Feeling(s) :: (1) an emotional state or reaction. (2) a belief, especially a vague or irrational one.

All up in my feelings people…and some of them have not been so good.  I am a true extrovert.  I love talking and engaging with people, learning about them, over-sharing, digging.  When I’m quiet it means two things (1) I am sleeping or in some form of exhaustion or (2) I’m sad, down and out, anxious…overwhelmed.  I am thankful because I am generally just happy.  I am positive, see the good, excited, energetic, talkative, loving life, moving forward . . . but then sometimes, for no particular reason, or maybe all the reasons at once, my battery is out.  I will wake up and feel gloomy.  I have moments of light and clarity but those moments are easily dimmed.  This last time, it really wore on me.  It lasted more than the usual bad few days or long week…it was more like 6 weeks of unexplained sadness.  After thinking about it, I finally put my finger on some of the triggers…

(1) Vacation was over.

(2) School was starting . . . summer was over.

(3) I missed my little brother, it hit me just like a ton of bricks that while he remains a call away, NY is a lot further than 34th Street.

(4) My car broke down…in 3 increments…resulting in repairs almost reaching $2,000 which we were not anticipating.

(5) I went from completing a Whole 30 to eating and drinking like you do . . . on vacation . . .

(6) Pressure from work.

(7) Sleep regression with Nicklaus.

(8) September 11th

(9) National News . . .

(10) The light in the kitchen going out (yes really…this was so annoying and was not a simple fix).

1st world problems?  Sure I will take that…but it was one thing after another and my spirit was just beat up.  I was doing all the stuff I usually do to cheer myself up.  I was talking with my husband and FaceTiming my siblings and BFF… praying, going to Mass, listening to good music, playing with my kids, buying overpriced coffee and paying for the car behind me, reading uplifting books…nothing was clicking.

I was not eating balanced and I was drinking too much alcohol, that’s for sure.  I am certain this did not help.

It took an unexpected Team Beachbody commission check in my account on a Thursday morning (September 15th to be exact) & somehow my happy light came on!  I cannot really explain why…but from that Thursday morning, I was back.  I’m writing all of this because I tend to overshare the good and quiet down when things aren’t going my way.  In my effort to lift others up, I never want to pretend my life is somehow perfect & I have everything together.  I don’t.  I am thankful that I have all I need and more wants than I deserve…and a support system of family and friends who are all amazing…but even still, sometimes I have to reset and recharge.

Feeling:

(1) an emotional state or reaction.

(2) a belief, especially a vague or irrational one.

Have them, don’t let them consume you.

Never look around and compare your every day to someone’s highlight reel…people tend to show and share what they want you to see.  We all have a battle or 2 or 99…let’s stop competing and support one another.  I promise the ride is so much better this way.

I am 8 days into the Beachbody Country Heat program with 22 to go, before I start another goal.  Find something that sets your soul on fire & never let go.  Inspiring others does this for me.  I pray you are encouraged today – this too shall pass!

Selfie – this last Sunday after Mass – which was perfect.

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A pole dancer is a lot of things, not limited to a stripper.

Over the last year + of becoming a Beachbody Coach, I have had the opportunity of meeting so many different types of people…mostly women.  I’m a huge believer that every new person you meet, every new experience you have, leaves a footprint in your path.  Think about it, who you are to one person never entirely matches who you are to someone else.  You are you, YES…but our personalities are made up of not only those individual characteristics unique only to us, but also our responses/reactions to those who interact with us.  Which leads me to this special human pictured below.IMG_0002_1 copy

Antoinette is also a Team Beachbody Coach.  She is a lover of education (has a Masters degree), a lover of food (she married a chef!), a lover of spiritual wellness and healing (speaks to my heart), and a lover of fueling her body like the Temple that it is!  One of our first interactions was Antoinette challenging me to step out of my comfort zone.  She invited me to her birthday party, but this was no dinner date at a hot spot downtown.  She is pole fitness artist & invited me to a private pole fitness class (wine included!) & we wore clothes lol. . .!!!  I admittedly knew close to nothing about pole fitness.  I had the understanding that it was difficult & the obvious…strippers use their naked bodies paired with pole fitness abilities in order to get cash.  I had NO IDEA it is an actual fitness movement!  People actually study and practice the art of pole fitness and sculpt their bodies.  It takes incredible upper body and lower body strength to master the beautiful twirls, drops, climbs…there are pole fitness competitions!  I have never tried anything like that before!

