I am so Excited to announce that I have moved over to a new website for my Blog, Recipes and Workouts! If you have enjoyed My post please Head over to www.fullofgrit.me and follow me on my new site.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I look forward to sharing with you and helping you in a new, cleaner and more user-friendly format!


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Tips to Start Your Fitness Journey…NOW


It is motivation over knowledge that has the most power to enhance our ability to adopt new healthy habits, behaviors and overcome inevitable obstacles.


The first stage of setting authentic goals that we will stay motivated to reach, is to define your why. Knowing why you want it will help you define your motivation thought the entire process of change, reduce relapses and help you to overcome any obstacles.

  • Keep your Why posted and visible somewhere. I also encourage you to keep favorite quotes and inspirational images around that you will see daily.
  • As an example you can read MY WHY here.

Goals are great tools, and need to be realistic. Overly general or unrealistic goals can be overwhelming and demotivating. Instead break down your larger aspirations into a series of smaller goals to direct your energy to manageable actions and tasks. Not only will these goals be more manageable, they will afford more opportunities to celebrate and reward your self for your success along the way. This is a key element to maintaining your motivation. Know the difference between your short-term and long-term goals.

  • Use the Goal Setting Questionair to Help You Define your Why and Refine your Goals.( If you would like my help refining goals and setting up a Plan of action make sure you send me your completed questionnaire.)

Whether it is through facebook, the blog, a local friend or Family, commit to working out together and Checking in on each other (in-person or virtually). If you are new to working out, partner with someone that has a base already.  He/she will be able to provide you words of encouragement AND hold you accountable.

Let me preface this by saying you have to set your routine up in the most sustainable way for you! I personally find that excuses multiply exponentially the longer the day goes on.  There will be laundry to fold, errands to run, children to care for, a job consuming most hours of the waking day leaving you spent at the end. I AM NOT a morning person! But I find that I am more consistent with my workouts and they are far more efficient when I commit to doing it in the morning. Here are a few tips for my fellow night owls.

  • Set an alarm on your phone to make sure you head to bed at a reasonable time.
  • Set your alarm clock away from your bed where you have to physically get up to turn it off.  You will be less likely to hit snooze after you’re already up.
  • Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Or If you are really bad at mornings like I am you can go to bed in them. Choose your favorites.  They don’t have to be name brand.  You can find affordable dri-fit clothing at most stores like Target and Walmart.  When you look good, you feel good.

No one exercise routine will work for everyone. Lots of people love Zumba or Step Classes… I am personally so uncoordinated I was actually once asked to leave a step class in college ( for the safety of those around me, no Joke.)

  • Try a new class at your gym.  Introduce yourself to the instructor so he/she can answer any questions and make sure you feel confidant and know what to do.  Don’t be shy about it, Instructors appreciate meeting new participants so they can provide more in depth explanations and make them feel welcome!
  • Work out at Home. Are the roads too treacherous to make it to the gym? Cant afford a gym membership? Young children at home? You can easily create an at-home workout with little more than your body weight and common house hold items.
    *Looking for an enhanced at home routine? A few inexpensive fitness tools like a jump rope, yoga mat, a medicine ball and a stability ball in your house can amp up most workouts.
    *My FAVORITE tool is my interval timer app because I can select 5-6 exercises and let my timer do the thinking for a fast, intense workout.
    For example, set your timer for tabatas which are 8 sets of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds of rest. Choose something like burpees, leg raises, squat jumps, thrusters, jump roping, and lunges with bicep curls for 24 minutes of intense work.
  • Commit to trying one new class or exercise each month.  Our body is smart and adapts to exercise quickly, meaning we have to keep confusing it with new movements to reap the same benefits.
    Mix up your workouts. When you’re just starting out, you may not yet know what works best for you. Take this opportunity to try out different forms of exercise. You may surprise yourself that you love kickboxing, or that water aerobics is really your thing, or that yoga does it for you. To really find out, stick with a certain form of exercise for at least one week to see if it would be something that could stay interesting and fun for you in the long run. There are so many different ways to keep your body moving; if you find that you really enjoy something, stick with it! But, don’t be afraid to try new exercises, classes or workouts. I personally love Circuit training and Lifting. I hate Running and Cardio in general so for me it is all about the perfect spin instructor who can keep me motivated and make me forget how miserable I am;). Everybody is different!

