Hope Wissel, Tasty Tuesday Recipes

5 Simple Tips for Healthy Habits

As many of you know, I have been on WW for an eternity. LOL.   I lost my initial 105 pounds and am happy to say, I have kept most of it off.  MS has caused some weight gain – the only thing I can attribute it to since I track and am stepping. I’m not beating myself up over it.  It is all about healthier eating and NOT the numbers on the scale.  Now if I could only remember that, all would be well.  Are you focused on healthy eating or the numbers on the scale?

Here are five tips to help you adopt some new healthy habits:

1.     START WITH A PLAN 

Planning out your meals for the week is a great way to set you up for success. I started doing it so I didn’t have to deal with MS struggles over what to fix for dinner.

My advice – Keep it simple. 

I usually plan out on Friday or Saturday knowing I will grocery shop on Sunday or Monday.  Pick least busy day of the week and take a few minutes to pick out some recipes and create a grocery list. I have a meal planner I post on the fridge so I can not only plan meals but also not repeat the same ones constantly.  For some, having “Meatless Mondays” or “Taco Tuesdays” can make it a lot easier!  Epicure has several collections with pre-made grocery lists, swap options, perfectly balanced plate suggestions, and pro tips throughout!

2.     MAKE TIME FOR COOKING 

Now for the fun part—preparing those delicious recipes you picked out!  Making time for cooking gives you the opportunity to try out new recipes, make good food choices, or even remake your favorite takeout dishes in a healthier way at home! YES, it’s also a great way to lower your food bill. Meal prepping looks different for everyone.  For some, it may involve prepping a variety of foods in larger quantities, so you don’t have to worry about it during the week. For others, it is cooking once and using the meat in several meals during the week.  Of course, you’ll need plenty of containers to store your meals and keep things fresh. Our storage solutions make it simple to portion out your ingredients and tackle hassle-free meals on the go!

3.     EAT COLORFULLY 

Adding color to your plate is a simple way to ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Keep an eye out for recipes with more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods are full of antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy fats—key components to maintaining good health! Plant-based foods are also friendlier to our environment as they require fewer resources and greenhouse gases to produce. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint while also benefiting from the amazing nutrition benefits these foods bring to the table.  Check out some of our favorite plant-based recipes here!

4.     MAKE USE OF HERBS & SPICES 

Many people consume more sodium than they need. It’s easy to exceed the dietary recommendations, but the good news is salt is a largely acquired taste. So, over time you can actually sensitize your pallet to embrace lower levels of salt. Changing to sea salt or himalayan pink salt is better too. Seasoning your food with more herbs and spices is a great way to limit your sodium intake without missing out on flavor!  Epicure’s hand-crafted spice blends are perfect for creating low-sodium meals while also simplifying your time in the kitchen!  Many of them have NO sodium too!

5.     DON’T SKIP OUT ON DESSERT! 

Toss out the idea there are morally “good” and “bad” foods!

A healthy, sustainable diet won’t leave you feeling deprived and miserable. Food is meant to be enjoyed and your journey to good health should be no different. By giving yourself permission to eat “bad” foods, they lose their novelty and we’re less likely to obsess over them. Remember it’s not about restricting yourself, rather making balanced choices. Give yourself the freedom to consume the foods you love and your health journey will be a lot more enjoyable.  PLUS you’ll be more likely to stick to your routine long term.  Take a look at some of our favorite healthy dessert options !

The journey towards getting AND keeping healthy habits can take time so be kind to yourself. There may be challenges along the way but try to view them as opportunities to learn and grow. I am always here to bounce ideas around with you.  Remember, you are NOT alone. If you’re looking for motivation, support, and dietitian-approved tips, we invite you to join our online community and #EpicLife Challenge starting on May 10th!

Have an Epic day!

Hope Wissel

How It All Started: Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible

I know it is Tuesday and we usually do a Tastefully Tuesday BUT this is a milestone for me.  I swear it has been longer BUT the internet doesn’t lie, right?  LOL.  So, 9 years ago today I took the first step towards blogging.  For those who don’t know the story………it was a challenge issued by the AMAZING Vanessa Coppes to step out of my comfort zone.  Well, I did it!  It was the start to a daily  blog posting for many years.  Since MS, I have cut back to about once a week but I’m excited to be writing again.

My heart breaks that this still goes on today.  Bullies come in all shapes & sizes; young & old.  If you know someone who is making you uncomfortable in your surroundings (home, work or neighborhood)… guess what you are being BULLIED!  No one deserves to live like this…. With the advancement of social media, the bullying techniques have changed; sadly it now is more prevalent than ever before.

This is MY first every blog post… yes there are grammar mistakes, yes there are some typos.  I didn’t change anything about it because it was from the heart ❤ and I wanted to share my heart with you………

I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda. Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more?  I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable.  My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports.  Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came.  Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that. 

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community.  She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally. 

