worry about how to afford them was SO very appreciated.

Likewise, when you’re planning to go to a funeral there’s enough emotion going on there. You don’t want to have to add money stress, anxiety or shame to the mix.

Emergency funds are particularly important when you’re trying to get your finances in order because emergencies and the unexpected can derail your progress quickly. It’s called Murphy’s Law, right? If it can go wrong, it will? So, we are planning for that so we can then put all of our money and energy to getting out of debt and building wealth.

Sometimes people have more saved up and they might be uncomfortable dropping all but $1,000 on debt. We get that, but this process is supposed to be uncomfortable. We say to trust the process millions of people have done. You’ll be okay! Plus, if what you were already doing, your method, was working, you wouldn’t be reading this right now, right? Tough love, but just trust the process. 😉

Here are the basic bullet points on how to set up your Emergency Fund:

  • Use a seperate account from every other account you have.
  • You might even consider using a different bank for this account based on your current relationship with money and money habits. How much do you trust yourself?
  • Nickname your account something awesome. Maybe, “My Name Is NO!” like one of our clients did. It’s something that will help you remember what’s it’s really for.
  • You can also hide the account if you so desire. Most banks have this feature and it helps your money to be out of sight, out of mind. This means less temptation!

Now, how do you know when to use your Emergency Fund? Well, first of all, let’s understand it’s not for borrowing, it’s not an ATM. Nope, there are three questions Dave RAmsey teaches you want to answer before you allow yourself to pull money out of your Emergency Fund:

  • Is it urgent?
  • Is it unexpected?
  • Is it necessary?

Let’s take a look at one example we’ve had come through for the Emergency Fund to full explain this concept. One time while my husband was deployed my dishwasher went kaput! I had three kids which meant a lot of dishes. So, should I have used my Emergency Fund to replace it?

  • Is it urgent? YES! I have three kids. I have a lot of dishes. They’re piling up!
  • Is it unexpected? Um, yes! I had no idea it was on the fritz or even that dishwashers could break. 😉
  • Is it necessary? Oh, here’s the really rude part. Technically it’s not necessary. Technically me & the kids can do dishes by hand. Technically, YES, it could wait until the next budget period and we could pay for it in cash!

So, there you have it. That’s everything you need to know about the Emergency Fund!

Hey, if you need help with this, you’re in luck. We have a super fun coloring page that you can print out and use to help you as you make progress saving up your starter emergency fund! It’s not fancy, it’s not complicated but it is FUN and it will keep you motivated. Download it now!

Fitness Health

Meal Prepping is the new fast food

Meal prepping is the new fast food is something we say all the time around Ideal Balance. Fast food is no longer fast, it’s not really food and it’s not cheap.

One of the quickest ways for our clients to be successful is to get them to stop eating out. This is one habit that affects everything we coach.

  1. Our fitness clients need to stop eating out and start eating more healthy in order to lose weight.
  2. Our family clients need better time management, clutter-free kitchens and more family time. Meal prepping will be a big part of achieving those goals.
  3. Our finance clients are often throwing so much money away on restaurants. That’s money they could & would rather be putting toward their future dreams & goals.

So, no matter what your goals are, we really think meal prep can help! So, let’s dive in to 5 reasons why meal prep is better than restaurants!

Meal prep saves money!

When you go through a drive thru, you’re going to pay at least $7 for a meal. For that same $7 you could probably grab chicken, green beans and potatoes and eat a couple meals!

The average American home spends over $200 per month eating out.

Even just the little lunch splurges will add up. A Visa survey in 2015 found that folks spent $53 a week for lunches. Guys that’s $2,746 year!

It’s not just the expense that makes fast food no bueno. In the time it takes to drive to fast food and wait in line you could’ve gotten your meal prepped food out, heated it up, eaten it and had a short nap. 

Meal prep saves time!

The busy work week doesn’t give us a lot of time. There isn’t a margin for error. 

We are going from alarm clock to bus stop to meeting to store to practice to homework to bath to bed. We really don’t need to have to make food decisions in the middle of all of that.

Yes, with meal prep you’re trading time for time, but it’s a great exchange.

