How To Boost Your Mood In The Winter Months

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, you may find your workout motivation waning, too. It’s not just your imagination—there really are biological and physiological reasons our moods tend to change with the season!

Seasonal Mood Shifts

Seasonal mood shifts often include the following:

  • Having less energy
  • Being less social
  • Craving carbs
  • Losing interest in your favorite activities
  • Changes in your quality of sleep—you might be having trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep more than usual!

The primary culprit of these symptoms is the lack of daylight hours in colder months and how it affects hormone production, temperature regulation, metabolism and mood.

Beat the Winter Blues

Darker days combined with the demands of new goals in the new year may lead to some serious internal conflict when it comes to making good Fit3 choices. The best solution is to take advantage of as much natural sunlight as you can and follow the the Fit3 program. Fit3 workouts and good nutrition are great strategies for beating the winter blues.

While you probably feel like curling up with a blanket and a warm pan of brownies, simple carbs and sugars can spike your blood sugar levels and then send them crashing down. Your mood will fluctuate with this sugar roller coaster, as well. To avoid this spiral, stick to your Fit3 nutrition plan. The vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in your Reliv products are also essential to keeping your seasonal mood swings from getting the best of you. This is not the time of year to be skipping a shake!

Exercise promotes the production of endorphins, and endorphins make you happy! When you really don’t feel like fitting in a workout, you need to ditch your excuses and just get moving. You may have to play some mental games with yourself, but that winter workout is worth it!

No matter what you do during this changing season, take care of yourself and listen to what your body needs. Drink your Reliv shake every day and keep moving to beat that seasonal mood shift!

How To Meal Plan

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By Registered Dietician & Key Director Dawn Tucci

What happened to the days of enjoying a meal? Oh that’s right, life got busy. It seems like mealtime has become a time of stress and guilt with little enjoyment. Wouldn’t it be great if meals could be stress-free and enjoyable again, even in the midst of our busy lives? I think they can. There may be some changes that need to be made, but I think it’s doable! Just like everything else that we do, eating well requires some effort and a plan. Planning ahead for your week’s meals can take the stress off meal time and also be a time saver.

Here are some meal planning tips:

  • Planning for one week allows us to think ahead to what we are going to eat, which means we don’t need to think about it anymore.
  • Shop once and purchase everything you will need to have on hand when it is time to prepare the food.
  • Chop vegetables for the week all at once. For example, I chop all my peppers, onions, carrots, and others on Sunday to save time!
  • Use foods again throughout the week. For example, you can prepare enough chicken for 3 meals and use it in different ways or freeze it for another time.
  • Crockpots can be used to cook all or part of the meal while you are busy doing life!
  • Using a wok to stir fry allows you to cook meat, vegetables and noodles fast and in the same pot, which saves time during cleanup.
  • Purchase part of the meal, such as a rotisserie chicken or pre-washed salad, and cook something quick like quinoa or rice to accompany it.

Is eating healthy a challenge because you can’t think of what to make and when to make it?

Here is an example of my weekly plan:

Monday

Brown a beef roast in oil (just a minute or so on each side) and place in crockpot. Top with potatoes peeled and halved, carrots and onion. Add about 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper. Cook on low all day and when you get home, dinner is ready!

Tuesday

Use leftover beef from Monday in a fajita or you can sauté chicken or shrimp. Also, sauté sliced onion and peppers. Serve with lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, sour cream and corn or flour tortillas. You could also use lettuce as a wrap. I love these because everyone can put what they want on their fajita. You can also prepare black beans or pinto beans. I love making these and freezing them in small containers. They are a good protein and fiber source and go with everything!

Wednesday

Sauté shrimp in olive oil with salt and pepper. You can serve with rice and vegetables or over a salad. I buy the frozen shrimp that are raised wild and have been deveined.