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Thank you for taking the time to read this….share this with someone who may need to know they are not alone….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Clear the Clutter, Hope Inspires, Unclutter Your Life

Tips for a Happier Life

Let me start by saying I am NO expert…. I have good days and bad days.  Doesn’t every one?

When I see this picture I always think of the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. It seems so basic but how many of us look for happiness – sometimes in the wrong places.  For me, since MS & recovery, being happy means practicing being in the moment.  Not having expectations about things and definitely not trying to fix, manage or control things.

As I was scrolling through my earlier blogs, I was reminded about a post from one of my favorite bloggers, “alwaysthinkingimfat“.  Let me share a few tips to happiness from her with you:

Find light where it was once dark: Are you a half full glass or a half empty glass kind of person?  If you are a half empty kind of person, look for something to focus on.  A small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  I know it may be hard to see BUT there is always a glimmer.  It could be the one chance to take yourself from a miserable place to some higher ground.

Reciprocate:  The bottom line is, on life’s journey it is so good to give rather than receive. Take time to notice others and give of yourself.  It will make you feel better and help make the World a better place!  Couldn’t we all use a little kindness these days.

Fuel your creative side:  You put gas in the car but do you ever fuel your creative side.  For years, I let my creative side get buried under the massive lists of  “to dos” and it made for a grumpy Hope.  Okay, so there may have been more to it but it definitely didn’t help.  LOL.  Take a minute right now to jot down some thoughts/ ideas.  Then make a plan to grab the glue gun or get the scrapbooking items out of the closet.  Better yet do it while you are thinking about it – NOW! The moments of elation and self worth will help to promote the positive and downplay the negative.

Active listening: Let’s be honest….are you ALWAYS an active listener or are you guilty of trying to figure out how to respond to what someone is saying.  I will admit it….I have been that person.  I am trying hard to practice active listening.  The truth is when you are not actively listening, you fail to give a person a chance to express themselves or share input as well as ideas. SMACK!  Who is joining me in practicing this??? 

Face your faults: Being a recovering addict and working a 12-step program has definitely helped in this area of my life.  There was a time in my life when I thought my faults made me less then.  When I hid them for fear someone may not like me.  In general, people tend to be defensive or remiss about their personal faults.  In my life, I am taking steps to say “I am not perfect and I have faults”.  But I can change or make it better, it is up to me.

Delight in success: Too many times, we fail to delight in life’s small successes.  If you lose weight you need to be happy about it and keep going.  Any loss is a loss, so celebrate!  If you set a small manageable goal and obtain it – CELEBRATE it.  Success does not have to be HUGE steps, it can be baby steps towards your goal.  Stop telling yourself you are not successful and become more self assured and confident!  I need to practice what I preach.  LOL!!!

Feed your mind and soul: Take the initiative to inspire, create and reflect.  You feed your body but what about your mind & soul!!  Take a walk to enjoy the beauty outside.  Read a book.  Listen to a podcast.  Do a craft project.  When you fill your cup, you are then able to fill others.  When your cup is empty, you have nothing to give anyone else.

Share your best tips for a happier life.  My best advice is to:  

Revel in Being You! Every day is a celebration! It is party time! Get your groove on!

Have an ThirtyOne-derful day!
Hope Inspires, Recovery, Thankful Thursday, Unclutter Your Life

Thankful Thursday: Struggling with Acceptance

Today is a difficult day…….I’m struggling with ACCEPTANCE.

After 10 years of being a Director with Thirty One, I will revert to a Senior Consultant.  WOW! I will admit I am struggling.  My ego is deflated.  My pride is hurt.  I have weathered many storms over the years fighting to keep my title.  Today I just have to have acceptance.  Could I point fingers and play the blame game?  YUP!  But the truth is life (and the inner gremlins) caused me to think I was less then when the struggles came along.  Yup!  I played the comparison game.  I dabbled in another direct sales company but my heart wasn’t really there.

Acceptance is defined as “the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group“.

Believe it or not, as welcoming as the other group was and still is – it was not where my heart was.  I missed the relationships I had built over the years with team members and customers.  I struggled to fit in playing the comparison game yet again.  My addiction & MS makes building relationships hard for me.  The double whammy has also given me double the number of inner gremlins.  They usually have me acting in fear instead of being faithful to God’s will.  When I opened my eyes, stomped on the gremlins; I was able to see God winks telling me to remain faithful to my heart during the turmoil.

Over the last 3 years through recovery, I thought I had started to accept who I am or at least think I am.  I’m usually ready to stomp the inner gremlins when they start wanting to play the comparison game.   I still worry about disappointing others.  I still worry about whether I am good enough (just not as often).  Working a 4th step and taking an inventory can be a blessing and a curse – those who know, know ❤

Not sharing my business struggles sooner as a result of PRIDE left me feeling alone.  Over the last 3 months, those secrets of inadequacy kept me sick (and on the road to losing my title)…I was afraid of what my upline would think.  Unsure if they would accept me broken and struggling yet again.  I hate being the “needy” one.  Pride and fear kept feelings stuffed away.   The inner gremlins had me convinced my time with Thirty One was over.  The reality was………my upline loves me unconditionally and when I stepped up even at the very last minute to “vomit” my feelings, they were loving and supportive.  My team has been there through the struggles too so why would I think they wouldn’t be now.

