Preparing for Christmas

Getting our hearts prepared for Christmas seems trickier these days than getting all the physical preparations complete. (Even though the physical preparations- decorations, presents, parties, food… can be overwhelming themselves!) We seem to struggle to slow down enough to give our hearts time to pause.

So, in the busiest time of the year, how can we prepare our hearts for the true meaning of the season? Here’s some ideas to help:

  • Take time daily with God. His greatest desire is to be with you. Spending time with Him can calm your heart, still your mind, and allow you to draw closer to Him. You can pray, read His Word, or just sit in silence listening for His voice.
  • Choose an Advent calendar to help give you a focus for each day. This can be something as simple as one printed from online or as elaborate as giving a gift each day to the ones you love with meaning and purpose. YouVersion has a great free one on their app!
  • Worship daily. This means sing songs of praise, be thankful, do your work in a worshipful manner, treat others how Christ would want you to treat them… Just think- how do you like to worship?
  • Make a plan for the physical preparations. Decide when you’ll do your shopping and what you’ll get. Or do some online shopping to save time. Decide when and how you’ll decorate. And decide what gatherings will be best for you and your family to attend and which ones you will say no to this year.

Preparing our hearts may be difficult, but it’s not impossible- especially if we ask for help from the Holy Spirit. He’s here to guide us and help us feel the peace and presence of Christ.

I’d love to know! What do you do to prepare your heart to receive Christ on Christmas?

Top Ways to Stay on Track During the Holidays

It’s so easy to “fall off the wagon” during the holidays. There are so many temptations, so much yummy food, so many fun opportunities…

So, how can we stay on track and still have fun and enjoy ourselves?

First, I might invite for us (me included) to change our perspective about “falling off the wagon.” It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I don’t have to commit to avoid sweets 100% of the time and neither do you. What if we allowed ourselves to eat whatever we wanted 20% of the time? And then the other 80% we did our best to “stay on the wagon?” What would that feel like?

Let me break this down for you. If you ate as healthy as you can 80% of the time that means 17 of your meals a week would be “on the wagon.” Then, 4 of your meals each week you could eat whatever you wanted. And that’s not necessarily “off the wagon,” but rather chosen indulgences.

How does that feel?

For me, I like that a whole lot better than beating myself up for having pie 3 times in one day (maybe those are three of my four indulgences)!

God didn’t design us to be deprived all the time! He did design us to have self-control however. Choose and enjoy those indulgences!

So, here are a few tips to help you stay on track with this 80/20 lifestyle:

  1. Make a plan! This may be the most important tip ever! Benjamin Franklin said,

“If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.”

So, make a plan of what meals will be your indulgences and which ones you’re going to choose healthier options.

2. Get enough sleep. When we’re tired we are less able to follow through with good intentions. We just run through the nearest drive through or takeout because we’re too exhausted to cook. (Sound familiar, anyone? I know I’m guilty!)

3. Exercise. It’s a kind of fuel for your body. Plus, it will keep you focused and motivated to keep fueling your body with nourishing foods. Nobody wants to undo the hard work we’ve already done.

4. Take some time for yourself. When we allow ourselves time to rest, relax, and be rejuvenated then we will feel better and we’ll be more able to show up as our best self (and be able to resist the pie if that’s not an indulgence we chose).

5. Contribute to family and friend gatherings. Or, volunteer to be the host! Make or take a healthy dish or two to share with everyone. That way you’ll be able to control at least something that you’re eating.

I’d love to hear what you think about this perspective change and these tips! Comment below and let me know your thoughts and if there’s something you would add!

How to Enjoy the Yummy Food During the Holidays without Feeling Guilty

I hear so many people talk about “falling off the wagon” around the holidays. They feel guilty for eating the yummy treats and then their growing waist line increases the guilt.

Well, what if you could eat all the yumminess, not feel guilty AND not grow your waist line too?!?!

Try this new idea out and let me know what you think!

Have questions about putting this new “rule” into practice? Comment below or email Carrie at needahealthcoach@gmail.com.

Do you need accountability during the holidays (or after) to stay the course? That’s what I do! I’d be honored to help you “stay on track” and pray for your success during this holiday season!

Healthy Holiday Swaps

The holidays can bring such joy to our lives and can often bring inches to our waistline too.

So, I thought I’d provide you with some healthy swaps to help cut down on calories, but still give you delicious food to enjoy.

But first, check your normal eating habits. Do you:

  • Chew your food around 20-30 times?
  • Take a few deep breaths before eating?
  • Focus on eating and enjoy the time by yourself or with friends and family?
  • Turn off the tv and social media? Savor each bite?
  • Take 20 minutes to complete your meal?
  • Stop eating when you’re 80% full?