Take it one day at a time. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and commitment – it takes exercise and eating right. It takes the sleep, and rest days and the setbacks. It takes the good AND it takes the bad. It takes the first step. It takes wanting it. You have an entire support system here at FullofGrit I want to know your victories and your frustrations. I know you can do it. I want to encourage you to keep going because you ARE worth it.

  • Taking it one day at a time starts with Day 1. You do not have to conquer a 5 mile run or do 3 x 10 sets of every machine in the gym to feel like you accomplished something. Commit to moving for at least 30 minutes per day, 7 days straight. Walk your dog, stretch, do push-ups and sit-ups. Get moving!

Find some way to record your progress. I personally have a progress chart on my Fridge( double duty; Reminds me of my goals when I reach for grub and serves as a daily reminder of the progress I am making).


  • Record your triumphs, frustrations, feelings about the workout and track your transformation through your words. Keep Track of how your clothes feel and I strongly encourage you to take measurements at key places like upper arms, waist, and thighs.
  • DO NOT BE A SLAVE TO THE SCALE! Seriously. Becoming healthy doesn’t always reflect on the scale the way we want it to. If you want to see results, take body measurements and track how those change. The way your clothes fit and the overall way you feel may be more indication of your successes than the number on the scale can ever tell you. Celebrate ALL of your Non-Scale Victories (NSV), because the scale should never have the last say. I have always struggled with this and I know I have let a stagnant scale number make me feel defeated. But when the inches are coming of and your clothes are looser you will be measured that a number does not define your fitness!  Muscle is more dense than fat.  1 lbs of muscle still weighs the same as 1 lbs of fat, right?  Because muscle is more dense, you will look leaner because you dropping body fat.  Body fat does zero work burning calories and increasing your metabolism.  However, muscle not only looks good, it helps you burn more calories.

This is the hardest part because it takes calculated dedication at the beginning. Some studies indicate that it takes 21 days to turn something into a habit (or to break a habit), however, there are other findings that say it takes longer or shorter – it comes down to the person and what they’re doing. That means if you start today and stick with it, then 3 weeks from now your fitness routine can become simply a habit, or part of your every day.

  • Bypass the food hype. There are so many different eating programs and diets out there, it Is hard to follow, understand, and keep up with all of them. There is nothing wrong with trying them out if that is what you want to do (and as long as they really are healthy).
  • It really comes down to the basics of making healthy food choices. You know what those are: fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and proteins. Understand portion control. Pre-packing snacks is a great way to avoid overeating between meals.
  • I like to stick with an 80/20 Rule. 80% Healthy whole foods, 20% I just felt like having a slice of Pizza and a beer on a friday night. If you’re eating habits aren’t sustainable neither will your weight be.


  • Celebrate small victories – acknowledging how your hard work is paying off may be just the thing to keep you going.
  • There may be setbacks, which can be discouraging, but keep in mind what you’re working for.
  • If progress photos are inspiring for you, take them! Do a before and one every time you hit a small goal.
  • Celebrate yourself!
  • Remember, If you would like my help to develop a fitness plan complete the Goal Setting Questionnaire and make sure you send me your completed questionnaire. (Here on the Blog or Via the Facebook Page Message.)

Future post on Clean eating tips and Meal plans are in the works as you read this
**Take it one day at a time. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight.


It takes work and commitment – it takes exercise and eating right. It takes the sleep, and the rest days, and the setbacks. It takes the good AND it takes the bad. It takes the first step. It takes wanting it. You have an entire support system here at the Sisterhood – we want to know your victories and your frustrations. We know you can do it. We want to encourage you to keep going because you’re worth it. But we can’t do it for you. Taking it one day at a time starts with Day 1.