Thursday

Get that crockpot back out. Brown each side of a pork butt or pork loin. Salt and pepper and place in crockpot. Add cumin and garlic. Add onion and water. When you get home take out those black beans that you made earlier this week. Sauté chopped onion and garlic in olive oil and add the beans to reheat. Cook rice. Buy salad that has been pre-washed and dress with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic powder. You could omit the pork if you want to have a vegetarian meal and add some extra veggies instead.

Friday

Serve leftover pork with barbecue sauce on buns. Add a side dish of coleslaw and good, healthy, crusty bread. You can add a salad if time permits to have more vegetables. This is also great with cooked apples. This is so easy! Just peel and chop apples and cook in a small amount of water until tender and mushy.

Saturday

Coat chicken pieces in flour and cook in butter and olive oil until done. Add lemon juice and chicken broth and let thicken. Serve with mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes and a vegetable. My family loves this with broccoli or green beans.

Sunday

Place a ham in the oven and bake according to package instructions. This is going to smell delicious! We like to splurge on this meal and serve ham with macaroni and cheese or a corn casserole. The cooked apples mentioned above also go well,  so you may want to make enough on Friday to have leftovers. Asparagus is a great addition to this meal. There will be leftover ham to start your week!

Here are some other healthy side ideas:

  • Sauté spinach in olive oil until wilted.
  • Quarter Brussels sprouts and sauté in olive oil, salt and pepper. Add a small amount of balsamic vinegar.
  • Chop bottom third off asparagus, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Part of the satisfaction in a meal is taking time to enjoy it with others. Slow down as much as you can to take time to feed your body well. It will thank you by allowing you to work and play with good health, energy and better sleep. No stress, just good food! A little planning will save you time and money and your meal will be healthy!

 

 

Why Willpower Is So Hard

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Do you have an easier time making smarter food choices during the day than in the evening? Whether it’s that open bag of chips the kids left on the kitchen counter or the butter pecan ice cream in the freezer, sometimes no amount of willpower can thwart the craving.

I am speaking from experience on this one, and to be honest, it is a daily struggle. I always thought it came down to self-discipline and that if I was strong enough, I should just be able to say no to the chips, ice cream and cereal. Turns out, there is very interesting research that explains why willpower sometimes isn’t enough to keep us from making those regrettable choices.

Stephan Guyenet, a Seattle-based neuroscientist and author, says it is possible to resist these easily-available temptations, but that doesn’t work forever.

“The problem with willpower is that it’s a limited resource. It’s effortful,” Guyenet says. “If you have to do it on a constant daily basis, which is what you have to do if you’ve lost weight and your hunger circuits and your food-seeking circuits are activated, you’re going to have to exert that willpower on a continual basis to restrain yourself from eating food.”

This can be so hard! Life gets crazy, and we all have so much to do in a day. If you’re trying to live a balanced life, then willpower becomes even more difficult to sustain. Think of your willpower as a gas tank. Your fuel runs low and close to empty by the end of the day. That’s why it is harder to make those smarter food choices in the evening! The good thing about Fit3 is that we have those flex calories for treats once in a while.

This biological explanation makes me feel better, but I know I have to be careful to not allow it to become an excuse. The best strategy for me is to keep the temptations out of the house. Not so easy when you have two very hungry boys and you don’t want to deprive them of treats. But seriously, they aren’t going to be scarred for life if there isn’t any ice cream in the freezer, right?

Let us know how you navigate the minefield of treats at the end of the day!

How To Face Your Fears As A Woman Entrepreneur: What Is Fear & How Can We Respond With Courage?

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By Hall of Fame Member & Presidential Platinum Ambassador Joyce Ferguson

I could not explain why I was shaking with fear as I gripped my old landline phone to my ear and struggled to find words. It was a typical day in 1993 and I had just decided to build my Reliv business. I was in my kitchen and not in any danger, and yet I was afraid.   Still, I was afraid of one simple word — no.

