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!

Hope Wissel, Unclutter Your Life

Finding My Purpose

We have been home from an amazing vacation for a few days and are adjusting to the cold weather.  UGH!  I do like the change of seasons BUT I am NOT a fan of cold weather. Sunshine definitely helps me to clear my head and is good for my MS.

My word for this year is ACCEPTANCE so let’s recap the first month. January was full of playing the comparison game especially in my business.  I have been digging deep to find  my “why” and as of today, it is still not clear.  To say the least, I have been beating myself up a little.  After 11 years, you would think I would be jumping on the bandwagon to kickstart my business in the new year with excitement, yet I can’t seem to find it.   Acceptance for me is about living in the moment, being grateful for the gifts God has given me and trying NOT to fix, manage and control things.  I can say I ended January with a win.  🥰  As we got ready to go on our road trip, the weather on the southern track was getting bad (an ice storm was coming to SC, NC & GA).  So, we changed plans.  Left a day early, drove longer than we originally planned, rescheduled hotel reservations & beat the storm.  In the past, I would have been a hot mess but with God’s help, we were blessed with safe travels and an amazing week.

I know…. what does all of this have to do with finding my purpose, right?  I was able to unplug in the hopes of finding my purpose.  I was able to stop and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

I have been thinking about “What is my MAIN reason for my business?”  Believe it or not, it has become just a way “to make some extra money”.  No it hasn’t always been the  FIRST thing on my list.  Crazy, right?  It has always been to make a difference then it was about the money.  How the money can help me to make a difference.  Through working the steps in my recovery, I have been learning about me. I still want to make a difference in the lives of people but I’m not sure what it actually looks like.

 

Here are some ideas from the Direct Sales Education Foundation on Finding YOUR Purpose

  • Listen to your inner voice and hold off on asking others what they think. Before you start seeking opinions on what your purpose should be, tune into your inner voice for inspiration.  Once you have a definitive idea, then it’s time to gather opinions from others.  As a people pleaser, I struggle with this one.  I don’t want to disappoint people.
  • Follow what is exciting, not what is easy. In business, just as in life, the easy choice may not always be the best one.   WOW!  This is so true.  The grass may not always be greener on the other side.  If you are excited about your choice, you are then willing to do the work!
  • Tap into your instincts and emotions rather than logic. You obviously don’t want to ignore logic completely, but when finding the purpose for your business (or in your life), your instincts should take over. Instincts and emotions are powerful enough to guide us to do great things. When faced with a difficult question or decision, listen carefully to your initial gut reaction. This does not mean to act impulsively, but rather to let gut feelings lead the way on your journey.  For many hard-working and ambitious people, this is not always the easiest thing to do, but it certainly is important if you want to find your true purpose which drives you toward success.

I was never out to change the world, some may say the results of my work does it but it was never my purpose.  As a Social Worker, I wanted to help people improve the quality of their life – no matter how small a change it was for them.  As I look to work my businesses this year, I want to make a difference – one smile at a time.  The end result will be success in my business and in life while helping others get what they want.

What have you done to find your purpose? Would you add to our list? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

Have a blessed 💝  day!

 

Hope Inspires, Hope Wissel, Recovery

Blind Faith

potholes

Blind faith is defined as ““belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination.” It wasn’t until recently it was pointed out to me, this is what I have.  A positive thing instead of the negative thing I would have described it as.

“It will all work out” has been one of my favorite lines for years.  As a single mom, I always believed things would work out.  I didn’t know how, I didn’t know why – I just believed they would.  I actually believe my relationship with God was pretty much nonexistent through HS, college and later in life.  During my early years, I was active in church and a Rainbow Girl.  I believed in God just didn’t have a relationship with him.  Weird, right?

God was there even when I didn’t see or believe it.  He had his hand on everything which is why I believe through my years of addiction, I was saved.  I had a blind faith deep in my soul despite the odds.  My first time in the rooms, I always said I was “spiritual” not religious.  The Serenity Prayer was the closest I got to having a conversation with God.  It was the thing which kept me going even when I was on the road to relapse and during my relapse.  I thought it was more of a foxhole prayer at that point since I had made such a mess of my life.

Now, I have a relationship with God. Are there still potholes in my path? YES!  Do I wonder if I am on the right road or following his purpose for me? YES!  Do I still struggle with fear?  YES! Do I still play the comparison game? YES!  Fear and doubt didn’t not magically go away because of my faith.  Satan loves to play with me especially on days when my MS flares up.