On the weekend you feel less stressed, less anxious. By spending some time getting prepared for the week when we have a little extra time (the weekend), we set ourselves up to not have to spend any time or brain calories on food decisions during the week when we are more stressed and busy.

Success leaves clues. – Jim Rohn

If you want to mimic the success of others, you do what they do. 

Meal prepping is single-handedly the key to success for most clients when trying to eat healthy. 

Meal planning and prepping tips the scales in our favor (pun intended) and gives us one small advantage in this fight. Why wouldn’t we add to our advantages? 

Meal prep can be fun. 

Meal prep is a great way to be active on the weekend. It gets you off the couch and gets you mentally prepared and ready for the coming week.

Put music on and maybe even add in a glass of wine. Commit to it and enjoy it.

Meal prep can be good family time. 

If you’ve got a partner or kiddos, consider that meal prepping can be like a little date or quality time. You’re working together, doing something important. Everyone can help in their own way. The added bonus is that when folks have had a hand in preparing their own food, they will have more buy in for what they are eating. It’s also a great way to teach/learn about nutrition and healthy habits together.

That’s great. But how do you meal prep?

Think about this: Thanksgiving was the original meal prep. So, let’s just do it like that but a little less overkill and a little more healthy. Here are 5 steps to get you started meal prepping.

1. Start small.

Start with meal prepping just one meal for the week. Maybe it’s lunches, maybe it’s dinners. Whatever it is, just don’t try to do it ALL or you’ll get overwhelmed. Brainstorm what would make the biggest difference for you and get going.

2. Plan.

Now that you’ve figured out where to start, get a plan together. If you’ve decided to go with making lunches and you’ve got two recipes you’re going to use for meal prep, shop for the ingredients and make sure you’ve got the tools / containers to make it happen! Finally, schedule and block off the time to do it.

3. Focus until you finish.

Dive in! Preheat the oven, gather everything you’ll need on the counter including your containers. Then, get going, follow your recipes /plans! Be as efficient as you can. If you’re waiting on the oven to preheat, wash and chop your foods. If you’re waiting for water to boil, season the food or put together any condiments you’ll take with meal prep (i.e. salad dressing or hummus in a small container). If you’re waiting for food to cool, wash your dishes. Let’s be productive and be able to walk away with a clear head & clean kitchen!

4. Get better as you go.

Every new skill requires time to master it. So, think about what you learned, what worked, what didn’t. Then get better.

As you eat your food throughout the week, be mindful about what you enjoyed, what you avoided, what you want to do again and so forth.

Let’s talk about some best practices:

Buffet style

Instead of creating whole meals to go, you can choose to batch whole ingredients to your meals. In other words, you can make quinoa, hard-boiled eggs, shredded chicken, oatmeal and other bulk items that you can then use to easily make meals throughout the week.

One meal at a time, one step at a time

When you begin making meal preps, consider just doing one thing at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. So, maybe just get all of breakfast done and then do all the dishes. If you’re making dinner, do all the vegetables then do all the meat. Chunking it down to very small, bite size pieces will keep you from overwhelm but also allow you to have stopping points in the process.

Prep as soon as you shop

Plan enough time to wash, chop and whatnot as you’re unloading your food after you get home from the store. You’re already having to handle and possibly repackage your food, so you can build in time to do it all the way!

4 Day plan

Your government health agencies advise not keeping food longer than 4 days. We can’t say we agree, but we’re not going to go down that rabbit hole. Instead, let’s talk aboutthe four day plan. If you make enough food on Sunday for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then you can plan what you cook on Thursday to have enough leftover to have lunch and/or dinner on Friday! Win, win, win! You can also meal prep enough to freeze so you have go-tos to pull out throughout the week.

Sheet pans

If you’re not using sheet pans to do your meal prep, you’re missing out. One dish! One whole meal! One meal on one dish! It’s just such a no-brainer.

Okay, there you have it. It’s our version of why you should meal prep & how to do it.

Hey, if you need help with this, you’re in luck. We have an EASY PEASY lunch meal prep plan just for you. It’s got a shopping list and step by step guide to get it done. It’s not fancy, it’s not complicated. It’s REALLY simple and easy and fast and amazing. It’s great for those just starting out. Download it now!