Fear, often with no foundation, can ambush us and rob us of valuable business and life moments. The small risk of speaking up may seem just as scary as any other business risk. We may even want to step away from the task at hand and think of giving up because we feel our courage might falter.

But what is courage anyway?

“Courage means acting in the face of your fears, not without them.”

“FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.”

I read these two quotes and many others in business and motivational books—and I believe them. However, I could only really grasp these truths by living with my fears and pushing through the uncertainty and uncomfortableness that accompanies it. The deeper truth is that such quotations cannot explain the fact that there is no way around fear. You must act to defeat fear.

Yes! Simple, ordinary actions require courage.

Calling on your inner strength and integrity in the face of life’s daily challenges demands courage. Following the rules, honoring business relationships, doing what you said you would do, living out your convictions every day…these tasks require you to find that bravery deep inside you — and we all have it!

While we often equate courage with action, we need to remember that listening with compassion — even in the business world — is a courageous act. It’s not easy to speak up and offer advice or assistance to someone, but when we do, we have gone outside our comfort zone, and that takes courage!

Courageous people are patient, and they listen carefully before they speak. Courageous people risk rejection when they reach out to another person and offer solutions. Courageous people risk their reputation and relationships when they recommend financial and lifestyle solutions that could improve someone’s quality of life; not everyone appreciates the risk or effort it takes to speak up in such a way.

There will be flat refusals and gentle “maybes” that actually mean “no.”  There will be occasional “yesses” that force your hand and make you take the next step with your business and with that person, but you must act. And in the face of your fears of not being perfect enough, or not knowing enough…you just might succeed.

 

Stay tuned for more posts from Joyce on overcoming fear as a woman entrepreneur. Subscribe to the Reliv Blog!

6 Steps to Healthy Skin

By Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn 

Take your Fit3™ Active every day: Lunasin-packed LunaRich® found in Fit3 Active can help. Researchers have established that lunasin is a potent inhibitor of the master inflammatory protein NF-ĸ-β. Studies show that inhibiting NF-ĸ-β production can restore skin cells to a more youthful state and help increase skin thickness. Increasing skin thickness makes the skin firmer and reduces the appearance of lines, wrinkles and imperfections.

Eat clean: A study in the American Journal of Nutrition suggests you may have fewer breakouts if you add more whole grains, beans and veggies and cut back on pasta, white rice, white bread and sugar. Our Fit3 friendly foods list can help you out with ideas. Feel good on the inside, look good on the outside!

Get to sleep: There’s a reason we added “Get 7 hours of sleep” to your Fit3 weekly tracking and score sheet! While it may not always be possible, we recommend at least 7 hours to get a restorative sleep. You’ll need it to help your body recover from your Fit3 workouts. Plus, less sleep means more stress! Try to minimize your stress level before bed by relaxing in a hot bath or indulging in a 10-minute meditation.

Exfoliate: Gently scrubbing your face a few times a week will rid your skin of dry flakes and clogged pores. It can also help regulate the oil glands and their production.

Moisturize: Follow up your exfoliation by moisturizing. Protect and pamper at the same time.

Rehydrate: Increasing the amount of water you drink is a great way to flush out internal toxins and hydrate your skin from the inside out. A big glass of water each morning can definitely help you feel awake and cleansed! To make it easier, you can use the Fit3 weekly meal plan to track your water intake and make sure you’re getting enough.

Follow these six simple steps and your skin will thank you!

This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. Reliv products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

How To Workout With Your Kids

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By Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn

Fitness friends come in all shapes, sizes and ages. I met a new walking buddy, Lilly, recently at a local 5K and we had an interesting conversation. I learned that her favorite movie is the original The Wizard of Oz and how much she enjoys studying the Revolutionary War, how she plays golf and volleyball and loves the dance exercise class at the YMCA. Lilly, who happens to be a very mature 10-year-old, even has two pesky little sisters who were in a wagon being pulled by her mom behind us. By the time we crossed the finish line, I had told Lilly some entertaining secrets about my sister, her 2nd grade teacher, and she told me how her dad turns every question into a history lesson (insert the pre-adolescent eye roll). I helped her forget that she didn’t want to be walking in a 5K and she helped me forget that my feet hurt. It was a win for both of us!