These are all suggestions to help your digestion and metabolism work optimally. These things can help set your body up for success even if you do decide to splurge and eat the apple pie and pumpkin pie and all the yumminess available!

I do recommend to my clients to follow the 80/20 rule. This states that you will eat as healthy as you can 80% of the time and then eat whatever you want 20% of the time. If we break that down weekly that means you will eat 17 meals as healthy as you can and 4 meals eat whatever you want. This allows you to splurge and not feel guilty. Plus, you won’t be deprived!

So, taking all these ideas and suggestions into consideration, here are a few healthy swaps you can make for a healthier holiday season:

  1. Instead of mashed potatoes choose mashed cauliflower.
  2. Instead of sugar in desserts and dishes use honey or monk fruit sweetener.
  3. Roast or grill turkey or meat instead of frying it.
  4. Leave off the glaze on the ham or make your own that has less sugar and preservatives.
  5. Make gluten free cornbread instead of stuffing the turkey.
  6. Use real cranberries instead of canned.
  7. Drink water or hot tea instead of sugary sodas.
  8. Use butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil instead of other oils.
  9. Choose gratitude over judgement.
  10. Take a walk after the meal instead of hours of tv.

Which one sounds doable to you? Or what would you add to this list?

Are You in the Arena?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

I first read this quote in Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. And it struck me so deeply. It convicted my heart to step back and check myself and also gave me a good excuse to ignore the critics.

The critics can feel crippling sometimes.

You know the critics: people who have a whole lot to say about what others are saying and doing but they’re not doing much of any of it themselves. These are the self-proclaimed judges. The ones who think they know it all. And maybe they know a whole lot, but when it comes to putting “it all” into practice they don’t have hardly any experience.

So, what does this have to do with being healthy?

Well, a whole lot actually. It touches deeply on mental and spiritual health which actually affects physical health more than we realize. Knowing that God is the only one true judge can take the pressure off from the critics. They’re not going to go away, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen to them. Jesus Christ died for me and you so we don’t have to fear judgement. We don’t have to fear the critics.

Because their opinion doesn’t matter.

Often we have judgements crowd our thoughts as if they are on repeat. And they can pull us down just as much as the critics.

I might invite for you to ask this question:

Who told you that?

And if the answer isn’t God, then drop it because it doesn’t matter.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says,

“We pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” (GNT)

God’s opinion of you is what matters. And actually, He thinks you’re pretty awesome. He made you perfectly you know. We don’t have to strive to be perfect, do all the perfect things, and have our life together like the Jones’s. That is us trying to please the world and our own selfish desires. We just need to please God! That’s it!

And if we focus on that, all the things will fall into place. Not that it’ll be perfect, but we’ll be honoring Him in our messiness. And that’s what is truly important.

So, are you in the arena? Or, are you a critic on the sideline?

What’s holding you back from living? Life is short and the time to live is now. Step into the arena my friend!

A Health Coach’s Top 10 Tips for Getting or Staying Healthy

There is so much information out there. If you Google any symptom you can be certified as a fixer of that symptom in a matter of minutes it seems.

(Technology is a wonderful thing!)

But there can be so much confusing information out there. Some information even contradicts others. So, how are we to know what is good advice or not?

Well, that’s the tricky part. See, every single person on the planet is different – even if just slightly. The way we walk, the activities we do, the food we eat, how we deal with stress all affects us in different ways. So, what works for one person may or may not work for you.

Plus, health encompasses more than just the physical part. There are 3 parts to health: physical, mental, and spiritual.

So, I’m doing my best to give you 10 tips that will be good to help you get or stay healthy – no matter who you are (just remember to honor what your body is telling you!):

1. Eat Lots of Veggies

Like lots. And lots. And lots. Especially the green ones.


2. Move Your Body Every Single Day

You don’t have to run or go to the gym everyday to get in a workout. Think outside the box and get moving!


3. Eat Less Sugar (or none at all)

Sugar is responsible for so many health issues it’s crazy. Cut it out or at least way down to lessen the likelihood of serious diseases like Alzheimer’s.


4. Take Time for Yourself Regularly

It’s important that you take time to refuel yourself so you can go out and give the world your best. Do something that fills you up!


5. Volunteer

Giving of your time to someone less fortunate can help more than you know with your own mental health. Don’t know where to volunteer? Check with your local church or visit a website like: volunteermatch.org


6. Drink Lots of Water

Like at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day. Yup. At least.


7. Deal with Stress

When we don’t deal with stress our bodies actually store it. That’s when we start having symptoms like aches, pains, arthritis, chronic sickness… Find a way to release that stress.