Eating out is ruining your weight loss progress

So, this topic might seem obvious, but stick with us! So many people are trying to balance fun & life with their health & weight loss goals. So, eating out is a pretty common thing these days. We get it. But, we want to offer that it’s really tripping up your progress. More than you understand. And, losing weight is hard enough. We 100% do not want to make it harder or slower!

So we’re going to tell you why it’s messing you up. We love to know the why and we think you do too. If your brain understands it a little more, it might be easier to make some changes, right? Then we’ll talk about how…how, in this eating-out-loving-culture we live in, how can you change this habit? 

Let’s dive in.

First of all, let’s get the obvious out of the way:

1. Restaurant food is not good for you.

Preservatives, sodium, gluten, dairy and all the other things you’d be limiting otherwise are happening when you’re eating out. These things obviously stall your progress by causing bloat and inflammation.

The calories & portions at restaurants are ridiculous, as you know. 

2. Eating out is an old, bad habit that triggers more old, bad habits. 

When you’re trying to eat healthy, you’re doing something new. It’s not easy! When you go out to eat, the “old” you rears up, and the old habits, routines, excuses, thoughts will show up. So, you’re more likely to say things like, “It’s okay, just this once, just one more bite, I deserve this, I’ll restart tomorrow” or whatever old thought pattern you’ve got. You most likely have a history of indulgence at a restaurant, so it’s going to be much harder to break that habit when you’re just getting started. Restaurant food is so hard to say no to and you most likely have a habit of not saying no most of your life.

3. Eating out means you haven’t solved your food problems. 

What we mean by that is that if you’re eating out often, you’re probably not planning your food, either weekly or daily. That means that you’re still finding yourself too busy to make your health a priority. That needs to be solved.

You’re also not being intentional about what food you’re putting in your body if you’re eating out often. That needs to change as well. 

If you’re eating out a lot, you might still be eating in response to your emotions like feeling stressed, upset, busy, sad, mad or what have you.

Another food problem we try to solve is to make it so that food is not the best part of your day, that it’s not the thing you’re looking forward to in order to find pleasure, relaxation, fun or relief from your day. If you’re still eating out a lot, chances are you haven’t solved that food problem.

The sooner we solve these problems, the sooner you hit your goal. So, stalling is only going to make it take longer.

4. Eating out gets you off track.

The final problem with eating out is that it gets you off track. You. might’ve been doing really well for two days and then you found yourself downing a cheeseburger and fries. While that’s not the worst thing that could ever happen (remember, it only takes one meal to get back on track), we can often make it seem like the end of the world. Instead of just getting back on track, so many times when we “mess up” once, we throw the baby out with the bathwater. We completely abandon our plan and progress saying things like: “Oh well, I might as well give up now,” or “I’ll just start over next week.” You might feel bad or see the scale and get mad at yourself. Then you give up.

All of these things are tough to overcome when you’ve already been using most of your energy to stay on your plan. Again, we don’t want to add anything that makes losing weight or eating well harder. Eating out is basically setting yourself up to stumble or at least to have to try REALLY hard not to stumble.

So, are you convinced that eating out is stalling your progress? Great. Now, let’s brainstorm some ways to change!

1. Obviously, meal planning & prepping is the easiest way to avoid eating out.

Most of the time you eat out because you have no brain calories at meal time. So, it’s “easier” to hit the drive through or let someone serve you at a restaurant. We get that. And we want you to have that same easy, no-decision-making process but with your own goal-hitting food plan. Do your busy, stressed out self a favor, and make the plan ahead of time. Then, all you have to do is stick to it. This is REAL self-care. This is truly taking care of yourself.

Meal planning needs to be a habit, something you do every weekend but also every day. 

Don’t make it boring and bland. Get creative about how to make your favorite restaurant meals at home, but healthier!

2. Look behind the curtain.

Think long and hard about why you’re eating out. How can you get those benefits without eating out?

Is it for social hour? We’ll talk about that in a moment.

Is it to avoid being at home because your home and/or kitchen is a mess?

Is it to avoid picky eaters?

Whatever the reason is, let’s get honest and start really working on that issue instead. Remember, dealing with these things is what is going to make you life-long successful and, truly, more content & happy in life.