Defining My Why

I began my weight loss journey 7 years ago, after I my first daughter was born. The birth of my daughter changed everything for me! I now had the most amazingly beautiful, perfect and overwhelming source of joy and pride.  I wanted to be able to do everything with and for her. I am now honored to be raising three beautiful and vivacious girls. After each pregnancy I have struggled with excessive weight that has bogged me down and held me back from fully engaging in and enjoying all the wonderful things life and a young family have to offer.


I want a strong, healthy, lean body again so that can run, jump, play and make memories with my family.

I want them to grow up with a healthy body image and I cant teach them this if I am hiding in clothes and afraid to wear a swim suit in public. I want my full attention to be on my family and creating a life rich in learning and memories.  Not how my thighs looked in a swim suit or what jiggled, when I danced and played with my daughters.

I want to be a positive role model for my girls so that they will grow up to love their bodies and understand the full potential of their strength. I know that I can not do this if I am not willing to model the very things I want for them. This means that I need to stay active and strong. I am very nutritionally focused, when it comes to feeding my girls, to support their developmental needs. As they become older they will take a more active role in determining what they eat. So, I need to be sure that I have modeled healthy choices for them. Rationalizing my intake on the basis of, “if I wouldn’t feed it to my girls then I shouldn’t feed it to myself”, is a power full tool.

I can state from experience that nothing tastes as good as fit feels! Nothing lifts my mood and gives me more energy then fitting in a quick work out. It is hard to put your self first, but a happy mom makes a happy home.

” Do not give up what you want most
for what you want right now”.

Goal Setting Questionnaire

Goal Setting Questionnaire

*The more details you provide, the better I will be able to help you identify a realistic and sustainable Fitness plan that works with your lifestyle.

Define your why

  1. What is the first thing that comes to mind for your goals?
  2. Why do you want this goal;What does it mean to you?
  3. What are the advantages of reaching this goal?
  4. What are the emotional or psychological benefits you associate with reaching this goal?
  5. What experiences do you anticipate gaining from these goals?
  6. What is most important to you and how will your goals compliment or support your values?
  7. Define what motivates you and detail why it motivates you?
  8. What experiences do you anticipate gaining from these goals?
  9. Do your goals support personal fulfillment? If not how could we reframe it?
  10. Review your answered and define your why;

Define your goals

  1. Define your long term goal(6m+);
  2. Define your short term goals(3-6 months), these should be small actionable goals to support our Long term goal;
  3. Detail what the potential obstacles for these goals (work/family, schedule, commute times, finances, health issues)
  4. What type of support do you have for reaching these goals?(family, friends, resources.
  5. What can I offer to help you reach this goal?

Fitness and Nutrition

  1. When was the last time you excessed regularly(3 times pr week)?
  2. What exercise programs have you tried in the past?  What did you like about it? What did you not like about it? Why did you stop?
  3. What activities/ exercises do you currently enjoy?
    Detail why you enjoy them.
  4. How could you integrate ex into your life?
  5. How much time do you have to dedicate to exercise?
    Consistent time of day?
    Define your schedule and were you would fit in activities.
  6. What do your current nutritional habits look like? Detail why.
  7. What factors impact your Daily Diet?
  8. What are your triggers; nutrition and exercise related that make you feel like giving up?
  9. What are some ways you can avoid or overcome these triggers?

If you would like my help in developing a Fitness plan make sure to send these answers to me.

Also, if you would like the document file to fill out the questions feel free to message me on the Facebook Page and I can send it to you.

Free Weightloss and Nutrition Managment Workshop.

In celebration of completing my ACE Weightloss and Nutrition Management Cert; I am thinking about offering a Free mini workshop on Weight loss, Nutrition and Behavior management strategies. Just in time to keep us in track for the holidays;).

This would be a 1-2 a week post with prompts for discussion so that I can help you create and start your personalized plan to meet your health and fitness goals.

If you would be interested in participating, Fill out the Goal Setting Questionnaire and Get it Back to me Via The Face Book Page.


3 Steps to getting started; 1 Month-18 Pounds Down

Step One: Build a support network. Reach out and share your goals with your friends and family. Create a network of people you know you can count on to help you reach your goals. It will still be your job to follow through, but creating a network of support you will know who to call to go for an evening walk, to hit the gym or who may be willing to be your accountability buddy.  I reached out to my cousin who lives across the country. She and I have similar goals, so we are both motivated to check in on each other and challenge one other to do more.