I am learning to accept what is in my life – the good, the bad and the ugly.  I am learning to accept I am wonderfully made even on my worst days.  I am learning to accept (very slowly) my struggles with MS, having faith in the fact it is all part of God’s plan.  Do I think God’s plan was for me to make a mess of my life?  NO!  I do know he has helped me through the struggles.  He accepts me for who I am – no matter what.  But can I accept me, is the real question?

I accept:

  • I am a addict recovering from the disease of addition
  • I am a child of God as he wraps his loving arms around me
  • I am a better me today than I was yesterday
  • I am open to God’s plan whatever it may be
  • I am an MS warrior and I will not let it defeat me
  • I am a giving, loving person who wants to make a difference

Today I have acceptance for where I am in my business and in my life.  I accept this is just a bump in the road.  I accept this will be part of my story to share with someone else who may need to hear it.  I’m not giving up.  Thirty One has been the blessing which saved me on my darkest days in more ways than I can count.  It helped me get out of credit card debt.  It helped me learn how to build relationships.  It helped me in my walk with God.  It has helped this introvert come out of her shell even when I don’t want to.  Being uncomfortable is good sometimes – in business, in recovery and in life.

Today, I am learning to thankful…Being thankful helps you get through life’s tough times, because you can easily call to mind all of the good things in your life.  Being grateful just makes you happy and being happy can help keep your mind and body healthy!

Accept who you are, without relying on outside influences.  Accept we are not perfect and it is okay.  What are you thankful for today?

Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

How Do You Stay Positive?

How do you feel when you hit a goal?  Maybe your goal weight?  Maybe you ran a marathon?  Maybe you hit your sales goals?  Whatever it was, do you remember how you felt?  The excitement of achieving something you have been working for – were you giddy with happiness, or are you like me and cry tears of joy?

Now, how did you feel working towards the goal?  Frustrated?  Overwhelmed?

May is full of celebrations – my birthday, my 10th wedding anniversary and God willing, my 3rd year in recovery.  May is the end of the ThirtyOne fiscal year and I have already hit my HIGHEST year in personal sales since I started with the company.  With all of these exciting things, you would think it would be easy for me to stay positive, right? The truth is I struggle with staying positive.

So many of us work hard in pursuit of big bold goals – because it feels so good when we make them happen, right?  The truth is BIG wins don’t happen every day.  Sometimes not even every month, quarter, or year. Sometimes big dreamy goals take time, patience, and a whole lot of devotion to make happen. And it’s okay, it’s how it’s supposed to be.

But are we supposed to defer our happiness, our joy, and our contentment until those BIG dreams happen?  How many of you actually celebrate or give yourself credit for the baby steps you made on the way to your BIG goal?

Most of us (me included) forget to feel proud of ourselves in the here and now – in the moment BEFORE we reach the big goal. It is important for us to allow ourselves to enjoy the moment. We can make ourselves crazy if we continue to defer our happiness until some day in the future when we make those big dreams happen.

So what if we started to obsess over our little wins instead of the big ones?  What if we reconnected with the things which truly matter most in my life – the present, the here and now.  When we show up each day for our work and our life while taking care of ourself, our family, and our business – these are the things which truly matter most. The big wins are then the icing on the cake.  The little wins are the ones which truly shape and define a well lived successful life.  One of my biggest struggles in recovery (combined with the MS) is living in the moment.

What do some of your little wins look like? Do any of these look like yours?

I paid my bills this month on time and am reducing my debt.  That’s awesome.

One of my favorite customer/hostess wants to host another party. That’s amazing.

I got 6 hours of sleep a few nights this week! Go me.

I gave myself time and space to read an incredible book this month.  Woo hoo!

I created and shared original posts on social media this month I’m proud of.  I sure did.

I embraced guilt-free rest this week whenever I needed it.  Yes!

              I didn’t beat myself up with I made a mistake. Yes!

             I rode my stationary bike 3 times this week. Yes!

Do any of these sound like baby steps you took?

Maybe you got up, showered & dressed at least twice this week?  Maybe you you reached out when you were struggling?

So, what happens when you think about the little steps you took this week?  Were you energized, excited, and aligned?

Believe it or not, when you are focused on the little wins, you are less attached to the outcome.  You can feel proud of the hard work and devotion it took to make the BIG dreams happen without diminishing what it took to make the little, everyday wins happen too.

I’m challenging you to obsess about your little wins instead of the big ones.

What are five things you’re really proud of this week?  No matter what they are, embrace the positive feelings about the little wins.  Enjoy the feelings as you celebrate showing up each day and giving your life everything you’ve got.  Because it’s what really matters in the end.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!