4 Simple Ways to Be Healthier When You Don't Know Where to Start


“Just start” can sometimes be discouraging or confusing advice. Often you may feel like screaming, but HOW? Do I cut carbs? Do I just exercise? Where do I begin? Yes, we know getting healthier and making changes to our daily routine is often very hard, especially for people who have been doing things the same way for decades. It’s not easy. It has a lot to do with the difficulty of habit change but also the overwhelming amount of information we are exposed to. This post is about simplifying and starting with the basics to start, just to start.

Let’s begin with nutrition. There are countless contradictions from incredibly informed and educated health professionals about what “diet” is the best one. Do I avoid carbs? Do I avoid sugars, even fruit? Do I eat meat? Do I count calories or points?

Then how should I move? There are just as many conflicting “how-to’s” on how to move for prevention of disease, weight loss or to support your health as you age.

However, there is a place that most, if not all health professionals, should agree. There’s a consensus on what causes disease, and that is inflammation. Inflammation “is a natural response of the body to protect itself from potentially destructive agents such as infection.” Chronic inflammation causes damaged cells which is directly linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

What some people do not realize is that inflammation is also linked to weight gain. A lot of the struggle with batting obesity is linked to the body’s inflammatory response and being “stuck” in it.

So a good place to begin if you feel sick, depressed, or overweight is to tune in…..“listen to your body.” What symptoms are your body or mind exhibiting? Irritability can be a symptom. Joint pain or fatigue or maybe poor digestion.

As you may guess, there is no black/white answer immediately to this question. Oftentimes, it takes a period of trial and error with different types of foods, supplements and movements to determine when symptoms of inflammation are reduced.

Inflammation can also be increased by stress. Beginning a strict, rigorous and hard core diet that depletes your body of what it needs is not going to reduce inflammation. Releasing judgment of yourself, taking yourself off the strict diet, and getting real and honest about how you feel is often a million times more effective.

Ok, then where do we start?

Take Inventory. Before you begin making any changes, take inventory and write it down. Take note of your body- any pain, tension or injuries. How is your digestion? How is your skin? Are you fatigued, anxious or have brain fog? It is very helpful to write down how you feel after you eat a certain meal. Try new things, don’t put yourself on a strict diet, but try one meal eating mostly greens. Take note of how you feel compared to when you eat processed food. As you start to make small incremental changes, take inventory again. At the very minimum check in once a week and write it down.

Start moving. Any type of movement will work. I mean that. Don’t worry about people that say you have to have a certain amount of a certain type of exercise. Just move. If you’re drawn to or curious about yoga, go to yoga or roll out your mat at home. Just try to move every day or every other day. If you want to dance, youtube “dance cardio” and get moving. If you feel good after weight-lifting, go for that. Start somewhere and don’t worry about it being perfect or complete. 10 minutes every other day is a start.

Add in Greens. Once a day, eat a salad before your meal, or add the spinach to your omelette or smoothie. Add greens into one meal once a day. It can start with one cup of spinach once a day. Notice I didn’t say “take away.” We are just adding in something nutritious, detoxing and fibrous to get our system some energy.

Drink 16 oz. more of water. Stop and be sure you’re drinking two large glasses more of water than you usually do. Many of the symptoms you may feel that lead you to fatigue or exhaustion or brain fog could be due to dehydration. Give your body a chance to be replenished and it will reward you with energy to move, eat better and feel more optimistic about change.

This type of process is truly the key to habit change that works and becomes a lifestyle change.

Small changes over time with an intention to feel better.

It also respects that each person’s body may need something a little different. Working on simple changes, and raising awareness in your body of how it makes you feel will lead you down a path of health inevitably because most people, if not all, want to feel better.





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The Benefits of Backbends

Backbends are important and sometimes a bit scary for a reason. They’re opening and expanding the front part of our bodies and chests, which, if we sit at a desk all day, can be very tight and restricted parts of our body.

The truth is our spines are made to backbend and we can all expect huge benefits not only physically but emotionally.