Step Two: Start logging your Food:

I like using the “myfitnesspal” app because it helps me set calorie goals and it is on my phone so it is always accessable. Don’t stress the calories for the first few weeks.  Again, Don’t stress the calories for the first few weeks!! Just get in the habit of logging everything you put in your mouth.


Step Three: Start Moving! This is what it is all about! Forget how you look and revil in what it feels like to move your body and feel stronger with each new day. No more negative thoughts!


No one is perfect. Everyone is on their own health journey. You are capable of anything you set your mind to! All it takes is the first step.  My cousin and I take it one day at a time and celebrate each day we meet our small goals ( i.e., logging our food and doing the workouts). 4 weeks later we are down 18lbs each. We are still working with you.

Here are the routines we did; We started small and made it a goal to add one more rep or a new exercise each day. We both may be a bit competitive and added a few more (benefits of having a partner).

It is all about making new habits you can stick with!

At the bottom of this post I will include modifications for some of the moves we did. I am very aware of how challenging some of these moves can be with extra weight on your frame.

Week one:Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 2.55.29 PM

IMG_9613Carry an extra 100lbs has set me back from doing 42 standard push ups to starting from my knees, and that is okay.

IMG_9619Make sure you don’t pull on your neck, keep your chin to the sky.

IMG_9620Side crunches, make sure to keep your hips on the ground and bell button pulled to your spine.

IMG_9617Back kicks; Oh how I love and hate you all at once. These are a great for your core as well as your backside.

IMG_9610Planks are a great place for everyone to start. Here are a few variations so that you can start where you are currently at and work your way up. We started with a goal of 30 seconds and the challenge to add more time with each day.


Squat: Stand with the feet parallel or turned out 15 degrees—whatever is most comfortable. Slowly start to crouch by bending the hips and knees until the thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Make sure the heels do not rise off the floor. Press through the heels to return to a standing position. Squats are a great basic movement to master as you start in your fitness journey.

From there we would add in one or more of the following exercises and max out our reps so that we could challenge ourselves to add one more each time.


Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward. Start at your own pace and work toward making this a fast paced movement. This is a great move to get your hear pumping while you tone your shoulders, back and core.

IMG_9611Wall Sit: Slowly slide your back down a wall until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure the knees are directly above the ankles and keep the back straight. Go for as long as you can and make a goal to reach 60 seconds. These are a great exercise that you can easily enhance the challenge by adding weight to your lap (a child, a bag of dogfood) or you could add in bicep curls to maximize your time.

IMG_9626The Glute Bridge is another great one that can be modified to enhance the challenge. Focus on keeping your core tight, knees together and shoulders pressed into the floor. Hold at the top, squeezing your buns for 15 seconds each. Do as many as you can challenging your self to hold it longer each time. Want to really challenge yourself? Extend one leg our at a time while holding at the top.

IMG_9618 Triceps Dip: AKA no more turkey arm 🙂 Get seated near a step,chair or bench. Sit on the floor with knees slightly bent, and grab the edge of the elevated surface and straighten the arms. Bend them to a 90-degree angle, and straighten again while the heels push towards the floor. For some extra fire, reach try lifting one leg at a time.

Modifications to some of the moves:

I know that getting up and down from the floor is a unique challenge when you are carrying lots of extra weight. Check out some of these modifications to some basic moves to keep you of the floor while you are building your stability, strength and endurance. Once you are steady and confidant one one modification challenge yourself to try the next level.

Core work modificaitons.


IMG_9623Starting from an elevated surface will allow you to focus on your balance and stability while you refine the movements and build your endurance.

Push up modifications:

IMG_9616Start against a wall and focus on keeping your core tight and your form as you slowly lower into the wall and press back agains the wall.

IMG_9615Once you master wall pushes move to an elevated surface, you can adapt the elevation to your needs, start with the table, move down to couch level. Once these are easy move down to a step, before you know it you will be cranking them out from the floor and feeling empowered.