3. Change the game.

A lot of time our social life is wrapped around eating out. So, let’s change that game. Let’s be the example. Ask your friends and family if they’d like to meet for a walk, bike ride or something active. Maybe a game night. The good company, the laughs, the stories–that’s the real goal. Food doesn’t need to be involved.

4. Schedule only once a week.

We’d prefer once a month while you’re working on your goals, but we know that might not be realistic. So, let’s plan it on purpose, once a week. We call this joy eating. Let your family know, everyone can learn to look forward to it as the treat it really is. This will help your brain as well since it knows it always has some fun to look forward to.

5. Portion / box immediately. 

One strategy is to immediately box or portion half of your meal. So many times we are full well before we finish eating but we keep going because it’s right there in front of our face! Trick the brain by boxing it up first. Then you’ll feel really good because you cleaned your plate but it won’t have been all of those calories. Bonus: you’ve now meal prepped for another meal. 😉

Okay. So we decided that losing weight and getting healthy is hard all on its own. Let’s not make it harder or slower by eating out so much.

This isn’t forever, this is for right now. Remember, if you change nothing, nothing changes. So, give yourself a chance at real progress! 

Hey, if you need help with this, you’re in luck. We have a little brainstorming worksheet FREE for you. Use your biggest weapon to help you: your brain. Answer the questions, be real & honest with yourself. This workbook will help you think through this entire concept. And thinking through it will help you stick to your guns.


Why & How You Should Be Using Cash

Cash is one of the top tools that you can use to get your finances in order and win with money. We have 7 reasons to back that up! Then we’re going to give you 3 simple steps to use so you can give using cash a try!

1. It’s a great accountability partner.

Cash is a great accountability partner. Say you’ve got $50 to last the week. As the week goes by you spend $5, then $10, $7 etc. Every time you reach in your wallet or envelope you have a real, honest accountability partner letting you know exactly where you stand on your budget.

2. It gives you more control.

You will feel more control with cash because it’s physically in your hand. You have your money, not the bank or creditors. Your personal spending won’t affect your bank, bills and other stuff as much. Banks made $11 billion in 2019 in overdraft fees. The less you’re in your account making debits, the less you’ll be paying those!

3. You will spend less.

Studies have proven that your brain doesn’t process the pain of losing money as much with a card as it does with cash. Because of this, you automatically spend less with cash. Likewise, when you only have a $20 bill to get the eggs, bananas and bread in the grocery store you know you do the math and make it work. Same situation but with a card will have you less math-concerned and you’re more likely to go over.

4. It helps out small businesses & service workers.

Small businesses pay a fee when you use debit cards or credit cards. Worse yet, sometimes they pass that fee on to you. Bummer either way. Likewise, servers are more likely to get their tips that night if you pay in cash rather than with a card. How nice of you!

5. You’ll improve your relationship with money.

When you pay for things with cash, you have a greater attachment, emotionally, to them. It’s true! A study in the Journal of Consumer research proved it. Moreover, by learning to use cash, you’ll develop a good relationship with money and perhaps start losing some of the baggage and stress you’ve built up over the years. Having cash, though it may not be much, definitely feels different. It feels like you’re not broke, the green proof is in front of you. Remember how you were as a kid when you earned cold, hard cash? Same, just in adultland. Having cash around is the way to start feeling more abundance about money rather than scarcity.

6. You will buy things you can afford and therefore stop running up debt.

Listen, if you’re paying for things with cash you know whether you can afford it. And it turns out cash is 100% debt free. So, using cash will help you if that is a goal you have.

7. You don’t have to ask permission.

So often we look at our bank account before making a debit purchase to make sure we have enough in the account. And when we try to use credit, we have to have our credit run. It’s almost like asking permission to buy something. And it’s not a great feeling, and it can feel a little disheartening or even embarrassing.

So, how do you use cash?

1. Start simple.

Try just one budget category like spending money or restaurants. You don’t have to do all the things in cash at once. Get used to it by keeping it simple. Then move to using cash in more categories when you’re successful!