Here are 3 BIG benefits of Backbends:

  • Release Tension. We hold a lot of tension in our shoulders, chest, and hip flexors. You see this a lot with hunched over shoulders or bad posture. Backbending opens up all of those areas, breathing life into your muscles and joints on your front side of your body. This will benefit your entire spine and total body as it will allow you to physically release that tension.

    Anti-Aging. By maintaining the integrity of the natural movement of the spine, we are protecting it against damage and repetitive patterns as we age. Again, we sit with our spines in flexion a lot. Backbends not only counteract that constant position but they also strengthen the muscles of the back, supporting your spine. Moving the spine in all directions, especially extension, aids against misalignment of the spine that could lead to muscle strain or more serious conditions.

    Open Your Heart. Literally, backbends open your heart space and may trigger emotional reactions. If you notice, some people that are closed off emotionally often look closed off physically. An open chest and an open heart is a vulnerable place to be and one we don’t do lightly. By incorporating backbends into your routine, you are allowing energy to flow in a way it probably doesn’t usually. It’s ok, that’s part of the work. Take it slow and feel the feelings and keep finding ways to open.

    Try these tips to safely start incorporating this amazing posture into your daily routine.

  • Strive to Keep Length in the Lower Spine (lumbar spine) and Bend from the Upper to Middle Back (thoracic spine). To do this, begin by drawing the navel in, finding space through your spine, then focus on bending from the upper part of your back, opening at your chest.

  • Start Slow. There is nothing wrong with starting slow. Start with Bridge, practice it with patience and focusing on your breath. Wheel (full backbend) will come over time if you want it, but Bridge will still give you all the benefits.

    For Bridge, lay on your back on your mat and bring your heels close to your seat. Feet are parallel and placed about hip distance apart. Place your arms by your side, palms facing down. Begin lifting your hips, back and chest off the flow, bringing your chest towards your chin. Focus on your knees being over your ankles and your thighs parallel to each other. If you can, try to open your shoulders by rolling each shoulder under your back slightly. For more chest opening, interlace your fingers under your back and press into the floor.

  • Warm-up. It is always best to warm up with hip and chest openers before jumping into backbends. Low lunge, lengthening the fronts of the thighs and hip flexors, is a good place to start. Raise your hands to the sky and find a slight bend in your back opening up the chest.

3 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises to Work Your Core

Kettlebell is a total-body workout that has huge benefits for your core. Using the weight in controlled movements around the body, every muscle in the core is working together to balance you as you move. Here are three beginner kettlebell exercises to work the core and gain strength.

When choosing the weight of the kettlebell as a beginner, always err on the side of caution and begin with a lower weight. Practice the movement with the lower weight until you feel confident in your control of the weight during the movement. Once your confidence builds, you can always increase the weight.

Goblet Squat:

In a standing position, engage your core and hold the kettlebell in the two-handed “racked” position. The racked position is where the kettlebell is held at chest-height with your elbows tucked by your side. Continue to hold the kettlebell high just under the chin, keep your elbows tucked tight to the side body. Lower down into a squat and raise up to standing keeping the kettlebell in the same position. As you squat and stabilize the weight, focus on slow, controlled movement and staying rooted through your heels. This engages the entire frontal plain and core. Through the squat, the core provides balance and connection between the lower body and loaded upper body. Advanced Move: Take it the next level with a front press or overhead press at the bottom of the squat.


Suitcase Deadlift

The deadlift is a foundational kettlebell movement. Place the kettlebell to the side of one foot on the ground. Stand with feet hips-width apart. Root into your heels as you lower your seat back into a hinge position with a bend in the knees and a neutral back. Lift the weight and rise to standing by engaging your glutes and core. By placing the weight on one side of the body, it forces the core to engage and stabilize the body. The one-handed variety requires linkage through the obliques and latissimus dorsi. Advanced Move: Take this movement to the next level with the one-legged deadlift.



Stand with feet hips-distance apart and hold the kettlebell with two hands in the racked position with the bottom of the kettlebell up. Lift the kettlebell over one shoulder, to the side of the head, move the weight around to the back of the head with a rolling motion to make a “halo” or a circle around the head, and end back in racked position at your chest. Next rep will alternate the movement on the opposite side. The core engages as the weight is lifted over shoulder height and stabilizes the body as the weight moves from one side of the body to the other. Advanced Move: When confident, try a back lunge/halo combo.