IMG_9613Don’t hesitate to start from your knees once you are on the floor. Form is more important than ego ;). It is all about doing your best and getting stronger every day.

IMG_9614If you are ready for the standard push up but find that it hurts your wrist, grab some weights to help stabiles your wrist ( not to mention the added challenge of going just a little lower in each rep.

Nothing is going to change over night.
Take it one day at a time and each day’s victory will add up before you know it.
I didn’t push my self to hard this last month. I focused on reestablishing good habits and making focused movement a part of my daily routine again.
With these simple goals in place, I was able to loose 18 pounds.
As the weight comes of I will have to make more deliberate and specific activity and nutrition goals.

By allowing myself to focus on the most immediate goals I was able to successfully begin my journey and not get overwhelmed.


Watch for future post on:

Finding your motivations, Setting goals, Staying motivated and the progressive strategies I use to enhance weight loss and build strength.

“Pregnancy for me, is like pulling the rip cord on an inflatable life raft.”

Now you know, I wasn’t kidding when I wrote in my very first blog post, “Pregnancy for me is like pulling the rip cord on an inflatable life raft.”

Hormones and weight do not play well together for me. The first time I became aware of the impact of surging hormones was at the onset of puberty. I was never overweight as a child. Between soccer, swimming and a determination to make the cheer team, I started my freshman year of high school at 5’9 and 125lb.
Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 10.26.58 AMAt 5’9 and 125lb, I was actually underweight… most likely the reason I was such a late bloomer(17). It is sad to remember how fat I felt back then. My peers and a vulnerable teenage self-esteem had a hand in that distorted body image.

With the onset of puberty I was introduction to the role hormones would play in regards to my weight. I gained 15-20 lbs a year until my hormones leveled out and I found a new balance between an active lifestyle and what I ate.

Pregnancy has been a whole new game. Between bouts of bedrest, restricted activity due to respiratory issues and the surging hormones that come with growing a human… My weight ballooned each time.

I can’t lie, I panicked when we found out we were pregnant this last time! I had worked so hard to finally be the strongest and healthiest I have ever been. I just signed up to take my ACE Group Fitnes Instructor exams and I was eager to start a new career with both of my girls in school.

How does the saying go…”Man plans and God laughs”.
IMG_0050Pregnant with our newest little love, I knew I would have a battle on my hands, to try and controll my weight. Despite counting calories and doing my best to stay active, complications set in. Before I knew it, I was couch bound and packing on the pounds, 3-4 a week to be exact.

At this point I was at a crossroads. I could give into the feelings of defeat and throw in the towel or I could just buckle down and find a way to make the most of it. I did my best to shake of the feelings of frustration about my ballooning weight and restricted activity requirements. I focused on growing a healthy baby. I found that setting myself up for future goals, helped me to stave of the feelings of defeat that nagged at the back of my mind.

The hardest part for me is not letting discouragement and the self doubt settle in. I successfully regained control of my health with the first two pregnancies so, I know I can do it again. I made up my mind, wrote down my goals and said them out loud to anyone who would listen. This helped me to own my goals and brush of the negative thoughts.
IMG_0024I used the down time that was out of my control, to complete my ACE GFI certification. I completed course work for Nutrition & Weigh Management and a Health Coaching Certification. Not only will these trainings help me meet my own personal goals, they will allow me to better help others who are also battling weight and need tools to take control of their health.

I have to be honest, I still squirm on the inside and I am riddled with anxiety about sharing progress photos in my current state. I constantly question why anyone would want to read what I have to say? Why not wait until I complete my weightloss and then post my success?

It all comes back to why I write. I write for my girls. I want them to know that if they find themselves in the same struggles with weight, it is okay. That the feelings of doubt and the fear of judgment are valid feelings. I wouldn’t want my daughters to fixate on their insecurities. I would want them to define what they want for themselves, make a plan and take pride in each action they take toward meeting that goal!
IMG_9436These post are for them. These posts are for anyone who finds themselves wondering how they got to where they are and who are eager to take back their health.

So here we go, the real, unfiltered and raw stages of taking control of your health. Loosing the weight that bogs you down and holds you back. I hope these post will be encouraging for those of you on this journey with me.