If you have kids or grandkids, it can be difficult to squeeze in a workout. But if you include them, you have a built-in fitness friend! Just keep the moves simple and find ways to interject a little competitive fun. For example, challenge them to see who can do the most jumping jacks in 30 seconds. You can even break a sweat together with one of the Fit3 workouts.

Kids and teens should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. I know it can be tough to tear them away from their electronic babysitters, but it can be done and you can still get in a good workout too.

Here are a few ideas to get the whole family moving:

  • Turn household chores into a game
  • Crank up the tunes for a dance party during commercials
  • Walk or run for a charity special to your family
  • Walk or run in a holiday 5K
  • Do community service or volunteer work together
  • Have a weekly sports night
  • Make up a playground workout
  • Use your kids as “weights” when you strength train
  • Run relay races in the backyard while picking up sticks
  • Compete to see who can rake the biggest pile of leaves

The possibilities are endless when it comes to helping your family stay active. Find out what works for your schedule and for your family’s lifestyle and you will end up having so much fun and making lifelong memories together!

 

Find Your Happiness With Reliv

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By Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn

Since my primary language is sarcasm, most people wouldn’t describe me as cheerful or jovial, but my second language is optimism! Wouldn’t life be so much simpler if we could just focus on the things that make us happy and ignore everything else? Things that make me happy: new running shoes, goats, colorful food, my kids playing together, a soft blanket, hot coffee, pajama pants, birds singing, helping others be healthy. Don’t these things just sound like the epitome of happiness?

Reality check—life is messy and unfortunately flat tires mess up our workout plans and bills outnumber birthday cards in the mailbox. We live in a world full of chaotic days and sometimes the everyday stresses seem relentless. That’s why it is important to develop coping mechanisms that help you deflect the negative and focus on the positive!

Most of my personal strategies involve doing things that are good for my physical health. When you fuel your body with the nutrition and exercise it needs, your happiness levels are greatly affected. I have always been intrigued by the extra benefits of exercise and healthy eating—such as improved self-esteem, confidence, emotional stability and stress reduction. Truth is, when I started my fitness journey more than 20 years ago, my goals were only physical. I had no idea that my entire outlook on life would be transformed just because I started exercising!

It is through this journey that I have found myself and what makes me happy. I have been empowered by my overall wellness to walk away from negative influences that steal my joy. It didn’t happen overnight, but taking care of my body has nurtured my soul and given me the gift of perspective to focus on the things that make me happy.

The elements of Fit3—exercise, nutrition and Reliv products—are about total body wellness, not just the physical aspects. Even Reliv’s mission is, “To Nourish Our World in body, mind, and spirit.”

How will you nourish your body, mind and spirit to find your happiness today?

Your Reliv Back-To-School Guide

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By Social Media Coordinator Michaela Mitchell

August marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year for students across the country. It can be a tough transition for kids and parents alike, but Reliv makes it easy!

Here are your 5 back-to-school essentials:

  1. Reliv Now® for Kids. Reliv Now for Kids contains essential vitamins, minerals and micronutrients to help growing bodies thrive. Not to mention, the advanced ingredients boost energy and mental performance.
  1. Planner. With crazy school schedules and extracurricular activities, a planner is essential! You need to be able to keep up with your business appointments and the next soccer game.
  1. Reliv Mobile App. If you’re constantly on-the-go now that your kids are back in school, then the Reliv Mobile App is perfect for you! Easily share Reliv with other parents at drop-off or pick-up. Life is everywhere and now your business can be too.
  1. ICSAR. You will be meeting so many new parents and teachers throughout the school year… Treat them as prospects! Revisit your ICSAR workbook and add new names to your list.
  1. Pinterest. Reliv’s Pinterest page is full of creative lunches and fun Reliv shake recipes for your kiddos. Be the best parent at school and have the healthiest kids!