2. Make it a habit.

Every paycheck, do the same thing. Get out the same amount of cash, put it right in your envelope. This way, you’ll be more likely to succeed.

3. Give it enough time to work.

We want you to do it at least for two weeks, though we prefer one month. This is when you’ll notice you FEEL like you have more money. You’ll also notice you’re SPENDING less. If you don’t give it enough time, however, you won’t get those positive results.


Enter your information below and we’ll sign you up for our two week cash challenge that will deliver encouragement, tips and jokes right to your phone to keep you motivated to use cash for two entire weeks!


Decluttering doesn’t work

Decluttering is the buzzword of the decade, isn’t it? We all know we want less clutter in our lives but the simple idea of decluttering isn’t quite right. Why?

1. Because clutter is simply stuff that hasn’t been put away.

Yes, clutter, by definition is really just stuff that hasn’t been put away. And why don’t we put stuff away? Usually, it’s one of two reasons. First, we don’t know where it goes, which means it doesn’t have a home. The second reason is because it isn’t easy to put away. That may mean there isn’t enough ROOM to put it away or a million other things have to be moved or pulled out in order to put it away. Guess what that means? Your lazy self or your lazy teenager are not going to do it. Let’s be real.

2. Decluttering doesn’t solve the problem.

You have clutter because you have too much stuff. That’s the primary reason. So, when you think decluttering or organizing the clutter will work, it won’t. You have to downsize your stuff so that it’s easy to maintain. Every home has it’s own special amount of just-the-right-amount-of-stuff. You’ll find yours. If you declutter, bit by bit, you’ll never face the REAL problem. We guarantee it’s that you have too much stuff. Instead, we coach you to go through it ALL AT ONCE. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s TOTALLY worth it. And, it will give you peace about getting rid of stuff because you’ll be convinced you have enough. It totally works.

Oka, so if decluttering doesn’t work, what does?

First, you need to completely gut the room or area that is really giving you pain. We do mean everything. All of it.

Next up, go ahead and clean, vacuum and wipe down everything while it’s easy.

Now we’re going to go through each category of item and make decisions. Yes, this is the hard part. But, as you go, you’ll get better. You’ll get faster and faster about making decisions as to what really matters to you and what doesn’t. It’s a muscle, and you’ll grow it.

Finally, put things back in an organized fashion. Group like things together. Make things easy to put away! Don’t put anything back on surfaces! Surfaces are not storage. If you find things that don’t belong, put those in a separate bin to work on later. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted.

While you’re at it, make a few special moments of pretty design or your favorite things.

IMMEDIATELY put everything you’re donating / discarding in the car. It’s got to go within 24 hours! We mean it. Otherwise, it’ll slowly creep back into your home. NO BUENO!

There you have it!

If you need a little help getting started, we have a free workbook to download right here that can help you brainstorm before you get to work!

Health Mindset Planning

Morning Ritual

The truth is if you’re not doing a morning ritual, you are robbing every person and cause you say you care about of the best version of you.

Today we want to offer that the one thing that might be missing from your life might be the one thing that could make the biggest difference and be the biggest game changer in your life.

What’s that thing?

Bet you guessed it —> a morning ritual. Well done!

You’ve heard that you need to take self-care time. You know you’re supposed to have quiet time. Oh yeah, don’t forget you’re supposed to exercise. Don’t forget to pray! You should also be reading something great everyday.

The list of all the things you’re supposed to be doing to be an amazing person can seem daunting. Where in the world are you going to find the time?

Well, you’re certainly not going to find it in the middle of the hectic day. You’re probably not going to find it at night when you’re exhausted either.

No, the morning is your best bet. Not only do you more likely have more control over your mornings, you also can make the decision to set the tone for the day by creating a morning ritual.

Why should you have a morning ritual?

There are many things that we know we need to do in order to feel better, to feel less stressed and less anxious. The problem is we don’t do them. That’s where your morning ritual comes in.

Your morning ritual acts as a container to get in most of the things you consider important for you to be the best version of yourself. It acts as a container for you to get in your self-care.

Refusing to take time for yourself in the morning isn’t selfless, it’s selfish.