Thank you for the encouragement that of many of you have given me. Your support has given me the guts to post this journey and own each stage of progress along the way;).

In my next post I will share with you how I have lost 15 lbs in the last month with 3 basic steps.

When your thighs touch, the struggle is real.

I think it is fair to say that the hot and humid Virginia summers and chubby thighs don’t mix! In an effort to combat the Level 10 chafe, that was ruining my summer, I discovered baby powder. You see, baby powder can be a real life saver for anyone with thighs that touch!

But there are rules for this life hack. 1. Never when wearing black! 2. Never with yoga pants. 3. Only in moderation. By ignoring these three critical rules, I found myself in one of the top5 most embarrassing moments of my life.

The day started with lots of confusion and everyone running about 30 minutes behind schedule, like every other day now that I am a mother of three. In an effort to be efficient, I had scheduled dental appointments for the entire family back to back. when I made this appointment I underestimated the time it would take to get the entire family, including the 4 Week old Baby, out the door on time.

After a million trips up and down the stairs chasing to corral our round bunch out the door, the chafe factor was of the charts. Out of desperation for relief I franticly reached for the baby powder and haphazardly gave the bottle a good shake or ten down my black yoga pants…..

Ahhhh the relief!!

Ahhhh the relief!!

It wasn’t until we were all waiting in the lobby of the dental office, that I realize the severity of my error in judgment. I bent over to dig through the diaper bag to find something to appease the baby… only to be interrupted by my husband trying to choke back laughter.

Highly sensitive about this strange and mushy postpartum body, I spun around on my heels to scowl at him and and demanding to know just what the hell he thought was so funny.Through stifled laughs he told me to look at my butt.

Well, easier said then done in my current form. So as I tried to crane around to
examin my vast behind for what could possibly be so funny. I pulled the black fabric of my stretchy yoga pants out, only to find my entire rear end was covered in white powder.

It was at this point, I made the most epic mistake one could make, when wearing black yoga pants full of baby powder. In the horror of discovering my dusty white rear end, I allowed my pants to snap back in place This launched a cloud of fine white powder into the air like a nuclear cloud.


Thank god the receptionist wasn’t at her desk! I frantically flailed my arms about in the air of the lobby, willing the fine white powder out of the air.

At this point my husband had erupted in laughter. I fled to the bathroom (being sure to keep my back side against a wall).

I frantically emptied my pants of what, I can only imagine must have been the entire contents of the baby powder bottle.

After desperatley trying to clean it all up of the dark wood floor of the bathroom, I came back out and casually tried to use my arm to brush the fine haze of powder that had settled on the ledge of the receptionist desk.

At this point my husband quietly tells me the counter is the least of of my worries, pointing to the floor of the lobby. I Looked down and to my horror,  there must have been an inch of white powder across the entire dark wood floor of the lobby.

Completely embarrassed and defeated, I plopped down next to my husband and applogise for being so embarrassing.

He sweetly put his arm around me and said “Babe, don’t worry about it! There is nothing hotter than watching a white plume of dust erupt from your wife’s yoga pants”

Yet another one of those moments where I could Laugh or cry… So I cry laughed.

My Dear Girls, My Hope for You…

My Hope For My Girls

My Girls
I hope you will always leap,dance, take risk and reach for the best part of yourself.

I hope you will find your way with kindness and faith. That you will unleash your joy and be true to yourself.

I hope you will celebrate the abundance in your life and embrace your vulnerability as a foundation for growth.

I hope you will collect moments of kindness, ask for what you need, speak of gratitude, offer forgiveness and believe in healing.

I hope you will embrace change and honor your intuition.

I hope you will stand with integrity and be proud to tell your story.

Emily Woolf

I Want to Know the Real Unfiltered You

IMG_2581Challenged by small talk, a barrier to depth, a diversion from what is real.
I want to hear your truth, don’t sugar coat it. No matter how blunt or raw, I want to hear your thoughts.
I want to know the real unfiltered you, so that I can appreciated you for all that you really are. I am not interested in what you think you should be, I have a hunch that you are so much more.

Emily Woolf