5 Reasons to Cross-Train for the Best Results


We are all guilty of finding a type of exercise we love and sticking with it day in and day out. There’s nothing wrong with practicing yoga every day, or running every day or strength training everyday. However, if you want to optimize your health or performance, prevent injuries, stay motivated and meet new goals, we suggest trying something different every now and then.

Cross-training simply means supplementing your normal routine with a variety of exercises that focus on flexibility, endurance, and/or strength training to balance out the effect of your workouts on your body.

Here are 5 reasons why you should cross-train:

  1. Recovery or Rehabilitation. If you’ve developed lower back pain, or tight hip flexors, or pain in your shoulders, or whatever it may be, it’s likely you need to slow down, and allow those areas recovery and healing. However, when you experience an injury, it’s well-known you never want to stop moving. Supplementing your strength-training program with lower impact programs can keep you moving, allow you to modify to protect and heal the injury and get you back on your favorite program sooner.

  2. Bust Through a Plateau. Your body adjusts to something you do repetitiously. When I hit a plateau in my health or weight loss goals, changing it up always works. When I do change it up, I feel soreness in areas of my body I don’t normally feel sore. This means those other areas of your body need work and could benefit from a balance of different types of exercise. I do this often as a yoga and barre teacher by adding high-intensity interval training, running, or kettlebell exercises.

  3. Injury Prevention. When you do the same exercises over and over again, it’s possible to have a muscular imbalance which could lead to injury. It’s important to think about the extensive amount of small and large muscles and connective tissue in the body and how we can utilize different areas of the body to build strength and stabilize our joints. Also, giving your body a break from repetitive movements that may be overused in your exercise of choice can allow necessary recovery for greater injury prevention.

  4. Motivation. Practicing one type of exercise every day or 5 days a week will inevitably cause boredom. That doesn’t mean you’re cheating on your favorite instructor or gym, it just means your body and mind may appreciate it more with a little curiosity and change occasionally. It’s a way to stay committed to your goals while also continuing to move.

  5. Mind-Body Connection. Trying new movements with intention and focus teaches your body to work in a different way. This inevitably changes the way your mind and body are connecting and strengthens that connection. Routine is great and is a foundation for true health, but variety is the way to optimize your able body and mind to come even more into your body and grow.

Flow Space will be opening soon offering a variety of group fitness classes from yoga to barre, and bootcamp to kettlebell.

Sweat Therapy | FlowSpace Fitness Studio Opening Late January 2019


This thing we are building is so much more than getting in shape. We look at exercise and fitness as a way to be better in every aspect of our lives, and we want you to feel that way too. Our studio came about after discussing the feeling that we could only describe as “sweat therapy.” It’s our way to describe the feeling that comes after a strenuous, challenging, sweat-inducing workout. The feeling that gives us hope, it empowers us, and it helps us release. It brings us into our bodies and takes our worries from overwhelming to doable. It helps us to be more present with our kids and be present with each other. It forces us to put the phone down, detach from the screen and listen to our breath for one full hour. It gives us a sense of relief that just for today, we weren’t complacent. We moved, we grew and we flooded our body with feel-good hormones and fresh blood to age more gracefully.

By moving, we gave gratitude to our strong legs and healthy heart.

The cure for anything is salt water: SWEAT, tears or the sea.

-Isak Dinesen

We want to give this to you, to our community, and to our friends. We want you to feel comfortable, at home, and challenged all at the same time. Beginning exercise is not easy. Facing your racing thoughts is not easy. We want to face those fears together and help you keep your promises you made to yourself once and for all.

We open in two short months and hope we will see you there.

Reasons We Get Stuck and How to Change


I came across a podcast this week that literally stopped me in my tracks. It was an interview with Dr. Joe Dispenza, who presents himself as a mind-body connection expert. You have GOT to listen to this guy because I cannot do his work justice in this quick post. He’s on the podcast circuit pretty heavily right now. I am in a state of indecision often and so his explanation of our thoughts and our inability to get past the program of our mind due to past ingrained behaviors is so relevant for me at this time in my life, and maybe for you.