It also allows you to show up for yourself first so you can show up for others later. You may think you’re being selfless by not taking time for yourself. The truth is if you’re not doing a morning ritual, you are robbing every person and cause you say you care about of the best version of you. Instead, they’re getting maybe the 50% or 60% version of you. So, if it’s hard for you to do things for you, do it for them. (And hire a life coach to work on the first part of that sentence.)

Another objection you might have with a morning ritual is that you’re not a morning person. That’s fine. On one hand, we’ll say put your big girl panties on and get over it. =D On the other hand we will say to start small. Just get up five minutes earlier and do one activity that is going to make you feel better and start your day with intention. Once your brain learns to look forward to this (dopamine hits, anyone?) then you can move to 15 minutes, then maybe a bit more and more if you need it. You can become a morning person by training your brain that it’s fun and worth it to get up earlier. You will begin to enjoy your morning routine AND you will begin to see the effects of doing it in all areas of your life. That will train your brain.

How do you set up a morning ritual?

Okay that was the why. Now let’s talk about the how. You need to figure out what activities are going to make you feel energized and ready for the day. What self-care activities do you know you need to be doing but you’re not? What activities have you wanted to try but just haven’t yet? List these out.

Then you’ll list out the time each activity takes. Next, total the time up. Then work backward from what time you need to leave or be ready to take care of others in the morning. So, if your morning ritual takes 45 minutes and your kids get up at 6am, you’re getting up at 5:15am.

The final step is giving yourself a chance to make this a reality by committing to doing it for at least 30 days. If you hate it by the end, quit. But give yourself the gift of trying it for 30 days.

We have a worksheet that will help you create your morning ritual. You’ll love it because it walks you through all those steps!

PS: If any of this resonated with you, we’d love to work with you 1-on-1. We teach our clients how to build a life they love and change habits slowly to match their goals. In a world with fake quick fixes, we help them adapt a lifestyle that they’ll want to keep. If that resonates with you, please get in touch with the form below!


7 Baby Steps to Weight Loss that Lasts Forever

Over here at Ideal Balance, we are big fans of Dave Ramsey. As Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coaches, we follow his Baby Steps and coach our clients to do the same. On the other side of the house, our fitness coaching clients get the same simple, step-by-step approach to losing weight.

Just as with your finances, we want to make lifestyle changes that will last. We’re not in it for the quick-but-short-lived-win. So, what are the 7 Baby Steps to Weight Loss That Lasts Forever? Let’s dive in.

1. Workout (Move your body)

Okay, so our mantra around here is that working out will transform your body but it’s not going to be the key to losing weight. So why are we starting here? Well, most people are wiling to start here before they are willing to do most other things for weight loss. Most people have been conditioned into believing they should probably workout-that’s how they end up on our doorstep. We are happy to use that conditioning to get them started on the path to a healthy lifestyle.

Moreover, the good that comes from working out is hard to overstate. Exercise is like medicine. It’s a great confidence boost. It helps your memory and focus. It reduces stress levels and boosts the immune system. It also helps you develop the habit of showing up for yourself and putting yourself first. Finally, it will transform your body, turning fluffier bits into toned, curved, lean muscle mass. And, oh-by-the-way, it will boost your metabolism while doing so.

So, yes, we start with moving your body. We don’t believe this should mean doing anything you hate. We try hard here at Ideal Balance to make sure you’re challenged but having fun. On the off days, we want you doing something active: walking, riding bikes with the kids or swimming. Whatever it means for you to be active and to enjoy it.

2. Drink lots of water

Once you’re in the habit of working out, the next baby step you want to master is drinking lots of water. By lots we mean at least half your body weight in ounces. This is important for many different reasons: your muscles use water to heal, you’re going to be sweating more, and it will help you feel more full. It’s a really great nutrition habit to get the habit of acing because it is free and doesn’t require a whole lot of willpower.

So, this one is simple. Pick your favorite water bottle, measure how many ounces fit in it. Then, figure out how many of those water bottles you need to get in a day. We often joke that the more water you’re drinking, the more time you’re spending in the bathroom, which means the less time you’re spending eating. It’s a joke, but it’s also kind of true.