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I not only learned something completely new, I was also challenged to think outside of my narrow view of what a “pole dancer” actually is.  A pole dancer is a lot of things, not limited to a stripper.  My interaction with Antoinette taught me pretty quickly, that our friendship would not be one of comfort zones.  We have some similarities, but probably more differences & through the discomfort of leaving comfort zones, we both have the opportunity to learn from each other & grow.  You can check out other photos from this shoot by visiting www.facebook.com/collectionbyclaribelphotography & you can follow Antoinette on her fitness journey by following her Instagram @thehealthyprofessor and staying tune for her updated website.

Xo, Claribel

Fotografia :: Katie & Kyle

Love these two pretty people so much!  I’ve known Katie since she was a little girl riding her bike barefoot all around our neighborhood.  I always wonder if big cities have all the feels small towns do…

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There are the cons to growing up in little college towns, but one of my favorite things is that I have so many childhood friends I stay connected with as an adult.  I watched Katie grow up and get in trouble with my little sister.  Now they’re all grown up and I’ve gotten to experience watching them turn into strong, fiery women.  Social media has taken some of the mystery away from life, and while some hate the fairy tale photo streams, I choose to relish the opportunity to view some of the most happy times in the lives of those I love!  So for your viewing pleasure, check out this image of Katie & Kyle at a friend’s wedding…I was lucky enough to capture these two in their engagement and wedding photos as well…they’re truly dreamy together. Xo, Claribel

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F word #1: Food . . . I am a Whole 30 Graduate!

IMG_9465#Whole30Graduate STATUS!

Completing a Whole 30 has been on my mind since before I became a BB coach. However, I chose to join a Beachbody Challenge Group & that completely transformed my state of mind! I LOVE the relationships I have made, the fun I’m a part of, the consistency in my healthy lifestyle changes, the accountability I get from my team, and helping my family and friends change their lives!

So why Whole 30? Here’s a little bit of why I chose to go ALL IN for 30 days & stray from my 21 Day Fix nutrition plan:
•Lingering curiosity from a year ago… (I have several friends who have completed a Whole 30 and were blown away by results.)
•Slaying the sugar dragon! I’ve succeeded before & just needed to go ALL IN again…no better time than after a week trip to NY where I did nothing but over-indulge & in the month before Beachbody Summit & our family beach vacation!
•I LOVE a challenge. This was different than what I was doing, and a lot more rigid. I LOVE proving to myself that I CAN.
•New recipes! An opportunity to learn new clean meals I can prepare for my family & share with my friends. (Found some new faves!)
•Back to the basics :: Not rocket science…eat clean, unprocessed food.

Whole 30 in a nutshell:
-Do not consume ADDED sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
-Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking.
-Do not eat grains.
-Do not eat legumes.
-Do not eat dairy.
-Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites.
-Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients.  This most definitely includes pancakes.  No “healthy pancakes” allowed … no pancakes of any kind.
-One last and final rule: You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program.
-Do this for 30 days :: NO CHEATING or you START OVER!

Results:

•Incredible REM sleep. Vivid dreams I can recount. 22 days (of 30) of REAL sleep! For someone who has an anxious, wandering, up all night mind – this is priceless! Processed sugars have such a HUGE impact on our ability to wind down & it is in almost everything!  This alone was my greatest victory!

•AWARENESS: Example: Searching an entire shelf at the grocery store to find only ONE kind of ONE brand of chicken sausage that DOES NOT have added sweeteners other than natural fruit juice & has all natural ingredients with no nitrites and only minimal processing. That goes for loads of other food you would never expect to have sugar or yeast or MSG.

•Addiction Admission: The struggle is real with processed sugar. I hate admitting I crave it, but I do.

•DISCOVERY: Example: New favorite spaghetti sauce with NO ADDED SUGAR or artificial anything. Learned so much about focusing on ingredients! Discovered I really can drink coffee with unsweetened coconut milk (and that’s it…and I didn’t die!) 😂

•Clear Skin: HUGE win for me! I have always struggled with acne. Over the course of this Whole 30 I only had 1 breakout. That’s unreal for me, nothing changed with my face washing regimen. Simply changing my diet was all it took!