In one of my previous posts I talked about how I lost weight and how it wasn’t through traditional calories in calories out, but actually was sparked by being kinder to myself, having more positive self-talk, and giving myself a break. I attributed it to breaking old patterns of turning to food for comfort, sabotaging efforts to make a change by negative self-talk, and finally changing the intention behind my habits to health rather than getting skinnier thighs.

Dr. Dispenza travels around the world giving speeches on the mind’s ability to heal the body. He is well-versed in neuroscience, memory formation and cellular biology.

This is what he says about our ingrained behaviors: “Psychologists tell us that by the time we’re in our mid-30s, our identity or personality will be completely formed. This means that for those of us over 35, we have memorized a select set of behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, emotional reactions, habits, skills, associative memories, conditioned responses, and perceptions that are now subconsciously programmed within us. Those programs are running us, because the body has become the mind. This means that we will think the same thoughts, feel the same feelings, react in identical ways, behave in the same manner, believe the same dogmas, and perceive reality the same ways. About 95 percent of who we are by midlife is a series of subconscious programs that have become automatic—driving a car, brushing our teeth, overeating when we’re stressed, worrying about our future, judging our friends, complaining about our lives, blaming our parents, not believing in ourselves, and insisting on being chronically unhappy, just to name a few.” 
― Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One

Dr. Dispenza says “Same thoughts always lead to the same choices, same choices lead to the same behavior and the same behaviors lead to same experiences and the same experiences produce the same emotions and these emotions drive the very same thoughts.”

When I would start a diet, I would always start hearing the thoughts “you’re going to fail”, “it won’t work” or I would immediately start craving the very food I just swore off for a month. It was insanity. It’s also known as yo-yo dieting. Turning inward, accepting who and where you are right now is crucial to changing.

Also, when I would try to do better, I would make overarching, generalized goals like “eat better” or “be healthier.”

So then how do we change knowing all of this???

Dr. Dispenza suggests going deeper and becoming aware of the exact thoughts that have gotten you to where you are today. He suggests listening to your thoughts and actively working to not allow the sabotaging thoughts to continue playing in your mind like a broken record. Challenge those thoughts, and guard your mind by actively countering them with a positive thought.

“Most change starts with the simple process of something outside of us altering something inside of us. If you begin the inward journey and start to change your inner world of thoughts and feelings, it should create an improved state of well-being. If you keep repeating the process in meditation, then in time, epigenetic changes should begin to alter your outer presentation—and you become your own placebo.” 
― Joe Dispenza, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter

Part of Dr. Dispenza’s solution is this: “To be happy with yourself in the present moment while maintaining a dream of your future is a grand recipe for manifestation. When you feel so whole that you no longer care whether “it” will happen, that’s when amazing things materialize before your eyes. I’ve learned that being whole is the perfect state of creation. I’ve seen this time and time again in witnessing true healings in people all over the world. They feel so complete that they no longer want, no longer feel lack, and no longer try to do it themselves. They let go, and to their amazement, something greater than they are responds—and they laugh at the simplicity of the process.” 
― Joe Dispenza, You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter

This all presupposes that you understand that your thoughts are not the truth. They are thoughts, and we have millions of contradictory, untruthful ones each and every day. Why do we sometimes choose to believe the negative ones and not the positive ones?

This helped me, hope it helps you! Happy Thanksgiving!

In health,


Eat the Ice Cream...Just Not Everyday

“Most people have no idea how good their body is

designed to feel.”

-Kevin Trudeau

Let’s talk about moderation. It has taken me a long time to get here, but I’m at a place now where I have no guilt over the occasional indulgence. Why? Because the majority of the time I’m eating plant-based, clean, whole foods. For me, it’s not a diet, its a lifestyle. This is how my nutrition looks on a normal day or week:

Breakfast: I always start my day with coffee. That is a pleasure I allow myself unless I’m pregnant. I add in a delicious Almond Milk creamer and raw honey. Then I typically have some version of a green smoothie, which is in an earlier post, or I will scramble two organic eggs with 1/2 an avocado.