We suggest getting in most of your water before lunch so you’re not spending all night in the bathroom. We also suggest hydrating as the FIRST thing you put in your body in the morning. Your body actually becomes dehydrated after sleeping all night, so it’s a really nice thing to do to fill it with hydration as you begin your day. Before your first cup of coffee or first meal, guzzle down some water.

3. Plan your food

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Another saying from our mentor Dave Ramsey is that you can wander into a mess (like debt), but you can’t wander out. You can “accidentally” have gained 15 pounds but you’re not going to accidentally lose it. Nope, it’s going to take a plan.

We break this food planning up a couple of different ways. First, as you’ll see in our intuitive eating video, we recommend you plan to eat healthy, delicious foods you enjoy. That means getting your caloric needs filled with whole, God-made foods. This actually takes planning since these foods are nutritionally dense but not calorically dense. On the other hand, your typical processed, fast-food, packaged garbage is calorically dense but seriously lacking in nutrition. So, in order to get enough stuff down your gullet, it takes planning.

Once we have an overall idea of what and how much you’re going to be eating, we ask that you take the time to plan it every day. You see, this isn’t something you necessarily have to do for the rest of your life. It is something you need to focus on while you’re in the thick of weight loss. You need to think, actively, about what you’re going to eat everyday. We ask that you do this at the beginning of the day (or the end of the day for the next day). Why? Because planning your food at this point helps to save from stress-induced decision making. We know part of a healthy lifestyle is not allowing you to make food decisions when you’re busy, stressed, tired or rushed. We take those bad-decision-inducing-circumstances out of the equation.

So, when you make your food plan in the morning, you’re on your best terms. You’re thinking with your best self in mind, you’ll make good decisions. Then, all you’ll have to do is follow your own advice all day and you’ll be winning! When we use this method, people really start to figure out what their nutrition problems are. Either they are emotionally eating and they didn’t really know it (we know this when they can’t stick to their own plan) or their plan isn’t pushing them enough to make weight-loss progress. Each of those requires work, but in different ways.

4. Check in daily

Of all the baby steps, this is usually everyone’s least favorite. We understand there is a lot of drama associated with the scale. We coach through that but we want to speed up the process. The drama you face when stepping on the scale can be solved so that we can use the data to make progress. In fact, our coach says that you should only step on the scale on the days you want to make progress on losing weight. With that in mind, we ask you to do it everyday. This is part of our method to get you really in touch with your body and your thoughts. Plus, you can use the scale as a way to see if your plan is working. When you step on the scale, you pretty much already know what it’s going to say. Yes, we know that our clients stop being surprised when they step on the scale. And, with our coaching and the help of the other baby steps, they actually start looking forward to stepping on the scale.

You’re also going to check in daily with your emotions. Start your day by seeing how you feel. Then ask yourself how you can make it better? By doing this, you’re going to create a life you love so that eventually you won’t need to turn to food or alcohol to make it better.

5. Close the kitchen

This is one baby step the entire family needs to adapt. Closing the kitchen means no grazing or snacking in between meals. Of course this helps with not eating calories you don’t need but, hey, it also means you don’t have dishes all day long. The most important component of this step is to stop eating after dinner. We prefer you’re done with dinner by 6, though we know many folks don’t have that ability in their schedule. So, we want you to wrap up eating for the day then brush your teeth and be done. This is one of the single best things you can do for your digestive system. It will also really help you lose weight. We do say some herbal tea with dinner or right after is a great way to help your digestive system before bed.

6. Intuitive eating

Yes, we know that intuitive eating sounds like just another buzzword. We get that. If you’ve got another term, we’re all for it. Otherwise, just understand that we teach four specific components of this term and we really want you to get them asap!

First, eat when you’re hungry. Yes, as a society we’re used to eating when it’s time to eat or when someone puts food in front of us. We want to suggest that you start listening to your body and eat only when you’re hungry. Yes, when you feel the hunger pains, that’s a clue to eat. Next, when you’re eating and you start to feel kind of full, stop eating. It’s basic advice, but it’s something we just don’t do very well as a society anymore.