•WEIGHT/STATS: I lost 8 LBs during my Whole 30.  That’s about 2 LBs per week.  This was great for me because I really AM such a clean eater MOST of the time.  I go off the wagon sometimes and it does not take much for me to gain weight.  This just reinforced a concept I already know…I know what I am willing to do/eat in order to be a certain weight and what I am not willing to do.  I won’t be more strict than a Whole 30 regimen regularly and I am unwilling to exercise loads more etc.  This means I need to be comfortable with my weight.  I have been thinner before…even after the twins I was able to get back to my pre-baby weight of 119 LBs by following an Ideal Protein diet.  However, I am unwilling to go through those measures again.  I learned a lot on Ideal about nutrition but I was also consuming artificially created protein shakes as 2 meals per day.  I was having 8 oz. of meat for dinner and 4 cups of vegetables per day – and that was it.  I don’t want to do that again.  I want to eat yummy foods.  I want to have Shakeology which is a natural, whole food type of shake without anything artificial.  AND I only want to have that as one meal per day…not as a 2 or 3 meal replacement.  I also was not exercising while on Ideal…(not supposed to during the weight loss phase) which means that once I lost the weight and was in the maintenance phase, I didn’t practice exercising as a way to relieve stress.  I practiced eating.  I practiced alcohol.  I practiced NOT eating.  So I gained about 14 LBs back and was at 133 LBs.  Through Team Beachbody, I have learned to create an exercise habit & actually use it to benefit my mind when I am anxious or stressed!  It helps me feel better!  Exercise: A God given system to prevent sabotage!    So here it is for the world to see, I am 5 ft. tall and I weigh 136 LBs.  This is 3 LBs heavier than my pre-baby weight of 133 LBs with Nicklaus AND it is the lowest I have ever gotten with Team Beachbody & now Whole 30.  I know I am eating clean foods and listening to my body.  I feel better, I’m sleeping better, my skin is better, my mood is better . . . so I cannot and will not let that number define my success.  I might add my blood work is green light central.  I do not suffer from high blood pressure, low/high blood sugar, cholesterol is perfect, iron in check etc.

Please note: by the classification of WHO, I am considered overweight.  I am considered less than optimal weight for my height and age.  My Smart Body Mass Index is 43/70 and my ideal range is 30/70 – 40/70…so I am 3 points outside of the maximum of my ideal range.  I know I CAN get “skinnier” … but I don’t want to commit to that (at least not today, lol).  I have watched my friends transform their bodies through weight training and intense nutrition / diet control…it’s AMAZING…but I do not want to put in that kind of work.  It is important to want to be better and feel better and go after it, but it is also important to listen to your body and do what YOU want, not just to attain someone else’s idea of perfection.  I feel great and am happy with how I look.  Is there room for improvement? Always!  DUH!  Balance looks good on me though… 🙂

Do I recommend the Whole 30 for weight loss?  If you are constantly eating processed foods and treating your body unkindly, you will most definitely lose weight by switching to a Whole 30 nutritional regimen.  There are faster and more effective ways to lose weight.  I had amazing results with 21 Day Fix and it was easier than Whole 30.  However, if you’re looking for a reset and to actually learn about food and the way it impacts your body – plus lose some LBs, I definitely recommend completing a Whole 3o.  If you have food sensitivities and aren’t feeling well and cannot identify the cause, stripping your food intake to the basics and slowly re-introducing foods back into your diet after you complete the Whole 30 will help you identify what is making you feel bad and what you should stay away from long term.  I LOVE having 3 large clean meals a day and having a banana with almond butter as a snack.  I think snacks are the death of me, so having 3 full plates of clean foods daily is better for ME & why I think Whole 30 inspired nutrition is my favorite so far.

So what now?
First pancakes! Chocolate Vegan Shakeology pancakes because those are my favorite!! Except, with a little whip cream this go-around! 😜

But then…beer. Because…Bell’s Two Hearted!  Hahahaha!

Seriously? 😂 My game plan is to continue a Whole 30 inspired nutrition plan during the M-F week. However, I will be making an exception for Shakeology daily because I love it, it’s a multivitamin, protein packed, whole food supplement, and amazing! I believe in it & I LOVE the simplicity of a shake for a meal. When I have my daily Shakeo, I feel like I conquer my sweet tooth! Weekends (starting Friday night) I will relax and indulge but NOT overdo it. After a vacation or a period of overindulging, I may repeat. This plan works well for me & my goal to continue to build upon what I know in order to be the BEST version of myself! ❤️ I would LOVE for you to join me for my next Whole 30 Inspired Challenge Group starting August 1, 2016!  Contact me here or LIKE my Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/searchingformybestself and send me a message!  Let’s chat about how I can help you discover the best version of yourself!