8. Be Part of a Community

It’s been proven that people who feel like they belong in a community live longer, are happier, and feel more fulfilled. Your community could be your church, a book club, your family…


9. Pray, Read the Bible, & Worship Christ Daily

Spiritual health is just as important as physical and mental health (maybe even more so!). Get to know Christ and just how loved and supported you can be!


10. Have fun!

Allow yourself the opportunity to let go, relax, and enjoy. “Don’t get so hung up on where you’d rather be that you forget to live life where you are.” -Aurora in Passenger


11. Okay – a bonus one I couldn’t leave out: Detox

Detox means to get rid of what no longer serves you. This could mean physically in the food you eat, cleaning products you use, or what products you put on your skin. It could also mean mentally in past emotions, experiences, or people. I am passionate about detoxing (because my body requires it regularly) so if you have questions please ask!!!

Of course there are a bazillion other things you could do to get or stay healthy. But in my personal and professional opinion these are the top ones for most people. Which one would you like to start today?

My Personal Gut Story

Gut story? Who wants to read that?

I know, right?!?!

BUT, if my story can help someone else to feel encouraged then this gut story of mine is worth sharing and reading. So, here it is:

About 10 years out of college I started having some serious health issues. Pain in my upper back and stomach pain from out of this world. Had ALL the tests and procedures done. Blood work, colonoscopy, endoscopy, ultrasounds, x-rays, two gallbladder tests complete with radioactive drinks….

And the only thing they found was possibly the scarring from an ulcer. Yet, I was in excruciating pain every single day. Finally, my gastroenterologist told me, “We don’t know what’s wrong with you. There’s nothing else we can do.”

In the midst of all that I also had food allergy testing and found out I was allergic to barley. Weirdest thing ever, I thought. And I told the doctor I didn’t drink beer. He said, “Then you’re fine. There’s nothing you need to do differently.” I didn’t understand so I went home and researched and found that barley has gluten and is in nearly everything it seemed: anything with flour, Carmel color, sauces, coke….

So, that was it. That was the day the medical field lost my trust. That was the day I decided to take back control of my own health.

So, I started doing research on how to make my body healthy. On how to heal. I read, and read, and read. I listened to health talks meant for doctors. I became a sponge for knowledge about my gut and health. And the thing was, no matter what the topic there were always similar suggestions for how to heal. And it all started with diet.

I knew my mental health wasn’t in the greatest shape either. I had begun to see a counselor to help with that.

And, I had come across a reverse elimination diet called the GAPS Diet. That stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. Whoa. The more I read and learned about it the more it described me. But if I tried this diet I was going to have to change everything. I mean everything. Starting with what I ate. See, the reverse elimination diet component means you take everything (yes, EVERYTHING) out of your diet. You drink bone broth for a certain number of days (depending on your body) and then you begin adding in foods one at a time to see if your body has any adverse reactions to them.

I was ready to not hurt every time I swallowed a bite of food. I was ready to reclaim my health. And I was ready to do whatever it took to get there. So, I jumped in. Feet first. Head first. Whatever you want to say, I was all in. And for two weeks, all I ate was bone broth. Beef bone broth, chicken bone broth, and fish bone broth. (I don’t recommend the fish. Ick!). Then I began eating the chicken from the broth I’d made. And within a few days I was already feeling better. Within a few weeks I wasn’t in pain anymore.

Then, I added cooked onions, cooked apples, and eggs next. I continued adding foods one at a time until I was on the full GAPS Diet – which is still limited but way more options than just broth. I stayed on this diet for about two years.

This diet healed my gut. But it didn’t heal my allergies. I had gotten my mental health under control by this point. I had even gotten off all anxiety and depression medication (whoa- that’s a story all in its self).

So, I began working with my chiropractic physician. She put me on a regimen for two months of supplements to reinvigorate my gut cells. Then I was on a strict diet of mostly veggies, fruit, and meat for two months.

And this process healed me from my allergies- along with tons of prayer too I might add!

So, I started eating whatever I wanted again. And for two more years I was just fine.

Then, this summer I started having pain and major gurgling again. My gluten allergy was back. And this time dairy has been an issue for me too.

So, I am once again gluten free and now dairy free. For the time being. I am certain that I can be healed again when the time is right. I’ve been through this before. And I know what to expect this time. And I’m ready. Ready to heal myself- without drugs, without chemicals, without anything Big Pharma has to offer me. Because nature was given to us by God. And he intended for us to use it. So, I will.

Are you in a place where the medical field has let you down too? Have you been given a “life sentence” of illness, disease, or symptoms? Let me speak life and love into you right now:

THERE IS HOPE. And yes, for you too. No matter what you’ve been told. No matter what your diagnosis. No matter what. There is hope. I’d be happy to listen to your story too. Share a piece of it here by commenting below.