Next, don’t eat food you hate. For some reason, we’ve all been convinced that we have to eat certain diet foods in order to lose weight. It’s just not true. We actually give our clients a LONG list of healthy, delicious, nutritious foods and have them circle their favorites. Then, we tell them only to shop & eat those healthy favorites. We understand their tastebuds will eventually expand. In the beginning, we just like you to get your brain wrapped around that what you’re eating is good, and you’re not being deprived. We also want your brain to know we’re not going to force feed it yucky food now or for the rest of your life just so you can “be healthy.”

You will also need to incorporate the 4 types of eating. We have an entire video on this, so we won’t belabor the point. But the key here is you’ll be mostly eating fuel foods and you’ll plan for JOY eating. With this intuitive eating method, we’re not ever “cheating” because this isn’t a test and you’re not a child. Rather, we know we always have fun and joy eating on the horizon so we don’t feel deprived either.

Eat food made by God, not man-made food. This simply means that you’re eating whole, real food most of the time. If it grows in nature, it’s all for you. If it comes in a package, a drive-thru or has ingredients you can’t pronounce, that’s made by man and it’s not great. The cool thing about food God made is your body knows how to process & digest it and it’s filling your body with all the nutrients and vitamins you need. Man-made food is just filling you up with junk. Literally. And guess what we bet you don’t want to be full of?

Next up, eat breakfast. We really like to see your metabolism up and running and breakfast is a great way to do that. We like to see you fueling your body intentionally, not just repeating bad eating habits from the past. We understand for many people, this can be tough. Sometimes we start out with something as simple as half a banana or one hardboiled egg. Whatever it takes, we just want to get you in the habit of eating a little bit for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated.

Finally, we like to avoid carbs after lunch. We have the saying that carbs are not the enemy. America and the diet industry have made it seem like they are. However, a regular, healthy diet is naturally low-carb. Carbs are also your body’s preferred source of energy. That being said, you know you don’t need much energy at the end of the day. So, we like to recommend you get your carbs in early so you’ll be well supplied with energy throughout the day, but not for the latter part of the day when you’re winding down and going to go to bed. The problem is that the food you don’t use gets turned into fat and stored by your body. So, since most of us don’t want more fat, we can adopt this little rule to help us out.

7. Be the example.

When you’re at the point where you’re consistently moving your body, drinking lots of water, planning your food, getting in touch with your body & feelings daily and eating intuitively, your health will be an amazing example for everyone around you. You’ll be healthy & happy and showing people what is possible. In today’s world where the typical example being unhealthy, unhappy ,out o, on medications , tired nd stressed you’re going to shine like a beacon of what’s possible. When you do that, you give people permission to dream it’s possible for them.

Many of us are also parents and this example can really come into play for getting the next generation started right. You can change your family tree when it comes to food mindset, habits, health and more. We often see it start with the mom, move to the family and then out to friends and the community from there. Being the example means doing what is good and right, even if it’s different from what everyone else is doing.

This concept parallels the 7th baby Step we follow of Dave Ramsey’s: Live and Give Like No One Else. We ask people to do something drastically different: budget, get out of debt, pay off their mortgage and be generous. If you look around, that’s so very different than what. most Americans are doing. It’s weird. But it is setting an example that we know, if duplicated in our community, would make our world a better place.

In the same way, we love to see you being kind of weird because you’re setting an example, you’re modeling an amazing healthy life. That means you’re happy, confident, feeling good, not sick, strong. It means you’re showing people being healthy isn’t boring, it’s not complicated, it’s not a restricted life at all actually. It’s a more feel-good and free life!

So, there you have it. Those are our 7 Baby Steps to Losing Weight for Life.

Want a free worksheet to help you brainstorm on all of these steps and to help you start getting healthier right now? Cool, we’ve got that for you!

PS: If any of this resonated with you, we’d love to work with you 1-on-1. We teach our clients how to build a body they love and change habits slowly to match their goals. In a world with fake quick fixes, we help them adapt a lifestyle that they’ll want to keep. If that resonates with you, please get in touch with the form below!

We do have an advanced step which is that, in the most perfect world, our clients are drinking Shakeology (so good for you, your health and your gut) and most often not consuming flour, sugar and dairy. That’s for the advanced folks, the folks who are really ready to take it to the next level. It’s for the folks who find the first 7 steps really easy and are ready for more!