Every morning, I read my “Just for Today” and pause for a moment to thank God for his many blessings.  Truth be told (have you heard this amazing song?), I don’t STOP and wait to LISTEN for God’s message.

 

There are some days, it is more obvious than others I haven’t listened.  The days when the doubts come.  The days when resentments build.  The days when frustration and anger get the best of me.   Those days, I wonder what happened to the belief God would take care of things?

Those are the days, when I forget it’s not my job to fix the potholes in my trail. I need to let God lead, and He will smooth the way.  Whatever the path looks like, God has a plan for every step (Jeremiah 29:11).  The path may be filled with potholes but no matter where I am headed, God is aware of every gap in the road He’s established for me.

Hubby pointed out to me recently “you have a blind faith”.  I was shocked because I never thought about it.  I used to believe people judged me for the decisions I made.  Many times my decisions were not based on solid facts, just a feeling I had things would be okay.  Sometimes they were and sometimes they weren’t.  It wasn’t until I took my will back and stopped letting God lead the way, the road to relapse became a downhill spiral.  Me trying to figure things out or fix things led me to a path filled with potholes.  It kept me from letting my light shine and making a difference in the lives of other people.

It is time to embrace my blind faith.  Time to stop trying to fix the potholes.  Time to stop trying to figure things out on my own.  Time to let God lead, have faith and let him show me the path he has prepared for me.  It is “his will for my life, not mine”.

Are you trying to fix the potholes in your life or are you “letting go and letting God”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Unclutter Your Life

How Blogging Can Change Your Life

Do I have your attention???

8 years ago I took a  challenge.  If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know the story…

I met an amazing group of women, The Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms (now for Woman) founded by Lynette Barberi and Vanessa Coppes.  I wanted to grow my business.  I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.  I wanted a full-time income from my direct sales business.  The question was, was I willing to work for it?  My immediate answer was YES!  But, it meant I had to step out of my comfort zone.  Not something I was very good at and even struggle with today.  Vanessa challenged me to start blogging.  Who would want to read what I had to say?  What would I write about?  FEAR crept in but the people pleaser in me wanted to be accepted by this group of women so I was willing to do whatever it took to have what they had.

My first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible” was first published on March 29th, 2013.  It was probably the hardest thing I had written up until that point BUT the feedback I got was amazing!  So, I jumped in with both feet and starting writing daily for years.  When my MS flared – my memory and the words became more difficult.  I stepped back to only a few times a week then I actually stopped writing altogether.  There was only so much I could write – who wants to hear about the struggles? Was I really making a difference?  Fear and doubt crept in again.

In January of this year, I decided I would start again.  Once a week was all I could handle.  I would share some tips and on occasion write about life.  It is good for me to get things out.  I figure if my ramblings can help just one person, it is worth it. I’m stepping out in faith instead of letting fear rule in this area of my life.

I have been blessed over the last few months and despite heartache which has come from losing loved ones…. I’m feeling pretty good (minor MS stuff), my ThirtyOne business is thriving and I’m rebuilding key relationships in my life.  God has blessed me beyond my dreams.  God willing, I will celebrate 3 years clean in May.  I have stopped beating myself up (most days) for the mistakes of the past.  I actually like myself (most days) which has helped with the stress eating (not necessarily showing on the scale BUT it is okay). I have found joy in cooking (who would have thought? LOL). I’m looking forward to warmer weather and spending time with hubby working on the yard at the new house and maybe even some mini trips.

What does all of it have to do with blogging??? Probably very little except I found my voice by blogging.  The ability to share feelings which I don’t deal with very well with others. The ability to step out of my comfort zone because when I do, the magic happens.

Do you journal?  Have you thought about blogging?  Blogging has helped my business and me grow personally in so many ways.  I’m always amazed when someone in my pick bubble googles a word or something and my blog or my name comes up towards the top of the list.  If they are finding it so are others, right?  I have gained customers and insiders (aka hostesses) through the link to my blog.  Have a business?  Why not give blogging a try?  Share recipes, share tips & tricks about your products, share how to’s….. just give it a shot.  I’m grateful I took the challenge so many years ago and still do some writing.  It will not be a magic wand of instant success but it will make a difference when you are consistent – monthly, weekly, daily whatever you decide to do.  When you do start (or if you already do) share your link with us…

Here is to another year…. have a ThirtyOne-derful day!