Make this school year amazing! Your time is now to build your business, improve your family’s health and better your community.

What are your back-to-school essentials? Comment below!

 

Eat Your Way To A Better Sleep!

sleep-web

By Fit3 head Coach Tina Van Horn

Long workweeks are interfering with sleep for millions of Americans, according to an article from CNBC. The article showed that most people who work longer hours get less than six hours of sleep a night, far below the seven and a half to eight hours recommended by medical experts. We even dived deep into this issue in the latest Reliv Podcast. Workday stress plays a key role in robbing people of restful, restorative sleep. But a healthy diet and regular exercise could help defuse the effects of stress once your head hits the pillow. The following foods boost the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can actually promote sleep.

Whole grains, such as whole wheat, brown rice and oats. Try a bedtime snack high in complex carbohydrates to help ease your way to dreamland.

Milk with honey. Milk contains tryptophan, which converts to serotonin in the body and helps promote the deep stages of sleep. Turkey, egg whites and tuna also contain tryptophan.

B Vitamins, especially B6 and B12, help reduce stress that can lead to trouble sleeping. Whole grains, wheat germ, tuna, walnuts, peanuts, bananas, sunflower seeds, and blackstrap molasses are all rich in B vitamins.

Magnesium can also help reduce the stress and nervousness that interfere with sleep. Magnesium-rich foods include kelp, wheat bran, almonds, cashews and blackstrap.

Foods To Avoid Before Bed

While some foods can improve sleep, these foods near bedtime can make sleep difficult or even impossible.

Coffee and other caffeine-containing foods, such as chocolate, cocoa, soft drinks and some over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Spicy foods that may cause gastrointestinal reflux or heartburn.

Overly sweet or fatty foods that can also cause indigestion and/or bloating.

Alcohol. Although it can make you feel sleepy at first, alcohol disturbs sleep patterns later in the night.

Along with eating well, adding in routine exercise throughout your week is proven to greatly improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Exercise works wonders to relieve stress and relax the mind. A common contributor to bad sleep is high-stress levels.

A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, taken by the National Sleep Foundation, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality.

With Reliv, working out and eating well has never been easier. With delicious shakes to help you get protein and nutrients, and online workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home, you’ll be sleeping better in no time! Learn more about healthy sleep habits in the Reliv Podcast. 

How To Drink More Water

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By Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn

Wow! This summer has been a hot one for many of us. I’ve spent days at softball tournaments, doing work on my farm, and enjoying outdoor barbecues with friends. While a lot of the people around me celebrate the season with 12 oz. curls, I get some extra strength training by lugging around my giant water bottle and family-size sunscreen!

Even I’m surprised by how much fluid my body needs and how many times I have to refill my water bottle. The recommended daily water intake is half your body weight in ounces. That number can be intimidating, but your body will thank you!

If you’re still having trouble meeting your daily water intake, try adding yummy flavors to your water. For example, I always try to have Innergize!® on deck. Innergize! contains an advanced blend of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates designed specifically to help prevent dehydration and restore your energy. The lemon and orange flavors are also perfect for the summer. Registered Dietitian Jennifer McDaniel suggests you even add fresh fruit or a small amount of juice to your water for more flavor. Infuse your water with lemons, cucumbers, strawberries, mint leaves, watermelon, etc. The possibilities are endless!

There are lots of ways to meet your daily water intake by making your brain think you’re not actually drinking water. Of course, the more WATER, the better, but if you are struggling to get half of your body weight in ounces every day, go ahead and flavor it up! Studies show that we definitely drink more when we add a little something to our H2O.

Go grab yourself a tall glass of something refreshing and take a listen to the July episode of The Reliv Podcast for some intriguing insights about the effects of dehydration.