Snacks: Banana or some type of fruit or Larabar (fav is Cashew Cookie) or other Gluten-free bar


Lunch: Always go for the Salad. I almost always pick up a to-go salad from Publix or Whole Foods. If it’s not perfect, it’s ok. I choose the ones with nuts, fruit, maybe even some cheese and just don’t eat all the cheese and I rarely use all of the dressing. My favorite days are when I can fill up on the salad bar at Whole Foods. My choices are tons of veggies, seeds, beans or legumes(chickpeas are my favorite) and vinegar based dressing. Here’s the thing about eating mostly greens for lunch: You can stabilize your blood sugar to avoid that afternoon slump and get the most out of your day!

Dinner: Before dinner, Zach and I usually snack on gluten-free crackers and hummus or chips and guacamole. Our go-to dinners are a “Buddha Bowl”(will blog about this later but choose a base of greens or quinoa and pile on raw and cooked veggies, organic tofu or chicken, etc) or Baked Fish(wild-caught) and Veggies.

Before Bed: Tea- currently loving Chamomile with Lavender.

The truth about us though is about one night every two weeks, and honestly sometimes once a week, we will absolutely, without any guilt, go to town on a huge tub of Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream. We will occasionally finish off the mac and cheese we cooked for the kids. And some days my only snacks consist of goldfish or graham crackers because I’m ravenous and that’s all I have on hand from being a mommy.

I’m here to tell you, you can meet your weight loss goals, feel great in your body and give in occasionally. The trick, from my experience, is to let go of the guilt and move on to the next healthy meal.

With that being said, the days I feel the best, I eat like I’ve laid out above and I drink lots of water.


The old me would freak if I ate 5 goldfish or indulged in ice cream the night before and punish myself the next day by replaying in my head over and over how disappointed I am in myself. This results in bad decisions from the guilt and negativity. The new me knows I’m human and I’m doing my best. I really focus on easy concepts such whole foods, tons of veggies, and the majority of my food is organic, and eaten for fuel and nourishment. Disclaimer: I don’t feel great eating meat, so the majority of the time I’m eating plant-based, but if you need/love/have-to-have meat, just choose grass-fed and organic the majority of the time. Maybe try some meals with and some meals without and take note of how you feel. Food can be confusing. We get it, and that’s why our “rules” aren’t really rules. They’re guidelines. There’s so much to talk about with food but in the interest of time, here are a few guidelines I keep for myself when making the decision of what to eat:

  1. 80/20 Rule. Make it a goal that 80% of the time you’re eating clean, unprocessed, well-balanced whole foods. Allow yourself an indulgence, the occasional pasta dish or the coffee ice cream. This goes far in ensuring a healthy relationship with food. You’re human, its really ok.

  2. Focus on “Adding in” Greens/Fruits/Whole Foods rather than “Taking Away” the unhealthier foods. I read a study recently that concluded that people who added in greens daily still felt/saw the benefits even though they ate other foods that were processed and unhealthy during the same time. It’s best to eat clean the majority of the time, but even if you don’t, your body will benefit from giving it all the nutrients, minerals, clean protein and fiber from greens, veggies, fruits and organic whole foods when you can. Also, when your cells are given the nutrients they need and your blood sugar is regulated from the steady supply of healthy, low glycemic food, you probably won’t even crave or want the other stuff as much.

  3. Ask Yourself How You Want to Feel. Most people look at food through the lens of “is this in my diet plan?” or “will I gain weight by eating this?” That will only get you so far. Your body will tell you what it needs if you listen. It will ache and feel bloated and fatigued with foods that cause inflammation and it will feel light and energetic with foods that are healing, detoxifying and clean. There’s also a direct effect on your mood that you will see crystal clear if you start journaling or just taking notice of how you feel when you eat certain foods.

I truly believe that most of our struggles with food is a matter of changing our mindset. We have so many resources these days. Food can be incredibly healing if you let it, and it also can be one of the greatest pleasures in life. Keep an open mind. Let yourself be human. Give your body what it needs to thrive so you can too.

In health,


Your Tuesday Wake-Up Call

“I hope there are days when you fall in love with being alive.”


The last couple months I’ve learned a lot about people’s personal struggles with health. As I’ve shared tidbits of my story on this blog, taught barre classes, and shared how I try to live to be healthier, stronger, and feel better on a daily basis, people have also shared with me their challenges. I’ve heard a pattern of explaining why they aren’t actually making the changes. And truthfully, I’ve come up against a wall. What I have found is that most people simply don’t want to hear it. People don’t want to hear that fast food will kill them or that exercising is a non-negotiable or that anxiety and stress can be healed holistically. People don’t want to hear that lifestyle changes are the number one thing you can do to prevent disease. People don’t want to hear it because it’s hard and it takes work. I completely understand and relate to that perspective because I had it myself and I pushed aside day after day what I needed to do to end my own struggles.

I didn’t want to hear it either. Then I had no choice.

You see, health issues happened to other people, not to me.

Then on April 28, 2015 I got a call that my sweet father and one of my best friends was found unconscious. It was in the middle of a workday, on an ordinary Tuesday. I entered the hospital, after the longest drive of my life where I pled with God that I would walk in and talk with my Daddy again, and discovered that it was over. There was no recovery or rehabilitation, no second chance. It was just over. The doctor said they could “find no electrical activity.” I asked “people can come back from that right?” She said “they can sometimes.” She could tell I wasn’t processing it. I couldn’t process it. Then it was just people shaking their heads and asking if we would like to see him.

He was a 58 year old former collegiate and professional athlete. He had just left the gym. He always cooked homemade meals. He chased after his grandkids and rarely if ever sat down at work. He wasn’t supposed to die at 58. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he also didn’t look the part of a man who was going to die of his first heart attack.

This changed me. How could it not? I felt it would be in vain or lost on me if I didn’t allow it to wake me up and change me to my core. It sparked in me a fire and a passion to learn from it and change my life accordingly.

So, over time, I’ve found a way, a way that came about after much trial and error, hardship, tears, frustration and victim mentality. I finally found the way after I was brutally honest with myself and said that this was on me. It is on me, 100%. This was no one else’s problem or future or life but my own. So, I found a way that I come back to again and again after I lose track or fail. Because failing is inevitable. No one is perfect, it’s just a matter of knowing how to start again. I found a way that has empowered me about my health. A way that I’m sharing with anyone that cares to hear it. I strongly believe that most of the time it doesn’t have to be pills and doctors. I believe that our bodies are freaking miracles from God that can do amazing things. I believe that each decision in our teens, 20’s, 30’s and up will decide what kind of life we will live as we age. I believe it is a gift and a privilege to get the opportunity to help our complex and magnificent bodies heal and grow and get stronger by giving it yoga and functional exercise and living, green foods. We get this one life. We get this one body. Don’t wait until you get that perspective from loss or reality that stops you in your tracks. Live healthy now, be present now.

I’ve shared below three people that inspire me. These people and their stories have helped me tremendously in the past few years find an intention that has catapulted me into caring about true health. They also helped me feel empowered about my health.

  • The first is Kris Carr. She is a cancer survivor and self-taught wellness advocate. She is living, breathing proof of what nutrition can do for you.


  • Dr. Joel Kahn gives you real life advice, having treated thousands of heart attacks, his answer is that nutrition can heal the body.


  • Rich Roll, is an ultra-athlete and plant-based nutrition guru, who has overcome a lot to find a whole new life in wellness. His podcast is one of my favs and gives me tons of resources.


Lastly, please know I’m always here, for anyone who needs a little help. You can work with me or Zach in our group fitness classes, personal training or through skype workouts where we do the same thing as in class, just over skype. If you are interested, contact us through our website or email me at Erica@flowspacefitness.com for more details. We are about to launch a way for Flow Space to aide you in your healthy journey so we can work with you wherever you are, so stay tuned for exciting details coming up in the next month!

In health,